ghost sightings in Milford

Milford ghost
haunted Milford with square ghost in window (reflection of a cell phone in the camera lens)

Haunted Milford

The following is to help balance what has been written about spiritualists seeking to sell their services or books.

I believe in UFOs.
When it is known what they are we can believe they are Identified Flying Objects but it is unlikely they will be determined to be giant Frisbees from Planet X piloted by Bigfoot. Storytellers can associate together unrelated stories whether true or folklore but that doesn't doesn't mean that one caused the other. A UFO reportedly crashed near Roswell, New Mexico 10 years to the day that Amelia Earhart crashed her flying machine. The same expectation for proof can be said about any other extraordinary tale, many of which through history were later shown to be fakes. We should be skeptical about claims of seeing ghosts until the unexplained incident is figured out. It doesn't necessarily mean that what is observed can be attributed as having a spiritual origin. How this also relates to Milford is there are websites by paranormal believers citing a Reader's Digest article about a heroic woman from Milford so they can derisively claim she looks like an extra-terrestrial alien being. We call out this online bullying but will not provide links to avoid giving them the credibility they seek.

Ghosts in Milford

Looking for ghosts can be entertaining, but shouldn't be viewed as educational or anything more than a fun activity. Investigators show confirmation bias when doing an investigation when they interpret and attribute everything as having been caused by a supernatural force. We often see this same kind of bias in those that turn everything into a political issue. A scientific, medical or judicial approach puts more weight is given towards preferably double-blind studies published in established journals where they can be peer-reviewed by other experts. Similar high standards should be utilized in giving low priority to slick presentations by those promoting an agenda by selling books or a service.

Ghost-hunters will misuse scientific or legal terms such as evidence to sound legit. In a court, evidence is presented but may not be admitted if it isn't backed up to be true. They constantly ask questions to those that doesn't support their view not to learn buy to find some detail they don't understand to create FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) about a more likely or scientific explanation. They wouldn't be able to answer if they were faced with the same questioning.

EMP and other forms of electromagnetic radiation

bee
bees can detect electro-magnetism
Some ghost-hunter equipment is made to appear exotic when shown during a presentation by being housed in a a mysterious looking black box or packed in a shipping case that probably cost as much as the cheap consumer electronics inside. One item claimed as evidence is the presence of an electromagnetic field. Electromagnetic radiation is everywhere including radio waves or light. I've detected 2 dozen wi-fi signals in the middle of the Old Milford cemetery. Ultraviolet or black light used for tanning is beyond the range that humans can see and infrared is felt as heat. Sharks can sense the electromagnetic field generated by the muscles of other animals in the water. A study of bees indicated they use static electricity charges to tell which flowers they've already visited. Regarding the invisible radio frequency spectrum, in the United States it is illegal to use a device to interfere with radio signals such as jam a cell phone. An object inside a Faraday Cage is shielded from RF signals by blocking them. A microwave oven is similar to but is not a Faraday Cage so it will not shield a cell phone placed inside. The oven selectively reduces but does not block the electromagnetic radiation frequencies generated to a safe level. Microwaves are not radioactive and although they heat objects up they do not cause the type of cell damage associated with cancer. Ghost-hunter's equipment may be too sensitive to outside influences such as vibrations. Experts consider producing false positive results in anything as a failure just as much as not detecting something. Although housed in a black box to appear mysterious, the simple electronics of an EMP pump to produce a short burst of an electromagnetic signal are similar to a metal detector or an electric toothbrush charger.

graveyard wi-fi
wi-fi reception in old cemetery

A short history of summoning the dead

Despite claims by seance holders and modern day ghost-hunters, historical records do not confirm any sighting of ghosts at the historical houses of Milford. Seances, a form of ghost stories made personal by invoking someone a participant one knew, were popular after the Civil War until the early 20th century. They attracted many famous people to participate although some did so only to be entertained. Magicians such as Houdini debunked and exposed fakery. One medium claimed to summon Houdini's mother but his mother only spoke German not the English attributed to her during a seance. Since 1964 a modern magician has offered a reward to the first person to present for independent review actual proof of a ghost. The payoff is now up to $1,000,00.00.

Today's spiritualists are sophisticated in their blend of diverse fields including psychology and marketing combined with the entertainment elements of magical illusions. Spiritualists present to supernatural adherents many of the same illusions that magicians do but claim they have summoned up spirits. They makes use of the tendency people have to stick closer to what they already believe when presented with proof such as links to information contradicting a set ideology. Seeking only input from like-minded individuals runs the risk of falling into group-think which leads to poor decisions. Group-think is a trait is often observed with partisan politics of providing believers circular logic with easy answers to complex questions.

Mars faces
Mars face and Mars smiley
Suggestions of how to interpret something works due to the tendency people have to look for something recognizable such as faces in a random pattern such as wood grain, baked goods or the man in the moon. The first telescopes did not produce a clear image so random craters on Mars that through an optical illusion seemed to line up like channels were called canali. Writer's imaginations translated the Italian word to canals that were built by Martians for irrigation. Scientists updated their theories about life on Mars when they better understood what they had observed. Skeptics keep changing the burden of proof they demand. The business of selling books and giving lectures or radio appearances (to sell even more books) is huge. Richard Hoagland, who was interviewed for a Connecticut radio station in 1965, wrote a book claiming there is a face on Mars based upon an old low quality picture.

understanding how we are tricked

Knowing the techniques magicians use for their tricks can help us understand and figure out when people are tricking or trying to influence us. Many entertainers are shy and perform to get more comfortable around people. To overcome this, magicians will practice in front of a mirror or videotape themselves to build up their skills. One magician I worked with did card tricks to exercise his stiff fingers.

Spiritualists are nothing mysterious once one starts to gain an understanding that they are really performers. People get bored with facts so entertainers tell stories or jokes to entertain and distract people from looking for how the trick is done. Misdirection is leading the audience's attention away from what they are doing. Leading questions is when someone suggests what they want people to think. A historical example of this technique was the FBI investigated whether the lyrics to the song Louie, Louie were obscene. They thought the song was inappropriate when they read the supposedly dirty words. When the investigators were presented with the actual sheet music, they regarded the vocalist as sounding drunk. Another musical example is during a trial, singer Ozzy Osborne was perplexed (more than his usual self) when a lawyer tried telling him what the lyrics were to a song he wrote before he corrected the attorney. An example of what some think Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven sounds like when played backwards is at 9:30 in this TED talks video.

This is an example of incorrect lyrics to a popular song, usually it is more subtle with fewer changes to an unfamiliar tune:

He's shaking a fist of chicken and rice;
Gonna find out who's mommy or mice.
Santa Claus is really a clown!

Photography Funny Business

Unusual lighting, coloring or camera angles for photos can influence our perception. Low light conditions result in grainy black and white images which will impart a mysterious mood to what we are seeing. Old horror movies were scary by tricking our imagination to fill in what is missing without showing a monster. Blood in black and white films was really chocolate syrup.

Shooting the scenes with hand held cameras lit with flashlights made The Blair Witch Project look like a documentary. The film cost only $35,000 to produce but $25,000,000 was budgeted to promote it on the internet with faked police reports as if it was real. A tilted photo gives the impression that something is not right. Another example of the tilted camera effect was used to denote the villains in the 1960s Batman TV show. Each criminal was lit with a different color scheme such as green, magenta or gold to differentiate them from each other.

Professional cameras fitted with high quality lenses are designed to avoid picking up light reflections that are often purported to be evidence of ghosts. Electronic displays on TVs and wireless devices tend to have a blue tint in photographs. This can be observed by noting that from outside a house, a TV in a darkened room will cast a blue light in the window. One paranormal group from the Northeast claim something called blue energy in a photo of a Milford house is a square ghost but it resembles a cell phone or tablet.

graveyard wi-fi
wi-fi reception in old cemetery

Magic tricks and jokes

Despite claims by seance holders and modern day ghost-hunters, historical records do not report sighting of ghosts at the historical houses in Milford. Seances, a form of ghost stories made personal by invoking someone a participant one knew, were popular after the Civil War until the early 20th century. They attracted many famous people to participate although some did so only to be entertained. Magicians such as Houdini have tried to debunk and expose fakery. One medium claimed to summon Houdini's mother but his mother only spoke German not the English attributed to her during a seance. Since 1964 a modern magician has offered a reward to the first person to present for independent review actual proof of a ghost. The payoff is now up to $1,000,00.00.

Magicians and spiritualists use the same tricks but a magician performing the same illusions to supernatural adherents results in them saying the magician has summoned up a spirit. The tendency to stick closer to what they believe when presented with proof or links to information contradicting a set ideology. Seeking only input from like-minded individuals runs the risk of falling into group-think which leads to poor decisions. This trait is often found with partisan politics, ghost-hunters and cult followers by providing believers circular logic with easy answers to complex questions. The techniques have changed but no verified documentation has been shown of ethereal remains of the departed worldwide let alone in Milford.

Knowing the techniques magicians use for their tricks can help us understand and figure out when people are tricking or trying to influence us. Many entertainers are shy and perform to get more comfortable around people. To overcome this, magicians will practice in front of a mirror or videotape themselves to build up their skills. One magician I worked with did card tricks to exercise his stiff fingers.

Several methods magicians use are:

  • What they say or do:
    • People get bored with facts so entertainers tell stories or jokes to entertain and distract people from looking for how the trick is done. The magician I knew was short and dressed as a clown. A common way to tell a joke is to say some word and after a complicated story, you say the same word again when they aren’t expecting it
    • Surprise what the audience is expecting by saying the trick is one thing but you do another trick, people expecting a rabbit out of a hat try to see a real rabbit instead of a cartoon one.
    • Be mysterious by using fancy words like Abracadabra! or tapping and waving a magic wand.
    • Misdirection is making you look somewhere away from what they are doing. They will look at one thing while secretly hiding or getting a prop. When they say there is nothing up their sleeve, it is because they hid the trick’s prop someplace else.
    • Leading questions is when someone suggests what they want people to think. A magician might name a card for a card trick to get a mark to choose that one. A historical example of this technique was a government investigation into whether the lyrics to the song Louie, Louie were obscene concluded that when they read the supposedly dirty words, they thought the song was inappropriate but considered the vocalist sounded drunk when the investigators were presented with the actual sheet music. Another musical example is during a trial, singer Ozzy Osborne was perplexed (more than his usual self) when a lawyer tried telling him what the lyrics were to a song he wrote before he correcting him. An example of what some think Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven sounds like when played backwards is at 9:30 in this video
      • This is an example of incorrect lyrics to a popular song, usually it is more subtle with fewer changes to an unfamiliar tune:
        He's shaking a fist of chicken and rice;
        Gonna find out who's mommy or mice.
        Santa Claus is really a clown!
  • What they use:
    • Ordinary objects or clothing are used to not make people get suspicious. A jacket or sweatshirt that is left partly open can be used to quickly toss an object into to make it disappear. I worked with a magician used as a magic wand a wooden spoon he painted black with white ends.
    • Props have hidden compartments or pockets. Black is used to make it harder to see a hidden compartment's opening.
    • Mirrors are often used to make something look larger or hide behind. Smoke used to obscure and make things mysterious combined with mirrors gave us the phrase Smoke And Mirrors.
    • Strings such as black thread or thin fishing line can make objects seem to float. Velcro can be used to hold small objects such as silk cloths.
    • Palming is holding something like a playing card, ball or coin in your hand so it doesn’t look like anything is there.
    • Limit what the audience can see such as not let them go behind you. Avoid lights from behind that might create a shadow to gives away a trick. When a magician is on TV he aims the camera so it doesn’t show how the trick is done
    • Someone dressed identical to the magician can make it seem that he escaped from being locked up. Using twin assistants, one twin looks like they were shot out of a canon over the audience and then the identical twin shows up at the back of the room. Often the audience doesn't see both of them close up enough to spot any differences.

Photography Funny Business

Unusual lighting, coloring or camera angles for photos can influence us. Low light results in grainy black and white images which imparts a mysterious mood to what we are seeing. A tilted photo gives the impression that something is not right. An extreme example of this effect was used to denote the bad guy in the Batman TV show. Each criminal was lit with a different color scheme such as green or magenta for added effect.

I've operated $80,000.00 Ikegami cameras fitted with high quality lenses designed to avoid picking up light reflections that are often purported to be evidence of ghosts. Electronic displays on TVs and wireless devices tend to have a blue tint in photographs. This can be observed by noting that from outside a house, a TV in a darkened room will cast a blue light in the window. One paranormal group from the Northeast visited a Milford house that was built around 1700. They show a photo of a square ghost called blue energy resembling a cell phone or tablet.


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design and photographs by Daniel Ortoleva
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