Cases of General Strangeness - Analysis and Conclusions
You have obtained your evidence, now the work begins. You first need to review the witness testimony and using that try to find a cause or explanation. Weather often plays a part so you may want to go online and obtain the weather conditions at the time. Note too if they agree with what the witness claims. Is there a discrepancy? If so this could raise questions about the accuracy of the report. Also notice how well the report as the witness stated it fits any physical evidence. In short it becomes a matter of, Is it logical? In some cases astronomical events may trigger activity. You may want to check with a local astronomer to determine if something significant was going on at the time, and whether this could possibly tie in. Then consider any physical evidence, either what was recovered or something you captured while investigating the case.
What follows is by no means complete list of possibilities for each of these events. It merely serves as a starting point presented to show the wide diversity of possibilities.
Booms and Explosive Sounds
You may want to contact local authorities to see if they were aware of any activity which might be responsible. Any demolition projects underway? Possibly blasting at a nearby strip mine? Even subsidence can create a boom at times. often a call to authorities may also reveal numerous calls related to these phenomena. Knowing where these calls originated may help you pin down how wide an area the phenomena covered and help isolate a source.
But don't forget to consider looking skyward either. A meteor entering the earth's atmosphere can create booms. At night these are often very bright and easily identified. But in daylight, or if it was cloudy, a bolide may enter and never be seen. But they can certainly be heard. Also consider aircraft. While jets are not supposed to break the sound barrier over populated areas, that doesn't mean it never happens.
Finally one source that has been identified numerous times in these cases. We can't forget about the kids next door with some fireworks or your neighbor sighting in his deer rifle.
Material From The Sky and Blue Ice
Here is where you may require outside consultants. Material recovered varies widely, and most of us do not have the facilities to do analysis to determine composition. Colleges and universities often do have such labs and can sometimes provide insight as to the make up of material recovered. Once you know that it becomes much easier to identify a source.
As for that ice, most chunks of ice are the result of deicing operations by planes in flight. They turn on heaters, it begins to melt and is forced from the wings. A chunk occasionally lands in the yard or on the roof. And Blue Ice? The airlines say it never happens, but once in awhile there is a chunk of blue ice recovered. It melts into a foul smelling liquid. In fact it smells just like inside of a holding tank below the toilet..... 'nuff said.
Rocks From The Sky
Some of these may be meteorites which make it through the atmosphere. But they can also be the result of pranksters or even nearby construction blasting. Again an analysis as to composition can be helpful. If the rock is similar to nearby rocks it likely originated locally. And if you have the ability to obtain an analysis of its composition that would help clue you in the right direction.
Howls and Screams
This is a case where a recording is very helpful. Most howls are the result of animal calls. The average person does not realize how many different sounds animals can make unless they have spent a lot of time in the wild. Everybody knows the common dag barks, but how many are familiar with a coyote howl? Or listen to these and tell me what they are...
Did you know skunks made a sound? How about raccoons? Foxes bark. And the last one is a groundhog in a fight. The audio file has one call from each of those; they also make different calls depending on their state of mind; anger, frightened, or mating. These are just four of the wild animals I encounter near my location regularly, and that's without considering the many different owls and birds which also make various sounds. Clearly a source of confusion and often the explanation for some sounds reported. There are several websites that may be helpful if you need to identify an animal sound. Or you might want to have a naturalist on your list of consultants.
Back to the TOP of this Page
The phenomena of voices is also often attributed to ghosts or spirits. However in most cases it turns out that they are easily explained. After review of the witness interview and careful consideration of the time involved the first step is to obtain the atmospheric propagation reports for that time period. That information will tell you the probability of a distant radio station "skip" being the cause. Many times distant stations actually come in stronger, with a greater signal strength, than local stations. This is the most common cause of voices being heard when these signals get into other electronic devices.
Usually the skip scenario is short lived however. If the voices are ongoing you may have to look elsewhere. If it is an ongoing phenomena you have the advantage of possibly recording it. Then it can be studied for content. Often content reveals the source. For instance commercial broadcasts sound much different than telephone calls or radio dispatchers in what they say and how they say it.
RF interference certainly is not the only source, it could be voices of neighbors carrying through heating ducts, or even back up through drain lines. It could be voices echoing between or off of adjacent structures. One case I investigated consisted of voices being heard in a cave. After much study it was determined the cave was actually acting like a giant ear horn and picking up people talking almost a mile away. Those inside the cave could hear it. So you need to be open minded and consider even what seems unlikely. Temperature and humidity also greatly affect how far sound carries through the air so knowing the weather conditions at the time is also an important consideration.
Hums and Low Frequency Sounds
These are very similar to the voices cases outlined above. However here you have a signal of some type that can't be attributed to speech sources. A lot will depend on the frequency of the hum. If it is 60 Hz in the US (50 Hz in some other parts of the world), it can probably be blamed on some form of power distribution source since those are the frequencies of the power grids. Search for ground loops, or if you aren't familiar with the term, bring in an electrician or technical consultant who has the equipment to do so.
To explain a ground loop, ground is not always ground. If two points are used for grounding there may be a slight voltage difference between them. Consequently a current also may flow through the earth as the points attempt to equalize. This current may be detected by any conductive material between them and as such resonates with a hum which is equal to the power line frequency. Thus you can sometimes hear a hum even if no electrical equipment is in use. Wiring, plumbing, or even beams in the building itself can become the resonator. Recently some power companies are negligent about repairing the neutral return wire on power distribution poles. The circuit still works, only now instead of the return going through a conductor, the return path is directly through the earth. This is not in compliance with electrical codes, but they get away with it. This practice can cause erratic operation and considerable ground loop current.
If the sound is something other than power line frequency you have some detective work to do. It can still be electrical, only now you need to concentrate on possible electronic devices which might generate it. Once you determine the frequency, return with the high gain amplifier and EMF wand. Conduct another sweep, this time concentrating on that particular frequency. You may also try ground probing; the placing of two rods in the ground some distance apart and monitoring if anything develops between them using the amplifier. By positioning these in various locations sometimes you can determine a direction to the source and then go on to isolate the source itself. It doesn't always work, but is one method that can help at times.
Ground loop analysis is a field in itself. There are quite a few techniques and some specialized equipment that can isolate the source. Most is well beyond anything the paranormal investigator needs to get into, but at least you can determine the characteristics of the signal and have some clues to provide any consultants you may bring in on the case to accomplish this.
Frogs and Other Animal Falls
Animal falls are somewhat of a mystery. A lot depends on how many animals were found. One popular theory is they were simply picked up out of a nearby pond by a storm and carried aloft until they fell. That may be a valid explanation in some cases, especially if only a few were found. But it only holds true if weather conditions support it. If there were tornadoes in the area, possibly. But if it was a clear, sunny day then ask yourself where was the storm that lifted them? Obviously it had to be recent otherwise what kept them up there? Frogs don't ordinarily fly!
Another thing to consider is how many animals there were? If they were confined to a small area like a particular block there may not have been many. But if the event covered a large area then consider just how many creatures that would represent. There probably aren't enough frogs in the average frog pond to account for that even if every one of them was picked up!
A more likely scenario is quite normal. If the frogs are very small and a pond is nearby consider they may not have fallen at all. In the spring eggs hatch, followed by the tadpole phase, Later, at approximately the same time the metamorphosis to frogs, or toads, takes place. These small creatures then venture from the pond. Normally in nature most are eaten or otherwise die. But under ideal conditions a large number may survive and be seen hopping through the grass. Of course the normal person who encounters this wonders why so many all at once and makes the assumption they must have fallen from the sky since the day before there were none to be seen.
Birds are another consideration. Recently there have been several die-offs of large numbers of birds in localized areas. Theories abound, from fireworks to a government conspiracy to mass poisoning. All or none of the above is possible. Should you get one of these cases likely you will be seeking outside consultations from animal experts. But consider, kills like this have happened before, often where few humans were even around. So the strongest possibility is that it is a natural phenomena.
Consider natural conditions first should you encounter one of these cases. What was the weather like just prior to the event? One theory along these lines has to do with barometric pressure. If a tight pressure gradient was present just before the event it is possible as the front passed this disrupted the bird's equilibrium and possibly caused it to behave erratically because of the rapid change in barometric pressure. They may have flown into trees, wires or buildings and injured themselves. Might this account for the recent events being reported? We'll have to wait for any final conclusions on that issue.
These are somewhat of a mystery, at least if one believes the witness reporting it. It just appears in a matter of a few hours and no one knows why. The farmer says it wasn't there the day before, and the designs are sometimes so intricate they simply couldn't be made overnight. But is that really the case? Consider some have been proven to be hoaxed. Might other also be likewise? Keep in mind that no one watches the field on a regular basis except the farmer. Might he get out there and take his time making it, then when he is done, make the claim? No one saw him do it, so if he says it just appeared who can dispute it?
But of course we can't call all of them hoaxes either. After all if we are going to accuse someone we have to have proof. And proof is often hard to come by. Just approach it from a skeptical point of view and look for clues before jumping to a paranormal conclusion. The same applies to claims some make regarding the meaning of them. Just because someone claims the circle has some mystical or spiritual significance doesn't make it so. ask questions, demand proof of any claims.
Regardless of the type of case you handled there are still a couple things required. You need to draw up you final conclusions or case summary. And you need to return any samples in your possession unless the client has allowed you to keep them for your records. Often groups fail to do this and leave the client with unanswered questions. That is not fair to him or any other investigator who gets a bad reputation because of this omission.
Write up your conclusions based on what you found out. If you were able to close the case, say so and give your supporting reasons why. If no definitive conclusions can be made also report that. In the future should events continue it will serve as a basis for an ongoing investigation. Let the client know that you remain interested and that if anything should occur again to contact you. In doing so you validate yourself as a serious researcher and not a Saturday Night ghost chaser.