"Formula of a Haunting" Review
“Formula of a Haunting”
"Insightful, engaging and thought-provoking – 'Formula of a Haunting' is the essential content the paranormal realm begs for!"
Having a bachelor’s degree in the media arts spectrum, I know that specific aspects need to be met for a video series and/or film to be successful. Specifically, the framework of the project – i.e., the filming, editing, special effects, sound, lighting, etc. – need to be spot on. However, that’s just one side of the coin; the content featured in the project needs to have a depth that not only grabs a person’s attention, but leaves an everlasting impact on the viewer. “Formula of a Haunting” does just that and more!
It’s no surprise as it’s spearheaded by Brandon Alvis, a passionate filmmaker and one of the paranormal research field’s most accomplished and dedicated. In this engaging film series, Brandon and his crew have answered the clarion call to do what many in the field won’t even attempt to touch: the careful examination and meticulous scrutiny of a haunting’s nucleus; dissecting it bit-by-bit to see if humanity can potentially answer the many questions it has regarding ghosts, spirits and hauntings.
“Formula of a Haunting” comes at the perfect time as the proverbial spotlight is on the paranormal these days. More than ever, ghost investigators and supernatural researchers need to step out of their comfort zones and apply better objective observation and critical thinking. “Formula of a Haunting” serves as a motivator to get this done; it further showcases the importance of utilizing the symbolic magnifying glass to look at each piece of a haunting from various different angles. It’s only then will we be able to gain a further understanding of what goes bump in the day or night.
“Formula of a Haunting” is not only expertly filmed and produced, it provides a healthy dose of profound substance that is often lacking in the field of paranormal research.
Dreams and Goals - "The Afterlife Chronicles and Beyond"
I think every person understands the amazing feeling you get when dreams and goals are achieved. For some, it may take years to finally achieve personal aspirations; for others, it can happen almost instantaneously. I personally believe that our individual desires emanate from the nucleus of our soul. The universe places wishes and wants on our path where they patiently await our arrival. Beautiful things happen when we eventually meet up with them.
I have been a paranormal investigator and researcher for twenty years. Having an innate fascination with the unknown since childhood, it wasn’t until a profound experience with the spirit of my maternal grandmother that catapulted me out of the lab – so to speak – and into the trenches of active exploration of anomalous phenomena. Over time, I have not only met some amazing, like-minded individuals, I have also discovered more about my own unique personal makeup, skills and interests.
Being a paranormal researcher has granted me opportunities I never thought I would accomplish. When I was younger, I loved to read. I still do as an adult. Not in a million years did I ever think I would become a writer and publish books. To date, I have authored various books, which were all joys to research and write. As a child, I was always super nervous to step up in front of the class and give a presentation. Yes, I had that proverbial stage fright complete with sweaty palms and a racing heart. Yet, as I have grown into myself as an adult, I have learned to cherish public speaking. It’s something I am quite confident in; I yearn and desire it just as a painter craves his or her next artistic creation.
Over the years, I have been a guest on numerous supernatural-themed television, film, radio and print mediums. Out of all the media outlets, there is just something uniquely special about radio and podcasts. The stars aligned just right in 2009 when I met radio guru Todd Bates aboard the RMS Queen Mary for its then annual “Ghost Fest IV,” a yearly paranormal conference set aboard the glorious liner. Prior to the convention, I knew of Todd Bates and his accomplishments in the field as an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) specialist. He was even mentored by the late Sarah Estep, who was a forerunner in EVP research and founder of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena. Like a little kid meeting her idol, I was electrified when I saw Todd in person and got to shake his hand. As they say, the rest is history. Since our very first meeting aboard the ocean’s most iconic ship, Todd and I have become dear friends.
It was an honor when Todd asked me to be a guest on his veteran radio show, “Haunted Voices Radio,” one of the field’s longest running radio programs. This started a chain of future guest appearances on the show, including annual “Queen Mary specials,” where he and I, along with other special guests, discussed various aspects of the legendary ship, including her rich historical tapestry and internationally known paranormal phenomena. Although 2020 has brought its own inimitable set of challenges for all, it has granted me an opportunity to further flex my hankering for being on air in the radio field. Back in May (2020), I became the executive producer of the exact show (Haunted Voices Radio) I revered back in 2009. The show, as well as others, is broadcast via the WLTK-db or “The Let’s Talk” network. This producer role has allowed me to join forces with other commendable investigators in the various branches of paranormal research.
Over the years, I have contemplated having my own radio show. For a long time, the desire for it was more or less the occasional fleeting thought of, “Maybe I should have my own show some day.” Like bees attracted to honey, that notion never left. I am a firm believer that the astral stars need to align just right for destiny to meet its fate. It just so happened that Todd had some open radio show slots on the WLTK-db network. So, I went for it and created my own program, which is an extension of my upcoming book, The Afterlife Chronicles: Exploring the Connection Between Life, Death and Beyond. Aptly called “The Afterlife Chronicles and Beyond,” my show focuses on the undying connection between mortality and the spirit realm. Various topics will be explored, including afterlife encounters, spirit guides, spirit communication, paranormal research methodology, metaphysics, psi experiences, near-death experiences (NDEs), grief and loss, and much more.
The show debuted on October 8, 2020 at 9pm EST with my mom, Norma Strickland, as my first guest. She shared some of her unique encounters with the spirit domain as well as some of her experiences with the dying process as a registered nurse of 30 years. Since then, I have interviewed Linda Myers, a paranormal researcher, reiki master and intuitive hailing from the Pacific Northwest as well as Tami Benjamin and Jason Cobb, accomplished paranormal investigators I teamed up with aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda, California. I have a strong line-up of individuals for future shows.
Todd once said, “I am warning you; radio is addicting.” He’s absolutely right about that. There is just something so filling about talking with folks on air. It’s so engaging and a lot of fun. I am indebted to Todd and his WLTK-db network for granting me this opportunity to flex my wings as a radio host. I am enjoying every single bit of it!
“The Afterlife Chronicles and Beyond” radio show airs LIVE on Thursday nights from 9pm EST to 10pm EST at http://www.wltkdb.com or http://www.theletstalk.com “Haunted Voices Radio” airs LIVE on Tuesday nights from 9pm EST to 11pm EST on the above websites. Check out the other amazing shows on the network! Archives of all the shows can be heard on the major audio listening platforms.
Remember, “here at the ‘Afterlife Chronicles and Beyond,’ we’re bridging the gap between mortality and the afterlife one experience at a time.”
Some Paranormal Research Trends
Paranormal Research Field Trends and Implications
Just as with any other specialty, paranormal research is an ever-evolving field that goes through various changes and trends. There are many aspects that affect the shifting developments in supernatural study, whether they include new theories, advanced equipment, fresh experimental methodologies, metaphysical approaches, etc. As with any field, time yields these augmentations so as to prevent stagnation; in other words, it’s imperative that we maneuver through these inevitable trends so we can keep the door open to expanding our knowledge and understanding of what lies beyond the mortal realm. This article will explore some of the commonly pervasive trends in today’s study of the supernatural and how they affect the field at large.
Indeed, the field of paranormal study has progressed technologically since the days of the field’s founding fathers. In the early days, those studying the supernatural relied on non-technological ways of approaching field methodology. Today, many modern researchers still employ many of these ingenious ways of approaching paranormal investigation in addition to using various constructed devices specifically for supernatural research. While this article doesn’t focus on this aspect entirely, it will mention that each family of electronics (photography, videography, audio, surveillance and environmental monitoring, etc.) has seen drastic industrial advances and improvements, which obviously provide benefits, and even some drawbacks, to supernatural researchers. Again, this concept should be solely addressed in another article altogether.
One common trend lies in the ability of engineering / technological specialists to augment a device so it functions better for paranormal research standards. For example, AM/FM radio scanners / ITC devices can be altered to allow for less static noise, ultimately allowing the researcher to better hear any anomalous voices or sounds emanating through the device. Another illustration is evident in the Xbox Kinect system, which can be plugged into a laptop computer and highlight with lines and dots, the exact positioning of an alleged apparition. Various environmental monitoring devices have “three-in-one” utilizations. For example, some of the versions of the “Mel Meter” have EMF, shadow detection and KII functions built into one device. Of course, this provides for convenience; however, there may be drawbacks to lumping all of these uses together in one device. Please keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “ghost detector.” There isn’t one piece of equipment that has proven the existence of ghosts, spirits and other paranormal entities.
The utilization of technology in paranormal research may seem fool-proof; thus, it’s always beneficial to realize that even the most advanced, up-to-date apparatus comes with imperfection and flaws. This is why it’s mandatory that all researches completely understand a gadget’s design, function and reasons for use. I continuously ask myself this question, “Do all of these various improvements in technology help or hinder us in terms of paranormal research?” In discussing this aspect with trusted colleagues, I have found pros and cons to modern-day leaps in technology. As you shop around for more modern types of equipment, please be aware that your chances of capturing an anomaly may be increased with more gadgetry. However, too many pieces of technology may create a distracting environment for the energies. Another drawback affects the investigator directly as he or she will have to spend more time monitoring excessive technological pieces when he or she could be entirely focused on the environment. In my opinion, you don’t have to own every single technological gadget utilized in paranormal research. That would be ridiculous. Carefully study and choose which devices you want to own so you can create an equipment arsenal that includes those designed for photography, videography, audio and environmental monitoring, etc.
This leads me to the next popular trend occurring in today’s supernatural research field. In addition to electronic gadgetry, the use of metaphysical instruments is becoming more mainstream for many researchers, including psychics and mediums. Many intuitively inclined individuals use metaphysical tools in communicating with spiritual energy. Those deeply based in scientific approaches may cringe at the thought of using items like gems and crystals; however, you have to realize that paranormal study is not an exact science. Thus, all the more, should someone welcome a variety of approaches to the field’s ongoing study.
Historically speaking, various gems and crystals are deemed to hold supernatural powers of their own. Wearing them on your person may assist (almost like a liaison) in communing with spiritual energy and empowering your innate psychic powers. Using them in conjunction with technology may assist the device in picking up spiritual energy. I believe that everyone has some intuitive ability; however, it’s similar to a sport in that the more you practice, the better you will get. Various gemstones and crystals are utilized for promoting mental and psychic clarity (Amethyst), absorbing or deflecting negative energy (Amber, Black Tourmaline), removing stress and unwanted tension (Celestite), uniting the mind, body and soul (Celestite), etc. – all useful for anyone working in the paranormal research realm and beyond.
In my opinion, blending intuition, technology and metaphysics allows for a more holistic approach to working with spiritual energy. It is for this reason why the San Diego Paranormal Research Society often employs the use of divining rods, pendulums and certain crystals as they can serve as an adjunct to technology. For example, let’s say we capture an EVP of “Yes” in response to the question, “Is anyone here with us?” in addition to our divining rods also crossing, which can indicate a “Yes” response. That’s two pieces of corroborating evidence, ultimately authenticating the spirit reply all the more.
Spirit Resolution vs. Paratainment
Thankfully, many paranormal investigators and psychics are taking up more of an interest in providing spirit resolution to many ethereal beings that may need assistance. This is the focus of the San Diego Paranormal Research Society whose projects are twofold: conducting an investigation as well as offering some spirit counseling. If our research is suggesting that life does exist after the physical body ceases to function, then all the more should we offer to help provide peace and harmony to those in the spirit realm.
Investigating and acquiring potential evidence of the paranormal is important for the ongoing study of the supernatural. However, I am always left with the question, “Okay, what now?” It seems that the cosmic universe is onboard with assisting us in the appropriate communing with the ethereal world. Perhaps, the pervasive intrigue into the supernatural realm exists as a way to recruit those who will genuinely assist those who are in need of help. There seems to be a shift in our collective outlook regarding mainstream media and “para-tainment” as far as the paranormal is concerned. More and more people are realizing that the various sensational TV shows do little to authentically advance the field of paranormal research. While these shows serve mainly to entertain the masses, they don’t accurately portray real-life supernatural research and investigation. Furthermore, the sensationalism surrounding these shows does little to promote spirit resolution as it more or less exploits the dead via egotistical objectives.
It seems as though the once feverish intrigue into the ghost hunting phenomenon is finally on its way out as more and more individuals are on a quest to delve deeply into what matters: not only discovering what lies beyond the mortal curtain but devising ways to genuinely connect with spirits and other ethereal beings. Those who fervently engage themselves in down-to-earth paranormal research, including proper protocol, standard operating procedures and empathy, are becoming more comfortable calling out those amateur groups of people who act in manners that disrespect the departed and the field at large. All in all, I do see more and more genuine, grounded paranormal research teams expanding their repertoire by helping the ethereal energies they investigate and commune with. In my opinion, this is vital in the rapport building between the living and departed – the ultimate, natural way to improve not only the research arena but how the public at large perceives it.
Getting Rid of “Ego”
This brings me to my next point, which is to highlight how human ego and working with spiritual energy do not mix. In a sense, they are like oil and water, having nothing in common. Ghost hunting teams sprouted like grass after a long rain once the televised paranormal shows commenced their craze. During this time, it was common to see teams sporting their t-shirts and other team promotional items, initializing a phase of competition between groups. As the concept of ghost hunting wanes, we are seeing an influx of those who want to delve deeper beyond a superficial façade. We are seeing certain groups of paranormal investigators coming together to not only assist each other but to improve paranormal research as a whole. This is so vital and necessary for the eventual building of one, giant collective supernatural study unit – where all like-minded teams can unite for the purposes of not only advancing the field but helping those otherworldly beings in need of assistance. I am hoping that one day, this will be accomplished in entirety; but for now, we need to all realize that “ego” needs to be removed from the equation when communicating, studying and working with the ethereal world.
More and more paranormal research specialists are jumping onboard to educate the public and each other about various aspects related to the supernatural. Again, technological strides and improvements in social media directly assist in these educational concepts reaching the masses. Individuals are volunteering their time to lecture at libraries, local events and national conferences all designed to bring together those who possess a budding interest in the paranormal. The same goes for researchers who educate those at colleges, universities or via local avenues. The online presence is even expanding with new radio shows, informative documentaries and television designed to teach those about haunted locations and history, paranormal research experimentation, etc. Many teams are starting to blog more about their conducted investigations and findings or even offer live-viewings of actual investigations. More and more books discussing diverse aspects related to the supernatural are being published. Indeed, education is at the forefront as it allows people to come together and expand their minds; in doing so, the field of paranormal study will also continue to develop.
Paranormal Researcher, Author and Lecturer
My Journey into Paranormal Research and Investigation
What propelled me to investigate the unknown
I have always had an innate fascination with the supernatural, especially the field of ghosts, spirits and hauntings. I had some unique experiences growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was the experience I had with my maternal grandmother’s spirit during undergraduate college that catapulted me into research and investigation of the unknown. In my twenty years as a paranormal researcher, I have worked with some amazing individuals. In 2009, I developed the San Diego Paranormal Research Society (SDPRS), which is one of San Diego’s well-respected groups.