In this section:
Bio of a Ghost Hunter
How Jeff Dwyer hunts ghosts.
Why I believe in ghosts; by Jeff Dwyer.
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Jeff Dwyer is a third-generation San Francisco Bay Area native. Born in Oakland and raised in the island community of Alameda, Jeff became a champion swimmer in high school, a lifeguard, and scuba instructor while nurturing his love for local history. As a boy, he explored the old neigbhoods of Alameda, sometimes sneaking into a abandoned Victorian mansions to look for ghosts. About the age of 10, Jeff noticed that he could see things that others could not. He soon realized he was seeing ghosts or spirit remnants. Throughout his teenage years, Jeff's desire for adventure took him to many of the Bay Area's most historic locations including the old Oakland Airport, Jack London's home in nearby Sonoma, Fort Point in San Francisco, and the Winchester House in San Jose.
Jeff attended the East Bay campus of the California State University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Unversity of Southern Calfiornia, earning a bachelor's degree, two master of science degrees, and a Ph. D. in the medical sciences. He has held positions at various medical schools as a professor medical physiology, reseach associate professor of anesthesiology, and researcher in hyperbaric medicine. These jobs took him west to Hawaii, east to North Carolina, South to Panama City, Florida, and back to Southern California. Moving away from research and academia in recent years, Jeff has had a variety of experiences in intensive care units, rehabilitation centers, and medical clinics in Southern California and San Francisco Bay Area hospitals.
Numerous paranormal experiences in hospitals and other clinical settings intensified Jeff's interest in ghosts and after-life phenomena and prompted him to write his first book, Ghost Hunter's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area. This was followed by his second book, Ghost Hunter's Guide to Los Angeles. Jeff's third book, delayed by Hurrican e Katrina, is Ghost Hunter's Guide to New Orleans. It was released in September of 2007. That highly successful book was followed in June of 2008 with the Ghost Hunter's Guide to Seattle and, in September of 2009, Ghost Hunter's Guide to California's Gold Rush Country.
A second edition of Ghost Hunter's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area. as published in 2012. He is currently completing Ghost Hunter's Guide to Portland and the Oregon Coast. Future projects will take him to Civil War battlefields and to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Jeff Dwyer has also written three novels and a TV movie script--Sailor on Horseback--that chronicles the final three years in the life of legendary writer Jack London. Jeff's work is represented by S. J. Clark Literary Agency.
Jeff keeps busy with his paranormal investigations, writing projects, personal appearances at book events, radio and TV appearances, and a demanding job as a clinical specialist in cardiology at a busy medical center. He lives in Fairfield, near California's famous Napa Valley, with his wife and three children.
I recognize that most ghost sightings
and ghostly experiences are completely
serendipidous. They occur when least
expected, often when the "witness" was
not looking for a ghost. In fact, many
ghost sightings are made by people
who don't believe in ghosts, an after-life, or the reality of
paranormal phenomena. These kinds of experiences can be the most
rewarding because of the surprise element and sudden realizations
they create about life, death, and relationships.
Beyond these fortuitous, unanticipated experiences, I believe there are two basic methods for ghost hunting. One of these I call the Technical Method. This is best displayed by those fellows from TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) who arrive at a suspected haunted location with truck loads of expensive equipment, including electro-magnetic field detectors, digital thermometers, motion detectors, night-vision devices, video and audio recorders, and an array of computers for collecting and analyzing the data.
These dedicated ghost hunters, and others who use the Techncial Method, are usually after hard evidence for the existence of some kind of life-after-death phenomena.
Occasionally, TAPS and others get some compelling images on recording media but no matter much time or money they spend, skeptics often remain unconvinced. And who can blame them? In this age of digital image processing, even the most impressive photograph or audio recording is subjected to intense scrutiny and not likely to be accepted as proof of anything.
The other basic method of ghost hunting is the Psychic Method. I use this method, calling upon my abilities to hear, feel, and visualize spirits and hauntings. Since the age of 10, I've recognized that I have the ability to tap into unseen energies, connect with spirit remnants, and detect paranormal phenomena. I am particularly skilled at psychometry, the ability to touch an object and learn things about its past, things about the people who touched the object, or the history of the place in which the object rests. When I visit a haunted house, ship, airplane, or office, I touche door knobs, books, weapons, tools, cooking implements, sits in chairs, and sleeps in antigue beds in order to detect ghosts and learn something about their reasons for haunting a place.
I am also highly skilled at remote viewing. I have correctly viewed events as far away as 500 miles. I can remotely visit a haunted location before making a physical visit. This often makes the physical visit far more productive and insightful. As you might expect, the Psychic Method does not produce anything but a statement from the practitioner. These statements, however, often confirm or explain the impressions of the client or evidence obtained through the use of technical devices.
My ghost hunting methods do not yield computer print-outs, indisputable audio or video recordings, or proof that would convince the most casual skeptic, but they are highly productive in terms of detecting the presence of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena and uncovering the reason for repetitive disturbances or unexplained experiences. Often, my productive techniques produce information that eases the client's fears, facilitates a desired connection between theliving and the dead, or clears the environment of the paranormal disturbance.
Why do I believe in ghosts; by Jeff Dwyer
This question came as a surprise because my e-mail in-box always contains questions about ghost hunting methods, interpretation of evidence, or other issues that arise from the paranormal TV shows?
Years ago, when I first started doing interviews and appearing at book signings, I was asked why I believe ghosts exists. That question rarely comes my way these days, but I am happy it was submitted because it gives me a chance to reiterate some of my opinion.
I used to tell skeptics who challenged me that my belief in the existence of ghosts was not unusual and that I was not a member of some bizarre minority. Based on demonstrated adherence to religious doctrine or social tradition, I’ve concluded that nearly three quarters of the people on this planet believe that humans have a spirit. Most of these people also believe that the spirit survives bodily death. Most also believe that after death, the spirit may linger here on the earthly plane before moving on to whatever waits us “on the other side.” In most cultures, stories may be found that describe some experience with the spirit of a newly deceased person. These may be called be called a ghostly encounters. The consistency of these stories, or reports, strongly suggests to be me the common experience is true.
Getting a little more specific . . . there are several recent polls conducted among contemporary Americans that reveals a belief in the paranormal is predominant. In 2000, a Gallup poll discovered a significant increase in the number of Americans who believed in ghosts since the question was first asked in 1978.Thirty-one percent of respondents said they believed ghosts existed. In 1978 only 11% admitted they believed in ghosts. A 2003 Harris poll found that an astounding 51% of Americans believed in ghosts. A 2005 CBS News poll got more specific in terms of asking about experiences. It found that 22% of respondents admitted they had seen or felt the presence of a ghost. In that same year, Gallup pollsters found at 72% of Americans believed in at least one paranormal phenomena including ESP, spirit channeling, ghosts, and clairvoyance. More recently, in 2007, an Associated Press survey reported that 34% of their respondents firmly believed that ghosts existed.
These statistics are interesting, but I don’t believe in ghosts simply because most people is this country think ghosts exist.
I believe in ghosts because I have had numerous experiences with a variety of paranormal phenomena that cannot be explained any other way except to attribute them to a ghost.
What are those experiences?
I’ve seen several apparitions; most of them appearing completely life-like, although some were nearly transparent or partial. Most of them have appeared in bright daylight or well-lit rooms (hence my belief that it is not necessary to limit ghost hunts to early AM hours). Some apparitions I’ve seen have been fleeting, lasting only a few seconds, but many remained visible (to me) for minutes.
I’ve seen objects move and even change shape. I’ve also seen objects appear or disappear.
I’ve heard countless ghostly voices, some speaking intelligibly with clear messages. In many cases, however, ghostly voices are incoherent. Sometimes I hear an array of voices as if ten or more people are trying to speak simultaneously.
I’ve been touched, pushed, kicked, scratched, and punched when the nearest living soul was several yards away and no inanimate object cold have created the experience.
I’ve experienced duel-occupation. This is a strange sensation created when a spirit occupies your body. It is not possession, but rather a feeling that something is passing through your body. Loyd Auerbach has described this experience in his book, A Paranormal Casebook. To me, the sensation is one of losing awareness of your own limbs, joints, face, etc., while feeling physically transformed. When the entity moves on, the restoration of normal sensation of your familiar body is almost shocking.
Aside from all of that, I do agree with the majority of people on the planet. Humans possess a spirit which survives bodily death. The human spirit contains the essence of our being, and our energy, and may convey something of our personality, intelligence, habits, desires, and emotions to sensitives among the living. The spirit may remain on the earthly plane for seconds to years after death, occasionally accumulating enough energy to interact with our physical environment, including the physical processes of our sensory systems, particularly the auditory (hearing) and visual systems.
Copyright Jeff Dwyer. All rights reserved.