The Shared Diary of a Novice Paranormal Investigator, aged 52 and Three Quar

When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.

(Stevie Wonder)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.


Ri fol ri fol tol de riddle dee.


My Ever-so Scientific Experiment

If I want to follow a Scientific mode of investigation, I have to identify my problem.  Here goes:

 I want to find out if I can use a pendulum to identify which of three face-down cards is the Queen of Clubs.  If I can do this, I will take pendulum dowsing very seriously indeed.  If I cannot do this, then I will not be sure what to think about it, but I will probably put my pink crystal pendulum quietly away in a drawer upstairs. 

I will perform a long experiment.  Every day, I will try ten times to find the lady, recording my results as I go.  I imagine that by chance over time, I could be right three or four times out of ten.  Any deviation from that would suggest that chance was not governing the success rate, but something I can call pendulum power may be at work.

I selected the two red aces and shuffled them with the Queen of Clubs.  I laid them out face down in a row.  I pulled one towards me and asked ‘Is this card below the pendulum right now the Queen of Clubs?’  If the pendulum said ‘no’, I checked the card.   If it was an ace, I moved to the next card and asked the same question.  The next answer would be the end of the turn as there were only two cards left to check.  I recorded how many times I found the queen before running out of cards.

Here are my marks out of ten, day by day:

  1. 4 correct
  2. 2 correct
  3. 5 correct
  4. 3 correct
  5. 3 correct
  6. 8 correct
  7. 3 correct
  8. 3 correct
  9. 2 correct

My success rate so far appears to be nearly the same as chance.  Out of 90 turns, I found the card 33 times.  Result 6 stands out.  When this happened, I was thrilled.  I thought I had learned to use the pendulum well.  Alas, that little thrill did not last for long! I soon realised that most of my guesses that day had been first attempts – damnit!   I had trained myself to select the queen of clubs out of a set of three just by shuffling to a rhythm.  I was disheartened.  I wondered then if my loss of confidence depressed the following results.

When trying out an experiment to see which kind of shower gel makes the richest foam, I can measure the heat of the water, the amount of water and the amount of gel.  I might also measure how much force is used to mix the gel with the water, and how much time is spent mixing the two.  If I were really thorough, I might consider air temperature and humidity – possibly even atmospheric pressure if this were known to influence lather.  The machine programmed to mix the water and soap would be constant.  It would not be subject to loss of confidence, headaches or changes of heart.  When a human being or a human skill is at the centre of an experiment, hidden or unmeasurable variables will affect the results.

My results were affected by my mood, by how much distraction existed within myself and within the environment and by my developing, without realising it, another way of performing the task. 

Looking still closer, my results only tell part of the story.  Each session involved more actions than I had counted.  I should have counted the number of correct pendulum swings, not the number of times I found the Queen.  The number of possible correct or incorrect swings was three times the number I recorded.  I really should record my results like this:

 Ask the question.  Observe and record the answer.  Check if the answer is correct.  If the answer is correct, tick the record.  If it is not, put a cross.  Move to the next card, and start again.  Record all three answers for each turn. 

Analysis of these results will show, not how often I find the card, but how often the pendulum swing is accurate.  Of course, there will be times when I will already know which card I have.  Keeping objectivity will be difficult.  No matter how efficient this may look on paper, I understand that I will not be able to account for variables intrinsic to the human condition.  I will never be able to claim I have scientifically proved or disproved anything.

I am going to have a go anyway.

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