Sneak peek: Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need To Know Volume 2: My brain is the key that sets me free - introduction

2nd July 2021. Reading Time: 19 minutes 726 page views. 2 comments.

As a very special sneak peek here is the introduction to my new book Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need To Know Vol 2: My brain is the key that sets me free

I am so excited to release Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need To Know Volume 2: My brain is the key that sets me free - on Monday the 5th of July.  The book is available NOW via Amazon on Kindle and paperback Worldwide.  

Links:  Amazon AU, Amazon US, Amazon UK or visit the LLIFS Shop to buy a signed copy direct (Australia only)

As a very special sneak peek here is the introduction:


Are you ready to go down the rabbit hole?  This is not going to be your typical ‘how to investigate the paranormal’ sort of book.  If you have read Volume 1 of Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need To Know: What the eyes see and the ears hear the mind believes, you will know by now that I take a more rational approach to researching the paranormal.  Volume 1 of this series delved into the human mind and the different ways it can trick us into thinking we are experiencing something paranormal.  We learned that the human mind is extremely complex, yet also misunderstood.  The field of science does not fully understand what our minds are capable of, as it fails to replicate a lot of its functions.  While we know our brain can fool us in many ways, we also have to ask ourselves: “what else is it capable of?”  We know that weird stuff seemingly happens, but while many paranormal experiences can be explained, some cannot.  Even though I take a more rational approach to paranormal research, my mind is still open. I have experienced things I couldn’t easily cast aside as a misunderstanding.  The human mind is something that has really drawn my attention in recent years.  Not only concentrating on the ways it can trick us, but pondering the possibilities.  In the same way that our mind can make us think something paranormal is happening, is it possible it can also create something paranormal? 


            When I first joined the paranormal field many years ago, it felt like everyone I dealt with seemed to have what would be described as psychical abilities when it came to sensing something paranormal.  Not wanting to subscribe to the title of psychic medium, many would just tell me they were sensitive to the paranormal.  At times I felt new feelings and I sensed things that I could not see with my eyes.  Even to this day I sometimes still do.  The difference is that back then, I was a very different investigator from what I am now.  I believe that the people around us have a profound influence on how we investigate and experience the paranormal, whether we care to admit it or not. 


During this time, I was surrounded by people who were confident within themselves and their spiritual connection with the other side.  It meant that I too felt like I had a connection from my very first investigation, although it wasn’t as strong as theirs.  Sometimes I felt like someone was there that I could not see.  I still vividly remember my very first investigation.  I was in a room and a feeling came over me.  I got very cold and had a very anxious feeling (which looking back could have just been me feeling a little uneasy on my first investigation,) but immediately I felt like someone was standing behind me.  I didn’t say anything because I thought I was probably making it up in my mind, so I just stood there until the psychic who was running the tour told me that a man was standing behind me.  Whether she really did pick up on someone standing behind me or if she just led me to believe there was didn’t really matter from that point on.  From that moment, I was hook, line, and sinker.  More to the point, I wanted more!  You will hear about people catching what we call ‘The paranormal bug’.  Well, that is the story as to how I caught mine.  I then began attending investigations every single week.  I would pay my money and attend public investigations, sometimes two back-to-back in the same night!  I spent longer driving to and from locations than I did at the actual location because I just wanted to investigate.  A 4-hour round trip seemed perfectly reasonable for a 2-hour investigation (still is to me!).  I didn’t have any of my own equipment, in fact, I didn’t even use any that was provided on the tour.  I just wanted to go in there, watch, wait and hopefully experience something.


Right before my first investigation, I had been recovering from depression after a period in my life where I went through significant health struggles.  I had been feeling emotionally numb for quite some time in the months leading up to it and now I had suddenly found a way to not only feel something, but a way to get my mind off things for a few hours.  If you think about it, when you are out there on an investigation, you aren’t thinking about your bills, your kids, your health, or your job.  You are focused on the investigation. You can take a break from your thoughts and troubles.  For me, it was about just feeling something.  Sometimes I would get a vision in my head.  I remember vividly that one night I felt like I had a flashback and saw the location as it would have been 100 years ago.  It happened several times on the same night and to this day, it has never happened again.  I would get all the sensations.  I had goosebumps, tingles, and just the knowing inside of me that I wasn’t alone.  The more I investigated, the stronger it got.  I started having more what you would call personal experiences.  A lot of people told me this was common when people start investigating the paranormal. More things start to happen because you are now open to it.  People around me at the time told me I was ‘awakening’.


            The rational side of me, however, would not allow the ‘awakening’, or whatever it was to continue.  I was always that person who had to be able to explain everything.  I didn’t have the confidence within myself to let my mind go off with the fairies.  I began to close myself off to these possibilities and focus on all of the things that the paranormal isn’t.  I explained away all of the feelings, emotions, and sensations I had been feeling.  Most of it had to do with the people I was surrounded with.  They were seeing and experiencing things that I wasn’t.  They were very confident with what they were picking up. Some of them said they were born with their abilities and that it was something that just came naturally to them.  Stemming from experiences they had as young as 3 years old, they had spent their lives searching for answers. Then here I was, someone who stumbled upon the paranormal and I just happened to like it.  Ironically, during this time where I was opening up, the same people that were having all of these experiences that I wasn’t having, were the same people telling me that the things I said I was feeling were in my head.  They said they were not occurring because they weren’t picking up on it.  At the time I was a newbie.  Who was I to question them?  So, I believed them. 


In hindsight, I can see that in many ways they were being a bit hypocritical.  It was also a form of gaslighting.  Why were their experiences more meaningful than my own?  It was an important lesson for me as even though I may believe differently, it taught me to never discount another person’s experience.  For me at the time as someone who was new to the paranormal field, I believed every word they said. I also doubted myself in the process.  It had terrible repercussions for my self-confidence and led me down a temporary path of paranormal research that wasn’t quite the right fit for me.  I guess you could say I wanted to be like them. I wanted to have all of these amazing experiences and feelings under my belt and know so much about the paranormal.  I was in awe of the way they seemed to know so much about spirits and the paranormal.  I wanted to be able to talk to people about these things confidently in the same way they did.  So, I followed the flock.


I remember being a little jealous.  Why is it they could see things I couldn’t see?  How were people able to pick up information that I couldn’t?  Why were they feeling things that I couldn’t feel?  I remember quite well a night when I was on an investigation.  The room was full of people that could see things that I couldn’t.  I remember it well because of how they made me feel.  Another important lesson I guess.  I have always been quite honest about my place in the paranormal field, and honest about what I feel, see and experience.  So, if someone was seeing something that I couldn’t see and they say, “can you see that figure over there?”, I would tell them “no!”.  If they said they were feeling cold, I would say I felt fine.  It would often offend people as they thought I was assuming they were faking it or hallucinating.  It wasn’t my intention at all.  I was simply vocalising that I was not able to see it.  Remember I am also a very rational person so I had a lot of questions in my mind as to why a group of people was able to see and experience something that I couldn’t.  After this particular investigation, people were comparing their experiences of the night and things that they had picked up on.  They asked me what I had seen.  I told them the truth.  I saw nothing.  I had experienced nothing.  I had not even a tingle, no goosebumps, nothing.  I told them, I am not a psychic medium, and I am not sensitive to the paranormal.  The exact response as I remember it was “Well that sucks for you, why are you even here if you aren’t a medium?” 


            Unfortunately, those kinds of comments were not exclusive to that night.  Still to this day people tell me that I should not be investigating the paranormal.  Why would I be here investigating something that I wasn’t able to see?  I clearly didn’t have the same advantage that these people had so why bother?  I guess in some ways it was this attitude that made me forge ahead with my research the way I wanted to do it.  It wasn’t to prove them wrong.  It was to ask the question “why couldn’t I see things?”  Why couldn’t I experience these things?  Was there something else going on?


            As time progressed, I learned a lot about myself as a person, as a researcher, and as an investigator.  I thought it was important to approach things with a rational mind.  I had always been this way.  Why should I change to fit into an industry I wasn’t even sure I was going to be a part of long term.  During this time of self-discovery, I saw and encountered a lot of things and a lot of people.  I realised that some of the people who proclaimed they had abilities actually had no idea.  I don’t know if they were deliberately faking it or if they were a little too overconfident in their skills, but there was just something a little off with some people.  It caused me as a person to become quite sceptical of my fellow human beings. 


            By this point, I had very little to no trust in others.  I guess when you have been fooled or wronged one too many times, it is easy to take this stance.  When I look back, this was an unfair judgement for me to make.  I can’t let the actions of a few people reflect a wider community of people who were genuine.  I decided to just do things the way I wanted.  By this point, I had become a hard down the line kind of investigator almost wanting to find a rational explanation for everything.  My writing at the time reflected that and I was invited into a lot of sceptic groups and circles because of it.  When I saw how openly they often mocked others for being ‘delusional’, I knew that wasn’t the person I wanted to be and promptly left.  I had forgotten about the person I was in the very beginning.  The person in the beginning that would sometimes feel things and have experiences.  I didn’t debunk them at the time because I didn’t feel the need to.  I was literally just out there having a look at what was out there. 


As happens regularly in the paranormal field, the company I kept was forever changing.  People move on, friendships end, and we evolve and grow.  I had decided to embark on a path of solo investigating, but more focused on research rather than collecting evidence.  I was at the point where I didn’t need to be in a team anymore.  I didn’t need to answer to anyone or justify my thoughts or rationality.  I was finally able to do my own thing.  It also meant I could work with a wider range of people.  I didn’t have to stay in situations I was not comfortable with, nor ones that did not reflect who I was as a person and a paranormal researcher.  While I had been writing my blog Living Life In Full Spectrum for a few years prior, it was when I went on my own path that people started to reach out to me.


            I soon met people that changed my views and perspectives.  They were not trying to change the way I viewed the world.  They were trying to show me the world.  They weren’t trying to get a specific point across.  They were just showing me how they worked.  I found this intriguing.  Some of the things I saw and experienced sparked an interest inside of me.  These were genuine people that I felt were capable of things they should not have been capable of.  They knew information they shouldn’t have known.  Sometimes, it was like they were able to make things happen using their mind.


            I started looking into a different path of research.  While I had always been the person looking to rationally explain an experience by mostly using psychology, what about all of the things a person could potentially do with their minds that was not rational?  I had seen it happen, so I felt like there had to be something to it.  It led me to start exploring parapsychology.  I began looking at the idea that maybe people weren’t being deceptive or that things were in our heads.  What if it was actually us that was causing these things to happen?  Whether we know we are doing it or not, what if the ghosts are really us?


            It is not a black and white area.  There is a lot of grey that needs to be explored.  Are we all born with some sort of psychic ability?  Are some just more aware of it than others?  How is it that some people only start becoming aware of their abilities later in life?  Are females more open to psychic abilities because of their maternal nature?  How does our brain potentially allow us a glimpse inside the door to the other side? 


For me, it was learning that there is more to it than a person just ‘seeing’ a spirit.  I was quite surprised to find a whole new area of perception.  It was no longer about investigating a location and discussing the spirits that may still be there.  It was looking at how is it we can see these spirits?  What are these spirits?  It was no longer the why, it was the how.  It was no longer about psychology, it was about parapsychology.


Parapsychology is a field of study that investigates what is considered to be psychic phenomena. Mainstream science considers this to be a pseudoscience.  The scientific community claims that the research of the past has failed to prove anything. While to a lot of scientists it is a taboo area that gathers a lot of criticism, over the years they have become more and more open-minded toward this field. Psychology refers to the study of human behaviours and the mental process. Parapsychology is an extension of this and looks at the mental process and human behaviour which are not explained by orthodox science. This is something we will be exploring further throughout the book. 


Once I started exploring this area of research, I found myself quite drawn to it.  I didn’t know my place for a very long time.  I definitely wasn’t a full sceptic, nor was I someone that had any sort of ability.  I had a rational mind, but also a belief inside of me that something was out there.  I have no academic background behind me like many who research this area, but it doesn’t mean I can’t try and find my own answers.  I was talking to people about their experiences and trying to understand them.  I was reading and writing my findings and thoughts over on my blog.  It was here a few years ago that I felt like I finally found my place. 


My brain is the key that sets me free.


Another famous quote from Harry Houdini also marks the title of Volume 2.  While Houdini himself was a very rational thinking person, he also very much wanted to believe in the paranormal.  It was people he didn’t believe in as he had been deceived so many times.  Much like myself.  I do believe that had Houdini been around longer, he would have been involved in the field of parapsychology.  While he used his brain to debunk and rationalise phenomena used by psychic mediums at the time, I am going to flip the phrase around and ask the question: “What if our brain is the key to allow us to see the world as it truly is?”  What if our brain was the key to the same psychical phenomena he spent the latter part of his life trying to figure out?  Could our brain be the key that sets us free from this physical world?  Is our brain the key to unlocking our psychical abilities?


This volume of Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need To Know has a very different vibe compared to the first edition.  It is also written a little differently.  We are not paranormal investigators or researchers without growth.  It applies not only to my research but to my writing as well.  While the first volume focused on the psychology side of paranormal investigating, this edition will be looking at parapsychology and psychical research. What is their connection with paranormal investigating? What could the possibilities be?  I suppose you could say we will be exploring the spiritual side through the work that was done by the psychical researchers and parapsychologists of the past.  I will be looking at the research both for and against the different areas when it comes to psychic abilities.  This allows you to make up your own mind as to what you believe.  This doesn’t contain everything there is to know, but it is more like a very condensed crash course. 


There are some topics I have not tackled because the book would never be finished. I have kept it to the areas I have been researching myself and that I can talk about with more confidence.  The paranormal is a wide and vast field. It is impossible to cover everything.  What I have done however is put together what I find to be the most interesting areas that can potentially fit in with a lot of mainstream paranormal investigation in some way. 


I ask you to read this book with an open mind and an open heart. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard and sometimes difficult and confronting questions.  What you define as paranormal may not be the same by the time you reach the end of this book.  You see, when you start delving into the human mind, we start to wonder: “just how much is it capable of when it comes to psychical phenomena?”

I hope you have enjoyed this small peek into the book!  If you do get a copy, I'd be so grateful if you could please leave a review on amazon or goodreads.  As a self-published Author I don't have a PR company, agent or publisher to help me.  It is just me and word of mouth!  Reviews can make the difference between someone buying the book or not!

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  • Joseph Kapusta 3 years ago

    Nice intro. My own research & investigation lends credence to your hypothesis & I would add that the “attitude” of the investigator is paramount also when dealing with what the indigenous refer to as the “unseen.” There is no need to go looking for that which will find you nor will equipment enable communication with that which will communicate with you if they so desire. Our ancestors’ presence is subtle yet evident, powerful yet unobtrusive & we are reminded of that by the causality of the situation & not our reactions to it. I wish you peace of mind in your quest.

  • Sandra Collins 3 years ago

    Wow awesome introduction Sarah. It’s hooked me in so I have to read it now. I wouldn’t say I’m an avid paranormal follower… but it’s an interesting topic and your take on it seems really interesting. Thanks & all the best. Sandra ????