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.
Jeff is currently writing a second edition of Ghost Hunter's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area. That mansucript will be completed January 10, 2010 and published early in 2011. Future projects will take him to Civial War battlefields, and to Portland, Oregon and 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 clincal 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
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 the living 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.
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