Estes Method Experiments

Recently, I have become interested in experimenting with the Estes Method of spirit communication. This is a method that utilizes a spirit box and sensory deprivation. One person is blind folded and listens to the spirit box via a set of headphones. The person wearing the headphones cannot see or hear the person asking questions. The person listening to the spirit box is instructed to say whatever they hear through the spirit box. The idea is to receive answers to questions without the person listening to the spirit box interpreting the sounds based on their perceptions of what the answer should be to the question. I have done this a few times with my less sensitive co-investigators with a small bit of success but recently, I tried it with two different sensitives and got a completely different experience. 

This time the responses were fast and occasionally in direct relation to the question asked. The spirit boxes were turned up so loud that I could hear the box outside of the headphones so I knew the person under the headphones wasn’t hearing anything other than the flipping of the radio stations. We actually conducted this experiment 3 separate times that day and the final experiment included both sensitives listening to different boxes. The craziest moment was when the two participants seemed to respond directly to each other. 

Now, I know my skeptic friends are going to say that “sensitives” are not trustworthy and you shouldn’t take anything they say as actual data. I agree that we rarely receive any data to support the statements made by a sensitive or medium. In this situation, I did run my EDI+ and we had a video camera, DVR, and 2 voice recorders running. The EDI+ was left in this room for 9 hours and had no anomalous fluctuations. In addition, there were no auditory or visual phenomena captured during the experiments to support the words received by the sensitives. Nonetheless, the experiment produced some interesting questions. Why is it that some people “hear” more through the spirit box? How is it that they can occasionally answer questions directly? Are we all suffering from a form of a shared temporary delusion caused by heightened anxiety and our expectations? 

On the other hand, say we believe that these individuals are communicating with the dead. I know, this is a giant leap but it is one many have made so just for fun; let’s travel down this path. How safe are experiments like this? In this situation, I watched both sensitives “tap out”. To the outside observer, you would see their head and shoulders slump forward. Their hands and arms became limp to the point that I thought one of them would drop their spirit box. Then their facial expressions changed and their voice took on a different tone. When angry words were spoken, their mouth would contort into a tight grimace. Afterward, they told me that they didn’t remember anything they said and after watching themselves on camera they were surprised by many of their statements. One apologized for calling me a bitch. I accepted her apology by stating that I recognize that it wasn’t her calling me names. 

This type of communication can become quite intense and potentially dangerous. Participants can become overwhelmed with emotions that do not belong to them. After the first session, one sensitive broke down in sobbing tears and had to be grounded by the other. The second time, she became so angry that she stated multiple times that she wanted to harm me. As the interviewer, I was also in a potentially dangerous situation. Whether I was speaking to the deceased or some subconscious personality hiding within my co-investigator, those feelings were real and were directed at me. If the personality communicating wanted to lash out, I would be the target. So I had to be mindful of the path I took with my questions and know when to pull my investigative friends out of their trance state. I also had to remain calm no matter what they said to me. This can be hard for anyone not prepared for this type of communication. 

With all of this said, what is my conclusion on the Estes Experiment? I honestly don’t have enough data at this time to support the statements made by the sensitives so I plan to repeat the experiment and continue to collect data. I will also work with the sensitives and my co-investigators to plan safe experiments on the off-chance that we really are having intense conversations with the dead. I see no reason in subjecting anyone to spirit possession just for science. I have an alternative hypothesis that involves telepathy but I’ll cover that idea another day. For now, keep asking questions, collect as much data as you can, be safe, and stay respectful. 

Until next time, Happy Hunting!

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