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The Estes Method

What is it and how does it work?

The Estes Method is a paranormal investigation technique that has gained popularity in recent years and was first developed by Karl Pfeiffer during his investigation of the Stanley Hotel, at Estes Park, in Colorado – the same hotel that inspired horror author Stephen King to write his classic novel, The Shining.

The technique involves using sensory deprivation and a spirit box to communicate with potential spirits in a given location. While some see the Estes Method as a bit of a controversial technique as it uses a spirit box (which can be affected by external factors), its popularity and effectiveness in gathering potential evidence is steadily increasing.

How do you use the Estes Method?

To perform the Estate Method, one investigator wears a blindfold to limit visual stimulation or triggers, and also a pair of noise-cancelling headphones connected to a spirit box, which is a device that is used to scan through radio frequencies, and is believed to be a communication tool between the living and the dead.

While the investigator is listening to the spirit box, other investigators call out to any potential spirits with questions.
The idea is that the spirits will use the spirit box white noise to communicate with less external factors influencing this interaction.

The sensory deprivation eliminates any stimuli that could potentially influence the blindfolded investigators’ perceptions or interpretations of the spirit box responses. By removing distractions and focusing solely on what is coming through the spirit box, investigators hope to better discern any potential messages from the spirits.

It’s a good idea to record your Estes sessions so that responses through the spirit box can be analysed later, and also, you have a record of what was said and whether you received any direct responses to questions.

And while there is currently no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of the Estes Method or any other ghost hunting technique, it has been widely reported that some people have reported experiencing  paranormal activity, or messages from spirit, while using this method.

Why is the Estes Method unique?

  1. Enhanced communication: The Estes Method is valued for its ability to provide a direct line of communication with the spirit world. By minimising external stimuli, investigators increase their chances of receiving clear and unambiguous responses from entities that may be present in the environment.
  2. Objective evidence: Paranormal investigations often face skepticism, and subjective interpretations can cloud the validity of evidence. The Estes Method, with its reliance on audio communication, offers a more objective form of evidence. Clear, unaltered responses captured during sessions provide a tangible record that can be analysed and scrutinised.
  3. Experiential depth: The Estes Method offers a unique experiential depth for investigators. By immersing themselves in an environment devoid of external influences, investigators can attune their senses to the subtle nuances of paranormal activity. This immersive approach allows for a more profound and personal connection with the investigation.
  4. Scientific exploration: The scientific community has long sought empirical evidence of paranormal phenomena. The Estes Method, while not without its critics, introduces a controlled experiment within the paranormal investigation field.
    This method encourages a more scientific and analytical approach to understanding the nature of spirit communication.

Does it get results?

You will have seen the Estes Method used by investigators in locations around the world, and for the most part, their results are pretty compelling. While you should always maintain a healthy skepticism, the method could be an effective way to communicate with potential spirits. Investigators using the technique have reported that they have received intelligent responses through the spirit box that are relevant to the location and its history.

We’ve personally used the method during numerous investigations throughout Australia and at the Conjuring House in Rhode Island, the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Pennhurst in Pennsylvania, and also at the World Famous Clown Motel in Tonopah, among others. And, we have to say, we’re big fans of it. Like other investigators using this technique in the field, we have experienced direct responses to questions that cannot be explained other than as messages from spirit.

We’ve heard footsteps or whispers in the same room we’re investigating, even when we’re along in that room and a fellow investigator asking questions is in the next room. Some other investigators have reported that they have felt a cold breeze on their skin while using the Estes Method, even though there was no obvious explanation for it.

This is also a relatively low-cost way to try to open communication with spirit – every investigator who uses equipment knows just how expensive some it it can be, and in comparison, this method can be quite affordable as it only requires headphones, blindfold and a spirit box. Before we start a session, we have found it helpful to sit in the space to be investigated, in total darkness and in silence, to see if we can hear, feel or see anything. Taking this time to absorb your surroundings can also help ground you, and assist in heightening your senses to this changed environment. Also, make sure you introduce yourself to and spirits who may be there – and ask them what you want them to do. There’s no use saying “come up and talk into this spirit box …” as the spirit you’re attempting to communicate with may not have ever seen a spirit box, or used this technique before, and may be unaware how it works, or if it will cause them harm.

Always come with an open mind and respect for your surroundings, and its spiritual  inhabitants. You could start your session by saying: “hello, my name is XXX, and I’m here tonight to communicate with any spirits who may be present. I come with the purest of intentions and greatest respect, and I mean you no harm. I would love it if you could come up to this black box in my hand and use your energy to communicate with words, by talking into it in response to our questions. We would love to hear your story, so please don’t be afraid.”

Using this introduction gives you the best chance of being able to open lines of communication. Be patient too, sometimes you can sit in the dark for hours and get nothing through and other times, you’ll receive communication straight away.

Despite the potential success and so much compelling evidence while using the Estes Method, there are some concerns among paranormal investigators about its validity as a technique. Some believe that the results obtained through the method may be influenced by the investigators’ expectations or beliefs about the supernatural, and that the responses received through the spirit box may be influenced by radio interference or other natural phenomena.

Another concern is that the Estes Method may be seen as a form of confirmation bias, where investigators are more likely to interpret ambiguous responses from the spirit box as evidence of paranormal activity, rather than considering alternative explanations. We say give it a go! If you find it to be a method that works for you, then you have one additional way to gather information which you can then corroborate using other equipment , or your own senses. 

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