Harold Ramis’ Death – In Memorandum

Ghostbusters Team

Harold Ramis’ death was announced today. Best known for playing the bespectacled Dr. Egon Spengle in the Ghostbusters movie franchise, has died, aged 69, of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.

He was also a talented writer and director, whose credits included Caddyshack and Animal House. He also co-wrote Groundhog Day and Stripes, both of which featured Ghostbuster co-star Bill Murray.

Apparently, he was quiet about his illness, which dated back to 2010, but several friends visited him recently, among them was Bill Murray from whom he had been estranged for years (according to the Chicago Tribune.

The star had reportedly been quiet about his illness, which dated back to 2010.

Harold Ramis’ Death Reactions

An outpouring of tributes appeared on Twitter. Billy Crystal, who starred in the mobster comedy Analyze This and its sequel Analyze That, directed by Ramis, stated:

Sad to hear my friend Harold Ramis passed away.

Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy, said:

Harold Ramis was a brilliant, shining example for every comedy writer.

Ramis was born in Chicago to convenience store owners Ruth and Nathan. He studied at Washington University in St Louis and, on graduation, briefly worked in a psychiatric ward. His career began as a writer by penning arts stories for his local newspaper and editing Playboy magazine’s "party jokes" section.

After leaving the magazine, he joined Chicago’s renowned Second City improvised comedy troupe but said he realised his limitations as a performer after encountering John Belushi.

When I saw how far he was willing to go to get a laugh or to make a point on stage, the language he would use, how physical he was, throwing himself literally off the stage, taking big falls, strangling other actors, I thought: ‘I’m never going to be this big.’

Instead, he played the straight man – acting as a sardonic foil to Bill Murray in the army comedy Stripes.

In Ghostbusters he played a very priggish, scientifically minded member of the Ghostbusters team. The film, a global smash in 1984 when it first came out, spawned a 1989 sequel, as well as a long-running long-running cartoon series featuring the voracious Slimer. Despite his death, however, the third instalment, in development for several years already, is still going ahead according to Indie Wire.

Ramis did acknowledge that the ghostly comedy was his most memorable work, but he took pride in its longevity. Indeed, the film remains one of the most successful comedy movies of all time.

He is survived by his wife, Erica, sons Julian and Daniel, daughter Violet and two grandchildren.

Read the full story on the BBC News website.

American Horror Story Season 4

American Horror Story

American Horror Story is a horror-themed "anthology series" TV show, created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, with each season conceived as a self-contained miniseries that follows a disparate set of characters in various settings and time periods, and a storyline with its own "beginning, middle, and end".

I started watching the series from the beginning, but I don’t have a favourite theme, as each season has its own theme, quality and appeal. If I were forced to choose, however, it would have to be Asylum.

American Horror Story Seasons

First for some factlets about the show. The series is broadcast on the cable television channel FX in the Fall of each year.

American Horror Story

American Horror Story: Murder House
(Season 1)

Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

Season 1 – American Horror Story: Murder House

The first season, which was retroactively renamed, premiered on October 5, 2011, and concluded on December 21, 2011. The series follows the story of a modern family that moves into a home haunted by its former occupants.

American Horror Story: Asylum

American Horror Story: Asylum
(Season 2)

Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

Season 2 – American Horror Story: Asylum

The second season premiered on October 17, 2012, and concluded on January 23, 2013. It takes place in 1964 and follows the stories of the inhabitants of an institution for the criminally insane.

American Horror Story: Coven

American Horror Story: Coven
(Season 3)

Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

Season 3 – American Horror Story: Coven

The third season premiered on October 9, 2013, and concluded on January 29, 2014. Its main focus revolves around two time periods in the 1800s and 2013, following the battle between witches and voodoo practitioners.

American Horror Story has been a remarkable and original series throughout and is deservedly gaining in popularity. It has been generally well-received by TV critics, and the first season became the biggest new cable series of 2011. The show has drawn consistently high ratings.

The repertory cast have been critically acclaimed, notably Jessica Lange, who received the Emmy Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. Other well-known cast members are: Lily Rabe (Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) and Taissa Farmiga (Sam Moore in The Bling Ring, and also sister to Vera Farmiga, who played Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring).

American Horror Story Season 4

On November 6, 2013, FX confirmed its renewal of the TV show for a fourth season of 13 episodes to air in October 2014. They have also loosely confirmed that a fifth series may be in the pipeline as well.

When American Horror Story: Coven ended, and shortly following the announcement, there has been much speculation on the theme of the next instalment. At the moment, this is a closely guarded secret, although Ryan Murphy has given tantalising clues but very little actual information as to Season 4′s storyline and setting.

As a result, there have been a slew of fake teasers. The following in particular have caused quite a buzz and I’ve seen them shared virally: AHS: Circus, AHS: Carnival, AHS: Slenderman and even AHS: Bigfoot. Please note that NONE of these are the next "official" titles of Season 4.

According to Entertainment Weekly and New Now Next:

  • Ralph Murphy has confirmed that Season’s 4 theme is NOT Circus (Carnival as well).

    I saw those posters. I don’t know where people came up with that idea. Sometimes I think its people wanting us to do topics and doing fan posters.

  • Season 4 is a combination of things.

    It’s a combination of two time periods, with the main one being the 1950s. I don’t know. We haven’t started writing it yet, so I don’t really know the tone.

  • Nobody has guessed the actual theme for Season 4 (to date).

    No one has completely guessed what it [Season 4] is.

  • Like Coven, Season 4 will have funny moments.

    I like that we had a lot of comedy in this year [Season 3], and I like the comic characters, so I think that will remain. … My feeling is, if you loved this season, you’ll love next season. It has the same sort of comedic tone to it.

I hope this has clarified things and dispelled the myths (and mystery) surrounding American Horror Story Season 4. I will definitely keep an eye on the series and will post more information as and when it’s revealed.

Psi Testing: Dice Test

Dice - Psi Test

Dice – Psi Test

The purpose of this "psi test" is to try and guess the outcome of various dice rolls. Typically, you will guess 1 out of 6 rolls correctly and out of 20 rolls, the probability is somewhere between 3 and 7.

With the results, psi researchers can determine if there is a "significant" level of ESP ability or not, based on statistics and probability.

For this test, you will be rolling the dice, although it can be easily adapted to test someone else.


For this test, you will need at least one six-sided die.

On a blank sheet of paper, make three columns and title them "No. Trials", "Guess Result" and "Die Result".

In the "No. Trials" column, write the numbers 1 through 20. This represents the number of "runs" or "trials" for the test. (You can expand this number for better results. A general rule of thumb is 100 runs.)


Hold the die in your hand and try to guess what number will result when you roll the die. Write your guess number in the "Guess Result" next to the corresponding trial number.

Roll the die and record the results in the "Die Result" next to the number you guessed.
Repeat this process until all 20 trials have been completed.


Total the number of times you guessed the number ("Dice Result") correctly. This is your "Guess Total".

  • If the Guess Total is between 1 and 3 (5%-15%), the results are "below average", indicating no significant psychic ability whatsoever.
  • If the Guess Total is between 4 and 6 (16%-30%), the results are "average", indicating that there is no significant psychic ability present and the results are purely down to chance.
  • If the Guess Total is between 7 and 9 (31%-45%), the results are "above chance", indicating a significantly higher presence of psychic ability, but the results can still be attributed to chance or luck.
  • If the Guess Total is between 10 and 15 (46%-75%), the results are "significant", indicating a significantly high level of psychic ability.
  • If the Guess Total is above 15 (75%-100%), the results are "above significant" and cannot be attributed purely to chance or luck.

Note: Results above 15 out of 20 trials are not likely and it is highly unlikely that anyone will score the full 20 points or 100%.

Types of Mediums

The Other Side

The Other Side
Borrowed from Daily Grail

Mediumship is the psychic ability to communicate with the spirits of those that have passed away, such as loved ones or earthbound spirits. Mediums use any of the Clair Senses – Clairvoyance, Clairaudience and Clairsentience – individually or in combination to communicate with the spirits. It is a broad subject that overlaps many areas of parapsychology.

It’s worth reading this interesting article, which describes a case study for a correlation between mediums and mental states/brain activity.

Main Types of Mediums

Automatic Mediums

These are mediums who enter a shallow trance-like state that allows them to unconsciously connect with spirits, enabling them to write or draw without conscious volition. Automatic mediums usually don’t remember what they produced.

Clairvoyant Mediums

These are the same as Clairvoyants, who utilize the "powers of sight" alongside the other Clair Senses to communicate with spirits.

Convulsive Mediums

These are mediums that enter a trance-like state when channelling into the ethereal planes, trembling uncontrollably, and spirits or entities communicate directly through them.

Mental Mediums

These are mediums who receive mental images or psychic impressions. Where a mental medium sees spirits in front of them, it can be said that the connection is possibly linked with the visual cortex of the brain.

Physical Mediums

These are mediums who communicate with spirits through both the physical energies and the consciousness of the medium. The production of physical phenomena – lights, sounds, materialization, elongation, levitation, ectoplasm, etc. – is often associated with physical mediums. In most (not all) cases, physical mediumship involves a trance-like state.

Séance Mediums

These types communicate with spirits or act as a spokespeople for the spirits at séances. The rise in popularity of séances during the Victorian era gave rise to many charlatans, who were eager to cash in on them. It was easy for them to place props – such as invisible wires – before séance proper took place. Not all séance mediums were (or are) charlatans, but the majority of them during this time were, thereby discrediting those genuine ones whose motives were less focused on profit.

Trance Mediums

These are mediums who enter a deep, trance-like state in order to channel into the spirit world and communicate with spirits. They are usually unaware of anything they said or did during their trance after exiting from it.

Other Types of Medium

There’s also another type of medium worth mentioning. Where there’s an opportunity to make money, there will inevitably be scam artists eager to capitalize on it.

Fraudulent Mediums

They deliberately deceive people into thinking that they mediums, falsely proclaiming to give accurate information from the “spirit worlds”. Many tools and other rigged apparatus to produce paranormal phenomena – such as the levitation of objects or the production of ectoplasm – are used. This was predominant during the various spiritualist movements, when Victorians became fascinated by paranormal phenomena.

Seeking The Paranormal With An Open Mind

Seeking The Paranormal

Conan the Librarian

Conan the Librarian
Created using Bitstrips

When it comes to anything paranormal (including fortean, psychic, spiritual, and even religious topics), there is a distinct division of opinion. There are the believers, who are convinced that the evidence they’ve captured is paranormal in nature, and the skeptics, who are quick to dismiss the evidence as something more normal and mundane. And then there are the researchers, who seek to know the whys and the wherefores of the paranormal through experimentation and technology.

The problem is that nobody knows for certain if any of it is actually fact. There’s no concrete or irrefutable evidence – maybe not yet anyway – to support its existence one way or another. Despite all of our advances in technology and the sciences, it’s still only the tip of a much larger iceberg and there’s still so much more we don’t know.

The purpose of paranormal investigations is – or should be – to objectively and scientifically scrutinise any evidence to determine if it can be paranormal in nature. Because of the way our brains work and the way we see the world, it’s very easy to conclude that something is paranormal in nature, especially with a limited knowledge of the many other factors involved. One of our intrinsic traits is to make sense of the nonsensical patterns around us, perceived by our physical senses and interpreted by our brains, which will often fit the unidentified puzzle pieces into something more identifiable.

Our perception is defined by our three-dimensional limitations; we are incapable of seeing or hearing things beyond our visual or auditory ranges. Psychics and mediums can use their abilities, essentially an extension of the physical senses, to perceive things that can’t be perceived normally. Dogs, cats and other animals can detect radio waves and frequencies within a broader range than we humans, but even these may have their limitations.

Presenting Evidence

When it comes to presenting evidence, and seeking out the truth as to whether something is paranormal or not, it’s vital to keep an open mind to all possibilities. I can’t stress enough that every capture – whether photograph, video or EVP – will not always be paranormal. Not every face in interlocking branches, nor every shadow or ghostly figure, nor every sound, will be paranormal.

There will be times when your evidence will be dissected and dismissed as easily as tossing an apple core into the garbage bin. As disheartening as it is, this is part of the objective, scientific approach we need to determine if something is paranormal or not.

With the advent of graphics editors, the Internet and various phone apps, it’s also easier to fake paranormal images and sounds and pass them off as genuine evidence. Some are so good that they can fool even experts. These, just like the evidence from investigations and anomalies caught on film or sound, do have certain telltale signs that define them as known or unknown, normal or paranormal.

I’ve been approached by many people over the years, who have submitted their photos and EVPs for analysis. On many occasions, I’ve dismissed the evidence for any number of reasons, usually based on quality and surroundings. I’ve always based my conclusions on my knowledge and experiences, and sometimes my own experimentation as well. And I do have certain programs specifically to help analyse photos and sounds and make my conclusions.

As a result, I’ve been cut down and called an assortment of names, some of which have been quite offensive. This is usually because I’ve dismissed the evidence or determined a more naturally occurring source. No one wants to hear that their capture could possibly be something other than paranormal, but in many instances that’s precisely what it is.

The same goes for other things, such as soccer, rugby and the Superbowl. Just because the Seahawks won for the first time in its history, or Wales has advanced further than in a long time, doesn’t mean foul play or that one team is better than the other. It means that on the day, the winning team played better. (It’s also very sad when you lose friends because you supported the winning team all the way and defended the way they played well afterwards. It happens!)

Keeping An Open Mind

Hence, one of the things that gets my “ghost” up is where people react negatively when they’re presented with a few home truths, especially in the paranormal field. Not every photo, video or EVP will be paranormal in nature, but will have a logical, natural explanation, and that’s the crux of the matter. It’s fine to submit evidence to a paranormal group or expert in the field for analysis, but be prepared for some intense scrutiny and home truths. That’s what investigations are – or should be – all about. We need to view the evidence from an objective, analytical and scientific viewpoint, otherwise every shadow will be a ghost, every mist will be an apparition and every capture will be something paranormal. There would be no objectivity and we’d be no closer to understanding why hauntings occur or why ghosts appear, and ultimately how to effectively deal with them.

The mind will play tricks, beliefs will influence the outcome, and perceptions will affect what we see. This isn’t anyone’s fault; it’s just the way it is, the way the mind works to fit illogical images into logical patterns. We’re all subject to it, without exception.

So, in keeping an open mind, when you present your evidence, you can expect people to dismiss it. Sometimes, there will be differences of opinion, where some will believe a particular piece of evidence is real and others will believe it’s not. What other people can’t comment on is the experiences and ambience at the time of the capture. Certain conditions, emotions and the surroundings at the time can’t be felt by anyone who wasn’t present.

In paranormal investigations, it’s not the quantity that counts, it’s the quality. A well-presented piece of evidence is more likely to receive objective feedback than a poor quality one. For instance, blurry or zoomed-in images tend to be dismissed almost immediately because the quality is so poor that no conclusive evidence can ever be drawn from it. On the other hand, clear, unaltered evidence is more likely to draw conclusions if all other possibilities have been ruled out. After all, the people analysing the evidence weren’t present at the time of the capture, so won’t be aware of all the details, like ambience, emotions and feelings, or even the build-up to the final capture, when reviewing the evidence.

In the paranormal field, there will always be a division, differing opinions and sentiments. It’s part of the objectivity of reviewing the evidence. It’s important to keep an open mind to the possibility that your capture might not be paranormal in nature, but might have a more natural, mundane explanation. If you’re not prepared to accept that, then perhaps your reasoning and purpose might be flawed, and it might be time to re-evaluate your views.

Learning From One Another

The opinions that matter the most, especially in the paranormal field, are the ones that dismiss your evidence but explain WHY it’s been dismissed. Other people, who may be experts in a particular field (such as photography or videography) will have a better understanding about how light interplays on our sight and affects our brain’s overall perception. Their insights will matter significantly and will help in sifting through what’s natural or normal and what’s unnatural or paranormal.

It’s not always easy to deal with the fact that your prized paranormal evidence might not be paranormal at all, but be prepared for that. Otherwise, you’ll be caught in a loop and won’t ultimately learn anything. We’re constantly learning new things, gaining new insights into ghosts and spirits, so it’s vitally important that we learn from others’ opinions – if they’re objective and not simply subjective – because that’s what it’s all about. The more we learn from one another and others’ experiences, the closer we step to understanding what the paranormal actually is. And, essentially, whether ghosts and spirits, and the paranormal realms themselves, actually exist.

How To Delete Pics From MonsterCam

How Do You Delete Pics On MonsterCam?

A while ago, I reviewed the MonsterCam app for the Windows Phone. I found this question in my StatCounter stats; it was a searched-for question in Google. I’m glad this was asked because this was something I completely overlooked, so I thought I’d answer it.

Here’s How!

MonsterCam doesn’t have a feature to delete images directly from the app. Instead, you’ll have to do this manually. There are actually two ways you can delete the pics, but the following method is the easiest and quickest.

  • The pics are usually saved under Photos » Albums » Saved Pictures.
  • Click on the pic you want to delete for a full screen preview.
  • Click on the at the bottom right of the screen.
  • One of the options is to Delete the pic.
  • Confirm delete and you’re done.

Personal Note: I was planning on making a video how-to on this, but the recording quality wasn’t clear enough (too many reflections in the screen) and I don’t know of an activity recorder capable of the task.

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