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ASSAP: The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomolous Phenomena

The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP) has been investigating the weird seriously (and the seriously weird) since 1981. Our main aims are paranormal research and education. Anomalous phenomena include psychic phenomena, UFOs, Forteana and earth mysteries. We specialise in: investigating hauntings and ghost cases, training paranormal investigators and researching all anomalous, paranormal and xenonormal(..more) phenomena.

We publish a newsletter, ASSAP News and a journal, Anomaly, as well as an online blog(..more). Our website(..more) contains an extensive public resource of reference material (over 250 web pages and documents, including case reports) on paranormal research. Though ASSAP has no corporate views, we promote the use of scientific methods to study anomalous phenomena.

So what have we been doing since 1981 - mostly investigating hauntings(..more)! The emphasis is on gathering witness evidence and researching possible explanations to account for it. Witnesses are important because, unlike many researchers, they have actually experienced the haunting phenomena first hand. Naturally, this means we take an intense interest in the subject of witness testimony and the problems of human perception as well as how cases are reported.

On vigils, we concentrate on explaining prior witness reports. Therefore, unlike some other groups, we do not introduce potentially 'new' phenomena, unrelated to the existing haunting, through techniques like séances and mediumship (subjects we study separately). We concentrate, instead, on using the scientific method. This means always trying to reduce unknown variables to a minimum. We use various instruments(..more) , though only where applicable to the reported phenomena, within their known limitations. Our training courses(..more), generally run annually, have trained hundreds of people in the scientific investigation of paranormal cases.

We have also run many research projects over the years, producing significant results. Research into orbs(..more), for instance, resulted in the 'orb zone theory'(..more) which explains how out of focus bits of dust, insects and water droplets appear as circles in photographs and why they became so common with the advent of digital cameras. The theory answers objections raised by people who believe orbs are paranormal. Some haunting phenomena may be caused by magnetically induced hallucinations. We assisted in the MADS(..more) project to see if the conditions which produced ghostly hallucinations in laboratory experiments might exist in actual haunted locations. At one extensively researched site, Muncaster Castle, this was indeed found to be the case(..more).

We have looked at EVP, the electronic voice phenomena, from a new angle. Instead of investigating where these mysterious apparent voices come from, we looked at how people decide if they are really speech. As a result we discovered 'formant noise'(..more), an confounding factor which needs to be eliminated in any EVP case. Formant noise is noise that happens, by chance, to contain combined harmonic frequencies and rhythms typical of human speech. Formant noise can sound like speech, despite being produced by any number of natural sources.

Among the many other fields we have also researched are hypnotic regression, numerology, psychic art, flying rods and even whether the paranormal affects the stock market!(..more) We also award modest grants towards approved research projects.

If you are interested in a serious, scientific approach to paranormal research, visit us as now.

Maurice Townsend



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