The Singapore Theory is a really popular technique used by almost all paranormal investigators. It is known by several other names so it is possible you have tried it and didn’t even know it! It is called by some ‘Paranormal Stimuli’or ‘Theory of Familiarisation ‘. The Klinge Brothers refer to it as ‘Era Cues ‘. No matter what name it goes by, it all has the same intended outcome. It is recreating some sort of act or environment which may be ‘familiar’ to the spirits and therefore may induce some sort of response. I personally like to break the Singapore down into three different categories.
Have you ever been to a location and played music specific to a certain time period in an attempt to get the attention of the spirits? This is a typical example of the Singapore Theory. You are playing something that is hopefully familiar to them to get some sort of response. Music is the easiest way to achieve this and also quite successful according to many fellow investigators. You can also think outside the box a little bit and go further than just playing some music on your phone. For example, earlier this year, we did an investigation at Ripponlea. We were in the underground servant’s quarters kitchen area. In the dining room upstairs, there used to be a pedal that the lady of the house would press when she wanted service. It was linked to a bell down in the servant’s quarters. We got our hands on a bell similar in sound to what would have been used back in that time and rang the bell. We were trying to recreate the hustle and bustle that would have happened when the servants heard the bell. What was interesting was that we would record temperature drops every time the bell rang. Was the sound of the bell ringing causing some sort of spiritual manifestation?
Audio is not exclusive to music. We have played gunshot noises where it would be significant. At an investigation at an old paper mill, I played a sound clip of a working mill to see if the sound of the machinery brought the building to life again. Audio is the easiest and cheapest way to try this experiment, you just have to think a little bit. Perhaps people talking in different languages. Remember we don't all speak English. We have had some great results playing a track in a different language significant to the location. Maybe playing prayers in a chapel? The list is endless.
The kitchen at Ripponlea in the servant's area where we rang a bell to get the attention of the servants.
Quite often investigators use items to see if they can attract the attention of a spirit. In children's bedrooms, quite often investigators take a ball or a teddy bear to see if someone will interact with it. In prisons a lot of investigators put a packet of cigarettes on the table as an offering or a small bottle of alcohol - items which would have been quite common in trade. This is what we refer to as trigger objects, and the concept is straight out of the Singapore Theory. The trigger object is not just any old item, it is an item that investigators feel the spirit may connect to or find familiar and is chosen with that in mind. A perfect example I have is from an investigation I did at J Ward which to this day I still look back quite fondly on. There was an inmate there by the name of Bill Wallace. He spent decades living in J Ward and it was considered to be his home. For his 100th birthday, the guards made him a custom-made chess board as a present because he was quite fond of chess. Knowing this information, I had a custom-made chess board made with a vibration sensor with led lights installed. Knowing that he liked to be called Mr Wallace, I spoke very politely and referred to him as Mr Wallace. I attempted to interact with him via the chess board. During one particular session, it seemed like I was getting some intelligent responses on the chess board. He seemed pretty happy with my gift. Did the thought put into it pay off? I have visited J Ward on several occasions afterwards and was not able to recreate this. I have also used the chess board as a trigger object in other locations without any success. It was certainly interesting and I feel that the thought that went into it paid off. Don't just use generic items like teddy bears. Think about the people you are trying to communicate with and what they liked, or what they didn't like. What would be familiar to them. What would make them want to come and talk to you? These are the things you need to think about.
Actual video footage from Mr Wallace's cell using the custom made chess board in an attempt to communcate with Mr Wallace.
This is the more elaborate end of the scale and a bit harder to pull off. The Klinge brothers use this a lot in their show 'Ghost Lab' and refer to this as 'Era Cues'. That is the easiest way to explain it. It is basically recreating a scene in time or an event familiar to the spirits that may cause them to come forward. Dress up period costume and recreate some sort of event. If you have a kitchen area, have people pretend they are preparing a meal. In a prison, have someone dress up as a prison guard and walk the halls. Tell the prisoners to line up for inspection. Most recently my friends at Australian Paranormal Society did an investigation at Aradale in one of the old hospital buildings. They had everyone dress up in medical scrubs. At J Ward I have walked the halls wearing a straight jacket. At Black Rock House we have sat in the dining room pretending to have dinner. We have dressed up as servants. It is just another way to get their attention. I personally have not had a lot of success with this one but it sure is fun dressing up and acting out a scene.
At J Ward in the West Wing wearing a straight jacket and a go pro video camera.
Knowing these three areas is the first step, but the next part is planning how you will actually make them work.
The possibilities are endless with this experiment and it is as far as your imagination wishes to take you, but you need to be informed. What I like about this experiment is that it not only makes us think, but it gets us researching. We can’t know what kind of trigger objects to use or what events to recreate if we know nothing about the property we are going into. We need to put ourselves into the shoes of the people who lived or worked there and think about what they might familiarise themselves with. If there is a certain person you are looking to make contact with, you need to learn all about them and think about what kind of things they might relate to. Is there a family item that was dear to them? What were their habits? What kind of people were they? You won't know where to even start with your investigation if you don't know anything about this history. Were they any events of significance that occurred? Did anything traumatic happen on the property? What time frame was the building used? No point playing music from the 1950's for example if the building was condemned at that point. You need to plan in advance to make this work and you can't do that without research.
In all honesty, if you walk into a property and wave around a K2 and tell the spirits ‘Light up the K2 if you are here?’. Think about it ….. Do they know what a K2 is? Do they know how it works? How do they know what to do to light it up? I am sure someone that was living in the 1800’s would not have any sort of idea what a K2 meter is, as it is not something that would have even been around back then. It is quite likely in this case that you are not going to get any sort of response – especially if it is a place where no one has investigated before. If, however you are working with something they relate to or is familiar to them, it might generate some sort of response. Say the lady of the house used to play piano and her old piano is still in the house. If it is working and you have permission, maybe you can try to play a tune on the piano. Will they be happy or angry you are playing their piano? You will soon find out! If it is a property that has not been investigated before, the main struggle will be that your equipment probably won't work because they are not going to know how to interact with it. In situations like this, I feel it is best to do EVP work and data logging. Observe what is happening. Are there changes happening when you are putting the Singapore theory into practise. Are there temperature drops/rise, changes in the atmosphere? This is one of the best ways to gauge if it is working especially if you have limited time. When you have this information, and have studied your findings, it brings us to the next question.
The other debate with the Singapore Theory is, are you dealing with an intelligent spirit or is this unlocking the residual energy that would be around. Is the sound of the bell starting the residual playback of someone preparing a meal in the kitchen? This is probably one of the biggest reasons that this gets confused with the Stonetape Theory. It is important to remember that these are two very separate ideas however they could potentially work together. There is debate on whether or not this practise triggers intelligent or residual energies and I think it really comes down to what you believe as a paranormal investigator. From the experiences, I have had using the Singapore Theory, I am more leaning towards intelligent communication based on responses I have had, but this is just the times I have had it work. It also doesn’t work every time you do it unfortunately. Whenever I have gone all out to recreate something such as an event, I haven’t had much happen. When I have used the smaller things like playing music, or using a familiar object as a trigger object, I have had more success. Personally, for me, trigger objects have been the most successful. Again, I refer to Bill Wallace from J Ward whom I built the custom-made chess board for. I seemed to get intelligent responses that I could not recreate the other 4 times I went back. I have also used the same chess board in other locations and have not had any responses. (You also don't see the few hours of debunking I tried to do as well by stomping around, yelling etc to see if this also triggered the board. By continuously recreating it and trying it in other settings, it has made my experience the first time all the more interesting because it was specific to that person that I was trying to communicate with. To this day, that has probably been the best response I have had with this experiment.
It is really up to you how far you want to go. Measure your results and find out what works for you and what doesn’t. If you do get results, try doing the same thing again and again. If you have access to a location you can visit more than once, do the same experiment and see if you can recreate your results. See if you can establish if any activity you have received is intelligent or residual. It is an experiment so you can also have some fun with it. It is quite fun dressing up and pretending to be someone else. Really get into character. Investigating doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. We are allowed to have some fun too! At the end of the day, isn’t investigating just one big experiment anyway?
Side note: What is interesting is that I cannot seem to find the origin of this theory and even how it got it's name so if you have access to this information, I would really like to hear from you. I have heard rumblings that it was a dress up recreation that was done on one of the reality ghost hunting shows that was either at a location in Singapore or had some sort of significance to Singapore and the name stuck but I cannot confirm this. I would love to hear if you have any actual information on where this name came from!
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