July 2009 Paranormal Underground
At Paranormal Underground, our mission is to publish the highest-quality e-Magazine for our readers. We strive to keep you updated on news from the paranormal world, as well as tackle the topics that most interest paranormal enthusiasts, researchers, and investigators. We hope you’ll find our publication entertaining and informative.
Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 7 July 2009 Psychic Phenomena Issue l: ma nor ra a P h c r o a s b r fes e o u r P dA Loy Pet Psychic Heidi Wright Men in Black Ghosts of the Silver Queen Connecting With Your Spirit Guides Intuition & the Average Joe The History of Spiritualism Inside The Myrtles Plantation Mediums & Hypnosis in Law Enforcement July 2009 Paranormal Underground 1 Psychic Phen INVESTIGATOR SPOTLIGHT Loyd Auerbach: Powers of the Mind 12 Animal Communicator Heidi Wright Makes ‘Critter Connections’ 18 SPECIAL REPORTS 24 The Role of Mediums & Hypnosis in Law Enforcement 28 Intuition and the Average Joe 30 Connecting With Your Spirit Guides 32 Dawn of a New Age: The History of Spiritualism CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Haunted Sites The Ghosts of the Silver Queen My Stay at The Myrtles Plantation Cryptids & Mythological Creatures Greek Mythology: The Gods Haunted History The Black Monk of Pontefract Are We Alone? Men In Black: Enforcers of the Lie 2 Paranormal Underground July 2009 36 42 Depart Publisher’s Letters 4 From the Editor 6 Calendar of Events 7 48 Paranormal News 8 52 TV Watch: The Listener 10 Equipment Update: Rae’s Gear Guide 76 46 nomena Issue CULTURAL BELIEFS The Battle Between Science and Religion: Searching for the Truth of Our Origin 56 FICTION: FEATURED AUTHOR “Urban” By Chad Wilson 62 PERSONAL EXPERIENCES Diary From a Haunted Hotel Ghost Hunter Case Files: An Investigator’s Tale A Brush With a Cowboy tments GUEST EDITORIALS Should Children Be Ghost Hunting? Member Profile: Michelle Pillow 78 Roundtable Debate: Psychic Abilities 80 Reviews of the Month: 82 Book: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet DVD: Poltergeist Theater: Drag Me to Hell Ghost Hunter Comic 66 68 70 Empathy for Astrals 72 74 Tell us what you think: E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. 83 July 2009 Paranormal Underground 3 Publisher’s Letter Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 7 July 2009 www.ParanormalUnderground.net EDITORIAL Publisher Chad Wilson Publisher@paranormalunderground.net Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight Editor@paranormalunderground.net Managing Editor Karen Frazier KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net Science Editor J.D. Harrison ScienceEditor@paranormalunderground.net Contributing Editors Lauren Fletcher Mindy Kinnaman Contributing Authors Rae Abney Jordan Burnes Dawkins Karen Frazier Terri J. Garofalo Claudia Ghidella Rick E. Hale J.D. Harrison Carolyn M. Hughes Mindy Kinnaman Cheryl Knight G. Lewis Shannon Sylvia Ryan Tackitt Townsend Twainhart Melissa G. Watts Linda Williams Chad Wilson Send comments and letters to: Editor@paranormalunderground.net. 4 How Should We Approach Paranormal Investigation? T here are many different approaches to paranormal investigation. Believers approach it from a standpoint that the paranormal does indeed exist; all they are trying to do is prove that what they believed all along is the truth. Skeptics, on the other hand, look for ways to debunk the same activity, stating that what cannot be proven scientifically cannot possibly exist the way it is said to exist by the “paranormal community.” But the question that strikes me is this, which way is the correct method, or approach, that should be used in paranormal investigation? In my opinion, investigators should not use either method. Why? Because investigators shouldn’t be looking for proof of the paranormal or trying to debunk activity, at least not initially. They need to come from a neutral standpoint, looking to neither prove nor disprove, while gathering environmental data such as temperature, barometric pressure, electromagnetic field fluctuations, and any readings that might be present at the scene of the investigation. They should also document when nothing is happening, as even the nonexistence of data can mean something. Once the investigation is complete, all data is entered into a computer and analyzed and correlations are made; only then can investigators begin to determine what is going on at a specific location or area. The readings during paranormal events must first be quantified Paranormal Underground July 2009 in order to determine what exactly is happening. Only then can paranormal activity be determined, as well as its possible causes. Chad Wilson, Only by Publisher approaching paranormal investigation from a neutral direction can one gather unbiased data. In other words, collect all data with no opinion about what you are looking for; that will come later when all the data is looked at as a whole. Only then can theories be developed as to what the paranormal really is. That is our eventual goal here at Paranormal Underground — to gather data and quantify the paranormal. We are seeking to establish a database containing the information from investigations and experiments, and through this database we will try to further understand paranormal activity. Once we get our database set up, we hope that others will join us in our cause, for we feel that all should share in the knowledge that such a database and quantifications of the paranormal could bring to everyone. We welcome your comments to this topic: Please visit the Publisher’s Blog at http://www.paranormalunderground.net/site/?cat=186 to share your thoughts. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 5 From the Editor Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 7 July 2009 www.ParanormalUnderground.net Powers of the Mind ART Art Director Chad Wilson Design and Layout Lauren Fletcher Karen Frazier Cheryl Knight Art Editor Claudia Ghidella PROMOTIONS Marketing & Ad Sales Karen Frazier KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net MySpace www.myspace.com/paranormalunderground Twitter http://twitter.com/ParanormalUG YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/ParanormalUG Copyright © 2008-2009 — Paranormal Underground™ is a trademark of Ghost Knight Publishing. All rights reserved. Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of Paranormal Underground magazine. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This publication and all content within this publication may not be copied, quoted, distributed, modified, or reprinted without the express written consent of Paranormal Underground magazine. 6 T his month, Paranormal Underground discusses psychic phenomena and the mysteries surrounding these ‘powers of the mind.’ Whether your a skeptic or believer, you won’t want to miss our featured topics. We talk to parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach, who has helped people understand their paranormal encounters for more than 30 years. As an expert in the field of parapsychology, Auerbach helps educate the public through his consultations with research groups and the media. Make sure to read Auerbach’s Investigator Spotlight to find out his thoughts on parapsychology, psychic phenomena, and how the media has changed the ‘paranormal community.’ We also get up close and personal with animal intuitive Heidi Wright, who works with all species of animals. Before she was an animal psychic, Wright worked as an officer with the California Highway Patrol, as a seasonal firefighter with the US Forest Service, and as a professional baseball umpire. Check out Wright’s Investigator Spotlight to learn more about her abilities as an animal communicator. Also in this month’s issue, author and paranormal investigator Rick E. Hale writes about “The History of Spiritualism.” Hale takes us back to the genesis of the spiritualist movement — a humble home in 1848 Hydesville, New York, where two girls claimed to come into contact with an entity nicknamed Mr. Splitfoot, a traveling salesman who Paranormal Underground July 2009 There are a number of ways that psychic powers manifest themselves, including visually, audibly, and physically, among others. was murdered in the house. But that was only the beginning . . . This issue also includes discussion surrounding the role of mediums and hypnosis in law enforcement, how to connect with a spirit guide, a roundtable debate on psychic abilities, and intuition in daily life. I’d also like to invite all paranormal fiction writers to enter our 2nd Annual Short Story Contest. All entries are due to email@example.com by Sept. 1. First prize includes a Zoom H4 Handy Digital Recorder, which features a Mobile Field Stereo Recorder and 4-Track Recorder. Enter now! Hope you enjoy this issue. Happy reading! ~ Cheryl Knight Editor-in-Chief Calendar of Events July 9-11 August 6-9 July 10-12 August 14-16 East Central Indiana Paranormal Conference Ball State University Muncie, Indiana http://bsuparanormal.org/ecipc/ The Great Western Ghost Hunt Hosted by Ghost Search Investigations Tonopah, Nevada www.ghostsearchinvestigations.com July 17-19 1st Annual NorCal-ParaCon Paranormal Conference Monterey Marriott Monterey, California http://norcalghosthunters.com/norcalparacon09.html July 18 Mysteries of the Universe Conference 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Ingrigue Park Place Hotel Kansas City, Missouri www.mouconference.net July 24-26 MUFON 40th Annual International UFO Symposium Denver Tech Center Marriott Hotel Denver, Colorado www.mufon.com The Ohio Paranormal Convention Hara Arena Dayton, Ohio http://ohiocon.southernohioparanormal.org August 29-30 The Great Lakes Paranormal Convention Old Recreation Building Virginia, Minnesota http://www.darkplainsradio.com/ event.html September 4-6 Astral Projection, ESP and Higher Awareness Seminar Limassol, Cyprus http://mindabilities.com/default. asp?pid=86 July 25 Putting Normal Back in the Paranormal 6 p.m.–8 p.m. Studio 7 Traverse City, Michigan http://tangledwishes.com/events.php 2009 Paranormal Symposium Angel Fire Community Center Angel Fire, New Mexico www.aspefiles.org September 11-13 The Saskatoon Body, Soul, & Spirit Expo Prairieland Park Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada www.bodysoulspiritexpo.com/expo/ October 9-11 East Coast Paranormal Investigators Conference Fort Mifflin on the Delaware Philadelphia, Pennsylvania http://aphs.org October 10 Weird 09: Wiltshires Premier UFO & Paranormal Conference Athenaeum Theatre Warminster, Wiltshire, UK www.mystical-county.org.uk September 11-13 October 2-4 S.O.U.L.S. Fest Paranormal Conference 10 a.m.–11 a.m. CDT Julie Rogers Theater Beaumont, Texas www.soulsparanormal.com October 17 Michigan Paranormal Conference 1 p.m.–9 p.m. Bailey Rec. Center Westland, Michigan http://ghostwatchers.org October 24 October’s Other Side at the Old Mill 7 p.m.–10 p.m. Dundee Old Mill Dundee, Michigan http://tangledwishes.com/events.php November 13-14 The Scare Fest The Lexington Center Lexington, Kentucky www.thescarefest.com September 24-26 HauntedCon Hotel St. Michael Prescott, Arizona http://www.hauntedcon.com/ PhantomCon Paranormal Convention Asheville, North Carolina Hosted by Western North Carolina Paranormal Research Society www.phantomcon.com July 2009 Paranormal Underground 7 Paranormal News Twitter Study Tests Remote Viewing Judgment Awarded to Mill Owners for Haunted Claims Ghost Adventures Live Show to Air October 30 T O ne thousand Twitter participants recently participated in a study designed to test remote viewing. Participants were sent a tweet asking them to tweet back their thoughts about a secret location that the experimenter was observing. Twenty minutes later, the participants were sent a tweet allowing them to view a photograph of the location. The experiment was repeated over four days with the same participants trying to remotely view varying locations. Later, participants were presented with five photos — four dummy photographs and one of the actual location — and asked to select the target. The locations were randomly chosen spots in the UK visited by one of the researchers in the test. Study leader psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, who specializes in investigating psychic phenomena, was the person who traveled to each target location and sent participants the “tweet” to gather their thoughts about his surroundings. The research was being conducted in collaboration with New Scientist magazine. In all four trials, the group as a whole selected the wrong photograph. According to Wiseman, who wrote up the results of his study on ABCnews.com, the study didn’t support evidence of remote viewing, and results were the same among those who rated themselves as skeptical as those who called themselves believers. 8 he Website Forgotten Ohio has been ordered to pay the owners of a mill $125,000 for making public claims it was haunted. According to a report on Overlawyered.com, mill owners Melissa Duer and her husband sued both Forgotten Ohio and the book Weird Ohio for damages they allegedly incurred in the form of extra security measures to keep away paranormal seekers after the mill was written up in both places as having paranormal activity. While the judge ruled in favor of Weird Ohio, saying that the book hadn’t placed the mill in a false light with no intended emotional distress or trespass, a default judgment was entered against Forgotten Ohio when the owner of the site, Andrew Hamilton, failed to show up to defend himself. The Duers plan to appeal the ruling in favor of Weird Ohio. Physicists Say Vampires Could Not Exist T wo physicists have published an academic paper where they demonstrate, by virtue of geometric progression, that vampires could not exist, since they would almost immediately deplete their entire food supply in less than two years, according to http://io9.com. Physicists Costas Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi’s have published a paper titled “Cinema Fiction vs. Physics Reality.” Efthimiou and Gandhi’s full academic article also discusses the implausibility of ghosts and zombies. Paranormal Underground July 2009 T he Ghost Adventures Crew — consisting of Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin — will participate in a seven-hour live event this coming fall on the Travel Channel. On October 30, 2009, the crew will lock themselves in the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia, to record their paranormal experiences. The asylum, which was built during the Civil War and is the second-largest hand-cut stone building in the world, was closed in 1994 and has stood empty since. The investigators will have access to the entire asylum from the seclusion cells where the most violent patients were shackled to the medical center where hundreds of primitive ice-pick lobotomies were performed. Many reports of paranormal activities have been made about the asylum, including figures darting through walls and visitors being grabbed and dragged into rooms. Today, those who venture inside the asylum report hearing the incoherent screams of the insane. Viewers at home will have complete access to the investigation on air and online as it occurs. They can monitor Webcams throughout the building, chat with the guys during the lockdown, post messages on the bulletin board, and send mobile text messages. Top Secret Aircraft Mistaken as UFO Ghostvillage Offers Parapsychological Studies Course Hacker Claiming UFO Knowledge Fights Extradition G A ccording to a CIA estimate, more than half of the reported UFO sightings in the 50s and 60s were U-2 and SR-71 spy planes. Many spy and stealth planes are infamous for their bat-shaped wings and triangular silhouettes, long generating UFO sightings. According to Foxnews.com, “At the time, the Air Force misled the public and the media to protect these Cold War programs; it’s possible the government’s responses to current sightings of classified craft — whether manned or remotely operated — are equally evasive.” Zimbabweans Say Ancestors Behind Road Accidents A recent string of terrible car accidents in Chivhu, Zimbabwe, is said to be a sign of ancestors’ anger, according to local residents. Such suspicions crop up in the area, especially when an accident kills many people, or prominent ones. Some say the accidents are happening because traditional rituals (such as slaughtering cattle) to appease the dead have not been performed for many years, according to www.latimes.com. Witnesses have claimed to see figures crossing the road at night, dressed in black and walking so slowly that drivers are forced to swerve. hostvillage.com now offers HCH Institute’s Certificate Course on Parapsychological Studies. This course is registered with the State of California Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. The Certificate in Parapsychological Studies is a 60-hour course of study comprised of seven separate courses. The course is also available via a distance learning program. This course, taught by Loyd Auerbach, is an overview of the field of parapsychology, and the main areas of research and investigation: ESP, Psychokinesis (mind over matter), and survival of bodily death. Included will be a general discussion of where the field came from, where the major centers of research are today, and where the field might be headed. Course titles are: • Introduction to Parapsychology • PK & Precognition: Mind, Matter & Time • Being Psychic • The Search for Life After Death • Theories and Models of Psychic Experience: How It Might Work • Parapsychology: The CrossOver Science • Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal Students will have an opportunity to review some of the basic research in the field and to apply the theories and applications to their current profession or to pursue parapsychological field investigations on their own. All courses may be taken individually, and are approved for California CE Units for MFTs, LCSWs, and RNs. For more information, visit www.ghostvillage.com/ghostvillageu/ parapsychologycourses.shtml. Scottish computer hacker Gary McKinnon. S cottish hacker Gary McKinnon is fighting extradition to the United States in London High Court. According to UFO-Radio. net, McKinnon hacked into 97 United States military and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002, including US Army, US Navy, Department of Defense, and US Air Force computers. The case has been called the biggest government data breach in U.S. history. After his arrest in 2002, McKinnon claimed that he found information pertaining to UFOs, including a photograph of a cigar-shaped object above Earth taken by NASA. McKinnon has said that he accessed U.S. computer systems without the proper permissions to find evidence of UFOs, antigravity technology, and the suppression of ‘Free Energy.’ The U.S. government has labeled McKinnon as a cyber terrorist who has caused $1 million in damage. But McKinnon’s was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. His family said this has influenced his behavior and would make extradition to the United States unbearable. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 9 TV Watch “The Listener” Speaks Loud and Clear By Cheryl Knight S upernatural drama The Listener (NBC) centers on Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik), a 25-year-old paramedic who has a secret — he’s a telepath. And until now, he has kept his ability concealed, confiding only in his old counselor and confidant, Dr. Ray Mercer (Colm Feore). Logan has long kept his “gift” a secret, constantly in fear that if his secret is uncovered, he’ll be labeled a freak. During each episode of The Listener, as Logan makes the rounds with his enthusiastic paramedic partner Oz Bey (Ennis Esmer), he tries to help people in crisis, all the while trying to unravel the truth about his past; he does not know who his parents are after having grown up in various foster homes. And with the help of Detective Charlie Marks (Lisa Marcos) and his E.R. doctor/ex-girlfriend Olivia Fawcett (Mylène Dinh-Robic), Logan realizes his gift can indeed help others. The Listener was developed by award-winning Shaftesbury Films and Canadian broadcaster CTV and produced in association with CTV, FIC, and NBC. The executive producers include International Emmy Award winner Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie for Shaftesbury Films; Michael Amo (Blessed 10 The Listener features a main character who is a telepath trying to help people in crisis. Stranger: After Flight 111); Tom Chehak (ReGenesis); and Clement Virgo (Poor Boy’s Game). The Listener is distributed internationally by Shine-Reveille. The Listener Features a Man on a Mission Set in Toronto, Canada, The Listener began airing Thursday evenings on NBC in June. And during each dramatic episode, we follow Logan as he tries to help those with nowhere else to turn. During the episode titled “I’m Paranormal Underground July 2009 an Adult Now,” Logan receives disturbing flashes from the past as he rescues a car crash victim with a dark and dangerous secret. In the episode “Emotional Rescue,” after saving a childhood friend from a burning building, Logan tracks down an arsonist whom he believes might be responsible for a series of fires in the city. And in the episode “A Voice in the Dark,” Logan finally comes clean with Bey after he encounters a young, homeless man who holds clues that could help find a missing child. These episode recaps are just a few of the 13 original episodes ordered by NBC. By the end of the first season Bey, Det. Marks, and Fawcett know about Logan’s “abilities,” eventually leading him and Det. Marks into trouble with Det. Sgt. Becker (Anthony Lemke). To find out more about The Listener, visit www.nbc.com or http://listener.ctv.ca/. The Cast Craig Olejnik: Toby Logan Ennis Esmer: Oz Bey Mylene Dinh-Robic: Dr. Olivia Fawcett Lisa Marcos: Dt. Charlie Marks Colm Feore: Dr. Ray Mercer Anthony Lemke: Dt. Brian Becker Arnold Pinnock: George Ryder HOPE� TO FIND A CURE.� TO FIND A BETTER WAY.� TO HELP ONE VICTIM.� TO NOT FEEL ALONE.� TO GAIN KNOWLEDGE.� TO INSPIRE & HEAL.� DONATE� &� GIVE HOPE!� Stomp Out Cancer, Inc.Đ StompOutCancer.comĐ P.O. Box 117Đ Fairdale, Kentucky 40118Đ Info@stompoutcancer.comĐ www.stompoutcancer.comĐ July 2009 Paranormal Underground 11 Investigator Spotlight Loyd Auerbach: Pow e r s o f t h e M i n d By Cheryl Knight F or more than 30 years, parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach has helped people understand their paranormal encounters. He also helps educate the public about parapsychology through his consultations with research groups around the country. If you’re a fan of paranormal TV, you might recognize Auerbach from his TV appearances on A&E’s Mediums: They See Dead People, LivingTV’s Dead Famous, season one of Criss Angel: MindFreak, and the History Channel’s specials Voodoo Secrets and Vampire Secrets, among others. Auerbach has held positions or memberships with the American Society for Psychical Research, The Rhine Research Center, The Parapsychological Association, and The Society for Scientific Exploration. His vast experience investigating paranormal phenomena was not triggered by any particular paranormal event, but instead by the media. “I was watching TV shows from a very early age that influenced me, such as Topper, The Twilight Zone, and One Step Beyond,” Auerbach said. “Looking back, Topper probably gave me my first ‘taste’ of ghosts.” Early on, he also read a lot of mythology, science fiction, and superhero comic books. Auerbach was 12 Parapsychologist and mentalist Loyd Auerbach has spent the past 30 years helping individuals understand their paranormal encounters. a self-admitted science geek as a kid. “Combine all of that, throw in a dash of Star Trek and Dark Shadows, and I think I almost had to discover the books in the library on parapsychology,” he said. “I believed then, as I believe now, that psychic abilities are probably normal and untapped. This never seemed a strange conclusion to me.” And by the early 70s, the shortlived TV show The Sixth Sense, coupled with several meetings with some NY area parapsycholo- Paranormal Underground July 2009 gists, influenced Auerbach to study parapsychology. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University in 1978 and a master’s degree in parapsychology from JFK University in 1981. In 1989, he founded the Office of Paranormal Investigations (OPI), a group for people to call when they believe they have a psychic or paranormal experience or disturbance, and a resource center for media, businesspeople, scientists, law enforcement agencies, attorneys, and other parapsychologists. “While most of OPI’s investigations are in Northern California, we have investigators in many other areas of the country,” he said. Auerbach has been an adjunct professor at JFK University since 1983, currently in the Consciousness and Transformative Studies program. And over the past 25 years, he has taught courses in parapsychology, anthropology, altered states of consciousness, science fiction, magic, public speaking, and mass media. The main topics of his public lectures are “Professor Paranormal’s True Tales of Ghosts and Hauntings,” “Exploring the Real-Life X-FILES: Ghosts” “Mind Over Matter: Do You Have the Power,” and “Psychics and Charlatans: Perception, Psi and Magic.” As an accomplished mentalist and psychic entertainer, Auerbach performs mainly for private parties, corporations, and at colleges and restaurants as Professor Paranormal. “My interest in magic began while I was a graduate student and took a course that introduced wouldbe researchers to methods used by phony psychics,” he said. Auerbach’s published books include A Paranormal Casebook: Ghost Hunting in the New Millennium; Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal; Hauntings & Poltergeists: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide; ESP, Hauntings, and Poltergeists; Psychic Dreaming; Reincarnation, Channeling, and Possession; and Mind Over Matter. He currently lives in an Eastbay community outside of San Francisco and Oakland, where he lives with his wife. To learn more about Auerbach’s vast experiences in the field of parapsychology, read on . . . ***** Q: What is ‘Psychic Phenomena’? Loyd: Psychic phenomena are phenomena of the mind and consciousness; by definition, all things ‘psychic’ have some consciousness/mind involved. In common usage, psychic phenomena is a term that covers: • Extrasensory perception (ESP): information perceived through non-sensory means (i.e., telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition). • Psychokinesis (PK): mind over matter and related mind-matter interactions (i.e., telekinesis, psychic/ distant healing, metal-bending, poltergeist activity, etc.). • Survival (of Consciousness) of Bodily Death: ghosts, reincarnation, near-death experiences, etc.) These are the three areas studied by the field of parapsychology, and all seem to be interrelated. Loyd Auerbach is an accomplished mentalist and psychic entertainer, performing mainly for private parties, corporations, and at colleges and restaurants as Professor Paranormal. Q: What interests you most about the paranormal? Loyd: That human beings — living or dead — are so much more and/ or have so much more potential that mainstream science and society is willing to give us credit for. There’s a real mystery here, and one that directly impacts our daily lives. Q: What would you consider your area of expertise? Loyd: I consider myself a generalist with a greater focus on experiences of apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists, and a lesser focus on psychic experiences as they occur in real life (rather than in lab experiments). In addition, I have expertise in working with psychics under various conditions, in psychic fraud, and in how the media influences psychic beliefs. Q: When did you start conducting your own investigations? Loyd: I started a parapsychology club in high school, though we were really focused on conducting ESP and PK experiments. The first paranormal field investigation I was on happened during the fall of 1979, during my first quarter as a graduate student at John F. Kennedy University, as part of one of the courses offered in the Graduate Parapsychology Program. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 13 Investigator Spotlight Q: Approximately how many investigations have you done to date? Loyd: Hundreds. There has been no real reason to keep an actual tally, since it doesn’t seem to be important to anyone but the media (and amateur ghost hunters). Q: Tell us about the Office of Paranormal Investigations? Loyd: OPI was founded in 1989 as the legacy of the Graduate Parapsychology Program at John F. Kennedy University, which finished its last student that year (shut down due to funding issues and internal university politics). It was started by myself, a couple of the faculty members, and Christopher Chacon (who left a few years later). OPI draws on the investigative and research traditions and findings of parapsychology, psychical research, and other fields of science. While mainly an investigative group, we’ve also provided consultation and information services for the general public, media, business, the legal community, law enforcement, realtors, and other specialized audiences, and is also very interested in potential applications of psi experiences in those arenas. Our primary areas of investigation involve sightings of apparitions (ghosts), unusual happenings in homes, offices, or other locations that people have felt are ‘haunted,’ and poltergeist situations, where there are reported unusual physical effects or movement of objects. In addition, OPI is interested in other forms of psi, such as what has been alternately labeled ESP and ‘extended perception’ (including precognition, clairvoyance, and telepathy), psychokinesis (mind over matter), psychic healing, reincarnation, near-death experiences, out-ofbody experiences, trance channeling and mediumship, and other psychic experiences and practices. OPI investigates problems reported, first looking for any and all normal explanations before assuming a paranormal one, then offers recommendations and service with respect to dealing with the phenomena or experiences. While it is effectively impossible to prove the existence of psychic phenomena in these situations given the current state of science and technology, OPI investigators have been successful in assisting people to understand such experiences and, when appropriate, in eliminating the phenomena. Moss Beach Distillery (pictured above), Banta Inn, and the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum are among the most interesting locations Auerbach has investigated to date. 14 Paranormal Underground July 2009 Our first obligation is to assist our clients through such situations and to provide advice and/or referrals based on our findings in their cases. Most OPI clients have reported successful resolution of their paranormal experiences. Q: What’s your favorite piece of equipment and why? Loyd: Actually, people are my favorite ‘detectors,’ because a) you can have a conversation, ask questions, and get answers, b) because the phenomena is defined by human experience, and c) because there is no equipment in existence designed to pick up anything paranormal (since we don’t exactly know what to try to look for). As far as technology is concerned, magnetic field detectors seem to be the most useful when used properly, as there is the greatest correlation to the experiences of people in the environment. But the key is ‘when used properly.’ Q: Do you have any psychic abilities, and if so, please describe them. Loyd: Everyone has some degree of psychic abilities, but most of us — myself included — don’t have a lot of (or even a little) control over them. I would never call myself a psychic (or even “very psychic”), though I have developed some openness to certain psychic phenomena on cases over the last 30 years, thanks to some really good advice and encouragement from psychics I have worked with. I can sometimes sense a ‘presence’ in apparition cases, and most often can sense ‘something’ in the environment on haunting cases. Q: What are a few things our readers would be surprised to find out about you? Loyd: Depends on whether your readers have been to my Website. People are often surprised that I’m both a parapsychologist and a mentalist/psychic entertainer. The latter began as an interest because of psychic fraud, to gain knowledge and experience as a magician by actually performing (not just reading about it) — but it turned out I really had fun performing, so I continued with it, with much encouragement from many of my parapsychologist colleagues. Probably the most ‘surprising’ thing for folks who have never met me or seen me lecture might be that I can be really funny — I actually used to perform comedy magic in comedy clubs in the 1980s, before I switched my main performing to psychic entertainment (though I still keep humor in my act). I put a bit of humor in all my presentations, and people are often surprised to hear me say, “I take my subject seriously, but I rarely take myself seriously.” Oh, and they might be surprised to hear how much passion I have for and energy I’m putting into my recent interest in Chocolate (see my other Website, www.hauntedbychocolate.com). I’m even making chocolate these days. Q: Tell us about one of the most impressive ‘psychic phenomena’ cases that you’ve encountered/ investigated. Loyd: That’s a tough question, since some of my apparition cases would fall in here, as would many of the situations I’ve encountered personally. A couple of cases . . . I had an apparition case with an entire family separately seeing the ghost of the previous owner (who they did not know), but for a year and a half they didn’t speak with one another about it. Finally, the 12-year-old boy in the house spoke up and told them he’d been seeing — and talking with — the ghost (Lois) for all that time. Our investigation was more of a visit, tour of the house and sit-down with the family and the ghost. The boy ‘translated’ for Lois, and we got extensive family stories and information that could only be verified by her one still-living relative (who I visited). Through the conversation, the boy also related answers to questions we asked Lois about her existence as an apparition — the answers fit well into the model parapsychologists have been using for more than 100 years. The other truly impressive case was that of the late science/science fiction writer Martin Caidin, who could do PK on small targets under many different conditions (including controlled conditions). I worked with Caidin on many occasions over a four-year period, and even did a couple of workshops where we taught others to move objects. His case is extensively written up in my book Mind Over Matter (Kensington Books, 1996), and he even contributed a chapter on how to do PK. Q: What are the most interesting locations that you have investigated? Loyd: So many interesting places, but probably the most memorable — and most interesting because of the amount of phenomena I’ve witnessed and the sheer number of witnesses — are the Banta Inn (Tracy, California), the Moss Beach Distillery (Moss Beach, California) and the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum (Alameda, California). All three have extensive writeups in my book A Paranormal Casebook: Ghost Hunting in the New Millennium (Atriad Press, 2005). Q: What case will you remember the most and why? Loyd: Probably the Moss Beach Distillery — in spite of the controversy caused by a certain TV show that portrayed the place in a negative light. My investigation of the place goes back to 1991, and I’ve done numerous investigative visits (and visits for fun), interviewed many dozens of witnesses, and found a number of witnesses whose experiences predate my own investigations. I’ve brought in numerous psychic practitioners, researchers, and others over the years. What’s personally memorable about the place are my own experiences with the apparition — not only observations of physical object movements, but also a situation in which I felt the ghost walking through me multiple times (witnessed mid-way by three psychics coming into the room). July 2009 Paranormal Underground 15 Investigator Spotlight And more than that, the apparition (Cayte) has been bopping around other states and even countries (at our suggestion). According to witnesses who’ve communicated with her (mostly psychics), she appeared to someone before a lecture I gave in Austin, Texas, then at a Parapsychology Foundation conference on mediumship in Charlottesville, Virginia (four separate witnesses describing her in the same place, same description), to a medium in Paris, France (who e-mailed me a ‘message’ from her), to one of the folks I work with who lives in Stockton, California (relaying a message specific to what I was doing at a restaurant in Pennsylvania at the time), and a non-professional psychic/medium in Canada. You might say I have my own spirit ‘stalker,’ but in her case I really don’t mind. Over the past 25 years, Auerbach has taught courses in parapsychology, anthropology, and altered states of consciousness, among others. Q: What do you think about orbs? Loyd: Orbs are the bane of my existence. The overwhelming majority of them represent camera-related problems/flaws/reflections, etc. Even those that may be connected to phenomena and experiences only indicate that someone (dead or alive) has affected the film or digital media, not that these things represent individual spirits. Q: What are your thoughts about the skyrocketing number of ghost hunters on the Internet? Loyd: As for the explosion of ghost hunters, it’s good and bad. It’s great to see so many people interested. It’s very, very bad for the field that the majority of them are merely enthralled with the tech (cameras, EVP, EMF meters) and running around getting their thrills hanging out in cemeteries or other spooky places trying to get orbs and readings. So few of them are interested in 16 the human experience and less are interested in trying to understand what the experiences and the phenomena represent. Most have little awareness of the range of normal explanations that can account for so much of what they get excited about. Q: How has the media changed the ‘paranormal community’ as we once knew it? Loyd: The media’s portrayal of ghost hunters and investigators over the past 15-20 years (especially the last 10-12) has given folks the impression that investigations can be done with little (or no) training and just with a bit of equipment. Though this is a false impression, it seems to have snowballed into a hobbyist movement (not a bad thing) that first involved people with a real interest in understanding the phenomena, but has changed to celebrity-centered focus. Every group seems to want a TV show (can’t even count the number Paranormal Underground July 2009 of folks who said they were about to do a TV pilot). There’s more interest in duplicating what they see on TV — including working in the dark, which is NOT how scientists in this field work, nor is it more than copying a technique that TV production folks pushed since night shot was available to the consumers (looks spookier). Prior to the initial TV series of the 1990s, like Sightings, most of the folks who did ghost hunting and paranormal investigations either came at it from the psychic perspective or with attempts to understand what parapsychological field investigation is all about, and to follow those methodologies. Now it’s about what people see on TV or what their favorite ‘paranormal celebrity’ tells them to do — even though, with rare exception, the shows and the celebs have no understanding of parapsychology and its rich history of field investigations. Worse than that, the TV shows of late have somehow gotten people to think that using technology/equipment equates to doing scientific work. It doesn’t. The sad thing is that if even a quarter of the folks calling themselves ‘ghost hunters’ or ‘paranormal investigators’ actually spent some time learning the methods (and the history and research findings) of the field of parapsychology, and participated in the discussion within the field, there would be movement toward acceptance of these phenomena. Even more than that, if they would contribute even a small dollar amount back to supporting scientific research in parapsychology, there would be major movement in the field (which is badly underfunded). Contrary to popular belief in the ‘paranormal community,’ the work in the labs is incredibly relevant to field research (and vice versa) and is the only research that mainstream science might take up and notice as ‘scientific.’ Q: What has been your “best evidence” of the paranormal to date? Loyd: This is a very BIG question, as there are issues of what constitutes ‘best evidence.’ Here’s the short answer: The best evidence for the ‘paranormal’ comes from laboratory research that is well-controlled. There’s decades of parapsychological research that supports ESP and PK, and even things like out-of-body experiences. As for field investigations, those situations with multiple witness sightings where information can be verified by other sources and where some of the environmental sensors support those sightings/experiences constitute best evidence. Q: Can ghosts be proven to exist? Loyd: We define a ghost or apparition as consciousness. Unfortunately, the existence of consciousness and an understanding of what it is, or might be, is still up in the air as far as mainstream science is concerned. In other words, there’s no physical evidence for consciousness among the living other than our own behaviors and thoughts. If we can’t prove the existence of consciousness in the body/brain where we assume it is, how can we prove the existence of consciousness outside the body, especially without direct cooperation of those floating minds (the apparitions)? The only way to study consciousness, whether it is consciousness of the living or dead, is by the experiences of people. Parapsychology is primarily a social science, though we try to bring in measuring tools of the physical sciences. The best evidence comes from people (witnesses). The best cases are those where there are multiple witnesses and information provided by the ghost that can be later verified. But while the issue of consciousness is still up in the air, so is our proof for ghosts. Q: How do you feel about skeptics? Loyd: True skeptics (doubters) are great. They ask great questions, whether they eventually make up their minds either way or not. Personally, I consider myself a ‘situational skeptic’: I believe in the existence of the phenomena, but play at skeptical in each case (and for each reported event in each case). Unfortunately, the term has become associated with disbelievers, especially because of the debunker types who use the label skeptic very loosely. The disbelievers have as much faith that psi does not (and cannot) exist as the true believers do that it does. Neither side questions their own often ludicrous explanations for some of the experiences. ”The best evidence for the ‘paranormal’ comes from laboratory research that is well-controlled.” But believe it or not, I have friends who are, in fact, true disbelievers. We simply have a lot of other stuff in common. Q: How do you recommend that someone learn more about ghosts, hauntings, and poltergeists? Loyd: Learn more about psychic abilities and experiences. We connect with apparitions via telepathy. Apparitions communicate with us telepathically. We perceive imprints in the environment apparently through a form of clairvoyance. If apparitions can sense their environment, they are doing so directly, without the use of their senses — in other words, clairvoyantly. Both telepathy and clairvoyance are forms of ESP. Don’t ignore what parapsychologists have done and learned about ESP through research in the lab and in the real world. We move things via psychokinesis. Ghosts move things via psychokinesis. So learn about psychokinesis, both in the real world and in the laboratory. And learn about what else, besides the paranormal explanations, can account for people’s experiences. Q: Is there anything that you think our readers should know that we haven’t already talked about? Loyd: The main things are that my Website, www.mindreader.com, has well over 100 articles available for free download or reading online, resource lists of organizations and recommended reading, basic info for investigations, and announcements of coming seminars/events. For those interested in starting to get a broader understanding of parapsychology and where their idea of ‘the paranormal’ actually fits into the only field of science looking at this stuff, visit the information on the classes I offer at HCH Institute (local classes and distance learning). All classes are available for distance students, one at a time or as a program (www.hypnotherapytraining. com/parapsych.cfm). I am also now offering telephone seminars (one hour to 90 minutes) at a much lower cost than other classes. For more information, visit the events page at www.mindreader.com/events. htm or my MySpace blog at http:// blogs.myspace.com/loydauerbach. And for folks who need to reach me, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org or they can call the Office of Paranormal Investigations at 415-249-9275. For more information about Loyd Auerbach, visit www.mindreader.com. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 17 Investigator Spotlight Animal Communicator Heidi Wright Makes ‘Critter Connections’ By Karen Frazier R ecently, I heard a pet psychic on Sirius radio while in my car and decided to blog about it. Serendipity — and that blog — brought me Heidi Wright. Heidi responded in the comments section of my blog. Since I was elbow-deep in writing and editing for this issue of Paranormal Underground — our psychic phenomenon issue — I knew exactly what to do. Fortunately for me, Heidi was kind enough to grant an interview. Heidi Wright is an animal intuitive. She works with all species of animals — dogs, ducks, pigs — even geese. Before she was an animal psychic, her pursuits and interests were diverse, including a career as an officer with the California Highway Patrol, a stint as a college track star, a seasonal firefighter with the US Forest Service, and a professional baseball umpire. Now, Heidi is an author and TV personality. She also has a private animal intuition practice called Critter Connections. You can learn more about Heidi on her Website, www.critterconnections.net. I realized that her mouth had not moved and she had not spoken with her voice, and that I had heard her clearly in my mind. What she said really bothered me, and I strongly wished I wouldn’t hear that kind of stuff anymore. I didn’t. My abilities shut off. Years later, I began to again consciously use my intuition and work to improve it. I became a California Highway Patrol Officer. It was then that I used my intuition on a regular basis, and quietly worked to improve that skill. As a child, I seemed to sense when an animal was hungry or needed to go outside. However, the first time I clearly heard an animal’s voice in my head was August 14, 1991, as an adult. That was the day we had to have our cat Heidi Wright, an animal intuitive, works with all euthanized. She had been with my husband for 16 years, and I had species of animals — dogs, ducks, pigs, deer, known her for six. My husband and even geese. could not bring himself to go to the vet and sign the papers after we got the news that her condition Heidi: When I was a young girl, I was terminal, so I did it. was aware of my intuition. As a teen, When I went to say my last I started consciously working to goodbyes, and take her collar, I very improve my abilities and meditated clearly heard, “I want to go home!” ***** on a regular basis. In my grief I did not recognize Q: How did you discover your abiliHowever, when I was in high what it was. Later, after I learned anity? Can you talk about the first time school, I was walking by a group mal communication, I realized that you realized that you had an ability of girls, and looked at them as I was my first breakthrough moment to communicate with animals? passed. I heard one of them speak. with animals. I have never forgotten 18 Paranormal Underground July 2009 her voice, or the lesson I learned about honoring the animal’s wishes. And yes, I wish I had taken her home to die. Back then I didn’t know better. Now I do. Q: Does your ability to connect extend beyond animals to people? If so, why did you choose to focus on animals? Heidi: Yes, I am able to also read people, or two-legged animals, as I like to call humans. I read people all the time as an Officer. It made it easier to know if someone was lying, going to fight me, or to find the contraband or drugs they were thinking about. When I was asked to interview for the TV show in Japan, I had a three-hour on-camera screen test and a test of my abilities. I was asked the same question, about reading people. I told her that I can, but choose not to, and gave the reason. Then the director asked me to describe the interior of the apartment she had just moved into in Tokyo. I wanted to say, “Did you not hear? I don’t like to read people.” But, I knew I was being tested, so I tried my best. I focused on her, looked into her eyes, and after she began to avoid eye contact, I described enough accurate details to make her turn pale and get goose bumps. So, here are three reasons why I don’t like to read people: 1) People, for the most part, are able to take care of themselves and control their living conditions and how they are treated. Animals do not have this choice, or voice. By working with animals and proving that there is a lot more to them than urges to breed, and far more than feathers, fur, and fangs, my hope is that people will begin to treat animals better. 2) Another reason I don’t like to work with people is that this can be very personal work! I like to answer Pet psychic Heidi Wright receives information from animals in five different ways — via visions, hearing, feeling, sensing emotions, and mind-to-mind connections. this question by asking a few questions . . . Do you want to know that a minister is committing adultery with a congregant? Do you want to know who is cheating on their taxes and are terrified they will get caught? Do you want to know a person is gay and is tormented because they can’t figure out how to tell their wife and children? I don’t. I saw enough of this kind of thing as an officer. 3) There are enough people psychics out there. When I started doing animal communication, there were only a handful of communicators listed out there. Then, after the popularity of the Animal Planet network’s show, The Pet Psychic, suddenly they were popping up all over. The number of professional communicators listed in the directory at www.AnimalTalk.net doubled in just a few years. There are a lot of very talented communicators. But here is a tip to know if one is genuine and professional: Ask if they guarantee their work! I strive to have my clients spontaneously laughing, crying, and thanking me. If they don’t, I ask them directly if they are satisfied that I connected with their animal, and if I have permission to take their payment. So far, not one person has asked for a refund from me. Q: What type of insight can people gain into their pets via psychic communication? Heidi: Animal communication can help with many issues, ranging from living conditions to health matters. Here are a few examples: —Getting a new animal. Do they want to live with you? —Adding an animal to your house. Do the other animals want more? Many people get a new animal without thinking about how it may impact the animals already living in the house. Would you like to come home and find there is a new roommate when no one asked you if you wanted to share your room? Most animals don’t either. —Does an animal want to be bred and produce off spring? —Does an animal like to be in shows? July 2009 Paranormal Underground 19 Investigator Spotlight rated from her people for more than 72 hours, being locked up in cages, handled by strangers, going through physical exams with vets, being in a cage in cargo holds, and then 30 days of quarantine in a kennel in Australia. I spent a lot of time explaining all the detailed info I got from the client, and did several sessions with that dog. The client reported all went very well. —Dying wishes — do they want help (euthanasia) or to go on their own. —Health issues (how the animal feels, what treatment they want or need, etc.). When you take the animal to the vet, you, the person, can only describe what the animal’s behavior and habits have been. The vet examines the physical body, but can’t always find the problem. Before she was an animal psychic, Wright was An animal communicator an officer with the California Highway Patrol, a may be able to not only simply seasonal firefighter with the US Forest Service, ask the animal how it feels, but and a professional baseball umpire. also do a body scan to see if they can pick up any physical issues. One of my clients was a show —Training issues. horse that had started resisting —Behavior issues. training, then riding, and finally did not —Bringing a new human baby even want to be saddled. The person home. was told by ‘horse experts’ to be firm —Moving. Animals go through just (whip the horse), do harsher training, as much stress with moving houses as etc. But the person thought there was people do, but usually it is even harder a reason for the horse’s change. on the animal because they don’t During my reading, I found a lot know the reason for the move or if of physical issues, and even got out a they get to stay with the family. horse anatomy chart so my client could Animals don’t usually untell the vet where to look. After the derstand quarantine. This can be reading, the client took her horse to the very stressful and even sickening vet, but because her vet is very skeptical, for them. But, like people, if you she did not tell him she had talked to a explain the process and why things horse psychic. The vet did chiropractic have to be done, and assure them adjustments on every place I indicated, that their people will be waiting for and found physical reasons for all the them, it really helps. issues I told the client beforehand. This One of my clients was moving horse did not need a stronger bit, more from Austria to Australia. For her whipping, or sharper spurs, he needed dog, this meant being physically sepamedical treatment. 20 Paranormal Underground July 2009 Q: How do you receive the information? Heidi: There are basically five ways to receive information intuitively. The names for these are Clairvoyant (clear visions), Clairaudient (clear hearing), Clairsentience (clear feeling — usually physical sensations), Empathy (sensing emotions), and Telepathy (mind-to-mind connections, receiving thoughts, words, etc.) I receive information in all five ways, but I don’t always get it in all five ways all the time. For example, I might get an image in my mind’s eye of something, but I don’t smell it or hear it. Other times, I might hear something and smell it, but don’t see it. Sometimes I get a taste in my mouth. I usually get information in a mixture of the five main methods. Q: Do you need to be in actual contact with the animal you are reading, or can you do distance readings, as well? Heidi: No, I do not need to be in actual contact with the animal or person. In fact, a vast majority of my clients do not meet me in person. I have worked with animals and their people from 21 countries, and do this by phone and e-mail. When I do a reading, I am tuning into subtle energy. I use the photos like a phone number or address, so I communicate with that particular animal. If I don’t have a photo, I ask the person to describe the animal, breed, age, gender, and name. The photos just make it easier. Q: Has there ever been an instance where you have been unable to establish communication? Heidi: So far, I have not found an animal client that I could not connect with. There was a horse several years ago that it took me a while to communicate with, but after several days I had a good reading and the client was satisfied. Some animals don’t want to communicate, and will tell you so. But so far, if I am patient and understanding enough, they have opened up to me. Q: Can all animals communicate psychically? Can you receive the same level of communication from a slug, for instance, as you would from a more complex creature like a dog? Heidi: I do believe, and it has been my experience that yes, all animals can communicate psychically. However, I usually don’t get as much detail from a worm as I do from a dog. Also, I have found that animals are like people in that the level of intelligence and social skills vary. Talking to an animal that has had a head injury may not be as clear as a healthy animal. Some animals are ‘slower’ than others, just like humans. With insects, I usually get very basic emotions or messages. But I did have a humbling experience with a lovely Rose Tarantula in a PETCO in Beverly Hills, so we shouldn’t judge a critter by its cover. Q: People make a lot of assumptions about animals. What would they be surprised to know about the internal lives and feelings of their pets? Heidi: I think the biggest surprise my clients get is when their animals share details that the human had no idea mattered. For instance, when I ask dogs what their favorite toy is, often I describe a toy that they used to have, but the person threw it away when it was chewed up. Also, animals watch people and take note of things. Animals pick up on human thoughts more than humans pick up animal thoughts. I’ve had an animal tell me they were worried about where they would live after the divorce, and then my client tells me she had not told anyone, even her husband, that she intended to divorce him. I have had horses describe trainers and their actions in detail. I had a parrot tell me about the pet rabbit in the house. And animals do not hold back when it comes to human mates! If your dog doesn’t like your new boyfriend, they will usually say so. Cats have told me about which neighbor is a jerk and why. I recently did a TV interview in Belgium. A man brought his two dogs to be read during the interview. One of his dogs was quite possessive of him. She was jealous and told me that the man had a new girlfriend, and that they had a date recently, and drank red wine. The man started out a skeptic, but then was amazed that I described his new girlfriend, their date, and the layout of his kitchen. All these little details help me know I have in fact connected with a particular animal, and validates communication. people and cultures, but not every American lives on burgers and fries, and not every Korean loves spicy food. These misconceptions do carry over to animals. Most cats are very aloof, snobby, confident, and will tell you what they think. But others are very charming, playful, and affectionate. Dogs do in fact have a sense of time, even though they wag their tails and are happy to greet you whether you have been gone five minutes or five hours. Their level of loyalty and enthusiasm does not indicate they are ignorant of time. I recently filmed a TV series in South Korea and worked with a family of De Brazza Monkeys. Each one of the family was quite different, with very different personalities, or should I say monkanalities. Q: Do pets genuinely love their people, or are we assigning human emotions to them? Heidi: Yes, for the most part, animals do love their humans back. And the love they feel is very real. While Q: Are there some misconceptions about animals (like cats are aloof and standoffish, or dogs are eager to please)? Heidi: There is a great horse trainer in the USA named Pat Parelli. In his books and clinics, he talks about horsanalites. I love this term because it is so accurate. Each horse is as unique as each human. I have found all animals have their own horsanalities, doganalities, lionalities, etc. People make assumptions about other This fawn approached Wright at the Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (SPCA) sanctuary in Michigan. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 21 Investigator Spotlight different animals will want and need different levels of physical affection, just like some people are huggers and others are not, we all, human and animal, need and give love. By the same token, just as our loved ones can hurt our feelings, animals also get hurt feelings and broken hearts. I worked with a horse that had been the best lesson horse in the barn until she lost a baby. She was heartbroken, and refused to take riders. After explaining to her person how she felt, and explaining to her how badly he felt, they reconciled. Before I left the barn that day, the horse was saddled and being ridden as if it had not been 17 hours since her last ride, let alone 17 months. That was one of the cases filmed for Korean TV. Q: What are some of the reasons that pets need to establish communications with humans? Heidi: If humans can understand how the animals feel and think, it can help with behavior, training, and make life a lot easier for both animals and humans. I was asked to talk with a dolphin in a Korean zoo. They couldnâ€™t figure out why this dolphin would not socialize like the others and had trouble training. I told the dolphin keeper that he was heartbroken and horny. The dolphin showed me images of him swimming with a pod in the wild, and sent me feelings of being in love with a dolphin at another place and how he enjoyed mating with her. The zookeeper then confirmed that this dolphin had been captured with a pod that included females in the wild, was with females at the facility in Japan, but that there were no females in Korea. He said that the females are kept separate. A white tiger told me that she 22 Wright met Tsyoshi, a Sun bear, in Japan in 2007. would not accept mating with the males brought to her because she wanted to mate with one particular guy. The zookeeper confirmed that she had only accepted intercourse with one male, but they had not tried with him again because they thought she wanted a white tiger, and he was a Bengal. It turned out she wanted the Bengal mate after all. Q: Can pets communicate from beyond the grave? If so, what have you learned from them? Heidi: Yes, animals that have passed over can be contacted and communicated with. This is an ability called being a medium. I have worked with several animals that have passed on. Usually when I am asked to communicate with an animal that died, the person wants to know if they did the right thing, if the animal knows how much they love and miss them, etc. However, sometimes the animals want to convey important mes- Paranormal Underground July 2009 sages to their people. In one case, a woman was so distraught over the death of her dear beagle that she was suicidal. When she first asked for a reading, I referred her to the proper professionals to offer her counseling. A few months later, she again asked for a reading and I agreed. During the consultation, her dog (the beagle in spirit) told me that there was something that he wanted the woman to do. It involved some sort of work with a male, and that male had a two syllable name that started with a B and ended in an E sound. So I was guessing Billy, Barry, Benny, etc. The woman said she did not know who this was. After about another 20 minutes of the animal insisting psychically for me to keep working on this message, the grieving woman realized that after her dog died, she had gotten a male pot bellied pig, named Bently, and she was doing therapy with him! The dog kept bothering me so I would bother her until she got the message. I can’t see the wind, but I know it is there. I feel it on my face, and can see it move the trees. I can’t explain exactly how animal communication works, but I know it is real and that it works. This faith is built on proof I get when the animals tell me things I could not have known on my own. Q: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know? Wright was first aware of her intuition when she was a young girl. Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your recently released book? Heidi: I am a coauthor of the book titled Empowered. It is the latest in the best-selling Wake Up . . . Live the Life You Love series. It is a book full of inspiring stories from authors, including leaders in their fields, such as Dr. Wayne Dyer. Their stories describe how they became empowered, what gave them the courage to follow their dreams, what inspired them, or how they were able to move past adversity. I am so excited to be in this book and absolutely thrilled that it peaked at #4 on the Barnes and Nobles best-seller list. Here is a link to the page: http://tiny.cc/WSYkN. Q: What would you say to skeptics? Heidi: To skeptics I smile and say, “Welcome to my world!” I really am still quite skeptical. This is why I am constantly looking for validation to ensure I have indeed connected with each client’s animal(s). This is another reason why it bothers me when clients come to me and report that they worked with another communicator and the previous communicator(s) either got very little correct or were not helpful at all. But those communicators did not offer a refund. For skeptics, I tell them that an honest psychic will guarantee their work. Now, this does NOT mean that the psychic will knock your socks off every single time. No one is perfect all the time. I may not be able to tell people everything they want to hear. But I should be able to tell them enough things that they are sure that I have connected with their animals. If my client does not ask questions that can be validated, I investigate further on my own and ask questions that the person can validate. I ask where the animal sleeps, if they have a favorite toy, if there is a favorite memory, what their favorite food is, if there are other animals in the house, etc. Heidi: I would like readers to realize that if you think your cat is annoyed with you, you’re probably right. If you think your dog is depressed, you’re probably right. Anyone that has read this far has enough curiosity to be willing to at least consider the possibility that animal communication is real. That is enough for me to get my foot in the door and do my best to be a translator for their animal. I would also like readers to know that this is a skill that can be taught and improved upon. I teach workshops, and I am thrilled because each and every time I teach, so far, every single person has been able to at least begin to communicate with animals, and get validation. There is a good comparison to piano lessons. Everyone that takes piano lessons will not go on to be a professional pianist. But everyone can learn to read music and play basic scales and songs. Some people will be better at animal communication and pick it up faster than others. But every person can learn this, and it makes animals a lot more fun to have and be around. For more information about Heidi Wright, visit www.critterconnections. net/. Also, see our Haunted Sites article on page 36 to read about Heidi’s help on an investigation at the Silver Queen in Nevada. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 23 Special Report Dawn of a New Age: The History of Spiritualism By Rick E. Hale, Lake County Ghost Hunters N ot that long ago, my wife and I were watching one of the many television programs that cater to the paranormal set, and I must say, I was somewhat dismayed by what I was viewing. As we watched, a psychic made her way around a semi-famous haunted prison with one of the former inmates in tow. As she walked around, she put her hands up — I suppose to feel the energy in the area — and began to speak, “Oh yes, I can feel it all around us. Many men spent many unhappy years here in hard labor.” She continued to walk around with this former inmate, who was obviously eating this stuff up. “Many men died here, mostly by the hands of their peers. Yes I can feel their distraught energy; they were not happy here.” As I watched, I suddenly blurted out to my wife, “No shit; these dudes were unhappy doing time in prison, they were in f-ing prison.” Needless to say, when it comes to TV psychics, I am unusually skeptical. Please keep in mind, I do feel that psychic abilities are real; it’s just easy for someone to claim they have no prior knowledge of a location, then they come in and do their thing, and we are supposed to be amazed. I 24 guess they never heard of the internet and assume you haven’t either. The preceding example is an extreme case of how spiritualism is being used in today’s society. But it In 1848, Margaret and Kate Fox claimed to have come into contact with a spirit that was haunting their family’s home. also shows up in our lives in other, more subtle, ways . . . daily horoscopes, reading books on spiritualism, and even séances. Some of us Paranormal Underground July 2009 consult psychics and tarot cards to divine an uncertain future in an even more uncertain time. Where did this fascination with the spirit world begin? Why do we care what the future holds? And why do we believe that our dead grandparents hold the key? Big-time questions deserve bigtime answers, and the answers lay in the mid-19th Century when a new age of spiritual understanding dawned, and a new religion of contacting the spirit world almost dethroned the Christian faith as the dominate spiritual force in the Western world. Humble Beginnings With a Simple Haunting The history of spiritualism can trace its genesis to a humble home in Hydesville, New York, with nothing more than a simple haunting. In 1848, Margaret and Kate Fox claimed to have come into contact with a spirit that was haunting their family’s home. Originally, the girls were the first to communicate with this spirit by asking questions of the ghost who, in turn, answered with knocks on the wall. At first, the girls called the entity “Mr. Splitfoot” — a nickname for the devil — because the family believed that the entity was an evil spirit. However, all that would change when Mr. Splitfoot claimed to be a traveling salesman who was murdered in the house, and his spirit was now trapped as he tried to figure out who killed him. Needless to say, Margaret and Kate wowed their friends and neighbors with their amazing ability, however, their parents were not impressed and felt that such goings on were dangerous. The girls were sent to live with family friends in an austere Quaker village in Rochester. Strange as it may seem, the girls were not admonished about their curious new talents, and instead they were encouraged to talk to the spirit world. They began giving séances in and around the New York City area. Hundreds would flock to the amazing young women in the hope they could contact their dearly departed loved ones. As the popularity of the young girls grew, others came of the woodwork claiming these amazing abilities, thus, a new religion was born. Overnight Success and Overnight Controversy It would seem that virtually overnight the new spiritual beliefs took hold and became an instant success. Not only in America, but in England and France folks began popping up who claimed to possess the amazing ability to peer into the spiritual realm and contact those who had passed to the other side. Thousands, normally the rich and famous, would seek out these psychics or mediums to contact family members who had died. People also wanted to find out if there was a deeper meaning to, as Douglas Adams wrote in the Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, “Life, the universe, and everything.” The meetings, or séances, led by the mediums pretty much followed Beginning in the mid-1800s, mediums would lead séances, oftentimes in poorly lit rooms, and those present would hold hands around a table, with the medium positioned at the center. a basic guideline. The seekers would come to the medium’s parlor, which was oftentimes poorly lit, and hold hands around the table — with the medium positioned at the center. As the room darkened more, the medium would go into a trance and several manifestations would occur that definitely had a wow factor for all those in attendance. Mediums would claim that the dead person the attendees sought was definitely in their midst, and the attendees were able to ask questions. Not only were the dearly departed in attendance, but other stranger phenomena manifested itself. Musical instruments would appear and be played by unseen hands. A curious liquid goo, called ectoplasm, would pour from the medium’s nose and mouth. And other spirits, sometimes young woman and others times Native Americans, would appear to depart some great truth. Sounds pretty good, right? Al- though spiritualism had its myriad of adoring adherents, it was not without its detractors. Detractors Galore In Great Britain, where spiritualism enjoyed almost unimaginable popularity, a group of scientists and philosophers under the direction of Edmund Gurney and Frederic W. H. Myers formed. Calling itself the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), the group of intellectuals was on a mission to see if there was any truth to ghosts, hauntings, and the activities of mediums. SPR quickly went about the business of attending séances, oftentimes under the guise of the bereaved, to investigate the claims made by these mediums — many times with disastrous results. The SPR investigators became convinced that the mediums had the rooms they operated in dimmed not for effect, but for trickery. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 25 Special Report By 1853, when the popular song “Spirit Rappings” was published, Spiritualism was an object of intense curiosity. On many occasions, the medium was disproved during the séance when members discovered that the goo flowing from the medium’s mouth was nothing more than fabric or some foul homemade concoction. The spirits who supposedly appeared to folks were nothing more than confederates of the medium who did some serious detective work to find all they could about the clients who sat in attendance. 26 And as far as the ghostly instruments were concerned, they were played by these confederates who wore dark clothing and gloves to conceal their identities. Wow, one would think this kind of exposure would kill the spiritualist movement. It didn’t. A New Faith One might think that with so many mediums being discredited, spiritualism as a practice would soon Paranormal Underground July 2009 die and fade away into history. However, something strange happened on the way to the grave. The millions of faithful around the world stuck to their new beliefs and stuck by the side of their favorite psychic medium. Spiritualism, as a practice, was now a full blown faith that boasted 8 million believers. Some even believed this new-found faith could dethrone the traditional Christian church and become the dominant spiritual belief system of the time. Of course, the church would not go down without a fight. On the surface, spiritualism appeared to be just another sect of Christianity, with some minor differences. Sure, they read sermons, prayed, and sang hymns; however, that is where the similarities stopped and the vast differences became evident. Traditional Christianity teaches the existence of an all-powerful God who was sovereign ruler over the world. Spiritualism saw God more as an abstract idea and a spiritual force rather than a personal deity. Christianity taught the Trinity, the idea that the personality of God comes in three persons: the father, the son, and the Holy Ghost. Spiritualism denied the trinity. Christianity taught that it is an unpardonable sin to attempt to contact the spirit world because the only spirits were angels and demons, and if one attempted to contact the spirit world they ran the risk of being possessed by an evil spirit. Spiritualism snubbed their nose at such an outdated idea; they believed that with the help of psychic mediums, they could tap into that otherworldly realm and contact the dearly departed who, after many years of evolving through various levels of the afterlife, were able to impart great spiritual truths. The new faith, by all appearances, was an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. The Great War and Great Disease As the 19th Century gave way to the 20th Century, spiritualism showed signs of waning, not just as a faith but as a practice as well. Folks were returning to traditional churches, and the industrial revolution was in full swing, bringing many down from the clouds and planting their feet firmly on the ground. However, two events would rear their ugly heads and cause hundreds of thousands to return to seeking answers about existence, and spiritualism would enjoy a comeback of sorts. By the second decade of the 20th Century, the world was thrown into World War I, or what many called the Great War, and an outbreak of influenza killed millions worldwide. With such death, destruction, and uncertainty, many were searching for answers and, most of all, comfort. And people found answers and comfort in the parlors of mediums who led séances to contact their dead relative or friend, who was either killed on the battlefield or succumbed to the horrible virus that was running rampant through many countries at the time. Spiritualism had made its comeback; however, it was short lived. By 1920, the war was over, the virus was now contained, and it was time for life to return to normal. Spiritualism as a religion began to fade away. Mediums who were contracted to contact the dead proved to be phonies and sideshow men even more so than had their predecessors in the early days of the movement. Luminaries — such as Harry Houdini, the great escape artist and magician — were instrumental in exposing many of these mediums as frauds. One conspiracy theory says that Houdini was actually poisoned by some of these huckster medi- ums and died. By the end of 1920s, spiritualism as a force and a faith was all but dead. A New Trend Recently, a friend and I were chatting about spiritualism and we both agreed that spiritualism had made a big comeback . . . but in a different way. I challenge you to turn your television on and not find a channel that isn’t airing some program dealing with ghosts and the afterlife. Go ahead; I’ll wait. Back? Great! I’m sure you probably found at least five or six shows airing right now on the topic. For about 15 years now, reality TV has gained such popularity it was only natural that shows dealing with spiritual topics, such as ghost hunt- So, What Does It All Mean, Anyway? Why would seemingly intelligent people grounded in reality seek out a person who could contact spirits? The answer is the same now as it was well over a century ago. We live in very uncertain times. Not much has changed since the dawn of spiritualism; war is an ever-present specter, except today, we have the ability the wipe humanity from the face of the planet. Many folks see traditional religious institutions as cold, indifferent, and unable to answer many of our questions. Hearing the phrase, “God works in mysterious ways,” over and over again doesn’t satisfy everyone. In the early days of spiritualism, adherents believed in many hot button items of the day. Most spiritualists believed wholeheartedly in the abolition of slavery and a women’s right to vote. They saw the church as either turning a blind eye to these subjects or being a shameful part of them. Spiritualism will continue to have its ups and downs with changing times. But one thing is for sure: Many of the world’s citizens will continue to look for the meaning of life and what happens after physical death. I am still searching for those answers. What about you? Spiritualists believed that with the help of psychic mediums, they could tap into that otherworldly realm. ing, would eventually make their way into our living rooms. Most shows in this particular genre star a psychic medium who claims to be able to contact the dead and pass those messages on to the living. Sound familiar? It should. This is the basic tenant of spiritualism updated to our day of mass media. I will admit I do like some of these shows; however, I remain very skeptical concerning television psychics. Trust me, I believe in psychic abilities only because it brings balance to the universe, but to be honest, I have never had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a person I could say is truly psychic. But I am young. Rick E. Hale, a 35-year-old native of Chicago, is the case manager for Lake County Ghost Hunters in Illinois. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, Rick is happily married and digs Jazz. Rick believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims. If someone wants to challenge Rick to stay in a haunted location overnight near his home in Illinois, he will gladly accept the challenge! You can contact Rick at email@example.com or www. myspace.com/bldrdsun. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 27 Special Report The Role of Mediums & Hypnosis in Law Enforcement By Linda Williams, Martinsville Volunteer Paranormal Society W hile most people cannot help but be skeptical when it comes to the field of parapsychology, many law enforcement agencies have had successful experiences working with mediums and hypnotists. There have been cases where psychics were brought in to “aura read” prospective jury members to aid the state in choosing jurors who would be suitable for certain cases. Neither the public defender nor the judge had any objections to bringing this method within the courtroom walls during these cases. Mediums are also hired to aid in high-profile cases, many times called in by a friend of family member of a person involved in the case. One such case led Scott Peterson’s own mother to hire a medium Noreen Renier, according to Renier, to uncover what truly happened to Laci Peterson. But when the psychic reported back with unfavorable information about her son, Mrs. Peterson immediately cut off contact with the medium. Allison DuBois Works With Law Enforcement Probably one of the most famous mediums that has worked with law enforcement is Allison DuBois, whom the hit TV show Medium is based on. DuBois started out interning in the homicide bureau of a DA’s office and found that when she handled the evi- 28 dence, she could visualize the crime. She says that she can access the mind of both the victim and the perpetrator, but that the criminal’s mind is easier since it runs on adrenaline, which means they process with the mind instead of their hearts. DuBois has spent years aiding police departments, and even the Texas Rangers, on missing persons cases. She has helped many individuals find their way back home. She has also worked as a jury consultant over the years. DuBois has never asked for compensation on any case she has worked on. Allison DuBois, whom the hit TV show Medium is based on, has spent years aiding police departments, and even the Texas Rangers, on missing persons cases. Paranormal Underground July 2009 DuBois also possesses the ability to connect the living with deceased loved ones. Having individuals in her family that work with law enforcement, she understands why some departments are hesitant to acknowledge the psychic’s role for fear of stirring up controversy. When Elizabeth Smart was abducted, DuBois offered insight into the case, and in the end was accurate on the perpetrator’s name and the fact he had been a handyman for the family; however, the police did not see it as credible evidence until after Elizabeth was found. DuBois also helped in getting a system similar to the Amber Alert up and running in Phoenix and has worked in the court system as an advocate for kids. It seems that her young daughter also possesses a special gift. The Use of Hypnosis in Law Enforcement Parapsychology has played a role in law enforcement since the mid-1800s when the first attempt at using hypnosis in the criminal justice system occurred. Since that time, hypnosis has become a more popular tool in investigations. Though the findings in hypnosis sessions are not sufficient grounds alone to bring about an arrest or conviction, due to the fact that the recall could actually produce some untruths, with corroboration it can be effective. It must be noted that police interviews with witnesses might generate incorrect information in the same way that is possible during a hypnosis session. There are generally four reasons why the use of hypnosis with a witness/victim can be thrown out: 1) The person (police officer and/or mental health individual) was incompetent in the proper procedures of the forensic application of hypnosis. 2) The use of hypnosis in a case where it was not warranted based on the circumstances. 3) There is a blatant use of unacceptable questioning techniques. 4) The prosecution didn’t put on rebuttal witnesses to the defense expert. By 1986, more than 800 law enforcement officers in Texas had received training in forensic hypnosis. One officer went on to suggest the backing of legislation to establish minimum training standards, testing, and certification for police officers who utilize hypnotic interviewing techniques with witnesses and victims of crime events. January 1, 1988, this legislation was adopted and signed into law in Texas. Now, officers are required to pass a commissioned administered examination prior to utilizing investigative hypnosis. The first year following the adoption of this act, 100 officers had been certified to conduct this type of interview. Forensic Hypnosis Generates Amazing Results Forensic hypnosis interviews have yielded amazing results. In one interview, a partial license plate number was recalled on a vehicle who had struck down a young child before leaving the scene. The witness was also able to recall features about the vehicle that allowed the police to determine they were looking for the wrong type of vehicle. Based on this information, the police took the next logical step in requesting information from the state about vehicle registrations fitting the description. Forensic hypnosis has been used in some of the country’s most highprofile cases over the years. In the Ted Bundy case, Bundy would stalk grade school and college girls resulting in the deaths of at least 30 women starting in 1974. A witness who had seen the profile of Bundy running from the scene — where two victims were beaten badly Forensic hypnosis interviews have helped authorities generate valuable leads in many cases over the years. and two had died — was put into a hypnotic state and was able to choose Bundy’s picture from a photo lineup. A month later another young girl was killed, and once again under hypnosis a witness was able to pick Bundy out as the killer. Later, Bundy would confess to at least 30 murders and would go on to be brought to justice thanks, in part, to the use of forensic hypnosis. Sam Sheppard, the man Harrison Ford portrayed in the film The Fugitive, was saved as a result of forensic hypnosis. His wife Marilyn was murdered, and Sheppard went on to be convicted, spending 10 years in jail. After many appeals brought forth by Sheppard, his case finally returned to the courtroom. Under hypnosis, Sheppard was able to relive that night for the jurors, and they would go on to vote for acquittal. From 1962-1964, the city of Boston saw the brutal strangling murders of 13 women. With no signs of forced entry, it appeared that the victims had willingly allowed their soon-to-be murderer inside their homes. In 1961, Albert DeSalvo was arrested for posing as a modeling agent. At first, DeSalvo would knock on the doors of many young women and ask to measure them. Soon, his tactics would change, and he began raping the women, which soon led to murder. Under hypnosis, authorities learned details about the murders that DeSalvo could not have known if he were not the Boston Strangler. Though the use of hypnosis in DeSalvo’s case was controversial, it eventually brought him to justice. Forensic hypnosis was also used in the Robert Kennedy assassination and the kidnapping of Jimmy Hoffa. And while details revealed under hypnosis are not enough for a conviction, it has helped many cases find resolution over the years. This technique has also been used in everyday types of crimes, such as robberies, kidnappings, rape, and child molestation. While a lot of minds remain closed to these techniques, when lives are on the line, forensic hypnosis and the use of mediums in the law enforcement field has saved lives and brought many to justice that may have otherwise slipped through the cracks. Linda Williams is the founder/lead investigator for Martinsville Volunteer Paranormal Society in Indiana. She spent six years working in a public library, where she perfected her researching skills. Williams had her first paranormal experience at a young age, prompting her life-long interest in the paranormal. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 29 Special Report Intuition and the Average Joe By Karen Frazier T o many of us, psychic communication is a mystery. Is it a trick, or are those who claim strong powers of intuition tapping into some invisible source that the average Joe can’t access? Much like other types of unexplainable phenomena, it depends on who you ask. Skeptics will tell you that while some psychics are not consciously fraudulent, they have not tested their psychic abilities in any scientific way. Believers will tell you that test results don’t matter, because enough confirmed information is available anecdotally to render testing invalid. Whatever the case may be, psychic phenomena is prevalent. There are all types of psychics out there — from pet communicators (see our interview of Heidi Wright in this issue) to mediums who reportedly communicate with the dead to a variety of other types of psychics who report visions of the future, powers of intuition, and more. But what about everyday intuition? Is it paranormal and relegated to the realm of pseudoscience, or is there more to it? Let’s take a look at the phenomenon of intuition to find out. Is Everyone Intuitive? You’ve probably experienced a moment of clear intuition that 30 proved to be accurate. Usually these moments of intuition are fleeting but powerful. Intuitive leaps have led to some of our greatest discoveries in science, our most stunning works of art and music that can bring you to your knees with its beauty and Many of us have experienced a moment of clear intuition that proved to be accurate. Just what causes this? poignancy. Ask an artist about their inspiration and many will tell you, “It just came to me, fully formed.” Many mothers report heightened intuition when it comes to their children. I, for one, can tell when a lie is about to pop out of my son’s Paranormal Underground July 2009 mouth. I can tell when he’s feeling down. I can tell when he’s hungry. Actually, that last one is pretty easy. He’s a teenager. He’s always hungry. Most people experience flashes of what could be referred to as intuition throughout their lives. In a previous career incarnation many years ago, I used to attend seminars given by a chiropractor named Dr. Ron Oberstein. No — I wasn’t a chiropractor, and I didn’t play one on TV. I did, however, work in a chiropractic office. Anyway, Dr. Ron, as he liked to be called, gave us all a piece of paper at the beginning of the seminar. It was a mostly blank piece of paper with the words, “Intuitive Thought Flashes” typed across the top. Our instructions were to write down any thought that sprang to our mind during the course of the seminar — even if it was something along the lines of ‘don’t forget to pick up laundry detergent on the way home.’ According to Dr. Ron, these thoughts that sprang up were our intuition speaking to us and reminding us of (sometimes) important things. He further explained that the more we ignored these intuitive flashes, the less they came to us, until they stopped coming at all, discouraged by our lack of attention. According to one study, intuition is a nonconscious thought process that arises as one of the natural processes of the brain in conjunction with conscious thought. Dutifully, I would write down these flashes throughout the course of the seminar. By the end of the day, I’d have a pretty good list. Many were mundane — ‘clean the fish tank’ and ‘buy diapers on the way home.’ But others were some pretty good ideas, many that I went on to implement in my life and also in my career with good results. What Is Intuition? What is intuition? Often referred to as the sixth sense, intuition is, by definition, a knowing arising without reasoning or use of the five basic senses. Have you ever been somewhere and felt as if you were being watched, only to turn your head and find someone staring at you? This is a common intuitive occurrence that happens all of the time. How about thinking about someone just before the phone rings and it is that person on the other end of the line? Many feel that this is an intuitive occurrence. Or what about intuitive leaps? One moment you are going about your day without much in your head. The next moment, there is an idea fully formed. You didn’t reason through it. You didn’t think about it. It was just there. Hello intuition. Scientific Studies on Intuition Most evidence of intuition is anecdotal — coming from centuries of stories about people receiving and acting on intuitive hits. But has intuition been studied? Recently, Leeds University Centre for Organizational Strategy, Learning, and Change did an analysis of a wide range of research papers studying intuition. The Study, titled “Intuition: A Fundamental Bridging Construct in the Behavioral Sciences,” was published in the British Journal of Psychology. According to researchers G.P. Hodgkinson, J. Langan-Fox, and E. Sadler-Smith, “Intuition is the brain drawing on past experiences and external cues to make a decision — but one that happens so fast the reaction is at a non-conscious level. All we’re aware of is a general feeling that something is right or wrong.” According to the team, intuition is the result of the way our brains store, process, and retrieve information on a subconscious level, and so it is a real psychological phenomenon that needs further study to help us harness its potential. According to Professor Gerard Hodgkinson, the study leader, “People usually experience true intuition when they are under severe time pressure or in a situation of information overload or acute danger, where conscious analysis of the situation may be difficult or impossible.” The conclusions of the study seem to point to the fact that intuition is a non-conscious thought process that arises as one of the natural processes of the brain in conjunction with conscious thought. Yale University conducted quantitative tests on intuition in the 1970s. In that study, titled “Intellect Versus Intuition — Dichotomy in the Reception of Nonverbal Communication” and published by the Journal of General Psychology, it was noted that some participants were able to read non-verbal facial cues before reinforcement occurred. It was also observed that highly intuitive subjects made decisions quickly, but could not identify their rationale. Their level of accuracy, however, did not differ from that of non-intuitive subjects. Whether or not there is a scientific basis for intuition, it has become a part of our every day vernacular. The human mind, however, remains largely shrouded in mystery, even to the scientists who study it, leaving the truth about intuition something warranting further study. How Do Psychics Receive Information? W hile there are a number of ways that psychic powers apparently manifest themselves, there are five ways in which psychics can receive their information. • Clairvoyance is receiving visual information, such as seeing images and scenes with the mind’s eye. • Clairaudience involves receiving information using the mind’s ear. Those with the gift of clairaudience receive verbal messages or sounds. • Clairsentience is a psychic gift that involves physical sensation. • Empathy involves feeling the feelings or sensing others’ emotions. • Telepathy is also known as ESP or extra-sensory perception. It involves receiving the thoughts of others through direct mind-to-mind contact. Most psychics say that they receive their information through one of or a combination of the above. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 31 Special Report Connecting With Your Spirit Guides By Melissa G. Watts S pirit guides . . . what are they? Who are they? Are they real or just a figment of our vast imagination? How many of us have asked those questions to ourselves or to others? In the world today, we are all so much closer to these beings and closer to seeing through the veil that hides their existence from us in the physical world. Before I go on, let me first try to answers the questions above to the best of my ability. What Is a Spirit Guide? Spirit Guide: A being/entity or group of beings (discarnate) that help, heal, and teach (incarnates) through guiding and directing while on their physical path or journey in the physical world, ultimately leading to spiritual enlightenment. Who are they? These beings have lived many, many lives and no longer have the need to incarnate. Their desire is to help incarnates through lessons they encounter on the physical plane. The spirit guides have mastered these lessons of the physical world and lovingly wait for us to ask for their help. They are sort of like a counselor; one that you can go to for information and guidance. 32 They can be viewed as tour guides, ones that know and understand the best routes on an unfamiliar terrain. They are like farmers who have learned the land and have become one with it. So much so that Spirit guides can be viewed as tour guides, ones that know and understand the best routes on an unfamiliar terrain. each seed planted they have harvested again and again and have the understanding of what is needed to yield the best crops. They understand the terrain Paranormal Underground July 2009 of physical life and now desire to help each of us navigate through this heavy terrain called life. We all come into our lives with a specific purpose and charted course, and their jobs are to help us navigate as best as possible. Moreover, they are not to live our lives for us but to help us live our lives to the best of our abilities. Who Are Our Spirit Guides? These souls have been with us for many lifetimes and some even from the very beginning of our existence. They are highly evolved benevolent beings with great wisdom. Typically most of us have more than one, but there is generally a dominant one. The dominant one has a more familiar feeling than the others, and has been with us the longest. As we grow in our lessons and in our awareness, we sometimes will gain new guides and the others will pull their energy back to allow for the more experienced ones to help guide and direct us as we move forward in our growth and awareness. As we gain a better understanding of who we are, our guides will match the level of our advancement. Some guides will be with us for a few days, coming in to help with a specific task; others a few years; and even others for lifetimes. In some cases, there are times that we may find that our guide may be a family member. Although entities that become spirit guides have mastered the physical realm, they do have the choice to incarnate again, and will do so if they feel this will help you significantly on your path. Spirit Guides Across Cultures Spirit guides have been a significant part of many different cultures for ages. If you look at cultures such as Egyptian, Native American, and Chinese, you will find that these cultures speak distinctively about connecting with the ancestors and respecting those who have passed on. These cultures practice looking to the spirits for help, guidance, and even protection. Looking back in history, it is clear that spirit guides, or the idea of wise and helpful discarnate entities, have always been in existence. The choice to accept or negate their existence depends on the mindset or awareness of the individual incarnate or culture. Through their pure desire to guide and mediate between the physical and the spirit worlds, the ultimate plan is to help us realize we are truly as they are in that we are spirits having a physical experience, not the other way around. The Physical World Awakens As mentioned above, this is a time in our world where we are closest to these entities. There is true awakening happening in the physical world. The physical perspective is beginning to shift, and the world appears to be crying and in pain. So many things are going on around us with job losses, economy crises, and global distress, that it seems fear and suffering are on the In her upcoming book, Lessons of Many Lives, Melissa Watts details her communications with her spirit guide, as well as the lessons sheâ€™s learned from past-life regression hypnotherapy sessions. rise with so many. These things are only taking place in order help us remember who we really are. In doing so, we must turn from our old ways and seek guidance and answers that are not of this world but are of our true being. Our guides stand by, watching and waiting for us to ask for help, guidance, and for a true and better understanding of what our lives, and the circumstances surrounding many of us, are all about. Our spirit guides are on standby to step in upon our asking. Many times, we can strongly feel our spirit guides in times of lifethreatening events or during times of great creativity, when we feel as though what we are doing is effortless and wonderfully blissful, so much so that we become one with the activity. Writers, musicians, athletes, and others tend to feel this more often or have a heightened awareness of it. They may not call it a spirit guide, but surely feel the help or assistance of something. Communicating With Your Guides This is two-fold. We must first acknowledge and accept that they are real. Then we have to learn how to communicate with them. The spirit realm is very different from the dense physical world, and communication is usually done in symbols. You will have to learn the language of your guide, and in the beginning, it will be like speaking a new language. You have to learn how to communicate with them, and just like any language, when you practice and become proficient, you will see that they have always been with you and, in their own way, have always guided you. Each soul/person is different, and the communication is very personal and unique to each individual. What works for one may not work for another, and what may work for one guide may differ from another. There can be several different ways that spirit guides communicate to us; however, in general, the communication is telepathic. One way is clairvoyance, the ability to see without using your eyes, gaining information without using the five senses. Your guides may give you moving pictures like a movie or a still frame that you see with your inner or third eye, and this will give you the answers that you seek. Clairaudience is the ability to hear without using the ears. This is that little voice inside that you hear sometimes, and then you make the decision to listen or not. Claircognizance is the ability to know something without any physical explanation of why you know it. Your guide can surely give you answers and information in this way too. They are many ways communication can be developed between you and your guides; some may use music through songs on the radio. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 33 Special Report You may be asking for resolution about a condition and turn on the radio, walk into a store, or pass by a car that is playing a song that resonates with and gives the answer you’ve been seeking. Sometimes your guide may simply send an actual person to tell you exactly what is needed for you to know in order to help or guide you in the right direction. Whatever way you discover to communicate with your guide, there is one thing that is certain — you must cultivate the relationship and allow your awareness to open up and expand. They exist. You have your very own guide working to help and guide you on your very personal and wonderful journey. Connecting With Your Spirit Guide Now let’s discuss ways that you can begin to meet and connect with your spirit guides. First, you will need to find time to dedicate to this exercise. You will need to find a quiet space where you are comfortable and can be very relaxed without distractions. Clear your mind and allow the thoughts of the day to disseminate to the background of your mind. Focus on connecting with your guide, on clearing away any preconceived notions, and on allowing your guide to come through. At this time, ask your guide to please come forward. At this point, it is good to state your intention. For example, you wish to communicate with them and are seeking a relationship for the highest good to ensure a higher level of understanding and growth of your life’s purpose. Or, you may just want to say hello and feel or know that they are around. This is completely your choice and the decision is up to you. 34 Establishing a Deeper Connection With Your Spirit Guide Once you’ve reached a comfort level of communication, you can now begin a level of more complex questions, and then full dialogue with your guide, and the relationship and trust will begin to grow. You can ask your guide’s name and how long he/she has been with you. You can ask about specific help you are seeking in the present situations in your current life; you may even want to ask about past lives and the purpose you bring to this life today. This is your opportunity to learn more about who you are and why you are here in this physical realm. What are your lessons, and what are the gifts you bring in order to be of service to others in this present life? This is an opportunity to gain self-discovery and self-mastery. It is a great gift to find our true selves in these times of challenges, but an even greater gift to find that no matter what, we are not alone. I speak from experience, having met my guide personally through Our spirit guides stand by, watching and a hypnotherapy experience some waiting for us to ask for help, guidance, and years ago. I’ve always sensed his for a true and better understanding of what presence and, in some cases, have our lives, and the circumstances surrounding known (claircognizant) that he was many of us, are all about. always around, somehow guiding me in my silence. When we reconnected, soul-tosoul, my life was changed instantly forquestions until you are comfortable ever. I hope that you will find the same and feel or sense the presence of joy and exuberance in life that I have your guide. Continue until you have through an unyielding trust and love in the comfort level that you are truly knowing that I am not alone. I never communicating and can recognize have been alone, and neither are you. your guide’s presence. This practice has no time limit Melissa G. Watts is a past-life regresand can be done for as long as you sion hypnotherapist and the author feel you need too. In the spirit of the upcoming book “Lessons of realm, there are no time limits; nothMany Lives,” in which she details ing is based on time as we know it her communications with her spirit here in the physical realm. The only guide, as well as the lessons she’s timetable is our own, and that is learned from past-life regression when we are ready. hypnotherapy sessions. After stating your intention, then send a thought, a greeting possibly (a hello), or a closed-ended yes or no question. Are you there? Will you communicate with me? Is this 2009? Is today’s date the 20th? Ask one question at a time, and then relax and allow the answer to manifest to you naturally. It may be a feeling, a word, or both. Continue doing this with simple closed-ended Paranormal Underground July 2009 YOUR AD HERE! Advertise in Paranormal Underground. • • • • • • Affordable Rates Target Audience Long-Term Exposure During our magazine’s first year online, we had 45,253 readers and 193,203 unique page views. Our Website is viewed by about 4,000 visitors per month, with 35% of that being new traffic. Our podcasts are listened to by about 500 visitors per month. Go to www.paranormalunderground.net & click the media tab to view ad rates. Contact KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net for more information July 2009 Paranormal Underground 35 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites The Ghosts of the Silver Queen By Townsend Twainhart R eno, The Biggest Little City in all the world, is one of my favorite destinations. Not because of the gambling and shows, but because it’s close to two of my all-time beloved places to visit. Number one is Bodie, California, an old gold rush, ghost town in California, and number two is the silver capital of the west, Virginia City, Nevada. The once rustic, little town in Nevada now has a booming tourist industry with boardwalks, museums, shops, and a plethora of tiny casinos. My favorite of the casinos is the Silver Queen run by Tiny Carlson. The old place is huge, with immense ceilings and a large hotel attached. In the center, hung on the north wall, is a huge oil painting of one of the previous owner’s girlfriends from the late 1800s. The portrait is more than 18 feet high and six feet wide. Her painted dress is adorned with 3,261 silver dollars, and her belt features 28 $20 gold pieces, all from the city’s silver and gold rush period minted coins. I had always wanted to do a piece on the hotel and its unique history, and talk with my old friend Tiny one more time. So combining business with pleasure, I met with an old girlfriend of mine in Reno, and we were in Virginia City in about 25 minutes. 36 The Silver Queen Inn is a historic hotel located in the center of Virginia City, Nevada. The location features an authentic 1870s saloon, wedding chapel, and plenty of paranormal activity. The casino was much as I always saw it in my mind over the years, a tall high interior narrowing back from the rustic wooden sidewalks away from the main street. But to my amazement, the slot machines were all gone and there was only a scant interior filled with empty tables. Only the old wooden bar remained. Not shy around any bar, I sat down with my friend, Heidi, and bought us both a drink; mine beer and hers a diet Pepsi. As I sucked down the first beer of many that day, I talked with the bartender, Karen Garcia, asking her about the casino and what had happened to it. The Casino had gone through some difficulties with Paranormal Underground July 2009 ownership between family members. But one of Tiny’s daughters, Connie, had retired from teaching and wanted to run the place for her now elderly father. By the time I was through talking to the bartender, we had an appointment with Connie later that afternoon to talk about the history of the place. The normally busy casino was extremely quiet that morning, a fact I am appreciative of when I do interviews. A Ghostly Encounter Then, Jullian breezed into the place. Being a writer, I can be quite nosey at times, but what she related to me was strictly manna from heaven. She had spent the night before in the hotel and had a ghostly encounter, which, I was about to discover through my adventure at the Silver Queen, was eerily true. Jullian was thin, and side-by-side next to Heidi, she looked like a lithe tenth grader. Her red, sleeveless dress combined with sneakers made for quite a sight as she strode into the Silver Queen casino and bar in Virginia City that day. Her eyes were red, and she was as fidgety as a cat on a hot griddle. I could tell that she was filled with booze and fear. “Are you all right, Miss?” I asked as she sidled up close to me and leaned across to talk with the bartender, Karen. “No, do I look like I’m all right? I just had an awful experience last night upstairs. I had a visitor and it wasn’t a person.” “Oh, so the ghost came to visit you,” Karen the bartender said smiling. Jullian didn’t smile back, almost wincing with the thought of what had happened. “Excuse me,” Karen said, “This is Townsend Twainhart, a writer doing a story on the hotel, and his friend Heidi, a psychic.” Heidi wasn’t actually a psychic, but an animal communicator. People always misconstrue what she does, but I wasn’t up to correcting the bartender just now. Jullian stared incredulously at us, as if she had finally found a worthy audience for her tale. “A writer huh?” “Yes Ma’am.” “Doing a story on the ghosts?” “No, actually I was doing a story on the history of the place, but I’m up for whatever comes. So . . . what happened last night?” She wobbled for a moment, catching her balance on Heidi’s shoulder. “Well first off, I mean to tell you that I’m a good Lutheran and a good Townsend Twainhart, a California historian and writer, began routine research of the Silver Queen’s history, but ended up investigating paranormal claims with friend and animal communicator Heidi Wright. Christian.” A sentence she would repeat several times during the conversation. “But last night . . .” “What happened?” “Well . . . I was in room 12, and the door started to shake back and forth. I had the window open, and at first I brushed it off as the wind. Did I mention that I’m a clinical psychologist and pharmacist?” “Unh-uh,” responded Heidi, who was just as interested as I was. “Yeah, so the door between the rooms started shaking really bad, and I knew no one had rented any of the rooms next to me, so it really spooked me, and I got the hell out of there.” “About what time was that, do you remember?” I asked. “Yeah it was 10:30. No . . .” she trailed off pausing for a moment. “I looked at my watch, it was exactly 10:37.” “So, the door shook and you left?” “No there was more than that,” she blinked her red eyes, taking a Kleenex out of her pocket and blotting the water from each. “Like what?” I asked. “Well, like I said, I thought it was the wind at first so I got up. You know how wind can rattle a door. I was pretty tired from a day of biking and hiking with my friends . . . and I only had one drink under my belt before I went to bed.” “Did I mention that I’m a good Lutheran and Christian?” Heidi and I glanced at one another in a way that friends have July 2009 Paranormal Underground 37 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites shook her head, gave me her address, said a hasty goodbye, and breezed out the door just as abruptly as she had entered the place. What had started out as a historical story suddenly became a paranormal investigation. I was glad my companion was more adept at this stuff then I was; at least there was a chance she would see something. During the late 1800s, a despondent, pregnant women, abandoned by her miner boyfriend, committed suicide within one of the Silver Queen rooms. Is this the source of reported paranormal activity? of acknowledging what they both observed. “Anyway, the door rattled violently, so I got up and went over to it and grasped the knob thinking that someone was trying to break in. The knob began to slowly twist back and forth in my hand. I was getting really scared by now; the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up like crazy. Then, with a deliberate slowness, I saw the deadbolt latch come up, it began to inch back, and the knob started to turn slowly in my hand to open the door. That was all I could take. “Wow, I was so scared, I was shaking inside and out. I grabbed some things and jetted out of there never looking back. I’m never going back up there again . . . ever. I came downstairs and called Tiny, the owner, and Connie, his daughter, 38 and told ’em that someone tried to break in.” She looked back and forth between Heidi and me. “Well . . . I wasn’t going to tell ’em it was a ghost . . . ’Cause I’m a good Lutheran and Christian.” “Are you from here?” “No, I’m from Lake Tahoe.” “How do you spell your first name?” “ J.u.l.l.i.a.n. Last name is Schulz. I’m the granddaughter of Charles Schulz.” “You mean the Peanuts artist?” Heidi asked. “Uh-huh, old Grand-dad.” Heidi and Karen spent time trying to calm Jullian down as I furiously wrote my notes. “I’ve got to get out of this place. I . . . I . . . just can’t be here anymore.” I offered her a drink, but she Paranormal Underground July 2009 Talking With the Silver Queen Owner Later that afternoon, I met with Connie, Tiny’s daughter and now operator of the Silver Queen. She was casually eating a bowl of salad as she talked with me. After introductions, I asked her if she would tell me about the beautiful, old place. She began, “The place was originally called the Mollinelli Hotel and later named the Silver Queen because of the immense painting and silver display. It was originally built in 1862 . . . burned down and rebuilt in 1876.” She pointed with her fork toward the upper hotel portion. “A lone miner left his girlfriend in the hotel in room 11, pregnant and alone in the late 1800s. When he did finally return, he told her he was leaving and never wanted to see her again. She grew despondent after that and committed suicide.” “In the same room?” I asked. “Yes. She’s one of our resident ghosts. Of course, we’ve redone it and all the rooms — new paint, carpeting, furniture, antique decorations, even mints on the pillows, you know,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. “It’s quite a place,” I said, looking around at the huge empty space. “It was. A family dispute with my sister ruined it for a casino, but I’m going to bring it back.” About then, her cell phone rang; she reached into her pocket, pulled it out, flipped it open, and answered it. “Hello, the Silver Queen. Ghost Hunters, huh?” she said looking directly at me with a grin. “When would you like to reserve it? OK, how many rooms? The whole thing, huh? Sure, sure. I’ll send you a letter of confirmation after I get the deposit.” After getting addresses and concluding her business on the phone, she said, “Would you like to see some of the rooms and upstairs Mr. Twainhart?” I thought for a moment that she was going to give us a tour. Instead, she asked Karen for the keys to 11 and 14 and gave them to me. “Take your time, Town, and give Karen the keys when you’re done. I’ve got some things to do, but if you have any more questions you can call long flight of stairs up. The carpet was one of those old ribald casino styles, linked forever with the large busy floors of extinct places like The Comstock and the old Nevada Club in Reno. The atmosphere was thick and heavy, with an odd energy I hadn’t felt before. I could sense something else, but to me it was unclear. Heidi pointed to the top of the stairs. “There’s something up there.” “Good or bad?” I asked, looking up at the second story landing. “Oh nothing malevolent, yet,” she replied somewhat decidedly. I never thought I would be asking that question of anyone. As a trained State investigator for many years, that question would never have come up. Yet some 18 years later, in the Silver I could sense something else, but to me it was unclear. Heidi pointed to the top of the stairs. “There’s something up there.” me or send me an e-mail anytime.” She shook my hand, smiling warmly, and with a wink told me to have fun and send her a copy of whatever was printed. The Investigation Begins A few steps out of the bar and once-thriving casino, to the left along the coarse boardwalk, was a heavy wooden door leading to the hotel upstairs. I paused at the door looking at my friend. “Are you ready for this?” I asked. “As ready as you are?” she said with a cute grin. Through the door we went, standing on a small landing below a Queen, the question seemed ripe for the asking. Before researching this story, I had already shot tens of thousands of photographs for various articles, but nothing like I was going to photograph this day. I stuffed the keys in my pocket for the two rooms we had been given permission to enter, and headed up the stairs slowly. Normally, I shoot from a historical point of view — walls, angles, textures, and unique architectural features. But today for a change, I was shooting all of that, plus what I felt might be there. It was a very strange sensation. The second landing was short Heidi Wright, Animal Communicator H eidi Wright, affectionately known to her fans as Mac, started her career as an officer with the California Highway Patrol. After 13 years and several on-the-job injuries, she was forced to retire from State service. In 2002, she began a new career dealing with animal problems. Finding that she had a keen awareness for understanding animal neurosis and psychosis, she further developed her skill under the tutelage of Amelia Kinkade (movie star and pioneer in the animal psychic field). Since that time, Heidi has operated her own thriving business under the name of Critter Connections, www. critterconections.net. In 2006, Heidi was asked to do a television show in Japan for Nippon Network (Genius! Mr. Shimura’s Animal Land) and frequently goes overseas to film. She is also doing a TV show for Korea, called Zoo TV Animal Farm. In-between, she gives seminars on how to communicate with animals in the United States and Europe. At home, she tends to individual clients from all over the world. Please see Heidi’s Investigator Spotlight on page 18. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 39 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites Twainhart snapped these two consecutive shots on a staircase landing in the Silver Queen. In the first shot (at left), he captured a large, white orb, which he also visually saw through his Nikon’s viewfinder. The second shot (at right) was snapped a mere microsecond later, and the orb was gone. and turned left; eight feet later it T-intersected with a long hallway. Along each side of the hallway were the doors of the now vacant rooms. Above it were two oval, wrought iron covered skylights that stretched above the second floor to let a filtered but bright light in. Even in my limited capacity I could sense something on the initial landing; it was no doubt a very busy place in the old days. As I was shooting, at first I wasn’t getting anything, at least that I knew about. However, as we rounded the hallway, I just knew there was something on the landing behind me not wanting to have its picture taken. So I hid just around the corner for a few minutes taking the odd picture or two where it T-intersected. Then, my old investigator instinct took over, and turning the camera on, I jumped around the corner of the landing and shot not once, but twice. In the first shot, I captured a large, white orb on the 40 wall or near the wall, and I saw it through the finder of my Nikon. (It was the only one I ever saw for sure, while shooting the old hotel.) By the time I squeezed off the second shot, a mere microsecond later, it was gone. I wasn’t spooked but completely puzzled by what I’d seen and photographed. We both shot the room where the girl had committed suicide, the hallways, and stairways. I didn’t know what I had captured until I downloaded the pictures onto my computer and made them larger. There were more than 32 photographs that contained the mysterious floating orbs. Heidi shot double the amount of orbs I did. I think she tended to attract them. One of the best shots she took was downstairs toward the back of the casino. The shot contained more than 17 of what I call Ectoplasmatic Spheroids, commonly called Ghost Orbs. They were floating around her like bubbles in a bubble machine. Paranormal Underground July 2009 Are There Ghosts at the Silver Queen Hotel? I’m going to ask and answer the clarifying questions that a good investigator always needs to about any story, especially a ghost story. Are there ghosts there? My answer is, I’m pretty sure there are. Could I sense the ghosts there? I couldn’t sense or feel the ghosts like my friend did, but I could sense something hidden, and perhaps something a little unworldly. What evidence do I have to prove the ghosts are there? To me, the photographic evidence is immense. And, the unsolicited corroboration by Miss Schulz and Connie is titillating and certainly beyond dispute by me. Did my friend, the psychic Heidi Wright, sense something, some ghostly presence there at the Silver Queen? I asked her the same questions I asked of myself. Are there ghosts at the Silver Queen, and if so, what evidence do you have that supports it. “Most definitely, she said. “There are many. When we walked up the stairs, before we even got to the first floor, I could sense some energies on the stairway. Then, when we reached the first story, where many of the hotel rooms are, including room 11, there were more entities lingering in the hallway. When I sensed these, I did not get images of the exact spirits, but could sense them about us. However, when we opened the door to room 11, I sensed a huge wave of anger. You could feel the tension in the air. The angry energy in room 11 was like that, except more intense, like a slap in the face. “As I crossed the threshold, I ‘saw’ a woman sitting at the table inside the room. The woman in spirit seemed to be about 25 years old. She was dressed in 1890s attire, with a fitted corset top to her dress, and a full ruffled skirt. Her hair had been pulled back and pinned up. The neckline on her top was square. She was leaning back against the chair, in a very casual pose, with her right hand hanging limp from the wrist over the edge of the antique table. “She was looking right at me, and said in a seething tone, ‘Get out of here, you bitch!’ She was quite angry and continued to glare at us as we quietly walked about ‘her’ room and took photos. Her image faded a few seconds after her nasty greeting. “In the middle of the hallway, we approached the stairwell leading to the second floor rooms, and I sensed several more energies. When I stopped there and focused on them, I could see three young boys playing at the base of the stairwell. All of the boys were dressed in what I would estimate are 1910-1920s fashions. I took numerous photos of the stairwell, and their energy orbs showed up in several of them. “On the second floor, at the back of the hallway, there was a shadowy man that was dressed in western wear. I ‘saw’ him get pushed over the railing, boots up in the air, and hear a girl cussing at him in the background. When we returned to the bar and the ground floor, I was attracted to the rear near the entrance to the wedding chapel. I felt a lot of energies and shot numerous photographs. One of them taken with a digital camera, later revealed at least 17 orbs. “So, as a psychic I would say it is definitely haunted. As a paranormal investigator, I was able to take photos that revealed orbs in the places the energy was perceived. I don’t need convincing. This place is full of ghosts. Some of them are playful, but many are bitter or angry.” As a writer and investigator, I think the best way for anyone to gauge what is actually there is to go to the Silver Queen yourself. The area and town are delightful, and like Connie, the owner, says, “We have very reasonable rates, from $50.00 to $125.00. We don’t have phones, and we don’t charge for them . . . and you can bring your own entertainment, or wait for the ghosts.” Townsend Twainhart, a noted California historian, is also published as Chris. J. Wright. He has written hundreds of articles, stories, and poems for commercial magazines, first published in the International Game Warden in 1985. A few, of the other magazines he has written for include Blazing Adventures, Feathertales, LOST, and FATE. He was also a columnist for Lost River Star, Capitola Courier, and Butte Valley Newspapers. His first book came out in 2005, entitled “Bill and the Purple Cow in Oz.” For more information, visit www.myspace.com/ townsendtwainhart. The Silver Queen is huge, with immense ceilings and a large hotel attached. In the center, hung on the north wall, is a huge oil painting of one of the previous owner’s girlfriends from the late 1800s. The portrait is more than 18 feet high and six feet wide. Her painted dress is adorned with 3,261 silver dollars, and her belt features 28 $20 gold pieces, all from the city’s silver and gold rush period minted coins. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 41 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites My Stay at The Myrtles Plantation By Ryan Tackitt, Paranormal Investigators of Central Texas I f you look up listings of America’s most haunted places, one location is almost always at the top of the list: The Myrtles Plantation. A 212-year-old Southern plantation turned bed and breakfast, The Myrtles is located in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Its history is deep, mysterious, and well-known. This is my experience at The Myrtles Plantation . . . This last winter my two sisters, Tonya and Shannon, approached me about taking a trip somewhere interesting. They had decided on visiting The Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana. It took about a nanosecond for me to say yes. Ideas of things I wanted to do while there immediately started popping into my head. Both of my sisters had gone on investigations with me before, so they weren’t newbies to the paranormal. Also, my nephew, Trevor, a junior investigator, would be along for the trip. After a couple of months of planning, the date was set. We would leave Waco, Texas, on May 15 and stay until the 17. Anticipation was growing faster than I could keep up with it. To make the time pass quickly, I started researching anything and everything I could about The Myrtles. I found a book written by Frances Kermeen Myers who used to be the 42 owner of The Myrtles from 1980 to 1990. The book was well written and very easy to read. It also has a floor plan and timeline in the back. I enjoyed the book very much, and it helped me to plan the investigation that we were about to embark on. I also visited several Websites that contradicted the history provided by the book, which made me leery of what to expect. However, several stories online, written by people that visited The Myrtles, helped give me ideas of what I hoped to see while staying there. Contradictory historical claims surround the many legends of The Myrtles Plantation. Touring The Myrtles May 15 finally arrived, and we quickly loaded up and started driving east. It took us about eight hours to reach our destination. We arrived at 5:30 p.m. and were greeted by Hester, who pretty much does everything there and calls everyone babe and darling. She checked us in, gave us our keys, and showed us to our room. We put our suite cases and bags up in our rooms and then headed Paranormal Underground July 2009 to the Carriage House Restaurant, where we ate dinner and planned the evening. The food was excellent, and we filled our stomachs quickly. From there, we managed to work our way outside to look around while it was still daylight. Afterward, it was time for a mystery tour of the house. The tour is given in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays and delves into the haunted history of The Myrtles. I won’t go into much detail, otherwise you won’t want to take the tour if you go. The tour lasted about an hour and was given by Hester and another guide. It was a great tour, and we managed to debunk some of the paranormal events reported to take place inside the house. The Investigation Begins After the tour, we retrieved our equipment to begin our investigation. We kept it simple, opting to use only digital cameras and camcorders. We found out that The Myrtles is rather hard to investigate with about 20 other people doing the same thing. We walked around and took pictures for a while before deciding to turn in for the night. My nephew, Trevor, and I were booked into the Azalea room, which is part of the converted slave quarters. My two sisters, Tonya and Shannon, were Labeled one of America’s most haunted homes, The Myrtles Plantation is a 212-year-old National Register home built by General David Bradford, also known as Whiskey Dave. staying in the Fannie Williams room upstairs inside the main building. Trevor and I took pictures of our room and set up a digital audio recorder (DAR) to record while we slept. We had planned to get back up at either midnight or 3 a.m. and doing some more investigating. Our bodies decided otherwise. The next morning, we managed to get up out of bed and head over to the gift shop for breakfast. The cook, Moses, can cook. I didn’t want to stop eating but knew that I had to, otherwise I would be sick. Tonya was first down and talking with some ladies from Tennessee. Trevor and Shannon later joined us. We did another tour of the building, but this time it was a historical tour and didn’t mention ghosts or spirits, except for the whiskey kind of spirits. After that, we decided to leave The Myrtles for awhile and figured that Baton Rouge was a good place to get away for a bit. One reason we decided to leave was there was a wedding that morning, and we didn’t want to stay for that. While in Baton Rouge, we visited the USS Kidd battleship. That was impressive, but is a story for another time. We went back that afternoon and visited the St. Francisville cemetery and fell in love with the beauty of the trees, tombstones, and the church there. We decided to go back that night and try an investigation. After eating dinner in town, we visited the St. Francisville Police Department and obtained permission to visit the cemetery at night, and was even told a ghost story about the place. Possible Evidence Caught on Film In-between visits to the cemetery, we stopped off at The Myrtles and walked around. This time, the island was open since the wedding was over. We took more pictures, including one that Shannon took, which ended up being one of the pieces of evidence we collected. It shows the lower body of someone on the island, but we are about 99% sure that no one was on the island when the picture was taken. The legs are on the left side of the picture (on the next page) circled in yellow. That night, we did venture back to the cemetery and conducted a 30-minute investigation before bugs scared us off. We didn’t catch, feel, or encounter anything, but we felt it was still fun. Trevor and I went off with a camcorder, digital camera, and DAR. We walked around for awhile and did some EVP sessions, but never got a response. Tonya and Shannon did the same but didn’t find anything except some neighborhood kids playing around. After meeting back up, we headed back to The Myrtles. Once July 2009 Paranormal Underground 43 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites In the above picture, taken at The Myrtles Plantation, you can see the lower body of someone on the island (circled in yellow on the left side of the picture). We are about 99% sure that no one was on the island when the picture was taken. settled in again, we set our alarm to wake us up just before 3 a.m. so we could do another walk around. This time, we did wake up, or at least Trevor and I did. Tonya and Shannon slept and we decided to let them. We got our camcorders and a camera and headed out. We spent the majority of the time in the courtyard area shooting into the main foyer. I thought I caught a face, but it turned out to be just part of a reflection on the glass. After about 40 minutes, we headed back to bed. The next morning was almost identical to the first, and breakfast was just as good. Shannon came down for breakfast, and Trevor and Tonya later showed up. We ended up talking with a couple that was from Louisiana 44 and staying the night. We exchanged stories and had a good time. We then decided that it was time to pack up and start the long drive home. We checked out and said goodbye to Hester and Moses. They were the best hostess and cook that I have ever met. We left slowly, vowing that we would return one day. On the way home, we took a different route and stopped in Houston to see the Battleship Texas. We had fun on that tour and later found out that it was haunted as well. Evidence Review We didn’t witness or have any personal experiences while at the Myrtles. Other guests did tell us about their experiences during the Paranormal Underground July 2009 nights. One couple had a closet door open while they were asleep. We did get access to the room and found that once the door was shut like they had it, all the paint on it made the door hard to open. This one is unexplained at this time. Another couple had their shoes re-arranged during the night in such an odd way that we were baffled. We didn’t get to see the room or anything, so we chalked this one up as unknown. Their daughter was staying in the next room and had her hairclip come up missing also. So, things did happen while we were there, but nothing we could say was paranormal happened to us. One other thing that did happen was an issue with Shannon’s camera. We visited a St. Francisville cemetery and fell in love with the beauty of the trees, tombstones, and the church there. We decided to go back that night and try an investigation. During the second day after visiting another cemetery nearby, her memory card deleted all its pictures from Louisiana, but all the other pictures she took last year in Texas remained. We were disappointed but figured that maybe she caught something that Myrtles didn’t want us to see. She started over and took more pictures. I think we ended up with more than 500 pictures taken, a couple hours of video, and more than nine hours of audio to review. The other evidence collection issue we had was that the audio recorder malfunctioned and is still malfunctioning. I recorded during the first night that we were there in our room. I left it running all night from 11 p.m. through 7 a.m. When I listened to the audio, I found the first 10 minutes of my conversation with Trevor before we turned in for the night. After that, the audio seems to loop and continues doing that the rest of the way. If I rewind for a bit, the conversation from the beginning is heard no matter what the time stamps says. Another time, a completely different recording comes up instead of what the audio recorder says. I don’t know if the DAR is just having an issue or if something from Myrtles caused it. For the people wishing to visit The Myrtles, there are restrictions. You can investigate anywhere on the grounds and your room that you are in. Most of the house is off limits since its part of the tour, which is understandable. We also didn’t mention to the staff that we were paranormal investigators since we wanted to experience what the normal person would experience. We are planning already for next year. This time, we will tell them in advance that we are paranormal investigators and see how it is different. This is a great place to go even if you don’t go for the ghosts. I really felt at home at The Myrtles. We had such a great time that we are talking about doing this every year. Ryan Tackitt is the founder of Paranormal Investigators of Central Texas. You can e-mail Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. This article was edited by Ryan’s wife, Clara. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 45 Case Files of the Unknown: Cryptids & Mythological Creatures Greek Mythology: The Gods By Jordan Burnes G reek Paganism is a religion that has interested me since as far back as I can remember. It caught my attention when I read a book on the subject by Edith Hamilton. It was not the wording, per se, but the stories themselves that intrigued me. The stories of the love between Gods, their suffering for man, and their ignorance. It was like a fantasy story; however, the more I read, the more I understood. The Gods that loved got their hearts broken; the Gods that suffered for man, suffered to better themselves; and their ignorance was a ploy. I’d like to share with you a bit of what I’ve learned about the Greek Gods, who became rulers over the Earth after winning a great battle against their parents, the Titans. The Almighty Zeus The ‘head God’ was Zeus, the God of thunder. He was married to his sister Hera, the goddess of childbirth and marriage. Zeus conceived many children, including Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Ares, and Hephaestus. There were also many other children conceived from mortal women and made into Demi-Gods, such as Heracles, Perseus, and even King Alexander. Ruling Place of the Gods The ruling place of the Gods was the top of Mount Olympus, where the God’s met and consorted, laughing with each other, deceiving 46 one of many examples of deception perpetrated by the Gods. This marble bust of the “Zeus of Otricoli” is a Roman copy based on a Greek original from the 4th Century. each other, and reveling in the sacrifices of their ever-obedient followers. Many wrongs were carried out on Mount Olympus by the Gods. For example, in one instance, Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty, was married to Hephaestus, the God of fire and metallurgy (who was cast out of Olympus because of a deformity). Aphrodite began an affair with Ares, the God of War. They had a child . . . Cupid. For a long time, Hephastaeus thought cupid to be his child, but he found out from Cupid himself that Ares was his father. This is just Paranormal Underground July 2009 The Underworld In Greek mythology, when mortals die, they are transported to the underworld, where they stay for eternity. The underworld is guarded by a three-headed dog, Cerberus, and is ruled by the God of the Underworld, Hades. The underworld consists of two basic realms. The first is known as Tartarus, where the Titans were imprisoned after their battle with the Gods. Tartarus is also said to be the home to all damned souls. The second realm is called the Elysian Fields. This is basically equivalent to the Christian Heaven, and is where all the heroes and ‘just’ men go after they pass. It is said that Kronos, the father of the Titans, rules over the plains, but others say that he still lies in Tartarus, suffering for eternity. Greek Paganism Today Greek Paganism is not prevalent today, except in some modern Paganistic religions. Greek myths are primarily gleaned from Greek literature. You can learn more about Greek mythology by read such books as Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, The Gods of the Greeks, and The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology. Jordan Burnes, a 16-year-old from Mississippi, is interested in cryptozoology and mythology. Paranormal Underground Is Holding Its . . . 2nd Annual Short Story Contest (See page 75 for more information) Submissions due by September 1. E-mail stories to: email@example.com July 2009 Paranormal Underground 47 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History The Black Monk of Pontefract By Rick E. Hale, Lake County Ghost Hunters T he word poltergeist has a tendency to send shivers down the spine of the serious researchers and the uninitiated alike. Even though most paranormal researchers and investigators agree that a poltergeist outbreak is the most common form of haunting, not all can agree upon what a poltergeist is. Some believe a poltergeist is a psychic manifestation of a young person, usually a female adolescent, undergoing the trials and travails of becoming an adult. Others believe the poltergeist is the pissed-off spirit of a person who shrugged off their mortal coil and intends to be a major pain in the ass to those who happen to live in the house that they once occupied. A religiously minded investigator may believe one or many of the minions of the Prince of Darkness is out to harass and eventually possess a member of the household â€” with an exorcism being the only cure for the afflicted. Whatever the case may be, those unlucky souls unfortunate enough to undergo the depredations of this unseen and violent force know that what has happened or is happening to them is very real and very terrifying. 48 Paranormal Underground July 2009 An Unusual Poltergeist Case Throughout history, there have been many famous cases of families forced to undergo the rage of this unseen force. Despite the terror they endured, they lived to tell the tale. Perhaps the most famous British poltergeist case that took place involved the Hodgson family in Enfield, England. However, when I consider British poltergeist cases, my money is on a case rarely spoken of but well known in the annals of paranormal research: the poltergeist outbreak known as the Black Monk of Pontefract. This case is unusual in that it displayed all the classic signs of the typical poltergeist outbreak, but with one minor difference — an apparition was seen in the home along with the poltergeist activity. Some researchers have labeled this case a hoax due to the appearance of this apparition; however, I respectfully disagree. I have always believed the energy expended by a poltergeist outbreak is powerful enough to attract apparitions who are either in the area or have lain dormant. You be the judge. Snow Falls From the Ceiling The poltergeist in this case made its first appearance on the night of September 1, 1966, in the home of Joe and Jean Pritchard and their two children, Phil (15) and Diana (12), in the small village of Pontefract, England. Joe and Jean and their daughter went away on a small trip while Phil stayed home with his grandmother. The night of the initial outbreak started innocently enough; Granny was sitting in the easy chair indulging in her passion for knitting as Phil ran around the neighborhood with his chums. However, all that would change when Phil entered into the house followed by an icy wind that whipped through the house, causing Signs of Poltergeist Activity • Objects are moved or thrown around. • Objects appear in random places. • Disembodied voices are heard audibly or in EVP form. • Unexplained noises are heard, such as rapping, dragging, thumping, or footsteps. • Individuals are being pushed, tugged, or knocked down by an unseen force. • Ghostly figures or shadows are seen. • Electronics malfunction. • High EMF readings are detected from an unknown source. the door to slam numerous times by itself. Neither Granny nor Phil thought anything of the cold wind despite it being September. Phil greeted his grandmother and went to the kitchen to grab a cold glass of water. Upon returning to the living room, he was greeted with a strange sight, a fine white powder was falling from a space just below the ceiling and directly over the head of granny. Phil and the elderly woman watched as the powder seemed to fall from nowhere and coat everything in sight. The two looked at each other with a puzzled look that seemed to agree, this was definitely beyond human understanding. The two also began to see large pools of water form on the kitchen floor before their eyes. Granny immediately called the water department to report a possible leak. After looking things over, the man from the water commission was just as stumped as Granny and Phil. At first, the two were not frightened by this strange event; however, a heavy chest of drawers that began to sway and move away from the wall quickly changed their minds. The two left the home and stayed the night at a nearby relative’s house. A Family Is Convinced When Joe and Jean returned from their trip, Phil and his grand- mother quickly summarized the strange events that occurred in the house while they were away. Joe Pritchard was known as the typical hardnosed Yorkshire-man type, and would have nothing of this talk of ghosts and ghouls inhabiting his home. Just in case they were there, he would force them to leave whether they liked it or not. Joe’s skepticism would soon turn to belief despite his proclamations. As the days wore on, the activity in the house seemed to raise a notch or two. Bedclothes were torn from their beds, and loud knocks that sounded as if large, heavy hands were banging on the walls were heard at all hours of the day. The latest activity prompted Joe to tell some neighbors what was happening in his home and that he now believed that some unknown force was haunting his family. The friends told Joe they knew of a man, a Mr. O’Donald, who had an interest in ghosts and might help them. Joe was satisfied that perhaps this could help answer some questions as to just what this thing was. When the ghost hunter arrived, the Pritchards filled him in on all they had experienced. Mr. O’Donald knew exactly what the frightened family was dealing with; he told them that they had a poltergeist in the house. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 49 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History The Pritchards did not have a single clue as to what a poltergeist was, and O’Donald quickly went about the task explaining what a poltergeist was. He also explained that a poltergeist was usually fond of ripping up family photographs. After O’Donald departed, the family heard a loud crash come from the upstairs hall, and Joe and Jean raced upstairs to find their wedding picture on the floor. The frame was smashed, and the picture was torn down the middle. Apparently, this unseen force was capable of listening to everything being said in the house. The Pritchards Endure Frightening Activity For weeks, the Pritchards endured violent banging on walls and their possessions being smashed to pieces; however, they decided enough was enough when their daughter, Diana, fell victim to a personal onslaught by the entity. Practically every night the young girl was thrown from her bed to the floor, and when the family sat in the living room, they watched in horror as some unseen presence grabbed Diana by her sweater and dragged her up the stairs. Joe was able to rescue his daughter from the grasp of the unseen hands, but enough was enough. The Pritchards did the only logical thing they could think of to deal with an otherwise illogical situation; they contacted a priest and demanded an exorcism. When it comes to mixing an exorcism with poltergeist activity, the results can oftentimes be disastrous. Most researchers agree that an exorcism will do more harm than good, with the activity becoming far more violent after the ancient ritual is completed, and such was the case with the Pontefract case. When the priest was finished with the ceremony, a knock that 50 sounded like cannonballs striking the house echoed from the walls, and a heavy candlestick leapt from the mantle and floated in front of the priest’s face. The priest was so terrified by the episode, he ran from the house screaming that an evil presence inhabited their home. All the Pritchards could think was . . . now what? The antics of a poltergeist are not always mean-spirited; sometimes a poltergeist shows it has a bit of a funny bone to go along with the terror. An aunt had come to visit upon hearing of the strange goings on in the home. She was a hardheaded skeptic who would hear none of this rubbish concerning a ghost that haunted her relative’s home. When the aunt crossed the For weeks, the Pritchards endured violent banging on walls and their possessions being smashed to pieces. threshold of the front door, the refrigerator door flew open and a jug of milk flew into the front room and came to a stop over the skeptical aunt’s head. All watched as the cap popped off and the contents were dumped over the head of the disbelieving aunt. Needless to say, Auntie became a believer real quick and never returned. The Black Monk of Pontefract After this rather hilarious episode, the poltergeist seemed to take a break for awhile as things appeared to return to normal in the house. However, the Monk would reappear. One night as Joe and Jean lay in bed, they both were awakened by a strange sound in their room. As the couple looked to foot of their bed, Paranormal Underground July 2009 their gaze was greeted by the sight of a large man draped in a black robe that looked like something a monk would wear. The couple watched as the monk seemed to dissipate into thin air. When Joe told one of his neighbor’s about his seeing the apparition, the neighbor told the incredulous man a curious tale. Many centuries ago, a monastery housing Cluniac monks stood nearby. One of the monks committed some serious infraction that caused him to be hanged; perhaps this monk was the cause of the haunting, and not a poltergeist at all. For the next several months, the black monk made numerous frightening appearances, oftentimes just staring at family members before vanishing. However, not too long after, the monk seemed to leave the home, as the poltergeist activity came to an abrupt halt. After two long years of dealing with the frightening episode that terrified their family, the Pritchards were able to regain some semblance of a normal life. Were the events that transpired in the Pritchard home a hoax, as some claim? Or is the Black Monk of Pontefract a legitimate case of weirdness that almost caused an entire family to lose their sanity? What do you think? Rick E. Hale, a 35-year-old native of Chicago, is the case manager for Lake County Ghost Hunters in Illinois. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, Rick is happily married and digs Jazz. Rick believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims. If someone wants to challenge Rick to stay in a haunted location overnight near his home in Illinois, he will gladly accept the challenge! You can contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org or www. myspace.com/bldrdsun. Paranormal Underground Has A Book & Equipment Store! Visit http://astore.amazon.com/paranorunderg-20 and check out our book and equipment recommendations! July 2009 Paranormal Underground 51 Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone? Men In Black: Enforcers of the Lie By Rick E. Hale T hey are watching you . . . you know that right? They bug your phones and listen to your phone conversations. They read and scrutinize every last word in your e-mails. Hell, they are probably reading this document even as I sit behind my computer and write it. And when you least expect it, a long, black car with blazing headlights pulls quietly into your driveway, and three strange men dressed in freshly pressed suits as black as night ring your doorbell. These strange characters that seem to step out of a nightmare are the Men In Black (MIB), and For centuries, people have reported coming if you were unfortunate enough to into contact with shadowy figures dressed from witness a UFO and dared to tell head to toe in black. the tale, they have arrived to Shut You Up. In 1997, director Barry SonWill Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, nenfeld released a very funny tells the tale of two black-clad, super and entertaining movie that would secret agents whose primary goal is introduce a whole new generation to keep the innocent and unsuspectto one of the most enduring and, ing citizenry of planet Earth blisssome would say, most frightening fully ignorant of a long-term alien legends that surrounds the governpresence living and working on our mentâ€™s attempt to cover up the truth little planet. about UFOs. Although, the movie was funny The film Men In Black, which and took a lighthearted view concerning starred two of my favorite actors, 52 Paranormal Underground July 2009 the MIB, it left out the more sinister activities of these enforcers of the lie. Who Are the Men In Black? Researchers who have actually made it their purpose to study these shadowy government agents believe that they may have some precedence in history. For centuries folks have reported coming into contact with shadowy figures dressed in black from head to toe. The witnesses who were unfortunate to meet these nightmarish men believed they had made contact with a manifestation of the Prince of Darkness or one of his evil minions. Historical records, which are subjective at best, tell us that if a good Christian should chance a meeting with one of these beings in black, the entity would demand that the person reject God and worship them. However, shortly after the dawn of the modern UFO era, these black clad beings would take on a whole new mission. Instead of showering good Christian souls with riches if they bowed down and worshiped their infernal majesty, the MIB used the tool of intimidation to shut those up who just so happened to either In 1952, Albert Bender was credited with starting and operating one of the first civilian UFO investigation organizations, the International Flying Saucer Bureau, and a monthly newsletter that was gaining a respectable readership. And after claiming that he had gotten to the bottom of the UFO question, he said he was visited by mysterious Men In Black, who tried to shut him up. witness a UFO or come into contact with its occupants. The strange and oftentimes surreal encounters with the MIB always seem to have some kind of pattern with their appearance. Usually one to three of these dudes will appear at your doorstep wearing a black suit and tie over a crisp, clean, white shirt and large black sunglasses that hide their probing eyes. Usually, but not always, the strangers would claim to be a member of some government organization investigating a claim of a visitation by a UFO. After they gain access to your home using friendly and sugary words, the real intentions of their visit come to the forefront, and the real strangeness begins. The Strange Behavior of the MIB Many who have claimed to have been visited by the MIB reported extremely strange behavior of these otherwise seemingly normal men and, in a few cases, women. When the agent is offered something to drink, they inspect the glass and whatever beverage is in it as if they had never seen a glass or its contents. If the visited party had a dog or a cat, the MIB would immediately ask them to put the animal away because, by all appearances, they were afraid of the animal, who, in turn, appeared to be more afraid of the MIB. Perhaps the oddest thing about the MIB is their strange personal appearance. The skin of an MIB has been described as being pale and waxy, with virtually no lines on their face. In some rare cases, the witness states that the MIB have removed their sunglasses after asking the witness to either close the shades or dim the lights. Their eyes have been reported to be large with black pupils and have an almost hypnotizing effect that seemed to keep a person transfixed. After the initial greeting and niceties, the MIB would immediately go about the real business of their visit. The agent would ask a few short questions about the witnessâ€™ UFO experience, using outdated language that made them sound more like a movie gangster than a professional in the armed services. Shortly after the question and answer session, it has been reported that the demeanor of the MIB turns dark as they threaten the witness with jail time, financial ruin, and even bodily harm if they dare tell another soul about what they had seen. After the witness is properly interrogated and intimidated, the MIB leaves the frightened person and gets into a large, black four-door sedan that seems to appear out of thin air. You may ask if such a thing could be true. Is it possible that there is a group of men and women running around our country scaring the hell out of the hapless UFO experiencer? The answer appears to be yes. Out of the many reports of meetings with these nightmarish characters, two seem to stand out from among the rest. The Albert Bender Case Albert Bender was a gentleman who became intensely interested in the UFO phenomenon as it began to heat up in the early 1950s. Bender believed that many of the craft buzzing about our skies were vehicles piloted by an advanced alien culture, and he was the man who could get to the bottom of the mystery. In 1952, Bender was credited with starting and operating one of the first civilian UFO investigation organizations, the International Flying Saucer Bureau, and a monthly news- July 2009 Paranormal Underground 53 Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone? In 1997, director Barry Sonnenfeld released a very funny and entertaining movie that would introduce a whole new generation to one of the most enduring and, some would say, most frightening legends that surrounds the government’s attempt to cover up the truth about UFOs. The film Men In Black, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, tells the tale of two black-clad, super secret agents whose primary goal is to keep the innocent and unsuspecting citizenry of planet Earth blissfully ignorant of a long-term alien presence living and working on our little planet. letter that was gaining a respectable readership. In his newsletter, Bender began dropping hints that he had figured it all out and had gotten to the bottom of the UFO question. He also said that he would shortly make his discovery known to the world. The one thing Bender had not counted on was that those involved in the “cover-up” did not want the truth to be known, and they would go to any lengths to keep his big yapper shut. One night as Bender was working in his office, he was overcome by a strange tingling sensation that started in his toes and worked its way up to his head. Later Bender remarked to investigators that it felt as if someone had hit him with a mild electrical charge. After shaking the odd sensation off, Bender looked out his window to see a large, black, four-door sedan sitting in his driveway. As he sat there wondering who his late-night visitor could be, he was startled 54 when he heard an exceptionally loud knock on the door. Bender opened the door to discover a tall, gaunt, pale-faced man in a black suit standing on his doorstep wearing large black sunglasses, despite the fact it was late at night. Before Bender could greet this late-night visitor, the man said, “Mr. Bender, if you value your freedom, you will not make your findings on UFOs known to the public.” The Man In Black moved in closer to Bender’s face and hissed, “If you do, you will be incarcerated in a maximum security prison for the rest of your natural born life.” Without saying goodbye, the man returned to his vehicle and backed out of the driveway, all the while staring Bender down from behind his black sunglasses. Bender was terrified by what the mysterious man said, and he never did make his findings known to the public. In fact, he stopped printing Paranormal Underground July 2009 his newsletter and shut his investigations down completely. This particular MIB had done his job; he succeeded in shutting Albert Bender up, using the tried and true method of complete intimidation and fear. However, in 1962, Bender broke his nineyear silence in Flying Saucers and the Three Men, which he said was not a science-fiction novel. Bender revealed that the Men In Black who drove him out of ufology were monsters from the planet Kazik. If this account of an MIB is terrifying, our second well-known account is not just frightening, but downright bizarre. The Herbert Hopkins Case In 1976, Dr. Herbert Hopkins, a respected psychologist and hypnotherapist, was acting as an independent consultant dealing with a few cases of alleged alien abduction. One dark night as everyone else in the house slept, Hopkins sat in his study going over some notes concerning a young man who claimed to have been abducted numerous times by alien visitors. Hopkins was startled when his desk phone let out a long, strange, eerie ring, a ring he had never heard before. When Hopkins answered the phone, a strange, almost robotic monotone voice on the other end identified himself as the vice president of a New Jersey paranormal research laboratory. Before Hopkins could get a word out, the man stated that it was of the utmost importance that he speak with him. The man said that he would be over shortly, and the line went dead. A short time later, Hopkins heard a knock on his door, and when he opened it, he was greeted by a fast-talking man dressed in a black suit and sunglasses that were almost too big for his face. As Hopkins asked the man how he had arrived so quickly, the strange man brushed past him and into the house. Hopkins was shocked by such rudeness and stood at the door for a moment as he watched his visitor look around the front room acting as if he was lost. After closing the door, Hopkins turned to face his rude visitor and terror gripped his heart. Hopkins would later describe the man as having a deathly white pallor that gave him the appearance of the living dead. The strange nature of the man would become even more evident when he removed his hat and glasses. Hopkins felt like fleeing his visitor when he noticed the man was without hair on his head, had no eyelashes or eyebrows, and his pale skin was completely smooth without a hint of blemish. Hopkins also later related to investigators that as they made small talk, the man rubbed his ruby red lips and smeared what looked like lipstick, exposing ghost white lips. When the corpse-like man noticed his error, he explained to the terrified doctor that he was an agent with a special branch of the United States Air Force and that it would be in the doctor’s best interest, as well as his family’s, if he burned whatever research he was working on dealing with UFO abductees, otherwise he would be sent to jail for the rest of his life. Angered by the threat, Hopkins gathered his courage and demanded that the man produce some credentials or he would call the police. The strange man pointed a black-gloved finger in the doctor’s face and growled, “You had better heed my warning.” Are Men In Black secret government officials, or alien beings trying to quell talk of their existence? The anger that Hopkins had felt fled, and fear took over. The blackclad man began to shake his head and say, “Hmm, I had better leave. My energy is getting low.” The nightmarish man quickly brushed past Hopkins and jumped into a black sedan, driving away into the night without making a sound. At first, Hopkins thought this man was nothing more than a lunatic, and he went back to his research. As the weeks passed, his wife and adult children started to tell him stories of strange men dressed in black suits following them around town in large black cars. Mrs. Hopkins related a particularly frightening story to her husband when she said one of these nondescript vehicles attempted to run her off the road into a tree. Hopkins came to the conclusion that his late-night visitor was more than just a crack pot but someone to reckon with. Doctor Herbert Hopkins immediately went into his office and destroyed every shred of research he had accumulated over the years concerning alien abduction cases. Score another one for the cover-up. Are MIBs Government Officials, Aliens, or Fashion Victims? These are only two examples of meetings with the mysterious Men In Black. Over the past 50-plus years, there have been dozens of reports of folks who have dealt with these frightening individuals and have only recently dared to tell the tale. Who are these Men In Black, and what do they want? Some researchers believe they could possibly be the aliens they witnessed who are putting on human suits and scaring the hell out of their targets. Others suggest they are agents of the coverup in league with the aliens, and it is their job to shut us up. Me, I think they are just fashion victims. Hang on. Be right back. Someone is knocking on my door . . . Oh shit, gotta run. Rick E. Hale, a 35-year-old native of Chicago, is the case manager for Lake County Ghost Hunters in Illinois. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, Rick is happily married and digs Jazz. Rick believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims. If someone wants to challenge Rick to stay in a haunted location overnight near his home in Illinois, he will gladly accept the challenge! You can contact Rick at email@example.com or www. myspace.com/bldrdsun. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 55 Cultural Beliefs The Battle Between S Searching for the T By J.D. Harrison I n a recent blog I posted on www. paranormalunderground.net, I discussed the scientific method and the importance of maintaining a neutral viewpoint when making observations regarding paranormal investigation. As a result, many discussions have popped up in the forums arguing science versus religion and skeptic versus believer. This is an excellent example of what I mentioned in my earlier blog regarding a non-biased point of view, as science (the skeptics) and religious dogma (the believers) have always been at odds, sometimes with irreversible consequences. In order to understand this concept further, we must delve into a little history of this epic argument, keeping in mind the importance of maintaining a neutral viewpoint when conducting any scientific investigation and the consequences that can result if one side is given sway over the other. Galileo’s Plight To help us further understand the importance of maintaining a non-biased point of view within investigations, let’s look at a more recent example of how ideas can be influenced due to popular beliefs. In his recent release Angels and Demons, Dan Brown has once again taken a healthy dose of artistic license in interpreting the historic 56 Science (the skeptics) and religious dogma (the believers) have always been at odds, sometimes with irreversible consequences. war between science and religion. In his work, he chronicles the results of the early Catholic Church’s suppression of Galileo’s idea that the Sun, and not the Earth, is the center of our solar system. This is historic fact and the basis of his book, but all other ideas regarding this, such as the group known as the “Illuminati,” should be considered artistic license. In any case, it shows how perceptions can be altered, as many people not familiar with the actual history will take these ideas as fact, biasing their opinions. In the days when Galileo’s ideas were being suppressed by religious ideologies, the Catholic Church ruled early scientific thought with an iron hand. If a scientist did not con- Paranormal Underground July 2009 form to these beliefs, they would be labeled a heretic, a punishable crime of the period. The consequences of this crime included imprisonment, torture, and even death. While Galileo’s plight is one of the most historically well-known instances of the war between science and religion, it is not the only, or most profound, casualty. While we all know the final outcome of this battle, that the sun and not the Earth is the center of our solar system, other ideas that arose as a result of the bias of the period did not end so well and affect our collective conscious thought as a society to this very day. In this article we will examine one of these casualties of war between science and religion Science and Religion: Truth of Our Origin and the profound effects it has had on cultures worldwide. Man’s Role in the Universe Throughout the history of man, we have repeatedly questioned the idea of culture and our place within it. With the inception of anthropology 150 years ago, differing paradigms — or schools of thought — have influenced anthropologists in the attempt to define culture and the role man plays as part of it. In order to examine the continuities and discontinuities of anthropological thought through history, I will examine how anthropologists have viewed culture over the years, and the paradigms that were fundamental in helping them arrive at their conclusions. Historically, the innate curiosity of man regarding the universe, and his place within it, has led us to many things. Questioning such things as where did we come from, how does it work, and why is it here, have led to the emergence of invention, religion, and civilization. As world views developed and civilizations grew, attempts to define the role man played in the universe around him began to arise. The teachings and philosophies of Ancient Greece on the ideas and models of social order played a key role in the social structures and formation of Western societies. Developing the concepts of science, medicine, philosophy, epistemology (the study of knowledge and justified belief), religion, and social order, the Greeks would establish an ideology of the universe and man’s role within it. The principles of these ideas would form the foundations of Western society centuries later. As civilizations developed and grew in Europe, ideologies rooted in the Greek “golden age” views of asceticism (the doctrine that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial, self-mortification, and the like), and hierarchies existing within nature, coupled with the teachings of Christianity that “God’s order” existed in the universe, would prove to be the factors in developing the world views of peoples within those societies. As a result, ideas and beliefs rooted in early religious doctrine emerged that would change early Western societies and their views of the role man plays within them. Understanding God’s Order Attempting to understand “God’s order” in the universe, 18th Century biologist Carolus Linnaeus developed taxonomy, a method for classifying all living things. By grouping all of the known species of the time into a system based on biblical hierarchies, leaders of the early Catholic Church who were in strict control of how early science reported findings, accepted the ideas of Linnaeus, and they eventually were Historically, the innate curiosity of man regarding the universe, and his place within it, has led us to questions such as where did we come from, how does it work, and why is it here; thus, leading to the emergence of invention, religion, and civilization. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 57 Cultural Beliefs cultures, and help to institutionalize the idea of race as a science. One significant finding of the early 19th Century, which helped to change the world views of Western society, was the discovery of fossils. The budding science of paleontology, which sprang from the field of geology, reported finding fossils that were living creatures long vanished from the face of the Earth. incorporated into the religion-based scientific views of the time. During the same period, people were beginning to venture beyond the confines of their societies in an attempt to understand the universe around them. Known as the age of exploration, reports of contact with peoples and cultures unlike their own astounded European societies and sparked the scientific communities to action in an effort to explain the differences within varying cultures as compared to Western European societies. One explanation proposed by German physician Johann Friedrich Blumenbach would lead to the establishment of the concept of race. Blumenbach, considered the founder of physical anthropology, would use the system of taxonomy established by Linnaeus and the classic views of Greek asceticism and 58 Christianity in his attempt to explain the variations that were being discovered within newly discovered human cultures. Believing that no difference existed between races, Blumenbach attributed the variations among humans as due to their geographic location within a post-flood world, in order to maintain his teachings and beliefs in Christianity. While his views supported the religious beliefs of the time that God had created man and all living things, they were not intentionally racist. However, they were ethnocentric and helped to firmly establish the cultural construct of race, which would eventually lead others to develop paradigms regarding races, cultures, and their classifications. This new ideology on the position of man within Godâ€™s order would heavily influence the ways in which science would approach the study of Paranormal Underground July 2009 Changing Views Based on Scientific Study In the early 19th Century, paradigms would develop from the ideologies established about race in the century before. As new developments and ideas were being accepted within almost every field of science, people began to change the way in which they viewed the universe around them. One significant finding of this period, which helped to change the world views of Western society, was the discovery of fossils. The budding science of paleontology, which sprang from the field of geology, reported finding fossils that were living creatures long vanished from the face of the Earth. Being geologists, they realized that in order for fossilization to occur, long periods of time needed to pass. Resultantly, early geologists came to a conclusion that was contrary to the beliefs of creationists: the age of the Earth couldnâ€™t be measured only in thousands of years as taught religion of the time. Instead, it must be measured in millions of years. Immediately controversial, as this new ideology of the world was in direct contrast to the religious doctrine of the time, other areas of scientific study, including anthropology, would eventually accept this new idea and incorporate it into their methodologies. With the concept of the Earth being much older than previously believed, the religious views that had previously influenced early scientific thought began to give way. Anthropologists of the time began to examine race and cultures from the differing paradigms of polygenesis (origin from more than one ancestral species or line) and monogenesis (the hypotheti- cal descent of the human race from a single pair of individuals). These early anthropologists would establish the framework of anthropological paradigms well into the early 20th Century. Swiss-born, Harvard professor of zoology Louis Agassiz supported the polygenesis view in believing variations within man were the result of multiple natural origins. Using his zoology background and principles established earlier by Blumenbach, Agassiz categorized man into races, believing that only persons with European characteristics to be truly human. This highly eugenic idea was a significant factor in helping to institutionalize the concept of scientific racism. Philadelphia physician S. G. Morton supported the monogenesis standpoint. Studying variation within humans using data analysis, and an ethnocentric (the belief in the inherent superiority of one’s own ethnic group or culture) “psychic unity of man” ideology, Morton classified races into hierarchies based on skull measurements. Morton would publish his studies in two volumes, “Crania Americana” and “Crania Aegyptica,” both becoming standard references for anthropologists of the period. The studies by Agassiz and Morton are historically significant in the field of anthropology. While today, it is thought that both men arrived at their conclusions based on preconceived ideas, they would heavily influence the evolution of future paradigms within the science of anthropology. pagos Islands. Intending to study and record the various geologic formations and fossils that existed there, he would fill his journal with observances of the flora and fauna he encountered, noting the variations within them. Returning home to England, he would pour over his notes and, for the next 28 years study his findings. In 1859, Charles Darwin published his results in On the Origin of Species and shook the world. With his theory of evolution, Darwin would not only alter world views, but also change the way science is approached to this day. The field of anthropology was significantly impacted by Darwin’s theory. Viewing the variations in cultures and race, anthropologists began applying these new ideas to Both anthropologists approached the study of man and culture from an optimistic viewpoint, in that they acknowledged differing races and cultural practices to various stages of evolution, but believed that all stages were capable of advancing. Tylor categorized these stages into three groups: savage, barbaric, and civilized, dividing each of these into three subgroups. Morgan was responsible for the terms Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. Both men had little evidence to base their assumptions on, using instead the accounts and observances of travelers and explorers. Social Darwinism Receives Attention Another paradigm of the time to receive attention was Social Darwinism, attributed to British philosopher Herbert Spencer. Spencer applied Darwin’s theory of evolution not only to man, but also to the formation of cultures. He believed that all things — man, societies, and civilizations — started with a very basic form and became increasingly complex as they progressed, and only those able to adapt to change could survive. Coining the phrase “survival of the fittest,” Spencer applied this belief to social classes and felt that each class should be left to their own means, as any interference would disrupt the process of natural selection. Modern anthropologists see Spencer’s eugenic (relating or adapted to the production of good or improved offspring) ideologies on race and social order as biased, ethnocentric, and prejudiced. Unfortunately, the basic views of this paradigm survived well into the 20th Century and still help contribute to Throughout the history of man, we have repeatedly questioned the idea of culture and our place within it. Charles Darwin Impacts the Field of Anthropology In 1831, a young British naturalist and Cambridge scholar accepted a position on the H.M.S. Beagle, a research vessel bound for the Gala- their studies, giving rise to paradigms regarding the origin of man. Early paradigms to arise in anthropology based on Darwin’s theory of evolution were typically very ethnocentric. Using a unilineal progression of man to illustrate the process of evolution from primate to present, races and cultural practices were placed in a hierarchical order, giving rise to the belief that cultural difference and human variation were the results of evolutionary progression. Known as progressivism, two main supporters of this paradigm were American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan and British anthropologist Sir Edward Tylor. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 59 Cultural Beliefs make significant advancements in the field of anthropology and the way all humans are regarded by scientists concerning race. Without the use of a proper scientific methodology, no true scientific discovery can be made; in fact, it may do more harm than good. the concept of race to this day. At the turn of the 20th Century, anthropological paradigms based on eugenic beliefs and ethnocentric views were standard. In the United States, the ideology of ethnicity was beginning to form and laws attempting to control the ‘quality’ of immigrants into the country were passed. Social scientists of the time were categorizing people based on race, intelligence, skin color, and even skull size. Viewed as maladaptive and regressive, any persons thought to deviate from the European standard were denied access to the country. These prevailing world views on culture and the origin of man were about to be challenged with the arrival of a German born geographer, who turned his thoughts toward anthropology. Anthropologist Franz Boas Changes World Views Franz Boas, now known as the father of American anthropology, was responsible for changing the ways in which anthropologists viewed race and culture. Associated with the paradigm of Historical Particularism, Boas believed that races were variations within the human species, and biologically humans are all the same. He argued that every culture is unique and must be studied on its 60 own, feeling that different peoples and cultures were products of the environments from which they developed. Boas strongly encouraged a valid scientific approach and the use of empirical evidence in research. Boas approached different behaviors in cultures from an atavistic (of, pertaining to, or characterized by atavism; reverting to or suggesting the characteristics of a remote ancestor or primitive type) standpoint, and firmly believed that a historic reason for each behavior could be found. He disbelieved the assumption that like causes produce like effects, and showed that by using a relativistic approach when studying cultures, unlike causes could produce similarities. This approach to ethnographic study has become known as cultural relativism (the concept that the importance of a particular cultural idea varies from one society or societal subgroup to another, the view that ethical and moral standards are relative to what a particular society or culture believes to be good/bad, right/wrong). Boas would teach anthropology at Columbia University, producing students like Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Alfred Kroeber, who would continue to Paranormal Underground July 2009 Biased Scientific Observations Lead to Biased Viewpoints While this example may be an extreme representative of the consequences that can result when making a scientific observation from a biased viewpoint, it is historic fact nonetheless. Unfortunately, due directly to the imposing of one side’s belief on another’s, the cultural construct of race has become rooted in our society and is almost impossible to erase, truly a major casualty of the battle between science and religion. I use this historic reconstruction to illustrate a point: Without the use of a proper scientific methodology, no true scientific discovery can be made; in fact, it may do more harm than good. Making observations under the bias of one’s world view can have disastrous results within scientific inquiry, and possibly ruin the efforts of a lifetime of work in the field. So, the next time that we go into a paranormal investigation with the goal of gathering scientific information, we must ask ourselves this question: “Am I a skeptic or believer?” and more importantly, understand why you shouldn’t be. Until next time. J.D. Harrison is a working archaeologist with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and archeology and a minor in history. For the past 30 years, he has studied demonology, spirit manifestation, Cabalistic ritualism, and many other aspects of the paranormal. He has focused his studies on topics like Paganism, Wicca, Druidic, and Celtic practices, and many other obscure religious ritualistic beliefs and practices. AVAILABLE� ON iTUNES!� 100% Of The Album Proceeds Go To StompOutCancer.com� July 2009 Paranormal Underground 61 Fiction: Featured Author Urban By Chad Wilson What if some urban legends are true? If it’s one of the innocent ones, then there is nothing to worry about; but if it deals with a hook-wielding maniac, you’ve got problems . . . Then again, things could be much different than they first seem. How would your life change when faced with the horror of a mistaken idea taken too far? E than squinted his eyes against the glare of the headlights of the oncoming traffic. He had been driving across Texas for the better part of the day, and with the coming of night, he was finally approaching his destination. Decelerating, he pulled off the interstate. Once off the exit ramp, he turned into the parking lot of a small restaurant. Crunching to a halt, he stepped out of his old Dodge pickup, his boots rustling the gravel of the lot as he made his way up to the double doors leading inside. Stopping, he tried to peer inside through the smeared glass, but all he could see was muted movement. Grasping the cool metal handle, Ethan pulled the doors open, the aroma of food wafting out to greet him, that and the heat — moist warmth from the humidity that fogged the windows within. ***** He had come to the small town of Van Horn, Texas, looking for answers, ones he had been seeking since that night years ago. It hurt him to think of it even, and that was with the fog of years between then and now. Taking a seat in one of the booths, he stared down at the plastic table top, grunge evident on its worn exterior. A menu sat before him, 62 eggs, bacon, and hash browns on its thin cover. He was startled by the country twang of the waitress as she stood over him, pen and order book in hand. Smacking her gum, she eyed him before saying, “What’ll it be, honey?” She looked back toward the kitchen as he looked at the menu, Paranormal Underground July 2009 his mind unable to focus on its contents. Damn, he was tired. “Sorry, it’s been a long day, “he stated. After a short pause, he continued. “I’ll just have a cup of coffee . . . oh, and today’s paper, if you got it,” he added as the waitress started to turn away. “Sure, Hon. Hey Ron grab that newspaper out of the back.” Winking at Ethan, she grabbed the paper from the bar, handing it to him. “Anything else Hon?” But Ethan was too engrossed in the paper to pay any attention. He searched the paper for anything that would relate to that night over three years ago. Any mention of a hit and run; sometimes small town newspapers would recap past murders or unexplained deaths near the time of their anniversary. He was surprised that the FBI hadn’t come after him yet. He was taken back to that night as his coffee steamed in front of him. ***** It seemed like a lifetime since he had driven this same road on his way to El Paso. He had been travelling to his Mom’s house from Texarkana. A long drive as day turned into night. But, he kept driving in the hope of reaching his destination by late night. He had moved to Texarkana after getting his parole, a chance for him to begin a new life free from the troubles of his youth. It took some work, but they eventually transferred his probation. Working as a data-entry specialist, thanks to training he was given while serving time at the Otero County Prison Facility, he soon got into the swing of things. He liked his job, but his true passion was painting. In the past year, he made an impression in the artist community, a few sales here and there, many considering his work as avant-garde. Apart from his occasional imbibing of drink, Ethan thought he had a good handle on his life. Sure, he had a slight anger management problem, but he was improving in that area as well. He had to be careful, since any screw-ups on his part could send him back to jail. He never wanted to go back there. Ever. Lost in his thoughts of the past, he almost missed the shadowy form on the side of the road. Reflexively, he hit the brakes. Even now, he had no idea why he stopped. Maybe it was the thought that it could just as easily have been a stranger stopping for him. He welcomed the dark figure as the stranger slid roughly into the seat beside Ethan. The man’s only response was a gruff, “Thank you,” muffled beneath a flowing grey beard. Soon Ethan was cruising on into the night, his destination a few hours away. He examined his passenger out of the corner of his eye. He looked to be an older gentleman, but it was hard to tell in the darkness. He wondered what the fellow was doing out in the middle of darkness. It was with a sense of the surreal that Ethan looked back to watch the road in front of him, trying to think of what he should do next. What if the guy was a psychopath, like some sort of urban legend? Who in their right mind would be out in the desert of Texas this late at night? An eerie feeling descended upon Ethan as he watched both the road in front of him and the dark figure beside him. Wild thoughts as to who the guy was and what he intended to do raced though Ethan’s head. His time behind bars did little to alleviate his suspicious nature. Maybe it was nothing, but any rash moves on the weirdo’s part and Ethan would let him have it. Balling his fist, he drove into the night, the road in front of him illuminated by the glare of his brights. Maybe he should stop and tell the guy to get out, but he wanted to wait until he reached a gas station or what have you. No reason to let the guy do anything with no one around to watch. Thus prepared, Ethan guarded against the stranger while keeping a lookout for civilization. He wanted to think he was overreacting, but he cursed his sudden kindness all the same. One thing he had learned in life was to mind your own business. Obviously, he had grown soft in the intervening year since he had last been to El Paso. He needed to be more thoughtful of his actions in the future. But then it happened, and it happened so quickly that Ethan was unsure, even until this day, what exactly transpired. The dark figure seemed to hunch over, as if he was digging something out of his pocket. nowhere this late at night? “So, where are ya’ headed man?” Ethan asked. When no response was forthcoming, Ethan glanced the stranger’s way. “I said, where are ya’ headed buddy?” This time Ethan was getting a little angry. At least the guy could have the courtesy of answering him back. All that he received in response this time was another mumbled reply. Ethan looked into the darkness of the stranger’s face as he turned to look at Ethan. The light from the radio, which was playing some hip hop station, did little to penetrate the ***** The dark figure seemed to hunch over, as if he was digging something out of his pocket. Ethan started to tell the guy to stop, when the stranger pulled something shiny July 2009 Paranormal Underground 63 Fiction: Featured Author from his coat. Slamming on the gas, Ethan hoped to keep the fellow at bay by swerving his car on the road. He knew the stranger had a knife and was even now opening it to cut his throat. Ethan saw a flash and slammed on the brakes hard, throwing the guy against the dash. Ethan’s seat belt kept him firmly in place as he felt the tug of the restraint as the car swerved its way down the Interstate. The car took off on the loose gravel on the side of the road, skidding out of control. Desperately, Ethan tried to regain control of the vehicle. Realizing it was a wasted effort, his mind raced as to what to do next. He could see an embankment ahead, and in a maniacal gesture, Ethan opened his door and threw himself from the car. Pain hit his body as he slid across the loose gravel and dirt. He finally stopped, the side of his face stinging from being dragged across the ground. He touched his face and grimaced. And as he pulled his hand away, loose pieces of rock fell away from his face. His attention was quickly pulled elsewhere, as he heard his car hit something in the distance, probably the dirt hill he had seen before he jumped. Lying there for what seemed like an eternity, Ethan finally gathered the energy to pull himself up. He could see a light in the distance, which he took to be his car, though it looked like one of his headlights had busted in the crash. Pulling himself up, he limped in the car’s direction. Damn . . . it had run out into the desert some ways. He hoped it would still start. Cautiously, he moved toward the car, in fear of the knife-wielding maniac. Surely he hadn’t survived that crash. 64 Ethan bent over to catch his breath as he tried to quiet the fear causing his heart to beat madly in his chest. He looked up and resumed his slow approach to his car, finally reaching the vehicle’s back end. It looked like the right front half of his car had buried itself in the dirt embankment. It was then that he noticed that the passenger door was opened. ***** Slowly, he moved down the right side of the vehicle. As he approached the open door, he could see from the lights of the dash that no one was in the seat. Ethan frantically searched around; grabbing his flashlight out of the glove box, but the only evidence of the stranger was a trail of blood leading out into the desert. The seat also had blood on it, as well as the dash. Paranormal Underground July 2009 Maybe the police would understand, but given his past, Ethan could only see more prison time in his future. There had to be some way. Hell, the guy didn’t even know his name. He thought about going and searching for the stranger, who was obviously injured. Then again, he had gotten what he had deserved. Ethan looked long and hard into the darkness of the desert before turning and grabbing the open passenger door. “So be it,” he said quietly to himself. And closing the passenger door, Ethan pulled himself stiffly around the body of the car, and climbed in behind the wheel. Turning the key, he was surprised when it started on the first try. Though it sounded a little rough, Ethan figured it might make it to El Paso. He would have someone look at it tomorrow, after he had cleaned it up and washed off the blood, of course. He hoped the stranger was alright, but then again, he deserved whatever fate he got for pulling a knife on Ethan. At least he hadn’t known the guy’s name’ that would make what he was going to do all that more difficult. Ethan pulled onto the road, and his car limped off into the night. And as his vehicle labored back onto the Interstate, Ethan yearned for his Mom’s embrace, for her to tell Ethan it would all be okay. His mom had always been there for him, even while he was in prison. He would not let her down again. With that thought in mind, he made his way toward his childhood home. die in the desert. He contemplated returning, but rationalized to himself that he had already tampered with evidence, which would make it harder on him. The stranger was most likely dead. He would not return to jail, simple as that, and so the inopportune hitchhiker had turned into another casualty of a cowardly heart. In the end, Ethan had created his own urban legend, one that never needed to happen. Ethan had grown from the events of that night. Now, he was not only living for himself, but was also living the life that the vagabond had never had. Ethan was living two lives, his own, and the stranger’s, to make up for what he had taken. had wanted to be as a child when he grew up. How old had Buck been when Ethan had killed him. Did he have any family? But all that was for naught now. ***** Wiping the tears from his eyes, Ethan half imagined a dark form approaching his car. The passenger door opened, and the darkness that Buck had become in Ethan’s mind sat in the same seat he had sat in on that tragic night years ago. Ethan started to apologize, but the words would not come. Choking up and unable to speak, Ethan wondered, what do you tell someone you have wronged so much? How do you even begin to apologize? The figure faded, becoming an empty seat again, as the last rays of the sun held their last desperate grip on the horizon. A stiff wind, cool against his skin, blew as Ethan opened his door. Silver harmonica in hand, he trudged with leaden feet into the desert. Reaching the spot where he had seen the trail of blood, he stopped, the embankment still showing signs of that intrusion so long ago. Ethan was a different person now, not the boy who had stood here years ago looking into the night, uncertain about the future. He had somehow become a man, changed for the better, at least he hoped, by a stranger named Buck. He could never go back. With one final look into the tangled brush, which had swallowed Buck and all that he was, he tossed the harmonica as far as he could. Glinting in the headlights of Ethan’s car, it sailed through the air in search of its owner, disappearing silently into the darkness. Turning, Ethan headed back toward the interstate and his car. In the end, Ethan had created his own urban legend, one that never needed to happen. ***** Ethan came to from his reverie, his coffee cold before him. Paying his bill and leaving a tip, he got up and left his coffee untouched. He climbed into his car, this one a lot nicer than the one he had driven on that fateful night. He always wondered what had happened to the dark stranger. Was he dead . . . alive . . . plotting his revenge? As it turned out, the stranger hadn’t been such a bad guy after all. When Ethan had gone to clean his car before taking it to the mechanic the day after the crash, he found “it” in the floorboard of the passenger side seat. And, of course, he instantly felt horrified for his rash actions with the dark stranger. He had been cleaning up the blood when he found the harmonica slightly wedged underneath the floor mat, “Buck” engraved along its silver top. The stranger had not pulled a knife to kill him, but a harmonica to lighten the mood. His mind swirled at the prospects; he had left an innocent man to The least he could do is live for the both of them, even if he was too much of a coward to do the right thing. Someday, he had told himself, someday he would return. Well, that day had come. All these thoughts ran through Ethan’s mind as he sought the area where the tragic event had happened. The sun was setting when he was finally able to bring himself to pull off the side of the Interstate, after much circling and many near-stops. He sat in his black Mercedes, the sun a red disc setting behind purple mountains. Tears streamed down his face as he thought back on that night and the many years since. He wondered where Buck had been born, what he July 2009 Paranormal Underground 65 Personal Experiences Diary From a Haunted Hotel By Carolyn M. Hughes W hen I began working as a night auditor almost three years ago at Quality Inn at General Lee’s Headquarters, located on the Gettysburg battlefield, I anticipated experiencing nothing more interesting than having some bizarre request from a guest. I never expected my spirit friends to visit so often or to hear so many accounts of activity from unsuspecting guests. I never thought they would alert us to their presence in so many creative ways, or for there to be so much activity involved. I am of the personal belief that spirits only want us to know they are still here and not to forget what happened here, for it is on this ground that they truly gave their “last full measure of devotion.” Here is my ongoing diary of my experiences within the hotel . . . Sun., Apr. 26 1:30 a.m.: I was on my way into the breakfast room for yet another cup of coffee, and as I stepped into the room, I saw that two chairs were positioned approximately three feet away from their tables. I always personally push in all the chairs flush up against the tables when I arrive at 4:00 p.m. 66 Courtney and Carolyn both watched the French doors as they saw the handle turn down and watched as the doors opened. No one was there. Mon., Apr. 27 12:30 a.m.: Courtney stepped out the side, private lobby door for a moment. As soon as she opened the door, she was enveloped in what she has frequently described to me as “campfire” smoke. (Courtney is a former camp counselor.) Courtney said that it lasted Paranormal Underground July 2009 several minutes, but then slowly dispersed. The hotel sits on the battlefield in an area where there are no camps or any camping allowed for miles in all directions. Tues., Apr. 28 1:48 a.m.: Courtney stopped by the hotel for a visit. We were both in At left: Breakfast table chairs are pulled away from tables by unseen hands. At right: Carolyn was sitting in the lobby behind the front desk, when she heard a click to her right and watched the locked private entrance door open. No one was there. the lobby behind the front desk, sitting at different computer terminals. Earlier in the evening, I had closed the French doors that lead into the breakfast room because it keeps the lobby cooler. When they are closed, they are secured from the bottom in a small niche in the floor. In order to open the doors, you have to turn the handle on the door itself. Courtney and I were chatting when we both heard a noise coming from the direction of the French doors. We looked over at the doors, and they were open. I walked over, checked the doors, and then closed them again. Three minutes later, we heard the same noise coming from the same direction and, once again, saw that the French doors were open. Once again, I checked the doors and then secured them. 1:57 a.m.: I was still sitting in the lobby behind the front desk, working on one of the computer terminals. I heard a click to my right and watched the locked private entrance door open. No one was there. 2:07 a.m.: Courtney and I decided to try something. We sat in our respective positions behind the front desk, sitting at different computer terminals, away from the French doors. I asked the boys to open the French doors again. As we both watched, we saw the handle turn down, heard the same noise we heard before, and watched as the doors opened. After we composed ourselves (we were laughing), I checked the French doors once more and then secured them once again. They did not open again the rest of the night. Sat., May 23 1:33 a.m.: I stepped out the side, private lobby door. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement and turned to the left. Standing (if you can call it that) 10 feet from me was a full-blown black shadow which appeared as the outline of a man. It was facing me. No sooner did I realize what I was seeing, when it turned and darted around the corner to the front of the hotel. I immediately ran after it and in seconds, I was around the same corner. There was nothing there. The area where this occurred is covered to prevent the rain, snow, etc., from hitting the guests as they walk to their rooms, which have outside entrances. There are overhead lights every few feet in this covered area. Also, about 15 feet from the “porch” are night flood lights as security for guests. The area, in other words, is heavily lit. Sat., Jun. 13 8:10 p.m.: I was checking in a guest and explaining the amenities. During my explanation, I have to move to the right to direct them to our ice and beverage machines, which are located outside. As I turned, facing the side, private entrance (which is always locked), I heard a click and watched the locked door open. “That door is locked!” The guest just stared at me like I was nuts. I quickly looked at the door and determined that it was still locked even though it was open. I walked the two feet to close the locked door and continued my run-down of the amenities. Once I was finished with the guest, I tried opening the locked door. It would not budge. Stay Tuned . . . July 2009 Paranormal Underground 67 Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files An Investigator’s Tale By Linda Williams, Martinsville Volunteer Paranormal Society R ecently, a close friend of mine, Stephanie, asked me to check out her family home and another structure on their farm. She told me of seeing the figure of a woman and a little boy that frequented certain parts of the family home, including the main staircase. I was also shown a radio that contained no batteries and was not plugged into a power source. The radio would turn on and off on its own from time to time. And, Stephanie told me of family members hearing unknown voices throughout the house. Stephanie took me down to the other small structure on the land, a tiny four-room house that had not had occupants for the past 10 years. Obviously, I could not ignore my friend and her family’s plea for assistance, so I gathered my ghost hunting equipment (EMF detector, digital thermometer, voice recorder, digital camera, camcorder, and various flashlights) up and enlisted her help for a night of investigating. With the rest of the family out of the house and Stephanie there to guide me in setting some things up to aid the investigation, it made things a lot easier. The Investigation As soon as the sun set, we went lights-out and began the working part of my visit. We started upstairs where the radio would operate inexplicably 68 and voices were heard. It was here that I guided Stephanie through her first EVP session. At first, she had trouble coming up with questions to ask the spirits that roamed the property, but as we began hearing footsteps, the questions seemed to flow easily. We were also able to record temperature fluctuations of up to 10 degrees in a matter of a few seconds. When we invited the spirits to touch us and give us a sign of their presence, Stephanie began to feel a tug on her hair, and I felt a light rub against my arm. At this point, I brought out the EMF detector and we began asking questions. I explained to the spirit that if it came close to the device, it could make the equipment make a sound. We did seem to get answers to several questions. Evidence Review When asked if the spirit was a female, nothing happened, but when asked about being a male, the unit went off the charts. We were able to localize that we were speaking to a small boy around the age of 7, which corresponded to some EVPs that we collected. According the EVPs, the little boy’s name was Evan. We also got some humming noises throughout the session as well, which we hadn’t heard at the time, but were caught by our audio equipment. We failed, however, to get any photos that weren’t dust, and we also struck out on the camcorder. Paranormal Underground July 2009 “We were also able to record temperature fluctuations of up to 10 degrees in a matter of a few seconds.” Out in the other structure, we had some personal experiences and weird feelings, but no hard evidence. Once Stephanie had some sort of evidence that she and her family weren’t crazy, she decided that there was no need to disturb the spirits further, because she and her kids had never been harmed by either entity. Linda Williams is the founder/lead investigator for Martinsville Volunteer Paranormal Society in Indiana. She spent six years working in a public library, where she perfected her researching skills. Williams had her first paranormal experience at a young age, prompting her life-long interest in the paranormal. Paranormal Underground Is Looking for Investigator Cases to Profile in Future Issues Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a paranormal case you think should be profiled. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 69 Personal Experiences A Brush With a Cowboy By G. Lewis W illiam S. Hart was a well known cowboy star in the silent movies. He went on to become a movie director. He bought a huge parcel of land and built a Spanish Hacienda on a hill in Southern California overlooking his land. He lived there many years but didn’t have any heirs, so he bequeathed his estate to Los Angeles County. He loved his home; it was his pride and joy and always had plenty of animals on the grounds, from horses to goats to a herd of buffalo. He knew a lot of people and entertained many at his home. His favorite thing was to barbecue for his guests, sometimes in great number. My husband and I went to William S. Hart Park in Newhall, California, in the early 1980s. We had to climb a long path up to the house. It was an incredible place with open spaces, and I could tell there was nothing but love all around, a very positive upbeat feeling. We were on a tour of the property, when we came to a huge, white, plastered arch with a step up into a small room that led into a master bedroom. There were two elongated, raised platforms made of wood — each with a cushion on either side of the room. This is where William Hart’s 70 Great Danes slept. He always had Great Danes, and there was a small cemetery outside the main house for his dogs that died — each with its name on a modest wooden marker. I was also standing at the very back of the group, when the Park Ranger began talking about the dogs. I became a bit bored with the conversation, and began to look around. I noticed a very small watercolor on the left-hand wall. It was signed Charles Russel. Charles Russel was one of the greatest Western Artists of all time and a great friend of Hart. I laughed to myself at the cowboy in the painting whose horse had bucked and kicked its way into the campfire area of the cattle camp. Underneath the cowboy, strategically placed, and very hard to see, was a small cactus, and the cowboy was about to be bucked off right on top of that cactus. My type of humor. My mind drifted as I kept looking around, but settled on the Park Ranger who was still talking. Immediately, someone tapped the top of my left shoulder twice, and hard. It was very distinct and very intentional. I thought it was someone on the tour group wanting to get closer. I turned to see who it was. No one was there. All the other people were pay- Paranormal Underground July 2009 William Surrey Hart (December 6, 1864 – June 23, 1946) was an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. ing complete attention to the Ranger. Just as I turned my head back to the group, the Ranger talked about William Hart still being at the house he had loved so dearly in life. Apparently, all the people who worked in the house had their own experiences with William Hart. He was very fond of playing tricks on people and had a great sense of humor. I felt the taps on my shoulder had to have been him. I quietly smiled and laughed even more and took another look at the small watercolor of the soonto-be-unfortunate cowboy. William Hart and I shared a moment. No one on the tour had even noticed the small watercolor. We Are Looking for Volunteer Writers for Paranormal Undergroundâ€™s E-Magazine E-mail: email@example.com. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 71 Paranormal Perspective: Guest Editorial Should Children Be Ghost Hunting? By Shannon Sylvia, Paranormal Investigator I recently spoke to an elementary school teacher who was leading her fourth grade class on a Destination Imagination project. She had chosen ghost hunting as the theme, and was going to allow the class to go to a haunted house to investigate for a few hours. One girl dropped out due to fear, and two other parents withdrew their sons from the project. She asked if I would aid them on the investigation, but I had to politely decline because I believe that children should not be playing with the dead. I did everything in my power to come up with other topics the kids could learn about that had to do with death, dying, or cemeteries. I polled friends on MySpace for alternate projects and sent this teacher 14 really good alternate ideas, such as graveyard rubbings and costumed plays mocking the traditional Mexican parade for the dead that teaches people to celebrate life instead of mourn the dead. She declined all my ideas and went ahead with her investigation. Here is my top 10 list of reasons why children should not ghost hunt. #1: Investigators Need Education Ghost hunting is a science; it’s a complicated one that requires practice and skill to get the techniques down pat. That means one needs to read books and magazines; watch 72 others investigate; and learn via classes, networking, etc. No one has yet solved the mystery of ghosts. Since there’s no ghost hunting college, as of yet, and no ‘rules’ set by the industry, there’s no formal training. For a fourth grader to go into a field that adults are still learning doesn’t rest easy with me. There are ghost hunting classes out there being taught by those who have been in the field for many “If the child is not emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually sound, forget about it.” years, but be careful and know that some do not have a refund policy if you cannot make the class. Also be aware of who is teaching the class and if they are knowledgeable. If they appeared on a few episodes of a ghost hunting show, they do not necessarily qualify as a teacher of the paranormal. Look into their backgrounds and experience, as well as the topics of the classes. And no, there are no official certifications, period. Small children will most likely not Paranormal Underground July 2009 be able to have access to reputable ghost hunting classes. Do you want to hand your child their allowance so it can go toward ghost hunting? #2: Ghost Hunting Is About All Types of Ghosts Ghost hunting is about ghosts. This list includes demonic, inhuman, incubus, succubus, residual, intelligent . . . the list goes on. It’s like reaching into the cereal box for the prize; you never know what you’re going to end up with. It’s unpredictable in certain situations, so children may be traumatized if it’s a negative experience. #3: It Takes Training It takes training to learn EMF detectors; know the difference between magnetic, microwave, and natural fields; and understand which situations they should occur in. #4: Cost of Equipment Okay parents, first they wanted the $500 Wii and then the newest cell phone, but are you ready to dish out the money for a thermal imaging camera or TriField EMF detector? #5: The Emotional State If the child is not emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually sound, forget about it. Negative energies, demons, etc., will use this vulnerability to latch onto your kid and cause more trouble than you may be able to handle. The Exorcist was a true story, except it happened to a small boy. You don’t want this on your hands, trust me. Hormones and emotions are huge triggers for hauntings, and it’s more common than you think. It happened to me at a young age. #6: Threatening or Scary EVPs In regard to EVPs, with my experience I’ve received an alarming rate of negative messages, such as “Get out!” or “You will die” or even profanity. What will one do if a child receives such an EVP? How will you deal with it if the nightmares continue for days, weeks, or months? #7: Finding Evidence at Home If a child finds evidence of ghosts in his or her own home, he or she may feel uneasy living there. Knowing your twice-removed Uncle Stanley is asking for help over and over again may not rest easy with the child. They may be scared or confused, and you’re going to have to deal with that mess. #8: The Possibility of Possession Ghost hunting requires a great deal of respect. When people die, they retain the same personality they had while alive. If Uncle Stanley was a miserable grump while alive, then it’s likely that 122 years later, he’s still a miserable grump. If the spirit is provoked, it might not be pretty. Children and provoking is like oil and water, and it’s a big no-no! Depression, illnesses, nightmares, and manifestations and infestations, or ‘possession’ as it’s more commonly known, can occur. Possessions can happen without you even knowing it. I know this is a worst-case scenario, but children can be targets, especially if they do not protect themselves and prevent it in the first place. In TV shows like Cartoon Network’s The Othersiders, children investigate paranormal locations, such as Lincoln Heights Jail, Mojave Airport Boneyard, and the Queen Mary. #9: What’s Next? Is ghost hunting the starter drug? What’s next? Their curiosity has been piqued, and maybe next they’ll start playing around with a Ouija board. Or, you’ve just tucked your nine-yearold into bed, but he’s teamed up with the kid next door, and they are now down the street climbing over the wall of the local cemetery with flashlights and recorders. I’m still appalled at the age of some kids watching Ghost Hunters. I get e-mails all the time from parents saying their kids now have nightmares, but somehow it’s funny or amusing. The show presents real situations, and children are aware of that. Getting touched by ghosts or seeing shadows is real, and this is why the show is on later in the evening on paid TV. #10: Handling the Fear I know many adults, including myself, that can encounter the fear of the unknown. There may or may not be the fight or flight response during an investigation. Panic can set in while in the dark, and psychologically, things can mess with your mind. I’ve experienced an entity that followed me back to my hotel room after a case was over. Prayer and a blessing with holy water stopped it from appearing again. This has occurred three times. It’s very possible “something” can happen, and it’s just not fair for a young child to have to go through this. What Is the Right Age? I don’t feel comfortable with young children ghost hunting. I don’t even think certain adults should be doing it! It’s a very serious hobby and should never to be taken lightly. I’m not certain of the perfect age when one should begin hunting; maybe it’s when one knows in his or her heart that they are ready. I wouldn’t want to perform heart surgery if I didn’t educate myself properly first, so all I ask is that people educate themselves as much as possible, acquire the right tools for the job, and remember to respect the people and spirits around them. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 73 Paranormal Perspective: Guest Editorial Empathy for Astrals By Terri J. Garofalo I nvestigating the paranormal, one runs across a myriad of situations — spirits who don’t realize they have passed, are possessive of a property or object, have unfinished business, or are just visiting. Under the philosophy, “You can’t take it with you,” it would seem those spirits have no right to the physical. But, do they? Ghost hunters are often asked to rid a place of unwanted spirits when clients are afraid or fed up with the paranormal activity. What about our disembodied friends? Where are they supposed to go? What do they think about all of this? Astral Beings Are Real My knowledge of the paranormal leads me to believe these astral beings are real. They were once physical beings that had feelings, thoughts — consciousness. In death, they have not lost that attitude. Whether they decide to move on to the ‘white light’ or stick around, they exist on some level. Consider that these ‘former folks’ might be fearful, angry, or confused by their experience outside the body. One minute they’re walking to the store, the next minute they’re watching an ambulance cart off their body with a sheet over it. For lack of something better to do, they go home only to catch their relatives 74 A little compassion might help when dealing with an astral being. They were once people too! pilfering their belongings. Nobody will even acknowledge these poor souls. Imagine trying to gain someone’s attention and having them walk right past you, or through you, literally, as in this case. After several failed attempts of communication, the dearly departed conclude pencil lifting is out of the question — for now. It’s a sticky situation — scary and quite maddening all at once. Paranormal Underground July 2009 A Call for Attention Eventually, those who passed on figure out how to move objects, turn lights on and off, and slam doors. The discovery they can appear before a favorite family member only leads to a major freak out. That makes the disembodied spirit feel pretty bad at first, until they develop a taste for scaring the shiitake mushrooms out of Aunt Mabel. And then, our astral friends take up hiding keys, setting off the coffee grinder, and appearing to the family cat whose tail is now a permanent bottle-brush. Thus, a haunting is created, and Aunt Mabel calls in the ghost hunters. Put this in the context of someone alive and well. The paparazzi show up with cameras, audio equipment, infrared, wires, cables, and flashlights, demanding you come out for an interview. Unless you’re an experienced Hollywoodite, or have previous experience with the FBI, it would twist your knickers pretty tight. This is likely how a spirit feels during the onslaught of an investigation. Is Provoking Spirits Necessary? Most of us have watched those paranormal TV shows that glean ratings by “provoking” ghosts. To just barrel in, demanding in attack mode that a spirit show itself, might just constitute a ‘home invasion’ to said spirit. Not all shows do this; many come from a position of compassion in an attempt to coax communication. As investigators, it is important to realize we are dealing with beings that were once people. We are attempting to communicate. Many are shy or frightened. Even the nasty ones are nasty for a reason. You’d be ripping too if you were ignored for a hundred years. Just as you would show polite respect to someone you meet for the first time, so should you be toward an astral being. A little compassion goes a long way to encourage one to talk with you. Provoking has its place, however. Those who were rotten to the core in the physical don’t magically sign up for sainthood when they cross over. Some of these are spoiling for an altercation as much as a hockey player on a losing team. Still, starting from an empathetic position will more likely lead to better results, greater understanding, and comfort for both the physical and astral beings in question. Encourage clients to speak to their resident ghosts. Expressing what they want works as well as open dialogue between real people. Much activity can be alleviated by just asking an astral to cool it. Most ghosts lean toward Casper, not Amityville Horror. Peaceful cohabitation with a spirit is possible. It is better to encourage him/her to “go home” to the “white light” where loved ones await. A ghost is not a pet. If it can be released, it is the kindest act you can do for him/her. If they don’t want to go, then you have an interesting roommate. Terri J. Garofalo is a paranormal investigator, as well as the author of Entities-R-Us, a Ghost Hunter Comic. For more information, check out www.entities-r-us.com. Paranormal Underground’s 2nd Annual Short Story Contest P aranormal Underground is holding its 2nd Annual Short Story Contest. If you are a writer of fiction, love to write about the paranormal, and would like to see your story published in one of our upcoming issues, then this contest is for you! The contest is open to members AND nonmembers of Paranormal Underground. Contest rules include: • Stories due by September 1, 2009. • 1,000 to 3,000 words (submissions under 1,000 words and over 3,000 words will not be considered eligible for the contest). • All submitted works must not have been previously published. • If you are submitting artwork and/or photos to accompany your fiction, please site the source of the artwork/photos. • Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first-place winner will be published in our October issue. They will also have the option to become a regular contributor in our Featured Author column. We will be awarding prizes for 1st through 3rd place: • First Place: Publication in Paranormal Underground e-Magazine; a Zoom H4 Handy Recorder; and the option to take part in an upcoming “Paranormal Underground Presents” podcast. • Second Place: Olympus VN-4100PC digital voice recorder and possible publication in Paranormal Underground e-Magazine. • Third Place: Any book listed in Paranormal Underground’s Bookstore and possible publication in Paranormal Underground e-Magazine. Our judges include Paranormal Underground’s Publisher Chad Wilson, Managing Editor Karen Frazier, and Science Editor J.D. Harrison. Judging criteria includes: • Story originality • Paranormal theme creativity • Text fluidity Submissions will be compiled and sent to the judges by the editor-inchief, and all judges will not know who wrote each submission until after judging is completed. Winners will be announced based on a ranking system, which will be compiled from first to last place. When e-mailing your submission to the editor, also include your name, story title, e-mail address, word count, and illustrations/photos, if any. If you have any questions regarding the contest, please e-mail email@example.com. Last year we had a great response, and we hope to see even more writers join us in our second short story contest. Good luck everyone, and we look forward to reading your submissions! July 2009 Paranormal Underground 75 Equipment Update Rae’s Gear Guide By Rae Abney, Haunted South Paranormal Research A s Tech Specialist of Haunted South Paranormal Research (H.S.P.R.), I believe that a wide range of each type of device we use is very important. This allows us to test instruments against each other to ensure their readings are accurate. The same type of device made by different manufacturers may respond differently. Therefore, we try to use devices from all price ranges and varied manufacturers. Below is a list of instruments we use, as well as their purpose in paranormal investigation. Electromagnetic Field Detector (EMF) It is believed that all life forms and spirits are made of energy. Thus, they emit an electromagnetic field, which can then be picked up by the EMF detector and registered in milligauss (mG). If the meter spikes at a higher level than the normal or baseline reading of the room, and no manmade cause can be determined, this may mean there is spirit activity. Some of the meters we use during investigations are: • E.L.F. Zone: L.E.D readout from 0 to 8+ mG. • Cell sensor: U.V. style meter readout from 0 to 5 mG. • TriField Meter: A high-end U.V. style meter (0 to 1,000 mG). The TriField is a very important meter. It can be used in a variety of different modes to make sure our 76 readings are true. It is very accurate and is a must for any serious investigator. • Lutron EMF 822A: Digital meter readout, 0.1 mG to 199.9 mG. A great digital meter; very accurate. We use this meter for base readings, as well as tracking down man-made reasons for EMF levels. • K-II Meter: LED readout 0 to 20+ mG. This device has been H.S.P.R. uses the Lutron EMF 822A digital meter for base readings, as well as tracking down man-made reasons for EMF levels. called the 21st Century Ouija board. It is very responsive and has been used to actually communicate with spirit activity through a series of yes or no answers: one flash of the meters lights for no and two flashes for yes. Paranormal specialist and sensitive Chris Fleming has brought this device and its technique into the forefront of paranormal research. Paranormal Underground July 2009 Digital Voice Recorder (DVR) Often, a spirit can communicate audibly through a recordable source, such as digital or magnetic tape media. This is called electronic voice phenomenon (EVP). Again, I believe investigators should use different makes, models, and medias to achieve solid results. Some of the manufactures we use for both digital and tape medias are: Sony, Olympus, and RCA. Our main recorder is the Zoom H2, a high-end digital recorder that can record in 360 degrees through four condenser style mics and can record on four tracks, allowing us to see from which direction the sound or EVP came from. In conjunction with the H2, We have been working with Marcus Leader and Leader Research on new theories and means of communication with the other side. We are pleased to be field testing a leader invention known as the Gold Beryllium Microphone for recording EVPs. Thermometers Spirits are believed to pull energy out of the atmosphere to try to manifest, thus lowering the temperature in the area or room. We use both digital and infrared thermometers to pinpoint these areas and record any changes. Photography Photographic proof of paranormal activity has been recorded on all types of photographic media. Therefore, we choose to employ all medias: digital, film, and instamatic. We use cameras from Kodak, Canon, and Olympus. As part of our photo documentation, we shoot in Infrared (IR). One way we achieve this is with a digital camera that has been modified to pick up the light spectrum that we cannot see with the naked eye. The spectrum above what we can see is IR. We film this spectrum using the Modi-Tronic 12 megapixel deep IR camera. Video Paranormal activity is often captured on video as well as still photography. We use a variety of formats from mini DV to high 8 and consumer HD We also use professional grade HD cameras for documentary use. H.S.P.R. also employs the use of a digital static camera system. This allows us to place cameras on tripods in rooms where activity has been reported and record for up to 48 hours. Team Communication When investigating, H.S.P.R. believes in using the “buddy system.” We are always safer in teams of two or more. In order for teams to communicate with each other, we use handheld two-way radios that operate on the general mobile radio service (GMRS) and are monitored and used in accordance with FCC regulations. H.S.P.R. uses Audacity recording software to re-record, filter, edit, and store EVP recordings as wave files or sound bytes. This allows the team to burn a disc of any findings for the clients and H.S.P.R.’s records and archives. Our radios have a 10-mile range, so we never lose contact with each other, even with the largest of investigations. Lighting We have found it wise to use IR Illumination when filming or shooting photos in dark places. We use Sima IR illumination on all of our cameras. Flash photography can dilate the pupils of the eyes, causing team members to lose their acclimation of their surroundings. To avoid this, the flashlights we use have red settings for easier night vision. Software H.S.P.R. uses Audacity recording software to re-record, filter, edit, and store EVP recordings as wave files or sound bytes. This allows us to burn a disc of any findings for the clients and our records and archives. We edit our video using Final Cut Pro on Mac and Sony Vegas on PC H.S.P.R. is currently experimenting with the Ghost Box or Frank’s Box, a modified digital radio system. The modification allows the radio to quickly scan through the AM or FM frequency spectrum. In theory, this allows the spirit to communicate through the open spectrum. New Equipment Testing H.S.P.R. is now working with another of Marcus Leader’s inventions, called The Dark Light, a summoning device that uses light frequencies in various spectrums that humans can’t see. It is a type of beacon that seems to draw spirits to the light source. We have also built a Ganzfeld device. Ganzfeld refers to the blank field of vision that is stared at by the test subject. This is done to research psychic ability in people, and we are testing with some of our more sensitive team members. Another thing that I’m playing around with is a laser wall. I had H.S.P.R.’s main digital voice recorder is the Zoom H2, a high-end digital recorder that can record in 360 degrees through four condenser style mics and on four tracks. heard that at Waverly they were able to see a shadow person break the beam of a laser pointer. I took this to the next step by using a green laser so that you can actually see the beam. We fire the beam at a slight angle into strips of mirror on each side of the laser. Since you can see the green beam, this makes a wall of green beams from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Focus a static camera on it, and wait for something to pass through. Smoke or mist will be visible in the beams, and anything with mass will break the beams. You can tell where or at what height they where when they passed through. Rae Abney is H.S.P.R.’s cofounder, lead investigator, and tech specialist. After experiencing many paranormal events dating back to childhood, Abney began searching for answers by studying various religious beliefs concerning life after death. His studies of paranormal phenomena range from hauntings to poltergeist phenomena to demonology. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 77 Member Profile Michelle M. Pillow (MichellePillow) About Michelle learning new things, going new places, museums, photography, history, films, books, and the paranormal. Age: *blink, blink* Are you really going to make a girl tell? Tell us about your family and what you like to do. Born/Currently resides: USA Education: Photography degree, some traditional college, lots of selfteaching. Michelle: We’re a very creative family. We love animals, watching movies, and hanging out as a family. My husband is an awesome chef, which is lucky since I don’t cook very well. Zodiac Sign: Cancer. Who are your heroes? Occupation: Published fiction author. I have the best job in the world. I get to make things up for a living. Michelle: Anyone who does what they love, without hurting others, of course. Status: Very happily married. ***** Q&A What brought you to Paranormal Underground? Michelle: I was browsing articles on the TAPS site, stumbled into their forum and saw a banner for Paranormal Underground magazine. I went to check it out and have been coming back every month to read the new issues. Great work PUG staff! What does your member name mean? Michelle: It’s just me. 78 Michelle is a skeptical believer who is interested in a wide variety of paranormal phenomena, including hauntings, zombies, vampires, shifters, psychics, past-life regression, cultural beliefs, and historical research. (Photo by: Beth Boldt) How would you describe yourself? Michelle: I’m a romance fiction author with more than 60 published titles, including futuristic, paranormal, historical, contemporary, fantasy, and dark paranormal. You can go to www.michellepillow.com for more information. I’m pretty laid back, with workaholic tendencies. I love research, Paranormal Underground July 2009 What are your favorite TV shows, paranormal shows, books, movies? Michelle: I love horror films. Zombies are a personal fave right now — Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Zombi 2 (who doesn’t love a good zombie vs. shark scene?). As for shows, Ghost Hunters, True Blood, Ghost Whisperer, Doctor Who, Moonlight, and a plethora of others since I got a DVR to record with. As for books, I read a lot of classics — Jane Austin, Steinbeck, etc. — as well as friends’ books. I have a huge collection of nonfiction research books ranging in topics. They’re somewhat of an addiction. Favorite music? Michelle: Alternative, rock, though I’m pretty eclectic. Any other favorites? Michelle: Coffee, red wine, chicken fried steak, and chicken Parmesan. What are your pet peeves? Michelle: People who don’t do what they say they’re going to. That includes me. I hate when I drop the ball. Are you a skeptic or believer? Michelle: I’m a skeptical believer. What areas of the paranormal interest you the most? Michelle: Hauntings, zombies, vampires, shifters, psychics, past-life regression, cultural beliefs, and historical research. Really anything. glare them back. No one else was in line behind me and the only other two people were talking at the desk in front of me several feet away. What do you think happens to us when we die? Michelle: I don’t know about everyone else, but I have plans to haunt a few people (LOL). I just hope I don’t get stuck haunting a bill-paying line at the cable company. Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by? Michelle: I guess to just be open to new opportunities. Life is too short not to experience what you can and follow your passions. Any exciting plans for the future? Michelle: Oh, I hope so. I love doing and trying new things and am “I love horror films. Zombies are a personal fave right now. As for shows, Ghost Hunters, True Blood, Ghost Whisperer, Doctor Who, Moonlight . . .” Talk about any paranormal experiences you might have had and how they have affected you. Michelle: I have never seen a paranormal creature, but I believe in the possibilities. My experiences are so tame that I have a hard time classifying them as being real experiences. I’m a “want proof” kind of person. Things like... I was standing in line at the cable office to pay my bill and I heard this loud, unmistakably exasperated sigh in my ear like someone was in a hurry behind me. Since my personal space was being invaded, I turned around to politely always open to new ideas and opportunities. I’d love to be a part of a paranormal investigation, work on a nonfiction project and a haunted locations project, publish a photography book, travel the world, work on a horror movie (preferably in a zombie movie or as the screaming chick who gets it in the beginning credits, LOL), and have my own show (just don’t ask me what about). The great thing about the future is that the possibilities are endless. I also want to give a huge thank you to the wonderful people at Paranormal Underground! A Sampling of Michelle’s Book Titles • Prisoner of Love, Pocket Books (2009) Paranormal Romance (Anthology includes Taming Him ebook) Print Sept 2009 • Faire Justice, NCP (2009) Paranormal Romance Ebook April 23, 2009 • Divinity Warrior 1: Lilith Enraptured, Ellora’s Cave (2009) Alternate Reality Romance Ebook March 25, 2009/Print Summer-Fall 2009 • Realm Immortal 1: King of the Unblessed, Samhain (2009) Fantasy Romance — Reissue: Ebook March 6, 2009/Print Coming 2009/2010 Ebook January 17, 2006/Print April 8, 2006 • Lady Jaided Paranormal Passions, Ellora’s Cave (2008) Paranormal Romance (Includes Scorched Destiny ebook) Print August 2008 • Call of the Lycan (Trilogy Print Collection), Ellora’s Cave (2008) Paranormal Romance Print June 1, 2008 • Space Lords 1: Frost Maiden, NCP (2008) Futuristic Romance Ebook December 14, 2007/Print February 6, 2008 • Tribes of the Vampire 1: Redeemer of Shadows, NCP (2005) Dark Paranormal Romance Ebook July 9, 2004/Print June 24, 2005 July 2009 Paranormal Underground 79 Roundtable Debate: Spirituality & Psychic Ability Believer: Skeptical Everything Is Connected Psychic Frauds Put By Claudia Ghidella A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Advaita Vedanta, a branch of Hinduism, and non-duality. In a very small nutshell, what they are about is that there is only one of us. One mind; no separation between ‘apparent things, and only one thing exists and that may be known as God or other names, such as “awareness,” “truth,” “being,” “consciousness,” etc. So without going too deeply into non-duality, if there is only one mind, and no real separation between what appears to be many minds in many bodies, I think it is highly probable that one mind can be tapped into easily, resulting in ESP, telepathy, and psychometry. Many have probably heard it said that the world around us is an illusion, a convincing one, but an illusion nonetheless. Here again my particular spiritual beliefs support the idea that psychic phenomenon such as telekinesis is possible. If the world we see before us is an illusion, and matter is not as solid and as static as it seems, why wouldn’t we be able to move objects at will? Why wouldn’t something vibrating at a higher rate from the illusion of a wall be able to pass right through it? From personal experience, I have dabbled in telepathy and psychometry with a lot of success. I got very clear visions in my mind regarding strangers who volunteered to be my guinea pigs. When I trusted what I saw and relayed it to the volunteer, much to their shock 80 and mine, I was right. One example: A man sat for me and wanted to know about his ex-girlfriend. I saw her clearly Claudia believes that in my mind, everything is connected. but she was running from me in track shorts and a tank top. I couldn’t get her to hold still to talk to me. I told him this, and he told me she was currently training for a marathon! This man was a complete stranger to me. I knew nothing about him or his girlfriend. Recently, a friend half way around the world wanted to talk to me. I was asleep at the time. I ‘felt’ his energy walk right through me. I knew who it was without a doubt. I got up and got online, and there he was, waiting for me. Coincidence? He hadn’t been online for two months and was looking for me. Ultimately, my belief is that in this game of life here on planet E and throughout the universe, anything at all is possible. Anything. Slowly but surely quantum physics is seeing and explaining what the ancients have known for a long time. Time, space, and matter are all illusions. Nothing is separate, everything is connected, and it all exists within infinite consciousness, in which anything is possible! Paranormal Underground July 2009 By Mindy G rowing up, the slightly eccentric child in me always found the idea of psychic abilities a touch on the romantic side. How cool would it be to be able to know what is going to happen in advance? How fulfilling would it be to help solve mysteries and bring closure to distraught people? I always wanted to meet psychics and have them tell me something about myself, either my past or my future. I have met psychics. Unfortunately, they have not managed to tell me anything remotely accurate. I am not saying that I do not believe that true psychics exist, because I have heard incredible stories of people While Mindy b who have a pretty good track are many frau record in solving cases and psychics, she predicting future events. I am real psychics m just saying that the psychic field contains many more frauds than actual psychics. I once spent several hours following a psychic around. True to form, she tried baiting me with information. I just did not bite. As a result, she did not come up with anything true about me. According What is your opinion of Spi ties? Let us know your th e-mailing editor@paran Believer: Skeptic: the Field in Doubt Psychics Can’t Prove Their Abilities By Dawkins Kinnaman to her, my mom was going to go into the hospital and come close to death immediately after that day. To date, my mom has not gone into the hospital. The problem with the field is that the real psychics are not out for the glory or the money, yet the ones we often see are those out for the fame and fortune. For once, I just want to come across someone who gets it right, someone who does not want me to give him/ her hundreds of dollars, or someone who wants to feature me on his/her TV show gushing about how right he/she is. It is because of the high proportion of frauds that I believes there have to remain a skeptical believer. Even if the person is uds posing as also says that a real psychic, I do not want might also exist. to give away any information about myself. What is the point of hearing your “fortune” when it is solely a guess of what is likely to happen based upon information you willingly give someone? You are basically just giving the psychic what you want to hear. There is nothing romantic about that. iritualism and Psychic Abilihoughts on the subject by normalunderground.net. P erhaps a year ago, to dispel a bout of ennui during a boring ride home, spying a sign in a strip-mall advertising the gifts of Mistress Blank, Psychic Medium, I had an idea, and taking out my cell, I called the number on the sign. “Mistress Blank.” “What’s my name?” During the pregnant pause, I feared caller ID, but no. “I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way.” Click. I’m afraid it doesn’t work at all and would further suggest a modifier when using the term psychic: alleged. Unless I am seriously uninformed, there isn’t one psychic that has passed a double-blind, properly controlled experiment. I do not find the testing done by Prof. Gary Schwartz to fit the above criteria, and I feel that he is a rubber stamp for the likes of Allison DuBois and John Edward. James Randi’s million is still intact, and the Earth still revolves around the Sun. Think about it. If people actually possessed psychic abilities, wouldn’t the Missing Children’s Network employ banks of psychics? Ditto the FBI . . . the military? In my view, Project Stargate, the CIA’s experiments with PSI, was a $20-million waste. If you choose to believe the conspiracy buffs that allege such abilities were found, the CIA is using those abilities, and the government is covering that up, well, you have three things to prove. Then there are the psychic ‘detectives,’ Dawkins says that ‘prosuch as Ms. claimed psychics’ can’t DuBois. prove their abilities. These individuals make many claims as to their assisting law enforcement, but you’d be hardpressed to find any of those agencies vouching for those claims. Maybe the cops are just jealous. Anyone interested in this phenomenon has heard the terms cold-reading and hot-reading, using psychological clues, tells, body language, asking probing questions . . . anyone can do this. Google Derren Brown. The dead-talkers, Edward and James Van Praagh, are adept at this and have made millions. “I’m getting something about jewelry . . . photos . . . a stamp collection . . . a ring . . . does this make sense?” What nonsense. And how dare they spoil the memory of a lost loved one with their fiction? Fiction for profit. Within the year, Mistress Blank’s strip-mall space was available for rent. You would think she would have seen that coming. July 2009 Paranormal Underground 81 Reviews of the Month: By Mindy Kinnaman In Your Library: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet F or the past few months, I have wavered on whether I should take the plunge and read some Richard Matheson. I knew that quite a few of his works have been adapted for TV or film, or both, and the few I’ve seen, I’ve really enjoyed. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I finally decided to go for his short stories. Surely, if I liked those, I would enjoy his novels. And I really do like the short stories featured in Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. The book kicks off with the title story, one that is pretty well known thanks to its being featured on The Twilight Zone TV show featuring William Shatner and in The Twilight Zone: The Movie featuring Jonathan Lithgow (while Shatner is awesome, I have always felt a fondness for the Lithgow version). The story is short but manages to contain so much suspense and mania that it easily pulls in readers. In fact, all of the stories in this book feature intrigue, suspense, and terror. All of the stories pulled me in and either left me gasping in horror or just left me feeling a bit numb. Really, this book is that good. Stephen King says Matheson “. . . will wring you dry . . . and will leave you wanting more.” And he truly does. • I give Nightmare at 20,000 Feet 4 out of 5 “Gremlins on the wing of the plane.” On Your Small Screen: Poltergeist I bet that if you lined up 10 people and asked them to state one of the most iconic lines from a ghost film, someone in that group would say, “They’re heeeeere.” Poltergeist, a 1982 film written by Stephen Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, has left a lasting imprint upon popular culture. Not knowing their house is built upon an old graveyard, the Freeling family does not realize anything is wrong until their young daughter Carol Anne develops an unnatural friendship with 82 the snow on her TV. Strange things happen throughout the household until the family has no choice but to bring in a psychic team lead by Tangina (masterfully played by the especially creepy Zelda Rubinstein). I will not spoil the film, but seriously, if you have not seen this, have you been living in a cave? Rent it, buy it, find it on TV, whatever it takes for you to see this awesome film. • I give Poltergeist 5 out of 5 “creepy clowns.” Paranormal Underground July 2009 Now Playing: Drag Me to Hell F inally, director Sam Raimi is making something other than Spiderman. Nine years after his last horror film, Raimi released Drag Me to Hell, a film that makes you miss the good ole’ days of horror. In telling the tale of cursed loan officer Christine Brown, Raimi pays tribute to some of his old horror films, as well as other horror films from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Poor Brown has found herself on the wrong side of a rather creepy gypsy after refusing to extend the old woman’s loan. Just looking at her will make you want to make a note to never anger gypsies. Raimi perfectly utilizes sound in building tension with incredibly loud and horrific sounds that are guaranteed to make viewers’ skin crawl. The scares, while sometimes predictable, do not fail to deliver, and this horror fan found herself jumping in quite a few places. But while I enjoyed the scares and the story, one scene involving Brown’s kitten nearly ruined the entire film for me. If you’re a pet lover, beware. • While I wanted to give this a perfect rating, I give Drag Me to Hell 3 out of 5 “ritual sacrifices.” Ghost Hunter Comic Have a Suggestion for an Article? E-mail: Editor@paranormalunderground.net July 2009 Paranormal Underground 83