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Paranormal Underground Volume 5, Issue 2


March/April 2012

Haunted Real Estate

A Real American Horror Story?

Accidental Ghost Hunter:

Jackie Kleeb The Mysterious

Thunderbird Photograph

UFOs: The Dreamy Draw Crash of 1947 Personal Experiences:

A Visitation Also Inside: • The Paranormal Nights of Sunny San Diego: Part 1 • Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel • Author Spotlight: Julia Phillips Smith — • Saint Sanguinus: A Dark Ages Vampire Novel March/April 2012 • Guest Editorial: Smoke, Mirrors, and Science

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Name Address City 2 Paranormal Underground Country

COPIES AT $20.00 per book (includes taxes and shipping).

Telephone Number (

March/April 2012

Province or State Postal or Zip Code


Inside This Issue



Accidental Ghost Hunter: Jackie Kleeb

SPECIAL REPORT Haunted Real Estate: A Real American Horror Story?


CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Cryptids & Mythological Creatures 18

The Mysterious Thunderbird Photograph

Are We Alone? 20

The Dreamy Draw UFO Crash of 1947

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES Ghost Hunter Case Files: The Paranormal Nights of Sunny San Diego: Part 1 Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel A Visitation: The Ghost of a Boy Who Died at My School “I’m Bill … Not Billy!”

22 28 30 32


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT Writing the Dark Ages: Julia Phillips Smith


Paranormal Perspective: Guest Editorial Smoke, Mirrors, and Science

36 March/April 2012



Ghost Hunter Comic


Publisher’s Letter




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Contributors W.M. Abel Born and raised in rural Eastern Washington, Bill has been an explorer since toddler years. He is very diverse in interest and nature and always finds a way to shed humor on the darkest of subjects. Bill ponders life peering out from the sage brush.

Paul Bottini Paul has written several e-books about haunted sites, UFO sightings, and cryptid lore. When not writing, Paul travels the countryside in search of UFOs, hotspots of high strangeness, ethereal beasts, and anything remotely paranormal. Paul also designs Web graphics and animations. Readers can find Paul’s books by searching for his pseudonym (Hugh Mungus) on

Karen Frazier Karen is a paranormal investigator with South Sound Paranormal Research in Washington State and a frequent contributor to Paranormal Underground. She is also the cohost of Paranormal Underground Radio on and the author of Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington.

Terri J. Garofalo Terri is a paranormal inves


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tigator, as well as the artist and writer behind Entities-R-Us, Ghost Hunter Comic. She’s a freelance artist, illustrator, and designer in Hyde Park, New York.

You can find her work on, or contact Terri at

J.D. Harrison J.D. is Paranormal Underground’s science editor. He 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 other obscure religious ritualistic beliefs and practices. J.D. is neither a skeptic nor a believer in the paranormal, but instead believes that scientific observation is best served from a place of neither skepticism nor belief.

Tom Johnson Tom was born in London and currently works as an English teacher in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He’s taught for the past 27 years in the UK, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. Tom plays jazz and blues piano March/April 2012

and organizes a music club at the college where he teaches. Married with two grown children, he has had a number of paranormal experiences. He is very interested in other people’s paranormal experiences and has had enough of his own to know there’s a lot going on, both in the subconscious mind and in the physical world, that can’t be explained by current sciences.

John “Jack” Kenna Jack is a technical specialist and assistant case manager for the paranormal team SPIRITS of New England in Winthrop, Massachusetts. He has had a strong interest in the paranormal since he was a child and has helped his SPIRITS team conduct numerous client investigations, including an investigation for the U.S. Navy in 2010. Jack has been a technician and project leader for the Department of the Army for the past 26 years.

Cheryl Knight Cheryl is editor-in-chief of Paranormal Underground magazine, director of Publications & Editing Services for Ghost Knight Media, and producer of Paranormal Underground Radio. She has more than 20 years of experience as a professional writer and editor, and has published hundreds of articles on

Ghost Hunter Comic

topics ranging from advanced technology to paranormal investigation. Cheryl’s previous magazine experience includes roles as senior and managing editor for several business publications.

Michelle Pillow Michelle is an award-winning author writing in many romance fiction genres, including futuristic and paranormal. A skeptical believer, she has a fascination with anything paranormal. Michelle has a photography degree and is the co-owner of You can contact Michelle at www.

Rob St.Helen Rob has been a paranormal investigator for more than five years. He had his first paranormal experience at the age of 11. Rob is a member of West Coast Ghost Hunters, based out of Portland Oregon, where he was born and raised. He currently works the graveyard shift at The Heathman Hotel. He has come to find that the hotel is haunted.

Chad Wilson A writer of articles and fiction, Chad is the publisher of Paranormal Underground magazine and a March/April 2012

partner for Ghost Knight Media. His interest in the paranormal led to the creation of Chad has investigated with East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society and counts Waverly Hills, the Villisca Axe Murder House, the Queen Anne Hotel, the Queen Mary, and private residences among his investigations.

Short Story Contest Paranormal Underground magazine is holding its 5th Annual Short Story Contest. The contest is open to everyone. Fiction themes may include paranormal, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and spiritual. Between 1,000 and 3,000 words only. E-mail stories to by Sept. 1, 2012. Prizes to be awarded.

Paranormal Underground


Publisher’s Letter Paranormal Underground® Volume 5, Issue 2

March/April 2012


Just a Bubba With a Telescope By Chad Wilson, Publisher

Publisher Chad Wilson

Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight

Science Editor J.D. Harrison

Contributors W.M. Abel Paul Bottini Karen Frazier Terri J. Garofalo J.D. Harrison Tom Johnson John “Jack” Kenna Cheryl Knight Michelle M. Pillow Rob St.Helen Chad Wilson Send comments and letters to: Copyright © 2008-2012 — Paranormal Underground® is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. As such, Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of its owners. 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. Paranormal Underground magazine is a publication of Ghost Knight Media, LLC.


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his month I want to take a different approach with my “Publisher’s Letter.” My friend and sometime Paranormal Underground magazine contributor Andy Selfridge is both a paranormal investigator with the Oklahoma City Ghost Hunters (OCGH) and an astronomy enthusiast. Having seen some of the photos Andy has taken with his telescopes, all I can say is I am impressed. Reviewing Andy’s photos, I am awestruck at how they capture the expanse that is our solar system. Examining Andy’s photos also makes me think of how small humanity and the planet Earth is compared to all that is out there. We live in an infinite existence of planets, solar systems, black holes, and a whole realm of undiscovered new “things” that we can’t even begin to imagine exist out there awaiting our discovery. It is explorers, seekers of a greater understanding of the world around us, people such as Andy, that will lead us into the new age of discovery. Why does Andy explore the unknown? We recently asked him what it is about astronomy that fascinates him, and this is what he said: “There really is a surreal feeling when looking at the white, fuzzy blob that is M31, the Andromeda galaxy. It is unimpressive at the eyepiece, unlike many long exposure photos of it. Then it hits you. The photons of light left that galaxy 2.5 million

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Lunt 60 single stack/tilt tuned/b600 2/15/12@2205 UTC. Afocal with iPhone, processed in PhotoFiltre

years ago to end their journey by striking your retina. It is amazing when you think of it like that. Gives you a feeling of connection with the universe.” Andy also believes big discoveries and breakthroughs are on the horizon. “I feel we are close to finding microbial life, either on Titan, Saturn’s moon, or Mars,” he said. “Signs are very promising in both instances.” Andy uses the following scopes: •Nighttime: Celestron NexStar 8SE •Solar: Lunt 60tha hydrogen alpha telescope To visit Andy’s Astro Blog, visit And as Andy puts it, he’s “just a bubba with a telescope, sharing techniques and images.”

Calendar of Events June 1–3

Paranormal Underground®

GHOSTOCK The Thompson House Brownsville, Pennsylvania http://ghostockscaredjune2012.

Volume 5, Issue 2


June 8–10

Art Director

Through the Veil Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Georgia

Decatur, Illinois

June 9

June 22–24

Steel Town Spirit Symposium Washington, Pennsylvania

June 9

Ghost Hunt Weekends Octagon Hall Franklin, Kentucky

June 12

Haunted Fort Wayne Detroit, Michigan

June 15–17

Contamination Horror/Sci-Fi Con St. Louis, Missouri

June 16

Paranormal Expo New York Moravia, New York

June 22–23

Haunted America Conference Haunted Lincoln Theater

March/April 2012

The First Forensic Ghost Excavation Congress – Convention Brunswick City Park Building Brunswick, Maryland

June 29–July 1

Fright Night Film Fest The Galt House Hotel and Convention Center Louisville, Kentucky

August 3–5

Chad Wilson

Design and Layout Cheryl Knight

Cover Photo By Jayme Coates


Call 1-714-646-4197 Interested in advertising in Paranormal Underground magazine, on our Website, or during our Radio Show/Podcast? Call 1-714-646-4197 or e-mail:

Aughost Conference Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Eisenhower Conference Center

August 31–Sept. 2 Las Vegas Paracon Bonnie Springs Ranch Blue Diamond, Nevada events/246534465409863

October 5–6

The Afterlife Paranormal Conference & Film Festival The Portage Theater Chicago, Illinois malConference?sk=wall

March/April 2012






Paranormal Underground Forum

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Investigator Spotlight

Accidental Ghost Hunter Jackie Kleeb

By Cheryl Knight


elf-described “accidental ghost hunter” Jackie Kleeb has no idea how she ended up investigating the paranormal. In fact, from an early age she was afraid of the dark and things that go bump in the night. But, over the years, Jackie began experiencing paranormal events, both at work and at home, and her quest to research the strange and unusual evolved quickly and dramatically. “I have a very dear friend who is a medium, and he has told me I am a ‘beacon, someone who attracts spirits,” Jackie said. “This is a very good thing when you are on an investigation, but not so good when they decide to follow you home.” And follow her home is exactly what Jackie says many spirits have done. “Right now, my house feels like Grand Central Station for spirits.” Jackie has been touched, laid on, shaken, poked, and had her feet tapped in the morning to wake her up. She’s even seen full-bodied apparitions. Jackie’s home is so active that she recently called in a team from Santa Rosa to investigate. The team used sophisticated equipment and gathered a significant mount of evidence. One startling EVP captured during the investigation occurred as the team, and Jackie, walked up the


Paranormal Underground

Jackie Kleeb of Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators investigates the “very haunted” Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Alabama.

stairs inside the house: “Enough. It is time to leave. This is MY house.” Another EVP that Jackie captured just after going to bed one night said, “It goes dark, we can get her.” In addition to encountering the paranormal at home, Jackie has also experienced a plethora of paranormal activity during her time as a docent at Preston Castle in Ione, California, where she was in charge of organizing and booking all overnight paranormal visits.

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“I absolutely loved the Castle, and I have so many wonderful memories there, but something dark followed me home,” she explained. “I’m not saying everything there is bad, there are spirits there too, but because I had so many entities follow me home, I had to leave.” Jackie’s own paranormal team, Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators (PPI) based out of Sacramento, California, includes teammates Jill Wise and Brenda Livers.

Jackie recently spoke to Paranormal Underground about her group, her experiences, and her research methodologies. ***** Q: How did you become interested in the paranormal and joining a paranormal team? Jackie: I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, which is strange because as a child/teenager I was always afraid of the dark. I think that started when my mother took me to see the Creature From the Black Lagoon when I was five years old. What was she thinking, LOL! I made my son watch it one day on the late, late show, and he’s like, “OMG Mom, this creature is so fake!” Q: Tell us about your personal paranormal experiences. Jackie: Wow, there are so many. I have some amazing EVPs. Who would have thought that the most haunted place I have ever been to was my home? It’s very active now, and not in a good way. I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and communicate with whatever entities are at my home, but I’ve had

Jackie stands in front of Preston Castle in Ione, California, where she worked as a docent for two years.

spirit and told them not to be afraid and to move into the light. During the experience, I captured a Class A EVP saying, “Can you tell me where I’m going to?” Very moving ... Overall, we are a very professional, caring group. We are determined to help people move over to the other side and not to be afraid. We try to debunk everything before

“Never, ever provoke!” a few EVP sessions there lately, and taken videos, just to get proof. And I have it now. Q: Tell us about PPI. Jackie: Our team is small and extremely professional. We find places to investigate by word of mouth. We were recently called into a funeral home where the owner was experiencing a feeling of being watched and was very uneasy. I talked to a recently passed-over

considering it evidence. We’re very open minded, but tend to be skeptical. We’re organized , and research every location we go to before arriving. Q: What equipment do you usually take with you on an investigation? Jackie: Most important is a voice recorder. I have 10. Yes, I know that’s over the top, LOL. Also, K-II meters, Mel Meter, 3 x night vision

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camcorders, EMF meter, laser grid, motion sensors, IR camera, Ovilus, Ghost Box. I think that’s everything. I probably forgot something! Q: What is the most important part of a paranormal investigation? Jackie: Evidence. Proof. EVPs. Q: How valuable is teamwork during an investigation? Jackie: Very valuable. You have to count on each other, and every person is important. Q: What methodologies do you use during investigations? Jackie: Never, ever provoke. That, in my opinion, is a very bad thing. I have gotten more evidence/EVPs by just talking to spirits, rather than demanding that they talk to us or provoking them. Q: What is the most compelling

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Investigator Spotlight used as a correctional institute for minors, from 1894 until 1960. Q: Talk about the best tour you’ve ever been a part of at Preston Castle.

At a haunted mortuary in New Orleans, Jackie believes she captured a possible apparition of a woman with her arm resting on the window’s ledge.

evidence of the paranormal that you’ve personally captured? Jackie: EVPs and some photos. Q: Tell us about Preston Castle and what you do there? Jackie: I am no longer at Preston Castle. I had to leave because too many things followed me home. I was there close to two years, and I organized all the overnight


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paranormal tours, plus gave media interviews. (It’s not easy to talk for 10 minutes on live TV about the paranormal! I was also the client on Ghost Hunters when they came to Preston Castle. The Castle, which was built between 1890 and 1894, is 46,000 square feet, including the basement and four floors, as well as an annex with a basement. Currently owned by the State of California, the Castle was originally

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Jackie: I had so many that it’s hard to pick one. One night, myself and another docent, Alex, gave a private tour to a couple from Washington State. They paid $1,000 and really did get their money’s worth. Around 2 a.m. when we were in Company B Room, I asked if there was anyone there to please come forward. We heard what sounded like a group of people thundering up the stairs, stopping just before the entrance. It was very loud and noisy. When I went to investigate, there was nothing there. I even went down to the next floor with my flashlight and found nothing. When I came back up, we all heard heavy footsteps walking across the floor upstairs. The third floor door was locked, and no one had access to get up there. Another time I arrived early for an investigation and went to the infirmary to take some photos. I was there by myself. It’s a popular place for photographers, as the lighting is just spectacular at dusk. I took my glasses off and placed them on a bed behind me. When I went to retrieve them, they had disappeared. I’m as blind as a bat without my glasses, so it was annoying to have to investigate without them. When I got home, around 4 a.m., I wrote a quick note on the Preston Castle Facebook page asking for the Photography Group that was going there the next day to look for my glasses. I told them one of the “boys” had taken them. Of course, I was made fun of, and yes, they did look for the glasses but couldn’t find them. One photographer just before leaving went back to pick

up his tripod, and what was sitting on a small table but, yes, my glasses! When we listened to voice recordings from that night when we were taking clients around for a tour before the investigation, we heard loud and clear, “Gonna make her crazy with what I did.” On another occasion, I was at Preston five nights in a row over Halloween 2010 for the first annual Halloween Haunted House. The following Tuesday morning, a docent named Andrea and I were the only ones at the Castle, taking down fake spider webs and collecting our stuff. I have two class a EVPs saying, “Spider webs in their hair, going down and down,” and also, “Tired, Mom’s going home. We’ll come and visit.” *****

Thank you Jackie for taking the time to answer our questions!

Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators (PPI), based out of Sacramento, California, includes teammates Brenda Livers, Jackie Kleeb, and Jill Wise (pictured at the Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco, California).

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Special Report

Haunted Real Estate: A Real American Horror Story?

By Karen Frazier (Photos by Karen Frazier and Jayme Coates)


magine it. An unsuspecting family seeking a fresh start finds their gorgeous dream home. In today’s depressed housing market, they aren’t at all surprised that the house’s price is so low. After all, who knows how long the present owners have had it on the market? It’s only after they move in that they discover something terrifying: they are not alone in the house. In fact, the house seems to be inhabited by the ghosts of previous residents, many who met unfortunate fates while they lived there. I’ve just described the premise of American Horror Story, the freshman drama in FX’s Wednesday night lineup that wrapped up its first season in December 2011. While American Horror Story features an over-the-top storyline with ghosts that not only rattle chains, but also kill the living, the idea taps into the fears of many Americans. What if, when you finally move into that dream home, you are not alone? Home Alone I experienced haunted living conditions long before the paranormal became such a popular phenomenon. In fact, back in 1987 when I moved into my very first apartment out of college, paranormal experiences were something you


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Haunted houses often fall under the legal heading of “stigmatized” properties. Disclosure may or may not include potential haunting, depending on the laws in your area.

kept in the closet lest someone think you were crazy. Still, as a young renter in a very inexpensive apartment, I had my first run-in with things that went bump in the night. As a renter, I was lucky. I wasn’t stuck. I moved after about a year and promptly spent the next 20 denying to myself that anything unusual had happened there. Ten years ago, the paranormal had yet to hit the mainstream. I was still in denial about my earliest ex-

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periences in my haunted apartment and hadn’t really given a thought to ghosts in years. Jim and I were newlyweds, moving to a new town and trying to find a house for our family. Almost immediately, we found “the one” — a 4,400-square-foot opendesign beauty perched on a hilltop on an acre of land. When we saw the price, we practically held hands and danced in a circle, because it just seemed to be to good to be true. It wasn’t. We

submitted a bid for about $20,000 lower than the asking price, and the eager sellers jumped on it. Just after our offer had been accepted, I had a dream. In the dream, I discovered our new house was haunted. I quickly shook it off and continued preparations to move into our new home. Turns out, the dream was prophetic. We’re not alone here, and we never have been. I wrote about it in the February issue of Paranormal Underground, so I’m not going to go into it here, but we had purchased a haunted house. None of it was in any of the disclosures about the house, and it sure as heck didn’t show up on the inspection. Fortunately for us, ours is a friendly and benign haunting, and we peacefully coexist with those that came before us. Selling Haunted Properties: To Disclose or Not Disclose? Silicone Valley real estate agent Mary Pope-Handy writes the Haunted Real Estate Blog ( According to Pope-Handy, nondisclosure is the number one cause of real estate lawsuits. While disclosure may or may not include potential haunting depending on the laws in your area, at least one case has

If you’re trying to sell a property that has seen paranormal activity, it’s best to check with your state’s stigmatized property disclosure laws.

the well-known haunting, he sought return of his down payment on the home and damages for fraudulent misrepresentation. After losing in Superior Court, Stambovsky appealed and won his case because Ackley had written and spoken repeatedly about the haunting, yet failed to disclose it prior to the sale. Haunted houses often fall under the legal heading of “stigmatized”

Some states, like New York and Hawaii, require full disclosure of paranormal activity. made it to and through court. Strambovsky vs. Ackley is a 1991 case in which Nyack, New York, homeowner Helen Ackley failed to disclose poltergeist activity in her home to buyer Jeffrey Stambovsky. Unfortunately, Ackley had widely reported the presence of poltergeist activity in the home, including in the national publication Reader’s Digest. When Stambovsky learned of

properties. My state, Washington, has some pretty specific laws about stigmatized properties. Agents and homeowners are required to disclose pertinent facts about the house’s history, such as murder, that may diminish the material value of the home. In Washington, the definition of stigmatized does not currently include ghosts. In other states, it does. Other states do require disclosure

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on sale, so if you’re trying to sell a property that has seen paranormal activity, it’s best to check with your state’s stigmatized property disclosure laws. According to Pope-Handy, laws are always changing, and the current trend is toward more disclosure for real-estate transactions. She suggests checking with someone well versed in real estate law if you believe your house is haunted in order to ensure you meet state regulations and don’t wind up being required to purchase your home back if you fail to disclose. While laws vary by state, as well as the definition of what may materially affect the value of a home, some states, like New York and Hawaii, require full disclosure of paranormal activity. Others have more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. If the buyers don’t ask, the sellers don’t have to tell. If they do ask, however, the law requires full disclosure. Other states, such as Oregon, have absolutely no disclosure laws about stigmatized properties, because things such as murder or ghosts don’t

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Special Report actually affect any of the house’s physical properties. The bottom line? If you live in a property where paranormal activity has occurred, tell your real estate agent and research the most current laws regarding stigmatized property disclosure for your state to ensure you don’t wind up in a lawsuit if your home’s new owners discover paranormal activity.

to be able to move? According to Pope-Handy, the answer is no. While it depends on the market, a haunting won’t necessarily harm a house’s selling price any more than living near a fault line would. Where Pope-Handy works in Silicon Valley, houses remain a hot commodity, and stigmatized properties generally garner prices similar to comparable homes in the area.

burden of proof based on a preponderance of the evidence proving the house was, indeed, haunted and that the previous owners actually knew about the activity and willfully failed to disclose it. Since proving a haunting remains extremely difficult, even for seasoned paranormal investigators, this could pose a real problem. If a lawsuit is off the table because your state has no laws that require disclosure of ghostly activity or the effort and expense of a lawsuit is unlikely to yield results, what can you do?

The Ethics of Disclosure You Bought a Haunted House Lawsuits aside, whether you — Now What? disclose ghostly activity is more than If you purchased a house you a legal question. It is also an ethical 1. Research the history of one. Selling a house that may be believe to be haunted, you may have your home. a legal claim depending on your haunted to an unsuspecting family Ask a local title company to with no idea how to deal with perform a title search in order to paranormal activity can create lastobtain the “chain of title.” Next, ing trauma should the ghosts act search newspaper morgues, the up after the sale. Internet, and at the local library Paranormal investigators have to learn about the people whose seen first hand just how traumatic names are on the title. This the experience of paranormal should give you some insight into activity can be on families unpreyour home. Ask neighbors what pared for such events. I have perthey know about the home’s hissonally seen clients so terrorized tory, as well. they can’t sleep, grow ill, or suffer severe stress that greatly affects 2. Ask for a local house their life resultant of unexplainblessing before you move in. able activity occurring in their According to Patty Valdez, homes. Families with children lead investigator for South Sound may be particularly vulnerable to Paranormal Research in Washfear and stress arising from activity ington State, one of the best things in their new home. you can do for your home if you’re In the end, if you live in a state worried about haunts is ask a memthat doesn’t require disclosure, it’s New homeowners wishing to sue for return of their ber of the clergy in your faith to up to you to decide whether it is money under stigmatized property disclosure laws come and provide a house blessing. within your personal value system Valdez suggests having the blessing affecting haunted houses must meet a burden of to unload a haunted property on performed before you even cross proof based on a preponderance of the evidence. an unsuspecting family. However, the threshold as the homeowner. according to Pope-Handy, most lawyers would tell you if a question state’s disclosure laws regarding 3. Don’t be afraid. stigmatized properties. That said, crosses your mind about whether you Fear can actually generate enerproving your case in court could take should disclose something, you probgy that increases activity. In one case ably should. years, generate extensive fees, and I worked, the homeowners were carry a heavy burden of proof. terrified. The more frightened they Selling Your Haunted House New homeowners wishing to grew, the worse the activity became. sue for return of their money under If you do own a haunted house, Once we helped them understand stigmatized property disclosure laws does that mean you’ll have to accept that the most commonly accepted deeply discounted prices in order affecting haunted houses must meet a theory of apparitions were that they


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March/April 2012

were human beings without bodies, they were able to reframe what was happening in their home and diminish their fear.

4. Valdez also suggests

documenting the activity. Keep notebooks in all of the rooms where it occurs, and whenever something happens, write it down immediately. That way, if you need to call in reinforcements, you have a coherent record of the activities in your home. The act of writing events down as soon as they occur may also help allay your fears by refocusing your mind elsewhere. It’s very hard to scream and run if you’re writing.

5. Don’t attempt to make contact. Many people think it would be very cool to investigate their own home, and begin opening lines of communication via a Ouija board, EVP sessions, pendulums, dowsing rods, or other investigatory devices. What homeowners fail to realize, according to Valdez, is that inviting this communication can often ramp up the activity or create something where there was nothing. If you want to learn what’s going on in your home, bring in reputable paranormal investigators who know what they are doing. They can get an idea of what’s happening so you can make informed decisions. Valdez says an investigative team is less likely to cause activity to increase than homeowners are, because they are invited guests who can leave. If you attempt to communicate, there’s a good chance activity will increase, because you’ve opened that door of communication. 6. Look for logical explanations for the phenomena. Sometimes what seems like a ghost is really just the mechanics of the home — pipes clanking, floor

boards expanding, etc. Paranormal teams can document and discover these things, as well. ist.

7. Learn to peacefully coex-

Just as you can lay ground rules for cohabitating with living souls, so you can with the disembodied, as well. Don’t be afraid to tell an apparition that is acting up at inconvenient times, “Not now!” State your expectations firmly and politely.

8. Declare your right to the

property. You bought the house, and declaring your ownership, “This is my home! Please leave us alone,” can go a long way toward coexisting or ridding yourself of any spectral inhabitants.

9. Don’t pay for a house cleansing. Many “professionals” offer this service, but ghosts aren’t the same as mice. You can’t exterminate them and ensure they’ll never come back, so paying a house cleanser is most likely a waste of money.

10. Don’t pay for paranormal investigation. Nobody can “prove” haunting or guarantee results. 11. Try burning some sage.

Burning sage, also known as “smudging,” is a ceremony with Native American roots that many believe spiritually cleanses an area. According to Valdez, homeowners shouldn’t stop after burning the sage. “It’s like putting an empty cup on your porch in the rain,” she says. “Eventually the cup will fill back up, and you’ll have no control of what it contains.” Instead, Valdez recommends following sage up with burning a sweet grass braid or some lavender, which are believed to attract positive energy to replace any negativity you have expelled. Buying a Haunted Home If you’re someone that views a ghostly roommate as a benefit rather than a detriment, you may think buying a haunted house is the coolest thing since sliced bread, but consider the following:

Ghosts aren’t the same as mice. You can’t exterminate them and ensure they’ll never come back, so paying a house cleanser is most likely a waste of money.

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Special Report 1. Living with an apparition

can be a little like living with a roommate. You can’t control how your cohabitant will behave, nor can you expect them to “perform” on command. Ghosts are people without bodies, with all of the attendant feelings and moods that come as a part of the human experience. If you’d like your spectral roommate to have respect for you, you need to have respect for him or her.

2. When house hunting, trust your instincts. Everyone has senses that give them information, if they only choose to pay attention to them. When you walk into your potential home, does it have good energy, or does it make you feel cruddy? If a house skeeves you out, don’t buy it. 3. Do your own research.

Don’t rely on marketing materials, the real estate agent, or even the sellers. Instead, talk to neighbors, research the house’s history, and get a sense of whether the haunted claims being made about the house could be possible.

4. Investigate possible causes. Have a home inspector come in before you sign on the dotted line to make sure that the sounds, smells, and sights aren’t related to defects in construction, rodents, radon, or other potential problems. 5. Resist the hard sell.

If someone is really pushing a house’s haunting, or if the deal seems just too good to be true, it could be.

6. Understand that hauntings don’t always follow a house. Sometimes they follow people or objects, so just because the cur


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rent residents experience activity does not mean you necessarily will. The Haunted Real Estate Market In her nearly 20 years in real estate, Pope-Handy has only seen a handful of houses on the market that were billed as “haunted,” and in many cases it had more to do with the

haunted houses on the market or people looking to buy them. In general, however, haunted sellers and buyers come together via word of mouth rather than formal advertising. San Diego paranormal investigator and psychic medium Bonnie Vent does provide haunted house

Is there a market out there for haunted houses? Not really ... seller’s perception than any documented occurrences in the home. Pope-Handy says she receives calls several times a year from television producers wanting to do a series on haunted real estate. The problem, according to PopeHandy, is there just isn’t that much out there, and if houses do have a haunted reputation, the activity is often not big and dramatic enough for television. She’s right. In many cases, hauntings are a series of subtle events that add up to a conclusion of potential paranormal activity, rather than a series of widely dramatic and terrifying events like you see in American Horror Story or read about in The Amityville Horror. I asked Pope-Handy if there’s a market out there for haunted houses. Her reply? “Not really.” People seeking such homes are often looking for stigmatized properties they can buy at pennies on the dollar, Pope-Handy says. “Before the housing market crashed, I used to get those calls from people who were bargain hunters. After the crash, the calls stopped because they were finding bargains in foreclosed homes and short sales instead of stigmatized properties.” That doesn’t mean there aren’t

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listings on her Website, She also offers forms buyers and sellers can fill out to put the information on her site so they can find one another. On Vent’s Website, potential buyers can browse the seller forms to see if there’s a house with activity that fits what they’re seeking, but Vent offers the disclaimer that there is no way to certify activity, and the site is relying purely on seller-provided information. There are plenty of bargains to be had on the real estate market, particularly in the past few years. That means if you’re looking for a stigmatized property just to save a little money, you have other options that don’t include ghosts, murders, cancer-causing power lines, or other conditions that may decrease a home’s value. If, on the other hand, you’re seeking an actual haunted house because you want to share your life with a ghost, it’s a risky proposition given the unpredictable and unprovable nature of being “haunted.” Regardless of stories and rumors about the house (or lack thereof), you never really know what you’re getting in terms of ghosts until you start to live in a home. Even then, it’s all open to interpretation.

March/April 2012

Paranormal Underground 17

Case Files of the Unknown: Cryptids & Mythological Creatures

The Mysterious Thunderbird Photograph By Paul Bottini


pon searching the Internet, you’re bound to find some version of it. In fact, numerous people are certain they’ve uncovered it. They just can’t recall where they saw it. So, what the hell is “it?” A photograph that, if authentic, would change mankind’s perspective on prehistory. A photograph of a creature thought to have been extinct 65 million years. A photograph of a Thunderbird; a monstrous, flying beast longer than two Greyhound buses placed end-to-end. Our tale begins in April 1890, somewhere near the outskirts of Tombstone, Arizona. Through a mire of heat, a pair of cowpunchers spot a massive creature, complete with serpentine body and clawed talons, soaring high above the desert floor. Undaunted by the size of the anomaly, the men close the distance between the being and themselves. When their horses begin to protest, the cowhands dismount and track the bird on foot. As the aberration lands, the men squeeze off a few well-placed rounds from their rickety rifles, and the beast is felled, collapsing in a languid heap. Though this legend is believed by many to be nothing more than an eerie campfire anecdote, there are those who swear the aforementioned tale is true. It’s been claimed the two cowpokes who shot the bird actually carved off a hunk of the creature’s enormous wing and dragged it with them to Tombstone. To date, no one has produced this palpable proof,


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Cryptozoologists point to a 1960s Saga magazine article, which reported an actual daguerreotype of the bird had been published in an 1886 installment of the Tombstone Epitaph.

but numerous individuals profess to having seen a photograph of the giant avian in question. Cryptozoologists point to a 1960s Saga magazine article, which reported an actual daguerreotype of the bird had been published in an 1886 installment of the Tombstone Epitaph. The Epitaph, a legitimate newspaper, asserted the creature was killed by a pair of prospectors and hauled into the southeastern Arizona town on the back of a wagon. Allegedly, the dead beast was pegged to a wall, while six men stood side-by-side, arms outstretched, in front of the enigma, whose wingspan measured 36 feet. A September 1963 feature in Fate magazine asserted the photo in question had been published at an obscure date, sometime prior. Fate, itself, conducted a thorough investigation of its own archives, believing they may have unknowingly possessed a copy of the elusive picture. Unfortunately, the periodical’s rummaging produced no tangible evidence.

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During the hysteria to find the photograph, the original 1886 Epitaph article was recovered. Although the editorial described the bird and the circumstances surrounding its death, this firsthand account made no mention of any picture of the creature. All this confusion leads one to ponder how so many cryptozoologists, including John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, could insist on having seen the photo in question at some point in time. Even after copious amounts of research, what’s become known as the Thunderbird Photograph has yet to be recovered. There are at least a couple of versions of the mythical picture online. Whether or not any of these is authentic remains to be seen. Whatever the truth may be, while sauntering down Allen Street in Tombstone, or traveling that lonely stretch of Interstate 10 on your way to the O.K. Corral, glance up occasionally at the sky. You may catch a glimpse of more than just a DC-10 on its way to Vegas.

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Paranormal Underground 19

Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone?

The Dreamy Draw UFO Crash of 1947 By Paul Bottini


he dead bodies didn’t fit inside the freezer. As Frank attempted to close the door of the appliance, an inert, four-fingered appendage kept the lid from sealing flush. “Damn!” the dusty geezer muttered, glancing around the rotting basement for an axe. Was he gonna have to slice these things up like ol’ Teddy quarterin’ meat down at the butcher shop? He couldn’t do that, could he? After all, these were alien cadavers. Men from Mars. Hackin’ ’em to bits would be like cuttin’ the head off Christ. What to do? he pondered. He took another plug off the bottle of homemade Agave nectar. The overhead lamp sputtered, the only source of light 1583 feet below the Earth’s surface. The pale luminance delineated the pallid features of one of the interstellar travelers wrapped in plastic. Damn, they was creepy! thought Frank. Almost looked like us, but those big, black eyes reminded him of an insect. The cattleman timidly reached down. His palms quivered. Mind you, this was a man who had wrestled live rattlesnakes. His trembling fingers gripped the frail wrist of the creature before him, snapping it like dry kindling. Folding the hand back upon itself, he fit the appendage into the


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freezer. He felt almost sacrilegious doing so. Framed against the eerie subterranean setting, he closed the lid of the appliance on the most important discovery of humankind. Most folks are aware of the legendary tale birthed outside Roswell, New Mexico, July 7, 1947. How is it, then, so little is known of a reported extraterrestrial spacecraft accident a mere three months later? October 1947. Southern Arizona. Above an area currently known as the Dreamy Draw Dam, a craft of otherworldly origin allegedly hurtled to a violent death along a sandstrewn mesa. Most accounts assert the vessel came to rest at the base of Squaw Peak Mountain, adjacent downtown Phoenix. A pair of dead alien beings, four and a half feet tall, were supposedly retrieved from the downed vehicle by a local individual, who ended up storing the corpses in his home freezer. Shortly, thereafter, a horde of Men In Black purportedly descended upon the scene, and confiscated the bodies. According to legend, the space-

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craft was concealed beneath an urban sprawl now known as the Dreamy Draw Dam. Already in possession of an alien craft from Roswell, the Army Corps of Engineers simply built an infrastructure over the ruined space vessel, in order to hide their discovery. Numerous locals claim the dam serves no practical purpose, as the region never accumulates enough precipitation to warrant the need for a levee. Maps delineating the embankment’s location are few and far between. Should one happen upon the structure, don’t expect to find demarcations denoting the word “dam.” There aren’t any. The area is surrounded by No Trespassing signs, forewarning of heavy fines and incarceration to those opposing their cautionary notice. Information regarding this alleged incident is more difficult to uncover than an intelligent statement in Paris Hilton’s The Simple Life. Stockpile this onto the fact the Dreamy Draw Dam is located just south of Highway 51, and you’ve got yourself a modern-day mystery.

March/April 2012

Paranormal Underground 21

Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files

The Paranormal Nights of Sunny San Diego: Part 1 By Jack Kenna, SPIRITS of New England


arlier this year, I had to spend a couple of months working out in Yuma, Arizona. While Yuma is a nice place to visit, especially in the winter, it doesn’t leave too much for a dislocated eastern state paranormal investigator to do on the weekends. The advantage to being in Yuma though is the fact that it’s only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Diego as the crow flies. I decided to check online and see what paranormal groups might happen to be in San Diego and see if they might be willing to get together to perhaps discuss our mutual interest and exchange investigation methods or experiences. So, I Googled “San Diego paranormal groups” and found the San Diego Ghost Hunters (sdGH). I checked out their Website (www., and after being extremely impressed by the content and the work they are doing with regards to linking their paranormal research to historical documentation, working directly with local historians to validate their research, and helping validate some historical research, I e-mailed them the following message: “Dear San Diego Ghost Hunters, My name is Jack Kenna, and I am the case manager and investigator with the paranormal teams


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“I had wanted to investigate the Star of India since I saw it investigated by TAPS on the Syfy channel. This was a dream come true. Little did I know that this was just the beginning ...”

SPIRITS of New England (SoNE),, and The New England Center for the Advancement of Paranormal Science (NECAPS),, both based in Massachusetts. “I am currently working out in Yuma, AZ, through 25 February and thought I might ask if it might be possible to visit with your team during one of the weekends that I

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am here. If you think you might like to get together just to chat and share ideas, experiences, and discuss investigations, please let me know. I love to try and visit with different teams whenever I travel and would enjoy being able to meet with your team. Please feel free to check out our team Websites and let me know if you might be interested in meeting.”

Connecting With Fellow Investigators I didn’t have to wait long for a response. The next day, on January 30, I received the following response from sdGH’s founder and lead investigator Maritza: “Hi Jack, My schedule is pretty open the next few weeks. Just give me a call 619-XXX-XXXX; would love to show you the Whaley House and other places here in town and share ideas. Thank you, Maritza.” Now, I have to admit that I was surprised to get such a quick response back, and a phone number to boot! To be honest, this was not the first time I had tried to contact another team while away on travel, and I either never received a response or it was a couple of weeks or more before I heard back, and by that time I was no longer in town. So, this was not only impressive, it struck me as being very professional, courteous, friendly, and WOW, I was going to get a tour of the famous Whaley House! What more could a visiting investigator ask for! Little did I know what was coming next. After a couple of phone calls and a few more e-mails back and forth, as well as being delayed a bit in getting together on a weekend because of my work in Yuma, Mar-

Left: The Whaley House. Above: Jack investigates the Whaley House General Store.

timing. Maritza.” All I could think of was “Are you freaking kidding me!” I had wanted to investigate the Star of India since I saw it investigated by TAPS on the Syfy channel. This was a dream come true. Little did I know that this was just the beginning. An Adventure Begins! Saturday finally came and I made the 2 1/2-hour drive from Yuma to San Diego down I-8 to I-5 South and Exit 19. If you have never driven through the desert and into the giant, winding, windy, bolder mountains of the Jacumba Wilderness Area, into the beauty of the Laguna Mountain range, and finally down into the slopes of San Diego to the ocean, you need to do it just once in your lifetime.

“I love history ... of the people who made a place what it is ...” itza and I were finally able to work out a date to get together. We settled on Saturday, February 12, and with that, this was the next e-mail that I received from Maritza: “Hey Jack, We will be on the Star of India Saturday night from 10:30 to 3:00 a.m. if you would like to join us. An added bonus, it just kinda worked out that way. Good

Every time I make this drive, and I have made it many times, it amazes me to think of what the pioneers, who headed west from as far away as my home state of New York to travel to California and settled there, had to endure to make it to this beautiful state. How many didn’t make it, and how many died along the way. How could they have

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traversed such a hostile landscape of the hot arid deserts, treacherous mountains, bandits, Indians, snakes, and scorpions? A trip by air-conditioned car and road that would only take me 2 1/2 hours took those pioneers days or even weeks to travel by horse and wagon. No rest stops or casinos along the way for them, just heartache, struggle, danger, and a driving hope and dream for a better life in the land of milk and honey. Just traveling this road brings all of this history to mind and to life, at least it does for me. I love history, not just of major events, but history of the people who made a place what it is or at least what they tried to make it, and the struggles they went through during their lifetime. Perhaps this is why we encounter spirits in various locations. These places we investigate, like the Whaley House or the Star of India, they aren’t just an old building or an old ship. Maybe they seem that way to some of us, but these are the results of a person’s or family’s blood, sweat, tears, laughter, and yes their souls. These are the places they didn’t just live in, but the places they lived their lives, loved, raised their families, and grieved their losses. These places represent who they were and what they accomplished. Is it really hard for someone to believe that

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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files

Diana (of San Diego Ghost Hunters) checking her camera at base camp in first-class quarters on the Star of India.

some of these souls, these people, the essence of who they truly were/ are, still lingers in these places that we investigate? Taking a Look at the Whaley House I arrived in Old Town San Diego at the Whaley House at about 1 p.m., where I met with Maritza, her husband, Vince, her cousin, Colleen, and Colleen’s sister-in-law, Diana. Vince is not a part of the sdGH team, but he is a great guy, a bit of a skeptic, but he has had his own experiences on a couple of the investigations he’s been on with sdGH. Vince is a more technical person, somewhat like myself, and he operates his own company “American Tanks, LLC” out of La Mesa, California. He also does some very interesting work with McMillin Racing for the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 races. Vince is a self-made man in his own right and struck me as probably being like the pioneers must have


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been. As a matter of fact, Vince’s ancestors were some of those same pioneers, and Maritza’s own family history goes back to the region of San Diego as well. We all seemed to hit it off right from the start. It was like meeting some old friends whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. I found out that Maritza had once been a docent (tour guide) in the Whaley House and is still good friends with the operators of the Museum.

Especially his daughter Violet who had attempted more than once to kill herself and finally succeeded by shooting herself. Her own father, Mr. Whaley, found her. He carried her into the house and laid her on the love seat where she died from her self-inflicted wound. That same love seat is still in the Whaley House today, located in the living room. Of course, it had been reupholstered after her death, but it is still in the home along with many other original artifacts. I would later also be provided the privilege of being invited to investigate the Whaley House with Maritza and the sdGH team. She went on to tell me about the numerous investigations they had done there and the evidence they had captured. She also spoke of the work they were also doing with local historians on the Whaley House to validate their evidence and findings to the known history, and also to assist the historians with trying to validate some of the new historical information they were coming across. I find this to be very interesting work they are doing. You do not see this type of collaboration of mainstream science and paranormal investigating going on anywhere else that I am aware of. It’s fantastic! Also to note here is that the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO)

Tragic death scarred the Whaley House in San Diego. We all went inside, and Maritza gave me the extended tour of the house, which was fascinating. Again, I love the history, which is a big reason why I love investigating as much as I do. She told me all about Mr. Whaley, his brothers, sons, and daughters.

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and The San Diego Ghost Hunters have joined to present the only event of its kind in San Diego: The Whaley House Museum Paranormal Investigation Tour. sdGH is the “official” investigation team for the Whaley House. If you’re interested in investigating this location, Maritza

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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files and sdGH are the people to contact. This investigation opportunity is presented late at night after normal closing hours on the last weekend of every month. You can contact them through their Website at or by e-mail at They can also organize an investigation of the Star of India for you. Old Town San Diego: Full of History From the Whaley House, the team brought me down to a section of Old Town where some of the other original town buildings still stand, and then into the town square. Here in 1846, on a pole in the plaza, the American flag was first raised in Southern California. During the Mexican-American War on July 29, 1846, Lieutenant Stephan C. Rowan, of the U.S. Sloop-of-War, “Cyane,” landed, and occupied the town with troops from his ship. In November of that same year, though, San Diego had to be retaken. With American troops already in the town, a young woman by the name of Señora María Antonia Machado de Silvas walked bravely into the square and cut down the Mexican flag from the pole to save it from disgrace at the hands of the Americans. Being no rope on the pole to raise the American flag with, one Albert B. Smith then climbed the pole and nailed the U.S. flag to it. Again, the fortitude, bravery, and determination of the people of those days are very apparent in the history of their lives. I strongly believe that this is one reason why we find the souls, the spirits, of some of these people still gracing cities like that of San Diego with their presence to this very day. We tend to call them residual hauntings, the repeat of either a recurring event or


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EVP session on the Star of India in the San Diego Harbor.

an event that held such high emotion and significance to an individual that it became imprinted on the very location that it took place. Here again, it is the living people of that time that are the catalysts for creating this anomaly, this haunting. If not for them, we paranormal researchers would not have these anomalies to investigate. From here, my new found friends brought me to another fabu-

make it very easy to imagine the Estudillo family still living there, watching the tourists wander through the grounds and rooms of their home and perhaps, just perhaps, even walking along with the tourists proudly talking about their home and how pleased they are with how well cared for it is. This may actually not be so hard to believe given the fact that people have reported doors seem-

The sdGH team has captured EVP responses ... during the off-season. lous and historically famous location known as Casa de Estudillo. This is an actual adobe house that was built between 1827 and 1829 by the Commander of the San Diego presidio, Captain Jose Maria de Estudillo, for his family. The building’s architecture and beautiful central courtyard garden, along with the antiques and artifacts,

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ingly being opened for them, the feeling of a presence next to them in an otherwise empty room, and some of the sdGH team have even captured EVP responses in some of the rooms during the day when touring the location during the offseason. From here we walked down to the Machado-Stewart House.

Although many people are not aware of it, this is a fairly famous home because of its mention in Two Years Before the Mast, the classic book by Richard Henry Dana. The home was built sometime in the 1830s by Don José Manuel Machado and was later occupied by his daughter Rosa and her husband Jack Stewart, who had been a shipmate of Richard Henry Dana onboard the ship “Alert.” Dana again wrote a more detailed description of this location and a visit he made there in 1850 in his book Twenty-Four Years After. The home was occupied up until very recent years, and Maritza and her family even got to know one of the family members who had spent time in the home with her grandmother. They met the girl through their son. The two had dated for a period of time. She told them about her memories of baking bread in the adobe oven that sits in the back of the home along Congress Street.

The spirit of the grandfather is said to still be seen from time to time walking within the home, which is now uninhabited and owned by the State Park. Some EVPs have also

scratched the surface. It was more than enough though to get my excitement up for what was coming later that evening, an investigation of the famous Star of India with some great

The spirit of the grandfather is seen from time to time within the home. been captured in the home of what sounds to be an older gentleman. This is a small home and not something you would normally think of as being inhabited by a spirit, but here again this is a longstanding family home that was and is obviously a source of pride to that family. Why wouldn’t one or more of its previous residents still be there watching over it? Concluding My First-Ever Tour of Downtown San Diego So this concluded my first-ever paranormal tour of Downtown San Diego, and we had only just

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new friends I had just met, that now seemed like old friends. It’s a wonderful thing to meet others in this field that share your love of history, excitement, and passion for investigating; a good sense of humor; love for life; and respect for others, both living and deceased. *****

See the next issue of Paranormal Underground magazine for Part 2 of “Paranormal Nights of Sunny San Diego,” where Jack describes sdGH’s investigation of the Star of India!

Paranormal Underground 27

Personal Experiences

Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel By Rob St.Helen, West Coast Ghost Hunters


ello from the Heathman Hotel once again. I do hope this finds everyone well! It seems to be getting a bit more active as of late at the ol’ Heathman Hotel. I will recap some of the things that have been going on of late. As some of you may know, the hotel has a restaurant attached to it, so “sometimes” late at night, we will go in and “cook” some food for ourselves that we “bring in.” One night, I had bought a pizza at a nearby store and was ready to heat it up. I was standing with my back toward the table. On this table we have ladles that hang from the top. There is no wind current (at least not strong enough to shake anything), but I was there alone, not leaning on the table. Out of the blue, the ladles shook. I turned around thinking my coworker had come in, but he had not. I reached up and shook the ladles to see if I could match the sound, and sure enough it was the ladles. I have talked to other kitchen workers, and they have had the same experience. So, was a spirit letting me know that they were there, or were they waiting for my pizza? (In the picture above, the oven I was using is just to the right of the end of the table.) Another event happened the other night when I was working. I was feeling great all night long. I was


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The ladles pictured able began to shake, with no explanation, as I cooked my pizza in the oven to the right of the end of the table.

getting ready to walk the halls and pick up breakfast orders and deliver newspapers. As always, I started on the tenth floor. I was feeling great, that was up until I got on the fifth floor. As I walked by room 515, I instantly got very sick to my stomach, light headed, dizzy, and very pale. I was so dizzy that I had to have my hand on the walls just to walk the final halls. When I came back to the lobby, my coworker immediately asked if I was okay and what had happened.

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He said that in the two years or so that we have been working with each other, he had never seen me so pale. I told him that I think I walked through something or something had walked through me. That is the first time in almost five years of working there that I got such a nasty reaction to something in the hotel. It took about 45 minutes before I started to feel a bit better and get my color back. It was an interesting experience to say the least!

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Paranormal Underground 29

Personal Experiences




remember when the ghost came to see me as if it were yesterday. It came to me at night when I was a 10-year-old schoolboy in my school dorm, nearly 50 years ago! It was the ghost of a boy who’d died at the school. His transparent face smiled down at me as he stood at the end of my bed. A soft pale light gently shone from his face. He was looking directly at me, smiling in a friendly kind of way, and seemed interested and pleased to see that I could see him. There were about 10 other boys sleeping in the dorm, but none of them woke up except me. The soft light woke me, and I looked up from my bed and saw his face. After a few seconds, he turned and floated across the room. By this time, I was sitting up in bed watching him. He was wearing what appeared to be a long gown and was almost completely transparent, so I could only see the outline of his body. He had no feet and was floating about two feet off the floor. He then floated up three steps and disappeared through the door that led to the bathrooms. That was what I saw; the whole event probably lasted about 10 to 15 seconds. Other boys saw and heard strange things around this time. One boy, who was reading alone in the library during


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the day, suddenly caught a glimpse of a boy reading in the library from the corner of his eye. When he turned to see who it was, there was nothing there. Another boy heard singing in the school chapel at around 4 a.m., when everyone was sleeping and there was certainly no one in the chapel. The boy who came to visit the school after his death had been a choirboy at the school and had died at the school. He’d been in a car accident and had apparently recovered completely. However, while he was running the 400-yard relay race during the school’s sports day, he collapsed. A teacher tried to resuscitate him, to no avail; he wasn’t breathing

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and had no pulse. He was rushed to the medical dispensary where he was given oxygen, which was useless as he was already dead. Although he died before I joined the school, and I’d never met him, when I saw his ghost I recognized his face because he resembled his younger brother who was at the school with me. Maybe because of this I wasn’t afraid at all when I saw it. The events that I, and other boys, witnessed had the hallmarks of a “visitation,” since it was a one-off event and the school certainly wasn’t haunted by the spirit. It seemed to me that the ghost was saying “goodbye” to his friends and his school.

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Paranormal Underground 31

Personal Experiences

“I’m Bill … Not Billy!” By W.M. Abel


ome people are born into families that believe in ghosts, spooks, and all sorts of superstitions. I was born into a family that scoffed at anything that could not run up and smack them in the nose hard enough to get blood to trickle. Most of them believe in God, believe that Jesus died for all our sins, but don’t believe in UFOs, ghosts, goblins, lizard men, or secret governments. More often than not, they are preoccupied by why the cows are only producing smaller calves, or why the wheat has such a low protein percentage. Yeah, you might guess from that, I’m a ruralite. I grew up in a town of somewhere between 200 and 300 people, depending on time of year and influx of people that year. We had a little store, a gas station, a GM car lot, a used-car dealer, and little else but a couple eating and drinking establishments. The centerpiece to the town is and was the hotel. It’s the tallest, probably second only to the school for square footage, and has seen a lot of people and stories. It’s been standing since 1917, when it was built to replace the one that had burnt down the year prior. That one had replaced one before it, which met the fiery fate much of the town followed in a series of fires. More than one little town was killed by fire, people could not afford to rebuild, and so moved on. Luckily, Almira, be it a small dot


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on the map, was a town with history and fate. Being the closest rail line to Grand Coulee Dam’s location, and being right ON the main East/West highway for the state, Almira was a place to be. Two presidents passed through the town. FDR and Truman both came to see the dam site, and Hotel Almira held the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Reclamation’s Grand Coulee Dam Project for quite a few years. They came by rail, ate their lunch, saw whatever paperwork and plans were there, and then went to the dam and back. It was a 19-andchange-mile drive each way to the base of the dam. Almira was also smack dab in the middle of wheat country. The area produces more wheat than most any in the U.S., and stands pretty tall in the world. Dry land wheat farming. No longer do lots of small farms dot the land, but every growing family

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corporations sucking up the leftovers after the economy has had a go at the farming man. Billions upon billions of bushels of wheat, oats, barley, and occasionally peas have rolled through and out of town on the rail. Having been established the same year as the state, 1889, Almira has a lot of history for a “new” little town. The hotel was always a marvel to me. It’s beauty, majesty, and oddities kept my imagination rolling as a kid. In its lobby was the machine half the kids in town learned how to jimmy for free soda pops. The old moose head that greeted you as you entered said lobby would put a little pucker power behind each step you took, and the dark wood paneling, old style woodwork, and creaks and groans would not help that a bit. It had presence. When I was young, the hotel was open for business, the restaurant and bar were a mainstay, and the bowling alley that was attached to it still func-

tioned as such. In the early ’70s, the bowling alley parts were sold out and installed in another small town not far away, and pieces started falling way from the business of the hotel. It had a few small businesses that tried to take up residency and make money to thrive, but nothing worked. Barber shops, junk shops, mini stores, they all came and went. I can’t say my first “ghostly” experience was at the hotel, because it was not. My parents’ home since 1970 has been on the same spot since the same year as the hotel. 1917 was a good year for buildings in town. I had grown acquainted with, and made a truce/friendship with the “thing” that dwelled in the basement with me at home. It would turn book pages at night, hide things, make bumping noises, and oddly enough, come sit with me in front of the fire of the wood stove that kept me warm during the winter. It was by the firelight that we made friends. I understood that it meant no harm, but was acting out of frustration. It knew I was aware of it, and understanding. It was just part of business as usual. God forbid I make light of it around the family, or I would catch all sorts of flak. I just kept it as a personal little secret. The hotel does hold a spot in my heart and mind forever though. It is the first time I was terrified by the unknown, the place I became acutely aware that DID have some seriously strange energy coming from it. It was like you never knew what kind of mood the place would be in when you visited. The bar and restaurant were almost always the same, but the upstairs, the rooms, were different daily. We’d sneak up and snoop around the hallways. At one time in my very young days, my oldest brother rented a room there for a while and lived there. He was a biker, dope-dealing

dude. I was a kid. I still had to see my big brother. A certain room on the upper floor always made me turn and look. There was never any thumps, bangs or booms, no groans, cries or wails, but I did not like the room. I’d pass by it and watch the door handle as I passed, if it started turning, I was

door still vibrating from the contact. And I heard, whether in my head or not, my name. “Billy!” it cried, drawing off into a long eeeeeeeee sound, which was quite similar to the one I was making as I got out of there. Flight mode kicked in, and I bowled over one of my buddies as he was eyeballing the soda machine in the

I heard ... my name. “Billy!” instantly The Flash, one of nature’s fastest beings. In my youth I was very reactionary. If my body said “Fight!” I was a windmill of fists and feet; if my body said “Flight!” I got the Hell outta’ Dodge like nobody’s business. This “flight” mode had been proven at the age of 4 when I knocked two high schoolers out of the way at Mach speed after the lady had set up in her coffin in the Halloween spook house and called me by name as she reached for me. Family friends did not stand out as themselves in makeup, and I had no time for explanations. It was one fall day, after my brother had moved out. Three of us kids were up in the hotel just basically snooping, having no business to be near the place other than out of boredom. We had been at the far north of the hallway, near what would have been the old house of ill repute from the old days (upstairs off the bowling alley), and we’d talked about that and wondered about the rooms at that end, if they had secret passages and such fanciful kid things. My buddies had taken off for the stairwell, thinking they heard the owner coming, and he’d threatened to skin us if we were caught wandering the place again. I was a few steps behind and just passing the door that always scared me, when the door thumped loud enough to make me jump, flinch, and look and see the

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lobby. I did not stop till I got home. It wasn’t long after that, I chided anybody that called me “Billy.” I would tell them, “I’m not Billy anymore. I’m Bill.” And I got into countless fights just on that point alone. I was not going by any name ghosts in old buildings knew me by. As I grew older, I soaked up more history from the place, the town, the building, the people, and started understanding. Echoes of long past times still haunt the place. Trains full of sleep passengers disembarked at Almira for their perilous journey into the Northern gold bearing regions, West to the new homesteads of the Waterville Plateau, and to the untold riches of the unpolished diamonds in the West. It was the last stop of civilization and the cusp of the frontier. Today, Almira slowly dwindles. The hotel still stands, but has been closed for a while; the last owner could not make a go of it. The building is coming apart and just needs too much work. He found issues with tools disappearing and reappearing, noises, voices, names being called out, cigarette smoke, and various spots in the place that scared the Hell out of him. If there are even echoes of the past stirring in the dank darkness of a three-story brick building in a tiny town anywhere, there ought to be plenty here.

Paranormal Underground 33

Author Spotlight

Writing the Dark Ages Julia Phillips Smith

By Michelle M. Pillow,


orror novelist Julia Phillips Smith (juliaphillipssmith. com) is celebrating the release of her debut paranormal book, Saint Sanguinus: A Dark Ages Vampire Novel (November 2011). A graduate of Ryerson University’s film program, Julia’s previous writing credits include scripts for radio and television. She has donned various creative hats, including stage manager (theater), 3rd Assistant Director (independent feature film), and editor (TV documentary). Saint Sanguinus is currently for sale at Amazon and Smashwords with print-on-demand coming soon. “A dark, dramatic take on the vampire genre,” writes Anna Campbell, Publisher’s Weekly’s Top 100 Books pick for Captive of Sin. “This book kept me awake into the wee hours.” ***** Q: In your book, Saint Sanguinus, you delve into the world of vampires. What inspired you? Julia: I’ve been enamored of vampires since childhood. I used to try to watch Dark Shadows, but my mom would always turn the channel if she walked in and found me sitting there enraptured by Barnabas Collins, and me all of five years old. Since then, I’ve fallen for the Big Cheese himself, Count Dracula, and


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of them cursed God with his dying breath instead of praying to be welcomed into Heaven. Or Valhalla. That led to supposing that God might have a use for a man so attached to life. What if the life offered back to these men became exceedingly lengthy? And who did I know with long life spans? Vampires, perhaps? Q: How is your world different?

Julia has been a fan of Dark Age Britain since she was a girl, leading to a lifelong love affair with all things Arthurian.

for another count — the Count SaintGermain, written by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Currently, Eric Northman from True Blood most definitely commands my attention. Q: When world-building, did you base your story off of known myths throughout history? Julia: I really started with the caution, “be careful what you wish for.” I was thinking about soldiers and warriors laying on their final battlefields, and what would happen if one

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Julia: Vampires have morphed in the past few years into a type of badboy character. The vampire qualities that I love were slowly frittering away in favor of gloomy, Goth types more interested in striking a pose than plunging fangs into anyone’s necks. Saint Sanguinus takes readers back into a world where vampires remember who they are. Q: What myths or legends inspired you? Julia: I’ve been a fan of Dark Age Britain since I was a girl, devouring Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. This led to a lifelong love affair with all things Arthurian. I love everything about the Arthur legends, including the more mystical aspects like the Lady of the Lake, Merlin, and the Isle of Avalon. But nothing beats the origin of Arthur’s kingship — the sword in

the stone itself, Excalibur. This in turn led to another devoted attachment — to swords.

there someone here with us? We’ll just say hi.” Q: Have you ever been to a psychic or a past-life regression?

Q: Why do you think readers, and society in general, are fascinated by the paranormal? Julia: Earlier societies like the ones featured in Saint Sanguinus believed in the paranormal world as a matter of course. Although we have a lot for which to thank the Enlightenment Period, the resulting trend toward scientific theory really managed to crush the nonmeasurable aspects out of respectable life. However, privately people still believe. Or at least want to believe. The American Film Institute’s Top 20 Hollywood films list includes four with paranormal/fantasy elements: The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, 2001 Space Odyssey, and It’s a Wonderful Life, while TV Guide’s list of the Top 50 shows of all time includes The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks, Star Trek Next Generation, and Bewitched. Q: Do you have any paranormal pet projects? Julia: As a graduate of Ryerson University’s film program, I do have some film projects in mind, including one that features a small town, its tourism industry, and the undersea creature that feeds the economy while feeding on the inhabitants. Q: Do you believe in the supernatural? Julia: A definite believer. For example, I’m descended from the Mi’kmaq First Nation of Eastern Canada, and as often happens within this cultural group, I receive animal totem messages regularly. These come to us when the spirit world wishes to communicate. For exam-

Saint Sanguinus is book one in a trilogy, and is really a superhero origin story, as well as a vampire tale.

ple, if you live in a city suburb with a wide assortment of neighborhood cats and dogs, you wouldn’t count sightings of these animals as totem messages unless there was something odd about them. However, if you were heading out your front door on your way to work, and a cat slipped off the roof to nearly land on your head and scare you out of your wits, looking up the message from Cat Totem would be a good idea. Then you would find out that the Universe is reminding you to trust in your own instincts. Q: How would you react if you came face to face with a ghost? Julia: Since I do seem to bump into spirits regularly, I’m not afraid of these meetings. When my dog Xena was still with us, she would sometimes follow an unseen presence with her gaze and then look at me meaningfully. I learned to say, “Is

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Julia: I’ve been to both. The psychic predicted I was “very near” my soul mate, who would be wearing a uniform, even though I was new to the city and still getting set up there. I left the reading, and 20 minutes later I was putting in my application for a job as a box office/popcorn counter attendant at a movie theater. That’s where I met my husband, who was wearing his usher’s uniform when we met. The past-life therapist worked with me over several years, whenever I would get a strong urge to make an appointment and do some clearing out of old energies. The lifetimes that came up were a mix of male and female, took place in Scotland, England, Eastern Europe and Tahiti, and addressed issues of imprisonment, execution, suffering the consequences of forbidden love, pregnancy issues, sexual assault, and being at the mercy of a killer cyclone. Q: What does the future hold for your Dark Ages vampire series? Julia: Saint Sanguinus is book one in a trilogy, and is really a superhero origin story as well as a vampire tale. One of my writer friends assumed I was going to write a book for each member of the vampire Brotherhood, which is made up of six warriors plus the main character. So we’ll see where that takes me. *****

To learn more about Julia Phillips Smith and “Saint Sanguinus: A Dark Ages Vampire Novel,” visit www.

Paranormal Underground 35

Paranormal Perspective: Guest Editorial

Smoke, Mirrors, and Science By Karen Frazier


frequently receive evidence from other paranormal investigators, who ask me what I think of it. Believing they want an honest opinion, my response is usually quite genuine. Over time, however, what I’ve discovered is that some people who send me their evidence and ask for my opinion don’t really want it — they want me to confirm what they think they are hearing or seeing. Case in point — I once took a class about using psychic phenomena to explore the paranormal. Part of the class involved breaking up into teams of two and sharing with the other person what you saw in your mind’s eye. I joined forces with a relatively new paranormal investigator, who also happened to be running a digital recorder at the time. In my mind’s eye, I saw a certain object. Later, she sent me what she thought was an EVP saying the name of the object I saw in my head. She asked for my opinion. Since I am very skeptical of any psychic abilities I might have, it would have been really cool for the EVP to provide confirmation. At the same time, I am very aware of my own bias toward wanting evidence to point to my own impressions. Thus, I am extremely analytical about evidence appearing to confirm any intuitive impressions I receive. Resultantly, I


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heavily analyzed the EVP the other investigator sent me. When I analyze EVPs (mine or anyone else’s), I am very detailed about it. After writing what I think it says, I listen to it multiple times — first for consonants in order to differentiate it as speech and not someone zipping a zipper or something. Next, I break it down into syllables and try to ascertain what each syllable sounds like it is saying. Knowing the consonants helps. In order to do this, I loop syllables, slow them down, run filters to try and clean them up, etc. It’s because I believe that it is terribly easy to hear something in an EVP because that is what you expect or want to hear. By breaking them down and analyzing them syllable by syllable, I am less likely to make up something whole out of the small parts. This was the process I took with the EVP sent to me, and ultimately I arrived at the conclusion that the audio clip, while sounding like actual speech, was not saying what the other investigator suggested. I wrote her back, outlining my process of analysis and explaining that because the audio was possibly confirming something I saw in my head, I needed to treat it very analytically rather than emotionally.

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The other investigator was furious. I received a nastygram back saying that if everyone was so analytical about everything, no one would ever gather any evidence of the paranormal. I beg to differ. In fact, I believe that one must scrutinize all evidence carefully. If it still holds up in the light of day, then you just may have something. If it doesn’t, and you continue to present it as the evidence you want it to be, it diminishes the field as a whole.

Some People Will Not Believe, No Matter What I understand the argument, “You’ll never convince a nonbeliever.” Actually, I’ve made that very argument myself and it is, indeed, true. Some people will not believe, no matter what. You could present them with the most solid, concrete evidence ever, and they still would not even consider it might be paranormal. Likewise, it goes the other way. You’ll never convince a true believer that maybe, just maybe, they’re wrong. I also understand having emotional ties to evidence. We are researching something that, as yet, is nearly impossible to prove. That’s why, when we get something on our equipment we perceive as evidence, we get very excited. Whether it’s a photograph, an EVP, a video clip, or some other form of evidence, many paranormal investigators want to believe it confirms the existence of ghosts. If you feel that way, you are not alone. I am the same way. I want very badly for audio anomalies to confirm my experiences. But that doesn’t mean they always do. Because paranormal investigators have such an emotional attachment to our own evidence, it can be quite difficult to separate ourselves from the desire for it to be something. That’s why, very often, when someone reviews our evidence and disagrees with us, it feels so darn personal. Unfortunately, history is littered with scientific scandals perpetrated by people so attached to their hypothesis that they were unwilling or unable to accept any evidence or interpretations that contradicted their belief. Consider the case of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the British researcher who linked certain vaccines to autism via his research. In 2009, a well-researched article broke in

the British press showing Wakefield changed and misreported results of his research. Wakefield, who continues to maintain his innocence, is only one in a long line of researchers who have been so passionate about their hypothesis that they fell pretty much to conscious or unconscious manipulation of the data. The worst part in the Wakefield case is that, while his data may

if there actually is a link between the two it is going to be ridiculously hard to prove going forward. Avoiding the Slush Pile of Pseudoscience I am very serious about paranormal research, and I know many others who are, as well. If, however, we don’t want our work to wind up in the slush pile of pseudoscience, then

We are only fooling ourselves if we think we are proceeding scientifically. have been manipulated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that no correlation exists between autism and vaccinations. However, for the next guy who comes along and tries to find that correlation, skepticism is going to be mighty high among his or her peers and detractors. I believe that as people researching the paranormal, we’ve got a tough enough road ahead without clinging emotionally to weak evidence. If we truly want to be accepted as researchers, then we must have the intellectual integrity to step aside from what we want the evidence to show us and, instead, pay close attention to what it is really indicating. Instead of only accepting as evidence that which confirms our hypotheses, we must also welcome evidence that points to the contrary, be open to deeper scrutiny, and maintain willingness to accept alternative hypotheses and points of view. The stakes are higher than we think they are. Don’t believe me? Look at the Wakefield case. Vast amounts of anecdotal evidence still exists linking autism to immunizations, but because the research wasn’t solid and the researcher got caught up in his own beliefs and ambitions,

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we must proceed differently than we do now or stop claiming we’re performing scientific research. With a few exceptions, the general population of paranormal investigators (and I include myself in this category) isn’t performing scientific research. It pains me to say it, but it’s not even close, so we should stop pretending it is. Nearly everything we do is based on assumptions without the hours, days, weeks, and years of experimentation to back them up, and we are only fooling ourselves if we think we are proceeding scientifically. Our research is built primarily of hope, belief, and interpretation of experience or data with a little wishful thinking tossed in. While hope and belief may fuel our passion for the paranormal, it’s not the stuff of science. Many paranormal investigators claim to want to be accepted as legitimate researchers while waving experimental equipment they barely understand around and getting excited about dust “orbs” in their photographs. I understand the excitement and the emotion, but there’s no place for it in actual scientific research. So, let’s call a spade a spade. Very

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Paranormal Perspective: Guest Editorial few of us are legitimate scientific researchers, and to claim we are diminishes both the work of those who are, as well as our own efforts. Now that I’ve fully pissed many of you off, let me say this. What we’re doing in paranormal investigation isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s just mislabeled. As a community, we are trying to discover something phenomenal, but when we try to claim that we’re using science to do so, we diminish the experience. As yet, the science doesn’t clearly exist to detect ghosts, and using EMF meters isn’t going to change that. That doesn’t have to negate personal experiences, which ultimately contribute to the massive amounts of anecdotal evidence that generate a widespread belief in ghosts. However, we must stop presenting our work as science unless we are performing carefully controlled experiments that follow the scientific method and assume nothing. I can freely admit that’s not what I’m doing, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong in my enthusiasm for paranormal investigation or even the guesses I make about what causes paranormal phenomena. It just means I can’t present as fact anything except for my experiences, and if I am to avoid jumping to conclusions, then I must present those without interpretation. Presenting a Paranormal Experience Without Interpretation Here’s an example. I once had an experience where I was sitting in a room with a group of people who were all together in one spot. Suddenly, an extremely loud noise startled us. When we investigated, we discovered a pen on the floor. Earlier photographs showed the pen


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hadn’t been in that spot when we first sat down. That is the story without interpretation. Those are the facts. Here’s the story, told with assumptions, conclusions, and emotions: We were sitting in a room all together on a bench when something unseen threw a pen at us with such force it sounded like someone had shot a gun. Since we were all within sight of one another at the time, none of us could have thrown the pen. Since the early photographs showed no pen and none of us had moved between that photograph and the incident, the noise was clearly from the pen hitting a display case with tremendous force and skittering to the floor. Since things like this happen in that building all the time, it is clearly haunted and the ghosts like to throw stuff at people. Did we reach conclusions based

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on the few facts? Absolutely! Were those conclusions logical? Possibly! Were they scientific? Not at all — we had no video of the pen lifting up, flying through the air, hitting a display case, and landing on the floor, nor could we recreate the sound exactly. What we were left with was our best guess about what had happened based on the few facts we had, the emotions we felt, previous experiences, and our belief in ghosts. It was a personal experience that five of us shared, but there is not a darn thing scientific about it, and to conclude that we were in a room with ghosts that violently tossed things at us was a personal guess, but not a scientific one. That doesn’t mean we’re wrong. It just means that ultimately, we don’t know what happened because we had to make too many assumptions. I have numerous tales of personal experiences similar to that which I described above, where something anomalous occurred. I admit to telling those stories based on my perceptions, filters, conclusions, and beliefs rather than just the facts. In fact, I wrote a whole book doing just that, but I presented it as my own opinion and not conclusive fact or evidence. That being said, when we’re presenting research, we need to do so without commentary first – stating just the facts. Then, at the end we can present our own conclusions labeled as just that — inference, filters, and opinions, but not scientific fact. Until we are willing to approach things using carefully controlled scientific methodology, we do ourselves a disservice calling it anything other than what it really is — personal investigation with a lot of guessing.

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