Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 11
WPRS Strives to Better Understand the Paranormal Green Fireball UFOs in New Mexico A Haunting in Hopkinton: The Mcneil House
Fear & Loathing in Salem, Mass. So You Want to Be a Ghost Hunter?
• TV Watch: FlashForward • Reviews: Paranormal Activity • Haunted Sites: Paiute Rock Sprites in Modoc County
• Diary From a Haunted Hotel 1
November 2009 Paranormal Underground
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Inside This Issue
FEATURES INVESTIGATOR SPOTLIGHT WPRS Strives to Better Understand the Paranormal
SPECIAL REPORT So, You Want to Be a Ghost Hunter, Eh?
CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Haunted Sites Paiute Imp
Haunted History Fear and Loathing in Salem, Mass.
Cryptids & Mythological Creatures Fairies: Myths & Legends
Are We Alone? The Green Fireball UFOs in New Mexico
Fiction: Featured Author “Rewind” by Ann Smathers
Paranormal Fantasy Author Spotlight Megan Hart
From the Editor
Ghost Hunter Comic
Calendar of Events
PUG Member Profile: Rick E. Hale
Ghost Hunter Case Files: A Haunting in Hopkinton: The Mcneil Home
Ghost Investigation: Kentucky Farmhouse
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES Diary From a Haunted Hotel
Reviews of the Month: Paranormal Activity
November 2009 Paranormal Underground
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Paranormal Underground November 2009
Publisher’s Letter Paranormal Underground
Volume 2, Issue 11 November 2009 www.ParanormalUnderground.net
o fear. What exactly do we become stagnant. Change hapthose words mean? As I was pens whether we want it to or not. I driving to work the other figure I might as well try to roll with day, those words crossed my mind. the punches as opposed to getting My thoughts had been on the knocked out by them. Disneyland ride Space Mountain, This doesn’t mean that I will run and its current incarnation as Ghost out and ride Space Mountain tomorGalaxy for the Halloween season. row, but I will not be as afraid to take Never having been on the ride, I a chance. If I have learned one thing always wondered what it would be from the past few years it is this: Oplike. You see, when it comes to thrill portunities are few and far between. rides like Space MounWe took a chance on tain, I am a chicken. publishing our first issue Just being near the thing of Paranormal Undermakes my legs quake ground in June 2008, and my stomach lurch. and we haven’t looked As I continued back since. driving, I thought more I look at others in about fear and realized the paranormal industry that I’d always been who are working hard to afraid of something investigate a field full of during my life — mostly, unknowns. Each invesI have a fear of change. tigator and researcher Chad Wilson, I like to be comfortable is taking a chance. They Publisher in my life, and anything are putting themselves that takes me out of that and their work out there zone, I try to avoid, usually by ignorfor all to dissect, judge, and possibly ing what is going on. ridicule. But, one day, someone who The past couple of years has took a chance will make a breakbeen a major time of change for me. through that will change the science I changed jobs, created a paranormal books. Who knows, that someone magazine, started a business, and could be you . . . or me. became a paranormal investigator. What I do know is that I will face I even changed my location, movmany more changes in the future, but ing from Tennessee to California (a I will face them with the realization distance of more than 2,000 miles). that change is the norm. I will try to Was I fearful during all this? live with ‘no fear,’ and in the process, Yes, I was, and I still am to a degree. I hope to become a better person and But the fear decreases every day. positively impact those around me. What I have realized of late is We welcome your comments to this that fearing change gets in the way of topic: Please visit our forum at http:// personal growth. In essence, change www.paranormalunderground.net/ is the one true constant in life, and site/forum/ and tell us what you think! if we are afraid to take chances, then
EDITORIAL Publisher Chad Wilson
Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight
Managing Editor Karen Frazier
Science Editor J.D. Harrison
Contributing Authors Jordan Lee Burnes Amy C. Karen Frazier Terri J. Garofalo Rick E. Hale Joy Healey Carolyn M. Hughes Lura Ketchledge Cheryl Knight Michelle M. Pillow Chris Samuelsen Townsend Twainhart Chad Wilson
Copyright © 2008-2009 — Paranormal Underground™ is a trademark of Ghost Knight Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of Ghost Knight Media, LLC. 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.
November 2009 Paranormal Underground
Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington A Ghost Knight Media, LLC Documentary
A century after an avalanche killed them all, many passengers remain trapped at Wellington â€” unable to make it HOME. This is their story.
Coming March 1, 2010
Paranormal Underground November 2009
From the Editor
Diving Into ‘Case Files of the Unknown’
Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 11 November 2009 www.ParanormalUnderground.net
n this issue of Paranormal Underground, we dive head first into several intriguing Case Files of the Unknown, covering haunted sites, UFO sightings, haunted history, and cryptids and mythological creatures. The article “Paiute Imp,” by author Townsend Twainhart, details his harrowing experience on a haunted cliff in Modoc County, California. While shooting on location for a magazine article, Townsend faced death atop a rocky peak. Was the experience a result of a rock sprite he caught on film, spirits roaming a haunted battle site, or something else? Turn to page 24 to find out. In “Fear and Loathing in Salem, Mass.,” writer Rick E. Hale details the bizarre events that transpired in early Colonial America between February 1692 and May 1693, when more than 14 women and five men were hung and crushed to death after being accused of practicing witchcraft. Also known as the Salem Witch Trials, the horrible injustice suffered by a few unlucky citizens of the area was a grim lesson of paranoia, greed, and fear of the unknown. Turn to page 28 to read Rick’s account of the events. This month’s Cryptids & Mythological Creatures column (page 32) reviews the folklore surrounding fairies. Author Jordan Lee Burnes outlines the similarities and differences these mythological creatures exhibit throughout cultures around the world.
Art Director Chad Wilson
Design and Layout Cheryl Knight
Artwork Claudia Ghidella
And in “The Green Fireball UFOs in New Mexico,” UFO enthusiast Joy Healey looks back at one of the greatest UFO mysteries in U.S. history. From late 1948 through early 1949, green fireballs invaded the New Mexico skies. From witnesses on the ground to pilots in the sky, the fireballs remained a mystery. Check out page 34 for more information. Also in this issue, we summarize the ABC TV show FlashForward, review the surprise hit movie Paranormal Activity, spotlight the Wichita Paranormal Research Society investigative team, share a case file of a haunted house in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and hear about a recent ghost investigation at a Kentucky farmhouse. December sneak peek: Next issue we’ll take a look at 2012 myths, review the top paranormal stories of 2009, and shine the spotlight on a new member of the Ghost Hunters International team, investigator Paul Bradford. I hope you enjoy this issue. Happy reading!
Promotions Promotions/Marketing Karen Frazier
YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/ParanormalUG
Send comments and letters to: Editor@paranormalunderground.net.
~ Cheryl Knight Editor-in-Chief November 2009 Paranormal Underground
Contributors Jordan Lee Burnes Jordan lives in Laurel, Mississippi, and is currently a senior attending high school. He works at his local library, which helps him pursue his passion for writing. After completing high school, Jordan hopes to continue on to a flight school where he will learn to fly commercial airplanes, which will also help him fulfill his dream of travel. His love of the paranormal started when he saw an episode of Ghost Hunters, and that interest soon led him to the field of cryptozoology, which fascinates him. Jordan dreams of one day freelance writing full time and living in Scotland.
Amy C. A resident of Philadelphia, Amy has always been interested in what she can’t explain. She is interested in ghosts, UFOs, and Bigfoot and loves learning new things and expanding her mind. She’s a skeptic through and through, but would love to be proven wrong. Amy lives by the creed of “question everything.”
Karen Frazier Karen is the managing editor of Paranormal Underground magazine. After living in a WWIIera apartment 20 years ago where unexplainable things happened, Karen began to search for answers about the paranormal. Now she combines that interest with her professional experience as a copy writer and technical writer to help bring Paranormal Underground to the public. Karen is currently a
partner for Ghost Knight Media (www.ghostknightmedia.com).
Terri J. Garofalo Terri is a paranormal investigator, as well as the author and illustrator of Entities-R-Us, a Ghost Hunter Comic. For more information, visit www.entities-r-us.com.
Rick E. Hale A native of Chicago, Rick is the cofounder of the Greater Illinois Ghost Society. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, Rick is happily married and digs Jazz. He believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims. Rick can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Joy Healey Joy is the online publisher of health information at www.nutrition4all.co.uk. With a background in computing, she changed careers and qualified as a nutritionist in 2000 at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London. According to Joy, one of her interests outside of her business is UFOs, because “when you dismiss the quackery, there are some very credible reports out there.” For more information, visit www.projectblue-book.com.
Carolyn M. Hughes As a night manager in a haunted hotel on the Gettysburg battlefield, Carolyn has had ghostly experiences both at work and while on the battlefield. She considers the ghosts of the soldiers that haunt Gettysburg as ‘her boys.’ Carolyn shares her experiences with Paranormal Underground in her column, Diary of a Haunted Hotel.
Lura Ketchledge For more than 20 years, Lura has been a model, waitress, bartender/shrink, housewife, and owned and cared for horses. At age 19, Lura died and was brought back to life. After this event, she possessed psychic abilities, including seeing and communicating with dead people. Lura describes
herself as an “accidental psychic.” Lura deals with her paranormal experiences through writing and has written three novels. While she uses fictional characters and worlds in her books, she also shares her true psychic experiences. For more information, visit www.LuraKetch.com.
Cheryl Knight Cheryl is editorin-chief of Paranormal Underground magazine. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 20 years. Cheryl is combining her writing, editing, and design talents — along with a fascination of the paranormal — to bring you Paranormal Underground each month. Her previous magazine experience includes roles as Senior and Managing Editor for several nichemarket publications. Cheryl is a partner for Ghost Knight Media (www. ghostknightmedia.com).
Michelle M. Pillow Michelle is a multi-published, awardwinning author of paranormal fiction. A skeptical believer, she has a fascination with anything paranormal. She’s also a photographer and cohost of Raven Radio. Readers and listeners can contact Michelle through her Website, www.michellepillow.com.
Ann Smathers Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in history, with a minor in English, and a
career diploma in medical transcription. She has been writing ever since she could hold a crayon. Currently, Ann works as an administrative assistant/receptionist/ transcriptionist for a clinical neuropsychologist in New Mexico. In her spare time, she likes arts and crafts, singing, and playing several different musical instruments.
Townsend Twainhart Townsend, a noted California historian, is also published as Chris. J. Wright. Having written hundreds of articles, stories, and poems for commercial magazines, he was first published in International Game Warden in 1985. Other magazines he has written for include Blazing Adventures, Feathertales, LOST, and FATE. He was also a columnist for Lost River Star, Capitola Courier, and Butte Valley Newspapers. His first book came out in 2005, titled Bill and the Purple Cow in Oz. For more information, visit www.myspace. com/townsendtwainhart.
Paranormal Underground Magazine Is Looking for Volunteer Writers, Photographers, or Graphic Artists
Chad Wilson A writer of articles and fiction, Chad is the publisher of Paranormal Underground and a partner for Ghost Knight Media (www.ghostknightmedia.com). He has parlayed his avid interest in the paranormal into a top-notch publication and Website. Chad has investigated with East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society and counts Waverly Hills, the Villisca Axe Murder House, and private residences among his investigations.
November 2009 Paranormal Underground
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Paranormal Underground November 2009
Calendar of Events 2009 November 6–8
Paranormal Investigators Convention Ramada Airport South and Conference Center Charlotte, North Carolina www.ls-pic.org/ November 6–8 Awakenings: Developing Your Psychic Potential Ramada Inn, Grand Rios Brooklyn Park, Minnesota www.darknessevents.com November 6–8 7th Annual UFO Crash Retrieval Conference Tuscany Suites & Casino Las Vegas, Nevada http://ufoconference.com/ November 20–21 Paranormal Unity Paracon Historic Stone House Inn Farmington, Pennsylvania www.peaceofmindparanormalsociety.com December 11–13
2010 January 8–10
Ghosts of Cooperstown Cooperstown, New York www.ghostofcooperstown.com/ terms.html
Phenomenology 102 Eisenhower Hotel Gettysburg, Pennsylvania www.phenomenology102.northeasternparanormal.org
QuatreCon Mare Island Naval Shipyard Solano County Fairgrounds Vallejo, California www.quatrecon.com
Queen City Paranormal Convention Cincinnati, Ohio Historic Music Hall www.queencityparacon.com
May 15–16 International UFO Conference Aquarius Casino Resort Laughlin, Nevada http://ufocongress.com/
Shadowz Paranormal and Wellness Expo Jackson County Fairgrounds Pascagoula, Missouri http://shadowzparanormal.com
Gulf Coast ParaCon Nix Center Fairhope, Alabama www.gulfcoastparacon.com
Southeast Texas Paranormal Convention Beaumont Civic Center Beaumont, Texas www.texasghostshow.com
March 12–14 ParaNooga Paranormal Investigators Convention of Chattanooga The Chattanoogan Hotel Chattanooga, Tennessee www.paranooga.com
Eastern Paranormal Investigators Co-Op Conference The Cavalier Hotel Virginia Beach, Virginia http://epiccon.com
Haunted America Midwest Conference Details coming soon Decatur, Illinois www.americanspookshows.com/
Haunted America East Coast Conference Details coming soon Cape Cod www.americanspookshows.com/
First Annual Paranormal Cruise Norweigan Cruise Line’s Epic Miami, Florida http://wisdominlight.com/paranormalcruise2010.html
November 2009 Paranormal Underground 11
“FlashForward” Propels Viewers Into the Future By Cheryl Knight
n September 24, 2009, more than 12.4 million people watched the first episode of FlashForward, a science-fiction television series airing on ABC. The series, which is loosely based on the 1999 novel Flashforward by award-winning Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer, begins with a mysterious global event that causes everyone to black out simultaneously for two minutes and 17 seconds. During the black-out, each person sees a glimpse of their lives six months in the future. But when everyone wakes up and learns of the global event, they begin to wonder if what they saw will actually become reality. It doesn’t take long for the characters in this serial drama to start asking each other, “What did you see?” The show essentially grabs viewers attention with this simple premise: “If you knew what your future held, what would you do?” Piecing Together the Future Los Angeles FBI Agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) tries to uncover why this ‘flash forward’ happened and who or what is behind it. While Benford and his team seek to uncover what caused the strange event, they also try to piece together the future by creating a database (the Mosaic Collective) of flash
On September 24, 2009, the TV show FlashForward caught the attention of more than 12 million viewers.
forwards from across the globe. Even though none of the characters know what the flash forwards mean or what will really happen in the future, it becomes evident that their lives will soon interconnect with people from around the world. And after seeing their flash forward, some feature characters grow to fear the future while others are excited about it. Executive producers include David S. Goyer (cowriter of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight), Brannon Braga (24 and Star Trek: Enterprise), Marc Guggenheim (Brothers & Sisters and Eli Stone), and Jessika Borszicky (Revelations), as well as producer Mark H. Ovitz (October Road).
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Starring Main Characters Joseph Fiennes Sonya Walger Jack Davenport Zachary Knighton Courtney B. Vance Christine Woods Brían F. O’Byrne Peyton List Dominic Monaghan Recurring Characters Lennon Wynn Ryan Wynott Barry Shabaka Henley Lee Thompson Young Gabrielle Union
YOUR AD HERE! Advertise in Paranormal Underground 1-714-646-4197 (Karen Frazier)
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For more information, contact November 2009 Paranormal Underground 13 KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net
WPRS Strives to Better Understand the Paranormal By Michelle M. Pillow
t a Borders’ book signing last September, I had the pleasure of meeting several members of the Wichita, Kansasbased Wichita Paranormal Research Society (WPRS). Their passion for the paranormal and the professionalism in which they talked about their craft were evident. With new TAPS family member cards fresh from the printers and an assorted display of paranormalthemed WPRS t-shirts, they were about to leave for an investigation at the Brown Grand Theater in Concordia, Kansas. WPRS includes: • Founder Shane Elliot • Case Manager-Public Relations Manager & Investigator Sherrie Curry • Photographer & Investigator Derek Pinkston • Investigator/Tech Bob Gilmer • Tech Manager Shaun Reeves • Investigator Ted Thomason • Historian Lori DeWinkler • Software Tech Manager Jeremy Webster • Investigator Donna Chaffin • Investigator Charles Harding Three WPRS members took a moment out of their busy schedules to talk with me about their recent investigation and their group in general. A big thank you to Sherrie Curry, Shane Elliot, and Bob Gilmer. *****
WPRS members include (from left to right): Donna Chaffin, Lori DeWinkler, Sherrie Curry, Shaun Reeves, Shane Elliot, Bob Gilmer, Jeremy Webster, Derek Pinkston, and Ted Thomason. (All photos: Copyright 2009, WPRS and Derek Pinkston of ICT Photography.)
Q: Tell us a little about the investigation at Brown Grand Theater. Shane: This was a beautiful location to investigate. With original seating in the balcony boxes and many of the original theatrical posters framed around the theater, you couldn’t help but feel like you were being pulled back into the early 1900s. Theaters can be very tough to
Paranormal Underground November 2009
investigate because of the acoustic qualities. So, we started off with just a couple of investigators at a time actually investigating the theater. We had plenty of room to cover with all the seating area on the main floor, the balcony, the stage, the catwalk, and the basement with boiler room. Some of the claims where of a door that opened and closed
regularly on its own, the sound of footsteps in various locations around the theater, and of apparitions witnessed on the stage and up in the second balcony. We were hoping to either prove or disprove some of these claims. Sherrie: The theater was in outstanding condition, and the employees were great. Derek was able to take some great pictures of the location. During the investigation, I personally saw two questionable shadows. One was when I was up in the catwalk above the stage and saw a shadow walk into an electrical room and heard questionable female voices from that location. And once while on the stage, I saw a dark shadow up in the balcony chairs. I thought it was one of us; however, I found out later it was not. Q: What other locations has WPRS investigated? Bob: There are so many . . . The best one to me was a house just north of town. I got touched and had a conversation with something via the K-II Meter. Sherrie: Well there are so many great places — a few I can’t mention due to privacy issues. I’ll just mention a couple. The Orpheum Theater is a great place. We have investigated there several times. During a tour, a guest investigator felt something tug on her pant leg. We dismissed this occurrence thinking it was possibly her pant being caught on a chair while she walked by; however, later in the night we were in the same spot sitting down taking pictures, and I felt a finger run down the back of my left leg, from the knee down to my ankle. I heard nothing. Later while going over the audio recordings and coming to that spot, there was a female voice that spoke
WPRS is 100% non-profit, and their services are free of charge. As paranormal investigators, the group is committed to authenticating evidence and documenting the existence of any paranormal activity via audio, video, and other electronic means of equipment.
one word very loud right after I was touched. She had said, “Peace.” While investigating the Orpheum, we always get several unknown EVPs. The Old Cowtown Museum, on the other hand, we have investigated multiple times throughout the year. Several locations are very active with paranormal activity. The Murdock house is always interesting: seeing shadow people, mists, voices, bangs, and footsteps. These seem to happen inside the house and outside the house. We have also had footsteps from the Devore Farm, enclosed wind chimes moving five times within a 30-minute period, voices, and camera movement. This is just to mention a couple of hot spots at Cowtown; there are several others. Shane: The Old Cowtown Museum. We have recorded close to 100 EVPs from that location and
recorded on video items moving on their own. We also have on video a strange occurrence with multiple lights in one location being turned off and on in separate rooms, at separate times from one another. We have had several investigators witness a shadow person, or persons, around the location, and have heard claims from employees and guests of the museum that have witnessed the same thing. The Orpheum Theater. We have investigated several times, and we have recorded what could be paranormal activity. But at the same time we have debunked a lot of claims there as well. The Beaumont Hotel. Over the years, this has been an interesting location to investigate. One of the claims is of a cowboy, named Zeke, who roams the halls of the hotel. During one of our first investigations there, most of our EVP ques-
November 2009 Paranormal Underground 15
Investigator Spotlight Q: Have you ever been disappointed by a location? Sherrie: Every location is interesting in its own way. We have been disappointed with the lack of activity during investigations many times. Then we go over the evidence and find great things. We were investigating a school with great history and tons of stories from past students who saw ghost, mists, etc. We investigated and found nothing. Once we went over our recordings, we found a lot of EVPs.
By using current high-tech equipment, WPRS is able to conduct extensive scientific investigations, interpret the evidence collected, and present evidence to the client in the hope of creating a better understanding of the current activity and possible options to be taken.
tions were directed toward Zeke. At the end of the night, one of the EVPs we captured said, “What’s Zeke?” Q: To date, what is the most interesting location your team has investigated? Sherrie: I’m sure we all have our favorites. I guess mine has to be my first investigation in a local Wichita business. I had more than 50 EVPs during that investigation, saw my first shadow person, heard a voice of a person I couldn’t see, and heard footsteps. It was crazy all the way around. The only thing captured to provide as evidence were the EVPs. Several were very clear and very loud. What was interesting was the disembodied voice I heard, along with three other females. The voice was male, and no one caught that on their audio recorder. Bob: It’s got to be Cowtown. We get so much from that place. It’s hard to just pick one out.
Shane: The Old Cowtown Museum. And the most interesting piece of evidence so far would have to be the EVP screaming at two investigators to “Get out! I warn you!” That is still one of the loudest EVPs I’ve ever heard. Having said that, we have had a lot of personal experiences that if only we had moved the camera a few feet, or even a few inches, we probably would have caught on video. But because we didn’t, they are just personal experiences now. Q: What criteria do you look for when deciding a location? Sherrie: Activity, stories, and history. Also, if a place looks interesting, we will approach the owner to see if they have any reported claims. Shane: If children are involved, there is no question we are going to get in there and try to help the family as quick as possible. Other than that it just depends on the claims and/or the history.
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Shane: We have had a few people lie to us just to get us to come out to their home or business. That is always disappointing, but those instances are few and far between. Q: Any funny/unexpected stories? Sherrie: Well, with Shaun around you can always expect the unexpected. He’s the clown of the group, whether he is trying on random hats to make us laugh or just being himself, he’s always a riot! I guess if you want to know about funny things during investigations, I have to say if one of us gets startled, Donna grabs all of her equipment and won’t leave my side. She doesn’t run and she doesn’t scream, she just calmly, in a hurried fashion, gathers her things and becomes glue. We kind of tease her about it. Shane: The Beaumont Hotel. The first time we investigated I was on the second floor when an investigator that was watching the monitors called me on the radio saying that the screen door just slammed in the kitchen. He was new to the team, so I just told him to calm down and listen for anything else unusual. A few minutes passed and he called again, “The door just slammed again!” Thinking it was the wind or a
loose screen door, I made my way downstairs to check things out. As the investigator was explaining what was going on, it happened again. This noise was definitely inside and not an outdoor screen door, but obviously something slamming shut.
way of the paranormal, but in May of 2005 that all changed. My son was two weeks old and sleeping soundly in his crib. My wife and I were sound asleep in our room when suddenly my son awoke crying. This woke me up, and I laid
“I had More than 50 EVP’s during that investigation. It was crazy all the way around.” So we looked around and found a cooler in the back with a sliding door that stored drinks. The door had a spring on it, and if you opened it and let it go, the door would slam shut, sounding very similar to what we had heard. By this time all the investigators where down in the kitchen standing around this cooler, and I was asking something to the effect of, “If you opened this door could you please do it again?” About that time, we all heard the noise again, and everyone jumped about a foot out of their skin. It was the hotels ice machine behind us dropping ice.
there for a minute to see if he would go back to sleep, or if I needed to go check on him. Suddenly, I heard a humming come over the baby monitor, and I immediately thought, “Okay, we are picking up a radio or maybe a commercial truck.” But then it changed to a woman singing a lullaby. I immediately realized my wife was lying next to me and someone must have broken into our house. I went to jump up, and that’s when I felt a hand just below my right knee. It wasn’t holding me down, but just patting my leg as if to
say, “It’s okay.” I immediately felt calm, and my son fell back to sleep. The next evening my wife was watching an episode of Ghost Hunters. Up until this point I had never watched this program or any of the various paranormal shows for longer than a few minutes. It just wasn’t something that interested me. But due to what had happened the night before I thought I would watch this show. What impressed me was that the TAPS team didn’t come in and find a bunch of paranormal things going on. Instead, they went into the families’ homes with a list of claims and actually found normal reasons that could cause all the paranormal claims. I realized I wanted to start researching this myself and began looking online for local teams. At the time there really wasn’t anything here in Wichita. After spending months looking for a team, some of the people I met during my search suggested that I start a team myself. So that’s how the Wichita Paranormal Research Society came to be.
Q: What first interested you in paranormal investigation? Sherrie: I have had several personal experiences that led me to this field. I wanted some answers. One day a friend brought a recording of a voice from her home to work and told me this fantastic story. This led me to WPRS in the first place. Bob: The first time I saw Ghostbusters when I was a kid, I said, “This is what I want to do when I grow up.” Shane: Before 2005 I really had no interest in the paranormal. Nothing had really happened to me, and I had not heard any stories to make me believe much was going on in the
WPRS does not attempt to ‘prove’ a haunting. The group looks at all aspects of reported activity, client observations, and gathered evidence to come up with the most reasonable explanations for the paranormal activity.
November 2009 Paranormal Underground 17
Investigator Spotlight Q: Why do you think people are so interested in the paranormal and unexplained? Sherrie: People are becoming more open to the idea. Also there are more and more TV shows about the paranormal, which brings more attention to the subject. Shane: Something is going on out there, and it’s just human nature to be curious and want to learn more about it. Q: Who are your heroes in the field? Bob: John Zaffis. Shane: Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson from TAPS. And someone I have met who has been a true mentor to me over the years is Danny Carthy of Leinster Paranormal in Ireland. He has more than 20 years of experience and has always found the time to talk to me via the Internet or phone. He
is a really great guy, and I really appreciate all his help and input. Sherrie: This may say corny, but it has to be the WPRS team. These are people you can count on for anything. You have to trust who you are walking around in the dark and trust they will defend you and help you if something threatens you. They are my best friends, and I love all of them. Each and every one of them is special. Outside of WPRS I have to say the TAPS Family. It’s great to have backup and have someone to go to with questions and ideas. Q: What philosophies do you adhere to while investigating? Do you approach the work as a skeptic or a believer? Sherrie: Well for me it’s a little of both. I do approach each investigation as a skeptic. We are not there to prove a haunting. We are there to show people there are other explanations of why things could be happening. We help them with the explainable, and if we find something we can’t explain, we leave them with the possibility of paranormal activity going on in their home or business. Bob: Go in with an open mind. I try to debunk everything, and when I can’t come up with an answer, then maybe it’s paranormal.
WPRS utilizes an array of equipment during investigations, including infrared video cameras, full-spectrum video cameras, hand-held video cameras, digital cameras, digital voice recorders, and EMF meters.
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Shane: I’m more of a skeptic. We never walk into a location assuming it has para-
normal activity. We go over all the claims and try to find normal causes to those claims. After an investigation, when we have gone over all the video, audio, and photographs, if we do find anything we can’t explain we go back and try to recreate it. After that, if we still can’t explain it, then we might consider it as possibly paranormal. Q: Do you have any unbreakable rules when it comes to investigating? Sherrie: No drugs or alcohol allowed, and respect the deceased. Shane: Safety comes first. All investigators work in a team of two. The idea is if something paranormal happens to someone there will be another person there to hopefully help document it. But the most important reason is for safety. Bob: Never do a ‘dude run.’ Heck, I run after the ghosts. Q: What equipment does your team use? What, in your experiences, picks up the best evidence? Shane: We use infrared (IR) video cameras, full-spectrum video cameras, hand-held video cameras, digital cameras, digital voice recorders, and various EMF meters. Digital voice recorders probably provide us with most of our evidence . . . EVPs. Sherrie: My favorite is my digital recorder. Q: There seems to be a lot of talk lately about why many ghost hunting shows investigate in the dark rather than the day. What is your opinion? Bob: It’s easier to see the ghosts at night. That sounds strange, but they are darker than the dark, so it’s easier to me to see them.
Sherrie: The city is quiet at night. If you have lights on, it can cause our EMF detectors to provide false readings. When the lights are off, we don’t have to worry as much about that. Shane: Obviously for television it adds an effect for the viewers. But since most of the claims are at night, I believe that’s why most investigations take place then. The reason we investigate in the dark is because most of the claims happen when the lights were turned out, people are sleeping, and the location is at its quietest. However, if I ever get a claim that someone was making pancakes in the morning, and Elvis walks through a wall and through their kitchen, I’ll investigate that place during the day, and hopefully someone will be making pancakes. Q: Do you feel there are things presented by evidence that are explainable in other ways? Sherrie: Ninety-nine percent of orbs are a reflection of a flash from the camera, dust, bugs, humidity, or items in the room. Shane: Definitely. We don’t consider any orbs as possible evidence.
tion from background noise, such as dogs, bugs, traffic, wind, etc. Shane: Practice safety. Your best tool is your brain. Use common sense; not everything is paranormal. Matter ofa fact, most of it is not. Q: How do you feel about the paranormal shows currently on TV? Any must-watch?
WPRS hopes to investigate internationally within the next year.
Sherrie: I only watch Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International. They investigate the same way we do. Shane: Ghost Hunters is the only one I watch. I’m not saying that because I’m biased and part of the TAPS Family. I’ve tried to watch all of them for a short period of time, but most of them are going for that ‘wow’ factor now and will stoop to any level to get it. Q: You recently became TAPS Family members, congrats! What does this mean for your group? Shane: Thanks! That’s a real honor
“It wasn’t holding me down, but just patting my leg as if to say, ‘It’s okay.’” They are just too easy to reproduce; even the slightest bit of dust, moisture, or tiniest bug can create them. Q: What advice do you have for beginners? Sherrie: Understand there are lots of theories out there and yours may not be the only one. Do not trespass. Don’t investigate outside. There is too much distortion and contamina-
for us. I’m sure there were groups before TAPS that took a real skeptical approach to paranormal research, but TAPS is the team that brought it to the mainstream. I’m just honored to represent the TAPS name. And they are keeping us busy with our already-busy case files. Sherrie: If someone needs help in and around Kansas, they can find us on the TAPS Website.
Q: Any dream locations you’d like to investigate? Sherrie: One would be a castle in Ireland. Locally, the Winfield State Prison. Bob: The Stanley hotel. Shane: Anything over the pond in Ireland or Scotland. We are working on doing some of that in the next year or two. Q: Any new projects in the works? Shane: We do have a book we are working on. We also are getting ready to film a few local shows. Local magazines and news broadcasts have been really good to us, and we do those on a regular basis. Q: Any future plans or projects for the group? Sherrie: We are always investigating. We are getting ready to head to Branson, Missouri, to investigate the Titanic exhibit and film with a local show, called Heavy Pork, a late Saturday night Fox program. *****
Thank you Sherrie, Shane, Bob, and the members of WPRS! You can learn more about WPRS by visiting www.wichitaparanormal.com.
November 2009 Paranormal Underground 19
So, You Want to Be a Ghost Hunter, Eh? By Rick E. Hale, Greater Illinois Ghost Society
s it just me, or does it appear that being into ghosts and the supernatural is all of a sudden hip and trendy? It seems that you can’t turn your television on without finding at least 10 channels dealing with claims of the paranormal. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Some of these programs are great. A few programs not only seek to investigate the paranormal but they educate the viewer as well. And that is what this article aims to do . . . educate people on what it takes to go out into the field and attempt to prove that although your body turns to worm food in the grave, human intelligence lives on. Residual Hauntings: A Recording in Time? The first thing that is important to understand is that not all ghosts are the same. It is a popular misconception that a ghost is a ghost. There are actually different classifications of what type of spiritual entity a paranormal researcher may be dealing with. The most common classification of a haunting is the ‘residual’ haunting. This type of haunting describes a ghost who is completely unaware of their surroundings. Most people who report a residual haunting remark that at a certain time and on or in a certain place, they witness the
All ghost are not the same. There are actually different classifications of what type of spiritual entity a paranormal researcher may be dealing with.
ghost going about its business. They may have attempted to communicate with the ghost, but with no success. The ghost is not simply ignoring them. Some speculate that what happens in cases of residual hauntings is the result of some great tragedy or stressful situation leading to a person’s demise. Because of the emotions surrounding such an event are very strong,
Paranormal Underground November 2009
that event has been captured and ‘recorded’ in the environment, and thus replays itself over and over. Some researchers also theorize that the type of physical environment might even help foster a residual haunting. For instance, some hauntings in the British Isles appear to be of residual nature because many of the old castles or manor homes were built out of slate and sandstone,
which is said to act as a recorder that traps that moment in time. Can a person rid themselves of a residual haunt? Some say the only way to do so is by tearing down the structure being haunted. However, another theory states that a residual ghost may not be attached to the house or building itself, but rather to the land, which would make ridding yourself of this type of haunting all the more difficult. The Intelligent Haunting: Communicating With the Dead Unlike the residual haunting, this next classification of ghost is able to communicate and interact with the witness or witnesses. The ‘intelligent’ or ‘true’ haunting is considered by some researchers to be far less common than its residual kin. The intelligent ghost is said to be several things: the spirit of a person who has died at the location and, for whatever reason, their spirit has become trapped or tied to this plane of existence and they are unable to move on, or a visiting spirit who likes to drop in time and again to just check things out. Those who experience an intelligent haunt claim that the spirit at their location makes many attempts to communicate with them by such means as manifesting visually or speaking audibly to the witness. During an intelligent haunting, witnesses may see small objects moved, hear tappings on walls, and smell phantom scents, as well as other unexplainable phenomena. But when dealing with an intelligent haunting, it is key to remember that the spirit was once a human being and may just be seeking help to move on. Poltergeists: Ghosts or Psychic Manifestations? In a previous Paranormal Underground article, I discussed the next classification in detail — the
Poltergeist — but it begs revisiting. A poltergeist, as many theorize, is not a ghost at all, but the latent psychic ability of a person — usually an adolescent who is going through some stressful times. Those who experience a poltergeist oftentimes comment that the activity was so random and brainless it was almost as if a child was throwing a temper tantrum that got way out of hand. That is exactly what many researchers claim it is: a psychic temper tantrum. Also those who experience this kind of haunting commonly state that it begins and ends quite suddenly. Many researchers theorize that the reason for the random cessation of the phenomenon is because the person, or focus, has ceased going through the stressful situation. The Inhuman or Demonic Haunting: A Terrifying Prospect The fourth classification of hauntings is perhaps the most terrifying of all types: the Inhuman spirit or Demonic. Some researchers who subscribe to a more religious ideology will tell you that all hauntings are caused by the prince of darkness’ minions.
entities give off an air of absolute evil. Although I am not a religious person, I would suggest to the people who experience this kind of haunting to consult a minister, priest, or Rabbi who can rid their home of this type of evil invading force. Most religions have some kind of ritual to combat an evil force, such as the Catholic rite of Exorcism. The Inhuman haunting is said to be very rare. In fact, many researchers go their entire career without ever having to face this type of haunting. But if you do encounter an inhuman spirit, seek experienced help and let those specially trained in this area address the situation. Tools of the Trade for Paranormal Investigation So now you know the different classifications of ghosts and what to expect when you come across them. What about ghost hunting and the tools of the trade? How do many researchers effectively gather evidence and prove or disprove a haunting? Just like James Bond and Batman, ghost hunters sport an array of gadgets, albeit they are gadgets of a very different nature.
Paranormal phenomena is so varied that no human being can claim to have it all figured out. Those who experience an inhuman entity witness many of the same activities involved in an intelligent or poltergeist haunting; however, the activity appears to be much more diabolical. Many times, witnesses of this type of haunting describe the desecration of holy objects, such as turning crosses upside down and the ripping apart of Bibles and other holy texts. Some claim that these dark, shadowy
Some paranormal investigators claim that their most-prized piece of equipment is a simple digital voice recorder, which they use to capture Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVPs). EVPs are voices recorded while investigating that were not heard during the actual investigation. When investigating a haunting and taking EVP recordings, ask the entity questions; if it is an intelligent
November 2009 Paranormal Underground 21
The EMF detector measures fluctuations in the electromagnetic field. Most researchers theorize that ghosts are energy, capable of manipulating the EM field so they can manifest.
spirit, they may respond. Ask such questions as: • What is your name? • Did you once live in this house? • Why are you here? I have heard many great recordings over the years and have taken some myself, but remember . . . if a location is reported to be haunted, the spirit or spirits may not want to interact with you. In fact, oftentimes, they just want to be left alone. They were once human and may not take kindly to being commanded to do something they don’t want to do. We live in a very digital age, and pretty much everybody owns a digital camera these days. This is why I suggest when documenting a haunting, you should use a 35MM camera. Sure 35MM can be doctored and images can be placed on film that are suspicious in nature or faked; however, with a digital camera it is far easier to doctor and hoax a haunting, thanks to such great pro-
grams as Photoshop. However, if you catch a fullbodied apparition on camera and can prove that it is the real deal, you just may be the one who proves life after death. Just remember, no one helps the field by faking a photo or evidence! The EMF Detector and Digital Thermometer The last two tools of the trade that are gaining ground in paranormal investigation are the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) detector and digital thermometer. The EMF detector measures fluctuations in the electromagnetic field. Most researchers theorize that ghosts are energy, capable of manipulating the EM field so they can manifest. The main problem when using an EMF detector is that all electronic gizmos, such as lights, can cause a false positive on an EMF detector. So when documenting EMF fluctuations,
Paranormal Underground November 2009
make sure that all lights and electrical gadgets in a location are off so you can get more reliable readings. The digital thermometer is key when documenting cold spots in a haunting. Many researchers theorize that when a spirit is attempting to manifest, it sucks the energy out of the environment, including heat, which subsequently causes a cold spot. Make sure when documenting a cold spot that it is moving and not stationary. Sometimes the human mind can and does play tricks; a stationary cold spot could be caused by something as innocent as a draft coming from a window. However, if the cold spot is moving freely, it may mean that a spirit is moving about. And finally the most important tool when investigating and documenting a haunting is your brain. Critical thinking is key when on an investigation. As I said above, the human senses are infamous for playing tricks, and if you get a nervous person who believes their house is haunted, they may think that something as innocent as a cold draft is a ghost. Be a Responsible and Educated Paranormal Researcher When you objectively investigate a location and are able to completely rule out any natural phenomenon that may be causing the activity, then you just might have documented paranormal phenomena. Ghost hunting, or paranormal research as I prefer to call it, can be an interesting thing to get into. However, just reading a few books and watching a few shows does not a paranormal researcher make. It takes a serious mind and years of research and investigation to truly call become an educated researcher. Just remember: Paranormal phenomena is so varied and hard to pin down that no human being can claim to have it all figured out.
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November 2009 Paranormal Underground 23
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites
Paiute Imp By Townsend Twainhart
uge tumbledown and lava the site, I thought, was to get above it Working for the Shot strewn rocks the size of and shoot down on where the IndiThe dust from the loose rocks small cars littered my path. ans had holed up, and then go from swirled up in my face, and sweat I skirted around those that I could, west to east across the site down poured down my cheeks. Loose and climbed over those I had too. toward the valley where General flake rocks slipped out from under The smaller rocks that made the terCrook’s men had been. my boots as they fought their way rain terribly uneven were there, but It looked a lot easier on the uphill. Through all of this, though, I less frequent than down below and topographic map then it actually saw where I needed to be. throughout the county. Modoc Scrambling upward, I County, California, was famous panted and puffed but finally for them. gained a perch some 40 feet My dad often called those below the ridge and 35 feet born in the county, like me, above the bed of the large Modoc Rocks because of this boulders below me. The flat — and perhaps their stubborncliff rock I was perched on set ness. I paused at the foot of between three large rocks the three giant boulders and took size of semi trucks. a drink from my canteen, all After catching my breath, the while eyeing the terrain I set up my tripod and loaded and deciding which way to go up my medium format camnext. The whole area smelled era for black and white shots of pungent sage mingled with that panned the area. Below sweet rabbit brush, adding me some 400 yards away in a flavor to my hike. large bowl, the battleground I was in my office in stretched out beneath me. It Livermore years ago when I was immense, and I was flabPictured above: The rocky battleground of Infernal concluded I must take a road Caverns stretches out below the Tipping Rock, gradually bergasted by the tenacity of the trip and do some background leading to the lush green valley below in Modoc County. Indians for holding out from shooting for my stories that I an entire army. Photo taken from the Tipping Rock. had already fleshed out. InferI moved onto my 35mm (All photos copyrighted by T. Twainhart.) nal Caverns and the ensuing cameras, shooting reference battle had fascinated me ever shots. Turning around, I was was. But this story isn’t about the since my father and I visited the very surprised and delighted to see grave site west of Likely on the old battle between the First Calvary and petroglyphs behind me, which had Christianson Ranch, and it made the Paiutes; that story can be found been scratched into the cliffs. me want more. The tombstones are in the 1995 August edition of True I know that General Crooks West. It’s about what happened about a mile or more from the actual troops hadn’t been this high, and above the site and where it led me battle site on the hill. Wasson the Army Scout and the some 12 years later. The only proper way to shoot Warm Spring Indians had stayed on
Paranormal Underground November 2009
top of the ridge. It gave me great satisfaction to know that I was no doubt the first white man to see these since the Indians had carved them. The Feather I shot five or six black and white photos of the face and turned around to shoot what was left on the roll. But something caught my eye. Setting in the corner, where two of the cliff face rocks met directly behind me and below the petroglyphs, was a feather. It wasn’t any dull grey or brown feather but one of unique color. It’s very shape and texture was different. The colorful scarlet hues reflected off of the cliff face. It shone as no other feather I’d ever seen before, and that’s a lot coming from a retired game warden. I had to have it. Between me and the feather was a large thorny plant. I couldn’t have reached it from over the top or the sides, but could only get to it if I carefully reached back through the prickly plant. And that’s what I did. Two cameras were slung around me — one in front and one over my shoulder — while the medium format was still perched next to me on the tripod. I carefully hung onto one of the legs of the tripod and reached ever so slowly back through the thorny dried bush, catching my sleeve only once. I can still feel and see myself doing it as if in slow motion. From my small perch, I felt as if I was in another realm. The air was still and electric, as if waiting for something to happen. The minute I grasped the quill, I knew it was something special. It was as if a force trickled through my hand into my body. I removed the feather even more slowly, as if that was the only speed I could go. At last it came free. The black stripes on the crimson seemed to move on the
This photo depicts a Paiute Rock Sprite (circled in yellow). The legs are folded at the knee as if flying. Each of its arms or wings are holding onto a petroglyph circle. Upon photo enlargement, the photographer could make out teeth, eyes, pointed ears, and perhaps even a tail.
feather as I stared at it, a hand’s span from my face. I stood up slowly, holding my prize. The Tipping Rock Without warning, the rock I was on tipped back and then violently forward, pitching me toward the front of the cliff rock nearly hurling me off of the top and some 30 feet down. Then the rock tipped backward, almost throwing me against the cliff face and into the thorny bush. Then the rock began to tilt faster. I couldn’t understand what was happening, but knew if I didn’t do something I would be pitched off the rock and thrown down into the boulder-strewn field far below and killed. I squatted down and lowered my center of gravity, clinging desperately to the rock as my cameras swung around my neck and my tripod wobbled wildly. What had I done to cause this? I had been on the rock for at least 20 minutes, and it was flat and stable
that entire time. Like an arrow to the heart, it finally came to me . . . it was the feather. I wasn’t meant to have it. Dropping to my knees, and with the all the balance I could muster, I extended my thumb and forefinger and pushed the red treasure back. Despite the rocking of the stone, I managed to place the feather back almost exactly in the same spot. When the feather touched the ground, the rock stopped moving . . . just like that. As if to tell me what I did was wrong, the bush caught my hand and my arm in its thorny grasp, causing several jabs in my flesh to start dripping blood when I withdrew it. What had been a near-death ordeal was over. I sat there for at least 10 minutes before I did anything; I just sat there, taking in my surroundings and thinking over what had just happened. As I finally stood up, I could see the big bowl of rocks, named Infernal Caverns, stretching out in front of me down to the green valley
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Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites The arrow pictured at right points to the location of the Tipping Rock and where the author reached for an unusual feather.
below. I took in the site a little more clearly than before — and a lot more thankfully. After putting away my cameras and tripod and then setting them on an adjacent rock, I tried for the next five minutes to get the rock to tip. It wouldn’t move no matter how hard I tried or how many times I peered under it. Turning back to face the cliff, this writer stared at the feather and the petroglyphed cliff face with some apprehension and a great deal of respect. A Rock Pixie Caught on Film When I got home, it took me years to at last repeat the story to anyone, and longer than that to write anything about what I now assume to be a warning from the pesky Paiute rock pixies that obviously haunt the place. As a photographer and writer, I have a darkroom and many cameras. When I shoot photos, I only develop the negatives, and then with a loop (magnifier) I look at them over a light table, picking out only the best for publication. There are thousands of photos in my files: black and white, color, 35mm, medium format 2”x2”, and even some large format negatives. I
before me as if it were flying. The harder I looked, the more I could see: two pointed ears, two malevolent eyes, and a row full of jagged teeth. I must have stared at the figure for 10 minutes before I called my girlfriend in to see what she saw. She confirmed it was there and that I hadn’t been drinking to much Jim Beam. The next picture (I like taking sequential photographs) was the same but a little more detailed on the petroglyphs. I had never photographed anything like this before. So 12 years later I was led to a point in my life where I could see this. Is this a ghost story? You bet. Is it real? I saw it and felt it, and it scared the hell out of me. But with no proof it was just a story from another writer and an old Modocer. But now I have a photograph of a rock sprite that everyone can see — that was there when I was there. Is the haunted battle site the culprit in my near-death ordeal, or is the Rock Sprite? I know. What do you think?
brief them all, but never put them all in print. Twelve years later finds me now using a Pentax Digital. The old negatives I have can now be viewed and enlarged by my scanner attached to my computer. In checking out the new machine several years ago, I put some old Infernal Cavern shots up to see how they looked. It was fascinating to see what the new scanner would do. While I was working on the digital prints, something very strange happened. It was enough to make me get out of my chair and step back from what I saw. Shivers played up and down my back like a rag time piano’s player was fingering the notes. There in the middle of the photograph was a figure — a hostile figure . . . almost vicious. My hand covered my mouth in amazement, and my mind reeled back to what had happened at the site. The negative showed two outstretched wings or arms that clung to a circle petroglyph on the left and a circle petroglyph with a jagged line on the right. Pictured above: The adjacent cliff face from The legs were folded and tucked the Tipping Rock. behind the rock sprite I saw
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Paranormal Underground is looking for questions for our new column:
Have a question you’d like to ask? Submit your question to email@example.com — along with your first name and photo. (picture will not be published.)
We just may answer your question in an upcoming issue! November 2009 Paranormal Underground 27
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History
Fear and Loathing in Salem, Mass. By Rick E. Hale, The Greater Illinois Ghost Society
hen it comes to the rule of law in the good old US of A, you have a basic right to be judged by a jury of your peers. And no matter what the charge against you might be, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Things have not always been this way in America, however. There was a time many moons ago that if someone pointed a finger at you and yelled the hated word, â€œWitch,â€? well, God help you because you were totally and utterly screwed. In League With Satan? The bizarre events that transpired in early Colonial America between February 1692 through May 1693 were perhaps the greatest miscarriage of justice in the history of the United States. During that 16 months, 14 women and five men were sent to meet their maker on the dubious charge of being in league with the prince of darkness . . . Satan. No matter how much the accused screamed, fought, and quoted the bible, if the finger was pointed at them, they quickly met with the taste of swift justice. Almost four centuries after the fact, there is still much debate about the cause of this frenzy that gripped the citizens of Essex, Suffolk, and
Pictured above: Present-day archaeological site of the Salem Village parsonage.
Middlesex counties in colonial Massachusetts. Some researchers say that it all boils down to plain old mass hysteria and paranoia due to religious, economic, and/or territorial issues. Colonists belonged to a very austere religion where authority figures determined right and wrong and guilt and innocence. Those in authority were extremely fearful of being undermined and having their
Paranormal Underground November 2009
morals questioned. Perhaps another factor of the witch craze can be attributed to the fact that the colonists were surrounded on all sides by their enemies, most specifically the French to the north, the Spanish to the south and west, and the Native American tribes that were seen as being in cahoots with these hated nations. Others felt that the cause of the hysteria was purely economical in
origin. Although the Puritans were devoutly religious and eschewed all manner of sin, one cannot deny the basic human instinct of greed. Many who were tried and convicted were land owners. Perhaps the accusers were induced to point the finger and name names because somebody or a group of somebodies wanted what they had. And, of course, one should also consider that perhaps the accused were, in fact, practitioners of witchcraft and in league with ‘the evil one,’ which is something I find highly unlikely. Just What Did Happen During the Salem Witch Trials? In the cold winter month of February 1692, two young girls — nineyear-old Betty Parris and her 11-yearold cousin Abigail Williams — began to act in a bizarre manner that basically scared the hell out of the God-fearing citizens of Salem Town. The two girls would often break into cries of hysteria that would keep their family members awake at night. Common household objects became weapons in the hands of the girls as they threw them around the house. The two would contort their bodies into positions that would otherwise be impossible for the human body to attain. Perhaps most frightening of all, the girls claimed to see terrifying visions of demonic entities pinching their flesh and pulling their hair. Their parents, who were respected members of society, were horrified at the prospect that their young daughters had come under the influence of some evil power; however, they considered the possibility that this strange behavior was caused by some illness and sent for the local doctor. Most historians agree that the local physician, Doctor Griggs, quickly came to the aid of the two families
Pictured above: The Salem Witch Trials Memorial Park.
and attempted to examine the girls to look for a logical explanation for their bizarre and troubling behavior. After medically examining the two girls, he stated that the girls were “beyond epilepsy and the power of disease.” In other words, the good doctor could find nothing physically wrong with Betty and Abigail, so the only explanation for their peculiar behavior must be a condition of the spirit. It was believed that the two fresh-faced young lasses were bewitched and under the influence of a wicked power. Dealing With Witches When the entire community heard about the girls’ diagnosis, they immediately sought to eradicate the evil among them and set out to look for the person or persons who were responsible for placing the girls under this evil spell. But soon, 12-year-old Ann Putnam started to display the same behavior as Betty and Abigail. While in one of her demon-inspired fits, Ann screamed out that there were
witches in the midst of Salem, and they were responsible for putting a hex on the three girls. When questioned who the witches were, the three girls stated that Sarah Good, Sarah Osbourne, and Tituba (a Carib Indian slave owned by the Williams) were responsible for this heinous crime against the Puritan colony. Shortly after the accusation, the three woman were dragged before their accusers and the town magistrate to answer for their alleged crime, and those involved felt the three women fit the bill as suspects. Sarah Good was a poor woman who lived on the streets begging for food and shelter from any caring soul who would come to her aid. Sarah Osbourne, although a wealthy women, was held in much scrutiny in the community because she married a slave and was rarely seen in church. As for Tituba, the girls said that she told them tales of witchcraft from her native country, as well as taught them how to place spells on
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Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History the men they wanted to marry. The stage was now set for the greatest miscarriage of justice that would only be rivaled by the McCarthy trials of the 1950s, where instead of witches folks were accused of being in league with communists. More Accusations Lead to More Hangings For several days, these three women were held captive in a barn and forced to undergo interrogation by law enforcement officials. Interrogation in the 17th Century was not a good cop/bad cop affair where you were treated with dignity. Nope, these women were chained and whipped as policemen yelled at them and demanded that they confess and repent before God. It did not matter if they emphatically denied the charges they were accused, they were already considered guilty. As the weeks and months rolled by, new accusations of witchcraft were filed against citizens who were considered to be god-fearing members of the austere Christian community. The original three accusers were joined by other young girls who showed signs of being afflicted by bewitchment and screamed out names that shocked the small community. One woman, Martha Corey, dared to speak out against the girls, claiming that these girls were seeking attention and should be punished for their lies, which was considered an egregious sin. This proved to be a fatal mistake on Martha’s part, and she was arrested and charged with witchcraft because it was considered by many that to speak out against witchcraft was to be guilty of witchcraft. So Martha Corey was thrown in the county jail. Perhaps the strangest accusation to be levied against a citizen was the accusation brought against four-yearold, Dorothy Good. Little Dorothy
was brought before the court, and her answers to their questions not only brought a guilty verdict against her but her mother as well. It would appear that no one was safe against the ironclad accusation of witchcraft. As accusations came rolling in, warrants for arrests went flying out. Many citizens who were accused and wanted by the law were caught trying to slip out under cover of darkness. Their attempts to flee were seen as proof positive of their guilt. One of those that attempted to flee in the night was an elderly gentleman named Giles Corey. However, he never saw his day in court. Instead, he was subjected to a method of execution that was considered to be illegal back in the motherland, death by pressing. Giles Corey’s captors tied the elderly man to the ground and placed heavy stones on him, all the while yelling at the man to confess his guilt. Corey died maintaining his innocence and quoting scripture, something a witch was said to be unable to do.
Doubt Enters the Witch Trials In June 1692, with the Salem Witch Trials in full effect, a special grand jury — known as the Court of Oyer and Terminer — was convened to get to the bottom of the events in Salem. William Stoughton was named the Chief Magistrate, Thomas Newton was designated the Crown’s Attorney General, and Stephen Sewell was the Royal Clerk. If any man could get to the bottom of the accusations of witchcraft, it was these three men, who were determined to be above reproach and righteous enough in the eyes of God to stand in judgment over their fellow man. Bridget Bishop was the first defendant to be dragged sobbing and crying before the righteousness of this special grand jury. As the poor woman stood before the court pleading for mercy and swearing her innocence in the eyes of almighty God, her accusers burst out in finely orchestrated hysterics accusing the woman of bewitching them. This was
Pictured above: Memorial marker for Giles Corey in Salem, Massachusetts.
Paranormal Underground November 2009
enough to bring a conviction against the Bishop woman, and she was sentenced to death by hanging. Shortly after the hanging of Bridget Bishop, the Court of Oyer and Terminer began to question whether or not those accused and executed were really in league with the devil. They noticed that those accused and sent to the gallows did something that no witch, no matter how powerful, was capable of doing — saying the Lord’s Prayer. One man who went to the gallows, George Burroughs, was heard by many not only reciting the Lord’s Prayer but yelling that his only Lord was Jesus Christ. According to folklore, a witch found the name of Jesus hateful and was unable to utter the name of the son of God; however, it did not matter, because George and others like him were still accused and needed to face justice. Witch Trials Come to an End Finally, in May 1693, the terror of the trials came to an end — not because the land was cleansed of witches, but because an accusation was made that was completely impossible. Several accusers made the error of accusing the Massachusetts governor’s wife of the vile crime of witchcraft. Angered by the accusation, the governor swiftly sent a special team of investigators to Salem and the surrounding communities to look into these trials, as well as make an attempt to determine whether or not those who were still imprisoned were guilty of collusion with the evil one. Shortly after the task force began making their enquiries, those who still rotted in prison were released on the grounds of insufficient evidence. When the smoke cleared and common sense began to make a slow comeback, at least 24 citizens were dead — either at the hands of
the hangman, by being crushed to death, or dying in prison. When the other colonies, which were mostly comprised of Quakers, heard of the atrocities at Salem, a respected leader named Thomas Maule wrote a book, Truth Held Forth and Maintained. In his book, Thomas accused the communities in the three counties of “ignorance and idle superstition.” Thomas further wrote, “It would be better that 100 witches lived than one person who is not a witch be put to death.” For such a controversial and inflammatory remark, Maule was arrested and tossed in prison on the serious charge of sedition. One year later, Thomas Maule, the last victim of the trials, was released and exonerated after the charge was considered to be unfounded. In 1712, almost two decades after the trials, the surviving family members of those executed and those who were imprisoned were finally offered an apology of sorts. The General Court passed a bill proclaiming that all those who were accused of witchcraft and either imprisoned or met their fate at the gallows were innocent of all charges. A Memorial for Innocent Victims Today, things in Salem Town are radically different. The village that was once the site of an episode that can only be described as absolute madness is now a hotspot and a popular tourist destination for those who desire a taste for the strange and unusual. A memorial with the names of the accused stands in the town square, and 19 benches — each with a name of the executed — surround that memorial. This memorial stands as a silent reminder that never again should such atrocities be waged against another citizen of Salem.
he Salem Witch Trials were said to be caused by mass hysteria, economic greed, and/or territorial issues. When the trials finally ceased and the smoke cleared, at least 24 citizens were dead — either at the hands of the hangman, by being crushed to death, or dying in prison. Nineteen accused witches were hanged on Gallows Hill in 1692: June 10 Bridget Bishop July 19 Rebecca Nurse Sarah Good Susannah Martin Elizabeth Howe Sarah Wildes August 19 George Burroughs Martha Carrier John Willard George Jacobs, Sr. John Proctor September 22 Martha Corey Mary Eastey Ann Pudeator Alice Parker Mary Parker Wilmott Redd Margaret Scott Samuel Wardwell One accused witch (or wizard, as male witches were often called) was pressed to death on September 19 when he failed to plead guilty: Giles Corey Other accused witches died in prison, including: Sarah Osborn Roger Toothaker Lyndia Dustin Ann Foster
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Case Files of the Unknown: Cryptids & Mythological Creatures
Fairies: Myths & Legends By Jordan Lee Burnes
olklore surrounding fairies can be seen in many cultures around the world. And while there are striking similarities in the many legends about fairies, there are differences as well. For instance, in the U.S., fairies are oftentimes depicted as cute, little people who fly around and grant wishes. In Scotland and Ireland, they are viewed as more human-like creatures being of a small size — much like how a dwarf is characterized in American culture. These creatures have many supposed origins, some being produced from dead children’s souls, others being the descendants of Eve. An even more extreme idea is that they are an entirely evil entity . . . a demon. These ponderings, however, have little effect on our modern-day view of fairies, which is extremely biased to the more original idea of the Scott-Irish. They believed the fairies, or the ‘gentry’ as they were mainly called, looked like us, only smaller, and they contained magical properties that were not entirely explained. Sightings of these fairies was a common everyday event at one time, and it was best (they believed) to not harm or even make contact with the spirit, in fear of provoking its wrath upon their household.
Fairy Folklore Abounds Some claim that fairies even interact with humans. One old Scottish tale tells of a wife and husband who were visited by a male fairy one night who was in need of help.
Painting by Sophie Gengembre Anderson.
The fairy’s wife was in labor, and he had no knowledge of how to deliver a baby. He asked the lady of the household to help him. The husband blessed the wife and then sent her off. (They could not refuse the request, as the last thing they wanted to do was anger the gentry.) When the wife came back, she
Paranormal Underground November 2009
relayed to her husband how she was whisked away in the night and had to help give birth to a healthy young boy. The family went to sleep for the night, awaking in the morning to five coins sitting on their night stand. While this story may not be very believable, it is one of the thousands of stories in Scottish folklore, and these beliefs have persisted in that country and many others (such as Iceland) even through present times. Even today, people in Scotland and Iceland will avoid building any type of civilian structure where they believe there to be fairy or elvish activity. To many people, this may seem a bit extreme, but remember . . . human activity is oftentimes based off of faith, folklore, religion, etc. What may seem silly to one person may seem like tempting fate to another. More recent fairy sightings are not common; however, stories involving fairies are still reported on occasion. One boy, while walking home in Michigan, said he walked by eight “small men” who marched in a line and made low grumbling noises that he couldn’t understand. Another lady made a very ornate birdhouse in her backyard that she claimed a fairy had been living in — the making of ‘fairy houses’ has become a ritual of sorts in American beliefs surrounding fairies.
The Influence of Fairies in Religion Fairies have also been a major influence in religious beliefs, mainly Gaelic, but also in Scandinavian paganism, Greek paganism, Christianity, and even in some Native American beliefs. Gaelic, Greek, and some Native American paganistic religions describe fairies in a godly sense, giving them the power over many nature activities and organisms. Scandinavian paganism describes them as just another race, like humans, with specific duties. Some tend to the gardens of the Earth (nature), others forge crafts (nature), and some protect the waters (nymphs, mermaids). On the other hand, some say that several forms of Christianity looked upon fairies as evil creatures that lost their relevance once God came into the picture. And while this belief it is not exactly ‘set’ in the religion, some say Christianity ‘crushed’ the idea of fairies as gods and goddesses. Scientifically, the existence of fairies has a very slim chance of being proven. Some say the existence of fairies is impossible because it would defy many scientific theories and laws already put in place. However, scientific theories have been wrong in the past . . . the Flat Earth hypothesis, the classical elemental theory, and Aristotle’s dynamic motion, among others. And what of physical creatures? Bumblebees, for instance, should not be able to fly because of their weight according to one outdated myth, but they do fly. Strange things happen all the time in our world. Unexplainable things. Things that defy many laws of logic and science. So, scientifically, while it is impossible to some people that fairies could exist, to others, it is very possible. What do you believe?
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November 2009 Paranormal Underground 33
Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone?
The Green Fireball UFOs in New Mexico By Joy Healey, www.project-blue-book.com
or years ufologists have marveled at accounts of the Green Fireball Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) in New Mexico. Here’s a taste of what can be found in official reports. At exactly midnight on September 18, 1954, my telephone rang. It was a friend of mine from the Long Beach Press-Telegram, and he had a “good flying saucer report,” hot off the wires. He read it to me. The lead line was: “Thousands of people saw a huge fireball light up dark New Mexico skies.” The story went on to tell about how a “blinding green” fireball the size of a full moon had silently streaked southeast across Colorado and Northern New Mexico at 8:40 p.m. that night. Thousands of people had seen the fireball. It had passed right over a crowded football stadium at Santa Fe, New Mexico, and people in Denver said it “turned night into day.” The crew of a TWA airliner flying into Albuquerque from Amarillo, Texas, saw it. Every police and newspaper switchboard in the two-state area was jammed with calls. One of the calls was from a man inquiring if anything unusual had happened recently. Heaving an audible sigh of relief after being told about the strange fireball, he said, “Thanks — I was
afraid I’d gotten some bad bourbon.” And he hung up. What the Devil Are Green Fireballs? Dr. Lincoln La Paz, worldfamous authority on meteorites and head of the University of New Mexico’s Institute of Meteoritics, apparently took the occurrence calmly. The wire story said he had told a reporter that he would plot its course, try to determine where it landed, and go out and try to find it. “But,” he said, “I don’t expect to find anything.” When Jim Phelan had read the rest of the report, he asked me, “What was it?” “It sounds to me like the green fireballs are back,” I answered. “What the devil are green fireballs?” asked Jim. What the devil are green fireballs? I’d like to know. So would a lot of other people. The green fireballs streaked into UFO history late in November 1948, when people around Albuquerque, New Mexico, began to report seeing mysterious “green flares” at night. The first reports mentioned only a “green streak in the sky,” low on the horizon. From the description, the
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Air Force Intelligence people at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque and the Project Sign people at ATIC wrote the objects off as flares. But as days passed the reports got better. Take for instance the report at 9:27 p.m. on December 5 by Captain Goede flying an Air Force C-47 at 18,000 feet 10 miles east of Albuquerque. Suddenly, the crew was startled by a green ball of fire flashing across the sky ahead of them. It looked something like a huge meteor except that it was a bright green color and it didn’t arch downward, as meteors usually do. After conferring quickly, the crew agreed to report the incident, especially as they had seen a similar object 22 minutes earlier near Las Vegas, New Mexico. The captain of Pioneer Airlines Flight 63 called Kirtland Tower a few minutes after the incident. At 9:35 p.m. he had also seen a green ball of fire just east of Las Vegas, New Mexico. As they watched, the object seemed to approach their airplane head on, changing color from orange red to green. As it became bigger and bigger, the captain said he thought it was going to collide with them so he tracked the DC-3 up in a tight turn. As the green ball of fire got abreast of them, it began to fall toward the
ground, getting dimmer and dimmer until it disappeared. But it took them only a split second to realize that whatever they saw was too low and had too flat a trajectory to be a meteor. He was on his way to Albuquerque and would make a full report when he landed. Additional reported sightings were being phoned in from all over Northern New Mexico. By morning, a full-fledged investigation was under way. No matter what these green fireballs were, the military was getting a little edgy. Fireballs or Meteors? Since the green fireballs bore some resemblance to meteors or meteorites, the Kirtland intelligence officers called in specialist Dr. Lincoln La Paz. True, he said, the description of the fireballs was similar to that of meteorites. In order to prove the green fireballs were meteorites, it would be necessary to plot the point at which they would strike the Earth. After considering many sightings, they finally plotted where they should have struck the Earth, searched the area, but found nothing. They went back over the area time and time again but found nothing. As Dr. La Paz later told me, this was the first time that he seriously doubted the green fireballs were meteorites. Within a few more days, the fireballs were appearing almost nightly. The intelligence officers from Kirtland decided that maybe they could get a good look at one of them, so on the night of December 8 two officers took off in an airplane just before dark and began to cruise around north of Albuquerque. They had a carefully worked-out plan where each man would observe certain details if they saw one of the green fireballs. At 6:33 p.m. they saw one. This is their report: “At 6:33 p.m. while flying at an indicated altitude of 11,500 feet, a
From late 1948 through early 1949, green fireballs invaded the New Mexico skies. From witnesses on the ground to pilots in the sky, the fireballs remained a mystery.
strange phenomenon was observed. Exact position of the aircraft at time of the observation was 20 miles east of the Las Vegas, New Mexico, radio range station. The aircraft was on a compass course of 90 degrees, and I was acting as copilot. I first observed the object, and a split second later the pilot saw it. It was 2,000 feet higher than the plane, and was approaching the plane at a rapid rate of speed from 30 degrees to the left of our course. The object was similar in appearance to a burning green flare, the kind that is commonly used in the Air Force. However, the light was much more intense, and the object appeared considerably larger than a normal flare. At first sight, the trajectory of the object was almost flat and parallel to the Earth. The phenomenon lasted about two seconds. At the end of this time, the object seemed to begin to burn out, and the trajectory then dropped off rapidly. The phenomenon was of such intensity as to be visible from the very moment it ignited.” Questions Remain Unanswered Back at Wright-Patterson AFB, the main interest was to review all incoming UFO reports and see if the green fireball reports were actually unique to the Albuquerque area. They were. Although a good many UFO reports were coming in from other parts of the United States, none fit the description of the green fireballs.
All during December 1948 and January 1949, the green fireballs continued to invade the New Mexico skies. Everyone, including the intelligence officers at Kirtland AFB, Air Defense Command people, Dr. La Paz, and some of the most distinguished scientists at Los Alamos had seen at least one. In mid-February 1949, a conference was called at Los Alamos to determine what should be done to further pursue the investigation. The Air Force, Project Sign, the intelligence people at Kirtland, and other interested parties had done everything they could think of and still found no answer. Such notable scientists as Dr. Joseph Kaplan, a world-renowned authority on the physics of the upper atmosphere; Dr. Edward Teller of H-bomb fame; and, of course, Dr. La Paz attended, along with a lot of military brass and scientists from Los Alamos. This was one conference where there was no need to discuss whether or not this special type of UFO, the green fireball, existed. Almost everyone at the meeting had seen one.
This is an extract from “Project Blue Book,” an e-book documenting numerous reliably authenticated reports on the subject of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). For more information on the green fireballs in New Mexico, and many other stories, visit www.project-blue-book.com.
November 2009 Paranormal Underground 35
Fiction: Featured Author
Rewind By Ann Smathers (2nd-place winner: 2nd Annual Short Story Contest)
he summer sunlight slanted in through the window, providing some light, but most of the cool room stood in shadows. “Mom, I miss you so much!” Rose Miller whispered around the lump in her throat as she stared at the small cardboard box on her dining room table containing her mother’s personal effects. “You left me way too soon!” She resolutely wiped away some tears forming in her eyes and opened the first dusty flap. Rose found odds and ends of sentimental things like the tickets to the Halloween ball where her parents first met, some family photos, and she half smiled when she found her birth announcement on a sheet of bright pink paper. The most curious item, though, was a small, leather bound, untitled book. Rose examined it more carefully, opened it, and was surprised to see the words “Rose’s Log” on the front page in her mother’s handwriting. The first entry was dated 1976, when Rose was three years old. She read:
January 11, 1976
Rose is afraid of water, but I don’t know why. She’s had bad dreams for the past few months that seem to be about water, and Norman said it might be a good idea to keep a log to see if there is something Pete and I haven’t noticed yet. Rose wondered what Norman, the child psychologist and old family
friend, had to do with it. She couldn’t remember her mother ever keeping a log on her, but she felt sure the answer was somewhere in her fuzzy memory. She read another entry.
January 31, 1976
We saw a picture of a river today and Rose screamed. She seems to be afraid of them, and when I asked why, she said it was because
she died there. I said it couldn’t be, but she insisted. Rose dug around for the last items in the box, which were several sheets of paper of varying sizes folded in half. She hoped they would give her a clue as to what the log was talking about. When she opened them, she found pictures she drew
Paranormal Underground November 2009
when she was a child. She skipped them and stared at another page. It looked to be a copy taken from a history book and was a picture of a beautiful woman, possibly with light brown or blonde hair and light-colored eyes, though it was impossible for Rose to tell the exact colors from the faded black and white reprinted photo. The caption read: Catherine Anne Hughes from Ohio, one of three women in the Weatherby caravan that traveled down the Santa Fe Trail in 1865. She was 23 at the time of the photo and had been married for two months to John Hughes, an American trader. “Catherine Anne Hughes,” Rose mused to herself, some sort of familiarity edging in on her. She looked absentmindedly at the green glass vase with fake flowers on her table. “Catherine Anne Hughes . . . Catherine Anne Hughes . . .” The name felt familiar on her tongue as she repeated it. Suddenly, she saw Catherine Anne Hughes’ face overlaid on her own in the vase’s reflective surface and startled, she shoved the vase away. Her phone rang and she looked at the caller ID before she picked up. “Hey, Eileen, what’s up?” Eileen’s slightly husky but very feminine voice came over the line. “Hey, chica, we’ve got a possible paranormal investigation coming up in two weeks. You in?” Rose looked at her calendar.
“Yeah. I’m clear. Where is it and what is it?” “Seems like there’s a haunting near the Palisades in Cimarron Canyon. It’s just a few miles west of the town, you know, so maybe we can investigate the old St. James Hotel while we’re at it.” Rose thought about the last time she’d been through Cimarron Canyon. She smiled because although it was overcast, rainy, and reminded her more of the Pacific Northwest, it had been incredibly beautiful. “So what kind of activity do they get there?” Excitement grew in Eileen’s voice. “I don’t know exactly, but it has something to do with one of the wagon trains that came through on the Santa Fe Trail.” Rose’s ears perked up and her intuition ran in high gear since she’d just seen the Santa Fe Trail mentioned in her mother’s book. “Really? Do tell.” “Something happened to somebody near the Palisades, and there are two monuments on the spot it supposedly happened. One is a more recent stone pillar that was donated by one of Cimarron’s residents. I’m going to call someone about that later. The other one is a monument the pioneers in the wagon train put up. It’s a huge heap of scrap iron that’s all rusted, but a good amount of it remains.” “That doesn’t make sense. If you were out on the Trail, you didn’t waste a thing. Even if a wheel broke, you’d keep the wood in case you could use it to make some patch repairs or needed firewood in a place where firewood wasn’t readily available. Same with iron. If anything made with iron broke, you could patch it with other scrap iron or you could melt it down and forge something else.” “Maybe they thought they were close enough to Cimarron or Fort
Union that they could make do until they reached those stops?” Eileen offered. She was as much of an American West history buff as Rose. “Or maybe they didn’t have anything else to spare for the memorial?” “They could’ve just piled rocks.” “Yeah,” Eileen conceded. “It doesn’t make sense. I guess it’s just something that particular train did to recognize one of their own.” Rose eyed the mysterious journal and sheaf of papers on her table, wanting to get back to those, but
around a little, and interviewing a local witness. Hey, since you know the layout better than I do, wanna come along and be my guide? We could eat at the St. James. My treat.” “Sure, why not? I could use a good bison burger.” ***** After Rose agreed to be picked up at 7 the next morning, she hung up and got a cold glass of lemonade that she brought back to her couch, along with the green leather log book
Rose is afraid of water, but I don’t know why. she forced her attention again to the proposed investigation. She contemplated the site. “Hey Rose, you have some family up there, don’t you?” “Used to. My grandma’s sister, Mary. Grandma didn’t get along with her very well so we never visited much. I know where the Palisades are, though, and if there is something there, it would actually be a great place for a haunting. There is running water in the river, 400-foot-tall granite cliffs that form the Palisades, and all the iron that’s supposedly there. Sounds like the perfect setup for a residual haunting if you subscribe to the theory that they’re just playbacks of events or imprints on the environment instead of being actual ghosts or spirits. Cassette tape is made of ferrous material, you know. Maybe that’s what they’re getting.” Eileen paused a moment. “I don’t know. I always believed that residuals were actual ghosts who are suffering from a type of spiritual dementia or something. Anyway, I’m going up this weekend, scouting
and the folded drawings. She kicked off her shoes, put her lemonade on the end table, and took out the first drawing to examine it more closely. It was signed with her name and the number 3 next to it, which Rose figured was her age at the time she did the drawing. It was little more than scribbling, but she could make out a brown box that looked like a trunk of some sort with yellow hasps on it. The box had C.A.H. scrawled on it. Her orange, striped cat jumped up on the couch next to her and she looked at him. “C.A.H.? Catherine Anne Hughes?” As soon as she said the words, a shiver telegraphed through her spine, and she knew she was right. Her mind suddenly hit on a childhood dream. It was a big prairie with only one tree that could’ve been upwards of 10 miles away. The sky was huge, and in the east, a thick blanket of nearly black clouds rolled and tumbled over each other, silent lightning flashing in its middle, heading in her direction. The only cover would be underneath the wagon. “Set the brakes!” she heard someone
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Fiction: Featured Author yelling over the wind that kicked up. She dove under the wagon and saw hands throwing blocks of wood under the front wagon wheels and boots wedging them in so the wheels couldn’t turn if the oxen got scared and bolted. Somehow Rose knew for certain that it was Kansas. She stared at her cat. “I’ve never been to Kansas in my life! What the hell’s going on here, Jack?” Jack meowed and Rose looked at another picture. This time, it was a drawing of simple blue squiggles, like a child would draw to represent water, and it had a stick figure lying on it. Or rather, the figure was floating. The stick figure had purple dots covering its shoulders, neck, and head. Rose didn’t quite grasp the meaning of the pictures, so she went back to the log book.
lemonade. As she opened the refrigerator, her phone rang. It was Eileen again. “What’s up?” “Mary is a common name, right?” “Yeah.” Rose wondered where Eileen was going with this. She refilled her glass, picked it up, and leaned a hip against the counter as she listened. A hanging polished copper pot reflected her image. “Well, you told me your grandma’s sister was Mary. Was she Mary Brito?”
June 9, 1977
Rose keeps having nightmares. She screams, “Can’t breathe!” and “Let me up!” Mostly, though, she yells “Owie!” like she’s in pain. But I keep checking her, and she never has any cuts, bruises, or anything like that. She also keeps burbling about a road to Santa Fe and someone named “Cap’n Webberby.” Weatherly? Webberly? Weverlee? Weatherby? Sometimes I catch her when she’s not awake yet and she’s making gurgling noises in her throat. When she wakes up, she cries about being “under the water” and “can’t touch the sky.” She also keeps mentioning “Katie Ann” or maybe Catherine Anne. The last name made Rose’s heart pound. She looked at her cat, “Weatherby? That’s the name of the guy who led Catherine’s wagon train!” Then, she asked him her more pertinent question, “If all this happened to me, how come I can’t remember much of it?” He only swished his tail against her legs and purred. Rose got up for another glass of
“Hey! Are you all right? What’s going on?” Eileen’s voice held a note of concern and guilt, probably assuming that her information about the modern monument shook Rose. “I’m good,” Rose lied, her voice shaking slightly. She didn’t know herself what was going on and didn’t know how to explain to Eileen that her world was turning upside down in one afternoon. “Just dropped some lemonade. Hate to cut this short, but I need to go clean it up and feed Jack. See you tomorrow?” “Bright and early at 7.” “Right.” “Bye.” Rose did her chores and returned to the journal, pieces of the puzzle starting to fit together from it, the drawings, and her own childhood impressions coming back a little at a time.
July 14, 1977
“How’d you know?” “Why’d she donate the Palisades memorial?” Rose stopped short and paused. “I didn’t even know she did. When?” “1978.” Rose’s brown-haired, blackeyed reflection in the copper pan turned to honey blonde, gray-eyed, and nothing like her own features, yet they were so familiar. It was Catherine again! Rose’s glass slipped from her hand and shattered on the kitchen floor.
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Pete and I took Rose to the museum today. They had an exhibit on “The Santa Fe Trail.” Rose knew all the various parts of a wagon and could tell the difference between four or five kinds of wagons! She even knew details about cooking in a Dutch oven. I didn’t even know that until today! How could she possibly know all that? The only television we watch is “Sesame Street!” The more I dig into the cause of Rose’s nightmares, the stranger things get. I talk to Norman regularly, and he keeps advising Pete and myself to continue following where this leads. This is a strange journey that’s nudging me down a road I surely don’t want to go and wouldn’t if it weren’t for Rose. Rose saw the date on the next entry and wondered why there was such a huge time gap in between the entries.
April 30, 1978
Pete took Rose to the zoo, and I
took the time to go to the Special Collections section of the library, though I didn’t know what I was looking for specifically. I remembered all the things Rose said and thought maybe she was talking about a certain wagon train since she seems fascinated by them and a road to Santa Fe. About noon, I came across a book that included men’s diary entries from the Santa Fe Trail. One was from a man who led a wagon train in 1865 — one Captain W.M.H. Weatherby. On June 6, 1865, he wrote, “We are encamped near the lovely village of Cimarron [New Mexico] and are waiting for our wagon repairs to be done and fresh supplies to be procured so we can make our final push to Santa Fe. It being a glorious day with nary a prospect of rain, a number of our party set out into the canyon to try our hand at fishing for the trout that is said to be plentiful in the waters in this country. Mrs. Hughes, having attended to her own duties already, packed us a superb cold chicken lunch and accompanied us. Unfortunately, fate is rarely kind, as Mrs. Hughes perished today. No one saw what happened. Apparently, she slipped on the riverbank, hit her head on a rock, and drowned. The company decided to erect a memorial on the morrow.” I found a picture of Catherine Anne Hughes in the book. She must be the woman Rose is dreaming of. It was noted that she was sometimes called Katie Anne, and on the picture Rose drew, it has the letters C.A.H. I also found a picture of W.M.H. Weatherby. Rose wondered where Captain Weatherby’s picture was. She turned the journal upside down and flipped the pages rapidly. An old paper folded in quarters fluttered out. She opened it and her heart lurched in some forgotten fear when she saw
Captain Weatherby. He was a bear of a middle-aged man. He wore fringed buckskin trousers and boots, a linen shirt, a leather vest, regular belt, and a gun belt that held extra ammunition and two pearl-handled revolvers. He was every bit what Rose imagined a Western man should look like, except for his fancy, funny little top hat with a feather in the side band. Rose finished reading, her guts now completely in knots because she remembered the rest.
truck, Eileen rejoined Rose and gave her opinion. “Sounds like a residual haunting to me.” “Yeah.” Rose hadn’t told Eileen anything, though she was going to give Eileen the log book to read that night. “EMF won’t work well here because of the water. EVP?” “River might be too loud. I —” A shriek cut Rose off. Both women turned and froze. A couple dressed in mid-1800s clothing stood on the riverbank. Rose recog-
Rose keeps having nightmares. She screams, “Can’t breathe!” May 1, 1978
Pete, Norman, and I talked and it looks like Norman guessed right a long time ago. Rose is the reincarnation of Catherine Anne Hughes. We explained to her that she is now Rose Miller, and it’s okay to let go of Catherine.
April 5, 1979
Rose seems to have forgotten almost everything now, but I can’t help feeling we missed something. Sometimes, phantom pain wakes her up, but she’ll roll over and go back to sleep. ***** The last log entry ran through Rose’s mind the next morning as Eileen and the witness climbed back up the bank to the roadside. Rose watched them talk while she focused on her own feelings for a moment. She wasn’t sure how she felt about being at the site where Catherine died, especially since she wasn’t clear at the moment which woman she was, Catherine or Rose. As the witness drove off in her
nized them, and she felt like she was face-to-face with her own ghost. It was obvious they had been fighting about something. The man suddenly attacked and beat the woman around her shoulders, neck, and head until she sank to her knees in the river. One more solid smack to her jaw sent her flying across a pile of rocks where she hit her head and lay barely moving. Panic quickly replaced the man’s rage, and he grabbed the stunned woman and forced her head underwater until she stopped thrashing and finally drowned. Rose shook as her soul’s memory absorbed each blow again and recalled the horror of drowning. She shouted at Weatherby, “You son of a bitch!” He didn’t see her. “What?!” Eileen gasped as the violent images neared their end. Rose grabbed the log book from her jacket pocket and thrust it at Eileen without looking away from Weatherby. She screamed at his fading form. “You son of a bitch! You killed me!” Rose fell to her knees and cried.
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Paranormal Fantasy Author Spotlight
Megan Hart By Michelle M. Pillow
iction author Megan Hart has published more than 20 books since first coming on the book scene in 2002. She writes in several genres of romantic fiction, including historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, futuristic, and fantasy. Now, she’s adding “alternate historical fantasy romances” to the mix with her newest releases, Pleasure and Purpose (Berkley Sensation, Sept. 2009) and No Greater Pleasure (Berkley Sensation, Oct. 2009). When asked about her writing career, Megan humorously stated, “I was born and lived for a while and did some stuff, and then I started writing books. Eventually, some got published. Now I do stuff and write books and whatnot.” I suspected there might be a little more to it than that and endeavored to find out . . . ***** Q: In your book, Pleasure and Purpose, you delve into the world of alternate/otherworld history. What inspired you to write about this? Megan: I’ve always loved writing fantasy. I like making stuff up! Several years ago, the idea of an order devoted to providing peace crept into my mind. The idea of a woman telling a man, “I am your Handmaiden. I
A believer in the supernatural, Megan Hart has published more than 20 romantic fiction books in the historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, futuristic, fantasy, and alternate history fantasy genres.
am your comfort and your grace,” emerged from some random conglomeration of events (that’s the way most of my stories work), and I slowly built the world from there. Q: When world-building, did you base your story off of known myths throughout history? Megan: Actually, I did. Since The Order of Solace is a religious order, I needed to build a faith. I drew heavily from Jewish mysticism — the concept of tikkun olam, in particular, which basically is
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the idea that at the beginning of the world, vessels containing divine light were broken and the good deeds (mitzvot) we perform here on Earth return small pieces of those scattered bits of divine light. When they’re all returned, it will usher in an age of peace. I took that idea and incorporated it into a creation story and gave the Handmaidens their purpose: For every moment of absolute solace they grant their patrons, one more arrow is returned to Sinder’s Quiver. (Sinder the being who created the world). Once the quiver’s filled, the
Holy Family will return to usher in the age of peace. Q: What myths or legends inspired you? Megan: Tikkun Olam, as I said, as well as ideas about karma and fulfillment. Not myths or legends, exactly, I guess. Q: Why do you think readers, and society in general, are fascinated by the paranormal? Megan: Because no matter how much we try, it seems to be unprovable. Q: What are your favorite paranormal shows, movies, and books? Megan: I’m a HUGE freak for Supernatural. I love that show so much it hurts. I used to watch the X-Files and still love that. Quantum Leap and Star Trek were also faves, along with shows like Night Gallery, Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside . . . Basically, I love scary stuff and science fiction. Clive Barker, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert R. McCammon, Douglas Clegg . . . Q: Do you believe in the supernatural? Megan: I absolutely do!
I could’ve seen it and nobody else did, since it was hovering over the street. I saw a weird animal up in my tree once, and I’m sure it wasn’t a cat! I’m ready and open to the supernatural/paranormal, but I know I’d have an unfortunate and embarrassing physical reaction should I ever have anything really scary happen. Q: Are there any kind of paranormal creatures you wish you could meet? Megan: Um . . . none! I’d be askeered, I told ya! Q: But if you did meet, say a ghost or a vampire, how would you react? One of Megan’s latest books, Pleasure and
Megan: The time I believe I Purpose, was released in September 2009. was in the presence of spirits I was scared. Once, I believe I knew the spirit and its purpose, so I just closed my eyes and and have a book in the works right let it do what it wanted, which was now that deals with the dream realm. to see my child. (It was the spirit *fingers crossed for that one* of a relative who’d died before my Also, I have started a book about daughter was born.) angels and demons, which would Vampire? I’d probably faint, seem sort of trendy at the moment and then I have such low blood even though I started it three years pressure and I’m pretty anemic, so ago . . . maybe I’ll get to finish it! maybe it would leave me alone! Basically, I love writing sci fi/ fantasy and paranormal, and I hope to have the chance to continue!
“I believe I was in the presence of spirits.” Q: Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
Q: What does the future hold for the Handmaiden stories?
Megan: I believe I’ve seen spirits a few times. And yeah, I was scared. I would like to believe I saw a UFO once, but I find it hard to believe
Megan: I hope to write more Handmaiden stories and explore more of that world and its history. I also have a lot of love for the paranormal
Thanks for joining us, Megan! You can learn more about Megan and her books at her Websites, www.meganhart.com and www. readinbed.net. Interviewer Michelle M. Pillow is an award-winning author of more than 60 published books. She writes in many romance fiction genres and can be found at www.michellepillow.com.
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Diary From a Haunted Hotel By Carolyn M. Hughes
hen I began working as a night auditor almost three years ago at Quality Inn at General Lee’s Headquarters, located on the Gettysburg battlefield, I anticipated experiencing nothing more interesting than having some bizarre request from a guest. I never expected my spirit friends to visit so often or to hear so many accounts of activity from unsuspecting guests. I never thought they would alert us to their presence in so many creative ways, or for there to be so much activity involved. I am of the personal belief that spirits only want us to know they are still here and not to forget what happened here, for it is on this ground that they truly gave their “last full measure of devotion.” Here is my ongoing diary of my experiences within the hotel . . .
Sat., Oct. 10 6:10 p.m.: A guest came to the front desk and requested some extra towels. Our housekeeping staff had departed for the day at approximately 2 p.m., and I had to retrieve the items myself. I walked through the office, passed through the breakfast preparation area, and opened the closed door, which leads into the laundry room. As soon as I stepped into the empty laundry room, I was immediately enveloped in a cloud of heavy, sweet, cherry pipe tobacco. (Cherry pipe tobacco was a favorite of the
again, I went back into the laundry room to see if the sweet, cherry pipe tobacco aroma was still there. There was no trace of any tobacco even lingering in the area. The building where the lobby, office, laundry room, and breakfast room is located is a “smoke-free” environment pursuant to recently enacted Pennsylvania laws. As they have previously demonstrated, the Civil War soldier spirits who visit/ inhabit our hotel do what they want, when they want, and to whomever they want, regardless of any earthly restrictions. This isn’t the first time we have enjoyed that wonderful aroma in the environs of the main building; hopefully, it won’t be the last! It was in this breezeway that Carolyn encountered the unexplainable smell of cigar smoke.
Confederate soldiers who fought during the Civil War.) It was so strong that I actually took a step back in shock. I looked around the laundry room and noted that all the windows were closed, the back door was locked, and there was no one there. When I walked away from the immediate area to retrieve the towels, I could detect no odor at all. However, when I re-traced my steps back to my original location, the pipe tobacco smell was still there. I said hello to my visiting friend and walked back out to the lobby to give the guest their towels. Once
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Sat., Oct. 10 7:15 p.m.: Before recent renovations were completed to expand the hotel’s breakfast room, various antique pieces of furniture lined the walls. It was on these antiques that the breakfast would be laid out buffet-style for our guests. One of the pieces previously blocked an unused door that led to the outside. With that piece now removed, the door is used as an additional entrance into the breakfast area. I was busy at the front desk but, when time permitted, made several forays into the newly refurbished breakfast area to make sure various sundry items were resupplied and ready to go in the morning. I was the only person in and out of that area
for approximately one hour. Making my way back for one final check, I noticed that the nowuncovered, locked side door was open. I walked over to the door and looked at the lock. If someone had turned the door knob, the lock (set in the knob) would have popped out. The door was still locked.
After antique furniture that was blocking the door pictured on the left was moved, Carolyn found the door open after shutting it only moments before. Pictured at left is the door closed, and then how the same door was found ajar soon afterward.
Sun., Oct. 11 5:30 a.m.: At 5 a.m., I had to use the side, private entrance/exit in the lobby to go outside and check on something. When I returned, as is my habit, I made certain that the lock was secure and the door firmly closed. At 5:30 a.m., I went to retrieve the morning’s newspapers, which are dropped in front of the hotel. I decided to use the side, private entrance/exit this particular morning, and as I made my way over to that door, I noticed that the door that was locked just one-half hour before was now unlocked. Thanks, boys, but I prefer to unlock that door myself!
Sat., Oct. 24 Between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.: At the hotel, we are fortunate to have many guests who visit Gettysburg several times a year and who always stay with us. A wonderful benefit for me is the many unexpected and valued friendships I have made as a result of this. One lovely couple, in particular, drives down from the Poconos twice a month to visit the little town they have come to love. They always make it a habit to visit me late in the evening before I start the midnight audit. Mr. and Mrs. ‘M’ had stopped by for a quick visit before retiring for the night. Mrs. M related to me the following: “Last night (Friday), I was restless and having difficulty sleeping. Sometime between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., I heard two loud booms.”
When I questioned Mrs. M about it, she said that there was a 15-minute delay between the first loud boom and the second loud boom. Both Mr. and Mrs. M are no strangers to the paranormal activity at the hotel, and Mrs. M was not at all disturbed by this. I mentioned that it may have been the phantom artillery fire we so frequently hear at the hotel. Mrs. M just smiled. As a side note, Mr. and Mrs. M were staying in a room just yards away from the location where four artillery pieces were heavily engaged during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Mon., Oct. 26 7:13 p.m.: I was walking down the breezeway, which is located on the side of the main building. As I approached the side, private entrance/ exit to the lobby, I was assaulted by a thick cloud of cigar smoke. I detest the smell of cigar smoke. Thinking it might have been a guest smoking outside their room, I entered the lobby and never gave it
a second thought. I walked into the lobby to clean, fresh air. As I made my way into the office off the lobby, once again I was enveloped by that acrid odor of cigar smoke. There were no open windows in the office area. Oh no, not in here! I walked through the breakfast preparation area to the laundry room to pick up a bottle of air freshener. The breakfast preparation area was fresh and clean smelling. When I opened the door to enter into the laundry room, that heavy cigar odor assaulted me anew. I looked around the laundry room and noted that all the windows were closed, the backdoor was locked, and there was no one there. Okay, knock it off! I enjoy the cherry pipe tobacco, but I draw the line at cigar smoke. No sooner had those thoughts crossed my mind, when the obnoxious cigar odor evaporated and was totally gone. No trace remained in the laundry area, the lobby, or the breezeway. Thank you!
Stay Tuned . . .
November 2009 Paranormal Underground 43
Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files
A Haunting in Hopkinton: The Macneil Home By Karen Frazier
n September 2009, the Macneil home in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, was featured on the SyFy television show, Ghost Hunters. But while the investigative show featured in the program, TAPS, didn’t find proof of paranormal activity in the home of Leigh and Renee Macneil, other groups did. Since purchasing the house on June 6, 2006, the Macneils have had a number of strange experiences in their 1856-built home. So strange, in fact, that the Macneils contacted New Hampshire Paranormal in April 2008 for an investigation. The History of the Home During the house’s more than 150-year history, an entire family living in the house fell ill during a tuberculosis outbreak, and all but two of the seven children died. In the 40s and 50s, the house was owned by the grandfather of one of the Macneils’ current neighbors. The neighbor’s mother died in what is now the Macneil’s dining room. For years, the neighbor’s brother believed that the attic was haunted by the ghost of his mother. According to Leigh Macneil, the house had been empty for two years when they bought it. “It needed a little work,” Macneil said, “which we were perfectly fine with.” Believing they had found the
Built in 1856, the house of Leigh and Renee Macneil is home to vast paranormal activity, including phantom voices and footsteps, moving household items, slamming doors, levitating furniture, and many captured EVPs.
perfect home, they moved in. According to Macneil, “My wife and I spent a long time trying to find a home. I wanted the old house with a story, and she wanted some modern conveniences.” Strange Occurrences Shortly after moving in, the Macneils began to experience strange occurrences in their new home. “We occasionally hear what seems to be whispering throughout the house,” Macneil said. “The only way I can describe it is to try and
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imagine a conversation going on in another room and not really understanding what’s being said, but you know people are talking.” According to Macneil, this happens late at night or early in the morning, and the sounds have been heard by guests in the home, as well. The incident that finally sparked the Macneils to call New Hampshire Paranormal occurred in 2007 around Christmas time. “I was making some pizza,” Macneil said. “The flour made me sneeze. I thought I heard a voice
coming from the center of the house saying, ‘bless you.’” Macneil left the kitchen to explore the source of the voice. Finding nothing, he went upstairs to the second floor and discovered that the electric candle Christmas lights in six different windows in separate rooms were on the floor. According to Macneil, “It was as if someone had taken them off the window and placed them there.” Macneil described another incident where, upon returning home from work, he heard what sounded like chimes echoing throughout the house. After exploration, he discovered that a music box on the second floor had been fully cranked and was playing music. One evening when returning from a visit to Vermont, the Macneils noticed a third floor light on. Entering the house, Macneil went upstairs to turn off the light they had seen shining through the window, only to discover that it was already off. More than once, different people have spotted children playing in the Macneils’ back yard. One was a neighbor, the other an investigator for New Hampshire Paranormal who was unaware that one of the reported phenomena was children playing in the back yard. At the time of the first sighting, the Macneils had no children, nor did their neighbors. When the second sighting occurred, the Macneils’ daughter was an infant. Macneil also reports a variety of other anomalous phenomena — the sound of bricks dragging in the basement, toys going off on their own, slamming doors, a traveling rug in the baby’s room, and a clock radio/CD player that turns on at full volume and opens the CD tray all by itself.
In September 2009, the Macneil home in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, was featured on the SyFy television show Ghost Hunters.
Investigation by New Hampshire Paranormal New Hampshire Paranormal investigated the Macneil family home on April 26, 2008. According to Liz Allen, founder of the group, the house seemed like it had paranormal activity, which was why they recommended it to TAPS for further investigation on Ghost Hunters. There were a number of personal experiences that the team had while investigating the home. Upon entering the house, Allen felt nauseated when just moments before she was fine. The team heard footsteps in the hall when no one was there. Team member Paul saw two children playing in the back yard. The dogs started barking wildly at the door for no reason. At 11:06 p.m., during the investigation, team member Ashley was on the couch when it lifted off of the floor and crashed down. At roughly the same time, Liz was on
the bed in the master bedroom when she felt it shake. As far as evidence goes, the team collected a number of EVPs in the house, including one of a woman sobbing, which was posted on YouTube at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=XrMOSdDLvH8. Other EVPs were recorded, including the sound of tapping and footsteps, the sound of a music box playing, a girl saying, “No, no,” and a voice saying, “That was me.” Other evidence includes an abrupt temperature drop in the basement where Leigh heard the sound of a brick sliding across the floor. According to Allen, “It dropped from 57 degrees to 10 degrees very rapidly and stayed at the lower temperature for a full minute before slowly rising back up to 57 degrees. Perhaps most interestingly, at 11:24 p.m., 14 seconds of recording were missing from all of the cameras that had been set up in the house.
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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files Pictured at right are images from a recent Ghost Hunters TV show investigation of the Macneil house. After an April 2008 investigation of the home, TAPS Family member group New Hampshire Paranormal recommended the home for further investigation.
Is the House Haunted? New Hampshire Paranormal, which is a TAPS Family member, were impressed enough with their findings in the house that they recommended it to TAPS as a potential investigation on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters TV program. According to Allen, they believed that there was paranormal activity occurring in the Macneil home, which is why they contacted TAPS. Both the Macneils and New Hampshire Paranormal were disappointed when TAPS didn’t capture any anomalous experiences during their investigation; however, according to Jason Hawes of TAPS, this isn’t unusual. “We did not catch anything,” Hawes said in an e-mail to Paranormal Underground. “These things don’t happen on cue. Cases take time. We told them it could be years before we caught anything.” According to Renee Macneil, the TAPS team told her to watch their daughter for imaginary playmates. “They said if she had an imaginary playmate, we should call them right away because it wouldn’t be imaginary,” Renee Macneil said in an interview with Paranormal Underground. Strange occurrences continue at the Macneil house, but Renee doesn’t feel that whatever they share their home with is malevolent in any way. And so they peacefully coexist — the Macneils and their ghosts — in an 1856 home in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
Paranormal Underground November 2009
Rick E. Hale About Rick Age: 35. Born/Currently resides: Frankfurt, Germany/Fox Lake, Illinois. Status: Happily married. Education: High school graduate. Zodiac Sign: Pisces.
ite. I tolerate paranormal shows, so none are really my favorite. Favorite books include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by the great Hunter S. Thompson and American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
Favorite music? Rick: Love jazz and the blues. I live near Chicago; how could I not?
Occupation: Mental health specialist. *****
Q&A What brought you to Paranormal Underground? Rick: I Googled paranormal magazines and was so impressed with this one I wanted to write for it. How would you describe yourself?
Rick: I get along better with my wife’s family. They are more fun. Who are your heroes? Rick: Dr. Martin Luther King is perhaps my greatest hero. What are your favorite TV shows, paranormal shows, books, movies? Rick: I like really irreverent humor, so Family Guy is probably my favor-
Rick: My first love with the paranormal are ghosts. Cryptozoology is a close second. Talk about any paranormal experiences you might have had and how they have affected you. Rick: My first experience with the paranormal came at eight when I saw the ghost that lived in my grandparent’s house on the north side. My second experience that really sealed the deal was when I was 18 and was investigating a report of shadow people that were haunting a young girl. While taunting the entity, it appeared before me and shoved me. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be ghost hunters. What do you think happens to us when we die?
Rick: Caring, compassionate, and self deprecating. Tell us about your family and what you like to do.
What areas of the paranormal interest you the most?
When it comes to the paranormal, Rick is most interested in ghosts and cryptozoology.
What would our readers be surprised to find out about you?
Rick: I don’t know. That’s what makes paranormal research and investigation so exciting. However, I am a believer in reincarnation.
Rick: I’m kind of beatnik.
Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by?
Are you a skeptic or believer?
Rick: Give folks the benefit of the doubt. Don’t hate indiscriminately.
Rick: Allow me to quote Charles Hoy Fort. “Keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” That is how I describe my belief in the paranormal.
Any exciting plans for the future? Rick: Big ones, but mostly in my personal life.
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Ghost Investigation: Kentucky Farmhouse By Lura Ketchledge, www.luraketch.com
or many years I have been a closet queen, so to speak, about my own paranormal experiences. I built my home seven years ago, and right after I moved in, I was welcomed to the neighborhood . . . by ghosts. I am a skeptic by nature, a person who thinks twice before believing anyone living or dead. But the cold hard fact of my case is that I have seen spirits (ghosts) on my farm for the past seven years. In fact, I have taken my personal paranormal experiences and parlayed them into three novels. My stories are peppered with my firsthand accounts of the paranormal. And when I finished my third novel, I decided to sell my farm and move to Florida where I grew up. With the housing market in a slump, a friend of mine suggested I list my home as haunted. It is currently listed on eBay under Haunted Kentucky Horse Farm for Sale. The listing has garnered a lot of interest; in five weeks I have had 6,000 people view my farm. The listing also led to the Kentucky Spirit Seekers contacting me and asking if they could conduct an investigation on my property. I had not watched the usual paranormal TV shows, such as Ghost Hunters, and I never knew the lingo
After building my home seven years ago, I was welcomed to the neighborhood . . . by ghosts.
of the paranormal world. So when the Kentucky Spirit Seekers called, I didn’t know what to think. Before the group even set foot on my farm, they had done their homework. So, after several phone interviews with me, they researched my property further and made plans to investigate. A Paranormal Investigation at My Haunted Farmhouse The night the ghost hunters arrived, everything was going in my favor. The weather was warm but not
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too humid, the phone wasn’t ringing for once, and the horses were well away from the house and being quite. As the team of ghost hunters came to my door, I was impressed. They were polite, educated, well dressed, and, most of all, ready to help me. After introductions they got down to work and started setting up their equipment. I didn’t know there was so much work setting up microphones, cameras, and performing sound checks. I made sure I did my part and turned off anything electrical, including the air-conditioner. Next, I went outside while the team took pictures and asked questions aloud with no one in the room. An hour later, I sat with two members of the team while the first set of investigators went outside to take more pictures. I have to say, sitting on my bed answering paranormal questions about where the ghost came in and what they looked like made my heart race. It was the first time I opened up with anyone face to face concerning ghosts, and it felt good telling these people. After the cameras, microphones, and other equipment were packed up, the team explained to me that it would take a couple of weeks for them to go through all the data they had collected.
The Results of My Farmhouse Investigation True to their word, two weeks later two members of the group returned to my home to present their findings. In several pictures were balls; I guess you might call them orbs. And in the video taken during the investigation there were darting lights in my master bath. Why it was in the bathroom and not in the rest of the house I can’t tell you! I was fine with all the results but one. In some of the audio were answers to questions that had been asked. Most of it was garbled; some of it was not. It sent shivers down my spine when I heard a name I knew in the audio. A name of a person that was dead! To say I was impressed by the results of the investigation is an under statement. I am the type of person who believes what I see and hear. Since I have seen ghosts, I know they are real, regardless of what a ghost hunter tells me. When someone else confirmed that ghostly visitations happened right in my home, it confirmed what I all ready knew. The only thing I am at a loss to explain are the darting flashes of light shooting through a room in my house. This phenomenon is still a mystery to me. When all was said and done, the Kentucky Spirit Seekers gave me copies of the pictures and audio. The Kentucky Spirit Seekers don’t ask for a dime. They are not looking for publicity or to sell a book. What they are is a team of reputable paranormal investigators that help folks like me. Just the other day it happened again. A ghost came into my bedroom around 8 a.m. I didn’t know who they had been when they were alive, although I had a guess. What I did know was that my ghostly visitations weren’t slowing down!
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and check out our book and equipment recommendations! November 2009 Paranormal Underground 49
Reviews of the Month
Paranormal Activity Movie by Oren Peli
t was a dark and stormy night. Seriously! And what better time to go see what is billed as a very frightening movie than the dark and stormy night before Halloween? Which is exactly what my husband, Jim, and I did this past Friday. We went to see Paranormal Activity. Paranormal Activity is sort of “The Little Engine that Could” of independent films. Made for around $15,000, the film has grossed multimillions since its theatrical release. So does it live up to all hype? While the movie starts out slowly, the almost innocuous things that go bump in the night add an aura of authenticity to what comes after. As paranormal events begin to escalate, so does the movie’s tension. The film’s two leads (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) sell the tension well. Featherston, in particular, sells her role and may, in fact, sell the entire movie. She has a promising career ahead of her. Also well done is the single camera home movie point of view. It drives the story along well without distracting from it. Although the movie is tense and the story line is interesting, I didn’t find it particularly frightening. In that way, I was disappointed, because I wanted to be scared. I wasn’t. I was, however, entertained, so in that way I got my money’s worth. In some ways, Paranormal Activity is predictable. I found myself able to predict many of the movie’s “surprises” in advance — including the ending. In the end, Paranormal Activ-
ity is well worth a go-see. There is enough about it that is unique to keep your interest, and the performances are great. Just don’t expect to have the wits scared out of you. —Review by Karen Frazier
ith massive online promotions and word of mouth recommendations, Paranormal Activity certainly has a following. I only wish that I was as blown away by it as the reviews suggested. I went in with high expectations that never truly got the payoff. When I first saw Micah and Katie, the main characters, I was happy to see that the relationship between them was believable. None of the dialogue seemed stale or acted. Scenes of them bantering back and forth appeared genuine. When Katie contacts a psychic
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to help shed some light on her paranormal problem, I was highly interested to see what would turn up. After learning that there’s a demon attached to Katie, and not a ghost or spirit, I was relieved. Nothing would have been worse than the usual rhetoric of a ghost who needed closure haunting her since she was eight. The buildup in the movie takes awhile to get going, and there are a lot of scenes that seem superfluous, as compared to the scenes that should have been explored more deeply. For example, when Katie is talking to the psychic, explaining the weird goings on that have been happening to her, I never really got a sense of why or how this has been such a hardship for her. Also, after the psychic suggests consulting a demonologist, Micah is adamant that Katie not do it. This is never fully explored either. There are times that Katie her-
self seems petulant about the whole situation, such as her continually telling Micah that she doesn’t want him to upset the demon. While all of this is going on, the demon is making its presence known, moving her keys, walking the halls, whispering her name, and banging stuff around, always in the middle of the night. This slow buildup really bugged me. It seemed that one night the demon is benign, just making some noises, and the next night it’s making Katie sleepwalk while practically comatose. I kept waiting to actually catch a glimpse of the demon, but no matter how hard I strained my eyes, it never came. It wasn’t until near the end of the movie that I even started to get a creepy feeling, up until then it was pure curiosity. It’s not until Katie is strung out and tired from all of the bumps in the night that I actually started to feel badly for her. The biggest scare factor comes at the very end of the movie. For me it was a double-edged sword. On one hand, it absolutely made me jump, but on the other hand, it seemed hokey and contrived. The movie closes with the audience left uncertain, and I was no exception. Hours after I left the movie theater I was still churning it over in my mind and talking about it with whoever would listen. The creep factor lasted less time than the think factor. The only trouble I had with sleeping was because I was thinking about the possibilities associated with the movie, not because I was listening for phantom footsteps in the hall. Overall, Paranormal Activity is a good movie, but not the ‘wow’ movie I was looking for. A lot of that has to do with the sky-high expectations I had going in. Had I not gone in with preconceived notions, I think the movie would have had a better overall effect.
Ultimately, I was disappointed, but only in the scare department. For me, Paranormal Activity is a thinker’s movie, and for that, I’d pay to see it again. Would I recommend it to others? Certainly, however, don’t go in expecting to have your pants scared off; trust me, they will stay firmly in place. But, you can expect to have your mind working long after the credits roll. —Review by Amy C.
e caught a midnight showing of Paranormal Activity. People in the theater were screaming and whatnot. It was great because when the tension got up, the tough guys in the audience started side conversations
with their friends acting as if they were bored, but it actually seemed as if some were trying to distract themselves from being scared. When unexpected things did happen during the movie, I was startled at first, but then I kept anticipating more action. The movie was great for bringing out
the suspenseful chills rather than the usual Hollywood cheesy ‘jumpy scary’ moments. However, I was confused about a few points of the movie and felt as if several areas of Paranormal Activity needed more follow-up. (The following material might be somewhat of a spoiler, so please read on at your own risk.) Why would Micah resist the idea of allowing a demonologist into his home to investigate, yet accept the Ouija board as a completely reliable means of communication? It would also have been nice to hear more about Katie’s stories from when she first had these encounters. Also, Micah shows Katie a Website containing information eerily similar to the haunting in their home. However, he never tried to contact anyone related to that case, and it was never mentioned again. I also was curious to hear Micah’s conversations with other people, like the person he borrowed the Ouija board from. Frankly, if I were in the situation the movie’s lead characters were in, I wouldn’t be waiting to hear from a demonologist who is out of the country. I’d be consulting my friends for referrals to psychics, demonologists, paranormal groups/ ghost hunters, religious folk, etc. Why not gather all of the help that you possibly can to understand it before it’s too late? I’d also bring more people into the house as well — anyone willing, so that more would experience it first-hand. In the end, I still had a fun time watching the movie. The best way I can think of recommending this is if you liked the Blair Witch Project and its concepts, then see Paranormal Activity. —Review by Chris Samuelsen, Paranormal Enthusiast
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