Volume 3, Issue 11
ALPHA GHOST TEAM
The Dagg Poltergeist
The Lordsburg Door
The Beast of Exmoor
7 UFO Sightings in 6 Decades
Also Inside: • Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel • Case Files: Investigating the Orpheum • TV Watch: The Walking Dead • Movie Review: ThanksKilling • Equipment Update: Motion Sensors • Entoptic Phenomena as Universal November 2010 Paranormal Underground 1 Trance Phenomena
My name is Thomas “Mr.T” Perryman I am an Ex-Law Enforcement Oﬃcer and Private Investigator that will now concentrate on my examinations of the Paranormal and Crypto Zoology Mysteries.
Through my vast experience and resources I am performing field investigations on these subjects to provide a diﬀerent approach than others. I have great stories from Past Cases and Current Cases to share. My discussions are Entertaining as well as informative. I have written many Books, appeared in Horror films, and host a Radio Show. I am available for Convention Bookings and Appearances.
If you have any questions please contact me personally. I look forward to your next Event and we are all on the Quest to find the Answers! Paranormal Underground
Phone (407) 416-4807
Inside This Issue
INVESTIGATOR SPOTLIGHT ALPHA Ghost Team: Raising the Bar on Paranormal Investigation
CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Haunted Sites The Lordsburg Door
Haunted History The Dagg Poltergeist
Cryptids & Mythological Creatures The Beast of Exmoor: Mystery Cat
Are We Alone? What’s Up With the Cover-Up? 7 UFO Sightings in 6 Decades That “Didn’t” Happen
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES Ghost Hunter Case Files: A Night At The Theatre: Investigating the Orpheum Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel A Spirit Friend
30 36 37
GUEST EDITORIAL Entoptic Phenomena as Universal Trance Phenomena
“The Pioneers” by Candice Gilmer
4 5 6 8
The Walking Dead
Reader Profile: Tom (TomBGH)
PARANORMAL FANTASY AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT
Contributors Ghost Hunter Comic Publisher’s Letter Calendar of Events TV Watch: Equipment Update:
FICTION: FEATURED AUTHOR
Review of the Month: 50
Contributors Heidi Ann
Terri J. Garofalo
Heidi Ann has been a paranormal enthusiast since childhood when she had her own encounter. Her personal experience led her to question the world around her. Heidi is a mother of three sons, works as a special education paraprofessional in a middle school, and loves watching television shows and reading books on the paranormal.
Terri is a paranormal investigator, as well as the artist and writer behind Entities-R-Us, Ghost Hunter Comic. She’s a freelance artist, illustrator, and designer in Hyde Park, New York. You can find her work on www.entities-r-us.com, or contact Terri at email@example.com.
Paul Bottini Paul has written several eBooks about haunted sites, UFO sightings, and cryptid lore. When not writing, Paul travels the countryside in search of UFOs, hotspots of high strangeness, ethereal beasts, and anything remotely paranormal. Paul also designs Web graphics and animations. Visit his Website at http://zzyzxparanormal.com for more information.
Chris DeMent A long-time paranormal investigator, Chris founded his own California-based paranormal group, Parachasers I.N.C., for people interested in paranormal phenomena. He is an artist, inventor, and paranormal enthusiast. Chris has worked in numerous technical and artistic fields, and currently works as a fiber optic technician for a telecommunications company. In the future, Chris would like to investigate Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Gettysburg, and The Myrtles Plantation. Chris’ Website is www.parachasers.com.
Candice Gilmer Candice leads a dangerous double life as a mommy and a writer. In between diaper changes and boo-boo healing, she writes stories, usually to the tune of children’s television shows. Candice also works as a hairdresser, which she’s done for more than 15 years. When she’s not writing, styling hair, and taking care of her family, she gets together with her girlfriends for gossip and coffee while her husband hunts ghosts with the Wichita Paranormal Research Society. You can find Candice on the Web at http://candicegilmer.com.
Rick E. Hale A native of Chicago, Rick investigates with the McHenry County Paranormal Research Group. He writes a biweekly blog for www.paranormalunderground.net about his frequent investigations. 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. The first installment of Rick’s book series, The Geek’s Guide to the
Strange and Unusual, will be released soon by Ghost Knight Media. Rick can be contacted at t_seeker@ hotmail.com.
Cheryl Knight Cheryl is editorin-chief of Paranormal Underground magazine, director of Publications & Editing Services for Ghost Knight Media, and producer of Paranormal Underground Radio. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 20 years, and has published hundreds of articles on topics ranging from advanced technology to automotive fleet management to paranormal investigation. 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 business publications.
Michelle M. Pillow Michelle is an award-winning author writing in many romance fiction genres, including futuristic and paranormal. A skeptical believer, she has a fascination with anything paranormal. She’s also a photographer and cohost of Raven Radio. Readers and listeners can contact Michelle at www.michellepillow. com. You can catch her latest three book series, Realm Immortal (King of the Unblessed; Faery Queen; and Stone Queen) in bookstores now.
Rob St.Helen Rob has been a paranormal
Ghost Hunter Comic
investigator for more than five years. He had his first paranormal experience at the age of 11. Rob is a member of West Coast Ghost Hunters, based out of Portland Oregon, where he was born and raised. He currently works the graveyard shift at The Heathman Hotel. He has come to find that the hotel is haunted.
Jill Stefko, Ph.D. Jill has studied the paranormal since 1957, including parapsychology, cryptozoology, Fortean phenomena, anomalies, UFOs, aliens, demonic possession, and exorcism. She hosts workshops and lectures and has been a guest on radio talk shows and local TV.
Jill investigates alleged cases of the paranormal and counsels experients. She is the Feature Writer in the paranormal topic for www.suite101. com. Jill is the director and founder of FIRE-Psi, which was established in 1996.
Floco Tausin Floco is a graduate of the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of Bern, Switzerland. In theory and practice, he is engaged in the research of subjective visual phenomena in connection with altered states of consciousness and the development of consciousness. In 2009, he published the mystical story Mouches Volantes about the spiritual dimension of eye floaters. For more information about Floco and his book, visit www.eyefloaters.info.
Chad Wilson A writer of articles and fiction, Chad is the publisher of Paranormal Underground magazine and a partner for Ghost Knight Media (www.ghostknightmedia.com). He has parlayed his avid interest in the paranormal into a topnotch publication and Website â&#x20AC;&#x201D; www.ParanormalUnderground.net. Chad has investigated with East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society and counts Waverly Hills, the Villisca Axe Murder House, the Queen Anne Hotel, the Queen Mary, and private residences among his investigations.
If you are interested in contributing articles to Paranormal Underground magazine, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publisher’s Letter Paranormal Underground® Volume 3, Issue 11
EDITORIAL Publisher Chad Wilson
Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight
Managing Editor Karen Frazier
Science Editor J.D. Harrison
Proofreader Heidi Ann
Contributors Heidi Ann Paul Bottini Chris DeMent Terri J. Garofalo Candice Gilmer Rick E. Hale Cheryl Knight Michelle M. Pillow Rob St.Helen Jill Stefko, Ph.D. Floco Tausin Chad Wilson Copyright © 2008-2010 — Paranormal Underground® is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. As such, Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of its owners. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This publication and all content within this publication may not be copied, quoted, distributed, modified, or reprinted without the express written consent of Paranormal Underground magazine. Paranormal Underground magazine is a publication of Ghost Knight Media, LLC.
Things I Learned From My Father
his month I want to share always had books lying around the something personal with house that delved into the strange you. Something that has afand unusual. Whether it be a book fected me and my beliefs to the core. on sea monsters, UFOs, ghosts, or My father recently passed away, science fiction, I’d see him readand the shock wave of his death has ing and then I’d want to read about hit my family hard. One minute he those things too. At the age of 10, I was in our lives, and the next minute snatched his copy of Chariots of the he was gone. The feeling that I Gods and devoured it. These books would never truly get to know who would influence my life forever. my father was, at first, bothThe biggest thing I ered me greatly. You see, regretted after the passing we hadn’t been close. of my father was the fact He was in my life at that I never really got to times . . . in a sort of judgknow who he was. That bemental and controlling way. ing said, his death has had a That’s how he did things very positive impact on my because I think that’s how life’s philosophy: I am now his father did things. But I more actively and positively know he loved his children involved in the lives of my Chad Wilson, and wanted what he thought friends and family. I am Publisher was best for us. trying to help . . . in any way I did learn from him, and I grew I can, whether it be helping my friends from my experiences with him. I or family, helping in the paranormal was a better parent, a hard worker, field, or helping a stranger. and a dreamer because of my dad. At the sake of sounding meloThis brings me back to my point. dramatic, I have grown in my Those whom we love and lose in life understanding of our role in this do serve a greater purpose in our world. And it is this: Be open to the development, a purpose we seldom people and things around you. Love realize until years after the fact. and understanding instead of hate In my case, I realized well after and rejection. The power that commy high school years what my dad passion and positivity have on the had wanted for me . . . to be responworld around us is huge. Be open to sible, hard-working, and open to all things that some say aren’t possible the possibilities that life has to offer. or probable. As a very wise person To listen to ideas that some would once said, “Just be.” say are ridiculous! Unheard of! Just As a believer in reincarnation, plain silly! I know my father and I will meet You see, my interest in the again. And at that time, we’ll have paranormal, spiritual, and fantastical new life lessons for one another. came largely from my father, who Thanks for everything dad.
Paranormal Underground速 Volume 3, Issue 11
ART Art Director Chad Wilson
Design and Layout Cheryl Knight
On the Cover ALPHA Ghost Team www.avalancheofspirits.com
Promotions Promotions/Marketing Karen Frazier
YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/ParanormalUG
Advertising Interested in Advertising in Paranormal Underground Magazine, on our Website, or in our Podcasts? Call 1-714-646-4197 or e-mail: email@example.com
Send comments and letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calendar of Events 2010 November 12–14
Wisconsin Paranormal Conference Oshkosh Convention Center Oshkosh, Wisconsin www.wiscparacon.com
Nightwatchers Queen Mary Event The Queen Mary Long Beach, California http://nightwatchersevents.com
Rockford ParaCON Rockford College Rockford, IL http://forestcityps.com/rockfordparacon-2010
2011 February 18–19
Haunted America West Coast Conference Scottish Rite Event Center San Diego, California www.americanspookshows.com/ west.html
International UFO Congress Fort McDowell Resort & Casino Scottsdale, Arizona http://ufocongress.com
February 25–27 MystiCon Holiday Inn Roanoke, Virginia www.mysticon-va.com
ParaCon Oddfellows Building Liberty, Missouri http://paranormaladventuresusa. com/paracon/
EPICCON The Cavalier Hotel Virginia Beach, Virginia http://epiccon.com
1st Annual UFO Reykawvik Summit Liberty Hall Lawrence, Kansas www.ozufo.net
Phenomenology 103 Eisenhower Hotels Conference Center & Resort Gettysburg, Pennsylvania www.phenomevents.com
VaParanormalQuest Holiday Inn Lynchburg, Virginia www.vaparaquest.com
Haunting for Hope: A Paranormal Gathering Clear Creek Community Club
Silverdale, Washington www.blackwolf-paranormal.com/ haunting-for-hope.php
GhoStock Key West Details Coming Soon http://ghostock.com
Haunted America Midwest Conference Illinois College Jacksonville, Illinois www.americanspookshows.com/midwest.html
Sept. 30–Oct. 2
G.H.O.S.T.S. Paranormal & Wellness Conference & Expo Club Heidelberg St. Catharines, Ontario www.ghostsconference.com
Central Texas Paranormal Conference Norris Conference Center Austin, Texas www.ctparacon.com
“The Walking Dead” Draws in a Big Audience By Cheryl Knight
n October 31st, millions of TV viewers tuned into the American Movie Classics’ new epic, The Walking Dead. The premiere episode took more than 11.6 million zombie lore enthusiasts on a non-stop, edge-of-their-seat ride and included top-notch drama that viewers now expect to see on AMC (think Mad Men and Breaking Bad). The pilot episode scored big time for AMC, becoming the mostwatched premiere episode of any AMC television series. Developed for TV by Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. A survivalist story at its core, AMC says, “the series explores how the living are changed by the overwhelming realization that those who survive can be far more dangerous than the mindless walkers roaming the earth. They themselves have become the walking dead.” Waking Up Alone In the first episode, County Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is shot during an arrest attempt and wakes up in an empty hospital weeks later. He learns quickly that a zombie epidemic has taken over. His struggle to survive now truly begins. As Grimes searches for his family
The Walking Dead’s main cast includes Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes, Laurie Holden as Andrea, Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale, Steven Yeun as Glenn, and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes.
and friends, he meets more than a few “interesting” characters along the way. The small group of survivors travel across the United States looking for a safe haven from the mindless undead that wander aimlessly. Personally, I felt the first episode of this series exceeded my expectations. And as a huge zombie movie fan, I did not expect a TV series about zombies to shake me up. I was wrong. My Sundays are now planned around watching AMC’s newest show. Initial Reviews Are In I don’t seem to be alone in my initial assessment that this apocalyptic human drama shines. Here are what some others say about The
Walking Dead . . . • According to The Wall Street Journal’s Nancy Dewolf Smith, The Walking Dead “has a pilot episode so good that it has hooked even a zombie hater like me.” • Vanity Fair calls the series premiere “the best new television show of the year.” • Variety thinks The Walking Dead is “a compelling narrative that knocks you off balance.” • Heather Havrilesky of Salon. com said, “A film-quality drama series about zombies? Somebody pinch me!” The Walking Dead airs on AMC every Sunday. Check your local listings for broadcast times.
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Paranormal Underground 11
ALPHA Ghost Team: Raising the Bar on Paranormal Investigation By Cheryl Knight
n our July 2010 issue, you might remember that Scott Tepperman, the “New GHI Guy,” talked with us about joining Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters International. He also briefed us on his local paranormal investigative team, called the Association for Locating Paranormal & Haunted Activity (ALPHA), which he founded in 2008 with his friend and co-investigator Ron Bordner. This month, Scott and Ron spoke to Paranormal Underground about ALPHA’s mission and their goal to bring professionalism, integrity, and accuracy to paranormal research. Bill Karalius also joins us to discuss what it’s like to be an ALPHA field investigator. Read on to find out more . . . ***** Q: Tell us about ALPHA and the team’s mission. Ron: We originally formed ALPHA back in September 2008. Scott and I had been investigating the paranormal since 2004 and decided to jumpstart this organization. We’re always going “above and beyond” and holding ourselves to a higher degree of professionalism than most other paranormal investigative teams. Our team’s mission is very simple: The goal of ALPHA is
Pictured above are ALPHA cofounders and lead field investigators Scott Tepperman (at left) and Ron Bordner (center), as well as Field Investigator Bill Karalius (at right).
to preserve and expand the field of paranormal research through professionalism, integrity, and accuracy in our findings. Our focus is on quality, not quantity. We pride ourselves on recruiting only the most knowledgeable, skilled, and thoroughly trained
investigators in the business to help with achieving our vision. Q: How did the formation of ALPHA come about? Ron: The formation of ALPHA came about out of necessity. Since
ALPHA’s mission includes preserving and expanding the field of paranormal research through professionalism, integrity, and accuracy.
we’ve been in the field since 2004, we’ve seen the drama, the unprofessionalism, and mediocrity. We did what we could to become “sponges” and soak up any information that we could. It was when we felt the heartbeat of the paranormal field flatline that ALPHA was conceived. Q: What types of cases does the team investigate? Ron: We mostly investigate four types of cases: businesses, cemeteries, historical places, and residential homes. We feel as though these
Scott: Due to our experience of dealing with some less-than-credible claims of paranormal activity, we have an extensive screening and filtering process. We have a four-page, 50-question application that must be submitted via mail (not online) for ALPHA to review as a group. Some questions included in our screening application deal with personal habits (i.e., any habitual drug use, etc.) and psychological concerns (i.e., any mental illness in the family, etc.), as well as disclosing any upgrades or renovations done to the property and a brief history of the location.
“We’re actually very methodical when we investigate.” types of cases make up the majority of paranormal claims, and so we find ourselves focusing our time and energy on these four. Q: How does ALPHA determine which cases to investigate?
After the application is reviewed and approved by all members, a brief interview is arranged between the ALPHA cofounders and the property owner. The purpose of this process is two-fold: 1) it allows us to better gauge
the psychological state of the claimant, and 2) allows us to scope out the location to see whether or not it is conducive for an investigation. For instance, is the area safely constructed? Is there ample space to allow for our set-up? Is it a quiet atmosphere? If all of these conditions are met, ALPHA will agree to investigate that location. Q: What methodologies does the team employ during investigations? Ron: We’re actually very methodical when we investigate. Personally, I’m a stickler for details, so I find myself taking a massive amount of notes. I also try and use whatever equipment I have to the fullest extent of its use. I never leave a location without covering every inch of it. Q: What are the most common types of equipment you use on investigations? Scott: ALPHA likes to focus on numerous aspects of an investigation. However, our two heaviest areas of
Paranormal Underground 13
Investigator Spotlight ed hotel rooms. We didn’t experience any paranormal activity, but sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some. Q: What have been your most exciting cases to date, and what happened on those cases? Scott: One of our most exciting cases was of the Old Jail in St. Augustine, Florida. In 2006 (before ALPHA was formed), Ron and I were members of a local, amateur ghost group. Members of that group were using a Ouija board and getting antagonistic with a spirit they Ron Bordner, ALPHA Cofounder/ were communicating with. Lead Field Investigator) When they demanded the spirit to “make itself known,” I was immediately grabbed on my forearm interest include EVP/ITC, as well as and pulled off a bench. That was my photography. Therefore, our main first physical encounter with a spirit, pieces of equipment involve extenand it was the only one — for a while. sive use of audio recorders/filtering In 2010, while filming with programs and full-spectrum video, Ghost Hunters International, Barry with an emphasis on UV lighting. FitzGerald and I were investigating Some of the most concrete the top floor of Margam Castle in pieces of evidence can usually be South Wales. While I was being obtained through the proper use of interviewed about my experiences these devices. by the producers, I was poked three Q: Tell us about some of the more interesting locations ALPHA has investigated. Ron: Two of our more interesting haunted locations we’ve investigated have been the Windsor Hotel (Americus, Georgia) and The Clewiston Inn (Clewiston, Florida). These sites were interesting because not only did we have a chance to investigate, we had a chance to stay overnight in two (supposedly) haunt-
Q: Talk about common misconceptions about the paranormal field that the team has encountered? Ron: We regularly meet people who are obsessed with demons/ exorcisms and seem to equate this field with such topics. They seem to blur the lines of religious beliefs/ practices and the paranormal. They always try to label malevolent spirits as “demons” and claim that they have witnessed numerous instances of people getting possessed. The whole demon phenomena has had a new regeneration thanks to the numerous (and recent) paranormal television shows. I honestly do not see the hysteria winding down anytime soon. Q: What have been the most significant EVPs you’ve captured during investigations? Scott: Some of our best audio evidence has been captured at one of our favorite places to investigate — the Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia. Having investigated this location on and off since 2007, we have been privy to some great disembodied voices captured on both digital and analog recorders. Our clearest voice captures include the words “hey,” “help,” and “someone injured me.” We have captured some other EVPs as
“One of our most exciting cases was of the Old Jail in St. Augustine.” times on my leg. Thinking Barry was joking around, I spun around to find he was nowhere nearby. That was another unsettling experience. Our experiences are few and far between, but unforgettable nonetheless.
well, but the quality of these three is unmatched. We also caught what appeared to be the faint sound of old-time music at the Andersonville Civil War site in Andersonville, Georgia. What an overwhelmingly sad place that is.
Chatting With ALPHA Field Investigator Bill Karalius Q: When did your interest in the paranormal begin? Bill: Going through my parents’ wedding pictures when I was about nine years old is what really fueled my interest. I came across one that had a strange light above the alter directly behind my parents. There was no window in that area, and the light did not appear in any of the other pictures. Although the marriage took place four months after my father’s grandparents passed away, he told me that his grandparents had apparently made it to the wedding after all. As a kid, being exposed to something unexplainable like that was what really fueled my desire and interest in the paranormal. Q: What types of paranormal phenomena interest you the most? Bill: What interests me the most are EVPs. During my time with ALPHA, I have been exposed to numerous EVPs. The idea of catching something on audio that responds to what I have to say is pretty overwhelming. It seems like EVPs are the first step to figuring out an effective way to communicate with the dead. More research needs to be done, but ALPHA is doing what we can to help the field keep moving forward. Q: What is your primary role while on an investigation with ALPHA? Bill: I work under the title of “field investigator.” With that being said, my job is to be as thorough as possible. I spend a large chunk of the first night of investigating doing mostly base readings of the site. Depending on the size of the place, it can take hours. This consists of going through every square foot of a location and recording base EMF and temperature readings. I keep careful notes of any and all spots that require our attention while investigating. These notes also include areas
Bill Karalius that are less than desirable for taking photos. These are of great importance because they will help us prevent “false positives” (operator error and/or atmospheric interference) and facilitate evidence review. The information and data I gather proves useful in effectively investigating a location with ALPHA. Q: What case will you remember the most and why? Bill: My most memorable case was also the largest one I have been a part of to this point. It was our investigation of the Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia. At that time, I was still an ALPHA Tracker (part of the ALPHA “street team”) who had only been on a handful of investigations. The size of the hotel was impressive; we had a lot of ground to cover since there were quite a few hotspots for activity. Needless to say, we went home with a lot of evidence that was eventually presented in our first DVD, Dead Air [LIVE] From the Windsor Hotel. Q: Whose work in the paranormal field do you respect the most and why?
Bill: There is a constant focus on the growth in research and development of new equipment to be used on investigations, and I salute the efforts of those researchers for applying science in the field. However, the people who earn my respect the most are those groups who are there to support the families in need of assistance. Investigators are not just out there to prove the existence of life after death but to help homeowners and business owners understand what they are dealing with when faced with a haunting. Taking the time to explain the situation makes a huge difference in the level of comfort a family has when an investigation is over and done with. Q: Which personal paranormal experience has impacted you the most? Bill: I have never had that one defining experience that has made a huge impact on my paranormal views. I feel that this keeps me well grounded when going on investigations, because I do not have a pre-determined bias toward every bump and noise being paranormal. The day I finally get to see a fullbodied apparition or get touched by an entity will be a memorable one. Q: What is your dream location to investigate? Bill: The Harry Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is one location that I would be thrilled to investigate. I grew up seeing it whenever I passed through Jim Thorpe on the way to my family’s summerhouse. That mansion was actually the inspiration for the Haunted Mansion ride in Walt Disney World. Harry Packer was very sick most of his life and died at age 34. I can’t help but think there is a little mystery behind his death. The Mansion is a place that I would love to have the opportunity to investigate. Who knows? I may come across something nobody would ever expect!
Paranormal Underground 15
Investigator Spotlight karaoke performances. In 2010, we officially christened ourselves, “Tears For Ears” and have a growing online presence (with a Facebook page and an official Website). It’s a great way to bond away from the “seriousness” of ghost hunting, as well as a huge stress reliever. We love it. Q: What words of wisdom would you offer amateur ghost hunters investigating for the first time? Ron: Over the years, I’ve been a witness to the over-saturating of “fly-by-night” paranormal investigation groups and Scott Tepperman (ALPHA Cofounder/ Lead Field Investigator) researchers that have done damage to this field. Every member in ALPHA embodies what Q: What has been your best this field should be everyday and video and photographic eviall day — in both our personal lives dence caught to date? and professional lives. I would ask these amateur ghost Ron: The best photographic hunters/groups to do their homeevidence I have is two photographs work. If they can’t go above and bewhere I caught ectoplasm and an yond and hold themselves to a higher orb. I got the ectoplasm during my degree than mediocrity, then this field first investigation and the orb photo isn’t the right choice for them. a few years later. Regardless of how people feel Q: What sites does ALPHA about “orbs,” we in ALPHA wholehave on its wish list to investiheartedly stand behind any of our gate? evidence with 100% of our reputation. If it doesn’t stand up to our Scott: Each of the core members scrutiny, then it’s not permissible. of ALPHA has their own “dream” places to investigate. Mine has to Q: What would Paranormal be Jonestown — the story behind Underground’s readers be that mass suicide is unbelievable. So surprised to find out about sudden and traumatic . . . I would be ALPHA? very surprised if there was nothing going on there. Scott: That we are huge karaoke Ron’s dream location is Getenthusiasts. We actually plan-out, retysburg — for obvious battle-related hearse, and record each one of our
reasons. Lastly, Bill’s dream location to investigate stems from childhood memories — The Harry Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Q: What events and/or investigations are coming up for ALPHA? Scott: ALPHA is quite busy as of late. We just launched Dead Serious, a paranormal Internet radio show interested in separating the fact from the phony. Too many “ghost hunting” groups out there are in it for the wrong reasons. What was once a legitimate, respectable field has become an easy cash cow for unscrupulous opportunists out to make a quick buck. It’s time for someone to hold the paranormal community accountable — and that someone is ALPHA. Also, always keeping pace with ever-evolving technology, we are currently putting the finishing touches on our new and improved Website, which should be back up shortly. This will be a fully-immersive, informative, and entertaining site for everyone interested in useful, truthful paranormal topics. Look for it soon. Additionally, we have recently signed with D-Mentd Entertainment, LLC for event management and representation. This affords us the opportunity to reach a broader audience via events, lectures, appearances, and conventions. We are excited and eager for ALPHA to have the opportunity to spread legitimate, no-nonsense information that has (sadly) been absent from the field for quite some time. ***** For more information about ALPHA and its team members, visit www. alphaghostteam.com.
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Paranormal Underground 17
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites
By Paul Bottini, http://zzyzxparanormal.com
piece of Chupacabra jerky posing as an old man stopped swigging his mezcal and lemonade long enough to watch the pterosaur dive-bomb his front lawn. “Second time today,” the faded fossil mused to himself. The creaky relic cast a discerning eye upon the flying prehistoric creature that, to the rest of the world, had been extinct 65 million years. Another gulp soothed the aged specimen’s cracked throat. The man rocked back in a lawn chair atop his dying front porch. “This one’s different than the last. Younger. Smaller. Can’t be no bigger than a Buick. Probably just a pup lookin’ for its mother,” he quietly concluded. Chewing rusty ice made from rustier pipes, the venerable sage deduced, “Damned door let two in today.” A legally blind eye was diverted to a sandstorm licking the furthest edges of town. In the opposite direction, the pterosaur simply vanished into the “nothingness” from whence it came. The old man took no notice. A moment later, he vanished too. Southwestern New Mexico: Home to “The Door” Just another afternoon in Lordsburg, New Mexico. A dot the size of a pulp novel period defines Lordsburg on a map. Three thousand
Mysterious spook lights, UFOs, ghosts, and poltergeists are nothing new to the residents of Lordsburg, which is now categorized as a “Hotspot of High Strangeness” due to its numerous types of paranormal occurrences.
grizzled, live bodies constitute the population of this forgotten hamlet in Southwestern New Mexico. Perhaps more of the dead variety do, as well. Slow suicide is Lordsburg’s modus vivendi, as an underground methamphetamine enterprise keeps the hamlet wavering on constant life support. Sandstorms dominate the meteorological forecast in these parts. Lords-
burg, New Mexico: where businesses go to die. A wasteland of defunct storefronts dot the landscape like headstones in a busy graveyard. Let’s face it — only Oz would be a more perfect setting for a world gone awry. Yarns of monstrous Thunderbirds the size of small planes are spun around a perpetual loom of urban legends out here in the desert. Purportedly, mysterious spook lights, UFOs,
ghosts, and poltergeists are nothing new to the residents of Lordsburg. Amateur paranormal investigator, and Lordsburg resident, Ramon Ortiz has toiled the past 15 years photographing and videotaping unexplained aerial phenomena above this tiny New Mexico borough. Much of Ortiz’s work showcases what appears to be technology well beyond human capabilities. Enigmatic craft reportedly “hover, divide, flash, and even change shape in mid-air” over Lordsburg, now categorized as a “Hotspot of High Strangeness” due to its numerous types of paranormal occurrences. Paranormal Portal or Urban Legend? So, what’s causing the mass irregularity inherent to this neglected rest stop on the way to Arizona? According to locals, the source of the strangeness is, simply stated, a door. Somewhere on the outskirts of town, Lordsburg residents claim a portal between parallel dimensions exists. A gateway allowing pterosaurs, UFOs, spook lights, and ghostly apparitions to commix alongside small town Americana. As asserted by Ortiz, the opening in question resides somewhere near mile marker 17 along Highway 90. It’s unclear as to whether this ingress is actually tangible or an ethereal portal, but allegedly a carved rock chair and table rest adjacent it. An ancient tree stump purportedly protrudes from the ground in front of the door. Trapped within the stump, a human leg bone remains where some unfortunate individual allegedly emerged from the gateway and into the molecular structure of a dead tree. As if UFOs, monstrous birds, and spook lights weren’t enough, translucent, humanoid behemoths have also reportedly emanated from
According to legend, only individuals welcomed by the door, itself, are capable of viewing the opening.
the “Lordsburg Door.” According to locals, even the spirit of Geronimo, long-dead Apache leader, has been observed walking the town. Area ranchers claim many of their “hybrid, high-grade cattle” have mysteriously vanished only to “be replaced by low-grade, Mexican” cows. Apparently, some cattle would enter the portal while others would exit. This replacement indicated that “rustling was not involved in the disappearance” of the steer “because . . . thieves would not replace stolen cattle with inferior stock.” Ortiz asserts only individuals welcomed by the door, itself, are capable of viewing the opening. According to legend, the Lordsburg Door is but one of seven such gateways within the “Bootheel” region of southern New Mexico.
Interested in Exploring “The Door”? Whether or not tales surrounding the Lordsburg Door are true is up for debate. Currently, no research has been conducted of the area by established paranormal investigative teams. However, Ramon Ortiz’s exhaustive hours documenting the strange in these parts is impetus to folks interested in exploring the hidden corners of the nation. If you consider yourself a “New Age adventurer,” piloting your ship of steel over the waves of asphalt crisscrossing the United States, take a trip down I-10, west of I-25. On a strip of highway between Shakespeare Ghost Town and Steins’ ghost town (population 2), about 25 miles east of Arizona, you may end up driving through a portal into another dimension.
Paranormal Underground 19
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History
The Dagg Poltergeist By Rick E. Hale, McHenry County Paranormal Research Group
ince the advent of modern paranormal research and investigation in the late 19th Century, poltergeist phenomena has always been at the top of the list as the most common form of haunting â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and the most controversial. For the most part, researchers seem to agree that the activities of the poltergeist are not caused by a discarnate spirit or a demon, but rather by a human agent who is experiencing a time of great turmoil. And rather than deal with that turmoil in a constructive manner, the person internalizes the stress and then unknowingly sends it outward, resulting in a series of terrifying phenomena that has sent many families fleeing from their homes in abject terror. Although I agree with these esteemed researchers, I have always maintained a belief that the energy expended by a poltergeist is capable of attracting other spirits â&#x20AC;&#x201D; human or otherwise. While there are many cases on record that confirm this belief, the jury remains out with many paranormal researchers. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s delve further into poltergeist phenomena by examining a 1889 case, which took place at a small farmhouse in Quebec, Canada. A poltergeist ruthlessly attacked a family and may or may not have been caused by a human spirit that was hell-bent on driving a family insane with its exploits.
The Dagg Poltergeist was said to haunt a small farmhouse in Quebec, Canada, in 1889. Was the 11-year-old adopted daughter the subconscious medium behind the outbreak?
An Unsightly and Smelly Offense On a warm morning in the spring of 1889, the lady of the house, Mrs. Dagg, awoke to start her normal routine of chores in her already spotless home. However, what greeted her was not only the beginning of a little-known poltergeist outbreak, but was downright disgusting as well. As Mrs. Dagg, entered the front room, her sense of smell and sight were assaulted by animal feces smeared across the floor. If you know anything about 19th Century women, you would understand that such a thing was completely unacceptable
and was a total offense to her sense of clean. At first, a young boy, Dean, was blamed for the mischief because he worked with the hogs. Dean had a tendency to forget to take his shoes off when he entered the house and was warned that if this behavior did not stop he would be fired. Subsequently, the young farmhand was terminated only to have the feces return day after day. If Dean was not present, then who was responsible for this unsightly and smelly offense? As the days passed, other strange and frightening activity began to assert itself in the home.
On numerous occasions, the family would be woken up in the middle of the night by loud bangs on the walls. And during the day, large rocks would come crashing through the windows, as well as plates and other objects being thrown about the home by unseen hands. Gentleman farmer George Dagg and his farmhands did the best they could to search for the destructive culprits, but came up short for a rational explanation when no physical assailant was found. Mrs. Dagg who was a firm believer in the new religion of Spiritualism felt that perhaps they were under attack by a nasty spirit that meant them harm. A Call for Help Mrs. Dagg sent a letter to a noted Canadian ghost hunter, Percy Woodstock, appealing for his help. Woodstock came right away. Shortly after Woodstock arrived at the Dagg farm, he set up a laboratory and began investigating the curious phenomena that seemed to hold the family in its grip. Woodstock came to the conclusion that the family was not under attack by a demon or a human spirit, but rather the mischief was caused by a poltergeist. He also determined that Dinah, an 11-year-old adopted daughter, was the subconscious medium behind the outbreak. Woodstock and all involved would soon discover that there was more to this case than met the eye. Woodstock questioned the girl to see whether or not she possessed some mediumistic abilities. The girl proved his theory correct; however, he also learned that the young girl had come into contact with a truly pissed-off spirit that had taken up residence in a dilapidated old shed that was no longer in use. Woodstock had Dinah show him this old shed, and he quickly got the fright of his life. As the researcher
entered the shed, he became intensely aware that he was not alone and some entity watched his every move. He also felt the undeniable feeling of dread. Woodstock called out to the spirit and was greeted by the sound of a deep, gravelly laugh. Woodstock demanded that the spirit show itself and reveal his name. The spirit growled out, “I am the devil. If you do not leave this place now, I will break your neck.”
with a cow’s head and cloven feet and would chase them around the farm. Other times he would appear as a giant coal black dog with glowing red eyes that stalked the land. However, as the haunting came to a close, the entity would show another side of itself and appear as a tall, beautiful man with a long white robe and long, flowing white hair adorned with a crown studded with shining stars. No one was ever sure
The phenomena progressed to a violent level. Woodstock hightailed it out of the shed. An Entity Becomes Violent As the months passed after Woodstock’s visit, the phenomena progressed to a violent level. Small fires broke out around the house, thunderous bangs on the walls could be heard at all hours of the day, and jugs of water were thrown in the face of the Daggs and other guests. One brave witness challenged the entity and demanded to know who he was and why he was causing this family harm. The entity blasted back with a loud voice, “I am the spirit of an 80-year-old man who died on the property, and I do not approve of the Dagg family.” When asked his name, the entity whispered his answer into the ear of George Dagg and was warned if George divulged his name to anyone, he would die a horrible and violent death. No one ever learned his name. Dinah and the other Dagg children began to report sighting of the strange entity and were terrified by what they saw. The entity appeared in many guises to the children. The first time they managed to spy the entity, it appeared as a demonic man
what the exact nature of this entity was: Was he a demon or a messenger sent from God? One day the children ran to their parents and stated they came into contact with the entity, which had appeared in his angelic guise and told them he was now departing and would trouble the Daggs no more. The children went on to say that he had risen up into the sky singing hymns to God in a beautiful voice. Six months of terror had come to an end. The Bible says that Satan can appear as an angel of light, and the entity that terrorized the Dagg farm over a century ago appeared to be just that, a devil in disguise. However, two theories exist concerning the strange case of the Dagg poltergeist and its nature. Skeptics claim that the whole affair was the doings of mischievous youth out to cause a stir, and they made up the entity and the phenomena. The other theory concerning the entity is that it was a “thought form” dreamed up by the “poltergeist agent,” Dinah, and projected into the minds of the other children. Either theory is possible, but I ask, what do you think?
Paranormal Underground 21
Case Files of the Unknown: Cryptids & Mythological Creatures
The Beast of Exmoor: Mystery Cat
By Jill Stefko, Ph.D., www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/stevko1901
n 1983, an unknown creature killed a large number of sheep within a large Southwest England county. Those who saw the beast roaming the fields of Exmoor believed it was a big cat, even though they were not native to England. While the mystery cat was photographed, it was never caught or killed. So what did stalk the fields of Devonshire, England, killing livestock? Sightings of big cats in Britain began to increase dramatically in the 1970s. The British Big Cat Society (BBCS) reported that the number of big cats in the country was continually increasing. There were 2,123 sightings in Great Britain between April 2004 and July 2005, most of which were in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset. There were also sightings in Scotland and Wales. Black panthers were the most often seen, followed by brown or tawny colored cats and lynxes. Big Cats in Great Britain The only known surviving native wild cat in the country is felis silvestris, which looks like the tabby and is often confused with feral cats — domestic cats turned loose — and their descendents. The natural habitat of these animals is Scotland.
What animal roamed the fields of Exmoor in Southwest England killing hundreds of sheep and scaring local residents? Was it a rare black cat? Or something else?
The Wildlife and Countryside Act gives these wild cats and their dens protection as an endangered species, categorized at risk of extinction. In July 2005, a Devon farmer found a skull that was identified as that of a puma. Was this the type of cat that was responsible for the sheep attacks in the area? Or was it something else? During this time, there were also three attacks on horses, more than 35 sheep killed, and authenticated
casts of big cat paw prints. The BBCS gathered evidence of at least 23 big cats being set free since the Dangerous Animals Act was passed in 1976. The animals were a panther, pumas, lynxes, and other exotics. Some owners even admitted to setting their pets free. The Beast of Exmoor Sightings of the so-called “Beast of Exmoor” go back to the early 1970s
when people in Devonshire and Somerset, in the United Kingdom, reported sightings. In 1983, the feline was killing livestock and frightening people throughout the county. More than 100 farm animals that Eric Ley owned in South Molten were killed. The London Daily Express offered a reward for the killing or capture of the beast. Marine riflemen were even sent to the area to kill the animal and stop the slaughter of livestock. Strangely, the attacks stopped while they were there. Some of the soldiers reported seeing the beast, but none managed to capture or shoot it. After the troops left, the attacks started again. Most of those who saw the beast said it looked like a black panther. Others said it looked like a puma. Some said they saw two cats, a panther and a puma, roaming the fields together. Other numerous sightings have been documented, including: • Naturalist Trevor Beer encountering the beast in 1984. It walked out of the brush, stared at him, and then turned and dashed back into the woods. • In 1988, a farmer saw a huge black feline running at an incredible speed.
The British Big Cat Society reports that the number of big cats in the country continues to increase.
• In December 1991, a farm family watched a large feline that looked like a panther as it stalked the land near their house. A few weeks later, the son saw the animal climb a tree. Some photos taken of the Beast of Exmoor clearly show a black panther. In other photos, it’s not possible to identify the animal. What Was the Beast of Exmoor? Is it possible that some of those who saw the beast misidentified it? Perhaps it was a large dog or a feral cat whose size people misjudged. The beast could have been a for-
mer pet set free or an escapee from a home, zoo, or circus. However, there were no big cats reported as escaped when the Beast of Exmoor roamed. Di Francis, author of the book The Beast of Exmoor: And Other Mystery Predators of Britain, theorized that big cats have secretly lived in Great Britain since the prehistoric era. However, zoologists reject this theory. Another possibility is that big cats that were set free ended up breeding and having their descendents live on in the UK.
Paranormal Underground 23
Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone?
What’s Up With the Cover-Up? 7 UFO Sightings in 6 Decades That “Didn’t” Happen
By Rick E. Hale, McHenry County Paranormal Research Group
an has always seen things in the sky that he did not understand. Ancient man looked up at the moon and sun and worshipped them as gods. Some have seen comets and meteors streak across the sky and believed that these strange, fiery objects were omens of our ultimate demise. And, of course, after the birth of the modern UFO era in 1947, there have been a myriad of reports of seeing strange lights and oddly shaped craft haunting the night skies, leaving many with the ultimate question: Are we the only intelligent species in the universe? Or is it possible the strange “craft” being witnessed over the past six decades, in particular, were piloted by a people who were much more advanced than us? According to the “cover-up,” the government would have us believe what we are seeing are not lights or craft at all, but rather clouds, satellites, or my personal favorite . . . they explain that the huge triangular craft you may have seen drifting without noise across the sky as the planet Venus. Those who are “in the know” would have us believe that we are nothing more than a bunch of witless, mindless simpletons who are
The Battle of Los Angeles (1942) was blamed on weather balloons and sky lanterns, among other government explanations.
completely unable to trust our own eyes and instincts. However, there appears to have been mass sightings over the past 60 years that would defy all explanations, despite the establishment’s attempt to shut the witnesses up and shut them down. There are countless credible witnesses who deserve to be heard. So in the spirit of open-mindedness, let’s examine seven UFO sightings that took place during the last six decades. The Battle of Los Angeles In the winter of 1942, the war against the Nazis and the Japanese
Empire was heating up. The mighty hand of the U.S. military was now involved, and despite the country’s policy of isolationism we were kicking ass and taking names. However, the government and military believed the East Coast was being threatened by German submarines. Numerous U-boats had been seen coming a little too close to New York and other coastal cities. On the West Coast, tensions were raised even more when, on the night of February 23, 1942, an oil production company in Santa Barbara was fired upon by a Japanese sub. However, the real terror would
come the next night when something far stranger was witnessed in the skies over the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles, California, and a Hell storm of colossal proportions was released that killed three people with heart conditions. In the wee hours of February 25, 1942, the city of Los Angeles was torn from their slumber when air raid sounds ripped through the cold, dark night sky. This was it — the Japanese had finally found their courage and were invading mainland America. Citizens along the West Coast knew this night would come, and it was finally here. Their fear was realized at 3:16 a.m. when the anti-aircraft guns began to fire into the black night sky at some strange lights that flew quietly overhead. One reporter from the L.A. Herald Express later reported that whatever the craft was, it was obvious they were hit by the anti-aircraft shelling but seemed completely unfazed. When the “all clear” was given at 7:21 a.m., thousands of shells had been expended with no evidence of an aggressive force attempting to invaded the homeland. No wreckage littered the ground, no soldiers were sighted, and believe it or not whatever the strange UFOs were, they never fired back despite the beating they took. There can be no doubt that something was seen and fired upon in the night skies of Los Angeles well
The Lubbock Lights, perhaps the most famous UFO sighting in American history, was blamed on lights reflecting off Plover birds as they flew overhead at night.
Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall would go on record as saying that whatever was fired on were real aircraft and could have proven fatal if action had not been taken. But if they were not invading planes, what were they? The usual suspects were cited: weather balloons, sky lanterns, and a technology that didn’t even exist in 1942, Japanese fire balloons. Whatever these craft were, there should have been some kind of damage to their physical bodies. Weather balloons are not invincible. There should have been something except thousands of expended bullets, damage to private property, and frayed nerves. The Lubbock Lights Perhaps the most famous UFO sighting in American history began on the night of August 25, 1951, and
The lights seemed to fly as if they were under the control of an intelligent force. over 60 years ago. A threat was perceived, and the military took action the only way it knew how, shoot first and ask questions later. It does seem obvious that whatever these craft were, they were not an invading force.
was witnessed by dozens of people in and around the modestly sized city of Lubbock, Texas. And “they” say it didn’t happen. At 9:00 p.m. three professors from Texas Tech College were sit-
ting in a colleague’s backyard having a laugh when one of the professors looked up and noticed something strange flying overhead in the night sky. When all three looked up they could see what looked like 20-30 lights flying soundlessly at an altitude of 2,000 feet traveling at a rate of about 600 miles per hour. The professors, who had a second experience on September 5, 1951, would go on record as saying that the lights were the size of dinner plates and seemed to fly as if they were under the control of an intelligent force. They would also comment that the lights were blue and green. The professors were not the only folks to witness the lights. When a Texas Tech student saw the same lights on August 30, 1951, he grabbed his camera and snapped off a few pictures, constituting some of the best evidence on record for the existence of aircraft that is not our own. Several others in the Lubbock area witnessed the strange lights and went on record as saying that never in their life had they seen something so strange. However, this is the United Sates in 1951, and the coverup was in full swing. In September 1951, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Ruppelt, a member of Project Blue Book (we’ll talk about them later) and astronomer Doctor J. Allen Hyneck would be
Paranormal Underground 25
Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone? Pictured at right: ufologist and UFO abduction researcher Budd Hopkins investigated the UFO sighting that George O’Barski reported at North Hudson Park. (Source: UFO Magazine)
the ones called upon to investigate the Lubbock lights. They offered an explanation that would go down in history as being patently ridiculous and proof that a cover-up was afoot. When the two men arrived in Lubbock, they discovered that the city had installed some new road lights that projected upward. They also discovered that Plover birds, which fly at night, were in great abundance. Well, there’s your explanation: The Lubbock Lights were blamed on lights reflecting off Plover birds as they flew overhead at night. Case closed. Not quite. Many who were pleased with this answer decided to experiment on their own to see if Plover’s were the true culprit behind the Lubbock Lights. Several citizens took pictures of Plovers as they flew near the city and did not get the effect that was displayed in the picture from the Texas Tech student. In fact, there was no reflection at all, unless they came within 10 feet of the lights. It was also reported that the lights traveled at a rate of 600 miles per hour at an altitude of 2,000 feet. Plover can’t achieve this kind of
flight; in fact, no bird in the history of the world could achieve such a fantastic speed and altitude. In my opinion, as well as the opinions of millions, the case of the Lubbock Lights will never be closed. Portage County UFO Chase It is a true statement that oftentimes folks make mistakes when they see something unusual. A great deal of UFO sightings are legitimate misidentifications of either planes that we are unfamiliar with or some kind of meteorological phenomenon that we are unfamiliar with. But when it comes to the police, the brave boys and girls in blue do not usually make such mistakes. They are highly trained observers and would not file a report unless they actually witnessed something — such is the case of the Portage County UFO Chase. In the early morning hours of April 17, 1966, Dale Spaur and Wilbur Neff — two Portage County, Ohio, police officers — called in to dispatch to report they were in pursuit of a large, silver, saucer-shaped disc with numerous lights around its mid section.
Upon hearing the chatter over the radio, other police officers joined in the chase and radioed to their dispatches that they were seeing something clearly not of this world. Several officers chased the flying saucer for approximately 30 minutes, when to the amazement of all involved the craft shot straight up at an amazing velocity. All agreed that whatever the object was it was clearly not of this world. Upon hearing of the sighting, investigators from the Air Force’s Project Blue Book commented that what the officers were chasing was not a flying saucer at all. They were chasing a communications satellite and then the planet Venus. And here we are again. Those involved with the cover-up expect us to suspend common sense and buy their ridiculous line. These officers saw something truly out of this world, and they were told — despite their training and years of dedication on the force — all they were seeing was Venus. North Hudson Park Sighting It is very rare that a UFO is seen within the borders of a major metropolitan area. But that is exactly what happened during our next sighting on January 12, 1975. George O’Barski, a local business owner, was driving past Hudson County Park in North Bergen, New Jersey, when he saw a sight he would not soon forget. O’Barski reported that in the early morning hours he watched as a craft shaped like an egg descended from the skies and landed in the park. At first George thought this was either a strange military aircraft or his eyes were playing tricks on him — until he saw what came out of the egg. George watched as several small humanoid-shaped beings exited the craft down a long ladder. Then the beings began taking soil samples with strange instruments. O’Barski said
that after the little men got what they wanted, they crawled back into the craft, which then shot off into the night sky like a missile. World famous UFO researcher Budd Hopkins arrived to investigate the alleged sighting. After speaking to O’Barski he felt that perhaps this
well as a multi-million dollar lawsuit. On the evening of December, 29 1980, Betty Cash, Victoria Landrum, and Landrum’s seven-year-old grandson, Colby, were driving home from a night out. All three would witness something that not only terrified them but caused them to experience
The trio witnessed a giant diamondshaped object descend from the night sky. was nothing more than a wild goose chase. But after speaking to the doorman of the Stonehenge Apartments, an upscale apartment complex near Hudson Park, he began to change his mind. The doorman claimed that he, as well as others, had seen a strange red light buzzing over and in and out of Hudson Park over a two-week period. Perhaps, O’Barski was not a crack pot after all. The Hudson Park sighting has gone down as a Close Encounter 2 event because the witness came into close proximity of a landed spacecraft and had witnessed the alien occupants of the craft. To this day, the Hudson Park sighting counts as one of the strangest UFO encounters on record.
physical ailments for years to come. As they drove home, the trio witnessed a giant diamond-shaped object descend from the night sky spewing out flames and causing the car to become so superheated it damaged the chassis of Cash’s vehicle. Vickie Landrum, who was a born-again Christian, believed the craft was a manifestation of the second coming of Jesus Christ and reassured her terrified grandson that the lord wouldn’t harm them. The sighting ended when the object flew up and was then chased away by military Chinook helicopters. The sighting lasted five minutes. As the weeks passed, the three wit-
Vickie Landrum (left) and Betty Cash were stricken with radiation sickness after a December 1980 UFO encounter. (Source: Intercontinental U.F.O. Galactic Spacecraft Research and Analytic Network Archives)
The Cash-Landrum Incident By 1980, thousands of people, not only in the United States but also in nations around the world, had reported being witness to strange craft buzzing the night skies. Of course those involved in the cover-up explained away the eyewitness accounts, saying that people witnessed either known aircraft or atmospheric phenomena. However the Cash-Landrum Incident would seriously challenge the skeptical arguments after physical evidence of the incident emerged, as
nesses decided to make a visit to their doctor after feeling under the weather. The doctor was shocked to see that all three were suffering the effects of radiation sickness. Symptoms included vomiting, migraine headaches, and burn marks on their skin. The doctor concluded that the only way such an illness could have been caused is if they were exposed to a nuclear blast. Cash and Landrum described their recent UFO encounter to the doctor, who was skeptical. The doctor told the two women they needed to call the military and report the strange incident. The two elderly women did more than just report the incident; they brought a lawsuit against the United States government for the sum of $20 million dollars. After spending a few years tied up in litigation, the judge finally dismissed the case, stating that despite their extensive medical problems being caused by the alleged sighting, they could not prove that the Chinook helicopters were associated with the United States military and, therefore, the government was not at fault. I have to question if the judge’s own skepticism caused the case to be thrown out. Or did someone get to him? Perhaps an agent of the cover-
Paranormal Underground 27
Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone? The Phoenix Lights (1997) are still considered by some to be the most impressive display of extraterrestrial intelligence to date. During the incident, several witnesses claimed that they saw a giant triangularshaped craft with bright lights flying and hovering over the desert.
up threatened the judge if he did not dismiss the case. The world may never know. The Phoenix Lights My brother, Steve, is a citizen of the city of Phoenix, Arizona. He was the first to tell me of the strange series of sightings that occurred not only in Phoenix but the rest of Arizona and Nevada as well. On a hot summer night in 1997, the entire population of Phoenix was treated to the sight of strange, bright lights burning in the skies over their fair city. Between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. MST, the lights shone brightly before disappearing one at a time. Several pictures and videos were taken of the event, and some of the footage indicates that the “Phoenix Lights” were part of a much larger craft. Shortly before the lights appeared over Phoenix, several witnesses claimed that they saw what looked like a giant triangular-shaped craft with bright lights flying and hovering over the desert. Perhaps this
craft was responsible for the lights. A few weeks after the initial sightings, a nearby airfield claimed that on the night in question A-10 Warthog aircraft were operating in the vicinity, and the flares they were dropping were responsible for the strange lights in the sky. The funny thing about this explanation is that a few days after the sighting, some of the city officials contacted the airfield and asked if any of their aircraft were operating in the area. The officials at the airfield responded that they had nothing in the air that night. Hmmm . . . sounds a lot like Roswell — one minute they have a downed spacecraft of another worldly origin, and the next minute it’s “oops, our bad . . . it’s just a weather balloon.” Suspicious wouldn’t you say? O’Hare Sighting I thought I would bring our final sighting a little closer to my home turf of Chicago, Illinois. This particular incident involved a craft that was seen
hovering over one of the busiest airports in the world, O’Hare Airport. At 4:30 p.m. on November 7, 2006, several airport employees, including aircraft pilots and their crews, witnessed a large saucershaped object hovering a few hundred feet off the ground near gate C-17. Given the credibility of the witnesses, the airport was extremely alarmed by the reports. Several planes were put on standby and not allowed to leave or land until officials could get to the bottom of what was being seen. The craft stuck around for approximately five minutes and then vanished. Several area newspapers reported on the sighting, which caused quite a stir. It took place a mere five years after 9-11. However, the FAA quickly came to the rescue and dispelled the fears of many when they claimed the craft sighted was nothing more than a “weather phenomena.” Aircraft pilots, like police, are highly trained observers and would not mistake a cloud for a solid aircraft. It would appear that all facets of the federal government are involved in the cover-up. A Hidden Agenda? As I said earlier, the majority of paranormal sightings can be explained or blamed on naturally occurring phenomena. However, there are some things that do defy logical explanation, and after careful and responsible investigation can and should be put into the category of the unexplained. Those involved with the cover-up try to sell their outrageous explanations to the public, but some of us are not buying. Common sense should never be suspended because someone in a suit with impressive credentials tells us what we think we saw is not what we saw. It’s just another brick in the wall of the cover-up.
100 Years After a Devastating Avalanche Took Their Lives, the “Spirits” of Wellington, Washington, Still Remain. Read One Investigator’s Account of How She Met . . . “The Ghosts of Wellington.”
Book Now Available Online at November 2010 Paranormal Underground www.avalancheofspirits.com
Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files
A Night At The Theatre: Investigating the Orpheum
By Michelle Pillow, www.michellepillow.com
am one lucky woman. In May 2010, I was invited on my first paranormal investigation to Old Cowtown Museum (Paranormal Underground, August 2010 issue) by the Wichita Paranormal Research Society (WPRS), based out of Wichita, Kansas. We must have hit it off because when the opportunity to investigate the historic Orpheum Theatre came up, they invited me back. Of course I had to jump on the opportunity. Who could resist spending the night in a turn of the 20th Century theatre, exploring the hidden recesses not open to the public? And the fact that I was going there for my second paranormal investigation made it all the sweeter. History of the Theatre Located in downtown Wichita, the theatre opened on Labor Day, September 4, 1922, and featured almost every major Vaudeville act of the time. It was the first atmosphericstyle theatre in the United States, which created a certain “landscape atmosphere” for the visitors. According to the official Orpheum Theatre Website, “The architect for the Orpheum, John Eberson, was the creator of the atmospheric school,” and the theatre is an “authentic atmospheric with all the accoutrements associated with the style.”
Michelle Pillow investigates the Orpheum with Wichita Paranormal Research Society. (Photo © 2010, Sherrie Curry)
Designed as a Spanish court, it had a “fully developed decorative theme and the sky and star projections properly associated with the atmospheric theatre.” The theatre’s original fire curtain hangs in the flyout over the stage. Hand painted on asbestos, the curtain was designed for the Orpheum by John Eberson, supplied by Fabric Studio of Chicago, and is very valuable. While I was there, I did ask the staff about it. Apparently, being of such monetary worth and historical value, they do not lower the curtain completely for fear of damaging it. The main feature of the auditorium is the proscenium arch, approximately 42 feet tall. Originally,
it contained 1,700 seats, but today it seats 1,281. I can’t imagine where they included the extra seating. The row spacing felt very tight, not unlike that of a modern-day airplane. But, it was hardly an inconvenience when you consider the comfort of the chairs themselves and the beautiful distractions of the surroundings. Niches accentuate the auditorium’s sidewalls, containing mock tile roofs and grills, as well as lattice work aches over the ceiling to further enhance the impression of a courtyard. Stairs leading up to the mezzanine (the lowest balcony in the theatre) showcase the original plaster moldings and arched doorways.
A skilled acoustical engineer, I might walk the same paths and touch the same rails.” Eberson constructed the auditoOver the years, many perrium to project sound naturally, formers have graced the Orwithout any of the modern sound pheum stage, from nearly every enhancements used today. The sound quality carries so well, you popular Vaudeville act of the earlier 19th Century, such as Edcan hear people talking in a low die Cantor and Fannie Brice, to voice behind the stage curtains famous burlesque dancer Gypsy while up in the top balcony. At Rose Lee. In an interesting side times, we even heard people under the stage investigating the note, Gypsy’s son, Erik Lee Preminger, later returned to the theatre dressing rooms while in the very with My G-String Mother. top seats. This proved to be a According to the theatre challenge when it came to collectWebsite, “During its vaudeville ing evidence. Over time, the theatre has period, more than 17,000 acts appeared with the playbill changundergone some restoration, ing three times each week.” In though some of the original armore recent years, comic Bernie chitecture has been changed over Mac performed shortly before time. For example, the decorative his death in 2008. With so many floor in the lobby was covered by Pictured above: The Orpheum: Vaudeville House and famous acts, would we hear from terrazzo and then later replaced Movie Palace in Wichita, Kansas. a performer who decided to by new tiles. Even so, much has (Photo © 2010, Michelle Pillow) make the Orpheum their afterlife been done to restore the building home? Or perhaps a customer to its 1920 grandeur. Currently, the Orpheum is conwho fell in love with the place and Our hosts for the night were decided never to leave? Or maybe a trolled by a nonprofit corporation, Orpheum staff members Film Tech staff member who spent hours workOrpheum Performing Arts Centre, Director Chris Wren and Volunteer ing the theatre ticket booth and still Ltd., dedicated to “the preservation, Coordinator Marti Secondine. comes in for their shift? restoration, and ongoing utilization “I am really excited about the of this important part of our cultural For the night, I joined WPRS group coming. I always wanted to Founder Shane Elliot; Case Manager, and architectural heritage.” investigate the place,” said Chris. Investigator, and PR Manager Sherrie “Volunteers and staff have noticed Curry; Photographer and InvestigaA Night at the Theatre unexplained things happening.” tor Ted Thomason; newly promoted The investigation took place the “I know the group has been here night of October 2, 2010, where the Tech Manager and Investigator Bob before on an investigation, and I’m Gilmer; and Investigators Lu Ann JuOrpheum Theatre sits in the heart of interested to see all the gadgetry and lian, A. Marie Carroll, Shaun Reeves, Wichita, Kansas’ downtown area. The technology they use,” added Marti. “I and Donna Chaffin. unique architecture instantly draws If you the eye of passersby, and it would be hard remember reading my recent to miss this beautiarticle on my ful old building. I last investigation started the evening as with WPRS, photographers often have been in every nook and cranny do, taking pictures of everything. In Bob had brought me the childhood of the building. If a presence is here, snack Bugles. This time he treated this venture, I was joined by Wichita we’re cool. As a lifelong resident of me to the oh-so-medicinal-tasting area photographer and investigator Wichita, these (potential ghosts) are 5-Hour Energy Drink. Though Ted Thomason. I could have spent my people. My ancestors came here hardly a future craving, the stuff does the entire night concentrating on the for shows, and it’s intriguing to think fine architectural details. work and I was awake for the 3 a.m.
With that one whispered sentence, I caught the ghost hunter’s addiction.
Paranormal Underground 31
Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files
Pictured above: At left is the Orchestra Pit, where an EVP had been caught answering a question about comedian and actor Bernie Mac. At center: The Orpheum is full of reflective surfaces — windows and mirrors deliver flashes of traffic lights into the inner-most reaches of the building. At Right: The Orpheum was the first atmospheric-style theatre in the United States, a style that created a “landscape atmosphere” for the visitors. (Photo © 2010, Michelle Pillow)
wrap up. Thank you Bob! One of my mistakes at that first investigation was not bringing enough caffeine. The Dressing Rooms & Orchestra Pit The investigation was broken up into four main parts. For the first segment, I joined Sherrie under the stage where the two dressing rooms are located. In the largest dressing room, female voices have been heard, as well as knocks. Behind a mirror, there is a door leading to large tunnels beneath the city streets. Though it was locked, I’m told the underground walkways are mostly used for storage by the surrounding businesses. I would have loved to explore the tunnels, but they couldn’t find the key. The second dressing room had a report of an actor’s coffee cup being thrown across the room while he was nowhere near it. We performed
EVP, K-II, and EMF readings but didn’t have any personal experiences in the dressing rooms. While there, Sherrie told me of the two reports of death on the property. The first was a homeless man who broke into the theatre and subsequently died. The second was a report of a suicide by jumping, though this story hasn’t been confirmed. Within the orchestra pit in front of the stage, accessible from the basement area, there have been reports of people being touched, as well as EVPs of a male voice. One such previous EVP was when an investigator asked if the spirit they were communicating with was Bernie Mac, to which an EVP recording answered in a low, rumbling voice. The orchestra pit is where we ran into our first acoustical challenge for the night. We could hear investigators talking on the upper balcony. To counteract this effect, Shane split
the teams into smaller groups, with volunteers standing outside throughout the course of the investigation to cut down on human interferences. Lobby and Ladies’ Room My second investigation consisted of the front lobby, stairwells, and ladies’ restroom. I was joined by fellow photographer, Ted, and the majority of the time was punctuated by the flash of camera strobes. The lobby, though stunning, has no known reports. It was suggested as a spot worthy of investigation by the staff because it is the threshold to the theatre where guests come and go. Outside, the busy city streets are blocked by rows of glass doors that encase the front lobby. The original ticket booth dominates the area, outdone only by the large tile floor. The sound of outside traffic, ceaseless and rumbling, reverberated in the area and made
for a noisy backdrop to EVP work — even worse than the auditorium. Venturing from the lobby to investigate the stairwell, we slowly worked our way upward from the main level to the stairwell entrance to the top balconies. Here, the silence made for a more investigativefriendly atmosphere. There were a few noises that led my attention up the stairwell and then back down. Though a lot of work has been done by way of restoration, the paint is chipped along several of the walls and in some places plaster has fallen to reveal the brick underneath. A couple of the noises resembled the falling of paint chips, while others could have been the settling of an old building. To draw a more conclusive impression, I would have to spend more time in the location, exploring the various sounds. For several minutes, while we were chasing noises up and down, one section of the stairwell felt a lot “creepier” than the others, but the sensation faded and so did our potential noisemaker. The ladies’ restroom contains
reports of a full-body apparition walking down the long aisle between the stalls. Doors are said to open and shut, and even lock on their own. It should be noted that the Orpheum is full of reflective surfaces — windows and mirrors that deliver flashes of traffic lights into the innermost reaches of the building, except for maybe parts of the balcony. The immense size of the restroom is no exception. One of the restoration updates is the automatic faucets and soap dispensers. During the course of our investigation, they went off without anyone being near them. At first glance, this could look like the work of a spirit. Unfortunately, the answer is much more mundane. The sensors these units use to detect a customer react to camera strobe. If the flash itself, or the reflection of a flash, is aimed just right, the sinks will go off without seeming to have any provocation. You could shoot in the opposite direction and, still, the sinks will turn on. At other times, if the angle of the flash isn’t right, the sinks remain off. This could lead to a mistaken paranormal claim.
Third Time’s the Charm For my third assignment, I joined Sherrie and Lu in the balcony and projection booth. Sherrie reported that on a previous investigation, she had been touched in the back of the leg. At the same time, an EVP was recorded saying, “Peace.” Another investigator also took a picture of mist while in this area. Chris, being the Film Tech Director, is in charge of the projection booth and laughingly refers to that area of the theatre as his office. He said that feet have been spotted walking past the projection room door. There have also been reports of chairs bouncing down and flipping up like someone sat on them. EVP recordings, footsteps, and loud bangs round out the personal experiences. Hearing noises coming from the projection booth, we went up to check. The only thing we found were the old projectors intermixed with new digital machines. Movie reels lined the walls and a metal ladder gave access to the hidden ceiling catwalks. Noises continued to come from the booth throughout the night — strange bangs
Who could resist spending the night in a turn of the 20th Century theatre, exploring the hidden recesses not open to the public? (Photo © 2010, Michelle Pillow)
Paranormal Underground 33
Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files and clanks. Some were disregarded; others remain unexplained. We slowly moved across the balcony, drawn to the side where the mist had been photographed. At one point, Sherrie needed to stop to change the batteries in her camera. She and Lu were on my left. On my right, up several rows, I heard what sounded like the ticking of a pocket watch. A little while later, I heard the ticking several rows below me on the same walkway. Being the naturally skeptical believer that I am, I tend to look for all possible explanations first. We were working with digital cameras, and the ticking could have been caused by Sherrie’s camera processing shots. However, following the noise, the sweet smell of vanilla cigars led me down to the side seating of the mezzanine. Two chairs are isolated from the others next to a small round table, a place clearly set apart from the rest of the theatre by its place of visual importance and extra leg room. Thinking I might have picked up the smell from the chair, I leaned over to smell the back. The cigar
smoke was a lot stronger, and at first I dismissed it as the normally sweet smell of the chair. But while explaining why I came down to that section of the theatre to Sherrie, I leaned over again to the back of the chair and the sweet cigar smoke was gone and replaced by the scent of older fabric. Had I just smelled my first ghost? Perhaps a gentleman reeking of cigars smoked during an intermission? As we made our way to sit in the center of the activity, Sherrie had the impression of being watched. We made our way up to the very top of the balcony, directly above where I smelled the smoke. We asked the usual array of questions and invited whoever was listening to touch us or communicate by making noise so we knew they were there. Jokingly, I offered to let the spirit kiss my cheek or, if they’d rather, they could grope Sherrie. Seconds after making the latter offer, Sherrie felt three tugs on the back of her hair. She turned with the EMF in her hand and got an instant hit. Almost immediately the reading dis-
appeared and could not be picked back up. Though we searched the area, the EMF did not go off again. Apparently, the spirits hanging out in the balcony are a fun-loving lot. It’s a good thing the WPRS crew, and the ghosts, have a great sense of humor because I tend to be a goof. While investigating the spot where Sherrie was touched, I had a strange sensation on my hand. When I held my hand out over the area she felt the hair tug — palm facing up — a freezing cold sensation concentrated on the very center of my palm but not the rest of my hand. I’m not sure what it meant, but it happened repeatedly when I reached my hand over were Sherrie’s hair had been pulled. It was always the center, even when I moved it back and forth and only when I had my palm facing up. Sherrie noticed it as well. I report this because I believe every little detail helps to create the whole story, and only by sharing information open and honestly are we able to advance the paranormal field. Who knows, someone else out there may have an explanation for it. One Last Go-Round For the fourth and final hour, I was sent back to the balcony with the same team to continue our investigation. I was glad to get more time in the location. We sat quietly in the dark for some time and re-searched the hot spots. Though there were a few noises and knocks, it was nothing like the previous hour. The investigation wrapped up at 3 a.m. and teardown began.
Pictured above: The lobby, though stunning, has no known reports of paranormal activity. It was suggested as a spot worthy of investigation by the staff because it is the threshold to the theatre where guests come and go. (Photo © 2010, Michelle Pillow)
Analyzing the Evidence I didn’t have evidence to go over beyond my digital film, but the group as a whole had hours upon hours of DVDs, infrared film, digital film, and voice recorders to go through. Like the first investigation, I
waited impatiently for the results. As I stated before, I approach things as a skeptic, but there was a piece of evidence that backs up the personal experience of being ‘groped’ and smelling smoke. About 10 minutes after the incident while we were still in the balcony, Sherrie caught an EVP as we were laughing about it, which says, “You shall ___ ___ it.” It’s a soft whisper amid our talking. This is the first EVP I’ve heard when I was present. I’m sure you seasoned pros out there can remember hearing the first EVP to respond while you were present . . . the thrill, excitement, and tiny tinge of not-somuch fear, but a sense of creepiness, that comes from hearing something you didn’t know was there. I feel all those things, but most prominently, I feel the anxious need to get out there and find it again — to find more. With that one whispered sentence, I have caught the ghost hunters’ addiction. I took a lot of pictures that night, and one stands out as worthy of further discussion. For this reason, I am including the undoctored photo for your perusal — see the second page of this article. You should be able to see the impression of mist in the foreground. It was taken in front of the Orchestra Pit door, in the basement near the dressing room where several EVPs and flying objects have been reported. What do you think? Is it paranormal? Or a trick of the camera? Also caught by Sherrie is the sound of footsteps in the balcony, which we heard while doing an EVP session. In the projection room, Donna had caught a male voice that responded to her stating that it was dark: “It is dark . . . dark for me.” She and Lu were the only ones investigating at the time. No males were present. I also made a point of checking in with Orpheum Film Tech Director Chris Wren after the investigation. He joined the team throughout
Pictured above: The only piece of photographic evidence I caught. The original photo is on the left. In the photo on the right, the original picture’s light levels have been adjusted using the “auto level” setting in Paint.NET. What do you think? (Photo © 2010, Michelle Pillow)
the night for his first-ever investigation. He reported that when in the balcony with a couple of the investigators, they detected a shadow and little lights that “kind of streak by just below the proscenium arch.” He also added that the Thursday night following the investigation, “while I was running a movie up in the projection booth, I swear I saw a shadow walk behind me, between me and one of the projectors.” The Orpheum I don’t believe that all old buildings are haunted simply because they’re old, and I approached the evening like a photographer about to shoot an amazing site and hang with interesting people. I didn’t expect much to happen, as this wasn’t known as a place of death but of life. I’m happy to have been proven wrong. Maybe it’s the life the place continues to celebrate that draws people in death. It is the happy moment, the excitement of a show, and the thrill of the stage that draws the
crowds even in the afterlife. I have to say I was surprisingly pleased with my Orpheum adventure, and I will always remember it as the place of my first EVP. It is with that thought that I hope the Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Ltd. continues to raise the funding necessary to further restore this gem of a theatre and an important part of Wichita’s history — not only for the living, but for those spirits who still come to see a show. Thank you WPRS and the staff of the Orpheum for a great evening! *****
If you are interested in helping to preserve the theatre, learning more, or just checking out one of its many shows, you can visit the Orpheum Website at www.wichitaorpheum.com. To see or hear some of the evidence, visit WPRS at www.wichitaparanormal.com. To read more about Michelle Pillow’s adventures or to invite her to join your team on an investigation, visit her site at www. michellepillow.com.
Paranormal Underground 35
Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel By Rob St.Helen, West Coast Ghost Hunters
s my first entry in this continuing series of strange events at my workplace, the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon, I wanted to go over what got me involved in the paranormal. I was roughly 11 years old, it was December 24th, and I was in my sister’s room letting Santa do his thing. We were calm and just talking when my sister said, “Don’t look now, but Grandma is standing at the door.” Well, Grandma had been dead for six years. Of course, when you’re at that age the first thing that hit me was fear. I quickly did a U-turn in my sleeping bag and put my head where my feet should have been. After a few minutes I came out, and not a word was said about it that night or the next morning. Being so young, I didn’t have any money or a means of easy transportation. I relied on my parents for everything, so my interest in the paranormal quickly faded. However, it wasn’t long before my sister came down from her room one day and said that grandma had appeared again, just standing in the doorway. The next day, Mount St. Helens started to awake from her sleep. I remember that each time my
Rob’s interest in the paranormal began long before he started working at the haunted Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon.
sister told us that grandma appeared again, the next day Mount St. Helens would “burp” or “hiccup.” Until May 17, 1980, that is. On this night my sister told us that Grandma had appeared at her doorway again, but unlike any other time, she walked over to the bed and sat down on the side. My sister could feel the sheets get tight, and she had to struggle a little bit to get out from underneath
them. When she did, she asked Grandma, “What do you want? What do you want?” All that Grandma said was, “8:32. 8:32.” Then, as she got up, the sheets went from tight to normal again, and the indent from where Grandma was sitting dissolved as she walked out of my sister’s bedroom. The next day, at 8:32 a.m., Mount St. Helens erupted. Was my grandma warning my sister about Mount St. Helens? I can’t say, and my sister no longer wishes to speak about it. Grandma has never been seen again since the night of May 17, 1980. Fast forward a bit, and I finally had my first computer — a Commodore 64 (which I still have today, and it works too!), which means very slow Internet. Anyway, that is when I was able to read a bit about the paranormal world, and my interest level perked back up. So, these experiences are what initially piqued my interest about the paranormal. Next month, I will let you know a bit more about myself, my current paranormal activities, and the events taking place where I work.
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Paranormal Underground 37
A Spirit Friend By Kathleen
ven though my paranormal experiences have “followed” me over the years, I remember exactly when they started. It was many years ago after my family moved into an old house. We began experiencing a full range of phenomena — from poltergeist activity to apparitions to intelligent interaction. Objects moved in front of our eyes, things appeared and disappeared, we heard footsteps and voices, and doors opened and closed. We repeatedly saw the apparition of a man in period clothing. He would interact with us directly, which meant we had an “intelligent haunting.” This spirit would respond to requests to knock, to turn lights on or off, or even to follow people home. During one visit to our home, a friend of my mother’s mocked the spirit we had in our home. Our “friend’s” ability to travel was quite remarkable. As my mom’s friend began to leave after her visit, my mom requested that our spirit friend go home with her. The next morning, my mom’s friend called to say that she and her husband had been awakened that night by a door slamming, followed by her husband seeing the man’s apparition in the house. Needless to say, they didn’t get any sleep that night. My mother’s friend was a believer by morning. The most amazing thing I
witnessed in our house involved my college roommate, a total non-believer. She was visiting my house for the first time, so I warned her to be prepared for the unexpected. When nothing happened upon her arrival, she challenged our invisible friend to do something to prove that he was real. At that moment,
”Our invisible friend would always find me.”
one of the glass shelves shot straight out of the bar — complete with all the glassware on it. The shelf came straight out of the cabinet and didn’t even knock over the glasses on the shelf below. My mother, who was walking by the cabinet at the time, was not amused. It almost hit her, and
the shelf and her favorite glasses smashed into pieces all over the floor. That was the only time our spirit friend ever came close to hurting one of us, but he was obviously showing off and my mom just got in the way. He also once followed me to college after my roommate challenged him to do so. He proved that he had indeed followed us by levitating a heavy Pyrex pie plate, floating it five feet into the middle of the room. The plate hovered briefly before suddenly smashing violently into about a million pieces. My smart-aleck roommate was too terrified to even touch the shards, but it was worth cleaning it up to witness her reaction. Another believer. My husband and I moved a lot after college, but our invisible friend would always find me. He would come for a brief visit, just to say “Hi.” He’d let me know he was there by moving an object or two — and be gone as quickly as he came. Sadly, he doesn’t come around very often anymore, even at my parents’ house. He does make occasional appearances, but we miss him. It’s like he’s family. My biggest regret is that we didn’t know how rare intelligent hauntings were at the time. We just took it for granted, if you know what I mean. I’d give anything to be able to go back and talk to him.
Ghost Hunting & Motion Sensors By Chris DeMent, Parachasers
â&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to talk about different types of motion sensors and which types might benefit paranormal investigators. There are active sensors, such as radar, laser, and sonar. These project themselves at a target and wait for the field to be entered or disturbed, which then creates a distance change in the field from the original target position to the sensor. These types of sensors are best for detecting physical objects entering the area (probably not the best for detecting ghosts, which could be transparent to these sensors). There are also the passive sensors, such as infrared and video software, that detect a measurable amount of change in their field of view. Infrared will detect the rapid change in heat within its sight. Video software-based motion sensors detect a percentage of change in pixels from the previous video frame to the next, which then triggers the recording device. From the perspective of paranormal investigation, the infrared and video are probably the most suitable as many researchers using this equipment report capturing temperature change and/or visual mists and shadows. Motion sensors come in many shapes and sizes, as well as a range of angles of detection, and can trigger many different devices. It all
From the perspective of paranormal investigation, infrared and video motion sensors are probably the most suitable.
becomes personal preference from here as to which task you need it to perform. I have personally seen sensors respond to leaves and other debris, as well as not respond at all. So motion sensors can give false positives. A decent size bug can also set off certain sensors. As with any tool in the paranormal field, you should not rely on them 100%. However, if another device also recorded the incident during your investigation, then more validity has just been brought to the table.
Motion Sensor Trick So now that you know a little more about motion sensors, here is a trick for infrared sensors. If you need to limit the angle of detection on the sensor from, say, 180 degrees down to 30, then use a couple layers of solid color non-transparent tape (duct tape), and cover the outer sides of the sensor only, exposing enough of the sensorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s center area for your desired field of detection. This helps eliminate false triggering from things that may be in the peripheral vision of the sensor. This is especially good for hallways and small rooms.
Paranormal Underground 39
Entoptic Phenomena as Universal Trance Phenomena
By Floco Tausin, www.eye-floaters.info
n the mid-1990s, I met a man named Nestor living in the solitude of the hilly Emmental region of Switzerland. Nestor has a unique and provocative claim: that he focuses for years on a constellation of huge shining spheres and strings that have been formed in his field of vision. He interprets this phenomenon as a subtle structure formed by our consciousness, which in turn creates our material world. Nestor, who calls himself a seer, ascribes this subjective visual perception to his long-lasting efforts to develop his consciousness. He explains his vision as an extended perception of a phenomenon for which, in ophthalmology, the collective term “floaters” is applied. In ophthalmology, eye floaters are generally regarded as harmless vitreous opacities. They are “entoptic phenomena” (or optical phenomena), which are caused by certain conditions of the human visual system. Entoptic phenomena, whose appearance can be manipulated by selectively induced changes of consciousness states, are objects of interest for both science-oriented and spiritually oriented researchers. As physical and neurological symptoms, they belong to the physicians’
Figure 1: Types of subjective visual phenomena.
area of study; as subjective light phenomena, they are likely to gain spiritual meanings for people like Nestor. While the Western medical study of entoptics has a tradition of a couple of hundred years, the interpretation of entoptic phenomena like floaters as spiritually significant perception in connection with altered states of consciousness possibly originated in the early days of human art.
Stone-Age Rock Art as Entoptic Phenomena — A Study In the 19th Century, European and American opticians, physiologists, and philosophers developed a broad interest in entoptic phenomena. To generate and study entoptics, they conducted experiments by stimulating brain and retina, electrically at first, later also with mindaltering substances. Especially in the 1960s and ’70s,
a number of experiments on subjects were conducted using agents such as THC, mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD. A worldwide ban on these substances interrupted the drug-based research on entoptic phenomena. In 1988, two South African archaeologists referred to this heritage of the 1960s and ’70s when they presented an alternative interpretation of stone-age rock art of a certain kind. In a sensational publication, David Lewis-Williams and Thomas Dowson observed that the rock and cave art of the later Paleolithic (about 40,000 to 10,000 BC), the time when man (homo sapiens) developed abstract thinking and art, is characterized by two main themes: vivid depictions of animals on the one hand and geometric figures such as dots, circles, lines, curves, etc., on the other. Ever since the discovery of the European Paleolithic caves, archaeologists have been wondering about the importance and meaning of such geometric representations. Attempts to explain them in terms of totemism or magical rituals were hardly convincing to the research community. Lewis-Williams and Dowson brought forward the original thesis that Paleolithic art is inspired by subjective visual phenomena, seen and depicted by shamans or spiritual men and women during altered states of consciousness. As subjective visual phenomena they under-
Figure 2: Similar patterns of entoptic phenomena in different times and cultures (Lewis-Williams and Dowson 1988).
Lewis-Williams and Dowson, as well as the researchers following their train of thoughts, focused on the entoptic phenomena. For while the visual hallucinations are shaped in an individual by cultural factors, entoptic phenomena are said to be culturally independent, generated by states of the visual nervous system only. Moreover, two kinds of entoptics are distinguished: the phosphenes, light phenomena whose origin can be traced back to physical stimulation of the eyeball, and the so-called “form constants,” geometric shapes that occur in altered states of consciousness. (See Figure 1 on
What is the relationship between prehistoric art, shamanism, and entoptic phenomena? stand, on the one hand, visual hallucinations, and on the other hand, entoptic phenomena, which are colored or bright moving geometric shapes and patterns.
the previous page.) The researchers developed a neuropsychological model to classify the geometric forms in six types — grid, lines, dots, zigzag lines, cat-
enary curves, and filigrees — and to describe the progressive stages of the visual trance experience, starting with abstract entoptic forms that gradually transform into iconic images corresponding with the everyday or mythic reality of the shaman. Lewis-Williams and Dowson emphasize that our nervous system does not differ from that of prehistoric man. This means that we can perceive the same entoptic phenomena as people did 40,000 years ago. This circumstance allows the researchers to carry out comparisons between past and present art in different cultural contexts in order to support their argument. They tested their model, analyzing the art of two current shamanic societies: the South African San and the US American Great Basin Shoshone community Coso. Finally, the authors applied their model to carved and painted stone-age rock art and affirmed their hypothesis that this art, too, was created in the context of shamanism and altered states of consciousness. (See Figure 2 above.)
Paranormal Underground 41
Figure 3: A Tukano shaman (Barasana group) draws entoptic shapes in the sand after a visionary experience (Reichel-Dolmatoff).
Critique of the Model and Further Studies The study by Lewis-Williams and Dowson inspired researchers beyond archaeology to further investigate the relationships of (prehistoric) art, shamanism, and entoptic phenomena — and found them in other regions and times as well. Critics, on the other hand, refuted the relationship between the rock art geometric figures, entoptic phenomena, and shamanism. Abstract art, they argued, is not an evidence for entoptic phenomena or shamanic practices, as abstract forms appear also in nonshamanistic communities or even in doodles of young children. Today, the topic is somewhat abated. The thesis of Lewis-Williams and Dowson could not be wholly confirmed or refuted. To me, the thesis seems plausible if we draw attention to the present: the anthropologist Erika Bourguignon notes that of 488 societies, 437 know institutionalized forms of change of consciousness states.
It is exactly these altered states of consciousness that form the intersection between the perception of entoptic phenomena and intense religious experiences. Thus, the probability is very high that most societies that lived and live on this planet not only were aware of entoptic phenomena but also gave them cultural or religious significance. The 1991 master thesis by American anthropologist Linda Thurston supports this claim. Thurston provides a number of examples of anthropologists examining the hallucinogenic art of indigenous people and
entoptic phenomena, it’s not difficult to see similarities in the abstract patterns of the Indian art in Peru, including the famous Nazca Lines, the art of the Tukano societies of the Colombian Amazon region, the yarn paintings of the Huichol Indians in Mexico, the so-called “grecas” of North American Indian art, etc. (See Figure 3 on this page.) Thurston herself points to the entoptic patterns in the art tradition of Australian Aboriginal Dreaming. All these societies are or were working with altered states of consciousness, which were brought about in religious rituals through various techniques and means. Entoptic imagery in (religious) art most probably spread beyond indigenous cultures. Some of the symbols of more elaborated and institutionalized religious traditions might originally trace back to entoptic patterns seen in altered states of consciousness: for example, abstract representations of the Egyptian sun god (Re/Ra) and the Mesopotamian sun disk and winged sun; the Hindu and Buddhist yantras, mandalas, and abstract representations of chakras; the Indian sun wheel (swastika); the arrangement of the 10 Kabbalistic Sefirot; and certain representations of the Christian cross. In Western modern societies, some artists are working with subjective visual and entoptic phenomena, though not necessarily in a religious or spiritual context.
Entoptic phenomena have been significant for many societies throughout history. explaining it in terms of changes in the neurophysiological visual system. Even if most of these anthropologists are not explicitly referring to
Conclusion: My Thoughts on Entoptic Phenomena Entoptic phenomena have been significant for many societies
throughout history. They have been observed, recorded, and interpreted by spiritual women and men over and over. This way, entoptics entered into particular cultures as a source of inspiration for artists, philosophers, and religious thinkers and believers alike. However, there have always been societies in which entoptic phenomena had no wider cultural significance, as it is the case with industrialized Western societies. Since the early modern triumph of Western materialism, the physical world is the exclusive object of everyday perception and concentration. Anything that goes beyond that, like dreams, hallucinations, visions, and entoptic phenomena, has no obvious benefit to society and the economy. Common sense, therefore, deems perceptions like that as “disturbance” or worse, to be treated medically and psychologically. I find this problematic in an age in which the negative effects of a one-sided focusing on materialistic ideals are evident. Modern society has caused global, social, and individual problems, but cannot deal with these by its own means of technology and rationality — not as long as the same ideals govern the minds of the people. Many people have recognized the problem and orient themselves to new intellectual and spiritual values. The visual path conveyed by consciousness researchers of past and present societies is a possible approach to literally focus on the “spiritual” rather than the “material.” The mobile dots and strands called “eye floaters” offer themselves as a particularly suitable meditation object. Unlike other entoptic phenomena, floaters are visible in our everyday state of consciousness, and we can move them in our visual field anytime, play with them, focus on them, and try to hold them in suspension.
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Paranormal Underground 43
Fiction: Featured Author
The Pioneers By Candice Gilmer, 2nd-Place Winner — Third Annual Short Story Fiction Contest
Lookie here,” Jeb jabbed Mr. Thorton — the two ghosts stood on the balcony of the saloon. They’d been haunting this saloon for the last one hundred fifty years. “Damn ghost hunters again,” Mr. Thorton mumbled, shifting against the rail. The rail creaked. “What was that?” one of the ghost hunters asked, his hand darting around, though he had a higher voice than most men. The second one, who fiddled with his black picture box, said, “It’s an old house. They creak. It’s windy out, Julie.” Jeb blinked. “Julie? That’s an odd name for a fella.” “It’s a girl,” Madam Louise said, appearing out of thin air. Jeb shook his head. “She’s wearin’ britches, and has a man’s haircut.” The new clothes women wore confused him. “It’s the fashion. Women don’t wear dresses anymore.” Jeb sighed. Evidently it was a bit too open of a sigh, because the one, Julie, glanced up at him. She stared straight at him, her brow fixed and intent. Mr. Thorton hit Jeb’s arm.
“Stop it, she sees you.” Jeb shook his head. “No sir, she thinks she does.” A broad grin spread over his face. Madam Louise rolled her eyes. “I know that look.” “Oh, you think it’s funny.” Jeb turned his grin at her. “You are terrible,” Madam Louise said, though she smiled as she said it. Jeb tipped his hat at her. “Yep, tonight is going to be fun.” ***** The ghost hunters invaded the museum-town. All the old buildings, from all parts of the Old West, were arranged in a square — the main shops and such on one side and town homes on the other. The saloon Jeb, Mr. Thorton, and Madam Louise were attached to was from Dodge City. The saloon had caught fire, the very fire that brought the three of them to the ghost side. When the saloon was moved to this museum site, the three came too. Along with other ghosts attached to other buildings, they played around the outdoor museum when the living were gone. And the last decade or so, when the ghost hunters started visiting at night, they had a whole new kind of
entertainment. “Jeb,” Mr. Thorton said, leaning back in his rocker in one of the rooms above the saloon. “If you and Ralph would leave the living alone, they’d leave us be.” Jeb grinned that smile that had melted dozens of hearts when he’d been on the physical side. “What else are we gonna do, sir? We’ve been here over a century. This is the most fun I’ve had in decades. They’re just begging for it.” Mr. Thorton grimaced. He wasn’t one for people, whether it be the living or the dead. “The more you pester them, the more they’ll come around.” “Good, we like the company.” “Some of us don’t.” Mr. Thorton faded away. Jeb shook his head. “You’re boring anyway.” “I heard that.”
others. Jeb liked to take advantage of that sensitivity as much as possible. “Why her? She seems awful serious,” Ralph said. Ralph had a point — the woman was meticulous with her work. She’d been fiddling with that orange rope stuff for a spell now, unrolling it and spreading it all over the fronts and into the buildings. It looked like an orange spider’s web, still being constructed, covering the main road. She jumped, letting out a bit of a squeal as something — probably a mouse, Jeb wasn’t sure from the distance — ran in front of her. “Because she’ll scream louder.” Ralph grinned.
***** Ralph kicked his toe in the dirt, though no dust floated in the air. “So whatcha plannin’?” he asked as he stood next to the hitch for the horses — though no horses had been properly tied to it for some time. To Jeb, Ralph looked as corporeal as any nine-year-old boy. Better, in fact, he was at least wearing his church clothing. Jeb smiled. “I think that one, the woman with the man’s hair.” Ralph looked her up and down. “You sure it’s a girl?” The female in question turned to the side and the wind pushed her bulky clothes against her, revealing her girl figure. “Yep.” “Oh,” Ralph said, kicking at the dirt again. “I miss kicking rocks,” he muttered, but before Jeb could reply, he continued. “Who else?” Jeb shrugged. “Let’s just follow her. She seems sensitive.” Some people could feel ghosts more than
***** An hour into the investigation, Julie got that creepy feeling again — the one that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She spun around, wielding her digital recorder like a weapon. Yet nothing was there. Not that she could see much in the dark. “Julie, you okay?” Brian asked; he was her partner for this rotation. “I’m fine,” she said, turning back around. “You’ve been jittery all night.”
“Keep feeling like someone’s watching me.” They rotated between different locations at the outdoor museum, the ones that had the highest reported paranormal happenings — the hotel, the train depot, the drug store/doctor’s office, and the Wellington house. All the most popular sites at Pioneer Town, and they used the saloon as a base, though occasionally, they did catch EVPs there, as well. Currently, Julie and Brian were in the Wellington House, where Mr. Wellington — a reportedly mean, old bastard if there ever was one — had died. Rumor had it, he died with his hands covering his money. Brian shook his head at Julie. “You’re probably just menstrual,” he muttered. “Screw you,” Julie snapped back, glaring at her partner who seemed most of the time educated beyond his intelligence. “My point exactly.” She gritted her teeth. Rude asshole. “Let’s just finish this sweep.” She moved toward an old wooden chair, setting her K-II meter on the table, along with her digital recorder. Brian stood across the small room — a parlor — and started filming her. “Julie and Brian, Wellington house, main floor, parlor. EVP session, 11:30 p.m. Hi, my name is Julie. We don’t mean you any harm, and we’re not here to hurt you. If there’s anyone here, would you like to come forward and say your name, possibly? Maybe light up my little device here?” She tapped her K-II meter. Brian let out a frustrated sigh.
Paranormal Underground 45
Fiction: Featured Author ***** Ralph took a step forward, his hand outstretched to set off Julie’s little device. Jeb grabbed his collar, holding the boy back, while he glared daggers at her partner. “Come on, let me go toy with her light thingy,” Ralph said. “It would serve him right. Toad head.” He stuck his tongue out at the one called Brian, holding up his fists to box. “No, wait. You touch him, that’s just what he wants. And pompous, rude jerks don’t get what they want.” “So I’ll break his lec’ic doodad.” Jeb grinned. “I like that.” Ralph darted to the man, and Jeb sashayed up next to Julie’s chair — he rested his arm on the back of the chair, waiting. Julie tensed, and Jeb fought the urge to say something soothing. Or at least something to prepare her for the games about to begin. Jeb squeezed the back of the chair. The wood creaked. Julie jumped. “Did you hear that?”
Brian shook his head. “Old chair. You moved.” She shook her head. “I didn’t move.” Jeb nodded to Ralph. “Now.” Julie spun around in the chair, her eyes wide, looking right at Jeb.
contest — Ralph always won. “Let’s finish this up,” Brian said. “There’s nothing going on here.” Julie sighed. “Well, I guess you all don’t want to come out and say hello,” she said to the room. Her words were cut off by a
“Did you see that? The K-II just went off.” He jerked, taking a step back, but he realized she didn’t actually see him, her eyes too frantic as they looked around. “I heard something,” she whispered. Ralph reached up to the picture machine and slowly let his hand slip into the side of the device. He grinned as the lec’ic made him glow brighter for a second, and let out a snigger as it finished draining. Learning they could drain the living’s stuff had made things much more fun for them. Now it was a contest to see who could drain their devices faster. Though it was rarely a
door slam just off the parlor. “You got that, right??” Julie asked. “No, damnit, the camera —” he stammered as he pulled the device down and started shaking it. “Battery’s drained.” Jeb smirked as Ralph darted across the room, starting to play. “Figures,” muttered Julie. “Whoever slammed that door, could you do it again? Or come over and light up my little device here?” She reached down and touched the box with the green lights on it. Ralph walked by, running his hand over her machine, making all the lights — green, orange, and red — flicker for a second. “Did you see that? The K-II just went off.” Though the other man didn’t, he fiddled with his machine. “Do it again, I think I have the backup battery installed.” Jeb couldn’t help grinning. “Would you come back please?” Julie asked. “I won’t hurt you. Please, come back. I’d like to ask you a few questions.” “Sure darlin’,” Jeb said as he ran his hand over the device. “Watch this,” Ralph said as he broke the fella’s lec’ric device again. The man jerked it away from his face, cursing. “What’s the matter?” Julie asked. “Battery’s dead.”
“The new one?” The dirty look the ghost hunter gave her was hilarious, and Jeb couldn’t help bursting out laughing. Ralph rocked back and forth, hands in his suspenders. “That’s pro’lly my best time ever, eh Jeb?” “Yep, pro’lly.” He glanced around. “Wanna run up the stairs a few times?” Ralph grinned and took off. “Remember to hit that squeaky step.” “I will.” ***** Julie sort of helped Brian look over his equipment. Not that he’d let her do much. She wasn’t the tech guru there, he was. Or so he thought, anyway. She couldn’t help quietly laughing though — she’d seen stuff like this before, batteries dying almost instantly, and meters going off after the batteries died. Evidently, they had an ornery ghost here in the Wellington House. Brian, however, was a skeptic, and stood there blaming his power cords, and anything else corporeal that might explain why his stuff died like it did. Out of the corner of Julie’s eye, she saw movement. “There,” she spun around. For
Julie’s heart pounded in her chest. “Go,” she said, jerking the 35mm camera out of her pocket — her backup to her digital camera, which she’d left at home this time, naturally. She snapped a few shots, hoping they were good, and took off after the ghost. The stairs squeaked as the ghost — and Julie was pretty darn sure it was a ghost — moved to the upstairs. As she followed, a grin spread over her face. Usually this stuff startled her, or even scared her. This was something else — this ghost was messing with her. And
The stairs squeaked as the ghost moved upstairs. the briefest second, she saw a form — a little boy, almost completely visible — from shoes, trousers, suspenders, and white shirt all the way to his grinning face, probably nine or ten years old, and his hat. He winked at her, waved his fingers in the air, and took off upstairs.
she wore a huge grin on her face. Had since she was a girl, the first time she’d ever seen a ghost, at her grandfather’s funeral, when the man tipped his hat to her, waved goodbye, and left. Ever since, she’d loved all things paranormal.
At the top of the stairs, she glanced around, Brian right behind her, holding his own camera and snapping pictures — his were digital. “Where?” he whispered. “No id—” A door on the far end of the landing slammed shut, making them both jump. “Let’s go,” Brian said. Julie nodded, following him into the room. ***** Jeb ran his hand over the edge of his hat, smirking as he listened to the ghost hunters upstairs. “You look guilty,” Madam Louise said as she materialized next to him. His grin spread even wider. “Just havin’ a bit of fun.” She let out a maternal sigh. “You torment the corporeal.” “I didn’t see you here stoppin’ me.” Her eyes went wide and a flash of guilt crossed her face. “I was . . . I was occupied.” “Doin’ what?” She fluffed at her skirts. “I was making sure no one bothered the
Paranormal Underground 47
Fiction: Featured Author living over at the saloon.” He shook his head. “You were answering questions again.” At least she blushed a bit. “I like the boys.” She always haunted men at the museum. While she’d never admit it — Jeb was pretty sure she was one of the reasons the museum had ghost hunters come in. Sightings of ghostly females in the saloon had always been with the museum. Ghostly females with a decidedly similar shape to Madam Louise. Ralph appeared in the parlor, an ornery grin on his face. “That man is a jackass.” “What did he do now?” Jeb asked. “Keeps grumbling and grunting cuz his stuff don’t work.” Ralph stuck his thumbs in his suspenders. “Did you break all his equipment?” Madam Louise asked, in that maternal voice she liked to slip into. Ralph shrugged. “He’s a jackass.” To punctuate the statement, the ghost hunters came back downstairs, the man in the lead, grumbling about stupid lec’trics and that Julie was full of it. “That was probably wind on that door anyway.” Julie stopped about halfway down. “I don’t believe you. We’re here to investigate the paranormal. Yet every time anything happens, you find some way to discount it.” “That’s what we’re supposed to do.” “No, we’re supposed to be open to the possibility.” He shook his head. “I’m going back to the saloon.” And with that, he started to head out the door. She grumbled as she finished up, picking up one of her devices on the table.
Jeb walked over to her, put his hand on her shoulder. Julie shivered at the touch. “You’re going to like what’s on that device,” he said, half to her, half to the device. Madam Louise raised her eyebrow at him as Julie walked out of the house. “What did you do?” ***** Julie let out a sigh as she sat down at her computer Monday night. They’d gotten in about 4 a.m. Sunday morning, and she’d spend the day relaxing, well, after she dropped off her 35mm film at the 24-hour photo place.
And spit it out. “Oh my God.” There weren’t just a few vague words on it. She found an entire conversation, between people who weren’t in the room. Three distinct voices — a man, a woman, and a boy. And it wasn’t the nicest conversation — they obviously weren’t pleased with the ghost hunters. Or rather, they weren’t pleased with Brian. Very clearly, she heard, “He’s a jackass.” She rewound the recording and listened over and over, her grin getting a little bigger each time. Snagging the pictures, she started shuffling through them. Surely something . . . There were the Wellington House photos. “Holy crap,” she whispered, some of the photos falling on the floor. In perfect clarity, there were several shots — one of the boy she’d gotten a quick glance at, and one of a man with a cowboy hat. Rugged features, but a big, cheesy grin on his face. He was practically posing for the picture — one even had him tipping his hat to her, and, as she squinted at it, she swore it looked like he was winking. Her hands shook as she stared at the picture, taking in the details of both full-body ghosts she’d caught. She sat the pictures next to the computer, studying them while she listened to the rest of her recordings. One last EVP was on her file. “You’re welcome, Julie.” She almost fell off her chair. The picture of the cowboy fluttered down next to her. She picked it up and stroked the picture. “Thank you.”
“You torment the corporeal.”
She picked the developed roll up on her way home from work and set the envelope next to her computer. Sucking down an iced latte, she plugged in her digital recorder and started listening to her audio. There wasn’t much, not at first. Then she got to the Wellington House files. As she listened, she sipped on her coffee.
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Paranormal Fantasy Author Spotlight
Vonna Harper By Michelle Pillow, www.michellepillow.com
nder her “real” name, Vonna Harper has published more fiction than she can keep track of. As Vonna, though, she writes paranormal erotica for Ellora’s Cave and other publishers and is very proud of being known as a capture/bondage writer. When asked about erotica research, she insists, “Of course I’ve time-traveled to the ancient Everglades, infiltrated bondage strongholds, done wilderness search and rescue, and spent a night trapped in a workout gym with Mr. Universe. How can I possibly write about something I haven’t experienced?” Vonna’s newest paranormal release, Winter of the Beast, can be seen at Ellora’s Cave Publishing online (www.jasminejade.com) or on her Website (www.VonnaHarper.com). ***** Q: In your book, Winter of the Beast, you delve into the world of primitive paranormal society. What inspired you to write about this? Vonna: I’m fascinated by Native American spiritual beliefs and wanted to explore members of two opposing clans learning the truth about each other.
Q: What myths or legends inspired you? Vonna: Native American. Q: Why do you think readers, and society in general, are fascinated by the paranormal? Vonna: I see it as an escape from our everyday lives. Q: Do you believe in the supernatural? Or are you a skeptic? Vonna: I’m a skeptic, much to my mother’s disappointment. Q: Have you ever had a paranormal experience? Vonna Harper is fascinated by ancient American Indian belief systems, and her work is inspired by Native American myths and legends.
Q: When world-building, did you base your story off of known myths throughout history? Vonna: I’m fascinated by ancient American Indians’ belief systems.
Vonna: My grandmother, who helped raise me, died when I was 14. Years later I spent the night in her home where no one was living. In the middle of the night, a sound woke me. I recognized it as the tapping sound her ring made when she clicked it against the quart jar she kept her hot tea in. Q: What kind of paranormal creatures do you wish you could meet?
Winter of the Beast, Vonna Harper’s newest paranormal release, evolved from her fascination of Native American spiritual beliefs and the desire to explore members of two opposing clans learning the truth about each other.
Vonna: My grandfather, Homer Eon Flindt, wrote science fiction for the early pulp magazines. Of course I’d love to meet some of his otherworldly creations.
Q: Have you ever been abducted by aliens?
Q: If given the chance, would you become a predator shifter?
Q: Where would you look for communication/connection with the paranormal?
Vonna: Yes. I’d love to see people’s reactions. Q: How would you react if you came face to face with a ghost? Vonna: If it was an ancestor, I’d love it! Q: Have you ever been to a psychic and/or a past-life regression? What did they predict for you? Vonna: I haven’t, but my mother, sister, and brother-in-law have. I suspect they were told what they needed to hear.
Vonna: No but if I was, I’d blame my sci-fi writing grandfather.
Vonna: In the wilderness. Take me away from civilization, and I have the feeling all things are possible. Q: What does the future hold for your writing? Vonna: I feel like a one-armed paper hanger. I have so many projects demanding my time and am excited about a shape-shifter ménage I’m doing for Samhain Publishing. I’m also working on getting some of my old stories up on Kindle now that I have the rights back. *****
Learn more about Vonna and her books at her Website, www.VonnaHarper.com.
Vonna’s Other Paranormal Titles Kensington Aphrodisia • Falcon’s Captive • Night of the Hawk • Taming the Cougar Ellora’s Cave • Night of the Cougar • Jungle Cries Samhain • Bloodhunter Other • Wind Howl • Storm Howl • Devil Man • Galen’s Pet
Paranormal Underground 51
(Forum Name: TomBGH)
locations using the footage we collect and analyze during our investigations. We attempt to tell the story of each location we investigate by covering the history, the people, and the paranormal claims that have been attached to it. We also conduct confidential paranormal investigations. I first joined the group back in February 2008 as an investigator (we had a different name back then). Over time, I’ve ended up becoming the director for the team.
Currently Resides: Vancouver, Washington. Status: Married. Zodiac Sign: Libra.
Q&A Q: What brought you to Paranormal Underground? Tom: I found the site while doing research.
Q: How long have you been investigating paranormal phenomena?
What does your forum name mean? Tom: It is my first name and the acronym for my group. Q: How would you describe yourself? Tom: I like to think I am a pretty casual person that is easy to get along with. I try to view everything from an objective and open point of view. Q: Tell us about your family and what you like to do. Tom: I have a wife and son. We have a lot of different hobbies that we like to do as a family, but my wife’s passion is writing. I’ve been gaining an interest in photography. And my son’s changes every week!
Tom is an open-minded skeptic who is most interested in ghosts. He has been a paranormal investigator for more than three years.
Q: Are you a member of a paranormal group? Tom: I am a member of Bridgetown Paranormal Research (BPR), www. bridgetownpara.com. in Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington. BPR researches and investigates haunted locations and documents claims of paranormal activity across the Pacific Northwest. The team’s goal is to create documentaries of historical
Tom: I’ve been investigating for almost three years, but like so many others, it has been an interest of mine for longer than I care to remember. Q: What is the best paranormal evidence you’ve captured to date? Tom: I would have to say the most interesting “possible” evidence would be a shadow figure captured on video. While I wouldn’t say it is concrete, I have not been able to explain it. It is one thing to watch a video, but it is another thing to have actually been there and know what was not possible . . .
Q: What would our readers be surprised to find out about you?
ogy is cheesy but I like them! Television: Comedies and sports — particularly baseball. I don’t watch too much television beyond that. Paranormal shows: Destination Truth.
Tom: While I’m open to possibilities, I don’t believe in cryptos such as Chupacabra, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster, to name a few.
Q: Favorite music? Tom: All kinds — I’m all over the map when it comes to music. Except for polka, which I despise . . .
Q: Are you a skeptic or believer? Tom: I know it sounds cliché, but I consider myself to be an “openminded” skeptic. While I’ve had my own personal experiences, I cannot and will not discount other explanations for them.
Q: What are your pet peeves?
Q: What areas of the paranormal interest you the most? Tom: Ghosts are my biggest interest, because I think it most directly relates to individuals. The personal and emotional perspectives that they invoke are hard to ignore. Q: Talk about any paranormal experiences you have had and how they affected you. Tom: When I was a teenager, I used to spend summers living with my grandmother. She was very much open to the supernatural. One summer I saw what I can only describe as a ‘white apparition’ walking across the front yard (the home was out in a heavily wooded, rural area). Another experience at my grandmother’s house was scoffing at the whole idea of ghosts. I recall
Tom’s own personal experiences have led him to investigate the paranormal with Bridgetown Paranormal Research.
Q: What do you think happens to us when we die? riences (I was pretty young back then and could have misinterpreted what I saw), these memories left lasting impressions with me.
Q: Who are your heroes? Tom: I didn’t realize it at the time, but my grandmother would play a vital role in my interest in paranormal phenomena, so she wins that vote hands down. Q: What are your favorite books, movies, TV shows, and paranormal shows?
“One summer I saw . . . a white apparition.” thinking that I wanted to see something appear — something did, and it scared the heck out of me! While there could be several different explanations for these expe-
Tom: You know those people who zip down the “merge” lanes and then hit their turn signals right as they get to the end? They are number one as far as pet peeves go. A close second would be people who think that criticizing others somehow makes them an authority figure.
Tom: Books: Hitchhikers’ Guide by Douglas Adams and Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut are probably my favorite books of all time. As for movies, the Bourne Tril-
Tom: I honestly don’t know. I am not a religious person, so I can’t say that I believe in the idea of a Heaven and Hell, but I do think that there is something more than just fading away. Q: Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by? Tom: Sometimes the best thing said is nothing at all. One of my favorite quotes comes from Miguel de Unamuno: “Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found.” Q: Any exciting plans for the future? Tom: I am looking forward to our team’s upcoming break so we can get some documentation up on our new Website to share with others. I’m also looking forward to some investigations we have planned for next year. Outside of that, I am looking forward to some serious house remodeling!
Paranormal Underground 53
Review of the Month
Genre: Horror Directed by: Jordan Downey Produced by: Jordan Downey and Kevin Stewart Writing credits: Jordan Downey, Bradly Schulz, Kevin Stewart, Anthony Wilson, and Grant Yaffee Review by Heidi Ann
t’s Thanksgiving. You watched the parade on TV. You’ve seen so much football you aren’t sure where one game ended and the next began. Heaps of turkey and stuffing, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie are nestled in your belly. As you fight off a tryptophan induced coma, you wonder . . . what is left to do? How about gathering the family around the television to watch the campy holiday film ThanksKilling? Well, probably not the little ones . . . or perhaps even grandma . . . as it does contain nudity, graphic language, and gore. ThanksKilling is a horror spoof from cowriter and director Jordan Downey. Lindsey Anderson, Lance Predmore, Aaron Ringhiser-Carlson, Ryan E. Francis, and Natasha Cordova star as five college students heading home for Thanksgiving break, when car trouble lands them in the middle of a centuries-old curse. Darren (Francis), “The Nerd,” tells the rest of the kids about the legend of Crawberg after finding a sign with the town’s name on it. The legend says that a Native American, named Feather Cloud, was dishonored by a pilgrim — who turns out to be a distant relative of Billy (Ringhiser-Carlson), “The Hick.” Feather Cloud knew black magic
and used those powers to curse all white men. And he chose a turkey to do his dirty work. Every 505 years, the turkey returns and kills the first humans it makes contact with. Darren tells them that the turkey is due to return. Meanwhile, nearby, Oscar the Hermit’s (General Bastard) beloved
dog, Flashie, is killed by the freshly resurrected turkey. Oscar confronts the turkey, who escapes, and vows to destroy him. Back at the kids’ campsite, Kristen (Anderson), “The Good Girl,”
encounters the turkey and flees in terror. When she tells the guys and Ali (Cordova), “The Slut,” what happened, they don’t believe her and think she is just overreacting because of Darren’s story. The next morning, Billy awakens to find Oscar standing over him, having saved him from the turkey. Billy and the rest of the group begin to believe that Kristen may have really seen the turkey after all. After Johnny (Predmore), “The Jock,” gets his jeep running again, the friends head quickly out of town, leaving the terrifying legend behind them . . . or did they? ThanksKilling will never be mistaken for a cinematic masterpiece, or even an average one for that matter, but if you’re looking for a campy, some-what John Watersish Thanksgiving movie, this might be for you. I started watched ThanksKilling convinced I would hate it. I was surprised to discover, though, that even with acting that was either really bad, purposely over the top, or most likely both, I actually enjoyed watching this movie. If you’re hunting for a campy horror spoof full of over-the-top gore and gratuitous nudity to celebrate your Thanksgiving with, ThanksKilling is your movie.
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Paranormal Underground 55