Volume 2, Issue 4
Investigator Spotlight A.P.A.R.T. of Washington
— Instrumental Transcommunication: Bridging the Gap to the Other Side — Transdimensional Communication — What Are Ghosts? — Cemetery Walking: How to Maximize Your Results
Are We Alone?
Also Inside: Ghost Hunter Case Files: Meeker Mansion Diary From a Haunted Hotel The Dream Equipment Guide Haunted Sites: The Whaley House
Intergalactic Smackdown in Kentucky
Cryptids: The Pangboche Hand
TV Watch: Haunting Evidence
The Strange Case of Pearl Curran and Patience Worth
April 2009 Paranormal Underground
Roundtable Debate: Spirit Communication
ITC/EVP INVESTIGATOR SPOTLIGHT A.P.A.R.T. of WA Covers All the Bases
SPECIAL REPORTS Instrumental Transcommunication: Bridging the Communication Gap to the Other Side
Cemetery Walking: How to Maximize Results
What Are Ghosts?
CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Haunted Sites The House That Still Haunts
Cryptids Let’s Have a Round of Applause for the Pangboche Hand
Are We Alone? Intergalactic Smackdown in Kentucky
Haunted History The Strange Case of Pearl Curran and Patience Worth
Paranormal Underground April 2009
Depart Publisher’s Note 4 From the Editor 5 Paranormal News 6 TV Watch: 8 “Haunting Evidence” Recommended Reading: ITC/EVP 27 Member Profile: AlmostHunted 62
P Issue CULTURAL BELIEFS Why Do We Believe In and Investigate the Paranormal? A History of Cultural Beliefs and Practices
FICTION: FEATURED AUTHOR “Vehicular” by Peter Navarro
tments Equipment Update: Dream Equipment Guide 64 Roundtable Debate: Spirit Communication
Reviews of the Month: 68 Book: Night of the Loving Dead DVD: White Noise Theater: Knowing Ghost Hunter Comic
Diary From a Haunted Hotel
Ghost Hunter Case Files: A Daring Girl Reporter and Neophyte Investigator Hangs With the Pros at Meeker Mansion
It Could Happen to You
Tell us what you think: E-mail your comments to email@example.com.
69 April 2009 Paranormal Underground
Publisher’s Note Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 4
My Thoughts on The Afterlife
EDITORIAL Publisher Chad Wilson
Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight
Managing Editor Karen Frazier
Science Editor J.D. Harrison
Assistant Editors Lauren Fletcher Mindy Kinnaman Lisajoyce Vergara
Contributing Authors Dawkins Marshall Dudley Dave Galvan Claudia Ghidella Karen Frazier Terri J. Garofalo Rick E. Hale J.D. Harrison Carolyn M. Hughes Mindy Kinnaman Cheryl Knight Peter Navarro Ryan Tackitt Lisajoyce Vergara Dorinda M. Wheeler Chad Wilson Send comments and letters to: Editor@paranormalunderground.net.
hy do we set out to investigate the paranormal? I am sure everyone has a reason. Each reason is valid, even though not all reasons are good reasons to me. The ones who do it for the right reasons, in my book, aren’t the ones who just want to make a buck or seek a cheap thrill. The ones who do it for the right reasons are the investigators trying to help others in pursuit of a better understanding of an often little-understood field. They are the ones who — for endless hours — search for evidence that will help answer our questions about the unknown world around us. It is when some shred of evidence is brought forth that the excitement grows. I am personally driven to investigate the paranormal by the thought of what could be out there. In some ways, I am akin to the thrill-seekers to a degree, but I am really after knowledge and answers. And I believe that is what most investigators are after. The paranormal being real, ghosts specifically, gives me hope that this life is not the end. Whether we live on past death is not the issue; we will still die regardless. It is the hope that is given when an afterlife is believed in. Regardless if you believe in Heaven or Hell, Nirvana, or even reincarnation, the very idea of any of this being possible sure beats the
Paranormal Underground April 2009
Chad Wilson, Publisher
heck out of the darkness and annihilation that lies down the path of non-belief. I believe we do not die, but are on one long journey toward peace, enlightenment, and an eventual reunion with God. Not a Christian God, an Islamic God, nor any of the myriad of other Gods out there, but the God of creation, the maker of all, Islamic, Christian, and on and on. So you see, my journey to understand the paranormal is a journey to understand myself, where I came from, and where I am going. To me, that is what matters, a self understanding tempered by a view of the world in which we live. The paranormal is a part of that world view, just as much as is being born, living, and dying. The ultimate expression of ourselves is our beliefs; we are what we believe, and I believe in life. Life through death, on and on for eternity.
From the Editor
ITC & EVP: Talking to the Dead
Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 4
ART Art Director Chad Wilson
n this issue of Paranormal Underground, we take a look at Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) and Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). Can the living make contact with the dead through devices like the SpeakJet box, digital voice recorder, or video camera? That’s what we discuss in the pages ahead. In “Instrumental Transcommunication: Bridging the Communication Gap to the Other Side,” author Karen Frazier gives us a look at the type of equipment used by researchers to connect with the deceased. And in “Transdimensional Communication,” paranormal investigator Marshall Dudley provides insights into his EVP and “Spirit Mike” research. Our Roundtable Debate panelists give three unique perspectives on spirit communication from a believer, skeptical believer, and skeptic. Where do you stand in this debate? We have two special reports this issue that you won’t want to miss. In “Cemetery Walking: How to Maximize Results,” researcher Dave Galvan talks about proper etiquette to follow while investigating a cemetery, as well as misleading photographic effects to be aware of. And in his special report on “What Are Ghosts?,” investigator Ryan Tackitt shares theories on ghosts and hauntings. Could this all be in our imagination? In this issue, we also feature the paranormal TV show Haunting Evidence, the investigative team from
A.P.A.R.T. of Washington, fiction author Peter Navarro, and an Equipment Update on a paranormal investigator’s dream equipment wish list. In our Case Files of the Unknown, investigator Rick E. Hale writes about cryptids and alien encounters in “Let’s Have a Round of Applause for the Pangboche Hand” and “Intergalactic Smackdown in Kentucky,” two topics that present an interesting twist. And in the article “The Strange Case of Pearl Curran and Patience Worth,” Karen Frazier relays a rather mind-boggling story that includes Ouija boards, séances, and automatic writing. Archaeologist J.D. Harrison chronicles cultural beliefs and why we believe in and investigate the paranormal; investigator Carolyn Hughes takes us with her as she continues her journey working within a haunted hotel on the Gettysburg battlefield; and Karen Frazier documents her recent Ghost Hunter Case File experience at Meeker Mansion. I’d also like to thank Managing Editor Karen Frazier for producing our Paranormal Underground Presents podcasts. We’ve talked with Stanton Friedman, Jeffrey Keene, and Mark Macy in our first three podcasts. Up next is paranormal investigator and former Ghost Hunters International cast member Shannon Sylvia. Stay tuned!
~ Cheryl Knight Editor-in-Chief
Design and Layout Lauren Fletcher Karen Frazier Cheryl Knight
Art Editor Claudia Ghidella
PROMOTIONS Marketing Karen Frazier
MySpace Admin. Chad Wilson
YouTube Channel Admin. Karen Frazier
Copyright © 2008-2009 — Paranormal Underground™ is a trademark of Ghost Knight Publishing. All rights reserved. Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of ParanormalUnderground magazine. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This publication and all content within this publication may not be copied, quoted, distributed, modified, or reprinted without the express written consent of Paranormal Underground magazine.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground
Ghostly Images Voted Best in the World
ccording to www.dailymail. co.uk, the following pictures were entered into a competition to find the world’s best ghostly goings-on captured on camera by amateur photographers. Here are the top picks. What do you think? Paranormal or explainable by natural causes?
Do you see the face in the car’s rearview mirror? Is it a reflection of someone standing nearby or the result of digital manipulation?
The winning contest picture above shows a ghostly face within the ruins of a Scottish castle. The apparition seems to be wearing centuries-old clothing, including a ruff. Three’s company: The image looks sinister — but was someone walking quickly past the shot?
There is a ghostly apparition supposedly standing among the trees in the upper left-hand corner of the above picture, which is enlarged at left.
The ghost on the beach: The photographer claims there is a figure in the water with its hood up — or could it be an indentation in the rock face?
Paranormal Underground April 2009
Russian Yeti Expedition Comes Up Empty
Bigfoot footprints found in Japan by local hunters. (Photo: www.kp.ru)
team that set off in March on an expedition in the mountains of Siberia to find the Yeti has come up empty after bad weather hampered their progress. The team was led by ‘Yeti specialist’ Igor Burtsev. The expedition was fueled by reports from local hunters who claimed to have seen human-like creatures in a cave several kilometers long in the Kemerovo Region, according to www.mosnews.com. The team plans to return in the summer. “Our expedition visited the Azasskaya Cave. Unfortunately, we did not find any direct evidence of a bigfoot’s presence there,” Burtsev said during a press conference directly after his return. Burtsev was not discouraged and blamed the mission’s failure on heavy snow drifts and the curiosity of local people. “People are simply pouring in there now. If there had been any footprints there originally, they were destroyed,” he was quoted as saying on www.mosnews.com. Exploring the cave’s depth also proved difficult. In the future, Burtsev said to explore its full length, a team of speleologists would have to join the mission.
Calendar of Events 1st Annual “NorCal-ParaCon 2009” Paranormal Conference July 17-19 Monterey Marriott Monterey, California http://norcalghosthunters.com/norcalparacon09.html
ComParaCon April 4 Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park Carlisle, Kentucky www.commonwealth-paranormal.net “ghostock7” April 16-19 Salem, Massachusetts http://ghostock.com X-Conference 2009 April 17-19 Gaithersburg, Maryland www.paradigmresearchgroup.org 2009 Rose City Paranormal Conference & Mt. Hood Ghost Conference April 25-26 Welches, Oregon http://rosecityparanormalconference. bravehost.com/ Indiana Paranormal 2009 Convention May 8-10 Indianapolis, Indiana www.indyparacon.com Psychic and Paranormal Fair May 10 USS Salem Quincy, Massachusetts www.massparanormal.net Paranormacon 2009 May 16-17 Fort Wayne Masonic Temple Fort Wayne, Indiana www.paranormacon.com Waverly Experience 2009 May 29-30 Waverly Hills Sanatorium Louisville, Kentucky http://www.para-x.com/waverly.html
MUFON 2009 International Symposium August 6-9 Denver, Colorado www.mufon.com Women’s International Study of the Paranormal Conference May 29-31 Mansfield Reformatory Prison Mansfield, Ohio www.wispexpo.com
The Ohio Paranormal Convention August 14-16 Hara Arena Dayton, Ohio http://ohiocon.southernohioparanormal.org
Western Pennsylvania Paranormal Conference May 30 Julian’s Banquet Hall Washington, Pennsylvania WPPA.eventbrite.com
The Mystic Carnival Convention August 28 Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel Vancouver www.forthecauseentertainment.com/
1st Annual North Central Indiana Meet & Greet and EXPO June 6 Honeywell Center Gym Wabash, Indiana firstname.lastname@example.org
East Coast Paranormal Investigators Conference 2009 October 9-11 Fort Mifflin on the Delaware Philadelphia, Pennsylvania http://aphs.org
Kansas City Paranormal Conferences June 19-21 Kansas City, Missouri www.kcparacon.com
S.O.U.L.S. Fest ParanormalConference October 10, 10 a.m.-11 a.m. CDT Julie Rogers Theater Beaumont, Texas www.soulsparanormal.com
East Central Indiana Paranormal Conference July 9-11 Ball State University Muncie, Indiana http://bsuparanormal.org/ecipc/
ParaNooga — A Paranormal Investigator’s Convention December 11-13 Chattanooga, Tennessee www.paranooga.com
April 2009 Paranormal Underground
“Haunting Evidence” by the Power of 3 By Lisajoyce Vergara
rime-solving phenomenon shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case Files, and Without a Trace, bring new methods of fictional crime-solving to our TV screens. And the TruTV paranormal reality-themed show Haunting Evidence follows in this genre, except that the show is not fictional, and instead follows real-life paranormal investigator Patrick Burns, psychic profiler Carla Baron, and medium John J. Oliver. The trio reinvestigates unsolved crime mysteries. Cases include JonBenet Ramsey, Chandra Levy, George Allan Smith, and many others. Although recently cancelled, I highly recommend that you catch Haunting Evidence in reruns or online. This unique show allows viewers to tag along with the trio as they piece together murders scenes and the events that led up to them. Visualizing Murder Oliver and Baron have special abilities that allow them to visualize a murder through the killer’s mind and witness it through the victim’s eyes. Oliver has worked as a medium since he was a teen, assisting with police work, ghost investigations, and personal readings. “My goal is to bring the case to a close, and in the process, I hope it helps the families and the police,” Oliver said.
His job is to act as a conduit with the victims and what they may be feeling. “Most police officers and detectives come off as skeptical at what I can do, but by end of the Haunting Evidence’s John J. Oliver, Carla Baron, case, they are much and Patrick Burns. more open-minded once they can see temperature changes,” he said. “The what I can tell them,” Oliver noted. proverbial cold spot. The theory is, While attending Carnegie Melwhen you find that, it means there lon University, Baron began her could be a ghost right there.” work as a psychic and has completed In a video interview on TruTV’s thousands of readings. She describes Website, Burns addressed skeptical her psychic ability as complicated. viewers of the show, asking them to “I am sort of like the third perlook at the evidence and success rate son on the telephone line, and I am from police who have worked with able to hear conversations between psychics and mediums to solve crimes. the dead and the living,” she said. He pointed out that there is indeed Baron profiles each case differtangible evidence that their job is real. ently. “I go directly to the part of the Burns feels that the show alpicture that can help us. I can extract lowed the team to be the “voice of info, apply pieces of information, and the victims,” because Baron and put it into a practical purpose,” she said. Oliver are able to channel through the victims and relay their emotions Applying the Science to the audience. Burns, who has been a paranor“In horrible crimes, I feel the mal investigator for more than 15 true victims are the families — the suryears, utilizes various scientific tools, vivors. Their pain is ongoing,” Burns including laptop computers, thermomsaid. “They have to go through the eters, voice recorders, infrared camrest of their lives with the pain of what eras, and instruments that can detect happened. That is why it is important changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. to help the families find closure.” “I am interested in localized
Paranormal Underground April 2009
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April 2009 Paranormal Underground
A.P.A.R.T. of WA Covers All the Bases By Karen Frazier
aranormal investigative team, Auburn Paranormal Activities Research Team (A.P.A.R.T.) of Washington, covers all of the bases when they investigate. With a variety of scientific data gathering devices brought along by cofounders Regan and Vinnie Vacknitz, Rob Fitzgerald of the Dead Science Podcast (www.deadscience. com), as well as several psychics, mediums, and sensitives on the team, A.P.A.R.T. takes a comprehensive approach to paranormal investigations.
Evidence on the Web The husband and wife team of Regan and David (who goes by Vinnie) Vacknitz founded A.P.A.R.T. of WA in October 2005. The group investigates reports of paranormal activity throughout the Pacific Northwest. Visiting their Website (www.apartofwa.com), you will find interesting bits of evidence from all of their investigations, including photos and EVPs, video evidence, and photographs. Itâ€™s enough to make even the most dedicated skeptic wonder if
Paranormal Underground April 2009
maybe there is something unknown out there. Fitzgerald is a frequent addition to the A.P.A.R.T. investigations, and there is a terrific synergy between Rob and the team. Rob is a gadget guy, and brings with him a trunk of devices to gather data in conjunction with A.P.A.R.T.â€™s photos, recordings, and psychic impressions. Recently, A.P.A.R.T. was kind enough to allow me to accompany them on one of their investigations to Meeker Mansion in Puyallup, Washington. (See Ghost Hunter
Q: Tell me about the SpeakJet box.
A.P.A.R.T. of WA cofounders, husband and wife team, Regan and Vinnie Vacknitz
Case Files in this issue.) Before and during the investigation, the team answered my many questions that I had about their team and investigative methods. On the investigation were Vinnie, Joe Heith, Kristin Harris, Lavinna Preston, Steve Rainero, and Rob Fitzgerald. A.P.A.R.T. recently spoke with Paranormal Underground about their investigative techniques and thoughts on the paranormal field. ***** Q: When you go into an investigation, do you research it, or do you prefer to go in not knowing much about the history of the location?
Vinnie: If a call comes in, then we have someone do some general research, but we don’t let the rest of the team know what we’ve found. We try especially to not let the sensitives know. Open to All Types of Equipment Q: What do you use for equipment when you investigate?
Vinnie: We use a lot of basic things. Digital cameras, digital recorders, video cameras with IR — anything we can use to help capture something. Rob has built what we call a SpeakJet box.
Rob: It takes EMF output and runs it through a processor. It assigns that output to one of 72 variables. The processor takes that variable and kicks it out to a speech processor chip. There are 72 parts of speech called allophones. So the allophone that comes out is based on the EMF reading. It speaks. Vinnie: The way it came about was that we had a meeting — we had been doing a lot of research into Frank’s box. There was an article in Haunted Times about Chris Moon’s telephone to the dead. We went to Rob and said, “Can you build this?” Rob: I built about 10 different versions of it. I bought a commercial version of it. Does Frank’s box work? I think it does. But, if you’re using it for evidence, I think it is the worst thing that you could use. It’s like taking a pile of ghost pictures and shuffling it around and saying, “See — it’s a ghost.”
the SpeakJet box. Because it is too easy to say with a Radio Shack hack or things like it, “Oh, it’s just radio — the sounds are coming from the radio.” So Rob came up with the SpeakJet box. The very first time we used the SpeakJet box, I had the crap scared out of me again because I got a whole sentence. Q: How does it talk?
Rob: It’s a speech processor. It’s the same voice, same tone, same everything. It uses the 72 tones in human speech; you would think of them as vowels — they aren’t — but it uses those. Vinnie: The very first time I ever used it, I got a full sentence. It said, “Vinnie, people need help.” And I quit using it for a few days because I had to process that. Q: So things still freak you out?
Vinnie: It’s not so much that it scared me, but I was caught by surprise, so I had to kind of sit back and think about it. It’s not very often
Q: Is it audio matrixing?
Vinnie: Not necessarily. I’ve asked pointed questions and been given very specific answers. I can run it through software, and I can tell you it is pulling out a voice that’s not on any of the channels at the time. Rob had built a Radio Shack hack box. The first time I ever used that, I didn’t get much — the first couple times at my house. I got a couple of responses here and there. But we used it one time at Seattle Underground. I didn’t hear anything come across at the time, but I always record it. I went home and was listening to it that night, and it scared the living hell out of me. It said, “Hello, Vinnie, hello.” It was the first time I had been talked to by name. That’s why we went to
A close encounter of the worst kind (being kicked in the unmentionables by an unseen presence) left investigator Joe Heith more aware of the need to protect himself on investigations.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 11
Investigator Spotlight that I get my name spoken. Those are the two times I’ve ever been called by name. It definitely took me by surprise. Other than those, we try all kinds of equipment.
Rob: We don’t know what’s out there, and we don’t know what we’re looking for, so we try different things. I use everything I can. Vinnie: If you go to digitaldowsing. com, chances are he’s got it. We’re pretty open to a piece of equipment. We don’t care what it is. If we can see that it actually works to help us get something, we’ll try it. There’s not really a limit of what we’ll use. We have a guy who’s not here — who brings a plasma touch globe. We started putting those on investigations with some equipment that reads energy. We were talking to Lloyd Auerbach, and he had talked about using those on investigations. He said that he didn’t have a camera set up — so there’s nothing to prove it — but a handprint showed up on the globe. Lots of people saw it — nobody was near it to touch it. We’re using them to see if we get extra draw from that. We use Tesla coils to see about battery drain. We’re pretty open.
Investigator and team psychic Kristin Harris investigates Meeker Mansion in Puyallup, Washington.
Q: Don’t you think you have to be open to new equipment?
Rob: We don’t even know what we’re looking for. How will we know how to find it if we don’t try different things? You can’t rule in or out anything. Vinnie: That’s the thing. If you can tell someone what a ghost is, they can tell you if it’s there. Q: Do you all classify yourselves as skeptics, believers — how did you start out and how has that changed?
Vinnie: I believe. I’ve dealt with things my entire life.
Joe: You can call me a skeptical believer. If something happens, I’m not one to just take it at face value. I’m going to look for another reason. I’ve always been a skeptical believer. I had things happen to me as a kid, and it made me wonder. Just as the onslaught of TV paranormal came out, I started searching for my own answers.
Investigating With Sensitives
Kristin: I started out as a believer. As I’ve learned, you have to kind of find other answers first before you classify it as paranormal. I always try to find other answers now.
Kristin: I actually didn’t believe I was sensitive at first. I always had vivid dreams. I just thought I was over imaginative. I decided to try it out. I went on an investigation or two as a
Paranormal Underground April 2009
Q: Kristin, as far as being a sensitive, how is it that you pick things up?
Kristin: I just sort of feel the feelings in the room, and also smell scents. Q: How did you figure out that you were sensitive as opposed to having an active imagination?
sensitive, just to try it out. And I don’t know these people or anything about the location, and I was getting correct information. So it was weird to me, and it kind of freaked me out at first in a way.
Vinnie: When it comes to having sensitives on the team, Regan is sensitive, I am, Joe is, and Kristin is. I don’t use mine. I will say something if it is important enough, but we have others on the team, so I let others do it. There are a lot of people who come to us and say they are psychic, and we have to verify that. We’ll take them on an investigation, and they’ll read a plaque on the wall and claim they are psychic. So we have strict guidelines for sensitives. We test them. We don’t say anything, and they aren’t allowed to talk to anyone at the location. We take the information they get, and if we can verify it over a couple of investigations, then we’ll consider them as a sensitive. But we’re not going to just accept it at face value. We’ve had bad experiences with people in the past. Q: There are a lot of sensitives on the team.
Rob: Yes. I’ve tested them. I’m a former federal agent, and I monitor a lot of different things, including voice stress analysis. Everyone on the A.P.A.R.T. team very much believed in what they were saying, which made me see that I wanted to do more work with them. The strongest one is Vinnie, I think. Q: Have you done any tests with Zenner cards?
Joe: It’s funny — I haven’t done any kind of testing. Every time I go to the museum, they have those cards and I run through them. I don’t keep track to see if I’m right. I play with them a bit.
Vinnie: I think that leads to a different area. Rob: I have a test. I had an object that nobody would know anything about. I’m the only person who knows anything about it. So I gave it to the group in a wooden box. A little came out, but not much. So I gave them the object out of the box. Again — you wouldn’t get anything from the object — it is a normal everyday object. Regan told me the story from beginning to the end. The baseline readings were the strongest on Vinnie, even though he won’t say anything. Q: As a sensitive, do you shield yourself going into a situation or protect yourself in any way?
Vinnie: In 99% of the cases, if you are a sensitive, you should shield yourself. That said, I don’t. But at the same time, I have never been messed with when I go to a place. Things don’t seem to like me — they avoid me. People get messed with on the team. Nothing messes with me. Joe: I am the same as Vinnie. Mostly I didn’t try to shield myself or protect myself. When I went to an investigation, I wanted to be able to be open to it. In the past six months when something happened to me, I was kind of changing my mind. I am a little more of the mind that you should protect yourself in any way that you can, but still leave yourself open. If you put a full plastic bag on your body, you won’t get the senses and the smells. You need to be open to what’s going on in the environment.
Vinnie: We do what we call an opening — the way we look at it, we go in and ask permission to be there. If somebody ran into your house and started taking pictures, you wouldn’t react well. We introduce ourselves. We ask for permission to take pictures, and we invite them to communicate. Q: Do you have a lot of people who want to be a part of your team?
Vinnie: We have a lot of people who want to, yes. We’re very selective, and we’ve capped it off where we are right now. On our Website, we try to keep track of other local teams, and there were up to 68 teams in Washington at one time. There’s a lot out there. There are teams in Washington that have 50 to 60 members — we never want to get that big. It’s just too big. Every month, we have a gathering at the Seattle Underground; we try to get people to come down, talk, and meet different groups. We’ll share
Rob Fitzgerald of the Dead Science Podcast is a frequent coinvestigator with A.P.A.R.T. of Washington.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 13
Investigator Spotlight Q: So do you think that’s legit?
Rob: If you fake one thing, then everything is suspect. Joe: Still, that was the early years. Eastern State was one of their firstyear shows. Vinnie: I do believe they get some good evidence. But I can’t say if what they are getting now is good evidence or not. I’m not there. I don’t know. But the show is very commercial, and you have to keep that in mind. Q: Is it a blessing and a curse — the interest in the paranormal it creates, but a curse because of the image it portrays? The team counts this image, captured at the site of the 1910 Wellington avalanche disaster in Western Washington, as one of their most compelling pieces of evidence captured to date. Pictured in the photograph: Steve Rainero (left) and Joe Heith (right). Photo taken by Shane Bodiford, A.P.A.R.T. of WA.
what we have with other groups — we think that crossgroup communication can help with verification and improving communication.
tion for an entire week.
Thoughts About TAPS
Rob: I think they are absolutely faking things. The jacket tug — that is a lie.
Q: Joe, I notice you are wearing a no TAPS button. Tell me about that.
Joe: It didn’t start out as a bad thing — that group. But lately, they’ve gotten too popularized. They’ve gotten too big-headed. Vinnie: They started off as a fairly decent show. The first season was pretty good. After that, it became about profits and making money. Joe: Wearing t-shirts, product placement — it’s kind of ridiculous. Vinnie: It’s all about ratings. It gives the community a bad image, so people think that is the way things really are. People don’t realize that TAPS actually goes to an investiga-
Joe: They are showing all of the fun. They aren’t showing the work. The hours that go into reviewing.
Vinnie: It is all about what’s going to make ratings and make people watch. I don’t have anything personally against TAPS. I’m just not a fan of the show because it gives people a bad image. Q: Are there any of the shows that you think are legitimate?
Joe: The Eastern State footage has always left me wondering. That’s some of the evidence that originally got me hooked on Ghost Hunters. They have several instances where they get that little black figure popping in and out. The Blue Moon Tavern — there is a figure behind the pool table.
Paranormal Underground April 2009
Vinnie: It started out as a really good thing. It made it public and out in the open. But, then again, if you look historically, the interest in paranormal goes up and down throughout history. Interest is high right now. Yes — it was a blessing to begin with. But it has become a bit of a black mark because it puts a bad light on things. Rob: Anything TAPS fakes — that’s all anyone needs to throw the entire process away. My theory — I know that my evidence will never convince anyone else. So no matter what I show you, it can be taken apart. I don’t care what you think — it’s only for me. As far as being the person that comes up with that one piece of proof — it will never happen. Vinnie: We’re not about trying to get people to believe. We’re going to get what we get and present it, and then people can decide for themselves. We are just putting stuff out there for people to see. The rest is up to them. Joe: The blessing and the curse for me — there will be just as many skep-
tics as there will be believers. People will see what they want to see, so people will believe or disbelieve no matter what. Nothing we say will change that.
Vinnie: It’s like with orbs. I think 99.9% of all orbs are dust, light, other things. But there are still some that you just don’t know. You can’t say anything absolutely. There are groups out there who say every single orb is a ghost. That gives everybody a bad name. But you need to not dismiss something without fully investigating it first. How Many Places Are Actually Haunted? Q: What percentage of places that you go actually raise legitimate questions of paranormal activity?
Vinnie: I’d say probably about half of the time. A lot of places we just can’t say there’s nothing there. It’s hard to say for sure — but probably half of the time. We’ve gone periods of time — six months — where we don’t get anything. And then all of a sudden, we’ll get something on every investigation. At least 50% of the places raise questions. There are variables, of course, you have to do multiple investigations.
Rob: I’m not really part of the group. I just come along from time to time. Vinnie: We consider Rob part of the group. If we have questions, we call him and ask him, and he helps us out.
Rob: I think that the paranormal is often about the people there. You get better evidence if you have people who are receptive and who aren’t angry or upset and are in the right frame of mind. Q: When we’re dead, where are we?
Trying Out ITC Q: Tell me what you think about ITC.
Vinnie: We’ve messed with it a little bit. Joe: It is a really hard thing to interpret. When we did it, I don’t know. I didn’t see a whole lot out of it. Vinnie: We’ve done it two times. Once at Starvation Heights in Olalla, Washington. We set up in the kitchen area. For the most part, we didn’t get anything. After about an hour, there was a flash of something really weird. I can’t say what it was — it looked like something ran right at the camera and then backed straight out. And then it was gone. It was completely different than anything else we captured. What it was, I don’t know. It was interesting.
Rob: Where were we before we were alive? Steve: That’s something that I’ve done some research on. Experimentation and practicing of different levels of spirituality. OBEs, etc. One of the theories is basically that when you die, your essence goes to another plane. It is hard to determine. With anything, I’m a skeptical believer. I’m a very analytical person. But basically what they say is that the astral plane is like a bridge. It works on different frequencies. It is right here, but it is a different frequency. Vinnie: The majority of what people see as ghosts — they always have a certain type of clothes, etc. Why? If
Q: So you do a lot of follow up?
Vinnie: Especially in private investigations, we try to do multiple visits to get a good idea of what’s going on. Q: How long have you been together as a group?
Vinnie: October 2005 — our initial investigation was actually our honeymoon at Thornewood Castle in Tacoma. After that, Joe was the first one of the people here to join us. Then Rob kind of snuck in there somewhere along the line.
Vinnie (left) and Rob (right) at the Seattle Museum of Mysteries.
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Every month, A.P.A.R.T. of Washington has a gathering at the Seattle Underground. They try to get people to come down, talk, and meet different groups to share information.
you go back 100 years to a haunted castle, what were they seeing then? String theory shows a section of string close to another section. Is there bleed-thru? One hundred years ago, were they seeing us?
Rob: Isn’t it amazing that we all agree that energy can’t be gotten rid of, yet we base everything we believe about that on this 80-year chunk that we’re in. Why do we assume that this is the baseline of reality? Why do we assume that this is life? Experiences With Demonology Q: Tell me about your work with demonology.
Vinnie: We have a case right now in Southwestern Washington. What is there I don’t necessarily believe it
would be classified as a demon, but I know that there is an energy there. If it was a person at one point in time, I believe it’s gone a bit south of that now. We know there’s something there. We’ve seen it. Regan’s been scratched. We’ve heard growling and seen different things. The first time we were there, we had — I wouldn’t call it a possession — but a heavy influence. The daughter was influenced, and on our video, she wasn’t acting like herself. She’s younger — early teens. Doesn’t wear makeup. On the video, it looks like she’s got dark eye shadow. The family wasn’t religious. Since all of this has come about, and they’ve been dealing with it nine years, they’ve started going to a catholic area called The Grotto. They’re not Christians or Catholics or anything. In the
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video, the daughter looks like there is eye shadow running down her face. And all of a sudden, it starts going away. The right side of her face clears up and her eye goes back to normal. Within 20 minutes, she’s back to normal. Laughing.
Joe: Her eyes are completely gone when the incident starts. Heavy shadowing in the eye sockets. Q: Did you see it when you were talking to her?
Joe: All I saw was the reflection of the eyeball but mostly blackened out by the shadow. Vinnie: I was using a modified IR camera. That is where we caught it. On the normal camera — nothing. It was on the IR.
Q: What do you do in a case like that?
Vinnie: I didn’t do much of anything. I helped assist her on doing what she needed to do to clear the energy. Q: Was it an energy that was separate from her or part of her?
Vinnie: It was separate. It was still there, but it no longer had control of her. The problem is that this little girl is sensitive, and they were working with a psychic who was supposed to help her, but it wasn’t helping her. She was having her talking to the energies — and not teaching her to protect herself from the energies. That’s what led to our involvement. Q: Why investigate in the dark?
Vinnie: It doesn’t really matter. We don’t care whether we investigate
sheer nut case. But that doesn’t mean things aren’t going on. I put two cameras in the two bedrooms looking into the hallway. One camera was IR, one was visible light. On one — black shape of a person in front of the camera. Nothing on the other one. No shadows. It’s a pretty good piece of evidence.
Steve: There is a picture that Shane took at Wellington. Vinnie: That picture at Wellington was good evidence, and it gave us a theory. We started investigating photos. If you go back 50-70 years when some of the best most well-known spirit photos were being taken, there were very slow shutter speeds. Why do we need it to be so fast if some of the best evidence was with slower shutter speeds? Why are we
Are you a paranormal investigator? Want to be in the spotlight?
A.P.A.R.T. has used the SPeakJet box during investigations. day, night. We do it when the client says the most activity is. That’s when we want to be there. Most places give us permission at night. The reason we do it lights-out the majority of the time is because it takes away a lot of the external energy and stimulus. There’s less external noise — cars going by. You are able to focus better. There is less input to take in.
using high ones? We need to give them time to be able to get in a photo. We started trying to do longer exposure shots, and we videotape it. Maybe we need to give them more time to try and get into the photo. Q: Why do you investigate?
Rob: Curiosity. Joe: Early experiences.
Most Compelling Evidence
Lavinna: I grew up with it.
Q: Is there any piece of evidence that has really stood out?
Vinnie: Early experiences.
Vinnie: My number one is Rob’s video. Rob: We were in a residence —
Steve: It’s all about knowledge. I just want to know.
If you or your group is interested in being profiled in Paranormal Underground’s Investigator Spotlight feature, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your group!
To learn more about A.P.A.R.T. of WA, visit www.apartofwa.com.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 17
Bridging the Communicat By Karen Frazier
hat if you could communicate directly with spirits on the other side? I’m not talking about going through a medium like Sylvia Browne, where you’re never quite sure whether the information that comes through is from a relative or from Sylvia’s mind. I’m talking about genuine, indisputable communication. That’s what Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) researchers worldwide are trying to accomplish. ITC is a method of attempting to bridge the gap between our world and the world beyond using different types of instruments, including computers, television screens, video cameras, telephones, and more.
March 2009 issue of Paranormal Underground), this type of EVP is the best way to get started with ITC research. According to Macy, it is best to be in a positive frame of mind when conducting the session. Sit down with a recorder and ask questions. Make sure to leave several seconds between questions, and be open to
started doing EVP experiments using white noise. On his Website, Sumption explains the genesis of the box. “I have been doing EVP recording since January 2001. I was using the computer and Stefan Bion’s EVPmaker software. I found that many spirits couldn’t use that system, so I developed my own analog system that, so far, seems to allow all spirits to communicate. “The system consists of a random voltage generator, which is used to tune an AM receiver module rapidly. The audio from the tuner (raw audio) is amplified and fed to an echo chamber, where the spirits manipulate it to form their voices. The audio from the chamber is picked up via microEVP phone and fed to an output jack, Perhaps the most wellwhere a recorder is connected.” known form of ITC is ElectronInvestigator, Chris Moon, uses Plug a video camera into the TV’s output jack. Point ic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). Frank’s box almost exclusively as the camera at the TV. Turn both on. Voila — video ITC. his “telephone to the dead,” and There are many methods by which investigators attempt to offers sessions to those trying to capture EVPs while investigatcommunicate with the other side. ing the paranormal. whatever may come through. Macy Frank’s box has spawned many Digital or Tape Voice Recorder: says it may take several sessions imitators, including the inexpensive, The most common method of colbefore you get something, but if you easy-to-make Radio Shack hack box, lecting EVP is using a simple recordstick with it, communication using which uses a $30 Radio Shack radio er — with either a digital medium this method can and does happen. with a single modification that allows or on a tape. A typical EVP session the radio to sweep the bands instead consists of investigators asking quesFrank’s Box of staying on any particular band. Actions and waiting for answers. Also known as the “telephone to cording to those who have had luck According to ITC researcher, the dead,” Frank’s box was created by using this device, voices can be heard Mark Macy (we profiled Mark in our Frank Sumption. Sumption originally as the box sweeps between stations.
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tion Gap to the Other Side SpeakJet Box Another interesting communication device is the SpeakJet box, which is built from the Talker Kit supplied by Digital Dowsing (www. digitaldowsing.com). The SpeakJet box converts EMF into allophones, which are parts of human speech. The results are interesting, to say the least. There is video of the SpeakJet box on our YouTube channel, ParanormalUG. Check it out, and let us know what you think. Spiricom The Spiricom communication device was built by George Meek and Bill O’Neil in 1979. The Spiricom is a set of 13 tone generators that spanned the range of the adult male voice. According to WorldITC. org, O’Neil and a spirit friend, Dr. George Jeffires Mueller, had more than 20 hours of dialog through the Spiricom in 1982. There are samples of sound files from the Spiricom at www.worlditc.org/k_06_spiricom.htm. Video ITC Plug a video camera into the television’s output jack. Point the camera at the TV, and turn both on. Voila — video ITC. The Klaus Schreiber Method:
This method of video ITC was originally developed by Martin Wenzel and used extensively by ITC researcher Klaus Schreiber. The exact protocol is as follows: 1. Set a camcorder or video camera on a tripod. 2. Point it toward the television — about 6” to 3’ away.
their experience using ITC in this month’s Investigator Spotlight. The White Noise Method: Another method of video ITC involves recording static on a television screen set to an untuned station with the TV powered on. This is done when the TV isn’t hooked up to an input signal. The Larsen Loop: This is a complicated method that uses a video projector, camera, video controller/mixer, wireless rf transmitter, receiver, computer, software, and a white concave projector screen.
Photographic ITC Many ITC researchers believe that photographing anything with a “white noise” type of background can yield pictures of the dead. Taking pictures of video static, water fire, smoke, and clouds yield interesting Above is a video ITC image, courtesy of Mark images that many researchers beMacy (www.worlditc.org). lieve come from beyond our world. Is the other side communicating with us? No one knows for 3. Turn on the television. sure. Certainly there are many other 4. Feed the camera output back explanations for the images and into the TV input/line in jack. communications received. 5. Don’t connect the television But for the handful of researchto any other input signal. ers who have dedicated their enerInteresting images have been gies toward this intriguing research, captured by researchers using the they need no convincing. It is clear Klaus Schreiber method. I asked a to them that the words they hear and local investigation team, A.P.A.R.T. the images they see come from the of WA about their use of ITC. See other side.
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Transdimensional Communication By Marshall Dudley, East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society
ne of the most exciting areas of research for paranormal investigators is the field of transdimensional communication. Although this can take several forms, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) is probably the most common. Historically, Thomas Edison is credited with the first attempts at communicating with spirits. He thought that if the equipment could be made sensitive enough, then it should be possible to pick up the voices of the dead. The first person credited with successfully recording spirits was Friedrich Jorgensen, who in 1959 picked up some disembodied voices while recording bird songs in the forest. Recently, this phenomena has been popularized by the movie White Noise, which not only introduced it to much of the public but also cast an unfavorable light on exploring it. Fortunately, things have advanced considerably since Jorgensen made that first recording with an old reel-to-reel recorder. It is now possible for investigators to obtain high-quality recordings of spirits with very little investment. In this article, we will explore
how to get started and how to consistently get good recordings, as well as some of the more interesting EVPs I have captured as an investigator with the East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society (ETPRS). What Is an EVP? EVP refers to any recordings that appear to come from spirits. They may be spooky voices or, in some cases, be singing, humming,
How do spirits affect audible recorders? or music. They normally are short snippets and may be bizarre in what they appear to say. However, at other times, they can be very easily understood and apply to what is happening or even provide answers to questions posed to them. Sometimes, you get conversations between spirits that are not directed toward you at all, such as the hideand-seek game we mention below. Although no one really knows just how spirits are able to affect an audible recorder and leave behind
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messages in different voices, accents, and sometimes foreign languages, there is evidence that there are two different ways a recorder can pick them up. The easiest to understand is an audible voice that the microphone picks up and is often heard by the person as well. These are fairly rare, and we have only captured one example of this (an â€œIâ€™m waitingâ€? EVP). Any microphone that can pick up normal speech can pick up such an EVP. The second type of EVP is the actual electronic phenomena and is very common. They appear to be the modulation of a scalar, gravitational, or unknown field, and different types of microphones have different sensitivities to these. There are three primary types of microphones in use today: the dynamic (also known as moving coil or ribbon); condenser; and electret. Only the electret appears to have a high sensitivity to EVPs. The electret is a form of a condenser microphone but differs in that it uses a film for the pickup that has an electric field frozen within the plastic film diaphragm. A normal condenser microphone has an external supply that
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supplies the bias voltage, which an electret does not need. Thus, the electret microphone is generally less expensive than a condenser microphone, yet will work much better for EVP work. EVPs are classified according to their clarity: • Class A: For an EVP to receive a Class A rating, it must be a very clear voice, and nearly everyone who listens to the recording agrees on what is being said by the voice. • Class B: An EVP that can be understood, and most people agree on what is being said. • Class C: The worst quality EVPs. There isn’t a lot of agreement between people about what is said, if anything can be understood at all. Pick a Place Obviously, to record any spirit voices requires you to be where there are spirits. Some places are obvious, such as cemeteries. However, there are many other places where you can successfully find them, as well. Old homes, old hotels and theaters, old ships, churches, and lighthouses all are good possibilities. If you try to get EVPs and are unsuccessful for several trips, then try somewhere else. Note that it does not matter when you record. They
are as easy to get during the day as at night. High electrical fields seem to enhance them, so recording immediately after a thunderstorm may improve the volume. Be Friendly Realize that spirits are people and, if you treat them with respect and are friendly, you are much more likely to get them to interact with you. Do not insult or threaten
Show respect when trying to collect EVPs. them. Many already are confused and scared, so they will simply leave, hide, or become quiet. In some cases, intentionally attempting to provoke them can result in retribution. Recently, one of the investigators with ETPRS had his arm scratched when he called an entity names to try to get it to respond. Try to ask questions you think they might want to answer: who they are; if they want to say anything; and so forth.
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Also, be aware that it seems that spirits can see auras. An aura of anger, hatefulness, or other negative emotions can all but make any attempts at capturing an EVP futile, so you have to be careful about whom you bring with you. Control the Environment Try to pick a place that has low ambient noise. If you have others with you, make sure that whispering is not allowed. This is because many EVPs will be a whisper. It is almost impossible to tell the difference in whispers between different people and spirits. If someone forgets and does whisper, then announce on the recording that it was a whisper by so-and-so. Although it would seem reasonable to keep as quiet as possible during recording sessions, experience has shown that talking is a good inducement for spirits to join in. Spirits often will inject a response into a conversation, contradict what is being said, or answer questions. The trick is to allow pauses between each person talking to allow a spirit to get a word in without being talked over. The use of a control recorder that is insensitive to EVPs to help weed out non-spirits is highly recommended. Sometimes EVPs will even
provide insight to scientific questions, such as one we got recently while discussing what an orb caught on video was. Use the Right Equipment The correct equipment is very important. Some believe that the use of a noise source will improve the frequency or quality of an EVP. This may improve the volume of some EVPs, but because the noise also will be louder, the signal-to-noise ratio will be reduced, and the possibility of audible pareidolia (http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia) becomes a very real possibility. Pareidolia is one of the primary arguments debunkers use to attempt to discredit the EVP phenomena. Therefore, it is recommended to use a recorder with low noise, and pick a place that has little ambient noise. If there is little or no noise, then there is little possibility of mistaking random sounds in the noise as voices. There are two types of recorders: tape and digital. Tape is noisier because of noise inherent in this method of recording and the noise of the tape transport mechanism and motor. In addition, tape presents the possibility of print-through (resulting in pre- and post-echoes) and archival noise.
If you use a brand new tape each time, you can eliminate the archival noise and print-through from previous recordings, but the problem of print-through, tape noise, and transport noise still exists. Thus, it is very difficult to ever say that anything unexpected on a tape recorder is truly an EVP. Tape recorders also make it very easy to insert a fake EVP into the middle of the recording, by someone wanting to play a joke on you.
It is very important that you keep accurate records. Fortunately, digital recorders have none of these problems. They are relatively inexpensive, can have excellent signal-to-noise ratios, and can eliminate the possibility of tape print-through as well as tampering of your recording. Also important for EVP work is that many digital recorders have internal electret microphones and are made of plastic. A metal housing may shield the mike element from the
EVP field. We recommend the Sony ICD-B16 or Sony ICD-P17 recorder because they have proven to be an excellent EVP recorder, but there are other brands that also work well. We are working on a Spirit Mike, which has proven to offer about a 20 db advantage over the best digital recorders on picking up low-level EVPs. This unit is presently being tested and will hopefully be available for researchers shortly. It is also highly recommended to have a second recorder that is not sensitive to EVPs. Typically, most camcorders have microphones that do not pick up EVPs. It is a good idea to shoot with both at the same time. The EVP-deaf recorder then can be an excellent control that not only will allow you to easily determine if that fantastic EVP is truly an EVP â€” and not someone talking in the background â€” but it will allow you to validate for others that the EVPs are not simply some extraneous talking or background noise, as well. Processing and Post-Analysis Once you have the recording, you will need to transfer it to a computer. The small speaker in these recorders does not reproduce lower frequencies well, and sometimes an
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Special Report audio input interface, you will want the original recording. EVP will be a deep voice or will be unintelligible without good frequento use a high-quality USB audio Once you have recorded some cy response of the speaker. adapter (e.g., Byterunner Model EVPs, you may want to post them Listen to the recording with UA580 audio adapter) to get good on a forum such as the MSN.com the volume set as high as you can transfers. discussion group Ghosts, Hauntings, Many EVPs are accompanied by Spirits, and the Paranormal (http:// without distortion. EVPs are often much lower than normal, and talking a connect and/or disconnect sound. groups.msn.com/GhostsHauntand can be easily missed. Although, This can sound like a click, pop, ingsSpiritsandtheParanormal/genoccasionally they can come blasting thump, or other transient sound. eral.msn) and the forums at Ghost through so loud you may almost We believe that this is caused by Village (www.ghostvillage.com/ghostan electric or scalar field, or some community) and Ghost 2 Ghost jump out of your chair. If possible, other field carrying the EVP being (http://ghost2ghost.org). use a good set of headphones. Howswitched on and off. The connect ever, if you don’t have any, just use and disconnect sounds can help conWhat Can Be Expected? the speakers. firm that a sound is truly an EVP. Once you have started recordIf you have any EVPs that are loud and clear, you can cut them ing in the right place with the out and make them into their right equipment, you will find own separate file. If the EVP is that EVPs are like a box of chocolates. (Our apologies to Mr. answering a question or responding to something that was said, be Gump.) They are often strange, sure to transfer the normal talking wild, unexpected, and sometimes as well as the EVP to the file. downright funny. Also, if the EVP is of a much One ETPRS investigator lower volume, you can boost its (Sean Dudley) began recording volume. However, if you do that, EVPs shortly after seeing the be sure to note it in your descriptrailer for White Noise. He wontion. If the EVP is too near the dered, like many of you probably noise level, run some noiseare wondering, whether EVPs are reduction software on it, such real. After doing some research as Clear Voice Denoiser (www. on the Internet, he went to a local speechpro.com). cemetery and tried his luck. To Always keep a copy of the orighis surprise, he had some good inal recording to go back to if need results right away. be. It is recommended that EVPs The very first EVP he got was be saved as a .wav file because an after attempting to ask a number .mp3 file often will reduce the intelof questions. As he said goodbye ligibility of an EVP significantly. while starting to leave, he got a Paranormal investigator Marshall Dudley is workThe program of choice for editing response of “goodbye.” The next ing on a Spirit Mike that offers about a 20 db EVPs is Adobe Audition. one he got when he returned to advantage over the best digital recorders on pickNote that many computers, the cemetery was a female voice ing up low-level EVPs. even high-end ones, will contain that said, “Hi, Hi, Hi, Hi,” in on-board audio that is far below ever-increasing volume. This was par. For instance, we checked a topfollowed by a gruff male voice that Keep Records of-the-line Compaq Presario and said, “You look awful.” It is very important that you found that the built-in audio was As often is the case with EVPs, keep records. Record when and almost completely unusable. In adit can be hard to determine whether where the recording was made and dition to other faults, it had terrible one has tapped into a conversaunder what circumstances. For each dynamic range, lacked volume, had tion between spirits or whether the snippet, record which raw recording high distortion, easily clipped, and comments are directed toward the file it came from, what processing had a terrible signal-to-noise ratio. researcher. Occasionally one can get was done, and the time index into If your computer has a poor-quality an EVP that is a direct answer to a
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question. At another cemetery, Dudley asked whether the man whose name was on a tombstone was still around. The answer came immediately: “I’m right here.” At the historic, 100-year-old Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee, a researcher for ETPRS asked whether anyone would like to communicate with him and got back a distinct, “Hell, no.” And after Dudley walked into a small room in the basement of the Bijou and asked, “Is anyone here with us?” came a very clear answer in male voice: “They call me Gritch.” At a haunted residence in Rogersville, Tennessee, Dudley got a response of “21” when he asked how many entities were there, and at TMG Academy in Sweetwater, Tennessee, ETPRS investigator Tesa Nauman got a “Why not?” when she said she was going to take a picture to see whether any entities would show up. Sometimes you can pick up a group of EVPs that appear to be communication between two or more spirits. Some of our favorites, captured at the residence in Rogersville, are ones that say: “Bill, where ya goin’? . . . How ya doin’, Wheaty?” “I’m getting cranky . . . Look behind you . . . You doin’ alright?” An EVP from the Bijou that we like seems to be three young girls talking amongst themselves: “Call Paige . . . Adrian, too? Ya’ll stay . . . Pretty please.” “Call Paige” and “Pretty please” seem to be the same voice, and “Adrian, too” and “Ya’ll stay” seem to be different voices. Another favorite is the “hide-inseek” EVP sequence captured at Rogersville, where we got the following action sequence — caution: the following sequence contains profanity: (loud child-like voice) “Hiding
good.” (soft gruff voice) “You’re good.” (medium gruff voice) “Get back.” (soft voice) “You got to get by me.” (medium voice) “One.” (soft voice) “Behind you.” (medium voice) “Shit.” (soft voice) “Fucking cheats.” (soft child-like voice) “Mommy.” All of the above and following EVPs can be found on the Friendly Ghosts site at www.friendly-ghosts. com. In addition to what appear to be real-time EVPs, actual voices of spirits acting and reacting to local activities, there is what often is termed a residual haunting. This can often be picked up as an EVP and will be a replay of something that happened long ago.
Adobe Audition is the program of choice for editing EVPs. The initial entities involved probably are long gone (at least physically). One of the best ones we captured was at the Bijou Theatre. On the fourth floor, where there used to be a bordello with showers, a male voice says, “This time let’s take a quick shower.” This is followed nine seconds later by a female voice that says, “The shower’s cold.” On a lower floor of this theater, Robert Allen, an ETPRS investigator, got what appears to be commenting from a spirit about how he puts everything he can into his performances when he says, “I give it all to the stage.”
Sometimes the spirits seem hung up on something the researcher or another party did. During a recent meeting of the spiritual group Circle Of Light, a channeler and his helper were sending lost souls “to the light.” One spirit commented four or five times that the light was out, after the lights were turned off. It then commented that the lights were back on when we turned them back on after the prayer. A researcher with ETPRS who usually only gets EVPs telling him to shut up, get back, or keep out, got “Keep off that, lunkhead” on the fourth floor of the Bijou. Bizarre is the best word to describe some EVPs. In a cemetery, this conversation was picked up between spirits: “Where’s the dog?” “Bark . . .” “Very good . . .” “John . . . ” “Bark.” And a classic one obtained at Rogersville by Tracy Franklin, ETPRS’ president, not only had a little girl saying, “Micka nicka high, nicka hiney hiney lo,” but had another spirit saying “No! Shit!,” and the child repeating “Micka nicka high, nicka hiney hiney lo,” again in a whisper. Then, if you listen carefully, under the girl’s loud voice saying the rhyme is a deep, gruff voice that says, “Who will help them?” and “They are here to stay.” This was in direct reference to a conversation we were having where we said we were there to help the other spirits. Helping the Spirits If you send the spirits to the light, be sure to record any EVPs as well. At the haunted Rogersville residence, while showing the results of our investigation to the homeowners, we said a prayer to bring down the
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Special Report light and told the spirits they could go to it if they wanted and nothing could stop them. The sequence we got during this is nothing short of phenomenal: a total of 18 Class A and B EVPs. It is apparent that different spirits experience the light in different ways. Some apparently see friends and family coming in from the light, as indicated by the EVP that said, “Look at all the people.” Others are disappointed that they were not met by whom they expected, such as the EVP that says, “That ain’t LaBrena.” Others apparently see Jesus or another religious figure: “My Saviour.” Others speak of the light itself: “This light’s so warm, Bergell.” “That lights on.” “Whoa!” “Watch this thing.” “Ya’ll found the light.” Even when going to the light, the humor of some spirits is apparent by the EVP that says, “Come and get me, and set up the right song.” There are those who choose not to go and end up saying their goodbyes or wishing they had gone: “You’ll see him again” and “Being alone.” Alternatively, you may actually get a spirit’s exclamation, such as the one that says, “Ohh, ohh, ohh!” like she is being sucked into something. After this particular event, the family had to leave that night because of things being thrown around the kitchen by something. Apparently, something did not like us rescuing the subjugated spirits there. Audible EVPs Occasionally you may actually hear an EVP at the same time you record it. In actuality, this is not really an EVP because the mike is responding to actual sound rather than a scalar or other field, but the
effect is similar. Of all the EVPs that we have recorded, Sean Dudley has only gotten one like this, where he read the name of a woman on a tombstone and asked whether she wanted to say anything. He got a verbal response of “I’m waiting” whispered right next to his ear. (Luckily, the audio recorder was held next to his ear, so it picked it up well). Recently, I captured an orb on video coming through a door when it was opened at an old military institute. He already was in the room
ETPRS paranormal investigator Marshall Dudley, who has spent years collecting EVPs, believes EVPs are indeed voices from the beyond.
with the lights out when some other investigators opened the door from the hallway. The orb can be seen coming in from the lighted hall, where it was initially a black orb. As soon as it came into the room, it became a white ball surrounded by what appears to be ectoplasm. After dodging another researcher and me, it flies off to the left. EVPs during this sequence proved very interesting. The video
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recorder, which is not sensitive to EVPs, picked up nothing out of the ordinary. However, a digital EVP recorder picked up what to one of us sounds like “Get back” when dodging the investigators and then, “tough (or “rough”) shit,” after getting by them successfully without a collision. Even more interesting is that when the video was played back for other investigators to see a few minutes later, someone asked, “What’s that?” Marshall Dudley replied, “An orb.” What probably was the source of the orb in the same voice as the previous EVP said, “That’s my light!” This answered a big question about why the orb was black until it went into the room, then became white. If the spirit voice can be believed, it somehow turned on a light so it could see, just as a person carrying a flashlight would do. The “light” however was infrared and not visible, because Marshall Dudley and the other investigators could not see it directly but only through the infrared camera’s display when it was captured. So, if you doubt that EVPs are real, get a recommended recorder and prove it to yourself. It is easier now than ever with the inexpensive digital recorders on the market. For more information and to hear the EVPs that are mentioned in this article, please visit www.friendlyghosts.com.
Marshall Dudley worked as a nuclear instrumentation engineer for 23 years and presently is the owner and operator of an Internet shopping cart service. Sean Dudley owns and operates a company that imports and distributes computer peripheral hardware. They are both investigators for East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society (ETPRS), whose Website can be viewed at www.etprs.com.
Instrumental Transcommunication & Electronic Voice Phenomenon
ant to learn more about Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) and Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)? Here are some books and Websites to check out:
By Konstaintin Raudive, Elizabeth Coxhead, Joyce Morton, and N. Fowler: —Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication With the Dead
By Dr. Theo Locher:
By Nathan Toms:
—Breakthroughs in Technical Spirit Communication
—The Electronic Ghosts: EVP (electronic voice phenomenon)
By John G. Fuller: —The Ghost of 29 Megacycles
By Mark Macy: —The Project —Miracles in the Storm
By Alexander MacRae: —EVP and New Dimensions
By Jeff Belanger: —Communicating With the Dead
By Konstantinos: —Speak With the Dead: Seven Methods for Spirit Communication
By Beth Brown:
—Voice Transmissions With the Deceased —Radio and Microphone Contacts With the Dead
By Newton C. Braga: —Electronic Projects from the Next Dimension: Paranormal Experiments for Hobbyists
By Peter Bander
By Hildegard Schaefer (translated by Heidemarie Hallmann):
—Voices From the Tapes: Recordings From the Other World
—Bridge between the Terrestrial and the Beyond — Theory and Practice of Transcommunication
By Ernst Senkowski (translated by Heidemarie Hallmann): —Instrumental Transcommunication
By George W. Meek: —Spiricom: An Electromagnetic-Etheric Systems Approach to Communication With Other Levels of Human Consciousness
—Conducting a Paranormal Investigation — A Training Guide
By Sarah Wilson Estep:
By Pat Kubis and Mark Macy:
—Voices of Eternity
—Conversations Beyond the Light: Communication With Departed Friends & Colleagues by Electronic Means
By Victor Zammit:
By Friedrich Juergenson:
—A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife
—http://worlditc.org/ —http://www.aaevp.com/ —www.worlditc.org/f_07_senkowski_ analysis.htm —www.itcjournal.org/journal.htm —http://sedna.no.sapo.pt/death_scresearch/pdf_docs/cardoso2003.pdf —www.worlditc.org/h_07_meek_ spiri_000_007.htm —http://aaevp.com/articles/articles_ bill_weisensale_experiment.htm —www.aaevp.com/ articles/articles_about_ cosmology.htm —www.friendly-ghosts. com/faqs.html —www.trueghost.com/ how_to_capture_voices.htm —http://science.howstuffworks.com/evp5. htm —http://skepdic.com/ evp.html
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 27
How to Maximize Results By Dave Galvan, Paranormal League of America
alking cemeteries is a national pastime that people hardly know exists today. A century ago, people would spend Sunday afternoons in a cemetery with their whole family, picnicking in the grass and getting some sun. Today, that’s seen as slightly morbid. Whenever my paranormal group is between cases, we always gather at cemeteries to keep our ghost hunting skills fresh. I find that walking between the graves is an interesting history lesson of my area, as well as a relaxing way to spend a morning. No matter how many years I have been doing this, I still find I learn something every time I go. The tools you will need are a camera, audio recording device, and possibly an EMF detector. A cell phone is also a good idea to carry with you, since you don’t want to be stuck in a cemetery with a flat tire or car battery that isn’t working. Be sure to dress in layers. The weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Spare batteries are always a good idea to keep around. The best time to go to cemeteries is at dawn, just as the sun is coming up. I also recommend going on Sunday mornings, as there tends to be less traffic driving by roads that could create background noise on your audio recording.
Do not enter a cemetery at night without permission! Depending on which state and/or county you are in, this could potentially be illegal. Some states or counties do make it a crime to be in a cemetery after dark or being there outside of posted hours. If there are hours posted at a cemetery, make sure to go only during those hours. You do not need to be breaking the law. And this will give ghost hunters and their efforts a negative image.
Do not enter a cemetery at night without written permission. Go at Dawn Since you do get best results at night, it is best to go at dawn. There is still a lot of energy at the cemeteries that you can record. With that said, understand a few things. As opposed to investigating at night, during the day when the sun is up is the only time I will investigate alone. Being able to see has many pluses, and it is also far less dangerous being alone in an unlit cemetery during the day. It is a good idea to have someone with you, in case
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something goes wrong or you have an experience that you can both validate. Please stay clear of anyone who happens to be there visiting their loved ones. These people are probably in mourning; the last thing they want to deal with is someone claiming they are hunting ghosts. This is tacky and insensitive. Photographic Effects to Be Aware of Most of you will be using a digital camera. Most of the time, these cameras have slower shutter speeds than what a professional photographer will use. Keep in mind that you will get strange lighting effects if the sun is not completely lighting the sky. Figure One on the next page (courtesy Adam Studer) clearly shows one of these effects. I have seen countless pictures just like this on people’s Websites, claiming it to be something paranormal. This is actually an effect coming from the flashlight (which you can see in my hand in the upper left of the picture) that was moving at a quick speed in response to something my colleague Adam was saying. There is nothing paranormal about this effect. The sun was coming up, and the sky was fairly lit, but the camera was not able to pick up the light in the sky. If you have any experience with cameras in low light, you
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 29
Special Report Figure One (courtesy Adam Studer): This picture shows the effect of my flashlight (which you can see in my hand in the upper left of the picture) that was moving at a quick speed.
are already familiar with this effect. Be aware that sometimes you will also get blurred lights from anything from cars to street lights. This is the same effect and should always be considered when you are taking pictures in low light. Always hold your breathe or simply inhale when taking a picture. Figure Two (courtesy Adam Studer) shows what appears to be a free-floating vaporous apparition. Or, it shows Adam’s breath. Adam snapped this picture shortly after he felt like he was punched in the stomach by a spirit. While his pain was real, this picture is open for interpretation. Getting punched by a human is unnerving enough and Adam was, needless to say, a bit shaken when this picture was taken. He could not guarantee to me that he wasn’t exhaling at the time. The picture on the previous page is also a good example of this. While I was walking in one of my favorite cemeteries just before Halloween, I snapped this picture of a tombstone that happened to be leaning against a tree. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the screen and saw the vapor! Then I realized that I had
broken my own rule about breathing while taking pictures. My dreams of being famous for taking a picture of a ghost were quickly dashed. It is important to remember when walking cemeteries to pay attention to your peripheral vision. One time I was walking around the older part of this huge cemetery, when I saw a dark figure walking toward me out of the corner of my eye. I saw it at such an angle that I wasn’t able to get much of a description other then it was dressed in black, and the legs were obviously moving. Instead of turning my camera in the direction of the figure and snapping a picture, I mistakenly just went on instinct, and I turned my head to see if it was a visitor like myself or a mourner, so I could get out of their way. As I’m sure you can guess, when I looked in the direction it was, there was nothing there. A thin layer of snow had hit the ground the night before, and there were no footprints present where I saw the figure. I chalked the experience up to imagination; I was in a cemetery after all, and it was rather early in the morning. My fatigue from the previous
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night still hadn’t worn off. I walked a bit further down the rows when I saw the figure again, this time it was out of the corner of my left eye, walking the opposite direction I was. Again, I instinctively turned my head to find nothing there. I was beginning to think I was going mad. The next day I went back to the general area with a couple of friends, and one of them saw the same thing. I didn’t say anything about seeing this figure to any of them, and when they told me they saw something that was exactly what I saw, I felt slightly vindicated but a little angry at myself for not using the camera when I should have. Gathering Audio Evidence Pictures are only about 1% of what you will be doing during an investigation. I have always said that if you are to get any evidence, generally it will be audio. That is what you will need to concentrate on. The focus will be on questions that you ask. You will find that you will stick to a basic set of question no matter where you are investigating, and then you will also have another bunch of questions that you ask depending on where you are investigating. Some of the questions that I ask will include; 1: What is your name? 2: Where were you born? 3: Did you die here? 4: Are you buried here? 5: Do you have a tombstone here? 6: Can you tell me what year it is? 7: Can you tell me who the president of the United States is? 8: Why are you still here? Every so often, I will lighten the mood up and ask the following;
Figure Two (courtesy Adam Studer): This picture shows what appears to be a free-floating vaporous apparition. Or, it shows Adam’s breath. This picture is open to interpretation.
9: Can you tell me any winning lottery numbers? 10: Can you tell me who killed JFK? That last question got an interesting response once. I was walking a cemetery, and I was asking pretty much all the question you see above. Out of the blue, I get an EVP that states, “Where I was born? F@&k JFK!” This was rather interesting for me, as I was simply joking around with the people I was with and it got a response. Do a little research on the cemetery, as well. This same cemetery is predominantly covered with German settlers in my area from about 100 years ago. After a couple of trips up there, I realized that I shouldn’t be asking questions in English if I expected to get any type of response. I learned a couple of German phrases and started to get what I refer to as Paranormal Sound Oddities. These will be strange-sounding blips and blurps that make no sense when you hear them, but you could not hear them when you were there live. Some people theorize that these sounds can be caused by portals, while other believe that they are ghosts themselves. Whatever they may be, they are odd sounds that are paranormal. If you are hunting with someone else, be sure to get them a recording device as well. EVPs generally only show up on one recording device at a time, and will not be on the second device at all, even if they are right next to each other. A perfect example was when Adam and I went to a small local cemetery outside of Portland. We were standing no more then 10 feet
from each other when he ended up getting an EVP that I didn’t get at all. The man’s voice clearly said, “I’m in the cemetery. I’m in the ground.” The voice, and what he was saying, sent a shiver down my spine. I find it is also a good idea to read out loud the names on the tombstones while walking passed them. The reason being that if you are to get an EVP, this will give you a general idea of where you were when you got it. While out at cemeteries, always keep your eyes open for anything that looks strange. On one marker of an infant that we came across, there were pennies and buttons scattered around it. I had heard of an old paranormal belief that the dead will sometimes leave pennies around to let the living know that they are all right. The buttons were a mystery to me, until I found an obscure Website that mentioned children in Europe used to use buttons as play money. What got me watching this marker wasn’t just the fact that pennies and buttons were left there, but that they would sometimes be in different spots than they were the week before. The obvious answer is that someone moved
them around. However, that can be difficult to prove one way or the other. Using Your EMF Detector Your EMF detector will come in handy outside. Generally, your base reading should be ‘0.’ Sometimes you could be near a light post or an underground electrical system that may cause that to fluctuate a bit, but for the most part you shouldn’t get anything at all. If the detector starts to go up in the middle of a cemetery with no electrical components around, you will know that there may be something present. Finally, I tend not to do any type of provoking tactics when I am at a cemetery. I believe that this is the final resting place of people who deserve to rest in peace. Respect must be observed, and always obey trespassing laws.
Dave Galvan is a Portland, Oregon, based ghost hunter. He is cofounder/director of the Paranormal League of America, and enjoys walking cemeteries almost as much as he enjoys a good poker game. He can be contacted at www.paranormalleagueofamerica.org.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 31
What Are Ghosts? By Ryan Tackitt, Paranormal Investigators of Central Texas
host, spirit, shade, banshee, poltergeist, revenant, spook, or specter. Whatever you want to call them, everyone knows of them. But no one knows exactly what they are or if they are real. Many theories have been debated, argued, and fought over, but to this day, no one knows for sure which theory, if any, is right. Ghosts have been reported and discussed for several centuries. Early documented stories can be traced back to the 17th Century in England and other places in Europe. They range from human being-like figures being seen to fowl and other animals. They are thought to be here on Earth for several reasons: revenge, final farewell, or to warn the living. What Is a Ghost? Differing Viewpoints There are several main explanations out there for the specter phenomena: spiritual, mechanical, and psychological, or a combination of the three. According to the book Mysteries of the Unexplained: • The most commonly held belief is that ghosts are spirits of dead people who look, dress, and behave as they did in life. This belief usually has the ghosts haunting some place that is meaningful to them for
a variety of reasons — guilt, remorse, and habit to name a few. In this view, the ghosts could be evil, kind, or indifferent to the living. “People who take this view of ghosts regard them as marking time in a spiritual halfway house between this world and heaven, purgatory, or hell,” according to Mysteries of the Unexplained. • Another view looks at ghosts as looking nothing like how they ap-
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peared in life. Instead, they adopt a life-like appearance when they really look like vapor or light. • Yet another view holds that ghosts are illusions caused by the forces of evil or good (angels or demons) in order to help or harm the living. Mysteries of the Unexplained explains this type of thinking by saying, “Miracles are an example of intervention by angelic or enlight-
ened powers, while most poltergeist episodes are held to be demonic.” • A mechanical interpretation of ghosts is that they are just pictures that are somehow played back as recordings. This view interprets hauntings as unintelligent. However, this view does not explain cases where spirits interact intelligently with the living. • The psychological view of ghosts takes a look at the untapped capacity of the human mind. Those who take this view believe that ghosts may actually be manifestations of psychic power or psychokinetic ability. Theories About Ghosts and Hauntings So, there are several different views about what ghosts are. Others include that ghosts are from another dimension and somehow leaked over into ours. This one has become popular since scientists first discussed extra dimensions other than our own. Other theories abound but are too numerous to be discussed in this paper. Another theory is that a ghost is a psychic imprint left at a special place at the person’s time of death. The emotion left behind is so powerful that at times a person can witness the event as it happened. The incident unfolds without change no matter what interference occurs, like a play or movie. This is sometimes called a residual haunting. Another type of haunting is called an intelligent haunting, where the spirit is thought to interact with its surroundings or with people. Spirits are also sometimes reported to be able to answer questions through Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) or by manipulating an item in the room or area. For as long as ghost stories have been told, groups have tried to col-
lect evidence to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural world. These groups most noticeably started in the 19th century and have continued to this day. “Ghost hunting” techniques and equipment have evolved considerably over time, but still no hardcore evidence has been collected. Ghost detection devices help investigators search for EVPs, Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), or even orbs, specters, and mists. Unfortunately, for each legitimate piece of paranormal evidence that is found, there seem to be just as many fake or fraudulent claims being made. Documented ghost stories go back as far as 1626: Search Google for a story about Francis Bacon and the ghost of a half-naked, half-fro-
What would happen if proof of an afterlife comes to light? zen chicken. Other stories include a ghost bus in North Kensington, London, in the 1830s. More modern stories include ghostly hitchhikers and haunted houses from across the world. Some stories have become urban legends and grow with each telling around the campfire or at slumber parties. Many times, it is impossible to tell fact from fiction when a ghost story is told. Could it All Be Our Imagination? There is another explanation that could explain what ghosts really are: Could it be that what we are seeing is a part of our imagination?
The mind is a powerful organ that can easily fool us. Just as our eyes can play tricks on us, the environment around us is also a jokester at times. A mirage is a good example of this. The power of suggestion has also been known to alter our perception on what we see or hear. Today, several television shows present paranormal groups who go out and seek interactions with the spirit world or collect evidence, hoping to find the holy grail of the ghost realm that will prove to everyone without a doubt that ghosts are real. Shows such as Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted, Ghost Adventures, and others have captivated audiences with night-time adventures. All of these groups use what they call state-of-the-art technology that either captures the existence of ghosts or demonstrates that a place is haunted. But, so far, no undisputed evidence has been found. The World of Spirits Remains a Mystery The existence of ghosts remains a mystery today just as it did centuries ago. The topic continues to baffle the human mind. Our techniques and technology advance daily, but thus far, we haven’t made much headway into finding out what a ghost really is. It may be just a matter of time before the existence of ghosts is proven or disproven. Such evidence will have to be irrefutable by any and all groups. But what if proof of an afterlife comes to light? Where would society go from there?
Ryan Tackitt is the founder of Paranormal Investigators of Central Texas. You can e-mail Ryan at email@example.com for more information.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 33
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites
The House That S By Lisajoyce Vergara
house built over an execution site and a family with unfortunate tragic events could be the catalyst for the restless spirits that roam about the Whaley House — located in Old Town San Diego, California. The house was built and constructed in 1857 by Thomas Whaley. Not only was the house a residence, but it also featured San Diego’s first commercial theater, the county’s second courthouse, and the Whaley’s general store. Prior to Thomas Whaley purchasing the property in 1855, the grounds were also used for public hangings. One of the most famous hangings was of Yankee Jim (a.k.a. Santiago) Robinson on Sept. 18, 1852. He was hung from the gallows that stood on the property before the house was built. Right before he was hung, Yankee Jim was forced to stand on the back of a wagon, which was then pulled our from underneath him. According to a report from the San Diego Union newspaper on Oct. 9, 1873, Robinson kept his feet in the wagon as long as possible before he was pulled off. He swung back and forth until he strangled to death.
The Whaley house was built and constructed in 1857 by Thomas Whaley.
The Whaley’s Known Misfortunes By 1858, Thomas Whaley and wife Anna Whaley had three children — Francis, Thomas, and Anna Amelia. Unfortunately, Thomas died at 18 months. The misfortune of the Whaleys did not stop with losing Thomas. The Whaleys produced three more children — George, Violet, and Corinne. Years later, in 1882, both Violet and Anna Amelia Whaley got married. After being married for only three years, Violet had gotten a
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divorce and soon fell into depression. She was monitored by a local physician, but unable to bear with her heartache, Violet later committed suicide at her home by shooting herself in the chest with .32 caliber bullet. Thomas and Anna Whaley’s great-granddaughter, Marion Reynolds, also died tragically in the house in 1912.
Tragic death followed the Whaleys.
Rumored Whaley Spirits Legend has it that a little girl by the name Annabelle or Carrie Washburn was a rumored nearby neighbor of the Whaley’s. The little girl appar-
ently died at the residence by accidently running into the low-hanging clothesline that sliced her neck. However, according to the Whaley House Website, no historic documentation or evidence proved this. Visitors of the Whaley house have reported encountered sightings of both Thomas and Anna Whaley. Thomas has been sighted standing in the parlor or the upper landing of the property. Anna has been spotted in the downstairs rooms or in the garden. Television personality Regis Philbin visited the house and encountered briefly what appeared to be Anna Whaley. “There was something filmly white; it looked like an apparition of some kind,” he was quoted as saying. “I got excited, and I couldn’t restrain myself! I flipped on the flashlight and nothing was there but a portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house.” There are other reports of the presence of a young woman in the courtroom. None of the Whaley women fit her description, but the house was rented out to numerous tenants over the years, and some think that the mysterious woman could be one of the former tenants. “She was wearing a long full
The Whaley house was a residence, San Diego’s first commercial theater, the county’s second courthouse, and the Whaley’s general store.
skirt, reaching to the floor. The skirt appeared to be a calico or gingham, small print. She had a cap on her head, dark hair and eyes, and was wearing gold hoops in her pierced ears,” reported one of the visitors. Present Day at the Whaleys Today, the Whaley house still rests upon San Diego Avenue. It
opened its doors as a historic landmark and museum on May 25, 1960. During seasonal hours, visitors from all over the world come to take a look at Historical Landmark No. 65. And for those wanting to ghost hunt, an after-hours tour is available at an additional cost. For more information, visit http://whaleyhouse.org/index.htm.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 35
Case Files of the Unknown: Cryptids
Letâ€™s Have A Round of Applause for The Pangboche Hand By Rick E. Hale
have a little bit of trivia for you. What do a millionaire Texas oil man with a cool name, an iconic American actor, and the alleged mummified hand of a Yeti all have in common? (Play Jeopardy music now.) Give up? Perhaps the greatest conspiracy to prove the existence of the fabled Abominable Snowman as well as the greatest comedy of errors in the history of the serious study of previously unknown and undiscovered creatures. Allow me to explain . . . In 1957, Texas oil man, business man, and adventurer extraordinaire Tom Slick first heard of the alleged mummified hand of a Yeti hidden away in the Buddhist monastery of Pangboche, Nepal, where for centuries it had been worshipped as a holy relic by the monks. For years Slick, had been leading expeditions into the worldâ€™s largest mountain range, the Himalayas, in a grand search for that most elusive of cryptozoological mysteries, a creature that we had come to know here in the West as the Abominable Snowman. However, the citizens who lived and worked along the foothills of the Himalayas knew the creature as the Yeti. Well, Slick came up short each time he searched for the relic, never able to find anything more than footprints, which proved nothing to the skeptics of the world. To them, footprints in the snow meant nothing because a known animal could have left
the prints, and with the melting and refreezing of the snow, those prints could morph into different shapes and sizes. But, the hand of a Yeti, although mummified, could finally be the proof that Slick so desperately sought, and he would do anything to have. Did the Pangboche Hand Really Exist? In 1958, Slick and his associates paid their first visit to the monastery of Pangboche and immediately inquired of the Yeti hand that could possibly prove the existence of a
Does the Pangboche Hand prove the Yetiâ€™s existence? creature that had eluded science for decades. The monks had absolutely no problem showing the gentleman millionaire and his associates the object of their affection, worship, and deep devotion. After all, they probably figured this was just some guy who wanted to pay his respects. When Slick was brought into the sanctuary of the hand, he knew immediately that this was the real deal, the hand of a Yeti. The hand was really nothing more than a few scraps
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of skin and hair hanging precariously to a skeleton. However, the hand was twice the size of a normal human man and certainly did appear to be something beyond the ordinary. When Slick, asked the monks if he could take the hand from the monastery for scientific study, the monks became enraged and told the adventurer that he and his crew must leave immediately and never return. The hand was the center of their veneration and must never be removed, otherwise their small society of holy men would come to ruin. At first, Slick and his associates obeyed the demands of the Pangboche monks; however, as they were leaving Slick hatched a plan to bring at least a few pieces of the hand back to the west, a plan that would make cryptozoologists the world over look like a bunch of shady characters. In 1959, Tom Slick, dispatched his close friend and associate, Peter Byrne to the Pangboche monastery, with sinister goal in mind: Slick asked his associate to steal a few bone fragments from the hand without the monks none the wiser. I kind of wonder how it went down. Was it something as elaborate as Tom Cruise dangling from a rope in Mission Impossible? Highly unlikely. Basically, Byrne waited for everyone to fall asleep, slipped in, stole a few fragments of bone from the hand, replaced
man” and did not match any primate known to mankind. I’m sure if Hillary and Slick were floating around in the afterlife, Slick turned to Hillary and let out a triumphant, “Booyah, in your face!” Just a theory. I recently heard that Twentieth Enter Iconic American Actor Century Fox was thinking about makJimmy Stewart ing a movie about the whole PangboByrne was successful in smugche Hand debacle, casting Nicholas Unsolved Mysteries Reveals Cage as Tom Slick; however, instead gling the bones of the alleged Yeti Pangboche Hand Findings of taking the subject seriously, it hand across the border into India. In 1991, the NBC television would be a comedy. I don’t know . . . Now all they had to do was make it program Unsolved Mysteries reI think I’ll go and see it. back to the United States. So, Slick Anyway, the DNA testing and called upon his close friend and Yeti enthusiast, Jimmy Stewart, results done by Unsolved Mysterto meet his buddy Byrne in India ies proves to me that there is truth and transport what Slick believed to the Pangboche hand having once belonged to the fabled Yeti. to be the greatest scientific find in history into the West. It has been believed for years that So Stewart boarded a plane Bigfoot, Yeti, and other hirsute with the mortal remains of a mysdenizens of the world’s forests and tery hidden away in his luggage. mountain ranges are perhaps relict In 1960, the great mounpopulations of the ancient more taineer Sir Edmund Hillary and ape-like ancestors of modern man. naturalist Marlin Perkins made The results said the bone the trip to the Monastery of Pangfragments were, “near human,” boche, Nepal, not to prove the which to me proves that maybe, story that the hand belonged to a just maybe, the elusive monkey Yeti, but rather to disprove it. man still walks among us. Upon inspection of the hand, Sadly, we shall never know if Sir Edmund discovered that sevthe Pangboche hand truly beeral bones were actually attached longed to a Yeti; a number of years with string and wire and did not ago it disappeared from the monappear to fit with the general astery. Those who are in support makeup of the hand. The British of the hand believe that the monks Lord immediately announced hid the skeletal remains far from to the world that the Pangboche the prying eyes of unscrupulous Hand, the supposed mummified researchers who would seek to remains of the hand of a Yeti, was own their object of adoration. Photo of the Pangboche Hand taken in 1958 by Peter Byrne in Nepal. a hoax and a fraud. It’s too bad that a cabal of Slick never even had the thieves have to ruin it for the rest chance to begin his scientific of us. ceived samples of the stolen bits of study of the bones that he and his asthe Pangboche hand and shocked sociates had so crudely acquired. No Rick E. Hale is a 35-year-old native the world with its analysis. DNA one would believe them anyway. Not of Chicago. A paranormal researchtesting was still in its infancy but was only had they committed a crime er since the age of eight, Rick is hapquickly becoming an exact science that crossed international borders, pily married to a wonderful wife and when the bones were analyzed. who would take their word over the digs Jazz. Rick believes in the use of The testing showed that the word of Sir Edmund Hillary, the the scientific method in gathering tissue of the hand was “near humighty conqueror of Everest. evidence of paranormal claims. them with the bones from the hand of a mundane human, and slipped out. The kindly peaceful monks of Pangboche, Nepal, had no clue that the object of their worship had been tampered with.
For more than 30 years, the Pangboche hand was considered a fraud despite the efforts of cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, who became aware of the plot to steal the hand while reading archives as he prepared the biography of Tom Slick in 1989. Unfortunately, the whole affair cast a dubious light on the Texas millionaire.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 37
Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone?
By Rick E. Hale
his morning when I got home from work, a great flick was on television, a movie that I had not seen in a few years . . . Gremlins. I love this little monster movie. It has everything — love, adventure, and little green beasts running amok is a Midwestern town, destroying everything in sight. I can’t help it. The evil streak in me always cheers for the gremlins. Is that wrong? Anyway, although this movie is entirely fictional, would you believe that a similar event happened many years ago in the hill country of Kentucky? Well, according to the witnesses that experienced the bizarre event, such a thing did in fact occur — only without the cheesy prosthetics. Attack by an Alien Species On the night of August 21, 1955, the Sutton farm near the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, came under attack by an aggressive alien species. On the evening in question, Elmer “Lucky” Sutton and his family were entertaining the Billy Ray Taylor family — who was visiting from out of town. At around 7 p.m., Billy Ray decided he needed to wet his whistle and took a mosey out to the well for a cool drink of water. But about 30 seconds later, Billy Ray rushed back into the house and declared that while he was outside, he saw a UFO land just
beyond the trees in the woods. At first, the two families were speechless at the wild story of their friend. But, suddenly, everyone in attendance broke out in great torrents of laughter, saying that ole Billy Ray had seen nothing but a shooting star. At 8 p.m., the hoedown in the house was broken up by the frightened barking and howling of the family dog. Lucky’s wife peeked out the window to see what all the fuss was about, and watched as the otherwise brave hunting dog turned tail at some unseen threat and ran under the house. Lucky and Billy Ray could not understand what would make the old hound run away in hysterics. They both agreed that something strange was afoot and thought it might be a good idea to investigate. So they grabbed the shooting irons and ventured out the door to see what all the commotion was about. Terror Strikes a Family As the two men stood on the front porch scanning the woods and the property for any sign of trouble, Billy Ray was the first to see a strange creature emerge from the tree line. The two men watched as a three-foot being with a large head, big floppy ears, and a silvery jumpsuit started to make its way toward the men with a raised hand. The two men didn’t know what to make of the strange sight and won-
Paranormal Underground April 2009
On the night of August 21, 1955, the Sutton f Kentucky, was said to come under a
kdown in Kentucky
farm near the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, attack by an aggressive alien species.
dered whether or not the raised hand was a greeting or a threat. They didn’t want to take a chance and raised their rifles. This was when all the fun — or mayhem as it were — began. Lucky’s bullet was the first to meet its mark, and the two men were satisfied that the threat to their farm and family had been taken care of. Lucky’s wife opened the door to inquire what they were shooting at. Lucky turned to explain when he felt a clawed hand reach down from the roof and grab his hair. Billy Ray looked up to see a creature perched on the roof looking down at him. He pointed his gun square in the face of the little beast and squeezed off a shot. The creature seemed to float up and then away from the house. A terrified Lucky and Billy Ray were torn away from their shock when one of the women screamed and said that some kind of monster was peering through the window. Lucky ran to the side of the building and fired at one of the little beasties that appeared to be floating up by the window, and, like it’s companion, it seemed to float away unharmed. An hour after the shooting started, Mrs. Lankford, a guest, shouted over the rifle fire and demanded that the men cease firing. She pointed out that the creatures did not appear to mean any harm. However, Lucky and Billy Ray
remained on the front porch gripping their rifles like a couple of heroic cowboys, scanning the area for anymore signs of the creatures. Occasionally, the two men could see creeping forms in the shadows of the trees and wondered if another attack would soon commence. Although the night was now silent, the peace was broken by what sounded like a strange buzzing sound that seemed to scare the hell out of the dog and kept the men on their vigilant watch. Police Intervention Fearing another attack would soon come, Lucky and Billy Ray gathered their kith and kin together and piled in three separate cars around 11 p.m., not wanting to take the chance that the creatures may gather together and make another assault against the farm. Thirty minutes later, the frightened group stormed through the doors of the Hopkinsville Police Department, nearly scaring the chief of police to death. The chief ordered the chattering group to calm down and tell him what had happened. Lucky stepped forward and gave the chief a complete rundown of the night’s events. The chief listened to the story, all the while taking notice that no one appeared to have been drinking. The chief knew Lucky and his wife well, and knew that the two were
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Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone? Could the Sutton family and their friends have mistaken chimps or Great Horned Owls as alien invaders? Did they have a motive to make up the story? Skeptics, police, and the Air Force believed the attack on the Sutton farm was not an attack at all, but only a practical joke or the result of drunken family and friends. But the Sutton family maintained that they were attacked by alien invaders not of this world.
God-fearing Christians who would not make up such a fantastic story. So, the chief snapped into action and followed the frightened farmers back to the scene of the amazing story. A Case of Mistaken Identity? After the initial investigation by the police, which did not turn anything up but a bunch of bullet holes and broken windows, the Kentucky Era — a local newspaper — arrived on the scene to see what had happened, interviewing everyone involved. The next day, the paper published the story, detailing how a local farmer and his family and friends were attacked by 12 to 15 little somethings that appeared to not be of this world. The Sutton family would later tell investigators that they were not sure how many of the invaders were involved in the assault of the farm; technically, they really only saw three. Within days, Air Force personnel and UFO investigators descended upon the Sutton farm and took a look around to see if there was any physical evidence to back up the story of an alien invasion. No bodies of the little men in question could be found, which would back up the story that the creatures appeared to be unfazed by the weapons. However, one investigator found
a scorched patch of grass that looked like it was in the shape of a saucer. Another investigator found a Highway Patrolman, in the general vicinity of the Sutton farm, who claimed to have seen a strange light in the sky that appeared to travel in an upward trajectory. Although the Air Force had this corroborating eyewitness, they deemed the case to be one of mistaken identity, and claimed that the eyewitnesses had a little too much to drink. Monkeys, Owls, or Aliens? The event at the Sutton Farm near Kelly and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, is considered by investigators to be a real case of a possible alien invasion. Researchers feel that the Suttons and their guests are reliable witnesses who would not make up such a wild story. But despite the testimony of the Highway Patrolman and the saucer-shaped burnt grass found in the woods, the Air Force remained unconvinced. They believed the event to be a hoax. The Air Force claimed that what the Suttons and their guests saw were not aliens bent on world conquest, but chimps that had escaped from a circus — although the closest circus was 100 miles away in Tennessee. But wait, the explanations get better. Skeptics stated that what the Sutton clan and their guests saw that night
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attacking the farm was an aggressive flock of Great Horned Owls. Never mind that the Sutton clan had lived in the area for generations and were well acquainted with the flora and fauna of the area. This was no attack of the Great Horned Owl variety. Explanations be damned. On that night in August 1955, the Sutton family and their friends witnessed something extraordinary that scared the hell out of them, and it was not escaped chimps or an attack of Great Horned Owls. However, I do have a concern. If the creature came out of the woods holding up a hand as a peaceful gesture, why shoot first? Maybe the bathroom on the saucer was busted, or they were lost and needed directions to Area 51 or something . . . who knows. As a warning though to all who travel through Kelly and Hopkinsville: If you are on your way to a SciFi convention, and you are dressed as your favorite Martian, do not wander onto any farms. You may just get your ass blasted off!
Rick E. Hale is a 35-year-old native of Chicago. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, Rick is happily married to a wonderful wife and digs Jazz. Rick believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims.
Do You Have Topic Suggestions for Future â€œParanormal Underground Presentsâ€? Podcasts?
and let us know!
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 41
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History
The Strange Case of Pearl Curran and Patience Worth By Karen Frazier
icture it — the year is 1913. It is the height of the reemerging Spiritualist movement. A bored St. Louis housewife named Pearl Curran goes about her business. She has no interest in the occult other than goofing off with a Ouija board here and there. Pearl’s life is ordinary. She lives with her husband, John. The Currans aren’t rich — but they aren’t poor either. John makes enough that Pearl has a maid to help with the housework (lucky Pearl!) Pearl isn’t well-educated. She dropped out of school after her first year in high school because, according to Pearl, she had a nervous breakdown from the stress of academia. She’s not much of a reader. Has no interest in literature, poetry, or art. She’s just your normal, everyday 1913 housewife. It Started With a Ouija Board That was the world of Pearl Curran when Patience Worth came into her life one July afternoon during tea with her mother and her neighbor, Emily Grant Hutchings. They were tinkering around with the Ouija board, bored with the nonsense answers that they were receiving in response to their questions. And then they got a message.
“Many moons ago I lived. Again I come. Patience Worth is my name. Wait, I would speak with thee. If thou shalt live, then so shall I. I make my bread at thy hearth. Good friends, let us be merrie. The time for work is past. Let the tabby drowse and blink her wisdom to the firelog.” And so it began, Pearl’s long relationship with the spirit, Patience Worth, who lived in England in the mid to late 17th Century, later coming to America, where she was murdered by Indians. Pearl was hooked. She began using the Ouija board more and more to commuIn 1913, Pearl Curran (pictured above) began comnicate with Patience, until suddenly one day she realized municating with a deceased spirit (Patience Worth) via Ouija Board, automatic writing, and séances. that the Ouija board wasn’t necessary. Soon, Patience began to “dictate” messages to nearly 5,000 poems, several novels, Pearl, who would then scribble them a play, and other short works. Many on a piece of paper — later using a were published and received critical typewriter for the dictation. acclaim. The works were filled with ancient languages and references to Automatic Writing objects that hadn’t been in use for Pearl’s career in automatic hundreds of years. writing was born. Over the next Of the writing, Pearl described it quarter century, Patience dictated as a type of “magic picture book.”
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According to Curran, “I am like a child with a magic picture book. Once I look upon it, all I have to do is to watch its pages open before me, and revel in their beauty and variety and novelty . . . When the poems come, there also appear before my eyes images of each successive symbol, as the words are given me . . . When the stories come, the scenes become panoramic, with the characters moving and acting their parts, even speaking in converse. The picture is not confined to the point narrated, but takes in everything else within the circle of vision at the time . . . “If the people talk a foreign language, as in The Sorry Tale, I hear the talk, but over and above is the voice of Patience, either interpreting or giving me the part she wishes to use as story.” Patience Worth and Pearl Curran became celebrities. People traveled from miles around to sit in on Pearl’s automatic writing sessions. Pearl would sit in a brightly lit room and type away at her typewriter while Patience dictated. She was always fully conscious — never in a trance — during the dictations. This in and of itself was unusual during the Spiritualist movement, when most Spiritualist mediums went about their work in darkened rooms, where they seemingly entered into a “trance state.” Patience was often impatient with Pearl when she struggled with the spelling or definition of words. She seemed to consider her host stupid and wasn’t afraid to let her impatience be known.
although it continued on sporadically throughout the rest of her life, until her death in 1937. As public interest in both Spiritualism and Patience Worth began to fade, critics came out of the woodwork to debunk Pearl’s claims. One critic jumped on the fact that Patience had written a novel about the Victorian Era, in spite of it being 200 years after she reportedly lived. Others, however, felt that Pearl’s education (or lack thereof) and the complexity of the language used by Patience Worth — 90% Anglo-Saxon and 10% old French according to one expert — showed that Pearl would be unable to fake the brilliance of the literature that was written during the Patience Worth sessions. Following John Curran’s death in 1922, Pearl found that she needed a way to support herself and her family. She entered the lecture circuit. She also continued to provide the public with the works of Patience Worth. She remarried twice during this time — both short-lived. In 1937, Pearl told her friend, Alexander Bailey (Dotsie) Smith, that Patience predicted she would die soon. Pearl was in excellent health at the time. A few months later, Pearl developed pneumonia, and she died on December 3, 1937. To this day, people from time to time claim that they have received communication from Patience Worth. In most cases, according to experts, the personality of Patience Worth seems to come through, but the writing is inferior. Is it possible that a highly gifted writer — long dead — was able to communicate through a barely educated St. Louis housewife? To this day, the mystery remains.
Automatic writer Pearl Curran had little interest in the occult.
Lessening the Connection In 1922, Pearl became pregnant with her first child. It was during this time that the connection between Pearl and Patience began to fade,
My Playfellow by Patience Worth
I remember thee in my youth, when our hands Were still soft and dimpled, and the contact of them; And the bright painted bits with which we played; And the agony of breaking them, and the woe Of darkness, and the mysteries of The little path that led past the hill, Where the tall grass swayed, and the shrub-wood Frowned like a monstrous forest. I remember the tinkling silver of your laugh, Like the breaking of a prismatic crystal of ice Which hung some height, spraying out Upon the crusted snow, coldly, yet warmly; And the innocence of your empty eyes, Awaiting earth’s filling, And the quick twitching smile, which was Forever crowding in upon your lips. I remember you then, my playfellow, And I cannot forget you, even in the somber man, Who with intricate words argues with me; Even amid your learning I hear The tinkling laughter of the boy, And the little things that filled the day Will not depart. Oh come, come back with me! Let us forget all — Save the little path and the woods And your laughter and mine; for after all — What new thing have we learned? (~as dictated to Pearl Curran)
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 43
Why Do We Believe In and I
A History of Cultural
By J.D. Harrison, Archaeologist
ave you ever wondered about the origins of belief in the supernatural? Think about it. How did it begin? Some of the very first and earliest known writings dating back to more than 5,000 years ago chronicle belief in a supernatural world. What was the impetus for this belief? We know that a person’s culture and beliefs are passed down from parent to child, generation after generation. We are not born with the knowledge of what we learn. Somewhere in the long distant past, something happened to early humans to begin the process of thought for the belief in the supernatural. But what was it? Why do we believe in ghosts, the afterlife, the paranormal, and other related phenomenon? In this article, we will examine a cultural history of paranormal beliefs and practices and examine how these early ideas about paranormal activity still affect what we believe in today. Honoring the Dead In anthropology, one viewpoint on the subject is that as early man became more cognizant of himself and his surroundings, the use of symbolism became an important part of life. Art and ritual begins to become
a prominent factor in many cultures, culminating in the written word. However, I feel that another factor may have been important in playing a role in our belief in the supernatural. As these early hunter-gatherer groups became more sedentary, the concept of territorialism was established. Early groups would have established areas where they could gather the food and materials needed to ensure their survival. They would have defended these areas vigorously, as the environment they now lived in was limited and dictated their needs. One problem that arose as people began to establish a living territory was dealing with the dead. Establishing an area within their living environment for this purpose gave rise to the concept of “sacred space.” A burial ground or cremation area would have been considered sacred by these people, as this was where those they knew in life now rested. It was a respected place, and maybe even feared, for the archaeological record shows that offerings were made to many of the deceased, indicating a belief in the afterlife. Did this belief arise due to becoming sedentary? I feel that it certainly was a factor, but why the need to offer the dead goods used in life? Was this done to ensure
Paranormal Underground April 2009
Somewhere in the long distant past, something h thought for the belief in the su
their success in the afterlife, or an offer of appeasement so the dead would not return and “haunt” the living? Paranormal Belief Begins All of these ideas have strong paranormal implications, indicating that at some point in time people had to have experienced something
Investigate the Paranormal?
l Beliefs and Practices
happened to early humans to begin the process of upernatural. But what was it?
that caused them to begin their belief in the paranormal. What was it? Think about this. At one point, there was no word in any language that denoted ghosts, a soul, or an afterlife. But, suddenly, when the first written languages appeared, the writings chronicled a belief in the supernatural. What caused this
change? Anthropologists and sociologists have argued for decades that self-awareness played a major role in how early peoples formed their ideas and beliefs, and many theories on how these ideas came about have been postulated. In order to understand how the idea of the paranormal entered our conscious thought, we must first attempt to further clarify this concept. So we have established that at one time in human history, there was no word or concept for ghosts or the afterlife. Look at it like a new invention. Today, we are oblivious to it, but tomorrow it is introduced to us, we give it a name, and it becomes a part of our culture. That is the concept we are trying to understand. Where did the idea for spirits and an afterlife come from? How did it occur, and what was the catalyst that caused it? What put those thoughts into early man’s cognizance? Think about this for a moment. The idea that our bodies contain a spirit and the spirit is released after death is a complex one, and it seems to have spread like wildfire throughout early cultures. An idea like this does not “suddenly appear” into a culture’s pantheon of beliefs. Did someone way back in time
actually see a ghost? Is this what caused these concepts to come about and evolve into what they are today, or was it something else? Maybe it was a combination of things. We do not know the answers, and maybe we never will, but it seems more logical that early man experienced some form of paranormal activity, causing this belief to spread through cultures, rather than the concept of the paranormal suddenly “appearing” in man’s thoughts. But why the seeming cultural explosion in this belief? It seems that sometime around 5000 years ago, ceremonialism and ritual concerning burying the dead skyrocketed in almost every culture. Remember, there was no mass communications back then, and most people had no clue that other cultures even existed. What they could see and experience was limited to their world, forming their worldview or how their environment was perceived. What do you think happened? And in keeping with our main question, where did the concept of and our belief in ghosts come from? Did someone invent the word ghost and its definition one day, or did something else happen to cause cultures around the world to believe in them?
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 45
Cultural Beliefs Superstitious Beliefs As environmental changes took place, causing early hunter-gatherer groups to become sedentary, death became an issue in regard to what must be done with the body. Since these early people were now confined to a “territory,” so to speak, a place to put the dead became more of a necessity. With this practice arose the rituals that dictated the proper disposal of the dead and the superstitious beliefs of the consequences that would occur if these rituals were not followed. Also, enculturation — or the practice of coming into contact with other cultures and adopting their practices and beliefs — would also have played a role. Other cultures may have practiced a different ritual or interment practice that could be added to the beliefs and superstitions of various cultures. However, this still does not answer the question, how did the term ghost and its meaning enter into the consciousness of early man? What was it that caused this belief to come about? As was mentioned earlier, culture is passed down from parent to child, generation after generation, and as the concept of the paranormal entered these cultures, these beliefs were passed down also just as they are today. However, this raises another question; how did they come up with these rituals, and why did they think they would work? In order to understand how the belief in a supernatural world possibly evolved within cultures, we can examine and attempt to understand early cultures and their superstitions regarding the paranormal. Examining these can help us understand what cultures believed about ghosts, the paranormal, and the rituals they practiced that would protect them from harm. Studying the superstitious beliefs regarding spirits and ghosts within a culture can be very telling as a superstition denotes that not only is there
a belief that ghosts exist, but also that things can be done to prevent being haunted or harmed by these spirits. Several things to ask yourself as we look at some of these superstitions or “folklore” are: Why did they believe that spirits could harm them, and why did they think that certain rituals would prevent harm or haunting? In America, many of the beliefs that we have today regarding spirits and the supernatural have their origins in early European beliefs, and we can examine a few of these to further understand the origins of paranormal thought. Origins of Paranormal Thought These will be broad beliefs from a cultural perspective, as they encompass Celtic, Gaelic, Briton, and Welsh traditions. Studying these types of folk-
When did ghosts enter the consciousness of early man? lore from different cultures not only allows us to see what people believed about the paranormal historically, but also helps us to come to a better understanding of our own beliefs in the paranormal. As you read the following accounts, try to pick out any correlations or similarities to the beliefs of the time and our beliefs today, and ask yourself how did these beliefs come about? As I mentioned, the following are just general examples. There is an old Eastern European superstition that the body put in the first grave dug in a new graveyard is always claimed by the devil. In order to counter this unpleasant thought, an animal was usually sacrificed and buried as the first inhabitant. This practice was considered to appease the Devil, and the cemetery
Paranormal Underground April 2009
was then safe for use. It is also said to be unlucky to dig or plough any ground in which a body has been buried, and certainly no crops planted there will flourish. Traditionally, sacred space or burial grounds were almost exclusively placed in areas considered unfit to farm. Could this tradition have been a result of beliefs by early hunter-gatherers? As they became more sedentary and began to bury their dead, the archaeological record shows that many of the areas they chose were not suitable for agriculture. They were also located far from the living areas of the group. Selection of burial areas received much consideration by early cultures for both practical and superstitious reasons as this next belief illustrates. Because of a very ancient superstition that the south wind brings corruption, the south side of churches has always been regarded as the holiest, and it was here for generations that people insisted on being buried. Only folk who had committed suicide or the corpses of stillborn unbaptized children were buried on the north side. Graves should, of course, always be dug running east to west, so that the corpse may lie with his/her feet to the east and his/her head to the west and thereby be ready to rise when the call comes from the east on the Day of Judgment. This is a similar belief in many early cultures; the rising and setting sun played a significant part in the worldview of many. The rising sun represented renewal and new life, while the setting sun represented an ending and a journey into the unknown. Many Cairns and burial chambers were aligned to the rising and setting sun, and even the solstices in the case of the Celtic culture. This played a significant role in the early Celtic beliefs of Europe, and many native cultures throughout North and South America.
Remember, to these cultures, there was no guarantee that the sun would come up again once it set, and many different religions formed that practiced rituals to ensure that this would happen. Regarding other beliefs about burials, people in many European countries believe it is unlucky to step over a grave, and particularly over one in which lays a stillborn baby or unbaptized child. These superstitions show that there was a strong belief in the idea that the spirit accompanied the body and that a person’s spirit could do you harm if you disrespected it. Other beliefs that support this idea are, despite the long history of grave robbing, it has always been considered unlucky to disturb a grave (you may well release a ghost), and no good will ever come of using tombstones or any other objects from a graveyard in the construction of a new building. Such a construction is said to run the risk of collapsing because it has “death built into it.”
to ensure that the departed was comfortable and happy in the afterlife. The Native American Inuit tribes of North America had a practice that was believed to keep the spirit of the deceased out of the home altogether. They believed that by cutting a hole in the back wall of their dwellings and removing the body of the departed through the opening, then sealing the opening, would cause the spirit to be confused and be unable to find their way back to the home. This type of superstition further strengthens early man’s belief that the dead could return to haunt the living. Hopefully this article has shown you how the early beliefs of various cultures have always indicated a belief in the paranormal throughout history. It seems that not only have their been beliefs in the paranormal, but these beliefs have given rise to ritual and practice regarding the paranormal that still exist in the cultures of today. But one question still remains: How did it all begin? Given the elusive nature of tracking down Appeasing the Dead original thought, especially As was mentioned earacross various cultures with lier in this article, many ritudiffering beliefs and worldals formed in order to previews, we may never know. vent harm to the living by Traditionally, sacred space or burial grounds were almost However, we are exclusively placed in areas considered unfit to farm. those who have departed, inquisitive beings, and but some superstitions show even today there are many that many had an interest in that the spirits of the departed would investigative groups out there strivdetecting spirits, just as we do today continually awaken those who disreing to find the answers about the in paranormal investigations. One garded this practice through the night. paranormal that eluded our ancestors of these superstitions that illustrate Another appeasement belief was that and gave rise to these superstitions. this thought beautifully comes from it was considered good to leave a One thing is for certain though, only Britain and Ireland. few embers glowing in the hearth in through careful consideration and the In those cultures, people becase the dead wants to return seeking use of proper scientific methods will lieved that if a candle flame suddenly warmth in their own home. we be able to come close to the truth. turns blue, there’s a ghost nearby. Feeling that the dead could be Until next time. Another of these beliefs was that warmed and still feel the comforts of spirits of the departed cannot cross the living is very similar to practices J.D. Harrison formerly wrote under running water. One wonders how of offering grave goods by early man the name Binoo’mukua. beliefs such as these entered the
consciousness of a culture. Was it through observation and experimentation, or just “old wives tales”? People of these periods were also greatly concerned with keeping spirits of the departed either appeased or out of their homes altogether, further strengthening the belief that early cultures felt that harm could come to them from the departed. One belief felt to appease a spirit was that sweeping the threshold of the home at sunset was not advised as it may remove any spirits that have permission to return to their home for the night. It is unclear where this permission came from, but it was believed
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 47
Fiction: Featured Author
Vehicular By Peter Navarro
runken driving. He startles from blackout to the blast of a tow truck’s angry horn. Jon’s “borrowed” ’94 Mustang swerves back in between the dashes of white he just violated. A sign zips past him at 55 mph reading ‘I-95 South,’ though he doesn’t remember what route brought him here. Twenty-one shots of Jack ago, he was fighting with his girlfriend at a party — the aftermath of which led him to snatch the keys to her brother’s beloved Mustang to drive the liquor off. Gotta stay awake, Jon thinks to himself, but the alcohol says, Gotta go faster, and so he steps and makes the needle hit 70. Fast cars are fun. Then somewhere around 80 mph, a black sports car dangerously cuts him off and presents itself but a few feet in front of him. He brakes lightly, only to have the sports car somehow brake with him in unison, his front end maintaining a perilous closeness to the car’s rear bumper. His anger precipitates ‘f’ bombs — small droplets of angry whisky that spray the windshield. The black sports car is close enough that Jon can now see a make and model: BMW M3 with plates that spell ‘feel me.’ “Feel me? What kind of an asshole has ‘feel me’ on his plates?” he says aloud, imagining some pretentious hotshot driver. Jon angrily
swerves left and tries to speed past him, but the agitator pulls ahead and does the same — the BMW is trapping him. He punches the steering wheel, curses the driver’s mother, and swerves right this time nearly rearending a corolla on the adjacent lane in the process. The M3, as if on cue with Jon, slows down and maintains its place right beside him on the highway. The corolla he almost hit decides it wants no part in this tussle and speeds off.
An artificial cackle emanated from the car’s interior. Side by side with the BMW, Jon looks over to try and see his attacker, but sees nothingness. There is a puzzling absence of matter inside the car where a yuppie is supposed to be. It’s not that the windows are tinted, it’s that there is nothing but darkness inside the vehicle. No, this can’t be right, he thinks and rolls down his window to get a completely unobstructed view. It’s as if the car was in a magazine ad, all shiny and new, but someone grabbed a marker and painted the interior
Paranormal Underground April 2009
black — he can’t even see through the windows to the other side of the road; there are no windows. Jon tried peering harder into the darkness of the automobile, but couldn’t for more than a few moments, not because it diverted his attention from the road, but because staring into that abyss gave him a strange feeling of dread — like staring down from a great height, or down the barrel of a gun. Even stranger is that their cars are moving as one; when Jon speeds up or slows down, even slightly, ‘feel me’ does the same. He tries, unsuccessfully, to attribute the anomaly at the wheel as a strange figment of his own drunkenness and forcefully attempts to escape the situation by grinding his sole on the pedal once more. No use; ‘feel me’ maintains its invisible connection to him, and even pulls up with eerie precision to within sideswiping range of the Mustang. So close are they right now, that if he wants to do so, Jon could reach into the emptiness of the car’s passenger side. He looks fearfully into that black spot that seems darker than night itself and hears a loud, artificial cackle emanate from the car’s interior. For the life of him, Jon swears it sounds like Vincent Price’s laugh, but recorded, with a static quality to it that seems as though it’s coming from the car’s radio. Jon makes another attempt to take
himself back into reality, to somehow return to the fear of blue lights and sobriety tests from this almost demonic place he is in, trapped between ‘feel me’ and the service road. All he can think of is to engage this motorist or machine, or whatever it is, in some old-fashioned road rage and yells: “Hey jerkoff, that laugh track is pretty lame man!” In response, ‘feel me’ accelerates and speeds away in a matter of moments. Jon sees the M3’s tail lights become small specks of red that blend into the vastness of the highway. He is in disbelief. The speed with which the car fled and disappeared seemed disturbingly
impossible, even if it had nitrous. Unnerved, he instead tries to brush the whole thing off and drives onward until he sees the highway turn into a wide curve to reveal blue and red lights in the distance — a welcome sight. Normalcy. He slows down, so as to blend with the speed limit and not draw the police’s attention toward him. The police and ambulances he sees are concentrated on a Corolla that crashed into a large green sign, though he can’t tell if it was the same car he almost hit when the BMW tried to slam into him — the alcohol is clouding his recall. He then briefly imagines what would happen were that to be his
fate as well, if he was to drift off again and hit a sign or worse, hit someone else. Exhales. Reason slowly begins to surface from within, and a sense of order beckons him to get off on the next exit and go back northbound, back home. A refreshing green sign, dull like a Heineken bottle, says ‘Jamestown ¾ miles and U-turn.’ He begins to slow down, checks his blind spotclear, and just as he is about to enter the right lane, ‘feel me’ enters his vision from the right. Even stranger is that the BMW seemingly just flashed his lights and appeared — as if the car was behind him the entire time. Did it double
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 49
Fiction: Featured Author back? he wonders and then immediately rejects this notion because he saw this car take off in front of him. “I never passed him . . . how could he be behind me?” The downright creepiness of this new situation combines with the mysterious nature of the car to open doors in his mind that bend the fragile comprehension of reality he has formed in his years. Jon tries to force his way into the exit to try and escape, but ‘feel me’ doesn’t let him and, in seconds faster than it takes to see the exit, whisks past him. The two cars are now alone on the road, two star crossed rivals. The southbound highway then divides itself from its counterpart, a thick stretch of trees between them. Now, it’s just Jon, two lanes, and ‘feel me’; there aren’t even any cars around anymore — they’ve all disappeared. The empty driver makes things worse by speeding up ahead of Jon and cutting him off by what seem like inches, agitating him further. The control and accuracy with which ‘feel me’ drives gives the car a robotic nature to it, a computer-operated death machine sent here to kill him. In a rebuttal of tantrum, Jon speeds up, not caring for what he hits in front of him, attempting to give ‘feel me’ a taste of its own offensive driving; ‘feel me’ also speeds up, avoiding Jon’s attack. “How do you like it huh asshole!” Jon yells viciously at the M3. ***** Jon is an angry man in his midthirties who has realized his limitations in life. His job [office assistant], girlfriend [overweight], and his ‘real’ car [94 Toyota Tercel] were all severe downgrades from how he imagined them years ago. He had taken to the highway to run away from a circle of banality and now finds himself trapped in a straightaway of unknown consequenc-
es, courtesy of German engineering. He then notices the car’s symbol, that mark of elitism, the blue crossing the white, forever interlocked and yet never one in the same, and sees it as mockery — he experiences a deeply seeded sense of bitterness toward life itself stemming from this car. It’s as if all his shortcomings are gushing out of that quad exhaust and being splattered onto his face — the car is shitting on him. This BMW and everything it represents — money, power, and women — is a reminder of how ordinary he will always be. He will never have it all. With this in mind, Jon feels his rage seep from his pores and now hunts this extension of the night down the empty, listless road, speeding up, as if by digging his foot into the accelerator he is stepping on the driver’s throat, crushing and suffocat-
In a rebuttal of tantrum, Jon speeds up . . . ing. But ‘feel me’ playfully avoids all of Jon’s advances, even the most dangerous sideswipes . . . 90 mph, 100 mph, 110 mph; more anger leads to more speeding, his body and the Mustang burning alcohol and gasoline, respectively. But amidst their game, the road diverges once more and reveals an exit, one that ‘feel me’ is taking at about 90 mph. Now in this split second, Jon must make a decision, to either follow ‘feel me’ off the exit or continue southbound . . . he takes the exit and follows road rage personified down the ramp to a sign that has been spray-painted white. ***** As the exit winds around, he
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loses the red taillights of the BMW — the car is gone. Frustrated, he drives through a traffic signal, takes the red light, and begins to look for his prey. The roads are deserted. Jon begins taking any right or left turn in this seemingly abandoned town with only a few cars parked on the curbs. Right, left, two stops, intersection — nothing. He is following a clouded instinct made up of the misfiring synapses in his brain that leads him nowhere. Minutes go by until Jon sees the tail lights of his nemesis pop out of an intersecting road ahead of him. He follows the car to a right turn and is shocked to see ‘feel me’ parked in front of a railroad crossing on the wrong side of a double yellow, twolane road. He pulls up on the BMW’s right and looks inside with bloodshot eyes at blackness that reflects nothing of the flashing red railroad crossing lights just ahead of him. Were it anyone or anything else, Jon would’ve stepped out and made this a physical confrontation, but the black unknown warned him not to do so, for he felt something awful would happen to him if he dared. The railroad bell then rings but no train passes. Malfunction? No. Jon suddenly thinks he realizes what’s going on here. He is dreaming; this whole incident is taking place while he is passed out on the couch back in South Jersey. This is the only way he can deal with this current scenario. ‘Feel me’ is now revving his engine up and giving off all the signals that he, she, or it wants to drag race; it seems set up, as if he was in a story. Was he watching that movie with Charlie Sheen, The Wraith, before he passed out at the party? He must’ve. This has to be it — there isn’t even a train on the railroad; it’s not as if this empty car also somehow has command of the train tracks as well as the highway.
Then, Jon notices something awful in the distance. The road ahead of him, which seems only about a half a mile long, ends at the mouth of a blackened, hooded monster. This hooded and giant face in the distance has peering red eyes and a pointy tip to its head, making it look like an evil monk whose shroud covers all — save for his red beads of fear. Nightmares are dreams that you wake up from just before you die.
So is this a nightmare? The demonic face at the end of this road says so, and this night has played into some sort of crescendo. Jon accepts the silent motorist’s challenge and revs up his loud, Ford engine fiercely. “Hey Charlie Sheen, I’m gonna kick your ass!” he yells into the darkness of the M3’s interior. The monster in the distance agrees; its foreboding eyes piercing at them both — their final destina-
tion is itself the darkness. The white crossing sticks go up slowly as the revving of their engines turn into screeching rubber on asphalt, and before Jon can even see that it’s safe to cross, they take off. ***** At first, they are close, with ‘feel me’ taking a slow lead that augments with every millisecond. Jon has his knee extended and locked into the pedal and tries to somehow will the Mustang through his own alcoholic rage to overtake ‘feel me’ and vanquish it. ‘Feel me’ returns the favor by echoing its only other means of communication besides the engine’s roar, that both disturbing and familiar cackle of laughter. Ahead, the hooded figure’s head is larger and it appears as though it will swallow them both whole. But Jon doesn’t care, he’s less afraid of engaging this monstrosity in front of him than he is of losing to the one next to him. Besides, he’s seen this in the movies; he will crash into the monster’s face, and just before impact will wake up and it will be morning. The real world exists somewhere far away from here. Jon and his Mustang start to overtake the M3. He grins wickedly and feels rushing victory flow through his body. But then as it seems he is about to take command of this nightmare, he notices something odd. The monster up ahead; its eyes are now green. Why? he wonders as the monster’s darkness approaches him quickly, as if the hooded being is now rushing toward both of them. Now, a horrible realization overcomes him . . . its eyes, are green . . . those lights are green — they’re traffic lights . . . it’s not a monster. “It’s a church . . . it’s a church . . . gotta stop . . . brake . . . brake . . . c’mon . . . please God brake!” In an instant, Jon finds himself
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Fiction: Featured Author with both his feet pressed hard against the brakes, one over the other, again using his own strength to muscle the car to stop as he wants it to — he must, for the church up ahead isn’t moving anywhere, and he will crash right into it if he doesn’t stop in time. The ‘hood’ covering the monster’s head was merely the steeple, the eyes, formerly red with fire were now a pale and familiar traffic green, and they were all coming toward him it seemed. And in this struggle to stay alive, ‘feel me’ is driving on, seemingly unconcerned with what’s ahead. Jon flings forward into his seatbelt as the Mustang swerves and skids out of control toward the ‘T’ intersection that is made by the street crossing the church and the street that he is on now, which leads straight to the church. He is clinging to this street for all life to keep him from death — he was baptized in one, and he will now die in one it seems. But up ahead, ‘feel me’ who is already two car lengths in front of him as he brakes vigorously and is suddenly crossed, violently, from the left, by a large, swerving 18-wheeler truck that is also skidding, honking, and braking like Jon is now; the three are all headed for a mangled oblivion of flesh and steel before God’s feet. And yet . . . Jon’s Mustang stops and avoids the accident, just arm’s length from where the 18-wheeler ‘seemed’ to hit the M3. Jon sees the truck cross in front of him; the sounds of a crash following just seconds thereafter. ***** Screams of a woman are heard, followed by crushed steel and more screeching. Jon stumbles out of his Ford to see what has happened. Shock. ‘Feel me’ is nowhere to be found. No glass, metal, or plastic or any indication that another car was hit as the truck crossed its path. His eyes grow wide as he sees a few people
flock out of what looks like a diner two businesses next to the church. How? Nothing could physically brake that fast and have avoided the church. Jon even went to the large arched doorway just to feel it with his own hands to make sure that ‘feel me’ hadn’t gone right through and ended up a permanent part of the altar. Behind him, cries and the numbers ‘911’ are screamed out. Terror has struck from the depths of the night and yet he is all too concerned with uncovering the fate of his nemesis. ‘Feel me’ is gone. And what’s left behind — as Jon turns to see — is a complete disaster. Down the street, the truck has swerved and crushed two parked cars on the side of a road in front of a hotel, leaving behind a
. . . the three are all headed for a mangled oblivion of flesh and steel before God’s feet . . . mangled mess of glass, tire marks, and what appear to be entrails. He walks over to see the truck now crushed into the side of a van, which is now twisted like a ‘U.’ He passes a screaming woman and the noises of retching and commotion. He could’ve sworn that the truck hit ‘feel me.’ Yeah, that must’ve been it — idiot was looking for it in the church. A crash this violent with an 18-wheeler involved could’ve sent the M3 spinning out all the way over here. Still, there is no sign of ‘feel me.’ What the hell? Jon thinks while he notices what looks like a mangled man scrapped and splattered on
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the road — the trucker. He had been flung out of his seat and sent tumbling and violently meeting the concrete, leaving behind streaks of blood that are almost parallel to the yellow ones in the middle. After vomiting, Jon starts the walk back to his car, but then sees the other half of this collision. Apparently, the trucker sideswiped a man who was getting into his Ford Explorer SUV, and in the chaos and unpredictability of car accidents, managed to split him in two. The door of the Explorer seemed to be impaled into him, making his body seem longer than it was, and he was now a part of his own car. In the passenger side, which he can barely make out because the windshield is cracked and red, a woman — the same one he heard from before — is screaming out in terror the name John over and over again. He stumbles past the severed couple in the SUV and straight for the Mustang. The hotel in front where the SUV is now mangled is where he plans to stay tonight. He is briefly amazed at how when you’re drunk, plans seem to sort of make themselves. A young man passes by him and exclaims: “Jesus, I saw the whole thing. That damn trucker took a red light.” This snatches Jon’s attention. He grabs the man by the arm and asks, “You saw it? What happened?!” “Yeah! That trucker took a red light and sideswiped that SUV over there and crashed into that van — probably a drunk driver. You know how these guys are on the road man, they don’t give a crap.” “Was there another car hit? A Black BMW? M3?” “No . . . I didn’t see that. It was just the truck. But like, it was weird, the trucker was honking his horn when he was taking the red light.” Jon stared in awe and looked down the direction of the road to see
if perhaps, just maybe, ‘feel me’ would have somehow crashed in the opposite direction, even though this was physically impossible. It is at this point that Jon let’s go. The night has transformed into wreckage, and he finds himself almost too lucky to have survived it, despite his best efforts. From next to his hood, he stares in the direction of the screaming woman and thinks how that could’ve, and perhaps should’ve, been him instead. He covers his face with his hands and lets them slide down, as if to wipe away the insanity of this evening. Then he hears it again. ***** He spins around and hears the synthetic laughter. Fucking Vincent Price! he thinks and sees a car make a turn just a few feet from him. It’s a sleek, gray, Ford Shelby GT 500, right out of the movies, rare even for this night. But despite the rarity and beauty of the automobile, it isn’t that which Jon focuses on, but more the audible laughter from within the vehicle’s dark interior. The Shelby then makes a run straight for him. It turns and viciously comes close to flattening him against the side of his own car, and for a moment, Jon thinks he indeed will be like the other John. But the Shelby misses him and peels out tire to concrete, taking off down the street — the plates say ‘feel me.’ Jon hears the cackle once more, and although he is startled all the way down to his groin — Jon has pissed his pants cold — he takes this to mean ‘goodbye.’ From behind him, he hears another loud engine. “Is it back?” he says to himself. But it’s just an ordinary car.
“Hey man! You see a Shelby come this way?” asks a bald man that pulls up to Jon in a red and shiny Corvette. Passenger seat holds a bored and buxom blonde. His face looks agitated and ready to take their lives into his own hands. “. . . Sorry man. Didn’t see it,” Jon responds. “Damn. You won’t believe it, but this Shelby cut me off the highway a while back and flashed his hazards at me, like he wanted a piece. I’ve never raced a Shelby . . . I think I could beat one though — got some NOS in this baby,” the man said as he revved his engine. “Can we go home now?” the blonde interjects. “Alright . . . thanks anyways man.” “No prob,” Jon replies and waves a tired hand. The bald man drives down the street slowly, his engine muffled and dejected. Here and now, Jon believes he understands. A mind doused in spirits makes the most plausible explanation it can for all of this. Tonight ‘feel me’ was, for Jon, 8 cylinders and 400 plus horsepower of provocation, penetrating the night
at 200 miles per hour. For the bald man in the Corvette, it is the sheer thrill of racing legendary American muscle. To all, ‘feel me’ is the demon of the reckless driver, patrolling the asphalt beneath the sea of black to claim the careless and their victims — no doubt the man in the SUV is dead because of it. But in the lucky and cruel randomness of death, ‘feel me’ is also the Russian roulette of the traffic accident, randomly turning automobiles into steel coffins; and when Jon’s turn came up, his chamber was empty, while the other John’s was not. Sometimes, punishment is reserved for another night. Jon nonchalantly parks into a spot conveniently easy to get into, pretty fortunate for him, because he considers how difficult it would be to parallel park in his still halfdrunk state. He walks past the crying woman and checks into the hotel. The clerk is more interested at getting a glimpse of the carnage outside than swiping his credit card. He enters a deep sleep and wakes up the next morning, sober. *****
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Diary From a Haunted Hotel By Carolyn M. Hughes
hen I began working as a night auditor a year and a half ago at Quality Inn at General Lee’s Headquarters, located on the Gettysburg battlefield, I anticipated experiencing nothing more interesting than having some bizarre request from a guest. However, I never expected my spirit friends to visit so often or to hear so many accounts of activity from unsuspecting guests. I never thought they would alert us to their presence in so many creative ways, or for there to be so much activity involved. I am of the personal belief that spirits only want us to know they are still here and not to forget what happened here, for it is on this ground that they truly gave their “last full measure of devotion.” Here is my ongoing diary of my experiences within the hotel . . .
Tues., Jan. 13 7:40 a.m.: I was standing in the lobby in anticipation of any guests that might want to check out. I heard several footsteps in the attic directly above my head in the lobby area. They started from the middle of the ceiling and stopped after a few steps. I checked to make sure one of the maintenance men was not up in the attic getting supplies. No one was there.
Thurs., Jan. 15 2:45 a.m.: Courtney stepped out the side entrance to get a breath of fresh air and was immediately assaulted with a foul odor. As we have both experienced this gruesome smell and compared notes, we both describe it as something that has died and been out too long. Courtney said it only lasted approximately 30 seconds and then was completely gone.
4:03 a.m.: Courtney heard what she described as bumping noises that were coming from that front part of the attic in the lobby area. Both Courtney and I have conferred, and it is only in the past six weeks or so that either of us have heard those loud thump or thuds or the appearance of something hitting the front of the building. Also, until recently, I have never seen those flashing rods before, and Courtney has yet to see them. We are both anxious about the construction starting in two weeks and can’t wait to see what the boys will do!
Courtney smelled a foul odor, Sat., Jan. 17 like something 5:14 p.m.: I went into the breakhad died. fast room to re-stock the breakfast area 3:50 a.m.: Courtney was standing at the side entrance watching the snow fall when something flew past the door at about waist level. She described it as small and dark, and moving incredibly fast. The thought that immediately popped into her head was a bullet. Courtney said it was too small to be a bird or a bat, and she doubted any bugs would be flying around in the snow or moving that fast through the air. She stepped out the door and tried to see where it went, but it just shot past her and then it was gone.
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for the next morning. I always push all the chairs in tight against the tables as I have a habit of hitting them in the dark while walking through the room to get my middle-of-the-night coffee. I had accomplished this task and had my back to the tables for about two minutes before turning to return to the lobby. It was then that I saw one of the chairs had been pulled way out from one of the tables. I questioned my co-worker, Barb, who was at the front desk. She had been reading the newspaper and didn’t hear or see anything. I immediately grabbed my camera and took a picture
to document it. Then, I pushed it back tight against the table. No more chairs were moved that night. 6:19 p.m.: I had to step out the side private entrance off the lobby to attend to some business. When I returned, I was angry and shut the door hard and locked it. I walked five feet from the door to the computer terminal to run a report, and five minutes later I heard a noise on my right and turned and watched the door opening. I walked over, saw it was still locked, checked to see if there was any wind, but it was still outside. I asked Barb if she saw what just happened and her reply was, “Yes, but the door is locked. How did they do that?” If I have learned anything while working here, it is that they are capable of all kinds of incredible feats. Well, if they wanted to make me laugh to dispel my anger, it worked.
Tues., Jan. 27 6:59 a.m.: We have a TV in the office that I have on to catch up on the news while getting breakfast together. I always turn it off just before 7:00 a.m. when I unlock the lobby door. I had turned off the TV and stood just to the right of it for a minute watching the snow that was falling. I wanted another minute of peace before breakfast and check out. I then walked to the lobby door to unlock it. I immediately returned to the office to put away the “lobby hours” sign we have on the door. The TV was back on. Yes, boys, I would love to sit here watching the news with my coffee, but I have another hour yet before I can go home to do that.
Sun., Feb. 1 7:00 p.m.: Courtney stepped out the side private lobby door and immediately smelled sweet cherry pipe tobacco (a favorite of the Confeder-
After pushing in all of the chairs against the table in the breakfast room, Carolyn turned her back to the tables for about two minutes. When she turned around again, she saw that one of the chairs had been pulled way out from one of the tables.
ate troops). It only lasted about 10 seconds and then it was gone. Almost immediately thereafter, Courtney smelled what she described as campfire smoke. (Courtney has been a camp counselor every summer for nine years and is quite familiar with the scent.) Note: Courtney was alone, and there were no guests at the hotel on this evening.
Mon., Feb. 2 Midnight to 5:00 a.m.: Courtney reported numerous loud bangs and thumps to the front portion of the lobby/office building. Each and every time she checked, there was no damage and nothing appeared to have caused the sounds she heard. 4:46 p.m.: I was alone behind the desk in the lobby on one of the computers when I heard a loud bang and a thump on the front portion of the lobby/office building. When I went outside to investigate, there was noth-
ing lying on the front porch or on the ground and no damage to the building. 5:50 p.m.: I stepped out the side private lobby door for a cigarette (I know, bad Carolyn) and was immediately surrounded by that familiar sweet cherry pipe tobacco aroma. I verbalized: “Ah, join me for a smoke” and “I love that pipe tobacco.” I walked up and down the side breezeway and the aroma followed me the entire time. When I finished, I invited “him” to come on in. I then entered the private lobby door, closed it, and stood behind the desk. I waited for approximately two minutes and then smelled that wonderful pipe tobacco aroma surround me again. No, no, PA law doesn’t allow smoking in buildings anymore. As soon as I spoke these words out loud, the aroma dissipated. Note: I was alone in the hotel, and there were no guests at the hotel this evening.
Stay Tuned . . .
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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files
A Daring Girl Reporter an Hangs With the Pros By Karen Frazier, Daring Girl Reporter
itting smack in the middle of Puyallup, Washington, Meeker Mansion is a throwback to days gone by. The mansion was built by Ezra Meeker for his young wife, Eliza Jane, in the early 1900s. Ezra Meeker is best known for his work on preserving the Oregon Trail — work that he embarked upon in the years following Eliza Jane’s death. He was in his ’80s when he started. Past Investigations Garner Evidence The paranormal investigation group A.P.A.R.T. of WA (www. apartofwa.com) has investigated Meeker Mansion more than once, and they’ve gotten some interesting evidence. For instance, while investigating the attic one night, the team’s psychic reacted to something. On review of evidence, they discovered that three separate recording devices had picked up a clear EVP of a young girl saying “Mama” at the exact moment that the psychic reacted. A.P.A.R.T. was kind enough to let me tag along with them on a recent investigation of Meeker Mansion. Though I was a neophyte investigator and, as a daring girl reporter, asked question after question throughout the investigation, the team members were patient with me and allowed me to be a part of what was an interesting evening. Also participating in the investi-
gation that evening was Rob Fitzgerald, from the Dead Science Podcast (http://deadscience.com/). Rob had all sorts of fascinating equipment with him, including something called a SpeakJet box. (You can see a video of Rob using the SpeakJet box at Meeker Mansion on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=QCeYxYsnDn8.) We arrived at Meeker Mansion at about 9 p.m. and were let in
Karen Frazier, daring girl reporter, joined A.P.A.R.T. of WA on a recent investigation of Meeker Mansion.
by two of the mansion’s caretakers. The mansion itself is undergoing restoration to its previous glory when it served as a residence for Ezra and Eliza Jane. While it underwent many incarnations after Eliza Jane’s death, it is currently a museum.
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Have Gift Shop — Will Investigate We entered through the front door, which is now a small vestibule and gift shop. As someone who watches paranormal investigations on TV, I felt immediately at home investigating a location with a gift shop. We headed out into the mansion through the main door, which is surrounded by gorgeous stained glass windows, and into the front hall. The architecture is beautiful — with natural polished inlaid woods and interesting architectural elements like coves and original moldings. I was disappointed to discover that nothing invisible smacked me in the face when I walked through the door. Rumor has it that Joe, one of the investigators with A.P.A.R.T., was once kicked in the unmentionables by a ghost on an investigation elsewhere, so my expectations were high. Considering that Joe is a giant bear of a man who stands about 6’ 7”, one would imagine that only something invisible would have the guts to kick him anywhere. I figured if a ghost was brave enough to take on Joe, then as a newbie to paranormal investigation with a kick-me sign on my back, I’d be the first person involved in a ghostly smackdown. And I was ready to rumble. I wandered back into the kitchen and set down all of my “official” gear. I had in my possession my Sony digital camcorder, a five-year-old Sony
nd Neophyte Investigator s at Meeker Mansion Meeker Mansion, located in Puyallup, Washington, is a throwback to days gone by. The mansion was built by Ezra Meeker for his young wife, Eliza Jane, in the early 1900s.
Cybershot, and a little three-year-old Casio camera. I also had a digital voice recorder I use for interviews that was now serving double duty. Oh yeah — I was baaaaad, and I was ready to investigate. In preparation for my debut as daring girl ghost investigator extraordinaire, I had spent the day charging up my camera batteries. When we got into the mansion, I got a few good pictures off on the Sony, and then it died. I turned it off for a minute, turned it on again, and it once again indicated that the battery was fully charged. I was ready to go. A few pictures later, the battery was dead again. I was going to have to rely on the Casio and the video camera. While Rob and his Dead Science team set up their rather impressive array of equipment in the upstairs bedroom and the attic, I wandered around with the A.P.A.R.T. team, snapping pictures and trying to figure out how to add a date/time stamp on the Casio and the video camera. As you can see by my pictures (and by the video on YouTube), I never figured it out. I’m a genius that way. I am an architecture buff, and
the mansion didn’t disappoint. The fixtures were amazing — even in the semi-dark. The team kept me entertained while we waited for Rob to finish setting up, answering the questions I had. I’m betting that as a kid, I was the one who annoyed adults following them around and asking, “Why?” I know that kid. That kid drives me nuts. It took Rob and the Dead Science team a while to set up. Not surprising since he carried in a box big enough to hold a body. I saw inside of it. No bodies. Just equipment. Lots. Including time lapse cameras,
something called a paranormal puck (found at www.digitaldowsing.com) that takes measurements in conjunction with the pictures being snapped, fixed cameras and IR cameras, and, of course, the SpeakJet box (also available in kit form from www.digitaldowsing.com — it is called the Talk Box. Rob has instructions on how to put it together in his podcasts.) Haunted by Stench Once Rob was set up, we all headed en masse up to the attic. On the way upstairs, as we passed through Eliza Jane’s room, I no-
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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files ticed that one of the female team members (or I suppose it could have been one of the guys) was wearing old lady perfume that reeked to high heavens. A lot of it. I discreetly sniffed my wrists to make sure it wasn’t me (it wasn’t — but you never know when your soap and/ or deodorant is going to turn on you), and then was far too polite to mention the stench. By the time we were up in the attic, the smell had dissipated. On the way into the attic, one of the members of the team said, “Oh this is so weird.” She went on to explain that, although she had never been in Meeker Mansion before (this was just her third investigation with A.P.A.R.T.), she had dreamed of the mansion, and it looked in life exactly as it had in her dreams.
Phenomenon. Now that I’ve explained that, I truly feel like a genuine paranormal investigator. We started with the lights on. As we sat in chairs back from the table a bit, Rob warmed up the SpeakJet box. It is an interesting device. It sounds a little bit like the thing that Stephen Hawking uses to talk — or more correctly, it sounds like how he would sound if he babbled incessantly. According to Rob, the SpeakJet reads electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) and then interacts somehow with the speech chip in the box. The best way to understand it is to watch the YouTube video (www.youtube. com/watch?v=QCeYxYsnDn8) of that EVP session, and you’ll immediately understand what I am saying. The SpeakJet session was very interesting. Rob explained that a SpeakThe SpeakJet Speaks Jet box, when turned on, will babble The attic was a typical attic, with incessantly. If it interacts with the right sloping ceilings and all sorts of stuff EMF, then it will form understandable that has no other place in the house. words instead of random allophones. Rob had set up equipment on a large It is seldom silent on its own. table in the middle. We all settled in Rob started by asking questions for an EVP session with the SpeakJet. like, “Are you happy that there are so Many of you are probably right many people here?” The SpeakJet now saying, EVP? What on Earth box babbled. At one point, he said, “If is EVP? No worries — I’ll tell you. you want me to understand you, you’ll EVP stands for Electronic Voice need to slow down.” The SpeakJet box babbled noticeably more slowly. I heard the SpeakJet box say two clearly understandable things in direct response to Rob’s questions. At one point, he asked if the box could say “Vinnie,” the name of A.P.A.R.T.’s founder. The SpeakJet box said, “eee aaaa,” and then really, really fast, it said something that Rob had set up equipment on a large table in the middle. We all settled in for an EVP session with the SpeakJet. sounded like Vinnie.
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No one else noticed but me. It’s in the video. See what you think. Later, Rob asked, “Do you understand what’s going on?” The SpeakJet box said very clearly, “Yes I do.” It’s at the very end of the video. Can you hear it? Once again, I was the only one in the room who appeared to have heard this. Since the previous EVP captured in the attic was that of a child, Rob decided to see if he could entice it to talk with us if he brought out toys. It was then that he brought out a small bear and a few other things. The frequency of the babbling changed drastically at that moment. It wasn’t any more understandable, but it was very different than everything that came before it. The Tapping Game Finally, Joe decided that the box wasn’t playing nicely, and he asked that everyone be very quiet so that we could play the tapping game. He asked whoever was in the room with us to tap if they were there. The box fell eerily silent. From the middle of the room, we all heard a distinct tap. Joe asked a few more questions, asking for taps. Others heard them; I didn’t. Nor did I hear them on review of the video I was still rolling or the digital voice recorder. That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen — just that I didn’t hear them. Others felt that they very clearly heard taps in response to questions. Rob did tell me it was very unusual that the SpeakJet box didn’t make a peep during the whole time we were playing the “tapping game.” Not a sound. And it was still on. As soon as we finished playing the tapping game, the box started to babble incoherently again. Another interesting thing that happened during the tapping game is that two of the team members’ cameras started to behave very strangely. They
were turning themselves on and off without user intervention. You could hear the wav file that was played each time the camera turned on. Sadly, this is when my Casio decided not to work anymore. In spite of my best efforts, it remained deader than a doornail. Finally, Rob decided that we weren’t getting anything with the box, and he said he was going to turn it off. It was then that the box decided it had a LOT to say. Unfortunately, we didn’t understand a word of it. EVP With Eliza Following the EVP session, we went back down to Eliza Jane’s room. There was a very distinct butt print on the edge of the bed. According to Vinnie, this butt print is always there, and when employees of the mansion attempt to smooth it out, it reappears in short term. Members of the team took turns asking questions of Eliza Jane. I, for once, didn’t have any questions. I just watched and listened. At one point, one of the members of the team asked what kind of perfume Eliza Jane liked to wear. This, once again, had me sniffing at my wrists. Still not me. After the EVP session in Eliza Jane’s room, we wandered around and snapped pictures (or in my case video since that was the only camera that still worked) while Rob and his team broke down their equipment. None of which, I am proud to say, I tripped over during the course of the investigation. Trust me, if you knew me, you’d know this is a big deal. A Stroke of Insight And just like that, the investigation was over. On the way home, something hit me like a ton of bricks. One of the things that I was told happened at Meeker Mansion was the inexplicable smell of perfume. I
Meeker Mansion’s architecture is stunning.
smelled it twice and thought nothing of it. I just assumed it was somebody with dubious taste in personal scent. A few days later, I e-mailed Regan and mentioned that somebody was wearing stinky perfume, but that I had been too polite to say anything. Her response — it is protocol that no one wear anything scented on an investigation. Doh! Afterward — I Get a New Camera & Hear a Whisper My cameras both remain dead. I no longer have a digital camera (although I now have an excuse to buy a shiny new one)! I was able to pull the pictures off of the memory cards, however. For the most part, the pictures were unremarkable. I have never taken a photo of an orb before, and I’ve never believed that orbs are much more than a reflection or dust. Strangely, there were orbs in a few of my pictures. I’m guessing it had to do with the flash reflecting off of a shiny surface. I looked at all of my photos and listened to all of my audio. Aside
from the “Yes I do” and the “Vinnie” in the small clip I have posted on YouTube, I couldn’t make heads nor tails out of any of the babbling. I’ve had a few other people listen to the YouTube footage who say they hear other things in the audio. I don’t — but I need to give all of it another good listen. Anything I find, I’ll post. I did get an interesting whisper in an audio clip from the video. The closest people to me at the time were Joe and Steve — both were about three feet away from me. My friend, Doug Huggins, who is an audio guy, cleaned up the audio. It’s an awfully odd whisper. Difficult to make out, but definitely there. I’d like to thank A.P.A.R.T. and Rob Fitzgerald. They were terrific hosts and great sports. I enjoyed them so much I will be joining them next month for another investigation. I’ll keep you up to date about anything that happens. Until then, Karen Frazier, daring girl reporter, paranormal adventurer, and fledgling ghost investigator, signing out. Thanks for reading.
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It Could Happen to You By Dorinda M. Wheeler
can’t really remember my first paranormal experience. It seems like it was a lifetime ago. Cats pouncing on the bed that weren’t there, yet I could feel them and watch their indentation. I’ve seen light anomalies in purple and blue on my walls at night. Premonitions coming true before I could even pronounce the word! Never in my wildest dreams could I have been prepared for what was about to come.
I described her as having long chestnut colored hair, similar to my own, wearing a flowered sundress. It was uncanny how much she looked like me. That was nothing compared to what I was about to hear . . . I was told how my parents were experiencing similar activity. Several times this “young woman” was seen at the end of their bed shaking it to catch their attention. It was obvious that she was trying to get someone, anyone, to understand.
Haunted Items? I was about 19 years old. My father worked as a Game Warden, which called him to walk through the forest quite regularly. This one day, in particular, he found a backpack with nothing but a flannel shirt inside and, nearby, an old guitar. Not finding anyone after an extensive search, he brought the items home with him. Nobody thought much of it. He’s brought things home before that were found in the woods. This time, things were about to become very different. One summer morning, not long after, I awoke to tell my parents about this crazy dream I had about a young woman standing at the bed. She was talking but I couldn’t hear what she was trying to communicate.
“The activity started shortly after the items in the woods were brought to our home.”
The odd thing was that the activity in the household started shortly after the items in the woods were brought to our home. Not wanting to scare me, it was held in confidence until I confessed my dream. At that point, I suppose they felt I should have an explanation. If it wasn’t coming from my parents, I would’ve never believed what I was about to be told. It was beyond my wildest imagination.
Paranormal Underground April 2009
An Amazing Tale A few weeks prior was when things started to occur. First the bed shaking. Then objects were placed in strange spots. I had no idea this was happening at first. One night or very early morning in the morning, I was going to the kitchen for a glass of water, when I almost jumped out of my skin from fright. Drifting in front of me as I came around the corner, was a full apparition! She looked exactly as she had the night of my dream, only there was a “glow” or “shimmer” about her. I could see all but her feet. This was no dream, and I wasn’t the first to experience this either. She had been seen quite often by this time. I was stunned, I was amazed, I was in awe, but above all, I was scared out of my wits! There was an old Ouija board around that my brother received as a gift one year. So, we brought it out. (I had experience with the Ouija board prior to this.) Two at a time, we tried to find a reasonable answer to something that was totally unreasonable. For hours, we sat at the board asking questions, having someone else keep track of the answers until things started to come together. This is the amazing tale we were “told”: The young woman referred to herself as Oz. She was about 20
or so when she jumped off of the cliffs near the river to her death. It was not an accident she told us. She had committed suicide. Her family was originally from Texas. I’m not sure how it happened, but her uncle ended up with custody of her twoyear-old boy, and the pervert was molesting the child, according to the tale being spun before our very eyes. The odd part about this was when she showed up after being brought to our home with her belongings, I had a two-year-old nephew. She was drawn to him. Not to harm him. After we found out this information, we felt she was watching over him. Whenever he was visiting, Oz made more frequent appearances. Many of my family members have seen her over the years. Back to the explanation on the Ouija board. She spelled out a strange name we assumed was a town or city, though none of us had heard
of it prior to this. After a considerable amount of research, we were unable to find this town in Texas or anywhere else for that matter. Eventually, Oz spelled out that she wanted us to save her son from this abusive uncle. Sadly and realistically, there was just no way for this to happen. But, that was not the end of Oz. A Concerned Spirit Over time, many years actually, Oz would be seen occasionally, usually in the kitchen, but sometimes a bedroom. We would hear noises in the kitchen like a cupboard door opening and then a bowl banged down on the counter. The unmistakable sound of cereal being poured into a bowl. Thinking it was my mother, we went into the kitchen to ask a question of her. To our surprise, nothing was out of place, and my mom wasn’t in the kitchen. I think
that might have been the creepiest part of all. Seven years later, my son was born. Oz started to make more appearances. She was taken aback by little boys. We never felt like she was any kind of threat, but these were experiences of a lifetime. If it hadn’t happened to us, with my father being a respected officer of the law, I would’ve never believed it. If it happened to us, it most certainly could happen to YOU! Since that time, I became very interested in the paranormal. I read anything I could find on the subject. I watched every TV program. I found a whole network of people that were actual “ghost hunters,” many who I now consider friends and am still in contact with. Just last night, I was asked to appear as a guest on an Internet paranormal radio show. Now that is scary.
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Teresa Waters West (AlmostHunted) Age: 45. Born/Currently resides: Maryville, Tennessee/Walland, Tennessee in the foothills of the great Smoky Mountains! Status: I am so happily married, it is sickening! Education: Some college; I wanted to be a teacher at one time. Laughably, education was too expensive for me to go into education as a career! If I had unlimited funds and didn’t have to work, I would go to college every day of my life. I love the learning process! Zodiac Sign: Virgo, on the cusp of Leo/Virgo. A really strange combo! Occupation: I schlep liquor these days . . . I call my profession enabling! LOL What does your member name mean? My member name is an amalgamation of a couple of shows I watch. My first forum experience was on Travel Channel’s Most Haunted forum. When able, I watch Most Haunted religiously! I think it is the funniest game in town where paranormal shows are concerned! My member name for their forum is Almost Haunted. And when I started posting in the Sci Fi forum for Ghost Hunters, it morphed into AlmostHunted. I kept it on the
other forums when I joined so that folks would recognize me.
Who are your heroes? I think the word hero is overused these days, but my heroes are people who selflessly carry out their profession: our military, firefighters, rescue workers, policemen and women who truly do “Protect Teresa believes that spirits do exist. However, she is and Serve,” teachskeptical about some of the methods used to try to obtain ers, and anyone proof of the paranormal. who will give a hungry person a time at local spots where he plays. I meal without thinkpretend I can sing sometimes! ing about where their next one is We like to garden in the summer coming from. and then can vegetables so we enjoy How would you describe yourself? the fruits of our labors the rest of the I would describe myself as a funyear. I have picked up a landscaping loving neurotic. I like to think I am bug and like to see if I can beautify a carefree person, but always in the my little corner of the world. We recesses of my brain are thoughts of mostly like to fire up the grill, turn paying the electric bill and new tires up the stereo, and hang out with our for the car. good friends and a cold beer! Our “at home” time normally consists of Tell us about your family and what having a quiet dinner and watching you like to do. My family consists of a movie together. Pretty simple, you me and my husband along with two say? Just the way we like it! cats and a dog. Wade is a musician. We spend a lot of our “on the town” What are your favorite TV shows,
Paranormal Underground April 2009
paranormal shows, books, movies? I like anything that is 30 minutes long and has a laugh track. I am a sitcom junkie! My favorite paranormal show is still hands down Most Haunted. I like Ghost Hunters as well. I really don’t care much for Ghost Adventures, and I haven’t watched Paranormal State at all. For a good creep-out, A Haunting is always good. I have read The Lord of the Rings trilogy at least a dozen times since I was a teenager. I love JRR Tolkien’s style of writing. As for movies, The Lord of the Rings is right up there in my favorites, but I enjoy comedies too. Wade and I will watch anything by George Romero — zombies rule! Speaking of zombies . . . I like Rob Zombie A LOT! Movies and music. Favorite music? I mostly listen to what they call “classic” rock, but my tastes are varied. I can change CDs from Rob Zombie to Beethoven to John Hiatt and never look back! Oh, don’t try to stump me on Beatles trivia. I know a lot! Any other favorites? Ice Cream and Cake (any flavor, as long as its chocolate!), Michelob Light, Gentleman Jack, Snickers not Milky Way, Lee not Levi’s, comedy over reality any day, NY strip over rib-eye, Diet Coke not Pepsi. Did I leave anything out? Oh yeah, Beatles not Stones! What are your pet peeves? Toilet paper hung under not over, money in a cash register that is not all turned the same way, towels and clothes not folded the “right” way, and people who think it is alright to live off of the hard work of others. Are you a skeptic or believer? I grew up in a house where I had many experiences, so I do believe that spirits exist. I am skeptical about some of
the methods used to try to obtain proof. I can’t wait until the day someone finally explains “ghosts” to the world.
What areas of the paranormal interest you the most? I am interested in ghosts in particular. I believe that they are a form of energy. The only scientific principal I know that can be applied here is that “Energy can neither be created, nor destroyed.” Now I am no physicist, so I can’t apply any equations, but being that the human body has all these components that create the energy we employ, what happens to the energy when a person dies? I guess I should have paid more attention in Science class and less in English and Art! Talk about any paranormal experiences you might have had and how they have affected you. I grew up
Teresa has experienced paranormal phenomena since childhood. and lived in the same house for almost 40 years, so one could say I knew the environment pretty well. I started paying attention to the things going on in my late teens and early 20s. Not to say that they didn’t happen earlier, just that I started questioning them at that time. I woke one night to see a couple standing at the end of my bed . . . no one I knew. As soon as I asked who they were, they were gone. A woman walks up and down our stairs. She steps on all 16 stair treads and walks to the window in what used to be my bedroom. After I got married, we stayed there with my mom. I told my
husband about the woman, and he actually saw her standing at the bedroom window while he was watching television. I was already asleep. He says he looked at her, looked at me, and said, “It’s for you,” and went back to watching television. If I came in late when I was younger, I would leave the lights out so as not to wake my mom. Walking from the living room into the hall, I would walk through a cold, white “mist.” If I turned around to look at it, it disappeared. Very interesting things that other people have told me as well, and now my mom says that “things” wake her up at night. It’s a great house if you like strange things happening at all hours of the day! It has made me interested in paranormal events and trying to find out what causes them.
What do you think happens to us when we die? I would love to have an answer to this question. I don’t know about an afterlife. I like to believe that my father and sister are in a place where they are free of the illness and pain they suffered while alive. Whether it just be rest from an Earthly existence where they are not conscious of anything, a complete absence of life, or being in another plane of existence where they are aware and well, mentally and physically, and interacting with others . . . who is to say? I guess the only way to answer at this time in history is to die. It’s a great mystery. Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by? “Never take yourself too seriously.” —Wade West. “The Secret of Life is Enjoying the Passage of Time.” —James Taylor. Any exciting plans for the future? I am going to Waverly Hills Sanatorium next year! ’Nuff said!
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Dream Equipment Guide By Dave Galvan, Paranormal League of America
e’ve spent some time over the past few months talking about how to hunt ghosts on the cheap. Now, let’s talk about the equipment we all would like to purchase: the dream equipment we all want in our tool boxes that we can afford after we win the lottery. 1 — Thermal Imaging These cameras cost $10k brand new, and even used online they cost more than $5k by themselves. And that’s not even including the recorder that plugs in and records a picture. These cameras will literally record any and all heat signatures that might be present. This can come in handy investigating a home or outside location. You will be able to record a heat signature, be it a footprint or entire figure. If you are going to get one, be sure to get the recorder that records the image. No use in seeing the picture if you have no record of it. 2 — Hunting Camera Set these cameras up in a location, turn it on, and you will get a
picture or video — depending on your setting — every time there is movement in front of the camera. The video is silent, but it will shoot for about 10 seconds. All the information will be recorded to a SD chip, which you can remove and view at your leisure. These cameras are extremely handy if you put them in a location that has a lot of activity. Be sure to purchase two sets of rechargeable “D” batteries, and get a camera that will record in Infra Red, so you can get shots in the dark. 3 — Still Camera You may already have a digital camera, and for the most part that works fine, but chances are it seems like an eternity before it will take a second picture. This is why you want a camera that will take three pictures per second. These are the high-end digital cameras that generally retail for about $1,500; they cost
Paranormal Underground April 2009
more than almost any car I have ever purchased. These cameras have a massive flash (generally optional) and huge zoom lenses (also optional) that, combined with a picture rate of 3-per-second, will give you fast amazing pictures at the press of a finger. 4 — Night Vision Goggles Okay, so you have all the video, audio, and cameras that you need. Now, it’s time to see in the dark because you are just tired of bumping into things in strangers’ homes while investigating in the dark. Night vision goggles start around $200, but keep a lookout for cheaper models that might only cover one eye. There is a smaller monocle model that you hold up to one eye and see out of that. Sometimes you can find that on sale for around $100. However, it doesn’t affix to your head and requires you to hand hold it. The models that cover both eyes and affix to your head generally are around $200 or higher. You might walk around looking like the Borg, but at least you won’t be
bumping into people’s coffee tables anymore. 5 — Geiger Counter There are those who believe that ghosts can generate a certain type of radiation. That is where a Geiger counter comes in handy. You can purchase the larger models fairly inexpensively. These models were put on clearance from fallout shelters that have been closed down or simply upgraded. Or, you can get smaller units that are the size of a small radio but cost a lot more. 6 — 16-Camera Video DVR If lucky, you can afford a fourcamera system put together using computer parts that you pulled together from friends and family. That’s if you are lucky. If you have almost unlimited funds, why not just get a security DVR system, 16 cameras and a mile of cable to hook it all up. There are wireless cameras available that make the cable pointless; however, the hunters I have spoken with have told me they are not happy with the quality of the picture a lot of the times, so I tend not to recommend them. Stick with the wired systems, and come up with a way to run the cable. 7 — Frank’s Box There is some debate as to whether these devices actually work. I have never seen one work like some people claim, but enough people claim they work that it makes me wonder. Still, if they actually do what the creators of these devices claim — to be able to hear the voices of
the dead like a live version of a recorded EVP — then I couldn’t help but wonder why they don’t do an infomercial for this device, advertised by the Sham-Wow guy. 8 — IR Strobe Light There is a belief that when you take a picture, the flash, or the IR light, will wash the image from the camera lens, making any potential apparitions unviewable by the camera. The IR Strobe is just what the description sounds like; it is a strobe light that works only in the Infra Red light spectrum. What this does, in theory, is allow the apparition to be photographed without it being washed out. You can purchase these units online for about $25 or so; however I don’t honestly see the point. It seems to me that the apparition would only be washed out when the light is on. Without the IR light, your camera wouldn’t see anything to begin with. 9 — Helmet Camera How many times have you been hunting ghosts and never seem to have a camera exactly where you are looking? You always have a camera in what you might believe to be hot spots, but not in the misc. areas, like hallways or stairs. Time to get a helmet cam! There are cameras made that are designed to mount on the top of helmets. These are the same type of cameras that BMX bikers and skateboarders will wear. Replace the camera with a
night vision one, and now you have a helmet camera, always recording in the same direction you are looking. Light-weight and portable, these would be fun to use while you are walking in a cemetery at dawn. 10 — Wireless Audio These little devices are the definition of having too much money. They allow you to broadcast your audio straight to a computer for recording to the hard drive. You can then listen to the audio live or listen to it later. This comes in handy if you have a central location for you computers for video, and a person stationed there all night to view the video and listen to the audio. Since the chances are you won’t be able to investigate Alcatraz anytime soon, these units are practically worthless. A digital audio recorder is much more useful and affordable. You will not be able to listen to your audio recorder live, but that’s not a major deal, as you will spend weeks going through all your evidence regardless of whether it’s wireless or not.
Dave Galvan is the cofounder/ director of the Paranormal League of America. He has been hunting ghosts since 2002 and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
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Roundtable Debate: Spirit Communication
Some Do Communicate With the Dead
By Claudia Ghidella
hen I was about 10, I went through a really bad spell that lasted several months at its most intense. I could think of nothing else but death, my own death in particular. I realized my mortality and freaked out. Nothing my family tried would help me with my fear. They were going to die, just like me, and there was no way to stop it. I wondered how they could walk around so calmly every day knowing “THAT” loomed ahead of them like, um, well, like a grim reaper. So yeah, I was a bit freaked. I don’t exactly know what snapped me out of my depression and anxiety, but I do remember when someone in the family died about a year later saying to my mom, “He knows, mom. Now, he knows, he knows what’s over there,” and being awestruck at that. I have always been interested in religious, spiritual, and paranormal topics, but life after death has always been in my curiosity top five. What’s over there? What’s it like? Do we come back? What, what, what??? When books by Raymond Moody, Melvin Morse, and others about near-death experiences came out, I read everything I could. Life did appear to go on; people died and came back and had things to report about what they experienced “over there.” Years ago I read about Mark Macy and Miracles in the Storm, and was so excited about the work he and others around the world were doing to connect with those who have made
Claudia believes that spirit communication is possible.
the trek to the other side of life. They had made contact, actual mechanical contact with the “dead.” I can’t see any reason for any of the people working on these worldwide “communication with the dead” projects to fake any of their findings. Money would be the prime motivator to fake something, but I don’t see any of the diligent communicators getting rich. It seems to be driven by the same type of curiosity that drove me to seek my own answers. Their time and money are volunteered. So did this clinch it for me? Do I now believe that life after death exists? From what I understand now spiritually, yes, life continues. I do believe that Mark Macy and others are tapping into a real phenomenon — spirit communication — that is just as real as our world is. But just how real is our world?
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f a photograph of a ghost is the holy grail of ghost hunting, are the voices of the deceased seen to be the shroud of Turin of the spiritual world — awesome but possibly faked? Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) has fascinated me since I first learned of it years ago, and throughout college, I would randomly find myself listening to EVPs on The Shadowlands Website. The voices would scare the crap out of me, but I could not stop listening. I never really thought of fakery until, in 2004, I lucked out on an assignment for the newspaper where I worked, and I was asked to follow around Kansas City area psychic Sueann Poole as she Mindy is leery o filmed a new TV special. like, but believ I took my trusty microcaspossibly represe sette recorder and spent hours tion with th following her through a local haunted bed and breakfast. The following morning, I went into work and started transcribing my notes and what I had recorded. Sitting alone in the darkened newspaper office, I nearly had a heart attack when a deep, disturbing voice rang out from the recorder.
What is your opinion of Let us know your thoughts ing editor@paranorm
t Be Possible
Spirit Communication? I Don’t Think So By Dawkins
I left the office and rushed home to the company of others. There, I listened again with my little brother and came to realize that I was not hearing a ghost. I was simply hearing a flub in the tape that resembled a garbled, ghostly male voice. After that, I became more leery of EVPs, unless they were recorded by a digital recorder. But even digital recorders have issues. Brushing against the mic can result in rustles that sound like unintelligible voices. Of course, the one thing that makes me believe something could really be happening are the complete sentences. I have heard a lot of ghostly voices answer to questions asked by those present in the room. I cannot fully believe of EVPs and the them if I am not in the room ves they could with them, but it does make the ent communicaincident seem more plausible. he deceased. According to groups like Haunted New Jersey, there are locations that are ripe with EVPs. Take me with you on a hunt to place like HNJ’s The Vault, and record some EVPs with me present, and I just might believe it to be real. Until then, I will remain a skeptical believer.
f Spirit Communication? s on the subject by e-mailmalunderground.net.
ince our ancestors left the trees for the savannah 150,000-plus years ago, many billions have left this vale of tears. So shouldn’t digital recorders have captured a cacophony of babble, much more than random white noise, or a suspicious, “You shouldn’t be here,” which could easily be faked, if one were so moved. I’m sure most paranormal enthusiasts know that devices such as baby monitors, cell phones, and cordless phones catch stray radio signals; heck, when I plug my Telecaster into my solid state Marshall amp, and select the bridge pick-up, the amp becomes a radio-receiving device. When I first heard the hollow, echoed voices, I was intrigued and listening closely; I realized it was a local news radio station. Had I been more credulous, I might have thought my amp haunted, and it is amusing to ponder if this might be a valid reason for returning the unit, and the look on the clerk’s face when so doing. Again, most reading this know that when recording EVPs, the best method would be to use a Faraday Cage to eliminate random signals; I realize this would be cumbersome and have never heard of groups using this method, though perhaps I might be corrected. In vogue currently are such devices as Frank’s Box, and I have to say, I’m unimpressed. Scanning stray AM frequencies will indeed result in receiving them, though again perhaps I can be corrected as I have been on one particular paranormal board. A fellow told me about an incident
in which he received a correct answer to a question, the color of his shirt (red). Now, anyone can say Dawkins says that the anything on evidence does not the Internet, support spirit so he could communication. be lying. He might have been hoaxed; I don’t know and neither does anyone else reading this. But I wasn’t ready to make the intellectual leap that the gentlemen was communicating with a spirit. It is easy to shoehorn a recorded voice to fit the events of a “haunt,” but harder to accept is that coincidence occurs every day, and it would be “spookier” if it did not. I would like someone to coherently explain why a ghost needs such devices to communicate; since they are already apparently violating physical laws of the universe, why can’t they just speak up? Concrete evidence of ghosts suggests an afterlife that would be a world-altering event. Everything would change. More questions would arise. Is there a God, Heaven, and Hell, and if so, what dogma must one adhere to in order to achieve the former rather than the latter? Can you go find Einstein, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King; I’d like to know if there are beer and hotties on the other side, because if not, I ain’t going.
April 2009 Paranormal Underground 67
Reviews of the Month: By Mindy Kinnaman
In Your Library: Night of the Loving Dead
hat do you do when an accident leaves you able to see and talk to the dead, and they want you to help solve crimes for them? Well, if you’re Pepper Martin, the heroine of Casey Daniel’s series, you do just that. In the 2009 novel Night of the Loving Dead, the fourth book in Daniels’ Pepper Martin mystery series, Martin finds herself in Chicago trying to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of several homeless people, while trying to save a friend from a certain future behind bars. Martin’s adventures lead her to enroll in a program at the clinic
where the homeless people disappear. Soon, she finds herself being held captive in a hospital from Hell and tortured by a ghost who is not exactly truthful. Daniels’ writing is enjoyable, and the plot takes a very interesting and wellthought out twist near the end. The beginning does feature a bit of back story to help anyone who has not read other books in the series, which could be a bit boring to those familiar with Pepper Martin. But in all, Daniels did a great job.
he did listen, this movie would have been pointless. Like any horror-suspense, people around Jonathan start dropping like flies. Even more frightening are messages coming from those who are not yet dead. Jonathan works to find his wife’s murderer. Will he be able to save the day? Michael Keaton stars in this film, but not even he can save this film. The scares are predictable, and it did not do much to hold my interest.
o a normal person, it would have looked like a mathematician had gone wild; to Nicholas Cage in the film Knowing, it was a sign that the human race was doooooomed! The number-filled piece of paper found by the son of Cage’s character, John Koestler, spells out the day and death tolls in every major catastrophe that has occurred from 1959 until the present day. What is worse . . . only three events are left on the sheet. Could this be the end of the world? Koestler and his son are joined in their battle by the daughter and granddaughter of the prophecy’s creator. Along the way, they must also fight off a sinister group of bleach-blonde trench coat mafia. Will they save the day? I would love to say that this is the greatest action flick that Nicholas Cage has done, but at best, I can only describe this as a blockbuster Bmovie. The acting is wooden, and the trench coat mafia’s real identity sent me on a long laughing jag. The only high points can be given to the main plot line, which is reminiscent of a sci-fi short story I read in my youth. That story chilled my blood then, and it continues to do so now. But not even the plot can save this film.
• I give White Noise 2 out of 5 “spooky TV voices.”
• I give Knowing 2 out of 5 “prophecies.”
• I give Night of the Loving Dead 3.5 out of 5 “cemetery ghosts.”
On Your Small Screen: White Noise issing a loved one who has passed on? Well, according to the 2005 film White Noise, all you need to do is turn on your TV to a channel featuring snow, and you will be able to converse with your loved ones. After the death of his wife, Anna, Jonathan Rivers finds himself contacted by a man claiming to have recorded messages from Anna off his TV. And when a man wants to talk to his dead wife, he will not listen to anyone, not even psychics who warn of the destruction to follow. Of course, if
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