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Paranormal Volume 2, Issue 9

Underground September 2009

GHI’s Robb Demarest International Ghost Hunter

Avalanche of Spirits The Ghosts of Wellington

Demon Dogs of Doom Tales of Hounds From hell

NWPIA

Exploring the Pacific Northwest

The Queen Mary

Paranormal Queen of the Sea

Infrared Photography

How to Take Effective IR Shots

Hypnotherapist Lisa Watts Lessons From many Lives

Also Inside:

• • • •

Does the Wolfman Crave Cheese in Wisconsin? September 2009 Paranormal Underground 1 The Impact of Paranormal Authors UFOs: Public Opinion, Hollywood’s Influence, and an Age-Old Question Diary From a Haunted Hotel

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Paranormal Underground September 2009

Inside This Issue

FEATURES INVESTIGATOR SPOTLIGHTS GHI’s Robb Demarest: International Ghost Hunter

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NWPIA Explores Pacific Northwest Haunted Sites

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Author Spotlight Hypnotherapist Lisa Watts Learns Lessons From Many Lives

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SPECIAL REPORT The Impact of Paranormal Authors

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DEPARTMENTS

CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Haunted Sites The Queen Mary: Paranormal Queen of the Sea

Publisher’s Letter

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From the Editor

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Contributing Authors

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Are We Alone?

Calendar

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Public Opinion, Hollywood’s Influence, and an Age-Old Question 37

Paranormal News

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Cryptids & Mythological Creatures

TV Watch:

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Paranormal History Does the Wolfman Crave Cheese in Wisconsin?

Demon Dogs of Doom

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38

Warehouse 13

Equipment Update:

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

Infrared Photography

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Diary From a Haunted Hotel

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Ghost Hunter Case Files: An Avalanche of Spirits — Meeting Up With the Ghosts of Wellington

Review of the Month: 58 The Possessed Documentary

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PUG Member Profile:

Wellington: Our First Investigation

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Activity in Our Home

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Elizabeth Diaz

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Ghost Hunter Comic

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September 2009 Paranormal Underground

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Publisher’s Letter Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 9 September 2009 www.ParanormalUnderground.net

EDITORIAL Publisher Chad Wilson

Publisher@paranormalunderground.net

Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight

Editor@paranormalunderground.net

Managing Editor Karen Frazier

KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net

Science Editor J.D. Harrison

ScienceEditor@paranormalunderground.net

Contributing Authors Heidi Ann Karen Frazier Dave Galvan Terri J. Garofalo Rick E. Hale Carolyn M. Hughes Cheryl Knight Andrew Selfridge Ryan Tackitt Amy Urato Regan C. Vacknitz Chad Wilson

Send comments and letters to: Editor@paranormalunderground.net.

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Where We’ve Been . . . Where We’re Going

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n December 2007, Cheryl and I determined that we were going to publish a magazine dealing with paranormal subject matter. The result was Paranormal Underground, which had its first issue in June 2008. We’ve covered a lot of subjects since then, from the UFO flap in Stephenville, Texas, to multiple Ghost Hunter Case Files to a spotlight on Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans. We have come a long way in the year and a half we have been in business, including an upgraded Website and a recent publish on demand print option for Paranormal Underground. We still offer our publication for free online, but now you can also order a print copy to be mailed directly to you. In the future, we will work diligently toward a subscription offering. Until then, the publish-ondemand aspect of our magazine will service those who wish to have a hard copy. I have seen a few of the issues published by our publish-ondemand vendor, and they look great! What’s next for Paranormal Underground? We are always trying to come up with fresh avenues to bring our audience information and products dealing with the paranormal. One of our new endeavors is Ghost Knight Media, LLC, brought to you by myself, Cheryl Knight, and Karen Frazier. Our plans include offering original paranormal books, documentaries, and Webisodes. We also have another exciting project in the works, but that will have to wait for another time. Back in 2007 when we had the idea for Paranormal Underground,

Paranormal Underground September 2009

we never imagined that it would grow to be what it is today. And it wouldn’t have grown without many talented and dedicated individuals, Chad Wilson, including Cheryl, Publisher Karen, J.D. Harrison, and everyone else involved in this project to bring this vision to life . . . the volunteer writers, editors, art editors, Web designers, and, of course, our readers. I’d like to take this moment to thank a special person, Cheryl Knight, without whom none of this would be possible. Without the countless brainstorming sessions, many all-nighters, and, most importantly, her love and friendship, none of this would be possible. So, thank you Cheryl for your determination and passion for Paranormal Underground. Paranormal Underground has always been more than just about bringing the latest in paranormal news to our readers. It is about asking questions, research, and discovery. Personally, if the magazine can help just one individual overcome fear of the unknown, then I feel we have done our job. It will have made the journey all worthwhile.

We welcome your comments to this topic: Please visit the Publisher’s Blog at www.paranormalunderground.net/site/?cat=186 to share your thoughts.

From the Editor

Paranormal Investigators Make a Difference

Volume 2, Issue 9 September 2009 www.ParanormalUnderground.net

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his month, Paranormal Underground talks with Ghost Hunters International (GHI) Lead Investigator Robb Demarest, North West Paranormal Investigation Agency (NWPIA) cofounders Bert and Jayme Coates, and hypnotherapist and author Lisa Watts. As lead investigator of the GHI team, Robb Demarest continues to push the boundaries of current knowledge in the field and approach paranormal investigation with openminded skepticism. He also believes there are many discoveries yet to be made in the field, and the idea that he can be a part of that compels him to continue investigating. See the Investigator Spotlight on page 12 to find out more about Robb’s thoughts on the paranormal and his time with GHI. This month we also talk to Bert and Jayme Coates of NWPIA — a team that investigates reportedly haunted locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. However, it’s their investigations at Wellington (the site of a disastrous train accident in 1910) that holds a special place in their heart. NWPIA’s main goal in 2009 was to further its paranormal research by thinking outside of the box and testing out different theories and homemade equipment. To find out more about NWPIA, turn to page 18. In our Author Spotlight, we feature Lisa Watts, hypnotherapist and author of the new book Lessons From Many Lives: How Looking to Past Lives Helped Me

Paranormal Underground

Art Director Chad Wilson

Design and Layout Cheryl Knight

Artwork Claudia Ghidella

Find My Past, Cherish My Present, and Shape My Future. Lisa, who specializes in past-life regression and life-between-lives hypnotherapy, shares her journey of moving from seeker to finder as she first discovered and then experienced past-life regression hypnotherapy. Lisa’s ultimate message is that everyone comes into life with a purpose, and no one comes into life alone. Also in this month’s issue, we feature paranormal authors who have made an impact with their nonfiction and fiction books; hear about one ghost hunter’s experience at Wellington; discuss infrared photography and its applications in the paranormal field; and profile the new SyFy show Warehouse 13. And in our Case Files of the Unknown section, this issue features hauntings at The Queen Mary; past sightings of ‘the wolfman’ in Wisconsin; tales of ‘demon dogs of doom’; and UFOs: public opinion, hollywood’s influence, and an age-old question. I hope you enjoy this issue. Happy reading!

ADVERTISING Ad Sales Scott Mannen

ScottMannen@paranormalunderground.net

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Copyright © 2008-2009 — Paranormal Underground™ is a trademark of Ghost Knight Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of Ghost Knight Media, LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This publication and all content within this publication may not be copied, quoted, distributed, modified, or reprinted without the express written consent of Paranormal Underground magazine.

~ Cheryl Knight Editor-in-Chief September 2009 Paranormal Underground

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Contributing Authors/Artists Heidi Ann Heidi Ann has been a paranormal enthusiast since childhood when she had her own encounter. Her personal experience led her to question the world around her. Heidi is a mother of three sons, works as a special education paraprofessional in a middle school, and loves watching television shows and reading books on the paranormal.

Karen Frazier Karen is the managing editor of Paranormal Underground. After living in a WWIIera apartment 20 years ago where unexplainable things happened, Karen began to search for answers about the paranormal. Now she combines that interest with her professional experience as a copy writer and technical writer to help bring Paranormal Underground to the public.

A native of Chicago, Rick is the cofounder of the Greater Illinois Ghost Society. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, Rick is happily married and digs Jazz. He believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims.

Carolyn M. Hughes As a night manager in a haunted hotel on the Gettysburg battlefield, Carolyn has had ghostly experiences both at work and while on the battlefield. She considers the ghosts of the soldiers that haunt Gettysburg as ‘her boys.’ Carolyn shares her experiences with Paranormal Underground in her column, Diary of a Haunted Hotel.

Cheryl Knight

Dave is the cofounder/director of the Paranormal League of America and has been hunting ghosts since 2002. He is an experienced paranormal investigator in Portland, Oregon. Dave writes articles for Paranormal Underground using his vast knowledge base about paranormal equipment and investigation.

Cheryl is Paranormal Underground’s editor-inchief. She has been a professional writer and editor for nearly 20 years. Cheryl is combining her three loves, writing, editing, and the paranormal, to bring you Paranormal Underground each month. Her previous magazine experience includes roles as Senior and Managing Editor for several niche-market publications.

Terri J. Garofalo

Andrew Selfridge

Dave Galvan

Terri is a paranormal investigator, as well as the author and illustrator of Entities-R-Us, a Ghost Hunter Comic. For more information, visit www.entities-r-us.com.

Rick E. Hale

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Andrew is an investigator with Central Oklahoma Paranormal Studies. A police officer by trade, he brings seven years of law enforcement experience and critical thinking to his investigative approach, with

Paranormal Underground September 2009

a strong emphasis on the purity of data collection and preservation of evidence. Andrew believes that a critical approach to paranormal phenomena is essential, but also believes that a human, compassionate mentality is required when dealing with clients living with anomalous activity.

Ryan Tackitt Ryan is the founder of Paranormal Investigators of Central Texas (PICT). He is a certified paramedic working in Waco, Texas, and a parttime EMS instructor at the local community college. He created PICT after meeting with coworkers who believed in the paranormal. Ryan has had many personal paranormal experiences over his lifetime and realizes that science can only explain so much.

Regan Vacknitz Regan Vacknitz is a psychic medium, lead investigator, and cofounder of Auburn Paranormal Activities Research Team (A.P.A.R.T.) of Washington. She has participated in hundreds of paranormal investigations throughout the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit www.apartofwa.com.

Chad Wilson A writer of articles and fiction, Chad is the publisher of Paranormal Underground. He has parlayed his avid interest in the paranormal into a top-notch publication, Paranormal Underground magazine. Chad has investigated with East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society and counts Waverly Hills, the Villisca Axe Murder House, and private residences among his investigations.

Calendar of Events September 4–6

October 2–4

September 11–13

October 3–4

Astral Projection, ESP and Higher Awareness Seminar Limassol, Cyprus http://mindabilities.com

2009 Paranormal Symposium Angel Fire Community Center Angel Fire, New Mexico www.aspefiles.org

Saskatoon Body, Soul, & Spirit Expo Prairieland Park Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada www.bodysoulspiritexpo.com/expo/

VAPRCON 2009 Hosted by Vonore Area Paranormal Research Old South Pittsburg Hospital South Pittsburg, Tennessee http://vaprcon.webs.com/tickets.htm

October 9

September 19

Chautauqua-Con Paranormal Conference Chautauqua Auditorium Shelbyville, Illinois http://chautauqua-con.webs.com/

September 24–26

HauntedCon Hotel St. Michael Prescott, Arizona http://www.hauntedcon.com/

September 25–27

A Galactic Gathering — A Conference on Extraterrestrial Civilizations University of Denver Denver, Colorado www.galacticcivilizations.org

September 26

2009 Texas Bigfoot Conference 8:30 a.m.–6:15 p.m. Caldwell Auditorium Tyler, Texas www.texasbigfoot.org

PhantomCon Hosted by The Western North Carolina Paranormal Research Society Brookford Community Center Hickory, North Carolina www.phantomcon.com

October 16–18

Extreme Paranormal Conference Kingsgate Marriott Hotel & Conference Center Cincinnati, Ohio www.extremeparacon.com/

October 17

Michigan Paranormal Conference 1 p.m.–9 p.m. — Bailey Rec. Center Westland, Michigan http://ghostwatchers.org

September 11–13 The Scare Fest The Lexington Center Lexington, Kentucky www.thescarefest.com

October 16–18

The American Paranormal Conference 3 p.m.–10 p.m. EDT Scottish Rite Auditorium Fort Wayne, Indiana www.ameriparacon.com

October 9–11

East Coast Paranormal Investigators Conference Fort Mifflin on the Delaware Philadelphia, Pennsylvania http://aphs.org

October 10

S.O.U.L.S. Fest Paranormal Conference 10 a.m.–12 a.m. CDT Julie Rogers Theater Beaumont, Texas www.soulsparanormal.com

October 16–17

Allegan Paranormal Conference Historic Griswold Auditorium Allegan, Michigan http://strewnpapers.com/_clients/ mpe/conf2009.html

October 23–25

ACE Paracon Social Paranormal Conference Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center Pigeon Forge, Tennessee www.americannewsmagazine.com

October 24

October’s Other Side at the Old Mill 7 p.m.–10 p.m. Dundee Old Mill Dundee, Michigan http://tangledwishes.com/events.php

November 6–8

Paranormal Investigators Convention Ramada Airport South and Conference Center Charlotte, North Carolina www.ls-pic.org/

September 2009 Paranormal Underground

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Paranormal News

Source of Earth’s ‘Hum’ Discovered

UFO Invades BBC Breakfast

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ven though our ears are too insensitive to hear it, Earth is constantly generating a low-frequency humming noise, which was first discovered in 1998. At a frequency of around 10 millihertz, the sound is far outside our hearing range — we can only perceive sounds as low as 20 hertz. Scientists have now determined the source of the humming noise, and also the regions where it can be heard most loudly. Some rumors and conspiracy theories previously claimed some unnatural event may be causing the hum, according to http://news.softpedia.com. In a study recently published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, a group of researchers said the noise is created by pressure waves, which are strongest in the Pacific Coast of North America. According to the report, “The sound is produced as two waves, of similar frequencies, but opposite directions, meet. They collide with each other and generate a very special type of pressure wave that travels downward toward the ocean floor at fairly large speeds. When it reaches the bottom, it slams into the rocks, causing it to vibrate and give off the mysterious, low-frequency sound. The investigation used scientific data collected between November 2006 and June 2007.

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UFO was recently spotted on BBC breakfast television. Viewers watched as the white, probe-like object appeared on the Look North morning show. UFO expert Nick Pope described the event as “intriguing” and a “genuine mystery.” The UFO was captured via a Webcam as it passed over the Gateshead Millennium Bridge on the River Tyne. Viewers spotted the object when pictures from the weather camera were used as a backdrop on the breakfast show behind presenter Colin Briggs, according to www.thesun.co.uk. Pope, a former MoD UFO investigator, said, “At first I thought it was a bird, but the slowed down footage seems to rule this out. It’s an intriguing film and a genuine mystery.”

Mermaid Fever Hits Israel

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fter several mermaids were said to have been spotted off the coast of Israel, one town council is now offering a $1m (£609,000) reward to anyone who can photograph a mermaid in its waters. Kiryat Yam municipality, near Haifa, said dozens of mermaid sightings have been reported to them in the past few months. “Many people are telling us they are sure they’ve seen a mermaid, and they are all independent of each other,” council spokesman Natti Zilberman told Sky News (http://news.sky.com). The mythical creature is said to be seen in the evening at sunset, drawing crowds of people with cameras hoping for a glimpse. “People say it is half girl, half fish, jumping like a dolphin. It does all kinds of tricks then disappears,” Zilberman said. The council denied its offer of a reward was a publicity stunt, but did admit that it hoped the mermaid craze would bring in more tourists.

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Himalayan Yeti Hait to Undergo DNA Testing

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team of Chinese scientists have collected and analyzed strands of hair said to come from a Himalayan Yeti — or Xueguai as it is known in Chinese. Locals along the Nepalese border say that they have not only seen the cryptid, but also collected strands of the hair in question. The team confirmed that the strands do not belong to any known local animal, but say they plan to do further testing on the hair. According to www.allnewsweb.com, one theory being pushed is that the cryptid being spotted by locals is a species of rare bear currently unknown to science. It is hoped by the scientists that DNA tests will help settle this mystery.

Polish Yeti Caught on Film

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hile on a walking holiday in Poland’s Tatra Mountains, 27-yearold Piotr Kowalski allegedly filmed a “monstrous, hairy creature.” According to Kowalski, a local to the region, as he began filming a mountain goat, he “saw this huge ape-like form hiding behind the rocks.” In a statement to the daily Superexpress, he attributed the experience akin to being struck by a lightning bolt. Yeti experts with the Nautilus Foundation, which deals with unexplained phenomena and has been given the film for examination, are headed to the area, where rumors of a Polish Yeti have been around for centuries. Nautilus Foundation President Robert Bernatowicz stated that the film “clearly shows something that moves on two legs and is bigger than a normal man,” according to www.austriantimes.at. He further went on to say that the Foundation needs to travel to the area to see what traces, if any, were left before a final judgment can be made.

Chupacabra in Argentina?

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he discovery of mutilated calves in a field near Santo Domingo (Santa Fe, Argentina) caused renewed panic among local residents that a Chupacabra is on the move again. This new case recently occurred near Santo Domingo, where a local farmer came across a multilated calf. “No traces of blood were evident. It was clean, really clean,” said the experienced farmer, according to www.minutouno.com. “It had perfect, smooth incisions, like someone running a finger along the edge of a plate. It was also missing its intestines, a kidney, its stomach . . .” Other surrounding cities have also reporting their own cases of possible Chupacabra attacks.

Patrick Stewart Sees a Ghost

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ctor Patrick Stewart saw the apparition of former actor, playwright, and actor-manager John Baldwin Buckstone on stage during Act One of the play Waiting for Godot. Stewart is performing in the play with fellow actor Sir Ian McKellen. Stewart told his co-star that he saw a man in what he took to be a beige coat and twill trousers standing in the wings. According to stage hands Stewart saw John Baldwin Buckstone, a friend of Charles Dickens and actor-manager of the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the mid 19th Century. Unfortunately, cameramen failed to capture any images of the ghost. The theatre, reputed to be Britain’s most haunted, is the subject of a documentary produced by the television channel Sky Arts in which the experience by Stewart is related. Buckstone did not die in the theatre, but passed peacefully at his home in Sydenham, Kent, after a long illness. “Patrick told us all about it. He was stunned. I would not say frightened, but I would say impressed,” said theater director Nigel Everett, according to www.telegraph.co.uk. While the ghost of Buckstone appears infrequently within the theater, with his last appearance being seen by a stage hand three or four years ago, Buckstone does tend to appear when a comedy is playing. And while Waiting for Godot is not considered a comedy, Everett said their production did have comic aspects.

September 2009 Paranormal Underground

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TV Watch

“Warehouse 13” Renewed for a Second Season By Heidi Ann

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ecret Service Agents Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) are chosen by the mysterious Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) to work in “America’s Attic” — the government’s secret Warehouse 13 run by Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek). The Warehouse, which is hidden away on the outskirts of a small town in South Dakota, safely houses mysterious artifacts whose supernatural powers cause mayhem when they fall into the wrong hands. Every week Myka and Pete are dispatched to retrieve a magical relic with the orders to “snag it, bag it, and tag it,” but things never go that smoothly. Pete, a recovering alcoholic, who flies by the seat of his pants, and Myka, who is a by the book agent battling inner turmoil after her former partner (and possible lover) Sam is killed, must learn to work together in their attempts to obtain the dangerous objects they are seeking. They are guided in these missions by Artie, the eccentric and socially inept caretaker of the warehouse, with secrets of his own still being discovered. Every week the Warehouse 13 team puts their lives on the line to procure these deadly items and save the world from destruction. A Little Help From Their Friends Assisting Pete, Myka, and Artie in their efforts to retrieve these strange objects is Leena (Genelle

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The SyFy Channel’s latest hit show Warehouse 13 is a fun-filled mix of fantasy, action, and mystery — with a touch of history and literature thrown in.

Williams), the aura-reading owner of the Bed & Breakfast where Pete & Myka are staying. Her vast knowledge of the Warehouse and its past is still an unraveling mystery. Mrs. Frederic, the shadowy head of Warehouse 13, who never appears to age, also turns up in times of need. Joining the team mid-season was Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti), a brilliant young girl who penetrated the Warehouse’s security system to kidnap Artie in an attempt to save her brother who was trapped in time and space. After Artie and the team save her brother, she is kept on at the Warehouse where her advanced technological skills are put to good use. Daniel Dickinson (Simon Reynolds), Pete and Myka’s former boss at the Secret Service, often finds himself embroiled in Warehouse 13’s exploits as well.

Paranormal Underground September 2009

High Ratings for Warehouse 13 Warehouse 13 was the SyFy Channel’s third-highest debuting show, with 3.5 million viewers tuning in to the two-hour premiere on July 7, 2009, making it the highest-rated show on cable television that night. The show, which has been renewed for a second season, can be seen on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. EDT (check your local listings) with several rebroadcasts throughout the week.

The Cast Joanne Kelly: Eddie McClintock: Saul Rubinek: Genelle Williams: Simon Reynolds: CCH Pounder: Allison Scagliotti:

Myka Bering Pete Lattimer Artie Nielsen Leena Daniel Dickinson Mrs. Frederic Claudia Donovan

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September 2009 Paranormal Underground 11

Investigator Spotlight

GHI’s Robb Demarest: International Ghost Hunter

By Cheryl Knight

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he TV show Ghost Hunters International (GHI) debuted January 9, 2008, as the number one reality series telecast in SyFy channel history. Now in its second season, the show’s success hasn’t wavered. The series follows a team of paranormal investigators as they travel around the world and document some of the world’s most legendary haunted locations. From Chillingham Castle in England to the Grande Hotel in Brazil to Wicklow’s Historic Gaol in Ireland, the locations investigated are historical, breathtaking, and reportedly haunted. As lead investigator of the GHI team, Robb Demarest works to push the boundaries of current knowledge in the field and approach paranormal investigation with open-minded skepticism. A native of Albany, New York, Robb joined the GHI team after three years with Florida Ghost Team, an affiliate of The Atlantic Paranormal Society. Robb’s responsibilities on the team ranged from research, technology management, and client relations, to his current position as assistant director. He also participated in speaking engagements on behalf of the group. The evasive nature of para-

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As lead investigator of the Ghost Hunters International team, Robb Demarest works to push the boundaries of current knowledge in the field and approach paranormal investigation with open-minded skepticism.

normal investigation fueled Robb’s desire to become involved in the field at an early age. He found it fascinating because it “was like reading a mystery that had the last page cut out.” With a background in psychology and business administration, Robb has previously worked as an ESL teacher and works as a

Paranormal Underground September 2009

professional tutor, when he isn’t investigating for GHI. A practicing martial-artist, he also has a passion for traveling. Robb recently talked with Paranormal Underground about his time on GHI, as well as his thoughts on the paranormal. Read on to find out more. *****

Ghost Hunters International’s Rob Demarest investigates with Season One investigator Andy Andrews.

Q: Tell us about yourself. Robb: Well, I’m from New York (both upstate and NYC). I went to college for business and psychology in New York State as well. After that, I worked as a teacher at several schools around New England. I have taught English as a Second Language (ESL), helped learning disabled students at a school in Vermont, and worked with troubled boys at a school in Massachusetts. As far as hobbies, I have been a life-long student of the martial arts. I am a huge music fan that enjoys pretty much every type of music. I try to stay in shape (as much as a televisionfilming schedule allows), and I stay busy on the Internet researching new locations as well as hanging around on Myspace and Facebook. Q: How long have you been investigating the paranormal?

Robb: I first started “investigating” the paranormal when I was a child. My mom would take my sister and me to many of the alleged haunted spots around our area. It was these expeditions that led to my reading books about everything paranormal for almost as long as I could read. I devoured every book I could get my little hands on that were about ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, and Loch Ness. It was so fascinating to me because the mystery was still out there. The answers are left to the reader. Q: Have you had any personal paranormal experiences prior to becoming an investigator that you’d like to share? Robb: This is a bit strange because almost everyone I meet in the field has had experiences that prompted them to enter the field. This was not the

case for me. The experiences came after I started chasing after them. Q: What prompted you to begin investigating? Robb: What prompted me to start investigating was the need to stop reading about the investigations and experiences of others (which I still do) and start paving my own path. Q: What interests you the most about the paranormal? Robb: What interests me most about the paranormal is that I feel like all investigators are pushing the field forward. I believe that there is still so very much out there to be discovered, and the idea that I can be a part of that is absolutely fascinating and compelling to me. Q: Tell us about your own group — Florida Ghost Team?

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Investigator Spotlight shows include GHI, Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, A Haunting, reruns of In Search Of, and Unsolved Mysteries. My favorite book list keeps growing. I loved the work of the recently departed John Keel. More recently I have thoroughly enjoyed books by Michelle Bellanger, Keith Johnson, and Steven LaChance. I have not been a fan of too many paranormal movies. People wind up so disappointed when they think that every investigation is going to be just like Amityville Horror. OK, I still loved The Sixth Sense. Q: How did you end up on SyFy’s TV show Ghost Hunters International? Robb believes that there is still a lot out there to be discovered, and the idea that he can be a part of that compels him to continue investigating.

Robb: Florida Ghost Team (FGT) was founded by my friend Shaun Jones. She and I began working together several years ago. This came after working on my own and with friends since I was 16. FGT is still thriving and still continuing to attempt to help anyone in need in the state of Florida. Q: How do you go about becoming trained in paranormal investigation? Robb: I think this tends to vary based on the individual. My training came from the books written by many of the modern pioneers of paranormal investigation. I think it is great that there are several courses available now for potential investigators to learn to use the equipment and learn theory. I do sometimes worry that there are certain individuals that are ‘teaching’ their own theory as fact. There is so much more to do

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before we can start listing the ‘facts’ about ghosts. Q: Whose work in the paranormal field do you respect the most and why? Robb: That is a tough question! I don’t think it is really a question of whom I respect the most. That would be far too tough. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to give a bit of an Emmy Award speech! John Keel, Hans Holzer, Ed and Lorraine Warren, John Zaffis, Loyd Auerbach, Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Keith and Carl Johnson, Chad Calek, Thomas Edison, and I could go on forever. I think the people on this list have all pushed the existing knowledge in the field and paved the way for those of us who follow. Q: What are your favorite paranormal shows, books, movies, etc.? Robb: My favorite paranormal

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Robb: FGT is a TAPS family member team, and that is how I came to the attention of the Ghost Hunters people. I had busted my hump to make it to Assistant Director of FGT, and it was my time to move up to leading a team. Q: Talk about your time on GHI and how the show has affected you. Robb: My time on GHI has been incredible. I had travelled abroad extensively for my work, but nothing like this. The show itself has been filled with ups and downs. I’ve made some great friends and watched them leave. I still keep in contact with almost everyone. Shannon Sylvia just made me some incredible business cards! It’s tough though. I’ve spent a lot of the past couple years in hotel rooms and airports. It does wear on you, and it would be very hard to keep doing what I’m doing if we didn’t really believe in what we are trying to accomplish out here. It’s not about trying to make a great show. It’s about trying to push the field forward. The show has worn me down at

times both mentally and physically. I hurt my ankle at Lady Bathory’s Castle and then shortly after walked the 1,400-plus steps to Dracula’s Castle. We are often jet-lagged and miss American food, but the reward is the evidence, the adventure, and the friendships. Q: What has it been like filming for the TV show overseas? Robb: It has been pretty amazing to film overseas. We are virtual unknowns nearly everywhere we go. That being said, Joe Chin was actually recognized inside the Vatican! I have always loved to travel, and I think that the locations we have been hitting have continued to get more and more exotic. I wish I could disclose exactly where I am writing this, but it will be up on the small screen soon enough!

this team. It hurts sometimes to lose some of the great investigators we have had on this team, but we keep moving on and keep trying to provide a solid investigation to any client. Q: What are the most common types of equipment you use during investigations? Robb: I am never without an audio recorder. I use a variety of digital and analog recorders, and I’m never without at least two. I also like to have a video camera, a camera, and a flashlight, of course. There are the real core elements for me.

Q: The GHI team changes some of the investigators from season to season. How does this affect investigations? Robb: I think we have been lucky to maintain good investigators on

Robb: I still look back at the Lucedio Abbey investigation. Donna and I clearly heard a disembodied voice telling us to get out. Shannon and Donna were touched, and Brian fell in an open grave. I really wish Brian’s nosedive had made it to television. DVD extra anyone? Q: What has been your favorite country to investigate in? Robb: I loved investigating in the Philippines. The people were incredibly friendly and interested in what we were doing looking for ghosts. It was a culture shock, but I have also been constantly fascinated by Asian culture. Q: What case will you remember the most and why?

Q: What has it been like working with the different investigators on the show? Robb: I could go on and on about some of the people I have worked with! Shannon Sylvia and I almost never investigated together because we would laugh until we cried. To see how serious about the field Donna Lacroix is, to work with the famous Brian Harnois, listen to some of the incredible ideas of ‘master debunker’ Andy Andrews, to spend hours talking theory with Barry Fitzgerald, to hang out with Angela Alderman who is one of my best friends . . the list of experiences with these incredible people goes on and on!

Q: What have been your most exciting cases to date, and what happened on those cases?

Pictured above (left to right) are paranormal investigators Andy Andrews, Brian Harnois, and Robb Demarest.

On top of that I really enjoy taking new pieces of equipment with me out there. I have been experimenting with a deep infrared camera, a static meter, a UV/IR handicam, a Raudive diode, a noise generator, an ion generator, etc.

Robb: I will always remember our investigation at the Clark Air Force Base. During the investigation, the activity was incredible. There was everything an investigator could want with a full array, including full-body apparitions, shadows, disembodied voices, footsteps, EVPs, and cold spots. This isn’t why I will always remember it though. After Dustin and I finished the reveal, we went to say goodbye to whoever had been interacting with us during our investigation. This was never meant to be on camera, but a cameraman did go down to the morgue to film it. At one point I said, “Perhaps the most help we could offer is to let you know that the war is over.” I was holding a recorder in my hand, and when I listened to the recording later I heard a voice after mine that replied to me, “Who won?” For the rest of my life I will never forget the moment I heard that voice.

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 15

Investigator Spotlight Anyway, one of the most significant EVPs we have captured recently is from an investigation where I asked what was going to happen to me after I died, and the response came back . . . “Hell!” Now, I’m no angel, but this was not exactly the type of news that anyone wants to hear! Q: What has been your best video and photographic evidence caught to date for the show?

Robb hopes that the biggest impact GHI has on the paranormal community is to always move forward with new techniques and equipment.

Q: Describe some of the scarier moments you’ve had while investigating for GHI. Robb: It sounds a little cocky, but I’ve never really been scared on an investigation. I’ve been startled a bunch of times. I remember when Joe Chin and I were investigating a room in a castle in Austria. Joe asked for a noise, and about five seconds later there was a sound akin to a sledgehammer hitting the wall a few feet behind my head. Some people were offended that I swore and assumed a defensive posture. The truth is that I didn’t swear. (I actually used

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the Lord’s name in vain). Next time I’ll be a little more ready after the famous, “Can you make a noise” question! Q: Tell us about the most significant EVPs that you’ve captured during investigations for the show? Robb: I have been getting some incredible EVPs of late. I can’t say too much because they have not aired yet, but they were pretty impressive. What the viewer also needs to remember is that by the time the sound appears on your television, it’s not of the same quality it was when we recorded it.

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Robb: I feel that our image of a female apparition walking in Brazil was impressive. Our video of a small boy in Peru was incredible. Many viewers felt it was a reflection from a cabinet, but I personally spent well over an hour at the location trying to figure out if I could come up with an alternative. I also caught two pictures in a row on a full-spectrum camera that I considered pretty incredible. Brandy Green and I were investigating a small apartment that was part of a castle in Austria. I thought I had seen another investigator walk into the hallway, but the hall was empty. I went back to my seat in the bedroom and started snapping away with the spectrum. When we went back and looked at the pictures, there is a white form that leans into the bedroom doorway in two consecutive shots, and then it’s gone. It was never shown on the program, but it was pretty amazing. Q: There is a fair share of criticism surrounding paranormal TV shows. What do you say to those claiming GHI and other shows fake evidence and manufacture drama to boost ratings? Robb: GHI, to the absolute best of my knowledge, has NEVER faked any evidence. Ever. Period. End of story. I take a large amount of pride

in this fact. If anything, I believe GHI takes a lot of criticism for not finding enough evidence! GHI has also had drama behind the scenes, but that’s where we keep it. Like any group of people that have spent this much time together, we do argue, but not on the case. Q: Any misconceptions you want to clear up about the show? Robb: Sure. The first and most important is the idea that we do not speak the native language when we do investigations. In every case we use the native tongue during our EVP sessions, but for some reason they tend to show the questions posed in English. It’s quite strange to me, and even though I do believe that spirits have greater comprehension of language than the living, I do believe it’s vitally important to attempt to utilize the native language as well. I have also been accused of being too quick to label a location haunted. This may be a fair assessment, but I will say this, not all of the evidence makes air, and secondly, if you catch several EVPs in response to questions you asked, is the location not haunted because you didn’t get a picture? Visual evidence, as investigators know, is exceedingly rare. Q: Talk about how GHI has helped impact the paranormal community. Robb: I would hope that the biggest impact we have on the paranormal community is to always move forward with new techniques and equipment. We have at least one new piece of equipment on every investigation. If it doesn’t work, it probably won’t be seen on the show, but if it’s effective it will be something that the rest

of the paranormal community might want to pick up and come to their own conclusions. Q: Can you tell us what lies ahead for the show? Robb: As far as the future of the show, I believe the locations get bigger and the locales more exciting. We are hitting at least four cases that I have always wanted to investigate. The other good news is that, at least thus far, the roster of investigators actually stays the same! Q: What would our readers be surprised to find out about you? Robb: I think readers would be very surprised that there isn’t really a stick anywhere even near my backside. I have been portrayed as very serious (bordering on Terminator cyborgish), but that really isn’t me. I love to joke around and have fun. I love to tell jokes and relax.

Q: What sites do you have on your wish list to investigate? Robb: There is an abandoned town in India in which the local police will not let anyone in after dark because they believe the spirits are too dangerous. I also have my eye on an island off the coast of Japan that is said to be active. It is an entire small city that is now in ruins. It was actually featured in a film out of Japan titled Battle Royale 2. It would be a great experience. Q: What words of wisdom would you offer amateur ghost hunters investigating for the first time? Robb: One word of wisdom. Skepticism. Keep your wits about you and realize that most of the ‘evidence’ you catch is going to be non-paranormal. It’s best that you figure this out yourself before you post these

“GHI, to the absolute best of my knowledge, has NEVER faked any evidence. Ever. Period.” People who know me have trouble believing it’s even me up there on the screen. I swear it’s true!

results. Maintain that skepticism and you are on the right path.

Q: Where do you see the paranormal field in 5 years? 10 years?

Q: What other plans do you have for the future?

Robb: I keep seeing new breakthroughs in equipment, and I think this will get better as the years go on. I believe new techniques will continue to be developed until we can get to the point of near-complete interaction between the living and the dead. I don’t know if this will be in the next five to 10 years, but I believe it is on the way.

Robb: I have spoken to a few places around the world that are unwilling to let a television show come in to investigate, but they have given me permission to investigate by myself. So, maybe when I’m old and grey and the show is just a memory, I’ll dust off my trusty recorder and ride into the sunset . . . with ghosts in my sights.

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 17

Investigator Spotlight

NWPIA Explores Pacific Northwest Haunted Sites By Karen Frazier

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ert and Jayme Coates have an unusual commute. In the late spring through early fall months, they make the 45-minute drive from their home in the shadow of the Cascade Mountain Range up to Steven’s Pass. When they reach the summit, they head back down an old railroad switchback grade that creeps down into the Tye River Valley where the tiny railroad town of Wellington once sat. Bert and Jayme have been coming to Wellington for more than five years, and they feel that they have made a unique discovery. Not only is the alpine setting stunningly beautiful and extremely peaceful, it also appears that the former town of Wellington is haunted. As owners of North West Paranormal Investigation Agency (www. nwpia.com), Bert and Jayme have investigated reportedly haunted locations throughout the state; however, Wellington holds a special place in their hearts. During the summer months, they spend most weekends with the spirits that they have come to know so well. In the winter, they watch and wait for the snow to melt so that the road into Wellington is passable once more. As soon as it is, they happily return to greet the spirits after a long absence. Along with spending time investi-

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Investigators from North West Paranormal Investigation Agency help film a documentary about The Ghosts of Wellington.

gating haunted sites, Bert and Jayme are participating in the making of the documentary, Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington (www.avalancheofspirits.com), and they spend a great deal of their time in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. Recently, Bert and Jayme answered our questions about their group, NWPIA, their long relationship with Wellington, and their philosophy about paranormal investigation. *****

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Q: What led you to start NWPIA? Bert: I had a fear of death since I was a child. To help face this fear head on, I decided to meet death before death met me. Jayme: I have always had an interest in the paranormal. As twisted as this may sound, I support Bert 100%. I am helping him find the dead. Q: Did you have any early experiences that led to your interest in the paranormal?

Bert: When I was 13, I was living in Japan with my family. Living in another country was very difficult as a teenager — the culture, language, and schools all were foreign to a kid that grew up in the United States. Within six months, I was failing school and had a very difficult time fitting in with the Japanese culture. One night, my father found my report card and exploded in a fit of anger. Fearing for my safety, I ran into the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I knelt over the sink, feeling as if life no longer had any meaning. I was crying and upset — until suddenly I felt a calm presence come over me. It was so powerful that it felt as though my soul was pulled from my body and I was looking down on myself. As I was looking down on myself, I could see this beautiful bright light that had human form embracing my body and telling me, “Everything is going to be okay.” Then it was gone. Until this day I am still trying to find out what that beautiful light was. Jayme: Although I never had any early experiences that would lead me into the paranormal, I have always believed that there is something out there . . . spirits that watch over us? Family members that come visit us after passing? Lost souls wandering around curious about the living? These ghosts that we occasionally see or hear . . . do they know they are a ghost? So many questions and so many theories led me to further my interest and research of the paranormal. Q: How long have you been investigating? Bert: We have been investigating the paranormal since 2004. Q: Tell me a little bit about the

Jayme and Bert Coates (pictured above) formed NWPIA in 2004 and have grown to 20-plus investigators. The team utilizes the latest and greatest equipment, including its Paranormal Mobile Command Center . . . a 1978 Chevy Step Van.

history of NWPIA as well as your current focus and goals. Jayme: NWPIA was established in 2004, starting out with just Bert, me, the kid, and one other investigator. We used only the basics — a compass, a digital camera that saved on a floppy disc, and a JVC low-resolution video camera. We only conducted three to four investigations in a year. We went to every cemetery that would allow us in. Now we have grown to 20-plus investigators with all of the latest and greatest equipment, including our Paranormal Mobile Command Center . . . the 1978 Chevy Step Van. We now are investigating almost every weekend all over the Pacific Northwest, including Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada. Our focus is to help educate and share our experiences with our investigators, clients, and other up-coming paranormal groups. This

year, one of our goals was to further our paranormal research by thinking outside of the box and testing out some different theories and homemade equipment. As far as our long-term goals, we would like to do more investigations in other states or countries. We would also like to continue sharing our experiences, as well as educating the public by working with the media more. Q: Did you start out as believers in ghosts and other paranormal phenomena? Bert and Jayme: For the most part we did believe in ghosts. In the beginning, we didn’t have as much education about the paranormal as we do now. Q: How has that belief evolved? Bert and Jayme: We have evolved

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 19

Investigator Spotlight

NWPIA co-owner Bert Coates investigates with his team almost every weekend all over the Pacific Northwest, including Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada.

in our knowledge and beliefs by educating ourselves through research, working with other paranormal groups, and attending paranormal workshops. Q: Talk about the techniques you use while investigating. Bert and Jayme: While investigating, we base all of our evidence on facts. We try to eliminate all of the questionable evidence. One of the techniques that we are currently using is a mixture of ambient lighting with UV light and IR light. Another thing we like to use during an investigation is an LCD projector showing a slide show of pictures from the time period. During an investigation, we treat the spirit or ghost as a person rather than something paranormal. We strike up conversations that the particular spirit or ghost may be interested in or can relate to. We approach the investigation as if the ghost is still alive. Q: Who has influenced you in the paranormal field?

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Bert and Jayme: TAPS and APART of WA. Q: What do you believe ghosts and/ or hauntings to be? Any theories? Bert and Jayme: We can only speculate what ghosts are or why certain places are haunted while others aren’t. One of our more popular theories is that we have the ability to create our own ghosts. The mind is a complex and fantastic organ that we have yet to fully understand. If needed, we can think of things that no one has ever thought of before, create things that no one has ever seen, and build things that can destroy everything we’ve created. Q: Why would we create our own ghosts? Bert and Jayme: It’s been proven that if we want something badly enough, the mind will find a way to get it. What if we told you that Wellington is haunted, and the snow shed poles # 23-45 are the most

Paranormal Underground September 2009

haunted areas. Then we told you a wild story about three investigators that were touched and one that got a funny feeling. You may go in already with preconceived notions of what’s going to happen. Even the smallest noise may send the brain into a frenzy of excitement. What was actually a mouse just turned into the footsteps of a six-foot-tall man with a peg leg who carried a cane and was eating a marshmallow. Soon after that, trees moving in the wind during a full moon turned into shadow figures dancing around the pillars inside the snow shed. We’re not implying that the ghosts of Wellington don’t exist, but are only asking to what degree do we play a role in their creation? Q: You’ve investigated all over the Pacific Northwest. Do you have any locations that stand out? What do you believe is the most haunted place you’ve been? Bert and Jayme: Most definitely Wellington and the Seattle Underground. Q: Were there any locations that really disappointed you? Bert and Jayme: Yes, there are some disappointments, but we do realize that some of the activity some locations claim to have doesn’t happen on command. Unfortunately, the ghosts don’t come out and play every time we are trying to capture evidence. Q: I know that you are heavily involved in investigating the site of the Wellington avalanche disaster up at Stevens Pass. What first drew you to Wellington? Bert and Jayme: Wellington found us. After hiking the Iron Goat Trail, we walked right into Wellington.

Learning more about the history of Wellington and the avalanche disaster, we thought of the possibilities of it being haunted, and in 2004 the investigation began. Q: What is it about Wellington that keeps you returning time after time? Bert and Jayme: It calls for us . . . after researching and investigating Wellington for so many years, we have gotten to know the spirits that are there. We visit them every chance we get. After waiting for the winter months to end, we eagerly wait for the snow to melt. But even the snow doesn’t always hold us back from getting into Wellington. This year we couldn’t wait any longer. We 4x4’ed as far as we could get in — even after getting stuck a couple of times. We were driven and literally dug our way in at times until we could not make it any further. Then we hiked the rest of the way. We both were so excited to say hello to our ‘ghostly friends.’ It had been a couple of months since we could make it in there due to the

weather, and it was important to us that we be the first to greet them after the long winter months. We like to think that they have come to know us to the point that we have even heard them call us by name. Wellington is special to us for so many reasons. Q: What is the most impressive evidence that you’ve come across to date? Bert and Jayme: From Wellington we have a video of a ghost child peeking out from one of the pillars and an EVP of a child calling out mama. Q: Are there any personal experiences while investigating that stand out as particularly impressive? Bert: Both of us saw our first ghost at the Seattle Underground. I saw a white apparition standing in front of me with its arms crossed and staring me down. Jayme: The ghost I saw was a black shadow that walked right by me in the bank vault of the Seattle Underground. The first sighting of a

ghost is always your most impressive personal experience and one that you never forget. Q: What advice would you have for people just starting out in paranormal investigation? Bert and Jayme: One word: Patience. Investigating takes time and patience. We understand that you may get a little frustrated when you don’t hear or see something. Sometimes paranormal experiences take time . . . when you least expect it, something will happen. Have an open mind and do your research. Q: Do you have a wish list of places that you’d really like to investigate? What are they? Bert and Jayme: We have a huge list of places we would love to go. We like to try and think of places that are not overly investigated or new places that could hold the possibility of being haunted. The beaches of Normandy, Saint Mara glees, France; Germany, the Island of Iwo Jima; and Rome, Italy are just a few to think of.

Bert and Jayme are particularly drawn to investigate the site of a tragic 1910 train disaster in Wellington, Washington.

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 21

Author Spotlight

Hypnotherapist Lisa Watts Learns Lessons From Many Lives

By Karen Frazier

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ust a few months ago, I met hypnotherapist Melissa (Lisa) Watts on a freelance writing bid site. She hired me to write some Web copy for her personal Website, www.ephcenter. com. Since March, Lisa and I have collaborated on a book and are planning projects in the future, all centered around Lisa’s mission to help others learn who they really are as souls. Lisa is a hypnotherapist who specializes in past-life regression and life-between-lives hypnotherapy. In her experiences as a hypnotherapy patient, Lisa discovered profound truths about herself and her life. She now helps her clients discover similar deep truths about themselves. Lisa has described her experiences and the lessons she learned in her new book, Lessons of Many Lives, which is available from Amazon.com. Recently, I sat down with Lisa and talked with her about some of those lessons. ***** Q: What led you to become a hypnotherapist? Lisa: Reading the book Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton about 15 years ago validated for me that the answers were in there if I looked to find them. Then my experience with the hypnotherapist Paul Aurand changed everything.

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I was having a difficult time and nothing was going right. Not professionally or personally. Innately I knew that there must be more than struggles in life. I knew that the answers were inside somewhere, but it was a matter of being able to figure out how to get there.

perspective. It helped me so much in terms of some of the challenges I had in my life at the time, and it helped me understand a number of different things on different levels. It became very clear to me that I wanted to give back by helping others to have the same type of an experience. Q: What is life between lives (LBL), and is it something we can all experience?

Author and hypnotherapist Lisa Watts specializes in past-life regress and lifebetween-lives hypnotherapy.

It was that experience that led me to wanting to become a hypnotherapist. I’ve always been drawn to this kind of work, but never thought I’d become one until I went for a past-life regression and had an experience that put my whole life and my whole image of who I am into

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Lisa: LBL is a place — and I say place, but it is an awareness — where we go when we are not in our bodies. Everything and everyone are souls, which are made up of energy. When our souls leave the body and end physical life, we transcend. The place we go is not in a physical life or body. We are actually in the place that is natural to us — which is LBL when we are not incarnate. Q: Is it something anyone can experience? Lisa: It is. If you are ready and willing, you can experience it while you are incarnate, but most of us have been taught that we can only attempt to go there after we’ve left our body. Ultimately, we all experience it because that’s where we all come from, and that’s where we all return.

Q: When people go through a LBL experience, do they have a typical NDE? Lisa: A lot of people do, but it is different for everyone. During my first experience I was led there through a traditional regression. When you go through death in a regression, it will typically take you to a LBL, but that isn’t always the case. I’ve had clients — or myself — where going into trance is enough to take them there. Sometimes your soul is waiting and willing to go, so you don’t need preparation. It depends on your level of readiness. The wonderful thing about what we are and who we are is that we do things at our own level of comfort, so we get there the ways that are the most comfortable for us. It depends on the person and how willing they are to let go, trust, and go there. Q: When you go to an LBL, are you only going to experience those who aren’t currently reincarnated? Are people who are alive now still on the other side as well? How does it all work? Lisa: Everyone is there. Although we are here as embodied, there is still a part of us that is there in the spirit world. We never come to a plane of existence with 100% of what we are. That is what keeps that connection back to the source. In a LBL, you will see people who have passed on and people who are still here. Q: Can we be incarnated as more than one person at the same time? Lisa: Yes. A good example of this is twin souls. Twin souls are where we choose to split in half. The other half may remain on the other side, in your life, or elsewhere — but you’re always connected. You can also choose to be a dual incarnate. I think about those things, because

when I try to fit them into my own consciousness, it’s tough to wrap my mind around it because it is trying to fit a limitation into our limitlessness. Q: What would you say to someone who is nervous about hypnosis but would like to try it? Lisa: Nervousness and apprehension are normal. The unknown can be scary. That’s totally okay. The other side of that is that if the true desire is there to know more or to discover, then desire pushes past the fear. All you need are desire and trust. Find someone with whom you have a good rapport and trust. Q: What does it feel like to be hypnotized? Lisa: I’ve grown to be addicted to it! I’ll give you an example. When you go the movies and you’re really excited about seeing the film — it’s going to be good. You sit down in the movie aware that you’re excited — or maybe apprehensive if it’s a scary movie. The film starts and you get pulled into it — easily, willingly, almost automatically. The movie captivates you and you are focused. You’re enjoying the movie and feeling the emotions of the actors and situation, but sometimes you are so involved that you find yourself in the movie, even though you are aware of what is going on around you. You don’t lose control. You can get up and go to the bathroom if you want to. It’s focused attention. If you’ve ever driven to work and not realized how you got there — that is like what it feels like to be in trance. Q: Are there people who can’t be hypnotized? Lisa: I think everyone can. It’s just a matter of desire and a good hypnotherapist. If someone wants to be

Lisa Watts shares her hypnotherapy discoveries within her new book, Lessons of Many Lives.

hypnotized, they can be. There are different techniques that work for different people — so sometimes we may need to find the method that works for the individual. If you don’t have a desire to be hypnotized — it won’t happen. Q: Talk a bit about your book, Lessons of Many Lives. Lisa: The book is my baby. I can’t begin to tell you how therapeutic writing the book has been, and how revealing and freeing it was in getting all of the stuff that was in me out on the page. Not only because it felt freeing to get it out, but because of what I feel that it can and will do for others. I can only imagine someone somewhere having the same types of questions I had about who they are. I am blessed, and this book is the best way for me to do this — it is an honest way for me to help others through sharing an experience I have had all of my life.

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 23

Author Spotlight Maybe people will think that there is more to their lives than what they’ve always accepted if they read my story. If it makes someone think about who they really are — then it is wonderful. The book has allowed me to put my passion to the world and to allow readers to go to the place where all of the answers are — inside of themselves. Hopefully one person can read my book and think about things differently — and then pay it forward and do the same for someone else. Q: What has been your most profound experience so far? Lisa: It was actually doing your podcast — and watching one of the panelists, Teresa, experience a transition in how she was experiencing things. In an hour. It was based on us having a conversation. She hadn’t read the book; it was just the discussion of my passion and the connection of everyone on the podcast. She immediately started to fill in blanks that neither one of us could have known from the level I saw it moved from. That is what I live for — that. The fact that she’s questioning, looking, and filling in blanks — it got her to trust what was already there. That was profound to me. I felt the transformation, and she was honest enough to let everyone know that it was a transition for her. Q: What do you think that people can learn from exploring their past lives? Lisa: The life that we are in is the one that is most important. Sometimes in looking at a past life, it helps us to understand that this life isn’t the first or the last. We go on. That changes the perception of who we are as opposed to what we’ve always been told or thought we were. We carry baggage in from past

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lives sometimes. We wonder why we keep choosing something that doesn’t serve us. That answer can often be found in a past life. Realizing that we are more than what we see in the mirror, I think, puts everything in context. We may become more inclined to be of service to one another and to give the world what it is that we are good at.

already knows. It takes some time to break the habit of doubt. We get this mindset — one of getting and doing. That doesn’t necessarily fit with who we are, and it is a habit that we’ve created for ourselves that goes right along with doubt. Really we want to be about giving and allowing rather than getting and doing.

“The life that we are in is the one that is most important. Sometimes in looking at a past life, it helps us to understand that this life isn’t the first or the last.” Q: You talk about meeting your spirit guide. Do we all have spirit guides, and can we contact them? Do we have to be hypnotized to do it? Lisa: Yes — we can all meet our spirit guides and hypnosis isn’t necessary. It’s a matter of quieting the mind, being still, and having faith and courage in the messages and feelings that you receive. Part of communicating with your guide is getting to know and trust yourself. We all have guides around us all of the time to help. Q: How can you recognize when an experience you had through hypnotherapy or contact with a guide is genuine? How do we know we’re not making it all up? Lisa: The author of what’s genuine or not is you. If you experience it, it is all genuine because it is leading you back to one place. Get the world out of your head. Accept what you experience. That doesn’t mean your mind won’t question what your gut

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Q: What is the message that people can take from your experiences? Lisa: Have courage and be good to yourself. Trust yourself and always remember those tiny voices trying to get attention — take time to listen to them and hear what they have to say. We are good to others and cheat ourselves badly in the process. No matter what — take time to listen to your soul, because it will never lead you wrong. Q: Is there anything else you want our readers to know? Lisa: I hope people will read the book and visit my Website. Also, I wanted to mention that you (Karen) and I are conceptualizing things in the near future. Keep an eye out — we’re finding new ways to bring information and ideas to people that help them to maybe experience themselves in a new way.

For more information about Lisa and her work, visit www.ephcenter.com.

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September 2009 Paranormal Underground 25

Special Report

The Impact of Paranormal Authors By Dave Galvan, Paranormal League of America

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uthors in the paranormal field are common — a quick look at Amazon will show you that. Quality is usually pushed aside for schlocky material that is designed to make a quick buck. However if you look hard enough, you can find some wonderful authors who write both fiction and non-fiction in this field. Some of the better ghost hunting books have been written by Troy Taylor. His bestselling book, Sex and the Supernatural is almost required reading in the field. Taylor is an occultist, supernatural historian, and the author of 63 books on ghosts, hauntings, history, crime, and the unexplained in America.

He is also the founder of the American Ghost Society and the owner of the Illinois and American Hauntings Tour companies. Some

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of his other book titles include The Haunted President, Spirits of the Civil War, and Haunting of America.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley is an author of books on the paranormal and supernatural. She has written 41 books, eight encyclopedias, and hundreds of articles on a wide range of paranormal, spiritual, and mystical topics. Her work has been translated into 14 languages and has been selected by major book clubs around the world. Guiley also appears in television programs, documentaries, and films with paranormal themes, and makes numerous media and lecture appearances, including colleges and universities. She is an occasional guest on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, and is the featured paranormal expert with a monthly report on the Richard Syrett Show,

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Toronto, and Scott Colburn’s Exploring Unexplained Phenomena, Lincoln, Nebraska. Her books include The Encyclopedia of Demons, Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, and Spirit Magic. Ray Bradbury is an American mainstream, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury is widely considered one of the greatest and most popular American writers of speculative fiction of the 20th Century. His work has been adapted to television and movies as well. Around 1890, Arthur Machen began to publish in literary magazines, writing stories influenced by the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, some of which used gothic or fantastic themes. This led to his first major success, The Great God Pan.

It was published in 1894 by John Lane in the noted Keynotes Series, which was part of the growing aesthetic movement of the time.

Machen’s story was widely denounced for its sexual and horrific content and subsequently sold well, going into a second edition. In 1895, he next produced The Three Impostors, a novel composed of a number of interwoven tales. The novel and the stories within it were eventually to be regarded as among Machen’s best works. However, following the scandal surrounding Oscar Wilde later that year, Machen’s association with works of decadent horror made it difficult for him to find a publisher for new works. Thus, though he would write some of his greatest works over the next few years, some were published much later. These included The Hill of Dreams, Hieroglyphics, A Fragment of Life, the story The White People, and the stories that make up Ornaments in Jade. Terry Pratchett was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s, and as of December 2007 has sold more than 55 million books worldwide, with translations made into 36 languages. He is currently the second most-read writer in the UK, and seventh mostread non-U.S. author in the U.S. In 2001, he won the Carnegie Medal for his children’s novel The Amazing

Maurice and his Educated Rodents. Neil Gaiman is prolific in his writing. He has contributed to comic books (Sandman, The Books of Magic) to novels (Good Omens, American Gods). He has even contributed to television, contributing to Babylon 5 and Neverware. He also co-wrote the script to Beowolf. The first book in Meredith Ann Pierce’s Darkangel Trilogy was published in 1982. The Darkangel featured a story that Pierce claims came to her all at once while she read the account of a dream recounted to Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychiatry. It was followed in 1984 by A Gathering of Gargoyles, and concluded in 1989 with The Pearl of the Soul of the World. These books told the story of a slave girl who finds herself trying to kill a darkangel to avenge his kidnapping of her mistress. She then finds herself forced to care for the 13 wraiths who were once his beautiful and unwilling brides, and must also resist the attractions of the vampyre. As she makes her way through the books, she finds more and more responsibility laid on her slender shoulders, with few friends and much danger as well. Pierce’s second and more popular trilogy, The Firebringer Trilogy, involved a tribe of unicorns on a different fantasy world. It started with Birth of the Firebringer in 1985,

continued in Dark Moon, published in 1993, and ended with The Son of Summer Stars in 1996. Jan, the hero of the trilogy, is part messiah, part King Arthurfigure. All three books were re-printed by Firebird Books in 2003. Hans Holzer wrote well over 100 books on ghosts and other paranormal and occult phenomena, such as Ghosts I’ve Met (1965), Yankee Ghosts (1966), and The Great British Ghost Hunt (1975). Other books dealt with witches and warlocks, UFOs and extraterrestrials, psychic healing, and hypnosis. His 13 novels included The Psychic World of Bishop Pike.

Stanton Friedman is the original civilian investigator of the Roswell UFO incident and supports the hypothesis that it was a genuine crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Friedman has consistently held the position that there are no substantive grounds for dismissing the authenticity of specific original Majestic 12 documents. His investigations of the documents have included cross-referencing and checking facts, searching archives and libraries, and submission of requests under the Freedom of Information Act. He has strongly criticized the scientific SETI program to search for extraterrestrial life, and has debated the SETI Institute

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Special Report

Senior Astronomer on the extraterrestrial hypothesis. In 1968, Friedman argued to a Committee of The House Of Representatives that the evidence suggests that Earth is being visited by intelligently controlled extraterrestrial vehicles. Friedman also stated he believed that UFO sightings were consistent with magnetohydrodynamic propulsion — a technology, also referred to in the COMETA report, that may be feasible in the near future, and which is currently being investigated by aeronautical engineer Leik Myrabo. This is consistent with his theory that most observed UFOs are similar in size to our own aircraft and represent atmospheric scout craft, whereas much larger so-called “motherships” sometimes reported may be interstellar craft and operate on different, unknown principles, similar to aircraft carriers utilizing different energy and propulsion systems from the smaller aircraft that they host. His books include Flying Saucers and Science, Crash at Corona, and Top Secret/Majic. Author James Redfield is best known for his first novel The Celestine Prophecy, which embodies various psychological and spiritual ideas rooted in many ancient Eastern Traditions and New Age Spirituality. Redfield book became one of the

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most successful self-published books of all time. Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, astrochemist, author, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics, and other natural sciences. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He is world-famous for writing popular science books and for cowriting and presenting the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which has been seen by more than 600 million people in over 60 countries, making it the most widely watched PBS program in history. A book to accompany the program was also published. He also wrote the novel Contact, the basis for the 1997 Robert Zemeckis film of the same name starring Jodie Foster. One of the last books he wrote was Pale Blue Dot. During his lifetime, Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and popular articles and was author, coauthor, or editor of more than 20 books. In his works, he frequently advocated skeptical inquiry, secular humanism, and the scientific method. I am not sure if there is anyone more covered and talked about in this field than H.G. Wells. Wells wrote some of the greatest science fiction novels ever created — The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The Invisible Man.

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H.P. Lovecraft’s major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of humannullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Christian humanism.

Lovecraft’s protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality. Although Lovecraft’s readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th Century — who together with Edgar Allan Poe (known for his poem The Raven and Short Story The Tell-Tale Heart) — has exerted “an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction.” Stephen King has called Lovecraft “the 20th Century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”

Speaking of Stephen King, does the man who wrote The Shining, Carrie, Night Shift, The Stand, The Dead Zone, Thinner, IT, Misery, Needful Things, The Green Mile, and Dreamcatcher need anything written about him? Ann Rice, best-selling American author of gothic and religious-themed books, has single-handedly kept vampires in vogue for the past few decades with her novels Interview With a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and The Queen of the Damned. And if one’s taste leans toward the adult side of things, fiction writer Polly Frost’s book Deep Inside has made waves in its genre. The book is a collection of Frost’s satirical erotic horror and sci fi stories, published by Tor in 2007. Robert Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories and over 20 novels, usually crime fiction, science fiction, and, perhaps most influentially, horror fiction (Psycho). He was one of the youngest members of the Lovecraft Circle. H. P. Lovecraft was Bloch’s mentor and one of the first to seriously encourage his talent. He was a contributor to pulp magazines such as Weird Tales in his early career, and was also a prolific screenwriter. He was the recipient of the Hugo Award for his story That Hell-Bound Train, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award.

He served a term as president of the Mystery Writers of America. Robert Bloch was also a major contributor to science fiction fanzines and fandom in general. In the 1940s, he created the humorous character Lefty Feep in a story for Fantastic Adventures. Clive Barker is one of the leading authors of contemporary horror/ fantasy, writing in the horror genre early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1-6), and the Faustian novel The Damnation Game (1985). Later he moved toward modernday fantasy and urban fantasy with horror elements in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), the world-spanning Imajica (1991), and Sacrament (1996), bringing in the deeper, richer concepts of reality, the nature of the mind and dreams, and the power of words and memories. His most recent novel (2007) is Mister B. Gone. Barker’s distinctive style is characterized by the notion of hidden fantastical worlds coexisting with our own, the role of sexuality in the supernatural, and the construction of coherent, complex, and detailed universes. Barker has referred to this style as ‘dark fantasy’ or the ‘fantastique.’ His stories are notable for a deliberate blurring of the distinction between binary opposites, such as Heaven and Hell or pleasure and

pain (the latter particularly so in The Hellbound Heart). When the Books of Blood were first published in the United States in paperback, Stephen King was quoted on the book covers, saying, “I have seen the future of horror; his name is Clive Barker.” The above list is only a starting point of paranormal, horror, fantasy, and spiritual writers that have impacted these genres. Let’s not forget the many others who have made their mark, including: •Christopher Moore •Lord Dunsany •Jack Canfield •Jeffrey Keene •Mark Macy •Dr. Brian Weiss •Michael Newton •Whitley Strieber •J.K. Rowling •Richard Matheson •M.R. James •Manly Wade Wellman •Bram Stoker •Mary Shelley •Brian Lumley •Ramsey Campbell •Dean Koontz •August Derleth •Peter Straub •Ambrose Bierce •Algernon Blackwood •James Herbert •Max Brooks •Graham Hancock •Erich von Daniken •Charles Berlitz •Zecharia Sitchin I’d also like to mention Michael Kleen and Michelle Pillow, friends of Paranormal Underground. Make sure to check out their latest books!

Editor’s Note: Check out our very own Dave Galvan’s first book, Paranormal League of America Presents: Researching America’s Haunted Locations; A Paranormal History.

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Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites

The Queen Mary:

Paranormal Queen of the Sea By Chad Wilson

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o, there I was in the bottom of the ship . . . the infamous Queen Mary. The darkness surrounded me, hiding untold horrors. I turned my mini-mag light on and off, looking for unseen stalkers as we stood uneasily in the forwardmost section of the ship. Known during World War II as The Grey Ghost, and now said to house countless ghosts, she definitely lived up to her spooky reputation. I recently spent two nights aboard this relic from the past. This is a recollection of some of the events that took place in the bowels of Queen Mary. *Cue dramatic music* We arrived on a Thursday afternoon, ready for an adventure — a journey to a bygone era when President’s mingled with the rich and elite, movie stars were more glamorous, and air travel was in its infancy. Most intercontinental travel in the 1920s and 1930s was by cruise ship — both the rich elite and travelers of more common means aboard the same vessel. A jewel upon the sea until the 1960s, the Queen Mary ruled during both peaceful and war-filled times. We checked in and made our way toward our room, the long corridor stretching creepily down the length of the ship. The smell of the aged vessel in our nostrils, we settled in. A family stateroom aboard

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Known during World War II as The Grey Ghost, and now said to house countless spirits, the Queen Mary definitely lives up to her spooky reputation.

the Queen Mary consists of two rooms and a bath. I actually found it roomier than most hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. The air system seemed archaic, being comprised of air vents that could be adjusted to hot or cold. Preparing for a Haunted Tour We had decided to use this stay as an opportunity to get the lay of the land, with a return trip at some point in the near future. After we had checked in and had gotten settled in our room, we made our way to the

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Promenade Deck to have dinner at the Promenade Café. I had the Blackened Salmon and Cheryl ate the Chicken Cordon Blue. Let me tell you, it was delicious with a capital “D.” After dinner we went back to our room where we prepared for the Paranormal Shipwalk Tour we had signed up for earlier that evening. A digital SLR camera, digital audio recorder, two flashlights, and a notebook were our only equipment. Video recording devices of any kind were strictly prohibited. The reason

for this, or so the tour guide told me, was because a group had come on the tour in the past, recorded the tour, and then turned around and sold it on Amazon. The motto being, unless the place in question gets their cut, then don’t do the above. This group pretty much ruined it for the rest of us. Thanks! We sat in the lounge waiting for our 8 o’clock tour to begin. At around 8, our tour guide and his assistant arrived, and after checking in, we were off. Excited to finally be at one of my top 10 places to investigate, I almost ran down the hallway toward our first stop.

In Boiler Rooms 1 and 2, I took a picture of the above orb. The strange thing about this orb was the fact that my camera, up until that point, had never captured an orb before.

The Tour Begins We soon arrived in the self-guided tour area, which had all kinds of historical information on the Queen Mary’s past. A group of roughly 30 gathered around the young tour guide as he told us a little of the history of the Queen Mary. Interrupted by an intermittent knocking, something I attributed to the air ducts that were visible in the ceiling above, we quickly moved to the engine room below. It was here that our guide continued his description of the ship’s history. I got a weird feeling looking down at the two engines from above on the platform. Maybe it was the lighting or my mind reacting to the fact that we were on a paranormal walking tour on the Queen Mary. Then again, it could have been the sense of history I get at these places, knowing that sailors, both young and old, had walked these very corridors, and who had since passed on. Either way, I got a feeling as if some of them were still there. Our next stop found us at Water Tight Door 13, where a young sailor named John was said to have died, crushed to death when the Captain sealed the door as a precaution

against icebergs. One of our group claimed to have been touched, and it was she whom the guide called upon in an experiment with dowsing rods. They spun around at the insistence of the guide. I am not sure about dowsing rods. Never having used them, I will with hold judgment here. It was at this point that a member of the tour claimed to have seen a little girl run across the corridor behind the tour guide. The area was searched, and no one was found. Another lady claimed to smell a musty odor at about the same time. Old, rusty ships and water tend to facilitate the formation of mold, so I can see where the smell came from. I think there was nothing paranormal in this instance. As we began walking past Water Tight Door 13, Cheryl’s son claimed to feel a pinch on the back of his head followed by a burning sensation. This happened twice in succession. Cheryl’s son has had adverse reactions at paranormal locations in the past, so maybe he was picking up on something. He’s also claimed to have seen spirits when he was younger. We then made our way back up to what was formerly Boiler Rooms 1

and 2. This is where I took a picture of an orb, or dust . . . you be the judge (see picture above). The only strange thing about this orb was the fact that my camera, up until that point, had never captured an orb, bug, dust, etc., before. So, out of hundreds of pictures I had taken with this particular camera up until this point, there were no orbs photographed. So, it struck me as odd when I finally captured an orb on the Queen Mary. The next stop we made was Boiler Room 3, a massive room with a drawn representation of what the huge boiler would have looked like when operational. The only thing I found in this room was darkness and a rickety, wooden catwalk. In the Bowels of the Queen Mary Next we walked back up and then down into the front part of the ship, 40 feet beneath the waters of the Port of Long Beach. As we made our way down the four flights of stairs, my trepidation grew. Finding ourselves in a dusty room, we were told to take a seat and turn off our lights. Cheryl and I chose to stand, along with our guide, his assistant, and a jerk I will tell you

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Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites the WWII POWs were kept. The sound of the iron door as he opened it was enough to unnerve me, not to mention the thought of the suffering that must have taken place in the small area that the cargo hold presented. We then made our way back up, stopping when we reached the first-class pool. No longer holding water, this area is where the rich and famous swam during the Queen Mary’s heyday. The pool also served as a third-class swimming area The Queen Mary is now a hotel, featuring restaurants, shopping, and many paranormal tours. for a few hours a day. One of the ghosts said to haunt this area is that of a little girl; the Queen about shortly. So, there we were, in Mary crew call her Jackie. She is said the dark, the sound of an indigenous to have drowned in the second-class species of fish known as a Croaker pool further back in the ship. Since Fish audible outside the hull. Their the second-class pool is now a thecroaking sounded almost like voices, ater, she is rumored to have moved which added to the creepiness of to the first-class pool. the whole situation. Our guide then At this point we were led up to started by asking if any spirits were R Deck, the tour being over. We present, and if they were could they were invited to look around, and make their presence known to us. Cheryl, her son, and I elected to Why we had to do this in the take pictures of the Queen’s Salon, a dark makes me question the validity huge ballroom complete with dance of any sounds we heard. Some of floor. After taking a few photos we them were created by the aforemendecided to call it a night. Weary tioned jerk who I could hear giggling from all the excitement, we made like a school girl behind me as he our way back to the room. knocked on the hull when prompted by the guide. In the tour guide’s defense, he Is the Queen Mary Haunted? did say he knew the guy had made I slept restlessly that night, hearthose knocks, and that he was sorry ing strange pops and cracks most of that some people had to ruin it for the night, and had dreams of ghosts everyone else. accosting me as I slept. I usually have There were some unexplained these dreams when faced with such noises heard from other parts of the overstimulation. I often find myself room. I was able to look around affeverish after being exposed to supterward and didn’t find anyone hidposed haunted locations. ing in those areas. The guide then The next day we went on the showed us the cargo hold where self-guided tour, which gave us more

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flexibility to roam the ship at our own pace. We got some great pictures and video of the ship, but nothing paranormal. After eating lunch at the Deli on the Sundeck, we retired once again to our room. We ate dinner that night at Domenico’s in Long Beach. We had a very good meal, and I found their spaghetti second only to Angelo’s and Vinci’s Ristorante in my hometown of Fullerton. Then it was back to the room. I did go on a Paranormal Investigation Tour with Pat Wheelock, founder of Beyond Investigation Magazine, later that night. (I will detail that tour in Paranormal Underground’s October Ghost Hunter Case File.) We got up early the next morning, packed our stuff, and headed for home. I have always wanted to go to the Queen Mary to explore. Is it haunted? I feel I need to return and conduct further research to make an informed assessment. It does offer a feeling of nostalgia, of things past. Maybe that was the feeling I felt through most of our stay, because I did feel something. Was the Paranormal Walking Tour worth it? To me it was, as it allowed me the opportunity to step back in time, the dust of ages lying thickly upon the surrounding items of antiquity. All I could think of my entire time aboard the Queen Mary was of the multitudes of people who had passed through there before me. I was able to walk in the footsteps of an age past. What did I learn from that time of adventure long ago? Times have changed. Since then we have made many discoveries. And while we’ve discovered a lot, we still have many unknown frontiers left to investigate . . . the many mysteries of our oceans, the depths of space, and the spiritual aspects of life.

We Are Looking for Volunteer Writers for Paranormal Underground Magazine

E-mail: editor@paranormalunderground.net

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Case Files of the Unknown: Paranormal History

Does the Wolfman Crav By Rick E. Hale, The Greater Illinois Ghost Society

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ou know, I never really cared for the term ‘mass hysteria.’ It has no style, no panache, and most of all it completely lacks a sense of humor. When I think of that phrase, I think of a bunch of experts” sitting around a table clutching their Ph.D.s in a deathlike grip, saying that folks who experience some unexplained phenomenon on a mass scale are not smart enough to realize that the whole affair was made up in their minds. No, I prefer ‘mass wackiness.’ Why? For only one reason . . . it just sounds funny. However, there was nothing funny about the events that occurred in the small southeast Wisconsin community of Elkhorn, when a denizen of the ever-growing cryptozoo came to the town and scared the daylights out of its citizens. This creature was a terror that forced the citizens of the cheese state to stay indoors at night with the doors and windows safely secured, praying that the daylight would soon rescue them from the beast that haunted their cornfields. The citizens of Elkhorn had many questions, but my question is

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this: Since when does the Wolfman crave Wisconsin cheese? The Beast of Bray Road Appropriately enough, the Beast of Bray Road, as it has come to be known, made its first terrifying appearance on the night of October 31, 1989. The first known witness was driving down the unassuming Bray Road just minding her business when her car suddenly lurched. She exited her car and quickly went about the business of checking for a flat. After the inspection, and satisfied that all her tires were drivable, she began to wonder what she had felt. Satisfied that everything was fine, she turned around and looked off into a nearby cornfield, where she saw a large, hairy, dark form come charging across the field in her direction. The witness would later relate to investigators that at first she was transfixed at the terror that came bearing down on her. She initially thought it was a massive dog, until it came to a stop and reared up on its hind legs. The witness finally came to her senses when the ‘animal’

Paranormal Underground September 2009

let out a loud, throaty growl that sounded like it had been gargling with broken glass and asphalt. The witness then made the smartest move she could think of — jumping into her car and speeding off like a pack of demons were chasing her. Terrified by what she had seen and breathing heavily, the witness looked behind her to see that the nightmarish creature was in hot pursuit and quickly gaining ground. The young woman let out an earthshattering scream when the beast leapt into the air and landed heavily on the trunk of her car. She violently swerved for several minutes trying to force the horrific beast from the rear of her car. She would later tell investigators that the beast’s hungry eyes burned brightly in the night as its mouth dripped saliva all over the rear window. This creature seemed hungry and looked at the young woman as a possible late-night snack. Finally, the beast rolled from the car and hit the pavement. The witness sped off into the night as the beast let out a haunting howl.

ve Cheese in Wisconsin? Eyewitness Testimony Emerges When word of this horrible beast got out, others were too afraid to come forth (mostly due to fear of ridicule) with their own experiences with the giant, dog-like creature that was able to run around on its hind legs. One citizen of Elkhorn related to investigators that while she and her little brother were driving down Bray road, they saw what they believed to be an injured dog sitting on the side of the road. As they drew closer to the animal they realized whatever this thing was it certainly was no dog. The witness described the beast as being well over six feet tall, powerfully built, and looking like a wolf while having the characteristics of a man. As they drove by, unable to take their eyes off the creature, they could see that it was holding something in its clawed hands. It was feasting on road kill. Needless to say, the witness hauled ass after the creature snarled and bared its gore-filled fangs. A few days after her sighting, the young woman’s mother called the local animal shelter to see if there were any reports of a dangerous predator on the loose in their com-

munity. The warden replied that to his knowledge there were no reports of bears, wolves, or mountain lions loose in the close knit town. The woman knew that her daughter was not making this story up and came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to alert the local newspaper. If the animal shelter would do nothing about it, she sure as hell would. Enter Wisconsin native and journalist Linda Godfrey. A Werewolf on the Loose? At first, Godfrey was skeptical about what she was hearing. To her, it sounded that the creature was less a dog and more like a beast that resides in fairy tales and schlock horror flicks; it sounded as if this witness was saying that a werewolf was on the loose in the Land of Dairy. However considering the seriousness of the claim and the honesty of the witness, she would go about investigating this claim, and others, to determine whether or not some nightmarish creature was stalking the citizens of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Upon her investigation, the journalist discovered that others in the

immediate area, as well as surrounding communities, had seen this exact same creature. One 11-year-old girl claimed that as she was looking out the widow of her bedroom, she spied the creature sitting in her backyard. At first she thought it was some kind of dog, until it reared up on its hind legs and walked into the forest at the rear of her home. After the sighting of this creature, the poor little girl was never the same. Several farmers in the area would tell the journalist that some unknown creature of colossal proportions was stealing their livestock. When the farmers would go to check on their animals, all they found were pools of blood and perhaps a few scraps of flesh that at one time was their prized hog. Others would report that shortly after letting their pets out of the house, they would hear a loud bark or yelp. When they went to check on the family dog, it was nowhere to be found. Many others claimed to see the beast carry off road kill into the surrounding woods or cornfields. Whatever this thing was it was huge, dangerous, and hungry.

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Case Files of the Unknown: Paranormal History Monster Hunters Cause Chaos The story of the beast was published in December 1991, and as with any paranormal or unexplained phenomenon witnessed on a mass scale, the wackiness ensued. Practical jokers of all stripes, from the basic prankster to the downright sadistic ass, came out of the woodwork, turning the Beast of Bray Road into a mockery of sorts. People would drive down the road to see a fake road sign with the silhouette of a wolf crossing the street with the words, “Warning, werewolf crossing,” written in bold letters. The witnesses were particularly targeted by the practical jokers, with these signs being put in their front lawns. Folks were seen walking around the community wearing werewolf masks. One local politician decided to get in on the fun when running for office; he sent out fliers with a werewolf on it, stating that the beast was personally endorsing him in his bid for re-election. Yep, good times were had by all in Elkhorn and the neighboring community of Delevan, that is, of course, except for those who had the displeasure of witnessing the creature and its depredations. They were not amused by the attention, and most of all they were scared. As with most public reports about monsters, the monster hunters came out of the woodwork, stating that they had the skill and talent for hunting the beast and bringing its reign of terror to an end. One gentleman was discovered by police sitting vigil in a cornfield, wearing a homemade suit of armor and holding a large double-barrel rifle loaded with, you guessed it, silver bullets. The man was quickly taken

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into custody, and upon release was warned never to return to Elkhorn ever again. Others monster hunters of the religious variety appeared in Elkhorn, stating that the beast was a product of a person being in league with Lucifer. These folks claimed that the creature was a demon conjured up by those who practiced the dark arts somewhere in the community. These monster hunters claimed that, for a price, they could perform

an exorcism and rid the area of the satanic creature. Sightings Come to an End When the summer of 1992 hit, sightings of the Beast of Bray Road came to a mystifying and abrupt end; it would seem that either the creature moved on to a different locale or perhaps the would-be professional exorcists were triumphant in their battle against Satan and his demon spawn. Many, even today, are still scratching their heads and wonder-

Paranormal Underground September 2009

ing just what the creature may have been. Of course, there is no shortage of theories. Several folks claim that what eyewitnesses saw was a bear or large coyote. And if you believe that, I know of a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale. While bears may have the height going for them, bears are unable to run for long distances on their hind legs, and as far as I know, there are no six-foot-tall coyotes running around out there. The other theories come from a legend of the Ojibway Nation and a very real animal that once called Wisconsin home. At one time a wolf-like creature the Loway tribe called the Shunka Warak’in lived in the area and terrified the locals. The name means “carries away dogs” — for that is what the large wolf-like creature did. It would steal dogs and eat them. However, the animal was hunted to extinction by the white population when it made a nuisance of itself. The other theory was offered by the Ojibway who believed the creature was a ‘Dog-man.’ The Dog-men were a horrible half-wolf/half-human that they believed lived in the area and hunted their brothers and sisters, carrying many away — the men for food the women for a bride. These Dog-men may be the cause of many of the Native American legends concerning the Wendigo or the Skin Walker. Again, I pose the question, what did the citizens of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and its sister communities witness for a little over three years? Perhaps it was a werewolf, a dogman, or some demonically inspired creature of the night. We will never know, because the Beast of Bray Road has not shown its shaggy head for more than 16 years.

Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone?

Public Opinion, Hollywood’s Influence, and an Age-Old Question By Ryan Tackitt, Paranormal Investigators of Central Texas

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hile searching the Internet one day, I Googled about surveys regarding if people believe in UFOs. The results were what I expected. The majority of people that responded did in fact believe in Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). This shouldn’t really surprise anyone with the way that Hollywood mass produces movies with aliens and spaceships. Hollywood has always been one to cater to the population’s whims and fantasies — after all, they are in it for profit. But what does the average person really believe in when relating to extraterrestrial life? While the law of averages supports that there has to be at least one other world in our universe with life on it, does anyone believe that intelligent life from the stars have visited Earth before? The majority in the poll that I found did not think so. Sixty-three percent do not believe that aliens have visited our planet. This was surprising since 98 percent believe that intelligent life exists out beyond Earth. This poll had 583,529 survey entries as of June 1, 2009. Sixty-nine percent also claimed to have never seen a UFO or been abducted. The poll can be found at www.scifiscience. co.uk/surveys/sitesurveyresults.html. So where does this leave us? For starters, we have to rely on private citizens for records and testimonies.

Most national governments are not releasing their files on UFOs, and when they do, their use of government-issue highlighters have not left much to read. Plus, it can take decades for the information to be released, thus leaving cold trails for the curious to sort through. For the public, there is not the idle curiosity that UFO hunters

have. The average person does not care about sightings or government cover-ups. The UFO hunter will scan the world news looking for stories or pictures of UFOs seen around the world. With the improvement of the Internet, this has become easy. In the past, news stories would take

hours or days to reach their viewers. But now, it can take mere minutes to reach across the globe. What does it take for a person to become enthused about UFOs and alien beings? For some, it might have started when they saw what they believed to be a UFO. For others, they might have heard others’ accounts and became interested. A few believe they were abducted at some point in their life. Hollywood is responsible for creating a stereotypical persona of today’s UFO hunter. Usually they are depicted as someone hiding in their basement, afraid that they are being watched by the Men in Black, and blogging about the conspiracy that they alone unearthed. Many in the general public have come to believe this image because of Hollywood’s representation. So, has evidence been found that proves life exists outside of our solar system? Many people believe the evidence is out there but is being hidden by the government. What will convince the general public that we are not alone? Will it be a UFO landing in Times Square, or will it be our government holding a press conference saying Earth has made contact with an alien life form? Many humans have to see to believe. Perhaps one day we will wake up with a UFO hovering over the White House and the news channel showing the world that aliens do exist.

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Case Files of the Unknown: Cryptids & Mythological Creatures

Demon Dogs of

Doom

By Rick E. Hale, The Greater Illinois Ghost Society

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e sure love our dogs don’t we? We raise them from pups, cherish them, adore them, and make them an integral part of our families. I myself am guilty of this. I love my Jack Russell Terrier; she’s sleeping next to me right now. But I digress. However, looking back upon the folklore of most older cultures, including England’s, dogs were not always considered man’s best friend. In ancient Greece, Cerberus the three-headed hound of Hades was a vicious, grotesque canine whose job was to keep the souls trapped in eternal darkness from escaping the underworld. In the folklore of Great Britain the canine was seen as a harbinger of doom and a stealer of souls. The folklore of the giant black dog can be traced back centuries and has always been a manifestation of untold dread. Those unlucky enough to witness a manifestation of the black hounds of Hell describe them in this terrifying manner: A giant coal-black dog the size of a bull with glowing red eyes that seem to possess the ability to see into the deepest recesses of the human soul. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, details the depredations of the hound of hell in

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his immortal tale of supernatural mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles. In the story, the Baskerville family, an ancient and degenerate race of British noblemen, were the victims of one of these hounds, which was created by their debauchery and wantonness. Lucky for the last of the line, Sir Roderick Baskerville, the great Victorian Era detective, is able to put the mystery to rest and spare Roderick the death that would eventually come his way. Apart from fiction, does the giant, black hound of Hell truly have precedence in history, or is it just mere folklore?

In 1596, a man named Scholler was arrested and found guilty of the all-too-familiar charge of witchcraft and worship of the Evil One, Satan. The day before Scholler was sent to swing on the gallows for his crime against God and country, Scholler’s fellow inmates decided to kill the convicted warlock not just to gain his powers but because Newgate Prison was famous for only feeding their inmates twice a week if they were lucky. The warlock’s fellow inmates seized him, murdered him, and then roasted his corpse over an open fire for the only meal they had eaten in days.

After the last inmate was gobbled up by the black creature, it faded into nothingness. The Tale of Newgate Prison The spectral black dog was seen as a familiar, or a creature that carried out the bidding of his mistress or master who was a witch or a warlock. A curious tale of a phantom black dog comes from Newgate Prison, one of the oldest correctional facilities in Britain, and if the stories are to be believed, a place of cold cruelty.

Paranormal Underground September 2009

When the guards discovered this unthinkable act, they went to punish the inmates. However, the inmates lay in wait, killed the guards, and then escaped. For days the escaped prisoners ran amok over the English countryside, stealing whatever they could find and raping and murdering any unlucky woman who was unfortu-

nate enough to cross their path. Although the prisoners were fairly confident of their escape from the cruelty of Newgate prison, they never thought that the Warlock that filled their bellies would return in a terrifying way to exact his revenge. Before the sun rose above the horizon, a great black dog with eyes that glowed like the fires of Hell appeared before the prisoners. As they fled, the giant beast hunted them down and made a quick meal of each. Those who witnessed the event declared they had never seen such a beast and most likely never would again, because after the last inmate was gobbled up by the black creature, it faded into nothingness. The Black Shuck In Tring, Hertfordshire, a vicious black dog (or Black Shuck) is said to haunt the crossroads where a chimney sweep was unjustly executed for a crime he did not commit. The apparition of the dog is said to appear to any weary traveler who should walk through the crossroads at the hour the chimney sweep was ruthlessly executed. Those who have witnessed the phantom say he first appears as a pair of giant red, glowing eyes as an unearthly howl fills the air. The spectral hound then appears out of a puff of fire and smoke, and then falls upon the traveler only to disappear before he makes a meal of the unfortunate wanderer. Of all the legends concerning giant hounds of Hell, no tale can compare to a reported attack by one of the beasts on an entire congregation at Bungay Church on August 4, 1577. The tale goes that on a beautiful Sunday morning, as the citizen’s of Bungay gathered in the local church for hymns and the hearing of the gospel, thunder sounded over the church and lightning flashed

through the otherwise clear sky. The congregates were distracted from their worship when a horrible vision materialized near the altar of the church — a giant black dog with glowing eyes that flashed with the fires of Hell. According to the historical record, the great and horrible beast raced around the church letting out a roar that seemed to shake

to call themselves Christians. Black scorch marks the size of giant paws can still be seen on the door and the altar of the church. Tales Are Not All Bad Although the majority of black dog stories have an air of the diabolical, some tales of giant black dogs seem almost touching. Giant black

.Giant black dogs have been known to protect virginal young girls. the very foundations of the house of worship. Several parishioners were injured by the demonic creature, and three were killed with a swap of the creature’s giant paw. When the creature vanished from the church, leaving the terrified parishioners to their own thoughts on what had just happened, the churchgoers believed that the creature was a manifestation of the devil, come to purge their church of those unworthy

dogs have been known to protect virginal young girls as they travel down lonely country roads. They have also been known to protect noble families who are considered pure at heart. The tales of giant black dogs have been told in movies, book, and around the campfire. And as long as sightings of these creatures continue, the mystery surrounding these beasts will continue to grow.

Cerberus, as illustrated by Gustave Doré in Dante’s Divina Commedia.

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Personal Experiences

Diary From a Haunted Hotel By Carolyn M. Hughes

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hen I began working as a night auditor almost three years ago at Quality Inn at General Lee’s Headquarters, located on the Gettysburg battlefield, I anticipated experiencing nothing more interesting than having some bizarre request from a guest. I never expected my spirit friends to visit so often or to hear so many accounts of activity from unsuspecting guests. I never thought they would alert us to their presence in so many creative ways, or for there to be so much activity involved. I am of the personal belief that spirits only want us to know they are still here and not to forget what happened here, for it is on this ground that they truly gave their “last full measure of devotion.” Here is my ongoing diary of my experiences within the hotel . . .

Sat., Aug. 15 Midnight: I was in the office gathering my paperwork to do the hotel’s audit for the day, when I heard loud music playing. The music seemed to be coming from behind the closed door in the laundry room. I opened the door and slowly stepped down into the laundry room. Sitting on one of the tables

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was a radio playing full blast. I immediately checked to see if the alarm had been set to go off at midnight, and the bar on the radio was pushed to ‘on.’ I laughed, turned it off, and went back to begin the midnight audit.

Mon., Aug. 17 Midnight: Once again, I was in the office gathering together my paperwork to begin the hotel’s audit when I heard loud music coming from the laundry room. I walked into the laundry room and saw that the radio had been set to ‘on.’ I turned off the radio and went back into the office to begin the midnight audit.

A look at the laundry room door, where the radio occasionally turns itself on at midnight and loud bangs are heard by staff members — all while no one is in this particular area.

Tues., Aug. 18 7:10 a.m.: At 5:30 a.m., I went out to unlock the restroom doors. There is a separate restroom for men and ladies. I always check to make sure the doors are totally unlocked by opening each door. They must be unlocked for cleaning each morning by a housekeeper. At 7:10 a.m., a housekeeper

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came in asking me for the men’s restroom key. I asked her why she needed it, and she told me that the door was locked. I explained to her that I had unlocked it and checked to make sure it was open. She said it was locked now. I mentioned that perhaps someone was using it. She took the key and then soon came back and relayed to me that no one was in there when she unlocked it.

Guests staying at the hotel described seeing a bright red light coming from the bathroom in their suite (pictured above and at right). At times, it appeared to be blinking and pulsating. At other times, it remained a solid, bright red.

Wed., Aug. 19 Early Afternoon: I was in the breakfast room restocking for the next morning when a young couple approached me. They told me they had been directed to me by the other hotel staff. The young couple then related to me the following, which occurred in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 18, and Wednesday, August 19, in one of our smaller suites on the property: “We were lying in bed and started to see a bright red light coming from the bathroom. At times it appeared to be blinking, at other times it pulsated, and at other times it remained a solid, bright red. “We went into the bathroom, turned on all the lights, and saw there was nothing in there to create that light effect. As soon as we turned off the lights and went back to bed, the bright red light started once again, blinking and pulsating.” Both the young man and young woman saw it. The young man

added that he also saw green and purple lights blinking and pulsating; however, the young woman only saw the red light. Both said the lights were very bright. Eventually, the young man fell asleep, but the young woman was mesmerized and stayed awake most of the night watching the lights. They told me that this happened on both nights at approximately the same time and same duration. Neither of them were afraid, just unnerved. I explained to the young couple that we have heard many accounts of paranormal activity from that particular suite, as well as on the entire property. I told them that this was the first account of this nature that I had ever heard about in that suite. To allay their fears, I also told them that no one has ever been harmed in any manner by anything that has occurred on the property. They left very excited and happy to have had the experience in the suite.

Mon., Aug. 24 2:45 a.m.: I was sitting in the office reading. I heard what appeared to me to sound like a very loud bang on the door that leads into the laundry room. My first thought was that someone had banged their fist on the door. I cautiously approached the door and tentatively opened it. There was no one in the laundry room. Note: I always lock that inside door around midnight as an extra precaution. I have found if I don’t, I will find it locked anyway. I believe that stems from an incident last year where we found several of the outside doors unlocked in the middle of the night. It was at that time that I told the boys that we need to be safe and to please keep all the doors locked. After my request, we always found the outside doors were kept locked. However, they began locking all the inside doors as well. Thank you!

Stay Tuned . . .

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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files

An Avalanche of Spirits:

Meeting Up With the Ghosts of Wellington By Karen Frazier

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igh in Washington State’s Cascade Mountain Range, there is a former Great Northern Railway track that has been converted as part of the National Forest Service’s Rails to Trails project. Each year, thousands of hikers visit Stevens Pass to take a day hike along the nine-mile Iron Goat trail that runs from the trailhead at Scenic up to the former town of Wellington. The trail is heavily wooded and peaceful. Along the way, hikers pass through huge concrete snow sheds. These behemoths were feats of engineering in the early to mid-1900s, built by the Great Northern Railway to protect trains as they traveled along avalanche-prone slopes. As hikers near the Wellington trailhead, they come to the longest snow shed of all — a ½-mile-long concrete barrier that is slowly being reclaimed by nature. Hikers who bother to pause and read the few signs that mark the trail may be aware of the disaster that occurred on that very spot. A disaster that prompted hard-learned lessons, causing the Great Northern Railway to construct giant snow sheds to shield not only their trains, but also the lives of the souls who rode and worked on them. Can the hikers who pass through the Wellington snow shed feel the weight of history pressing down on them as they travel in the cool shade of the half-mile expanse of concrete? Or, are they blissfully unaware of the battle

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Pictured above is the Western terminus of the Cascade Tunnel. After passing through this tunnel, the passengers’ fates were sealed.

that was waged and lost over a period of nine days in late February of 1910? What Happened at Wellington In February 1910, the Great Northern Railway was busy building empires. At that time in our country’s history, the railroad was king, and any town that had a major railway line running to it had a chance of becoming a booming city. This is why Seattle became the northwestern hub of trade — because it was the Western terminus of the Great Northern Railway mainline that ran from St. Paul, Minnesota. The final triumph in railroading

Paranormal Underground September 2009

had come late in the previous century, when the railroads conquered the last barrier to the West Coast, the rugged Cascade Mountain Range. Seeking to establish the northernmost line through the Cascades, the Empire Builder himself, James J. Hill, planned tracks in the steeply graded, avalanche-prone Stevens Pass. It was on these tracks in 1910 that two trains got stuck at the mountain railroad town of Wellington, high atop Stevens Pass. One train was a passenger train running from Spokane to Seattle. The other was a fast mail train, running mail across

the country at the speed of railroad. Regional administrator for the Great Northern Railway, James O’Neil, knew that there was a storm coming that had the potential to slow down train service through the passes. Because of this, he left the comfort and warmth of his home in Everett, Washington, and headed to the tiny town of Wellington, a place where he felt he could make more effective decisions and fight a battle with the snow on the front lines. From Wellington, O’Neil would wage a heroic battle against the storm, doing everything in his power to get the two trains that became trapped up at Wellington moved down from their precarious perch on the mountainside. Unfortunately, nature had other plans. For nine days the trains were trapped on a spur against the hillside over the Tye River as railroad workers struggled to dig the tracks free of massive amounts of snow. As passengers became increasingly alarmed, they begged O’Neil to pull the train into the Cascade tunnel, where they would be less exposed to the elements. O’Neil knew, however, that the tunnel was rife with its own danger. It was 2½ miles long, and many souls had died from asphyxiation while traveling on trains through its dark depths. In the book, The White Cascade, author Gary Krist describes events — both natural and manmade — that seemed to be conspiring against the two trains. A recent rail workers strike left the town of Wellington woefully short of coal. Even if O’Neil had thought it was a good idea to move the trains, it is likely that there wouldn’t have been the fuel to do so. The Cascade Mountains were hit with the heaviest snowfall ever recorded — snowing several feet of snow for nine days straight. And then, on the ninth day, it started to rain.

Pictured above: The entrance of the snow shed from the overlook, which sits right above the debris field. On this overlook, a number of interesting experiences have been had, such as hair pulls and touches or pokes

The rain was both a blessing and a curse. It sufficiently melted enough snow that a number of the heartier passengers were able to hike out to a resort hotel at Scenic Hot Springs, a few miles down the mountain. Word was sent to the passengers remaining on the train that it would be safe to hike out at daylight, and plans were made for the evacuation of the train at dawn. Unfortunately, the rain also loosened the snow on the hillside. That night, shortly after 1 a.m., as the passengers and railway workers slept secure in the knowledge that their nine-day ordeal was nearly over, the hillside above the train gave way and came roaring down the mountainside in a tumble of rocks, timber, and snow, sweeping both trains off of the mountain. If the remaining passengers and railroad employees that were sleeping on the trains awoke, it was to a scene of unspeakable horror as they tumbled down the hillside in a shower of glass and metal. The trains came to rest on a

ledge above the Tye River. According to the official record, 96 souls were lost that day — including railroad employees and passengers. It remains to this day the worst avalanche disaster in terms of lives lost in the history of the United States. Making Believers Out of Skeptics Wellington has converted more than one skeptic into a believer over the years. I am one of those who were fairly skeptical about the existence of ghosts. And then I went to Wellington. My first exposure to Wellington was through a photograph taken by a member of a local paranormal investigation group, A.P.A.R.T. of WA. During an interview that I conducted with them for Paranormal Underground, I asked them what they thought was the most compelling piece of evidence they’d ever encountered in their investigation. The next day, they sent a picture from Wellington to me. I am

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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files of time at Wellington, no easy trick since the site sits deeply buried in the snow from October to July most years. Still, they investigate the site almost weekly when possible, and they have stories to tell. July 10, 2009, was the day that forever changed my belief in ghosts.

Bert and Jayme Coates of NWPIA and Bill Robards investigate in the snow shed while Jim Frazier films.

far from an expert in digital photography, but it was pretty compelling. The best way to describe the picture is that there is a huge blue light superimposed on the picture. At the bottom, there is what appears to be a doorway with a booted foot stepping through it. After seeing that picture, it became my goal to get up to Wellington and check the place out myself. It became more than a goal really. It became a driving need. For reasons I could barely understand, I needed to go to Wellington. I needed to see what was going on there. While I have always had an interest in ghosts, my belief in them never really caught up to my fascination with them. While I was never a flat-out disbeliever, I wasn’t in the believer camp either. Instead, I liked to believe that my mind was open to the possibilities. I’d experienced strange things before, but never really anything that couldn’t be explained away by some natural (albeit sometimes far-fetched) explanation.

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As a reporter for Paranormal Underground, I’ve heard my share of others’ personal experiences, and I’ve been to a handful of places that could possibly have had some paranormal activity. But nothing screamed at me, “Ghosts ARE real,” other than the fact that every paranormal investigator I’ve ever interviewed or talked to tells me that ghosts exist. Still, something was pulling me to Wellington. Unfortunately, it was winter and Wellington was high up in the mountains. My trek to Wellington would have to wait until the June thaw. Finally, in early July 2009, my husband Jim, my friend Bill Robards, and I were invited by Regan and Vinnie Vacknitz of A.P.A.R.T. of WA to join them as they investigated Wellington. We would also meet Northwest Paranormal Investigation Agency (NWPIA) co-owners and lead investigators Bert and Jayme Coates at the site. The group has spent a lot

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Investigating Wellington When you step onto the site of the Wellington avalanche, you can’t help but feel the weight of history, in spite of the fact that everything that existed as Wellington has been long wiped off of the map. Both Jim and I agree — if there is any place that could turn us into flat-out believers in ghosts, it would be Wellington. We weren’t the only people who came to believe that ghosts were, indeed, a reality after visiting Wellington. The park rangers won’t go to the site — or even into the parking lot — after dusk. Bert said that Wellington made him into a believer. I can see why. We arrived in broad daylight. The parking lot, while nestled in the middle of some spectacular scenery, looks like any other trailhead. The walk starts with a well-maintained trail. On one side is a rusted-out and unused avalanche cannon facing up the hillside. On the other side are plants and trees. Dotted along the trail are signs that tell the story of the town of Wellington and the avalanche. And then, as you drop a short way, you see the snow shed — a ½-mile-long concrete bunker/tunnel that was built after the disaster to protect the tracks. Even in broad daylight, the tunnel is fairly dark, but easily manageable. Still, we got a clear sense of what we would be in for after dark. Initially, we headed out to the overlook platform, about a quarter mile down the trail. The platform sits above the ravine where parts of the wreckage can still be found.

Wellington: Our First Investigation By Tanner, Matthew, and Mackenzie

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hat we experienced at Wellington was not ordinary. What was once a small town in the Cascade Mountains is now an abandoned clearing with nothing more than a logging road to get there, a dangerous flash flooding tunnel, and an old train snow shed. Walk around this place for a few hours, and you will feel the terrible energy that remains from that fateful day. On March 1, 1910, up at Wellington, a train was snowed in at Stevens Pass. The passengers were frightened, and the Great Northern Railway administrators would not pull the train into the tunnel to keep them safe from avalanches for fear of asphyxiation of all who rode. They waited nine days on that train. Some hiked out of there once the route was passable. They were the lucky ones. As the rest waited in the train, the condition of the pass worsened; however, the Great Northern Administrator, James O’Neil, wouldn’t move the train. Sadly, that wouldn’t be a problem. The train would be moved without the consent of Mr. O’Neil. At 1:15 a.m., an avalanche rocketed down the side of the mountains, knocking the train off the tracks and into the ravine below; 96 people were killed. Many others were injured. Debris still remains in that ravine today. This is the tragedy of Wellington. Time has passed, but the ghosts remain. We investigated the snow shed and areas around it. In different parts of the snow shed, we all felt differently. About half-way through the tunnel, Matthew felt a sadness passing through

The kids investigate Wellington, the site of a train disaster in 1910.

his body. Mackenzie felt that the air was heavy and thick. She and Tanner also felt a large amount of pressure on their heads. Matthew and Tanner both felt like bugs were crawling on their legs when there was nothing there. Everyone thought that there was a thumping on the roof of the snow shed, almost like an avalanche hitting the roof. Matthew was pushed off of a bridgelike structure by an unseen hand. He also had an invisible finger shoved in his ear. At one point in the snow shed, he got extremely itchy. For the first time ever, Jim became aware of something happening. He felt nauseated in places where others experienced anxiety. When we started speaking Italian, we all got goose bumps and felt a presence of some sort. We got some wild EVPs, which are all accessible in the

gallery at Paranormal Underground; however, not all of them made it to the Website due to technical difficulties. Also in the gallery is a picture of a figure walking toward us that looked like Patrick Star from SpongeBob. As night drew closer, things became more and more active. We set up a motion sensitive camera, but unfortunately it didn’t capture anything. We left before night fell. We now plan to return and stay until dark. Hopefully, we will get more evidence. We’re hoping that the little boy ghost will make contact with us once more, and that we learn more about the Italians that were killed while trying to save the train from being covered in snow. We hope that we will have as much luck and fun the next time as we did the last time.

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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files

Jim and Matthew walk down at the west end of the snow shed where the tunnel has collapsed. The snow shed is wide enough to cover two rail lines and is where two trains sat side-by-side trapped in the snow for nine days in 1910.

The platform is peaceful. You can hear the birds darting in and out of the trees and see part of Highway 2 across the valley as it climbs up to the summit of Stevens Pass. There are two benches that invite you to sit and stay a spell. We did. Here’s the problem. As I sat on the aforementioned bench, something was poking me, and there was something behind me. I kept turning to look, but there was nothing there. On a recording, you hear me discussing whatever kept poking me, and you hear a voice say twice, first loudly and then more quietly, “Just me. Just me.” I’m not ruling out the possibility that it could have been someone who was with us — but it was random unless someone was participating in a conversation that I was having with Bill. We decided to head down into the snow shed. Regan wanted us to go without her, because she wanted our impressions of what we sensed. Jim, Bill, and I headed down with Regan and Vinnie’s son acting as our tour guide. For a while it was fine. As I passed one section of the shed, the hair on my arms stood on end — but it quickly passed. Could have been a

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cooler spot in the shed. Then, Bill started getting itchy. Literally. He said he felt as if he was having an allergic reaction to something. It lasted as we walked 10 feet and passed. We came to a bridge. As I stepped onto the bridge, I got anxious. Not just a little. Heartpoundingly, sick-to-my-stomach anxious. It was all I could do to continue on down the bridge. We kept walking, and as I got across the bridge, the anxiety ceased. We continued on as a collapsed part of the snow shed came into view. We took pictures of the twisted concrete and headed back. Once again, when we came to the bridge, my body physically reacted. I learned that I can move pretty quickly across a bridge when I want. We returned to Regan and Vinnie at the overlook with no further incident. When I described what had happened at the bridge to Regan, she told me that she gets to that very spot and something physically stops her. She can go no further. Regan is a tested and confirmed psychic medium. Interesting coincidence. We sat on the overlook waiting for NWPIA to arrive. The bench

Paranormal Underground September 2009

wasn’t done with us yet. Something poked Bobby in the head. When I sat on it, something stayed immediately behind me until I got up and went to sit on the other bench with Regan. As I sat there, something took one strand of her hair from her ponytail and slowly pulled it out of the elastic. No — her hair wasn’t caught on anything. I looked. As dusk approached, NWPIA arrived with their totally cool equipment van. Were it not for the large letters, NWPIA on the side, it would be awesome for undercover surveillance. I talked with Bert a bit about his experiences at Wellington — they have a great deal of their evidence from Wellington on their Website, www. nwpia.com. We sprayed on some bug spray and headed down in the dark. Wow. It is a whole different experience in the dark, even with flashlights. Regan, Vinnie, Jim, Bill, and I walked down the tunnel. I was apprehensive about getting to the bridge again, but I figured that I could suck it up and go across it. I’d done it twice before. As we approached, I felt a chill run along the back of my neck. At that very moment, Regan said, “There’s someone with us. Following us. They are curious about what we are doing.” I saw something flit across a flashlight beam further down the tunnel. It felt as if someone was walking very close to the back of me. As we approached the bridge, we stopped. Regan requested that we go dark, so we turned off everything. I have re-evaluated what my concept of ‘dark’ is. Regan began questioning whatever was with us. Regan thought Vinnie was standing immediately to her left. He wasn’t. He was several yards further down the tunnel keeping an eye on something. We turned and headed back up the tunnel. Regan said that whatever was with us had stayed back at the

bridge. Vinnie said he’d been keeping an eye on what was on the other end of the bridge, watching us and protecting it. Vinnie is also a tested psychic medium. We walked back up to the overlook, stopped, and talked to Bert for a few more minutes. While we talked to Bert, that bench thing was still behind me. Right behind me. Then Bill, Jim, and I headed out because we had a long drive down the mountain and back to Whidbey Island. As we walked up the trail, I felt like the presence was still with me. In the van on the drive home, I felt like it was sitting right there with me. About an hour into the ride home I silently said, “You can’t come with me. Please leave me alone.” It did. When I talked to Regan afterword, I discovered that a few hours later, she too felt as if she had something in the car with her until Vinnie pulled over and told it to leave. Interesting coincidence. A Ghostly Visitor While at Wellington, I had a sense that a child was following me. In my head, I saw a three-year-old boy who had blondish hair and a straight, fine hair cut that boys of that age often have. He was wearing what I would term a newsboy cap. He wore longish shorts with thick, dark stockings and black shoes and a warm ‘pea coat’ style coat. At this time, I knew nothing about any of the victims of Wellington. I hadn’t read the book. I knew little about the tragedy (other than a vague outline of what happened and the date on which it had happened). All around Wellington, there was something there with me. It started when I was simply sitting on a bench minding my own business. It continued the entire time we were there. It poked me. It pulled Regan’s hair. I believe it spoke on an EVP that I

posted in our gallery — where all of my Wellington evidence is posted. There is one audio recording that I have been unable to logically explain away, that says, “Mmm hmm . . . Bobby . . . Hi.” And believe me, I have been grilling Jim about logical explanations. When we left, the presence got in the van and sat beside me. It didn’t feel malevolent, only curious and childlike. It was at this time that I started to see the image of the young boy in my mind’s eye. But I was ignoring myself. It was certainly my imagination. How silly am I to think that I would have a young boy attached to me? By the way, many who know me will tell you this. I give off a serious ‘mom’ vibe. Children have always flocked to me. They adore me, and I adore them back. I was originally going to be a teacher — but while I loved the kids, I disliked the parents and administration. Still, I’ve done a lot with kids over the years in various volunteer capacities because of my love for them. We got mostly down out of Stevens Pass in the Cascades to the town of Monroe, and I still felt this little presence with me. I thought I was nuts. I felt silly. So I didn’t tell Jim and Bill, who were in the van with me. When we got to the town

of Monroe, about an hour out of the pass, we were racing a train on the flats out of the mountains. There was huge excitement that I could feel about that train. That little presence — it was still there. It was a physical feeling along the side of my face, the back of my neck, and the top of my head. I didn’t really see or hear anything except the image of the child I described above in my mind’s eye. I closed my eyes and told the little presence, “You can’t come with me. I am going home. You have to go back to your home.” At the moment, it didn’t feel stupid to be saying it — it felt like what I had to do. The feeling on my face and top of my head immediately went away. Regan and Vinnie were still up at Wellington at this time. They left maybe 30 minutes to an hour after I told the little spirit to go away. Regan is also a mom — and she even had her 13-year-old son, Bobby, there with her. I mentioned to Regan the next day that I’d had something follow me in the van. Much to my surprise she told me that they’d had the same experience. They had to stop the car part way out of the mountain and tell whatever was with them to go back. They left at about 2 a.m., so this probably happened no later than 3 a.m.

Many of the laborers who died in the avalanche are buried in unmarked graves, such as this one at Seattle’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

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Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files behind me say, “Hi.” I felt that feeling on the side of my face and my head again. The little presence — for lack of a better term — was back, although I saw nothing when I turned around except for the image of that little boy in my head. I said aloud, “Please go home. I will come visit you soon, but you can’t come visit me here.” The presence immediately was gone. A few hours earlier, The boy pictured above on the left (from a winter clothing catalog from 1909-1910) represents the im- UPS delivered The White age that popped into my head of a young boy spirit Cascade, a phenomenal following me around while at Wellington. book about the Wellington disaster. I grabbed the book and looked for a rosAt 3 a.m., Jim and I were finally ter of the dead. I wanted getting settled into our hotel room at to prove to myself that this whole Captain Whidbey Inn on Whidbey thing was in my head. That it was my Island. We turned out the lights to go imagination. to sleep. There was that little presence It took quite a bit of digging, again. I silently asked it to go away. I but this is what I found. There were woke Jim up, and it took another good seven children listed as deceased on hour to get to sleep. At this point I still the train. One was an infant boy with didn’t know about something followthe last name Starrett. He was still ing Regan and Vinnie. a nursing baby. There was a threeA few days later, I was sitting in year-old girl by the name of Thelma. my living room on my computer. I was There was an older girl who was the alone in the house with all three dogs older sister of the infant, also with who were curled up on the couch next the last name Starrett. to me. I heard a click in the entryway, And then there was the Beck and the dogs went crazy. family. The names of the Beck famI went out to the entryway, and ily — including their four children my son’s saxophone neck strap, — are listed in the book, except one which had been on the stairs underwas listed as “unknown first name” neath his yearbook where I’d put Beck, child, killed. it earlier that day, was lying in the This is where I had to start to dig. middle of the marble entryway floor. It didn’t mention the age, and since It was the clip where it attaches to the there was no first name, I was unable sax that had made the click. The dogs to determine whether the child was were insane — growling and barking, a girl or a boy. Still, it was my last but they are small dogs. They do that. chance for a three-year-old boy. Every I turned to look out the screen other child killed at Wellington was door to see if anyone was outside, ruled out by nature of age or sex. and I heard a very quiet, soft voice I found the answer in one pas-

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Paranormal Underground September 2009

sage, talking about how the “threeyear-old” Beck boy was getting along famously with Frances Starrett, a seven-year-old boy who would survive the avalanche. Both of the boys were fascinated with the younger boy’s toy train, and they spent hours rolling it along the aisles of the train. Next, I decided to look up the fashions of 1910 — particularly winter clothes for boys. Imagine my surprise when I saw what they wore. Newsboy caps. Long shorts with thick black (or dark) stockings. Dark shoes. Heavy coats that looked like pea coats. Return to Wellington After my visit to Wellington, we came home and shared our experiences with the kids. My son began begging me to take him up to Wellington — even if for just a hike. We finally decided that a day trip up to Wellington with Tanner and a few of his friends would be okay, since it is part of a major hiking trail. Two weeks after we first visited Wellington, we packed up the kids and a picnic lunch and headed up to Wellington again. This time, however, we were armed with more information. I had finished reading The White Cascade and knew names and events that I didn’t know before. Several who died were Italian railroad workers who struggled to dig the train out of the snow day in and day out throughout the nine-day ordeal. On the list of the dead, they were listed as “unnamed Italian.” Since I was relatively certain that some of the spirits that remained were children, we also took a few toys — a ball and a battery-operated Brio wooden train. We arrived at Wellington shortly after noon. I gave each of the kids a digital voice recorder and a camera. (You can read about the kids’ experience in the sidebar

on page 47.) As we wandered up and down the snow shed and on the trails surrounding Wellington, we took pictures and let our digital voice recorders run with some interesting results. As soon as we entered the snow shed, I felt that little presence beside me again. At times, I talked directly to it — but I was largely distracted by watching the kids and making sure that they were okay, as well. When we got to the bridge where I’d felt such anxiety before, I immediately felt the same sensations. And then, for some reason, it occurred to me to speak Italian on the bridge. I called out “Ciao!” Immediately, the temperature dropped, and I got goose bumps. On our recording device, a voice echoes back to me, “Ciao!” Unfortunately, my knowledge of the Italian language is very poor. The conversation didn’t last long. I returned later to that spot with Jim, who recited Latin mass with some interesting results. Tanner got poked. Matthew got pushed. The air got very cold and heavy. We moved on. We set up the little toy train on the overlook, and invited any children present to play with it. Jim and his son, Kevin, stayed with the train while I hiked down the tunnel with the rest of the kids. At one point, the train fell off of the tracks. You can hear a child’s voice whimper twice on our digital recording immediately after this happened. Later, Kevin shut off the train and the same voice whimpered again. On this trip, Jim hiked down to the area where the train had come to rest nearly 100 years ago. There is still debris there — mostly large chunks of twisted metal. After several hours of wandering the trail, we packed up the kids and headed home once again. Evidence Review

Evidence from both trips consists mostly of some interesting audio anomalies. The audio from the first trip, where a voice says Mmm hmm . . . Bobby . . . Hi,” has been the most difficult to figure out. Thus far, we have not come up with a logical explanation for this anomaly, which can be found in the EVP gallery at Paranormal Underground. There were several other whispers and strange sounds that showed up on our recorders, as well, but none are nearly as compelling. On the second trip, we also got a number of audio anomalies, some that seemed to correspond with events that were happening at the time. For instance, Tanner asked, “Are you Italian?” and the Talker Box sounded like it said, “Not Italian.” The whimpers by the train set

Something is going on at Wellington. I feel quite certain of this. are interesting because they are quite clearly human sounding, but not made by either of the two humans who were there when they were recorded. One piece of audio evidence that we were not able to post on the site came on a digital voice recorder being used by one of the kids that won’t for some reason transfer to my computer. Matthew set the recorder in the middle of the circle of train track and then backed away, filming the train. All of us were well outside the circle of train track, and yet on the recorder, you can clearly hear breathing as if someone is breathing right into the recorder. To me, the most interesting anomaly captured on that day was on my recorder, which was an Olympus DS-40. Jim was examining a bridge leading into the snow shed, and we were discussing whether it was actually

from the original railroad bridge or if it was newer. I was turned away from the kids, who were outside of the snow shed and hiking up toward the parking lot. Jim and I were also outside of the snow shed. As he talked about the bridge, an odd voice can be heard talking over him saying something that sounds like, “This is not your bridge.” We also captured another interesting photographic anomaly. Tanner shot two pictures, one after the other, down the snow shed. At the time, I felt as if I was being followed and asked him to take a picture behind me. In the first picture, there is nothing. In the next picture, which followed immediately, there is a glowing figure about 50 yards behind me down the snow shed. Something is going on at Wellington. My experiences there, in combination with the experiences I’ve heard from others and evidence I’ve viewed from other paranormal groups, leads me to believe that this is a location that needs much more investigation. It is a place that draws you in and compels you to learn more. I know that I will go back, if for no other reason than this: Wellington has converted yet another skeptic. I’ve heard it from others, and now you will hear it from me. Ghosts are real. Or, at least, the Ghosts of Wellington are. For more information: • For more information about the upcoming documentary Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington, visit www.avalancheofspirits.com. • The White Cascade, by Gary Krist, is available in our bookstore. • NWPIA’s evidence from Wellington can be seen on their Website, www.nwpia.com. • APART of WA’s photograph from Wellington can be seen on their Website, www.apartofwa.com. • You can learn more about the Iron Goat Trail on their Website, www.irongoat.org/.

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 49

Personal Experiences

Activity in Our Home By Amy Urato

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et’s see, where do I start . . . I grew up in the early ’60s in a home in Massachusetts that had undocumented paranormal activity. Lights that would turn on and off; doors would open and shut. We saw apparitions and heard auditory anomalies. We never had anything documented, because most of the activity was considered normal to us. We just accepted it. My First Personal Experience My first personal experience was an audio anomaly of the sound of furniture being moved. My bedroom was on the second floor of the house, and my grandmother lived with us with her rooms on the second floor. During that night we awoke to the sound of furniture being moved and dragged around. It was very loud. We assumed it was my mom and dad, who had a bedroom on the first floor. We listened for a few minutes and went back to sleep. I was quite young, eight perhaps, and didn’t give it much thought. The next day, my parents asked just what it was that we were doing that we had to move furniture during the night. They had heard the exact same noises and assumed it came from us on the upstairs floor.

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Another Experience Years Later The second experience I had was a physical experience. I was about 17 or 18, and I was up during the night and decided to get a drink and go back to bed. I was in the kitchen pouring a glass of milk, when I had the classic “I’m not alone” feeling, so I turned around. The door to the back room that was closed, slowly opened, reveal-

We heard the sound of approaching footsteps, and I turned to the doorway and saw a man pass by the doorway. He looked like a person strolling by, and was not translucent like you would think an apparition would be, but a solid figure. He did not acknowledge either my mom or me. He just passed by the doorway. My mom saw it also, and assumed it was my dad. She got up to

The door to the back room that was closed, slowly opened, revealing a couple inches of dark room behind it. ing a couple inches of dark room behind it. I took my milk and went back to bed. I had an experience with the audible sound of footsteps pacing above me in the middle of night in our unoccupied attic. I listened to them one night while reading and that continued for about five or 10 minutes that night. I never heard it again. I also saw what I believe to be an apparition. Again, it was late evening, I was watching TV with my mom, and my dad was asleep in bed.

Paranormal Underground September 2009

make sure he was OK, but found him asleep in bed. We still talk about that to this day. I had many objects disappear to later reappear in odd places. A Coke can disappeared off my night stand to be found months later buried between a stack of blankets stored behind my bureau. Just odd things like that. When I became an adult, I moved and never really had any experiences. My husband passed away from cancer in 2007, and his parents

who occupied the second floor of our home passed two years previous to that of brain cancer, within six weeks of each other. There was another death in the apartment I occupy of a former tenant before I moved in. He passed away in my living room. I then met my fiancé and he moved in with us. We met on a paranormal forum and shared an interest in the paranormal. He is much more technical than I, and when he moved in, he brought recorders and other equipment. We decided one night to either go to dinner or go to a local cemetery to try and capture EVPs. We set one of the recorders on his table, not sure if it would work properly, as we had two other recorders on us, and left. When we returned, he checked the recorder to see if it was working properly. To our astonishment, it had recorded a Class A EVP. The voice is recorded between our conversations and discussions on plans for that evening, and says, “Don’t do that.” Researching Within Our Own Home After that, we decided one night to seriously pursue research into what we may have in our home. So we set out the audio recorders (Olympus and Sony) and recorded. We had from that night alone, more than 29 Class B and A EVPs, and have consistently gotten EVPs on each recorded session. We currently have files with close to 100 EVPs. Some of the EVPs give their names. One says, “My name is Jason, and I’m the (something) here.” One says, “My name is Jeremy.” We have female voices, a Spanish-speaking EVP, a child, and two males. They use our names and inter-

act in cognitive time with our son, my elderly mom, and with us. They ask for help and are sometimes amusing. One recorded clip has me coughing followed by a Class B saying, “Amy, get a drink.” We are not sure what these voices are, as we can’t prove they are actually spirits, but we feel they are. We continue to record and to document. We recently had incidents with

our lights being turned on at odd times, and my fiancé has seen two shadow figures in our bedroom: one is the approximate height of a child, and the other is about the height of a full-grown male. They have not interacted with him, and I personally have never seen them. Research continues, and we love the fact that we seem to have some amazing activity right here in our home.

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Equipment Update

Primer for Introductory I Paranormal A By Andrew Selfridge, Central Oklahoma Paranormal Studies

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hosts and spirits seem to occupy an unseen world that is all around us, interacting with our own at their leisure. What if we were able to see into that unseen world, even if only just a small portion? Would it reveal answers to these mysterious phenomena, or would it merely eliminate yet another small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum as a candidate for spirit observation? Being able to see in other spectrums of light has often been thought to give the observer an edge when dealing with visually documenting paranormal phenomena. One popular area for such study is infrared photography and video. Infrared (IR) refers to the spectrum of light wavelength located between 700 and 1400 nanometers (this figure fluctuates depending on source, but that is the core range of the near-infrared). Actually, wavelengths in this range, although commonly referred to as infrared in the industry and where applied to paranormal research, is actually known as the near-infrared (NIR). In the context of paranormal applications, these terms tend to be used interchangeably, and although it is a bit of a misnomer, I will refer to the nearinfrared spectrum as IR or infrared for the duration of this article.

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Famous Infrared Photos What is so special about this spectrum of light? Aside from the fact that we can’t see it with our naked eyes (actually, dark-adapted eyes can detect near IR at the lower end of the spectrum) it is often thought that spirits can use this spectrum of light to manifest. Perhaps this mentality was borne from the famous infrared photo of “John” (or Johann, depending on source) the supposed playful spirit that reportedly haunted the ToysR-Us store in Sunnyvale, California. The case received a lot of publicity and controversy in the late-70s, but one thing that came from the case was a grainy black-and-white infrared photo showing a figure leaning against a shelf. Witnesses described this figure as the ghost of ‘John’ leaning against an aisle rack, and they reported the figure wasn’t visible when the picture was taken. Another popular infrared photo was taken at the famous Bachelor’s Grove cemetery in Midlothian, Illinois. The photo, a black-and-white IR shot, depicts a woman sitting on a bench in a white flowing gown. The picture was taken during the daylight, and witnesses again reported no one present in the shot while it was taken. This shot is commonly referred to as the Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove.

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Being able to see in other spectrums of light has when dealing with visually documenting paranorm is infrared photog

IR in the Paranormal Field The popularity of the Niteshot feature on Sony-branded cameras is also a testament to IR popularity in the paranormal field. With this technology becoming cheaper and easier to put in the hands of the average consumer around 1998, total dark infrared videos became a common addition in many paranormal investigations. IR video served two purposes for the investigator. It allowed for the

nfrared Photography and Applications adapt a night-vision scope to their video equipment. The problem with this is that most night-vision scopes that are within the price range of the average investigator were referred to as “generation 1� devices. Generation 1 night-vision scopes used a vacuum tube image intensifier to amplify light. This optic system resulted in a very strong fish eye effect, with distortion and chromatic aberration at the outside edge of the field of view. This also resulted in clear, distortion-free viewing only in the center 30 percent of the picture. This is why the Sony systems were welcomed with open arms from investigators everywhere.

often been thought to give the observer an edge mal phenomena. One popular area for such study graphy and video.

complete illumination of total darkness (0 lux) environments while also allowing investigators to see any infrared video anomalies that might be present during the video. This was an extreme help to investigators because the clarity afforded by this system was far better than night vision scopes using image intensifier technology. Prior to these Sony systems, if an investigator wished to film in total darkness, he or she would have to

IR Equipment Limitations There are limitations to the Sony Niteshot systems that need to be taken into consideration. Despite the fact that their picture quality was far superior to the night vision scope method, their sensitivity to total darkness without some form of infrared illumination was abysmal. These systems required ambient light, in the form of infrared illuminators, to function in 0 lux. Sony addressed this shortcoming with the SuperNiteshot feature where the image was brightened by extended exposure. The problem with using this feature in any type of video is that fast-moving objects created ghosting artifacts,

and usually normally benign looking objects, such as bugs or dust, took on a Spielberg-like poltergeist visual effect. Sony also introduced the Niteshot feature into several models of digital point-and-shoot cameras, allowing for infrared photography. These can also be used for daylight IR photography, but more on this later. In the past, if you wished to photograph the IR spectrum, it usually meant that you needed a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera and special film. Prior to the advent of digital CCD and CMOS sensors and digital cameras, in general, advanced photography required the use of an SLR camera so that exposure times and aperture could be controlled manually. Even after digital photography took off, most consumer-based systems were point-and-shoot with limited control over shot variables. This meant that if you were interested in IR photography, you still had to use the SLR camera and IR film. Using infrared film was especially cumbersome due to special handling instructions. Infrared film needed to be kept refrigerated before loading. Loading and handling of the film was to be done in darkness, and developing and initial purchase were slightly more expensive than regular film. These factors made using IR film a hassle, and discouraged many folks from trying to use it.

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 53

Equipment Update

Since image chips within digital cameras are capable of infrared and UV sensitivity and are only being blocked by the use of a mechanical cut filter, modifying digital cameras for shooting in the infrared is possible.

Digital Photography and IR Fast forward a few years and you find digital photography has revolutionized the way people photograph and document paranormal research. One unexpected side effect of the digital revolution was that the CCD and CMOS image sensors were highly sensitive to the IR range (and ultraviolet as well). Manufacturers noted that this would saturate their images, so they placed a piece of glass coated with a special optic film known as an IR cut filter. Basically, it allowed only visible light wavelengths to pass through to the image sensor. This cut filter would stabilize color levels in visible light, but basically makes infrared photography all but impossible. In Sony Niteshot products, this filter (sometimes referred to as a hot mirror) is removed from the image sensor, and the color values are dropped in favor of that green hue (green is used in most night vision

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applications because the human eye can distinguish more shades of green in low light than any other color). Early adopters of Sony products also found that with longer exposures and a good infrared filter, certain materials of clothing became transparent in infrared. Afraid of what that would mean for Sony’s liability when these cameras were used improperly, the company restricted the camera’s aperture and exposure settings when in Niteshot mode via firmware. With the new camera settings in effect, Niteshot mode restricted the user to only taking pictures at night. Modifying a Digital Camera for IR Shots Digital camera manufacturers have done a fine job of making sure that their products are used in visible light applications only. Since we know that the image chips are capable of infrared and UV sensitivity and that they are only being blocked by the use of a

Paranormal Underground September 2009

mechanical cut filter, modifying these cameras for shooting in the infrared is possible. If you removed the cut filter and replaced it with a piece of glass (so as not to change the focus of the optic system) and used a commercially available filter, you could effectively shoot in the infrared spectrum without the use of special films. There are services available for those folks that aren’t technically gifted with taking their camera apart and modifying it. They will modify it for a charge (usually pretty expensive), and you can shoot IR at your leisure. It should also be noted that if you modify a digital camera for use with IR photography, that it is a permanent mod. You won’t be able to use it for anything other than IR photography again (unless you keep the cut filter and replace it, but that rather defeats the point). If you don’t think that you are technically gifted enough to modify a digital camera for IR photography, fear not. At the end of this article I will post a link to a simple IR camera hack that virtually anyone can do in about 15 minutes to a half hour. Methods for Conducting IR Photography With digital cameras, you basically have two methods available to conduct IR photography. Removing the IR cut filter above is the most effective method, producing the best results. Another method is what I like to call the ‘brute force method.’ Most all digital cameras are so IR sensitive that there is a little IR bleedthrough even when the cut filter is still in place. You can easily test this by holding up a television remote control to the lens of the camera and pressing a button. If the infrared emitter on the remote control sufficiently lights up in a strobe light pattern, you should be able to use the brute force method

with your camera. Basically, with the brute force method, you will place your infrared filter on the outside of the lens and setup the camera for a long-exposure shot. This means that you will have to use a tripod, and this is not optional. With the long exposure shot, you will undoubtedly have to experiment with ISO settings (less ISO, less grainy) and white balance settings (tungsten works best for me). Take the photo trying your best not to nudge the camera when you press the button. A remote is especially helpful here, but if one is not readily available, you may wish to use the timer function on your camera to make sure that you don’t touch or vibrate the camera during the exposure. Your photos using this method will be dark and color-shifted. The color channels have no meaning in the IR spectrum, so most will oversaturate with false color. Just desaturate and change to black and white. This is the hardest and least rewarding method of infrared photography, and my least favorite. Remember that the results won’t be that great, because the IR cut filter at the sensor is blocking out just about everything but visible light, and the IR pass filter that you are using at the aperture of your camera is blocking out all light but infrared. What you are left with is any IR bleedthrough that makes it through during the long exposure. This method also wreaks havoc with your camera’s autofocus system, so results will vary. IR Pass Filter Options At this point, I should discuss the piece that is the heart of any good digital IR photography setup: the IR pass filter. This filter is placed over the aperture of the camera either by screwing into the threads of the barrel, or by means of a special

adapter placed over the aperture. There are two types of IR pass filter that can be used: commercial and homemade. Commercial filters, made by Hoya, X-Nite, Wratten, and Corkin are the best and most durable. All of these manufacturers produce filters at various peak sensitivities, ensuring you capture the peak wavelength you are looking for. The Hoya R-72, for example, only passes wavelengths above 700720 nm and is a good all-around performer. The Hoya R-72 is very popular with IR enthusiasts, and is a good starting point. You can usually pick one up for about $50 online, depending on the thread diameter of your camera. You can also augment your setup with other filters at higher wavelengths to experiment and see which ones work best for different environments. If you don’t want to shell out the dough for an IR pass filter made of glass, you can get a gel sheet (Wratten 89b) and cut it to fit. The cost for this alternative is

substantially cheaper. Another thing to consider if purchasing a filter for your camera is that if you have other IR-capable cameras that you wish to use it with, it needs to match the thread diameter of the other cameras or you will need to purchase adapter rings to fit your other cameras. Commercially available filters may be too expensive for someone who wishes to merely experiment with IR photography. Innovative folks have discovered homemade solutions that work very well and can be used in the same fashion. In the homemade IR filter world, there are two ways to go: floppy disk material and exposed film. Since many camera apertures are larger than the biggest single piece of collective material with either film or floppy disk material, what you would want to do with these (if you can) is cut the pieces to fit over the sensor itself and not the aperture of the camera. The first method, floppy disk

In the homemade IR filter world, there are two ways to go: floppy disk material and exposed film.

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Equipment Update material, is just as simple as it sounds. Take a 3.5 floppy disk (they are getting kind of rare, though) and open the case. Take out the disk and cut a piece of the dark disk material till you have enough to cover either the aperture of the camera (easy enough for smaller point-and-shoots) or the sensor. The second homemade method, and also my favorite, is the exposed film negative method. Here you will take a piece of 35mm film negative that has been exposed and processed (by exposed, I mean only to light, not to pictures). An example of this is the part of the film that is exposed when you load the film canister into the camera. If you don’t have any negatives with black portions still lying around the house, you can make your own. Simply purchase a canister of 24 exp. 35mm film from your local Wal-Mart or Walgreen’s. Take and open the package, pull out about four or five inches of film, and wind it back into the film canister. Take it to the developer and get it developed. Explain to them that you are aware that there are not any pictures on the film, so you do not need any prints. Explain that you only need the processed negatives. You may get some funny looks, but you can explain if you wish that you are using the exposed negative filter to make an infrared filter. They might even give you some trimmed black pieces from the beginning of other rolls that have been developed. At any rate, simply cut two pieces of the same size to place over either the aperture or the sensor. The double piece of film filter method will transmit less than three percent of visible light below 600 nm. This method is my favorite and makes a very effective homemade infrared filter.

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Paranormal Underground September 2009

Commercial and Homemade IR Pass Filter Considerations A few considerations for the application of both commercial and homemade IR pass filters. 1) When making a homemade filter (film or floppy disk material) for the aperture of the camera, make sure that you construct a housing that allows no light leakage. Stray light will ruin your pictures. 2) When constructing a homemade filter housing to go over the expanding focus tubes of modern point- and-shoot digital cameras, make sure that it does not fit too snugly over the tube. If it binds, it can destroy the focusing motor and you will be left with a camera that will only serve as a paperweight. 3) When using a commercial or homemade filter with a camera supporting the Niteshot feature, remember to use either a polarizing filter or neutral-density filter in addition to the IR pass filter. Remember with the restricted camera settings of the Sony Niteshot mode, it is designed only to be used a night. Daylight use can damage the system unless you take it down a few F-stops with the use of polarized or neutral density filters. This is the best system for non-modified IR setups, and it is not permanent since you can still use your Sony in normal shooting modes. I have used the DSC-V1 in this configuration, and I love it. 4) Remember that if you choose one filter with a thread diameter for a specific camera and you want to use it with another camera that has a different barrel thread diameter; you will need to buy the appropriate adapter rings. 5) Optically, homemade filters never match the clarity of a commercially available filter. 6) If shooting at night, you will still need a strong IR light source.

7) Finally, despite what you may read elsewhere, you do not need a separate IR filter for the flash of your camera. The aperture filter will filter out any visible light components of your flash. Odds are that it won’t work, as you will need a strong light source for the autofocus system to work anyway. Try Your Hand at Digital IR Photography So if you want to try your hand at digital infrared photography, you can either modify the camera with good results, use a Sony camera with Niteshot and a good IR filter (and neutral density filter for daylight) for a turn-key solution, or use the brute force method and pray for good results. Personally, I like the Sony solution; it offers the best in autofocus and clarity. I did promise earlier that I would include information for a camera that was very easy to modify and would produce great results. The camera is the AIPTEK DV4100M (available for $19 on aiptek. com). It utilizes a compact flash card and is capable of still photography and video shorts. The camera isn’t exactly cuttingedge technology, but it is highly IR sensitive, which makes it a great (and easily affordable) candidate for modification. I learned of this modification at www.deadscience.com (vidcast #49) and owe Rob Fitzgerald my gratitude for posting this information. Basically you will need one piece of exposed film (not two as mentioned above; one works fine for this camera) and a little bit of patience. You will disassemble the camera, remove a sticker containing the IR cut filter, and replace it with the exposed film filter material. Reassemble and you are good to go.

Internet Resources for IR Digital Photography General IR Photography: —http://dpfwiw.com/ir.htm —http://infrareddreams.com/how_ to_shoot_ir.htm —www.paranormalghost.com/ghost_ tech.htm —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IR_ photography —www.wrotniak.net/photo/infrared —www.echeng.com/photo/infrared —www.apogeephoto.commay2003/ odell52003.shtml —http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/ Infrared Homemade Filters: —www.instructables.com/id/A-betterdiy-infrared-filter---Take-stunningdigit —www.photoaxe.com/how-to-makeyour-own-photography-filters —www.flickr.com/photos/atilabezdan/309061935 —www.diyphotography.net/take_infrared_pictures_with_digital_camera_ir_filter Commercial Filter Comparisons: —http://homepage.mac.com/scho/ MySlideshow/filtercomp.html —www.beyondvisible.com/BV3-filter. html —www.photographyreview. com/cat/lenses/filters/hoya/ PRD_143242_3133crx.aspx —http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/ CoastalOptics60f4/spectral.html As Applied to the Paranormal: —www.ustream.tv/channel/deadscience2 —www.lowcountryparanormal.com/ index.php?/lowpar/site_pages/daylight_infrared_photography —www.ghostsrus.com/Scotts%20Infared.html

September 2009 Paranormal Underground 57

Review of the Month

The Possessed By Regan C. Vacknitz, APART of WA

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he Possessed is yet another fantastic documentary put out by the Booth Brothers, creators of Spooked: Ghosts of Waverly Hills and Children of the Grave. (Both of these films are fantastic documentaries worth not only viewing, but owning.) Even though this documentary was well researched and put together incredibly well, I was left with some sour taste, further questions, and new theories. The documentary breaks down historical and current possessions, primarily of children, in American history. It takes well-known possession cases in our history and compares it to current, not so famous, cases. The contrast with similarities keeps the viewer engaged. There are enough research and historical accounts that discusses the possibility of those deemed to be mentally ill actually being possessed, and those who were labeled psychic as mentally ill. It paints a very cryptic cycle in our history of how we treated those who were disabled, but also those who were psychic. As religion ran thick in our history, so did our innate abilities to label and condemn those who were different. Discussing Theories Surrounding Possession Cases & Exorcism Two of the most historical possession and exorcism cases the Booth Brothers cover are the Wateska Wonder and Annaleise Michels (the

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latter being depicted in the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose.) Both portrayals of possession cover all aspects of what happened to both women. However, it’s the recent cases that piqued my personal interest. Each case covered featured an older teenager who was taken over by demons in their younger teenage

years. This leads me to a lot of questions, as well as confirmations on some theories I have already. The documentary discusses ‘cutters,’ a term for a person who uses self injury1 to release stress, frustrations, and to feel ‘alive.’ The documentary covered briefly how the possessions in the teenage victims all had correlating issues with cutting themselves. Doing paranormal investigations

Paranormal Underground September 2009

and taking on hostile haunts that involve teenagers, I was glad to see someone else cover this theory, as it has been one of my own for a while now. Our kids may not be insane or even hormonal, but in fact touched by something of a more demonic base. In addition to studying demonic possession in this documentary, exorcisms were also examined. One of the aspects I thoroughly enjoyed with this film is that of the family hosting the exorcism. In the case of Marcus Tallbull, his mother and assistant worked over Marcus to help him purge the demon that had a hold of him. I think this is important. Investigators do not need to rely on religious icons alone. According to Dr. M. Scott Peck in his book Glimpse of the Devil, he wrote that “. . . an exorcism does NOT have to be performed by a clergy member.”2 Equipment Used During Documentary Raises Questions Overall, the documentary was interesting, educational, and covered a plethora of areas not discussed in today’s paranormal community. It pulled together history, investigations, and theories all into one eye-capturing video. However, I had some areas of dislike during my viewing of the program. I did have a serious concern about the Ovilus and Frank’s Box. The Ovilus is a device designed by Bill Chappell of Digital Dowsing3. Within the pages of the Ovilus’ handbook it says, “Product Dis-

claimer: The Paranormal Puck is sold as an entertainment device only. We make no claim to the validity of the data received by this device.” The idea behind the Ovilus is that it uses EMF waves to generate and spit out words. It’s pre-programmed with 512 words, and if those in the documentary are using a second generation Ovilus, the owner can program whichever words they choose into the Ovilus. If the creators of The Possessed wanted to keep the documentary informative, they would have alleviated using such a questionable device. Considering the target audience includes those who are into the paranormal, using a device like this is only going to raise questions of validity for those who understand its functions, have done the research, etc. The other area that has left me questioning is the choice of ‘specialist’ chosen for the investigative aspect of the program. Although some of the individuals are interesting at best, no one in the paranormal is a ‘specialist.’ Paranormal investigations are completely theoretical, inconclusive, and constantly changing. Although I have a lot of respect for the Booth Brothers and their documentaries, I still stand baffled that the Ovilus and Frank’s Box are being used as legitimate investigative tools. All in all, this documentary is entertaining and somewhat educational in the aspect of possessions in history.

The Possessed is a Spooked Productions/Booth Brothers Films/Twin Talk Association production. “Self-injury (SI), self-harm (SH), or deliberate self-harm (DSH) is deliberate infliction of tissue damage or alteration to oneself without suicidal intent.” http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Self-injury 2 Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption by M. Scott Peck 3 Ovilus: www.digitaldowsing.com/Ovilus1.htm by Bill Chappelle 1

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Member Profile

Elizabeth Diaz (ediaz65) About Elizabeth

How would you describe yourself?

Age: 44.

Elizabeth: I’m a private person who isn’t easy to get to know.

Born/Currently resides: St Paul, Minnesota/Twin Cities metro area, Minnesota.

Tell us about your family and what you like to do.

Status: Married. Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting. CPA, inactive. Zodiac Sign: Gemini.

Elizabeth: I like to be creative and do things with my hands, such as making beaded jewelry. I like to cook, which is mostly about fulfilling a need to feed people, I think. My husband is a multi-talented handyman who can tackle pretty much anything mechanical.

Occupation: Financial analyst. I work in financial planning for cities and counties. We assist governments to determine how to finance improvements through long-range planning and the use of tax increment finance. Currently, we’re also working on water and sewer rate studies, where we determine how much cities should charge for water and sewer service in order to pay for operations, improvements, and debt. I’m a numbers nerd, so figuring out how Elizabeth is a paranormal believer, and is most interested in why people stick around after to put the whole puzzle together and they die. Pictured above: Monet’s Haystacks. make it balance is interesting. *****

Q&A What brought you to Paranormal Underground? Elizabeth: I came to PUG via SyFy. What does your member name mean? Elizabeth: My first initial, my last name, and the year I was born.

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The people I most admire are those who care for the forgotten, the homeless, orphans, the elderly, and the infirm. If I have a hero, it would be my husband.

What are your favorite TV shows, paranormal shows, books, movies? Elizabeth: My favorite author is Jane Austen. My favorite book is Persuasion. I’ve read all the Harry Potters, and I enjoy Kate Mosse’s writing. My favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory. My favorite movie is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. My favorite play is Cyrano de Bergerac. Christina Rossetti is my favorite poet. Favorite music? Elizabeth: I grew up on classic rock — Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Neil Young, The Who, Foghat. Maybe it wasn’t old enough to be classic when I first heard it! My musical tastes are pretty eclectic. I enjoy modern rock, classical music, and opera. My favorite opera is Cosi Fan Tutti. I love the way the voices layer and weave and create a ribbon of sound.

Who are your heroes? Elizabeth: Oftentimes, when I’m driving to work in the morning, I see hawks sitting on top of street lights, and, invariably, there’s a little bird, probably protecting its nest, divebombing the hawk. I really admire that little bird because the hawk could quickly decide that it’s hungry. It takes a lot of guts to harass a dangerous bird.

Paranormal Underground September 2009

Any other favorites? Elizabeth: I really enjoy live theater, art museums, and old book stores. What would our readers be surprised to find out about you? Elizabeth: I enjoy house cleaning. It gives me a chance to let my mind wander while doing something physical.

What are your pet peeves? Elizabeth: Narcissists. Are you a skeptic or believer? Elizabeth: Believer. What areas of the paranormal interest you the most? Elizabeth: I’m most interested in why people stick around after they die.

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Talk about any paranormal experiences you might have had and how they have affected you. Elizabeth: The experience that affected me the most was of a little girl, who I believe inhabited our house. There were unexplained footsteps in the hallway at night when everyone was in bed, doorknobs would turn, and there were times when I could hear and feel a small person looking at me if I woke up suddenly at night. I thought about what it would be like to be stuck here, unable to talk to anyone and to perhaps be afraid. I thought it must be like being stuck by the side of the road with a broken down car and no way to call anyone for help and with the traffic speeding by. Perhaps she needed me to be the one who stopped and paid attention. What do you think happens to us when we die? Elizabeth: I believe that we have a final destination. For me, personally, this ties into my religious beliefs. I believe that some people are ready to leave the Earth when they die and some are not. Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by? Elizabeth: Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Be kind to yourself and others.

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