Monthly Archives: September 2012

It’s October!

Well even though I celebrated Autumn way too early (because I get so excited), it is definitely here now… and tomorrow is the first day of the spooktacular month of October! October just makes me feel good. There’s just something about the crispness and the electricity in the air. And now is the time to break out your hoodies! 

Here is a pictorial tour of things about October that get me totally excited. 

 

I really kick the candles up a notch in October...

I really kick the candles up a notch in October…

 

Apple Cider… especially for trick-or-treaters…

 

Me as a kid… a clown for Halloween.

 

Another Halloween… this time as a bunny rabbit with my Bampa…

 

This picture is just funny to me. My sister never really got into Halloween. This may be the only year she (as Casper) dressed up. According to what was written on the back of this photo, apparently I dressed as “a Mexican”. 🙂

 

Trips to the Pumpkin Patch…

 

Meril showing off our pumpkins last year…

 

 

My 2011 punkin head….

 

Our annual shot of the punkin heads on the porch from 2011. Joe was feeling very artistic and creative with his pumpkin (on the left)…

 

This is Meril’s first dress up experience a few years ago. He’s a punkin head. He’s much cooler with it all now. He won’t be very happy when he finds out I posted this.

 

The witch my mom surprised me with yesterday…

 

A tree from the front yard of my parents’ house.

 

A walk down historical Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri… It’s where Joe and I first met…

 

More from one of our walks down historical Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri… It’s where Joe and I first met…

 

The movie Hocus Pocus

 

“Welcome to the tunnel of terror… ah ah ah… Please, join us.” From Roseanne’s first Halloween episode from season 2.

 


Ouija Gone Wild…

Rosemary Ellen Guiley

I purchased this book after hearing the author, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, interviewed on The Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold. For a while now I’ve wanted to find a great book solely on the topic of the Ouija board, or talking boards in general. I’ve heard her interviewed a few times and I just love her. Plus, I’ve read and enjoyed another book by her as well, so I knew it was the book for me.  

Rosemary (along with Rick Fisher) mention in the introduction of the book that they’ve had no negative experiences with the Ouija. They are convinced it is a “neutral tool” for spirit communication. After reading this introduction I was convinced I was ready to give it a try. After all, as a paranormal investigator and the writer of a blog called The Big Séance, it is probably something I should have some experience with. Then I read on and changed my mind over and over as I read the rest of the book. You see, much of the book is a collection of recounted experiences and true stories of different talking boards going back to 1886. Much of the earlier experiences with the Ouija board are pretty benign, since it was intended for lighthearted entertainment purposes. But most of the more modern stories are overly dramatic and filled with evil activity. The authors attribute this to Hollywood.

 

I really really really wanted to come away with full signed permission from the author to give the Ouija a try, but most of the stories made me wonder why I ever wanted to. At the same time, I understand that in this day and age a book about nice and fluffy, positive experiences with a Ouija board is going to go nowhere. So, after finishing the book I came away with several things.

  • Hollywood has turned talking boards into something very different from what they originally were.  
  • People who have negative experiences with the Ouija were most likely “playing around” or perhaps using the board for the wrong reasons.
  • A person with negative energy, or a board being used in a negative atmosphere will have a higher possibility of contacting lower energy entities.
  • If you’re looking to try a Ouija board, buy a new board, rather than a used board with an unknown history.  
  • Since I haven’t had a proper Ouija experience, I was thankful that Rosemary included some basic instructions for those willing to try. 

Keeping in mind that I haven’t had that Ouija experience yet, I still tend to believe that using a Ouija board (or any other talking board) shouldn’t be any different from any other form of spirit communication, which is a topic that I’ve studied quite a bit in the last few years. As a paranormal investigator and researcher (I hope I’m allowed to refer to myself as this), I’ve experimented with several forms of spirit communication, many times successfully. I’ve always experimented in an atmosphere of respect and seriousness. At no time have I felt that I was in harm’s way or felt that I was in danger of being possessed or influenced in any way. I do believe that the Ouija board is a tool that I’ll try soon. For a few different reasons, I think I need to try this on my own. I just think it has to be the right time and place. And when that happens, you know you’ll be the first to know! 

 

From the back cover of the book as well as Guiley’s website

For more than a century, simple divination devices called “talking boards” have captivated millions of people curious about contacting the spirit world. The most famous is the Ouija, whose trademarked name has become synonymous with all boards. Ouija messages have inspired writers, artists, and musicians, and have played a part in murder, suicide, possession, treasure hunting, marriage, divorce and bizarre behavior.Authors Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Rick Fisher provide a detailed examination of the Ouija. They debunk myths and discuss how horror films have influenced popular opinion.

Ouija Gone Wild features dozens of true stories collected over decades, many told in print for the first time., including tales of unexpected terror:

“She realized she had a problem when an aggressive entity turned the planchette into a sex toy and sent it slithering up her thigh…”

“I glanced over at the heat vent and what I saw scared me so much I dove off of the chair and refused to touch this ‘so called game’ again. I saw two red eyes staring back at me through the grates…”

“Suddenly I was sucker punched in my stomach. The force of the blow made me slam face-forward onto the table. Clutching my stomach, I took my hand off the planchette…”

 


The Hand That Rocks Your Dreams…

I suppose I need to add the category of “Dreams” to the right, since I’ve posted several times recently about them. One of my first posts ever was regarding a dream that may have actually been a spirit visit from one of my Great Grandmothers. Then there was the incredibly random apocalypse dream with the massive amount of fire that was strangely pleasant, rather than burning. I’ve been seeing signs, sketches, names, and reading in my dreams… just more vivid in general I suppose.

 

And then… there are those nightmare-like dreams that I don’t usually have. To tell you the truth (crazy or not), I’m not even entirely sure that the experience I am getting ready to tell you about was really a dream. Let me back up…

 

Around three weeks ago in my paranerdal update post I told you that something had definitely visited me around 3am a few nights before. To my knowledge I was not dreaming, or at least don’t recall one. I simply woke up with a racing heartbeat and a very uncomfortable feeling from a “charge” in the air. I don’t really know how else to explain how I just knew something was with me. I also heard a few soft popping sounds. Not wanting to wake anyone else up, I stared wide-eyed for a while before turning on the audio recorder on my phone while still in bed. I never saw anything. There were no shadows or slamming doors. And, my recording came up empty other than a few of those popping noises. It took me a while to get back to sleep that night. 

 

That was three weeks ago. Now, cut to about six nights ago. Part of this new dream may or may not have been in a dreamlike state. If it was a dream, then I was sleeping in bed during it. Confusing, right? In my dream (or not) I had been awakened by that same crazy “charged” feeling with heart racing. I knew immediately what it meant. Something was incredibly close. In fact, from off the side of my bed, I was shoved by a hand that came out of nowhere. How can I be sure it was a hand? Being the investigator that I am, I instinctively grabbed for whatever was there… and yup, it was a hand. Cue the same wide-eyed stare with heart racing. I didn’t look at the clock this time. And we had visitors in our guest bedroom, so I didn’t say anything or get up to investigate. Once again, it took a while to get back to sleep that night.

 

So… my feeling is that whether or not I was dreaming about the presence of a hand shoving me, something was definitely with me and messing with me. It was the exact same feeling both times. I immediately recognized it. Either that or being fat and incredibly out of shape is causing me to have heart attack symptoms in the middle of the night. I often sleep on my left side. Isn’t that supposed to be bad? Is there a doctor in the house? 

 

Now, before I hear from several of you about how I need to cleanse the house or meditate and visualize all the light and love, etc… I’m sitting with this one for a while. It’s not that I’m excited or want to encourage it. I’m just going to watch and investigate this one a bit. I can’t say much, but I may have an idea about where this one came from. Don’t judge me. 

 

Anyone have similar experiences? 

 


Séance Sneak Peek!

Last night was the first of two or three séances, brought to you by yours truly with BigSéance.com and Missouri Spirit Seekers (MOSS), and friend and medium Marilyn Painter of Ahtah Sanctuary Holistic Center. In the near future I hope to have a detailed blog post, complete with video highlights. In these highlights Marilyn will give an explanation of our intentions for the evening and details about how she works.  

 

 

I’m excited to share details from our first séance, but I’m afraid my readers will have to be patient for specifics due to all of the audio and video evidence I would like to go through first. But for now, I wanted to leave you with a few photos, some details about the preparation, our plans, and how we set up for the evening.

 

 

My Goals for Séance #1

  • Invite and connect with several specific spirits who were pioneers in the paranormal/spirit communication field.
  • Find out if these spirits have wisdom to share or advice to give that can make spirit communication more successful. 
  • Work together with these spirits to achieve physical phenomena.

 

Preparation

I selected 9 spirits who were pioneers in the paranormal/spirit communication field. I hoped to have time to connect with at least 5 of them. The selected pioneers were not revealed to Marilyn or any of the other sitters until the séance began. For each invited spirit I printed out a large photo or portrait of them on a sheet of 8 1/2 X 11 paper. I also prepared at least one question for each spirit for the purpose of validation – to prove that we were indeed speaking with that spirit. Then I came up with 1-3 questions for each spirit regarding spirit communication. I printed out facts and bios and kept them with me during the séance. In case there was extra time, I also had a few general questions suggested by other researchers in the field. We did not get these extra questions. 

Our sitters for the evening were myself, two other members of MOSS, and of course Marilyn, our medium. There were a total of 4 of us. 

 

Setup

  • Furniture arranged in a square with a table in the center. 
  • Candles (just because Marilyn and I love them!)
  • Two digital audio recorders. 
  • The following meters were displayed on the center table along with one of the audio recorders: Tri-Field Natural Meter (measures natural or DC magnetic field, also includes an alarm to hear if there are any significant readings), Mel Meter (measures temperature and electromagnetic field), and a K-II meter (also measures the electromagnetic field, with lights for a visual). 
  • Wind Chimes hung from the ceiling over the center table.
  • Camcorders, including one focused on the 3 meters on the center table. 

 

Meet Marilyn, our medium.

Stay tuned!

 

 


EVP: “See Dorothy”

It has been way too long since I’ve shared an EVP with everyone. Tonight I wanted to share one from a recent private investigation. I usually like to share more of the audio before and after the EVP because it helps the listener adjust to what they’re hearing, but to protect the privacy of the family I’ve had to isolate just the EVP itself. 

First, let me set up the scene for you. This EVP was captured on a digital audio recorder that I had placed on the dining room table during pre-investigation and setup. Earlier in the evening during our tour of the home with the family, Marilyn (friend and medium) mentioned the possibility of an older female spirit residing in the basement. Different comments about this spirit were made off and on during setup. Right before the EVP was captured I was getting ready to take two cameras down to the basement. I was asking one of the family members about the availability of power outlets to plug them in. In my opinion the male-sounding EVP communicates the message “See Dorothy” very clearly. Is this voice referring to a spirit in the basement? As of now, no one knows of a “Dorothy” connection with the home.  

“See Dorothy”

(Original audio with no enhancements other than a “bleep” to protect homeowner privacy)


Being Able To Read In Your Dreams…

I don’t remember my dreams often. When I do it is usually either on the weekends when I’m able to sleep longer, or those rough nights where you only get in a few hours of sleep before having to be up again. But recently I’ve noticed a change in these dreams. It seems that I’m remembering more details, specifically reading things, signs, words, phrases, names of people, etc. One of the first times I noticed this (and in my dream I was very excited about it) I was walking down a street and noticed a storefront awning that was the deepest and prettiest shade of blue. The awning stood out to me and it was clear that I was meant to see it. It displayed the word “VELVET” in large print. I think I instantly woke myself up I was so excited. I have absolutely no idea what “velvet” is supposed to mean for me right now.

 

In the last week I’ve had two “reading in my dreams” experiences that stand out. The specific details of the first dream are really irrelevant and random, but I observed three or four names (signatures, really) of old classmates from high school. One of these names is not a name that I would have any reason to dream about, and I haven’t thought about this person since my time in those halls.  I didn’t even know him well. The other few names were acquaintances whom I knew well in those days. I woke up remembering the names and specifically what their signatures looked like. 

 

And perhaps one of my cooler dream experiences was just a few nights ago and involved a friend and co-worker’s husband who passed several years ago. In my dream I was at the friend’s house working on some kind of project for work. After working on it late into the night I ended up crashing there. When I woke up I found that my friend’s husband (who appeared to be alive in this part of the dream) had left me sketches and notes in the margins of a packet of information that we were working on. He was apparently trying to help us out. It is unclear what the sketches were for and why, but I was able to draw the sketches from memory for my friend yesterday. What makes the details of this dream more important is the fact that before I woke up, he was right in front of me with the warmest light all around him. At this moment it was clear to me that his spirit was right in front of me and I realized that this was not a part of the earlier dream. He smiled at me without saying a word. I told him that he was loved and asked if there were any messages I should pass along. Once again, I really do think that at that point I was so moved and impressed with what was happening that I woke myself up. I never got any messages after asking. 

 

Is it normal to read things and be able to sketch things from memory in dreams? And why have I noticed such a change in details lately? Several months ago I read and posted about the “Hue” technique for remembering your dreams, but I only tried it a few times and haven’t thought much about it since then. What does this all mean? 

 

Feel free to share your own expertise or experiences. 

 


Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri…

It is a cemetery that could keep you busy for days… weeks even. And it’s the largest and possibly the most beautiful cemetery I’ve ever seen. Opening in 1849, Bellefontaine (pronounced “bell fountain” by most St. Louisans) consists of 314 acres of park-like beauty with mausoleums as far as the eye can see. Too many to count. Even with a driving tour map it’s easy to get lost. But trust me, it’s worth it. Among other movers and shakers from the region, you’ll find the resting places of Adolphus Busch (beer giant), William Clark, Sara Teasdale, and the infamous Lemp family. You can find more beautiful photos on Bellefontaine’s Facebook page. There are also several resources on their beautiful website. When Joe and I visited we were greeted by really friendly staff, and they went out of their way to make our visit a nice one.  

Enjoy these photos from our visit…

 

“The Girl In the Glass Box” Herman Luyties 1871-1921

 

 

 

 

The family mausoleum of the infamous Lemps.

 

The family mausoleum of the infamous Lemps.

 

Back window. Family mausoleum of the infamous Lemps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Clark 1770 – 1838

 

Busch Mausoleum
Adolphus Busch 1839 – 1913
Lilly Anheuser Busch 1844 – 1928

 

Busch Mausoleum
Adolphus Busch 1839 – 1913
Lilly Anheuser Busch 1844 – 1928

 

 

 

If you’re hungry for more information on those buried at Bellefontaine, check out Movers and Shakers, Scalawags and suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery by Carol Ferring Shepley. I picked this book up at the cemetery office. It’s proudly shelved in my personal library. 

 

 

 

 

 


I Still Watch Ghost Hunters… So what?

For several years now there has been a bit of tension and controversy regarding paranormal investigation and the hit SyFy reality show, Ghost Hunters. The production team and crew follow The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.), founded by Jason Hawes in 1990, on their paranormal journeys. The series kicked off its first season in 2004, but I probably didn’t start watching consistently until the second or third season. I’ve since caught up on all of the episodes I’ve missed, and I’m still a fan that watches religiously. In 2008 SyFy even produced a spin-off series, Ghost Hunters International. Many similar shows on various networks have come and gone, but both of these shows are still going strong. At this point it would be pretty hard to believe that anyone reading this blog wouldn’t at least know something about T.A.P.S. or Ghost Hunters.

So where does the controversy come in?

I’m convinced that most of the negativity toward T.A.P.S. among many in the paranormal is due to a kind of jealousy. Paranormal investigation and “ghost hunting” (a term I actually despise) existed years before the hit show, but it has helped to create what I’ve been calling “The Great Paranormal Craze” of the 2000s. This craze seems to be slowing down just a bit (or at least shifting more to things like bigfoot and aliens), but is still very much with us. At one time, a paranormal investigation team may have been hard to find, but now there are thousands of organized paranormal investigation or “ghost hunting” (probably a name more appropriate for most of them) groups out there. Many, or most of these groups were inspired to do what they do because of what they were now seeing on TV. For better or worse, these newbie groups that I’ll call the “Ghost Hunters Generation”, have been demanding a place to sit at the paranormal table, taking away much of the spotlight and attention from all of the veterans.

I have to be honest here. I’m a member of the Ghost Hunters generation of paranormal investigation. The show inspired me and my family to form our own group, Missouri Spirit Seekers (MOSS). While it would have been nice to be able to say that I got my start before the craze, it would simply be a lie. I know that many great investigators out there are ashamed to own up to it, or afraid to admit to how it all influenced them, but chances are they’ll be home on Wednesday nights watching the latest episode. Is there really that much wrong with it? 

In a way, I really can understand some of the jealousy from veteran groups. After all, what paranormal investigator doing all of this hard work for FREE wouldn’t be jealous of the people who get to be in the spotlight, quit their day job, and make a living doing it?? Although maybe “concern” would also be an appropriate word to use here. We all have to start somewhere, but clearly there are groups out there that have earned a reputation for being nothing more than thrill seekers and rednecks that jump in a truck with a few meters they bought online, possibly bundled together in a flashy package named a “Ghost Hunting Kit”… groups that don’t take the time to read current research, read books by the pioneers of the field and current knowledgeable authors… groups that go out and have their fun, trash the site, and then you never hear from them again. Yeah… Ghost Hunters has definitely had its side effects.  Don’t misunderstand me. There’s room for everyone. I was one of those newbies. We just need to do a better job of educating and training each other, and making sure we work on our image and how we present ourselves. Maybe we shouldn’t show up in overalls and hop out of the window of our Dukes of Hazard car. 

But possibly the biggest piece of the controversy involve the claims floating around the internet that T.A.P.S. has faked evidence and overly staged experiences. In a very popular post from earlier this year, one blogger and investigator claims that they’ve even left a script lying around after leaving a location… and it’s all for the cameras (the SyFy kind). You don’t have to search long to find videos and blogs from people going out of their way to expose T.A.P.S. as frauds. Do I believe it all? Absolutely not. Like I said… jealousy. But… no one should ever expect to find evidence of the paranormal at every single investigation, but when you have a TV show and ratings, I can certainly understand where there would be the pressure and the temptation to keep things exciting. I often wonder though… who runs the show in these investigations? The production crew? Or are they just along for the ride and Jason runs the whole show? 

Why I continue to watch… 

After getting started in the field it didn’t take long for me to realize that the experience of it all isn’t exactly as you see on TV. Sure, at first many of us modeled our groups after what we saw. We have “founders”, “tech. managers”, “specialists”, “command central”, etc. We hear “disembodied voices”, investigate “fear cages”, “debunk” what we can, and classify some experiences as “residual”, for example. Some of us even have “reveals”. And boy do we all have our official sounding acronyms. Ghost Hunters may have been our first textbook on the subject, but we’ve grown a lot since then with real experiences and research. Well, at least I have.

The first couple of seasons were definitely a little more authentic, and in my opinion, more fun to watch. You’d see more of the behind the scenes activity, more of the investigating, not just the dramatic evidence and their reactions (“What the frig?!”). I don’t have proof that T.A.P.S. has or hasn’t faked or staged evidence for the cameras, but I want to believe it’s not true. I want to believe that when the crew or the cameras are absent, they take their work seriously. I want to believe that their analysis is more than just a couple of hours of sitting at a table with some headphones. I want to believe that they still help the desperate family in need on occasion. I get excited to come home from a long day and watch the personalities that I’ve become so familiar with. And yeah, I LOVE the good evidence and the great EVP! But when I watch now I’m not immediately sold on everything I see. I’ve picked up a few techniques and have learned to avoid some of the embarrassing ones. I take notes. 

Bottom line is… why do I watch Ghost Hunters? BECAUSE I LIKE IT… and it’s better than another cop show… 

This week’s all new episode for Season 8

For a lot of serious fans, this episode stood out as the first investigation without the longtime co-founder of the group, Grant Wilson. Before I watched I was curious to see if they would shake the usual pairs up and if any of their typical roles would change. Spoiler alert!! In general, it was a very exciting episode! They investigated the Old City Jail in Charleston, South Carolina. The jail is supposedly haunted by the spirit of the facility’s first female serial killer. Never before has an episode contained so much alleged physical contact from a spirit. A behind the scenes SyFy crew member continued to be scratched all over her body. Do I 100% believe it all? I’m not sure… but I couldn’t help thinking that it was a bit irresponsible to continue with the crew member as they seemed to encourage it to keep happening. Jason was even the victim of some scratches. Amy Bruni (who is pregnant) eventually decided to sit the rest of the investigation out due to feeling uncomfortable with the activity. And of course, the claims at this location were choking, scratching, rope burns, and bite marks, mostly reported by women. T.A.P.S. saw shadows, heard door slams, footsteps, and a disembodied voice. They captured a not very impressive EVP, but the big event and topic for the evening was all of the endless dramatic scratching. For a while I thought I was watching Ghost Adventures. I kept waiting for the demonologist to show up. 🙂

Here are some of the new and different things I noticed with this week’s episode. 

  • New graphics with lots of split screens (reminded me of Carrie).
  • New music and audio effects with a slightly different style.
  • Twitter handles displayed on screen during the interview sections.
  • A more relaxed “analysis” portion. They ditched the table and much of the equipment in favor of some more comfortable furniture. 
  • It appears Dave Tango may have moved into the tech. manager position. Jason and Steve Galves started the evening out paired together, hinting at Steve possibly taking the “Grant” role. 
  • Britt Griffith and Dave Tango were paired together. Is Britt now going to appear regularly? 
  • Amy Bruni and Adam Berry (who is apparently STILL “in training”) seem to be paired up again. 
  • A new shadow detector gadget.

 

DVR is already set for next week!

 

Peace!

 


House On Haunted Hill (1959)…


This evening I knocked another movie off of my list of
Movies I Plan On Checking Out This Fall. The last movie I watched from this list was The Changeling, which I absolutely loved and I can’t believe it took me so long to see it. I had so much to say about it. I was surprised to find so many spirit communication topics that fit right into this blog, and it just seemed to be a really good movie that I will watch again for sure. Tonight I watched the black and white original version of House On Haunted Hill (1959) starring Vincent Price. Before tonight I was only familiar with the 1999 remake that I saw in college.

I normally prefer classic old school spookiness to computer generated imagery and effects. However, the 1959 version is so very bland, a bit boring, and possibly even silly by today’s standards. Its length is pretty short and it ends abruptly. From what I remember, the remake seems to fix most of these problems, including having a real ending. 

 

 

FromWikipedia: House on Haunted Hill is a 1959 American horror film. It was directed by William Castle, written by Robb White and stars Vincent Price as eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren. He and his fourth wife, Annabelle, have invited five people to the house for a “haunted house” party. Whoever stays in the house for one night will earn $10,000 each. As the night progresses, all the guests are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers and other terrors.”

 

It may be that I’m being a bit hard on this film. After all, horror genre was in its infancy, I suppose. Even so, I’m not inspired to say much, so I’ll leave you with the trailer. 🙂 

 

 

 


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