Monthly Archives: April 2014

Belvoir Winery: Audio Highlights of Spirit Box and Flashlight Communication

Wow! It has been so long since I’ve uploaded audio to this site, that I nearly forgot how to do it. It definitely took longer than it used to! In this post, and what will probably be the last of the Belvoir Winery T.A.P.S. Event series of posts, I wanted to share some highlights from two of the spirit box sessions, and one of the flashlight communication sessions. Obviously, video highlights would have been more entertaining, but if you’ve been following this series, you know about the frustrating, yet very paranormal disappearance of my video. I’ve not decided if I’m blaming aliens, the spirits of Belvoir, or a great conspiracy by Amy and Adam (so that their cute pose on my NightShot camera wouldn’t go public). Oh I’m only kidding, you two… kind of…  

 

My Disclaimer

As an investigator and researcher, I tend to be very careful when declaring or classifying something as “paranormal”, and in these highlights, you won’t see any of that. So here’s my disclaimer. The highlights below are simply a collection of interesting clips from my evening at Belvoir Winery. I’ve not combed through the audio completely, and since the environment was not controlled, and since the group was large and meant to be just for fun, I probably won’t. When it comes to the Spirit Box (sometimes referred to as a “ghost box” or “Frank’s Box”), which uses a somewhat controversial technique called “radio sweep”, I remain fascinated, but openly skeptic about certain responses, specifically those that are short or one-syllable. Along with standard EVP, radio sweep falls under the category of ITC or Instrumental TransCommunication. For more on radio sweep or the spirit box, simply type “spirit box” into the search field above and to the right.

When it comes to flashlight communication, I’ve tried in my own investigating several times and got no results. I felt like many of the flashlight responses seemed more than coincidence, and could very well have been paranormal. With that being said, I don’t have a lot of experience in this area. 

 

Spirit Box Highlights

These highlights are taken from two different spirit box sessions in two different locations on the Belvoir Winery property. Together they lasted about 40 minutes. The P-SB7 spirit box we’re using is one that I got secondhand from Stephen Hill. In the first short clip in the highlights, you’ll hear Britt Griffith demonstrating it. Other voices you hear are of myself, Adam Berry, and other guests in our group for the evening. Toward the end of these highlights, you’ll hear the group laugh as the box froze on a few radio stations as I was adjusting. I thought they were funny. The “thank you” that just about everyone in the group heard at the very end was kind of a powerful moment. There are a few cuts in the audio, either to save time or because of unnecessary noise, otherwise these clips are unenhanced.

 

Flashlight Communication Highlights

Though it’s hard to imagine exactly what’s happening, you’ll hear that the group is clearly impressed or moved by several of the responses. You’ll hear myself, our group’s wonderful guide, as well as other guests from our group. You’ll also hear some of the super creepy wind that we were hearing at this location. There were actually two flashlight communication sessions, but only one of them was captured in my audio recorder. The session that wasn’t captured was probably more impressive. I really wish the video of these moments could have been saved. Again, there are a few cuts in the audio, either to save time or because of unnecessary noise, otherwise these clips are unenhanced. 

 

 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

The Brilliant Britt Griffith! 
Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of…
 

Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!

New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! 

 

 


Be the spirit guide to your younger self!

 

You know that saying that goes something like, “What would you say to your 16 year-old self?” You could insert any age into that statement, really. It’s the kind of thing that is perfect for a meme on social media. I don’t often get deep like this, so I could be very wrong, but I think it’s probably something meant to comfort and make one feel better about their past and more confident in their present. (Did that sound good?) 

 

Am I on the right track?

The other day I got to thinking about my journey, my road through life, etc. Some days you just feel like you’re on the right track. Some days you know you need to make a turn, and though you make a decision based on intuition, those instructions don’t come as clearly as, say, the pleasant voice of the navigation lady in your car, and so you’re dying to know if you’re now heading in the right direction. I don’t often feel the urge to ask my guide (who I call Merlin) or my higher self if I’m on the right track, but a few days ago I did. I’m not sure if my answer came in the form of this blog post, but that’s when this all hit me. 

 

Your Spirit Guide

If you believe that everyone has a spirit guide (or perhaps you prefer the term guardian angel), then you probably believe that they are always available in times of need, or at least when you’re going through a stressful or traumatic experience. Some believe that if you’re observant enough, these guides can be reached at any time, and though they most likely have knowledge of your life’s plan and may have even helped you chart your life before you got here, there may be rules about what they can and can’t tell us. Still, some guides (or other higher power) have been known to throw their guidance in without us asking. Look at the many stories from people directly affected by the events on 9/11, for example. 

 

So here’s what popped in my head. Care to play along with me?

Exercise:

Pretend you’re the spirit guide to yourself at an earlier age.

We’ve all had those “moments” in our lives that truly affected us, whether they be positive or negative. Was it a bully at school? Something you did or said that you wish you could take back? An accident that may have been avoided? A special moment that you didn’t fully appreciate at the time? Wouldn’t it have been nice to have had someone you trusted to step in without anyone else knowing? To give comfort? For advice? A warning of something to come? The gentle reminder to breathe and take in a beautiful moment while you’re in it? And how far would you go when you reach out to contact yourself? How would you get your attention without freaking your earlier self out? You certainly don’t want your earlier self to think they’re crazy, right? And once you do make that connection, what information is too much to give? Are you taking away a learning experience by being too involved? Is there a definite rule book that spirit guides must follow, or are you allowed to make these decisions? 

 

I’m not really sure what the point of this exercise is. Maybe it makes us more aware of our guides and helps us to look for those connections and signs. Thinking about how much work the spirit guide gig would be, and how much responsibility is on their shoulders, definitely gives me a new respect. I thought about including some examples from my own life, and the truly meaningful thoughts just seemed a bit too personal. So I wouldn’t expect people to jump on this in the comments, but if you’re moved to share, please do!

 


5 of the Latest Books to Land on my Doorstep

Today I bring you the latest books to land on my doorstep. Have you read any of these? Do you have other recommendations? All book descriptions are taken from their Amazon pages, which you can get to by clicking on the book covers. Be sure to check out my Recommended Reading page for some of my recommendations and book reviews. 

 

Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife by Raymond Moody, M.D. 

The bestselling author of Life After Life, Raymond Moody, offers a stunning, myth-busting memoir of everything he has learned in a lifetime studying “the other side” and our connection to it. The grandfather of the NDE (near death experience) movement, Raymond Moody has, in the words of Dr. Larry Dossey, author of The Power of Premonitions, “radically changed the way modern humans think about the afterlife.” Paranormal, essential reading for fans of Dannion Brinkley and Jeffrey Long, is “a thrilling and inspiring literary experience. Anyone who is not grateful for Moody’s immense contribution to human welfare ought to check his pulse.”

 

My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side by Elisa Medhus 

Elisa is perhaps most known for her website, ChannelingErik.com, and two years ago I featured the site in one of my earliest blog posts here at The Big Séance. One could spend days exploring this site and the many channeled conversations with Erik Medhus.  

Dr. Elisa Medhus never believed in life after death. As an accomplished physi­cian, she placed her faith in science. All of that changed after her son Erik took his own life and then reached out from the other side.

Intimate, heartbreaking, and illuminating, go on an incredible journey from grief and skepticism to healing and belief. Based on Medhus’s wildly popular blog, Channeling Erik, My Son and the Afterlifeprovides answers to the most universal questions of being human.

At once tragic and uplifting, Erik speaks from the other side with candor, wisdom, and depth as he describes his own experiences and provides new answers about the nature of souls, death, and the afterlife—answers that have the potential to change our lives forever.

 

Behind The Walls: A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry by J’aime Rubio

J’aime Rubio is an investigative journalist, true crime writer, historian, and published poet. She is also the author of two blogs: Dreaming Casually and Hollywoodland Forever. I was somehow connected to J’aime when I was in the middle of my grave adoption project this last fall. Now a friend on social media, I can tell you that she is definitely my kind of nerd!

If you are a truth seeker, “Behind The Walls” is definitely a book you will want to read. It will open your eyes to the distressing secrets held deep in history behind those ominous walls of Preston Castle. It is a fact based account of murder, mystery and mistreatment. Many might wonder what actually happened to the former inmates and employees of the Preston School of Industry. You will learn about the startling treatment they received and the outcome of their lives. If you want to learn true history about Preston, read this book.

 

Creating Your Vintage Hallowe’en: Folklore and Traditions by Marion Paull

We are now six months away from Halloween, and it is NEVER too early to prepare! I’ll probably hold off and read these last two books in late summer. I also still have one left from last fall that I can’t wait to read. Check out Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton.

Full of spooky artworks, ephemera, vintage-inspired makes, rhymes and stories, Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en celebrates the folklore and traditions surrounding this delightfully unique holiday. Read how folk used to celebrate with dressing up, fortune-telling games, parties, and much pleasurable spookiness, and recreate your own vintage Hallowe’en with old-fashioned projects, including a carved Jack o’ lantern, a witch costume, and fun decorations for your home. Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en is packed full of little-known facts about the origins of Hallowe’en customs such as bobbing for apples and carving lanterns out of pumpkins, while the charming makes and vintage artworks featuring chubby, red-cloaked witches, sleekly silhouetted black cats, cute kittens, cheery goblins and smiling spectres, will inspire you to have your own vintage-style Hallowe’en celebration.

 

Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past by Diane Arkins

Recipes, games, costumes, party ideas, and decorations, along with excerpts from vintage periodicals, show the gaiety that epitomized historic Halloween celebrations.

You might also like:

Recent Books to Land on my Doorstep (from Big Séance in Nov. of 2013)

Tow More Halloween Books from Lesley Pratt Bannatyne (Big Séance)

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Brilliant Britt Griffith! More from Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home…

See the end of this post for links to previous posts in the series.

Two of the biggest highlights from my T.A.P.S. weekend at Belvoir Winery involve the brilliant Britt Griffith. Now a permanent member of the cast of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, Britt brings a much-needed fresh voice to the team… oh and gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets. But he knows how to use them, researches them, knows their background, and in some cases has a hand in their design!

 

Britt’s Paranormal Technology Session

I was able to sit in on his paranormal technology session on the second day. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I found that I learned quite a few things. The best was having some of my own personal opinions and experiences reinforced or validated by someone who clearly has knowledge and a lot of experience. As if I was sitting in an undergrad lecture, I took lots of notes (which is why I don’t have a better photo), but out of respect for Britt and these events, I won’t cover his whole session here. Instead, I’ll point out a few things that really hit me in the head.

 

  • Did you know that both Britt and buddy KJ McCormick had done experiments with EMF and audio while under water?
     
  • Britt has apparently changed his mind about using IR (infrared) illumination during investigations. This really made me think and was kind of an “Aha moment”. In order to see shadows, you need contrast. Too much IR will prevent shadows. He went into some suggested ways to illuminate a room to prevent this problem. If I remember correctly, he also touched on the fact that we don’t really know what effect, if any, IR has on spirits (or humans, for that matter) when we blast them with it in large doses. Is it harmful? Is it polite? It very much reminded me of the first place I heard this topic being brought up. Check out Karl Pfeiffer’s How to Photograph a Ghost for more.
     
  • I learned that my current DVR would be of better use in the dumpster out back. I’m in need of a new one and now I know what to look for.
     
  • Britt is not a fan of the cheaper digital recorders (like the Sonys that I often use), because of the compression and the false anomalies they cause. He suggests only using them for stationary audio, but then also using a more quality recorder at the same time, to compare events to hear what actually happened. This is when I felt like a genius! I’ve always done this in EVP sessions. Along with one of my Sonys, I use a nicer Tascam recorder with a pretty good external microphone that would pick up a ghost in my neighbor’s house if it were quiet enough. When I think I have the Devil saying “Hey Keller! You suck!”, I compare that same moment in the Tascam and often learn that it was simply me scratching my nose, or my four-legged and furry son Meril rolling his eyes at me and sighing at the thought of another EVP session. It is why I’ve even considered video taping my sessions as well… to get a visual along with the sound. He suggested a few recorders. One of them is on my wish list.
     
  • Among many other things, he discussed logging barometric pressure (which I’ve often done, but can’t seem to find the perfect equipment for an investigation), E pods and REM pods, IR thermometer guns (Duh! Don’t use them to detect cold spots!), carbon monoxide detectors, debunking, Ovilus, reviewing evidence, and a popular favorite… orbs. I’ll only tell you that I very much concurred with his position.

 

Again, Britt used my spirit box! AAAAAAHHHH!

It was already a pretty cool spirit box, considering I got this particular one secondhand from Stephen Hill. But then during the overnight investigation, Britt suggested we get it out for a demonstration in a room that had already proven to be a hot spot for spirit box communication. Because this was such an Elvis moment, I awkwardly fumbled around in the dark trying to set it up and get it working to hand it off to Britt. When it didn’t turn on, I remembered Stephen Hill has always told me to take the batteries out while not in use. I’ve never really been good at remembering to do this…. but it turns out the previous time I used it, I followed those orders. I somehow found batteries fairly quickly, turned it on, and handed it off. Several of the people in our group had never seen or heard of a spirit box. We did get some communication, but you’ll never see it since my video footage of that moment has mysteriously vanished into thin air. See this previous post for more on that story. Actually, I have digital audio of that moment, but I’m still in the process of going through all of that.

 

Did you know?

Britt keeps himself busy by doing so much more than just paranormal investigation! Did you know he has been in several movies?

Check out his acting reel!

 

And the trailer for the 2012 film, The Black Dahlia Haunting.

 

Thanks, Britt! 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of…
Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!

New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! 

 

 

 

 

 


Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

 

On Wednesday of this week, I made some time to sneak away after work to find a few places to take some photos. I decided to stop by a small Catholic cemetery that I pass by often when I’m coming home from work. This was the first opportunity I’ve had to take colorful spring photos with my new camera. Having colors to play with is a whole new experience. On this Good Friday, and especially for those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope you enjoy the powerful monument that depicts the crucifixion of Jesus. It clearly caught my attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more of my photography, including cemetery photos like these, please visit my Flickr page.

 

A few recent cemetery posts you might like: 

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri (Big Séance)

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

 

 


Pub Ghosts Captured on CCTV Cameras

CCTV, or closed-circuit television cameras, have become cheaper and more accessible in the last several years, allowing many homeowners and businesses to use them for security. For the same reason, paranormal investigators often use them as well. They’re the same cameras that are in the hallways of my school. They’re found in the woods now too, though hunters like to call them “game cams”. (Aliens and Bigfoot have been caught several times on these game cams… if you didn’t already know.) You can even get them at Walmart. The video is recorded continuously onto a DVR and is usually easily searched if you know the approximate date or time you’re interested in.

One of our CCTV "DVR" screen shots from an investigation of a residence back in 2011.

One of our CCTV “DVR” screen shots from the MOSS investigation of a residence back in 2011.

The combination of CCTV and the popularity of the paranormal has provided a great opportunity for business owners to play ghost hunter, as they capture and publicly disclose their “ghosts”, often taking advantage of the publicity and hype that comes with it. 

When you see these captures on video, you don’t often get much background information on the location. No one is there to answer your curious questions. What was behind the camera? Was anyone there at the time? (There are many other questions I could think of.) Now days you have to wonder if the video was doctored, embellished, faked, etc. Was it a publicity stunt for an upcoming “found footage” movie? Even so, they can be fascinating and appear very real… and if you’re like me, deep down you really WANT them to be authentic evidence of the paranormal. 

 

The Ghost of Ye Olde Man and Scythe

The most recent example was brought to my attention by Ghostsnghouls.com. Watch it and then find my commentary below. 

Supposedly there are no windows behind the camera, making the flickering and lighting changes seem very mysterious. And the flicker just before the blackout seems a bit too perfect for me. I wish I had several pictures of this room in the daylight so that I could get a feel for the whole place. And does it all seem just a little Hollywooded up to you? It’s only missing an edgy score by Hans Zimmer, am I right? It’s definitely fascinating video though. I bet this pub has named a nicely priced drink after this “ghost” as well.

 

My favorite CCTV “ghost”…

…is also from a pub (why always a pub??) and was captured several years ago in Britain. I really really REALLY REALLY wanted this one to be real. Like a lot of these videos, this is almost guaranteed to be evidence of a lack of cleaning up high in corners of the rooms where these cameras are mounted. I could find several cobwebs in a few corners of this room right now if I wanted to. Watch closely and you can identify this ghost as a fly or some other kind of insect. Often, a simple cobweb will cause excitement and claims of paranormal activity. 

Don’t you just love it? You had the story worked up in your mind, didn’t you? The centuries old pub has an old employee that loved the place so much that they help clean up overnight. Either that or it’s a residual haunting and it’s just a normal night at work, serving beer and cleaning tables. Right? Please oh please oh please. Having a brain ruins all the fun, doesn’t it?

 

You never know…

I’ve never claimed to be an expert in video when it comes to evidence, but I still say that video is the least likely place to capture true evidence of the paranormal. It’s funny that so many people put so much focus and emphasis on that very rare and heavily contested video evidence. Of course, as the reporter in the video stated (while taking the easy way out and not mentioning possible logical explanations… ahem… like flies), “Hey. You never know.”

 

You might also like: 

Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home: Ghosts can do that? The Evidence... sort of... (Big Séance)

Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home: Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… sort of… (Big Séance)

My Rapper: Missing you, old friend... (Big Séance)

My Rapper: Missing you, old friend… (Big Séance)


Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home: Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… sort of…

 

See the end of this post for links to previous posts in the series.

 

The Drive Home

On the drive home from the overnight investigation at Belvoir Winery, I was tired, but on a high from having such a cool experience and meeting some really cool people! I already had blog posts planned out in my head. I knew I had some amazing footage on NightShot video, including the one and only Britt Griffith using and demonstrating the use of my spirit box, and hours of very fascinating possible spirit communication with flashlights in two different locations.

Amy Bruni, Britt Griffith, and Adam Berry having a good time with guests at Belvoir Winery.

 

Freaking Elvis Moment…

But what was I MOST excited about capturing? There was a brief period of time where the adorable and amazing duo, Amy Bruni and Adam Berry, joined my group for part of the investigation. Since I happened to be filming, and since they were standing right next to me, I took that opportunity to turn to capture both of their faces in MY VERY OWN NIGHTSHOT! Who gets the opportunity to do that? This was all happening as we were listening to my spirit box in the corner. As I quietly mentioned to them how big of a moment this was, they both hammed it up with a pose and a smile, just for me! Gold, right?! Freaking Elvis moment! And I KNEW that the screen shot was going to be featured right here on the blog.

NOT the screen shot.

Well… clearly that screen shot is missing. And clearly I’ve misled you to believe that this post would include amazing evidence. But just wait. The story, though very mysterious, continues. 

 

Beeeeep. Beeeeeep. Error C:31:22…

Not long after my return home, I hooked up one of my two remaining NightShot camcorders to the computer, ready to upload all of the footage from the three tapes that I used during the investigation. Suddenly, the all too familiar beeping and error code began to show up, which sometimes leads to the tape getting stuck in the camcorder. I didn’t panic. Anyone familiar with these camcorders knows this exact frustrating error. Once I got the tape out, I knew that since I had another camcorder, I’d surely have no problems.

The same thing happened with the other camcorder. I tried one of the other tapes. Same problem. Another tape in the camcorder. Same problem. I couldn’t even play or rewind the tapes. An hour and lots of frustration and google searches later, I gave up and went to bed. 

 

There’s Hope!

Fortunately, I know Robert Painter from Tape2DVD. He can convert anything to the modern age!

 

Just Kidding…

To make a long story not as long, Robert tried everything he could. What was on the tapes? Snow. Snow with a counter that would track the time to the very end of the tapes. Robert informed me that new tapes that have not been recorded on simply don’t play, and there wouldn’t be a counter, therefore clearly something had been recorded onto each tape. You should know that as I recorded that evening, I used the pull out LCD screen that allows you to see what you’re filming. In fact, since much of our investigation was in the dark, that’s how I found my way. When you’re recording, it makes it clear with a red dot on the screen. I saw it each time. The next thing you should know is that I reuse my tapes. Two of the tapes were not taken to the very end, therefore most likely, Robert should have found various leftover footage from past investigations at the end of those tapes. This was not the case. 

 

Oh please. Like that’ll happen. 

Most of us have always heard that you should keep magnets away from things like tapes, hard drives, credit cards, etc. This apparently also includes strong electric currents, or any kind of electromagnetic field. Even though this is common knowledge for many people, I don’t think anyone really ever expects it to happen to them. You should always be careful around storms and lighting, but no one ever expects to be struck by it. Could some kind of strong source of electricity or exposure to a magnet have erased my tapes? And if so, is it common for them to have been erased so perfectly? Other than a few small gadgets, batteries, flashlights, and more tapes, I didn’t have anything in my bag that would have caused this. I can’t even think of anything that I would have been around that night that would have fit this description. 

 

Ghosts can do that?

Now I know what some of you are thinking… and I’ve thought about it as well. Is Belvoir Winery truly so active that the spirits used or manipulated so much energy for communication that it erased all of my video tapes? Did they? Or… is there some sort of conspiracy? Perhaps someone involved in the planning of the event doesn’t wish for there to be video footage leaked to the public? Did Amy and Adam decide to break out the tape-erasing magnet because it wasn’t a great hair day? (Ohhh that would make me cry.) Did my equipment bag get bathed by some kind of magnetic shower while I wasn’t looking?

 

The Place Holder

I truly am boggled by all of this. I don’t even know what to think. I told Robert to save the tapes for me, just in case aliens drop by with the abducted footage one of these days, or maybe in the future we’ll have space-age technology that will unerase tapes.

…until then, I’ll include this place holder to represent the NightShot screen shot of Amy and Adam. 

Screen shot of Amy and Adam during the investigation of Belvoir Winery.

 

A few nights ago, I had a dream that Amy and Adam stopped by and staged another moment with a working camera, just for me. Ha! (Ahem…. Are you reading this Amy and Adam?) 

 

I can’t lie. I’m super bummed, but maybe the absence of evidence is evidence itself? What are your thoughts?

P.S.    Though I did not run audio for every part of the investigation, I do have audio for much of it… and it exists in digital format and was not erased. Stay tuned. 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!(Big Séance)
New Friends! (Big Séance)
The Photos (Big Séance)
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack! (Big Séance)
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! (Big Séance)

 

 

 


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