Monthly Archives: May 2014

My Guest Appearance on The Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost

I was very honored that Debbie Black and Thomas Spychalski invited me to be their very first on-air guest for Episode Two of the brand new podcast, The Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost! I was very nervous, but excited. (Sometime I’ll have to tell you a funny behind-the-scenes story that happened while recording.) Both Debbie and Thomas have been great supporters and followers of this blog, and I thank them for giving me the opportunity. The YouTube video of the episode is below. The episode can also be downloaded HERE.


 

My “Show Notes”

If you’d like to listen and follow along, the links to many of the topics and stories that I discussed in the episode can be found below.

 

My post on How To Record EVP

Final Report from the Friedens United Church of Christ investigation. The “It’s all over me” EVP is covered in the video at the top of the page, or you can scroll down through the report and find more details and further discussion just below the first picture of the fellowship hall.

My initial post on the “Can You Help Me” EVP and the Investigation Report from that undisclosed location. Also, here is the original, unenhanced audio and the enhanced audio.

A look back on my visits from the “Rapper” (with transcripts and audio examples) –  My Rapper: Missing you, old friend…

Some spirit box examples: Belvoir Winery: Audio Highlights of Spirit Box and Flashlight Communication, and 200th Post and Fort Chaffee Prison Spirit Box Session.

For several posts about the Ouija Board, visit the Ouija Category Archives.

For a free download of Audacity, visit audacity.sourceforge.net.

All of the Belvoir Winery Posts:

Audio Highlights of Spirit Box and Flashlight Communication
The Brilliant Britt Griffith!

Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of… (Discussion of the mysterious disappearance of the video.)
Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!
New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March!

For my cemetery photography, you can find most of the cemetery albums on my Flickr page, or visit the Cemetery Category Archives.

Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition

Here’s Thomas’s very popular Amityville Ghost Boy Post 

 

More links for The Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost 

Facebook for Kiwi Psychic and the Midwest Ghost 
YouTube Page
Twitter: @Kiwi_Psychic
Thomas Spychalski’s Blog – News From the Spirit World
Debbie Black’s Blog – Spirits and the Paranormal (debbiedakiwi.com)

 

 

 

 

 


Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead

In Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead, Christine Wicker packs her bags and takes a good honest look at the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale and the mediums that call the place home. She views every experience with an open and respectful, yet unapologetic and skeptical eye, which I appreciated… even if I felt a bit guilty for appreciating it. The reader gets to follow what ends up being a cast of fascinating characters, including guests, mediums, and other members of the community. She asks the questions many of us would probably want to ask, but wouldn’t, because we’d be afraid of being offensive. Christine covers the good, the bad, and the dysfunction of Lily Dale (even juicy gossip among mediums)! And even though she stubbornly refuses to have a spiritual experience, there’s evidence that she does, even if it’s just temporary. 

In the last five years or so, I’ve spent much of my time reading, experimenting, and researching all things “spirit communication”. After first reading about Lily Dale in a book about Spiritualism and the famous Fox Sisters, and after conversations with medium Lee Allen Howard and hearing about his trips to the famous Spiritualist camp, it has been a destination I’ve been very interested in learning about and possibly visiting. Also, six months ago I watched and reviewed No One Dies in Lily Dale, the HBO documentary. As I mentioned in the comments of a recent post about this book, I think I’m going to have to watch the documentary again after reading Christine’s take on it all. I’ll make it to Lily Dale one of these days, but in the meantime I feel like the experience of reading this book was the next best thing. 

Do you have any other recommendations on the topic of Lily Dale? Let me know in the comments below! 

(Speaking of taking my word for it, you may be interested in LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project.) 

 


Return to the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri

 

It hasn’t changed a bit, this old cemetery. Until two years ago when I visited it last, it had been over 20 years since I’d seen it. I remembered several of the individual headstones like I had just been there the day before. It’s weird, the things our brains choose to remember and hold on to. Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time here as my grandparents lived nearby. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is of an uncle of mine giving me a ride through this cemetery on a four-wheeler, and coming back with a collection of pine cones. I’m sure it wasn’t very deep back then, but I remember strolling through this grass and over the hill… and pondering life… and probably death. I don’t remember my reasons for enjoying my time there so much, but I do recall having general conversations with any spirit wanting to listen. I also recall my Bama (grandma) packing a lunch for me on a few occasions. One thing is for sure. When I think about a cemetery, or when I’m reading of a fictional graveyard, it is always this beautiful place that ends up being the setting in my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other recent cemetery photography posts:

The Iron Fence and the Family Plot

Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

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

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Dr. Silkini’s Ghost Show: Do the Dead Return? Spooks Sit Beside You!

 

Do the dead return? Spooks sit beside you? Wow, a Ghost Show! I’d love to go! It’s even from a theatre in my home town! The only problem is that I’m several decades too late… and a McDonalds sits where the theatre once was. I did, however, get to see a few movies there as a kid though. Annie and Goonies are the ones I remember the most. 

The above poster, which Joe and I discovered in a very cool new antique store in Lexington, led me to reading and learning about a part of history I knew very little about. Should I be embarrassed about this? I’m now fascinated! I’ve not been able to find a similar version of this poster from another theatre, which may also be why this was marked at $145. I didn’t buy it, of course… oh but I wanted it really badly. If I had to make a guess, I’d say it was from the 1950s, but I’m not entirely sure. The piece of tape above “Thursday”, is covering what I assume is probably the word “MIDNIGHT”. The store, The Country Peddler, has so many similar posters and banners, including lots of oil painted canvas advertisements (not sure what else to call them) from as early as the 1800s , plus lots of large nostalgic items, like jukeboxes, for example. Check it out if you make it to Lexington.

 

The Midnight Ghost Show…

The concept of the ghost show was apparently started by Elwin-Charles Peck in 1929. Really it was a stage magic show inspired by the popularity of spiritualism, and the tricks were the same ones used by the charlatans and fraudulent mediums of the time. People (mainly kids and teens) went for the séances, conjuring, flying ghosts that glowed in the dark, terrifying stunts, and audience participation. Often there were staged blackouts, where tricks would then be played on audience members, making them believe there was a “spook” near them.

In the 1930s and 40s these traveling “midnight ghost shows” were very popular in small towns around the country. Peck inspired a generation of copycats, all known as “ghost masters”, that took the ghost show to an all new level in the 40s and the 50s. The most successful of these would be Jack Baker, whose stage name was Dr. Silkini. It is said that humor is what Baker added to the already popular ghost show formula to make it so wildly successful. The concept struggled to keep the attention of an audience through the 60s and 70s, mainly due to the popularity of television. Jack Baker died in 1980.  

I’m really bummed that I missed this craze. I bet it was really fun. Were any of my readers fortunate enough to have witnessed any of these shows from the time period? I’d love to hear from you!  

 

Want more info? 

The main sources I used for this blog post come from two wonderful articles: Matt Novak’s The Rise and Fall of the Midnight Ghost Shows and Jim Knipfel’s Dr. Silkini’s Asylum of Horrors.  I urge you to check these sites out if you want to learn more. 

 

You might also like…

Shop Home for the Holidays (Big Séance)

Shop Home for the Holidays (Big Séance)

Spirit Trumpets (Big Séance)

Spirit Trumpets (Big Séance)

Old School Locker (Big Séance)

Old School Locker (Big Séance)

 

 

 

 

 


The Iron Fence and the Family Plot

Is it the ornate designs? Is it the worn and aged look? Maybe it’s the lichen that seems to glow in the sunset? Or maybe it’s the fact that fencing a family plot so beautifully is a thing of the past? Whatever it is, I couldn’t stop photographing them this last weekend. 


 

 

All above photos are from a recent return visit to Machpelah Cemetery in my hometown of Lexington, Missouri. For more photos from this shoot, please visit the Machpelah album on my Flickr page

 

Other recent cemetery photography posts:

Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

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

 

 


Mediums at the Turn of the Century…

This has definitely been one of the longest blog droughts for me, and so if you’ve been waiting for new content, I apologize and thank you for your patience. I’m recovering from one of the most stressful few weeks I’ve ever had in my real gig. For a music teacher, December and May are particularly challenging, and sometimes they are a nightmare. For four days I did not return from work until 8 or 9 in the evening, and even then I did work up until bedtime. I finished off the week with a bang, and fortunately not literally, because I went roller skating on a field trip with many of our kids on Friday. It had been years. I’m proud to say that though the skills didn’t come back to me as fast as they did seven or eight years ago, I managed to do okay… and I DIDN’T FALL! I had a blast, though if the muscles in my right ankle could talk, they’d say something very different.

 

So here’s a little something for you today.

I learned this in the book Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker, which I’m reading right now. Mediums at the turn of the century, real or hoaxers, were almost all women. Men were only okay with listening to these women mediums speak because it was men that were almost always being channeled through them. It was clear that these mediums were the real thing, because there is no way that a woman could come up with such great wisdom and answers on her own. 

 

This either made you laugh or really annoyed you. Either way, I thought it was an interesting look back, and a great example of how far we’ve come in a century… though many would argue we’ve got a long way to go yet.

 

You might also like…

An Update in Four Photos (Big Séance)

An Update in Four Photos (Big Séance)

No One Dies in Lily Dale Big Séance)

No One Dies in Lily Dale (Big Séance)


The Current Owner of The Conjuring House Speaks Out!

This evening I received a comment submitted by Norma Sutcliffe, the current owner of the house and farm that is depicted in the movie, The Conjuring. It is Norma’s house that is the main character and focus of Andrea Perron’s books that tell a lengthy and frightening decade-long story of hauntings. As I’ve mentioned before, the movie is not based on Andrea’s books. The Hollywood version is supposed to be based on the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, though I can tell you that the books, as exciting and descriptive as they are, don’t seem to have much to do with the movie. With that being said, I think I’ve made it clear on this blog that I love the books and the movie, though they’re completely separate identities in my eyes.

If you follow Andrea Perron or have been a fan of the movie, or even this blog, you probably already know that since the overwhelming success of the movie, Norma’s house and land has been consistently invaded, vandalized, and trespassed upon by inconsiderate and crazy fans of the movie and the story. I first learned about this when Andrea herself posted a video pleading for people to stop violating the privacy of Norma and her husband. This was back in late July of last summer.

On one of several posts I wrote about the first two books from Andrea’s trilogy (the third has yet to be released), House of Darkness House of Light, I posted a comment updating folks about the unfortunate events going on at the house.

I suppose I should make it clear that I do not know Norma, and have no real way of verifying that this is truly her, though I can’t think of why someone would parade around using her name and sharing this information, and I’m sorry if it’s insulting to even wonder. You just never know now days. Even so, the comment submitted by “Norma Sutcliffe” was in reference to my update on the house and is below:

The video that Norma references is embedded below. It is over an hour long and I watched (although “listened to” is probably more appropriate here) every second of it. Norma includes a ton of information based on her own research and makes a lot of claims. I have no way of knowing if this is all true, but thought it was definitely worth sharing to get your thoughts, and to simply share her side of the story. No doubt about it, her and her husband have gone through hell since the movie was released. In one of her comments in the video, she says “Our home has now been mocked, made a spectacle, and stigmatized forever.”

 

A Brief Summary of the Video

Here’s a brief summary with some of my thoughts, if you don’t have an hour to watch the video:

The video presents her points in 6 sections.

1. Research about claims made by the Perrons
2. History and research of the Warrens
3. History of the times and interesting facts and connections from the 50s to the 80s
4. Life during the assaults
5. Life before the movie
6. Past videos made in our home

Norma Sutcliffe maintains that they’ve experienced no paranormal activity in the nearly three decades of living in the home. Perhaps Norma’s biggest beef with Hollywood and the creators or The Conjuring is that they included personal and private information, including the name of the actual town, and the Perron family name. This easily led anyone to locate their farm. She claims that no one made them aware or warned them of any of this. The movie, she claims, is complete fiction and not based on reality. According to her, Andrea Perron was more involved in the movie than she claims. Norma says that Carolyn Perron made up much of the haunted history of the home, including details of suicides and the infamous Bathsheba. Apparently Andrea Perron had mentioned publicly, and I seem to recall hearing or seeing this myself, that the production company had been providing security for the Sutcliffes and was somehow assisting with all of the chaos. Norma denies that any of this was true.

Something interesting that I learned from the video that I didn’t realize, is that SyFy’s Ghost Hunters filmed an investigation there in 2005. At least at the time of this posting, you can view that video HERE. I remember seeing this early episode several times, but because they didn’t give many specific or private details, and because this was years before The Conjuring, I had no clue that I’d actually seen “The Conjuring House” in that episode. If you watch the Ghost Hunters episode, you’ll hear Norma kind of go along with the claims of the hauntings (which conflict with her views now), and in the end, even make the statement that she lives in a “bonafide haunted house.” She addresses some of those conflicting comments and interactions in her video below.

 

 

I’d love to know your thoughts. I’m a little torn between a movie and an author that I’ve loved and followed recently, and a couple that is clearly going through hell right now. I may follow this and keep you posted. 

 

You might also like:

Did someone die in your house? Do you own "stigmatized" real estate?

Did someone die in your house? Do you own “stigmatized” real estate? (Big Séance)

The Conjuring Movie Review (Big Séance)

The Conjuring Movie Review (Big Séance)

 

 


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