Tag Archives: grave adoption

9 Tips to Keep the Paranormal Alive in Your Life Throughout the Winter – The Big Séance Podcast #25

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Sad Bronze Angel in the Snow, Bellefontaine Cemetary, St. LouisSuffering from the winter blahs? Cabin fever starting to kick in? The winter tends to be a time when many paranerds out there, struggle to find enough paranormal activity or content to keep them happy. If you’re truly one of these nerds, the autumn/Halloween season just isn’t enough to keep you going for the rest of the year. For some, the days seem longer, even though they’re shorter, and maybe you’re longing for fall once again… or at least spring. Well I’m here to get you out of that funk with 9 tips to keep the paranormal alive in your life throughout the winter.

 

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In this episode:

 

Tip #1: Find a good book on a paranormal, spiritual, or metaphysical topic… or even just a good ghost story!
 
Here are 4 recent books that I’ve read and can recommend to you: 
  1. “Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones” – Raymond Moody
  2. “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife” – Raymond Moody
  3. “The Spirit of Creativity: Embodying Your Soul’s Passion” – Karen A. Dahlman
  4. “Soul Sensing: How to Communicate With Your Dead Loved Ones” – Janice Carlson

I’m currently Reading “Soul-to-Soul Connections: Comforting Messages from the Spirit World”, by future guest, Carole J. Obley.

If you’re looking for a more detailed list of book recommendations and reviews, you can check out my Recommended Reading page. I’m very often adding to and updating that list. 

 

Tip #2: Plan and hold a séance with a small group of friends! 

 

Tip #3: Consider reading a how-to book on something like channeling, meditating, Ouija, Tarot, Astral Travel, EVP, or another equally interesting topic.

By the way, I plan on producing a kind of “how-to EVP” episode sometime soon. I know quite a few people who have talked about giving it a try, or have expressed interest in learning how to go about it. And I know these folks would be great at it and get a lot out of it. So stay tuned. And maybe you could let me know if you’re one of those people. Get in touch with me. 

 

Tip #4: Find a cozy place to stay for the weekend. It doesn’t even have to be haunted. It certainly helps if the place has some interesting history to it, or maybe it just looks haunted!

  • Probably just about every region has a few cute bed and breakfasts. 
  • How about the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado?
  • Or how about the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas?
  • Or the famous Lemp Mansion here in St. Louis?

 

Tip #5: Watch an old black and white spooky movie… or two or three. And I have a few suggestions:

 

Listener Feedback!
  • A Big THANK YOU to some wonderful listeners who have written kind reviews in iTunes!
  • Some exciting news and an update on a psychic development circle started by Marion, a medium and listener from the UK!

 

Tip #6: Start an interesting or vintage collection, perhaps one that causes you to dig into some history or genealogy.

 

Tip #7: Visit an old Cemetery with a camera (especially after a pretty snow!) 

 

Tip #8: Start a Grave Adoption project.
  • If you listened to Episode #11 from September 4, 2014, I suggested that listeners consider starting a new fall tradition of adopting graves. 

 

Tip #9: Invite a paranormal investigation team into your home or a friend’s home and convince them to let you help investigate!

 

 
The Big Séance Podcast can be found right here, on iTunes, and on Stitcher. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!

Jack-O-Lanterns and a Beautiful Fall Evening in the Cemetery: An Update in 8 Photos

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for 2014, Big Seance

 

Yesterday I carved my jack-o-lantern for 2014. As usual, I decided to go with a classic look that is very close to last year’s grin. And yes, that’s the Halloween Altar in the background, with the addition of the Beistle reprints that I ordered this year. As usual, I always have difficulty choosing which photos to share with you, so you’re getting several.

 

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for 2014, Big Seance

 

 

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for 2014, Big Seance

 

It has been so warm for October lately, and our 80 degree days will kill a jack-o-lantern in no time. I’ve decided that for the next few days we’re bringing them in late at night when we blow them out. That way they’ll be much more comfortable inside and away from the sun and heat during the day.

 

Halloween Polka Dot Disco Jack-O-Lantern 2014, Big Seance

 

As you may know, Joe always has to break the mold with his jack-o-lanterns. Here is this year’s polka-dotted disco ball jack-o-lantern! We like the reflections on the post.

 

Halloween Altar 2014, Big Seance

 

Another look at the Halloween Altar.

 

Fall Leaves in the Cemetery, Big Seance

 

This evening I took a trip to the cemetery to pay my adopted souls a visit for my 2014 grave adoption project. I discovered so many beautiful trees that weren’t in this condition on my last visit. It cooled down quite a bit by the time I got there, and so it was beautiful weather. It’s still weird to be wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt in a cemetery on the week of Halloween.

 

Fall Leaves in a Cemetery, Big Seance

 

 

Fall Leaves in a Cemetery, Big Seance

 

 

Grave Adoptions 2014, Rühenpohl, Big Seance

 

One of my grave adoptions for the year. The small pumpkin is still going strong from 3 weeks ago. All of my small pumpkins that I kept in the comfort of my home rotted long ago, so I’m pretty impressed.

 


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)

 

 

 

 

 


Cemeteries at Night and My Pumpkin Mission

A photo of Johnnie’s grave during one of my recent visits.

 

Tonight I simply wanted to log on and tell you about my return trip to Johnnie’s grave to retrieve the pumpkin I left for him. 

I left a pumpkin at Clara’s grave, too. I knew they would be fine for a month or so, but also knew I had the responsibility of going back to pick them up before they rotted. I mean, I didn’t want to see Linus and Lucy waiting for the Great Pumpkin next fall if I return for a visit. That would be embarrassing, and I’d feel really bad. So yes, I was stressing out just a bit about getting back to dispose of the pumpkins. The only problem? After Halloween, when we get busy with our lives again and “fall back”, I’ve discovered it is nearly impossible to get to a cemetery (unless you live right next to it) before dark! Even on days where I get to leave work at a decent time after school, it’s getting dark on the way there! I had every intention for over a week to get back to both of these cemeteries, but lack of sunlight was really making it difficult. 

When it comes to cemeteries (and most situations in life, actually), I’ve always followed the accepted rules. For most cemeteries, unless otherwise posted, you are prohibited from entering between dusk and dawn. Well a few nights ago, I rushed out of school as early as I could, but darkness beat me once again. I was already en route to Johnny’s cemetery when I decided that this mission to dispose of a pumpkin was important enough of a reason to go to that cemetery in the dark. I was frustrated and tired of the daily race and wanted to check this off my to do list.

I’ve spent hours and hours in cemeteries, both as a child and as an adult. They’re like peaceful parks to me. Though I don’t recall a cemetery visit after sundown, I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t have any fear issues. I thought back to the day I returned to do some follow-up investigation at an abandoned farmhouse… in the dark… without my team… and how good it felt to prove to myself that I could do it. I had no worries. My confidence wavered a bit, however, as I tried to locate Johnny’s grave. In the daylight, I knew that path like the back of my hand. At this point I’d been there probably ten times. But I assure you, it’s a whole different story in the dark.

By the time I made it to Johnnie’s grave, I was more worried about cops or someone in one of the few houses nearby thinking I was a trouble maker. This is also why I didn’t use a flashlight. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. But surely anyone would be understanding of my pumpkin mission, right? I felt a bit rude dropping by for such a brief visit, but I quickly greeted Johnnie and explained that I was taking his pumpkin back. I hoped he understood. I sent a quick prayer for him to be at peace and then crouched down to search for the pumpkin. In the shadows, my eyes finally settled on it. It was still there. It was either upside down or no longer had its stem, but it was hard to tell. I grabbed with both hands, but my fingers went right through the pumpkin. I had to hold back from blowing chunks right there. I waited too long. Fortunately, I was prepared with a trash bag and managed to scoop it all (or what I hoped was all) in the bag. I think I said something goofy to Johnnie about this awkward moment before heading back to the car that was parked nearby on one of the paths in the middle of the cemetery.

In the car, the next priority was finding my hand sanitizer. Once my hands were taken care of, I had a fascinating moment just sitting there in a silent car. I was enjoying the surroundings and realizing this wasn’t something you see every day. I wasn’t too frightened. In fact, I could have stayed there a while longer, admiring all of the silhouettes off in the distance. Once again, the fear of police lights driving up the hill to the cemetery got me moving quickly. I made my way to the main road and headed for home, while planning the next day’s rushed visit to retrieve Clara’s pumpkin. Would it be in the same condition? In my head, I made a few quick notes on the lessons learned during this trip to grab a squishy pumpkin in the shadows. 

 

You may be interested in my other posts in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit:

 

Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition
Adopting Graves: Second Visit with Clara and Johnnie

Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family
Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family
Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)

 

 


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

This is the fifth post in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit:
Adopting Graves: Second Visit with Clara and Johnnie
Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)
Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family
Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family

 

On a Saturday in the middle of August, I decided to begin a new autumn tradition of adopting graves. I chose the graves of two souls, each in a different cemetery. At this point I feel strangely close to Johnnie Michel and Clara I. Gegenbauer. From that day on, I visited these graves every two weeks up to October 30th. I need to go back at least one more time to pick up the pumpkins and things, that way if I decide to visit in the distant future, there won’t be a pumpkin patch to walk through. For more on the inspiration and how I chose these two graves, visit my very first post in this series.

 

Johnnie Michel, son of Henry and Matilda Michel, July 5, 1879 – January 21, 1884

 Johnnie, who died at four and half years old (reason unknown), lived with his family on the upper floor of a general store on Main Street in Wentzville, Missouri. His father was a prominent Wentzville citizen and built and owned the general store. His mother raised the family (Johnnie had an older and a younger sister), and presumably helped tend to several of the clerks and extended family members that lived with them above the store.

Below are some of the shots from different visits to Johnnie’s grave (I tried to bring different flowers/gifts each time.)

 

Since posting my genealogy for Johnnie’s family, I discovered that the family’s general store was located where the “Wentzville Millwork” building is in the picture below. I’m not sure how old the remaining buildings to the left are, but I wanted to make sure and include them in the picture to help your imagination. The structure that housed the general store was demolished in the 1970s. To my knowledge there are no existing photos of the general store, which was operated by the family until at least 1910.  The second picture below is a view of the surrounding downtown area across the street from that lot.

 

 

Clara I. Gegenbauer, March 29, 1884 – March 17, 1889

As you may have noticed, Clara died just short of her fifth birthday as well. She was the fourth out of eight children by parents Eugene Gegenbauer (1847 – 1916) and Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer (1853 – 1930). Like Johnnie, there is no record of how or why Clara died at such a young age. Her father Eugene (whose parents immigrated from Germany) and mother Isabelle (whose parents immigrated from Ireland) were married in 1876. After immigrating, Clara’s paternal grandfather was a physician and teacher in the Ballwin, Missouri area. He died in 1880.

Out of the family’s eight children, Eugene and Isabelle had 7 grandchildren, including my new friend Gayla’s father. Clara’s last remaining sibling, Jane Sophia “Jennie” Gegenbauer, was Gayla’s grandmother. She died in 1976.

For more on Clara, or for photos of her parents and the family’s farmhouse, click HERE

 

On my second visit with Johnny and Clara, I was not prepared for the feelings I would have when seeing the blunt symbolism of the dead flowers in the exact same arrangement that I had placed them in only two weeks earlier. Though this is a completely normal thing to see in a cemetery, it was a beautiful and sad at the same time.

  

 

  

 

 

Other favorite photos from my visits to see Johnny and Clara 

Clara’s grave can be seen on the left (with the bright flowers) near the top of the hill. The graves surrounding her are her parents and siblings.

  .

Once again, Clara’s grave can be seen off in the distance at the top of the hill. 

.

 

As I mentioned before, I have to make at least one more visit to pick up pumpkins, but I highly doubt that it will be my last. I’ve become so familiar with the path to find them, and I’m sure I’ll never forget. I’m already excited to start the journey over next year with two “new” graves.

 

 


Adopting Graves: Second visit with Clara and Johnnie…

This is the fourth post in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit:
Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)
Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family
Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family

Clara's grave from today's visit.

Clara’s grave from today’s visit.

 

Johnny's grave from today's visit. (The grave of his grandparents in the background.)

Johnny’s grave from today’s visit. (The grave of his grandparents in the background.)

 

Today was my second visit to the gravesites of Clara and Johnnie. Except for the fact that it was like eleventy-hundred degrees today, I was very excited about each of these visits. I know so much more about these souls and their families now, and that made this trip a little more meaningful. After another stop for flowers (different colors this time), I made my way toward Gumbo Cemetery for Clara. In both cemeteries, the remains of my flowers from the last visit were present… aged and frozen in time. I secretly hoped they’d still be there, mainly for the selfish opportunity to snap photos of them. For both Johnnie and Clara, I talked aloud of how I knew they probably weren’t present with me, eternally hanging out next to their head stone, but I wanted to make sure they knew I had been thinking of them and learning about their families over the last few weeks. I even read my previous blog posts and mentioned the fact that many others were learning about their families as well. I sat in silence for a while (a little longer for Clara since I was winded from climbing the hill) and forced myself to be okay with my legs being itchy from the grass.

 

The resting place of Eugene, Clara's father.

The resting place of Eugene, Clara’s father.

 

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara's father.

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara’s father.

 

The resting place of Isabelle, Clara's mother.

The resting place of Isabelle, Clara’s mother.

 

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara's mother.

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara’s mother.

 

On my way out of Linn Cemetery after visiting Johnnie, I took a few photos of the entrance to the older section. I found an older marker for this section with the date of 1867, although I’ve seen some head stones there with a burial date of 1865.

 

Near the entrance to the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

Near the entrance to the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

 

Near the entrance of the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

Near the entrance of the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

 

I suppose I’ll plan the next visit for two weekends from now. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to wear a hoodie. That might be a stretch.

Till next time… 

 


Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family…

This is the third post in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013) and Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family

Clara's headstone from my first visit.

Clara’s headstone from my first visit.

Beginning genealogy research through Ancestry.com can be incredibly addictive and time consuming. This new hobby has given me my first opportunity to try it. I’ve filled up nearly ten pages on a legal pad with notes on both Johnnie and Clara, the two souls and graves that I’ve adopted this season. Of course, this is more info than anyone would ever need to know. But even though these families were strangers to me before now, it has been great fun… fun of the nerdly variety. In researching information on Clara, I have had the good fortune of getting in contact with a nice woman named Gayla Liles. Gayla is a great niece of Clara and has supplied me with the information and photos shared in this post. Since Gayla lives in New Mexico and no other family members live near, I have been able to share photos of the unseen Gegenbauer family plot and headstones with her. It feels good… and it makes it seem like there’s a real purpose to this new tradition, rather than just being a strange nerd who blogs about these things. It has been an honor to talk to Gayla and I thank her very much for the hard work and information researched and gathered.

 

Clara I. Gegenbauer, March 29, 1884 – March 17, 1889

Clara was the fourth out of eight children by parents Eugene Gegenbauer (1847 – 1916) and Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer (1853 – 1930). Like Johnnie (see last post), there is no record of how or why Clara died at such a young age. Her father Eugene (whose parents immigrated from Germany) and mother Isabelle (whose parents immigrated from Ireland) were married in 1876. After immigrating, Clara’s paternal grandfather was a physician and teacher in the Ballwin, Missouri area. He died in 1880.

 

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara's father.

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara’s father.

 

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara's mother.

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara’s mother.

 

An older Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer. I love this photo. You can just see wisdom in her eyes.

An older Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer. I love this photo. You can just see wisdom in her eyes.

 

Isabelle and children. I'm not sure if Clara is a part of this photo or what year it is. According to my research and this photo, they lived on a farm.

Isabelle and children. I’m not sure if Clara is a part of this photo or what year it was taken. According to my research and this photo, they lived on a farm in the Meramec/St. Louis area. I just love the house!

 

Out of the family’s eight children, Eugene and Isabelle had 7 grandchildren, including my new friend Gayla’s father. Clara’s last remaining sibling, Jane Sophia “Jennie” Gegenbauer, was Gayla’s grandmother. She died in 1976.

 

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This Labor Day weekend marks two weeks since I adopted Johnnie and Clara’s graves. I hope to make a return visit to both. It will certainly be more meaningful now that I know more about these two families.

 

 

 


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