Ghostober

I have three ghosts in my house. They are rather lackidasical, these ghosts of mine. They only show up around the autumnal equinox and then mysteriously disappear on or around November 1st. But, they’re very cute, always quiet, and never obtrusive. They are my Halloween ghosts.

Of course, this is the time of year when we can’t help but be reminded of ghosts, pumpkins, skeletons, and candy corn. Oh my gosh, you guys, CANDY CORN! Sometime around August 1st, as the back-to-school supplies replace the outdoor furniture and grills in the seasonal departments of the local Targets or Wal-Marts, Halloween decorations start to creep in alongside those notebooks and Dixon-Ticonderoga pencils. It’s my favorite time of year, to be honest. The nights and mornings are crisp and cool and the leaves turn brilliant shades of every color under the sun. It’s also the time of year when PGI’s Inbox works overtime.

Typically, our summers are quiet and rather boring. Every summer, we begin to panic. We think, “Will we ever be called in for another investigation? Is this it? Was May our last investigation ever?” We’ll still have our monthly meetings and try to carry on, but when school starts and the spooky decorations come out, our schedule becomes full to the brim. Not only do our investigation requests go through the roof, so do our appearances at local libraries and news outlets. Whenever we take on new investigators, one of the first things we tell them is, “Get ready because your October calendar is going to be ridiculously full.” I no longer think of this month by its traditional name. I now think of it as “Ghostober.”

As always, we are always available for investigations. Now that you’re home, no longer on vacation, and the days are shorter, you may be paying more attention to the activity happening in your home. It’s hard to notice your resident ghost when you’re out enjoying the warm weather and fireworks. And that’s OK. But, in addition to our investigation schedule, we’re also out and about at local Georgia libraries talking about what it is we do, as well as Georgia’s most haunted locations. If you would like to hear us speak, check out our schedule below (as well as on our Facebook Events Page), and make sure you come by and say hello! If you would like to be entered into a drawing to win a chance to investigate with us at Old South Pittsburg Hospital, make sure you bring a donation for The Bridge of Compassion Foundation’s 3rd Annual Project Winter Warm Up, a project that directly helps Atlanta’s homeless community. Bring one or more gently used or new backpacks, men’s and women’s coats, winter hats or toboggans, winter scarves, gloves, personal sized blankets, NEW underwear (men’s and women’s – Size L and XL needed most), and NEW socks (men’s and women’s) and we’ll enter you in the drawing.

Happy Ghostober and hope you help us celebrate Halloween by helping us help Atlanta’s homeless!

Friday, October 13, 2017, 6:30 PM, “Paranormal 101”
Woodstock Public Library
7735 Main Street
Woodstock, GA 30188

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 6:00 PM, “Paranormal 101”
Rose Creek Public Library
4476 Towne Lake Parkway
Woodstock, GA 30189

Thursday, October 19, 2017, 5:00 PM, “Historic Haunted Georgia”
LaFayette-Walker County Library
305 S. Duke Street
LaFayette, GA 30728

Monday, October 23, 2017, 6:00 PM, “Historic Haunted Georgia”
Gilmer County Library
268 Calvin Jackson Drive
Ellijay, GA 30540

Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 6:30 PM, “Paranormal 101”
Dawson County Library
342 Allen Street
Dawsonville, GA 30534

Thursday, October 26, 2017, 7:30 PM, “Historic Haunted Georgia”
Ball Ground Public Library
435 Old Canton Road
Ball Ground, GA 30107

Monday, October 30, 2017, 5:00 PM, “Paranormal 101”
Lumpkin County Public Library
342 Courthouse Hill
Dahlonega, GA 30533

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The Gray Man

Popular image of “The Gray Man” – photo credit unknown

NOTE: We here at Paranormal Georgia Investigations are saddened by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey and are urging our followers in the path of Hurricane Irma to evacuate, if necessary, and to most definitely stay safe. If you haven’t already, you can help those survivors of these storms by donating as little as $10 to The Red Cross’s Hurricane/Tropical Storm Relief Fund. You can either click here to donate or call 1-800-REDCROSS. You can also call the previous number to find open shelters in your area if you are affected. Please, everyone, stay safe.

I spent many summers during my childhood buried in the sands of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My parents would stuff the back of our sky-blue Honda Civic full of luggage, beach chairs, umbrellas, and food, and we would drive the eight hours south for a week of sun, sand, and family. My mother’s family rented the same cottage every year–The Shell–and all 15 of us would take up every bed and cot, stuffing our faces with mayonnaise sandwiches and sugar cookies, the adults doing everything possible to keep us cousins well-fed and protected from sunburn. Those weeks are some of my fondest memories.

A year after I married, and 14 years after my mother’s family had a falling out and we stopped going to North Myrtle Beach, my husband, parents, and I rented The Shell and invited a few friends come with us and help create some new beach memories. We had an amazing time, except for the last day when we found ourselves stuck inside the cottage as the outer bands of Hurricane Edouard made the waves tall and rough and pushed the tide nearly to the lower steps of the cottage. That day, we spent time exploring the shops up and down the coast and eventually ended up at Pawley’s Island, a favorite hang-out of ours. It was there I discovered The Gray Man while visiting a local art gallery. They had several artists’ renditions of the ghost along with brochures telling his story.

The Gray Man of Pawley’s Island, it is said, is a benevolent ghost and one only experienced during times of grave danger to the coast of South Carolina. Legend says that if a dangerous hurricane is bearing down on Pawley’s Island, that The Gray Man will appear, as a harbinger to warn residents and vacationers to flee the island. First sighted in 1822, three years before Pawley’s Island was incorporated, many think the ghost could be Percival Pawley, the first European settler to develop plantations in the area as early as 1711. Others think The Gray Man could be the spirit of Plowden Charles Jeannerette Weston, the original owner of the house on Pawleys Island now known as the Pelican Inn. After a lifetime of service to his beloved state and home, some feel that Plowden still protects it as The Gray Man. And even more feel that The Gray Man could be the spirit of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.

Regardless of who The Gray Man is, the legend says that if you heed his warnings and leave the island before a major storm, that your property will remain unscathed. Whether that’s true or not, the last report sightings of The Gray Man were just before Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Pawley’s Island residents Jim and Clara Moore claimed to have seen a man on the beach who disappeared when they waved to him. They immediately realized who the man was and left the island before Hurricane Hugo struck. Their home was spared any major damage while the homes of their neighbors suffered heavy destruction.

The Gray Man has been described as a man wearing gray clothing, wearing a long coat, dressed like a pirate, and sometimes having no legs. With the 2017 hurricane season already producing two deadly storms, anyone living in the paths of these horrific tempests would do well to heed the advice of The Gray Man and escape at all costs, whether he shows himself to you or not.

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DragonCon 2017 Here We Come!

Yet again, we are VERY honored to be a part of DragonCon this year! Since 2014, Paranormal Georgia Investigations has proudly presented informative panels for the public during the Southeast’s largest sci-fi/fantasy convention. This year, we worked closely with the directors of the X-Track, which includes paranormal content, to make sure that what we have to offer the attendees is informative, interesting, and of value to the paranormal community and the public at large. Below is our schedule. If you don’t yet have tickets, be sure to click here. See you there!

Note: Unless otherwise listed, all panels will be at the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel (165 Courtland Street, NE) in the Savannah conference rooms 1 through 3. DragonCon tickets ARE required to attend.

Friday, September 1st, 7PM – The Paranormal Data Collective
#ParaUnity is a rather meaningless hashtag. Join PGI’s Christina Kieffer, Jordan Duncan, Nancy Capps, and Heather Dobson, as they talk about the Paranormal Data Collective, founded by PGI, a real way to bring paranormal groups, and their scientific data, together to help prove that ghosts exit.

Saturday, September 2nd, 4PM – Going Squatching!
Join PGI’s Shawn Cooper, author KyL Cobb, and cryptozoologist William C. Brock as they talk about the active searches for Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Swamp Ape, and Sasquatch!

Saturday, September 2nd, 5:30PM – Historic Haunted Georgia
Join PGI’s Clint Brownlee, Shawn Cooper, Jordan Duncan, and Nancy Capps, as they lead you on a trip down the highways of the deep South and visit Georgia’s most haunted locations. This panel includes evidence!

Sunday, September 3rd, 2:30PM – Exorcise Your Mind
The human mind is a powerful organ that can, under certain circumstances, create the paranormal. Join PGI’s Jordan Duncan, Clint Brownlee, Heather Dobson, and Shawn Cooper as they examine those times when people create the very things they fear.

Sunday, September 3rd, 4:00PM – Importance of Research
Doing good research is so important before paranormal writing or investigations. Join PGI’s Larry Flaxman, Jordan Duncan, Heather Dobson, and the Haunted Librarian Lesia Miller as they talk about the resources they depend on to do their work.

Sunday, September 3rd, 8:30PM – Women in Paranormal Research
PGI’s Heather Dobson, Nancy Capps, and Christina Kieffer are honored to join Amy Bruni from TLC’s “Kindred Spirits” and SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” to talk about their various forays as they started into paranormal research – the good, the bad, and unfortunately, the sometimes ugly. Why did they stick with it and what can we do to make it better?

Monday, September 4th, 1PM – Instrumental Transcommunication
Have you watched the latest paranormal reality TV shows? Have you wanted to see a Wonder Box or a GeoPortal in action? Come listen to PGI’s Clint Brownlee, Nancy Capps, Christina Kieffer, and Heather Dobson give an informative panel about the latest in paranormal communication equipment and even conduct a spirit box session!

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Summer Cemetery Love

IMG_5600

Photo credit: Heather Dobson

As paranormal investigators, it’s natural for us to have a love of cemeteries. Heck, it’s natural for us to be fascinated with anything and everything having to do with death. Let’s just be honest, we all have our favorite local cemeteries that we love (*cough* Atlanta Oakland Cemetery *cough*). I don’t know about you, but cemeteries are always guaranteed to be quiet places where you can think, reflect, and reconnect with yourself. Cemeteries have also become favorite paranormal investigation locations, especially in the warm, summer months. It makes sense. Lots of dead people plus wide-open spaces with no high walls or barbed wire or locked doors equals instant ghost hunting magic! But, regardless of whether your favorite cemetery is a large, garden cemetery, in the center of town, full of historical markers and famous people who have passed on or if it’s a small, forgotten family plot in the middle of nowhere, there are rules you MUST follow before you load up with your favorite cameras and voice recorders for a night of spook hunting.

Most cemeteries are privately owned.

Even if the cemetery looks abandoned, it’s still on property owned by someone, somewhere. You really don’t want to be roaming around someone’s property, in the middle of the night, without permission. And when the cops show up, demanding answers as to why you’re there, they’re going to think vandalism before they think paranormal investigators. And even if you are there, just sitting quietly, recording the sounds of crickets, they’re most likely going to shoo you off the premises and ask you never to return. It’s always important to secure permission before you investigate a cemetery. Do a little research and find out who owns it. Explain what it is you want to do and how you intend to investigate. Invite the owners to come along with you if they are so inclined. You’ll catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar and you’ll investigate more cemeteries if you do it the right way and ask before you go.

Your audio is going to be full of bugs. Literally.

We’ve all been outside, at night, at some point in our lives. During the summer, the night is alive with crickets, frogs, bats, and bugs. Even in the winter, the leaves are being pushed around by the wind and nocturnal animals out for the hunt. The night isn’t still, not by any means, and that means your audio is going to be full of those noises. Once you’ve secured permission to investigate your chosen cemetery, be aware that your audio will be iffy. Make note of every sound you hear and be aware that when you go over your audio later, footsteps and other sounds that aren’t voices must be discounted.

Photo credit: Heather Dobson

Photo credit: Heather Dobson

Your video and photographic evidence is also going to be full of bugs. Literally.

Your video and photographic evidence that you carry home from your cemetery investigation is going to show a lot of dust, dirt, pollen, water droplets, and BUGS! Also, that mist you captured? Probably not paranormal, but rather your breath, especially if it was a cold night. If you investigate during the day, be aware that polished granite headstones will reflect the sun like nobody’s business. You’ll want to go over all your pictures and video with a fine-tooth comb and be more skeptical of anything out of the ordinary than you would during an indoors investigation. Just remember that Mother Nature can wreak havoc on your camera lens.

Nighttime. Daytime. Any time is a good time!

Who says you can’t investigate a cemetery in the daytime? If it’s a public cemetery, in the middle of town, that welcomes visitors during daylight hours, grab your voice recorder and go to work! Ghosts really aren’t concerned with the time of day. That’s our problem. But, again, if it’s a private cemetery on private property, you will still need permission to investigate, even during the day.

Just remember all these tips and your next cemetery investigation can be the best one yet! Enjoy your summer!

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The Jersey Devil

Drawing of the Jersey Devil from The Philadelphia Bulletin, 1909.

Hey, everyone! Heather here! Our sasquatch/cryptozoology expert, Shawn, is back again! This time, he’s written about a cryptid from his home state of New Jersey. Someday, we’ll plan a PGI trip to the Jersey Pine Barrens for a Jersey Devil excursion. Until then, enjoy Shawn’s article!

It has been awhile since I have written anything for our group. Or anything in general. I will claim to have spent the time reading up on cryptids and the metaphysical but that wouldn’t be exactly true either. The truth is I am so technologically challenged it is ridiculous. But all good things must come to an end so I am going to talk a little about a cryptid from my home state of New Jersey. Besides, poor Heather’s fingers are all blistered from the typing she does not just for us but her own projects as well. (Editor’s note: Awwwww, isn’t he the best?)

I grew up in New Jersey as the son of a minister. I know, I know. Spare me the jokes, trust me you have nothing new. Anyway, as such, we moved several times during my childhood. Not as much as some people, but we did move at least four times while I was living with my parents. The home I remember the most, where I spent the majority of my formative years, was in a small town close to the Delaware River in central Jersey called Sergeantsville. We lived there for nine years. Sergeantsville was an old town, established sometime in the mid- to late-1700s. It still had some historical buildings in the area, as well as historical legends. With such a long, storied history, there are many stories of Revolutionary War ghosts and ghosts in general. Some ghosts inhabited the local buildings, some were part of the land with older buildings long gone. Of course, all the ghost stories revolved around people, whether Natives and settlers clashing, accidents, or curses and witches. A few of these stories may very well be true, some are just stories made up to scare children into behaving and then grew into a life of their own to be told as true legends with many variations. While some may be investigated as actual paranormal events attributed to a location, there is one story that ranks right up there with Sasquatch. It’s the Jersey Devil.

According to the legend it all started in 1735 around what is now known as Leeds Point, New Jersey. As it is generally agreed upon, Mother Leeds (later potentially identified as Deborah) was about to give birth to her 13th child.  In a fit of exasperation, or some other emotion, she cursed the child to be a devil. I personally have heard two versions of this story. Version one relates that the child was born as a normal child and then changed into a vile creature. Version two claims that the child was born as the creature. But, both stories agree that the creature had the wings of a bat, a head like a horse but with horns, the legs of a goat, a tail like a dragon, and some say the forked tongue of a serpent. It then flew around the room screeching and growling unearthly sounds before flying up the chimney, into the night, and into infamy.

As the stories continues, the Jersey Devil was blamed for all manner of things: livestock disappearances, crop failures, sickness, and so on. Remember, this was the 1730s where people didn’t understand many things we take for granted. The Pine Barrens of New Jersey is a huge wilderness area today that is home to all types of wildlife. Back then, the Barrens would have been just another section of wilderness in the New World, indistinguishable except for the sandy soil and pine trees. It is an area rife with black bears, but back then bears weren’t the only predators. Wolves weren’t uncommon and mountain lions were also prevalent. This could explain the livestock disappearances, but this only explains once facet of the story.

There is recorded verification of Japhet Leeds, the Jersey Devil’s father, passing away in 1736. According to historical records, he had a will in which he specified 12 children. What of the 13th child? Was it stillborn? Was the story concocted to conceal some type of deformity that would throw the shade of witchcraft onto the family? These are all questions that may never be answered. But, while they are possible explanations for events then, what of the following events of more than 275 years? People have reported seeing tracks of cloven hoof prints that just disappear in the middle of a field. Those tracks couldn’t be those of a deer because they “appeared” to be bipedal and the trackway was too far from any terrain or cover that a deer could jump to, so it must have flown away. Late-night sightings, strange sounds, and unexplainable tracks all further the legend of the Jersey Devil. Is the Devil a scapegoat? Or is there something to it?  If you have read some of previous my blogs, I firmly believe in Sasquatch as a living being. So, do I believe in the Jersey Devil? Well, yes and no. I believe that for the stories and legends to exist, something had to be the catalyst. But what? For it to be perpetuated for over 275 years, there has to be some truth to the Jersey Devil’s existence.

If you’ve never heard a mountain lion scream, you would swear a woman was being murdered in the deep dark woods. At that time it would have been a witch. Rabbits may be all cute and cuddly, but it will terrify you to hear their death scream when one is being killed by coyote or foxes. That may explain the noises, but it doesn’t explain the sightings where people have been attacked in late at night, in remote areas, while camping, by a giant winged creature late. The range of the incidents extends past the Pine Barrens into parts of Pennsylvania as well. There has been more research done on Sasquatch than the Jersey Devil as a cryptid, save for several groups in New Jersey. If cryptids were rock stars, Sasquatch is clearly Elvis and The Jersey Devil is Buddy Holly. Both have similarities, but one became hugely popular while the other has few fans once they were out of the lime light. I guess I do believe there is something there, but what I do not know. Do I believe in the Legend? Definitely. If you are ever driving through southern New Jersey at night, keep one eye on the road, one eye to the sky and treeline, one hand on the wheel and the other holding your camera, and maybe you can catch a glimpse or a even a picture of the ever elusive Jersey Devil.

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Carbon Monoxide is a Heckuva Drug

I’m sure that many of you already know about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO). You’ve heard it in school, from the fire department, and you probably have several CO detectors in your own home. CO is a silent killer that can’t be seen, smelled, or heard, but in high enough levels, can kill you and your loved ones within hours.

But, what if it’s not in high enough levels to kill you immediately? What if it’s high enough to make you sick, but low enough that you still receive the oxygen you need?

Beginning in March, 2013, over 140 citizens of two towns in Kazakhstan, Kalachi and Krasnogorsk, began experiencing a strange sleeping sickness. Many of these people would fall asleep for no reason, even sometimes while standing up or walking! Some fell asleep for days at a time, the record being six days in a row. Many of these people, though seemingly conscious, would actually be asleep and upon waking would remember nothing. While one side of the town would be affected, the other would feel perfectly fine. Several days later, the opposite would occur. The worst side-effect of this illness, though, was the hallucinations. Some reported seeing frightening creatures during those brief times of consciousness. Age didn’t matter, with both the elderly and children affected. Species didn’t matter, either, as it seemed the towns’ pets were also adversely affected. One woman reported that her pet cat began attacking the dog, furniture, and walls, only to then fall into a deep sleep, not even responding to the smell of cat food.

Local experts and doctors misdiagnosed the patients over many months. Some claimed that counterfeit vodka caused the illness, while others blamed a mass psychosis. The towns were checked for excess radiation and radon levels due to the now-closed nearby uranium mines, but that didn’t check out. Until, that is, someone examined the carbon monoxide levels. When doctors took blood samples from those affected, they found many had carboxyhemoglobin (CO in red blood cells that hinders the delivery of oxygen) levels at 25%, which is considered a medium-level CO poisoning.

Viktor Krukev, former director of the local uranium mines, theorized that once the mines shut down, groundwater was no longer being pumped out of the mine. The rise in groundwater caused whatever gas was in the mine and rocks to be pushed out through fissures. One of those gases was carbon monoxide. The mines, closed some 34 years before, had reached the maximum groundwater level in 2014, the year in which the strange illness peaked in Kalachi and Krasnogorsk. Carbon monoxide was being released from the mine and, depending upon wind direction, affecting citizens of the neighboring towns.

Starting in July, 2015, the Kazakhstani government began relocating affected families and the illness subsided. But, what does this mean for you and for PGI? It means that we take our responsibilities to our clients very seriously. Just as we check electro-magnetic field levels in your home, we also check carbon monoxide levels. Appliances such as your furnace, water heater, gas stove and oven, dryer, and fireplace can cause elevated levels of carbon monoxide. Your home CO levels should be the same as outdoor levels (no more than 2.5 parts per million or 2.5 ppm). If you have carbon monoxide detectors, they will alert you if the levels go above normal. But if you don’t, we use a carbon monoxide sensor that can detect CO levels inside as well as out. Medium CO poisoning can bring about hallucinations and if what you’re experiencing isn’t ghosts but CO poisoning, then we want to know so that we can get you the help you need.

So, if you ever see one of our investigators carrying CarMon (our name for our CO detector), it’s not some strange, experimental piece of paranormal equipment. It’s yet another tool in our arsenal to help us ensure that we’ve covered all the natural, or normal, explanations before we jump to the paranormal.

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The Mothman

My children and their new best friend.

Many people enter the paranormal field because of childhood experiences they can’t explain. Maybe they had a nightly visitor that would stand at the end of their bed or maybe their imaginary playmate wasn’t so… imagined. Those people come to us and other paranormal groups needing to answer the questions of their youth, to verify that what they saw and experienced was real.

I’m not one of those people. My childhood was a quiet one, spent on the banks of the Kanawha River in West Virginia. Visitors from the other side may not have hovered near me, but I did live in the state made famous for its paranormal shenanigans. It’s the state where a group of people claimed to come in contact with an alien creature back in 1952. It’s the state where testimony from a ghost was used in a murder trial. And it’s the home of The Mothman.

In a sleepy little West Virginia town, on the banks of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers, the legend of the Mothman was born. Fifty years ago, the town of Point Pleasant was terrified by sightings of a strange creature. Over seven feet tall, it was covered in a gray fur, gigantic wings, and had red, glowing eyes. It was sighted throughout Point Pleasant, as far east as Clendenin, and frightened the townsfolk for 13 months, from November, 1966, until the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967. For my kids’ Spring Break, I packed them up and drove them north to West Virginia so that they could see where I grew up and understand why I love my home state so much. One of our stops was, of course, Point Pleasant and the Mothman Museum.

Posing with my new boyfriend

My childhood, though free of ghosts and shadow figures, was filled with books and daydreams. I first read The Mothman Prophecies, by John Keel, when I was a little girl. I was disgusted by the bland selection of books in the children’s section at my local library and decided one day to delve into the variety of the adult non-fiction books. One day, I took the plunge and walked across the great expanse between those two sections and found a book that scared the bejeezus out of me. It had a cream dust jacket and on the front was a crude drawing of a winged creature with bright red eyes. I was hooked. After reading John Keel’s interpretation of the Point Pleasant Mothman and UFO sightings, as well as visitations from strange men in black, I couldn’t get enough. I read every book about paranormal phenomena I could find, discussing ideas with my father, a fellow paranormal enthusiast from way back. My interest in the paranormal started not in the dark recesses of my home, but in the bright, sunny bookshelves of the South Charleston Public Library.

When I planned our recent Spring Break trip, I knew I had to face one of those monsters of my youth and introduce him to my children. We drove from our hotel in South Charleston and arrived in Point Pleasant to the sight of the Mothman statue just off Main Street. I had seen the picture of the statue many times and we immediately posed for pictures. We then headed into the Mothman Museum and enjoyed the displays of pictures, videos, and original newspaper clippings of articles written by Mary Hyre of The Athens Messenger. I was enthralled. The kids, though more interested in buying t-shirts and tchotchkes from the store, had a great time.

The Silver Memorial Bridge

As we left Point Pleasant, we crossed over the Silver Memorial Bridge into Gallipolis, Ohio. The original Silver Bridge collapsed in December, 1967, killing 46 people. The Mothman, seen for 13 months prior and reportedly witnessed on the trusses of the bridge just before its collapse, disappeared. Was he there to warn the people of Point Pleasant about the bridge collapse, to function as a harbinger? Who knows. My three children, though, gamely posed on the Ohio side of the Ohio River, under the Silver Memorial Bridge, and expressed their excitement over being able to cross another state off their list. I, meanwhile, hoped that a dark grey figure with bulging red eyes would show up in an epic photobomb. I, of course, was disappointed.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that adulthood is many things. It’s responsibilities and acceptance mixed in with facing our childhood fears and memories, both bad and good. John Keel and the Mothman kept me awake many nights, convinced that those glowing red eyes were just outside my window. But now, he’s an old friend and the reason why I seek out the paranormal, excitedly hoping for the next unexplainable experience. If the Mothman showed up in the skies over Woodstock, Georgia, I wouldn’t run and hide. I would, instead, welcome him as an old friend.

And avoid all local bridges for the foreseeable future.

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The Power of Thought: Tulpas

Photo captured by Queen Mary live web came and submitted by ground_zero_7777@hotmail.com

Photo captured by Queen Mary live web cam and submitted by ground_zero_7777@hotmail.com

OK. I’ll admit it. Most all of the recent spate of paranormal TV shows irritate the bejeezus out of me, but what’s most interesting about said shows is that they do point out to us the supposed “most haunted” locations in our country and around the world. The Queen Mary, Waverly Hills, the Stanley Hotel, the West Virginia Federal Penitentiary, just to name a few, are the focus of many of these shows and typically, compelling evidence is collected. And not just by reality paranormal shows (if you can believe their evidence). Search the Internet for video or audio evidence from any of these well-known haunted locations and homegrown groups, like us, have shelled out money for private investigations and, luckily, gathered stunning audio and video evidence. And you have to wonder, “Wait, these guys, this Podunck Paranormal Hunters, they have nothing to gain from posting this audio of a woman’s voice. They don’t have a show, they’re not making money, in fact, they’ll probably only gain ridicule. I mean, this video has been up for three years and they’ve had 20 views. So, they had to have captured it, right? It’s not fake, right?”

One would hope. What I’m getting at is that when we get called in to investigate a private home in suburban Atlanta, we’re pretty much guaranteed to spend the entire night investigating and end up with absolutely NO evidence to show for it. But if we drive the six hours to Waverly Hills, or buy a plane ticket to the Queen Mary, or schlep our gear on a cross-country trip to the Stanley, I can attest that we WILL return home with, at the very least, numerous EVPs.

Why? How does this happen? Are these historic locations MORE haunted? Is there a level of haunting that assures the collection of evidence? Say, if there’s only one spirit, well, good luck collecting any evidence. But, hey! Twenty spirits! You’re in luck! You’re now the proud owner of one apparition caught on tape!

Or, could it be something else? Could it possibly be that we, the living, are causing these hauntings?

No, I’m not talking about putting up those cute Halloween ghost decorations you found on Pinterest. I’m talking about us, people, living, breathing, people causing hauntings. While we’re alive. Just bear with me and allow me to explain.

The Queen Mary is the perfect example. Docked in Long Beach, California, and permanently moored as a hotel and event rental, the Queen Mary started its nautical life as a Cunard luxury transatlantic cruise ship in 1936. During World War II, she became a troop transport ship. After the war, she resumed her commercial duties until 1967 when she was permanently retired to Long Beach. One of the most prominent paranormal stories of the Queen Mary is that of Jackie, a little girl who drowned in Queen Mary’s second-class swimming pool and who now haunts the first-class swimming pool area. Paranormal groups and enthusiasts from around the world have captured evidence of Jackie over the years. You can find numerous pictures of a small shadow figure captured in the first-class pool (now empty) as well as audio clips of her small, childlike voice responding to investigators. It’s crazy! With the amount of evidence captured, you would think there really was a little girl who drowned and died on board the Queen Mary at some point in its history.

But there wasn’t. According to official records, there were 49 deaths aboard the Queen Mary, most crew, and none of them children and none of the deaths were due to drowning. So, where did Jackie come from? What is she? I think she’s a tulpa.

I know you’re scratching your head and wondering, “What. The. Heck? What is that word? Is that a monster? Is this chick making up stuff from the X-Files?” Just bear with me. A tulpa (from Tibetan mysticism), also known as a thoughtform in Western mysticism, is thought to be a physical formation generated by a powerful concentration of thought. It, essentially, is a materialized thought that has taken physical form. A mind-created apparition, if you will.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the idea of “the power of prayer,” that by communally thinking, meditating, and asking for something, people can cause something to happen. That with just the power of our positive thoughts, we can make the sick well, the poor rich, the hungry fed. If this is truly possible, then why can’t we do this with hauntings? I mean, let’s be honest, no one is really interested in the small ranch on 123 Main Street, Anywhere, USA. That home won’t be on television and broadcast to the masses. But, the old cruise ship, docked in harbor, with an incredible history, that people all over the world have visited, that’s a location that’s interesting. It’s a location that depends on a paranormal story for part of its income and it’s a location with its fair share of happiness and tragedy. And when we hear the sad, but fictional, story of Jackie, a little girl who drowned, whose life was tragically cut short by inattentive parents and crew, allowed to wander down to a swimming pool, fall in, and drown, well then, we’re captured. And we project our thoughts to this nonexistent child, willing her to speak to us, appear to us, and give us proof of her presence.

Could it be that what is manifesting isn’t a little girl, but our own thoughts? Jackie may just be our exteriorized thoughts. A thoughtform. A tulpa. A creature of our own making.

Or, she could be someone playing the greatest prank ever.

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Stone Tape and a Guy Named Schumann

When trying to explain residual hauntings, many paranormal investigators will fall back on the “Stone Tape” hypothesis to explain how a moment in time can play back like a recording, over and over again. There’s just one huge problem with this idea. How does the moment record itself? What is the mechanism? The other problem is that there are minimal to no magnetic properties when considering wood, gypsum and paper (the main “ingredients” in drywall), clay (a.k.a. brick), and all the other materials of which modern homes are made. So, how can we reconcile the paranormal as a recording?

A traditional recorder utilizes magnetic tape, but speaking at the magnetic tape will not record your voice. You need the addition of a read/write head to store the wave patterns of your voice onto the magnetic tape.* The Stone Tape hypothesis posits that moments in time, emotions, actions, what have you, imprint or “record” on a location. But how does that happen? What is the mechanism, or the “read/write head” that imprints these moments onto the wood, stone, and clay of our homes and buildings?

Now, even though I’m not a sensitive/intuitive, there is something to be said for a room feeling uncomfortable when you walk in right after an argument or a home feeling warm and inviting after baking cookies. But I don’t think these emotions have imprinted on the materials, rather I think our other five senses are engaged. We smell the vanilla of the cookies, we see the uncomfortable body language of the couple who exchanged unkind words. These moments are fleeting and forgotten after a few hours. But, how is it that an emotional/traumatic moment, or a repetitive action, can be recorded, or imprinted, on a structure so that emotions and actions are accessible years, even decades, in the future?

As paranormal investigators, we are constantly questioning and asking “Why?” As a scientist, I do this quite a bit, and I think I’ve come up with a hypothesis of my own regarding the Stone Tape idea:

What if the mechanisms by which moments in time are recorded on locations are the Schumann Resonance excitations?

OK. Just bear with me. I’ll give you a little background. Winifried Otto Schumann was a physicist who actually predicted these resonances, mathematically, back in 1952. He predicted that the Earth’s ionosphere (the lowest part of our atmosphere) would act as a waveguide (a structure that directs sound-, electromagnetic-, etc. waves, and enables a signal to multiply with minimal loss of energy by restricting expansion to one or two dimensions) that would, in turn, act as a resonant cavity (similar to a closed box) for electromagnetic waves. What is it that causes these electromagnetic waves to resonate?

Lightning.

Take a look at the following:

Credit: NASA/Conceptual Image Lab

What you’re seeing is an animation of the Schumann Resonances. When lightning strikes the Earth, the electromagnetic waves propagate around our planet at an extremely low frequency (ELF), between 3 and 60 Hertz. What if it is these ELF waves that are the mechanism behind our residual paranormal activity?

Considering that the Earth is subject to approximately eight million lightning strikes per day (that comes out to about 100 strikes per second), our planet’s atmospheric wave guide is just pulsing with Schumann Resonances. Add to that the effect solar activity can have on our planet’s geomagnetic field, not to mention seismic activity, and you could have a planetary read/write head that helps record, and playback, residual paranormal activity.

Do we, as paranormal investigators, know for sure that Schumann Resonances are the catalyst by which residual paranormal activity exists? No, we don’t. This is just wild speculation at this point. But, that’s where science begins, right? At wild speculation. And then, we experiment, collect data, and form our hypothesis. Which is why we collect information before each investigation regarding solar and geomagnetic activity, as well as weather, which includes lightning strikes. Currently, the only archive of Schumann Resonance data can be found at the HeartMath Institute (and the data only goes back to January 1, 2013), so verifying that Schumann Resonances were at an all-time high when, say, Anne Boleyn was beheaded and, therefore, caused her headless spirit to roam London Tower, is impossible. But, hopefully, in generations to come, paranormal investigators could, possibly, document when a moment in time became a residual recording.

*How exactly does that read/write head work, you ask? Well, I’m glad you brought that up. A read/write head consists of a core of magnetic material, shaped like a doughnut with a very narrow gap, which is filled with a diamagnetic material (like gold). This diamagnetic material forces the magnetic flux out of the gap into the magnetic tape medium more than air would. The flux then magnetises the tape. A coil of wire wrapped around the core opposite the gap interfaces to the electrical side of the apparatus, either supplying a signal in the case of recording, or being fed to an amplifier in the case of playback. And now? You are an audio expert. Sort of.

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Getting Into the Spirit – Jack-O-Lanterns

img_2851Hey, everyone! Heather here! Our resident historian, Jordan, is here today with an awesome blog post about the origins of the jack-o-lantern, that Halloween symbol we all know and love. Enjoy!

One of the most iconic symbols of the Halloween season is the jack-o-lantern. Today, we carve jack-o-lanterns out of brightly colored orange pumpkins and display them in our windows, porches, and yards. But that was not always the case. As a matter of fact, the pumpkin is not the first piece of vegetation to be used for a jack-o-lantern.

In the late 19th/early 20th centuries, many Europeans immigrated to the United States looking to start a better life. One of the customs they brought with them was the carving of jack-o-lanterns. However, in Europe, especially Scotland and Ireland, jack-o-lanterns were more commonly carved out of turnips. Have you guys ever seen a turnip jack-o-lantern? Just look there at the beginning of this post. It’s terrifying.

However, when they immigrated to the United States, turnips were not in an immediate supply, so the alternative was the pumpkin. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, the pumpkin actually made a better jack-o-lantern. It was larger, more colorful, and the most important part, pumpkins didn’t rot as fast as turnips. So a jack-o-lantern made out of a pumpkin could keep longer than a turnip jack-o-lantern.

But this doesn’t really answer an important question; Why do we carve faces in pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns? Well, that is because of an old European folktale. The Tale of Stingy Jack. There are a number of versions of this myth, but they all seem to make the same point.

Jack was a drunk, a manipulator, and a deceiver. When it was Jack’s time to die, the Devil greeted him to take his soul. Jack, being a deceiver, begged the Devil to allow him one last drink. The Devil agreed and accompanied him to the pub. In order for Jack to pay his tab, he convinced the Devil to turn into a sixpence. Instead of paying the tab, Jack put the sixpence in his pocket next to a crucifix so the Devil couldn’t change back. Jack stuck a deal with the Devil to change back in exchange for letting him live another ten years. The Devil agreed. Ten years pass and the Devil comes to claim Jack’s life. Jack, once again being a deceiver, convinced the Devil to climb up a tree to grab him one last apple before death. The Devil agreed and Jack carved a cross on the tree so the Devil could not get down. He was stuck there. This was the second time Jack had bested the Devil.

When Jack eventually died, he appeared at the gates of Heaven but was denied entry. He then went to Hell to see if he could gain entry there. The Devil, being duped twice by Jack in the past, denied is entry. When asked where he should go, the Devil replied, “Back from where you came”. But the road for Jack was now much darker than before. Jack pleaded for the Devil to give him something to light the way. The Devil obliged and placed an ember from Hell in a hollowed out turnip. Stingy Jack was was doomed to walk the earth without a resting place forever.

So, every Halloween, people would carve faces in turnips, now pumpkins, and put a light in them to help Jack find his way in a world of darkness. This is just one version of many of the myths, but they all seems to have the similar theme of Jack tricking the devil.

Today, there are so many people who carve jack-o-lantern that it is a Halloween staple. I know here at the Jordan Ghastly household, we try to have a minimum of 4 for Halloween Night. But the fun of pumpkin carving has exploded in the 20th and 21st centuries. There are now professional pumpkin carvers all over the globe as well as numerous pumpkin carving contest.

So remember, this Halloween night, when you get ready to go out to trick-or-treat, don’t forget to light your jack-o-lantern to help Stingy Jack find his way through the darkness!

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