Saturday, August 1, 2015

Scare LA Coming August 8th and 9th!

I am a huge fan of home haunters, the unsung heroes who make our favorite holiday ROCK! 

There is an event in LA on August 8th and 9th just for home haunters! OMG! This is a dream! It's called Scare LA (click name link).  

It will be having lots of presentations and workshops to learn, special appearances, and much more. Check the link to learn the details. It will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center. 

Roger Hayes is one of the instructors and author of Home Haunting For Mere Mortals.

This looks to be an awesome event - be sure to go if you are hardcore about your haunts!

Scary Abandoned Restaurants, Stores and Schools

Abandoned buildings are spooky as it is, but abandoned restaurants and schools carry a very odd vibe. They were once very noisy, offered sensory overload, and had moments of celebration and noise; now down to empty abandoned shells. The result can sometimes be quite chilling....

Spookhuis was a restaurant in Belgium that celebrated all things dark and satanic. It closed down and what was left made it even spookier - 

There is an abandoned air force base in Illinois believed to be haunted and no wonder - 

Abandoned McDonald's seems somehow creepy, like the death of innocence - 

Upon occasion when I'm on the road, I find abandoned restaurants. Considering the majority of restaurants fail, there are lot of these buildings awaiting new occupants - sometimes for decades. 

Here's some scenes from abandoned schools - 

In Pipestem, West Virginia, I have studied and photographed this abandoned school for years - 

Learn (here) about why some restaurant owners are turning to cleansings and blessings for their buildings. 

Abandoned Stores are interesting things. They are often left with items strewn about and shelves left askew and a vacant sad vibe. 

Abandoned malls ...

Now, how about an abandoned toy factory?

Abandoned boarding schools
Abandoned McDonald's 
Haunted chain stores
Abandoned toy factories
Abandoned malls

Friday, July 31, 2015

Debunking Ghost Photographs: How To Photograph Properly

Genuine unexplained (above) *more later on this - 

We want to capture the paranormal on cameras, but honestly it is so unbelievably rare that it can be disheartening. Before you get too excited about some of your oddities on your photographs, let's talk a wee bit about the explainable and how to discern it.

Before the advent of the digital camera, orbs were not a photographic issue, or if they were, it was only with certain cameras. Now, they are very common. In fact, on a dusty hayride at night in an autumn country fair, I took a shot of the orchard and when the flash went off, it lit all the particles in the air and it looked like sparkling confetti. The people on the ride cooed at how pretty. This was the process of orbs being made - dust, pollen, and moisture in front of the lens is lit by the flash and shows up.  
Translucent looking orbs are actually very close to the lens and so you are able to see through them and ones that are back a bit from the lens reflect the light from the flash and look quite bright. They may seem to have depth of field in the shot, but they are actually near the lens and the culprit is digital camera design that puts the flash right near the lens. 

I always suggest people use their own camera to take some shots like the ones below to see how their particular camera picks up these things so you have examples to compare field pics with. 

Camera strap (above)

Cold breath (above)

wind storm (above)

Dust blown off a surface (above)

finger wagging in front of camera lens (above)

hair (above) 

stopping after walking outdoors and moth (above)

moving camera slightly photographing lights (above)

spider (above)

Camera lens reflected in window (above)

What to consider when photographing

WALKING:  When you walk, stop and allow several minutes for the air to settle before you photograph. Too many people focus on - I walk here, take pictures - and they don't stop to realize that they just stirred up the environment with a sort of vortex of air around them. 

Reflective surfaces: This is the greatest danger, especially in nighttime photo taking. It can be a nightmare in museums, tourist buildings, historic sites, where there are lots of mirrors and glass framed photos and maps, chandeliers, tables, and more.

Straps and hair: It goes without saying that camera straps can be real culprits and they often show up on the right hand side of the pic because of where they are attached on cameras. They show up often with a spiral or corrugated look. I remove the strap from cameras as soon as they are bought or if the strap comes separately, I never attach it. This is one less explanation on photos. I also tie my hair back. One time, I ran my hands through my hair and one caught on my ring. It dangled in front of the pic. I realized it was a hair because it looked reddish and had the hair look to it - looks like a hose with circles inside of it.

Weather: Storms, winds, cold, rain, fog, snow, sprinklers, heavy moisture can all be interpreted by the camera as all manner of specters. Just be sure you take note of your weather conditions. 

Lens:  You put your camera in and out of your pocket 

Consecutive shots: Taking consecutive shots helps to clarify if something was in the environment or not. Viewers might ask, "was there anyone else in the room?" 

Don't be offended that people dispute photographic findings. The truth is, finding something truly unexplained is hard to do, and you want to eliminate all the explainables ahead of time by taking caution when photographing. 

* While taking photos of my son with a 35 mm camera (no strap) at the cemetery, looking for his grandmother's grave, we were asked to leave as it was getting dark. In my mind, I said to my mother-in-law (deceased) to please show where she was, her grandson was there. I took the picture. While it was getting developed, my father-in-law (at the time) said that she was buried about 300 feet back from the praying hands statue. My son had just asked to be photographed at that statue, after passing tons of awesome ones. It showed up on the negative, as well. With no camera strap, I am at a loss, but we went back and sure enough, her grave was 300 feet back from my son's left shoulder. 

Missing in Alaska Review and Tonight's Show

Last week was the premiere of The History Channel's "Missing in Alaska" show. 

I wasn't sure what to expect, but The History Channel consistently puts on truly amazing shows. This show's editing and presentation reminded me a lot of my old favorite, "UFO Hunters." It mixes information, science, three investigators, and the vast expanse of Alaska and it's odd missing incidents that are off the charts statistically compared to other places. 

In last week's episode, they studied the vortex concept. The investigators went into the field, by helicopter, talked to witnesses and experts. It was good watching. I know it's good watching because it's hard to keep me riveted to a show the entire hour and this one sucked me right in.

I love that they even covered UFOs and parallel universes. I am always pleased when a show has the balls to take in all possibilities and looking for correlations. 

I suggest you give this show a look-see and I suspect you are going to be hooked. All us para geeks tend to ask questions about odd things going on and we want to explore all the possible explanations. This show does it and with a healthy dose of skepticism and intelligence. 

The History Channel - thank you, once again, for another intelligent show like "Ancient Aliens," "Hangar 1," "The Curse of Oak Island" and please bring back "Search for the Lost Giants" and I will forever be your devoted fan!

Tonight's episode is the Hairy Man! 

One of the stars of the show, Ken Gerhard, has some great books you need to check out.

Encounters With Flying Humanoids 
Ken Gerhard's books on Amazon 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Horror Movies, Hardcore Porn and Vibrators

Modern horror movies have unfortunately done something to viewers--taken us as far as they can go with desensitizing us. Since we longer jump and cringe at ax murders, then they eviscerated and tortured people. When that newness wore off, they tried gruesome killing after gruesome killing, each more over the top than the last.

The problem is, they no longer hit our horror G-spot.

Like porn and the use of a vibrator, it takes a bit more and more and more to stimulate and eventually, one builds up a tolerance. 

Horror was never about the killings or the torture so far as it was about the unknown (in other words what they didn't show us, not what they let us see--everything). The real horror is not in witnessing death, but in the not knowing what will happen. If you see a dark room and hear creepy music, your mind fills in the appropriate terror that works on you instead of someone spoon-feeding you your fright.

Our minds are truly the best scriptwriters when it comes to terror, not our eyes.  

("Hostel" - Modern Horror Movie)

I don't find movies like "Hostel" or "Saw" scary, only uncomfortable and numbing. Think about it, people are killed off one after another until there is no one to care about and nothing to hope for. You simply witness a slaughter. It creates an apathy in the viewer. Even a simpleton moviemaker should know that creating apathy in your viewers is the kiss of death.

How do you do a killing movie and create horror? Let's have a look at this one --

("The Changeling" 1980)

There is hope on the horizon! Some moviemakers have gotten savvy at looking towards the classics for cues on how to totally engage the viewer with lush cinematography, gripping soundtracks, great doses of darkness, unexplained happenings, and haunted characters. Here's two that come to mind and are worthy of the watching - allowing the horror sensation to seep back into our minds and bodies again so we lose that numbed up feeling. 

("The Woman in Black")

("The Awakening")

The tough question might be: Can you take hardcore horror enthusiasts and get them to back down to suspense and moodiness, atmosphere and the unseen and have them satisfied or bored to tears? 

Well, let's look at what happens. With a good suspenseful horror that builds up but doesn't spoon feed you the enemy, for example, "The Haunting" (1963), you are given adequate foreplay and anticipation, tingling, heightened senses, dilated pupils, and preparation so that even a slight touch of fear creates the climax. 

In the movies "Darkness Falls" and "Sixth Sense" they played on the childhood terror of what is outside the sheet when you sleep. Those early fears are where we developed our worst fears throughout life, whether it was being alone, in the dark, what's under the bed, in the closet, what's that sound???

It can be difficult for over-stimulated horror lovers to differentiate between fear and disgust. If you're watching a disembowelment, you cringe, want to look away, feel a bit sick and quite grossed out. You know the person won't survive, so you are not emotionally invested at all, except that you're glad it's not you. That's not really fear. Fear is more about what COULD happen, not what is happening. What IS happening is fait accompli. 

When a movie gives us a realistic scenario, we can actually relate. Some people brought together to study a haunted mansion: A feasible scenario. Characters that we can relate to: A driven, skeptical and pragmatic scientist...

How about a location we might actually see ourselves in...

Notice the use of sounds? Music, lighting? These are the tools of horror seduction. 

We're not likely to end up in a room, tied down by some madman wanting us to hurt ourselves to escape. 

Some people refer to it as "torture porn" and there is a good reason for that: It's hardcore, in your face, and raw. Some people want to see things you don't normally get to see, like intestines spilling onto a floor or a head being chopped off, but that's not fear so much as repulsion.

You want to get scared? Imagine coming across a killer of unknown origins and motivation; a killer that sees you seeing him! 

The minute a viewer straps on their seat belt and wonders "what would I do?" You have him truly in suspense! 

Suspense is horror. 
Guts are horrific.


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