Monday, December 22, 2008
I'm going to have to do it. Just buckle down and ask the "Big Man" (aka Santa) for anything on my ghost hunting wish list. I'm pleased with my equipment, so I think I'll just focus on where I'd most like to get a hunt done...
My top 10 dream ghost hunts (in descending order from 10th most want to do to #1 most desperately want to do):
10. Gettysburg battlefield. I went there a few times as a child, but other than wanting to leave very quickly because I felt unsettled and didn't know why, I'd like to see it again with the keen eye of an investigator. If my theory that trauma can imprint itself is true, than imagine what a mass killing could do to the land.
9. Goldfield Hotel, Virginia City, Nevada. Not to give the bozo's on "Ghost Adventures" too much credit, but if there is even a tiny chance that brick throwing was for real, I want to be in a place where things might be poltergeist-like and active. I have a really strong ability to stir things up in such places.
8. Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple. The site in Arizona where a young man entered the site and shot 9 monks dead. It's just a theory, but the combination of many people in spiritual prayer in a site along with sudden deaths to me makes a soup for an amazing hunt.
7. Amityville home. I know, it's a totally bogus story that "Amityville Horror" was based upon, but you can't dispute that a dude killed his family there. That has to leave residue.
6. Cheronbyl. That's mostly just for the intrigue of an abandoned city, but also with ghost hunting equipment, it would be interesting to see if anything about radiation leaves better "imprints" of events to be read.
5. The Fraser family home of descendents of Lord Lovat in Scotland. My mother's family is descended from them and I think that always adds an interesting enticement for things to happen. That, and I seriously want to see Scotland!
4. Sommerou, my father's family home in Norway. I know with all the lineage that's lived in there of the Thorvaldsen clan, it's got to have stories to tell, much of it rather tragic.
3. Bird Cage saloon. There's no excuse for me not to do this one--it's only a couple hours from my home. So, Santa, you can probably disregard this one--I'll get around to it some day.
2. Lighthouses. I'd take any lighthouse, honestly, but my most desired one is the Newpoint Lighthouse on the Chesapeake. I spent a lot of time as a kid climbing up and down the stairs and always felt like someone was climbing right alongside me. I think the combination of routine, water, and a circular building is an ideal "conduit."
1. My childhood home, Aspen Grove. I want to finally prove if ghosts do exist and there is no better place than the house that haunted me as a child. Besides being a hospital during the Civil War, my parents, sister, brother, and family friend promised to haunt it. If there's a guarantee I'll run into something amazing--it's there!
at 9:24 AM
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
My books on Kindle and Nook (Sharon Day): "Was That a Ghost?" "Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories (Desert Edition)," "Josiah: Undead Cowboy," "Don't Go There: A Flash Horror Anthology." "Zombie Housewives of the Apocalypse." "Kickin' Up Dust! Getting Lost To Find Ourselves," "Blogging Changed My Life!" and also my horror/dark erotica books under the name Anna Melissa.
I like to be Autumnforest. I have an autumn leaf tatt and I have to admit, it is just me, through and through.
I was raised in a 250-year-old haunted home in Northern Virginia. It was used as a field hospital during the Civil War by the North and then by the South who wrestled it away again. I grew up digging up relics. The house was considered one of the most haunted in the US. TV crews and reporters and mediums all enjoyed checking out the ghosts. As well, I have a psychic skill called psychometry that made it possible for me to discern the histories of people associated with the relics I dug up.
I moved to the Southwest, but I was still filled with so many questions about what I experienced as a kid growing up. I sought answers by ghost hunting. Then, I started this blog in 2008 to try and find others who had theories, wanted to test things, look for answers and further the field.
You will find me at times to be bawdy and brassy, saying it like it is. I have a sense of humor that is a part of much of what I do, but I also have a huge heart and inquisitive mind. If you find yourself on this blog, you have just become a member of my think tank and my tribe. We are rebels and thinkers, curious and funny, considerate and earnest.
I take road trips and go on ghost hunts, bring the video camera and the digital camera and bring you along. There is a tab above for photos/urbex where I give lots of advice on how to photograph abandoned places and road trips I've been on. I have a sidekick ventriloquist doll Dale, who generally hates and distrusts "The Human" (me). I will do zany things and make you snort with laughter if I've done my job well, because I think that education shouldn't be at the cost of your sense of humor. Check out the tab above "Laugh," which is a comedy series poking loving fun at the ghost hunting shows.
I am also a writer and that comes out in the blog a good deal. Sometimes, I put up short stories and also announce upcoming books. On the left-hand side you will find buttons to my books. More are coming about the field of ghost hunting and psychics, and a series of western horror novellas. I have much to contribute and do so with the same thoughtfulness and logic, sensitivity and honesty that I do on the blog.
Who did you find when you came to this blog? A friend for life and someone who generally instigates people to dream and do. I am a cheerleader and a shoulder, a good ear and a mentor. I am also likely to get you into some mischief because I sort of specialize in that.
If this hasn't scared you, please follow me and we will continue the journey into the unknown...
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
When I think of classic horror movies, I don't necessarily think of "The Mummy" or "Frankenstein," but I think of the era in which I grew up in, the 60s/70s. The one that started my fascination with horror movies was the 1963 "The Haunting" which I first saw on TV as a child. I remember (living a famously haunted house) how scary it was to watch something that was extremely feasible and in which--like all ghost movies should contain--an unseen element that is tormenting you. What's so scary about ghosts is--we don't know where they are or what they'll do next. "The Haunting" totally delivered on that count.
The elements that make a great horror movie are universal; mood, atmosphere, suspense, darkness, the unseen, and those who are vulnerable. I don't even like the movie "Darkness Falls," but I like a horror movie to take place in darkness and so I enjoy watching it just for that element. If you want mood, you watch "The Others" (if you can stay awake watching her boring days roll by). If you want atmosphere, you might consider seeing "The Changeling." If you want suspense, put on the movie "Amityville Horror. If you're into the unseen, "The Legend of Hell House" will have you wondering what the unseen spirits are up to. And, if you find solace in seeing others who are equally frightened and vulnerable, you might like "The Entity." There's no doubt something out there for everyone, except there's too little of it out there nowadays for those of us who like the unseen forces more than blood and guts. I know there's some sad folks out there scared of snakes and bugs and needles and blood and those slasher movies are horrifying to them, but what about those of us who fear invisible forces that want to torment us slowly, sneak up on us, and offer no way to "kill" them?
I'm pleased nowadays that there is the occasional good quality horror movie that has the 70's feel to it. "Dead Silence" was an excellent case for that. The music, the mood, the dolls (who isn't scared of ventriloquist dolls?), and the lack of ridiculous special effects made it very "other worldly" and sinister. "Silent Hill" was creepy and even with a heavy reliance on special effects, it only helped to put us in a world that couldn't exist which was very creepy. Sometimes when special effects are used in an otherwise serious movie, it falls flat real fast. Everything seems realistic up until we see a computer animation. Anyone who loved "Signs" by M. Knight surely must have cringed as I did at the end of the movie when the creature was full-frontal. Yikes! He had me up until that point so easily wound around his finger. Had he just showed the creature doing its thing as seen on the dead TV screen's reflection instead of straight on, it would have kept me shivering the entire time. I have to admit, I burst into laughter in the theater when I saw it.
I'd like to tell movie makers, spend your money on a great script or a great actor, and screw the special effects. You can make a movie that's dark, creepy, has atmosphere, draws us in, makes us shudder, and you never have to spend a penny on special effects guys. Leave that to blockbuster action films with Will Smith and SciFi movies. Don't taint the pool of scary movies with fake blood, hokey ghost figures, and animated statues. Don't assume we're so basic that we need to see knives cutting into flesh to scream. After all, look at how "Blair Witch" profited.
What's the ideal movie? Location: The house in "The Changeling." (With multiple levels, a central winding staircase, hidden rooms, banging pipes, gigantic and making the person seem small inside it) Atmosphere: "The Haunting." (With no sense of windows, cornered, walls breathing, doorknobs turning). Ghosts: "The Legend of Hell House." (With its truly demented past occupant who has absolute control).
My parents always said, "music was better in the old days." I say, "Horror movies were better in the 70s." Please, please revolutionize the genre by going retro. Do it now. See your fan base who cut its teeth on 80s/90s slashers find a love for what is truly horrifying, not some guy with a butcher knife, but a ghost with a hidden agenda.
at 1:04 PM
Thank you so much History Channel’s “Universe” show for doing an episode recently on “Parallel Universes.” This is very close to what I believe is occurring when we experience ghost phenomena.
In the episode, a scientist sat in a boat and explained how he is riding on a membrane and believes he is part of the entire world, but below him in the water is another world. The two are unaware of each other, as they’re not interacting. If you take this a step further, should a man fall off the boat into the water, he suddenly becomes part of the other world, seen by the fish, and at the same time seen by us in this dimension.
It’s the very sporadic nature of the ghost phenomenon, the “defying” the laws of physics, like objects being thrown by unseen hands or full body apparitions walking through walls that can understandably be explained by a less knowledgeable man from the 1700’s or 1800s as a spirit. The only other dimension “known” to him is the spiritual world.
But what if this kind of temporary interaction is like the man who falls off the boat? What if we occasionally break the membrane and are a ghost to their world or they break our membrane and are a ghost to our world? People of another dimension living in their own world perhaps believing that’s all there is and then…boom—they see a glimpse of one of us walking through a wall when in actuality we’re in this dimension walking through our office hallway.
String theory supports the concept of other dimensions. In fact, the Large Hadron Collider in Europe hopes to test this theory when they collide particles at super speed. These theories support "multiverses" instead of a "universe." If such a thing were proven true, it could certainly help us account for vague interactive and rare occasions of sightings, sounds, and sensations that don't seem to be "of this world."
Perhaps the hardest thing to disregard in common hauntings is the sightings occurring in buildings with “reputations” from the past, sites of murder and other drama. Still, if you take this a step further, it’s entirely possible that certain sites attract more energy from a neighboring/interacting dimension and therefore “super energize” the site to be a place of cruelty, murder, or angst. Sites such as Stonehenge might have been logical locations given the “feeling” this region gave the builders. Perhaps it’s the same for the Pyramids.
Are we as humans attracted to those places that are haunted or are those places haunted because we are attracted to them?
Could hair rising on her neck, chilly air, and drained batteries all be signs of a moment in which the dimensions will interact with each other in a way that is able to be picked up by our senses?
Of course, it’s not the only explanation for ghost phenomenon. There could actually be human souls that somehow didn’t find their way to their promise land and their God forgot to instruct them upon leaving the human body. But, then, perhaps those departed people’s energy simply made the great leap into another dimension where they happily live out a life that occasionally overlaps with ours in which we become ghosts to each other. This would also neatly explain why deceased loved ones don’t usually contact us (except conveniently while we sleep). Had they a soul that could defy heaven and earth, they would have sent word. But, had they been, not a soul in flight but a person in another dimension, their contact with us would be impossible, no matter how much we beg and plead.
Science has a ways to go to test such theories, but it intrigues me to think that we could be encountering another dimension even more than seeing a spirit of a once living person. It explains the randomness, the on and off nature of hauntings, and the difficulty interacting.
The string theory explanation might also work for those who believe in reincarnation, as the possibility that upon death we exit to be born into another dimension’s world would fit nicely into that belief system.
The only people who might have difficulty with the concept of hauntings being interactions with other dimensions are those who are religious. Still, that they believe hauntings are souls confuses me. It defies what the Church tells them of a place that they go to after this life, a reward or a punishment. The concept that God is a parent who doesn’t know where his children are wandering in the afterlife isn’t a very respectful one. I should think the concept that there are other dimensions creating this phenomenon would be much less offensive to their sensitivities.
I’m pleased with string theory and ghost hunting and believe there is something there but it will take quite some time to really grasp just how and why our dimensions might interact. I’m still open to the concept of souls of the living, but there is still no way to prove that souls aren’t in another dimension and not in some filmy between world where they still wander you halls at night rapping on doors and occasionally showing you glimpses of them.
Then, again, it’s quite possible that the other dimensions are the heavens.
See why I love this field?
at 8:04 AM
Monday, December 1, 2008
There's a real dichotomy within the ghost world of those who rely on their gut feelings and some Victorian-era devices such as ouija boards and seances and automatic writing, and those of us who have moved on to the new millenium.
I'll be the first to admit that I've had a lot of amazing things happen to me that I couldn't debunk and that were filed away in my mind as "phenomena," and yet if I tell you these stories, it's only theory and conjecture. It's entertaining and even at times spine-tingling, but it gets nowhere towards proof of phenomenon. If Einstein stopped with his theory of general relativity and never found ways to test it, it would have just been an intriguing idea from a quirky scientist. It wouldn't have changed the very way we handle astronomy and scientific quandaries. It wouldn't have finally let things like time and space be tangible to us.
In the ghost hunting world it's much like that. Spiritualists used to rule the communications with the other side like Jewish Rabbis used to talk to God for folks, then along came a dude named Jesus and suddenly people realized, "hey, I can talk to God myself without a paid-for representative." Opening the world of ghost hunting to everyone is to our benefit because guess who this phenomenon occurs for? Just the regular guy sitting in his house watching TV one night when he sees a full body apparition, or the little girl who talks to imaginary friend.
When Jason and Grant from TAPS sit in a room and shoot the breeze with the "occupants," they get the feel of the room, they hang out, they make themselves accessible. When something happens it can be quite extraordinary, but if they tell us about their experience it becomes just a story. Without the cameras and equipment to show us with our own eyes and ears, it's very hard to explain to someone or make them believe that phenomenon does occur and it needs to be explained.
Because of common drainage of batteries and equipment dying during hunts, it's entirely possible that by hauling all this electrical equipment into a place, we might actually be giving it a fighting chance of showing itself. I don't think it's an accident that haunted sites often relate issues with electrical and TV's going on and off.
Now, a lot of people still roll their eyes when you talk about ghost hunting with images of rigged seances and faked ghost photographs. The old-time ways really ruined credibility. Something like those old wive's tales about putting butter on burns, we know better now and we won't go back. I think there is a place for psychics in the world of ghost hunting but only in the aspect of helping us to perhaps find a place and a time that is ideal for phenomenon to occur. Then, hand it over to the folks who will try to weigh and measure and get actual proof with something more objective--electronic equipment.
I have a foot in both worlds because of my ability to read places and objects, but even I realize that's only a compass and not a backpack, swiss army knife, and sleeping bag. It'll take a marriage of scientists and test equipment specialists to help us make that final turn in the ghost hunting world from "before the world was flat" to "when the world was round." It may seem like a clinical way to go about it, but then we wouldn't expect the family doctor to pray and send us home, we'd want some medicine.
There's definitely a place in ghost hunting for Old World and New World techniques, but to depend on just one is to close your mind and to perhaps miss some important correlation that occurs when you're in the middle of feeling a cold chill and actually measuring it on a thermometer.
at 3:39 PM