Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bloggers Ghost Hunt in the Real World



I “virtually met” Julie from Above the Norm probably a year or more ago. I was drawn to her blog because she wrote about lots of paranormal happenings and haunted places, especially in our Arizona region and had a good heart and a sharp mind (two big prerequisites for getting my attention).

When I had an opportunity come up to hunt with the local MVD Ghostchasers at a workshop downtown in Phoenix, I thought of Julie. Why can’t bloggers meet in the real world? Well, I asked her along and she happily accepted. I knew we’d be fast friends and I wasn’t surprised that it seemed like we’d known each other forever.

It was a fair crowd, around 32 people. We all grabbed up trash bags and headed out to clean up the large cemetery before the open house next weekend. We had time to talk and get to know each other as we picked up some weird items including a hospital ID bracelet (thankfully, the gown wasn’t draped over a bush with a pack of matches from the Red Rabbit bar – “Halloween” lovers know that scene), a lot of bottles of booze, cigarette butts, and various other icky things. It was cold and the ground was mushy and there were homeless people rambling to themselves on the streets around us, but we had a purpose. We were bonding.

Once we were done, I got a chance to pull out the tools of the trade and talk to her about some of the items. We got a tour of the famous graves around the cemetery and I was forced to try and recall my speech when I played the first Mayor of Phoenix’s wife in a tour last March. When we were done, we had some supper from the buffet. We had some time to tinker and I had a little time to touch some items around the home and the walls to try and recall the scenario of past residents. I got a good deal of information and dynamics and it was very unsettling, so it showed some promise in possibly leaving some residual.

We then were put into separate teams of 4 to wander the graveyard with a rhyming clue to find a grave, take a picture of it, and come back to show it and see if we’d found the right one. My group managed to come in last and need clues to help us. It was pretty ironic because I’m the one who writes the rhyming clues for the “Cemetery Crawl” event every year that Debe Branning from MVD Ghostchasers and I invented years ago. The event has built up with a 2-day road rally with clues and tasks in an “Amazing Race” style graveyard-to-graveyard around the state event. Apparently, I get my own clues, but not other people’s.

After having time outside to do some dousing and a few KII sessions including one near a crypt and one at a baby’s grave, I was quite impressed with Julie's instincts. She was on top of the process and really good at being poised for evidence. We went inside and had a 30-minute EVP controlled session. The recorders and K-II meters are set out and everyone sits around the room comfortably and then we turn out the lights and people take turns calling out questions. If anyone makes a sound or a car goes by on the street, we call it out so we won’t be confused when listening later. We had a few sounds and smells, but nothing all that promising except perhaps a sigh that someone caught on their recorder.

It was midnight when we said goodbye and parted. My car battery was dead. It was kind of scary because it was a very very unsavory part of town. Luckily, I got a jumpstart and was on my way safely home. After having worked that morning and having to work the next day, I am completely and totally exhausted, but I had a great time.

As ghost hunts go, it was pretty lame, but you know my theory about geomagnetic activity and well, it was a completely stagnant day. We had a few strange things occur, however. One woman was getting some very strange vortex type things on her photos when I told her the spot where the angry uptight man used to sit in the corner of the room. Another time I was standing near the staircase and I heard someone on it, so I turned my head and saw a dark figure coming down the stairs and I figured someone had snuck up (we weren’t allowed upstairs). I turned back to my ghost bag to look for something and looked back again to see who was stupid enough to sneak upstairs and there was no one there. It startled me pretty good. No one below had seen anyone up there, but they were all turned my way when I was looking that way.

I'm thrilled to have met many interesting ghost hunters on this sojourn. Everyone that attended had their own methods, some beginners, others quite experienced. I am probably one of the biggest advocates for training and getting people out there. I'm not one of the competitive ghost hunters who wants to hide findings and locations to myself. I want lots of people in lots of places over and over again to try and confirm findings. Some will mature and season, others will grow bored (it is a tedious "job" with very few moments of reward). Seeing people seeking answers and inventing new methods to do so, is being part of the next generation of ghost hunting. It's still in the childhood age, but with the right "parenting" it will become a rebellious teen and I can hardly wait for that time when people take it in yet a new direction and snub the old ways. We won't get anywhere if we don't evolve. Julie is definitely one of those good parents of ghost hunting help it to mature through the awkward years.

19 comments:

  1. The funny thing is you were n't scared because your car broke down to a cemetery but because of that part of the town.
    You never cease to amaze me!
    BB*

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  2. YEAH! A PIC OF THE TWO OF YOU TOGETHER!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!! That's all I wanted/needed. It is SO good to see both of your smiling faces. It sounded like a neat time all around. And it was funny to see you both bundled up. I wasn't expecting that. (Not that I was expecting shorts and tank tops, but not hats! You guys must've got a cold snap with all your rain?) Still how excellent. It was fun to read about your night/adventures but the best part is SEEING PICS OF YOU TWO!!!!!

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  3. I always say the only thing that scares me ever on a ghost hunt is running into people alone somewhere. I've had a lot of amazing things happen on a ghost hunt, but that is absolutely the only one that makes me terrified.

    The rain after one week of flooding finally stopped the day of the hunt and the temp go to 50 for the high and 35 for the low, so for folks who had been in shorts a week and a half ago, it was cold, wet, and breezy! My insane hair was in my face the whole time, but it kept my ears warm. Hee hee I'm so glad to get pic's of us finally together. I hope more bloggers consider the possibility of hunting with other bloggers they meet. I think it's always great to contact local hunting groups when I'm in a new city because they usually are excited to hunt with new folks and they know the hot spots.

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  4. That sounded like fun (except the cold part). I'm very envious. It's good to have someone to go ghost hunting with. Thanks for the pic too!

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  5. Jessica;
    I soooo wish there weren't miles between us. In fact, we were talking about other bloggers we wished were on our make-believe team. They included you and Courtney and a couple others including Gummer--to pack some heat since the indigents were kind of staring us down.

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  6. what fun! it sounds like you two had a great time!!! my daughter picked your name out of the great pumpkin so you won this weeks giveaway! congrats!!! i will ship it right out!

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  7. Joyce, Wow! Thanks! I still have to catch up with the blogs. I got home from the hunt and then proceeded to have a stomach flu with fever, chills, and all the "wonderful trappings" of a stomach flu. I am finally starting to feel semi-human again. I hope to catch up on all that's happening in the blog world today when I get off work. Yahoo! I miss my blogs! I feel like it's a continuing soap opera in which I'm involved in all the characters. When I was sick someone told me I must see "Julie and Julia" so I watched that while I was lying on the sofa under a pile of blankets and it reminded me why I love the blog world so much. You send out your energy and it's received by the world and you feel welcomed. My blogging friends are all such gracious hosts.

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  8. The workshop at Pioneer Cemetery was a BIG success. We were able to raise $500 for the PCA with our night of ghost hunting. There were 28 people there--some with various local parnormal teams--some newbies--and several independent ghost hunters. The theme with AZ paranormal teams this year is UNITY and it was great to see so many people working together! My favorite part is to take everybody out of their comfort zone and mix up the group into smaller groups so they have a chance to work with everybody! I did a mini version of the Cemetery Crawl so that the smaller groups could combine their psychic abilities and locate the tombstone indicated on their clue sheet. Many of the teams had K-ll meters and were using them to communicate with some of the spirits near their tombstones. Many guests had personal experiences during the Controled EVP session. It was great that Autumnforest was able to come out and do some ghost hunting! She rarely gets the opportunity to share the night with us! Me, on the other hand never gets to stop, especially with looking for new ghost stories and writing my column! Be sure to mark March 2010on your calendar! That will be the next Historic Cemetery Walk (where Phoenix's dead comes alive!) AND April 10, 2010 is slated for the Amazing Cemetery Crawl 5! I hope you can all come along on these adventures--you should talk Autumnforest into coming out with your to these events! It is a blast!

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  9. Yeah, you have some pretty sweet opportunities and being retired helps. If I could quit my job it would help. Unfortunately, the health care industry and my "sweatshop" employer make it so I can't get away but 3-4 days a year! Some day, hopefully, I can manage to do more with MVD Ghostchasers, but for now I'm cool with just sneaking away when I can for an evening to do some investigations with my hunting buddies. If you guys ever do anything one an available night, I'd be totally cool with doing more events. They are always wild and fun workshops and you're always the perfect hostess!

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  10. I definately had a good time. I posted my version of the evening on my blog: Above the Norm. Thanks again for inviting me and showing me how to use the equipment. Mike and I would love to join you and your partner on a small ghost hunt. That would be a blast. He seems interested in the Amazing Cemetery Crawl and we just might do it. That sounds like so much fun.
    ~Julie~

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  11. Julie;
    I can guarantee that the Cemetery Crawl would be one of those things you do that you'll never forget. It's pretty cool. We'll definitely have to schedule a small hunt and get you and Mike using all the tools and developing your own style. I'd like to spend some more time explaining the tools and the in's and out's of their efficacy so in the future if you want to add things to your kit, you'll know what's worth it and what's not.

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  12. your package is on it's way with some goodies included! i'm glad you won!

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  13. You are much too sweet. You made my day!

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  14. I'm so happy that Julie got to come along with you. How cool! You two look so cute in your picture together...pretty girls! :)

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  15. Hey Michelle;
    Just like online, we had exactly the personalities we imagined and we were an ideal match. Plus, Julie is very patient with me...sometimes I'm a big galloping puppy of energy.

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  16. that's great you got to meet a fellow blogger. nice to see you both in the photo!
    i would love to try a ghost hunt someday; maybe in TN

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  17. Sandra;
    When you get to Tennessee, you need to hook up with Courtney from Haunt Jaunts. She's in Nashville and bouncy, happy, enthusiastic, and smart. I know she wants to hit some haunted places to write about for her blog and I think the two of you would be a perfect match. She was bummed she couldn't be out here with us, but maybe you two could make the "eastern" equivalent?

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  18. I just saw the last comment and I only live 1.5 hrs away from Nashville so if there are any Nashville ghost hunters or people visiting the area who would like to go ghost hunting I would be thrilled.

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  19. Jessica; That's amazing! I will let Courtney know right away. Oh my gosh, the three of your would be a dream team, as I have gotten to know you all and you would be a perfect blend.

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