My co-author and best friend, Julie, and I go on para-expeditions often. In fact, we're on the road for Tombstone and Bisbee and much of the trip was planned around things we were able to find on these links below. We're including haunted hotel, roadside freaky cryptid display, reptoid hunting, ghost towns, historic sites, haunted sites, abandoned buildings, and cemeteries. I will be sharing it live on Facebook.
We plot out a day jaunt or overnight jaunt to areas around our state. We like to question the nature of the world, photograph, and see new sights to inspire our writing and art, ghost research, cryptids, UFO hunts, photographing a cemetery at sunset, you name it! Sometimes we run into things we can't quite explain -
We encourage others to go in person to sites, draw their own conclusions, seek history, science, knowledge of other realms, photograph, videotape, sketch, take notes, and bring your thirst for the unexplained and fantastic.
I'm going to share how we go about picking para-expeditions sites in our area. First, we might decide if we want to go to a haunted B and B or do a day trek to abandoned sites or cemeteries. Then, we need to plot all the things that we might do on the way to and from so we get a total experience.
We usually then go to Mapquest and find out what the names of towns are between here and there. Then, onto google to check out "Springerville, Arizona haunted" or "Springerville, Arizona unexplained" or "Springerville, Arizona cemetery" or "Springerville, Arizona weird" or "Springerville, Arizona haunted hotel," or "Springerville, Arizona haunted restaurant," or "Springerville, Arizona Bigfoot," "Springerville, Arizona abandoned building." Try any combination that might help you find things people have reported. Then, go through each town from here to that destination and try those combos. Here's just some resources we use -
Cemeteries in the US
US historic sites
Native American Historic Sites
Haunted Hotels and B&Bs
UFO sightings in the US
New Age Retreat Finder
Weird USA is a fantastic place to find the most obscure things in your area. In fact, I highly recommend you get the Weird book for your specific state and keep it in your home collection. You find legends of haunted roadways, people who made homes out of papercups, cryptid monster sightings, and tons of insane stuff worth driving out of your way to see.
Shadowlands is a fantastic chronicle of all the haunted reported sites everywhere in the US. Some of the stories were passed on by questionable means, some are urban legends, others have real substance, but if there is anything even slightly related to a haunted reputation, it should be listed in here.
Cemeteries. Julie and I usually try to stop by any cemeteries listed along our route, especially historic and picturesque ones. The older the cemetery the better. Ideal filming is at twilight when it casts deep shadows from the headstones and the sunlight rays can slant in and cause "God Shine" as I like to call it, making an angel statue look almost real and aglow.
Historic sites are always fantastic destinations and usually beautiful picture taking as well as having some tragedy, some lingering ghosts, and a lot of mood and creepiness. The same goes for Native American sites where the energy coming off of them is still massively powerful and moving. Such sites often have a lot of educational opportunities too with museums and videos, books and hands on chances to poke around and feel it. If there is a history buff inside you, these places are great destinations.
Ghost lovers are going to want to go stay in a haunted B and B or hotel and have supper in a haunted restaurant and take the town's ghost tour. These are things to plot out, along with the local cemetery at sunset. If you're terribly brave, spend a few hours in the park in the dark. Shadow people are most often viewed in parks and cemeteries after dark. While you're at it, consider killing two birds with one stone and sit in the park and look for UFOs.
Some might want an enlightening trip by going to Native American sites and New Age retreats to walk labyrinths and beat drums and have a spiritual awakening. Massively impressive scenic spots like Sedona and the Grand Canyon can easily give one a perspective, as can aerial trams up high ski mountains and scenic overlooks. What's the tallest bridge in your state? What's the scariest notorious road? There are lots of ways to test yourself and come back stronger for it, whether it's hiking a railroad tunnel where dozens of people met their death in a crash or hiking the woods where strange lights are often seen.
Abandoned sites - one of Julie's and my specialties. There are lot of rules for staying safe and doing it right. The primary ones are to be well equipped for injuries, wear dust masks - lots of asbestos and even rat piss that can give a person Hanta virus. You need phones with charged batteries, flashlights, and protection from those who might hide out in such places. Ideally, fill our pocket with some small rocks and toss them at the building as you approach to make anyone inside come out. You do not want to deal with them inside a dark building. It's best to have lookouts and always obey signs. If a sign is posted "No Trespassing" heed it or be ready to be in trouble. It's mostly commonsense and often times Julie and I play it safe and stay in the doorway shooting the place without wandering deep into unknown territory and insecure flooring. Honestly some of the coolest things about abandoned sites are how nature took it over and aged it from the outside.
We use Google Earth ahead of time to find potential sites for exploring. Defunct towns, old mining and railroad towns, old agricultural based towns hold promise of abandoned sites which you can view from Google Earth. We also go online and do Google searches for "Clarenton abandoned building" or whatever the town's name is and people have posted pics of what they've come across. Generally speaking, old industrial areas and mining areas are the sweet spots. We now and then drive through a small town that is so forgotten that it's mostly abandoned. Those are amazing finds, but sometimes you have to drive off the main strip and go back to the recesses of the town's edge where there might have been more shanty like buildings more likely to be abandoned over time.
Some activities to consider in your expedition -
Native sites/petroglyphs/ancient villages/burial mounds
Abandoned sites/forgotten small towns/defunct mining towns/photography
Cemeteries for photography/stay until sunset for great shots
Skywatching for UFOs in highly reported UFO hot spots-outside of town where it's dark
Weird stuff - oddities/strange buildings/infamous mystery lights/urban legends
Historic sites/reenactments/metal detecting
Haunted hotels/restaurant/haunted city tour
There is no limit to the kinds of expeditions you can plan. Sometimes, they might involve camping out in search of a Bigfoot encounter, or digging around some caves in search of ancient giants. You might decide you need to take adventures to a new level and join a dig as a volunteer in Peru or take a trek to Egypt's pyramids. No matter what sort of expedition, cushy and comfy or rugged and dangerous, the key is putting that active mind in the field to actually see the context in which these mysteries were born and to have a point of reference henceforth in your search for expanding knowledge of all things unexplained.
If you don't have a person to do it with or your friends and family don't like what you do, consider finding a group in your area. Meetup has a way to find groups for just about every interest possible in your area and most are free meetup groups that plan treks. You can look for ones for paranormal, new age, history buffs, photography, horror lovers, road trips, and more.
Some of what you find in my car -
3-ring binder (directions, maps, little known facts about sites, history of hauntings in sites, odd and interesting things to do, phone numbers, hotel confirmation #, restaurant names and menus, blank pages for notes)
cell phone charger
Taser and pepper spray
bottle waters (and gallon in the trunk)
antiseptic hand wipes
life straw - to make dirty water drinkable
first aid kit
pollen masks and gloves - for abandoned sites
plastic bags (I choose black ones because in the desert, if you tie them around the limbs on a tree or bush, it can create condensation and pool liquid for water)
snake bite kit
book of what is edible in the desert
Julie and I love doing some crazy things in amazing places, but we do so with as little danger to ourselves as possible. After all, we want to come back and report the zany treks.
I hope that the treks I share on Facebook and here on Blogger give everyone a renewed interest in childish wonder and exploring, creative outlets like art and photography, and a desire to go check out mysteries in your neck of the woods and then perhaps thrust yourself out into new territories. Us Para-Geeks have to taste it and touch it and understand the contexts. It's why Julie and I wrote "Paranormal Geeks" and interviewed dozens of our kind.