Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Alcatraz - San Francisco, CA - Scores 5/6

This is the third one today and I'm done for the day. We should be done with these 50 places very soon and I can show you the statistics. I can't believe I'm doing this kind of research because I hate math, but I love the subject, so I'll plug away at it.

Alcatraz is a perfect location. It has all the elements of being a lighthouse but with serious emotional trauma. Here's how this place worked out on the scale:

1. Water nearby--duh.
2. Made of stone.
3. Land is a type of sandstone.
4. Older than 50 years.
5. Death/trauma.

The only thing missing was railroad tracks, but I have yet to see how those work with the formula. Hopefully in my final phase (3 phases) of the research, I can find out about fault lines, as well.

Yeah, I'd have to say this place is haunted.

Belmont Mansion - Nashville, Tennessee - scores 3/6

I've never heard of this interesting estate, so when I pulled it from a hat, I was shrugging. I'm not certain how many ghost hunting groups might have found evidence there, so I was doubtful. A beautiful, place, though. Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham in the 1800s had six children and all of them died. It's unclear from any records I can find, if they died in this home (it was their summer home). Reports are of her apparition, but she did not die there, so that makes me want to give it a big fat zero for death.

Here's how it scores:
1. Sandstone land.
2. Stone construction.
3. Over 50 years.

No waterways, railroad tracks, or reports of actual death in the home. A 3/6 on my scale would give it a chance to be haunted in the future, should it have death/trauma but as it is a museum now, I'd have to say--no chance of haunting based on physicality.

As I wrap up my research, I hope to be able to see how much weight having death/trauma has on a scoring. Surprisingly, I think it is possible for a place to be haunted by events as well as death and trauma, but it still needs the right physical location. I hope to expand to looking at aquifers and fault lines too before I get the final formula for presentation.

Keep watching--each day a few more until we're done this week and onto the next phase.

Lincoln Theater - Decatur Illinois - Scores 6/6

I'm determined that this week I'll finish putting on my last places of the 50 I'm researching. Once I've put those posts on, we can look at the statistics we've uncovered so far about the physical traits of the places. I say "we" because everyone's enthusiasm makes me feel like we're researching this together. I love getting your input and theories too. Please feel free to make observations.

This one I literally picked from a hat. I had never heard of it, but darn, it has all the physical traits for a good haunting. Here's how its physicality scores:

1. Near train tracks
2. Near waterway.
3. Older than 50 years
4. Two died in a fire there
5. Extremely thick walled reconstruction following the fire--fireproof!
6. Land is sedimentary/Pennsylvanian

I admit I was hesitant because it was reconstructed following the fire, but the construction materials and the use of the same spot, made me decide to give it points for both the deaths and the building construction. Sometimes these things are hard to call, but I suspect the very foundation is undisturbed and that's important so far in these sites I've studied.

Keep following. I should be putting two on a day at least.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mansfield Reformatory - Mansfield, Ohio - scores 5/6

This famously haunted prison's cornerstone was laid in 1886. The doors were closed on this prison in 1990. It houses the world's largest free-standing steel cell block.

This site scores this:
1. Older than 50 years.
2. Land is limestone/shale.
3. Lots of death/trauma.
4. Near a railroad track.
5. Constructed of stone.

Are you noticing a lot of high scores so far? There is a disproportionate amount of them scoring 5 and 6. So, where there's smoke, perhaps there is fire. People seem to know haunted places when they encounter them. There's a big divide between that and places like the Hollywood Sign and Chateau Marmont Hotel where one would romantically impart spirits when conditions actually weren't right for them to occur.

Keep following and we might find some more surprises in the last of my list of 50 places. Once I'm done showing you the results of the first sweep of research, we can do a little scale showing the percentage that had certain features. From there, I hope to go on to study for hard proof people have collected of hauntings and compare it to the types of haunting and the physicality. Together, we might uncover some interesting trends. Thanks for your input. I really like to see objective folks reading these findings and coming to conclusions that might help further the research.

Tapping Into Universal Knowledge

Have you ever wandered a beach, stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon, or sat on a rock ledge overlooking a stream and felt a strange sense of bliss, a primeval sensation of “coming home?” You were, in fact, tapping into Earth's energies and a universal knowledge that gives you perspective of the bigger picture.

If you perform regular meditation, this probably isn’t hard for you to do, even when you’re in a stressful work office. The key to being able to realign with being human and jumping onto the psychic highway to gather knowledge, is pretty straightforward.

Here’s how I do it:

Stop all internal dialogue. You want to hear no “spoken inside the head” words. You know what I’m talking about, that constant narrator. With no spoken words in your mind, look around the room at objects, but do so without attaching importance to them, no words, no meaning, no images of where you bought them or what you need to do tomorrow. Simply look at them through your “human animal” eyes (my own term, I assure you), but the sense is that you look at things but do not attribute name, importance, meaning, or attachment to them. Do this as long as you can without a single word, duty, or stray thought wandering through.

For some people, this practice is very uncomfortable. For psychics, it’s a godsend. You have to be able to occasionally close off dialogue and simply read without the active critical mind telling you it isn’t true.

My son recently came to me with several psychic visions. Being a skeptic, he didn’t believe them until they came true within days. I asked him what it felt like when he got the “universal knowledge” in his mind. He said, to him it felt like fact, as if had already been done. Then, he said, his active mind came-to and started dismissing it with logic. I told him, that’s the killer of psychic readings—the active mind that disputes true knowledge. When you get a good psychic reality, you feel as if it’s simply fact. There’s no sadness, emotions, or anything else attached. It just simply is set in stone. If you’re a good psychic, you don’t let the active mind dismiss it and try to talk it away.

I’d like to see everyone try and tap into that part of their mind. I believe it’s the part of the mind that interacts with things of a spiritual nature, things of a ghostly nature, things of an earth energy nature. It results in a “universal knowledge.” I believe this is the highway I travel when I do psychic reads and I am certain it's the same way we all travel when we feel our most genuine self, most contented, as we do on the beach or the woods. It's a kind of ancient knowledge that was always there, but our modern minds needed different skills and sort of beat down the "animal" mind.

This was perhaps a bit of a New Age post today, but I don’t believe things are accidental. I think they’re interestingly interwoven, and today I felt like some of my readers needed to hear this one. Call it “universal knowledge.”

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Winchester House - San Jose, CA - Scores weak 3/6

I have to admit, I've never heard about any good "hard" proof of haunting at the Winchester House. It's one of those places that's so zany, you have to wonder if the simple bad Feng Shui of all the dead end rooms on this mansion causes the extremely uncomfortable feelings people get inside of it.

Here's how this "famous" haunted place scores:
1. Older than 50 years.
2. Sarah Winchester died in her sleep there.
3. The ground is sedimentary.

The fact is, the house is frame construction (incompatible with haunting), there are no waterways or railroad tracks nearby.

It will be interesting to use this one in my research to compare the score 3/6 (on the weak side of 3) with the actual "hard" proof of haunting that anyone's accrued. As it stands, with this borderline 2/3 score, I'd put it at "it's not ever going to be haunted, or it would take extraordinary events and time to make it haunted." I don't hold out hope it'll ever truly be haunted.

Where Does My Research Stand Now?

Although it’s still early in the research to draw real correlations yet, I keep running into themes that run strongly. Here’s something I’ve noticed so far from my research into my “Haunted Formula.”

I pulled out a log I've kept of ghost hunting jaunts and which ones provided great activity. They always correlated to a night of geomagnetic activity. Could this be a contributory factor with the geology to create an ideal "action" night?

Geology is important. Fault lines are important. Construction of the building is important. Running water seems to be important. Train tracks seem to occur incidentally, haven’t necessarily made the connection yet. And, of course, having a history of trauma and death is vitally important to a haunting, but perhaps not necessary.

It seems like the more I investigate this, the more I come across things serendipitously. I was watching a program about Crop Circles, something I’ve not given a lot of thought to, but a man who wrote a book about them was speaking and something he said seemed to strike me. Simeon Hein, Ph.D. wrote the book “Opening Minds: A Journey of Extraordinary Encounters, Crop Circles, and Resonance.” I found a sample of the book online here. He was telling about how they’ve learned that meditation can actually change an area’s energy and that in areas of Crop Circles, people's bodies seem to feel something new in the environment imprinted there.

This so strangely correlates with what I’ve found in regards to hauntings being events imprinted into an environment under the right conditions. I’ve also experimented with spending meditation time with pleasant images and memories in a place that has a bad feeling to it in order to change the feel of that place with a new imprint. It’s just a theory, but I think it’s possible to heal haunted places by replacing bad emotions with good ones, changing the "memories" of the spot. This might also explain why some places seem to lose their haunting efficacy over time when they’re open to the public to trample upon over and over again, therefore changing the overall mood of the place.

The ancients seemed to know a great deal about earth energy and natural ley lines, where to place stones to empower the area. They used stones for a reason I believe could correlate to haunted stone buildings and the geology of the land—it’s a good recording device. If you ever get the chance to see “The Stone Tapes,” a British movie made in 1972, you’d find it worth your while. It’s sometimes hard to find and because it’s British, you might to see it on your computer and not your DVD player – incompatible. But, when I happened across this movie, it really made me sit up and go, “yes!” I could never explain what it was about the elements of where I grew up that seemed to be dripping with memories and feelings and history. Sure, it was an important historic site, but the creek, the wellsprings, the shale, quartz, and the very mineral contents of the earth combined with the thick-walled stone foundation home that sat on a hill, seemed to make a weird set of circumstances. Even as a child visiting historic sites up and down the East Coast, I was easily able to identify the places that would be haunted. It was an observation made by the actual physicality of the location.

So, as I continue my research, these things are floating in my mind. I’m sure when all is said and done, it’ll make clear sense what properties a place needs to have to be haunted, but I also believe a place with no history of death or trauma could be haunted as well. This is just a guess at this point that I hope to find proof of, but I believe that in the right setting, a family can impart memories into the home, leaving a residual emotional stew that can be stirred up.

Continue to follow. When I get new bits of wisdom, I’ll share them. I have very few places to list their scores yet on here and then I’m on to studying the “hard haunting” proof of the locations.

I’m so glad you’re following along with me. I really don’t know yet what it’ll show us, but I think it’s time someone sat down and quit saying “bad things happened here, that’s why it’s haunted” and started asking, “why is this place haunted but not that one with a similar event occurring?”

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eastern State Penitentiary - Philadelphia, PA - High 6/6 Score!

I'm excited to cover this one for two reasons. One reason is that I've always thought of this building as way too commercialized and trampled upon by visitors and tons of ghost tours and Halloween events. Because of the massive attention to it, I always assumed it was somehow making up for an absence of events. The second reason is that I've been sitting on the findings of this one and can't wait to share them.

It's pegged the needle all the way!

Followers of "Ghost Hunters" have no doubt seen the episodes at Eastern Penn. The first time, they were able to capture what appeared to be a figure trying to form on a catwalk, coming towards the camera and then just vanishing away in a split second. That's what made them want to go back. They had many personal experiences, but that one baffled them. Having a bias in the first place about the prison because of its publicity, I interpreted that figure as a guy in jeans with a cape playing a trick on them. Of course, much of it doesn't add up, from the very short height of the thing, to its ability to move so fast! I've seen the footage dozens of times and one thing I know when reviewing film is that the eye will look for patterns and when you get a flash of color or light, you interpret immediately to something known. By focusing on the light portion of the bottom of the figure, I made a quick assumption it was jeans on the bottom, cape on the top. Once you see that, it's hard to NOT see it. It's like EVP's, if you hear someone say "she's over there," that's all you will hear each time you listen to it, making you no longer an objective listener.

So, I thought I'd check out this location to see what elements it has on my tentative haunted formula (it will eventually be changed slightly as I learn more).

Eastern Penn works out like this:
1. Older than 50 years (open from 1829-1971).
2. Made of stone and rock exclusively--that's an enormous fortress--it pegs the scales even more because not only is it only stone and rock, it's also got a center octagon with spoke-like halls coming off of it which makes it essentially the circular structure like a lighthouse, perhaps better able to contain and hold events.
3. It saw a great deal of death/trauma.
4. The land is sandstone and shale.
5. There is water nearby.
6. There is a train track nearby.

No matter how I work it out in my mind, this building HAS to be haunted. The bigger question is, with all the ghost hunting, mocking, Halloween antics, and nervous tours going through there, does this affect the actual proof of haunting? When I go onto my next phase of research to study the hard evidence for hauntings at these sites, we'll be able to compare the "physicality" score and the "hard haunting" score and see how this works out. I have to tell you, I'm excited to get to that part of the research so I can finally see real trends.

There's probably 14 or so left before we go onto the hard haunting review.

Continue to follow.

Feng Shui - Ghost Away

Compare the two places above—which seems more likely to be haunted?

Whether one believes in the efficacy of Feng Shui or not, the guidelines of this Asian practice do help to create a living space that lifts the mood and seems to chase away bad thoughts. If you ever wonder why closets, basements, and attics are more haunted than other parts of the house, this could be based on the yin (dark/female) and yan (light/male) rules. Why else do you suppose ghost hunting takes place in the nighttime more often than not? Whether we realize it or not, the darkness is an ideal cloak for secrecy and hiding. Bringing things “out into the light” makes them impossible to avoid, both figuratively and literally (good lesson in life).

What can you do to make your home have more yan and less yin? Very simple. Add light. Open blinds and windows, use warm colors indoors and outdoors for decorating, and try not to leave any corners dark or cluttered. If you’ve ever been to a house with tons of chatzki’s, you know how uncomfortable, dark, cluttered, and musty the place feels. It seems to almost breed disease and depression. Too much busy-ness causes the entire home to feel scattered, manic, and creates lots of places to block energy from circulating through. In dark corners of a room, use a mirror to help bring light into the space, keep blinds open, pick up clutter and things that block natural pathways in the house. If you can’t manipulate around, neither can psychic energy which remains trapped.

I personally like to add lots of references to nature, whether it’s pine cones, geods, sea shells, or branches from a tree. The warm colors from nature, the light, and the nature references calm the humans, as well as the spirits. This might also be a reason why house renovations can stir up so much activity in haunted homes. The very active of moving a wall, bringing in light, changing this, makes it impossible to continue inhabiting that space.

Just take a walk through your home and look at the cold, dark, cluttered spaces, look at the pathways, look at perpetually closed off doorways. The rules of Feng Shui help the living as much as the dead. It simply makes for a better mental state, more energy, and more success. There are even different quadrants of the house that represent different parts of your life and difficult colors that empower those parts of your life such as success and family. This is a truly interesting practice with very practical applications.

If you’d like to learn more about Feng Shui in general, there’s a lot of information out there. I’d recommend checking out this site. I found it to be simple and easy to follow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Copper Queen Hotel - Bisbee, Arizona - Scores High 5/6

Hey, I couldn't possibly be reporting about haunted sites around the country without hitting this popular one in my own state. The Copper Queen Hotel was opened in 1902. To build it, they had to blast out part of the mountain (good sign for haunting possibilities). If you watch "Ghost Hunters" you might have seen the episode when they stayed at the Copper Queen. There were some anomalous findings, but the really exciting part was when Grant's room camera captured a much talked about phenomenon. In the Julia Lowell Room, reportedly a beautiful woman who killed herself is known to bother the male occupants, whisper in their ear, mess with their feet. Well, the film captured Grant's legs spread as he was sleeping on his back when the comforter and sheet were pushed upward, exposing his feet. This was a movement that was beyond explanation and very thrilling to see.

I have stayed at the Copper Queen and admit that I woke up many times during the night to the sound of little boys rushing down the hall and squealing. It sounded rather muffled and oddly distant, though I felt it was in the hall beside my room. This is a common occurrence at the hotel. There are three supposed ghosts; the woman who killed herself, a boy who drowned in a nearby river, and a man with a cigar.

Here's how this place stacks up:
1. The land is limestone and copper (wow! Copper--super conductor of electricity--hmm??)
2. The building is stone.
3. It is older than 50 years.
4. It has death associated with it.
5. It is near a stream.

The only thing missing is a railroad track, although I understand there were once trams going past it in the early 1900s. I give it a high 5/6 because of the land--this copper mining land is just extraordinary. Anyone who's been to Bisbee can feel something rather edgy about it, and it's not just the eccentric occupants. It got me wondering about mining towns being so highly reported as haunted. Perhaps the minerals/gems/precious metals/ores can somehow work as a better conductor of events such as fighting, stealing, whoring, and cave-in's. It's something to consider.

Bullock Hotel - Deadwood, South Dakota - Scores 5/6

I had a fun time trying to find western haunted sites in the upper middle west like Idaho, Wyoming, North and South Dakota. The land is more often than not reported as haunted and not the buildings. I did come across this one that caught my eye.

The Bullock Hotel in Deadwood South Dakota was the creation of the sheriff Bullock in the 1870s. It is reportedly haunted by his ghost (however, he did not die there).

Here's how this one stacks up point-wise:
1. Made of sandstone blocks from local quarry (strong)
2. Land is sandstone, limestone, shale.
3. Older than 50 years.
4. Near a stream.
5. Near a train track.

The only thing missing is death/trauma. This is important because as I learn more and continue to research, I'll be able to determine just how important that feature is to the haunting or whether a ghost can haunt that didn't die there. That's a huge question in the industry and I'd like to finally clarify that. Locations such as this one help my research immensely.

Continue to watch, I hope to pop on two a day until I'm done soon. Then, I can come back and compare their actual "hard" proof of haunting score with their physicality score and we can start to see trends and maybe come to some conclusions. I encourage everyone following to give their two-cents worth (I never thought I'd live in a time period when that term actually is indicative of the economy). After all, this is a ghost hunting theories blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cashtown Inn - Cashtown, PA - Scores 5/6

So, if you've watched "Ghost Hunters" you saw a pretty good episode where the team went to this location. They were able to get the sound of booted footsteps (identical to what I heard my entire childhood) and captured a picture frame on a dresser moving--very exciting!

The Cashtown Inn in Cashtown, PA was originally a stagecoach stop. Later, during the Civil War, it was used as a Confederate headquarters and supposedly a field hospital. I relate to the feel of their place, as I grew up in a Civil War field hospital used by both the North and South. The sound of the footsteps really got the hair raising on my neck during that episode.

There are reasons to think this place really is genuinely haunted. I hope to collect the "hard" evidence of haunting found by other teams, but for now I'll settle for the physicality which is promising. Here's how it scores:

1. Brick construction.
2. Over 50 years old.
3. Death/trauma associated.
4. Stream nearby.
5. Geology: Shale/sandstone.

Keep watching, more locations coming. I did try purposely to pick a lot of good GH ("Ghost Hunters")locations to make comparisons with what they found and the physicality. Thanks for following the progress.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seattle – Forward-Thinking City of Ley Lines

Did you know that Seattle is the first city to have its ley lines mapped?

What are ley lines? Ley lines more popularly refer to spiritual energy pathways in the earth—pathways of electromagnetic fields. Some people believe that UFOs even travel along ley lines. Some believe that Stonehenge, the pyramids, and Nazca lines in Peru were designed with these in mind. Where ley lines intersect, there are “vortexes” of energy. It is said that in these locations, one can experience psychic enhancement and spiritual and physical healing, such as in Sedona, Arizona.

The Seattle Ley Line mapping project was created by the Geo Group. This group was hired as an art project for the city to map the ley lines and produce pieces of environmental artwork to enhance the ley lines. Here you’ll see the proposals for the artwork.

It’s an exciting and interesting innovation. I really love the idea of tying people from the city to the earth and keeping them alive with reminders that we’re all earthlings not “concrete-ians.” There are plans for stone circles, earth mounds, standing stones, even beacon buoys for lines that are in the water. I believe encouraging citizens to stop at such structures and renew their batteries is a positive thing, whether they believe in the powers of the Earth or not. Imagine how you’d feel if you could study Stonehenge on your way to work every day? Sort of puts things into perspective.

No matter how one feels about the concept of ley lines, it is an unavoidable truth that our ancestors believed in the use of stones in ideal locations for what they believed to be more powerful uses. What did they know that we have lost touch with? Those subtle fluctuations in the human body that occur when electromagnetic fields change. If you’re a fan of “Ghost Hunters” you’ve probably heard the TAPS team talk about the changes EMF can have on the human body, creating sensations of being watched, headaches, nausea and such. Just how attuned our bodies to the Earth’s energy fields and ley lines? What does placing a heavy solid stone in such a location do?

These questions riddle me as I continue to find the correlations between hauntings and geology and materials. The only thing to ask next is, which locations are atop of ley line intersections? I keep hoping someone will finish mapping the US ley lines and then, perhaps, the last piece will fall into place.

Sedona - It Reboots Your Soul

Note: Sedona requires parking passes nowadays. It’s not like the good old days when you could just stop alongside the road and photograph the monolithic rock structures. You can acquire them at the visitor’s center in uptown Sedona (where all the main shops are on 89A). They go for $5 for one day or $15 for 7 days, and $20 for a year.

Three-hundred-and-twenty-million years ago, Sedona was underwater. The first layer of Sedona’s rock was formed by seashells and sea creatures. Later, rivers left red sediment from sandstone. The sandstone contained iron which when mixed with water causes the beautiful “rust stains” associated with the rock of Sedona. The beautiful features we have come to know as “Coffee Pot Rock” and “Bell Rock” and others are capped with erosion-resistant limestone. The fissures and creeks were created during the forming of the Grand Canyon. It was as if there was a symphony in tectonics to create this beautiful paradise that Arizonans are very proud to possess.

It’s impossible to think of the Red Rock City without mentioning the vortexes. What is a vortex? A swirling of air (like tornadoes and dust devils) or water (like whirlpools), or in Sedona’s case, swirling spiritual energy. This is supposedly where Earth’s energy ley lines intersect. These certain locations in Sedona are associated with spiritual meditation, healing, and prayer.

Apparently, the energy from the vortex interacts with the person’s own energy, so the experience is very different for each individual depending upon what their substance is inside. It is also associated with enhancing psychic abilities. As someone who has gone there numerous times and explored the vortexes, I have to admit there seems to be something to it.

I watched a documentary one time where they took a professional with instruments to measure the ground’s magnetic energy and found great changes in those areas he couldn’t explain. However, with a high concentration or iron in the soil, I’m thinking that might be contributing. It could also perhaps on a smaller level affect a human body’s own magnetism. That’s only speculation, but anyone who’s been there will tell you that the minute you roll into Sedona you feel very odd--not your usual self.

Usually, when I arrive, I get a headache the first 24 hours and then I feel super energized and almost amnesic of who I was before. That sounds kind of strange, but it’s like all the bullshit that follows you and nags at your internal dialogue all day, is silenced. You can finally hear the REAL you inside and not the fears, anxieties, and hurt. When I make prayers on leaves and toss them into the Oak Creek, they come true. When I go to the vortexes, I feel as if there’s this strange spiritual music in my head. Every little thing I ever worry about and all responsibilities seem to lose importance. I stand there and feel strangely like a blank slate waiting to be filled. It’s as close to meeting the genuine you at your core than you will ever experience. I think the only thing closer than this might be an out of body experience. We had a friend who committed suicide and we put him to rest in a vortex, scattering his ashes. I wonder sometimes if we put him to rest or kept him alive…

These vortexes have specific locations and energies: Cathedral Rock is the feminine energy, Bell Rock is the masculine energy, Boynton Canyon is a mix of masculine/feminine, and airport mesa is masculine energy.

Personally, I like going there at least once a year and just kind of “reboot” my energy at the airport mesa—for some reason that location just does it for me. I must say, it has wonderful views too. Most times when I hike in there, I find a medicine wheel someone has placed on the ground. This is a formation of rocks in a circle with spokes coming from the center. Basically, this is a practice to supposedly draw energy into the wheel where you can stand or sit and gather it while being protected. When you go inside of one, admittedly, you get a strange opening of your mind so that you can see the bigger picture. It’s quite rapturous and whenever I find one, I just have to step inside. It’s a weird feeling of being completely one with the planet and everything on it and part of something greater. I hold onto that place inside of me long after I leave Sedona.

Sometimes when you approach a vortex, you’ll see a stone where people have laid things out. The first time I saw this, I had no idea what was going on. There were buttons, coins, rocks, gemstones, feathers… They’re offerings. It’s very common to leave something as a gift for the experience of being there and most folks choose something of spiritual value rather than monetary worth. One time, I had nothing with me, so I tied some of my hairs to a red rock and left it there. I thought in a symbolic way, it bound me to Sedona.

You really have to take your skepticism and acerbic humor and leave them at the door when you go to Sedona. This place is also known as a huge UFO capital, there’s even a UFO cafĂ©! You’ll see tons and tons of spiritual items for sale in the numerous shops, lots of flute-playing New Age music, the scent of incense, labyrinths cut into the ground for spiritual focus. You can get aura photos taken, get guided tours of the vortexes, go on UFO hunting trips, and jeep rides into the red rock, as well as drum circles. If you want a psychic—there’s more per square mile here than anywhere. There are tons of gorgeous art galleries. It’s truly a shopper’s dreamland. If you want to play in the creek and rent a cabin, you can do that, drive up the Mogollon Rim above the creek and you come to a gorgeous lookout point that is mind blowing and usually attended to by Native Americans selling the most beautiful jewelry imaginable. You can perform yoga with groups atop of red rocks. The list is endless and always changing in this artist’s colony town.

Some of the shortcomings of Sedona? Traffic. Parking is a bitch. Cars ball up in the main street area, so be patient or walk. They roll up the sidewalks there early. My friends and I like to go up each autumn for a girl’s weekend of laughter and bawdy jokes and aura photos and vortex pilgrimages, but we also enjoy a late night supper and drinks, but we get kicked out of most places around 10 pm.

I would love for everyone to have the opportunity to visit Sedona. It becomes this place in your mind you go to when you want to just let go of stuff and be free and genuine. When I haven’t been there for a while, I pick up a red rock I have at home and just meditate on it. I get the feeling back in no time. I’m not a New Age type person, at least, I’m too logic-minded to get all “woo woo” (what we like to call people knee deep in mysticism and New Age philosophy) but I’m also practical enough to recognize that Sedona harbors something you’ll never come close to finding anywhere else.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moore Home - Villisca Iowa - Scores 3-1/2 out of 6

Since I still have about 20 places to post, I'll try if I can to put two a day on here. You might have heard of this one referred to as the "Villisca Ax Murder House." In 1912, a mother, father, and six children (some were visiting friends, some were their children), were axed to death inside this house. The murders remain unsolved.

I've heard a lot of publicity on it in recent years, which tells me the owners are trying to make some $ or get some attention (red flags for my skepticism). I was excited to learn more about its history and location, as perhaps I was missing something in the content of its physicality, but it does appear to be rather weak. The main reason is the construction of the home itself which is frame, lack of waterways, and poor geology.

Here's how it scores:

1. Older than 50 years.
2. Site of death and trauma.
3. The ground is a mix of sediment/volcanic--not super strong--give it a half point.
4. It's perhaps a half mile from a train track.

Without waterways, good ground, or a substantially built building, I suspect as I learn more about the actual "proof" of haunting, I will need to nudge this down into the "may never be haunted" realm (1-2), as the conditions just aren't great, although the history is certainly promising. If we're to find out why some places seem to imprint a haunting and some do not, this location may be very helpful in determining the importance of certain features.

John Stone Inn - Ashland Massachusetts - Scores 6/6

It was not perhaps one of the most memorable episodes of "Ghost Hunters" but I might strike your memory if I remind you that the men used their Roto-Rooter device to check out an underground railroad tunnel and Brian found a bloody children's gown in the attic. They weren't able to call it haunted from their few hours spent there, but they did get an interesting shadow figure and a voice on EVP, as well as a significant temperature drop.

This site is ideal for a haunting by the formula:

1. Built in 1832.
2. Deaths associated with it including a child. Underground railroad.
3. Stone foundation.
4. Land is slate/sandstone/quartzite.
5. Near a train track.
6. Near a waterway.

This is another ideal location and the more I find places noted for hauntings, the more I find the really notable ones have all these features. I still need to finish a few more sites and then I can go on to study how much proof of haunting they have to decide if they're weak haunters with weak locations or strong haunters with strong locations or if these things correlate.

Continue to follow the other interesting sites to come.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Myrtles Plantation - St. Francisville, LA - Scores 6/6

I figured on my list of 50 places I'm researching, I should probably do the Myrtles soon because on Friday night, Zak "Baggypants" and his bro's (or is that dude's? They use both words so often...) from "Ghost Adventures" will be locked down in the Myrtles Plantation for a night of girlie screaming and taunting invisible entities. I've heard a great deal about the Myrtles being one of the top 10 most haunted sites in America and I was always was a bit hesitant to believe it. The Deep South loves its haunts and stories, but upon researching it, there's actually some great reasons for it to be haunted.

1. The land is sedimentary rock.
2. The house is older than 50 years (1794).
3. Lots of death--a slave woman cooked oleander into a cake and the wife and two children of her master passed on. A man was shot on the porch and died there. Countless numbers died of typhoid and other diseases through the generations.
4. It's near a train track.
5. It's near a stream.

So, how do I come up with 6/6? I couldn't give it a point for construction because the house is frame/clapboard. But... the house was built on top of Tunica Indian burial grounds. The man building there simply discarded the bones while clearing for the mansion. This is significant enough to bump it up a point.

If you recalled "Ghost Hunters" episode at The Myrtles, you probably recall the interesting footage where Grant was sitting in a chair in one of the cottages and Jason was lying in bed and the lamp on the table slowly slid across the table top. That was perhaps the most "hard" evidence they got there, but it was interesting. I have to admit finding "Ghost Adventures" a guilty pleasure just to see these three stooges pretending to ghost hunt in great locales. If you just ignore them, you might enjoy the show just for the beautiful setting and moodiness. This will be shown Friday night on Travel Channel.

Can a Cemetery Be Haunted? Bachelor's Grove - Scores 3/6

On my list of 50 places to give haunted formula scores to, I came across Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. It's one of those sites you often hear people rattle off when describing haunted cemeteries around the US.

Admittedly, I have an enormous amount of exposure to cemeteries and to visiting them after dark. I have always remained highly skeptical about hauntings in such places, but as land can be equally as haunted as buildings, I try to put aside the mind-logistics involved in whether folks haunt their bodies and try to focus on what I've found. There are some cemeteries that most definitely have activity that is highly unusual, very characteristic of full-body apparitions, shadowpeople, and EVPs. Yes, cemeteries can be haunted. Just which ones are? I'll admit, I haven't found much activity at older ones, but more at newer ones that are often visited. The assumption on my part has always been that grieving visitors call forth energy.

Bachelor's Grove has a few things going for it:

1. It's older than 50 years.
2. It's atop of limestone.
3. Near a stream.

Why didn't I count it for death/trauma? Probably because those buried there certainly didn't die there. Even though it has numerous stone headstones, I can't necessarily give it a score for being a stone structure. Should it have huge stone crypts like the famous St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans, then it might have enough mass of stone to be considered conducive to a haunting, but for scattered headstones, I just can't give it a point for that.

It will be interesting on my second sweep of research to see just how this scores on actual "hard proof" of haunting that people have gathered. I suspect it will be a 2/6 or somewhere around there. I'm sure it probably has plenty of mood and atmosphere at night (most cemeteries do), but other than the limestone ground, it's pretty common in most respects.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review - "Hunt For the Skinwalker"

I would like to thank Gummerfan and Naveed for pointing out the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah and the fascination book “Hunt for the Skywalker,” by Colm A. Kelleher, PhD and George Knapp.

Sometimes, I swear my search for answers takes me on crazy serendipitous paths. When I want to know information, it comes to me in strange ways and I find correlations that send me off in different tangents. Have you ever gone online to Google a subject and then that has a link that makes you look into something else, and before you know it you started out searching for popular fishing spots in the Great Lakes and ended up researching how to make butterscotch pudding?

That’s my life pretty much every day…

This book was mentioned by Naveed and I was curious, I admit. Now that I’ve been researching places with phenomenon and finding strange correlations like the kind of geology and the 33rd parallel latitude, well, the book seemed like a perfectly timely read.

And it was!

I was admittedly put off that George Knapp was co-writer only because I associate him as a reporter who follows Area 51. I worried this would be so sensationalized that there would be very little substance and lots of speculation. Yeah, there’s gobs of speculation, but it’s the good kind. This book is like a massage for your brain--it wakes you up into a new relaxed reality. It’s the kind of book that gets us thinking in new directions, opening our minds like you’re peeling back the tin lid on a can of sardines and they realize that they really don’t need to be crowded anymore—the world has lots of space. That’s kind of how I felt after reading this book, like there are no boundaries to space and time.

The book is based on a “factual” case of a family that moved to a remote ranch in NE Utah and began to experience strange phenomenon, from things going missing and ending up in weird places, to strange orbs of lights, space ships, aliens beings, cattle mutilations, and the scariest of all, strange creatures that defied things on earth and that local Indians refer to as “skinwalkers,” or witches who can make themselves into any kind of beast.

I started reading the book when I had a few free minutes and it ended up hours later and I literally could not put it down. It reads like an amazing account of the paranormal set in a place of vulnerability to the elements and isolation geographically. I read it as a fictional work with some hints of the truth. It’s impossible to sort out the true from the confused and enhanced, but the essence of it is—if even a few of these things truly occurred, there is something about this site that was ideal for weirdness.

Admittedly, when the NIDS (National Institute of Discovery Science) came onto the scene to study the ranch for several years when the owners moved out from fear, the incidents became less frequent and over time trickled down to very few. The greater question becomes; was it the time for it to die off naturally? Did the owners themselves somehow enhance by their presence and emotions this phenomenon? Was a portal to the area closed somehow? Or, knowing that they were now being the observed instead of the observers, they moved on to new game?

What I loved about the layout of this book is the way the writers brought in accounts and then interviews and then background information in a very logical manner. At the end of the book, they did something I think is brilliant and how I would have tackled this kind of subject because of my logical mind; they presented all the options for what occurred there and the pro’s and con’s of each possible explanation. I felt my already open mind creaking open a bit wider by the end of the book.

I admit that, after reading this book, many of things I’ve learning about phenomenon are clicking into place. This wasn’t just about this spot in Utah, other places around the world have described this kind of phenomenon. In fact, one of my favorites are the elves in Iceland. The people there believe in them so strongly as mischief makers that they’re officially protected and freeways can’t be built through their lands. I’ve wondered about that a long time because Iceland is very volcanic and it seems that volcanic lands creates places where you see a lot of this kind of creature/lights/poltergeist activity.

I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear of this kind of natural phenomenon. I haven’t made a decision one way or the other what I think is occurring but I do think the conditions in the earth are a factor and I’m not sure if that makes it attractive for a “portal” to appear from another dimension or if it creates some kind of release of gases perhaps or magnetic phenomenon that affects people’s minds, or what.

After reading this book, I’m curious to find out more about these places on the earth and their commonalities so that perhaps we could even predict where they are likely to occur in the future or might now be occurring but no one is residing in these remote areas to witness it.

I highly suggest reading this book. I liked it so much, I bought a copy for my father-in-law for father’s day because I know he loves western stories and this is just as good as any Louis L’Amour for suspense in a western setting.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, CO - Scores High 4/6

If you're not already a fan of "Ghost Hunters," you might have heard about The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, as it was the hotel that apparently inspired Stephen King's novel "The Shining." TAPS made it popular by having some very successful hunts there and an all-night live Halloween episode. What impressed me the most about it was the sounds of voices in the basement and the glass breaking and closet door opening and rattling in the room that Jason stayed in. That was probably one of the most impressive episodes ever.

This grand hotel, built by the man of famous "Stanley Steamer" fame, is on a fantastic piece of land--lots of granite!

Here's how this one broke down. Although it got a 4/6, when I finish my research, I might need to adjust this for certain conditions that make it more like a 5/6. This case might be on that proves that you don't necessarily need death on a site for a haunting, but could use the right conditions to make it a receptive site for haunting phenomenon.

1. Built in 1909.
2. Stone.
3. Land is quartz and granite, shale and schist. (quartz and granite seem to be associated with poltergeist and strange natural phenomenon and shale and schist with hauntings).
4. Underground streams.

There are no train tracks around the area and there are no deaths associated with it, although there is some question of a homeless woman dying in one of the buildings. The lore of the hotel is that people once associated with it now haunt it. I've always had some question about spirits haunting places they loved in life rather than ones associated with the moment of passing, but with these kind of conditions and no real death/trauma associated with the site but it obviously having issues, I'd almost believe it's possible, but so far I haven't seen much that isn't along the lines of poltergeist activity or strange natural phenomenon rather than a true haunting. When I begin the second phase of my research into the actual hard proof of hauntings collected by others, then I can probably make an observation about just what kind of haunting is occurring here.

Perhaps it's true, if you build it, they will come.

UFO Mystery For You To Solve

During my studies, I had to look into some towns on the map. My eyes widened while (fate?) I was simultaneously watching a program that discussed Phoenix Lights and Roswell being the two most important UFO sightings ever and the map in front of me showed them strangely at the same latitude. I looked it up and Roswell and Phoenix are both on the 33rd parallel.

The 33rd parallel has been associated with Freemasonry as a symbolic latitude. Although there is a great deal of secrecy about its importance, it’s been often associated with places of great conflict and death, such as the death row at Florence Prison and other sites along the 33rd parallel such as numerous other US death rows, and countries like Lebanon, Pakistan, and Iraq. I’ve never put any weight in the 33rd parallel in particular, but now I think I’d like to know more.

If you're feeling ambitious and curious, these cities in the US also are at the 33rd parallel. You might want to see if they have any unusual amounts of UFO sightings:
Temecula, CA, Lubbock, TX, Witchita Falls, TX, Denton, TX, Greenville, MS, Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA, Augusta, GA, and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Let me know if any of you find anything, I'll be busy working on my other research.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ogden Union Station - Ogden, Utah - Scores a weak 3/6

Wow, I can't tell you how hard it is to find haunted spots in the volcanic west. There's certain states like Idaho and the area around it that just simply has almost no hauntings and when they do have them, 80% of the time they're haunted canyons, mountains, streams, cemeteries, and other outdoor features, almost never buildings. This is intriguing to me. I'm finding volcanic areas to be rather incompatible with haunted buildings but more compatible with strange outdoor phenomenon like lights.

I finally found one place that had reports of hauntings in Utah and that sounded promising, the Ogden Union Station. When researching it, though, here's its scoring:

1. It's older than 50 years.
2. It's right on tons of train tracks.
3. It's made of stone.

It's missing these features; waterways, death, and good land. Potentially, it might be a future haunting places, but what I'm seeing so far, the land is just not good for it. I think having volcanic land might just knock it down a point eventually when I get the research done and can figure out how much weight each characteristic carries.

Keep watching. Next will be some familiar haunts.

Geology of Hauntings

(Notice the red dots on the top map that show the places I'm researching)

Here’s an overview of geololgy from Wikipedia:

“Three rock types; igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.

Igneous is formed by lava. Ninety-five percent of the earth’s crust, but in most places is covered over by metamorphic and sedimentary rock.

Metamorphic rock is gneiss, slate, marble, schist, and quartzite, created under high temperatures and pressure and make up a large part of the earth’s crust. These are made up of preexisting rocks that transform under extreme pressure and heat.

Sedimentary rock is formed by deposition and consolidation of mineral and organic material and from precipitation of minerals from solution. The processes that form sedimentary rock occur at the surface of the Earth and within bodies of water. They contain fossils. Rock formed from sediments covers 75-80% of the Earth's land area, and includes common types such as limestone, chalk, dolostone, sandstone, clay, conglomerate, some types of breccia, and shale. Compositionally simple sedimentary rocks, such as quartz, sandstone, and limestone (calcite) do not change composition with metamorphism - their chemistry is too simple.”

From the three maps above, you can tell what parts of the US have each kind of rock. It’s intriguing to me, because I’m having a hard time finding much in the way of hauntings in the igneous (lava) areas that are red on the map. Occasionally, in mining areas, I’ve found some good clusters of hauntings, but overall these are not highly haunted areas. The sedimentary (orange) areas have the majority of hauntings and the metamorphic areas seem to have some super-powered areas and are often associated with poltergeist activity, as well (I wonder if this is because limestone, sandstone, and quartz can't be altered as stated above)?

It’s still too early in the research to make assumptions about geology’s role in hauntings, but it is very interesting. I want to do more comparisons with fault lines too.

I went to sleep last night wondering about something and looking for correlations. Hubby had a hard day and I gave him a foot massage which always relaxes him. I was wondering about feet. Why do they carry the weight of our bodies and yet are still highly ticklish and sensitive? Why, when you rub someone’s feet, does his entire body feel completely relaxed as if you’d massaged him all over? Why, when you’re hot or cold you should uncover your feet or cover your feet to change your body’s temperature? You know the term "he was very grounded?" Was that a light reference to the feet's connection to the Earth?

It had me wondering about something we’d talked about in my post about haunted kitchens. Is it possible that the feet are the source for gathering environmental information and imparting it to the mind? Does the act of walking on ground tell us about the energy of that ground? Fuel us? Give us vibes from the Earth? Of course, once I get an idea into my head, I have to try it out, so next time I’m at a haunted site, I’m going to do it barefoot (carefully, of course, not in a nail-ridden rickety floor). I use my hands to read objects, but now I’m wondering, just how sensitive are the feet? Does their connection to earth mean something? Does the house’s connection to the ground, both of them being stone foundations mean something?

As always, I’d love to hear your theories on such things. It helps me to come up with new ways to test theories.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chateau Marmont - Hollywood - Scores 3/6

Chateau Marmont, as pointed out to me by Devin, was the site of John Belushi's death. Built in 1927, this huge hillside resort has little bungalows (one of which John met his untimely drug overdose death). It also saw the death of a famous fashion photographer in 2004 when Helmut Newton crashed his car in the driveway. Lots of countless stars have gone to find solace in this tucked away place following divorces, separations, and bombed movies. It seems as if it should have a fantastic set of circumstances for a haunting. I admit that when it comes to Hollywood hauntings, in general, I'm a little suspicious. None of us like to see our stars die, so often times we keep them alive this way. I seriously doubt John would want to haunt the hotel, more than likely it'd be the set for Saturday Night Live in New York.

This site has a few things going for it and here's how it's broken down in score:
1. Older than 50 years.
2. Death associated with it.
3. Land is sedimentary rock.

There is no water or train track nearby.

Building construction--questionable as to the exact construction of this building, but as it was built originally to be earthquake proof, we can make an assumption that the hotel itself is well fortified. The bungalows, however, were built by an architect whose style did not promote stone use for construction, but more modern styling with some having a very Cape Cod cottage feel. I can't give his bungalow a point for construction because of its questionable composition and doubtful stone content.

I have to admit that on cursory examination of reports of hauntings there, there's not much in the way of any solid evidence which made me think that this would have a low score. It's not a totally dud score, as a 3-4 can show evidence of haunting in the future should more occurrences happen there to give the place more of a body of tragic history.

Note: Much of the formula will be altered as I finish my research and comparisons. I hope to find out just how much weight a building's construction holds, how much train tracks or waterways contribute, et cetera.

Keep watching for more.

Haunted Kitchen???

During my studies for the haunted formula, I’ve come across a funny question, but I had to take it quite seriously because part of its answer helps me define my own haunted formula:

If I renovate my kitchen and use granite, can I expect the kitchen to be haunted?

So far in my studies, which are probably 1/3 of the way done, I’ve come to a few conclusions about geology and its effects on hauntings. Most of the more traditional hauntings seem to be linked to limestone and shale (the super-haunted) and sandstone, schist, and other sedimentary rock for others. Most of the poltergeist-like activity is associated with granite and quartz. Lastly, volcanic rock seems to such young rock that it’s not associated with much in the way of hauntings, but it’s debatable about it having a tie-in with strange physical phenomenon in the land such as Marfa Lights and Skinwalker Ranch.

How do I answer the question of the kitchen? A few ways: I am a big proponent of feng shui principles, so I say the use of any material can affect the way the house feels overall to the people living in it. Can it become haunted by using granite countertops? Highly doubtful. In my way of viewing it, if your house sits atop a shelf of granite it's getting its powering through a base to the earth that is large and dense. A granite countertop sitting atop cabinetry isn’t going to be a huge dense mass. It would be intriguing to find out if people in historic old homes with a history of death in them, redo their countertops and find their kitchen gets more haunting than usual. However, I remain doubtful that it wouldn’t be because of general renovations which often kick up activity.

Things are starting to show some real patterns in my research. If anyone out there wants to give a lending hand, let me know. I’m looking for someone who’d like to map out early Native American settlements around the US, copy a map of the US fault lines, and help review evidence from haunted sites to help give them a haunted rating. It’d be great to have someone or some people to pass around the research and see what they can tie together--more heads thinking about it.

Oh yeah, and on the train tracks research, I really have been skeptical about it, feeling as though it’s an incidental finding, but I can’t shake the sensation that there’s actually something to it. Even though tracks are likely to go to towns that depended long ago on them for travel, many of these haunted locales are near rural tracks, often times the only track cutting through an entire county!

Thanks so much for following!

Central State Hospital - Indianapolis, Indiana - Scores 6/6

This "hospital for the insane" built in 1827 is a perfect site for a haunting. Many patients died while there. Even though many buildings were razed and rebuilt, the main pathology building became Indiana's Medical Museum and the power house also remains. This site scores a 6/6 and here's how it breaks down:

1. Not far from railroad track.
2. Not far from a stream.
3. Stone construction.
4. Older than 50 years.
5. History of mental anguish/trauma/death.
6. Land is limestone, dolomite, and shale.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Marfa Lights - Another Phenomenon

Thanks Devin for this post's topic. Many of you have probably already heard of the Marfa Lights. I’m guessing this because you’re reading a blog about ghost hunting theories and so you’re probably a lot like me and enjoy programs about phenomenon.

Near the town of Marfa, Texas there’s a phenomenon that was first officially reported in the 1950s, but were seen long before then. That being said, if those accounts are accurate, it wasn’t car headlights, and it must be some kind of natural phenomenon.

What’s reported is 1-10 foot diameter lights that are reddish orange in color. They vary in size and can go up to high speeds. Their luminosity apparently changes, as well. Also associated is often times a high pitched tuning fork sound.

It’s regularly witnessed by thousands of people and scientists have even researched it and had theories but none have stuck. I punched in some of my haunted formula, out of curiosity. Since this reminds me of the Devil’s Promenade and Skinwalker Ranch issues, I wondered if it had a commonality.

It is an arid area where water is precious and does supposedly have ties to Native American culture. This source says “The Indians saw the lights long before any white man did. Their legends tell of the Great Spirit, who made the mountains in the area by throwing all the jumbled rocks left over from the creation of the stars, the birds and fishes, and the earth itself, into a huge pile in the middle of the leftover wasteland. The Devil then promptly claimed the rock pile and wasteland and turned it into hell, adding things that bite, sting, or prick. When anyone died in that hell, the lights became the spirits of the dead ones, who were thwarted in real life and forced to wander the desolate world in search of kith and kin. The locals who like this explanation also say that ‘it is a hell of a place that the Devil has for hell.’”

Interestingly, reports say that Marfa sprang into existence as a water stop on the old Southern Pacific Railroad line between San Antonio and El Paso. We’re seeing a commonality, huh? The area does have train tracks and waterways. There are north-south running mountains on totally volcanic ground which I haven’t found as a factor in hauntings, but does seem to be connected to strange natural phenomenon such as this.

Some commonalities between these three places I've studied are volcanic areas, Native American legend, and arid climates.

If anyone comes across another one of these strange places, let me know. I’d be curious to start adding them to my map and see what commonalities we can find.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Devil's Promenade -- Strange Phenomenon

Quite by accident I was researching one of the 50 locations and came across a place called “Devil’s Promenade” and as I just wrote a post about “Skinwalker Ranch,” this really caught my eye with some very strange similarities:

In Northeast Oklahoma, there’s a dirt road. For over a century people have reported seeing an orange orb traveling a roadway called by locals “Devil’s Promenade.” This light was apparently first seen by Native Americans (much like phenomenon found at Skinwalker Ranch). This light is anywhere from the size of a baseball to a basketball. It hovers and speeds along and skims the trees or stays just above the roadway. Even the Army Corp of Engineers has studied this phenomenon, as well as countless others. There have been the usual talked about culprits like swamp gas and natural gas escaping, but no one has come up with an actual explanation. As it is also atop a fault line, some folks have come to the conclusion that it might be rocks rubbing against each other and making an electrical charge.

In any event, this is a really interesting phenomenon and it makes me start to wonder if, along with my desire to check out geology, I could be checking out where Native American settlements were and where fault lines run. It will take a lot of layering maps, but I think in the end I might come across some sort of commonality between these interesting things from ghosts to strange lights.

If anyone else knows of other places with such strange phenomenon, let me know.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, WV - Scores 6/6 +++ Super Haunted

Wow! It's serendipitious. I was looking for a new place to put on the list of 50 I'm researching because one site didn't have a building on it. So, I opened up a blog update for Zak Bagans on my MySpace and voila! "Ghost Adventures" is going to Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV for a 7-hour Halloween special on October 30th. It made me recall the place, as we drove past it a few times when I was a kid and I remember getting a bit hysterical when I saw it as if I recognized it somehow and what it was used for. It's been in the back of my mind for a long time and seeing that name again made me go--hey! Use it on the list! I just remember getting a sense from it that it was like a super battery for the paranormal. After objectively grading it, I realize it is!

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was built in the mid 1800s. The Civil War interrupted the process, but later they finished it and opened it for mentally ill patients. Conditions over time became quite horrible and it closed down, but in its heydey there where awful lobotomies done and electroshock therapy, thousands died and were buried on the grounds! To top it off, the building is one of the largest free-standing hard-cut stone masonry buildings in the US! Like a superconductor when you consider the other features on its grading:

1. The land is fantastic--limestone, shale, coal, and sandstone (Pennsylvanian period which I find seems to be highly haunted ground).
2. There is a river very nearby.
3. There is a train track very nearby.
4. The building is made of hard-cut stone.
5. It is older than 50 years.
6. It has seen thousands of deaths.

To give it even more super power--it has a cemetery of its own dead on the grounds--can you get more disturbed than that???

This is high on my list of places I'd like to experience. TAPS on the "Ghost Hunter" show did an episode there (if you recall, they wore asbestos masks). They saw lights, heard footsteps, a woman laughing, a child laughing between Jason and Grant, and Grant saw a man in a white hospital outfit duck down, pull his hands over his head, and get sucked out of the room! That was a pretty exciting episode.

Once I find the hard evidence of haunting on this place during my second wave of research, I have a feeling this might be one of the most super haunted places in the US.

Keep watching.

Lizzie Borden House - Fall River, Massachusetts - Scores 6/6

Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll try to put 2 places on each day so I can get through these 50 study areas more quickly.

If you don’t already know the little childhood ditty “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41,” you can guess where this study place is going.

The Borden family was a well-to-do family in the 1890s when daughter Lizzie was arrested for the axe murders of her step-mother and her father in their home. She got off for the murder (no CSI back then!) and lived a comfortable quiet life with her father’s wealth.

It sounds like an ideal setting for a haunting, but the waters get murky, just like they do in the Amityville House. The question is, how much is genuine and how much is simply scared away by the foot traffic and tours? I’ll find out more about the actual proof of haunting later, but I know enough about this case to know I haven’t seen anyone with anything really compelling on a general sweep. When I go to score the places for their actual “proof” of haunting, I refuse to accept orb pictures or class C EVPs which are garbled and don’t represent language. So, on researching this site, I actually had very little hope because of the hype and romance. When too much romance gets attached to a haunting, I realize it might be all atmosphere and little substance to continue the "mythos" of the locals.

The fact is, it scored a 6/6.

Here’s how it breaks down:

1. Less than a mile from a train track.
2. The land is granite—ideal for poltergeists, actually.
3. Near a waterway.
4. House has stone foundation.
5. There were murders there (unsolved).
6. The house is older than 50 years.

What does this mean in the scheme of things? I have yet to see. I’m skeptical about evidence that’s out there. This might be a make-or-break case in my research if I can prove that granite is better for poltergeist activity and not hauntings.

I’ll keep you posted as this unfolds. I’m very likely going to need to go beyond the 50 places I’ve chosen to get eventually get enough evidence to weigh conditions and decide what factors create what situations.

Keep watching!

Hollywood Sign - Scores 3/6

When I did a random pick of 50 haunted places for my study, I did pick up this site and was going to throw it back into the bin of names, until I thought about it. A lot of romantic stories of hauntings at the sign have been reported, so I figured I really should check into it--maybe the conditions are good?

Nope, not really.

With a score of 3 of 6, this rates in the 3-4 range which means that it could potentially become haunted in the future with enough traumatic history involved, but right now it doesn't have enough "oomph."

This sign in the Hollywood Hills portion of Mt. Lee was built in 1923. It's now under security scrutiny because it's a favorite place for pranks and vandalism. In 1933, a woman jumped to her death from the letter "H." Many report seeing a woman in 1930s clothing near the sign and the scent of her perfume.

There's a sharp distinction between romantic tales such as Hollywood hauntings and more genuinely disturbing tales like you might find in the Ozarks or tidewater areas. I'm inclined to believe that this rating is only this high because of its history, as the land is pretty wimpy, even though is scores.

Here's how it breaks down:
1. The land is sedimentary and volcanic (I'll give it a score for that, but admittedly so far volcanic soil is not real good for hauntings), so this is a weak point.
2. Someone died there.
3. It's older than 50 years.

This is a very weak 3/6 score. I'd like to take it lower, honestly. It has no train tracks, no waterways, and it's not made of stone. I suspect when I get to the point where I grade how much real evidence of haunting there is, this place'll be negated by how low that score will be because it appears to be Hollywood tour groups breathlessly hoping to see something and no real photos. We'll see as I continue my research. I thought you'd like to see one of the lower scoring places. We'll see later on just how low it really goes once I adjust for proof of haunting on top of these physical requirements.

Thanks for continuing to read my research.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Skinwalker Ranch, Utah

I’d like to thank Gummerfan for mentioning this spot as a potential site to study for my 50 places. I have to admit that upon cursory research, I can’t find much about the house’s construction and as the land is more haunted than the home, it would seem, it’s not an ideal location for the 50-place study, but I’m thrilled to learn more about this interesting site.

I first saw it on one of those conjecture documentaries. A family living in a beautiful cabin in NE Utah were being plagued by all manner of weird occurrences since they move there in the mid 90s. The reported occurrences ran the gamut and they had security cameras that even picked up much of the light phenomenon in the woods surrounding their place.

This land on the Uinta Basin area of Utah has an interesting geology. It’s made of non-marine sediment which is basically a lot of dried up “evaporate” minerals from arid lakes. The land is very rich with minerals and found to be an excellent place to mine them. Much of it is Native American land and filled with legend. It intrigues me the different legends depending upon the region and its characteristics. Apparently, the locals don’t like the land around there and it’s been long associated with skinwalkers. This in Native American cultures is a person who can take on any animal form he or she wishes, also known as “shape-shifters.”

The sort of phenomenon experienced in this ranch area has been everything from shooting balls of lights dancing through the woods (captured on the family’s cameras), poltergeist activity, voices, alien visitations, UFOs, cattle mutilations, skinwalkers, and even some sort of portal in which things can enter and exit--vanishing immediately.

As a person who enjoys researching the unexplained, my first thought was along the lines of geology and this is quite an interesting area with the mountain range nearby and the evaporate minerals in the soil. I don’t profess to be a geologist, but the land here is rather interesting. It has long been a homeland to many Native Americans so there is also a spiritual aspect to the land. These are people more tied to the seasons, the earth, the sky, and water than the rest of us. They can feel and sense subtle changes.

I like to look for commonalities, so when I realized the ranch was out in the middle of nowhere in Utah, I had to wonder what I wondered when Phoenix Lights occurred…Isn’t Nevada nearby? I looked to see a logical pathway for testing to be going on in the air out of the public’s viewing and looked to see if there was a straight shot between Nellis and Wright-Patterson. Nope. But, it was a thought.

Then, I moved on to other concerns. This is a very odd set of circumstances for one out of the way place to be experiencing. What intrigues me the most is that so many things can be occurring in such an unpopulated area. The seclusion alone makes it seem experimental, but then there’s that darned spiritual energy and interesting geology. Could a place be super active because it’s an intersection of leylines (pathways between ancient monuments where power lines run through the earth)?

I’d certainly like to find out if anyone has tried to do some dowsing around the area to see where this might all be centered. If the activity could be located to a specific area, more research could be done. There are lot of stories told by locals and researchers, but finding a way to tie together everything from UFOs to aliens to cattle mutilations to skinwalkers is an interesting puzzle. Maybe we should write to UFO Hunters and see what they think. I might just do that.

For now, I’m left puzzling over this interesting enigma. It seems so random and yet if you look at Sedona Arizona, you have a rich Native American history, an interesting geology (to say the least), arid land, and reports of UFOs and aliens. Areas like Peru that have the Nazca lines are also very arid and alkaline soils with spiritual people and water being the center of their lives. When you have three places that share this same interesting features, you have to wonder. Oh, and before and after earthquakes in Peru, UFOs were reported--connected to the shifting earth??? Hmm…

If anyone has some theories, I’d love to hear them.

Sorrel-Weed House - Savannah, GA - Scores 6/6

You know I'll have to do the most haunted cities when I'm done with my research and Savannah will be one of the toppers.

Conditions at the Sorrel-Weed House are ideal for a haunting. It was built in the late 1830s and saw host to many get togethers with famous politicians and military leaders. There was even a suicide in the house. Those who love "Ghost Hunters" might vaguely remember the 2005 Halloween special (can't find that on DVD--darnit!) They captured a woman screaming and pleading for help, believed to be the ghost of a slave woman.

Here's how it breaks down:

1. Land is sandstone/limestone/sediment.
2. Block construction.
3. Death.
4. Older than 50 years.
5. Near train tracks.
6. Near river.

I can't wait to add up the hard evidence for haunting compared to its score, but I suspect it's probably going to hold strong.

Cool Art

I thought I'd share some art I got that's in my office so while I'm working I can gaze at it and sigh. I really like these two artists. One does drawings, the other does photography with some effects.

The Green Man is done by a fantastically creative guy I found selling his art at the outdoor giant market on the weekend in Portland, Oregon. His name is Theo Ellsworth I love this stuff--it's a lot of Celtic/Pagan looking images.

The other one, the photographer, is John Akhtar. He's a hard guy to find online, so the link is for an article about him.

I love to find struggling artists and folks who do things a bit like how I look at the world. The mistied looks of the crypty with the black cat reminds me of twilight jaunts to graveyards and the Green Man with its colors and contrasts just gets me all ready to work in the garden.

A Bit of Old With the New

Just to get away from the research for a few moments, I thought I'd share some pictures from things I have around my house. I have what I like to call a very orderly organized Virgo home where I personally (not the other house's occupants) like to keep things very simple, very organized, and own nothing I don't use or enjoy gazing upon. Well, the overall look I'm trying to achieve (after a decade of medieval castle look) is a kind of zen-like, contemporary, Ikea meets contemporary botanical garden look (I just made that up, don't call me a designer by any stretch of the imagination). But, I did keep a few of the elements from the medieval past design because I'm Celtic/Nordic and because I love the Green Man and garden whimsy. So, here's some faces that greet me around the house. Of course, one of those guys is a Roman head with a plant in it (but I like to think he's a garden man) and one is a dude I call "Merlin" because of the beard. I usually end up rusting out objects or corroding them and doing fake moss and lichens...

Waverly Hills Sanitorium - Louisville, KY - Scores 6/6

Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Louisville, Kentucky is the focus for my research on the haunted formula. If you recall, TAPS "Ghost Hunters" show went there and did an episode in which Jason and Grant caught something crossing the hallways on the Flir. The thing was 3-1/2 to 4-feet tall. Construction began on the building in 1908. Due to expanding numbers of tuberculosis patients and no antibiotics invented yet, the building was enlarged by 1926 to accommodate a massive amount of patients. Until 1926 it handled tuberculosis patients who died by the thousands (estimated at 63,000!). It reopened as a medical center and then later a geriatrics center until 1980 when it closed forever. It is most notable for the "death chute," a hallway designed to carry the bodies out past the patient's viewing eyes.

I don't think there's many places with such an amazing location, construction, and death toll and suffering. This scored a 6/6, but I'd put it on the tipping the scales end of it.

1. The ground is sandstone/sediment.
2. The building is stone.
3. It's older than 50 years (early 1900s)
4. It's seen death/trauma (63,000 estimate).
5. It's near a train track.
6. It's near a stream.

Growing up in a Civil War field hospital, I believe that the more anguish, pain, and drawn out the deaths of the people are, the more they seem to leave behind like residue in the environment. It might be that in the right conditions, we pick up on the emotions contained within and hence a haunting begins by our own activation. It's an intriguing thought, but one worth considering. I know as a child there were certain parts of the house I never lingered in ever! They had distinctly bad feelings including the spots on the floor where the bloodstains remained. I wouldn't even sit on that end of the sofa on a bet!

You have to ask yourself sometimes about human nature. We inherently know things. Like, on a whim, I decided to put glow in the dark star stickers on my ceiling in my bedroom so at night it would be like I'm falling asleep under the stars. It was very pretty, but also very unsettling. I was looking at a foreign random sky. It's funny, but the eyes pick out patterns and, even though I only know the Big dipper and North Star, my senses told me my ceiling was all wrong. I believe inherently we know other things, like why the hills of Kentucky, the lowlands of New Orleans and the beautiful City of Savannah, to us are equated with hauntings. It isn't just legends and history. If that were true, then the Alamo would be considered very ghostly, but somehow humans know that there are conditions for a haunting. That's what I hope to learn more about in my continued research.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bell Witch Cave - Adams Tennessee - Scores 6/6 +++

Wow, sometimes when I'm researching, I find conditions that are so ripe, it makes me wonder if traumatic things happen because of the conditions -- like some kind of physics fate, or if when bad things happen there, they're destined to haunt the place. Bell Witch Cave completely surprised me. I remember hearing about it as a kid in Virginia. It was one of my goals to go there and prove it's totally not haunted. I was skeptical. There's folklore legend of witchcraft and then there's genuinely haunted sites like where I grew up at Aspen Grove. In my young mind, they were vastly different. I didn't think Bell Witch Cave deserved to be haunted.

Boy, was I wrong!

Anyone who's heard the legend of the Bell Witch understands the basic mechanics of it. A creepy old lady long ago cursed her neighbor and many think she poisoned him, as well. She vowed to continue to haunt the family and apparently from reports, she did just that. It was believed that not only did she haunt the family's log cabin, but also the cave on the property which many came to believe was her "portal." I'm beginning to believe the portal theory. Now, I'm determined on my next trip East to try and step foot in this cave to feel the conditions for myself. The human body does a wonderful job of picking up on strange energies, pathways, leylines...

Here's how this cave measures up:
1. The land is limestone.
2. The cave is on a bluff at the river's edge.
3. The cave is very old (duh)
4. The cave is associated with death because above it there is a Native American burial mound. In fact, the story goes that a Native American woman's bones were buried in the limestone in the cave and some people dug them up and had bad luck, leaving locals with the belief that if you take anything from the cave, you're cursed.
5. There is a railroad track not far.
6. The cave is made of limestone.

When you add in the conditions of a cave which is of a circular pattern, the limestone which is very strongly related with hauntings, the running river below, and the Native American burial mound, yeah, why wouldn't this be a portal? I would think this is the perfect mix for something that has an energy flow that goes wildly in and out of it nonstop, perhaps even feeding the river, which might explain why locals think the whole town is haunted.

I give this place a score of 6/6 +++ because of the extra factors such as the cave being made of limestone and the Native American burial ground. Sometimes, there are "sacred" places that have a lot of the right elements. I'm sure folks feel that a lot in Great Britain amongst the stone ruins, others feel it in the dark woods of Germany, and other still in the mountainous regions of Turkey, but here in America there are quite a few of our own power points and they aren't just obvious places like Sedona, Arizona, the Grand Canyon, and the Black Hills of the Dakotas. There's more subtle ones that just as powerful. I'm getting closer to knowing what the commonalities are. I can't wait to learn more.

Hope you continue the adventure with me.