Monday, August 31, 2009

Lunacy: Crazy About Moon Trivia

Old folklore says if there’s a ring around the moon, then bad weather is coming. This may be based on fact, as that “moon dog” is actually a sign of water droplets in the air causing a rainbow effect. It is believed that you can count the amount of stars you see within that ring and it tells you how many days until the bad weather comes.

Blue moon refers to the threel-year chance of having two full moons in one month. This year, we have a blue moon on…New Year’s Eve. Obviously the term, “it happens once in a blue moon” refers to the rarity of this phenomenon. It was believed in the olden days that a blue moon had a face in it and would talk to those who stood in its light.

Harvest moon, perhaps the most favorite term and event is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (this year, it’s on October 4th, let’s all mark our calendars and go out and see it the same night). Most full moons occur at sunset, but the harvest moon actually occurs after sunset when the sky is dark, so the moon on the horizon appears quite impressive. It gets its impressive name from the fact that it is so bright, farmers can harvest by its light.

January’s full moon is called “Full Wolf Moon”
February’s full moon is called “Full Snow Moon”
March’s full moon is called “Full Worm Moon”
April’s full moon is called “Full Pink Moon”
May’s full moon is called “Full Flower Moon”
June’s full moon is called “Full Strawberry Moon”
July’s full moon is called “Full Buck Moon”
August’s full moon is called “Full Sturgeon Moon”
September’s full moon is called “Full Corn Moon” (September 4th)
October’s full moon is called “Full Harvest Moon” (October 4th)
November’s full moon is called “Full Beaver Moon” (November 2nd)
December’s full moon is called “Full Cold Moon” (December 2nd)
Don’t forget—Blue Moon December 31st!

Moon cycles:
New moon (not visible), waxing crescent moon (1-49% visible), first quarter moon (right 50% visible), waxing gibbous moon (right 51-99% visible), full moon (fully visible), waning gibbous moon (left 51-99% visible), last quarter moon (left 50% visible), waning crescent moon (left 1-50% visible) , darkened moon (not visible)

Seeing the moon over your right shoulder was lucky, over your left shoulder was unlucky.

The most unlucky day possible is a Friday the 13th with a full moon. (June 13, 2014)

The best time to plant a crop is on a full moon.

If a family member died on a new moon, three more will soon follow.

A waning moon was an unlucky time for marriage or birth.

Being born on a full moon ensures a happy, long, prosperous life.

Rub a dirty washcloth over the warts, saying, "Away, away, away." Bury the dirty washcloth in the ground by the light of the full moon.

Ghost Broth: Geomagnetic Activity

I'm considering the concept that the basic stock for a ghost stew is geomagnetic activity. Toss in some good geology, a tragic history, some extreme emotions, and some human receivers, and you get a hearty mix ideal for ghostly action.

When I kept a log in ghost hunting and found that active and promising nights always coincided with activity in the geomagnetic fields of the Earth, I was excited. I wasn’t sure at the time where this finding might take me, but being a person who loves to put together theories, I had to explore.

I came across this blurb on New Scientist and it interested me a lot:

“The most plausible explanation for the association between geomagnetic activity and depression and suicide is that geomagnetic storms can desynchronise circadian rhythms and melatonin production," says Kelly Posner, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in the US. The pineal gland, which regulates circadian rhythm and melatonin production, is sensitive to magnetic fields. "The circadian regulatory system depends upon repeated environmental cues to [synchronise] internal clocks," says Posner. "Magnetic fields may be one of these environmental cues." Geomagnetic storms could disrupt body clocks, precipitating seasonal affective disorder and therefore increase suicide risk, Kelly Posner, a psychiatrist at Columbia University told New Scientist.”

That being said, is it possible that geomagnetic activity makes for more release of paranormal events? Or does it make humans better able to detect them? Or perhaps makes them more likely to perceive them because of disruption in the pineal gland (that wonderful place in the brain that is responsible for your dream state)?

This made me want to look at the pineal gland. If, as this psychiatrist (above) has reported, the pineal gland is affected by geomagnetic activity, then our dream state should be affected by such changes. As someone who has suffered from sleep paralysis and night terrors upon rare occasion, I wondered if it meant they occurred on nights of geomagnetic activity. The only problem is, they happen so rarely, I have no records of them. Sure enough, I found a study that showed a person who had kept a log and there were definitely strong correlations In fact, upon further investigating, some authorities state that sleep paralysis occurs with geomagnetic activity.

Interestingly, this article reports “recent studies have shown that reports of Sleep Paralysis, and Sleep Paralysis legends are more common in geographical hotspots such as Mexico City and all through-out the Pacific Ring of Fire, even the Hawaiian Islands are crawling with legends of Choking Ghosts. What most of these Sleep Paralysis hot spots have in common is geophysical activity, volcanoes, fault lines and the like. Evidence is becoming more and more convincing that Sleep Paralysis and some other paranormal activity seems to coincide with the geophysical conditions of an area.”

In fact, in a prior post I wrote about sleep paralysis, the findings amongst Mexican children was that 90% of them had experienced sleep paralysis at one time or another. That’s exceedingly high. Admittedly, I never had it until I moved to California (active tectonics). What I’ve found in geology and hauntings makes me wonder too if geomagnetic effects create more activity where the geology is ripe and receptive, releasing bursts of phenoemon.

When we spend a bad night on a ghost hunt are we actually just fighting the lack of geomagnetic activity? Should we consider a ghost hunt on a solar flare day in California instead of a quiet day in Iowa? Do we create better works of art and writing when there’s geomagnetic activity or does it upset the mind so much we fall into a funk? Are some people so very easily affected by it that they can produce hallucinations (dream images) from the pineal gland’s secretions when awake? If a person can have SAD (seasonal affective disorder), why then can’t they have GMAD (geomagnetic activity disorder)?

Sometimes, it feels as if everything in nature is right there, waving its arms, trying to get our attention but we’re lousy at finding connections. What if mental illnesses are exacerbated or even caused by hypersensitive people? What if people who tend to encounter the unknown more often such as seeing ghosts are more affected by geomagnetic activity? Is the term “it’s all in our minds” an accurate one?

If scientists were able to observe geomagnetic activity and activity of the pineal gland closely on test subjects, might they find the thing that binds us all? That being earthlings we simply are tuned to our own earth’s rhythms and affected by its energy within our own bodies? Could this usher a new era of treatment and curatives? Could this prove that man has more than just five senses that help him to make split second decisions? Like birds can visualize earth's geomagnetic forces to help guide them on their journeys, could man feel geomagnetic forces?

Hey, I usually try to stimulate your mind mid week, but I thought I’d just smack you with it on a Monday.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Could You Repeat That? Repetition Versus Novelty in Hauntings

Separating the “residual” (repetitive) from the “intelligent” (responsive) hauntings can be a difficult task for beginners. I like to break it down to the repetitive versus novel events.

Repetitive events include things like footsteps down a hallway regularly, a woman seen at the same window by many witnesses, sounds of voices heard in the back bedroom at the same time of day, and other types of phenomenon which are heard fairly frequently by a wide variety of visitors and residents. These events are often categorized by hunters as “residual.”

There’s a divide in the ghost-hunting world on just what residual is. Some people explain it as a ghost repeating his usual march through his favorite territory over and over again for an eternity. Unless he had some OCD in the prior life, I just don’t see this as feasible. I, however, believe it’s an event that was set down under the right conditions or the right amount of repetition to continue to replay without any spirit involvement whatsoever. It is a "memory" caught in a space and replayed without meaning or guidance or spirit, a sort of sensory blip.

Intelligent hauntings (what I prefer to call “responsive” hauntings) are equated with receiving responses that appear to be interactive, suggesting intelligence. If I ask a question and the KII meter lights up, that could be considered responsive, interactive, even intelligent. EVPs are most often used as evidence of intelligent hauntings, although I don’t put a lot of credence into EVPs because of the fact that recorders are receivers and there’s no exact way to tell if you received an intelligent disembodied voice, a voice that was kept in the environment like the footsteps (above) and randomly plays back, or if you’re picking up a walkie, a cell phone, a satellite phone, or any other transmitter device.

Novel events, are the ones of the most interest. If these events haven’t been reported by occupants before, hunters can be quick to attribute them to intelligent hauntings. I’ve witnessed many novel events in the house where I grew up and I have to say that they happened when things were just weird. The people of the house were unsettled with some kind of ongoing drama, the weather was strange, the air felt weird, and no one was sleeping or communicating well. My explanation would be the ideal conditions of geology, construction, history, as well as geomagnetic activity affecting the occupants of the building, creating a kind of kinetic soup that’s just waiting to fire off, often times creating what is referred to as poltergeist activity or novel events. These periods can come and go depending on the content of the people living within the house and the psychological undercurrents. Emotional energy is a very potent thing and something I believe has a big hand in residual hauntings being imprinted in the first place.

Novelty events can be divided into two categories; responsive and unresponsive. If you ask for a spirit to knock and you hear a reply, ask it again and it does it again, and this sort of answering seems to go on for some length of time, then this is a responsive event. In this case, it's important to ask very specific questions for the knocking response, note how long it takes to respond, and how may questions in a row it will answer. It's very rare when you can get a long-time conversation. The KII session I had a few weeks ago was impressive because the conversation and answering went on with great time-specific replies and lasted for between 8-10 minutes until others entered the room and "scared" it off. If, however, you hear a loud bang, but cannot get it to reproduce, you have an unresponsive novel event. That is the sort of event that can be easily debunked.

Residual hauntings are actually easier to explore because the recurrence of the replayed events usually happens with fair frequency and your chances of hearing or seeing these things are much higher. Some people believe that residual hauntings aren't real hauntings, but I will say that as we use the term in our culture, such as, "that song was so beautiful it haunted me," that yes, this is a haunting. If you're talking about Casper and his other ghostly friends hovering over you then, no, it's not a haunting. I, however, consider a haunting to be any unexplained phenomenon that is witnessed over a good period of time in a location by multiple witnesses. I'll leave the "is it ghost?" or "is it not ghost?" up to others. My quest is to find out if what activates the phenomenon is intelligent, once human, other worldly, or something within our world we simply don't have the senses to note but has always been there. That's the really exciting part of the field today is to throw away Old-World traditional assumptions of what a ghost is and move on to what it isn't and narrow it down further until we have an "Aha!" moment.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What is Reality? And Why Can't Ghosts Apply?

Warning: Mind stimulating activity on the weekend might be against your ethics, therefore, do not read this post if you want to zone out.

Reality: “Something that constitutes a real or actual thing, as distinguished from something that is merely apparent

A chair is reality; a hard device taking up space that might otherwise be occupied by air. That the chair is used as a seat is interpretation. The chair could be used as a doorstop, a table, or any other uses, but John Doe has decided to use it to sit upon. That is his interpretation.

Some of our greatest artists, by the way, realized that interpretation was more important than reality and were able to give us new and unusual ways of looking at our world by not following the typical line of thinking, i.e. “this is a chair, I must sit upon it.”

One of my favorite bloggers, Devin at My Favorite Monsters got me thinking with his latest mind-stimulating post about “Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld.” We live in two worlds; the one in our minds that assigns meaning to everything and the other one; reality, where things are fixed and present and must be worked around like gravity, objects, oxygen, weather...

Take for instance, humans can sit for hours in front of a computer and TV and be entertained. In the reality world, we are sitting in front of a box staring at it for hours. In interpretation, we are stimulating our brains with entertainment, creativity, emotions, and communications; all of these things mind-created and not reality, only the mind’s firings and chemically resultant pleasures are occurring. The reality is: Man sitting still. Man staring at box. Hours on end. The only time the reality of what we just did dawns us is when our asses get fat and we wonder why. Suddenly, the reality world just infringed on our interpretive world as a nasty reminder that we must live with both.

From concepts such as love and hate, religion and politics, good and bad; none of it is actual, it’s all interpretation by the minds of humans. The right marriage of interpretation and reality; however, can create a new reality. When Brad Pitt decides the Ninth Ward needs rebuilding he moves from interpretation “these people have no homes four years after a catastrophe and that’s wrong” to reality—building new homes. Wars are fought on interpretation, creating a new reality of deaths and destruction. People are rescued from a burning building, “If it were my children in there, I’d rush in, so I just rushed into the building. No children should ever die.” Thus, children are pulled from the fire. Interpretation (children being hurt is wrong): Reality (physically pulling children from a building). The right interpretation, a new better reality, i.e. Bono helping AIDS victims in Africa. The wrong interpretation, a new living hell, i.e. Hitler.

As a ghost hunter, I run up against this all the time. Even with the very best of proof and inability to debunk an event, everyone still walks away shaking their heads thinking perhaps we missed some explanation, perhaps we were duped, perhaps we’ll look like fools when later on it’s discovered the owners rigged something in their attic to make sounds. Something as nebulous as ghost phenomenon cannot ever be considered part of reality.

We aren’t going to any time soon capture a ghost, interview it, find out what it consists of, and then have it be part of our new “reality.” It will always be thought of, experienced, and treated in the real of interpretation.

Next time you're online and the world there seems so real, just remember, you're melding your mind with other minds to make a pseudo-reality. The actual reality is when you use those interpretive skills to help promote someone's new online business so they can feed their kids, you send someone a book who's down and feeling sad, you offer support to a follower who's having a bad day. Our interpretive world changes reality all the time.

Perhaps the really enlightening thing from all of this "mind world" we live in 99% of the time is that it makes reality more fluid.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Creepy Towns: Creepy Vibes

(above: Hinton, West Virginia; Ellicott City, Maryland; Holbrook, Arizona; and Oregon City, Oregon)

There’s some places you visit and you want to pass through the town quickly and hopefully not have to stop, or if you’re like me, you stay for a while and observe the locals, pick up the ambiance, and try to figure out why the heck it gives you the heebie jeebies.

Being on road trips and vacations, we all end up eventually in some godawful town that “has no name” but has a Motel 6 at midnight. That’s a whole different story. This story I’m about to tell you is one about towns that unsettle, feel possessed, have dark secrets. You know, the kind of town that in old movies would have had the locals pulling their shutters closed when you come down the cobblestone street. Yeah, that kind of town.

If you stay long enough, you pick up a weird affect amongst the people, sometimes like they’re pod people, other times like they hate outsiders, or perhaps they rarely see out-of-towners in their neck of the woods, in the most unsettling ones you feel as if you're invisible to them or in a parallel universe.

On any trip, the air smells different, the food tastes strange, the streets don’t connect right. It just feels askew. The kind of towns I’m fixated on are the ones that aren’t just foreign to you, like traveling to Italy when you’re from the Midwest. I’m talking about towns that feel geologically, architecturally, and even spiritual whacked.

Now, don’t get me wrong. These are plenty fine places, even friendly places, but just have something a bit…wrong. When you can feel it in your bones and your senses are super alert, there’s something there. I tend to think it’s along the lines of the geology and architecture as in haunted places, but I guess we’ll never know what really sets off our protective instincts.

On my list of 4, I’ll count down backwards to the most creepy town I’ve been in:

4. Ellicott City, Maryland (west of Baltimore). This town (I’d call it a village myself) is strangely nestled between deep grooved hillsides. The descent into it is somewhat like driving Lombard Street in San Francisco. You can feel not only narrow streets like you might find in a place like Jerome, Arizona, but last time I was there, they still had water marks where a great flood put the town under. No wonder. It’s kind of a water trap. The buildings lining the street look much like what you find in an Old West town, all attached to each other, built mostly in the 1800s. In a nowadays world, this might look like a hip artist colony retreat, but it’s so strangely hidden it takes on a more “alternate reality” feeling, like a town you stumble upon in “Twilight Zone.” The people seem quite happy to live in this out-of-the-way spot that really only locals know is there. It even had a little creepy amusement park (now abandoned) called “Enchanted Forest” (can be seen in the movie “Cry-Baby” with Johnny Depp). It’s interesting to me, but when I was growing up and visiting there in the 70s, it wasn’t a time people or towns gloated about ghosts, but since that time, the town council now has ghost tours. Yes, I knew the place was haunted! My spi-dee senses told me at a young age. If you wanted to get lost from the world in the greater DC area, this is your place.

3. Holbrook, Arizona. More than likely, unless you decide to follow Route 66 or are headed for the Meteor Crater, this town will never be in your sites. Pity, that. Anyone who follows Oprah, probably saw her road trip with her buddy, Gayle and their stay over at the Wigman Motel. What you don’t know about Holbrook is the feel of the place. To get there, you’re basically driving across lunar landscape for miles and miles and miles, feeling as if you’re at some high point on the world, able to see the curve of the earth. The town itself is based upon the railroad tracks, showing you its earlier origins long ago. On a family road trip, I begged to stop somewhere else and stay the night. Anywhere, but this town. Checking into the hotel felt like I was checking into my doom. The whole town feels depressed and very very bleak. This is pod people weird. Soulless, strangely lifeless, drones wander about. Not that there aren’t pockets of niceness and cheerfulness, but think about it—this place is neither here nor there. It’s nestled between more and more vast high desert and nothingness, except a giant hole in the ground and Flagstaff. What in the hell would these people have to look forward to day after day in such a lonely setting that was never a destination, but only a drive-through spot? We looked for a place to have supper and I refused every place we drove by. My hackles were rising by the minute and I just knew there was something not right about any of it. We found a strange steakhouse place, a dark spooky cave of a restaurant and found a booth. The people didn’t feel right. The music didn’t sound right. The entire meal was a mind-numbing experience in the surreal. I’ve never done hallucinogenic’s, but I swear it felt like a very weird trip into an alternate universe. I truly didn’t feel like I was part of the Earth any longer, but some other life space running alongside the one we normally participate in. It’s hard to describe other than to say, I didn’t sleep that night and the minute we left the town, I felt myself again. I’ll never forget that feeling, nor do I want to experience it again. At the time, I attributed it to the kind of Native American aura that probably surrounds places of strangeness like Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. Whatever kind of magic was practiced there, it certainly left the place feeling rather beaten down and exhausted (myself included).

2. Hinton, West Virginia. This stop on the train rail is nestled between small remnants of the Appalachian chain with the New River rushing through it, bisecting it into even smaller villages. The downtown area is a tight little street with shops attached and crowded in like creepy shuttered viewers of the elderly men shuffling around out front having a smoke and watching the traffic (all 3 cars) go by. This is the town that time forgot. It’s not on the way to a destination so it therefore is a dead end or a purposeful destination (even more chilling). I’ve been going there (relatives in the area) for over 40 years and the only thing that’s changed, I believe, is the addition of a McDonald’s. The same said McDonald’s that when my family visits there, the entire crowd inside stills and stares at us. The restaurant becomes silent. We get our food and eat on the kiddie porch outside, where diners resume their conversations again. The local gas station attendant asks, “ya’all take a wrong turn?” When I was a child and we had to visit relatives here, I would sob and fight the whole way. I hated going there. It’s the most beautiful place and the people really are quite warm and friendly (even when they find out you’re not fundamentalist), but it has an undercurrent of bad energy in the water and the hills that corrupts what looks like a very gorgeous place, wonderful for rafting, fishing, and recreational boating at the dam. Perhaps it’s the dam, the geology, the north-running river… It just has very bad mojo. In fact, I used the town as the model for “The Lower” in my manuscript “The Thicket.” I used the town above it, Nimitz, for “The Upper” which has an equally strange feel in a rolling farmland. If you ever wanted to get lost from the rest of the world in a place that will never change one iota and the average person is about 60 years old, this is your place.

1. Oregon City, Oregon. Creepiest! We went on a family vacation before I had to have surgery on my Achilles tendon rupture. I wasn’t able to walk much, but we were able to drive the countryside and decided to explore Lake Oswego area and ended up stumbling across a river with a hydroelectric plant smack dab in the middle of the rushing water. It was very picturesque with a tall green hillside and buildings nestled into the hill overlooking it. I thought it was a picture-taking opportunity and nothing more until we followed the river across a bridge and saw the plant up close. I spotted a sturgeon hanging from the post on the bridge (they look like sharks!) and all of a sudden I got a rush through my body of “past life déjà vu.” We turned to drive away and (I am not the hysterical type in any sense of the word) I told my husband, “if you don’t go back to that town, I’ll jump out of the moving car.” (It's scary because I really meant it!) He did a fast u-turn. I’ve never done something like that in my entire life. We edged across the bridge, passing fisherman after fisherman lined up, sturgeon dangling from the posts. The churning water from the hydroelectric plant caused a constant static feeling in the air, a crackling and energy, the hillsides locked it in with the geology of the area, and the buildings were quaint and looked well established in age along a narrow roadway lining the river. The people seemed odd. They didn’t even glance over or see us. It was as if we were invisible. It was another unsettling feeling. When I stood there and breathed the air, felt the energy of the place, I realized this would be the setting of my next erotic horror novel. Something incorporating the town’s isolation, the hillside, the geology, and the hydroelectric plant. I think about that town still and I shake my head. It was unsettling and yet at the same time, so unsettling that I would love to go and rent a place for a few months and finish the novel just to be in with the locals and figure out how the elements of this town make it feel the way it does, both dynamic and energetic and yet zen-like without thought. I had a particularly hard time opening up to the minds of the people there when I tested it. I wonder if the energy of the geology/waterway make it impossible to do psychic reads? Intriguing thought. It was relaxing to be amongst people whose internal chatter didn’t make me uncomfortably “busy” feeling inside. I was truly able to clear my mind and feel the energy from the earth in my body, so I was alert and silent simultaneously. Yeah, this was the creepiest most visceral town I’ve been to and yet the one I’d most like to spend the rest of my life living in. In other words, it’s just strange enough for me, which says a lot.

Please feel free to mention your creepy towns, I'd love to find more with these vibes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Abandoned Places: Amusement Parks

It’s nearly impossible to find information on this amusement park abandoned in Japan (above), but as you can tell, the pictures are truly amazing and genuinely creepy! The whole concept of abandoned amusement parks is one that unsettles people as much as clowns and baby dolls. Structures that once housed beautiful sets and bright happy colors become something like the aging child actress in “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte.” Still dressed in its once spirited attire, these structures are now molded, rusted, and distorted by nature’s unrelenting aging process.

I have to admit, on my list of dream things (besides living in Oregon and being a writer full-time), is to own a cart from an amusement park ride. Some rusty old Tilt-a-Whirl seat, rusted and awful looking, sitting in my garden with vines and plants taking it over. I love the imagery of it so much that I started looking into abandoned amusement parks to see if any smart person is making money off of selling the equipment. I think in my other life I would have been in the reclamation business. To me, everything old is new!

The pictures of these places are so mesmerizing that I’d love to include them all in this post, but instead, I’ll redirect you to some great places for seeing more. A nice site for abandoned theme parks and other places is found here. For a list of defunct amusement parks around the world, you can look here.

Here in America there are surprisingly quite a few. I suppose entrepreneurs in small towns thought they might get business to their districts, but found people are more willing to shell out bucks for the big parks. It appears most are in Pennsylvania, Ohio, the Carolinas, Texas, and California. Of course, I’d be happy to see any of them, but I’d most love to see the Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City, Maryland. This is one of my favorite “creepy” feeling towns I’ve ever been to (future post will be about creepy towns I've visited).

Of course, like most abandoned sites, they’re off limits and people will be arrested if they’re caught. I’ve talked my way out of graveyards at night, but I don’t think the excuses would fly on private property. A few crazy people will get photos of these sites and it’s always fun to sift through them. We have an abandoned site about a half hour’s drive south from Ahwatukee, but it’s completely off limits and patrolled. Too bad, because the little weird rides the person started to erect and left behind, looked promising and creepy. (I-10 heading toward Tucson on the right side of the road between Casa Grande and Marana). For those of us in AZ, here’s a blast from the past Legend City!

Abandoned Places: Hashima Island, Japan

I had no idea so many islands have been abandoned. This one is truly amazing. An entire abandoned island sitting out in the water, lonely and unattended. I heard recently that they’re going to begin to allow visitors there which is probably wrought with issues regarding crumbling edifices and tourists. Part of me thinks it’s a great idea to share it, another part thinks it will lose its charm with people tromping all around it. I will be glad, however, to find more photos of it. This place is exciting. It reminds me of Chernobyl when things were just left behind as they were and every ran.

Hashima Island (“Border” Island, aka “Battleship” Island): Wikipedia describes it best; “Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began the project, the aim of which was retrieving coal from the bottom of the sea. They built Japan's first large concrete building, a block of apartments in 1916 to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers (many of whom were forcibly recruited labourers from other parts of Asia), and to protect against typhoon destruction. According to a South Korean commission, the island housed 500 Koreans who were forced to work between 1939 and 1945, during World War II[1].In 1959, its population density was 835 people per hectare (83,500 people/km2) for the whole island, or 1,391 per hectare (139,100 people/km2) for the residential district, the highest population density ever recorded worldwide. As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima's mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty and bare, which is why it's called the Ghost Island. Travel to Hashima was re-opened on April 22, 2009 after more than 20 years of closure.”

There are abandoned places all over the world, but this one island is so exciting to me because the entire island was abandoned for so many decades that it eroded from the sea air and the plant life and no foot traffic. I think it would be beautiful to go there, take pictures of the crumbling architecture, come home and blow the pictures up in black and white on canvas and hang them on a wall. As a writer of horror, that would inspire me.

My son started a t-shirt design business at the ripe age of 15 and I remember what I was most impressed with was his artist explanation for his designs. He said that he was part of a generation that inherited all that was built during the baby boom, a crumbling infrastructure from the 50s heydays when we built America up to lines of highways and gas stations. When I see these abandoned places, I think of that and how just above every roadway we drive on, every bridge we cross, every building downtown that we enter are all from decades ago. If people didn't continue the maintenance, they would be nothing more than old relics as this island has become, a reminder of a revolution of industry that died. In the past, places like Pittsburgh saw that kind of fall in industry and disarray, nowadays it's Detroit, in the future it may be oil drilling towns in Texas.

Abandoned Places: North Brother Island: Typhoid Mary

NOTE: The film above is a group that snuck into the island (illegal) and filmed it. Please note that I don't in any way think these ass wipes are awesome, but I do appreciate being able to see some moving film of the site, so just ignore the trained monkeys in the suits and sunglasses and enjoy the sights.

I thought I’d do a series of posts about unusual abandoned sites around the world. It’s one of my favorite things. There’s something about sites that have just been up and left that intrigue me to no end. They’re little flashes of life when it was moving forward in that space and then suddenly became a freeze frame of its prior self, declining in a rapid aging process of a place no longer cleaned and protected from the elements. It’s like mortal decay on display.

North Brother Island: This little island found in the East River situated between the Bronx and Riker's Island, is an interesting abandoned site that caught my attention.

Wikipedia describes it: “The island was uninhabited until 1885, when Riverside Hospital moved there from the island now known as Roosevelt Island. Riverside Hospital was founded in the 1850s as the Smallpox Hospital to treat and isolate victims of that disease; its mission eventually expanded to other quarantinable diseases. Typhoid Mary (Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938), also known as Typhoid Mary, was the first person in the United States to be identified as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever) was confined to the island for over two decades until she died there in 1938. The hospital closed shortly thereafter. After World War II, the island housed war veterans who were students at local colleges, along with their families. After the nationwide housing shortage abated, the island was once again abandoned. In the 1950s a center opened to treat adolescent drug users. The facility claimed to be the first to offer treatment, rehabilitation, and education facilities to young drug offenders. Heroin addicts were confined to this island and locked in a room until they were clean. Many of them believed they were being held against their will (as one person wrote on the wall). By the early 1960s widespread staff corruption and patient recidivism forced the facility to close. The island is currently abandoned and off-limits to the public. A dense forest conceals the ruined hospital buildings and supports one of the area's largest nesting colonies of Black-crowned Night Heron."

This one baffled and amazed me so much because of its site. I mean, the entire skyline of the city surrounds it and here it sits untouched. In a place where real estate is at a premium, it's good to see a bit of humanity not dazed by dollar signs and potential.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken"

I came across “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” the other day on Instant Watch on Netflix and stopped and thought to myself, “when was the last time you saw that movie?” This 1947 movie is really unbelievably romantic. I fell in love with the old sea captain ghost immediately, played by Rex Harrison with unbelievable flair. The lead character played by Gene Tierney was everything you want a heroine to be.

Set in a picturesque and barren part of the English coastline, this movie takes place at the turn-of-the-century. A lonely widow and her daughter move into a captain’s cottage left empty after his death. Every prior occupant has rushed from the premises immediately, but this woman (who used to cower from her in-laws) is not about to let a grumpy possessive ghost scare her from her new nest.

It has all the romantic elements of a great love story with a couple brought together, completely mismatched, and find that they bring out the best in each other. Although they can never be together (her being corporeal and he, well…not), they breeze through the short course of human lifespan to spend an eternity together in their little cottage by the sea.

This is now going onto my list of top ghost stories of all times. I know a lot of people loved “Ghost” (I did not), but if you enjoyed the romance in that one, you’ll certainly love it in this movie. It’s timeless and priceless and I adore it. Every woman should have her own sea captain. He’s a perfect hero.

“The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” is probably my favorite childhood ghost movie. Probably because it was one my parents actually allowed me to watch and I didn’t have to sneak into my sister’s room and watch it on her tiny black-and-white TV.

This 1966 movie starring Don Knotts is a classic kid-friendly movie. With it’s adorably bouncy music and Don Knotts quivering jaw, it’s a combination made in 1960s/70s heyday of tongue-in-cheek movies starring the same (“The Incredible Mr. Limpit” and “The Reluctant Astronaut”).

Poor Luther is a timid nervous reporter for a tiny town newspaper who stumbles onto a find—the local haunted house. In a typical Scooby-Doo manner, there’s shenanigans doing on in the background, but poor Luther is pulled into what he believes is a seriously angry ghost-fest. Now, he has to spend the night in the house alone! Will he impress the girl and make the town believe it’s haunted or will he run away with his tail between his legs?

Sometimes, horror doesn’t have to be all that serious. Look at “Shaun of the Dead,” or the upcoming movie “Zombieland.” Yeah, this is a childish and fun piece of fluff, but “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” is also a beloved memory for all of us around in the late 60s/early 70s who cut our teeth on it as we laughed and then hid under the blanket, shivering as much as Don Knotts. If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s worth a fresh re-see. It’ll remind you of much simpler times and a really great comedic actor (RIP).

Honestly, I think both of these are worth a watch before Halloween for the mix of nostalgia, romance, and humor.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dance to Your Horror Movies

This is one of the lighter entries today. In one of those serendipitous movements I often have, I was watching a horror movie with the sound off while I did part of my workout dancing instead of the usual routine. It gave me something to look at while I danced, but I found out that combined, songs and horror movies kind of go together… It had me wondering, just how many good horror movies could I match up with song lyrics?

Task: I’m leaving one movie open for ya’all to come up with lyrics that seem to suit it:
“Halloween” Please submit the lyrics that match “Halloween” in the comments. I can’t wait to see what ya’all come up with.

Here's some match-ups below:

MOVIE: “The Changeling”
SONG: ”When The Children Cry” by White Lion
little child
dry your crying eyes
how can I explain
the fear you feel inside
cause you were born
into this evil world
where man is killing man
but no one knows just why
what have we become
just look what we have done
all that we destroyed
you must build again

when the children cry
let them know we tried
cause when the children sing
then the new world begins

MOVIE: “The Haunting” (1963)
SONG: “All by myself” by Eric Carmen
Don’t wanna be
All by myself anymore
All by myself
Don’t wanna live
All by myself anymore

Hard to be sure
Some times I feel so insecure
And love so distant and obscure
Remains the cure

All by myself
Don’t wanna be
All by myself anymore
All by myself
Don’t wanna live
All by myself anymore

Movie: “1408”
SONG: “Hotel California” by Eagles
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin? it up at the hotel california
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said ?we are all just prisoners here, of our own device?
And in the master?s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
The stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can?t kill the beast

MOVIE: “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”
SONG: “If You Could Read my Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot
If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
bout a ghost from a wishin well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as Im a ghost that you cant see
If I could read your mind love
What a tale your thoughts could tell

MOVIE: “Stir of Echoes
SONG: “I can’t get you out of my head” by Incognito
Can't get you out of my head
I can't get you out of my head
Can't get you out of my head

MOVIE: “The House on Haunted Hill”
SONG: “Evil Woman" by Electric Light Orchestra
Rolled in from another town,
Hit some gold too hot to settle down,
But a fool and his money soon go separate ways,
And you found a fool lyin in a daze,
Ha ha woman what you gonna do,
You destroyed all the virtues that the lord gave you,
It’s so good that you’re feeling pain,
But you better get yourself on board the very next train.
E-evil Woman, e-evil woman, e-evil evil woman

MOVIE: "13 Ghosts”
SONG: “We Will Rock You” Queen
Buddy you're a boy make a big noise
Playin in the street gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on yo face
You big disgrace
Kickin your can all over the place

We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you

MOVIE: “Poltergeist”
SONG: “Send in the Clowns” by Judy Collins
Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

MOVIE: “The Fog”
SONG: “Calypso” by John Denver
Like the dolphin who guides you
You bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be true as the tide
And free as the wind-swell
Joyful and loving in letting it be

Think Tank: Loch Ness Monster

I haven’t done a Think Tank post in a while, so I thought I’d put a new subject out there and get your thoughts on it.

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave somewhere, you’re probably heard of the Loch Ness Monster. A serpent-like/dinosaur-like creature apparently sighted in the Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands since as early as 1933. Fleeting glimpses have been seen since that time and several pictures (such as the one above) that became quite famous. This photo above, however, was later found to be a fraud by one of the men responsible for fashioning it out of a toy submarine.

From these sightings, an entire industry along the loch has been born; boats have been launched with expeditions and sonar. Although no definitive evidence has been uncovered of the creature’s existence, most people dispute the possibility of Loch Ness, given the lack of food supply and the amount of the creatures necessary for breeding, as well as having not been found on sonar sweeps.

I admit to being half Scottish and loving a romantic story, but even I balk at this tall tale. Bigfoot might be able to hide out in vast amounts of wilderness in the Northwest of America, but even this loch (which is quite large) is a limited area for creatures of this size to exist without regular detection and without a food supply.

On this think tank, my conclusion—doesn’t exist.

I hope ya'all respond to this Think Tank. My readers are so brilliant, that I like to hear your take on these subjects.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Is Your Psychic Sense Run by the Autonomic System?

You have a vivid dream of being in an airplane. People are screaming around you. The attendant is rushing down the aisle. The plane pitches. The ground comes up quickly. Startled awake, you shake you head and try to quiet your pounding heart. Managing to go back to sleep, you wake up later to put the nightmare in perspective. That is, until two days later the news reports a plane going down.

A person nears death, loses pulse and breathing activity and lifts from his body towards a light at the end of a tunnel and a sense of being free and loved and content.

Edgar Cayce lays down on a cot and goes into what appears to be a sleep in which he calls out the answers to life’s big questions, such as what will happen in the future, why is this patient sick, how do we heal someone.

A ghost hunter feels their hairs stand on end, head feels pressurized, and then deep chills begin with goosebumps in the same spot reportedly where a person had died.

I’m psychic testing online and decide that I’m frustrated by agonizing over my answers and getting a weak score. Today, I decide to let my hand pick the cards to turn over on the screen, giving myself only 1 second to click on a card and not give it any thought whatsoever, in fact, I’m busy considering my plans for the day. My score is #1 amongst others for the day.

What do these events have in common? Psychic readings, yes. Conscious thought and direction, no.

I realized that my hardest opponent when I’m doing psychic reads is my own rather logical intellect. I doubt everything, second guess it, talk myself out of it, and generally over think it! A psychic read shouldn’t be like answering a test question, where you desperately file through your brain for the answer, erase the response, and choose another multiple choice answer, doubting yourself the whole way. Trying to do psychic reads that way is sure death of intuition.

Intuition, any psychic will tell you, is the simple act of just “knowing.” It’s as if it’s a fact, set in stone. You have no emotion attached to it, it simply is. Like contemplating gravity; if I throw this ball, it will fall to earth. I don’t doubt it, second guess it, or wish the results away. It’s a given. It’s fact. It’s known. That’s what a psychic read feels like when it clicks in your brain. Only intellect and conscious thought can will it into a bad interpretation that falls flat on the person being read. When I have airline disaster dreams, I know I can’t be hurt, I’m only a witness. Even though there is fire, screaming, and death around me, that part of the brain that emotes about such things and gives them meaning is not in an “on” position. There is no judgment, there is simply fact.

This realization had me correlating psychic abilities immediately with an autonomic response. According to Wikipedia, this is “The autonomic nervous system (ANS or visceral nervous system) is the part of the peripheral nervous system that acts as a control system functioning largely below the level of consciousness, and controls visceral functions The ANS affects heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, perspiration, diameter of the pupils, micturition (urination), and sexual arousal. Whereas most of its actions are involuntary, some, such as breathing, work in tandem with the conscious mind.”

The autonomic system is broken down into parasympathetic and sympathetic “Sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other. But this opposition is better termed complementary in nature rather than antagonistic. For an analogy, one may think of the sympathetic division as the accelerator and the parasympathetic division as the brake. The sympathetic division typically functions in actions requiring quick responses. The parasympathetic division functions with actions that do not require immediate reaction. Consider sympathetic as `fight or flight’ and parasympathetic as `rest and digest.’”

My guess is that the sympathetic system would actually be responsible for higher scoring on psychic tests online.

Remember this combination: Event, interpretation, action. (We can thank people like Albert Ellis for this one; rational emotive therapy. He and others like him taught us that we can’t have a feeling without first having a thought).

A person with panic attacks (out-of-the-blue fight-or-flight responses) gets an autonomic firing that causes a pounding heart, sweaty palms, trembling, lightheadness (event) then they try to use the conscious to explain it, “I must be going crazy,” or “I must be dying” (interpretation) and then respond by hiding in their houses or seeking medical help chronically to find a physical explanation(action).

As a psychic, we cannot let the conscious mind second doubt, question, or try to alter our interpretations to suit the client before us. We must remain of the unconscious mind, attributing no “good” or “bad” to information and thus no inappropriate and human response.

Why do people in sleep and near-death state experience psychic visions? They are not running on the conscious mind any longer which seeks to distract them from the “truth” that the autonomic system knows. Could the seat of our psychic knowledge be in a place that runs our body’s systems and not in the “mind” portion that we can consciously sift through? Where does a psychic retreat in his mind when doing a reading? Why did Cayce enter a sleep-like state? This might also explain why some people are better at psychic readings than others and why those people are often times called “sensitives” because in that state of being, as in the state of panic attacks, they have better hearing, better focus, better vision.

As an experiment, I’d like to offer everyone who wants to, go onto and take the tests. There’s one test that is called “quick remote viewing” choose 100 out of the amounts they offer. Now, when you do this test, they put a blank square on the screen and five pictures below. You choose the picture you think is going to show in that square.

Do the test the first time taking your time, study the pictures, imagine them in the square, pick the one you think it is. Go through all 100 (it actually goes rather quickly). Get your final score.

Now, do it a second time, only this time, as soon as the pictures pop up, let your hand pick where to click—take less than 2 seconds. Don’t think about this. Let only your hand choose. Now find out what the score is.

I’m curious to see how you do. Let me know your scores. I try to test on their daily and it helps me work my skills.

I’m hoping to devise a way to help people tap into their inherent psychic powers without all the “woo woo” magical/spiritual stuff. It’s really a very basic skill and everyone should be using theirs. It’s not for an annointed few. It's like ghost hunting finally coming out of the spiritual realm and into physical science's eye, I believe psychic ability is simply a fact of nature and not something paranormal in any way. Like any skill, practice and knowing your body's autonomic responses to right and wrong answers will tell you ahead of time which way to answer something.

We will soon discover that psychic abilities are in the body, not the mind.

Keep me posted! p.s. I did the test a few times today and did it the old fashioned way--studying my answers and second guessing myself--did very poorly!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Take Your Dog To Work: Dogs on Ghost Hunts

I was thrilled to see “Ghost Hunters International” using a dog on one of their expeditions, albeit short-lived. I’ve always felt that there’s a very reasonable and practical place for dogs on ghost hunts. Humans can miss the signs of activity, dogs don’t.

When I lived in California, the neighborhood dogs were our first warning before an earthquake. When I was pregnant, my head in the toilet in the morning in October 1987 when we were about to get a 6.0, it was the neighborhood dogs howling and barking incessantly that made the hairs rise on my neck. I crawled to my “safe spot” in the crappy old second-story apartment just in time. They didn’t steer me wrong. Each time an aftershock came, they let me know with their cacophony of yipping. When I was done with checking the apartment building's gas main and the neighbors' safety, I went and gave the dogs over the fence some hot dog bits. When I was growing up at Aspen Grove, our family dogs were the first warning sign when something was in the room with us. Their reactions were amazing, from hair standing up down their backs, tail between their legs, growling and barking at the unseen, to rushing from the room and hiding under beds. One time, they were so upset, they appeared to try to lunge and grab at something, one of them suddenly squealing as if he were kicked. He rushed out of the house with the other dog and cowered under the barn for several days!

If a dog won’t venture into a space, I know it’s a hot spot. If a dog stares at the unseen, I know it’s telling. If the dog refuses to enter, I know it’s bad.

Dogs may not always be practical on hunts, such as in someone’s residence where they don’t wish to have a dog or a public building, but when they can be used, they should be used. I’d prefer a dog to a thermometer and EMF meter any day—much more reliable. You can walk them through the site first and then try unleashing them, ignoring them so they’re not focused on attention, and then wander yourself around the place and see if the dog tries to come between you and something else. If he’s acting protective, take note of it. The only time a dog will lead you astray is if he finds a scent he likes more or a moving rat that’s more entertaining.

Consider taking one on your next hunt. They’re not just man’s best friend, they’re also his very own ghost meter!

What Did You Do With The 1980s?

PHOTOS: (top left) Me at a kegger party. (top right) me in my kitchen. (below left) headshot of me in my work clothes. (below middle) me ready for work. (below right) me in a neon green "inch worm" dress. (bottom) I got off work at Manhattan Village Mall and rushed to Manhattan Beach to see the sunset, still in my work clothes.

I’m going off the usual topic of ghosts/weird stuff to talk about the ghosts of our own past/our own weird stuff…the 1980s.

How did you use your 1980s? (probably the most singularly both embarrassing and fun-tastic decade)

I’m putting it out there. I modeled and did beauty pageants in the 80s, finished high school and college, moved to Redondo Beach, California, moved back to Arizona, had a child, found a new career in medical transcription.

My idol in the 80s:
Kelly LeBrock (see the green dress and big hair photo above?)

My favorite “look”:
Teased hair, lacy anklets with antique stiletto boots, antique jewelry, pastel colors, fingerless gloves, Cindy Lauper crooked with the shoulder straps falling off looks, and loads of shoulder pads and accessories—it was all about hair and accessories in the 80s.

My favorite music:
Huey Lewis and The News. Since I was a kid, it was Beach Boys because I dreamed of going to California. Now, I was there, it was the peak of ugly decadence and yuppie-dom and Huey Lewis and the News were my poster boys. God, I loved the music of the 80s, miss it horribly. We spat out so many stars and so much “synthetic” music, but it made me want to move and dancing is my favorite thing in the world! I still can’t hold still when I heard 80s music, even the big-haired rock bands with the sexy bad boys and their beautiful hair and the androgynous bands with their moody elusiveness. Jeez, the whole decade was wickedly awesome! (quote from that time period of Valley Girls).

My talents:
Dancing, imitating Valley Girl speak, raiding the malls for the best clothes, wearing outrageous combinations of clothing to shock and wow customers at the clothing store, doing front windows for the shop that drew people in with their craziness like mixing hot pink and bright orange together, knowing the lyrics to every song, a nasty volleyball spike on Manhattan Beach, kegger parties.

I didn’t squander the 80s. I admit I’m a child of the 70s, tree-hugging eco-weenie type liberal Pagan, but the 80s were something different and they came in a time in my life (pre-kid) when I could be decadent and acquire things and just enjoy myself without the big picture and my part in the cycle of life being a concern yet.

Everyone has to have a 1980s in their past. Hope yours was wickedly awesome and totally gnarly! Please comment to let me know.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Checklist for the Optimal Ghost Hunt

With all the variables involved in ghost hunting, the one that drives hunters the craziest is the “I went on a bad night” syndrome. We’ve seen it on “Ghost Hunters” show lots of times, the group sitting around talking to the four walls and knowing that when they review the evidence there will be nothing.

If there’s a Holy Trinity for ghost hunting it’s this: Place/Timing/Team.

Place: Optimal conditions are geology that consists of limestone, quartz, granite, shale, or sandstone (in that order). It’s not hard to find. Just Google for the state’s geological map. Honestly, if you’re hunting in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, don’t even bother to look at a map—those entire states are excellent conditions! The exception to this is active mining towns, which are also very active. Next, is the building constructed of stone or earth-based materials such as brick/block? If it’s frame, it better be in an active mining town. What’s the history of the building? The longer and more traumatic the emotional upheaval, the better. The Amityville house has poor construction, poor geology, and a one-time mass murder which was done without any forewarning—not an ideal set of conditions.

Timing: Yeah, it’s not just a crapshoot. There’s actually things you can do to plan a good night to hunt. First of all, disregard all moon phases—how much of the moon you see on any given night does not affect the haunting whatsoever. What does affect it is solar activity. When there is geomagnetic activity (reaction to solar activity) and geomagnetic storms, especially electron flux bursts, you’re in for a good night to gather evidence. The exception to this seems to be buildings that use a good deal of power, such as office equipment, microwaves, computers, in which case it appears phenomenon has a good chance of expressing itself. This is a tough situation, though. If you turn off the breakers, you better have geomagnetic activity going on that night. If you keep the power on, you better account for everything’s EMF and don’t even use spikes in EMF as measures of activity, it’s completely unreliable.

Team: The kinds of members you have are critically important. Every team should have it’s “caretaker” member. That’s someone who might be a nurse, a teacher, a parent, someone who can talk gently, coax, and be maternal/paternal in regards to communications, the gentle-hearted one who is “safe” to communicate with. You want to have at least two team members who have such a great friendship and comfort with each other, they can sit and shoot the breeze and attract curiosity from any presence over time (the Jason and Grant syndrome). Every team needs the silent ones who operate equipment, replace tapes and batteries, and are unseen as they capture evidence through video; they are not chatty and know to wait before moving around. Every team should have a member who is emotionally demonstrative. That’s a polite way of saying, you need a member who is depressed and moody. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but this person has a place as an instigator or a source of attraction for phenomenon. Moods definitely affect a hunt and having a moody person is actually advantageous, preferably someone who is kind of depressed day to day; the “Debbie Downer” of the group (for those who watch SNL). You need a skeptic. Someone has to make you accountable for alternate explanations so you can focus on the real phenomenon and not chase random sounds in the corner of a basement filled with junk. You don’t need a psychic, but it’s optional. Be careful when you pick one. Most proclaimed psychics (I hate to say it) tend to like the spotlight and the drama. They feel they have to put out every single finding they sense, even when things feel rather dead and hard to read. A good psychic should be used like a bloodhound on a leash. Hey, I’m a psychic, and that’s my role when I hunt. I wander out the place, feel the active spots, and focus my time and equipment on those areas for efficiency. I don’t go into details about what I sense was there, how awful it was, all the torment, and rot. I simply state, “this is the spot, go for it!” Any interpretations a psychic gives you should be considered about 10-20% accurate. Yeah, interpreting is the most important part of psychic work and very few know how to read what they’re given. Back up anything they might report by checking libraries and city registrars and such for the history of the building. You need to be as skeptical of them as you are of evidence.

Okay, so I gave away all the big secrets. Now, go out and prove me right!

Friday, August 21, 2009

How Do You Know Autumn is Arriving in Phoenix?

You forget to put your sunshade up in your car and when you return and put your hands on the steering wheel, you only get second-degree burns and don't need to seek medical help.

The shower can finally give out cool-ish water instead of very warm when turned all the way to "cold."

When the shadows off the cactus grow longer and create crazy hobgoblin shapes across your gravel landscape.

The craft stores shyly fill some shelves with scarecrows and pumpkins and if you stand near an air-conditioning vent and don’t look out the window at heat dancing off the pavement, you can almost imagine it is autumn, especially if you start sniffing the candles. (Caution: this can cause hallucinations of colorful leaves, burning wood, and chilly noses)

Kids go back to school in their brand new fall clothes, tank tops and cargo shorts.

The swimming pool goes from being 96 degrees (the same temperature water hot dog venders use to keep their weiners ready for eating) and becomes a brisk 86 degrees and capable of almost refreshing you (if there’s a powerful breeze and the sun hides behind that one tiny cloud in the sky).

One rainstorm in September comes in from California instead of Mexico and you know things have shifted from the tropics to the Northwest. Following the storm, we’re into “fall,” in that the nights are now in the 70s and the contrast between the 100s to the nighttime feels almost tolerable.

Honestly, the only way to know it’s finally become autumn in Phoenix is to watch the trees, green and robust, finally turning colors in late November/early December. (Everyone’s still wearing shorts, but have a long-sleeved t-shirt on now).

Phoenicians, please step right in and offer some more descriptions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is the Sphinx About to Reveal its Secrets?

I came across this article and it got my interest. It said, “An enormous system of caves, chambers and tunnels lies hidden beneath the Pyramids of Giza, according to a British explorer who claims to have found the lost underworld of the pharaohs.
Populated by bats and venomous spiders, the underground complex was found in the limestone bedrock beneath the pyramid field at Giza.

I remember hearing Edgar Cayce “the sleeping prophet” mentioning that records of the ancients would be found in three places; Bimini, Yucatan, and under the Sphinx.

This other article helps to shed some light on what Cayce had predicted, that the records of Atlantis would be found in a chamber beneath the Sphinx’s paws.

Does this finding perhaps correlate? And just how long will it take Egypt to let this cave system be explored? I suppose that will be the factor in finding out of Cayce was onto something. I, for one, will be studying it closely.

Mothman: An Interdimensional Rebel?

The legend of the Mothman has taken on a life greater than intended once it went commercial, but the concept is an interesting one:

(Wikipedia) “The Mothman is a creature reportedly seen in the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia from November 12, 1966, to December 1967. Most observers describe the Mothman as a winged man-sized creature with large reflective red eyes and large moth-like wings. The creature was sometimes reported as having no head, with its eyes set into its chest.”

On November 15, 1966, two young, married couples from Point Pleasant, David and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette, were traveling late at night in the Scarberrys' car. They were passing the West Virginia Ordnance Works, an abandoned World War II TNT factory, about seven miles north of Point Pleasant, in the 2,500 acre (10 km²) McClintic Wildlife Management Area, when they noticed two red lights in the shadows by an old generator plant near the factory gate. They stopped the car, and reportedly discovered that the lights were the glowing red eyes of a large animal, "shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back", according to Roger Scarberry. Terrified, they drove toward Route 62, where the creature supposedly chased them at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. However, as quoted in Keel's The Mothman Prophecies, the Scarberrys, despite driving more than 100 miles per hour, claimed to have noticed a dead dog on the side of the road, and in fact made such accurate note of its location that they claimed to have gone back the very next day and looked for it.”

This “creature” was seen many times during the year of its appearance. Often times, supposedly giving people information about upcoming disasters. In Wikipedia they also reported “John Keel claimed that Mothman was related to parapsychological events in the area, including UFO activity, Men in Black encounters, poltergeist activity, Bigfoot and black panther sightings, animal and human mutilations, precognitions by witnesses, and the December 15, 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge spanning the Ohio River.” Interestingly, reports of other phenomenon in certain areas comes in clusters as well, such as Bennington Triangle reporting Bigfoot, UFOs, Men in Black, et cetera. (see Gummerfan's great post on Bennington Triangle)

Are these clusters a sign of a portal?

Although I don’t have any established beliefs in portals or other phenomenon, I do keep a very open mind. With all my interest in the concept of portals as of late, the Mothman has been a puzzler for me (more on that later).

I’ve wondered about things such as Bigfoot and Chupacabra. It would seem that if we’re talking about creatures entering and exiting possible portals from other dimensions or worlds, the logical question would be “why don’t they have technology?” Jeez, we can’t leave our neighborhoods without our cell phones and GPS on the dashboard. Why isn’t Bigfoot sporting a headset? Hmm?

Here’s my take on it: If such a thing were possible, the fact that no major city has reported porthole phenomenon is pretty telling. Obviously, some knowledge exists where to most remotely enter and exit. Why no technology? Why should they? Aren’t you helpless when your batteries are drained? Don’t you sometimes leave your phone on the restaurant table? If you're travelling dimensions/worlds, would you want to be at the fate of a device? Why not have technology of a different sort—-biological; a kind of evolutionary ability to control principles of physics.

Supposing Bigfoot is nothing more than a being from another dimension/world who likes to vacation in the Northwest where there are tasty berries and salmon and lack of humans? Why wouldn’t chupacabra choose rural areas with lots of livestock? Come and go as they please. Perhaps we’re a favorite vacation destination. I can see the ads now "Come to Earth; where you can let your inner beast hang out."

Now, working the Mothman into this concept, is it possible that this creature (often associated with precognition for locals about upcoming disasters) could be a bad boy of his kind? Is he breaking rules by telling us of events he’s seen traveling through our time line? Has he taken a kind of interest in humans? Does he hope to promote us to the next level to get closer to arriving at co-visitation? Is he a lone rebel from his world? Does he just like messing with us? It’s hard to say, but the concept of him being one of the many visitors but who actually sought contact is an interesting one.

I’d love to hear your input.

The movie “The Mothman Prophecies” starring Richard Gere was actually a very disturbing and chilling film. It wasn’t action packed, but it was a tense psychological thriller that gave you enough concern it might be paranormal and enough doubt to wonder if it’s something else. I have to admit, it’s one of those films to watch in the dark, but then don’t go to bed for a few hours…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Upcoming Movies of Note

Homemade Giant Spiders $1 Each

Since today's my day off and each time I have a Wednesday off from now until Halloween, I'm making props for the party each Wednesday. Today, I figured I'd work on two things. One: Spiders. Two: Gigantic scarecrow

The scarecrow will be on about an 8' tall cross with about a 6' long cross section. It'll be wearing a black dirty tattered monk's robe with long sleeves and a hood and the face will be a gunnysack design with rope around the neck and stitched closed mouth and eyes. He'll be up tall on the cross and oversized to intimidate when people first arrive into the backyard. I hope to attach a few fake crows to him. The silhouette should be intimidating and I understand Halloween is just 2 days from a full moon, so this should be very impressive.

Today, I'm making his robes--tearing and beating the fabric and dirtying it up to make it look ancient (fun). I hope to put him up early so weather can force him to age even more, the sun bleaching the fabric, some rare rain making it look crinkled and dirty.

Around him, there will be stick tripods tied together and where the sticks meet, a Jack-O-Lantern inserted into the space. These tripods will be of varying heights around the entry yard in front of the scarecrow. I will add a bunch of black crows all around and a few wooden grave marker crosses. I think the idea is very bleak and will give the Halloween Post-apocalyptic graveyard theme going for the entry.

Past there, the pool area will be something else and the main garden something very grave-ish.

This project (above) is the spiders. I made a dozen spiders for $12. Pleased with that. My pool is enclosed tightly with walls covered in vines. I'm putting the large spiders in the vines and with the lights on them it should look eerie, a few headstones along the wall, and then the pool will hopefully have the red lens cap on the light so the water looks like blood.

I took styrofoam balls and painted them black and then took spare styrofoam packing material and carved heads and painted them black, black pipecleaner legs, and I had some gold tacks for the eyes.

SUGGESTIONS APPRECIATED: I haven't decided what to float on the pool yet. I had originally thought of floating white face masks, floating candles, and black roses for a ghostly appearance, but then I started fiddling with the idea of floating bodies made from styrofoam and thrift store clothing, face down. Let me know what your opinion is on a cool pool theme.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ghost Hunting: Focusing in on Technique

Admittedly, over the past 6+ years of actively hunting, I’ve learned a lot of things that I’ve been able to confirm over time. Hopefully, some of the things I’ve learned can help make other ghost hunter’s jobs easier. Here are just some of the truths I’ve come to find:

You can’t beat geology. Ultimately, if the ground isn’t geologically promising (limestone, shale, granite, quartz, sandstone), you’re much less likely to find a haunting that can be detected and documented. The exception, however, is in mining areas, as most mining towns report very high levels of haunting which I am assuming are in conjunction with high minerals/ore/constant disruption of the earth, and possible tectonic issues. There's something very important to be said for Mother Earth and her contributions to phenomenon, most especially geomagnetic forces.

The construction of a house and sometimes the contents are significant. A block/stone construction home is more likely to retain a haunting. The exception, however, is in mining areas where a frame building can show significant haunting, such as the case with the Birdcage Theater in Tombstone. Also, a cluttered/dark house is more likely to have activity. Some might assign this to Feng Shui rules and say that the energy can't move about and is trapped. Others believe that the darkness draws them. I have yet to find a neatly organized minimalist house that has issues, but along the same lines, I've found positively empty building with activity. That being said, if you enter a residence that's cluttered and dark, I'll give you one guess to figure out what places in the house they report activity before the owner ever divulges.

If you’re going out hunting, your best bet is to go on a night that has geomagnetic activity, preferably electron flux warnings or geomagnetic storm warnings. The exception to this is if you are hunting in a place that has high electrical (EMF) readings, such as an office/business where machines are run. In that case, geomagnetic activity is not as important, but it is important if you want to hunt in a building with little or no power.

When trying to elicit a response from your subject, it’s best to spend some time in the building. Shoot the breeze with a friend, have an intimate conversation about how your life is going. Honestly, the longer you’re there, the more “they” become comfortable with you and the more likely to get a response. Consider "them" to be nosy and like gossip. It appears that goading spirits and taunting them (such is the case with “Ghost Adventures” TV-inspired team) only seems to produce a flatlined response. If you’ve ever tried to coax a kid to do something, it doesn’t work to bully him. You have to use your parent voice and be coaxing and make him feel like he has options and isn't being forced. Pleading and begging doesn’t work. It strange to say, but I’ve found consistently wonderful results with talking to the “others” as if they’re one of your group. Make small talk, welcome them in, tell them to relax, simply be charming and comforting, like a refined host. Remember, “they” may have the overwhelming sense of being alone for a very long time and unheard and ignored. That you are finally addressing "them" makes “them” timid at first. Your laughter and lightheartedness will draw "them," as it would draw any stranger to your conversation.

Equipment? A nightvision camcorder is a good piece of equipment, but don’t expect it to necessarily capture phenomenon. Do, however, use it to document your conversations and your EVP/KII sessions in case something happens. Thermometer? I don’t even bother to pull it out anymore. Cold spots are fleeting and can be caused by so many things, I don’t need documentation. If I feel one and I get the goosebumps, I ready myself with my digital audio recorder or KII meter. With time of the essence, getting a temperature reading means nothing if you weren't at the ready to gather possible phenomenon as it breezes past. An EMF meter is only good at finding out what equipment in the building might be sending off high EMF readings. If you have one and find a piece of equipment (usually an old alarm clock, microwave oven, or a fan) that gives off a lot of EMF, practically off the scale, then spend some time there near it and see what happens. It’s helpful to find out how your body reacts to high EMF so you can know how your body reacts to the presence of something paranormal. The sensations are very similar.

Other tips:

Don’t hold your recorder in your hand when doing EVP—set it down so there’s no sound from movement and no changes in air current from you aiming it this way and that. You don't want to be swinging it around like an open mic to pick up sounds that you make out as words.

Disregard orb photos or moving orbs on video.

No walkie talkies, no cells turned on. This can cause “cross talk.”

Control your EVP session. Everyone must be visible from each other and if anyone has a tummy grumble or shifts their weight, they must announce it so later on during review it can be accounted for.

Avoid photographing with glass/mirrors/reflective surfaces.

Limit the entrants into the site. Keep others outside and go in shifts of 2 at a time.

Try to see the place in daylight first so you’re aware of the layout and possible things that could be causing noises or casting strange lights.

There's a zillion more, no doubt, but for today, I think we've covered enough to keep hunters busy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

KII session portion

Because I assumed a quiet geomagnetic night wouldn't make for great hunting, I didn't take my camcorder with nightvision. The group we went with had a good deal of equipment, so we figured we'd let them use theirs to cover all the major places. During our long and successful KII session, I did realize my cheap-o digital camera had video capability, so I turned it on. The room was completely dark and the lights on the KII about 6' away, so it's rather hard to watch the lights lighting up as the device was at an angle from where I sat, but you can see the hint of it and hear our reactions. At this point, we'd been shooting the breeze with "them" for about three or four minutes. I was just getting into determining how many there were present. We seemed to get a good reaction speaking gently and laughing and talking at a regular conversational cadence. Our prior conversation leading up to asking them to talk was just friendly and funny banter and humor. This portion is mostly where I was asking questions and trying to get answers. I had just gotten the worst goosebumps of my entire life before the lights started answering us and I thought to turn on the camera at this point. I would liked to have recorded longer, but the camera was already loaded with photos and ready for a memory card to be inserted, so the recording was cut short. It went on for about 5-8 minutes more of constant questions and answers directly after asking. If the answer was "no" the other lights wouldn't light up. If we paused to think of a question for a while, nothing happened. It was very blatantly right after the question that the lights would go off.