Monday, November 30, 2009

Dropa Stones: Ancient Find

This find has intrigued me for years and I thought I’d share the story, in case you haven’t heard of the Dropa Stones.

From the site:

In 1938, an archeological expedition led by Dr. Chi Pu Tei into the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains of China made an astonishing discovery in some caves that had apparently been occupied by some ancient culture. Buried in the dust of ages on the cave floor were hundreds of stone disks. Measuring about nine inches in diameter, each had a circle cut into the center and was etched with a spiral groove, making it look for all the world like some ancient phonograph record some 10,000 to 12,000 years old. The spiral groove, it turns out, is actually composed of tiny hieroglyphics that tell the incredible story of spaceships from some distant world that crash-landed in the mountains. The ships were piloted by people who called themselves the Dropa, and the remains of whose descendants, possibly, were found in the cave.

Dr. Tsum Um Nui felt the smooth face of the disk with the palm of his hand. "What could this disk possibly be?" he wondered. He knew of its recent history; how it was discovered in 1938 by a Chinese archaeologist in a cave high in the Himalayans, along with 715 similar disks; how buried nearby were skeletons of a strange tribe of people averaging only a little over four feet high; how it was found that each disk was inscribed with a tiny groove that spiraled around its face, and that the groove turned out to be an unknown hieroglyphic. He also knew how the disks, as remarkable as they were, had been simply labeled along with other finds of the expedition and stored away at Beijing University for 20 years. During that time, others had attempted to decipher the strange inscriptions, but without success. Perhaps now, in 1962, he could. The professor painstakingly transcribed the characters from the disk to paper. The writing was so small he had to use a magnifying glass to see it clearly. But the stones were old -- perhaps 12,000 years old, it was estimated -- and much of the hieroglyphics were difficult to make out or had been worn away by time and the elements. As he worked, many questions nagged the professor. How did these primitive people fashion these precise stones? How did they manage the almost microscopic writing? Who were they and what was the purpose of these hundreds of stones? Once the characters were transcribed, Dr. Tsum Um Nui began the arduous task of trying to decode its message. Eventually, he began to make progress. A word emerged. Then another. A phrase became understandable, then an entire sentence. He had broken the code. He discerned that the messages on the stones were written by a people who called themselves the Dropa. But what they were saying to him 12,000 years later made no sense. What the Dropa had written must have been one of their cultural myths, or was part of some prehistoric religious ceremony. Or was it? When he had completed the translation as much as he could, the professor sat back in his chair in disbelief. The story the Dropa related was nothing short of astounding. How would his colleagues react? How might the world react if this story was true? The professor wrote up a paper on his findings and presented it to the university for publication. Their reaction was swift and emphatic: the paper would not be published. The Academy of Prehistory expressly forbade him to publish or even speak of his findings. The world, the academy decided, should not know about the Dropa and their fateful journey to Earth.

Dr. Tsum Um Nui's findings were eventually published, however. Just two years later, he published the paper entitled, "The Grooved Script Concerning Spaceships Which, as Recorded on the Discs, Landed on Earth 12,000 Years Ago." By some accounts, the academy relented and gave permission to the professor to publish the paper, and by other accounts he published it despite the official ban. In either case, his translation and his theory were met with ridicule by the archaeology establishment. The translation was just too shattering to be taken at face value or as an historical account. It just could not be true. It would change everything we know about our history and humankind's place in the universe.

What the Stones Reveal

The Dropa disks tell the story of a space probe from a distant planet that crash-landed in the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains of the Himalayas. The occupants of the spacecraft -- the Dropa -- found refuge in the caves of the mountains. Despite their peaceful intentions, the Dropa were misunderstood by members of the Ham tribe who were occupying neighboring caves and who hunted down the aliens and even killed some of them. A translation of one of the passages says: "The Dropa came down from the clouds in their aircraft. Our men, women, and children hid in the caves ten times before sunrise. When at last they understood the sign language of the Dropa, they realized that the newcomers had peaceful intentions...."

The stones go on to say how the Dropa were unable to repair their disabled spacecraft and could not return to their home planet, and so were stranded on Earth. If that's true, have their descendents survived?

Today, the isolated area is inhabited by two tribes of people who, in fact, call themselves the Dropa and the Han. Anthropologists have been unable to categorize either tribe into any other known race; they are neither Chinese nor Tibetan. Both tribes are of pygmy stature, adults measuring between 3-foot-6 and 4-foot-7 with an average height of 4-foot-2, and body weights of 38 to 52 pounds. They are yellow-skinned with thin bodies and disproportionately large heads, corresponding to the skeletal remains found in the caves in 1938. They have sparse hair on their bodies and have large eyes that are not Asian in aspect, but have pale blue irises.

Supposedly, there also is an ancient Chinese tale that might bear-out the Dropa's claims. The tale relates the story of a small, slender, yellow-skinned people who descended to the Earth from the clouds, and who were shunned by everyone because of their ugliness.

Strange Properties

In 1968, the Dropa stones came to the attention of W. Saitsew, a Russian scientist who re-published the findings of Tsum Um Nui and conducted tests on the disks that revealed some very peculiar properties. Physically, the granite stones contained high concentrations of cobalt and other metals -- a very hard stone indeed that would have made it difficult for the primitive people to carve the lettering, especially with such minute characters. When testing a disk with an oscillograph, a surprising oscillation rhythm was recorded as if, the scientists said, they had once been electrically charged or had functioned as electrical conductors.

Whatever their true nature, origin, or meaning, the Dropa stones present an intriguing puzzle for archaeologists and anthropologists. Were the Dropa truly visitors from some distant planet, or is their story merely a creation myth imagined by a primitive culture? If the latter is true, it adds one more such "myth" to the large number of stories from ancient cultures that claim their descendents came to Earth from the heavens. And if the former is true, the Dropa stones could represent the first recorded visit of an alien civilization to our planet. For now, the Dropa stones remain unexplained.

I’m curious about your theories on these stones. At first, the notion that an advanced civilization crashed here and used hieroglyphics on stones sounded rather archaic, but honestly if such a thing were possible, they would certainly use what’s at hand and stone was something they could carve and fashion their stories upon knowing they would last the test of time. I’m so distracted by this story (like the Grand Canyon series) that I’m going to go on and see what I can find about the supposed ancestors of the Dropa. Expect that in my next post!

Catch My Quote on TV

I heard from my ghost hunting partner that Discovery is showing a commercial for "Ghost Lab" using a quote from "Autumnforest." I managed to catch it and tape it on TV and took the screen shot above on my big screen TV. It would have been cool if the told me so I knew to look for it. Well, at least someone sharp caught it. Cool, huh?

MORE GOOD NEWS: CreepyQueen magazine accepted my short story "Cave Dwellers" for their January issue which is their premiere hard-copy printing of the magazine and mine was the only short story accepted for that issue. They also are interested in my scary clown story for their spring/summer issue! I want to thank my readers because ya'all made me believe in my ability to provide a riveting short story in the horror genre. Thanks so much!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Land of the Ancient Giants

On my research into the Grand Canyon finds, I kept running across a race of supposed giants whose remains have been found from Alaska to the Midwest. This one will give you the chills…

Apparently, these skeletons averaged 7’ tall and have been found in New York, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nevada, Kentucky, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Minnesota, and pretty much all over the world. Interestingly, these have been found in caves and burial mounds and sometimes even wrapped in Egyptian style. Those of you who’ve read Genesis, might have heard of the nephilims, giants who supposedly descended from fallen angels. I’m always excited about the way things can link together and the Bible references with the find of giant bodies is quite spine-tingling.

There are several reasons for what might have caused such a giant race of people found all over the world:

1. Since taller height is something found in warmer climes and shorter plumper figures are found in colder climates. It could have been a climate issue that such large humans were prevalent.
2. It also could have been a common pituitary problem causing gigantism and perhaps related to something environmental causing this issue.
3. It could be that tall people were bred together for the purpose of larger humans as special anointed ones.
4. Extremely tall people may have been buried with special care for their uniqueness.
5. Lastly, we can guess that perhaps these were aliens of some sort.

This is such a hugely prevalent find, that I’m going to direct you to this thorough article about the details.

UFOs and the Grand Canyon

Want more weird Grand Canyon stuff? We’ve gone from skinwalkers to portals to other dimensions to mummies and ancient civilizations. Now, let’s do UFO’s.

This article caught my attention.



Flagstaff, Ariz. - A team of experts called in to examine strange debris at the bottom of the Grand Canyon discovered the wreckage of a UFO that crashed a mind boggling 4,000 years ago!

The scientists, members of a highly secret joint military task force on UFOs, inspected the spherical craft and found it to be in good condition despite its rough landing and incredible age.

The relic is made of an unknown metallic substance and emits low levels of radiation, according to leaks from highly placed sources. It was immediately removed from the site and is now in a secret location.

My contacts tell me this craft is definitely of extraterrestrial origin and without a doubt carried a crew of 12 to 20 individuals, said Dr. Henry Leaumont, a California based astronomer who contacted this reporter after he was shown secret air Force documents relating to the find.

Carbon dating shows it crash landed at the base of the canyon around 2,000 B.C.

Cabin features suggest that the crew members were much like humans, although significantly smaller. They apparently breathed oxygen, guided their atom powered craft with a magnetic steering system and carried supplies of food and water on board.

According to reports filed by the scientific team, the spacecraft was lodged in limestone rubble at the base of the canyon not far from an area called Comanche Point.

A thorough inspection of the landing site revealed that the spacecraft's occupants left their ship and lived near it for a number of years after it crashed.

The finding proves the existence of a space alien colony on this planet nearly 3,500 years before Columbus!

This impression is confirmed by Indian cave paintings made at the time, the Air Force secret documents attest. The paintings, found near the crash site, show strange humanoid creatures with bulbous heads. Experts believe these creatures were the same aliens who arrived in the ancient UFO.

The secret report said all traces of alien occupation disappeared within 50 years or so of the crash date. There is no indication of what might have happened to the extraterrestrials, the documents reveal.

The ship is made of an extremely light metallic fiber, Dr. Leaumont said.

It measurers about 50 feet across at its widest point and it is 102 feet long. It's an incredible find - the latest in a series of artifacts collected secretly and hidden away in government UFO study centers.

There's a lot of official concern about keeping this latest discovery a secret. They've been covering up the truth about alien contacts for 50 years and they're not going to stop now. They want to study this thing, but they want it only for themselves.

Who knows what scientists might learn if they'd share this priceless find with the rest of the world

Of course, being a skeptic at heart, I have to ask myself who the article referred to as the source of this find? It’s extremely vague, but then most military secret conspiracies are. I love supposition, however, and so I am thinking…if a race of giant people supposedly lived in the Grand Canyon (see my post on Grand Canyon Mummies) perhaps this was the vessel by which they arrived.

One of the things I love most about documentaries and conjecture is taking every side and deciding how they shore up their viewpoint with evidence or logic. I’d be curious to hear your take on this article.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hopi Legend: The Portal Between Worlds

Consider this part 3 of the Grand Canyon Series. Who knows, from what I'm finding, how many this will take to explain the phenomenon associated with this amazing natural wonder.

You recently read my post on the potential Shapeshifter encounter at the Grand Canyon and then my post about the Grand Canyon mummies. Now, we got a step further into territory that should give you chills, like it does me. I hope we can start an excited conversation about these correlations.

Hopi legend tells that the current earth is the Fourth World to be inhabited by Tawa's creations. The story essentially states that in each previous world, the people, though originally happy, became disobedient and lived contrary to Tawa's plan; they engaged in sexual promiscuity, fought one another and would not live in harmony. Thus, the most obedient were led (usually by Spider Woman) to the next higher world, with physical changes occurring both in the people in the course of their journey, and in the environment of the next world. In some stories, these former worlds were then destroyed along with their wicked inhabitants, whereas in others the good people were simply led away from the chaos which had been created by their actions. (strangely like the theme of Saddam and Gomorrah)

Two main versions exist as to the Hopi's emergence into the present Fourth World. The more prevalent is that Spider Grandmother caused a hollow reed (or bamboo) to grow into the sky, and it emerged in the Fourth World at the sipapu. The people then climbed up the reed into this world, emerging from the sipapu. The location of the sipapu is given as in the Grand Canyon. (take note of that highlighted portion for later)The Hopi believed that they came into this world through a hole in the sky of the world below. That hole lies deep within the depths of the Grand Canyon.

In the chilling book, “Hunt For the Skinwalker” by Colm A. Kelleher, PhD., and George Knapp, researchers studied a ranch in Northeastern Utah that had a huge slew of weird phenomenon going on, everything from strange creatures, weird lights, UFOs, poltergeist activity, dead animals, and some kind of light in which a tunnel opened, allowing creatures to come and go. This ranch, referred to as “Skinwalker” ranch was interestingly in Native American country where skinwalkers were often reported (shape-shifting creatures). On page 145 while two men were doing reconnaissance on the ranch at night, they saw a small yellowish light growing larger and larger. “The dirty yellow expanding light seemed to be positioned just above the ground…`It’s a tunnel, not just a light.’ Mike whispered (as he looked through binoculars). `Jesus Christ.’ Mike said hoarsely. `Something is in the tunnel!’…`Oh my God,’ Mike said suddenly, thoroughly frightened. `There is a black creature climbing out. I see his head.’” At that point, he witnessed a Bigfoot-like creature emerge.

I’m always excited when I find strange similarities in folklore and storytelling that ties things together. We have the Hopi believing man entered from other worlds in a hole in the Grand Canyon. We have a race of tall people supposedly found within caves in the Grand Canyon, and we have the Skinwalker Ranch incident with creatures entering and exiting another dimensional portal described as Bigfoot-looking(like the Hopi highlighted portion above), as well as sightings of Bigfoot (another tall creature like the mummies supposedly found in the Grand Canyon).

If you want a theory that ties this together, my guess would be that creatures from another world have lived here before and come and go still through portals. They were not only found in the caves in the Grand Canyon as the interestingly advanced civilization, but also still come and go, as in the Skinwalker Ranch incident, and Bigfoot sightings. Is the reason Bigfoot is so hard to find that he simply is highly intelligent, for all his rough and gruff exterior? And does he know he can come and go as he wishes through these portals? Did the Hopi see the same portals that were seen on Skinwalker Ranch and possibly create a legend to explain this phenomenon?

I admit that I’m a highly skeptical person, and though I do believe in Bigfoot, I’ve always rolled my eyes at people’s associations of Bigfoot with UFOs and portals and dimensional travel, but I now see how this could seam together into a story that seems quite explainable.

As always, I anxiously await your own theories and connections

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grand Canyon Mummies Found?

I stumbled across this amazing subject and found out it’s all over the Internet! An actual article written up in the Phoenix Gazette in 1909 told of an explorer finding caves within the Grand Canyon when riding the Colorado river in a boat. What he found was written in astounding detail in the article below. I’m fascinated with the details and the intrigue.

On one site they wrote, “Historian and linguist Carl Hart, editor of WORLD EXPLORER, then obtained a hiker's map of the Grand Canyon from a bookstore in Chicago. Poring over the map, we were amazed to see that much of the area on the north side of the canyon has Egyptian names. The area around Ninety-four Mile Creek and Trinity Creek had areas (rock formations, apparently) with names like Tower of Set, Tower of Ra, Horus Temple, Osiris Temple, and Isis Temple. In the Haunted Canyon area were such names as the Cheops Pyramid, the Buddha Cloister, Buddha Temple, Manu Temple and Shiva Temple. Was there any relationship between these places and the alleged Egyptian discoveries in the Grand Canyon? We called a state archaeologist at the Grand Canyon, and were told that the early explorers had just liked Egyptian and Hindu names, but that it was true that this area was off limits to hikers or other visitors, "because of dangerous caves. Indeed, this entire area with the Egyptian and Hindu place names in the Grand Canyon is a forbidden zone - no one is allowed into this large area. We could only conclude that this was the area where the vaults were located. Yet today, this area is curiously off-limits to all hikers and even, in large part, park personnel.

This is the actual article from the April 5, 1909 Phoenix Gazette:

Mysteries of Immense Rich Cavern being brought to light

Jordan is enthused
Remarkable finds indicate ancient people migrated from Orient

The latest news of the progress of the explorations of what is now regarded by scientists as not only the oldest archeological discovery in the United States, but one of the most valuable in the world, which was mentioned some time ago in the Gazette, was brought to the city yesterday by G.E. Kinkaid, the explorer who found the great underground citadel of the Grand Canyon during a trip from Green River, Wyoming, down the Colorado, in a wooden boat, to Yuma, several months ago.

According to the story related to the Gazette by Mr. Kinkaid, the archaelogists of the Smithsonian Institute, which is financing the expeditions, have made discoveries which almost conclusively prove that the race which inhabited this mysterious cavern, hewn in solid rock by human hands, was of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt, tracing back to Ramses. If their theories are borne out by the translation of the tablets engraved with heiroglyphics, the mystery of the prehistoric peoples of North America, their ancient arts, who they were and whence they came, will be solved. Egypt and the Nile, and Arizona and the Colorado will be linked by a historical chain running back to ages which staggers the wildest fancy of the fictionist.

A Thorough Examination

Under the direction of Prof. S. A. Jordan, the Smithsonian Institute is now prosecuting the most thorough explorations, which will be continued until the last link in the chain is forged. Nearly a mile underground, about 1480 feet below the surface, the long main passage has been delved into, to find another mammoth chamber from which radiates scores of passageways, like the spokes of a wheel.

Several hundred rooms have been discovered, reached by passageways running from the main passage, one of them having been explored for 854 feet and another 634 feet. The recent finds include articles which have never been known as native to this country, and doubtless they had their origin in the orient. War weapons, copper instruments, sharp-edged and hard as steel, indicate the high state of civilization reached by these strange people. So interested have the scientists become that preparations are being made to equip the camp for extensive studies, and the force will be increased to thirty or forty persons.

Mr. Kinkaid's Report

Mr. Kinkaid was the first white child born in Idaho and has been an explorer and hunter all his life, thirty years having been in the service of the Smithsonian Institute. Even briefly recounted, his history sounds fabulous, almost grotesque.

"First, I would impress that the cavern is nearly inaccessible. The entrance is 1,486 feet down the sheer canyon wall. It is located on government land and no visitor will be allowed there under penalty of trespass. The scientists wish to work unmolested, without fear of archeological discoveries being disturbed by curio or relic hunters. A trip there would be fruitless, and the visitor would be sent on his way. The story of how I found the cavern has been related, but in a paragraph: I was journeying down the Colorado river in a boat, alone, looking for mineral. Some forty-two miles up the river from the El Tovar Crystal canyon, I saw on the east wall, stains in the sedimentary formation about 2,000 feet above the river bed. There was no trail to this point, but I finally reached it with great difficulty.
Above a shelf which hid it from view from the river, was the mouth of the cave. There are steps leading from this entrance some thirty yards to what was, at the time the cavern was inhabited, the level of the river. When I saw the chisel marks on the wall inside the entrance, I became interested, securing my gun and went in. During that trip I went back several hundred feet along the main passage till I came to the crypt in which I discovered the mummies. One of these I stood up and photographed by flashlight. I gathered a number of relics, which I carried down the Colorado to Yuma, from whence I shipped them to Washington with details of the discovery. Following this, the explorations were undertaken.

The Passages

"The main passageway is about 12 feet wide, narrowing to nine feet toward the farther end. About 57 feet from the entrance, the first side-passages branch off to the right and left, along which, on both sides, are a number of rooms about the size of ordinary living rooms of today, though some are 30 by 40 feet square. These are entered by oval-shaped doors and are ventilated by round air spaces through the walls into the passages. The walls are about three feet six inches in thickness.

The passages are chiseled or hewn as straight as could be laid out by an engineer. The ceilings of many of the rooms converge to a center. The side-passages near the entrance run at a sharp angle from the main hall, but toward the rear they gradually reach a right angle in direction.

The Shrine

"Over a hundred feet from the entrance is the cross-hall, several hundred feet long, in which are found the idol, or image, of the people's god, sitting cross-legged, with a lotus flower or lily in each hand. The cast of the face is oriental, and the carving this cavern. The idol almost resembles Buddha, though the scientists are not certain as to what religious worship it represents. Taking into consideration everything found thus far, it is possible that this worship most resembles the ancient people of Tibet.

Surrounding this idol are smaller images, some very beautiful in form; others crooked-necked and distorted shapes, symbolical, probably, of good and evil. There are two large cactus with protruding arms, one on each side of the dais on which the god squats. All this is carved out of hard rock resembling marble. In the opposite corner of this cross-hall were found tools of all descriptions, made of copper. These people undoubtedly knew the lost art of hardening this metal, which has been sought by chemicals for centureis without result. On a bench running around the workroom was some charcoal and other material probably used in the process. There is also slag and stuff similar to matte, showing that these ancients smelted ores, but so far no trace of where or how this was done has been discovered, nor the origin of the ore.

"Among the other finds are vases or urns and cups of copper and gold, made very artistic in design. The pottery work includes enameled ware and glazed vessels. Another passageway leads to granaries such as are found in the oriental temples. They contain seeds of varous kinds. One very large storehouse has not yet been entered, as it is twelve feet high and can be reached only from above. Two copper hooks extend on the edge, which indicates that some sort of ladder was attached. These granaries are rounded, as the materials of which they are constructed, I think, is a ver hard cement. A gray metal is also found in this cavern, which puzzles the scientists, for its identity has not been established. It resembles platinum. Strewn promiscuously over the floor everywhere are what people call "cats eyse', a yellow stone of no great value. Each one is engraved with the head of the Malay type.

The Hieroglyphics

"On all the urns, or walls over doorways , and tablets of stone which were found by the image are the mysterious hieroglyphics, the key to which the Smithsonian Institute hopes yet to discover. The engraving on the tables probably has something to do with the religion of the people. Similar hieroglyphics have been found in southern Arizona. Among the pictorial writings, only two animals are found. One is of prehistoric type.

The Crypt

"The tomb or crypt in which the mummies were found is one of the largest of the chambers, the walls slanting back at an angle of about 35 degrees. On these are tiers of mummies, each one occupying a separate hewn shelf. At the head of each is a small bench, on which is found copper cups and pieces of broken swords. Some of the mummies are covered with clay, and all are wrapped in a bark fabric.

The urns or cups on the lower tiers are crude, while as the higher shelves are reached, the urns are finer in design, showing a later stage of civilization. It is worthy of note that all the mummies examined so far have proved to be male, no children or females being buried here. This leads to the belief that this exterior section was the warriors' barracks.

"Among the discoveries no bones of animals have been found, no skins, no clothing, no bedding. Many of the rooms are bare but for water vessels. One room, about 40 by 700 feet, was probably the main dining hall, for cooking utensils are found here. What these people lived on is a problem, though it is presumed that they came south in the winter and farmed in the valleys, going back north in the summer.

Upwards of 50,000 people could have lived in the caverns comfortably. One theory is that the present Indian tribes found in Arizona are descendants of the serfs or slaves of the people which inhabited the cave. Undoubtedly a good many thousands of years before the Christian era, a people lived here which reached a high stage of civilization. The chronology of human history is full of gaps. Professor Jordan is much enthused over the discoveries and believes that the find will prove of incalculable value in archeological work.

"One thing I have not spoken of, may be of interest. There is one chamber of the passageway to which is not ventilated, and when we approached it a deadly, snaky smell struck us. Our light would not penetrate the gloom, and until stronger ones are available we will not know what the chamber contains. Some say snakes, but other boo-hoo this idea and think it may contain a deadly gas or chemicals used by the ancients. No sounds are heard, but it smells snaky just the same. The whole underground installation gives one of shaky nerves the creeps. The gloom is like a weight on one's shoulders, and our flashlights and candles only make the darkness blacker. Imagination can revel in conjectures and ungodly daydreams back through the ages that have elapsed till the mind reels dizzily in space."

An Indian Legend

In connection with this story, it is notable that among the Hopi Indians the tradition is told that their ancestors once lived in an underworld in the Grand Canyon till dissension arose between the good and the bad, the people of one heart and the people of two hearts. Machetto, who was their chief, counseled them to leave the underworld, but there was no way out. The chief then caused a tree to grow up and pierce the roof of the underworld, and then the people of one heart climbed out. They tarried by Paisisvai (Red River), which is the Colorado, and grew grain and corn.

They sent out a message to the Temple of the Sun, asking the blessing of peace, good will and rain for people of one heart. That messenger never returned, but today at the Hopi villages at sundown can be seen the old men of the tribe out on the housetops gazing toward the sun, looking for the messenger. When he returns, their lands and ancient dwelling place will be restored to them. That is the tradition.

Among the engravings of animals in the cave is seen the image of a heart over the spot where it is located. The legend was learned by W.E. Rollins, the artist, during a year spent with the Hopi Indians.

There are two theories of the origin of the Egyptians. One is that they came from Asia; another that the racial cradle was in the upper Nile region. Heeren, an Egyptologist, believed in the Indian origin of the Egyptians. The discoveries in the Grand Canyon may throw further light on human evolution and prehistoric ages.

Now that you’ve read this, I’d love to hear your impressions on this intriguing subject! (Oh, and this series about the Grand Canyon has more coming)

Black Friday: Ghost Adventures

Wake up from your turkey hangover. It’s time for a cozy evening with a fire, some spiced rum-laced apple cider. Light a fire in the fireplace and prop up your swollen feet. It’s time for “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel Channel at 9 pm (10 pm for us in AZ).

I’m excited about tonight’s location. The trio will provide plenty of entertainment, but they’re always more fun in places we haven’t seen investigated. They’re going to the Remington Arms factory in Connecticut, supposedly cursed by all the thousands of people who have died from Remington guns. Don’t believe it’s cursed? There were dozens of accidental deaths and murders inside the factory. Two men fell into smelting pots filled with molten lead, others died by ammunition going off, and a huge explosion.

Don’t forget to have a nice swig of your drink of choice for every “bro” and “dude.” Tonight’s drink at our house? Hot apple cider with cinnamon schnapps and spiced rum. Yummers!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

True Story: Arizona Skinwalker or Shadow Animal?

Skinwalker: (Wikipedia) is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires. Similar lore can be found in cultures throughout the world and is often referred to as shapeshifting by anthropologists.

Shadow person/animal:
(Wikipedia) Are supernatural shadow-like figures of both modern folklore and paranormal popular culture that believers claim appear as dark humanoid (or animal) forms or evasive specters seen mostly in peripheral vision.
My ghost hunting partner, Ginny, and her significant other, David, had an experience that so impressed me by their story, that I sat them down to get the details. This time I took notes instead of curling up with my feet tucked under me being spooked by the description. I thought I’d share it with ya’all because, as debunkers, my ghost hunting partner and I both are left puzzled by this encounter. Here is their story:

It was July 2006. The couple was leaving the Grand Canyon Park to head south towards Williams for their hotel room. They were driving in a car, heading out the park entrance around 9:30 p.m. They were less than a mile from the park on this unusually chilly night. In front of them was an SUV perhaps 8 car lengths ahead. They saw the brake lights go off on the SUV and Ginny warned David, who was driving. They both noted the SUV swerve into the oncoming lane as if something were in the roadway. Ginny witnessed something very huge and black, taller than the SUV, its shoulder area seeming to be about even with the top of the SUV. They had only a couple seconds before they came up on the spot themselves. David swerved the car into the oncoming lane as he witnessed this huge black creature threateningly close to the car. As he did this, Ginny in the passenger side looked up to this gigantic black mass. Its head was well above the height of the car and she caught its eyes as they passed by it. Her immediate reaction was one of impending doom and threat. She felt its massive size and power and felt completely inadequate in their car in comparison.

David slowed down, thinking of turning around, when he looked into the rear view mirror and saw the car behind him swerving the same way in the road, just missing this huge black…creature. Oddly, the lights of that car could create no detail on this black mass either.

They both continued down the road, confused and upset by the encounter. Later, they passed by some elk in a field and their car lights hit them and showing exactly what they were including the details and shapes of them and the foggy wisps of their cold breath from their flaring nostrils.

It wasn’t until Ginny was describing the story to me that I realized some strange features. One was the SUV in front of them slammed on their brakes. Had those people seen this thing in their headlights in the distance, they would have braked slower. They didn’t see it, even with headlights, until they were upon it. Ginny described a steep embankment near the roadway that seemed to have entrapped this thing, forcing it to follow the road to get out. At least, that was the sense of the situation. Also, their own headlights showed nothing more than a black mass. No color, no detail, no definition. Given that it was threatening their place in their lane, this creature should have been seen, as the elk had been seen by the headlights. As well, the size was exceptional. If a typical SUV is perhaps 6’ tall and the slope of what seemed to be shoulders was even with it, then that would make this creature perhaps over 7’ high! Ginny commented several times about how massive and threatening it seemed.

What it was they saw that evening on the roadway, they’ll never know. The memory still haunts them as a singularly strange and eerie encounter. Whether it was a skinwalker or possibly some kind of shadow animal (like a shadow person) is unknown. The intriguing thing is how shadow people are caught out of the corner of your eye, you turn to see them and they’re described as completely black and solid-appearing without detail, and bring with them a sense of impending doom and threat. Similar, huh?

While investigating this encounter, I’ve come across some other very creepy and amazing stories from the Grand Canyon that will be coming in subsequent posts. Apparently, the supernatural and unexplained is very common there. In fact, perhaps one of these upcoming posts will tie into this story!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Sappy as it sounds, I give super thanks to the people who read my blog and whose blogs I read. The sharing of knowledge, hopes, dreams, personalities and viewpoints, are all the greatest gifts. I had no idea when I set out to blog about theories surrounding ghost hunting just what I’d get out of it. I hoped to find others who were into ghosts and share experiences over our distances. Instead, I found a wonderful collection of people who are all so precious in their own ways. Every day, I’m amazed even more by how far apart some of us (a whole globe for some of us) and yet how very similar we are. Perhaps blogging isn’t so much about expressing ourselves, but finding ourselves out amongst humanity and realizing that with a bit of probing, strangers become family. To my extended family, I thank you for your presence in the blog world and for making the “real” world a better place, as well.

Writer's Workshop: Horror Writing

Hey, everyone. I'm hosting T-giving tomorrow. I do every year. My family had a tradition of taking in all their friends who didn't have family nearby or were single and otherwise wouldn't cook a turkey. It's a tradition I really enjoy and a chance to give people little leftover containers to take home and enjoy the turkey overdose in good measure. Today, I'm making apple crumble pie, rum brownie pie, and pumpkin cheesecake, and managing to edit "The Thicket." (It's my day off from work). But, I thought I'd pop on this little informative post today. Enjoy!

I might be the blind leading the blind. I’ve never taken a class on how to write horror, although my major was English and creative writing from junior high through college. I have yet to be paid for my publication of horror, although I’m vigorously working to take it out of the “hobby” category and into the “professional” arena, finally (and thanks to your encouragement).

I’ve been a part of writing critique groups over the years and accumulated all kinds of helpful knowledge by instinct and observation. I want to share it with ya’all because I know that almost all my followers are closet writers. I see potential in each of you and your writing and want to encourage you to take your writing more seriously and do something with it, whether it’s short stories for your blog, letters of appreciation to family members and friends, or pursuing getting published.

I’ve had a hard time finding a critique group for horror, so if any of you are writing horror fiction and want to pass scenes for editing back and forth, let me know ( I’m always receptive to input and I adore helping people figure out their strengths and how to showcase them.

Here’s a list of some “no’s” and “yes’s” that I’ve developed over the years of writing horror:

Passive versus active wording.

No: “She felt her heart pounding.” (We don’t need to know that she felt it. If her heart pounded and she’s conscious, she felt it.)
Yes: “Her heart pounded wildly.”

No: “His fist was knotting in her hair.” (avoid “was” and "that")
Yes: “His fist knotted in her hair.”

Too little information (aka, nouns need adjectives)

“The room was dusty and dirty.” (Like grandma’s? Like an old library? Where the heck are we, by the way?)
Yes: “Layers of dust caked the counters, carrying the musty scent of a kitchen left unattended, possibly for decades.”

There’s too little information, and too much…

No: “He passed by the first door, turned on his heel and studied the next, and then the next. Pushing a door open, he wondered if he should enter, but turned and continued on. Every door was closed, except the next one. He decided to stop and peer inside.” (Are you out of breath just reading this in your head? We don’t need every single action of a tedious task.)
Yes: “With over a dozen doors to choose from, Stuart walked the length of the corridor; stopping occasionally to be certain the rooms were free of occupants."

Why are they that way? What motivates them?

No: “Bart didn’t want to enter the barn because it was dark. (Use these moments of personal challenge to provide some insight into their character and his dilemma by explaining why.)
Yes: “Bart paced before the barn, fighting the internal battle that he’d fought since he was six years old; fear of the dark. He knew he must enter, but he also knew it would be pitch black. And which scared him more, the unseen contents within the barn or the creature lurking in the pasture coming ever closer?”

Keep your senses—all six of them!

“It started to rain and the room became dark.” (Set the mood—use the senses, make it real and atmospheric, in other words, put us in the storm.)
Yes: “The first plinking drops of rain were followed by a full-out pounding on the tin roof. The arriving storm brought with it a cloak of darkness, matching the mood of the family inside.”

Make it terrifying.

No: “The monster was large and intimidating.” (For heaven’s sake—larger than what? More intimidating than what? Give us a reference point and show how it intimidates by expression. And try very hard not to use “was”--passive)
Yes: “It loomed over her, swinging its beefy arms and casting a black shadow of icy cold.”

Who the heck are we talking about?

No: “She went to the store and peered into the window, her belly clenched in fear. It appeared she was the last person in the world. Everyone was gone and she remained all alone, nothing but her trusty cat to keep her company.” (Too many pronouns (six)! Occasionally insert a name, try not to use so many “her’s” and “she’s”)
Yes: Betsy went to the store and peered into the window, belly clenched in fear. With everyone gone, it felt like the end of the world. If I weren’t for her trusty cat, she’d probably go insane.” (two pronouns, one name)

One thing to remember about writing horror is that it involves three elements that must be the focus:

Characters: These must have a fatal flaw, some awful weakness, some inner strength that has yet to be challenged.

Mood/atmosphere: The five senses, making the most of the location, and putting us in that place where things are happening.

Fear: Some universal fear that we all can relate to. For every action, there is a reaction that needs to be shown and not told. If a woman is afraid of someone following her down an alley, there's no need to tell what's going on in her head. Show it! "She looked over her shoulder again and again as her pace sped up. Still, the dark figure pursued her. Angie broke into a run, desperate to reach her car."

I plan to write more posts in the near future about writing horror to help refine our skills. In writing this, I’m reminded to go over my recent editing and be sure I’ve adhered to the rules I’ve just touted. I believe these skills when applied can help even regular post writing to turn an informative subject into something more compelling. I've found when you have passion for a subject, it makes it easy to elaborate. I enjoy public speaking and one reason I do is that I choose subjects I love and so talking about it comes easily. If you pick a subject for a post, decide if you find it humorous, compelling, scary, informative, or curious, and write from that attitude and it will change the entire tone of the post. I have the feeling a great majority of you don't need this advice--your blogs are already thoughtfully written, but I hope that for anyone who's uncomfortable with writing or reading this and thinking of starting a blog, you realize that everyone has a story and that alone makes a blog!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tremors: Monster Hunters!

One of my favorite cult films of all time is “Tremors,” a 1990 Kevin Bacon movie about remote desert folk preyed upon by a monster. Not the usual 2-legged, 4-legged type. This one tunnels underground and can get you, almost no matter where you hide! This rag-tag group has to come together to find a way to survive as more and more of them are being picked off.

The movie is just one of those that you can see on a Saturday afternoon when you’re in the mood for something fun and easy to watch, but tense and laced with that “apocalyptic” feel. It satisfies action, tongue-in-cheek, apocalypse, SciFi, and horror moods. The characters are all interested and a wide mix of locals.

One, in particular, stands out: Burt Gummer.

The character of Burt Gummer was played by Michael Gross as a survivalist type who is ready to go after the monster with all his stockpiles of arms, grenades, Malakoff cocktails, anything! The character (showcased in the clip above) is my second favorite after my very favorite of all time; the crusty sea captain “Quint” from “Jaws.”

Early on in my “blogging career,” I ran into a name that caught my attention, “Gummerfan’s MonsterHunter HQ.” This blogger is one of the most interesting characters I’ve come along in the blog-o-sphere. He is not only a huge fan of the character of Burt Gummer and the survivalist attitude, but he’s part of round table group that contemplates what to do in case of vampire or zombie attacks. As well, he writes wonderfully interesting posts about cryptids like Bigfoot, legendary monsters like chupacabra, and paranormal legends about UFOs and weird creatures showing up together. He doesn’t just wonder, he’s really a monster hunter, hitting the road to check it out!

I’m excited whenever I find folks who are into something and give it their all! I can’t tell you in the suburbs how many heartless drones I’ve run into. I ask them, “what kind of hobbies do you do?” “None.” “Any interests?” “Nope.” “What do you do in you spare time?” “I like Desperate Housewives.” Hmm…. How do people live without passions? Interests? Curiosity? Knowledge seeking? Crafts? Travel? Intrigue? Well, you won’t find a mindless un-opinionated drone on Gummerfan’s site.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Smell of It: Autumn in a Bottle

I was obsessed with capturing a scent that embodied my moniker, “Autumnforest.” I did some research and found a fantastic blog called I Smell therefore I am. The name of a perfume caught my eye, “Underworld.” No, not like the river Styx and Satan himself. Think “Middle Earth.” After reading this description, I had to find the fragrance: “To me, it smells of the imaginary middle earth, or perhaps the world described in J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Underworld actually smells quite familiar, like a smell I have always known, all my life, even though I don’t know what exactly it is… There are earthy seasonal smells that I enjoy when I’m out for a hike with the dogs. I love filling my lungs with that autumnal aroma in October/November of slowly decomposing leaves and cool crisp air mingled with chimney smoke. Or, in March/April I enjoy the aroma of the damp muddy earth, just beginning to bud and grow, the smell of early spring. Underworld seems like this sort of aroma to me, something that I’m familiar with but can’t quite place. The affect of Underworld is peaceful, calming and soothing. Underworld is such a natural smell, there is nothing artificial, harsh or obtrusive about it. All day long I keep smelling my wrists over and over because I just can’t get enough of this scent."

I so wanted to try this scent after the amazing description that fit me to a tee, I went online to buy it right out without having even smelled it. Yes, I’m crazy, aren’t I? This perfume is ridiculously expensive, but I found out folks sell “decanted” scents online. Basically, they buy large batches of the scents and pour them into smaller containers, simple and easy, and much much cheaper! I went to The Perfumed Court online and bought the fragrance and was unbelievably happy that it was EXACTLY as described. This is now my signature scent.

I also went on to find some other variations of scents that are much more economical for those who want to smell of autumn without breaking the bank. For scents for men and women both, I found Bath and Body Works to have a wonderful array of autumn scents.

For a daytime scent for regular wear (and less expensive than perfume every day), I purchased Bath and Body Works ”Twilight Woods.” This is described as a blend of apricot nectar, mimosa petals, and Tuscan cypress creates this hypnotic fragrance inspired by a romantic walk in enchanted woods.

Want to literally smell like pine woods? “Juniper Breeze” body splash spray. A fresh, invigorating fragrance capturing the refreshing essence of juniper floating through the air on a cool morning breeze. Mid Notes: Jasmine, Ylang.

Want to smell like a sweet cup of tea? Clean and yet herbal? “White tea and ginger” body splash spray. This warm and nurturing scent pairs the sweet, mild fragrance of white tea with slightly spicy ginger. Top Notes: Yuzu, Lemon, Green Tea, Bergamot. Fragrance Mid Notes: Geranium, Nutmeg, Rose, Earl Grey Tea. Fragrance Base Notes: Musk, Woods, Berries.

Want to smell like an autumn baked good? “Sweet cinnamon pumpkin” Body splash spray. This fragrance brings together all the sweet and spicy scents of fall – apple, cranberry, cinnamon, pumpkin and clove.

MEN: Yes, you can smell autumnal and drive women crazy! My favorite scent in the entire world is Cardamom. In fact, I love it so much, I open the container in my spice cabinet and sniff it often and get a strange rush of pure joy. I have no idea why this scent does it, but it makes me bonkers. They must have figured out how manly and how delicious it is because Bath and Body Works has “Cardamom Zest” body spray for men and they also carry another absolute favorite manly autumn scent “Amber Spice” Body Spray, as well as “Woodland” and “Mountain Forest.”

Warning: If you give him one of these scents with a flannel shirt, you might not be able to leave him alone.

To me, scent is one of those things that gives a person an ambiance, a theme that makes you immediately go, “I get him” or “I get her.” In fact, your sense of smell is the fastest to the emotional center in your brain. If you’ve ever had a whiff of magnolia on a summer afternoon when it’s humid after a rain, you might feel a sudden surge of sentimental pleasure (if you’re a southerner like me). Should someone wear that fragrance, I immediately feel a summer sentimentality and also a sense of her being a real southerner-hearted woman. That immediate combination of association and assumption can make or break you when meeting folks. I remember one time, a very tough tomboy type woman I knew who wore floral scents. It was so completely wrong, that I always felt there was something in-genuine about her. That's how important that little drifting scent can be.

Enjoy the season and the scents associated with it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Psychometry: Relics From Aspen Grove

I promised to write a post about some of the psychometry readings I got as a child on relics I dug up at my childhood home, Aspen Grove. I thought I’d finally sit down and recall the readings I had done. Most of the details are still very fresh in my mind, but some are gone. I admit that my mother humored my explanations for every item I dug up, but I don’t think she wanted to believe I actually was reading the history of these historic pieces. Still, I recall being excited on any boring day to pull out the metal detector and let my instincts tell me where to go. Sometimes, while playing in the gardens, I’d sense a place with history. I’d end up playing there, sitting there, hanging out there, until finally I dug up whatever was there “calling” to me. On rainy days, I’d go in the crawlspace under the kitchen in the basement and find amazing things. The kitchen was added on in the 1900s and there were a great deal of interesting items there.

Below, I recaptured a conversation pretty accurately. I’m one of those freakish people with memories back to my diaper days. It might be related to my spatial abilities, but for some reason, I have an astonishing memory for things that pique my interest at the time.

The very first psychometry I remember sharing with my mother was a bayonet from a Civil War rifle. I was about 7 years old at the time and I didn’t know that others didn’t read things about objects when they held them, so I offered my insights without censor.

I remember I rushed to my mother in the chair where she had the papers spread out, uncovering the history of the estate for the historical society. I set down the dirty bayonet, breathlessly excited. “Mom!”

“Hmm?” As usual, she didn’t glance up from her paperwork, but she must have smelled the earthy scent of the relic, because she lifted her head and frowned. “What is that?”

“It’s a knife!” I told her.

She pulled her glasses up and grabbed the dirty metal from my hands and studied it. “It looks like a bayonet.”

“What’s a bayonet?”

“It’s a sword-like device attached to the end of a rifle.”

I frowned. “If you have a gun, why would you use it to stab someone? Why not shoot them?” I pondered.

She laughed. “Well, it looks like you found a real relic. Probably over a hundred years old. Maybe older.”

“Really?” That didn’t excite me as much as what I had to say next.

“It was James FitzPatrick’s.”

”Hmm?” She looked up from her new distraction. “James Fitzpatrick? Where did you hear that?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. He killed a man.” I said in a hushed confession.

“He did?” Now she had on her exaggerated mother face with raised eyebrows and dramatic expression to let me know my story was riveting. Even as a child, I sensed she thought this was pure entertainment, but to me it was very real.

“He killed him and then he threw up.” I confided as if it were a shocking secret.

“He did?” She sounded a bit aghast.

“Then, you know what he did?” I whispered confidentially.

“What did he do next?”

My voice lowered in hushed wonder. “He dropped to his knees and he prayed for the man’s soul, and his own.”

My mother blinked. She wasn’t always comfortable around children, even having 5 of them. She liked little adults much better. So, the game was over for her and she was ready to retreat to her paperwork. “We’ll clean this up later. It’s going to be very difficult to get this down to its original shape.”

I turned to skip away, when my mother called out.

“Very good find!”

In my child’s mind it wasn’t the physical find that was very good, it was what I gleaned of its history.

I’ve not thought about that experience very often over the years, although admittedly one Halloween I made fake headstones for the garden and when I was done with one of them, I realized I had named him “James Fitzpatrick.” It sort of jarred something in my memory and then all of a sudden I was recalling all the psychometries I had performed as a child before I tucked away the skill due to lack of nurturing and didn’t pick it up again until my 30s.

Now, I’m beginning to wonder if there was a James Fitzpatrick in Northern Virginia during the Civil War. I suppose it shouldn’t be too hard to find some listings of regiments. Whether he was in Fairfax specifically, I don’t know. I suppose I could now begin a study trying to find him. With the advent of home computer searches nowadays it’s much easier. One of the things lacking in psychometry is just how the item got there. It’s entirely possible someone kept the gun in the family or perhaps sold it off or left it somewhere to be found by another and it began trip that ended on our property. I can still in my mind picture him and the connection I felt with his life and emotions.

Another item that stuck with me was a porcelain doll. It’s odd because I usually read metal objects better, but this broken delicate baby doll had a mood about it that was hard to shake. I both loved her and hated her. I was a tomboy as a kid and nurturing baby dolls was completely not my gig. In fact, I never owned a baby doll. They creeped me out, quite honestly. I liked being the only baby in our family of five kids. I did, however, grab this doll away from my sister when she dug it up. I was about 8 at the time.

I rushed it to the house, cleaned it off (against orders, us kids weren’t supposed to try to clean them or disasters ensued and ruin soon followed). I set her on the counter in the sunlight from the kitchen window and studied her. She had high arching eyebrows, a broken off arm and foot, and sat about 4” tall. Her expression was so devoid of emotion that it might have been the very moment I decided baby dolls were evil (hence my last Halloween setup display).

Porcelain isn’t impossible to read, but not always as clear and visually bright. I did, however, get a sense that this doll had been part of a set of three dolls and the other two had long since been smashed to pieces. This one was kept well into a woman’s lifetime as the only physical memory of her childhood that remained. I got the distinct feeling it was someone who might have lived in the house when it was taken over by the soldiers to use as a field hospital and they had to vacate. The family did return and got money from the government to fix up the tattered house, but I suspect this woman had only one homely porcelain doll remaining of her prized possessions. I wonder sometimes if it’s one of the 7 women in the picture of the estate just when the Civil War ended and they removed back in (photo above). My eyes are always drawn to the girl with the crutch on the left….

I was perhaps 12 or so when I stopped reading objects. The reason is the object that I had read was so disturbing, I didn’t want to know people’s inner hells. I was rather naïve about the Civil War. Admittedly, the ghosts haunting our halls were guardian soldiers who missed their families and adopted my own. I felt protected by the beautiful boxwood gardens and orchards and forests that surrounded the estate. It was so lush and beautiful that I always envisioned The War as something brief and fleeting. Yet, the house was wrestled back and forth between North and South to be used as a hospital and having been built in the mid 1700s, had seen a great deal of families coming and going for generations and generations. The residual created lots of atmosphere and pockets of weird feelings in certain rooms, certain spots, and even the land seemed extraordinarily haunted as much as the house.

But, this one time as an adolescent, I used the metal detector to dig up a bullet. It was nothing more than a tiny blip on the metal detector, but I knew it wasn’t where the water lines ran or anything else. Normally we dug up so many bullets, we’d throw them back into the hole and cover them up, like catching tiny fish on a tossing them back in the water. How many bullets can a person showcase in their cabinets? This one, however, bothered me very much. I pocketed it and forgot about it until bedtime. I pulled it out of my pocket and held it for a time. A story seemed to unfold. A field doctor/soldier. I pictured him both healing and fighting. I didn’t get a sense of his name, but his age was rather older than the others in the building, in his 40s at least. He had a rather fatalist view of war and fighting and yet it was his career. I’d call him jaded. I felt as if he’d seen enough men die to be well and truly sick of trying to find ways to save people with limited resources and knowledge. So removed from his inner emotions, sort of able to block them off, he took his gun and shot a dying soldier in his head. He couldn’t provide him any comfort, so he made his death hasten. I caught a glimpse of the aftermath of two or three other people coming to the room. There was a conflict for a moment about what was to be done and then it was decided not to speak of it again. Whether the doctor/soldier went on to shoot others, I don’t know, but I got the sense of his other attendants were almost sympathetic and relieved someone else did it, as if they were avoiding the man since they couldn’t help him.

I’ve not let myself really look at these readings as an adult, but now I find myself wondering how much of it can be verified. It changed how I looked at the home and the people who had been there.

Everyone has a story, but so does every object

Feng Shui the Ghosts Away: Crystals and Rocks

I’ve talked about the fantastic book “Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster” by Anna Maria Prezio before and I thought this time I’d cover some of her advice about crystals and rocks and their place in keeping your home a happy and spirit-free place.

Since I don’t like to close the door on any options in the ghost hunting world and I highly advocate theories, I think covering the use of crystals and rocks might sound a bit new-age to some, but when considering the most haunted places are also in the most geologically rich areas, I’m willing to consider the use of crystals and rocks. I’ve experimented with them a great deal and have ended up incorporated them into my home with great satisfaction.

I have a boat-shaped basket and it’s filled with crystals, geods, stones, seashells, pinecones, and feathers. I love things from nature and it never occurred to me that it might change the feel of my dining room with this enormous amount of amethyst, quartz, and other powerful stones like turquoise and metals like copper in one place, but I will admit that some folks refer to it as "the healing spot." If you wave your hands over top of it, you feel strangely tingly and renewed. When I sit near it to eat my supper, I feel very peaceful and happy. I cannot seem to feel negative emotions in that room, even when I’m having a cranky day. I find myself finding reasons to sit there. It took me some time to realize that having such a positive mood might have something to do with the environment.

Much like feeling tingles and uneasy feelings in a haunted spot, positive emotions can be evoked by the right environmental conditions, as well.

Here’s some tips from her book:

Cleansings crystals: Place in rock salt and water solution. Some say an hour is enough, others overnight. Then, let it them dry in the sun.

A large obelisk shaped natural crystal in the center of the house helps to dissolve tensions from quarreling. Keep a light on it and it will help spread its power.

Crystals in areas where you tend to leave clutter helps to negate its negative force.

If you want your partner to stay at home more often, take a natural crystal or rock and tie it by a red string from the foot of your side of the bed (attraction?).

Yellow citrine spheres attract wealth. Place one on your office desk at work.

The most unique gift I ever received was in a little box with a cottony cushion inside. No, not jewelry (I’m not the type of gal who’s impressed by jewelry, I honestly love having someone give me something simple and yet says “I totally get you.”). Inside the simple box was a precious gift, one beautiful raw stone; prehnite. It came with a little card telling me its attributes and the powers it could instill in me; “greater vision with your third eye for use during meditation.” What my dear friend was saying was, “I know you started meditating and exploring your psychic side, and I’m all for it! Here’s a power booster.” For others, the stone might be a protective one, one that attracts love or money. Such a simple and beautiful way to empower a loved one.

Later, I began to collect more and more beloved stones and crystals to my collection. I even got a drawstring little bag and put the proper mix in before a ghost hunt to attract spirits and communication (just in case), or put a mix for vivid dreams and visions when I sleeping by placing it under my pillow. When I went on a job interview, I had a stone in my pocket to attract money. My fingers caressed it before I went in. I have stones for different ailments, ones for different personality traits I desire. I later purchased necklaces with tiger’s eye and a quartz wand, turquoise, and amethyst, and they all seemed to perform some sort of soul-satisfying need for empowerment and peace.

This Christmas you might consider giving the gift of stone magic. I followed a wonderful blog by Hibiscus Moon. She often times talks about the healing properties of stones and crystals. And, she has a wonderful shop on Etsy where she sells these. This is a good place to start as you begin a journey to give and receive the power from the earth.

Look at it this way, it's always more appreciated and vital to give a live plant than to give cut flowers, and it is equally as exciting for a person to receive a single powerful stone than chips set into a piece of jewelry with no living element to it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photographing Abandoned Sites

There are a choice few of us out there who see an abandoned place and have to stop everything and rush in to view it. For many, abandoned buildings and objects are nothing more than ugly litter, dirty harbors, and rat-infested, nasty-smelling, indigent nests. If you’re one of those, this post is not for you.

Moving on to the audience who finds abandoned things fascinating, I’d like to talk to you about how to go about photographing an abandoned site. They make the most striking and emotional pictures you will ever take. I'd like to teach you the few helpful hints I've learned from documenting such places the past decade.

Note: I won’t treat you like children, but I will mention, because it’s worth reminders…beware! You should not go in if there are posted signs not to trespass. You also do not want to go in if you suspect someone might be living within. You do not want to go in alone—ever! Always have lookouts for you while you get lost photographing. Someone has to see if people are arriving or if a stairwell isn’t secure. It’s really commonsense. It’s entirely possible that you could be caught in an abandoned building and be fined or warned and even arrested. I’ve found with a camera in hand and no signs against trespassing, you usually can get off with a “scat!” from the officer and be the stupid tourist with camera in hand climbing back into his car and rushing away. As someone in the medical field too, I’ll advise you to be sure your tetanus is updated.

Go from 7 am to 10 am or go from 3 pm to 5 pm. Should it be summertime, you can stretch it 7 pm. Generally, you want the sun to be around 45 degrees in the sky and not overhead. You want the shadows.

Honor the weatherworn: Broken windows? Peeling paint? Faded signs? These are all extremely beautiful things to capture. One thing you’ll noticed right away about abandoned places is the weather-worn quality to them from peeling faded chipping paint and wood to dusty windows and texture. Sometimes, I spend a good 50 pictures just doing close-ups of the bubbling paint and the array of leaves on the floor for good stock texture pictures. These are very inspiring for an artist or craftsperson. While sizing it up, note if the building is tall or fat and squat. These perspectives can be accentuated by coming up under the eaves and taking a shot upwards to elongate a tall building or going down on your belly on the ground and getting the wide squat house in a more horizontal shot.

Passages: The doorway and windows greet you, so take advantage of shots into the building (use your flash, the contrast from the brightness outside and darkness inside will make it impossible to see the indoors) or take a shot from the inside looking out the window, especially if an ugly indoors clashes with a scenic outdoors.

Nature: Look for contrasts. Nature taking over a building; from moss to vines to bird’s nests inside. Find those spots where the setting is taking over the building in a natural tug-of-war.

Less is more: A lot of abandoned sites are littered with so much debris, it’s mind boggling. Whenever I’ve taken shots of this mess, it’s come out as just that. Too much stimulation and it isn’t beautiful, it’s simply a trash bin. The beauty in the discarded is in its loneliness within the site. A single chair (like the photo above) can have a gut-punch reaction to the belly, just filled with emotion. Imagine that person that sat in that chair before that sliver of sunlight, wishing to be free of that prison? That’s what the photo says to me. The photo was from an asylum. Remembering the original location helps to inspire these kinds of shots with emotion.

Don’t forget yourself:
I photographed sites for years before I realized, I have no pictures of me in these beautiful places and yet I feel so very peaceful in them. So, I started using my timer and get a shot that shows the mood of the place. In one completely empty old hotel, I leaned against a window frame and crossed my arms, looking out as if awaiting a visitor. I came out as nothing more than a dark silhouette, but with the light around me, it showed how empty and bleak the room was. I’ve taken shots of my feet on the cracking floorboards with a rain-soaked magazine nearby and my sneakers caked in mud. I’ve gotten shots of me lying on a cot like a dead person, hands crossed over my chest, dead weed flower in my hand.

Ultimately, let your own tastes lead the way. When you walk into the place, what is it that fascinates you? The leftover belongings? The chipped paint? The light and dark? The emptiness? Accent these things—that’s where real art comes out; when it’s something that moves you specifically. Later, when you show them to others, they will invariably say “Oh my gosh! That looks so bleak.” (Just the mood you felt there).

Should you get any great pic's, please share. I hope to do one soon posting some of my favorite shots I've taken over the years.

Office Spooks: Haunted Work Places

Haunted work sites aren’t just for the docents of historic museums and the renovators of vaudeville theaters. High-rise office staff, shop owners, and warehouse workers all report haunting issues. We often think of ghosts as hiding out in old hospitals and antebellum mansions, but where there are people to perceive their presence, they make themselves known.

Our local team, MVD Ghostchasers led by Debe Branning, was actually begun by workers from a motor vehicle department who began to experience ghostly issues in the workplace following a coworker’s death. In search of answers, they formed a group. That was back in the 90s and they’ve been going strong since.

Some of the issues at hand in work places are the repetitive nature of work. This involves the same seating places, same halls walked, same doors opened, over and over and over again, day by day, month by month, decade by decade. This is often what we find in homes that have been around for 100 or more years; enough generations repeating the same trek, the same hallway, the same stairs over and over nonstop. An office building is more like an old home on crack. It has hundreds of times more people doing the same things. In a way, it’s a giant psychic electrostatic generator. I like to call it the “lighthouse syndrome.” When you have a place with a large source of electrical power and people whose job is to follow the same path every day over and over again to do the same tasks, you’ve generated future ghostly footsteps, door closing sounds, murmuring voices.

Another obvious contributing factor is the power used to put together a work place. I’ve done studies in offices that complained of hauntings to find EMF levels off the meter near powerful electronics. These high levels of electromagnetic fields can be very unsettling on people. The question still hasn’t been answered for ghost hunters whether EMF is a sign of ghostly activity, a condition that causes the sensation of being haunted, or if high EMF is something necessary for a ghost to manifest. After having some truly amazing encounters in offices with high EMF, I am more of a belief that EMF is an attractive device for ghostly activity. I am curious about experiments being made in the field regarding how humans feel around high EMF levels. They have found they definitely can feel it with unsettling sensations, but the question is, do they get EVPs and see apparitions with these conditions? I get excited by an office wanting a study done because I know that where there’s a business, there’s high EMF, and possibly a magnet of sorts, very similar to the attraction with certain geology and waterways.

This syndrome, however, doesn’t account for the array of more traditional haunting features, such as EVPs, apparitions, and sensations of being touched. I remember as a kid having a family friend, an elderly woman, who told stories of her husband’s business. When he passed on in his mid 50s, leaving her a widow, she took over his business. She cursed that the office in the back of the store where he worked 16-hour days was obviously haunted by his presence. She saw him several times near the file cabinets, back turned to her, bent over a drawer. A few times, she’d come into the room to find the roller chair butted up underneath the desk where he used to do his books instead of near the desk with the typewriter where she kept it. Other times, she could hear a single swear word with his thick Polish accent. She had shrugged and sighed. “It makes sense, I suppose,” she had sighed. “He loved his work more than me or our home.” In that single statement, she may have answered the question; “why do people haunt work places?

Park rangers and medical workers in hospitals are two groups of people most often to report ghostly encounters. We can certainly understand those working in hospitals having such experiences, but park rangers? Yes! Their territory covers isolated cabins, cemeteries, historic paths, caves, state parks, and battlefields. When asked, rangers often times say it’s just part of the job to see to everyone’s safety within the historic site and sometimes that might include a tag-along ghost.

Obviously, having the right attitude about haunted work places is essential. The only times most people complain are when they’re alone after hours or left to close up the place. The great sighing heave of relaxation that occurs when there are no more elevators rushing up and down, people slamming doors and wheeling carts, makes for a contrast of sorts that can make one’s hearing acutely sensitive and the feeling of contrasting open spaces disconcerting. For the same reason historic sites such as Alcatraz are less likely to reveal their spirit activity during crowded tours, so are work places less likely to reveal visitors until the nighttime becomes their playground and all the human energy has been removed from their space.

So, if you’re ever walking the halls after hours and hear another set of footsteps, consider it your unseen coworkers, taking over the night shift.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Can You Create a Haunting?

Ghost huntings shows always travel to sites of death and torture in search of hauntings. But the question that comes to mind is, "can we bring the ghosts to us instead?" It doesn't seem like an illogical concept. They certainly shouldn't be limited by the lack of availability on plane flights or the unreliability of cars, so why not? Is it something in the environment that they need in order to manifest? Conditions so specific, they just can't show up in "weak" spots?

This question came to me once when I was at a cemetery. One thing I've noticed about them is that there seems to be a good deal of activity when a grave has recently been visited. Is it the family calling upon the loved one? Or is the residual of the family's emotions leaving an imprint on the environment. Or, as I am beginning to suspect, do our emotions create a condition that is attractive or perhaps produces enough spiritual energy for some interactions to occur?

Let's look at some popularly accepted ways hauntings are believed to be brought to your doorstep:

Mediums: In the old days, séances and Ouija boards supposedly brought the dead right to your location. How many people have had séances trying to conjure up Blackbeard’s ghost or even Elvis Presley? Some say that, once you use a Ouija board in your home, you now have unwanted guests. I am definitely of the mind set that Milton and Bradley do not possess such manufacturing abilities. However, there are those in the ghost hunting world, such as J&G of “Ghost Hunters” notoriety, who believe the use of the Ouija board opens you up as a doorway to spirits to communicate, so they believe the real danger is to the person and not the environment. Essentially, the board has no power, but stopping and meditating, and calling up spirits makes you a potential receiver of sorts.

I am not a believer that either method has efficacy that can be verified and therefore, like using my psychic abilities in a site, it is purely for my own curiosity and entertainment and not for true evidence gathering.

Haunted items: The acquisition of new objects to the home, i.e. inherited items, flea market finds, and antique shop purchases are often associated with the onset of strange events in the house. Does this mean you just brought home a ghost?

I highly doubt that. If anything is associated with those objects, it is the residue of the people who once used it, held it, associated with it. Their souls would certainly have better things to do than to clamp down to a favorite easy chair for eternity. As someone who does read objects, I can tell you that residue can last a long time. I’ve dug up Civil War and Revolutionary War items and found them to be fresh with memories. It’s rather amazing when you consider that more than likely these items were left on the ground for decades before the rains and mud buried them under. If a new object in the house seems to coincide with strange happenings, it’s not necessarily a direct connection, but anecdotal. More than likely you are sensitive to its residual.

Deceased family member: Death of someone close to you seems like the obvious haunting situation. I can tell you how many people report visitations from their deceased family members, myself included.

Most stories of the deceased showing up occurs at the time of death or soon after and are not long-lasting. Admittedly, with an enormous amount of loved ones on the other side (last count over 2 dozen), I have yet to get one of them to come forward and make the KII meter light up. I have done a lot of readings of deceased family for people, but those readings I do not believe are directly with the deceased, but the reading of the dead through the living.

In my quest for what creates hauntings and what sustains them, I do believe once the elements are understood, creating a haunting will be possible. The concept that somehow souls are trapped in places and stuck there seems absurd. That they’re looking for loved ones 100 years later when their loved ones are now in their own realm seems illogical. That they don't know they're dead is an insult to their intelligence. I would very much like to bring the ghosts to me, but for now I’ll leave that to researchers. I hope some day they can figure out what electrical/magnetic conditions are necessary to attract them and any other elements necessary.

As always, I love having your input in the subject of the day.

Ghost Adventures: Next Stop Ohio State Reformatory

TONIGHT: Travel Channel at 9 pm (for us in the SW, it’s on at 10 pm).

Are you feeling it in the air? Hair standing on end? Prickly goosebumps? A chill cold spot? It’s Friday. Time for another episode of “Ghost Adventures.” So, pull your Snuggies around you, ease back into your sofa, tuck your toes up under you for protection, and enjoy a really prime location this week: Ohio State Reformatory.

The prison has a long history of violent attacks. There have been over 155,00 inmates to pass through the prison in the last century. One prisoner set himself on fire. Lots of unmarked graves on the grounds. In a state with ideal geology. Basically, we’re talking prime ghost broth.

Enjoy Zak and the Boyz on their newest adventure and don’t forget your bottle of beer or shot glasses. One hit for every “bro” and “dude.” I hope your Saturday morning isn’t too terminal and your weekend is fantastically relaxing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Evolution of Ghost Hunting: Paul Bradford

The market is crazy saturated with way too many “hunters” these days and not enough intelligent beings to make heads or tails of the evidence they accrue. Without diligence, debunking, and extremely “hygienic” methods, a lot of proof of hauntings is nothing more than anecdotal.

That's why I'm so thankful when I come across a hunter who to me stands out from the crowd. When I saw Paul Bradford join the team of "Ghost Hunters International" last season, I felt like I could finally exhale. Guys like Paul promote the evolutionary process by strengthening the ghost hunting gene pool, so to speak. He's the “gadget guy" who joined GHI's ranks. He's earnest, clear-thinking, not distracted by his surroundings or the ambiance, and ever focused on helping the field advance to the next level. If Jason and Grant came up with a basketball, Paul brought the hoop and net to the game. He's helping to focus the research and refine it by beta-testing tools for ghost hunting.

His site clearly explains his goal to be sure that other teams have access to technology that’s being created and to test it in the field. He needs the feedback. He desires everyone to come together to find commonalities and consistencies and see what's working and what's not. It is precisely the attitude I’ve always taken towards the ghost hunting field. Whatever we find, we share, we spread information and tools, and we have hundreds, even thousands of eyes on phenomenon. This is how we get closer to finding out just how to “weigh” and “measure” phenomenon and perhaps get closer to understanding why it’s here and not there, why it happened today and not yesterday. It's the very reason I have this blog at all. To share.

Imagine carrying one tool instead of a bunch of them? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wrestled around with my photography fanny pack, trying to recall which compartment has the EMF meter, which has the KII meter, which has the thermometer, which one has the flashlight, et cetera. Well, Paul's site carries a device called the Mel 8704R - Hybrid. Genius! It makes it possible to have all these devices in one! He’s experimented with a wide variety of fun new things including an E-Pod. When you’re on a hunt and having signs of electrostatic issues such as hair standing on end, this device makes it possible to measure the electrostatic current present. The LED goes off when a charge gets near it with no need to hold it or to have a noise go off that could interfere with EVPs. For too many years, hunters have had to rely on equipment meant for electricians. No more! We finally have someone presenting us new options!

I admit to being a huge fan of finding ways to detect and decide what possible avenue ghost phenomenon is traveling. I think if I were to add something to the bin, I’d love to have a way to know if geomagnetic activity and electron fluxes are occurring. So far, every time I’ve gotten impressive evidence and a lot of phenomenon, 100% of the time it was on a night of electron flux or geomagnetic occurrences. That could be a marriage of the electrical and geologic/magnetic issues are common in hauntings as I've explained in my haunted formula.

I have to admit, with the revolving door on GHI (lots of people jettisoning), when they get good solid folks on there, I root for them big-time. I think Robb has really developed as a leader and a steady head and I admire Barry's eagerness. But, I definitely look forward to seeing Paul stay with GHI and be the Willy Wonka of ghost hunting gadgetry, testing all the new and fun toys!