Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This is who is giving you ghost hunting advice..

A friend dared me to videotape myself dancing in the bellydancing scarf, he just didn't say what kind of dance. I made this on a dare, but I thought--hell, this is probably the best portrayal of me of all time. I am willing to try just about anything, not worried about self embarrassment--I'm still 30 pounds from my goal--not afraid to shake it. So, if a person like me who questions authority, will try things on a dare, doesn't have ego issues, and has no problems putting a creative twist on things, she is an ideal ghost hunter.

The tao of Autumnforest:
Do it once with confidence.
Trust your first gut instinct.
Be fearless (of embarrassment or ghosts).
Stay in fighting shape.
Punctuate everything with a laugh (it attracts spirit activity and open-minded people like yourselves).
Always be your genuine self (then everyone knows what they're getting into when they befriend you)

So, this is who you're getting your paranormal info from.
Oh, come on, isn't that a butt you can trust?

Just so you know, the scarf has been retired...

p.s. The last post has 3 videos made from me to ya'all!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Videos Of Me Talking To Ya'all about GHT!

This is a 3-part talk from me to ya'all about why I started GHT. Enjoy the mystery...

Is TAPS Inbred and stale?


(*Don't forget my short story contest ends July 3rd*)

(***Tomorrow, there should be 3 videos of me on the post--talking to ya'all***)

Not to say that TAPS is running around *hoaxing stuff cause I know for a fact if someone were to film me throughout the day, they could blend that film any way they want to make it look like I’m a freaking idiot (actually, probably no editing necessary). But, this does one thing for the public—makes them open their minds. Just because you’re fed something doesn’t make it the truth. There are many truths. Many explanations. Question authority. Use your own logic. Find a happy medium.

I know, I’ve probably mentioned it before but I used to run a self-help group. I gave lectures, workshops, wrote articles, and sponsored dozens of people through issues with anxiety, panic, phobias, and PTSD. I remember a little story that often amused me and made for a good transition to a necessary topic of discussion.

A woman makes a ham every Easter. Her husband and kids love it. She takes the ham, cuts to top half off, puts this yummy sauce on it and cooks it. They rave every time. One year, the husband has friends over. The guest says, “I must get your recipe.” Well, the woman gives it to her and the guest looks at the recipe card and tilts her head as if puzzled. “Why do you cut the top off the ham?” The hostess thinks a moment. “Well, that’s how my mother did it.” Later, it nags the woman to wonder why the ham had to have its top cut off. She called her mother and asked her. Her mother laughed. “Honey, I cut the top of the ham cause that’s the only way it’d fit in our dinky oven.” The woman had been carrying on a family tradition without questioning the logic.

And so I turn my attention to TAPS as an example. Very much like that woman above, the team is trained, they go out, they do as told, they think as told, they make assumptions as told. No one ever questions techniques, explanations or methodology. Should such a thing happen within the scientific world, we would truly be screwed. Chances are that we’d be typing school reports on typewriters, gazing at the moon and wondering what it was made of, and curling up to the radio programs for family entertainment. Luckily, some freaking rebels thought; “Why the hell can’t we type on a screen?” "Why the hell can’t we fly to the moon and check it out?” and “Why can’t I watch what I want when I want?”

Here’s the conversation I want to hear some time:
JASON: Okay, Steve, you and Tango take the east wing. Me and Grant’ll take the west wing.
STEVE: You know, it might be good if we mix it up. Maybe I could go with Grant and you could go with Tango?
JASON: (blinks, mouth open, shakes his head) Did-I-just-hear-you question my authority?
STEVE: No. It’s just that, well, maybe you’re better at getting stuff to happen when you’re with Tango. Maybe Grant and I are a good team? We don’t know. We’ve never done it.
JASON: (Eyes bulging) Well, go the freakin’ hell down the east wing with Grant. We don’t need you. I have Tango here. Right kid?”
TANGO: (swallows tightly, Adam's apple bobbing,and nods)

The men disperse in a new formation—and, possibly something new occurs?

If you want to impress me, guys, how about mixing it up? How about letting the guys question the efficacy of the equipment? Try new techniques? Maybe set up some EMF shielding? How about just not walking around with a recorder in your blasted hand to create all kinds of noise from wind to footsteps to fingers creaking against the metal? Why not send one dude in the building alone?

I know, we’re all tired of the same old/same old. We know the routine: The guys pretend to do plumbing (seriously, guys...don't you own an inn somewhere?) Kris calls them with a spiffy new case. They set off with their team, walk around the joint, get the little talking to by the owner, set up the equipment, and split off into girls and boys and men. They do a KII session. They do an EVP session. Yada, yada, yada.

Admittedly, television show aside, if this is their technique for every hunt – it’s amazing they learn anything new. Oh, wait, they haven’t… They still have the same explanations for the types of ghosts, the reason they’re trapped, and even sometimes helpful demonologists who will help release them. With the exception of adding the KII meter after the Manson murder episode that got everyone atwitter for the device, they haven’t done anything new. They tried the Geiger counter at St. Augustine and put that puppy to bed.

They need a huge team and they need to shift them around so that they have different people all the time, different matches. Some people have chemistry for stuff to happen, some don’t. And, if you put the same people together forever you get "Kris and Amy syndrome"(yawn)….

Bring in new inventors, new devices, tackle the whole damn thing differently each time. Truly, guys, this inbreeding and stagnation is the death of the series, yeah, but more importantly without new blood, new ideas, and lots of questioning of the “old” ways, we’d still be using a Ouija and some medium throwing up cheesecloth to prove the afterlife.

You took us into the promise of a new millenium with new techniques for hunting and then you stood in the doorway and let it whack you in the behind.

*I'm not totally sold on the concept of hoaxing, at least as far as these two are concerned, but I am certain that conditions can happen during filming in which something wasn't caught and they go back to recreate it. This might have been the case. It's just like those godawful editing bug-a-boos you find in movies where the actor's hair was curly and then straight in the same scene. I like these guys, I really do. I admire the hell out of them for cutting a path no one else had the cajones to do. I only wish they had not let the routine of television get in the way of the field they were trying so earnestly to change. The growth somehow got lost in the episodes...

And you wondered if bigfoot existed in the vast northwest...

A tribe of hunter gatherers living in trees in the remote forests of Indonesia's easternmost Papua region has been discovered for the first time by the country's census, an official said on Thursday.

The nomadic tribe, called Koroway, numbers about 3,000 people speaking their own language and living off animals and plants in the forest, census officials found during the country's 2010 census survey.

"Their houses are in trees, their life is stone age," said Suntono, head of Indonesia's statistics agency for the Papua region, adding the tribe built ladders to huts in tall trees.

After receiving reports from missionaries, census officials needed to walk for up to two weeks to find the tribe, after travelling by boat from the nearest permanent villages, but still only reached the fringes of their territory.

For the rest of the article, read here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ghost Intimacy: Seriously??

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve talked about incubus and succubus and how the human body hits states of arousal during sleep and that's where the demon sex dreams come from, but out of curiosity, I wondered what people were saying about ghost sex and found out the Internet is filled with really bizarre and perverse ghost sex stuff. So much so, I just had to post it cause, you know, I’m weird that way--always curious. Also, I thought it might amuse you. I shit you not, this stuff is what people are saying out there…

Found these two entries in the urban dictionary:

A daring sexual maneuver where a man and woman begin having sex in the doggy style position. While the man is pleasing his woman, his friend comes out of the closet quietly behind them. The first man acts like he is adjusting while his friend takes his place. Making sure the female is facing the window, the first man runs outside and waves at her while his friend is giving it to her from behind. Guaranteed to make her look like she has seen a ghost.

(Sounds like a tag-team three-way to me)

The strange phenomena that has emerged over the last few years wherein young, mostly black urban boys film themselves humping and grinding against empty furniture, the floor, etc.

(Perhaps they’re just filming to check their technique?)

Oh, and here’s what one site says and I won’t even say what site cause I can’t believe this person believes this, but here goes…

When a person dies only his physical body ceases to exist. His subtle ghost body (consisting of the subconscious mind, intellect, ego and soul, i.e. minus the physical body) however continues to exist and moves on to the other regions of the universe. Or into someone else's body through the Vagina in woman or the Anus in men.

Often a womb infested with a ghost is that of the ghost of loved ones, or to those of strangers, and the worst case possible Devils and Demons. Any woman's womb can attract many different forms of a paranormal haunting at least that is the common belief amongst many. And so can men. The ghost that haunt men are often found living in their genitals, bowels or stomach. And the number of ghosts or demons and devil's that can infect a person is said to be uncountable.

Dead Lovers and Husbands are notorious for inhabiting a woman's womb. Usually they do this just to keep the woman they loved from finding another suitor. Or to be born again as that women's new born child.

These very malevolent ghosts and sometimes demon often show up in ghost photos with their heads or faces exposed peering from the haunted woman's vaginal or lower stomach or crotch area.

Sometimes good Spirits of the dead father of a child will enter a womb or anus just to protect his child from other ghosts.

There is a camp of people who believe that this is why women should not ghost hunt or venture into haunted locations unless they protect them selves from womb ghost and demonic intrusions. One rule is to never ghost hunt when you are horny.

(Okay, apparently I should never go ghost hunting cause according to that last sentence, I am always in a state of being vulnerable to “attack.” Please, I hope the womb and not the anus!)

So, how does one get a ghost to have sex with him/her?

As anything else online, I found this adorable spell. Now, before you berate me for giving people instructions on how to attract a sex demon, do keep in mind that this spell is simply someone’s made up idea of what would attract a sex demon. It is neither clinically proven nor acceptable logic, but it is a helluva funny spell…

The incubus (male) and succubus (female) are legendary night demons who engage in lascivious sexual activity with men and women, usually during sleep.

Ingredients: (sounds like the ingredients for a wild sex night to me)

red wine (or purple grape juice)
lime juice
walnut shells
goosedown pillow
piece of black leather or black lace or black satin
almond oil
black and red licorice sticks

Cabalistic legend says that Lilith was born out of the k'lifot, the shells. K'lifot can refer to any shell or covering, as in the skull that covers the brain or a shell that covers a nut or an egg. The foreskin is considered a form of k'lifot.

Use a walnut shell to attract the tantric lovers of the night. If you want to attract the male of the species, place a small strip of banana peel inside the shell. The incubi and succubi are also attracted to blood. You can use purple grape juice or red wine as a substitute. Place five drops of red wine into the shell. Squeeze five drops of lime juice into the shell for power and influence. Lay the walnut shell on top of a piece of leather or leather garment if you want the sex to be rough. Lay it on lace or silk if you want the sex to be gentle and tender. Make sure the walnut shell is sitting as an open bowl, or you trap the incubus or succubus when they arrive. Meditate on the little shell bowl and open your mind to the experience. Place your pinkies into the shell and then dab the outer corners of your eyelids. Rub your left big toe with almond oil. It is said that these sexy devils often enter the body through the big toe. Almond oil will attract them and help you to open up your sexual and psychic centers.

Scriptures warn against sleeping naked because it attract incubi and succubi. Sleep naked. Close your eyes and lay your head on a pillow of goosedown. Lilith and her consorts love all feathered things, and goosedown assists with communication on the astral. Begin to think sexy thoughts as you chew on a piece of black or red licorice. Red is for sex. Black is for naughtiness. Licorice stimulates the yin centers and makes us open and receptive to sexual gratification. Count to 666 (the number of the beast) and drift off to sleep. Your dream lover will not enter until you are sound asleep. Of course, some people do not remember their dreams. It would be a shame to forget this strictly taboo encounter after you've gone to all this trouble. Here is a spell to remember your dreams so that you can recall what transpired in the night and then brag to all your friends the next day. (Sex demons don't mind if you kiss and tell). Before you lay your head on the pillow, drink half a glass of water. The moment you wake up, drink the other half to remember your sweet and sexy dream.

(*WARNING: No sleeping people were harmed in the making of this post*)

QUIZ: How Will You Survive the Zombie Onslaught?

It's quiz time again! Count your a’s, b’s, c’s and d’s and scroll way down to find out how you will hold up to the zombie onslaught.

1. Given a free night after a hard week, I’d probably want to…
a. Stay home and veg-out
b. Get in my car and take off with the windows rolled down, music blaring and find the action
c. Get caught up on chores so I can be free all weekend.
d. Go where the nightlife is, have a few drinks, party

2. One word that typifies the way I tackle my life…
a. Stubborn
b. Spontaneous
c. Responsible
d. Creative

3. The most important things to me are…
a. My home, my family
b. My freedom, my life
c. My reasoning, my perseverance
d. My future, my present

4. Ideal family pet…
a. Dog
b. Cat
c. Fish
d. A menagerie

5. I would rather drive…
a. Something with high safety rating and extended warranty
b. Sports car—faster the better
c. SUV
d. Something different every day

Okay, you know the drill. Count your a’s, b’s, c’s and d’s and scroll way down to find out how you would survive a zombie onslaught…

a. I will reinforce my house and hunker down
b. I will get in my car with my loved ones and take off
c. I will take family and friends to a store with lots of supplies and wall ourselves in for the long haul
d. I will get family and friends and seal off the stairwells in the first floor of a high rise and claim the rest of the stories to live in.

This Week in Horror Movies and Paranormal TV

(*asterisk is next to what I’m watching)


NBC: “Persons Unknown” (show)


SyFy: Repeats of “Ghost Hunters” and new “Ghost Hunters Academy”
Animal Planet: (if you’re brave) a marathon of “Monsters Inside Me” (about parasites in human bodies)

SyFy: “The Brothers Grimm” (movie) “Enchanted” (movie)
FX: “27 Dresses” (I put this cause I know there are no dudes out there brave enough to sit through this gal-fest--horrifying!)

*TNT: “Unlawful Entry” (movie) This one is about a cop (Ray Liotta) who gets obsessed with (Kurt Russell) a guy’s wife. A tense thriller and I like it cause, heck, Ray and Kurt are both kinda hot and I have a thing for men with badges… (wink)

I know, I know, my sweeties, no more whining, puh-lease. The drought will be over and the much anticipated new show to see—“Fact or Faked” will be on SyFy mid July—just when monsoon season is kicking up. If I’m lucky, I can watch it while it’s thundering outside for extra atmosphere. I figured I’d also let ya’all know what’s sitting my Instant Queue on Netflix cause, well, you can see the kind of stuff I pull up during the drought to watch…

(I might as well open up my underwear drawer...You tell a lot about a person by what’s in their Instant Watch queue and what they will watch at any given moment or mood.)
“Californication” (just good old dirty fun and I love it!)
“Animals” (movie about werewolves, but screw the werewolf part—sucks, but has the very best sex scene in any horror movie—ever)
“Season 4 of Highlander” (Adrian Paul is my #1 hottie of all times, gotta get my fix)
“Lucas” (movie—sometimes I get nostalgic for the 80s and Corey Haim)
“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” (movie—in case I just want a monster movie)
“The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3” (movie—hoping to see this remake with my son. I actually liked it)
“Die Hard 2” (movie—I love the series, what can I say? Bruce Willis is just a real guy.)
“Cheesy Horror Vol. 1” (collection of horror movie trailers)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fangs: Get Your Vampire On!

Yeah, I was wandering around online and one thing led to another and I stumbled onto this site vampfangs and was so fascinated... I knew vampires were "in," as is ghost hunting and werewolves, but this site is seriously hardcore. They have all the different kinds of fangs you can imagine and accessories, as well as a scent line that comes in little coffins with names like "Salem Witch," "Absinthe," "Immortal," "Funeral parlor," and of course "Vampire Musk." There is also body latex...hmm.. There are also home decorations that are spooky. There was all kinds of stuff I've never seen that makes me smile. Honestly, when I want to get my spooky on or my vampire fantasy, I will be back to this site again. In the mean time, I'm probably going to order some scents. They sound great!

Great Contest!

My buddy, John at Season of Shadows is having a great giveaway--check it out!

You'll Find Me In This Album

**Remember the short story contest is running until July 3rd***

(**I had put this post in my queue when I read a post by my dear buddy Grim. He just recently put up a post about the albums that are his therapy. So, I pulled this up to add this addendum to it. It made me realize how vital music is to us all. When I go through hard times, music is the one thing that reminds me of who I am when all the bullshit is out of the way and it's just me and music and my body and my voice--it's magically empowering.**)

I have been working out very vigorously 90 minutes every single day of nonstop dancing; hip/hop, rock, club stuff and I never take a day off—no matter what. Why would I do this to myself? Even though a bikini is a good incentive, it's become something much less superficial. I do it to connect to who I really am—me when no one is looking. I turn on music I love and I work it out on my body and sing along sometimes. One album I use every day is Jimmy Eat World “Bleed American.”

If you want to know me, my hopes, my dreams, the way my body likes to move, how I walk and talk and live, lyrics that sing to me personally, music that makes my entire body go crazy, covers all my emotional range, makes me horny...well, everything--listen to this album. If I could only have one album forever—this is me. This is the sounds of my soul and passion about life and my attitudes…

“A Praise Chorus”
(This song is my life philosophy)

Are you gonna live your life wondering,
Standing in the back,
Looking around?

Are you gonna waste your time thinking,
How you’ve grown up,
Or how you missed out?

Things are never gonna be the way you want.
Where's it gonna get you acting serious?
Things are never gonna be quite what you want,
Or even at 25,
You gotta start sometime.

I’m on my feet I’m on the floor I’m good to go.
Now all I need is just to hear a song I know.
I wanna always feel like part of this,
I wanna fall in love tonight.

“Get It Faster” (best damn badass dance song ever! Get in touch with your angry sexy dangerous side-type of song)

“Your House” (most beautiful song—really awesome—amazing to sing to and harmonize)

“Bleed American” (great skater-sounding song to dance to)

“The Authority Song” (Rockabilly? What it is it? It’s nostalgic and 50s sounding and really fun to harmonize with, a feel good song)

Not one bad damn song on the entire album.

So, what is your one album that the sounds of it, the lyrics, the range of emotions—explains you???

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dale the Doll: Ik-snay on the Talk-Say

The human found my last blog post and I had a little talking to (oh, and Cindi, she took away my letter opener). Well, as you can see, she redressed me appropriately and we are on talking terms again (see the grin on my face? Wonder why? Look where she holds me! It's very soft.)

She has promised that whenever she is thinking of it, she will tell me all her concerns and worries and I will be her listener. She said she trusts me because I won't tell anyone (hee hee). So, I am in an important place in her life again and, hell, a pretty good place in her arms when she decides to hold me... What more could a doll ask?

Dale The Doll: The Human Ignores Me!

The human has been ignoring me. I shouldn’t take it as a sign that I did something wrong, perhaps bore her. Perhaps she has moved onto other things? Outgrown me? She left me in the onsie pajamas with the footies. I can hardly seem very manly to her. Not that I want her attention THAT way, but she does seem to be easily distracted by the male species. She must be because whenever she watches “Reign of Fire” she sighs when the two men start fighting and she writes erotica--which she must read out loud. Good God! Of all the indignities I must endure! I'd rather hear her scary horror writing.

She used to look at me occasionally or come by and move me around to reposition me (I appreciated that, I get cramped up in the same position).

I do not need love, you understand. I simply need an occasional show of appreciation for being a companion.

I get so bored, I've taken to watching TV when she is out. What is the human preoccupation with "reality" TV? What reality do these artificially rigged people live in?

You know, I blame it on her lack of fear of me. She has not been unsettled by me since the beginning. When she picked me up in the antique store, her blasted psychic hands told all of my history and she felt, gulp, sad for me.

I am too proud to live with her pity, so I have done my best to make her uncomfortable. Still, she will forgive me anything. That is her nature.

Why did I have to get a tender-hearted horror-loving female as a caretaker?

I think I need a new tactic. I would really like your advice. How can I get her to pay attention to me again? Please leave comments. I will read them and respond in the comments!

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Etsy Shop Opens: Holy Shit!

Well, I did mention recently that I would give ya’all a warning that the shop is opening on Etsy. This is the only time you will hear me gabbing about my Etsy shop because, well, honestly I want my blog to be my blog about Ghost Hunting Theories and most of all a fantastic place for posting comments—I think our comments are more interesting than my damn posts which says my followers are one step ahead of me! Upon occasion, I may make a tiny blurb about what just went into the shop for you just so you can know about the ghost-related/haunted items going up.

So, here’s the story about my “AutumnForest Haunted” Etsy Shop. It opens tomorrow Saturday the 26th at 11 am EST. I have 4 clocks and 1 necklace to start. Believe me, the clocks will be the predominant item in my shop because the power that comes off these babies is exquisite and I get to use more “*haunted” items. I also hope to do more jewelry like the necklace that is featured in which powerful items are combined in a charm like fashion to empower the wearer.

Those who don’t know about my affliction (holy hell, I have a lot of them) of psychometric abilities will learn on my shop how I have always been able to touch items and learn the history of those who have possessed them and the emotions associated with them. When I discovered that not everyone has this strange aptitude, I wanted to do something to make it possible to visually see the memories and emotions of the items and if you dare put a battery into the clock or wear the jewelry on your energetic body, you would feel it yourself, maybe even get flashes of the memories they hold.

To have one of the clocks hanging in your home is to create a space that is heavy with that emotion. Some clocks may be peaceful, others energetic, and yet others protective or mysterious. To wear the jewelry is to live with the psychometric feelers all the time.

Some folks will be more sensitive than others and some folks may be unsettled by the visual and that will make it hard to feel the visceral based on personal biases about certain objects. But, when you look at the photos, hear the descriptions, something will call to you. Do trust your gut. That’s the first instinct based on your own psychic abilities. If you work those abilities more, I promise you will learn to trust that gut voice.

I have literally sifted through thousands of items to find objects with potent and complementing histories and emotions and combining them with a visual aesthetic that suits the mood of the piece and the setting of their histories.

I will be doing more and more of the creepy ones coming up and you can expect themes such as scary baby dolls, vampires, ventriloquist dolls (at Dale’s insistence), a fortunetelling seer’s eye, and a whole line of ghost-in-a-clock themed clocks. These will have some very eerie ghost images on the face of them as if the ghost is trying to escape and items that are very heavily “*haunted” by past owners who are deceased. None of these will contain any “bad” histories, but will be very energetic feeling and only for those who want something a little potent and unsettling in their home.

Come Labor Day, I should be putting up a lot of Halloween items, so it’s going to be a helluva fun season and my poor hands and mind are going to be worn from touching so many objects to find the right ones.

Quality assurance: How do you do this with a psychometric piece? Well, not only are the items picked out to have complementary backgrounds to give an overwhelming visual and visceral sense of their content, but once placed down, they are constantly handled to be certain the items “get along” with each and that when the battery is in the clock or the jewelry is on the body, the sensations are so strong that I can actually stand back from it and feel it without touching it.

*Okay, I need to differentiate “haunted” and “HAUNTED.” Items chosen for the projects have lingering histories that can be read and emotions that can be felt, but there is no spirit attached to these items (haunted). In the future, I do not mind making some items out of objects that seem to have spirit attachment, but those will be sold with a warning that funky stuff might happen with it in your home (HAUNTED).

In the case of using "haunted" items, all you will sense is simply the emotions attached to the items, such as the déjà vu abandoned house clock has a sense of a faint memory you can’t quite recall, something familiar and yet hard to grasp. It is actually a good clock for exercising your mind because it will activate the part of your mind that is attached to memory and therefore work that stupid part of your brain that makes you forget people’s names all the time…

So, there you have it. This will be my only mention of the shop unless something absolutely bizarre comes along you need to know about, like a wild and insane Halloween season or ghostly themed items.

I have installed a button on the right-hand side of my screen that will take you to my Etsy shop. Feel free to look around and tell friends if you want. I also have the capability of making custom clocks even using items you choose to incorporate, such as loved one’s items or pet’s toys, or simply a theme you desire.

The clocks going up tomorrow will be:

Alpha Male:
This is a powerful, leader type male, self-made, and highly intelligent.

Haunted Cemetery: This is serene, peaceful, and spiritual.

Bullet Protection: This is powerful and has an orderly protective feel to it as if you have your own guard nearby.

Déjà vu Abandoned House:
As I mentioned above, this piece is great for stoking your memory, like some faint distant image you can’t quite recall and then—boom! You remember it!

Pagan Power Necklace: There will also be a necklace that is a pagan magical power necklace that is made of objects that will empower the wearer in performing magic, as their histories were held by people with a great deal of magical power.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quiz: What kind of Ghostly Encounter Should You Have?

It’s quiz time again my sweeties! You know the routine by now. Count your a’s, b’s, c’s and d’s, find out which one you have the most of and scroll down to find out what sort of ghost would be best for you to encounter.

1. In bed, I prefer to…
a. Have sex
b. Get a good night’s sleep
c. Watch TV
d. Get caught up with my loved one on the day’s events

2. A sexy movie to me…
a. Shows it all
b. Is subtle and more evocative.
c. Has a little of everything from suspense to action to sex
d. Has romantic dialogue and intelligent interactions, substance

3. I prefer to watch sports that involve
a. opponents meeting body to body like football and wrestling
b. Soothing and repetitive and rhythmic like tennis
c. Fast action like basketball
d. Artistic skill such as ice skating/gymnastics

4. My favorite foods group below…
a. Mangos/strawberries/kiwi
b. Chips/French fries
c. Spicy Asian/Mexican/Curry
d. Beer/chocolate

5. Biggest thrill in high school…
a. First time going all the way
b. Hanging out with friends at the usual places
c. Getting into trouble, lots of exploits
d. Winning awards

Okay, count your a’s, b’s, c’s, and d’s and find out which one you have the most of, scroll down and find out what kind of ghost would be best for you to encounter…

a. Incubus/Succubus
b. Residual/Repetitive loop
c. Poltergeist
d. Intelligent haunting

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Conquering the Ice Cave

*You ever want to know what I do on a day off mid week? Ginny my ghost hunting pal and I spend the day together. We began with a nice lunch out whereupon we start laughing over our conversation so loudly people wish they could join our table (or leave the room). When I say I truly don't need to drink to be drunk--yeah, it's true. I'm pretty much a goofball all the time. I sat with a pen and a pad of paper writing down notes. What, you ask could be so funny? Since I find humor in absolutely EVERYTHING, we began the conversation innocently enough. We both know a woman who thinks she is a princess and has no human emotions and sees herself as above the masses. This nasty little ice princess inspired a horror flash short story. This is what you are about to read. Once done with your fun little lunch, we came home and typed up this little story for your pleasure. It was inspired by our imagings of what the woman's husband must go through to do his conjugal visits.*

I awaken from a nightmare, heart pounding, body drenched in sweat. I cannot believe I survived it. Even days later, I reflect on that encounter and I visibly shiver.

I can still hear the creaking rusty hinges as I approached the gaping maw of the cave. Fleeing bats exited the cold blue mist which should have been a harbinger of things to come. I hesitated, wondering if I would be forever altered by that experience.

A chill breeze wafted over me and forewarned of the coming encounter. I stepped over the threshold of the icy damp cave, realizing it would be best to just rush in quickly and get this heinous task over. I gasped as my body plunged into the death tomb. I tried not to look into the face of the beast as I confronted it, but it is human nature to want to know your adversary.

The enemy was rigid, possessing not one bit of humanity or emotion. It would have been a worthy opponent, if it had not been such an intimate encounter. But it was. And the beast did not blink, nor did it encourage my advancement towards it. Left to my own devices, I did what any man would do. I raced to get the task done and withdrew from her body like the coward that I am.

That was my one and only encounter with the ice princess and now I understand the battle-worn faces of her prior lovers. I am chill to the bone and beaten. A shell of the man I once was.

And, we will not speak of this again.

Q&A (No, Not T&A)!

(*remember the short story contest is going on until July 3rd!*)

First off, I want to tell you (proudly) I survived my last class in bellydancing. Although I'm not keen on the music, I did really appreciate learning how isolate body parts and put some wicked moves into my club dancing. I did, however, manage to come up with two new moves the "Train Wreck" and the "Ralph Macchio Wax On/Wax Off" move. Both unintentional, mind you, but I did say I'm all arms and legs like a praying mantis. It's pretty funny. I did manage to get through 2 hours of doing the entire dance repeatedly until we all wanted to vomit.

It's time for me to let ya'all give me your questions. Consider this "truth or dare," but without the dare--that's for something we do in person, although in the future, I might take dares and videotape them and put them on, but we'll see... Ya'all are too creative and deviant--I might be getting myself into trouble--more than usual. So, I'm open for any questions at all from psychic, ghosts, Bigfoot, afterlife, personal crap, anything. I'll put my responses in the comments with your questions. Enjoy!

(next post is 6 am tomorrow on Brothers Quay)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Take it or Leave It, I'm here to stay (How to cope with people's perceptions about ghost hunting)

I’ve had this conversation a hundred times with different people, each one adding something new to the array of reactions folks have about ghosts, ghost hunting, and the paranormal.

When I first started ghost hunting, I was so excited I was finally doing something active about the questions rattling in my head about things I’ve witnessed in my lifetime, that I entered the "eager to tell people I’m a ghost hunter" phase. The reactions were always quite similar (this was pre-“Ghost Hunters” show era). They would stare blankly, blink a few times, mouth usually open, and then make that little humming sound in their throats as they tried to think of a polite way to say, “did I hear you right?"

Disheartened by initial reactions, I tucked that bit of myself away and didn’t share it with anyone but my closest friends and family. I continued my search and then hit the "outrage/rebellion" phase. I’ve supported all of these people on paths that I thought were completely wrong, but I knew deep in my heart that as long as they were on their own life journey, they’d land on their feet because I believed in their inherent wisdom and wherewithal. Where were they for me? I went from tail tucked between the legs, ashamed I hunt ghosts, to in-your-face “I hunt ghosts, whatcha gonna make of it?” attitude. That was met quite briskly with fundamentalist relatives dropping out of touch with me completely, but not before they first voiced their concern with me conjuring up the Devil. I promptly told them that it wasn’t their business if I’m seeking spiritual answers, they became backwater Baptists and I didn’t go nutso on them for their blind obedience and fear of everyone and everything. Well, honestly, that weeded out the dead weight anyways. You really need to know who actually will support you, if you get a bad haircut, divorce your wife, or buy a Corvette at the age of 60. Most folks that love you unconditionally will actually take pride in you being such a complex and interesting human being. That you hunt ghosts becomes an endearing character quirk to them.

Inevitably I entered the "let me differentiate myself from the spiritualists" phase. There are, admittedly, some people in the ghost hunting world who rely only on the spiritual realm. That's kind of weird for me because it's like taking one supposition and using it to treat another supposition. We can't prove spiritual contact and we can't prove ghosts, so why use one to prove the other? A lot of people associate ghost hunting with the old turn-of-the-century Victorian era ghost hunting tactics. I’m talking about the folks who talk to spirit guides and become possessed at the drop of a hat ("Most Haunted" show). It’s probably not for me to judge if what they’re doing is working or not, but when ghost hunting becomes “religion” that is very concerning. It was very important to me in this phase to let people know that I don’t talk to spirit guides, I don’t do possession, and I won't be blessing their houses. I'm not, however, against the use of my psychic abilities to know where and when in a house to approach a situation, but it's not something I would broadcast as evidence. I would use it hopefully capture activity but not as proof of activity. It's very much like the use of your senses to know when something's happening. I insist on using whatever instruments I have for documentation and stray away from the theatrics, they don't help the industry progress.

After the last stage, the next one inevitably becomes, the "where are my people?" phase. You've had enough time at it and enough exposure to other people's methods, so you kind of know where you belong. You might be in between science and spirituality, you might be hardcore proof on film and audio, you might be leaning towards cleansings and counseling. I found a body of folks who have a similar attitude as mine which is more along the lines of admitting we have no true answers about what ghosts are and if they exist. We want to have experiences, make conclusions, find ways to test the conclusions, and seek proof that will help move us along in understanding what hauntings are. This is a liberating phase because this is when you realize that you have people who really get you. You have others to talk about theories with, share strange experiences with. It's kind of like being in battle together with the bonding you make when no one else around you ever will really get what you've been through and what goes through your mind about it.

I finally got to a place in my life now where I don’t mind that people know I ghost hunt, but I don’t offer it unless I meet a kindred spirit who would find it fascinating. They can ask all their interesting questions and I can give them what answers I might have formed so far (which are few and far between even after years of searching). They soon learn that I’m earnest, that I’ve experienced things that are genuinely unexplainable, and that I seem to be looking for definitive evidence of what a haunting is and why it exists. Usually, they end up admiring me and even sharing things that happened to them that they never told anyone else. People are very afraid to talk about the paranormal, afraid of being ridiculed. No one understands that better than you. (Your counseling training has officially begun).

You’re going to run into these responses from folks and I thought I’d give you some insight into what I think in my head (in brackets) and what I actually say to them.

“I could never do that!” (Honestly, I wasn’t asking you to). “It’s just something I’m doing to find answers to things I’ve witnessed that I couldn’t explain.” (The driven by a higher purpose explanation. This usually satisfies, even if the person shivers visibly at the notion of going into scary places. This isn’t the person to tell about cobwebs and doors that slam on their own.)

“Do you use a Ouija board and have séances?” (I doubt TAPS is packing Parker Brothers when they go into prisons and lighthouses). “There are actually some new tools nowadays for ghost hunting." (Education without explanation. If this person is genuinely interested, they’ll ask more questions, then you can divulge the equipment list. Less is more when talking to people the first time about your hobby).

“What do you do once you catch `em? (said while leering at me)” (I tell them your address, of course!) “I usually like to transport them in a Ghost Trap until we get to headquarters where I place them in my Ecto Containment Unit.” (Meet humor with humor. Folks are going to poke fun at what you do, beat them to the punch.)

Ghost hunting will weed people out. Folks who don’t want to be seen as weird or different are going to drop out at a fast rate of speed. Others will never let even their office friends know about what they do at night and why they’re drowsy in mid week after a house call on Wednesday night. Some folks will decide it’s part of their identity and will wear it proudly on t-shirts that scream “Ghost Hunters Do It In The Dark” (I never understood that one, it's hardly worth boasting you do it like a Puritan)). Other folks will want to tell everyone around them everything they think on the subject as if they personally know each ghost and know exactly why they’re trapped and how to release a house of their presence.

A few more subtle folks will continue on a personal mission, eyes straight ahead, passing by the masses as if they’re on a different plane in search of something that sings to their tune and no one else. Those folks, like me, will look for answers regardless of what others think, come to conclusions on their own, and not influenced by others in the industry who think they know what a ghost is, why it's haunting a place, and how to "send it to the light."

We are the ones who seek our own conclusions, ask our own pointed questions, and those who love us admire us for those very qualities because as an ancient said, “the way you anything is the way you do everything.” The same qualities that make people seek you out as a friend are the same qualities you take into the field.

Trudge on, head held high! And remember, there's hundreds of hunters out there who admire your courage--they live it every day too.

(*The next post will be at 6 am EST tomorrow, a Q&A)

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Tao of the Paranormal Investigators

The wise television paranormal investigators gave me all the wonderful humor for my LAUGH series (righthand side of the blog). They also leave us with some precious rules for living, some guidelines to finding our bliss, and a method by which we will attain a higher level of understanding. We are wiser by their example.

The Tao of Jason Hawes:

“Commit yourself not to commit” (i.e., be noncommittally committed)

The Tao of Grant Wilson:
“Life is baffling” (so remain perpetually perplexed)

The Tao of Steve Gonsalves:
“Explain things slowly” (and you will penetrate deep skulls, i.e. Tango’s)

The Tao of Josh Gates:
“Life has many paths” (by which you can take a plane, boat, automobile, bicycle, donkey, moped, paraglider, ATV, jeep, bus, train, jet pack…)

The Tao of Ryan Buell:
“Evil is all around us” (after gestating in our minds first)

The Tao of Barry Klinge:
“Go at it with both barrels” (and 8 recording devices, 10 videocameras, 4 motion detectors, 6 digital cameras, 5 EMF meters, 7 thermometers, 4 KII meters…)

The Tao of Zak Bagans:
“Enter the room screaming” (leave the room screaming like a girl)

Now, it's your turn, ya'all. Give me the tao of Kris Williams from "Ghost Hunters"

Should I Change My Name Legally???

Poll: Ya'all know me as Autumnforest, but when I used to model, my name was Sharon Day. At that time, I went to the courthouse and got the paperwork and was going to change my name to Autumn Forest Day but my mom had a huge fit because her and dad named the 5 kids all with "s's;" Stanley, Stena, Sue, Scott, and Sharon. So, I've been thinking about it and I've never identified myself with my real name, so why not go with the name I actually answer to? The question I become Autumn Forest Day? I'd love to get feedback. I feel like it's who I'm supposed to be, but it will definitely piss off immediate family and confuse friends for a time to get used to calling me Autumn.

(*the next post will be 6 am EST tomorrow about how to deal with folks when you confess you hunt ghosts)

This Week In Horror Movies and Paranormal TV

(**Remember the short story contest is still going on until July 3rd**)

*Asterisk is next to what I plan to watch

I know, still slim pickings, but let me tell ya’all, I am excited about mid July—why??? Shows are coming back and a new one is arriving! I’m very excited about SyFy’s “Fact or Faked” show. Jeez, is there a blog that should be watching this more than mine? They are going to test all kinds of paranormal supposed captured evidence and figure out if it can be faked and if it might be real. Seeing them do some hardcore hands-on debunking makes me terribly envious! I will warn you when it’s coming on with lots of fanfare. If it’s good enough, it might even get its own drinking game like “Destination Truth” and “Ghost Adventures” do!

*NBC: “Persons Unknown” (show) I’ll tell ya’all the truth. I watched the episodes of it so far and I’m having trouble being hooked. With “Harper’s Island” I saw one episode and that was it—I was hooked. But this show…I can’t seem to get caught in it. There’s something overly rehearsed about it and I don’t give a shit about any character, although the mysterious main guy who seems to know a lot about tactical stuff is pretty sexy, but that ain’t even enough to get me hooked. I’ll give it one more try tonight and then I’m outta there. My time is too precious.
SyFy: “Aliens” (movie)


ABC Family channel: “Van Helsing” (movie)
SyFy: “Ghost Hunters” (repeats) and new “Ghost Hunters Academy”

SyFy: “Stephen King’s The Stand”

Travel Channel: Repeats of “Ghost Adventures”
*History Channel: “Apocalypse Island” Explorer goes to prove theory on Pacific Island about regarding Mayan predictions about the apocalypse.

(*Next post will be at 4 pm (EST) and is a poll about whether I should change my name)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pre-Hunt Rituals

(**I am still working on my highly erotic dark anthology series "Philia." I did complete the story of sex in a graveyard or "taphophilia" (lover of graveyards) and I just now completed "coulrophilia" (lover of clowns). Last time, I offered to let folks read the sex in a cemetery story if they emailed me--much too explicit for Blogger. I got a great response from the males which was helpful as the cemetery one was a male point of view. The clown sex one is a male point of view also. If anyone--male or female--wants to read it, email me and I will send you a copy. I am eager to see if my dark sex series is something folks can get into and if the male perspective in these is true to form. I also will be doing ones on sex with a ghost, werewolf and vampire and any other weird dark forbidden stuff I can conjure up in my thick head. Thanks!**)

I never thought much about what I do before a hunt. To me it makes logical sense, but it's come to my attention recently that a lot of folks have no ritual, no preparation, no plan. They simply get on a plane, bus, car, and head out to the location, set up equipment, maybe scarf down a protein bar, and then expect themselves to now sit for 6-10 hours without having had rest since the night before and while still wired from the rush job.

Not me.

I grew up in a haunted house, remember? I kind of know the timing and behavior of activity. First and foremost, I allow time. I arrive either very early or the day before and have some time to sleep in, get rested, and generally enjoy the sights before having to cram myself into a dark quiet place for the night. Ideally, I'd like equipment to be up and then go out to supper with the group. Have some good conversation, lots of laughter, and a feeling of not being hurried. This is much like the behaviors in a haunted home. The people living there are in a casual state, not pressed for time. That feeling of being rushed is going to bite you in the ass on a hunt. It's like waiting in the line for the teller at the bank and tapping your foot, knowing your lunch break is almost over and the line isn't moving. The universe will not move that line for you. The same with ghost hunting; setting up equipment and then rushing to hunt will not create a good receptive sense in your body or the environment.

I like the place to get used to me. I do this by carrying on conversations about real life stuff to make myself "real" to any observers. I'm just a regular person, regular issues, likes to laugh and have fun, warm and sweet and everything a ghost might want to meet. A kind of ghostly dating game, if you will. I do not like to plead, whine, or cajole a spirit to come out and talk or show itself because that is a sign of inpatience and not effective. You sit back, have small talk, occasionally invite them to join in whenever they want or even address them now and then asking their opinion on the matter as if they are one of the group. Imagine having another ghost hunting partner there who is invisible and silent; you still talk to them and hope they find a way to show they hear you.

I also have another ritual that Julie from Above-The-Norm found out recently on a hunt with me. I like to get everyone to get used to the room we'll be in during the daytime and kind of domesticate a while, make small talk, leave and have a meal with lots of talk and laughter, then come back and have one glass of champagne each. That's all. No more. No less. We sit and talk a while, relax, begin to turn the lights out after a while and continue the conversation in the dark.

Why do I do this?

Besides the fact that I love any excuse to drink champagne, it relaxes everyone. We have not had to rush to a strange place, set up equipment and turn out the lights and move around in an unfamiliar place. We have set up housekeeping there, have had conversations there, had a relaxing meal so we're not jittery, and now a glass of champagne to totally relax ourselves. Not enough to get drunk, but just enough to let go any tension and be emotionally and mentally open for spirit contact. People who live in haunted houses will tell you that it's on the domestic day to day, relaxed and not expecting it that things pop up.

Imagine if you will that you went rushing into someone's home, set up equipment, turned out the lights, all of you a bunch of strangers doing strange things, and then you started grilling the people who live there? Sounds like something out of an Iraqi sweep of a town by the military, huh?

Now, imagine people enter and talk nicely to each other, laugh, get comfortable, and invite you to be part of interesting conversation?

You get the picture...

There are teams that have prayer rituals and amulets and protective devices. I am not of a belief system in evil, demons, devil and all that sort of thing, so I do nothing to "protect" myself because nothing would work since I don't believe in it (remember the movie "Skeleton Key"?) I think everyone has to approach it their own way with regards to protection and closure and whatever rituals, techniques, prayers they need, but the basic gist of approaching a ghost hunt casually, comfortably, and not rushed and hurried is a sound one that everyone can adhere to, no matter what their belief system.

So, if you're lucky enough to hunt with me, expect the customary cup of champagne. It's just my way of saying, "chill, relax, laugh, get comfortable and become receptive."

(At 6 am (EST) tomorrow, the post will be "This Week in Horror Movies and Paranormal TV")

Leave Your Ghost Hunting Equipment at Home!

Admittedly, my ghost hunting kit includes everything from camcorder and digital camera to voice recorder, EMF meter, KII meter, pendulum, dowsing rods, thermometer, and other strange and unusual items I've come up with along the way, even a windchime! Still, I really enjoying just putting it all away and ghost hunting without tools. I learn more those hours than hours of yanking out tool after tool and chasing things around a site to “capture it," and then missing it as I'm busy being completely distracted. Try driving a car and talking on a cell phone while changing the radio station and see if you do any of those three things well... You can so easily miss critical and subtle changes around you.

Women know this one. When you chase men, you can’t find a good one. The moment you’re in a happy relationship, men start to come to you. Well, ghosts are kinda the same way…

Ghost hunt without tools? How do you get evidence? Consider this: Any film I take, any EVPs I capture, and photos I take, any video with shadows moving can all be disputed as explainable or hoaxes. So, what is truly the use of trying to gather proof? To prove to whom? If you want to prove to yourself—you go without the equipment. Just you and a flashlight and maybe some mace—just in case humans are afoot. And, always, bring a friend. Don’t go alone.

Everyone should go on a ghost hunt without tools at least once. You need to have the chance to become one with an environment without a task. It’s truly a zen-like experience. We are a task-oriented society. We think that we should be on the cell phone while driving, on the computer while watching TV and watching TV while eating supper. We are so out of touch with our own senses and instincts that should we ghost hunt while juggling lots of tools, we will surely miss everything and be completely unreliable at noticing when things do happen. In fact, the best things I’ve ever come across, I had no camera at hand, no tool in my palm, wasn’t measuring a blasted thing. I was simply sitting there in the dark, long hours in the same place, letting it get used to me.

Our six senses are still our best tools. There is nothing that makes your vision more acute than sitting in the dark, nothing that makes your hearing more sharp than when you’re in a quiet resting building, and nothing that makes your skin more sensitive to temperature changes than no air-conditioning or heating or open windows. Your body gives you lots of signals that can make you a wonderful ghost hunting tool.

The most common sensations people report:

Thick heavy air
Off balance
Scalp tingling
Sudden anger/sadness/rage/doom

There are a huge variety of theories and also “old world” ways of explaining why we feel these sensations. Some will tell you the air gets cold because ghosts suck the energy out of the environment and leave behind cold. Hmm… I must have missed that day in science class. There are lots of explanations for the air feeling “thick or heavy” and feeling off balance and lightheaded and headachy, but my first instinct is a change in barometric pressure. Some will say it’s EMF changes, but honestly we live in a world chock full of high EMF levels from our computer screen to our big-screen TV to our alarm clock and we’re not freaking out around that. We have a very high threshold. Goosebumps and chills thrill me the most when they happen out of the blue. If you hear something and then get them, it could be an instinctive reaction to hearing something unseen, but if you get a piloerection (goosebumps) with no instigation, something truly has gotten near. The sudden onset of emotion that makes no sense in the situation, such as walking through a room and stop in the corner and feel overwhelming depression and hopelessness can be accredited to your sixth sense. Yes, we all absolutely have that sense, it's only at times like this that you take note of it.

People ask me often times, how do I find the ghosts? Well, I’ll give you a little tip. Have you ever walked through your house and forgotten why you went into a room—what you were supposed to get? You stand there and have a sense of reflecting back to where you were, what you were thinking, and what this room was supposed to hold within it. If you walk through a supposedly haunted location and you suddenly stop and feel sort of lost as if you didn’t know what you were about to do—you just found the hot spot. You'll know because your mind will start sifting as if you're trying to lock onto a thought-that's a psychic moment.

If you don’t have access to a haunted place but want to get in touch with those senses, turn out the lights, turn off the devices, and be alone in your home for a good 3 hours at least. It’s a hard task, you learn a lot about yourself, but you also learn to pick up clues from the environment. This is really critical for ghost hunting. You have to be okay with being alone, being bored, sitting there, waiting, listening, with nothing to do. If you still want to ghost hunt and you’re okay with your body and your thoughts without distraction, you’ll be an excellent ghost hunter. And, after sitting there so long, you'll be a good debunker, as well. You will definitely see faint things and hear lots of sounds.

Ultimately, we have no way to prove spikes in EMF means ghosts are near, nor do we have photographic or audio proof that stands up to skeptic's scrutiny, so ultimately what gets you excited about hunting isn't capturing phenomena, it's experiencing it. Every time you have such an encounter you want to rush back out like a little kid cause during the in between time you will talk yourself out of it or talk it down. Then, you go back out again and and go "holy shit!" and you're excited all over again.

Some people spend their entire vacation photographing and posing the family and miss the entire experience. The same goes for ghost hunting. Enjoy. Do at least one night without the batteries, bags, lights, and nightvision. I promise you will get a LOT more out of the experience.

(I'm going to start telling you when and what comes on next on the blog... at 3 pm (EST) today, there will be a post up about "Pre-Hunt Rituals")

Saturday, June 19, 2010

QUIZ: What Horror Movie Best Represents Your Life?

It’s your favorite--quiz time. Today’s quiz is one of my fav’s…"what horror movie represents your life." I won’t even begin to answer why this one popped into my mind, but enjoy the ride. Count your a’s, b’s, c’s and d’s and then scroll way way down and find out!

1. In the work arena, I generally feel…
a. Invisible, ignored, a drone
b. The go-to-guy putting out all the fires
c. Never recognized for all I do
d. Caught in drama and misunderstandings all the time

2. Physically, I think I’m…
a. Always too fat, too short, too weird looking, not normal
b. Tired, wrung out, overextended
c. Work out hard and not getting anywhere with my physique
d. Hair falls flat on my way out the door, stain on my shirt, watch breaks…

3. In a group of friends at a bar, I’m likely to be the one…
a. Quiet and not picked up on by anyone
b. The designated driver, keep my friends from doing stupid shit
c. I talk to someone and think I’m charming but it goes nowhere
d. Get drunk, do something stupid, leave my cell phone behind, someone hates me the next day

4. In my childhood family, my role was…
a. Be seen and not heard
b. The referee
c. The overacheiver
d. The troublemaker, always being punished

5. Picking out a new puppy, I choose the one that…
a. Is the quietest and less needy
b. The one that protects the others
c. The one that is well behaved and not noisy
d. The one that is totally crazy and spastic and excited

Okay, my pretties, count your a’s, b’s, c’s and d’s and see which one you have the most of and scroll way down to find out which horror movie best represents your life…

a. The Haunting (1963) – “always an outcast”
b. The Changeling – “caretaker”
c. Halloween – “shit happens to hardworking folks”
d. Phantasm – “one drama after another”

Friday, June 18, 2010

Take your Dog to Work: Dogs on Ghost Hunts

(**Remember there is a zombie short story contest until July 3rd...**)

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 the Hell Made You That Way?

Yeah, that's me--fifth grade, Green Acres Elementary School, Fairfax, Virginia
Yeah, that's actually my sixth grade class going on a field trip to my house (gulp)

So, what makes us the way we are, huh?

The older I get, the more apparent it is that you are a culmination of the path you took and how you interpreted the events in your life for good or bad. I was the baby of the family, so you can guess I was used to whining to get what I want, feeling as if I have no power, and always having older siblings push me away, so I was the much younger odd woman out. Then, I grew up in a spooky mansion on the hill in the middle of suburban tract homes. Another odd woman out. Do you think that made me the fun kid to hang out with? Not necessarily.

See that fifth grade picture? I was calling every girl in my class and the other classes on a Friday night for a sleepover. Were there any takers? Nope! They saw the show about the ghosts in our house on NBC, they read the newspaper articles about the house being one of the "most haunted houses in America..." Then, there's the fact I was living on an estate. People assumed we were wealthy, but my parents bought clothes on discount and never ever bought us toys, so we had to learn to play outdoors and be creative. Yes, we also had a Victorian summer home on the Chesapeake and a cabin cruiser, but there were no status items amongst us. We lived extremely basic and, in fact, grew and caught our own food at the summer home to give us kids character, along with no television or radio. My parents were much much older and they grew up during the depression era, so they had a mindset to put their kids in a beautiful setting and let them just flourish.

So, how did I manage to keep myself from being a total outsider? Well, with a sense of humor is how.

As if things couldn't get worse, in sixth grade the teacher decided we must take a field trip to my home. Holy heck! Can you put a bigger freaking spotlight on what a weird place I lived? My friends lived in modern homes with split levels and shag carpeting. The floorboards in my creaky home were stained with the bloodstains of Civil War soldiers and the place was filled with antiques. It was like the freaking Munsters abode complete with heavy velvet drapes and flocked wallpaper.

So, here I am walking my class and the teacher (and a few nosy parents of the students) through a hole in a neighbor's wood fence to walk behind the barn and past the slave cottages and the orchard to the big scary Confederate gray house. My mother puts on a good southern spread that embarrasses me again because I wanted it to be casual but the kids actually love the stuff she puts out, so point one for my mother.

They inspect the artifacts in the cases, ask tons of questions, want to use the metal detector. For the first time in my life, my weirdness of growing up using a metal detector and digging up relics is "cool" instead of dorky! (sounds like ghost hunting nowadays, huh?) We play soccer in the huge pasture out front and explore the place, showing off a treefort and the barn and the boxwood mazes and the creek. The kids have a blast and it shocks me.

It ends up my greatest embarrassment is also my greatest asset. Apparently, all these years they wondered about my place too but weren't brave enough to check it out.

So, how do I come to be the one running this blog? It makes perfect sense, a childhood in a haunted house, handling relics and reading their history, curiosity about what creates such conditions, and the knowledge that, if I tell people I'm into this, others will join in with great curiosity. After that field trip, kids would openly talk to me about the ghosts and the house and the history and I was no longer a freak but an expert.

The fact that my parents didn't buy designer clothes or toys made me terribly creative and unaffected by trends and status, as well as a writer and a romantic and a nature lover. The fact that I did live in a mansion in the suburbs made me work even harder to just a regular person, unaffected, and no different than anyone else, just "real folk."

When you look at your life and the things you were embarrassed by as a kid, did they really end up being your strengths?

When I'm writing fiction, I always keep that in mind; a person's strength is his weakness and his weakness is his strength.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to Contribute to Ghost Hunting in Any Capacity

(**Remember, there is a short story contest going on until July 3rd on my blog**)

Anyone can contribute to the ghost hunting field and you don’t have to be wandering around abandoned buildings with a team and equipment to do it.

My sister is a good example of ways you can help ghost hunting without having to be a field person.

My sister isn’t willing to buy any ghost hunting equipment and absolutely refuses to use a new-fangled computer, but she lives in an amazingly rich area of abandoned buildings and dramatic history in West Virginia. There are no local ghost hunting teams, so no one has scared off local businesses who have historic buildings. She would have a great pick for any place to hunt, but she’s going to forgo that avenue.

So, here’s some alternative options she (or you) could consider that in the end could even make her money:

A. If she loves cemeteries, she should volunteer to the cemetery association. They could give her a list of cemeteries that haven’t been documented yet. She could go to the cemeteries, write down the names and date of birth/death for each occupant and take photographs. This could help the cemetery association to build their records, as well as to put them online for genealogy buffs to find relatives. This is a perfect option for those who love cemeteries, love history, and love doing things that are neat and orderly and concise. It’s a way to volunteer in the field without having to run around in the middle of the night. You can also take a trash bag and clean up the cemetery, pick up overturned flowers for the graves and put them back in place, and also get some amazingly eerie photography, which is often sell-able on line. People are very fascinated with eerie sunsets and graveyards and the lonely starkness of an unattended grave. She could sell the photographs or keep them for a potential coffee table book. This is also a really helpful option for people who have suffered losses. It sometimes helps put things in perspective and comfort them to know that people still visit, still remember, and still miss loved ones just like they do.

B. If she loved history, loved stories of the past, and found it all quite romantic, she might consider working for the local historical society or she might consider being a researcher. Finding the true back stories to tragic deaths, battles, and murders is a way to compile information that can be helpful for the local ghost hunting group. She can let them know she has a library card and is ready and willing to learn about any site they’re trekking to. She could check with the registrar for the city to learn about the building or lot’s history and make a great relationship with those at the local library. In the end, this could become an intriguing book that you’ve compiled based on the true background of famous hauntings.

C. Should my sister be technically inclined, she could do a little research to come up with ways to modify her equipment or perhaps invent new testing equipment that isn’t out there in the field now. This has the potential to be sell-able online. Just look at how the KII meter took off. When I ordered mine, I was on a waiting list.

D. If she didn’t get bored easily, she might consider reviewing evidence. If she connected with a local group, they could allow her to have copies of the EVP and photographic evidence. She could sit and review this evidence for anything that might be missed. With expert software, she could be sought after to review such things.

E. If she were a spiritual seeker, she might consider learning about feng shui, crystals powers, incense, paganism, occultism, demonology, or many other possible avenues for ghost hunting. When a team needs someone for advice, she might be the one called on to come and feng shui the environment or give advice on how to cleanse a house.

F. If she were the literary type, she might make friends with ghost hunters in the hopes of writing a book about it, poetry about it, or art inspired by it.

The important thing to know is that, although you see Jason, Grant, and Steve in the forefront of ghost hunting in the field on “Ghost Hunters” show, there are many more people behind the scenes. People trying to contribute to the field and knowing their talents. When I hunt, I keep in mind that my skepticism, logical mind, psychic abilities, and my counseling skills make me better for certain situations. Had I not been in the field, I would pursue art inspired by graveyards and getting my horror novels done—finally. But, I enjoy all those things, so I get a little of each done and none exclusively. That might be the case for you, as well. Sometimes, just being a supporter of the arts by going to concerts and helping to finance them is more important than being the singer on the stage.

Where would one be without the other?

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This is one of my favorite stand-up skits by Nick Swardson. I'm totally with him on this idea!