Friday, December 31, 2010

Creature Feature: Rusalka





The Rusalka is a mythical creature that hails from parts of Eastern Europe. While there are many variations to their descriptions, they are mostly considered to be young, water-dwelling females with powers that help them lure and entrap men and children. The Rusalka are often compared to mermaids, nymphs, and demons.

Some versions of the Rusalka are beautiful with glowing green eyes.  Others are down-right frightening to look at. Often they are thought to be fond of singing and sometimes their voices have magical powers that help them entice people to come to them. While their origins vary, often times they are believed to be trapped or lost souls or women who died in or near water.

Many cultures around the world have created very similar mythologies, and the Rusalka mythology is no exception. Women were once viewed as both mysterious and potentially dangerous creatures in many places in the world. It was easy for people to create stories about them. An unusual or independent woman could be written off as some sort of supernatural being. And if someone couldn’t explain something, the supernatural was used to justify it. And with the unexplainable came the legends we’ve come to love, like the mysterious ladies of the water, the Rusalka.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weekly News Round-up 12/29/10

I hope everyone had a nice holiday! Here's this weeks paranormal news round-up. Enjoy!

This week everyone's been talking about a man in Kentucky who shot a strange animal that has been hanging ariund his property. Everybody has an opinion about what it actually is. Some claim it's a chupacabra while others are convinced it's just another wild animal with mange. AOL news has more about it here. What do you think it is?

Independent.com has a nice article on the history of the abominable snowman.

Here's a video of some strange lights spotted in El Paso. They are pretty strange looking!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Have a Happy Holiday!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all those who are celebrating! I hope you all enjoy them!



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weekly News Round-up

Here's the latest news in the paranormal world!

This week AOL News featured an article about the theory that the sun could be used to communicate with aliens. Here's the link.

The Huffington Post discusses a study done on psychic abilities here. Looks like there's some good evidence for psi!

Ninemsn posted an article about a mysterious creature spotted in England. What do you think it is?


Also, there won't be a Creature Feature or monday article this week as I will taking a little break to celebrate Christmas. I hope everyone has a happy holiday!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Interview: Mark Collins

Today I’ve got an interview with Mark Collins to share with you. Mark Collins is the journalist who has been reporting on the paranormal M6 crash and the mysterious crash in Paris and has graciously agreed to answer some questions about the events surrounding the two incidents. If you haven’t been following this story you can check out the latest press release here, courtesy of PRLog.


Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I'm a freelance journalist based in Manchester
 
What publications have you written for?

I've written comment articles for VoloLegal, a legal networking site
and also placed many articles on behalf of clients across a broad
spectrum of subjects including construction, health and cosmetics
 
 How did you get involved in reporting the M6 crash?

My brother was traveling to London on the day it happened and was
about a quarter of a mile behind the accident, he alerted me to it and
also the fact he felt that if wasn't a straight forward crash.


There has been some speculation about Detective Silverton. Can you tell me a little about him?

I've only met him twice and spoke to him twice. What I know is that he
seems to be work for some special investigative team that specialises
in events of this type.


What do you think is connecting the crash in Paris and the M6 one in Birmingham?

I've been told by my source that there are similarities to both
incidents that are difficult to dismiss as purely coincidental. I also believe the suspect they have in custody is a common denominator in this as well.


 Do you think the events surrounding the incidents are paranormal in nature?

As a journalist you always try to look for the most rational, logical
explanations for all the events so as to eliminate the word
paranormal. In truth what I have seen and what I have been told and
reported on seems to challenge that assertion and there are certain
parts that make up the whole of these incidents that are unexplainable.

 
You’ve mentioned the use of a secret code. Is there anything you can tell us about the code? Do you think detectives are close to cracking it?

This is one aspect to the investigation that is very strange. On the
surface of it the code seems to be a load of gibberish that has no
relevance. But I understand the investigation team believe this is a
real world communication format that is being used; whether that
substantiates the rumours of paranormal activity or not is a separate
debate, but they are keen to crack it. They are looking at the relevance of some of the co-ordinates that are mentioned in it as well as the naming of certain metals from the periodical table.



Are there any plans to meet with Detective Silverton in the future?

Only when he contacts me. I have no way to contact him.

Do you believe the suspects involved to be human?

Definitely. There is no suggestion at all that the suspects are alien life forms.

 
Several people have mentioned seeing a bright light prior to the accident in Paris. Do you think the light is connected with the accident?

Yes. The only doubt I have is that the accident on the M6 was very
near to fireworks night, but the incident in Paris was not and also
too many people were reported to have seen this light. That coupled
with the alleged CCTV evidence suggests the light was very much part
of the incident.
 

Are you concerned that similar events may occur in the future?

I'm not concerned but I am sure it will happen again, although where
and when I have no idea as there appears to be no pattern to it.


If someone has information about the crash, what steps should they go through to
share the information?


The only thing I would suggest is to post onto sites like yours and
similar as I have not been asked or have any contact details to give
out. Detective Silverton made it clear that past calls for evidence in
these types of case meant they got too many hoaxers; something they are
keen to avoid.


Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. If anyone has any information about either crash, please leave a comment.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creature Feature: The Chupacabra




Few cryptids have gotten quite as much media attention as the Chupacabra. This mysterious creature has been terrifying people since the mid-nineties with its strange appearance and apparent love of blood. The legend started in Puerto Rico but has spread into Mexico and parts of the Southern United states.

There are two very different physical descriptions of the Chupacabra. The tradition Puerto Rican one is some sort of upright lizard with spikes down its back while the other is more similar to a hairless dog. Both versions are known for their ability to suck all the blood from their victims (usually livestock) and both are said to have large claws and fangs. A large number of farmers claim to fall victim to it after mysteriously loosing large numbers of animals during the night. The animals are found drained of blood with puncture wounds on the skin.

So what exactly is the Chupacabra? No one really knows. There were several creatures thought to be Chupacabras hanging around Texas several years ago but after testing it was discovered that the animals were simply coyotes or dogs suffering from mange. If you’ve seen photos of these creatures they are pretty scary looking-it’s easy to see how someone could mistake them for monsters. But there’s still little explanation for the original lizard-man Chupacabra stories. And there’s even less evidence to back them up. Maybe someday someone will come up with some compelling evidence for the Chupacabra but until then all we can do is wait. Or go looking for one (not recommended.)

If you are really interested in the Chupacabra legend there are several videos circling the internet claiming to show Chupacabras. While there’s no way to verify the credibility of the videos, they are fun to watch. Here are links to a couple of them.  Enjoy!

Chupacabra video

Cop camera Chupacabra

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weekly News Round-up

Here's some of the top paranomal news for the week!


This week STV has an article about an old radio that seems to be playing vintage broadcasts-without any power. You can find the article here.

UFODIGEST.com posted an article about strange sightings occuring in Argentina. Here's the link. The cute creature sketch is worth a click!

Phantoms and Monsters shared an interesting personal account from someone who believes his driveway may be some sort of portal. You can check out the full story here.


I also want to announce that i'm working on an interview with Mark Collins, the journalist who has been covering the M6 paranormal crash. The full interview will be up on the site by next Monday so be sure to check back!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ghost Hunting 101

Types of hauntings

Today I’m going to talk about the different types of hauntings. There are two basic types of hauntings that have several subcategories. It’s important for ghost hunters to be familiar with these terms because they come up a lot in discussion and can help us better understand the nature of each event.

The two main types of haunting are intelligent and residual

The first type is basically what it sounds like-some sort of spirit who shows signs of intelligence and interaction with the present world. This can include direct responses to questions, completing tasks asked of it, or commenting/responding to the people present.

A residual haunting is one where the spirit appears to have no knowledge of its surroundings. These types often include activity such as the repeating of a phrase or action, or movement that doesn’t make sense in the environment (walking into doors, climbing invisible stairs etc…) Many people believe these hauntings are simply a replaying of activities that occurred in the past.


Lets look at some of the other basic subcategories.

Many people believe that both human an inhuman spirits can interact with our world. A human spirit is someone who once lived and for whatever reason appears to still be hanging around. For the most part these spirits are completely harmless. Sometimes they startle people when noticed but for the most part it appears to be accidental.

Inhuman spirits are incredibly rare. Many people feel that demons, elementals, and other dark entities are to blame for these hauntings. If one of these things are hanging around they are usually quick to let people know they are there. Some signs that a haunting may be inhuman in nature include the movement of large objects, unexplainable injuries to people in the location and a strong sulfur smell. If you feel you’ve come across something inhuman or dangerous while investigating I recommend seeking help in dealing with the problem because they can be dangerous and difficult to get rid of. In three years of investigating I’ve never come across something I felt fell into this category, though I’ve talked to enough people who have dealt with them to believe they are a possibility.

Another type of haunting that gets a lot of attention is poltergeist activity. This type of haunting is mostly limited to the movement or manipulation of objects. There are many theories to the cause of poltergeist activity but many of the explanations are based on little more than legend. Some people feel there is a link in poltergeist activity and psychic ability. They theorize that unconscious thought or stress triggers the movement of objects. There have been limited amounts of testing done on these theories though, making them little more than speculation.

Perhaps in a few more years with work and research investigators will be able to better understand the cause and logic behind hauntings. Until then, all we can do is try to understand them.

Have you ever experienced a haunting? If so, what category do you think it falls under?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Product Review: RCA VR220 Digital Recorder




The RCA VR220 digital recorder is a relatively inexpensive audio recorder with good sound quality. Digital recorders are one of the most popular ghost hunting tools used today. They’re used to capture EVP (electric voice phenomenon) and also to document the events that occur during investigations. This one is fairly simple to use and has several nice features. Other recorders can cost hundreds of dollars, so finding a cheap one that works well can be a challenge. This ones performance is equal, if not superior to many of its competitors.

The RCA VR220 has a pretty simple setup. The play and stop buttons are easy to locate and the record and volume buttons are located off to the side. This is nice because if you are trying to operate it in the dark you don’t have to worry about hitting the wrong thing. It also comes with a locking feature, which comes in handy if you carry it around in a pocket or bag. It prevents the recorder from accidentally recording when you aren’t paying attention. Another good feature of the VR220 is that you can attach a microphone and also do playback through a pair of headphones (which aren’t included with the recorder.)

This recorder also comes with the ability to recorder on multiple folders. While this can be a good thing if you are doing multiple locations in a short amount of time, it can also be confusing if you accidentally get into the wrong folder. I think the recorder could be improved by making the folder system more user friendly, but it’s a pretty minor problem most of the time.

Overall, this recorder is definitely worth your money if you are serious about ghost hunting, or just looking to give it a try. The sound quality is good, it’s surprisingly durable (I’ve dropped mine more times than I’d like to admit,) and it’s actually easy to use. I give this product 4 ghosts out of 5.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Creature Feature: The Altamaha-ha



There is no shortage of stories about aquatic monsters living in the world. They swim through our oceans, lakes, rivers and imaginations. One of the less common water creatures is the Altamaha-ha, a creature seen only in the Altamaha River in Georgia.

The Altamaha-ha has been spotted for generations. It’s often described as having grey skin and resembles a large snake or sturgeon. Many people believe it’s actually a sea creature that swims up river to spawn. It most likely feeds on fish or other river creatures. And there are still a number of sightings occurring around the Altamaha River, adding more fuel to the legend.

People are usually curious about ocean and river creatures because there is just so little known about what’s below the surface. The mystery of sea creatures makes them fascinating. We still continue to discover new creatures in oceans and river beds, making it plausible that there could be large undiscovered creatures living right under our noses. And maybe the Altamaha-ha really is just a misidentified fish, or dolphin. But, just maybe, it’s something more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weekly News Round-up

Here's this weeks collection of paranormal news!

Sacbee.com posted an article on the Marfa lights about a cryptozoologist who claims that the lights are bioluminescent creatures (and possibly pterosaurs?) The claim sounds a bit far fetched to me, but the lights are pretty interesting. Here's a link to the artice and a link to a video of the lights.

Phantoms and Monsters has an article about the hauntings of the London Underground here.

Last but not least, Remoteviewed.com has posted a collection of information on Project Stargate, the CIA's experiment using psychic spies. You can find it here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Spotting a Fake: Photos Part 3

 
Reflections


Reflections cause their fair share of problems for ghost hunters, and I’m not just talking about the kind you see in your mirror. Light has a strange way of bouncing around a space and often shows up in unexpected places. All it takes is a slightly reflective surface and BAM, you’ve got yourself an anomaly. With a little practice though, light reflections are pretty easy to recognize.

A flashlight reflects in a window



The first thing you should do when you see a light anomaly in a photo is try and identify a source. Look for a light source such as a lighting fixture or flashlight. Often the camera flash reflects all over place. Once you’ve figured out all the potential sources for the light, try and locate every reflective surface in the room- that can include mirrors, windows, glass tables, plastic display cases, metallic surfaces and a whole lot of other things as well. Ask yourself if you can see a natural pattern in how the light is moving across the room. Also, if you notice the anomaly while you are taking photos, take another photo of the exact same spot. This is a really helpful technique because it can help you determine what things are naturally occurring in a space.


The table,windows,display case,pictures,chairs,walls,and clocks in this room all reflect light



 
 A light reflection can appear much larger (or smaller) than the initial light source, so don’t assume something is paranormal just because the size is unusual. Light can also appear to change color in photos, so don’t be surprised if your flashlight or camera flash turns a weird color on occasion.

If you still aren’t sure if what you are looking at is paranormal, get a second opinion. Sometimes another person can point out some obvious solution you may have overlooked or help you investigate further if the image just can’t be explained.

At the end of the day, it's really about training yourself to analyze the space, and world around you- and knowledge is one of your best weapons.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Creature Feature: The Ahool



Is it  bird? A Plane? Nope, it’s just an Ahool.

Some of you may be wondering just what an Ahool is. It’s one of the less common cryptids, and generally thought to be a giant bat spotted throughout Java. It has grey fur, large claws and loves to snack on fish it catches in local rivers. Its name comes from the sound it makes and most locals really believe it exists.

It’s not terribly far fetched for people to be spotting giant flying creatures above them. Several large birds, including large owls, live in Java. It’s easy to misidentify something spotted above you. Estimating distances from the ground is no easy task. Add a dark night and a scary sound and you have yourself a legend.

And, just maybe, there really is a large bat hanging around. It wouldn’t be the first surprise nature has thrown at us. Real or not, the Ahool has people watching the skies, searching for something unknown.




Coleman, Loren and Clark, Jerome. Crypto-zoology A to Z. The Encyclopedia of Loch Ness Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature. New York. Fireside. 1999

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Evidence Time!


I'm excited to get to share some evidence my team caught on our Halloween investigation. Both of these videos were taken at Heritage Farms in Brunswick, Ohio. The farm is managed by the Brunswick Historical society. We caught a lot of activity there and had a good time.

The first is a video of a door swinging open on its own. It does this after being asked to close and you can hear the door unlatch. What makes this video really cool is that you can see both sides of the door and see that no one is near it!

The second video was taken inside a barn. A figure appears behind my right shoulder. It's really quick, so you may have to watch it a few times to see it but once you notice it you should be able to see a head,torso and arm moving behind me. You may want to click the little button in the corner to enlarge it.

Hope you enjoy watching!

video video


















Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekly News Round-up

I've been following this story for awhile now, but I've been a little hesitant to repost it. Mostly because the whole thing seems so silly. But a lot of people are curious about the story, so you might as well read it. Here's a link to the M6 paranormal crash story from Beforeitsnews.biz. There's an update on the story at Ghosttheory.com here. Even if the whole thing is made up, it does make an interesting story.

AOL news has article, stating that NASA is preparing to make an announcement regarding "an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life." I'm not sure exactly what that means but lots of people are speculating! Check out the article for all the details.

 In paranormal entertainment news, Allheadlinenews.com has a brief article about a new paranormal show being in the works.

And, a slightly disturbing article is posted on courant.com about a man claiming ghosts made him kill.

Happy reading!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The 7 Deadly Sins of Ghost Hunting

Lust-Have you seen that shiny new FLIR camera? Those colors? That imaging?  I want it, no, I NEED it.

Gluttony- I’m allowed to eat this much. The ghosts suck up all my energy and I must replenish it. With food. Lots of  food. Preferably cookies. And cheeseburgers.

Greed- I should have no problem making money on this. I mean, look at those TV guys-they’ve made MILLIONS. Right?

Sloth- I will stay in the exact same spot for the next two hours. I can totally spot ghosts from this comfy chair. I will stay awake. I will be alert. I will… ZZZ

Anger- What do you mean I have ZERO power left? How did this thing not get charged??!! What do I have to do to get something to work around here??!

Envy- My equipment is great and everything. It’s just not quite as awesome as their equipment. If I just had what they have I could definitely catch a ghost. On film. And faster than those guys.

Pride- I am the most amazing ghost hunter to ever exist! I am fearless. I am a warrior. I am a ghost hunter. Hear me roar!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Creature Feature: Zombies!



Right now zombies are everywhere. Or at least it feels like it. TV,movies, the radio, books… you just can’t seem to escape them. They are slowly taking over, just as zombies should. So what’s our great fascination with these things? Essentially, they’re just hungry humans. Hungry humans that want to eat other humans. So why is everyone so obsessed with them?

Honestly, I think part of the appeal is that we know we are superior to them. You can’t help but watch a zombie movie without planning some sort of brilliant escape or zombie attack plan. For the most part, they are easy to kill. Who doesn’t like an easy target when you’re holding a rifle (or bow, or flame thrower?)  It’s fun to try and outsmart a monster and zombies aren’t too difficult to outsmart.

They also give us an easy way to excuse otherwise gratuitous violence. I had to chop his head of or he would have eaten me mentality is totally acceptable. And fun.

Zombies make us feel fast, because they are soo slow. They make us feel smart because they are so unintelligent. And they make us feel good because they are so bad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends (and anyone else who feels like celebrating!)

Don't have anything to be thankful for?
Here's a picture of a cute kitten.



 Now you have no excuse!

Be thankful and have a good holiday. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekly News Round-up

This week's round-up should have you watching the skies!

Is it a missle? A UFO? A jetstream? Paranormaldailynews.com posted a news video about a strange sighting in California

AOL news posted a video about UFOs spotted in Britain.

If UFO's aren't your thing, there's a fun zombie photo here. They seem to be popping up everywhere!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ghost Hunting 101


Now for the next installment in the Ghost Hunting 101 series!

Be prepared.

It sounds simple.  It should be simple. Somehow these things never really are though.

Here’s a basic list of some stuff you might want to bring on a ghost hunt:

- flashlights
- digital camera(s)
- notebook and a pencil/pen
-digital recorder(s)
-video camera(s)
-extra batteries
-EMF detector
-first aid kit
-extra clothes
-snacks
-outlet adapters
-tape
-scissors
-a bag or case to carry your equipment in


Along with just the stuff you physically bring, you also need to be mentally prepared for whatever you might encounter. Ghost hunters often experience a feeling of being drained and/or depressed following an investigation at an active location. It can last anywhere from a day or even for weeks in some cases. While the cause of this isn’t really understood, it can and does happen so you need to be ready for it. Many people chose to say a prayer or affirmation before each hunt to get themselves ready.

You should also get a lot of rest prior to going out because most hunts involving staying up all night. You don’t want to be falling asleep in the middle of an investigation.

Also be sure and have water and snacks on hand. It’s important to not get dehydrated while you’re working and even if you aren’t use to eating at night, all the physical activity involved is going to make you hungry sooner or later.

Try and have a good understanding of what you are looking for before you begin any hunt. Do the claims involve people seeing apparitions? Are objects moving? Do the people feel they are in danger? There are different kinds of hauntings and being familiar with them will make your job easier.

Also, it’s important to be familiar with layout of wherever you investigating. If it’s a large area, create a map so you don’t get lost!

Everyone’s style is a little different and everyone has different needs. The important thing is that you are ready for whatever is thrown out at you!



Monday, November 22, 2010

Ghost Hunting After Dark


There’s one question that ghost hunters are asked over and over (besides the ‘are you crazy?’ question.)

Why hunt for ghosts in the dark?

And really, it’s a perfectly reasonable question. If you’re going to go looking for something, it makes sense to have the lights on. You do actually want to see whatever it is you’re looking for. So what’s with all the spooky nighttime investigations?

There is some actual logic behind nighttime ghost hunting. Every group has different reasons behind their methods, so I can only speak for my own.

  1. Hunting after dark is easier because in general, things tend to be quieter. There’s less traffic and fewer people moving around. Ghost hunting relies heavily on listening to your senses, especially your hearing. Which brings me to point number 2.
  2. Turning out the lights sharpens your other senses. Sure, being able to see is nice and all, but when the only thing you can rely on is your hearing, you notice every sound around you. Even your sense of touch and smell are heightened. You can feel and pick up on things you may not have noticed with the lights on, simply because you were distracted by what was in front of you.
  3. Cameras used for nighttime investigations use Infrared light. IR light sometimes picks up things that regular cameras don’t. By investigating during the day, you’re limiting the use of some really good technology.
  4. There are theories that ghosts like to hide, preferring not to be seen by humans. Investigating in the dark makes it easier to ‘sneak up’ on whatever is out there.
  5. There’s also a theory that ghosts are more active at night. There’s no real evidence that I’ve seen to back this up, but I’d love to do some experiments to test if activity really does spike after nightfall.
  6. Ghost hunting after dark is just more fun. I’ve actually done some investigating during the day time and it looses a bit of the excitement of an all-nighter. There’s nothing quite like turning out the lights at a possibly haunted location and waiting to see what happens.

The reasons for wandering through the dark during a ghost hunt are different for each group and person but not completely random. Anyone have another reason to add to the list?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Creature Feature: Fairies



Fairies have been fascinating people long before Grimm’s Fairy Tales sat on everyone’s bookshelves. Sometimes referred to as the fey, fairies have somewhat uncertain beginnings. It’s believed their rooted in Eastern European folklore but the original source is unknown. There are hundreds of legends associated with them. Modern Victorian fairies are depicted as beautiful (but small) women with flowing wings but earlier fairies often had much darker tendencies.

Early fairies were often associated with the dead and were known for being mischievous. They would play tricks on whoever crossed their path and liked to bite. The early fairies were often wingless, and looked to be the same size as regular humans. There were all sorts of legends on how to keep them away using herbs, or occasionally iron because no one wanted to run into one.

Many cultures had their own legends about where fairies came from. Some claimed they were angels who had been locked out of heaven; others believed them to be demons. There’s also a belief that the fairies were originally a group of humans forced into hiding during a war. With their destruction came the legends we know today.

No matter where the legend started, they are certainly alive today in most modern cultures. People love the idea that something else could be out there, and a small number of people adamantly believe that fairies really do exist. Even if fairies no longer live in our forests and hills, they live on in our stories, our imaginations, and our hearts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weekly News Round-up

This weeks round up is a bit of a mixed bag!

*Fox 8 posted an exclusive video captured in a cemetery in Savannah-it's pretty interesting and worth a watch. Here's the link

*Phantoms and Monsters featured an article about George Reeves haunting his former home.

*Some slightly blurry but still interesting footage of an animal thought to be a (supposedly extinct) Tasmanian Tiger was posted on Youtube. Here's the footage.

*And AOL has an article on the Chupacabra carcasses being found here

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hollywood Ghosts, Curses and Legends

Just about everyone who has ever seen a movie has heard some legend about a ghost haunting the set or a curse put on the crew at one time or another.  But how much truth is actually behind these tales? Today we’re going to look at a few of the most common movie and TV legends and try and figure out what’s actually going on.

The Wizard of Oz

Probably the most popular movie ghost story in history is the one about the hanging man in the Wizard of Oz. The legend behind it states that a munchkin killed himself on set and his ghost supposedly appears in the background of the yellow brick road. I remember hearing this story in grade school and watching the movie over and over trying to find it. I never did find it, not because the scene didn’t exist but because I was told it was in a different part of the movie. The scene actually takes place when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tinman are dancing their way through the forest. And you really can see something unusual happening in the background if you watch carefully. If you haven’t seen this scene there’s a link to the video here.

Nowadays with technology taking over, people are able to slow the scene down and see what really happens-a large bird flaps its wings. They were kept on set to make the forest look more authentic. Once you know what you are looking at it’s actually kind of obvious. Disappointing, I know.

Three Men and a Baby

If you’ve heard of the Wizard of Oz ghost, there’s a good chance you have also heard of the ghost boy that appears in Three Men and a Baby. The story goes that a little boy was killed in the apartment they filmed at and his ghost is visible in the shot. Once again you actually can see a strange ghostly image in one of the scenes. But to the surprise of many, the ‘ghost’ was revealed to be a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson in a tuxedo. An error in editing made the cut-out seem to appear out of nowhere. Here's the clip. It worked out well for the studio though, the story spread like fire and brought them plenty of revenue.

The Godfather

In the recent DVD release of the Godfather, a ghostly face appears on screen for a split second. It’s pretty noticeable, even with the naked eye. Here’s a link to the video. This one hasn’t caught on as well as the other legends, but a few stories are circulating about who the mysterious woman could be. In my opinion the image looks to be a reflection on the scene that was missed by the editing department. I’ll let you guys be the judge.

Poltergeist

While this legend isn’t physically visible on film, it’s still an interesting story and certainly worth a mention. Supposedly one of the Poltergeist films used real human bones during shooting, which angered some of the spirits who put a curse on the cast and crew. There have been an unusual number of deaths tied to the people involved with the Poltergeist trilogy, some of which were violent. There were also reportedly a number of freak accidents that happened on set and at the homes of cast members during shooting. It’s impossible to validate these claims, but they certainly make a good story.

The Ghost Whisperer

During a taping of the TV show Ghost Whisperer, a strange image was caught on tape, which many of the people involved believe is some sort of spirit. There’s a link to the video here. The scene was left in the show. Jennifer Love Hewitt shared the story on Ellen. You can make up your own mind.

These are just a few of the most popular Hollywood legends circulating today. People love telling these stories because they are entertaining and Hollywood loves them because they bring extra attention to their films. And no matter what they are, they’re a lot of fun. Know of any other good Hollywood ghost stories?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Creature Feature: The Mothman




On December 15, 1967 the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia collapsed. The tragedy, which killed dozens of people, attracted press from all over. The press wasn’t coming just to learn about the accident but to cover strange reports of an unusual creature seen by several people shortly before the collapse.

Witnesses claimed to see something with glowing red eyes, gigantic wings, and an almost human shape. There were also claims that the creature made a terrifying screeching sound. Some people believed that the people involved were actually misidentifying large birds or animals. Others claimed that the Mothman was the result of a government experiment gone wrong. Many local residents thought the Mothman was trying to warn people about the disaster.

The mystery of the Mothman has never been solved. And people are claiming to see Mothman-like creatures at the sites of other major tragedies. These sightings have lead to theories that the Mothman is some sort of omen, or angel of death.


 Image by Marcus

Whatever the Mothman is, it’s got people asking questions. Mothman enthusiasts still visit the town in search of answers and Point Pleasant has become popular gathering spot for lovers of the paranormal, even though sightings in the area have mostly ended. Maybe one day the Mothman will make another appearance and we will get some answers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weekly New Round-up

A short article on an increase in activity following an earthquake can be found at paranormalnewscentral

A small group of people praying to angels is causing a stir in the Catholic church-AOL news has the full article here

And paranormalnews.com is featuring an account of a giant bird sighting here

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ghost Hunting 101

People matter

Everyone who decides to ghost hunt has to deal with people. A lot. There are fellow investigators, clients, curious people, government officials, and occasional reporters to deal with. If you aren’t good at dealing with people, you better learn fast if you want to go ghost hunting. Even though some people can be difficult at times, it’s really one of the best parts of doing this. You get to meet all kinds of people. I’ve been able to find some great friendships doing this and I learn something from just about every person I meet. Today I want to focus just on the people you work with the most-your team.

When you first start working with someone, it’s important to find out as much as you can about them and build a strong relationship. Trust is really important and that can only come with time. Many groups hold regular meetings where they discuss their ideas and beliefs, and just spend time together. It’s good to spend time with people doing things other than ghost hunting because it lets you get a better idea of who they are. Before you decide to jump into an investigation with someone, you should know a bit about them. Here are some questions you might want to ask before jumping into the ring with these people.

Do you believe in ghosts?
It sounds a little strange, but there are plenty of investigators who go out trying to disprove the existence of ghosts.

What makes you want to investigate?
Many people start hunting after having some sort of experience. Others are just curious. Find out what makes them tick.

Do you believe in UFO’s? Angels/demons? Bigfoot?

You want to know what sort of things interests your team members. You never know when the will want to drag you out hunting for something other than ghosts.

How much time do you expect to spend doing this?
Some teams go out every week, others only once or twice a year. You need to have an idea of the time commitment involved before starting.

What are you afraid of?
There’s a good chance you will run into a few phobias ghost hunting. Snakes, bats, spiders, other creepy crawlies, and heights all come with the territory along with the stuff that goes bump in the night. If someone starts freaking out, it’s good to be prepared.

These are just a few starter questions to get the ball rolling. Keep asking questions. Keep digging.

You should also be aware that there are several types of groups that ghost hunt. They all use different strategies and techniques. No two are the same. You need to find one that best fits your needs.


Types of ghost hunting groups:



The disbelievers
These groups believe that ghosts don’t exist and spend their time trying to find explanations for ghost sightings and other paranormal phenomenon.


The sort-of scientists
This group tries to employ scientific methods to measure and understand the paranormal.

The psychics
These people ghost hunt for personal reasons-they use psychics and spiritual methods. Most of their experiences are felt rather than seen.

The thrill seekers
Looking for a quick thrill, these groups usually go out with the hopes of getting a good scare.

The entertainers
Out to find things to thrill the public. An exciting video or sound clip is what they are out to seek.

Many groups are a combination of what I’ve listed. Everyone has different reasons for ghost hunting and different methods to get results. In the end it’s about finding what works for you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Religion and the paranormal

Ghosts and Christianity

I wrote this post awhile ago but I was a little hesitant to post it, mostly because I don’t want to offend people of other faiths or beliefs who might be reading this blog. But after a day a researching the subject, I had someone randomly mention the topic to me. The person had no idea I’d been studying this, so it seemed a bit like a sign that sharing it would be a good thing. I think a lot of people are curious and have questions about it, so at the least I hope to get some people thinking. I’ve written this article from a Christian perspective, but I think some of the ideas can be applied to other religions as well.

One thing that plagues many people interested in the paranormal is a deep routed religious belief that ghosts either don’t exist or are a manifestation of something evil. While believing (or not believing) in ghosts is a personal decision, it’s unfortunate that many people avoid ever dealing with the subject simply because they are confused or uncomfortable about it. I was raised Christian and still consider myself one. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe spirits are a real possibility. In fact there are many Bible verses that mention the existence of ghosts.

A few examples:

Samuel chapter 28:7-25

Describes an incident where Saul asks a medium to bring up the spirit of Samuel. Samuel appears to them as an old man and speaks with them.

Mark 9:4

Mentions that Elijah and Moses were seen by Peter, James, and John talking with Jesus.

These are only two of many verses in the Bible that mention people seeing ghosts or the spirits of the deceased. So if the Bible mentions them being around, why are so many Christians afraid of the idea?

The Bible says that when people die, they go to be with God. But the Bible isn’t really clear about how we spend our time once we are in the presence of God. I think it’s plausible that people could go to heaven, then return to Earth to visit loved ones or complete unfinished tasks.

The Bible also isn’t clear about the actual physical location of heaven or hell. Many people believe in the idea of other dimensions. Perhaps heaven (or hell) is located in the same physical space as earth. Maybe the spirits people see and experience are glimpses into these other dimensions.

A popular belief in the Christian faith is that ghosts are really demons masquerading as human in an effort to confuse people. And maybe they are. But if demons are out trying to mislead people, I’m inclined to try and figure out how. It’s part of my curious nature. And it still wouldn’t explain why Jesus let his disciples see him talking with Moses and Elijah. He clearly wanted them to gain some insight from seeing the dead walking on Earth. I think he was trying to show them that life doesn’t stop with the death of our bodies. And what an interesting lesson that is.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Creature Feature: The Yeren



This Chinese primate has been stirring up controversy for centuries. While some think it’s a descendant of Gigantopithecus others believe it to be more of a mythical creature tied to the magic rooted tradition of China. It could simply be an unidentified primate that’s stayed mostly hidden from human eyes. It’s said to have reddish or occasionally white hair and be mostly peaceful. It’s a bit smaller than the American Bigfoot as well. Most of the knowledge about the Yeren comes from stories and personal sightings of the creature.

People all over the world continue to see strange primates in the wild. Maybe they really are seeing these creatures. I’d love for someone to come forward with some compelling evidence of their existence. But it’s also possible that people are seeing what they want to see-another creature like them. People will continue to pass the stories of these ape-like creatures to others over the years and they will live on in the legends and stories we tell. And why not? Those stories are a lot of fun. They give us something to hope for, something to search for. And we’re going to keep searching.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekly News Roundup

Strange and new creatures are everywhere to be found this week!

People in Milwaukee have been claiming to see a Chupacabra and someone got a picture. It's posted on wisn.com. I'm inclined to think the animal is actually a fox but you can be the judge.

http://www.wisn.com/r/25474009/detail.html

A new animal was discovered in Madagascar-check out the article and photos at wildmadagascar.com

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1010-vontsira_madagascar.html

And in Kenya an antelope in need of a razor was photographed. The images are available at mongabay.com

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0819-hance_strangeantelope.html

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ghost Hunting 101

Here's the first installment of my series on ghost hunting for beginners. Check back next week for the next part!

Location is Everything.

A great way to get started ghost hunting is by choosing an interesting location. You can go with a spot you know it haunted or a place no ones ever been. I look for spots with historical significance or interesting claims of activity.

Be sure and research your location before conducting your hunt. Use the internet. Use the library. Visit local historical societies. They are great wealth of information and normally very willing to help out. A simple Google search of haunted locations in your city is a good starting point.

Be willing to talk to business owners about the possibility of conducting a ghost hunt. Many are more than willing to let ghost hunters in with the hopes of gaining some publicity.

Get permission from the property owner before embarking on a hunt. Never trespass on private property. Also be sure and use consent and liability forms for your investigations. (I'll post more on these in the future.) You don't want to risk a law suit.

Many places are beginning to offer their own ghost hunts. These can be great networking events for beginner and a lot of fun. The problem with these (besides the cost involved) is that they often take large number of people, making it difficult to actually capture activity.

Some parks (depending on where you live) may be open after dark. These are great beginning locations because they give you the freedom to explore a large area. Contact your local parks department to find out if any of the parks in your area are open at night.

Also be sure and take someone with you every time you go. Injuries can and do happen and you don’t want to be stuck alone all night if you are hurt.

Find the best location you can and have fun!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spotting a fake:photos part 2

Camera straps cause a lot of confusion in the paranormal world, especially for something so small. I often see paranormal sites where what looks to be a camera strap is listed as a ‘spirit’ or ‘vortex.’ They aren’t really trying to fool people (I hope) but the fact that black straps often appear white tends to confuse people.

Spotting camera straps is actually fairly easy if you know what to look for. A lot of investigators chose to remove them to prevent problems, but as long as you’re careful, they aren’t hard to deal with.

Some things to watch out for include
-          white blurs or a line across a photo
-          linear shadows
-          misty areas in the corner of a shot


                                    A white shape and shadow caused by a camera strap



                                  A shadow created by a camera strap

                              



                                    A close up of my camera strap


I often take multiple photos of the same thing while investigating to help me determine what I’m looking at. It’s important to try and figure out any anomalies visible as quickly as possible. If you take a photo and see something weird-take another shot of the same spot and then try and determine the source. Check for anything that might be obstructing the lens (straps, thumbs, etc.) or creating strange lighting. If you still can’t find a cause for the anomaly than get a friend to take a look to see if what you caught might actually be paranormal.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

10 reasons that Halloween is the best holiday of the year

1.There's a good chance someone is going to give you candy. For free.
2.You get to be whatever you want.
3.There's no pressure to buy anyone a present.
4.There's no pressure to cook a giant meal.
5.Amazing halloween parties.
6.When else are you going to get the chance to bob for apples?
7.Did I mention free candy?
8.Scary movie marathons.
9.Haunted houses.
10.If you see a ghost, no one will think you are crazy.

In celebration of Halloween, I'm asking visitors to share their best ghost stories in the comments section. I'll post my own to get the ball rolling. Have fun and happy haunting!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Creature Feature: The Djinn


The Djinn (or Jinn) are creatures rooted in Arabian folklore.  They are the basis for the modern genie, although the original creatures are usually much darker in nature, sometimes being referred to as demons. They are also mention in the Qu’ran and are taught in Islam to be creatures similar to humans in their ability to choose from right and wrong. Said to be created by Allah from smokeless flame, the Djinn are often portrayed as mischievous beings who constantly try to trick humans into getting into trouble. The Djinn are also capable of shifting forms but because they abide to the physical laws of their form, they tend to not stay in one shape for long.

What makes the Djinn interesting is that it’s believed they will be held accountable for their actions. Giving a supernatural creature an element of accountability and humanity makes it easier for us to relate to them. If they have to choose between right and wrong, they can’t be that much different from us. Except for, of course, all their cool super abilities.

There are still many people who believe in the existence of the Djinn, much as many Christians believe in the existence of angels and demons. And really, there’s not a huge difference. Both religions believe in the creation of inhuman beings that serve some greater function in the scheme of things. And both Christian demons and the Islamic Djinn will ultimately have to pay some price for their actions. Their existence is a reminder that out actions matter. And sooner or later those actions are going to catch up with us.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October Haunts


Every year I go to a haunted house. Not the kind with actual ghosts and spirits but the kind where people dress up in ridiculous costumes and jump out at you from behind dark walls. It’s kind of an annual tradition. It’s fun. It’s silly. It gives me a break from thinking about much of anything. These kind of haunted houses give people the chance to escape from reality for a few moments and enter a world where they are engulfed in nothing but pure emotion. Even if the haunted house isn’t actually scary, there’s a good chance someone will jump out and startle you. It’s not actually paranormal, but it’s a safe outlet for people with an interest in ghosts and monsters to have a good time.

As pointless as these things sound, there’s something almost addicting about the surge of excitement you get going through. It starts out with a little bit of anticipation and nervousness because you never really know what to expect. Then you get an opportunity to be scared without ever having to feel like you are in any real danger. Adrenaline rushes through your system as you make your way through. Or you get to laugh at the people your with when something scares them. Either way, it’s win-win. When you emerge you’re granted a brief moment of satisfaction on finding your way though and surviving. You’re in on the joke then. You can laugh at the lines of squealing young girls about to enter because you know that there is nothing to actually be afraid of. And they probably know it too, but it’s all part of the fun.

The new trend in these attractions is using actual ghost stories to lure visitors in. If they tell people they might encounter a real ghost, it adds a level of excitement and maybe even a small edge of danger. People line up in massive numbers in the hopes of being frightened by something scary. In a really well done haunted house, there are brief moments where a scene or creature seems too real. And people usually leave satisfied, because how are they ever going to know if something they see in those attractions is real? You can only go in hoping to have a good time. Maybe someday I’ll hear a story about a real ghost encounter in one of those things from someone besides the staff. I’m not holding my breath though.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Creature Feature: The Wendigo


The Wendigo is a creature rumored to exist in some tribes native to North America. Supposedly the Wendigo is a cannibal, a human turned beast, whose hunger for flesh can’t be controlled. It lives a solitary existence in the forest and is often associated with cold, barren climates. Its appearance ranges from close to human, with leathery skin to almost wolf-like and covered with a coat of dark hair. It’s also reported to look thin and skeletal.

It isn’t just some random monster to be feared though. Ultimately, it represents what can be come of someone if they do something unthinkable-eat human flesh. The Wendigo is especially scary because at least part of it is human.  It’s the physical representation of the dark side in us.

Monsters and fantasy creatures often serve important teaching roles in society about what is (and isn’t) acceptable.  Just as we tell children to behave so that boogey man won’t get them, the tribes told each other not to consume human flesh so they wouldn’t turn into horrible beasts. In times of famine and starvation, it was important that people didn’t turn on each other. The Wendigo legend helped prevent them from seeing each other as a food source.

Beyond being a creature of legend, there are still people who believe the Wendigo exists. There have been numerous sightings of a bigfoot like creature in Minnesota attributed to the Wendigo. The Wendigo has also been thought to be responsible for several disappearances in the woods. Even if this monster is little more than a local legend, it’s fun to think of the possibility of it lurking through the forest, as long as you don’t have to run into it.