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? 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
-outlet adapters
-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.


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 is featuring an account of a giant bird sighting here


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 I'm inclined to think the animal is actually a fox but you can be the judge.

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

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

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.