Archive for the Investigating Category

PORTALS & DIMENSIONS

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Psychic, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by Dave Lapham

A friend the other day read “Gateway to Hell” in my book Ghosts of St. Augustine and asked me about portals, if they really existed. I have witnessed a portal. My wife,Sue, and I visited Ireland a few years ago and went to Clonmacnoise, a religious center established around 545 A.D. at the crossroads of the River Shannon and the glacial ridge running across Ireland. We were standing in a cold rain amid the ruins of an old chapel, praying for a friend suffering from a brain tumor. As we stood there something opened in front of us and enveloped us. It was hard to describe. It wasn’t so much that we walked through a doorway, but rather that the doorway surrounded us as we stood. We were not frightened but overwhelmed with a peaceful, joyful sensation. This cocoon-like feeling lasted for several minutes, then dissipated, leaving both of us exhilarated, overjoyed, and energized. The experience was the most astounding thing that’s ever happened to me. I know many others who have also experienced portals, among them my friend, Melba Goodwyn. She devotes an entire chapter to the subject in her book, Ghost Worlds. “The Spanish Washer Woman” in my Ancient City Hauntings is another dramatic story about a portal.

We know that many dimensions exist other than the one we live in. Some believe there are in infinite number floating around the universe. We also know that not all of these dimensions are parallel, and where they intersect you will find a portal. The Irish call them “thin places.” Melba defines them as …inter-dimensional doorways opening into other realms of existence. As dimensions are not always fixed, so portals aren’t either, although some can last a very long time.

Portals can appear almost anywhere, inside structures or outside. They are often found in cemeteries, I guess, because consciously or subconsciously, we choose burial grounds for their otherworldly characteristics, spiritual vibrations, or auras. Cemeteries often innately exhibit sacredness and peace and where portals are often found. But portals may also appear under more negative circumstances and can be anything but peaceful.

In her book, Melba explains that we can discern energy patterns which might indicate the presence of a portal. These energy patterns, especially noticeable to sensitives, can be either harmonious or discordant. One can experience peace, euphoria, increased energy, elation, calmness. Or the energies cause weakness, nausea, headaches, cold chills, confusion.

There are other common signs. You may hear barely audible humming or buzzing, may feel static electricity, may see orb-like forms streaking around. The light around a portal may also seem either unnaturally bright or shaded, inconsistent with its surroundings. And there may be mist or fog concentrated in the area.

In any case, if you ever experience or think you are experiencing a portal, be careful. It may be a calming, peaceful place, or it may be something evil—as in my “Gateway to Hell” story. Either way, experiencing a portal is going to change your thinking about time and space.

And I’d like to put in another shameless plug for 12-21-12, which you can find on Amazon’s Kindle books. It’s written by my alter ego, Parker Lee. Remember that if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will give you a free app so you can download the book. Come on, guys, it’s cheap and December 21st is just around the corner. Also, Christmas is coming, and wouldn’t my other paperback books make wonderful gifts?

Happy Thanksgiving! See ya Saturday for the conclusion of “Mary Hastings.”

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PROTECTING YOURSELVES

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Safety, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I’m a little late posting this morning. Just had a lot to do.

I was shuffling through some old pictures the other day and found one of some of my Marines in Vietnam. Before they went on a patrol, they conducted an elaborate ritual of putting on headbands, “cleansing” themselves with incense, praying, and Lord knows what else. It must have worked, because they got into a lot of scrapes and never lost a man.

Thinking of that made me think of protecting myself and the folks I’m with when ghost hunting. First, what are we protecting ourselves against? Let’s face it. Most ghosts are benign. They are friends, relatives, neighbors who’ve passed away, and when they go, they take their personalities with them. Most people, when alive, are not violent or even mean, although I’ll grant you that there are some grumps. The vast majority of paranormal entities, even the grumps, are not violent. Usually, they don’t have the energy. So, we seldom see objects thrown or experience getting pushed or hit. Most often, we get touched—and not in a harmful way. Female tour guides in St. Augustine have reported getting their bottoms pinched along Tolomato Lane just around the corner from the Old Wooden Schoolhouse. (See the story of this school house in my Ancient City Hauntings.) And Susan Harrell, the Ghost Tours Director at Ripley’s in St. Augustine at the time, was in a room alone when someone ran their fingers through her hair. (You can read that story in Ghosthunting Florida.)

There are occasionally malevolent spirits and demons out there who attack people who aren’t prepared, however. If we aren’t psychologically and emotionally ready, we can have problems. We have to understand that we have the mental strength to ward off attacks simply by ordering the attacking entity to leave in a stern and persistent manner. And remember that it is never wise to provoke an entity. In fact, it’s disrespectful.

To prepare ourselves we need to accept that we might encounter a ghost or other paranormal entity and to realize that we have the upper hand. We also have to use some common sense about going into areas which are known to be hazardous, and it is a rule in all of the teams I know that people work in pairs for safety and to validate any experiences. Common sense also means that we also carry flashlights, extra batteries, cell phones and walkie talkies if we have them, and first aid kits.

In the beginning of this blog I mentioned rituals. I think everyone has his or her own. Personally, I wear a small cross on a chain around my neck, and I always ask quietly for permission to enter. Others might carry small amulets. I also know that most teams have their own rituals, saying prayers beforehand, asking permission of any entities on a site to visit the area. I’ve even heard of some groups who, like my Marines, “cleanse” themselves, most often with sage. I’m sure there are many other rituals and preparations people use. Let me know if you do something special. I’d like to hear about it. However you prepare, do whatever makes you comfortable, and always use common sense.

If you’re interested in this subject, get a copy of How To Hunt GHOSTS by Joshua P. Warren. Shawn at the GhostStop recommended it to me. And finally, 12-21-12 is fast approaching, so if you haven’t bought your copy of 12-21-12 by Parker Lee, a fast-paced little e-book from Amazon, better do it quick. If you don’t read it by 12-21-12, you’ll spoil the fun.

Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to check out Part Two of “Mary Hastings” on Saturday.

GHOST HUNTERS FACE NEW PHENOMENA

Posted in Afterlife, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, St. Augustine, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Got out of Dodge this week. I’m holed up in the Best Western in New Smyrna, writing. Let me know who won the election. I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal recently. (I take the Journal because it actually has news and not tons of advertisements, and I pay less for it than the Orlando Sentinel.) Anyway, the article. It was written by Matthew Dalton, who wrote about Steve Parsons, a ghost hunter in Wales.

Mr. Parsons has 35 years experience and uses high-tech equipment with a big “dose of skepticism.” His problem is that he feels we’ve been taken over by “TV cameras and tabloid headlines.” There are so many “ghost shows” on TV that paranormal investigating has become entertainment and, according to Mr. Parsons, the “trend has spawned hundreds of amateur ‘ghost clubs’ whose members head out on weekends to scare up a few spirits.”

He points out that as a result of the television exposure there are now about 500 ghost “clubs” in Britain. Ten years ago only some 15 existed. And although many of these groups use the latest technology, many also use worthless gadgets that have flooded the market.

The sad thing is that often TV “investigations” are nothing more than show. I’ve talked to several very competent ghost hunters who’ve been involved with some of them in the U.S., and they agree that in many cases the presentations have nothing to do with reality. Events are often staged for entertainment value and have little to do with serious research.

And due to the popularity of ghost hunting, sites in Britain as well as in the United States that used to allow groups access now either charge or don’t let anyone in at all. Mr. Parsons gave an example of the Carew Castle in Wales, which purportedly houses the non-human ghost of a Barbary ape. The Castle used to charge paranormal groups $240 for investigations; it now charges $560.

We see that here in Florida. The Spanish Military Hospital in St. Augustine, which is listed in my Ghosthunting Florida, became overwhelmed with requests from paranormal groups. It now doesn’t let in any groups. Instead, they conduct in-house investigations and allow individuals to tag along for a price.

The reason I bring this up is because when I read the article, I began thinking about our situation in Florida. How many groups do we now have in the state? Forty? Fifty? I don’t know. I do know that I can count at least 20 I’ve come in contact with. I believe that the majority of the groups I’ve encountered are serious ghost hunters who either desire to help people understand unexplained activity in their homes and businesses or who want to further paranormal science. But how many groups are out there with their flashlights, digital cameras, audio recorders, and K2s banging around cemeteries, historical sites, and abandoned buildings just trying to scare up a little excitement? I would venture quite a few.

And then there are sites to investigate. Mr. Parsons reports that requests for investigations of both homes and businesses in Britain have significantly dropped off because people would rather have “Most Haunted” or “Ghost Adventures” in to do a TV show. I don’t think we have that problem here, but I do think we’re running out of places to investigate. How many times has the Italian Club in Ybor City been investigated? How about Ripley’s in St. Augustine or the Lake Worth Playhouse?

So why am I rambling on about this? I guess I want to emphasize how important it is to be as professional as possible during investigations. And how vital it is to do them for the right reasons, not because it’s more fun to hunt ghosts than to bar hop on Saturday night. We are interested in the paranormal because we believe in an afterlife and that the veil between our life and the next is very thin. So, think about it the next time you’re out on an investigation. Why are you there?

BECOMING A PSYCHIC

Posted in Afterlife, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Psychic, Stories, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I came across a book the other day, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch, by Ted Andrews. (This book was published in 2001 by Llewellyn, the same folks who published Vivian Campbell’s Stalked by Spirits.) I was intrigued when I saw the book. Ted Andrews, who died at a young fifty-seven in 2009, was a best-selling author and teacher of animistic and shamanistic lore and was most noted for his mystical writings about animals. But more than that, he was really a Renaissance Man. He was a healer, a musician, a clairvoyant. You name it, he did it.

What intrigued me were the titles of some of his books, How to Heal With Color, How To See & Read the Aura, Sacred Sounds, and most especially, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch. I didn’t know much about Mr. Andrews, but this particular book looked interesting.

In this day and age, we have so much technology at our disposal, ghost hunting has become almost a science. We have instruments to measure electromagnetic fields, to capture photographic evidence of shadows and apparitions, to hear voices from the other side. Even the most insensitive slug (me?) can find evidence of the paranormal. And, yes, most teams have a psychic or very sensitive person on the team, but for most the preponderance of evidence is collected with technology. The psychic on the team sort of mops up and confirms the findings provided by the technology.

So it’s interesting what Mr. Andrews has to say. Here are some random thoughts covered in his book. They are his not mine, but I believe what he says is right. I have just started reading the book, which has exercises at the end of each chapter.

We are all psychic. Almost everyone has had a psychic experience. Have you ever met someone who you think you might have known, and yet you know you’ve never met them. You might even know something about them. Or, when you’re driving down a certain street, and something tells you to turn when you hadn’t planned on it, only to learn later that an accident had occurred farther down. It may be a premonition that something was about to happen, a sudden insight, a hunch. Or you might have heard someone say something to you, either inside your head or out. It may have been a dream, a passing thought, or a smell. We’ve all had them. For example, I normally go to yoga at 6:45 Wednesday mornings. This morning I overslept and didn’t wake up until 6:46, a minute after class began. I awoke to the distinctive smell of the yoga studio. Psychic event? I don’t know, but it was really weird.

And if we’ve had one of these experiences, we can have them again. With study and practice, we can develop psychic abilities that might surprise us. I have a friend who is psychic and who, at one time, had only a vague sense that he was. After a couple of experiences, he decided he needed to find out more and began studying with some well-known mediums. He is now the psychic on a paranormal investigating team.

We know, of course, about our five senses, smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight. Mr. Andrews considers common sense the sixth sense, which brings our other senses together. When through our experiences we can integrate our five senses, we will often have an awareness of things beyond what those five senses can tell us. “Common sense helps us to see the patterns of our life as defined by the physical senses.” And our seventh sense, our intuition, helps us to recognize where those patterns are likely to lead.

Mr. Andrews goes on to talk about clairsentience and psychometry, how psychometry works, the basics of psychic touch, enhancing your sense of touch, the power of empathy, and so on. If you can find this book, I highly recommend it. (May be a good topic for PIA next year.) In any case, I’m going to plow through this book to see where it takes me.

And on a lighter note, if you haven’t got your copy of my (Parker Lee) Amazon e-book, 12-21-12, do it soon. Time is running out. And if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will provide a free app to get Kindle books.

Happy Halloween! (Don’t eat too much candy.)

PARANORMAL ENTITIES

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Investigating, Paranormal, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2012 by Dave Lapham

We in the paranormal community have our own jargon, just like military people, medical professionals, athletes, engineers, whomever. Teenagers, for instance, use their sometimes incomprehensible language, and their parents often don’t know what they’re saying. But for us, that isn’t a good idea. Especially when we’re dealing with clients of our paranormal investigations. They need to know what we’re talking about when we explain activity in their homes, and we need to be able to tell them precisely what we mean. So let me give you some of my definitions.

The most commonly used term is “ghost,” and when I use the word I mean “the spirit of a dead person or animal.” That’s it. Ghosts are intelligent. They can interact with us. They stay in this plane because they can’t or don’t want to move on. They have unfinished business, a mission to finish, and they want our help. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re dead, like Annie in the Page-Jackson Cemetery in Sanford. I met her one night when I was there with the Kissimmee Paranormal Investigators.

Ghosts try to gain our attention. If they are present they may move objects, open and close windows and doors, turn electricity and plumbing off and on, dump out purses—like Lilly at the St. Francis Inn in St. Augustine. And we often sense cold spots or hear unexplainable sounds.

Ghosts—people, cats, dogs, whatever—are intelligent beings and they take their personalities from life into death. If they were nasty when they lived, they’ll be nasty in death. In my experience, though, most ghosts are not malicious—even if they can be grumpy at times. I know a lady in St. Augustine who lives in a really haunted house. I asked her once if she were ever afraid. Her response: “Why should I be afraid; they’re all relatives.”

Demons are evil supernatural beings. They were never alive as we know the word, but they are intelligent, want to interact with us, and are malicious. They are dangerous. Only experts in the field should deal with demons, and if you ever encounter one, get out. Call in the experts, because you are going to lose if you don’t.

Residual hauntings are playbacks from the past. They do not interact with us, but simply play a particular sequence over and over—like walking down stairs and then disappearing or appearing and disappearing in a doorway. It’s like an old audio-cassette you’ve used and erased several times. Eventually, there’ll be short clips on the tape that you just can’t get rid of.

A poltergeist is a noisy ghost. It’s a German word: polter – to make noise, knock, rattle, and geist – ghost. They’ll start with scratching and bumping and progress to throwing objects. One theory is that the person being affected is emotionally troubled and may subconsciously be manipulating items by psychokinesis.

An apparition can be a sudden or unusual light, but in our world we mean a ghostly specter or figure. Ghosts and demons require a lot of energy to appear to us, so we don’t see them often, and when we do they are seldom complete figures. They might appear as an upper torso, a set of legs, a hand. My friend, Joanne, once had a demon in her house which was just a head—a hideous, nasty looking thing. If you ever capture an apparition on camera, you are lucky.

I have discussed orbs, spiritual electromagnetic energy, in a previous blog. What about ectoplasm? Supernatural energy can manifest itself as a thick fog or mist. You’ll often pick up an undefined smoky substance in a photograph, something that you hadn’t seen with the naked eye when you take a picture. But sometimes ectoplasm can be seen with the naked eye. Once at the May-Stringer House in Brooksville at the conclusion of a ghost hunt, a small group of us sat in the dining room. We could see through the kitchen into the back room, which was always well-lit by outside light with windows on three sides. As we sat, the Victrola in the dining room began growling, and a large, black mass filled the doorway between the kitchen and the back room. When it moved forward into the kitchen, we decided to clear out. That was ectoplasm.

Those are the most commonly used terms in our paranormal world. Anyone disagree with me or have anything else they want to talk about? Just leave a comment. Hey, leave a comment anyway, so I know someone is reading this stuff. Have a great day!

ORBS

Posted in Afterlife, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Investigating, Paranormal, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by Dave Lapham


Have you ever taken a picture and later discovered a small circle—or circles—of light or perhaps a circle of light with a contrail? Those are orbs. The definition of an “orb” is a sphere or spherical object, like the sun. But around 20 years ago, Dr. Dave Oester of IGHS (I think it was Dr. Oester) began referring to electromagnetic spiritual energy as an orb. And for most of us interested in the paranormal, that’s what an orb is. But orbs can be very confusing. We’ve all had our own experiences and have drawn our own conclusions about them.

My friend, Melba Goodwyn, author and clairvoyant from Texas, had her first experience with an orb as a child. She was sitting outside late oneafternoon when a bright orange sphere appeared in front of her and actually passed right through her. And last Saturday at the book signing at the GhostStop in St. Cloud, a woman came in and related a similar experience with a “ball of energy,” which came into the room, knocked her off her bed, and exploded on the other side.
Several people at the GhostStop agreed that it was probably ball lightning, a luminous ball of energy often associated with thunderstorms. Lab experiments have reproduced something similar to what has been reported as ball lightning, but there isn’t much scientific evidence of its naturally occurring. So, who knows what the woman experienced or if ball lightning even exists?.

Some people claim that most orbs captured on camera are actually particles of dust or precipitation. My friend Melba has had experiences which refute that. She has taken pictures on a dirt road with a truck passing by, and no orbs were present. And something I can’t explain: a year or so ago I was on a ghost hunt at the May-Stringer House in Brooksville, Fl. After we’d finished, which was probably sometime after midnight, we were standing outside in the parking lot (mostly dirt) and I took three pictures of the house in quick succession. The first and third pictures were filled with “orbs.” The second (middle) picture was clear as a bell. I have a hard time believing that those were all orbs on the one hand, but I can’t explain why the middle picture was so clear.

Easier to accept as true orbs are those that move. Check out the two photos attached. The long orange line was taken at Bud and Brenda Henshaw’s RedHawk Ranch in Wimauma, Fl. I have a story about the RedHawk in Ghosthunting Florida. You could say that a flashlight with an orange filter could have been used, but there were no flashlights present. I’ve forgotten who gave me the second photo. It might have been the Henshaws. In any case, I have no doubt those photos are orbs.

When our physical bodies die, there is nothing remaining but pure energy. We know that, so there is no reason to think that energy can’t be captured on film or by the naked eye. For me there are larger questions, which Melba also asks. Are orbs intelligent life-forms? Do they try to communicate with us? Are they ghosts? Do their colors mean anything?

Draw your own conclusions about orbs, but as for me, I believe in them. Discovering orbs can be very exciting, and maybe, just maybe, some day, I’ll communicate with one.

NOTE: In addition to Chasing Graveyard Ghosts, Melba Goodwyn has another wonderful and enlightening book out, Ghost Worlds.