Archive for ghouls


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.


Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2012 by Dave Lapham

No one would go with him, and we couldn’t actually see Crazy Crickbaum’s grave from the gateway. I wanted to make sure Buck didn’t cheat, so I rode around to the other side of the cemetery where I had a perfect view. Sure enough, just after I got off my bike and settled in to watch, there was Buck Warren marching boldly up to the grave of Henry Crickbaum.

Buck stood at the foot of the grave, arms crossed, feet spread apart. I was actually impressed. We hadn’t made any arrangements for him to pick up something from the area to prove he’d been there, but he bent down and grasped an old vase of dead flowers. Then he straightened and stood staring at the headstone.

He had been standing there motionless for about three minutes when a luminescent, chartreuse mist oozed out of the grave and formed a funnel, like a small tornado. As the mass rose, the top of it changed into a human-like torso with an indescribable, fiendish-looking head. Piercing eyes, shark-like teeth, the most evil-looking thing I’d ever seen. I was terrified. I almost vomited.

But Buck. Buck was magnificent. He dropped the flower vase, picked up a fallen tree branch, and swiped at the monster, who darted out of the way. As the beast closed in on him, Buck realized that his defense was useless and backed up, then turned and ran. The demon came after him. Buck looked back, tripped, and fell. The awful creature now hovered over him. I screamed, and the demon looked towards me with his fiery eyes, even though I was a hundred yards away. In that instant Buck leaped up and raced toward the entrance, faster than I’d ever seen him run on the football field. The demon turned to follow him for several yards, stopped, and then vanished from sight.

I jumped on my bike and raced back to the entrance. Panting, I slid to a stop and dropped my bike. Buck was sitting on the ground leaning against one of the arches. His hair was snow white—and he was crying. Everyone else stood there in petrified silence, not knowing exactly what had happened to him or what to say. I looked at Buck and related exactly what I had seen. Well, Buck became a hero, a true legend of Washington Junior High School.

But he was forever changed. He no longer bullied anyone, and even though he was as aggressive on the football field as ever, he treated everyone kindly. He’d hit a runner with a jarring, teeth-rattling tackle—and then help the guy up. Buck and I became good friends and remained so, even though I moved to Cedar Rapids, a hundred miles away.

Several years later, Buck and I joined the Marines and went to Vietnam in the same unit. On Halloween, 1966, our company was overrun by a North Vietnamese battalion. Buck Warren died that night saving our company and me.

Buck was buried in the Ottumwa Cemetery not far from Henry Crickbaum’s grave. The demon there has never been seen again to this day.


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!


Posted in Afterlife, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Investigating, Paranormal, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Regardless of your area of interest, I believe you need to study as well as participate in it. As a writer, I spend a significant amount of time studying the craft of writing and reading other writer’s work as well as writing. I believe paranormal investigators need to do the same thing. Sure, it’s fun to tromp around old, empty buildings or cemeteries in the middle of the night, but if you don’t know what you’re doing or why you’re there, that’s all it is—fun. That’s why I think the best “p.i.” groups are those that do spend time studying the paranormal.

And that’s why I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. There is so much I don’t know and so many resources to choose from, it’s mind-boggling at times, so I recently joined Drs. Dave & Sharon Oester’s International Ghost Hunting Society. There are other places to go, of course, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen of IGHS and several of my p.i. friends are members. IGHS puts out an insightful newsletter and has a lot of information available. And I was surprised by some of the details I’ve learned. In a recent newsletter, for example, Dr. Oester said that they no longer do their investigations at night. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s as much activity during the day as the night, so working in the daytime is safer and just as productive. I’ve been so impressed with the IGHS that I just ordered 2 books from them, the Ghost Research Manual, and the Tao of Ghost Hunting.

Another really interesting Internet site I came across the other day is the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena. It’s British and their web site is filled with information about the paranormal. You can join the society for about $45-$50, depending on the exchange rate. I haven’t figured out what the benefits are yet, but now that I’ve found the site, I’m going to read it regularly. An interesting point: last week I mentioned that PCI had incorporated as a charity to be eligible for grants and charitable tax-free donations. Guess what? ASSAP is also a charity. I guess the Brits have similar tax laws.

Some more interesting information. ASSAP reports that a “recent survey…found that two thirds of reports of haunting activity occurred in the afternoon.” I’ve always thought that because the night is quiet, our chances of detecting activity at night were greater than in the daytime, but apparently that isn’t so. Here’s another one: “Ghosts are not, contrary to popular belief, reported more frequently in graveyards.” Now that to me makes sense. Yes, it’s scary in a cemetery after dark, but think about it. When a body is taken to be buried, it’s been dead for at least several days, normally. Is a person’s spirit going to hang around just to catch a free ride in a hearse? I don’t think so. Either the spirit will move on or it will remain at the site of the person’s demise, depending on the circumstances of death, more often than not. Yes, occasionally a spirit will latch on to someone or something, but that, I think, is a rare occurrence.

Well, I could ramble on, but I won’t. If you don’t already spend time studying the various aspects of the paranormal, I think you should start. It will certainly make you a better investigator, and some of this stuff is really fascinating.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my books, especially 12-21-12, by Parker Lee (pen name). Remember, December 21st is only 10 weeks away.

PCI Workshop & Investigation

Posted in Stories with tags , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Another great Saturday night! I drove to Ft. Lauderdale at the invitation of Krissie Richardson, Director of Paranormal Crossroads Investigations, to participate in a ghost hunting workshop followed by an investigation of the Ft. Lauderdale Fire & Safety Museum. What a great place!

Fire Station #3 was built in 1927 and was in service as a fire station until 1991. It is now the Ft. Lauderdale Fire & Safety Museum and is being restored. The station is a lovely old building in Mediterranean style with a small, circular rotunda entryway with a chandelier, a large bay for the two fire trucks, three bedrooms, officer’s quarters, a bathroom, day room with a Southwestern style fireplace, and a galley.

Gerald Bagwell, the curator, himself a fixture in the place, entertained us with a brief history, including tales of wild card games and the illicit use of the officer’s room, which has its own outside entrance, for prostitution.

PCI has been in existence for eight years. It was formerly the Florida Ghost Team. It’s an interesting team. Only eight of its twenty-two members were present Saturday, because the group is spread all across Florida with one member living in Peru and another in Kentucky. In spite of their geographical dispersion, they are a tight group. They are in almost daily communication with each other via phone, texting, and Skype, and they all seem to be really good friends. One interesting fact I learned about them Saturday was that they’re incorporated as a non-profit, which allows them to apply for grants and take tax-deductible donations. I hadn’t thought of that, but I believe it’s a wonderful idea.

The first part of the workshop, presented by PCI’s techie Agim and J.C. with an occasional comment by LindaLee, Kim, and A.J., covered a wide variety of equipment, which we were allowed to “play” with, as well as use later in the evening during our investigation. I’m not going to go into all the details of the equipment we were shown—next week we’ll talk about that—but we got to become familiar with just about every piece of gear in the ghost hunter’s equipment bag. Another interesting thing I learned:  PCI has a number of “rice” bags, small cloth bags filled with rice to support cameras and such in places where they couldn’t otherwise put them. No tripod, no problem. Set a rice bag on a ledge, put the camera on it, and adjust the direction by fluffing up the bag. Another handy device PCI uses is a laser pointer that you can get at Target or Walmart for a couple of bucks. In a darkened room team members can then point at something and everyone in the room knows what they’re pointing at. Maybe other groups use rice bags and laser pointers; I’d just never seen it.

After the equipment demonstrations, the team talked about safety considerations during an investigation, things like laying cable along walls and taping everything down so investigators don’t trip on the wires, always working in pairs, and always carrying flashlights. And then A.J. who is the team’s medium gave us an excellent description of what it is like to be a medium and what he does during investigations, very illuminating.

Then it was time for our investigation. We divided into teams of two led by a PCI member, and the lights went out. Denean with an EMF meter and I with a K2 followed Agim with a super-sensitive real-time audio recorder wondered off.

Several entities haunt the station. Robert Knight in his second week and two days before Christmas, 1940, stepped off his fire truck into an electrically charged puddle and died. He’s still there, because he says he loves it. Across the street stands a “hanging tree,” variously said to have been used by vigilantes or by the authorities from the old courthouse around the corner. Regardless, several spirits from the area of the tree frequent the station. And two small girls who died in a tragic fire nearby also like it there. It seems Robert protects them.

The highlight of the evening for me occurred in one of the bedrooms. Denean, Agim, and I were sitting on the floor not experiencing much activity, when A.J. and Krissie came in with a “spirit box.” As soon as they sat down, and A.J. began asking questions, we started getting answers, plainly heard and understood. I am now a fan of “spirit boxes.”

If you’re ever in Ft. Lauderdale, stop by the museum. It’s worth the trip. And if you live in the area and need assistance, call PCI. They’re a professional, caring, and well-run team. I hope I can work with them again very soon. As I said, another great Saturday night.Image