Archive for hauntings

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?

BUCK WARREN Part 2

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.

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.)

BUCK WARREN

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, a small town in the southeastern part of the state. We had only fifty kids in our ninth grade class at Washington Junior High School, and we were a tight, companionable group—all except for Buck Warren and his three or four lackeys. Buck was a big guy, a tackle on the football team, and he was really good. In later years he played high school football and went on to play in college. But he wasn’t real smart. I suppose because of his lack of intelligence, he had low self-esteem, and in ninth grade at Washington Junior High School Buck didn’t think much of himself. He made up for it by being a bully.

Because I was a wise acre, I taunted him every chance I got. At five feet two inches and 115 pounds I was quick, and Buck could never catch me, although a couple of times his henchmen did. I paid the price, but it was worth it.

Halloween in 1953 fell on a Saturday. Saturdays were when we played our football games, which usually started around nine in the morning. After the games, we’d all congregate down the hill at the drugstore soda fountain. Buck had played extremely well on that day both on offense and defense, and he was all puffed up and lording it over us lesser human beings. So I decided to rattle his chain.

All of us kids knew the legend of Henry Crickbaum, a Civil War veteran, who’d served in the Iowa Sixth Cavalry Regiment and was a hero. But after the War he’d gone berserk and killed a dozen people. The local sheriff reluctantly shot him when the ex-soldier attacked him with a pick ax. Crickbaum died on Halloween and was buried in the center of the Ottumwa Cemetery up on North Court Street.

That part of the legend was probably true, but there was a companion story that every Halloween Mr. Crickbaum came out of his grave and went after anyone who was nearby. I guess he took his insanity to the grave with him. Anyway, that was the story, which I dismissed as a myth.

Well, you know how kids are, especially about ghosts and most especially about cemeteries. And it was Halloween, so that Henry Crickbaum was a topic of discussion at the soda fountain. Buck popped me on the back of my head and strutted around. “I’m not afraid of Henry Crickbaum,” he said with a sneer.

I grinned and replied, “Buck, if you’re so tough, why don’t you go visit old Crazy Crickbaum at the cemetery tonight. You could really show us how tough you are.”

He smacked me on the back of my head again and replied, “Why don’t you shut up, you little dirt ball, before I crush you?”

That started it. Everyone chimed in. “Yeah, Buck. Show us how brave you are, how tough you are.”

Buck got red in the face, but finally agreed. “Okay, you kooks, I’ll show you. Midnight, I’ll be at the cemetery, if you’re brave enough to come watch.”

And I retorted, “Yeah, and right in the middle next to Crazy Crickbaum’s grave.”

We trick-or-treated just after dark. Then almost everyone jumped on their bikes and headed uphill to the cemetery. We all gathered around the big limestone arches at the entrance and waited for Buck, who showed up five minutes before midnight with his three goons. He got off his bike and looked around, a sneer on his face.

He hitched up his jeans and said, “Okay, you melon heads. Watch this.” And he sauntered off into the darkness.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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!

PEGGY & KEVIN

Posted in Afterlife, Ghosts, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Almost forgot to post this; I’m at the Florida Writers Conference this weekend. Great experience! Anyway, this is a true story about a friend of mine. I’ve changed the names and geography a little to protect my friend’s privacy, but this happened. I know the little kid who is now a youngster–and just like his uncle, in temperament and looks.

Peggy and Kevin were not only twins, they were best friends. They looked alike with the same blond hair and blue eyes. They had the same likes and dislikes, the same thoughts, the same desires. They played the same games, ate the same food. Except for the fact that Peggy was female and Kevin male, they could have been clones. Their communication with each other was almost telepathic. They attended the same college and pursued the same major, environmental science. After college, Peggy married and moved to Florida. Kevin headed west. But they still checked in with each other almost daily.

Two years later Kevin called Peggy with bad news. He had pancreatic cancer, and he probably had a few months to live. But he had accepted that and was only mildly concerned. He made Peggy promise, though, that she wouldn’t tell anyone in the family. He didn’t want his parents to worry.

As the weeks passed Kevin got worse and finally decided it was time to go home to die. Peggy was beside herself with worry and returned to their home in Iowa to be with Kevin his last few weeks. She spent every day with him and made him as comfortable as possible. Finally, Kevin knew the end was near and asked his closest friends and family members to assemble in his room. He was joyful as he said goodbye to each person, his parents, his best friends, and Peggy. That night as Peggy sat by his bedside, Kevin passed away.

A few days later as family members arrived for the funeral, Peggy gave up her bedroom to her aunt and uncle and moved into Kevin’s—no one wanted to stay in the room where he had died. The night before the funeral Peggy was awakened by a gentle tap on her forehead. She sat up and there at the foot of the bed stood her brother. He was smiling. He told her not to grieve for him, that he was fine, that he would see her again. And then he disappeared. Peggy felt at peace.

Several months later, Peggy had a dream. In the dream, Kevin sat in a rocking chair in their parents’ kitchen, and he held a baby boy. Their mother and father were standing beside Kevin. The baby was gurgling and smiling. Kevin and their parents were laughing.

A month later she visited her doctor and learned she was pregnant with her first child. Nine months after her dream, Peggy gave birth to a baby boy—on Kevin’s and her birthday. Of course, she and her husband named the child Kevin.