Archive for investigations

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.”

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?

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.

CHASING GHOSTS

Posted in Afterlife, Book Signings & Appearances, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Investigating, Paranormal, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Before I get started on the blog, I want to put in a plug for our book-signing (Vivian Campbell, Stalked by Spirits, and me, Ghosts of St. Augustine, Ancient City Hauntings, Ghosthunting Florida, and 12-21-12) next Saturday, Oct 13th, Noon to 3 p.m., at the GhostStop in St. Cloud. Easy to find—1221 10th St.—and that’s not 1221 East 10th St (I think that’s a cow pasture.) Anyway, the GhostStop is in downtown St. Cloud. And even if you don’t want to talk to us, come on in and check out all the equipment. It’ll make you drool!

Now, about chasing ghosts. As I’ve said before, I think there’s a difference between ghost hunting and paranormal investigation. Ghost hunting is, well, hunting for ghosts. You go into a site to see if there is any paranormal activity there. Think about some of the more popular spots; Lake Worth Theater, Ripley’s in St. Augustine, the Leaf Theater in Quincy, The May-Stringer House in Brooksville. Those places are known to be haunted, and people go there to see if they can experience the reported activity. A paranormal investigation attempts to determine if a site does have paranormal activity. Most often residents of a home or other building or site invite investigators to find out if the home or site is haunted. When you hunt ghosts, you go to a site expecting, hoping, to encounter something paranormal. When you investigate, you’re looking more for an explanation of an event or activity that, on the surface, can’t be explained.

When you’re looking for places to hunt ghosts, a good rule of thumb is “the older, the better.” Not true across the board, but something to keep in mind. Older sites have more history and more chances that something occurred there to keep spirits around. Historical sites are always good. Think Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Andersonville, or, closer to home Olustee, all from the Civil War. Or try the Kingsley Plantation on Talbot Island for a really ancient site. And there’s always the Castillo in St. Augustine. And you can peruse the history of your area to find a lot of places where epic tragedies happened. Personally, I like to go to places which have never been explored before, like the courthouse in Tavares, which I visited with Outcast Paranormal Society a few weeks ago. That was exciting. And you never know what you’re going to find.

When you go into an often-investigated site like, say, Ripley’s, and you don’t find much, it can be tough on your ego. “What did I do wrong? Why didn’t I experience X, Y, or Z?” I guess that’s why so many groups use the known sites for training new members. If they don’t experience the paranormal activity there, they’re probably doing something wrong. In any case, historical sites are always a good bet.

Then, there are cemeteries. I have said in the past that since people usually die someplace else and their bodies are transported to cemeteries for burial, there won’t necessarily be much activity in those sites. But, that’s not always true. In the first place, cemeteries are often portals for ghosts trying to move on. Of course, murders and other crimes sometimes take place in cemeteries, and natural and man-made disasters can devastate cemeteries as well as other locations. Sometimes, too, grave robbers anger departed souls desecrating grave sites.

If you’re interested in graveyard ghosts, I recommend a comprehensive book by Melba Goodwyn, a friend from Texas. The book is Chasing Graveyard Ghosts. Melba is an experienced clairvoyant parapsychologist with a vast knowledge of astrology, numerology, divination, and traditional psychology. Her book is a text for learning about graveyard ghosts.

And, finally, don’t forget next Saturday’s book signing at the GhostStop, AND don’t forget checking out 12-21-12 (by Parker Lee) on Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will give you a free app to download e-books to any device.

Last but not least, please pass the word around about my site. Hey, give me some feedback, too.

GHOST HUNTING EQUIPMENT

Posted in Afterlife, Book Signings & Appearances, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Investigating, Paranormal, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Have you ever been in a tackle shop? If you haven’t, go to the fishing section in Bass Pro or some other store that sells fishing equipment. You’ll find a vast area of gear, especially lures, many of which are designed more to catch fishermen than fish. You can buy a lot of lures and never catch anything, except maybe a cold. Same is true for ghost hunting equipment. There are a lot of items out there in the market place which may or may not enhance your ghost hunting.

As I’ve said before, if you want to get into ghost hunting and paranormal investigating, join a group of experienced folks; that’s the best way. A well-established team will have all the equipment anyone could ever need and will know how to use it. But if you do want to get your own gear, do some research.

And by the way, I’d like to suggest that there is a difference between ghost hunting and paranormal investigating. If you’re ghost hunting, you’re, well, ghost hunting. You’re looking for spirits, trying to prove their existence. If you’re doing an investigation, chances are you’ve been invited by a client to determine if a particular place has paranormal activity. That’s perhaps a minor difference, but a difference all the same.

Anyway, all you really need is a flashlight, a notebook and pencil, a watch, a tape recorder, a camera, and possibly a first aid kit. The flashlight is mostly for safety purposes, although if you have one that turns on and off by loosening and tightening the bulb end, you might be able to get a spirit to communicate with you by asking it to turn the light on and off. The notebook, pencil, and watch are used to record your observations and track the sequence of events. And use an old-fashioned spring-driven watch. A tape recorder is used to record EVPs—and your oral comments, if you wish. Just be sure you identify yourself if you record anything. A camera can capture apparitions, but more commonly just orbs. Still, a good piece of gear to have. If you’re going into old buildings, especially at night, you might take a long a first aid kit. Some of us are clumsier than others. And make sure you have a gillion batteries. Entities my try to manifest themselves by drawing on the electric energy in their immediate surrounds—that’s your camera/flashlight/tape recorder/etc batteries. Make sure you have lots.

That’s gear you really need. But, wait, there’s more! You can go crazy buying equipment, but with some research and caution, you can greatly enhance your investigating with a few other items. An EMF meter and a thermometer are good to have, or get a Mel meter which combines both functions. Oh, and Dr. Oester of IGHS recommends a compass in lieu of or at least in addition to an EMF meter. Wide swings of 15° – 20° will indicate that you might have something. Then there’s FLIR thermal cameras, motion sensors, laser grids, IR lights, dowsing rods, full spectrum digital cameras, night vision camcorders, DVR systems, spirit boxes, and don’t forget vests, and nifty T-shirts—shall I go on?

What I would suggest is that you spend some time with experienced people to see what they use and at stores like the GhostStop. Shawn, Jennifer and the folks there are all experienced ghost hunters. Shoot, Shawn invented a lot of the stuff he sells. Get some hands-on time with different kinds of gear. Also, do some reading. I’ve suggested Anthony Mamone’s GHOST HUNTER’S EQUIPMENT GUIDE which you can get as an e-book from Amazon for $.99. (And if you don’t have a KINDLE, Amazon will give you a free app to download to some other device. And you can get other books online or from the GhostStop.

If you’ve suddenly become fire up about ghost hunting, don’t let yourself be dazzled by all the equipment. Get the essential stuff, get into a group, do some research, and only when you feel comfortable with a piece of gear buy it.

Remember that all this equipment are just tools to enhance your ability to encounter paranormal activity. That’s all they are.

Hey, and don’t forget GhostStop’s big grand opening on Friday, October 5th, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Paul Bradford and Scott Tepperman from Ghost Hunters International will be there.

Also, don’t forget Saturday, October 13th. Vivian Campbell (Stalked by Spirits) and I will be there from noon to 3 p.m. signing books.