Archive for paranormal 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?

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE PARANORMAL

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