Monday, June 29, 2009
This weekend I came across another one. How the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum in Alabama recently did a ghost hunt as a fundraiser. Specifically, The Friends of the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum held a Paranormal Weekend in conjunction with Southern Paranormal Researchers.
HOW IT WORKS
Oftentimes the venue's historical society (or preservation society, whatever name they might give it) teams up with the local paranormal investigation group. The paranormal investigators, along with members of the historical society, offer a night (or sometimes a weekend) of ghost hunting.
Both groups advertise the event, and usually so does the venue. As you might imagine, it generates a lot of local press. Which is great for all involved.
Also, experienced and novice ghost hunters are usually both welcomed (and encouraged) to attend the events. This offers a really great DIY opportunity for fans of shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures to experience the action for themselves.
RECENT AND UPCOMING HAUNT JAUNT FUNDRAISING EVENTS
I think the first one I came across was a dinner at a restaurant where the money would benefit something. Trouble is, I don't remember either the restaurant or the cause... (Sorry!)
But I do remember the Haunt Jaunt that would benefit Historic Fort Wayne's preservation society, which I wrote about in a previous article. Their next events will be on these dates: 8/16, 9/19, and 10/31.
Most recently I wrote about PARA's upcoming event at Fort Mifflin on 9/5. I went to their website today and saw their May 16 and 17 events raised over $6,000 for the fort. That just goes to show if you pair a great location with a ghost hunting fundraising event, you can raise some pretty decent money!
And here's another one I stumbled across: The Preston Castle Foundation (yes, as in the Preston Castle that was recently the focus of an investigation on Ghost Adventures), in conjunction with Ghost Trackers Paranormal Research Group, offers Overnight Ghost Tours. The cost is $100 per person and can be attended on the following dates: 7/25, 9/26, and 11/28. (There was also one for 8/22 but it's sold out.)
Don't be surprised if you see me post more of these as they come up. I think it's a pretty neat idea.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Its focus isn't necessarily restricted to haunted places, though. It's a smorgasboard of things.
WHAT YOU CAN FIND ON ROADSIDE
As travel sites go, they have pretty standard features, such as a listing of hotels & motels. But of course they put their own unique spin on it.
When you click on a state, it takes you to a page with a listing of links to hotels & motels by city. In the sidebar on the right, it also lists "Quirky Tourist Attractions" within the state.
But then they've compiled some very bizarre attractions. This is defiitely the site to visit if you've ever wanted to map out a route to see Muffler Men, Smiley Water Towers, Two-Story Outhouses, or Tiny Churches.
PARANORMAL LISTINGS ON ROADSIDE AMERICA
This is what caught my attention about Roadside America: their Mystery Spots and Roadside Creatures sections.
I didn't find anything really amazing I didn't already know about, but it is a neat concept.
OTHER NOTABLE ROADSIDE AMERICA FEATURES
Two other things I liked about the site were their Sight of the Week and their My Sights Route Planner (you can "create your own bizarre road trips" and save them on the site).
Saturday, June 27, 2009
In yesterday's post I mentioned how HauntJaunts.net is not a one-of-a-kind, there are other haunted travel sites out there. What are they?
I listed them yesterday, but they're worth noting again:
THE OTHER HAUNTED TRAVEL SITES
NOT SUCH A NOVEL CONCEPT
It was in late 2007 when I first thought instead of doing Haunt Jaunts: A Travel Guide for Restless Spirits as a book like I'd initially seen it as that I'd set it up as a website.
One of the first things I did was check out the Internet for any similar sites already in existence. That's how I found A Ghost in My Suitcase.
At first I was bummed. "Someone else has already had this idea? Drat."
But as I cruised around on the site, I realized his vision and mine were two different things. He was using the website to promote his book of the same name. His shtick was 50 haunted places in 50 states.
My vision was bigger than that. I wanted to be a sort of paranormal yellow pages. A place people could turn to when looking for restaurants, hotels, or attractions with ghost stories attached to them. If the allegedly haunted place had a website, I'd link to it, as well as include its physical address and phone number.
Also, I liked the idea of not only breaking Jaunts down by state, but also by venue and giving them catchy names. (Hence, Apparition Attractions, Eerie Eateries & Pubs, Spooky Stays, etc...)
"There might just be room on the web for both of us!" I realized.
Then this year as I've set about getting things set up in earnest I stumbled across the other two sites: The Haunted Traveler and TravelParanormal.com.
My first reaction was similar to the one I'd had upon discovering A Ghost in My Suitcase. Then I checked them out.
Each offers something unique. The Haunted Traveler's site does list some Haunt Jaunts and gives a history behind some of them, but his main deal is his spirit photography. (Which is amazing, I must say. I haven't checked into how much his work costs, but talk about hauntingly beautiful...)
And then TravelParanormal.com lists all the 50 states, but it's more of a compilation of news and articles related to cities within the state.
ONE MORE HAUNTED TRAVEL SITE
There's one more haunted listing site that my friend Brenda sent me not too long ago: The Shadowlands Haunted Places Index.
This has the most thorough listings of all of them. Not only does it have all 50 states, but also includes listings for haunted places outside of America.
However, it still isn't the vision I had. If I''m not mistaken, it would (and I think does) list somewhere like Waverly, whereas I wouldn't.
I only want to list Jaunts where people can go freely. (You may have to pay for a room or something like that to stay at a Jaunt, but it's accessible to the public.) I didn't want to get into listing abandoned places and all that, no matter how good the ghost story.
COMMON THEME + DIFFERENT APPROACHES = MORE CHOICES
As I see it, we each offer a different flavor. It's kind of like pizza: not all of them taste the same. Some people like the sauce at one place better than another. Or the crust. Or the way the meat is sliced. Everyone has their favorite based on how it suits their palate.
I think the same applies for finding ghosts via haunted travel sites: one might appeal to one ghost enthusiast more than another. At least there's some choice.
Of course, that doesn't stop me from hoping HauntJaunts.net will explode. I can see it now: the Domino's or the Pizza Hut of the ghost community.
Okay, okay, it may sound crazy.But it doesn't hurt to wish big, does it?
Friday, June 26, 2009
I'd also like to check out some haunted places, if there are any, while I'm there. (Naturally. I couldn't very well call myself a Haunt Jaunter if I didn't, could I? Plus, it's more material for the blog and the website.)
While I was watching Cartoon Network's "The Othersiders" investigation of the Queen Mary, I found myself thinking, "Perhaps these kids aren't too young to hunt ghosts after all."
With that said, I guess it's a good time to admit that I shared the sentiments fellow blogger AutumnForest expressed in one of her posts about "The Othersiders." Kids hunting ghosts? (Or as she put it, "drape climbers," which just cracked me up.) Come on, be serious. Someone's really trying to make a mockery of ghost hunting now.
However, the Queen Mary investigation made me stop and go "Hmmm...."
Personally, I think "The Othersiders" is kind of boring as ghost hunting shows go. (Although, maybe if I was a kid I'd think it was great.)
I also have a hard time believing the five were friends before the show and weren't "casted" for it. However, I have to admit a ghost hunting team comprised of teens might allow for different results than a team of just adults.
For instance, any children ghosts might be more inclined to make contact with someone nearer their own age. Likewise, older spirits may find younger ghost hunters more approachable and less threatening than an adult.
But on the converse of that, people who didn't much care for kids in life might be irritated by the presence of younger ghost hunters. (Talk about a new method of provocation!) Older ghosts (or, rather, people who were older when they passed) might relate more to someone their own age.
DID SHE SING BECAUSE THEY DID?
That's what I wondered when the Othersiders played the EVP of the little girl singing in the pool area. Perhaps they caught that EVP based on something they did during the investigation.
They tried to cajole the girl ghost said to haunt the pool area into singing, as its reported she does, by singing themselves. They picked "Ring around the Rosy." A simple song, a common enough one, but it impressed me nonetheless. Why?
I don't have kids and it's been a while since I was one. When they made the decision to sing period my first thought was, "What on earth song would I have sung if that was me investigating?"
When they went with "Ring around the Rosy" it was both obvious and genius. Of course I knew it. What person didn't sing it at some point in their own youth? But it never would have occurred to me to pick that one.
Now if they truly came up with it on their own or had some help from a producer, who knows. And who knows if they would have caught the EVP anyway without singing, but it was a pretty good EVP...perhaps because of what they did.
GHOST HUNTING TEAMS: THE ADVANTAGE OF DIVERSITY
It was because of the song they picked that I reconsidered my stance on teenage ghost hunters. Instead I thought, "What an advantage it is for those teams that are as diverse as possible."
Think about it. If you have good coverage of the age spectrum (youngsters on up to senior citizens), as well as a mix of males and females plus people from a variety of walks of life, you cover the gamut. The age/gender/ethnicity/etc might be as much of a factor or influence of the type of results your investigations turn up as anything else.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Today I finally had some time to skim the posts on the Yahoo! Groups I belong to and ended up stumbling across Haunt Jaunts galore! (I didn't have much time to lurk around these groups before, but I do now that I'm done with radiation. After what I came across today, I'm stoked because what a great additional resource for me to find new Haunt Jaunt activities!)
All except one I found via the Haunted Times Yahoo! Group. (The other was via The Paranormal Research Society group.) I listed them by event date.
1. LIZZIE BORDEN BED & BREAKFAST WEEKEND RETREAT: JUNE 26-27, 2009
I know this doesn't give you much heads up since this event starts tomorrow. I don't even know if there's space still available. But I thought I'd list it anyway.
It's a Haunted Times event. On Friday June 26, Christopher Moon will give his Ghost Hunting 101 Seminar, followed by dinner which includes telling of the haunted history of of the B&B plus a tour. Then the night concludes with an investigation. On Saturday June 27, Moon goes more in-depth with his Ghost Hunting 102 class, and then dinner plus more investigations follow. (And, yes, Moon will be using his Telephone to the Dead during the investigations.)
Cost: $150 plus tax per person per night (includes class, dinner, investigation, room and breakfast) OR $50 per person per night for investigations only.
Call the Lizzie Borden B&B at 508-675-7333 to register.
2. AUDUBON COTTAGES - DAUPHINE ORLEANS WEEKEND RETREAT: JULY 24-25, 2009
Another Haunted Times event. Same kind of thing as described above, just the location and costs are a bit different.
Cost: $99 plus tax per person per night (includes class, dinner, and investigation...room is extra but discounted rates are available) OR $50 per person per night for investigations only.
Call Haunted Times Magazine at 877-880-6232 to register for the event.
To book a room at the event site, Call Dawn Ledet of the Dauphine Orleans at 504-586-1800.
NOTE: HT says space is limited for this one so if you're interested book sooner rather than later.
3. VILLISCA AXE MURDER HOUSE - SPIRIT COMMUNICATION 101: AUGUST 7, 2009
Another HT event. This time the focus of the class is on communicating with the dead, followed by a dinner and an investigation. Moon and his HT staff will leave at midnight, but the house will be open for further investigations until 2 a.m.
Cost: $99 per person (class, investigation and dinner only, you have to make your own room reservations)
Call Haunted Times Magazine at 720-344-6150 to make reservations for this event.
4. MASON HOUSE INN BED AND BREAKFAST: AUGUST 8-9, 2009
Yep, another HT event consisting of Ghost Hunting 101 and 102 classes.
Cost: $75 per person per event (Rooms are extra, but if you stay both nights you get $5 off your room the second night.)
Call 1-800-592-3133 to register.
5. FORT MIFFLIN PARA EVENT: SEPTEMBER 5, 2009
This is not an HT event. Rather, it's put on by Paranormal Association of Research & Assistance (PARA) in association with PARA-X Radio (who will be broadcasting live during the event).
Looks like they have some neat things lined up: presentations at each of the buildings, an EVP lab where you can listen to EVPs captured there, a photography lab teaching spirit photography techniques, and even an auction where one of the prizes will be a private investigation with investigators Shannon and Jeff Sylvia (who will also be there).
Contact Lorraine Irby at 215.685.4167 to pre-register or visit PARA's website for more info.
ABOUT THE YAHOO! GROUPS IN THIS POST
If you're not a member of them but are interested in checking them out and maybe joining yourself, I posted their links below:
Cruisers can expect to be treated to spooky stories from Nesbitt while onboard, but the main draw is sure to be his port excursions.
What are the ports? There are three: Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine, and Halifax Nova Scotia.
Nesbitt will lead a spooky tour of Portland, a haunted trolley tour in Bar Harbor, and a ghost walk in Halifax.
But the ghost touring doesn't end when the cruise does. Nesbitt is also offering a ghost tour of Boston followed by an overnight in Boston's haunted Park Plaza Hotel.
And what does all of this ghost touring, haunt jaunting New England cruise fun cost?
- Cruise rates: $514.39 (interior cabin), $664.39 (ocean view cabin), $794.39 (balcony cabin).
- Port excursions in Portland, Bar Harbor, and Halifax: $65 (for all three, which is not too shabby as far as excursion rates go).
- The extension in Boston with the ghost tour and stay at the Park Plaza: $120.
Interested in signing up? You have to book through Cruise Holidays of Alexandria, 866-368-7327, and put down a $250 deposit (refundable up to one day before final payment is due).
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thanks to the Haunted Formula AutumnForest is working on over at Ghost Hunting Theories and Lisa Logan's Where Would YOU Haunt guest blog, I can't stop wondering: is there a law to becoming a ghost?
You know, like the Law of Gravity, the Law of Attraction...is there a Law of Lingering? (For lack of something else to call it.)
In a previous post I wrote about how AutumnForest is using six criteria to determine whether some places may be more predisposed to hauntings than others. Basically, she's trying to figure out if certain conditions must exist before a person's spirit could remain behind somewhere.
I've thought this is a very interesting way to examine haunted places, but now it really has me wondering some things. Especially after Lisa's post yesterday.
ASSUMING GHOSTS EXISTS
Maybe you can pick where you'd like to haunt. Maybe you don't have to die there necessarily. But can you only haunt places where the conditions will allow you to? (This is assuming you need certain conditions, such as proximity to water, sand/granite/limestone/or other such "conductors" that seem to appear in many environments where ghosts "live"...basically the criteria AutumnForest proposes in her Haunted Formula.)
So now I'm starting to think about how it is ghosts come to be differently than I was before. All of this has raised a whole new batch of questions, such as:
- If there's something to the Haunted Formula, can ghosts still haunt places that don't have conditions conducive to letting them "live" there? (For instance, if someone dies in a place without the necesaary elements, can a ghost still manifest, or do they "feed" off certain elements to live?)
- Why is it some people's spirits remain behind at all? I guess this is the question most ghost enthusiasts want the answer to, but now I'm thinking about it in a different way than I used to. I used to think you either died suddenly, or tragically, or with unfinished business, or just so much love for a place you wanted to stay there forever. But now I'm wondering if maybe there's physical properties about places that make it easier for people's spirits to remain behind...if they want to stay behind. But what if they don't want to stay behind? Which brings me to the next question...
- Are ghosts made by choice or by circumstance? Meaning, when we die, do we have the option to become a ghost if we so choose? Or is it the place, specifically elements about the place, that sort of "trap" them and don't let people's spirits leave? (Maybe there's something about places with residual hauntings in particular that act as "recorders" instead of traps, but with intelligent hauntings...that's what I really wonder about. Are the spirits there by choice or because they can't leave?
- And what if it's not about the physical elements of a place? What if ghosts don't want to go to the Beyond (for lack of knowing what's really After this life) so they stay Here. Or, what if the Universe is the greatest recycler of all and some ghosts exist because there wasn't a new body for them to go into at the moment of their death?
- How would the major religions of our world reconcile their beliefs if somehow one day we are able to prove there are ghosts, we find a way to communicate with them, and we understand how it is they come to be and what it takes for them to exist?
I don't know if there's a law to becoming a ghost or not, but maybe one day with all these different people investigating the paranormal we might find out. (Who knows, the next Einstein or Newton might be out there right now as we speak on the verge of making the next great discovery!)
The Times of India ran an interesting article recently called "Meet ghosts at a restaurant in Kolkata." It was about P C Sorcar, a conjurer or magician, who's planning to open a restaurant with ghosts, goblins and ghouls of every variety.
Don't worry. The ghosts aren't real. They'll be members in his troupe who will wait on patrons while performing illusions at the same time.
"Imagine how it will be like if a waiter takes off his own head and puts it on plate while noting orders from the customer. Or if a ghoul springs up from the nearby grave and sits next to you. Or a goblin walks out of the picture frame and asks your name," the master illusionist says.
It sounds spookily delightful doesn't it? I know I won't be heading to India anytime soon, but if you will be the restaurant is set to open in November, post-Diwali.
(I had to look up what Diwali was. It's an official holiday in India, also known as the Festival of Lights, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil within a person. It lasts for five days and is celebrated on a different date every year. It's always sometime around October/November and has to do with the new moon. Something about falling on "the 15th day of the dark fortnight in the auspicious Hindu month of Kartik," according to DiwaliFestival.org.)
Okay, and if you think calculating the date Diwali falls on is mysterious, here's how the article described where the restaurant will be located: "The restaurant is coming up on a secluded spot beside the National Highway-6, a few kilometres from Kolkata..." in Howrah.
I'm sure there will be more specifics once the restaurant is actually open. Sorcar plans to serve patrons seven days a week, serving them "multi-cuisine dishes," and hopes it will become "a one-stop destination for tourists and local people" alike.
It sounds like a neat concept. I'd Jaunt there. I'm hoping if it's a hit there, a variation might hop overseas here somewhere...somewhere I might actually have a chance of jaunting to!
(But if any of you end up going, I'd love to hear about it.)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
"Huh?" I thought, confused.
See, I'd had a rather exhausting weekend. I haven't seen my dad since March 2008, when I made an emergency trip back to Denver when my mom went into the hospital. That trip was the beginning of what turned into what I'll probably come to call my Catastrophe Year.
(I ended up moving my mom back to Nashville with me because not only was she diagnosed with lung cancer while she was in the hospital, but she also had dementia and doctors determined she could no longer live alone. That was just the beginning of it all. I keep hoping with my hitchhiker being in remission that the dark days of my Catastrophe Year are behind me, but....)
That brings me back to my dad. Wayne and I went up to Indiana to see him because he flew in from Denver for a high school reunion and to stay with his sister. We drove up to see him because now his health is failing. His girlfriend is exhausted trying to keep up with all his doctor appointments and hospital stays, so... I once again feel the pressure to help like I felt when my mom took a turn for the worst. Except his situation is different from my mom's in a lot of respects. Different complications and considerations and my mind hasn't been still for the past four days trying to figure out what to do about it all.
So to see this award from Lisa was just that little bit of a happy booster that I needed. To remind me that there is a lighter and happier side to life. One I want to participate in too. With that said, here's how I'm participating today: By extending some "Let's Be Friends Awards" myself!
ABOUT THE AWARD:
Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers.
I'd hereby like to deliver this award to the following exceedingly charming, friendly bloggers:
- Lisa Logan of Writing in My Wildest Dreams (back atcha babe!): I think that not only is Lisa one of the most talented, creative, and on the verge of breaking it BIG writers I know, I LOVE her theme days, especially that Wild Dream Wednesday!
- Chris Verstraete of the Candid Canine: I was honored she let me read her Searching for a Starry Night and fall in love with her Sam character long before it found a publisher...and then to be there biting my nails with her as she awaited responses to submissions, rejoiced with her during her acceptance, lived vicariously through her as it found publication, and celebrated with her when it became a 2009 EPPIE Finalist. To top it off, she's developed a great blog that lets others celebrate her journey too.
- AutumnForest of Ghost Hunting Theories: I had been interested in her blog, but didn't know who she was until I clicked through to her profile after she consistently left comments on mine. Then I was even more honored she was commenting because here I've been such an admirer of the hard work she puts in over at her blog. (Not to mention all the interesting theories she proposes, some of which I'm convinced might either revolutionize ghost hunting techniques or change the way ghost hunters view their data.)
- Mike and Julie at Above the Norm: I found them via Ghost Hunting Theories and immediately respected them. They're my kind of people! All things paranormal intrigue them, so they include just about everything in their blog: TV and movie reviews, book excerpts (that they're writing), thoughts in general...it's very interesting and entertaining stuff!
- Tom G of Dark Destinations: I stumbled across this blog thanks to a link in a Google Alert. I immediately respected it and became a follower because it's a variation of the same thing Haunt Jaunts is. (Its tagline: The online travel guide to the mysterious and macabre...)
- ATrueOriginall of The Paranormal Casebook: This blog is way rocking. I admire ATrueOriginall because she relentlessly posts clip after clip of daily paranormal news. How she does it, I don't know, but she's made herself an authority and a respected one at that among a ton of bloggers who share an interest in the paranormal and unexplained.
- Phantoms & Monsters: I don't know who's behind this blog, but I like the stories they post. Often it's reprises of stories published elsewhere with links to the original piece. I also dig, dig, dig their header graphic. Creepy...
- Nick Redfern's There's Something in These Woods: This blog mainly focuses on another side of the paranormal: cryptozoology. From Bigfoot to werewolves to vampires and other creatures that we know as myths or from legends, Nick sets out to find evidence of their existence. I like following to see what new creatures I'll learn about. (Some are just legend, their existence hasn't been proven, but they're beasts I've never heard of. I always like expanding my horizons!)
Do we get to choose our Haunt Jaunts if we linger here in the afterlife? Or does the Haunt Jaunt choose us?
I've had a fair share of ghostly experiences (like this one), and from what I've heard and seen, ghostly haunt spots usually make sense. An old woman haunts her favorite rocking chair. A soldier haunts the battlefield where he died. A librarian haunts, well, a library. While the presences of ghosts may well be a shock to many, some of the places they frequent aren't much of a surprise.
Then I read Courtney's post on Thoughts About Ghosts, and this comment stuck out:
Where will he end up haunting? Or what?
I'd never thought about whether I would stick around as a wisp of postmortem vapor, but this made me wonder. If I did, would I choose the location, or would it choose me? If I could, where would I pick?
I thought about home, of course. Sure, there's attachment. But would I want to spend endless years floating around, dust bunnies I couldn't chase driving me crazy and mostly unable to interact with my old surroundings? Maybe freaking out the ones I'd loved? Not really my personality. No. I was going to have to haunt "out."
Photo courtesy of danjaeger on Stock Xchg
Next, I considered the library. Being both a writer and an avid reader, this seemed a natural. A common hot spot for ghosts, rumor has it, and indeed, the stacks at my local library--which is over 100 years old--seems to host some unexplained phenomena. What better place for someone like me?
Then I realized a big potential drawback. Can spirits interact with volumes, flip pages? Would I be stuck floating around books without being able to read any? I'd have to rubberneck over patrons to catch a few paragraphs here and there. Not a very appealing thought.
Photo courtesy Stock Xchg
Then it hit me. The movie house! I'm a huge movie buff, after all, and these would be stories I could watch whether or not I could manipulate my environment. And not just any movie house, no. Give me a mega super duper multiplex to haunt, with thirty screens' worth of different movies at any given hour. Yep, that might even keep me busy enough to resist most of the temptation to mess with visitors. Maybe the occasional plucky employee. So yeah, I think the movie theater.
Where would YOU haunt...or where wouldn't you?
Lisa Logan is a romantic fiction author and editor for Eternal Press. Visit her blog at http://authorlisalogan.blogspot.com.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Lisa writes romantic and erotic fiction. Check out her website here.
I don't know why I didn't include the tale of my hitchhiker in my very first post on this blog. As I explain in the About section on HauntJaunts.net, getting cancer was the major catalyst for me getting off my duff and starting this blog and the website.
FAREWELL, SWEET HITCHHIKER
I can't be mad that my hitchhiker decided to latch on to me for while. I know my initial reaction was to be upset, BUT...so many wonderful things have come out of this cancer. I've renewed friendships, made new ones, strengthened others. I know what it's like to be loved. Heck, I even got down to my goal weight and my cracked heals are cracked no more! (However, the oncologist said that's a normal, but usually temporary good side effect, of chemo. Drat!)
Still, my hitchhiker ended up taking me places I never would have seen otherwise, refreshed my spirit and invigorated my hope and enthusiasm. So...farewell little buddy. You caused me a lot of grief and pain there for a while, but I guess you had to in order to get my attention. You've restored me in ways I didn't even know I needed restoring in. I'm a better person because of having spent this time with you.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I decided to do a little investigating and put together a list of what I came across. This is what I dug up.
Whether you're a ghost hunter or ghost enthusiast like myself, maybe one of these conferences will be near you. Could make for a fun (not to mention informative, educational, and possibly entertaining) little haunt jaunt!
- June 19-20: 2009 Haunted America "Lucky 13" Conference. Where: The "haunted" Lincoln Theater in Decatur, Illinois. Cost: $60 (for both days.) Click here for more details. (Something I thought was neat was that one of the sponsors is Ghostology with Brian and Anna Marie, a show I mentioned in a blog not too far back. I have a feeling they might be the next breakout paranormal hit with their new show due out this fall. Of course, if they're not, you'll have this blog to quote me on...)
- August 6-7: Paracon 2009, the First Annual Canadian-American Conference. Where: Sarnia, Canada. Cost: $37.50 USD - $72 USD. Click here for more info.
- August 14-16: The Ohio Paranormal Convention. Where: Dayton, Ohio (Hara area). Cost: $35-$65. Click here for more info.
- September 24-26: HauntedCon 2009. Where: Hotel St. Michael, Prescott, Arizona. Cost: $99.99-$284. Click here for more info.
- October 2-3: 2009 Chicago Ghost Conference. Where: The Portage Theater, Chicago, Illinois. Cost: $50. ($30 for students.) Click here for more info.
- October 8-11: Univ-Con 8 2009. Where: Pennsylvania. (The website hasn't been updated with all 2009 info as of this posting, so I'm not sure if Univ-Con will be held at Penn Stater again.) Advance tickets are on sale though for $25 plus a .99 cent surcharge. Click here for more info. (Click on the Univ-Con 2009 graphic to purchase advanced tickets.)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I found this clip of an alleged ghost in a museum on YouTube thanks to a Google alert about an alleged ghost caught on a CCTV in an office building in South Carolina. (I went to YouTube to try and find it, but of course got distracted and found this "ghost footage" instead.)
Trouble is, I have no idea what museum this is or where it is. It didn't say in the description. (That I saw. I'm not 100% YouTube savvy so perhaps I didn't click through to something else that would shed some light on the mystery.)
However, I did find another posting of it and this one alluded that the museum was somewhere in Mexico.
And I'm not all that certain what it is I'm viewing in the clip. Is it an entrance and revolving doors? Is it something in a glass box? (Like one of the museum's displays, perhaps some kind of toy?) Is it a piece of machinery?
I don't know, but I can tell something starts moving when nothing else is there to move it.
But I'd rather know (a) what it is I'm looking at, and (b) where this museum is. What if someone wanted to make a Haunt Jaunt there? Don't these people on YouTube understand there's a whole bunch of us ghost enthusiasts out there who'd like as much info as possible?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Well, if you watched Ghost Adventures on Friday, you saw they investigated the fort. And they did find paranormal activity.
The best footage was what appeared to be a lantern being lit on the ramparts. I've heard the rumors about the lantern man before, so it was neat to see them capture something that backed up the many claims surrounding that strangeness.
THE POWDER MAGAZINE
I was surprised there was no mention of the woman ghost rumored to haunt the Powder Magazine though. I've toured the Castillo de San Marcos three times. Every time I heard the story about the officer's wife who fell in love with another soldier, had an affair with him, her husband found out and shut her away in the Powder Magazine where she ultimately died. I heard it from 3 different tour guides too, so I was surprised that wasn't brought up for Zak and his team.
They also used a new piece of equipment I don't recall seeing on any of their other shows before. I forget what they called it, but it reminded me a lot of the Telephone to the Dead. Except the GAC's was smaller and also had these goggles Zak could wear.
They also explained how it worked, but I got confused. Something about it picked up activity and then translated it...the thing did "speak" a couple of times. I'm not sure if I quite buy this gadget...mainly because I just don't understand how it works.
But if it's real...wow. Then it's got a lot of possibilities.
They also have this thing they call an EMF Pump. Basically it's like a battery that generates EMF energy to "feed" ghosts so they can manifest.
Now that's something that seems pretty useful. I'm curious if it helps save the battery juice of other investigative equipment like cameras, digital recorders, etc. that often get drained when ghosts are suspected of trying to manifest. Maybe we'll find out on future shows.
Friday, June 12, 2009
However, yesterday as I watched stories emerge about James von Brunn's shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, I thought about the guard who died. Stephen Tyrone Johns, age 39.
I'm 38. This year I was confronted with my own mortality. (Though it was cancer, not a gunman, whose barrel I stared down.) In fact, Haunt Jaunts the blog and HauntJaunts.net were born out of my will to live. (I explain about all that in the About section of the website.)
I once wrote about attachments and how I believe if I did end up as a ghost I'd probably haunt the house I grew up in. But most importantly I theorized that one becomes a ghost and ends up haunting wherever or whatever they were most attached to in life.
I thought about this again listening to all the hate that fills James von Brunn's heart. (Though he probably doesn't view it that way. He'd probably argue he just feels extremely strongly about his beliefs.) I couldn't help but think, "Wow. With that much animosity, that's the kind of guy who would end up as a ghost...and maybe the not too pleasant variety."
See, the way I view it is he has unresolved issues. Ones that made it necessary for him to feel he needed to take action. Since he's most likely going to leave this world before his vision of perfection comes to pass, he's not going to be a happily departed soul.
Where will he end up haunting? Or what?
And what about that guard who had no way of knowing when he went to work that day that it would be his last? That the old man he thought he was helping by opening the door would shoot and kill him? In years to come will we hear ghost stories from the U.S. Holocaust Museum?
It gives me a new perspective to keep in mind if I do come across ghosts or spirits on my next haunt jaunts. It's something Jay and Grant from Ghost Hunters say all the time, but that I didn't fully appreciate until now.
Ghosts (if there are such things) were once people too.
They had dreams, desires, emotions, and maybe destinies they felt they'd left unfulfilled. When we encounter them it may be normal to feel alarmed, but we shouldn't be frightened. We should extend them respect (most ghost hunters are pretty good about this) and remember to be as compassionate as possible. In fact, we should treat ghosts as unseen people who deserve the same level of respect that we'd like to receive.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The thing that lends some credibility to CCTV cameras catching ghosts is that who's really going to tamper with them? I know it can happen. I remember watching some camera experts disprove a ghost at a car impound or something. It was a hoax.
But this one I'm not so sure about. It's footage of what's claimed to be the ghost of a boy in a mall in Chile.
How someone decided it's the ghost of a boy I don't know. It's odd, for sure, but I can't make out either age or gender so... I don't know if it's a ghost at all much less one of a boy.
It gets stashed in the weird, unexplained (as of yet) , but interesting file. If I ever jaunt down to Chile, perhaps I'll put the mall on my list of haunts to check out.
At any rate, here's the footage. What do you make of it?
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
THE INHERITANCE: HAUNTED BABY DOLLS
The whole family thought she [the elderly relative] was a little "touched" in the head because she had rooms and rooms of dolls and could tell you the name and "story" of each of her girls. She had a large book containing a listing for each of the dolls. Each listing described the doll, her approximate age, name, background of her life and personality. It also described the "spirit" type in the doll and any paranormal activity associated with each "girl".
And now that she's had a chance to spend some time with the dolls, she's noticed some weird things happening. Things that hadn't happened before their arrival. Things like voices, shadows, giggling, items disappearing, even some of the dolls moving.
WHAT TO DO WITH A HAUNTED DOLL COLLECTION?
Why sell the little darlings on eBay of course!
But to be fair, Leonora does post a sort of disclaimer by saying they're haunted. It's not like she's pawning off haunted dolls on unsuspecting collectors or anything.
What I got the biggest kick out of was at the end of her post she said something she enjoys doing is reading through eBay's "haunted" auction listings.
Say what? I'm really missing out. I don't shop eBay hardly at all, but I just may have to go browse around and check out what other kind of haunted goods are for sale.
Monday, June 8, 2009
- What the building's constructed out of (i.e. brick, stone, etc)
- Age of the building
- The building's history (history or death or other traumatic events)
- What it's built on or over (i.e. limestone, sand, granite)
- It's proximity to train tracks
- It's proximity to water
She may have scored other places using her Haunting Formula, but these are the ones I know she's examined so far:
All have earned perfect 6 out of 6s except for the Eureka Springs Crescent Hotel. It got a 5 out of 6.It's very interesting to me because what great Haunt Jaunts some of these places would make! (Some were already on my list to add to the Jaunt pages on HauntJaunts.net, like the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Ft. Mifflin, but her posts reminded me about the other places that would also be good adds.)
What's even funnier, I just realized today that Ghost Hunting Theories is the brainchild of Autumnforest. If you follow the comments on my blogs, you'll see I have two regular commenters and she's one of them. (The other is Lisa Logan, authoress of the blog Writing in My Wildest Dreams.) I was tickled to find that out, because hers is one of my favorite blogs to follow and here she sometimes leaves comments on mine!
At any rate, I'll continue to follow her findings. It's very interesting stuff and just may provide a new way of looking at haunted places. (Not to mention Haunt Jaunts.)
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The language and speech pathologists at Ashby Lee applied for a grant after learning about a new program called Augmented Reality. The grant allowed them to purchase 30 GPS units and pay for fifth graders from Ashby Lee to travel to New Market and Lexington.
The other day at Examiner.com I wrote about geocaching. Well, this program sort of combined geocaching with ghost hunting.
HUNTING GHOSTS WITH A GPS
In a manner of speaking. The students had read a book called The Ghost Cadet. They used the GPS units to find five different locations at the New Market Battlefield, a Civil War site, where they were asked questions about the book and also located envelopes containing puzzle pieces. (Which, when put all together, formed a gold watch that played a part in the book.)
They also visited places mentioned in the book, like the Virginia Military Institute where the ghost cadet attended.
If I was a kid, learning this way would totally appeal to me. Reading a book, then going to see places mentioned in the book and using a GPS in a sort of scavenger hunt? Oh yeah, that's totally up my alley.
But it's a great example of how ghosts can play a part in teaching kids --and can be fun as well as educational. Granted, it was a fictional ghost in this case, but still...I'd count this not only as a learning excursion but as a Haunt Jaunt to boot.