Friday, July 31, 2009

Old House Woods

For hundreds of years, a small 50 acre wooded area has claimed to be one of the most haunted areas in Eastern Virginia. Located on the coast of the Chesapeake Bay, Old House Woods has been the setting for many stories about ghost pirates, British Soldiers, pirate ships, wailing women, ghost livestock, ghost lights, and headless ghost dogs. I think there is even mention of a man wearing Spanish armor. Added to that is the fact that several years ago, a VCU student was found murdered within a mile of the woods. No matter how you slice it, the atmosphere in that area is thick with the paranormal (and it ain't just the humidity!).
Our team has conducted several investigations to this area, and it never disappoints. One of our first experiences of the area occurred while visiting the beach. A man appeared seemingly out of nowhere, dressed in a tattered striped shirt and tattered khaki pants. He walked past us, did not acknowledge us sitting there, and continued on before suddenly disappearing from view. There aren't too many places a person can go to hide on the beach. Was this possibly a pirate encounter? Who knows, but it makes a good story.
During our first investigation of the woods, we parked along the road and our group began to get out of the car. As I was about to close the back passenger door, it slammed shut on its own. I made a note to check it out later. There was also a strong sulphur smell in the area. While therw we witnessed the mysterious lantern lights in the woods. The lights appeared slightly lower than waist height- as though it was a lantern-type light being carried by someone. One of our investigators felt very unnerved and ultimately we ended the initial investigation because the investigator felt so overwhelmed we felt we needed to leave. During the review of the evidence we collected, we inspected the car door to see how much pressure was needed to close it. After several attempts, we determined that a large amount of pressure was needed to slam the door completely closed. The door actually would stick, like a safety mechanism, and needed to be forcefully pushed in order to have it close and latch completely. No one was near the door when it was slammed shut during the investigation. Also, at no other time have we smelled the same sulphur scent in that area (and we have been there in different seasons of the year as well). We have also looked for the same lights to rule out possible house lights. The lights have never appeared again in that area, and during the daytime inspection, we were unable to see anything through the thickness of the trees. Looking at aerial photos, there does not appear to be a house located in the general area where the lights were seen.
During another investigation, we were able to set up stationary cameras and take many readings and recordings with out equipment. We obtained one piece of interesting video. This shot is a still frame pulled from that video. By viewing the other video cameras, we determined it was not from any light source that we had as we were operating with lights out during that point in our investigation. We also obtained EVP recordings and EMF readings as well as seeing a partial apparition in a UV light.
On one of our more recent trips to the Woods, we heard a strange metallic clicking noise we had not heard previously. I heard the noise and asked a fellow investigator if they heard anything. Her reply was "You mean that clicking noise? It's getting closer". At the same time someone else saw something moving towards the car. We opted to leave the area more out of fear of the possible living person who might be approaching in a secluded area, not because I was concerned about a ghost. We were later able to recreate the noise by clicking a pair of metal tongs together. The sound was similar to what it would sound like if someone were wearing a metal object that clicked to the rhythm of that person's gait. Upon further research, there was another group who had heard the very same noise during an investigation in the same area of the woods. Several months later, we heard footsteps on the gravel walking up to the vehicle. No one was there, but again, concern over a living person approaching unseen in a very secluded area had us leaving again.
What is lurking in Old House Woods? Does it house the ghosts of pirates or soldiers guarding their gold? Or is the the souls of those who have perished looking for the lost gold?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My son sees dead people... I think

My son Ethan turned 3 in May, and since the age of about 6 months he has shown signs of being able to see and talk to people no one else can see.
At 6 months he began focusing on the rocking chair in his room, laughing and waving at it as though someone was seated there and laughing and waving back. No big deal really, I thought it was cute.
At the age of one, he began babbling to the chair and having 'conversations' with someone there. Again not such a big deal, though it was strange that he actually paused as though listening to someone, laughed and began answering in his baby speak.
At 18 months, things started getting downright weird. He could say Grandma Molyneaux as clear as a bell but couldn't say cat properly.
Around the age of 2 I really got weirded out. I went to get him out of his crib and he pointed to the rocking chair and asked "Who Dat?" I said I didn't know who it was (there was no one there for me to identify). He again asked "Who Dat?" and I said " I don't know, who is it?" His reply- "Da Man" I said, " Oh a man?" Ethan said, "yeah, dat da man" so I proceeded to wave to the man and say hi (whoever he was I wasn't about to be rude). I had chills as this was the first time that Ethan had been able to voice actually seeing someone sitting in the rocker (a quick aside- the rocker is not old, was purchased new by me and is not thought to be in any way connected to the 'haunting'). Skip ahead 2 weeks later, I had finally managed to hang a photo collage that I had in storage. Ethan saw it and wanted to look at the photos. He began pointing to each picture saying who it was- Mommy, Daddy, Didgit (his sister Bridget), Gamma, Poppy... and when he came to a photo of my great-Uncle- a man he's never met nor ever seen before in photos- he got excited and began yelling "Da man da man!" (picture Tattoo from Fantasy Island getting all excited over planes). I felt relieved that this was the mysterious "man" in the room as Pepop as he was called, was someone I was very close to and I welcome his presence.
Around the same time, the family was gathered at my aunt's house (known to be haunted). While seated on my dad's lap in the dining room, Ethan began waving to someone standing in the kitchen and saying bye. My dad asked him who he was waving to, Ethan's response "Da Girl". My aunt asked him where the girl was and Ethan pointed to the door leading down to the basement. My aunt told me her granddaughter has also talked about seeing a girl at her house, and of course, no one likes going down into the basement there.
Ethan also says he sees "Onsters" (monsters). One monster named Chocit Mook (Chololate Milk) lives outside in Ethan's playhouse. Perhaps this is simply a normal imaginary friend. Chocit Mook is apparently brown, doesn't say much, and never comes into the house. Also, he doesn't scare Ethan at all. This is an important observation because Ethan has started to become terrified of his room and the dark.
In broad daylight, the lights must be on in the room Ethan is in- Living Room, Dining Room, Bedrooms... At night, he sleeps with the ceiling light on. Nightlights (he has several) don't work adequately enough for him). He expects someone to sleep in the rocker in his room at night. Sometimes we manage to sneak out saying we have to get a pillow and/or a blanket. This doesn't really work much anymore as he is smart enough to have learned we're lying. When he wakes up (as he nearly always does) he is screaming in terror. It's not a typical 'I want Mommy' type thing, it's full out terror get me outta here now sort of cry/scream.
At my aunt's house again for another gathering, Ethan was concerned about something he saw in the hallway. No one likes the hallway in my aunt's house either. Ethan saw something, and the change in his expression was so telling and graphic it gave me chills. He went from relaxed and happy to sheer terror in an instant and ran into the other room. My cousin and I told my aunt what happened, so we sat in the living room area that looks into the hallway to 'talk'. Ethan came back, began staring at something in the hallway again, was overcome by the same fear and facial expression change but this time he climbed on a chair and turned the hall light on. He then stared into the hallway looking, went back and turned the light off, looked, got scared and turned the light on. Still looking, he again got very frightened, only this time both of my aunt's and cousin saw a shadowy form move from one side of the hall to the other (I of course had my back to the area, but saw Ethan's face and that was enough).
Now Ethan is 3. Ethan had another friend show up, this time, however, Ethan was able to give more information. Seeing him talk animatedly with someone unseen, I asked who he was talking to. He looked at me like I was an idiot and pointed to the air next to him and said "Howard" like duh mom he's right there. I told Howard hello. I began looking into Howards to see if there was one at daycare, or a movie he had seen with someone named Howard, anything to explain his use of the name. Nothing. I was certain we had no Howards in the family, but after day 2 of Howard, I emailed my dad and aunts to see if perhaps I was wrong. My dad responded immediately telling me my Grandmother had a 1st cousin named Howard who had died less than a year ago. FREAKY. Howard hung around for a while, and in that time I got what descriptions I could of Howard. Most of what I got from Ethan matched what was know of my grandmother's cousin. Howard has since left and isn't around anymore so says Ethan.
We've also had unnamed girls at the house, and I believe they are children as they seem to want Ethan's milk. He either offers them his cup to have some or spends time at the dinner table arguing about it being his and snatching the cup away from these unseen people. And again at my aunt's house this summer, Ethan was talking to someone who was sitting under a tree. This one didn't scare him, and according to my aunt, it was Ethan's great-great grandfather who she has seen there occasionally.
Some background info that is pertinent.... My great-great grandmother was a medium. She held "Church Meetings" in her home where she would go into a trance and speak in a voice that was not her own- my grandmother witnessed this personally. My maternal great-aunt who was an Irish immigrant could read tea leaves with such accuracy that her Priest told her she could not do it anymore. And my late mother-in-law was a psychic as well (this would be the Grandma Molyneaux I referenced earlier).
I think it is also important to note that my grandmother is terminally ill. Doctors gave her a year in February of 2008. Some say our departed relatives begin gathering in preparing to help another family member cross. Is this why Ethan saw Howard? and why he saw my grandmother's dad (Ethan's gg grandfather) under the tree?