Monday, September 13, 2010


This coming Thursday, we are headed to the annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, WV.  If our previous trips are any indication, we should have an interesting time.  Here is a quick overview of the story of Mothman:

The McClintic Wildlife Preserve located in Point Pleasant, West Virginia is a designated bird sanctuary. During World War II, the preserve was dug up to bury 100 igloos to hold wartime explosives. The igloos were covered over and made to look like rolling hillsides from the air.

After the war, the underground igloos were sold to several different companies, all of whom dealt with biochemicals. The McClintic Wildlife Preserve is now referred to the TNT area, and has also developed a far more perplexing history: a creature known as Mothman.

November 14, 1966 - A gentleman by the name of Newell Partridge was home watching television one night around 10:30 P.M. when the TV picture turned to static and a loud whining noise started. Bandit, Newell Partridge's German Shepherd, was on the porch when he began howling towards the barn. Partridge shined his flash light towards the barn and picked up the glow of two red pulsating eyes like bike reflectors. The dog ran towards the eyes snarling and Newell went inside and locked his door. He was very shaken and terrified.
The next morning, Newell went outside to find Bandit, but all he saw of the dog were a lot of tracks that looked as if the dog had been chasing his tail, something the dog had never done before. Bandit was never seen again.
November 15, 1966 - Two young couples were parking in the TNT area when they saw the shape of a man 7 ft tall. What they saw had wings folded on its back and large red eyes. Terrified, the young adults took off in the car, only to have the creature shoot straight up in the air and follow them, at speeds up to 100 MPH. Once they had reached the city limits, the creature stopped following.
The two couples contacted Deputy Halstead with the Mason County Sheriff's Department. Halstead returned with the individuals to the spot they had first sighted the creature. The deputy's radio began making high pitched squealing noises and garble. Everyone left and Halstead reported the trouble with the radio.
Several more sightings were reported of the creature flying over cars. The sheriff conducted a press conference. In the time that Mothman as the creature became know, was active, there were over 100 reports. Between November 1966 and December 1967, dog and livestock disappearances and mutilations were common around the TNT area.
When did the Mothman sightings stop? On December 15, 1967 The Silver Bridge spanning from Point Pleasant, WV and Gallipolis, OH was covered with rush hour traffic when suddenly cables ripped off moorings and the bridge and cars plunged into the water. Of the 46 people killed, most had seen the Mothman. Though Mothman sightings are still reported, the reports aren't of the same frequency as they were those 13 months in 1966-67. The collapse of the bridge put an end to Mothman sightings for the most part.
I personally believe that the biochemical companies were to blame for Mothman. Who knows what sort of things leached into the ground water that an animal could have gotten into. On a trip to the TNT area in Point Pleasant, WV, there were several ponds with signs warning of contamination. One pond in particular had red ooze in it and giant lily pads.

One of the contaminated ponds.

Spray painted sign reads: "Mothman shall return"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Water and the Paranormal

During a radio interview I gave, the question was asked if I thought water had any bearing on paranormal activity.  At the time, I hadn't given the idea much thought.  But if you consider that paranormal activity seems to be electrical in nature (draining batteries, pulling from heat energy, more prevalent during solar weather and causing changes to EMF) and water can be a good conductor of electricity, then it stands to reason that water could help fuel a haunt.

First, we need to clear up the science of water's ability to conduct electricity.  Water itsself does not conduct electricity.  It's the impurities in the water (minerals, pollutants, etc.) that conduct electricity.  So the more impurities you have the more conduciveness you have.  The Discovery Channel's "Ghost Lab" show featured the theory of water fueling the paranormal on their "Murky Waters" episode.  It was found that the waters of the Mississippi River near the Nottoway Plantation had a high level of conduciveness.  But what about other paranormal "hot spots"?

Gettysburg as a town is a paranormal hot spot, but what about locations within Gettysburg?  Spangler's Spring has always been an area of the battlefield that has produced paranormal experiences and evidence.  One of the best known ghost stories of Gettysburg, The Lady in White, takes place at The Spring.  Most of my own personal paranormal experiences in Gettysburg have also originated from Spangler's Spring, and most of these experiences have been some of the best/scariest.   So where is the water?  Spangler's Spring is so named because of a spring that is located on the property.  In 1895 the spring was capped off because of damage it had suffered from visitors to the area.  But the spring isn't the only source of water in that area.  Next to the spring is a large meadow that is bordered by Rock Creek.  Plenty of water available.

Bridges are also known for their ghosts.  There are several bridges in and around Gettysburg that are reputed to be haunted.  Sach's Bridge in Gettysburg, Starner's Dam Bridge in Harney, MD, Utica Covered Bridge in Thurmont, MD and Roddy Creek Bridge in Thurmont, MD all have ghost stories associated with them.

In the Tidewater region of Virginia, there is an area referred to as Old House Woods.  The 50 acres of trees has boasted paranormal activity since the 1800's.  The Baltimore Sun thought it was worthy of a news story in the 1920's.  Personally I feel it is one of the most haunted and spooky locations I've been in.  Every time I have been there I have experienced some bone chilling things to include hearing phantom footsteps, having a car door slam shut and having a locked and latched car trunk open on its own.  The Chesapeake Bay borders one end of the woods and White's Creek runs along the other edge. 

So the next time you're out investigating, think about checking to see what bodies of water might be in the area.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Call them fireflies, call them lightning bugs, whatever you call them they are certainly one of the the bright spots of summer.  Most people can remember spending a lazy summer evening catching these bioluminescent bugs and putting them in jars.  Summer nights wouldn't be the same without them. 

Gettysburg wouldn't be the same without them either.  Each summer brings thousands of lightning bugs to the battlefield.  While this might not seem that strange or blog-worthy, the sheer number of lightning bugs in certain areas of the battlefield certainly is something to take note of.  A few years ago while investigating an area near Spangler's Spring and Rock Creek, myself and several other investigators came upon trees filled with fireflies.  There were thousands.  So many that it looked as though someone had strung hundreds of strands of white fairy lights in the trees.  I have never witnessed anything else like it before or since.  Fireflies are usually seen in fields flying around at night, not perched in the trees. 

That isn't the only strange firefly story from the Gettysburg Battlefield.  About a year ago, I had someone contact me about an unusual lightning bug encounter that occured at The Angle.  A family member of hers shared that in late fall (I want to say she said November) he saw what he was certain were fireflies in the field.  Only fireflies are not out in the fall and certainly not as late as November.  Recently while out jogging the road that runs from the PA memorial to The Angle, I noticed hundreds of fireflies along the side of the road.  It was such an unusual sight that I stopped my run to watch and look at all the bugs.  It was amazing.

So what can I offer other than a couple of oddball bug stories that occured on a haunted battlefield?  In the Mayan culture, the firefly or kuhkay was associated with the practice of smoking cigars.  Fireflies were also associated with stars, comets and several Mayan deities.  But the most interesting and important association comes from the Japanese culture. 

In Japan, fireflies are thought to be the souls of soldiers who have died in battle.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Solar Weather

What could solar weather possibly have to do with the paranormal you ask? 
What is solar weather, anyway, right?

Simply put (and I stress the simply part), the solar weather that I am referring to is the geomagnetic field and solar flares.  The geomagnetic field is the magnetic field observed in and around the earth. Flares are sudden eruptions of energy on the solar disk (the sun) lasting minutes to hours from which radiation and particles are emitted.  These particles and radiation are shot out towards the earth. Basically, an increase in activity concerning the geomagnetic field or solar flares means an increase in energy in the atmosphere.
How does this affect spirits? Spirits use energy to materialize, and they typically pull this energy from the basic sources around them, i.e., heat, batteries, power lines, etc. But during heightened solar activity, the energy level is increased, therefore, increasing the amount of usable energy for spirits. The increase in energy allows spirits to manifest easier and more often, which in turn increases the possibility of paranormal activity.

New evidence discovered by NASA scientists predicts that a huge solar storm could be headed our way sometime in May of 2012.  NASA believes that the solar flares that will be created will have enough power to significantly affect our way of life here on earth.  What I mean is that our electrical grids will be wiped out, Internet, cell phone service, land line phone service, etc will be rendered useless.  The extent of damage these flares could cause would make the cost of Katrina (in the billion dollar range) look like a mere drop in the bucket.
Still, what does this have to do with ghosts and the paranormal?  Think about it.  Imagine the amount of electricity and radiation that would be in the earth's atmosphere in order to create such havoc.  If ghosts can use energy from an AAA Energizer battery to manifest, what could happen if they had a nearly limitless amount of energy to pull right out of the atmosphere. 
Is there a reason why the world has begun this new spiritual revolution?  Are all these paranormal TV shows and groups popping up for a reason?  Will we be able to finally speak with passed loved ones via our HAM radios?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Totem Animals

While some might not find the discussion of totem animals paranormal in nature, I tend to disagree (obviously).  I find that anything of a deep spiritual nature can relate to the paranormal.  After all, paranormal means literally: Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.  Plus totem animal books are in the same section of the library as the ghost books, so there you go. 

So what is a totem animal?  Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines it as: 1 a : an object (as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also : a usually carved or painted representation of such an object b : a family or clan identified by a common totemic object  2 : one that serves as an emblem or revered symbol. 

Totems can also be symbols for an individual's personal or spiritual identity.  Most people have more than one totem animal that teaches, guides and sometimes protects them.  Most totems remain with you throughout your life, though, a major life change could cause your totems to change in order to adapt to new circumstances.  Sometimes people also have special helpers/protectors that show up for a limited amount of time in order to help you through challenges you must face.  Check out Discover Your Animal Totems to find out what totems you may have.  You can also look at what is going on around to see if there are any animals/insects/reptiles/amphibians that might be trying to send you a message.  That's how I discovered I probably have a totem animal trying to get my attention.

I spend a great deal of time outdoors.  I love wildlife, and I am familiar with behavior patterns of native species.  So when I noticed I was seeing more red-tailed hawks, I thought it was odd, but more or less figured it meant there was a larger population of rabbits, mice and other small animals on the hawk's menu.  It's simple ecology.  But then I noticed I wasn't just seeing hawks flying around or sitting on top of telephone poles or trees, I was seeing them hunt and grab their prey.  While not a typical thing to see on any day, and not something you typically witness time after time, I still figured it was due to higher animal populations.  I blew it off, though I did think it was weird.  I can imagine that my poor totem animal was getting a bit miffed that I wasn't paying attention, or that I wasn't thinking all these hawks were a big deal.  That's when they started getting my attention.

One afternoon I was sitting on my back patio reading a book.  I don't live in the county, though there are open fields and woods within view- past the condos and apartments that surround my house.  So while I was reading, I felt like someone was staring at me.  I turned to look, and sitting on my chain link fence was a red-tailed hawk.  Startled, I jumped and said some form of "Holy Crap!" and watched the hawk look at me once more and take off.  Now I was paying attention.  There was no reason for a hawk to be hanging around my back yard.  There were no bird feeders there at the time, nothing to draw a hawk in as far as food goes.  I have had several such sightings in the past year. 

Recently, things stepped up a bit.  As I was driving down Route 15 at 70-some MPH, a hawk came out of nowhere, swooped down in front of the car and flew off.  It happened in seconds and was the strangest thing.  A few weeks later, I was sitting in traffic when a hawk suddenly dropped from the sky and landed on the side of the road.  There wasn't any prey there, and the hawk simply stood looking at me before flying off.  The most recent interaction occurred while I was spending a weekend away.  While leaving my room, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  A hawk flew from the woods, dropped down to my eye level and flew so close in front of me that I could feel the air movement.  If I had reached out I would have hit it.  Once it flew past, it soared up and out of sight. 

So now I am paying attention to totems.  Obviously the universe is trying to tell me something.  Either way, researching is interesting and if nothing else I have at least educated myself on a topic I knew next to nothing about.

What are your totems?  Are you dreaming about an animal?  Do you feel a deep connection with an animal?  Noticing some crazy animal behavior that is screaming for you to pay attention?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pareidolia- Are Those Faces in Those Orbs?

What is it you ask? Pareidolia (also referred to as matrixing) is a psychological phenomena where a vague random stimulus is perceived as significant.  Examples of this would be seeing images in clouds, the man in the moon, Jesus on your grilled cheese, faces in orb photographs or figures in the shadows of trees.  And it doesn't always happen with just photos and objects- ever listen to a record backwards and worry Paul was dead?  We hear phrases and words in random sounds as well.

This phenomena has happened to the best of us.  We take a photo in a haunted location and when we look at it we see it's filled with "faces".  I have received many photos where people claim there are faces and figures in them, and I can't see it no matter how hard I look.  My personal favorites are photos taken in a heavily wooded area where people see faces and figures.  As hard as I try, I can never quite see what others are so excited about- even after they've outlined the area/figure for me. 

So what do you do?  First, orb photos are not very solid proof of paranormal activity.  There are too many things occuring naturally that can produce false positive orb photos (dust, rain, snow, pollen, bugs, reflections, etc.).  So while you might think that you've taken a great shot of 100 little faces in orbs, more than likely you've gotten a photo of a lot of dust and "see" the faces because that's what your brain does with random things- looks for patterns.  Second, take a look at the photo, are the faces/figures part of the landscape and objects around them (like trees or tree shadows) or are they stand alone objects and separate?  Obviously something that is separate from the objects in the photo deserves a better look. 

Ever listen to an EVP that sounds like "blah, blah, blah-blah-blah, blah-blah" and someone else immediately declares that it's saying "What you talkin 'bout Willis?" From that point on, you won't be able to hear anything else in that EVP.  Honestly, unless you have a clear Class A EVP, chances are there is no way to determine what is being said other than to distinguish the number of syllables.  This is why, unless I have a clear EVP, I never offer insight on what it might be saying.

So next tim eyou're looking through your photos, take a minute to really look and think about what you are seeing before declaring great-great uncle Seamus is smiling at you from the tree trunk. 


Monday, January 25, 2010

What to Watch on TV

Is it just me, or are there a slew of paranormal shows now on TV?  Remember the days when no one really talked about their paranormal experiences because they didn't want to look crazy?  Remember when the only information available to someone researching the paranormal were the Time Life books at the library or the 1960's era book (yes one book)?

We've come a long way from such sparse information.  Now there are hundreds of websites dedicated to ghosts and/or investigation the paranomal.  There are many TV shows dealing with it as well.  Here are a few that I've watched, and my opinion of each:

Ghosthunters- SYFY Channel- Follows The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) on investigations.  I was excited when this show premiered as it was a bit different than "Scariest Places on Earth".  It was real investigators doing real investigations.  However, the bickering and yelling that went on completely turned me off to the show.  It was a lot like being in the room with a married couple who is arguing.  You get uncomfortable and want to leave the room.  Luckily all I had to do was change the channel.  The show does have some good qualities and did lose a lot of the negative aspects, but I just can't seem to get involved with the show.

Paranormal State- A&E Network- Investigations of the Penn State Paranormal Research Society (PRS) I have enjoyed watching this show since it started.  While I don't always like the editing and sometimes I think it's a little too dramatic, I do like that they base a lot of their investigating on researching the place in question.  Seeing psychic information validated, or the paranormal activity explained through research is fantastic.  I would like to see more of the actual evidence collected during the investigation.

A Haunting- Discovery Channel- Chronicles true stories of the paranormal told by those who experienced the phenomena.  I enjoy watching this one.  While it doesn't involve investigation, it is interesting learning about different paranormal cases and how they were resolved.

Ghost Lab- Discover Channel- With the use of a high tech "ghost lab" this team travels to investigate hauntings.  I like the scientific nature of their investigations though sometimes they push EVP translation a little.  Still, the scientific part of the show is great to watch and gives some good ideas and theories.

Destination Truth- SYFY Channel- Josh Gates' team travel around the world searching for cryptids and the occasional haunted location.  Again, very scientific, to include gathering DNA evidence.  The team has found significant evidence supporting the possibility of a Yeti in Nepal.  They also have amazing footage taken in a haunted location in Romania.  I really enjoy this show both for its paranormal investigation and the witty comments by Josh Gates.

MonsterQuest- The History Channel- Similar to Destination Truth, MonsterQuest searches primarily for cryptids.  Heavy usage of scientific equipment to gain hard evidence.  Interesting show but sometimes drags.

Ghost Adventures- Travel Channel- I had very high hopes for this show.  The concept is one that I agree is the best for paranormal investigation- 3 guys, no camera or sound crew, just 3 guys and their cameras.  I love the locations they go to and they seem to get very good evidence (and show it to you on the show).  I enjoy this show, though sometimes I think they get a little too dramatic and carried away.

Most Haunted- Travel Channel- Fake, not worth my time to watch or discuss.

Paranormal Cops- A&E- This show just started last week.  The concept is simple.  Chicago cops by day, paranormal investigators by night.  Their first episode was good.  Their investigative backgrounds in the police department may benefit them in their research abilities.  Definitely need to watch this show to see where it goes and how it develops.

Psychic Kids- A&E- I saved the best for last.  The main premise of this show is to help children who have psychic abilities learn about their gifts and how to control them.  Many of the kids featured feel like outcasts, some have treated for psychiatric conditions they don't have.  With the help from a psychologist and a psychic (Chip Coffey is the original one used, but this season has several psychics) these kids and their families learn how to empower themselves and feel better about their gifts.  They do a little investigating but the main goal is helping the kids.  Love it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Protection from the Unseen

I've had people ask me what I do to protect myself from the entities I come across.  My response is to stare blankly while a chorus of crickets chirps in the background.  That's right, I rarely remember to do anything.

My late mother-in-law, who was a psychic and an ordained minister with the Spiritualist Church in Freeville, NY, gave me a prayer to recite prior to a trip to the West Virginia State Penn and stressed the need for such things. I admit I felt quite silly standing there saying it, but did feel a little less spooked after doing so. Obviously I don't want the ghost of a former murderer following me home. I don't want any ghost following me home- I have enough issues with the ones that stop by to chat with my son.

And I admit that at one time, there was a coffee can full of Holy Water that my devoutly Catholic aunt insisted I needed to have.  The can rusted.  My aunt now provides me with the small plastic bottles of Holy Water- they don't rust.

While I enjoy being silly and sarcastic about the whole thing, I do believe that saying some type of prayer is a positive thing, and one I need to start remembering to do. The experiences I've had with my son lately have shown me that perhaps I need to be more careful and take a few seconds to protect myself and those investigating with me from something no one really completely understands.  I don't want to bring something harmful into my home or around my children.  In fact, during my latest trip to Old House Woods there was a "creepy girl" who had attached herself to my daughter- according to my son.  The walk in the woods in broad daylight was so nerve wracking that I did ask my aunt to bless the cross I wear and also the one my daughter wears.  Just in case.

So here are a couple of simple prayers you can use:

Prayer for Protection

The light of God surrounds you,
The love of God enfolds you,
The power of God protects you,
And the presence of God watches over you;
Wherever you are, God is.

This is the prayer that my mother-in-law gave me to use.  It's short and sweet and to the point, and easy enough to memorize.  I've also seen members of Paranormal State use this same prayer.  Many also use the following:

St. Michael's Prayer

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil
spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

And for those who prefer something slightly more pagan:

Great Spirit, Creator of all that is...
Please send to me the most positive energy and light possible in this time and space
to watch over me and those I share this experience with.
Send to us the highest force or forces possible to keep us safe,
focused and positive in our intent.
In return we give thanks and gratitude,
love and positive light for the universal good of all. Amen

It's important to remember that your belief in something is what makes it more powerful for you.  Pick the prayer that you are most comfortable with.  If you have a special "good luck charm" or talisman, it doesn't hurt to have that with you as well.  Again, your belief that it protects you is what makes it so powerful.  I wear my blessed celtic cross during all investigations now.
Look for future posts dealing more with talismans.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Resoultions... and creepy girls

So I know, I am slacking in the blogging department. But, as the title suggests, I am resolving to fix that in the new decade... Luckily, I had something interesting happen this weekend that involved my 3 year old sensitive son and my aunt's haunted house.

My aunt's house in the Shenandoah Mountains has always had weird things going on. I love to visit her house. There are a few possible reasons why her house might be haunted. Her husband's, my uncle's, first wife died in the house many years ago. There was also a boy killed in the backyard near the shed. Apparently it was considered an accidental death that happened while he and another boy were wrestling. There are some who question how accidental it was. I'm sure there are ties to the Civil War and Native Americans also, though I can't say specifically what those ties are. Needless to say, there have been sightings of Civil War soldiers, a little girl, shadow figures, an old woman and chanting has been heard (this is where the Native American thought came in).

As I mentioned in my earlier blog about Ethan's "ability", he has seen a girl there, and he has been concerned over something he saw in the hallway near the doorway of one of the bedrooms... that is where this story begins (cue dramatic organ music and creepy laughing).
This past weekend we were all gathered at my aunt's for our family Christmas. Several family members were seated in the living room area eating and as I was getting ready to eat myself when I heard them asking Ethan what was the matter. He said he saw a girl. Immediately I asked him what he saw and he said he saw a girl go in the bedroom that my grandmother sleeps in. My dad asked what color hair she had and Ethan said black (even after other colors were brought up, he insisted it was black). Kelly (my cousin and investigative cohort) looked at each other. Our Uncle's first wife had black hair. Of course I had my camera and digital recorder with me- just in case- so we decided to check it out. Ethan was a little freaked out and wanted us to see what was going on. In the bedroom he proceeded to tell us that the girl was playing with my grandmother's puzzle and then went out the window. I questioned him some more and even tried to throw him off a bit but he was insistent, even getting angry with me- the girl was playing with the puzzle and went out the window. During one EVP session, we heard a tapping noise coming from the dresser. We were unable to get it to repeat itself, but we were all in agreement it came from the dresser in the corner. We did manage to get some EVP in the room that I hope to get on the website soon (my other resolution).

An interesting thing happened while we were listening to our EVP recordings. Several people heard the door knob on the door move and when we looked down the hall, the door was cracked open. My sister said she was sure she had shut it and I remember hearing the door close tight against the door jamb.

Ethan has been sleeping in my room ever since.