Everything’s a Ghost at Halloween?

Halloween ghosts 2020As soon as I turn the calendar to October, I know the “ooh, it’s a ghost!” stories will start showing up.

At least half of them will be preposterous. They’ll talk about haunted places with apparitions, noises, shadow people, ghosts that scratch people, poltergeist activity, cold spots, and more.

The fact is, 99% of haunted sites don’t have a wide range of activity. Two or three different categories of phenomena are more likely.

That’s why I dismissed Ghost Photo: Window Pain as likely pareidolia. The combination of an extremely blurry area and then a startlingly crisp image… probably not ghostly, in my opinion.

(If you’re seeing lots of “ghost photos” that look preposterous, you can thank authors of articles like How To Make Ghosts in Photoshop or GIMP. Silly…? Yes. Likely to fool experienced ghost hunters…? No.)

Credible reports from Alabama

By contrast, I liked seeing Fort Morgan (Mobile, AL) highlighted in Ghosts, spirits said to wander the grounds at Fort Morgan.

There have been many sightings over the years. The old barracks are said to be one of the most haunted portions of the fort. In 1917 a prisoner hanged himself there. According to many reports, you can still hear the hanging man cry late at night. Visitors say they also hear footsteps and have been touched. – Alabama Living, alabamaliving.coop

That’s a report with credibility.

  • The site has a lengthy history of incidents related to violence.
  • It’s near the water; that’s a suspected amplifier of paranormal activity.
  • Both tour guides and visitors offer low-key accounts that sound credible, not exaggerated beyond belief.

In addition, I’m pleased to see a haunted site – mostly open-air – in the media. During the 2020 pandemic, outdoor (or well-ventilated) research sites are ideal.

Overnight investigations in New York state

At the other extreme – geographically, at least – Wyoming County, New York is ready for ghost hunting guests. Spend the Night with Ghosts – Wyoming County Tourism offers a very solid and reliable list of haunted places to stay (overnight) and to visit. Just a few miles from Lake Erie, Wyoming County also meets my observation that more ghosts are reliably reported near bodies of water. 

This report about the Genesee Falls Inn intrigues me. Here’s part of the article that reinforces the location’s link to water.

The reason for the paranormal occurrences? There are many places to point fingers: fires, suicides, even a drowning. The current inn sits on the same property where two prior buildings had burned down. It’s also the same residence where a family lived – one that had a strong history of suicide. None of the family members died in the building itself but many took their lives in the nearby waterfalls. More recently, the inn’s caretaker passed away in the building. Although it’s been over two years since his passing, the caretaker remains protective of him room by closing the door and locking it.

The photos in that article are gorgeous, as well. I’m over 1,000 miles away from New York state, but I’m bookmarking that article for my next visit to the northeast.

Extreme EMF may indicate ghosts (UK)

British ghost hunters should definitely take a look at St. Margaret’s Church in Essex. The article is sparse, but what got my attention was this:

Another strange phenomenon reported in that area were the electrical faults experienced by people driving down the country lane to the church. Headlights would flicker and die, plunging the road into pitch darkness, much to the terror of the car’s occupants. Even more terrifying, people have also experienced brake failure!

That reminded me of my own experiences at Pine Hill Cemetery – aka “Blood Cemetery” – in Hollis, NH.

ghost divider

So far, 2020’s “ghost season” has started with some good stories and reports, as well as the usual hype.

I’m pleased that haunted sites are offering safe opportunities – at least in terms of health precautions – for ghost hunters at this time of year.

Roadside American Haunts

This isn’t really news, and it’s not exactly about ghosts… but it might be.

Today, I was looking at the updated Flickr collection, Roadside America (Library of Congress photos), and wondered how many of those sites are haunted.

The photo that got my attention shows the New Empire House hotel, at White Lake, NY.

New Empire House Hotel, White Lake, NY
New Empire Hotel, White Lake, Kauneonga Lake, New York / John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive

Roadside American HauntsTo me, that building has “haunted” written all over it.

It’s difficult to articulate why I look at some sites and feel that – without a doubt – they have paranormal activity.

(Feel free to chuckle with a raised eyebrow, and shake your head in disbelief. I won’t be offended.)

Whatever the reason, that Empire House Hotel photo held my interest.

Something’s just not right about that site, and it’s not only the condition of the hotel in that 1976 photo.

It has that “don’t spend the night here if you want any sleep” look to it.

Especially the top floor, which was probably the servants’ quarters.

But is the New Empire House hotel still there? I’m not sure.

I found one “Empire House Hotel” with an appealing hippie sign, but it’s in Gilbertsville, NY. At first glance, it doesn’t have the “ghostly” vibe. So, the food might be great, but I’m not sure I’d investigate it for ghosts.

Another photo of the White Lake hotel – similar to the 1976 photo, above – was taken in 2016. So, the New Empire hotel was still there (and looked abandoned), that recently.

Rolling up my sleeves for some historical research, I discovered that the White Lake area – later made famous by the 1969 Woodstock Festival – was home to many hotels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

However, some of them did not remain open after the early 1970s.

As Bob Dylan’s song said, the times… they were a-changin’.

How many of those sites are still there, and haunted? I have no idea.

In the 21st century, as a summer getaway, White Lake might be a fascinating area to explore. Camping seems to be a good option, too. (Click here for a list of recommended campgrounds.)

Where to investigate…?  Well, going back to 1904, here’s how the area was described in the newspaper.

Sullivan County 1904

And here’s a closer look at that ad, listing the hotels and boarding houses around White Lake.

Perhaps some of them survived and have ghosts?

White Lake and vicinity hotels, NY

(Note: In a 2015 photo, the nearby Kenmore Hotel appeared partially demolished. I’d bet on ghosts at the ground floor area with the half-circle window, left of the door in that photo. Other than that, it didn’t have the eerie vibe I look for.)

So, this isn’t “new” news and it’s not necessarily ghostly, but the Roadside America photo collection could be a good starting point for anyone seeking fresh haunts to investigate.

That’s especially true if, like me, you look at photos and can sort them into “looks haunted” and “cool and eerie, but not ghostly.”

The New Empire House hotel looks like a site to visit, if the building is still there. Let me know if you find it.

Ghost Hunting at Gloucester Prison

…It dates back centuries and is on the site of Gloucester’s old castle so it is no surprise that the old prison site has long been rumoured to be haunted.

But when Gloucestershire’s own team of ghostbusters spent the night in the former HMP Gloucester they weren’t prepared for what happened next.

…Ed said: “We keep going back to HMP Gloucester, because we love the place but also to be able to conduct a more detailed ongoing investigation.

“The prison is a big place that’s steeped in history going back to Roman times and can certainly be very active on a paranormal level to.”

England’s rich history – especially sites dating back to the Roman occupation – can be intensely powerful for ghost research. (I’m reminded of Most Haunted‘s compelling investigation of Eden Camp.)

But, later in this GloucestershireLive article, I admired what the investigators have been doing during their stay-at-home time.

The team are going back into the prison over the bank holiday weekend, but making sure they keep to social distancing.

Paul said: “While we can’t do much at the moment,we are able to continue our investigation at HMP Gloucester where we will be conducting a 48 hour investigation.

“Being stuck at home a lot has given us a chance to catch up with a lot of analysing of older investigations that we needed to clear down and also given me a chance to spend more time creating new videos documenting the evidence to.”

This is excellent advice for all of us who’ve been involved in paranormal research. While we’re generally at home – or at least doing fewer investigations – it’s an opportunity to review our past notes, photos, and recordings.

We can also look ahead to where we’ll research, next, and I’ll be adding Gloucester Prison to my list of must-see sites.

This content was originally published here.

Hotel Paranormal – Fair to Hotel Ghosts?

Dan Aykroyd returns with both a Ghostbusters sequel and a TV show about haunted places.

Here’s part of the news story:

Dan Aykroyd still believes in ghosts in ‘Hotel Paranormal’ – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, July 11 (UPI) — Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd is back in the paranormal realm with the new Travel Channel series Hotel Paranormal. Aykroyd narrates true stories of people who have reported encounters with spirits at hotels.

… “We know these people went through trauma here,” Aykroyd said. “We give them a voice and a place to talk about it. Why would they make up these torturous stories?”

… Aykroyd returns to the world of Ghostbusters in the upcoming sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The film was postponed from opening this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It now will open March 5.


Hotel Paranormal - Fair to ghosts?Since childhood, I’ve visited – and often spent the night – in haunted hotels.

I don’t recall any of them that were traumatizing.

I have no “torturous” stories, either.

From the Wentworth Hotel on the New Hampshire/Maine border, to the Spalding Inn, recently owned by Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, and their families, my time at haunted hotels has generally been happy. Even fun.

Of course, I’m familiar with stories of abandoned brides and victims of crimes that haunt related hotels and stately homes.

When I visited the Driskill Hotel, researching my Ghosts of Austin, Texas book, I was among the first people to enter their “haunted” suite as they reopened and refurbished the rooms.

I’ll admit it seemed a little creepy.

However, I also noted the credible stories of several other ghosts at the Driskill – some of them quirky and very much at home in Texas – and I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a vacation at the Driskill.

Then there’s the haunted Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. I’ve spent many nights in one of the most haunted rooms, and – though I sensed a presence at times – it seemed like a very sweet, gentle spirit. My husband and I always sleep soundly at the Monteleone.

The ghost in the Monteleone’s elevator seemed more whimsical than eerie. And the voices of the ghosts in one of their lounges – still partying in the early hours of the morning – were a delightful throwback to an earlier era.

At least one entity at the Salem Inn had a sense of humor. What he shouted – through an Ovilus device – was somewhat crude, but later turned out to be entirely relevant.

A ghost at Stratford-upon-Avon’s Falcon Hotel (in England) was mischievous, especially when we tried to take photos in the most haunted bedroom. I’m eager to return there for another attempt to capture at least an orb. (Instead, the spirit seemed determined to prevent most photos of the supposedly haunted bed.)

In other words, I’ve stayed at many haunted hotels, and – so far – no traumatic encounters. Odd ones…? Yes.

(The Myrtles Plantation, while not an actual hotel – more of a B&B – was strange. Despite that, it’s on my list of 13 Favorite Haunts.)

But distressing experiences related to a hotel ghost…? Not really. The exceptions were when researchers deliberately provoked the ghosts. I’ll admit I think it’s perfectly fair for a ghost to “give as good as he got.”

So, I’m raising an eyebrow, wondering whether Hotel Paranormal will perpetuate the “all ghosts are scary/evil” stereotype.

I hope not.

But, either way, I like Dan Aykroyd and wish him success with both the TV series and his new film.

Hotel Paranormal airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. EDT on the Travel Channel.

The full, original article was published here.

2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events

[This article originally appeared at FionaBroome.com.]

2019 looks like a good year for ghost hunting events, tours, and vigils. In my previous article, Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – 2019, I described general trends.

In this article, I’m focusing on Google search trends – for “ghost hunting” – in the US and the UK, to see what fans and researchers are looking for.

Summary:  In the US and the UK, an increasing number of people are interested in encountering ghosts, themselves.

In the US, they’re interested in ghost hunting equipment & how it works.

UK fans have maintained a steadier interest in ghosts. In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, especially when they can learn from pros, and test-drive ghost hunting equipment, themselves.

In both countries, to reach wider audiences, TV shows and events could include ghost hunt pros (as “invited guests”), and share how-to sidebars, information, or workshops.

2019 - a good year for ghost hunting events and toursHere are the trends, as I see them.

In the US, ghost hunting enthusiasts seem most interested in ghost hunting on their own. Events and tours (and TV shows) can make the most of this by including how-to information.

And, in the case of events & tours, letting visitors borrow ghost hunting tools.

In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, sometimes with specific people. They’re also looking for ghost hunting equipment, and shops that sell them.

Here are the graphs from late January 2019.

Ghost Hunting Trends

First, “ghost hunting” searches in the US, since 2004. I’m not sure if interest has stabilized or is increasing slightly in the past six months.

Ghost hunting search trends in the US, 2004 to 2019

Here’s a five-year US graph for “ghost hunting” Google searches. I think the 2015 spike can be attributed to Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015). 

Also, I think the 2016 decline may related to the announcement that Ghost Hunters’ TV series had been canceled. (Last episode was Halloween 2016.) I think that announcement was a social cue that – in the network’s opinion – the ghost hunting trend was over.

That may have been a self-fulfilling message/prophecy.

5 year trend - Google searches for ghost hunting

Here’s that same search (“ghost hunting”) for the UK, since 2004. There, it looks more stable over a longer period of time, and perhaps declining slightly since early 2013.

Ghost hunting search trends in the UK, 2004 to 2019

Here’s that same Google UK search graph – “ghost hunting” – since early 2014. To me, the past five years look fairly stable, with a downturn after Halloween, but an uptick with the new season of “Most Haunted” and other shows.

Searches for ghost hunting - 5-year trend

Next, I looked at “ghost hunting events.” What I saw surprised me.

Ghost Hunting Events Trends

Google had no graph for that term in the US; there weren’t enough searches. But – interestingly – the areas where Americans search for “ghosts” and “ghost hunting” were places hosting ghost hunting events around the time of the search. 

So, though those searches may reflect recently aired TV shows, I think Americans are less likely to add the word “events” when they’re looking for… well… a ghost hunting tour or event.

By contrast, “ghost hunting events” regularly appears on Google’s “breakout” searches lists for the UK.

Here are the UK graphs for “ghost hunting events” searches, starting with the 2004-2019 graph.

Ghost hunting events interest, UK, 2004- now

In the UK, those searches have been increasing since 2017. Americans should pay attention to this. In my experience, British ghost hunting enthusiasts are often one step ahead of American trends.

That’s what the graphs have indicated since I started tracking ghost hunting interest, around 2004: First, UK searches climb or even reach breakout status. Then I see those same kinds of topics/shows trend in the US.

Related Search Terms – Ghosts, Paranormal, Haunted

Finally, here are some comparisons among related searches. They’re of less value.

In the US, “haunted” searches spike at Halloween because people are looking for haunted houses and corn mazes, etc.  Also, that term seems to perform better than “ghost hunting.”

Some “paranormal” searches may need to be discounted due to searches for movies like Paranormal Activity.

“Ghosts” may also include searches for “Ghost in the Shell,” and the trending PlayStation game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”

The UK graphs show the same Halloween trends, but a sharper drop in interest for the simple search. But, “ghosts” significantly out-performs “paranormal.” That’s the reverse of US trends.

Ghost-Related Breakout Searches

In related, breakout search terms, the US and the UK were somewhat different. Despite that, I think they point to a visible trend towards personal ghost encounters, at ghost hunting events and tours, or as part of independent teams.

In the UK, these were the top breakout search surges:

  • Ghost hunting equipment (and ghost hunting equipment in the UK)
  • Ghost hunt (probably includes the fiction series of the same name)
  • Ghost hunting events
  • Ghost hunting with (probably includes the TV series)

In the US, search surges highlighted:

  • Ghost hunting apps
  • Ghost hunting shows
  • Ghost hunting tools
  • Ghost Hunter (Note: that was singular, not plural)
  • Ghost Adventures

Yes, the US shows more interest in ghost hunting TV shows.

But, the prevalence of interest in ghost hunting apps, tools, and equipment also suggests a growing popularity in personal ghostly encounters.

What’s Ahead in 2019?

Ghost events, tours, and vigils can use these trends for greater success in 2019. Especially in the UK, including popular/expert ghost investigators can attract more guests to sites and events. (That’s not news. Every ghost hunting event is more appealing when it features recognized stars and popular researchers.)

Of course, ghost hunting TV stars – British and American – draw the largest interest.

Large-scale events may also benefit by including authors of paranormal fiction, if they’re well-versed in ghost hunting.  (Michelle Belanger – who starred in Paranormal State – comes to mind, as she’s developed a successful career in paranormal fiction, too.)

And, in the US, shows may benefit from including segments explaining ghost hunting tools and techniques, with how-to advice.

Likewise, I’m seeing a growing interest in US events featuring stars of past ghost hunting shows, including Ghost Hunters (and Ghost Hunters International), Paranormal State, and Ghost Lab.

(Would ratings rise if they’re guest investigators on newer shows? From related, continuing “where are they now?” questions in my email, I think so.)

2019 may be a good year for ghost hunting. I won’t pretend that I see massive upticks in any single trend, at this time.

But, if you consider the graphs and breakout searches, I see potential for a new – perhaps younger and more analytical- audience.

They could spark a new wave of enthusiasm for ghost hunting shows and events, and haunted sites that are open to overnight stays and tours.

Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – Jan 2019

Ghosts and paranormal trends - January 2019 report[This article originally appeared at FionaBroome.com.]

In recent months, ghosts and paranormal topics have been trending in interesting directions.

(Note: I use specialized software for this research. It’s not just Google Trends.)

In general, global interest in ghost hunting is starting to increase, but with an emphasis on personal experience and how-to information.

In the US – and globally – people are still very interested in Ghost Adventures. Both Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted attract fresh searches, as well.

The spike that occurred with Netflix’s Hill House has been more about “hidden” ghosts in the series.

Also, people want to know what happened to Nick Groff (which many spell as “Nick Goff” when they’re searching), and they’re still asking, “Is Ghost Hunters real?”

In the UK, “Are ghosts real?” is the question most people are asking. And, they’re interested in watching Most Haunted, Paranormal Lockdown, Ghost Adventures, and old/full episodes of Ghost Hunters, not necessarily in that order.

Trending Interest in Ghosts & Paranormal Topics – 30 Days

Here are some graphs representing mid-December 2018 through mid-January 2019.

First, here’s the only topic trending in the UK, among searches focusing on the word “ghosts.” (And eliminating searches related to the PS4 game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”)

Ghosts trends in the UK - Jan 2019

Here’s what’s trending for “ghosts” in the US. Aside from “what room do ghosts avoid?” (probably a gaming question), searches doesn’t show much interest in ghosts, per se.

Trending searches for "ghosts" in the US

Trending Searches – 90 Days

Three-month trends show something different. However, remember that these include searches starting in mid-October, just before Halloween.

The first shows worldwide searches that focused on “ghosts.” Obviously, The Haunting of Hill House dominated those trends. But, they were interested in finding “hidden” ghosts in the Netflix series.

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve searches could be about the 2018 Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, or about the 1999 movie, or both.

Worldwide searches for "ghosts" - 90 days (Jan 2019)

The next breaks down similar online searches, but only in the UK. Again, Hill House’s “hidden” ghosts captured interest. (In a US-only study, the results were nearly identical to the graph above.)

I was surprised to see people ask “how many ghosts visited Scrooge?” Related searches continued to spike after Christmas, as well. (If you count just the main ghosts, there were four: Marley, and the ghosts of past, present, and future.)

Searches for "ghosts" from UK browsers - Jan 2019

Paranormal Searches

Stepping back a bit, here are 90-day results for “paranormal” searches in the US. Paranormal Activity continues to hold interest, with Paranormal Lockdown attracting attention, too. Regional interest in Paranormal Cirque spiked, and then vanished as the show continued its tour.

Searches for "paranormal" in the US - Jan 2019

In the UK, the 90-day “paranormal” trend is about the same, minus the Paranormal Cirque interest.

90 trend for UK searches on "paranormal"

Ghost Hunters Searches

Narrowing my research focus, I checked 90-day searches, worldwide, for “ghost hunters.” Clearly, Saturday Night Live’s parodies are popular, and people still want to watch Ghost Hunters’ full episodes.

But… people still ask if Ghost Hunters was fake. And, in related trends, Ghost Adventures seeps in, as well.

90-day trend "ghost hunters"

Compare that with “ghost hunting” searches, worldwide. They want to go ghost hunting, or at least learn about ghost hunting equipment.

Venues offering ghost tours might do well to lend ghost hunting tools to visitors. (Even wire coat-hanger dowsing rods can be useful. Just be sure to curl the wire ends, so no one is jabbed by a sharp point.)

Search trends for "ghost hunting" - Jan 2019

(In a future article, I’ll elaborate on the increasing interest in ghost hunting events, vigils, and tours.)

Ghost Adventures Searches

Ghost Adventures seems to hold its audience – and thrives in searches, worldwide. Further down the list (not on this screenshot), people were searching for “what happened to nick in ghost adventures” and “ghost adventures halloween special.”

(The question about Nick isn’t a surprise. At one of my websites, the most popular article answered a similar question about Grant Wilson and Ghost Hunters.)

Search trends for "ghost adventures" - Jan 2019

Most Haunted Searches

Most Haunted is gaining moderate traction in worldwide searches, too. I’m pleased to see their 2019 shows present ghost hunting in a more realistic context. Somehow, Hill House turned up in related searches. And, of course, people are asking “is Most Haunted real?”

However, I was surprised to see a surge in questions about “the most haunted town in America.” I’m not sure if that’s related to a Travel Channel series, or something else. (If you know, leave a comment.)

And maybe someone should contact John Zaffis‘ team, since “most haunted object in the world” has a few search spikes.  (Oh. Wait. That search was probably about Post Malone being “cursed” by a haunted object.)

"Most Haunted" search trends - Jan 2019


Both Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters remain popular in Internet searches.  Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House may have been a short-lived trend, and mostly about clever imagery.

In Season Two, they may bring more depth to the story. There’s plenty to explore, and leads to follow from Shirley Jackson’s original book.

In ghost hunting – and ghosts, in general – trends seem to favor ghost hunting equipment, and how it works. I’m not sure if those searches are by aspiring ghost hunters, or people who want to understand what they’re seeing on TV.

I think ghost hunting is rebounding after some YouTube videos, TV shows, and movies took things to a ridiculous extreme.  (Did anyone really believe that “shadow people” hide under your bed, and might kill you…?)

For those who continue serious paranormal research… well, we’re still rebuilding credibility.

Recently,  Most Haunted’s Eden Camp episode was helpful; it showed a more accurate view of ghost hunting, while still including some thrills to hold the audience’s interest.

I’m optimistic about ghost hunting in 2019, and trends suggest a good year for haunted sites that offer “ghost tours” or overnight stays.

In terms of TV shows, I think there’s a fresh audience for ghost-related programming. But, to get the best ratings, producers will need to understand what’s changed in ghost hunting, over the past couple of years.

Fresh angles and new approaches can bring viewers back to ghost hunting shows, but producers will need to make sweeping changes without sacrificing what intrigued people back in 2003.

In general, I believe innovators will be the winners in 2019.

In my next article, I’ll explain why Google trends suggest an uptick in popularity for ghost tours and ghost hunting events… and how this field can deliver what ghost enthusiasts are looking for: 2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events, Tours, and Vigils.

600 Dogs, a “Suicide” Bridge, and Black Shucks

[This article originally appeared in 2018 at FionaBroome.com.]

Black shucks – made famous in Conan Doyle’s story, The Hound of the Baskervilles – have always fascinated me. As a child, I was terrified of large dogs, and that may have contributed to my interest in them.  (Eventually, I outgrew my fear of large dogs… but I’d still prefer to avoid black shucks.)

Black ShucksIn 2008, when Armchair Reader: Weird, Scary & Unusual asked me to write a chapter about black shucks, I was delighted to share what I’d learned about those mysterious creatures.

So, what are black shucks?

In 1901, author William Dutt described the black shuck. “He takes the form of a huge black dog, and prowls along dark lanes and lonesome field footpaths, where, although his howling makes the hearer’s blood run cold, his footfalls make no sounds.”

  • Shucks have been reported for centuries. They’re not just legends. As recently as the late 20th century, police officers have encountered them.
  • Most shucks are reported along England’s east coast, including the town of Cromer.
  • The Cabell family (the basis of the Baskervilles, in the Sherlock Holmes story) has other ghost stories, but the black shuck may be the most famous.
  • In Norfolk’s town of Overstrand, there is even a Shuck Lane where shucks have been seen.
  • Shucks and eerie black dogs have been reported in Wales and Scotland, too.

Some of the most reliable recent stories place black shucks at or near bridges. (Coltishall Bridge, just north of Norfolk, is one of them.)

Often, those bridges have suicide stories, as well. So, though I’m sad (beyond words) to read the following news story, it may be important for paranormal researchers. Will black shucks appear there in the future? I’m not sure if I’d want to see – or even hear – one.

Is a Black Shuck a Ghost?

I’m not sure a black shuck is a “ghost.” To me, it may fit better in the fae context, perhaps the Unseelie Court.

Or perhaps it’s best categorized in cryptozoology. That may be the best answer.

Also – as you’ll read in the following article – there are the other, actual ghost stories at this active location in Overtoun, Scotland.

Be forewarned: this story is horrifying. I don’t want to sound like I’m trivializing how awful this is. As an animal lover, I hope they find an answer to this terrible situation, quickly.

But, as a paranormal researcher, I’ve noted it for future investigation.

Maybe nothing weird is going on. Maybe it can be explained by minks in the area, or something else. Frankly, I like that idea. It’s something they can fix.

If you’re investigating around Overtoun, keep this in mind.

Suicide Dogs?

Here’s part of the article, “600 dogs have attempted suicide from the mysterious ‘haunted suicide bridge’ in Scotland.” (The full article is linked at the foot of this page.)

Around 600 hundred dogs have attempted suicide from the Overtoun bridge in Scotland.

And all the dogs jumped from the exact same point.

Experts are baffled and are unable to explain the mystery.

The bridge has a history of 160 years and has been responsible for the deaths of a specific kind of dogs: those with long snouts, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Scottish Terriers.

A number of locals believe that the bridge as well as the Overtoun house is haunted by the spirit of ‘The White Lady of Overtoun’.

The bridge is nicknamed ‘Dog suicide bridge’.

Dogs have continued to leap from the bridge, and this strange phenomenon has gone unexplained since as early as the 1950s. Experts believe that dogs might be attracted by the animals hiding under the bridge, causing them to leap. [Fiona’s note: That makes sense to me.]

Dr. David Sand of Animal Behavioral Clinic explains that it is impossible for dogs to attempt suicide…

He elaborates that there could be other factors…, one being mink urine.

Paul Owens, the author of ‘Baron of the Rainbow Bridge: Overtoun’s death leaping dog mystery’, argues that there is a supernatural presence on the bridge, forcing the dogs to leap.

[Fiona’s note: This is possible, but unlikely.]

A longer version of that post, 600 dogs have attempted suicide from the mysterious ‘haunted suicide bridge’ in Scotland, appeared first on Journal Post.



The Reality of Psi – A Shift in Past Attitudes

[This article appeared at HollowHill.com in 2018.]

This week, Mark – a friend and visitor to my ghost hunting site, HollowHill.com – posted a comment about a recent report in the American Psychological Association’ academic journal.

The Daily Grail summarized the report and some of its implications, in The Reality of Psi: Leading Journal Publishes a Paper Revealing for Superpowers of the Mind.

Here’s the opening of that article.

Is controversial research into telepathy and other seeming ‘super-powers’ of the mind starting to be more accepted by orthodox science? In its latest issue, American Psychologist – the official peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Psychological Association – has published a paper that reviews the research so far into parapsychological (‘psi’) abilities, and concludes that the “evidence provides cumulative support for the reality of psi, which cannot be readily explained away by the quality of the studies, fraud, selective reporting, experimental or analytical incompetence, or other frequent criticisms.”

The new paper – “The experimental evidence for parapsychological phenomena: a review“, by Etzel Cardeña of Lund University – also discusses recent theories from physics and psychology “that present psi phenomena as at least plausible”, and concludes with recommendations for further progress in the field.

The abstract of that paper summarized a dilemma many paranormal researchers deal with, daily.

“Throughout history, people have reported events that seem to violate the common sense view of space and time.”

Of course, that’s been a long-time issue: Arguing against closed minds that reject our “what if?” musings as contrary to common sense.

Worse, those critics seem to portray our questions as assertions, when we’re simply trying to open the door to scientific investigations.

But now, papers like Cardeña’s provide support. We can point to that research and repeat what we’ve been saying since at least the 19th century: Let’s explore these topics to find the real answers.

I’m delighted to see us move beyond absolute rejection under the guise of “common sense.”

Right now, my favorite quote is, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” That’s something Albert Einstein said.

Or, as the Bible reminds us, “knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)

I feel as if we’ve waited a long time for this door to be opened, even a sliver.

Yes, it’s just one paper, but it’s a significant step forward.


Daily Grail article: http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Famp0000236

The abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29792448

The full paper: http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Famp0000236

Review – What Are Ghosts Made Of?

A recent article at Higgypop attempts to answer the question, “What are ghosts made of?

While no one can answer that with complete confidence, the Higgypop article covered some interesting theories. I agree with most, but not all of them.

Here are some excerpts from that article, with my thoughts:

…if people are able to sense the presence of a ghost, detect them with ghost hunting gadgets, or even see an apparition, then there must be something measurable and tangible that creates them.

What are ghosts made of?My reaction…? Yes, and no.

If we assume that spirit (God, the Universe, Deity) creates matter, I’m not sure we need to (or even can) assume that God has a physical body that we can measure.

And, if people are created in the likeness of their creator, I’m not sure each has to retain some physical form after death, in order to create energy in this reality/world/realm.

The article then explains the difference between “intelligent hauntings” and “residual hauntings.” (Many of us use different phrases for them. I’ve discussed this at length at HollowHill.com.)

About residual hauntings, the Higgypop article says:

The phenomenon is known as “stone tape theory” due to the belief that energy is captured and stored like a video recording in the surrounding bricks, woodwork, stone and possibly even the soil. When the conditions are right, these materials release this energy and you sense or see the event occur in exactly the same position as it did years ago.

That’s a pretty good summary.

Also, I like this about ghosts and spirits:

When it comes to intelligent hauntings it’s a little different. These types of hauntings are the classic “ghost”, they can reportedly move objects, push or touch people, slam doors and even throw objects across a room. So clearly when they manifest there is some kind of physical force behind them.

But then the article says something that – to me – seems like it goes a little too far out on a limb.

Many paranormal researchers believe that when someone dies, they continue to live on outside of their body as a form of electromagnetic energy, similar to the electrical impulses in the human brain. It’s thought that it is this EM energy that is responsible for ghosts. This is why ghost hunters often use electromagnetic field meters to detect the presence of ghosts.

Perhaps some paranormal researchers think all ghosts are a form of electromagnetic energy. Do most researchers think that…? No.  (I’m guessing that “many” falls between those two extremes.)

But personally,  I’m not willing to conclude that. Not at this point in our research.

I think they may (or may not) be in an environment where EMF exists and functions different to how it does in our reality.

So, I freely admit: I haven’t a clue why we measure EMF surges that correlate with activity we call ghostly. (I have theories, but they’re merely guesses spanning a wide range of paranormal phenomena. It’s important to keep an open mind.)

Despite my disagreements with the article – most of them minor (and some, admittedly, just me being too picky) – I’m nodding in agreement with the conclusion:

While some ghost sightings can be written off as hoaxes, the majority of ghost sightings come from people who genuinely believe they have seen something supernatural. So whether ghosts are electromagnetic energy, a reflection of the past, or a trick of the mind, you can’t take the experience away from someone who has witnessed a ghost.

read the full, original article I quoted:


Ghosts in the News: Nov 2017 [Part 2]

[This article originally appeared at HollowHill.com.]

Halloween may be over, but these fresh news reports might interest ghost hunters.

Some suggest places we can investigate. Others are only worthy of a raised eyebrow.

Pluckley (England) is a good example of why ghost hunters need to look for fresh investigation sites.

Oh, Pluckley sounds like it’s very haunted. That’s not the issue.

One article, Is Pluckley still England’s most haunted village?, suggests that – at Halloween – the entire village might be off-limits to ghost hunters. It was, a few years ago.

Despite that, Pluckley is practically a cornucopia of delightful ghost stories. A 2015 article from The Sun described them nicely in Britain’s most haunted village.

YouTube offers several videos about Pluckley’s ghosts. Some are more sensational than others. I like this old-school 1995 video:

I’d eagerly visit Pluckley to see if it’s truly haunted. But, I’d be very discreet about my research, relying on observation more than obvious ghost hunting equipment.

Pluckley’s tales have far more credibility than a 2017 story from St. Osyth in Essex (England).  It’s describe in an article in The Sun, Britain’s most haunted house on the site of witch prison goes on sale… Ordinarily, I’d guess that “witch prison” story was a parody, but it’s presented as actual news.

Well, maybe…

Any site that claims to have a “satanic goat” (not sure what makes it “satanic”), recurring blood spatters, and three apparitions – and then boasts of a prison door and “Coffin Alley” just outside… that stretches credulity past the breaking point.

The owner claims she didn’t know the site’s history when she bought it. That may be true. But, I’d think the old sign in the wall, describing the site as The Cage – Mediaeval Prison, might have been a hint.

In general, this seems as over-hyped as last October’s Deerpark school videos. They show a preposterous collection of “poltergeist” incidents.

In the most recent video, I can’t see the fishing line clearly. (Other viewers said they saw it.) It’s probably off-screen, close to the camera. I’m fairly sure it’s attached to two legs of the chair. Then, they ran the line around the pipes at the lower right corner of the screen. Off-camera, a tug on the line would drag the chair across the room, just as in this video.

Neither October 2017 Deerpark video is credible. But hey, if that Irish school raises money from YouTube advertising revenues, I’m okay with that. Just don’t take the videos seriously.

If you’re ghost hunting in Ireland, the Irish Mirror suggests Co. Offaly, instead. That article describes a haunted triangle formed by castles at Kinnitty, Leap, and Charleville.

(Irish Central adds a fourth point: Clonony Castle. The videos in that article may raise eyebrows, but the historical notes are interesting.)

Kinnitty castle seems worth investigating. Someone left a long, negative review of it at TripAdvisor, including a reference to a ghost in her room:

We went to bed and when the lights went out, the room was black dark… then we heard breathing coming from the corner of the room. I never slept a wink all night. My boyfriend then told me he saw a shadow in the room at 3am!

Though that could be a fake review, she’s so critical of everything, I’d take it seriously. (It’s the kind of thing I look for, when I’m searching for haunted hotels and B&Bs to visit. A rant about the site’s ghosts is more credible than half a dozen raves about them.)

Americans interested in Irish haunts may appreciate the following video. (The special effects and unfortunate pronunciations are distracting, and I started to hate the word “creepy” after the first few minutes. Despite that, the overview of each location is pretty good.)

In the near future, I’ll post more information about haunted places in the U.K.

(Meanwhile, my friend Jen recommends Pendle Hill, Bolsover Castle, and Jamaica Inn in Cornwall. The latter surprised me, as I’d expected that to be pure hype. But, I trust Jen’s advice. I’m pretty sure she’s investigated more of England – and more recently – than I have.)

Closer to home (currently the U.S.), I’m interested in ghost reports around Niagara County in upstate New York.

I believe that part of the U.S. may have many undiscovered haunts… more than most other parts of the country.

Here’s one recent article: Niagara County is home to many ghosts, part II.

In that story, I’m most intrigued by Cold Springs Cemetery in Lockport, NY. I don’t see much about it, online, and – as of late November 2017 – no YouTube videos about its ghosts.

To me, that suggests a site that hasn’t been over-investigated… yet.

But, it seems to be a private cemetery, open to people who own cemetery plots, and only between 8 AM and 8 PM. (See site info: Cold Springs Cemetery.)

That might dampen my enthusiasm, but the Lockport area offers some great investigation sites. For example, Lockport Caves was featured in an episode of Ghost Hunters, and on Off Limits.

The following video shows some of the area’s highlights. (Info starts around the 1:03 mark, and Lockport is more prominently mentioned around 4:55.)

Mix abandoned buildings, a labyrinth of tunnels, a tragedy or two, plus lots of water… that’s exactly what I look for, as a ghost hunter.

I’m not sure how often the caves (and nearby building sites) are open for ghost tours, except at Halloween. If I were in the area, I’d organize a group of interested ghost hunters, and ask the tour company about specialty tours for investigators.

Those are a few recent ghost hunting news articles that interested me. Several feature locations I didn’t know about, and I’d like to explore.