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.

MY THOUGHTS:

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.

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.

Source

https://www.journalpost.com/news/600-dogs-attempted-suicide-overtoun-bridge/

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.

Sources

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:

https://www.higgypop.com/news/what-are-ghosts-made-of/

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.

Ghosts in the News: Nov 2017 [Part 1]

[This article originally appeared at HollowHill.com.]

Catching up on the Halloween surge of ghost-related new stories, a few articles caught my attention.

First, I noticed that several popular locations are increasing police surveillance, especially around Halloween.

Michigan’s Northville Psychiatric Hospital is one of them. It has an increased “no tolerance” approach to trespassers.

That article said:

The site is popular with paranormal explorers and ghost hunters. And with the Halloween season in full swing, police are beefing up surveillance at the site.

The property is full of asbestos, broken glass and other hazards, authorities said.

Whether or not a site is off-limits and patrolled, asbestos is always a concern at older, decaying sites. The cumulative effects of exposure can be fatal. Take no chances.

Fundraisers

Around Halloween, several ghost hunters provided demonstrations and tours to raise funds for charities. For example, a Racine (Wisconsin) group, Racine Paranormal, held a fundraiser for hurricane relief.

If you’re part of a ghost hunting team, consider a similar fundraiser next Halloween. (Or, schedule one around Christmas. A surprising number of people are alone at the holidays. A fundraising event might be a wonderful distraction for them, and a big help to struggling communities and nonprofits.)

Ghost Hunters: The Next Generation?

I’m optimistic about the next generation of ghost hunters. I really liked an article about high school ghost hunters in Griffith, Indiana (near Chicago, IL).

Here’s part of it:

Fueled by the popularity of paranormal pop culture, such as “Ghost Hunters” and easy access to portable online electronics, the club now has 94 members among juniors and seniors — 25 percent of the school’s upperclassmen.

“When you go out on these things, you go out there expecting nothing to happen,” said Pete Ghrist, “and when something happens, it’s awesome.”

“We don’t rid people of ghosts,” he said. “It’s not a ‘Ghostbusters’ type of thing.”

“Slimer’s not going to come out of the wall and knock you over,” he said. “You’re not going to see some big apparition come out of the wall. Every once in a while, you get surprised. Something really cool happens.”

I especially like seeing cross-generational interest in ghost hunting. And, as I’ve often said, police officers are among our best resources.

Note: In November, the students will be visiting Old Lake County Jail. It sounds like a good investigation site.

Old Lake County Jail

I haven’t watching this video all the way through (it’s around 30 minutes), but the jail looks interesting. (The investigation starts at about 2:53.)

Open-Minded Skeptics

After that, I found a refreshingly skeptical article about ghost hunting tools, Verify: Is there a science behind ghost hunting? The video (and article) from a Dallas (TX) ABC station, WFAA, manages to lean towards skepticism but avoid most snark.

From that article, after mentioning results from a spirit box (or something like a Frank’s Box or Shack Hack):

Biddle says, what we’re hearing are random snippets from ads and DJ’s.

“And if you combine it with the expectations of a paranormal group that’s in there asking questions, over and over. And that’s just waiting for something that sounds like a word. Or sounds like an answer that fits what they expect to hear,” he says.

Kenny’s studied a lot of ghost hunters. His biggest problem is most do not use technology in a scientific way. Mostly, they’re hooked on the thrill.

“You gotta go in and find a cause. If something goes off and you can’t explain it, that does not mean it’s unexplainable,” he says.

That last line changed my mind about what seemed an annoying, “Yeah…? Prove it!” attitude.

The fact is, we do need to debunk every anomaly, if we can. And, if something happens that we can’t explain, that doesn’t mean it’s unexplainable.

But which explanation makes the most sense? It’s not as easy as saying “Occam’s Razor.” We can’t assume that everyone’s on the same page.

Remember that hard evidence — photos, EVP, cold spots, EMF spikes, etc. — aren’t the only evidence.

Personal Evidence Matters

Always consider personal reactions and connections.

On a foggy night, maybe that weird mist by your (late) Great-Aunt Hazel’s favorite rose bush is just moisture.

That’s one explanation.

But, maybe you always had a certain feeling when Great-Aunt Hazel entered the room, or you always knew it was her call, even before the phone rang.

If you had that same feeling right before the mist appeared, or as it arrived, maybe the mist was a greeting from Great-Aunt Hazel.

That’s a personal decision. In our research, I believe it’s important to consider credible impressions.

Those impressions are another reason to avoid total focus on your ghost hunting equipment. If you’re in hyperfocus, studying an electronic device, you might miss seeing a shadow person.

Or, if you’re shouting at a (loud) spirit box, you could miss a ghostly whisper from the darkest corner of the room.

You might easily explain your exhaustion, shoulder aches, or uneasy “gut feeling.” But… what if it’s actually a ghost trying to make contact?

In the past, I’ve spoken about baseline checks.

Routinely repeat them during every investigation, if only to pause and shift your focus away from gadgets.

Also note all personal reactions, no matter how small. When you exchange notes with other researchers, those “trivial” reactions may reveal a pattern that fits the site’s ghostly history.

Summary

From what I’m seeing, ghost hunting is still thriving. Even better, new generations of ghost hunters are joining us. They’re genuinely interested, not just copying something they saw on Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures.

Though a few people are still sensationalizing this field, most of us (new and old) are serious about paranormal investigations.

People are more skeptical about ghosts (in a healthy way), but also willing to explore new research techniques. That makes ghost hunting an evolving, exciting field.

It’s a good time to be a ghost hunter.

Ghosts in the News: Oct 2017

[This article originally appeared at HollowHill.com.]

‘Tis the season… for news about ghosts and haunted places.

It’s an interesting way to look at haunted places.

Oh, I doubt many (perhaps most) assumptions about New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion. I’m not sure it’s especially haunted. (Several residents said it’s not.) Also, some of the legends don’t fit the owners’ real history.

But, the original LaLaurie Mansion was certainly the site of traumatic events and a horrible (and fatal) fire. So, some ghosts may linger.

In the Seattle Times article, like the following quote from Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places. (I’m reading that book, right now. It’s not what I’d expected. Lots of history. Lots of folklore. All of it connected to famous – and infamous – haunts.

Here’s the quote I like:

“Ghost stories in many ways are a way for us to approach our own history,” Dickey said, “and our own history is complicated.”

I’m going to think about that. At first glance, I’ll admit that most serious ghost investigators are not simple, take-life-as-it-comes people. Most are unusually bright, well-read, and interested in a wide range of topics.

The related podcast is thought-provoking. Though I disagree with Dickey on some points, he has some fresh views worth considering: https://apnews.com/afs:Content:1446410075/Episode-23:-What-haunted-houses-tell-us-about-ourselves

What interested me are the 28% who said they have lived in a haunted home. (I’m in that group. I’ve lived in two that might be haunted, plus a third that was absolutely bizarre.)

I may try a survey like that, myself, to see how many people pursue ghost hunting because they’re already familiar with life in a haunted house.

  • Next, this may not be the world’s only haunted canal boat ride – and I’m not sure if it’s genuinely spooky – but if I were around Richmond, Virginia, I’d happily spend $2 for the experience: Haunted canal boat rides in Richmond.
  • After that, reading the latest ghost-related articles, I realized I’ve never questioned the word “boo!” Maybe I should have.

Fortunately, Mental Floss may have an answer. In their article, Why Do Ghosts Say ‘Boo’?, they report:

“…the word had a slightly different shade of meaning a few hundred years ago: Boo (or, in the olden days, bo or bu) was not used to frighten others but to assert your presence.”

And later, in that same article, explain a more recent use of the word:

“And by 1738, Gilbert Crokatt was writing in Presbyterian Eloquence Display’d that, ‘Boo is a Word that’s used in the North of Scotland to frighten crying children.’ “

  • And then there’s the video filmed earlier this month (Oct 2017) inside a Cork City (Ireland) school. It’s been viewed over 7 million times.

I laughed out loud at one point. No, this isn’t what a real haunting looks like, though it’s entertaining.

But, a Today.com article offers an explanation for the school’s haunted reputation:

“‘The school is built on a site known as Green Gallows,’ Wolfe said. ‘In the 19th century, criminals were hanged here. We only found that out on Monday. The pub nearby is actually called the Gallows.'”

A leading Irish education site calls it Gallows Green, but – no matter what the name – it’s adequate reason for ghosts at the school.

They’re just unlikely to manifest in such preposterous ways.

Those are the ghost-related articles that interested me today. I’m sure there will be more as Halloween approaches.

Ghostly News and a CT Ley Line – 10 Oct 2016

[This article originally appeared at HollowHill.com]

October is here. And, as usual, the media is featuring articles that show a profound misunderstanding of what ghost hunters do.

I’m rather irked reading the insults in “Study links poor understanding of the physical world to religious and paranormal beliefs.”

Tarring all religions and paranormal beliefs with the same brush, the article –  based on a study by Marjaana Lindeman and Annika Svedholm-Häkkinen of the University of Helsinki – claims:

“The results showed that religious and paranormal (supernatural) beliefs correlated with all variables that were included: low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena…”

That list continues, but I think you get the point.

And, I know quite a few highly educated priests and professors who’d disagree with that correlation.

Oh, I’m not disputing the study results, just the sampling they used or the methods, or both.

It’s typical of the bias we deal with as researchers.

But, for every annoying article like that one, I find several news stories that intrigue me.

I started with an article about a haunted site in Pennsylvania. Then, I found a news article about a Connecticut ghost investigation. After that, I started connecting the dots – literally. In the explanation that follows, you’ll see how I use news stories and maps to find even more interesting places to investigate.

First, there’s the Casino Theater in Vandergrift, PA (USA). It’s opening for an investigation. The site’s history sounds like it’s worth a visit.

I’m always interested in haunted theaters. An unusually high percentage of theaters have ghost stories, and very obliging ghosts.

I mention them in my article, What Makes a Great Haunted Research Site.

  • Theater ghosts often respond well to direction (just as actors do).
  • Backstage, almost every theatre has at least one haunted dressing room… with a juicy story.
  • And, almost every theater has a ghost that supposedly sits or stands in the dark, near the back of the theater. In some cases, a cigarette may be involved, as well as visible wisps of smoke, or a smoky aroma.

If you’re in the Vandergrift area, learn more at this article: Casino Theater paranormal investigation attracts believers, skeptics.

Then there’s the Dr. Ashbel Woodward House Museum in Franklin, Connecticut. It used to be the home of a medical practice. Today, it’s a historical site.

A news story describes a recent investigation at the site. I’m not sure it’s very haunted, but it has the features I look for in a historical site that’s likely to have ghosts of some kind.

If you’re near Connecticut, here’s the article: Ghost hunters look for paranormal activity at Franklin museum.

About 15 minutes away, a “My Ghost Story” episode was filmed at 3 Boswell Avenue in nearby Norwich (CT). Apparently, some ghosts still linger. (The segment was “The Grim Rapper” from “I Am Full of Madness” that aired 14 May 2011.)  You can read about it in TV show will explore ‘haunted’ home that drove man from Norwich.

If you want to see the Norwich site, remember it’s a private residence. Be discreet and respectful of their privacy.

Exploring ley lines

The proximity of those two haunted locations makes it easy to draw a line between the two sites. In fact, any time I see two paranormal sites – especially haunted sites – near each other, I draw a line that connects them.

Then, I extend that line in both directions, and see where it leads me.

After reading about those two Connecticut haunts, I was eager to get to work. I’ve never been to Norwich, so I wasn’t sure what I’d find, but my “gut feeling” told me I’d find some great haunted places, nearby.

First, using Google Maps, I constructed a line from 3 Boswell Avenue to the Dr. Ashbell Woodward House Museum.

Then, I checked a few local landmarks that were on or near that line.

Immediately, I was drawn to Norwich’s Colonial Cemetery. That cemetery is closed, but the information online looks fascinating.

With three interesting haunts along one line, I knew I’d find more. So, I kept researching odd places close to the line.

Almost instantly, I found Norwich State Psychiatric Hospital, aka, Norwich State Hospital for the Insane. Several ghost hunters reported it as a terrifying place to investigate… when they could visit it.

As of 2016, this dangerous site – with demolished buildings and collapsed tunnels – is strictly off-limits and unsafe.





In addition, Norwich State Hospital looks like it’s over a mile away from the line.

Many researchers limit their ley lines widths to 12 feet. Others talk about lines as wide as 15 miles.

A few researchers insist that extreme weather, emerging fault lines, and other natural issues suggest that ley lines may be expanding, too.

Personally, I vary the width of the line with the location. That’s part common sense and part “gut feeling.”

In New Orleans’ French Quarter, the lines can be just a few feet wide. In other areas, I’ll expand them a few miles at the very most. My goal is to keep my lines as narrow and focused as possible.

So, I’m iffy about including Norwich State Hospital. If I had more time, I’d look for more ghost reports on or near the line. I’d judge the line width based on how many sites are nearby.

I might try some line variations, using the hospital as a starting point. That site’s ghost stories are certainly lurid.

But, at the moment, I’m not sure. And, I’m working on my next book. So, I’ll leave this ley line for others to explore and refine.

Nevertheless, this shows you how I use news stories and maps – plus some online research – to find and evaluate other sites that could be haunted.