Sunday, October 04, 2009

It's That Time of the Year...

This weekend I was sitting with friends, watching a slew of paranormal shows. Former ghosthunters themselves, they commented on how pervasive paranormal shows have become. Where once, shows like "Haunted History" and "Haunted Travels" and the occasional "Haunting in..." were the only ones, now they are a dime a dozen. We wondered if it was a good thing, in that the public was now used to seeing them. Does this make them more likely to believe it?

I was reading through this blog and smiled. I had a good time as a ghosthunter. I enjoyed visiting the historic sites and talking with folks. Sometimes I miss it.

I figured, I might as well revive this blog a bit. Post the case histories, maybe a few EVPs I caught over the years...who knows?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

DCMAG Has Folded

Well, it's official. The group I've been hunting with for years, DCMAG, has folded. It was inevitable and it was time. So many ghost groups don't last very long for the usual reasons such as time, egos, apathy, member attrition, boredom, burnout--even the best of them it seems. I've seen and experienced it before with the Ghost Hunters of Baltimore. DCMAG was no different.

I'll be honest. After the members' recent trip to Ireland in November (I didn't go this year), there was a split. A split in both how people felt about each other as friends and colleagues, and a split in viewpoints about the group itself and the direction it was going in. Frank has started a new group,, and Al has turned his attention to his interest in other aspects of the metaphysical nature of the paranormal/supernatural. I really do wish them both the best of luck in their new pursuits.

Me? I'll still post accounts and interesting tidbits about ghosts and the paranormal, but after 4 years, my days as a ghosthunter doing investigations are done. To everyone I've worked with during investigations, it's been a pleasure and a privilege.

I can't say that I'm not relieved. It spared me from resigning, as I was going to do a few months ago after the Pry House investigation. I had been telling my husband and friends that I was going to drop the group for quite a while now. Those who really know me, know this. While I am sad that it is gone and will miss everyone a lot, it's okay as I now have more time for my art and writing.

Maybe I'll even learn to play a mean guitar...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Manassas: Ben Lomond

We recently had the pleasure of visiting the Ben Lomond House in Manassas, Virginia. About 2 mi. from the Manassas Battlefield, the Ben Lomond House was built in 1832. "Ben" is the Gaelic word for "mount/mountain", and is named after a place in Scotland (Mount Lomond). The staff have had some experiences: voices, noises, a music stand being turned and also found dismantled. I did a basic history report, but we all went in a little blind for this one. The house is being restored and they're also about to do an archaeological and grounds survey soon as well. Exciting! As it was used as a field hospital during the Civil War, they have also preserved graffitti on the walls that many of the soldiers left.

We got some good EVP there. For one of the best ones, I was standing near a fireplace by myself across the room from the guys as Al asked questions, but my recorder was the only one to get it--a response to one of Al's comments. An interesting thing is that Al said that he felt that the ghost was that of an older man--too old to have been a soldier at the time, at least in his 50s with gray hair and moustache. The curator told us at the end of the evening that a 65-year old soldier from Georgia did die in the house and it's noted in papers in Duke U. because of his age and not common knowledge.

The house is maintained by Prince William County and is open to visitors during normal hours.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ireland: Leap Castle

I watched the episode of Ghost Hunters on SciFi last night where they visited Leap Castle in Ireland. Above are photos of the famous oubliette in the Bloody Chapel and the door to the elemental's corridor that I took during my visit there with DCMAG and the knowledgeable Barry Fitzgerald in 2004.

I'll go more into the experience that is Irish ghosts when I talk about Ross Castle (brrr). Leap has had quite a history in terms of the paranormal. A bloody past, a lady of the house who tinkered around with calling forth things that she shouldn't have, and God knows what else, but Leap fits the criteria for a haunted place. We didn't have anything unusual happen during our 2004 visit, but the 2003 visit was more eventful. You can read Al's account of that first trip to Leap here.

More photos and info about Leap and our experiences are available here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Today's the Day!

It's Halloween! Get your ghoul on!

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

In the Washington Times

Hey, we're in the Washington Times today!

Those types of articles are always so much fun to do.

Pry House Field Hospital Museum

Last night we investigated the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. On the grounds of the Antietam National Battlefield and operated by the National Park Service, we had the privilege of being able to investigate it as part of an annual event with WFRE radio. I'll just say that one of the radio staff truly got a taste of what rookie "step duty" is really like, lol. Thanks man, you were a trooper.

The Pry House, built in 1844 by Philip Pry, is a brick Federal-style house that sits on a hill overlooking the fields below. It was used by Gen. McClellan as his headquarters during the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest day of the Civil War with over 20,000 casualties and injuries. Many of those injured soldiers were brought to the Pry barn, which was used as a field hospital until that December. Maj. Gen. Israel Richardson was mortally injured by a ball from a spherical case that struck him in his side. He died at the House on Nov. 3. It changed hands only about 2 times before being acquired by the NPS in 1974. The house was damaged by a fire in 1976 and restored to its 1862 layout and appearance.

Sightings associated with the house have been mostly the apparition of a woman in 19th c. clothing--seen by firefighters, and workers. The legend has always wondered if it was Mrs. Richardson, who tended to her dying husband, but the museum director's son saw her once and described it as looking like the woman in the picture downstairs--Mrs. Pry.

I can tell you one thing though...I have never been at a location that made me feel as off-balance, out of breath, woozy, and dizzy as that one. I usually get "symptoms" at haunted locations, such as lightheadedness and that stuffy, "thick" feeling. I felt "off" the whole time and didn't feel okay again until after we left.

The Pry House is a fantastic museum to find out more about Civil War field hospitals. I was in the dark reading the displays with my flashlight and they were pretty fascinating. Medical care concepts we're familiar with now such as triage came about as a result of the Civil War.

When working at historic sites, you have to be very careful of the objects within, as many are priceless, and know what can/can not be photographed (artifacts, office equipment...). You also have to respect any restrictions, such as no-go areas, and the location itself--as you do not want to damage it in any way. Historical site cases are always such an honor to be able to do, and for a history-lover like me? Pure bliss.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

History Reports

One of the things that I do before I go on investigation is prepare a history report. It's literally the history of the location with any supporting info about it. I also write any questions that I have that the information has made me ask. Those questions are the things that I try to figure out or ask the owners/caretakers while there. At the last one, a historical society rep was there, which was fantastic. Not only was she able to answer all of my questions, but was able to provide me with other info as well.

I also document the legends or hauntings associated with the house as well. Once again, separating fact from fiction. You'll find that you can debunk a legend sheerly upon the impossibility of it historically.

I think that I'm also going to start a construction era-specific checklist of things to look for in particular-style buildings (Italianate, Georgian, Victorian, etc.), since the other thing that I do while there is to check out the walls, floors and the way the house was built/renovated. It might make my life a little easier. Construction tells a lot--as in , was it slave-built? Were there original features such as ovens or coal hatches that are no longer there? It's like having a piece of a much bigger puzzle.