Monday, November 14, 2005
You'd just be surprised how little people pay attention to notices on websites. I'm pretty helpful and don't mind answering questions and helping students with papers and stories. But, when you have a notice saying we're not accepting new members and investigations aren't open, it's always a little like "Whaaa?" when people ask anyway.
Guess it can't hurt to ask, huh?
Monday, November 07, 2005
Also, why do most paranormal folks that they interview look well, not to offend anybody, almost crazy? I mean, like weirdo-I-never-leave-my-house-normally crazy? That goes for all of the I-touched-an-electrical-socket-haired psychics waving their arms around in front them too. If you've watched as many ghost shows as I have, you all know exactly the folks that I'm talking about. It's almost becoming a cliche. I mean, it's pretty hard to get people to believe what you're talking about if you look crazy.
OK...I'm done with my rant of the day, LOL. Just had to let all of that out.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
I was recently asked if there are more ghosts out and about on Halloween. One of the legends of this holiday is that yes, there would be, but in reality--I believe that ghosts are active year-round. If anything, Halloween puts ghosts and the paranormal in the consciousness of the general public. Other than that, you're just as likely to see them at Thanksgiving as you are on Halloween.
Monday, October 24, 2005
To answer my earlier questions, the 3rd floor was once all bedrooms, but there were never very many people in the house at a time as it was primarily a residence for lavish parties. As for the slave pen, still looking for definite evidence. The staff believes there is confusion between Lafayette Square's pens and the Decatur House having one although John Gadsby, a former owner, was a notorious trader. There's a legend about the window being bricked up and supposedly that was part of the original design. The back door he supposedly slips out of is the one that leads to the courtyard. Those motion detectors were off both times, so they wouldn't make any noises on their own and we couldn't move around with them on. Hmm. Tomorrow I get to talk to the maintenance staff--one who's worked there for 25 years--who seem to have had more sightings than anyone else.
Who said being a historian was boring? LOL.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Here is an interesting thing...there is the story of a maintenance man rushing in from the courtyard saying that he felt as if chased and heard the sound of chains. Last visit, a staffer told us of the possibility of slaves being sold in that area. I did some research recently. Not only were the grounds on Lafayette Square in front of the building notorious for their slave pens, but supposedly there was one located at the Decatur House itself. Did the maintenance man encounter the spirit of a slave? Who knows? If anything, the historic research would actually support the man's claim.
My biggest questions right now are:
- More about the slaves, courtyard and slave quarters of the house
- More about the women of the household
- The legends of the bricked up window & the back door sightings
- Do the motion detectors make noises on their own?
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Europe is also a good example of how orbs may not be orbs. Almost every picture I took--especially in Spain where it's dustier and drier--had orbs in them.
When I was in Ireland, staying in those castles, I swear there was some weird stuff going on--but that's a story for another posting...
Friday, September 16, 2005
The TV world has never been able to resist a good paranormal show, but lately they are everywhere. The paranormal's never been hotter. There are still the great documentary-style shows that come on like Haunted Travels, Haunted History, Unexplained Mysteries, and all those other haunting specials that come on the Discovery channels and A&E during Halloween season. Hit shows Ghost Hunters (SciFi) and Medium (NBC) are returning and will be entering their 2nd seasons. Riding on the popularity of those two shows are a fresh bumper crop of supernatural shows:
- Supernatural (WB): Two brothers hunting "the thing" that killed their mom as well as their missing "hunter" dad and encountering some strange stuff along the way. Pretty fun show.
- The Ghost Whisperer (CBS): Jennifer Love Hewitt doing the Medium thing. Hmm...I dunno. Will have to watch and let you know despite the many guys out there who must be saying "Don't you say nothin' about my Jennifer Love Hewitt!"
- Nightstalker (ABC): A detective starts investigating crimes that seem supernatural in nature
- Most Haunted (Travel): Relatively new to the U.S., this British import goes to different haunted spots in Europe with a team--the host (who my group members love to imitate) screaming all the way.
These are the ones that deal more with the paranormal as their focus. Speaking of screaming, there's Scariest Places on Earth, which drives me nuts because some female member of the family always ends up having a 5-min. nonstop screaming total meltdown. There are also shows like Psychic Detectives (CourtTV), Lost (ABC) or even Charmed (WB), with paranormal elements and Invasion (ABC) and Threshold (CBS), which are more alien-focused (not my thing at all).
Happy watching, you couch potatoes!
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
There are other weird little considerations too, especially since we'll be filming occasionally for The Haunteds project. Things like wearing makeup out in the country when you're being swarmed by gnats. Makeup or no makeup? I went without and boy, it shows, lol. I always feel a little frumpy on investigations. I have long hair so I wear it ponytailed. No scented products as I pick up on paranormal smells a lot (perfume, cigars, etc.). No dangling earrings or jewelry that would resemble being touched. You often look at investigation photos like, "That's what I looked like?" LOL.
If anything, the biggest things to consider are professionalism, comfort, warmth (or coolness), how dirty you'll get (and I've been in some pretty dirty dusty locations), and pockets. Definitely pockets. Haute couture for the discerning ghost hunter...
Saturday, September 03, 2005
We just did an investigation at the Decatur House last night, a famously haunted historical site in D.C. (and one of my favorites) located across from the White House. I've been waiting for years for a chance to investigate it. The dream home of Commodore Stephen Decatur and his wife Susan, their lives together were cut short when he was mortally wounded in a duel. It has had at least 3 main family owners: the Decaturs, the Gadsby family and the Beale family with many illustrious tenants. During the Civil War, it was a Union warehouse and offices. It was the first and last privately owned residence on Lafayette Square.
A beautiful, deceptively large place, and two staff members, the director and her daughter and their two husbands were present. As you know from my last posting, I'm always concerned when there are lots of other folks present, but in contrast to that other investigation, the place is so well soundproofed that you couldn't hear a thing from one floor to the next. The group was very quiet and conscientious about letting us do our thing--which I know I appreciated. They were excited and active participants in the investigation and I found out a lot about staff experiences there. It was pretty active and we got some great EVP. If anything, having the Decatur House staff there helped to serve as validation for the EVPs as they heard and reacted to the noises as well.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I'm just not too big on there being extra people present besides the principals.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Historical sites and ghosts seem to go hand-in-hand between the familiarity of it with their often unchanged, restored interiors and exteriors, and the long history of the site itself. As the NPS maintains many sites such as Hampton Mansion in Townson, MD and the Old Stone House in Georgetown, they do not have a stance on the hauntings and ghosts within them. As their public affairs rep once told me: "It's not considered scientific, so I suppose it is that we don't believe in them. I got a blank look when I asked that question. I suppose we don't have one!" I think it has a lot to do with it being a government entity. Anyone have any insight into this?
Monday, August 15, 2005
Most ghosthunters have full-time jobs. Some of us, like me, don't care if our jobs know because it's OK. In my case, you can Google me and my ghosthunting history runs long, so I'm already screwed that way, lol. As for some other ghosthunters I know, they don't want to be on camera, use their last names or for their jobs to know at all because their jobs do care. I'm all for that because when it really comes down to it, ghosthunting doesn't pay and that 9 to 5 does.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Years ago I did a lecture on haunted D.C. and ghosts and a co-worker brought her 10-year old son, who told me afterwards how much he enjoyed it. I really enjoyed hearing that. A lot of times, kids are the main ones having interactions with ghosts and their genuine feelings and concerns are dismissed or disregarded by the adults in their lives. Kids and teens like to know that they aren't seeing things too, much in the same way that adults do. I've had so many parents express to me the experiences their children have had and sometimes they--like their kids--need that reassurance too. That whole "You/they are not crazy" thing.
I know parents want to shield and protect their kids. That's absolutely understandable. I would too. Sometimes, though, they can take more than you think they can.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
One thing I've noticed about the paranormal community is how nice everyone that I've met has been (so far). Enthused, excited, and hyped about what they do. I have always felt that there's room for more groups and researchers. That way info can be shared and eventually we'll have answers.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Sorry for the vent. Just how I'm feeling about it all today.
Monday, July 04, 2005
- Composition (ex.: that they are composed of or use electromagnetic energy)
- Holographic theory
- the Mind
Here's a pretty good article in GHOST Magazine about it.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Living in Washington, D.C. you usually hear the same ghost stories over and over again. It's like a bored tour guide: "Here you have the Capitol. It is haunted by politicians and Demon Cat. Here, you have the White House. It is haunted by presidents and their wives." Always the same ones.
I like hearing about the ones that everybody and their momma doesn't know about already. I'd like to know if there are any stories from upper SE and near PG County: Anacostia, Congress Heights, Bolling AFB, Suitland, Laurel. How about Northwest DC in Shaw and Logan or Dupont Circle? More MD suburbs: Gaithersburg, Wheaton, etc.? If anyone knows any D.C.-Metro area stories that they want to share that aren't "run of the mill", drop me a line.
I'd love to hear from you...
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The recent John Brown House investigation was overnight in the hills near Harper's Ferry, WV. Those who know me know that I'm very much a city girl and have never been camping in my life. Really. I was up to it though. I came ready with my sleeping bag, etc. Had a tent pitched for me and everything. I had on extra layers of clothes--fleece, long johns, even gloves, but as the night went on the temperature dropped and dropped. We're talking in the low 30s, when it should've been at least the 50s for Spring. I...do...not...like...to...be...cold.
So, I was given a choice: Stay outside in the freezing cold tent or sleep inside the haunted house where I had just heard heavy footsteps walking above me in a very empty room a few hours before. Hmm...haunted house? Freezing cold? Haunted house? Freezing cold?
I took the house.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Could be wrong, but I'm not for hanging around in them. This is coming from someone who used to play in one as a child and learned how to drive in a large one here in town. My father's rationale?
"Well, better there than on the main road. It's not like you can kill anyone since they're already dead."
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I wasn't a huge X-Files fan (gasp!), but I admired Scully's conviction as a skeptical scientist that everything was explainable. She could've been bitten by a chupacabra while having a conversation with Bigfoot in an alien spaceship and still would've been able to explain it all away.
I know that's an extreme example, but I think skeptics are a good thing. I mean, someone has to be the voice of reason, the control opinion to the unexplainable. As a ghost hunter, you encounter some pretty unusual things, but also things that often really are the knocking of pipes, the rustling of leaves, the sound a ceramic pot makes from the vibrations of the floorboards, drafts--you name it. Using your own inner skeptic helps to keep you on your toes thinking. Not everything is paranormal...
...yet not everything isn't either.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
It's that whole "bodily likeness" part that gets people so excited. Everyone wants to see one, not realizing there are others ways they can be experienced. Yes, I know this isn't very scientific, but they can be a sensory experience. The thing is to consider these experiences in addition to your data.
Here are my top 5:
- Touch: Yes, some folks have reported being touched. It doesn't seem to be an uncommon experience. I know of times where it has felt like the touch of a solid person, and I also know of it feeling as if you've stepped into static: all prickles and tingles around you.
- Smell: One reason not to wear fragranced products while on investigation is that sometimes they--ghosts--can be smelled. Cigar smoke, flowers, perfume, gunpowder--all of these things have been reported before.
- Feel: Whether by temperature (sudden temperature drop, or the opposite--warmth), or that funny "thick" feeling some people get where they can become woozy or short of breath.
- Hearing: Footsteps, voices, and other unusual sounds that are not being naturally caused.
- Sight: Shadows, balls of light, sudden "mists" that are not fog, full or partial apparitions
Apparitions are rare things. You're more likely to have 1-4, or variations of 5 happen instead. If you go into this hoping for your stereotypical ghost, you're going to be one disappointed person.
Monday, May 16, 2005
I'll go more into theories, equipment and techniques in the future, but here's the basic gist of what we do. This is DCMAG's process: We hear about a possible haunting or are contacted by a client. It's assessed as to how valid it is and a preliminary walk through and interview are arranged. If it's deemed worthy of further investigation we go back again with equipment. We might even visit one or two times more. We analyze the data and follow-up with the client with our findings. Ta. Da.
What are you looking for? Anything out of the ordinary, as well as ordinary things that can create the look of something being extraordinary. You can't be quick to declare everything as being paranormal. You have to apply scientific thought and methodologies to your work, although I think that it should be more of a blend of scientific method and taking into account those unexplained things that go down during investigations.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Once I was with a ghost group that told a story about a former member who taunted the ghosts at Gettysburg and promptly got shoved by one. I don't know how true that is, but it illustrates a basic common sense thing to me: You've got to have respect for something that can see you, but you can't see them. Hmm...if there's something there, who would have the advantage? You? I think not, so why take your chances.
When we investigated Leap Castle, ranked as #1 Most Haunted in Ireland (and that's saying something), we had some team members from a local Irish group along. While taking pics in the famous Bloody Chapel, one of them said, "Pose sexy for me." If that's not disrespectful, I don't know what is. We were really taken aback by their lack of professionalism. An investigation's not the time to play with the ghosts. Hey, if you don't give a rat's ass about yourself, at least take into consideration the folks who still have to be there when you're gone.
Friday, May 13, 2005
I'll admit that I loved the first Ghostbusters movie (the 2nd one sucked). I'll also admit that real ghosthunting is nothing like the movie. There are no proton packs, no ambulance w/sirens, no storage facility, no non-stop excitement. The reality is that there's a lot of boring downtime, monitoring equipment, and more often than not--no results.
I think a lot of people get into this expecting the holy grail of ghosthunting--full-bodied apparitions left and right. Nope. You're lucky if you get a temperature drop sometimes. Don't get me wrong...I have definitely seen, heard, felt and smelled some unusual, unexplained things, but the average hunt can be really uneventful. If you're in this for instant thrills, ghosthunting might not be for you. You have to love it to be outside in the cold at a location for hours on end.
And no, we DON'T catch them! You'd be surprised how often I'm asked that.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
To be honest and sorry to play the skeptic, but I'm ambivalent about most orb photos mainly because they're so open to debate. I mean, whether it's a 35mm film or digicam, so many things can affect them: dust, moisture, bugs, etc. And to me, digicams pick all of those things up even more. You have to be really careful about looking at orb photos and saying "Ghost!" because it--more likely than not--isn't.
Now...how do you know when it isn't? Hard to say. It's like porn: you just "know it when you see it." If you could actually see that it wasn't a bug and dust wasn't on your lens or all stirred up, it moved in a different way than dust or bugs then... No, really. You have to examine the negative and take into account your film and photography conditions. For a digicam, it's more up in the air because it is what it is. See why orb photos make me think twice about them? Too many X factors involved. Shouldn't stop you from taking pics though. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most enthusiastic person when it comes to taking ghost photos sometimes.
I dunno. Give me a good "mist" or shadow or holy grail--apparition--photo anyday. I'm just not feeling orb photos right now. If anyone has any better criteria, hey, I'm open. Let me know.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
This initial sighting is what triggered my interest as an adult. When I was able to have a free website in 1999, I thought ghosts and hauntings of the D.C. area would be a fun topic to write about and found info through books and other early ghosting sites like the Int'l Ghost Hunters Society . As I learned more and more, I found that my own theories differed from IGHS, and that's OK. You should think about the info presented and form your own opinions. I then joined the Ghost Hunters of Baltimore where I learned a lot from them about investigations. I enjoyed myself, but they became less active as time went on and I wanted to be closer to home. I lone wolfed it for about three years, so when I had the opportunity to become involved in DCMAG I gladly did so.
You've got to love ghosting to do this, and I do love it.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Look at the architecture and location. Is it original? Renovated? On a major route? What style is it? Colonial? Victorian? Brand new? How was it constructed? These are major clues to help determine a time period. Even a brand-new home could have a haunting if something happened on the land itself. Most locations have changed hands at least once--even if it's within the same family. Sometimes you need to dig a little deeper. Check articles, deeds, wills, city and phone directories, maps, and surveys if you have to. These can give you a better idea of owners, the land, and events that may have occurred there. Sometimes the owners have a wealth of information, and other times might involve a little sleuthing on your part: whether online, at your local library, city organization, or historical society.
Sometimes you go into a location knowing some of its history already. Your job is to determine what's what and where things may have happened. Sometimes you will hit a dead end. It happens.
Monday, May 09, 2005
As I read more about them and their cases, I wanted to take a more active role as a Sr. Agent and went out with them more. At the time, I missed going out on cases regularly and was glad to have a group to do it with again. I found all of the members to be great folks: honest, friendly, dedicated, and serious about ghosthunting.
I'm glad to be a part of the team.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
I am just coming back from an overnight investigation at the John Brown House in MD. This historic site is where he planned the raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859. It is privately owned and restored to its 1859 appearance, but visitors are allowed to see it and tours can be arranged by appointment. We're not sure who is still there. The place has changed hands many times from 1859 to the current owner. We don't believe it is any of the Browns though. The current owner and their family and friends have had some experiences there and the Team has as well. Mainly audio, such as footsteps. It's an intriguing place.
The group has been there twice before, but we were there this time in conjunction with the filming of a pilot episode for a TV show called The Haunteds. Imagine The Apprentice for ghosthunters. They are still casting for local D.C.-area candidates if any of you in the area (and you must be from the area) are interested. We worked with three very enthusiastic candidates and I don't want to have any spoilers here, but it was a very interesting day and evening to say the least.
Friday, May 06, 2005
I love what I do. I enjoy helping others and finding out more about ghosts and related paranormal activity.
I am a ghost hunter.
This is my blog.