Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fairy Thorns: Interview w/Barry Fitzgerald

Many believe that cutting down an old tree brings bad luck--if not the wrath--of the elemental spirits. I once heard a story about how a community refused to let a developer cut one down for fear of retribution from the sidhe. Even on a recent investigation, we noticed that there might be a connection between some activity and an old, very large tree that was cut. I thought I'd ask Barry about them:

"The Fairy thorn--as they are known--are places that are and should remain sacred. Farmers are known to have removed these only to result in bad luck follow. In 1989 a power station was relocated in Kilkeel Co Downfor fear of moving a fairy thorn that had already claimed four broken legs that week.

I thought I would explain some more superstition about the trees. In 1982, a lady from No. Ireland by the name of Isobel Dawson contemplated the removal of a fairy thorn in her back garden but later changed her mind in fear of the consequences. Later while weeding around the tree she lifted a stone and found not only her lost wedding ring but other items of jewellery that had gone missing over the course of time and she was then convinced she had been rewarded for sparing the fairies favourite place.

Also in 1982 a fairy thorn stood in Blythe Street in Belfast seemed condemned to be knocked as the whole area was scheduled for redevelopment and all the homes were being destroyed. It is important to remember you don't even cut branches from these trees as it brings bad luck. The local housing authority listened to the residents and the tree was spared and now is the centre of a plantation in the community.But lest we forget many fairies are not necessarily for good luck. An old wives tale says that to show them disrespect, even inadvertently, could spell disaster.

Belief in nature spirits in North and South of Ireland is taken very seriously by some, but where did they come from? The 'Slaugh Sidhe' or translated 'People of the mounds' (Note, if you guys are coming over inNovember I have a mound lined up, its one of the more serious mounds sobeware.) but their origins are a matter for debate. In early celtic times they were identified as elemental spirits who were seen and respected as powerful gaurdians of the natural world. In early Christian times they were thought to be fallen angels who had fallen from grace, but not that far that they were doomed to hell. They were reported to have degrees of good and evil, but could never be redeemed.

They were also labelled to be descendants of the Tuatha Da Danaan, who were a god-like race from Greece and contended with the inhabitants of Ireland for the right to rule the land. A compromise was struck and the Tuatha De Danaan were granted the right to rule the underground and the waters including certain pools, (For example Loch Sheelin beside Ross Castle) and trees and bushes. A particular favourite haunt would be a lone Hawthorn bush, known locally as a Skeogh of Fairy thorn. (A townland beside me were locals live is also called Skeogh) These are particularly unusual due to their twisted branches and lonely locations."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Elementals: Interview with Barry Fitzgerald

I thought I'd ask Barry about elementals--which are something you might encounter while out in the field. Not to be confused with demons, elementals seem to have more of a connection with nature and beliefs about them can be found in cultures worldwide. In Ireland, for instance, there is a very strong cultural tradition involving elementals and you get a sense that there is truth to the legends. I asked him to talk about it for Ghosthunter L:

L: What is an elemental?
B: Elementals are creatures that dwell within the spirit realm of the elements, that simply means they are here & now but in a far different way than we can comprehend. Elementals are related to nature spirits that govern all nature some would believe. I have problems with that one. Earth spirits are known as Gnomes, Air spirits as Sylphs, Firespirits as Salamanders, and Water spirits are called Undines and inside these headings much the same as ghosts you will have layers of others.

L: What makes them different from other "spirits"?
B: I assume this is the spirits of humans you are relating too. Humans have been born, lived and died in this form of reality, they have not. On occasions it is possible for the two in their complete forms to mingle and this presents its own problems as they usually try and get you to go with them. In Ireland I will show you a doorway to one of these worlds.

L: What can cause an elemental to be present?
B: Elementals are present, as answered in question one but you must be referring to their physical presence. Usually there are invocations thatcan call these forward but I strongly suggest this is not done. I'm aware of a house were three Fire Elementals were called forward and they actually split the concrete foundations and walls of the property and the men were bounced off the walls. The fire elementals are the strongest of them all and hate to be told what to do and are hard to control. Someone who is very wise about the Paganism or Wiccan work may be able to call one forward. Care needs to be taken when calling theaid of elementals. Elementals are not always the helpful little creatures we'd like them to be, and can be mischievous, bad tempered little devils if allowed to get out of control.

L: What can stir them up?
B: Arrogance, destructive human traits in relation to their homes and the natural environment. Cornering one, not a good thing to do.

L: Is there any way to get them out of the location?
B: Yes there are things that can be done, more research can be gained from the Ancient Druids of America.

L:What makes them almost dangerous compared to other spirits?
B: Other spirits have not got the ability to control local enviromental condtitions, such as those in Leap and the Paris Catacombs. The Atmosperic pressures can cause heart failure, the salamanders can burn your property and the list goes on.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Barry Fitzgerald of Shrouded Steps--Ireland

Today seems like the perfect day to talk about Ireland.

In November 2004, my group--DCMAG--travelled there to check out some haunted places in the Midlands. As far as we know, we are the first American group to have done an investigation at Leap Castle. You can find out more info about that on the main site.

Our host was Barry Fitzgerald, who heads up Shrouded Steps haunted tours. Barry has travelled all over Europe in search of haunted and paranormal places. From the catacombs of Paris to the blood cults of Eastern Europe, Barry has experienced it and is very knowledgeable. He's also very funny and lots of fun to be around.

Make sure you keep checking back because for the next few entries, I will talk about my experiences while there and I have interviews with Barry about elemental entities.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


The house in Elkton is a great spot for EVPs. We played them for the family through speakers and you could actually hear whispering in the background. As I've said in previous posts, we've had names, responses and giggling. On one of mine from the most recent investigation, there are two separate responses going on. I'm hoping to have it cleaned up and maybe I'll post it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Elkton Post-Follow Up Investigation

It was much quieter this time. Since we were so successful with EVPs the last time, we ran a good amount of them. We had motion detectors set up and they did go off and no one was at that end of the house. Our science guy's a geologist and checked out the rocks outside to determine if they were local or imported and if they could've been used for a house's foundation.

I thought I heard footsteps going away from my end down the hall. I had the dog run up and down the hall to re-create it. It sounded similar, but the owners said the dog was in the room with them all night and they closed the door to keep her from doing that. We also checked the toilet to see if it could flush by itself and there was no way. It just wasn't built like that. I'll just have to chalk that up to the unexplained for right now.

Their 13-year old was present this time and told me about her experience seeing the apparition of a little girl. "I was taking the laundry upstairs and she was just standing there. It was pretty freaky and scary." I told her that I can imagine as it's always unnerving to actually see a ghost.

The family was very nice and their kids are great. The daughter was a little spooked by it all, but bore up well. Their son was like having a jr. ghosthunter. Very into it and helpful. I really enjoyed myself.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Going Back: Elkton

We're going back to the Elkton investigation for a follow-up. That one was pretty active so we'll see how it/they respond to a return visit. Their 13-year old daughter will be present this time (last time she was like, "Heck no, I'm staying with a friend.") It'll be interesting to see if her energy affects things.

What am I talking about? There are many theories that young women (or men) just hitting puberty have an emotional energy that seems to attract spirits like magnets. It's also said that they can create the disturbances themselves--such as in the case of poltergeists. I don't know how true or false that is, but it's definitely something to take into account--especially since her room is considered the most active in the home.

History-wise, I haven't found anything about the neighborhood in particular yet. The town itself used to be called "Head of Elk" and became Elkton in 1787. Due to its location on the water, it became a trading town whose population increased with the coming of the railroad in 1837. The challenges for me become: 1.) finding the previous owners or former houses on that location, and 2.) finding out if there was a road that original ran through their property.

I'll keep you posted on how this goes.