Paranormal State: The New Class

Paranormal State: The New Class is a docudrama paranormal reality television special that will premiere on the A&E Network on November 21, 2010 – 8:30/9:30 Central. The program follows, and stars, six members of the Hoosier State Paranormal Research Team, a college student-led group, including 4 family members. The show features investigations of alleged paranormal phenomena at reportedly haunted locations. Check your TV guide for the air time in your city.

Join the official Facebook page HERE

chris

The Cast: Christopher Lien, Savahanna Lien Wise, Nate Lien, Stephen Wise, Daniel Hendry, John Tenney

Twitter Links: @hsp_chris, @hsp_nate, @hsp_savahanna, @JohnELTenney

10 tips for making your house a scary stop for trick-or-treaters.

Driving through the neighborhoods at Halloween time our eyes are barraged by fake tombstones, giant inflatable grim reapers and foam body parts. All of this can be good fun, but in all reality we must ask ourselves, “Is it scary?” The answer is a simple, “no.” When I was growing up the scariest house on the block was the old abandon bungalow­–grass overgrown, windows boarded up and a front porch that you dare never go on to. That house was Halloween all year around. The fright and horror came not from a bloody skeleton hanging on the front door but the imagined skeleton that just might be lying in the shuttered living room. As a person who has been in hundreds, if not thousands, of alleged haunted houses, buildings and cemeteries, I am happy to share with you 10 tips for creating a really frightening, perhaps horrifically traumatizing, stop for the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood.

10. Don’t mow the lawn. I don’t mean don’t ever mow it, but if your neighbors are willing to put up with a lawn covered in fake fencing and plastic gravestones you should be able to get away with not mowing your lawn for 3 or 4 weeks. Overgrown lawns provide a feeling of disrepair and abandonment.

9. Your porch should be red or orange. Replacing that bright white bulb with a red or orange bulb still shows you are home while providing enough light for the kids to get up the porch. Red and orange lights also create unnatural shadow colors which can evoke feelings of uneasiness. Blue and green bulbs are recognized as totally unnatural light colors. It looks like you’re making an effort to be different, which negates the feeling of disregard you’ve built up with the unkept lawn.

8. Carve your jack-o-lanterns poorly. No one wants to see an R2D2 jack-o-lantern, except the kid dressed as Asajj Ventress or General Grievous, or Darth Vader for those of you don’t watch Clone Wars. A jack-o-lantern is supposed to be creepy. Think of  it as a glowing light in the middle of a swamp, think of a face trying to scare away ghosts and spirits, but don’t get too crazy with the design. Stay simple  with the concept; it makes the face ten times scarier.

7. Leave the screen door shut but the front door open. With all of the initial unease “treaters” will feel walking up to your house, an open front door will create a parallel psychological thought pattern. Since open doors are a sign of welcome the brain’s conceptualization of unknowing and knowing will compete for dominance, causing internal feelings of confusion.

6. Turn off the lights in your house. One or two candles in the living room far away from the front door will be perfect. This should be a no brainer. As soon as kids see a house all lit up, they know people are in there having Halloween fun. The fact that you have a porch light on but no other lights is very disconcerting. If your living room is totally lit up all horror rushes away from the “treaters” as they see the normal interior of your home. In the dim light of candle glow, shadows bounce and flicker, creating a world of unfamiliar shapes inside your house.

5. Play classical or orchestral music. Most kids these days only hear classical or orchestral music in a few places: religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, and horror movies. As a plus, a lot of kids associate classical music with old people. Aside from their grandparents–sometimes including them–most kids are confused or even scared of old people.

4. Make them have patience. When you hear “Trick or treat!” don’t run to the door. Walk …slowly. And walk from another room. If you must be doing something, why not sit in another room watching TV or playing on the internet, sans lights. Let them see you coming, but make them wait. As you open the door of the room you are sitting in and meander down the hallway, the glow from your TV or computer can add some neat lighting effects as it shines and flashes behind you.

3. Don’t talk. If you must say something when you walk to the door say “Treat.”  Most people strike up conversations and ask questions about the costumes. Kids don’t care. They are there for the candy and to be scared. They have asked you, “Trick or Treat?” and you should answer them, “Treat.” Trust me, it’s creepy.

2. Don’t let them see what you are giving them. It’s extra creepy to produce the “treat” from a suit coat pocket or purse. Retrieve the treat and hold it entirely in the hand away from curious eyes until you’ve placed it in the “treater’s” bag. Or have your treats just lying on a table out of view, or anywhere but a giant bowl. Don’t let them see what the treat is. Just let them feel it hit the bottom of the bag.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of subtlety. Horror comes from the unknown. We all harbor some fear of the dark or the unfamiliar. Children have a heightened sense of strangeness because things are still new to them and so much is still unknown. When kids leave your front porch whispering to each other, “what was that all about?” or “dude, that was weird” you can rest assured that they will be talking the next day about the creepy house they went to on Halloween. Your house.

Halloween Fun: Best Fake Ghost Photo Contest

Every year people send me photos of “ghosts” asking if the image is real or not.I’ve seen some very legitimate looking photos as well as some terrible fakes. I was thinking about how bad some of the fakes look and decided I wanted to see some really good faked ghost photos, so this Halloween season I want you to create a fantastic fake ghost photo. Use your technological powers to create something awesome and not only will you win a prize but I will show the top three photos at one of my upcoming lectures. All submitted photos will be available for viewing via weirdlectures.com. Contest ends 10/25/10 so get moving. Email your fake ghost photo to john@weirdlectures.com

1st prize will be an awesome limited edition Paranormal Cat (large) Coffee mug!
2nd and 3rd place prizes will be super cool japanese Thriller Resturant candy w/button!
winners
Also, the top three photos will be credited and shown at my lecture at The William P. Faust Public Library of Westland on October 28th.

Get faking!

5 Things to Do in Detroit Once You’re Dead

5 Things to Do in Detroit Once You’re Dead

I’ve seen a thousand lists that discuss places people should go to in and around the Motor City before “you die,” and it got me thinking about all the amazing places that most people aren’t allowed to see. For reasons we won’t discuss, there can be some pretty heavy security and massive safety issues at certain locations in metro Detroit so you may never get the chance to visit them … if you’re alive. But if you were a ghost, you’d have unlimited access to these exciting — and sometimes bizarre — locations. Think of being dead as having a ghostly VIP pass. Of course, while you’re alive, it can’t hurt to ask “the right people” and see if they’ll let you take a look.

5. Detroit Sewer System:
The Motor City’s sewer system is a sprawling maze that winds for miles, linking Detroit to cities as far away as Pontiac and Oxford. Dangerously dark and confusing, these tunnels connect to basements of older buildings, as well as to rooms constructed by Prohibition-era bootleggers to store liquor and other illegal goods away from the prying eyes of the law. The sewers are the perfect place to wander (if you’re a ghost) and explore without fear of getting lost and not having enough time to find your way out. (You’re a ghost; you have all the time in the world.)

4. Underground Railroad Tunnels & Holding Areas
There are some well-known tunnels and safe rooms underneath Detroit that were constructed in the basements of churches and houses during the 1800s. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History offers information on the ones you can visit while you’re still alive, but — truth be told — new rooms and tunnels are being discovered all the time. Thanks to a lack of written records, though, there’s no comprehensive list of these tunnels and rooms. Many were sealed up over the years, so, as a ghost, you would have plenty of time to wander through many of Detroit’s old houses and churches to discover these lost historical spaces. The First Congregational Church of Detroit offers a tour for living people so you can get an idea of what you’ll be looking for after you’ve passed on.

3. The Detroit Salt Mine City
salt

Nearly 1,200 feet below the surface of Detroit lie its legendary salt mines. Spread out across 1,500 acres, they cover more than 75 miles of roads. At one time, tours of the mines were given regularly, but these events are now sporadic, at best. As a ghost, however, you can wander and investigate this underground city as long as you want without fear of collapse or the owners chasing you out.

2. The Detroit Public Library Basement Archives
You can actually see this one before you die. The archives of the Detroit Public Library are awesome. To see the basement archives, all you need to do is ask a kind and caring librarian. One librarian told me that the library staff tries never to throw any book away. Hundreds of shelves lined with books, maps, pamphlets, and other printed ephemera create a dizzying landscape for any lover of history. And as a ghost, you’d actually have the time to look through all this material. But be warned: Many of the staff believe there are already ghosts down there.

1. Masonic Temple Detroit
Again, you could see this pretty easily while you’re alive. The Masonic Temple in Detroit does give tours, but be aware that they won’t show you everything. Certain floors are restricted to lodge members and staff. Although Masonic members claim there are no hidden rooms or tunnels, you can be sure there’s more going on than meets the eye. Rumors of multiple basements, trap doors, and access to floors through hidden routes behind walls make the Masonic a great place for a spirit to explore. Years ago, I was given an impromptu tour by a custodian, and I can tell you there’s much about the building that isn’t normally seen by the uninitiated.

Phantological Investigation: A Quick Primer

For Halloween I’ve jotted down a few notes for those of you that are interested in “ghost hunting”. Have fun and be safe.
The following is a quick and easy starters guide to investigations. As with any research there must be a followed method or procedure this is true as well in phantological investigations. The following tips and tricks should guarantee at least an enjoyable time.

CLOTHING:
Always wear the appropriate clothing for whatever weather circumstances you may encounter. Be sure that jewelry is not loose and is not apt to jingle or rattle. If possible try and have two watches available one winding and one digital.

PROCEDURE:
Do not trespass. If an area is marked “no trespassing” it means no trespassing. If you must have access then contact the proper officials or property owners. If no one can be contacted notified the local authorities of your presence. Cemeteries are places of respect and sanctity treat them as such. Don’t litter or trampled flowers, also, do not smoke. Smoke can linger in the area for a long while and may skew the results of your investigation.
Having fun doesn’t mean being stupid. Having a positive mind-set will help your investigation, but don’t treat the experience as a joke try and limit needless discussion especially if trying Electronic Voice Phenomena and although it sounds like school, “no horseplay.”

RESEARCH:

The majority of your investigation should be information gathering and the documentation of the situation at hand. Many people believe that “Ghost hunting” is 99% field work (going to haunted houses, cemeteries and running around with a flashlight) and once they find out that there is paperwork to be done they become uninterested in ghosts and any related phenomena. Any “real” ghost hunter is well versed in the field of research.

SAFETY:
Make sure people know where you are going and make sure of the surrounding area’s safety. Always visit the location during the day before the investigation when you have time to note areas that may be hazardous, especially if you intend to research an abandon structure. Get a feel for the local neighborhood, there are some undesirable types that enjoy hanging out in cemeteries and abandon structures. Once again, Get permission to be where you are going to be. Do Not Trespass! If you cannot locate the owner of the site being investigated then contact the local Police and forewarn them of your plans.

WEATHER:
Check the weather. www.weather.com Inclement weather such as rain, snow and fog can hinder your chance of accurate reports. Cold weather can also provide inaccurate findings due to breath clouds. If it’s cold enough to see your breath be sure not to snap photographs directly after you exhale, breathe out count to 7 and take a picture. This should allow sufficient time for the breath to settle; remember breath falls, smoke rises. Your best bet is to investigate when it is not cold enough to see your breath.

GROUPS:
Limit the amount of people involved. The human brain can accurately and easily record seven pieces of information at one time but an optimal number of investigators in one area would be four, including yourself. You can easily keep track of who is where (and when) with four people acting as compass points, (North-South-East-West). The larger the number of people the better the possibility of an inaccurate interpretation of data from a certain area.

Psychic Contest 5 – The End of The Film

So many people are good at guessing the end of a film I’m now giving you the chance to do it again. Simply guess the next amount to be held up. For those of you who don’t want to watch the entire movie the numbers that were already held up, in order, are…
1, 5, 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 1, 1 …now what is the next number?

Contest ends on October 5th at 5 p.m. and the winner(s) will get an awesome Halloween inspired paranormal prize.

2010 Most Haunted Cities in Michigan

2010 Most Haunted Cities in Michigan – Detroit Tops The List

Oct .1, 2010

ROYAL OAK, Mich. — To help citizens enjoy their Halloween season, Paranormal researcher John E.L. Tenney of WeirdLectures.com has once again identified Michigan’s Top 10 most haunted cities.

“The top 10 cities include places for the believers and skeptics, living or otherwise,” says John E.L. Tenney, founder of WeirdLectures.com. Tenney’s organization collects and compiles e-mails, news stories, letters, and historical documents to create the list. “People are not only interested in understanding paranormal phenomena in their community,” he says, “but they use those experiences to connect with neighbors and other residents and share in a new kind of oral history.” The real excitement in these haunted cities, Tenney says, comes from exploring them in person and absorbing their histories.

Every year, some citizens worry needlessly about the list, which has become a “rite” of the Halloween season. But not to fear, Tenney says. “The only thing some residents are really afraid of is if this list will effect the marketablity and value of the homes in their community. The reality of the situation is that researchers and scientists would pay anything to get their hands on a truly haunted house.”

The 2010 Top 10 Haunted Michigan Cities (2009 rankings in parentheses)

1. Detroit (6)
2. Traverse City (4)
3. Kalamazoo (1)
4. Jackson (8)
5. Hamtramck (7)
6. Troy (2)
7. Flint (3)
8. Lansing (10)
9.  Ann Arbor (5)
10. Warren (-)

WeirdLectures.com is dedicated to the cataloging of mysterious places and events that have their home in Michigan. Information is compiled and collected from a vast number of resources, researchers, and writings. Some of the information this year came from over 1100 emails, 100 personal interviews and 50 private investigations. Every year, on October 1, Weird Lectures releases a list of the 10 most haunted cities in Michigan. www.weirdlectures.com