Ghost Stalkers: Episode One – Whispers Estate : Notes and Thoughts

I am a great advocate of people having as much information as possible. With that said here are some notes and thoughts about the first episode of Ghost Stalkers. I’ll be posting a piece like this of every episode.

What you didn’t see on the episode.

  • Chad and I always do a daytime investigation. None of this was shown. We spent a significant amount of time in the house during the day and seemed to have some interaction with friendly energies.
  • Most of the night investigations. Chad and I are in the house all night. What you see on TV is only the most interesting parts of the night investigations.
  • Chad and I trying to duplicate my scratch. In the morning after my investigation Chad and I experimented to see how we could duplicate my scratches.
  • The moving of the cameras. Some of the cameras Chad and I use during our investigations stay in a specific locations but since we are in the location alone we sometimes move cameras around if we think there are better areas to film. Also, we have to move cameras to swap out batteries. There is a table inside every location with extra batteries and extra cameras just in case something breaks or ceases to work.
  • Chad and I both, yet at separate times, after our individual investigations visited the church down the street. Both Chad and I independent of each other walked down the street and tried to unwind at the church on the opposite corner of the street from the location.
  • Bathroom breaks. Obviously we have to go to the bathroom sometimes. Thankfully Whispers has working indoor toilets. Thankfully editors edited that out.
  • Sleepiness in the RV. I drink a lot of coffee to stay awake out in the RV. Investigating keeps you awake, sitting in an RV alone all night can be crazily tiring.
  • When doing the narration for the show I did a lengthy monologue about the folkloric nature of human-animal hybrids and therianthropy while I discussed what the half-man/half-goat entity might be. This long narrative about pre-Christian animal totems, and ancient tales of distant belief systems was edited down to what you heard in the episode which was only, “In some cultures a goatman can represent demons or even the devil himself” The full narration includes many different aspects of what creatures might be and how they have been represented throughout the world dating back to the earliest of human times. None of that made it into the episode.
  • Hugs. Before Chad or I go into any location for our individual investigations we hug each other. We always hug when we finish the investigation too.

Other things you might not have known

When I first met Gwen, the estates caretaker, she told me that sometimes one or more of the energies in the location will not interact unless they are provoked to do so. Everyone that knows me knows I am not a fan of provoking but after hours of being in the house and nothing happening I took Gwen’s advice. On the show you do not see the hours of investigation I did while not provoking but Gwen was right, and you see that on the show.

Whispers Estate holds tours of its location and so there are “spooky” items all over the house. Plastic skulls, Ouija board, etc. We brought nothing into the house to “set dress” it, everything you see was put there by the owners.

Have any other questions about the show? Let me know and I’ll answer them if I can! email john@weirdlectures.com

Don’t forget to check out all the Ghost Stalkers content
at the Destination America site
CLICK HERE

Also visit the Destination America Facebook page! CLICK HERE

Inside forever. A quick trip into infinity.

Where to begin?

Now that the first episode of Ghost Stalkers has premiered I have been contacted by a dizzying amount of people about the the nature of my near-death experience. This is something that I knew I would have to confront once the show was on but it is honestly is a daunting task.

Please understand that some of the words I use and the descriptions of my experience will fail to accurately explain what I remember. The memories I have of the event do not have words or descriptions which is part of why the experience was so horrific. Also, if I stray away and meander about while trying to explain the occurrence please remember that for decades my family choose not to speak about this event.

My mother and father, obviously, do not like to talk about when they almost lost their son. To this day it is something they would rather not think about. As an example, when I say my family doesn’t talk about it I mean; my 14 year-old nephew just learned about it a few weeks before the show premiered. Knowing he would see the show my sister and I discussed the experience so that he would not be frightened about it and so that he could revel in the fact that although his uncle died, he still has his uncle.

The meat and potatoes of the experience itself, the biological component, is secondary and plays little part in what I experienced when I died so let’s get right to what people want – the experience itself.

I could simply write, “Awareness inside of nothing …forever” and I would be fine with that description but you, the reader probably would not be satisfied.

A “traditional” NDE is usually talked about as “bright lights, a white tunnel, relatives who have passed away beckoning you into the light, warmth, happiness and eternal love”. My was very much the opposite of that.

At some point I became aware that I was aware.

It was dark, I felt blind, I tried to reach my hand up in front of my eyes and realized I didn’t have a hand, or an arm or eyes. I tried to scream but found I had no mouth. Indeed I was only awareness without physical form. My body no longer existed I was only a mind.

I was there forever. As strange as that sounds it’s true. There was no time where I was and therefore I was there forever, trapped in infinity, unable to scream, move, and also unable to be unaware of my awareness. I couldn’t shut it out because I was it. There was only me, my mind, alone inside of infinity.

Although aware that I could not scream I still tried, I tried for millions of years to scream and when it didn’t work, I tried for a million more, knowing that it would never work.

I wanted to cry, but again there can be no tears when your have no body to produce them.

I knew who I had been but at some point realized this was now who I was.
No one, nothing in the middle of nothing, forever.

I wanted anything, hope, happiness, sadness, pain, something that would let me feel because I knew if I could feel something it would mean that there was something other than nothing. Fear became a friend because it was something, still though it was fear.

Every now and then the fear would return. It was the only thing I knew. Since time doesn’t exist when the fear returned it returned constantly and forever and I would try screaming again, and again and again and again.

At some point, after forever an idea became me. The idea was, “stay nothing forever or become everything.”

I knew from being inside the nothing for infinity I had to choose “everything”

and I opened my eyes.

There it was, everything.

People, smells, sights, sounds, happiness, pain, fear, life. And it was beautiful.

 

The day I died was the most horrific part of my life, and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

HuffPo and Hauntings and Me

Recently I was asked by the Huffington Post to create a list which people could use to tell if their house was haunted. I of course told them, then such list that could not be made and instead wrote them a brief little letter they could use in lieu of such a list. The Huffington Post article is located here Haunted House Myths Confirmed And Debunked – The Huffington Post  | By Carly Ledbetter, and my original response is found below.

P.S. I liked the Huffinton Post piece but I thought my original response should be out there. Thanks!
—-
Re: How to tell if your house is haunted

Over the last 27 years, I have been asked by thousands of people how they could tell if their homes were “haunted.” My response is always tempered by the fact that, although anecdotal, people’s stories sometimes have similar characteristics, but each experience is unique.

The reality is that there are no “hard and fast” rules. It is actually quite a long and laborious process in researching and investigating what is thought to be a “haunted” location, and due to the transient qualities of the phenomena, real investigation is far more difficult than what most people believe it to be.

I jokingly tell people that if they need four really good signs, without doing any research, to know if their houses are haunted, here are four inarguable occurrences that something weird is going on.

1.Your furniture is constantly rearranging itself.

2.Your pets have started to speak multiple languages.

3.Your collection of antique dolls all have glowing red eyes.

4.Your bed doesn’t need a box spring or frame because it hovers three feet off the floor.

Of course, none of these events are actually happening in people’s homes, but that doesn’t mean something weird isn’t happening in some places. The experiences jokingly mentioned above are what people believe probably happen when they have a “ghost” in their home.

The truer nature of hauntings is that they are far more subtle and vary greatly. Sometimes the experience is as simple as smelling the perfume of a loved one who has passed away, or the feeling of a tap on your shoulder when no one is there. People believe that a death or tragic occurrence in a home means their house is haunted, but not even this has been a reliable indicator that strange manifestations must take place. Most homes have seen death or tragedy in some way and, indeed, they do not have what people call “hauntings.”

I have documented that most residents of homes that are believed to be haunted report strange sounds more commonly during the fall and spring seasons, and this is usually due to the temperature changes taking place inside and outside of the home, causing wood, steel, and other materials to shrink and expand.

Reports of frightening experiences taking place in a home are also mostly based around confining and dark locations such as attics, basements/crawl spaces, and closets. This again can be attributed to our own human psychological fear of dark and constrictive spaces.

A quick look back through my files over the last 27 years shows that close to 98% of the cases I’ve investigated have had normal, if not readily noticeable, explanations. Thankfully, we live in a world filled with experiences as yet still unexplained by the accepted scientific community, and there is room enough to speculate, theorize, and even still be a little jumpy when something goes bump in the night.

Ghost Stalkers : A Tenney Perspective

During paranormal investigations, I have seen people put a ball in the center of the floor and ask “spirits” to “Roll the ball.”

Last year the ball began to roll.

Over the last 27 years, I’ve been involved with innumerable projects—some succeeding, some failing—but they are always learning experiences. True to form, the biggest of my failures were my greatest learning experiences and therefore not failures at all. Early in 2014, I was contacted to be a part of a new paranormal television show. My history working in television has been a tumultuous one, which—on many occasions—has broken my heart. All I’ve ever wanted to do in my studies of paranormal/anomalistic phenomena is make people think more deeply and honestly about, what seems to be, this currently shared reality and what may lie beyond it. I agreed somewhat grudgingly at first to be involved with this new project because I felt it was time people tried to help elevate the public discourse regarding paranormal phenomena. I found that the more I stood for honesty and forthrightness, the more the doors popped open. This has rarely been the case over the last 27 years. Sensationalism and hyperbole are usually the name of the game when it comes to television, especially television and “ghosts.” Of course, I understand that television is entertainment; you have to make a show people will enjoy and engage with, etc. etc., but this was a true opportunity to take a baby step in what I feel is the right direction for paranormal television. The show has spooky moments, scary visuals, and building, driving music that raises the pulse of the viewer, but it is mostly a show about the investigators. This is a side of paranormal television rarely seen. My co-star Chad Lindberg and I allow everyone to see who we are and what we feel, and in every instance to share in our terror and joy. During the filming of the show, there are some very exciting and mind-boggling happenings that are captured on video. As an almost 30 year veteran in paranormal research, I couldn’t be happier and more excited to share those moments with the world. But there is something more amazing than “ghosts caught on tape” in these episodes. Viewers will see personal transformations: the growth of two people both spiritually and psychologically. Because Chad and I choose to investigate isolated from all outside human interference, we are forced not only to deal with any alleged inhuman/post-human entities; we are forced to confront ourselves. Ideas and beliefs, hopes and fears stripped away and evolved in front of a camera.

I know that people will criticise the “evidence,” that people will rip apart every word spoken to find some “flaw” in the show—that is what our culture has become. I’m fine with it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the first in the room to call “bullshit” when it comes to shakey, poorly-lit video and tenuous experimentation procedures.  Don’t think for a moment I don’t want to hear the critics and the complaints; on the contrary, I beg to hear them. I have been on a 27+ year journey and I need to know what the machine I am inside of looks like. Viewers can see, with a clearer perspective, what I am too close to see. I need YOU to be my eyes and ears because together can we create and construct new ideas that individually may never come to pass.

A few words to the different aspects of our community:

To the believers: Enjoy the ride. At this point it’s probably the closest thing to actual investigations and non-tomfoolery you will ever see or have ever seen on TV, and I wait with bated breath to hear if you loved, liked, or hated it.

To the skeptics: Enjoy the ride. At this point it’s probably the closest thing to actual investigations and non-tomfoolery you will ever see or have ever seen on TV, and I wait with bated breath to hear if you loved, liked, or hated it.

To everyone else: Enjoy the ride.

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with hate, jealousy, intolerance, and a seemingly endless supply of negativity. I see nothing wrong with good people telling good stories that will make you laugh, scream, and then hold the hand of the person next to you and say, “Wow, what a ride.”

And the ball continues to roll.

john e.l. tenneyThanks for everything you do.
John

Michigan’s 10 Most Haunted Cities for 2013

ROYAL OAK, Mich. — Citizens who are easily scared or who are fascinated by the paranormal may be wondering where they can find — or hide from — the cities in Michigan where they’re most likely to encounter ghosts and paranormal phenomena. To help the communities enjoy their Halloween season, paranormal researcher John E.L. Tenney has once again identified Michigan’s Top 10 most haunted cities.

After losing the top spot on the list, four years ago, Detroit is back at number one.

“The top ten cities include places for believers and skeptics, living or otherwise,” says John E.L. Tenney, Tenney is a well-known veteran paranormal researcher, the founder of WeirdLectures.com, national lecturer and author. Tenney’s organization collects and compiles e-mails, news stories, letters, and historical documents to create the list. “People are not only interested in paranormal phenomena allegedly occurring 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 essence.

All the cities on Tenney’s list have incredible histories to share. Self-guided walking tours are a fun, relaxing, and healthy way to see these communities. 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 have an effect on the marketability 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.”

For more information, visit WeirdLectures.com.

The 2013 Top 10 Haunted Michigan Cities (2012 rankings in parentheses)

1. Detroit (4)*
2. Kalamazoo (3)
3. Jackson (1)
4. Mount Clemens (9)
5. Ann Arbor (8)
6. Flint (5)
7. Battle Creek (7)
8. Lansing (-)
9. Traverse City (6)
10. Grand Rapids (2)

*The five most commonly reported locations within Detroit:
5. The Whitney
4. Indian Village
3. Corktown
2. Historic Fort Wayne
1. Detroit Public Library

The World’s Most Haunted Location

I am very frequently asked by people, “Where is the most haunted place in the world?” My answer is always the same, “If any place is haunted, it’s the Earth.”

Now, although many people think that I am trying to be funny, which I am, I am also being serious. So, let’s try a little thought experiment.

If ghosts are what people generally believe them to be, the remaining energy/consciousness of a human being who has died, then each person could potentially become a ghost when they pass out of this realm.
I’m bad with math but I can make this easy on myself and you…so hold on.
Since human beings have been “human beings”, (we’ll just go with the genus Homo which will put us around 2 million years ago), estimates of population would show that approximately 75 to 105 billion have been born and died on planet Earth. Now, let’s say that some “ghosts” have passed on and or perhaps never became ghosts; I’ll be generous here and say that out of the 100 billion deaths 85% either never became ghosts or are ghosts that have moved into a different existence that doesn’t interact with us on Earth. That leaves us with approximately 15 billion ghosts still residing with us on this planet.
Now that we know we might have as many as 15 billion “ghostly” friends wandering around we need to look at where they could be. The total land surface area of Earth is about 57 million square miles, of which about 57% is uninhabitable leaving us with about 15 billion acres of land.

See why I was so generous by saying 85% of the ghosts are “gone”? I makes it easy for me to do the math.

So, 15 billion ghosts divided by 15 billion acres of land equals 1 ghost per acre… at least.
So why are people traveling all over to investigate ghosts?
Isn’t there at least one right next to you?

Haunted Hooey – Part One: Shifty Seances

Throughout the course of the last 30 years I have on many occasions been invited to, and indeed have partaken in, séances, psychic readings, table turnings/liftings, and all other manner of so called spiritualistic or psychical events. In all of those instances I attended not only to hopefully witness some miracle of unexplainable origin but also satiate my curiosity as to how the phenomena would be made manifest. During the early years of my delving into the world of anomalistic phenomena I realized that I needed to know how I could be tricked. The mind is a complicated but easily fooled machine and with this realization I made the decision to join as many guilds of magic as I could. I threw myself into the study and practice of illusions, mentalism, stage hypnosis and all other manner of trickery which could fool the senses and even more importantly might alter my ideas about actual supernatural phenomena. Now, I’m sure that many of my former breather in the world of magic will be somewhat dismay at this article and details which it will reveal but it is more important, to me, to expose some of the ways which people have fooled so many for so long. I am in no way saying that all psychical experiences are some manner of trickery but I simply want to show how it was done so that those who might one day be introduced into “strange” situations may be able to truly discern if something is blatant hoaxing.

The original séances:
Beginning the late 1800’s séances and mediumistic parlor sittings were becoming a common experience in Europe and America. Traditionally these séances were held in rooms which, at some point of the séance, could be made totally dark. The stage magician F. Shields wrote:

“A dark room is necessary, and I do mean dark, dim or dusky will not do. If the séance is to succeed you must not be able to see the hand in front of the face.”

When it comes time for the “spirit” to make itself known it will be an absolute necessity to have a free hand. But how is this to be accomplished when hands are all on the table? Mentalist William Larson explains how to free your hand.

“Have each guest place his hands on the table in front of him. The fingers should be outstretched. The thumbs should be about three inches apart. The fourth, little finger of each hand should touch the fourth finger of the person next to them”.

By doing so a “psychic -circle” will be formed. Larson continues:

“If anyone of us tries to move a hand or hands, those next to him will know. When you are ready to “black out” the room you should request the guest at your right to do so. Have only one light in the room and make sure it is slightly behind you and to your right. The light is placed so that naturally when you make the request of your guest he will use his left hand. Now, however, instead of placing your right fourth finger on his left fourth finger, you span your left hand so that the left thumb is touching the left fourth finger of the guest at your right.”

Now, obviously all manner of trickery can happen in the dark since you have a free hand.

As early as 1900 “Tapping” had become all the rage at séances and it was commonly known throughout circles of practicing magicians that, as magician Stephen Trulow said, “five to six small beans placed in the mouth and blown one at a time to act as a response to a questioner can provide a variety of “taps” unequaled by spirits.”

Another “strange happening would be the appearance of small luminescent lights while the room was dark. The mentalist Dunninger talked about creating these spirit lights in his “Mystic Series” pamphlets.

“A piece of piece of black cardboard with a good daubing of luminous paint is placed under the medium’s shoe along the instep. Naturally this is kept towards the floor until the lights are turned off. The leg is then lifted and swung to and fro. The glowing object appears and responds to the mediums desires. The foot is of course returned to the floor when the lights are snapped back on.”

Now these are simply a few of the tricks that magicians, and some mediums, used in the deception of others. There are literally thousands more with many being very elaborate. The goal in revealing these “tricks” is so that a casual observer or even a well-versed researcher of the supernatural understands that in many instances deception is more easily created than you may think it is.

In part two of Haunted Hooey we’ll look at Dry Ice and Cold Readings. Stay Tuned.

10 UFO Books to read this summer (2012)

Every now and again I get asked for book lists, so here is one!  This summer why not take some time and check out some classics of the UFO field. These 10 books will give you a pretty well-rounded idea as to what the UFO community is thinking, where it’s been and where it’s going. Some are a little older but the information they contain will really help out with sparking some fun and interesting thoughts. So here they are in no particular order. Have fun!

The Expanding Case for the UFO – Morris Jessup
They Knew too much about Flying Saucers – Gray Barker
The Threat – David Jacobs
The UFO Evidence – Richard Hall
Passport to Magonia – Jacques & Janine Vallee
Operation Trojan Horse – John Keel
The Hynek UFO Report – J. Allen Hynek
Flying Saucer Occupants – Jim and Carol Lorenzen
Flying Saucers Top Secret – Donald Keyhoe
The Abduction Enigma – Kevin Randle, Russ Estes and William Cone

2012 The year…of events!

Yes, 2012 is in full swing and as we wait for Jörmungandr the midgard serpent to unfurl his mighty tail unleashing the wraith of the cosmos upon us we might as well get together and talk about weird stuff. There are lots of events and meetups already booked for this year and they include something for everyone. UFO and conspiracy lectures, Bigfoot hunts and good old ghosty get-togethers. Now I have no control over some of the ticket prices for these events which is why for every event that charges an entry fee I match it with a free lecture somewhere else. Pretty fair right? Who else does that for you? Nobody. So if you’re interested in hanging out check out the Events page and see when I’m going to be in your area. I am currently booking some other events so if I’m not near you now just wait because I might end up being closer than you want me to be. Not to beat a dead horse or anything but I also have this crazy awesome book for sale called “One Last Thing” and you can buy a copy on Amazon if you want, I don’t really care if you do but if you do I’ll love you until the world ends, which is only like 10  months away.

A little book with big implications. One Last Thing.

Over 25 years ago I started experimenting with the process people now commonly call E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomena).  As the general public became more and more interested with the practice  I became more and more frustrated with the way it was being portrayed in the larger venues of popular media. Every researcher who revealed evidence to a client would show up with small, unintelligible bursts of sound claiming that it was some kind of spirit-voice. I won’t even go into the nonsense of how long certain people would spend manipulating the original recordings with audio programs to squeeze a voice out of where there was none.

It was frustrating to me because in my home, upstairs in my file cabinets, were easily understood, clear, responsive anomalous voices. They seemed to answer my questions, sometimes cryptically, with no manipulation to the original recordings other than increasing the volume, or speed, slightly. Since theses “voices” were conversing with me they were also providing me with ideas and concepts of what a spirit world or an after-life dimension might be like.

I have played some of these recordings at the lectures I’ve given over the past 20 years but finally I chose to put them in a book. Now let me explain something about the book.

The book is short. It’s about 50 pages which contains far less that 10,000 words including the introduction.
“Why is the book so short?” You ask.
It is short because good quality E.V.P. samples are hard to come across. It took me over 20 years to collect the samples in this book. Now, I know some people go on “ghost hunts” and come back with dozens of E.V.P. samples but the reality of the situation is that most of them are unusable garbage. I don’t mean to be harsh…wait… yes I do. In a community of people who over-hype themselves and their evidence, where the “professionals,” who are only recognized as such because they are on television, will blatantly lie to you and falsify their “data”… I do actually mean to be harsh. This book is short because collecting good evidence is hard and it takes a long time. It’s short because I don’t want to waste your precious time with nonsense. It’s short because the ideas and concepts that are presented by the “ghostly speakers” in the book hold enormous potential ramifications if they are actual voices from beyond and if what they are saying has some truth.

I don’t care if you buy. I just wanted you to know that it’s out there. I think it’s an important book. It’s important for me… it took most of my adult life to collect.
Here is a link to the Amazon site if you’re interested.

I just wrote a couple of paragraphs about the greed and corruption of the paranormal community but thought better of posting it.

Continue Reading

May kicks off with a bunch of weird!

First I’d like to thank everyone for watching the newest episode of Paranormal State: The New Class which aired on A&E May 2nd. If you didn’t get a chance it is available for viewing on A&E’s website. I do not appear in the most recent episode but please check it out and continue to support Hoosier State Paranormal.  If you never caught the premiere episode you can see it on Vimeo here

Also I would like to give a big thank you to all of the radio/podcast hosts that have had me on their shows this week.
Eric from 5 O’Clock in the morning
Rob from Delamorte’s Dungeon of Deadly Delights
Dan & Misty from A Haunted Life
Mike Roberts from Distorted Silence Radio (even though that interview doesn’t take place until Saturday night)

And a big “thank you” to everyone for making 2011 such a crazy awesome, creepy weird year! I’ll be announcing upcoming lectures & events soon, for now you can always check the event page to see where I’ll be.