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 Tenney’s organization collects and compiles e-mails, news stories, letters, and historical documents to create the list.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

Unconventional Conventions – John Keel 1966

John Keel is regarded by many as a pioneer in the field of Fortean studies. He popularized, and indeed may have created, the terms “Men In Black” and “Ultraterrestrials” but Keel is most well-known as the main researcher and investigator of the Mothman experiences. He wrote a number of books including The Mothman Prophecies, Disneyland of the Gods, Our Haunted Planet and Jadoo. He challenged the commonly held belief that flying Saucers, cryptozoology and hauntings were unique and separate experiences. In an interview Keel stated that,”The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs.”
Without Keel the “paranormal community” would be lacking in much of its insight and humor.

Here for you enjoyment is a lecture by John Keel recorded during a UFO convention in 1966.
John Keel, UFO Convention 1966

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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?

American Society for the Occult Sciences: Hans Holzer Recording

In 1973 an advertisement appeared in some occult/paranormal magazines which invited people to join “America’s most exciting new Society”. Your payment of $10 enrolled you as a charter member of  The American Society for the Occult Sciences. One of the bonuses you received after joining was a vinyl record LP which included How to develop your ESP and What is Witchcraft? Both sides of the album were narrated by Hans Holzer. Here, for your enjoyment is that recording.

Side One: Develop Your ESP

Side Two: Facts about Witchcraft

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Haunted Hooey – Part Two: Hoaxing Haunts

In the first Haunted Hooey I described some tricks that people have employed during séances to create what would seem to be supernatural happenings. In this brief post I’ll describe what some people have done to convince others that a location is haunted.

Dry Ice:
Believe it or not dry ice not only makes cool looking fog and smoke but it is also used to help create the illusion of spectral denizens. In my original Haunted Hooey post I wrote about people using a mouth full of beans to spit out to create “rapping” sounds; well dry ice, which should not be put in your mouth, can create bumps and bangs in a much more sneaky manner. A person can carry around small chips of dry ice in their coat pocket and whenever they feel so inclined can throw or flick those chips around a room. Now after the “taps” have been heard the only thing they have to do is keep people away from the chip of dry ice until it evaporates. In some cases the evaporation of the dry ice chip will even catch the flash from a vigilant camera-person and create a spooky “mist” which, since coming from the same direction as the “tapping,” must have been the ghost! Another trick utilizing dry ice is performed by slightly compressing a plastic water bottle and placing a small chip inside. Tighten the cap and place the bottle somewhere; as the dry ice evaporates the bottle will start to inflate causing the plastic to snap and pop. In a dark location the sources of the sounds will almost never be found, especially since once the bottle fully expands the sounds will stop and if the bottle is discovered, well, it’s just an empty water bottle.

Invisible Thread:
For those of you, who have ever seen a magician “float” a small object or dollar bill the illusion is created by the use of a monofilament thread, usually made of nylon called “invisible thread”. Even up close and in a well-lit area invisible thread is difficult to see which makes it perfect for close-up illusions. In cases of “haunted” locations the string can be pre-attached to small objects, like a ball or a sheet of paper, to make them move. Once the string is broken or dis-attached from the item it almost completely undetectable. Although invisible thread tends to be very “breakable” if multiple threads are used they can move much larger objects, although only slightly, but sometimes slightly is enough to convince those looking to be convinced. I have also seen a person attach a long strand onto their fingers so that it will, when the arm is raised, brush against the face of someone standing near them creating the feeling of “cobwebs” touching their face.

Pre-recorded EVPS:
Believe it or not strange voices can sometimes be recorded on a digital recorder before they are recorded on a digital recorder! If that sounds confusing…it is. There have been two instances in which I found “investigators” faking EVPS, but playing EVPS. What?

The trick goes something like this. An “investigator” records weird whispering words into their recorder before anyone arrives then after others get to the location and during the EVP sessions the hoaxer plays their recordings while pretending to make recordings along with everyone else! Of course the sounds are sometimes heard as they are being played so people will check their devices and guess what? Some people will have recorded them! Boom! EVPs! Of course EVPS don’t show up on everyone’s recorders, including the person who originally recorded the voices which were played to hoax the EVP in the first place.

More to come in part 3: Cold Readings

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.

8 movies with “paranormal researchers” kind of worth watching.

8 movies with Paranormal Investigators

I know you’ve seen Paranormal Activity and Insidious but there have been many films which included paranormal or psychical researchers throughout the years, most of them comedies, that go unseen. These films are not only entertaining but they provide hindsight as to how and why the public may associate the paranormal community with it’s recognized identity of, at best, bumbling and at worst unreliability. These films should be readily accessible through NetFlix, Hulu or maybe even just on YouTube. If you have nothing to do why not give them a watch, it’s better than what we’re being given on “reality” TV these days.

8. Hold that Ghost
From 1941 and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello Hold that Ghost is more of an “old dark house” film than an actual movie about ghosts. Why this film is included in the list is due in part to the constant screaming of “Help” and “what’s that?” The premise of 2 gas station workers inheriting a mob bosses tavern and a trying to find a stash of hidden money makes this one of Abbott and Costello’s weaker films haha!. If you try and figure out how the characters resolve the “paranormal” happenings in the house throughout the film you might go a little batty. Also, the beginning of this movie has some very racist moments… as films from the 40′s often did.

7. Little Rascals: The Haunted House
The gang have formed EEgle Eye Detctive Agency as well as procured some fake mustaches and beards, (paranormal goatee anyone?) and after hiding in a wooden crate are delivered to a Haunted House attraction where hilarity ensues. I know what you’re thinking, “But if there are no ghosts and the haunted house is just a haunted attraction then what does this have to do with ghosts?” Okay, now think about that question again and realize how many people go on ghost hunts at haunted attractions…then watch this film.

6. Ghostbusters
Seriously, you know what this movie is about.

5. Spook Busters
Another film from the 1940′s featuring The Bowery Boys and Huntz Hall! Huntz who? Exactly. A group of newly graduated exterminators decide to rid a creepy old house of it’s spectral residents only to find a crazy old scientist. No spoiler here as the scientist is on the poster for the film. Bonus points for this movie since it contains the obligatory gorilla most “scary films” had for some reason back then. The Bowery Boys do a great job of bumbling and fumbling around looking for ghosts which is actually somewhat reminiscent of a typical episode of Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters.

4. The Others
This film is often panned by critics for being too slow paced but it contains some real chills and a pretty clever, although foreseeable, resolve. The Others plays like an early 1970′s Hammer film with solid acting from everyone involved. What about the paranormal researchers? Well, I can’t get to into it if you haven’t seen the film…spoilers.

3. Poltergeist
The special effects are dated and some of the moments that audiences thought were most frightening about this film are now laughable but many people forget just how heavily a part paranormal researchers played in this film. Seeing the team setting up cameras and recording devices gives you a backwards glance at what would soon become standard fair for not only future paranormal films but the future of paranormal reality TV.

2. Mr. Vampire
I don’t even know where to begin with the Mr. Vampire films. Are there paranormal investigators in this film? Kind of. Do people fight ghosts? YES! Mr. Vampire came out in 1985 and it is a ghost, vampire, ass-kicking extravaganza! Whoever thought blending Kung-fu and vampire Chinese-hopping-ghosts is a genius. Not only is there some incredible fighting but you’ll learn all sorts of tricks and tips to help in your paranormal investigations should you ever some across a Chinese ghost, like holding your breath or jumping up and down on sticky rice. Wow, simply wow.

1. The Changeling
The Changeling from 1980 and starring George C. Scott is an oft overlooked film but for those who are “paranormally” minded it should be seen. Allegedly based on the true experiences of playwright Russell Hunter this movie may be plodding at some points but is far more creepy and disturbing than many  modern “scary” films. Also, if you can find a copy of the original soundtrack buy it because it is wonderfully weird. As a side note, Martin Scorcese put The Changeling on his personal list of scariest movies of all time.

6…make that 8 things you will most likely not see me do on TV,(or anywhere else for that matter)

**Updated for 2012**

I originally wrote this post and titled it “6 things you will most likely not see me do on TV. (or anywhere else for that matter)” about a year ago after the first episode of Paranormal State: The New Class. Since that time somethings have happened in the world of paranormal “reality” TV that have made me adjust the list, nothing has been subtracted but some have been altered and others have been added. The original post is located HERE.

8. I will not deal in absolutes. Paranormal research is a speculative field. The theories that are in the process of evolving will keep me from saying “This is absolutely a ghost” or “This can only be Demon.” When you start stating that you “know” without a doubt that something has to be a certain way you are setting yourself up to be wrong. I will try and use the words “maybe,” “probably” and “alledgedly” because I understand that I might be wrong. I have no problem with being wrong or not knowing something. And,even though I say “will not” in this list…none of it is certain or absolute, but it’s pretty close.

7. I will not sell sex. We all know that sex and sexiness sells… but I am not selling. I am trying to advance the field of paranormal research. I am trying to help people who are going through traumatic and difficult times. I am concerned about how the field of paranormal research is understood and recognized by the general public – flexing muscles, spray tans and bikini tops are not variables in that equation.

6. I will dress as if I am the professional I proclaim to be. I will not wear a baseball hat in a client’s home or during an investigation. Although I am balding, and self-conscious of it, I, personally, do not feel that baseball hats,concert t-shirts and cut-off shorts represent a professional attitude while performing an investigation. Additionally, you will never see me wearing a t-shirt with a ghost, skull, bat or gravestone on it. My clothing will reflect the professional nature of my attitude toward investigations. I may dress comfortably but I will not look like I just came from a rock concert. I know many people will argue that you “shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover” but in all honesty, in one way or another, everyone does.

5. I will not dress up in costumes. I know that some researchers believe “getting into the spirit” of the spirits helps during an investigation but I do not think that way. The chances of seeing me dressed as a civil war solider or a turn-of-the-century barber are the same as seeing me with a sheet over my head…zero.

4. I will not present clients with absolutes. If I collect data from an investigation then that is exactly what it is, collected data. It is not evidence or proof of anything and that is how it will presented to the client. If I was ever convinced that a location is truly and without question “haunted” then I would need to refocus all my time and energy, right now and until, I had recognized scientists and acedemics come to that location so that the data could be continued to be collected, peer reviewed and reproduced as to advance this field. My goal is not to prove that something is haunted it is to add information to the collective field so that we as a community have more information about phantasmagorical events.

3. I will not yell at ghosts…in a mean way. If ghosts are real they do not exist as we do, meaning, they don’t have physical bodies which have ears that pick up sound vibrations and convert it to electrical impulses which are then interpreted by a brain into sound. If research has shown us anything it is that the non-corporal communicate through vocalisation and auditory abilities are difficult. Screaming and yelling should work just as well as normal voice levels or whispers. Also, even if I postulate that an entity is “mean” or “evil” I have no assurance that my assumption is correct. In our day-to-day lives we often misinterpret “anger” with confusion and “maliciousness” for fear. The last thing I want to do is scream at something/person/spirit which may already be frightened and confused.

2. I will not be afraid that a “ghost” “demon” or any other spirit is going to kill me. Over the past 20 years I have been placed in some harrowing situations and have always been unharmed. My mental stability and faith in my abilities to deal with unknown situations provides me with a level of comfort wherein I will not be afraid that I will be killed by a paranormal entity.

1. I will not, ever, consume alcohol near, during, around or immediately before or after an investigation. The field of paranormal research is already subject to scorn and ridicule by the “accepted” scientific community. We must perform above and beyond professional standards if we expect to be taken seriously. Anyone who thinks it’s funny or acceptable to drink alcohol while in the midst of an investigation is doing an incredible disservice to hard-working paranormal investigators everywhere who have struggled for decades to make paranormal research a respected field of research.

***

These opinions are mine and I know everyone has different ideas on how investigations should happen. Hopefully though we can agree that the paranormal community has become overrun by individuals that are more concerned with being movie-stars than researchers. Remember, it’s about the data, process of investigation and helping people to feel more secure in their day-to-day lives.

Attacked! The Demon of Judgement!

Many years ago, upon my first visit to a client’s home and within moments of entering, I felt a strange, even disturbing presence. There was a screaming that can only be described as horrific. Everyone heard the sound. Try as we might, we could not stop the almost inhuman wailing. It continued throughout the course of my interview with the clients and at many times interrupted our conversation due to an increase in volume and intensity. At one point I was scratched across my arm to the point of needing antiseptic and bandages immediately. While I was in the bathroom cleaning the newly received wound, one of the clients was violently kicked while the other had to dodge a small vase of flowers that was thrown from across the kitchen and into the living room.

Still the interview continued.

The table at which we were sitting began to shake until all of our cups of coffee were spilled. One of the saucers shattered when it fell from the table and onto the floor.

The interview continued.

The screaming began again, at which time blankets and pillows that had been lying on the couch were tossed from one side of the room to the other. In the kitchen, the cupboards were opened and slammed shut. Pots and pans flew from the kitchen down the hallway until one particularly large pan smashed through the glass window of the back screen door.

It was at this point, seeing the exasperation of the clients, that I excused myself for the night and made my way home.

Throughout the entire drive home I couldn’t help but wonder how I would deal with the situation had that home been mine, and how I would act if I had children with such “bratty” dispositions.

Did I mention that it was their children who were causing all of the disruptions?

Over the years I have been kicked, punched, bitten, had objects thrown at me, been told to “go die” and “I hate you” by children. Most people have. None of those children were evil. None of those children were “demons”. Most of the time those children, for whatever reason, were scared, frustrated, confused, lonely, desperate for attention or just badly behaved. Sometimes they were just being kids.

How do you know a “ghost” is evil? Or that something is “demonic”?
Is it because of what is happening, or is it because of what you think is happening?
In our daily interactions with other human beings we can easily mistake frustration with anger or sadness with hate, and that happens with people with whom we can easily communicate, people we can see, people who can tell us what is really going on in their lives.

As of right now, we do not have that ability with those who have “passed on.”
So before we jump onto the bandwagon of fear and join in the circus of the demonic, we should take the time to realize we really don’t know what is happening and we shouldn’t be so quick to judge others, even if they are unseen.

10 tips for making your house a scary stop. Updated!

10 tips for making your house a scary stop for trick-or-treaters.
Updated with 3 extra tips!

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.

Here are 3 extra tips just in case you want to have an extra creepy house.

1. Plywood can equal terror. Adding plywood to the inside of your windows really kicks up the effect of an abandon house. You don’t even need nails or a hammer to install the plywood. Just find, or buy, some scrap pieces and lean them up against your windows from inside the house. You don’t want the windows to be completely blocked and the effect of a partly boarded over window will enhance the effect of a house in disrepair.

2. Your backyard privacy fence adds mystery. Some people don’t decorate their backyard for Halloween because they have giant privacy fences which keep everyone from seeing what is going on back there…which is great! Perceived horror can be far more terrifying that what is actually seen, so use that fence to your advantage, Simple buy or download a looped moaning sound and then using speakers play that sound close to your privacy fence in your backyard. Don’t get too crazy with the sound, let it be subtle. A constant moan or whine coming from behind that giant fence will make people wonder, “What in the world is going on back there?”

3. All those fake body parts you’ve bought are still usable. Although I really don’t like the use of “props” for making a creepy “haunted” house for Halloween I know you probably have a bunch somewhere that you paid good money for and feel like using, well use them! A great way to use those gory hands, heads and legs is to keep them inside the house. Any decent serial killer, psychopath, etc. would never leave body parts on the front lawn but they might have them tossed around the living room or, even more disturbingly, arranged on a dining room table which can be seen from the front door. Lay out a whole body-part-dinner and don’t forget to add lots of ketchup. When kids are standing at your front door looking in your house don’t be surprised if they aren’t there when you come back with the candy.

5 Myths People Tend to Believe about Paranormal Research…

5 Myths People Tend to Believe about Paranormal Research… because of Television and Movies

5. Demons are everywhere.
Over the past 10 years, demons must have been working overtime. It seems like everyone everywhere is either being attacked by a demonic force or is possessed by one. Talking to researchers, priests and historians, it seems that cases of what many people believe to be “demonic” energies or beings is actually very uncommon. Although the Vatican itself will not acknowledge an actual number of cases that they become involved with, by researching where and when they will confirm priests to perform exorcisms we find that perhaps the number might be somewhere between 10 and 20 cases a year world-wide. Now, remember the Vatican has unlimited funds and time to investigate cases and yet they find throughout the world only 10 to 20 cases a year that need intervention. So why does every ghost hunting team find a demon? Why are exorcisms and deliverances being performed almost nightly on paranormal reality television shows? Mostly because people don’t truly understand what is actually involved during an alleged demonic possession or when a supposedly demonic force is manifesting itself. As a side note, most people who call themselves “demonologists” don’t even understand what that word traditionally means (see this post) Sorry, but it’s true.

4. EVP is a relatively new process.
Experimenting with Direct Voice, Electronic Voice Phenomena and other forms of I.T.C. has been around for as long as the technology to perform it has been around. Pioneers, like Jungerson, started honing their skills and research methodologies close to 70 years ago. Even equipment like the “ghost box” has its origins with inventors like Thomas Edison. It’s not a new process and unfortunately many researchers are unaware of the decades worth of documentation, data and evidence on how and why the process is supposed to work. Here’s a tip: Long ago, EVP researchers determined that if you can only hear an understandable voice because of manipulation to the recording, then the evidence is no good, so try again.

3. Screaming at a ghost is a great way to get a response.
In my last post, “Come at me ghost,” I looked at ways that “provoking” probably isn’t a wonderful form of investigating. Put as plainly as possible, when someone I know, who is alive, starts yelling at me I’m pretty likely to not respond.

2. Psychics/Mediums are needed to investigate.
Throughout the past 20 years I have utilized persons who regard themselves as “psychic” or “mediumistic” to act as additional tools during research. Unfortunately, psychic power is part of the paranormal phenomena which we as researchers are supposed to be investigating. Using paranormal phenomena to explain paranormal phenomena is like getting lost in the forest and then asking yourself for directions out of the forest. Again, I have no problem asking someone if they can confirm or deny information, but then I will have to confirm or deny what they are telling me. Then I will have to study the psychic to figure out how they have received that information. Psychics/Mediums, in my opinion, should be treated as a piece of equipment to further your research, but only after all accepted/traditional forms of research and investigation are exhausted.

1. Investigation happens at night.
Ghosts probably don’t wear watches. It’s more than likely that if there is a spirit realm, time does not exist in a way that we, the living, understand. Television producers know that humans have an inherent fear of the dark, so most of the time research and investigation is shown taking place only or mostly at night. In all honesty most of the “research” that should be taking place can only happen during the day because places like libraries and court houses are only open during the day. Also, interviewing people usually has to take place during daylight hours, since most people are usually asleep at night. On-site investigations should take place during all times of the day to allow the researcher to see when the activity in a location is most energetic… plus during the day you don’t have to stumble around a dark unfamiliar house… and bang your shins, because that really hurts.

Arrrgh! Aaahhh! Yeaaaa! Come at me ghost!

Arrrgh! Aaahhh! Yeaaaa! Come at me ghost!
3 reasons “Provoking” might not be so great.

Over the last two or three years the big fad in ghost hunting, not research, is the process commonly being called “provocation.” Hundreds of ghost hunters and dozens of groups proclaim “provoking” as one of the best ways to get some kind of response from residents of the after-realm. Since our shared field of interest is speculative in nature, I shall speculate on three ways that “provoking” might NOT be the best way to “hunt” ghosts.

1. No ears.
If you believe in ghosts you probably believe that they do not have a physical body such as our own. If that is true and ghosts (entities, spirits, etc.) are not corporeal, then they do not have ears as we do. Without ears, the process that makes living people hear sound as uttered by lips while air is pushed out of lungs and through the throat creating vibrations which are received by the ear translated into sound and then deciphered by the brain as words is not the process by which a ghost would hear us. No ears, no sound. But they seem to be “hearing,” so there may be some other process taking place. If they are not hearing our words, perhaps they are only receiving the impression of our words as we speak them through some sort of psychical means that we are currently unaware of. In the case of “ghosts” picking up our thoughts, not our actual words, then why would it matter if we were screaming them or whispering them? On many occasions over the last 20+ years I have conducted ITC experiments where I simply thought my questions without any verbalization at all, yet I have still received replies.

2. Provoking is rude.
That’s right, rude. Although “ghost hunters” like to think that they know who or what spirits they are trying to communicate with, we have no proof as to who or what the spirits really are. So standing in a room shouting and being mean to someone you don’t even know is simply rude. Grow up and stop bullying, we’re trying to do research here.

3. Leftovers.
Another theory of “ghost hunters” is that some sort of energy generated by strong personalities or traumatic events can be leftover after a person dies. Well, following that train of thought we find that the energy could be leftover by anyone in a strong emotional state – even “ghost hunters.” What if a group of people goes to an allegedly haunted location and two or three of them get themselves worked up and start “provoking”? Can we be sure that after those “ghost hunters” leave, they haven’t left some of that energy behind? So the next weekend when someone goes to that same location and they start to “feel” a presence, it could possibly be the energy leftover from the people that were there last week. Imagine a place like Waverly Hills that has been filled with people screaming, running, yelling, laughing all the time. Do you think none of that energy has been left behind?

I’ve tried “provoking” myself and have been unimpressed with the results. The only thing I’ve ever seen “provoking” actually do is increase a television show’s ratings… and raise my blood pressure.