5 ideas for new paranormal reality shows.

As the networks run out of ideas on how to make people wandering around in the dark interesting I have five new variations on the paranormal theme. How many more can you think of?

5. Lil’ S.C.R.E.A.M.E.R.S
Follow the adventures of Supernatural Coalition Researching Eerie Anomalous Matters Everyday Really Seriously as they run around in the dark, scream and run away from the things they don’t understand. This dark gritty reality show takes viewers inside the real world of children who are basically just afraid of the dark. No one on the team is over the age of eight.

4. The House
In an effort to document the strange phenomena occurring on one of America’s most haunted houses a camera will be set up in the living room to broadcast 24 hours a day for 2 years. Viewers are invited to spend hours of their lives staring at the live-feed in the hopes that something will happen. Will it happen? What will happen? Watch and wait and watch…and wait.

3. Paranormal Beach
All of the best looking paranormal investigators in the country descend on one of the world’s most exotic beaches to exchange the information they’ve uncovered… while uncovering each other. Night-Vision has never before revealed images so startling…and sexy.

2. ParaPets
Every week viewers will watch clips of dogs, cats, birds and other pets freaking out at what might be paranormal phenomena but in many cases will be fireworks and loud trucks.

1. X-Treme Ghost Fighting
It looks like only one person is in the ring but wait for the battles to begin! No really, it’s mostly just one guy in a ring yelling at nothing and swinging his arms around, but maybe something will eventually happen!

Talking about weird stuff.

Over the last few years, many people have asked if there is a place online where they can watch one of my “weird lectures.” The simple answer is, “No.”

I very rarely allow my lectures to be filmed.
It has much to do with the ever-changing and fluid nature of the ideas that are discussed during one of my talks. But, it also has to do with my respect and caring for the people who attend one of my lectures.

If you have ever seen me speak you know that I say,
“I know how this lecture starts and I know how it ends, but the middle is going to be brand new.”

This is because, I feel, people who take the time out of their lives to come and see me speak deserve something more than a stock PowerPoint presentation. People who want to come and help me build new ideas deserve to hear something no other crowd has ever heard before. Were I to stand in front of every crowd and mouth the same words, show the same photos, play the same recordings over and over again, I would expect no one to show up and I might as well just record the video of that lecture, post it, and never do a lecture again. Also, many times I don’t use a microphone or a podium; I like to wander about the audience and be close to everyone. It’s important to me that we actually see and hear each other. I let people interrupt me, correct me, question me and together we build ideas that perhaps we couldn’t have done alone. If I were dependant on PowerPoint or note cards, or if the projector was working, or not, I feel that I would be shackled and that my words were simply a script. People deserve more than that. On more than one occasion I have seen well-known persons in this field stumble through their presentations because a laptop crashed or notes were forgotten and I can’t help but think, can’t they talk openly, honestly, and informatively without notes?

I’m sure over time my memory will start to fail and long awkward pauses will find their way into my “lectures,” but when that happens I will be all too happy to stop, sit down in the crowd, and let someone else do the talking.
I just hope it isn’t something I’ve heard before.

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

Amercia’s First Zombie Experiments!

As the general population’s love of zombies continues to grow I thought I’d post this interesting little article from out of my files for all those who are convinced that a zombie apocalypse is eminent. Not only does the article give a brief glimpse as to what the world of “science” was like at the turn of the century but it also provides some more weird clues as to how we may be truly headed for an undead disaster. Also, notice that when the creatures are brought back to life…they’re angry.

Doctor Discovers Secret of Life and Death

The secret of life and the vital principle of its source have been uncovered by an Indiana physician. A lengthy series of experiments have been conducted, all leading conclusively to the support of the theory advanced by the investigator, and the success of the experiments have been sufficient, according to the physician’s associates, to convince even the most skeptical member of the profession that the Indiana doctor has brought to light a most important discovery. The physician is Dr. C. W. Littlefield, a  well-known practitioner of central Indiana, whose home is in Alexandria, and whose laboratory also is located in the gas belt city. For fifteen years Dr. Littlefield has pursued his investigation and experiments and only recently consented to make public the result of his laboratory work.

During all this time the physician has confined his experiments to cats, dogs, monkeys and other lower animals and, only upon one occasion was it found possible to test the potency of his discovery on a human being. In this solitary case his theory was proved as correct as when its workings were applied to animals of the lower form. Dr. Littlefield asserts that his experiments have demonstrated to his satisfaction and to the satisfaction of his medical associates some of the following facts:

Life is not dependent upon organic function as a principle.

It may be infused into organized bodies even after the organs have ceased to perform their legitimate offices.

Where death has been caused by means not impairing tissue formation or induced by causes not destructive of organs vital in their purpose, life may be recalled and a perfect resuscitation may be secured by the employment of the most simple agents.

In short, Dr. Littlefield makes the astounding assertion that he can bring the dead back to life. But, as is obvious, he qualifies his assertion with the declaration that his methods are inoperative where death has been occasioned by tissue or organic destruction which cannot be repaired or replaced. The Indiana physician asserts that the secret of life, in substance, is violate magnetism.

In demonstrating his theory the doctor employs a solution of saline origin, with salt as the basis, saturated with oleo; resin and exposed for several hours to an atmosphere of free ammonia. The chemical thus formed, he declares, is an exact reproduction of conditions existing in the human body. Here, however, the volatile magnetism is drawn into the body from the atmosphere through the lungs and finding present In body tissue mineral compounds the potent atmosphere is at once absorbed, held in bounds, and later compounded by natural processes with the tissue and organic formations. In other words, by securing through artificial means the solution which has proved so effectual in his experiments, the doctor asserts he is only duplicating on a small but comprehensive scale what occurs in the human body when air enters normal lungs and becomes the life-giving atmosphere of a normal body.

Having secured this saline solution, Dr.Littlefield reduces it to a powder. It is this powder that he has employed throughout his long course of experiments. For instance, having put to death a dog or cat by drowning and allowed the corpse to remain long enough to convince anyone following his investigations that all life is extinct. Dr. Littlefield takes the corpse and, without preparation of any kind, places it upon a heated stone or porcelain plate, brought to a temperature corresponding to that of the normal body, and covers it thoroughly with a light layer of the powder. Within three or four minutes from the time the powder has been coated over the dead body signs of life manifest themselves, and within fifteen minutes after the resuscitating methods were begun, in every instance, the subject has returned to normal life.

Possibly one of the most peculiar features of the doctor’s experiments is the fact that, upon regaining consciousness and life in every instance, the beasts have displayed an intense anger. This, after an hour or so, however, wears away, and the subjects become greatly attached to Dr. Littlefleld, refusing to be separated from him. Cats, the experimenter has discovered, are probably less responsive to his methods than animals of similar importance In the animal scale. This doubtless is due to the fact that a cat, having been killed by drowning, suffers more than other animals and following resuscitation, usually evince symptoms of pneumonia or lung inflammation, due to the irritation and exposure induced by direct  contact with the water. In such cases, however, a few drops of the powder administered internally have served invariably to relieve the sufferer and restore the subject to normal condition.

Dr. Littlefield asserts in a statement prepared some time ago that he has not yet discovered how long a time may elapse between death and the time of attempted resuscitation before his theory and its operation become ineffective. A cat remained dead two hours and during this time was allowed to remain in the hot sun until rigor mortis had set in. The corpse was then placed upon the heated porcelain and powder applied and the animal returned to consciousness within five minutes. The experimenter has allowed a number of flies and bees to remain dead for twelve hours and has succeeded restoring life within two or three minutes. Only upon one occasion was the potency of Dr. Littlefield’s theory  tried upon the human being. This occurred some years ago, when the experiments had not reached their present perfect end finished state. Upon this occasion a boy who had fallen in the water through the ice was given up as dead by physicians summoned to restore life by the usual artificial means. Dr. Littlefield, however, secured permission to make an attempt to resuscitate the lad and, taking his body to his laboratory a mile away, immediately submitted it to the powder treatment. In fifteen minutes, together with a continuance of the other means of restoring life, the boy revived and evinced no unusually abnormal symptoms. Dr. Littlefleld makes his statement without reserve that he is positive, as in the instance already recited, his theory is successful in operation on human subjects.

The origin of the experiments which have led to the discoveries had its source in the doctor’s desire to discover, if possible, whether it were practical to rebuild injured or impaired tissues. The course of the experiments finally led into the channel they have now taken, and for a number of years the investigator has confined himself to the work in hand, abandoning his former researches. The magnetic influence can easily be seen by placing a drop of the liquid with minute particles of solid substance in it under a microscope. The particles can be seen flying back and forth with indescribable energy and life. These original experiments were based on a careful study of the various compounds that enter into the formation of the different tissues of the body and were, for the most part, an attempt to group both the organic and the mineral compounds in the exact proportions in which they appear in healthy tissues.

During his investigation the doctor noticed that the changes of atmosphere frequently affected his patients. There were times not noticed by the healthy person when a patient was much worse than at others. The doctor deduced that this is because there is not the great amount of volatile magnetism in the air at the times referred to. At least the conditions of his patients led him to investigate, and the conclusion followed that there was an unknown power separate from the chemical, operative, but indefinable. After several years, Dr. Littlefield declares he succeeded in compounding a liquid that absorbed or gathered this force from the atmosphere. This he now calls the volatile magnetism, formed with the salt as its basic feature.

Article & Photos originally published in 1902

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.

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.

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.

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

For Robert and Gene

In 1953 two U.S. Airforce pilots, Felix E. Moncla and Robert Wilson, vanished while investigating an “unknown” aircraft. The “unknown” had been spotted on ground radar and the two pilots were charged with the task of identifying it. Their plane left Kinross Airforce base in Michigan and subsequently was never seen again. Since that time authors and researchers have written many passages and accounts of what they believe might have happened. Many of these researchers were more than willing to speculate about the incident. Did Moncla and Wilson get beamed aboard a UFO? Did their plane get sucked into another dimension? Did they simply crash into Lake Superior? The list of questions goes on and on.
As a UFO researcher from Michigan I too was interested in the case. By the time I had really started doing research, about 1991, I figured that the Kinross Incident had been covered and discussed enough by other researchers, so for many years I allowed that research to stand unchallenged. It wasn’t the fact that a UFO might be involved that drew me back into the case, it was something far more important.

In 1997 while doing some reading about another UFO incident I noticed that Robert Wilson’s name was misspelled. The author of the book had written it as RR Willson. I let the mistake go  believing it to be a typo and continued my reading. Within minutes I stumbled across another book that mention R.R. Wilson. Being who I am I jumped up and got more books and to my surprise dozens of book erroneously reported Robert L. Wilson as R.R. Wilson. This may not seem like the most exciting story or the most interesting discovery but I believe it is an important one.
Once someone writes something down and places it in the public arena others will copy it. It doesn’t matter if what is written is true or well researched. And over time what is written and copied will be believed by many to be fact. The least we can do, as researchers, is spell a name correctly. Also, a case where two U.S. servicemen vanish, never to be seen again, is enough reason to do some research. The added elements of UFOs, time travel, inter-dimensional kidnapping, etc. may excite the mind but that fact that men vanished while trying to protect their country is more than deserving of our time. All to often UFOlogical or paranormal researchers feel the need to make a case even more “exciting” by adding elements to a case that does not need it. Many times the addition of these new “facts” overwhelm what really happened and, in the race to propose startling claims, pushes the real, known, human element into the background. It’s not enough for two men to have vanished, they need to be yanked from the sky by a UFO. Meanwhile, researchers can’t even get the names of the men right.

Of course the researchers who rush to write a bevy of books or make appearances on TV shows, the ones who scream the loudest are the ones who get the most attention. The people who can get the most viewers or sell the most books are the ones who have the most impact. You would think they would take the most responsible approach. Unfortunately this is usually not true. publishers and TV producers are looking for people who can shock and startle people, and they don’t care if it’s true. I don’t fault publishers or producers for promoting people who do poor research, their job is to sell books and advertising space during TV shows. I fault the researchers who in their race to become known truly do not care about the unknown.

I cannot tell you how many times I have found the believed history behind an allegedly haunted location to be incorrect. How many times I have seen witnesses names misreported. How many times I have found researchers that “add” a little spice to their research for the sole fact of making what is already a fascinating case, “more interesting.” The additions and mistakes are rewritten by others and passed down like the “telephone game” until at last there is so much poorly written and researched “evidence” that untangling what is real and what is not becomes an almost impossible task. When we lose the ability to even accurately report a name we truly have lost ourselves.

Demand better research, demand more common sense, don’t give in to the over hyperbolic claims of people seeking fame and fortune.  Make these demands not only for yourself but for those who no longer have a voice of their own, like Robert Wilson and his friend Gene.

For more information on the Kinross Incident you can visit this page

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.