I’ve been investigating for a very long time. Below I’ve compiled some advice I’d like to give investigators, new and old. If you think you know it all, then move along! 😉
As an investigator, I can’t express how important it is to be skeptical and informed. There’s many wonderful investigators in the field, but there’s also a good number of people who are not. They want the answers so badly that their judgement is clouded when something initially unexplained happens. So many people out there don’t take this profession seriously and I truly believe that is something we have partially done to ourselves!! Always take a step back and think….
I know it can be hard but our own personal experiences aren’t evidence. We may know what we experience is real, but unfortunately we just can’t prove it. Enjoy these moments. Tell people about them. Just keep in mind the difference between evidence and experience.
If you’re on the investigation and you hear a bang or a ting? Try and find a logical reason. Usually unless it’s VERY loud or in direct response to me, I file that in my brain as spooky, but not necessarily paranormal.
Always look for EMF sources when you’re getting strange readings and ALWAYS get base readings before starting the investigation. Keep your phones off (or at least on airplane mode if you’re recording with it) because that can trigger K2s or other EMF devices.
If you have a REM pod, don’t place it on the floor unless there is absolutely no movement. If you’re walking around that can absolutely set it off which then makes it impossible to say if it was paranormal or not.
Make sure if you’re in a room with recorders to always announce yourself or if you made a noise. It never fails to have someone who’s stomach likes to growl and gurgle.
Remove the antenna from your SB7 Spirit Box. You’ll get far less radio garble.
Never trust apps. Some people swear by a select few, but I really, really do not trust them ever.
When it comes to audio and video review, it’s also extremely important to try and find logical explanations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten SO excited over something, only to figure out it was nothing.
Here’s a great example. In this photo, initially I thought I caught a full body apparition in the mirror at Trans Allegheny. I thought I was alone, but one of my teammates had snuck in by accident during set up. I would have been so mortified if I’d posted this as evidence.
Audio is even harder sometimes because you can’t see what is making the sounds, but please always use your best discretion when claiming something to be paranormal. One of the best things to do it to share it with your team! Get opinions and discuss because maybe sometimes another person has an explanation.
If you’re hearing lots of banging noises, then that’s probably the building. You guys know as well as I do, often times we end up places that are on the…older side!
Have you ever been to a place that is notoriously haunted but it really doesn’t seem so scary while you’re there? This has happened to me many, many times. In fact, some of the more intense investigations I’ve been on seem to be in places that haven’t been investigated on a regular basis.
As investigators we all know how frustrating it is when you hear all sorts of crazy stories and then nothing happens when it’s finally your turn to experience it. We sit there waiting for the full body apparition of the man everyone has seen, or for the cries that are heard EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, but they never happen. It can lead you to question all of the other experiences that people have had. But it is important to keep in mind that the other side doesn’t always cooperate the way we want it to.
Sometimes I wonder if places can be over investigated. Are the places we see all over every “ghost hunting” show really THAT haunted? I’m not so sure. If there is a different team at a location every weekend asking “Does anyone want to talk to us?” “What’s your name?” I’m sure that gets old. Maybe entities simply get tired of answering people (I know I would) or maybe they don’t have the chance to “recharge” between teams and the ability to communicate with us becomes increasingly difficult. Communicating seems to take quite a bit of energy.
To sum it up I think there are a few different reasons this may happen. If you’re feeling a little down about your results from a particular place, maybe think about these things and come back a different time. Who knows, maybe the moon just wasn’t in the right place that night.
Spirits get bored talking to us. We can’t be that interesting.
What people have experienced is residual, and doesn’t happen during the few hours investigators are there.
The spirits don’t have enough energy to communicate and use our equipment when people are bothering them over and over and over…or maybe they just want to be left alone.
It just ain’t it, chief. Some places are just built up by word of mouth. “My uncle’s friend’s cousin’s wife was there once and blah blah blah…”
Teams that frequent certain places may build up evidence in their heads. I’ve seen teams that convince themselves spirits in a location, and swear that every creak and groan of the place is “little Susie”who they’ve come to know. Not saying that isn’t possible, but probably not.
I recently took my mom to another fun (potentially haunted) location here in Colorado! Buffalo Bill’s grave site. Yes, he’s actually buried there. It was a really neat little place that was great for a day trip. Tucked away near Golden, Colorado, Buffalo Bill’s Grave site & museum are crucial to keeping Colorado’s history alive. It made for a great mom/daughter date! We had lunch, browsed the gift shop & even met some people who had traveled from other states to come and visit.
I’ve lived in Colorado all of my 28 years, but had never taken the time to learn about this history. I always thought he was just a sharp shooting trouble-maker in the old west. It turns out Buffalo Bill was actually quite the opposite of a trouble maker. He was born in 1846 & died in 1917. During his time, he was known for hunting buffalo (hence the name), fighting in the Civil War, and later in life he became quite the showman. His show ran for many years, & even featured Annie Oakley in his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” performances. I’ll leave a link to PBS’s biography about him. It’s definitely worth the read.
Now, I’ve heard whispering over the years that he still haunts his grave. Obviously it’s hard to do an investigation during the day when there are a ton of people in and out…but the place had an exceptionally peaceful feel to it and I think the only spirit there is the spirit of old Colorado. But who knows, maybe Buffalo Bill pops in occasionally for a rare sighting!
I tend to believe that most spirits don’t stick around their graves, and mostly frequent the places that they lived and enjoyed life, or sometimes the places where they passed. Graves and funerals are some sort of catharsis for the living, not for the dead. I’ve never really understood graves, and have never really been to visit the graves of my passed loved ones. Do you really want to believe they’re hanging out in such a sad place? And that you will too one day? Nah. No thanks.
This is a short one, and it may ruffle a few feathers, but I’m going to address the dreaded red circle. I see so many pictures that people post of a grainy black room…with a circle or two placed where they see “faces” or “figures” or the “ghost of Marilyn Monroe” and it’s so hard to take them seriously.
Sure, maybe you do see the faces there! The human mind tries to make sense of what it sees. It wants to organize things into shapes and patterns. This is called pareidolia. The definition according to Webster’s Dictionary is “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” So, looking at clouds, inkblot tests…or staring at a grainy picture of a dark room often lead to pareidolia. There are also plenty of other explanations…reflections, dust, bugs, camera glitches etc. Not to say that there aren’t paranormal things caught on camera or film, but it’s alarming how many people jump straight to “IT’S A GHOST!!”
I remember growing up I was terrified of the paranormal happenings I experienced, but would also often scare myself. I’d lay in my bed and stare into the doorway and if I stared long and hard enough I could start to see shapes or figures in the darkness. Try it. Try turning off all the lights and staring into a corner or a doorway and you’ll see what I mean.
People using this as “evidence” always hurts a little, because people already don’t take the paranormal community seriously. Believe me, I understand that it’s so hard to prove that spirits exist. You know what you see and experience and you can’t always prove that to others…but the red circle really is not the way to go about proving that we’re not all a bunch of crazies.
Here are few examples of pareidolia I pulled from the internet.
At the end of the day, if you have to draw a circle around something in a photo, it’s probably not anything. Please, please stop sharing these photos as actual evidence. Always try and debunk things and find rational explanations. It’s so important for what we do, and for the answers that we are seeking.
Stay vigilant. Stay educated. Stay aware.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or points of discussion.
History is absolutely fascinating…especially Irish history! When I was in Ireland last year I had the most incredible 10 days of my life. During my solo journey I spent a couple days in Dublin and of course had to hop on a tour of the Hellfire Club! (No, this was not the same one that Ghost Adventures investigated). The double decker bus was super spooky and a ton of fun. The bus ride was about 45 minutes but the guide kept us entertained with much of the & legends.
The club was founded in 1735 by Richard Parsons, a known dabbler in black magic.
Dublin’s Hellfire Club was a place for wealthy young gentlemen to drink, gamble, hire prostitutes, even, allegedly, engage in Satanic worship.
The best-known Hellfire club story is the one in which the Devil himself appears. A stranger had joined the members at a game of cards. At some point one of the card players dropped a card on the floor. As he bent down to retrieve it he noticed that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of feet.
Another tale concerns a young farmer, curious to find out what went on at the meetings. Climbing up Montpelier Hill one night, he was invited in by the members of the club and allowed to witness the night’s activities. He was found the next morning trembling and terrified. Tradition says he spent the rest of his life unable to speak; unable even to remember his name.
Now, it’s hard to say if some of the old tradition is accurate, but during times of strong religious rule there were most certainly rebels that practiced Satanic magick, and/or other extremes. It’s also interesting to note that there are stories from many different traditions that talk about “someone” showing up with hoofed feet or chicken legs. It seems to be a telltale sign of the Devil, so who knows, maybe there is a grain of truth to the stories out there. I like to think there is ;). A friend of my grandmother swears she saw a man with chicken legs when she was out dancing one night and spent much of her life in fear that he would return to find her since she laid eyes on him.
The hike up to the structure was absolutely stunning, green & perfectly warm. I didn’t feel strange or any sense of dread, but I was also just happy to be in the place I always felt was my home. Ireland is just so incredible! During my actual time in the structure I did feel a little off, though. Unfortunately over time people have graffitied it and caused damage. There was definitely an eerie vibe that wasn’t just due to the building’s age. We were allowed to walk around and explore, so of course I did! A couple of areas caused me to become overwhelmed with unexplained anxiety…I wish more than anything I’d been able to sit down and center myself to see what I could feel around there as I do believe the place to be haunted…by what, I do not know.
May I add the absolute scariest part of the place was the giant spiders.
Some friends I’ve made in the paranormal community recently did an investigation there! I’ve included a link to their Facebook below.
Some of the most interesting stories I hear from people are urban legends…and I always wish so badly they were real. Most of the time there isn’t anything to back up these crazy stories, though. I visit places and people share all the stories of the people that passed away or committed suicide in building and how they MUST be haunting the place. It makes for great spook factor, but post investigation research usually doesn’t turn up any record of these events. I’m going to share one of my favorite Colorado urban legends and probably more in future posts 🙂
Third Bridge – I think this one is my favorite because I’ve heard this one for my whole life, and everyone seems to have different accounts of what happens at Third Bridge. It’s a VERY popular place for teenagers to hang out and try and scare themselves. I’ve investigated the area and I’ll share my experiences as well. Below are some of the claims that I’ve heard.
The Native American Drums: Every person hears the drums. Rumor has it, there was a nasty battle with the Native Americans there many years ago and that you can still hear the battle drums, and sometimes even see a warrior spirit on his horse. The drums? They’re oil drums. Needless to say, being out in the middle of nowhere in the pitch black the drums do sound extremely eerie…but they’re explainable.
The other rumor I have heard is that there was a bus crash full of children and their spirits haunt the bridge. If you pull up in the middle of the bridge and turn off your car it will move by itself and there will be little hand prints all over. I call BS on this one!! I’ve actually heard this exact story told about other haunted places. I think this is a pretty common legend among many creepy locations. I also have a friend and fellow investigator who was a cop in that county and there are no historical records of a bus crash.
People claim to see lights and orbs in the area, which I completely believe. Regardless of the legends and rumors the place definitely has a very strange energy.
Car crashes. Now this one is true and there are records of it happening in the area. According to the cop I spoke with, most people go to the wrong bridge, as they aren’t labeled. Most of the actual activity (and one of the car crashes) is at “ghost bridge” which is the next bridge over. In 1997, there was a crash where two girls died and then another five were killed in more recent years. Maybe they actually do haunt the area!! My heart goes out to all the people who died. The roads are very dangerous in this area so please be careful if you go to visit!
When my team went out to investigate, it was pretty quiet most of the night, minus the neighbor harassing us. Not that I blame him, because it probably gets annoying having a bunch of teenagers hanging around your area all the time (though it isn’t illegal to be there if you are not breaking curfew, not blocking the road and not doing anything ACTUALLY illegal!) Towards the end of the night we started getting some activity on the REM Pod and K2 which is interesting because they didn’t light up the entire night and then all the sudden went crazy…and there is definitely no power source to cause that. We also ran into a really respectful nice group of teenagers playing with a Ouija board (eek!) and the K2 went crazy while sitting on the board. We even made them all hand their phones to a friend to walk away to make sure it wasn’t picking up on that. Video below!
I’m choosing to discuss poltergeists as my first entry because of the psychological trauma that the movie caused me as a child. Steven Spielberg’s “Poltergeist” was my introduction to the horror genre. Even though I was used to dealing with paranormal occurrences I enjoyed being scared from things that WEREN’T real. I read countless scary stories and would sneak books from the adult section of the library about ghosts & serial killers (yes, I know. Weirdo.) When I didn’t have my nose in a book, my mom would take me to blockbuster and I’d immediately run over to the horror section, absolutely fascinated with the creepy covers. My little hands would grab each one and I’d run to my mom and say, “What about this one?!” I was always met with a hard no. Eventually my mom said she knew a scary movie that I would be allowed to watch and I was overjoyed! I was probably around 9 years old and the film had a “PG” rating so it was perfect for an intro movie. What my mom didn’t anticipate was that Carol Anne gets sucked into…wherever she goes…through her walk in closet. And guess who else had a walk in closet? That’s right! Me! I spent years and years being absolutely terrified of my closet, and even still get uneasy being in one. It’s funny how things from our childhood haunt us.
Okay, here’s my take on everything. Keep in mind this is a condensed version, but I’d love to discuss.
Many poltergeist cases report that the activity comes on strong and ends in a relatively short amount of time.
The history of poltergeists can be traced as far back as ancient Roman times.
Poltergeist phenomena is a focus of study within parapsychology.
Lots of famous “poltergeist” cases are thought to be fraudulent (I tend to agree).
Poltergeist activity often happens around a single person called an agent or a focus.
One of my favorite occult/supernatural writers is Colin Wilson. His books are a bit dense and difficult to sit down and ready for long periods, but all are packed with loads of valuable information.
In his book, Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings, he goes on to discuss many cases and theories of these “noisy ghosts”. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a pretty solid case study. There are many cases discussed, some that Wilson even investigated himself. Please, do yourself a favor and read it.
Over the years I’ve heard many different theories. One of my favorites is that poltergeists are a manifestation of the minds of troubled or sexually frustrated adolescents. That it is simply their angst taking on a physical form and making the plates fly across the room or the light bulbs combust. In the 1930’s Nandor Fodor was the first to popularize this theory. I hadn’t heard this name until reading Colin Wilson’s book and it doesn’t seem Fodor was some half wit who claimed to have all the answers. He researched many cases including the infamous “Bell Witch” case which is been written about countless times and had multiple films made based on the story. According to The Guinness Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, “Poltergeist expert Nandor Fodor called the Bell Witch ‘the greatest American ghost story’ and believed it could be explained naturally as poltergeist activity generated by the youthful Betsy, a likely focal point. But other ghost investigators find that explanation unsatisfactory”. There were many people at this time who disagreed with the theory of RSPK (Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis), but it seems that after some time, people came to give it more credit. People began to widely accept this belief up through the 90’s. But, Wilson’s introduction to “Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings, ” says that in the early 90’s, things began to shift back in the direction that poltergeists were spirits and not some form of RSPK. There is still a division in belief today.
As a practicing witch, I can get behind the theory of RSPK & manifestation, simply because I do believe we manifest our energy into reality. All of us do, and there are some that it comes to very naturally. Some may even be doing so without really knowing that they are doing it. So yes, I believe that this can happen, but I don’t think that this is the sole answer to what a poltergeist is.
So, the other option is that a poltergeist is a spirit. What makes them different from other spirits then? Why do they have enough energy that they are able to cause so many things to happen in the physical world? If they are NOT cases of RSPK maybe they can be spirits who have a very strong energy, possibly someone who died with a lot of hatred and anger. Spirits are attracted to energy, yeah? Perhaps instead of the activity being caused through RSPK, the energy has simply drawn spirits to it. Like a beacon of light in the darkness (I always like to picture Patrick Wilson standing with his lantern stuck in the further in the Insidious movies). Anger, sadness & stress are all strong emotions that can provide a spirit energy to feed off of. Still the question stands, though, what makes it a poltergeist and not just an angry ghost?
Maybe, just maybe both are completely valid. Could there be be cases of “mistaken identity” in the supernatural world? I think so. In my humble opinion, poltergeists are the “ADD” of the spirit world. The term is thrown around pretty loosely. If some sort of physical manifestation takes place like a glass being knocked over or doors slamming many people tend to just throw out the term “poltergeist activity”. Possibly because it grabs people’s attention. True cases of poltergeists, I believe, are far and few between. I could sit here and reference tons and tons of cases but I don’t want to make this blog sound like a college paper I threw together the night before it was due.
This being said, I’d love to witness a true and proven case of RSPK. As any paranormal buff, I would LIVE for it. I love seeing, feeling & hearing paranormal things because then I know! Most people look at me strange when I say I want to be bitten or scratched while I’m on an investigation. It will never be enough to convince someone else, but I’m clinically sane (mostly) and know what my experiences have been. Anyways, every case is different. I believe that it is completely possible that there are circumstances where someone who has abilities but may not know is projecting their angst into reality. Or possibly on rare occasions, some who may be able to do it on purpose.
As an investigator, I once came across a case of a possible poltergeist. I was skeptical, but hoping with every bone in my body that it would have been the real deal. The people seemed genuinely terrified and the pictures they sent of the “evidence” would be absolutely insane if it were real. As we pulled up to the house, my heart sank a little, and in my gut I knew it was going to be an interesting night…but for the wrong reasons. As it turns out, it was the filthiest place I think I have seen in my entire life, on top of an admittedly tumultuous household. Sounds like the perfect ground for a poltergeist, right? But in this case we were able to deduce that the live-in girlfriend of 6 months was causing all the activity herself, on purpose. Needless to say I was pretty bummed I didn’t get to watch some clothes spontaneously catch on fire or kitchenware combust.
In the end, always look for logical explanations. Try and document everything you can, and always know people will not believe you. It isn’t your job to convince them. I think that both of these theories have merit, and that maybe there are cases that were causes from one or the other…and probably many other explanations too.
Leave a comment and tell me what you think! Maybe a part 2 will come later down the road.