Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmakwanzakkah!

A Merry Christmakwanzakkah to all and to all a good night.

Friday, December 14, 2007

VIDEO Exhibit B

Here is Video EXHIBIT B which correlates with the experiences described in INVESTIGATION #4 (click here to read the Investigation #4 account).


video

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Paranormal State

I saw the first episode today. I have to say that something about this show just doesn't sit right with me. It just seems so... contrived.

At least with Ghost Hunters, they deliver some kind of evidence up for debate and go into the situation looking at all possible causes. They leave it up to the viewer to chew on and decide for themselves. With Paranormal State you didn't get anything but, "Did you see that? I hear breathing." They said in the show that they caught some EVP including voices and breathing. Well, where is it? Let's hear it.

I don't want to come off like I disapprove of the way they conduct their investigations - I haven't seen enough to make that judgment. The motives, however, I have to question. Unless you're providing evidence to the field to gnaw on then all you have is another reality show for entertainment purposes.

On the other hand, maybe this is another case of producers intentionally editing for the scare-effect to increase ratings. It's possible the PS team is being more analytical and the show is being edited to their detriment. Not to say that the 'skeptics' way to do things is the right and only way - but it's the only way I can stand behind.

One thing that struck me as potentially harmful was the manner in which they seemed to go into the investigation without much intention of debunking anything. Just a few minutes into the show and before even starting the investigation, the founder, Ryan, says, "This place is haunted. The only question is who is it and where is it coming from." (or something to that effect anyway). But, again, this could be the editing.

I will keep watching (for a few more weeks at least) to see what comes of this.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

VIDEO Exhibit A

Here is Video EXHIBIT A which correlates with the experiences described in INVESTIGATION #2 (click here to read the Investigation #2 account).


video

Monday, December 3, 2007

TAPSCON Coming to My Town

TAPSCON is coming. To top it off, it's going to be in my backyard, Clearwater, FL.

I will be there along with TAPS Family Member, Florida Ghost Team.

Stay tuned for details or head over to TapsCon.com.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Investigation #4

This was to be the weekend I've been waiting for - to travel to an old city scarred with a deep history of war and restoration in a location generally accepted (and promoted) as active. I fully expected this to be a textbook lesson in Debunking 101.

The night went by for the most part without incident. I was, however, surprised by a few things our team sensitive came up with. Keep in mind I am quite skeptical about psychics and the like. Although I have had a few experiences in my younger years (which I may discuss later) I find much of it very hard to believe. However, the sensitive with us mentioned a few things about the history of the location that later turned out to be right on point. That made me wonder. Did this person research the location before hand to the point where they knew these things? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it definitely opened my mind to this person's abilities. I want to know more.

Nearing the end of the investigation the team leader and I moved to the 2nd floor for a last sweep. While staring down a long hallway with video and audio rolling we heard what sounded like a loud thud followed directly by a sound of something being dragged across the wooden floor. The source was clearly about 15 feet ahead of us. I would describe it as someone stomping on the floor with a boot then dragging it a few feet. We were quite surprised by this and moved ahead to the area to investigate further. Nothing and no one was in the room aside from a few boxes and pallets.

The team leader asked for a sign of a presence on the count of three. He counted, "3... 2...Thud." I heard a light thud similar to what we heard previously but much lighter to my left along with a slight vibration in the floor. It felt as if someone had stomped on the floor next to me. The team leader was to my right and there was nothing in the area of the sound but wooden floors and a wall.

I supposed the second experience I had could have been some kind of electrical or plumbing system kicking on/off - but the timing was too ironic to dismiss. As for the first sound, we both thought it may have been caused by a box falling but later review of video shot previous to our experience shows the boxes in the same position.

One more experience to chew on and wonder...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What Will They Think?

My family has been interested in paranormal ever since I can remember. Although they never truly studied the field or delved too deeply into it, they were open to it. So, this direction seemed rather natural to me.

This is different, however, for my wife and her side of the family. With a solid christian background, she is understandably a bit skiddish about certain aspects - specifically physically going into a supposed active location. Being a history and mystery buff, however, she enjoys the research and helps me tremendously. Overall, she is very supportive. I feel that in time she will want to get more involved - but that is her choice.

The shaky part comes when the subject surfaces with her side of the family. As strong christians themselves, I am unsure how some of them will react. So, we simply don't discuss it for now - but I'm prepared for the day it does.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More New Equipment

I realized on the last few investigations that trying to hold a video camera, an audio recorder and a flashlight at the same time can be awkward. So, I looked for an armband I could wear to hold my audio recorder. I found this to work very well! Put on the armband, turn on the recorder and forget about it.

Tunebelt Mp3 Armband Carrier
This is a cool little armband (that I actually wear on my forearm) that will hold any small audio recorder.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Television Debut

Tampa Bay 10 News did a story on Florida Ghost Team as we investigated the Italian Club in Ybor, FL. Check it out... I'm in there quite a bit actually.

View The Story Here (VIDEO)

What I'm reading...

Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal
Hmmm... I honestly thought there would be more educational tidbits in this book. Granted I'm not finished with it yet, but this one was written more from the perspective of a strong believer in psychic phenomena - not exactly the direction I'm coming from.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Investigation #2

To protect those involved, I will not disclose locations and names pertaining to any investigations. But I will be as detailed as possible regarding my personal experiences for the sake of knowledge.

We were told that a news crew may be following us on this investigation doing a story to be aired on Halloween. I was a bit nervous seeing as I was the newest member of the crew.

The location is relatively old, dating back to the early 1900s but as beautiful as it was when it first opened its doors. We broke up into teams taking different floors of the building.

Just my luck, the camera crew picks my team to follow first. I just did my best to pretend they weren't there. With a camera guy hovering over my shoulder I did an initial EMF sweep of the room while my partner followed with an audio recorder. We continued with my camcorder (with newly-bolstered nightvision) photos and asking questions for possible EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena).

We continued the search being rotated to different parts of the building throughout the night.

Then it happened...

While walking into one room I heard something in my right ear. It sounded as if someone had just come up close to me and whispered something. It sounded like "Hi. How are you?" I turned to find no one there but a male team member to my left. I didn't think too much more about it.

Upon review of the audio later, there it was, "Hi. How are you?" Wow. I fully expected not to experience anything for quite sometime. So, for something like this to happen so quickly kind of threw me for a loop. Catching an EVP is one thing, but combine caught audio with a personal experience means so much more to me.

The Facts:
- The audio was caught on two different devices: my video camera held in my right hand and my audio recorder held in my left hand
- The audio level of the 'whisper' is much higher on the video camera than on the audio recorder
- I heard something at the time which is evident by my immediate reaction also recorded

So in analyzing this trying to narrow down the source of the area I've come up with the following:

Being that the audio level of the 'whisper' was higher on the video recorder (in my right hand) that the audio recorder (in my left hand) I have to deduce that the source of the noise was in the room. If it had been something from the outside or further away, the levels would have been more similar if not the same.

I'm not sure what to make of this yet, but it sure makes me wonder.




Thursday, October 18, 2007

What I'm reading...

Ghost Hunting: True Stories of Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society

Great book for fans of Ghost Hunters or anyone interested in real-life paranormal experiences.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My First Field Investigation & Meeting The Team

I recently went to an orientation to meet other members of the Florida Ghost Team. This orientation was both educational and confirmed that I was joining a team very serious about their work. I came out of there confident I was on the right path. That night was to be my first field investigation with FGT.

I spent the remaining day with the founder, Shaun Jones, and a few of the veteran members walking around town getting to know them. We had lunch and discussed our beliefs and experiences. I realized that the people I had met carried with them much the same beliefs as myself. Like me, they believe in the possibility of paranormal activity, but work to prove such in an analytical manner.

On to the investigation...

To protect those involved, I will not disclose locations and names pertaining to any investigations. But I will be as detailed as possible regarding my personal experiences for the sake of knowledge.

Good thing this was a field test for me because I spent most of the time fighting with my equipment. I had a mini-dv camcorder, and digital camera. I learned quickly that the standard 'NightShot' built into my camcorder was little effective in the extreme dark. That being useless, I resorted to snapping photos with my still camera. Doh! The batteries kept dying. Damn rechargaebles! A learned lesson there too.

I also learned that a flashlight is a staple.

My team leader had an audio recorder and an EMF detector. He was very helpful in giving me tips along the way and thoroughly explaining what he was doing in great detail. I owe a lot to him - more than a few sets of batteries that he lent me throughout the night.

I learned a lot about looking for sources of noises. With claims of voices being heard, we noticed numerous windows and cracks lead to the outside which seemed to be a likely source.

I left that night encouraged to trudge on with the new-found experience with the team.

Findings...

I have one photo out of the lot that has something on it I can only describe as a white blob of light. I wouldn't even call it an 'orb' as it is not a circular shape - more like an upside-down Mickey Mouse. But it's small and full white with no transparency. A picture I took only seconds before it shows nothing but a wood ceiling in the spot. Nothing reflective in the immediate area. However, the light upon examination has a light purple aura on one side and yellow on the other. It could be a bug. I suppose it could look like a fly with wings. But would the flash reflecting off a bug produce that aura? I don't know.

That prismatic effect leads to me believe that it's probably some kind of reflection. From what, I do not know.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Got Some New Equipment

So, I went and got a few things to aid in my investigations. As learned in my first investigation, my camcorder doesn't do much good in the dark. So I got an infrared light that attaches to my Sony Mini-DV. I also purchased an audio recorder for EVP work. Oh, and a flashlight!

Sony HVLIRM Battery IR Light
A must-have for nightvision with a camcorder. It attaches right to the boot and is self-powered. This thing puts out some great light!


Olympus MB Digital Voice Recorder
Out of all the recorders I looked at this one stood out because the device itself plugs right into your computer with a USB connection. Most have a wire you have to keep around - not this one. It also records almost 70 hours.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Florida Ghost Team

After much research I found a team in my area I wanted to join (or at the least learn from). I went through the proper channels and applied to be a member of the Florida Ghost Team.

FGT is a TAPS Family Member (as seen on SciFi's Ghost Hunters). I felt this was an important factor for me to feel comfortable that the team I was going to be involved with was legit and was led by the same ideals I have grown to admire in the TAPS team.

As a result, I am now a member of the Florida Ghost Team. I trust I will learn a lot from them and experience things that will help me (and anyone reading this) along the way.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ghost Hunters on SciFi

This show is great. I've watched it here and there before but recently have really found the show intriguing. Sure, there are tons of shows out there with a paranormal theme but these guys approach it with a skeptic's viewpoint. They don't go into a house shaking wildly with their eyes close saying, "Joe is here and would like to speak with us." They get it!

Like them, I have always believed the possibility does exist that an afterlife exists, but proving it is tough to say the least. They are jumping into the fray head-first to test the theory providing, at the least, some kind of evidence we can gnaw on.

This has got me thinking...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why am I doing this?

So, you may ask, why am I doing this. Well, like many, I have questions - many of them.

I grew up in a Catholic household. I went to private catholic school all my life - even all the way through high school. My faith in catholicism fell dramatically after a family situation made it uncomfortable for us to any longer attend mass. We were shunned for something completely ridiculous - but that's another story.

I began to question things more outwardly in high school. This may explain why I had to repeat one year of 'Religion History' - I questioned way too much. On the plus side, however, this class taught me more about world religions and beliefs thereby opening my mind than I had expected. Around this same time I had a few paranormal experiences (which I may discuss later) that made me question even more.

Years later I befriended a gentleman of the Hindu belief. I learned from him many things, but mostly the ideal that all religions are merely paths up the same mountain. Although some may go in different directions and present different views along the way, they all lead up to the same peak. This changed me.

Somewhere along that path I became skeptical. For a long time I no longer believed in any form of afterlife. I believed firmly that we are all mere matter that simply ceases to be when our body dies.

Now, here I am few years later fearing death. My skeptical nature forces me to believe that upon death my mind will simply cease to exist. Poof. Gone. That's one hell of a scary thought late at night when you're staring at the ceiling. I want so badly to believe that something else is out there waiting for me - that my existence will live one somehow. I crave so dearly to have faith like so many that death is not the end of it all.

So, here I am on a new journey to explore the truth and gain back whatever semblance of faith I can.