Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hopeful Christmas Greetings

Warm wishes for a safe, healthy and happy
Christmas and New Year.

I realize that there is no guarantee that any or all of these things are part of your life right now. We all know that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and that is out of our control. But, we can all look for opportunities to support those in need, whether family, friends or strangers.

It is the goodness of most people that I find to be the most reliable constant in the universe. Trust in that. Look for it. Be a part of it, and we will all get through the hard times together.

Monday, November 30, 2009

In Transition

I have missed this blog, missed writing, missed looking to see who has been visiting, and what topics they have been reading about.

My life has been consumed the past couple of months with uprooting myself from our house in the German village where we lived the past 22 years into a rental house in another village, one I already regret moving into, but that's a side issue to be posted under Crazy German Landlords on another blog.

We did a lot of the moving ourselves, and trying to do that and work full-time has been grueling, so there has been no time to wax philosophical on this blog, but hopefully, that day will be coming soon.

The boxes have been emptied, which is not the same as saying everything is in place, but we are close. It took two weeks to find my husband's toothbrush. Now, the hunt is on for the battery charger for my camera and my box of checks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

10 Signs You've Overdosed on Church

For those of you who still have a sense of humor about church (a good sign), a friendly list of warning signs to watch out for to keep you walking in the light, rather than being blinded by it.

I realize some of you may now feel obligated to pray for me or hate me, depending on how deep in the water you were dunked, but if those who still believe in science and reason get a chuckle out of this, I'm okay with that.

Your Facebook status constantly brags
about how "blessed" your day was.

You smile all the time,
whether you feel like it or not.

You spend less time with your family than you used to,
because you are so very busy doing the Lord's work.

You can quote from all your favorite scenes
in the Left Behind novels.

You home school your kids,
so they won't be exposed to sex or science or thinking.

The last romance novel you read ended with a baptism,
instead of an orgasm.

You hold hands and pray before eating lunch at Applebee's.

You covet your neighbor's Bible cover.

You take your kids to see the dinosaurs
at the Creation museum.

The sheep in your church are all the same color.

Places where I snagged the images (the sheep are mine)
Have a Blessed Day
smiling teens
Church lady
Dear to Me
Gay lesson interruption
1994 Rapture sign
Bible cover
Charles Darwin's Night at the Creation Museum (Mad Magazine cover)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mystery from the Attic

This summer we have been not only painting and doing other house improvements, but also trying to go through our possessions in preparation to moving. Yesterday my husband started going through the stuff in the attic.

At the top of the stairs there is a small door that leads to storage space under the roof eaves. In that space, over the years, we have stored old suitcases, computer boxes and pet carriers. To my hubby's surprise, when he opened the door yesterday, he saw straight ahead of him sitting on top of one of the pet kennels a cardboard tray containing what appeared to be a child's project, now fallen apart.

He brought it to me and we marveled, not just at the project, but at how it came to be sitting on top of a pet carrier in our attic. That space in the attic is not one we access frequently, but we have been in and out of it many times over the years to put things in and get things out and neither of us had ever seen this object, let alone place it on top of the pet carrier. He also found 3 pairs of German socks rolled up on the floor next to the kennel. We are both sure these objects were not there previously. They just appeared.

That evening, I sat down to watch television and take a look closer at our mysterious object. I was amazed at the number of small items I saw and how much work someone had at one time put into the creation of what I now saw was a model of a church, what church where, I still don't know. Perhaps a reader will know.

I sorted through the pieces and tried to make sense of them, taking pictures as I went. I was particularly taken with the church steeple with its clock and the angel perched on top of the little oriel window (a small bay window that projects from a wall). Regluing the oriel to the steeple was the first act of restoration I did.

At first I thought the little round pieces might represent people, but as I looked at the roofs of the building, I saw little white squares where it looked like the bases had once been glued, and I decided out that they belonged on the roof like those onion shapes on the top of Russian churches.

I found stairs going nowhere, although on one side, there was a platform and around it what I decided were columns that might hold up a roof, and I also found a four-sided pyramid roof to fit on top. One metal rail was in place and I was able to replace its twin. But, the stairs on the other side, still lead nowhere. Whatever object was there, is lost.

I worked my way through the mess, replacing what I could, discarding small pieces whose purpose I could not determine and finding that the little trees and bushes crumbled into dust if I tried to pick them up and put them back in place. To my delight, I found small images of people, perhaps drawn, perhaps cut out and mounted. I love the group of men standing there looking at the church. Aren't they delightful?

I also found along one wall an image, that when I turned it over, turned out to be a couple of lovers, sneaking a snuggle outside the walls.

There is also a woman on a bench that I had trouble getting to sit up, but I also found amusing. She's also holding her arms out wide. What's that about?

When I declared a finish, I was left with a smattering of extra pieces that I tossed and a lot of dust which I gently blew away, and I'm sure not all is as it was, but I hope that the spirit of the person who created this or placed this in our way (because how else do you explain it's mysterious appearance?) is happy to see it somewhat restored and not lost altogether.

I've put it together, now what? I can't say I really want to move it and take it with me, or leave it permanently on my sofa table, so I'm open to suggestion. It's not a museum piece, just a child's project once saved, then lost, now found again by a stranger. Placing it here on the Internet may be as close as it will come to immortality.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Miss Me - But Let Me Go

This wonderful poem, Miss Me - But Let Me Go, was found in the pocket of a dead British WW1 soldier. The author is unknown.

I place it here in honor of my good friends, David and Frank.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no tears in a gloom-filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little – But not for long
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me – But let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone,
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to your friends that we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good works,
Miss me – But let me go.

Mr. Clark has animated many more poems and short literary treasures and you can view them HERE.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't Count on Tomorrow

Friday morning, I got up with the only plan for the day to drive to Zwingenberg an der Neckar for Frank's funeral. You can read about Frank's memorial service here.

One death of a friend was quite enough, but when I checked into Aussie Ghosts, I discovered a message posted by the son of one of our treasured members, Ghostlaird, that his father had passed away. What a shock I had. We had just exchanged messages the night before. He wanted some help interpreting a tarot card reading he had done online, and I told him I was tired and sore from painting my kitchen and I would get back to him tomorrow.

But tomorrow didn't come. It's not a big deal that I didn't do this. It would not have changed a thing, and certainly would not have forecast his imminent passing. In fact, any guesses I made about the cards would have been way off, since I expected them to be about a future in this reality. It's only now that I know the outcome, that I am able to see their meaning. It was an amazingly accurate reading.

But this post isn't about tarot cards, a subject I've had very little experience with and know only a little about. It's about remembering that we only have today. Ghostlaird, whose real name is Dave, had every expectation of being here today, as did my young friend Frank. But that isn't what happened. For whatever reasons, they both finished what they had to accomplish in this life and have moved on to another state of being, one out of our reach for now. I treasure both of their friendships, and miss their company.

As we were settling down in bed last night, my husband said to me, "Call your mom."
"Why do you say that?" I asked.

But the answer was obvious. So, call your mom (or dad), tell your kids you love them, hug a friend, share that sentiment you've been holding onto, because you only have today.

You can't count on tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So long, Frank, and thanks for all the fish

I've had life and death on my mind a lot this past week.
A young man, a former student of mine, recently (May 29, 2009) wrote on his page on Facebook:

Now I lay me down to sleep, pray the lord my soul to take.
If I die before I wake, thanks a helluvalot for the friggin' warning!

G'night, ya'll.

He was just being funny, and I still enjoy remembering the irreverent cheek with which he addressed this old nursery rhyme and most everything else in life. However, a week after writing this (June 8, 2009) he died in his sleep. I'm not making this up. Yes, it is ironic, but when it is someone you care about, who cares about irony?

Frank was a young man I was very fond of, a clever, funny individual, barely out of his 20s, a joy to his friends and family, unexpectedly gone early.

This past week also saw a baby born to friends, a young couple about the same age as Frank. Both events occurred with days of each other, baby Charlie coming into this world on Friday, Frank leaving it three days later.

Here's something else odd that seems to tie in to these events. Unknown to me, Frank died sometime Monday night. In that last dreaming state before waking Wednesday morning, I had a vivid dream during which I flew. I've had flying dreams before, but only rarely. Years go by between flying dreams for me.

In the dream, I and another woman were teachers charged with assisting young people learning to fly. In my waking life, I am a teacher, and the symbolism here fits my beliefs. Isn't that the job of parents and teachers, to give our children wings and help them fly?

The other teacher and I each had a small group of young people, teenagers by the look of them, who were holding hands on top of a steep hillside. We sprang into the air with them and then let go, but after hanging in the air for a few seconds, they started to drift down again like balloons leaking air. This reminded me of astronauts on the moon, where the gravity is weak, who were able to take big leaps, but did not lose that gravitational bond with the moon's surface. I watched the young people kick off again as soon as they were close to the surface, float up, drift back down, kick off, and repeat the process, basically taking big hops down the side of the hill. But, none of them were able to actually fly.

Finally, we all reached a path that ran horizontally across the downward path. We had started walking along the path, basically through with the lesson, when I impulsively stopped, leaped straight up with my hands in the air, as one would when diving off a diving board, leveled off and flew over their heads. I was showing them that one could fly if one just believed one could. I flew down the path for a bit until I reached a bend in the path. The path took a sharp left, and straight ahead there was another drop off. As I flew out into the air past the turn, a young man joined me in flight and together we did a couple of loop the loops in the air. Then, that part of the dream ended. I thought nothing of it when I awoke, except how nice it had been to have a flying dream.

I took my shower, went downstairs, ate my breakfast, and then my husband told me that Frank was dead. I did not believe him. I thought he was fooling around or that Frank, who was very witty, had written some clever comment on his Facebook page, but he said, no, Frank had died in his sleep.

And then I looked at that dream with fresh eyes. I'm not terribly psychic. I don't think I've ever had a dream that could be called precognitive, but that this dream may have been about Frank or dreamed with Frank, I have to wonder. There is no way to know for sure, but I wish I'd gotten a look at the face of my fellow flier. For, it seems to me, that one who was once earthbound as we are, finally achieved flight.

Coincidentally, I am also reading Deepak Chopra's book Life After Death: the Burden of Proof. One of the stories that he tells from Indian tradition is of a wise man who asks a young woman, "Do you remember ever not being alive?" Of course, she doesn't. None of us remember not being alive. We only remember being alive, not the point at which our lives began. He goes on to tell her that our parents tell us the first great lie, that our life began when we were born. And if we believe THAT lie, that life has a beginning, then we will believe the other lie, that life has an ending.

I have long believed that we were alive in spiritual form before we entered our current physical bodies, and it is only that mortal shell we inhabit that dies, not the soul. Nothing can kill the soul. It is eternal.

It doesn't stop me from grieving the passing of my young friend, gone too soon from my life and the life of his parents, family and friends, for it is a separation we did not ask for. I miss Frank, but it is comforting to know that he has found his metaphorical wings.

The image at the top of the post was Frank's last profile image on Facebook.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Where Everybody Knows My Name


Everyone should have a place to hang out, and in this digital age, people are spending more and more of their time hanging out online. What seemed inconceivable just a few years ago is now the norm. Many, if not most, people with computers and online access have a presence on not just one, but multiple social networking sites.

So, where do I hang out?  For keeping up with friends, family and former students, I visit Facebook every day. I'm sensing some pressure to join Twitter, but so far, have resisted that one.  I may get sucked in there one day just to keep up with my kids, but not yet. I haven't been able to figure out the attraction of tweeting. Maybe it has something to do with my not having a smart phone or being able to text at the speed of light.

It is on forums that I have met and made friendships with people all over the world who share a common interest. I hang out at the Aussie Ghosts forum, where we have been lucky enough to attract a really sweet group of people. Jemm, one of our moderators, recently put together this composite image of some of our active members that I think is really cool and I thought I would share it with you. 

Great job, Jemm.

Monday, May 18, 2009

S.M.A.P.I.S. Finds the Funny

There's a new ghost hunting team in town. S.M.A.P.I.S., The Southeastern Michigan Alliance of Paranormal Investigators Society, is in search of Grandma's urn. Ever since their leader, Rodger, heard his grandmother's ghost whisper Find us, in his ear, it has been their motto, and the source of the name of their show, Ghost Finders.

Rodger is a ghost hunter by night, plumber by day. . . . [he] prides himself on his almost completed book, The Search for Paranormal Phenomena: a Guide. He often quotes himself with relevant passages from it. He aspires to make SMAPIS a national venture, envisioning himself as the president of a huge, non-profit organization from which he makes a huge profit.
Hmm, sound familiar? A nice cross blend of Ryan and Jason/Grant.

Mary is an assistant fourth grade teacher by day. She works at a quaint public school in rural Romeo, Michigan. She is a true believer in all things paranormal.
Of course, she is. Cute as a button, witchy but with a clear complexion. I like her.

Simon is a Radio Shack manager by day. . .  the resident skeptic of SMAPIS. He tries to keep Rodger and Mary on track as they tend to think everything they pick up must be a ghost.
Every group needs one to give the illusion that real science is happening.

Randy works at the corner gas station by day and/or night. He is the official SMAPIS gopher, and supervises the setup and breakdown of equipment on location.
He's the comic relief, apparently. I wonder if he has any tattoos?

Visit their website to learn more about the team:

I'm not sure who is responsible for this, but they are having a great time spoofing the popular ghost hunting shows. I like the way they mimic the camera angles of the shows, that wide-eyed look from the night vision camera, the guys sitting around a table going over the evidence and saying, What the hell?,  one of them looking sincerely into the camera and telling the audience for the millionth time what an EVP is, etc. I realize there are some Republicans who still think that Stephen Colbert is one of them. But, those of us with finely-tuned funny bones get him, and we get this, too. Enjoy the show.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ready or Not

I was lying awake a few nights ago during that time between waking and sleeping when one's brain is on idle, but the engine is still running. I suddenly realized that the game of Hide and Seek is a metaphor for life. Not the game itself, just the part where the seeker says, "Ready or Not," just before coming after you to see if you are truly well hidden.

Life is like that. Babies probably aren't ready to be born and no parent feels truly ready for the birth of the baby, but it all happens anyway, Ready or Not.

Most of our life is like that. We rarely feel truly ready for anything, but somehow we manage to swallow our fears and take the next step, jump off the high dive, get behind the wheel for the first time, step out on stage and sing, all the while hoping for the best and praying we don't fall flat on our faces or make a terrible mess of things.

As is life, so is death. Ready or Not, it comes to us. Some people have the good luck to see death coming for them from afar with time to pack their spiritual bags for departure; others are caught mid step, disbelieving that they are not still there on the sidewalk on their way to work.

The best way to deal with death is to accept it as inevitable. Only then are you free to live.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. --Mark Twain
Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live. --Henry Van Dyke

To live in fear of death is to live in fear. Who wants to live in fear? Just accept that you will die some day. Stop fighting the idea. None of us knows when it is coming for us. The best we can hope is that when it comes, we will accept it with grace as a transition, and not be one of the foolish ones wandering the earth not knowing they are dead. Just like everyone else, one day we will all get evicted from this body, Ready or Not.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Porcelain Ghost

This poem is the result of digging through the piles of words in a magnetic poetry set.

It's a poem, so I won't analyze it for you. It's like a joke; if you have to explain it, it's not any good. I leave it up to you to apply your own interpretation.

To learn about magnetic poetry, click HERE.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vampires R Us

Last year for Easter, I wrote about vampires. This year I find myself, oddly enough, thinking along the same lines. What is it about Easter and vampires?

Easter is about death. So are vampires.
Easter is about defeating death. So are vampires.
Easter is about life everlasting. So are vampires.
Easter is about love everlasting. So, according to the sign for sale on Etsy, are vampires.

Thinking about buying the cute little sign? Come a little closer and let me whisper into your ear: 
Really? Only a vampire can love you forever?  Does that mean your mommy and daddy don't? Not God, not Jesus, not Mohammed, nobody but a blood-sucking vampire? Did your boyfriend dump you and now ordinary isn't good enough? Feeling under-appreciated and hoping a vampire will see what nobody else sees, that you, like Bella, are really, really special? Are you hearing how pathetic this sounds? Wake up, get real, get over whatever it is you need to get over and return to the land of the living!

Moving on . . .
Easter is about the last supper. So are vampires.
Your last act is to be their supper. Yum.

Vampires are all the rage right now in books and movies. I get far more people coming to this blog because they google something about vampires than about ghosts or spirits.

Let's face it, the vampires are moving in. They're taking over. They're slowly insinuating themselves into every aspect of our lives. Is there some kind of conspiracy going on here? What is it going to take to get rid of these guys? 

The myth of the vampire is about questions we want answers to:  life, death, immortality. You can get some answers if you go to church, but hey, let's be honest, it's different information depending on which church you attend, or synagogue, or mosque, or temple. The basic story is we get life after death. What it's like and how you guarantee yourself a good picnic spot in a peaceful meadow as opposed to an uncomfortable one next to the river of fire and brimstone varies depending on the source. No wonder people are confused. Too many messages and too many messengers.

Besides, getting preached at on this topic in church isn't nearly as much fun as watching a vampire movie or reading a novel. With vampires, you get some of the same information with titillating sexual innuendoes thrown in for free. So what if it's bogus information. It's catching on.

Vampires haven't made much of a move on Easter yet, but I sense it is just a matter of time. Check out the following merchandise being marketed at Etsy where this little critter formerly known as "vampire bat" is trying to appeal to Easter shoppers merely by adding some cute bunny ears:

Will it work? That's up to you. He's adorable, isn't he?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Medium Well

A medium is a person who stands between the dead and the living, serving as a conduit between them. I'm not sure how they do it, but it has something to do with vibrations or frequencies. Mediums are apparently born with the gift, a talent, an ability to raise their vibration level and tune into wherever it is that the dead are able to meet them and communicate to or through them.

There are three kinds of talents mediums may have:
CLAIRVOYANCE, the ability to see spirits
CLAIRAUDIENCE, the ability to hear spirits
CLAIRSENTIENCE, the ability to sense the presence and thoughts of spirits

If you're like me, your only experience with psychics and mediums comes mainly from watching them on TV. There seem to be many different medium styles. Some use rituals, chanting and ritual objects, crystal and incense, or waving things around in the air, such as holy water or burning sage, while others seem content just to walk around a place and open themselves up to whoever or whatever is present. Some mediums set themselves up as teachers with followers and offer lessons and lists of how-tos, chants, rituals, specific stones and herbs to use for various purposes. It's hard for an outside observer to determine what is necessary and what is merely being done to impress the client. I find myself skeptical and untrusting of mediums who look like gypsy fortune-tellers or earth-mother types, with flashy rings, bangles, and voluminous skirts. It's hard to determine what is natural and what is hype.

Clients may consult a medium for various reasons, including a desire to communicate with a loved one, but many consult them for guidance about their own lives, and mediums may receive information from spirit guides from those who have passed on, and from deceased loved ones who may stop in to offer help to those left behind.

I had a gypsy offer to read my palm in London once; she was right out of a story book. I said no thanks, I'll let the future reveal itself in due course, and bought a small spray of lavender she was selling, just in case. I didn't want to chance a curse tossed my way if she really had mystical powers. I could have let her do it as a lark, but I'm not the kind to gamble or throw away money on questionable goods.

I became acquainted with a medium on a forum a little over a year ago that I eventually trusted to do some readings for me. She didn't make promises or ask for money or say a lot of mumbo jumbo meant impress. She wasn't trying to drum up business. She seemed to operate from a place of kindness and compassion for the world and talked freely about her experiences. She had an openness of spirit, and I believed then and now I was dealing with a genuine medium. 

Keep in mind, the best person to consult about your future is probably you. If you consult a medium, you are just going to end up comparing their message, which is bound to be somewhat cryptic, to what you know in your heart to be true. And since you already know it, you can bypass the need for a medium altogether if you just stop kidding yourself and ask yourself what you really believe, what you really need to do, how you really feel. In the end it's all up to you. On the other hand, if you find a medium that you feel is genuine, go for it, but only once. If you find yourself going back for more advice, you're becoming dependent; or if the medium needs more money, or more sessions to get your  information and puts on a dramatic show, you're probably being had.

Buyers be wary, and mediums, be well.

Cartoon by Gaspirtz .

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ghost Runners

My husband took some interesting photos a couple of years ago at cross country meets. Almost every image was a blur of motion. Some are actually quite beautiful. We never figured out exactly what he was doing wrong, because eventually, he got the hang of the thing and the blurry images stopped, but we still have quite a collection in iphoto.

This one has a ghostly image of a face left behind after the face itself was carried out of the frame of the shot.  This is not, of course, a ghost, but a runner, caught in the moment.  But, it leaves you wondering what photos of moving images people are mistaking as ghosts. I've seen pictures posted of ghosts, usually behind someone, with the same kind of streakiness that makes me wonder if a person didn't jump into the shot, unseen by the photographer and photographee and jump out again, leaving behind the blurry streaked hint of a face or a body.

I took this photo at a basketball game recently. It demonstrates how all or part of the body can seem to disappear when a person moves during a camera shot. Here, a couple of legs and one of the players are nearly transparent. Sometimes people say that they have caught evidence of a ghost because the image is "see-through." So are these guys, and they are as real as you or I.

I took this shot when a player tripped over his own foot and took a tumble practically at my feet. What you notice, of course, are the white swirls . . . not of energy, but areas of white in the shoes, socks and uniform, whose trail of movement has been recorded by the camera. How many people see something like this in an image and think they have caught an unseen entity swirling around a person, bits of energy or protoplasm? 

My images are highly blurry. I have other examples where the people are clearer, but I don't want to show anyone's face here. The same kinds of effects can be seen in photos where most of the people are in focus.

So, watch out for the people in the background that you didn't notice at the time, the floating hair that got caught in the flash, anything that might have been caused by some one or some thing moving. Don't let the ghost runners fool you. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Matrixing and Pareidolia

Your brain is accustomed to trying to make sense of what you see, but with low resolution digital photographs, your brain will start to fill in the missing parts and you may see things that aren't really there. In computer displays and printing, resolution is related to the number of pixels (dot-matrix) per inch used to create the image. When looking at a low resolution image, you may experience matrixing. Your brain will start filling in the image in the photo (matrixing) in an effort to make sense of what you are seeing. If there are dark spots in the right place for eyes, the brain may see a face. This is called pareidolia.

The better the photo, the higher the resolution, the fewer mistakes the mind will make, and the more likely someone will be able to see details in a photograph accurately. The lower the resolution, the more likely fuzzy images will be interpreted as things they are not.

Here's an example from the Ordsall Hall ghostcam.

The area under the stairs and on the balcony are prime ghost-spotting areas, but I'm betting all of these images are just examples of matrixing and pareidolia, big ugly pixels with our minds interpreting the spots as faces. Here's an old favorite of mine I call "Old women," because it looks like there's old granny in the stairwell and another face looking down from the balcony.

So, don't jump to conclusions, especially when looking at low-resolution ghost cams. Is that really a face, or just your mind playing tricks on you?

Peter Doyle explains this very well in this video:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Setting the record straight

There have been a lot of hits on this blog recently of people looking at comments I made about a year ago on The Paranormal Watchdogs. Someone made this comment on MySpace:

Let me just typ that comment all over again! lol! Spook Annie has separated herself from The Paranormal Watchdogs. That's all I can really say about that.


I appreciate that several people have come to the Spookannie blog as a result of some kind of brouhaha that has been brewing about those two. It's nice to have new readers! However, for the record, I have never had anything to do with The Paranormal Watchdogs, except to write a blog about their activities, and to be rated by them myself. I cannot separate myself from people I have never ever been close to. I knew who the chief watchdog was only because we were members of the same paranormal forum, but we were not chums. 

So, no falling out, folks. No nothing. That pair have their friends, but I don't run in that crowd. Things turned out for them pretty much the way I expected.  The Watchdogs somehow missed the fact that when you go around blithely handing out critiques to people who haven't asked for them, and rate them on mere superficialities, such as website design, that people are going to take offense.

Their website is down and appears to be gone. One wonders why. Perhaps, as one person has proposed, they do this bit for a while, disappear when things get too hot, and then reappear under a different name and different pseudonyms. Who knows? They seem to have a short attention span, which often lead to hasty judgment of websites, and they clearly favored websites owned by their friends, so I hope they are gone for good, since they weren't very good at what they did.

Here's a link to that original post about the Watchdogs,
Badd Apple Speaks.

The Camera of Truth

In case you've missed it, Patrick Doyle, a paranormal researcher, artist and author, is posting fantastic videos exposing all kinds of paranormal trickery, fake EVPs, fake movement of objects, etc.  (we've all seen them) and showing exactly how the faking is done. Studying the techniques used by hoaxers will make it easier for us to spot many of the simulations being put out there as genuine captures by creative video students and other tricksters at our expense. Patrick's videos are informative, entertaining and well done. He's my new paranormal hero. Kudos!

Visit Haunted Hoax to see more videos.

The talented Mr. Doyle is also the writer and illustrator of a delightful series of children's books:

Edgar Font's
Hunt for a
House to Haunt.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oklahoma's ParaCon 2009

This paranormal conference is set to take place March 21, 2009, in my old stomping grounds, Oklahoma. It's being hosted by Tammy and Tonya, the Ghost Divas. The theme is For the Love of Ghost Stories. Sounds like fun. Click on the Oklahoma ParaCon 2009 link to check it out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Christian Fringe

Satellite view of the inauguration of U.S. President, Barack Obama
Washington, D.C., January 20, 2009

In case you missed it, God hates Obama, God hates America, and God hates you. That's the message this group brought to people on the Inauguration parade route on January 20, 2009.

These hate-filled bigots are so busy looking for the Antichrist that they have totally missed that everything they stand for is anti Christ, the opposite of his message of love. You couldn't get more venom out of a viper than one lady in this group spews every time she spits out her litany of ridicule and disgust at the crowd. America may have withered the Ku Klux Klan and progressed far enough down the road to Civil Rights to elect a president whose ethnic family runs around the world through Ireland, northern Africa, Indonesia, China, Hawaii and Canada, but tolerance is not in this group's repertoire. Unfortunately, there always seem to be loud-mouthed bigots on the religious fringe who confuse obedience with salvation and their whiteness as a sign of purity, but this group takes the cake.

Real Christians practice love and inclusion, not hate and exclusion. They also have a sense of humor, one of God's most under-appreciated gifts. Right-wing religious mad hatters like this group from the  Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas, are different only in degree from the right-wing Muslims they also despise. Different preachers/imams with similar requirements that everyone prove they love God/Allah by toeing the ideological line and OBEYing the bits and pieces of the Old Testament they have selected as being particularly important. 

Around the world, people in large groups have been slaughtered because religious leaders inspire their followers to hate those who are from a different tribe or have a different spiritual view of the world. Intolerance has led to the deaths of millions of people where it has been allowed to be preached unchecked. Tuesday's crowd was a chance to see what a million people look like.

 . . . the sea of joyous humanity on the Mall in Washington in celebratory triumph, gave us a snapshot of what a million people looked like. It gave us some inkling of the sheer and overwhelming size of what was perhaps humanity's greatest crime, the sadistic murder of six million European and North African Jewish men women and children by a hate crazed German nation. Six times the ocean of humanity we witnessed on Tuesday!
The Inauguration and the Historical Spectre of Genocide

The Nazis murdered 11 million people, if you include other groups, like homosexuals, gypsies and the physically handicapped, because they didn't follow the rules or fit Hitler's vision. I can't help wondering if the unhappy lady in the video is a reincarnated death camp matron from the days of der F├╝hrer. She has about her an air of brutality and bestiality that doesn't fit in an enlightened age. She and her cohort are the same people who also enjoy screaming and yelling outside the funerals of servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

One of the WBC's websites is: Another is  The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the church as a hate group and the organization is monitored by the Anti-Defamation League. While its members identify themselves as Baptists, WBC is an independent church and is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions or associations. Evangelical Christian groups consider them to be a cult.

I'm filled with gratitude that the Westboro Baptist Church and those who share their views are restrained by the law and the U. S. Constitution from enforcing their vision on the rest of us. They are fortunate that the same Constitution permits them to air it, stinky as it and they are. 

Photo of crowd on mall from USA Today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

San Antonio Ghost Children - still debunked

I get more hits on my blog from people looking for information about the San Antonio ghost children, who supposedly died in a bus accident, and push cars over the railroad tracks than any other topic ("the truth about vampires" comes in a close second). Sorry, folks, but it is still fiction (as are vampires). This video gives the most complete information about the subject I have seen, a minute fifteen seconds into the video.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Need for Bean Counters

bean counter
n. Slang
A person, such as an accountant or financial officer, who is concerned with quantification, especially to the exclusion of other matters:

I'm going t0 go out on a limb and say behind every great scientific breakthrough is a bean counter.

I was in a discussion with a ghosthunter, the kind who actually go out on investigations, about the need to gather data. He was bothered by the fact that the ship, The Queen Mary, that he and his team love to investigate and at which he has had great success, is making it difficult for them to gain access, but very easy for ghost tours. In fact, they have to pay to join a ghost tour to get access at night to do their investigations, but this also means that they have a lot of other people tromping around in the dark mucking up their venue, making noises in the background and walking in right when things start to get interesting. For the property, ghost tours are profitable, paranormal research is not.

I don't have a solution for that problem, except to hope that down the road, current or new management will take a different position. 

But, both situations have me thinking about data, record keeping and how different that is for the tourist and for the serious investigator.

For the ghost tourist, perhaps a booklet with charts listing the different types of manifestations that one might encounter, such as tapping, moaning, flickering lights, mist, ectoplasm, even full-bodied apparitions. Tourists could go on tours all over the nation and try to check off items and see if they can get an EVP in each of the 50 states.

Serious investigative teams are looking for evidence, but also gather data to go with the evidence: time, date, temperature, humidity, weather conditions, moon phase, location, people present, equipment used. It's a lengthy list that many groups have developed, but at least, there is an effort to gather data. But who's counting it? Where are the bean counters?

I noticed that even groups that claim to be research-based often list as their primary objective to "help" or "assist" property owners with hauntings on their property. No problem with that, but that is different than research. Research is collecting data (beans) and then counting them, categorizing them, looking for trends, etc.

So, we have groups out there gathering beans. Who is counting them?