Ghost And Demon Smells: How Is This Possible?

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Flickr – Kali the Destroyer

Oftentimes during a paranormal investigation a phantom smell will waft across the nose of a team member or perhaps you have caught a whiff of something out of the ordinary in your home. Detecting an unusual odor isn’t always a sure sign of a spirit’s presence, but in certain instances, it is. Some of the more familiar smells are perfumes that were worn by the lady of the house when she was alive or, in the case of a smoker, pockets of cigarette or cigar smoke will mysteriously appear. These scents are generally harmless to a resident or investigator – as they are intended to be either an attempt at communication, a comforting sign to let a loved one know they are nearby or they will suggest the presence of a spirit who coincidentally is within your vicinity. There are certain odors, however, that everyone should be gravely concerned about because they are a pretension that an evil entity is in the room with you.

In certain extreme cases, smells can signify a negative presence which either resides on the property or is passing through to another destination. In some instances, there is an open portal nearby which is allowing the passage of a spirit to wander as it sees fit. The strong odors of decaying flesh and decomposition are telltale signs that this foul entity is nearby. In the town of Union, Missouri, located about 50 miles south of St. Louis, there is a house where these types of disgusting smells have been detected on multiple occasions.

Author and Radio host Steven LaChance is a haunted survivor and has written two books where he retells his incredible story. In his first publication, The Uninvited, he graphically recounts what happened when he and his children rent and move into a home owned by a mysterious landlord. Shortly after they move into the residence, a wide range of paranormal activity begins. Paintings fall off of the walls, incredibly loud banging is heard upstairs, doors slam shut (once locking his daughter in a room), dark and full-body apparitions appear throughout the home, and the horrible smells of rotting flesh and sulfur were noticed, mainly in the living room area. One entity in particular could harvest enough energy to manifest as a black, smoky apparition and even physically attack the family. In one attack, the entity slammed shut a door with Steve’s daughter trapped inside. Steve is a big dude and, despite slamming his shoulder against the door until it was bruised, he was unable to get inside. Finally the door unlocked and she escaped, rushing out the front door with her dad to her grandparent’s house. In another instance, the demon jumped from a second-story window into a tree in the front yard, pursuing Steven outside of the home. Later on this powerful entity attacked a woman who had moved into the home after Steve’s family had left. Her attack was sexually heinous and resulted in a full-blown possession.

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Flickr – Filter Collective, Innocents Lost

The Union Screaming House is quite unusual and unbelievably traumatic, however, these types of activities do occur and paranormal investigators should be aware of them. In the Union house case, three portals were found on the property, possibly linked to voodoo and certain dark practices performed in the basement. The smell of rotting flesh was experienced on multiple occasions, even by independent paranormal investigators who were called to the home. So, in order to gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, we can ask a couple questions – what exactly are these putrid odors and how is it possible that decomposition smells can be experienced on a site by residents and paranormal investigators?

“In the early stages of death, cellular metabolism slows as the internal systems begin to break down. Lack of oxygen in the tissues an explosive growth of bacteria, which feed on the body’s proteins, carbohydrates and fats, producing gases that cause the body to smell and to swell.” – Jonathan Hayes, senior forensic pathologist, New York City Medical Examiner’s Office

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Flickr – John Gos

In the natural process quoted above, body decomposition produces several gases, one of the most common is called cadaverine. This gas is a hydrogen-nitrogen gas which has a pentane chemical structure and is predominately responsible for the horrific smell decaying flesh and is partly responsible for the distinctive odor of urine. Pentanes have five carbon atoms in their chemical formula and they are similar to a gas we use every day (if you’re a smoker) – butane. I’m not sure if pentagrams and pentanes can have anything in common in the realm of evil, but they do share the number 5. Coincidence?

Cadaverine was first described in 1885 by the Berlin physician Ludwig Brieger, who was a bacteriologist largely known for his uses of hydrotherapy. Cadaverine and the substance sulfur, which is that nasty egg smell, have been associated with zombies in the world of fiction and, more importantly in the spirit world, the presence of a powerful demon.

Most of the time foul paranormal odors are associated with cold spots, shadow play, and apparition manifestations. The entities emitting the odors can be very aggressive and usually are connected with intelligent hauntings. These demonic creatures have chosen lives which have plunged them into the deepest and darkest realms in the parallel universes that coexist with ours. Their existence in “hell” fuels evil intentions as they completely disregard human life – making them very dangerous entities. Their extreme malevolence is the source of these horrible smells which manifests itself through the death process of decomposition. Paranormal investigators who happen upon sites with these entities should be very cautious – even a devoted priest performing holy rituals in these places may have little effect on these types of demons. In Steven’s story, the demons were not banished by a priest and, in fact, followed him to other peoples’ houses. The extreme activity eventually drove him into a deep oppression, bordering on possession. Steve and his family are lucky to have made it out with just mental scars.

Now that you have gotten a whiff of the worst aspect of paranormal smells, let’s waft over to some positive odors and try to understand what they are and how they can be experienced. There seems to be a universal truth in the spirit realm and it is the fact that however a person was in life, so shall they be in the afterlife. If a person was kind and caring in this life, then they carry that personality with them when they cross over to the other side. Habits, as well, are taken with us when we leave this world, ingrained into our souls as we continue to experience the next stage of our spiritual journey.

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On numerous occasions my wife and I have smelled tobacco smoke in our home. Her father was a smoker, and we know from experience that he likes to make frequent appearances (a medium had told her this was the case… but that is another article). An old friend of mine, who was a chain smoker, passed away about a decade ago. I believe that he too will come and pay a visit because I know this is something he would have done in life. The scent of burning tobacco was always his constant companion, and so I expect that any of his visits would warrant this odor.

Aromatherapy works wonders in our everyday lives, rejuvenating the mind by causing a rush of endorphins and positive memories, bringing a sense of happiness and reducing stress. Perfumes have always been very common for ladies of all ages to spritz upon their necks. I have noticed that among the older generations, women will pick a certain scent and that is the one they stick with each day. My mother and grandmother have very distinct perfumes they wear and, whenever they are in the room, I know it before I see them. Interestingly, perfumes work much the same way in the afterlife. These perfumes can carry over with them and whenever a loved one is under great stress or in a time of trouble, a spirit is able to exude this scent into the environment to trigger comforting memories. Comforting scents have been known to take on a wide variety of forms – from the smell of fresh bread, recently cooked bacon, various types of flowers, and even the smell of old books. It is also claimed that certain fairies emit a mushroom-like scent when they are nearby.

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Flickr – Bruce Reyes-Chow

There are many locations throughout the world where the presence of odors has been verified by multiple sources. It is, perhaps, one of the most difficult aspects of paranormal investigating because this type of evidence is contingent upon the person who is experiencing the odor. Some people do not have the brain wiring to detect certain smells and sometimes what smells like lavender flowers to one person may smell completely different to another person. There is also no way to effectively record and analyze this data as you would with EVP recordings or video footage of shadow and light movement. The best acquired information in regards to paranormal odors may lie solely in many people over an extended period of time experiencing the same scents.

The Tower of London is just such a place located in Nottinghamshire, England. This site is over 900 years old and boasts of a myriad of hauntings that stems back to Thomas Á Beckett, who has been seen peering out of the windows of this tower. The site is also where the illegitimate princes, Edward V and Richard, were held confined to these grounds and then never seen again. Henry VII’s wife Queen Anne Boleyn was beheaded in the Tower Green and her apparition has been seen walking the hallways, a headless corpse. It is in the White Tower where the White Lady has not only been seen, but more so smelled:

“Her true identity unknown, the woman’s perfume is said to be overpowering, and has made many people gag around St John’s Chapel. One visitor felt tapping on her shoulder, although could not see who could have been responsible.” https://www.paranormaldatabase.com/hotspots/EC3.php

In the case of the White Lady, the overpowering scent remains a mystery of how it can be possible for a spirit to emit such a strong odor. In the case of demon entities, the smell has its origins in the lower realms of hell where, in the Bible, there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51). The odors of cadaverine and sulfur that the negative spirit emanated from the Union house comes from the lifestyle of the entity. The horrible odors from demons and the mushroom-like smell from fairies make sense – they exude from the spiritual body very much like human pheromones. Even in the case of flowers, the scents may originate from some sort of ethereal plant source. However, in order to explain the smells derived from daily habits, there must be some physical laws that apply in the spirit realm. For the scent of tobacco to occur, would the spirit need to be smoking? And, if so, where do the cigarettes or cigars come from? With perfume scents, are there Sephora stores in the afterlife where a lady can obtain the alluring oils she once used in life? What do you think?

The Orb Dilemma: Foo Fighters and Paranormal Phenomena

HPIM7546“I am a new day rising. I’m a brand new sky to hang the stars upon tonight. I’m a little divided. Do I stay or run away and leave it all behind?” – Foo Fighters, “Times Like These”

Perhaps one of the most controversial pieces of “evidence” for both paranormal investigators and UFO researchers alike is whether or not “orbs” truly exist. And, if they do, can they be considered as “proof” of an unknown light anomaly or some type of spacecraft? From a paranormal perspective, orbs have really gotten a bad rap over the past couple of decades because anyone who owns a digital camera is showing up in a local cemetery or reported haunted location shooting multiple photos that reveal whitish colored circles that are being called “orbs”. Watch any paranormal show on television or especially a video on YouTube and, as soon as someone finds one of those quirky glowing balls in one of their digital photos – well, yep, it’s a ghost! On the flip side, orbs have always been associated with a UFO presence in our skies or they have been associated with an alien life form communicating with unsuspecting observers. In the cases of UFOs they seem to be more credible. However, with the easy access of video technology by literally anyone, these videos can be fakes. Could it really be possible that paranormal entities and extraterrestrial life forms have chosen “orbs” as the medium to reveal themselves to us? All of this “orb talk” may seem like a bunch a mumbo jumbo interlaced with a few rare facts. It seems a bit so to me. Perhaps what we really need is a little help to clear up some of the confusion about orbs, what they may be exactly, and how they play out – if they even can do so – in the theater of the mysterious and unknown. Here is my attempt. See what you think.

Paranormal investigating has, in some ways, become the newest and greatest hobby for people to pursue. Each month I encounter a new group forming on Twitter with their site either backsplashed with some psychedelic media or a photo of the members leaning against a reportedly haunted building. It is awesome that there is such attention being given to our craft, but the problem is that a few of the groups may be distorting their findings. In the case of orbs this might be the case. An orb can be interpreted many different ways, and we really need to take an authentic look at any “evidence” a paranormal group or individual wishes to present.

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Paranormal orbs, in general, can be a reflection from some particle in the air or on the lens that appears to look spherical in nature, as in the photo of the young colt, Fabio, shown on the right. Dust, ash, water droplets both wet and dry, rain, snowflakes, pollen, hair, insects, and perhaps a dozen more possibilities fall into this category of debris that is not visible to the naked eye, but will be picked up in the infrared spectrum of a digital camera. These examples are simply what we can deduce of an orb’s composition based on the particles in the environment. There are many other possibilities, as well, about what these light anomalies may be in their true form – and they are not limited to just the paranormal realm, but are also tied to extraterrestrial life.

On July 25, 2015, there were several reports filed of strange lights in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which were seen in multiple locations. These lights took on a square-like shape of orbs, and there were as many as 6-7 of them in the night sky. These types of orbs have been seen all over the world and have been suspected to be visitations from extraterrestrial life forms. This is certainly not a new idea because UFO sightings have been seen throughout our entire human history. Some of the most memorable and mysterious events happened over a series of flights during the air war of the Second World War.

“Foo fighter” is a term given to small, round flying objects which were seen by Allied pilots and described as orange-glowing Christmas bulbs at night and small metallic globes when seen in the daylight. They were initially believed to be a secret weapon used by the Germans in an attempt to take down Allied military aircraft. Although there has been some extensive research into this possibility as both a weapon or some natural electrical phenomenon, none of these silver “balls” were ever recovered and both governments deny any such device existed. The organization Mutual UFO Network would be more apt to label these “orbs” as a sign of alien life forms shuttling around our atmosphere in their mysterious aircraft. And they may very well be correct because these types of anomalies have been documented by military and civilian personnel from 1938 up through our more modern world today. In the case of UFOs, orbs tend to be believable explanations for the strange phenomenon we see moving through our air spaces because they glow as bright lights and move erratically throughout the sky. I have personally seen them triangulate in a very dark country night sky and I watched them with then same awe that anyone would have if he or she saw what I did. It is amazing and scary at the same time.

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The dilemma with orbs, as I briefly touched on earlier, lies within the paranormal world. Orbs do not have the same credibility as the UFO versions do. Scientists have called them plasmoids – an electrical/magnetic phenomenon which involves the spherical shaping of plasma, “a highly ionized gas containing an approximately equal number of positive ions and electrons.” (dictionary.com)

Photographers say that orbs are either lens flare or they are simply a result of “circles of confusion” – a phenomenon whereby part of a picture (can be background or whole picture) is very out of focus and results in the part of the photo lacking in depth of field to form groups of small circles.18093555759_3e3c1121c8_z

The huge skepticism about our abundance of orb photos stems from the digital camera. Prior to the digital age, orbs were very rarely captured on film. This does not mean it never happened, because it did, just in much smaller amounts.

It is true that digital cameras are able to pick up the smallest particle and record it with a flash of the bulb. Most of the photos you will see on the internet and even in books are just that – some sort of natural particle, usually dust. There is another theory about the composition of orbs and it is this assertion that I am challenging you to consider. Could it be possible that orbs are actually the energy life force of spirits?

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The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot created or destroyed, but can be changed into another form. When humans are alive they possess inherent energy forces that make up their spiritual and physical existence. Some know them as chakras, others simply call them our life force. When we die, this energy must continue on in some form after we lose our physical bodies. Could it not be possible that orbs are that energy representation? The photo you see above was taken at a site intended to be sacred ground. The orb you see is positioned at the base of two sets of steps leading into a ravine. To the right of this orb, there is a shrine which was built in honor of a saint.

When I shot this photo, my jaw dropped. I was amazed at what I had captured. It is my belief that this is an orb of someone who has died and has returned to this site to pay homage to the saint, just as this person would had done when they were alive. The photo is much more revealing when viewed on the camera.

Does this photo offer any more supporting evidence that orbs really are the manifestations of ghosts? I am finding that the answer to that question can be very subjective. There are quite a few experienced investigators and researchers who think that paranormal orbs are definitely not ghosts or any other kind of supernatural energy.

“Enough with the ‘orbs’ already! ‘Orbs are not evidence of the paranormal. They are not ghosts and they are not even ‘unexplained’! It’s the ‘traditional orb photos’ that have become the bane of paranormal research and I think that it’s time we retired this irrelevant theory for good.” – Troy Taylor, americanhauntingsink.com/trouble?rq=orb

The one consistency you will find with the dilemma of orbs, whether foo fighters or balls of spirit energy, is that there is always the possibility that light anomalies like these are in fact extraterrestrial or spirit communications. For myself, I am certain that the orbs I captured on sacred ground are indeed the ghosts of the deceased or of spirits who inhabit the property. I am very aware of the 100+ years of activity on these grounds and there is far too much coincidence between this fact and what I actually experienced during my investigation. Sometimes you just have to see for yourself in order to believe.

Crime & The Paranormal: The Devil Made Me Do It!

You arrive at the court house on your scheduled day for jury duty. As the trial commences it becomes apparent that you’re in for a strange case. The defendant is claiming that demons made him commit the crime. You know there’s no way that’s possible demons simply aren’t real. But then you began to wonder; does the defendant believe they’re real? If he does then did he really commit a crime?

The above scenario can be classified as having something to do with the paranormal, often a subject that comes up once a year around Halloween. It is also a subject that provokes drastically different opinions in people. There are the believers those who believe the paranormal is real, the skeptics who don’t believe a word of it, and those in between who are just waiting for proof to convince them. Perhaps, a clearer understanding of the term paranormal is in order. Webster’s dictionary defines the term paranormal as that which is not scientifically explainable. For purposes of this discussion the term paranormal is being used to describe a variety of concepts that include ghosts, hauntings, psychics/mediums, extra sensory perception (ESP), remote viewing, and claims regularly viewed as being unbelievable.

No discussion of the paranormal and the legal field would be complete without a mention of the criminal aspect. This area is very different from the previous areas of psychics and haunted real estate. The legal system already plays an important role in this area and should continue to play that role, the paranormal should and does take a back seat and doesn’t play a role in the court’s determination of these cases.

On February 16, 1981, in Brookfield, CT 19 year old Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Man is Convicted in Friend’s Death, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 25, 1981), murdered his friend and landlord, 40 year old Alan Bono, by repeatedly stabbing him with a pocket knife. This case attracted national attention and earned the name of “the demon murder trial.” (Lynne Baranski, In a Connecticut Murder Trial, Will (Demonic) Possession Prove Nine-Tenths of the Law? PEOPLE, Oct. 26, 1981).

The reason for all of the attention this case attracted can be attributed to Johnson’s attorney who attempted to enter a “plea of not guilty by virtue of demonic possession” (Id.) in the Danbury Superior Court. Johnson’s attorney stated that “I’m going to show the guy isn’t insane and that it’s not a delusion. The courts have dealt with the existence of God, and now they’ll be asked to deal with the existence of the demonic spirit.” (Id.) Judge Callahan ultimately rejected the plea and Johnson was convicted of first degree manslaughter in November of 1981 (Id.).

Now what would have happened if the Judge had allowed the plea? Johnson’s attorney would have been able to bring in evidence that Johnson was possessed. This could lead to other defendants claiming to be possessed when they committed a crime. There currently is no scientific proof to support a case of possession and many times it simply is determined to be a case of mental illness (Id.). This is one area where it would defeat the court’s purpose by allowing evidence of the paranormal because it could end up being used as a way to circumnavigate justice and ultimately allow the guilty to go unpunished.

What if Johnson really was possessed? Should he still be responsible for the murder? These would have been possible questions the Danbury Superior Court would have had to consider if the plea had been allowed. We will never know for sure if he was or if he wasn’t.
More recently in March of 2009 in Hartford, CT, Calwyn Fearon, murdered his girlfriend, Sharon Tyrell-Barnaby (HARTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE, www.hartford.gov/police/PR_2009/March/2009_03_23_FearonArrestforBarnabyHomicide.htm).

In the police report it was stated that Fearon said “Tyrell-Barnaby, was the Head Ghost, and he had enough.” (Hilda Munoz, Murder Trial Begins for Man Who Claimed Ghosts Made Him Kill, https://articles.courant.com/2010-11-03/community/hc-ghost-murder-1104-20101103_1_sharon-tyrell-barnaby-calwyn-fearon-bodwell-street). Fearon believed that ghosts were tormenting/making fun of him, he claimed the ghosts made him shoot Tyrell-Barnaby.

At Hartford Superior Court a three-judge panel found Fearon not guilty by reason of mental defect. Part of the testimony presented that led to their decision was from a psychiatrist who “reported that the defendant believed that Jesus was telling him to kill Ms. Barnaby and that her death would allow him to solve his problems with the ghosts”(David Owens, Man Not Guilty of Slaying by Reason of Mental Defect, articles.courant.com/2010-11-09/news/hc-fearon-mentally-ill-1110-20101109_1_head-ghost-calwyn-fearon-bodwell-street).

Fearon was diagnosed as suffering from chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Ultimately, Fearon has been committed to 60 years of “maximum-security psychiatric care.”(Id.) However, his condition will be reviewed by the state Psychiatric Security Review Board every two years and if Fearon is found to no longer be dangerous or mentally ill he will be allowed to leave. (Christine Dempsey, Hartford Man Committed For 60 Years In Girlfriend’s Fatal Shooting, articles.courant.com/2011-02-16/community/hc-hartford-ghosts-murder-0217-20110216_1_mental-defect-mental-illness-head-ghost).

In the above case the Hartford Superior Court, recognized the claim that “ghosts made me do it!” as a sign of mental illness. Here, it truly wasn’t anything paranormal but merely a disease that caused the crime. If the court had considered that Fearon was really being tormented by ghosts it would have led to a possibly different outcome, it also would have opened up the way for other criminal defendants to claim that ghosts made them do it.

In a more startling case from 2004 Dena Schlosser murdered her ten month old daughter by cutting off her arms, she then calmly told a 911 operator while a gospel song played in the background that “I cut her arms off” (MOTHER CONFESSES TO SEVERING BABY’S ARMS, www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6561617/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/). This case doesn’t appear to have a paranormal aspect to it, until you consider part of the testimony that was heard at trial.

Schlosser’s husband, John Schlosser, stated at trial that Schlosser told him she wanted to give the baby to Pastor Doyle Davidson, that she wanted “to give the baby to god.”(HUSBAND TESTIFIES IN CASE OF WOMAN WHO CUT OFF BABY’S ARMS www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,184731,00.html).

At trial Pastor Doyle Davidson, stated that “I do not believe that any mental illness exists other than demons, and no medication can straighten it out, other than the power of God” (Thomas Korosec, Pastor Blames Demons, not Mental Illness, https://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/3663101.html). Schlosser was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was admitted to state care. However, she was released in 2008 but has since been sent back (DENA SCHLOSSER BACK IN HOSPITAL, www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/042610-Dena-Schlosser-Back-in-Hospital). The paranormal aspect of this case comes in with the Pastor’s belief that it’s demons to blame. Thankfully, this belief didn’t have anything to do with the outcome.

Another interesting case that involves a belief in the paranormal comes from Manila in the Philippines. Jonjon Bituin was arrested for robbing and murdering his 71 year old neighbor. Bituin turned himself into the Manila Police claiming that he was being haunted by the ghost of the woman he murdered (COPS ARREST ACCOMPLICE IN ROB-SLAY OF SEPTUAGENARIAN IN TONDO, www.mb.com.ph/articles/304994/cops-arrest-accomplice-robslay-septuagenarian-tondo). While this isn’t an American case it is certainly interesting to note that a murderer turned himself in because of his belief in ghosts and that he believed one was haunting him. Perhaps, he was merely being haunted by a guilty conscience.

These cases show that the court is more likely to consider a psychological reason then a paranormal one when dealing with criminal cases. Ultimately, the paranormal really has no place in criminal trials because it could be used as a way to avoid being found guilty. In these type of cases there really is no way to test the defendant’s claims that ghosts made them kill or that they were possessed by demons.

In order for paranormal phenomena to be accepted by courts it would have to pass the same test that all other scientific evidence must pass which was outlined in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, which requires a two-part analysis. It first has to be determined if the experts testimony is reliable meaning does it equal “good science” this is determined by seeing if the experts testimony comes from “scientific knowledge [and] whether their findings are ‘derived by the scientific method.’” The second prong requires that the experts’ testimony be relevant to the case. Meaning as stated in Daubert “that it logically advances a material aspect of the proposing party’s case.“

There were several factors outlined in Daubert to assist in determining whether or not to admit expert testimony. These factors are not required but can be given consideration. They are as follows:

1. Is the experts’ method or theory “generally accepted in the scientific community?”
2. Has the experts’ method or theory been published and peer reviewed?
3. Has the experts’ method or theory been tested?
4. Does the experts’ theory or methods have an acceptable “known or potential rate of error?”

In order for the Daubert test to be applied we would need to pick which specific paranormal phenomena we are trying to introduce. For instance if we are trying to prove that a house is haunted we would try to bring evidence of this which could consist of: video recordings of possible apparitions, electronic voice phenomena (the recording of “spirit voices” on a recorder digital or analog that are not heard with the human ear until the recording is played back), photos, data collected from devices that are believed to detect possible “spirit activity” such as from an Electromagnetic Field meter (EMF), a “spirit box” which “uses radio frequency sweeps to generate white noise which theories suggest give some entities the energy they need to be heard. When this occurs you will sometimes hear voices or sounds coming through the static in an attempt to communicate” (https://www.ghoststop.com/Spirit-Box-B-PSB7-EVP-for-ITC-p/evp-psb7.htm), a thermal camera, etc.

It seems unlikely that the court would ever go so far as to require proof of a haunting. Rather it seems the very reputation of a house as being haunted is what lands it into the same area as stigmatized property. By doing this the courts skip over the issue of trying to prove that ghosts exist.

Whereas if we are trying to prove psychic phenomena is real it would become more difficult to satisfy the requirements of Daubert. It would take an amazing feat on the part of the psychic to convince everyone that what they do is indeed real. This raises the question of how psychic phenomena could even be measured scientifically. If this was something that was ever allowed to come into the court system the implications would be endless.

Consider a psychic testifying about the identity of a murderer if what the psychic says is taken as truth then the suspected murderer could receive life in prison or even the death penalty based on the word of another person. This wouldn’t serve justice accurately at all or would it? If the psychic is telling the truth then shouldn’t the murderer receive the punishment?

In conclusion whether you’re a believer, skeptic, or somewhere in between “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes).

*Not intended as legal advice*

Paranormal Q&A with Marc Arvilla and Lauren Sheridan

FB_IMG_1426293951960Marc Arvilla and Lauren Sheridan are leaders of a team called Mass. Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society out of Gloucester Mass. They are holding an event in Salem this April referred to as SalemCon.  They also have a radio show on www.dtmwickedradio.com

 

Tell our readers about your team.

Marc – Mass Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society or MGHPS was started in early 2010 by me and a couple of friends. We had done a lot of research and reading before we decided to start investigating. At first we would only investigate public places until we were comfortable enough in our techniques that we could begin assisting people in their homes. Our group never charges for our services and we take great care in everything we do. MGHPS now has 3 to 4 active investigators and we are more than willing to work with other groups when necessary.

When did you become interested in the Paranormal and why?

Lauren – I became interested in the paranormal at a young age after having a personal experience during which I believe that a recently deceased relative was attempting to comfort me. It wasn’t until I had the chance to meet paranormal investigators and celebrities at Para History Con 1 that I discovered the depth of my interest in the paranormal.
Marc – Like Lauren, my interest also began at a young age. My most memorable experience was from my teenage years. I was home alone, with my dog, watching TV one night. It was winter so all of the windows were closed. As we sat watching TV my parent’s bedroom door slammed shut down the hall. I ran outside as fast as I could. I stood in my backyard until I could muster up the courage to go back inside. Once I did, I reluctantly went down the hall, checked on the room and found nothing. It wasn’t until shows like “Ghost Hunters” came on that I revisited my childhood curiosities and here I am today.

What is your favorite public place to investigate?

Lauren – Though the list of paranormal locations that I’ve investigated is quite small and not very diverse, I’d have to say that it’s a tie between Fort William Henry (Lake George, NY) and the now closed Irish Mist Bar & Restaurant (Troy, NY). These are 2 locations in which my paranormal experiences were the most intense, consistent, and fascinating.
Marc – Hands down my favorite location to investigate is Houghton Mansion in North Adams Mass. Every time that I have visited this building we have come away with evidence. I really feel drawn to Houghton and have a real need to investigate it several times a year. There is a connection that I cannot explain.

What do you find is the hardest thing in running a team and or investigating the Paranormal?

Marc – I believe that the hardest thing about running a team is maintaining a good reputation. So many people want to knock the next group down or shoot holes in what the other guy is doing. I don’t know why this has to be about being “the best”. This field started as a way to help people and find answers for the unexplained. Now it has become more of a battle of “my evidence is better than your evidence”. This goes along with what the most difficult part about investigating is; locations are becoming attractions, like Disney World. It’s more difficult to get into locations that we would like to “recreationally” investigate because it is either too expensive or claimed as someone else’s ”turf”.

Does your team hold any events, fundraisers and/or public investigations? If so tell us about them?

Marc – MGHPS has recently begun holding public events. Last year we conducted a small overnight investigation at the Lizzie Borden bed and Breakfast and everyone had a blast. The reviews were so good that we decided to have a second event, this one held at Venfort Hall in Lenox Ma. That too was a success so this time we decided to go big. On April 10th and 11th we will be hosting Salem Con 2015 at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Ma. Salem Con is huge. We have several big name celebs that will be in attendance including John Zaffis, Brian Cano, Dustin Pari, Tim Weisberg, Jeff Belanger, John Tobin, and Scott Gruenwald. There will be a VIP party on Friday night, a vendor conference and lecture series on Saturday, and “Ghost Hunts’ on Saturday night. Tickets are still available on our website www.mghparanormal.com.

Experienced investigators state a newbie in the field should have a mentor? Did you have any mentors in the field and if so what is one thing you learned from them?

Lauren – I’ve been lucky enough to have more than 1 mentor in the field and I’m extremely grateful for each one individually. John Tobin introduced me to the paranormal field when he invited me join The Glory Haunt Hounds and it’s because of him that I’ve met so many wonderfully talented and genuinely friendly people, and also experienced the paranormal event/fundraiser aspect. Marc Arvilla took me under his wing almost immediately and has taught me the fundamentals of paranormal investigating. I wouldn’t want to investigate a location without him because I consider his knowledge and insight to be irreplaceable. Brian Cano has taught me how to investigate using critical thinking skills and common sense approached. His knowledge is invaluable as well.
Marc – I agree with this statement 100%. When getting involved in this field I read many books and took time to watch and learn from some pretty knowledgeable folks. If I had to choose one or two people that I could call a mentor I would say it is Joe Chin and his sister Christine Downes. Joe and Christine have taught me so much about technique, communication, and patience. Patience is so important.

Speaking of newbies what is the one piece of advice you could give someone starting out in the field and why?

Lauren –Maintain professionalism, Keep an open mind, Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and READ! Books are the most valuable sources of information available to us as investigators and researchers. We can only become better investigators by studying and learning from the experiences of the ‘Paranormal Pioneers’; an elite list that includes Ed and Lorraine Warren, Hans Holzer and Harry Price. The internet is OK for general information but not solid evidence or stone cold fact. If you want to be successful and respected in this field you’ve got to know your stuff.

Marc – One piece of advice that I would tell someone new to the field is DON’T EAT SPICY FOOD BEFORE AN INVESTIGATION. I’m kidding, but don’t. Seriously though, I would say find that mentor. Having someone with experience who can teach you the dos and don’ts is so important. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be an individual or have your own technique it means that you will learn how to apply your own style properly. Investigating is not what you see on TV. There is a lot of work that goes into each investigation whether you capture evidence or debunk everything. Knowing how to do it properly so no one gets hurt, and giving a client the best service possible is priority.

Who do you admire the most in the paranormal field?

Lauren –I think this is an unfair question because my list and reasons would be pages long however, I will say that I admire those who work hard, are modest, lead by example and through experience, and never stop learning because they think they know it all. People like John Zaffis, Jeff Mudgett, Marc Arvilla, Dominic Bouchard.
Marc – There are many people in this field that I admire. I don’t think that I can pick one person but I will say this: If you are willing to step into this field and push the envelope, maintain professionalism, and be yourself, I admire that.

What is favorite piece of paranormal equipment you could never leave home without and why?

Lauren –Because I’m incredibly clumsy I keep the equipment that I carry around to a minimum. I ‘d say, a digital recorder.
Marc – My favorite piece of equipment that I must have with me on every investigation is my digital recorder. Your body is the best tool you have and you need to listen to what it’s telling you. But, a digital recorder will sometimes take you into another world and someone else’s thoughts.

If you could investigate any place in the world where would it be and why?

Lauren –The Roman Forum, the Colosseum, or the Agora in Athens. The histories of these locations span thousands of years and include periods of brutality, political upheaval, and Stoic philosophy.
Marc – If I could investigate anywhere in the world It would have to be the Catacombs under Paris. I want to know who they are and what their stories are.

People say the paranormal field is dying off. Do you think that is true? Is there a future for the paranormal? What do you see and/or hope in the future for in this field?

Marc – I would not say that the paranormal field is dying off. The TV shows are running their cycle and are beginning to wane in popularity but the field is stronger than ever. There are more people investigating now than at any other point in history. There is a lack of direction at the moment but that will change. I hope that the future of this field finds teams cooperating and working toward a common goal. We do not need to all get along but we do need to work toward the same outcome.

If one of your friends described your team’s style of investigating what would they say?

Marc – I would hope that if someone were to describe our team they would say that we are professional, respectful, and honest.

You also have a talk radio show on DTM Wicked Radio. Tell us about it and how did you come up with the name? It is quite charming name and rolls off the tongue.

Marc – Lauren and I do have a show on DTM Wicked radio as well. We talked about many different names and what we could possibly call the show and ultimately the Paranormal Hangover name stuck with us. We felt that there were so many other shows out there that we wanted to be different and talk about the stuff other shows do not. We have all experienced the Paranormal Hangover from investigating into all hours of the night in dark and sometimes dangerous places. The effects can last for days, weeks, sometimes even months. That is what we what our show to do. We want our conversations to linger on in your mind.

What is the scariest public place you have ever investigated and why?

Lauren –The Irish Mist (Troy, NY). Every single person on our team was physically and mentally affected by the spirit activity and spirit energy during that investigation. Quite incredible.
Marc – I have to agree with Lauren again. The scariest place that I personally have ever investigated was the Irish Mist Pub in Troy, NY. The atmosphere became very charged at the end of the investigation and each person that was present was physically scratched. I also had a very emotional encounter with a child spirit on the 3rd floor of the warehouse portion of the building. I will never forget the Mist.

So many teams come and go from this field. Why do you think this happens?

Marc – I feel the biggest reason for the turnaround in our field is that people come in expecting it to be like the TV shows. They expect Portals, and poltergeists, and demons. It’s not usually like that and they do not want to put in the time and hard work. You sometimes can sit in a room for hours and hours and come away with nothing. Then they expect when they do capture something that a TV network will come knocking on their door with contract in hand. When this doesn’t happen the thrill has been had and it’s on to the next.

What does the future hold for M.G.H.P.S and Paranormal Hangover? Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Marc – I haven’t really given much thought to the future. I am happy to be where we are right now. If I were to hope for anything it’s that we are a respected team that people can come to with questions or for advice.

You can find their team at www.mghparanormal.com

or their show,  Paranormal Hangover at www.dtmwickedradio.com

The Legend of Thirteen Curves

IMG_0214-2Nestled between what was formerly called Pumpkin and Toad Hollows is a road that has supposedly a dark tragic history to it. This road is known as Cedarvale Road and is located about ten miles outside of Syracuse, NY.  It runs between what is now known as the towns of Onondaga and Marcellus. It is your typical rural country road that is very beauitful to take a scenic drive. The landscape consists of corn fields, woods and cow pastures. Several old farmhouses and modern homes are scattered throughout this area. There is a section on this road that consists of twisty and sharp hairpin turns known by locals as Thirteen Curves.

This section of Cedarvale Road starts at Howlett Hill Road and ends at Pleasant Valley Road. On one side of the thirteen curves are tree covered hills that form a wall extending the whole length of the curves. On the other side is Onondaga Creek with several deep ravines. This part of the road is extremely dangerous especially if you are going at a high rate of speed or are not paying attention to what is in front of you. The terrain is up and down hill. One can also easily get vertigo and disoriented traveling in this area Throughout history there has been several automobile, truck and farming vehicle accidents that occurred in this particular section. In winter the pavement can become very icy and snow covered. Someone not familiar with these treacherous curves can get into an accident here. This may have been the case of one particular deadly night sixty or seventy years ago involving a newly married young couple.

IMG_0212-2I grew up in a farming hamlet called South Onondaga in the southern part of Central New York situated in the town of Onondaga. South Onondaga in the 1800’s and early turn of century was known as Toad Hollow. It is a very hilly region and has several isolated rural roads that tend to twist and turn but nothing compares to Thirteen Curves. If you take Cedarvale Road from the Marcellus area you will eventually end up in of South Onondaga. As a child I heard several stories about Thirteen Curves and the ghostly tale. My mother also was born and raised in South Onondaga. She was born in 1942 and the story of Thirteen Curves has been around since she was a child. The legend of Thirteen Curves is very well known to locals. Recently it has gained international attention from being featured in several books and on T.V.

The version of the story which I heard throughout my childhood involved a newly wed couple traveling from Syracuse on their way to the village of Skaneateles to spend their honeymoon there. Skaneateles is a historical village that has several fine dining restaurants and inns even back in the early 1900’s. The couple was traveling in a new brand luxury car. They became lost and ended up on Cedarvale Road. It was late at night and they weren’t familiar with the dangerous curves on this road. The car veered off a curve and plummeted down into the creek. The accident supposedly happened on the seventh curve. The bride was killed instantly.

To this day, it is said that the ghost of bride haunts Thirteen Curves. Her spirit has been seen in the back seats of cars traveling the road, in the woods, floating above the creek or guiding across the seventh curve. She has been seen wearing a white wedding dress. Some report she is carrying an orange lantern. Sometimes she has been seen covered in blood. Others state she has been seen carrying her husband’s head. She also supposedly walks out in front of vehicles causing them to crash.

There are also several versions to this haunting tale and if you ask locals they may tell you a different story depending on who you ask. Variations to this story include many different scenarios on what happened to the car and the couple. One is that the couple’s car broke down and the husband went to get help at a farmhouse nearby. When he came back he found his wife dead and covered in blood. Not knowing how she died. Another version reports that the couple died instantly when they crashed into the creek. Yet another states that the husband died fixing a flat tire on their car while the wife waited in the car. Eventually the wife heard scraping noises on the rooftop of the car. She got out of the auto to take a look and saw a frightening scene. Her husband was dead, bleeding and hanging upside down from a tree. His fingers were touching the roof of the car causing the noise.

It is hard to keep track of all the stories regarding Thirteen Curves there are so many. Is it just a legend or true story? No one knows for sure. However no one can find records of a new married couple involved in a deadly car crash on Cedarvale Road that occurred sixty or seventy years ago.

IMG_0209-2According to the Webster Dictionary an urban legend can be defined as a story about an unusual event or occurrence that many believe is true but really isn’t true. These stories are usually told by word of mouth and have several variations to it. Usually there is no evidence or records to prove that this unusual event took place.

Locals and several others claim they have seen the ghost that haunts Thirteen Curves. The only commonalities to all the variations of this story is that a deadly car accident occurred involving a newlywed couple and there was death. If you look at other urban myths across the country you will find similar tales involving a couple in a deadly car accident. There are also stories about bride apparitions haunting different roads or streets and being seen in the back seats of vehicles.

This haunting tale fits the description of a classic urban legend. There are several different versions of the story. It had been told word of mouth. Generations have told the story in school yards, community events, in books and on T.V. There are similar stories across the country. There is no evidence or history records of this strange event. However what about those sightings of the ghostly bride by locals and people traveling the road?