Allen Marston

Allen grew up in a small town in Southern Virginia. His interest in the paranormal began as a young child after his parents told him of some experiences that they had over the years involving UFO’s and Ghosts. He began reading every thing about the paranormal he could get his hands on, thanks to his mother. As the years went by he had many experiences and feelings that he could not explain. One day he found out about a group in his area that was actually conducting paranormal investigations in his area and attended a public investigation with this group. He was totally hooked and began doing investigations with this group. After some time he and another member decided to leave the group to gear towards conducting more scientific investigations. Allen is co-founder of Apocalyptic Paranormal Investigation & Research where he specializes in audio and EVP. His team is the first to ever investigate the buildings of the Appomattox Court House Historic Park, where the surrender of Civil War occured. He has a passion for the paranormal and strives to bring all teams together to hopefully find concrete proof of the fringe sciences. When Allen is not working as a professional firefighter, you can find him spending time with his wonderful family, working other jobs to make money, creating artwork or finding more places to investigate.

Author's posts

Shadow People – A compilation of data

shadA few years ago, a co-worker and I were siting in the office of my fire station when I saw the most defined shadow person I have ever seen. I was writing up a report from the call we had just run and for some reason I looked up. At that moment I saw a human shaped black mass “walk” from the bathroom to the kitchen. I got up quickly and went to the kitchen but no one was there. I walked back to the office wondering what I just saw. I asked my co-worker if she saw anything out of the ordinary or strange and she quickly replied, “No, and I don’t want to know what you saw, I know what you see” with a smirk and wide eyes. Like many other people I have had shadows in the corners of my eyes, only to disappear when acknowledged, but nothing this pronounced and clear. This instance is what really provoked me to start researching the phenomena known as “Shadow People”.

When I began my research I was expecting to hopefully find one theory that would explain what I saw……boy was I wrong. There are just as many theories as there are experiences pertaining to this phenomena. The only thing that seemed to be the same in all cases was that they were dark in color. Due the varying data it seemed that “Shadow People” could be defined as another race, if you are so inclined to see it that way. Just as in humans, no one true trait could be attributed to to this phenomena. It would basically be like stereotyping a certain race, there is exceptions to every stereotype that one could come up with. I felt it would be easier to come up with a compilation of data, list them in one document, and let others decide what they had experienced and leave it at that. By doing this I felt it would allow me to keep an open mind and not be thrusted to put them into any certain group, as many have done in the past. I hope you enjoy what I have come up with.

 

THEORIES: Ghosts, Astral travelers, Djinn or Jinn, Aliens, Angels or protectors, Demons, Time travelers, Inter-dimensional travelers, Mischievous spirits, Malicious Spirits, Phenomena related to sleep paralysis or Hypnagogia, Thought forms, Hallucinations, Pareidolia , Spirits trapped in purgatory, residual energy, secret government experiments.

CONSISTENCY: Ranges from a dark mist all the way to a dark solid mass, Can be seen as having an oily texture at times

SIZE: Ranges from rodent size to around 8’ in height or greater

SHAPE: Usually a silhouette of a man or woman. Can be either with the addition of a hat, hood, coat, or cloak and at times red glowing eyes. Can also have an animal shape as well as being just a “blob” or shifting shapes. Have also been seen with horns, but very few accounts of this. Even though they are usually seen as people, animal shadows have also been reported. They can basically take any form.

CONDITIONS SIGHTED: Any location, Day or Night, Usually seen in or around dimly lit areas or shadows, (Not limited to these though)

ACTIONS: Seen out of ones peripheral vision, Standing, Walking, Floating, Peeking around corners, scurrying about, and a few accounts of being attacked.

FEELINGS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PHENOMENA: Calm or peaceful, No feelings, Love, Scared or frightened, Trance like state, Anger, Overcome, Pain or sorrow, Evilness

POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATIONS:

LURKERS: Usually seen out of peripheral vision or peeking around corners, furniture, etc. Once seen they tend to duck around the object to not be seen.

WATCHERS: Often tend to be seen standing either close to or far away from an individual having no interaction other than watching the person. Many people have reported this type standing at the end of their bed or in a corner.

SCURRIERS: These are usually rodent or animal sized and seem to run very quickly across the floor, walls, or ceilings.

FRIGHTENERS (NOT TO BE MISTAKEN WITH THE MOVIE): Usually this types tends to cause fear or dread. This can either be done by producing feelings or by “attacking” an individual.

In my honest opinion I feel that in 99% of cases involving shadow people are benign. Does this mean that this is the standard at which you should gauge shadow people? No, I feel that every case of this phenomena differs in many ways and individuals should treat the case not the category. In conclusion I would like to stress that this is my interpretation of the information that I have researched and not the so called “GOLD STANDARD”. There are always new experiences and theories popping up. Go out , do your own research and come up with your own conclusion. You definitely will not regret it.

The Philip Experiment

philioIs it possible to create an “entity” using nothing more than your mind? Many believe that this was done back in the 70’s ,by a group of parapsychologists in Canada, while others believe it was nothing more than parlor tricks of the time. Keep in mind that this experiment was recorded and is accessible on line for viewing. Instead of me telling you my thoughts, I think it is best I give you the account of what supposedly went down and let you decide if they definitely created “PHILIP”, or if it was something else entirely. I hope you enjoy.

The story begins in 1972 in Toronto, Canada. Dr. A.R.G. Owen (self proclaimed poltergeist expert and mathematician by trade), along with eight people from the Toronto Society for Psychical Research, decided to conduct a study to prove that an entity could manifest itself by using nothing but the thoughts of individuals. The theory in itself is not a new one. Buddhists have long believed this to be true, they called this entity a Tulpa. Anyway, back to the story. They first had to come up with a backstory to really give this entity a “life” is you will. The following is the biography they came up with:

“Philip was an aristocratic Englishman, living in the middle 1600s at the time of Oliver Cromwell. He had been a supporter of the King, and was a Catholic. He was married to a beautiful but cold and frigid wife, Dorothea, the daughter of a neighboring nobleman.

One day, when out riding on the boundaries of his estates, Philip came across a gypsy encampment and saw there a beautiful dark-eyed girl. Her name was Margo, and he fell instantly in love with her.

He brought her back secretly to live in the gatehouse, near the stables of Diddington Manor – his family home.

For some time he kept his love-nest secret, but eventually Dorothea, realizing he was keeping someone else there, found Margo, and accused her of witchcraft and stealing her husband. Philip was too scared of losing his reputation and his possessions to protest at the trial of Margo, and she was convicted of witchcraft and burned at the stake.

Philip was subsequently stricken with remorse that he had not tried to defend Margo, and would pace the battlements of Diddington in despair. Finally, one morning his body was found at the bottom of the battlements, whence he had cast himself in a fit of agony and remorse.”

Now that they had his biography, they needed to come up with a visualization of what they thought “Philip” should look like. One of the researchers came up with what they thought he should look like. Some say that the recreation of “Philip” looked a lot like Jesus is supposed to look. The picture included is Philip.

All aspects of “Philip” had now been created. It was time to go ahead with the experiment. The group would get together and talk of “Philip’s” life, as if they had really known him. As well as talking about his life, they would also meditate about him. I’m not real sure on how many times a week they met, but this continued for a year. “Philip” never showed any sign that he was there. When he had not showed himself they decided to take the experiment on a new approach that had shown some interesting results in the 19th century, a seance.

The new way of conducting this study continued for about a month, when finally, “Philip” made himself known. At first the table would vibrate and shake but later on in the experiment he began to answer questions. He would answer the questions with knocks on the table. One knock for yes and two for no. With all of the researchers having input on his life, they all knew what his answer should be. This continued for some time and he even started to add his own input into his story with historical accuracy and sometimes inaccuracy. This isn’t the only activity that they would experience. It is said the table itself would move around the room. He was also said to control the lighting in the room on command.

Now that they were getting activity they needed to make sure that none of the researchers were making it happen. As a way to make sure that none of the researchers were moving the table, it’s said that paper doilies were placed under there hands to make sure they could not move the table. They also went as far as to record each person making knocks in different audible ranges and comparing them to “Philip’s” knocks. They were said to not have the same reverberation as his did. They even videoed their sessions and invited the public in to view their seance. At one point a whole new group was used and the same results ensued. To view on the experiments you an go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2lGPT2J1cc

Now…..what was really happening? I will give you some possiblities, but like I stated above I will not lead you one way or the other. This is where I want you to do some more research on “Philip” and come to your conclusion. Now to the possibilities:

1) They actually produced a Tulpa through mere thought.

2) It was actually all a big hoax and all the activities were staged and rehearsed.

3) What they actually produced was a poltergeist, as it is believed that poltergeists are merely produced by ones subconscious.

4) It was something else coming through giving them the false hope and lying that they were indeed “Philip”. When in actuality they were not.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

Resurrection Mary

rmary

If you ever find yourself driving down Archer AVE in Chicago ,Illinois be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a female hitchhiker. She is said to be a very good looking woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing a white party dress. I know this doesn’t sound too odd in this and time, but wait it gets better. The lady is said to seem 100% solid one second, and then vanish in the blink of an eye. She was first documented being seen around Resurrection Cemetery in the middle to late 1930’s. Since this is where she was mostly seen at this time she came to be known as “Resurrection Mary.”

When the stories of Mary first started, passersby claimed that she they would first see the a few feet up the road. When they got up beside her she would attempt to jump onto the running boards of their automobiles and vanish. All of this seemed to happen right as they got to the cemetery.

Years after the first accounts new ones started to pop up. These seemed to be more interesting. They didn’t seem to center around the cemetery now. The stories now tend to begin either in or around the old O Henry Ballroom. Some accounts have her walking down the road near the ballroom and then get picked up, and some actually have her in the ballroom itself dancing with guests before being given a ride. Most of the ones that gave them rides were given bad directions by Mary that usually ended up with them driving by the cemetery and her disappearing right before their eyes at the gates. Descriptions of woman always seemed to match exactly. The other sightings weren’t as pleasant. Drivers would be startled when a blonde woman in a white dress would dart across the road. Usually the cars would drive right through her. When they stopped to see what happened they would see her turn and cross through the gates, never to be seen again.

There is one account that is different than all the rest. This account supposedly has evidence of its happening. Now wether this is 100% true story or not I’m not sure but it’s still pretty neat. Here is the story according to prairieghost.com:

“The strangest account of Mary was the one that occurred on the night of August 10, 1976. This event has remained so bizarre after all this time because on this occasion, Mary did not just appear as a passing spirit. It was on this night that she left evidence behind!

A driver was passing by the cemetery around 10:30 that night when he happened to see a girl standing on the other side of the gates. He said that when he saw her, she was wearing a white dress and grasping the iron bars of the gate. The driver was considerate enough to stop down the street at the Justice police station and alert them to the fact that someone had been accidentally locked in the cemetery at closing time. An officer responded to the call but when he arrived there was no one there. The graveyard was dark and deserted and there was no sign of any girl.

But his inspection rmary2of the gates, where the girl had been seen standing, did reveal something. The revelation chilled him to the bone! He found that two of the bars in the gate had been pulled apart and bent at sharp angles. To make things worse, at the points on the green-colored bronze where they had been pried apart were blackened scorch marks. Within these marks was what looked to be skin texture and handprints that had been seared into the metal with incredible heat.

The marks of the small hands made big news and curiosity-seekers came from all over the area to see them. In an effort to discourage the crowds, cemetery officials attempted to remove the marks with a blowtorch, making them look even worse. Finally, they cut the bars off and installed a wire fence until the two bars could be straightened or replaced.

The cemetery emphatically denied the supernatural version of what happened to the bars. They claimed that a truck backed into the gates while doing sewer work at the cemetery and that grounds workers tried to fix the bars by heating them with a blowtorch and bending them. The imprint in the metal, they said, was from a workman trying to push them together again. While this explanation was quite convenient, it did not explain why the marks of small fingers were clearly visible in the metal.

The bars were removed to discourage onlookers, but taking them out had the opposite effect and soon, people began asking what the cemetery had to hide. The events allegedly embarrassed local officials, so they demanded that the bars be put back into place. Once they were returned to the gate, they were straightened and painted over with green paint so that the blackened area would match the other bars. Unfortunately though, the scorched areas continued to defy all attempts to cover them and the twisted spots where the handprints had been impressed remained obvious until just recently, when the bars were removed for good.”

One question that many have tried to find the answer of is who was Mary and did she actually exist? I found this answer on prairieghost.com as well, and it seems plausible:

“Most researchers agree that the most accurate version of the story concerns a young girl who was killed while hitchhiking down Archer Avenue in the early 1930’s. Apparently, she had spent the evening dancing with a boyfriend at the O Henry Ballroom. At some point, they got into an argument and Mary (as she has come to be called) stormed out of the place. Even though it was a cold winter’s night, she thought, she would rather face a cold walk home than another minute with her boorish lover.

She left the ballroom and started walking up Archer Avenue. She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a passing automobile. The driver fled the scene and Mary was left there to die.

Her grieving parents buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a white dress and her dancing shoes. “

Who Resurrection Mary really was will more than likely never be known. For all we know it could be a compilation of stories. However I will say that if it is, it’s a very good story. I hope that this has intrigued you enough to go out and do some research on who Mary could have been. Maybe, if you’re brave enough you’ll venture out to Chicago and take a drive down Archer AVE and experience Mary for yourself………

Stories and Accounts used from www.prairieghosts.com

The Smurl Family Haunting

Courtesy of:  http://decodedpast.com/

hurl“Strange things happened in the West Pittston, Pennsylvania, duplex where the Smurls lived. Janet and her husband Jack, along with children Heather, Dawn, Carin, and Shannon, and their German Shepherd named Simon, lived in the duplex next to Jack’s parents, John and Mary Smurl. According to the Smurls, the phenomena began in 1974.

This case involves demonologists, a skeptic, a “priest,” and an exorcist who was an expert in the paranormal – what happened to the Smurls in the 1970s?

Alleged Paranormal Phenomena

The family claimed that a TV burst into flames, water pipes leaked, scratches appeared on walls, and toilets flushed by themselves. They also heard footsteps and music from unplugged radios while empty rocking chairs swayed, and experienced foul odors permeating the place, and drawers opening and closing by themselves. The Smurls also claimed the house had a paranormal macro menagerie: an incubus and a ghostly pig-like creature.

The Smurls stated that they tried to get help from the Scranton Roman Catholic Diocese, which said it would consult experts. Janet alleged she thought a Father O’Leary was helping, but she came to believe he was a demon in the disguise of a priest!

In 1986, the Smurls finally heard about and contacted self-proclaimed demonologists Lorraine and the now-late Ed Warren.warrenh

Warren Investigation and Exorcisms

The Warrens’ claim to fame stems from their involvement with The Amityville Horror which they proclaimed was real. The American Society for Psychical Research and other prestigious parapsychological organizations debunked this; one of the fraud’s perpetrators, George Weber, even confessed to the media that it was a hoax.

In West Pittston, the Warrens conducted no scientific investigation and didn’t question the Smurls about their feelings regarding the alleged phenomena; however, they announced that three spirits and a demon haunted the house. They asked a Father Robert F. McKenna (later a bishop, who was a member of an order of Catholicism that the Vatican does not recognize) to perform an exorcism. Two unsuccessful exorcisms ensued; the third one appeared to work, but the family later determined that it had failed.

It was around this time that the Smurls contacted the media and a book publisher.

CSICOP Investigation of Paranormal Activity

CSICOP is an acronym that stands for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The organization investigates alleged paranormal phenomena. (The organization has since abbreviated their acronym to CSI.)

CSIOP Chairman Paul Kurtz offered to investigate the Smurl Haunting because of the attention the case garnered, and because of the Warrens’ involvement, and wrote a report about the results, “A Haunting in West Pittston? Not a Ghost of a Chance,” that appeared in the Winter 1986/87 issue of The Skeptical Inquirer.

Kurtz sent two teams of investigators to West Pittston. When they arrived, the Warrens denied them access to the house, although the Smurls gave one of the teams permission to investigate the Haunting claims. CSI members extensively phone interviewed the Smurls, neighbors and reporters working on the case.

What Caused the Smurl Haunting Reports?

Kurtz believed the hauntings were a hoax for a few reasons, including conflicting report from teenaged Dawn, and Jack’s health – he had brain surgery three years before the incidents to relieve water on the brain, which might contribute to delusions.

Allentown psychologist Robert Gordon thought that the family possibly suffered from mass hysteria similar that which happened during the Salem witch hunts and trials. He said shared tension might cause this, and common symptoms could involve delusions or hallucinations. When Kurtz asked the Smurls to undergo comprehensive psychological and physiological exams, they refused.

Neighbors had complained to town officials for years about foul stenches originating from a sewer pipe near the Smurl’s home as well, this could be the source of the odors the Smurls reported. In addition, There was intermittent settling of homes in the area due to layers of underground mine veins, which could have caused rocking chairs and other disturbances.

Kurtz noted the possibility that financial gain could have caused the hoax as well. Within days of the story about the alleged haunting making national news, a witness allegedly saw Jack negotiating with Scranton businessman Ralph Loma, head of the Star Group, a Hollywood production company. Jack initially denied this, but Loma confirmed he tried to get exclusive rights to the story about the case. In November, St. Martin’s Press proclaimed that it signed a book contract with the Smurls.

Ed Warren, in attempting to defend his refusal to allow the CSI team to investigate the Smurl’s home, called a press conference. He claimed he had tapes of terrifying sounds and a videotape of the dark form in the duplex. When someone asked for them, he couldn’t remember the name of the TV company to which he gave the tapes. He also said the Catholic Church had the “evidence.” The Catholic Church says that they don’t.

Scranton Diocese Investigation

The Scranton Diocese asked Father Alphonsus Trabold, exorcist, professor and paranormal expert from St. Bonaventure University, in New York, to investigate. When bishops feel that they don’t have a qualified exorcist in their diocese, they’re allowed to find one in another district. In 1998, I spoke with Father Trabold to find more information about the incredible phenomena in The Haunted, a book co-authored by the Warrens and the Smurls with Robert Curran.

Father Trabold told me at that time that he had previously worked with the Warrens until he discovered they weren’t sincere, were not what they purported to be, and were given to sensationalizing. He chuckled when explaining that when he went to one of their lectures, they saw him and toned down their act, so he wore disguises when he went to their future talks.

Father Trabold was very kind when he talked about the Smurl case and his investigation. He believed the family was sincere and that something happened, but he couldn’t say it was demonic.

Smurl Haunting Unproven

While the Smurls possibly experienced strange occurrences in their home, the facts don’t support proof of a demonic presence. Was their experience the result of mass hysteria, local conditions, greed, or some combination of the above? We may never know.”

Source:  http://decodedpast.com/smurl-haunting-alleged-paranormal-phenomena-demons/4568

 

The Ghost of Chloe

ghostchloeOur story begins sometime in the 1800’s on a plantation near St. Francisville, Louisiana. Like many southern plantations of this time, slaves took on many of the duties on the farm and in the home. This plantation was no different than any of the others. The owner at the time, Judge Clark Woodruffe, had chosen a slave girl by the name of Chloe to serve as the governess for his two girls.

Chloe tended to the day to day activities of what ever the Judge’s daughters needed. After some time the Judge became very fond of Chloe. He began to make sexual advances towards the governess. Chloe did not really want to go along with his advances, but you have to remember at this time pretty much anything was better than being sent back to fields to hard labor and discipline, so she complied. This went on for some time and she began to get the feeling that he may have began to get tired of her. She feared that he would find someone new and she would be stripped of her “freedoms” and be sent back to the fields.

Her fears got the best of her, so she decided to see what she could find out by eaves dropping on the day to day activities in the house.

Story has it that she would sneak up to the doors and listen through the key hole. Its unsure of how long this went on, but one day the Judge caught her. After talking with Chloe he was so furious that he chopped off her ear. From that day forward she wore what has become her recognizable green turban. Sadly enough her fears of being sent back to hard labor didn’t cease.

Chloe began to thinking of ways that she could make herself seen as an asset and was needed in the house. She devised a plan to take oleander, a poisonous plant that grows in the south, and bake it into a birthday cake. She figured that that the family would get sick and she would be there to nurse them back to health. She felt that this plan would make her valuable again.

Chloe decided to go through with her plan so she gathered just enough oleander leaves to make the family sick and baked the cake. After dinner she brought out the cake for everyone to “enjoy”. It’s unclear if the Judge had any of the cake, but the rest of family definitely partook in it. Immediately after eating the cake the judges wife and two daughters fell to ground in agony. She helped the family to the beds and began to take care of the family. Despite all her efforts the daughters and mother (who was also pregnant) died.

It didn’t take long for the news of what happened to spread between the other slaves. Now it’s know if Chloe told someone, or they put two and two together and figured out that it was her that made them sick, but they decide to take care of the problem before the Judge took it out on all of them. Story has it that late one night they got together and captured Chloe as she slept. They proceeded to hang her from one of the oak trees on the property till she was dead. Supposedly they then they cut her down, weighted her body down with rocks and threw her into the Mississippi River.

Guests have stated that they have woke up in the middle of the night by what seems to be a slave girl with a green turban on her head. She has also been seen in numerous places on the grounds. Something is definitely going on there, but it’s not known if it is Chloe. To be honest, they are not sure that Chloe ever existed. From what I can tell there is no record of anything going on at the Myrtle’s Plantation involving this girl. I’ll leave the mystery for you to find out.

Training & Equipment

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I figured I would post some links where you can find training and equipment that can help keep you safe on paranormal investigations. This is just a short list and definitely not the only places to find these products and training. Feel free to post more below, especially if you have interacted and had good experiences with them.

 CPR & FIRST AID:

http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/CommunityCPRandFirstAid/Community-CPR-First-Aid_UCM_001123_SubHomePage.jsp

 

WILDERNESS TRAINING:

http://www.nols.edu/wmi/courses/wfr.shtml

http://www.wildmed.com/wilderness-medical-courses/

 

SUPPLIES:

http://www.firstaidsuppliesonline.com

https://www.e-firstaidsupplies.com

http://www.bettymills.com

http://www.gemplers.com/tech/sresp.htm

http://www.grainger.com

http://www.enviroequipment.com

 

RESEARCH:

http://www.gemplers.com/tech/sresp.htm

http://www.cdc.gov

http://www.epa.gov/mold/

http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos

The Ghost of Marie Laveau

10620666_10152372045261576_1170317444348853306_nWhen I decided to write this article, I thought it would be a straight forward synopsis of the Voodoo Queen’s life and ending with with what is believed to her ghost. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. While doing my research I learned that this lady is wrapped in mystery and the truth is hard to pull out.

The first mystery is her actual birth year. Everything that I found leads to the month and date of September 10, but this is where the variances begin. I first found the date of 1784 and began to write this article. While checking sources I began to find a few other dates as well. I came to the conclusion that she was born somewhere between 1783 and 1801. Okay, no big deal as for that time records were probably poorly kept or possibly got lost/destroyed along the way.

The next thing that stumped me was the actual birthplace as well as to who her parents were. The mother wasn’t too hard to find as all the reference material I found stated that her mother was Marguerite Darcantel. The father on the other hand wasn’t as easy as I kept finding two different possibilities of a father. The first was Charles Laveau, a wealthy white creole plantation owner. The second was a free man of color who had the last name of Laveaux, sometimes cited as Charles also. Her birthplace went along with the differences of the father. While most things cited she was born in New Orleans, a couple stated she was born Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

The mystery doesn’t stop there. Some say that she was brought up as an educated woman that learned the art of hairdressing which was very prestigious at the time.

Other sources say that she never learned to read or write. All do say however that she was brought up as a devout catholic, which would lead one to believe that she could actually read and possibly write.

The story starts to even out a little about these aspects of her life. On August 4, 1819 she married a free person of color of Haiti, by the name of Jacques Paris. The couple then moved to the French Quarter of New Orleans. The couple was together until he went missing and presumed to be dead in 1824.(Although there is some evidence that he deserted her). Presumably she was left with two children as well.

After the disappearance she is believed to have become a hairdresser to many prominent women in New Orleans. Some say this lead to part of her fame. She also would go to the prisons and minister to the ones on death row, as well as care for sick people in her home.

Somewhere around 1826 she entered into a common law marriage with Louis Christophe Dumesnil de Glapion. This fellow was a very prominent member of the New Orleans society. There is a little discrepancy as to how many children they had. It’s just safer to say that they had anywhere from five to fifteen kids. They remained together until his death in 1855. At this time she stopped hairdressing and raising her family was one of full time jobs.

Most feel that it was at this point she began to infuse her Catholic upbringing with her voodoo roots to make it more acceptable to upper class of clients that she would soon take on. She would go on to making a very comfortable living selling gris-gris, magical items, and spells as well as telling fortunes and curing ailments. One articles I read suggested this: “Some scholars believe that Laveau’s feared magical powers of divination were actually based on her network of informants which she developed while working as a hairdresser in households of the prominent. As she visited her clients (mostly white) she listened closely to their gossip. She also appeared to excel at obtaining inside information on her wealthy patrons by instilling fear in their servants whom she either paid or ‘cured’ of mysterious ailments.” -womenhistoryblog

The same article also had this to say:

“Once the news of Laveau’s powers spread, she overthrew the other voodoo queens of New Orleans. She acted as an oracle (a person who predicts the future), conducted private rituals behind her cottage on St. Ann Street in the French Quarter, performed exorcisms and offered sacrifices to spirits. Oral traditions suggested that the occult part of her magic mixed Roman Catholic beliefs, including saints, with African spirits and religious concepts.” -womenhistoryblog

She continued her legacy up until she died in 1881. Or did she? She has been spotted outside of home on St.Anne St numerous times. After hurricane Katrina it is said that she was seen on her front porch weeping because of the state the city she loved was in at the time. It also said that a thick black mass has been seen above her home accompanied with the smell of sulfur. She has also been spotted outside of her supposed tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1.

Many feel that she is still at work. Visitors to her tomb draw three X’s on it’s wall and make their wishes known to her believing that she will still carry on her life’s work. Whether true or not she remains as one of New Orleans most famous and powerful women.

I hope you have enjoyed this and it inspires you to go out and do your own research on this remarkable woman.

Dangers Unseen

dangerclosegames_logoOver the next few months we will be taking a look at the dangers that you may face while conducting paranormal investigations. For the first few topics we will be focusing on the dangers that you may not see, and effects that may not show themselves until later down the road. I am going to be straight and to the point with these. I will list the danger, where it can be found, and the symptoms that one will face if effected,etc. In this article we will look at two dangers, the next article a few more and so on. I hope these will give you the knowledge to keep you and your team safe and healthy.

 

ASBESTOS

What is it?

Any of several fibrous mineral forms of magnesium silicate. Asbestos is resistant to heat, flames, and chemical action. Some forms have been shown to cause lung diseases.

Where can it be found?

  • Attic and wall insulation produced containing vermiculite
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
  • Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
  • Heat-resistant fabrics
  • Automobile clutches and brakes
  • In soil and rocks

How can you be exposed?

In general, exposure may occur only when the asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged in some way to release particles and fibers into the air. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of developing harmful health effects.

Sign and Symptoms

Sign and symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness.
  • A persistent cough that gets worse over time.
  • Blood in sputum
  • Pain or tightening in the chest.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Swelling of the neck or face.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue or Anemia

Effects from exposure

Asbestos-related conditions can be difficult to identify. Healthcare providers usually identify the possibility of asbestos exposure and related health conditions like lung disease by taking a thorough medical history. This includes looking at the person’s medical, work, cultural and environmental history. After a doctor suspects an asbestos-related health condition, he or she can use a number of tools to help make the actual diagnosis. Some of these tools are physical examination, chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who treats diseases caused by asbestos.

The possible diseases are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma- a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart
  • asbestosis- a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs

How to protect against it:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved respirators that fit properly should be worn by investigators when asbestos disturbance could have occurred or may occur.

MOLD

What is it?

  •  Molds are fungi that grow both indoors and outdoors.

Where can it be found?

  • Indoors: anywhere there are high humidity levels
  • Outdoors: damp and shady areas where there is decomposition taking place

How can you be exposed?

Most if not all exposures come from touching or inhaling the mold or it’s spores.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat irritation
  • Chest tightness

Effects from Mold Exposure

(taken form American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine)
Molds and other fungi may adversely affect human health through three processes: 1) allergy; 2) infection; or 3) toxicity. It is estimated that about 10% of the population has allergic antibodies to fungal antigens. Only half of these, or 5%, would be expected to show clinical illness. Furthermore, outdoor molds are generally more abundant and important in airway allergic disease than indoor molds — leaving the latter with an important, but minor overall role in allergic airway disease. Allergic responses are most commonly experienced as allergic asthma or allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”. A rare, but much more serious immune-related condition, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), may follow exposure (usually occupational) to very high concentrations of fungal (and other microbial) proteins. Most fungi generally are not pathogenic to healthy humans. A number of fungi commonly cause superficial infections involving the feet (tinea pedis), groin (tinea cruris), dry body skin (tinea corporis), or nails (tinea onychomycosis). A very limited number of pathogenic fungi — such as Blastomyces, Coccidioides, Cryptococcus, and Histoplasma — infect non-immunocompromised individuals. In contrast, persons with severely impaired immune function, e.g., cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, organ transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs, AIDS patients, and patients with uncontrolled diabetes, are at significant risk for more severe opportunistic fungal infection.

See more at: http://www.acoem.org/AdverseHumanHealthEffects_Molds.aspx#sthash.ie827nu6.dpuf (Not accessible without membership.)

Lets Get Started

 

Safety 2

I am sure that most of you have been riding down the road and noticed a building that you would love to investigate. The one that when you look at it, you get cold chills down your spine just because of pure excitement of the possibility of crossing the threshold of its doors. This is the point that your mind starts racing trying to figure out the right way to go about investigating this location, not only legally but SAFELY. How many of us really know the right way to go about investigating a location that appears to be abandoned? In this article I will outline the proper ways to go about getting permission to investigate these buildings, as well as steps to ensure your safety while conducting said investigation.

 

1.) Find out the owner of the building: This can be achieved in a number of ways. If there are other buildings and businesses adjacent to the building, stop in and ask if they know who owns the structure. If you can’t get any information from them, many counties and cities use what is known as GIS that you can use to get this information from  the computer to trace the address and find the owner. If they do not use this system you can go to the county office or city hall and they can instruct you on how to obtain the owners name and in some cases they may be able to tell you right there.

2.) Contact the owner: Before you contact the owner have what you want to say already in writing so that when you get in touch with them you already know what to say and you can sound as professional as possible. Let the owner know that you will do no harm to the structure and you are only there to conduct an investigation. They may or may not agree to let you do so. If they say no, thank them for the consideration and leave your contacts and let them know that if they ever change their mind you are still interested in investigating there. However if they do say yes, setup a date and time that you can meet with them at the location and go over the property with them.

3.) Pre-investigation Investigation: Make sure that you bring a notebook, a permission to investigate form for the owner to sign and date as well as other forms that your teams utilize, caution or flagging tape, a camera, and possibly a video camera. Go through the location and note any belongings etc. That are still in the structure and photograph them as well so it shows their condition before conducting the investigation. Take notice of any hazards that you come across and flag them with your tape and photograph them. If there are any hazards that could be a respiratory hazard please make notation that you will need to include respiratory protection while the investigation is being conducted. Also, keep an eye out for any indications that squatters or vagrants could be possibly be taking up residence in the building and let the owner know. This probably goes without saying, but make sure to take as many pictures, and possibly video, of the location so that you will have them for comparison when reviewing your investigation pictures and video. Also make sure to make note of any background noise that you may hear such as heavy traffic, domesticated animals, farm animals, etc. You can also use this time to go over the history of the structure with the owner. Find out if there are any stories or legends associated with the building, as well as former tenants that may wish to share there experiences. Go to the records hall or the internet and get as much history as possible on the location. This can include what the place was used for, any noted deaths, year it was built, and so on.

4.) Gearing Up: Take the information that you collected during your pre-investigation investigation and make a checklist for your team that includes any special equipment, as well as the standard equipment you already bring with you. Aside from investigative equipment make sure that you at least have a basic first aid kit. If your members have any allergies you should ask them to include any medications for the kit that can be used to combat such allergies. If you use certain items for paranormal protection, you may want to include this on your list as to not forget them on investigation day.

5.) Investigation Day: On investigation day, show up to the location a little bit early so that you can do a quick walk through noting any changes that have occurred since the pre-investigation, and look for any hazards again such as slips, trips, and falls. If anything has changed make notations as well as photograph the changes. Go ahead and do your investigation as soon as everyone is ready and acclimated to the structure. Make sure to use all the protection equipment that you have listed. NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL before or during your investigation. At the end of the investigation, take a few extra moments to run through and photograph the location one last time to show the condition of everything as you left it.

6.) After the investigation: Of course review your evidence a couple of times as to not miss anything. Send the owner a thank you letter and include a list of any evidence that you find. Also give them an invitation to contact you if they would like to experience the said evidence. This could aid you in gaining another investigation due to the this client giving you a good reference. This is a just a list that I feel will keep you legally and physically safe when conducting investigations in abandoned locations. I know that every investigation is different so this list can be altered to suit your needs for whatever investigation you may have. Make sure to abide by all state and local rules. Try to think about what things may physically occur and try to have a game plan for such instances and what items may be needed for them.

Above all stay professional, stay safe, and HAVE FUN (safely)

First-Aid Kit

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Here is a checklist that you can use to build your own first-aid kit if you decide to not buy one of the pre-made kits.
Not only can it be cheaper, but it can be customized to meet your needs better. What I have put together is a basic kit, so feel free to add anything else that you see fit. I have deliberately not added a quantity so that you can build your kit to fit your teams needs.

 

____ Watertight container able to hold all the contents

____ First-Aid Manual

____ Non-Latex Gloves

____ CPR mask with one-way valve

____ A few disposable N95 masks

____ Multiple sizes of Adhesive Bandages (Band-Aids)

____ Gauze Bandages of various sizes (sterile and non-sterile)

____ Adhesive bandage tape of various sizes

____ Roller Gauze

____ Triangular Bandages (Used to make a sling and swathe)

____ Antibiotic Ointment

____ Antiseptic (can be wipes or sprays)

____ Hydrocortisone (ointment or spray)

____ Sterile water (for irrigation of wound)

____ Hemostatic agent (used to help clot bigger wounds)

____ Alcohol (liquid or wipes.If liquid add cotton balls)

____ Any medication your team takes for emergencies

____ Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

____ 81 mg aspirin

____ Pain relievers of your choice

____ Instant cold packs

____ Instant heat packs

____ Space blanket

____ Tweezers

____ Sewing Needle or Kit

____ Safety Pin

____ Small Sharp scissors or Trauma sheers

____ Thermometer

____ Hand Sanitizer

 

Optional:

____ Bug Spray

____ Sunscreen

____ Blister protection (Mole Skin, Liquid bandage etc.)

____ Tincture of Benzoin ( Used to apply tape etc. to moist skin. Can also be used for blisters!)

Health and Safety as a whole

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Today’s post is going to be thinking a little outside of the box. We have discussed our physical and spiritual health
and safety a well as the safety of our clients. Today we will discuss the health of the field as a whole. In the last decade or so there has been a huge “paranormal boom” if you will. Things that were taboo to discus in every
day life have become more acceptable. With the acceptability rising so have the number of teams out there. Many people have seen the rise of teams as a negative for many reasons, but this in fact is an AWESOME thing. Not only are we more able to blanket the planet with investigators, it gives a chance to discuss and test out more theories than ever before. However, for the health of the field there should be some guidelines that we all need to adhere to.

Before I get a little more in depth with I would like to make this one statement: I am not an expert, nor will I profess
to be. Hmm, I guess this would be a great place to start this off. When talking to other teams or posting in forums or FB pages you will ALWAYS see a few people that seem to be or claim to be experts in the paranormal field. To be completely honest, there are no EXPERTS in this field nor will there ever be until this is a proven science.Yes there are people that are knowledgeable in certain areas and do know what they are talking about. However, in my opinion the most credible people in the field tend to be the ones that keep an open mind and actually discuss each others theories and stay pigeon holed to one way of thought. Always keep the mentality that you are a student of the field (a friend of mine expressed it this way and it has stuck with me since) always learning and never an expert. But no matter what STAY PROFESSIONAL in every thing you do related to the field.

This leads us into evidence. This one aspect is probably where the field loses a lot of it’s credibility. Every teams
wants to be the one that discovers the one piece of evidence that proves it all. How many times have seen or heard evidence that you know can be discounted very easily? I know that all of you who have been on the page for a while have seen this. You have probably seen many people asking questions that could seem that they don’t believe what is shown. Most of time it’s just someone who is passionate about the field and want to see the field progress. Don’t see the questions as a negative, use it as a positive to help you decipher what could be seen as a credible piece of evidence before you post or release it. WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT. With that being said the one thing that really brings the field down is faking evidence. NEVER, NEVER, and I say it again NEVER falsify evidence! By doing that you are doing nothing to help advance the field, you’re only bringing it down.

There are more things that need to be discussed but this is getting pretty lengthy so I will sum it up like this. 1.)
Always be professional 2.) Always be a student of the field 3. )DO NOT FAKE EVIDENCE 4.) When in doubt throw it out 5.) Take criticism and learn from it 6.) Always be courteous to others theories and thoughts.

This by no means are the only ways to keep the field healthy. I would LOVE to hear from all of you your views on the things that are keeping the field healthy and what is making it sick. What are your thoughts?

Client Safety

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We have been discussing how to keep ourselves physically and spiritually safe from harm during paranormal investigations over the last few days.  We all try to do what we can to keep ourself and our team safe, but how many of us actually think about the client? There have been accounts of teams, new and well established, that have gone into a residential investigation with the wrong frame of mind or investigative tactics  and actually made the home worse for their owners I live in. A good friend of mine explained something to me a good while ago that has stuck with me and fits really well when going into investigations. He stated, “When going into a new place to investigate, look at it the same as you would going into a persons house you have just met. You’re not going to just walk in and start shouting and demanding things, your more than likely going to be very respectful. Talk to them as you would a new friend and you’ll be doing two things at once. One, you’ll be opening a healthy line of communication and two, you won’t be stirring up things and making the atmosphere worse for your client.” The things we say and do can and will have an impact on the location after you leave.

I know some would like to believe that have to provoke an entity to get results, but what are they really doing? Whether it is true or not, I like to believe you get what you give. If you give out negative vibes etc., that’s what you’re
going to get. With that being said, what are some do’s and don’ts that you recommend for teams doing home investigations to help keep their client safe? It doesn’t matter if you are a new team or an established team we ALL have something to contribute.

Spiritual Safety

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Over the last few few days I have been posting about the physical health and safety considerations while conducting paranormal investigations. Now that we have taken a look at the physical side of it, it’s time to look at the spiritual side of it. We are all aware that there are spiritual hazards out there that can harm or do other things to us. What are some steps that you take to protect yourself or your team? ALL opinions are welcome!!

What are you breathing?

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I want to take a look today at respiratory considerations while conducting paranormal investigations. We all know there are many contaminates that we encounter every day that can cause us harm, and most of them we can’t do anything about. What about the ones that we put our own selves in jeopardy of when we go on investigations?   A little bit of research before you go can save you from a lifetime of problems.

The first one I would like to take a look at is asbestos. It was used in many applications such as insulation, floor
tiles, roof tiles, joint compound and many other products. Many homes and buildings built before 1977 will contain some sort of asbestos. It has been said that it is harmless unless it has been broken in any way to where it has made dust fibers. Who know the ORB you have seen may indeed be asbestos! N95 masks will provide a little bit of protection but aren’t really advised for a prolonged exposure. A respirator with a HEPA filter is advised as is a mask by 3M with the classification 8511 Dust Mask. Unfortunately the hazards of being exposed do not show up immediately.

The second thing I would like to address is mold. We all know what mold is or where it’s found so lets just look at what you can do to protect yourself from it.  For the most part an N95 mask can provide a good amount of protection from it. Exposure can range from just an allergic reaction to more long term consequences.

A few that I would also like to mention without going into detail are: particulates from animal fecal matter and urine, radon- from decaying rock etc., dust itself, as well as many other allergens. All of these can be protected against by wearing a particulate filter.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it can help you stay safe on your investigations. Please feel free to
add anything you want as I am no expert and would love to get y’alls view on the subject.

What’s in your kit?

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When we go out on investigations we try to prepare for anything that may occur paranormal wise. We’ve always got our recorders, EMF detectors, cameras, video cameras, etc. packed away in our kits for every investigation that we go on. How many of us are actually prepared for real world occurrences such as broken bones, twisted ankles, allergic reactions and the such? One thing that EVERY team should have with them on EVERY investigation is an emergency medical kit.

You can go out and buy one of those expensive pre-made kits if you want, but why waste your hard earned money when you can build your own for a fraction of the cost and use the savings for more equipment. Instead of me going in to detail about what you should be including in your kit, I would like to know what you or your team includes in theirs or if you even carry a kit at all. This information can be valuable to other teams to help them understand what is needed and what is not when building their own kits.