Sheri Collins

Author's details

Name: Sheri Collins
Date registered: September 8, 2014

Biography

Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010 she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions. She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on their cases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.

Latest posts

  1. The Investigative Side of Taking Pictures — April 8, 2016
  2. Photography Basics: Cell Phone Cameras vs. Digital Cameras — February 28, 2016
  3. Cell Phone Cameras and Photography — August 24, 2015
  4. Stereo Weno — December 8, 2014
  5. Blair Tourograph — November 1, 2014

Author's posts listings

Apr 08

The Investigative Side of Taking Pictures

The Investigative Side of Taking Pictures

We enjoy seeing our members share their pictures on the NPS page and ask for input from fellow members and the NPS Photography Team as to what may have been captured in their picture. However, the NPS Photography Team has started to notice that when we ask for additional information, the person who shared the picture may not always have it. In order to help educate our members on how to be prepared with this information we have decided to provide some steps to assist with taking your pictures. We hope this helps you when you are taking your pictures to maintain an objective viewpoint when it comes to debunking your pictures as you are taking them.

TAKE THREE! If you have followed the NPS page for a while now you know that we always recommend taking three pictures back to back. The reason we recommend this is so that you can compare the three side by side and determine if the anomaly in question appears in all three. It also allows you to rule out logical explanations such as if your finger was in the way of the flash and caused a black area; if there was a lot of environmental contamination in the area that caused dust orbs to appear; if there was a light reflected off of a reflective surface such as a window or mirror in the area; if your hair or the camera strap was in front of the lens; if there was someone else who walked into the frame unexpectedly; etc.

REVIEW COMPLETELY! Once you have taken all your pictures, upload them to your computer and take a detailed look at them. Some of us on the Photo Team use Photoshop to review pictures. This program allows us to lighten pictures that were taken in the dark to get a better look at the anomaly in question as well as at times convert a color picture to black and white to determine if the anomaly adjusts with the color change. While Photoshop can be an expensive program to use, you might look into other photo adjustment programs or see what’s available for free online. The important thing is to really question your picture and see what you find by adjusting these types of things prior to sharing with us on the page. Remember it IS a requirement of Rule 15 to include what YOU have to try and debunk your picture prior to sharing it with us.

WRITE DOWN DETAILS! Remember to write down the time and date of your picture – most digital cameras have this option on them. You will also want to include what the weather was like when you took the picture. If you forget this information, hop over to Weather Underground and type in the zip code for the area along with the date to obtain this information. When the Photo Team asks you for the zip (also another requirement of Rule 15) we are asking for it to check out the weather in the area to see if moisture, humidity, cold, rain, etc. could have played a factor in the anomaly presented. You can find Weather Underground via this link:https://www.wunderground.com/history/

KNOW YOUR CAMERA! Long time members know we frown upon the use of cell phone cameras for investigation purposes. Check out our department on the NPS website for more information behind this. If you are using a digital camera you should be able to properly adjust the settings on it for your environment (ISO, aperture, f-stop, etc.) so that you are using the appropriate settings for your location. If you are using the manual mode you can pull the EXIF data from the picture to see what the settings were for the picture. Be familiar with your camera so you can take the best possible pictures.

WHAT IS EXIF DATA? The reason we ask for the photo ORIGINAL to be emailed to us is so that we can view the EXIF data from the picture. This data tells us how the camera behaved when it snapped the picture and will give us clues into what the anomaly could be and why it happened.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S PARANORMAL? One of the other requirements of Rule 15 is telling us why you think your picture is paranormal. After you have reviewed your picture, done some research into the anomaly, and asked and answered all logical explanations, why is it you still think your picture is possibly paranormal? Tell us so we know how you are viewing your picture. Once we have reviewed the steps you took to debunk your picture we will have a better understanding of why you think it’s paranormal by providing this explanation.

Taking a look at the investigative side of taking pictures gives us an insight to why the NPS Photography Team as well as NPS members ask the questions they do of pictures. We are all looking for that Holy Grail of paranormal pictures that has yet to be captured – let’s be smart in our review of the potentials so that the one that does pass all scrutiny here will also pass all scrutiny in the scientific community.

You may always email your original pictures to the NPS Photography Team at any time for review. Our email address is npsphotosubmission@gmail.com

Weather Underground provides local & long range Weather Forecast, weather reports, maps & tropical weather conditions for locations worldwide.

Feb 28

Photography Basics: Cell Phone Cameras vs. Digital Cameras

Photography Basics – Cell Phone Cameras vs Digital Cameras
Everyone has a cell phone today and loves to use it for more than just talking on the phone, which is its main function. Folks love to take pictures with their phone and then think the device is the equivalent to a digital camera. Sorry to burst some bubbles, but that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Let’s take a look at what makes up a camera then see how cell phone cameras compare.

A digital camera has three parts basically – the body, the lens and the sensor. Let’s take a look at each of these individually.

* The body simply is the housing for the working parts. It can be large or small but ultimately the user will decide on the body based on comfort and being able to access the buttons and functions on the camera.

*The lens is the eye of camera and is the most important part of capturing your photos – zooming in or out for the right shot. There are prime lenses which don’t allow for zooming but will take sharper images and are usually more economical. The zoom lenses tend to be a little more of an investment since they allow you to zoom in on subjects for your picture. The zoom lenses are heavier and larger than the prime lenses. In addition to these there are other lenses for different pictures – wide-angle, standard, medium, telephoto and ultra-telephoto. Wide-angle lenses generally have a focal length up to 35mm and can capture more in the picture but it could cause some distortion in the picture. Standard lenses have a focal length of 35-50mm and are more likely to show things how we actually see it. Medium lenses have a focal length of 60-100 mm and are mostly used for portraits. Telephoto lenses are over 100mm and will zoom in pretty far but are more likely to produce motion blur and don’t perform as well in low light. Ultra-telephoto lenses are over 400 mm.

*The sensor is what catches the exposure to capture the picture. It is exposed to light coming through the lens then records that exposure which is then processed and saved. The sensor is what affects the quality of your pictures. This is where the megapixel size comes into play. The higher the megapixel, the more likely you are to see more noise in your pictures. You will always want to test out a camera first before just buying it based on the megapixel size.

You can see just from the above how a cell phone camera can drastically differ from a digital camera. But let’s break down the cell phone camera as well.

*Cell phone cameras don’t have a body as the camera function is contained in the same device as the parts that make the phone function.

*The lens on most cell phone cameras is between 20-40mm, a range smaller than the standard lens of a digital camera. This can cause distortion in pictures so it’s important to take pictures from an acceptable distance to try and balance this distortion. Obviously you wouldn’t be able to zoom in on anything because the lens is not the right size. You can always by a cell phone camera lens kit but while this boosts quality of the pictures taken, it can add minor artifacting, prevent light from reaching the phone which can affect the exposure, and you’d have to remember to carry this kit with you when you weren’t using the phone as a camera.

* The sensor in most cell phones is obviously tiny compared to a digital camera but it also is affected more by how much light it receives and this can have a definite impact on your pictures. More light, better pictures, less noise; less light, poorer quality pictures and more noise.

After looking at each piece individually, it’s obvious why as paranormal investigators we recommend using a digital camera over a cell phone camera. In order to accurately capture anything in a picture we need to use the best suited equipment and your cell phone just isn’t the best. Will it work in a pinch? Sure. Will you be able to have your picture stand passing the debunking test? Probably not because there are so many reasons it would fail. Next time you’re thinking about adding a new piece of equipment to your team’s collection, make sure and look at a good digital camera.

Aug 24

Cell Phone Cameras and Photography

phModern technology has incorporated a lot of conveniences for us now that we are an “on-the-go” society who always has a cell phone in our hands no matter where we go. As a result, someone thought it would be great to add a camera to our cell phone devices so that we would never really need a camera. However, from a photographer’s point of view this was a huge mistake. It is also why we never ever recommend using a cell phone camera for paranormal investigations. To understand this better, let’s take a look at what really makes a camera.

Optical Zoom
Optical zoom allows you to literally zoom in or out on a subject allowing you to get a truly closer view of the subject before snapping your picture. This is something cell phone cameras just cannot do with a fixed lens outside of the device. Sure you can put your fingers on the screen and “zoom” in for your picture but what you are actually doing is utilizing software built into the cell phone to enlarge the area, not zoom in on it. As a result we get blurry pictures and a lot of pixilation. And we all know what pixilation leads to – pareidolia.

Sensor
Some folks like to think that the megapixel size of a camera is what matters to take good quality pictures. Wrong! It’s the camera image sensor that determines this. It is the size of the sensor that determines how much light it uses to create an image. These sensors consist of millions of light-sensitive spots called photosites that are used to record information about what is seen through the lens. A larger sensor can gain more information than a smaller one. Of course a camera will have a much larger sensor than your cell phone camera just given the size of the device.

Interchangeable Lens
Let’s face it folks, your cell phone camera only has one, small, flat lens from which to take pictures whereas your cameras have several lenses available to take better pictures. Any app downloaded to your phone is just more software added to your device that is still utilizing the same small lens but manipulating the image instead of actually capturing it which affects the picture quality.

Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the time the camera’s shutter is open for to capture an image. Fast action pictures or motion pictures require a fast shutter speed and you’re just not going to get that with a cell phone device. If you’re looking to capture a spirit or apparition that appears then disappears quickly, it’s not going to happen with a cell phone camera because the shutter speed just simply is not fast enough. That’s not to say you’re going to automatically catch something with a fast speed camera but chances are your pictures won’t be blurry or pixelated, they will be clear and concise of the area you are photographing. The cell phone camera’s shutter speed is just too slow and will cause blurry pictures and a lot of motion blur as a result.

Shooting Modes and Manual Adjustments
You just can’t control a cell phone camera the way you can a real camera when it comes to taking great quality pictures. Cameras have the additional features built into them that allow you control white balance, autofocus, light, etc.

As you can see, there are some pretty major differences in your cameras versus your cell phone camera. At the end of the day, put away your cell phone and pick up your digital camera for picture taking on paranormal investigations. The quality of a cell phone picture is just not acceptable to be considered as any type of paranormal evidence.

Please visit the NPS Photography Department online for more articles regarding photography to further educate yourself on tips, techniques and information.

Dec 08

Stereo Weno

stereowenoManufacturer: Blair Camera Co.
Date: 1902-1903

Stereoscopic photography was very popular in the 19th Century and various designs for cameras and viewers were made. The stereoscopic camera took two pictures from slightly different view points. An impression of a three dimensional image is created when these are viewed so that each eye only sees one photograph.

The Stereo Weno camera looks much like a pair of binoculars, or a kids “View Master” stereo slide viewer. Shortly after the Stereo Weno was produced, Blair Camera was taken over by Kodak.

Technical Description: Stereo Hawkeye camera, 1902-1903. Folding stereo camera for 3 1/2 inch wide rollfilm 2 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/8 inches. Paired Bausch and Lomb rapid rectilinear lenses, fixed aperture. T/I/B shutters, pneumatic release. Sliding focusing. Separate bellows, red. Brilliant reflecting finder and spirit level on baseboard. No. 3159. Blair camera co.

Nov 01

Blair Tourograph

Blair Tourograph

Blair Tourograph

The Tourograph was introduced in 1878 by a man named Thomas Henry Blair and was initially produced and marketed by the Scovill Manufacturing Company through their American Optical Division. Later it would be owned and controlled by The Blair Tourograph Company. It contained everything needed for photographers to expose and develop wet collodion plates. Blair created it to be a complete portable photographic system.

When the first Tourograph was introduced it was during a time when the wet collodion method was ending. A new method was on the horizon that used dry gelatin plates and so Blair revamped the Tourograph to keep up with the newer technology. In 1880 the new version appeared and was a completely different design. Three versions of the newer Tourograph were produced and it was ultimately replaced in 1883 with the Lucidograph.

The Tourograph was designed to enclose all the workings needed inside the wood box that a photographer would need to take a picture and develop it. It was a little cumbersome to use as there were steps to take in physically manipulating the camera itself order to produce a picture.

To learn more about the details of the Tourograph, check out this link on the camera: http://www.antiquewoodcameras.com/tourogr1.html

Oct 05

iPhone 5 Purple Haze/Lens Flare Issue

purple-flare-itpp_contentfullwidthLet’s talk photography today! More specifically, let’s talk about iPhones and the iPhone 5’s tendency to produce a purple haze on pictures.

How many of you iPhone 5 users have noticed a purple haze or additional lens flare in your pictures? We have certainly seen a few of them here on the NPS page over the last few months. There was enough concern over this happening on pictures (and not just those taken by paranormal researchers and investigators) that Apple finally addressed the issue in a public statement by stating the following:

“Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources. This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor. Moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand, should minimize or eliminate the effect.”

Knowing that this is an issue with the camera itself helps us debunk these purple hazes in our pictures and further shows that we should always look for a logical explanation in pictures rather than jumping to the conclusion that something is automatically paranormal.

To correct this issue, iCreateMagazine.com has provided an article giving step-by-step instructions to assist you with removing this purple haze. Click on this link to be taken to their website where the article is posted. http://www.icreatemagazine.com/tips/how-to-remove-lens-flare-from-iphone-photos-in-aperture/

To learn more about the purple haze issue, check out this article: http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/137547-why-the-iphone-5-camera-takes-purple-pictures-youre-holding-it-wrong

This article from PC Magazine even gives us a comparison of Apple vs Android when it comes to cell phone cameras and lens flare. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2410272,00.asp

Oct 05

Voigtländer – The Daguerreotype-Apparat Camera and Petzval Lens

In 1840 Johan Christoph Voigtländer’s optical company, Voigtländer, introduced the Petzval Portrait Lens. Founded in 1756, Voigtländer’s company is the oldest name in cameras. The Petzval Lens was developed based on analytical calculations and designed and calculated by mathematician Professor Jozef Maximillian Petzval in Vienna with further development assistance from Voigtländer’s grandson, Peter Wilhelm Friedrich von Voigtländer. The Petzval lens was the fastest lens at this time with an aperture of f/3.7 as a result of exposure times being dramatically reduced to one minute with this new 149mm lens.

]In 1841 Voigtländer produced the Daguerreotyp-Apparat Camera – the first camera made from metal. The Petzval Lens was mounted inside of the Daguerreotyp-Apparat camera which consisted of a tube that housed the lens. The tube was then mounted on a conical body with another conical section fitted over the focusing screen and a magnifying eyepiece attached for focusing. After focusing, a lens cap was put on, the camera removed from the stand and transferred to a dark room where the viewing cone and focus screen were replaced with a Daguerreotype plate and then returned to the stand. Once it was returned to the original position, exposure was then made by removing the lens cap. Afterwards the camera was returned to the dark room and the plate was removed and processed.

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To learn more about the Petzval Lens, check out this article written in-depth on it: http://antiquecameras.net/petzvallens.html

Sep 08

The Sliding Box Camera

sliding-box-cameraThe Sliding Box Camera was first introduced commercially in 1839 by Louis Daguerre along with daguerreotypy – the first photographic process. The plates this camera used measured 6 ½” x 8 ½” and were known as “whole plates” which became a standard for many years. The Sliding Box Camera consisted of two wooden boxes with one sliding into the other and the outer box being attached to a baseboard. Focusing was done by sliding the inner box until the subject was focused on the rear ground glass screen then a brass nut was used to lock it in place. Fine focus was adjusted using the lens rack and pinion. With the screen image being dim, the photographer would usually work under a dark cloth.

Learn more about the Sliding Box Camera by visiting Vintage Photo:

http://www.vintagephoto.tv/slidingbox.shtml

www.vintagephoto.tv

mahogany sliding box camera

Sep 07

Camera Obscura

camera-obscuraThe word photography was first coined by scientist Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. The word comes from two Greek words meaning “light” (photo) and “to draw” (graphein). However it wasn’t until around 1000 AD that the first pinhole camera was invented by the Arab scholar Alhazen (Ibn Al-Haytham), who was known as the “Father of Modern Optics” by the scientific community. The pinhole camera, known as the Camera Obscura (Latin for “dark room”), was simply a closed box with a hole on one side of it where light would come through the tiny hole to create an image on the wall of the box of the outside scene that was mirrored and appeared upside down. It was often used by artists to make sketches in the field.

The first photograph was actually taken during the summer of 1827 by Joseph Nicephore Niepce using the Camera Obscura. Prior to this these cameras were used for viewing or drawing. Niepce’s photograph were called heliographs or sun prints and were the prototype so to speak for today’s photographs in using light to draw pictures. By placing an engraving onto a metal plate coated in bitumen then exposing it to light Niepce was able to make his photographs. This process took eight hours of light exposure to create.

The Museum of Modern Art has on their website some interesting information surrounding the Camera Obsura to check out.

https://www.moma.org/collection/details.php?theme_id=10060

www.moma.org

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a place that fuels creativity and provides inspiration. Its extraordinary art collection includes modern and contemporary art.

Sep 06

The Haunted Kendrick House of Carthage Missouri

kendrick-houseThere’s this house that sits at a fork in the road in Carthage, Missouri that when driving by one would have no idea the history that is the Kendrick House.
This red brick home with an old well and a small building sitting behind it holds so many spirits within its walls. Having been built starting back in 1849
and completed in 1854, it is one of the oldest standing homes and one of only a few to have survived the Civil War. The home has served as a private home,
field hospital during the Civil War and a sickhouse. It is a really cool place to investigate as the house itself is like a vortex for paranormal activity
because it sits on limestone next to a river AND a set of railroad tracks!! A serious hotbed for paranormal activity for sure and we all LOVE that.

The following excerpts were taken from my friend Lisa Livingston Martin’s book Haunted Carthage Missouri:

“Antebellum homes are rare in Southwest Missouri due to the scorched-earth policies employed by both sides during the Civil War. The term conjures images of large plantations as are found in the Deep South. Though plantations were located along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in Missouri, the land in southern Missouri did not lend itself to large-scale crop farming. Nonetheless, elegant antebellum homes were built here. The oldest surviving example is Kendrick House, on the northern edge of present-day Carthage, at the intersection of Garrison Avenue and VV Highway. When built, it was considered a mansion and one of the most beautiful homes in the area. It was one of three homes in the Carthage area to survive the Civil War and is the oldest standing house in Jasper County. The house was built beginning in 1849 and completed in its current state by 1856.

When the house was built, there were no roads leading to its site. There was a trail off to the east, and the trail that would become Garrison Avenue would be forged from an Indian trail that led to Fort Scott, Kansas, and later would be part of the original Route 66. However, in the 1840s, there was nothing but prairie grass and trees outlining Spring River, several hundred yards to the south.

Sennett Rankin was drawn to this spot in the mid-1840s, building a small log cabin on the northern bank of Spring River just southeast of the house, on which he began construction but that never bore his name. A prosperous farmer with large holdings in the area, Rankin broke ground on the rolling hill above the river in 1849, as slaves tended a forty-acre field carved out of the prairie by horse and man. We have no idea what plans Sennett Rankin and his wife had when they started building what later became known as the ‘Mansion.’ After a couple years, Sennett and his wife moved back to their large farm near present-day Jasper, Missouri, some fifteen miles north, without finishing or ever living in the house. The partially constructed house was sold to Sennett’s son-in-law, Thomas Dawson. Soon, the lure of gold took Dawson to California to seek his fortune. Dawson did not find gold in California. He didn’t finish construction either and never lived in the house. Perhaps as a means of recouping his losses from that search for gold, Dawson sold the still unfinished house and 640 acres of future farmland and orchards to William and Elizabeth Kendrick for the sizeable sum of $7,000 in 1856. At the same time in Jasper County, farmland was selling for approximately $1.25 an acre ($800 for 640 acres). The Kendricks finished the house on the hill and made it their home. They turned the 640 acres of virgin prairie grass into cropland and orchards and operated a successful blacksmithing and gunsmithing business for many years. The Kendrick family and their descendants, including several generations of the Janney family, lived in the home continuously for approximately 130 years, until it was sold to Victorian Carthage in the 1980s, which still owns the home. Approximately 20 acres of the original 640 acres remain with the house.

Although the city of Carthage had been established by the time Kendrick House was built, it was still a small collection of houses and buildings. It was not readily accessible from Kendrick House, as there were no bridges across Spring River or in all of Jasper County until the 1870s. Everything that was used in construction of the house except for glass for the windows was either material found on the property or items that were made by the workers. For instance, there were no store-bought nails available, so each nail was made by hand by a blacksmith in a forge. The outer walls are red brick, made from the clay from the banks of Spring River, just a few hundred yards from this spot. Sennett Rankin, as well as Dawson and the Kendricks, owned slaves. Rankin was the largest slaveholder in Jasper County, and his slaves built the brick walls. The bricks are concave on the interior side so as to hold more mortar. The exterior walls are three bricks thick, very unusual for construction of the time in the region, where a small log cabin with a hole cut out of one of the logs for a year-round open window was a symbol of permanence. The thickness of the walls meant that the house was better insulated than most buildings of the time. If you look closely, you will find bricks with areas of gray glazing, which was caused when a brick was too close to a hot spot in the wood-fired kilns.

The house is Federal-style architecture, which means that there is an entryway and staircase with symmetrical wings on either side. Although the house looks large from the outside, the original structure consists of four rooms: the dining room and parlor on either side of the entryway on the ground floor and two bedrooms on the second floor. There was no running water in the home until 1954. Water was originally available from the hand-dug well beside the house and a cistern that collected rainwater. There were various outer buildings on site, including a kitchen, slave quarters, blacksmith shop, smokehouse, barns and later homes for family members and rental homes for men working in the nearby quarry. The old outhouse still stands out back near the slave cabin. The original slave quarters were brick, like the house, but were demolished sometime in the past. The slave quarters on site were moved from the Miller, Missouri area when Victorian Carthage opened Kendrick House to the public. There have been reports of an African American man wearing a white shirt standing and looking out one of the windows in the slave quarters, staring off into the distance. The sound of harmonica music has been recorded in the slave quarters as well.

Death was a frequent visitor to the Kendrick-Janney family. Three of William and Elizabeth’s sons died while the Civil War raged around the family: Richard, Alex and Austin, all in their early twenties. William passed away in 1868, followed by Elizabeth in 1878. Joshua’s wife, Elvira, followed in death in 1884. Joshua and Elvira’s daughter, Fannie, with her husband, Carl Janney, raised their family in the mansion. Tragedy struck again in 1899, when Fannie and Carl’s four-year-old daughter, Pauline, died in the house of an unspecified spinal disease. Joshua died in 1901, and Fannie inherited the house and farm.
The last person to die in Kendrick House was Carol Sue Janney, Fannie and Carl’s granddaughter, who lived in another house on the family land at the time. Carol became ill on or about April 23, 1936, a few months short of her third birthday. To protect her four-year-old sister, Jackie, from contracting the illness, Carol was brought to the mansion. A doctor was summoned, and it was discovered she had contracted polio, for which there was no vaccination or cure at the time. Approximately thirty-six hours after becoming ill, little Carol died in the big house.

It is here that Paranormal Science Lab (PSL) conducts Haunted History Tours and paranormal investigations, raising funds for preservation efforts at Kendrick House. Historic homes such as Kendrick House face very difficult obstacles to maintain the property and keep the doors open to the public. Victorian Carthage and Paranormal Science Lab have worked together to raise awareness of the history of the house, as well as offering people an opportunity to experience a real-life paranormal investigation. People have traveled from across the United States, as far away as California and Georgia, to attend Haunted History Tours and paranormal investigations. Tours focus on the history of the house and Civil War history of the area. Guests review evidence of paranormal activity documented at Kendrick House by PSL and then participate in a live investigation. Proceeds are donated to Victorian Carthage for preservation efforts. PSL members also donate labor to Victorian Carthage to make repairs and maintenance. The Missouri Humanities Council, which, among other things, promotes public awareness of history and works with museums and historic sites to provide educational experiences for the public, has used the Haunted History Tours offered at Kendrick House as an example of combining the interest in history and the paranormal for fundraising at historic sites.

There is a modern addition on the back of the house used as part of the museum. The original frame structure kitchen, which was behind the west end of the house, is long gone. The purpose of locating the kitchen outside the main structure was for safety. Cooking was done on open hearths and ovens with wood fires. Kitchen fires, including catching floor-length skirts on fire, were one of the most common causes of injury and death to women of the mid-nineteenth century. The kitchen also contains a large long room with various artifacts found on site from the 1800s. The room is dominated by a long, narrow dining table that is original to the house and, according to family lore, was used as the field hospital operating table during the Battle of Carthage. This was merely lore until Paranormal Science Lab employed techniques used in crime scene investigations to supply corroboration of the story. As demonstrated on crime investigation television shows, law enforcement uses UV (ultraviolet) light to search for bloodstains. Paranormal Science Lab approached the table as a crime scene. Blood appears violet or purple under UV light. It is extremely difficult to eliminate all traces of blood, even after long periods of time. Turn out the lights and turn on UV flashlights, and the ordinary, antique table takes on a vastly different appearance. At one end there are violet spots in splatter patterns, and as the UV passes down the length of the table, lines of violet illuminate the grain of the wood planks forming the tabletop and violet drips down the side edges and legs. Although a bit macabre, it makes perfect sense. A military field hospital of the 1860s could be anywhere from a tent to a barn to a house commandeered, as was Kendrick House. A long table worked well, and one end would be propped up so that fluids would run off into buckets or bowls at the other end. The UV test supports the family lore handed down through more than 150 years that this table saw a lot of blood and thus very likely is the operating table used by army doctors during and after the Battle of Carthage.

A large number of EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) have been recorded in the room where the table now sits, which is in an addition that did not exist in 1861. It is believed that the table does sit in the general location of where the operations were performed, as the room sits directly behind the original back door to the house. It was a very hot day on July 5, 1861, and no evidence of bloodstains have been found inside the house, so it is likely that the table was carried out the back door and set up as an operating table. EVPs are voices captured on audio that were not audible to those present at the time of recording. Many are at frequencies outside the range of the human voice. EVPS have been captured in the room containing the operating table that seem to be related to the Civil War period, including one that says “General —E Lee” and another that names Peter Hahn, a German name. The Union troops headquartered at Kendrick and working and bleeding in the field hospital were mostly German Americans.”

They have several reports of interaction with a spirit that is referred to as “Carrot” which is more than likely the nickname for one of the children that passed on the property. Shadow figures are also seen upstairs and until recently there was a voodoo protection on the home that the slaves placed upon the home to protect the women and children in the home during the war.

This house is full of incredible history and paranormal activity is off the chain!! i would recommend this place to anyone!!

To read more detailed information please grab haunted carthage missouri and brush up on this amazing place and it’s rich history.

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Jan 08

Ghosts and Hauntings, Introduction

ghost_on_stairsIt seems everywhere we turn we find something related to our field of study within the paranormal realm.  The ghosts and hauntings categories have gained a lot of popularity and attention here recently with Hollywood making movies about it, television shows being produced about it, and more of the general population talking about their experiences and beliefs of the paranormal as a result.  I would like to welcome you to the Ghosts & Hauntings section of the National Paranormal Society.  Here you will find that in order to research and investigate the ghost and hauntings categories of the paranormal field we must first understand what they are.

Despite what I see or hear, my experience in this field has taught me to continue with my skeptic view even though I am a believer.  I believe this mindset balances me when stepping into the researcher mode for an investigation.  Personally it is also my opinion that those of us who have gotten into the paranormal field because we have either lost a loved one that visits us or have had a unique experience know how to truly tell if something is paranormal or not because we tend to compare it our personal experience – whether it’s intentionally or not.  How do we know whether or not we are encountering a ghost or a haunting?  Just because we heard something, think we captured something on film or in a picture, or felt something does that mean it’s really a ghost or a haunting?  That is what this section is about – learning more about ghosts and hauntings.  What is a ghost?  Are there different types of ghosts?  What is a haunting?  What are the different types of hauntings?  How do I know if I am encountering a ghost or a spirit?  Is there a difference?  We have so many questions that we need a place to find these answers and so I have attempted to pull together some sources, information, articles, videos and the like to help us all with our research and investigation skills.

What is a ghost?

My experience in this field has taught me to continue with my skeptic view even though I am a believer.

Dictionary.com defines a ghost as “the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.”

Merriam-Webster.com defines a ghost as “a disembodied soul; especially: the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness.” Merriam-Webster also gives a link to the definition of a spirit…”a supernatural being or essence; an often malevolent being that is bodiless but can become visible; specifically:  ghost; a malevolent being that enters and possesses a human being.”

But wait, I thought in our field there was a distinct different between ghosts and spirits?  How is it Merriam-Webster basically refers to them as one in the same?  Some paranormal researchers and investigators see the difference as this:

A ghost is someone who has passed on and stuck between our world and the afterlife.  They do not cross over, or go through “the light,” but they stay here for some reason – either they have unfinished business, emotional trauma, fears, or some other strong connection that holds them here.

A spirit is someone who has passed on but has gone through “the life” or crossed over into the afterlife.  As a result they are able to return to our world, the physical world, and cross back to the afterlife.  Spirits tend to be seen as guardian angels of sorts watching over us, comforting us and guiding us.

I believe there is a difference between ghosts and spirits; when we are researching and investigating, we are looking at (or for) ghosts.  We want to see how we can help them cross over and join the spirits.  As such we should always be respectful in our approaches and try to find peace for these ghosts.

Are there different types of ghosts?

In my research to find the answer to this question I have found lots of confusion.  Some believe there are different types of ghosts – orbs, ghost lights, apparitions, disembodied spirits, spirits, ectoplasm, vortex, shadow figures, poltergeist, and the list goes on.  Some believe there are different types based on personalities – don’t all living people have different personalities?  And if ghosts are dead people, it would be a given they would have different personalities!  I will let you take a look at the different links and websites provided below to form your own opinion, after all, thinking outside of the box is one of the most valuable things you can do when researching and investigating!

What is a haunting?

I have seen lots of definitions of a haunting as well as various types of hauntings so for the sake of sticking to the basics here I am going to provide you with the most general definitions.  You will find links below to other articles and websites that might provide more in-depth discussion and definitions for you.

A haunting is generally defined as “to inhabit, visit or appear in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being.”  Generally there are four different types of hauntings:  residual, intelligent, poltergeist and demonic.

What are the different types of hauntings?

Residual is generally defined as “an imprint left behind by an event with high energy that may have been extremely emotional.  The manifestations seen are not aware of your presence and will repeat their actions time and time again.”

Intelligent is generally defined as “a haunting where the entity is conscious and can interact with living witnesses.”

Poltergeist is generally defined as “an extremely rare occurrence wherein random objects are moved and sounds produced by an unseen force, the sole purpose being to draw attention to itself.  The phenomenon always involves a specific individual, frequently a child or adolescent.”

Demonic is generally defined as “a supernatural malevolent spirit that causes harm and/or extreme emotional distress.  Usually associated with foul odors, visible wounds and aversion to sacred objects.”

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