Just recently I had some time to sit down with the award winning author Micheal Rivers whom also happens to be one of the founding members of the Smokey Mtn Ghost Trackers. Let me tell you a little bit about how I found Micheal.
Twitter as we all know is a conundrum of people either selling something or looking for something. With proper use of hashtagging, you can certainly stumble upon networks of people. Being an indie author myself, I followed all of the #IAN #amwriting #author tags which introduced me to like-minded authors and in the true spirit of independent unity, I would go to the Kindle store and buy books of various genres by various authors. This networking led me over to Micheal Rivers through his novel ‘Verliege’ which is one very chilling paranormal, and international crime mystery. I was so impressed by what I had read that I looked into Micheal’s Amazon page and learned he was as well a paranormal investigator.
After we passed some questions back and forth, I decided to ask him his standpoint on Orbs. This is how he replied: “A genuine orb is seldom. It has been my experience the orb in question will seem to have a life of its own instead of falling to the floor or shooting straight to the ceiling. Case in point an orb left a room that was used as an incubator room in an old hospital and followed me down the corridor. This was caught on infrared camera and there is no mistaking it. It stayed approximately five feet off of the floor and traveled in the same manner in which a human walking would take.”
He then agreed to allow me to ask him a few questions through G+.
Me: You have been on numerous investigations with your team. Has this inspired your writing, and do you think you’ve ever taken anything home from an investigation?
MR: I can’t say it has inspired my writing, though I do use some of the things that have happened in the fictional stories. I did bring home something on one investigation. It was in Indiana. We did an investigation of a region known for being a very old burial ground. On return we had water coming on by itself along with cabinet doors in a bathroom opening by themselves. Very strange to say the least. The camera stopped operating several times during the investigation. Batteries were great. Once out of the area the camera worked fine. The cabinet doors opened with the witness sitting on the toilet next to the doors. I checked the doors and there was no reason why they should have opened.
Me: I bet you must have gathered quite a bit of evidence on an investigation like this. Have you ever come across something on such an active case that you’d consider solid evidence towards verification of a haunting?
MR: I have had many cases where there is no doubt that the building is haunted. I do everything possible to debunk any pictures or evp’s from the investigation. You have to be very careful not to let the evidence get you excited before there is nothing left to guess. Physical evidence such as being touched or pushed can be very hard to prove. At Trans Alleghany Lunatic asylum I was struck in the face with a force hard enough to leave a red streak vertically across my left eye. The mark was there for several days. We were able to communicate with a former inmate there from the civil war. His brother had been there several years after he was. There was verified by management of the facility by going through records only she had and was not privy to others outside of the facility. Pixilation of photos can deceive your perception you must be careful of that with every photo. Take the photos in succession to be able to verify if the anomaly is in all of the photos.
Me: Indeed photos can be quite misleading. A lot of the time I notice heavy amounts of pareidolia and apophenia in photos people have brought to us. You and I covered before in a prior email your take on orbs, and other dust anomalies, how do you handle photos with other such anomalies?
MR: When I find pictures with orbs most of the time I find myself somewhat dismissing them. The coloration usually is a dead giveaway. I prefer to see video concerning orbs. A great deal can be told from seeing these. Recently I had a mist from a grave yard taken at dusk. The problem with it was weather conditions and location. These mists are like orbs, a great deal of conditions can cause this.
The average camera and flash can cause lens flare or catch things the investigator is not seeing. Emotions can run high in a location that is unfamiliar to you. Human emotion can lead you to see and hear things that are simply not there. I find it is best to check your evidence more than one time and at different times. Give your mind a rest before you declare a solid haunting. I found in one case I jumped to conclusions with a shadow person at Old South Pittsburgh Hospital. The culprit when analyzed fully was a cheaper quality of enamel paint. The flash caused the shadow by bouncing off the far wall causing a shadow of someone walking behind me when the picture was taken. The witnesses all four of them could see the shadow moving from one wall to a set of double doors. Very convincing to say the least, but as I said the proof was there when it was broken down. Whether it is video or still shots I treat them all with a doubt going in until all room for doubt has been removed.
Me: Finally, out of all the locations you have done (I noticed you mentioned a few in prior responses) which one really stuck with you the most? Which one of them made you think you will maybe go back again and again until you have resolved its mystery? Or what was it you thought? (I understand you client confidentiality so I don’t expect you to mention personal names) answer whatever’s most comfortable?
MR: All of the locations and events stick with me to be honest. The one in particular that stands out is the girl in the window. I know from written testimony she was abused and that bothers me greatly. I want to know why she is making herself so perfectly known to us, my wife in particular. For whatever reason it makes you feel like she may be reaching out from the past. I have a bucket list that could last for centuries. There are some places I feel were a serious waste of time and resources. It is hard for the client to realize at times that what may or may not be happening will not always happen for the investigator. It disappoints them and I can sympathize with that. On the other hand you have the nonbeliever. When this is the case you have a simple question. If you do not or refuse to accept what is happening; passing it off as imagination; “Why did you call me? You don’t believe in the paranormal and I am who you called to verify what is happening to you.” The spirit world is very real. The Native Americans believe as do most of the religious sects that some dismiss as being “not one of us”. In its way it is more real than what we have in front of us. Can 12 disciples be wrong? I think not.
The next time you are alone in a wide open space with no-one within miles and someone calls your name think about your beliefs. The voice will sound familiar each time and yet you cannot place a finger on who it belongs to.
I am sending you a video taken with infrared cameras attached to the ceiling. I was in the room minutes before this was shot. This is evidence of a true orb. Watch the fourth frame. You will see an orb leave the door of the room and turn heading up the hallway. We were about fifty feet ahead of it. Amazing to say the least. I have had a very nice time talking with you today. Don’t be a stranger and let’s talk again.