A Different Kind of Paranormal Investigation

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When I first started doing paranormal investigation, I stuck with the current trend of conducting a “scientific investigation.” My friends and I spent tremendous amounts of money on paranormal equipment and used them for every investigation. We set up cameras in all the known hot-spots and used meters and devices to measure and record the energy in the room in the hopes of capturing evidence of paranormal activity.

As I became more experienced, the traditional investigations began to bore me. I was so tired of the concept, of asking all the same old questions and then listening to hours of recorded audio in my hopes of capturing a ghostly voice. I was also worried. While we were capturing evidence, we weren’t doing anything to solve the issue. This especially bothered me with private investigations.

When a homeowner asked us to come in because they were experiencing something they couldn’t explain, they were often frightened by the activity. When footsteps are heard in the middle of the night or voices drifted through the house when no one was home, they often thought the worst. And who can blame them?

Most people’s perception of ghosts is based on what they see in the media. Nice ghosts exist, but they don’t sell out movie theaters. Instead, Hollywood invests in the darker side of the paranormal world, largely excluding the majority of the paranormal arena. I have probably contributed to this personification as well by writing about my horrific experiences in dealing with darker entities. The fact is: the paranormal world is far more complicated.

There are a mixture of good and bad ghosts, along with entities that were never human. In some cases, they already have a system set up, one that doesn’t require human involvement to keep it continuing. It’s the humans who need to be schooled, not the ghosts.

As my abilities as an intuitive medium expanded, I found that I was able to connect directly with the ghosts in residence. I no longer needed a digital recorder to hear their voices. I could now go directly to the source. This changed everything for me.

Now, when I go on a private investigation, I don’t bother with most of my equipment.I bring a high quality electromagnetic frequency (EMF) meter that I use to rule out high levels of energy that might be impacting the living. Sometimes, a malfunctioning electrical device can emit high levels of EMF, which can cause people to react in the same way they might if a ghost were present.

To explain this further, high EMF often makes people feel as though they are being watched. An example would be a house we investigated where the owners felt as though they were being watched while they sat in their living room. A quick sweep with the EMF meter revealed two air purifiers that were situated at opposite ends of the room. They were both old and outdated and were pouring high levels of EMF into the room. Once they were removed, the feelings of being watched disappeared altogether. To read more about the effects of high EMF, click HERE to read a previous blog post.

When I investigate private homes now, my most valuable tools are my friends and teammates. I bring like-minded people with mediumistic abilities. Together we’re able to identify what is causing (or not causing in some cases) the haunting and put together a plan to resolve the issues.

During a recent investigation, I was invited to the home of a friend who had just purchased a house. He hadn’t necessarily experienced any activity that would put him on Paranormal Witness, but he was uncomfortable in his home all the same. It had a bad vibe. It didn’t feel right. It was as though he wasn’t welcomed there. I stopped him before he could go into more details that might impact our walk-through of the property.

I brought two people along with me who I knew could help me get to the bottom of the haunting: Ken Murray and Barbara Niles. Sandy MacLeod often joins us, but was unable to attend this time.

Ken Murray is a talented psychic medium who has blown me away with his abilities and Barbara Niles is far more talented than she gives herself credit for. I met both of them through the Paranormal 101 classes I used to teach in the town of Gardner, Massachusetts. Sandy’s abilities are similar to mine. We are somewhere between Ken and Barbara. We both get distinct impressions when a ghost is nearby.

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(Above) My Dream Team L-R: Joni Mayhan, Sandy MacLeod, Ken Murray and Barbara Niles

As we came into the house, I warned the homeowner to stay silent about the activity he had been experiencing. We wanted to go in completely cold, not knowing anything about the haunting or the history of the house that might taint our impressions. As a medium, this is very important. We are filtering any messages we might receive through our human bodies. If our brains are already thinking about the dark shadow he often sees at the end of the bed, we’ll be looking for dark energy. It might even lead us to mix our own impressions with the information we’ve been told, changing it completely.

We started on the third floor in an area that we later learned had once been servant’s quarters in the massive Craftman-styled house. Armed with notepads and writing utensils, we split up into separate rooms and allowed the energy to speak to us.

Being clairaudient, I alway hear tones that are similar to ear ringing. Once I tune into the sound, I am able to connect with the soul attached to it. In the first room, I picked up a tone that I identified as a young female. As I allowed the connection to grow, I saw her in my mind’s eye and began to hear her words. The first thing I saw was long light-brown hair that trailed down her back. As she turned, I saw a bit of her face. She was young, probably in her late teens or early twenties, and she was sad. As I studied her, I learned that she was an Irish immigrant, brought to this country to work for an American family, possibly as a nanny or housekeeper. “I just want to go home,” she told me.

Knowing we still had a lot of house to cover, I moved into another room on the third floor. I then connected in similar fashion with a heavy-set older woman with dark hair that was pulled into a knot on the back of her head. She struck me as motherly and matronly. She felt like a housekeeper to me, someone who took care of the family, as well as the rest of the staff. I saw her folding laundry, humming while she worked.

I moved onto a third room as Ken and Barbara switched rooms too. During this time, we didn’t say any more to one another than deciding on what to call the rooms so we could discuss them later. We decided on Room 1, Room 2, Room 3 and Room 4. Room 1 was where I felt the girl. Room 3 was where I felt the older woman. In Room 4 I got an impression of children and saw a child’s sailboat. I didn’t connect with any energy, except for the younger woman who was following me. I quickly moved onto Room 2 and discovered the reason for the haunting.

I didn’t need to listen for the tone. The impression came to me immediately. I saw a tall man with ramrod straight posture and dark hair. He had an air about him of importance, but the word that rose in my mind was “butler.” He felt he was better than everybody else. We were all beneath him. I saw him actively trying to disturb the living, making them as uncomfortable as possible.

Once everyone was finished, we moved through the rest of the house, feeling the energy and quietly writing down our impressions. By the time we made our way to the basement, I had also connected with a woman from the 1920’s. I saw her as tall and fashionably thin, wearing a pale beige silk dress with fringe along the hem. She was worried about something, but I couldn’t pick up on the source of her discontent until we got to the basement.

Basements are often my favorite places in haunted location. Not because they are creepy and dark, but because they seem to be the place where ghosts go to hide when the living impede upon their space. This basement was different though.

It was brightly lit and freshly painted. If you saw a photo of it, you wouldn’t immediately think it was creepy, but the energy said otherwise. It felt as though the air itself was sizzling with electricity. It was hard to breath, feeling like the air was thick and heavy. I did a quick sweep with the EMF detector, not finding anything amiss.

Soon, an image rose in my mind of wooden cases filled with glass bottles. I felt myself being drawn to a far corner of the room that had been sectioned off in a closet to house the well pump. “This is where they hid it,” a voice said in my mind. I identified the source of the voice as coming from the fashionable 1920’s woman and realized that this was the reason behind her anxiety. “Flowers cover up the scent,” she told me.

Scent? I looked around, trying to make sense of what I was being told and then it dawned on me. Alcohol. Instinctively, I knew that the house was used during the prohibition days to hide alcohol. While she was worried about it, her husband was almost glib. “Don’t worry about it. We won’t get caught,” he told her.

Once Ken and Barbara were finished writing down their own impressions, we reconvened outside on the porch steps to discuss our findings.

This is always a worrisome moment for me. I often doubt the impressions that I feel, wondering if my highly active imagination was simply manufacturing all the information. It made sense that I would identify the third floor as servant’s quarters. Most old houses were set up in that fashion and the staff I saw were traditional roles that were often employed in wealthy households. The 1920’s woman fit the time period that I had established in my mind, which also fit the style of the house. Was this nothing more than a nice story?

“Ken, why don’t you start,” I suggested, waiting with baited breath to hear what he was going to say. Ken has impressed me over the past year with his findings. He’s almost alway dead-on in his impressions, helping us solve many cases.

“I felt an older woman on the third floor, who I feel was a maid or a nanny,” he said and went onto describe her exactly as I saw her myself. Being a far better medium than I’ll ever be, he also added details, such as the color of her dress and the jewelry she was wearing.

He also picked up on the younger woman and the butler, adding in more layers. He thought the young woman’s name was Anna and saw her with her hair pulled up in a bun. Barbara’s notes revealed similar impressions.Because she is still in the beginning stages of her spiritual advancements, her encounters were less detailed. She identified the older woman, the younger woman and the man. Neither of them picked up on the 1920’s woman, but they both felt children present, which went along with my feelings about the bedroom with the sailboat.

Our only disagreement came in the basement. Ken saw a fight between two men that led to one of the men being stabbed. He also felt that the younger woman was having an affair with the former male owner of the house, something that might have contributed to the fight. He didn’t get any impressions about alcohol, but thought it made sense as he listened to me talk. Barbara also felt alcohol was involved, but felt like it was stolen.

All three of us agreed that the source of the haunting was the male butler. Ken felt as though he probably stood at the end of the homeowner’s bed and presented himself in shadows.He also thought the homeowner might feel as though someone was watching him while he was in the shower and that the bathroom door might occasionally pop open on it’s own.

We also all agreed that while the butler was an angry soul, he wasn’t powerful enough to do anything more than rattle doorknobs and create shadows. The older maid kept him in check, preventing him from attempting anything truly frightening or dangerous. Ken also felt that she liked the current homeowner and would work to keep him protected.

At that point, we took our findings to the homeowner and learned more history of the house. As it turns out, the house across the street had a hidden tunnel that led from the basement to the garage, something that the current owners suspected was created during the prohibition days. Was this connected?

As we thought about it, it began to make sense. Even though we were all different in our findings, they fit an overall story. If the people across the street had an illegal still or were bringing in alcohol for the sake of reselling it, it would make sense that the man in the house we investigated might have been a part of it, perhaps even breaking into his house to steal it and then hide it in his basement. If he were caught by his neighbor, a fight could have broken out. Even though we were forcing the pieces together, they fit.

In the end, we decided not to do anything about the haunting. Sometimes this is the best method. The dead have worked out a system of checks and balances. Often, we join hands and create a sacred circle where we envision a white light above our heads. We then encourage any lost souls to go through it, bringing them to a place most people call Heaven. While this is usually successful for us, it wasn’t the right thing to do in this case. If we attempted to cross over one or more of them, we might end up doing more harm than good. The heavy-set maid might have crossed over, leaving the angry butler there alone without anyone to prevent him from going after the living. It wasn’t worth taking the chance. It was better to leave it as we found it.

The only one I felt bad about was the younger Irish immigrant woman. She had been following me all night and was nearby as we spoke to the homeowner.

Mentally, I connected with her and told her about the white light, showing her an image of her floating towards it and finding her way to Heaven, where her family was waiting for her. I felt her acknowledgement and knew that she would go when she was ready.

Once we explained our findings to the homeowner, he felt better about the situation. Being a person who is involved in paranormal events, he was well-versed in the ways that ghosts often function. The reason why his house didn’t feel warm and welcoming was because the butler was impacting his emotions.

“Ask the maid to help you. Ask her if she will keep him away from you,” I suggested.

“You might also make an offering to the male butler, to appease him in a sense,” Ken said. “I see a decanter of liquor, possibly bourbon. Put it on a shelf in the dining room and tell him that it’s for him,” he said.

“And flowers for the maid,” I added, somehow knowing that she’d enjoy them.

Ken also gave the homeowner a stick of palo santos wood, which we often use in place of sage to “cleanse” the air to make the energy more positive and instructed him on how to use it. “Light it and then let it smolder in a small fire-proof bowl and then allow the smoke to fill the air in the rooms,” he told him. “When you finish, it will feel much lighter in here.”

After we said our goodbyes to the homeowner, we gathered by our cars and chatted about the evening. All in all, we felt good about what we did. We didn’t remove any energy or cross over any weary souls, but sometimes that’s the best thing to do. We simply went in, evaluated the situation and made a decision. I know that some mediums will disagree with what we did, but that’s to be expected. Everyone has differing opinions and we did what we felt was best for this case. If the activity picks up or becomes threatening in any way, we can always go back and do something different. Sometimes it’s better to just leave things as you found them.

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigation and the author of 15 paranormal books. She also teaches a popular online Paranormal 101 class.  For more information about Joni or her books or classes, click HERE .

 

 

 

Debunking Paranormal Evidence

My blood boiled as I saw the photo being passed around social media. It came with a caption, “My friends were taking pictures of their house that they just bought  – look what ghost appwas captured in the picture….” In the picture is the figure of a ghost. It’s so obviously a fake, I was surprised anyone would fall for it. When I clicked on the photo, I was flabbergasted at the plethora of comments, most of them congratulating the photographer for the capture.

As technology increases, so does the capacity to provide false information. As a paranormal investigator, I see it time and time again in photos. With the invention of “ghost apps” anyone with a cell phone can create a seemingly paranormal photo in minutes.

Beyond the obvious faked photos are the photos that aren’t altered, but probably aren’t paranormal either. Many people fall for these as well.

As humans, we are programmed to find faces. We see them in clouds and in reflections on windows. The truth is: some people want to find something in a photo. Every time I post a picture of the Haunted Victorian Mansion online, someone finds a face in the window. Chances are, it’s just a reflection. Clouds and bushes have a tendency to look like faces. Everything isn’t a ghost. In fact, most things aren’t paranormal. If you look hard enough, you’ll find the explanation.

Another huge topic regarding ghost photos is the subject of orbs. Are they true ghost pictures or just dust or moisture? This is quite a controversial topic that I plan to handle as gingerly as possible. People are either “orb believers” or they aren’t. There truly isn’t much grey area when it comes to people’s opinion about orbs.

My opinion is that the majority of the orb pictures you see are nothing more than dust or moisture that is catching the light from the flash and making it reflective. The bigger the orb, the closer it was to the camera when the photo was taken. If the orb is a different color, it’s reflecting something nearby that is the same shade. All you need to do to test this yourself is to walk across a room and then snap a picture with the flash on. You’ll see all the orbs you care to capture.

My first experience with orb photography came during a haunted walking tour in Nashville, Tennessee. The guide guaranteed that we would capture a ghost on film. It was even printed in the brochure.

I was intrigued by this, being a brand new investigator. I wasn’t sure how they could guarantee I’d get a paranormal picture, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt to see what happened.

They brought us to the street across from the haunted State House building. The guide waited until the light turned red and then instructed everybody to start snapping pictures. Even as a newbie, this was enough to make me roll my eyes. You could see the dust swirling in the air, kicked up from all the traffic. As it settled, people were getting hundreds of orbs in every picture. The guide congratulated them and they walked away thinking they actually captured something paranormal.

It does make sense that a ghost would take the most conservative shape, which would be an orb-shape. It’s aerodynamic and can move easily around the room. As someone who is sensitive to ghostly energy, I can tell you that ghosts don’t simply walk through the doorway and stand in a corner. They move around the room rapidly, something my cats track as they watch them zipping around. However, with that said, the only way I will believe that an orb photo might be a legitimate ghost is if the photo is taken without use of a flash or if it is captured on video maneuvering around in a manner that separates it from dust and moisture.

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I have dozens of photos that look ghostly. Case in point is the photograph above. I once investigated with a team who had a similar photo. They proudly displayed it on their website as proof of fairies. I nearly laughed when I saw it, because it is clearly a mosquito caught in the flash.

Don’t believe it because you want to believe it. Only believe it after you’ve ruled out everything else it could be.

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The photo shown above was taken in at the Haunted Victorian Mansion, the subject of my 2014 book Bones in the Basement – Surviving the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion. It was snapped by an investigator from Conscious Spirit Paranormal. I know these ladies personally and know they wouldn’t fudge a photo, which gives it more validity in my eyes.

The photo supposedly shows a portal in the Copper Room. I’ve been in this room many times. In fact, I’ve slept there several times. I can assure you, there’s nothing physical at the foot of the bed that would cause a photo to look like that.

My first thought about the photo was that it was a camera strap hanging down into the photo. Below is a photo of a camera strap in a photo. You can see the ridges of the straps. The images, while not exactly the same, are similar. The only real difference is the fact that the Victorian photo’s vortex image ends before the top of the photo. If it were a camera strap, it would continue through the top of the photo. Just always bear in mind that photos can be misleading. Always take a series of three photos when you’re in a haunted location. That way you can rule out a reasonable explanation.

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I think most of us want to find something paranormal in our photos from investigations. After all, that’s the primary reason why we’re taking them, besides to document the investigation. In the photo below, a fellow investigator, Pam Howell, took this photo of us standing near my car during a break. There appears to be a strange mist above us. I was quite excited when I saw it, until I realized that I was holding my E-cigarette in the picture. Many argued that an E-cigarette couldn’t produce enough smoke to create that mist, but I still had to throw it out as possible evidence. If there is a possible explanation, then it can’t be used.

Pam's picture of me

Paranormal audio captures, also known as EVPs also have room for debunking, as well. Modern digital recorders are very sensitive. Even the smallest of noises will be recorded and could be misconstrued as a ghostly response.

When I conduct an EVP session, I employ the utmost care. I keep the group small (under 5 people, if possible) and everyone remains seated. I can be quite a dictator during these sessions, but it’s important to monitor the session as closely as possible. No one is allowed to drink beverages, chew gum, snap photos or, God forbid, whisper during one my sessions. If someone’s stomach inadvertently growls or a car drives past, one of us always says aloud “stomach” or “car” so we’ll know later when we review the audio. If you aren’t careful during a session, you might come across something that seems to be paranormal but isn’t. Below is a good example of someone whispering during a session.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/kitchenette-example-of-whispering

When you listen to it, you’ll hear the faint sound of a voice speaking over mine. What you won’t hear is me saying “whispering” afterwards, while giving the investigator a hard look.

I have a rule that I always follow: when in doubt, throw it out.

I believe that we owe it to the field to only submit the most valid evidence possible. This means keeping the EVPs that might or might not be another investigator burping, and the photos of smudged mirrors to ourselves. We don’t grasp for straws, we just keep trying until we find something worth sharing. I truly wish all investigators followed this rule as well.

For more information about EVPs, please check out my new book Ghost Voices, available on Amazon.com for Kindle or paperback.

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Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 13 books. Click on any of the covers to learn more about each book.

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The Dangers of Ghost Hunting

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It looks like fun, something entertaining to do on a boring Saturday night. You imagine calling a few friends and heading out to the closest graveyard to see what it’s all about. The truth is: paranormal investigating can be dangerous.

I know this firsthand. After making several beginner’s mistakes, I encountered several low vibrational entities that followed me home and made my life a living hell for months on end. Had I known what I know now, I would have done things much differently.

A paranormal investigation shouldn’t be treated like a fun night out. It should be planned with the same care and respect that you’d use if you decided to start cave diving. You certainly wouldn’t just go out and purchase scuba equipment and head to your nearest cave. You’d spend months, if not years, learning how to dive first to prevent yourself from getting lost and drowning inside a cave. You’d then research and train with someone who knew how to cave dive. You would also bring a map, as well as a companion who knew the cave well.

The biggest danger with paranormal investigating is the unknown factor. Ghosts come in many varieties. Like people, there are harmless ones and there are dangerous ones. Unlike people, ghosts are invisible and you might not be able to tell the difference until it’s too late.

People who are sensitive to spiritual energy have far more to worry about than non-sensitives. Not only do ghosts see us and recognize the fact that we can also detect them, they might grow curious enough to follow you home. Once they’ve attached to you, they will attempt to get your attention. This could include moving items around your house or making sounds that you can detect. If the entity is negative in nature, they will probably attempt to pull your energy, something they will use to grow stronger. The footsteps and misplaced items will quickly escalate to more serious dangers. They might turn on burners on your gas stove, something I’ve had happen before, or they might push you when you walk down a steep flight of stairs. If they think they can get away with it, they might even attempt to take you over.

We often think demonic entities are the only entities that can possess a person, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are some very high-powered human ghosts who have the same capabilities. Beyond even demonic or earth-bound ghosts is the possibility of entities from other dimensions. The problem is, when they cause your EMF meter to spike at an investigation, they all look the same.

Sensitives should be well-versed in paranormal protection before they actively put themselves in harm’s way. They need to study the various protection methods until they find one that works for them. As they start out, they should always investigate with a mentor who can help keep them safe.  Here are some tips to help you stay protected:

Grounding and Shielding

Learn how to ground and shield yourself. Grounding is the process of removing all negative energy from your body. My favorite technique for this is to imagine a ball of pure white light above my head. As I inhale, I visualize this white light filling my body, while simultaneously pushing the negative energy down through me, where it can sink deeply into the ground. Some people visualize themselves as trees with deep roots as they do this. To shield, you build a bubble of white light around you, and then set a time limit on it. I usually set my shield daily, infusing it with the intent that it will keep me safe from any energies that aren’t mine for 24 hours, the maximum time amount. If you don’t set a time, your shield will only last for several hours.

Protection Touch-stones

Many people carry gemstones in their pocket, such as black tourmaline or tiger’s eye, which have protective properties. Other people wear crucifixes or religious medallions. While these items will help you stay protected, they also serve as a reminder. Many people believe that you already have everything you need to keep yourself protected inside you. By touching the stone or wearing the cross, you reinforce your internal belief that you are protected.

External Assistance

Whether you are praying to a higher power or calling in your Spirit Guides, you should always utilize this extra assistance. It’s like having a posse of warriors who will run defense for you. Without them, you are vulnerable to attack.

Keep Your Vibration High

Everyone and everything vibrates with frequency. When people are feeling good and everything in their lives are running smoothly, they vibrate at a high rate. When they are feeling depressed or are physically ill, they’re vibration decreases. Ghosts vibrate at different rates too. A positive entity will vibrate at a much higher rate than a negative one. They can only attach to you if your frequencies are similar. If you don’t feel well or have had a horrible fight with a friend, don’t go on the investigation, especially if you are a sensitive. You will be much more vulnerable to picking up an attachment.

Some other tips:

  1. Never antagonize the dead. Provoking comes with a heavy price considering you don’t know what you’re truly dealing with. You could be screaming at a lost child who has been trapped in our world for centuries or you could be taunting something inhuman, who considers your insults an invitation. Tread lightly and be polite.
  2. Unless you have several years in the field, always investigate with a mentor, someone who can help keep you protected. If you are a sensitive, find an experienced medium who is willing to take you under his or her wing. They can not only alert you to possible dangers, but they can help you advance your own abilities.
  3. Stay away from unknown factors. This includes cemeteries, old prisons, old hospitals and location where humans have suffered. Start out with public events at locations that have been fully investigated before. It might initially seem like driving with training wheels, but you should always learn in a somewhat safe environment. With that said, still employ caution. Ghosts often come in with other investigators and decide to camp out at new locations.
  4. Don’t attempt private investigations at people’s homes until you have several years of experience under your belt. Yes, you do need to learn the craft of investigating sometime, but don’t learn at the expense of a homeowner. Any mistakes you make will be left for someone else to deal with. Private events are also risky because you don’t know what you’re dealing with until you investigate the location, which puts you at risk, as well.
  5. NEVER investigate your own home. If you have a ghost in residence, call in someone else to help, preferably a medium who can communicate directly with the entity. If you do EVP sessions and frequently try to capture the ghost on a camera, you are giving it more fuel to stay. The attention you provide it with acts as an invitation, which will make it much harder to remove later.
  6. Do not give ghosts permission to touch you or use your energy. Essentially, what you’re doing is inviting them inside the shield you’ve carefully constructed, giving them an opportunity to connect to you. If they use your energy, you will probably find yourself on the brink of exhaustion the next morning, making you more prone to illness.
  7. When you leave the location, I recommend doing a closing ceremony. Basically, this entails telling the ghosts that they must remain at the location and cannot follow you home. We will often burn sage and do a smudging of each participant before they leave, as an extra measure. You should also cut your cords. Entities, and even people, connect to one another with invisible energy cords. Cut these with your non-dominant hand, envisioning the ethereal cords breaking in half. Then imagine white light filling all the holes where the cords were once located. Once you’ve done this, leave. Don’t stand by your car and talk. This gives the dead more opportunities to attach to you.
  8. Cleanse yourself when you get home. I recommend taking a bath infused with sea salt and lavender. This cleanses the spiritual energy off you and also serves to relax you after an eventful investigation. Eat something healthy, as well. It’s recommended to eat foods that will help you ground. Nourishment that comes from the earth is usually the best. Nuts, grains, root vegetables and even chocolate are good for grounding.
  9. Ground and shield yourself before you begin reviewing your evidence the next day. If you didn’t fully cut your cords to the entities at the investigation, you will re-attach yourself to them when you begin listening to your audio recordings or combing through your photos or video captures.
  10. Never cut corners. Even if you are in a rush, always take the time to protect yourself before, during and after an investigation. The investment could end up saving you a lot of pain and suffering after the fact.

As an author and investigator, I’ve encountered dozens of scenarios that you will not want to experience. Ghost hunting is not fun and games. Sometimes it can be deadly. If you would like to learn more about the ins and outs of being a sensitive or would like to explore other avenues for paranormal protection, please check out my book Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide to the Paranormal World.

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 13 books, including Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide to the Paranormal World,  Devil’s Toy Box, The Soul Collector and Bones in the Basement, all available on Amazon.com, as well as Barnesandnoble.com and Smashwords. Click on any of the covers below to learn more about the book.

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The Haunted Amos Blake House

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Photo by Frank Grace (TRIG Photography)

Terri Harlow was on her hands and knees, cleaning a section of the floor in the front parlor when she realized she wasn’t alone. A small cat approached her, twitching its tail in a manner that made her believe it wanted to be petted. Before she could even reach for her camera, the cat disappeared before her eyes.

As the curator of the historic Amos Blake house in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, as well as the founder of Conscious Spirit Paranormal, a local paranormal investigative group, Terri has witnessed more paranormal phenomena than she can fit into a conversation. Every room in the 1837 house has a story.

“There are eleven confirmed ghosts here, not including the cat,” she said with a sly smile, as she led us from room to room in the white clapboard building.

When I was invited to tour the building with local photographer extraordinaire, Frank Grace, and his father (also named Frank), I jumped at the chance. Frank told me that we’d be meeting Terri Harlow at the museum, but I didn’t put two and two together until she opened the door and greeted us. I met Terri years ago at an event at the Haunted Victorian Mansion and was thrilled to see her again. After we had a chance to do some catching up, she took us on a tour of the building, explaining each room as we went along. It was quickly apparent that the house doesn’t whisper with history – it screams with it. Every room in the perfectly preserved house is filled with antiques and artifacts from the days when Amos Blake walked the land.

Amos Blake was a prominent man in Fitzwilliam in the mid-eighteen hundreds. Besides being a lawyer, he was also a community leader and state legislator. He purchased the house in 1865 and used one of the front rooms as an office for his law practice. When he died in 1925, his son Leroy transferred his insurance business to the home and assumed residence.

While Amos was a pillar of the community, his son Leroy was better known as a ladies’ man, as well as a hoarder. “When he died in the 1960’s, this room was filled with stuff. There were paths through all of it,” Terri told us as we walked into the kitchen area. “Most people think hoarding is something that only happens today, but it happened back then as well,” she added.  Leroy Blake was proof of that.

We continued on to the front parlor, where Terri once saw the ghostly cat, and then to Amos’s original office space, outfitted with his original desk and furniture. I was amazed at how much of his original possessions remained with the house. It was like stepping back in time. His desk sat in front of the window, outfitted with tools from the trade. An old telephone sat beside an old ink well, items that actually once belonged to the Blake family.

Terri then took us up to the second floor, which was once divided into apartments. Each room was a treasure, filled with antiques from the era. One room was filled with old toys. Cribs with creepy life-like dolls occupied the space, along with a glass showcase filled with delicate old play things.

“A man from New Jersey donated these two bears,” Terri said, showing us two elderly teddy bears in the glass case. “He comes by on occasion to visit them. Isn’t that the sweetest thing? I love it,” she said with a smile.

“Has anything paranormal ever happened in here?” I asked her.

Terri got a gleam in her eye as she showed us the mantle above the fireplace. “I put several toys on the mantle and came back a few hours later to find them way over there on the floor,” she said, pointing to an area nearly six feet away. Considering she was alone in the building at the time, this was interesting information. Other items in the house move as well. A catnip toy brought in for the ghost cat is frequently found in various places in the house, as if a cat had been playing with it. A shadow person was also photographed in this room in the corner. When the paranormal television show Ghost Hunters came to shoot an episode there in 2009, a chain in the current country store moved on camera. While several people have debunked the phenomena, stating it was caused by an investigator walking through the room, Terri was quick to tell us that it’s something that has happened many times since. The building is haunted. It’s no surprise that items often move on their own.

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Joni with Terri Harlow  Photo by Frank Grace (TRIG Photography)

Knowing it was a haunted location, I had my digital audio recorder running for the duration of the tour. As we stepped into the hallway, I got my first EVP. An EVP is a ghostly voice that is captured on a recording device but isn’t heard at the time it was recorded. Capturing one or two during a standard investigation is good. Finding one during a daylight tour of the facility was like hitting a jackpot for me.

A voice said, “behind you.” Click on the link below and it will take you directly to my Soundcloud page where the EVP is located.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/behind-you

The next room we walked into was a room dedicated to a local doctor. Dr. George Emerson practiced medicine in the town for many years during the earlier part of the last century. After he died in the late 1950’s, his son donated his equipment to the museum, including an old wheelchair, medical instruments, and medicine bottles, including several labeled snake oil, and liver pills. An odd doll was propped up on a shelf. I asked Terri about it, and she explained that it was used to teach new mothers how to care for their babies. I captured an EVP during this time, as well.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/history-behind-dollcommon-or-come-in

Terri showed us a room set up as a bedroom, with old-fashioned stenciling on the walls and an antique rope bed centered in the room. Frank marveled at it, telling us that is where the phrase “Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite,” came from. Before bedtime, they would tighten the ropes on the bed to make the mattress firmer. I attempted to conduct an EVP session in the room, but was later dismayed to learn that my recorder was mysteriously turned off three seconds into the recording.

Another room on the top floor was a costume room, with beautiful dresses and outfits from every era of the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds. Terri would like to make the room into a girl’s bedroom and is looking for a historic canopy bed. If anyone has one they’d like to donate, she’d be delighted to take it.

We also toured a room dedicated to the Fitzwilliam Band, with various instruments and uniforms displayed around the room. Terri caught my attention when she said that the band traveled all around New England and had visited Gardner, Massachusetts frequently. Since I’m currently writing a book about the S.K. Pierce Mansion in Gardner, it made me wonder if the band every played there, as well.

Next door was the military room, with artifacts and uniforms from the various wars, including the Revolutionary War, Gettysburg, and World Wars I and II. In the corner was a cape that was worn by a general to George Washington’s commemorative service in 1800, one of the oldest artifacts in the building.

One of the most interesting rooms was the schoolhouse room. Over the course of the past decades, the museum has collected an assortment of old school desks and antiques, including a photo of George Washington, an old wall clock (placed at the back of the room so the children wouldn’t be preoccupied by it), and a teacher’s desk. It wasn’t difficult to imagine children from the past sitting at the desks, watching the teacher write the day’s lessons on the chalkboard. Once during a tour, Terri heard sounds coming from the room and returned to find several lines drawn on the chalkboard.

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Joni doing a Spirit Box session in the old bedroom  Photo by Frank Grace (TRIG Photography)

After the tour was concluded, I excused myself and wandered off by myself up to the attic. According to Terri, the attic is a hot spot for paranormal activity. I soon found this out firsthand. Being a sensitive, I had been picking up on the resident entities during the majority of the tour. I pointed them out to Terri, who is also a medium, for confirmation. In the attic, I felt there was a man, a woman, and several children. She later confirmed that a grumpy man is known to linger in the corner near the stairs, and that a woman who loves to dance is often heard there, as well. I turned on my Spirit Box to see if any of them were willing to talk to me. For those of you who don’t know what a Spirit Box is, it’s a modified radio that scans quickly through the stations. The theory is that the ghosts can use the white noise to speak. Some controversy surrounds this piece of equipment. Critics feel the responses are due to stray radio signals. While I agree that there are often bits and pieces of radio voices that come through the speakers, I’ve captured several responses that are far too relevant to be coincidence. Here is one of them:

I asked them who their favorite tour guide was. Here is the response:

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/someone-you-like-bestterri

After I finished up in the attic, I wandered back down to the second floor. While Terri and tour guide, Jennifer, sorted through old clothing in the office area, I sat and chatted with them. Little did I know that I’d capture another EVP. They were looking at an old hanger, trying to figure out how it worked when I recorded this voice. I can’t quite make out what it’s saying in the beginning, but it says “come look at that.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/kitchen-mans-voice

The Amos Blake House was a treasure trove of historical artifacts. I highly recommend it to anyone with an appreciation for history and/or the paranormal. The tours are free and full of fascinating information. They are open the first and last Saturdays of the month from 1-4pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day), and are open every Tuesday from 3-5pm for research or scheduled tours. Twilight tours can also be arranged. For more information, please visit their respective links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/fitzwilliam.historicalsociety?fref=ts

Website:  http://www.fitzwilliam.org/index.html.

 

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

 

 

Are Spirit Boards Dangerous?

IMG_1486Judy wasn’t happy when her friend brought a Ouija Board to her slumber party, but she didn’t want to be a spoiled sport. All the other girls were excited, gathering around the board, waiting for their turn to talk to the dead. At first, they began getting interesting responses to their questions, but after a while, the responses turned darker. Instead of telling them the names of their next boyfriends, it began answering all the questions with terrifying words like:  kill, murder, and maim. Judy insisted they put the board away, but the event was far from over. Days later, Judy began hearing footsteps in the empty house and loud thumps on the walls. Had they conjured an evil entity through the board?

Is it a board game or a divining tool for the devil?

As I set out to write this blog, I quickly learned that there are few grey areas when it comes to people’s opinions on Ouija Boards. They either love them or they hate them. Messages began pouring in the minute I posted a question on Facebook about them.

So, what’s the fuss all about?

I probably don’t need to describe an Ouija Board to anyone. We’ve all seen them in horror flicks and paranormal reality shows. For those who have been living under a rock for the past hundred years or so, a spirit board is a game board that is marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers zero through nine, the words “yes” and “no”, and typically the words “hello” and “goodbye”. Users rest their fingers on a triangle or heart-shaped game piece, often called a planchette, while an unseen entity supposedly moves the indicator to spell out a message. Many people consider spirit boards to be a form of automatic writing, a practice that allows ghosts to convey messages by spelling out words on paper. They gained popularity in the late 1800’s as the boards became easily obtainable and can be currently be found in most department stores or online shopping sites, sitting side-by-side with family favorites like Candyland and Monopoly.

For many people, the question is simple. Why would an Ouija Board be any different than any other form of paranormal equipment? The answer is a bit more complex.

When we conduct  paranormal investigations, we use many different pieces of equipment to elicit responses from the spirit world. Tools of the trade vary. A popular device is the Ovilus, an electronic device that is pre-programmed with several thousand words the spirit world can utilize to sound out messages. Others use Spirit Boxes, which use a modified radio that scans quickly through the stations to capture spirit voices. K2, EMF meters, flashlights, and digital audio recorders are also frequently used as communication devices. The one thing that separates these devices from a spirit board is the conduit. While the other equipment allows the entities to communicate through the device itself, a spirit board requires a host to convey the messages. For me, that makes all the difference.

In my book Ghostly Defenses: A Sensitive’s Guide for Protection, I don’t recommend investigators to invite a ghost to touch them or use their energy. Personal contact can lead to a multitude of unexpected complications including a paranormal hangover, where an investigator is drained of energy, as well as spirit attachment, where the entity actually follows you home from the investigation. Maintaining a safe distance is often essential in keeping yourself protected. It only takes one wrong move to turn your life into a living hell. I say this from personal experience. I wrote the book The Soul Collector after I ran into a very nasty negative entity that brought me to the brink of disaster.

With that said, it won’t surprise anyone that I have mixed feelings about spirit boards, especially when they are used by inexperienced people. In some cases, it could be the equivalent of handing a loaded gun to a person who has never seen a gun before. The results could be fairly predictable.

A friend who wishes to remain anonymous shared the following story with me. They lived in a haunted house and frequently used an Ouija Board to communicate with the resident ghosts, but the sessions eventually grew precarious. While the house had always been active, it intensified greatly after they began using the board. The ghost began to focus on the twenty-year-old daughter. It knew things about her personal life that she hadn’t shared with her family and began spelling them out with glee. The activity soon grew physical as the entity began taking control of her body. Something began moving her arms, making them tremble and point in a specific direction. At times, her arms would twitch and shake beyond control, something her father could feel by touching her. The family quickly stopped using the spirit board. While the activity in the house continued, the entity ceased the physical attacks.

Others have different takes on the boards.

Frank had also had a life altering experience using a Ouija Board. While his sister and her friends used the board at a slumber party in the family’s basement, he sat at the edge of the room, watching them. He had a crush on one of his sister’s friends, but at fifteen-years-old, he was too shy to do anything about it. One of the girls asked the board if it had something it wanted to tell them. It promptly spelled out “Frankie loves Bonnie.” Frank was mortified and ran upstairs in embarrassment, but the message served its purpose. Frank and Bonnie are now married with two children, having been together for twenty-one years.

Is this really possible? Can a piece of cardboard and a game piece really conjure up the dead?

Many skeptics believe that the spirit board responses are due to ideomotor responses, where users are unknowingly moving the planchette. In his book Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, neurology professor, Terence Hines, states the following:

“The planchette is guided by unconscious muscular exertions like those responsible for table movement. Nonetheless, in both cases, the illusion that the object (table or planchette) is moving under its own control is often extremely powerful and sufficient to convince many people that spirits are truly at work… The unconscious muscle movements responsible for the moving tables and Ouija board phenomena seen at séances are examples of a class of phenomena due to what psychologists call a dissociative state. A dissociative state is one in which consciousness is somehow divided or cut off from some aspects of the individual’s normal cognitive, motor, or sensory functions.”

Heidi’s story conflicts with this theory. While in junior high school, she used one with a friend. Nothing happened in the beginning, but soon the experience changed. An entity came through, telling them he was the father of a classmate who had died. They began asking him questions to validate the response, and he provided them with accurate information. They asked him the name of his boat, and he answered with the name “Princess.” Heidi’s friend thought the information was incorrect. She remembered the name to be “Canasta.” They ceased communication at that point, afraid that another entity was pretending to be the friend’s dead father. Later that summer, when Heidi went to the camp where the boat was docked, she happened to see his boat and was shocked at what she saw. The name on the back of the boat was “Princess,” like the spirit board told them.

The stories go on and on. I was shocked at how many people contacted me.

Psychic medium, Memie Watson contacted me after reading my post on Facebook, providing me with the following information.

“As a child my mother worked at Parker Brothers in Salem, Massachusetts, where they made Ouija boards. They are not the traditional ones from the Egyptian times. We got one as a gift and played with it all the time. We called in spirits and asked them questions. As children, we are more susceptible to having an open mind to spirits.

We never have had anything bad happen to us at all. To this day, I still have the original one my mother gave us hanging up on the kitchen wall.

Spirit boards and Ouija boards are the same as Table Tipping as they all put you in direct communication with spirits; they are a form of divination as well as the pendulum and dowsing rods etc. Also, psychic mediums contact the spirit, so we must also be protected and cleansed. We always cleanse and consecrate any magickal tool, including ourselves, prior to spirit contact. Upon finishing, we cleanse ourselves as well, as we don’t want Sprits hanging around.

Yes, these tools are part of the Occult. While the word has a bad connotation to some, it really only means the unknown or something hidden.

They do work and will not bring any ill harm to you unless you believe that they will.

What I recommend to others starting out is to respect the board and the spirits and no harm shall come. Never mock them and laugh at them. They are not tools of the devil, as in our belief system there is no such thing as the devil, as it is purely a Christian belief.

So any form of communication with the other world is knowledge into the occult, the spirit realm,” she told me.

Others have much stronger opinions of Ouija Boards, suggesting they created portals for darker entities to utilize.

Tara from Tara Haunted Tours in Savannah, Georgia, recommends caution when dealing with the boards. While she has witnessed professionals utilizing the board without issue, she’s seen far more people get into trouble with them. She believes that when inexperienced people use Ouija Boards, hoping to sense a ghost or conjure their departed loved ones, other darker entities can come through instead, pretending to be the loved one. “They go in, extremely unprotected, thinking they are talking to dead ‘grandma’. Evil poses in many forms. Leave the board alone!” she recommends.

My friend, Michael Cram, shares a similar belief. Michael’s history in the paranormal started in childhood. His mother was an Irish witch, someone who often helped others with their problems. A talented medium himself, Michael spent over thirty years in the field investigating claims of hauntings. He also works with the Catholic Church, helping them investigate reports of demonic activity prior to exorcisms.

After the owners of the Haunted Victorian Mansion found a handmade Ouija Board in their house following a paranormal investigation, the activity in the house became far more prevalent. They asked Michael to come in for a house cleansing and he quickly identified the entity as something that was brought into the house.

“You don’t want to mess with those,” he told Edwin, pointing towards the Ouija Board. “If the wrong person is using it, they could open up more portals, and invite things that you don’t want here. It’s like leaving your front door wide open and allowing anyone to come in.”

He went on to tell Edwin that the types of entities who communicate through Ouija boards were from a lower astral plane, the type you don’t want to welcome into your home. Once you ask for a physical confirmation, such as a knock on the wall or a flicker of a candle, you are essentially opening a portal, allowing them in. Once they come through, they don’t always leave. Michael completed his cleansing, but the entity would prove difficult to remove.

Personally, I’ve avoided Ouija Boards, fearing I would create a situation I couldn’t control afterwards. Being a sensitive, I already contend with ghosts following me home from investigations and haunted establishments. The last thing I needed was to create a doorway inside my own house for them to come and go as they wished. I decided that a call to Barbara Williams was in order.

Barbara Williams is a very talented psychic medium from Casco, Maine. After meeting her at an investigation at Parsonsfield Seminary, another very haunted location, I began reaching out to her to learn more about the paranormal world. She’s since become my mentor, my go-to person for paranormal questions.

She feels that a spirit board is a tool, no different from a camera, a pendulum, or an Ovilus. An experienced user will know how to properly open and close a session, like they would do for any paranormal investigation, but since Ouija Boards are sold as toys, they often end up in the wrong hands.

“Most people’s first experiences with spirit boards come when they are adolescents. As you know, adolescents are usually very volatile emotionally. They have very strong kinetic energy and are most likely to create poltergeist activity,” she said. She went on to explaining the importance of conducting the session correctly.

She feels that safeguards must be put into place. The spirit board must first be cleansed of any lingering energy. If someone else has used it, it could still hold that energy, good or bad. While Barbara doesn’t use spirit boards, she feels that opening and closing a session is vitally important. She recommends beginning every paranormal investigation with a prayer and a blessing, asking for protection from the guides and guardians who protect the users. They should always make the intent very clear, instructing only spirits from the light to come through and preventing dark energy from emerging.

Closing the session is just as important as beginning one. After the session ends, whether it is for an EVP session or a spirit board session, the connection must be closed. “Otherwise, it’s like living in the woods in a cabin. If you walk away and leave the door open, you’re going to end up with a lot of bugs,” she said. “If you open a vortex, you must close it as well,” she added.

As for the girl named Judy in the beginning of the article — her name was really Joni.

My advice to you about spirit boards is to be cautious. Will I use one in the future? It’s highly doubtful, but I am curious by nature. If the right situation presented itself, under the best possible circumstances, I might be tempted.

Certainly, it is far more than a board game, but is it a divining tool of the devil? I’ll let you make that decision.

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

Soul Collector banner for FBThe Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan


Ghostly Defenses: A Sensitive’s Guide for Protection

Being a sensitive isn’t always easy. While we can sense that ghosts and spirits are present, we aren’t always prepared to handle them. This guide is a starting point for sensitives, giving them direction on how to harness their abilities, while staying protected from negative energy.

This guide discusses the various methods for protection from dark energy, including prayers, medallions, and gemstones, as well as step-by-step directions for protection before, during and after paranormal investigations.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Defenses-Joni-Mayhan-ebook/dp/B00IYOB40E/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399115123&sr=1-2

trilogy photoAngels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very existence.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

 

 

The Ghost in the Corner

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The ghost hovered in the corner of my room, ever vigilant.

I could feel him standing there watching me. His anger was powerful, radiating from his center like a smoky black aura, filling the room with hostility and rage. If there was ever a time in his life when he was a good man, I couldn’t feel it. All I could detect was the darkness that had leached into his soul like a parasite, turning him into an ever-hating entity.

He didn’t hate me for any particular reason. He hated everyone. He despised the life he’d once lived, and brought his hatred into the afterlife with him, allowing it to consume him whole. And there he was, hovering in my bedroom corner, watching me with narrowed eyes.

I first became aware of him after dining at my favorite restaurant. I don’t know how he came to be there. I don’t think he even knew. He just followed the trail of energy to a place where he could find nourishment before he finally latched onto me.

Being a ghost takes a great deal of energy. Despite popular belief, many people feel that ghosts can’t pull energy from the electricity or batteries we use to power our electronics and machines. They need the kind of energy that only a living being can provide. It’s one of the reasons why you seldom find ghosts at cemeteries. They might stop by to visit their grave and make sure it’s being kept up, but they won’t hang out there for long because it isn’t a good feeding ground. There aren’t enough people around.

Investigators often flock to haunted venues, needlessly paying tremendous amounts of money to hunt for a ghost, while passing several dozen ghosts on their way to the door. Ghosts are everywhere. You’ll find them lurking in places where you find groups of people. Shopping malls and movie theaters are prime locations, as are restaurants, hospitals, and churches. Most of the time the ghosts are happy to remain there, but every occasionally they find one human they feel is worth following. For reasons that escape me, I am very desirable in the spirit realm.

I can’t go anywhere without picking one up. They must see me and consider me as someone who can provide them with constant nourishment. More than likely they recognize me as a sensitive, someone who might provide them with the added bonus of communication, something many of them long for in the spirit realm.

The guy in my corner wasn’t exactly a chatty one, though. He didn’t want to talk to me. He just wanted to use me for as long as he could. Since I had no real means of driving him away, he probably would have stayed for an extended vacation, growing fat and happy off the energy he pulled from me.

Strange things began happening to me during this time. At first, I just thought I was having a spell of horrible luck, but as it went on, I grew suspicious. My son’s truck broke, putting us down a vehicle, something that caused us both undue stress as he worried over fixing it. Then, my car registration was suddenly revoked, due to the insurance bills that somehow never made it to my mailbox. Household appliances stopped working without explanation.  I became clumsy, stubbing my toes into every corner, banging my elbow against my desk as I rose, bruising myself on the corner of a table so frequently it became painful. Then the worst possible thing happened. My elderly cat went into seizures and had to be euthanized.

My friend Sandy, who is also a sensitive, came to pick me up for a movie several days later. Just before we left, I asked her to go upstairs and see if she felt anything. I didn’t tell her anything about the haunting, but from prior experience being my friend, she knew what she was looking for. She came down a few minutes later, pale and drawn.

“You have a really bad one up there. He’s really strong,” she told me.

It confirmed what I already suspected.

Over the course of the week, I worked with my mentor, trying everything she suggested. I burned sage and used salt around the doorways and windows. I took a cleansing salt bath every night. I worked on building a strong shield around myself, but nothing seemed to work. As soon as I drifted off to sleep, I felt him move towards me, blanketing me with his energy. I would then feel a palpitation, almost as if my bed was vibrating beneath me. I came to realize that this sensation was probably him pulling energy from me.

After Sandy’s visit, something strange happened. He began bouncing back and forth between the two of us. While we found it to be anything but amusing, we began documenting the bounces. As soon as I felt him come back, I marked the time and did the same thing when I felt him leave. Sandy did the same thing. When we compared notes after a few days, the times matched up perfectly.

I needed to get rid of him. I was getting only a few hours of sleep each night. Every time I started to drift asleep, he’d jump on me, waking me up. I contacted my mentor, begging for help, and she agreed to see us.

We got in my car and made the three hour drive to Maine to see her. During the drive, Sandy told me a little about our ghost. She saw him as 50’s era. He was a tough guy, kind of like James Dean with a bad attitude. When we got to Maine our mentor, confirmed this.

“1953 is the year I’m getting,” Barbara told us. She also saw him as a person who wasn’t very nice in life. “Okay, let’s cross him over,” she suggested.

We stood in a circle, like we always do. Barbara opened up a white light, where he could safely pass through to the other side of the veil. While I’ve experienced this many times, it still takes my breath away. It’s a powerful moment, filled with velocity and emotion. In some ways, it’s almost like giving birth, except it feels more like freedom and release.

I felt him slip up and through it the second the white light was opened. A cold chill started at my ankles and worked its way up my body and through the top of my head, signalling his release. And then it was all over, leaving me breathless in the wake.

“That was fast,” I remarked.

“Yes. He was ready to go,” Barbara confirmed.

We held the circle for another minute and to our surprise, another soul crossed through. I had no idea where this one came from, but I was happy to comply. Every soul deserves the right to cross over to the next realm.

My house grew quiet again for several days until the next one came along.

This one is a female. She wants help, but won’t cross over. Something holds her back.

Like the male, she waits until I am nearly asleep before she pounces on me.

I’m not ready to make another trip to Maine, but am working on keeping her at bay. Even though these earth-bound souls are draining, I always learn something in the process. With her, I’ve learned to push energy in her direction. It’s not an easy thing to maneuver, considering it’s an invisible and not always reliable solution, but it seems to be working. If nothing else, perhaps she’ll eventually tire of the battle and move onto greener pastures.

Insomnia has become a way of life for me, but I’m still thankful. There might be a ghost in my corner, but at least it’s not the same hateful entity who had once been there. This one just wants help.

I just need to learn how to give it to her without losing a piece of my own soul in the process.

 

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

trilogy photo

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

 

 

 

The Haunting of the Purple Head Bridge

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The Purple Head Bridge is a narrow one lane bridge that connects Indiana to Illinois, spanning the Wabash River with barely a hope and a prayer. Driving across it is fairly precarious. While it’s structurally sound, it’s also only one lane wide. Drivers alert one another by flashing their headlights from the other side.

It’s also incredibly haunted.

Ghost stories abound, but pinning the legend down to just one story is difficult. It depends on who you ask. Some say that a man tried to commit suicide there, but something went horribly wrong. When he jumped from the bridge with a noose around his neck, he inadvertently decapitated himself. The sight of his floating “purple head” can be seen bobbing around the bridge. Others say Ku Klux Klan activity from the 1960’s causes the disturbances. Some blame it on fierce Native American battles as they defended their land. I’m not certain what the cause is, but the area is definitely creepy. I had one of my most frightening and perplexing paranormal experiences there several years ago.

It all started with a trip to Indiana. My entire family, outside of my children, resides in this mid-western state, scattered mostly in the southern tip. When I return for a visit, there is almost always a ghost hunt set up and waiting for me.

Initially my family and friends were taken back by my ghost hunting, but after hearing about my adventures and sampling some of my tantalizing EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena, aka spirit voices) they wanted to experience it for themselves. Through this, I’ve gotten to investigate at several locations I would have never dreamed of pursuing on my own. The Purple Head Bridge is a good example.

Our group was fairly small, consisting of my younger sister, Leah, my old high-school friend, John, and his wife, Melinda. Leah had been ghost hunting with me before, but it would be John and Melinda’s first time. While Melinda was a firm believer in the paranormal, John was decidedly on the fence. He’d have to see it to believe it, which I can appreciate.

It was a muggy summer evening and the cool breeze from the Wabash River was a welcome relief. It had taken us several wrong turns to find the bridge, but once we did, we just stopped at the end and took it all in.

By all accounts, it looked like an old train bridge, but my sister assured me that it sees plenty of traffic since it is the only bridge in the area linking the two states. She told us that we were supposed to drive out to the middle of the bridge and turn off the headlights. If we were lucky, we’d see the purple head floating somewhere near the bridge.

As this turns out, it was nearly impossible and actually quite dangerous. As soon as we drove out onto the bridge, a car appeared at the other end, waiting its turn. Sitting in the middle with no headlights would be a very good way to get rear-ended by an unsuspecting vehicle. So, we moved onto Plan B.

We’d park on the other side and hike down to the river’s edge. Surely if the head floated near the bridge, we could see it from our vantage point below. The only problem with this was the bonfire and party going on nearby. Apparently the bridge is a local hang-out for teenagers in the area. So, we moved onto Plan C.

Being an avid Geocacher (go to Geocaching.com for more info, if you don’t know what this is), my sister knew of a location just ahead where a Geocache was hidden near a single-grave cemetery. She didn’t know if it was haunted or not, but it was worth a shot. We continued down the narrow road. The trees grew in a canopy across the road, providing a dark tunnel for us to navigate through. As we drove, the moon winked through the trees, setting the mood.

We found the area and pulled off the side of the road to park.  We stood for a moment and read the marker. The memorial park was set up for a man named James Johnston, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia, serving in the Revolutionary War.  He apparently survived the battle and lived out his final years in the Indiana/Illinois area. A sign directed us towards a long dark pathway, which would lead us to the memorial park.

The dirt path trailed deep into the forest, providing a perfectly chilling backdrop to what we would soon experience. We walked single-file down the trail, the light from our flashlights bobbed out ahead of us, illuminating swatches of the deep underbrush and the slip of trail that parted between it. A cadence of crickets and cicadas chirped from the depths of the darkness. An occasional car whished past on the main road, just to our right, making us giggle with thoughts of people reporting strange lights in the forest near the haunted bridge. Our smiles soon faded as we reached the end of the path.

The area was no larger than a standard-sized living room. It consisted of a park bench and a single grave, surrounded on all sides by the deep, dark woods. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. The trees barely stirred in the breeze and even the crickets quieted down as we arrived. It was as though the very woods itself was holding its breath, waiting to witness what would happen next.

I sat down on the bench, while the others stood nearby.

“I’m going to do an EVP session, so I need everyone to stand very still,” I said. “I’ll ask a few questions and then wait for a response. Then I’ll turn it over to the next person,” I told them. We’ve found that the best way to do an efficient EVP session is to set guidelines in advance. The first person asks as many questions as they want, before passing it to the person on their left. By taking turns, we never talk over one another, and it gives everyone a chance to participate.  I turned on my recorder.

Before I could begin to speak, I began hearing the sound of voices nearby. I paused, and asked the others if they also heard it. I wouldn’t know until later, but I recorded a very poignant EVP.

“I hear voices. Does anyone else hear that?” I asked.

During the break between my sentences, a ghostly voice says, “I hear annoyed.”

(click the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-1

We all sat quietly for a minute, but couldn’t hear anything. After a while, I pulled out my flashlight. While I’m not a huge fan of using a flashlight as an investigating tool, I will admit that it has its advantages.  Sometimes it comes on instantly when a question is asked. It also gives everyone something to focus on during the EVP session, keeping them both entertained and quiet as they watch the light.

“If there is anyone here with us, can you turn on the light?” I asked.

Almost immediately, I felt something whoosh in from the forest behind me. It felt like a small comet of cold air, blowing into me with a force that sent my hair flying in front of my face.  I jumped up from the bench, startled. As everyone goggled at me, I laughed, embarrassed to be so easily alarmed. Some fearless ghost hunter I was.

“Was that a bug?” my friend Melinda asked.

“No, I just heard something behind me,” I said, embarrassed at my jumpiness. What I didn’t realize, was that I had a very good reason to jump from my seat. The whoosh I felt wasn’t a cold breeze, it was a ghost. And he had a message for us.

“Go away!” he hissed, right before I jumped up from the bench.

(click on the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary

After composing myself again, I sat back down and asked  a few more questions, which went unanswered. I turned it over to the next person in the group, and sat quietly until everyone had a chance to ask questions. No more EVPs were recorded until we got up to move to the grave.

According to the psychic mediums I’ve spoken with, people are supposed to move into a white light when they die. The ones who chose not to cross over are often confused. Some don’t even know they are dead.  I knew there was a ghost nearby, because my ears were ringing, like they do when I feel a ghostly presence.

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I began talking about the white light. As my words came out, they almost sounded like a prayer. I told them that the white light was a place of peace and love, and that their families were waiting for them with open arms. I encouraged them to look upwards to see if they could see the light, and to then pass through it to find the solace and redemption they deserved.

As I finished, I promptly stepped backwards and nearly fell in a hole.

When I’m nervous, I can’t always count on my emotions to follow the rules. Sometimes I laugh when I’m afraid, and this was one of these times. As I giggled, you can hear a very distinct response. The most interesting thing about it is the accent. It sounds like it comes from someone with a very strong Southern dialect.

“I’m gonna get the light,” he says.

(press the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-2

We spent a few more minutes there, paying our respects to the fallen soldier before heading back up the path to our cars. The full surprise of what we witnessed wouldn’t present itself until later, when I listened to the EVPs. Then, the full story was told.

I think there were two distinct entities in the woods that night. One wasn’t happy we were there. He swooped in from the very woods to deliver two messages he hoped would chase us away. The other was from a very kindly voiced man, who we hope took our advice and moved into the light.

Was the angry ghost the one who is known to haunt the Purple Head Bridge? It’s not something we’ll ever know for certain. As I left Indiana and headed back to my home in Massachusetts, I spent a lot of time thinking about it.

I hope they both found peace.  I really do.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm