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.

mosquito

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.

Vortex_Column_in_Bedroom_-_small_version

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.

camera strap

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.

Ghost Voices cover

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 Reincarnation of a Haunted Mansion

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It takes a special type of person to own a haunted mansion, especially one as paranormally active and famous as the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion in Gardner, Massachusetts.

The Pierce mansion was built in 1875 by furniture magnate, S.K. Pierce in the town that came to be known as “Chair City” due to its abundant production of furniture. During its 140 year history, the 6,661 square foot mansion was witness to a variety of lifestyles. Starting out as a luxurious family mansion during the Guided Era, it took a slow decline as a boarding house through the Depression years, before landing in the hands of a wealthy, if not eccentric, artist. When he abandoned the mansion in the 1970s, the house sat vacant for thirty years until a private buyer decided to transform it into a private home once again. While the Veau family was aware of the haunting and frequently saw the ghost of a little boy race up the grand staircase, they didn’t experience the same level of terror that the next owners did. Edwin Gonzalez and Lillian Otero only lived in the house for two and a half years before the extreme haunting drove them out.

By May of 2015, the house was back on the market. People speculated about who the new owners would be. Some hoped the house would remain a private residence, while others wished it would be opened for tours and paranormal investigations. The reality landed somewhere in the middle.

In June of 2015, after only being on the real estate market for two weeks, the house was purchased sight-unseen by a couple from New Jersey.

Victorian owners - old and new

On the surface, you wouldn’t peg Rob and Allison Conti as your typical haunted house buyers. The parents of three young children, Rob is a dentist, while Allison is a former investigator for a commercial investigative company. They live in a nice house in the suburbs of central New Jersey with a family dog named Capone and a pool in the backyard. If you dig a bit deeper though, you’ll see the reason.

Rob always wanted to run a haunted attraction. The dream started in childhood and followed him through his adulthood. Once he finally had the opportunity to realize his dream, fate stepped in and handed him a major obstacle.

Due to a tragic fire at the Six Flags Haunted Castle In 1984, where eight teenagers died, the laws for freestanding haunted attractions were dauntingly strict, essentially preventing anyone from opening another haunted house of its kind in the state of New Jersey. Even though he had the mental image of his ideal haunted attraction set firmly in his mind, he pushed it aside and came up with a completely different concept.

In 2010, the Conti’s opened The Dark Carnival in Freehold, New Jersey, a carnival-themed attraction held in an 8,000 square foot open-air circus arena, along with several other structures. Visitors to the amusement enjoy a winding maze filled with terrifying clowns, as well as attractions like The Meat Grinder, The Sanatorium, and a dark hallway filled with frights known as Night Terrors.

The Dark Carnival is heavy on creepy clowns, something that impacted Rob at an early age. When he was six years-old, his parents brought him to Madison Square Garden for the circus. The clowns came into the audience, looking for a volunteer to bring onto the stage. Despite the fact that he was hysterically crying, they were persistent about dragging him onto the stage. It was a traumatic experience for him, making him now appreciate why so many people are fearful of clowns.

When the S.K. Pierce Mansion went on the market, a friend of his wife sent them the MLS listing, thinking they might be interested, knowing about Rob’s childhood dream. Rob was astounded. “It was the house out of my head and the price was relatively affordable,” he said.

When he showed the listing to his wife, her reaction was a bit different. “Absolutely not!” she laughingly told him. After some further discussion, they decided to at least look into it and see if it was even feasible. Rob called the real estate agency the next day and immediately met with resistance. Known for its haunted history after being featured on numerous paranormal television shows, as well as the subject for my 2014 book Bones in the Basement – Surviving the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion, many people were calling the agency hoping for a peek inside the haunted mansion. The agency was careful about only showing the house to serious buyers.

After doing extensive research into the property, the Contis finally set the wheels in motion and put in an offer on the house.The real estate agency was astounded. In 25 years of business they had never sold a house sight-unseen. Rob knew what he was getting himself into though. It was the house of his dreams.

The Contis plan to fully restore the house, starting with the outside. Restoration on the crumbling soffits will begin within the next few weeks, with power washing and repainting soon following. Interior work will include the installation of a sprinkler system and some upgrades to the electrical and plumbing, as well as restoration to some of the plaster work. After a year of renovations, they will open the house to the public.

“Everything needs to be original looking,” he said. He will restore the Victorian to its former glory, down to the smallest details, such as having reproduction iron roof finials made for the top of the infamous widows walk. He was pleasantly pleased to learn that, besides the exterior decay, the house is structurally sound and in excellent condition.

The current plan is to open the house up for daily, weekly, or monthly rentals for eleven months of the year. People who have always wanted to spend the night in a haunted mansion will have an opportunity to do so. During the month of October, the house will be transformed into a weekend haunted attraction, complete with hired actors and high-end props. They are currently working on obtaining off-site parking options, as well.

Rob has been astounded by the attention his purchase has generated. “People are already trying to make reservations, even though the opening is still a year out,” he said. He was recently interviewed by Channel 7 News in Boston, in addition to being a guest on several paranormal radio shows. “Everyone has been amazingly supportive,” he said, of the town and the mansion’s multitude of fans.

(above) New owners, Rob and Allison Conti, with former owners, Lillian Otero and Edwin Gonzales

Rob understands the way people feel about the mansion. “It almost seems like it’s a community house. We own it, but it’s our responsibility to fix the house, so that needs to be done,” he said. Will they open it for paranormal investigations? Rob is still pondering the idea, knowing that it will require different handling from a normal rental. His primary focus, for now, is to fix the house. “Once we get that done, we can consider all the other options,” he said. One thing’s for certain: there won’t be any clowns, something that was hashed and rehashed by fans on social media.

During our hour long interview, one question kept rising to my mind. I waited until nearly the end of our conversation to ask it. Does he believe in ghosts?

“I’m starting to now. I’ve never been in this situation before. It’s hard to not to because there are tons of people all telling me the same story. I find it hard to believe that hundreds of people are in on the same hoax,” he said with a laugh. I’m fairly certain his opinion will be solidified in the coming years, if the Victorian ghosts are true to form.

The Conti’s set up a website, as well as a Facebook page where fans of the house can keep track of the progress. If you’d like to read more about the mansion’s dark history, check out my book by clicking the photo below.

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 11 books. For more information about her, check out her website Jonimayhan.com or her terrifying true paranormal books on Amazon.com, including Dark and Scary Things, Devil’s Toy Box, The Soul Collector or Bones in the Basement.

Bones in the Basement front cover 3

How to Remove a Ghost From Your Home

Parsem ghosts Something doesn’t feel right. You know it the minute you walk in the door. You might check all the doors and windows to make sure someone didn’t break in. You’ll also look under the beds and in the closets, feeling slightly foolish for doing so. The unsettling sensation will probably drift away after a while, but returns the minute you slip into bed and turn off the lights. If your house truly is haunted, you might also feel as though someone is watching you during odd moments of the day. Items will probably disappear, only to reappear somewhere else. Footsteps will be heard in empty rooms or you might catch a glimpse of something moving quickly out of the corner of your eye. While most ghosts are nothing more than earth-bound souls who haven’t found their way to the light, it’s still unnerving to share your space with a ghost. Here are several methods of removing a ghost from your home.

1.      Arrange a House Blessing

Most religious leaders are happy to bless your home providing you are a member of their church. Having the backing of the church behind them can make a difference. If the ghost was once human, they might remember this from their living days and respect the wishes of the clergy.

2.      Cleanse the house yourself

  • Start by calming down the energy. Purchase white sage from your local metaphysical store. It can be mixed with cedar or sweet-grass for good effect. You should know that sage isn’t a cure all. You can’t just walk from room to room burning it and expect it to remove all the ghosts. Think of it more like “Ghost Valium.” It quiets the spiritual energy, making them more willing to abide by your wishes.
  • This is a good first step and may be enough to solve the issue. Ghosts don’t always understand they can’t come with you. When you claim your space, it lets them know they can’t just move in with you on a whim. Before you begin, open a few windows in your house.
  • Light the stick of sage and then blow it out once it starts to provide smoke. Ask your Spirit Guides or guardians to help you.
  • Fill every room in your house with the smoke, starting with the outermost corner, working your way to the front of the house. Let the sage smoke cover every inch of space in every room, from floor to ceiling. Some say the smoke is calming to them, helping them transition to the next plane. As you burn the sage, tell them you’re filling the house with light and love, and that no negative energy can remain. Tell them this is your house and you are taking it back. Encourage them to find the peace and love they desire through the white light. Tell them it’s time for them to go. Some people will say a prayer as well.
  • When you are finished, extinguish the sage stick on the front walkway.
  • Cut your ties. You can do this physically, as well as mentally. Cut the cords that connect you to this energy, and then move on. Don’t think about it. Shove it out of your mind. Thinking about it could actually draw them back in, so avoid this as much as possible.

Some people follow this up with a ring of sea salt around the border of the house. If this isn’t feasible, sprinkle it on the windowsills and doorsteps. This seals the property and prevents negative energy from returning. Some will also create a spiritual boundary by spraying their walls with Holy Water. Others will also take a warm bath filed with sea salt and lavender, to cleanse their body of the energy.

3.      Counsel the Dead

Imagine yourself as a ghost therapist. Talk to the energy and tell them about the white light. It opens up when we die and we are supposed to cross through it to get to the other side. Some people call this place on the other side Heaven or the Kingdom. It is a wonderful place, filled with all their loved ones and relatives who have passed on before them. Tell them it’s okay to cross over. Often, souls balk at crossing over into the light at the time of their death. They begin to wonder if they were good enough in life to earn passage, fearing they will take an elevator directly down to fire and brimstone instead. This isn’t the case. Everyone is allowed to cross over. While they might not like the ramifications of their misdeeds, they aren’t sent directly to Hell. Some misdeeds aren’t misdeeds at all. They are considered a human condition. Tell them they are forgiven, that God loves them and welcomes them. Urge them to find the light and cross over. They can call out to their ancestors to help pull them through or to look for someone else’s white light to pass through. Funeral homes and churches are good places for them to look. Most souls linger around to attend their own funeral, perhaps checking out the attendance, and won’t cross until the service ends. Several members of my Paranormal 101 class and I have been helping souls cross over by using this technique. We simply talk to them as though they are people standing in front of us. In several instances, we’ve been highly successful, which is the best possible solution, in my books.

4.      Don’t Make Things Worse

Homeowners can make the haunting worse. Don’t kid yourself that you can’t. Through naiveté and ignorance, the living can anger the dead quite easily. Some key points:

  • Don’t investigate your own home. I’ve been called to several homes only to discover the homeowner is actually pleased with the haunting. Basically, I was invited over so she could show off her ghosts to me. If this is the case, please don’t call me. I see enough ghosts on a daily basis to last me a lifetime. I don’t need to meet yours too. If you continue to poke at them, trying to get a great EVP or photograph to show your friends, they aren’t going to go away. They might like the attention and decide to stay on for an extended period. Or you could make them angry, which is often the case.
  • Ghosts were people too. Remember this as you attempt to exterminate them from your property. Chances are: your house was once their house. They might have built it themselves and have a personal interest in how it’s maintained. Sometimes simply informing them of upcoming maintenance or home-improvement projects can go a long way in easing their fears.

5.      Research the History of the House.

Go to your local town hall and look at the census records and death records to find out if the ghost is a former resident of the home. Sometimes a tragic event could have caused them to stay behind, or maybe they’re just attached to the house. Sometimes just knowing what you’re dealing with helps move them on to the other side. After you’ve figured this out, return to step 3 and work on counselling them.

6.      Do Nothing

Allow the energy to calm down on its own. Don’t acknowledge them and don’t be fearful. Just go about your life as usual. Sometimes this simple action makes a difference. Unless they pop up in my face, I don’t pay any attention to them. I pretend I don’t see the cats staring at the spot above my bed. I dismiss the rapping sounds on the walls I refuse to give it any energy, which ultimately feeds it and gives it more ability to continue. Sometimes, they grow bored with me and drift away.

7.      Move

The last resort, which I don’t think is a good one, is to move. I don’t like this last option, because you are only leaving the problem for someone else to deal with. Or worse, you go through the effort of moving, only to discover the ghost has followed you.

8.      Change Your Life

Dark energy attracts dark energy. If your life is in shambles and you live each day dreading the next, you are likely to attract more than you bargained for. Negative entities love nothing more than feasting on your misery. Get out of your house and go for frequent walks. Open the blinds every day and let the sunlight in. Find good reasons to live your life and make changes so it becomes second nature. For me, this made a huge impact. I’ve always considered myself to be a positive person, but I sometimes let past hurts affect me. One psychic medium I went to said she saw a dark spot on my aura and told me to let go of the past. Advice like that is often easier said than done, but I did take her words to heart. Once I finally let go of the traumas from my past, I discovered that my vibration increased and dark scary entities stopped following me home.

What Next?

Sometimes drastic situations call for drastic measures. Some ghosts are resistant about moving on, so the typical measures aren’t going to work with them. If you’ve done all these things, but still continue to have paranormal issues, you will need to pull out the big guns. .

Get Help

Understand that this is more than you can handle on your own and find a psychic medium to help you. There may be more going on than you know. If the ghost is advanced and is negative, you don’t want to handle this by yourself, especially not the first time. Find someone who has experience removing negative energy. An experienced Psychic will be able to determine the type of haunting and help you find the correct measures to deal with it. If you suddenly went blind in one eye, you probably wouldn’t go to the pharmacy and ask the sales clerk for help. You’d seek out an optometrist. The same theory applies to extreme hauntings. After years of having negative entities follow me home and disrupt my life, I finally found people who could help me. Both of them are psychic mediums. One of the mediums began teaching me how to protect myself, something that could help me in the long run. The other one removed the ghosts from my house when I could no longer handle them. People like this do exist and are often willing to help you. For me, finding them was the hardest part. If you find this to be your reality as well, contact your local metaphysical shop or look for a psychic medium groups on social media sites. Ask friends for recommendations and keep searching until you find someone. Always keep in mind that most ghosts were individuals, and every method isn’t going to work with every ghost. The more resistant a ghost is, the harder they are to move along. Always start at the beginning of the list and rule out normal explanations first. You will save yourself a lot of time and stress. When I went through this myself back in the 1990’s, I wasn’t sure what to do and the resources weren’t as prevalent as they are today. I ended up moving out, leaving the energy for someone else to contend with afterwards. I later learned that the house was sold five times in five years, and it made me feel very guilty for not pursuing it further. Whatever you do, do it with purpose and remain calm. Fear is never a good tool for working with ghosts, and neither is anger. Most hauntings are human in nature and a sense of compassion is your best ally.

What if the Haunting isn’t Human?

When we talk about a non-human haunting, we are usually talking about a demonic situation. While these are rare, they do exist. Signs of a non-human haunting will range from foul smells in the house and abrupt personality changes to unexplained scratches on the body. Demons don’t possess locations, they possess people. They only hang out at a location to stalk the perfect victim. If you suspect your haunting isn’t human, find a professional to help you. I would recommend a combination of efforts. Seek out a trusted psychic medium, as well as a member of clergy. The medium will help act as a go between, letting the others know what is going on. A member of clergy, preferably a Roman Catholic Priest, will conduct an exorcism. Don’t allow someone to perform this unless they have a proven track record. This isn’t the time for someone to be learning a skill, especially if your life is at stake Always believe it will work. Faith and a firm sense of belief will carry you much further than doubt and fear. If you enjoyed this article, you can find more information just like it in my new book Dark and Scary Things, available in paperback or eBook on Amazon.com (click here) or on BarnesandNoble.com (click here).  Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and author who lives in central Massachusetts. If you enjoy reading about the paranormal, you might also enjoy her other paranormal books, Bones in the Basement – Surviving the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion, The Soul Collector, or Devil’s Toy Box. You can click on any of the covers below to learn more about them.

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Cleansing Spiritual Energy

BathingGhost

Since the recent popularity of my paranormal true story books, The Soul Collector and Bones in the Basement, I’ve been flooded with requests to check out people’s houses for ghosts. While I’m quite adept at determining if there is a ghost present, if you’ve read The Soul Collector you’ll already know that I can’t do much about the haunting.

Ghosts are often deeply embedded into a home. Some have been there for decades, if not centuries. It will take more than a sweep of sage and well wishes to move them out of their comfy digs. Others have an agenda they can’t abandon simply because their presence is inconvenient to the living. In my opinion, only a talented psychic medium can evict them against their wishes.

That doesn’t leave much for the rest of us to work with, but I do have a few suggestions.

1. Start by calming the energy. Purchase white sage from your local metaphysical store. It can be mixed with cedar or sweet-grass for good effect. You should know that sage isn’t a cure all. You can’t just walk from room to room burning it and expect it to remove all the ghosts. Think of it more like ghost Valium. It calms down the spiritual energy, making them more willing to abide by your wishes. As you burn it, walk from room to room, covering every inch of the space, from ceiling to floor. Say aloud, “I cleanse this room with positive energy. No negative energy may remain.” Start from the top of the house (if there are multiple floors) and work your way down, from back to front. Once you are finished, crush the sage out on the sidewalk.

2. Now the true counselling begins. Imagine yourself as a ghost therapist. Talk to the energy and tell them about the white light. It opens up when we die and we are supposed to cross through it to get to the other side. Some people call this place on the other side Heaven or the Kingdom. It is a wonderful place, filled with all their loved ones and relatives who have passed on before them. Tell them it’s okay to cross over.

3. It is helpful, but not necessary, if you know the history behind the haunting. Often, souls balk at crossing over into the light at the time of their death. They begin to wonder if they were good enough in life to earn passage, fearing they will take an elevator directly down to fire and brimstone instead. This isn’t the case. Everyone is allowed to cross over. While they might not like the ramifications of their misdeeds, they aren’t sent directly to Hell. Some misdeeds aren’t misdeeds at all. They are considered a human condition. Suicides are a good example of this. Many churches tell their parishioners that if they commit suicide, they are condemned to Hell. When the time comes to cross over into the white light, they freeze fearfully and miss their chance to cross. Tell them they are forgiven, that God loves them and welcomes them.

4. Urge them to find the light to cross over. They can call out to their ancestors to help pull them through or to look for someone else’s white light to pass through. Funeral homes and churches are good places for them to look. Most souls linger around to attend their own funeral, perhaps checking out the attendance, and won’t cross until the service ends.

5. Don’t investigate your own home. I’ve been called to several homes only to discover the homeowner is actually pleased with the haunting. It’s almost as though they are showing it off to me. If this is the case, please don’t call me. I see enough ghosts on a daily basis to last me a lifetime. I don’t need to meet yours too. If you continue to talk to them and try to get them to provide you with a great EVP or photograph to show your friends, they aren’t going to go anywhere. They might like the attention and decide to stay on for an extended period.

6. Change your life. Dark energy attracts dark energy. If your life is in shambles and you live each day dreading the next, you are likely to attract more than you bargained for. Negative entities love nothing more than feasting on your misery. Get out of your house and go for frequent walks. Open the blinds every day and let the sunlight in. Find good reasons to live your life and make changes so it becomes second nature.

7. Ignore the energy. People who know me, know that ghosts often follow me home. This is another reason why I’m not keen on doing house cleansings. All I have to do is walk into your house and walk back out again with an extra passenger in tow, despite all precautions. When I do get an unexpected house guest. I sage my house, do some therapy work with them about crossing over, and then I ignore them. Unless they pop up in my face, I don’t pay any attention to them. I pretend I don’t see the cats staring at the spot above my bed. I dismiss the rapping sounds on the walls I refuse to give it any energy, which ultimately feeds it and gives it more ability to continue. Usually, they grow bored with me and drift away.

8. If all else fails and you’ve tried steps one through eight with no results, find a good psychic medium to help you. Professional house cleansings aren’t always free because it requires a great deal of energy to remove the entities, but it is worth it in the end.

In conclusion, please understand that not all ghosts need to be removed. If they aren’t causing any harm and are simply former home-owners hanging around, tell them you know they are there and to stop scaring you. Sometimes this is all you need to do and life goes on as normal. Life with the paranormal isn’t always easy, but rest assured, it’s never boring.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as the author of 13 books. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. Click on any cover to learn more about her books.

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Paranormal Hitchhikers

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ImageSomething followed me home again.

It happens quite a bit, more often than I admit. This one came from the house that I’m currently writing about, the Haunted Victorian Mansion.

I went there for a photo shoot on Monday and encountered a very strong male energy in the Red Room. He had a very distinctive tone and when I came into his space, he made my body feel as though it were vibrating from the inside out. It’s a very strange sensation. It’s almost like being nervous, without the emotion to go along with it. It’s also a bit unnerving.

Strong ones do this to me for some reason. With normal ghosts, I will hear a tone, similar to an ear-ringing sound. It’s taken me years to figure it out, with the help of my mentor, Barbara Williams. A ghost tone is lower in register and isn’t pure and ringing. It almost sounds like that static white-noise that television sets used to make before the rise of cable. A ghost is a human who has died, but didn’t cross over into the white light. Some are trapped, but most are here of their own free will. They feel as though they have something they need to do before they cross on. When they make my body vibrate, they are insistent that I listen to them.

A spirit is a pure sound, like the sound a wine glass makes when you tap it with a fork, except the sound just continues on and on. It can be maddening at times, but I’ve learned to tune it out enough that it doesn’t drive me crazy. And besides, a spirit tone is good. It means that one of my guides or protectors is nearby. Sometimes when I hear the sound, I know it’s an alert that trouble might be brewing. That’s what happened to me at the Victorian on Monday.

After I heard the strong ghost tone in the Red Room, I promptly left the room and went downstairs to the kitchen, where everyone else was talking. As I stood there, I heard a spirit tone swoop in, loud and urgent.

“One of my guides just swooped in,” I told them.

Marion, my friend who is also the caretaker for the Victorian, grabbed my arm and smiled. “Good, maybe she can protect me too,” she said. As it turns out, my guide wasn’t enough.

As soon as I got home later that day, I heard the male tone return. My body began trembling again from the inside out. I took immediate measures; something my mentor has taught me. I surrounded myself with a white light that radiated from my core. I said out loud, “this shield of white light will protect me from any energy that is not my own.” And then I timed it. “It will last for twenty-four hours from now,” I added.  I then went upstairs and took a nice bath with sea salts, which act as a cleanser and a purifier. I also cut my cords.

As Barbara describes it, when we come in contact with ghosts, and even other people, we create a cord that attaches us. When I leave a haunted location, I always cut this cord, using my non-dominant hand, and tell them that they cannot follow me. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t work.

As the evening continued, I would feel and hear the ghost grow louder and stronger. Sometimes I can’t handle these things on my own, so I reached out for help. I messaged Barbara, and also my friend Sandy, who is going through similar issues. Sandy, unlike me, has pretty much mastered the ability to shield.

While her shield is Teflon-coated steel with diamond plated reinforcements, mine feels more like crumpled tinfoil with Scotch-tape and Band-Aids holding it together. Sandy responded to me first.

I knew she’d done something because as I sat in my bed reading, I could hear the sound fade and the trembling ease up until it was completely gone.

“Somebody must have helped me,” I said to myself, reaching for my IPhone on my nightstand. I logged onto Facebook and sure enough, there was a message from Sandy.

“Is that better?” she asked.

I took a deep breath. It was much better, but it only lasted for a few minutes. I’d later learn that she threw a shield over me from afar, something that seemed more like Star Trek than reality, but something I felt with my own body. It seemed to keep him at a slight distance, but he was still there. I’d need Barbara to finish the deed.

Last night was almost unbearable. The ghost tone was so loud, I couldn’t hear myself think. I’d occasionally hear the sound of a spirit tone swoop in. I imagined my protectors doing an invisible battle in my bedroom as I listened to the tones fade in and out as they moved around the room. My cats were acting as though they were watching an imaginary tennis game. Their heads were swiveling back and forth, trying to keep up with the things they could see. Needless to say, it took me a long time to get to sleep and when I did; my dreams were riddled with nightmares.

Barbara reached out to me today and took care of it. What she told me was very riveting. I guess I shouldn’t be so interested because my interest could feel like an open invitation for them to trample towards me in herds, but I can’t help it. Five years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at anyone telling a similar tale. I might have even suggested they seek mental counselling. But here I was, living through something that was both horrifying and fascinating. There is a great deal going on around us that we can’t see.

Being a sensitive isn’t something I would have willingly chosen for myself. While it is intriguing to know if there is a ghost or spirit present, it comes with a very large price. Until I’ve learned to cattle-prod them away from me, they will follow me just like I am prone to following them. In theory, it’s kind of amusing. The ghost hunter is being hunted by ghosts. In reality, it’s something else – something perfectly awful.

Barbara told me that he was angry and scared. He was worried that my book about the Victorian was going to draw more people to the house. He hates the people walking in and out of his room, asking him to answer silly questions. He just wants to be left alone to live the life that he lives. People are distracting. They pull him away from the world that he sees himself in, a world similar to the one he lived in when he was alive. When she told me he was a drinker, I knew who he was.

He was the man who burned to death in the master bedroom, a man by the name of Eino Saari. I protested when she told me. I always thought of him as a nice guy who’d met a tragic end.  Unfortunately, he also has a dark side. He’s angry. He’s tired of all the commotion. He just wants us to all go away, something we’ve been hearing on evps for a while now. For my part, I’d promised to stop bothering him. I didn’t even bring my digital recorder on Monday. I just oversaw the photo shoot, gave the people who attended a quick tour, and then left. Apparently that wasn’t good enough.

I enjoyed about ten minutes of quiet before he came back again.

Dear God.  I had just purchased an episode of Breaking Bad, my latest guilty pleasure, and I wanted to sit on the couch and watch it. Instead, I messaged Barbara again, giving her the news. She pulled him off of me and suggested several extra measures. She wanted me to bless water and spray it on every wall and window of my house, and then follow it up by putting sea salt around all the doorways and windowsills. I accomplished this in a matter of minutes. I’ve never attempted to bless water before, but I trust Barbara like I trust no one else. If she tells me to do something, you can bet that I’m going to do it.

So, it’s been an hour and all is still quiet.

One thing that lifts my mood is the solitary thought of my book. If they feel the need to intimidate me to prevent me from publishing it, maybe they know something I don’t know. Maybe they know that this might be the book that finally brings me the success I’ve been longing for.

And then I feel guilty for it. Am I just standing on their shoulders to climb to my dreams?

My hope is that the book does well, that the house remains closed for investigations, and the money it brings will help them to do the repairs that are so desperately needed, while keeping me out of debt as well. Is that a lot to ask for? Probably, but it’s all I have right now.

I can’t stop now. So much depends on this.

Please keep me in your prayers.

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

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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.

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Teaser – Bones in the Basement – Haunted House for Sale

Aside

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Here’s the first chapter of Bones in the Basement – surviving the S.K. Pierce House. Soon to be published.

Haunted House for Sale

The house was waiting for them.

The three-story Victorian Mansion sat vacant for two full years, looking every bit the haunted house. People drove past slowly, staring up at the empty windows, wondering if the rumors were true. The house was supposed to be haunted.

The Victorian was built in 1875 by Sylvester Knowlton Pierce, a wealthy furniture magnate in the town of Gardner, Massachusetts. The Second Empire Victorian mansion was considered to be a modern marvel of its time. It had two cisterns that once collected rainwater from the slate roof, providing the occupants with running water, something unheard of in the late 1880’s. The house was outfitted with gas lighting, speaking tubes and electric bells for communication throughout the house, and even boasted a dumb waiter which reached three floors. The hand-carved moldings and cornices spoke volumes of a time when houses were built carefully and lovingly. It had 26 rooms, with 4 bathrooms, and a tower with a circular staircase leading to a widow’s walk, providing sweeping views of South Gardner.

The massive doors were nine-feet tall, constructed of solid black walnut and weighed well over five-hundred pounds apiece. Every inch of woodwork was elaborately carved, signifying the status of wealth and opportunity. No detail was overlooked. No cost was too great. The house was simply a masterpiece.

In its 133 year history, the house had lived a variety of lives. After providing a home to the Peirce family for over fifty years, it would also become a boarding house and an artist’s retreat. Legends surrounded it a plenty. Stories of death, destruction, and murder tainted its history, making people wonder about the rumors.

Children gave the house a wide berth at Halloween, crossing the street as they approached, so they wouldn’t get too close. People who lived in the area whispered stories to one another. Some saw faces at the windows or heard strange noises; others had more personal stories to share.

When the house was vacant during the 1980’s and 1990’s, children would slip through the basement window and wander through the house, daring one another to explore the massive structure. Furniture still remained in most of the rooms, dusty and faded, harking back to a time long past. As the children played hide-and-go-seek, one child hid in a closet on the second floor that had once been part of a dumbwaiter. As the child crouched in the darkness, he felt hands clasp around his shoulder. He bolted from the closet, turning to see the smiling apparition of a child smirking back at him. The image would remain with him for decades.

When the house went onto the real estate market in 2006, many people were interested in seeing in. By this time, it had been featured on the SyFy Channel’s paranormal reality show, Ghost Hunters. It was now more than a local novelty. It was famous, but nobody could buy it.

It’s as though the house were waiting for the right people to come along.

Prospective homeowners flocked to the massive Victorian, armed with cameras and wide eyes. Offers were made, but every one of them fell through. After a while, the realtor began screening the viewings, not allowing anyone to bring cameras into the house, wary of all the would-be ghost hunters.

The house was haunted. Everyone knew it except for its future owners.

They would find out soon enough though.

The house was waiting for them and it wouldn’t let go of until it had fulfilled its darkest desires. And once it did, it would expel them from its depths, running for their lives.

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

To read more about the S.K. Pierce Mansion, please check out Joni’s book Bones in the Basement.

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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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Paranormal Debunking

ImageOrbs or dust?

Clouds reflected in the window or ghostly apparitions?

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 Class C EVPs that may or may 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.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of questionable photos and audio recordings being shared on Facebook. One look and it’s clear to me that, while it looks like a good catch on the surface, there are far too many variables to consider it true evidence. When in doubt, throw it out.

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.

Orb photos? I have hundreds of them, but you’ll never see them presented as evidence. While it truly makes sense that the most practical shape for a ghost to take is a round circle, most of what you see is dust and moisture reflected against the flash. The bigger the orb, the closer it was to the camera when the photo was taken. The only exception I will make is if I actually saw the orb, or light anomaly, with my own eyes. Below is an example of this.

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I captured this photo at the Haunted Victorian Mansion, my favorite haunted house. In 2012 I brought my sister and her kids for a quick tour when they were in town visiting. My niece, Lily, sat on the stairs for a photo. Right before I snapped the photo, I saw a ball of light move across the front of her. Considering this location is highly active, I would consider this interesting, but I still wouldn’t consider it evidence. There are too many variables that could come into play. Could it have been a flash of light coming through the window? Could it have been a glare from someone’s flashlight? I don’t think so, but it’s still possible.

The photo below isn’t one of mine. I found it on Google images. Is it an apparition, reaching through the frame to touch this young man’s heart? No. It’s a camera strap. You can determine this by the weaved pattern of the object. Stray hairs have a similar appearance in photos.

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Do you see a face in the window in the photo below? Our eyes are programmed to look for faces. It’s called pareidolia, or more commonly known as “matrixing.” This is the same phenomenon that causes us to see faces in clouds, or the man on the moon. It’s also very popular with amateur ghost hunters. Many times, the face will be circled so it can be easily seen.

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The same theory should go for EVPs as well. We are always careful during EVP sessions. If someone’s stomach growls, one of us will say “stomach” out loud, so we’ll understand later and not confuse the sound with a demon roar. Whispers are also marked, as are traffic noises, and chair squeaks.

While we were at Rose Island Lighthouse investigating, we recorded the sounds of seagulls in nearly every session. If you listen closely, it sounds like a person crying or a baby saying “mama”. And yes, that was a deliberate dig to a popular ghost hunting show who presented that very sound as evidence.

If a door is known to slam on its own, test it. When we investigated the Concord Colonial Inn, it was reported that the door in Room 24 often closed on its own. The same ghost hunting show also presented it as evidence. We quickly found out that the doors are actually hinged to close on their own for security reasons.

Using your EMF detectors, scan the location for high electromagnetic spikes. Common household appliances, such as microwaves, alarm clocks, and ceiling fans have been known to throw a ton of electromagnetic energy into the immediate vicinity. If someone spends ample time there, they will probably feel the effects, which include paranoia, the feeling of being watched, and hallucinations.

As a field, we owe it to the world and to each other to be as accurate as possible. When we post things that are questionable, we cast a shady light on everyone else who investigates the paranormal.  We aren’t in this to get the most “likes” on Facebook or to have our stories told on a television show. We are here to find answers, to help people, and to help the ghosts as well.

My second rule of thumb? Do no harm.

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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