East Texas Paranormal

Investigating paranormal activity in East Texas

Posts Tagged ‘ghost

How To Not Be Afraid Of A Ghost

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Editor’s note – This is a guest post for ETP and not done by one of us

How To Not Be Afraid Of A Ghost

by: Francis David

My house appears to be haunted, for what reason? Who knows? I’ve been waking up at all hours of the morning to footsteps, tapping, creaking, flickering lights… you name it. I am starting to become frustrated that something I can’t even see is controlling my sleep-wake cycle, not to mention scaring my family and me.

I’m also fed up with the fact that whatever it is has my daughter too scared to sleep by herself in her room at night or even watch a movie in there alone for that matter. My daughter will not play in her own room despite the fact that I have repainted it a bright color and she and I decorated her mirror and created our own shelves out of wooden baskets. Everything she could want to play with is in her room but she will wait until I go in there with her before she looks for a toy that is not in clear sight. She and I have seen a tall shadow move across her doorway and my husband saw what seemed to be a smoky white shape of a small person in what looked like a dress zooms from the bathroom into the kitchen.

I’ve splashed holy water over the doorways and windows, prayed, spoke to the ghost and told it that we don’t have enough time to pay attention to it and to move on, I’ve told it that it’s time for bed and not to wake me up, placed my shoes at the end of the bed facing different directions (a technique that I read confuses ghosts) and so on. I’ve talked to this spirit enough (when my daughter is not awake or in the same room of course) that I naturally spoke to it again and realized I did it in front of my husband and started to laugh at the insanity. I always had intentions to do something serious about this situation and but would chicken out.

Right when I think the paranormal activity is at its peak, there will be another occurrence that tops it. I came very close to yelling at whatever is in my house when I heard a noise as clear as day that woke me up at 4:00 a.m. I put my daughter to sleep and fell asleep in her room, something that is becoming a pattern I would like to break before kindergarten! The sound was as if someone with large hands rapped on the hardwood floor with their knuckles sounding like a gallop, if you will. The part about this sound that got me freaked out was the fact that it was right next to me on the floor where my daughter’s pony is. This is a stuffed pony about 3 feet tall that she can sit on but it does not make noise at all or move. It sounds silly but it almost seemed like a bad joke.

I eventually blew this off and drifted to sleep and was awoken by a noise identical to the rapping. It sounded like one knuckle at a time. This dreaded galloping noise was in the same spot again. This sound could not have come from anywhere outside of the room- it’s impossible. My husband was asleep on the couch but woke up to the sound of footsteps and my daughter, thank goodness, was fast asleep. They were home together today as we recently came back for vacation. I woke up early even though I hardly had any sleep and started getting ready in the bathroom at about 7 a.m. when all of a sudden I heard what sounded like a large plastic cup come flying out of the kitchen cabinet and on to the middle of the floor. I didn’t want to look, but I did nevertheless and saw that nothing in the kitchen had fallen to the floor or onto the counter.

Could this spirit or whatever it may be want to taunt me? Could it be a child who wants attention? My husband said the white figure he saw was small enough to look like a child and was flowing as if she was wearing a dress at a quick glance. This scared the daylights out of us and saddened me at the same time. The creepy part about this idea is the fact that children will do just about anything for attention. Perhaps this is what is happening. Who knows why I would have a child ghost in my house because there was only one couple that lived there before my parents bought the house in 1976 and we never had any noticeable paranormal occurrences when I was growing up.

The most common time for paranormal activity in my house is between 2:00-4:30 a.m. so I pretty much know when to be scared. I went to bed at 11:00 p.m. the night before last nervous about what events would occur that night as they seem to be inevitable. It didn’t take long to be woken up this time. It was 11:30 p.m. when my mattress started shaking. I couldn’t believe this was happening. It wasn’t like the scene from The Exorcist or anything where the whole bed levitates off the floor and starts banging up and down. This was a rapid side-to-side shake of the whole mattress as if some were trying to wake me up. I was fully awake and sitting up when the shaking finally subsided. I said out loud, “This is ridiculous”. I got up and dragged my husband with me to the living room to sleep on the couches. I woke up every half hour and the one full hour I slept was right before the alarm clock rang and it was time to get ready for work!

I’m not kidding- this is annoying. I’m 35 years old and I can’t sleep because I’m scared of ghosts. Go tell that to a psychologist and see what they say! I have a psychology degree, by the way, and although I do believe in ghosts, I never actually though I’d be haunted by one on a regular basis. I am a very well adjusted individual so I know that what I’m experiencing is valid. At least I have proof that I’m not losing my mind as my husband and five year old daughter have both noticed the paranormal activity (of course we always give my daughter an alternate explanation rather than telling her what is really happening).

I’ve had it. I need to prepare myself not to be afraid no matter what noises I hear or sensations I feel in the middle of the night. It’s time to show the ghost who is boss. I got ready for bed last night at 10:30 p.m. Assuming that this ghost could be a child, I didn’t want to scare it but I did want to lay down the law. I said firmly out loud (my daughter was sleeping), “It’s time for bed and even if you don’t sleep you need to be quiet. You will not wake me up tonight because I have to work in the morning and I am going to get some sleep”. My husband was laughing at me but I didn’t flinch. I showed absolutely no weakness though I didn’t come across as too harsh either.

I did however sleep with the bottle of holy water under my pillow and placed my shoes in the doorway of the bedroom facing opposite directions for added comfort. I lay down with my hands behind my head and kept a very stern state of mind. I told myself that it is ridiculous to allow an entity to control whether or not I sleep at night, demanded to myself that I would get a good night’s sleep and will not be scared if I am woken up by another unexpected incident. There was either no activity last night or I was able to tune myself out enough to not be woken up.

I don’t want to have to start an obsessive-compulsive pattern of things to do before I go to sleep, so I’ll test this out for a few days and then do nothing one night to see if it makes a difference. If the paranormal activity starts again, well, I guess I’ll just have to stick with my regimen. I’ll keep you posted!

Tags: Satellite TV, Dish Tv, Dish Network, Afraid of a Ghost

About The AuthorFrancis helps people understand DISH Network TV Service and the DISH Network Channel Packages. He knows all of the Character Education.Article Source: How To Not Be Afraid Of A Ghost

Written by mardeck

July 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Mysterious Marfa Lights – Ghost Lights – Paranormal – UFO – Swamp Gas?

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Mysterious Marfa Lights – Ghost Lights – Paranormal – UFO – Swamp Gas?

by Martha Hazzard-Decker

English: Map of Marfa. Converted to PNG by Fib...

Image via Wikipedia Map of Marfa Lights location

Mysterious Marfa Lights – Ghost Lights – Paranormal – UFO – Swamp Gas? Will anyone ever learn what causes the Marfa Lights? They have been observed just outside Marfa, Texas for well over a 100 years near the mountains. Some say the lights are caused by swamp gas, some claim vehicle headlights while others claim extra terrestrials or ghost of Native Americans wandering about at night with lanterns. The lights were seen before electricity and vehicles so it would stand to reason that the lights aren’t caused by those two suggestions. In fact the lights have been seen by so many people and so often that the State of Texas build a viewing platform with restroom facilities for viewers. For years there has been a spot on  SH 67 where people pull over and wait for the lights to appear in the distance. It was a small area off the highway with a trash can.

The history of the Marfa lights on Wikipedia states, “The first published account of the lights appeared in the July 1957 issue of Coronet Magazine, the sole source for anecdotal claims that the lights date back to the 19th century. Reports often describe brightly glowing basketball-sized spheres floating above the ground, or sometimes high in the air. Colors are usually described as white, yellow, orange or red, but green and blue are sometimes reported. The balls are said to hover at about shoulder height, or to move laterally at low speeds, or sometimes, to shoot around rapidly in any direction. They often appear in pairs or groups, according to reports, to divide into pairs or to merge, to disappear and reappear, and sometimes to move in seemingly regular patterns. Their sizes are typically said to resemble soccer balls or basketballs. Sightings are reported occasionally and unpredictably, perhaps 10 to 20 times a year. There are no reliable reports of daytime sightings. According to the people who claim to have seen the lights, they may appear at any time of night, typically south of U.S. Route 90 and east of U.S. Route 67, five to fifteen miles southeast of Marfa, at unpredictable directions and apparent distances. They can persist from a fraction of a second to several hours. There is evidently no connection between appearances of the Marfa lights and anything else besides nighttime hours. They appear in all seasons of the year and in any weather, seemingly uninfluenced by such factors. They sometimes have been observed during late dusk and early dawn, when the landscape is dimly illuminated. They are said to be viewable year round. It is extremely difficult to approach an ongoing display of the Marfa lights, mainly due to the dangerous terrain of Mitchell Flat. Also, all of the land where the Marfa lights are observed is private property, and access is prohibited without explicit permission from the owners. he state notes the lights in travel maps, the city has erected a viewing platform, and the Marfa Chamber of Commerce promotes the peculiar lights.The weekend-long Marfa Lights Festival is held annually in the city’s downtown.”

There is an interesting video on the Marfa Lights  by Pecos45 that was done several years ago. It has interviews with residents from Marfa and shows the lights. The lights have had many skeptics and even the US government make attempts at either disproving them or learning what causes them to appear. The lights can be seen nearly every night. This author has seen the lights a couple dozen times over many years. Only to be disappointed twice by a no show of the lights. Years past the lights were easily seen and traffic was slow to non existent on the highway at night. This has changed quite a bit through the passing years. There were times when this author and a friend were the only people sitting off the side of the highway in the very dark night. That can become rather nerve wracking as minds wander while waiting to see lights. A few times there were unsavory characters that were more threatening than the lights. The new viewing station gives the area a feeling of safety and a place to sit and relax. There are lights on the building, but they are red to help one maintain their night vision. Now the highway is busy day and night with large trucks running the pipeline highway from Mexico into the U.S. with goods to deliver.

It’s difficult to explain the feeling when observing the lights other than a great sense of wonderment. This comes from having no idea what creates the lights. Listening to other watchers inhale as lights are seen that appear to be headed straight toward them and then the exhale as they stop before coming too close. The light appear as one, many or as individual lights that split into more lights. The bounce, wiggle, move up and down. They go back and come forward and at times appear to pulsate and emanate different colors. This author spoke to a local resident who has come to view the lights throughout most of his life. He can’t figure them out. He told of an experiment he and several friends tried after receiving permission to go onto the private property that lies between the viewing station and the mountains. He said that a group of his friends stayed by the platform while another group headed onto the property in a vehicle. Both sets were armed with walkie talkies to communicate. While the group near the platform observed lights the other group tried to drive toward the lights, That group would lose sight of the lights almost immediately and were never able to get close to them. Each time they lost sight of the lights the group by the platform would has constant vision of the lights. He said when they were younger they camped on the desert floor and tried to walk toward the lights without success.

A search on the Internet will bring up many links to information about the lights. Some lead to the  UFO version while others lead to the end of the world. Native Americans lived all over this region of Texas hundreds of years ago and there are ghostly tales of warriors and chiefs wandering at night with torches looking for something.

Have there been paranormal investigations done in this area? What would the investigators do? There is an article, Part 2 Where Paranormal Investigators and Ghost Hunters Tred that may shed light on how what is done. If anyone reading this article knows of any investigations into the Marfa Lights by a paranormal group, the author would like to know.

Could they by ghost lights? These are described as a natural phenomenon producing a ghostly light sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps, and marshes. The main problem with those who believe they are ghost lights is that this area is desert and not damp and humid.

One thing the lights are most likely not would be Orbs!

Written by mardeck

May 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm

USS Lexington

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20120509-105115.jpg

I wonder, is this what everyone does when they visit the USS Lexington? That is, in addition to EVP sessions and shooting video with hope of capturing someone who may still be hanging out and performing their duties.

Leave your comments as let us know what you did when you visited the USS Lexington…..

Written by mardeck

May 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

How do we know what is a GHOST? Are they Paranormal?

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English: Nightshot, enhanced.

Image via Wikipedia

How do we know what is a GHOST? Are they Paranormal?

By Martha Hazzard-Decker

How do we know what is a ghost? Are they paranormal? This is a question that has most likely been asked for hundreds if not thousands of years. There are many different beliefs that can be found in a myriad of cultures. Some cultures view ghosts as a bad thing while others embrace ghosts. Many books have been written about ghosts from quite a few different viewpoints.

This discussion may last as long as humans can communicate or maybe one day the discussion will be settled with a definitive answer. There are vast numbers of individuals seeking such answers through research even though some individuals believe they already know the answer. For many the answers come from their culture or faith and believe as they do because this is what they were taught. Some thoughts have been that ghosts are not really ghosts but beings in another dimension and possibly a worm hole of sorts briefly opened and those beings or a look into that dimension becomes possible. Some may even think ghosts are not ghosts but beings from outer space. Then there are those too afraid to even discuss the thought of ghosts because their faith has taught them that all ghost are evil, occult and of the devil.

East Texas Paranormal (ETP) once had a case they shared with another group due to distance. This was a good case of paranormal unity between groups that led to help for a family who had never thought of the possibility of dealing with the unknown. Their entire family is Church of Christ and Sally (name of the client was changed to protect her and her family) called in frantic need of help not knowing what to do because what she claimed was happening to her family was shaking their belief system to its core. Some of the family members were so stringent in their beliefs that they think Catholics are still going to hell. Sally was advised she was talking to someone of the Catholic faith and that was fine by her, but she would not tell her family. Her claim was that something was attacking her young son and following him everywhere. She said doors would open and close for him as he entered and left a room. She said furniture would be moved around in him room and even in an entire house. He, we’ll call him Jason, went to stay with other family members during this time and Sally said it followed him there and now other family members were involved and witnessing strange events. Sally called and wanted immediate relief over the phone and to know what was happening. She learned that it doesn’t happen that way and someone could come to her home to help. Another group was contacted to help and help they did. Things quieted down around the households after several visits from the paranormal group. What was there? ETP and the other group are not sure, neither is Sally. Did it shake her families’ beliefs? You bet it did. They are still strong in their faith but was it a ghost? That is still unknown. Are there unexplained events occurring in the house? Yes they are and both groups are still in contact with Sally and will remain that way as long as needed. Unexplained events are ignored most of the time and no one in the family seeks counsel with whatever is there. You can read What to do if your house is haunted for additional information.

Now, back to the main topic of what is a ghost. A search on Google will give you 457,000,000 results you can go through and read from now until the day you die. Many are fascinating while others seem just plain crazy. The difficult task would be learning to discern what is legitimate and what is not.

According to one entry in Wikipedia a ghost is described as, “In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, life-like visions. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in spiritism as a séance. The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to appease the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of the phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.”

Merrian-Webster describes ghost as, “: the seat of life or intelligence : soul <give up the ghost>

2: a disembodied soul; especially : the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness

3: spirit, demon

4a : a faint shadowy trace <a ghost of a smile> b : the least bit <not a ghost of a chance>

5: a false image in a photographic negative or on a television screen caused especially by reflection

6: one who ghostwrites

7: a red blood cell that has lost its hemoglobin

ghost·like adjective

— ghosty adjective

About.com has a description under Paranormal Phenomena that describes a ghost as, “A ghost – or spirit or apparition – is the energy, soul or personality of a person who has died and has somehow gotten stuck between this plane of existence and the next. Most researchers believe that these spirits do not know they are dead. Very often they have died under traumatic, unusual or highly emotional circumstances. Ghosts can be perceived by the living in a number of ways: through sight (apparitions), sound (voices), smell (fragrances and odors), touch – and sometimes they can just be sensed.”

Ghosts of Earth partially describe them as, “Ghosts are generally thought of as the apparition ( the appearance of) or spirit of someone or some thing that is no longer living. Many theorize that a ghost is simply caught between the world of the living and the afterlife. Possibly confused about their own death. This is why many people believe that ghosts are often found in places of terrible tragedy and sudden death.”

Jason Sullivan explains What is a ghost on YouTube in a nine minute video. This is another place to observe many explanations of ghosts.  So are you still confused as to what is a ghost? Aren’t most of us!

Is there something about the paranormal you would like to see in an article? Whether it is something from within the paranormal community or of the unexplained it could be viable as an article. Contact the author with your idea and it may be the next topic of discussion.

Written by mardeck

January 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Author Martha Decker Looking for Paranormal Hauntings Legends and Mysteries in East Texas for New Book

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dark day

Image by / // / via Flickr

Martha Decker

Solving Mysteries Surrounding East Texas in new book

by Martha Decker

Author Martha Decker Looking for Paranormal Hauntings Legends and Mysteries in East Texas for New Book. Martha Decker is a longtime published news journalist. In 1995 she won a first place Associated Press award for specialty reporting for an article she spent a year researching before it went to print. She is also the founder of East Texas Paranormal,  a paranormal group dedicated to helping individuals in need of answers for unexplained events.

Decker currently is working to complete a book about paranormal experiences, hauntings, legends, myths and mysteries in East Texas. This area consists of all counties east of I45 and SH 75 from the Gulf of Mexico to the Oklahoma border or from the Red River to the Big Thicket.

She has heard stories about Tool, Eustace, Gun Barrel City, Malakoff and Peeltown along with other places near Cedar Creek Lake. Surely someone has a story to be told. Out of the way, odd, weird or unusual might just fit the bill. Decker can always use more information about things that may have already covered by other individuals. What about mysterious lights, big foot sightings and so much more……….

Decker is interested in hearing your story. If you have any information you would like to pass on please send her email at marthadecker@live.com. She can be reached by mail at PO Box 73, Kemp, TX 75143. Feel free to use the About Us page on this site and I will get her the information.

Author Martha Decker Looking for Paranormal Hauntings Legends and Mysteries in East Texas for New Book

What to do when YOUR house is HAUNTED by Troy Taylor for AGS

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Keith Age and Troy Taylor

Image by merfam via Flickr

American Ghost Society

an article

by

Troy Taylor

 
Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with the written permission of Troy Taylor. The photograph is of (L) Keith Age and (R) Troy Taylor . For more information go to American Hauntings.
 

What to do when your house is haunted

Thanks to the type of work that I do, I meet people on what seems an almost weekly basis who have (or claim to have) a ghost in their house. These otherworldly encounters may not be occurring at the present time, or may have happened in a house where they used to live, but they assure me that strange things did, or do, occur at the place they inhabit.

Perhaps even more frequent than these chance, fact-to-face encounters are the phone calls and email messages that I receive from people who also claim to be going through the same predicament. All manner of strangeness may be reported and on many occasions, the callers and correspondents will ask what they should do about their uninvited and often spooky guests. Should they move out? Should they stay? Should they talk to the specters or ignore them? What is the best thing to do in this situation? And most of all, should they contact a ghost hunter to come in an investigate?

First of all, let me say that over the years that I have been involved in ghosts and ghost research, the vast majority of the cases that I have been involved in have perfectly natural explanations. These explanations may not be immediately realized, but they can be discovered. Of course, that is not to say that I have not been involved in some cases that did puzzle me and which did leave me feeling that (based on the witness accounts and my own research) the location really was haunted.

As the witness to a series of what could be ghostly events, you (the reader this article is aimed at) have to first determine whether or not you think the odd happenings in your house (or business, theater, etc.) are natural or supernatural. In order to do this, you should try and relax and be a good observer. Even if you are scared by what you have seen or heard (or what someone else has seen) you have to give the occurrences some rational thought. Could those “phantom footsteps” have been simply the house settling or the floorboards creaking? Could that “cold chill” have been merely a draft? Could the “ghost” that you saw out of the corner of the eye have been nothing more than a trick of the light?

Maybe the events have explanations, or maybe they don’t. Believe me, I know that it’s easy to let your imagination get away from you. All it might take are a few harmless comments to someone else in the house and before long, you have a “haunted house” made to order! Here’s how that works:

Let’s say that you and your family just moved into an old house in a neighborhood in your town. You don’t know anything about the history of the house but unknown to you, a family of mice lives quite comfortably in the cellar. One night, you wake up and hear strange noises coming from under the floor. Since you don’t know that the sounds are caused by the mice, you jump to the conclusion that the house is haunted. Of course, it’s not haunted… but that’s not the point. What is important is that you think the house is haunted! In fact, you get quite caught up in the idea and begin to think that every bump and creak that you hear is something ghostly. An odd reflection or a curtain moving in the wind might even look like a ghost. Combine all of these things together and you have a haunted house on your hands!

At this point, you have come to believe that you have a haunted house with bumps, rappings, ghostly footsteps and even apparitions that roam the hallways. It’s not long before your family begins to pick up on your fears, either consciously or unconsciously, and they also begin hearing the “unexplainable” sounds and seeing the resident “ghost”.

You can see why it might be easy to feed off one another’s fears and literally “invent” a haunted house. That’s why I try to ask the people who contact me to step back for a moment and try to look at the events they describe to me as a skeptic. I ask them to try and consider some other possibilities for the events besides supernatural ones. Sometimes this can be done and sometimes it can’t. I never tell the witness that their house cannot be haunted! Obviously, there is no way that I can know that and for several reasons:

1. I was not present at the time the reported events occurred.
2. At this point, I have never visited the location.
3. I cannot claim to be an “expert” on all things paranormal because no such thing exists.

What I am trying to do at this point is to simply assist the witness in looking at what they feel is a supernatural event in another manner. As a witness, you should not take offense at this. In fact, you should welcome the skepticism of the investigator. A legitimate investigator will not accuse you of lying but he will also not immediately accept your story as fact, based on the idea that he really has very little evidence to work from at this time. It is not that he doesn’t believe you, but only that he is keeping an open mind to everything, including the idea that the house may not be haunted. This is the sort of investigator that you should be looking for… not the one who immediately accepts your story at face value. This is a sure sign of inexperience with real cases and one best to be avoided.

However, at this point, I may have gotten ahead of myself a little bit. As mentioned already, it is best for the homeowner to try and determine for themselves if the possible ghostly activity has some natural cause. In many cases, if they do contact an investigator, that investigator may try and suggest some natural causes for the activity and it would be best to try and rule that out ahead of time. You might save yourself some embarrassment down the line, although a good investigator would never try to make you feel silly for some misidentified happenings.

Another thing that I recommend doing is to try and keep a log or a journal of any activity that occurs in the house. This will be extremely helpful and as a rule, I always suggest it to people who contact me about their possible haunting. It’s a great way to not only recall the events while they are fresh in your mind (so you don’t have to try and remember them for the first time in a later interview) but also to see if a pattern of activity exists. The determination of such a pattern would be extremely helpful to an investigator. It could show a natural cause for the activity (such as a furnace kicking on or a nearby fright train passing by) or might make it possible (if the activity turns out to be real) to decide when might be the best time for a paranormal investigation to take place. Obviously, if it looks like the ghostly events are occurring at a certain time (or day), then this would be the time the ghost hunter and his team would want to be present.

When you are compiling your journal or logbook, here are a few things that you want to be sure to include:

1. Note the exact time and date when the activity occurred.
2. Make a note of everyone who was present and what they saw. If possible have each witness record their thoughts in their own words.
3. Try and note the weather conditions at the time.

The journal will be an invaluable piece of research if an investigator comes to call and it will go a long way in establishing evidence about the haunting in your home.

Now that you have been able to try and rule out natural explanations for the events in your house and perhaps have even kept a log of the weird things that occurred, you have to decide what you want to do next. Admittedly, many witnesses will not have gotten this far with their own research. Many people are frightened by what is going on and very few of them understand it. The fact that (if you think your house is haunted) you have gone as far as to read this article is something you should be commended for. People are frightened by the unknown and by things that they don’t understand. I should tell you though, that in all of the years that I have been involved in ghost research, I have never run across anything that I would consider to be “evil” or “demonic”. Yes, I have run across some cases that are outside of the norm, and were certainly strange, but they were not “demons” disguised as ghosts! Despite what some people would have you believe, the cases of people actually being hurt by ghosts are very, very rare. There is an extremely remote chance that you have anything at all to be afraid of, so try and relax and keep your eyes and ears open to any other developments.

At this point, you have a choice of what to do next. You can either learn to live with the novelty of a ghost in your house, or you can get in touch with a legitimate ghost researcher to help you understand it better. You may also decide that you can’t abide the idea of sharing your house with a ghost and we’ll talk about what you can do about that later. Even if you decide that you want to “get rid of” the ghost, it’s likely that an investigation team would need to determine the veracity and extent of the haunting first.

This leads up to you getting in touch with a qualified ghost hunter, who can come into your home and determine what sort of activity is taking place. This is not as easy as it sounds! There are literally hundreds of websites on the internet that claim to be affiliated with paranormal research and it would seem that you have scores of ghost hunters to choose from. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Once you discard the inactive groups who still have websites, the “wanna-be” ghost hunters who offer all sorts of services and yet have never actually done a real investigation and the ones who think that wandering around in cemeteries with cameras makes them “researchers”… you don’t have near as many to choose from as it first appeared!

Here’s some information though that may help when it comes to actually choosing a ghost hunter to do an investigation at your location:

1. Make sure they offer a phone number. While there is nothing wrong with making contact through email, make sure that the group or ghost hunter you are contacting offers a phone number where they can be reached. This does not insure credibility but it does at least rule out the wishful ghost hunters who are living in their parent’s basement! In many cases (as with the American Ghost Society), larger organizations may not offer the phone numbers of their area investigators but they should offer a main number where information can be given out.

2. Make sure that the contact information on the ghost hunter’s website lists a first and last name of the persons who are actually doing the investigations. If they are listed by their first names only, then it’s likely that they are not serious investigators but rather more wishful ghost hunters looking for thrills.

3. Try and determine from the website if the investigators are someone that you would like to have in your home. Remember, the website is the method of advertising that they chose to offer their services through and if the site is questionable, the ghost hunters are likely to be as well. Anyone can put up a website but the quality of the material on it will speak volumes about who is behind it.

4. Avoid ghost hunters who dabble in magic, the occult or offer “magical cleansings” of homes. All of these things are the ghost hunter’s own business ( and on their own time!) but should not in any way be a part of a legitimate investigation. If anything like this appears on the website, move on. And be sure to ask about this when you speak to the person on the phone because solid researchers will not employ these methods.

5. Legitimate ghost hunters will not charge for their services. If you are asked to pay for an investigation, then you should look for something else. Only services that produce concrete and tangible results are worthy of payment and paranormal research is too unpredictable for that. In most cases, very little may occur in an investigation and no one should be expected to pay for that. It should be noted however that if the ghost researcher is expected to travel (especially overnight) to reach your location, it should be expected for you to offer that person reimbursement for their expenses.

6. Remember that legitimate ghost hunters will come to your home by invitation. If you are contacted and are asked if an investigation can be conducted in your home, quickly decline. Trustworthy ghost hunters don’t go where they are not wanted! This may not be the case in public locations though, so if you are involved with a location that has a reputation for being haunted, you may be contacted by someone. At that point, you should simply judge the researcher on his merits.

7. Once you believe you have found an investigator that you are comfortable with, you need to check his qualifications for an investigation. Ask how long he has been involved in paranormal research and about investigations in the past, especially those involving private residences. If he claims to be some sort of “doctor”, ask where this certification may have come from. Just because he chooses to pay for a questionable “doctorate” from an internet university, does not make him qualified to interact with people. Believe it or not, many ghost hunters have never conducted an investigation in a home (no matter how experienced they seem) and you have to decide if you are comfortable with this person starting out in your house. They may turn out to be great investigators, but you have to decide if you want to be their first one!

8. Also ask the researcher if they are affiliated with a research group or a national organization. Just because they are not does not make them less legitimate, however being affiliated with a group that has a good reputation can help you make a decision about allowing the researcher into your home. You can also get in touch with the main number for the group and check this person out before working with him.

Just remember though, once you have decided on the person that you want to contact, you have to be patient when requesting help. Although there are people out there claiming to be legitimate and charging large sums of money to “bust your ghost”, genuine researchers do not charge for investigations, being more interested in collecting evidence. Because of this, there can be a shortage of funding for most people involved and witnesses are often asked to wait until the investigator can be freed from his “real job”.

Once you have a ghost hunter to work with, they will need to determine if an on-site investigation of your home is needed. They will do this by asking a lot of questions and by referring to information that I mentioned you should gather earlier in this article. They will need to know that you have already tried to rule out natural explanations for the phenomena and perhaps even that you have compiled dates and times for the reported events.

Should the researcher then decide that an investigation of the house is warranted, then prepare to be invaded! Even though legitimate research groups will consist of no more than 5-6 individuals, a good team can seem like many more. An investigation can be very invasive and there will be photographs taken of the house and hundreds of feet of video shot. The investigators will ask you to describe the events that occurred (perhaps several times) and your statement will be recorded. They will ask you dozens of questions and many of them will seem unconnected and perhaps even embarrassing. Bear with them however, because the questions do have a purpose and the investigators will be working to try and not only legitimize your story but also to try and determine if the reported activity is real.

Here are some things that you should be aware of when it comes to legitimate paranormal investigations:

1. The investigating team should be no more than 5-6 people in your home. If the group is larger than this, then they have no idea what they are doing and should be questioned by you.

2. The investigators should not be drinking or smoking at any time.

3. Remember that they should arrive at your home with healthy skepticism. No one is trying to debunk your reports but have to keep an open mind to all possibilities. Good investigators must remain non-committal until they have had a chance to gather their evidence.

4. Make sure that the investigators seem to know how to use all of their equipment. If there is anything that you don’t understand, be sure to ask them to explain what it is used for. If they cannot, you may have a problem.

5. Unless the investigation was set up through you with a local television station or newspaper, the investigators should not be accompanied to your home with a reporter or media person. This should never occur without your permission! The investigators are duty-bound to keep all aspects of your case confidential unless they have your permission to disclose anything.

6. As mentioned already, the investigators should be able to explain to you what they are doing and don’t be afraid to ask. If there is anything that you want to know or need to information to feel comfortable, a legitimate researcher will give it to you. Just remember that any natural explanations that are discovered that might show the “haunting” has nothing to do with ghosts should be properly explained. This is not an indictment against your honesty, so don’t be offended. You asked this person in to give you an honest opinion and you have to be prepared to accept it.

7. You can also help by making sure that everyone who experienced anything unusual is present on the night of the investigation and that you keep out friends and relatives who want to come over to watch the proceedings. This can be very distracting to you and the to the investigators and can interfere with an accurate investigation.

8. Also remember that if you become uncomfortable with what is going on at any point in the investigation, you have the absolute right to call a halt to everything. The investigators are present at your request and are “guests” in your home. They should be given the respect that such a title signifies, but they also have to respect your feelings and fears as well.

As the investigation continues in your home, the team members will divide up their duties and while you are being thoroughly interviewed, other investigators will be filming and mapping the house, taking photos and looking for any anomalies with their equipment. They will likely ask you to show them where any odd happenings took place and may ask you to recreate what you were doing when they occurred.

If the phenomena that you have reported occurs on a regular basis, or has a set pattern, the investigators may want to conduct a vigil or “ghost watch”. This means that they will set up themselves and their gear in hopes that the activity might occur again. This can be a long process and can be very boring for you and the investigators. At this point, you may want to consider going (quietly) about your activities and to let them work.

You may have noticed in this article that I mentioned several times that activity rarely occurs during the investigation. In some cases it does though, and this can be exciting for everyone involved. However, in most cases (if the investigator has determined that there seems to be a strong possibility that the reported phenomena is genuine) a follow-up investigation will be required. This usually means a return visit that will be much less “painless” than the first, as the initial groundwork has already been laid.

It should be stressed that a legitimate researcher will always follow up on a case. If you do not hear from him, and the phenomena persists, then call him yourself. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with him and ask him to come back.

The information that has come before has been mostly geared to the witness who has experienced something out of the ordinary and while not completely frightened by it, is curious enough to contact someone who can tell them more. Truthfully, I have worked more often with this type of person than any other. They aren’t necessarily afraid of the activity they have reported, but are bothered by it to the point that they decided to seek some help.

This is not always the case though. As a witness, you may call in a researcher to decide whether or not your house is truly haunted and once you realize that something is actually happening (and that others are seeing it too!), you may want to call the proceedings to a halt. This can happen when the witness is afraid of making the ghost “angry” and you may decide that you want to just leave well enough alone, who knows? Some witnesses also may decide that they want to get rid of the ghost and if this happens to you, the investigators that you have contacted have no choice but to go along with your wishes.

But unless the investigator is a psychic (and I don’t recommend contacting a psychic for your investigation unless they are accompanied by a legitimate team to back up their findings), they will not be equipped to get rid of the ghosts that may be haunting your house. Most ghost hunters are merely investigators. We do not talk to ghosts and we don’t see them around every corner. If we are going to be able to help you, we are going to have to contact an outside source.

Let me reassure you again though that ghosts are not present to hurt anyone and in almost every case, a family can peacefully coincide with a spirit. Obviously though, not everyone wants that and some even insist that the ghost itself would be better off passing on to wherever we go at the time of death. In this case, the ghost hunter should be proactive in helping you with your wishes.

If you have a family minister, the ghost hunter will likely suggest that you get in touch with this person and ask them to come to the house and to pray for the soul of the spirit that is present. This is not an “exorcism” but simply an attempt to get the ghost to leave in peace. It can be of great benefit to you and your family as well.

If a willing minister is not available, then the ghost hunter should be able to suggest or find an expert in getting rid of ghosts. They may not be a professional medium or psychic but someone who is sensitive to spirits and who has a good reputation. It should be someone the ghost hunter has either worked with before or someone who was referred through a legitimate source. There is usually a complete lack of ceremony with this type of person as they are not a phony psychic or exorcist. They are likely going to want to look over the location and sit down and talk with you before proceeding.

Remember though to beware of any medium that tries to pump you for too much information up front! It is obviously more legitimate if this person can gather impressions that match the information you already have. If they come up with weird things that you have not experienced and seem to be making things up out of thin air, they most likely are!

If an authentic medium detects a spirit that is present, they will try and convince it to move on. How effective is this? It’s hard to say. It has been my experience that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It usually has a positive effect on the house though, no matter what else it does. I often get calls from people who ask for this service but in my years in the paranormal field, I have found very few people that I can recommend as someone trustworthy enough to be given this assignment. They are out there though and if you request it, the ghost hunter you work with should do all they can to get you in touch with them.

In closing, I hope that this article has been worthwhile for you and has provided you with some of the essential information that you need in order to find a legitimate ghost hunter. I always say that ghost hunting has several goals. Not only is the ghost hunter seeking evidence of ghosts, but he is also there to help the person who called him in to investigate the case. It is the ghost hunter’s main responsibility to alleviate the fears of the witness and to help them deal with the activity they are experiencing. The witness should never be shut out of the investigation but should be treated with the utmost respect .. for man always fears what he does not understand.

If you are experiencing a haunting and have been thinking of contacting a ghost hunter, then I hope that you now know what to expect from this experience. In some small way, I hope that this knowledge can contribute to the end of people being taken advantage of by the questionable and inexperienced ghost hunters who are out there. A little knowledge can go a long way and now that you know what to look for, you can avoid the problems that so many have encountered in the past. Good luck!

© Copyright 2008 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.

For even more information you might want to get the Bump in the Night newsletter.

If you would like an investigation please contact ETX Paranormal. Our information is on our About ETX Paranormal page.

Orbs Debunked by Troy Taylor founder of American Ghost Society

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Orbs @ Sach's Bridge, Gettysburg, PA  Ghost hu...

Image by nikoretro via Flickr

“Orbs” Debunked!

American Hauntings

Presented with the written permission of Troy Taylor

Author of the GHOST HUNTER’S GUIDEBOOK & President of the American Ghost Society

Editor’s note: the image to the right is typical of what some
individuals believe to be orbs, but is usually dust or bugs.

For many years, during all of my writing on ghosts and paranormal phenomena, I have maintained that nothing that I have written has ever been meant to be the “final word” on anything related to the paranormal. However, this section is actually meant to be the “final word” (or rather MY “final word”) on the subject of “orbs”:

Enough with the “orbs” already! “Orbs” are not evidence of the paranormal. They are not ghosts and they are not even “unexplained”!

How can I say this when I maintain there are no “experts” on the paranormal? Because so-called “orbs” have nothing to do with the paranormal! Let me back up a moment and say then I’m not talking about anomalous lights and globes of energy that are seen with the naked eye, I’m talking about those pesky, transparent balls that seem to show up in photos and have been claimed for more than a decade to be “evidence” of ghosts.

Many of the “orb photographs” that turn up on Internet websites or in books seem to come from cemeteries but they actually have an annoying habit of showing up almost anywhere. They have become the most commonly reported types of “paranormal photos” claimed by “ghost hunters” in recent years.

I began debunking the vast majority of “orb” photographs in the middle 1990s, around the same time that I began the controversy over using low-end digital cameras for paranormal investigation. The majority of “orb” photos from that time could be blamed on low resolution, low pixel cameras — but not all of them. Despite what has been seen and heard, there has never been any evidence whatsoever to suggest that these “orbs” are in any way related to ghosts.  Yes, they have often turned up in photos that are taken at haunted locations but, as my research started to show, they could turn up literally everywhere.

As mentioned, “orb” photos are the most commonly seen “ghost photos” today and you will probably see more photos on the Internet of these purportedly “mysterious” balls of light than of anything else. While I do believe that genuine photographs of paranormal “lights” exist, they are not as common as many people think. The reason for this is that it’s very hard to photograph something at the same time you are observing it. However, it’s been done a number of times over the years at spook light locations and even during investigations. In my book Ghosts on Film, which deals specifically about spirit photography and investigations, I present a number of cases from my files where other researchers and myself were able to photograph glowing lights at the time they occurred. Were they ghosts? I don’t know but I can say that I believe the lights were paranormal in origin — unlike “orbs”.

Despite the fact that I (along with many other researchers) have been trying to tell people that “orbs” are easily explained as a natural phenomenon for nearly a decade, those that I like to call “orb-a-philes” have continued to post “orb photographs” on websites, print them in books, display them at conferences and excitedly show them to me on their digital camera screens. When I suggest a possible explanation for the “orbs”, downplaying the idea that they are ghosts, I usually get the reaction that I described in the introduction to this book — anger, righteous indignation and a comment that I don’t know what I am talking about anyway.

So, rather than try and argue with every “orb-a-phile” that I come across, I’ll let this article do my arguing for me. I don’t plan to write about “orbs” ever again and so please spare me the angry emails that claim that I have no idea what I am talking about. This is the final opinion that I have come up with on “orbs” and keep in mind that it is my opinion — I’m not an expert because there aren’t any paranormal “experts”– but this is what I have come up with based on research that dates back over more than two decades. With that said, what follows are the reasons that  I do not believe that “orbs” have any place in the field of paranormal research:

A typical “orb photograph” is usually one that is taken in an allegedly haunted place and somewhere within the photo is a hovering, round ball. Some of these “orbs” appear to be giving off light, while others appear to be transparent.

It should also be noted that “orbs” were actually quite rare (if not nonexistent) before digital cameras became common. In the early days of low-cost, cheap digital cameras, some “ghost hunters” actually proposed that digital cameras are “superior for orb photography”. And since they were producing more “orb” photos, this was technically true. But the digital imaging chip is very different than traditional film photography and was far inferior until recent times. Some of the earlier, low-end digital cameras were made with CMOS chips and they would create “noise” in low-light photographs that would be mistaken for “orbs”. It seemed that when they were used in darkness, or near darkness, the resulting images were plagued with spots that appeared white, or light colored, and where the digital pixels had not all filled in. In this manner, the cameras were creating “orbs”, and they had no paranormal source at all.

The most common “orb” photos are merely refractions of light on the camera lens. This occurs when the camera flash bounces back from something reflective in the range of the camera. When this happens, it creates a perfectly round ball of light that appears to be within the parameters of the photo but is actually just an image on the lens itself. Many people often mistake these “orbs” for genuine evidence of ghosts, although I have never really been quite clear as to why that is. Most “orb” photos occur when the camera flash is used. Some of the photographers will insist that their flash was not on, which means it was and they didn’t know it. The automatic exposure control on most any standard 35 mm camera uses fill flash in all but the brightest light.

Even so, “orbs” don’t have to have a camera flash to be created. They can also be caused by bright lights in an area where the photo is being taken, by angles of light and by many types of artificial lighting.

But are lights and camera flashes the only thing that can cause “orbs” to appear? Far from it! Other objects that end up in front of the camera lens and are mistaken for paranormal images are dust, moisture, pollen, insects, snow, rain, hair, ash and scores of other semi-microscopic particles. In almost every case, the camera flash reflects on the surface of one of these particles and seems to “glow”, as one might expect a ghostly image to do.

I started experimenting with “orb” photos a number of years ago, using a variety of materials, like flour, salt, dust and cat dander, to simulate “orbs” with my camera. I was not really that surprised to learn how easy it was to duplicate what so many people thought were ghosts using these ordinary items. The one argument that always intrigued me from the “orb-a-philes”, though, was: why, if “orbs” were not paranormal, did they so frequently turn up in photos taken at haunted locations?

I decided to research “orb” photos from graveyards, which I had seen scores of over the years. Keep in mind that I have often been openly critical of ghost hunting in cemeteries anyway.  By that I mean, actually just going out to cemeteries and shooting photographs and hoping to capture something on film. While this is great for the hobbyist, I don’t feel that it’s serious research. Needless to say, I have been harshly criticized for this view. In spite of this, I have not changed my mind about the fact that random “ghost hunting” is not an investigation. And if this isn’t reason enough to discourage this kind of activity; I soon had another reason for taking this view.

With three other researchers, I went out to a cemetery that we picked at random on a warm summer night and took several rolls of film. We had no readings, stories or reports to justify the decision, but just took photos anyway. After having them developed, we discovered a number of the photos were filled with semi-transparent “orbs”.

On a hunch, we then went to a nearby football field that was roughly the same size as the cemetery we had already visited. We walked around for a few minutes and again shot a few rolls of film. I was unfortunately not surprised to find that these photos were also filled with “orbs”. Was the football field haunted? Of course not!

What we did was walk around both areas and stir up dust and pollen from the grass. When we took the photos, these particles in the air caught the reflection of the camera flash and appeared to be “orbs”. We also discovered that such photos could be taken after walking or driving on a dusty road. The dust particles would reflect the light, just as moisture can do, and make it seem as though the air was filled was “orbs”.

While the experiment really just reinforced a belief that I already had — namely that “orbs” are not paranormal — I do think that it was worthwhile if even one “orb-a-phile” might see the results and question some of the photos that he or she has been presenting as genuine.

After publishing this research, I was sure that this would be the end of people sending me photos of “orbs” and asking me to justify their belief that they had captured a ghost on film, but it wasn’t. In fact, people still send them to me on a regular basis and they usually follow it up with their arguments as to why they are sure their “orbs” are real.

THE LAST WORD ON “ORBS”?

So, should we discount all “orb” photos? No, I don’t think that we should. As stated earlier, I do believe that there are genuine, paranormal images that appear and which are sometimes captured on film. These visible lights are a semi-common phenomenon but whether or not they signal the presence of ghosts is still open to debate. Regardless, I believe they are something paranormal in nature and we should continue to study them, as we have done for some time.

It’s the “traditional orb photos” that have become the bane of paranormal research and I think that it’s time that we retired this irrelevant theory for good. This will be the last appearance that “orbs” make in any of my publications and hopefully, we’ll see them start to fade from the spotlight of paranormal research once and for all.

Editor’s note: this article has not been changed from Mr Taylor’s version on his web site. Thank you for allowing ETX Paranormal to reprint this article.

Bump in the Night Newsletter is a FREE newsletter by Troy Taylor

If you are looking for an American Ghost Society Rep to help you use this AGS link to find one, including ETX Paranormal. (side note that our link shows as Cedar Creek Lake Paranormal Research)

Written by mardeck

March 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm

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