Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cognizant Hauntings: A Psychological Ouroboros?

So this might seem like a complete departure from some of my other blogs where I spend most of my time postulating the existence and the source of many of the phenomena that we talk about on our show. It would seem that way because it is. The reason for this? Well, life has a way of forcing us to peer into our souls at times and just like the abyss, when we stare too long into them, they have a tendency to stare right back.

I am convinced that hauntings exist across the board in many different forms, each having their own varied origins, some in science, some in the as-of-yet undiscovered sciences. I am convinced as well that there are “temporal anomalies” that result in the double exposure of our reality, allowing us to see people and events from by-gone and future eras. They are going about their daily chores as we are ours, each party sneaking a brief glimpse at the other, should they know when and where to luck, if not by purpose, then by accident. I am then thusly convinced that some hauntings are cognizant of their own existence, being neither a repeat of the past or a glimpse of the future, but a soul at unrest. It is this cognizant haunting that troubles me the most, not because of its religious implications, although there are many, but because of a message largely ignored.

To say that life is fragile is to equate a great egg to a great omelet. The initial statement has merit, but we largely miss the weight and impact that a commentary on our time on this planet has. Sadder still is the idea that our neglect of our condition and the lack of desire to better it will leave us repeating our mistakes, and sometimes dooming us to ponder them in what can only be described as the ethereal “in-between”.

The paranormal world, or better yet, the paranormal “industry” has its strife, its rivalries, and its standing feuds. Researchers often critique their peers with unabashed malevolence, forgetting that the “right” answer might be wrong in its very context when dealing with the unknown. It is a subjective field that many have come to conclude exists in a state affected by our very perceptions, sometimes altering the very phenomena itself in how it is observed and conceived. The human element, however, persists, and open forums are wrought with jealousy, bigotry, hatred and ignorance. We study the dead with an air of indignant righteousness, holding our own sparks aloft so high and haughty that they would appear immortal of the flesh.

We look at cognizant hauntings and we are brought to the ground zero of human depravity; a stain on reality spurred by cocktails of murder, violence and sadness, yet still we seem to miss the point. We seem to look over the glaring mistakes of our ancestors, our idols, our recently departed and declare ourselves victors of the human condition by clinging to life, where our subjects no longer could. What can we learn? What we already know. That life, in its simplest of commentaries, is fragile. We are all walking phantoms unless we absolve ourselves and seek to enrich and better the lives of those around us. The message might very well be this: Exorcise the demons of your today, lest we be the ghosts of our tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Reboot Button On Life

    Hey there, I'm sure you're all aware that there hasn't been a show in a while. We've been on a break from it for personal reasons. A lot has happened to us since the live show at Turtle Run Campground. When we were on our way to the campground I got a call from one of my co-workers stating that my whole department was getting demoted because they were transferring our job to another location. This was the first step in a series of events that left me pretty ravaged, and had a lot to do with the amount of whiskey I drank at that show.

     Shortly after we returned from the campground I went to visit my girlfriend of 2 and a half years and she told me that she wanted to split. This seemed to have come out of nowhere and took me by surprise, but I should have seen it coming as it seemed we had been growing more and more distant. It still really upset me all the same.

The next event happened just days later on May 26th. It was me getting an e-mail from a roommate telling me that the landlord wanted me to be out by the end of the month.  I replied asking if she meant the end of June. No. I had 5 days to pack everything I owned and move it out of the place I had just moved in to in October. I was renting a room on the second floor of a house and two of the other people were moving out and the dick landlord decided at the last minute that he would rather rent the floor to a family instead of renting the rooms to individuals. Unfortunately the matter of where I was supposed to live was unimportant.  I was going to just put all of my belongings in storage and then live in my van until I found another place to live. Luckily I have some amazing friends and one of them has been letting me crash on the futon in the spare room since this has happened.

     Finally, in the beginning of June I got a break from the insanity and went to California to visit my brother.  I had an amazing time that sadly came to an end all too quickly. As I was on the plane to come back I realized that I had very little to come back to. No girlfriend, shitty job that made me want to kill myself, no home, and the realization that my entire life fit in a 5x10 storage unit. I discovered that I'm 33 years old and have nothing to show for those 33 years. I had plugged headphones into the plug to listen to in flight tv, turned on VH1 and was hoping that the flight would be much shorter than planned, but then decided that I didn't want "Right Here, Right Now" to be the last song that I heard before I died, so I plugged into the iPod and cranked Slayer's "World Painted Blood". That's an album to die to.

     On the flight back I came to the conclusion that I've had enough of New Jersey, and decided to load up my van and move out to California as soon as possible. I was originally planning on leaving at the end of July but that didn't give me enough time to do everything I needed to do.  I ended up changing the leave date to the end of August to stick around and spend more time with friends and take more time to get my belongings in order to find out what I was able to fit in the van, what I would ship, and what I would need to find a way to get to California at a later date or just get rid of.

     During this time period life decided that it hasn't quite shit on me enough and my transmission goes out on my van and I lose my job right around the same time.  So $2500 later I have a van again, and luckily unemployment has started coming in. I've got my belongings in order and I'm going to be moving this Saturday.  I will be driving almost 3,000 miles cross country by myself.

     We are looking into setting up a way for me to do the show remotely when we start broadcasting again. I have my equipment that I will need for it, it's just a matter of getting everything set up and running tests on it to make sure there is no delay, echo, and that everybody comes through clearly. 

So now you're all up to date on what's been going on in my world. The next blog I post will be from the other side of the country, it will probably be pompous drivel about soul searching on the road and finding it behind a cactus on a side street in Nevada or something. If I'm lucky, I'll get abducted somewhere in that region when I'm passing through.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Prepare for Disclosure. Prepare for War.

I hosted a roundtable this past April that consisted of four of some of the most recognizable personalities in UFO research. For the second time I had the pleasure of speaking with disclosure activist Stephen Bassett. More often than not, my thoughts on disclosure have been somewhat polarized. I believe whole-heartedly in letting the public decide for themselves what they should believe and how they should interpret the beliefs of others. It is this free will that defines our desire to be individuals and is part of the essence of being human. I agree that “national security” has been more of a security blanket used as a catch-all for anything that falls outside of the realm of definable and controllable phenomena. So do I agree with the idea that disclosure is needed? Yes, and I also agree that it is our right as Americans and citizens of the world to demand it. Do I think the world is ready for it? No. No, I do not, and this is where I will diverge from the research of many of my peers in saying that I have enormous faith in humanity, yet no faith in humanity’s ability to organize and implement governing systems, and this is where we constantly fall apart.

Disclosure represents many things, but at its core it is about the dissemination of truth. Truth is the seminal double-edged sword. The sigh of relief that accompanies truth is wrought with barbs that often tear, mangle and incapacitate in its release. With disclosure comes truth and I think the brand of truth that many UFOlogists seek often strips the emotion from the experience and looks at validation and confirmation, but not necessarily closure, and I’m talking about the kind of closure that comes from finally coming to terms with trauma. Trauma is a rarely used word in UFO culture. We are all prone to throw around terms like “advanced propulsion”  and “aerial maneuvers” but trauma is a bird of a different feather. If I were inclined to use trauma in reference to the UFO phenomena, and more importantly the ET “problem” I might say. “ the way in which the subject was taken from their home, subjected to multiple tests that were both intrusive physically and of a sexual nature left the victim in a state of shock that led to long term psychiatric issues stemming from the initial trauma”. I think that could be an accurate way to use the word effectively. It might also be the same phrasing used in a police report to describe an assault, a rape, or a kidnapping. It is, however, a phrase you would also expect to hear in an account of an alien abduction, and it is the abduction phenomena that raises not only some serious questions for me about disclosure, but some very serious concerns as well.

How do you try another planet for their crimes? The legal issues alone surrounding disclosure are near insurmountable. Are we expected to wipe the slate clean once the smoke of cloak and dagger has dissipated? What about the victims of abductions that have lost their family, friends, jobs and their credibility over what they have experienced? Is it going to be easy for them to see a race absolved of guilt, while they are expected to still seek closure on their own as victims unavenged? Will there be any recompense for the lost time, the lost dollars on therapy, the lost sanity of the “experiencers” once the veil of conspiracy has lifted. Further more, who does take responsibility?

It is responsibility that possibly troubles me the most. How will the world’s governments look in the eyes of their people, regardless of how they try to spin it? What will their angle be or, more importantly, is there one that at all? To admit that they were unaware of the phenomena to a point or even unable to adequately control it points toward negligence worthy of a global outcry. If they admit involvement, they become the very enemies of the people they were sworn to protect. If the problem is so far out of their control they are admitting that their protection is, at best, a smokescreen; another lie to placate a public whose interests they haven’t fully served.

Let’s take the former and the implications that the situation is unable to be controlled by our world’s governments. If this is the case, we need to look not only at the criminal activities of the guilty party (Plaedians, greys, Taliban, etc) but the crimes against humanity that they are also responsible for:

  1. Violation of Restricted Air Space – If disclosure reveals that craft have been coming and going at their leisure, that means our national security has been violated innumerable times.

  1. Abduction, Restraint and Torture of Private Citizens – The abduction phenomena,       complex and sometimes terrifying in all of its David Lynchesque facets, represents an intrusion and torture on a level reminiscent of waterboarding.

  1. Animal Cruelty and Terrorism -  Cattle mutilations represent a level of detached indifference that startles and horrifies those who witness the end result. The tendency to leave the carcass could be seen as psychological intimidation as well (think this is a reach? If they really wanted to be discrete, I’m sure they could find a better disposal method rather than just throwing it out their car window into the ditch)

So what does all of this mean? What is means to me is that a party or parties hitherto unidentified have been committing acts of tyranny, violence and psychological intimidation worthy of a declaration of war. Once the parties responsible have been identified (in this case through disclosure) how are we to deal with them in a manner that holds them responsible for what they have done? How would we be able to combat their technologies to even hold them accountable?

I am still an advocate of disclosure, however. The truth, no matter how painful or difficult is still the truth. I think it is just going to be a bittersweet truth that could very possibly blow forth the winds of war.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review: The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide

The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide;

Protection Techniques for Encounters with the Paranormal

By Michelle Belanger

Llewellyn Publications, 2009
[Paperback, 271 pages, no illustrations]

Reviewed by The Ghost Reader

Just as firefighters would be foolish to enter a burning building without a helmet, breathing apparatus, and Kevlar suit, so, too, a ghost hunter would be ill-advised to enter a haunted house without proper protection.  That, at least, is the assertion of Michelle Belanger in her latest book, The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide.

Thus asserted, the question arises what type of protection should a ghost hunter use?  a) Dab on some garlic-scented cologne?  b) Strap on one of Egon Spengler’s proton packs to zap the paranasties before they can slime you?  Or, c) don a suit of psychic armor?  If you answered “c” you would be correct.  (Sorry, Ghostbuster fans.)  Psychic armor is what Survival Guide is all about, and Ms. Belanger is one of the leading seamstresses of this fashion in the paranormal field. She is an advisor to A & E’s series Paranormal State and lectures and writes extensively on many aspects of the paranormal, including ghosts, psychic energies, and vampires (what?).  She is a gifted, intelligent writer (not many can use words like “hypnopompic” and “disambiguation” with aplomb) who is deeply studied and expert in her field, which she treats here with great sensitivity.  Though thoroughly convinced of the merits of “energy work” and the psychic realm, Ms. Belanger still presents her material in a very objective manner, not using this book as a soapbox for preaching in behalf of New Age beliefs.

Survival Guide starts by relating how to lay the foundation of psychic protection via “grounding and centering.”  This process gets a ghost hunter in a position with eyes closed, feet slightly spread, hands clasped at the energy center inside his/her chest, and perhaps offering a simple mantra. (Hmm.  Sounds like a certain cowardly lion, clutching his tail to his sternum and repeating, “I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks”) The ghost hunter then adds to this a psychic, egg-shaped shield surrounding the entire body, “made” of bright light, psychic mirrors, or imaginary fire.  (Careful with that last one.  Even psychic eyebrows don’t smell or look very good when singed.)  Protected through this process of ground, center, and shield, the ghost hunter will hopefully never have to stop, drop, and roll due to a psychic attack.

From this beginning, the book goes on to describe other psychic techniques that ghost hunters should find of value.  The book is divided into 9 chapters, with each loosely divided into three sections.  Ms. Belanger begins each chapter with a segment from one of her investigations, in this case a story of an aspiring musician living with a demented grandmother in an extremely cluttered house – which just happens to be infested with psychic vermin.  The chapters’ middle sections are devoted to full descriptions and teaching sessions of psychic techniques relating to what just transpired in the investigation.  And the final part of each chapter, called “The Least You Should Know,” is a simplified summary of the techniques described in the mid-section.  Sprinkled throughout the book are “Sidebars” (Thank you, O.J. Simpson trial, for popularizing this term.)  These are entitled either “Skeptic’s Corner” or “Beyond Belief.”  The former put forward scientific, psychological interpretations of some of the concepts raised in the body of the chapter, and the latter give interesting religious insights and snippets of cultural history related to other concepts.

The question arises when reading Survival Guide, just who is it written for?  The author herself states, early in the book, that it is for those “actively involved in paranormal investigation.”  That is probably true.  And despite the enormous popularity of, and interest in, ghost hunting today, that is not a very large number of people.  So the guide will probably not be a best seller. (The publishers at Llewellyn just winced.)  In order for other, non-investigator types to enjoy this book, they will need to be into New Age material and accept the basic psychic tenets that Ms. Belanger describes at length, some of which will strain the credulity of more strictly science-oriented readers.  Or, they will need to read the openings of the chapters and then skip to the summaries, since some of the detailed step-by-step instructions of “energy work” and psychic exercises get a bit tedious and repetitive.

Perhaps the best chapter in The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide is the last.  In it, Ms. Belanger recognizes and reflects on the misgivings some might have with her approach and how different people’s “energy types” affect their degrees of psychic ability.  She also warmly embraces the idea that, in a speculative area of study like paranormal investigating, many different approaches, including psychic and scientific, are all necessary.  She also deftly touches on the ethics of paranormal investigating.  And she does all of this in a thoughtful, intelligent, open-minded way, a way that cannot help but inspire a reader to respect her and the sincerity of her convictions.   

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Book Review: Seeking Spirits

They’re baaaaaaack!

America’s favorite ghost hunters, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, return to the print world with their second book, Seeking Spirits, a follow-up to their 2007 best-seller, Ghost Hunting. This new book, with the exact same number of pages as its predecessor, carries the somewhat curious sub-title, The Lost Cases of the Atlantic Paranormal Society. Lost? From whom? Certainly the authors had enough in their files to recount the early, pre-TV show adventures of the T.A.P.S. investigators in their local New England haunts. Lost? Seemingly these cases are lost only to exploitation by the SyFy Channel, which, in case you have been astral projecting to Venus for the last several years, broadcasts the popular TV series “Ghost Hunters”, which our boys Jason and Grant produce.

Anyway …

Seeking Spirits, like Ghost Hunting before it, is a collection of short (mainly 4 to 8 page) recountings of paranormal investigations. And, like Mama Gump’s observation about life, the book resembles the proverbial “box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Well, what you get here are 36 chocolates – er, chapters – and what’s inside each is often a surprise. There are tales of poltergeists, demons, an incubus or two, hallucinogenic drug combinations, a client suffering from dementia, ouija boards, a doppleganger, and, of course, your every day garden-variety ghosts. Strangest of all is a case involving peeping-Tom gray aliens. (The boys had to refer their client to an E.T. exterminator here, not wanting to cross union lines.) In a strange twist, perhaps the book’s scariest chapter has its fear generated by humans, with Jason and Grant escaping a pesky gang of Satan worshippers. (“Run, Forrest, run!”) The book derives strength from its variety, keeping you guessing what’s lurking, waiting for you in the shadows of the next chapter.

Grant Wilson, the “good cop”, of our paranormal pair, is a much more active participant in Seeking Spirits than he was in Ghost Hunting, and the book is much the better for it. He fully narrates half the stories here, as opposed to adding sporadic one or two sentence comments as he did in Ghost Hunting. He also recounts, in the book’s introduction, the extended experience he had as a youth that motivated his fascination with the paranormal. Interesting stuff.

Many of the chapters end with sub-sections entitled “Ghost Hunter’s Manual.” These give back-stories, histories, or explanatory information about ghost hunting techniques, devices, or definitions, and they’re usually quite informative. Topics range from the history of the “talking ouija board” (invented in 1890) to the onset of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), “discovered” in Sweden in 1959. (No wonder some EVPs are hard to understand … the ghosts are speaking Swedish!) Sophisticated, serious readers of books and articles on the paranormal and its investigative equipment may find the information basic, but others will find it enlightening.

Which brings us to the basic tone of the book. Ultimately, Seeking Spirits is conversational. It’s like sitting down at a table in a bar and, while chasing down some liquid spirits, listening to two regular guys talk about chasing spirits of the more ephemeral kind. There is no tightly controlled scientific research into the paranormal related here, with data and numbers and analyses leading to objective conclusions about the realm of ghosts. It’s two guys telling stories about helping clients with strange and very unwanted problems. That is exactly what they claim the goal of their investigations to be … and what this book is all about.

All in all … a very enjoyable read.

The Ghost Reader

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Time Travelling in Your Mind

It was many, many years ago, I was around the age of 3 or 4 and I remember sitting in front of dad's reel to reel player listening to a Steppenwolf album that I enjoyed the music and thought had a cool cover. All I remembered about the cover was the band was green on it and there were 2 skulls in the background (even then in my little mind, skulls = pretty cool). I would always ask my dad to put it on because I didn't know how to work the thing to make it play and I spent a lot of time listening to it. A few weeks ago, I randomly thought of this album cover again and wondered what I would think of it now if I were to listen to it 30 years later. I searched out Steppenwolf album covers and found the image below and instantly sought out a way to acquire a copy of the album.

After I was able to get it, I loaded it onto the mighty iPod and went for a drive. As the first song came on I was instantly transported back in time 30 years to being that little kid listening to rock n' roll on dad's reel to reel, sitting there with the big 70's style headphones on upside-down because they were too big to fit on my head, then something else happened. I started singing along with the song. This completely took me by surprise. I had not even heard any of these songs, even in passing, since I was 4, how the hell do I know the words?!?

The brain is a very complex organ that we still don't fully understand or know how to use it to its full potential. It would have been nice to know how to quickly call upon stored memory through high school, it would have made things much easier. What is it about sights, sounds, and smells that instantly trigger memories from times long gone?

I understand how some mnemonic devices work, like for reading music you remember the lines of E, G, B, D, and F with "Every Good Boy Does Fine" and the spaces with F, A, C, and E as the word face. That makes sense to me, but I don't understand how songs I've not listened to or even thought of for 30 years is still hanging around in there when I can't even remember things I did 2 weeks ago.

Since there is so much more that we are unaware of that our brain does and how it operates there is so much potential to improve on our thought process. We just need to find a way to tap into the ability to just reach in and grab those memories on command. If there was a way to remember everything we've ever been told, taught, learned, and read just by mentally accessing it in seconds, I believe the world would be a much better place. It may even give us the ability to travel back in time in our mind to fully see what was going on around us, and experience it all over again, we will not be able to change anything, but we will still be able to re-live the experience. So come on scientists, let's try to figure out how we can access the reaches of our mind for things on command.

And I still think that's a badass album cover


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nine Tenths: 3rd Installment

“Do we look like thieves to you?” Garret asked. It was a rhetorical question. One scan of the three travelers showed them to be in remarkably good shape save for the lifeless limb hanging on the younger man. “You have a Watcher with you. She’s strong enough to keep herself and the others with you hidden. I need to see her.”

The boy was genuinely puzzled and offered a reply. “ I don’t even know what a Watcher …,”

Garret cut him off before he could finish opening his hand and gazing at the gun on the boy’s lap. The boy turned the handle of the gun towards his interrogator and willingly gave him the weapon back. “Time is short for both of us, son. You have one among you that can read minds, dream of things that happen days later, things like that, right?”

This time the boys eyes looked toward the ground as he spoke and the tell was obvious to everyone in the room. “No. No, we don’t”

Garrett had to keep himself from smiling the wry smile that had a knack for making everyone in the room nervous. “You really can’t lie for shit, but I respect you for looking after your own. Now, normally I’m a fair man…um…what’s your name.”

The boy replied almost instinctively, “Kevin”, then put his hand to his mouth; an embarrassing afterthought.

Garret leaned in and put the gun into its holster. “Kevin, I’m a fair man, when I have the time, but right now I have eight minutes. Eight minutes doesn’t give a man time to be fair. In eight minutes the things you have been hiding from will be here, and without your friend’s gifts we, you me, my friends and yours, will die.”

Garret was looking the young man in the eyes; eyes that still had hope even if it believed it remote. The boy sighed and returned Garret’s stare as he hesitantly opened his mouth, painfully searching for the words to betray his own sister. He was spared the humiliation as a low moan filled the room. It sounded inside their heads and a million miles away at the same time. It could have come from a child or a mad animal but either way, it sought to disorient it’s audience, displacing itself like a ventriloquist’s stage trick. Joe tilted his head and brought a small vial of yellow brown liquid out from inside of his overcoat. He raced to a nearby window, it’s stained glass long broken and replaced with the ugly black rot of old wood. He winced as he shifted his weight to stand on the tips of his toes bringing the small glass to catch the moonlight. “ Five minutes, brother. They’re making good time tonight!”

Garret looked down at his watch, shook his head and turned toward the now empty pew. “That went well. “ He could see the outline of the boy racing down the hall, back towards the safety of the basement retreat. The teen was so thin that his clothes hung off of him as though they weighed more than he did. Chris thought he resembled a marionette, almost defying gravity as if the air itself supported his frame. One thing was for sure though, he was quicker than the three had given him credit for and they were almost out of time.

The vial had begun to pulsate an unearthly green when the moonlight had struck it but the glow now subsided as Joe gave it toss, caught it, and swung it into his inner pocket in one deft movement. He threw his thumb over his shoulder, gesturing to the hallway and said, “I’ll go get him, he’s just scared.

Garret shook his head disapprovingly and grabbed the twin pistols from his belt. “No time. We make our stand now.” He was worried, but he had lived worried ever since the incident. It was one thing to know that death is the wild card in the race, it was another to hear the pounding of his cleats against the track every waking moment of your life. Garret chased off his fear and uncertainty with routine as he checked the clips of the 9 mms. Death was moving to the inside and gaining on him. He looked up at Joe who was doing his best with one arm and whistled between his teeth to get his attention. “ I don’t suppose our neighbors downstairs had any brownbottle on them, did they.”

Joe hung his head, he knew what was next. “If I asked, I can’t remember. After the boobytrapped door and the smell that came with it, I sorta lost focus...” He was remaining calm, but the thought of what lay ahead twisted his stomach and churned his nerves.

“That’s too bad.” Joe was as tough as any 22 year old could be, but everyone had their limits, and endorphins could only get you so far. He stepped toward the younger man, still checking the clips, his head down, but steady. Joe took a deep breath and turned towards the window. Somehow he knew if he saw the man do what he had to do, he would learn to hate him. Pain was often a catalyst for hate in Joe’s world and he didn’t want to hate this man. Joe managed a false grin and a half-chuckle, “Guess we best get it done then, eh?”

Garret put his pistols away and put a hand on Joe’s shoulder. “I guess we best.”

A voice blasted from the back of the room and both men turned as the boy named Kevin entered, a young girl with a cream colored nightgown to his left, an older boy in his late teens to his right, and a man presumably in his sixties trailing a few paces behind the group. “Jesus Christ!!! Is that a bone coming outta his arm?”

Garret glared out the boy and nodded, “Yes.”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nine Tenths: A Horror Novel - 2nd Installment

Garrret laid a small satchel at his feet and replaced a blade to his belt along with the small silver tin that held the coiled cord, it’s hook gleaming sickly with a putrescent yellow liquid. He took a small, embroidered handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the hook clean, then secured it into place on his belt with a small leather snap. He glanced at his watch and turned his eyes toward the younger man to his right who was frantically searching the room, muttering to himself. Garret stiffened and walked toward the man, “how ya doin, Joe?”

“Just trying to get myself together, friend,” the thick Scottish brogue nearly breaking as he winced in pain.

“Alright. Chris, how about you?”

“I’m sorry, I…,” the boy muttered. He was keeping his voice low although it wouldn’t have mattered much in the present situation.

Garrett, held up a hand to silence him as he looked through the knapsack, laying clips and bullets into piles before him. Other instruments were placed neatly to the side, most of which appeared antiquated and many homemade. Shaking his head, he lifted the torn flap of fabric below his knee and grabbed a bottle of water from within the knapsack. The water splashed against the wound and rivulets of blood raced down his calf. Splinters still jutted from his leg and he pulled as many out as quickly as he could before padding the larger cuts with antiseptic also culled from the knapsack. He folded his legs and slowed his breathing. It was a routine the others had seen before, yet each held their breath. Garret’s eyelids fluttered and his left hand jerked spasmodically against his leg. “Chris,” he whispered while simultaneously opening his eyes and flexing his hand, “ eight to ten, in a makeshift basement…closet…green, maybe blue door. They have a Watcher with them. They’re cloaked…unarmed, but there’s something else… Joe, help Chris if he needs it and ask them for some rags and whiskey, if they have it. We’ll need to reset your arm.”

Joe shuddered and made a commitment to press about the whiskey. “C’mon, Chris. I’ll be right behind you.”

“Joe,” Garret called after them, “ We have twenty minutes. No time for an impromptu recruitment.”

Joe nodded as Chris made his way down the hallway turned right at the end. Ten paces down was a blue door with a sign that read “utility closet”. It was unexceptional and had probably been chosen exactly for that reason. He tried the knob only to find it was locked from the inside. The boy lifted a gloved hand and reached inside an inner coat pocket. He brought out two long pins, both worn with various bends and gouges dotting their length. Blowing on the key hole and jerking back when a plume of dust rushed toward him, he brought the pins up and slipped one inside the lock. This was a skill he acquired along his trek with the men. It proved to be as valuable now as the first time and he felt proud of his contribution. That pride turned the corners of his mouth upward into a sly smile as the first tumbler clicked. Another two turns and the knob gave up.

Another click sounded, almost inaudibly, and it was Joe’s face that flashed with recognition, but he did not smile. He shot out with his good arm and grabbed a handful of jacket spinning himself and the boy around, shielding him and forcing them both against the opposite wall. A gust of air raced down the back of his neck and a hard metal clang echoed through the hall. Instinctively, he twisted his other arm around and let out a cry as it popped from the movement. Falling to his knees, pain racked his body and he vomited as the boy looked on in disbelief.

A bed frame with box springs had been turned into an instrument of torture worthy of the Inquisition. Blades, crudely welded to the frame, juxtaposed in a million angles, now dug into the floor inches from where they had once stood. A clump of hair clung to a long jagged spike letting the pair know of its prior successes. Joe wiped his mouth with his sleeve and pulled the boy behind him pushing a panel on the rear of the closet. It opened, and as it did, the smell of stale sweat and rotten food rose to meet them.

Garrett kneeled before the pulpit. It had been spray painted and it looked as though someone had tried to take an ax to it. He ran his fingers along the deep gashes in the wood. Each grain that wound its way through the texture of the stained oak sent a memory up through the tips of his fingers, flinging his mind back to the house on Hoover Avenue with the purple door; the purple door, the gun, and all the blood. Blood. He was bleeding. The splintered wood had lodged itself in his hand and the blood was pooling at the base of the pulpit making it look more like a pagan alter than a testament to the Christian God. Garrett wheeled around to the sound of footsteps as a drop of blood spilled from is index finger and splashed on the toe of his boot.

Three figures stumbled into the cathedral hall and Garrett’s eyes fell on the new addition. A young boy stood in the middle tapping his foot anxiously and scanning the room with such nervous energy that he looked as if he might explode where he stood. His eyes bulged from his sockets and the other men wandered how long it had been since the gaunt face had seen a decent meal. His fingers twitched and he wiped his nose and coughed into his hand. Garrret motioned towards Joe, who was standing behind the Youngman, and he tapped Chris on the arm and pointed to an overturned pew a few feet way. The boy, if the walking skeleton actually resembled that anymore, felt the upturned pew touch the back of his legs and Garret took a step towards him slowly, considerate of the boy’s distrustful looks. “I’m asking you to sit, but it won’t be for long.” At this, Garrett withdrew one of the Glock’s from his belt and handed it to the youth. “This evens up the odds a little, don’t you think?”

Joe, poised to draw his own gun if necessary, waited for the boy’s reaction, and fell at ease as he picked up the piece, but held it in both hands, never bringing his fingers close to the trigger. The boy looked up, his demeanor had changed slightly, but the look of distrust was still there, and neither the men, nor Chris could blame him. “We don’t have anything to take.” There was no inflection, just a tired resignation.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nine Tenths: A Horror Novel

So my intention for the better part of two years now has been to finish the horror novel I have been writing. I am not a writer by education or talent, but I love the horror genre and I do feel as though I have a story that I want to tell. Those elements have proven to be enough to get me to occasionally sit down and push out a few paragraphs when the mood takes me. Aside then from our regular blogs on the paranormal, movies, or whatever strikes our fancy I will be uploading a few pages here and there from my unfinished novel I have titled Nine Tenths. Hopefully this will incite me to finish what I started and maybe I can get enough feedback to help me in the process. Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy my freshman effort.


Nine Tenths

Chapter 1

The farm had yielded a comfortable return less than just 3 years ago, but now the brittle husks rasped in the night like ghosts. It was ravaged, dead, and the sickly brown corpses that inhabited the field barely swayed mourning the golden kernels of corn that had once shone over the 5 acre plot. Four silhouettes were making their way through the field, more quietly than could be expected for their speed; only their labored breathing marked their haste, and even that was trained and executed within reason.

“Fuck.” The curse, an intrusion in the silence, was spat out as a stick, pointed enough at one end just to be dangerous dug itself into the lead silhouettes’ calf. The man, more of a robot in his calculated movements, shifted his weight and brought his left arm down to his side in one movement, grabbing the lance and yanking it out. A crimson arc, lit by the crescent of the moon sprayed into the air as the splinter was flung from the wound. Another man fell as the first regained his momentum. The point man, tossing the blood glazed broken stick turned to witness a pair of leathery wings shoot into the sky, the downed man in tow, half held, half impaled by the creature, now aloft against the stars, racing towards his death.

The hole in his calf almost now a memory, new threats had caste their shadows against the glow of the horizon and the man known as Garrett swung his arms backward like sickles slicing through the air. The sheen of steal danced along the barrels as bullets popped from the twin chrome Glock 9’s. The bullets tore through the wings like paper and man and devil flipped through the air, an absurd parody of aerial ballet. A third man, positioned between the ragtag troop’s leader and the spot where his best friend had been seconds before, wheeled around and focused his eyes on the black night over his head. A shadow displaced the stars and the man reached out to catch the body, only to be thrust backward by a loud pop and a searing pain racing up from his elbow. The body of his friend lay at his feet, one foot nestled against his left cheek in a gruesome knot.

“Frankie’s dead. Get on your feet.” The voice was not callous or uncaring, but the urgency could be mistaken for indifference. Garret grabbed the man under his left arm and started to drag him forward, trying desperately to break into a run, even with the dead weight pushing gravity mercilessly against him. The younger man, his face pale with shock, was also struggling to get to his feet. His right arm dangled lifelessly at his side. Garret, the older of the two by over twenty years, brought the man to his feet and almost simultaneously brandished a serrated blade from his belt. Without looking he delivered a short chop to the air above his head. A foot to his right a taloned finger over six inches long fell against the browned grass of the knoll overlooking the edge of the field. A screech fell against the men so shrill their hearing stuttered in their own heads like a radio station struggling to retain reception. In front of them the small slender figure that had been pacing the group raced ahead.

“My arm…I can’t feel it” the younger man mused, the shock draining the inflection from his voice.

“That’s because you almost broke it off.” Garret could only half concentrate on the query of the man behind him. A small structure, a square with an arch pointed to the heavens, lay in the distance beyond the knoll. There were no lights accompanying it, but he could tell there were bodies there, huddled somewhere within its interior. That was secondary, however.

Primary was the form crisscrossing the sky, causing the moonlight to strobe at their feet as it circled the stray member of their party that had pulled ahead of them. Garret swung the Glocks into their holsters with the ease and grace of a seasoned magician and reached toward the small of his back bringing a small lariat with a hooked head to arms length. He swung the hook and let the slack of the cord lengthen. Flicking his wrist, Garret let loose the hook, aiming above the creature’s prey.

The shadow swooped towards the smaller silhouette, slowing slightly as it dipped with a confident zeal, arrogantly displaying its triumph. As it neared the ten year old boy, the corded hook penetrated its back, square between its wings, burying itself in the sinewy flesh. Garret, feeling a tug as the cord threatened to pull loose, jerked backwards quickly. A wet snap sounded above the boy’s head and an object whirred behind and away from him. Still cradling his arm, Joe Barnes took Garret’s lead and ducked as the glistening spine, tugged free of its host, sailed over their heads.

The boy turned and half jogged backwards waiting for the others to catch up. He knew better than to distance himself from the group, and he was much older than his ten years, old enough to know which words of advice were meant to keep him alive. The church had looked closer and with Joe falling behind, he had put more space between he and the group than he had intended. He scanned the sky, waiting for another assault, but none came. He quickly closed the gap to the edge of the church’s property and started to fumble with the gate when a strong hand gripped his shoulder, making him cover his own mouth for fear of screaming.

“We need to hurry. Here.” As he said this, Garret grabbed the boy under his arms, scooping him up and breaking into a dead sprint towards the church that lay ahead. At ten, the boy was too thin for his age and Garrett could barely feel the weight of the child in his arm. He had carried bulkier weapons with ease and the broadsword sheathed to his back was at least 8 pounds heavier than the boy. The blade had another burden all its own, however.

“No need to knock,” he grunted as he placed a kick below the brass handle of the door splintering the frame. The door swung open a few feet before hitting a tower of chairs that had no doubt served as a makeshift barrier. An ineffective one, however. The interior of the church showed a space that betrayed its humble exterior. Pews lined a long central room and its breadth was wide, almost commanding awe, were it not for the humility within its modest design. It had seen trauma though and several pews lay overturned ripped free from the floor, some still with pieces of hardwood clinging to the bolts that once held them fast in their place. The pulpit had been defaced and the stench of urine made the very air seem heavy and hot.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is the paranormal a victim of our own “quantum belief”?

The paranormal is a topic that has long persisted not only because of the overwhelming amount of first hand accounts of the bizarre, but because of a leap of faith on the part of those willing to believe. The paranormal, in that regard, is a two way street. So where are we in regards to putting our belief aside and focusing on the science. Likewise where are we in regards to letting ourselves use our subjectivity and passion to fuel our research? More and more I see a great divide in the paranormal community between those willing to believe and those looking for a reason to believe. One question however lingers with me: Does our search for answers and our reliance on specific research techniques actually affect the phenomena in such a way that the evidence is only there because of our belief in the methods we use to acquire it? In other words, do EMF detectors register spikes because we believe they should? If that is the case, we might be looking at a greater problem in environment vs. activity.

The EMF meter or “detector” has become a staple in the ghost hunter’s arsenal. Fluctuations in the electromagnetic field can be both artificial and natural, and can be attributed to such common items as simple household appliances and power sources. Now the average ghost hunter will measure the field around them and, if no artificial source or other source is apparent, assume that a spike on their meter indicates the presence of a spirit. I believe the bulk of the ghost hunting or paranormal investigation community is comprised of intelligent, thoughtful individuals, but I also believe that the origin of the EMF meters role in investigation has been slightly skewed, however.

Let’s take a look at the research of Dr. Michael Persinger. On the surface, Persinger’s findings help to validate the use of EMF meters to detect paranormal activity. Notice however, that I used the phrase “paranormal activity” and not “ghost research.” Persinger’s conclusions state that fluctuations in the electromagnetic field affect the human brain in such a way that it produces sensations that duplicate what is commonly attributed to hauntings or spirit activity. If we are using the work of Persinger and others to reinforce the importance of EMF equipment in the field, then we need to look at the implications as well.

The subatomic universe is constantly changing not only the way that science looks at matter, but also the way that science looks at faith. The ability for perception to actually influence matter, as well as belief, is not a new concept, but the methods that are being observed in the lab are. We can only speculate that the world around us then, is more pliable than we once thought. What about the unseen world around us? I might have to disagree with Persinger on this: his thoughts on EMF are to produce the “appearance” of paranormal, but what if they allow it to happen? What if an EMF spike doesn’t indicate the presence of a spirit, but actually indicates an area where a spirit CAN appear? If this is the case then where does the quantum belief system come in?

Just turn on your tv to any of the myriad of paranormal programs dotting the cable tv landscape and you’ll see any number of ghost hunters talk about “energy”. They’ll even say that spirits “use” energy to manifest. This might be partially true. Spirits, entities or even creatures of a cryptozoological category might indeed need us, but it might not be our “energy”. It might be our faith. If belief influences our reality in ways that we are only beginning to understand, how might it affect what some have deemed the multiverse? Is the increasing use of equipment like the EMF meters actually strengthening our belief that the instrument detects activity and in turn actually augments the phenomena by increasing its very potency? It certainly hasn’t been the first time.

Just recently a National Geographic team used infrasound and suggestion to produce similar results in a control group to simulate the effects reported in a “haunted” abandoned prison. What Nat Geo failed to investigate was the effect of environment, suggestion and infrasound on faith and its impact on matter on the quantum level. We might always be left with a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” scenario, but we are dealing with science and science that is constantly learning about the effect of belief on the physical world. Let’s examine the chicken and the egg on how it pertains to our world and we might better understand how both belief and the pre-existence of the phenomena are both necessary in this hypothesis.

Does our belief in the world then create the world? I think that would not only be a naive assumption but one that would have to rewrite the very definition of reality and matter: a discussion that might rely more on philosophy and theosophy than the paranormal and a somewhat revised scientific method. I think we need to rephrase our initial attempts to explain the quantum belief system and more accurately say that the perception and preformed opinion of the observer augments, intensifies, and even changes the experiment. This allows the existence of the phenomena independent of the human observer (sorry, Shrodinger), but also clearly defines the observer’s role in the activity.

Do EMF detectors work then? The answer might actually lie in the rephrasing of the question: Do you believe they work?


Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Utopian Society: Living a Dream or Beginning a Nightmare?

Note: Everyone knows that I'm a huge nerd when it comes to video games, so this blog is inspired by the upcoming release of Bioshock 2 (which I have pre-ordered).

The great thing about video games is that you get to live out these different scenarios that you can be almost certain that you will never encounter in real life. Some games feel like just games, but the well done ones can really draw you in and make you feel like the location is a real living breathing location. The location I am referencing in this one is an underwater city called Rapture and the idea of really living in a similar place. Those of you familiar with the game Bioshock are probably thinking "Mark, plasmids aren't real and you can't really remove the life force from creepy little girls and use it as your own". I'm throwing those ideas out for this and focusing more on the idea of the city and if it would work.

The idea of the city sounds like a great one (not to mention that I'm a huge sucker for the late 50's art deco style), people from all walks of life move into a city that is removed from the general laws of mankind and given room and board and are able to work on their projects without interruption. Each person carries their own weight. Doctors and scientists do not have to worry about laws regarding such things as stem cell research, cloning, and the moral questions that accompany such studies. Artists are able to work on whatever art they choose without worry of censor.

When you first enter the town you are greeted by a large bust of the founder and a banner that reads, "No Gods or Kings, Only Man". In this town there are no religious standards, there are no censors, and there are no limits.

So, in reality, could this work? I believe that if you had everyone of the same mindset that this is a community and they can add to it and make things better and everyone is truly equal, it may. Maybe I'm being hopeful, or maybe I just want to move to an underwater city where the liquor flows freely (and yes, Rapture has a lot of booze there), but I do think that if we were able to all get along and nobody was acting like a jerk, we would be able to make it thrive... but people are people, that's the only problem. It's all fine and good until you throw emotions in. People get jealous, people get egos, people mistreat other people, and I would give it about 5 years tops before everything begins to fall apart.

When that happens, you start looking at it as a dystopian society where either everything has fallen apart and everyone is at war with everyone else, or the ruling figures have given into their emotions of greed and become addicted to the feeling of power and tyranny and it becomes a war of the people vs. the ruling power.

With all of that being said, I can't wait to go back to visit Rapture again. Would you kindly join me?


Monday, January 11, 2010

Headlines from the Future: Massive Recall on American W.I.F.E. Units

In a move that has not surprised the increasing number of dissatisfied customers of the American branch of the popular W.I.F.E. domestic partner line, the STN company, also responsible for the popular HO disposable models that have received public flak since their introduction in Thailand last year, has issued a massive recall on all American W.I.F.E. units with serial numbers 1960 and up.

A line that many thought was, like its Asian and European counterparts, self-maintaining has turned out to be so troubling that there is talk of the units being sold with a high maintenance clause worked into the warranty and prenuptial agreement upon purchase. Steve Walden of New Brunswick, New Jersey says that the units are not just high maintenance, but are essentially defective right after you slip on the activation ring:

“ How can the Vagina, a major selling point for the unit, stop working all together after activation? I feel like I’ve been sold a bill of goods. It worked before I brought the unit home, but its as if they forgot to install a Vagina at all as soon as you lug the thing over the threshold. At first it was just the daytime setting, then it wouldn’t work if the lights were turned on. Now the nocturnal setting is defective and everytime I attempt to use the feature I get the default “busy” message. How can the unit be busy? The American units aren’t even programmed to cook or clean?!?!? ”

Steve isn’t the only customer who wishes they would have paid the extra tariffs to import the international model, but there are those who specifically ordered the unit from abroad who feel they are also victims of STN’s sinister bait and switch policies. Ivan Vocjeck, a business developer living in the former Soviet Republic told one of our foreign correspondents, “I was told the unit would function no differently than the Russian models. Here it is a matter of social status to display the American units to your friends. It means something. However, I soon found that many of the stock options on the less expensive Czech units aren’t even available on my import. The manual for the Vagina feature is over 1200 pages and I hear that they always ship the wrong language manual making it almost impossible to get the damned thing to work.”

Lewis Sifer, CEO of STN feels as though it is a matter of customer misunderstanding, not dissatisfaction. “When we first started marketing this product we were very upfront that this model was meant to function differently from its sister units sold abroad. You want to blame someone? Take a look at the legal hoops the American court system makes you jump through just to activate them… and forget about deactivation. This was a risk, but if there is a lesson to be learned it is this: the public demanded a unit that was exciting and unpredictable. Everyone was complaining about the complacency settings on the Asian models, so we gave them what they asked for.”

So what frustrations can one expect “out of the box”? The packaging, as always with STN’s products, is slick and inviting, but there is that sneaking suspicion that this is just window dressing (we quickly learned). No sooner had we laid the unit on its back when we found that we were actually given the wrong serial number. The hands, where the serial is usually placed said 1965, but the unit itself was programmed with 1974. So we knew from the beginning that there was an imminent trade-up in the unit’s future as older serials have been problematic in too much memory baggage in the main hard drive often corrupting it’s primary directives, leaving the unit in sleep mode for much of the day as it’s ocular units also begin to leak. The older serial also indicates that the model might be refurbished. It took us several calls to the main office, but sure enough, our “brand new” model was actually pre-owned. Much to our frustrations our unit’s Vagina feature was also defective. Not only was it impossible to get it to “sync” with the Vagina of the Vietnamese model, but the attempt left the Vagina totally inoperable, basically “bricking” the unit. Just how much was it going to cost to fix, even after purchasing the pre-nup warranty? Approximately HALF of not just the original cost, but the appreciation value!!!

Looks like just another “be careful what you wish for” deal from STN!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Expectations

What is it about a new year that opens up a new hope of expectations and promises that we try to make for ourselves that we never end up keeping? Basically, it's earths odometer flipping another number (on a similar note, I was very excited the other day when my van flipped to 55,555.55, and made a wish that my van would loose weight over the next mile). So in the spirit of things, what do you want to happen in the world of things we cover in the next year? Here's my top ten lists of hopes for the new year.

10. A Bigfoot Or Bigfoot-Like Creature Is Discovered
How great will it be to throw it in the face of all the skeptics that thought everyone was crazy "oh, that thing doesn't really exist, you people are all loonies" Not only do I want them found but I want them to be given equal rights. I want bigfoot to hold a job, get his drivers license, and vote.

9. I Want To Be Abducted By Aliens
This way I will know that once the new world order hits, I have a chance to move somewhere else

8. A Decline In The Word "Paranormal" Being Viewed As Only Ghost Hunters
This annoys the shit out of me and would like people to realize that there is more to it than just that.

7. UFO Hunters To Get Renewed

Bill Birnes is an awesome guy and this is a show that we need more so than yet another ghost hunting program

6. A Good Non-Slanted Abduction Documentary On A Non Cable Network
Every time they have something along the lines of these, it's always digging at the people that have been abducted, and poking fun at them. Can we get one that is not agenda driven? I doubt it'll happen

5. A Bailout For The People, Not The Corporations.
How fast would our economy turn around if they gave every American $1,000,000? For one, it would cost less than what they have given to the banks and the awful companies (AIG ANYONE?) that use the money to take expensive vacations. People would pay off their debt, and start buying more things, keeping the stores in business, the manufacturers in business, and the banks.

4. The Global Warming Scam To Be Fully Exposed
We already know it's a scam, but the national news that has been bought by the government has been trying really hard to keep it hush hush. I want the entire world to know exactly how big of a scammer and con-artist Al Gore really is.

3. Full Disclosure

Why won't they just tell us what we already know? What are they hiding? I'm sure we won't get it, which is why we need the number 1 on this list even more.

2. Even More Great Guests On Our Show
We have been very lucky to get the great guests that we have on here just doing this thing by ourselves, no corporate help, no agents, no media contacts. All us, it's been a lot of work, but the joy we get doing the show, and the great friends we've made during the past couple of years more than makes up for it.

1. Full Revolutionary War
Barry Obama was right about one thing; We need a change. What we don't need is the change he's offering, which is pocket change. Our government has let us down in a huge way. We need to rise up to overthrow them and give America back to the Americans. It's not about voting out those that are in office anymore because we've been shown time and time again that it doesn't work. The new people just continue the last guys bad job. We need an entirely new system. WW2 is what got us out of the last depression, we're already in what will probably be dubbed WW3 down the road and it sure as hell isn't helping us. Our joke of a government had completely and totally let the American people down. Epic Fail