Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flashlights versus Lightbulbs?


So, I just got off the phone with my genius father, and he clarified something as well as proposed an experiment.

The thing he clarified that I completely forgot about was the ground. A flashlight is a circuit, but there are two connections, not just one. One side is the positive charge, the other side of the circuit is the ground (where the batteries touch the back of the flashlight). One of these sides is always connected, another is always broken until you hit the switch, which completes the circuit and turns on the flashlight. He said the difference between a flashlight and a lightbulb just sitting there is that the lightbulb isn't grounded. For a spirit to light a lone lightbulb, it would have to create both the positive charge AND the ground. If a spirit were both providing charge and grounded at the same time, it would be one giant short circuit...probably wouldn't be a fun existence. So he predicts that a spirit could not light a lone lightbulb just sitting on a table. Either the positive charge OR the ground has to be given.

So which does a spirit do? Give the positive charge or complete the ground? Well, taking apart the flashlight that we used when we got spirit communication through it at Bardstown, we found that, when the flashlight is off, it is not grounded. Screwing down the cap presses the batteries against the back of the flashlight, which creates the ground, completes the circuit, and turns the flashlight on. So assuming the spirit there was turning the flashlight on by completing the circuit itself (because it wasn't turning the twist cap), it was most likely acting as a conduit for the electricity to flow, completing the circuit where the ground was missing. In this case, the spirit wouldn't have to actually give up any of its own energy, it would just have to touch both sides of the circuit at the break so that the electrons could flow through it. Basically it would mean that spirits are conductors...who knew?

That doesn't mean a spirit couldn't also give the positive charge on a circuit that was grounded. If they are made of pure energy, they should, in theory, be able to...they just can't do both at the same time.

SO we have come up with an easy way to experiment with this.

For example, if you were to take an old school lightbulb (not fluorescent or LED), wrap a wire around the metal, threaded base, or solder a wire to the base, and wrap the other end of the wire around a water pipe (water pipes are always grounded to protect against electrocution), or even just a 12 inch nail stuck in the ground, the light bulb would then be grounded. Then, the little metal piece in the center of the base is where the positive charge comes in that will actually light the bulb. Theoretically, if a spirit could light a flashlight by completing the circuit on the positive charge end, a spirit should be able to touch the light bulb at this point and light it as well. It would have to put energy into the bulb to light it.

We could also do this in reverse. Connect a light bulb to a power source via the positive end, but leave the negative side (the ground) unconnected. If the wire is sitting next to the power source, the spirit should be able to touch the wire and the negative connection on the power source, and complete the circuit. Again, the light-bulb would light. There would be a power source there, but one that is not grounded so would not be capable of lighting the lightbulb by itself. In this case, the spirit would not have to give any energy of its own, it would just have to act as a conductor for the electricity to flow through it.

So basically we'll be creating a flashlight, only with the insides totally visible. Both ways, the bulb cannot possibly be lit without some unexplained energy completing the circuit, and now no one can claim the "flashlight" has been tampered with because all of the circuitry would be perfectly visible. Also, no one can claim the "flashlight" is flickering because it is halfway between on and off. There would be no on and off switch on this. The ONLY way it could light would be to physically attach the unattached wire.

WE ARE SO DOING THIS EXPERIMENT!!!!  Please, anyone else, I invite you to try it too! Some suggestions:

- Set it up both ways. We plan to set up two bulbs with two circuits, one without a ground and one without a power source, so hopefully the spirit can show us which is easier for them and give us a little more insight about a spirit's physical make-up

- Get it on video. How angry with yourself will you be if you get it to work and you're not recording?

- Record yourself setting it up, and EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!! Skeptics will be watching this and looking for any tiny mistake or cheat.

- Go to a hardware store and buy a flashlight light-bulb to use for this. Not to say it can't work on any old school light-bulb, but the bulbs for flashlights need less power, so you might get better results without losing any of the credibility (it still can't come on with out a power source).

- In your video recording, before you start, show your surroundings and the sky and make sure it's clear that there are no storms in the area. An extremely high amount of static electricity in the air may screw up this experiment, or even light the bulb. But it would have to be really high.

- If you have multiple cameras, record from multiple angles so people can see there is no power source outside the camera's view.
Original Post:

If a spirit can turn on a flashlight by putting energy into it, would it be even easier for a spirit to light a lightbulb?

So the other day I got to talking with a couple members of the C&J Paranormal Facebook Group. (If you're a paranormal investigator, check it out). It started with an article attempting to debunk the Ghost-Hunters tv show's flashlight communication, because they (according to the article, I don't know if this is true), turn the twist cap on their flashlight to right between "on" and "off" before they attempt communication. Doing this can cause what is called a "heat cycle" which will cause electrons to jump the just slightly-not-closed circuit and make the flashlight flicker on and off.

Well, first of all, if they DO turn the flashlight halfway between on and off, I think that's cheating, because heat cycles DO occur. When we had a spirit turn our flashlight on and off in Bardstown, the twist cap was turned completely off, and it was very stiff to turn. The fact is that the twist cap NEVER turned, even when the flashlight came on, which led us to believe that the spirits don't actually turn the cap or push the button...they just literally get the electrons moving and PUT the light in the flashlight, a job usually reserved for the "turn-on" mechanism (twist cap or button).

But apparently a lot of people out there are under the impression that spirits turn the twist cap or push the button to turn the flashlight on and off...and maybe they do that as well sometimes. But I feel like, for something of very little energy (see my post on how I think spirits exist), it would be much easier to get a few electrons moving than it would be to turn a cap...so why would a spirit ever bother with the mechanism that turns the flashlight on when they can literally just turn it on themselves?

The other thing we talked about is LED versus old school light bulbs. Supposedly LED is what you want because it is harder for the insides of the flashlight to be tampered with and you don't have the kind of flickering, dim possibility in between on and off. LED lights are solid state and either on or off. (At least as far as I know...if I'm wrong in that, please enlighten me)  But if the spirits are putting the energy in themselves...moving the electrons instead of the twist cap, I feel like that would be more difficult for them. If they only had so much energy, and it isn't enough to turn the LED light on, you get nothing.

Which made me wonder...has anyone ever tried, instead of a flashlight, just taking an old school lightbulb? If the spirit can put the energy directly into the flashlight, why not just give them a lightbulb to put the energy in? That way, there's no place where there could be tampering, no heat cycle possible, and even a small amount of energy, that might not be enough to turn on an LED lightbulb, can make a faint glow that will be perfectly clear in a dark room.

I've never tried this, but does anyone know of a reason that a spirit who can turn on a flashlight (not by moving the twist cap or button, but just by lighting it), COULDN'T light a regular lightbulb?  We've only had the flashlight communication occur once, but the spirit was clearly not manipulating the twist cap, so it had to be putting the energy into the flashlight, and I can't help but think a lightbulb would be even easier than a flashlight because ANY movement of electrons will show up. The more movement, the brighter the light.

Has anyone tried this, or know of anyone who has tried this? Does anyone have an reason this wouldn't work?? I'm really curious now. Our next investigation, I think I'm going to take an old-school, filament lightbulb (not the florescent or LED ones) and see if it works.  Between now and then, if anyone else does an investigation and tries it, would you please let us know how it goes?


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Spirit Photography - Orbs

The more I explore the various paranormal groups and teams that have a presence online, the more I've felt compelled to write some posts about spirit photography, which, even in the field of paranormal investigation, is a controversial subject because so many environmental factors can cause reflections which appear to us to be unexplained.

The first thing I want to address: ORBS. Because they drive me nuts.

If someone gives me a picture like the one below and says, "Look at all these orbs! This graveyard was obviously full of spirits!" I will be highly tempted to smack them.

Okay, I wouldn't resort to violence, but it would seriously frustrate me. Now, I don't have the right to say a spirit CAN'T take form of an orb in a photo...who am I to say what forms energy can take? I CAN say with absolute certainty that when light reflects off of a particle floating in the air, a bug, or anything with a reflective surface, it often creates an orb. This picture is taken outside, in the summer where bugs and pollen are prevalent, and it was taken with a flash. Any orb, no matter how pretty you think it is, has to be thrown out in that scenario. There is absolutely no way to prove it isn't a reflection. You might say, "but that bottom right one is brighter than the others and seems to cover up some of the grave its over, and it's right above a grave! That's too many coincidences!" No. No it's not. How many bugs or particles do you think are sitting on an outside grave at any given time? A lot. There is absolutely NO WAY you can argue it's not a grass spore, or a bug. Throw it out.

"Okay, so what about this one?" You say. "The long thing is obviously a reflection off the mirror, but the orb is inside, and is the only one around. Surely there's not one little pollen particle floating around."

Do you think that every particle floating around a room will reflect any time your flash goes off? If they did, your picture would be white. No, a single orb doesn't mean there is only a single particle, it just means that of all the spots in the room, that exact spot is the one that has an angle relative to the camera where the light is reflected directly back, and not at an angle. Also, notice the vent in the ceiling? Do you think maybe when the air conditioning comes on, it's going to spit out dust? Heck yea. No. DO NOT consider this orb evidence. Even if it happens to be a spirit, and it breaks your heart to not share that brave spirit's cooperation with others...you will never be able to argue against the idea that it is a reflection. Throw it out.

I will say this once. If you used a flash when taking the picture, or if there were any lights in the area, orbs just have to be thrown out as evidence. Even if you are certain that the orb is not a reflection, there is absolutely no way to prove that to others, and the point of this business is to find irrefutable proof. Orbs just can't be that. Like Lori often says, "The best an orb can ever be is a maybe." 

That all said, there is ONE scenario where I will consider an orb as evidence, and ONLY ONE. That is when you take a picture or a video in an area where there are absolutely NO LIGHTS, and your camera uses absolutely no light. No flash, nothing. Not even IR. Infrared waves can reflect as easily as visible light waves, and to a camera that detects IR, it looks exactly the same. But if there is no light, then how can light be reflecting off something?

Take this video as an example:

This video was taken in pitch black. (I lightened it some afterwards with Movie Edit Pro MX). The camera had no light on it. The one time you can't get a reflection is when there is no light to reflect, so in these circumstances, anything seen that has bright light must be producing the light itself. (And as we know, some bugs do, like fireflies, so even in this scenario we have to be careful). In the video you see three orbs. The first two, even though it is very doubtful they could be reflections, I don't get too excited about. They have no defining features, no strange movement, and probably still couldn't make a skeptic think twice. But look at the last "orb."

A reflection doesn't leave a trail unless it is moving at speeds impossible for a bug or piece of dust, and especially not when there is no light in the environment to cause a reflection.

The second reason we took this orb more seriously is because of the face that seems to appear in it. The thing about reflections, is that most of the time, they are symmetrical. Not always, but usually. This orb isn't perfectly round, but more the shape of a head. And of course, there are no lights. Remember, the only difference between an orb and apparition is the outline shape, and the details in the anomaly. This orb seems to be moving away from the "orb" category and moving toward the "apparition" category.

If the camera had a flash and we got this shape, even though it looks like a face, I would still assume that it's possible (though unlikely) for an oddly shaped bug to create this reflection. After all, people tend to see pictures in random assortments of lights (the same way we make shapes out of clouds). But given the fact that there were no lights to reflect, the orb leaves a trail, and takes the shape of a face...it made me stop and think. This I can consider evidence. But, if you present an orb as evidence under these circumstances, YOU MUST MAKE THE CIRCUMSTANCES CLEAR! 

Forgive me if this post seems preachy or pushy, but think about this. There is entire community of paranormal investigators out there trying to find evidence of the paranormal that scientists and skeptics cannot logically explain. Regardless of what you think personally, presenting evidence that can easily be explained without resorting to "someone faked it," (because let's face it, ANYTHING can be faked) hurts our overall goal. If a skeptic with some mild interest goes to do research and finds YOUR site first, where a field full of orbs is presented as evidence, you will give them a first impression that we will turn anything into something "paranormal." That we don't do our research. And for many of us, that's just not true. Don't diminish the value of those investigators that have great evidence, and don't feel bad if you DON'T get great evidence. Chances are you won't, at least not often. When you do, treasure those gems and use them as motivation to keep searching. But please don't jump to conclusions over inconclusive evidence...that's not searching for the truth, that's ignoring the truth.

That doesn't mean you can't include photos of orbs or things that you're not sure are paranormal. But please make it clear on your site that a) you do not KNOW what the anomaly is, whether paranormal or natural. b) if you do have any possible natural explanations, list them. c) open up to suggestions from other people. Experts on photography, your certain camera, light, or other subjects may have a logical explanation you don't know about.

Okay. I'm off my soapbox :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ever see something out of the corner of your eye, just for it to disappear?

So...I learned something interesting today.

Did you know that the corners of your eyes have more rods than the middle of your eyes?

Let me back up and explain. Our eyes have cells in them called Rods and Cones, named after their shape. Cones are better for color and day vision. Rods are better for night vision because they pick up light better than cones do. One rod can actually detect a single photon, though that never makes it to our conscious mind because the brain considers a single photon to be unimportant unless it is pitch black.

The interesting thing is that EVERYTHING we see is a reflection of light...so the rods being more sensitive to light actually makes them see better than the cones. And the majority of them are in the corners of our eyes.

What does that mean? Well, apparently our vision is actually better out of the corner of our eye than it is looking at something straight on. I first heard this on the Science channel today, and then did some follow up research to confirm it (because we all know how reliable tv is...). Back in the days of Madam Curie when scientists were discovering x-rays, gamma rays, and all the different forms of radiation, a French scientist was convinced he had found a type of radiation called an N-ray. He had these little metal rods that made a spark of energy between them, like a tiny bolt of lightning, to detect the radiation. When x-rays hit the spark, they cause it to brighten considerably. But after the experiment was over and he turned off the flow of x-rays, the scientist (Blondlot I think was his name) saw out of the corner of his eye that the spark was still brightening, but it couldn't be seen straight on...only out of the corner of the eye.

Now this was later found to not be true, his experiments were faulty. BUT, in the course of the show, they said that the corner of the eye actually does have better vision. To see something as clearly as possible, you should use your peripheral vision, because it is sharper than your regular vision.

So what's my point? Well...if the corner of our eye actually has BETTER vision, then why is it when someone sees something out of the corner of their eye, they usually just assume they imagined it? It is actually a fact that our vision is better out of the corner of our eye, so it makes sense that anything that just barely doesn't give off enough light to be seen looking straight on, CAN be seen by looking at it with your peripheral vision. Could this be an explanation as to why so many people who claim to see a "ghost" see it out of the corner of their eye?  If there is something giving off a little bit of light, but not enough to be picked up by the cones that make up our normal day vision, could it be that the corners of our eyes pick it up because they are all rods, not cones?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Can't Spirits Just Be Straight Forward?

Lisa here. I was talking about our relatively new ghost-hunting venture today with some skeptical friends, and one of them asked a question that I think bothers most people who consider the paranormal...I know it bothers me! If a spirit is capable of communicating, why can't they just say straight up full sentences and communicate normally!? Why is it when you ask for a name, you might get a grainy noise on a recorder that sounds like it could be a first name...why can't they just say "My name is Peter Parker and I'm the ghost of Spiderman"?

Well, ever since he asked, I've been thinking about it. Of course, no one can really know. This isn't a subject you can separate into control groups and test groups and run experiments. But here is the thought process that went through my mind:

All matter is energy...proven fact, originally by Einstein. All matter acts as both waves and particles, and not just light...even the atoms that make up your body. The double-slit experiment, which most effectively shows how observation by itself can change particles from a wave state to a particle state, has been done with all types of materials, atoms and molecules...it is the same across the board.

So your body is one giant mass of energy. The more energy something has, the more tangible it becomes, so everything that is physical has a high amount of energy (kinetic and potential) compared to things that are not physical. We've got muscles constantly moving, organs that work off electricity...we're just a giant mass of energy. And to us, something like speaking audibly takes so little energy compared to what we have that it is almost negligible (though I bet if you had to talk for 24 hours straight, you'd agree that it DOES take up energy! Just not much at a time.)

But, assuming a spirit did exist, what would that spirit be made of? Well, of course, it would also be energy. Everything in existence is energy. But it has no physical manifestation. Your spirit must be just a tiny, intangible wisp of your current energy level, containing your most basic personality, maybe you're memories. So small as to not be detectable.

(In 1901, Duncan MacDougall claimed to have succeeded in measuring the weight of a soul--21 grams--but his methods were deemed not scientific and further research on the matter has been unable to replicate his results, so until further notice, the soul, assuming it exists, must be so low-energy that it isn't measurable in a lab).

So for something that contains less energy than even the smallest physical thing, creating a physical manifestation, like a sound wave or photons to create an image, would be a herculean task. They would actually have to put ALL of their energy PLUS energy from around them into the manifestation, because all of their energy is clearly not enough to generate a physical existence. If it were, we could see them and interact with them physically.

(Quantum physics does indicate that, given an infinite amount of time, physical objects will spawn out of nowhere because the energy constantly fluctuating throughout the universe statistically CAN pile up in one spot enough to become physical...the chances are just SO extremely low that it is as impossible as any impossible thing can be).

Think about when you have had to do something that drained every ounce of energy you had. A tremendous physical exertion perhaps, or extreme pressure. It was exhausting, was it not? If someone were trying to communicate with you, and you had to go through that EVERY time you communicated back, wouldn't you try to minimize your interaction to only what is necessary, if you were even willing to interact at all?

Now, I can't say that this is TRUE, that spirits exist as this tiny amount of energy. In the end, all of experience is being translated by a brain we don't full understand, so no one can know for sure what is true. What I can say is that I see nothing inherently illogical about this explanation. That still doesn't mean it must be right...many things that are inherently logical don't occur just because the circumstances aren't correct. But, if it is inherently logical, then it is a POSSIBLE explanation, and the data that I have collected so far (far too small an amount to make a judgment, I know, but I'm revising my ideas as I collect more) seems to correlate with what I would predict assuming the above explanation is true. Manifestations are limited, short, and sometimes low-quality. In science, finding results that match predicted results of a hypothesis turns your hypothesis into a theory. So that's my theory.

I can't imagine why, if they were able, at least some spirits (assuming they retain their personality from their previous lifetime) would not be willing to communicate fully and normally. So that leaves two options: either there are no spirits, or they are unable. Since I have had experiences which make me think spirits (or intelligent energy of some sort) are likely, I am pursuing the second option, though no one can really assert either option is true or not true, and now I have my theory as to why the second option could be the case.

What do you think? Do you see any flaws in my theory? Anything to add to it? Let's start a discussion on this!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New EVP Evidence!

Hi all!

Lori recently had another experience seeing an apparition in her room, so we decided to break her rule about not investigating her home this once, to try to find out who she had seen.

We recorded the entire session. Toward the beginning, we asked a spirit if they could speak their name into the recorder. Through a pendulum, we received the answer "No," but we did catch two separate voices on the recorder. They seem to be talking to each other, not to us.

Here are the EVP files, first the totally unedited version, then a version that has been amplified and had the noise removed. Last is a video I made with the file showing captions that coincide with the voices.

Let us know what you think!

Unedited Version:

Edited Version:


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Evidence from The Ghost Hunter Shop, Lexington, KY

Lori and I completed the ghost-hunter certification course, taught by Patti Starr at her Ghost Hunter Shop in Lexington, KY this past weekend. It was fantastic, and we had a lot of fun. Definitely recommended.

After the second class, we did a short investigation of the ghost hunter shop itself with Patti Starr and the other students. At the very beginning of the investigation we got a great piece of footage, filmed by Patti with her iPhone.


To see it, click the above link or check out our Investigations tab and follow the links there. It shows two very bright orbs fly through the screen.  One is very quick and with no defining features, but the second one that comes down between our heads and across the screen leaves a contrail and has a clear face the last second or two it's in the screen.

They appear right after Patti asks the spirits to appear for us. There were no lights on in the room and no light on the camera, so they can't be reflections off dust or bugs.

Since there were no lights, obviously, the video was extremely dark, so I lightened it with MAGIX Movie Edit Pro MX. I also cut the first 20 seconds off because nothing happened in them.

Check it out and tell us what you think!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

First Ever Video Compilation of Evidence :)

Man...I've been all over the ghost-hunting stuff tonight.

I just finished a compilation video of our photo and EVP evidence from Bardstown. One could argue that I should have waited until we finished going through the DVR video files but...I'm impatient. If we find anything new on the DVR, I will add it into the video and replace this one with the updated version.

But check it out!

New Evidence!

Hey all!

So we've been slowly sifting through the video files from our DVR cameras from Bardstown. Nothing on that front yet, but we've still got a lot to go. (Hey, I work a job and am writing a trilogy...if only each day were a few hours longer!) HOWEVER, we've finished analyzing the recorder files and we DID find a few anomalies that we haven't been able to explain.

First  is a very quiet voice we picked up in the cemetery at Bardstown. I posted the file twice in the evidence page...first is the clip, totally unedited. You'll hear me ask for a spirit's name, then you'll hear what sounds like a fire cracker go off in the distance (it was close to fourth of july) and then you'll hear the voice.

Then we put the file up again. In this version, we've used Audacity audio editor to filter out the noise and then amplify the section with the voice so hopefully you can hear it more easily. We can't quite make out what it is saying...it's two syllables, and I can't tell if it's one two-syllable name, or two short names. The first syllable has an "ery" sound, like Terry or Harry, and the second syllable has a "gan" sound...to me it sounds like Harrigan, or Terrigan, Terry Dan, or something to that effect. What do you think it sounds like?

The next two files are from our EVP session in the Conference Room at the Talbott Inn. They don't have voices, but they have very loud distinct knocks. My sister and I have cross-referenced these files separately and together with our video file from the same session to ensure we weren't doing ANYTHING that could have made these knocks, even though from memory we were sure we weren't that careless. They are both in response to questions, and neither of us heard the knocks when we were actually doing the session. They only showed up on the recorder afterward.

So check out the files and leave us a comment letting us know what you think!

- Lisa

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First Investigations

WELL. Lori and I did our first two investigations this weekend (with our parents tagging along). Well, more like we did our first. Our second investigation ended before it even began :/

Let's start with the first investigation. We went to Bardstown on Saturday, 7/7/12, when I got off work. We went on Patti Starr's ghost walk which was mostly uneventful. Supposed manifestations did occur when we went into a conference room in the Talbott Inn with Patti, like the lights going on and off, and EMF meters going off, but none of it was our equipment. Our EMF meter never spiked, the EVPs she caught didn't show up on our recorder, and a door opened on its own a lot, but I wasn't near it to see myself how it was built and how likely it was to open on its own anyway.

HOWEVER, today, after going through my pictures, I found one from that part of the ghost walk that I didn't notice before, and I've included it in our photo evidence page. I'm still questioning it. It is a picture of a mirror that was up on the wall, near the ceiling. It was dark in the room. In the mirror you can see the reflection of the dimly lit chandelier, as well as a basket of flowers sitting on the shelf under the mirror. Next to the chandelier, in the corner of the room, is the reflection of a shadow that I can't find a source for. It can't be a person from the room, as it is near the ceiling. It isn't a dirty mirror because I have pictures of the same mirror from the same angle both before and after which show no shadow. I see a very clear face in the shadow, but it wasn't so clear to my sister, so I may be biased. If anyone has any suggestions of what the shadow could be, please leave a comment on the evidence page and let me know.

The rest of the ghost walk was uneventful until it ended at a graveyard behind the Jailer Inn. After Patti left, we were the first to wander into the graveyard. There were two above-ground concrete box things that marked two graves next to each other. Right above these graves, our EMF meter spiked to red (20+ milliGaussians) consistently. Because it was consistent I think there must have been something underground or around to cause an electromagnetic field, but I don't know what it could have been. However, when I snapped photos of my father walking up to the graves, we captured a couple different photos with solid, clear clouds of mists. There was absolutely no fog that night, and no smoke anywhere. Next to another grave, I got a streak of green through the air which has no light source that I could find. Patti had told us ahead of time that often around that specific grave people would get green or orange energy. The fact that it happens a lot would tend to make me think there must be something in the area to cause it, but I searched and found no source. It wouldn't make sense to be a lens defect when it occurs using many different cameras. Near this same grave, we caught a large dark shadow standing behind my mother. It was black around the outside edge and kind of turns to purple toward the center. There is a fairly clear face, and even what looks like a hand or arm around her shoulder. It is a head taller than her. All these photos have been included in our photo evidence.

I also noticed in some of these pictures, though the bottom half of the photo is clear, in the top half, all the lights tend to be smeared upward. I can't figure out how half the picture could be clear if the other half is blurred from motion, (and I can assure you I wasn't moving.) It looks like something I might expect if there were extreme heat waves rising into the air, like the distortion you get over the road on a hot day. Except it wasn't hot and we were on grass. I'm not sure why this happened in some pictures and not in others, even when the pictures were taken in quick succession with no movement or change in settings. Somehow, the air or something in the top half of the photos seemed to be moving upward. I would blame steam pipes or something if there had been any vents or sewage lids around, but of course there weren't any.

Anyway, on to the investigation of the actual Talbott Inn. We rented two rooms - The Daniel Boone Room and the Washington-Irving Suite.

First, we made a huge mistake. Before the ghost walk, we set up two DVR cameras on the chairs in the Daniel Boone room, because we'd been told that things set in the chair there tends to be knocked off while the guests are gone. The way these two chairs were arranged in the room, we had the cameras forming a V, which got each corner of the bed, but most of the bed was not in the field of view.

When we came back, we started our investigation in that room, and sat on the bed to do our EVP session. It didn't even cross our minds that we weren't in the field of view of the cameras.

For this session, my dad sat in a chair in the corner snapping pictures with a digital camera. My sister and I sat on the end of the bed, and my mom sat up against the head board of the bed. Between Lori and I we had an EMF meter, a digital voice recorder, and a flashlight that twists on and off.

At first we got nothing. No responses on the EVP, no flickers of the flashlight. A few EMF spikes, but nothing reliable. At this point, the glow of our flashlight could be easily seen by the DVR camera because it was shining on a wall in the camera's view. Then my dad starting getting a weird reflection in his photos, so we started searching for the cause. During this search, we turned off the flashlight and shifted it so it was facing in a direction it could not be seen by the cameras (we didn't intend that, but we had forgotten to change the DVR cameras). We figured out soon that the reflection was coming from an oval mirror, and we covered it up.

Then, out of no where, the flashlight turned on. It surprised us, and my sister picked it up and twisted it on and off. We thought maybe when we had turned it off, we hadn't twisted it far enough and left it kind of stuck in between, but it was all the way off. In fact, even when it went on, the twisting part still showed it being turned off. She had to twist it to the on position, then twist it back to the off position. So we set the flashlight back down on the bed. It was turned as far as it could be to the off position, and we bounced on the bed and rolled it around to ensure movement couldn't turn it on. Then we asked if a spirit had turned it on, could they please turn the flashlight on again. It came on for a couple seconds, and then went off.

At this point, my dad snapped a picture of us. I was laughing, but Lori had the funniest shocked expression ever. We said later that it didn't matter that we didn't get this on video...that expression was evidence enough, because there is no way it could be faked. However, she won't let me post it online anywhere, so I'll just add the closest approximation I can.

We then asked the spirit if it would mind answering questions by turning the flashlight on for yes and off for no. The flashlight came on again, but dimly, and kind of flickered between dim and bright, and then went off. Afterward it began answering with only very dim light, which was even stranger because it is impossible to get dim light by twisting that flashlight...it is either entirely on or entirely off. (We tried for about twenty minutes later on.)

When the light stopped going on, we asked if it was because the spirit was tired of talking and wanted us to leave. Before my sister even finished the word "leave," the flashlight went from off to very very brightly on. We took the hint, thanked the spirit, packed up and left.

Again...SUPER frustrated that this didn't get on the DVR cameras. We went back and looked. One camera kind of shows the glow of the flashlight going on and off in a corner, but that is hardly evidence. We didn't really get any photo evidence from that room except one very bright orb. Still, we are very hesitant to provide orbs as evidence since they can so easily be caused by bugs or dust.

After this we did an EVP session in the Washington-Irving bedroom with no results, and the same in the sitting room of the Washington-Irving. Last we did an EVP and EMF session in the same conference room we'd been in earlier with Patti Starr. We caught some knocking and a door knob jiggling on the voice recorder that we never heard when we were in the room, and we were able to get a few answers by having the spirit spike the EMF reader for yes. It was weak though, and only happened a few times.

We have not fully analyzed the voice recorder files yet, but during the EVP sessions, we periodically went back and replayed sections, and never heard any voices or other anomalies except the knocking in the conference room. If that changes when we analyze the files, I'll create a new post to let our readers know, and post the files to our evidence page.

We also have not watched the hours of DVR camera recordings yet. If we catch anything on them, I will add the video files to the evidence page and create a new post to inform our readers. For now, our evidence is all in photos and the story about the flashlight (which, granted, isn't really evidence. But I know I'm not lying, so that's enough for me.)

The second investigation was going to be overnight at an old 1800s era graveyard near the property of a friend's farm in the woods of Frenchburg, KY. Unfortunately, it was a fiasco from the start. The graveyard was bigger than we thought and we almost didn't have enough cable. In fretting over that, we ran the cable backwards and plugged the wrong ends into the cameras, leaving connections that wouldn't fit the DVR unit. We underestimated how long set up would take and ended up doing the last half in the dark. Then, in trying to fix the reversed cables, we came upon a bunch of extremely large copperhead snakes slithering around the graveyard. We had two dogs with us, not to mention if one of us got bit there was no nearby hospital.

So in the end, my sister and I took a pistol. One of us gathered cable and cameras while the other kept the pistol trained on the ground, watching for the copperheads. My parents took the other pistol and did the same. We locked the dogs in the car. We threw everything in the back of the jeep and left, sorting out all the equipment when we got home. The only thing we did there was take pictures, and none of them featured any anomalies.

So what did we learn?

- ALWAYS have someone check the DVR cameras right before we begin any session to ensure everything is still visible and no cameras have shifted or been put in the wrong spot.

- We have to decide which way we are going to run cables (from the DVR unit to the cameras, or from the cameras to the DVR unit), spool them accordingly, and know that we can't deviate from that decision.

- If doing an investigation outside, we need to scout ahead, measure for size and check out the nearby wildlife BEFOREHAND.

- Only do ONE type of session at a time. It's not very effective to say "please leave a message on our recorder OR spike the EMF OR appear to the camera" because if you're recording the thing with an IR camcorder, you don't know where to focus it to look for interaction. Then you end up moving back and forth recording the whole room, and never remaining in one spot long enough to allow for a manifestation. You also tend to miss smaller interactions. In the Conference room, our EMF meter spiked in answer to questions multiple times and we didn't catch it because we were trying to record and take pictures at the same time. Poor spirit was probably very frustrated :S

- And lots of other general experience-related stuff.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check out the evidence photos and leave us comments with what you think! We're pretty smart, but we don't always think of everything :)

Check back next week when we've had time to analyze the video and voice files in case we find anything more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hi! Lisa again!

So I know I haven't posted here much yet, but we haven't done our first ghost hunt yet, so I don't have any evidence to put out there yet.

BUT, we have made some big strides. Our ghost hunting kit is COMPLETE. My sister bought an 8 channel DVR system with 8 (fairly crappy) cameras with basic night vision. The cameras don't record by themselves, they have to be plugged into the DVR, but the DVR records so we can now set up cameras in a series of rooms or spots and have them all show up on one monitor. We also bought some cheap IR lights that take the cameras' night vision range from 10 feet to 60 feet, so that's a huge improvement!

One of the IR lights we bought to turn our crappy cameras into good cameras! (Picture from Amazon)

We also got a little creative and built spools to wrap all the cables that go with the DVR. We have four 120 foot cables, which can be separated into eight 60 foot cables, and we have four 150 foot cables. It was pretty easy...we just bought some wood rods and a bunch of circular metal pieces from Lowe's that had a pop-out center matching the size of the rods. Then we got some hose clamps, put two metal pieces on each rod about eight inches apart, put a hose clamp on the outside of each metal piece so they couldn't slide off, and then cut some PVC pipe pieces that we can slip on the ends of the rods and hold on to while someone pulls the wire to un-spool it.  Then we had to wrap tape around the edges of the metal pieces so nothing gets cut and around the outside of the pvc pipe pieces for grip.

We also used some L-brackets and other odds and ends from Lowe's to make a steady holder for the grid pen and a mount for the IR light attached to the camcorder.

All in all we have three bags of stuff, but one of them holds just my flat screen computer monitor that we hook up to the DVR. Everything else fits into the other two bags.

Our kit includes:

Full Spectrum IR camcorder and IR light
EVP recorder
DVR system, cameras and cables
EMF Detector
Handheld thermometer
Two digital cameras
Lots of extra batteries and memory disks
The Tarot of the Spirit World
Two head lamps
Two twist flashlights
Notebooks and pencils
Post-it notes and markers (to label any baseline EMF/temp readings around a room)
Grid pen and its holder
...and I THINK that's it. Whew.

We also have reservations at the Bardstown KY Talbott Tavern, one of the most famously haunted locations in the country. This will be our first ghost hunt, on July 7th. My parents are coming too. Who knew in only a couple years I would go from being one of only two people in my family interested in the paranormal, to being part of a family ghost hunt? (My brother can't make it, but he has done lots of ghost hunts on his own).

So anyway, check back after the 7th to see if we picked up any interesting evidence! We reserved the two (supposedly) most haunted rooms in the hotel. At least they have had the most reported activity.

Before we settle in for the night we're also going on a "ghost walk" with Patti Starr through the town where she takes us through the most supposedly haunted areas, gives us some history, etc.

Two nights later we will be investigating an old graveyard right at the edge of a friend's farm. It is way up in the woods, I doubt many people know about it, but the graves date back to the early 1800s.

After these two, it seems it will get harder to find places we can investigate without being certified. Most locations are public places that you could only do at night, or closed so you could only do it with the owner's permission. Both are hard to do if you're not a certified ghost hunting team, so after these two we'll start working on finding a date that we can take the certification course.

HOWEVER, despite our lack of ghost-hunting, the amount of paranormal experiences in this house have been escalating dramatically ever since we went to the psychic fair and my sister began to explore the paranormal. There is a little boy she has seen multiple times, who she claims showed her a picture of him standing on the porch of an old dilapidated house back behind ours with his mother or grandmother. She thinks he lived there at one point.

Last night was even stranger though. My sister's room and mine are directly across the hall from each other, at the end of the hallway. Last night, I thought I heard someone walking out in the house, but then it quit and I knew I had locked the doors, so I assumed it must have been the dogs moving around.

Apparently directly after that, my sister woke up suddenly in bed to find that her bed was shaking! She rolled over and saw a man standing over her, shaking the bed. Up til this point, she has gotten very freaked out when she has seen spirits, and tried to ignore them. This time, she resisted being scared and said out loud, "If you have something to tell me, then say it, but stop shaking the bed!" When she said that, the man immediately disappeared.

These are her dogs, who apparently don't like ghosts
At the exact same time, the dogs out in the hallway started barking, and then crying.

At the exact same time they started crying, I heard very loud stomping out in the hall, and got the impression that something was wrong - like someone was very angry or aggravated about something.

I jumped up and grabbed my pistol, assuming someone was in the house. We both opened our doors to the hallway, and the dogs were backed up into the corner of the wall, both crying. They bolted into my sister's room as soon as she opened the door. Of course, there was no one out there.  We then proceeded to tell each other what we had seen/heard. She hadn't heard the stomping or noises, but I hadn't actually seen the man.

It was WEIRD. We have no idea what he wanted, or if we both just happened to have weird dreams which we woke up from when we heard the dogs crying about something totally unrelated. Who knows. But it was weird.

Anyway, so that's where we are with the ghost hunting adventure! Any other teams out there, how long did it take for you to get started? Did you run into similar problems at first with finding places you were allowed to investigate?

- Lisa

Sunday, April 22, 2012


This isn't going to be much of a first post, since it's late and I'm tired. But, I wanted to reassure you that yes, I am here and this blog is active!

If you haven't clicked the About tab yet, my name is Lisa. My sister Lori and I have recently taken our first step toward becoming certified paranormal investigators!

We decided to use my birthday to start accumulating equipment to help us measure and record any possible paranormal phenomena. Check out the Our Equipment tab to see what we have and the Our Wish List tab to see what we're still working on.

Next month we will go out and do our first test run with the equipment in an old, 1800s era graveyard out in the boonies of Frenchburg, KY. Luckily, a friend of ours owns the land.

Until then, we will be researching. Already we have discovered that to be taken seriously as a paranormal investigator, one must get certified. I didn't know there was such a thing! See? Already learning. We hope to begin classes to be certified in June, but scheduling around work may be difficult. We will (hopefully) find out more a week from today at the Mystical Paranormal Fair held at Patti Starr's Ghost Hunter Shop in Lexington, KY.

So, if you have ever wanted to do your own investigation of the paranormal, I invite you...no, I URGE you...go on this adventure with us! We are brand spanking new to the world of ghost hunting and paranormal investigation, and will strive to post everything we learn here. Like:

How do you get access to haunted grounds owned by others?
How can you make owners of haunted places choose your team over all the others out there wanting access?
If a place is haunted, how do you get the spirits to react to your presence?
What are all the possible causes of certain phenomena that must be ruled out?

If you can't tell, my sister and I have a million questions. If you have them too, check back here often for new posts about what we're learning. I urge you to do your own research and look into the field as well. After all, you only live once - don't find yourself wishing you'd done it twenty years from now. Besides, this blog will be ten times better if others comment with their two cents as well.

So, now that you know what this is all about. I'm going to get to bed. Any experienced investigators or ghost hunters out there, feel free to comment with tips or advice for getting started. And by "feel free" I mean "Please share your wisdom!" :)

- Lisa