4th of July Paranormal Corner: If Philadelphia’s walls could talk, we’d hear America’s history

Written by salemwitchtrials on . Posted in Blog

On the surface, Philadelphia is a bustling metropolis, filled with eager business people, honking traffic and a multitude of opportunity.

But if you squint your eyes and take a moment, the spirits of our country’s founding fathers are lurking around every corner.

Independence Hall, originally known as the Pennsylvania State House, is one of those buildings with walls we wish had the ability to speak.

FreedomGeorge Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the Independence Hall assembly room back in 1732. The chair he sat in can still be seen there.

Then, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted in that same room.

But on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress actually voted for total independence from England.

While speaking walls aren’t reality, if you listen closely, you may hear, feel or see a piece of history that is not immediately obvious.

Co-worker Michelle Caffrey, a self-proclaimed “history-loving, sentimentalist,” recalled that, on that night 238 years ago, the weather was similar to what it was this year.

In David McCullough’s biography of John Adams, he wrote, “Outside, more rain threatened, and at about ten came another cloudburst like the day before.”

“I was reading that right around 10 p.m. and it was storming and it gave me chills,” Caffrey said.

McCullough continued, writing that the “vote went rapidly.”

“So, it was done, the break was made, in words at least: On July 2, 1776, in Philadelphia, the American colonies declared independence. It was John Adams, more than anyone, who made it happen,” McCullough wrote. “Further, he seems to have understood more clearly than any what a momentous day it was and in the privacy of two long letters to Abigail, he poured out his feelings as did no one else.”

McCullough then transcribed some of Adams’ words from one of those letters: “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epochs in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

Since Adams wrote those words, the holiday has been celebrated on July 4, instead of his wishes of July 2, so could the thunderous roars the region heard on July 2 have been President Adams’ way of celebrating all these years later?

There have been many stories of ghostly apparitions in and around Independence Hall, where so much of this country’s history was born.

Back in 2012, I joined a ghost tour presented by Historian Joe Wojie, owner of Grim Philly Twilight Tours, that explored ghost stories from the Independence Visitor Center to Washington Square Park to the Commodore John Barry statue that stands behind Independence Hall.

It was there, amid the long shadows of the stately building, that Wojie told the story of a young bride who may still roam the grounds.

During the Revolutionary War, Judge Edward Shippen — a lawyer, judge, government official and prominent figure in colonial and post-Revolutionary Philadelphia — was part of the population of people who were considered “neutral.”

Wojie explained that Shippen was on the fence about which side of the dispute he was actually on.

“Once he saw the Americans were getting help and would most likely win the war, he went with America and decided to marry his daughter to the cause,” he said. 

The American man he chose for his daughter was none other than Benedict Arnold.

Shippen’s daughter Margaret married Arnold and went to live with him. However, as soon as she learned that Arnold was a traitor, she left him and attempted to return to Philadelphia.

However, because of her marriage to Arnold, she was not welcomed back to the city.

Wojie said the Americans “kicked her out of not only Philadelphia, but the entire state of Pennsylvania.”

At the time, the patriots burned a 30-foot-high, paper mache representation of Arnold in the streets surrounding Independence Hall.

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Image courtesy of MorgueFile. 

Personal experiences during paranormal investigations

Written by salemwitchtrials on . Posted in Blog, Uncategorized

When I tell people that I’m a paranormal investigator, the first thing they ask is if I’ve ever “seen anything.”

My answer to that question isn’t as cut and dry as the answer some of my Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society team mates would give.

Plantation house 2I could say “no,” as in, no, I’ve never seen a door slam or a scary face pop out at me from the shadows.

However, I have seen our equipment react in a way that tells me something I actually couldn’t see was present at the time.

One of my most memorable experiences was in the garret at Barret’s Plantation House Bed and Breakfast when JUMPS Founder and CEO Doug Hogate Jr. and I attempted to play the “flashlight” game with any spirits who may be near us.

We sat a twist-on flashlight onto a wooden board, placed that wooden board onto the bed, then left the attic guest room.

“I just put my flashlight in that room, on the bed,” I said outloud. “It’s off right now, but it you just touch the end that lights up, it will come on.”

I had seen T.A.P.S. investigator Amy Bruni do this on SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” many times, and decided to try it in this very active location.

It didn’t take long for the flashlight to flicker to life.

We noticed that the heater had clicked on around the same time, so we weren’t convinced the flashlight was being manipulated by a spirit.

Hogate felt the board, and tested the light, and came to the conclusion that the flashlight was not turning on because of the heater.

Just as the flashlight turned back off, I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye — that’s always where those visions are — and also got a “weird” feeling.

“If you’re right here, touch my hand,” I requested.

But instead of being touched, the flashlight illuminated again. This time, the heater was off.

From that point, we continued to get responses to questions and requests via the flashlight. 

Hogate would say, “If you understand, make the light go off,” and the flashlight would turn off.

Then he would ask for whoever was present to turn it back on, and it would come back on.

That was an amazing interaction that I won’t soon forget.

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Image courtesy of MorgueFile. 

‘Spooked’s’ Julian Curtis and Derek Mio

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“Spooked” is an upcoming web series about a semi-professional team of paranormal investigators who track down ghosts, aliens and anything else that happens to go bump in the night. From Bryan Singer and Felicia Day, “Spooked” stars Julian Curtis, Ashley Johnson, Neil Grayston, Derek Mio and Shyloh Oostwald.

Preview the show with Zap2it‘s interview with Curtis and Mio.

Zap2it: How would you describe your characters and their places on the show?
Julian Curtis: I play Connor who is the leader of the Paranormal Investigation Team (the P.I.T.) He started the team in order to help his sister Piper recover from the death of their parents. Since the death, Piper has been relatively mute except for when she taps into her ability to speak to the undead. Though you will see the bond that forms between the whole team throughout the series gives him more and more reasons to pursue further cases. Helping others heal seems to be a driving force for him.

Derek Mio: My character, Elliot, is the unapologetic fanboy of the P.I.T. crew. He is constantly finding correlations between the case at hand and paranormal pop culture references of the past, which allows the show to pay homage to the genre classics. At heart, he just wants to impress his team members with his insight and support his best friend, Connor, in his mission to help others.

What does your character bring to the ghost-hunting team? Paranormal
JC: I would say he tries to lead and be the glue that keeps a dysfunctional group of people together. He spends a lot of time reminding everyone to be professional and yet you will see Connor guilty of making some very foolish mistakes that threaten to tear the team apart himself. It’s an interesting line he walks.

DM: Elliot’s passion for paranormal investigation is always maxed out, which can open up leads to a case or drive the team to prove his theories utterly ridiculous — either way, his enthusiasm pushes the team forward. He’s a lot of fun to watch.

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Image from http Linux-Wallpaper.

 

Is it demonic or just a protective spirit?

Written by salemwitchtrials on . Posted in Blog

Just a couple weeks ago, the Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society got a call from a frantic Clarksboro resident. 

Jamie, her boyfriend and their baby daughter were experiencing activity in their upstairs apartment that she was afraid could be “demonic.”

While I was looking forward to the emergency investigation that JUMPS Founder and CEO Doug Hogate Jr. immediately set up, I was a bit nervous about the possibility of encountering my first demonic entity.

Even thought I love watching fictional tales of demonic possession on television — “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” happens to be my favorite — I was admittedly a bit scared to face it in real life.

Jamie was experiencing everything from being touched, to feeling a heavy weight on her chest, to hearing voices and smelling phantom odors.Fire

We arrived at the home around 9:30 p.m. and set up four infrared cameras, several digital audio recorders and unleashed our entire barrage meters.

Because Jamie said the activity was usually strongest during the late-night/early-morning hours, we planned to stay well into the evening.

During the first sweep, I went with a fellow investigator and Jamie into the baby’s room where she has experienced much activity.

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Photo courtesy of MorgueFile.

World’s oldest man, a UFO believer, dies at 111

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Dr. Alexander Imich passed away at the age of 111 on Sunday, June 8. The chemist and zoologist was considered the world’s oldest man at the time of his death. Polish-born Imich was a Holocaust survivor. He was also a UFO believer and a paranormal enthusiast.user posted image

Imich was born in 1903 in Częstochowa, Poland. The Jewish Daily Forward describes that “Imich was fascinated by the supernatural by age thirteen, investigating table turning and Ouija boards as means of communicating with spirits.” He earned a Ph.D in zoology, but he was unable to find work in that field, so he shifted his focus to chemistry. He also did some parapsychology research because of his interest in the paranormal. During World War II, Imich and his wife were sent to a labor camp. They were eventually freed, but after discovering that most of their relatives had died in the war, the couple emigrated to the United States.

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Image courtesy of http://z3.invisionfree.com/The_110_Club/ar/t3253.htm

Paranormal teams share their expertise at Phoenix ComiCon 2014

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Several paranormal teams from Arizona and California were on hand for Phoenix ComiCon 2014 (June 6 through 8) to offer their investigative techniques, suggest tips in pursuing a paranormal pastime, and share some of their wild adventures seeking the unknown.

Thursday evening, team members from TAzRPS showed clips of video evidence from several of the investigations they have explored throughout the years. They took time to explain what equipment works best, and how to set up audio and cameras to get the best coverage while out in a haunted environment.

This was followed by a discussion on the Trials and Tribulations of the Demonic by the Crossing Over Paranormal Society (COPS Crew). They explained what it is like to investigate in homes where seemingly the activity could only be explained to be the work of the demonic. They discussed how they prepared for such cases and how the aftermath affects the team and their families.

On Friday, authors/investigators Katie Mullaly and Patrick Ohlde offered “A Travel Guide to Arizona’s Spookiest Spots.” Their top 4 haunted destinations were the George and Dragon Pub in Phoenix, Casey Moore’s Oyster House in Tempe, the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, and the Inn at Castle Rock in Bisbee. They shared some of the known ghost tales of these locations. They discussed their personal technique of investigating where each team member does a walk through of a location, writes down their experiences, and compares their findings with the team in the end.

Crossing Over Paranormal Society was back to debate “What is a ‘Ghost’?” They opened up ideas to ponder—are there really spirits haunting our surroundings, or are they something we manifest on our own? Each team member has a different spiritual background which seems to mesh well when the group compiles their findings and evidence.

Team TAzRPS returned to talk more about Paranormal Investigation Techniques and explained some of the basic equipment they carry with them out in the field. The group demonstrated just how easy it is to get results from the equipment by playing back film and audio clicomic-con-sign-300x199ps from the haunted Vulture Mine and answered many questions from the guests.

Later team SWARS (Southwest Anomalous Research Society) provided additional information on the equipment they use on investigations and how they research property and history of past and present owners, and some the documents associated to the haunted locations—always a key for comparing and analyzing evidence.

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Image courtesy of ThinkHero.

Djinn or Genie: Are They Real or Folklore?

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Djinn or Genie are they real or folklore? Do they come from the paranormal world or another dimension? Djinn have been around through religion and folklore for thousands of years. Most Americans often think of I Dream of Jeanie when they think of the Djinn or the genie that grants three wishes. They are mentioned in Islam, the Bible and other religious books. While the concept of the Djinn does not occur in the original Hebrew version of the Bible the word is used in Arabic translations. In theTestament of Solomon,” he describes enslaving demons to build his temple. Then there was the novel so many read, Arabian Nights.” Who didn’t wish for their three magic wishes? The earliest reference in literature to Djinn is found in The Book of 1001 Nights.” Even the cartoons taught children to be careful of what they wish for because the wish would be granted quite literally. The name is spelled many different ways and they are called by a variety of names.

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Image courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian.

Paranormal Corner: Ghost Research Requires Much Equipment

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On every episode of “Ghost Hunters,” “Ghost Adventures” or any of the many other paranormal investigation shows on television, something strange happens.

Whether it be a strange noise, shadow or light, the investigators always see something that keeps our interest.

The reality of paranormal research is that it’s not always as exciting as it seems on the small screen and we don’t always have personal experiences or even record evidence during our lengthy investigations.

Usually, when Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society enters a location — whether it be a private residence, historic location or business — we’re there because someone, at one time or another, has had a strange experience.

“With us it’s been a mix,” said JUMPS CEO and founder Doug Hogate Jr. “Sometimes we go into a place and sit for hours and hours, trying to find something, but nothing happens.”

But that doesn’t always mean there’s nothing present.

Haunted

“We don’t think, as soon as we leave, that there is nothing going on,” Hogate said. “There have been so many times when nothing happens, then we get a ton of evidence after we review the evidence.”

JUMPS recently investigated a private location in Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, and had several strange experiences. However, as the evening progressed, myself and fellow investigators realized our equipment could have been effected by high power lines located near the building, and a “charging station” that gives off a very high EMF (electromagnetic field) reading.

“During an investigation, we look into (claims) by using our devices,” Hogate said, referring to gadgets such as K2 meters, Mel meters and the REM Pod which all detect the range and any changes in the electromagnetic field.

“It’s a way to communicate, but it’s also a way for us to see what’s going on in the atmosphere,” he said.

If a building has a high EMF reading, people who are exposed to that field can experience symptoms, such as paranoia, hallucinations and nausea, which can sometimes be confused with paranormal activity.

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Image courtesy of pixabay

Who you gonna call?

Written by salemwitchtrials on . Posted in Blog, Uncategorized

Thieves, farmers, murderers, gunslingers, Native Americans, shopkeepers, girls of the night, good folks, evil folks, railroad tycoons, gamblers and drinkers – all and more are the weavings in the web of Wisconsin history. Happiness, fear, joy, dread, excitement and rage are woven into the very beams of ancient structures that dot the hills, hanging on stubbornly into a third century.

Sometimes the deep energy of those emotions seems to reach out to today’s intruders – and sometimes it seems to take on physical form – even intelligent form. Is it real? Could it be simply residual energy? Could there be a spirit – a thinking, intelligent spirit or shade? Who could those inflicted by confusing happenings call?

Saloon

Who you going to call? Not exactly Ghost Busters, but close. The Paranormal Investigators of Sauk County is a child group of the parent Sauk County Paranormal Society – literally. Derek Wagner and Courtney Dyar, both of Reedsburg, run the former group. Dyar’s dad, Thomas, runs the second organization. Courtney Dyar met Wagner through a paranormal investigation, and the two decided they didn’t want to always be holding onto Dad’s coat tails. They partnered to form their own organization more than a year ago.

“I got into this through my dad,” Dyar said. “I went on an investigation at Edinburgh Manor (in Iowa) and was really awed. I saw an older lady and a small child, a girl, holding hands down a hallway. Later on the lady who owns the place said they often see an older lady and hear a child.”

“I was out helping to search for a missing person,” Wagner said. “I went home and lay down and suddenly had visions. I saw a person running across a bridge. I knew where it was. And that’s where the person was found. That intrigued me. I started doing research; I wanted to know the truth. I started looking into the paranormal field. The experience made me want to be part of a paranormal group. I located Courtney’s dad online and met with him.”

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Paranormal Corner: JUMPS director Doug Hogate Jr. leads group on Mullica Hill Ghost Walk

Written by salemwitchtrials on . Posted in Blog

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Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society Founder Doug Hogate Jr. first formed his ghost research team in 2008.

Since then, Hogate has investigated numerous historical buildings and private residences, seen many JUMPS members come and go, and received some notoriety as a leading paranormal investigator.

A few weeks ago, Hogate was contacted by NBC television network. The representative asked questions about the group, the equipment and the investigation techniques.

Long story short, Hogate and two other JUMPS team members — Co-director Melissa Dark and team leader “Bonnie” — traveled to Stamford, Conn., where they investigated the Stamford Media Center, formerly the Forum Theater that dates back to the 1920s and is where the taping of Jerry Springer takes place.

After reviewing the evidence, Hogate sat in as a paranormal expert for the Trisha Goddard Show on the CW network.

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Image courtesy of sxc.hu

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