Has TAS Gone Ghost???

16 Aug

Hello everyone…  I’m ALIVE!
If you read all of my blogs you will be aware of the changes and the upcoming renovations to this blog and to Witchery & Bitchery, newly titled Aesciane & The Moon.  You will also know about my new blog following my adventures on the road following a rock band.  So what is planned for TAS, anyway?
I have been having a pretty rough go of it lately.  My creative muse is just now firing back up, though it usually manifests in lots and lots of finished song lyrics more than anything else, and I’m starting to feel much better about blogging regularly again.  The problem is, upkeeping about six blogs was not going to be feasible.  I road trip every weekend, so most of the energy I have in that time goes to my Tumblr.  So remembering to do WordPress at all has been kind of…  Ugh.  In order to keep up with things, I have the WordPress app installed on my Kindle Fire as well as my iPod Touch.  The problem is that OPR has done nothing for almost two years, which is rough on us all.  We all have different work schedules and availabilities, so it has become nearly impossible to schedule any real investigations.  Not like we don’t have anyone writing to us from our website, and not as if we haven’t had discussions on what to do, where to go, etc.  I even have friends who are interested in coming along for the ride.  Hopefully, we will start back up again properly, because I miss ghost hunting.  I swear my sensitivity is getting rusty!
I will have a few stories and special posts to put here as soon as I get them finished…  There has been quite a lot going on.  The problem is that I literally forget to write, forget to post.  These blogs were originally meant to be a project in regular writing, hitting all of my responsibilities, and sharpening my skills, and instead, I took on too much all at once and everything took a nose dive.  But that is okay.
The posts here will continue to be strictly paranormal in topic.  If you want updates on my life, check A&TM or WRRW.

Aesciane & The Moon
Wandering Rock N Roll Witch

Paranormal Investigation: Behind the Scenes

2 Dec

If you’ve ever had a paranormal team investigate your home or place of business, then you’ve probably seen some of the work that comes with the ghost-hunting. Then again, if you’ve wondered what leads up to the investigation, this is the post for you. 😉
For OPR, a residential investigation begins with an e-mail or a form from our website. The person requesting the investigation gives their experiences and some contact information. It’s at this point I come in, as the case manager, to call them or e-mail them back. I find it easier, personally, to speak over the phone. I gather more information from the person, find out how large the home is so I can appropriately staff the investigation and so the team can figure out how much equipment to use. I also gauge what types of things are happening so we can focus on the types of equipment to use. Then I give them a time frame for when we can come. Usually it takes about two weeks to figure out who can come and when we’re all available the same evening.
We also prioritize when dealing with multiple cases. Cases in which clients are dealing with physically threatening activity, such as scratches, touching, thrown objects, and marks on the body are normally priority one for us. If we feel we can’t be there in enough time, we’ll often check with other local teams to see if they are available to help our clients. Our biggest priority is to help the client, not pad our portfolio with investigations. Also, we know that all our team members are hardworking people who have lives outside of our team. We all have jobs, some of us have kids and pets, and we all have plenty of things to take care of.
Next, we set a date and time. In between that date and the present one, we make sure the team members who volunteer are committing to the investigation, plan equipment and transportation, and keep in touch with the client. We also will keep other clients informed of what we’re up to so that they’re aware we’re not forgetting about them.
The night of, the team will usually meet up early to load equipment, discuss the client’s experiences, and talk about what we should focus on. We then alert the client to say we’re on our way, and we start off. We expend extra energy in the car, and remind ourselves not to swear during the investigation.
When we arrive at the client’s home, we introduce ourselves and bring in the equipment. As we set up, we talk to the client and try to set them at ease. We explain the equipment, and we encourage them to take part, which is a tool to help them be empowered to take control of what’s happening in their own home. We also encourage them to participate to show them that while we are in their home, we will always respect them and do our best for them.
The next bit is the actual investigation. Usually this requires lots of quiet and patience, though we try to punctuate ours with some creative experiments, and we’re always debunking everything we possibly can. We do what we can within a six to eight hour span of time to put our clients at ease in their own homes. During the investigation we also listen to everything our clients tell us, because sometimes we miss things during the initial phone interviews.
After the night is over, once Maggie or the lead for the evening has called it, we wrap up, cut recording, and get our equipment dismantled and packed up. Over the next few weeks we’ll be going over all captures, so we let the client know how long it might be before they hear from us, then ask if they’d like CD-ROM or digital copies of any outstanding evidence we might find. We then take our leave, reassuring the client that they can call us whenever they feel the need.
Over the next week or so, various team members gather to review captures and isolate possible evidence, all the while helping me compile a full case file for the client. This takes time and concentrated involvement. I like to update the client by phone or by e-mail so that they feel involved and know that we haven’t forgotten about them or abandoned them.
Once we’ve finished review and double-triple checked our findings, we finish the case file and call our client. Since we sometimes can’t meet with them again, we usually file our copies of the case files and send the client’s copy to them. If we can meet with them again, we do so and hand over their files personally.
As you can see, each investigation is individual and requires individual attention. We do our best to keep each client involved and informed about their case and our progress. It’s all a lot more work than reality T.V. would have you believe, isn’t it?

UNO Paranormal Summit 2014

28 Oct

The year before last, I wrote a post about the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Paranormal Society Summit, which was in its second year at the time.  I was not able to go to last year’s Summit, but on Friday the 24th of October, Maggie and I attended the 2014 Summit together.  The Summit is held, of course, on the UNO campus, in the student center’s large conference room.  Essentially, the Summit asks a few local groups to come and discuss their investigations, findings, equipment, and developments in technology.  There are often some great ideas in utilizing other pieces of technology adapted for investigations, and more ideas for analyzing audio and video captures.  The setup involves a plain stage with microphones and presentation screens, some back-of-the-room tables for teams and speakers to set up their tech, pamphlets, and business cards, where they network and answer questions.  Usually there’s also a bake sale going, with various snacks and treats available to purchase.
In 2012, when Maggie and I went, we experienced some of UNO’s ghosts.  An experience in the bathroom (laugh if you like, but it really happened) got us excited and definitely more interested.  This year, I happened to experience the same thing in the same bathroom, when I was in there alone.  I should have used the buddy system!  Much creepier when you’re alone…In the schedule, usually UNOPS introduces and starts off the roster of speakers.  This year, they did go first, and held a bit of a memorial for PRISM co-founder and director, a very important person in the local paranormal community, Carl Norgard.  He passed away very recently, and he was an influential and special person.  I wasn’t lucky enough to know him personally, but I did meet him a couple of times, very briefly, and enjoyed his congeniality.  The entire Summit was dedicated to his memory.

During UNOPS‘s discussion, they discussed Maximum Investigations – experiments in the field with particular conditions.  They also discussed using the Pares Portal, the Kinect gaming system, and the Comparator, a device that picks up electromagnetic frequency voice.  These discussions got Maggie and I thinking about how a Kinect would work in the field.  It was not the first mention of the Kinect as adapted tech, from household use to paranormal fieldwork use.
Next up was a fairly new team, Paranormal NRG.  It is in its third active year, with five members at the present time.  They covered equipment and its use, and even inserted some trivia about one of our personal favorite para-tech toys, the MEL-Meter.  Did you know that the creator of the MEL-meter is Gary Galka, who created the tool after his eldest daughter, Melissa, passed away, and some paranormal activity happened to him and his family?  The tool’s model number has always been Mel-8704 – Mel for Melissa, 87 for her birth year, and 04 for the year she passed away.  The MEL-Meter measures temperature and electromagnetic fields simultaneously, and also has a motion sensor in later models, with sound that can be turned off if necessary and lights that run from green to red.
The third group was Heartland Paranormal Research Group.  They went over specific processing of EVPs, and showed a very interesting video of an interactive flashlight experiment – an experiment in which a flashlight is set in a particular space and investigators establish contact with a spirit by asking him or her to turn the flashlight on and off to show interaction and answer questions with a yes or no system.  They also presented actual EVPs from the Squirrel Cage Jail, which can be found on their Facebook page.
Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties during the presentation of EVPs, which of course were audio in nature.  It took about fifteen to twenty minutes to restore the sound, during which time the raffle was done, in which several prizes were given out: a trifield meter, a K2 meter, a free tarot reading, a trip to Villisca, a residential investigation with PRISM, and various Halloween-themed gift baskets.  Maggie and I, sadly, didn’t win anything.  But that’s okay!
ORBS Omaha came up next.  ORBS is a team we recommend, a team we network with.  They showed their video of an EVP out of VIllisca in which a child is screaming, an EVP we have heard before that has made us cry out of empathy and sorrow.  PRISM caught a similar EVP.  ORBS went over several interesting videos from several locations, and used interesting soundwave software to show EVPs.

ORBS Video

PRISM Video
Lastly we had a great speaker in Psychic Medium Andy Myers, who has a special place in Omaha, the Center for Intuitive Advancement, and speaks about intuitiveness and psychic talents.  He is a great, charismatic storyteller.  The stories he related at the Summit involved doppelgangers, ghosts, unidentified creatures, UFOs, time travel, and more.  He interacted with the audience, and invited everyone to his classes at the Center, including the upcoming “Monsters, Myths & Mysteries” on October 30th.  My favorite story that he told, the last one, in fact, and the one that made the entire Summit laugh uproariously, was about a time he was alone in the dark, hearing what sounded like a little boy crying, “Hello?  Helloooo?”  As he got up the courage to look behind the door it was coming from, the sounds got louder.  Then he opened the door, expecting to face a spirit…  Instead, it was a very loud CAT!!!!

Another thing we heard of was a haunted home here in Omaha…

Overall, the Summit had very much of a community and family feeling.  The mantra of the evening was SCIENCE!  IT was clear that there are several particular locations that are great for repeat investigations and training investigations, including the Squirrel Cage Jail, Joslyn Castle, the Villisca Ax Murder House, Farrar Schoolhouse, Edinburgh Manor and the UNO Campus.  The Summit encourages team networking, paranormal unity, and the exchanging of ideas and technology innovations.  I consider myself lucky to be a part of the Nebraska paranormal community, especially with such a great event occurring yearly.  The fact that UNOPS was founded by students, for students, and encourages students and the community to attend their meetings gives a great opportunity to people to have a safe place to discuss their experiences and explore the field if they wish.  The Summit is a great symposium and something I’d encourage locals interested in the paranormal to attend.

Advice for Parents with Sensitive Children

27 Oct

Since I’ve written a similar post for the sensitive youth out there, I figured it was time for a post for

parents of sensitive kids. It’s never an easy thing – not for the kids, and certainly not for the parents.

Even if you don’t experience the same things your kids do, it affects you, too. It affects your relationship

with your children, because so often you want to be the logical one, while your child insists he or she is

seeing a ghost, and you are insisting it must be their imagination, or a dream, or something a little more

of a problem – schizophrenia, perhaps. While it’s scary to think about, it’s not always the case. Yes,

schizophrenia can appear in kids, but most likely, they are telling you either the truth or the product of

an overactive imagination. Often what they are seeing, they are describing without omission. You know

your child best – Try to listen to them without the skepticism you would normally keep handy.

Depending on the age of your child, discard the skepticism. Try to think as a child their age would,

especially if they are under the age of ten. Their imaginations are everywhere, but they are certainly not

as innocent as most would have them be; they are certainly not stupid or gullible by any means. Kids do

have their own way of logically thinking through certain things, and I honestly think that if a child meets

a ghost, their minds are probably whizzing away with possible explanations, and if they cannot find an

explanation that will satisfy themselves, they will come and ask the people who should know everything

at any time – their parents! They come to you because they need to know.

Of course, you’ll probably not have all the answers. Some of the questions kids find to ask are

increasingly difficult, especially as the times change. But if they’re asking about ghosts, which seems

to be almost a taboo topic in society, you can, in a healthy way, avoid the topic by telling them you’ll

explain it as they grow older, or you can tell them a bit of what you know. Just be sure to avoid scaring

them – and tell them, of course, that ghosts cannot harm them, and should not be feared. After all,

ghosts are most likely – and in theory – just living energy left over from a life well lived on Earth. Despite

not acknowledging all of these lives lived well, celebrities and activists are not the only people who do

great things in this life; sometimes those great things transfer to the afterlife.

Of course, kids aren’t always going to understand all of these theories and ideas. They associate

knowledge in what they see, hear, and feel, taste, touch, and understand. Younger children will see a

ghost and just think it’s another person who isn’t really supposed to be there, while their parents will

assume that this person they talk to or about is their imaginary friend. Imaginary friends are a common

occurrence in childhood and is never really a bad thing; if they do not outgrow their imaginary friends,

often you are dealing with a child whose sensitivity to the paranormal is transferring from one type of

growth to another. Often a child will have a good idea of whether what they are seeing is really there or

if it is in their imaginations. As adults we never really understand how they can do this, but kids are the

most perceptive creatures and can be very powerful sensitives and empaths.

Their minds are unchanged by the forced perceptions around them of society and religion; they see

the world through unclouded eyes and are never shy to tell you what they see. They have an intuition

unlike any owned by adults, and know when something is wrong immediately. If something that they

see frightens them, they will be quick to come to you. From what I’ve seen and experienced, teenagers

are the type to be silent about things that frighten them; I believe it’s because we believe them to

be so much closer to adulthood that if a teenager makes a claim about a ghost sighting, they should

immediately be rushed to psychiatric counseling. Do we make that assumption with children younger

than ten? Not usually. Of course, we do rationalize things and chalk the claims up to an overactive

young imagination and tell the child that he or she will be a fabulous writer one day.

The problem with this is that while it’s perfectly fine to look for natural or alternate explanations for

whatever paranormal activity may be occurring, it encourages children to immediately think they are

crazy or mentally ill, which leads to pills that could be harmful to your child’s body in the absence of an

actual mental illness. We should never feed the notion that illness is the answer – because while there

are times in which it is the answer, there are far more where it is not. What we teach our kids, as most

parents know, can make the absolute difference between a well-adjusted adult and a confused, yo-yo emulating adult. Perhaps the easiest way to deal with a child’s experiences is interested indifference.

I know, it sounds odd. But perhaps allowing yourself to be interested, a listener, while maintaining a

front of indifference – really, do not show fear, do not show anxiety, do not put your child in fear – can

help you both figure out what’s really going on. Level-headedness will be another of your best friends in

such an odd time. Flying straight into fear often leads to undesirable behavior in children.

Another thing to think about: What do you really believe? Take into consideration your religious beliefs

and how the activity or claims from your children go against them. Remember that often, something a

child experiences has absolutely nothing to do with religious beliefs or faith in God. While it is perfectly

all right to teach your child what your faith does, remember never to instill any kind of religious fear

into them regarding the paranormal. Remember that this type of lesson can really scar someone for

a very, very long time. No one ever wants to grow up with the belief that their talent – or unsolicited

experience – is their fault because they failed to observe particular religious ideals. Most people with

talents – of any kind, not simply paranormal-based – are usually of the idea that their talents are good

things, and most often, a paranormal talent will grow to be a good thing to an individual (it isn’t always

the case, but I find it in the vast majority). They find that they can use the talent for good in many ways,

including helping to console the family or solving a mystery or finding out the truth about a person. It

is, of course, far easier to confirm all this by matching up a feeling or vision with some hard evidence

like a court record or something similar. When someone shoves a religious idea in their face, the person

often feels a sudden redundancy and their confidence falls. Having this occur regularly over the course

of your growing-up years often makes a person feel like one of the things they are most proud of in

themselves is both a taboo subject and frowned upon by the God they feel obligated to please. This, by

the way, is a general observation and not a put-down of anyone’s beliefs!

About 98% of the time, people, especially kids and teens, who ignore the things they are seeing and

feeling and hearing are not happy people. Ignoring their talent is often on influence of their parents and

peers. Ignoring it can often be a wrong choice – mainly because the feelings, visions, and sounds are

often compounded beyond comprehension and can overwhelm them. Often enough, a sensitive who

tries too hard to “make it stop” finds themselves an even brighter lighthouse for the spirits passing by in

need of such guidance. This can lead to a feeling of being crowded in, trapped in a corner, or locked in a

room full of invisible eyes. That is not a comfortable feeling! The best way to keep this from happening

is to actually cultivate the talent and encourage control. Only when you know your talent can you find

your capacity to control it – ignoring it often leads to undesirable results.

From experience, I can tell you that if your child, no matter his or her age, ignores the apparitions,

often what will happen is their beacon as a sensitive will grow brighter, and more and more spirits will

be attracted to them. They will experience a veritable plague of things they can’t explain or are afraid

  1. I can tell you that this can drive a person insane. If the sensitive cannot find a way to control the

onslaught, life will become rather unbearable. In a sense, it is like rush hour traffic at the site of an

accident or extreme construction. It is madness, and it is loud, and it is crowded. It is like the sensitive

suddenly develops a terrible case of claustrophobia – and the fact that they are, in fact, alone in a room

with these feelings, is enough to make anyone go batty.

Make sure they are aware, if you choose to embrace it, that you are there for them and that it is their

decision to go farther in educating themselves about their talents. Offer a listening ear, offer to drive

them to bookstores or organization meetings. Compile a list of paranormal teams in the area and call

around (or e-mail around) to see whether these teams have extra resources, have a sensitive willing to

talk to your child or teen, or who would be willing to help your child or teen feel better about the things

they see, feel, and hear. That is what it’s all about, in the end: Helping them breathe easy about a

talent that is not exactly a mainstay in most city or suburban lives. Acceptance, even if you are a skeptic

when it comes to the topic of the paranormal.

The absolute worst thing you can do when you are a parent of a sensitive child is show fear of their

talent, which often can be taken as showing fear of the child. A child who believes that their own

parents are afraid of them because they can see things that no one else can often grows up with their

own very unique set of problems that can follow them throughout their lives. It can also cause the

child to fear themselves and feel uneasy in their own skin. The example they should follow, in the end,

should be yours, because the television never has all of the answers, even if they have some validation

or confirmation that these things exist. Even if you do not have all the answers, they will be looking to

you for comfort and for understanding. Even if you are a hardcore skeptic, these are things you should

be able to provide without attempting to hammer it into their heads that it is “simply their imagination”

or some other (rather ridiculous-sounding) explanation you think should serve to comfort them – it

doesn’t always do this. Sometimes, providing explanations hurts more than it helps.

Religion and Investigation

29 Aug

As a Pagan, I personally take precautions before investigations, such as keeping a special mix of protective rocks in a pouch in my pocket, and saying a special chant before entering a location, but I do that for myself. I don’t make the rest of the team do prayers before investigations. We base our investigations on levelheaded approaches and debunking, which leaves no room for faith-based approaches. I have seen lots of teams who choose to blend the two, and while some teams have done fabulous work with this choice, lots of other teams come back with claims of far more demonic activity than most teams see in their lifespans. I am of the opinion that religion should not be mixed with scientific paranormal investigations, though I don’t get upset when a team does a prayer beforehand. I just think (and no offense is meant here) that investigators should remember that spirits may not have been the same faith as the investigators during their lives.
Respect for those gone before us includes respect for other religions and ways of life.

The Enfield Poltergeist

12 Aug

The Occult: “Big Scary Word”

22 Jun

I love paranormal television, and I know I’ve written lots and lots about its merits and its downfalls before.  But I have just started watching the sixth season of “A Haunting,” and immediately, in the first episode, I see something I absolutely must address, because I really feel it is an important thing to discuss.  I know that everyone’s beliefs are going to be different, from mine to yours, and that is just fine.  However, every mention of the occult in media immediately raises hackles and people begin getting their holy water out.  In the first episode, “Marked by Evil,” a woman is terrorized by someone who is obsessed with her romantically and begins doing very stalker-y things, like showing up at her house, etc., when he is highly aware that she is married and not interested in his advances.  At a party, she discovers his bookshelf of “occult” books, including the Necronomicon, a book of the dead, and a Raymond Buckland title, which irks me.  The Necro is one thing, because it is definitely a book I personally stay away from, and it takes a lot of caution to dig into the hidden world of the dead, but Raymond Buckland is a Witchcraft author, and while people like to lump Witchcraft in with necromancy and other darker practices, they are absolutely not the same.  Despite the hype, the occult is not a cluster of dark practices.  “Occult” really just pertains to hidden knowledge, and since Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism, Druidism, etc., all hold hidden knowledge within their practices, it’s no wonder everything gets lumped in together.  I myself am a Witch.  Having been practicing for years, and gaining more knowledge with each passing day, I have become aware of the stigma attached to certain words and phrases, certain types of practice, etc., and I have also known my fair share of actual Satanists.  The biggest problem I’m finding is that when people put too much stock in the “darkness” of the occult, they end up hurting things in the long run.  Someone who is a Witch will often practice spells to help, heal, and search for truth, but they know that they cannot commit spiritual attacks for fear of something called The Rule of Three, which really just pertains to what your actions toward others affect your future happiness – dark works will come back on you threefold, and the best part of it is that threefold often doubles or triples.

Witchcraft is what you make of it, essentially, and while the person in the episode was doing something that is considered bad karma, which is bending someone’s will to your own (love spells are a part of that, because you cannot MAKE someone love you without consequences; if you hear someone talking about doing an attraction spell it just means they are sending energy out to attract someone to love, which is much different, because it just means they are looking, not forcing), it is up to the practitioner to make a good balance of it.  Magick is energy directed, not a hat trick, and it’s really a precursor to action.  It is a confidence builder, and it changes lives.  Of course, it’s not for everyone, because it is necessary to work at it and balance it properly, and it takes a great understanding of the need for darkness in the light, as well as light in the darkness.  (You can read more about it on my other blogs, Witchery & Bitchery and Children of Divinity.)

So for you paranormal enthusiasts out there, it might be a good idea to actually research different aspects of the occult.  As a paranormal investigator, it would be disastrous if you were to accuse someone of satanism or something else when it’s not really what you think.  It’s also much easier to distinguish the truth from the media’s hype if you have some of that basic knowledge.  Education is important, because sometimes, the paranormal and the occult coincide and things can become quite confusing.  It does no good to spread fear; the Witchcraft and Paganism Communities have already had enough to tarnish their reputations, and not from their own doings or teachings.

It really bugs me to see people using Witchcraft for selfish gains over their actual needs.  You do not NEED to make someone love you, you do not NEED to gain a lot of money by means of magick.  Those are selfish gains.  Most Witches do use their Craft to take care of themselves in order to better their outward magick, so that they are balanced as they send healing out into the world.  Normally, these sorts of statements I happily make on Witchery & Bitchery, which is my online book of shadows, a diary chronicling spells, poesy, ritual song, lore, and my own experiences, and I have been adding some serious rants there as well, as I encounter the need to unburden myself when it comes to things I face as a Witch and a Pagan.  This does include some of the very ignorant things people think about Witchcraft and what they have said, written, or claim to know.  If you know so much, you know that different people practice very, very differently, and you would not make such horrible statements.  If you are driven by religion to decry Paganism, sometimes that crosses over into paranormal investigations by investigation teams who base their ideas around religion, and while it’s totally fine to use faith to help you as you investigate, it does perpetuate some very false things when religion-based paranormal investigation meshes in with the media.

SJ Tucker, one of my absolute favorite singers, has a line in her song, “Go Away Godboy,” which pretty much sums up what happens when too much religion invades your life:  “You’re stuck inside your dogma, and your karma’s getting messy.”  In other words, it’s fine to have faith to help guide you in your life, but if you let yourself pontificate to others, it’s a way of trying to bend the will of others to your own, which really gums up your karma and your attitude toward the world.  I don’t mean to be at all disrespectful toward any religion, or any faith, etc., but it’s sadly the truth, and it’s not something people realize day-to-day.  It can sometimes pollute how we see everything else, and if we let it, it gets in the way of other kinds of knowledge that can open our lives to amazing love, hope, and truth.

This includes the paranormal!