10/13/15

Medium Can Equal a Large problem

As investigators of the paranormal we look for answers to the causes of claims of activity. We receive calls from people with claims that range from strange noises and feelings of being watched to full blown claims of demonic spirits that mean to do harm. We’ve developed various techniques for proving or debunking claims by looking for patterns. For instance in many cases where people claim to have visitations in their sleep (also known as “The Old Hag Syndrome”) it can be a simple case of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. I can’t count the number of times we have found extremely high EMF in a clients bedroom, which has been know to cause people to have horrific nightmares with waking dreams that appear to be extremely real. The reason for this article is that there is a pattern that is appearing in more and more cases. As you have deduced from the title of this article this pattern has to do with mediums and the children of clients. First thing that I would like to make clear is that I do believe there are mediums with abilities and that there are people who do not, but I don’t want to stray too far into that topic right now. What we have found popping up in several of our recent cases is children who are afraid of being in their homes. In each of these cases the client has had another group into their home with someone claiming to be a medium. The mediums all made claims that there were several spirits in each home. The interesting thing is that in every home there was an evil entity that the medium claims to clear out of the home. Isn’t it strange how every home had an evil entity and they were able to clear them? But the issues of claims persist, especially with the children. The children’s ages ranged from 12-22 years old and in every case the children were present during the investigation and witnessed the mediums and their claims. I am not writing this to judge the mediums or their techniques or to judge the parents. I am writing this with the hope that people will realize that children can be horribly affected by things like hearing that there are evil spirits in their homes. Most children aren’t comfortable with the thoughts of any spirit in their home. In my opinion it is one of the worst things that can happen when a child is afraid to be in their own home. Isn’t your home supposed to be your safe haven? I think we all need to remember to be careful around kids and remember that their feelings should be of the utmost importance.

05/31/14

Eastern State Penitentiary … Is Al Capone still serving time?

The other day I was talking with a friend about our investigation of Eastern State Penitentiary and they asked if I thought Al Capone’s ghost actually haunted his old cell. After I thought about it a minute I had to tell them I didn’t think so. Its funny there are rumors that his ghost haunts Eastern State and Alcatraz. My wife and I have investigated both prisons and have seen both of the cells where he was supposed to have been locked up and we never got any evidence or even the slightest impression his spirit was still there. This got me to thinking that I didn’t know that much about Capone.

 

Like me, most people probably don’t know how Capone ended up In Eastern State. On February 14 in 1929, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Capone’s men carried out a hit on seven of rival gangster Bugs Moran’s men. It was dubbed the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. The plan was that Capone’s men were to lure Bugs and his lieutenants to a garage and kill them all. Bugs was running late and saw Capone’s men who were dressed as police show up, so he and another member of his gang turned around and left. After the dust settled and Capone found out that his men had not gotten Moran and fearing retaliation, he thought it would be a good time to get out of town for a while. Capone and one of his men took a road trip into Pennsylvania. The problem was they somehow got caught on a weapons charge and sentenced to eight months in Eastern State Penitentiary. While there Capone’s money and reputation got him celebrity status and  insured that his time at Eastern States was anything but hard time, or so he thought.

This is Capone’s cell today.

It was during Capone’s stay that reports started to surface of him, alone in his cell terrified, weeping and begging “Jimmy” to leave him alone. It was assumed that Jimmy was the spirit of James Clark, who was killed in the massacre. Clark was also Moran’s brother in law and his second in command. It was of course never proved or documented that it was Jimmy Clark, but guards and other inmates reported seeing Clark’s ghost standing outside of Capone’s cell while he begged for mercy. Capone is said to have even called in a medium named Alice Britt in 1931 to try to find out what Clark wanted. Apparently, Britt was unsuccessful, and Jimmy continued to follow Capone through his trial for income tax evasion, through his eleven-year sentence at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, and then, in 1934, to the Rock–Alcatraz, where Capone did three turns in “the hole” for rules infractions. Paroled in 1939, Capone left Alcatraz a broken man. Back in Chicago the mob had moved on; new leaders had taken his place and even those loyal to him realized once they saw him, that Capone would never control the mob again. Capone died in his bed, of cardiac arrest following a stroke and a bout of pneumonia in 1947. The ghost of James Clark, it is said, was with him till the end. After Capone’s death, no one reported an encounter with James Clark’s spirit again. There is speculation that Capone was suffering from Syphilis and was loosing his mind. The thought was that Jimmy was a hallucination that was a result of Capone’s guilty conscience, but that doesn’t explain the reports from the guards and other inmates, plus I find it hard to believe Capone had a conscience at all.

So is Al Capone’s spirit haunting Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia PA? I would say probably no, but keep and eye out for Jimmy. Who knows?

This is a cool little video from the The Travel Channel that will give you a look into Capone’s cell and a little view of Eastern State as well.

05/23/14

Is There A Demon In My Bed? or Could It Be Lupus?

We at Para-Boston have found that social, cultural and even medical issues can weigh on a persons interpretation of precieved paranormal activity. We run into cases from time to time where one of these factors come into play. A case that we were called into a few years ago had all of these factors come to light. An Armanian woman called us with concerns that her younger sister who I will call Roxy (not her real name) was being affected by something, which she was convinced was a demon. We are not Demonologists and quite frankly are not equipped and have no desire to get involved in those cases. But this one was was different and we decided to at least meet with the family and get a better idea of what they were experiencing.

We met with the family at their home in West Roxbury, MA to discussed their claims. Roxy was not feeling like herself, almost like she was being oppressed by something. There were a few other claims but most notable was that something would shake the foot of her bed at night, usually right after she would lay down. As we looked around the house we noticed that they were very religious, there were Crosses and and Cherubs everywhere. We figured that this could be the reason that they thought it was a demon that was affecting Roxy. After hearing the families claims and concerns the next part of the interview process is to fill out a questionnaire that we use. One of the sections in that questionnaire deals with medical conditions and medications. We understand that its personal information and people don’t have to disclose anything, but we ask so that we can look at all aspects of a case. They were fine with the question and openly reported that Roxy had been diagnosed with Lupus and was being treated. We knew nothing about Lupus and decided some research was in order.

What we found was that Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by Lupus can affect many different body systems. Symptoms vary from person to person, and may come and go. Almost everyone with lupus has joint pain and swelling. Some develop arthritis. Frequently affected joints are the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees. Other common symptoms include: chest pain when taking a deep breath, fatigue, fever with no other cause, general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise), and sensitivity to sunlight. Lupus is commonly treated with Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Cortical Steroids, Antimalarials, Immunosuppressives (such as Cyclophosphamide, Methotrexate, Azathioprine), Anticoagulants and Monoclonal Antibodies to name just a few. During our research we found several articles that point out that there may be a link between certain cortico steroids and RLS. RLS is Restless Leg Syndrome, and the main symptom is an irresistible urge to move because of uncomfortable and sometimes painful sensations deep within a part of your body. The feelings usually affect the legs but can also affect the arms, and torso. Some people describe the sensations as aching, creeping, crawling, or prickling. Symptoms usually begin about 15 minutes after you lie down to sleep or to relax or when you have not moved for long periods, such as when traveling in a car or airplane. Symptoms that occur frequently can result in significant sleep loss, fatigue and problems with daily functioning.

We found this very interesting and thought that it would be easy to test, to see if it might explain the bed shaking. The fatigue we though may explain the feelings of being oppressed, but we wanted to reassure the family’s concerns about demons, so we enlisted the help of a friend and fellow invetisgator Andrew Grahm to help with the investigation. Andrew is the founder of the New Hampshire based paranormal group N.E.A.R. NH – (http://nearnh.com/ ) and has an extensive background in Demonology.

On the night of the investigation we set up our video and audio recorders throughout the house and with most of the activity happening in Roxy’s bedroom, we paid special attention to it. We always do an EMF sweep to look for anything that could cause issues and we found a strange magnetic field around the bed. We couldn’t find a cause, but becaue it wasn’t electrical in nature we didn’t think it would have a negative affect on her. But we found it very interesting. We did EVP sessions in every room of the home and Andrew did his own investigation to check for demonic signs. Around 10:30 we had Roxy lay down on her bed and act as if she was going to bed for the night. Mike Baker built an accelerometer to place on the bed to track any strange movement, so we placed that at the foot of the bed. We then left her alone in the room and watched her on camera to see what happened. After about 20 minutes Roxy told us that it was starting to shake, but the accelerometer didn’t register it. We wondered if there was an issue with the accelerometer so we had one of our team, Laura, go in and lay on the end of the bed while Roxy settled back down as if she was going to sleep again. The same thing happened, after a while she said it was starting to shake, but Laura couldn’t feel it, confirming that the accelerometer was workng properly.

After we reviewed the recordings and cosulted with Andrew we had no paranoral activity to report, but we were able to reassure them that the issues weren’t demonic or paranormal. We also recomended that Roxy contact her doctor to see if the sideffects of her medications could be causing her issues.

05/22/14

Albania…

One thing that I enjoy as a paranormal investigator is meeting people. Most of the people we’ve meet have genuine concerns and for the most part are basing those concerns on things like pop culture, TV , books, and even the media. But once in a while we meet people who’s beliefs are based in their culture. Last summer we received a call from a family in Hyde Park that had emigrated from Albania in search of a better, more stable life. Not knowing much about Albania, we did some research.

This is a brief overview. Albania is situated on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, with Montenegro and Serbia to the north, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. Slightly larger than Maryland, Albania is composed of two major regions: a mountainous highland region (north, east, and south) constituting 70% of the land area, and a western coastal lowland region that contains nearly all of the country’s agricultural land and is the most densely populated part of Albania. Largely agricultural, Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. The government in Albania been in turmoil for years, shifting from Communism to Socialism to Democracy, all wrought with corruption. The most common religions practiced in Albania are Islam and Christianity, but there is a mixture of various religious traditions and pagan traditions coming from the time before Christianity and Islam. It is common for people of Albania to believe in witchcraft and evil spirits and to use talismans for protection against such things. After learning a little about the family’s culture and beliefs we proceeded with the interview and walk through of their home.

The oldest of two daughters (around 35) contacted us with a concern that there was an evil spirit in their home. I will call her Angela (not her real name). She shared the home with her mother, father and younger sister. They were some of the politest people we’ve met and warmly welcomed us into their home. The parents spoke very little English and relied on the daughters to translate. We found out that Angela was feeling like the energy was being sucked out of her while she was at home, mostly in her room. She told us that she only wanted to sleep while in there and had a hard time getting up at all, but once she was out of the house she felt better and had more energy. The mother believed that there was a spirit of a soldier in the home and he had appeared to her. She felt that he had been a previous owner of the house. The younger sister hadn’t experienced anything herself, but was petrified by the thoughts of a spirit being in their home. The father didn’t really believe but was very concerned about Angela’s issues. We set up a date to come back with our equipment.

The night of the investigation we set up video and audio and did an EMF sweep of the home. We focused on Angela’s bed room, looking for anything out of the ordinary that could cause her energy to be drained. After spending a few minutes in there we all developed a headache. The room had a strange feel to it, almost like a strange pressure. We did exstensive EMF testing in there and found no high readings, but still felt as though it was something environmental that was affecting us and Angela for that matter. We did several EVP sessions in the different parts of the house, and had one interesting thing happen. I was asking questions in the younger sisters room and our EMF detector was on. I asked the question” Did you own this house?” and the meters reading climbed several points. As I noticed this I asked more questions about the owning the home and whether or not they built it and the reading stayed high. I then asked a random question about fishing and the meter dropped back to its original reading. Later when we reviewed the audio there weren’t any answers to our questions to help validate the readings, so was this evidence or a coincidence? We’ll never know for sure, so we’ll call it interesting. We found nothing paranormal to report and nothing out of the ordinary, other than our reactions to being in Angela’s room. We made the suggestion for the family to install carbon monoxide detectors and also to do a mold test and more air quality testing too. We also recomended that Angela sleep in another room and spend as litlle time as possible in her room for a week to see if the issues subsided.

We checked back after a couple weeks and Angella reported very little change in her energy level after sleeping in a different room for a week and still felt lousey. Her mother had suggested that she see her doctor to see if it was a medical issue. Her father had installed the CO detectors and was waiting for the results of the mold test.

05/22/14

Living Next to Woodlawn Cemetery

A few Years ago around Halloween, a family in Everett, MA contacted us with concerns about their daughter. Whenever someone calls with concerns about a child we take it very serious and put top priority on the case so we rushed out to do an interview and walk through The mother was in her early 20’s and her daughter was around 4 years old. They lived with the mother’s boyfriend in the upstairs apartment of a two family home. In the down stairs apartment live the grand parents and the mother’s younger sister.The house was located in a nice, quiet neighborhood that bordered the Woodlawn Cemetery. When we arrived, we noticed they had decorated for Halloween and even had a little grave yard set up in the front yard. We were met by the family and several neighbors and invited into the grand parents apartment. The mother of the little girl told us that her daughter had been talking to someone in her bedroom and seeing shadows. At one point she had pointed out of an upstairs window at the little grave yard and said “That’s where we’re going !” The mother was extremely concerned and we couldn’t blame her. She felt that being located next to that cemetery that they were being visited by spirits, and that they were affecting her daughter. But as the interview continued, we heard story after story from all the people that were there of paranormal experiences from their pasts. The interview took on an almost party atmosphere.The grand father told stories of manifestations from when he lived in another town, the grand mother saw shadow figures in the house as she was falling asleep. One neighbor saw apartitians and glowing lights in the cemetery from her bedroom window. They had so many stories that it was almost over whelming, One of our members asked if they watched the TV shows and the whole conversation turned to what episode was just on, where they were going next, and what show they liked the best. We just sat and took it all in while the mother sat, not saying a lot and looking upset. There was a break in the conversation, so we asked to see the upstairs apartment and the daughter took us up. We got a few minutes alone with her and she began to tell us that her daughter spent a lot of time around the other family members and that they spoke freely in front of her about spirits, hauntings and the TV shows. At age 4 she knew more about the TV shows than I did. They had very little furniture, not too much as far as decorations on the walls and there wasn’t much in the kitchen for plates,utensils or even food. From looking around the place and talking to the mother, we realized that they didn’t spend much time up there. It was obvious that they spent most of their time down stairs and only slept up there. Even though we didn’t feel that anything was going on, we agreed to come back and do an investigation. We did have to make sure that the rest of the family wouldn’t be home, so one of the neighbors agreed to have them all over the night of the investigation and have a party. We set up audio and video both upstairs and down. Between all the video and all the audio, we had close to a hundred hours of recordings to review. We had a few strange noises that we couldn’t identify from the downstairs and a couple bangs upstairs, but nothing that we could label paranormal. After discussing this case among the members of the group, we came to the conclusion that the adults were affected by living next to the cemetery and the child was reacting to all the paranormal optimism of the adults. Unfortunately children emulate their environment and that in our opinion was the case here.

05/9/14

Look a Mouse – EEEEEEEKK !!!!!!

You can probably already tell how this one ended…. We received a call from a family in Billerica, MA with claims of activity in their home. After talking with one of our members we thought we should have a look and get more details from the family. The mother greeted us at the door and invited us into their living room. She started right in telling us all her claims and it became apparent that she was the one who believed there was activity in their house. Her boyfriend, who was also present barely said a word. When he did speak, he said that he didn’t really think anything was going on, but with some of the things that had happened he was starting to wonder. One thing we did find out was, they’re big fans of the TV shows and had even bought a “Ghost Hunting Kit”on the internet. The woman was convinced that they had a ghost in their home, and wasn’t going to listen to any explanations or debunking of the activity. She told how they would find things spilled on their kitchen counter and the cupboard doors open in the morning when they woke up. She also told of how their keys and cell phones would disappear from where they left them and always be found in the same spot, which was down inside a recliner in the living room. She then told how she was fondled in the shower, which she demonstrated on one of our members, Calvin much to his chagrin.( I don’t think he’s recovered from it to this day !) We listened to the rest of her claims and then asked if we could look around the rest of the house. I went to the basement and found the back door wide open. There was no screen door so anything could have walked right in. We looked for any high EMF sources or anything else that could cause anything out of the ordinary, which we found nothing. But, when we did go back up to the living room to talk with the people, one of our members noticed a set of keys and a cell phone on the back of the recliner where all the items were found. I was standing so that I could see into the kitchen while we were talking and something drew my eye to the counter. A mouse ran from one end to the other and ducked behind some clutter that was there. I spoke up and said something about it to the lady, and she was appalled and insulted, claiming there was no mouse in her kitchen! We also pointed out the keys and phone that were on the recliner, and that could be the reason that stuff was found in the chair and she was adamant that they never leave stuff there. Later that evening we got together and discussed the interview. We couldn’t explain the fondling in the shower, but from talking with the woman and what we saw, we came to the conclusion that she needed to stop watching the TV shows and either get a cat or call an exterminator!

05/6/14

“Vultures Who Prey on the Bereaved.”

I have always been fascinated by Ehrich Weisz. Who you ask? The Great Harry Houdini that’s who! We all know the name and it instantly conjures visions of straight jackets, hand cuffs, or of the Milk Can Escape also known as the “Chinese Water Torture” trick. There are numerous articles, books and even movies that taut his magic acts and abilities, but what I think of when I hear the name Harry Houdini is Spiritualism.
The 1920’s in America is often thought of as “The Roaring 20’s” and of us think of jazz music, prohibition, speak easys, and gangsters, but what about the Spiritualist Movement? People from around the world were reeling from losing an estimated 15 million people in the World War One and 21 million more to the Spanish-flu pandemic and they were searching for ways to connect with the dead. It was in this era that so called “Spirit Guides” emerged to help the bereaved contact their loved ones who had passed. The media of the time wrote glowing reviews and highly dramatized accounts of communication with people’s departed loved ones, and the people believed! If it was written in news papers it had to be real! It seemed as though the more famous they were, the more they charged. (Sound Familiar?)
In 1913 Houdini’s mother Cecilia, passed on and Harry was so distraught that he hadn’t been there at the end, that he consulted spiritualists in an attempt to communicate with her spirit. Harry soon realized that these so-called spiritualists were con-artists. While traveling the country and the world for that matter, Houdini met scores of mediums and witnessed 100’s of seances only to come away upset at what he knew was fraud. Houdini at one point even proclaimed that these people were “Vultures Who Prey on the Bereaved!”
With Harry’s back ground in illusions, he set out to figure out how the Mediums and Psychics tricked the public, which he did. Houdini then aligned himself with O.D. Munn, editor of Scientific American. Scientific American offered $2,500 to anyone who could prove that they had psychic powers. In the summer of 1924, Houdini targeted Mina Crandon of Boston. Followers called her “Margery”, non believers knew her as the ” Blonde Witch of Lime Street”. She was renowned for conjuring the voice of her dead brother, Walter, whose spirit rapped out messages, tipped tables, and even sounded trumpets. Walter was unfriendly, answering questions and quoting scripture in a gruff disembodied voice. Margery, by contrast, was charming and attractive—at least when she wasn’t showing off her most convincing psychic talent: extruding a slithery, viscous substance called “ectoplasm” from her orifices. Photos show this otherworldly substance flowing from her nose and ears, but mostly it emerged from beneath a sheer kimono like a string of entrails—an “ectomorphic hand” that Walter used to carry out his commands.
A panel from Scientific America visited Margery and was all but convinced that she was the real deal . When Houdini learned the committee was prepared to endorse Margery, he was outraged. Having already exposed the tricks of other celebrity mediums, Houdini was sure the committee was about to be fooled, so he canceled his shows and headed for Boston.
Margery met with Houdini and the panel from Scientific American for a séance and she took her seat infront of a three-sided Chinese screen. Soon the lights dimmed and an eerie whistling filled the room. Then the spirit of Walter whispered his arrival, even touching Houdini on the inside of his right leg. After a break, Houdini ordered an electric bell enclosed in a wooden box brought to his feet. Then Walter levitated a megaphone and boomed: “Have Houdini tell me where to throw it”.“Toward me,” Houdini said, and the megaphone flew through the air and landed in front of him. That was just the beginning. Throughout the evening, Walter produced a sequence of spectacles, ringing the bell box on command and tipping over the wooden screen. Houdini had done his homework. He knew that Dr. Le Roi Crandon, Margery’s husband, always sat on her right. He was a Harvard-educated surgeon and her promoter. Houdini also guessed correctly that he would be seated on her left in the circle, with hands joined, feet and legs touching. In anticipation to the séance, Houdini wore a tight bandage under his right knee the entire day leading up to the show. It had been so tight and was so painful that it made his skin tender to even the slightest touch. The sensitivity paid off. He could feel Margery twist and flex in the dark as she moved her left ankle slightly to get to the bell box under the table. Later, he felt her shift again to tip the Chinese screen with her foot. The flying megaphone stumped Houdini for a few hours, but he eventually figured out that Margery had placed it on her head, dunce-cap-style, with a momentarily free hand. She then jerked her head in his direction to send it crashing to the floor.“I’ve got her,” he said when the evening was over. “All fraud. Every bit of it. One more sitting and I will be ready to expose everything.”
A second séance at a Boston hotel featured a levitating table. Houdini reached out in the dark and found Margery’s head lifting the table from beneath. He again felt her legs move as she reached to ring the bell box. “The slickest ruse I ever detected,” Houdini said later, in something close to admiration. But when he announced his findings to the committee, he was asked to hold off on a public denunciation. The committee was conflicted. When it refused to award the prize after several additional séances, the Spiritualists became enraged—as did the spirit. “Houdini, you goddamned son of a bitch,” Walter roared. “I put a curse on you now that will follow you every day for the rest of your short life.” No Matter what Houdini said 1/2 of the panel was still firmly under Margery’s seductive spell and continued to report that she had supernatural powers. In October, Scientific American published an article that described the committee as hopelessly divided.
The dithering angered Houdini. In November, he published a pamphlet called Houdini Exposes the Tricks Used by the Boston Medium “Margery,” complete with drawings of how she produced her manifestations. “She certainly was clever in her maneuvering to pull the wool over the eyes of the committeemen,” he said, admitting the ingenuity of her techniques as he debunked her show. Houdini’s pamphlet humiliated Margery, but he wasn’t done yet: The “scourge of Spiritualism” wanted to make the religion disappear. But the spiritualist caught on and eventually banned Houdini from their shows. Imagine that?

04/22/14

The Old Hag Strikes !

” The Old Hag Syndrome” is something we’re hearing a lot about lately. I’m not saying that its not paranormal, but from our experience it seems to be sleep paralysis. The following is an excerpt from an article I read on WEB MD’s website:

“What is Sleep Paralysis:

Sleep researchers conclude that, in most cases, sleep paralysis is simply a sign that your body is not moving smoothly through the stages of sleep. Rarely is sleep paralysis linked to deep underlying psychiatric problems. Over the centuries, symptoms of sleep paralysis have been described in many ways and often attributed to an “evil” presence: unseen night demons in ancient times, the old hag in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and alien abductors. Almost every culture throughout history has had stories of shadowy evil creatures that terrify helpless humans at night. People have long sought explanations for this mysterious sleep-time paralysis and the accompanying feelings of terror.”
“Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. Sleep paralysis may accompany other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is an overpowering need to sleep caused by a problem with the brain’s ability to regulate sleep. Sleep paralysis usually occurs at one of two times. If it occurs while you are falling asleep, it’s called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it happens as you are waking up, it’s called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis.As you fall asleep, your body slowly relaxes. Usually you become less aware, so you do not notice the change. However, if you remain or become aware while falling asleep, you may notice that you cannot move or speak.During sleep, your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. One cycle of REM and NREM sleep lasts about 90 minutes. NREM sleep occurs first and takes up to 75% of your overall sleep time. During NREM sleep, your body relaxes and restores itself. At the end of NREM, your sleep shifts to REM. Your eyes move quickly and dreams occur, but the rest of your body remains very relaxed. Your muscles are “turned off” during REM sleep. If you become aware before the REM cycle has finished, you may notice that you cannot move or speak.”

In our research we have noted that some people who have had issues with the “Old Hag” have also had extreme high EMF readings near the head of their bed. We had a family in Haverhill, MA report that their daughter was waking up and telling of being visited by something every night just as she went to bed. We placed an emf detector on her pillow and it spiked. We looked at the out side of the house and found that the power lines from the street connected to the side of the house right next to her room and right by where the head board of her bed was. We had them move her bed and the claims stopped. Another family had similar claims and we traced a high EMF source to their alarm clocks. If you have an older alarm clock and have similar issues, either replace it or move it away from the head of your bed, It might help. Also see the”Refrigerator Proximation” post for another instance.

04/9/14

The Lady in Black

 

I know you like ghosts, but,do you like Civil War history? Do you like forts? How about a nice boat ride in Boston Harbor? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to check out Fort Warren. Its located on Georges Island at the entrance of Boston Harbor, which is operated by the Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.

 

Check out: http://www.bostonharborislands.org for more information and how to get there.

 

My wife and I go every year and end up finding something new every time. We haven’t seen the lady in black yet, but we have heard an eerie harmonica playing from a chimney located on top of the wall, way in the back of the fort. The Lady in Black is supposedly an apparition on George’s Island, a young woman in black robes that wanders about the grounds. She is believed to be Mrs. Andrew Lanier, wife of a Confederate soldier that was imprisoned there in 1861. Edward Rowe Snow, a 20th century local historian, had popularized the myth, and the following is his version of the story:

“Mrs. Lanier received a letter from her husband that he had been imprisoned at Fort Warren. She was compelled to free him, making an epic journey from Georgia to Hull, Massachusetts and the home of a Confederate sympathizer. Hull is only about a mile away from George’s Island. Mrs. Lanier systematically observed the fort with a spy-glass, and on a stormy night in January 1862, had rowed across to George’s Island and went ashore. She cut her hair short and dressed as a man, and brought with her an old pistol and small pick-axe. She made her way to the dungeon cells, and from outside the fort signaled to her husband by whistling an obscure southern tune, to which he signaled back. Mrs. Lanier was able to squeeze through the slit-window of his cell, and was then hidden by the Confederate soldiers. With the use of the pick-axe, the soldiers contrived to tunnel to the center of the fort, and then overtake the guards and obtain weapons. The tunnel took several weeks to dig, and on the eve of finishing the tunnel, a sharp blow of the pick had alerted a guard. The alarm was sounded, and the tunnel quickly discovered. As each of the Confederate soldiers was removed from the tunnel, a tally was taken. When all the prisoners were accounted for, Mrs. Lanier was to spring from the tunnel and capture a Union officer with the old pistol. Mrs. Lanier succeeded in surprising the officer, but he slapped the pistol from her hand. The pistol went off and the bullet struck and killed her husband. As punishment for her deeds, Mrs. Lanier was condemned to death by hanging. Her final request was to be given female clothing, and a search of the fort produced nothing but some old black robes. She was executed in these robes and buried on George’s Island.”

So if you dare to explore the Fort Warren keep your eyes and ears open you never know what may be waiting for you…

fort2

04/8/14

Show Me The Money !

I’ve thought a lot about the paranormal world lately. It makes me sad and sometimes angry to see all the scams that are going on.  Are we our own worst enemy? Have we allowed ourselves to be sucked in to the hype? TV shows tell us that there is activity everywhere and that you too could be experiencing phenomena. Gee, isn’t it funny how a certain paranormal TV show used to air episodes where they would debunk the claims and rarely find anything worth mentioning in their first season, but now they find multiple pieces of evidence every episode. Would it have anything to do with ratings (which equates to money), Hmm???  Or how about psychic’s? They are telling anyone who is willing to buy what they are selling, that they can communicate with late Aunt Pearl, all for the measly sum of $200.00 an hour. Its no wonder that a certain psychic who has a popular TV show, lives on Long Island and drives a Land Rover, Hmm? Or how about the  guy and his wife who bought a money pit of an old Victorian mansion in central MA and  charge admission to investigate their home. People line up with money in hand, waiting to get in and snap their very own picture of a full body apparition. Well at least that’s what the last TV show they were on said. Funny how that TV show was shot in Canada and not MA, Hmm??? Or how about the Hotel on the Cape that claims to have activity in a certain guest room. The story has it that the original owner was a sea captain. One day he sailed off only to never return and his wife’s ghost waits for him in that room to this day. Funny how that room number changes every time you call for a reservation.

I find it amazing that the haunted room is always available! It’s really nice that they quote you a special discounted rate too, funny how its $10.00 more than the sign in the lobby says, Hmm???  My favorite of all is the multi-million dollar Ghost Hunting Equipment Industry. There’s a multitude of boxes sold today that use electronics to allow a ghost or spirit to communicate with you. Funny how a spirit that passed away 50 years ago can manipulate today’s electronics. I’d be surprised if they could even turn on a TV.

Technology and science are advancing at a tremendous rate.  We are living in a society that is highly educated, but we are ALL susceptible to being scammed. I suppose if we want to believe bad enough, the wool can be pulled over our eyes. I must admit, I have been scammed! I believed! I spent my hard earned money! But hopefully I have learned something along the way. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I’ve got a box full of old ghost hunting equipment for sale, if you know anybody?

My real reason for writing this is to challenge everyone to be skeptical, and have fun with your paranormal research. That’s what Ghost Hunting really should be,  FUN! I do believe there is something to all of this, and hopefully someday, someone will figure it out!

03/30/14

No…Really we’ve got Ghosts !

A nice lady contacted us a while back who was having some experiences. Three of us went to her home for a walk through and interview. She was very nice, but so hyper that we had a hard time following her descriptions of the activity in her home. She spoke very fast and would jump from subject to another  in one breath. She didn’t sit still either, she would get up and walk around  and  then sit down again. From what we could follow she was seeing things, hearing noises, and lights were turning on and off in the attic. While interviewing her, we found out that she was recovering from brain cancer. She spoke freely and told us that some of the meds that she was taking would make her hyper to the point that she would need to take double the prescribed amount of sleeping pills every night so she could sleep.  Her husband wasn’t there to interview, but we were told that he wasn’t having experiences and didn’t believe there was anything going on either.

Her 3 children on the other hand were. They told us how a tennis ball flew from a bedroom across the living room at one of the boys and the girl woke up with scratches and bruises. While we were there the children were playing really rough. They were wrestling and punching each other and at times would throw stuff at each other. Needless to say it was a three ring circus in their house. We were able to get the kids to sit down for a bit and talk to us. We found out that they watched all the paranormal tv shows and could name all the characters and episodes. They were obsessed with it.

We went back to do a formal investigation and weren’t able to capture any evidence for them. From what we saw when we interviewed them, and experienced at the investigation, we were pretty sure there wasn’t anything going on. We felt that with the mothers issues she was jumping to conclusions, and with the kids’ fascination with the tv show’s we felt that there was some wishful thinking going on. We explained our findings but, no matter what we reported they still believed.

03/28/14

Boston Fire

The members of Para-Boston would like to express our sympathy and condolences to the families of  Lt. Edward J. Walsh and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy of the Boston Fire Dept. They are true heroes who gave their lives Wednesday March 26 2014 in a horrific 9 alarm fire in Boston. There were 13 other firefighters injured, some of which spent quite some time hospitalized. Amazingly, these heroes saved all of the people who were in the building when the fire broke out. We would also like to express our gratitude to all the dedicated and hardworking fire fighters who protect all of our  communities!

With all the press coverage of the tragedy this week I couldn’t help thinking back to a case we worked on a few years ago. A young woman and her fire fighter husband called us with concerns about their baby. It seemed that the baby was normal and happy but she would awake every night shortly after being put to bed. She would scream and cry until her mother would take her out of her bedroom and no matter how many times she put her back the baby would scream. The mother spent a lot of nights home alone with the baby. Her husband worked 4 days on duty and then 3 off. I think that she had watched the paranormal llTV shows and would get nervous with every little sound when she was alone. We set up for our investigation and had a strange experience right away.

The home was a two family house and we had access to the upstairs apartment. We had all the equipment set up and were about to begin when one of the investigators said that they wanted to put an audio recorder up in the attic. My wife and I hadn’t seen the up stairs so we went with Scott our founder up there with the recorder and to check the place out.We had to go out the back door of the home and climb the stairs to get to the upstairs apartment. When we came back the door was locked, both the regular lock and the dead bolt. We thought that either the owner locked the door or somebody was playing a joke on us. The problem was, the woman never left the area that we had set up as a base station, and no one from our group had done it either. Very interesting…We then broke up into groups and spread ourselves out around the house.

We usually sit quietly for 20 -30  minutes when we first start to let the home settle and to listen for noises. My wife and I had chosen the baby’s room and were just sitting there when we both realized that our ears were ringing. It was awful and after about 15 minutes in there we could hardly stand it and had to leave the room. We got our other members to go in and see what they said after they tried it. They had the same experience. We then brought the baby’s mother in and she was astounded. It was so bad that it was no wonder the poor baby would scream. We broke out our meters but couldn’t come up with an answer.

The parents bedroom was right next to the baby’s but the ear ringing wasn’t noticeable at all. Another thing that we found was what we called a wall of EMF. The reading was very high and was consistent in a 1 foot wide path that traveled from floor to ceiling and from the front of the house to the back. It even extended through the ceiling up into the upstairs apartment but it dropped off by the time it got to the ceiling up there. We even checked the readings outside and found that the readings stayed consistently high all the way across the street right up to a bussiness that was there. If you don’t know much about electromagnetic fields, they don’t act like this.

An emf field is usually a circular field that travels along the x y or z axis and they don’t have much of a range. It would take a tremendously strong power source to produce what we were reading. The bussiness across the street had no sign or any thing we could see to give us a clue to what they did so we were intrigued. It was an interesting night and we left the mother with our findings. We had planned on going back to do more investigation, but when we contacted the couple later in the week they had decided with all that was going on they were concerned that it wasn’t healthy to live there and decided to move. We never went back., but it’s a case  we still wonder about to this day.

03/27/14

BRRRRR! It’s Cold in Here!

boiler

In December we received a call from a super nice family from Saugus, MA. The mother, father, and son all reported some sort of activity. The daughter had no claims, but was a little nervous because of her families’ claims. One of the mother’s claims was being pushed off the edge of her bed while she had the flue. The son had claimed to see an apparition out of the corner of his eye while watching TV in the living room. The father reported being pushed while climbing up the stairs from the basement.

We arrived for the investigation and toured the home. The first thing that we noticed was the ceiling in the kitchen was pulled down. It seems that they had a major leak in the upstairs bathroom and it ruined the ceiling. We noticed some black discoloration on the joists and with closer inspection it appeared to be mold. The living room, where the son saw the apparition, had by-fold doors that were mirrored and allowed you to see out into the kitchen. We noticed a slight buzzing noise that was hard to locate. With an emf detector, we found the buzzing. It was a dimmer switch in the hallway that was defective and emitting high levels of EMF. The family was used to the sound and didn’t pay any attention to it. We then went to the basement and while looking around we noticed a fairly new gas furnace. Once we looked a little closer we noticed a hole about the size of a dime in the flu pipe. Our first thought was to get the groups carbon monoxide detector and test the basement. It went off as soon as we got close to the furnace.

The mold in the ceiling could have caused or contributed to the mother’s flue symptoms. Having been really sick at one or two times in my life myself, I can see someone feeling unstable and falling as they get out of bed. Reflections in the mirrored doors could have looked like an apparition. The carbon monoxide could have made the dad dizzy as he climbed the stairs and fall. The bad dimmer switch could have burned the house down. The daughter being scarred….well if your whole family watched the Paranormal TV shows and said that things were happening in your house, wouldn’t you be nervous too? Sometimes the claims or causes of presumed paranormal activity are explainable, but it may be tough to see when you’re too close to the situation, it may take an outsider to see the obvious.

I’m not trying to tell you that we have all the answers or that there wasn’t activity going on in their home. All I’m telling you is what we found and pointed out to the family. Hopefully it helped them.

03/24/14

NO! NOT MY BABY!?

We received a call from a young couple in Rhode Island last week with claims of activity in their new apartment. The mother was distraught, feeling that her 2 year old son was seeing and talking to some sort of spirit, plus there were strange noises and things being moved around their apartment. She was convinced that something was after her baby. Also, there were claims of rancid smells in the living room and a heaviness that would come and go.  After the initial phone interview with the mother, we decided that we should make it the utmost priority to get down there and see what we could do to help. Anytime there is a child involved in a case, it becomes a top priority. We met with the couple in the living room of their apartment and tried to get a general feel for the place. We found out that they had only been there about a month and they had only recently settled in.

From the looks of the place it had just been remodeled and looked to be in great shape. We then checked the home for high emf and carbon monoxide, of which neither was an issue. We did note that there was still a faint new paint smell. We also noticed that the apartment buildings dumpsters were located fairly close to the windows in the living room. The weather is warming up, with temperatures getting up to the mid 50’s some days so we wondered about the dumpsters. The heaviness could be from the paint smell.

The child’s actions are hard to explain without spending large amounts of time with him. What we were able to do though, was to talk with the couple and get them to start thinking about debunking the claims themselves. We explained common causes for things that might look paranormal at first, but have rational explanations. After spending 45 minutes with them I think that they were feeling better and even had some idea’s of their own. We weren’t able to disprove or explain all of their claims so we suggested that they keep a journal of any thing that they couldn’t explain. This case is still pending and we will check back with them in a week or so to make sure they care ok.

I find it interesting the amount of discussion that has arisen lately concerning children and their ability to see and talk to spirits. I wonder if there will ever be a definitive way of discovering whether they can or not. I know that any mother would be horified by the thoughts of something unseen attacking their child, so if we can only find the answer to one question I hope it would be this one.

03/11/14

Evil Does Exist

I believe that we witnessed evil in an investigation in Boston a few years ago. A man named Tony lived in a low income housing project and called us with claims of hearing voices and noises from the other rooms in his apartment. Sometimes it would say things like “Get Out!” or just whisper things that he couldn’t understand. He also told about hearing things being moved in the kitchen, but by the time he got there, everything was quiet. Also there were claims of weird shadows on a wall in the living room and noises coming from the upstairs apartment when nobody was there. He was upset and afraid and was looking for help.

Tony was a nice enough guy, but he had some severe psychological issues. We weren’t sure what they were, but paranoia definitely was one of them. We talked with him on several occasions leading up to the investigation and he always spoke about his friend, Adam and that he could corroborate all of his claims. We scheduled the investigation and asked Tony if Adam could also be there. We arrived and set up audio and video to record all the rooms in his apartment.

While the set up was taking place we spoke with Adam to get his opinion on the claims. He was a smooth talker and was very slick, but not that slick. There were holes in his stories and he would scramble to come up with a lame reason or excuses to explain things. As the night went on it became apparent the claims were Adam’s not Tony’s. When we would ask a question about clarifying something, Tony would ask Adam to elaborate because he either didn’t know or wasn’t sure what had happened. As we interviewed Adam throughout the night, we started to see that he had an agenda. He never came out and said it, but it became apparent that he wanted Tony’s apartment and by scaring him out of his wits with all the paranormal claims, he figured he could get him to leave and he would slide himself right in there.

Part of Adam’s story was that he had recently moved into a nearby apartment. The apartment belonged to an 80 year old lady and he was sleeping on her couch. Adam even bragged that he had convinced her that she shouldn’t be alone and even convinced her to make him her medical Proxy. We all came to the same conclusion that Adam was preying on Tony and the old lady too. Needless to say that we found nothing to report for evidence. We tried to explain away the paranormal claims for Tony, but he was convinced that Adam was his friend and all these things were real. We haven’t yet witnessed “EVIL” in the form of Paranormal Activity, but I truly believe that evil does exist even if its only in the living.

03/9/14

Grief – An Investigation Into a Mother’s Love

In the Spring of 2011 our team was contacted by a family from Springfield, MA. We don’t usually get calls for investigations of private residences from over a 100 miles away, but when this one came in we felt the need to go right away. A year prior to the call the family’s teenage son who was autistic had passed on. They felt that the spirit of the child had not passed over and was still hanging on to the family. In actuality the mother was convinced of the presence.

The husband and son, who did not believe in hauntings or ghosts only tolerated her claims because of her profound grief. When we arrived at the home for the investigation the mother showed us in and retold the story of her son’s death and showed us his Urn that she had in the living room.

She then showed us his room, and upon entering we realized that it was set up as a shrine to  her son. When he was alive they had a fan running and a TV on at all times to help him feel calm and relaxed. The TV and the fan were still on over a year later, the mother felt that he was still there and needed them on. She also explained that she would put his urn in his bedroom every night when it was his bed time. She had claims of visions of things in mirrors and would see shadows and images on a wall in the hallway outside his room. We set up audio, video and did some EVP sessions in which nothing was found .This saddened us because she was so desperate for proof that he was still there.

I think that we all left that night with the same sad feeling that this woman was suffering. The loss and the belief that her son’s spirit was still there was her only way of dealing with it. This investigation made such an impression on me that I still feel for this woman all these years later.

Food for thought….Many people believe that a person’s spirit or soul passes over to another realm or lets say Heaven. Is it possible that a mother’s love could be so powerful that it could hold them back?

03/8/14

The Refrigerator Proximation

We received a call from a family in Worcester, Ma who’s son was having issues almost every night. Specifically he was having dream like visitations that they thought to be spirits. Sometimes they would be pleasant others horrifying. We went for a walk through and interview and the son told us of a particularly disturbing event where some demon like entity was sitting on his chest with its hands around his neck and he couldn’t move or make a sound.

What he was describing sounded like a typical case of sleep paralysis. While he was telling his story we asked to see his bedroom which was located next to the kitchen. Upon entering his room we noted that the headboard of his bed was on the same wall as the refrigerator, basically his head was right next to the refrigerator. I placed my EMF detector on his pillow and it read very low I believe around .01MG. After several minutes the refrigerator kicked on and the meter spiked, as a mater of fact it went so high that the digital display just flashed dashes. Needless to say we recommended moving his bed.

We at this point scheduled an investigation for the following weekend. The client called us and cancelled later in the week telling us that after the bed was moved he slept very well and had no more dreams….Hmm.

03/8/14

Television

We were contacted by a 16 year old girl from Lynn, Massachusetts who was afraid to be in her home alone. Our first question to her was” Are your parents OK with you contacting us?” To make a long story short, her mother was fine with it and we went to their home to interview the family and do a walk through of the residence. After talking with the mother and daughter, we found that the mother worked third shift and the daughter spent most of her time by herself while her mother was sleeping.

The mother went on and on during the interview about all sorts of activity in the home and how she has several friends who are psychic. These friends had been to their home on several occasions told them that there were spirits in the home and that they followed the daughter around.

During the interview the daughter would hardly answer any questions and seemed really shy, which made us wonder how she had come to contact us. At this point we decided to schedule an investigation for later that month. In the meantime I started e-mailing the daughter to see if we could get her to open up. She did, and we found out that her mother was obsessed with hauntings and spirits. She also told us that she watched all the paranormal tv shows by herself and thought that they were real.

After e-mailing with the daughter for a few weeks and better explaining things about the tv shows and hauntings in general, she began to gain some courage and feel better. TV… isn’t it GREAT?!

03/7/14

Triple Homicide House

We were contacted by a woman who had recently purchased this home. The issue with the home was that it was the scene of a triple homicide before the sale. The criminal investigation is not complete at this time, therefore we don’t feel as though we should elaborate on the crime or any of the circumstances involved with the case. The client though, had full disclosure and purchased the house a greatly reduced rate.

Unfortunately television shows and superstitions that friends and family had been talking about started to weigh on the woman and she became uneasy and felt creepy being in the home. We did a thorough investigation including video, audio recordings, EMF sweep and inspection of any area’s of concern.

We found no signs of activity or any environmental issues that could cause any problems. Our group members who were present for this investigation did agree on one thing, just knowing what went on in this home was enough to give anyone the creeps!