Ghost Hunting Tales: Haunted

Posted in Investigations on July 23, 2021 by Occult Detective

haunt·ed/ˈhôn(t)əd/ adjective: haunted

  1. (of a place) frequented by a ghost.
    “it looked like a classic haunted mansion”
  2. having or showing signs of mental anguish or torment.
    “the hollow cheeks, the haunted eyes”

We’re all haunted, in one way or another. It’s called being human. We make mistakes, have errors in judgement, or just plain can’t get out of our own heads to see what’s right in front of us. Being able to forgive the foibles of our own humanity is one of the more difficult tasks we’re saddled with in this turn as material beings.

It becomes doubly so when we put our ourselves “out there” in the public eye.

When we take that leap, we invite people to come to us with their problems, and sometimes, if they catch us at the wrong moment, or we’re preoccupied, we miss the signs, or ignore them. Sometimes, maybe, we’re afraid to get involved. Regardless, it inevitably happens, once you’ve hung that shingle, that you’ll let someone down.

Who knows? Maybe you couldn’t have helped in the end. But that you didn’t try, well, that’s when the haunting sets in. And those are the sorts of ghosts that are the hardest to exorcise.

Case in point, without naming names or locations, I was once approached by a woman at a book signing. She was roughly my age. Her attractiveness was buried beneath a haggard look: sunken and downcast eyes, pallid complexion. This was a woman who had been experiencing many a sleepless night.

She purchased a book and waited patiently as I signed it. She seemed nervous. I always try to engage folks at my table, but she was reticent. I thanked her, sliding the horror novel across to her with a smile. She did not return it. Instead, she asked me a question, solemnly.

“Do you perform exorcisms?”

Do I and will I are two different things, and there is a whole lot of baggage attached to an exorcism. Mental and physical health issues are a the top of the list. I am not a medical professional. Not by a long shot. I made excuses to her. I explained in detail all the reasons she should first explore more traditional avenues. She was in fear of and for her loved one, whom she believed was possessed by some sort of demonic spirit.

I gave her some well-meaning advice, but what I didn’t do is become involved. I didn’t investigate. I didn’t visit the home and the person in question.

Several weeks later, this woman’s loved one committed suicide.

Do I blame myself? No, of course not, but I am still haunted by the fact that, in the end, I did nothing. I should have, at the very least, paid a visit to her home, spoke with her loved one. I should have made some sort of assessment of the situation.

But I didn’t.

I am an occult detective. I am also human. I made a mistake in not reaching out, even marginally. Some day, I might forgive myself for it. Today is not that day.

A Wistfully Wyrd Wednesday

Posted in Wyrd on July 21, 2021 by Occult Detective

Let’s tackle the day with some bullets, shall we?

  • I re-released the Tarot Card editions of my Cairnwood Manor and Liber Monstrorum series this past week. You can find links to their amazon pages in the Occult Detective Store in the side menu. All four books are freshly edited (though far from perfect, I’m sure) and there are some new tales in First Born to account for two omissions. Gone are the comic book entries. One story in particular that was added, Printer’s Devil, was written specifically to accommodate the page count and it ended up being one of my favorites in the collection.

  • My pal Greg Mitchell (not to be confused with the spectral Outrider found in my Landon Connors stories) has a new book out — Night World. Volume 2 in his Hit Men series, Night World is available via amazon.

  • Invisible College, an Authentic Magick OSR RPG I was commissioned to do art and layout on for Well of Urd Press, is doing well. I retained the rights to all the work, so you’ll find a lot of familiar art in this, including things from Landon Connors and Wolfe & Crowe. It’s a solid game system. Some of the magick was altered by the author so as not to be construed as a legitimate grimoire resource, but if you’ve a hunger for this kind of gaming, it’s available via amazon and drivethrurpg.

  • Connor and I are working toward wrapping up the rulebook for the tabletop skirmisher Bordermen Games was tapped to develop and write for a legendary intellectual property. We’re hoping to finish the work by August 31, give or take. It’s consuming most of my time right now. Hopefully we’ll be able to share more this coming Fall.

  • This August, I’ll be posting daily as I once again take part in RPGaDay, the annual event from brainchild David Chapman (Autocratik) and Anthony Boyd (Runeslinger). Most of the posts will appear at our Bordermen Games site, but related material will drop here as well. If you’re into gaming, I suggest you follow along, or better still, take part.
  • Beginning in late September, as a part of my annual Hallowe’en celebration, I will be reviewing/discussing several of Robert E. Howard‘s occult detective tales, such as Dig Me No Grave, The Black Stone, The Haunter of the Ring, and Graveyard Rats, to name a few. I will also be revisiting #Occult30 throughout October.

  • In addition to writing reviews for Red Wheel/Weiser titles, I have recently joined the stable of reviewers for Llewellyn, so be on the lookout for my insights into some exciting new works in the paranormal and occult fields.

  • Last Writes will be returning for another season soon.


Alright, Sleuths, that’s all for today.

As always, stay Wyrd, my friends.

Tarot Tuesday: Break the Wheel

Posted in Tarot on July 20, 2021 by Occult Detective

Sometimes you must go against the wheel’s turn.
Ursula K. Le Guin


The cards were giving me fits this morning.

I had a specific query in mind, but when I drew the Seven of Pentacles Reversed I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy. In that position, the card represents a sort of chaos, that you’re being pulled in different directions and that you’re probably not focusing on the right task.

Story of my life, really.

So, I drew again, reaffirming my question.

I get the Wheel of Fortune.

What did Dio say? “Between the velvet lies there’s a truth that’s hard as steel. The vision never dies — Life’s a never ending wheel.”

Constant state of change is the hallmark of the Wheel of Fortune, and plays into the Seven of Pentacles…

So, I drew again, same question.

Six of Wands Reversed.

There’s a dark side to the interpretation of the card in this position, one that leans toward arrogance and self-importance.

One more draw, to circumvent the trinity, and perhaps codify the message I was receiving.

The Six of Cups Reversed.

Mother —!

Ah, the “you’re living in the past” card.

I debated on whether I should reveal today’s query and have decided to leave it nebulous. The real lesson here is that the cards are truth-tellers, especially when we don’t want them to be.

I knew I should have tossed the runes this morning.

Three for Thursday: Marvel Cinematic Universe Edition

Posted in Media on July 15, 2021 by Occult Detective

Long time no post. I’ve been busy, and you’ll see why very soon, but, after finishing up Loki last night, I felt it was time for me to evaluate the entirety of Marvel Cinematic output thus far. And I consider the Disney+ series to be a part of that, so let’s tackle this… from worst to first.

Captain Marvel

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 2

Black Panther

Falcon & the Winter Soldier

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Thor: The Dark World

Captain America: Civil War

Spider-man: Homecoming

Captain America: The First Avenger

The Incredible Hulk

Marvel’s The Avengers

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Infinity War

Ant-Man & the Wasp

Black Widow

Spider-man: Far From Home

Thor: Ragnarok

Iron Man


Captain America: Winter Soldier


Guardians of the Galaxy



Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Doctor Strange

I was really tempted to go deep and add all of the Marvel output, you know, the tv shows, cartoons, Sony and Fox output and the like. Let’s face it, if I did, a lot of the recent Marvel stuff would slide south. I rate the original 1978 Dr. Strange tv pilot right behind the Dr. Strange movie, and Wesley Snipes’ first Blade outing would be right on its heels, but I’ve still a mountain of things to get sorted so that will have to be a project for another day.

Ghost Hunting Tales: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Posted in Investigations on July 9, 2021 by Occult Detective

I formed the Nightstalkers in the Fall of 1983, though my interest in and investigation of the strange and unusual began far earlier.

In 1974, my friends and I had a little group called The Monster Club. We organized ourselves after The Viking Club from John Peterson’s The Secret Hide-Out, but our inspirations came from the ghost breakers and monster hunters we saw on late night tv and in the comics of the period. We also fed ourselves of a steady diet of The Three Investigators, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. I mean, we were 8 years old, for goodness sake.

In 1977 we’d formed the Converse UFO Club. When a bunch of us had tested out of math in the fifth grade we were told to put together some sort of project to occupy our time while our classmates were busy learning leaning multiplication. I convinced the dozen or so of us to study UFOs. And we did. And it was glorious.

The Nightstalkers were (and are) really just an extension of those childhood flights of fancy.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to take a walk down memory lane and display the various badges and symbols that represented my raison d’être.

You’ll notice, in the original Nightstalkers logo, a glyph from the Simon Necronomicon within the Indiana State outline. I had positioned it so the the circles corresponded with my hometown, Converse, and Shades State Park.

Symbols, glyphs, and sigils are important. they are the footprint we leave behind…

Three for Thursday: Ghost Hunter’s Delight (See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me Edition)

Posted in Investigations on July 8, 2021 by Occult Detective

Watching paranormal reality television, one would think that an investigator needs an entire van full of high-tech equipment to unlock the mysteries of a location. I’m here to tell you differently. Want to know the three most important things I use to examine the paranormal? Well, today’s your lucky day —


Let’s face it, we are tethered to our cell phones. So, if that’s our reality, then why not make it work for you? I utilize a number of apps and features during my investigations. Beyond the obvious (camera, voice recorder), being able to access google maps is a life saver, never mind having what is essentially the Akashic Records at your finger tips. I also access apps such as Haunted Maps, Law Is For All, Sono X10 Spirit Box, Elevate, Moon Phase, and numerous others.


I’ve heard them called a number of things, from witch sticks to doodlebuggers, but I’ve always had a fondness and deep respect for dowsing rods. They are the go-to tool in my investigation arsenal. I started using them as a kid, making them from old wire coat hangers, then graduated to the copper set that have been in my kit bag for nearly thirty years. If you’re tuned to them, they are invaluable. I use them to ferret out spirits, to help identify them, and to communicate. Many people intuitively can dive right into their use, but the more you use them, the more aligned with them you become.


There is no better tool than utilizing your own senses. A seasoned investigator has honed their five senses to be sensitive to their surroundings, and many develop a sixth sense, what I call a “spidey sense”, that helps to zero in on phenomena. All of your senses come into play and, to be honest, they are the only tools you need. Be quiet. Be still. Be open. That’s the secret.

I gave up any interest in capturing evidence a long, long time ago. I investigate the paranormal for the experience, to collect stories, not only my own and of my colleagues, but of the spirits and intelligences themselves.

There is no better skill to develop. Leave the tech at home. Feel the presence of the unseen forces and make real contact…

The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult vs The Paranormal Couple’s Haunted Museum

Posted in Paranormal on July 7, 2021 by Occult Detective

Social Media sort of blew up yesterday when the patreon page of “The Paranormal Couple” started to make the rounds. Why would this create a dust-up? Because it was a near copy-and-paste of Greg and Dana Newkirk’s Traveling Museum patreon.

Bad form, that.

So, who are the combatants?

Greg and Dana Newkirk, proprietors of the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & the Occult, are lecturers on all manner of so-called paranormal phenomena. They are regular guests on Travel Channel’s Kindred Spirits. And they are the creative force and producers behind a little something called Hellier. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

The “Paranormal Couple” are Cody Ray DesBiens and Satori Hawes (daughter of Ghost Hunters’ Jason Hawes). Both are investigators for The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) and have appeared on both Ghost Hunters and Ghost Nation. They too have embarked on the paranormal lecture circuit.

I do not believe the problem is in what DesBiens and Hawes are doing, per se, but more in their blatant appropriation of the Newkirk’s schtick. No one begrudges their “museum”. No one begrudges them establishing a patreon. The problem is the “single white female” vibe one gets from this. Hawes and DesBiens are showing zero amounts of creativity. It appears they’ve looked at what the Newkirks have been doing for years now and decided to emulate and approximate almost to the letter the brand that Greg and Dana have worked so hard to develop.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but this feels a lot more like DesBiens and Hawes are wearing the Newkirk’s skin-suits, Silence of the Lambs-style.

Love Is The Law

Posted in Magick, Wyrd on July 5, 2021 by Occult Detective

I hope all my American friends survived their celebration of Independence Day, and with all their digits.

I’m relaxing today with the family, ELO’s Greatest Hits adding to the general calm.

A lot on my mind, mostly related to magick and faith, two things intertwined for me but far less so for many.

There’s a struggle in the circles I move within, a cultural and subcultural war over identity, tribalism, politics, weighed down by virtue signaling and intolerance on all sides.

I try to stay out of the worst of it, but I see a day coming where a line will have to be drawn, not in the sand, but with salt.

I leave it for now, but remember, to love takes so little effort. We can sympathize and emphasize with one another, even when we disagree… All it takes is a kind of magick, a magick that lives inside each and every one of us.

Every man and woman is a star.

Ghost Hunting Tales: The Grim

Posted in Investigations on July 2, 2021 by Occult Detective

It’s funny to me to hear paranormal investigators who scoff at the thought of investigating cemeteries. There are no ghosts there, they’ll say. Their spirits have already moved on. That tells me they’ve never heard of a Grim.

A part of English and Scandinavian tradition, a Grim, or more commonly a Church Grim, was created when a new cemetery was consecrated. An animal, usually a dog (though sometimes a boar or horse would be used), would be buried alive on the grounds so that its ghost would serve as a protector of the surrounding property.

The belief was that the first person buried in a graveyard would rise to guard it against the devil’s advances. To keep this from falling on the dearly departed, a black dog would be interred first that it might serve as eternal guardian.

There are several local boneyards where activity can be attributed to a Grim, such as Jerome (near Greentown), the Indian Cemetery (near Hobbitland), or Little Pipe Creek (outside of Converse).

Little Pipe, in particular, I feel is haunted by a Human Grim. I do not believe an animal was sacrificed there to protect its inhabitants. The apparition I witnessed there seemed to come from the oldest part of the yard, and the urban legends surrounding the mysterious gate, and its perchance for assaulting men when they entered makes me think they saw men as a threat, whereas women were more readily welcome inside…

As for the nature of these sentinel spirits, removing the threat of the “devil” from the equation, one might see how a protective guardian might put people at ease. Not only was a Grim charged to defend against Old Scratch, but against grave robbers too.

So, the next time you’re in a graveyard late at night, don’t dismiss those footfalls you hear, or the growl of some unseen hound. It just might be a Grim you’re hearing. Best to not give it cause.

Three For Thursday: National Television Heritage Day

Posted in Media on July 1, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today is National Television Heritage Day, so that leads me to presenting my Top 3 Favorite Television shows of all time. Are you ready? I doubt there will be any real surprises…


“…the perfect show for those who thought
Twin Peaks was too accessible”

— Matt Roush, TV Guide


“Name another network drama that can
so wondrously turn a ? into a !”

— Entertainment Weekly


Twin Peaks disorients you in ways that
small-screen productions seldom attempt.”

—Tom Shoals, Washington Post

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