Archive for the Investigations Category

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.

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…

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.

Ghost Hunting Tales: Be Careful What You Wish For

Posted in Investigations on June 25, 2021 by Occult Detective

Just some quick, disjointed thoughts on the paranormal field, inspired by Jason Hawes and Steve Gonsalves’ live stream today promoting their return to Ghost Hunters.

One of the things many paranormal investigators have a hard time wrapping their heads around, something occultists are quite intimate with, is that spirits are “everywhere”. Spirits can be called, conjured, evoked, invoked, in all manner of ways.

What most “ghost hunters” deal with are residual “hauntings”, wherein a psychic imprint is made on a location, often due to a traumatic event. There is no intelligence behind the occurrence, no way to interact with the manifestation. Think of it as a tape loop, playing over and over again, most likely thanks to some sort of atmospheric condition that triggers the playback.

That’s certainly not to say there are not other instances wherein investigators might happen upon something else altogether. As I said, there are preternatural entities, spirits, and intelligences all around us. Sometimes we take notice of them, and they of us.

We live in the midst of invisible forces whose effects alone we perceive. We move among invisible forms whose actions we very often do not perceive at all, though we may be profoundly affected by them.” — Dion Fortune

Sometimes we are confronted with elemental spirits, poltergeist activity, “demonic or angelic” interactions, intelligent hauntings, godforms, tulpas, shadow figures, wights, or more…

That’s the danger of weekend ghost hunters out there, playing around with things they do not understand, with their electronic toys and idiot box training. Too many watch paraentertainment on the Travel Channel and think they’re experts on the paranormal.

Luckily for most, what they encounter are residual. The investigator might get a thrill, but they’re in no real danger.

An occult detective understands this. They utilize science, the occult, religion, and common sense in their investigations. Their first instinct should always be to debunk. Examine every avenue to properly categorize the situation, and deal with it appropriately.

For classification, in recent years, I’ve begun to use Streamside Software, LLC’s Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements.

As television inspires more and more people to head out into the field to investigate, professionals have to become even more diligent. Sometimes it feels like they’re bait, out there enticing various entities, making them restless. When that happens, hopefully there’s someone available to help clean up the mess.

Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana and Beyond: Tradition

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Paranormal on June 18, 2021 by Occult Detective

Not really an investigation post today, but without the subject of said post, I may never have embarked on a lifetime of investigating the paranormal, through science, faith, and magic.

I’ve talked many times about my introduction into the worlds of magic and the preternatural. That origin story explained how I had rooted around inside my great-grandmother’s belongings, after she had passed, and, along with things related to astrology, I discovered a pamphlet by Manly Palmer Hall. Unseen Forces was a huge influence on me. As I’ve told that story many times, I thought I should put a face on the woman who, inadvertently, led me down the path I’ve been on for nearly fifty years.

Pictured above, with my Great-Grandfather Jesse, who passed four years before I was born, is Eliza Jane (Williams) Arnold. This was taken in 1962. Grandma Arnold passed in 1973 at the age of 91. In ’73, I was seven. I dreamed about her often, seeing her standing in my bedroom, looking down on me.

My memories of her in life are sad ones. I have no remembrance of her ever speaking. We visited her every Sunday in the nursing home and brought her graham crackers. She would just lie there, never smiling. She sometimes squeeze your hand. My Grandma Freeman would sit and talk to her, telling her of the week’s events and the lives of characters on soap operas. I don’t recall any recognition or acknowledgement. I kissed her cheek or forehead and held her hand at the end of every visit.

I did not know her, but I wish I had. There was a wisdom etched into her withered face and hands. She was frail, trapped inside a body that would not give up the ghost. My heart ached for her.

I sometimes wonder if she is somehow cognizant of the gift she gave me, the gift of Unseen Forces. I would have loved to talk to her, to find out what she thought of Hall’s writings and philosophies. And then I remember those dreams as a child, of how she would stand over me and smile, and I think it may have been that she was communicating with me from that summerland that she had gone to.

Ghost Hunting Tales: Hell Hounds On Our Trail

Posted in Investigations on May 28, 2021 by Occult Detective


So, as you readily know, I write horror novels from time to time, and I thought I would share with you the impetus for my very first — Shadows Over Somerset, a novel about hereditary werewolves that lived in a gothic mansion overlooking the Mississinewa Reservoir.

Now, I know you’ve heard me recount its origin story from the actual writing perspective. No? Lightning version is I was recently married and out of work and my wife suggested I use the downtime to finally get off my ass and put words on paper. But why werewolves along the Mississinewa?

Well, the answer to that comes from a true story, something that happened to me and my friends one dark and moonlit night in the Autumn of 1986.

We’d gone out to Goose Creek, the site of our infamous misadventure in conjuring a preternatural entity. To our surprise, the circles were still there, baked into the roadway despite several seasons underwater. The site looked the same, with the spindly corpses of long dead trees pointing upward like accusing fingers of the damned.

To be honest, we were all on edge. The site felt wrong, you know what I mean? As we kicked around the exposed road and stared into creek waters from the edge of the expanse where the bridge once stretched across it, we sensed we were being watched. Then, one of my friends spotted something along the treeline: red, glowing eyes and dark shapes, black against black.

There must have been a half dozen, maybe as many as nine. It was hard to say for sure. It was so dark. Yes, there was a substantial moon, but it was also overcast, and the woods were thick, with a canopy of twisted limbs and branches overhead, and sparse autumn foliage still clinging here and there.

The creatures were big, low to the ground. Certainly canine. They moved silently at first, then you could hear their breathing as they became agitated. We moved slowly, eyes intent on these nocturnal predators, up the road. Our pace quickened… and then the growl came. Fierce. Aggressive. Fearsome.

Suddenly, one of our number bolted, racing up the causeway hill. The growls became a terrifying cacophony, and as these “wolves” gave chase, we all turned tail and ran with the sort of urgency reserved for those facing imminent death. At the road’s headway was a barricade put up by the DNR to keep folks from driving down the lane. We all hurdled the obstruction and dove into our vehicles, but then, looking back, there were no wolves to be seen, only the black maw of the road leading down to Goose Creek, framed by the autumn trees that created a tunnel from one world to another…

The official stance of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is that “there is currently no breeding population of wolves” in the Hoosier State. Hasn’t been in 100 years. I would beg to differ…

Ghost Hunting Tales: Okie Pinokie

Posted in Investigations on May 14, 2021 by Occult Detective

As promised, today we will briefly talk about Okie Pinokie. Located east of Peru, off of 124 on CR510E, you’ll find a large section of woods, part of the Frances Slocum State Forest, littered with hiking and horse trails, nestled along the Mississinewa River. Isolated, a road leads deep into the woods, ending in a large barren cul-de-sac. It is a very popular spot for trailriders, geocachers, teenagers, and, yes, ghost hunters.

There are innumerable urban legends surrounding the place. Some of the more popular stories describe it as home to a secret “Indian burial ground”, or where the mob used to dump bodies out of Chicago. Still other tales circulate about settlers being massacred by natives, of a young man named Joey murdered in the mid-70s, or a young woman named Stephanie who was raped and tortured in the 60s.

I enjoy hearing stories like these, urban legends that grow up around haunted places. Every community has them. These paranormal hot spots of activity merge with fanciful campfire yarns and grow in the telling, becoming more charged by the energies that people bring into the forest with them.

I had been going out to Okie Pinokie for years, long before I even knew it by that name. I’ve always taken the name to be a bastardization of Okefenokee, as in the infamous swamp rich in Georgia/Florida folklore.

There is an undeniable presence in those woods, all throughout the area to be fair. The Mississinewa is a conduit of paranormal activity. I know, I’ve been exploring here for more than forty years.

In the pictures I’m sharing with you, from September of 2006, you will see an interesting event captured. Note the time stamps.

In this first image, you’ll note what appears to be a whispy figure standing amongst the trees.

Within seconds, another picture taken and the figure is gone, replaced by ascending orbs. I am not here to debate “orb evidence”. I fully understand that most (as in 99%) of orbs captured by digital cameras are dust, water, and/or insects.

For context, I was with a rather large group, a mixture of seasoned investigators and first-time thrill seekers. Moving along one of the thicker trails, an odd feeling began to pass among several of the investigators, with one person feeling downright distraught. One of my colleagues began taking a series of photographs in response, in the direction that seemed to be the source of the discomfort.

Below is an enlargement of the figure from the first image above.

I will leave you with this, a memorial to my dear friend Jack Hill, who left this world for the next on July 30, 2011 at the age of 52. Jack desperately wanted to believe in the existence of spirits, of aliens, and bigfoot, and all the rest, but he had never had an experience. He joined us on that adventure into Okie Pinokie in 2006, skeptical but eager. It was he who pored over all the photos and evp from that evening. It was Jack who spotted the apparition in the photo above.

He was thrilled beyond measure.

Ghost Hunting Tales: Teaser

Posted in Investigations, Paranormal on May 7, 2021 by Occult Detective

Well I spent a good chunk of my day in the ER for tests. No worries. I’m fine. Just some inflammation of the lungs. A byproduct of my youthful decadence. As the morning was spent on an OSR project, I never got around to today’s Ghost Hunting Tales. So rather than dash something off, how about a teaser for next week?

Surely that will entice you back to the Occult Detective hearth, one week from today. See you then, if not before…

Ghost Hunting Tales: Chill & Dark Shadows

Posted in Investigations on April 30, 2021 by Occult Detective


One of the more chilling experiences I’ve had came on an evening when I hosted a paranormal investigation at a confidential location in North Central Indiana. The Italianate building we were called to once housed a prestigious fraternal lodge, and it was in the former great hall that the event I want to share took place.

While female investigators were exploring what was affectionately referred to as “the demon closet”, the men took to the great hall.

Demonologist Brad Pate was playing a full-chorus Catholic Exorcism from his laptop, hoping to provoke a response from the preternatural entity believed to reside there.

Investigator (and inventor) David LaBrecque was sitting on the main stage, using an infrared thermometer to spot check temperatures around the room.

My colleague and I were sitting in two chairs beneath an antique gaslight chandelier.

As the exorcism droned on, I was looking toward David when I saw a black shape rise up behind him, taking full human form. It loomed above him and I called out. David stood quickly and the shadow moved away from him, south along the stage until it disappeared beneath one of the ocular windows.

At that moment, I felt enveloped by an oppressive assault of bitter cold. I gasped and looked to my colleague who was experiencing the same…

David, checking the thermal, confirmed that the temperature had plummeted 20° where we were sitting.

It was, without question, compared against literally hundreds of cold spot episodes in my decades of investigating, the most dramatic temperature fluctuation I had ever experienced.

Needless to say, the location is a favorite haunt of mine. I have explored her many times before and since. Believe me, I have many more stories to tell about that place… but for now, I leave you with this short tale to keep in the back of your mind, the next time you experience a chill in the night. Look around. There may be more than meets the eye, there in the dark where the shadows lie.

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