Archive for the Investigations Category

Magic(k) in Paranormal Investigations with Shawn, Michelle, Eilfie, and Me

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on November 5, 2021 by Occult Detective

“Bob Freeman, Eilfie Music, and Michelle Belanger talk about the use of magic before, during, and after paranormal investigations. They all share their personal practices and stories of real-life investigations.”

A few nights before All Hallow’s Eve I joined Shawn Hebert for a roundtable discussion regarding the use of magic(k) in paranormal investigations to launch the second season of his podcast, The LVX Files. The real stars of the episode were the whimsical and ethereal Eilfie Music, whom I adore, and the erudite and perspicacious Michelle Belanger. Both are paranormal television veterans, having cut their teeth on Paranormal State which ran from 2007-2011. Michelle, of course, in addition to being an author, has gone on to be a part of a number of other programs, including Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman’s Portals to Hell.

Just to give you a few insights into the discussion, firstly I was very much under the weather. I had been suffering from a pretty nasty ear infection and between the pain medication and antibiotics it’s a wonder I was coherent at all. Luckily, Eilfie and Michelle were on top of their game and did the heavy lifting. Secondly, I was having all kinds of technical issues. Not only was my internet dropping in and out, but the overhead in my den was giving me fits, hence the dim lighting.

All that being said, man did I have a ball in this discussion. This was my second time as a guest on The LVX Files and Shawn is a terrific host. He’s just so comfortable to talk with and is able to direct the conversations effortlessly. I appreciate that he is always a part of the moment. A lot of interviewers tend to be aloof and separate from the subject. Shawn is not shy about climbing into the mud with his guests and that’s much appreciated.

While our roundtable tended to focus on the television side of things, which was completely reasonable considering Michelle and Eilfie’s pedigree, there was a lot of good general information that dropped.

Let me explain things a bit from my perspective. I have zero interest in gathering evidence to prove a location is haunted to the public. I have zero interest in whether the public at large believe in the multiverse of dimensions that exist and are home to the vast array of entities that make up what some call the spirit world. I have a vested interest in helping people who do believe they have encountered these beings, in whatever form they take, and I am compelled to interact with them, for my own interests and in the interest of helping those in need.

I don’t feel like the so-called “scientific method” used in paranormal investigations is of much use beyond looking good on television. The gadgets tend to give an air of verisimilitude to the viewer. It gives them something tangible to focus on when, in reality, the best tool an investigator has is their 5 (or 6) senses. Unfortunately, that does not make for “good television”.

So, what do I use beyond those senses?

A typical investigation finds me first doing a tarot or rune reading beforehand. Usually tarot. This gives me a feel for the place. Next, I do a sweep of the location with copper dowsing rods. This helps me isolate the active areas and gives me a clue as to what sort of energy I am dealing with. Then, I open a dialogue, sometimes using a digital recorder or ghost box app. I’ll sometimes utilize scrying mirrors, summoning circles, blasting rods… the whole occult arsenal.

Having an opportunity to chat with like-minded people was a thrill for me. It’s more rare than you’d imagine. We occult detectives are an isolated breed. And for the talk to go down with three of my favorite people, well, that’s just icing on the proverbial cake. With luck, we’ll have the opportunity to rattle the chains of the departed together, in some lonesome clime or long forgotten hall… when these plague days are well behind us.

Old Ghosts Can Be Like Old Friends

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on November 2, 2021 by Occult Detective

As I’ve often shared, I grew up on the edge of my maternal grandparents’ 60 acre ranch, but what I don’t speak of often is of how my mother, after a falling out with hers, moved us from the farm into the nearby town of Converse, population 1200 (give or take). Considering I went to school and bought my comics there, you wouldn’t think there would be much of an adjustment.

Well, you’d be wrong. I hated it. I hated the house we moved into. I hated being away from Turkey Creek and Little Pipe Cemetery. Luckily, moving out was just four years away… but, I adjusted over time. Still, I resented being taken away from the farm. I loved it in the country, but our new home did have a peculiar charm to it.

It was (is) haunted.

I thought maybe it was because of all the renovations required to make the dump livable, but there was plenty of activity in that house. Mostly of the residual kind, but on occasion, intelligent presences manifested over the years. Night terrors and sleep walking, things I had “grown out of” returned. There were phantom smells, footsteps, and knocks. And little secret rooms hidden in the walls which I made use of.

Of course this was a time, these young teenage years, when I was experimenting more readily with magic, so I was attracting a certain amount of activity through these studies. I certainly felt something with sinister intent. Overactive imagination? Maybe…

Later, when I discovered an old map of the town, prior to its name change to Converse, should I have been surprised to discover that our house was built on the site of a former church and cemetery? Our neighbor had a skeleton in their basement, dug up while doing some excavating, and when you looked out across our yards you could see the roll of the lawn give up the telltale sign that graves had once littered the landscape.

The intelligent hauntings have seemingly long since passed, though residual activity still occurs there on occasion. It seemed to be rekindled when my father was struggling with cancer from the hospital bed we’d set up in the living room. After he passed, things quieted down again, or so my mother says.

Still, sometimes when I visit, when I walk into the rooms I called my own as a teen, I get the sense still there is something there, watching me, wishing I would lie down to sleep there as I had once done. Maybe someday I will again, just for old time’s sake. Old ghosts can be like old friends, even the ones who mean us harm.

OCCULTOBER: A Long Strange Trip Revisited

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on October 18, 2021 by Occult Detective

There were some concepts that I brought up recently that I never got to fully explore with you, and, while I still cannot delve as deeply as I would like due to time constraints, I would still like to add some things further.

Regarding Hallucinogens in the Investigation of the Paranormal:

Using mind altering techniques to enhance the perception of self, space, and time, and to communicate with beings that exist within extra-dimensional realms, or with those men and women who have crossed from this life to the next, have been used for thousands of years by shamans in all cultures. Obviously, psychedelic drugs have been used just as long to accelerate the process, as a tool to experience these spaces and to allow for a more proactive interaction with preternatural intelligences, both on a cosmic and more personal scale. Hallucinogens create the possibility of transpersonal experiences with entities that exist within the spirit realm. To deny this is to deny the history of human spiritual evolution, and to not acknowledge the role they might play in parapsychological investigations is irrational.

While undertaking such an endeavor requires controlled experimentation, whatever risks there are are mitigated by the tremendous benefits from being free to explore the entirety of human experience by delving into the untapped potential within ourselves, potential unlocked by many mind-expanding substances, such as DMT, Psilocybin,Mescaline, Salvia, Datura, among others.

My own experiences with substance-enhanced investigations have proven to me the value in such work, however, the criminality of such actions have tempered such research once I became a husband and father. That these natural substances have been criminalized represents a war on free thought and mind-expanding explorations of our inner selves…

Whether for a personal inner journey or used as a conduit to interact with other beings, hallucinogens are an important and vital tool that should not be discounted or ignored.

#OCCULTOBER: A Long Strange Trip Cut Short

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on October 15, 2021 by Occult Detective

A short day for me, on this, the 15th of October, a mere 16 days out from All Hallow’s Eve, thus I must be brief. My initial thoughts for today’s blog was to discuss one of the most neglected tools for investigation of the paranormal — psychotropics, particularly hallucinogens.

I have long been a proponent of their use, with proper guidance and all care given to them, of course. When dealing with entities whose homes are realms outside the material landscape, there are any number of natural stimulants that can help you cross that divide.

I unfortunately do not have the time to delve deeper into the subject today, so I leave the idea here with a promise for further discussion in the near future.

What do you think? Is there a place for drugs in the tool kit of an Occult Detective?

We’ll more talk on this soon…

#OCCULTOBER: “Werewolf Hunter” (Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana & Beyond)

Posted in Investigations, Occultober on October 8, 2021 by Occult Detective

I was thinking about the various paranormal adventures I’ve been blessed to take part in over the decades I’ve been at this. While Indiana has always, and will continue to be my primary concern and interest, especially the hinterlands of my own backyard, I have been fortunate to investigate some rather intriguing places beyond these Hoosier boundaries.

One of the strangest adventures took me to Arkansas back in 1993. A number of “Dogman” sightings in the Razorback State caught the attention of my friend “Poor Tom”. I packed my bags and headed South to spend a handful of days helping him investigate. He was something of a backwoods sort, a bushcrafter with a fair amount of Navajo blood in him, so after interviewing a couple of eyewitnesses we headed out into the wilderness on a two week hike through the Ozarks.

The idea of the “Dogman” had taken firm hold in that era, but mostly in Michigan. I’d never heard of Dogmen that far south. Arkansas was “Boggy Creek” Monster territory. Both the Dogman and Boggy Creek Monster were said to be roughly seven feet tall and covered with hair, and this description held in our interviews, but the people we talked with were confident this creature had a wolf’s head sitting atop a bipedal humanoid frame.

Tom was full-on convinced it was a skinwalker. In Navajo culture, a skinwalker was a witch who could take on the form of an animal— most often that of a wolf. I tried to explain to him that a Dogman and a Skinwalker were far removed from one another, but he was locked in. I was in the Sasquatch (or Sasquatch-adjacent) camp myself, but the idea of stalking a skinwalker through the rugged, mountainous terrain of my ancestors had quite the appeal to me. I was not yet 30 and being able to put “werewolf hunter” on my resume was all the coaxing I needed.

Needless to say, we didn’t catch sight of any sort of Dogman, Skinwalker, or Wildman of the Woods. We did, however, enjoy a fascinating adventure — camping and hiking in an amazingly beautiful (but humid and bug infested) part of the country, smoking both legal and illegal substances, and, on one magical moonlit night, consuming a bit of Psilocybin. We did run across wolf tracks, or, more likely, the tracks of a pack of wolf-dog hybrids. But that was as close as we got, although we did commune with ancient spirits there in those misty mountains.

It’s the journey that makes the adventure. Part of my love of “ghost hunting” lies in my fascination with history, architecture, abandoned places, and isolated woodlands. If a place turns out to not be haunted, or to be quiet, on an investigation, I’ve still had an experience I treasure.

#OCculTOBER: Paranormal Dream Team (Part I)

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on September 27, 2021 by Occult Detective

I was thinking over the weekend, having watched a few episodes of Paranormal Lockdown on Discovery+, about what my idea of a “Paranormal Dream Team” would look like, if I could only choose from those involved in magical or paraentertainment. Here are my selections:

Joining me (Keter) would be Heather Taddy (Binah), Katrina Weidman (Chochmah), Eilfie Music (Da’at), Josh Gates (Gevurah), Amy Bruni (Chesed), Michelle Belanger (Tiferet), Dana Newkirk (Hod), Greg Newkirk (Netzah), John E.L. Tenney (Yesod), and Shawn Hebert (Malkuth).

“Traditional” investigators Taddy, Weidman, and Bruni, are balanced with the “Magical” talents of Eilfie, Belanger, and Dana. I see Greg, Tenney, and myself as having feet in both worlds. Hebert, I chose because he has fresh eyes (having never investigated before) and is well versed in magic ritual. As for Gates? Well, I appreciate his investigative curiosity and his sense of humor…

Of course, a team so large would require an operation worthy of their skill set and number… Why, I believe the haunted Hoosier hinterlands of my own backyard would be more than enough to keep such a crew enticed. Prowling the forests along the Mississinewa perhaps? Or a certain small town awash in preternatural activity?

What about you? If you were to embark on an exploration of the paranormal kind, who would you call?

#OCculTOBER: A’Vampire Hunting We’ll Go

Posted in Investigations, Occult Detectives, Occultober, Paranormal on September 26, 2021 by Occult Detective

We’ve all seen those, admittedly, cool “authentic” “vintage” vampire hunting kits online, retailing for considerable sums of coinage. I mean, who, in my line of work and proclivities wouldn’t want one of those. Sure, their as authentic as a three dollar bill with Bill Clinton’s face on it, but that certainly does not detract from the cool factor. Imagine pulling one of those out at your next paranormal investigation.

Truth be told, I do actually carry a “vampire hunting” utility tool with me in my paranormal kit. It sports hammer and axe heads, a crowbar, and a nail-puller. So long as I remember to bring along a wooden stake, I can pry open the bugger’s coffin, hammer a stake home, then lop off its head.

Bob Freeman: Occult Detective for the win ;)

Just 34 days until bloody Hallowe’en’s upon us. With any luck, I’ll get to use the thing. What? This is rural Indiana… stranger things have happened ;)

#OCculTOBER: National Ghost Hunting Day

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on September 25, 2021 by Occult Detective

Be safe out there…

#Occultober Shadows & Seances

Posted in Investigations, Occultober on September 24, 2021 by Occult Detective

Look at that cute kid. Yes, that’s me at age seven, 1973. I’m sharing this picture of me, on the cusp of beginning my magical journey, because it seems surreal to think that in less than a year, he’ll be reading his first book on the occult — Manly Palmer Hall’s Unseen Forces — and he’ll begin sneaking out of the house to spend nights in the local boneyard.

Truth be told, it was the summer of 1973 that I may have seen my first spirit…

Let me set the stage. I was already obsessed with ghosts and vampires and monsters… and detective work. By 1973 I had read through the majority of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and what Three Investigators i could get my hands on. I was reading horror comics, watching Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater, Dark Shadows, and going to the drive-in to see Hammer Horror films and The Legend of Boggy Creek. I was a devout fan of the Night Stalker TV movie, and I was devouring urban legends and folk tales, UFOs, and Bigfoot fervently.

My cousins were sort of in to all that stuff too. And, being six-ten years older, they used to enjoy scaring the proverbial crap out of me. That summer, they were playing with Ouija Boards and conducting seances, as kids are wont to do, especially in the 70s. Light as a feather, stiff as a board? Oh yeah, these were fun times to be a kid in the Midwest.

I remember clearly being at my grandparents’ house on Aleck Street in Converse. It was late at night and the street lights were casting long shadows. We were on the porch, a single candle burning in the center of us, all gather in a circle, holding hands, as they called out for spirits to manifest before us.

Of course, one of them was hiding in the bushes, making ghostly sounds and rattling tin cans, and the inevitable jump scare would be delivered as the crescendo of calls into the hereafter had reached their fevered pitch… but beforehand, and I remember this as clearly as it was yesterday, I saw a shadow, a silhouette, move across the porch but no one was there to cast it. I grew scared, but before I could wrap my head around what I saw, a cousin leapt from the bushes and everyone was screaming, and laughing, and the moment was gone.

I chalked it up to youthful fancy, but now, all these years later, I wonder…

Beginning an investigation into Asherwood

Posted in Investigations on September 17, 2021 by Occult Detective

I love the forests of Indiana. They seem to have a unique and haunted quality to them. I have felt it in Shades State Park without question, and in other spots as well, but nothing quite like the experiences I have had in and around the Mississinewa State Forest. From Hobbitland outside of Marion to Seven Pillars near Peru, the Mississinewa River acts as a catalyst for paranormal activity, and the creeks that feed into it, like Little Pipe or Goose, are no less so.

Of late, however, in the same neck of the woods, as they say, I’ve taken an interest in a creek fed by the Wabash, not far from where the Mississinewa and Wabash Rivers branch.

Asher Creek flows through the heart of Asherwood, now a 160 Acre Nature Preserve that is home to “over 300 species of flora and more than 140 species of birds”. In the 1950s it served as a summer camp for the Evangelical United Brethren flavor of the Methodist Church, and, it is said, it was a former Girl Scout Camp, and later owned by the Marion School Corporation. As of 2024 it will be in the hands of Acre Trust, “a membership-based nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting natural and working lands in northeast Indiana and portions of southern Michigan and northwest Ohio”.

It has outstanding, and somewhat challenging, trails weaving through the acreage, with interesting natural and man-made features to captivate hikers, but for those of us with a paranormal bent, from the first time I set foot there, I could feel a presence. Multiple presences, actually. Sometimes dark. Sometimes earthy.

Hence the research.

I have no doubt those woods are filled with land and water wights, spirits of earth and stream. Some friendly and some… well, not so much. But are there other spirits as well? Time will tell. Though I have hiked the area many times now, I have yet to do more than acknowledge the presence of those beings when I sense them.

And that’s the way I’ll keep it, until I conclude my research. The area has a rich history. Asherwood stands a little over a mile from the Mississinewa Dam and the trails now called Lost Sister. In my day, the area was a primitive campground, and holy ground for me and my crew of misfits. It was there where I cut my teeth as an occult detective, aiding COs during the Satanic Panic.

The vibes I get from Asherwood is akin to those I became so intimate with just south of there. There’s a mystery in those dark woods. A mystery I aim to solve. And when I do, you’ll read about it here…

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