Archive for the Investigations Category

Magick By Trial & Error: Talking Boards

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Paranormal on April 26, 2021 by Occult Detective

You may have noticed I did not post an installment of Ghost Hunting Tales on Friday. It was bound to happen. I have been working on a couple of huge projects (and neglecting a few more) and to be perfectly honest, I am behind schedule on everything. Deadlines are cruel mistresses…

As such, I desperately need to remain focused on one project in particular. I am working on the art and graphic design for a soon-to-be-released OSR Magick Authentic RPG. Of course, the project cannot be released until I wrap up my chores, so I’m off to it.

But not before I leave you with this.

One of the most versatile tools for both an occultist and paranormal investigator is the Talking Board, aka Spirit or Witch Board, or simply Ouija. It has certainly fallen in and out of favor over the years, but I stand by its capacity to both unlock the inner workings of the subconscious mind and operate as a device through which we can communicate with the spirits of the departed and preternatural intelligences.

I keep on hand both a Ouija Board and Psychic Circle, tucked neatly into my investigation bag. I highly recommend you employ one as well. I have been enamored with them since my teen years, and hold that particularly unsettling occurrences with their use in the 1980s cemented for me not only their validity but their potential.

As such, the boards can be fraught with danger, as once a link with an entity is established you cannot be sure what or who you have made contact with.

“There is, however, a good way of using
this instrument to get what you want,
and that is to perform the whole
operation in a consecrated circle,
so that undesirable aliens cannot
interfere with it. You should then
employ the proper magical
invocation in order to get into your
circle just the one spirit you want.
It is comparatively easy to do this.
A few simple instructions are all
that is necessary, and I shall be
pleased to give these, free of charge,
to any one who cares to apply.”

— Aleister Crowley

Crowley’s advice, quoted above, is recommended, although his involvement, “free of charge” is sadly unavailable.

Or is it? We have the board, after all…

Chances are, you’ve got one in the back of a closet or in the game room buried beneath Candy Land, Clue, and Monopoly. Dust it off. Give it a spin. Become attuned to it and make it a part of your repertoire.

I look forward to hearing your results…

Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana & Beyond: The Seven Pillars of the Mississinewa

Posted in Investigations, Paranormal on April 16, 2021 by Occult Detective

In late 2004 I was asked to contribute to Jeff Belanger’s Encyclopedia of Haunted Places, the first directory to be written by dozens of the world’s leading paranormal investigators. One of three entries I submitted concerned a truly amazing site that has been a part of my life for more than forty years. Sacred to the Miami Indians, the Seven Pillars of the Mississinewa is more than a geological curiosity, it is the epicenter to all the weird and wonderful paranormal phenomena in northern Indiana.

FrancesSlocumTrailThePillars

About 3 miles southeast of Peru, in Miami County, along the Mississinewa River, you’ll find this little-known but scenic natural feature. For centuries, weathering along the bedding of the Liston Creek Limestone and the scouring action of the Mississinewa have carved rounded buttresses and grotto-like alcoves in the north bluff of the river, reaching from 25 to 50 feet above low water.

It’s little wonder as to why the local tribes of Native Americans were drawn to this place. One can sense the energies that ebb and flow from this site held sacred for hundreds of years. A preternatural nexus, with a confluence of telluric currents and ley line convergences, Seven Pillars is home to myths and legends punctuated by an aura of mystery and inspiring beauty.

PillarsPeruIndiana

The Miami, or Mihtohseeniaki, performed rituals and held important tribal councils here, including ceremonial executions.

The Miami believed the site to be home to “Paissa” — what Europeans would refer to as fairy-folk or wights. The Paissa are preternatural beings who live between this world and the next, with the natural formations of the Pillars being a gateway between these worlds.

pillars4

Seven Pillars is hallowed ground and home to unseen forces, sentient apparitions, and residual manifestations…

I would personally recommend this location to not only paranormal investigators, but to those who dare to embark on a spiritual journey of self discovery and communion with higher powers.

The Seven Pillars of the Mississinewa is a truly magical place…

Visitors should approach the site with reverence and an open mind to the wonders of the supernatural world.

Magick By Trial & Error: Jack-of-All-Trades

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Paranormal on April 12, 2021 by Occult Detective

Really crunched for time today, so I’ll be brief, offering up a little food for thought.

As an extension of last week’s piece on the mutability of magick, I thought I should briefly explain how I have approached things in the past.

In my field, you have to be a sort of jack-of-all-trades. It pays to be knowledgeable in a wide variety of traditions. You have to be able to differentiate Santeria from Voudon from Hoodoo and the like. You need to be able to discern from ceremonial magic to all the varying degrees of left-hand pathwork, from all sides of the magical coin, and as many religions as you can squeeze into the gray matter between your ears. And once you muddy the waters with all the self-styled combinations that solitaries or isolated groups might cook up and cobble together, well, an investigators work is, at the very least, never boring.

Paranormal investigators often enter into situations that they’re ill-equipped to handle. They may be atheist, agnostic, Christian, Pagan, or what have you, but the crux of the situation is, if you go into an investigation close-minded, you’re libel to set yourself up for a world of hurt.

It really does pay to do your homework. You can have the sanctity of your own faith or magical practice, but you need to be open to the many and varied paths that are out there. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. — Sun Tzu

I’ll revisit this when I have more than a ten minute window…

Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana & Beyond: Start the Ball Rolling #Paranormal

Posted in Investigations, Paranormal on April 9, 2021 by Occult Detective

Welcome to the first post in my new (mostly) weekly feature —Thank the Gods It’s Friday: Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana & Beyond. I’ll be discussing old and new cases and as I tried to come up with the perfect story to get the ball rolling, well, I thought this little tale would be apropos…

Just shy of eleven years ago, on a Hallowe’en night, some friends joined me on an informal investigation of a confidential location. What I can tell you is it took place in a three story building, constructed in 1860s, and I have explored the place near countless times since the late 1970s. It has never disappointed in terms of paranormal activity. Never.

That Hallowe’en was no different.

The experience I want to share is an odd one.

I had placed, on the third floor, a child’s ball, in the “wardrobe” room, atop an “x” marked by masking tape. The idea being that perhaps something would move the ball while we were downstairs exploring. I left the room, passing through a closet area, then turned east through a set of double doors, then north down a flight of stairs to a landing, then south down a short stair and through the stair door to the second floor.

I make a point of detailing my descent for a reason.

My cohorts and I investigated the second floor, experiencing the sounds of footsteps and whispers throughout, then we adjourned to the second floor “waiting” room where we relaxed for a bit. Being still…quiet, immersing ourselves in the distinct sounds of the old building.

Then we heard the clatter of something descending the third floor stair. We heard the creak of the stair door open.

Creeping into the hall, what did we find?

The child’s ball. Sitting perfectly still outside the “waiting” room door. The door to third floor stairwell was closed.

An amazing experience. And it doesn’t even crack the Top 5 of things that have happened at that site. Probably misses out on the Top 10 as well.

Old Haunts, Volume One: Little Pipe Creek Cemetery / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Investigations on October 19, 2020 by Occult Detective

Back on the 1st of June, I posted a blog titled “Unseen Forces: Kids on Bikes, Part I” as part of my Occult 30: True Tales of the Strange & Unusual feature that ran throughout that month.

I thought you might want to have a look at Little Pipe Creek Cemetery for yourself. This is the first in a series of videos I hope to present, showcasing some of my defining haunts.

Paragnosis

Posted in Investigations, Magick on February 17, 2020 by Occult Detective

 

DisembobiedThere are a number of things that hang around the neck of paranormal research and investigation like a proverbial albatross, not the least of which is the veritable legion of amateur thrill-seekers that muddy up the field.  That the majority consider themselves “professionals” and “science-based” investigators only adds salt to the wound, especially when you consider their educations to have largely come from watching every episode of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, or some equally loathsome para-entertainment programing.

But I don’t want to paint them all with the same wide brush. I have met a number of investigators who are diligent and thoughtful, adverse to parroting the techniques displayed on late night Travel Channel mockumentaries.

Bob Pastorella, co-host and columnist for the This is Horror podcast, tweeted:

Paranormal is not the same as supernatural. The former suggests phenomena science hasn’t explained yet, while the later are things which cannot be explained by any means. There’s overlap, of course, but researchers using objective scientific methods to contact ghosts is silly.

Using sensors to determine the smallest variations in light and sound yield few results other than those shifts in light and sound that could possibly be anything, really.

I’m really enjoying Hellier on Amazon, because they tend to use subjective methods to test phenomenons based on eye-witness testimony. The real drive of the series for me is the continuous synchronicities they uncover, which is also very fascinating.

While I don’t believe in the supernatural, I do think that a way to access that reality is through subjective means, which also means kicking science to the curb for a bit.

There is a lot of truth in Bob’s stance, in my opinion. Far too many “investigators” approach the so-called paranormal as a “science experiment” that they are recreating based on what they’ve seen on television. K2 Meters, Thermal Cams, REM Pods, and the like are fun toys, but not really very useful in the field, at least not as they are typically used.

The very best tool you have is your own senses. All those fancy gadgets do is put up a barrier between you and the phenomena you’re hoping to connect with. And that is what we’re doing out there — trying to connect with and understand these unseen spirits. In our most gracious moments, we may even be there to help them understand themselves, or to provide solace and understanding for the people who live amongst these entities.

At the end of the day, we look to define ourselves and our place in the multiverse. By interacting with paranormal phenomena we learn more about the worlds we are a part of and the worlds outside ourselves to which we will one day cloak ourselves in. We commune with these intelligences in a hope for mutual understanding and a lifting of the veil.

We seek gnosis.

So, if I were to offer a single piece of advice to paranormal adventurers, it would be this — think outside the box. Be silent. Be still. Be open… And be prepared.

nightstalkers_logo_2020 2

Raising a horn to the memory of Dr. Hans Holzer on the 100th anniversary of his birth

Posted in Investigations, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on January 26, 2020 by Occult Detective

holzerOn of my most cherished childhood heroes was Dr. Hans Holzer, whom I discovered in the 1977 In Search of…Ghosts episode of the popular docu-series hosted by Leonard Nimoy. I would go on to read dozens of books written by the famed parapsychologist and his imprint on me in my own paranormal adventures has stayed with me the past 40+ years.

For my generation, he defined what a paranormal investigator was. He opened up a multiverse of possibilities.

He was one of the defining figures in my life. Today, we raise a horn to his memory, on this, the 100th anniversary of his birth in Vienna, Austria, January 26, 1920.

The paranormal community owes him a tremendous debt.

Spiritboxing

Posted in Investigations on January 20, 2020 by Occult Detective

Saturday, January 18, 2020, the Nightstalkers conducted experiments using the Estes Method of Spirit Box communication. I assumed the role of the “receiver”, using headphones, the SonoX10 Spirit Box App, and a hood, in order to isolate myself from all sensory interaction save for what I hear coming through the headphones, while Rodney Transier and Aaron Hurst asked me, or more accurately, someone or something, questions.

I experienced no audible or visual stimulation outside of the Spirit Box, although I was “touched” on a few occasions. I think the experiment was a success and I am eager to experiment with the method even more.

While I agree that it does not adhere to “scientific” methodology, that has never been my interest. Communing with the “other side” is an emotional, intuitive exercise. I hope to expand upon the experiment and see how far we can push it.

You can listen to the three sessions we held in the links below.

Please feel free to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE. We plan on adding a lot more content as we grow the channel and look to breathe new life into the Nightstalkers.

Old Ghosts & Night Stalkers

Posted in Investigations on January 17, 2020 by Occult Detective

So I was digging around on an old flashdrive and found some files that I thought were long lost — the original casefiles from a location I’ve been investigating for almost 14 years now. The site’s name and address have been redacted, as the owners have requested anonymity, but thought they might be interesting reads from a historical perspective.

I am also including the original logos for the Nightstalkers of Indiana, my old outfit (that just might be getting dusted off and given new life)… More on that later.

200613 Redacted200614 Redacted

ORIGLOGO

Logo from 1992

NIGHTSTALKERS_NEW_LOGO

Logo from 2004

nightstalkers_logo_2020

Logo for 2020

 

“The Little People” of the Mississinewa

Posted in Investigations on January 10, 2020 by Occult Detective

One of the foundations of the strange and unusual experiences that permeates this part of North-Central Indiana, particularly along the Mississinewa River, stretching from 5 Mile Bridge in Marion to Seven Pillars near Peru, is what locals have referred to as  “Hobbitland” for the past sixty years or so.

The heart of “Hobbitland” is found in and around the area where the annual Mississinwa 1812 reenactment and living history museum is held, located in Grant County, Indiana, along the Mississinewa River, near the town of Jalapa.

Trail

Very few locals could tell you how “Hobbitland” got its name, besides the obvious Tolkien reference, but it’s the sort of thing that seeps from the collective unconscious to take on a new life beyond simple folklore and urban legend.

Why? Because the Miami natives revered this area as the home of the Paissa.

goblin

What were Paissa? Magical “little people of the forest”, akin to what Northern Europeans would call gnomes, fairies, or wights.

The Paissa were said to be dangerous trickster spirits, imbued with great magical powers who stood between two or three feet tall. Paissa literally translates as “little ones.” Some Miami traditions place these Paissa in a more important religious role,  being guides who lead the spirits of the dead through the Seven Pillars to the Milky Way and on to the afterlife.

FrancesSlocumTrailThePillars

When I was a child in Converse, it was said that two local men had captured one of these creatures in an animal trap and kept it in their workshop near Fox Lake, but it escaped, most likely with the help of others of its kind.

As teenagers, “Hobbitland” was sacred territory for me and my friends, and, I guess, for young people all across the tri-county area. It had been for decades. It’s where you slinked off, far from the prying eyes of adults. It’s where we took our girlfriends, told ghost stories around campfires, drank cheap alcohol, and smoked cigarettes for the first time.

It’s also where many saw their first ghost, or encountered strange, otherworldly sounds in the night… where they got their first taste of the paranormal, and it still holds true to this day.

It’s a magical place — a place where the veil between this world and the next is thin.

pillars4

I have had numerous encounters out in the Mississinewa, along its river and the surrounding forests, in its caves and abandoned places.

I have heard the voices and sounds of things that could not be seen and some that could —  full bodied apparitions, unnatural orbs, and spectral lights that danced upon the water.

From Five Mile Bridge to Somerset to Seven Pillars and all points in between, there have been more mysteries than I could possibly recount.

But recount them I’ll try — tales of Hobbitland and the Circle of Stone, of Goose Creek and the Murder House, of Cliff Cave and White Feather and the Black Coven and more…

So many stories. So little time.

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