Archive for the Paranormal Category

OCCULTOBER is coming

Posted in Magick, Paranormal, Wyrd on September 10, 2021 by Occult Detective

Three for Thursday: Strange & Unusual Books I Read as a Kid Edition

Posted in Magick, Paranormal on September 2, 2021 by Occult Detective

I’m back from my month long RPGaDay celebration and deadline slaying. Still, I wasn’t absent completely. I hope you enjoyed the recent book reviews I managed to post. I read some great titles from Llewellyn Books (especially Thorn Mooney’s The Witch’s Path) that really put me in delicious mood (and there are more to come), and now here we are, slowly sliding into the “Unofficial End of Summer”.

Well, Magick Books are on my mind, and as I sit here listening to Shawn Hebert’s The LVX Files and his chat with author/witch Jason Mankey (much discussion of DJ Conway and Silver Ravenwolf right now), I thought, “what better subject for Three for Thursday than the three most influential strange and unusual books that I read as a child”.

Hopefully you’re up for playing along. Let’s have at it…

THREE

In 1976, I was 10 years old, attending 4th grade in the old haunted Converse High School. After school let out I often got to stay behind and help my grandmother clean the building (which was always a treat for me). One day, in the boiler room basement, I was rooting through the lost and found box that grandma always kept down there, and lo and behold, look what Bobby found — Hans Holzer’s Ghost Hunter. Needless to say, a great and influential read. Holzer was a groundbreaking pioneer of the paranormal and I still use many of his ideas to this very day.

TWO

This book I nicked from the Converse Public Library when I was in the 3rd grade. I was already fascinated by witchcraft and the occult. Finding this book by Sybil Leek, whom I had seen many times on tv and read about in the tabloids was a thrill. This one certainly got my head spinning…

ONE

If you’re a frequent follower of this blog, you know the story behind this book. My first treatise on the magical world. Discovered when I was 8 years old, already long fascinated by the Occult, the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot, the Lost City of Atlantis, ESP, Magic, and Oak Island (etcetera, ad nauseum). Many Palmer Hall pulled back the veil and made me believe.

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.

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: 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…

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.

Three For Thursday: Paranormal TV

Posted in Media, Paranormal on April 8, 2021 by Occult Detective

Thursday are going to be fun. When I wake up, I think of a topic and I throw up a list of my Top 3. It might be anything. Whatever catches my fancy. It just might spark controversy or debate on occasion, but that’s alright. We’re (mostly) all adults here. So, what do we start off with?

Well, looking up at the top of the page, it says this is occultdetective.com, so how about we address our raison d’etre, but with a twist. At some point we’ll tackle literature, tv, movies, comics, and the like, but for our inaugural launch, we’re going to have it hit a little closer to home. Let’s keep it real and leave the fiction behind.

Top Three Paranormal Investigation Series

— Number 3 —

Haunted Highway

“I’m Jack Osbourne and I’ve been obsessed with the paranormal since I was a kid. I’ve wanted to investigate some of America’s scariest cases. But I decided it had to be done differently. I’ve put together two teams–myself and my researcher Dana and my friends Jael and Devin. We shot everything ourselves; just us. This is what we discovered and it completely blew my mind.”

I liked Haunted Highway because, for one thing, it was different. No camera crews. Just two investigators driving across America, sticking their collectives noses into places where they don’t necessarily belong. Jack, of course, is a charismatic host, and his fellow investigators were fun to ride along with.

— Number 2 —

Portals to Hell

Another Jack Osbourne show? Yes damn it. And it’s not because of him, though he is likeable. For whatever reason, you just sort of root for the guy. The premise is a bit contrived, but I enjoy the locations and the production of the series. Jack’s partner in crime, Katrina Weidman, is a familiar face, and she and Osbourne have good chemistry. I also enjoy the people they bring on board to assist, particularly Michelle Belanger. I also enjoy the interaction between the producers, the crew, and the investigators. Everyone is involved and it feels natural.

— Number 1 —

Hellier

“A small crew of paranormal researchers find themselves in a dying coal town, where a series of strange coincidences leads them to a decades-old mystery with far-reaching implications.”

Hellier follows researchers Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, and Tyler Strand, with special appearances by Allen Greenfield and John E. L. Tenney, as they embark on an enigmatic adventure fraught with cryptic emails, strange synchronicities, goblins, aliens, the Mothman, and more. People often talk about the journey being more important than the destination, and Hellier encapsulates that ethos perfectly. How else do you describe a documentary that begins with a frantic email and ends with an Invocation to Pan?

Hellier certainly came closest to capturing the feel of my own investigations, especially in the mid-1980s, around the displaced town of Somerset, Indiana. Speaking of synchronicities…

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