Archive for the Paranormal Category

Lonely House by Michelle Belanger

Posted in Book Review, Horror, Paranormal on July 28, 2022 by Occult Detective

Bordermen Games

Michelle Belanger is an occult expert and author of more than thirty books on paranormal topics. You probably know Michelle best from appearances on A&E’s Paranormal State and the Travel Channel’s Portals to Hell. In addition, Michelle also creates tabletop games.

Michelle’s Ouila Board Scramble is a lot of fun (and a great tool for any horror themed rpg), Midnight’s Kiss is a solid gothic rpg, and I also have read Michelle’s work on World of Darkness: Ghost Hunters. All to say, Michelle does solid work in the gaming community, in case you weren’t aware.

Michelle’s latest is an immersive storytelling rpg, billed as “a solo game of collaborative fiction”, called Lonely House. It is a storytelling game, which tend to be really hit or miss with me (usually miss), but right out of the proverbial gate I could tell Lonely House was something special.

The…

View original post 309 more words

Magick Without Fears Hermetic Podcast

Posted in Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on June 9, 2022 by Occult Detective

I was thrilled to finally be a guest of Frater R:.C:. on his Magick Without Fears podcast. While I wasn’t at my best (thanks a lot, opioid analgesics), it was an absolute honor to chat for a couple of hours (three if you’re a patron) with one of my favorite people.

We were all over the place, talking about everything from occult detectives and paranormal investigation, the Satanic Panic, music, psychedelics, cancel culture, Dungeons & Dragons, and a host of other things I can’t remember right now.

Pain medication is rarely conducive to cognizance.

To be honest, I could have talked for hours more.

A huge thanks to Frater R:.C:. for having me on. If you don’t already, be sure to put Magick Without Fears in your podcast queue.

“…in Heaven & Earth…”

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on May 24, 2022 by Occult Detective

I shared this story with friends last night, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t shared it here, or, at least, I don’t recall doing so. Proceed with caution and with an open mind. I will do my best to maintain the confidentiality of the owners and location.

A few decades back, give or take, I was asked to investigate a business property. It was housed in an old building, constructed in 1912. This building saw a lot of traffic in its heyday, but fell into disrepair and was little more than a derelict structure for many moons until the current owners revitalized it in the late twentieth century.

The owners reached out because they were having inexplicable fires occurring in one of the upstairs rooms. Electricians were baffled. As they were also experiencing other paranormal phenomena, calling me in seemed apropos.

I was able to identify much of the phenomena as residual, such as the sounds of pre-War radio, though I was pretty sure there was an intelligent spirit on the ground floor, and something a little darker in the basement. My main concern lay with the electrical fires however.

After several visits, I became confident the culprits were what some call land wights or the fey, but most simply refer to them as fairy folk. Precocious and alien, wights are preternatural spirits, sometimes malicious, but then, their thinking is different than our own. They frequent abandoned places, woodlands, groves, streams, and yes, neglected buildings.

I set a trap for the creatures, honey and polished stones, and I sang to them while I strummed a tune on my guitar. Gathered into water collected from the most sacred local spot I knew, I took them to that place and released them, unto Seven Pillars, the Gateway Between Worlds, where they could make a new home for themselves.

When I speak with those who have become weekend hobbyists, often because they enjoy the Discovery Channel’s slate of ghostly programming, predominately I see they’re of a mind that there are two, maybe three types of spirits — intelligent ghosts of the deceased, residual spirits, and demons. That kind of thinking is not healthy. This is a lesson every occult detective or paranormal investigator needs to take to heart.

Become acquainted with the history and folklore of the area you frequently investigate. What’s that oft (read: over-) used line from Hamlet? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or something like that.

We have to recognize that existence is much more expansive than that which is at our fingertips. We move through a reality that encompasses various planes and dimensions and divergences, and it is all populated by a myriad of preternatural intelligences.

The sooner would be “ghost hunters” wrap their heads around that, the better.

The Converse UFO Club

Posted in Investigations, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on May 9, 2022 by Occult Detective

I had a dream last night, of being upstairs in the old Converse High School. I was looking for something, and found myself inside one of the abandoned classrooms on the top floor, in the very room that was home to the Converse UFO Club I founded back in 1976. On the chalkboard was scrawled a number of arcane sigils. That’s when I woke up, at 3:15am.

This got me thinking about the origins of that club and how much fun we had. It was my 5th grade year. Mr. Piper’s class. Several kids were falling behind in math, so Piper, in a stroke of genius, decided to give everyone a test. If you scored perfect, then you didn’t have math the rest of the semester. So what did I do? I cheated off of Mick Miller. There were about a dozen of us who were excused from math class, but we weren’t left to our own devices. We were charged to present a lecture to the school, on any subject we chose. I coerced my classmates into forming the Converse UFO Club and we spent the next six weeks studying unidentified flying objects.

We were given one of the unused classrooms on the third floor. It was full of ancient desks, chairs, old flags with fewer than 50 stars, chalkboards, bulletin boards, and old US maps. We put all of it to use and put together a cool little clubhouse, far from the prying eyes of teachers and other students. I crated in my collection of UFO books, newspaper clippings, magazines, and comics, and we got to work.

Needless to say, we had the time of our lives… and we came up with a pretty good theory, for a bunch of ten year olds. The thesis we presented posited that these alien spacecraft were powering their vehicles with hydro-power, based on the amazingly high number of sightings that occurred in and around water. Never mind that with two-thirds of the planet being covered with water increased the potential for sightings near such to be more likely than not. Well… we tried.

We presented our findings before the school. We were given As for our effort. And, ultimately I made a little comic book seed money from it all by narrating UFO articles onto cassette tapes and selling them to my classmates.

Hard to believe that by ten years old, I had already formed two clubs, The Monster Club in 1974, (in which we made encyclopedic entries in a journal concerning all manner of paranormal/supernatural beasties and chased ghosts in every derelict and abandoned house or barn and throughout the Hoosier hinterlands in a ten mile radius), and the UFO Club. Harder still to believe that in a few short years, by 1983, it would all take a far more serious turn.

Happy National Paranormal Day

Posted in Investigations, Paranormal on May 3, 2022 by Occult Detective

For some inexplicable reason, since 2013, May 3 has been christened National Paranormal Day. Well, every day is “Paranormal Day” in my nape of the woods, but if this once great nation wants to set aside a day other than Halloween for talking about all those things that go bump in the night, then I’m here for it.

So, as we’re supposed to share a “paranormal” story, why don’t I share one from this past weekend?

I played host to Indiana Ghost Trackers on Saturday night, April 30th, known to those more magically inclined as Walpurgisnacht. We descended on an undisclosed location, a former fraternal lodge in the north-central part of the Hoosier State, during a violent thunderstorm and beneath a New Moon, the second of the month, called a Black Moon.

Everything was aligned for an eventful investigation. The spirits of Beacon Lodge did not disappoint.

On a night filled with inexplicable knocks, disembodied footfalls, spiraling light fixtures, and the presence of shadow figures, for me, the most unnerving experience came as I sat in the darkness of the great ritual hall, illuminated by punctuations of forked lightning and the accompanying rolls of cacophonous thunder.

There, in silence, we sat beneath an ancient gaslit candelabra. As I meditated, reaching out to connect with the spirits I have grown accustomed to in that neglected space, a female voice spoke, as clear as if you and I were in conversation. She said, “Best stay awake.”

Many times over the years we’ve encountered such voices, distinct and clear on rare occasions, but audible to the naked ear nonetheless. Despite these many occurrences, it is always a preternatural treat to the senses when these unseen forces reach out.

I’ve been blessed to have experienced innumerable paranormal experiences.

Tell me, what are some of yours?

So, what are your plans for Walpurgisnacht?

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on April 28, 2022 by Occult Detective

My “May Day” Weekend is sorted. Saturday afternoon you can find me at Viking Fest in Whitestown, then, that evening, I have the pleasure of hosting my friends with Indiana Ghost Trackers for a “ghost hunt”.

Let’s see: New Moon? Check. Walpurgisnacht? Check. Chance of rain? Check. Should make for a spectacular night.

Beltane will be a fine day for rest, recovery, writing, and reflection.

The occult community is awash in finger pointing, “told you so” proclamations, and a whole lot of track covering. I’m referring of course to the Georgina Rose fiasco. I was chided for dismissing her as her popularity grew. I just didn’t see why everyone was so enamored with her, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but she never seemed anything more to me than a “witchtok” anime cosplayer who went viral. Her videos were never insightful in any way. For being touted as a “leading voice” in Thelema, it never seemed to me that she had a grasp on what Thelema was, let alone what it could be.

Then the receipts came in. Frater Pena on his Codex Astarte substack led the charge, bolstered by Marco Visconti, commentary by Temperance Alden and Nike (former podcast co-hosts), and a veritable host of others.

The thing is, it’s kind of ugly out there, and a lot of buzz words are getting tossed around that make me uncomfortable. It’s sort of a microcosm of all the BLM/Insurrection/Pandemic rhetoric that has exploded the past couple of years.

Something’s got to give.

So, Sunday…Beltane… I’m going to light a fire and visit with my cats, spend real quality time with my family, and think…a lot. Then, when the dust settles, I’m going to share those thoughts.

You have been warned.

My thoughts on Consorting with Spirits by Jason Miller

Posted in Book Review, Magick, Paranormal on April 25, 2022 by Occult Detective

Apologies for being quiet of late. It’s becoming a habit, unfortunately, but I have been having some minor health related issues and some weighty deadlines that have kept me from the blog. Again, my apologies.

So many things I should share with you: recent paranormal investigations, upcoming appearances, and a little matter of the occulture meltdown underway on social media, but let’s focus on something more prescient to our desires — book reviews! I have a couple I need to share, so let’s spend today with what is easily the crown jewel of 2022 thus far — Jason Miller’s Consorting with Spirits.

First, here’s what Weiser Books had to share —

“Working with spirits can be some of the most dangerous yet some of the most gratifying work a magickal practitioner can engage in. With Jason as your guide in this book, you are in some of the best hands out there when it comes to approaching and working with spirits. This is a book I wish I had fifteen years ago when I began working closely with spirits.” —Mat Auryn, author of Psychic Witch

Throughout history, humans have sought power and knowledge from spirits. Learning how to conjure, communicate, and negotiate with these unseen powers is one of the keys to success in magic.

Consorting with Spirits presents a detailed explanation of what spirits are, their different classifications, and how they exist in relation to the world we normally perceive. The reader will then learn a system of practices that will cultivate three main skills: The capacity to perceive spirits clearly, the ability to interact with them effectively, and the tools to deepen your relationships. It is this focus on deepening relationships and increasing clarity in communications that has been missing from much of the material about spirits.  

This book will teach you different ways of interacting with spirits, from offerings and invitations to forceful conjurations. With these tools in hand, you can work with your spirit allies to achieve any goal, from protection, to wealth, to vast knowledge.

Consorting with Spirits shares:

  • Proper training necessary for calling and conversing with spirits.
  • How to evaluate the messages you receive.
  • A full view of different modes of contact and what situations each mode lends itself to
  • Why the best sorcery is local.
  • The tools to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with spirits (consorting).
  • The 6 different manifestations of spirits and their corresponding magickal operations, qualities, benefits, and drawbacks.
  • The 4 methods of interacting with spirits: prayer, conjuring, compelling, and evocation.

Let me begin by stating emphatically, Consorting with Spirits: Your Guide to Working with Invisible Allies is an impressive work. On twitter I shared that I found it to be “a brilliant exploration of spirits in all their many & varied forms. A must-read for occultists & paranormal investigators alike.”

As I have stated many times, my introduction to the magical world as something distinctly real and vibrant as opposed to the stuff of fantasy, myth, and folklore was the book Unseen Forces by Manly Palmer Hall. I formulated many of my ideas about spirits from that treatise and slowly began to interact with those varied forms until a more clear (but far from complete) picture began to emerge.

What Jason Miller has done here is validate my own internalized beliefs (through UPG, trial and error, and theory and practice), and doing so by pulling back the veil and taking the reader on a fantastic journey.

Consorting with Spirits is an Unseen Forces Advanced Course, and it was everything I wanted and needed.

If there are negatives to this book, it is that it is a) too short, and b) not in a beautiful hardcover.

That said, it is an impressive volume in its trade dress. It sports a lovely and evocative cover by Wojciech Zwolinski and interior art by tattooist Matthew Brownlee. The font choices are easy on the eyes and tables and diagrams are crisp and well tended.

Matt Auryn delivers are terrific foreword, personal and professional at the same time, as all the best forewords tend to be. Mat has that certain air about him that is comforting and it really comes across here. He was an ideal choice to lure us further into the work.

But, let’s be clear, Jason Miller’s the star here. His narrative voice is erudite and instructive, but balanced in a way that makes the process almost interactive and collaborative. There is no doubt that this is a man who has indeed consorted with the sort of beings that are part and parcel to a man in my profession as it is in his.

Perhaps the greatest praise I can give in regard to this book is that you will learn from it, and you will be able to incorporate the lessons here into your personal practice. Miller delivers all the tools you need.

I had stated that this book is a must-read for occultists and paranormal investigators. Especially investigators. Too many of my colleagues are closed to the near infinite possibilities of the things they are interacting with. Consorting with Spirits would be the perfect mind opener for many.

Consorting with Spirits: Your Guide to Working with Invisible Allies by Jason Miller is available wherever books are sold as of the 1st of May. It is surely the ideal Beltane gift (especially to one’s self). This one needs to be a part of your library. Trust me on this one.

I’d rate it 6 out of 5 Stars.

Movie Review: Found-Footage “Documentary” Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story

Posted in Horror, Media, Paranormal on December 3, 2021 by Occult Detective

First of all, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: Ash Hamilton is a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for twenty years. We co-managed a Books-A-Million, we kicked around various comic projects, we’ve broken bread, I’ve been a guest on a couple of different podcasts he’s hosted, and we generally share a common love for horror, fantasy, comic books, and, well, all manner of pop cultural and conspiratorial phenomena.

That said, if this movie sucked, I would tell you, and I would bust on him gleefully until he started to whimper.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case.

Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story, written and directed by my pal, has raked in a Brinks Truck worth of awards and accolades… and I’m happy to report after finally viewing the thing, it’s worth every bit of praise.

Ever since The Blair Witch Project dropped many moons ago we’ve been waiting to see the found footage documentary genre taken to the next level. Hellier, that magnificent paranormal entertainment series from Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, and Connor Randall, tapped into this in their two season opus and legitimized the hunger for this type of storytelling. Holes in the Sky, while not quite elevated to Hellier standards, is in that same vein and a compelling and nail biting love letter to all those things that gave me thrills as a child growing up in the rural Midwest.

Holes in the Sky explores “a documentary film crew’s efforts to make a movie detailing the 2013 alien abduction of Illinois resident Sean Miller. A five-day shoot turns into a life-changing experience for everyone involved as events spiral out of control.”

The strength of the film lies in the superb performances by all those involved. This story feels real. All the people on camera are believable. Everyone seems natural. And the creepiest moments are beautifully shot. Ash does a great job of building tension and delivering legitimate chills.

Look, I grew up on UFO and Bigfoot sightings, ghost stories, and abduction narratives. Ash’s love for these same things really comes through on camera, and by firmly grounding it in the “Midwestern Gothic” atmosphere, it delivers a believable and ultimately terrifying tale.

This is a movie you’re going to want to watch late at night with the lights off.

On a scale of 1-5, this movie gets a solid 6 from me.

Addendum: I mentioned Ash and I kicked around some comic ideas back in the day. Here’s a little sample of something we were working on some 15 or so years ago. We should really get around to finishing it…

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.

%d bloggers like this: