Wednesday, September 28, 2016

PARANORMAL AUTHORS CAPTURE BOTH FACT AND FOLKLORE SPECULATION



The paranormal author is an unusual brand of writer.  When researching and discovering about historic locations, many paranormal writers also take into account local stories, legends and experiences and examine them side by side.  The real test of a historic writer and a ghost story writer is how the material is researched and presented.

For the most part, paranormal investigators also have a big interest in history and unearthing stories of people and places from the past (and sometimes even the present).  I also noticed that there are those that simply collect the stories and legends and call them 'ghost stories.'  They don't really research what is fact and what is fiction, they simply tell the tales as they are relayed to them or passed down from the past (or those still alive to tell them).  They rely on memories from those they meet and encounter, those that indicate they were there and witnessed the events of the story, or know somebody who knew somebody who was involved.

Without research and facts to back those stories up, they are simply to remain as such; stories.  They are fun to read and marvel at the possibilities, but without facts, we can never really be sure that we are getting the full story.

I can honestly see the benefits of both kinds of authors.  With the author who collects the 'ghost stories', they are capturing important social folklore of geographical regions, states, towns, and buildings.  They showcase often a period of time for that location or people who live there, and maybe the ideals of the time leading to the specifics of the 'ghost story.'  In a way, they are capturing the social history of the paranormal, whether the events actually occurred or not.

Authors who do the research, looking for dates, property records, waterline maps, probate records, and old maps, not to mention local newspaper articles, they are even more important to the paranormal investigator.  With this type of information, we can fact check with investigation evidence, correlate names and experiences, and see if we can make concrete connections between them.

The novice investigator is excited to learn of the stories and often accepts whatever is found, simply because they are excited to investigate and discover.  The seasoned, veteran investigator looks for the historical facts and local stories, and using both of these lines of research, can come to a variable and often revealing outcome.

There are paranormal authors who collect and research, and those are the books I look for and wish to add to my own library.  Ghost stories can be re-written and re-cycled, but research and fact finding is the real hard work for paranormal authors.

I myself have a few books in the cooker, while researching them I have found it’s not always easy to locate the answers for the questions that arise.  When digging you also find surprises along the way and this also encourages you to dig deeper and find out the outcome of situations and events that transpire.


 When I was writing my "Alcatraz: 200 Years of Historyin 3D," I had numerous, well-written books on Alcatraz so information was bountiful, but I also gathered facts from both prisoners and former guards that I didn't find in other books, and added them as well.  My book is sectioned on a timeline over 200 years of the islands history (not just the Federal Prison) and was written as 'True' or 'False' questions, 

featuring color, 3D photos on every page.  I also included photos of places on the island the public can never visit due to the dangers and regulations of the National Park Service.  

Writing paranormal books, can be one of the more difficult than other history books, you really have to question your sources, and make determinations if the facts you find, line up with those that you already have.  In this field, making that important distinction between what was legend and what 'really' happened is a tough road, even against popular folklore.

As I work on a current paranormal book project, I have also found that newspaper articles are not always factual, and that you should check the findings against other articles and newspapers to be sure they are accurate.  You might even find facts that nobody else has even considered while working on a project.  Paranormal research can be important historical fact the same as conventional historic records.

A. Anderson

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Some ghosts I left behind

When I was five years old, my family lived in an old neighborhood on South Willard street in San Jose. There were a lot of old houses we would walk past and once in a while my sister Linda would insist we explore some of the houses that looked empty and deserted of which there were a few. During those excursions we would sometimes find old bottles, vases, tools and other things that were of no interest to us as kids. (Of course as an adult who loves antiques I wish I could go back and see those items again.) In case you are wondering., no one questioned why two little girls were wandering around an old house. They probably thought we were nothing but silly kids playing. In a way we were. But something deeper drew us to those places. We knew they were haunted. It wasn't that we saw or heard anything. We just knew. Once on our way home, I said to Linda there is a ghost in there. She nodded in agreement and then we talked of other things. That is what my childhood was like.We just accepted these assumptions as a fact and never questioned it.

Not too far from us was historic downtown where we would get a funny feeling every time we went past the Hotel Saint Claire and St. James park. Of which both places were later reputed to be haunted. Of course there is a famous story about a lynching that happened in St.James park in the 1930's. It was the Brook Harte kidnapping case where two men confessed to kidnapping and murdering the famous heir to the department store Hart's. An angry mob dragged them out of the courthouse and lynched them. As young children we had not learned the story yet but we always had a creepy feeling walking past there .

Some years later we  moved to Los Gatos where there were many old buildings and estates. On our way to dinner, we would drive past the old Cats estate (pictured above) that use to belong the writer Charles Erskine Wood and the poet Sarah Bard Field. We were not sure who owned it at the time again being young kids, new to the town and still learning about it. But once or twice in the early evening dusk we saw someone by the gates. Of course it could have been the grounds keeper or the current family that lived there. Except that they just looked a little out of place. It was hard to explain. Their clothing and appearance were off. Maybe a little out of date. We could never prove it but later when I was reading that this place is haunted the first thought that came to me was: I knew it.

Other places that had a ghostly feel was an old house on the corner of a well known neighborhood in Campbell . It was very elegant, surrounded by fruit trees and no one was ever home.It was also near a shoppping center where there was a Safeway. It was a really beautiful house but there was an uncanny feeling to it that we could never explain. For the sake of the privacy of the neighborhood I won't mention the street or cross street here.But if anyone reading this lived in the Campbell area in the 1970's, you will know which house I'm talking about.

Other memories included Oakhill cemetery where at night we saw a woman run past us when we were teenagers (and we were so surprised we freaked out and probably scared her away.) and Winchester house where we lived near by. Once when we drove past there with our mother, Linda and I saw someone standing there looking out one of the windows. It was very late at night when the place was closed so we knew it was not a worker. Even our high school was reputed to be haunted. Apparently a teenage boy got murdered in what later became the athletic field. The neighbors reportedly could hear screams at 3 in the morning coming from there. We heard the stories but never payed attention. As adolescents our minds were on other things like boys, and music.

I could name many more places where the atmosphere seemed filled with spirit energy like The Rosicrucian Museum or the old homes on Bird Avenue in Willow Glen but for the sake of time I will stop right here. Little did I know that these places would stay in my memories and they served as a training ground for the investigating work Linda and  I got involved with later. Back in the day, it was rare to talk openly about these subjects. I certainly never saw myself writing a blog about these places.They were just part of my life.

Some years ago, a friend drove Linda and I past the old neighborhood on South Willard. We felt the spirits of our parents strongly. So strongly we shed a few tears. It's never easy to go back.

For those wishing to explore more go to this link: http://www.sanjose.com/guides/haunted-places-and-spooky-urban-legends/

I look forward to exchanging places and stories with our listeners on the air


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

INVESTIGATING AWARENESS AND YOUR OWN ABILITIES



Using your senses and awareness abilities while ghost hunting in any capacity, is something many point out as your most important tool.  I think this is true for the most part, but I also know that some are more in-tune with things around them than others.

For the novice investigator, using your senses isn't going to always help you when you begin in this field.  I have found that these skills are developed over time and that you can use them, but must keep in mind that documenting the experiences and things you feel and see are then harder to keep track of.  Instead of simply using a voice recorder, you must make notations verbally on what you see, hear and feel as you are investigating.  You could also write these down, but it can be cumbersome when moving around quickly and in the dark.

For those that shoot video you can always comment on the audio or dip into frame and describe what is happening around you.  The hardest would be for those that focus on spirit photography.  You can't do an audio describe (although with many cameras you could make a short video), you can only shoot photos.

I think even those that choose to focus on their own senses might want to carry a small voice recorder if only to turn on to describe what they see, hear and feel.  Maybe to obtain historical information or discoveries along the way.

I have always focused on audio recording, and take many photographs of the same areas where I record audio, simply to document the location to use in conjunction with my EVP videos and presentations.  Anything that I feel or experience I have either captured the moment on my recorder (sometimes even video, in conjunction with the audio) so I do have a record of where I was and what transpired.

If I think about what sense abilities I possess that use, I would say I do use my sight a great deal.  I tend to sit quietly in the dark (if possible, this is difficult if others around you wish to walk around and make noise, etc.) and get a sense of the sounds around me and the sights.  I will look to see what is stationary and what is moving.  I look at the placement of objects around me and if I hear something I will focus on the area where it originated from for a good deal of time.  I also listen with my ears very intently when I move around at a location, sometimes you can hear disembodied voices as you are mobile.  

Do I convene with the possible spirits at a location?  That is a question for another time I think, but I do try to relax, let the mind rest a bit and see what comes into focus.  Any thoughts, images that might seem unrelated at the time, but might make sense in a bigger picture after an investigation.  Séances do this same practice, see what images and thoughts can be collected and compare them later.  What I tend to do is have a personal séance of sorts, and try to relax and be more open to things around me.

Why do I record EVP and relay on audio equipment? When doing presentations it is a more effective tool and the art of the EVP is one that requires a lot of patience and stamina.  Many people give up on this sooner than later, due to the exhaustive hours it takes to listen intently through hours of recorded audio, with the risk of getting nothing.  It is long, hard work, but for those that keep at it and pace themselves and not let it consume your whole life; you will eventually find results.

I always hear folks say "I never get EVP's."  I would ask them, "Did you go through all of your audio from all of your investigations?" More often than not, the reply is "Well I just don't seem to find the time to listen to my recordings."  Well there is the reason you are not getting any EVPs, you get out of it what you put into it.  If you do not invest the time in any investigation practice you will never achieve any evidence or examples.

I do tend to incorporate the physical senses and my equipment, but I do tend to lean towards the audio, as that is where my skill set seemed to emerge having been at this now for over 7 years.  I also began to focus on my photography, taking photos in sets of 3 shots, so that if I do capture something it stands a chance to have another photo of the same angle/shot to compare it to.

Overall I think any investigator heightens their senses skill set, even if they don't realize it is happening.  We get used to the dark, and the sounds at night and the sounds that everyday things around us make that most people would not think of.  That window creaked, those were footsteps, when we might say that was a floor board creaking, or that was movement upstairs and not footsteps.
Never underestimate your own abilities; on the flip side, use some common sense and accountability as well to make sure that you don't get yourself in a frenzy of what might not be.


Anthony Anderson

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DREAMS: TAPPING INTO THE ATMOSPHERE



When we dream it is common knowledge that our brains are busy cataloging our experiences of the day; sights, sounds, words, ideas.  Why does our brain try to make sense of these collected and random images and ideas?  Modern science tells us it is our brain coping and working through them, some are moved to memory others are kept on standby to be re-considered and possibly revisited.  Is all this effort merely for our own use?  Are we programmed by someone else, perhaps somewhere else to preserve and review so that they can also review the collected experiences?

Dreams are an interesting variation to our waking world.  In our dreams we visit familiar and unfamiliar places.  We meet and talk to people that we know, knew and don't know.  We visit places we love or are comfortable to us, and we visit places that are alien and strange to us.

Many of us have dreams that occur more than once, we go to a specific place, and we have similar feelings and react in the same way each time. 

I know many move to the reincarnation theory that these are simply past locations and people, from another lifetime.  What if they were places and someone else and we are shown these places in an exchange?  Perhaps someone else reviews our experiences in our dreams and even waking hours, and in return sometimes we are taken to or shown other places where they live.  Or maybe we are shown these other places and people to simply see how we react to them? When we see them, what do we feel?  What emotion is stirred by these places? 

In the past 7 or 8 years (about the same amount of time I have been actively into the paranormal), I have had all kinds of strange dreams of places and people I have never seen or heard of before.  Once in a while, after sleeping and dreaming for hours, I slowly begin to wake, and as I do, I hear what sounds like a closed room and hearing the voices of people talking around me.

I have heard the sounds of footsteps, chairs moving, people in a warehouse, medial surgery, and loudspeakers.  One particular dream I had I was indoors on a small main street, sitting with other people inside a small store of some kind.  Out on the street I heard a vehicle slowly driving by with the announcement: "Everyone is to stay indoors; nobody is allowed outside on the streets after curfew; if you are visiting the museum it is closed."  I recall the sunshine in late afternoon or early evening.  There were tall trees along the street with leaves on them.  There were no people on the streets outside.  The sound of this loudspeaker was quite loud, and not just in a "dream state", but as if I was actually there hearing this message, sitting with others quietly listening indoors.

Am I tapping into someplace else?  Am I hearing others in some strange way?  Maybe we really do travel to other places or have a whole other life that we are oblivious to when we are asleep?  Maybe we do exist in two places at the same time.  Different experiences, places, people in our lives.  Maybe we possess both an elemental existence as well as a physical existence?  Once is subdued when focus is on the other, not entirely gone or turned off, but perhaps goes dormant.  Our physical body shifts to our elemental state when we sleep and that is the primary focus, and when we wake, the shift moves to our physical bodies.

This would certainly explain the memories of familiar people and places.  We do live to very different lives in two different planes of existence.  This of course all being theory on my part, but it also would incorporate the "past lives" theory, but instead being parallel lives instead of the past.

When I slowly wake from dreams I often hear conversations between people; sometimes they mention my name as if speaking of me indirectly. Other times I have heard a room full of people talking, like that of a conference room.

What does this mean? Who are they?  Many of the voices are not ones I have heard ever before.  A good deal of them are up to no good and have no good intentions whatsoever.  Am I being monitored due to ghost hunting?  Is it because I have immersed myself into Electronic Voice Phenomenon work that has attracted this attention?  It has been 7 years now, and other experiences have also come within this period. Perhaps EVP’s are recordings of people in their elements in this other plane of existence?  Maybe they can hear or see me and it is not a normal practice with them?

There are times I have terrifying nightmares, of violence, hatred and even angry deranged people yelling directly at me for no apparent reason.  Another test of aggression? To gage my reaction emotionally to an aggressor?

Dream are more mysterious than our waking world in my beliefs; we know so little, but we do know we have to relax our bodies and dedicate time to our elements to begin refreshed and anew.

Anthony Anderson