Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Phasma Ex Machina

Paranormal Roundup

Billy Cox praises the History Channel for getting it right in their "UFOs On The Record" documentary.

And Annie Jacobsen delves deeper than anyone else into the government's mysterious Area 51 in her book, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base. Jacobsen interviewed former employees to gain inside information as to what REALLY took place there. But if the lackluster user reviews at Amazon are any indication, you might want to wait for a bargain bin price.

And over at Mysterious Universe, Michah Hanks posits whether some old school quantum physics couldn't have implications on spectral phenomena.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sisters Are Doin' It For ThemsELVES

A backlash has really heated up in recent times regarding how women are being depicted in comics and fantasy works. Recently an image depicting how silly male superheroes would look in the poses given female characters made the rounds. And a Tumblr blog came to light via Boing Boing called Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor that depicts... Well, it depicts exactly what it says it does. So for all you ladies out there tired of the Elf Tramps and Super Sluts, this one's for you.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

May the Force Be With You: Collective Consciousness, The 6th Sense, and Our Interconnected Fields

Watch more in this series over at Ghost Hunting Theories. The implications presented in these videos are staggering and further research may produce evidence of psychic ability.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hoodoo Ann

This gif reflects a couple of seconds from a 1916 silent film entitled 'Hoodoo Ann', written by the famed D. W. Griffith and starring Mae Marsh as a girl suffering a remarkable streak of bad luck that may trace back to a cursed doll--or does it? I've not seen the film, so I can't say if these frames represent spontaneous human combustion or simply a fire igniting while she sleeps. If the former, it must surely be the earliest example of the topic having been broached in cinema.

Click The Image To Watch

Re-Etching History To Reveal Alien Domination, Monsters


No Sumerian/Akkadian Text Referencing "Doomsday" Planet, Nibiru

Paleo Babble excavates the truth behind those infamous theories of Zecharia Sitchin regarding ancient texts predicting a 'Planet X' he called Nibiru that swings by every 3600 years to wreak havoc. But if Stichin read this somewhere, it's a document unknown to the whole of Sumerian/Akkadian scholars. To Explain, WATCH THIS VIDEO.

Hastings Still Warns UFOs At Nuclear Facilities

You might remember UFO researcher, Robert Hastings (read previous posts here) who has, like Chicken Little, been trying to get people to notice that a pattern of UFOs at nuclear facilities, weapons depots, and the like is afoot. Well, if you think he's given up, check this out. Apparently there is startling new evidence anecdotes that prove his long-argued hypothesis.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And Another UFO Sighting

via Andrew W. Griffin at the Red Dirt Report:

On the 18th, an unnamed witness spotted a "one large white spotlight with a blue light circling it and two smaller white objects off to either side" while driving south on 84th Street in Slaughterville, OK.

Surmounting this cluster of lights was another red one that pulsed. In the flashes from this, the witness could see a triangular shaped craft that appeared to be of a "gun metal gray" color. It seemed the craft was in a holding patter, hovering over a nearby farm house.

The witness described the object as "the size of a football stadium" and while he claims to have taken a photograph, no such image has yet surfaced.

A MUFON filed investigator looked into the sighting, but it remains unclear as yet what all he or she managed to learn.

UFO Buzzes UK Parliament?

This is a news report aired on Britain's Channel 4. Does it show a UFO buzzing the houses of Parliament? Not likely. It has that ragged sense of motion epitomized by a digital process, which never seems as fluid as an old fashioned filmed effect. That said, I'll let you decide. One caveat: this news report is short and not about a UFO, so watch the background instead of the reporter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vintage Spooky Boardgames

And an old post at Little Gothic Horrors made me think of an old board game I used to have when I was a kid that I couldn't remember the name of, which made me have to track it down. That's how I stumbled on this fantastic list of mystery, horror, haunted, and Halloween-themed board games from the 60s and 70s. Total nostalgia rush to kick start your morning....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Transcending Genre

A recent post over at Dead End Drive-in got me to thinking about those horror and paranormal films that transcend their respective genres, breaking out the pigeon holes to find a greater resepct among all films. Below is my list of films that fit this criterion. I'm sure there are some I've missed (and they are not listed in any particular order), so if you have any contributions...

A note: I've purposefully excluded classic horror/paranormal films because, as logic would dictate, if you established the genre, you can't transcend it. I've also eschewed some films best termed Suspense or Psychological Thrillers since dealing with a killer (serial or no) isn't the single defining element to horror in my humble opinion.

Frailty--In dealing with the fine lines between faith, blind zealotry, and complete psychosis, Frailty examines the lives of two brothers recruited in a holy war against demonic forces by their father. But the viewer is never quite sure if there really are demons or dad's just a lot bit nuts.

Fire In the Sky--The UFO, the aliens... They're almost after thoughts, as if a focus group demanded them (damn you, focus groups!!). Fire in the sky doesn't require extraterrestrial terrors to tell the story of Travis Walton's abduction from a mountain in Arizona. The story here is about how he went missing, how he returned, and how he tried to piece together the shattered remains of his life in the wake of his claims.

Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind--Similarly, I would add CE4thK to the list for how it deals with those affected by UFOs (the self-doubt, the ridicule, the paranoia...), but in the framework of individuals struggling to find the answers and meet this phenomenon head-on.

The Green Mile--In this tapestry of characters we almost forget there is something supernatural afoot in this prison, mostly because scary thrown in your face like a pile of dirty underwear every two minutes. Sure, it's dark at times, but its a darkness that comes from the human condition; a darkeness tempered by the irrepresible spirit of the film.

Let Me In--In a world weary of angst ridden tweens that sparkle like club kids in the sunlight, Let Me In (and it's Swedish counterpart) breathed new life into Vampires. This wasn't about blood and guts; it was about growing pains.

This is what zombiesurvivalstrategy.com had to say about the original: "They have a lot in common. Both films are about disillusioned young people who meet vampires and fall instantly in love with them. The vampire in Twilight, played by tween sex icon and Robert Smith wannabe Robert Pattinson, denies Kristin Stewart’s advances because his having sex with her might destroy her and her purity. Excuse me for one second while I vomit. This is just a teenage girls’ bullshit (and dangerous) fantasy of having to chase the perfect man. In Let the Right One In, our vampire ‘girl’ uses the boy’s affections to her own ends, encouraging more and more violence from him, eventually convincing him to lead a life of mass-murder so he can satisfy her bloodlust. This is about real power dynamics in relationships, and how couplings in real life are complicated by messy things like exploitation and selfishness. These darker themes are what vampire movies are really about. Not the agony of pre-marital chastity."

The Sixth Sense--I'll admit, with each viewing after it doesn't hold as much magic, but that might be argued for any film. But for that first time or two--Wow! It's impactful. The very first time its watched, the film hits you like a Mack truck: the ghosts that pop up at just the right unexpected moments, the twist ending... It may be the only great film M. Night does, but he did it to perfection, and that's worth something.

The Birds--Yeah, I guess there's Psycho, but it's really just a good old psycho killer movie. However, an avian ravaged dystopia never seemed so bleak as in Hitchcock's sonic wasteland, The Birds. The absence of sound, the proximity to the endless expanse of ocean, as if perched on the edge of the world itself... Hitch knew what he was doing. He understood that terror wasn't always something terrible; it didn't require musical cues to tell you to be scared; it didn't even require an explanation shoved down your throat. In fact, it practically demanded that such be denied.


The Serpent And The Rainbow--Wes Craven's earliest attempt at doing something other than horror is this film about a Harvard scientist who goes in search of real zombies in Haiti. The only thing holding this film back from a true genre-transcender is the climax, which relied heavily on some classic horror film moments. Had Craven not used such a heavy hand to sell you on this-is-a-zombie-horror-film, it would have made the list.

Scream--As abused as it is now, it's easy to forget how fresh and revitalizing this film was when it first came out in 1996. It brought slasher horror back from the brink of oblivion with a sardonic, self-referential wit that has, sadly, become the template for so much that followed. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Phantasmagoria

Prior to cinematic film, horror was relegated to writing--or so you would think. In reality, the predecessor to the 'scary movie' was the phantasmagoria, a type of magic lantern show that specialized in dark, gothic, and demonic themes. Some were used by early magicians and con-men during seances.

While the magic lantern, a device that projects silhouettes or etched images via a convex lens, had been around since the mid-17th century, the pitiful sputterings from candles and oil lamp flames kept them from truly taking off as an entertainment artform. With 19th century advances such as argand, limelight, and eventually incandescence, these device, which often employed elaborate mechanisms for shuffling slides to simulate movement, became ever more popular.

Especially the phantasmagoria.

In the 1660s, Thomas Walgensten employed his "lantern of fear" to conjur ghosts and later magicians and hoaxers would do similiarly to either amuse or dupe. It is from this inauspicious begining that the phantasmagoria as horror entertainment flourished during the Romantic Gothic period of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Horror novels were popular and many took to illustrating the mind's eye via magic lantern horror shows.

Throughout the 19th century, its popularity waned considerably. With the advent of several cinematic precursors, the lanterns were extinguished permanantly.
But their mystique lives on in literature and cinema. And their irrefutable contribution to modern horror cannot be dismissed.

A Free Gift To Get You In The Mood For Halloween

Use this button on your website, perhaps to link to your favorite Halloween treats!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

American Horror Story Makes October Debut

American Horror Story, a new series on FX, comes from the minds of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (co-creators of GLEE) and is, in short, about a haunted house and the family living therein. Seems like a thin premise to hang an entire series on, but given their prior success, I'm willing to bet they'll find an audience.

American Horror Story, which premieres October 5th, stars Dylan McDermott and Jessica Lange.

Friday, August 19, 2011


The official launch party for the novel will be held at the historic and haunted Overholser Mansion on October 7, 2011. For more information, follow this LINK.

Kreepy Girl Meets The Mummy


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Woman In Black Returns

Two of my favorite things collide in this forthcoming film: a good old fashioned gothic ghost story and Daniel Radcliffe.

Based on Susan Hill's 1983 novel, The Woman In Black was previously a British made-for-TV film and looks, according to this trailer, to be another The Others. I look forward to this one wholeheartedly.

Skully Gone And Cracked His Head Open!

Maybe it's a funky pillow for your teen's goth-decorated room (or yours--I'm not judging) or maybe it's the cute and fun t-shirt. Whatever product or reason, Skully is bound to get you in the mood for Halloween. It's just around the corner, so order soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011


I picture her commanding her armada of airships to stop the encroaching forces of the undead....

Pick up this design as a greeting card, framed print, journal or tote


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The REAL Mayan Experts Finally Begin Addressing 2012

[from Boing Boing]

"It's August of 2011, do you know when your Apocalypse is?

There are 1000s of people who think that something important—if not the end or the world, then something—will happen on December 21, 2012. These speculations spring from a well-seasoned cultural melting pot, but a key ingredient is the writings and beliefs of both ancient and modern Maya people. In fact, the folks promoting the 2012 movement often frame themselves as experts in Maya traditions.

Here's the thing, though: There are actual experts in ancient Maya traditions, and actual experts who study the culture and religion of modern Maya living today. These archaeologists and anthropologists have, inadvertently, created some of the pop culture legends that spawned the 2012 movement. But, until very recently, they've largely ignored that movement. This is starting to change, however. Last January, archaeo-astronomers held a symposium on the 2012 phenomenon and those papers were recently published in The Proceedings of the International Astronomy Union. Meanwhile, a new scholarly book, collecting essays on the 2012 phenomenon by Mayanist researchers, is set to be published soon.

One of the researchers featured in that book is John Hoopes, an archaeologist and one of my former professors when I was an anthropology student at The University of Kansas.

Hoopes does field research, digging at archaeological sites in Costa Rica and other parts of Central and South America. But, as a side project, he's also developed some expertise in the way archaology—and, particularly, pseudo-archaeology—influence pop culture in the United States and Europe. I spoke with him about where 2012 myths come from, why scientists need to study and address pseudo-science movements, and why he thinks the 2012 phenomenon owes as much to H.P. Lovecraft and Aldous Huxley as it does to the ancient Maya."


Friday, August 12, 2011

Is DARPA's Latest Plaything The Elusive 'Aurora'?

DARPA's 320 million dollar hypersonic Falcon, which flies in excess of Mach 20 (13,000 mph) launched this week on a test flight and was promptly lost in the deep blue. But fear not! They had, of course, two. A second launch is scheduled.

The unmanned craft is shaped like a large black spearpoint, a configuration familiar to many UFOlogists. One cannot help but wonder if these are the first tests, or if these are the first tests the public has been allowed to know about?

Since the late 1980s when a military budget listed an expenditure of $455 million as a black project (as secretly-funded ventures are termed in the parlance of military spending)  known only as "Aurora,"it has been long-rumored the military has been testing a hypersonic jet. Some felt, however, this huge sum was tagged for Lockheed's B-2 Spirit, which was revealed to the public in the 1990s. 

These likely gave rise to many black triangle sightings in the years prior. In 1989, a British engineer spotted one refueling. And it can't be a coincidence that the number of black triangle UFOs sprang like weeds during the 1980s and early 1990s. As the revelation of the now famous Delta wing bombers and fighters emerged, it becomes obvious that many of these arose from very real sightings.

All along, a hypersonic jet has been rumored alongside these. Can we assume that it too has a ring of truth? Aurora likely saw various iterations of the concept over the years, each getting scrapped in turn as their flaws became apparent. That DARPA is releasing information on this vehicle tells us, despite this week's failure, the concept is sound--and didn't spring forth overnight.

In late 1991, as recorded by the USGS, a series of strange sonic booms was picked up in Southern California that seemed "stonger than other sonic booms," according to Jim Mori, a seismologist. "They've all come on Thursday mornings about the same time, between 4 and 7."

Dom Maglierie, a former NASA expert on such phenomena, confirmed the data represented something at 90,000 feet, traveling at Mach 4 to Mach 5.2 and were unlike any aircraft he was familiar with.

On March 23, 1992, near Amarillo, Steven Douglas took photos of a strange, donuts-on-a-rope contrail that he linked to rather peculiar sounds that produced "a deep pulsating rumble that vibrated the house and made the windows shake." Douglas also claimed ot have intercepted air-to-air communications between an AWACS known as "Dragnet 51" from Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City and two other unidentified craft known by the callsigns "Darkstar November" and "Darkstar Mike." These latter designations were, apparently, AWACS squadrons out of Tinker as well. Anyone who lives in the Oklahoma City area is extremely familiar with these large jets surmounted by flying saucer-like radar arrays.

One month later, a similar incident took place in California by a civilian monitoring air traffic communications out of Edwards AFB. He heard early morning transmissions between callsign "Joshua Control" and a high-flyer using "Gaspipe": "Youre at 67,000 feet, 81 miles out...70 miles out now, 36,000 feet, above glideslope..."

And while sightings tapered off (other than some dubious Area 51 claims) by the mid-1990s, budget holes continued to show up in conjuction with anomalies that might suggest such a project was still under way.

Again, I have to wonder if this is what we've been seeing all along. Perhaps after failed attempts to man such a craft, a drone was deemed the likeliest solution.

If black triangles and hypersonic craft can shed UFO mystique to become actual military advancements, should we then take a closer look at such reports with an eye toward air force technology? What of the rumored silent-running refueling platforms and stealth blimps? Are they generating similar sightings? Perhaps only time will tell since, as yet, no hobbyist UFOlogist has successfully penetrated the veil of denial surrounding such black projects.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hurricane Harbinger: A Look At The Gray Man of Pawleys Island

As we step into Hurricane season, let's take a moment to revisit an old tale, one with which you may be familiar.

On South Carolina's Pawleys Island, legend has long told of the Gray Man who appears as a harbinger of these deadly storms. He has been reported since 1822 when a devastating hurricane wrecked Charleston.

1893 found the Gray Man presenting himself to the Lachicotte family. Undestanding the import, the family fled the island and were spared being counted among the 1500 people killed by the Sea Islands Hurricane.

In October 1954, Bill Collins and his new bride were honeymooning on Pawleys Island when, at an ungodly hour, they heard a knock on their door. Answering the knock, Bill was confronted by a man in a gray suit and hat. His face wasn't clearly seen beneath its broad brim. The stranger told him the Red Cross was warning locals to evacuate the area, a storm was coming. Before he could really reply, the man in the gray suit left without another word. Wisely, Bill Collins and his wife left the island just in time to miss a category 4 hurricane named Hazel, which killed 95 people.

It's not clear who this ghostly messenger is. Some think he was an innkeeper on the island long ago before a hurricane took his life. Others think he was a young man on a journey from Georgetown, SC to visit is fiancee on the island. To save time, he turned his horse down what he thought would be a shortcut through a marsh. Sadly, the horse and rider were both caught in quicksand. Later, the distraught fiancee was wandering heartsick along the beach when a man in gray approached her. To the woman's shock, it was her lover. He warned her to leave immediately because a terrible storm was headed toward the island. She heeded his warning and was spared her life as a result. Among the many shattered remains of homes that littered the island, a sole dwelling stood unfazed: the fiancee's home.


Is it real? You DECIDE.

The Valentich Vanishing

In late 1978, Australian pilot Frederick Valentich, took off from Moorabbin Airport in Victoria on a solo flight in a Cessna 182. His course would take him across Bass Strait to King Island. However, 50 minutes into his flight, Valentich spotted a large craft with four bright lights in his immediate vicinity. He then radioed the following message to Melbourne air flight service controller, Steve Robey:

"It seems to be playing some sort of game. Flying at speed I cannot estimate.... It is flying past.  It has a long shape...coming for me right now.... It has a green light and sort of metallic light on the outside. The thing is orbiting on top of me. [at this point, the Cessna begins a rough idle, and the engine coughs] Proceeding Kind Island. Unknown aircraft now hovering on top of me."

As Valentich signed off, a loud metallic groan was heard for 17 seconds by those on the ground listening in. Then the signal went dead. That was the last anyone heard from the young pilot. Neither the Cessna nor his body were ever located.

To better understand the mystery, the unusual metallic sound, which wasn't made immediately public in the wake of the tragedy, was analyzed by several experts, including Dr. Richard F. Haines, a one-time researcher with NASA. Haines reported that the sound was "thirty-six separate bursts with fairly constant start and stop pulses bounding each one....no discernible patterns in time or frequency."

Following the incident, several witnesses came forward to claim that green lights had been seen in the sky. One said he spotted a green light trailing the very plane that went missing.

Others posited more mundane explanations,including the typical pilot disorientation, strong winds off the strait pushing the plane far out to sea, and that Valentich was involved in drug smuggling and shot down by another plane. In absence of any proof, all three of these scenarios are no less ridiculous than abduction by a UFO.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Anatomy of an Urban Legend: Oliver Lerch Goes Missing

Around the 1890s, according to legend, a Christmas Eve gathering was held on a farm near South Bend, IN. A young man in attendance, Oliver Lerch (or Larch according to some variations), goes into the clear, cold night to get water from the well.

Minutes later, those inside hear blood-curdling screams. They race outside, but find no trace of Oliver. However, in the snow, they spot his footprints. Shockingly, the tracks disappeared halfway from the house to the well.

Suddenly, from the clear skies overhead, the group hears Oliver's voice shouting, "It's got me! Help! Help!" His anguished cries fade to silence within a minute or two.

Much like Ambrose Bierce's "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field," this vanishing into nothing story involves the echoed cries of the unseen victim. Other iterations have shown up, including a Welsh version in the 1960s and a 1936 version by Fate magazine contributor, Joseph Rosenberger. Reportedly Rosenberger revealed to another Fate writer that it was all a hoax of his own design.

However, the tale was well-known before then and not likely Rosenberger's creation. The basic plot comes form "Charles Ashmore's Trail," published in 1893 by (not surprisingly) Ambrose Bierce in the volume, Can Such Things Be?

The only real mysteries are how the seemingly unwaiverable name of Oliver Lerch came to replace Charles Ashmore as it took on Urban Legend status (was there something about a REAL Oliver Lerch) and how tales like this and others (The Ghost of U65 or The Bowmen, for instance) are able to leap from the page into popular consciousness as truth?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's The End Of The World As We Know It--AGAIN

As we wind down to 2012 oblivion, the friendly folks at Smithsonian remind us of all the apocalypses that didn't come to pass:

“Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching.” -- from an Assyrian tablet, dated c. 2800 BCE


Isn't it about time you updated your ghost hunting equipment??

That tired old camcorder not doing it for you anymore?

From Boing Boing...

"Vision Research's Phantom v1610 shoots 1m fps, albeit at the rather low resolution of 128x16. At a more modern 1280x800, however, it still packs in 16,000 shots every second. A 10Gb ethernet link and other high-end connections will keep the data flowing; how many seconds of footage its 96GB of internal storage can hold is left as an exercise for the reader."
Phantom v1610 [Vision Research]

Monday, August 8, 2011

Halloween Greetings Are Just Around The Corner

Click HERE to order these adorable greeting cards

Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble: Cooking Up Magic With Olde Spells...

"Much discourse hath been about gathering of fern-seed, which is looked upon as a magical herb, on the night of Midsummer Eve, and I remember I was told of one that went to gather it, and the Spirits whiskt by his ears like bulltes, and sometimes struck his hat, and other parts of his body: in fine, though he apprehended that he had gotten a quantity of it, and secured it in papers, and a box besides, when he came home, he found all empty."  R. Bovet from Pandemonium or The Devil's Cloyster (1684)

"The forked root of the mandrake gave it the appearance of a human being.  It was supposed to bleed when cut, and its scream when pulled out of the ground could have a fearful effect.  Juliet, expecting to hear frightening cries from the crypt, exclaimed, 'shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth, that living mortals hearing them run mad'."  Michael Drayton from Nimphidia (1627) [And you thought J. K. Rowling made that up, didn't you?--ch]

"Thrice toss these oaken ashes in the air,
Thrice sit thou mute in this enchanted chair;
And thrice three times, tie up this true love's knot!
And murmur soft 'she will, or she will not'.

Go burn these poisonous weeds in yon blue fire,
These screech-owl's feathers and this prickling briar;
This cypress gathered at a dead man's grave'
That all thy fears and cares, an end may have.

Then come, you Fairies, dance with me a round!
Melt her hard heart with your melodius sound!
In vain are all the charms I can devise:
She hath an art to break them with her eyes."
   Thomas Campion from Book of Ayres (c. 1611)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old Joe Defies Ghost Hunters

The following was printed in the July 23, 1962 edition of The Oklahoman:

Maco, NC (AP)--Old Joe Baldwin defied the ghost hunters Saturday night. He failed to appear.

The mysterious light often seen flashing beside the Atlantic coast line track didn't even flicker. A crew of engineers from a Charlotte radio station (WWOK), armed with an assortment of electronic equipment, kept an all-night vigil.  Also on hand were about 150 residents of this area of southeastern North carolina who turned out to see if the ghost hunters would see Old Joe.

The story is told that the mysterious light is the lantern Old Joe is carrying to look for his head.* Joe Baldwin, a railroad man, was struck and decapitated by a trian in the 1860s.

Russ Reardon, project coordinator for the radio station, said his crew would return next Saturday night.  He said the ghost hunters are now more ager to catch the ghost, even though "the spirit wasn't willing" Saturday night.

The ghost hunters took along, among other things, a spectroscope** for measuring the light by its wave length and an audio-amplifier for converting the current into sound.

*this is a familiar motif among spooklight tales
** don't often hear about anyone employing this technique in the analysis of spirits or ghost lights

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leave An EVP After The Boo!


Did Woman's Ghost Save Her Son?

Post-Tribune (IN) - June 16, 1994

Lawrence Skubish knew his 25-year-old daughter Christine was missing for days in California.
A national newscast showing the mangled wreckage of her car told Skubish she was dead.

"The report said they had found her car all mangled up and it said she didn't live," Skubish said from his Portage Township home. "It was like a nightmare just unfolded all of a sudden."

Christine Skubish 's death made national news this week because her 3-year- old son, Nick , Lawrence Skubish 's grandson, survived the drive off a 40- foot cliff and lived for five days before being rescued.

"Thank God little Nicky is alive," Skubish said. "I put trust in the good Lord and we will do what we must to go on."

Christine Skubish attended Portage High School from January 1986 to December 1987. She also attended Ivy Tech in Gary and Valparaiso, Skubish said. Christine was a partner in a Merrillville business called Nails on Broadway for about a year before moving to California, he said.

"She was such a good girl," Skubish recalled. "She wanted to go to law school."

Christine and Nick were last seen June 6 in Placerville, Calif., El Dorado County Sheriff Lt. Howard Wilson said.

On June 9, a motorist traveling the winding and mountainous U.S. 50 through the El Dorado National Forest claims to have seen the figure of a pale white, naked woman laying curled on the road, Wilson said. Police searched the area and found nothing, Wilson said.

The next morning, Deputy Richard Strasser, who pieced together the last hours of Christine 's life, drove to the area where the motorist reported the naked figure and saw a baby's shoe nearby.

"There was nothing else there to indicate an accident, no skid marks or anything," Wilson said.

At the bottom of the cliff were the motionless bodies of Christine and Nick Skubish . The 3-year-old was alive, but scratched, dehydrated and malnourished, Wilson said. He has since has been released from the hospital, Wilson said.

Police say it appears Christine fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road.

A memorial service for Christine and a trust fund for Nick are being arranged.

[Cullan's note] According to an interview with Strasser by Sue Kovach, author of Hidden Files, it seemed like the boy had at one point released his seatbelt, crawled from the vehicle, and stripped himself bare--perhaps because of the heat of the day. This is evidenced by several factors, not the least of which were the poison oak burns on his body from a nearby plant. It is possible that it was the boy who climbed up to the road to be spotted by the motorist. If so, it's hard to reconcile the witnesses report of a naked woman at the side of the road.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8 Common Ghost Hunting Mistakes (More or Less)

As I was reading this post on a blog by a prolific paranormal author, I found myself quibbling over some of this as well as having a few suggestions of my own. So, without further ado, I present MY 8 Common Ghost Hunting Mistakes....

1) I will agree to Mr. Branson-Trent's first mistake, Trespassing. It is unwise to do so and I shall go on record as saying I don't advise any of you to break the law. We may have all done it in the course of urban exploration, but for a proper investigation, you need time and access--something only permission can afford you.

2) He also cites 'being fearful of ghosts' as a big mistake as well. I would agree. I've never been frightened, as I don't see these experiences a fearful--thrilling perhaps, but never fearful. I find those individuals who turn ghost hunts into horror films are often a bit fantasy prone and not likely to give the endeavor the strict scrutiny it deserves.

3) Branson-Trent recommends not going alone, as do many others. In fact, he says the ideal group is 3 - 6 people. I think at 6, you're getting carried away. I'm all for just a tiny handful of people. The more people you have the more problems. I'm going to say this: I go alone frequently. This is usually because I'm doing a bit of urban exploration and photography and these expeditions are often done on a whim. While, we can cite the possible dangers in going alone (all valid, by the way), the truth is we face danger on a daily basis. That said, take precautions: let someone know where you are, have a cell phone with you, etc... Also, evaluate the situation. If you're in rundown old crack house in the middle of gangland, perhaps you shouldn't be alone. If you're in a sinkhole infested former rusty nail factory, perhaps you shouldn't go alone. Use common sense.

4) His 4th was basically still number 3, so I'm using this space here to capriciously share some lyrics from the B-52's "Rock Lobster":

Here comes a stingray
There goes a manta-ray
In walked a jelly fish
There goes a dog-fish
Chased by a cat-fish
In flew a sea robin
Watch out for that piranha
There goes a narwhal
Here comes a bikini whale!

5) Next, our esteemed expert advises us not to drink, smoke, or start fires. I would think this goes under the common sense category. I would add litter. I'm all about leaving nothing but footprints. I would also advise that if you've got more gear than NASA that you run some long cables to a van or something. This goes along with whole lotta people hypothesis. Aside from the thought that too much activity can actually have the opposite effect on a haunted location, I am also reminded of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and how we change what we study--sometimes even by the act of observation. While this principle is meant for subatomic realms, I think it often applies to the macro as well.

6) His number 6 is about my number 8, so I'll spend my time here haranguing you on how important I feel it is to dress professionally, especially when visiting a person's home. While I understand the need for comfort with many long hours ahead, it's important to understand what image you might be projecting. If you're all clad in matching t-shirts with a goofy ghost cartoon and your acronymic persona spelled out in dripping vampire font, then you might not be presenting the polished professional image you'd like to. In a field that seems to be more concerned these days with having the "look" of something like T.A.P.S. than making sure the work is high quality, it's easy to fall into the trap of the paracelebrity wanna be. Just dress nicely, act professionally, and be serious about the work you're doing.

7) He adds not to dare, threaten, or taunt entities, stating that they aren't always friendly thereafter. But he formerly had said that these entities can't hurt you. Which is it? I would say that, experience has taunt many of us that different presences respond in different ways: some to men only, some to the presence of children, and some to anger. Use what you must, if it helps. But make sure you don't look like a total douche in the process.

8) For his 8th comment, he blathers on about feelings and intuition. I say screw that. We all follow our gut instincts and don't need to be reminded of that. I say have a plan. That said, I'll spend my number 8 talking about my favorite subject: photography. DO NOT use an integrated flash. If at all possible, do not use a flash. If you do, make sure the following is going on. You have a hotshoe-mounted external flash that can angle up for a bounce fill and use a diffusion baffle. If you can, I would recommend separate soft boxes (small portable ones). The reason for all this is not only those obnoxious orbs (but try it and see how you will stop getting them), but because those little xenon flashes was out the subtle details of your scene that might be important as well as cause "false positives" from a host of environmental elements, including vapors and particulates in the air.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Injecting Life Into Vampire Films

Take all your crappy Insidiouses and Paranormal Activities and shove them in a dark hole with those terrible glitter-skinned Twilight movies. The awesomest horror film (which is really a coming of age/gothic romance) is Let Me In. Based on a Swedish novel, even Stephen King said it was the best American horror film of the last 20 years. THIS is what horror should be: great cinema that tells a timeless tale--that just happens to do it with monsters.



Analyzing And Rejecting Ancient Aliens In Art

The following video is derived from the work of an Italian, Diego Cuoghi, in his efforts to reject that the "UFOs" in Medieval and Byzantine works were depictions of anything more than common symbols of the period. And while it is obvious the narrarator is far from skeptical (having an apparent disdain of the pagan elements of these early christian works), his analysis remains erudite and compelling.