Halloween Hauntings All Year Long

I was wondering just how to introduce a non-profit organization intent on helping others with problems most people won’t touch.

After all, how does one introduce professional paranormal investigators?

This blog entry is extremely long, and where I’m hoping to stir enough interest for you paranormal writers to shoot me any specific questions you may have, I’m worried about boring everyone else.  

So I guess I’ll just jump in. Welcome to the world of Shadowz Paranormal Investigations. Their members are diverse and can have no criminal background. As in background-checked, every one. They serve a 90 day probation period. They have to be honest, hard-working, willing to learn, willing to help with evidence and fund raisers, be willing to put in a lot of hours, and willing to travel out of town.

And did I mention they’re an all volunteer organization? 

Their one solid rule is the homeowner’s name is never revealed by the organization. They’re already uncomfortable or frightened, so why open them to ridicule or repercussions? Every precaution is taken to protect their identity, down to every member of the team signing a perpetually in effect non-disclosure clause. 

I can get away with it because I am the homeowner. Well, and I got permission from Dolly first. It’s how I met her.

For the better than quarter century I’ve lived here, odd things have occurred. People walking up the sidewalk toward the back door–but no one there when I went to see who it was. And I crossed only a twelve foot room to reach the door. They couldn’t have run away that quickly.

For years I put it down to the television reflecting on a window. A pecan branch throwing a strange shadow through its leaves. But too many people saw the same dark-trousered, white-shirted gentleman during times the TV was off, the tree branches were naked for winter, or whatever current excuse I was using to ignore him. He was also seen crossing the yard, only to disappear into thin air. Strange moving columns and streaks of light appeared at night.

Now I have fun with it. When someone calls out “Somebody’s here!” I tell them to go let him in. Or when someone new says “Hey, some guy’s out there by Steve’s boat! What’s he doing?” I always send them to check it out, straight-faced.You have to picture Steve’s boat sitting in the middle of about a three acre, wide-open field. It’s in full view the entire walk to it. After darting back and forth to either side of the boat, then circling it at least three times, the person sent to investigate will shade their face with their hand (my guy is unusual in that he’s a Daywalker) and walk around and around the field for five or so minutes. I’ve even had a couple drop the ladder, climb in and search inside the boat.

There are two reactions. They either slip back inside, completely quiet, with a strange look on their face; or tear through the back door and preface an explosion of questions with “WTF!” Yep, my fellow is quite the conversation starter. And he’s caused some early departures. Chasing fish-tailing vehicles down the drive while waving your arms over your head and yelling “But he’s harmless!” doesn’t bring them back. It also makes the neighbors look at you funny. 

Inside, shadows move down the hallway and into my office. The faint scent of cigar or cigarette smoke, or sometimes perfume will fill a room. I fuss out loud about being allergic to cigarette smoke and we won’t smell it  again for quite a while. But eventually he/she/it tests me again. 

Whatever is here is comforting; At an extremely low time in my life I was just standing staring out the window. A hand dropped on my shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze; the kind you get from your husband or best friend when the words aren’t there but they want you to know they care and that things will be alright. I was filled with such a feeling of warmth I turned around to hug my husband for knowing just what I needed.

And jumped a foot in the air when no one was there. 

Finally curious enough to do something about it,  I initially had a friend from the New Orleans metaphysical community  check things out. Her opinion was my property was along a ley line, an invisible path that souls use to depart this plane. She’s a White Witch and I trust her and the Druid priest accompanying her implicitly; but I wanted a second opinion. After all this was my sanity we were certifying (de-certifying?) here.

I talked to several investigative organizations. Some were overly zealous, some overly clinical, some were flat out kooks. None were what I was looking for. For months Goldilocks and the Three Bears rattled around in my head. No one was “just right”.

Then I talked to Dolly. Her matter of fact attitude, her description of what they hoped to achieve, the devices they used and why, coupled with her easy way of communicating impressed me. But what impressed me most was the fact that she has a perpetual, permanent skeptic at every investigation. His sole purpose is to debunk any evidence they come up with. I don’t think you can get any more unbiased than that.

 Dolly’s investigation was long, nearly overnight, and involved quite a bit of preparation and equipment. EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) detectors. Remote night vision cameras that record each room constantly. Hand held video recorders. Remote voice recorders to catch EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon). Infrared thermal recorders for temperature change readings. Several people staying on the move with digital cameras taking constant shots. There are between 1,000 and 2,000 still shots taken per investigation. Yes, that’s right. Between one and two thousand.

Dolly’s certified in EMF, White Noise Technician, Paranormal Studies, Advanced Paranormal Studies, Parapsychology, and just recently she decided to round out her certification–with UFO’s.

And who recognizes her as legitimate? Would you be impressed by Animal Planet? She ignored the first few calls, convinced a friend was playing a prank. But thankfully executives from Animal Planet are persistent. They asked her to conduct an investigation into a possible animal haunting. They didn’t collect enough conclusive evidence to declare it an actual haunting. She’s very strict about certifying evidence. She uses computer programs designed to detect tampering for night vision and audio recordings. Photographs are examined by outside professional photographers before being posted on her website.

Her criteria for naming a place haunted is multiple types of evidence, EVP’s being what she considers the best evidence, captured during a minimum of five separate investigations. Her current schedule is double-booked, with a four month waiting list. She investigates homes, hotels, bed and breakfasts, historical places, businesses and graveyards. If a situation involving frightened children comes up, they take emergency precedence. Bad experiences as a teen set her on this path. It was only after Katrina other family members admitted to experiencing the same phenomenon while growing up.

Of course I asked her the most obvious question. Is there more paranormal activity around Halloween? After all Samhain is traditionally when the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest. She laughed, very emphatic with her answer. “No! And even though there is more activity during the five days before, during and after the full moon, the single most active night of the year has consistently been Winter Solstice.” 

That surprised me. I looked up Yule for this year. It begins December 21, 2009. And yes, she’s booked for something spectacular. I’m nosy. I asked. I will dig further.

If you’d like to catch a glimpse of Dolly, she has a live interview on WLOX this Friday, October 30, at 11 AM. Ghosts Coast to Coast, book one and book two, features her pictures from a Biloxi house investigation. She does radio interviews, speaking engagements, is featured in articles in the Jackson newspaper, the Sun Herald, a Florida newspaper and paranormal magazines.  She’s done investigations as far away as Memphis, Tennessee, Florida, all along the Coast and north Mississippi; calls have come from as far as California, Wisconsin and Georgia. Right now investigations are limited to where they can drive to, but the future looks promising for things opening up.

I asked for her most frightening experience, and the funniest. “I’ve never been frightened by anything paranormal.  Some people have terrified me, but never ghosts.” Remember the 2,000 photos?  They helped solve the mystery of an injured investigator. They were investigating a site where the property owners swore “We don’t drink, and ghosts throw beer bottles at us from the woods.” An investigator was hit by a thrown beer bottle, but the property owners refused to give the team access to the area it came from.

Several hours of still pics helped solve the mystery. One pic revealed a 12 pack in the back of a pick-up truck owned by one of the sons. Sweaty bottles, well chilled. Later photos showed bottles missing. Another photo showed a bottle in one of the son’s hand. A short time later, no bottle in his hand. Later no beer at all in the pick-up. Remember these pictures were taken by several different photographers on several different cameras. Even presented with the chronologic photographic evidence, the family still refused to admit to trickery. One other time a man faked a haunting so he could rob the team of their equipment. Imagine his surprise on learning the team had two police officers with them that night!

The funniest happened in Jackson County. Ron came tearing in calling for the team, sweaty from running, thrilled to announce he “looked up to see a full apparition run from one tree to another!” The entire team took off following him, hoping to see it again and get it on film.  He pointed out the trees, they got quickly  into place, waited with mics and cameras rolling. A slight noise began . . .

And the moonlight shone beautifully on the arcing drops of water from the automatic sprinkler misting its way from one tree to another.  

Dolly says all her investigators run toward the activity! She’s never had one run away. She’s fired a few, but they never ran.

Here’s some technical stuff you might have questions about later. PLEASE don’t be shy about what you want to know. If you are shy, we’ll email one on one.

The types of hauntings: Residual hauntings; events that happen again and again. Intelligent hauntings; ones that will interact with you; these were once human, but haven’t crossed over for some reason. Poltergeists are not ghosts or hauntings at all. They’re phenomenon created by a living person. Usually an emotional female teen,  (on rare occasion a male, but generally female) between the ages of 14 and 20. Then there are demonic hauntings. These are inhuman, have never been a living person, and considered the “bad boys of paranormal”. Dolly has been trained by a priest to bless a house with disturbing activity with prayers and holy water, as in poltergeists, but the truly demonic she immediately turns over to a priest.

Dolly was supposed to investigate a haunted outbuilding. With her schedule so full and the episodes escalating, the anxious property owners called a priest out.  The priest collapsed on arrival, prompting the property owners to immediately burn the building to the ground. Dolly said that was fine with her, because if a priest couldn’t handle what it was, she sure wasn’t going to tackle it. She adamantly refuses to handle anything demonic. She also explained the biggest misconception about a haunting is mistaking the building itself as the problem. It’s not.  Hauntings are actually connected to property or sites. So if anything is rebuilt there, it will most likely be haunted too.

The types of manifestations are orbs (orbs are simply energy, not ghosts, and not even indicative of haunting); ectoplasm; apparitions (the most usual); vortex–strangest looking and rarely encountered; and portal hauntings–doorways between dimensions, also rarely encountered.

Jared, the skeptic, has a strange motto: “Don’t knock on Death’s door. Ring the doorbell and run. He hates that!” He admits to being cursed out by a male voice, but says that still isn’t enough to convince him. “It’s going to have to be something physical.” Certainly not the time when he and his mom were talking at a site and Dolly said “We might as well pack up. There’s nothing here.” Playing the audio tapes back later, a female EVP was distinctly heard responding to the remark, calling Dolly by her real name and telling her rather testily “Well, you know the way out!”

In the next blog I’ll go over equipment, how it’s used, and some physical phenomena such as a ‘fear cage’, something that happens to people who are sensitive to EMF’s.

Visit Dolly’s site http://www.shadowzparanormal.com   Check out her Give Back tab. She’s very involved in her community. And if you’re curious enough to want to check out my house, it’s in Hancock County, Necaise Crossing. We got orbs inside and outside, a female EVP and male EVP, temp drop to 32 degrees when asking for sign of a presence (65-74 degrees everywhere else), and strange light streaking through some trees. 

And yes, Shadowz is coming back.  My date is already booked!

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4 Responses

  1. This is awesome, my friend. Always been intrigued myself by this – Would love to meet her and see your place.

  2. Dolly is one of those unique people you feel lucky to meet in your life! She brought the paperwork for me to join her group with them for the interview. Even her skeptic says he likes me! Actually, I think he’s able to read that word “sucker” tattooed across my forehead in ink only babies can read, and he envisions me as a new babysitter for his boys!

    I’m not sure what’s still up on my house’s investigation, but it’s still on Dolly’s website. I can’t wait to do some actual work on the ground, so to speak, and learn as much as I can.

    I’m always open to visitors (Hell, boys who dated my daughters 25 years ago still drop by. Usually head straight for the kitchen, but at least I get a hug on the way through!) We call our place Camp Chaos for numerous reasons. But everbody is welcome!

  3. This was great. I’m in SOLA and we had a local paranormal investigator speak at one of our meetings. She explained pretty much the same things Dolly has and I was immediately intrigued. Unfortunately, I tend to ‘freak’ when confronted with the idea of ghosts. I’d love to see it happen, but it gives me chills. I stick to watching Ghost Lab and live vicariously through others for my haunting stories.

    Great post 🙂

    • Thank you for the nice words! I’m about to learn if I’m a ‘freaker’ away from my own place. Should make for some comedic writing at the very least. And Dolly is one great person.

      Excited about them coming out again, and hoping they ‘catch’ some more ‘stuff”! Well, other than me shrieking and the pounding steps of a stumbling run as I disappear into the distance. LOL Dolly says I’ll be fine. Hmmm. We’ll see.

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