What Are The Neighbors Up To?!

If this statement is uttered in my neighborhood, no doubt they are referring to us. It doesn't help that it's seven thirty in the morning and I'm out on the front lawn in my work clothes, wrestling branches off of a large tree that fell victim to the winds last night. To complete this curious scene I notice I have blood, pouring down my hand and arm and oh...you know, that kind of hurts.

The people stare, the dogs stare too. It's Halloween again.

Just wait until that's over and we start building Mr. Blackwood's spaceship in the garage.

The Market IS A Prop House

Some of my favorite props for All Hallows come from asian markets. Particularly, Vietnamese markets. The produce aisle is full of beautiful, unusual things that you can make use of for the one simple reason that most people aren't used to seeing them, which means you can easily transform these items into something eerie or simply use them as is.

My favorite food related prop has always been the chicken foot. I've found they can elicit quite a negative reaction as they seem high on the creepy meter. A package with a dozen or so is typically under two dollars. This year they'll be dangling from the ceiling of the witch's hut. Anyone wanting a drink come Friday night, will have to navigate through them.

Also discovered this year were these fabulous mushroom clusters.

The chicken feet may be dethroned this year as favorite prop by a most sinister looking item. I have no clue what they are, seed pods maybe? Each one looks like a demon head, complete with eyes, horns, facial details and topped off with a tuft of hair. Unbelievable.

They came in a red netted bag, dozens of them.

I think they're watching me...

Girl, Interrupted - Part II

The personal account of this investigation came from a series of emails I composed to Mr. Blackwood what now seems like a long time ago. The following was the preface written to him at the time:

I wanted to preface the Continuing Misadventures of Merricat: Girl PI by telling you
I've never had what I, could absolutely say was a paranormal experience. I have always been
able to find a possibility of an answer in science. I am a very big skeptic, but an open minded one.
You'll never hear me apply what I call "The H Word" ("haunted") to something. I don't even fully
believe there is such a thing as a ghost. I'm just a girl looking for the truth.
I'm a bit anxious to share this next part with anyone. I'm afraid you'll think you've made nice with a crazy girl.
Don't think after the incident I'm not asking myself that....

We all return to the hospital wing. I find it odd that even now, I consistently refer to the hospital wing as being "under" or "down." It isn't. Upon rounding the corner at the mouth of the long, dark corridor there is still a gurney. I stop to run my fingers along the belt and wonder who lay there last.

Remnants of life from twenty years ago still remain here as if they had been in use only yesterday. I am reminded of the lost colony of Roanoke. Hospital beds, bed pans, meal trays, sheets, those awful exam tables with the stirrups, a dead rose, all left behind. In this place you feel as though you have stepped apart from the world outside, entombed and utterly secluded. The silence is thick and the air is heavy.

Our trio has come with a purpose. Earlier, Jon and Dave explored the hospital wing. They found a piece of medical equipment, not used for twenty years, turned on. It was cold to the touch, unlike something electrical that has been on for a time and becomes warm. Leading to the suspicion that it had just recently been tuned on. By who or how we are still trying to figure out. Dave and I examine the wires, the plug the piece of equipment itself and the outlet as well as any pattern in the thick dust covering the area. I'm determined to find an answer, but I don't have one. Not yet anyway.

As they were walking in the corridor to exit this part of Andelberry, the silence was broken by a sound, repeated numerous times, possibly emanating from two different rooms. Upon further examination the call bells for the nurses are discovered. In this facility they aren't bells but those old chains you pull on…like the kind on an old lamp. They pull the chains…this is exactly the sound they heard. They recreate the scene so I can try to figure it out. I can't.

The others return to the manor house. Dave, Christopher and I remain. The two are chasing something, Dave says it is male and is evading us. It's fun for me to watch them play the game I call in my head and only to myself, Ghost Chasing. It fascinates me when what they see, feel, sense correlates with the other one. Christopher is in front of the nurses station and calls to me to come, I do. The air here is cold, very cold in a concentrated sphere of about three feet. He tells me there is something right here, gesturing with his hand. I walk right into the middle of it.

I am motionless, save for my breathing, eyes closed, waiting, hoping. It isn't long before I begin to feel it. The sadness is intense when it comes. I simply feel it for a minute, but my own mind is always going at a rapid pace and my internal dialogue begins. It's interesting how sad and hopeless I feel right now. Yet it isn't me that's feeling this way. I am fine, I was even happy before. I feel it yes, but these emotions are not my own. It goes on like this for maybe two minutes and intensifies so much I think to myself, I really want to start crying….only I don't. It isn't me. I step out of this space and say nothing to the others. I don't want to influence anyone and who knows, maybe all of that was a simple manifestation of me suffering from psychological influence. I dismiss it as such.

Dave is getting rather worked up over a male something he is having an exchange with. He believes this person was an employee here at one time and took advantage of some of the women or was cruel to many of the patients here. He promises that we'll be back at "Oh Three Hundred Hours." That's about an hour from now. Our little trio returns to home base where our colleagues have all decided to take a nap. Christopher and I take a break on the front porch and Dave remains inside, but not for long. He soon emerges from the front door proudly informing me that "It happened at exactly 1:55!" Looks like my training is finally taking hold. I am precise with my data and my timetables, it hasn't been easy to get them to note things like this.

It seems Dave was sitting in a chair at home base, when he claims to have been tapped on the right shoulder, twice and then the sleeve of his shirt was tugged on. I listen intently to his account and ask him more questions all the while desperately wishing it had happened to me.

I have a hard time convincing Christopher he should sleep now. In the end he reluctantly yields to my wishes if I agree to wake him if anything happens. We have a deal.

I stay up with Dave. It is just after two in the morning and we have an hour's wait ahead of us before we return to the hospital wing. I pass the time by watching the laptop screens, hoping to catch something. It is completely silent. The others are sleeping just a few feet away.

I am about to get up and go move the infrared camera to another location when I hear it. A woman moaning and sighing. There is a momentary pause and then the sighing moan comes again. Dave and I snap our heads around, exchange a look and simultaneously ask, "It was in there wasn't it?" We rush to the room the one we are in opens up into. I take a look out the windows, the floors, the room to see if I can catch anything Dave is a very tall man, six feet four or five inches, perhaps. His head is not too far from the ceiling itself. He begins to ask a series of questions.

"Is there anyone here who wants to communicate with us?"

"Did you make the moaning sound? Can we help you?"

Almost just above Dave's head comes a tapping sound.

He reaches up to the space the tapping is coming from and asks, "Is that you? If you're there can you make the tapping sound again. Can you please make three taps?"

Tap. Tap. Tap.

I think at this moment my jaw literally hit the floor.

They weren't faint taps. They were strong, definitive and purposeful.

"Thank you," Dave says. "Were you the one who made the moaning sound? If the answer is yes can you please tap four times for us?"

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

The questions continue. I note that Dave is very careful to keep this exchange as un-rhythmic and unpredictable as possible. We are not getting random, chance responses here.

In this moment I am aware that something I have been waiting, hoping, wishing for since I was a child is happening, right now. I want to cry again…only this time, out of joy.

I suddenly remember Christopher and our agreement. I run to him, tugging at his hand. Poor guy, I really scared him. He grabs the laptop, the recording equipment and is only a pace behind me. He admonishes me for not thinking to do this myself. I feel terrible, he's right. It would have been amazing evidence. I was just so much in the moment I wasn't thinking. I can't ever allow that to happen again.

Everyone else is up now and standing on the threshold between the rooms. Christopher and I enter, fully. Dave is still asking questions, requesting specific numbers of taps. I watch in a state of awe. Finally, the responses begin to sound more faint and not nearly as distinct, then finally die out.

We talk a little before Dave, Christopher and I head up to examine the roof. We bring the radio with us and tap on the roof ourselves, scratch, walk around . We've got Jon below us in the room at the other end of the radio on my chosen channel of thirteen. He states that our attempts fail to produce any similar sound to that of the tapping we all heard.

Dave, Christopher and I return downstairs to the tapping room and start a vigil to see if anything else will happen. Everyone else has gone back to napping in their respective places. Christopher begins to have an "exchange" with a female "something." He says later that she was in her mid forties, wearing a white dress. It is 1900-1915. It is a Sunday and she is preparing the house for important guests. He's speaking to her and it's unnerving the heck out of me. The tone he is using isn't at all normal for him, nor are the things he's saying. I don't have long to concentrate on that though. In a moment I've got my own problem to deal with.

I can only describe what happened to me like this; you know when you've known someone a long time and when you think of them or recall a conversation you've had or perhaps a phrase they frequently use, you can hear their voice in your head? It was exactly like this. There was a female voice in my head. It told me not to trust Dave and Christopher. That they were going to hurt me and that they didn't care about me. It also said they wanted to keep Christopher. This went on for about fifteen minutes. The voice told me to stay away from everyone and that I should leave.

Isn't this what happens to crazy people?

It isn't helping when Christopher asks me a question in the middle of all this and after giving my answer, he snaps at me. Or so I perceived he snapped at me. He wouldn't talk to me that way. When I think back to this, I started to believe in the voice a little. I was feeling …I don't know really, I mean what does one feel when there's a voice in their head for Dog's sake?! I wasn't feeling good though.

Christopher ends his exchange and he and Dave exit the room…without me. Now, they were only thirty feet away and if they had stood in the threshold of the doorway I could easily have been seen. Yet, I was perturbed at being left behind by two men who usually take very good care of me and go out of their way to watch out for my well being. It left me feeling despondent and I walked over to one of the windows and just stared out of it and told the voice I wasn't listening so it could stop now. Soon after I hear Christopher, slightly panicked ask where I was and call out to me. I didn't answer, which is so very unlike me. I felt compelled not to answer. He comes to pull me away and takes me by the shoulders and I refuse to respond. I can hear Don in the other room saying how it's three in the morning he needs to get back to the hospital wing for his "appointment." The voice is back and it tells me not to go. Defiantly, I run after him, gabbing my flashlight, my pen and paper along the way. Christopher, confused and possibly angry keeps calling after me. This behavior is so utterly unlike me he cannot make sense of it. I stop and turn to look at him. "Merricat, please, wait." I turn back to look at Dave, the darkness swallows him and I turn away from Christopher and run.

Monsters Make The Best Friends

Obviously, there are other people who think monsters make great playmates.

Also, for Wendy, here is a picture of the pumpkin trees, called Solanum Integrifolium. They've gone and stripped the thorns off of them this year. They come on long, hardy stems, similar to a long stem rose but much thicker and stronger. Also, they last a long time. I usually have the same ones around at Thanksgiving.


There are plenty of things not to like about Los Angeles. Those things are easy to overlook when you know where to look. For a girl seeking a perpetual Halloween fix, I've found pretty much everything I need, right here.

With so many things to choose from this weekend, how's a girl to decide?

A list of Saturday's burnt offerings:

Dia De Los Muertos celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The Day Of The Dead done up Hollywood style, with all the grandeur and spectacle you'd expect.

The Haunting at The Alex Theatre, with Psychic-Medium/ Parapsychological Investigator Michael J. Kouri

The Godmother Of Horror's masterpiece on the big screen, throw in Kouri and place it all in a beautiful movie palace. It makes my black heart joyful.

Heritage Square Museum's Halloween And Mourning Tours
Not many people are familiar with this "museum." A collection of incredible Victorian era structures are collected here including a number of full size homes and a church you can view the interiors of. Highlights include a Victorian funeral and a focus on Victorian spiritualism, when ghosts and all things macabre were considered pop culture.

The Cicada Club's Halloween Party
Who doesn't like time travel, save my Grandmother? Dance to a big band orchestra in a stunning art deco penthouse in Downtown. Don't forget to wear your 1920's or 30's formal wear. You've got that, right?

Sunday's Best:

A Haunted Speakeasy
Creepy LA's David Markland is curating a night of storytellers to share a true tale of the supernatural, inside the covert Mt. Hollywood Underground.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

I'm still undecided....

Pumpkins Scream In The Dead Of Night

So, what are we up to at the House Of Blackwood? More of the same.

This year, we'll have the Victorian parlor and seance room, which will play host to the amazing Madame Pamita: http://www.madamepamita.com/fr_index.cfm ,
The Museum Of Haunted Objects And Oddities, a witch's hut, a tribute to Mr. Creeg's house, (from the Trick R Treat film), and our first Cemetery and Dia De Los Muertos altar. Oh, I almost forgot the spider's lair. Mostly because I want to...

Friday night was like Christmas. We found some amazing pitchforks at Urban Home. I was planning on using them for my scarecrow's hands. Only nineteen dollars. Really. No, I don't know why they were in Urban Home.

Mr. Blackwood's terror!Dog has feet and is undergoing the paper mache process, made all the better by http://pumpkinrot.blogspot.com/ 's post on the master of the medium, http://www.papermacheman.com/

This is our first cemetery, so we've been working hard on our head stones.

There are tons of tutorials out there on making them. The only thing I can add is that everyone I have seen has been "carving" out the styrofoam. It gets to be tedious and it doesn't look as nice. I've been using an ice pick and a wooden knitting needle and simply indenting, or pushing the foam down in lieu of cutting through it.

Also, for those of you that may be artistically challenged, or feel that way, the regular October issue of Martha Stewart's mag has a piece on graveyard art. It's lovely and simplistic with plenty of close ups on the artwork itself and from an art history perspective, very interesting.. If it helps, keep in mind that pretty much anything can be drawn from a straight line and a curve.

If you have a Trader Joe's in your area they have been stocking some great foliage from the spooky side of the garden. Various carnivorous plants, "pumpkin trees," a number of black leafed houseplants, orchids and flowers. I plan on adding these to our witch's hut. I think our puppy's new bestie is the venus flytrap. They have a lot in common.

Last night we caught HGTV's Halloween Block Party. I was skeptical, but the show proved to be well worth the watch as I came away with a few useful additions to the interior decor. Here's the premise:

Three families join forces with today's hottest lifestyle experts and event planners, Michael Russo, Kelley Moore and Eddie Ross, to go head-to-head in creating the best Halloween bash this neighborhood has ever seen! The sophisticated Haunted Mansion design is a grown-up affair, while Hansel and Gretel is all about the kids. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow design inspires a classic, stunning event that proves you don't have to spend a lot of money to throw the coolest bash on the block.*

I have to play Mary, Quite Contrary here. The cash outlay on the Sleepy Hollow party was obviously in the range of "lots."

Back to stenciling the seance room.

Do Demons Have Mamas?

After daily addressing the query, "Have you seen Paranormal Activity yet?!" I can now answer, "Indeed, I have."

I appreciated a number of things about it, but especially the amount of obvious research that went into it. Much of it was very similar to actual paranormal occurrences and the female lead's account of her experiences to the psychic were pretty much standard fare from a client.

Also, for what its worth, it was fun.


Having worked with a demonologist and experience with quite a few clients claiming all manner of "demonic" goings on, of course I have plenty to say about the subject. However, I can never seem to get past this question:
The first matter that always comes to mind though is their names. Psychics, clients, and demonologists always have names for these guys. Names like Elek, Akmarl or Vozik. Who names these demons? Do they have mamas who name them? Why never Stan or John or Bill?

Someone must know...

Tell Me Something Strange

Thanks to my dear friend Tess, who finally motivated me to tell this creepy tale.

There was a period of about a year, when I worked at a restaurant. I used to eat my lunch with two women who worked doing some sort of accounting related stuff. I didnt care for their company but it would have been impolite to sit alone when I was always invited to eat with them. Soon after I started work, one of the women, Laura, began recounting to us odd things about the house she had just recently moved into.

Laura was in her late thirties or early forties. She was married and had a four year old daughter. From the first day of sleeping in the house, the daughter, who had her own room, kept telling her mother about The Indian. She said The Indian kept coming to play with her, and to show her things. Laura was puzzled and asked her daughter how she knew her new friend was an Indian. The daughter said it was because he had paint all over his face.

Laura and her husband had made friends with a homeless man the previous year. When they ran into him around town they would invite him for dinner and to spend the night at their house. This day, Laura saw the man while coming out of the market and offered to take him home with her, to the new house, and he could sleep over. He agreed. They had dinner and Laura made a bed for him on their couch. The following morning when the family awoke the man was nowhere to be found, no note, no nothing. This was highly unlike him and it unnerved Laura and her husband greatly.

A month or so went by. They spoke of wine and shoes and tv sitcoms and I ate my lunch and smiled and nodded in the appropriate places.

Sometime after that month passed into memory, Laura told us she had finally run into the homeless man. She inquired as to why he left that night and expressed their concern and alarm. The man told the following story:

He wasnt able to sleep well that night. It was an unfamiliar place and he kept having feelings of anxiety. While sitting, up on the couch, which was located just underneath a large picture window in the living room. The window had curtains on it, the kind that have the two panels that meet in the middle. They were a little small, and didnt actually meet in the middle though. He saw something move just between the space of the curtains. He parted them a bit more, and looked out, seeing nothing. Just as he was backing away from looking, a face appeared in the window. He recoiled in horror upon seeing it and described it as having the sort of face paint on that a clown would have, however, the face was filthy and looked, literally, part rotted. The colors werent as bright or tangible looking as a normal, real person's would have been, he remarked. The man said the owner of the face seemed to look at him, no eyes were sharply visible, then it vanished. The main waited for morning to come, then hastily left the house. He told Laura he would never go near the house again.

Meanwhile, the daughter kept talking about The Indian.

One day, before dinner, Laura had been out in the garden, and came in through the sliding glass door that was the entry/exit into the garden from the living room. Her daughter was outside playing on a tire swing in the yard. She left the door open all the way, as she was going to be returning momentarily and, wanted to be able to hear the daughter. When she returned to go though the door, perhaps two minutes later, not only had the glass door been shut completely, but it was locked and could only be done so from the interior of the house. She tried again and again to open it, to no avail. She left the door to find an object in the kitchen to try to pry the lock open with and, when she returned, the door was unlocked.

Almost one year later, from my first hearing of these accounts, which no one had really strung together as related, save for me which I kept to myself, Laura didnt come to work. At the end of the week I found out why. The family had been sleeping at night already for a few hours. Laura and her husband in their room and the daughter in hers. Laura awoke first, to the smell of smoke, her husband next. They both claimed something was forcibly holding them down, and neither of them could create any audible noise vocally. Firefighters finally axed down the door and pulled the family out. The fire started in the garage. The investigators never found a cause.

So, your turn...tell me something strange. I promise to sit quietly and not to fidget.

The Great Orb Debate

"Hello, my name is Skeptic," is pretty much the label affixed to my highly fashionable PI uniform. If people wanted to talk orbs it was going to elicit an eyeroll and some firmly stated comments about light, dust particles, water and movement from me. A colleague of mine insisted this wasn't so. The competition was on.

I had been to this house before. At the time it had been my very first residential investigation. The owners were kind enough to have us back to run some experiments and get some test footage. The first time around had been fairly uneventful. Any questionable evidence from that night had proved to be of a non-paranormal origin. With the exception of that latched steel cabinet that kept opening...but I digress. That, dear readers is a story for another day.

Excerpts from my report:

8:30 P.M. - it is determined that the infrared camera should be set up in the children's bedroom. Liz makes the proper adjustments to the camera, with the help of Christopher, as she views from the laptop. Soon after, Liz, who is monitoring from the laptop at home base, announces she can see orb-like objects moving across the room intermittently, Molly is also viewing. Merricat arrives and confers that she, too sees them. Liz then enters the doorway of the room and sits on the floor so as not to disturb the environment of the room. A few minutes later, dozens of orb are visible. At one point, Merricat is able to clearly view a formation of four small orbs hover for what is estimated to be about seven seconds in a North, South, East, West formation then, rotate counterclockwise, halfway, before "flying" off in different directions.

As the orbs seem to all be flowing in one direction, toward Liz, she crosses to the doorway between the master bedroom and the children's bedroom to test if we can visibly see them flow in the opposite direction. After about five minutes the activity slows down and a few of the orbs flow in the opposite direction. Liz exists the room to return to home base while Dave enters the room. The activity increases slightly. It is during this time that the camera captures and records something moving across the room. In the footage you can see Dave react to it by seemingly flinching back from it. (see video)

After they exit Christopher enters the room to do some tests. Liz and Molly watch on the laptop. Merricat tries various experiments with shining lights in the room, in the hallway outside of the room, reflections off various objects, including a small, palm sized disco ball. When light is directed at this object it shows a very obvious and definitive pattern, completely unlike what has previously viewed. The disco ball is taken down and removed by the primary resident. Dave and Merricat take their turns "kicking" up dust, by running hands over the carpet, moving the blankets on the bed around and disturbing dust on various surfaces, so we can compare and contrast this with the orbs earlier captured on film for our research.

No more eyerolling on my part. From the moment the the four orb formation thing happened, which was freaking amazing, I had no choice but to admit I was wrong...although I steadfastly believe I am mostly correct - orbs are typically not paranormal in origin, just an indication that someone needs to clean a little better - I will admit that sometimes, I just don't know.

Okay, Who Brought The (terror!) Dog?

We've learned that it takes a village of the damned to aid in the transformation of our house for Halloween. We lure them with empty promises and candy and, miraculously or foolishly, they come. Walls get papered, headstones get carved, monsters get birthed.

Our in-home workshop of curiosities and wonders is busy...and crowded. The most current excitement surrounds this piece.

With some photos to go on, some cardboard, tape, a couple dangerous cat toys and the always unparalleled genius of Steve, you have the beginnings of the "terror dog," from Ghostbusters.

We'll see how far he gets this weekend!

I should be finishing up the headstones. I should be painting the walls in the hallway. I should also be working up the new additions to the museum of haunted objects. Alas, I fear I will succumb to scarecrow fever.

Deeper Underground - Halloween Music - Part I

The average halloween playlist is typically the same side order of anticipated blandness. Monster Mash, Dead Man's Party, Thriller.

It's time to bring a new POV to the Halloween song genre. Songs that evoke atmosphere, tell an unforgettable story and leave you unsettled...in the dark.

1. Kate Bush - Waking The Witch
If any of you were around in the 80's you might remember waif-like Bush. Her album, Hounds Of Love, is on a level of genius. The song begins with a crescendo of strings and leads you into a girl's state between dreams and waking. A series of voices urge her to waken, but she doesn't, slipping back into a fitful dream where you're plunged, along with her, into something resembling a Satanic ritual? Salem witch trial? Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

2. Twink - Rosemary's Baby Theme
http://www.twink.net/index.html Twink and his satanic toy pianos and other toy music things bring the creep to that which is already creeptastic. Check out the equally great covers of Metallica's Enter Sandman or the theme from Jeepers Creepers. I'm all twitterpated.

3. Sarah Jarosz - Shankill Butchers
Originally a Decemberists song, Sarah does a great cover on her debut album, Song Up In Her Head. The Shankill Butchers are the new boogeyman.

And everybody knows if you don't
Mind your mother's words
A wicked wind will blow
Your ribbons from your curls
Everybody moan, everybody shake
The Shankill Butchers want to catch you awake

Listen to it on Sarah's site: http://www.sarahjarosz.com/music.html
This song makes me long for younger siblings to torture.

4. Goblin - Suspiria
Any horror film fan is familiar with Dario Argento's masterpiece, Susperia. Goblin changed the soundtracks of the horror genre - aren't we lucky? A dark, disturbing and completely unique piece, all punctuated by eerie suspiria throughout.

Girl, Interrupted - Part I

What follows is a much annotated account of a favorite investigation of mine. A "Highlights" version, if you will. This is only the begining of this account. Much more to come in the following weeks and yes...it just keeps getting better.

Christopher and I are the first to arrive. We set off on an exploration of the grounds as well as the structures, and what remains of some of them first. This estate reported, although not verified as yet, to have been built in the late 1800's. Some accounts claim approximately 1900. A large and stately manor house, made only larger by the construction of other add ons to the original though out the passage of years. The grounds are in ruins, partially torn down structures, crumbling walls, foundations with pipes jutting forth, debris, much of it dangerous, adorn the grounds surrounding the manor and the asylum/sanitarium wing, which extends behind the manor like a long tail.

I examine the walls, the electrical boxes, the foundation, the boarded up windows, busily making mental notes. I can hear them as we round the corner on the eastern side of the manor. Hundreds of bees, collectively buzzing around a second story window, their wax dripping down the walls like a candle.

"How very Amityville," I remark, smiling at Christopher. Yet, they make me nervous.

Todd, the owner arrives and I am introduced. The rest of the team arrives and we make our way up the steps onto the porch. Todd unlocks the front door, I follow behind and as I cross the threshold, into the manor I find that I am smiling. If someone set about to write a story of a haunted structure they could not have dreamed up better than this one.

Todd begins to recount his version of the property's history. Christopher interviews, Liz rolls film and I take notes and chime in with my occasional query. The tour begins and again I am again struck by how stereotypically ideal it all is.

In the two weeks leading up to our arrival 911 dispatchers have repeatedly received calls, their origin tracing back to this location. When they answer, they say there is nothing there, or, sometimes static. There hasn't been a phone or line activated here in over twenty years.

We get an odd call ourselves. A man calls on Dave's cell phone stating he saw Dave's Avalanche bearing the signs advertizing our team. He needs our help. The line drops, cutting the man off. Later, in the evening, Dave calls the number back and gets a man whose voice is different from the original caller. This new voice claims that he never called us and it wasn't possible that anyone but he could make a call from this phone. Perhaps he wasn't honest….or, perhaps hewas .

Equipment set up, dinner consumed, sun going down and electromagnetic fields beginning to settle on this corner of Earth's plane, we get to work. Dave, Christopher and I form a regular trio throughout the following hours. Sometimes it will just be Dave and I, or Christopher and I alone. I love to watch the two of them. Like psychic bloodhounds, they can see and feel what I cannot…that is, until later. The burden of their abilities weighs heavily on them here, flooded by feelings of sadness, confusion and pain of those who came before. This is something I take with a grain of salt, yes, but I know, first hand what Christopher can do. I may doubt others, but never him.

First shifts over, we return to home base for a break and to check in with one another. Liz has been faithfully monitoring all the cameras on the laptops set up around. Holly, our guest who won an auction from a donation we made to a not for profit organization is seated in an ancient armchair. I take my place on a couch and we casually begin to converse among ourselves. Dave and Jon are out in the hallway near the kitchen. I am not certain of Christopher's exact location when it happens.

We are interrupted by an almost deafening BANG! I am immediately concerned for my team. Liz and Holly are with me, so there is no need for concern. I cannot see Jon and Dave and without a doubt, the sound came from close proximity to them. I call out to them, asking for confirmation of their locale and if they are hurt. They answer back they are fine. In moments I am on my feet and race to the hallway to find them, we meet halfway and ask one another what happened. No one answers. I am utterly perplexed that they were not the ones responsible for this sound. Our eyes meet, for a fraction of a second, there is no need for words between us, just an innate synergy, and the three of us are out the front door at full speed, flying down the steps, in three different directions.

There is no one there. There was no place for anyone to hide either. We closely examine the structure, the ground, anything and everything, desperately seeking some sort of answer. There is nothing.

It's my turn to play bloodhound. This is my arena now, where I can make sense of what the others cannot. Equations, distance, particles and light, sound and surface. I am told later the psychics have just as much fun watching me do what I do as I do watching them.

I rush each individual back into their positions at the time the "Big Bang" occurred. At my instruction Dave, the largest, strongest of the men, remains outside and we try to recreate the sound. I cue him on the radio to begin. He bangs on the door, the walls, the windows with hands, fists, rocks. Nothing even comes close to what we heard. I know, with certainty the sound did not originate from outside of the house. It came from within.

We all agree that the sound came from upstairs near what is called "Mary's Room." Jon, Dave, Christopher and I ascend the staircase and set about examining the hallway, the closets, the rooms, the floors in this area of the house. Nothing is out of place, my control photographs support this. Nothing causes even me, a small suspicion. I order a restore and all individuals are back to their original positions again, save Jon. I mark them and when all is to my satisfaction I yell up to Jon to start the first one.

The place is littered with medical volumes. Bizarre and graphic in nature, some of them, he takes the largest of these, raises it above his head and slams it, full force onto the floor of the landing upstairs.This was the sound . He repeats this action twice more. We all agree that this was the location origin of the sound, only muchlouder.

I am still trying to find a logical explanation for what happened. I return to it, like a cherished memory examining it again and again. I am looking for a missing component which only begets answers that birth more questions. I hold a certainty in me, that I admit only fully here, now, that with what we know so far, my known science has failed me. The unknown,finally, has not.


(Some names were changed to protect the innocent...of which you'll find none here)

Back off, man. I'm a scientist.

So, I have a degree in physics. Really. No, I didn't actually plan on doing anything with it, it was merely my way of having fun. Yes...really. Couple this with a long held passion for paranormal goings on, specifically of the ghostly kind, this led to the only logical place it could - being a paranormal investigator.

After years of inventing various theories and hypothesis I became rather vexed and frustrated. I mean, what can I actually do with a hypothesis? Obviously, I needed a lab, of sorts, to work out my theories. My lab quest led me to a team, just forming. This island of misfits consisted of an architect, a historian, a remote viewer and ex-military guy, a demonologist, a vehement skeptic and a physics and acoustics expert, (yeah, that would be me).

I plan on sharing some PI stories here and no, it isn't like Ghost Hunters. This is real, dear reader, not "reality."

My first goal was to actually have a paranormal experience. I eventually did lose my paranormal virginity, but not after wading through filthy houses and structures, some truly disturbed individuals, a host of fruit loopy "ghost hunters" and plenty of dueling "psychics."

So, the adventure began...

They're All Gonna Laugh At You

We used to live in a duplex when I was little. My mother's parents lived on one side of the structure and my father on the other side. My bedroom was in the middle of the two houses. While my father was out at work, which was every weekday twelve to eighteen hours a day, my grandparents were my primary caretakers. So, at bedtime if my father was still at work, I would be put to bed at the proper time by my grandmother.

On this particular night I had been put to bed and my father, just arriving home from work, came in to see me and tell me goodnight. I remember his silhouette moving across the room in the dark, around the bed and kissing me, whilst reaching over to turn on the light. Turning on the light was a mistake.

As the light from my little lamp flooded the room and my eyes adjusted, I saw my father standing over me, covered , from head to foot, in blood.

I was told I screamed and cried. I don't remember that, (I was no more than a toddler and my family is amazed I can remember anything at all), but I do remember the feeling of fear. It took him a few moments to understand my reaction as he had forgotten all about his appearance.

My father had just come home from filming the famous pig blood scene in the movie Carrie . As a child, and even now as an adult I have grown up among the most amusing images. Some tangible, some pictorial. There is a series of photographs, (my father has a couple of them and I know some of the others appeared in magazines), of my father and Sissy Spacek, covered in blood, arms around one another, big smiles, looking as though they are posing for their prom picture.

I am told that the following day, fascinated, I begged to be taken to the set. So began the macabre fancies of a little girl, now grown, living in LA. Today, I play with puppets, hunt down evidence of things paranormal, and long for a place where its always Halloween.