Interview Gleanings

Below are my notes from the interview portion of a very typical residential investigation that took place in Southern California. As an investigator you've got to be able to read people and be a bit of a psychologist or at least be able to logically discern various human behaviors. In this short interview what can we immediately learn, or at least suspect and what are you going to immediately focus on in the course of your investigation according to the information given? It's pretty simple.


Team arrives at 9:05 P.M. Oversize town home. Male and female resident use this location infrequently. Primary male has owned the town home since November of 2001. Primary male resident had a dog, a sheltie, who exhibited abnormal behavior on premesis. Owner described the dog as "fearless" and became alarmed when the dog seemed fearful and would remain “frozen.” Owner finally resorted to carrying the dog to move him.

So, we know right off that the couple experiencing these things are in a house that is largely unfamiliar to them. They aren't used to the sounds, the lighting, the feel of the place as they would in a regular "home" experience. On average we're all at least a bit uncomfortable in unfamiliar places, especially when we hear sounds we cannot discern. People generally don't sleep well away from home, this includes animals. Speaking of which - the dog mentioned - dogs, like children pick up on our inner emotions, feelings, energy whatever you want to call it. Man alarmed equals dog alarmed.

Also, note that this is a town home. If you've ever lived in an apartment, condo, town home etc. you KNOW that you can pretty much hear everything that goes on around you. High volume of outside car and pedestrian traffic to boot.

Male resident said unusual things would occur but he would “block them” out, as he was too busy to worry or wonder about them. One such incident occurred in the vanity area of the master bathroom, while he was shaving. He reports that a hairbrush, which was in the attached bedroom, hit him in the upper arm. He responded by saying, audibly, “Stop it! I’m late.”

The male resident doesn't seem to pay much attention of these "unusual" goings on, so his accounts are not the most dependable. The brush has me stumped, especially since we tried throwing it into the space he said he was standing in. It was blocked by a wall that jutted out, making it pretty much impossible for someone or thing to have thrown it, unless it was a boomerang. I asked him to show and tell this incident a number of times to see if the story would change, a pretty reliable way to know if a witness is lying or embellishing or otherwise. His reenactments were constant and dependable. Still stumped. Dammit.

Others that have visited the residence also reported feeling a “negative” energy or presence in the master bedroom.

When people make this claim there are two main things you as an investigator are going to do - the first is ask if they had been told about any odd occurrences, a suspected haunting, were they reading some Stephen King before bed or just anything at all that would have influenced them. Next, put your EMF detector to work. High and unusual readings can be the cause of a plethora of problems: anxiety, paranoia, depression, nausea and yep, that old feeling that someone is watching you.

Primary female resident also feels distressed when in the master bedroom, or other areas of the home. Describes herself as feeling “restless” and “nervous.” One night, while alone, she set up a “booby trap” for fear of intruders and placed against the closed bedroom door a chair, ironing board and pillows. Upon awakening, everything was found to be in its original place, with the pillows stacked up on the floor.

She's already made herself out to be somewhat of a nervous wreck. She's taken it a step further and constructed herself quite a trap there. You have to understand it isn't to keep someone out, or in hopes of preventing an attack - its to buy her time to escape or fight. See, most girls I know, all really, if you actually ask them, have at least one story to tell. A story about a time, when someone tried to violently hurt or violate them, to do something to them or succeeded in doing so. In result, we're left with a sort of post traumatic stress disorder, where many girls actually hide "weapons," and devise elaborate escape plans, or like this one, set up traps to buy time to escape. With someone who has this kind of anxiety they very well are the culprits behind replacing the very objects they put in place for their own protection. You'll have to approach all of this very gently with your client and hope they'll agree to being video taped a number of nights, to see if you can catch them "sleepwalking."

Approximately a year ago, both residents were in bed and viewed what was described as “small, orb lights, the size of fingertips," moving upwards and along a section of the upper wall above a closet and near an air vent. They were described as “Bright. Like Christmas lights.” And then faded out.

Of course, you'll want to debunk this one. If there are windows, go outside shine in flashlights, drive your car by, anything you can think of, while another team member takes notes and films what they see. Could have been a reflection off of a bracelet or earrings being worn by someone passing by.

One week prior to the interview the bedroom lights were turned on while they were sleeping. The light switch was in the “On” position.

Any possibility they could have fallen asleep with the light on? Set a camera up on that spot anyway.

On another night in the master bedroom, a heavy bankers light fell over.

The lamp was on a small, unstable table upstairs. It was up against a wall that had the staircase on the other side. Some jumping on the stairs knocked that thing right over. The woman was close to my own height and weight and when I ran up the stairs (like a gazelle mind you...not an elephant!), again, the thing fell. Look ghost!

A guest claimed to have heard knocking noises.

As I mentioned previously, this is a town home, you're going to hear all kinds of unexplainable things. Also, it was a guest, who is even more unfamiliar with the "ordinary" sounds of this residence.

Primary female resident has been experiencing nightmares, centering around people dying.

All that anxiety, no wonder. Be sure to ask if the subject watches tv - especially the news - before or while going to sleep. If so, tell them they might wanna stop.

Incidents always occur at 3:00- 3:15 A.M.

There are all kinds of crazy theories about why "paranormal" things go down at this time. They usually have a religious bent, but really, it isn't all that demonic. A human being's metabolism has a spike around this time. Many of us find it hard to remain sleeping through it and so we wake, all disoriented and dreamy and then our thoughts enter crazy town. Just keep your eyes shut and go back to sleep.

The Urim and Thummim Movie: Crypto-objectology

The Urim and Thummim. Ever heard of it?
Me neither.

The name belongs to an Old Testament object that served as an oracle to Aaron, Moses' brother. The Book Of Mormon "author" Joseph Smith also claims to have come into possession of it.

So, fast forward too many centuries to keep track of. Three native Tennessee Everymen are on their way to Nashville for a tiling job. They enter town late and decide to blow off the job and go to a local Goodwill store. One of these men finds an unusual object lying on a self in the housewares area of the store. He lays out sixty nine cents for it.

He claims this object is the Urim and Thummim.

See for yourself.

I recently had a chance to see the documentary, where I met the director and the three gentlemen featured in it. I also had my chance to look into the "object." That, gentle readers, is a story for another day.


With Strings Attached

The first real memories I have, ones where I can remember not moments or small fragments, but I clearly remember the way it smelled, the hue of the lights, I can feel hands on me and how the air in there felt when I breathed it in. It all took place here:

The darkness of the backstage area and how the velvet curtains
felt as I brushed up against them when I passed. How the adults could never understand why I didn't want to sit out in the audience and enjoy the show like all the other children. I wanted to see things from a different angle, even at this young age. One where I would feel the darkness and watch the faces of the children as my mother and father moved among them.

Sometimes, I would sit in the audience on a red velveteen carpet. I would sit alone and always some parent would ask me where my own parents were and I told them to wait and watch and I will show them. Many an adult, (always women), would invite me to sit in their laps. My mother and father would pass by my end of the circle, the puppets never failed to acknowledge me. I would turn up my face to the person I was sitting near and whisper, "
There is my mother."

The workshop was a playroom. Not one where I moved about and really played, but in my head I did. I loved to touch the unfinished costumes, the smooth wooden parts of the marionettes being carved and the shavings of wood that littered the floors and tables.

I frequented the kitchens there, hoping to entice the workers into giving me an extra cookie. There was a room where many children had birthday parties and I liked to sit in the room, by myself at a table and watch them all, with their smiling faces lit up with candles. The cakes were pretty and I sometimes was offered a piece. If not the kitchen girls brought out to me a cookie and one of those little cups of ice cream, the kind you eat with a wooden spoon.

All of this, this was my first playground.

It still exists and is completely unchanged. Entering it is like time travel, right down to the smell of it.

Come next Halloween, you can check out his wonderfully Spooktacular Puppet extravaganza. See you there.

The Black Eyed Kids

This story evokes a sort of unexplainable, primal fear in me. Its been around for some years now, but no one I've spoken to seems familiar with it.

A best friend of mine for many years now, Gabriel, was friends with Brian Bethel, who I had spoken to on a number of occasions. I remember him well as a stickler for facts and honesty, always using his words in a very deliberate manner. In result, this story of Brian's holds even more weight. His original telling was posted, by him, on an old newsgroup. It now, no longer exists. You can find retellings of it, but nothing compares to "hearing" it from Brian. Sure there could be plenty of explanations for it but...if I were you I'd watch out for the BEKs.

I don't really know what I'd call this story if I was submitting it
for publication in Fate or something of its ilk. "Brian vs. the Evil,
Black-eyed, Possibly Vampiric or Demonic But At Least Not Bloody
Normal Kids" doesn't have much of a ring to it. (Shrug.) :)

But that's at least an accurate title.

As so many things do, it all started out innocently.

My Internet Service Provider used to have offices in a shopping center
before they moved to their (comparatively) lush accommodations
elsewhere. There was a drop box at that original location. The monthly
bill was due, and thus, there but for the Grace of the Net I went.

It was about 9:30 p.m. when I left. From my relatively isolated
apartments, it's about 10-15 minutes or so to downtown (Abilene has a
population of about 110,000).

Right next to Camalott Communications' old location is a $1.50 movie
theater. At the time, the place was featuring that masterwork of
modern film, Mortal Kombat. I drove by the theater on the way into the
center proper and pulled into an empty parking space.

Using the glow of the marquee to write out my check, I was startled to
hear a knock on the driver's-side window of my car.

I looked over and saw two children staring at me from street. I need
to describe them, with the one feature (you can guess what it was)
that I didn't realize until about half-way through the conversation
cleverly omitted.

Both appeared to be in that semi-mystical stage of life children get
into where you can't exactly tell their age. Both were boys, and my
initial impression is that they were somewhere between 10-14.

Boy No. 1 was the spokesman. Boy No. 2 didn't speak during the entire
conversation -- at least not in words.

Boy No. 1 was slightly taller than his companion, wearing a pull-over,
hooded shirt with a sort of gray checked pattern and jeans. I couldn't
see his shoes. His skin was olive-colored and had curly, medium-length
brown hair. He exuded an air of quiet confidence.

Boy No. 2 had pale skin with a trace of freckles. His primary
characteristic seemed to be looking around nervously. He was dressed
in a similar manner to his companion, but his pull-over was a light
green color. His hair was a sort of pale orange.

They didn't appear to be related, at least directly.

"Oh, great," I thought. "They're gonna hit me up for money." And then
the air changed.

Right before I experience something strange, there's a change in
perception that comes about which I describe in the above manner. It's
basically enough time to know it's too late. ;)

So, there I was, filling out a check in my car (which was still
running) and in a sudden panic over the appearance of two little boys.
I was confused, but an overwhelming sense of fear and unearthliness
rushed in nonetheless.

The spokesman smiled, and the sight for some inexplicable reason
chilled my blood. I could feel fight-or-flight responses kicking in.
Something, I knew instinctually, was not right, but I didn't know what
it could possibly be.

I rolled down the window very, very slightly and asked "Yes?"

The spokesman smiled again, broader this time. His teeth were very, very white.

"Hey, mister, what's up? We have a problem," he said. His voice was
that of a young man, but his diction, quiet calm and ... something I
still couldn't put my finger on ... made my desire to flee even
greater. "You see, my friend and I want to see the films, but we
forgot our money," he continued. "We need to go to our house to get
it. Want to help us out?"

Okay. Journalists are required to talk to lots of people, and that
includes children. I've seen and spoken to lots of them. Here's how
that usually goes:

"Uh ... M ... M ... Mister? Can I see that camera? I ... I won't break
it or anything. I promise. My dad has a camera, and he lets me hold it
sometimes, I guess, and I took a picture of my dog -- it wasn's very
good, 'cause I got my finger in the way and ..."

Add in some feet shuffling and/or body swaying and you've got a
typical kid talking to a stranger.

In short, they're usually apologetic. People generally teach children
that when they talk to adults, they're usually bothering them for one
reason or another and they should at least be polite.

This kid was in no way fitting the mold. His command of language was
incredible and he showed no signs of fear. He spoke as if my help was
a foregone conclusion. When he grinned, it was as if he was trying to
say, "I know something ... and you're NOT gonna like it. But the only
way you're going to find out what it is will be to do what I say ..."

"Uh, well ..." was the best reply I could offer.

Now here's where it starts to get strange.

The quiet companion looked at the spokesman with a mixture of
confusion and guilt on his face. He seemed in some ways shocked, not
with his friend's brusque manner but that I didn't just immediately
open the door.

He eyed me nervously.

The spokesman seemed a bit perturbed, too. I still was registering
something wrong with both.

"C'mon, mister," the spokesman said again, smooth as silk. Car
salesmen could learn something from this kid. "Now, we just want to go
to our house. And we're just two little boys."

That really scared me. Something in the tone and diction again sent
off alarm bells. My mind was frantically trying to process what it was
perceiving about the two figures that was "wrong."

"Eh. Um ...." was all I could manage. I felt myself digging my
fingernails into the steering wheel.

"What movie were you going to see?" I asked finally.

"Mortal Kombat, of course," the spokesman said. The silent one nodded
in affirmation, standing a few paces behind.

"Oh," I said. I stole a quick glance at the marquee and at the clock
in my car. Mortal Kombat had been playing for an hour, the last
showing of the evening.

The silent one looked increasingly nervous. I think he saw my glances
and suspected that I might be detecting something was not above-board.

"C'mon, mister. Let us in. We can't get in your car until you do, you
know," the spokesman said soothingly. "Just let us in, and we'll be
gone before you know it. We'll go to our mother's house."

We locked eyes.

To my horror, I realized my hand had strayed toward the door lock
(which was engaged) and was in the process of opening it. I pulled it
away, probably a bit too violently. But it did force me to look away
from the children.

I turned back. "Er ... Um ...," I offered weakly and then my mind
snapped into sharp focus.

For the first time, I noticed their eyes.

They were coal black. No pupil. No iris. Just two staring orbs
reflecting the red and white light of the marquee.

At that point, I know my expression betrayed me. The silent one had a
look of horror on his face in a combination that seemed to indicate:
A) The impossible had just happened and B) "We've been found out!"

The spokesman, on the other hand, wore a mask of anger. His eyes
glittered brightly in the half-light.

"Cmon, mister," he said. "We won't hurt you. You have to LET US IN. We
don't have a gun ..."

That last statement scared the living hell out of me, because at that
point by his tone he was plainly saying, "We don't NEED a gun."

He noticed my hand shooting down toward the gear shift. The
spokesman's final words contained an anger that was complete and
whole, and yet contained in some respects a tone of panic:


I ripped the car into reverse (thank goodness no one was coming up
behind me) and tore out of the parking lot. I noticed the boys in my
peripheral vision, and I stole a quick glance back.

They were gone. The sidewalk by the theater was deserted.

I drove home in a heightened state of panic. Had anyone attempted to
stop me, I would have run on through and faced the consequences later.

I bolted into my house, scanning all around -- including the sky.

What did I see? Maybe nothing more than some kids looking for a ride.

And some really funky contacts. Yeah, right.

A friend suggested they were vampires, what with the old "let us in"
bit and my compelled response to open the door. That and the "we'll go
see our mother" thing.

I'm still not sure what they were, but here's an epilogue I find chilling:

I talk about Chad a lot. He's still my best friend, my best
ghost-hunting companion and an all-around cool guy. He recently moved
to Amarillo, but at the time this happened was still living in San
Angelo of Ram Page fame.

I called him and talked to him briefly. He had two female friends with
him at the time, both professing some type of psychic ability.

I started telling him the story, leaving out the part about the black
eyes for the kicker. One of the women (we were on a speakerphone)
stopped me.

"These children had black eyes, right?" she asked. "I mean, all-black eyes?"

"Er ... Yes." I said. I was a bit taken aback.

"Hmmm," she said. "One night last week, I had a dream about children
with black eyes. They were outside my house, wanting to be let in, but
there was something wrong with them. It took me a while to realize it
was the eyes."

I hadn't even gotten as far as them wanting to come in.

"What did you do?" I asked.

"I kept the doors and windows locked," she said. "I knew if they came
in, they would kill me."

She paused.

"And they would have killed you, too, if you had let them into your car."

So, from this extra-long post, we have three unanswered questions:

A) What did I see?

B) What would have happened if I opened my car door?

C) Why does Chad always get the cool psychic chicks? ;)