Real Ghost Among Reel Ghosts?

My dear friend, Tess, who I've mentioned before, came across an interesting discovery while viewing The Innocents.

This is a marvelous film, and I like it all the more because during my second viewing, I noticed a Glowing Thing!

It's in the scene where Miss Giddens goes upstairs in a nightdress with her hair down, hearing spooky noises. Just after she comes past a square pillar with her candelabra, there's a loud echoing clatter. Then the camera angle changes to a long shot down a hallway, to an open area at the end. I don't know what it's called in architecture -- it's the area where a hallway or passage widens out into a sort of landing, with balustrades. And there is indirect light coming from off-camera on the right side.

Very quickly, on the right, there's a small white glowing area that moves and then disappears. If you slow it down and zoom way in, you will realize it's a human head, which glows whitely, catching the light that comes from off-camera. Some shadowy facial features are faintly visible, but only very faintly -- my guess is that it's a man from the development of the chin, but I can't really see anything else distinguishing.

The motion of the head is of someone bent slightly forward who straightens up, and then moves back out of sight. It's very creepy, in part because it looks so furtive and unintentional. In fact it reminds me of blurry film footage of "real ghosts" that you might see on a TV show about the supernatural, the kind of thing captured unintentionally while people are filming something else altogether.

Since it's so difficult to see this thing -- even to see that it is in fact a person's face -- without zooming in and slowing down, which of course one couldn't do in 1961, I wonder whether it was a crew member adjusting something on the set rather than an intentional ghostly actor.

Perhaps the filmmakers saw it later, but left it in because it added to the ghostliness. Or, maybe it really *was* intentional. But I'd be surprised if so -- it's just so small, and goes by so quickly, unless you view the scene with technological enhancement!

What would be the most fun is if it's neither an actor nor a crew member, and is apparently a Real Ghost™! Maybe I just started a rumor...

At any rate, it's a Glowing Thing and it's completely awesome.

After she told me this, I immediately got myself a copy of the film and watched Tess' Glowing Thing. There is something there.

Pay attention to the area slightly left to the center of the screen.

Screen shots from youshotandywarhol.

Tess is the proprietress of a magical store - please visit -

Boyle Heights Paranormal Project Interview

A couple weeks ago I was reading through posts at I finally come to a story about the Boyle Heights Paranormal Project. I pause. A Paranormal team? In East L.A? Its like someone proposing you eat cantaloupe with prosciutto. It doesn't sound like they should go together, yet ends up being one of the best things you've ever had.

I’m immediately hooked. On a personal level, this is my neighborhood, or at least it used to be. I grew up in El Sereno. We had El Cucuy, Bloody Mary and La Llorona, stories about Lincoln Park and White Memorial. My Dad went to Cathedral, rumored to have been built upon a burial ground, (hence the mascot name of The Phantoms), but I could never get anyone to actually talk about it. These neighborhoods, the collective culture generations of residents have created on the East Side is relatively unknown to anyone outside of it. Here is a group that is not only interested in the paranormal in relation to this part of Los Angeles, but in preserving, documenting and sharing the history that has been made here. The team is even working on a documentary featuring local people recounting their own experiences. At this point I’m not simply hooked, I think I may be falling in love.

On Friday night the team hosts a Meet And Greet/Website Launch Party at the historically haunted Linda Vista Hospital in Boyle Heights.We arrive only forty five minutes into the event, only to find out they have been over capacity for some time and have had to turn people away. We are able to get in just in time for their standing room only presentation in Linda Vista’s chapel.

BHPP founder, Richard Berni welcomes the crowd with "Tonight is about us thanking all our friends, all our family and the fans...” We are treated to a wonderful presentation on the history of Boyle Heights, a short talk on the history of Linda Vista and a slideshow of possible photographic evidence captured by the team. One of the most impressive photographs was taken right here, in the boiler room. A wet footprint, with defined toes. There are audible gasps in the room.

We wander the rooms of the hospital, take photographs, pet the resident cat and talk to other attendees. The party is winding down. Berni assembles four of his team members, Dawn Gomez, Director of Investigations, Tatiana Santana, Media/Investigator, Joey Martinez, Occult Specialist and Toulina Gresham, Researcher, in the chapel and we talk.

I cannot help but abandon my pad of pre-written queries and get the most intriguing question out of the way. “What exactly does an Occult Specialist do?” Joey Martinez, who fills this role is eloquent and soft spoken. “Mostly research,” he explains. BHPP founder Berni later adds more about this unique position, “Joey is a student of parapsychology and utilizes this when we come to a case where there is evidence of a use of a Ouija board, or some kind of Satanic worship. With his insight to the occult and local knowledge of the habits and trends of local teenagers, were are better prepared to see the case from a different perspective. The occult is something that BHPP does not delve into, but agrees that it is there, so we acknowledge its existence but do not give it to much energy.”

They are delighted by the support from the community, both local and paranormal. Friends and family’s attendance at the night’s event was expected but a packed house, with some guests even turned away was a big surprise. All this attention, including now well over 1,000 fans on Facebook, seemingly overnight, has been pulling in an almost unheard of fifteen to twenty calls a day for investigation requests. An average team is lucky to get that many requests in a year. So, how do they choose? “Residences come first,” says Dawn Gomez, “Places like Waverly come second. We want to help people. The people come first.” Again, I am struck with the genuine concern, appreciation and gratitude each one of these investigators displays. I, am not so nice. Waverly comes first.

Each member of BHPP came to the team already having personally experienced some unexplained, possibly paranormal occurrence. As much as I’d love to hear every story, I shelve this topic in lieu of a similar one. I think every Paranormal Investigator has at least one moment from a past investigation they’ve done that they’d love to relive again. There is no hesitation from Gomez and Tatiana Santana. Theirs was just this past week in the boiler room of the structure we are now standing in. The sounds of walking, the shuffling footsteps the growling captured on EVP. Toulina Gresham, nods in agreement.

When it comes to preparing for an investigation BHPP does as much research as they can. Borders is a favorite research place, You Tube is used a lot, as well as the all important personal accounts of others. Martinez explains how crucial It is to consider a witness’ mental stability, possible drug abuse etc. Gomez adds that they do everything to make sure various accounts “match up” and is sure to inform clients that some questions will be personal. They try to “delve deep,” as any good investigator will.

Once possible evidence is captured they make every effort to debunk it, revisiting the locations when possible. They present their findings to the client and will release any possible evidence only after obtaining permission. They make it evident that a client’s privacy is paramount.

“We’re going to find the truth,” says Martinez.

All heads in the paranormal community should now be facing East.

Team photo by Eddie Ruvalcaba. Footprints at Linda Vista photo is property of BHPP.

Boyle Heights Paranormal Project

The Boyle Heights Paranormal Project hosted a party to remember last night, in celebration of the launch of their new website, at historic and some say haunted, Linda Vista Hospital, in Boyle Heights.

The team could not have been more kind or appreciative hosts to the droves of fans that showed up. So many, that some were turned away. More on the event, the creeptastic locale and my interview with this unique and wonderful team, coming up soon. In the meantime, I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Visitors are welcome to redistribute and share the photographs, but please, do give a link back to Blackwood
Many thanks.

A Call To The Twilight Zone

I lived in the OC for awhile. I'm sure everyone in town knew me, being the only brunette around. As long as we're in the hair confessional, let me also inform you that I am a hair snob. Needless to say, I have a four part-series dedicated to the topic with three variant covers.

I've been getting my hair cut at this place since they opened, maybe six years or more ago. My stylist is amazing. Oddly enough, on a quiet day the store feels like a scene out of Steel Magnolias, where everyone crowds around the chair and we converse. Not so much about potlucks and husbands, but OC things like boob jobs and bikinis.

I am always asked for stories about my recent investigations, but this time, the staff had a great story to tell me. A brother of one of the stylists is psychic, I am told. An empath, actually. About a month ago they decided to rent a van and go with the psychic brother, Billy, to a place in Chatsworth. It has been said that a long time ago, a girl died near an open field with a dirt road next to it. Most nights the girl can be seen walking near the side of the road. On the nights close to the anniversary of her death, she will follow the final path she walked and "relive" her death.

They set out with minimal information. Someone had the name of a shop near to where this field and road were. As they enter the town of Chatsworth and make their way in the direction they thought was correct, they use a cell phone to call 411 to get an exact address of the name of the shop and a possible cross street.

You know, when you call 411, (this is the number you call in the US to reach the operator to get general information; ie: addresses, phone numbers, the time), you will be put in touch with an operator that is probably somewhere in the middle of nowheresville, hundreds or thousands of miles away from where you are calling from.

The phone rings. The operator answers. The person with the cell phone gives the name of the town and the name of the store. He also asks for an exact address and phone number for the store. Instead of giving those, the operator begins to tell them they don't need that information. He tells them to: "Turn right here." They do.

"Do you see the mailbox in front of the little store with red paint? Turn left there"...and so on.

The "operator" then asks odd questions. Do they have a piece of string? Can they stop the car now and get out to get a small stick?

In the end, the "operator" leads them exactly where they want to go. The connection dies.

They are near a field and it is the golden hour, sun is setting, shadows creeping in. They sit there for a short time, maybe twenty minutes. It is rapidly getting darker. The driver starts the engine again and they inch very slowly along the dirt road. The driver, she cannot see what the others can. They see a white figure walking slowly along the road.

It is a female figure and she is walking toward them. The car engine is turned off as they all watch the girl in white advance. Suddenly, she is gone. Seconds pass, maybe 3, maybe 5.

The girl in white is there. Her face staring directly into the passenger side window. Then she is gone.

Photo by