The book is nearing completion

I have had several people ask, so to answer them, yes the book is nearing completion.  That does not mean it will be available soon as we are now trying to decide which way to go as far as publishing.  But i am very pleased with how the book has turned out.  It has a working title of Ghostology: Science and Belief in the 21st Century.  Thanks for asking, I’ll keep everyone posted. Scott.

 

News: New “Amityville Horror” Documentary

Amityville-Horror-HouseA new documentary featuring Danny Lutz and featuring the famed Amityville House from the the 1979 hit film is to be released March 15th, 2013.  The  movie is based on the alleged real life experiences of the Lutz family who purchased an existing home on 112 Ocean Avenue, Long Island, a house where a mass murder had been committed the year before. After the family move into the house, they experience a series of frightening paranormal events.  Though the Lutz family has always maintained their experiences were real, there story has been surrounded by controversy as others have speculated the family made the stories up for financial gain.  Click here for the full article.

My Haunted House

haunted-houseI have noticed a great number of paranormal investigators attribute their passion to early their childhood growing up in a haunted house.  Vivid experiences are impressed upon us within the first 10 to 15 years of life and shape us in ways that we carry throughout our lives.  Unfortunately, for me as a paranormal investigator, I did not grow up in a haunted house.  Though I did experience several supernatural events as a child, I am convinced they had nothing to do with the physical home I grew up in.  Maybe then it was fate that I have now moved into a haunted house and know what—it’s not all that bad.

For many, living in a haunted house conjures scenes of closet monsters and lifeless bedside visitors, but I have learned, probably like most, when you share your home with something the manifestations are generally acceptable, even at times humorous.  I don’t claim to live in the most haunted house ever, but I have been surprised at the types and levels of activity.  I also will say up front the activity, for the most part, is benign and seems to flare up every 3 to 4 months—but if anything it has been curious.

The house was built in the early 70s and is a standard split level home, not exactly the prototypical haunted mansion, but it does have a tragic past.  Though not officially verified, we were informed that a male who lived at the residence committed suicide in the back yard and I am satisfied with the sources because they are original neighborhood residents with firsthand knowledge.  But is this the cause of the paranormal activity?  I do not know.  The manifestations are mostly genderless involving movement of some kind.  Whatever it is I have been surprised at its power and boldness.

As a whole, there are too many manifestations to list, so I will only speak of three and I will begin with the most recent involving an egg.

The Egg

On the evening of February 28th, 2013; I was home making dinner and I needed three eggs.  I discovered that the refrigerator only had one egg, so I went to a storage refrigerator we keep in our garage to get another carton of eggs.  I placed the three eggs on a counter top and I proceeded to cook at the stove.  At the time, only myself and our three boys were at home (my wife was away).  While cooking something on TV distracted me and I left to see what it was.  I was gone for about 3 minutes and then returned to the stove.  Shortly after returning, I needed to add the eggs so I turned to the counter where I had placed them, but there were only two.  I checked the egg cartons, sure enough one was empty and the new carton had two missing.  I questioned the boys and I am satisfied they were not pranking me, (they were glued to a computer game at the time).  I even tried to feed my dog a raw egg—he would not touch it.  The egg just disappeared and it still has not reappeared over the past week.  I have no explanation and I know there were three eggs on the counter.

The Stomping

The next incident occurred one evening in the spring of 2012.  I had to take the garbage out to our outside garbage can.  We have some concrete steps with a small landing to our front door.  I completed my chore and had just arrived to the steps, when the sound of someone stomping their feet, like they were ponding off snowy boots, rung out in the darkness for about 5 seconds.  It was not an echo, it was very loud and came from just inches in front of me on the landing.  I just froze not because I was scared but because it was so odd that I was expecting to see a neighbor come around the bushes or the source to be revealed, but I was very alone with only the dim glow of street lights to reinforce the event.  I slowly opened the door to find my wife reading on the couch a few yards away.  I softly asked her if she had been listening.  At first she acted confused by the question but then asked me why I was stamping my feet before I entered.  After I told her my experience, she thought I was joking but as time has passed and other things have happened she has come to believe my account.

The Christmas Ornament

It was New Year’s Day of 2012 and, like many, my wife was taking down the Christmas decorations.  Some of her favorite decorations are part of a miniature Christmas Village made of different buildings and figurines.  Before the pieces were to go in storage she wanted to dust them so she placed the set on the kitchen table and dusted each individual piece.  Before she could finish she witnessed one of the figurines (I believe it was a boy with a dog) fly off the table striking the wall.  My wife was not too happy and blamed me and my “ghost hunting” for the incident.

There have been several other occurrences in and around our home and what I would tell others is no one has been hurt or even scared by the activity.  It is not constant and seems to flare up every few months almost like it’s trying to remind us that it’s still here and if it remains this way I really don’t mind—just please, I would ask, don’t break any more of my wife’s stuff.

Ghostology: UFOs, the paranormal in decline?

This past week a myriad of news articles appeared after British UFO researchers hinted that in 10 years the UFO phenomena may disappear from the popular culture due to an ever decreasing number of UFO sightings and better explanations for proposed UFO phenomena.  So why is a ghost blog writing about this subject?  Because UFOs are part of that larger study known as the paranormal.  Most serious paranormal radio programs like Coast to Coast, the nations #1 overnight radio program, lumps all kinds of subjects from ghosts to UFOs and even Bigfoot into this same category.  I am here to say: not all paranormal subjects are the same and that ghosts and the afterlife have much stronger appeal and longevity than other paranormal subjects.

I am not bashing UFOs or the people who study them, but I also know from first hand experience that many of the claims and expectations from their study are poorly constructed and unreasonable.  In this article I will contrast the merits of studying ghosts over UFOs as a focus for the paranormal.

First, I believe there are several examples of UFO cases that deserve attention like Roswell, New Mexico and Bentwaters, England.  But the majority of UFOs incidents rely on antidotal evidence and personal stories; moreover, there is a strong cultural element that seems to influence the experience like alien movies and popular media.  When Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released in 1977, it changed the way the public visualized aliens from outer space from large monster-like beings dressed in sliver space suits with antennas in the 50s to the smaller humanoid “greys” with large eyes and few facial features.  UFO researchers will point out the “greys” were described before 1977, but after that time the retro monster in a sliver suite all but disappeared which indicates a strong cultural element in the  UFO phenomena. Ghostly experiences are different, not that they are not influenced by culture, but the details don’t seem to change.  The way that people describe and interpret ghost phenomena is influenced by culture but the actual characteristics are unusually the same, a spirit that is restless or with purpose appears among the living.  The more the spirit is “restless” the more random is the incident and the more purpose exhibited the more consciousness and intent has been perceived.  These are very general descriptions and does not hold true for every situation, but throughout time and location ghostly events have demonstrated general characteristics.

As a trained archaeologists focusing on Central America I have also often taken issue with many UFO researchers who claim many ancient ruins were the results of aliens.  Authored in 1968 by Erich von Däniken, Chariots of the Gods presented the hypothesis that the technologies and religions of many ancient civilizations were given to them by ancient astronauts who were welcomed as gods.  Unfortunately for UFO enthusiasts, archaeology has advanced our knowledge of these ancient peoples and there has been no evidence to support Däniken’s ideas.

One example of ancient artifacts used by Däniken to bolster his UFO hypothesis would be Lord Pacal the Great’s sarcophagus lid found at the ancient city of Palenque in modern day Mexico.  Däniken claimed the figure was ancient astronaut and identified many elements as breathing apparatuses and other mechanisms used for space travel.  Since then archaeologist and art historians have interpreted the scene as Pacal the Great falling into the underworld at the time of his death.  The latter description is based on long and studious studies of Maya iconography with the help of the modern Maya as well as the whole of Maya art.  Däniken’s work uses almost no scholarly sources but rather relies on his own creative interpretations not unlike an ink blot test given by a psychiatrist.

The Maya did in fact believe in ghosts.  A large part of Central American and Maya art is dedicated to the veneration of ancestors who at time would visit their descendants to give council and supernatural power to existing leaders.  The Maya were the same as many today who have had ghostly relatives return to give instruction or messages. The Maya also had stories of haunted forests that after dark espoused the lost souls of unfinished or tragic individuals.  There is no great leap of faith to understand their beliefs; one simply can come to an understanding through modern equivalents found in every part of the world.

I am fascinated with UFOs and their accounts and I admit to have had a couple of UFO sightings in my life, but even then I understood there are many different explanations for UFO sightings.  There are too many possibilities and in my opinion too little verifiable history for me to confidently conclude that UFOs are a reality.  There are a handful of UFO incidents that seem to defy explanation but compared to the depth and ubiquitous reports of ghosts I choose to focus on what I believe to be irrefutable–ghost are real and interact with the living every day.