In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weyburn Mental Hospital pt. II & Hospital Graveyard

This past weekend we here at Prairie Specters were given permission to explore the Weyburn Mental Hospital in Weyburn. Over the next day or so I will be updating the site with pictures and accounts of our day there. I wanted to express our great thanks to our guide for the day. Your personal stories and knowledge of the facility were greatly appreciated. Thanks!

*** Please do not let yourself in and run around this building. It is not "cool " or an episode of "Most Haunted". It is dangerous and considered trespassing. ***

As we stood there waiting to enter the hospital our guide talked a little about the site.
"It's empty now" she said. " Whatever was here has left."

Can a haunted building go quiet? For our guide the place no longer feels the way it once had.

"One time I was here with a cleaning crew and I was off in one wing alone and a voice behind me said "There you are" she turned around thinking it was one of the cleaning crew but she was alone. As the intercom system was down she radioed the crew who turned out to be in another wing.

We made our way with flashlights through the laundry sub-basement area. The place was cool and dark, abandoned equipment sat in corners. Our guide pointed out the kitchen areas and one of the tunnels that ran to an outlying building. As we made our way to the ground floor and higher floors the damage that vandals and the elements had done really became obvious.

One of the most common phenomena our guide suggested was the sound of footsteps continuing after you had stopped walking. In one area, the hardwood floor room, where they had experienced this we tried to get the same result but no footsteps were heard. My wife's camera at this point refused to take a picture inside this room. Our guide explained how the outline of a body in the dirty floor could sometimes be found in the curtained area beyond the room with the hardwood floor. Throughout the whole tour I had tried to remain in the back frequently turning around to see if I could catch anything as our are group past. It was in this area where we listened for footsteps that I did have a small feeling as we left that we were being watched.

As we continued to the upper floors the windows were no longer boarded up and the sunlight streamed in and warmed up the dreary halls.
This was the domain of the trapped pigeons who fluttered out at us from hidden niches to startle our nervous members. Numerous carcasses lay about of the ones who starved looking for a way back out. Here the halls were quiet and empty, a sad reminder of the pain and mental suffering of those who lived here.

Our guide told us of a group that came from the University of Saskatchewan to investigate the Hospital setting up in large room in the old wing. The group was to have performed a seance and became so frightened by what happened they left the building right then and there even thou they had use of the Hospital for two days. Later it was found out that they had seen "things" flying about the room outside of the seance circle. Our guide told that in the past a ring would sometimes be found laying on the floor of this room, only to be missing the next visit, but back again the next time.

Contrary to popular legend the newer fourth floor, which was added after the dome was removed, is not sealed off. This part of the facility felt really open and breezy and did not feel oppressive or depressing in any way. Out of all places in the hospital this would be the least likely, in my option, you'd encounter a ghost. Yet the stories tell of a women's spirit who runs back and forth here at night. Maybe this area takes on a different feel in the evening? Something that may never be answered.

Is the Weyburn Mental Hospital haunted? Did spirits once walk the empty halls but have slowly faded away along with building as it crumbles, all that's left is the residual energy of countless lives lived. I agree with our guide "It's empty now". The tortured minds who lived and lived on in this place have finally found their peace.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Big News for Prairie Specters

We here at Prairie Specters have been given a great opportunity this weekend. I can't go into details right now but check back in the next two days or so for an update.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Ghost Train ?

From : Paranormal Phenomena

"This footage appears to show a ghost train at the location of paranormal activity," says paranormalfootage. "Locals report hearing a train going past, though the nearest track is 5 miles away. Investigators found nothing, until they got their footage home. It was only then that they see the ghostly outline of a train appear where train tracks used to be, 93 years ago." So is this for real, or is it a clever example of post-production video trickery? If it's real, this video could demonstrate how an event -- especially on that is repeated on a regular basis -- might be recorded on the environment. Some unknown mechanism causes this ghostly recording to be played back occasionally. If this video is legitimate, it is a fascinating and important one indeed. There are some questions, however: Does the train look too small compared to the man? Why do we only see the ghost image of the front of the train? The camera seems to pan away from the man, as if to allow room for the train image.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New group for Prairie Specters on

Hey there, just a note to say I have created a page for the Prairie Specters on Click on the link below to check it out. It is a really great networking site for folks interested in the paranormal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Link

Hey there, added a new link to a website called American Hauntings, The Historic and Haunted Guide to the Supernatural. A great site with a lot great articles and well thought out presentation.

Please head over and take a look. Mr Taylor's books are an great read for anyone interested in the supernatural.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sure Signs That Your House is Haunted

What to watch for – and what to do about it:

You hear heavy footsteps in the upstairs hallway when you know no one is up there. Doors slam unaccountably. Commonly used items disappear and reappear without cause. The kitchen light turns on by itself. There's the unmistakable scent of a strange perfume in the air.

These may be indications that your house is haunted. True hauntings are rare occurrences, and it may be difficult to determine whether or not any strange phenomena you are experiencing in your home might be due to a haunting. For one thing, no one really knows what a "real" haunting is - what causes it or why it starts. There are many theories, of course, but if you think your house may really be haunted, what can you do about it?

The Signs of a Haunting
The first step is to determine, as best you can, whether or not you truly have a legitimate case of a haunting.

Not all hauntings are alike, and they may exhibit a variety of phenomena. Some hauntings feature a single phenomenon - such as a particular door slamming shut that occurs repeatedly - while others consist of many different phenomena, ranging from odd noises to full-blown apparitions.

Here's a partial list of phenomena that might indicate that your house is haunted:

- Unexplained noises - footsteps; knocks, banging, rapping; scratching sounds; sounds of something being dropped. Sometimes these noises can be subtle and other times they can be quite loud.

- Doors, cabinets and cupboards opening and closing - most often, these phenomena are not seen directly. The experiencer either hears the distinct sounds of the doors opening and closing (homeowners get to know quite well the distinctive sounds their houses make) or the experiencer will return to a room to find a door open or closed when they are certain that it was left in the opposite position. Sometimes furniture, like kitchen chairs, are perceived to have been moved. Very rarely will the experiencer actually witness the phenomenon taking place.

- Lights turning off and on - likewise, these events are seldom seen actually occurring, but the lights are switched on or off when the experiencer knows they were not left that way. This can also happen with TVs, radios and other electrically powered items.

- Items disappearing and reappearing - this phenomenon, also known as the “Disappearing Object Phenomenon, or "the borrowers" phenomenon, is the familiar experience of not being able to find a regularly used item - say, your set of car keys - which you believe you placed in a spot you routinely place them. But they're gone and you look high and low for them with no success. Some time later, the keys are found - in exactly the place you normally put them. It's as if the object was borrowed by someone or something for a short time, then returned. Sometimes they are not returned for days or even weeks, but when they are, it's in an obvious place that could not have been missed by even a casual search.

- Unexplained shadows- the sighting of fleeting shapes and shadows, usually seen out of the corner of the eye. Many times, the shadows have vaguely human forms, while other times they are less distinguishable or smaller.

- Strange animal behavior - a dog, cat or other pet behaves strangely. Dogs may bark at something unseen, cower without apparent reason or refuse to enter a room they normally do. Cats may seem to be "watching" something cross a room. Animals have sharper senses than humans, and many researchers think their psychic abilities might be more finely tuned also.

- Feelings of being watched - this is not an uncommon feeling and can be attributed to many things, but it could have a paranormal source if the feeling consistently occurs in a particular part of the house at a particular time.

Those are some of the most common experiences of those who think their houses are haunted. Yet even stranger things can happen...

Stronger Evidence

The following phenomena are more rare, but could be stronger evidence of a haunting:

- Mild psychokinetic phenomena - hearing a door open or close is one thing. Actually seeing it happen is quite another. Similarly, actually seeing a light go on or off by itself is greater proof that something unexplained is happening. Do you see the TV or radio turn on? Or perhaps you're present when a child's powered toy begins to operate on its own. Doors and windows are locked or unlocked. Some people report that when they are in bed they can feel and/or hear something sitting on the bed.

- Feelings of being touched - the feeling of being watched is one thing, and actually feeling like you are being touched is quite another. Some people feel something brush past them, something touching their hair or "a hand" on the shoulder. Some feel a gentle poke, push or nudge.

- Cries and whispers - on occasion, muffled voices, whispering and crying can be heard. Sometimes it's music from some unknown source. People hear their names being said. This phenomenon, as is true for the one above, gains more credibility if more than one person hears or sees the same thing at the same time.

- Cold or hot spots - cold spots are classic haunting symptoms, but any instance of a noticeable variance in temperature without a discernable cause could be evidence.

- Unexplained smells - the distinct fragrance of a perfume or cologne that you do not have in your house. This phenomenon comes and goes without any apparent cause and may accompany other phenomena, such as shadows, voices or psychokinetic phenomena. Foul odors can happen in the same way.

Rarer still are more extreme phenomena, some of which have been called poltergeist phenomena, and can be quite strong evidence of a true haunting:

- Moving or levitating objects (severe psychokinetic phenomena) - dinner plates sliding across the table; pictures flying off walls; doors slamming shut with great force; furniture sliding across the floor.

- Physical assault - scratches, slaps and hard shoves. This kind of personal assault is extremely rare, but obviously highly disturbing.

- Other physical evidence - unexplained writing on paper or walls; handprints and footprints.

- Apparitions - physical manifestation of a spirit or entity. These phenomena are also very rare and can take many forms: human-shaped mists or forming mists of some indistinguishable shape; transparent human forms that disappear quickly; and most rarely, human forms that look as real and solid as any living person, but that disappear into a room or even while being viewed.

" I love this picture. No one else in the photo has a smile. Even stranger, this woman with the grin casts no reflection in the mirror, she stands in front of."

Rule Out Rational Explanations
A person who has experienced some of these phenomena might have cause to believe that his or her house is haunted. But maybe not. In fact, according to most experts, probably not. The human mind and human senses (as any magician will tell you) are easily fooled. And people can often mistake explainable (if unusual) occurrences in their homes for the paranormal.

Before you decide there's a ghost in your house or move out from fear, do your best to find rational explanations for what you are experiencing. Virtually all of the phenomena listed on the previous page could have perfectly natural causes:

- noises could be house settling, plumbing or even vermin such as mice and squirrels
- opening and closing doors could be faulty hinges or caused by drafts
- “disappearing objects” phenomena could just be carelessness and forgetfulness
- shadows could be just that - shadows caused, perhaps, by a passing car's headlights
as real as some of these things might seem to you, they really could be just products of your imagination

Of course, the more extreme the phenomena, the harder they are to dismiss.

And, as noted above, if multiple witnesses experience the same phenomena, they are likely to be taken more seriously. Get help in finding rational explanations for the phenomena. A plumber might help you find the cause of that banging. A carpenter can fix that door from closing on its own. A friend or neighbor might be able to look at your particular experience in a different way and offer a reasonable explanation for your "haunting" that you might not have though of. In short, make every possible effort to prove that your house is not haunted.

Keep A Journal
If you feel you have ruled out rational explanations for the phenomena that are taking place in your house, and they are still occurring on a more or less regular basis, document them. Keep a journal of the phenomena as they happen. For example:

- June 2, 2002; 10:30 p.m. - Was sitting watch TV when the bathroom light switched on by itself. Went in and turned it off again.
- June 10, 2002; 9:14 p.m. - Was in the kitchen and heard the footsteps crossing the upstairs hallway again. No one was up there. Went up to investigate and could find no cause.

A journal such as this could help with any formal investigation of the phenomena by experts.

If you hear unexplained noises, attempt to record them with a portable tape recorder. If there are physical phenomena of any kind, photograph or videotape them. Keep your journal, recording and camera equipment readily available so you can document the phenomena as it happens.

Call the Experts
When should you call a paranormal investigator? Only when you have ruled out any rational explanations for the phenomena you are experiencing and are thoroughly convinced that your house is truly haunted should you contact the experts. Of course, if the phenomena are extreme and you feel that you and your family are in any kind of physical or psychological danger, you should call for help right away.( above taken from the Cleveland Supernatural Investigations website )

Shadow People

Shadow people are just what they sound like - a dark outline of a person seen walking across a wall, a door, or even through trees. The one individually recognized around the world is the Hat-man, so named because he always seems to be wearing a bowler. Perhaps the reason it spooks us so bad is because we know a lot of people who have seen them.

Shadow people, according to Wikipedia, are:

“…supernatural shadow-like creatures of both modern folklore and traditional native American beliefs. According to folklore, they appear as dark forms in the peripheries of people’s vision and disintegrate, or move between walls, when noticed."

“Reports of shadow people occupy a similar position in the popular consciousness to ghost sightings, but differ in that shadow people are not reported as having human features, wearing modern/period clothing, or attempting to communicate. Witnesses also do not report the same feelings of being in the presence of something that ‘was once human’. Some individuals have described being menaced, chased, or in some rare instances, attacked by shadow people. There have also been reports of shadow people appearing in front of witnesses, of which they stay there or lingering for several seconds before disappearing. Witnesses report that encounters are typically accompanied by a feeling of dread.”

"Accounts of shadow people typically describe them as being black humanoid silhouettes with no discernible mouths, noses, or facial expressions, though accounts also exist of them being child-sized humanoids or shapeless masses that sometimes change to a more human like form. The eyes are usually not described as being discernible but in some reports glowing eyes are mentioned. Their specific form is described variously as two-dimensional shadow to a vaporous or distorted three-dimensional body (as though made out of smoke or steam). Movement is often described as being very quick and disjointed. Some witnesses describe this movement as though the shadow entities they have seen "danced" from one wall to the next, or as moving around the room "as if they were on a specific track".
Rarely, they are seen "standing" in the middle of doorways or off the wall. Often they are described as being seen staring at the floor. Some accounts describe what appears to be the outline of a cloak, and in some instances the outline of a 1930s style fedora hat. This last type is referred as the "hat-man".

What are shadow people and where do they come from? Several theories have been offered.

The Imagination
The explanation we get from skeptics and mainstream science - and who are usually people who have never experienced the shadow people phenomenon - is that it is nothing more than the active human imagination. It's our minds playing tricks on us... our eyes seeing things in a fraction of a second that aren't really there - illusions... real shadows caused by passing auto headlights, or some similar explanation. And without a doubt, these explanations probably can account for some if not many experiences. The human eye and mind are easily fooled. But can they account for all cases?

To call these entities ghosts demands first a definition of what we mean by ghosts. By almost any definition, shadow people are somewhat different than ghost phenomena. Whereas ghost apparitions are almost always a misty white, vaporish or have a decidedly human form and appearance (very often with discernable "clothing"), shadow beings are much darker and more shadow-like. In general, although the shadow people often do have a human outline or shape, because they are dark, the details of their appearance is lacking. This is in contrast to many ghost sightings in which the witness can describe the ghost's facial features, style of clothing and other details. The one detail most often noted in some shadow being sightings are their glowing red eyes.

Demons or Other Spirit Entities
The dark countenance and malevolent feelings that are often reported in association with these creatures has led some researchers to speculate that they may be demonic in nature. If they are demons, we have to wonder what their purpose or intent is in letting themselves be seen in this manner. Is it merely to frighten?

There is no way to prove or disprove any theories about a phenomenon that is so mysterious, that happens so quickly and without warning. Science finds it virtually impossible to catalog or study such phenomena in any methodical way. All we can do, at present, is to document personal experiences and try to piece together what the shadow people phenomenon might be.