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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ghost hunter zeros in on former Saxony Motor Inn, Edmonton

Spirits may be lurking at a once luxurious west-end hotel.

Staff have reported TVs, toasters and microwaves being unplugged sporadically at the former Saxony Motor Inn, now a Howard Johnson Hotel, 15540 Stony Plain Rd.

Unexplained footsteps in stairwells and bangs on the doors have also been heard.

The strange events have piqued the interest of a local ghost hunter, who's launched a paranormal investigation at the inn.

After speaking with several chambermaids and guests, Sean Seerey, a veteran tarot card reader and hospitality consultant at the hotel, did a late-night reading in a second-floor suite.

While he did the reading, Seerey said the room became so cold he could see his breath.

"It was 23 or 24 degrees outside that night and I could see my breath (in the room)," said Seerey, 45.

The Saxony was a posh 40-room Spanish-style hotel when it opened in 1966.

But over the years, its high-class facade crumbled.

In the 1980s a strip club operated at the inn and later, a bingo hall.

On Dec. 21, 1990, Lorraine Wray, a 46-year-old masseuse, was found strangled in the bathroom of her business, a massage studio in a strip mall attached to the hotel.

"Spirits are either lost or they're observing something or they've got an agenda they need to accomplish before they move on," said Seerey.

While walking through the halls during late shifts, Seerey says he felt a spirit move through his body. He says he's also smelled rose perfume.

Front desk manager Debbie Hart says longtime staff members speak of a trick-playing spirit named Bob who lives at the hotel.

Over the years at the hotel, staff recall lights flickering in the lounge, footsteps in the stairwell when no one is there, and knocks on doors.

"The older staff say it's Bob playing again," said Hart.

(above taken from " ". )

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is it a ghost or Carbon Monoxide?

Good ghost hunters approach each case they investigate with an air of skepticism. It's not that we want to doubt witnesses or don't want to believe in an afterlife; it's that we have learned through years of research that humans are fallible and many seemingly normal things in the world can produce out of the ordinary results. So what if some hauntings are the result of something very normal in some homes, such as an old furnace?

Old buildings and hauntings seem to go hand in hand. Yes, the older a building is the more likely it is to have experienced something either dramatic or traumatic that could have left an energy imprint behind and resulted in a haunting, but older buildings are also more likely to have an older heating system, fireplace or low-efficiency water heater that runs on natural fuel. As the natural fuel is consumed by these systems, carbon monoxide (CO) is emitted as a by-product and must be safely vented out of the area. If not properly vented, CO poisoning, which accounts for approximately half of the poisoning deaths in the US each year, can occur.
Many times, people experiencing hauntings give very similar accounts.
  • It's an older home or building.
  • Everyone and everything was fine when the family moved in.
  • One or more family members started feeling watched, experiencing anxiety, etc.
  • This was followed by flu-like symptoms, such as occasional headaches and nausea, pallor and drowsiness.
  • And then some family members developed memory problems, paranoia and began to see things.
  • The family pets were even affected
  • Everything slowly returned to normal after the family left the haunted site.
While not to say hauntings haven't happened through the years, if this scenario occurs in a place with a badly ventilated, natural-fuel system of some type, then a carbon monoxide leak must be taken into account since the above are also symptoms of slow CO poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, so many people never realize they have it in their home until it's too late. That's why CO is often referred to as a "silent killer." Sadly, early symptoms are even frequently missed by physicians due to their similarity to the flu. Since the source of CO is usually a badly ventilated, natural-fuel-consuming system, it also explains why it's most common in the winter, as that's when those systems are most likely to be used in a home.
Interestingly, reports of hauntings spike in the winter as well. Because of that correlation, any time a paranormal investigator is called in to a document a haunting, especially if activity peaks in the colder months, a carbon monoxide check should be conducted. It could save lives. ( Above taken from "".)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 3

Saskatchewan and ghost stories. They go together like a grinning scarecrow in a whisper-dry October field. In 1995, Dundurn successfully published and reprinted numerous times the original "Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan". Since that time, an eerie wealth of supernatural accounts have surfaced in this seemingly quiet prairie province.

In this third collection, a quiet cemetery appears to be a portal between the worlds of the living and the dead, a Victorian mansion-turned-restaurant in Moose Jaw remains occupied by the spectral image of the original lady of the house, and a weary traveler near Flaxcombe stops for coffee in a diner that burned to the ground a decade earlier. There are historical tales and personal accounts, legends and lore. And there is much to keep the dedicated ghost fan awake late into the night. Here the reader will find triple the history, mystery, and chills from one of Canada's established authors in the paranormal genre.

Jo-Anne Christensen is the author of several best-selling regional ghost story books and short-story collections, including Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan, More Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan, Ghost Stories of British Colombia, Campfire Ghost Stories, and Haunted Hotels. She lives with her family in Edmonton, Alberta, though her heart is always one province to the east.

Prairie Specters was happy to sit down and speak with Jo-Anne Christensen and are very happy to be featured in Ghosts Stories of Saskatchewan 3 as well as have a number of pictures inside as well. Thanks Jo-Anne! Can't wait for number 4!

Buy it today!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Ghost Month

In Chinese tradition, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. During the Qingming Festival the living descendants pay homage to their ancestors and on Ghost Day, the
deceased visit the living.

On the fifteenth day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased.
Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is ancestor worship, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths. Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mache form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living.

Ancestor worship is what distinguishes Qingming Festival from Ghost Festival because the latter includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations, while the former only includes older generations. Other festivities may include, buying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities.