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, April 28, 2010

Cemetery Etiquette for Ghost Hunters

copyright Fiona Broome,

Enthusiastic ghost hunters sometimes forget that--for many people--cemeteries are solemn places with clear rules of etiquette.

Here are a few suggestions for your visits to cemeteries:

Not everyone believes in ghosts. In any cemetery, you may find genealogists, historians, and descendants of the deceased. You may also find people who love to photograph (or transcribe) headstone engravings. Others may be doing gravestone rubbings, though this has become a less popular hobby due to decaying stones.

Babbling happily about ghosts may distract or offend these people, who expect respectful silence in a cemetery.

If someone is visiting the grave of a recently deceased family member, your comments may upset them. They often prefer to think that everyone who has crossed over, is in a happier place... not lingering around a cemetery.

It's best to speak in subdued tones, and not approach strangers unless they initiate conversation.

Joking is generally inappropriate. I'm not saying you have to be dour, but some jokes are in very poor taste. Sure, people get nervous and manage to say the worst possible things, sometimes. Try to avoid offensive patter.

As a guideline, here are a few "jokes" that could irritate the dead, and probably annoy the living as well:

"Oops, didn't mean to shout loud enough to wake the dead. Ha-ha-ha."

"Gee, he must have been a cheapskate, not giving his wife her own headstone."

"So, when do the ghouls show up, huh? Ha-ha-ha."

"Let's leave soon, I'm feeling dead tired."

"Can't you take a joke? I mean, hey, you're looking pretty grave. Ha-ha-ha."

You get the idea. If someone starts joking, stop them immediately or leave the cemetery. We've seen jokers suddenly twist an ankle, or encounter other odd problems; we're still not sure if the ghosts were "getting even."

Obey the laws. If the cemetery says, "Closed dusk to dawn," get permission to visit it after hours. If you inadvertently stay past dusk, remember that you are breaking the law; leave cheerfully and quickly when you realize your mistake. Likewise, if the gate is locked, it just might be a hint that you're not allowed into a private cemetery. Stay out!

Protect what's in the cemetery. Do not lean on fragile headstones, much less sit on them. Don't use shaving cream to reveal inscriptions; many of them contain perfumes or other ingredients which contribute to decay. Acid rain has already done enough damage! A halogen flashlight at a sharp angle will reveal nearly as much--and sometimes more--than shaving cream would.

Respect the deceased. They may consider their cemetery "home," and you are visiting--or perhaps trespassing--on their property. It's okay to ignore belligerent, territorial ghosts, but be as understanding as you can.

Step carefully on graves. Leave no litter. Speak in soft tones; joking or loud voices can annoy and/or frighten some spirits and reduce your chances of getting a great photo.

Some people recommend waiting at least a half an hour before taking photos, and then quietly asking permission of the deceased, in a respectful manner. Fiona doesn't do this, but many ghost hunters do. Use your best judgement.

It is generally inappropriate to take your pet into the cemetery. If you must, be certain your pet is on a sturdy leash (particularly if he is frightened by spectral appearances), and that you clean up after your pet. If your pet disturbs others, including the spirits, take the animal back to the car (or return him to your home or a kennel, if it's a hot day). Use common sense.

Move or remove nothing. Leave plants, markers, badges, ribbons, and so on, exactly where you found them. Do not pick anything, even autumn leaves from the trees. However, if you find empty beer cans or fast-food wrappers, you can help the cemetery caretaker by putting them in the trash.

Do not eat, drink, or smoke in the cemetery. Step outside the cemetery if any of these pastimes are necessary.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Moose Head Inn

KENOSEE LAKE -- One of Saskatchewan's classic ghost stories has a new twist. It may even have a happily-ever-after ending. But don't bet on it.

When Dale Orsted bought the Moose Head Inn at Kenosee Lake in 1990, he believed he was extending a tradition that began in the late 1960s when Ethel and Archibald Grandison constructed and operated the building as a dance hall for teens. Orsted, now in his 40s, spent his summers at this resort community located about two hours southeast of Regina. He remembers with great fondness Grandison Hall and its owners.
"They were great people. And they were in their 60s when they started this," says Orsted.

When Archie died around 20 years ago, Ethel sold the dance hall and Orsted bought it from a third party in 1990. The bottom floor of the Moose Head Inn is a restaurant, the second floor a cabaret/nightclub and third floor is an office and small apartment where Orsted lives.
Soon after the purchase, a curious thing happened. Glasses, ashtrays and knick-knacks went missing from the bar area of the nightclub.

At first, Orsted thought the missing items were the result of former employees, with keys, slipping into the club to nip keepsakes. But changing the locks on all the doors made no difference - items still went missing. Then they started reappearing. And then things got really weird.

"It started out with banging -- it sounded like somebody was trying to break into the place," Orsted said in an interview at the club. "The banging would go on for hours. It was super loud. . . "I'd phone the police because I thought it was a burglar. I phoned two or three times and they came in here with their guns drawn. But there was no one here."Orsted and his former manager and roommate Jeff Stephen were scared. They installed a security camera above the bar and after one incident, the banging could be heard clearly on the audio portion of the tape. But there were no images. The best police could do was suggest the sounds were coming from outside.

"This was before we thought it was a ghost," explains Orsted. "Now, I know I actually had the ghost's sound on videotape."

Orsted, his girlfriend and Stephen learned to live with the strange noises for a while. But when they carried out renovations in 1992, all heck broke loose.

"We started to tear out the carpets and, that same night, it started to go nuts. It took a week to get the carpet out and a new one installed. And every night, about four or five in the morning, this place would just start going."

Noises emanating from the nightclub area were so deafeningly loud they sounded like horrible car crashes. Orsted later concluded through experiments conducted with several strong friends the only item in the building capable of producing those window-rattling crashes was a large steel desk hoisted several feet into the air and dropped to the floor. He could only guess the desk was being levitated and dropped.
The bone-jarring collision sounds weren't the only strange goings on. The dishwasher in the bar started up and turned off by itself, and doors on stalls in the women's washroom swung back and forth as cleaning staff looked on in fear. Mop pails flew across the dance floor with no apparent source of propulsion and lights in the building went on and off without a human touch. And more. . . "There's been nights when there's maybe 20 people sitting around in here after hours and the doors just all of a sudden fly wide open," says Orsted, pointing to the heavy, double security doors at the side and rear of the bar. "And then they'd slam shut."There's lots of people that have seen and heard this stuff."

Orsted became so concerned about the strange happenings he actually moved out of the building for two years, preferring instead to commute from his home town of Estevan.

In the meantime, stories about Saskatchewan's haunted nightclub began appearing in ghost books and newspapers. Television stations in Regina and Minot, North Dakota sent reporters to do stories on the strange phenomena occurring at the Moose Head Inn. And a national television news magazine did a piece about a paranormal investigator from Winnipeg who came to the Moose Head to study the ghostly happenings first hand. His conclusion? Orsted's club seems to be an example of a 'classic haunting'.

"I didn't, myself, see or record anything unusual," investigator Roy Bauer said in a phone interview. "This (conclusion) was basically from the information they gave me, and from my past investigations. The classic haunting seemed to fit the best."

Bauer says that in a general way, he and his colleague 'probably make better skeptics than believers' when it comes to things ghostly.

"But you do have to have an open mind to investigate them because, supposedly, ghosts don't exist." Not long after Bauer completed his investigation a psychic from Winnipeg contacted Orsted claiming to have clues as to the identity of the Moose Head ghost. Orsted said her detailed knowledge of the club, including its previous design and decor, was impressive considering she'd not set foot in the building. And while he chose not to present Ethel Grandison with the list of clues the psychic felt might solve the mystery, he was intrigued by how insightfully she connected the ghostly happenings to the renovations.

In fact, when he considered all the fuss attending the replacement of the carpets, he wondered whether the ghost might be that of a handyman who used to work at the building. In a vain attempt to appease the entity, he tried reversing some of the changes made to the interior of the club. The level of activity rose and fell, but the haunting continued. Frightening new episodes included being awakened in the middle of the night by door knocking, doorknob fiddling, and what sounded like a man moaning in the hallway beyond the apartment door.

"It'd be scary," Orsted recalled. "But at least you knew you were safe if you were locked in a room upstairs. I'm more afraid of a burglar than a ghost."

In the summer of 1997, Orsted staged a 'psychic fair' at the Moose Head, with several psychics on hand to do palm and tarot card readings for customers. He and two female employees who had also experienced the ghostly shenanigans used the occasion to participate in a seance with one of the psychics. Its purpose was to shed some light on the Moose Head's invisible resident.

"She told us to imagine a big blue tarp over the whole building," said Orsted, who admits he had more trouble than his co-workers concentrating on the process. "And then she said 'picture a big cone coming out of the building and take it right up to the heavens and you'll see three angels. Out of the seance emerged information about three ghosts: a cleaning lady, a young male who had drowned and an old man. With assistance from the Moose Head group, the psychic said she was able to convince two of the three entities to leave the premises. The third -- the old man -- didn't want to go. According to the psychic, the stubborn one was the ghost of Archibald Grandison, late owner of the dance hall. And she said he had a request for Orsted.

"He said he wanted me to look after his wife because she was getting old," Orsted said, adding Ethel Grandison lived in the house next door to the Moose Head. Orsted wasn't taking any chances. He agreed to do so.
In spring, 1999, Ethel Grandison passed away. Ever since, there's been no trouble with ghosts at the Moose Head Inn. Not yet, anyway."I don't think there's been enough time yet to say that it's definitely gone," says Orsted, pointing out it's been just over a year since Ethel died. "And if there really were three ghosts, well. . ."

On the Victoria Day long weekend in May 2000, the Moose Head Inn sponsored its fourth annual 'psychic fair'. 'Cher', the woman who led Orsted and his staffers through the seance many believe determined the existence and identity of the ghost, was present with her daughter and fellow psychic 'Chalaine'. They were joined by a third psychic named Robert Morrow.

The psychics' verdict? To a person, they're convinced the Moose Head Inn is still haunted.
"I was in there last night," says Morrow. "And with me, I'm all over the place. I'm in the kitchen, I'm upstairs, I'm in the lounge, I'm in the slot room, I'm in the bar. I feel a presence in there. Very strongly."

Friday, April 23, 2010

What is a Residual Haunting? by Dave Juliano

Do you see the same apparition doing the same things all the time? Do you hear the same noises, possibly at the same time of day, each time they are heard? Does that ghost seem to not even realize that you are there? If the answer is yes to any of these, you may be witnessing what is known as a residual haunting. Some of the most famous hauntings appear to be residual ones.

A residual haunting is a playback of a past event. The apparitions involved are not spirits, they are "recordings" of the event. I believe that this will be the first type of haunting that main stream researchers will recognize and study. There are numerous theories on how these residual hauntings come to be. The main one will be discussed here.

Video and audio tapes capture sounds and images on a film of special material that has been oxidized or rusted. Certain building materials, such as slate used in older castles and stone structures and iron nails used in many older buildings, have properties similar to that of the tapes. When a traumatic event occurs or a time of heightened emotions, these materials record the event for future playback. Everything is made up of energy and energy cannot be destroyed. The materials store the energy created by these traumatic events and plays them back at a later time. The Tower of London's ghost of Anne Boleyn and the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall are two famous examples of residual hauntings. We are not sure what causes the playback of the events, that still remains a mystery. Is it the right weather conditions, the witness's energy or sensitivity or some type of energy release? That is the question that we as researchers are trying to answer.

As I said, in a residual haunting, there is no spirit involved. This type of event is not dangerous at all so if you ever have the chance to witness one, do so without fear and enjoy it. This type of haunting has to be considered when investigating a haunting. When my group goes to a haunted location, we spend the first hour split into two teams. One team maps out the area, noting any EMF readings and Temperature readings so we have guidelines to judge other readings by. We also make note of how the building is constructed and set up. The other team is conducting interviews with witnesses. The questions are setup to find out if the activity sounds like a spirit, poltergeist, residual haunting, etc. If we feel the activity is a residual haunting we will set up a stakeout in the location the ghost is often seen or heard. This is the best way to observe and possibly capture evidence of the event. It may take many return trips and hours of sitting there staring at nothing. It is very tedious but if it something occurs, you will forget very quickly about all the time you sat waiting for it to happen.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Canada’s Top Five Haunted Places

Like many other places in the world, Canada has it fair share of ghost tales and haunted buildings. I have researched the most active haunted places to date and came up with 5 that Canada has to offer.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Islands was first constructed in 1803 and was totally finished and operational by 1809. Local legend states it haunted by the first lighthouse keeper JP Radan Muller. Muller had been murder one misty night by drunken soldiers from Fort York looking for bootleg beer. The soldiers had cut Muller up and buried his body somewhere on the beach. The soldiers where charged but later acquitted. In 1893 a coffin was found buried on the beach with a jaw bone still inside it but it has never been known if it ever belong to Muller. The lighthouse since time is no longer on the shore line since the sand has built up, but lies 100 meters inland. Its not being used and is boarded up but people say on misty nights you can hear a mans voice moaning and even some people have reported ghostly figures roaming the grounds.

Screaming Tunnel
The “Screaming Tunnel” was built by Grand Trunk Railroad in the early 1900’s and is located near Niagara Falls. The tunnel was meant for railroad cars but shortly after finishing the structure World War 1 had begun and GTR went bankrupt never finishing laying tracks in the tunnel. Now there’s 2 different legends but both basically have the same story line. First legend is said that a little girls parents where separating and her father take hers down by the tunnel and buried her alive. Second legend involves the little girls parents fighting over her and somehow the house catches fires. Well the little girls ends up getting set ablaze as well and runs down to the tunnel. As she runs through the tunnel screaming for help she eventually falls in the middle and dies. Anyways legend has it if you enter the tunnel and stand in the middle and light a match, something will blow it out and you should be able to hear screams in the distance. Horrible story but makes a great ghost legend.

By Town Museum

The By Town Museum was built in 1827 in Ottawa Ontario. The building was used as storage and treasury during construction of the Rideau Canal. The building is located at the entrance locks of the Rideau Canal and is the oldest surviving stone building in Ottawa with 2 feet thick stone walls. It officially became the By Town Museum in 1951. There is said to be a few different ghost haunting this museum. One of the people that is suppose to be haunting the museum is the builder of the Canal “Colonel John By” and another is his assistant “General Dunan Mc Nab”. Staff at the museum over the years have reported strange events like TV’s turning on and off, lights staying on after being turned off, strange messages appear on computer screens when no one is in the room, voices of men yelling and even some angry voices saying “Get Out”. Some visitors mostly women to the museum have reported being pushed hard but no one is in the room, while other have heard children crying in the doll exhibit and seen dolls wink and move. Even to date this is suppose to be one of the most active haunted places in Canada.

Skeleton Park “Mc Burney Park”

Back in 1813 to 1865 this park was known as Kingston’s Upper Cemetery. What this was, was a mass cemetery/grave site containing more then 100,000 bodies which all died from contagious epidemics. In 1894 Municipal government tried to remove the remains but many locals objected due to fear that contagious diseases might start again if dug up. The cemetery was transformed into Frontenac Park in 1895 and then became what it is known as today “Mc Burney Park” in 1965. It is said that over the years many different remains have surfaced through out the park thus giving it the nickname “Skeleton Park."

Original Article

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The ghost in my garage: Riddle of the tyre depot phantom whose calling card is a pre-war penny.

Gothic castles, deserted mansions, ivy-covered old houses - all of them perfect haunts for a ghost.

But how about something as modern and mundane as a tyre depot in sensible South Yorkshire?

According to owner Nick White, a supernatural visitor has been running riot at his garage, which was originally a chapel and also served as a makeshift mortuary during the Second World War.

The uninvited guest has thrown stones and coins at staff, and stacked up piles of tyres and moved them around the building while it was locked up overnight.

The ghostly figure, which materialised from time to time dressed in the style of the 1940s, is said to have first made its presence felt in 2003 but vanished (so to speak) after Mr White took over the business three years ago.

Now, however, the odd goings on have started again, with pre-war coins turning up mysteriously on the garage floor in two strange incidents a month apart. Mr White found the first of the old penny pieces, dated 1936 and bearing the image of George VI, when he arrived for work one day in February.

The second copper coin, dated 1938, was lying in almost the same spot when Mr White, 35, and one of his mechanics turned up at the depot in Doncaster last week. Mr White said: 'I took all the strange stories with a big pinch of salt when I bought the place. But I wouldn't like to say it's not true any more. There's no logical explanation for the two old pennies turning up like they did. I wish there was. 'It's a little bit scary knowing that there's something happening while the place is locked up at night.'

Previous owner Nigel Lee once called in a clergyman to perform an exorcism.

Mr White added: 'Nigel told me all about the tyres being moved around when the place was locked up at night and customers witnessing small change and stones coming out of nowhere and flying here and there.

'It's all right being sceptical about these things, but I'm the owner of two very old pennies now, and I'd love to know where they came from.'