Tag Archives: ghosts

This week, on ‘Ghost Seekers!’

The green light on the recorder flicks on.

“Is there anyone here with us tonight” the man asks. He is sweating and probably looked even worse than normal in that nightvision camera they always use. The camera man swung around capturing the other two people with them. Another man and a woman looked on to the proceedings, occasionally casting their gaze to the ceilings as though ghosts would flock to the great arched heights like birds.

“Yep,” I say. I saw this show before. I’m surprised they haven’t faked anything so far this episode. Really is interesting to see how they film even if they have no idea what they’re doing.

“What’s your name?” the woman asks. She’s cute and must be a new addition to the show. Last time I had a chance to watch it was just the two guys, the fat one and the skinny one. Like Abbott and Costello meet the ghosts. Unless they already made that movie? Shit. Now this is going to bother me. You really do learn to take Google for granted.

“Tom,” I sigh. This is the third time this month I’ve answered that question.

“If you can, speak into the green light, it will let us hear you,” says the skinny guy.

“I know what a tape recorder is,” I say. They always give the dumbest instructions. It’s never like, ‘say the winning lottery numbers.’ Always, “what’s your name, are we alone here.” Why even ask that question. If someone is answering you clearly you’re not alone.

“Are you alone here?” The cute woman again. She seems very dedicated and in to the whole situation. I bet she wants to be an investigative reporter or something and this is her big break. Good for her.

“No,” I say.

Who’s here with you.

“Who’s here with you?” the fat guy asks.

Hah! Called it!

I look over, Jeff gives me a thumbs up and a big smile. Grim grinning ghost he is not.

“Jeff,” I say. I wish I could check the time but I didn’t wear a watch the day of the accident. Can’t beat myself up over it, hindsight after all. Jeff is just excited because there’s another team here. The last one he tugged on a guy’s sweater and brushed some poor teenage girl’s hair. The guy screamed, she fainted, and Jeff fell over. After that he couldn’t stand up for two days, he was so weak, but it’s all he will talk about anymore. Not like we get CNN or anything, so that’s the closest we get to current events. This just in, Jeff is clearly going to try again.

Everything is so rote now. They pull out the meter, I wave in front of it, they shit themselves when the green lights dance across the surface.

You know, maybe the show is fake and we’re the first to actually respond. I mean, we haven’t seen any other ghosts since the accident. Restoring some 14th century castle, you’d think there would be some creepy dead princes or something wandering around. But nope. Me and Jeff, brothers in arms since 2005.

What if we’re flukes?

“How did you die?”

“Stop asking such personal questions! Jesus that’s rude,” I say. Jeff shoots me a look.

“What, I didn’t ask her about how she plans on dying! ‘Oh, you and your asshole friend fell off some scaffolding, spoooooky.'”

“Are you a King? Or a Queen?” Jeff mumbles something into the recorder. Yes Jeff, haha, I get it, I’m the queen. Thanks, prick.

The skinny man stops the recorder and plays it back. Here we go, these guys have a camera crew, they seem legit, let’s hear those melodious pipes of mine.

‘Are you alone here?’ – static –

“It said ‘help me!’ I heard it!” says the fat guy.

Goddamnit.

6 Subjective Rules for Successful Horror

I watched “Beneath” (2013) on Netflix Instant the other day, and was thrown a bit. 1. It doesn’t show up on IMDB under that name, however another movie exists with that name. 2. I couldn’t figure out its internal logic. That’s not always a problem, but does pull me out of the movie a bit.

Horror needs rules. I don’t mean that there always needs to be a killer targeting teens, or a final girl, or anything like that. Horror can have cliche’s as many of them allow us to place ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists. I mean rules as in an internal consistency in the universe.

One of the problems with most horror movies is the inability to set up rules. Jump scares are prized over real atmospheric terror. The killer being mysterious I have no problem with (if it is that kind of horror, and not existential or body horror or the like,) I have issues when the killer isn’t restricted by any kind of rules.

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There’s something in my house

At least Bailey seems to think so. This is going to sounds kind of cliche coming from a horror writer, but ever since I’ve written the article on Skinwalkers, weird things have been happening. Bailey is on edge and will bark and growl at empty rooms, she’ll insist on napping next to me or my wife while we work and not anywhere else, and every so often she’ll seem to hear something downstairs.

Now, she is skittish as all hell. When her ball rolls next to the garbage can, encouraging her to get it is like trying to convince someone who’s scared of heights to go skydiving. Regardless though, I’ve noticed stuff too. Weird little things. Strange noises and the sound of footsteps. Unease when I’m home by myself with the dog or even just outside in the yard at night. I do not live in a scary area, this is a new feeling.

Just now she perked her ears up and is rapidly scanning the room.

Anyways, what happened the other day really made my skin crawl.

I’m pretty OCD about making sure I lock the back door after taking Bailey out. It’s the first thing I do before I unleash her. So, put yourself in my shoes.

You’re upstairs on your computer, listening to music, playing games, whatever.

Then you hear something downstairs, just sounds like something being moved. You pause the music and listen. There it is again. The dog won’t leave your side. You go downstairs and first thing you notice is the backdoor is unlocked. Chiding yourself for being careless, you lock it and turn around and face the basement door.

And see the glow of the basement lights flooding out between the gaps in the door.

Lights that weren’t on that morning, and that you don’t remember turning on.

Bailey and I retreated upstairs, confirmed my wife was still at work, and then searched every inch of the house. I even had a horror movie moment where I had to dramatically pull back the shower curtain. By the end I was sure I was having a mini-panic attack. I didn’t find anything, but still we’ll hear things downstairs that we just ignore at this point.

Occasionally Karen will hear something at night, but it seems most of whatever it is happens during the day. Sorry for the quick update, I was writing about a local hospital, but this popped in to my mind and I had to write it down. Have you guys ever had anything weird like that happen? Probably just a fluke in memory but enough to throw off your day based on the creepiness factor? Let me know in the comments below. If no one has had anything that specific, I’ll need to figure out how all those vampire and werewolf hunters in the movies source all of those silver bullets.

Hotel del Coronado: Next stop on my haunted world tour

From my explorations of Bachelor’s Grove, I’ve visited numerous other purportedly haunted places. I plan on dropping some knowledge bombs about them in this continuing series.

Next up on my Paranormal tour of the world, one of the other haunted locations I’ve visited has been the Hotel del Coronado. Situated on an island near San Diego, California, part of the island is where US Navy SEALs train, so that in itself is pretty cool. However, while the hotel is beautiful and on amazing an amazing beach,  Hotel del Coronado has a tragic past. In 1892, a woman named Kate Morgan was found dead. Kate Morgan was a mysterious woman to say the least, if she was actually the one found. On November 24th, 1892, Kate checked into Hotel del Coronado under the pretense she was meeting her husband. Roughly around this time she had purchased a handgun while in San Diego. In November 29th, she was found dead outside the hotel of what was initially ruled a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Kate Morgan, the "Beautiful Stranger" of Hotel del Coronado
Kate Morgan, the “Beautiful Stranger” of Hotel del Coronado

However, rumors began to spread that the bullet that killed her did not match the caliber of the gun she had purchased. Other rumors say that it wasn’t Kate Morgan who died, as the person who checked in to the room was “Lottie Barnard.” However, this most likely was an alias. In the meantime, reports of ghostly sightings in her room and around the hotel began to surface. Common paranormal “events” like cold spots, inexplicable breezes, and moving objects have been observed for over 100 years on the property. The hotel even has a resident historian who has written a page about her.

Now, my journey to Hotel del Coronado was somewhat different. It was shortly after the new millennium when my family had our yearly vacation to San Diego to visit our relatives. We would go for a little over a week, see my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and end up at Disneyland. My dad, knowing on how much of a ghost kick I had been on, decided to take us to the hotel for a day. The hotel is absolutely stunning. Once opened, it was instantly an international hot spot, and Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like It Hot” was filmed in some places of the hotel.

We did what presumably every ghost-loving tourists did, and requested to see the haunted room of Kate Morgan. While we walked around for a bit, my dad dealt with hotel staff until we were cleared. We saw the spot she was found, and then brought up to the room.

It is there I had a horrifying, unconfirmed spiritual encounter that made me feel dumb. The room is a normal, very nice hotel room. But instantly I saw it. A pen, floating mid-air! I jumped a bit and pointed it out to my family instantly! Here we had proof of some kind of other force existing after death! Yep, that pen, floating underneath the fan in the middle of the room!

It was a goddamn decorative fan pull string. I still hear about it to this day.

That was my extent of the haunting of Kate Morgan, but I did enjoy a beautiful day at an amazing hotel I’d like to stay at one day. Preferably in the Kate Morgan room, God that’d be an amazing trip. If you’re ever in San Diego, be sure to stop in and check out the small displays they have about Kate and see if the room is occupied. If you can, go up there, and listen real close.

They say, sometimes you can hear echoes of a jackass freak out about a phantom pen.

(Seriously though, tell me if that overly decorative fan string thingy is still there.)

Next stop in my haunted hot spots sticks in San Diego, on board the USS Midway. ‘Till next time!

Bachelor’s Grove: Most Haunted Cemetery in America

Hey everyone! A bit of housekeeping first. Yesterday I had my 50th post and broke my previous view record! 133 page views compared to 105 after I was published by Listverse, so that feels like an awesome thing since I haven’t been published in a while. Thank you all so much for commenting and sharing and liking! It was awesome seeing that record break, and I’ll admit I had a celebratory Bulleit Bourbon on the rocks while writing this next post last night.

I’ve decided to share 2 true stories with you regarding Bachelor’s. First about Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, called the most haunted in the United States. Second, about my bachelor party, which nearly killed us and would have left a plot of land in Wisconsin the most haunted site in the US. Enjoy! Thanks so much again everyone!

Oh, also creepy side note. I’ve been waking up each morning at 5am (those who know me can tell you that’s scary enough,) however today when I was gathering my writing materials and about to walk out the bedroom door, I could’ve sworn I heard talking in our kitchen and movement. I looked through the house, checking every room, door, and window. Nothing was disturbed. My life is apparently turning into ‘The Map.’ I’m thinking it’s still just my brain waking up and hearing things even though I had been awake for 10 minutes at my time because that’s a nice thing to tell myself.

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Bachelor’s Grove

I grew up near Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in the south suburbs of Chicago. Legend has it that it is the most haunted cemetery in Illinois, if not the entire US. The cemetery is a run down and ill kept plot of land fenced off in the woods, just off a major thoroughfare. Driving along the road, your car will pass over a bridge looking over a pond in front of the cemetery, with the overgrown tombstone in the distance.

It’s more famous cousin, Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue is one of the birthplaces of the phantom woman hitchhiker myth, but Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is infinitely creepier. There have been several groups that go out periodically and clean up the area, but each time I’ve been there it has been in disarray and overgrown.

There are quite a few legends regarding the location. The aforementioned pond supposedly was a dumping ground for victims of mob hits in the 20’s and 30’s, however it seems like quite the distance to drive at the time when there would have been quite a few better options closer to the city. Some of the stories claim a phantom Packard automobile will chase lone drivers at night. Having been down that road very often near midnight, I’ve never been lucky.

There is also a picture taken of one of the benches showing a spectral woman who was supposedly not there when the photo was shot. I have a hard time believing it, only because it looks too perfectly staged, and the woman looks too defined. However, other unconfirmed reports also include black masses being held on Halloween, animal sacrifices, and a strange glowing orb that can be seen moving through the woods.

Unfortunately, the only thing I have personally seen is desecration of graves by destruction of tombstones. Markers can be seen dumped in the pond in front of the cemetery leading to the idea that the disturbance and insult to the dead is what causes the area to have that mysterious haunted aura.

Now, I haven’t mentioned my favorite story of Bachelor’s Grove. Legend has it that if you walk along the access road, occasionally you will see a farmhouse in the woods, lantern burning in the window. The legend diverges that if you approach the house it will disappear, you will never get close, or if you enter you’re never seen again.

Some of the accounts I’ve read state that no farmhouses had been in the area. My father has aerial maps from the 1930’s showing the region, and indeed there were no farmhouses within a few miles. He acquired the maps specifically to find long gone farmhouses, as they would dump their trash in holes the farmers dug so you can still find bottles and other cool relics from the 1800’s.

I love the idea of a haunted house that wasn’t ever there. It seems much more alien and mysterious than a simple ghost or strange lights in the woods. The idea of a spectral building and what you find inside seems far scarier to me than any normal phantom, hitchhiker or not.

Last time I went to Bachelor’s Grove we also went hiking in the woods around the property. Less then a quarter mile in the woods we found the remains of an old well.

Just past that, the ruined foundation of a small, long gone farmhouse, barely outlined through the forest undergrowth. It doesn’t appear on my dad’s map. It gives me a chill just thinking about it.

One day I plan on going back to Bachelor’s Grove, but honestly, I have no idea what I’d do if I saw a farmhouse just outside the entrance, door slightly cracked open, with the warm, inviting glow of lamplight trying to welcome me inside.

If you have any stories of cemeteries around where you live I’d love to hear about them. Local legends are the best legends, and I love a good story.

5 somewhat obscure horror movies perfect for Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us! While a good horror story can chill me to the bone for a long time after I’m done reading, well done horror films have a tendency to instead hit me hard and fast, but leaving me pretty okay in the paranoia department afterwards. Tons of sites do lists of movies you have to see for Halloween, and while they contain the classics, they don’t exactly give new material for people who’ve seen them all. So, I decided that I would list off my recommendations for lesser known, sometimes indie horror movies. This is not an all inclusive list in the slightest, but I think it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for something a bit different than “Halloween” or “The Shining.” This is all my opinion and is ranked in no particular order. Also, these are movies that I watch multiple times a year, so that will say something.

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