Thursday, April 29, 2010

Madonna of Bachelor's Grove

This photo was taken during an investigation of Bachelor's Grove cemetery near Chicago by the Ghost Research Society (GRS). On August 10, 1991, several members of of the GRS were at the cemetery, a small, abandoned graveyard on the edge of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve, near the suburb of Midlothian, Illinois. Reputed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the U.S., Bachelor's Grove has been the site of well over 100 different reports of strange phenomena, including apparitions, unexplained sights and sounds, and even glowing balls of light.

GRS member Mari Huff was taking black and white photos with a high-speed infrared camera in an area where the group had experienced some anomalies with their ghost-hunting equipment. The cemetery was empty, except for the GRS members. When developed, this image emerged: what looks like a lonely-looking young woman dressed in white sitting on a tombstone. Parts of her body are partially transparent and the style of the dress seems to be out of date.

Other ghosts reportedly seen in Bachelor's Grove include figures in monks' clothes and the spirit of a glowing yellow man.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ghosts of the SS Watertown

James Courtney and Michael Meehan, crew members of the S.S. Watertown, were cleaning a cargo tank of the oil tanker as it sailed toward the Panama Canal from New York City in December of 1924. Through a freak accident, the two men were overcome by gas fumes and killed. As was the custom of the time, the sailors were buried at sea off the Mexican coast on December 4.

But this was not the last the remaining crew members were to see of their unfortunate shipmates. The next day, before dusk, the first mate reported seeing the faces of the two men in the waves off the port side of the ship. They remained in the water for 10 seconds, then faded. For several days thereafter, the phantom-like faces of the sailors were clearly seen by other members of the crew in the water following the ship.

On arrival in New Orleans, the ship's captain, Keith Tracy, reported the strange events to his employers, the Cities Service Company, who suggested he try to photograph the eerie faces. Captain Tracy purchased a camera for the continuing voyage. When the faces again appeared in the water, Captain Tracy took six photos, then locked the camera and film in the ship's safe. When the film was processed by a commercial developer in New York, five of the exposures showed nothing but sea foam. But the sixth showed the ghostly faces of the doomed seamen. The negative was checked for fakery by the Burns Detective Agency. After the ship's crew had been changed, there were no more reports of sightings.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ghost in the Burning Building

On November 19, 1995, Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England burned to the ground. Many spectators gathered to watch the old building, built in 1905, as it was being consumed by the flames. Tony O'Rahilly, a local resident, was one of those onlookers and took photos of the spectacle with a 200mm telephoto lens from across the street. One of those photos shows what looks like a small, partially transparent girl standing in the doorway. Nether O'Rahilly nor any of the other onlookers or firefighters recalled seeing the girl there.

O'Rahilly submitted the photo to the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena which, in turn, presented it for analysis to Dr. Vernon Harrison, a photographic expert and former president of the Royal Photographic Society. Harrison carefully examined both the print and the original negative, and concluded that it was genuine. "The negative is a straightforward piece of black-and-white work and shows no sign of having been tampered with," Harrison said.

But who is the little girl? Wem, a quiet market town in northern Shropshire, had been ravaged by fire in the past. In 1677, historical records note, a fire destroyed many of the town's old timber houses. A young girl named Jane Churm, the legends say, accidentally set fire to a thatched roof with a candle. Many believed her ghost haunted the area and had been seen on a few other occasions.

This video, in two parts, looks at some of the other sightings of appartitions in the building, but questions the authenticity of the photo. (Unfortunately, they examined a print of the photo and not the original negative.) See it here: Ghost Video

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Monday, April 19, 2010

The Ghost of Boothill Cemetery

"This is the photo that changed my opinion about ghost photos," says Terry Ike Clanton, who runs the website. Clanton is an actor, recording artist and cowboy poet, and is also a cousin of the legendary Clanton Gang who clashed with the Earps and Doc Holliday at the famous gunfight at OK Corral. Clanton took this photo of his friend at Boothill Graveyard. The photo was taken in black and white because he wanted Old West-looking pictures of himself dressed in Clanton's 1880-period clothes. Clanton took the film for developing to the local Thrifty Drug Store, and when he got it back was startled at what he saw. Among the gravestones, just to the right of his friend, is the image of what appears to be a thin man in a dark hat. By height, the man appears to be either legless, kneeling... or rising up out of the ground.

"I know there was no other person in this photograph when I shot it," Clanton insists. And he believes the small figure in the background is holding a knife. "We thought this was a tie at first, but after further review, it appears to be a knife," Clanton says. "The knife is in a vertical position; the tip is located just below the figure's right collar. If you're not convinced that something is weird here, look at my friend's shadow in the photo. It appears to be going back slightly to the right of him. The figure in the back should have the same shadow, but it doesn't!"

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Back Seat Ghost

Mrs. Mabel Chinnery was visiting the grave of her mother one day in 1959. She had brought along her camera to take photographs of the gravesite. After snapping a few shots of her mother's gravestone, she took an impromptu photo of her husband, who was waiting alone in the car. At least the Chinnerys thought he was alone.

When the film was developed, the couple was more than surprised to see a figure wearing glasses sitting in the back seat of the car. Mrs. Chinnery immediately recognized the image of her mother – the woman whose grave they had visited on that day. A photographic expert who examined the print determined that the image of the woman was neither a reflection nor a double exposure. "I stake my reputation on the fact that the picture is genuine," he testified.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tulip Staircase Ghost

Rev. Ralph Hardy, a retired clergyman from White Rock, British Columbia, took this now-famous photograph in 1966. He intended merely to photograph the elegant spiral staircase (known as the "Tulip Staircase") in the Queen's House section of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. Upon development, however, the photo revealed a shrouded figure climbing the stairs, seeming to hold the railing with both hands. Experts, including some from Kodak, who examined the original negative concluded that it had not been tampered with. It's been said that unexplained figures have been seen on occasion in the vicinity of the staircase, and unexplained footsteps have also been heard.

Interesting side note: This photo isn't the only evidence of ghostly activity at the Queen's House. The 400-year-old building is credited with several other apparitions and phantom footsteps even today. Recently, a Gallery Assistant was discussing a tea break with two colleagues when he saw one of the doors to the Bridge Room close by itself. At first he thought it was one of the lecturers. "Then I saw a woman glide across the balcony, and pass through the wall on the west balcony," he said. "I couldn't believe what I saw. I went very cold and the hair on my arms and my neck stood on end. We all dashed through to the Queen's Presents Room and looked down towards the Queen's Bedroom. Something passed through the ante-room and out through the wall. Then my colleagues all froze too. The lady was dressed in a white-grey colour crinoline type dress."

Other ghostly goings-on include the unexplained choral chanting of children, the figure of a pale woman frantically mopping blood at the bottom of the Tulip Staircase (it's said that 300 years ago a maid was thrown from the highest banister, plunging 50 feet to her death), slamming doors, and even tourists being pinched by unseen fingers.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Screaming Bigfoot

IN 2003, Kris Monk and her boyfriend moved to Wilderness, a small town in South Africa along the Garden Route, which is popular for its natural forests. When they moved there, the town was still relatively small, although in recent years it has grown substantially.

The couple found a flat on top of a garage on a nice quiet road. The main house was empty as the owners were from overseas and only used it in December for holidays. “From the beginning,” Kris says, “whenever we were outside we always had a feeling like we were being watched. We also had two cats that behaved very nervously all the time we stayed there.”

One evening, Kris was at home alone waiting for her boyfriend to get back from surfing when she heard a strange, high-pitched screaming sound from the valley right next to her house. “Let me explain the set up of our street quickly,” says Kris. “It had houses only on the one side, and on the other was a forest valley. So I heard the screaming coming from the forest.”

Thinking the screaming might be coming from a hurt animal, Kris took a flashlight and found a makeshift path into the bushes. She got halfway down the slope when she was overcome with a very eerie feeling. Too scared to go on, she turned back. Within a few minutes, the screaming stopped.

The growling

After the couple was in the apartment for six months, Kris’s boyfriend had to go away to work on his degree, leaving Kris alone in the flat for four nights of the week. She took a waitressing job at a restaurant down the street as she could walk there in a few minutes. “Wilderness is safe to walk around at night,” she says, “even if you are a girl. My dad, however, made me phone him when I was walking home, just so he knew I got there safely every night.”

One night Kris was talking to him and was almost at the steps that led up to her flat when she heard a deep growling from the bush next to her. Terrified, she ran up the stairs and into the house, locking the door behind her.

Kris began to notice that every night her cats would just sit and stare at the front door. “Our flat was all open plan, one big room, with only the bathroom being separate,” Kris explains. “Our bed was situated behind the bathroom wall, so the front door was not visible from there, but the cats would sit in the middle of the room a few meters from the bed and just stare at the door, with all their fur standing up for hours on end.”

The knocking

Kris’s boyfriend came home for his two week holiday. One evening when she was alone, waiting for him to return from surfing, she heard a knocking on the floor of the flat, which was the ceiling of the garage. “I went to the window, which overlooked the forest, and I could see the garage clearly from there, too,” Kris says. “I called down, hoping the person would come out of the garage and tell me what they were doing. I got no answer, but the knocking went on for a few more seconds. I closed the curtain and looked out through a small gap in them for about ten minutes, but no one exited the garage.”

By the time her boyfriend got home, Kris was a nervous wreck.

More screams

Shortly thereafter, a woman from up the road moved into the main house while she waited for her new home out of town to be built. She had two dogs, and from the first night, she told Kris, the dogs were very restless there. About a week later, Kris woke up one night to the same horrible screaming as before. Her cats were both on the bed with her but sitting up, listening with all their fur raised. She eventually fell back asleep after about an hour of the screaming.

The next morning, the woman from the house asked Kris if I had heard the eerie screaming. Kris confirmed that she had. The woman then said her dogs had both been very frightened by it, which was unusual because they were normally quite gutsy. The women heard the screaming every night for about a week.

A week or two later, the woman moved out and Kris was on her own again. Nothing unusual happened, aside from the cat continuing to stare at the door at night.

Something huge

By this time, Kris had bought a car and no longer had to walk home from work. Her boyfriend had another two weeks holiday, and one day while Kris was at work he went down the path into the forest. When she got home at about 4 p.m. that day, he took her down the path.

“As we got to the bottom of the slope, something huge ran past us into the bush,” Kris vividly recalls. “My boyfriend is six-foot-four and this thing was taller than he. We glimpsed its silhouette as it crashed through the bush. It was definitely furry. We proceeded into the bush, not being too afraid as it was still light. We went further and found there to be a stream running through the valley. Right near the stream we found and oddly shaped root formation. It was shaped like an igloo, but hollow inside and big enough for two people to sleep in easily. It had leaves all over the bottom, as if it were a nest.”

After this discovery, Kris and her boyfriend left very quickly.

Two days later, her boyfriend's brother came to visit. He parked his car in the garage, which was left open all day so they could get their cars in and out freely. “As he got out the car, he heard growling,” Kris says. “He promptly got back in the car and phoned my boyfriend from his cell phone asking him to come down and meet him. He told my boyfriend what happened, and my boyfriend told him the same thing had happened to me.”

A month later, the house was sold and Kris and her boyfriend had to move out. “Since we moved, we have not once had the creepy feeling of being watched while outside or anything,” she says, “though driving back up our old road we both get goose bumps. And our cats stopped behaving so nervously, too.”

What was it the terrified the couple with its tortured screams? Kris says, “We like to say it was a Bigfoot.”

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Brown Lady

This portrait of "The Brown Lady" ghost is arguably the most famous and well-regarded ghost photograph ever taken. The ghost is thought to be that of Lady Dorothy Townshend, wife of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount of Raynham, residents of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England in the early 1700s. It was rumored that Dorothy, before her marriage to Charles, had been the mistress of Lord Wharton. Charles suspected Dorothy of infidelity. Although according to legal records she died and was buried in 1726, it was suspected that the funeral was a sham and that Charles had locked his wife away in a remote corner of the house until her death many years later.

Dorothy's ghost is said to haunt the oak staircase and other areas of Raynham Hall. In the early 1800s, King George IV, while staying at Raynham, saw the figure of a woman in a brown dress standing beside his bed. She was seen again standing in the hall in 1835 by Colonel Loftus, who was visiting for the Christmas holidays. He saw her again a week later and described her as wearing a brown satin dress, her skin glowing with a pale luminescence. It also seemed to him that her eyes had been gouged out. A few years later, Captain Frederick Marryat and two friends saw "the Brown Lady" gliding along an upstairs hallway, carrying a lantern. As she passed, Marryat said, she grinned at the men in a "diabolical manner." Marryat fired a pistol at the apparition, but the bullet simply passed through.

This famous photo was taken in September, 1936 by Captain Provand and Indre Shira, two photographers who were assigned to photograph Raynham Hall for Country Life magazine. This is what happened, according to Shira:

"Captain Provand took one photograph while I flashed the light. He was focusing for another exposure; I was standing by his side just behind the camera with the flashlight pistol in my hand, looking directly up the staircase. All at once I detected an ethereal veiled form coming slowly down the stairs. Rather excitedly, I called out sharply: 'Quick, quick, there's something.' I pressed the trigger of the flashlight pistol. After the flash and on closing the shutter, Captain Provand removed the focusing cloth from his head and turning to me said: 'What's all the excitement about?'"

Upon developing the film, the image of The Brown Lady ghost was seen for the first time. It was published in the December 16, 1936 issue of Country Life. The ghost has been seen occasionally since.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chupacabras: The Blood-Sucking Creature from Hell

The now-famous chupacabras first came on the scene, as far as we know, in the summer of 1975 when several farm animals in Puerto Rico were found dead. The bodies had strange puncture-like marks on their necks. The sightings intensified in the 1990s as the chupacabras' appetite seemed to grow. In some cases, farmers reported that literally hundreds of their animals were inexplicably slaughtered. Invariably, the animals were not eaten by any predator, but were horribly mutilated or drained of blood - hence the name, "goatsucker." In 1991, a male dog was found dead, with nothing inside. "It was as if all had been sucked out through the eyes," the report said. "It had empty eye sockets and all the internal organs had disappeared."

For a while, the carnage seemed to be confined to the island of Puerto Rico, but toward the end of the 1990s and into the 2000s, sightings began to be reported on other Caribbean islands, in Mexico, Central America, Chile and even the southern U.S. in Florida, Arizona and Texas. In April-June in Chile of 2002, in fact, it was reported that authorities had even captured the chupacabras, which may have been taken away by people representing the U.S. government.

The descriptions of the creature over this time has remained fairly consistent:

* three to five feet tall
* dark gray facial skin
* coarse hair on the body, and several reports said it has a chameleon-like appearance, with the ability to change from purple to brown to yellow
* black eyes, or glowing orange or red eyes
* a wolf-like or canine nose
* sharp fangs
* short forearms with three-fingered claw-like "hands"
* a row of fins, spikes or quills running down the length of its back
* stands on two powerful-looking hind legs and clawed feet
* often hops on the ground, like a kangaroo, rather than walks (at least one witness claimed it could leap as far as 20 feet in one bound)
* some reported bat-like wings that enable the chupacabras to fly
* it makes a hissing noise that often makes witnesses nauseous

The chupacabras phenomenon continues up to this day, with the recent reports of attacks continuing to come out of South American countries, including Chile and Argentina. In many of these cases, chupacabras - although not seen - was blamed for the deaths of chickens and other farm animals that were mutilated and drained of blood.

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Monday, April 5, 2010


What Is Dowsing?

Dowsing, in general terms, is the art of finding hidden things. Usually, this is accomplished with the aid of a dowsing stick, rods or a pendulum. Also known as divining, water witching, doodlebugging and other names, dowsing is an ancient practice whose origins are lost in long-forgotten history. However, it is thought to date back at least 8,000 years. Wall murals, estimated to be about 8,000 years old, discovered in the Tassili Caves of North Africa depict tribesmen surrounding a man with a forked stick, possibly dowsing for water. Artwork from ancient China and Egypt seem to show people using forked tools in what might have been dowsing activities. Dowsing may have been mentioned in the Bible, although not by name, when Moses and Aaron used a "rod" to locate water. The first unambiguous written accounts of dowsing come from the Middle Ages when dowsers in Europe used it to help find coal deposits. During the 15th and 16th centuries, dowsers were often denounced as practitioners of evil. Martin Luther said dowsing was "the work of devil" (and hence the term "water witching").

In more modern times, dowsing has been used to find water for wells, mineral deposits, oil, buried treasure, archaeological artifacts - even missing people. How the dowsing technique was first discovered is unknown, yet those who practice it are unwavering in their affirmations that it does work. (For more information on the history of dowsing, see "Dowsing: Ancient History.")

How Does Dowsing Work?

The quick answer is that no one really knows - not even experienced dowsers. Some theorize there is a psychic connection established between the dowser and the sought object. All things, living and inanimate, the theory suggests, possess an energy force. The dowser, by concentrating on the hidden object, is somehow able to tune in to the energy force or "vibration" of the object which, in turn, forces the dowsing rod or stick to move. The dowsing tool may act as a kind of amplifier or antenna for tuning into the energy.

Skeptics, of course, say that dowsing doesn't work at all. Dowsers who seem to have a track record for success, they contend, are either lucky or they have good instincts or trained knowledge for where water, minerals and the like can be found. For believer or skeptic, there's no definitive proof either way.

Albert Einstein, however, was convinced of the authenticity of dowsing. He said, "I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as they do astrology, as a type of ancient superstition. According to my conviction this is, however, unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time."

Who Can Dowse?

Dowers say that anyone can do it. Like most psychic abilities, it may be a latent power that all humans possess. And, like any other ability, the average person might become better at it with practice. However, there are some people whose dowsing powers are extraordinary:

* Emmy Kittemann, daughter of a dowser, was one of the most acclaimed dowsers in Germany. In her most famous case, she correctly dowsed the location of a mineralized spring for the village of Tegernsee. All previous drillings found only water with heavy sulfur content. Yet Kitteman accurately predicted the depth at which the water would be found as well as its iodine-rich content.

* In 17th century France, Jacques Aymar Vernay, a stonemason by trade, used his dowsing talents to successfully track criminals. His dowsing rod, on more than one occasion, led authorities to the whereabouts of murderers.

* In December, 1992, a Mr. and Mrs. Anders and Berith Lindgren were hunting with their friends when their dog ran off and disappeared. An extensive search proved fruitless. A few days later they sought the help of dowser Leif Andersson. His dowsing techniques led the hunters to a small lake where they indeed found the body of the dog, where it had apparently fallen through the thin ice and died.

Dowsing is one of the few psychic talents that can be applied directly for profitable result or as a business. Some well-known names from history practiced dowsing, including Leonardo De Vinci, Robert Boyle (considered the father of modern chemistry), Charles Richet (a Nobel Prize winner), General Rommel of the German Army, and General George S. Patton. "General Patton," writes Don Nolan in his article A Brief History of Dowsing, "had a complete willow tree flown to Morocco so that a dowser could use branches from it to find water to replace the wells the German Army had blown up. The British army used dowsers on the Falkland Islands to remove mines."

Dowsing, the Ancient Art relates this remarkable information:

Professor Hans Dieter Betz (professor of physics, Munich university) headed a team of scientists that investigated the ability of dowsers to find underground drinkable supplies, taking them to 10 different countries and, on the advice of dowers, sank some 2,000 wells with a very high success rate. In Sri Lanka, where the geological conditions are said to be difficult, some 691 wells were drilled for, based on the advice of dowsers, with a 96% success rate. Geohydrologists given the same task took two months to evaluate a site where a dowser would compete his survey in minutes. The geohydrologists had a 21% success rate, as a result of which the German government has sponsored 100 dowers to work in the arid zones of Southern India to find drinkable water.

Types of Dowsing

There are several types or methods of dowsing:

* Forked stick. The most traditional method uses a small Y-shaped tree branch (most often from a willow). The dowser holds the branch parallel to the ground by the top of the Y shape, then walks over the area to be probed. When the dowser passes over the sought object, the end of the branch is drawn down, pointing to the spot at which the object can be found.

* Rods. An alternate method uses two L-shaped metal rods, one held in each hand parallel to the ground and parallel to each other. In this case, when the dowser passes over the sought object, the rods either swing apart or cross each other. You can easily make dowsing rods from wire coat hangers.

* Map Dowsing. Some dowsers don't even have to visit the location to be dowsed. For them, a map of the area is sufficient over which they hold pendulum. They know they have located the target area when the pendulum begins to move in a circle or back and forth.

Y-rods, L-rods, pendulums and other dowsing equipment can be purchased from the American Society of Dowsers.

How You Can Dowse

It's easy to try dowsing yourself. Here are some steps for a dowsing test:

1. Make or purchase the dowsing tool with which you will be most comfortable.

2. Ask a friend to bury an object (try a metal object or small bottle of water) somewhere in your yard, just a few inches below the surface. Be sure your friend is careful to conceal the burial spot so that it is not at all obvious where they have dug.

3. Before starting, mentally ask your dowsing tool to indicate to you when you are passing over the hidden object. (Be sure to consult some of the sources listed in this article for the proper way to hold the dowsing tool.)

4. Start walking. You can either take a methodical approach, walking in a defined pattern up and down the yard, or you can walk randomly, following your instincts.

5. Walk slowly, concentrating on the object and trying to remain open and sensitive to the movements of the dowsing tool.

6. When your dowsing tool reacts and indicates a specific spot, stop and see if you have succeeded. If not, try again.

If at first you don't succeed, try a different dowsing tool or a different type of target. Try it at different times of day and in different frames of mind; these may all affect the outcome. Keep a record of your attempts and keep at it. You might find that you have a strong ability for dowsing. Finally, let me know how well you dowsed.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Who Is Mothman?

In the fall of 1966, life took a turn into the Twilight Zone
for the residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The story begins in a remote location near Point Pleasant, known by the local teens as T.N.T. It was a favorite spot for parking and partying, far from the censorious eyes of their elders. The area is covered with dense forest, steep hills and tunnels. This area had been set up as the McClintic Wildlife Preserve in the 1900s, mostly as a bird sanctuary. Then, part of the land had been taken over during WWII as an underground storage site for wartime explosives. After the war, parts of the preserve had been leased or sold to chemical companies – and biochemistry came to this isolated area. Some, or all, of that history may have played a part in what happened next.

Two young married couples, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Scarberry and Mr. and Mrs. Steve Mallette, drove through the T.N.T area on November 15th, 1966. They were looking for friends who often came to the area. At about 11:30, they reached an old generator plant on the preserve. The door to the plant appeared to have been ripped off its hinges and the couples saw a bizarre creature. They later reported that the creature looked like a man – though about 7 feet tall – and had wings folded against its back. However, the most striking thing about it was its eyes. They were huge, like bicycle reflectors and the young people described them as hypnotic.

Roger Scarberry reacted by slamming down the accelerator in the old Chevy, fleeing from the terrifying sight. They saw the creature take flight – straight into the air without flapping its wings. Although the Chevy was soon roaring along close to a hundred miles an hour, the creature was able to keep up with them until the car reached the city limits of Point Pleasant, when it broke off its pursuit and disappeared. The terrified couples rushed to the Mason County Courthouse to report what they had seen.

Deputy Millard Hallstead returned to T.N.T with the couples to check out their confused report. He didn’t see anything but he clearly believed that the young people had seen something. Their fear was far too real. He attempted to call in while still at the preserve but his police radio wouldn’t work. Instead a loud screech came from the speaker. The deputy found the coincidence of the malfunctioning radio and the young couples’ report disturbing.

By the next day, more reports of this strange huge “bird” came in. In one report, it swooped down over another moving car, frightening the passengers. A different report came from nearby Salem. A farmer, Newell Partridge, had been watching television around 10:30 on the 14th, when the picture suddenly blacked out. The television emitted a strange noise, “like a generator winding up.” About the same time, his large German Shepherd, Bandit, began howling from the porch.

Partridge went outside and saw that Bandit was howling toward the barn. Partridge shone a flashlight in that direction and saw what looked like two bicycle reflectors shining brightly. Despite the distance to the barn, about the length of a football field, the “eyes” shone plainly. Bandit growled and ran toward the eyes. Partridge said that fear swept over him like a “cold chill” and he went back into the house – that night he slept with his shotgun.

The next day he found Bandit’s tracks clearly showing the dog had raced around in a circle, as if chasing his tail. No other tracks were found and Bandit was never seen again.

On the morning of November 16th, Sheriff George Johnson held a press conference about the incidents and all of the people who had reported sightings were interviewed. The news story stirred such a fervor that it was picked up by the Associate Press. The creature was dubbed “Mothman” after the popular television character, Batman.

Sightings continued to pour in. Certain features remained consistent – the creature’s size, build and hypnotic eyes. Also, malfunctioning radios and televisions featured in many of the reports. Another consistent feature was the fear – people were terrified of the Mothman. Also, a sudden increase of dog disappearances and animal mutilations were reported – and Mothman was held responsible for those, as well. As one would expect with this kind of media coverage, thousands of people poured into the T.N.T. area, hoping for a sighting. Television crews set up at the generator plant, hoping to catch Mothman on film.

Theories of what the Mothman was abounded – the demonic result of a magic ritual, a biochemically altered bird, or perhaps the embodiment of a 200-year-old Shawnee curse on the land. Not surprisingly, skeptics scoffed at these theories, stating instead that Mothman was probably just some normal bird; probably a sandhill crane. The sandhill crane has reddish patches on its head that could possibly be mistaken for large red eyes. And sandhill cranes are very large – some reaching roughly the size attributed to Mothman. However other large birds have been found in the area as well. In July 1967, several boys found a large vulture near New Haven. And at Gallipolis Ferry, a farmer shot an Arctic snow owl; it was two feet tall with a five-foot wingspan. Many local people were not interested in logical explanations – they were afraid and, by the one-year anniversary of the first report, over one hundred incidents linked to Mothman had been reported.

On the evening of December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge, which crossed the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, collapsed in rush-hour traffic. Over forty-six cars fell into the river. It was the biggest disaster ever to hit Point Pleasant and it seemed to mark the end of the flurry of Mothman sightings. People began to speculate that the Mothman was somehow responsible for the bridge’s collapse. At any rate, the severity of the accident seemed to turn public attention away from the Mothman and only scattered reports of him have surfaced since then.

Still, the mystique of Mothman is a strong one and many people believe he existed. Today, UFOs and Men in Black have been added to the Mothman legend. A movie based on John A. Keel's book The Mothman Prophocies is in the works, proving that Mothman still has a following today.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Developing Your Psychic Abilities

EVERY ONCE IN a while, you get the feeling that the phone is going to ring... and it does. Or you know who it is that is calling... and you are right. A song is playing in your head; you turn on the radio, and there it is... the same song. You are overwhelmed, somehow, with the feeling that a close friend or relative is in trouble or needs your help at that moment... and you soon learn that is actually the case.

Are these examples of mere coincidence? Or is there something more profound taking place? Are we, in fact, tapping in to what many researchers believe is a shared consciousness - or superconsciousness - that connects all people... perhaps all living things? These are no longer just "New Age" concepts, but are subjects of serious speculation and research by a growing number of mainstream scientists in the fields of quantum theory, psychology and other disciplines. The idea that extrasensory perception (ESP) and related psi abilities are quite real (if difficult to measure) phenomena is gaining respectability.

Those who research ESP suspect that most if not all people have this remarkable ability to varying degrees. The ability is often likened to that of musical talent. Some people are naturally gifted with the ability to play and compose music, and practice makes them virtuosos. Others must learn and work and practice to be able to play an instrument even adequately or in the simplest way. But nearly everyone can learn to play to some degree. The same may hold true for psychic abilities.

Here's what you need to know about developing your psychic abilities.


The first step is to acknowledge that ESP exists and that it is present within you to develop. Although this might sound silly or trite, begin by telling yourself that you are psychic. Make it a mantra that you repeat to yourself daily and often. This kind of self-talk has a scientific basis. It is now known that when a person learns something - whether it's a physical skill like wood carving or a mental exercise like memorizing poetry - through repetition, his or her brain physically changes - "rewires" itself, if you will - to accommodate that task. This process of rewiring your brain for psychic ability begins with your belief in it.

"It takes time for the subconscious to be able to communicate with the conscious mind, and the best way to do this is to simply start thinking about it," says Russel Steward in an article for Psychic Journal. "All these thoughts have a positive effect on developing your gift. Read about the subject. Knowledge will help, as you need some understanding of how things work. Adopt the policy you would take with a new hobby. Become involved in it, buy books and magazines, and look for more information on the Internet."


Like a difficult sport or musical instrument, ESP ability requires diligent practice. Unlike sports or music, however, your progress can be hard to measure because of the elusive nature of psychic phenomena (it's difficult to know how or when it's going to work). So the frustration level can be high, but the key to success is to not give up. (You should know going in, too, that there are no guarantees of success when it comes to trying to develop ESP; yet if you don't try, you're guaranteed not to get anywhere.)

"Set aside some time to practice. Calm the mind, play gentle, soothing music and try to relax, recommends Russel Steward. "Allow your thoughts to wander. Sometimes it helps to picture a summer scene, a field or meadow with the sun shining. It's all about getting used to information coming to you from a different source. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Try pausing before you do something. For example, when the phone rings, pause a few seconds before answering. Can you tell who it is? Try it when someone knocks at your front door. Try it at work. Can you tell when someone is happy, sad or preoccupied?"

Such exercises require concentration, an ability you need to develop in and of itself. "You need to have an incredible amount of concentration," says Joe Cepeda in his article, "How Do You Improve Your ESP Ability?" "The type of concentration that calls for you to ignore the crowd at a football stadium in the middle of a touchdown, and be able to clearly recall a passage on a book, a face of a friend or a situation. Thoughts are flowing out there at an incredible rate. Every nanosecond there are thousands, or millions of thoughts flowing back and forth. Each individual is sending and receiving thoughts from outside of his mind. Imagine that all the radio stations are broadcast at the same time into one single frequency on your radio receiver and you will get an idea of what is going in your mind at any point in time. Now imagine that you are able to focus your tuner to receive just one radio broadcast."

Don't let frustration or failures make you stop. Be realistic. You can't expect to practice for a few days, then be able to predict when Uncle Louie is going to call or who's going to win the Super Bowl. Psychic abilities, even for those who have developed them to a high degree, can be unpredictable and erratic. The trick is to learn to recognize when your ESP is working... and that comes with experience.


Here are some practical ESP exercises from various sources:

* Scanning - "Two people - preferably two who haven't met before - stand about 4 - 6 feet apart from each other, facing each other, eyes closed. Each person then closes their eyes, takes a moment to breathe, relax and ground, then visualizes the other as a ball of light or pure energy. Each looks with their inner eyes into the ball of light and scans the person opposite top to bottom, bottom to top, noticing any words, images, colors, thoughts, sensations in their own body,... anything at all that comes up while they're scanning... After a few moment, when they each come back, they tell each other what they saw, felt, whatever, and describe how what the other experienced might fit in their lives at this time." - The Light Ball Exercise
* Predicting - "Write three predictions for the next day. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, be sure you're comfortable and feet are firmly planted on the floor. After a few deep breaths, project yourself into the next day. See yourself following through on your plans for tomorrow. Look around you. Notice any colors or sensations. Who is with you? What are they wearing? What are they doing? What are you doing? If nothing seems to come, then listen. Any words? Any song lines start running through your head? How does your body feel? Do you smell anything? What subtle changes do you notice? Is your mood changing? Note everything you sense. Write your 'predictions' based on the information you received." - Sensing and Interpreting
* Online Tests - Work with the many ESP tests that can be found online. Work in a quiet room without distractions. Try different tests and work with them repeatedly. Try them at different times of the day. Are you more successful at certain times of the day than others?


After your days, weeks and months of meditation, practice and experimentation, how will you know if your psychic powers are improving? "By experience," says Russel Steward. "Store the episodes in your memory. All those things you knew that came true, all the things you could tell other people about themselves, each and every episode fuels your proof."

Better yet, keep a journal of your experiences. Write down the results of your online tests and exercises. The physical act of writing it all on paper will help reinforce the conscious-unconscious connection.

But how do you know if your "hits" are still just coincidence? An increasing success rate will determine that. "At some point," continues Steward, "chance and coincidence are mathematically no longer a factor. You search your feelings, you begin to trust yourself. The mysteries of the universe lay before you, no longer mysterious, but like a giant unread book."

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