Haunted Hiking Trails

SaltH20

I love hiking! Ok, so I don’t backpack into the back country. Yet anyway. But I am so fortunate that here in the Puget Sound I have access to so many different types of hiking trails to explore.

Being out in Nature forges a connection between you and the Earth that you just can’t get in the city. The energies of the water, the trees and the animals all combine in a way that can only be described as magical. It’s good for you on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

If you’re at all sensitive to these subtle energies, you very quickly realize that you aren’t the only one out there on the trail.

Hauntings don’t only happen in the city. The spirits and energies of the dead can be found anywhere people have been, even if no one lives there now. Haunted forests, trails, ghost towns are found around the world.

I know what you’re thinking. “I want to go to there.”

You can start here, with this article. It says it’s a list of most haunted hikes in every state, but a number of them are abandoned asylums or other facilities that appear to require more like a short walk from the street rather than a hike through some wilderness. But maybe that suits your hiking style – no judgement here! They all have suitably spooky histories attached. In my home state of Washington they list the Iron Goat Trail, site of an avalanche that caused two trains to derail. Now I know my next hiking trip.

So maybe you pick a spot from the list above, or maybe you google “Haunted Hiking Trails in California” (or Rhode Island, or  – you get the idea) and set off on your adventure. Here’s tip Number One.

Don’t build up a great big set of expectations. Don’t count on the fact that you’re going to see or feel all the stuff from the descriptions. Because that’s one of the best ways I know of to not experience the paranormal.

Yes, some people have big encounters – physical, audible, visual – that are stunning. And yes, some places are notorious for consistent encounters. You may very well be that lucky; and if you are I want to hear about it!

Typically though these energies are subtle, and you need to practice tuning in to them. We can all do it to a certain degree. But it does take a conscious effort. The following can help you refine your paranormal senses.

Quiet your mind. Easier said than done, right? Thoughts creep, flit and fly through our minds constantly, and often we are not consciously aware of them. Thoughts resist being stilled and will work doubly hard to get your attention; especially when you first start practicing. Meditation is an excellent teacher of quieting the mind. It’s a skill you want to work on every day, so that when you are out in the field, you already know what to do and how to achieve that quiet mind.

Open your senses. More than what you see, what do you hear? Is there a smell that doesn’t belong – pipe smoke in an otherwise empty cemetery? Perfume in an abandoned cabin? Avoid attaching a judgement or analysis to what you experience such as, “that must be the miner’s pipe” or “the wife must’ve worn that perfume.” Did you feel a touch on your hair? Or feel someone brush past you who isn’t there? Be aware of, notice everything going on around you.

Go beyond your physical senses. Do you feel an emotion that seems to well up from nowhere? Or a thought that pushes at you from outside your skull? Again, avoid judgements and simply experience it. Or – do you get a sense of rushing or prickling inside your skin, like energy moving from one spot to another?

Wait patiently. You must be willing to sit in a quiet space for some period of time. Spirits do not appear on schedule like a show. This isn’t Ghost Theater. Sit. Breathe. Quiet your mind. Open all your senses. What do you experience?

Hiking a haunted trail gives you a twofer. You can connect with the nature spirits AND commune with the departed. Even if the haunted area does not bring forth ghosts, you can still use all of the above to reach out and connect with Nature. Water, Earth and Sky spirits are all around you. Can you sense them and hear their messages?

Is there a downside?

What do you do if the spirits you connect with aren’t entirely friendly? If you’re going to embark on psychic adventures you should probably have some psychic defenses. Because not everything out there in the other dimensions wants to be your friend.

Read about steps you can take to protect yourself next.

BWSnowTrail

 

 

 

 

 

Girls Gone Ghost Hunting Part One

TJShipPic

A few weeks ago my friend Kim took me on a ghost tour of downtown Seattle for my birthday. On the tour we found out Spooked in Seattle also hosts ghost hunts for the public to participate in. Kim and looked at each other and didn’t really have to say anything, we knew we were going there next.

“Next” was an investigation on the USS Turner Joy, a decommissioned Naval Destroyer that’s also a museum. The Turner Joy is moored in Bremerton, Washington – just a short hop across the water from where I live in Seattle. Kim and I signed up for the overnight event – Saturday October 3rd to the morning of the 4th. You too can participate in Spooked in Seattle’s public ghost hunts by visiting their web page. The investigation on the 3rd was the last overnight event for the year, but they do have two-hour events listed for November.

I had no clue what to expect. Sure I bump into spirits all the time – it happens when you’re psychic. But I have zero experience when it comes to the technological side of the paranormal. Truthfully, I’m not very tech-y. I feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to ‘build my author platform’, and half the time I think Siri is smarter than me and plotting against me. You should hear how she says my husband’s name when I ask her to call him.

There were several pieces of equipment provided that night by Ross of AGHOST. EMF meters, a laser grid array, plus ping-pong balls to encourage the spirits to manifest and move something. I brought my own camera and digital recorder. On my phone I had a number of ghost hunting apps, but as I talked about in this post, the general consensus is that while you can sometimes get an EVP or actual EMF reading, the apps do not produce valid data.

We got there at 9 and met the group. There were about 20 or so people there for the two-hour event, but for the overnight there were just four other women in addition to Kim and I. I’m not sure which is a scarier thought – that there are ghosts on the ship or that the six of us would be crawling around the ship into the witching hours of the night. But after 11 that’s what it came down to, and I gotta say, the Turner Joy did not disappoint.

During the first two hours on the ship I picked up the energies of a spirit nearby in several locations, but nothing I could truly call definitive spirit contact. Kim and I both saw a shadow move on a wall of one of the berthing quarters where EVP’s and and other activity have been recorded. No one was in the immediate area that could have caused the movement, but neither did we catch it with the camera.

Later, when it was just the six of us for the night, Kim and I were alone in another berthing area. In this part of the ship an EVP from an earlier investigation caught the word “Sweetie”. As we sat there, talking to the darkness surrounding us, I noticed a clicking sound, repeating at irregular intervals. Looking up I saw this light flashing on and off.

TJMotionSensorThe one hanging on the silver locker, just to the left of the word BURMA. I would love to say it flashed in direct answer to our queries. I really would, but I can’t definitively say that. I can say though, that we weren’t moving around and we found out after the fact that it was a motion sensor set to capture movement on the ladders behind us. We were pretty pleased though to just get some activity early on in the night.

But, as the night deepened it seemed that was all we were going to get. No knocking spirits had answered our queries, no obvious phenomena appeared on the pictures. Only time will tell if the recordings made will yield an EVP. (Yeah, I’m still going through those.) If you thought ghost hunting was glamorous, let me tell you it doesn’t get any better than this! Three tired women sitting at a table asking questions to thin, and kinda stinky, air. The smell of ship is unique, a little diesel, some musty fragrance and others I did not really want to identify.

Melissa had joined us from the other group of women after her friends retired for the night. At one point she left us briefly, taking a journey through a doorway and up a ladder. Kim and I leaned on the table across from each other, sagging just a little lower, our energy levels ebbing. My eyes slipped closed for just a moment and I considered laying my head down…

Then Kim let out a truly blood-curdling scream! I was awake now, standing up and hearing an answering cry from the doorway where Melissa had just descended back down the ladder behind me.

“What the &*^%?” Escaped my lips. Yes, I said a bad word. Maybe a few times. And then I doubled over laughing when I realized Kim had mistaken Melissa for an apparition.

Kim and Melissa were likewise bent over and we all belly laughed for a good minute or so. “I swear I thought she was going to come back from behind me!” Kim gasped. “It looked like she was floating! I didn’t recognize her at first!” Still laughing, we settled back and the table, now refreshed and ready to continue.

Maybe the spirits thought it was funny too, because after that we got more activity…but that’s going to have to wait for the next post.

Have you been on a ghost hunt? Have you tried to capture EVP’s or used other technological toys to capture paranormal phenomena? Tell me about your ghost adventures!

Paranormal? There’s An App For That!

CreepyTree

I’ve been talking to dead people for a very long time. It started when I was just a kid and I would see the old lady in my house. Over time I’ve developed my own inner system for communicating with the other side. But in the interest of full disclosure, it is just kinda all in my head.

It’s sort of the big elephant in the room, and the main way that skeptics and debunkers dismiss psychic phenomena. But I presume, since you’re here and all, that you’re okay with the whole psychic, telepathic, etc., experience. And until fairly recently, the only way to know if a spirit was around was either some sort of physical manifestation, or a psychic medium told you what the being on the other side was saying.

Enter technology. Modern ghosthunters have adapted devices to measure the electromagnetic spectrum and record voices that are not immediately audible to the humans present. In the early days these devices were rather large and bulky. Today you can buy a variety of apps to download on to your smartphone. Which I did before heading out on the ghost tour I did last weekend.

In my excitement I started randomly downloading apps that looked good, and then I went and did some research. A lot of the apps were rated as crap less than useful when seriously looking for paranormal phenomena. They all state plainly that they are strictly for “entertainment”. Remember how we creeped ourselves out with the Ouija board in dark closets when we were kids? And you were scared even though you were sure someone was really pushing that planchette? This is the new brand of that. Is it real? Hard to say. I suspect in the presence of other paranormal activity – knocking, orbs, apparitions – that a positive reading on these apps could be considered confirmatory. But if it’s just randoms bleeps on a screen with no other data, well, you have to be your own judge on that.

In this Wall Street Journal article, it describes how some pro ghosthunters think they work, and some don’t. Seems opinions can get fairly heated.

I’ll be the first one to admit I’m not very techno-savvy. I’m still surprised I manage to get blog posts up. But it was fun to play with the apps I downloaded, and I did find one in particular, Ghosthunter M2 by Jedasoft that has produced some surprising results. I saw a fair-ish number of positive reviews. It even has it’s own Facebook page. While the ones that liked it made a point to say that it couldn’t be used to produce viable scientific data, they noted that it could be useful to get a sample of spirit activity.

Now normally when I attempt to interact with the spirit realm, I take steps to protect myself. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t really expect the apps to work, or I was just lazy, but I started turning the app on at random times without engaging any of my spiritual protections. And I got a mixed bag of results – some blips on the screen, high EMF readings where there was no other source of EMF nearby, creepy digitized voices pronouncing random words.

But then…

I started to notice my senses tingling a little more than usual around my house. Yeah. I turned those apps on in my house and around my yard. I keep my home pretty clean spiritually. Usually negative entities don’t even bother because I move them on as soon as I detect them. This was definitely something of a darker aspect, and it was elusive. It hid from me when I actively searched for it, retreating beyond the borders of my yard.

The first night, my dreams were only vaguely unsettling and quickly faded out on waking. The second night it was a completely different story. This being attacked me in my dream, multiple times. The dream evolved through several scenes, and in each one a person was trying to do me harm. In each case the people would grab me and draw me toward them, attempting to pass the negative energies into me. In the last attempt, a woman pretended to know me, to be my friend. She drew me in close to give me a friendly kiss, but at the last moment I saw her eyes change to a weirdly pale light. For a flash, they went milky white. Behind her shoulder I saw a dark hooded figure appear and place it’s hand on her, lending her strength. A dark fog rolled out of her mouth and she stabbed one finger into the hollow of my throat in an attempt to distract me so this fog could move into me.

I woke with a start and could still feel the pain of her finger digging into my throat. My arms were crunched up protectively toward my face and throat and my muscles were still shaking and cramping from fighting against her pull.

So here’s the deal, I haven’t had a bad nightmare like this in a very long time. I’m not the best, most all-powerful psychic there is, but I have spent a good deal of time honing my skills. Let’s just say that I usually have sufficient protections that my dreams are typically untroubled by beings attacking me. This thing had gone right through those protections and had managed to attach itself to me.

Awake now, I scanned the room and saw it looking at my husband next. I quickly centered and grounded myself, called in my spirit allies and protectors and did the psychic equivalent of tapping it on the shoulder.

Hey. You’re really not welcome here. And what you just did was really rude. I told it. So I’m asking you to leave. Now.

Awake, I could see this being was just a small, confused creature. It wasn’t even fully human, more like just a fragment of some poor soul’s anger and pain. In short, it wasn’t very smart. All it knew was how to cause pain and terror, because that was all it had ever experienced.

When it realized I could see it, it went into The Scary Dance. This is something spirits will do when they’re trying to convince you they’re big and bad. Sometimes it works, because the spirit I’m up against is one of significant power. This little being dancing around my bedroom was hardly that. It’s gyrations were almost cute.

Let me tell you, spirits hate it when you’re only amused by their Scary Dance. They try harder.

Look, I told it, You have exactly two choices. I can help you. I can point you toward the Veil and help you get to the other side so you can find the rest of you and be healed. Or you can leave.

It laughed and gnashed phantasmal teeth and told me it was going to kill me.

Um, no, you’re not. I said. You’re going to make your choice. Cross over or leave my premises.

You can’t make me! It cackled. I do whatever I want.

You’re right. I can’t make you. But They can make it very uncomfortable for you to stay here.

When dealing with beings who project negative energies, it’s important to maintain your own center and calm. If you maintain your heart and mind in a loving space then the power these beings have is greatly reduced. Plus I had help.

“They”are my allies in spirit. Big, bright, beautiful beings who help me in my work. They manifested their presence in my room, and though the room itself remained dark the energies of love and light poured in. The little being took one look, squeaked in dismay and popped out of my awareness.

I did an energy sweep of my house, and my allies likewise assured me it was gone. Then told me using the phone apps had opened me up and called it in. Because I didn’t have all my usual protections in place it had found a weak spot to slip through.

Lesson learned.

Have you tried any of the ghost hunting apps? Been on a ghost tour or a ghost hunt? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Ghost Hunting Part Two – The Ghost That Followed Us Home

The tour guide was only half kidding when she said “We aren’t responsible if any of the ghosts follow you home.”  It brought back memories of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.  I could almost hear the sonorous tones of the heavy male narrator’s voice from the ghostly Disney ride override the tour guide uttering the same phrase.  She added cheerily, “but if they do, please call us, we’d love to come investigate!”

No need, the ghostly lady in the back seat wasn’t the first to hitch a ride with us, and I’m sure she won’t be the last.  I can see and talk to the dead, and help them cross the veil to the other side if they are earthbound.  Hub and I were almost home when she made her presence known.  Thin, willowy, but too heavily scarred by sorrow to be called beautiful, the dead lady kept looking longingly at my husband from where she perched behind him in the car.  “My husband?  Where is my husband, and my baby?”  She asked repeatedly.  She was confused, didn’t understand how she was suddenly in this strange carriage, didn’t completely understand she was dead, and far out of her own time.

It took a little effort to get her attention, she was fixated on Hub, mistaking him for her long dead husband.  I reached out, snapping my fingers in front of her face and calling sharply to her.  When I got her to finally look at and respond to me, I got her story in an instant.  Husband and baby both sickened and died.  She wasn’t sure of what, just showed them to me as feverish and coughing.  She answered “Marie” when I asked her name, but kept reaching toward Hub with her insubstantial hands.  Her pain was a tangible presence in the car, she’d died of a broken heart.

“He’s not your husband.  He’s mine.  Your husband and baby are dead, and you are too.”  She turned big, pale eyes to me, uncomprehending.  “You are dead.  You’re a ghost, stuck here on the earthplane.”  I told her.  By this time we had arrived home.  Hub got out of the car, leaving me alone in it after he parked it in the garage.  Just me and the ghost.  Outside the car door, my chickens began to stir and cluck uneasily in their darkened henhouse.  It felt dark and heavy in the garage, as if the lights weren’t bright enough.

“I miss them so.”  She whispered.  “Why can’t I find them?  How did I get here?”  She was full of questions.  I don’t know how other mediums communicate with spirits, but I find it easier and truer if I stick to emotions and images with minimal words.  I show them what I mean.  So you’ll have to forgive me for translating some of those images, emotions and thoughts into sentences.  It makes an easier read and description of something that is sometimes difficult to transpose into words.

I also work very closely with my guides and guardian spirits.  I ask them to come close and aid the spirits I work with, easing their transition across the veil to home.  There in my garage, sitting in my car, I called in my guides and asked them to help locate this woman’s loved ones on the other side.  Marie continued to stare around the car and darkened garage, she was starting to get frightened and tune me out.  “Where did the man go?  Is that my husband?”  She continued to fixate on Hub.

“Hey, Marie.  I need you to listen to me for just a moment.”

“No.”  Indignant.  She didn’t want to listen to some random woman, she wanted to find her family.  I could understand that, but she wasn’t going to find them at my house.  “Why should I listen to you?”  Disbelief, scorn.  She sneered.

“I can try to help you find them, Marie.”  Again she turned those big, pale eyes on me.  Anger showed in them.  “You don’t know my husband.  I don’t know you.  Where am I?”  She was starting to get agitated, the atmosphere in the car darkened more, and it was hard to see out the windows.

When the spirits get upset, the only answer to their fear or anger is love.  I powered up my heart chakra, and offered her pure spiritual love.  I showed her I held only compassion for her and real desire to help.  “I want to help you, I want to try, and my guides want to help you too.”  Her expression of anger slowly melted, as she took in that I meant what I said, and that I wasn’t affected by her anger.

In Reiki II, my class learned a technique called the Bridge of Light.  It is a spiritual energy bridge offered to one who is about to die, or to spirits who have not yet crossed over.  For the dead, and the dying it eases their transition, and connects them with loved ones already on the other side of the veil.  I showed Marie the bridge, and offered the energy to her.  I offered her additional Reiki energy to help her heal her psychic wounds, and to help her retrieve the parts of her soul that she’d lost along the way.

Anger and mistrust dissolved.  “Truly?”  She was afraid to hope.

“Yes.”  I told her.  “And my guides mean it too.”  Marie touched the Bridge of Light with one foot, and her whole being lit up.  She took two steps, and smiled tentatively.  Her lips stretched wider as she followed the path laid out on the Bridge, aided by her own guiding spirits who met her and welcomed her before she’d traveled halfway across.  Her spirit lit brightly as the missing parts of her soul flew home to join her as she fully crossed the veil.

With an nearly audible pop, the atmosphere in the garage lightened.  It had a bright and sparkly feel, and the hens uttered soft coos as they settled back into sleep.  Marie blew me a light kiss and a thank-you as she joined her family on the other side.  I smiled and got out of the car.

“Everything okay?”  Hub asked as he threw the ball for our Lab to chase.  It glows in the dark, so she can find it at night.  I took a deep breath and looked around our yard, then back into the garage.  No ghosts.

“Everything’s just fine.”  I told him.

I'm pretty sure Marie was hiding in this room on the tour.

I’m pretty sure Marie was hiding in this room on the tour.

 

Weird Weekend – Modern Ghost Hunting Part One

Hub and I went on a Ghost Tour last weekend.  I love that sort of thing, and his daughter gave us a gift certificate for the tour for Christmas.  We were lucky it wasn’t raining, but cold and foggy, which gave the perfect atmosphere.

Just the history part made the tour worthwhile, but we made multiple stops at various famous downtown Seattle landmarks.  Like the Smith Tower.

SmithT

Security guards tell of hearing furniture being dragged across floors above them, even in rooms where there is no furniture.  Shadows are seen flitting across monitor screens, security cameras catching movement on supposedly unoccupied floors.  In both cases, when the guards investigate, no one is on the floor.

We went into the lower level of the Merchant’s Cafe, the oldest restaurant in Seattle.  I immediately felt the presence of many spirits, especially in the bar area and the bathroom.  I saw a lady, dressed in vintage clothing stroll down the hall to disappear into the bathroom.  I followed, snapping pictures, then returned to hear the tour guide saying how a woman is often seen going into the bathroom.  I wanted to say, ‘Yes, I know’ but kept quiet.  The bathroom pics were not that impressive, although a faint orb is visible in one.  I had better luck with the bar.  I got a few funny looks from others on the tour, but I whispered to the spirits that I knew they were there, and I was going to take some pictures.  If they would like to appear in the pictures, that would be much appreciated.   I took two pictures with nothing, then got this one.

Orb3a123012

I know. Dust motes, it’s the quickest and easiest explanation.  Hub cleaned the lens thoroughly before we left for the tour, and it was closed unless I had it out taking pics.  I did get quite a lot of orb pictures, actually, and they are never in the exact same spot, so I’m quite sure it’s nothing on the lens itself.

I know.  It doesn’t preclude floating motes in the air.  With the three orbs in the picture above, I’m not 100% convinced they have a spectral origin.  These next two though, I’m pretty sure I captured the spirits who inhabit these portions of underground Seattle.

Orb1a123012

 

Orb2a123012

They are so bright and shiny, and I was actively communicating with the spirits in these locations at the time.  The only alteration I have made to these two pictures is to crop them to zoom in on the orbs.  The bar picture is completely untouched.

This was only my second time actively trying to communicate with spirits and capture it digitally.  I’ve had great luck so far and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.  While nothing overt happened to Hub or I on the tour, I did make contact with several of the ghosts in the locations we visited.  Including the one that followed us home.  Stay tuned for that story!

My next time out, I’m going to try and capture some EVP’s.  What ever I get, I’ll be sure and share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird Weekend – Paranormal And Technology

I’m not a ghost hunter, and I confess I have a hard time watching paranormal investigative shows.  It seems like all you get is a bunch of people running around either shrieking, or saying  “Did you see/hear that?”  Conversely, I do enjoy scanning YouTube for clips put up by the multitude of paranormal investigation groups around the country.  Something entirely different, in my opinion.  These are groups devoted (for the most part) to serious study of, and recording, paranormal phenomena, and are not for-profit or ratings driven.

I have not been out with an official ‘ghost-hunting’ group; I get plenty of encounters on my own, but I have to confess to a curiosity and desire to travel with one of these groups.  They have a lot of gadgets and devices that can record, measure and otherwise detect paranormal activity.  I have no idea how these work.  Something that seems to be on the rise though is photos of ghosts where nothing is seen to the human eye.

I found this collection on YouTube:

The advent of security cameras, both motion-sensitive and continuous record, has brought us videos of objects moving, flashing lights, and unexplained shadows while establishments are closed, locked and unoccupied by the living.  Like this example of a ‘ghostly head’:

I particularly like this one, from Hampton Court Palace.  They even talk about him on their website, they’ve nicknamed him ‘Skeletor.’

Creepiness, right?  Or just a tour guide in period costume?  I think it interesting that the Palace website is vague about exactly what it is.  According to the website, however, this is a fairly active area for ghosts in general, with public and staff reporting sightings or encounters.

Sometimes they move things, as in this rather dizzying video posted by Mass Most Haunted of their investigation at the Lizzie Borden House.

Could they be faked?  Sure.  Could some of them be genuine?  I think so.  I leave it to you to determine which you find the most plausible.

I’m not much with a video camera, but something I’ve always wanted to try is EVP.  EVP stand for Electronic Voice Phenomena.  In short, you take a recording device, ask questions and then hear voices on the playback.  It used to be done with reel-to-reel and cassettes, but now digital voice recorders are used, also they are heard on playback from video recordings..

These were captured at the Chapel on the Hill in Sedona, Arizona.

Have you done any ghost hunting?  Have you ever captured something weird on video or in a picture that you didn’t see when you were recording?  What’s your scariest encounter?