Tuesday, July 26, 2011

PARANORMAL HOUSEWIVES hunt for ghosts in California

Liz, Jennifer, Erin, Marsha, Kimberly and Kirsten.
This is an amazing ghost hunting team that I have had the pleasure to do an investigation with.

At the bottom of the page is a link to there homepage, which includes EVP's and more photo, from their investigations.

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - The business analyst, the Spanish professor, the homemaker and the others hang out at graves shaded by coastal pines or hotels haunted by rumors. They use gadgets to track strange electromagnetic fields and record a disembodied voice in the empty room that says "hello."

Call them ghost hunters. They prefer their official title:

"Paranormal Housewives."

"We are a drama-free, all-women paranormal investigative team," said co-founder Kirsten Thorne, sitting on a wall bordering a graveyard outside Fillmore, Calif. She acknowledged skeptics are everywhere and include her husband, though his certainty sometimes wobbles.

"Every once in awhile he'll listen to an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and say 'What the heck is this?' " she said.

The Paranormal Housewives are made up of five women. They're trying to let area homeowners, church leaders and business owners know they're available to investigate things that go bump in the night -- for free. They'll bring their full-spectrum video cameras and the K2 monitors that flash red lights when detecting energy that could mean spirits are lurking.

There is one caveat.

"We need absolute silence," said Thorne, worrying about the integrity of audio recordings, "and all the dogs must be muzzled."

 Undisclosed Location (photo: Ed Stalter)
Thorne, 46, is a professor who earned her doctorate from Yale University and teaches at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. She sat at Bardsdale Cemetery as trees tossed shadows over headstones that date back to the 1870s. With her was Kimberly Demmary, a community theater actress who plays the canine lead in an Ojai, Calif., production about a talking dog, "Sylvia." Demmary lives in Camarillo, Calif., and works as a health insurance business analyst.

Wearing jeans and carrying their gear in what they call ghost bags, the women said they've been into the paranormal since they were kids. Thorne and Demmary both said they were visited by their grandfathers -- postmortem.

"He would stand in the corner of the room and he would just stand there," Demmary said. "He was a very tall man. He was like Abraham Lincoln."

Demmary and Lizeth Martinez, an office assistant with the Ventura County Probation Agency, were doing paranormal investigations on their own. They hooked up a year ago with Thorne and two of her partners from Los Angeles and San Diego counties: a homemaker and the owner of a loan processing business.

In a surprisingly crowded field of ghost hunters dominated by men and fraught with battles over who's calling the shots, they decided a group of women working together as friends would mean an end to the drama.

"We're nothing like the 'Housewives' TV shows," Demmary said with a laugh. "Our friendships come first."

They've done investigations at a church on Olvera Street in Los Angeles where a request for spirits to announce their presence was followed by a loud bang on a table. They've teamed up with police officers interested in noises and images they can't explain. It was at the Bella Maggiore Inn in downtown Ventura where they entered a room and heard a woman's voice.

"No one was there," Demmary said. They don't make any conclusions about what they've seen or heard until they've examined all the evidence, applying what they called the scientific method.

Bardsdale Cemetery is tucked between citrus groves and South Mountain. "Private Army, World War I," reads one plaque. A large headstone topped by a cross commemorates 11 people who died on March 13, 1928, when the St. Francis dam broke. The flood killed at least 500.

Thorne and Demmary walked to a row of small headstones pockmarked with decay. Four siblings died in 1878 within four days of each other.

The ghost hunters took pictures, then pressed play on their Olympus digital recorder. Thorne crouched down to talk to the graves. "If any of you are still around and you can see us, go ahead and say something," she said.

Nothing happened.

"There will be some times when I say 'This was a bust'," Thorne said, explaining discoveries come later when she reviews the recording. "Then I'll call someone and say 'Oh, you won't believe what I have on audio'."

Demmary said she's seen massive shadow figures, heard voices and has been touched by hands that felt like a child's. Some spirits are friendly; others not so much.

"I was almost strangled by my own necklace at a church," said Thorne.

Many people don't believe the stories. The women said the word they hear often has four letters and rhymes with trap.

But there are enough believers to support a genre of television shows. Group members have appeared on "Ghost Adventures." Now something else is in the works.

"We're working on a project for television and that's all I'm allowed to say," Thorne said.

(Tom Kisken is a reporter for the Ventura County Star in California.)



Friday, July 22, 2011

Mysterious Skeleton washes ashore on British Beach

Monster Skeleton washed ashore on Aberdeen beach
For centuries they’ve been a part of maritime legend, inspiring curiosity and terror in equal measure. Lurking in the depths of the oceans, shocking in size and appearance, gigantic serpents and prehistoric monsters are as much a source of fascination as ever, especially in Hollywood.

But are such tales of strange sea beasts more than mythology? Is there any evidence to suggest that some of these monsters of the watery deep -  from Jules Verne’s giant squid in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea to the legendary Kraken, a leviathan sending sailors to their doom - might actually exist?

 Certainly, the study of the possible existence of sea monsters and other creatures of legend - known as cryptozoology - remains an area that captures the imagination of scientists and laymen alike. 

Last week I took part in a major debate at the Zoological Society in London at which I and my colleagues wondered whether there might be more to these stories than mere myth.

Only this week, photographs emerged of the large carcass of an unidentified sea creature washed up on the beach near Aberdeen. It is the subject of fevered speculation, with some claiming it is a sea monster and others (more sensibly) saying it’s a plain old pilot whale.
Video footage film in Alaska in 2009
Further fuelling the popular enthusiasm for sea monster lore,  the Discovery Channel screened footage, filmed by Alaskan fishermen, of what appeared to be an immense sea creature — at least 30ft long — with humps on its back, breaking the surface of the ocean.

What may simply be an example of a whale and its wake has been imaginatively recast by viewers as the Alaskan Nessie.

Given that previously unknown large marine animals continue to be discovered, the idea is far from outlandish. It’s perfectly plausible that species of shark, rays and whale still wait to be identified. Indeed, according to some estimates, there could be as many as 50 species of large sea‑going animals awaiting discovery. 

Despite advances in sonar equipment, remotely operated cameras and deep-sea submersibles, only a fraction of the vast oceans that cover so much of the Earth have been examined.   

Megamouth Shark
It was only in 1976, for instance, that the incredible Megamouth shark was discovered. And it was found entirely by chance when one became entangled with the anchor of a U.S. navy ship off the coast of Hawaii. 
An unusual-looking, deep-water creature with a large, rubbery head and enormous mouth that can open 4ft wide, the Megamouth is unlike any other shark previously seen. To this day, sightings remain extremely rare.

Equally rare is Omura’s whale, named after a biologist from Tokyo. This creature, around 33ft in length, was first caught by a Japanese research vessel in the Pacific in the late Seventies — yet hardly any specimens have been caught or filmed since.

So we can be extremely confident new species will keep on being found as we continue to explore our planet.

What we don’t know is whether any of these species might match those creatures mentioned in the fantastical tales passed down to us through history or in more recent eyewitness accounts of sea monsters. 

The Roman writer Pliny gives an account of a giant octopus in his natural history books, while sea dragons began to feature on the edges of medieval maps in the 13th century to demarcate the edge of charted waters. 

By the time of the Renaissance, tales of strange creatures sighted on the horizon or washed up on shore were increasingly common.

On his return journey from Newfoundland in 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, an adventurer and half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, claimed to have encountered a strange, lion-like sea monster with glaring eyes. 

By the 18th century, the reports had become more elaborate.

Hans Egede Sea Monster 1734
Hans Egede, a missionary from Denmark, reported a sighting of ‘a most terrible creature’ off the coast of Greenland in 1734. He recorded that ‘the monster lifted its head so high that it seemed to be higher than the crow’s nest on the main mast. It was longer than the whole ship’.

Could at least some of these accounts refer to encounters with real animals?

Research on the reliability of eye-witnesses shows that there are many reasons to be cautious about claimed monster sightings. People’s memories are typically untrustworthy in recalling distances and sizes, especially in the huge, empty expanse of the ocean. 

So what might appear to be a strange creature could just be a wave or a trick of the light, or perhaps just the fanciful vision of sailors stranded for too long in becalmed waters.

Over the years, many accounts of sea monsters have talked of large, slithering marine serpents, apparently utterly different to anything recognised by science.
Egede’s account of 1734 is one of the classics. But it is possible that what people actually saw were nothing more than the penises of courting male whales, for such organs can be more than 10ft long. 

In the same vein, others have spoken of seeing bizarre, dinosaur-like creatures with long necks, deep, staring eyes and whiskers round their mouths. Perhaps these are descriptions of elephant seals, which can reach 16ft in length, have a distinctive proboscis overhanging their jaw (rather like an elephant’s trunk), can move rapidly through water and emit a loud roar which could strike fear into an onlooker.
One common notion about sea monsters is that, if they exist, then perhaps they could be modern-day descendents of plesiosaurs, the marine reptiles that ruled the seas during the age of the dinosaurs. 

After all, the sightings often super-ficially seem to match some of the characteristics — such as a long neck or giant flippers — of these long extinct creatures of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The belief that the oceans might contain descendants from the dinosaur age is known as the ‘prehistoric survivor paradigm’. 

But there are two central problems with this idea. First of all, what we know of plesiosaur fossils shows that the living animals did not really match the modern sea monsters described by eyewitnesses. 

While the modern-day sea monsters are described as raising their necks high out of the water and even waving them around, plesiosaur necks were far less flexible.
In fact, it seems plesiosaurs were simply unable to raise their massively long necks above the water’s surface. If you have ever tried to lift a heavy pole out of the water from one end, you will know how gravity makes such a task impossible. 
The second main problem with the prehistoric survivor idea is that there are absolutely no fossilised plesiosaurs from rock younger than 65 million years old. If some plesiosaurs had survived into our present age, we would expect a continuous fossil record. 
Ah, say those who want to believe these marine giants are still with us, what about the coelacanth — the 5ft fish that was thought to have become extinct at the same time as the plesiosaurs, but in the Thirties was discovered to be living in the seas off southern Africa? 

There were, it is said, no coelacanth fossils younger than 65 million years old, yet it obviously survived down the millennia. 

However, the bones of plesiosaurs are extremely large and tough, which means not only that they remain intact but they are also easy to recognise and classify. 

It is a completely different story with the coelacanths, whose bones are much more fragile, small and vulnerable, so traces are far harder to find.

Whale Shark off Isle Mujeres, Mexico July 2011
Whatever your view — and experts remain divided — it seems that the best biological evidence suggests we are unlikely to discover a terrifying new monster lurking in the depths. But that’s not to say it won’t happen.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Artist Rendering
This classic story has always intrigued, and I personally consider it the most legitimate fact based story of true  paranormal encounters. If you can find the book, pick it up it's a good read.

Myths about "The Ghost of Flight 401" have circulated among pilots of that airline since the years immediately following the accident. 

Perhaps the most extraordinary and credible research into the ghost phenomenon ever documented is the so-called "Ghosts of Flight 401." 

On December 29th 1972, an Eastern Airlines Tri-Star jetliner, Flight 401, crashed into a Florida swamp. The pilot, Bob Loft (photo left), and flight engineer Don Repo (photo right), were two of the 101 people who perished in the air crash. 

Bob Loft                       Don Repo
Not long after the crash, the ghosts of Loft and Repo were seen on more than twenty occasions by crew members on other Eastern Tri-Stars, especially those planes which had been fitted with parts salvaged from the Flight 401 wreckage. The apparitions of Loft and Repo were invariably described as being extremely lifelike. They were not only reported by people who had known Loft and Repo, but their ghosts were also subsequently identified from photographs by people who had not known Loft and Repo.
The strange tales of the ghostly airmen of Flight of 401 circulated in the airline community. An account of the paranormal happenings even appeared in a 1974 US Flight Safety Foundation's newsletter. John G. Fuller, the best-selling author of  The Ghosts of Flight 401 carried out an exhaustive investigation into the hauntings with the aid of several cautious airline personnel. A mass of compelling testimony was produced as a result. The website Flight 401-The Black Box Story provides an account of the crash as told using material from the Black Box. It highlights how poor cockpit resource management caused a tiny light bulb to distract the pilots and bring down a Tristar jetliner.

The cause of the crash was found to be a couple of minor design faults in the controls, and Lockheed rapidly corrected them. However, it was after some of the undamaged parts of the aircraft were subsequently recycled onto other planes that the mysterious incidents began to be reported.

Although Eastern Airlines refuses to discuss the matter, researchers have interviewed numerous individuals claiming to have encountered the ill-fated pair on L-1011s. As the reports would have it, Loft and Repo have devoted their after-lives to watching over the passengers and crew of these Lockheed passenger planes.

Many of the testimonies are extremely persuasive. Many come from people in highly responsible positions: pilots, flight officers, even a vice president of Eastern Airlines, who allegedly spoke with a captain he assumed was in charge of the flight, before recognizing him as the late Loft.

Other sightings are convincing because they have multiple witnesses. A flight's captain and two flight attendants claim to have seen and spoken to Loft before take-off and watched him vanish - an experience that left them so shaken they cancelled the flight.

The Ghosts of Flight 401 Book
One female passenger made a concerned enquiry to a flight attendant regarding the quiet, unresponsive man in Eastern Airlines uniform sitting in the seat next to her, who subsequently disappeared in full view of both of them and several other passengers, leaving the woman hysterical. When later shown a sheet of photos depicting Eastern flight engineers, she identified Repo as the officer she had seen.

Another incident occurred when one of the L-1011 passenger planes that had been fitted with salvaged parts was due for take-off. The flight engineer was mid-way through carrying out the routine pre-flight inspection when Repo appeared to him and said, "You don't need to worry about the pre-flight, I've already done it."

Repo and Loft are apparently not content merely to be present on these airplanes. Often their style is far more hands on, particularly in Repo's case. Aside from his appearance to a pre-flight engineer who he appeared to have been assisting, there is testimony from a flight attendant who observed a man in a flight engineer's uniform, whom she later recognized as Repo, fixing a galley oven. The insistence of the plane's own flight engineer that he had not fixed the oven, and that there had not been another engineer on board, would seem to lend weight to her claim. Repo was also seen in the compartment below the cockpit by a flight engineer who had accessed it in order to investigate a knocking he heard coming from there.

On another occasion, Faye Merryweather, a flight attendant, saw Repo's face looking out at her from an oven in the galley of Tri-Star 318. Understandably alarmed, she fetched two colleagues, one of whom was the flight engineer who had been a friend of Repo's and recognized him instantly. All three heard Repo warn them to, "Watch out for fire on this airplane." The plane later encountered serious engine trouble and the last leg of its flight was cancelled. It is interesting to note that the galley of Tri-Star 328 had been salvaged from the wreckage of flight 401.

The sightings were all reported to the Flight Safety Foundation (an independent authority) which commented: "The reports were given by experienced and trustworthy pilots and crew. We consider them significant. The appearance of the dead flight engineer (Repo) ... was confirmed by the flight engineer." Later, records of the Federal Aviation Agency recorded the fire which broke out on that same aircraft.

One of the vice-presidents of Eastern Airlines boarded a Miami-bound TriStar at JFK airport and spoke to a uniformed captain sitting in First Class. Suddenly, he recognized the captain was Loft, at which point the apparition vanished.

Another incident occurred when Repo appeared to a captain and told him, "There will never be another crash. We will not let it happen."

A female passenger found herself sitting next to an Eastern Airlines flight officer who looked pale and ill, but would not speak; she called a stewardess but before the eyes of several people, the man disappeared. The woman was later shown photographs of Eastern Airlines engineers and she identified the man as Repo.

Unfortunately, further research into the well-witnessed paranormal incidents was severely hampered by the airline company which steadfastly refused to co-operate with the ghost investigators.

It should be noted that ghost sightings have been reported many times throughout recorded history. During the 1990's, research into "after-death communications" (ADCs) by near-death researchers, Bill and Judy Guggenhiem helped to make the phenomenon of ghost sightings more mainstream.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

China's "Bigfoot" Leaves Big Footprints in Cornfield

Reports from central China hint at yet more evidence that the so-called “Shennongjia Wildman” may actually exist. Shennongjia, in China's Hubei province, is one of the country's most rugged areas featuring mountains up to 9,840 ft (3,000 meters) tall and thick old-growth forests.

The latest report comes from Wang Taizhao, a local villager and farmer from nearby Chengkou county who was fertilizing his corn field early on the morning of June 2nd.  

“I was so scared,” said Wang in his statement to local police. “First I heard a strange noise from the woods near my corn field, which I thought to be the bark of a dog. Then I spotted a human-like creature approaching. I took a flight to my house with great haste.”

The Shennongjia National Nature Reserve (神农架国家自然保护区), listed on UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, protects a number of rare creatures including the endangered Golden Monkey but perhaps another, much larger primate may live there as well.

A number of sightings, supposed footprints, and samples of coarse hair have hinted at the possibility of a bigfoot-like creature existing deep in the wilds of Shennongjia Anecdotal evidence paints a picture of a very tall, bipedal, ape-like animal with thick reddish or yellowish hair.

Piecing together a description of the purported creature from Wang's recollection, investigators from the Public Security Bureau of Chengkou county estimated the creature was from 160cm to 170 cm tall (approximately 5.5 ft) and was covered head to toe with red and yellowish hair. It left at least 5 large, irregular footprints in Wang's cornfield, several of which were distinct enough to allow the investigators to create several plaster casts.

While the discovery of a few big footprints doesn't mean we've found a few bigfoot prints, this latest piece of the puzzle brings us a bit closer to understanding what the “Shennongjia Wildman” may – or may not – be. And to those who are rushing to add another branch to the human family tree, all we can suggest is “not yeti.”


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lizard Man Returns To South Carolina

Lee County, SC (WLTX) - Over the years reports have surfaced about infamous and mysterious creatures.

There's Bigfoot, the giant ape-like animal that roams the wild forests on the West Coast. Across the pond, there's Nessie, the Loch Mess Monster that hides in the deep, dark waters of the Scottish Highlands. In Mexico and Texas, they have the Chupacabra, the blood-sucking goat that some say has killed animals. And in South Carolina we have the Lizard Man, the creature supposedly terrorizing Bishopville since 1988.

That year, a 17-year-old reported a run-in with a scaly lizard that stood on two legs. Now, there's speculation that the creature may be back.

On Ida Lane in rural Lee County, they're struggling to explain what took place Monday morning.

"I ran into the house and told my wife to call the police because something happened to the car," explained Leon Marshall.

"The tooth marks went completely through the fender," added his wife Ada. Early that morning the Marshall's woke up to find their car mauled by something. "That's metal! And it just bent it up. Like it was a piece of tissue paper," said Ada.

The question is by what?

"We have no idea. No idea. No idea what-so-ever."

To former Lee County Sheriff Liston Truesdale, this sounds all too familiar.

"This part here is how it all started in 1988," explained Truesdale. "We got a call to come and look at something that had mauled a car. I went out there and looked at that damaged car, and I haven't seen anything like that before."

About that same time there were bizarre calls coming in.

"They had been seeing a large creature about 7 feet tall, with big red eyes, with three pointed fingers."

So he started asking residents, "have you seen anything like a big tall creature round there? And the guys said, 'what you mean that lizard man?' That's how it started and you got it from the horse's mouth."

Back then, there was a media frenzy.

"Everyone thought they were going to get a glimpse of the Lizard Man but he didn't appear."
The damage on the Marshall's car is almost identical to the damage on the two cars from back then.

Was it the Lizard man?

"I'm skeptical about that. I'm not gonna go that far. I'll believe it when I see it," said the Marshalls.
"Everything it laid off on the poor lizard man," jokes Truesdale. "But at this point, he must have grandchildren!"

Whether you believe in the Lizard Man or not, he certainly did generate a lot of buzz. In 1988 it's estimated that about 50,000 visitors came to Lee County in hopes of spotting the creature.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jim Morrison's Ghost Turns 40 Today.

Jim Morrison's ghost has allegedly been hanging around Paris for decades. Since Morrison died on July 3, 1971, his ghost and his legend have only grown in status.

In fact, journalist Brett Meisner even claimed that he took a photo of The Doors' lead singer standing at his grave years ago, as apparent proof that he did "break on through to the other side." If he did, then he has officially been there for 40 years, since today is the 40th anniversary of his death.
It is fitting that stories about his ghost has persisted for years, to add to the bizarre, psychedelic legend of Morrison. In life, he was the most out of control rock star in the business, which was quite a feat in the 1960s. He pushed the envelope with his lyrics and behavior on stage- which crossed the line into the leud one night in Miami and got him arrested.

(Left) Original Photo of Jim Morrison's Ghost (Right) Zoom Enhanced
With that kind of on and off-stage persona, it was inevitable that he would flame out when it was all over. Finally, he did on July 3, 1971, as he died in a hotel bathtub in Paris. It may not have been the wild, over the top death that may have been expected from him, yet it did silence one of the era's most distinctive voices- at least temporarily.

After Morrison died, his fame and that of The Doors slowly became bigger than ever. Sales for Doors records went up every year, as death proved to be the best thing that ever happened to Morrison's catalog. The same would later happen to other dead icons like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson years later.

His song "The End" was used prominently in Apocalypse Now- although they didn't use the lyric where he sang about making love to his mother. Oliver Stone recreated the drug-induced era of The Doors in a 1991 film ofthe same name, with Val Kilmer as Morrison. And Meisner's infamous alleged photograph of the singer's ghost at his gravesite gained a lot of traction, since if any dead rocker could find a way to get photographed, it would have been Morrison.
Living fast, dying young, and then living forever in rock history has been a common trend for musicians, especially back in the early days of rock and roll. Few embodied that cliché like Jim Morrison, as although "The End" technically came for him 40 years ago today, the end of his legend and fame is nowhere near at hand.