Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Unconventional Haunts

Greetings my unconventional conventionists! (Bonus points if you got that reference!) Today's post is all about the unconventional---specifically, unconventional places that seem to have a high concentration of hauntings!

Come find me!
Now, I'm a firm believer that any location has the potential to be haunted and there are definitely some places in particular where it is pretty much assumed some type of activity is going to occur. These places, which can be found on multiple lists throughout different paranormal books and websites, usually include hospitals, asylums, schools, theaters, battlefields, cemeteries, mansions, hotels, and prisons/jails. More in-depth lists also tend to include places such as museums, churches, historic sites, train depots and railroad tracks, tunnels, forests, and roads.

These are all great places, many of which live up to their haunted reputations...but sometimes I find it a little boring always writing about the SAME types of places on here over and over again. I love a good night's stay in a haunted hotel, or investigating one of the many jails/prisons that embrace their haunted history with public hunts...but I'm all about the unusual. That's why I decided to take a look at some locations that definitely seem to have more than their fair share of ghost stories, but that don't necessarily fit the classic mold of what a haunted location should be. In no particular order:

Unconventional Haunted Locations

1. Lighthouses---I'm really suprised that lighthouses don't make the cut on these routine lists more often, because seriously, I cannot think of a single lighthouse that DOESN'T have some type of ghost story attached! But why are lighthouses so haunted? Could it be that their shape or close proximity to salt water channels and funnels energy in a unique way? Are they influenced by area shipwrecks and drownings that they could not prevent? Or is it because a lighthouse keeper devotes his entire life to spending every waking moment, desperately tending to the lighthouse, keeping it going and protecting so many that even death cannot break that commitment? Whatever the cause, there are enough haunted lighthouses in the world to warrant a whole website devoted to the phenomena. Check it out at: Haunted Lighthouses

2. Any bridge in Ohio---If you have never heard of a Crybaby Bridge, you are NOT from Ohio, lol. Bridges tend to be hot spots of potential paranormal activity, but many of the stories are nothing but simple urban legends, including the phenomenon of Crybaby Bridges. Usually, these stories are pretty similar---a scorned woman kills herself and/or her baby by jumping off a bridge. If you stop your car on the bridge, you can hear crying and splashing, see lights, and if you're lucky, your car might even stall or be pushed by unseen hands! Crybaby Bridges are so prevalent in Ohio that they now have their own website. The Crybaby Bridge Project seeks to document these, and separate the legends from any grains of truth that might be buried within.

3. Zoos---More and more I've been seeing stories about haunted zoos.The bond between humans and animals is a complex one, and one that isn't always good. I think that complexity of emotions contributes heavily to why so many zoos are starting to develop a reputation for being haunted. Two examples you can find on Theresa's Haunted History include the phantom lioness of the Cincinnati Zoo and the tale of a murdered zookeeper of Houston Zoo.

4. Bowling Alleys---I have no real theory as to why more and more bowling alleys are coming forward with their ghost stories, but there doesn't seem to be any set reason why. Is it the infrasound involved in the machinary and crashing of bowling balls, or is it just simply history? Two examples can be found on this blog, Colonial Lanes in Huntington, WV,  where an employee was murdered years ago, and Kentucky's Rose Bowl Lanes, built atop the site of a deadly accident.

5. Apartment Buildings---Out of all the different types of residential dwellings, apartment buildings tend to be the most haunted. Just like hotels, you've got a high turnover rate. Most people outside of really big cities see apartments as temporary, so there are a LOT of different people with a lot of different energies coming and going. Unfortunately, apartment buildings are often the victims of some negative stereotypes. Apartment living is cheaper, its seen as a temporary living situation, and since the occupant doesn't actually OWN the space, there is often a distinct lack in pride of ownership and individualization.  Those traits tend to attract negative, and even dangerous activities, such as drug use. And, as part of life, deaths also will occur in apartments. Unfortunately, apartments are notoriously difficult to investigate. Sounds, smells, and other signs of a haunting could simply be neighbors nearby....and trying to get the records as to who actually rented the individual apartment in a larger complex is frustrating and sometimes impossible.

6. Amusement Parks---If I have to become a ghost, I'd love to haunt an amusement park! Of course, you have amusement parks where sudden, tragic deaths have occurred, and you've got amusement parks that were built atop land with a storied history...but when it boils down to it, couldn't some of these hauntings simply be people wanting to hang onto a good time? Two of my favorite haunted amusement parks in this area are of course, Kings Island, with its multiple ghosts, and Huntington's Camden Park, where Native Americans, spooky feelings of being watched, and a woman in a polka dot dress still rule the grounds.

7. Antique Stores---If you believe that objects can be haunted, cursed, or hold attachments, then the idea of haunted antique stores makes perfect sense! There are a LOT of very personal, and very OLD items that pass through the walls of these stores, each with a story to tell. As a bonus, many antique stores are located in old, historic homes and buildings! I have had the pleasure of investigating a local antique store, which wishes to remain anonymous, but you can find other stories about the Greater Columbus Antique Mall and Nevada's Dake House antique store right here on my blog!

8. Libraries and Bookstores---Here's another place I'd LOVE to spend my eternity! Reading and collecting books is a huge part of my life, and it's a love I share with a lot of other people. And, similar to antique stores, books are objects that can hold attachments, and stores and libraries can often hold a history all of their own. Here are a few bookish haunts you can find at Theresa's Haunted History: Portsmouth Ohio Public Library and WV's Kingwood Library.

9. Courthouses---I'm convinced that West Virginia has more haunted county courthouses than any other state! But why are courthouses so haunted? Many of our county courthouses are historic buildings, making their way onto the National Register of Historic Places, so plenty of years have passed in which to pick up a ghost or two! Plus, courthouses were often where the local jail was located and sometimes the site of local executions. There are literally so many haunted courthouses in West Virginia alone that I'm just going to share the Haunted WV link and let you browse for yourselves if you'd like more info!

10. Retail Stores---It seems weird that a modern retail chain store would be haunted, but again, I firmly believe that ANY place has the potential to have paranormal activity. I actually used to work at a haunted Dollar Tree! We'd have stuff fly off the shelves right in front of us, vacuums would seemingly unplug themselves, and we'd chase phantom shoppers through the aisles after closing. Unless there is some sort of strange incident connected with the store itself, most of these hauntings seem tied to the land the modern store was built atop. This is the case with the Toys R Us ghost and WV's own haunted Kmart.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Lockdown: My Paranormal Pet Peeve

Okay, so I'm sure today's post won't sit well with everyone out there in the paranormal investigation community. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion and my personal preference. I don't have anything against those who engage in this; we're all in this field for different reasons, and we all have different ways of doing things. And with that, here we go...

Many times on paranormal social media pages, you'll see interactive questions asked of viewers. A popular choice of question is always, "What is your biggest paranormal pet peeve?" Such a question will often illicit some pretty universal replies, such as provoking of spirits, not gaining proper permission to be at a location, investigators being too quick to call something paranormal, and other infractions that deter from the scientific integrity and professionalism of this field. Those are all great answers, and I agree. However, my answer is almost always the same.

My biggest paranormal pet peeve is when people use the term 'lockdown' in place of 'investigation!'

I'd rather see 'ghost hunt' used over 'lockdown' any day of the week, and even thought it seems like such a trivial thing, it just irks me, lol. Here's why:

1. For starters, this bit of phrasing didn't enter the vernacular until Ghost Adventures first aired, and Zak began an instant para-celeb. If you are using this terminology, that gives me the impression that you're emulating this group and the way they conduct their research and investigations. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I've been in this field long enough to spot a red flag or two. If you're naming your investigations 'lockdowns,' because that's what Zak does, chances are you are doing some of the other things that Zak does that just aren't examples of good, scientific and ethical investigating. I've even seen a few people who have obviously learned EVERYTHING they know about paranormal investigation from this particular show, never having cracked open a book, shadowed another group, or researched the field through any other means.

2. Secondly...are you REALLY locking yourself down? Are you physically locking, from the outside, all exits from the building you're investigating? Are you locking yourself in from the inside? If you aren't, then is it really a LOCKDOWN?

3. If you are actually locking yourself down, you have to ask yourself WHY? What is the purpose, and is it beneficial for my goal in this investigation? I do understand that security can be an issue, especially during the filming of a television show with popular para-celebrities. Even we little people run the risk of unwanted visitors coming onto a site and contaminating our potential evidence, but I've personally never had to resort to chaining myself into a location. Why?

4. Because it is SO unsafe. I absolutely hate the fact that they actually show Zak and the gang being locked in from the outside. If there is a fire, or if someone needs medical attention, I want to be able to quickly get the help needed. And, I don't want to put the client/owner of the property in a difficult liability situation if something goes wrong and I and my team are injured or worse because we couldn't get out of a building.

5. If you're 'locking down' as a means to show that you have no fear of a location, you might want to find another way to get your thrills. If you have to prove what a badass you are, you're not devoting your time, energy and resources into what really matters during an investigation: finding answers.

I know my words seem a little harsh, but again, I'm really not trying to judge (too harshly, any way, lol!) anyone who is guilty of this behavior. I would just like to encourage everyone out there to examine their own investigation style and philosophy. Ask WHY do I do things this way...and is there a better way? In a field as dynamic as the paranormal investigation field, there are very few absolutes and plenty of room for growth and improvement.

Hop on over to Facebook to let me know where YOU stand on the lockdown debate!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Theresa's Top Links for April

As a new month starts, I thought I'd post something I haven't posted in awhile---a link roundup! Get settled in, and be prepared to check out some awesome websites, Facebook groups, and radio shows that deserve a special shout out!

First up...Several weeks ago, I was honored to be asked to participate in a round table discussion on Paraversal Universe Radio concerning the topic of the most haunted locations in the world! I joined hosts Jennifer Scelsi and Kevin Malek, as well as Jason Bland from Paranormal Soup and Gavin Lee Davies of the Paranormal Chronicles, in a spirited discussion about some REALLY awesome places around the world. If you missed the show, you can find it in the archives, and please check out the websites of Paraversal Universe, hosted by the Paranormal King Radio Network, as well as those of my co-guests, below! 

April was also the month of my least favorite holiday when it comes to the paranormal world---April Fool's Day! There weren't too many new hoaxes popping up, but I was ready for them all with the help of a few websites!

8. Ghost App Ghosts: This Facebook page has an awesome collection of ghost app images, both menu screen captures, and examples of the images actually being used. If you have ANY reason to believe that a photo apparition might be a ghost app, consult this page! I check it, probably at least once a day. If you are a paranormal investigator or researcher, you need to familiarize yourself with this extensive database. 

9. The Museum of Hoaxes: An excellent website devoted to exposing the truth. If you see a photograph or story that seems too strange to be true, it probably is...and its probably featured on the Museum of Hoaxes. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Theresa's Top 10 Most Haunted Places in the World

It's been awhile since I've done a Top 10 Tuesday here on Theresa's Haunted History, but this week its appropriate! If you read yesterday's blog, you know that I'll be on Paraversal Universe Radio this Friday (22 April 2016 at 8pm EST), discussing the world's most haunted places with Gavin Lee Davies and Jason Bland. Each of us were asked to compile our own list of the ten most haunted locations throughout the WORLD, so we can compare and discuss on Friday.

Ya'll know how hard it was for me to come up with my top 50 locations in the United States! The task of narrowing down just ten locations worldwide is overwhelmingly difficult, firstly because how do you even gauge the 'hauntedness' of a location? Until we fully understand the mechanics and the reasoning behind a haunting, and start producing evidence that holds up to scientific scrutiny, the subject is largely...well...subjective.  Therefore, my list is going to be pretty subjective, and quite honestly, probably a little ethnocentric, ie, heavy on not only American locations, but locations within or near the tri-state area!

In order to narrow my list down, I'll be looking at the following criteria:
1. How popular or well known is the location? Do people hear this location's name and automatically associate it with ghosts and hauntings?

2. How often has it actually been investigated or explored? Do those who investigate this location find consistently 'good' evidence that stands up to peer review? Do visitors routinely report experiences?

3. What are the stories associated with this location? Why do people believe this place is haunted to begin with...and how much of it is supported by historical documentation?

4. How intense is the suspected paranormal activity? Is it truly frightening? Does it happen on a regular basis? How likely are you to actually have an experience or capture potential evidence at this location?

5. Duration:  How long has this place been known to be haunted? Are the stories and/or experiences new, or have they been around for awhile?

I'll also be taking into consideration the TYPE of haunting or activity. Some locations might not necessarily have a strong, intelligent presence, but instead be saturated with emotions and energy from a past event--to the point that even those who don't consider themselves sensitive to such things can pick up on it. Some of these locations might even have a reputation for being home to entities other than human. I'll be discussing a mix of places where I have personally already investigated, and places that are on my paranormal investigation bucket list. And, obviously, this list is subject to change at a moment's notice, based on my whims, lol. And with are:

MY Top 10 Most Haunted Locations in the World! In no particular order:
1. Highgate Cemetery, England
2. The Tower of London, England
3. The White House, USA
4. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, USA
5. WV State Penitentiary at Moundsville, USA
6. Poveglia Island, Italy
7. Pripyat/Chernobyl, Ukraine
8. Aokigahara Forest, Japan
9. Gettysburg, USA
10. Island of the Dolls, Mexico

One obvious omission from the list is any examples from the continent of Africa. In a place of some pretty violent history and where people are still put to death over allegations of witchcraft, I honestly cannot think of any locations that would fit my criteria off the top of my head.  I think I foresee some investigative research and a series of blog posts coming up soon about this!

Anyway, let me know what you think of this list! I've still got a few days to make final changes, so hop on over to Facebook and give me your thoughts. Happy Haunting!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Theresa's Back on the Radio!

Hey, everyone! Happy Monday! I wanted to take a few moments to share with you an exciting opportunity I've been given. I've been asked to return to Paraversal Universe Radio, with hosts Kevin Malek and Jennifer Scelsi! I will be taking part in the show's very first round table discussion. Our topic will be that is very exciting to me, and I'm sure to many of you as well----The Most Haunted Places in the World!

I'll be joining two awesome guests: Gavin Lee Davies and Jason Bland. Gavin operates the Paranormal Chronicles website, a great source for all sorts of interesting and spooky articles. Jason is the host of Paranormal Soup--make sure to check out his YouTube channel for a variety of paranormal topics.

The show will air LIVE Friday, April 22, at 8 pm EST. You can listen through the Paranormal King Radio Network site, where there will be a live chatroom available if you want to hang out and discuss the show, ask questions, or comment on what you hear. I really hope you make it...and if you do, make sure to mention in the chatroom that Theresa sent ya!

But, if you can't make it to the live showing, and still want to listen in, the archives will be up within a day or two, and I'll make sure to post it on my Facebook page. Also, before the show airs, I'd love to have YOUR input! I've been asked to submit MY Top 10 picks for most haunted places in the world, and I'm really struggling with it. I mean, how do you categorize and rate a haunted location? How popular it is? The amount of potential 'evidence' collected, the stories associated with it, how many ghosts the places has, how often the activity occurs, how intense the activity?  What???  Heck, I struggled with my list of Haunted America locations, lol. Hop on over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page and let me know what you think---how do you pick what is the MOST haunted, and what are some of the locations YOU think should make the list?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review: Strange West Virginia Monsters

Title: Strange West Virginia Monsters
Author: Michael Newton
Copyright 2015 by Schiffer Publishing
Amazon Purchasing Info

This book had been on my radar for a couple of months before I finally received it as a Christmas present this past December. Even though I already owned quite a collection of books dealing with all the strange critters of West Virginia (plus, dozens other on West Virginia ghosts & hauntings, UFOlogy, etc, lol) I was really excited to see how this author would put his own spin on the topic...and what cases would be covered.

Before I even get into the content of this book, though, I have to comment on its appearance. This is a REALLY awesome book, visually. As you can tell from the cover photo, it's set up like a tabloid newspaper. Bright colors, bold text, and full color photographs and illustrations not only grace the cover, but are found throughout the book as well. Broader chapter headings are further broken down into individualized case studies, and the creatures featured range from your more mundane Bigfoots to the REALLY weird and uniquely West Virginia monsters, such as the Braxton County Monster and Sheepsquatch.

It was those chapters on the more unique monsters that really interested me the most. Although I was familiar with the vast majority of the material covered in the book, most of it being stuff I've read in other books, message boards, blogs, and websites, it was really cool to see it all compiled in one place. As an added bonus, the more outrageous and unique animals had pretty short write-ups---interesting and to the point---which served my ADHD well. What I had a little trouble getting through were the chapters on more common sightings, such as the Bigfoot and out of place felines. Since this book focused mainly on reporting sightings and didn't really include much generalized information on these monsters, it led sometimes to huge blocks of text with nothing more than a list of sightings, one after another.

Therefore, while reading, I did a lot of skipping around chapters, trying to balance out the short and easy to read, with the more tedious. In future editions, it might be a little easier if bullet points were used in some places, but overall, the effect wasn't bad and really shouldn't bother most people too much. I'm just sort of a...distracted...reader at times, lol.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It's a great compilation of a very weird side of West Virginian history and culture. There's a good mix between historical and modern sightings, great photos and illustrations, and a very thorough works cited section. It deserves a place of honor on the shelf of any West Virginia para-enthusiast!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mexican Airport Haunted by...a Ghost App

Last November, ran a story about the hauntings at Mexico's International Airport. It seems that staff was being spooked by the apparition of a little girl, who appeared to be about seven years old, and was often spotted in what was described as Victorian clothing. She carries with her a small ball, and has perpetually untied shoelaces. Although the girl roamed the restricted areas of the airport at all hours, she was most often spotted at night in an area known as the 'graveyard of planes', a section where unneeded airplane parts were stored. A photo of the young girl was even captured, showing her through the window of an abandoned plane, dressed all in black and with long black hair.

But, its another photo that I'm more concerned with, because this photo has recently been posted in a couple of different Facebook paranormal group pages I belong to. This next photo shows a stark contrast to the girl in the first photo...and for good reason. The girl below, shown outside the terminal in a shot allegedly taken by a tourist, is nothing more than the product of a popular ghost photo app! I was easily able to track down the exact image, with the help of the handy index over at Ghost App Ghosts. Check out the photos below: the image is in the app menu in the right hand column, third down from the top. I can't stress this enough---if you are a paranormal investigator, researcher, or just someone who owns/operates a paranormal Facebook page for other para-enthusiasts, take some time to familiarize yourself with the photo albums over at Ghost App Ghosts. As long as people are still being tricked by these images, people will keep putting them out there.  And as for the photo above, depicting the little girl through the window of a plane...well, I'll just let you decide on what THAT is for yourselves!

Close up of Ghostly Little Girl
Original Image

App Menu