Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hair Commercial

I mentioned in a recent post that I would be featured in a commercial for my go-to hair salon. That commercial is finally out, and the video is down below!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ghost Hunting as a Subculture

"Ghost Hunting" is not only an activity, but it is also a subculture. A Subculture is defined as:

     "a group having social, economic, ethnic, or other traits distinctive          enough to distinguish it from others within the same culture or              society."

By definition, Ghost Hunting is classified as a subculture. It has it's own basic beliefs, celebrities, shows and movies, books and magazines, and conventions. It even has it's own set of demographics, which is mainly adult white males.

This subculture is also part of a larger paranormal community. Not all people into the Paranormal are ghost hunters, but every investigator I know of is into the Paranormal. Investigators and paranormal enthusiasts have a wide range of beliefs, but with the uniting belief that there is something else out there. This could be  cryptozoology, UFO's, Ghosts, elementals, etc.
Within the Ghost Hunting community, there are also varied beliefs and spiritualities. The main belief is that there is some concept of afterlife. There is a wide range of how people investigate as well. You have the mystics who rely heavily on sensitives or psychics, ghost boxes, and perhaps methods like seances or Ouija boards. There's also the people who operate exactly like it is on popular television shows like Ghost Adventures. They get really excited when they hear a noise or catch an "orb." Then there's people who acknowledge that the field is a pseudoscience but try to be as scientific as possible. Essentially all investigators have the main goal of helping people and finding answers. It's also a fun hobby to have.

Like any subculture, it has it's problems. There's a lot or rivalries between those who have conflicting views. There's many people who take themselves way too seriously, and they tend to get easily offended. There's also those oddball types who would believe anything.

If you're interested in getting involved with the paranormal subculture or ghost hunting, I recommend reading some books and talking to others who are interested in paranormal subjects. You can get involved with a local ghost hunting group or join online forums as well.

Below, I've listed a few popular books, celebrities, events, and websites within the subculture.

Fate Magazine:
Fate Magazine is all about various kinds of paranormal phenomena. Although it's not something that people tend to take seriously, it's very fun to read.

The Everything Ghost Book: 
This is the book that I initially bought before becoming a paranormal investigator. I found it highly informative, and I recommend it to anybody. It shares a little about the history of ghost hunting, methods, equipment, types of spirits, popular ghost stories, etc.
Paranormal Celebrities:
John Zaffis
John Zaffis is a very popular investigator from Connecticut. He has decades of experience with the paranormal, and he even has his own show called Haunted Collector.

Chip Coffey
Chip Coffey is an Atlanta-based psychic medium who is also a paranormal investigators. He also does readings and appears on the shows, Paranormal State and Psychic Kids. He also has a book called, Growing up Psychic.

It seems like  there's always a paranormal event going on somewhere.

Through the Veil: 
This event is an Atlanta convention for the paranormal and metaphysical. It is host to psychics, authors, ans investigators. They show documentaries, have speakers, and hold seances. I'd really like to attend this year, but tickets are expensive.

Scarefest is a paranormal and horror event in Lexington, Kentucky. I've never been, but I had a friend who had a lot of fun there last year.

[Your Ghost Stories]
[The Shadowlands]
[Unclear Paranormal Forums]

If you have any questions of anything to add, please comment down below!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Meet the Ghost Guides

our Facebook page (That's me on the far left!)

As many of you know, I lead ghost tours around my town in metro-Atlanta. Before Christmas, we did a little photo shoot and sent in bios for the website. (before I got my hair cut.) I really enjoy my job, because The Paranormal (of course), History, and Storytelling are all passions of mine. I also have the opportunity dress up and meet all sorts of people while on tour.

Our other guides are very good at what they do, and they're all interesting people. One of the guides is a sensitive and paranormal investigator. She was actually in "A Haunting" from [this post]. In addition, Another guide is a SFX make-up artist. We also have a guide working on an indie film, and another who is an artist who also welds. If you're interested, you can meet the tour guides from Ghosts of Marietta at [this link].

Since this is a short post, I thought I'd add a little related anecdote. My best friend and I enjoy going to our local cemetery, often times at night. I knew the trolley tour was going through the cemetery one night, and people were going to be on the grounds. We both went out there to get into shenanigans as we do, so we could prank the tour participants. It's all in good fun. We hid behind the trees with rocks and dry leaves in our hands. When the participants finally arrived, we threw the rocks to the ground to make noise, and we crumpled the leaves and stepped on a few branches. We also made some weird owl noises while we darted through the trees like shadows. We got some looks in our general direction (they didn't see us, by the way), and one person intently whispered to the guide. I now know exactly how the mischievous ghosts feel, and I like it.

The Dracula Ballet

I've read Dracula multiple times, and it just gets better every time I read it. It's he same with the movies; they never get old. When I heard that The Atlanta Ballet was putting on Michael Pink's Dracula, I was thrilled. The Count was my fictional husband some years ago, and I recently found out that it was the same way with my mom. We both decided to get all dolled up for this event.
my mother and I

The show was absolutely mesmerizing. A ghostly blue light was cast upon the set, occasionally interrupted by flashes of lightning. The light effects even produced video the of train to Transylvania and  the oceanic scene of Whitby. The music composition for this show very accurately captured the mood. At many parts, there was an eerie sound of a heartbeat in the background while violins trilled. The set was beautifully built with the look of wrought iron and stone. Even the costumes were perfect. Mina's white gossamer dress was so ethereal. Dracula's iconic long red coat covered his feet, so he appeared to float. 
The choreography was brilliant. The dancing captured the dark eroticism and horror of this tale, making words unnecessary. All the characters had very precise movements, and they were very skilled. Dracula especially had very snake-like motions that gave me chills. The fact that fog trailed his feet made him seem to glide even more.
This performance, like any good show, left the audience quiet with reflection. I even found myself craving silence on the ride home while moments from the ballet pulsed in my brain. I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to go. If I had the money, this is a production I would definitely see again. Here is a video below where you can catch a glimpse of this performance:

Monday, February 11, 2013

So You Want to be a Ghost Hunter

As people view the world of investigations, ghost stories, and psychics through the television, many aspire to become directly involved in the paranormal field. Before you jump into ghost hunting with preconceived notions, I'd like to offer some helpful advice:
Who ya gonna call?

An investigator's mindset: There is a certain mindset everyone should have when approaching the paranormal.
First, keep an open mind. This seems like the most obvious. If there are enough stories surrounding a location, there's probably something to it. 
You should always have a healthy dose of skepticism. It's important to think about all of the possibilities behind the suspected paranormal occurrences. Don't automatically jump to conclusions about the source of the activity. For example, there are many instances where a "cold spot" in the room is just the Air Conditioning vent overhead. 
Don't be hysterical. I see this way to often on television...mainly from Ghost Bro, Zak Bagans (especially when he sees an orb). Try your best not to be too nervous on an investigation. Just clear your mind, take deep breaths, or whatever else you do to de-stress. It may sound difficult at first, but it gets easy after a while. It's not good to let fear consume you since it inhibits your ability to think clearly and subjectively. Don't be too aggressive or cocky either. Very rarely should you ever provoke an entity. This reminds me of my first experience ghost hunting with a man who called certain spirits "pussies" and "bastards," commanding them to "show themselves." Please don't do that.  
Be prepared if it's not as exciting as you thought. There's going to be times when you don't catch anything at all. You could spend hours on an investigation taking pictures, getting baseline readings (EMF, Temp.), doing EVP sessions, and come away with nothing. Also keep in mind that evidence review is very time consuming. I'm not saying this to deter you, but it's the truth. When you do catch something good, however, it's very rewarding.

Basic supplies every novice should have:
  • Flashlight- Since ghost hunting is done at night, a flashlight is essential so you can see your instruments and surroundings. Make sure you have fresh batteries.
  • Camera- It doesn't have to be fancy; it just has to work. Again, make sure your batteries are charged.
  • Compass- This serves essentially the same role as EMF detectors without the cost. When there is a magnetic field disturbance, the needle will spin and do a dance.
  • Voice recorder- It doesn't have to be expensive. You can find these at most general stores like Walmart or Target. 
  • Notepad and Pen-If you hear any sounds, see anything, smell anything, feel anything, record the time and what it sounded/looked/smelled/felt like. 
  • Watch- Obviously to keep track of time.
Choosing a location:
First and foremost, make sure it is safe to be on location after dark. This means choosing a crime ridden area isn't the best idea. Also, many people get injured at abandoned properties because of splinters, rickety stairs, rotten floors, broken glass, etc. (one good reason to carry a first aid kit!)
Regardless of where you choose, always get permission to be there. Remember, most cemeteries are closed after dark.
For a first investigation, I would not recommend anything outside. Outside investigations are difficult because you are subject to the elements, noise and light interference, and distractions.
It would also be a good idea to limit yourself to somewhere small. If you're just starting out, it can get a little overwhelming to cover a lot of ground.  If you need help finding haunted locations in your area, [here's] a link to "The Shadowlands" index of haunted places.

Useful Tips:  
Familiarize yourself with different sounds. This also goes along with the whole "keeping a healthy dose of skepticism" thing. My group did an investigation at a state park where they swore they could hear a woman screaming in the distance. It turns out, it was frog mating season, and that frog's mating call sounded like a screaming lady. 
Carry a first aid kit. It's dark, and somebody could easily trip and fall. 
Say "Flash" before you take a picture, otherwise your teammates might be blinded. 
If you see/hear/smell something, be broad when you ask your teammates if they saw/heard/smelled anything instead of saying something like, "Did you hear that dog barking?" Keeping it vague protects from bias. 
Wear appropriate clothing. If it's going to be cold, wear a coat. Make sure to wear dark colors, because dark colors won't reflect much light. Also, make sure you don't wear any shiny or noisy clothing, shoes, or jewelry. Comfortable attire that doesn't get in the way will be your best choice.  
When you review evidence, get multiple opinions on what you find. 

With that, I wish you the best of luck! If you have any further questions, please comment down below.

On another note, watch Ghost Adventurer Zak Bagans get his ass groped by a ghost while simultaneously bringing shame upon the rest of the paranormal community.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Let's Talk about Ghosts

I've been feeling inspired recently. Maybe I'm watching too many of my stories...and by 'my stories', I mean paranormal junk television. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. My recent inspiration has driven me to start posting more about the paranormal. No longer will this intense interest of mine be neglected on this blog. I've posted about paranormal subjects in the past, but not as much as I'd like. I plan to post about various phenomena, anecdotes, possible scientific explanations, investigating, opinions of mine, etc.

For my new readers: Welcome and thanks for following! I am a paranormal investigator. I am considerably lucky to have gotten entangled with a very capable group of investigators. I've learned much from them since getting involved in 2011, and I don't plan on stopping. Despite growing up with one superstitious side of the family (maternal), I was never a wholehearted believer until I had a meaningful encounter at the age of 16. (You can find that story, "Ghostly Encounters," in the list at the bottom of this post.) 

If you are a 'skeptic' or happen to have a different opinion (or new information), tell me about it! I'll never pass up a chance to gain perspective. However, I do ask that you be constructive and not mean. (One of the problems in the paranormal community is that there is an attitude of "Skeptics VS. Believers,"
 and I find this unfortunate. Nothing is black and white, and both sides can learn from one another.)

If anyone has any suggestions for posts, questions, or stories of your own to tell, feel free to comment! It's great to get feedback from readers.

Some links to past paranormal posts:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Update and New Hair

Hello, Everyone! A lot has been happening lately, so I thought I'd share a little bit if any of you are interested. School's been back in session for a little over two weeks now, and It's back with full force. I took on an extra class, and I work later on week days. The good news is I have Fridays off now! 
I'm looking forward to a few things. It's looking very likely that I will be doing an exchange program in London for the whole Fall Semester 2013. If it works out, I'll also be able to visit my brother in Thailand for Christmas. I thought I'd visit him this Summer, but that's just not feasible. Also, I'm going to be in a commercial that's filming tomorrow! My hairdresser is shooting it for her salon, and she thought my funky hair needed to be featured. I think it's got a lot more spunk with the orange in it. It really complements the brown. I'll post the commercial once it airs.

My best friend's parents, who are photographers, are also going to do some "alter ego" photos of me looking "womanly" and me as Jareth The Goblin King. If you haven't seen these types of photos, it's where one person with different looks is photo-shopped into a scene. I'll be sure to post that here too. Here's a good example of "alter-ego" photography:
Is anyone watching the Superbowl tomorrow? I'm most excited about the food involved (wings, cheese dip, etc.) I'm rooting for The Raven's though, because Edgar Allan Poe!