My First Time (Ghost-Hunting)

I want to begin by saying a big thank you to “Appalachian Unknown 2019” for taking the time to grant a wish I’ve had for a very long time. They say you never forget your first time; the truth of those words are self-evident.

I began corresponding with Brent Heird (founder of AU-19) and Spencer Cantrell a few months before our investigation, and after learning their motto (More to These Mountains Than Moonshine) I knew these were the folks I had been looking for.

As if having AU-19 on scene, wasn’t enough, I was luckier still to have Emily Menshouse of “Error404Paranormal”, and Chelsea Ryan of “Black Fox Paranormal” join AU-19 in the spirit of collaboration in the hope that it would provide the answers Id been seeking. Both brought their own unique talents to bear on the study, and those talents were applied with enthusiasm.

Within minutes of the “scene survey”, Emily called out “Something hit me on the leg”! An unknown, seemingly thrown object, from an even more unknown origin. Then began the “spirit-box” sessions. I was only vaguely familiar with this technique, and even less with another technique used; which was referred to as “The Estes Method”.

The plan had been to stay completely neutral and only observe, but taken with the moment I began snapping random pics as Chelsea was conducting her session with the Estes Method. Out of a series of 15-20 shots, there were a couple that turned up with “anomalies”. I offer no opinion, but will say there was no fog, no one was smoking, and it could not be a smudge on the lens because no such artifact appeared before or after in the series:

Having no experience with a real, live, “boots on the ground”, investigation (and also having a personal philosophy of “no trafficking with spirits”) all of this was a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, Brent of AU-19, was very helpful with the mental digestion of this new and exciting information.

Not wanting to be a hindrance, I stayed behind as the company made their way to the our family cemetery. Many who have been laid to rest here would attest to the “resident phenomena’ ’in their own time. Besides, the cemetery was a no-go for me; too much emotional attachment to those that lay there. However, I felt the cemetery residence would appreciate this “search for answers” to questions they had in life; and I’m sure they would welcome the visit just the same.

Upon the group’s return, I took the opportunity to get to know my guest a bit more. While speaking with Brent, he talked of AU-19’s purpose, “We mainly explore wooded areas, mountain sides, and forgotten cemeteries in following local folklore and old wive’s tales. We don’t search for cryptids, but we do run across them from time to time. Appalachia is old as time itself. These sacred lands hold on to their secrets. Some they don’t want told”.

His last statement resonating with truth, as this has been my experience as well. It has always been a rough and rugged land, and it takes a special spirit to call it home. The longer you stay, the more it becomes clear that there is “something more” in these mountains. You don’t just live on the land, the land lives through you.

By all accounts, the team members agreed that it was a productive night. Brent said, “Something was out there speaking, but there were no clear words (in English)for me to capture, but there was a low murmur. That could be what you are referencing. Nature spirits may have a language all their own. “

The “nature spirits” Brent was referring to came from a previous conversation; which discussed a wide range of phenomena that had occurred in the area over the years. I stated my belief that there are other things on the land (woodland-spirits or the like) besides what can traditionally be considered “ghosts”.

Brent continued, “One thing I have noticed is that the first time exploring, the spirits are off-ish. Quizzical but not interactive much. The next time, they know what to expect and know if the explorer’s are going to try to hurt them or not.”

“Everywhere we went that night we were asked— who are you? —why are you here? Questions like that came through the Ovulus.”

My overall takeaway from the night was much in the same vein. Feelings of confusion mixed; with a healthy mix curiosity and excitement. Was this coming from the team members? Perhaps. But, there seemed more to it. In the end, the search for the unknown comes down to personal belief and experience. It may never be captured, measured, or categorized; but it is the quest that is important. If nothing else was gained from the night; I had the opportunity to meet and converse with some fine folks. That in itself made it all worthwhile. I highly recommend them for anyone in need of assistance with their own quest.

Teams contacts:

Appalachian Unknown 2019:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Appalachia-Unknown-2019-112313866957740 

Youtube link: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClTky1tZg9gznD71PSXOBaQ 

https://youtu.be/5nGK4YAyRcI

Emily Menshouse:

https://www.facebook.com/error404paranormal 

https://soundcloud.com/frickandfrackparanormal/cabin-its-not-me

Chelsea Ryan: Instagram @paranormalchels

Portents in Healthcare

The link between the healthcare field and the paranormal is strong, and understandably so. Suffering and death are ever-present and emotional energy is high for both patients and workers alike. Unsurprisingly medical workers are over all a superstitious lot, whether openly admitted or not.

A perfect example of a “superstition” believed by a large portion of the general population, and very much believed by many medical-workers is that of the full moon being responsible for a manner of, well “lunacy”.

Another is the belief in omens of impending death.
Recently speaking with a nurse (we will call her Katherine) with an unusual awareness of these portents, she made some observations that I had not previously encountered.

She began talking about the common occurrence of patient hallucinations. This can be caused by various illnesses and afflictions , and are often similar in “theme”; dogs, cats and all manner of animals, and even persons are not uncommon. However as she noted, when the hallucinations were that of the patient’s family, especially those that had passed, extra vigilant observation of the patient should be maintained because very often the patient would expire soon after these visits. This is very similar to accounts of those that have experienced a N.B.E. (near-death-experience) were encountering previously passed love ones are quit common. The mirage of passed family are not the only people to be seen by those in a compromised state. Occasionally, and perhaps the most unnerving chimeras reported are those in which the patient state they see themselves, very much in the vein of the folkloric “doppelgänger”. As an example, the patient will ask, “why am I on the ceiling?”. This type experience seem to be a certain prelude to calamity.

Another observed theme she had noticed with patients having hallucinations and their portents while on the job, was the hallucinations of “out of place” water. She gave the example of a patient asking, “why is there water all over the floor?”.
Reports of hallucinations of water spark many questions. Water being one of the four “classical- elements” it’s connection to the occult and all things paranormal are ubiquitous. Water is the element from which all life on Earth sprang, and in it we all begin our lives. What does it say that many “see” it as our lives draw to a close?

Encounter with the Trickster

 

The term ghost story in current times has become a catch-all, and understandably so, but there are things in the paranormal world that defy simple classification. For those with more than a passing interest in spectral subjects, there are somewhat definable categories, classical haunting, residual haunting, poltergeist-activity, etc. Sometimes however, there are others, one offers, for lack of a better term. These are seemingly random, and somewhat “nonsensical” occurrences. The following is such an encounter.

We were visiting our family cemetery, my father and I. This was a fairly regular thing, usually once every couple of weeks or so. On this particular occasion, I had decided to walk the ridge and do some none serious squirrel-hunting, none serious in that it was the middle of the day, and just more-or-less just a reason to take a short hike.

The entire trip, along the ridge, down to our grandpa’s old place would be maybe a mile, mile and a half. 

About 15-20 minutes in, I was walking along the trail that ran along the ridge line, puffing away on my cigarette when I heard what I took for two children excitedly talking back and forth to each other, and what sounded like a pig snorting and grunting coming from down the hill to my right. 

I thought perhaps some children were chasing a farm escapee, a pet or the like. I walked back on the trail a few yards thinking I would cut it off and head it back towards them. When I got back to where I had a clear view down that side of the hill there was nothing there. No sound, no bird sound, no movement, not even a leaf of a tree was moving. I stood there perplexed for several minutes, looking and listening, but there was nothing. Not knowing what to think, I chalked it up to “oh well” and started back on my original path. 

I hadn’t taken a dozen steps when right behind me there was the sound of thundering footfalls, or that’s the best way I can describe it. It was so forceful I could feel the vibration of the ground move up through my legs, all the way up my spine. If anyone has ever been close to a galloping horse or large animal, that’s what it felt like. There was also a growling-bellowing sound, like one may expect from a really pissed off something. I spun around and fired my shotgun empty, expecting to be trampled by, I didn’t know what, but there was nothing there. I shot into thin air. I then turned and took off as if Satan himself were hot on my heels, reloading as I went. 

After running till I just couldn’t anymore, I slowing walked along calming down bit by bit, and tried to rationalize what had just happened, but I could not then, nor can I now. I did get the distinct feeling that I had just been the victim of a not so funny (for me anyway) prank. 

 

Ever-Present Hat-man

Today a family member’s medical procedure brought several members together. After the serious business was finished, and thankfully the good news made for a time of light hearted conversation around the dinner table.

The topic turned to the unknown as it occasionally does, and there is the familiar reminiscing of family stories and personal experiences, then a new topic was broached.

“I saw a shadowy person wearing a hat once standing on the side of the road”, one member of the party proclaimed. This statement opened the floodgates as each member related their own encounters with the “Hat-man”—with myself being the only exception.

Being the only person present able to give “his” name, I was asked “what is it about”, “is seeing him an omen”, “is it evil“? All I could offer as an answer was “I don’t know”.

Hearing these encounters from family for the first time was a bit unsettling. How widespread is this phenomena, and how has it flown under the radar for so long? As par usual, no answers, but a multitude of questions.

Thoughts of Missing 411

I like many others have been intrigued with the mystery of persons that have “gone missing” over the years, often under mysterious circumstances. While by no means a recent phenomenon, and not lacking in coverage from researchers of the strange, none have been more been more successful in bringing the topic into the conciseness of both students of high-strangeness, and the mainstream at large than David Paulides. 

With many books in a serious on this subject to his credit, his latest “Missing 411: The Hunted strikes an altogether different note. The subjects of these cases are not day-hikers or wilderness novices, they are experienced, well equipped individuals, and yet they too succumb to whatever unknown-factor affecting the less prepared.

Mr. Paulides has certain criteria that must be met before he includes any cases in his writings. Some of which include the individuals must not to have known suicidal inclinations, financial difficulties, or personal life situations that may make a person consider self disappearance. All of which are valid considerations to take into account.

Other points of interest Mr. Paulides has identified in these cases, and that seem to arise too often to attribute to coincidence are, abrupt weather changes either at the time of the disappearances or at the time searches begin, disappearances happen at high rates in or around boulder fields and berry patches, and when the person is found (which isn’t always the case) many times they have been found without their shoes, or they have found the missing’s shoes with the appearance they have been intentional removed.

The shoes being removed struck me as familiar. There is a “historical” account of a person’s shoes having been intentionally removed in the context of an extraordinary situation. “And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5.

 

The Wolf Moon

The first full moon of the year, and indeed, decade (The Wolf Moon), and it lived up to all expectations (as far as I’m concerned).

Many people have the superstition of a full moon causing, well, lunacy. The superstition is rampant among healthcare workers as well as first-responders of all stripes, but is there any validity in this belief?

All I have is anecdotal, and for me, that is all I need, but I do believe there is an increase in all manner of mayhem during the time of full moons, but why? Can it be as simple as, humans do not need artificial light to go about their business, and this truth has been cemented into human biorhythms over the hundreds of thousands of the human experience?

In the end, the cause may not really matter, but the effect must be addressed, month after month…

A Long Overdue Thank You

The first venture into the “paranormal public” I ever made was to send a story to a podcast I had listen to only a couple times. The host was very welcoming and went on to record a dramatic rendering of, “Encounters on a Dark Road” posted here two years ago.

My unfamiliarity with the podcast world at the time prevented me from appreciating the reception my unremarkable storytelling ability was given, and to have let so much time pass without recognition is indefensible.

At the time the podcast was known as “Don’t Break the Oath Podcast”, the name has since changed to “Realm of the Supernatural Podcast”, but the unparalleled content and engaging hosts have remained unwavering.

To say I highly recommended this show would be an understatement, and I do recommend contacting them with anything “unworldly” anyone would like to share. They are a hospitable harbor, in what times can be a sea of indifference.

Here is their presentation, and again let me say, thank you Lee.

Resolutions

A new year and a new decade has begun, and with them come many resolutions. To drop bad habits, to improve that which needs improvements and to focus on that which is most important to us. Many times I’ve made them, as most of us have. Some have taken, most have fallen by the wayside with the march of time.

The resolution of focus I will address here.

The world of the paranormal, while having wide appeal can also be a lonely road to travel. Relatively few have the resources to tackle the deeper questions that often arise after only a superficial “scratch of the surface”. Interest can wax and wain wildly. There is the predictable, and understandable spike of interest as the days grow shorter, and the time of Samhain looms, but for some the desire to know is ever-present and can be all consuming.

Will there ever be any “bottom-line” answers, perhaps not, but mayhap the asking of the questions is what is important, and deserves the focus.

Voices in our Heads-and Sometimes not.

 

This is just a little short one-offer that happened recently, this was the Spring/early Summer 2019. 

 While sitting in the office of our department talking to a coworker before work began for the night. The topic of our conversation escapes me now, but literally could have been anything from history to current events. All of a sudden there was a male voice that said, “Diana!” It seemed to have come from right beside my coworker.

This was a shock to say the least since I was certain there were only the two of us present. She asked, “Did you hear that too?” I said I certainly did, as I stood up and started a search of the office for any possible source of the voice. We were the only people there I confirmed. She then said, “I was just making sure you heard it too”, and honestly seemed only surprised it had been heard by someone else. 

Later I learned this was a recurring thing, and I was one of only two persons that had ever heard it besides herself. I didn’t know how to feel about that, but it is what it is and what can you do. 

Blog Update 11/25/19

Delving into the current “state” of paranormal thought, it became painfully obvious I was ill prepared for the online world; one could say an information tsunami was encountered, and was brought to a crest by my (fairly) recent appearance on “Strange Familiars” podcasts.

Awash in the available of relatively instant idea exchange, the task of recording and reporting were pushed to the background. 

I want to apologize for the lack of attention to the blog. When first began, it was more or less a place to share some personal encounters and family stories, with a focus on the Appalachian point of view. Something to pass the time, a hobby; but one with the benefit of preservation for those that follow. 

While the focus of this blog will continue it’s focus on the Appalachian-region, the connective tissue of the paranormal-world must be explored with a wider lens. 

Let’s see what we can find. 

Spirit of the Season II

 

 

The Christmas season is quickly approaching, and with it our “Christmas-Spirit” seems to be awakening once again.

A week ago, a new unopened roll of Christmas wrapping paper made its way from the basement into the living room. Nothing too striking, but still it was without explanation. 

Now, only a couple days ago from this post date, a more profound occurrence took place. 

Our little one had enjoyed the first “snow-day” of the year, and knowing there was another to come the next day, she was allowed to stay up late. Around 10:30 pm her reserves were depleting quickly so she began trying to convince Mom to go to bed with her. When that didn’t happen quickly enough, she drifted off to sleep. After a while, I carried her to her room and tucked her in for the night. 

An hour or so later, we heard her coughing and Mom was asking if perhaps she should take her to the doctor as she had been having a few coughing bouts the last few days. We settled on not doing so since she hadn’t had a fever, and so Mom gets up to go look in on her as we both do from time to time. She came back to the living room, and a little later, I took my turn to look in on her. I got to her bedroom door and she was not in bed. 

She was in our bed, all tucked in and sleeping peacefully. The bedcovers were laid out very neatly except for the small area our daughter took up. This was in stark contrast to the way it had been left only a few hours before. We had all been laying around much of the day in the bedroom, watching TV and just enjoying our day off together, and so the state of the bed reflected this to say the least. 

When I returned back to the living room I asked Mom, did you put her in our bed and tuck her in? She said she hadn’t. I said, well I put her in her own bed and now she is in ours all tucked in and the bedclothes are all straightened out. She said, “maybe ‘J’ had done it” with a half-hearted chuckle. 

The next morning, I was up and out to an early appointment, when I returned, our daughter had gotten and was playing leaving her mom in bed. I walked into the bedroom while talking on the phone, and saw something in the bed next to Nat. It was a white pencil, and printed upon it was, “An Education Jubilation-Kentucky Department of Education”. When I asked my daughter about it, her response was, “it’s not mine daddy”, several re-questioning render the same results. 

Taken separately, these instances may not seem that dramatic, even though it’s difficult to believe a five-year-old not only slept walked to another room, that in itself being quite possible, but also made the bed and managed to tuck herself in with loving care, and almost as if to “put a point on it”, as it were, the pencil, with that specific writing on it, drove the point home. As previously stated in the post from last year, ‘J’ was a well known and much loved teacher.

 

Spirit of the Season

My family and I have been in our house going on two years as I write. We found it after many months of a disheartening search, but when we did, it was all that we had been hoping for. It had only become available due to the misfortune of the previous owner; a young, well-known, and much loved school teacher. After her widower, and mother had taken what they wanted of her personal belongings we thankfully inherited the rest. There was a lot remained, household furnishings, kitchen implements and a tremendous amount of Christmas decorations that made her love of the season strikingly obvious. 

With so much of her belongings remaining, I thought it understandable that a presence could be felt there, and if there was anything more than just that feeling, to me at least, knowing her nature, that was fine as well. After all she had not passed away in the house, however in the interim between her passing, and our acquisition of the house, there had been an incident with a renter, who had suffered a fatal overdose there. That did however give me pause. 

From even before we moved in, there were oddities. We had employed a painter to freshen up the interior, she said she heard “voices” and “someone walking the hallway”. Our daughter, about to turn three-year-old at the time we moved in, said she had seen “a little white dog” in the basement, but as I thought to myself, she’s only three, so who knows. The previous owner did at some point have a small dog, evident from the small leashes, petite doggy sweaters, and small paw-prints in the concrete work around the house. Whether it was white or not, I couldn’t say. Our daughter had also seen what she called “horse-legs” through the gap left at the bottom of the blinds on our back patio door. I suppose that could have been a deer, but whatever she saw, it definitely scared her, and honestly that did very much disturbed me as well. 

Then my eight year old, had seen a dark figure behind the house, in the same area as the “horse-legs”. This was in the middle of the day, she said she thought it was me, and when I ask what it was doing, she said it “bent down, like picking something up”. I could see talking about it was starting to bother her, so I didn’t press the issue. I myself, I hadn’t had any issues, other than some very vivid, disturbing imagery dreams, but after the dark figure my oldest seen, I decided something had to be done. 

I smudged the house and salted the doorways and windows, and after that, there was a much lighter feel about the place. Whether this was more from a psychological I didn’t know, and honestly didn’t care.

So all was well, other than an episode of sleep paralysis Natalie had experienced, something which she had now and then her entire life, although this one, she said was different, and much more intense and terrifying. 

Then a week or so before the end of November, late one night, 2 AM or so, Natalie and our daughter Jemma were in the bedroom asleep. I was up, and had been in there for some reason or another, and as I was stepping from the hallway from the bedrooms into the living room, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Instinctively I whipped my head around to see the door to the basement swing open. It wasn’t a violent push or anything, it was just as though someone was opening it to walk through. I stood there perplexed for several minutes just looking at nothing. Had a pressure change from my movement be the cause? I did consider this, although it had never happened before to my knowledge. I decided, whatever the cause to keep it to myself.

 Then a week or so later, one night as I was at work, Natalie decided to put up the tree and do the holiday decorations. She gets it all done and texts me all excited telling me about all the decorations she had found boxed up in the basement that had belonged to the previous owner. There had been several ornaments and some ribbons that just match the stuff she already had. She sent me a picture and of course, she had done a great good as she usually does with the projects she undertakes. 

At any rate, the next evening after I had got home and slept that day, when I got up she was showing me some of the other decorations she had found but decided not to use. Then she said, “I line what you did with that bow”. I didn’t know what she was talking about, and said as much. She said, “I like the way you tied up those cords with that bow”, point to the window seal behind the Christmas tree. She had placed a couple of little model houses from her Christmas village on the window seal, and sure enough the power cords from two of them were tied neatly together with a bow made of a piece of the ribbons she had found in the basement. I told her I didn’t do that. A look of bewilderment came over her face. She said “Yes you did”. I said, “I swear I haven’t touch a Christmas anything”, which was the truth, being I had came home from work that morning and went straight to bed, and besides, decorations has never been my strong suit. After a few minutes of her saying I had done it, and my steadfast denial, she said, “that’s starting to weird me out”. I didn’t want her feeling freaked about it so I said perhaps Jemma had done it. I didn’t really believe that, and I don’t think she did either, but it was enough of possibility to let it go. 

Later that day, I examined the bow, and it was obviously not the work of a 4 year-old, and I it was confirmed as much when I had asked Jemma about it, and she “I don’t know Daddy, maybe Mommy did it”. There had been no one else in the house, so it remains a mystery, although to me, I took it as a sign of approval from the previous owner.

Keepin on Truckin (Through Time)

I was 15 at the time. My father, grandmother, and myself were on an afternoon outing, deep in the woods of my father’s youth. We were looking for some rocks that have been drilled and shot sometime in the distant past. My father had stumbled upon these rocks on one of many adventures of his youth. These shot rocks, he was convinced were somehow connected with the legendary, John Swift’s lost silver mine. If there were a connection may never be known, but it did provided reason for a pleasant hike through the woods.

We had been on the move for several hours, stopping now and then to inspect the numerous cliff faces of the area, but had found nothing of particular interest. I decided to let them go on ahead a bit, having the intention to light-up a cigarette when enough distance was between us to keep my secret safe. So when it was clear of sight and sound, I leaned against a tree and lit one up. 

About halfway through, I became aware of a low-rumble, as that of a vehicle in the distance. Being familiar with the area, and knowing there was no nearby roads, it immediately struck me as odd. The sound steadily grew louder until, right along the top of the ridge it appeared. It was a truck rigged for log hauling, the cab was white, with a strip of chrome running down the side which caught the sun and gleamed brightly. There was what I assumed was a man, with no shirt and his well tanned arm propped in the window. I watched it as it made its way along the top of the ridge and disappeared out of sight. The sound grew steadily lower as it regressed away. 

I lite up and finished another smoke, and no more of it, other than a logging operation had opened up in the area, I went on my way to rejoin my family. When I had done so, I mentioned in passing what I had seen, and my speculation as to the logging going on. My father balked at this, saying no there was no logging happening in the area. His flat rebuke of what I was saying began to annoy me, so I set out retracing my path to where I had been standing. When I made it back to my vantage point, confirmed by my freshly discarded butts, I hung my red bandana in the limb of the tree, and started up toward the top of the ridge where the truck had made its transit. 

As I made my way, I periodically turned keeping the bandana in sight. I had originally guesstimated the distance from my original viewpoint to be just shy of 100 yards. When I made it to that distance, there was no road, or no contemporary road anyway. That was what may have been at one time, however there were trees of several diameter growing in what would have been the middle of it. 

Finding this unexceptionable, I pushed on to the absolute top of the ridge only a few yards further. The bandana was still in line-of-sight as I began descending the other side of the mountain. I retrieved my marker, and made my way to reunite again with the family. When asked what I had found, I said, there is no logging goin

Super Natural Sightseeing

Brushes with the paranormal can, and do happen in every imaginable setting. In our forests, on our roads, in our homes, and probably the most disturbing, in our bedrooms.

It can happen anywhere, at any time, but there is certain landmarks that tend to attract higher levels of activity than the baseline of other locations. Such landmarks include, but are not limited to: bridges, railways, military-installations, bodies of water, burial and effigy mounds, and crossroads.

While each of these areas can, and do spark their own theories as to what makes these places supranatural hotbeds—at this time, let us focus on the latter, and leave the rest for a time each can be explored in the detail they deserve.

Intersection of Worlds

Crossroads have a long and storied history in the annals of supernatural lore. Exercutions, and subsequent burial of the condemned, as well as burial of those that had committed suicide, often took place at crossroads. The belief being that their restless spirits may be confused, and so not be able to return to aggress the living.

Perhaps this reasoning arose from belief in the occult significance of crossroads; that being, they are the intersection of: paths, ideas, and worlds, and they represent, decision, indecision, and confusion.

These ideas are not regulated to superstition of the past, but are alive to this day in a number of pop-cultural references. One such instance is that of the legendary blues artist Robert Johnson, who it is said made a Faustian bargain for mastery of the guitar. The sight of his contract signing, the intersection of Hwy 49 and 61, in Rosedale, MS. Whether or not Mr. Johnson made such a bargain, only he and “Ol Scritch” could say with any authority. Nevertheless it as been referenced numerous times in musical and dramatic portrayals, assuring the crossroads will remain “a place of power” in humanity’s collective subconscious for years to come.

To be Seen or Not to be Seen

While some of the beliefs in the significance of crossroads can be seen as logical in the ethereal

sense, the same should not hold true in the world of cryptid creatures. Yet, this does seem to be the case, but why?

In the cryptid world, let us take for instance the currently in vogue Dogman. These creatures are reputed to be the ultimate apex predators, yet they are spotted by motorists at an inordinate rate, and not surprisingly at crossroads.

Predators do not like to be seen, so one would logically think a creature with honed predatory senses, and with above animalistic intelligence, (if not telepathic abilities) would be more than capable of remaining unseen. That is unless being witnessed is not a concern, but may in fact be the desired.

Collapsing the Wave Function

In quantum field theory the role of the observer is a place of fundamental importance in weaving the fabric of reality.

Lacking the expertise or the desire to do so, we will refrain from going into great detail with the theory, suffice it say, it appears observation affects the material-world, if only on the smallest (for now) scales (see the double slit experiment). Does this explain the “feeling of being watched”, one has to wonder. It also begs the question, is the purpose of paranormal encounters, in fact to be observed?

William Francis “Slick Willie” Sutton, a prolific 20th century American bank robber, is attributed as saying, when asked by a reporter why he robbed banks, “Because that’s where the money is”. In this vein, perhaps experiences happen in these areas because, that “is where the people are” more often. These entities desire to be observed, and in so doing, some type of subtle quantum energy/information is transferred giving them realization, or existence in the material world.

It has been theorized that some paranormal entities feed off the fear generated in persons that encounter them. Perhaps only certain types of entities need or desire the energy generated by fear, and some portion of energy is obtained whenever observation occurs regardless of the emotional response. It may be as simple as, to exist, it they must be observed.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

September is here and with it comes the first whiffs of the “spooky season”. A time relished by children of all ages. The time of crisp-air, falling-leaves, corn-mazes, ghost-stories, and for those that seek to take it up a notch, time for a ghost-hunt.

Time honored traditions, however as with many things in our current times, commercialization has crept in. With the rise of “reality” driven television, the rise of paranormal based media was inevitable. Ghost “hunting” television programs with a variety of catchy titles, but with virtually identical formats (what was that?) are legion. These presentations while boldly blazing trails over threadbare pathways have brought a spotlight to previously unrenowned locations.

One such area location is the Waverly Hills sanatorium. Long known to Louisville, Kentucky locals as a place of spectral incidents, Waverly has gained worldwide recognition as a paranormal hotspot, and a “bucket-list” destination for would be ghost-chasers of any caliber. Understandably so if only a portion of the alleged activity is true. However, research and investigation are one thing, exploitation is another.

Ghost tours are by no means a new concept, but to establish a cottage industry predicted on the unending torment of Earthbound spirits would appear to be shameless exploitation innocences.

How many souls spent their last incarnated days, languishing away, forcibly separated from their their families, their homes, and everything they had ever known. Now, their restless spirits relegated, for all intents and purposes, to the cast of a sideshow attraction. Doomed to a eternal performance for the (not so) cheap thrills of a soulless audience.

Is it moral to derive enjoyment from the suffering of others, be they living or not?

To each his own; this is the U.S.A., and all hail capitalism, but how can patronage of such a place not equate to endorsement of ethereal-slavery?

Is this stance a bit hyperbolic, perhaps. Nonetheless, In the end, lets us not forget the premise of our ghostly interests, and lose sight of just what that means.

Dogman on the Ladder

With the rise of the Dogman toward the top of the cryptid hierarchy, there has naturally been many theories put forth as to what exactly they are, and their origins.

Are they the product the product of a sinister governmental biological weapons program (always a top contender in the paranormal realms), a ravenous beast of unholy origin that has periodically plagued mankind, a material manifestation of our collective subconscious fears and/or desires, or perhaps an occult evolutionary advanced offshoot of mankind’s historical bane, canis-lupus.

 

All that currently can be said of the phenomenon with any certainty, is nothing is for certain. With this consideration in mind, the one that explanation that does not require invocation of shadowed entities, be they ethereal or regimental, is the “higher-wolf” hypothesis. After all, this concept is strictly biological, and would align with historical accounts, whereas an intentional mutation/hybridization program would not be possible due to the technological requirements.

 

While it is tempting to declare the Dogman a representation of an avant-garde subspecies of the canis genus, this explanation is rife with problems. The idea of a more evolved, of “higher-wolf” is predicated on the Evolutionary Ladder fallacy.

Evolution does not follow a goal oriented template, and the perception that an organism is “more advanced” is highly subjective and an anthropomorphic concept.

 

If we take into account only the least remarkable attributes of the Dogman, that being its functional bi-pedalism, the physiological changes to the canine skeletal system would require a quantum-leap in morphological alterations. Not the least of which would necessarily be hip size and shape, and vertebral column structure.

 

In short, with the highly diverse physical, not to mention behavioral differences reported in upright canine encounters, the likelihood of Dogman being a product of natural selection are astronomically small.

Encounter on a Dark Road

This happened to my father when he was a young man of 18. While walking home one night, a particularly cold and dark-night, he had one, if not the most terrifying experiences of his life.

The wind was blowing hard and cold, he didn’t have a hat so he had the collar of his coat turned up and was walking slightly bent forward into the wind. There was no moon that night, and it was very dark, so he was more or less making his way by feeling the graveled road under foot. You must understand at that time he was still living with my grandparents and their small farm/ranch was way back in the hills, miles from any paved road or neighborhoods.

He was making his way, his hands in his pockets and leaning forward into the wind when all at once he walked headlong into “something”. In a reflex action he through his hands into an outstretched position and in so doing he grabbed two-hands full of hair. He was a good sized man at 6’2″ and with arms outstretched he said it was like walking into, and grabbing a “wall of hair”. He later recalled the hair was quite long, several inches, long and thick enough to get a good hold.

He took off down the frozen creek that ran alongside the graveled road, and said whatever it was, took off up the hill on the opposite side or the road. He was understandably terrified at the time, but in his telling, after the passing years, he found some humor in how he navigated the frozen creek, “busting his ass” ever few steps, but making a hasty retreat nonetheless.

With the morning light, he returned to the sight of the encounter, this time well prepared for whatever he may encounter; armed with a rifle.

The trail the creature made, while tearing its way up the hill could clearly be seen, but after the terrain leveled-out a bit, and with the ground being frozen, after a short way the trail was lost.

My father was an avid “outdoorsman”, not as much for recreation as for necessity. He knew what was in the woods, or thought he did, but he could never think of what this thing could have been without invoking Bigfoot. Over the many tellings of this story, over many years his story never wavered.

Voice from the Crawl Space

I was about six years old when it happened. My father, sister, and I were in the front yard one day playing baseball, as well as could be played with players varying in age from mid-thirties(father), mid-teens, (sister) and myself (around six) when it happened.

I had gotten a new, full-size (MLB) wooden bat for my recent birthday, a grossly oversized piece of equipment for my age, but that didn’t prevent my father from getting it for me because he, like so many other fathers, had the great American dream of his son playing in the major-leagues someday.

At any rate, for some trivial reason or another, I can’t remember exactly, I started being an insufferable brat. I got mad at something during play and actually pulled the “I’ll take my ball and go home” expression with the exception, it was a bat instead of ball, and I was already home. I retreated to the side-yard, leaving them in the front-yard, where their game continued on.

There I was with my bat, stewing in whatever real or imagined slight I had suffered, when I heard my name being called. The voice was coming from a small, man-sized opening to the crawlspace from beneath our house. At first, and for a few moments thereafter, I thought it was my sister trying to egg-me-on. I thought it vaguely sounded like her. I ignored it at first, but it continued saying, “Kelly, come under here.” It repeated over and over.

I had enough, and still being fairly certain it was my sister I said, “Geneva, you better stop messing with me.” To this the voice responded, “I’m not Geneva, come under here”.

When first I heard it, I was twenty-feet or so away from the crawlspace opening, and after first engaging it, I had been inching closer. I keep repeating, “Geneva, you better stop, I mean it”. The voice kept denying it was Geneva, and beckoning me to “come under here”.

I loved my sister, and she me, but there was sibling conflict, regardless of there being a gap of several years between our ages, so pulling a prank such as this was well within the realm of possibility.

I inched closer, and I was not afraid. I was however getting angry thinking she was being particularly relentless in this “joke”. Still the voice said, “Come under here”. So I said, “No, you come out here”, while cocking back my bat behind my head, storing up all the potential energy my six-year-old arms could muster.

The exchange went on for a few moments more, until it became apparent neither side was willing to compromise. I was certainly not, “coming under there”, and “it” wasn’t “coming out here”, so the dialogue ended.

I am ashamed to admit this now, but had “it” showed its head through the crawlspace opening, whatever it was, sister or no, it would have tasted every ounce of hickory I could have brought to bear.

Still provoked by anger mainly, but by then fear had certainly gained ground. I decided I had enough “alone” time and decided to go back to the front-yard. I was fairly certain I would be greeted with laughs and teasing from my father and sister, but none came. I surveyed their demeanor closely; hoping for some hint that it had been a prank, there was none. I went and sat on the front porch for a few moments replaying my experience. I then rejoined the game.

I never mentioned this to anyone for well over twenty years, then one day the family conversion happened to turn to the “paranormal”, so I decided to ask the only other person at home that day, that being my mother. She told me it was not her. My sister also steadfastly denied it. Now for a person reading this, there is certainly the possibility that one or both was lying, and while I would be 99% sure of the truthfulness of my sister, I am 100% certain my mother would never lie to me, especially when asked about such a thing. This woman was and is the epitome of Christianity. A mother who never told her children there was a Santa Claus because, she “wasn’t going to tell her children lies”, and “that our father worked hard to make a living for us and no bearded fat-man in a red suit was going to get the credit”. You would just have to know her.
So there is my conversation with the “unknown”. Take from it what you will.

Phantom Hitchhikers, on Horseback

Stories of ghost and/or phantom hitchhikers are legion throughout Kentucky, and elsewhere. It may be surprising, but this phenomenon did not begin with the advent of the automobile, but in fact, were well known from times when horseback was the dominant form of transportation.

In most part, with these accounts, the hitcher is never seen, but heard and defiantly felt. Also surprisingly, there seems to be no “tragic” deaths or events, or indeed any deaths at all, associated with the affected area. Their cause a mystery, and as to what purpose their “hauntings” serve, a mystery as well.

In most cases, the presence of these additional travelers is known by little more than the sounds made with mounting and dismounting, and by the buckling-reaction of the horse with the sudden addition of unexpected weight.

However, these generalizes did not hold true one night for my uncle. His experience was something altogether different, and one he, nor anyone that heard his story would ever forget.

My uncle Virg was not a fearful man, that is what he may have feared no one could say, and only he knew. His fears, or the lack there of was not on his mind the night he fought for his life against an unseen and unheard “soldier” from another place and time.

The way was well known to him, and more importantly, it was very well-known to his horse. Many times his trusted mount had transverse the course, only vaguely lain out by his captain and master. On more than a few occasions, when uncle was overtaken with fatigue or by the “spirit” of the day, he was given free rein.

Tonight’s course passed between two mammoth boulders on either side of the trail, both with cracks, crevasses, and overhangs that had provided short-term shelter for travelers, and long-term lodging for the original inhabitants of the land. The cliff overhang, in one instance provided an idea attachment point for a hangman’s noose, during the time of the “Brother’s War”.

Though his name was lost to history, he was a soldier in blue, part of a detachment, allegedly carrying a payroll, all in gold. This prize proved too tempting to some local miscreants, and so an ambushed was laid. The unknown- soldier made a valiant attempt to get away, with at least a portion of the treasure, but was overtaken and unceremoniously hanged. The legend says he hid what treasure he carried on his temporarily evasion, and would not give up its location, even under the threat of imminent death.

The particulars of the events notwithstanding, what is certain, after he meet his fate at the end of a rope, his body was left for the ravages of nature. He was given a proper, albeit anonymous burial by my relatives that inhabited the area. Now as then, the cliffs on each side of the road was lined with, and mostly obscured by, mountain laurel; a better location for an ambush could hardly be desired.

There was no portents to herald the mortal-combat that was soon to ensue. The road was well known and well-traveled, Uncle’s horse was on course and time, the rhythmic thud of his hooves was hypnotic, interrupted occasionally by the clank of steel shoes on the errand stone.

Then it happened, the horse jolted from the weight and sudden impact of the attacker. Uncle was seized around the throats by an icy, vise-like grip. Out of instinct, uncle pulled the long-blade hunting knife from his hip and began slashing wildly behind his back; he cut only air. The horse, as startled as his rider, and loosed from all control, bolted down the path at a wild, breakneck speed. Uncle was on the verge of succumbing to the unprovoked attack by this unseen, unheard, and except for the iron-grip, unfelt combatant. Then, just as the horse breached a small stream that intersected the road, the assault abruptly ended. Uncle slowly recovered and continued on his way to his intended destination, which happened to be the home of my father, himself ten-year-old at the time.

When Uncle related his fantastic tale, as difficult as it may have been for some to believe, none present at the telling doubted his word. He, like most of his time, was a man of his word. His honest nature notwithstanding, his word did not have to stand on its on merits. Evidence of the attack could clearly be seen in the form of hand shaped bruising all around his neck. The force of the grip so powerful, ever finger could clearly be counted.

Although the place, even at the time of this occurrence, was known as the “Haint’d Cliff”, due to other unearthly events that had taken place there, to the best of my knowledge, no other person, were ever physically attacked there. What was the motivation for the attack? Did a vengeful “spectral-soldier” mistake him for one that had perpetrated a unlawful and dishonorable act so many years before? Was it an angry “spirit-warrior” of the First Nations, whom during their lives had more than a single event to warrant a longing for vengeance? I suppose, like so much about the paranormal, the answer may never be known.

Bulletproof Cryptids

One of the otherworldly attributes assigned to the Dogman in many encounters, is their seeming invulnerability to even a firestorm of bullets. In many cases, these bullets were fired from the weapons of experienced hunters and woodsmen, whom are all-too-familiar with their weapon’s capabilities and damage potential. Yet, after taking fire from these high-powered rifles, there seems to be little to no effect, other than in a few cases the target is knocked-down only to rebound and make a fleet-footed retreat.

There is no “natural-animal” on the American continent that can take a relative close-range round from the weakest of “hunting-rifles” and not present immediate, and obvious indications of trauma. Yet this is exactly what is reported in many cryptid meets firearm encounters, Dogman and Sasquatch alike. This peculiarity would seem to lead to a preternatural conclusion.

Interestingly, the concept of being bulletproof is not unknown in the realm of esoteric knowledge. One such instance is recounted in the annals of White Bull, the nephew of the legendary Lakota War Chief, Sitting Bull. While lesser known than his uncle, White Bull was a fierce warrior in his own right. He was present at the battle of Little Bighorn, and was purported as being the man who killed General Custer that fateful summer day.

White Bull’s stated the bulletproofing ritual was an intricate process conducted by his tribe’s “Medicine-Man”, and while he goes into some detail of the steps in his recounting, the end result was much like that which is seen in many firearm vs. cryptid accounts. Upon the rituals conclusion, to test its effectiveness, he and his fellow participants would take time about firing his pistol ( a pistol he asserts had brought down many buffalo) at one another at close range. While the impact would knock them off their feet, and would leave tremendous bruising, their skin would remain intact, no blood was drawn.

If we taken at his word, this bulletproofing ritual would seem to lend credence to the “skinwalker” theory as an explanation to the upright canine enigma.

The Dogman Rises

To say the subject of the Bigfoot is legendary, is to make a colossal understatement. The great, hairy humanoid has been with us, if only in legend, since before the advent of the written word, as witnessed in native oral traditions, as well in cave paintings, petroglyphs, and other graven images.

If the existence of this creature, and for it to remain hidden in the modern-era, did not stretch believability to breaking, it seems there is another bipedal, (at least much of the time) cryptic-critter roaming the wilds of the world. This one, presenting definite canine characteristics. The Dogman rises.

There seems to be two categories of Dogman sightings:

1) Naturalistic: in this type encounter, the creature teeters on the cusp of biological-possibility; that is other than bipedal locomotion, they behave in a manner one would expect to be seen with any other canine species.

2) Supernaturalistic: These accounts defy any sense of biological normalcy; tapping at windows, invulnerability to injury (firearms), vanishing into thin air, self-luminous eyes, human or very humanoid hands, etc.

What could account for such disparate differences? Is it possible that what appears to be separate phenomena, may in fact be different expressions of one entity?

Being a child in the dawn of the videogaming age, (and a male) perhaps it was unavoidable that I was, and to some extent am still, an avid gamer, and when the pressures of adulthood wain a bit, I still enjoy playing. Recently while playing a multiplayer, multiple character game, the call of nature had to be answered, and so I took advantage of the option of “take a break mode”. This basically means your game character becomes a NPC (non-player-character). Your character carries out the actions programmed into the game. These actions while relatively basic, are critical to the survival of your character and the survival of the other actual human-players still involved in the game; such as rendering aid, reacting to threats, etc.

Could it be, that these Dogman creatures are in fact avatars for a non-corporeal entity, that can take control of them at will, for whatever purpose, then when this “master-controller’s” will is absent, (take a break mode) the Dogman-avatars perform their basic survival programs. The programming, much like that of their computer-game brethren, need only to be relatively simple; eat (scavenge or hunt), avoid human contact, if contact is unavoidable, threaten but do not harm.

Without hard evidence, (a body, or irrefutable film) all there can be is speculation. However a strictly biological explanation, simply cannot adequately account for the breadth of unnatural-attributes displayed by these creatures. In later posts, we will take a closer look into these metaphysical traits, and attempt to plumb their depths.

To Record and Remember

Being born and reared in the Appalachian region is, as with most things, a mixed bag. There is the long and well documented lack of economic opportunity. Beyond the extraction of the “black-rock” that fueled the industrial revolution, there is, and perhaps always will be, a stark absence of an economic base. This void of wealth has had a lackluster-effect on many elements of society for hundreds of years.

Lack of ports and rugged terrain, has left the region to relative isolation, both economic and cultural. While economic arrest is a hindrance to monetary wealth, the same is not necessarily true for culture richness. Isolation has afforded insulation, and preservation.

However, change is inevitable and constant; the only variable is rate of progression. The centuries of cultural insulation of Appalachia will be claimed by this truth. With the proliferation of the internet, the greatest mechanism of information exchange since Gutenburg’s press, cultural-evolution is occurring at breakneck-pace. To attempt to retard evolution is an exercise in futility. The best that can be sought is to record and persevere, some small part of what once was.

For generations, at family gatherings and reunions, after the initial “catching-up” with the goings-on each other’s life, the conversation, more often than not, would turn to stories and accounts of the out-of-the-ordinary, some personal, some passed-down through the years. It is my hope, if tradition ever waivers, the stories of my childhood that I hold so dear, may in some small part, be preserved here.

While the primary focus of the texts here will tend to be of a paranormal nature, when viewed through the cultural lens of Appalachia, “para” is often the normal.