By Carrie Mitchell
Thursday, September 27, 2018
October is here, and it's time to think all things spooky. It's not a difficult thing to do when you belong to a paranormal group whose home base is the official Halloween Capital of the World. For us Halloween is an everyday occurrence, and lo and behold it just so happens to be my favorite holiday of all time!
But how and where did Halloween originate? Let's take a look at some of the history behind this spooktacular day...
Halloween's origins date back to the tenth century when ancient Celtic Pagans and Druids celebrated a day called Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-wen). A Gaelic word meaning "All Hallows Eve". It was a time when the veil between worlds was the thinnest, and they would invite the spirits of dearly departed loved ones to celebrate life, pray for their souls, and give thanks for a bountiful harvest. It was also one of the four major holidays that segmented the calendar year. Samhain was the biggest and most sacred holiday in that it marked the beginning of winter or "new year". It signaled the end of another cycle wherein a new cycle would begin.
Many times Pagan rituals were performed. During these rituals they were known to leap high into the air with broomsticks as they danced around a bonfire to simulate the height of the crops that they desired next year. Thus the idea of witches riding broomsticks emerged. The bonfire itself was traditional in that it provided a beacon of light in which spirits of their dearly departed could follow. Today candles are lit and placed in windows as beacons to follow. Feasting was common where foods made from the final harvest were consumed. Offerings of food were given to the visiting spirits of loved ones passed as well as to
the Harvest Gods in exchange for future fruitful crops. Horn of plenty anyone? Or perhaps we'll just stick to apple crisp and rice crispy treats.
Another tradition that is still performed today is the art of carving pumpkins. The original Jack 'O Lanterns were carved from various gourds and used in Pagan rituals. Many were created and placed around the celebration space as a way to keep evil spirits at bay to protect the living. Today we place these pumpkins by our front doors to ward away those evil spirits, and prevent them from entering our homes.
Most rituals and celebrations also included "masking" or "guising", what we know today as dressing in costume. "Masking" was a way to ward off, trick, or appease evil spirits that would cross the veil with our departed loved ones. The practice of dressing in costume and going door to door began in the middle ages. Then it was called "souling" or "mumming" where the poor would go door to door receiving food in exchange for prayers for the dead on Hallowmas (November 1st). Today we know this tradition better by the title "trick or treating", only the Americanized version today depicts the theology of giving treats to prevent "tricks" or "pranks" from happening at all. A little blackmail say you?
Contrary to some radical Christian beliefs, Halloween is not the Devils birthday, or Devils night. In fact ancient Pagans and Druids as well as Neopagans today don't hold any belief in any such being. New Religion Missionaries during the conversion branded the Old [Pagan] Religion's supernatural deities as evil, and thus associated them with the Devil. And since Paganism was now the rival religion of Christianity, Pagans were vilified as being worshippers of a demon (or false) God. The Pagan's version of the underworld then inevitably became known as the Christian Hell. But that's a story for another time...
The point is that the traditions of the holiday of Samhain or Halloween as we call it today, never died out. All of the holiday's traditions and mysterious customs have roots within our religious history. Each can be traced through the lineage of spiritual beliefs, and handed down through the centuries. Though Halloween has gone through a metamorphosis and changed throughout time, many people today still celebrate the ancient traditions (with variations I might add) all while embracing the new traditions associated with the holiday. And why not? It's a day we can all come together as one and be anything or anyone we wish to be, and add some mystery and magic to our technologically filled lives. And in doing so, together we reaffirm that death is a natural and inevitable part of life, to celebrate the cycles on a wonderfully sacred and magical night!
Happy Haunting Everyone!
Until next time...
By Carrie Mitchell
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Something that not everyone realizes the importance of is grounding and protecting yourself before and after an investigation. This is something that can even be done on any normal given day that one may feel the extra need for. But what does it do?
Grounding allows us to:
Being grounded means that you're present in your body and connected with the earth, allowing you to feel centred and balanced no matter what's going on around you.
First of all, there are so many ways that this can be done. It's only a matter of what works for you, so don't let anyone tell you that you're doing it wrong. It just takes practice and a couple of minutes out of your day. Here are just a couple of ways that have worked for me, but feel free to explore other options as well...
Walk on the Earth
Take off your shoes and walk on the Earth. Not the concrete. Find some actual Earth. Run through the grass, take a stroll along the sandy beach, wade through the mud. The Earth carries an energy that nourishes your energetic body. But when you wear shoes and walk on concrete you don’t get to absorb that energy. So, get back to nature and let Mother Earth ground and restore your energy. Again, catalog how that grass, sand or mud feels on the bottom of your foot; how does it make your spirit feel? Just thinking about it makes my energy soar. Focus on the surface of the earth so this walk doesn't become a mindless stroll down the street.
Another earthly grounding technique is to find a beautiful old oak tree. Place your hands on her trunk, and feel your energy enter the trunk, circle around, and then flow back into you. Its more than just touching the tree, place both palms on the bark, close your eyes, and make it real. You are the tree and she is you. Just make sure to thank the oak tree for the gift she just gave you.
Sit in hot water
A hot bath or a dip in the Jacuzzi isn’t just relaxing, it’s cleansing. Take a hot bath with some salt mixed into the water. Water is purifying. Sitting in a warm tub of water will slough off any negative energy that’s sticking to you. The shower is okay if you don’t have a tub, but while you’re in the shower, you want to imagine all the yucky energy peeling off your body and going down the drain. Sometimes other people’s energies can stick to us. You may come home from work with other people’s problems attached to you. Water will clear that right up!
Grounding to Source.
It is important to ground to source as well. Just like you visualize the flow of energy going to the earth and back to you, you will visualize the flow leaving your crown chakra to source and coming back to you. See yourself reaching up to the sky into the heavens, grabbing onto that divine white light, and pulling it down in through your crown chakra, filling your body with the purity of spirit. This process will purify and protect.
The Bubble Affect
In the moment of fear, you can visualize yourself within the protective confines of an iridescent bubble in a color of your choosing. Just make sure when you do this make that bubble move with you as you go about your daily business. It works in the moment, and when done correctly will block any negative outside influences from entering your aura.
By Anoka Paranormal Investigations
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
An Ethnographic Study of Paranormal Investigation
By Abbey Fluke
I gently took the small, polished hematite stone from Carrie’s hand as she huddled the
team together for a grounding prayer. I ran my fingers around the dark grey, metallic stone as
everyone wrapped their arms around one another. Carrie, the case’s lead investigator, blessed the
team as a cold winter breeze swept over us. A deathly silence ensued as we entered the old,
1930s house together, already mentally prepared for the night’s investigation. Another
investigator, Mike, set up the team’s equipment and handed me a K2 meter, so I too could
measure the amount of energy around me when traveling throughout the venerable house. While
exploring the basement - which had been a particularly active part of the house - my K2 meter
would occasionally flare past the average level of the house’s energy. As I stood completely still
in one of the basement rooms, the energy would spike, hold, then falter. The homeowners had
five dogs (one dog was wasn’t theirs and was being puppy-sat for the weekend), which were
loose and roaming around the house. All night long they followed the investigators playfully.
Except, when the team went downstairs to investigate further only the dog who had been at the
home for less than a day followed us down. Once Mike pointed out the only dog downstairs
chills ran down the back of my neck. I had immediately thought back to when Carrie explained
to me how, “Animals and young children are known to be able to see and feel different
paranormal sensations, largely due to their innocence”. As the night wore out, the team gradually
gathered together to wrap up the investigation. We soon found ourselves back in the frigid night
air. Before leaving the team I reached over to give Carrie her stone back. She insisted that I keep
it, and told me that hematite stones are spiritually known for grounding and protecting
individuals from negative energies. I thanked her graciously, as we walked back to our cars.
“You’re welcome!”, she replied. “ I just don’t want anything to happen to you…”
Paranormal entities have always fascinated me because I’ve always been curious as to
what happens after someone passes away. I had never experienced any concrete encounters
myself - that is, up until meeting my microcultural group. For the longest time I had only known
what highly dramatic blockbusters and television shows portrayed to me about the world of
paranormal investigation. The stereotypes surrounding the topic seemed endless since
paranormal investigation has always been a more controversial topic. People have created the
illusion that everything exciting during an investigation all happens in an hour, largely due to the
over-produced shows and movies about paranormal investigation that are available for them to
watch. Investigators are seen as entertainers, because some of the investigations broadcast on
television are completely staged and shown only to get views for the television networks. Real,
professional investigators within our normal society feel the need to re-educate the public about
the world of the paranormal, since some individual’s ideas of ghost hunting are so skewed. I,
myself, even found a new understanding for the work of paranormal investigators when I was
able to first meet with my microcultural group. I realized shortly after getting to know the team,
that everything I had ever previously watched, known, or been told, about the world of the
paranormal had been completely misinterpreted.
I was so excited to find a legitimate paranormal investigation group that I began
searching for a team the night the paper was assigned. I found many different teams on a
“Paranormal Investigation Groups In Minnesota” online database, but decided to contact Anoka
Paranormal Investigations LLC immediately, “cold-turkey”, because of how they were based out
of The Halloween Capital Of The World - Anoka, MN! Not knowing anything about the team,
except the fact that they specialize in paranormal investigation, I crossed my fingers and waited
eagerly for a response from an investigator. Ross Beard, the founder of Anoka Paranormal
Investigations LLC (API), answered my message only hours later.
API is a group of professional investigators who have been exploring and researching
paranormal activity around the metro area since 2009. All members strive to help their
community become properly educated on the correct methods of paranormal investigation, and
also to assist anyone who might be having some trouble with paranormal entities. API, currently,
is made up of 11 members, three of which are paranormal sensitives who each have their own
unique gift for connecting with the paranormal. Ross Beard, as stated before, is the founder of
API and a lead investigator - also, my main informant. Mike Fredrick is another lead
investigator. Linette Robillard is a paranormal sensitive on the team who can connect with
paranormal presences while on investigations, and even throughout her daily life. Carrie Mitchell
is another one of the team’s paranormal sensitives who has full sleeves of colorful tattoos on her
arms. Char Savoie is the last of the team’s sensitives and her psychic gift allows her to recite the
correct names of people who have passed when reading individuals. Katie and Steve Lind are a
married couple, and both are investigators for API. Bonnie and Carl Friedrich are also a married
couple, and are currently investigators-in-training. Sean Lydon is a lead investigator, but
specializes in the analysis of the team’s photo evidence from each investigation. Harry Hurley is
the last of the team’s investigators, and he is also the team’s case manager. He deals with
contacting the homeowners and API about the dates and details of possible investigations. A
majority the members have full-time jobs, and all pour hours of work and thousands of dollars
into supporting API. Carrie has even written a book titled; Paving The Paranormal Path;
Haunted Minnesota, which covers her paranormal experiences, involvement in API, and what it
is like being a paranormal sensitive. She personally gave me a signed copy, which had helped me
tremendously while writing this paper.
I first met with the API on Saturday, January 27th from 9:00 am to 11:05am. I observed
the group’s monthly team meeting. They were gearing up for a big investigation around
mid-March, which Ross really wanted me to be be apart of. Unfortunately, the paper needed to
be done by the time of the big investigation date, and I told the team I should probably join in on
a different investigation just to be safe. Carrie immediately invited me to an investigation that
night, 6:45 pm, at a house in Anoka. Carrie and Mike lead the investigation, while Bonnie, Carl,
and I joined them. It wrapped up around 9:30 pm.
I met up with the group again at Billy’s Bar and Grill in Anoka, on Tuesday, February
13th from 6:45 to 9:00pm. The team was hosting their monthly Tell Us Your Ghost Stories
(TUYGS) event where they meet with the public, and everyone who wants to share their own
ghost stories can in a safe, supporting environment.
My second investigation with the group was at a house in Blaine, at around 6:45pm
again, and went until about 10 pm on Saturday, February 17th. Mike lead this time, and Sean,
Steve, Linette, and I were present.
I also went to a gallery reading on February 20th at Billy’s from 6:30pm to 9:30pm,
where only the psychics from the team were present. They hosted a group psychic reading event,
and read most of the people in attendance, including me even.
I visited with the group for the last time on Saturday morning, February 24th at their next
monthly team meeting from 9:00 am to 11:25am. I asked the whole team some questions about
API, and thanked everyone for allowing me such great opportunities.
Since gathering my observations and interviews of API’s paranormal investigators, I have
found that their main cultural characteristics are; commitment, community involvement,
protection of one another, and awareness of their surroundings.
Within the first ten minutes of observing the team, they had mentioned majority of the
events coming up in the next month and how everything would need be handled. I could already
tell commitment is a key characteristic of API. Each member of API has a full-time job, on top
of their involvement with the team. Besides weekly investigations - usually on Saturday nights
and can last from 2-3 hours - the team makes additional follow ups to specific residents who
request spiritual cleansings and blessings. “We got so many requests for cleansings last year, I
actually had to go out and buy more sage”, Mike jokingly told me after my first investigation. He
further explained how the team uses sage, holy water, salt, and specific spiritual candles to
perform cleansings. The team also has to pay for the supplies themselves, because API never
charges for their services. Ross had expanded on this topic during the first team meeting when he
stated, “About ¼ of the cases we investigated last year, we had to go back and cleanse the house
for the owners”. The team can visit the same location upwards of 3-4 separate times on top of the
initial investigation to perform cleansings or smudgings. Having so many extra visits per client
can eat away at the team’s time to conduct other investigations and work on their paranormal
research. However, the team is more than happy to help out clients - no matter how many trips
back it takes.
The team meets towards the end of every month, roughly for 2 hours, and most members
are assigned a task during the time in between meetings to discuss at the current meet up.
Whether it be evidence reviews, additional client contact, or writing stories/updating the team
website, each individual has a job. On top of meeting homework, some members have specific
jobs they do for the team. Carrie is in charge of the API website’s aol.com email, and she also
hand writes all of the notes at team meetings. Harry is API’s case manager, and presents new
cases each meeting. Ross runs and updates the team Facebook page. These members take time
out of their day to make sure the team is functioning properly, and all three individuals
voluntarily stepped up to take on the responsibilities. The entire team has access to all forms of
the team’s public communication as so members can write and post whatever they like to share
about the group.
Not all of the present members were apart of the original team established back in 2009,
but some members have been apart of API for 4 years, to 6 years, to all 9 years - keep in mind, while still maintaining a unaffiliated, full-time day job as well. All the investigators are not
directly compensated for their work within the team, but rather do it because they, “absolutely
love it”, as Carrie says. “If I could I would definitely do it full-time”, she shared at my first
meeting with the team, as many other members shook their heads in agreement.
The team also reviews hours upon hours of evidence throughout the month too. For each
investigation a different team member will step up to help review the evidence for that specific
case. Bonnie shared a some of the evidence she had found during a recent investigation with the
team during the last team meeting I was at. I asked her just how long it took her to review the
material, and her response was utterly impressive. “Just for the 2 DVRs [recordings] it was 4
hours of pure listening, but then I have to go back and recheck everything and mark to make sure
it is legitimate EVPs. I also like to organize and categorize each clip I find, and that can take up
to another 5 hours - depending on the length of the original tapes ”. Char also added how
“everything is doubled” when reviewing evidence. Bonnie pretty much confirmed Char’s point
when she shared that it took her almost 9 hours total to review the 4 hours of audio recordings.
It’s because of the patience API’s team members, like Bonnie, - who is able to listen and sort
through hours worth of evidence - have that makes being apart of this team such a big
commitment. Some investigations have fewer hours of audio and visual recordings to examine,
but still, everything gets analyzed. Ross shared how the team didn’t collect and review evidence
just so that they can keep it for themselves (like many other paranormal groups do). “These are
real people who need real help... and we want to help them”, He explained to me. This
consideration towards their clients that the team has can be seen throughout their commitment to
reviewing evidence. Each investigation’s recordings are reviewed and any evidence found is sent
to the homeowner as well, so they can analyze it too and maybe find some validation from the
The group also hosts countless community events every month that are time consuming,
but always well worth it.
During the first meeting with the team I recognized how much the team valued
community involvement and interaction. Since the team is so involved with the general public,
community involvement is a significant characteristic of API. Ross mentioned how, “This group
is setting bars... We are the first team to add classes to our repertoire”. This is a big thing for the
team to be proud of since many paranormal groups just strictly investigate locations. API is set
on raising the bar higher and higher for the world of the paranormal. When I asked the team
about what drove them to teach the public in the first place, Carrie immediately replied, “all the
crap on T.V.”, which is completely understandable. Before meeting this group all I had known
about paranormal investigation came from shows like, “Ghost Adventures” or “Ghost Hunters”.
The team is working to educate society about the proper ways to deal with and investigate the
paranormal, because as Mike put it, “there’s a lack of true education” towards the understanding
of paranormal investigation.
API also discussed the dates for their next cycle of Paranormal Investigating (101
through 105) classes to begin at the first meeting. I learned that the team puts on live, and
webinar style, classes about how to properly investigate ghosts. At these classes average people
from around the community who have a passion for the paranormal can learn the correct
methods of paranormal investigation. Ross explained how API works with both the Anoka
Hennepin and St. Francis community education offices to provide these monthly classes to the
general public. API also discussed future dates for their Intuition classes, which teach the public
how to strengthen their intuition and recognize the forms of energy around them. Both types of
classes cost $35 to join, and are how the team makes a majority of their money to help fund
API’s work. Due to the fact that API never charges homeowners and clients for their services
they earn a majority of their money through teaching community education classes.
Aside from classes, the group puts on casual get togethers within their community, like
their popular Tell Us Your Ghost Stories (TUYGS) event hosted in the haunted basement of
Billy’s Bar and Grill in Anoka. Anyone can sign up and join the team for a fun night full of ghost
stories. Team members typically tell a few of their own experiences, but the public is free to
share some of their own as well. Another event the team hosts is Gallery Readings at Billy’s with
the team’s psychics, Char, Linette, and Carrie. The event has a limited number of people allowed
per event and costs $20 to attend. The psychics were able to tell individuals in attendance things
about their passed family members and personal lives that no stranger could ever know. The
event was very emotional, and tissues were always readily available on the tables. I was able to
go one night, and it was amazingly, life changing.
Linette, one of API’s psychics, was able to tell me all about my grandmother who had
passed away a few years ago. Ever since she has passed, I’ve felt a looming presence while in
my room alone - especially while working on homework late at night or right before I’m about to
fall asleep - which has scared me periodically over the last few months. I would tell my family,
but they would write it off as me just overacting. However, I had never mentioned my deceased
grandmother while with Linette, or around API even. I finally got validation while being read by
Linette, when she told me, “Your grandmother wants you to know that she’s with you, and is in
your room. Sometimes you can feel her, and it’s okay to just say “Hey Grandma!”. You know…
She also tends to move things around, but that’s just to let you know that she’s there”.
Immediately after her reading I had began to cry, not because I was sad about her bringing up my
grandmother’s death, but because after all these months of feeling this presence around me I now
know I wasn’t imagining it. I’m not scared any longer either since I finally know who it is,
thanks to Linette.
Protection of One Another
I clearly realized how important protecting one another was to the team after my first
investigation with them. I hadn’t even know Carrie for more than a day, yet she insisted that I
keep the spiritual hematite stone she had given me as my own form of protection and grounding
throughout my first investigation. Her care and concern towards my well-being before and after
the investigation has really stuck with me. I admired how she “didn’t want anything to happen to
me” after the investigation wrapped. I also noticed how all members who attended the Anoka
investigation had hematite and other spiritual stones with them as well. Also, while at the Blaine
investigation, Linette took the time to bless me individually after that night’s investigation. She
hadn’t know me for more than a few hours at that point, yet she personally made sure I was safe
to go home. I really appreciated the respect and care both women treated me with, considering
they didn’t know me that well yet.
For both investigations the team performed a grounding before entering and leaving the
investigations. “We always ground ourselves before and after each investigation”, Carrie
explained at the first team meeting, “since we never want to bring anything [negative] back
[home] with us”. It just goes to show how seriously the team takes each investigation and how
important is it for them to protect their well beings.
API also “follows the buddy rule” as Ross says, on each investigation. No matter where
they go or who is available the team travels together in twos. No one ever goes somewhere
alone. I saw this first hand on both investigations I joined API on. Carl and Bonnie, and Mike
and Carrie paired up with one another on the Anoka investigation, while Steve and Sean, and
Mike and Linette buddied together during the Blaine investigation. I would typically join one of
the established pairs myself, but at one point during the Blaine investigation I paired up with
Linette who had invited me to join her on a EVP session in one of the rooms. It was really cool
to get to work one on one with Linette and truly see how a secluded EVP session works.
It is also very important that the homeowner(s) are present and included at each of the
team’s investigations as well. “Liability is huge”, Ross exclaimed at the first team meeting, “the
team always has the homeowners with us. We have had cases where we left right then and there
because the homeowner didn’t want to participate. We do this because if we are sued, all they
[the court] can take is our equipment, but we remain a team”. By having the homeowners with
the team during an investigation API is protecting both themselves and the homeowners from
potential conflicts involving miscommunications during an investigation.
API also stresses how important it is to protect yourself as well while dabbling into the
world of the paranormal. Steve mentioned at the second investigation how all too often people
have the wrong intentions when exploring different aspects of the paranormal, like playing with
Ouija boards or other paranormal games that test spirits. “Your intentions are extremely
important when dealing with the world of the paranormal. If you open yourself up to the
possibility of connecting with the paranormal you need to be ready for what is about to come
through. It’s like if you leave your front door open... you don’t know who will walk through,
well same with Ouija boards or during investigations. If you intend to summon spirits you don’t
know who it will be”. For these reasons the team makes sure to ground themselves before and
after each investigation and to have good intentions while conducting investigations.
Awareness of Their Surroundings
Having a good grip on their surroundings and a keen sense of hearing is common
characteristic of API’s investigators. I witnessed this first hand during both investigations. The
team’s psychics especially, rely on what they are feeling and what the atmosphere around them is
like. The investigators are aware of what is happening around them and are able to adapt better to
their surroundings. At one point during the first investigation I went on, the team had walked
back into a room they had just left for a little while because they were baselining another section
of the house. When walking back into the room Carrie said, “It feels heavier in here, doesn’t it?”,
and the team strongly agreed. I understood what she was saying, but couldn’t really feel the
room’s weight myself. However, during my second investigation, when Mike, Linette and I all
went to check out the downstairs of the home, Linette stated, “I’m getting a lighter feeling down
here. It’s not as dark as upstairs”. Mike agreed, and said he felt that as well. I too could now feel
what Linette was expressing. The atmosphere around me did feel lighter. I really had to hone in
on my surroundings and what the energy felt like around me. I wasn’t as open and aware during
the first investigation as I was at the second. Being that the investigators on API have conducted
countless investigations themselves, they are all very familiar with changes in their surroundings.
The team members also have great senses of hearing, since they have learned how to
drown out background noise to get to the real sounds they’re looking for. While at the second
team meeting, API had done a evidence review session with the EVP (electronic voice
phenomena) evidence Bonnie had found on the voice recorders from a recent investigation. Each
team member took the headphones provided by Bonnie and listened to the EVPs through her
computer. Many of the members picked up on the EVPs right away, and they only had some
trouble trying to figure out what was really being said. I listened to the recordings as well, but
had trouble just initially hearing the EVPs due to excess background noise. Ross brought out
some stereo speakers so the team could review the evidence together after each individual had
heard it already by themselves. Once we ran through the recordings a few times together, each
member wrote down what they thought was being said on a separate piece of paper. Nobody
verbally shared ideas until everyone had something wrote down. I was amazed at how close a lot
of the member’s answers were to each others. It just proved how well they have trained their ears
to block out the unnecessary surrounding sounds and strictly focus on the right noises.
After visiting the team six separate times, and spending almost 15 full hours with them I
was able to concluded that their main cultural characteristics are; commitment, community
involvement, protection of one another, and awareness of their surroundings. API is dedicated to
helping people around the community solve their paranormal problems, and each member spends
hundreds of hours of their own time doing so. The team works together and has each others
backs throughout every investigation. API’s investigators make sure they are aware of what is
happening around them, whatever the situation, as well as keeping themselves grounded and
focused throughout the countless number of investigations they conduct annually.
When I asked the team what they thought made a good investigator, Ross confidently
stated, “They question everything”, while adding the point that the team is always “skeptics
first”. He explained how it is important for the investigator’s on API to try and debunk whatever
they can so when time comes to present what they’ve found to the client, proper validation or
further involvement with the case can be decided. Char also added how a good investigator,
“Never loses the fear”. She explained how important for the team members to keep themselves
safe, while simultaneously making sure they know their own boundaries when dealing with the
Not everyone has the guts to explore an alternate world like how the investigators on API
do almost weekly. Relying too heavily on highly dramatic blockbusters and over-produced
television shows to give you adequate information on the subject of paranormal investigation is
terribly misleading. “Don’t let Hollywood fool you”, is what Carrie told me while out on my first
investigation with the group. Since then I have learned what it is like to be apart of a legitimate,
professional paranormal team, and how to drown out the stereotypical “crap” on television and in
movies. API is not a form of entertainment like a vast majority of media based on paranormal
investigation strives to be. The team isn’t worried about box office reviews, or how many
viewers tune in each week, rather they focus their energy on helping and educating their
community about the real world of the paranormal. As Ross perfectly stated during the last team
meeting I attended, “The difference between us [API] and Holly weird is... We aren’t
entertainment”, and I couldn’t agree more.
Before starting this assignment I had trouble looking people in they eyes and clearly
communicating my thoughts and ideas. After meeting API and practically being forced to step
out of my comfort zone, I have become more confident with myself and how to communicate
with complete strangers. A special thank you goes to investigators of API, for being extremely
supportive of me and going out of their ways to help me with this assignment. Because of API I
have not only learned how to properly investigate paranormally active locations, but also how to
not be so afraid of people - living or dead. I can also say that after meeting and getting to spend
time with the team on several different occasions that I now 100% believe in the existence of
paranormal spirits and entities.
By Carrie Mitchell
Monday, December 18, 2017
I get a lot of inquiries and requests on cleansing and blessing homes, objects, and people. First of all, what is smudging you might ask? Well it's not cleansing in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. Smudging is based on ancient rituals and ceremonies calling upon the spirit and powers of specified herbs to help promote peace love and harmony, and banish all that is negative and bad. It's a way of neutralizing and improving the natural flow of the energies(Chi) in and around us as well as our environment. The practice was originated and still widely used by Native Americans, yet the basic theology behind this practice has caught on throughout many western religions -and it works!
I'm also asked how one knows when and how often they should smudge? The reasons can vary from physical and emotional Illness, anger or conflict, basic to major life changes, Hauntings, attachments, and more. And the timing? As often as you need to. In most cases, when I'm approached on the subject of smudging, most people ask me if I can just do it for them -which I have no problem with. I guess the reason being is that most people are unsure of how to do it, or are afraid that they might mess up the ritual. But here's the thing, you can't mess up something when your intent is pure! One thing I like to tell people is that there is no right or wrong way, there is only what works for you and what does not. Which is why I would like to help educate people on the basics.
You can make it as simple or elaborate as you wish. But I do recommend setting the stage as a spiritual experience. Creating the sense of ceremony assists you in building your own personal power and sets your intent to help you focus on the ultimate outcome. I also begin by physically cleaning the home or object. Dirt, filth, clutter and debris attracts negative stagnant energy, so it's always good to begin with a clean fresh slate on the surface to make it easier to go deeper. Smudging is also a great follow-up to a deep spring cleanout of our homes and inner beings. One way that I can tell if my home needs smudging is I pay close attention to my plants. If they start losing leaves, the leaves become yellowed or brown, or if a perfectly healthy plant suddenly take a turn for the worst and actually dies, then I know it's time to take care of business. Being a hyper sensitive person to energies, I can also just feel when it's time.
After you have physically cleaned, now take a moment to ground yourself. This is something I on a fairly regular basis actually, due to the fact that today, I'm a practicing Pagan. But you don't have to be any particular religion to do this, in fact I know many Christians who do this as well. Toxic energies need to be flushed from our bodies, minds, and spirits in order to focus properly, and it only takes a few moments. Here is a basic way to doing this. Remember this is only one way to do it. feel free to experiment...
Begin grounding by sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Take deep cleansing breaths. Clear your mind, and think only of your breath. Imagine that you are a tree, and begin to feel roots burrowing deep into the earth. Keep breathing. Feel the earthen vibration invade your body mind and soul. Feel the rush of mother earth in your spirit. Purge yourself of negative thoughts. Imagine that bad energy as a murky muddy color, and flush it from your body to be received and purified once again by the earth. Take a few more deep breaths, envisioning a healing white light fill your body. When you feel ready, open your eyes. You will feel re-energized, and ready to take on the next task; gathering your materials.
You will need these basic fairly easy to find items:
Sage smudge stick (found in most Online and Brick & Mortar Metaphysical stores)
Heat safe container (most commonly used vessel is an Abalone Shell)
Smudge feather or fan (optional, your hand works perfectly fine too)
White tealite or votive candle in a holder
First, open a door or window (even if it's cold and wintery outside). The spirits or negative energy need an exit point/escape route, or you will just be chasing them around the house, or pushing them into a corner. Next light the white candle and place holder in the center most point of your house. Light your smudge stick using the candle flame, until it starts to smoke. Be mindful of smoke detectors and run a fan if necessary. Working in a counterclockwise motion, begin fanning the smoke over and around all furniture, walls and especially in each and every corner. Work slowly with positive purpose through each room. Ask the universe to please clear away any negative and unwanted energy. Make sure to seal each room as you exit with an equal armed cross.
Visualize that negative energy exiting the home. Feel the atmosphere around you become lighter and brighter as the smoke swirls through the rooms. When you have circled every single room -leaving the room with the open window or door until last- it's time to seal your intent. Now you have the otion to seal all windows and doors with saltwater. Salt will help keep the negativity at bay; it creates a barrier of sorts and also prevents ghosts and spirits from moving back in. You can wet your fingers and cover thresholds and window sills to help seal your home, and prevent them from re-entering. Make sure to close your exit window or door at this point.
Finally, sit and contemplate your candle still burning in the center most point of your home. Visualize a divine white light coming from the flame, enveloping your entire home, filling every nook and cranny. Feel the lightness of the positive energy return. Extiguish your candle for safety, and so it is done!
The entire process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It depends on the energy in your home, and the size of your home. Feel free to repeat as necessary. Smudging is also effective on land, objects, and people too I might add -not just buildings.
See you next time...
By Carrie Mitchell
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Gone are the days where psychics and mediums emitted this crazy substance when coming in contact with ghosts and spirits during a séance. We all know now that many of these famous photographs were faked. This has been proven time and again. Its physical existence has been disproven by science to contain non-paranormal substances. Once such case is Helen Duncan. She was a famously known and a highly photographed medium who continuously utilized props as her "ectoplasm". Paranormal Researcher, Harry Price tested many substances said to come from Helen Duncan as well as from other mediums, and found them to contain non-supernatural materials such as cheesecloth, gauze, paper cutouts, organic materials, dolls, rubber gloves, and more. Harry Price eventually helped to expose fraudulent mediums of the day by co-writing a book called Revelations of a Spirit Medium (1922).
Just because these photographs turned out to be false doesn't mean however that ectoplasm does not exist. Nor does it mean that these mediums did not actually come into contact with the spirit realm. It just means the pictures themselves were an elaborate hoax to help gain publicity. But before we look into what ectoplasm is in the real world today lets define what it is...
The term ectoplasm is derived from the Greek language and its true meaning is something formed or molded outside of something or someone. Webster describes it as;a substance known as spirit materialization. The terms first known usage was back in 1883.
Today ectoplasm still does exist, only not as the archaic photographs once depicted. Today ectoplasm is more accurately described as spirit mists or vapor. In essence it is the residual spirit energy of a person once living -often referred to as the soul, and just one of the ways for them to manifest in some type of physical form.
It's the condensing of that energy which causes a form of plasma -an ionized state of matter- to manifest. Plasma can be created by strong electromagnetic fields. This energized field decreases or increases the number of electrons, creating positive or negative charged particles called ions. When under the influence of an electromagnetic field, these ions begin to form into a structure or shape.
The higher the number of charged particles, or concentration of energy ions, the brighter or more defined the plasma. For example: Lightning is a form of plasma. When the protons and neutrons combine and clash, the air around them becomes electrified, the ending result is a flash of light. I'm sure at some point in your life you've seen or even touched a Plasma Ball? A Plasma ball is a perfect example of how our polarized conductive energy can affect the environmental conditions around us. and visa versa. Static electricity anyone?
The next time you head out on a ghost hunt, snap some pictures and take some video. You may happen to capture unexplained images. Is it a ghost? Perhaps. But before calling out paranormal however, use precaution. Take note of your environmental factors. Is it foggy, humid, raining, cold? And whatever you do, don't smoke! Many of novice have caught what they thought was an ectoplasm mist, only to be disappointed when they learned that it was someone carelessly blowing smoke near the camera or even someone breathing too close to the lens on a cold night causing it to fog up. Knowing these factors, you will be more equipped and educated to say that you may or may not have experienced some kind of ectoplasmic phenomenon in your paranormal travels.
Until next time...Happy haunting!
By Carl Friedrich
Friday, November 10, 2017
Are paranormal experiences and the existence of spirits worthy of research? Why would a person with a “rational” mind study these phenomena, which often consist of nothing more than stories? Consider the case of science catching up to the experience of hearing meteors.
Reports of hearing sounds at the same moment as the appearance of a light in the sky date back to ancient times. An account from China, in 817 A.D., records that a fireball in the sky “made a noise like a flock of cranes in flight”. An Arab record from 1026 recounts lights in the sky with “a loud sound and intense light”.
In 1714, after years of observation, sir Edmund Halley (the astronomer whose name was given to the comet that he discovered – Halley’s Comet) approximated the height of a meteor as it burns up in the atmosphere. The results of his calculations, several tens of miles, suggested that it is not possible that an observer would hear a meteor at the same time as seeing it. After all, as anyone who’s experienced a thunderstorm knows, the sound of the lightening reaches your ears long after the light reaches your eyes. Halley doubled-down on his theory in 1719, when a meteor passed over England; He declared “Of several accidents that were reported to have attended its passage, many were the effect of pure fantasy, such as the hearing it hiss as it went along as if it had been near at hand.”
And so, despite continuing eyewitness reports of hearing meteors for the next 260 years, astronomers dismissed these claims as “fantasy”. Finally, in 1978, when a large meteor passed over New South Wales, Australia, claims flooded in from hundreds of people that they heard the meteor at the same time they saw it in the sky. Colin Keay, a physicist at the University of Newcastle, became curious and started doing some research.
Keay realized that meteors had been extensively studied, and had been observed in all frequencies of the electro-magnetic spectrum (i.e. visible light, radio waves, infrared…) except for very low frequencies (VLF). Back at the lab, Keay created some VLFs and discovered that they made certain objects (aluminum foil, blades of grass, pine needles, thin wires and even dry hair) vibrate, resulting in rustling sounds. Keay theorized that meteors sometimes, under certain conditions, produce VLFs. Because these VLFs travel at the speed of light (not the much slower speed of sound), an observer on the ground standing in a field of grass might hear the grass create a rustling or hissing sound at the same time the meteor lights up.
Today, though the exact mechanism by which meteors create VLFs is still a mystery, the existence of VLFs and their effects on everyday objects, like blades of grass and thin-framed eyeglasses, is accepted among astronomers and scientists. Those who hear meteors are no longer considered to be fantasizing. Perhaps a time will come when people’s claims of paranormal activity will no longer be dismissed by the scientific community.