Posts Tagged ‘paranormal’

imageWhy might a ghost appear to the naked eye or to be captured on digital or film media? Is it a change in the environment? A momentary hole in the quantum field? A slipping in the phase between dimensions? Some believe that when a ghost is seen by the naked eye, it is because of something different in the energy of the viewer…a shift in their energy being. Often children see apparitions. And young pre-pubescent girls seem to have the front row seat, often sensing and seeing phenomenon no one else does, indicating it could even be something in our biology. I am sure there is some element of truth in all of these suppositions. But still, this would not explain the appearance in photos and videos.
These guesses are all centered on ‘outward’ explanations, based on factors having nothing to do with the entity itself. This seems to miss a major point. Could it be that they ‘want’ to be seen or recorded? One explanation of ghosts is that they are energetic impressions left in physical matter that ‘replays’ itself over and over, like a video tape looped. So therefore objects and buildings are haunted because of ‘something left behind’. And maybe this is true in some cases. But to except this in a blanket way discounts those times when ghosts ‘communicate’ through EVP’s or show some conscious decision making process. Definitely, in the countless ghost stories that have been recorded over time there is often conscious reactive movement.
I believe that consciousness is at work. It seems that there is some aspect of ego still present. Very often ghost’s show up much younger than their actual age at death. It is relatively common for a ghost who died at sixty or seventy years of age to manifest as a thirty year old. There are many ghost stories of a family member who does not recognize their deceased grandma or grandpa because they did not know them as a younger person.

Coincidently, psychological studies indicate that many people who age past forty or fifty, continue to think of themselves as a thirty year old. It is a time when one is no longer viewed as ‘young’ but also not as ‘old’. Many (who as they age) are aware of changes in eye sight or joints or have facial wrinkles, but do not really feel that different than they did at thirty years of age. And…how are you ‘supposed’ to feel as a sixty year old? Could it be that ‘how you see yourself’, is how you show up…as a ghost? This would underscore the idea that ghosts are energistic beings sewn together by consciousness.

And if this is so, then the next question of inquiry that should intrigue each of us, the ‘living’, is…how do these conscious beings see us? What does their view into our dimension look like to them? Particularly since time and space does not exist for them as it does for us. Are they looking through a veil at a world they once understood but now has changed? And…do they know what they have become? It is a deeper question worth pondering.

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image by Alejandro Jodorowsky

image by Alejandro Jodorowsky


Sometimes being a tour guide of a ghost tour is like being a sherpa in the high Himalayas…you never know what may happen in that ‘rarefied air’. Your skills must include a command of information and historical facts, story telling, experience and knowledge of paranormal activities/investigations and a deep and sensitive respect for the experiences and feelings of your public guests.

Each tour, (because of the many varied influences offered by guests, the environment and the ‘perceptions’ of the moment), is unique. On one such tour recently, a family was participating comprised of a father, mother, two teenage daughters and a third daughter who was ten years old. In story, I was recounting the actions of an entity who will on occasion ‘flick’ the hair around or touch the ear of guests…but he only does this with females. Men are safe from his trickery. It became apparent that the girls, particularly the ten year old, were emotionally affected, that is to say, obviously uncomfortable. As I became aware, the concerned father, addressing the ten year old, said “Are you ok?” She said “No. I need to leave”. The other two daughters said they would go upstairs with her, away from where we were in the basement area. A public space upstairs, I said they would be safe there. This all happened very quickly. The father, a man relatively conventional in appearance, turned to me and said, “It’s ok. She has ‘the gift'”. I was stopped in my storytelling tracks. I said, “Ok. We need to take a moment and address this!”

He said “I’m a police officer and I don’t believe in what I can’t touch or see…or prove. But my daughters have brought me over. They all are ‘sensitives’. They can see and hear the dead. However, my youngest is different. She has a physical connection and they will sometimes ‘touch’ her. I had a feeling your story was going to affect her”. I could only respond with “Amazing”. Those on the tour were very interested and so, as time allowed, he shared and we all listened intently. He told of events in which his family had been touched by emotions while in contact with deceased loved ones. “We have been on ghost tours around the country” he said. “In an odd way, it has brought us all closer together. It’s something we alone share and understand”. Throughout the rest of the night the girls were in and out…intently involved but at times keeping a distance. When we went into the next haunted site, they remained outside and their parents took turns attending to them.
There may be several lessons we can take away with us concerning the events of that night.
First, a book indeed cannot be judged by it’s cover. I never know as my tour begins who may be a ‘believer’ and who may be not. I have learned that people attend ghost tours for as many reasons as there are individuals. For some it’s a serious paranormal investigation. For others it’s an enjoyable way to learn about history. Others yet it is just entertainment…a way to do ‘something different’ for the evening. Or for some it is a confirmation that we exist after death. And yes, some come hoping for the thrill of being scared. And you will never know by looking at them initially which one it may be until the tour is nearly over. Secondly, the ones who might become scared are usually not the disbelievers, unless they have been ‘converted’ in the course of the evening. More often it might be the ones who have had prior experiences and they really do KNOW that this is real. And thirdly, when a moment arises that is outside of what might be expected…and certainly outside of what might have been planned…sometimes something very rich occurs. And when this happens, (and it happens far more often than you might expect), both the tour guide and the guests must respect what can be revealed in that moment by being sensitive and non-judgemental. These are often the ‘jewels’ of a ghost tour in which the guests become as interesting as the ghosts.

A Wild Ride

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

imageWell, I’m back in the blogosphere after a lengthy hiatus. The last two years on the Official Ybor Ghost Tour have been a wild ride. We have been recently rated among the top thirteen ghost tours in America by US City Traveler as #1. Locally in Tampa we were chosen by Tampa Bay Magazine as the #1 ghost tour in the Tampa Bay area. We appreciate these accolades and we appreciate the support of our guests and followers. I suppose you gain this kind of attention through hard work and commitment to try and achieve something special. Which leads me to this conclusion, which I think followers of ghost tours and the paranormal might find noteworthy:

There are varied kinds of ghost tours across the country. I have been on many. They differ and often each has something to recommend them. Some are entertaining parties that have costumed guides who are more prone to being ‘scary’ than being serious investigations of the paranormal. Some are even thinly disguised ‘pub crawls’. Some are very strong on local history. Some are so serious as investigations that they become almost ‘academic’ courses in the world of spirit. And for participants this variety may offer something more suited to each depending on their goal for the evening. We have attempted to create a balance of history, stories and investigations of interior sites that are truly haunted.

All of this leads me to a simple conclusion about a not so simple enterprise. In order for ghost tours to succeed and continue so that guides can be paid for their efforts and skill, to remain sustainable and for the tour to survive as a business and therefore as a ‘product’…and that guests who are not deeply into the paranormal, who are simply looking for an enjoyable experience and a ‘good time’ …and as well has the kind of content and credibility that more serious devotees can appreciate…requires that you must be honest and respectful with the subject matter. In short, do what you love and make sure it’s something you believe in and the rest will follow. For those of us who are guides on the Official Ybor Ghost Tour, a flood of amazing experiences have been occurring over the last several years. Guests having powerful feelings and experiences. Photo captures of not only orbs and ‘energy forms’…but even full body apparitions inside buildings. Phone batteries draining. Camera batteries draining. The list goes on. (More on these experiences forthcoming in future posts). On a recent tour as we investigated the lobby floor of the old Cuban Club with EMF meters buzzing and guests capturing strange images, a woman in the group turned to me and said, “You have an interesting job!” I responded “Yes…you have no idea”.

 

The Gasparilla International Film Festival is Tampa Bay’s largest independent film festival and was established in 2006. It has grown since then. Today it is taking it’s place among major film festivals around the country. This year’s 2012 offering showcased over 100 films made up of features, shorts and documentaries. Filmmakers, actors and celebrities traveled to Tampa to celebrate the art of film here and around the world. Among those attending were film impresarios The Booth Brothers. They were here to screen their new film “Children of the Grave 2” at Muvico Theater in Ybor City. Their creative film contributions on the SyFy Channel are, I believe, the best work being done on that network today. Because of my ghost tour here they contacted me and we had a chance to meet. They invited me to the screening and then to the ‘after party’. At the end of the screening there was a Q&A session in which Christopher and Phillip were open, honest and gracious. They shared insights into the effort required to make a project like this happen. They answered questions about film and the paranormal. Moreover, they shared their real feelings about these subjects and I found this refreshing. I had an opportunity to chat a little more with Phillip than Christopher and found him to be a kindred spirit of sorts. My sense was that they are both loving the ride and loving the work and are dedicated to their art. The experience from first to last was a treat.

I use the word ‘impresarios’ because ‘filmmakers’ isn’t quite adequate. They are gifted cinematographers who write, direct and produce. They are ghost investigators…researchers. They are story tellers. They are artists who are helping their audience see something they have never seen before. They are using their medium to make connections for their audience between the heart and the spirit. They do not use the approach so many ghost hunting reality shows use, to endlessly shift the camera in some dark, excited drama using night vision cameras as though we are on a spook house ride. Or to treat the subject like some midway sideshow. Instead, they create a sense of humanity in the process of revealing the story and the evidence obtained.

I see this so clearly because they are doing, on a far more sophisticated level using an entirely different medium, something not so far afoot from what I do here on my tours. I and my guests do some investigating, recording and photographing…but most of what I do is storytelling in which I attempt to acquaint my tour participants with the ghosts themselves, with their stories and maybe with their attachments and why they remain. I attempt to connect my participants with the human condition of these individuals who have become ghosts. In doing so I hope to touch something deep. The Booth Brothers are artists using a different medium to invoke the art of storytelling in which I believe they too wish to touch something deep.

And how do they do this? First, they use historical documentation in the form of old newspaper articles and photographs to inform us and to give the sense that we too are involved in discovering this history. We come to see a credible ‘past’ in each story. Secondly, recreations of events are done with a sense of accuracy and with an attention to detail but never without a stylistic flow that draws the eye in. I am a fan of cinematography and their work here, framed scene after framed scene is beautifully rendered. This illustration is done in camera with effects but not with CGI (computer generated imagery). Third, with each investigation comes finally an effort to ‘assist’ the entities toward some resolve…to give some guidance to their ‘moving on’. This part is in some ways the most chilling and the most inspiring. It is here where we as the audience make the connection that what we call ghosts are disembodied conscious beings who have some aspect of ego still intact and can be helped to move forward. They do not ‘have to’ choose to remain here. It is affective and inspiring and very different than anything else being done in reality ghost hunting shows. In fact, I believe the Booth Brothers have made a step out of the genre (which frankly is saturated) into a creative place where they have the opportunity to investigate something beyond simple ghost hunting. They are working to take us to the next level. They too, like all ghost investigators, use elaborate technology. It’s now ‘stock in trade’ for the process of any investigation. But technology is cold as is the word ‘paranormal”. The Booth Brothers use both sparingly in ‘Children of the Grave 2’. This film does not portray ghosts being ‘hunted’. It is not the science of the paranormal being objectively applied to investigations. It is rather a rich, film exploration of something more universal than the paranormal…it touches upon the supernatural. And in doing so it touches our spirit.