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2008 News:
Teens accused of breaking into paranormal research center
The Democrat and Chronicle
Bethany, New York-December 29, 2008
External New Source

Teenage ghost busters caught roaming Fort Worth middle school
The Dallas Morning News
Fort Worth, Texas-December 29, 2008
External New Source

Michelle Williams: Heath's ghostly visit
Monsters and Critics
Los Angeles, California-December 27, 2008
External New Source

Former Hotel, Possibly Haunted, For Sale in San Francisco
The Wall Street Journal
San Francisco, California-December 23, 2008
External New Source

Photo captures image of an angel in hospital hallway
The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina-December 23, 2008
External New Source

Ghost hunters busted by game officer
The Panama City News Herald
Panama City, Florida-December 22, 2008
External New Source

Salem's Witch House slams the door on ghost hunters
Salem, Massachusetts-December 19, 2008
External New Source

Soul Smack Productions Releases New Documentary

Meet the man eager to get to the bottom of the ghost mysteries
Edinburgh Evening News
Edinburgh, Scotland -December 17, 2008
External New Source

Burglar who picked the wrong house
The Star Online
Kemanan, Malaysia -December 13, 2008
External New Source

NJ Ghost Hunter Society Holiday Spirit Gathering

Photography captures spirit of the spirit world
Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minnesota -December 4, 2008
External New Source

California Ghost Hunters Seeking Aid for Tea House Fire Survivors

Local church leader speaks out
Trading, Daily Iowegian - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX
Centerville, Iowa-December 1, 2008
External New Source

Farmer Uses Special Connection To Find Pets
WCSH6, Portland NBC
Portland, Maine-November 26, 2008
External New Source

Ghost classes are OK; ghost hunts are not
The Columbus Dispatch
Groveport, Ohio-November 20, 2008
External New Source

Green Park Paranormal Conference to be held in Blowing Rock Nov. 21-23
The Watauga Democrat
Blowing Rock, North Carolina-November 17, 2008
External New Source

Child-witches of Nigeria seek refuge
The Telegraph
Akwa Ibom, Nigeria-November 9, 2008
External New Source

Beggars and ghosts light up arson probe
Weekend Post News
London, England-November 1, 2008
External New Source

Calls from Beyond
Chatsworth, California-November 1, 2008
External New Source

Why I believe in ghosts
The Standard Times via SouthCoast Today
New Bedford, Massachusetts-October 31, 2008
External New Source

Bay State Paranormal Center Opens In Taunton, Massachusetts

Ghost Lusters: If You Want to See a Specter Badly Enough, Will You?
Scientific American
Ontario, Canada-October 27, 2008
External New Source

Supernatural folklore attached to some East Tennessee churches
Knoxville, Tennessee-October 26, 2008
External New Source

Texas military members investigate paranormal phenomenon
The Scrippnews
Witchita Falls, Texas-October 24, 2008
External New Source

Texas military members investigate paranormal phenomenon
The Scrippnews
Witchita Falls, Texas-October 24, 2008
External New Source

The Thrill of the Chill
(a classic reprint of an important paranormal news article)
The Standard Times via SouthCoast Today
New Bedford, Massachusetts-October 29, 2006
External New Source

Ghostly visitor seen at Rialto church
The Daily Bulletin
Rialto, California-October 22, 2008
External New Source

Ghostly experience can be jarring, but also may instill belief
The Huntsville Times
Huntsville, Alabama-October 17, 2008
External New Source

The police and the paranormal
The Straits Times
Singapore-October 13, 2008
External New Source

Top 5 Real-life Haunted Houses
How Stuff Works
Atlanta, Georgia-October 18, 2008
External New Source

Ghosthunters capture spirit voices in Montrose
Montrose Today
Montrose, Scotland-October 13, 2008
External New Source

6 notorious prisons offer ghostly thrills
October 10, 2008
External New Source Launches New Ghost Web Site for Kids, Parents, and Educators

Exploring the Shadows of the Paranormal: An Interview with Dr. Robert M. Schoch
Vision Magazine-San Diego, California-October 4, 2008
External New Source

New Children's Book Explores the Ghosts of the White House

Lorraine Warren to speak in Southbury about the paranormal
The News Times-Southbury, Connecticut-October 3, 2008
External New Source

Ghost of nun photographed at Wepre Park HAVE YOUR SAY
The Evening Leader-Wrexham, Wales -September 30, 2008
External New Source

Ghostly Image Caught in Gym
CNN-Overland Park, Kansas-September 25, 2008
External New Source

New details on bizarre and violent exorcism in the Valley, Arizona-September 25, 2008
External New Source

Go for the flowers, stay for the phantoms
The New Tribune-Tacoma, Washington-September 23, 2008
External New Source

New Travel Website Asks for Paranormal Submissions, Debunkings, Oregon-September 18, 2008
External New Source

The Religious Pressure to Not Believe

Guardian Angels Are Here, Say Most Americans
Time Magazine-Tampa, Florida-September 18, 2008
External New Source

For $30M: A Local Mansion. The Catch? May Come With Ghosts.
The Hoya-Georgetown, Washington DC-September 16, 2008
External New Source

Ghosts, Goals, and Political Unrest

This could only happen in Massachusetts, believe it or not
The Boston Globe-Boston, Massachusetts-September 7, 2008
External New Source

Why I need wheelchair for ghostly tours
The Norwich 24 Evening News-Norwich, England-September 14, 2008
External New Source

Ghouls on film
The Daily Echo-Bournemouth, Dorset-September 9, 2008
External New Source

MU anthropologist develops new approach to explain religious behavior
PHYSORG.comSeptember 9, 2008
External New Source

Horror Channel comes to Michigan -Ann Arbor, Michigan- September 5, 2008
External New Source

School for occult sciences: Supernatural only for the rich?
The Daily Times -Lahore, Pakistan- September 3, 2008
External New Source

Suspects tell police they were looking for Casper
Worcester Telegram -Worcester, Massachusetts- September 4, 2008
External New Source

Tourism trend: Halloween is now its own season
The Associated Press via the Mercury News -New York, New York- September 3, 2008
External New Source

Stay the night, ghost-hunt at the Putnam
The Quad-City Times -Davenport, Iowa- August 28, 2008
External New Source

Scary speakers on the way to Haunted Hickory Paranormal Conference
Hickory Daily Record -Hickory, North Carolina- August 27, 2008
External New Source

Ghost conference planned in West Virginia
Associated Press via the Herald Dispatch -Parkersburg, West Virgina- August 26, 2008
External New Source

Evil spirits possess 25 high school students in Mindoro -Makati City, Philippines- August 20, 2008
External New Source

Spooky timing for Olympics photo-finding
Connecticut Post -Stratford, Connecticut- August 19, 2008
External New Source

Picture Yourself Ghost Hunting takes a new look at looking for ghosts

Ex-Salem cop finds fulfillment channeling spirit world
Boston Herald -Boston, Massachusetts- August 18, 2008
External New Source

Military wants to study mind-reading
Associated Press via -Los Angeles, California- August 15, 2008
External New Source

The 7th Annual Mid-South Paranormal Convention

Ghost Tails Dog Walk To Benefit Humane Society

Hey ghosts, take a hike ... in New Hampshire -Portsmouth, New Hampshire- August 8, 2008
External New Source

Developer has big plans for former TB hospital
WAVE Channel 3, NBC Affiliate -Louisville, Kentucky- August 7, 2008
External New Source

Ghost Hunters: Ashland landmark searched for paranormal activity
The MetroWest Daily News -Ashland, Massachusetts- August 6, 2008
External New Source

Have you captured paranormal activity?
The Northampton Chronicle and Echo -Northampton, England- August 1, 2008
External New Source

2008 Valley Paranormal Seminar

Lockport man says hes a paranormal magnet
The Daily Comet -Thibodaux, Louisiana- July 30, 2008
External New Source

Bangladesh cracks down on genie-powered godmen
AFP via -Paris, France/Ontario, Canada - July 30, 2008
External New Source

David Wells Is Dining in New England

Spirits possess Tublay students
Sun.Star Baguio -Tublay, Benguet, Philippines - July 28, 2008
External New Source

A Face to Meet the Faces That You Meet

10 great haunts for seekers of the paranormal
USA Today -McLean, Virginia - July 24, 2008
External New Source

Spooky broadcast to feature live theater and more
The Standard-Times/SouthCoast Today -New Bedford, Massachusetts- July 25, 2008
External New Source

Beware: Haunting plans await
The Peoria Journal Star -Peoria, Illinois - July 23, 2008
External New Source

Haunted Waverly Hills Gets National Attention from Paranormal Groups

Ghostly goings-on at Leeds museum
Yorkshire Evening Post - Yorkshire, England - July 19, 2008
External News Source

Amy Winehouse's dad speaks out on Blake, touring and ghostly gran
New Musical Express - London, England - July 12, 2008
External News Source

English Civil War ghost captured on film by paranormal enthusiasts
The Telegraph - Northhamptonshire, England - July 13, 2008
External News Source

3rd Annual Paranormal Meet and Greet in Indiana

Casting Call: Haunted House Residents and Paranormal Groups Across the US

Haunted Lighthouses Tour to Feature Medium David Wells

Casting Call: The After-School Paranormal Club

Did Ghosts Crash Wedding at Middleboro Town Hall?
Enterprise News - Brockton, MA - June 24, 2008
External News Source

Communicating With the Paranormal in Petawawa
Pembroke Daily Observer - Ontario, Canada - June 21, 2008
External News Source

Paranormal Books and Curiosities Opens in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Casting Call: Do You Live in a Haunted House?

Most Haunted Live to Air From Gettysburg
The Evening Sun - Hanover, Pennsylvania - June 10, 2008
External News Source

Paranormal Probers on Grave Mission
San Bernardino Sun - San Bernardino, California - June 6, 2008
External News Source

Teen Snaps Eerie Ghost
The Sun - Dingwall, Scotland - May 28, 2008
External News Source

Investigators Conduct Paranormal Research At Ritz Theater Downtown
KRIS - Corpus Christi, Texas - May 24, 2008
External News Source

The Sinister Images Caught on Camera that Could Prove Poltergeists Do Exist
Mail on Sunday - London, UK - May 21, 2008
External News Source

Alleged Apparitions an Annoyance for Residents
WMTV - Madison, Wisconsin - May 19, 2008
External News Source

Las Vegas Sance Searches For The Answers

Ghost Hunters Asked to Get On the Case
Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph - Kettering, England, UK - May 7, 2008
External News Source

Paranormal Investigators Spend Night at Castle
Malton and Pickering Mercury - Malton, UK - April 30, 2008
External News Source

Ghost Hunters Called in for Unearthly Disturbances in Herriott Hall
Times-Delphic - Des Moines, Iowa - April 22, 2008
External News Source

Stricter Regulations for Paranormal Industry
The Herald - Glasgow, Scotland - April 18, 2008
External News Source

New Book Explores the Weird Side of Massachusetts

Blogtalkradio's "Shadows In The Dark" One Year Anniversary Featuring 24-Hour Paranormal Extravaganza

GhoStock Paranormal Enthusiasts Convention Returns to Savannah, Georgia

Ghost Hunt Canceled at Former Asylum
WJLA - IOWA CITY, Iowa - April 10, 2008
External News Source

Mom Stabbed Girl Because of Demon: Police
Chicago Sun-Times - Chicago, Illinois - April 9, 2008
External News Source

Paranormal Team Checks Out Police Station
First Coast News - Homestead, Pennsylvania - April 7, 2008
External News Source

Ghost Hunters Part I: South Jersey Research Organization Offers Sanity for Those Plagued by Ghosts
The SJU Hawk - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - April 2, 2008
External News Source

Paranormal Researchers Hear Voices on Tapes; Schedule Return Visit
Times-Herald - Forrest City, Arkansas - April 1, 2008
External News Source

Professor To Explore The Paranormal Universe
Planet Blacksburg - Blacksburg, Virginia - March 25, 2008
External News Source

Paranormal Viewer Offering His Help
Watertown Daily Times - Watertown, New York - March 22, 2008
External News Source

Ghost Seminar and Investigation at the Lizzie Borden House

Report: Spielberg's Spooky Social Site
CNET - San Francisco, California - March 4, 2008
External News Source

Father: Son's Spirit Saved My Life
WLWT - Butler, Kentucky - February 27, 2008
External News Source

The International Fortean Organization (INFO) Presents FortFest '08: Beyond Belief in Baltimore

Indiana-S.P.I., EERIE Radio and Crossroads Paranormal Present Indiana-PhenomeCon 2008 in Historic Columbus, Indiana

Ghostbuster Goes After Green Lady!
Highland News - Inverness, Scotland, UK - February 21, 2008
External News Source

Chasing Television's Ghosts
Broadcast Newsroom - Newport Beach, California - February 19, 2008
External News Source

Local Paranormal Investigators Explore Waynesboro Home
Staunton News Leader - Staunton, Virginia - February 17, 2008
External News Source

"The Lost Crown: A Ghost-hunting Adventure" Goes Gold

Obsessed Ouija Board Collector Builds Virtual Shrine to Those Responsible for Its Invention

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Hunters!
Cohasset Mariner - Marshfield, Massachusetts - January 31, 2008
External News Source

Loneliness Breeds Belief in Supernatural - New York, New York - January 24, 2008
External News Source

Ghost of a Chance in Amador County Hotel
The Sacramento Bee - Sacramento, California - January 22, 2008
External News Source

Ghost Hunter Wants to Explore Ayscoughfee
Spalding Guardian - Spalding, England - January 16, 2008
External News Source

Spooky Goings-On to Mark Battle Anniversary
Mid Devon Star - Taunton, England - January 11, 2008
External News Source

HVRN Corporation Launches Web site Honoring the Late Sarah Estep

Mysterious Object Captured On Camera
KIRO TV - Seattle, Washington - January 3, 2008
External News Source

The Night I Talked to a Ghost Called Dave
This is Local London - London, England - January 2, 2008
External News Source

September 21, 2008

The Religious Pressure to Not Believe

by Christopher Balzano

Outside of the paranormal community the belief in ghosts is often a leap of faith. Many paranormal investigators have had an experience that sparks their interest, but the average American never touched by the supernatural and still believes may be more open-minded based on his religious background or upbringing. Many religions embrace some level of supernatural foundation, and Christians often find themselves dealing with a conflict between what their religion says about the next world and the confusion raised by ghostly, unexplained experiences. The questions remain over whether religious belief discourages or encourages belief in the paranormal outside of the religion.

A recent poll by the Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion has resulted in two new reports by sociologists F. Carson Mencken and Christopher D. Bader that examine the connection between the religious atmosphere of American Christians and supernatural beliefs ranging from the existence of aliens to belief in ghosts. Their results show many Christian denominations may actually invite open-mindedness to the paranormal because of their deep supernatural traditions. They refer to it as the "small step hypothesis," where religious credence in one thing encourages followers to embrace other ideas that cannot be proven by science. According to Dr. Mencken, "It's a small step between believing in angles to believing in ghosts or devils. Those people are likely to have paranormal beliefs as well."

That small step also refers to a follower's willingness to become involved with the paranormal in either a passive or active way. "They aren't as concerned if you are playing with ghosts on the side," says Bader. "Show up. Give us money once in a while, and go ahead and watch Ghost Hunters." These are the people more likely to consult psychics or engage in numerology even though it is officially frowned upon by the religion. They also make up the growing number of people consuming paranormal products and slowly turning towards being an active part of the ghost hunting community.

Some are still slow to make the leap. Tim Weisberg is the host of Spooky Southcoast in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a show that features interviews with people from all aspects of the supernatural, from ghosts to Bigfoot to UFOs. "We can get some of the biggest names in the paranormal field on our program, and we won't get a single phone call. But we could bring in the most obscure psychic or medium, and the every phone line will be lit up for the entire show. In fact, without our station subscribing to Arbitron ratings for our particular time slot, we pretty much gauge just how much local listenership we have by the volume of calls we get when we do an episode that features some sort or 'readings.'" In other words, listeners are still more comfortable being active in the paranormal when it comes to reading the future, but the fact they know to call in means they are also listening to the shows on UFO abductions and haunted houses.

According to Mencken and Bader's research, a bigger factor in the split between nodding at the Resurrection and approval of phantoms is the participants' attendance at religious activities, either actual services or church-related events, and the pressure from those churches to become involved in those activities. "Certain denominations have a lot of tension," says Mencken. That tension helps to mold paranormal beliefs outside of the religion. "They are the people who are very likely to not hold paranormal beliefs."

The result of those high tension denominations can sometimes be recognition of things that cannot be explained, but not going outside of the religion to try and seek answers. According to Bader, "Those churches at the top end of the scale, they're expected you to invest yourself completely in their belief system."

This often means looking only at the paranormal accepted by the group. "They say they don't believe in psychic abilities," says Bader, "but they'll speak in tongues. According to Mencken, "It's highly specialized paranormal belief. They don't score well on general paranormal beliefs. They may believe in demons but they do not believe in the power of ESP."

The pressure to conform to the mystical side of the religion often extends to the daily routines of members. "The same groups that will keep the kids in on Halloween also put a lot of pressure on their member to be at church each week. They tend to do things in groups, often focused around the church with social control over members."

Mencken and Bader believe they have created a baseline to compare future results. To date, the information they have received has not shown a marked increase in overall belief in ghosts or the average citizen taking a more active role in activities like ghost hunting, but the shift may happen in the future with the exposure of ghosts and the paranormal in the media. "I was interested in looking at to what extent we can look at paranormal beliefs as a dimension of spirituality," says Mencken. "Is New Age a new religion?" Those answers might take years to measure, but for many the blurring may be as natural as going to church.

Conventional Christian Beliefs will appear in Review of Religious Research, December 2008. Their second, Round Trip to Hell, will appear in Sociology of Religion in 2009.

2014 Haunted New England Wall Calendar by Jeff Belanger photography by Frank Grace
Check out the 2014 Haunted New England wall calendar by Jeff Belanger and photography by Frank Grace!

Paranormal Conferences and Lectures
Don't miss the following events and lectures:

Jeff Belanger and “The Bridgewater Triangle” at Dedham Community Theatre - April 6, 2014 9:00PM

The Spirits of the Mark Twain House - Hartford, Connecticut - April 12, 2014

Paracon Australia - East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia - May 10-12, 2014