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Features Archive:

2011 Archive:
 Paranormal Peeps and Holiday Traditions
December 29, 2011

Littlest Mummy (A Christmas Story) By Richard Senate
December 21, 2011

Wartime UFOs with Mack Maloney
December 20, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) with Mike Markowicz
December 13, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Ghostly Lowdown on American Horror Story By Deonna Kelli Sayed
December 7, 2011

The Curse of H.H. Holmes with Jeff Mudgett
November 29, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Paranormal Roundtable with David Rountree and Paul Browning By Deonna Kelli Sayed
November 17, 2011

Legends Are Born in October By Christopher Balzano
October 17, 2011

Halloween Nation with Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
October 11, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

The Haunting of Major Graham Mansion by Deonna Kelli Sayed
October 5, 2011

The Hunt for Ohio's River Styx Ghost Train by Ken Summers
September 29, 2011

Evidence of Ancient Aliens with Peter Robbins
September 27, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Southern New England Haunts with Andrew Lake
September 20, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Pop Paranormal Culture and Middle Eastern Legends with Deonna Kelli Sayed
September 13, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Legend Tripping with AdventureMyths by Deonna Kelli Sayed
September 12, 2011

Out of Place in Time and Space with Lamont Wood
September 6, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

TAPS Academy Comes to Town by Deonna Kelli Sayed
September 1, 2011

The Amityville House with Christopher Quaratino (Lutz)
August 30, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Springfield, Missouri’s 150th by Debra Prosser
August 26, 2011

Column - regular feature

Paranormal Pastoring by Rev. Sherrie James
August 22, 2011

Live-ish From the Haunted Fearing Tavern
August 16, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

In Defense of Paranormal Reality TV by Deonna Kelli Sayed
August 8, 2011

Gone From Sight by Debra Prosser
August 3, 2011

Column - regular feature

The Psychology of Being Watched By Wayne Harris-Wyrick
August 2, 2011

The Paranormal Pastor Robin Swope
July 26, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Living Voices: Dr. Dave Oester By Deonna Kelli Sayed
July 20, 2011

Living Voices: Richard Senate By Bobby Garcia
July 13, 2011

What's in a Name? Let's Try "Paranormalogy!" By Rev. Sherrie James
July 6, 2011

Caged and Staged by Katie Mullaly
June 23, 2011

The Haunted Dibbuk Box with Jason Haxton
June 14, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Ghost Hunter's Grant Wilson
June 13, 2011

The Haunted Book by Lee Prosser
June 10, 2011

Column - regular feature

Raymond Cass - EVP Pioneer by Bobby Garcia
June 9, 2011

Illinois Haunts with Michael Kleen
June 7, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Artist Paulina Cassidy
June 2, 2011

Alien/Human Hybrids with Barbara Lamb
May 31, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Author Marley Harbuck Gibson
May 26, 2011

Biblical Apocalypse Prophecies with Dr. Robert M. Price
May 24, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

America's Strangest House by Deonna Kelli Sayed
May 23, 2011

Two-Year Anniversary Special
May 17, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Artist Jackie Williams
May 13, 2011

Wiliford by Lee Prosser
May 12, 2011

Column - regular feature

The Spirit Box with Psychic Chris Fleming
May 10, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Violating the 13th Amendment Paranormal Style by Reverend Sherrie James
May 6, 2011

Inside the Church of Satan with Joshua P. Warren
May 3, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Terri J. Garofalo, creator of Entities-R-Us
April 28, 2011

Haunted San Francisco with Loyd Auerbach
April 26, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Future Predictions with Dr. Louis Turi
April 12, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - H.C. Noel, Creator of Tara Normal
April 7, 2011

Pennsylvania Bigfoot with Eric Altman
April 5, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spontaneous Human Combustion with Larry Arnold
March 29, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Japanese Earthquake Ghosts, 2011 by Lee Prosser
March 28, 2011

Column - regular feature

UFOs with Stanton Friedman
February 8, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Ophiuchus with Astrologer Christopher Renstrom
February 1, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Crashing the Ghost Adventures Shoot
January 11, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Marjorie Myrene Hart by Lee Prosser
January 3, 2011

Column - regular feature

June 23, 2011

Caged and Staged

By Katie Mullaly

Being a paranormal investigator who writes books about paranormal investigation is awesome in a "that and a couple bucks will buy you a Starbucks ANYWHERE" kind of way. I mean, at this point, having written three books has me rollin' in the deep, for sure, but it wasn't always this amazing. I'm not going to boast, but I like being able to buy a new lip gloss every six months when that royalty check shows up. Who wouldn't? It didn't start out this way, though.

Starting at the bottom has you rubbing shoulders with the bottom feeders, and that's not a place you want to spend a whole lot of your time. Sadly, there are more bottom feeders in this field than I care to consider, and the ballast that is created with their cavalier disregard for legitimacy and integrity is something that affects everyone with a passion for the paranormal.

TV Bedfellows

Why am I rambling on so? I was just watching an episode of one of those "come on TV and tell us your ghost story" shows which featured a particular location in Tombstone, Arizona by the name of the Birdcage Theatre - the very mention of which made my body seize up as though I had just consumed barium contrast enhanced with Visine. I grabbed a bucket and sat myself down to see how big of a helping of unmitigated exaggeration and half-truth would be served up as the day's special.

I was not surprised with what I heard.

Before I begin, I want everyone to know that when we began writing our first book Scare-Izona: A Travel Guide to Arizona's Spookiest Spots , the Birdcage Theatre was at the top of the list as far as places we wanted to investigate. The age of the place alone lends itself to the possibility of place memory at the very least, and surely since we were "neighbors," we would be welcomed with open arms and an Apple Brown Betty, right? Yeah. Did I mention the part about being at the bottom? We'll come back to that topic shortly.

I see on the screen a big guy with a big hat not unlike Boss Hogg who started talking about how he had grown up in the Birdcage Theatre and his family owned it and it was haunted by lots and lots of ghosts. His story was further corroborated by another gentleman whose name is not one that I have ever heard. If he's local and interested in ghosts, I would most likely have heard his name. Neither search engine nor social networking site brought up any information on him. That's not necessarily a nail in the credibility coffin, but it certainly gave me pause.

Between the two of them, they wove a tapestry of spine-tingling horror and chilling tales of ghastly, ghostly goings-on that would have anyone with an interest in the paranormal and the Wild West positively salivating over the idea of investigating the property. I can completely understand because that is exactly how I felt when I was making my wish list for my book. Sadly, that isn't exactly how it all panned out. I placed a call to the BT to speak with the owner about getting access for a few hours for our book that we were writing and I explained that I thought it would be a perfect location to feature in our book about haunted places in Arizona. Eventually, I got a call back from Mr. Big-Guy-with-Big- Hat who started his response with this statement: "Okay, this is how we do groups like yours..."

Indignant at the instantaneous dismissal of my request, I listened with slack-jawed disbelief as he stated that - and I am paraphrasing - since they had been featured on wellknown shows on wellknown networks, they really didn't need our publicity, and since there wasn't anything in it for them, they would let us investigate if we paid them several hundred dollars.

Considering the history of the place rests on laurels of ill-repute, I shouldn't have been surprised by the feeling that he had just leaned into the passenger window of my car and told me how many ways he could do my group, for a price. Unfortunately, I was not about to be his Huckleberry.

We ended up with a fantastic book without including this location, but in the process of information gathering, we heard a few rumors that are at least as interesting as the ghost stories. For example, I heard from not one but two separate sources with differing degrees of separation from the Birdcage Theatre who had been invited to come down and "play ghost" for an investigation by tapping on exterior walls and throwing rocks to suggest the presence of otherworldly entities. Further, a friend who lives in the area and knows much about local architecture explained that the bullet holes that are a favorite bragging right of the Theatre are rumored to have more likely been the result of Black and Decker, rather than Smith and Wesson.

Paratainment Versus Research

I'm not saying it's true, I'm just saying that, as a paranormal investigator, I am bound by integrity to entertain all possible causes of "activity," and Occam's Razor forces me to conclude that if it walks like an untrustworthy duck, and it talks like an untrustworthy get the idea.

Honestly, they aren't the only rumored offenders of phantom phantasmagoria, either. One bonus of doing what we do is that people open up like Ali Baba's cave when they hear the word "paranormal." During an investigation of a particularly unsavory location in Bisbee, we had the pleasant honor of meeting a lady who worked at the Copper Queen when a very famous ghost show breezed into town. She began to whisper in hushed tones as though someone might hear he...someone who might want to bust her kneecaps. She told us that the production crew came in a day or two early and began rigging the place for optimum results. I am going to assume that everyone already knows how I feel about ghost shows, but it's a bit more frustrating when proprietors jump on the bandwagon of chicanery. To me it says that they think nobody actually researches this stuff seriously, and that it's all made up, anyway, so what's the harm in pulling the wool over the eyes of potential customers?

That leads me to the inevitable conclusion that most places that you've ever heard of are just tourist traps looking for a new way to make easy money. Kind of like the buildup of going through "The Thing," only to find out it's a fossilized turd wrapped in some broadcloth in the back of the DQ garage. Even the aforementioned unsavory location (a small inn, no less) asked us, after a long, uncomfortable, and literally dangerous night of investigating, "What do we get out of this?"

Now, mind you we paid for our rooms and received no discounts or special courtesies. I quoted him back the room rate as a reminder of what he "got out of it," and we made our way back to the safety of our homes and the disinfecting powers of a hot Silkwood-esque shower.

What is a Ghost Hunting Writer to Do?

I guess the point that I am really trying to make is that there is a real deficit of honesty inside the crazy world of paranormal investigation. While television has certainly helped with accessibility to some locations, it has also left the owners of some locations with dollar signs in their eyes and a taste for notoriety. It is more than a little disheartening. The possibility still exists that these locations have legitimate paranormal activity, but paying to visit these locations is starting to feel like I'm paying to see a bearded lady or some guy with skin like tree bark. So, I've decided that this is how I am going to do locations like that. I'm going to write about them. When I write about them, I am going to tell people to stay far, far away from locations that are only looking to find the ghostly images of the dead presidents that magically appear on the paper in the investigator's wallet. I'm going to include thinly-veiled comments in all of my books in the "how not to investigate" sections, and I might just start randomly posting it on bathroom walls - possibly starting at the locations themselves. (Note: include Sharpie in investigation kit)

It's time to start taking back ownership of the paranormal field and keeping it safe in the hands of people with a sincere interest. It doesn't matter if you are a hardcore scientist or a lover of anecdotal ghost stories, as long as you have reverence for the subject matter. We loved ghosts before it was cool to do so, and we know that the best ghosts in the best places don't have price tags or cover charges.

Katie Mullaly is Arizona's "IT" girl when it comes to ghosts, haunted houses, and things that go "@#$% YOU!" in the night, even if the "IT" part is sometimes only in her head. She has authored three books on the topic: Scare-Izona: A Travel Guide to Arizona's Spookiest Spots, Tucson's Most Haunted, and Finding Ghosts in Phoenix alongside her co-author, J. Patrick Ohlde, and her intrepid photographer and soul mate, Mikal Mullaly. A founding member of Wailing Bansidhe Paranormal Investigations, Katie has made it her life's goal to cure hunger and disease through the art of ghost-hunting. Read her blog here.

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