I-C-A-B Update

Posted in Uncategorized on December 13, 2009 by realguide

Folks we just got back from an always fun and terrific trip with our fellow ICAB’ers in Atlanta. Some select pictures from our trip will be coming shortly.

I just want to take time to address the fact that while we do welcome all viewpoints and HEALTHY discussions on science, paranormal events/activity, and the belief thereof we will not tolerate abusive speech or any type of insensitivity. If you disagree with our views and opinions please share with us what’s rolling around in your head. Just do so intelligently and respectfully.

Peace out YO! (LOL)

Advertisements

Message To All Skeptics

Posted in ghosts, He Said, Investigating, paranormal, Personal Experience, skepticism on December 9, 2009 by realguide

~ By Brandon D. Wills

This was a letter to a certain group that I decided should be addressed to skeptics all over the world.

A message to all skeptics, from a reformed skeptic:

Until I was accidentally and thankfully plunged face first into the world of the paranormal, I was kind of like you folks.  I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist home where if it couldn’t be explained and it wasn’t in the Bible then it didn’t exist.  To my dismay, most of my family still thinks that way and practices those beliefs. I accredit that mostly to the fact that they, like yourselves, obviously haven’t seen and experienced the things that I have.  I hold still today, and always will, my Christian beliefs, in fact I am an ordained minister of my faith.  But, because I am an open-minded, educated person, I put myself out in this world. Rather than hiding behind the social norms, I have discovered a world I was not seeking and people and I never intended to meet.  Because, believe it or not, some things just happen; things that you can not explain, things that a scientist can not test or recreate with constants, variables, formulas, or focus groups.  These things are not normal, they are paranormal.

You say that your “ranks are filled with teachers, professors, scientists and leaders from all walks of life.” Well skeptics, ours are as well. You also note that your “free speech is protected under the law.” Again, so is ours.  I can’t think of a single person who studies this topic, on your side or mine, who hasn’t heard the name James Randi, I‘m sure that you have, he‘s quite the skeptic’s hero.  His challenge will most likely never be met, nor would anyone else’s.  It has nothing to do with him being a world renowned skeptic or famous illusionist, but simply because psychic or paranormal gifts can not be proven with science.  For that matter, I don’t believe that any scientist will ever get indisputable evidence of an intelligent haunt.  I am a paranormal investigator, I am convinced that there is such thing as spiritual beings who exist within our plain of existence.  Most scientist would laugh at me for this belief, I find it equally hysterical that an adult human can be convinced that this entire universe from it’s largest planet to it’s smallest molecule are all the result of a cosmic accident.

I am not writing this to start a political debate (I’m republican in case you were wondering) or a holy war.  My purpose here is to warn you that you are missing out on a wonderful and exciting world of new discoveries by ignoring the possibility of afterlife and things beyond what we see and know.  How you think you are any different than I am I don’t know.  We’re both mice chasing cheese here trying to convince an entire world that we are right and our opposition is wrong.  The difference between my people and yours, is that my people are not attempting to start protests and political movements to benefit our cause.  I realize that my words are not likely going to sway your soul in either direction, especially since you probably don’t believe in souls, but I would ask one thing of you.  Please stop running down the names of decent people.  I know personally a few of the individuals you boldly decide to judge and defame daily and if you met these people tonight you would be friends with them tomorrow.  I don’t believe that everyone claims it is a legitimate psychic or medium, in fact I don’t believe that most people who claim these abilities are legitimate, but it bothers me to see the names of  friends, who have and use a God given gift to help people, dragged in the dirt.

No one you name is dedicating their lives to ruining yours, I doubt that any of them have pages of their websites dedicated to your destruction, so please, live and let live.  One day our breakthrough will come and all your work will have been in vain. But no matter what you do, people will continue to have faith in God, hope for a life after this, and a desire to know what is beyond this plain of existence.

Thank you for your time,

Brandon

I will be the first to admit . . .

Posted in paranormal, Personal Experience, She Said, skepticism, Spirituality on December 7, 2009 by realguide

~ by Angela D. Shaffer

First and foremost I admit that the blog has been stale for a while.  We have all been pretty busy and to put it mildly November was a very trying month for all of us.  I worked a total of eight days in the month of November.  I know, astounding.  My daughter and I had a fabulous vacation at Disney World the first part of the month.  But what followed this wonderful vacation has left me weak and feeling very lost at the moment. 

As soon as I landed and was safely back home I was faced with the mortality of a much beloved and respected grandfather.   A day after we landed in Pittsburgh I found myself facing my own medical emergency.  To sum up the results I had formed a massive blot clot in my leg and they believed either a small clot or a piece of the big one had traveled to my brain. During my 5th day at the hospital I received devastating news.  A complete and utter fluke took my grandfather’s life.  After breakfast on the day he was to be released the nurse sat him up his bed.  For whatever reason he coughed, threw up and then aspirated.  This is akin to swallowing the wrong way but on a larger scale.  Where we might get watery eyes and cough our heads off for about 5 minutes, he would not recover.  He passed away shortly after 11:00 am on Wednesday, November 18th

The time period following, facing my own mortality, the reconciliation that he was gone, the funeral – is still mostly a blur to me.  In many ways it’s still as if it has been a strange dream.  A reality that I do not want to face.   Prior to having my daughter I faced my very own mortality twice.  While both of those incidents were frightening – I never felt as lost as I do now.  I’m a mother now.  I think that when you become a mom you look at the world differently.  I look at how quickly things can turn.  Life can literally change in a second.  I look at how close I came to death.  Had the blood clot been two inches to the south it could have travelled to my heart leaving my daughter motherless.  My grandfather spit up some oatmeal, coughed the wrong way and was gone from this world.  Where is the beauty of God in that? 

I know many of you would say to me that my grandfather is in a much better place . . . so on and so forth.  I know I’ve said similar to others after they have lost a loved one.  And in the months and years to follow those words will serve as a warm blanket to give me peace and hope.  Facing death I believe naturally makes one cling to the hope that maybe there IS something more out there.  Maybe this life isn’t the only thing out there.  Oddly, thought, for me, the first thing I ran towards during my ordeal was the ONE thing I’ve always been the most skeptical about in the paranormal community.  A conversation my good friend Jeff Ulmer helped facilitate has comforted me more than any biblical verse or well wisher.   At this time, I won’t expand on that conversation because it was and still is an extremely personal thing. 

And anyone that really knows me knows how my mind works and how I never stop analyzing events and things around me.  The last couple of days I’ve been trying to work in my mind why did I turn to the one thing I’ve always been the MOST skeptical about?  Why did the one thing that I have the hardest time believing in give me the most comfort?  Am I fighting the fact that cracks are starting to show in my skepticism?  Maybe.  Probably.   Am I still holding back and afraid to let go of certain beliefs and non-beliefs in my life?  Absolutely.  Am I working on it?  Definitely. 

 I will be the first to admit that I don’t have any of the answers, but I’m working on it.   Time, family, friends and a cup of rich hot chocolate is what I need right now.  I’m convinced the answers will come to me when I’m ready.  Yes, this Alice is at the precipice of the last step that will allow me to fall down the rabbit hole . . . almost.

Divine Intervention

Posted in Fate, He Said, paranormal, Personal Experience, Spirituality on October 31, 2009 by realguide

Saint Michael

by Jeff P. Ulmer

I was compelled to compose this entry not so much because I was asked to, but because I needed to.  A truly miraculous thing happened to me roughly one year ago.  Prior to this event I did not believe in miracles, per say, nor was I very spiritual.  I was raised in the church, but as I entered adulthood my faith was lost to reason. 

     One night, as I slept, I went into respiratory arrest.  To this day, no one is sure how long I was “out”.  Since my near death experience (NDE) I’ve read numerous books on the subject, and all accounts seem to differ.  The one common thread I have found is that the person that experiences it is forever changed.  My story is no different. 

     Unless you’ve experienced what I have, one cannot fully understand how difficult it is to describe with words.  Many accounts report a beautiful white light, feelings of euphoria, and angels or family greeting them.  Few report something different, something terrifying.  My experience shook me to the core of my being.  It was horrific, yet also empowering. 

     My personal ordeal was more of an intellectual one.  I was shown truths about life and our interactions in this world.  First was the terrifying part.  I was shown my future should I choose to stay on the same path prior to the accident.  It was a living hell.  No joy.  No satisfaction.  It was a life full of constant want, pain, and sorrow.  Needless to say, this got my attention.

     Next, I was shown simple, absolute truths about life:  Karma, or whatever you want to call it, is real.  What goes around comes around.  If I intentionally hurt someone or harbor ill feelings toward them, it’s like kicking myself.  There are no exceptions.  Somewhere, down the line, we are all related.  Also, kindness and compassion are the keys to true happiness.  Something as simple as a smile can change someone’s life.  It will pay you back tenfold (again… Karma). 

     The last revelation was quite empowering.  I was shown the choice is all mine.  We get to choose who we want to be in this world.  I can be a force for the good in this life, or the bad.  But, there was no need to live the remainder of my days in a miserable existence.  Although the majority of my life had been spent selfishly, it’s alright.  God had already forgiven me and loves me unconditionally.  How awesome is that?

     I remember coming back to consciousness like I had been struck by a bolt of lightning!  I will NEVER forget that first, deep breath of life.  My mother was standing over me screaming, but I could not hear her.  Fortunately for me, she is a medical doctor so resuscitation was nothing new.  

     It took weeks to fully absorb and comprehend the gravity of what had happened.  As time passed, it dawned on me I had been given a wonderful gift, and that is the gift of certainty.  Clearly, there are unseen, divine sources at work.  No longer was there a need, for me, to question the existence of God or an afterlife.  I KNEW.

     “I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.” – George Fox

Halloween Time!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2009 by realguide

Something sent to me from our good friend Stephanie. She’s an art-teest! What can we say?

http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/2DXeWxeeZTBU6XTn (copy & paste)

Evolution Of A Believer

Posted in ghosts, paranormal, Personal Experience, She Said, Spirituality on October 14, 2009 by realguide

~ by Lindsey Fertitta

So a skeptic, a scientist, and a believer walk into a bar… OK, so that really hasn’t happened, but that’s how our little group goes. Angie is the skeptic, Ulmer is the scientist, and I’m the believer. In order to talk about the paranormal, I feel that you must first get to know me, my beliefs and experiences. I was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. I am half Sicilian and half “redneck” (I really don’t know much about my Mom’s side other than there’s some Cherokee in us), and I have a very diverse religious back ground:

 I was born and baptized Catholic. When I was 4 or 5 years old my aunt would take me to the Baptist church for Sunday School then my parents would pick me up to go to the Episcopal Church. (Mom was Baptist, Dad was Catholic – the Baptist church didn’t approve of my restaurant owner father because he believed alcohol should be sold on Sundays. So they found a medium and ended up going to the Episcopal Church.) After my mom’s death when I was 11 years old, I pretty much turned from God and stopped believing in Him and stopped going to church unless my Father and Step-Mom dragged me there. Then in college I started to go back to church, but this time I split my time between the Southern Baptist church and a Pentecostal one as I was baptized in both churches. In my mid 20s, I stopped going to church completely because I was mostly hung-over for Sunday services. Then, when I was around 29 or 30 years old, I went back to church. This time it was a non-denominational church.

 While I still strongly believe in Christ and his teachings, I no longer go to church and really do not consider myself a particular denomination. Although, if you were to come to my house, I have more Catholic influenced things around my house. That’s probably because my Dad, Step-Mom, and Sister are all devout Catholics. (However, I was told by our priest “Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic!”) 

 So, that’s my religious background. I’m not active in church but I am a believer. I think my distaste from church comes from all the hypocrites that are there every time the door opens yet cannot treat people with any kind of respect (this is mostly from certain family members). Plus, the other side is that when people find out I ghost hunt they believe I’m in the occult or possessed by a demon. So I find it’s better for me to not go to church. I mention religion first because I believe that most people who are ghost hunters have a religious background. I think it firmly defines who I am and how I view paranormal activities. I will talk about this more in future blogs.

 Now that you know my religious background, I want to tell you about my personal experiences of the paranormal, a.k.a. weird shit! My personal experiences started when I was around 2 1/2 or 3 years old. My father owned an old abandoned train station and turned it into a restaurant called “The Central Station.” It was a huge two story building. The bottom floor was the restaurant and kitchen. Upstairs was where my family and I lived.

 One day my Mom had awoke from a nap and found me walking on the outside window ledge of the second floor. She was quite upset cause she knew there was no way a child could open the sturdy wooden windows, no way for me to have crawled out of the window as there was no chairs around, and nobody was in the house but my dad and her. After getting me inside she immediately called for my Dad who was downstairs working. He demanded I tell him who opened the window and let me out. I told him it was my friend “Morlock” who would come and play with me when they were busy with the restaurant or were taking care of my little sister. I told them he was an older gentleman who smoked a cigar. This started to unnerve them because they had been smelling cigar smoke for weeks (nobody smoked cigars) and never knew where it came from. They also realized that the disembodied footsteps walking on the stairs might not just be an old creaky building but something leaning more towards the paranormal. Well, after I described my friend, my dad apparently turned a light pale shade and my Mom asked who it was. He said it was a man who worked at the train station back in the 1940s but had died when my dad was a boy. We later found out my bedroom was his old office. Since my Dad sold it, the building has now been turned into a gay nightclub. It has been rumored for years that it is very active and that the spirit(s) are not happy with what it’s become and likes to show its distaste by touching/pulling on body parts, throwing things, and moving things around.

 After we moved from the train station, my parents moved us back to the house where I was born. There was something magical and mystical about the land. I never could figure it out till I got older.  The land sits where the Caddo Indians resided. It was a large amount of land on the outskirts of town, nestled away in the woods with a bayou running right beside the property. I lived there from the ages of 5 until 15. I can always remember feeling like there were “things” watching me from the woods. I would often see shadow figures walking outside the windows. They were so real that I can remember running to my parents each and every time I would see one. They would go outside to check it out and nobody would be there. I would often get in trouble because I was “making up these cock-a-mammy stories to scare my sister.” Honestly, that wasn’t it, there were people out there. I vividly remember having “imaginary friends” while living there. I often wonder if they were Indian children who had died on this land. I used to be terrified to go to sleep out there because I would have vivid, scary dreams out there. I can’t describe them now but I remember always wanting to sleep with my parents because I would be scared. Even in my own bedroom I felt like there was something or someone staring at me. I’ve even had a UFO experience out there (that will be another blog). When we finally moved, we had several family members who lived in the house. They tell tales of paranormal experiences happened to them such as music boxes going off, doors slamming shut, feeling a presence watching you, just generally being creeped out. When I hear this I feel validated that it wasn’t just me who experienced this.

 My Daddy remarried when I was 15 and we moved into a 3 story condo in the middle town. Not a place where one would expect to have paranormal experiences but it started happening again. I would hear footsteps walking on the stairs when nobody was home but me. There was an area of the house that I would constantly see a woman walking. (The lady would later be confirmed to be seen by an exchange student living with us for a summer.) Radios would go off when the alarm wasn’t set and nobody was home, toilets flushing on their own, water faucets turning on when nobody was in the room.

The weirdest and creepiest thing happened when I had just gone to bed and shut off my lights. I heard a crash and looked around to see what it was. On a dresser I had a standup Elvis Collectors Doll. The doll was no longer there. I figured it had accidentally fallen down, even though, in retrospect, it really couldn’t have because it was sitting down and leaned against the back of the wall. I looked on the floor but it wasn’t there. As I looked around the room, I found it had been “shot” across the room to my nightstand, standing up on its own and facing me. There was no logical explanation for that. My best friend in high school would spend the night a lot and she often would hear and experience the same things I did. I have often wondered if we experienced these poltergeist activities because we were young and going through puberty. I mean, things seemed to intensify when we were together verses being alone.

 My best friend’s mom collected musical boxes and they were all over her house. One night I spent the night on a week night and the next morning we were getting ready for school. Her parents had to work and it was just us at the house. We were standing beside each other in the kitchen when the music boxes went off in the entire house. None of the box lids were opened.  They were just going off by themselves. We quickly gathered our lunch boxes and high-tailed it out of there. That exact same experience happened more than once in her house.

While on a weekend trip to the lake with my best friend I had a vision of my grandmother that Saturday night. She came to me and said “I’m OK and not in any pain anymore.” When I got home the next day my Dad sat me down to tell me something. I said “Grandma is dead. She died at 1:32 this morning.” He just looked at me and said “Yes, how did you know?” I told him she visited me and told me she was out of pain. That was one more paranormal experience my Dad couldn’t wrap his head around. He honestly didn’t know what to say to me at that point, so he hugged me and told me he was sorry for my loss, as this was my Mom’s Mom that had died and I was extremely close to her. A few days later, I would hear my Grandmother’s voice calling for me and telling me not to be upset, she was fine. I finally broke down the day of the funeral and told my Dad and my sister how I kept hearing her. They told me I was imagining it all and I just wanted to hear her voice again. I still to this day believe she was coming to me to make me feel better. How many other people have had similar experiences? Do you believe it was all in your head or for real?

 I have had many more experiences (especially in the house I live in now) that I will be discussing in future blogs. For now, I wanted to give a brief background of my paranormal experiences that has turned me into a believer. I look forward to this blog being a place to talk about your experiences, to give your opinions and/or beliefs on the paranormal and other weird shit out there, to be able to ask questions and not be judged. I am taking on this adventure with some of my new best friends. Something or someone out there has brought me and my friends together and I relish in the idea that we have a place to discuss this.

Tales From A Skeptic

Posted in Investigating, paranormal, She Said, skepticism on October 12, 2009 by realguide

~ by Angela D. Shaffer

Let me start out by saying that when it comes to the paranormal, I am a skeptic.  A skeptic to the point of often frustrating those around me.  I have been in situations where people have stated they have seen shadows – I’ve seen nothing.  They hear a sound or a knock – I hear nothing.  They get an eerie feeling and sense “something” is in the room – I feel nothing.  I believe it was Chip Coffey who stated I was sort of like paranormal raid as I have had this theory running in my head that I repel the supernatural.  Something I don’t exactly understand as I think I’m a swell enough gal but maybe the “spirits” sense something about ME that I’m not aware of at the present.  Only time will tell.

I’m fascinated by the subject.  I’m intrigued by the possibilities and the plethora of questions that run around in my head.  I love it.  However, I’m the type of person that needs tangible proof.  I have to experience it.  It has to happen specifically to me for me to believe it or try to wrap my mind around it.  And even then I have to try to rationalize it and fit it neatly in a box in my brain.  I actually believe more in UFO, Aliens and Cryptozoology than ghosts and spirits.  Even though I’m a skeptic, I wouldn’t say that I’m also a non-believer.  I do have faith and belief in God, the heavens, angels that were created by God and yes, even Satan and his demons.  Logic only follows that if one believes in these things you have to realize there are other dimensions in our world that we cannot see.  Hence, the saying: there are angels among us.  And as all of this is a very deep subject I’ll save this whole thinking for another time.  So, I say I’m a skeptical believer, to-wit – I haven’t seen any proof that convinces me that life exists beyond the grave.

My point to all of this is people ask me, why do you continue to take trips and delve into the subject?  The simple answer is because it’s fun!  I’ve been thinking a lot about my travels this past year, what I have seen and experienced and, much to my chagrin, what I’ve not experienced.  I stepped outside of the conventional box and pursued something that truly interests me.  The reward for doing so?  I’ve made friends for life that I would have never otherwise met, visit places I would have never otherwise visited, and had experiences (not always of the paranormal) that I would have never otherwise experienced.

I do not claim to be an authority on anything paranormal.  I’m a layman in this field.  Right now in my life, I have little time to devote to pouring over books and encyclopedias of experts in the field.  But I think that in itself is my strongest asset to a group investigation.  I go into a situation armed with only my human intelligence, logical mind, and willingness to open myself up to whatever may happen.  Sure, I’ve watched hundreds of episodes of Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, A Haunting, Ghost Adventures and Psychic Kids. And, yes, although I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, none of this makes me an expert in the paranormal.  I have a great respect for the leading minds of the paranormal, both past and present. However, I feel I do not need to have read the entire published works of Hans Holzer to experience the paranormal.

In my journey, I’m all about experiencing things right now.  I know myself well enough that once I have that mind blowing experience that leaves me bewildered and is truly unexplainable that I will delve in the books and obsessing about learning all I can to try to make sense of it all.  I’m all about educating yourself about the world around you.  Hence, the reason I’m working on my third college degree – to further myself in this world.

I relate all of this to you, the reader, because I want to encourage you to do the same.  You do not need to have the equipment you see people on TV using.  You do not need to even have faith in God or a library of books on the subject.  You can even be skeptical.  All you need are a couple good friends, an open mind and a huge pot of coffee to stay up all night.  Check out places in your local area to see what’s available.  You might have an abandoned hospital, prison, or an old bed and breakfast chocked full of haints and boogers! And if you do not have any friends that share you enthusiasm on the subject get on the internet and look up paranormal trips you can take.  They happen all the time with a lot of different groups.  Some of these trips aren’t that expensive.  (Trust me I’m all about the thrift!) Check out some of the links on our blog for some great trip ideas! And you will meet some great people who share your passion for the unknown.

I’m looking forward to our group’s trip to Atlanta in December.  I’m pumped about doing a vaca/trip with the AGH crew sometime in 2010 too!  I hear their group tours are very low key and laid back. Perfect weekend getaway in my book!  Plus, I know that even though I might not experience any earth shattering paranormal experience I am going to have a blast with my friends while doing it.  Isn’t that what life is all about?  Good times with good friends!

Oh, and just because we’re girls doesn’t mean we’re shaking in our boots either.  There are more and more women getting into this field and I for one, think it’s great for them to represent! More on that subject to come . . . . stay tuned!