Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A ghost hunting epidemic.

I'm not sure what provoked this current plethora of ghost reality shows, but they are entertaining to say the least. Some of them are more entertainment than investigation. After reading some of the fan site comments I think it's a matter of taste. Much the same as liking Brussel Sprout, you either do or you don't. One thing they all seem to have in common is trying to use the latest high tech gadget to gather evidence. I hope that in reading this one remembers that this is just my opinion and your mileage may vary. I will provide viewing information so that you can judge for yourself.

Let's begin with Paranormal State  http://www.aetv.com/paranormal-state/  which airs on A&E. I have watched this show several times. It failed to grab my interest. The main issue I had was the first few episodes I watched they seemed to dwell on people being haunted by demons. The trailers even suggested that the team itself was being threatened by a demon that was following team leader Ryan Buell. Setting the drama for "will the demon get Ryan in the next episode?" type of feel. Every investigation I saw the "client" was haunted. They seemed to go in with the presumption that they would and did find a ghost or demon. Not much in the way of debunking, I hope they get better. The new season starts Dec.15

A newcomer to the game is Ghost Lab http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/ghost-lab/ghost-lab.html on the Discovery Channel Tuesdays at 10 pm PT/ET. Two brothers from Texas with a mobile high tech lab they tow around the country doing investigations. The cast is likable and  they view things with a skeptical eye not likely to say some place is haunted without evidence. I've enjoyed this show even if it does seem a little commercialized. The show is narrated by Discovery Channel uber-narrator Mike Rowe, whose voice is instantly identifiable and lends an air of credibility like a endorsement from an old friend. It's well produced and still in it's early stages time will tell if it has the chops to stay.

Also new to the TV air waves it Extreme Paranormal http://www.aetv.com/extreme-paranormal/ also on A&E. The team has a regular radio gig where they host a talk show about the paranormal. On their days off they investigate "haunted" places. Their methods are not your typical wait and see what happens investigations. No, they try to recreate events that lead to the death of the person haunting the location. They will also perform rituals to evoke, provoke or summon spirits. It's an interesting show and will suck you in. If for no other reason than to see what these guys will do next. Since starting this blog, this has gone to the other side and been cancelled

Of course there is the venerable Ghost Hunter and Ghost Hunters International or GHI  as they like to refer to it. Grant and Jason are like old friends and have gotten more likely to call a place "haunted". In the early days Jason had to just about see a full body apparition before he would use the "H" word. But they still do their best to debunk the hauntings. Ghost Hunters and GHI air on SYFY  and www.syfy.com/ghosthunters

Last but not least is  Ghost Adventures is a weekly American paranormal television series that premiered on October 17, 2008 on the Travel Channel. Currently produced by MY-Tupelo Entertainment (a merger of MY Entertainment and Tupelo-Honey Productions), the program follows and stars ghost hunters Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin, as they investigate locations that are reported to be haunted. Hosted and narrated by Bagans, the show initially airs new episodes on Fridays at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on the Travel Channel. The tagline of the series is: "Can you handle the lockdown?"
Self-considered "raw" and "extreme," the program originally began as an independent documentary television film, which was filmed by the crew in 2004 and produced by 4Reel Productions in 2006. The Sci-Fi Channel first presented 4Reel's Ghost Adventures on July 25, 2007. The documentary centers on the trio's investigation of alleged paranormal activity in and around Virginia City, Nevada, which the crew returned to on the third season of the series, and in Goldfield, Nevada in which the crew returned to in order to finish their lockdown at the Goldfield Hotel. www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Ghost_Adventures

So check them out and don't worry about that sound down the hall, it's probably just the wind.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Warner Mountain cowboy ghost

This is a true account of an event that I experienced while hunting in the Warner Mountains not far from Davis Creek Ca. To date it is the only full body apparition I have experienced. For those of you that want to look this up this area, if you follow Hwy 395 north from Reno you'll find Davis Creek just south of Goose lake. It's in the northeast corner of the state. A high desert area that can yet some pretty extreme weather changes. If you go to Modoc county it's like stepping back a century or so. The main industries are logging or ranching.

In 1999, my hunting partner B.C. and I got drawn for the much coveted X-5B deer zone. I won't bore you with details of the Dept. of Fish and Game drawing system, but it normally take 3-5 years to get drawn to hunt this area.

We were hunting in mid-October the weather was forecast to be cool and clear for our 10 day trip. Temperatures this time of year normally run 50s-60s during the day and 30s-40s at night. We were about 5 miles east of Davis creek at about 6500 ft. elevation. This is mostly National Forest that is leased to cattle ranches for grazing. This time of year most ranchers have pushed their cattle down into lower pastures. So they can keep them from freezing to death during the winter.

2 days into the hunt I was watching a creek with a large meadow nearby. I saw lots of cattle tracks but not much in the way of deer. I kept watching the meadow and heard a very heavy animals moving through the brush. It wasn't a deer, but 2 Angus cows and a calf. Later that day we went into the Davis Creek Mercantile (the only operating business in Davis Creek).

The Mercantile is every bit the old time General store. They have groceries, the post office, used to be a gas pump, a small lunch counter and a pot bellied stove. The locals come and hang around and solve the worlds problems. We have spent enough time in that area that most of the "old timers" considered us locals. So walking in, we where greeted with the usual "heys", "howdies" and "look what the cat drug in". I mentioned to some of the guys circled around the stove about the cattle I saw and did they know who was running them up there. After some discussion they came up with a local rancher and said they'd send him up to collect his stock.

We ate lunch, got a few forgotten items and headed back up to camp. About 4 pm we got a visit from the rancher and a couple of his cowboys. We gave them directions and said farewell. About 2 hours later, the same rancher came back by with his cattle in the stock trailer and thanks for helping him get them back.

The next morning I was out working a drainage, at the top was a fire road that had been cut during the summer. My partner was on the other side of the hill, we figured that any deer we jump would go up over the ridge toward the other. I was about 150 yards from the top of the drainage, when I happened to notice a cowboy standing against a tree. He was standing with his back to the tree on the shoulder of the the fire road. I noticed that he was dressed too heavy for that time of year. He wore a heavy "barn coat" (a waist length coat made of 'oilskin' with a sheerling lining), batwing styled chaps and a high crowned Stetson. He looked directly at me so I waved and he responded by nodding. I glanced down at the ground, because of the loose rock and brush. I looked back up and he was gone. I got to the top of the drainage, by the tree where he was standing. There were no boot prints in the loose dirt by the road or any sign that he had ever been there. I thought this odd but, didn't think much of it.

The next afternoon we were back in the Mercantile (my partner needed cigarettes). I was talking to some of the locals about where to hunt and told them about the cowboy I had seen on the ridge. One of the older guys jumps up and grabs a book of the counter. The book was a history of Modoc county with picture of founding families, historical building and maps. He thumbs through it quickly and stops on a picture of one of the local families. Points to the old photo and asks "is that the guy you saw?" I said it appeared to be. He then told me this story.

"Back in 1903 (name of family with held out of respect) had one of the biggest ranches in the area. Their son(the guy in the picture) was out 'riding line'(checking the fence line) and rounding up strays. Near the ridge where you saw him. A 'Norther' blew in causing a blizzard, 40-50 mph winds and temperate -20 to -30 degrees with the wind chill. It still remains worst storms in local history. The story goes that he was caught out in the storm. Several family members and ranch hands saw him ride into the barn and assumed he was going to tend to his horse then come into the house. When he didn't come to the house they went out to check on him. When they got to the barn they found him 'froze dead stiff' in the saddle. His horse brought him home. The story goes that he appears to people around that area if there's a big storm coming."

OK, so now I have get a shiver running down my spine. We had lunch and the rancher who's cattle we found came in. He told the Mercantile owner "their money is no good here. anything they need is on my tab." We thanked him and told him that wasn't necessary. He then looks over and said "we're expecting a storm in tonight, lots of wind and rain down here. If it gets too ugly on the mountain come on down and put your camper in the barn. We'll take care of ya." At this point the same guy who told me the story about the cowboy says "Don saw your uncle up on the mountain yesterday" they all chuckled. He says "well, maybe he wanted to warn you about the storm or say thanks for finding our cattle"

That night, the storm blew in and lasted the remainder of our trip. Some wind, lots of rain, that turned into sleet. Against good sense I decided to hunt anyway. I discovered that my poncho had a leak at the neck. Causing my coat and clothing to become slowly soaked. By the time I got back to camp I was in the first stage of Hypothermia (when you stop shivering and start becoming lethargic). Was this what the cowboy wanted to warn me about?

Coincidence? Maybe. In any event it's something I'll never forget. If you ever find yourself on a mountain ridge in Modoc and see a cowboy that vanishes. Keep an eye on the North-west sky, get off the mountain and take shelter there's a storm blowing in and those mountains are no place to be.

I'll end by just saying either "thanks pard' or your welcome" and tip my hat to you.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dyer lane hauntings - The Conclusion

We ended our investigation after a chat with a local Sheriff. Actually I interviewed him after he established who we were and what we were doing. He actually seemed interested and more than forthcoming with information. He stated that he had been patrolling this area for about 20 years. I asked if he had seen anything strange on his patrols. He replied only the folks out here looking for ghosts, kids getting high or looking for a secluded make-out spot. He did give me details about the murder in the '90s, exactly where it took place and what had happened. He bid a good evening and went on his way.

Our findings;

EVPs: none that could not be dismissed as wind, background noise(clothes, leaves ruffling etc.)
I did capture a coyote howl (which sounds nothing like they do on TV) and a male Pheasant cackle, could this have been the evil laugh the others captured?

Photographic: Again nothing that couldn't be dismissed as completely normal. Orbs could have been and probably were dust, bugs or the flash refracting off of natural material.

Video: Again nothing.

Dyer lane is far from deserted and seems to be a right of passage for local teens and us old folks ghost hunting. There is lots of graffiti saying R.I.P and a name, swastikas, a few KKK symbols and some gang tags. But thats the creepiest symbols we found.

While I will not dismiss what others have seen or heard, I can't honestly say that Dyer Lane is haunted. An investigator on a website claims he was covered with orbs. We were continually being pelted by bugs while out there. The "shadow people" I would dismiss as tree trunks, shadows and a good imagination. The sounds, if you don't spend much time outdoors at night, the sounds can be frightening to city folk. People hear and see what they want, in the shadows.

If you decide to venture out to Dyer lane, keep your mind open. You may see something that we missed or it may be just a drive down a county road in the dark.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dyer Lane hauntings - The Investigation

We arrived at Dyer Lane approximately 10:00 pm. The weather was clear and warm with a slight breeze. Upon arrival we quickly realized we weren't the only one checking out this road. There were several cars that passed us or we passed. Most seemed to be full of teenagers seeking out the ghost stories of this road. A couple of car loads screamed and yelled as they drove by. One 4x4 made a feeble attempt at water ballooning us, he barely made it out of his car window.

We went out to Kassner rd. and started our investigation. There are 3 or 4 occupied homes on Kassner rd. There is also the remaining foundation of and old house

We decided that this would be a good place to start. We began with some pictures and a digital voice recorder. Hoping to catch some EVPs and maybe something on film. Here's the picture of the same area from that session:

If you look closely you will see "orbs" between the 2 trees on the right and a couple just left of center. The ones on the left are actually lights from houses about 300 yards away the higher one is from a transmitting tower of some sort. The one on the right looks like a reflect from something in the tree on a larger picture. On a warm evening theres no telling how many insects or dust we disturbed, causing infinite number of "orb" possibilities. I couldn't honestly say there was anything "paranormal" about them.

We headed around the 90 degree curve, North onto Tan Road

Just past the trees is where the the guy driving a GTO supposedly died after hitting a tree and being thrown through the windshield. He allegedly stuck the tree head first and wanders the road with his head crushed. We decided that this would be a good place to try for EVP and some photos.

Again lots of "orbs". Actually it's dust and more insects. Where I'm standing is on the shoulder of the curve which is cover in trash and a recent grass fire. Old couches, yard cuttings, tires, beer bottle and assorted old household appliances cover this corner. The "orb" by the bottom right corner of the sign is a house light from a home on Baseline rd. We caught no EVPs here. So we push on. East on onto Dyer Lane.

This shot was from Dyer lane, looking across the field at the Tan rd. curve. The lights are homes actually on Kassner rd and a car full of teenager that just came by and screamed "BOO". The next picture are of an area some refer to as "The Magic Grove" or "Ghost Woods". There have been alleged shadow people sightings, orbs, strange evil laughs caught as EVPs and all sorts of scary stuff.

Again here we have "orbs" lots of "orbs" and also lots of bugs. The only thing I thought was slightly odd, is the light blue transparent shape in the bottom right hand corner. I said odd, not paranormal or super natural.

Here is the stand of trees where another investigator snapped a picture of a shadow person. I had no such luck. But I got more bugs..uh "orbs"

That's right more "orbs", again it's a warm summer night with lots of bugs in the air. Here we are about 50 yards from Dry Creek. This time of year the are lots of crickets, mosquitoes, moths and any other nocturnal flying insect you can think up.

Two more shots of the "grove" with lots of "orbs". It was at this point a local Sheriff came by and stopped to chat.

Dyer lane hauntings - The background

The supernatural and paranormal have been an interest of mine for most of my life. With the shows on cable, my interest has grown. Leading me and some family members on a "ghost hunt" down a nearby county road that is "haunted".

If you Google "Haunted Sacramento", Dyer lane will come up on a website stating it is one of the top 10 most haunted places in Sacramento. There have been a few local paranormal investigation groups that have "investigated" Dyer Lane and one guy that posted a video complete with an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon). The video is about 7 minutes he drives all but the last minute and comments how "creepy and abandoned" the road is. There are lots of stories about what people have experienced on Dyer Lane, but almost no documentation. The local investigators claim to have EVPs and lots of pictures of "orbs" and "creepy" trees from their investigation.

  • According to local legend Dyer Lane has been a scene of KKK meetings and rumored lynching in the '30s.

  • In the '50s there was supposedly a fatal car crash involving a police officer.

  • In 1972 there was according to local report a race between a GTO and a Duster. The driver of the GTO missed the 90 degree turn and crashed into a tree. He was ejected through the front windshield and died when his head impacted the tree.

  • In the 1990s the was an actual murder that is documented. It was gang related and racially charged. According to the Placer County Sheriff, the victim was shot and dumped in front of one of the driveways.

There are also stories about Native American encampment along Dry Creek that runs just south of Dyer Lane. This is the information you will find if you look up Dyer Lane on the Internet. Most of this is urban legend and completely unverified.

Having had actual paranormal experiences myself and having seen some of the "evidence" presented, I am at the least skeptical of some of their findings. Most "orbs" can easily be disregarded as refractions from dust, insect, lens flare, or reflections of something total normal and organic. EVPs are "voices" that is heard on a recording that were not audible at the time it was recorded. Some of these come through clear and clean, others need some "cleaning" and a suggestion of what was said.

So on a warm summer night in July, my niece, nephew, son-in-law and myself set out to investigate the ghosts of Dyer Lane. When you first turn onto Dyer Lane, it appears no different than any other county road. That's because it really isn't any different. The lane turns off of Watt ave. and runs west then makes a 90 degree left turn and becomes Tan road. Tan road runs south and makes a 90 degree right turn and becomes Kassner road that runs west and then makes one last 90 degree left turn to become 16th street. All along the road the is trash and debris. Due to it's close proximity to more populated areas, people use it to dump garbage because it's remote and is lightly traveled. It has the usual old barbed wire fence, some cattle and a few collapsing buildings. But there are still residents of Dyer lane that are very much alive. Contrary to postings about it being abandoned.