Posts Tagged ‘ghosts’

Fun fact: apparently Scott Carson is actually Michael Koryta, an award-winning author who does both crime and supernatural fiction. If what I’ve heard is true, his fanbase is pretty divided between his crime and supernatural books, so he created a pen name for the latter going forward. Everyone got that? Good. Onto the review!

The Chill takes place in the fictional Torrance County, upstate New York, home of the fictional Chillawuakee Reservoir, or “The Chill.” This reservoir was built at the loss of a small town called Galesburg, which was submerged after the dam went up. Prior to that, some of the Galesburg residents didn’t take kindly to being evicted so New York City could have another freshwater supply, and reacted violently. Even after the dam went up and many of the protesters died, some still swear revenge. Now, nearly eighty years later, the dam is old and in need of repairs, and the dead are aware of this. They’re active, they’re working behind the scenes, they do not forgive and they do not forget. And they want their revenge.

So, the concept of the story is pretty cool. It kind of reminds me of The Shining, though instead of ghosts at an old hotel, it’s ghosts by a dam and the afterlife is kind of busy and cult-like as well. You can tell the book was meticulously researched by how it goes about explaining the inner workings of dams and reservoirs, as well as (what I assume to be) the problems with maintaining them. And the prophecy in the story makes a clever twist on the trope that I like.

However, there were a lot of problems with the novel. For one thing, it seemed to take forever before it got interesting. Several times before the halfway point, I wanted to put the book down and not read anything else because of how slow it was going. We also don’t meet one of the focal characters, Gillian Mathers, until about a quarter in, and it takes even longer for us to identify with her and see her as more than just a trope in a story. I feel like Carson wanted to focus less on her until she was needed because she is a type of trope, and instead focus on another character, Aaron Ellsworth, because he’s got a much more interesting character arc.

Another issue was that, while the dams were well-researched, I had trouble visualizing certain things in my head. I’m not familiar with dams, and I don’t know many people who are beyond the fact that they hold water back. It would have been nice if a couple more paragraphs were shown to help readers like me visualize the structure, the discharge tunnel, etc.

However, past all that, it does get interesting. There are some spooky scenes, an epic disaster scene, and some excellent writing. I just wish we’d seen more of that in the first half.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I award The Chill by Scott Carson a 3 out of 5. It’s okay, but there were definite areas to improve in.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m still relaxing so that when I return to writing, I can be as refreshed as possible. Until next time, stay safe and pleasant nightmares!

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

Yep, I’m doing another one of these.

So, I’ve done several posts where I list haunted places before I become some sort of spirit myself (and yes, I plan on having that happen). And as I come across more places that are alleged to be haunted, the longer my list grows. Here’s my latest list. I hope you’re ready to note what places you’re going to avoid from now on. If you’re not as brave as me, that is.

The Amityville House, Amityville, New York
Also known as 112 Ocean Avenue, this house is as infamous as it is famous. You know, the Amityville Horror and all that. I’m just wondering how much of it is real. You’ve got people of all sorts saying one way or the other. Hell, even paranormal enthusiasts and investigators are unsure if it’s haunted. Only one way to find out, right?

Drift Inn Saloon, Globe, Arizona
The Drift Inn Saloon is a well-known restaurant and bar in Arizona. The building itself dates back to the early 20th century, and it has a lot of history to it. Which might explain why it’s rumored to be haunted. In fact, I think it’s been investigated by a few paranormal groups at some point. I would enjoy going there myself. Maybe some fish and chips, a bit of beer, and some ghost hunting. What more could I ask for?

63rd and Wallace Street Post Office, Chicago, Illinois
It may look like an ordinary post office. And for all intents and purposes, it is an ordinary post office. Except for one thing. It happens to be on the land where serial killer HH Holmes built his World Fair Hotel. A place like that might be filled with spirits. In fact, I heard a report (unsubstantiated) that a paranormal investigative team did go into the office and try to contact some spirits. I don’t know if they found anything, if the investigation did happen, but I would like to go into that post office and see if anything’s floating about in there.
Maybe I’ll at least drive by when I visit Chicago next year…

Boston Township, Ohio
It looks like a quaint little burg in Northeast Ohio, but that might not be the case. Part of the township was evacuated, and there are rumors it was because of a chemical spill. Whatever the reason, people have alleged that since, the town has become a hotspot for cults, spirits, and even mutants. The area has since been nicknamed Helltown, and while some of the structures have been torn down, others that are still standing have been rumored to be haunted.
I don’t know if any of it is true, but a colleague did go there, and she said there was some weird and creepy stuff about the area. So maybe I should go there myself and check it out with my own eyes.

Deerpark Christian Brothers School, Cork County, Ireland
A few years ago, videos surfaced of what appeared to be violent poltergeist activity at a school in Ireland. The videos went viral and there’s been a lot of debate about whether the videos were staged or real. There are arguments for both, obviously. Either way, I’d enjoy seeing an investigation in there to check for anything weird. Obviously, I would lead the charge to investigate.
Thank you to my Uncle Arthur for telling me about this one in the first place. Much appreciated.

Anchorage Mansion, Marietta, Ohio
A lovely Victorian mansion, it was built in 1859 by Douglas Putnam for his wife Eliza, who died in the house three years later. It was also a nursing home for a time, before becoming a historical landmark. Supposedly Mrs. Putnam’s spirit haunts the place, as does another former owner and two children.
Compared to the Bellaire House, this is the kind of haunted Victorian I’d like to live in. But since that won’t happen, I’d like to investigate it one day. And guess what? They offer tours!

Hayswood Hospital, Maysville, Kentucky
An old hospital from Maysville, it’s gone through numerous hands, forms and name changes, including at one point a seminary. But for most of its history, it was a hospital, and I’m sure plenty of people passed away there. Nowadays the structure is closed and boarded up, possibly so that it can be renovated one day. However, I’ve heard through the grapevine that people who’ve broken in have witnessed orbs and other strange phenomena. And it’s just a creepy sort of setting.
Sounds perfect for me.

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, England
Supposedly the most haunted castle in the UK, the castle dates back to the 1200s and is full of history. It may also be full of spirits, including that of a “blue boy” who appears in certain rooms glowing a brilliant blue color. Supposedly, the sightings of this child ended after renovations uncovered a skeleton in a wall, but there are likely plenty of other spirits about.
Can I please check in?

Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy
What would possess a monastery to house its former dead and many patrons in a catacombs as mummies? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s real: there’s a series of catacombs in Palermo where monks used to place the mummified bodies of their brethren, as well as patrons whose families paid for their spot. This includes the mummy of a little girl whose eyes appear to open and close at certain times of the day.
It’s a macabre tourist attraction, and it sounds like my kind of thing. And who knows? Perhaps there are a few spirits roaming about.

Sleepy Hollow, New York
Turns out, the place where America’s first ghost story was set has a few ghosts of its own. In addition to the Headless Horseman, that is. Supposedly there’s a statue in the cemetery (where, by the way, Washington Irving is buried alongside many other luminaries) that weeps. And perhaps other people are haunting that cemetery and the old houses.
I’m curious enough to find out. Are you?

“Haunted: True Tales of the Paranormal.” Definitely not something to miss this Halloween.

Well, that’s the latest list from me, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you found this a wonderfully chilling list. But tell me, have you heard of any of these places? Have you been to any of them? Any more you might recommend? Let’s discuss.

And make sure to check out “Haunted: True Tales of the Paranormal” from Gestalt Media, an audio collection of people relating their supernatural and paranormal experiences. There’s plenty of spooky tales and episodes, including a chilling recounting of my night at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast three years ago. Trust me, it’s not something you’ll want to miss this Halloween. And you can check it out by clicking this link.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Finally, Part 3! Hopefully it’s the last part. Click here and here for Parts 1 and 2, respectively.

When we last left off on the Bellaire House, we had finished up a rather silly attempt at a spirit box session in the basement and had moved to the seance room to try there. This is the room, according to legend, where Lyde Heatherington died of a heart attack by the fireplace, and her brother Edwin attempted to contact her spirit, which may have opened a portal in the house.

We started up with the spirit box again, Nikkie putting on the blindfold and headphones again. As I said, this was to form another layer of veracity. If the one repeating what they heard through the static couldn’t hear what was being asked, any correlation between answers and questions could be evidence of paranormal activity.

This was, by the way, when we came into contact with the spirit I’ve come to call George’s Friend, as whoever she is (and we’re pretty sure she’s a woman) wanted us to help George.

If you watched the video, you saw how often certain words, like “George” and “water” and “underneath” were repeated. There was also the word “hundred,” which could correlate with the word “century” from another spirit box session (not on camera).

You can also hear the sadness in the speaker’s voice. She speaks through Nikkie, but it’s apparent that she’s desperate and sad and is pleading to help George, whoever that is. Honestly, I felt my heart break when I was there. And every time I watch this video, I get a little sad.

And how she asked us not to go at the end. That’s not only persuasive, it kind of makes you want to cry.

We would talk to George’s Friend again very soon…

After this, we had a few more spirit box sessions. I put my phone and GoPro at this time so they could charge, so I don’t have them on video, but they were something else. I even took another turn on the spirit box, and that was where things got a little freaky. You see, during my turn in the seance room, I got the name “Lucifer” again. And not just once, but five times!

Again, this could be me just attributing meaning to sounds that are entirely random. Lucifer is, after all, not only my favorite name for the Devil (whom, by the way, I don’t believe in), but my favorite TV show. Still, to be on the safe side, Kathy did give me some means to protect myself using salt, which the Lees recommended.

At that point we split up to do experiments in other parts of the house. I can’t speak to what the other group did on the second floor and in the attic, but I was in the seance room with Dave and Danette, and this time we tried an experiment of our very own.

Now, you all should be familiar with my dowsing rods, which ghosts are believed to use to manipulate to answer yes or no questions. But the GhostTube app is something new. It’s not only a camera, but it measures electromagnetic energy and volume in the area. And it has some sort of dictionary that spirits are able to manipulate so they can communicate. The idea was we could combine both tools and see if the results correlate.

This was when we got George’s Friend again, and learned some more about George. But we may have also learned some stuff about George’s Friend.

So if you didn’t watch the whole video, according to this session, George died of a stroke in the attic while George’s Friend was in the tunnels. And the way the answers on the dowsing rods line up with the answers on the GhostTube app is striking. I don’t know if anyone’s ever done an experiment like this, but if not, it’s a good sign for this kind of experiment.

We also learned that George Friend might be evil. Or, some spirit was evil. Perhaps we were hearing from the spirit that wanted to go to Hell and was obsessed with the devil. It might have been interfering with George’s Friend’s response.

After that, things wrapped up pretty quickly. Greg, Kathy, Nikkie and Dan went to their hotels. Dave, Danette, and I stayed in the house overnight (and I made sure to do one of the salt cleansings Kathy taught me while I was in the shower).

The bedroom I slept in. I actually slept pretty well.

I woke up around 8:30 the next morning on Sunday, October 11th. All told, it was a good sleep. I only woke up once, and I don’t remember having any bad dreams.

To my horror, Dave and Danette were gone!

But it turns out they simply had to get on the road and didn’t want to wake me up. They left a note in the seance room with instructions on how to lock up the house. Yeah, if they’d run out of the house because of fear, they wouldn’t have left a note. Hell, if they’d run out in terror, they wouldn’t have left me. They’re not the type to do that.

That being said, I didn’t stay too long in the house. Maybe an hour and a half at most, long enough to pack up, turn off all the lights, and make sure nothing was out of place. Like I said, that house has a bad energy to it. Even in calmer, kinder moments, it’s not the sort of place you want to spend too long in. It’s a toxic environment.

After I locked up and did one more salt ritual to keep myself safe, I filmed one more video, just summing up my thoughts on the Bellaire House and then headed north to visit some other places, including my folks in Cleveland.

If you didn’t watch the video, I just said that the house does appear to have spirits, and that some of them are aggressive or malevolent. I didn’t say this in the video, but if I had to guess, there’s probably a portal of some sort, and that’s why the house has such a range of spirits. Just a guess.

In any case, I probably would come back to the Bellaire House again for an investigation if asked. However, I’d come packing plenty of salt, and I would not stay in there alone. Not for longer than a few hours, and definitely not overnight. I also wouldn’t stay more than a day. Like I said, that place is toxic, and the Lees acknowledge it has an effect on relationships if you stay too long.

So that was the Bellaire House in Bellaire, Ohio. It’s an intriguing and hopping place, but also a dark place. One filled with spirits that may be friendly, but may also be quite dangerous. And I’ll remember my night there as long as I live.

Also, managed to keep this in three parts. Yay on me.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope to have more to tell you very soon. But until then, pleasant nightmares.

There was an unfortunate delay last week, but I’m happy to let you know that “Haunted: True Tales of the Paranormal” has been released!

Now, if you missed the announcement last week, let me tell you about “Haunted.” To put it simply, it’s an audio collection of stories of the paranormal. Real people have come forward and told their stories of encountering the paranormal and the supernatural in the form of a campfire story. And I was one of the people who got interviewed!

I’m very excited for you to check out “Haunted.” It’s available from Gestalt Media, the company that put the collection together, and you can buy just the audio collection for 3.5 hours of creepy stories. Or you can buy the companion guide, which contains the complete transcripts of the interviews, follow-up questions, photos of the locations, and maybe an actual image of a spirit!

And it can all be found on Gestalt Media’s website.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the collection. I’ll be listening right alongside you.

Now if anyone needs me, I’m either going to be at work or I’m going to be competing on a nightmarish version of The Bachelorette involving torture, demons, and a Gothic, labyrinthine castle in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. I forget which. Either way, I’ll be listening to “Haunted” and having a ton of fun.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, stay safe and pleasant nightmares!

As promised, let me tell you what the rest of the investigation into the Bellaire House was like (for Part 1, click here).

After the Lees left, we began our investigation into the house. As you may recall, I was joined by Dave and Danette, friends I’d met at the Ohio State Reformatory’s public ghost hunt last year, and Greg, Kathy, Dan and Nikkie of the Tri-C Ghost Hunters. Since all the equipment had been laid out beforehand (as well as bedrooms claimed for those staying overnight), we went right up to the attic. Partly because, as the Lees explained, “servants” were kept up there during the Underground Railroad. It’s also the place where a spirit (possibly a demonic one) named Emily Davis hangs out. It’s also the place where some of our more sensitive members felt a very strange energy.

While up there, we started out with laying some devices and trigger objects, objects which may energize a spirit or make them want to interact with us. In Emily Davis’s case, this was a big, bouncy ball. After that, we started spirit box sessions.

Now, if you’re not familiar, a spirit box is a device that sweeps through radio stations at a fast pace, like four per second. This is too fast for a regular radio station to play music or an ad. The idea is that the spirits will speak over and through the sweeps in order to interact with us. Because only a spirit would be able to work through that noise!

To add some veracity to the experiment, we would have someone sit by the spirit box, blindfolded and wearing noise-cancelling headphones plugged into the spirit box. They would listen for words in the radio waves and repeat what they heard. Since they wouldn’t be able to hear the other members’ questions, anything that the listener would say wouldn’t be influenced by questions. If it meshed in a weird way, it could be evidence of the paranormal.

The downside to that is the possibility that you could hear something said while listening to the static and ascribe your own meaning to it. For example, a Dungeons & Dragons fan would hear “duh-duh” and maybe think “dungeon.” See what I mean?

Well, we had two sessions, one by Kathy and the other done by Nikkie. And they were rather scary. During Nikkie’s session, she actually got on the horn with a spirit that kept saying it wanted to go to Hell. Yeah, you read that right. A spirit that said it wanted to go to Hell! Who says that? We called a break so that we could refocus and do some reiki techniques to protect ourselves. Let me tell you, those of us who did them felt a bit safer after that.

I also used that time to order a pizza for dinner. And then we went back up for a few more sessions. Including my first dowsing rods session.

So, not a lot of luck on the dowsing rods the first time out (first time that’s happened in a haunted location). But then I got the chance to try the spirit box myself. And that had some results. Here’s my video of it, complete with a little explanation of what we were going to do.

Spooky, right? I got “Lucifer” during my session. And I couldn’t hear a word anyone was saying to me, so when I heard it, it wasn’t influenced by anything anyone was saying to me. Though it could’ve been influenced by my love of that show. Later on though, I said, “You look,” and whoever I was speaking for laughed when Nikkie finished with “fabulous.” Not a very nice spirit. Then there was an argument with the spirit saying “Stop! You stop!” near the very end.

Now, let me take a moment to tell you about the session. When I had the blindfold and headphones on, my world retreated to that static and noise I was hearing. I was trying to make out any words, and my concentration was solely on that. At the same time though, I was taking notes on what I was feeling and hearing. For example, I felt like the sweeps had an almost musical beat to it. And when I heard that beat more clearly, I felt like words were just about to break through.

Also, and this would hold for the other spirit box sessions I would do, I often felt an energy over my head, and I had the distinct impression like something wanted to rip the headphones off my head. As far as I know, I was the only one who felt that way.

After a few more sessions, we headed down to the basement, which had its own creepy energy, especially earlier in the day. However, things did not go as planned. By that point, I’d eaten some pizza and a lot of Diet Coke, and the basement wasn’t conducive to catching radio waves. Add in some silliness on our part (possibly to get rid of those scary vibes from the attic), and you get this:

We’re such silly adults.

Anyway, after all that, we headed upstairs to put on some sessions in the seance room. What happened then? Well, I’ll tell you all that in Part 3. Yes, I’m afraid there’s going to have to be a Part 3. This post is getting long. But I swear, Part 3 will (likely) be the last part.

Until next time, Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares!

The Bellaire House in Bellaire, Ohio. Looks like it was made for a haunting, doesn’t it?

You’ve been patient, you’ve been supportive and kind. I apologize for the delay, but it’s finally here. Let me tell you about the Bellaire House, where I did an investigation with friends this past weekend (October 10th, if you’re reading this in the future).

So, how did this come about? Well, I made some friends at the public ghost hunt at the Ohio State Reformatory last year. Among them were Dave and Danette, a couple who weren’t afraid to visit some haunted locations while on their road trips. They let me know they were going to be going through Ohio, and might be visiting a haunted house for an overnight. They wanted to know if I would be interested in joining them, as well as members of Tri-C Ghost Hunters, a group of paranormal investigators whose members included friends we’d made last year at the ghost hunt.

Obviously, even with a pandemic, I wanted in, and after some back and forth, we settled on the Bellaire House, a location I’d never heard of before but which, after a little research, I found quite entrancing. Located in Bellaire, Ohio, the house was built and owned in the mid-19th century (I originally thought it was the 20th) by the Heatherington family. One member, Edwin Heatherington (I thought he was called Edmund), did some seances after his sister Lyde died in the house. That may have opened up a portal in the house, leading to the hauntings.

Years later, the house would be bought by the Lee family, who would discover its many spirits and try to flee Amityville style. Only instead of never returning, they ended up turning it into a paranormal research hotspot. (I go into more history in the videos).

I arrived in Bellaire on October 10th and met Dave and Danette at a diner for a late lunch. After eating and catching up, we went to the house. And after I got my stuff inside, I started filming, starting with the exterior.

After shooting the exterior, we went back inside and I did a tour of the house. This time, I got out the GoPro again to do the tour.

Spoiler alert, that skull was real! Yeah, the Lees confirmed it. I just don’t have it on video.

Now, before I go any further with this story, there’s something you should know. Normally when I enter haunted places, I feel pretty peaceful. Even the Lizzie Borden House, where the titular ghost threatened me while I was sleeping in her room, didn’t put me on edge. However, the Bellaire House was different. It had an energy to it. From the moment I walked in, it felt weird. As cool as it was, it was not a house I would not want to spend too much time in.

Later on, it would feel peaceful. Especially in the light of morning. But I knew it was a calm before a storm. Like I said, that house had a feel to it. And it was even stronger in the attic. I felt tingles in my fingers when I first went there.

Whatever that house used to be, it’s no longer a happy home. It’s not meant to be.

Anyway, around five-thirty or six, the rest of our party for the evening arrived: Greg and Kathy, whom Danette, Dave and I had met at the Reformatory last year, and Nikkie and Dan, who are apparently from my county (small world). We got to talking and getting to know each other. And after that, the owners of the House, Daniel and Kristen Lee, arrived to tell us about the house, it’s history and their experiences there.

If you didn’t watch the full video, then let me tell you something. I could tell the Lees were really uncomfortable in the house. They laughed it off, but you could tell. And I kind of understand. While I would like to live in a haunted house, I don’t want one that has a malevolent or toxic presence in it. And I’m a horror and paranormal nut! The Lees are what I would call normies. And they were so disturbed by what they went through, they tried fleeing to Massachusetts! Yet they still had to come back. Now this house is part of their livelihood, and it must be a mental and psychological toll on them.

Like having to work in a jailhouse, I’d imagine. Only, who exactly are the prisoners and who are the jailers?

I’ll end this post with that thought. I’ll go into the investigation in Part 2. However, if you go to my YouTube channel, you’ll find all the videos I took already there.

And as for Haunted, the audio collection of paranormal stories I’m apart of, it’s been delayed due to technical issues. But it should be out before too long. And it’ll be worth the wait, believe me. I listened to part of it, especially my section. Believe me, it’s quite spooky. And I’ll be posting the links as soon as I have them.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope to have Part 2 out soon (among other posts). Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Ad for Black Peter Robinson’s Mourning Warehouse, and the image that inspired this story.

Wow, what a mouthful of a title. And what a story! I have a good feeling about this one.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the point of this post: just a few minutes ago, I finished a new novelette. Titled “The Ghost of the Mourning Museum,” the story follows a man on vacation in the UK who visits the Museum of British Mourning.* While there, he encounters a little girl who says she’s the daughter of a mourning warehouse owner who died in the 19th century. As it turns out, the museum is haunted by that girl’s ghost, and seeing her is said to herald your death.

So yeah, if you read my post on the cult of Victorian mourning rituals, you can see how that might fit into this story. In fact, quite a few of my interests made their way into this story. Tarot, for instance; I was struggling at a certain point in the outlining stage of what should happen to my protagonist, so I just gave him a Tarot reading. I then pulled out my own deck, and used that to perform the reading for my character. What the cards gave me ended up propelling the story forward in just the right way.

And because I’d been to Britain on a study abroad trip years ago, I got to include a little bit of my experience in the story. Not much, but a little.

So, what’s next for this story? Well, at 10,535 words, publications are going to be very selective with what they’re willing to accept. That being said, I think this story has potential, so I’m going to find a few beta readers to give me feedback. Once I have that feedback, I’ll use it to spruce up this story. And then, once that’s done…who knows? At the very least, I’d like to get it out there and see if anyone else enjoys the story.

For now though, I’m drinking some beer and retiring for the night. Goodnight, my Followers of Fear. I’m sure we’ll catch up at some point this weekend. But until then, stay safe, pleasant nightmares, and…holy crap! WordPress informs me I’m past a hundred thousand views on this blog! Everyone, thank you so much for continuing to read this blog and support my writing career. You can’t imagine what it means to me. I hope you’ll continue to support me as I work on getting more stories out there and reaching my full potential as a writer.

Until then, pleasant nightmares!

I know I said that already. I don’t care.

*For the record, there isn’t a real Museum of British Mourning. I just made it up for the sake of this story. However, if one does come into existence in the future, I hope the museum will give credit where credit is due and make me part of the museum’s operations in some way.

After the failure that was the Grudge reboot earlier this year (see my review here), I was hopeful after learning a television series based on the original Ju-On movies was going to be released in Japan. And it was being brought to America through Netflix. And as soon as I could, I sat down to watch all six episodes of JU-ON: Origins. After all, it was guaranteed to be better than the Grudge reboot, but would it be legitimately scary?

JU-ON: Origins begins with a paranormal researcher named Odajima appearing on a talk show with an idol who experienced supernatural happenings at her apartment after her boyfriend goes house-hunting for them. At the same time, a troubled high schooler named Kiyomi becomes involved with a mysterious house near her school. This and other events leads to many people’s lives becoming involved with the house, a house whose history is alive and kicking, and in the worst possible way.

While this series bears very little resemblance to the original story of the movies beyond a cursed house and several men questioning if they’re the father of the children they’re raising, it’s definitely a better horror story than the Grudge reboot. And even better, it’s freaking scary.

First off, the show does a great job of setting up a mystery. The characters spend their time running down multiple leads, each one leading to a new aspect of the haunting. And each new aspect seems to add more questions than it answers. But even better, there are a number of terrifying moments. There were quite a few moments, especially in the later episodes, where I was squirming in my seat. Anyone who gets to episode five will shiver every time they think of it.

I also liked how they incorporated famous tragedies from Japan’s recent history into the story. A lot of the major events of the story occur around the same time as the murder of Junko Furuta, the sarin gas attacks, and the Kobe child murders (which, by the way, are terrifying in their own rights). Almost as if to say the house’s evil has some sort of connection to those events.

And if you don’t like subtitles, there’s an English dub on Netflix, and it’s decent. The English dialogue matches very well with the Japanese lip movements, and there are some well-known anime voice actors in the series (I had a lot of fun making jokes about that in the calmer moments of the show). Though I am sad to say, that’s not Nicholas Cage voicing the main character Odajima, but a guy named Brock Powell doing a really good Nicholas Cage impression.

This scene! Oh God, I’m shivering again.

If there’s one thing I didn’t care for, it was that I would’ve liked to see more from the original films incorporated into the story. I’m not asking for a direct based-on-the-movie or Kayako and her son to fully appear on screen, but I would’ve enjoyed more references or incorporation of the original story that’s become so beloved by fans.

And just a trigger warning: this series delves into subjects such as domestic violence and sexual assault. So if that’s a turn-off, maybe don’t watch this one.

For everyone else, however, JU-ON: Origins is a terrifying TV show that will satisfy anyone else bored with more recent entries into the Ju-On and Grudge franchises. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving this show a 4.5. Head on home and settle in to watch it. Just make sure to watch with the lights on.

Also, if you go house hunting and the house has a history, make sure that it hasn’t harmed anyone in at least a decade before deciding it’s your dream home!

St. Michael’s Anglican Church. Supposedly a couple of brides haunt the place, having died on their wedding days.

My last post recounting my adventures from my recent trip to Iowa and South Carolina is about the haunted tour of Historic Charleston in South Carolina. The tour was operated by Ghost City Tours, which apparently has tours across the southern United States. I was joined by my buddy Ramsey Hardin, who you remember was my host while in South Carolina. And you know what? It was a fun experience.

Ramsey and I arrived at the meeting place around ten in the evening, and joined a group of people waiting for the tour. There were three tour guides there, to ensure that everyone could social distance while still getting the tour. Ramsey and I were placed with a young woman named Caroline, who is actually a fellow Ohioan originally. Yeah, we had a lot to talk about.

And we did talk a lot. Between locations on the tour, those of us who had had paranormal experiences were encouraged to recount them. Obviously, I talked about my many experiences, including the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, the Ohio State Reformatory, and my recent excursion to the Villisca Axe Murder House. I don’t think anyone else related a story, but Caroline did mention an occurrence involving a friend of hers. At least, I think it was a friend.

As for paranormal activity captured or witnessed…well, I thought I got something on my phone’s camera. Check out the photos below.

These photos were taken one after the other, and if you look at the far left of the second photo, it appears there’s a small orange light on the other side of that pole. One that’s not in the first photo. However, further inspection showed that I took a step to the left (hence why the streetlight is hidden behind a tree). That light I thought was a ghost orb was actually a reflection from the streetlamp off a length of metal. To quote Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures, “this piece of evidence is debunked.”

However, I did catch something on video. Those photos were taken at the graveyard at St. Philip’s, which is known to be the resting place of Susan Howard Hardy, a woman who died in childbirth and who was secretly buried with her stillborn child. After I took those photos, I gave Ramsey my phone and managed to catch her on the dowsing rods. Here is the video of our short conversation.

Cool, huh? The “signal,” so to speak, was weak, but I managed to get some answers from her, and the information I got was consistent with the historical record. By the way, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church is not too fond of the fact that a ghost is known to roam their graveyard. They’ve taken a lot of measures to try and disassociate themselves as a haunted location, so it would be really bad if it became well-known as a location for a ghost that likes to show herself to anyone looking to contact her.

Hint, hint. Wink, wink.

Finally, the tour revealed some places I would love to do a ghost hunt or investigation if ever given the chance. Here are those places and why they’re haunted (AKA why I’ll have trouble convincing Ramsey to join me).

FW Wagener Building

Built by architect FW Wagener himself, the building lies on a street that is part of a busy shopping district near the bay, and has many great restaurants, hotels and galleries nearby. But in the past few years, this building has had several buildings come and go in the past few years. This may be related to the spirit of George Poirier, the son of a rich businessman who never worked a day in his life, living a life of leisure. Which became a problem when a series of events caused George to lose his fortune, leading to him hanging himself in the topmost window. He’s said to still be there, taking his rage out on patrons, which is why there’s so many businesses coming and going from the building (allegedly).

Four Corners of Law

At the intersection of Broad and Meeting in Charleston’s historic district are four buildings that have been used for various types of law: Charleston City Hall (city law), Charleston County Courthouse (state law), the US Post Office and Federal Courthouse (federal), and St. Michael’s Anglican Church (ecclesiastical law). Supposedly, a variety of spirits are known to haunt the buildings, including Lavinia Fisher, possibly America’s first known serial killer, who is said to haunt the Charleston County Courthouse, and two brides supposedly haunt St. Michael’s. Caroline showed us a photo supposedly taken of one of the brides in the church’s window, and it is scary. Like, what every CGI ghost tries to be, but way more terrifying.

The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

Also known as the old Exchange and the Customs House, this building has seen a number of uses throughout the years, and is now a museum. Various ghosts are said to haunt the place for various reasons, but I’m especially interested in the Provost Dungeon in the basement. Conditions in the basement were terrible for prisoners, as the building regularly flooded with the tides, drowning prisoners and causing them to contract a variety of diseases. Supposedly the ghosts on this level are quite upset and are known to be violent. One tour guide was supposedly so terrified of what he experienced, he quit and has never come back.

USS Yorktown

Okay, this one wasn’t on the tour, but as I said in my Impressions of South Carolina post, the air carrier is rumored to be very haunted. To the point that they sell a book about it in the gift shop. And I thought I saw a ghost on the main floor, and felt like I was being watched in the Engine Room when I visited. And they advertise ghost tours on the website. You can see why I would want to investigate the ship.

 

In fact, you can see why I would want to investigate any of these places! And I would have never known any of this stuff, except for the Yorktown, if I hadn’t gone on the tour. So thanks to Ghost City Tours, and to Caroline, for giving me the opportunity to learn Charleston’s creepier side. And I hope to be back down in Charleston very soon. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to stay overnight at one of these locations, and see if something is there.

In the meantime, if you want to check out Ghost City Tours, their website lists all the cities they operate in, including Charleston, New Orleans and Savannah, among others. Here’s the link if you’re interested.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you were spooked out by this post. Until next time, stay safe, pleasant nightmares, and YOUR RESIDENCE IS HAUNTED! RUN WHILE YOU STILL HAVE THE TIME!!!

From left to right: Monica Ware; Harlie “Harlie Quinn” Jones; myself; Charles Naylor; and Joleene Naylor. Photo taken by Joleene’s brother, Chris Harris, offscreen.

If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, click here.

This morning I received a message from the mother of Harlie Jones, the teenager who joined us for the investigation. Apparently Monica was filming the dowsing rods session, but unlike mine, there was a lot of static and white noise in her recording. And she was using a cell phone, too. Not saying this is a ghost or definitely paranormal, but it is strange and unexplained.

If Monica ever posts that recording of the event online, perhaps some intrepid editor with a better grasp of digital editing than you or me can find something within the static and white noise. Perhaps an electronic voice phenomena (EVP)? Or an odd shape in the static?

Speaking of strange and unexplained, let’s start Part 2 of the recap with some unexplained weirdness. After dinner in town and after taking the above photo in front of the house, we reentered the house. And because of the house’s history, I thought it was a good idea to go through the house with a poker to make sure there wasn’t any killers hidden in the structure (fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…). All was normal until we reached the children’s room on the second floor. And realized the door to the closet, the one we’d locked Joleene in temporarily and which we’d left open when we’d left, had closed on its own.

Here’s a video clip of our reaction to finding that. BTW, the guy in the Hawaiian shirt is Chris Harris, Joleene’s brother.

So yeah, that happened. And we’re still not sure how that happened. The second-floor air conditioning unit is in the parents’ room at the other end of the floor, and there’s no way the breeze from that could’ve pushed the door closed. That, and there was no breeze or draft up there. So how did it happen?

As it was getting late, we decided to do one more dowsing rods test, this time in the attic of the house, where the killer supposedly hid while waiting for the family to return. This time, we got Josiah Moore to answer our questions. And…the results were unexpected. Turn up the volume on your computer or phone to hear the full audio.

So if you watched the whole thing, Josiah Moore somehow made a dog outside the house bark. I’m not sure how a spirit can be in two places at once again like that, but I’ll go with it. What do I know about the afterlife?

Now that I think about it, maybe Josiah was answering, and it was one of the other spirits setting off the dog. His wife, for instance.

Also, some weird things happened when I asked about the killer. Josiah said his spirit was still with them, but then flip-flopped on whether the killer was in the room with us. Assuming that the rods aren’t manipulated by tiny movements in my hands and arms (and the copper cylinders around the rods are supposed to prevent that), why the change? Did the killer’s spirit only manifest in the room then? Or is it just a residual haunting? Not the spirit of a person, but a spiritual imprint or recording that, under certain circumstances, gets played back? That would be my guess, though as I said, I’m no expert.

Soon after that experiment, and some discussion with Joleene and the others, I recorded one final video. This time, a vlog in the children’s room about why it was so quiet in the house.

If you didn’t watch that video in full, I speculated the reason why the house wasn’t more active was because the Moores and the Stillinger girls only did enough “haunting,” so to speak, to let us know they were there. I also included Joleene, Charles, and Chris’s observations regarding the house feeling “creepy” and whether or not people were there.

Soon after recording that, I went to bed. Monica left at some point because she had work in the morning, and Chris went home as well. Harlie was told she could go back to the Naylor’s at any point she wanted, but she ended up staying the whole night, as did Charles, Joleene and I. And while nothing directly out of a horror movie happened, some weird things did occur:

On my end, I often found myself waking up in the middle of the night with my fingers interlaced on top of my chest. Not only is that unusual for me to sleep like that, but it’s also similar to how the Moores were posed after death by the killer. That, and at one point I thought i heard a whispered conversation, which I now believe was coming from the closet in the downstairs bedroom. However, at the time I woke up, around 4:30 in the morning, I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I even poked my head out into the main living room to see if anyone was talking, but nobody was. Harlie, who had been sleeping on the couch, noticed me there and confirmed that nobody had been speaking near her later when I asked about it.

Speaking of Harlie, she had some experiences of her own: as she told me that morning, while she was sleeping on the couch, she felt something like a finger trace down her back. Yeah, creepy. She turned over to avoid being touched like that again, especially since she was alone in the room. Not too long after that, she saw me poke my head out.

And some time during that early morning, she saw a shadow figure walk from the door into the kitchen towards the stairs. Yeah, she saw that! I’m so jealous.

Maybe it’s because she’s been around the same age as the children haunting the house both times, or maybe she’s born for ghost hunting. Either way, Harlie could do this as a hobby, if not a career.

And if you’re wondering what Joleene or Charles saw, they say they didn’t have any experiences. At least none that they noticed.

I survived the Villisca Axe Murder House!

In the morning, we woke up and figured out what had happened to us (or hadn’t happened). We then got our stuff together, made sure we left the house in a state similar to how we left it, did a sage burning to ensure that nothing attached to us and followed us home, and returned the keys to where we were told. Not too long after that, Chris gave me a ride back to Des Moines for my flight to South Carolina. Thus ended the investigation into the Villisca Axe Murder House.

So what are my final thoughts on the Villisca Axe Murder House? Well, I do believe it’s haunted. I do think the Moores and the Stillingers are still living there, with residual energy from the killer. And I think that the Moores and Stillingers prefer to keep to themselves. They’ll let you know they’re here, but unless you’re a kid like Harlie, they’ll only let you know in the hopes you’ll leave them alone. They suffered at the end of their lives and stuck in the house in the afterlife. Can’t be easy having a bunch of random people appearing in the house at least once a week.

Still, I recommend you visit if you want. Daytime tours are available, and of course if you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can stay overnight. Depending on the how the spirits are feeling and your luck, you might catch a thing or two. Hopefully not an axe to the head, though.

And with any luck, you might also run into Fish the cat, a friendly stray who likes to hang around the house and with the people staying there. Charles spent a lot of time with her and she spent some time on my lap, as you can see.

Me hanging with Fish the cat.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll be back to post on other stuff, including the South Carolina part of my trip, sooner than you think. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!