Paranormal Investigations, or Choose Your Own Adventure

Statue at the battlefield of a fallen English soldier

Statue at the battlefield of a fallen English soldier

I went off on a bit of a tangent with my last post, and it ended up getting to be long, so I had to break it into two parts. Spoiler alert: this one has all the good stuff in it.

It started getting dark out after our fifteen-minute break was over. Norm got his crank flashlight out of his car and I checked the flashlight app on my phone. I felt like a douchebag for using my phone for everything, but I didn’t want to have to lug all that stuff around with me. It was about time I started using some of the gadgets on my phone anyway, just to justify having bought a smartphone.

We hung around, taking turns cranking his flashlight so it was at its maximum brightness and talking to the tour guide about the battle that had taken place here. Roughly fifty English soldiers (English being inclusive to Scottish as well) died on this land. Even more Native Americans died, but they didn’t keep written records, so the estimate isn’t known. Apparently the soldiers didn’t have time to bury their dead, so they hid them between two walls of flour sacks and headed toward the fort. When they finally were able to send troops back to give the bodies a proper Christian burial, most had been scalped and defaced by the Indians (according to Ray the tour guide). I could understand why this would be a point of interest for our class.

I sensed Ray wasn’t really a believer in the supernatural but was only coming along as a stipulation by the battlefield’s council and to provide us with some interesting history. Still, he was being a good sport about it, and I admired him for that. Norm and I were having a difficult time stifling our laughs and sarcastic comments. It didn’t get any easier when we heard excited screams and exclamations of the Lord’s name in vain coming from the bathrooms.

We looked over to see a small cluster huddled around someone’s camera.

“Looks like they already found something… In the bathroom that was totally here during the battle, that it would make perfect sense for the dead soldiers to be haunting,” Norm muttered.

I wasn’t surprised either. These were the people who kept interjecting during the presentation to describe their own methods for hunting ghosts. These were the people who were taking diligent notes the entire time. These were the people who claimed they saw faces inside of orbs and heard someone threaten to kill them at a local park the week before. I’m not going to say their name, although maybe it would be good if I did to give them a little publicity because I’m entirely convinced that’s all they’re concerned with, but I’ll keep it classy. I’m probably going to complain about them more, so let’s call them the Jacktown Paranormal Investigation Squad.

Bill managed to break up the excitement by repeating that the mind only sees what it wants to see. He was either being the voice of reason or making sure if anyone found something, it’d be him, the real professional.

We gathered together and headed down a path into the depths of the woods. I took some pictures along the way as Ray told us about the soldiers whom walked this same exact path, presumably. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I knew I wanted to have something to work with once this shindig was over.

“What are you even taking pictures of?” Norm asked and paused his cranking to test the light.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I just want to have some sort of evidence for something to show people. I don’t care if it’s real or not. I just want to have something, you know?”

“If you want to find evidence, you got to take a lot of pictures,” said a member of the Jacktown squad, falling back to talk to me.

“Oh yeah? It sounds like you guys have a lot of experience,” I said good-naturedly.

“Yeah, we actually just started doing this a couple of months ago, but we’ve investigated a lot of places. We went down to a park where a flood happened last week and found some interesting stuff. We’ve been to houses and an old mental hospital, too,” she said. “The way I do it is to keep your flashlight low and walk quietly. Waving your light around only scares the spirits away. I only raise my flashlight when I’m specifically looking for something, so I can see it.”

“Ah, okay. So you kind of treat it like a wild animal. You don’t, like, scare it away but sort of coax it toward you?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Norm sniggering behind me.

She blinked, then dismissed my stupid comment. “You know, we’ve become a family. We were all strangers coming into this, but now we’re practically brothers and sisters.”

“Yeah, I thought you guys were actually related, but I guess you have to be close with your people in order to do this kind of work.”

“Yeah. We’ve become really close. There are seven of us right now. We have a Facebook group. We’re called the Jacktown Paranormal Investigation Squad. You should check it out.”

Yeah. I’ll get right on that.

I don’t know what exactly bothered me so much about these people. I guess it was the way they took themselves so seriously and acted like pros. Not only that, but constantly rubbing their self-proclaimed expertise into everyone’s faces. Every time Bill said something, one of them would intercept with a comment, correction, or boast strategically phrased to sound like a question. They just wouldn’t stop.

Replicas of the flour sacks soldiers used as barricades

Replicas of the flour sacks soldiers used as barricades

We took a break to let the rest of the group catch up.

“While we’re here, let’s take a quick EVP session {audio recording session using an EM detector—I don’t remember what the acronym actually stands for} for practice,” Bill said, pulling out his EM sensor. “Who wants to hold it?”

I was ready to quickly back away and avoid eye contact, expecting this to be one of those instances where he has to pull teeth to get a mandatory volunteer. However, a girl whom life had not yet taken the spunk out of stepped forward and took it. As soon as she grabbed it, the sensor lit up, indicating the presence of a magnetic field.

“Oh my god, it’s already working!”

“Now, that might be something on you. Do you have a cell phone or anything?”

She pulled out her cell phone and handed it to me. I backed away so that it would be out of reach of the sensor.

“Okay, everyone turn your lights off so we can get a good read on this.”

“Jacktown, lights down!” the girl who was lecturing me earlier called out.

Norm and I exchanged an annoyed eye roll.

“Alright, then, start asking questions,” Bill said, raising his IR camera.

There was an awkward silence.

Linda spoke up. “Is there anyone here with us?”

The sensor hesitated, and then flashed green. There was a muffled gasp throughout the crowd.

“Is there a spirit present? If so, walk toward the green light so we can detect your prescence.”

The green light flashed again. I poked Norm’s ribs excitedly.

“Are you an English soldier?”

Another flash, promptly after the question.

“Are you Captain Marlette?”

Nothing.

“Are you Colonel Hager?”

Nothing.

“Is there more than one of you?”

Another flash.

There were more questions with responses, but I can’t remember exactly how it went. Still, this was pretty awesome. It was like a spirit was right there answering the questions. Even Norm was impressed with that.

Looking back, I suspect that Bill might have been doing something to set the EM sensor off. Maybe he was moving back and forth with his camera, creating EM fluctuations that the sensor could easily pick up. I wasn’t watching him, so I don’t know for sure, but there’s always something to debunk those sorts of things.

“You know… I can sort of feel something…” the girl holding the sensor, Serenity, said.

“Like a cold spot?” Linda asked.

“Like a tingliness. My back feels tingly.”

Another member of the group, a lady who works at the battlefield, walked over. “I can feel it, too. I can feel a tingle in my arm. Sarah, come over here.”

The lady’s daughter, Sarah, also someone who works at the battlefield, walked over. “Yeah. The tingles are going down my whole body. There’s definitely something here.”

“Hm. That could be something,” Bill said.

“There’s definitely something here. I’m a channeler, so I can sense these kinds of things,” Sarah said.

“I’m a channeler, too!” Serenity said excitedly. “I never met another one before!”

“You know, I’m a channeler, too,” someone else in the group said.

“This is so cool,” Serenity went on. “I can’t believe I met another channeler.”

“Yeah, I talked to people when I was a kid,” Sarah said. I didn’t like Sarah.

“It’s true. She talked to my grandmother Ida when she was little. She never met Ida, but she would have conversations with her and talk about things she had no way of knowing about blah blah blah…” I didn’t like Sarah’s mom either.

There’s a type of mother, a very common type, that thinks her child is the best thing that has ever happened to the world, is convinced that child is special in every single way, and feels the need to use her child’s perceived ability to justify her own shortcomings in life. While the mother fails to have an extraordinary life, she can live an imaginary one through the way she sees her child.

Consequently, having grown up with the constant reminder that he or she is great in every single way imaginable, the child invariably becomes narcissistic, convinced that she is the greatest, specialist thing ever to spawn into existence. Whenever that idea becomes challenged, she resorts back to her mother’s words and often cites some childhood experience as proof mostly to herself. She validates this belief by throwing this proof onto other people.

This is how I viewed Sarah and her mother. This is why I didn’t like them. Narcissism is hands-down my least favorite quality in people. I hate it even more than the trait of being a raging, psychopathic serial killer that targets women and children. And now I will end my rant.

“I don’t feel it anymore.”

“Neither do I. It’s definitely gone now.”

“Yeah, it’s gone.”

“Well, let’s keep moving fellas,” Bill said. “Ray’s going to show us the witness tree, the only tree to have been here during the actual battle.”

We continued walking.

“Hey, what if we actually find something?” I ask Norm as we’re walking. I go back to taking pictures of the woods.

“Seriously? We’re not going to find anything. You don’t even have flash on.”

“That doesn’t matter. We’ll just increase the contrast when we look at them on the computer, just like they did in Sinister.” Just as background, Sinister is without contest Norm and my favorite horror movie of all time. We got drunk once and watched it, and we were just the right amount of drunkenness for it to terrify us to death. No movie has ever come close to having the same effect. I mean, we screamed like little schoolgirls in my basement from that movie.

“You still have to have some light for that to work.”

“What if we took a picture, then increased the contrast and zoomed in and saw the face from Sinister?

The smile disappeared from Norm’s face. “Nope. Not going to go there. I’m done.”

“Do you guys feel like something’s watching us?” someone behind us said.

“You feel something?” someone else asked.

“Yeah, like eyes.”

“Where at?”

“Like, all over.”

“I feel them over there.”

“Yeah, yeah that’s where I feel them.”

“I definitely feel something over there.”

“Oh my god, I can see it moving.”

“Whoa, me too.”

“Yeah, yeah I see it.”

“What does this thing look like?” Bill asked, stopping. “Can you describe it at all?”

“It’s… big.”

“Yeah, it’s, like, tall.”

“It looks like it’s floating.”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

“Hey guys,” Serenity spoke up. “Help me up there. Maybe I can get a reading from the woods.”

I can’t. I just can’t.

Needless to say, there was no activity in that patch of woods. That little instance of textbook group mentality needs no further attention on my part.

The rest of the investigation continued in a similar fashion, with me beating my head against the nearest tree. I’ll give them credit for approaching the class with such wide-eyed enthusiasm, but there comes a point where it just becomes ridiculous. I think that was the same point where I gave up on trying to take the class seriously and switched to whispering penis into my audio recorder (for people later on to discover) and trying to blind Norm with the flash on my camera.

Overall, however, I’d say the class was well worth the twenty bucks. It was something to do on a Saturday night, and I managed to stumble upon some interesting pictures. None of them are actual paranormal evidence, but they look creepy, and that’s enough for the internet.

I suppose my purpose for this post is mainly to say that experiences are what you make of them, and you’re inclined to make more of them if you have to pay up front. And I really hate channelers.

Below are a few gems from last Saturday. All were taken with my cellphone camera at the battlefield. Feel free to use them as proof of ghosts, spirits, demons, or whatever you please. I’ll even vouch for you if you want. Just remember, kids, you can make anything look like something creepy if you stare at it long enough.

red eyesPicture 1: This is a picture of a tree. I uploaded the picture onto my camera and maximized the exposure so you can see something other than darkness. In the bottom right, you should see two glowing red dots close together, similar to a small creature’s eyes.

animal Picture 2: This is the same picture as the one before it. My cellphone doesn’t have many editing capabilities. This is what it came up with when I “auto-enhanced” it. Notice that in the same location where the red eyes were there is an animal face and a hint of a body standing there.

facePicture 3: Another picture of a tree. In the bottom left corner, you can see a glowing red shape that resembled a face.

skull and baby Picture 4: Another auto-enhanced image courtesy of my lousy phone. This was a picture of an empty field. Right in the middle you can see a skull. Below the skull, you can see shoulders, arms, and a body in a sitting position. He is holding something in his arms—it looks like a baby to me.

eyes

Picture 5: Norm sent me this one. He claims the lights on the bottom left looks like eyes. I can sort of see it.

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