My Induction Into Paranormal Life…Part III

26 May

At first it was fun, asking a supposed spirit questions and getting intelligent responses.  The other guests asked the spirit to blink the lights twice for yes as instructed by our guide, and asked several yes or no questions.  This went on for about 5 minutes until finally my colleague continued on with her tour. I personally didn’t ask any questions.  I didn’t really believe that what was happening was real.  Honestly, I thought that there was something in our guide’s pocket that she pressed to make the lights blink, and later; after all the guests had gone, she’d let me in on the trick.  I thought this way until approximately 30 seconds after she resumed speaking.  What happened after that 30 seconds passed started a chain of events that made me not only a believer in the effectiveness of using a K-2 meter to gauge energy fluctuations, but also in the legitimacy of the tour.  I no longer thought there would be secret “parlor tricks” I would be let in on after my training ended for the night, to impress the guests.  I realized that the ghost tour was exactly what it was advertised to be–a tour that took guests through the purportedly haunted hot spots of St Augustine, gave them a chance to take photos and capture evidence and possibly have experiences of their own.

I stood across the street with the other tour guests as our guide took us through the  history of this particular Inn.  As I listened to her give us the details of  how the ghost of a kindly old slave woman is said to reside on the top floor, I began to feel strange.  At first I felt dizzy, and I ignored it; assuming it was only a temporary thing, and would pass. Another minute or two went by, and I started feeling even more dizzy and light-headed–to the point that I removed my jacket thinking a blast of the chilly air would make me feel better.  It didn’t.  After another moment or two I had broken out in a cold sweat and felt awful.  I was nauseous and was doing all I could to remain vertical.  I started running down a mental checklist.  Had I eaten?  Was I locking my knees?  How many hours had it been since I’d eaten?  Yes, I’d eaten.  It had only been about 2 hours since I’d last eaten, and I wasn’t locking my knees.  So why was I feeling this way? I didn’t have a logical explanation for it.  I thought that maybe I was coming down with something; after all it was September and the flu had been going around. I had taken this job after being unemployed for going on 3 months, and I really needed it!  There was no way I was going to screw it up for myself by getting sick, so I was doing the best I could to ignore how I felt.

I remember our guide pointing to the upstairs window on the top story of the building as she spoke and as I looked up to see the window of the room she was referring to, my gaze was caught by movement over to the left.  I noticed there was a porch swing on the back patio.  Because of the angle I was standing in relation to the patio, most of the swing was obscured.  I could tell it was a porch swing by the chain as well as a small part of the back, seat, and arm that were visible to me from where  stood.  I also noticed that the swing was moving back and forth. By this time I was really feeling lousy, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by falling out in front of all our guests into the street.  I remember one of the guests asking me something, and I pretended not to hear her.  I was intently concentrating on not tossing my cookies into the street, and I was afraid that if I opened my mouth to answer her, that was exactly what would happen.  Not a great way to start a job or make a good impression!  I focused on the part of the swing I could see.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Concentrating on that instead of how awful I felt seemed to help somewhat.

Soon we were off in the direction of the patio as some of the guests had asked to take a peek since this was one of the only B&Bs in the historic city with a pool.  We all followed our guide to the patio.  As I rounded the corner where the swing was, I noticed a chain across it with a sign that said, “Please do not use the swing. It is in the process of being painted.”  I reached for my phone to take some shots of the swing and realized that the battery was dead.  I had taken pictures at the previous stop and the battery had been at 80%.  Shrugging off the confusion,  I walked over to our guide and asked her to let the guests know to take some shots of the swing.  They did, and one of the women came up to us to show us what she’d captured.  In the middle of the swing in one of her photos was an anomaly that appeared almost like a wisp of smoke, but too opaque to be smoke.  It was in sort of an S-shape.  In the next photo, it was gone.  My coworker asked me why I’d asked the guests to take pictures of the swing.  Did I know something would be there? I told her that I’d seen it moving only minutes before, and really expected to see guests sitting there when we came around the corner.  We all agreed that was a bit strange, and after speculating for a few moments on what it could be, we again turned our attention to our guide.

We left the patio, went back around the side of the building again, and our guide began telling us about experiences guests had in the room next to the one inhabited by Ms. Lilly, the kindly old woman. She said that this room had an energy that was the only negative energy documented there.  She mentioned that the experiences were documented mainly by men who stayed in the room and began describing them.  She described them feeling as though they were being held down in the bed, unable to move, and finding it hard to breathe.  She also mentioned all the symptoms I had experienced just moments before.  She said the entity in that room was thought to be a Succubus.  (If you aren’t familiar, a succubus is a demonic type of entity.  It is thought to be a rather sexual energy that seeks out men for its victims.)  Because she said it was thought to be a succubus, I figured my experience was probably nothing more than just being tired, the onset of the flu, or something I ate.  Although I felt off throughout the rest of the tour, I did start to feel a little better as the night went on.

The tour ended, my coworker and I parted ways, and I made my way up St. George street and back to the prepay lot where I had parked my car.  I remember feeling a presence behind me, like I was being followed.  I even looked over my shoulder behind me a few times, but didn’t see anyone.  I got in my car, checked the back seat, locked the doors, started it and began my hour long journey home.  I remember thinking to myself that I was not going to like walking back to my car at night in the dark.  I’d never been to St. Augustine at night by myself before; frankly, I normally don’t go anyplace I’m not really familiar with at night. I figured this was the reason that walking to my car had me feeling out of sorts. As I drove home, the closer I got to my house, and around familiar surroundings, the better I started to feel.  I arrived home and walked into the house.  Instantly, I felt a huge feeling of relief.  There was no more nausea, no more fear, no more dizziness.  My husband was waiting up to see how my night went and I proceeded to tell him about it.  I told him that I didn’t want him to worry, and since I felt better I figured it was just a case of my overactive imagination getting the better of me.  We both agreed that was the most logical explanation.  It wasn’t until a few days later when I spoke to my friend; who was also the tour manager, that I began to realize that wasn’t the case.

…to be continued…

My induction into paranormal life continued

22 May

When I started my new job, I was very excited to meet new people and give the tourists who had never been to St. Augustine before a lesson in history that they were probably not aware of.  Like anyone starting a new job, I did my research on the area as well as the locations I would be going to.  Like so many of the tour guests I would later meet; I was rather skeptical about the haunted history of the area.  I figured that the tours were a way to make my employer money and that by exploiting the sordid past of many of the locations there, we would be able to give tours that were unique enough that guests would have a great time; nothing more, nothing less.  There was a script to memorize, of course, and I set about the work of doing so with fervor.  I was familiar with some of the stories that I would be telling, since my husband and I had gone on a ghost tour  when we stayed at a bed and breakfast in St Augustine a couple of years prior for our Anniversary.

I was super excited to start this new chapter in my life, and the job seemed like something I would really enjoy.  I loved ghost stories, the paranormal, and haunted history.  My husband and I were both intrigued by these things, and because of the common interest, we made annual trips to Savannah, GA for our anniversary.  We had attended ghost tours in Savannah as well and I knew that I would be giving my guests the same kind of thrill.  I was looking forward to getting trained and getting out there!  Finally, the night approached when I was to go out with one of the guides on a tour for training, and to get a feel for how everything came together when guests were present.  We left on her tour at a fitting midnight time of departure, after she handed K-2 meters out to the group.  K-2 meters are tools paranormal investigators use to gauge fluctuations in energy.  She mentioned that the K-2 meters measured any fluctuation in energy, so if the K-2s started to register a fluctuation, look first to see if we were near any electrical lines, electronic devices, etc,  before assuming we had something paranormal going on.  I remember being impressed by this, as well as her explanation about the fact that spirit energy fluctuates, which would cause the K-2 meter to light up briefly and then with little bursts.  If the lights stayed lit, it was more than likely something interfering with the meter such as electrical power; nothing more.

We went along the route making stops, mostly at Bed and Breakfasts that were supposedly haunted and getting the history of each while we stood outside with our meters.  We were encouraged to take pictures as well.  I was on the tour for training, but took the opportunity to snap some photos and use the K-2.  Finally, we pulled up to a Bed and Breakfast that has been reported by some to be the most haunted Bed and Breakfast in the US.  The tour group and I disembarked the van (we used a passenger van for large groups, and this one was rather large at about 12 people including me), crossed the street, and listened intently as our guide went over not only the history of the place, but also the spirits said to reside there.

As if on cue; as we were standing across the street from the Inn our guide was telling us about, my K-2 meter was going crazy! It lit up and went dark, then lit up again with more lights this time, then went dark.  This happened for a few minutes or so.  Since the group was intently listening to the guide, I didn’t want to interrupt.  I just watched my meter in disbelief.  After several minutes went by and our guide was still talking, a woman next to me asked me if I noticed what my K-2 had been doing.  I replied, “Yes, I did see it, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and I didn’t want to interrupt our guide.”  Others heard the conversation between the two of us, and before I knew it, I had a crowd gathered around me.  I looked at my coworker with a sheepish, “I’m sorry” look on my face.  She came over to check it out herself.  At this point the K-2 was lighting up all of the lights, all the way to the red, back down to two green lights, then back up again to the red in response to questions.

….to be continued…

My Induction Into Paranormal Life

19 May

One the most common questions people ask me is how I got interested in the paranormal.  Like many investigators out there, my interest came out of occurrences that over the course of time I could not explain and did not understand.  As a child, they scared me.  As an adult, they intrigued me.  As my interest grew, I would devour anything I could on the subject.  Imagine my delight as more and more subject matter was produced and made available; first on the internet; then on television!

More times than I can count I’ve been left wondering, “Did that really just happen?” Approaching any kind of supposed paranormal activity, I have always first tried to find a logical explanation.  It started mainly as a way to keep myself from freaking out when strange things would happen.  As luck would have it, until very recently, I was alone when I experienced them…making it much harder to convince my parents, then later on my husband, that they were indeed happening and it wasn’t just the overactive imagination of a worried wife of a deployed husband—-.   Those things that defy any logical explanation that I find the most intriguing.

As a kid, I would tell my parents about things that that I heard or saw and I would be met with glazed over stares or looks like I had just sprouted an additional head in front of their very eyes.  I grew up thinking I just had an overactive imagination; nothing more. “Oh, it was just the..furnace, house settling, the wind…”–you get the idea. It wasn’t until years later, after I was married and had kids of my own, that my Mom admitted to witnessing some strange events when my sister and I were kids. During one of those conversations, she mentioned the year the Christmas tree wouldn’t stay up.  Laughing, I confirmed that I remembered it, and that she finally had to resort to using twine to affix the tree to the banister for the stairs leading up to my bedroom. What I didn’t remember,  my Mom told me, was a similar event that occurred years prior when I was 5 or 6, and my Dad had scolded me and sent me to my room.  Per my Mom and her best friend who was present at the moment in question, I stomped my way up to my room muttering something to myself and slammed my bedroom door shut.  approximately 5 minutes later, the Christmas tree shot from where it was standing in the living room to the opposite wall, where it made contact with a loud thud, then fell to the floor.  I don’t remember the incident, but I do remember the emotional turmoil that was very much a part of my life at that age.  The same kind of emotional uproar and family turmoil was present during the Holiday Season after my Mom and Dad separated. The current school of thought on poltergeist activity is that a sensitive who hasn’t learned to control their abilities can be unwittingly responsible through the manifestation of telekinetic activity caused by emotional trauma (for further information on poltergeists, check out ).

Up until about a year ago, my interest in the paranormal was satisfied by watching paranormal shows on television or reading about it in the occasional magazine article or internet site, like this one: .  My day-to-day life was pretty average–working and spending time with my family in the evenings and on weekends.  After finding myself unemployed for the first time in 10 years, I was looking around on Facebook, and a friend posted a status about her employer hiring.  I messaged her and a couple of weeks later, I had a job working for a tour company in Saint Augustine, FL.  The job was like nothing I would have ever considered doing before, but that was why it appealed to me.  I would be driving a customized hearse and taking groups out on ghost tours.  I knew the public speaking part of it would be a challenge for me as my true nature is that of an introvert.  I wanted something challenging after losing my job to prove to myself that I could do it, and I loved the idea of seeing purportedly haunted locations.  I embraced the opportunity to tell visitors all about the scandalous affairs, unsolved murders, and bloody battles fought within the walls of our Nation’s Oldest City.  It is the mixture of all of these things as well as the city’s age and location that are thought to be the perfect recipe for much of the activity there.  I never expected that the job would forever change my view of the paranormal–and of myself.

…to be continued…