Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rascally Ghosts



I know, I know. I missed my every-two-weeks deadline for my blog. It was due last weekend. However, I have a legitimate (to me) reason, and hope this longer blog this week will help make up for my tardiness. This is the reason for the delay:
Tuffy 8 weeks
Although I showed him to you in the last blog, I haven't detailed how we acquired this little furbaby. A week before we lost our beloved Bonnie, my son Kelly got himself a puppy. The operative word here is "himself." Kelly stays in his camper in our backyard, for his privacy, and we were fine with him getting a puppy for company. Best laid plans and all that. A week after we lost Bonnie, Kelly came down with that wicked flu. Since he didn't want us to catch it, he stayed in the camper and I made trip after trip out there to keep him fed and help him get well. And guess what happened to the puppy? That's not even a hard question.
Since son was afraid he wouldn't be able to take care of him, Mommy also stepped in to care for the little guy, whom son named Tuffy. He is now our house puppy, because by the time Kelly was well, Tuffy had bonded with me. At first, he was Tippy, due to the little white tips on his paws. But that didn't fit at all once we started seeing his personality. Whew! Sometimes I think we should have called him Rocket Man, since he's so full of energy. I haven't had a puppy in the house for 13-1/2 years. I'd forgotten what a mess they can make:

 
Tuffy 12 weeks
Tuffy's saving grace — well, one of them — is that he gives us back much more love than the trouble and mess he causes.
So on to the blog. I did have one nearly ready to post last week, but when I realized my computer was slowing down, I decided to shove some files over onto my backup hard drive. Well, that backup drive wasn't listed! Where did it go? Ah-ha! I thought it was so cute that Tuffy loved to lay beneath my desk while I was working. I'd forgotten about puppy teeth and the need to gnaw! Luckily, hub was able to repair the gnawed-through wires and get me back up and running. I've now moved all the wires up onto the desk, even though it's quite the mess. However, that keeps them out of reach of puppy teeth. There's also a lot of other stuff placed high up in the house, like the bucket of pine cones by our fireplace.
Now, really on to the blog. Here's what I had ready, as well as a lot more to help reward my loyal readers.
~~~~
I admonish everyone to discipline the ghosts they encounter, including myself. However, once in a while one of those here in my house gets a little bit impish. That happened one night a couple weeks ago in my bedroom.
I always think circles around any occurrence, especially if it happens when I'm sleeping, or trying to go to sleep. It's just too easy for anyone, myself included, to mistake an incident when we are in the twilight zone of drifting off to sleep as something paranormal. But this happened more than once, and I was wide awake after the first incident.
Since my husband, Barney, is disabled, he has a hospital bed and I sleep in my queen bed next to him. Frequently, Barney will tap me on my leg and say goodnight just before he lies down. This night, I was lying there nearly asleep when I felt what I thought was him doing that. It was a definite thump on my leg, just above my knee. I waited for him to say, "Goodnight, I love you," but there was only silence.
I sat up and looked around. Barney was already in bed, with his back to me. He had forgotten to tell me goodnight that evening.”
“Are you awake?” I asked.
“I am now,” he said. “What do you want?”
“I just felt someone tap my leg like you usually do at night. But no one told me goodnight.”
“That’s happened to me a couple times lately,” he said. “Guess it’s one of your ghosts.”
“Guess so,” I said. “Goodnight, love you.”
“Night, love you.”
I don’t know why he and both my sons call them “my” ghosts, but they do. And if this one was mine, it sure was picking on me. I started to drift off to sleep again, and … you guessed it. Someone tapped my leg once more!
“Hey,” I whispered, so I wouldn’t disturb Barney again. (He can get cranky if he loses too much sleep.) “Quit that! I need my sleep.”
Just to be rascally, the ghost did it again! Although it was cute, I knew better than to let it get by with disobeying me. Ghosts can wreak quite a bit of havoc if their antics aren't nipped in the bud immediately when they start acting up.
"If you want to stay here," I threatened, this time in a harsh whisper, "quit messing with my sleep! I can banish you and you'll have to go roam somewhere else where you'll probably be pretty darned lonesome!"
You know how sometimes a puppy will tease you by taking a little nip just before it does obey you after you tell it no? Well, I felt another little tap on my leg, then heard someone chuckling. It was an adult, not a child, so it was probably one of my resident ghosts.
Otherwise, it’s been the same at the house lately. I feel them frequently but don’t pay much attention. We did have some company for a few days; Barney’s sister, Ellen, and her boyfriend, Gary, came for a visit from Ohio. I kept waiting for Teddy to show himself to Gary in the guest bathroom, since Teddy loves to mess with any male who comes in there, but nothing happened. Nor did any of the other ghosts here bother them, although several times I felt them near when we were sitting around visiting.
We also had some awesome fun over in St. Francisville, Louisiana, on Valentine's weekend. Yes, that’s where the Myrtles Plantation is located, and yes, we did go by there. Two of my crew, Sarah and Floyd Brigdon, went with me, as well as our friend Karla Lang and her husband Jerry and daughter Annie. We all piled in on my friend, Dianna Miller, who lives just north of St. Francisville. She was a perfect and fun hostess! We had a wonderful time.
None of the others in our group had ever seen the Myrtles, so we drove over there our first day, prior to an investigation we had planned. We did take the tour inside the house. It was enjoyable and interesting, although the tour guide wasn't allowed to take us upstairs. None of us caught anything paranormal on our photos, but we have a record of the downstairs to remember what we saw, as well as lots of other pictures of us on the plantation grounds.
The Myrtles Feb. 2015
The Myrtles Side View Feb. 2015
Crew on Myrtles Steps
Barney and Me
Me, Dianna, Barney
Annie, Jerry, Karla
Floyd and Sarah
Myrtles Courtyard
Mighty Mississippi River
Enjoying wonderful food at the
Magnolia Cafe in St. Francisville
We ended up actually doing two short investigations that weekend. The one already planned was in downtown St. Franscisville at a beautiful old house built in the 1880’s.

We did talk with several ghosts there, all either male former inhabitants of the home or friends of the men who lived there. We might have caught some interaction with one of the female former residents, but we haven’t reviewed our evidence thoroughly yet.
The most interesting thing that happened was when one of the crew discovered a blood spot on Anna Lee's dress. I totally forget who discovered this, but it fascinated us.
There was a child's chair in the dining room where we first set up, and someone had the neat idea of sitting our trigger object doll in the chair and taking some photos of her. I guess we thought perhaps she would attract a small child, who might show up in one of the pictures. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but while everyone was photographing Anna Lee, someone said, "Hey, there's something on her dress."
Upon examination, it appeared to be a blood spot. We have numerous pictures of Anna Lee, since we've used her in investigations for a couple years now. There is no blood spot (if that's what it is) in any of the other pictures. I'm also pretty careful with her. She sits up on my dresser in my office, or on the daybed, when we aren't using her. When we transport her, she has a tote bag that protects her.
Where did the blood spot come from? We have no idea. Perhaps she got it from one of the ghosts she encountered, but I haven't heard that ghosts bleed. However, I do know that, if they are developed enough, they can cause things that are hard to happen that are hard to explain. Perhaps this was another rascally ghost who wanted us to know he or she had visited. No, I won't be washing the dress. We'll keep the spot as a reminder of our trip.
Anna Lee in Chair
Bloodspot on Dress
While we were investigating this beautiful home, a lady who was a friend of the owners came by to join us. When we were packing up to leave, she asked us to come by her home the next evening. We agreed to do so, if possible. Indeed, the following evening, we realized we had time to go over there.
The house was a one and a half story home, surrounded by woods.

There was a ravine on the right side of the structure, and we were told there used to be a trailer on the other side of it. The woman’s son had evidently had quite an intense experience there, which bothered him so much he refused to go there again. When we asked about that experience, we met a blank wall, though. It wasn't something they were willing to talk about.
At this home, we communicated for a while with the owner’s deceased mother, and eventually got her to cross into the light. She was one of those ghosts who didn't go through the light when she first died, and she was really confused and afraid. It took us quite a while to calm her down and make her realize that she actually could still cross over; that she belonged on the other side. And most importantly to her and a lot of other ghosts we encounter, we told her that, once she crossed over, she could indeed come back to visit. Eventually, she went into the light, and I'm very certain that was the best thing for her.
There was also quite a bit of activity in an upper story bedroom, which was that half-story on the house and was reached via the outside stairwell in the photo. There were several ghosts there, and Anna Lee, our flashlights and KII's flashed continuously. One was the ghost of a young boy and another a young man in his early twenties. As soon as I pointed the ghosts to the door I had already opened in the east, most of them went through with no problem. As happens sometimes, we felt the wind stirred up from their passage. The owners and their children, who were up there with their parents' permission, were in awe. We were inside a closed room, with no doors or windows open, so there was no reason for the breeze we all felt.
However, the young boy and young man didn't want to go. They continued to communicate for quite a while, keeping the equipment flashing. Eventually, though, I got them to cross over. I'm convinced that part of the reason they kept lingering was that they were enjoying the interaction with us. When I realized this, I ended the session, and as we gathered up the equipment, I felt them go.
On reflection, as I do after an investigation and also as I'm writing my blog, I came to the conclusion that ghosts who have been dead for a while are easier to cross. I'm not sure why, although my feeling is that they are tired of roaming around and the promise of peace and contentment from someone who assures them they can still go into the light convinces them. The hardest ones to cross over are small children and souls who haven't been dead very long. The children are, of course, desperately confused and afraid. At times like this, I'm glad to have my crew member Sarah along. She's really good with the children.
The ghosts who are newly dead are also confused and sometimes afraid. However, it's a rare one of these who won't cross over after we explain things to them. I believe that's because they were adults when they died, and they are more accepting of death. They know it comes to everyone. However, perhaps they really didn't believe in an afterlife … or were not totally convinced it existed. Yet when they find themselves now a soul with no body encumbering them, they are amenable to the rationale that they will be better off completing the journey by going into the light. Most of them know about the light, and it's somewhat easy to get adults to go into it as soon as we can get them to acknowledge it.
All in all, it was a really fun and fascinating weekend with friends, and both living and deceased acquaintances.
~~~~
As far as writing goes, I hate to admit it, but I didn’t get much done the past couple weeks. I do promise to work harder, especially on Silent Prey. I feel somewhat good about the writing, though, since I was able to squeeze out time to work on the opening story for Ghost Hunting Diary Volume VI. I also want to get Living With Dead Folks, Volume Three, up in March. That won't take a long time, just concentration on the various formats I need before I upload to the various sites. Of course, I need to have Angela do one of her nifty covers.
One time sink (which I enjoy) is doing things for the Beckham Hotel. We had another crew in for an overnight investigation the weekend after we got back from St. Francisville. It was one of those strange, "dead" investigations that happen from time to time. Although we had some activity in the lobby, where Floyd and I camped out to stay out of the way of the other crew, that crew didn't believe they caught much on their equipment at all. This has happened one other time at our hotel, and it was unfortunate for this team that they came on that particular night. However, they are an experienced team, and they know things like this occur. They plan to come back and try again.
We have begun planning the second annual Beckham Spirit Fest, set for October 3, 2015. There's already an awesome lineup of speakers for this year. A few are repeat speakers but with different topics. Others are new for our Spirit Fest, and I believe they will be truly interesting to our visitors. All, of course, will be pertinent to the paranormal. As soon as we get everyone confirmed, I'll set up an event on Facebook.
And here February is already gone. Looking back, it really was a fun, busy month. I hope your February was cool, too.
Boo!
T. M.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Your First Time



  Did the title get your attention? It means something different than you might think. I'm talking about the first time you realized there actually was another dimension out there, one where ghosts and spirits roam. Perhaps the first time you ever experienced a ghost.

  I had an awesome experience a couple weeks ago that reminded me of this. SRT hosted an overnight event at the fantastic Beckham Hotel, which we called Friends and Family Night. It was geared toward people who had never been on a paranormal investigation before, and we hoped to show them actual interactions with ghosts.
  Our expectations — and we believe, theirs — were totally fulfilled.
  All SRT team members have varying degrees of the Sixth Sense. Some of us have stronger auditory abilities, some stronger clairvoyance abilities, and we all have at least a touch of the other sensitivities associated with being able to communicate with the paranormal realm. We've all also developed those abilities over the years and respect what we are able to do. Our ideal investigation is to have only our team members present and just use our senses to chat with the other dimension. These days, we seldom get to do that, but times when we are able to get away by ourselves and remember what we are all about are special to us.
  However, when we bring along other people who are unfamiliar with the paranormal, we've found the best way to prove to them that we are indeed able to talk to ghosts and communicate with the paranormal realm is with some of the equipment people are used to seeing on TV. Not that our investigations are anything like those fake on-air ones, but that's a different blog post.
  As far as our equipment goes, we don't have a lot of expensive stuff. We've found simple things work just as well. We actually enjoy flashlight communication the most and have never totally been in to using a lot of equipment besides our cameras. Saturday night, we did set up cameras, although I'll admit that none of us enjoy what is called "evidence review." We view that as a necessary evil. But it is truly nice to have some of our work recorded for posterity.
  We also use KII meters, and I have what is deemed a trigger object. Trigger objects are something we hope will interest the ghosts we encounter and attract them to chat with us. Mine is a Raggedy Ann doll that Aunt Belle named Anna Lee. She actually has a form of a KII meter embedded in her, and when a ghost draws near, the paranormal energy lights up her forehead and hands. We have a few other pieces of equipment, such as an infrared thermometer, a rempod, and laser grid. At times we even use simple toys, such as balls. On Friends and Family night, we also laid out a deck of cards to see if we could attract Doyle Todd, the gambler who roams the Beckham Hotel. However, the interactions we had were what we normally expect: the flashlights, KII's and Anna Lee. To us it was expected, anyway. To our other guests, it appeared to be awesome and startling, even intense.
 
  I will never forget my first trip to the Myrtles Plantation with Aunt Belle, when I was awed by the experiences I had that proved to me that ghosts did indeed roam the grounds and manor house. I saw that awe on the faces of those with us that night, as well as heard it in their voices. Their reactions ranged from excitement to becoming extremely quiet as they pondered what they were experiencing.
  We had several young people with us, and it was quite nice to watch them learning to tune in to the other world in a respectful manner. Two of these young people were my grandsons, and a third was their cousin. I kept smiling to myself as I watched their reactions, which I found was: "Memaw really does talk to ghosts."
 
  One of the strongest encounters involved my grandson, Adam. On SRT's first official investigation at the Beckham, I "met" a ghost named Albert in the Ballroom. Albert begged me to dance with him, but I never did. On this recent overnight, Albert proved he was tagging along with us all over the hotel by responding through our flashlights when we used his name and asked if here was still with us. He appeared to take a special liking to Adam, and also proved this over and over again by responding to questions via the KII whenever Adam held it. When the meter was lying on the floor or elsewhere, it remained inactive a lot of the time. As soon as Adam picked it up, it interacted, leaving no doubt we were communicating with Albert.
  There is quite a bit of interest today in the paranormal, as well as research being done, both by professional paranormal groups and scientists. One of these days we will be over there watching people here in this dimension trying to figure out the paranormal. I'm glad to be a part of teaching others to do some of that research and communication in a respectful manner, as we do in SRT. I never want people who delve into that other dimension to forget the ghosts we encounter were once really people, just like us. We should treat them the way we wish to be treated ourselves, both as we live our lives and after we cross into that dimension and communicate back with this one.
~~~~
  A reader asked me about Silent Prey, and yes, I have gotten a little more done on it. I'm also trying to finish up on a couple diaries that have been languishing from past investigations. It's a little here, a little there, but moving forward.
  We are definitely not replacing our beloved Doberman, Bonnie.What happens is that our hearts expand to have room for more love whenever we get a new furr-baby, and my son had already adopted a puppy before Bonnie crossed to the Rainbow Bridge. He believes in waiting until he's had a new puppy before he gives it the name it will carry with it for life, and at first, he thought he might call this one Tippy. It does have tiny white tips on its paws. But after two day, he realized that didn't fit this new little guy. So he is now Tuffy, and will remain that. Tuffy is definitely a tough little guy, and I for one will be glad when he grows out of those puppy teeth. Until then, I'll just keep replacing my ankles and pant legs in his mouth with the chew toys we have for him.



  One thing I really enjoyed doing a couple weeks ago was a "first" for me. I made a good friend last year, George Jones, who runs Jericho Tours, as well as various other endeavors, in Tyler, Texas. One of his latest ventures is a radio show titled Paranoria, Texas. It is a great comedy, which lifts your spirits and makes you feel good each week. Nina Tatum (another friend I made last year) and I had the neat experience of winning the opportunity to be characters on Paranoria. We're sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson, members of a singing group called the Heartbeats. No, you don't have to listen to me sing, thank goodness for your ears. We mostly chase after a handsome younger man, which was fun. You can see our avatars on the Paranoria Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paranoria-TX/712678438840253.
  Nina/Nancy and I had a cool time in the recording studio and visiting over lunch afterwards.
Paranoria is on internet radio on Monday nights at 7 p.m. Central time. You can listen to the hilarity at http://tylernetradio.com/shows/paranoriatx. There was a problem airing the show when it was supposed to be on, but now you can listen to the archive, Episode 10. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did the recording.
  I'll try to keep on the two-week schedule for my blog the rest of the year, as long as it doesn't stress me out! This coming weekend, we are going back to St. Francisville with part of my crew and some friends and their daughter. We'll be doing an investigation at an old home in the town of St. Francisville, and also enjoy a bit of the Mardi Gras festivities while we stay at my friend Dianna's house again. We always have a great time with her! Y'all stay safe, as we will do, and ….
  Boo!
  T. M.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Do Our Pets Cross Over?


      Here we are in 2015 already. It's been a sad start to our year, but I hope it gets better. First, hub went all of 2014 without a hospital stay, then had to go in for three days this year. <Knock on wood> that will be his last trip for 2015.

Bonnie Ghost Hunting with Me

One thing is hard to write about, but it well deserves to be memorialized in my life. We found out in December that our beloved Doberman, Bonnie, had a tumor on her lungs. Since she was over thirteen years old, the vet recommended we take her home and keep her comfortable. He said the treatment would perhaps give her five months, but they would be miserable as far as quality of life went. So we brought her home.
It was hard, watching her decline. I still believe we made the right decision in keeping her with us as long as we could. However, it was partly due to the fact that neither hub nor I could face having her "put down." We had done that earlier in the year with our dog, Rex, and it was a horrible experience. We'd also lost one of our long-time cats this past year. With her, again, I kept her with me and nursed her. Given the choice, I prefer keeping my pets with us and caring for them, unless they are clearly in distress. Bonnie was on pain medication, so I hope she wasn't hurting.
Do I believe she crossed over? Emphatically yes. And I feel I have proof.
One day I was in the dining room and my grandson, Brandon, came by to "see" me. We lost Brandon a little over five years ago, when he was only twenty. He was a bright star in our family, and I wasn't at all surprised to find him coming back to visit us often. Our Bonnie grew up with Brandon and his brother, Ransom, and there's one story Ransom still likes to tell. It happened down at the deer lease.
Brandon and Ransom had spent a good two hours raking up leaves, so they could dive into them and play. They were just about ready to put up their rakes and start having fun when Bonnie trotted over. Before they could stop her, she squatted and peed in the leaves.
"Ewwwww," both my grandsons said. But they love animals, and they didn't yell at her. Well, not too much. They were laughing too hard. Needless to say, they didn't play in the leaves. If nothing else, it gave them both a story they enjoyed telling over and over again.
Anyway, I knew immediately why Brandon had stopped by. He even said, "I'll be there for Bonnie when she crosses over to be with me, Memaw."
"Thank you," I told him, and got a hug.
The day we lost Bonnie, I was in the bedroom where Bonnie was lying in her nice bed we made her. Suddenly, she perked up and looked past me, her ears on alert as they are when she sees something she likes. I mentioned to hub that it looked like maybe she was rallying somewhat. I petted Bonnie, then left.
When I came back a while later, she was gone. Now I understand why she had looked up. Just as he promised, Brandon was there to be with her.
I so do hate death. It does help a little bit to know that it's not final. Not a lot, but a little bit. The night Bonnie went with Brandon, I "saw" the two of them running and playing in a meadow. It gave me a really warm feeling through the grief.
This is Bonnie during her first year with us.
Bonnie in her Christmas Sweater
~~~~
I have a lot on the agenda this year, but I've also made only one resolution: to not get stressed when things don't move along as fast as I want them to go. I need to stay busy, because that's the type of person I am. It's very fortunate for me that I have found a niche in my life where I enjoy the work I do, especially the writing. However, I've decided not to push myself as much as I did this past year; otherwise, I risk burning out and losing my enjoyment. That happened to me a few years ago, and it's not a good feeling.
One thing you will notice if you follow my blogs is there will only be one every two weeks, rather than every week, as there has been since I started my I See Dead Folks blog. Unless, of course, something happens that I just can't wait to tell y'all. I do enjoy writing the weekly blogs, but once in a while it takes time I should be using on other projects, like a new book.
This year I will definitely finish Silent Prey, which is Keoman's story. He was an important character in my suspense, Winter Prey, and he well deserves his own book. Winter Prey is coming out of the KU program, so I'll be re-publishing it at the other venues, including Nook, Apple, Smashwords, etc. I'll also get this one in print, and eventually, audio. That's first on the agenda as far as a new book goes. Poor Silent Prey has been languishing only one-third written for a couple years now, far too long.
I'll be putting the 2014 blogs up into their own book, which will, of course, be called Living With Dead Folks, Volume Three. This isn't something that will take a lot of time, and I do like getting the blogs into one place for myself and my readers. I've started adding photos in the blogs, so I'm hoping my readers enjoy that, also.
The other definite on my agenda is another Dead Man Mystery. I know where I'm going to set it this time, but y'all will just have to wait. I could change my mind during the time it takes to finish Silent Prey and get started on the new mystery.
I didn't get a Christmas story up this year. Now you know what part of the problem was. In addition to all the holiday hectic-ness, we were nursing Bonnie and keeping her comfortable. But I will do a Halloween story in 2015, and if time, a Christmas one.
I hope all of y'all's 2015's are starting out better than mine. I’m sending out strong thoughts to the Universe to please make this one of those years everyone looks back on with smiles and warm hearts.
Boo!
T. M.

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