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Chappaquiddick: What Do You Know, Mary Jo?

Posted on August 1, 2018 at 11:33 AM Comments comments (3703)
Please Note: Due to format changes,
English/Spanish text audio is not available
for this addition of The Booo! Blog.

Fe+H²O = High Strangeness

Iron and water. 

Possibly it's my longevity in this field. Perhaps it's the copious notes I took in chemistry class. Or, more likely, it's just that I'm damn good at what I do. Okay, I'll go with all three! But intentionally snarky, not-so-witty egotistical musings aside, while others have missed the repeating pattern entirely, I have always found the two ingredients an elemental recipe for all things paranormal. The roster of haunted military vessels is legion and well-documented. Bridges, too, have our two ingredients and several are haunted, just not as well-known or documented. The December 15, 1967 Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia echoes to this day. 46 people lost their lives that day when their cars plunged into the frigid Ohio River. The cause was determined to be a perfect storm of structural defects, design load excess and poor maintenance, but many believe the disaster was the wretched culmination of the infamous Mothman visitation of that and the previous year in and around Point Pleasant. 

AAD: Attract. Amplify. Display. 

Iron and water.

Water attracts and amplifies paranormal energy, giving it the 'juice' to display in various forms. Water, especially water in motion, produces negative ions. Does relaxing by a lake or ocean make lift your spirits? Do you enjoy the feel and smell of the air just before a thunderstorm? Thank negative ions: invisible, electrically-charged particles in the atmosphere. On the spooky side, these charged particles are believed to fuel paranormal activity. In fact, I sometimes use a negative ion generator (yes, there are such things) during an investigation to give otherworldly entities a temporary boost. Think of it as paranormal Red Bull.

Iron records and displays paranormal energy, much like the ferric oxide (one of the three main oxides of iron) coating on analog magnetic tape. If you're too young to remember life before digital, that's what your parents and grandparents used back in the day to capture sound and video, and it still has some advantages over digital in paranormal investigation.

And that leads us to the story of Ted and Mary Jo...

The Chappaquiddick Incident: Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne

Most are at least somewhat familiar with the tale, even if they were born years later. Chappaquiddick. The name of the small island off the coast of Nantucket will forever be synonymous with the unfortunate event that happened there in the early morning hours of July 19, 1969.


Six young, single women. Six older, married men in positions of power. No wives. What could go wrong? Leaving a party at a rented beach cottage that would put Mad Men to shame, U.S. Senator for Massachusetts Edward "Ted" Kennedy and his young passenger, 28-year old Mary Jo Kopechne, plunged off the narrow Dike Bridge and into Poucha Pond. Kennedy's Oldsmobile Delmont 88 flipped and sank upside down in the shallow body of water, trapping Kopechne inside. Ted escaped and swam to safety, leaving Mary Jo behind. Somehow making it back to the party, which was still in full swing including an outdoor conga line (yes, really), Ted quietly rounded-up two other party animals and off they went to attempt a drunken rescue of poor Mary Jo. No luck. The men convinced Ted to report the incident to authorities, which he did ten (10!) hours later. By then, of course, Mary Jo had bought the ranch and was found still perched in the submerged Olds. On a positive note, we can safely assume that her coiffure was still utter perfection, if the ozone layer was not, thanks to the can of 1960s-era aerosol Aqua Net hair spray she lacquered on in preparation for that evening's boozy soirée.

Life (and Death) Aren't Always Fair

Mary Jo Kopechne was buried in Larksville, Pennsylvania, near her family home. Ted had the bravado and bad taste to show up at her funeral, sporting a neck brace and playing the sympathy card, his pregnant wife, Joan, by his side. To dispel any thought that questionable taste wasn't a family affair, Joan wore a white dress, but did wear a black headscarf. How thoughtful. Throughout the event, she donned a facial expression that screamed she secretly wished Ted had waited it out in the Olds with Mary Jo. Soon after this circus she suffered her third miscarriage, which she attributed to the stress.

Mary Jo's parents were given a consolation prize of approximately $150,000 by Kennedy and his auto insurance company and declined an autopsy on their daughter, later even thwarting an attempt to have Mary Jo's body exhumed. No legal suit was filed by her family. Ted got off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a 6-month driver's license suspension. Such was the power and political connections of the Kennedy clan. Edward "Ted" Kennedy remained a U.S. Senator for the next 40-years, until his death in 2009.

Questions, Questions, Questions...

There are only two people who know for certain what happened on and, perhaps even more creepy, below the narrow bridge that night on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy had his story and stuck to it for decades until glioblastoma mutiforme, a particularly nasty variety of brain cancer, sent him on his way. Kopechne? She's never had a chance to tell hers. With the tide of new interest in the incident generated by John Curran's film, Chappaquiddick, I believe it's time to give Mary Jo that opportunity.

There were several inconsistencies in Kennedy's version of events, made all the more murky by Kopechne's family refusal of an autopsy. There was blood that may or may not have been consistent with drowning. Some of Kopechne's injuries lead investigators to believe that she was behind the wheel of Ted's Detroit-made land yacht at the time of the incident, not in the front passenger seat as he claimed. And now that creepy part: Mary Jo was found in the back of the vehicle, grasping the seat, with her head positioned as if she was desperately gasping in the last pocket of air. Say what? Yes, many experts believe that Kopechne was alive for hours in her watery tomb as it slowly filled, ultimately succumbing to asphyxiation, not drowning as listed in the official cause of death, as carbon dioxide from her respiration replaced the remaining islands of oxygen. If so, what was going through her mind? Was the free-flowing alcohol from that night's party clouding her judgement? Was she waiting, convinced Kennedy would soon come to her rescue? 

There is only one way to find out.

Please Step Up to the Microphone, Ms. Kopechne

For reasons that I go into detail about on the Ghosts and Hauntings page of my website, I believe there may be away to find the answers to our questions.

When someone passes, especially suddenly or under tragic circumstances, they have a tendency to remain, or at least frequent, the location of their death. Their body is only a shell, a vessel, and can be buried hundreds or even thousands of miles away. In the case of cremation, their actual physical body may not exist at all, just ashes in an urn on a mantle. Or, in the case of my Aunt Mary, in a box in the trunk of her daughter's Toyota Corolla, but that's another story... Regardless, the real essence of the deceased individual, their spirit, often lingers, refusing to move on. This refusal and lingering is not time dependent, but adjustment dependent.

Linear time is a human concept and perception: 24/7/365, the comes up, the sun goes down. However, what we perceive as passing time is meaningless and non-existent on the "other side". For that reason, it matters not if the tragic cause of their passing happened seven minutes ago or seventy years ago. Unless the spirit can be at peace with their human death, they will refuse to move on, instead choosing to remain closer to our plane of existence. They have unfinished business. They have a story to tell, and sometimes all it takes to achieve that peace is for someone to listen.

John Curran, Director of the recent movie Chappaquiddick, reports that he was brushed by the Kennedy family wrath. No, they were not happy campers. I've felt their displeasure, and know from personal experience that they would rather keep the story 'under the bridge', as buried as Mary Jo herself. Still, their tentacles are not nearly as long as they once were, and certainly nowhere near the length they were in 1969. Their influence has waned and, with every Kennedy passing, it fades.

While Chappaquiddick's Dike Bridge and Poucha Pond, ground zero in our sordid tale, have become somewhat of a curiosity over the subsequent decades, no formal, in-depth, equipment-intensive paranormal investigation has ever been attempted. It's time to change that. And it's time to allow Mary Jo Kopechne to tell her story.

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

ASMR: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

Posted on August 28, 2015 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (994)

Please Note: Due to format changes,
English/Spanish audio is not available
for this addition of the The Booo! Blog

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a neologism for a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli. The nature and classification of the ASMR phenomenon is controversial, with strong anecdotal evidence to support the phenomenon but little or no scientific explanation or verified data. (Wikipedia)

I thought I'd step down a somewhat different path of the unknown with this edition of The Booo! Blog. While not the usual ghosts, aliens, monsters and other assorted spookies that I usually deal in, ASMR is still considered an 'unknown', just not the type that will haunt, abduct or eat you. For that reason, we can hammer this slightly square peg into our round paranormal hole. Not a perfect fit, perhaps, but let's expand our minds a bit. So, slip on your headphones, sit back, relax and let the tingles take you away...

A 'Good' Migraine?

It's very possible that you've never heard of ASMR. In fact, your co-worker in the cubicle next to yours may be having intense, daily "braingasms", and you have not even noticed. Before you scream, "Eeeewww! That's disgusting!" in horror because you have occasionally borrowed his/her chair, know that it's become a quiet riot on websites such as YouTube over the past three or four years and, no, it's not what you think. The entire goal of the movement, and of the so-called "ASMRtists" who perform, is relaxation and/or sleep facilitation. Given our increasingly hectic and out-of-control world, it's really a no-brainer as to why it has caught on. Some ASMRtists have even reached star status within the ASMR community and with their fans.

So, in a word, what is ASMR? Tingles. You've probably experienced the phenomenon in fleeting, momentary blips throughout your life, but have been unable to pin it down, let alone assign it a name. ASMR is not a 'one size fits all' experience, as one person may respond to a particular stimuli, and another not at all. The best way to think of ASMR is as a migraine headache, which any sufferer can tell you are unbearably painful, often causing autonomic nervous system symptoms along with throbbing head pain. Yes, I realize that's a bizarre and unpleasant analogy but, in reality, it's actually a very accurate one. Instead of the pain associated with a 'bad' migraine, let's think of the opposite: a 'good' migraine. Instead of pain, a good migraine would cause a pleasurable sensation. Why is this an accurate analogy? Just as with most migraines headaches, ASMR, or good migraines, require a "trigger". And, just as with migraine headaches, these triggers, the stimuli that set off the headache, vary widely from person-to-person.

What Pulls Your Trigger?

The stimuli that sparks an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is only for you to determine, but there are some that seem to be common to many people, and they can encompass any of our five senses, either singularly or in combination. Most (but not all) require the person wishing to experience the sensation to be in a passive role. In other words, watching, hearing, feeling, tasting or smelling the stimuli. The following is hardly an exhaustive list, and ASMR triggers are not gender-specific. You may have a trigger or multiple triggers unique to you. Take a moment to think about it because, chances are, you already know what they are. Many can fall into multiple categories depending on whether a person assumes an active or passive role. Among the most common:

Visual: Hair cutting, hair brushing, gentle hand movement, application of hand lotions or gels, painting, page turning.

Auditory: Whispering, foreign accents, rain, tapping, rubbing, music, keyboard clicks, paper crinkling, mouth sounds.

Touch: Massage, application of nail polish, manicure, pedicure.

Taste: Personal and specific to you. It could be the taste of a food that transports you back in time.

Olfactory: Personal and specific to you. It could be a scent that transports you back in time. 

John Waters: The Original ASMRtist

For our purposes, let's focus on visual and auditory ASMR triggers, as those are the two senses ASMRtists attempt to tingle and are, by far, the most common. And let's face it...attempting to touch Angelina Jolie's lips through a computer screen is pretty futile (but admit've tried), as is tasting a double-fudge brownie or smelling freshly-baked bread. That's why director John Waters was way ahead of his time. Ever watch his old film, Polyester? If so, you've probably wondered why the numbers 1 through 10 randomly pop up on the screen. You see, Waters had this ASMR thing figured out decades ago. He called it "Odorama". When the film was released, everyone in the theater got a scratch card with the numbers 1 through 10 printed on it. When a number flashed on the screen, much like a lottery scratch ticket, the viewer was supposed to scratch and sniff that number to smell what was being depicted on the screen. Sometimes mild, sometimes really gross but, yeah, he knew about triggers way before most in the ASMR community were even born. Cool, eh?

A Happy Little Accident

Bob Ross. You may not recognize or remember the name, but you can't forget the stark image of a bushy-haired guy on your TV screen. Nothing but a black background and standing, artist's palette in hand, creating painting-after-painting of nature and landscapes. His instructional show was called The Joy of Painting, and ran in the United States on PBS stations from 1983 to 1994. He spent years relaxing and lulling millions to sleep, most never having the intention of ever picking up a paint brush. People would record his 30-minute program on their VCRs (Remember those big, ugly boxes sitting on top of your console TV that constantly flashed "12:00" in your face?) to watch before bed. His gentle brush strokes and soothing voice instructing viewers to apply feather-light pressure on the canvas, "Two hairs and some air" or appreciate their "Happy little accidents" while painting became his trademarks.

Bob Ross died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1995, but still lives on. Most episodes of The Joy of Painting can be found on YouTube and are still watched by millions, not necessarily for his painting skills, but for Mr. Ross' ASMR talent. And that remains, for many, his happiest little accident.

Enya's Got a Secret (And She May Not Even Know It)

Keep this on the down low, but Grammy Award-winning Irish singer/songwriter Enya stumbled onto the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response phenomenon years ago, and probably by accident. People tend to either love or be totally indifferent to her music, and the difference seems to be in whether she floats your ASMR boat or not. And she apparently floats a lot of boats, as she's sold millions of records worldwide, her voice and the ethereal acoustics of her recordings being a common trigger. While the same can be said of an individual's response to music in general, most people have a visceral and autonomous response to her music in particular. Not the 'I love that song and sing along' -type response, but an instant relaxation and calming effect. Does Enya know what makes the magic? I have no idea, but she records in her own custom-designed studio, and likely for a reason. Put on one of her CDs (not a crappy, compressed MP3 file), slip on a pair of headphones, and listen to the soaring acoustic signature of her recordings. And notice the dead silence. Nothing but her voice and whatever instruments she chooses to include. Each a sonic masterpiece, the listener is transported into her world and the real world ceases to exist, just like with the best ASMRtists. Of course, just as with any ASMR trigger, her thing may not be yours. If not, you will feel nary a tingle. That's a pity.

Let's Play Doctor

Role play is a technique many ASMRtists employ in an attempt to relax you into a semi-conscious state, and it can be very effective. There's no surprise here, as it is just what you think. What is a mystery, however, is how effective it can be.

For this technique, the ASMRtist becomes an actor, assuming the role of another person. This is particularly effective if the person the ASMRtist is portraying is someone who would normally take the active roll. For example, doctors, barbers, masseur/masseuse get the idea. There are an astonishing number of soft-spoken doctor/patient ASMR videos, and they can be surprisingly effective. As with any talent, some ASMRtists seem to be more popular than others, which may be an indication of their skill set. On YouTube, a good (albeit not always accurate) indicator is the number of views an ASMRtist's videos receive. However, keep in mind the person may be very good at a common trigger, hence the largest number of views. You may find that a more obscure ASMRtist employing a more off-the-wall trigger works best for you, so give everyone a try.

Who Needs Drugs?

ASMR is a drug-free zone, but you will need a decent pair of headphones. Listening through speakers isn't nearly as effective and with some ASMR techniques, such as binaural recording, the effect and ASMRtist's intent is completely lost if not listening through headphones. The around-the-ear type (that cup your entire ear) are best for ASMR as they block out most of the distracting noise around you. Other than that, you're good to go; your express ticket to Xanax-free nirvana. My first stop would be YouTube, as that's where most ASMRtists post their work.

Back to binaural recording for a moment, as it is now a huge trend in ASMR videos and recording. While many ASMRtists are employing it, recording with special microphones to facilitate the effect, as a listener I have not found the effect necessary to illicit an ASMR response. However, as ASMR is so highly personal and specific to the individual, you may find just the opposite to be true. On YouTube, the ASMRtist will usually note if his/her video was recorded binaurally.

Superstars of ASMR

The following are a few YouTube ASMRtists from around the globe that I think are excellent. Of course, your mileage may vary as I've stated repeatedly: ASMR is a very personalized response. What works for one person may not work at all for another, so give everyone a shot. Many have PayPal or Patreon accounts if you would like to donate to keep them going. That information can be found on their pages. Enjoy!

ASMRtist: Tabuhan ASMR


This guy is amazing. Watching him is a master class in acting and facial expression, and many find his soft-spoken Turkish accent the magic key to stress relief. His personality jumps through the screen, and many of his videos are done with an off-beat sense of humor. He makes it look effortless, which is even more impressive when you know that he does not plan his videos, but makes them up as he goes along. While he hasn't been doing this for as long as some of the others, he's posted a huge collection of ASMR videos, and is definitely a talent to keep your eye on. Truly one of the best. 

ASMRtist: GentleWhispering ASMR

United States

Another incredible ASMRtist who has developed a massive following over the past few years. A native of Russia, but now living in the United States, she records ASMR videos in both the Russian and English languages. Her slight Russian accent when speaking English and magical hand movements will relax you in a nanosecond. Also the best fingernails in the business!


United Kingdom

Here's one that has a huge following, but seems to have fallen off the planet, as he hasn't posted in quite some time. He did have many more ASMR videos posted on YouTube, but has apparently deleted some of them. Still, his videos work well, and still receive a ton of views. Update, September 18, 2015: After a long absence, a new video has been posted on Fred's YouTube channel, so he is apparently alive and well, and hasn't fallen off the planet after all.

Who Says I Don't Bring You Cool Stuff On My Blog and Website?

I'm often asked, "What's the difference between a paranormal investigator and a ghost hunter?". Well, with all my editions of The Booo! Blog, as well as with my connected website, you are seeing that difference firsthand. I do my best to supply solutions and answers to the weird and wonderful for the sole purpose of helping you, the reader, and I try to present it in a lighthearted-but-serious manner. Whenever possible, I will give you the 'how' and 'why', the theory behind what it is you are questioning. I tell it like it is, and I hope I've met your expectations. I'm sometimes introduced as a "ghost hunter" in media interviews and, for sure, ghosts and hauntings are certainly a huge part of what I do, but there's a helluva a lot more out there than just restless dead people. 

Until next time, look to the skies, look under your bed, and always keep an eye out for what may be lurking in your closet...

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

The Horsefly Chronicles or The Horsefly Hoax?

Posted on August 25, 2015 at 3:28 PM Comments comments (776)
The Horsefly Chronicles-Book Review-Philip Siracusa-Karissa Fleck-Anthony Duda-Hoax-Fake-Fraud-Haunting-Psychic-Medium-Demon

Please Note: Due to format changes,
English/Spanish audio is not available
for this addition of the The Booo! Blog.

The Horsefly Chronicles Haunting: A Book Review

Author Philip Siracusa appears to have ripped a page from the well-worn Ed and Lorraine Warren playbook with his first "true" paranormal literary effort, The Horsefly Chronicles: A Demonic Haunting. As you may know, Ed (now deceased) and Lorraine (still kicking) were paranormal investigators, or so-called "demonologists", that had the incredible fortune and dumb luck of finding demonic entities in virtually every location they investigated. Even more incredible was their talent for turning their incredibly fortunate and dumb luck into best-selling books, along with their almost alchemist-like ability to turn those books into gold. However, by far their most lucrative bit of magic was selling the book rights of their incredibly fortunate and dumb luck to Hollywood. The Warrens were involved with such infamous hoaxes as Jay Anson's devilishly discredited book-turned-movie, The Amityville Horror, where horseflies famously made their first satanic appearance (Hey, if it worked once...) as well as the more recent money-making films Annabelle and The Conjuring. The awkward title of this book originates from Mr. Siracusa's claim of the image of a horsefly appearing to him whenever he is about to experience a paranormal event. Well, I guess it does sound a bit more convincing than an aardvark...

The Warren Playbook: Now New and Improved!

In an edition of The Booo! Blog a few years ago, I wrote what had always been the Ed and Lorraine Warren formula for success: Demonologists + Imaginary Demon + Rogue Catholic Priest = Books and Movies. A Catholic priest was always thrown into the mix to give the air of legitimacy. However, while obviously still successful, I admit that it now seems somewhat dated. While active in the '60s, the Warrens really hit their stride of national notoriety in the 1970s; a decade when such demonically-themed spookfests as The Exorcist and The Omen (as well as The Amityville Horror) were packing the public into bookstores and theaters. Just as all products continually go through an evolutionary 'improvement' process to reflect the culture and to appeal (read "sell") to consumers, I now present what appears to be Mr. Siracusa's updated take on the Warrens' leisure suit-era equation: Amateur Ghost Hunters + Imaginary Demon + "World-Renown" Psychic = Books and Movies. Deserved or not, after more than a decade of scandal, Catholic priests just don't hold the moral weight and authority they once did with the public. We now look to "reality" TV ghost hunters and media-savvy mediums to feed us the tweets and give us the lowdown to satisfy our fascination with the other side. And make no mistake, reading The Horsefly Chronicles, it was obvious to me that the book was conceived and written with hopes that Hollywood would come-a-callin'. While scores of 'demonic haunting'-genre books have been written over the subsequent decades since The Amityville Horror, there seems to be a concerted public relations effort to anoint The Horsefly Chronicles as the natural successor to that 1970s landmark, a rather dubious distinction indeed.

That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It Like Flies On...

The Horsefly Chronicles is a plodding and incomplete telling of Mr. Siracusa's life, and his personal journey with his 'gift' of connecting with the other side. Following this yellow brick road, we visit his visions of Heaven and Hell, which I found the only interesting part of the book, as he does describe what he claims to have witnessed in colorful detail. We find him working as a bouncer and for the Mafia, the latter of which would sensibly only be revealed posthumously by an author, a big, red flag due to my law enforcement training, and one of the credibility issues, aside from the subject matter, that I have with the book. Spelling and grammatical errors abound in The Horsefly Chronicles, made even more tedious by the book's length. Maybe I'm just anal about such things, but how can we take Mr. Siracusa's account seriously if even the grammatical basics are overlooked? Tight budgets are no excuse, even with self-published titles. A good spellcheck application, free with all computer operating systems, can do much of the work of a human editor if diligently applied.

Oh yes, I mentioned that even at a snooze-inducing 334 pages, Mr. Siracusa's tome is "incomplete". Incomplete as in 'Screw you, you thought you bought a complete story, but you'll just have to wait for the next book' incomplete. The author plays his audience as suckers; not until you buy the book and dive into the text of The Horsefly Chronicles is the reader told that not all answers will be forthcoming until future volumes. The telling of the story was apparently conceived as a trilogy, which makes perfect sense if we are to assume that Mr. Siracusa had dreams of the New York Times Best Seller list and Bradley Cooper portraying him on a 3D Imax screen. Think the Harry Potter series or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, both infinitely better-written, and which may be based in more reality than The Horsefly Chronicles. After all, why not extend the life of a potential cash cow? The problem with that bit of marketing wisdom is, unlike Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, I have serious doubts the reader of the first volume of The Horsefly Chronicles will be sufficiently interested to stick around for the second. 

The Horsefly Chronicles Family: Summon the Psychic! Gather the Ghost Hunters!

It is said that, "It takes a village to raise a child", but apparently it takes a "family" to promote a book, especially if you don't have a publisher behind it. What the public needs to understand about this business is there are individuals and groups that will hitch their wagons to just about anything if they think it will bring them even an ounce of notoriety. Remember the updated Ed and Lorraine Warren formula mentioned earlier? Here is where it comes into play. The magic is in the marketing! Gather a few amateur ghost hunting groups willing to attest online for the authenticity of The Horsefly Chronicles. Summon Karissa Fleck, lead paranormal investigator and described by some as a "world-renown" psychic medium, to spend four months in Mr. Siracusa's haunted horsefly hacienda, a modern home in Easton, Pennsylvania that just happens to have the incredible fortune and dumb luck of having four bedrooms, two baths and a portal to Hell and...BINGO! You've hit all the right Paramount...uhhh, I mean Poltergeist...uhhh, I mean paranormal, notes. To be fair and to my knowledge, the author has never referred to Ms. Fleck as "world-renown", but the title is already out there, floating in the ether of the Internet, apparently placed by those promoting the book. In reality, while possibly a gifted sensitive, Ms. Fleck is a twenty-something woman and just a member of Eastern Pennsylvania Paranormal Society, a local ghost hunting group that Mr. Siracusa contacted when things in his home purportedly became demonically dicey. It is curious to ponder why the author felt it necessary to contact a small town ghost hunting group and its resident psychic to corroborate and validate events in his home when he had already enthralled us with his road trip to Heaven and Hell, not to mention his stint acting as a middleman between the Mafia and the great beyond. Call me naive, but it seems to me that Mr. Siracusa would be the person better-equipped to handle demons in his home. After all, he claims to have already been to theirs. 

Mr. Siracusa and Ms. Fleck, together and individually, have been on The Horsefly Chronicles promotional circuit since 2014, talking to anyone and everyone who will have them. They naturally hope people will buy the book, as does any author. However, as the book is self-published and has little marketing muscle, one gets the impression when listening to their interviews that the true goal is to make so much noise that The Horsefly Chronicles gets optioned.

Faults and Final Thoughts

Did I enjoy reading The Horsefly Chronicles? No, I didn't. Do I believe it to be nothing more than an elaborate hoax, likely conceived and written as the vehicle to drive to a movie deal? Yes, I do. 

For all its many faults, my issue is not only with the story, but with what I believe was Mr. Siracusa's motivation for writing the book and his insistence on presenting himself as the protagonist in what he claims to be true. In essence, his claim is that The Horsefly Chronicles is his autobiography. However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, especially when charging the public to read such claims. The question I found myself asking over-and-over while persevering through the pages? Why would Mr. Siracusa go to the trouble to write such a lengthy, implausible tale, then go to the expense to self-publish such a lengthy, implausible tale, without a much larger motivation and goal in mind than simply selling a few books and making a few bucks? Couple that question with the relentless self-promotion surrounding The Horsefly Chronicles, and the red flags begin to fly. By all accounts, the author is leading an otherwise normal life: gainfully employed, raising a family of four, a truly 'move along, there's nothing to see here' -type of existence. All of which makes his role as some sort of lifelong closet paranormal superhero even more difficult to swallow. While the basic structure and mundane facts of Mr. Siracusa's strange saga may, indeed, be autobiographical, it is my opinion as a paranormal investigator with years of experience under my belt that his yarn, if not completely fabricated, is at the very most a work of semi-fiction. There have been many instances of such literary hocus-pocus, one recent example being James Frey with his 2005 bestseller, A Million Little Pieces. You may remember him as the author Oprah Winfrey first praised and recommended for her book club, and later verbally eviscerated in a televised interview when it was discovered that a large part of his memoir was fabricated. There is a common thread of misplaced ego in the creation of such works, but Mr. Siracusa is probably well-aware that, unlike Mr. Frey, but just as with Ed and Lorraine Warren, Jay Anson and countless other predecessors, he will largely be protected under the paranormal umbrella. It is hard to be pinned-down to black and white in a world that consists of more than fifty shades of grey. The singular reason authors dealing in paranormal storylines sometimes go the 'true story' route is the belief that it will make their work more commercially viable. That said, I believe Clive Barker, Dean Koontz and that unsuccessful, starving author from Maine...jeesh, I can't remember his name...Stephen something...would tend to disagree.

And that's a wrap for this edition of The Booo! Blog. Let's fade to black, and would someone please get those damn flies off the set...

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

Update, August 27, 2015: In response to my book review of The Horsefly Chronicles, the following is the transcript of a 'conversation' lead paranormal investigator Karissa Fleck initiated with me on Facebook on Thursday, August 27, 2015. It should be noted that I never once used in my book review, nor did I ever refer to Ms. Fleck or anyone in my review as "fake". On the contrary, I stated that "she may perhaps be a gifted sensitive". As for the title she states I used, I believe she is referring to "World-Renown", which has been used by her promotional people online to describe her. I also note in my review that Mr. Siracusa, to my knowledge, has never used that term to describe Ms. Fleck, nor do I state that, again, to my knowledge, she has ever used the term "World-Renown" to describe herself. However, she does believe herself to be "famous", as you will read below. I believe this short exchange speaks for itself, and also speaks volumes. I apologize to my readers for Ms. Fleck's poor grammar and use of profanity:

  • Karissa Fleck: Hello Anthony I read your little article and I feel the need clear somethings up. First off I'm not in eastern pa paranormal I am a freelancer and I work with some bigger names in the paranormal, second the title as you so kindly referred me too I've never called myself that. Third who are you again? I've never heard about you once in my life. Fourth so I guess your calling myself, Dave Spinks. Jeff Leeper, Sean Austin, Scott Gerhart, Erik knapp bob baines and about 60 others fakes? You should invest in a life because clearly you don't have one if you feel the need to bash strangers you don't even know
  • Karissa Fleck: Fucking loser
  • Karissa Fleck: You bring up the first team I ever worked with and act like I still work with them journalism skills
  • Anthony Duda: Can't take the constructive criticism of a book review? And your language. Wow. I read the book. I gave my opinion. I suggest you grow a thicker skin and get over it.
  • Anthony Duda: As for still working with EPPS, I also suggest you visit their website. You will see your photo and bio on their team members page. So your argument is not with me, it should be with them.
  • Karissa Fleck: Your right you know when your famous you get critics and crazy jealous people attacking you all the time I should be use to it by now have a good day
  • Anthony Duda: You're famous? to me. Jealous? Hardly. I was in this field years before you were even born. You know what they say, "If you can't take the heat..." Have a good day, Ms. Fleck.

Update, September 16, 2015: Well...surprise, surprise! Alerted by reader "GinainTX" (see post below), it seems there was already a possible movie deal in the works for The Horsefly Chronicles, according to, dating all the way back to January 2015. I cannot sum it up better than another reader, "Tanner", so astutely did below: "Mission accomplished, Mr. Siracusa".

Update, September 18, 2015: Please note that I have decided to close comments for this edition of The Booo! Blog, as I have found it necessary to reject many profanity-laden posts.This blog is simply a review of the book, The Horsefly Chronicles, and the author, nor anyone connected with the book, should be subjected to such language. Quite frankly, I have no desire to read such comments. Therefore, while I do not have the ability to stop submissions, any future comments will not be posted, and will be rejected and deleted unread. Thank you for your understanding and expected cooperation. 

Update, October 13, 2015: The harassment and intimidation campaign by The Horsefly Chronicles lead paranormal investigator Karissa Fleck after my review of the book continues unabated. On September 30, 2015 and continuing on October 1, 2015, Ms. Fleck initiated the following conversation with me. This was completely unprovoked. Actually, I was on the road doing research for an unrelated future blog, when my cell phone alerted me that someone was posting about me on Facebook. As you will read, she has stooped to a new low on public social media, accusing me of being a sex offender, stalking her online, giving out her home address, as well as having a criminal record, all totally false accusations without an ounce of truth. I am not a mental health professional, therefore I do not make or pass judgement on Ms. Fleck in that professional capacity. However, based on her off-the-wall rants, wild accusations and seemingly paranoid delusions, I will withhold my personal opinion and allow you, the reader, to form your own. Keep in mind that Ms. Fleck has been widely credited as the lead paranormal investigator in The Horsefly Chronicles saga and has done and continues to do scores of promotional media interviews in that role. Thus, she figures prominently in the paranormal investigation aspect of the story, as was detailed in a companion book that Mr. Siracusa has authored, The Curse of the Horsefly Chronicles. In truth, as lead paranormal investigator, the responsibility would have ultimately fallen to Ms. Fleck to objectively verify the paranormal claims of the story, which is the entire crux and premise of this "true" paranormal trilogy, and she claims to have spent four months living in Mr. Siracusa's home doing just that. Okay, now think about that for a moment and let it sink in, because not only did that claim, which Ms. Fleck and Mr. Siracusa repeat in nearly every media interview, raise the red flags in my mind, it caused them to wave wildly. Four months. 120 days, give or take a day or two. Now that you, an intelligent and practical human, have allowed that to saturate your brain cells, extrapolate that scenario to your life, or even the lives of people you know. Under what circumstances could you, an adult, pack up and move into someone's home for that length of time? Would you break the lease at the apartment where you currently reside? If married, would you tell your husband or wife, "See ya, honey! I'll be back in four months. Gotta hunt for demons!", as he/she stands in the doorway, holding your Pug, and waving goodbye? And what about income? Would you, as an adult, be able to survive without income for four months, or 120 days, give or take a day or two? No? Then, how? Were you employed at the same time? If not, were you collecting unemployment benefits? Disability? Money has to come from somewhere for the occasional Mickey D's run, or even the basic necessities. Are you independently wealthy? If not, then who would support you to undertake such a protracted paranormal investigation and, more importantly, why? I do not question whether Ms. Fleck did move into the Siracusa home, only the somewhat murky circumstances which brought that about. "Just the facts, Ma'am", as Sgt. Joe Friday is often misquoted as saying in the über-old Dragnet TV series. Ms. Fleck has been described as a "family friend" of the Siracusa family. Was she already a family friend before moving in, or did she become a family friend after? Was she a "famous" psychic medium who just happened to need a place to crash and who just happened to be friends with an author who just happened to have a gateway to Hell in his home? Incredible fortune and dumb luck? I certainly do not imply knowledge, or even suspicion, of nefarious motivation or collusion, but am simply trying to understand the facts. As lead paranormal investigator of The Horsefly Chronicles case, the facts surrounding not only Ms. Fleck showing up on the Siracusa family doorstep like Mary Poppins (or, more accurately, Nanny McPhee), but then moving into their home for four months, or 120 days, give or take a day or two, to conduct a marathon paranormal investigation, is central to the very premise of this "true" paranormal account. While taking the lead, Ms. Fleck was not the only paranormal investigator involved in The Horsefly Chronicles case. How did the others come on board? Did they meet or know each other beforehand? Or were they collectively drawn to this mysterious location in Easton, Pennsylvania by some unknown metaphysical force, like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind?

It is often the case that the backstory is more interesting than the story itself, and the backstory of The Horsefly Chronicles is certainly no exception. As you will read below, Ms. Fleck seems very interested that you see my public record so please, by all means, feel free to go to any of a number of online sites that facilitate public record searches and enter my name. These records are in the public domain and it is perfectly legal. What will you find? Nothing. No criminal record, no arrests, just a traffic ticket from 1977 which probably dropped off the report years ago, if it was even on it to begin with. I'm such a nerd that I've never smoked weed. I've never even smoked a cigarette. I don't drink. Plain vanilla. Nuns think I'm boring. Now, while you're at it and since Ms. Fleck 'went there' and broached the subject, enter the name of Karissa Fleck, lead paranormal investigator of The Horsefly Chronicles case and central to the very premise of this "true" paranormal account. Yes, indeed...often the backstory is more interesting than the story itself.

What is the point of all of this and what does it boil down to? The point is that I believe the public has a right to dig beyond the claims and media hype, especially if they are being asked to shell out their hard-earned money. Once individuals willfully place themselves in the media spotlight, whether it be via books, movies, claims of psychic abilities or anything else, they are then open to public scrutiny. What this boils down to is the fact that I have been a paranormal investigator for well-over two decades. In that time, I have never taken a penny from a client for my services, nor do I ever intend to do so. I read The Horsefly Chronicles. I had many doubts about the paranormal claims in the book. I read a lot of books. Most are not about the paranormal, as I sometimes just need a break from the spooky stuff to clear my head. I write a paranormal blog. I wrote my review of the book on that blog. It was simply my honest opinion as someone in the paranormal field. I had already written my next blog on a completely unrelated subject. That was the end of it...or so I thought. Until, of course, Karissa Fleck, lead paranormal investigator of The Horsefly Chronicles case, began making wild, unfounded and untrue accusations about me on social media in retaliation for my review. I could have just blown it off considering the source and would have preferred to do so, but Ms. Fleck's accusations became too vile to ignore. So, here we are...

What follows is yet another unedited public Facebook 'conversation' initiated by Karissa Fleck, self-proclaimed "famous" psychic medium and, yes, as lead paranormal investigator of The Horsefly Chronicles case, central to the very premise of this "true" paranormal account:

  • Karissa Fleck: Your a sex offender posting my address on facebook. I would watch yourself if I was you.       
  • Karissa Fleck: All your doing is digging your own grave with your obsession my lawyers have and are looking into you and so are the police.
  • Karissa Fleck: Karissa, what are you talking about? I have never posted anything about you on Facebook. The only thing that I wrote was my book review on my site. Feel free to have the police and lawyers contact me all they want. What you don't seem to understand is this person on Facebook isn't me. He tried to get over on me, too.
  • Anthony Duda: Why on earth would I have an obsession with you? I even stopped all comments on my book review because they were too negative towards you guys. Feel free to call me to discuss if you want. My # is very easily found on my website.
  • Karissa Fleck: Tried calling you and you didn't answer.
  • Anthony Duda: Was away from my cell. Saw # when I got back but didn't know it was yours.
  • Karissa Fleck: You didn't call me back or answer the second time I called you. What you state is a book review (which my name isn't even in the first book) is resulting in threats towards me from people who follow you if not you yourself. For someone who has never met me you are the lowest of the lows to do something like this to someone else. You block me from my other account and you act lik... (Anthony Duda: Ms. Fleck's paragraph ended mid-sentence. I have no idea what "other account" she is talking about. I have blocked her from nothing).
  • Karissa Fleck: Infact you know the article isn't true because you put a disclaimer up. Why would you do that other then the fact that you know you lied and you know you have lawyers watching you. (Anthony Duda: My website and all of my blogs have had the same legal disclaimer since 2011. The primary reason is liability. If someone visits a haunted location that I may mention, they do so at their own risk. It is quite astounding that most paranormal websites actually do not have such a disclaimer, which is why I consulted my attorneys before creating my site).
  • Anthony Duda: I'm in bed. Long day tomorrow. If you look at all of my blogs going back to the very first in 2011, you will see the same legal disclaimer. It is also on my website written by my attorneys. It was a book review. An opinion. It is what I thought of the book. There was no malicious intent.
  • Anthony Duda: As for lawyers watching, accusing someone baselessly of being something as vile as a sex offender on social media will not be tolerated again by my lawyers. Although you may have deleted it, I have the screen grab.
  • Karissa Fleck: Yea I have the screen shot of you posting my address and other things that will also not be tolerated by my lawyers so keep it up and I'll see you in court if you want to keep playing these childish games I also have the iP addresses from all the fake accounts you use to harass me.
  • Karissa Fleck: Fine, then take it to your lawyers and the police. It's not me. I'd be happy to answer any questions they may have. I have no idea who this person is, but I do know that when he tried to dupe me and others on a paranormal page on Facebook, he was going by the name of "Joe Para".
  • Anthony Duda: Furthermore, I have no idea what your address is, or even what state you now live. I suppose if someone was determined or cared, it could easily be located on the Internet.
  • Karissa Fleck: Yea just like I found your records online things can be easily traced.
  • Anthony Duda: Fine. I'd be happy to tell you where I live. Is that some type of veiled threat?
  • Karissa Fleck: Nope not a threat whatsoever you leave me alone I leave you alone but charges stay on record for a long time and it seems yours isn't clean.
  • Anthony Duda: Fine, Ms. Fleck, and please feel free to trace all of the IP addresses you may have. You will find none connected to me or, as far as I know, anyone I have any connection with. It's very strange that you have created all of this about me when I literally have not given you a second thought. You were simply part of the story of The Horsefly Chronicles, which I reviewed. Before that, I had never heard of you. I hope you catch this elusive person you say is harassing you. Actually, I honestly do. No one should be harassed. Have a good night, Ms. Fleck.
  • Karissa Fleck: Yea it also seems strange to me that you have done nothing but attack me since reading a book I'm not even mentioned in lol. But it's ok like I said you leave me alone I'll leave you alone. You google me and you leave your shit little blog on other things about me you are the one following me not the other way around bye anthony if I hear from you again your charges will be out for all to see (Anthony Duda: Apparently, Ms. Fleck had somehow forgotten that she was the one who initiated our 'conversation' on this day, not the other way around. While true that Ms. Fleck is not mentioned in the first volume of The Horsefly Chronicles, she has been doing extensive media interviews since 2014, aggressively promoting the book and her role in the story. As mentioned previously, Mr. Siracusa has also authored a companion book to The Horsefly Chronicles, The Curse of The Horsefly Chronicles, which details Ms. Fleck's lead role, as well as the roles of others).
  • Anthony Duda: Please post my "charges", Ms. Fleck. I'd love to see them. Other than a traffic ticket in 1977, there are no "charges". Really, please post these "charges" that you have. I really would love everyone to see what you supposedly have, Ms. Fleck.

Charming, isn't she? At that point, Ms. Fleck ended her attack. I'm still waiting to see the "charges" that I supposedly have, which will be news to everyone as I was a law enforcement officer on a state level for many years, licensed to carry weapons and have passed numerous criminal background checks. Apparently, they didn't care about my 1977 traffic ticket. Lucky for me, as sliding on an icy road and hitting a mailbox in my '66 Volkswagen Beetle was such a heinous crime. 

Update, November 11, 2015: Unfortunately, she continues. Yes, Karissa Fleck, lead paranormal investigator of The Horsefly Chronicles case, appears to have reached an all-time low. What she has now publicly accused me of in her October 21, 2015 interview with Paranormal Herald Magazine in apparent retaliation for my review of The Horsefly Chronicles goes beyond disgusting. It goes beyond vile. There are simply no words.

I am currently out of the Boston area on an investigation in another region of the country. While in my hotel room doing research for an upcoming case, I happened upon Evan Jensen's online interview with Ms. Fleck. Mr. Jensen is the owner of the Paranormal Herald Magazine website and the person responsible for its content. Apparently, none of Ms. Fleck's interview statements or accusations were fact-checked by Mr. Jensen, nor did he or anyone associated with his website contact me. Had he bothered to do so prior to publication, he would have discovered that none of Ms. Fleck's accusations against me have any factual basis. Her tale is a complete fabrication. He and Ms. Fleck apparently believe that using the word "allegedly" absolves them from the responsibility of the truth, as if I have been accused of such disgusting charges in the legal nomenclature. That is not the case, as the only person making these wild, untrue accusations is Karissa Fleck.

Am I angry? Not at all. Am I upset? Not in the least. However, I am determined, and I will end this. I did not pick this fight, I simply reviewed The Horsefly Chronicles and Ms. Fleck's role in the case, a role that has been discussed extensively by both Ms. Fleck and Mr. Siracusa in their numerous media interviews, as well as documented in Mr. Siracusa's published companion book, The Curse of the Horsefly Chronicles.

What follows is an email sent to Evan Jensen, owner of the Paranormal Herald Magazine website and the person responsible for its content. I have been very patient throughout Ms. Fleck's libelous rampage, choosing to refrain from legal action considering the source. However, today that patience ended. I now hope both Ms. Fleck and Mr. Jensen retain excellent counsel. I will keep you, the reader, updated as advised by my attorneys.

Hello, Mr. Jensen,

My name is Anthony Duda. I just finished reading with interest the interview with Karissa Fleck that you posted on your website.

Please be aware that none of Ms. Fleck's allegations are true. According to Ms. Fleck, there is someone stalking her online, and perhaps that is the case. However, that person is not me, nor is it anyone I am familiar with to the best of my knowledge. I have never been contacted by the police, nor have I ever seen or posted any photos of Ms. Fleck, indecent or otherwise. The only thing that I have posted is my review of The Horsefly Chronicles, the updates to that review, and the email response to the review. I have never seen and am not familiar with the screen captures that you have attributed to me in your article/interview.

Ms. Fleck's accusations apparently stem from my August 25, 2015 review of the book, The Horsefly Chronicles, on my blog. As you probably know, both Ms. Fleck and the book's author, Philip Siracusa, have been heavily promoting the book and Ms. Fleck's role in the case in media interviews since 2014. In fact, Mr. Siracusa has published a companion book, The Curse of The Horsefly Chronicles, documenting her role as lead paranormal investigator in the case, as well as the roles of others. I have read both books, but only reviewed The Horsefly Chronicles on my blog, and had many doubts of the paranormal claims detailed in the book. Since posting my review of The Horsefly Chronicles on my blog, it seems that I have become the subject of an intimidation campaign by Karissa Fleck, of which I am only aware when I happen to come across websites and articles/interviews such as yours, as well as being mentioned in social media and contacted via random texts by Ms. Fleck, of which I have full documentation. You have apparently deemed it appropriate to allow Ms. Fleck to libel me with truly vile and untrue accusations on your website without bothering to perform due diligence in confirming the facts, or even extending the courtesy of contacting me to obtain those facts. In doing so, you are complicit in that libel and defamation of my character. If you had bothered to read my review of The Horsefly Chronicles, as well as the updates posted to the same review, you would have noticed that there are no accusations directed towards Ms. Fleck or Mr. Siracusa, only my opinion of the book and questions about the validity of the paranormal claims and Ms. Fleck's role in the investigation, which both have discussed extensively in media interviews while promoting the book. Ms. Fleck was only mentioned briefly in my review of The Horsefly Chronicles. Only after her 'conversations' with me did I post my opinion of said conversations and have further questions.

Today is Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 2:56 AM and, as stated, I have just read your posted article/interview. In fact, I am away from New England, in another region of the country, on an investigation and happened upon it online while doing research for a case I am working on. I will be contacting my attorneys in Boston as soon as their offices open later this morning.

Anthony Duda
Boston, Massachusetts

Oh, and here, again, is that notorious legal disclaimer that you'll see on each of my blogs...

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

Is The Rebecca Nurse Homestead Haunted?

Posted on July 30, 2015 at 12:54 AM Comments comments (4590)
New England Paranormal Investigators,Anthony Duda,The Rebecca Nurse Homestead,Danvers,Massachusetts,Haunted,The Salem Witch Trials,Ghosts,Paranormal,
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead,Danvers,Massachusetts,Haunted,Salem Witch Trials,Ghosts,Paranormal,

Please Note: Due to format changes,
English/Spanish text audio is not available
for this addition of The Booo! Blog.

A Tale of Two Salems

Located and landlocked in the heart of Essex County, Danvers, Massachusetts is an unassuming town, much like many others. The familiar juxtaposition of strip malls and rural New England dominates the landscape. It's acceptably pleasant, even very nice, but "Nothing to see here..." might be the initial reaction of a casual visitor, especially when compared to New England's more scenic opportunities. No, there aren't too many 'Kodak Moments' in Danvers. Unless, of course, you happen to be a paranormal investigator...

"Oh Shitteth! We Should Not Have Donneth That..."

Whether due to lingering shame or aggressive marketing on the part of its seaside neighbor (or a bit of both), a frequently-ignored fact is that Danvers voluntarily entered history's version of the Witness Protection Program. You see, until 1752, the Town of Danvers did not exist, and had a completely different identity: Salem Village. Yes, that Salem. Shortly after hanging nineteen innocent people and crushing another, the townsfolk collectively realized they had screwed-up big time and, hoping to bury the past, save their butts and dispense with the stigma attached to the witch trial mess they created, came up with "Danvers" as the slick, guilt-free new name for their village.

The oft-ignored dirty little secret, however, is that most of the witch hysteria did not happen in Salem Town (what we now know as Salem) but in Salem Village (now Danvers). While Salem Town certainly did have some craziness going on back in the day, the bulk of the name calling and finger pointing actually happened in Salem Village. In fact, even the hangings and the "pressing" (a quaint,17th century term to describe crushing someone to death) occurred outside the limits of Salem Town. 

Today, Salem is flocked to as the 'Witchcraft Capitol of the World', even though it suffers from a touch of Dissociative Identity Disorder. The business owners embrace all the spooky stuff but, by and large, the permanent residents of Salem do not. For a variety of reasons, they would prefer their city not be invaded every October, available parking not the least among them. Even within the city ranks there is a whiff of conflict, as some would prefer Salem to be known for its rich maritime history instead of black cats and broomsticks, let alone its darker side.

Even though it's actually deeper in witch trial history than Salem, Danvers has, for the most part, successfully deflected all of the hoopla and publicity. It's amazing what a simple name change and some Teflon can do. Sometimes, however, things still stick. And, yes, sometimes, the buried refuse to remain dead...

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead

Rebecca Nurse was one of the twenty innocent people put to death, 'convicted' of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Stoic and dignified to the end, she was hanged on July 19, 1692, her story probably the most well-known of the unfortunate victims.

I have heard and read numerous reports of odd sensations and occurrences from people visiting The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, her original home meticulously maintained by the Danvers Alarm List Company, a dedicated group of living history reeanactors in the Danvers, Massachusetts area, and finally had the time to quickly grab some equipment and spend a few hours there.

Date of Visit: Friday, July 24, 2015

Time of Visit12:30 PM - 2:30 PM EDT (Time approximate)

Location of Visit: 149 Pine Street, Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA

Coordinates of Visit: N42° 33' 30.094", W70° 56' 53.885" (WGS84)
                                     42.558359,-70.948302 (GPS)
Weather Conditions During Visit: Sunny, 78°F 

Equipment Used During Visit: 1) Moditronic Deep Infrared Camera  2) Spectercam Full Spectrum HD Camcorder
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is open varying hours depending on time of year. Please call 978-774-8799 or visit the website for further information. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and super-pleasant, and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Admission: Adults: $7.00, Seniors (65 and older): $5.00, Children 16 and under: $4.00, Children under 6: Free. Guided tours begin at 10:30, 11:30, 1:00 and 2:00 and last 40 minutes to an hour. All information is believed accurate at the time of this writing.

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead,Danvers,MA,Salem Witch Trials,Haunted,Ghosts,Paranormal,

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead
Danvers (Salem Village)

The Buildings

All of the structures on the grounds of The Rebecca Nurse Homestead look as though they belong, but only the house itself is original to the land. The barn and shop were located at another homestead, and re-erected on the property in 1983 to replace the original Nurse barn that burned down in 1964. The Shoemaker's Shed and Dairy Shed were brought from other locations as well. The impressive Salem Village Meeting House is an exact reproduction of the 1692 Salem Village Meeting House, and was built in 1984 for the film Three Sovereigns for Sarah, which was filmed on the location.

The Grounds

Sitting on 25-acres of grassy fields and woodlands, I can't say that I blame whomever or whatever for wanting to hang around the place past their mortal expiration date. Not only are the grounds saturated with history, they also drip with atmosphere. One gets the impression that the centuries-old trees are the silent sentinels of the property, watching over the Homestead.

The Graveyard

So far, I've sounded much more like a tour guide than a paranormal investigator, but here's where things take a turn for the creepy: Welcome to The Nurse Graveyard...

Family graveyards presented somewhat of a problem for the early settlers, and it went something like this: Uncle Ezekial dies. Uncle Ezekial is placed in a wooden box. The wooden box containing Uncle Ezekial is planted in the ground. The wooden box eventually rots and, does Uncle Ezekial. Uncle Ezekial seeps into the ground water. Before long, Uncle Ezekial is with you in your bathtub (creepy). And in your tea (beyond creepy). And suddenly, the chamber pot becomes the most valued and fought over possession in the 17th century New England home. Yes, the entire family has come down with a screamin' case of "Uncle Ezekial's Revenge". Or worse.

To avoid all this unpleasantness, family graveyards were located as far away on the property as possible from the house and ground water supply, so as not to contaminate the well. The Nurse Graveyard is located in the back of a field, far from the living area.

"At The Corner of Happy and Healthy"?

Since Rebecca Nurse was convicted and executed for the charge of witchcraft and cavorting with the Devil, she was not allowed a Christian burial. In fact, none of the twenty men and women found 'guilty' were allowed such burials, their bodies simply and unceremoniously thrown into a ditch after the party was over. It is believed that Rebecca Nurses' son, Benjamin, secretly retrieved her body from Gallows Hill under the cover of darkness and buried her somewhere on the Nurse Homestead grounds. The grave was not marked in case the 'good' people of Salem Village got curious and decided not to let Rebecca rest in peace. There is a memorial that was erected in The Nurse Graveyard in 1885 but, the truth is, no one knows for certain where her remains are buried. To avoid the ground water contamination issues mentioned above, it's a safe bet to assume that she was buried on the grounds as far away from the house as possible, and that probably would have been the area that is now the family graveyard.

Speaking of Gallows Hill, the 'official' Gallows Hill, located in Salem (Salem Town) in what is now known as Gallows Hill Park, is one of those big, fat lies of history. The real Gallows Hill, where the carnage took place, is likely located on what is now private property abutting a Walgreens on Boston Street, a location known as Proctor's Ledge. It's ironic their sales slogan is that their stores are located "At The Corner of Happy and Healthy". My guess is that Rebecca and the gang would beg to differ.

Blast from the Past

Twice while walking through the house, I felt a very noticeable cold breeze hit me while taking pictures. There is no air conditioning in the original section of the structure, and the indoor temperature averaged 80°F. I could find nothing to account for the sensation.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Cold Breeze Photo #1
Cold Breeze Photo #1
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): A blast of cold air hit me while taking this shot in the kitchen of The Rebecca Nurse Homestead. I saw nothing unusual when taking this photo, yet the camera recorded this image. These are not blurred images caused by the movement of a handheld camera. While EXIF data shows that the shutter speed was, indeed, slow (1/20 sec.), the camera was securely tripod-mounted. Whatever this was, it was moving and blurring the image, not the other way around. Taken with the Moditronic Deep Infrared camera.
Cold Breeze Photo #2
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Another 'cold air' shot taken in the kitchen of The Rebecca Nurse Homestead. Again, I saw nothing unusual. Taken with the Moditronic Deep Infrared camera.
Cold Breeze Photo #2
The Macabre Mosaic

There is something not quite 'right' about The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, as the photographs seem to indicate. During my visit, the kitchen seemed to be the focal point of activity and photographic anomalies. In particular, the back kitchen windows seemed to almost tell a story. Life sucked back in 1692 New England and, other than the Church (and Rebecca would soon discover in the worst way that they had no sense of humor), any type of social life was frowned-upon. Perhaps she spent much of her time sitting at her kitchen table, gazing out those windows. And Rebecca Nurses' kitchen is as good a place as any for a dash of common sense and a pinch of caution: Our brains often try to make recognizable shapes out of random patterns, a phenomenon known as apophenia, so we always have to be mindful of 'seeing' things that are not really there. Still, taking everything into account, the following photographs definitely fit into the 'high weirdness' category, which is why I present them here. There have been some interesting online comments concerning these particular windows, and I was determined to get to the truth. I'm not sure that I have, but this may be the first time they have been photographed and examined using deep infrared and full spectrum technologies. The soft focus is inherent in both technologies. No manipulation was done on these images except minimum contrast enhancement and black and white conversion. So, without further adieu...

(Click on image to enlarge)

Rear Kitchen Windows (Deep Infrared)
Rear Kitchen Windows (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015).
Rear Kitchen Windows (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015).
Rear Kitchen Windows (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Left Kitchen Window (Deep Infrared)
Enlargement: Left Kitchen Window (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Enlargement of left kitchen window.
Enlargement: Left Kitchen Window (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Enlargement of left kitchen window.
Enlargement: Left Kitchen Window (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Right Kitchen Window (Deep Infrared)
Enlargement: Right Kitchen Window (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Enlargement of right kitchen window.
Enlargement: Right Kitchen Window (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Enlargement of right kitchen window.
Enlargement: Right Kitchen Window (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Top Left Pane (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Top Left Pane (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Is Rebecca Nurse still gazing out her window?
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Top Right Pane (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Writing? What does it say?
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Top Right Pane (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Top Right Pane (Deep Infrared)
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Top Right Pane (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homest. ad, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Writing? What does it say?
Enlargement: Left Window, Lower Half, Upper Left Pane (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Is that a woman hanging from a tree?
Enlargement: Left Window, Lower Half, Upper Left Pane (Deep Infrared)
Enlargement: Right Window, Top Half, Lower Right Pane (Deep Infrared)
Enlargement: Right Window, Top Half, Lower Right Pane (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Who's this satanic-looking little fellow?
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Lower Right Pane (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): This was barely visible in Full Spectrum, so I didn't post it. See the cross? There is no cross inside the home in that location. And what's with the hunched, Nosferatu-like figure?
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Lower Right Pane (Deep Infrared)
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Center Pane (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Left Window, Top Half, Center Pane (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Lynch mob scene in lower portion of window?
Enlargement: Right Window, Upper Half, Lower Right Pane (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Head and shoulders shot of a hooded figure?
Enlargement: Right Window, Upper Half, Lower Right Pane (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Left Window, Lower Half, Center Pane (Full Spectrum)
Enlargement: Left Window, Lower Half, Center Pane (Full Spectrum)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Is that one evil-looking face or what?
Enlargement: Right Window, Lower Half, Upper Left Pane (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Hello, Kitty! Is this a profile of an animal head?
Enlargement: Right Window, Lower Half, Upper Left Pane (Deep Infrared)
Left Window, Upper Half, Upper Center Pane (Deep Infrared)
Left Window, Upper Half, Upper Center Pane (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Apparently, an evil pig demanded equal face time. He's such a ham!
Enlargement: Left Window, Upper Half, Lower Center Pane (Deep Infrared)
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers (Salem Village), Massachusetts (2015): Another shot of the 'mist', this time in the window. And finally, what you've all been wondering. Witches? Admit it, you know it's crossed your mind...
Enlargement: Left Window, Upper Half, Lower Center Pane (Deep Infrared)
...What About Donatella??
...What About Donatella??
Seriously? Do you have any doubt? I'm just sayin'...

Is The Rebecca Nurse Homestead Haunted?

I will leave that question for you to ponder while examining these photographs late at night. Come to your own conclusions. Time for bed? Perhaps you should leave the nightlight on, just in case...

Until next time, pleasant dreams...

Update, January 12, 2016: There has long been a debate concerning the actual location where the hangings took place. A group of researchers, using scientific methodology and process of elimination, today announced the results of the work they began in 2010. As mentioned in my blog, the actual location was not the 'official' Gallows Hill, but the unassuming, rocky location next to the Walgreens at 59 Boston Street in Salem known as Proctor's Ledge.

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

A Hiccup in Time in North Reading, Massachusetts

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 8:54 AM Comments comments (1408)
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North Reading,Massachusetts,Haverhill Street,Boston,New England Paranormal Investigators - Boston - MA - CT - ME - NH - RI - VT,Haunted,Ghost,Paranormal,Time Travel,Time Slip,New England Paranormal Investigators,Anthony Duda,,

"Historic" Haverhill Street? Yes, indeed. The street intersects many towns, and was the main route between Boston and Haverhill, Massachusetts back in the day when Paul Revere was excitedly yelling something about the British coming. For all we know, Mr. Revere could have encountered the same fog bank, gone fast-forward a few hundred years, and was referring to The Beatles. Yes, North Reading really is that strange...

Many houses and farms from the Colonial era still silently stand on Haverhill Street, and even without some paranormal trick of time, my eyes had to search for current-day reminders. The pavement surface does change abruptly at the Reading/North Reading demarcation and is very noticeable when driving, just as John had stated. I also noted that a path of high power lines cross over the street at the approximate location where John said he had his experience. I find this interesting, as high power lines have been involved with paranormal experiences in many documented cases. This may be due to the effects of strong electromagnetic fields on the brain or, as some paranormal researchers believe, that the fields supply the energy for such events to occur and manifest.

The sudden appearance of fog, the brief time frame, and the "muffled" hearing sensation John said that he experienced during the incident have been a component of some other documented accounts of slips in time. And one cannot help but wonder what role, if any, the unusual meteorological conditions due to Hurricane Sandy contributed to the event. Last (but, yes, almost certainly least), it was almost Halloween. The town would be the perfect setting for an H.P. Lovecraft story. No, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if his fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts was inspired by North Reading. After all, it was his neck of the woods. I'm sure Miskatonic University is waiting there for the next unsuspecting traveler, just beyond the fog...

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

USS Escolar (SS-294): Has She Been Located?

Posted on July 19, 2014 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (722)

USS Escolar,SS-294,Ghosts,Haunted,Paranormal,Battleship Cove,Fall River,Massachusetts,Boston,Lost Ships WWII,Lost Submarines WWII,John Bender,New England Paranormal Investigators,

"And I Think It's Gonna Be a Long, Long Time..."

...but who knew it would be this long? I advise on the homepage of my website to "check the dates", and question how committed others are to their sites if they don't regularly update them. Much to my embarrassment, I'm now just as guilty. Projects and life have kept me away from the keyboard, but I never really left the paranormal. I'm back and, yes, it has been a long time. Too long.

USS Escolar (SS-294): Everything You've Read Is Wrong

No edition of The Booo! Blog has generated, and continues to generate, the volume of mail and inquiries as the January 2012 edition. While the others are widely read, my story of USS Escolar, a submarine lost in 1944, seems to have connected on a different level. The mystery surrounding her disappearance, the tragic loss of all hands, and a spectral encore apparently made for a potent mix, but not one by design. The blog tells of what was known about USS Escolar and her crew at the time of her disappearance, and what happened decades later as a result. As I've stated elsewhere on these pages, and with apologies to Mark Twain: Sometimes truth is spookier than fiction.

The unknown fate of USS Escolar has always followed me, as my uncle, Joseph James Bender, Jr., Ph1M, United States Navy, was a member of her crew. Whenever life gets hectic and Escolar, by necessity, drifts to the back of my mind, something always jolts it back, front and center. It happened tonight: I was watching an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen (a rare episode where he actually did very little screaming...the guy's my hero) and what did one of the chefs prepare? Escolar. I knew that Escolar is a fish, but have you ever heard of anyone having it for dinner? Ever seen it on a menu? My intention was to write this blog several days ago, but I was pulled in another, unrelated direction. Just as the countless times in the past, synchronicity stepped in, hit me over the head, and the crew of USS Escolar found a way to politely say, "Excuse us, we don't mean to be a bother, but if you wouldn't mind pulling your ass away from the television, we're still waiting to be found". Transcending the passage of time that we, on this side, perceive as seventy years, these interdimensional ship to shore reminders have recently been on the upswing. Why? Because, thanks to an odd twist of fate sparking an international effort involving a team of dedicated individuals, we now believe we know, not only what happened to USS Escolar, but where she likely rests. With the recent surfacing of new documents, primarily from sources in Japan, it has become apparent that the official U.S. Navy account of what was believed to have happened to USS Escolar in October 1944 was, in fact, not the reality. She did not hit a mine, disintegrating in relative swiftness. To the contrary, Commander W.J. Millican and the crewmen of USS Escolar engaged in an extended and harrowing game of cat and mouse in a desperate attempt to save their lives.

What follows, published for the first time, is a copy of the USS Escolar (SS-294) Factual Summary. It is important to understand that this is a 'living' document, and contains information believed to be currently accurate. Therefore, as new information is uncovered, it is possible that this document may be subject to emendation. 

USS Escolar (SS-294)
Factual Summary
Compiled/Written: Anthony Duda
Telephone: 857-247-7503
Date: July 2, 2014
The last known radio transmission received from USS Escolar (SS-294) was on Tuesday, October 17, 1944. Escolar reported that she was 33°-44'N, 127°-33'E, and was heading for 33°-44'N, 129°-06'E. These coordinates place the submarine in the Tsushima Strait. The 'wolf pack', known as "Millican's Marauders" and consisting of USS Escolar (SS-294), USS Croaker (SS-246) and USS Perch (SS-313) entered the strait on Sunday, October 15, 1944. On Tuesday, October 17 at 23:00, Escolar Commander W.J. Millican ordered Croaker and Perch south of Sasebo, Japan. They departed, separating from Escolar.
The data is undisputed.
Entry in the USS Perch (SS-313) log, dated Tuesday, October 17, 1944. 

On Thursday, October 19, 1944, Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer CD-38 detected an unknown submarine and engaged in an anti-submarine attack while escorting IJN convoy MI-23 in the Tsushima Strait, dropping over 30 depth charges. Bubbles and an oil slick immediately appeared and gear believed to be from the submarine surfaced at the site. The coordinates of the attack: 33°-32'N, 128°-43'E. USS Escolar (SS-294) would have very likely been at those general coordinates at that time. If she did, indeed, execute her route according to her last radio transmission, the documented attack coordinates would have been along her route.
It must be noted that the Japan Geodetic System used the Bessel Ellipsoid, not WGS84 Ellipsoid. Therefore, the coordinates documented in 1944 may shift as much as 60m to the north with conversion to WGS 84 Ellipsoid.

Victor Lavon Lee, Jr. (deceased), crew member of USS Croaker (SS-246) while on patrol with USS Escolar (SS-294) and USS Perch (SS-313). He contacted Anthony Duda on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 in response to his Wednesday, January 4, 2012 blog about USS Escolar (SS-294). He stated that he witnessed sound of explosions in distance and the direction of USS Escolar (SS-294) at approximately 15:00 on Thursday, October 19, 1944.
*Combat Action Report of CD-38, dated Thursday, October 19, 1944. Japan Center for Asian Historical Records National Archives of Japan.
*Wartime diary of IJN PB-102. Japan Center for Asian Historical Records National Archives of Japan.
*Imperial Japanese Navy personnel memorandum. Library of Peace Memorial Display Museum.
*USS Perch (SS-313) log, dated Tuesday, October 17, 1944
**Richard F. Graham, MosaicGeo USA, LLC, Seattle, Washington
No other United States Navy submarine or submarine from another nation was reported as attacked or sunk on Thursday, October 19, 1944 in the area where USS Escolar (SS-294) would have likely been at the time of the IJN CD-38 attack*.
The data is undisputed.

*IJN 1 Escort Flotilla wartime diary (CD-38 and PB-102 were part of IJN 1 Escort Flotilla), October 1944.
*Exhaustive Internet investigation and research.

There is an official Japan Coast Guard 'snag report' map that notates a wreck in the approximate documented location where IJN destroyer CD-38 located and attacked the unknown submarine on Thursday, October 19, 1944.
The data is undisputed.
Japan Coast Guard.

According to bathymetric charts, the documented coordinates (regardless of the possible Bessel Ellipsoid/WGS84 Ellipsoid discrepancy) in the Tsushima Strait place the wreck at a relatively shallow depth of 140m (460 ft).
The data is undisputed.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 

According to Yutaka Iwasaki, a researcher in Japan, the documented coordinates where IJN CD-38 attacked the unknown submarine (33°-32'N, 128°-43'E) would place the location of the wreck in or very near an area of the Tsushima Strait known as "Area Golf", a fire training area for United States military forces in Japan. The Japan Coast Guard warns not to enter the area without full knowledge of the possible risk.

While there is some question as to the exact location of USS Escolar (SS-294), this slight discrepancy is likely due to the Bessel Ellipsoid utilized by the Japanese at the time relative to the WGS84 Ellipsoid used today. In any event, the Japan Coast Guard does know where the wreck is located, as they have noted it on their 'snag report' map of the area. In addition, we have fairly precise coordinates, corroborated by multiple source material. The facts demonstrate that there is every reason to believe the "unknown submarine" attacked in the Tsushima Strait on Thursday, October 19, 1944 was, indeed, USS Escolar, with no existing evidence to suggest otherwise.
The 82 brave men aboard USS Escolar want to be found. They want finality and closure for their family members and loved ones and, only then, will they finally rest. But perhaps, most of all, they want their story to be told. They want us to know the truth.
We owe them that. 

Research and Assistance
Bruce Abele
Darrell Ames
Anthony Duda
Charles R. Hinman
David Johnston
Keith Kibbe
Richie Kohler
Ronald Norford
Vickie Rodgers
Kiyotaka Asano
Yutaka Iwasaki
Brad Pearson

Michael Mohl

USS Escolar (SS-294): The New England Connection Runs Deep

Nine crewmen aboard USS Escolar (SS-294) hailed from New England*
(Click on image to enlarge)

Thomas Babb, Lieutenant
Thomas Babb, Lieutenant
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Joe Monroe Cummings, Motor Machinist's Mate, First Class
Joe Monroe Cummings, Motor Machinist's Mate, First Class
Waterbury, Connecticut
John Clinton Farwell, Chief Yeoman
John Clinton Farwell, Chief Yeoman
Boston, Massachusetts
Losson Verner Jeffrey,                Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Losson Verner Jeffrey, Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Norwich, Connecticut (Photograph not available)
Howard Carlton Latham, Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Howard Carlton Latham, Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Esmond, Rhode Island
William Clarence Lyons, Jr., Motor Machinist's Mate, Second Class
William Clarence Lyons, Jr., Motor Machinist's Mate, Second Class
Brookline, Massachusetts
Joseph Masloski, Fireman, First Class
Joseph Masloski, Fireman, First Class
North Hatfield, Massachusetts
Richard Clarence Turner, Electrician's Mate, Second Class
Richard Clarence Turner, Electrician's Mate, Second Class
New Bedford, Massachusetts (Photograph not available)
Richard William Wybrow, Ship's Cook, Third Class
Richard William Wybrow, Ship's Cook, Third Class
Keene, New Hampshire (Photograph not available)
*Photographs and information courtesy of Charles R. Hinman/On Eternal Patrol: Dedicated to all men lost while serving in the U.S. Submarine Force. For more information, please visit the website:

We Need Your Help!

Regardless of what part of the United States they were from, eighty-two men tragically lost their lives aboard USS Escolar. There is a need to get 'eyes in the water' utilizing side-scan sonar and other equipment at the documented coordinates of the attack on October 19, 1944, the location of the wreck documented on the Japan Coast Guard snag map, as well as the immediate, surrounding area, as some drift may have occurred due to the passage of time and effect of currents. Therefore, we respectfully urge the U.S. Government, Japanese Government, and private individuals and concerns with the capability to assist to do so. Sadly, while the story of USS Escolar is dramatic, it is certainly not unique. We now believe we know what happened to USS Escolar and, yes, we now believe we know where she is, resting at a relatively shallow depth of 140m (460 ft). This would not be a salvage mission, but one of identification, documentation, and closure. It matters not if seven days or seventy years have passed, they are waiting and want to be found. And yes, we do owe them that.

I would like to thank Dr. Robert Ballard of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for his attention and consideration in the search for USS Escolar (SS-294).

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

New England Cryptozoology

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 4:26 AM Comments comments (953)
New England Paranormal Investigators - Boston - MA - Ghosts - Hauntings - UFO - EVP - Cryptozoology, Connecticut - New Hampshire - Rhode Island - Maine - Vermont, Anthony Duda, Boston Paranormal Investigators - Massachusetts Paranormal Investigators, New Hampshire Paranormal Investigators - Maine Paranormal Investigators, Rhode Island Paranormal Investigators - Connecticut Paranormal Investigators, Vermont Paranormal Investigators, New England Cryptozoology, Dover Demon

Boston's Worst Hour. Boston's Finest Hour.

I read some criticism by physician turned U.S. Congressman turned perennial presidential hopeful Ron Paul concerning the handling of the tragic events that unfolded during the Boston Marathon. Apparently, Dr. Paul believes that public transportation, and the city in general, should not have been shut down when the location of the surviving suspect was narrowed to the Watertown suburb. His delicate Libertarian sensibilities were rocked when residents were asked to stay in their homes for their own safety, local businesses were asked to close, and police went door-to-door to find the perpetrator. Really, Dr. Paul? Are you serious?

Boston has certainly had its share of tragedy; Albert DeSalvo's murderous 1960s adventure as The Boston Strangler comes to mind as a relatively recent example. And whether he alone was responsible for the deaths of all thirteen women is a moot point in the context of that tragedy. Going way back, we have the blood and war of Revolutionary times and all that transpired. Several others have occurred in between, of course, but the events of April 15, 2013 are among the most spectacular and tragic. Agencies at all levels worked seamlessly to ensure public safety. Emergency and medical personnel saved lives. Three innocent people with their lives ahead of them were dead. A police officer had been gunned-down in cold blood. No one knew, exactly, what the situation was or if more carnage was just around the corner. We now know that the two suspects' next stop, had their plan not been thwarted in Boston, was to continue their reign of death and dismemberment in Manhattan. Yet, the good doctor is upset because law enforcement made it temporarily impossible for residents to go to Walmart or hail a taxi to get there. On behalf of the people of Boston, please allow me to cordially relay this message to you, Ron Paul: You're an idiot!

Thank you for allowing me to vent; I feel much better now.

New England Cryptozoology: Three Men and a "Baby Moose"

New England is no stranger to the strange. Ghosts? Yes, they've certainly kept me busy all these years. UFOs? Our corner of the country is definitely a hot spot. How about Cryptids? "What? Say that again?" Crytozoology can be described in highbrow, scientific, but totally boring terms such as "The study of unknown creatures...". Forget that. I much prefer monster hunting!

We New Englanders are more than happy to embrace our witches and ghosts. We welcome our strange friends in the sky with open arms. But dinosaur-like lake dwellers and smelly, hair-covered bipeds? Nah, they're other peoples' problem! How inconvenient! How dirty! "They'll pee in our water!". They'll poop in our woods!". "Let them stay in Alaska!". "Keep them in Montana!". Sorry folks, but it's too late; they're already here. There goes the neighborhood...

It's sometimes difficult for us to see past Fenway Park and Logan International Airport, but New England encompasses much more than Boston. And that "much more" is a lot of wilderness: The Green Mountains in Vermont, White Mountains in New Hampshire, much of Central and Western Massachusetts, and practically the entire state of Maine. Throw in the sparsely-populated areas of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and you've got a lot of nothing. Granted, extremely scenic and beautiful "nothing", but nothing just the same. And if you knew you were 'monasteriense non grata' and wanted to avoid the torches, pitchforks and cellphone cameras of the local townsfolk, where would you hide? My guess is that only a few miles from one of the largest, most densely-populated metropolitan areas of the country would not be your location of choice. All of which makes this strange tale even more, well...strange...

On the night of April 21, 1977, three men, Bill Bartlett, Andy Brodie and Mike Mazzacca, had their creepy brush with cryptozoological infamy. Around 10:30, driving along Farm Street in Dover, Massachusetts, only fifteen miles outside of Boston, they spotted the creature that still has New Englanders talking more than 30 years later, and remains just as much a mystery: The Dover Demon.

The size of a large dog, the men saw the 'thing'  walking along the roadside in the headlights of their car. Described as being pink/gray in color, having a hairless, spindly, humanoid body, huge head, large eyes that glowed orange in the headlights, long, thin fingers and walking upright, it quickly scurried away over some rocks and into the nearby woods. That should be the end of our story. Maybe just a known animal? A raccoon with mange? Perhaps even a small child? But no, that's not quite the end...

It's now midnight, and less than two hours have passed since Bill, Andy and Mike spotted our unusual friend. John Baxter is walking down Farm Street towards his home. And walking towards him? The same creature seen by the others. Needless to say, John wasted no time on pleasantries, and got the hell out of there. The following evening, on April 22, it was again seen by two other people, this time on Springdale Avenue, closer to the center of town. It then disappeared, never to be seen again.

So, what was it? As with most mysteries in cryptozoology, we'll probably never know. And, as with most cryptids, shyness seemed to be its dominant personality trait. This one just happened to find itself a little closer to civilization and, perhaps, that was not by choice. Its described physical appearance is very similar to that of the 'classic' gray alien: small body, large head disproportionate to that body, large eyes, gray in color, long fingers. Very much like the alien in the movie E.T. Maybe it was trying to find its way home; by some accounts it did seem lost and confused. Did the movie influence what the witnesses believed they saw? Sounds logical, except for the glaring fact: this was 1977, and Spielberg wouldn't release E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial until 1982. The sightings were extensively researched by New England cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, who named the creature, the name which has stuck to this day.

And what about the "moose" mentioned in the title? Credit that to skeptic Marvin Kottmeyer. He decided what was seen was nothing more than a baby moose. A moose with fingers. A moose that walked upright on two legs. 

No, we will probably never know what The Dover Demon was. But we can be fairly certain what it was not.

Until next month...

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

Ghost Hunting: Want Better Results? Mind Your Manners!

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM Comments comments (696)
New England Paranormal Investigators - Boston - MA - Ghosts - Hauntings - UFO - EVP - Cryptozoology, Connecticut - New Hampshire - Rhode Island - Maine - Vermont, Anthony Duda, Boston Paranormal Investigators - Massachusetts Paranormal Investigators, New Hampshire Paranormal Investigators - Maine Paranormal Investigators, Vermont Paranormal Investigators, Connecticut Paranormal Investigators - Rhode Island Paranormal Investigators

Interviews, Ghosts and Gremlins

I've recently been asked to do an increasing number of radio and Internet radio interviews, even though I don't have a book to hawk or anything to put out there in the hope of getting listeners to part with their money. Not that that's a bad thing; everyone has a right to make a buck. But just like a celebrity who turns up as a late night guest on Leno, Letterman or Kimmel on the eve of their latest movie's premiere, those in the paranormal biz seem to 'coincidentally' pop up all over the place when their books, events or TV shows are soon to appear. All of which make my radio visits seem like a bit of an oddity.

Along with more interviews comes more technical problems; dropped calls, connections that truly suck, or being unable to connect at all. Could it be due to the fact that I'm sometimes driving like a rabid bat out of Hell during the interviews? Damn it! Technology is supposed to work. Period :-)  I did an interview in Toronto and was 15 minutes late, not for lack of effort, but because a phone line routed through New York refused to cooperate. Maybe ghosts don't like to be talked about? Could be, but the real culprit here seems to be Skype, not spirits.

Want Better Results? Mind Your Manners!

I've often been asked the best way to "approach" ghosts during an investigation. My reply: "Mind your manners!" and approach them as you would any living person. I cover this a bit on my website, but would you want to cooperate with a stranger or (worse) group of strangers that had just barged into your home? Probably not. If we are to believe that personalities don't change when someone crosses over, then why be disrespectful? This becomes even more of an issue when dealing with an entity from a bygone era; etiquette and politeness were expected, and sensibilities were quite different. With very few exceptions, never go 'Zak Bagans' on a ghost and do the theatrical yelling/screaming/"I dare you" routine. Does it work for the Ghost Adventures buffoons? Yes, if you want to sit in front of a camera and claim that an entity is taking over your body or record an "EVP" so unintelligible that it has to be captioned. It's not an EVP; it's a digital artifact from the inexpensive digital voice recorders they (purposely) use. As for claiming an entity is entering their body, I could only venture an educated guess as to the point of entry on a TV ghost hunter.

Now, I did say, "with very few exceptions", and that is dependent on the location. Are you investigating a former orphanage? Nope, that's not one of those exceptions. An old prison or correctional facility? Maybe. If you're trying to place a call to Al Capone while investigating Eastern State Penitentiary, a little paranormal arm twisting may be in order. In Alabama trying to connect with a gracious Helen Keller? No, the bellicose shouting and taunting is rude and unnecessary. And could she hear you anyway? Think about it...

Technology can be perplexing and scary enough for those living in the 21st century, so think how our equipment must seem to someone who was alive 200 years ago? Lights flashing, cameras snapping, video monitors flickering; all with no point of reference as to what these 'machines' do or what they're used for. We must think of what they may think; "Are they here to hurt me?" "Are they going to make me leave my home?" The old adage, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" equally applies to ghosts. Always introduce yourself and your team in a calm, reassuring manner, explain your intentions, and describe your equipment and its purpose in terms a person from the past could grasp. You will get much more cooperation and, therefore, much better results. Alas, it seems our friend Zak never got the memo.

All the best until next month...

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

An Occurrence on Hurricane Mountain Road

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 5:33 PM Comments comments (1315)
Hurricane Mountain Road,North Conway,New Hampshire,Haunted,Ghost,Paranormal,Ghost Car,New England,Anthony Duda,

The Satanic Sweaters?

Televangelist Pat Robertson is at it again. He recently told a woman who called in to his show, The 700 Club, that a second-hand sweater she bought from Goodwill might be infested with demonic spirits. Oh my, as if the recent bedbug resurgence wasn't scary enough, now we have this to worry about? Pat's made some wacky statements over the years and, as he's galloped off into his personal sunset like a senile great uncle, no doubt his family has become increasing concerned about what he's going to blurt out at the next family reunion. But wait! Not so fast; I agree (sort of) with him on this one.

As I mention on my Ghosts and Hauntings page, be aware of used or antique items that you bring into your home. If your place has always been spook-free, but suddenly all kinds of weirdness is going on, remember anything you brought home from a thrift shop or flea market and try to match the time line. And no, size doesn't matter, at least not when it comes to hauntings. It could be as small as a button or large as a bed; the key is what emotional or sentimental attachment the deceased former owner had to the item.

And now for the "sort of" part, and where I disagree with Pat. The clingy spirit, like the person when alive, may be cheerful or cranky but, no worries; they are not demonic. That really cool '60s lava lamp? Maybe Sharon Tate thinks it's too cool to forget, too. Oh, and remember Pat's caller's sweater? '50s? Angora? Snug, yet oddly stretched? Guess what, sister? Lana wants it back.

Step Through The Paranormal Portal

If you're haunted but hiding, I've got awesome news...step through The Paranormal Portal. I've long-noticed that some are reluctant to seek help when it comes to their paranormal problems. The portal will open every Sunday evening 10:00 - 11:00. I can anonymously answer any paranormal questions that you may have; think of it as a private-but-creepy confessional. I'm here to help!

An Occurrence on Hurricane Mountain Road

I love New Hampshire. Portsmouth and the rest of the Seacoast, Lake Winnipasaukee, the White Mountains. The Granite State has never been shy about its strangeness, either. One of the earliest and, without a doubt, most famous alleged alien abduction cases, the 1961 tale of Betty and Barney Hill, happened near Lincoln. Norman Muscarello's brush with the otherworldly happened in Exeter in 1965. Throw in the higher-than-usual number of UFO sightings, assorted cryptids and ghosts, not to mention a mysterious Stonehenge-like site in Salem (What? You thought that Salem, Massachusetts had a lock on everything spooky?), and you have one very odd state. And that state is where my story takes place...

North Conway, New Hampshire: May 2009

Nestled in the White Mountains, North Conway is everything you'd imagine a New England town to be; lakes and camping in the summer, roadside stands bursting with pumpkins in autumn, snow and skiing in the winter and...parking lots with mountains of leftover snow in spring. Little stores and shops are everywhere, selling everything from antiques to The Old Man in the Mountain souvenirs (a natural rock formation resembling a face that, sadly, no longer exists, falling off the state's Cannon Mountain years ago). Looking to stay at a Holiday Inn? It's probably here somewhere, but bed and breakfasts are the bread and butter of the area, with none finer than The Buttonwood Inn. During a two-night stay, a companion and I decided to take a late-night "What the Hell, let's do it" drive along Hurricane Mountain Road, an extremely narrow (think driveway narrow) road that slowly winds its way up, over and down Kearsarge North, a mountain near the inn. No two cars can pass without one yielding the right-of-way. During the day, the road is fun and friendly. At night, it seems forgotten and foreboding, with very little light, except that supplied courtesy of the moon.

Being a beautiful and relatively warm night for the White Mountains in May, we slowly made our way up the lonely, pitch-black road. Not a car to be seen. Not a house. Just the glow of an occasional deer or opossum in the headlights. "Cool", I thought, "It doesn't get better than this". The XM satellite radio ('60s on 6!) was playing and, even though it wasn't warm enough to roll the windows down, the smell of the semi-warm mountain air drifted through the vents. We finally reached the highest point, and started to descend. Hurricane Mountain Road's twists and turns disorient you a bit, but something in your brain still tells you that you're no longer on a vertical climb. Still, no cars, which would not be unexpected on such a road at such an hour.

"Where The Hell Did That Come From?"

Suddenly, there were two headlights approximately 100 feet behind us, and closing in fast. Abnormally fast. Unnaturally fast. Within a few seconds, the car was only an inch or two from our back bumper. "Where the hell did that come from?", I asked my partner, both of us knowing that no other car was on the road and there was no place for it to hide as we drove by. Especially a car of its size. While dark, I could make out that it was a huge boat from the 1970s, dark in color, with yellowish, non-halogen headlights. Within not much more time than it takes to blink, this thing had gone from being in our rear view to being practical connected to us. And it wasn't backing down, keeping the same distance from us no matter how much I stepped on the gas. Then, I realized something strange; the satellite radio, which had been fine throughout our trek on the mountain, had been losing its signal and cutting out since the car was kissing our ass. I never panic, but let's just say that I was becoming "extremely concerned", as was my passenger. After about one minute of playing chicken, I saw the end of the road, with a stop sign at the cross street. As we slowed to make a right turn, the car veered around my driver's side, making no attempt to stop, and proceeded to make a left at a high rate of speed, vanishing as it made the turn. No, not 'vanished' as in 'sped away', vanished as in, well...vanished! The vehicle simply disappeared, as if entering an invisible tunnel. Being in the 'paranormal biz' for as long as I have, I know urban legends of phantom or ghost cars abound; almost every state has theirs. They're as common as the vanishing hitchhiker and roadside ghosts wearing powder-blue prom dresses. Still, after considerable digging, I haven't been able to unearth any dirt on this one.

After sitting in silent bewilderment for a few seconds, we did make that right turn off of Hurricane Mountain Road, the radio once again crooning Johnny Rivers.

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.

Paranormal New England: Thanks! You Guys Are Awesome!

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 1:12 AM Comments comments (1410)
New England Paranormal Investigators - Boston - MA - Ghosts - Hauntings - UFO - EVP - Cryptozoology, Connecticut - New Hampshire - Rhode Island - Maine - Vermont, Anthony Duda, Boston Paranormal Investigators - Massachusetts Paranormal Investigators, New Hampshire Paranormal Investigators - Maine Paranormal Investigators, Vermont Paranormal Investigators, Connecticut Paranormal Investigators - Rhode Island Paranormal Investigator

Welton Arcos

In my experience, the vast majority of psychic mediums, sensitives...whatever you choose to call them...really can't do what they claim. And it's not always because they're dishonest; many honestly do believe they can dial-in and get somebody to pick up the phone on the other side. Subconsciously, they're doing the equivalent of 'cold reading'. Cold reading involves asking leading questions to a stranger, picking up clues and narrowing down the possibilities with each successive question until you obtain the information you need to make a very informed guess. At that point, the stranger, usually a member of the audience on a TV show, starts to tear-up and someone in the studio hands them a Kleenex. We've all seen it, and there are some very famous (and profitable!) "psychic mediums" that I believe are nothing more than extremely talented cold readers. Then, on the other hand, there's Welton Arcos...

More educated than any one person has a right to be and fluent in twelve languages, Welton can not only make the "I see dead people" claim, but the "I can hear dead people" and "I can talk with dead people" claims as well. However, unlike many who make those claims, he never charges for his services, working on a strictly donation-only basis. He doesn't work from home with a red neon sign in his window that screams, "Psychic Readings. Walk In". And no, he has never worn a brightly-colored scarf around his head (as far as I know!). Yes, I was extremely skeptical at first, but after years of working with him on investigations, I know he's the real deal. Actually, on some investigations he takes the lead, and I'm relegated to the sidelines. Affectionately known as "Zelda" around here, after the late, great but vertically-challenged actress Zelda Rubinstein of Poltergeist fame, my high-tech equipment is usually no match for his abilities. Some in the paranormal field (or more accurately, the amateur ghost hunters and groups) may snicker and roll their eyes at the thought of using a psychic medium, as it's an assault to their "scientific methodology". You can check out my Ghost Hunting Myths and Ghost Hunting Questions pages for my answers to them.

New England Paranormal Investigators - Boston - MA - Jason J. Gagnon

Jason J. Gagnon

Wicked 'smaht' and blessed with perfect eyebrows (I mean, look at them!), Jay's the 'UFO/USO/Everything in the sky that's not supposed to be there' guy. While ghosts far outnumber aliens as the topic of inquiries I receive, if you tell me that something unknown has just landed in your backyard or you suspect someone other than your doctor has been probing your nether regions (without your consent, of course), here's the guy I'm gonna call to help me make sense of it all.

Seriously though, Jay is incredibly compassionate and knowledgeable. The UFO phenomenon is far less accepted by the general public than are ghosts and hauntings. Why is that? I'm not certain, but probably because far fewer people have had an encounter. However, if you have, you can be shaken to your very core. If you believe you have actually been abducted, things can be even worse. Please be assured that contacting me will be a judgment-free experience, so never hesitate to do so.

Keepin' it Weird

Turning in a completely different direction, I'd like to take a moment to thank Dave Hurwitz from the Unregular Radio show Keepin' it Weird for having me on. Check it out every Sunday, 2:00-3:00 pm's well worth your time! Here's the link to the podcast when I was his guest.

That's it for the February, 2013 edition of The Booo! Blog. I promise to keep the website and blog a living, breathing BEAST!

Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.