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Now Is Not the Time for Newtown

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 5:14 PM Comments comments (366)
New England Paranormal Investigators - Anthony Duda - 1964 - 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















We Were All Six Years Old

Two days after the tragedy of Friday, December 14, 2012, I began receiving 'hits' on this website and blog from Newtown, Connecticut, which have continued on an almost daily basis. My guess is that other New England paranormal investigators and groups have very likely received the same, whether or not they have the ability to monitor traffic on their sites. Another guess, which is probably fairly accurate, is that these were visits by those directly affected by the event. Please don't get me wrong; we were ALL affected by what transpired. Just when you think that it's no longer possible to be shocked by yet another incident of senseless violence, something so horrific and unimaginable happens as to make us stop in our tracks in disbelief. However, no matter how horrific, no matter how unimaginable, words cannot accurately express what those who are directly involved must be going through. They are going through the extremely painful, yet necessary grieving process. They are vulnerable. They are looking for comfort. They are looking for answers. We, as paranormal investigators, can offer neither. Not now, at least. This, tragically, is one of those events that I wrote about in the May 2012 edition of The Booo! Blog: The Ethics of Ghost Hunting. The ethical will stay away but, sadly, the unethical will not. We should leave the healing (if that is at all possible in this case) to grief counselors and others in the medical and psychiatric professions. Most importantly, we should leave the healing to time, and now is not the time for anyone in the paranormal community to be involved with Newtown.

You Can Ignore Your Fruitcake...

Moving on so soon to another subject, it's somewhat difficult to gleefully wish everyone a happy 2013, but I certainly do hope it brings health and happiness. Let's hope for a better New Year! My New Year's resolution? To be more disciplined in keeping up with The Booo! Blog. I get busy and this blog, like the annual fruitcake your neighbor gives you for Christmas, sits forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. That fruitcake, infused with every preservative known to science, can remain totally ignored and will still outlive us all (yes, even Cher), but this 100% natural, preservative-free blog will not. The moral to the story? I have to be a good, diligent paranormal investigator, lose a few hours sleep and type 'til my fingers bleed. Every month.

Welcome to 2013!







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.

Chasing UFOs

Posted on July 3, 2012 at 12:18 AM Comments comments (100)
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Ghosts and 'Greys'

When most people hear that I'm a paranormal investigator, their response is invariably, "Oh, you're a ghost hunter!". Well, that's true, but they could respond "UFO hunter" or "monster hunter" and be equally correct. The paranormal encompasses a heck of a lot more than dead people making return engagements, and a paranormal investigator's expertise should as well. Unfortunately, that has become more the exception than the rule.

In some ways, 'UFOlogy', the study of and search for Unidentified Flying Objects, is a much easier and less stressful branch of paranormal investigation. Unlike 'ghost hunting', UFO sightings rarely involve a close encounter with an otherworldly being, no less one in your home that is determined to stay. However, when they do, especially in the form of alleged alien abduction, things can get very stressful, not only for those involved, but the investigator as well. The reasons are fairly transparent, but one you may not know: while many believe UFOs are extraterrestrial in origin, much fewer find alien abduction believable. The leap from seeing a mysterious light in the sky to short, big-eyed gray dudes suddenly appearing at the foot of your bed to float you off for your proctology exam is huge. Tell someone you've seen a ghost and they'll probably tell you of their similar encounter. Tell someone you've been abducted and don't expect them to be quite as sympathetic.

Is Alien Abduction Real?

I don't know, but some cases I've investigated have been truly weird. While most do have many things in common, they are all unique and most definitely not slavishly torn from the pages of a book or Hollywood script as some with various agendas would have you believe. These encounters are notoriously difficult to investigate; even after those involved in an alleged abduction contact me, they still find it very difficult to talk about. It's almost as if they sense that if they tell, 'they' will punish them in some way. It's a very dark and foreboding fear, and is a common thread in all such cases. For those reasons and the more obvious, I believe these incidents, real or imagined, are woefully underreported.

Chasing UFOs

National Geographic Channel is one of the few classy destinations on basic cable television, much as the magazine has been in print media since 1888. While the channel has acquiesced somewhat to market realities in recent years and offered programming that is decidedly more sensational, it has always remained, more or less, true to its namesake. Until now.

Chasing UFOs (Fridays 10pm) is a highly-hyped, blatant attempt to cash in on the popularity of this branch of paranormal investigation. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No; even the magazine has occasionally featured the phenomenon in past issues. The problem is the show is unnecessarily dreadful. And derivative. Think of it as Ghost Hunters but with UFOs instead of dead people or, more accurately, Destination Truth without the fun or personality and with UFOs instead of cryptids or dead people. Or a Destination Truth and (canceled) UFO Hunters hybrid with UFOs but without the fun, personality, cryptids or dead people. Are you starting to get the picture? In any event, Nat Geo could have and should have done much better, and Chasing UFOs is the perfect example of why all the expensive, 'gee whiz' technology in the world does not a good television program make. We've seen everything Chasing UFOs has to offer before only, in most cases, done much better.

The show utilizes the 'team' approach, with three members: Ben McGee, Physical Scientist (the "skeptic"), Erin Ryder, Tech and Recon (the "skeliever", whatever the hell that means, who pulls double-duty as a Destination Truth cast member) and James Fox, UFOlogist (the "believer"). Of these, only Fox can honestly claim a background in investigation of the UFO phenomenon, having produced two excellent documentaries/movies on the subject, Out of the Blue and I Know What I Saw. Now that we have all the bases covered, running the gamut between skeptic and believer (and have now probably figured out what a 'skeliever' is), let's get to the 'chemistry' between the team members. Thud. While individually they may be interesting people and the life of the party, collectively they seem to be on life support. All the obligatory mini-cliffhangers and teases before commercial breaks can't revive this interplanetary snoozefest. In the words of the law enforcement officer that urges people on when they're gawking at a car wreck: "Move on people, there's nothing to see here".

"He's Cheating Us!"

You may have noticed that I've combined the June and July editions of The Booo Blog!. I'd like to say it was because I'm busy (I am), but the real reason? I got incredibly lazy! Sometimes you just have to chill and enjoy the nice weather...which in New England lasts about two weeks. I promise to do better.

Finally, I'd like to thank Mark Henry, host of Edge of the Unknown on WECK 102.9 in Buffalo, New York for having me on his show. No, the signal doesn't reach us here in Boston, but the show does stream live on the station's website Sunday nights 9:00-12:00. You can click here to listen to the June 24, 2012 podcast. Check it out; always fun, interesting and entertaining!

That's it for now, and remember...watch the skies!







Chasing UFOs, Friday, July 6, 2012: Feeling that I may have been too hasty to judge Chasing UFOs, basing my opinion on only the first episode, I decided to give the program another chance. Tonight's episode featured the ubiquitous 'Romanek video', which has been bouncing around the Internet for several years. In the highly unlikely chance that you haven't seen it, Stan Romanek is a gentleman in Colorado who claims to have recorded a 'grey' alien popping its head up to look through his bedroom window, an image that could have very easily been hoaxed. The video has been analyzed backwards, forwards, upside down and sideways by experts and amateurs alike. The overwhelming consensus? It is, indeed, a hoax, and not a very clever one at that.

Enter our fearless trio, presenting this almost as a new find, hoping the casual viewer won't realize that it's only the zillionth time it's been featured on similar programs. Break out the infrared 'night vision' cameras! Let's 'go green' and get to the bottom of this 'mystery'! Hopefully the viewer will stick around to see if we caught another a glimpse of 'Mr. Grey'! And, guess what? They do! The teaser before the last commercial break showing him dutifully appearing in the very same window. Yup, we've hooked the viewer now! They won't dare touch that remote! Following the break, we find out what we thought may have been the video capture of the century was in actuality Ben McGee holding an alien mask up to the window. Our fearless trio then have a good laugh...a good laugh at the expense of the viewer. "This is what I was gullible enough to stay tuned to this crappy show for?", I thought. At that moment, I understood how a viewer could have felt cheated and taken advantage of; no program should take its audience for granted. And, at that moment, I also realized my initial assessment of the program was actually much too kind.

Chasing UFOs is pure garbage, and gives serious investigation and study of the phenomenon a bad rap. Perhaps McGee and Ryder can be forgiven, as they only seem to be along for the ride. However, James Fox has no excuse; serious investigators don't get involved with this type of fluff. Oh, and in case you're wondering...our fearless trio also believe the Romanek video to be a hoax. Congratulations! You've avoided wasting one hour of your life that you would never recoup to learn something a few second Google search would have told you years ago.



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 Ethics of Ghost Hunting

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (356)
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"Who You Gonna Call?"

If you are a regular visitor to my website and blog, you know that I believe there is a huge difference between serious paranormal investigation and 'ghost hunting', and thoughts on the subject can be found on my Ghost Hunting Questions page. As in any field, we have the good and the bad here in New England, which is also true of the rest of the country. I have said numerous times (and now must repeat as I get a flood of not-so-nice email whenever I bring up this subject) there are many good paranormal groups in New England. However, there are just as many that are totally clueless and can actually make your problem much worse. A key point to keep in mind is that a high ranking on Google, Bing, Yahoo and others is not necessarily indicative of the quality of any group, only the skill of the individual tweaking the code and keywords of their site, which is known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Once a website gets at or near the top of the list, it tends to get more 'hits' (people visiting the site) by virtue of its position and, therefore, tends to stay there as search engines use that data and more to assist them in ranking the site. I tell you this at my own risk because this website consistently ranks very high on all search engines for the targeted keywords, but my point is that you still must not rely solely on search engine ranking when choosing an individual or group to help you with your paranormal problem. While I make it a policy to not name any individual or group - good or bad - on these pages unless they have chosen to enter the media spotlight, please allow me to break my own rule and give credit where it is due...

I recently had the pleasure of working with The Massachusetts Paranormal Research Group and its founder, Dave Costello. Based in Taunton, its members are dedicated, discreet, completely professional and, best of all, you will not be subjected to the television ghost hunting theatrics so common to many groups in New England. You can do no better than TMPRG if in need of assistance with things that go bump in the night...or day.

New England's (Old and Pudgy) Paranormal Investigator?

A quick mention of something completely unrelated that definitely falls into the 'Who gives a rat's ass?' category: Yes, I did change my photo! The reason? After meeting me in person, I became weary of people asking 1) "How long ago was the photo on your site taken?" and 2) "Have you gained a little weight?" The answers? As I'm usually behind a camera instead of in front of one, I have very few photographs of myself. The previous shot was taken only one year before the one above, but I tend to look different in various photos, usually ranging from hideously ugly to the even worse, "He should be forced to submit to a vasectomy. Quick! Throw a bag over his head!" And no, my weight has remained steady and normal. Now you have my official answers, so quit askin' already! Jeesh! :-)

The Ethics of Ghost Hunting

I would like to narrowly focus this month's edition of The Booo! Blog on ethically choosing a location for an investigation, as much information concerning other paranormal-related ethical issues can be found on the Ghost Hunting Myths and Ghost Hunting Questions pages and elsewhere on my site. This actually is much more applicable to the ubiquitous weekend ghost hunting groups, as experienced paranormal investigators should already be well-aware that some types of locations, while very possibly haunted, should really be left alone. Luckily, they are few and far between and, although it may be perfectly legal, some ethically and morally "just don't feel right".

The first that comes to mind is the site of the former World Trade Center twin towers in lower Manhattan. Realistically, I doubt if any paranormal investigation would be allowed due to security and the current construction of the Freedom Tower on the site (shove that up your asses, al-Qaeda). That being said, time does play a huge part in what 'feels right' when we think of sites in this regard; it's way too soon and still seared into the national psyche. Families are still grieving over their lost loved ones, friends are still terribly missed and, although that never goes away, passing years do buffer it a bit. Sensitivities of those personally connected to the tragedy must remain foremost in any decision. Yes, I have no doubt that many have privately contacted psychic mediums over the past 10+ years in an attempt at closure and to deal with their grief, but that should remain private. However, I am equally as certain that many more have chosen, for various reasons, to simply leave it be; to respect and honor the memory of those lost. Yet, taking all of this in to account, somehow it still wouldn't feel right to conduct a paranormal investigation of the site.

Along the same lines, we should really think twice before conducting investigations on the site of any recent tragedy; murders, auto accidents, fires and the like. Some could make an argument that we are giving a voice to those now unable to speak, and may actually uncover information or even evidence along the way. My take? Leave the 'voice' to psychic mediums should a family member choose to privately take that road and, as for evidence, that's why we have law enforcement.

Paranormal investigation of battlefields such as Gettysburg and Antietam are really a matter of personal perspective and belief, but just about every location connected with the Civil War has been heavily investigated over the years. Countless books have been written and television documentaries have been done. There are even many reports swirling around the Internet of paranormal occurrences during the filming of the 1993 historical epic, Gettysburg (an amazing movie!) Conducted with respect, I see no ethical issues. In fact, I've found the men very eager to let their presence be known, and even speaking provided the investigator has the necessary equipment to facilitate it. Now, not wanting to start another war between North and South, I've found both Blue and Gray equally adept at informing us they're still around.

While my initial target was New England, it appears this website has unexpectedly taken on a life of its own and is now being read in many countries. For that reason, please allow me to mention one more group of locations that should always be left alone: Nazi concentration camps. I have never been to one but, like many, have seen the old film footage of the atrocities that transpired. I cannot believe that officials would ever allow a paranormal investigation to take place at one of these locations (of course, I may be - and probably am - wrong about that) but don't think I'm in the minority when I state my belief that they should forever be off limits to such activity. Some subjects are just too deep. Some events are just too tragic. Some places have just too much pain. Let them rest.

And that's a wrap for this 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.

Paranormal New England: You Have Much More to Fear from the Living than the Dead!

Posted on April 4, 2012 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (125)
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













Change of Season

One thing I've noticed over the years is that seasonal change seems to bring with it a spike in paranormal activity. Email and telephone inquiries invariably increase during these times, none so dramatically as from Winter to Spring. You would think it would be in October, right? Well, sort of. Inquiries do, indeed, rise during that time, but mainly from the media because of Halloween. Everyone likes a good ghost story! But from the average person sending out a paranormal distress call, this time of year trumps all others.

The reason? Hard to say, but the weather taking a turn for the better is associated with a lot of change in many homes. The old Spring adage, "Out with the old, in with the new" may not always go over well with with your resident ghost; they may have really liked the 'old'. Small 'fix-it-up' projects around the house will sometimes cause them to voice their opinion in any way they can. In fact, construction (no matter how minor) is high on the list of things that can spook a spook.

Hmmm...so what to do? Involve them in the process, and be firm but fair. No, they won't be much help at your beer and pizza painting party, but keep them updated on what you're doing and why, all-the-while politely reminding them that it's now your house. How do you do that? Simple; talk to them just as you would a living person. So often I get calls from people who want answers: " Who's in my house?" "Why are they here?" "What do they want?". My reply: "Well, did you ask?". Perhaps not immediately, but you'll be surprised at the answers you can get; many times they'll let you know via one method or another. The first and best thing you can do in any possible haunting is to attempt to verbally communicate.

You Have Much More to Fear From the Living
 
Ghosts aren't inherently evil. Grandma doesn't become a psycho killer and Uncle Milton doesn't transform into an ax murderer once they say "adios" to this existence. Now, let's flip that coin; John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy don't become choirboys, either. Unless Gram and Uncle Miltie had it in them while living (and admit it; you always suspected he did), they'll have the same personalities at their new address. And, unless Johnny and Teddy get a much-needed ass whoopin' over there (which I'd very much like to believe is the case), they'll be every bit the slime they were when breathing. The good news? While Gram may no longer be able to bake her brownies (curious how happy you always felt immediately after eating Gram's brownies), she can and probably will stop by occasionally to say "Hi". Even better news? There's not much the latter two can physically do to you; their hands are tied tighter than those of their victims. And Uncle Milt? Well, who cares; he always creeped you out anyway.

Ghosts don't scare as much as startle; even Mother Teresa would be somewhat unnerving if she suddenly made her entrance at the foot of your bed at 3:00am. However, you never have to set your security alarm for these spectral intruders. And that, my friends, is why you really do have more to fear from the living than the dead.

Hey! Spring is here! Now turn off your damn computer and head outside to enjoy the fresh air :-)







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.

Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM Comments comments (62)
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Battleship Cove: Drop Everything and Go!
 
Okay, this is one amazing place! Said to be "The World's Largest Naval Ship Museum", Battleship Cove is located at 5 Water Street in Fall River, MA, an easy drive from the Boston area. I had the pleasure of spending a recent afternoon climbing aboard massive giants, with hundreds of tons of iron and steel beneath my feet; to say that I was impressed would be a severe understatement. Living in New England for so long, I definitely had a "Duh!" moment as in, "Why did I take so long to visit?".
 
It was a sunny, but chilly, Friday, which is probably why I had the place almost entirely to myself. During warmer months, I can see how Battleship Cove is a major destination; fresh air, cool water, important naval history and beautiful scenery compete for your attention. However, keep in mind that the "off " season is just as fun, and even more so if you want to avoid the crowds. Imagine having free reign on USS Massachusetts, USS Fall River, USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. and submarine USS Lionfish, the sister boat of USS Escolar. How cool is that?!
 
I don't know if any vessel at Battleship Cove is genuinely haunted, although a local ghost hunting group does conduct annual Haunted Battleship tours on USS Massachusetts during the Halloween season. I can tell you that structures containing large quantities of iron and locations near bodies of water seem to attract and help entities manifest, hence the abundance of stories of haunted ships and lighthouses. Just old legends? Maybe, but when ghostly seafarers and phantom crews survive and flourish for decades or even centuries, there's usually an ember of truth to those scary tales told 'round the campfire. My apologies to Mark Twain, but truth is spookier than fiction. Throw in the wartime battle histories, mix the emotions, personalities and presence of the thousands who proudly served and walked those decks, and paranormal investigators have all the necessary ingredients for a haunting to come sailing their way.
 
A Bargain at Twice the Price
 
Fifteen bucks. Yeah, that's it. Fifteen bucks to spend hours exploring giant hunks of history costing millions and, just when you think Battleship Cove has shown all it has to offer, you're in for a surprise; anti-submarine, attack and huey helicopters, PT boats, a Soviet-built missile corvette, T-28 trainer plane and more urge you to explore even further. It's home to the Veterans' Voices Oral History Project and Admiral Arleigh Burke National Destroyermen's Museum, and even has a vintage 1920 carousel for the kids when they (and their parents!) need to take a break. Open 7 days a week and closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, Battleship Cove offers admission discounts for children and seniors, as well as for groups and active military with ID. Check their website for hours and further details.
 
So, What Are You Waiting For?
 
I plan many more visits to Battleship Cove. The main goal of my initial visit was to climb inside USS Lionfish, as she's one of the few remaining WWII Balao-class subs and escaped the fate of sinking, scrapping or target practice. Her nearly identical production history to Escolar was my primary interest. The one realization I left with was that submarines of that era were not boats that willingly ferried a crew, but machines that merely tolerated humans only because they needed them to survive. Unfortunately, as was the case with USS Escolar and many others, that survival still wasn't possible.
 
Plan on making a day of it at Battleship Cove. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and I honestly got the impression that working there is more than only a job; to them it's not just iron and steel. One very convenient feature are the walking planks between vessels; visitors can explore effortlessly between them. The main decks of the battleship and destroyer, both PT boats, and all pierside aircraft exhibits and rest rooms are handicap-accessible. Due to their design and construction, interiors of the ships and boats are not. Last, but not least...parking is free!







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.

Synchronicity: Whispers Through the Screams

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (161)
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Wow! Four Months of Blogs Already!
 
Welcome to the February 2012 edition of The Booo! Blog. The response to the January edition has been overwhelming, and I thank everyone for their comments and email. Many have asked about the location and fate of USS Escolar, but neither is known for certain. Her general location is believed to be known or, at the very least, it's an educated guess. As for the fate of the boat (submarines are usually referred to as boats, not ships) and her crew, the best explanation is that she probably hit a stationary or floating mine. While many submarines were lost in WWII, many with all hands, only Escolar and a few others remain a mystery.
 
I am currently in the process of digging deeper into the tale of Escolar but, as have others in the past, will probably hit a brick wall; a point where no further information is available. As technology advances and individuals in the private sector have searched, more wrecks have been located. And Escolar can be located; it just takes the will and the resources. Several have the former, but few the latter. With today's technology, I find it unconscionable that the government has not made more of an effort to locate Escolar and others. As time moves on and the modern world goes about its business above, we still have men and machines from a bygone era, all but forgotten and silently waiting on the ocean floor below. These crews gave their lives, and deserve better than "maybe", "possibly" and "could have..."
 
Synchronicity: Whispers Through the Screams
 
I love this definition I found floating on Google. It eschews all the hoity-toity Jungian psychology and gets to the point, although the term itself was coined by Carl Jung in the 1920s:
 
syn·chro·nic·i·ty: the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
 
You may be thinking, "What does synchronicity have to do with the paranormal?" The answer: probably much more than is believed. Skeptics believe synchronicity is nothing more than coincidence. Most psychologists disagree with Jung and believe it to be confirmation bias, a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions and avoids information and interpretations that contradict prior beliefs*. In that sense, it is somewhat akin to apophenia, a term you will hear thrown around quite a bit in the paranormal community. The average person on the street doesn't know what it is, but realizes there's much more to it than either can sufficiently explain. Most of us have had related events happen inexplicably, some of us repeatedly. The latter is what interests me; is someone trying to tell us something? To guide or gently push us in one direction as opposed to the other?
 
Jung's explanation would sound more natural coming from a New Age guru or theoretical physicist than a psychologist, involving terms such as "indestructible energy" and "space/time continuum", among others. The term "paranormal" is never used, but he really was on the fringe with this, and probably very ahead of his time. Many paranormal investigators are beginning to believe the answer to much of legitimate paranormal activity will be found in theoretical/quantum physics. I mentioned this on my site, but it bears repeating: there is nothing abnormal about the paranormal, we just don't yet understand it.
 
My interest in synchronicity started in earnest with my interest in USS Escolar. I found that whenever I actively worked on research, synchronous events would occur. As would anyone else, I first shrugged them off and did chalk it up to coincidence. However, they soon became too pronounced to ignore. The last (but not the most obvious) was very recently, while working on the January 2012 edition of The Booo! Blog. I hadn't thought of Escolar in any great detail in quite a while. The day after I wrote the blog and before it was published, I received an email from the brother of one of crew members, a very nice and knowledgeable gentleman I hadn't heard from in several years. Alone, I would have brushed it off to coincidence, although I wish I'd have such luck with odds when playing Mega Millions or Powerball! In their cumulative entirety? Is it coincidence or confirmation bias? No. That's why I've pursued the trail of Escolar, and will continue to do so until I slam headfirst into that brick wall.
 
So, what's going on? Most of the time, any attempt to analyze the phenomenon will only result in frustration and headaches, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. For most of us, day-to-day life is so crazy and we're preoccupied with whatever daily crisis is happening at that moment. Crying kids, shouting bosses, thumping bass from the car next to you at the traffic light, calls from the cable company with a friendly reminder that last month's payment was never received (oblivious to the reality that food is more important than the Food Network) and blaring TV commercials asking us to ponder what we want from our toilet paper all compete for our attention. Stop! Someone is trying to tell you something. Just as a local radio station can overpower a distant one, such is the case with faint messages and guidance from the other side. Can you still hear that distant station? Yes. You just have to listen for whispers through the screams.

 




*Definition provided by Wikipedia


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)

Posted on January 4, 2012 at 4:07 PM Comments comments (87)
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,www.AnthonyDuda.com

            
             


















 
  

I would like to thank Mrs. Anne Harris and Mr. Ronald Norford. Without them, this blog would not have been possible.






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.

How To Photograph Ghosts

Posted on December 13, 2011 at 1:54 AM Comments comments (64)
How to Photograph Ghosts,Ghost Photography 101,Haunted,Paranormal,New England Paranormal Investigators,Boston,Full Spectrum,Infrared,AnthonyDuda,www.AnthonyDuda.com
 
 
 









Two Blogs This Month?
 
Yes, I said this was going to be a monthly blog, but since it's my blog, I reserve the right to occasionally break the rules. So...get over it :-) Just like bad Hollywood marriages and even worse Hollywood movies, some things deserve a sequel, so welcome to the December 2011 edition of The Booo! Blog, Part Two!
 
Smile, and Say "Cheese"!
 
Without a doubt, the most frequent question I receive is, "How can I photograph ghosts?", naturally followed by questions about camera type, best time of day, use of flash or external light source and questions concerning the ultraviolet and infrared spectra. As there is so much more to this than one might think, please allow me to take the easier (and lazy!) route and attack them from the 'ghosts really do exist' angle and assumption. Let's tackle them in no particular order...
 
What's the Best Type of Camera to Photograph Ghosts?
 
The best camera is always the one you have with you! While theories abound as to what ghosts are and the best methods to capture their image, the truth is that it's a complete mystery.
 
Digital Cameras
 
Almost everyone has gone digital, and for very good reason: no film or processing costs, ease of sharing/emailing, instant gratification as results can be seen immediately, hundreds or thousands of shots can be taken and stored on one small memory card, and ease of editing on any computer (or even in the camera itself). All are, without a doubt, a huge advantage in convenience over analog (film) photography, but the last is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to your quest for proof of the paranormal. Sure, you'll be able to proudly send your shots with ease to all the paranormal websites, but the fact is that digital data is easily manipulated. Whether it's that elusive ghost in your town's oldest cemetery, the UFO that's buzzing over your neighbor's house, or the lake monster that you're convinced has taken up residence in your city's municipal reservoir (and doing its business in your drinking water...eeeeew!) your photographic 'proof' will forever be suspect if captured digitally. While a single photograph, regardless of medium, will never and should never be accepted as definitive proof of the paranormal, your digital shot will always send skeptics, debunkers and naysayers in to a fit of denial. Why? Because they'll ask one question consisting of three simple words: "Where's the negative?"
 
"Film? They Still Make That Stuff?"
 
Yes, film is still being manufactured, albeit more of a niche professional product than a mainstream consumer item. And, guess what? With all types of negative (a.k.a. "print") film you'll get one thing that your digital camera and printer will never spit out or cough up: a film negative! Positive (a.k.a. "slide") film will produce a film slide, which is just as good as a negative, only it's a 'positive' rendition of the scene as opposed to a negative. Ughhh...is your head spinning yet? Well, to make it easy, just remember that any type of film that requires processing will produce either a negative or a positive color slide, just like what Grandpa used to send out and pick up at the drug store or camera shop back in the day. Why does an image caught on film make for a more convincing pro-paranormal argument? Because the physical film negative or slide is much more difficult to manipulate and alter, and can easily be detected by independent experts and the film's manufacturer. Of course, all bets are off if the actual scene itself was fabricated; film would probably have no advantages over digital capture in such a scenario. The same would also be true if the film negative or slide was digitally scanned, then altered in Photoshop or another program. However, when push comes to shove and the name calling and accusations start to fly, the film photographer will always have the advantage in that he/she will have the original negative or slide to fall back on. The digital photographer? Well, good luck with that.
 
There are a few very good film emulsions still in production for paranormal use. No, that's not their intended and stated purpose according to their manufacturers, but "good" in the sense that they tend to record a wider light spectrum than can be seen by the human eye. As we don't know at what wavelength of light ghosts reside, it's always a good idea to cast as wide a net as possible. Kodak Professional T-Max 100 and 400 black and white negative films pierce the UV-A spectrum down to about 360nm or so. Rollei Aviphot (Superpan) 200 and 400 black and white negative films made by Agfa in Germany, reach up to 820nm in the near-infrared range. Ilford SFX200, also a black and white negative film, has "extended red" sensitivity, and goes just beyond normal human vision to 740nm. All of these films also record the visible spectrum, which is approximately 400-700nm for most humans, and can be used with various filters to selectively block or allow individual spectra. And while we're on the subject of film, don't think your garden variety drug store film can't be used. Those, of course, record visible light, which may be all that's necessary to snap that once-in-a-lifetime (yours, not hers) shot of Aunt Wanda sitting in her favorite recliner with a scotch and soda in one hand and a filterless Camel dangling from the other...charming, and just how you always remembered her. Remember to use a relatively 'fast' film; ISO 400 or 800 is what I recommend, unless you can use a support such as a tripod. Avoid using the camera's flash (I'll talk more about that in a minute). One thing to keep in mind: long before everyone on the Internet (including yours truly) was talking about fancy schmancy, expensive "ghost" cameras capable of amazing feats, photographers were recording supposedly paranormal images with their Kodak Brownie box cameras and $20.00 Kodak Instamatics. Yep, the best camera really is the one you happen to have with you!
 
Does the Brand of Digital Camera Make a Difference?
 
All digital camera manufacturers try, as closely as possible, to have their products track the spectral sensitivity of the human visual system, and all do an admirable job. If that were not the case, your photos would have weird coloration and would not look like the scene as you, with your human eyes and brain, remember it. The problem is that most digital sensors can 'see' a much wider spectra than humans, digging deep in to infrared and somewhat piercing UV. The camera manufacturers solution? Filtration, and lots of it. The trick to avoiding photos with red, pink and blue hues is to filter out most IR and UV before the light rays hit the sensor. While most manufacturers now have it mastered, some of their older models did a good, but not great, job of it. For example, some models that used a previous generation Sony sensor particularly adept at recording IR information and using less-aggressive filtration could be used for infrared photography, even without modification. The Pentax K100D Super is such a camera. Others, such as the Fujifilm FinePix E550, using the offbeat (but excellent) proprietary sensors and filtration that Fuji is known for, did only a fair job of filtering UV and IR.
 
Why does this matter? Because if you're in the market for a new digital camera to use exclusively for ghost hunting, you may be better off with a used, older model. If you're in the 'ghosts are visible within the normal range of human vision' camp, any camera, new or used, should serve you well. On the other hand, if you believe that ghosts have only been photographed because of some of the quirks and filter/sensor combinations that allow the UV/IR spectra to shine on through, do an Internet search and find some older models that others have had success with. Some sites devoted to UV and IR photography have excellent, albeit dated, recommendations.
 
Just a (sort of) quick note concerning Canon DSLR cameras, both new and older models, and why they may not be the best choice to catch a shot of Honest Abe if, by chance, Barack and Michelle invite you to spend a night in the Lincoln Bedroom:
 
Decades before electronics companies such as Sony and Panasonic jumped in to the digital camera arena, Canon was a traditional camera and lens manufacturer. Canon, along with Nikon, have long produced the lion's share of gear professional photographers rely on. However, unlike Nikon, Canon saw the future of photography and, in the 1960s, began to develop in-house electronics capability and expertise that helped it immensely in subsequent decades; first with electronically controlled film cameras and all the way to the digital marvels we have today. With its professional backbone and capabilities, almost every part on a Canon camera, from proprietary digital sensors and filtration to the buttons that control the beasts, are made by Canon. In contrast, the sensors used by Nikon in their cameras are made by Sony. Yes, some other manufacturers do have that in-house capability, such as Sony and Panasonic, but not the commitment to the professional market or traditional background. For those reasons, Canon products are consistently among the best in image quality, with their proprietary components delivering the exacting results professional photographers expect. And that, my friends, is where the problem may lie in their paranormal use.
 
"Exacting results" and images as true as possible with digital sensors requires aggressive filtration, and Canon has it down to a science. It's the reason images from their unmodified DSLRs have very little IR or UV contamination and, therefore, the reason you may not notice Abe stopping by to say "Hi" if you're sleeping in his bed. To be sure, the lines between camera manufacturers are blurring in this regard, and are not nearly as prominent as they were only a few years ago. All are quickly approaching a level playing field, but it still may be a factor you want to consider. As with any major purchase, do your research.
 
"Full Spectrum" Cameras
 
I wrote about these in some detail on my website, so I won't go in to too much here. There are brand differences, and I can only recommend those made or modified by Moditronic and Spectercam. Suffice it to say, these are the 'must have' item in the paranormal field at the moment, and I've caught some very cool images with them. The UV-A portion of a full spectrum camera's range is the most difficult to capture, and is easily blocked by lens coatings, multiple lens elements, and even air itself. The visible light and infrared spectra can completely overpower the ultraviolet so, for all these reasons, special care, balance and expertise are required in creating a competent and capable full spectrum camera. However, there's still no scientific proof of their superiority in capturing the paranormal. My thoughts? If you've got 'em, use 'em. Planning on purchasing one? Go with one of the two brands I've mentioned. Can't afford one? Don't let that stop you from searching for spooks! Use whatever you have; you may be very surprised at what you're able to capture. When it comes to equipment to photograph ghosts, often the old adage "less is more" rings very true. Why? Read on...

Ghosts on the Cheap!

The visible and near infrared spectra are easily captured by full spectrum cameras. However, as stated above, near ultraviolet is much more difficult. In short, the more you put between the UV-A wavelength and the object attempting to record it, the less UV-A gets through. It is important to keep in mind that what is transparent in visible light and to human vision, such as clear glass, is much less so in the ultraviolet wavelengths. The more glass in the form of camera lens elements you pile on between the UV-A light waves and the camera's digital sensor or film plane, the more those waves are blocked. Add to that the anti-reflective multi-coatings used on virtually all modern camera lenses, and that advertised zoom lens "full spectrum" ghost hunting camera you bought on Ebay is simply a "visible light/near infrared" camera. Yes, the camera's digital sensor may be capable of recording the UV-A spectrum, but the multi-element, multi-coated lens attached to the camera is completely blocking it from reaching that sensor. Those modifying and selling these cameras don't tell the buyer that very important fact or, worse, don't even know it.

And, yes, that's why less really is more when trying to catch a glimpse of a ghost on digital or film. A cheap, simple camera with an uncoated lens with the fewest elements is the way to go. If you want to buy a fixed lens (a lens that cannot be removed) full spectrum digital camera, look for one that has the most basic lens available. When buying an SLR film camera, digital SLR or digital mirrorless camera with removable lenses, always use an uncoated, basic lens for ghost photography, and that's when Ebay does come in handy! Starting in the mid-1940s, most lens manufacturers started to use a single-coating on their lenses to reduce glare and reflection, resulting in increased contrast and image quality. Later, in the 1950s and 60s as their technology improved, they advanced to multi-coatings for an even more dramatic improvement. Unfortunately, by design, as lenses became more complicated and lens coatings more effective, less of the UV-A spectrum could penetrate. The result, if we are to believe that ghosts are visible in that spectrum, was less spectral photobombing. Skeptics and debunkers love to use the "If ghosts a real, why aren't we seeing more ghost photos if nearly everyone has a cellphone camera with them?" argument. Well, the reason above, and manufacturers purposely filtering out UV-A, could very possibly be the answer. Now, let's get back to that online auction...

You will find the largest selection of old, uncoated lenses and cameras with simple, uncoated lenses on Ebay. For lenses to use on your digital SLR, search for some 1930s and 40s models, even into the early 1950s. Read the seller's description of the item carefully. If you are still unsure, Google the name of the camera or lens and do some online research. The optics of an uncoated lens should be completely without a color tint, just clear glass. Although it may be difficult to tell in the seller's photos, in your hand, single-coated lenses will have a slight monochromatic tint, usually yellow or blue when held up to the light. Multi-coated optics will usually exhibit multiple colors when doing the same. You will not find an old lens with the same mount as your digital SLR, but conversion adapters for most mounts can also be found on the cheap on Ebay. Keep in mind that you will not have all the exposure modes your camera offers available when mounting an old lens with an adapter, and you will have to manually focus, but it is doable and the possible results certainly worth it. And that leads us to... 

Ghosts on the Cheap, Part Two!

Here's an example of a film-based still ghost camera setup that will equal or better any modified digital "full spectrum" ghost camera you'll find on Ebay, and you can have it for under 20 bucks. Yup, that's right...$20.00.

Start with a very basic 35mm, fixed-focus point-and-shoot camera that has an electronic flash, such as the Vivitar PS33. Remember, as I mentioned above, the golden rule to capturing images in the UV-A spectrum is putting the least amount of uncoated glass between the ghost and the film, and the PS33 and several similar cameras meet that requirement. The PS33 has only two lens elements, and both are uncoated. That's about as simple as you are going to find with the exception of a pinhole camera (a camera which has no lens). However, pinhole cameras are impractical for ghost photography due to their fuzzy image quality and the long exposure times needed. I bought my Vivitar PS33 camera new on Ebay for the astronomical sum of $1.49. Now we add the magic...

Buy a roll or two of 36-exposure Rollei/Agfa Aviphot Infrared 400 or Kodak T-Max 400 film. These are black and white negative films with sensitivity in the UV-A, Visible (white light) and Near IR spectra. Their 400 ISO speed is also a perfect match for basic electronic flash cameras such as the Vivitar PS33. Neither film requires special handling. While it will equal the Near IR and visible light capability of most expensive modified digital "full spectrum" cameras, this inexpensive camera/film combination will literally blow them away in its ability to capture UV-A. While you may not get the instant gratification of immediately seeing the image on the LCD screen of your digital wonder, keep in mind that you will likely have a better chance of capturing a ghostly image with this cheap camera/film set-up than with your high-priced, dedicated digital ghost camera. You will become more judicious, learn to rely on your intuition and take images that count, not just shoot with the shotgun approach and hope for the best, as most ghost hunters do with digital. Remember, paranormal investigators back in the day were capturing ghostly images, and arguably higher-quality ghostly images, long before digital came along.

Ahhh...but what about developing the film? Isn't it expensive? It's difficult, right? No and no! You can easily process black and white negative film in your bathroom. In fact, you can even develop it in coffee and Vitamin C (how cool is that?!). Google the subject; there's a wealth of information online. Buy a super-cheap 35mm negative scanner (Ebay or Amazon) and download the images to your computer. If you still don't want to attempt processing the film yourself, you can send it to a lab, such as my friends at The Darkroom in San Clemente, California. They're fast, cheap, do awesome work, and will send you postage-paid envelopes to mail your film. And yes, you can request high-resolution scans of your film to CD instead of prints to satisfy your digital cravings. The best part? When the naysayers and debunkers who masquerade as healthy skeptics try to convince you that you didn't see what you know you saw dosmugly ask, "Where's the negative?", you can confidently reply, "Here it is, Mr. Randi" (or Mr. Nickell, or Mr. Shermer...or any of the countless debunkers masquerading as healthy skeptics in the media). The even better than best part? You've done it all on the cheap!

Ghosts on the Cheap, Part Three!

If you still insist on the instant gratification rush of digital capture, it may cost you just a bit more than taking the film route, but not by much. Let's go back to Ebay...

If you're not particularly handy with a screwdriver, search "Full Spectrum Digital Cameras" on the site. You'll find a lot of offerings but, again, remember the golden rule about what you put between the capture device of the camera; in the case of digital, the imaging sensor instead of film as in the example above. The same rule applies regardless of if the camera is analog (film) or digital. You may be tempted to spring for the more expensive modified cameras with well-known names, such as Canon, Sony, etc., and these are fine cameras to capture the visible (white light) and Near IR spectra. However, because of their more complex lenses (because the lens has more elements) and multi-coating, you'll be missing out on most, if not all, of the UV-A spectrum. Again, technically the modification will allow the camera's digital sensor to record UV-A, but the lens and coatings in these more expensive and sophisticated models will block the UV-A information before it ever reaches that sensor. The solution? Our favorite word: CHEAP!

Look for low-end models such as DXG and others. Many paranormal groups sell the modified, full spectrum versions of these cameras on Ebay to raise money for their investigations. They have less-complex lenses (fewer lens elements), are usually uncoated, and therefore allow more of the UV-A spectrum to pass through to the camera's digital sensor. This really is an example of "less is more"; you'll have a device more capable of capturing the advertised "full spectrum", and it will be a win/win scenario...for you and your wallet. But wait, you say you want cheaper still? Keep reading...

If you are handy with a screwdriver (and you'll probably need a set of 'jeweler' screwdrivers available at Home Depot, Lowe's, or any hardware store for about five bucks), you can modify a digital camera yourself. Go to a place like Wal-Mart or K-Mart and get one of those cheap digital still or video cameras, you know, the ones for sale on the rack in blister packs, usually for under $20,00. I strongly urge you not to attempt to modify an expensive camera that you may already own; the cheap camera will better suit your purpose, will be more capable of full spectrum photography once modified (the lens again), and won't break the bank if you screw-up the modification. The Internet abounds with 'how to' instructions and, even if you can't find the exact model they are modifying online, remember that most of these cheap digital cameras are very much alike, many coming from the same factories, so you'll be okay. Save the bucks and good luck!

Flash and External Light Sources
 
There's no inherent problem in using the flash on your camera or an external light source on an investigation; the problem is with the thought process of many paranormal investigators and amateur ghost hunters in their use. They may be the most misused and overused tool in the paranormal equipment arsenal. Instead of thinking outside the box and attempting to come up with something truly unique and innovative, most equipment manufacturers continue to crank out 'me too' camera/video lights almost as frequently as they produce yet another model of 'me too' EMF meter. Everybody and their brother is offering some type of "full spectrum", ultraviolet or infrared lighting on eBay or for sale through their group's site for use with still or video cameras. That's all fine and dandy if you want to photograph a room in those spectra, and can be helpful if, for example, you want to keep a camera trained on a trigger object to see if it moves, without the glaring distraction of bright, visible lights. Unfortunately, that's not how most are used.
 
There are really only two ways that we're aware of how images appear on film or a digital sensor: via reflective light or via luminescence. Reflective light is how we are able to see most of our world; a light source that produces rays in our visible range (approx. 400-700nm) that reflect or 'bounce' off an object and are perceived and processed by our visual system. Film and digital sensors, while more crude in their sophistication, work in a fairly similar fashion to our visual system in that light from an object is reflected on to them to form an image, just as it is on the retina in the backs of our eyes. Luminescence is the emission of light from an object itself, a form of cold radiation, and does not involve or need a reflective light source. A good example would be a dayglo wall poster from 1960s, the type excited by black lights (Yeah, even with everything you were smoking back then, you remember those!). Cold luminescence is very different from thermal energy, which standard photographic films, digital sensors and even our visual system cannot see. Yes, all can see fire or the red glow of a hot burner element on a stove, but that's not thermal energy itself, it's the visual result of thermal energy. Thermal imaging cameras are sometimes used in paranormal investigation, but despite being touted and featured on some ghost hunting television programs, they're of dubious value. I have one, but after several months, realized the technology offers little with regard to paranormal investigation. It is among the many pieces of equipment that I've put 'out to pasture' and have retired from investigations.
 
While the debate rages as to what ghosts actually are, most agree they do not seem to consist of solid matter. A more likely and probable scenario is that we are dealing with something akin to a projected image or something with luminescent properties. They could be 'visible' in any or all spectra; ultraviolet, visible and/or infrared. Why, then, would we want to blast them with high-intensity light in those spectra in an attempt to capture their image on an analog or digital medium? Is the projected image on a screen in a movie theater easier to see with the lights on? No, of course not; image quality and contrast suffer greatly. Would you want to snap a photo of a candle flame bathed in the intense brightness of a searchlight? No, because the flame would be completely washed-out and invisible under such conditions. Should you blast a non-physical being with UV-A light in hopes of making it visible, in similar fashion to that '60s wall poster? No, because the key term here is "non-physical", which is very unlike that poster. If ghosts are visible in the ultraviolet spectrum, use of any light source would be counterproductive, as their image would be overpowered. Yet, many in the paranormal field still insist on 'lighting up', using every type of light source imaginable, and happily snapping away. That makes absolutely no sense unless we're dealing with solid, physical matter that can reflect light, and everything we do know through anecdotal reports and observation leads us to believe that's not the case. It really comes down to an issue of independent thought; thinking things through to their logical conclusion, applying as much scientific theory and probability as can be applied to paranormal investigation in context of the limited information we have on the subject and, most importantly, not becoming a flock of sheep and doing something just because everyone else is or because it's how the clowns on cable say it should be done.
 
So, what's the best lighting technique to photograph our spooky friends? Whether digital or film and regardless of conditions, use a tripod, avoid the use of flash, and never use an external light source (normal indoor room light is okay as long as it's not too bright) unless you are not attempting to photograph the actual spirit, but only the movement of a physical object, such as a trigger prop. For more information on ghost photography, see the Ghost Hunting Myths and Ghost Hunting Questions pages of my website.
 
Is There a Time of Day/Night That's Better for Capturing Ghostly Images?
 
No, but it's always best to be there at the time most ghostly activity is reported to occur. Obviously, daylight photography is easier to accomplish, has less variables and is less suspect in the eyes of skeptics, but follow the suggestions in the paragraph above for night or indoor activity. And no, it really isn't like TV would have you believe; ghosts seem to be just as active during the day.

Rain? Snow? Fog? Stay Home and Watch a Scary Movie Instead.

You know those spooky-but-ubiquitous nighttime cemetery orb photos that are posted on just about every paranormal website? How about those creepy-but-ubiquitous nighttime graveyard 'ectoplasmic mist' shots? They say "a picture is worth a thousand words", although that idiom no longer holds much truth in the age of digital manipulation and Photoshop. And it has never been true of outdoor shots featuring floating spheres and misty goo. Unless, of course, you're talking about the weather.

Most 'ectoplasm' and 'orbs' are nothing more than the intense light of the camera's flash reflecting off something very normal, not paranormal, in the atmosphere. The combination of rain or snow, darkness and flash photography is certain to conjure orbs every time. Cold temperatures, your breath and a camera's flash will conspire to summon ectoplasm, seemingly out of thin air. As for the latter, I'll give you a reason to quit that even the American Cancer Society fails to mention: cigarette smoke will do the same, regardless of outside temperature. What's that you say? You still refuse to quit? My only reply to that is, as a paranormal investigator, you should have a unique perspective on one absolute truth: it is much better to be above the ground than below it.
 
Location, Location, Location?
 
I've often wondered why ghosts would want to hang-out in a cemetery; wouldn't they rather visit a location connected with happier times in their lives? Chilling and spending time with living friends and family seems as though it would be much more appealing. Well, many are spectral couch potatoes and prefer home sweet home over grass and granite. Still, many interesting 'ghost in the cemetery' photos exist, even after discounting the ridiculous orb and mist shots offered as 'proof' on the sites of some New England paranormal investigators and weekend ghost hunting groups. How, then, are we to explain this ghost/cemetery connection?
 
If you've read the Ghosts and Hauntings page of my site, you already know that I believe ghosts have free will and, just like the living, can make their own choices. Time and distance are meaningless concepts 'over there', so they can be wherever, whenever. They also seem to be drawn and respond to the emotions and thoughts of those they were close to in this life. That seems to be the motivation behind the use of prayer in so many religions, as it is believed the prayers can be 'heard' by those who have passed. If that is the case, ghostly manifestations in cemeteries actually start to make sense. Where was the last large gathering of friends, relatives and loved ones all concentrating on the departed? Very likely, it would have been the funeral and subsequent burial in the cemetery. When someone is visiting a cemetery, where are their thoughts? Probably with the departed and, if someone does take the time to visit, they almost certainly had some type of emotional connection to that person. No, I don't believe ghosts are squatters and join some type of "Occupy the Cemetery" movement, but they can and do visit, and the catalyst is not the dead, but the living. Ghosts are sometimes photographed at family events such as parties, reunions and weddings, and the combined energy and thoughts of family members, just like in the cemetery, could very well be the reason. While I don't believe a ghost is around every corner, they can be anywhere, and location may not be as important as the person(s) at the location.

Dead Wedding Crashers

Ghost photography is, for the most part, of the candid variety.Think of yourself as a spectral Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French master of candid street photography. He happily snapped away, catching fleeting glimpses of people going about their business, often without them being aware they were being photographed. Sure, he captured the living and you want to capture the dead, but let's not sweat the minor details...the idea and technique are the same. While many praise Cartier-Bresson for his sharp eye for composition, I tend to think the magic was in the numbers. I certainly do not doubt his skill, but the simple fact is that if you take enough shots of a subject, odds are a few will be 'keepers'. I often wonder about the shots that never made it to the pages of the countless books dedicated to his work; I'm sure they far outnumber the ones that did. However, opinions such as mine amount to heresy in the world of artsy-fartsy photography. But then, I also dislike French cinema and am annoyed by National Public Radio fundraising week, so I apparently lack the 'artsy-fartsy' gene...

What we can learn and adapt from Mr. Cartier-Bresson, however, is the value of the shotgun approach to candid photography and, specific to our purposes, candid ghost photography. In my experience, dead people are camera shy and truly hate to strike a pose. The exception to that pearl of wisdom is during group photos, such as weddings, family reunions and the like, where they will sometimes photobomb the shot to be part of the group. That leaves us no choice but to try to photograph them unaware and caught in the act, taking lots of shots in succession and hoping for that keeper.

The goal of ghost photography is to document, not to take pretty pictures. You may have to retrain your eyes and mind to be less conscious of composition and more aware of what is going on around you. Get a weird vibe from a room? Start hitting the shutter release button. A particular area of a location giving you the heebie-jeebies? Start snapping in that direction. Metaphorically, put away the rifle and use the shotgun.

WWKD?: What Would Kanye Do?

So you've taken some pictures, now what? Get ready to play haunted hide and seek. Spend some time, somewhere without distraction, and closely examine your shots. Even if using film, it is a good idea to get high-resolution digital scans of your negatives at the time of processing to view them on your computer monitor. That way, if you do think you see something unusual, you can zoom in on it to get a closer look, and a high-res scan will make that possible to do with reasonable clarity.

Unless obnoxiously egotistical in life, a ghost will usually not appear front and center in a frame. Of course, the ghosts of Donald Trump and Kanye West would but, yes, they're still with us. However, as mentioned above, the vast majority of ghosts seem to want to avoid the limelight. Whether that is an unwritten code of conduct rule in the spirit world, I haven't a clue, but it is what it is. Make sure that you examine all areas of the frame. For example, if you have shots in a cemetery surrounded by woods, check not only the main part of the shot, but the margins of the tree line.Taking outdoor shots of a purported haunted house or other structure? Check even the smallest details in the windows. And don't be surprised if you see that someone, or something, was watching you. Boo!

Final Thoughts
 
I hope you've found this information helpful, and please feel free to shoot me an email with anything you've captured. Now...grab a camera and get to work!


 




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 Paranormal Community: Extending an Olive Branch (of sorts)

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (98)
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, Vermont Paranormal Investigators, Connecticut Paranormal Investigators - Rhode Island Paranormal Investigators, One Step Beyond - Alcoa Presents One Step Beyond - John Newland











I Didn't Know There Were That Many Curse Words...

Welcome to my second installment of The Booo! Blog. I'm glad you're here!
 
When I created my website, I knew it would very likely cause a small commotion in the New England paranormal community. Based on my years of experience and observation in the paranormal field, I wanted it to be informative, helpful and brutally honest, and with that honesty sometimes comes controversy. While the response from the general public has been overwhelmingly positive, what I was not expecting was the sheer volume of vitriol and venom on the part of some paranormal investigators and ghost hunting groups, not only in New England, but across the country. The public has access to the Guest Book section of my site, and a few of the negative comments are printed there. With limited exceptions (use of profanity, personal attacks on others, naming individual investigators or groups) I have made it a policy to print the positive and the negative. I do not have the capability to edit posts but do manually approve them, so if yours violated one of my few rules and did not appear, please accept my apologies. However, the vast majority of nastiness has been sent via private email and that, of course, will never be reprinted on my website without the consent of the sender, as it would be a violation of their privacy.
 
I mentioned this a few times on my site, but the message and sentiment may have become a bit overshadowed, so it bears repeating: There are some very reputable and well-established paranormal investigators and groups in New England. That being said, as in any field, there are those that (for lack of a more accurate descriptive term) really do suck at this. A sizable portion of my website is devoted to helping you, the reader, recognize the difference, hopefully choose the former and, at all costs, avoid the latter. My concern is for those who may be experiencing a paranormal problem and, yes, even for the 'ghosts' involved. If you happen to find yourself smack in the middle of a genuine, honest-to-goodness haunting and believe your uninvited guest(s) were once living, breathing, compassionate beings, it should be the concern of your chosen investigator or group as well. Needless to say, the 'I learned everything I need to know from TV' sledgehammer approach favored by many weekend ghost hunters is far from the nuanced, knowledgeable and experienced attempt at a solution that you and your resident spook require and deserve.
 
While remaining independent of any paranormal group or organization has afforded me a huge advantage in the unique way I can approach and tailor an investigation to a client's individual needs, some who have read my site may find it surprising that I have never declined a request to assist other individuals and groups in this field. Yes, I am opinionated. Yes, I am brutally honest. However, I am not (as some email has suggested) an "a**hole". Actually, that was one of the milder accusations; I had to Google a few of their 'colorful' word choices just to understand what some New England paranormal investigators and groups thought of my website :-) Regardless, I have happily supplied advice, expertise and equipment on numerous occasions, especially when consulted for more difficult cases, and will continue to do so. Please never hesitate to contact me if the need arises...I don't bite.
 
So, there you have it, and that'll do it for this month's edition. Have a happy and safe holiday season, and we'll talk again in 2012!


 




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: A Brand New Blog!

Posted on November 1, 2011 at 4:29 PM Comments comments (441)
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












Time to Relax a Bit
 
Whew! The rush is over! October has always been the busiest month for anyone in the paranormal field. It's been my intention to add a monthly blog to my website, but this is the first chance I've had to do so. I'll use the opportunity to give a quick update of what has been happening since the site went 'live' almost two months ago.
 
Apparently, the arrival of my site has ruffled a lot of feathers, struck a few nerves and bruised some egos in the paranormal community, not only in New England, but the entire country. I must say that it took me a bit by surprise, as I honestly intended and wrote the site for the New England area. I guess that just shows the power and reach of the Internet. While the vast majority of comments have been overwhelmingly positive, those negative have been particularly vicious. I've made it a policy to make all comments (with some listed exceptions) posted to my guest book available. However, I will never make private email comments or inquiries public, as that would not be fair to the writer. As Martha Stewart would say, that's probably a "good thing", as the language used in some would put any demonic entity (if they actually existed, of course) to shame. To all of those who chose to leave positive comments, I thank you. To those choosing to leave negative nastiness, I thank you as well. Really, I do. I've enjoyed them immensely.
 
I'm also extremely surprised (and pleased!) how quickly my site has climbed the search engine rankings. Very little search engine optimization was done, primarily because I'm technologically challenged when it comes to that area. Yet, it continues to ascend, despite competition from some very well-established New England paranormal websites. While it will probably never be in the top three on Google because of the site's name and other factors, I feel proud in that I wrote it, not to please the search engines and rank highly in their results, but to say what I wanted to say and the way I wanted to say it (damn...that's a mouthful!) I can only assume people like you have found my site, liked it, and that traffic is somehow affecting how Google and the others rank it. I'd like to say 'thanks' to all of you.
 
I've received many inquiries concerning the music on my Images page, as well as some who were convinced that I must have done some type of Photoshop manipulation on the photos. Let me address these points in the order presented:
 
The song is Fear from the television series One Step Beyond (aka Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond) which aired on ABC from 1959 through 1961. It was an anthology series similar to The Twilight Zone, except the stories were exclusively paranormal in nature. The music was written, arranged and conducted by Harry Lubin, and performed by The Harry Lubin Orchestra. I have the original CD on Taragon Records, but it has recently been re-released by Red Bitch Music (yes, that's really the name) and available from Amazon.com on CD and MP3 download. Please note that, being a soundtrack from a series, not all the music has the same creepy vibe, but there are a few. It's definitely worth a listen, as there's nothing else like it being recorded today.
 
As for the images, no manipulation was done, except for some minor sharpening, lightening or contrast enhancement. The weird coloration on some is just the nature of how a particular camera records the UV and IR spectra. I could have converted all of them to black and white but, again, I wanted to do as little manipulation as possible. There are many more to come; I just need time to compile them from over the years, then upload them to the server.
 
Each monthly edition of this blog will tackle a single topic relevant to the paranormal. Some may not always like what I have to say, but if you've perused my site, you've undoubtably come to the realization that I'm not bothered by that fact ;-) I hope you will continue to check it out.
 
Thanks!


 
 



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.  

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