Saturday, April 07, 2012

A-Z Challenge G is for Ghost Hunters


Fabulous artist: Nathie (http://nathie.deviantart.com)


It's count-down to "Hewhay Hall" being published (20th April). I tried to make my blog all spooky in preparation but...um...I don't think I quite managed it, do you? LOL.
Never mind! I've got great friends who always help me out when I shout. And today I'd like you to meet a very special one: Marie Dees. She's also a published author (check here: http://mariedees.com/) as well as a talented and patient editor - she bravely put up with me when "Perfect Score" was being published.

Now, besides all her other hats, she's also part of a ghost hunting team. Ever wondered about those? Let's have a peek...




The Walking Unknown with filmmaker Nicole Novatan
Marie: I write paranormal fiction. I come by it naturally. I write what I know; it’s just that I know some unusual things. Let’s take ghosts. I spent a year researching for the mystery novels by working with a local ghost hunting group. This group worked a lot like the teams you see on TV that set up cameras and audio equipment and carry around EMF meters. In fact, I learned how to do just that. In fact, I’m going to be part of a documentary called The Walking Unknown done by a young filmmaker coming to terms with her own experiences with the paranormal.

The Walking Unknown with filmmaker Nicole Novatan
Ever wonder what it’s like to go out with a working ghost hunting team? Many teams have now started offering tours and experiences where you can investigate with them for a small fee, but with those, you often experience only part of an investigation. What you skip is the sweaty, freezing and often exhausting part.

First we’d arrive at the location to set up all the cameras and other equipment. Not a big task when investigating someone’s home, but we did 2 investigations in the Putnam Hotel in Deland. The seven-story hotel is currently closed for operation. The elevator doesn’t work and there is limited air-conditioning. We lugged all our equipment up to the fourth floor to set up base then ran cameras and wires through seven stories of building, sometimes threading them out of windows and over roofs. Here’s a picture of Pax with just one equipment box that he lugged up those stairs. In July. In Florida. With no air-conditioning.
Oh, after the investigation, we had to pack up all the equipment and carry everything back downstairs. This means we started about 5pm and finished at about 3am. Most of the guests on the investigation didn’t make it that long.

So, everything is set up and it’s time to investigate. This means going to a location, settling in with all the lights off and trying to have a conversation with your flashlight. I’ve seen people leap out of the chairs when the flashlight starts responding to the questions. It’s one of the cheapest and easiest pieces of ghost hunting equipment you can find. All you need is a simple Maglite flashlight. Set it so it’s just on the “off” side of off and put it down somewhere stable. Now, talk to it. It’s not easy to think of questions to ask a flashlight that’s standing in for a ghost. I discovered being a writer helped put me in the mindset of talking to a person and that often resulted in getting better answers to questions. Below is a picture of two of us having a conversation with nothing. An entire night where we didn’t pick up anything despite our best attempts. Sometimes it happens.


Talking to ghosts
The elevator staircase
Is it scary? Everyone wants to know that. I’ll tell you about the one time I was actually scared enough to move my team to another location in the Putnam. Nope, not because of a ghost. Remember ghost hunts often take place in abandoned buildings. I was leading a small team of three and we were investigating the service space above the elevator in the Putnam. We’d had good engagement with something in the attic below but weren’t doing well in the elevator space. But I let myself think about the fact that a tight abandoned space like that was a perfect spot for rats. And we were sitting in complete darkness. I stayed as long as I could and then asked the others if they wanted to change locations. Oh, yes. I think we all had the same thought. Ghosts I don’t mind, but I don’t want a close up encounter with a rat in tight, enclosed location. Here’s the stairway we scrambled up and down that night.




**** I agree, Marie, I think I'd be more scared of a rat. Thanks for joining us today.

Here's Marie's site: http://mariedees.com/. Check out her books!

28 comments:

  1. Hey, Susan, good to catch up with you again. Good to hear about your new book, best wishes with it.
    The ghost hunting sounds fascinating, the rats? I'm with everyone else on that one!
    Have a great Easter w.end.

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    1. Hi Sherry! Yes we lost touch for a while...

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  2. Scary. I don't believe you should with them.

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  3. Very entertaining read, Susan. But the problem is the imagination, especially in them dark. As an example, when I served in the Territorial Army, we did numerous night exercises on M.O.D property, most of it wooded. Well, it was my turn to do stag (watch) and it was roughly about 3am. I crouched in my fire trench and scanned the area ahead. We were told to expect an attack on our position. I suddenly became alert to an odd shape ahead of me. The more intently I stared at it, the more I was convinced I had spotted an enemy scout. I even looked about six feet to the left and right of the spot in order to use my peripheral vision (at night it is easier to look at something with peripheral vision and see more, than looking directly at it), and I swear I could see the shape moving.

    As it turned out I was staring at a tree stump. My mind, plus the dark, we're playing tricks on me. Thank God I didn't trip the alarm flares and open fire - what a muppet I would have looked!

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    1. Oh I agree, sometimes - especially in the dark - your imagination can run riot. Mind you, I loved your ghost stories (on your blog) sound great.

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  4. That's cool that Marie is part of a documentary on ghost hunting. Can't say that about many people.

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  5. Wow, those are great pix. And that graphic at the top is awesome. This sounds fun and I bet it stirs your creativity for writing.

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    1. Thank you Pk - the graphic's a mix of my books LOL. Exactly, Libby - you wouldn't catch me doing it!

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  6. Cool pics. I would defnitely be more worried about the rats!

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  7. Rats are far scarier than ghosts. Though the elevator staircase picture is pretty creepy. Could it be a scene in Hewhay Hall?

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    1. Oh Ute! You're right!!!! It ISSSSS!!! Well spotted.

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  8. All the best with your book!
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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  9. I'd definitely freak out more around a rat than a ghost . . . though the idea of running into a ghost is still a bit creepy!

    Interesting post.

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    1. Thanks Damyanti! Me too GE! (Mind you, I've never tested a ghost)

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  10. I wish you much luck with your book. I'm excited for you.

    Teresa

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  11. Yes, the rats would worry me far more than any ghosts!

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  12. Hi,
    It's me jumping in. I do have to point out that what most of the ghost hunters never understood was that I was there to study them more than the ghosts. In fiction, I'm free to make up all the ghosts I want, but if I get details about the equipment used in investigations wrong and I'll hear about it from someone.

    Marie

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    1. ahhh - that's dedicated research Marie - hats off to you!

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  13. Interesting post. They do ghost hunts at The Skirrid Inn up the road from us, which was once used as the local assize court. Apparently they hanged people in the stair well!

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    1. When you hear that a place has a gruesome past, you always think awful things still go on there, don't you?

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  14. so interesting---i have recently looked up and thought certain people that are still living, were sitting here or there and of course they were not--sort of like a flash---and the orb thing is all in my camera--even though i know most people explain that is flashing problems---i am a Christian, so i sometimes struggle with my fascination on the subject---but for sure, i believe there are lots of things going on right around us and we just are not tuned in enough to see them--enjoyed your post

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    1. I do believe you can be a Christian (I am!) and believe that there unexplained mysteries. Thank you for commenting!

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  15. Interesting job.

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  16. Loved it! Mind you, I'm not sure which I would have found more scary - the rats or that staircase. Have a great Easter, Sue. Counting down to Hewhay Hall....

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  17. Thank you Tonja and Cat :-)

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  18. I'd be fascinated to go on a ghost hunt but I doubt I'd have the nerve, even to provide research for a wip!

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    1. Yes indeed, Rosalind. You'd have to be really dedicated, wouldn't you?

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  19. Ghost hunts! YAY! :)

    I'm a new follower from the AtoZ Challenge. Nice to meet you!

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