Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ohio Kentucky Border

Spring break in New Orleans is packed. I had a group of three young women join my tour for their spring break this past month. They were college roommates and one of them had a spirit with her for her entire life, it followed her everywhere. Her mother insisted the spirit was that of the sibling that she had miscarried before having her daughter. It liked to whisper inaudibly to this young woman and sit beside her, weighing down the bed. Visitors would notice things, but she grew accustomed to it. When she went to college the spirit went with her and her roommates noticed. Late one night, sitting in the bedroom, her roommate challenged the spirit, “if you're real do something!” The coffee maker in the kitchen turned on and began to make coffee. Another time the same roommate came home and wanted to take a shower, but someone was already taking one. She waited a little while, noticing that one of her roommates was in the bedroom. A few moments later she noticed that the other one was in the kitchen. Wait, she thought, who is in the bathroom? The three roommates went together into the bathroom and it was empty, the water in the shower running. While in their hotel in New Orleans the third roommate had placed her cell phone flat on the bedside table and sat down on the bed, a moment later the phone flew off the table, landing on the floor in the middle of the hotel room.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Paranormal Runs in Families

Just like other skills, paranormal sensitivity sometimes runs in families. I had a family visiting from L.A. not long ago who had numerous experiences between them. The older sister, standing beside her husband, shared a story from when she was a toddler, 2-3 years old. She and her great-grandmother were very close. Shortly after she passed, she saw her great grandmother one night standing by her bed. She said "grandma, I'm thirsty," so they went to the kitchen. At 2-3 years old she could not reach anything in the kitchen, so her grandmother got her a blue cup from the cabinet, then she opened the refrigerator door and took out a bottle of soda. Her grandmother poured the soda into her cup, returned the bottle to the refrigerator and took her back to her room, placing the blue cup by her bed. Then her grandmother went into her parents room and kissed them, kissed her mother's belly, pregnant with her little brother, returned to her bedroom, kissed her and said good-bye, then dissipated out the window. When she told her parents what had happened, they did not believe her, until they saw the blue cup by her bed.

Her little brother, who'd received the kiss that night, grew up to be a Physical Therapist. He had a co-worker that he knew only in passing. One night her deceased father came to him in a dream and asked him to send a message, just a hello to comfort her and let her know he was okay and thinking of her. Well, her little brother didn't really feel comfortable relaying a message to his co-worker. They weren't especially close and there is no telling what sort of reaction you'll get. He put it off for a few days but finally decided to let her know. She was overwhelmed, the day he'd finally worked up the courage to tell her was the anniversary of her father's death and the birthday of her son. It was just the news that she needed on that day.

The old sister's husband had grown up on a house with a woman, a shadow of a woman that many visitors would see. The family was so accustomed to her presence they had no plans to get rid of her. Although her husband did feel lethargic in his bedroom. There was an inexplicable weight to the room that everyone felt upon entering it. When they were dating the older sister felt unwelcome by the spirit; it seemed the spirit was jealous of her. In time the older sister got fed up with the room, it was messy and she decided to clean it up. Clothing littered the room, so she hung everything up and put in the closet, closing the doors, tidying up the entire room. As soon as the it was clean, the weight in the room was gone. The whole family noticed. Shortly after she and her to be  husband were hanging out in the bedroom, they heard a pounding on the door. Familiar with earthquakes they were locked in place, waiting for the earth to shake. A moment later the closet doors flung open and all the clothing was thrown in to the room as if the closet could projectile vomit.

Years later they tore down the house and rebuilt another house in its place. They spirit didn't seem to be around anymore.

A shared ghost

A few months back two couples from La Grange, Illinois came on my tour. They'd moved away from the city at the same time, buying neighboring houses. Both had young children, often a magnet for paranormal activity. The women were both aware of something odd in their houses. On occasion one would be woken in the night by a small figure at the door. Half asleep and figuring it was her young son she told the figure to come to into the bed, instead it disappeared. The other woman said that her husband had been dismissing her reports of a ghost in the house since they moved in. Then one morning, very early when the entire house was asleep but him, her husband saw a tiny figure go from one child's bedroom to the other. He decided to check and found both children fast asleep in their separate rooms.

Museo de las Américas

Not long ago one of my tour guests had not only a great ghost story but also a great picture. She and some friends were visiting the Museo de las Américas in Puerto Rico. During their visit the courtyard was closed, but the guard was nice enough to let them in just to use the bathroom. The place was desolate.  While she and her friend were using the ladies room she suddenly felt cold and frightened. Her friend didn't understand what she was so upset about, feeling no coldness or fear herself. Still, my tour guest was intent to leave. On the way out they met back up with their husbands and her friend insisted on asking the guard to take their picture; she thought it was a beautiful place. It was not until everyone arrived home and my guest downloaded her photos that she noticed the mysterious woman in the back, by the head of the man on the right, standing just outside of the bathroom door. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Birmingham and Mobile

During ghost tours people always ask about my own experiences, but I generally restrict what I share to things that are directly connected to the tour itself and don't delve into personal stories. In part I don't concern myself with whether or not people leave the tour believing in ghosts, a tour should be fun for believers and nonbelievers alike. Still, I realize that belief or lack there of is really important to people, and there is nothing quite like your own personal experience. 

Over the summer a family from Birmingham took a ghost tour with me. The father had done work at an antebellum house in the city. When the crew first began their work, they had gone into the basement to look around and saw the remains of slave chains. As they walked through the space they heard rattling. It all sounds like a horror movie, and clearly the father wanted to separate this very real experience, and painful reminder of the past, from some campfire tall tale; I appreciated where he was coming from. While working on this antebellum house, they had to get used to the sound of chains in the basement. They also had to double check the house routinely. When they would leave at night they had to make sure their was no one in the house and then shut down all electricity to it. The first night they cleared the house, shut down the lights and began to walk away from the house. One of them turned and saw a light on the second floor, framing the shadow of a woman facing the street. How did that happen? One of them went into the house to tell her to leave and the other checked the electricity. A search through the house revealed it was in fact empty and the electricity was completely shut down.

On a separate occasion, visiting Mobile, the same family had visited an old house with a slave quarters. The father wanted to look at the slave quarters and as he stepped into the room a hand pressed against his solar plexus and shoved him back. He stood firm and after a moment he spoke to the spirit. He explained that slavery was over and that African Americans like himself and the spirit pushing him away, were free to go where they wanted and control their own destiny. He encourage the spirit to leave and see the world as the father saw it today.

A Dormitory Across from the Cemetery

I had two old college buddies take a quiet Garden District tour over the summer. They had gone to a small liberal arts college in Mississippi and their dormitory was across from a cemetery. While at school one of them  had tried out a Ouija board. She had even gone over to the cemetery across from their dormitory and called out to the spirits there, harassing them to show themselves. When she arrived back in their room a photo she had hanging from a thick decorative hook was laying on her bed. It seemed odd because the hook was still on the wall and it was pretty sturdy and deep, but she figured it was a fluke. She put it back and sat down at her desk. A shaking sound came from the wall. Looking over, she saw the picture slowly moving up the hook, coming off and falling onto her bed. She screamed and ran out into the hallway. Her buddy and a male friend came into the room to ask what she was fretting about. When she pointed to the picture the male friend laughed and put it back on the hook, insisting that she was imagining things. They started to go into the hall when the shaking sound began again. The three of them watched as the photo was lifted off the hook and fell to the bed.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

L.A. Security

There is never any telling what experiences lie behind old eyes. Not long ago I had an older woman and her daughter on my tour. She said that she'd worked security in Los Angles for many years, starting in the 1960s. In many of the buildings she worked alone, in isolated areas, at all hours. When she first started as a young woman she had an desk in the basement of an L.A. high rise. During her regular rounds there was one room that always blew cold air when she walked through. You would've thought it was the air conditioning, but when she turned that off she found the air was coming from the door frame itself. One night she felt a presence so strongly in the basement that she said "If there is something here close the door." A door in the basement slammed shut.

During another incidence she was walking through a hall with lots of other people around. She passed a man in a suit and narrow tie, just like every other business man in the 1960s. As they passed she smiled and said hello. Getting no response from him, she was perturbed, then she realized that the man didn't have an id on. As everyone was required to have an id and she was security, she turned around and attempted to follow him. She searched the building and could not find the man anywhere. Later she was chatting with one of the regulars and mentioned this strange encounter and the regular described the man before she could. Apparently this was a familiar sightings in the building.

In still another security assignment she found herself in a nursing facility adjacent to a hospital. The intention was that if any of the residents had a medical issue an ambulance would not have to be called, emergency personnel could simply walk over. It seemed like a great job. The first night when she arrived they sat her at the front desk and encouraged her to do whatever she wanted: watch TV, eat, talk on the phone, read a book. Generally employers did not want security to do these things. At first she thought it was just her good luck, then as the bustle of the day died down and she was surrounded by silence, she began to here noises: knocking at the door, footsteps coming down the stairs. She didn't want to complain because there were so few women working in security, she was afraid of being accused of being weak. After working there for sometime and dismissing the regular noises, one night she heard a knock down fight in the kitchen. Pans flying, things crashing, bodies hitting the floor. She ran to check it out and the kitchen was empty. When her supervisor asked her how she was doing at the job she just smiled and said everything was fine. He was impressed and told her that none of the men would work there. She was the only guard willing to do the job.

Years later she became a supervisor. At a big office building on Wilshire Blvd she could not keep a security guard. They had to work at night in the basement and she kept having to replace them. As a supervisor she had to do rounds, going from location to location checking on security guards. Generally guards were happy to be rid of her, but when she went to this building the guard invited her in and chatted insistently to get her to stay. At first she thought it was just a friendly gesture, but as weeks went by he began to tell her that he heard voices in the building. He started bringing a bible with him to work and reciting verses to drown out the voices. Eventually he was overwhelmed by it all and ran through the front doors, crashing through the glass and barrelling into traffic on the boulevard outside.