paranormal

RECAP: Ravens & Crows with Daryl Marston 11/15/18

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/liveparanormal/2018/11/16/darly-marston-on-ravens-crows-on-liveparanormalcom

On Thursday, November 15th, 2018 at 8pm ET, I had the pleasure of having Daryl Marston of The American Ghost Hunter Show & Breaking Paranormal on the show. We talked about some great stuff including his work with ParanormalWarehouse.com, hauntings during the holidays, and even shared a few laughs about different shenanigans that occur during paranormal investigations!

How I Survived My First Paranormal Investigation with Diabetes

This may not be a big deal for some, but it was to me. I was diagnosed with diabetes in July 2018. Still trying to figure out exactly what type I am.  Thankfully, there’s a glimmer of hope in solving the mystery.

Anyway, since my diagnosis, I’ve had to be extremely cautious of what I put in my mouth. I flip-flop between eating keto, dirty keto, reduced carb, etc. since looking at a carb seems to spike my blood sugar. I took a brief hiatus from ghost hunts and other paranormal investigations since my blood sugar was going crazy as I was adjusting. My first paranormal investigation as a diabetic wasn’t until September 29th, so I had time.

The biggest change for me was how much more I had to prepare before the investigation. Packing equipment and making a plan is tedious enough. But then I had to consider the following supplies:

  • Glucose tablets
  • Glucagon Kit
  • Blood Sugar Meter
  • Snacks
  • Caffeine
  • Water
  • Stress Level
  • Insulin
  • Oral meds

You’ll often see sweets and salty carb-centric snacks at a paranormal investigation. I couldn’t eat any of that. The food I was going to eat was going to have to be protein centric. I did end up eating some Pringles chips since that didn’t spike me as much as regular potato chips. But besides that, it was all beef jerky, boiled eggs, etc. Also, I couldn’t eat anything with sugar, and it’s no longer an option for me to get energy.

Speaking of energy, the other issue was caffeine. I could drink coffee, but I had to be really careful because I didn’t want to cause chaos in my blood sugar numbers. I usually drink Diet Coke for caffeine anyway. But, if I don’t drink enough water these days, my sugars will spike. So, I have to do a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part Diet Coke. Obviously, this also causes an inconvenience as it makes me have to use the bathroom a lot. If I started to spike, I had to chug water.

I had to also make time to take my medications. I actually forgot to take a round of oral meds, which could have been a disaster. I ended up remembering later than I wanted, which pushed back my round of insulin. So, for the future, I’m going to have to set an alarm for myself.

The other issue I was concerned with was what would happen if my blood sugar dropped. I had to let one of my team members know where they could find my meter, glucose tablets, and medication. I also have to train them all in using a glucagon kit. In the event I had to be taken to the hospital, I made sure that my prescription paperwork was on hand. It was weird to have to do so much prep work just for myself.

Also, stress can cause blood sugars to rise. Besides the investigation, my team and I were also putting on a fundraiser for the Trivette Clinic and I found myself in the middle of a spike and a dizzy spell right as the event was starting. I made friends with the wall and anything that was nearby I could use for balance.  Fear can certainly stress anyone out, but luckily, the Trivette Clinic isn’t haunted by anything that is volatile or malevolent so I wasn’t afraid.

Lack of sleep can also mess with my blood sugar. Considering that ghost hunts typically happen at night, I had to do a check whenever I started feeling off.

Besides a few spikes and running high, I survived. I’m annoyed that I have to have such a contingency plan from now on. But it’s better to make this plan now instead of having my team members not know what to do should I pass out or I spike to a dangerous number like 600. 

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, or crazy blood sugars (for now).

Ghost Hunting Tips for Newbies

Congratulations! You have decided to step into a unique world of mystery, suspense, and even a little spook. Probably one of the most popular questions I get as a seasoned paranormal investigator is, “I’m going on my first ghost hunt, what do I do?” I love helping people prepare for their first ghost hunt. It’s almost like a right of passage! If you google what to do for your first ghost hunt, you’ll find a lot of good stuff. I’m not trying to trump on anyone’s good advice. But, I do have my own little “to do” list that will help you have the best time you can have!

Respect

First and foremost, respect the location you’re investigating. Respect the deceased that you’re trying to communicate with. Follow the rules of the venue and the group that you’re in. The quickest way to get kicked out of a ghost hunt, let alone some angry spirit coming after you, is to be disrespectful.

Self-Assess

Before you commit to any sort of ghost hunt, you need to decide what you want out of the experience. Do you want to get scared? Do you want to learn some history? Do you want to try to find proof of the afterlife? Are you trying to contact someone in particular? Just answering simple questions like this can help you gain a better understanding of what you want out of the experience. If you’re someone who gets scared easily, read reviews of the location before you go. Read some of the legends and experiences people have had. Is this something you can handle? If not, perhaps looking into a more benevolent location might be better. If you feel you’re ready, then you know what your limits are and when to give yourself a break.

Know Where You’re Going

Being familiar with your location is key before going on a ghost hunt. If the company you’re working with wants to keep it a surprise until the night of, all hope is not lost. Ask them what kind of environment you’ll be ghost hunting in. Is it a house? Will you have to hike? Will you be outside? If there’s any part of the ghost hunt that will take place outside, then be sure you’re ready for whatever weather is on the forecast that night.  Not only that, but find out how the roads are. There have been times I’ve almost damaged my car from driving on rugged terrain in my little sedan when my ride buddy had a jeep left at home. If the location is going to be in the dark night in the woods, then flashlights are a must. Closed-toe shoes are also a must. Speaking of the woods, going through any bushes and trees will warrant wearing some jeans just so you avoid any poisonous plants. I also advise people to not wear all black if they can avoid it. I’ve heard of many ghost hunters getting hit by cars at night because the driver couldn’t see them since they were wearing all black.

Tech

This is another area where I get a lot of questions. I always tell people that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on equipment. Part of the ghost hunting experience is collecting evidence, or as I prefer to call it, data. It means you could be recording audio on a recorder, or taking video of your experience. The one thing that people forget is that if you take in 4 hours of data on your audio recorder and 4 hours of data on your camcorder, you have 8 hours worth of data to go through. If data collection is what you want to do, that’s fantastic. If the thought of this is daunting, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do tech-free just so you can have that experience.  Some of the earliest ghost hunters only had a pen and paper to jot down notes.

Pack Smart

If you’re going on a ghost hunt that will last longer than 4 hours, you might need to pack some food provisions to get through the night. Everyone will usually default to packing sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks. However, that will cause your blood sugar to spike, and then you’ll experience a crash…which will be counterproductive if you want to stay up for several hours. Protein-filled snacks, veggies, and water will be necessary to get through the evening.

Food aside, packing flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit should be in any ghost hunter’s survival kit. Even if the location is indoors, you never know when you might get a scratch or miss your footing and get injured.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential to enjoying the ghost hunting experience. Sure, eventually you’re going to get tired. But if you push yourself beyond being sleepy, you will start to see and hear things that aren’t really there. Sleep deprivation can cause some interesting hallucinations and can be similar to the feeling of being drunk. It could compromise your ability to understand your surroundings. Something simple and logical could get interpreted as something paranormal. If you feel tired, there is no shame in taking a cat nap. I try to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before an investigation along with a nap during the day.

Research

This can go in two different directions. Some people want to research the location as much as possible before an investigation. They do this so that they know exactly what is going on at a haunted location. They will know the names of who is reportedly haunting and be able to use contextual questions to establish communication. Meanwhile, other people don’t want to know anything before going in. This is so that they don’t “taint” themselves with previous information. Many with psychic abilities may opt to do this.

Abilities

If you feel like you have psychic or mediumship abilities, then you’ll need to prepare for another aspect. Numerous times, I’ve noticed people get overwhelmed during an investigation. When I talk to them to try to help them, they reveal to me that they have abilities and they got overwhelmed by the experience. To avoid this, if you’re completely new to the world of having abilities, I recommend that you learn how to ground and shield. There are some great articles to help you learn this.  Having the best understanding of your abilities before your ghost hunt will be key to you having a good ghost hunting experience.

Ask the Right Questions

With each ghost hunt, you’ll probably hear a few suggestions for questions to ask. But, there is a trick to asking the right questions that will create a welcoming environment for communication. You want to keep questions simple, but also smart. One of my pet peeve questions is, “Do you know you’re dead?” Something as simple as asking for a name is better. Knowing the history of the location in terms of important dates in its existence (ie: wars, presidential inaugurations, world events, etc.). Stacking questions can create problems as well. That is when you ask several questions in the same stream of speaking. An example of a stacking question would be, “What’s your name? Where are you from? How old are you?” If asked by themselves, these questions are fine. But asking them in the same line of questioning, it will result in confusion. Finally, be sure to leave 10-15 seconds of silence after each question to give the entity time to produce an answer.

Be Safe

At the end of the day, you want to be safe. That is the number one priority in any ghost hunting experience. You don’t want to try anything that could compromise your health and safety.  You have most likely signed a liability release form, which means that if you get injured, then you’ll have to cover those expenses yourself. While it may be tempting to climb into the attic or ignore the “Keep Out” signs in order to explore another part of the haunted house, a lot of things could happen. The floor might give out, you might inhale bat guano, or you encounter an unexpected injury. Ultimately, you want to put safety first.

If you have any other tips for a successful ghost hunt for a newbie, please share them in the comments!

Death: A Faithful Companion

You would think that after surviving a car accident over 10 years ago, I would be well aware that one could die at any moment. But instead, I think that accident made me feel immortal in a way. What were the odds I would survive that accident? I should have died. But I got by with several broken bones, a surgery, and months of physical therapy. Yes, I had a weird experience on that night, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, I hadn’t thought about my own death that much. Even when I’m looking for ghosts, that’s someone else’s death…not mine.

For some reason, in 2013, as if that year wasn’t messed up enough already, it hit me.

I’m going to die someday.

With this newfound fear, and yes it is a fear, it has changed the way that I approach paranormal investigating. First, I really REALLY want that confirmation that there is life after death. Second, when I pass I want someone to talk to me like I’m a person and not a blip on a gadget. Third, I can feel death looming around me when I’m investigating or in some location where a lot of death has taken place.

I’m not saying that death is a conscious being that is following me around. But there has been a consistent vibe that I’ll feel when I’m in a location that has seen a lot of death. The vibe has been the same from the time I walked into my mom’s trailer after she died to visiting a location like Old South Pittsburg Hospital where people passed. I even get that feeling when I’m a Duke sometimes, knowing that there are people dying every minute and there are bodies in the morgue.

I visualize death as a personification of the life I’ve lived. As I survive each day, a page is added to my book of life. I see death as this faithful companion who is with me and on my mind each day; reminding me that it’s waiting for me.

Of course, I was also raised Christian and taught to believe that we will indeed survive and go to heaven once our time here is over. I want to believe it…I truly do. But between my interactions with some not-so-perfect Christians and seeing how unfair life can be (example: kids dying from cancer), I question my faith all the time. If there is a heaven, awesome. If not, what is waiting for us? In this case, death is the door…the door that remains unlocked and is waiting for us to open.

I just hope it’s not nothingness and ceasing to exist. But, I feel like it is likely identical to falling asleep. You don’t know you’re asleep, and you’re not aware of yourself. You don’t remember when you fell asleep, just like we will likely not be aware when death finally does come to collect the debt.

This Little Light of Mine

If you know me well, which most of you do, if you had to name two things I love it would be theatre and the paranormal. Theatre has been a part of my life for over 20 years, and it isn’t going anywhere soon. The paranormal found me, so to speak, and it’s been at the forefront of my mind since I was a kid. Regardless of where I end up in life, those two things will always be important to me.

I will say 99% of the people in these communities are amazing and fantastic. But that 1%…not so much. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people. It just means our personalities are quite different and it wasn’t a good mix. However, that 1% has gone out of their way to hurt and break my spirit it seems. Like, they need to put me in my place.

Why does that 1% get more attention than the other 99% who are amazing to me? Maybe it’s because I once trusted them? I need to stop focusing so much on the people who have hurt me. I’ve noticed a pattern with those who end up hurting me, and it usually goes along like this:

  • They aggressively insert themselves into my life to become my friend
  • They do a lot of favors for me
  • In turn, they expect me to go to bat for them in ridiculous circumstances because of said favors
  • When I can’t deliver or don’t meet their standards when I do go to bat for them, they leave quite dramatically
  • Thus follows about a year’s worth of petty drama and a one-sided pissing contest

Now that I’ve noticed the signs early on, I’m usually pretty good at picking this up. When this happens, I divert myself away from the person as soon as possible. But what happened to giving people chances? Nope. Not doing it anymore.

I’ve put myself out there to the extent now that my light faded for a bit. But, it’s time to let that shine. If that means certain people aren’t invited to the party, so be it. I’d rather have just 1-2 friends who are awesome than 50+ friends who take advantage of my weaknesses and vulnerabilities for their personal gain.

Let your light shine, and don’t you dare let someone else put it out.

“Lights Out” 2016 Review: Scares & Mental Illness

Tonight, I had the pleasure of seeing the movie, “Lights Out.” I’ve been a horror movie buff since I was a kid. I love scary movies, especially paranormal ones about ghosts, demons, and other creatures that go bump in the night. I do like the slasher movies as well, but paranormal suspense has a special place in my heart.

I became a HUGE fan of director David Sandberg back in 2013 when he released the short film, “Lights Out – Who’s There”, which starred his wife, Lotta Losten. While the film was only 3 minutes, it was enough to scare the bejesus out of me and dread touching the light switch. The short caught the attention of James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring 1 & 2, Insidious), who ended up producing the movie.

If you’re not familiar with the short film, take a (literal) few minutes and watch it here:

Lights Out – Who’s There Film Challenge (2013) from David F. Sandberg on Vimeo.

Now let’s talk about the movie. The premise of the movie is that adults can have imaginary friends too. I didn’t realize how much this added to the creep factor until seeing the movie. If anything, the movie shows that adults can be more destructive than children when it comes to those sinister friends that [we think] no else can see.

I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I also thought how the movie touched on mental illness was handled with care, and also presented a forewarning. That forewarning is that the more we dwell on our condition, stop taking medication, shut out those who love us, and ignore the fact that there’s a problem, will cause one to descend into a downward spiral of losing the battle to that illness. That hit me personally, as I struggle immensely with depression and anxiety, and will often stew in my own negativity regardless of whose around me. I haven’t reached the point where I was forcing those around me to accept this as is like Sophie (played by Maria Bello), but there is a hard lesson learned. I was impressed with Teresa Palmer’s performance, and Alexander DiPersia was not only pretty to look at but played the concerned and protective “boyfriend” very well. The standout for me was little Gabriel Bateman who played Martin, and pretty much would reflect my actions should I ever be in a similar situation. Flashlights and candles…and lots of them!

These lessons aside, the movie was great for scares. I jumped several times throughout the movie and found myself saying “Aw heck no” to myself during the even scarier parts. The script is simple, the movie is a little short, and the characters are few. But this makes for a fairly solid horror film as it cuts right to the chase and focuses on the meat of the story rather than embellish it with the bones. It was also cool to see Lotta Losten make her cameo at the beginning of the movie.

In closing, the movie is worth the price of the ticket, and a night or two of sleeping with the lights on.

Ghostbusters 2016: My Review

It seems that my thoughts on the latest “Ghostbusters” movie has been waited on with bated breath! I will also say that this is one of the rare times that I have made an effort to see a movie on opening weekend. I did this mainly for the fact that I didn’t want to wait to see the movie, and the two “Ghostbusters” movies are my absolute favorites. In other words, I’m a “Ghostbusters” fan girl. Yes, I’m a paranormal investigator and I love “Ghostbusters.”

First, are any of the “Ghostbusters” movies true to actual paranormal investigating? Of course not. There are a few nods to the actual practice of ghost hunting, but it’s an exaggerated portrayal to what we actually do. No, there are no proton packs. No, we can’t actually contain a real ghost. No, we don’t have the uniforms. We have t-shirts, but not the suits.

"Ghostbusters" 2016 - Columbia Pictures

“Ghostbusters” 2016 – Columbia Pictures

Okay, now that we have that out-of-the-way, I want to say this: THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME! When it was first announced that there would be a reboot of the classic movie with an all-female Ghostbusters team, there was massive skepticism. I will admit that I was uneasy about the idea. After I saw the trailer, which featured a lot of slapstick comedy, I became a little more excited, but I was still worried that the movie wouldn’t meet my expectations. Already, women in the paranormal field have a really hard time, and female-driven movies have a hard time in the entertainment industry as it is.

Let me tell you that this movie is fantastic. While it is a reboot, it is unique all on its own. There are cameos from the original “Ghostbusters” cast, and there are enough nods to the original that satisfied my inner fan girl. I got a little choked up seeing Egon’s cameo, but I won’t spoil it for anyone. It was refreshing to see Melissa McCarthy in this strong lead, as well as see Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones. But the standout star to me was Kate McKinnon, who was the perfect blend of Egon and Venkman. I can’t forget Chris Hemsworth as the HILARIOUS receptionist who isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, but he is so adorable and endearing that you can’t help but love him.

In other words, go see this movie! It is worth your ticket price and your time. Whether you like the paranormal or not, you will be entertained and talking about the movie long after you come home from the theater.

Also, make sure you stay through to the end of the credits. There is an end credits scene that will make any longtime Ghostbusters fan squeal with delight!

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments and vote in the poll!