Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to ghost hunting!

Where has the year gone? I suddenly realized, with a pang of guilt, that here I had set up my blog (both to keep track of my investigations and to get in writing practice) and then rarely used it...but that, hopefully, will not be the case from here on out. My first book is finally truly out (you can now find Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas on!), and it's inspired me to really dig into the second one, as well as try to get in some more investigative work.

Actually, I've been pretty busy with various ghost-hunting-related activities this past year. I had a radio interview with Para-X radio on the net in August, another on-line interview with Innsmouth Free Press shortly after that, a TV interview with GCTV (Greensboro NC's community station) in December, and may have another on-line interview coming up soon (more info on that when/if it happens!). Plus I was able to join another ghost-hunting group on an investigation of the USS Constellation in Baltimore in October--just spending the night on an historical tall ship was a great experience, not to mention hanging out with other ghost hunters! (I didn't get much myself in the way of paranormal evidence during the course of the investigation, with the exception of an interesting sound bite--on the mid-deck, where the galley had once been, my team heard what sounded like a bunch of tin cans or metal pots being dumped on the floor. I did manage to catch that with my digital recorder, but that was unfortuantely the only thing I caught during the course of the night).

At the moment I'm deep into research for my current book, Ghosts of Greater Charlotte--it's coming slower than I would like (I've had to dump a couple of my stories for lack of reliable information), but it's getting very close. Plus I keep getting distracted by stories for a future book I'd like to write about "monsters"--I have an aunt and uncle who live in in SC not far from the home of the famous "Lizard Man," and have gotten some interesting tidbits from them. I just need to concentrate on one project at a time!

So that's the scoop at the moment! This weekend I'll be at Marscon in Williamsburg, VA, sharing a table with my friend and fellow paranormal author Pamela Kinney, and particpating in a panel on ghost investigations. Hopefully the snow will hold off!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Haunted Theaters" soon to go to print!

It's been a frantic couple of weeks, and I've had to put the ghost research on hold for a bit while I finished up my second book with Schiffer, The Well-Dressed Puppet (yes, a book about puppet costumes--quite a switch from ghosts!). But that one is now complete and in to my editor, and I can get back to concentrating on Ghosts of Greater Charlotte.

The big news, though, is that I just received the final edit for my first book, Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas--after I approve this edit, it's ready to go to print! I have to say that it's pretty exciting to see your words/photos in book form, and the design team at Schiffer did an amazing job laying it all out. Plus it's been a truly interesting ride learning about the ins-and-outs of the publishing process--I've had to print out this version (at 160 pages and 30+ photos and illustrations, it took me over FIVE hours to get it all printed out, and my printer ran out of ink towards the end!), and will mark the corrections and mail it back to my editor. But again, once that's done, my book will be ready to print!

So that's the first one finished, and I'll be starting the process again with the puppet book, not to mention Ghosts of Charlotte when all that is completed. My last bit of research had been on the ghost stories connected to nearby gold mines, and it occured to me to wonder if the Charlotte Mint--the southern branch of the U.S. Treasury that had collected all that gold from the nearby mines and minted it into coins--had any ghost stories as well. The original mint building constructed in the early 1800s still exists, although it had been moved from its downtown location (it's literally a stone's throw from where I live) and is now the Mint Museum of Art. Preliminary research hadn't turned up anything about the building being haunted, and it made me wonder if there wasn't anything to find; not giving up so easily, though, I stopped by the museum and spoke with the employee at the front desk. She was very helpful and gave me some good info on the building's history, as well as the contact number for the Museum's librarian, whom she said could tell me more about the Mint's history; and when I asked her if there were any good ghost stories related to the building, she smiled and leaned forward conspiratorily.

"Yes," she confirmed. "But you should ask the librarian about that as well."

So I will. It's always exciting to find a previously un-heard story, and I'm very much looking forward to hearing this one!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kings Mountain Military Park

This past week, I've been continuing new research for my second book, and spent several hours at Kings Mountain Military Park walking the trail and photographing the battlefield there. The park is just south of Charlotte (right across the South Carolina state line), and the battle that took place there played an important role in the Revolutionary War. Local legend states that ghostly soldiers on horseback can be seen riding the old Colonial road running from the site towards Charlotte; and while nothing interesting showed up in any of the photos I took myself, I was lucky enough to come across a very interesting picture on the 'Net that someone else had taken there. I'm in the process of obtaining permission to use it for my book, and the photographer has been very helpful in that regard.

I'd never been to Kings Mountain before, and want to get back later this season. Quite apart from being interesting from a historical standpoint, it's also a beautiful place to walk on a sunny spring day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Writing, research, and more writing!

This past week has been a busy but productive one as I finished the edit on the galleys for my first book (Haunted Theaters) and continue to update research for my second one (Ghosts of Greater Charlotte). Today was spent in Concord, NC, as I added to my research on the two homes--both haunted--of The Old Courthouse Theatre. This performance company's first home had been in what was originally the county courthouse, and is now a museum and home of Historic Cabarrus Inc. The second building had at one time been the First Baptist Church of Concord, and currently houses the theatre company's performance and office space. I'd included both of these buildings in my first book, but wanted to add to my information and research (including new photos!) to include them in my second book, and was able to get some good updates on both.

Later I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at the Reed Gold Mine in Midland (just south of Concord) learning not only about the "ghost story" there, but also about gold mining in general and the history of the mine in particular. This mine was where the first gold ever to be found in the United States was discovered in 1799 (a full 50 years before the '49 California "gold rush!"), and also had the largest gold nugget ever discovered to date in the land east of the Mississippi (it apparently weighed close to 28 pounds. Good grief, that's a LOT of gold...). My tour guide really knew his stuff, and since I was the only one in his tour group, he was able to give me a lot of good background info and stories about the mine. It should make for good reading!

Tomorrow I hope to get to Ri-Ra's, an Irish pub here in town that has in its make-up quite a few building materials brought directly from Ireland, and that is rumored to have several ghosts in residence. (It would probably have been a lot more fun to go today--it's St. Patrick's Day, after all!--but not very productive research-wise!).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A productive month, with more to come

These past few weeks have been busy, as I've been gathering info for my next book (Ghosts of Greater Charlotte--or words to that effect!), sitting in on "ghost panels" at various conventions, and even participating in an investigation. Last month, I had the opportunity to join the Charlotte Area Paranormal Society on one of their annual investigations at the Hopewell Presbyterian Church cemetery, just outside of Charlotte. We were there at the anniversary of the death of Revolutionary War General William Davidson (February 1st), and local legend states that his ghost can be seen riding through the cemetery on an equally ghostly horse on this date each year. The setting was certainly eerie enough--a dimly-lit Colonial-era cemetery--and the night was very dark and VERY cold. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pick up any occurrences either on camera or audio, but some of the other team members did end up with a few photos that showed some interesting anomolies. If nothing else, I was very glad for the chance to gain some more investigative experience and had a good time meeting other members of the CAPS team. A big thank-you to Tina McSwain and the other team members for letting me join them in their investigation!

This past weekend, I went to ShevaCon, an annual science-fiction convention held every February in Roanoke, Virginia. While I was there, I had the opportunity to sit in on a ghost panel with members of CPRI (the Center for Parnormal Research and Investigation out of Virgina), and was even able to put in a plug or two for my book! Once again I was glad for the chance to meet and talk with other parnormal researchers, and want to thank Allen Slonaker of CPRI for extending the invitation to join the panel.

On March 13-15, I'll be attending StellarCon, another annual science-fiction/fantasy convention held every year in High Point, NC ( I'll hopefully have the chance to talk a little about my current research, and with any luck the CAPS folks will be there as well. If nothing else, this is a good convention to kick back and relax at!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photos from my first research investigation

In the course of research for my various projects, I've had the opportunity to work with other paranormal researchers, and have gotten some good insight from them. Many times, the investigations I've participated in haven't even been to gather information for my own work, but to be able to gain more experience in effectively collecting data (taking photographs, doing background research, etc.)

These photos came from one such investigation. In the fall of 2007, I went on a "hunt" with members of SPIRiT (the SouthEastern Paranormal Independant Research Team) at Cabe Lands on the Eno River, a state park in Durham, North Carolina. The site had originally been the homestead of the Cabe Family during the mid/late 1700's, and included a grist mill (the ruins of which you see in the photo), a family home (which has pretty much all been destroyed), and an attached family cemetery. It was actually the cemetery we were interested in, as previous visitors and investigators had reported what appeared to be disembodied voices and other strange sounds in the area.

During the course of our investigation, we walked the trail around the perimeter of the park, taking establishing shots as we went, and eventually ended up in the cemetery. There we took more photos, and placed digital recorders in likely locations. Unfortunately, we didn't pick up anything out of the ordinary in the cemetery, but when I returned home and uploaded my own photos into my computer, I was surprised to see what appeared to be an odd anomaly in one of the photographs of the grist mill.

The first photo is the untouched original, and most everyone who's seen it has been able to point out the anomaly--whatever it may be--without any prompting. The second photo is the same with an outline showing what I think I see there; it's not unlikely, however, that this is simply an optical illusion, a lens flare or trick of the light. Still, considering the history of the site and the fact that other phenomenon have been reported there before, it makes for an interesting study.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My first post!

Welcome to "Ghost Posting," a blog dedicated to the research and work I've begun as a brand-new paranormal researcher and author.

The topic of paranormal research is a hot one right now (just look at all the shows on TV--"Ghost Hunters," "Ghost Hunters International," "Most Haunted, " Monster Quest," UFO Hunters," etc.)--and I can pretty easily admit I'm one of thousands who have jumped on the bandwagon. (BTW, I enjoy ALL those shows...) But I can also admit it's something I've always been interested in--even before it was "cool!"--and I'm very glad now to have the chance to really indulge my interest and perhaps even do something constructive with it.

So I've recently signed on with Schiffer Publishing ( as one of their paranormal authors, and have my first book--Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas--written and in to them. As a film and theatre professional, I've had the opportunity to work in a wide variety of historic theatrical houses, and it's very rare to find one that isn't haunted--or at least doesn't have a good ghost story attached to it. I've heard quite a few good stories from my fellow theatre professionals, and in many cases have even experienced them for myself. And regardless of whether or not one is a believer, so much of what we do in the theatre world is strongly influenced by tradition, superstition, and ghosts--so in that sense, it is very real indeed. The book tells, in addition to these ghost stories, why we do a lot of what we do in the theatrical realm (ever wonder why you tell someone to "break a leg?"), and I was even lucky enough to be able to catch a few interesting photos. I'm waiting for the galleys (or first draft) to come back from Schiffer for final editing, and with any luck the book will be out sometime later this spring.

Currently I'm knee-deep in my second book, Ghosts of Charlotte (at least, that's the working title--I hope to come up with something a little more snazzy down the road), and have been burying myself in research for that. Charlotte, North Carolina, is my hometown, and I've been glad to be able to stay in one place for the time being to do my research and photos! I've also been constantly surprised at the number of good ghost stories I've been turning up in my own backyard--every time I interview someone for their own story, I also get "Oh, and have you heard about so-and-so's ghost story? You should talk to them, too!" Considering that the Queen City of Charlotte is deep in the heart of the Old South and has a very colorful history, I really shouldn't be too surprised that there are so many interesting tales.

Next up, I plan to write a book about "weird creatures" in North and South Carolina--we do have a few, and not just the characters you might see wandering the streets after a crazy Saturday night. One called "The Lizard Man" is said to reside just a stone's throw from where my mom grew up in Lamar, SC, and is apparently quite well known in monster hunting circles. My interest in crypto-creatures actually has a lot to do with my work--as a professional "creature builder" myself, I'm always fascinated by a good Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster video, whether it is clearly fake or not. While I'm not a scientist or anthropologist, I've found that it does help to have a good strong working knowledge of how real animals look and behave in order to make a convincing fake one--and I find myself looking for tell-tale signs in any monster video to see if I can tell if it's real or not. (I hope in a future post to tell why the Patterson Bigfoot film looks fake to me, even before they admitted it...)

So all that keeps me productively busy, while allowing me to really enjoy one of my strongest interests. I've been very grateful to the folks at Schiffer for their patience with and understanding for a first time author, and am glad for the opportunity to do some interesting historical research. I'll be posting updates on (and hopefully even photos from) my research as I continue work on my next few projects.