Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Going Bump #1: Voices in the Graveyard

I just looked up and realized it's October.

If I had to pick a favorite month, it's October.  The weather is mild.  The leaves are turning.  The lawn can jolly well go mow itself.  The stores are full of jack o' lanterns and poorly-made scary stuff and both SyFy and the Chiller Channel make a half-hearted effort to show a few decent horror movies.

And then of course there's the culmination of the season in Halloween.

I love Halloween.  Spare me the crushing emotional baggage, the doomed expectations of some Hallmark moment, the mad rush to buy gifts for people you barely know.  The other holidays have all that covered.  Halloween is scary and cool and fun.  Nobody expects or even wants you to have some misty-eyed moment over eggnog or tinsel.  Instead uou can paint your face green and put in fake fangs and go out shambling and moaning and people will laugh and smile and not once will they dial 911.

So, in honor of Halloween, I'll be blogging this month about things that go bump in the night.  Ghosts, spectres, haunts, haints, poltergeists, residual hauntings, intelligent hauntings, bad pipes, good pipes, dogs and cats sleeping together -- you know.  The usual spooky stuff.

So, do you believe in ghosts?

Do I?

I can't answer for you, and the best answer I can give for myself is yes, and no.

I believe rational, sober, intelligent people on occasion see, hear, or otherwise experience phenomena that can't be explained by mundane means.  No, I don't believe *every* sound in the night is a spook.  Most are water pipes or wind or passing headlights.

Most, but not all.

Which still doesn't mean that even the unexplained phenomena are ghosts.  They're just that -- unexplained phenomena.  Without better data, and a lot of it, I don't think anyone can categorically claim 'Ghosts exist, and are composed of this and that, and exist in realm X, and interact with us via this mechanism and for these reasons.'

Yeah, I know a lot of people say that very thing, filling in the thises and thats with whatever floats their belief system, but I've never seen anybody back it up with good hard data of any kind.  Show me physical evidence of ghostly manifestations that proves they exist.

I can prove radio transmitters exist with ease.  Turn on a radio.  Track the signal source using triangulation.  Measure the EM output.  Record it, analyze it.

That's the kind of proof I need.

We've all seen the flashing lights on K2 EMF meters on all the ghost hunting shows.  And sometimes they do seem to indicate the presence of some unseen source of weak EM emissions.

I have a K2 meter myself.  It's fun to wave around.  It's also fun to make it light up at surprising distances using nothing but an outgoing call on my cell phone.  Am I saying that's what you're seeing on TV?

No.  Not necessarily.  I am saying the instruments weren't designed to be hand-held ghost detectors.  So I don't fully trust their flashing lights -- it could be reacting to so many mundane sources.

In addition to the K2, I've got a Ramsey TM3 Tri-Field meter, an IR thermometer, a couple of digital recorders, and an ion detector I designed and built myself.  And yes, I've dragged all his stuff around in various cemeteries, just to see what might happen.

I never got so much as a blink on the K2 meter, which isn't surprising since these were rural spots well off the beaten path, much less the power grid.  Ditto on the TM3 and the ion detector.

I have, though, recorded several very interesting sounds.  EVPs, in the parlance of the paranormal.  Electronic Voice Phenomena.  And believe me, I was shocked when I heard what sounded like actual voices on recordings I made, when I knew I was alone in a quiet graveyard.

To make things even weirder, I tried recording EVPs in less spooky locales.  The warehouse at work.  My patio.  My office.  Here, in my study.

Not once have I picked up an EVP anywhere but a cemetery.

Now, when I say voices, I don't mean perfectly clear words of the 'Hi, my name is Bob, you're standing on my grave, you idiot' variety.

They've faint.  They're indistinct.  Some are little more than distant murmuring.

Take this one, for instance.  I was in a tiny old cemetery in Tula Mississippi.  My wife and I were the only people for miles.  She wasn't speaking.  And yet on playback I clearly heard a conversation taking place nearby, even though no one was there.

I'll upload the audio clip to my site and post a link to it.  If you've got headphones, use them, and crank the volume.  It's very short -- I only included the actual EVP.  And no, I won't play any silly jokes like inserting a loud BOO or anything like that.

Here is the file:

Voices in Tula Cemetery

If you've got ghostly photos, stories, or EVPs of your own, I'd love to see or hear them.  Email me at!

Finally, what would a blog be without a pitch for my new book, which you can get from Amazon for your Kindle here, or in epub for your Nook or other device here!

Go on, you know you want a copy.  And if you listen really closely to the voices in the EVP, that's what they're saying..."buy the boooooooooook..."

1 comment:

  1. Sums up how I feel about ghosts. Too many perfectly rational people, not looking for attention, have seen/heard *something*, but without a lot of data we don't know what it is. I won't jump to the conclusion that it's the spirit of a deceased person, but I'll accept that something is happening that we don't yet understand.