Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Things That Go Bump, 2013: Issue #3


No ghosts here, just fog. Fog I can sneak up on. Ghosts, not so much.
It's true, I'm afraid.

I'm the world's worst ghost hunter.

I've absolutely nothing even mildly suggestive to report this week. No suspicious EVPs. No blurry spots on photographs. Not a single frame of what might, from a certain distance and viewed from a certain angle and after a certain number of powerful gin & tonics, looks like a face in an ITC session snapshot.


I should probably be hired to cleanse haunted houses. All I'd need to do is visit with my meters and microphones, and the house would be forever more free of ghostly goings-on, because I am apparently a natural-born ghost repellent.

Nothing to see here, move along...
For anyone curious about what an actual ITC session looks like, I've provided a short (about 2 minutes) clip of a session below. Warning -- if you're prone to seizures or already have a headache, do NOT view this clip full-screen. The strobing effect is pretty nasty, especially toward the end. I've been through the thing frame by frame, and didn't see a single image worthy of singling out.

ITC Video Session sample clip

Since I got nothing this week, let me direct you toward a brief video I shot last year at the gravesite of William Faulkner. It's not an EVP, but it might qualify as an instance of ITC, since a device called an 'iOvilus' was involved. You don't even need the actual device -- you can get an app for your Android or iPhone that turns it into an Ovilus unit.

Now, I'm not a huge proponent of this device. Basically it's a speech synthesizer coupled to a few thousand common English words and the phone's EMF sensor. It's going to spit out a word every now and then, because that's what it's built to do. That shouldn't come as a surprise, because there's nothing inherently supernatural about it.

What is surprising can be the choice of random words, and the timing. I must admit this sent chills down my spine, but watch for yourself:

Faulkner Says My Name

Coincidence? Yeah, I think so.  Still neat though.

Here'a another cemetery EVP from last year. I still can't make out what the voice is saying. I've looped it, so maybe you can.

This last 2012 EVP is much clearer. It seems to be saying 'go ahead.'

I recorded a couple of long half-hour sessions with my new germanium microphone, and after applying nearly 30 dB of amplification (which is an insane amp level) I got nothing but this:


Which was easily explained away when I realized I'd left the ALA (automatic level adjustment) switch set to on. Turning it to 'off' made the 'heartbeat' vanish. What I was hearing was simply a by-product of the mic's electronics.

Let's hope the ghosts were merely taking it easy this week in preparation for the big Halloween blowout, which is right around the corner. I'll be trying again to come up with something strange and unexplained for next week's blog, so wish me luck!



The latter part of the 19th century saw the emergence of the first recognized serial killer (Jack the Ripper) and a much less sinister but no less interesting supernatural character, who came to be called Spring Heeled Jack.

Jack was described as a tall, menacing figure who often wore a large helmet and skin-tight white clothing, rather like a steam-punk Evel Knievel. Jack's apparently supernatural ability to leap and run earned him the Spring Heeled monicker, after witnesses reported the man easily making leaps of 20 feet high or more. Prevailing wisdom at the time attributed Jack's amazing jumping ability to springs concealed in the soles of his boots. I suppose bones were a lot more tolerant of both sheer and compressive  impact forces in 1838.

The first detailed published report of an assault by the creature appeared in the February 22nd edition of the 1838 London Times. A young woman named Jane Alsop was attacked and nearly abducted by Jack, until her struggles and cries were heard by her family. According to witnesses, Jack ‘vomited forth a quantity of blue and white flames from his mouth’ and ‘tore at her neck and arms with his claws’ before escaping over nearby fields.

Such was the ensuing panic that the Lord Mayor formed a vigilance committee aimed at capturing the fleet-footed creature.

Arrests were made, but only copy-cats were apprehended. Jack's exploits continued until an attack on Lucy Scales, during which Jack was reported to breathe blue fire at the terrified woman.

After that, Jack and his habitual fire-breathing vanished. The case was never solved, and the identity and nature of Spring Heeled Jack was never established.

I once breathed out a great quantity of blue and white flame after sampling a particularly enthusiastic plate of chicken vindaloo, but I'm ruling myself out as a suspect because my days of leaping 20-foot-high walls are over.

So what was Jack? A figment of a newspaper reporter's fevered imagination? The product of mass hysteria? A drunken nobleman obliging the terms of an ill-advised bet?

We'll never know. But I do want that cape from the newspaper drawing above. Spring-heeled Jack, away!


On the heels, so to speak, of Spring Heeled Jack was the so-called Devil's Footprints incident of February 9, 1855 in and about Devon, England.

Diagram from the Times which accompanied the story of the Devonshire Devil
In the space of a single night, witnesses reported the appearance of 100 miles of strange footprints. Resembling those of a shoed horse, but clearly left by a bipedal walker, the prints ran in a straight line over the snow. Whatever left them didn't bother walking around houses or barns or sheds -- it simply walked right up the walls, across the roofs, down the walls again before continuing on its merry and quite possibly infernal way.

Such perambulations naturally perplexed and perhaps even bedeviled the residents of Devon, who attributed the source of the trail to everything from escaped kangaroos (I take it few of them had ever actually seen a kangaroo) to Spring Heeled Jack himself.

The story was carried by the Times and the Illustrated London News. There was considerable speculation concerning the nature of the tracks, but not a definitive explanation.

I'm going with robotic kangaroos.

That's it for this week! See you next Sunday. Until then, don't go in the basement....

1 comment:

  1. As always, entertaining and enlightening - love your posts, Frank! (and sorry no ghosts are haunting you....)