Bear Camp Swamp Yields 21 Creepy Dolls


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Creepy Dolls

Creepy Dolls photographed by Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser

Bear Camp Swamp Yeilds 21 Creepy Dolls

Twenty-one dolls affixed on bamboo stakes were retrieved from Bear Camp Swamp last week. Chief Deputy Joe Sedinger noticed the dolls earlier in the month when he was responding to a stolen vehicle call. The Augauga County (AL) Sheriff’s Office decided to collect the dolls when the story exploded on social media.

The dolls were mostly porcelain. A lot of the faces were painted white. All were staked in the swamp in a cluster. The dolls were described as creepy. Deputy Sedinger canoed out to get them. The swamp is owned by a timber company; however, the company failed to respond to calls. Currently, the dolls have been catalogued and are being held until someone claims them. The question remains as to why the dolls were even there.

Rumors about supposed hauntings abound. The swamp is located in Prattville, Alabama. Native Americans lived in the area. The Civil War impacted the area as well. Local lore mentions sightings of Native American Indians and Civil War soldiers. Unexplainable lights have been seen. “Little People” are said to live deep within the swamp. The most chilling story claims a mother haunts the area looking for her child. If someone calls “We have your baby” three times, the ghost is said to appear. The reality TV paranormal group from Deep South Paranormal investigated the swamp in 2013.

In addition to the paranormal community, Bear Camp Swamp attracts geocaching groups. Geocaching is a hide and seek adventure where people use global positioning systems (GPS) to play a scavenger hunt. It is incredibly popular.

Deputy Sedinger speculated that the dolls were a prank leftover from Halloween. Several ghost hunting groups have investigated the location. Observations are available online. I hope that no one was attempting to provoke any spirits by offering the dolls up for sacrifice. It would be horrible for anyone to do. Trigger objects are one thing. A cluster of creepy dolls is a whole nother thing.

Nick Groff Exits Ghost Adventures


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Nick Groff

Ghost Adventures Nick Groff

Nick Groff Exits Ghost Adventures

Twitter exploded when the Travel Channel posted a “good-bye” tweet thanking Ghost Adventures (GAC) co-founder Nick Groff. Nick quickly sent out a follow-up tweet reaffirming the news that he had in fact left the insanely popular GAC show. As a true professional, Nick remained positive and respectful. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the other co-founder Zak Bagans.

Change is inevitable. Change moves at light speed in the reality television realm. Every TV show has a natural lifespan. And they differ. But in the end, all TV shows end. Realizing this, a savvy TV celebrity recreates and rebrands himself to remain relevant. Madonna comes to mind. She’s a pro at it. Zak Bagans did it by developing Ghost Adventures: Aftershocks, where he profiles some of the GAC’s more exciting investigations. Now it’s Nick’s turn.

Nick’s brainchild is Ghost Stalkers (GS), starring John E.L. Tenney and Chad Lindberg. John, the seasoned researcher, and Chad, the para-newbie, travel the U.S. in a Coachmen RV and investigate low-media profiled locations. Paranormal inventor David Rountree creates new instruments to assist in the investigations. Investigations cover 2 days with each taking a turn locked inside. John and Chad are incredibly likeable and sincere. GS has breathed a breath of fresh air into the paranormal reality TV biz. Last week GS ended its freshman season consisting of 6 episodes. Fans await news of a second season. Hint, hint Destination America.

The paranormal community took to twitter for comments from all affected. The GS base posted highly favorable comments and kept it positive. The GAC side was silent. Crickets could be heard from the lack of interest from Mr. Baggans, who focused on himself and the new season starting in January. Pressed for any comment, Mr. Bagans said:

  1. many of you have been asking…Nick is no longer with Ghost Adventures. Right now Im focused on the new season premiering Jan 10th 2015
  2. I’d also like to make an announcement……
  3. I’m pleased to announce that season 10 returns January 10th with the most-anticipated episode ever… the BELL WITCH CAVE #GhostAdventures
  4. and not to mention the next episode after BELL WITCH CAVE is the SALLIE HOUSE …oh yes, get ready!!!!

Well, this was disappointing…not unexpected…but very disappointing. Similar to the supposed rift between Jason Hawes and Amy Bruni from Ghost Hunters, this intentional diss from Bagans is abysmal to the paranormal community. Viewers do not care about the contractual obligations of paranormal reality TV people. Dishing on dirty laundry, however, diminishes the hard work others, TV and non-TV people alike, put into the field.

In short: Man up, Zak, and thank your “friend” and wish him well. Acknowledge his leaving in a professional manner. Set an example to your fans who follow ALL of you.

Update: Approximately 4 hours after the announcement and 15 minutes after posting this article, Mr. Bagans posted: I do wish Nick the best w his future while I continue to deliver GAC fans what they want. #GhostAdventures.

Ghost Adventures

Ghost Adventures cast

Breaking the News: Nick Groff Leaves GAC


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Just released, Travel Channel tweets that Nick Groff is leaving Ghost Adventures. TC wished Nick the best of luck. Nick tweeted that the post is correct.

Here’s hoping that Nick will fill his time with new episodes of Ghost Stalkers. Ghost Stalkers ended its freshman 6 episode season last week. No word on whether the highly popular show starring John E.L. Tenney and Chad Lindberg will return.

Missing: A Haunted House or 2 or 3 or …


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Nova House

Nova House

Missing: A Haunted House or 2 or 3 or …

Self-proclaimed “Artivist” Seph Lawless, a pseudonym, has pulled the wool over the paranormal community’s eyes this month. Surprisingly, mainstream media took the bait and fell for it too. Most of the “haunted” houses Lawless photographed and published in his recent book 13: An American Horror Story (Artivist Publishing) are made up. False. Non-existent. “Take that, all you American paranormal suckers!” Seems the joke’s on us, my friends.

  1. Nova House, Youngstown, Ohio.

“Nova House Mystery” posted on Friday, November 7th,, discusses the made-up story about a house in Youngstown, Ohio. Lawless claims that Benjamin Albright accidently shot and killed his son. Bereft with grief, Albright supposedly turned the gun on his wife and then himself. This tragic murder/suicide supposedly occurred in 1958. Problem is no one named Benjamin Albright died in Ohio in 1958. Nor was this person the father of a boy dying in 1958. Research pays off!

Since posting this blog, I received numerous comments and emails from people from the area who had never heard this story. Some even did some legwork and visited archives only to leave empty handed.

  1. Cater House Estates, Buffalo, New York.

Lawless penned a brief blurb for this photograph claiming that Sheriff Donald Caters shot himself to death in this house. In 1968 the home went into foreclosure and has been vacant since.

Several people have called this story false. Further, I cannot locate any information substantiating this story. Another piece of fiction.

  1. Oliver Family Mansion, Chester, Pennsylvania.

Lawless claims that the Oliver family went missing in 1898 and was never heard from again.

Nothing turned up on this story. Zilch.

  1. Milan Mansion, Milan, Ohio.

Lawless states that a known witch lived in this house and is possibly buried underneath the front door.

Again, I cannot locate any information supporting this story. Further, it is easy to prove with radar. However, the address for this home, like the others, is not available.

  1. Hooley Haunted Mansion, Texas.

Again, I located an electronic bulletin board asking for any information since no one has ever heard of this. My, my, my.

By now, I’m exhausted and disgusted at this juvenile attempt to fool the paranormal community.

I did not pay $99 for the book to see whether Lawless has a tightly drafted clause stating that the stories are for entertainment purposes only. However, he has portrayed these stories as true, when in fact, they are not. This is false advertising. Lawless is attempting to deceive readers and the media. This must stop. Poking fun at the paranormal community is abhorrent. Taking advantage of believers by misrepresenting the truth in order for financial gain is unlawful. The paranormal community should stand up and boycott this interloper. We should also ask those who regurgitated his press release if they actually viewed the book and conducted a little research. Just a little research would have caused a journalist to pause.

Shame on you, all you copy-and-paste “writers”! Do some research next time.

1976 Historic Image Captures “Ghost” and Goes Viral


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Cedarhurst "Ghost"

Cedarhurst “Ghost”

1976 Historic Image Captures “Ghost” and Goes Viral

In 1976, Charles W. Nelson took a photograph from the rear of “Cedarhurst” for the Minnesota Historical Society. Thirty-eight years later, the image went viral on the Internet.

Originally a farmhouse, the home was converted into a summer retreat in 1886. Mary Frances Harriman inherited the property from her grandfather, Charles Oramel Fanning (1800-1888). Celebrated architect Cass Gilbert expanded the retreat designing the mansion for Cordenio Arnold and Mary Frances Harriman Severance. He called the house “Cedarhurst.” Construction covered the years 1911-1917. In the end, the home totaled 12,000 square feet. The 26-room mansion was built in the Neoclassical Revival style and included twin classical columned porticoes, formal ball room, and rose garden.

Cordenio A. Severance

Cordenio A. Severance

Severance was a corporate litigator who served as the 44th President of the American Bar Association. Severance and his wife hosted 4 presidents at “Cedarhurst.” This mansion was opulent. He and his wife lived in the home until 1925, when they died with no surviving heir. The mansion stood abandoned for many, many years. The house changed hands and fell into disarray. Located at 6940 Keats Avenue South, Cottage Grove, Minnesota, “Cedarhurst” was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on June 3, 1976.

In 2001, the Thao family purchased the property for $900,000. Investing another $250,000, the family restored the massive home and now runs it as an entertainment venue. But the story continues.

According to Examiner.Com writer John Albrecht, Jr. a member on Reddit posted this image this past Saturday, November 8th, claiming that a ghost is standing on the back patio ( “Midwester” discovered the image while going through historic images ( Posters were polite and offered various explanations. Most felt it was a statue. However, one felt that it looked out-of-place. One was confused because the yard was overgrown and asked if the home was inhabited. Although this is a great image of an aging mansion, the “figure” is not a ghost.

The image is too solid and too consistent to be an apparition. Few have captured a full-length figure of an apparition. These are rare. Moreover, apparitions do not present whole or complete like the one here. This figure is too solid looking. Finally, the figure seems to be draped in a cloth.

Let me provide some historical context. This home was an opulent mansion. It was built in a style that incorporated statues, draperies, and lots of ornate items. Presidents visited. This mansion oozed high society. Large statues may have stood beside the classical columned porticos. Since it is winter, the statues may have been relocated inside for preservation.

By the time the photograph was taken, the home changed hands several times. It was deteriorating. The interior contents may have been packaged up.

Finally, I cannot locate any stories proclaiming “Cedarhurst” as haunted. The Internet is quiet on this. Even “Midwester” conceded that this was the only image with the anomaly. Unfortunately, this image does not contain a ghost.

ParaUnity: Why We Can’t Get Along


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ParaUnity: Why We Can’t Get Along

Very few people earn a living in the paranormal field. The perception that only investigators who are on TV are the “professionals” in this field is misleading. Actually, it’s untrue. Plenty of people know as much as or even more about the paranormal than those on TV. Although most of us are not “professional” paranormal people, we do act professionally.

The paranormal community takes repeated bashing from skeptics. So, why do we beat up on each other? We should stand together. Here are some helpful communication tips:

  • Think before you speak, tweet, or post.
  • Educate yourself before expressing your opinion.
  • Constructive criticism is okay. It’s actually quite beneficial. Keeps us on our toes, invites discourse and discussion. Blindly trashing someone based on emotional attachment is ineffective.
  • Don’t proffer an opinion without educating yourself on the issue. If you don’t know the answer, say so.
  • Conduct research. Research is vital.
  • Add to the discussion.
  • Support your opinions with facts.
  • Remain positive. Being positive does not mean you’re complacent. More sugar; less stick.

ParaUnity is attainable. The paranormal community can get along. We are a family—often dysfunctional—but a family.

Field Notes from a Ghost Mine


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Patrick HT Doyle

Patrick HT Doyle

Paranormal Field Notes Benefit All Investigators

Field notes are invaluable. They capture moments when the memory fails. Field books contain notes, drawings, and working hypotheses. Patrick H.T. Doyle’s Ghosts from the Ground Up: Field Notes of a Ghost Miner interweaves observation, reflection, and visual imagery and comes up with an entertaining paranormal read.

Oregon’s Crescent Mine has long been believed to be haunted. Located outside Sumpter, Oregon, the entire area has reported activity. This town ceased to thrive when the gold mining dried up. The town’s population is under 300 people; moreover, tourism is the main, possibly only, economic activity.

Ghost Mine debuted on SyFy on January 16, 3013. For two seasons (18 episodes), Doyle, along with investigator Kristen Luman, searched for answers deep within the mine, while a group of burley miners searched for gold. Doyle and Luman respected the miners and their boundaries. The investigation uncovered a lot of fascinating evidence and data. Unfortunately, SyFy opted not to renew the series for a third season. Instead, Doyle penned his book.

This book is a journey. Doyle views investigations like a science experiment. Peppered throughout are definitions and explanations and very few conclusions. But that’s not the point. Doyle’s writing is reminiscent of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, also developed from traveling field notes. Doyle offers up unanswered questions, and his commentary is humble and honest. The vagabond lifestyle ended decades ago; however, readers still yearn for an armchair adventure. This one involves the paranormal. Doyle’s book is a great gift for anyone interested in the paranormal. Add this one to your para collection!

Why the Paranormal Community Should Worry about the Stabbing at the Ax Murder House


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Victims Ax Murder House

Victims of the Ax Murder House

Why the Paranormal Community Should Worry about the Stabbing at the Ax Murder House

Shortly after midnight on Friday, November 8, 2014, police were summoned to the infamous Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa. Upon arrival police found Steven Laursen, Jr. of Wisconsin suffering from a self-inflicted stab wound. He was transported to a local hospital and then airlifted to Omaha. Laursen was attending an overnight recreational investigation at the sinister location. Reports claim that he brought a real knife to use as a trigger object. No criminal charges are expected since there wasn’t any foul play. Laursen is expected to recover.

This story elicited little paranormal chatter. Some discussed; many ignored. This is very concerning. The entire paranormal community needs to wake up and to take notice. This small story has long-lasting implications in the paranormal field.

The obvious issue is Laursen’s using a real knife as a trigger object. Really? Who brings a knife sharp enough to cause severe bodily harm to an investigation? Shoot, why not bring a gun? [I’m joking] There should be a rule against this. Common sense should tell you that this is not a good idea.

The next issue is provocation. Was he planning on using the knife as provocation instead of as a trigger object? Provocation should be avoided. There is a definite difference between talking to the spirits and yelling at them. Yelling is hostile. Don’t provoke! Certainly don’t point a weapon.

Laursen experienced severe stab wounds, so severe, that he was airlifted to another hospital for care. This begs the question: Was this an attempted suicide? Even if he was using the knife as a trigger object and fell on the knife, his wound would not be that severe. Same goes for provocation. Early speculation revolves around attempted suicide.

The paranormal field attracts mentally unstable people. There has been a long discussion regarding mental health instability and exorcisms. Skeptics purport that most, if not all, people who have an exorcism would have benefitted from mental health evaluations. Paranormal experts caution groups to eliminate mental health instability before even suggesting or performing exorcisms.

Coordinators of public investigations need to be careful about attendees’ ulterior motives. They should warn against bringing weapons, flammables, and other potentially dangerous items. Evidence can be gathered safely without any of these amateur tactics.

Ax Murder House

Ax Murder House


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