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More New Orleans Experiences

Sunday, November 23, 2008

You must remember at the period of time I'm recounting here, I am still uncomfortable and mostly just plain scared of whatever ability it is that I have here. That kept in mind, I'll tell you a little more about the way that I experience New Orleans.

It's pretty common knowledge that New Orleans is known for being a mystical and extremely haunted place. The energy there is like no where else I've ever been.

On another trip there, we stayed at the Place D'Armes hotel. Lovely and affordable place where would could walk around the corner to Bourbon Street and see Jackson Square from our balcony (or was it a gallery...?). Perfect location. We got off an exhausting air travel experience tired, hungry and ready to shower, but the universe had other plans for us. At first I was angry, but soon saw the purpose. We had reserved a room on the second floor or the three story hotel, but were told our room was unavailable and they were preparing us a room on the first floor. They held our luggage and recommended we walk around and get something to eat in the mean time. I was not thrilled about wandering aimlessly tired and smelly from travel, but we had to do what we had to do. An hour or so later, we were once again apologized to, promised a different room now on the third floor, and turned away for another hour or two while our room was being prepared. They were very pleasant and monetarily made it up to us, but I was tired and wanted a shower. We wandered a bit down the halls of the first floor while waiting. I remember telling him that something tragic had happened in this building. The energy was sad and thick. I was hoping the entire building was not this way! Finally, we did get our room on the third floor. We found it odd, though, that the elevator doors would open at the second floor every time we went up or down. At least, every time I was on board it did. Later on, we found out I was the necessary component for the elevator doors to open at the second floor spontaneously. There was never anyone there waiting to get on. It was pretty confounding. Until....(drumroll, please) yes, again, a Haunted History Tour. We learned that our hotel was a site of a large fire (which in New Orleans, seems like every building was the site of The Great Fire). The building used to be a boarding school for boys and they all slept on the second floor. They say that when a sensitive person is on the elevator, the doors will open at the second floor as they are still trying to escape the inferno. Ugh!

I am grateful that I did not have to lodge on the first, and especially not the second floor of the hotel. The third floor was relatively calm and in retrospect, the hassle was worth what I didn't have to endure on either of the other floors for a week long stay.

On another night of walking the city streets, we passed an alley. Not uncommon. Ton of them there in between the buildings. But this one in particular made me almost cross the street to avoid it. I could not believe the intensity that this one area held and transferred to me. It was nauseating and my heart was racing. I felt like I needed to run away, and fast. But logically, there was no reason to run or even cross the street. So trying to avoid the crazy, I simply moved as far away from the alley as I could, and still remain on the sidewalk, as we walked past it. And on another Tour, we were headed toward the same alley. Oh, no. Here we go. We found out that this particular alley was used to store the new shipments of slaves brought in to the harbor. This was not a comfy storage, though. They were shackled to large iron rings and stacked on top of each other several stories high. They were left there, dead or alive, for days, even weeks. I cannot even imagine what that must have been like, but I did feel the residual energy and it was horrendous.

I would love to go back to New Orleans in the frame of mind I'm in now. With my level of acceptance, willingness and fearlessness in hand. It could be an entirely different experience. One thing I'm certain of though, is that is will still feel like home.

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The Next Mile Marker

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Life went on and I kept the majority of my experiences to myself. In retrospect, it is odd that I never considered that maybe I was going crazy or had some sort of mental illness. I just knew that what I was experiencing was real, and that most people just didn't (and don't) understand it. Although, I dare say most crazy people don't know they're crazy, right? So what's the difference....

I'd say the next huge mile marker in my acceptance was my first trip to New Orleans. I went in late October (btw, if you haven't been in New Orleans around Halloween, it's a must!) with my, then boyfriend/now husband. I had told him of experiences and he placated me, smiled and nodded and secretly just accepted that it was a crazy quirk about me that he would either accept and/or overlook. This particular trip, however, was the first time I saw the glimmer of maybe-she's-not-completely-crazy in his eyes.

I've been to New Orleans a few times now, and it feels like home to me. The connection is intense and deep. But there are some places, because of the energies attached, that I just simply cannot go. The first time we went, I was newly pregnant for the first time. A few places we'd walk into to eat or just hang out, I would demand to leave, and he was generally annoyed by it. I usually blamed it on a smell or something making me nauseous due to the pregnancy, but most often it was due to a horrible feeling I had about the place itself. I was trying to cut back on the crazy, and the pregnancy was a good excuse.

The light bulb moment for him regarding my skill is forever etched in my memory. We were on a several hour Haunted History walking tour. (My recommendation: When in New Orleans, take every tour you can, they are all amazing). Anyway, about half-way through the tour, we stopped at a pub for a 30 minute break and a drink. No stories were recounted about this location, just a half-way point. Of course, in my condition, I had to pee straight away. I quickly located the woman's bathroom and was grateful for the lack of line. I could barely finish because I began to feel dizzy and light headed. As I was washing my hands, my chest tightened and I became increasingly nauseous. I actually thought I was going to fall to the floor before I could get out of there. I attributed this to morning sickness, or night sickness as the case may be, and after making my way back to the table, I told him I was sick and we had to go back to the hotel. He convinced me to finish up my coke and if at the end of the break I still felt bad, he conceded to take me back to the hotel. However, in just a few short minutes of sitting, I was back to my old self and ready to finish up the tour.

Upon leaving the location and walking a few more blocks, the guide stopped to tell us the story of the pub we had just left. As the case may be, it was indeed haunted, they thought, by the great-grandmother of the current pub owner. She had died of heart failure in the kitchen some years ago. That part of the kitchen is now the woman's bathroom. I remember so clearly the look of startle and confusion as he looked at me. I also felt like he was putting it together that maybe I wasn't all that crazy. Maybe I actually was picking things up.

(more New Orleans experiences to come...)

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Time Out For a Few Recent Experiences Part II

Friday, November 7, 2008

The plan for the evening was to investigate two locations. The main location has been investigated several times and usually we have good results (any results are good when you're ghost hunting though). However, this particular evening was pretty dead (no pun intended). I had only one experience all evening of someone/thing touching my back and giving me a frustrated exhale sound in my left ear. As far as I know, we didn't catch anything on video or audio either. I'll take a step back in time and relay a little story about the previous investigation of this particular site.

We had split into two groups with two team members leading those who purchased tickets for the evenings events. The group I was with was on the second floor preparing for an EVP session in an area well known to have activity of a woman and a ghost cat. The lead investigator grabbed his 2-way radio to let the other group know we were turning off communication via 2-ways to do the EVP session. All participants were in the same room. As he picked up his radio, this god awful painful and animalistic sound came out of all of the radios. We naturally assumed we had some sort of interference with another set of radios, but the sound was terrible and it sparked a 5-10 minute discussion of what the sound was. After ideas were thrown about, we decided we would probably never know what the sound actually was and decided to move on with the session. Radios off. Everyone silent. The the lead investigator hit record on the digital recorder. We asked a lot of questions hoping to come up with some irrefutable proof of communication from a ghost. Well, ask and you shall receive, right? What we caught was not in reply to any of our questions asked of the spirit during the session, but an answer to the burning question, "what was that sound coming out of the 2-way radios?" Here's what we caught:

It clearly is saying, "Cat. It's the cat." This answer came as soon as the recorder was turned on before any questions were asked. I was in the room when we caught this. No one in that room said a word. The investigative team was excited beyond words. As a paranormal investigator, you may listen to hours and hours of audio and never hear anything. So it makes all of those mundane hours worth it when you catch something like this.

But back to the evening at hand, Halloween Night. Like I said before, the main location was very quiet and uneventful, so we decided to head across the alley to the second location. In previous years, during the ghost tours, this location has held several personal accounts of employees past and present, but the tour takers generally only got to experience the retelling of the stories. For some reason, this year was different though. Many tour groups throughout the two months had heard loud banging sounds and heavy footsteps on the second floor. This is why we chose this as a second investigation location. Now, if you ask the ticket holders, they would probably tell you that location was quiet as well, but a few of us had an amazing experience.

As one of the tour guides had the entire group gathered around a table telling them the history and personal experience stories of the building, I became aware of a man standing in the doorway that led to the only set of stairs up to the second floor. This time I did not actually see him with my eyes, I just knew he was there. And being reluctant to accept this ability I have, I cannot tell you how I knew he was there. I just did. It's something we're both going to have to accept. As I walked towards him, he backed up and went back around the corner and stood there. I waited a few minutes and then proceeded to step toward him again. This time as I rounded the corner, he moved up to the first landing of the stairs. I had attracted the attention of another fellow tour guide and explained my sense to him. Then the lead investigator came to me with his night shot camera in hand and recommended that just the two of us go upstairs and check it out before the crowd. I agreed. I think he has much more faith in my ability than I do, but I was game. I wanted the practice. So with camera, flashlights, and 2 digital recorders in hand, we started up the stairs out of sight of the rest of the group. I told him the man was very apprehensive of us coming towards him and we needed to move slowly as to not run him off. It took us several minutes of slow moving to get to the second floor. As we were making the slow and steady climb, the group out front, I found out later, had heard footsteps moving quickly across the ceiling deeper into the second floor. Naturally, they assumed it was the two of us. But we were not even up there yet. When we did enter the second floor, I knew he was hiding in the far corner. Later I found out that is the exact location of where the footsteps heard were headed. (I love a little validation).

The only way I can explain the communication I had with this entity from here on out is by emotion transfer. I did not see or actually hear him like I do sometimes, I just knew by how I was feeling what was going on for him. So I sat in the middle of the floor and told him I would not be coming any closer to him and he could come to me without fear. Then I knew he would not come any closer unless our lights were out. So, we went dark. And when I say dark, I mean very dark. There is not a crack of light up there as there are no windows, only concrete walls. I felt him relaxing and beginning to come near us. As he was coming closer, my partner's digital recorders battery drained and cut off. He was using it as an energy source, I believe, for what happened next. I began to get uncomfortably cold. I was shivering, but had an overwhelming feeling of happiness. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was smiling from ear to ear, just from the emotion transfer. Then he ran his hand from the top of my head down to my shoulder following my hair. I felt like I had just made a friend.

We stayed for a few minutes to explain to him what we were doing there and that several more people would be coming up there a few at a time to meet him. My partner had also experienced the sharp temperature shift and on the way down the stairs, also felt himself touched on the back. As the groups went up, no one had any experiences with him at all. My partner believed he had cut and ran from the influx of people in his space that is generally undisturbed for the majority of the time.

But the two tour guides that hadn't been up there yet were undeterred by the lack of activity. They asked if I would join them again upstairs and felt we may have better luck because they were familiar to him and I had just had some communication. I said sure, why not?

When we made our way back upstairs, I simply sat down in the previous location and turned off the lights we had and announced my presence and my intentions. It was almost immediate when I felt him return to me. I could tell you my account of the events, but I like the way the other tour guides describe their experience of that night, so I'll let them tell you their version and say I agree with their accounts:

Suddenly Jamie put her hand out in front of her and said "He's right here, do you feel him?" I put my hand where she indicated and at first didn't feel anything and then I believe I felt a very distinct temperature difference - then he moved - he seems to be extremely shy or elusive - he moved over to Jamie's right - then directly behind her. She told me to put my hand behind her head and see if I felt anything.

The experience I am about to tell you about is one I am still trying to process in my mind. I have had some pretty unbelievable experiences during my adventurous life, and this one ranks right up there at or near the top. I also believe that I am of relatively sound mind and have a pretty good grip on reality. I am aware of the power of suggestion and believe I can detect the difference in most cases. There have been times when I have questioned some experiences as being just that, was my mind playing tricks on me or were some of those experiences real?

This experience I believe was 100% real. As I placed my hand behind Jamie I got a very distinct sensation in my hand as I put my hand in that spot. I could feel the difference by pulling my hand out and putting it back. This is hard to describe, but it was a sort of shimmery, very mild tingly, pulsing electrical charge. Not at all unpleasant - not the sort of tingling when your hand "goes to sleep". I was hyper aware and sitting there in complete awe. I could very distinctly feel the energy in a defined area. Then Jamie asked "him" if it was OK for Farley to experience him. Farley then asked his permission and placed his hand right next to mine. The sensation I was experiencing was then confirmed by Farley, who described the very same feeling - he then said it was almost, but not quite like the sensation you get when you stick your tongue on a nine-volt battery. I pulled my hand away to give Farley the space and the sensation left my hand - I then put my hand back next to Farley's and the sensation was back. We were almost giddy at that point - words just do not explain that feeling. We just sat there experiencing the sensation. Then
Jamie told him that we were going to leave and would take everyone with us. We thanked him and left.

Now for Farley's account of the same experience:

...thus when i put my hand into the area, i immediately felt the tingle, shimmeryness... little electric pulses in the ends of my fingers... very light, very pleasant, in retrospect, think the 9-volt on the tongue but at half of the intensity.. very light....

it was then that i described what it felt like and barbara confirmed that she had experienced the same pulses.... the same physical sensation...

just to clarify... barbara gave no description of what she physically felt other than she was experiencing something.... didn't want anyone to think that power of suggestion had influenced what i physically felt in terms of the shimmery tingleness (the best -unfortunately- set of words i can come up with to describe it.)...

This particular experience was important to me because it was the first time I feel like I used this ability and had complete control over it. I called him to me and really listened to him. Up until that point, I had always "accidentally" had experiences with ghosts and usually had fear about me as I did. This time the fear was absent and the experience was purposeful. I am grateful that I was able to facilitate an experience for my friends as well. I learned a lot that evening about what I can do and that fear simply isn't necessary. To my friends that were with me when I learned this very important lesson, I thank you.

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Time Out For a Few Recent Experiences Part I

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm taking a break from the history of my journey to chronicle a few recent experiences I have had.

I am involved in a local Ghost Tour organization where the funds raised go towards revitalizing my small and very haunted hometown. We have a pretty amazing history here and actually have the only working Main Street left in the country where active railroad tracks still run straight down the center of the road. People from out of town freak out a little the first time you drive them on the tracks, not just across them. Although, 35 very slow trains every day essentially stopping the city for 10-15 minutes each does get a little old. I have to keep reminding myself it's a one of a kind thing to appreciate, especially when I'm late getting to my destination. But I do like being involved in events that help restore and preserve our small community and it's buildings.

This year, we not only did three nights a week of walking tours through the city for the two months preceding Halloween, but also did The Great Ghost Steak Outs. This entailed, for the ticket buyer, dinner and an investigation of a haunted location with a local paranormal research team. The Steak Out on Halloween was a special one as it was from dinner to breakfast and at two separate locations. Big night! I was excited!

The day before Halloween, I was alone working on putting away laundry and reorganizing my son's clothing. For this I required use of my digital labelmaker. I was the last person to use the device (I checked) and if you own one of these, you know it will hold the last word or phrase typed into it until the next typed word or phrase. The last time I used it was also for the purpose of sorting clothes, so I expected it to read something like "pajamas" or maybe "socks". Imagine my startle when I turned it on and read "we are coming soonn". Yes, spelled with two "n"s. WTF? Seriously, I set it down and left the house to sit on the trunk of my car. You see, unexplainable things happen in my house all the time. Daily, in fact. Such as spoons bending, cups flying across the room, things disappearing and turning up in odd places. These things sometimes confound me, but usually don't scare me. The feeling I got in my gut when I read that message was terrible. I was genuinely scared. I didn't know why. I just was. I regained logic for a moment and called my husband, just to verify he wasn't screwing with me. He said he hadn't touched it. His exact response was, "So, are you ready to move now?". Then my next call was to my friend on the paranormal research team to see what he thought about it. He recommended I talk to the group clairvoyant tomorrow night when I saw her at the Steak Out. I have met this woman a handful of times, but do not know her well. I do trust her ability though, as she has proven her skill to me ten fold in the past. I agreed to talk to her about it to gain her insight on the message since I had none.

When I arrived, a little late, to the Steak Out, the group was finishing up dinner. So I took the opportunity to pull her aside to speak to her. My friend had already apprised her of my situation a few minutes before my arrival. What she told me freaked me out even more on one level, but on another made me feel much better. That message was not for me at all. It was obviously for her. She proceeded to tell me of a "dream" she had the night before where she ended up channeling someone/thing that used that exact phrase of "we are coming soon" a number of times. This being didn't sound pleasant in her recall, so I am glad the message wasn't for me! But seriously, what am I now? A psychic secretary? Not in my job description. I was concerned that whatever sent the message obviously knew I would be using my labelmaker just in time to get the message to her the next day. I feel "watched" all of the sudden. By someone/thing other than the usual suspects that are always here at my house. We left it that I would just contact her if anything else popped up, but we feel it was a one time thing because I was going to see her the next day. I see her rarely, so hopefully I will not be taking messages for her any longer. Or if I do become the Psychic Secretary, the messages will be of a less threatening nature from here on out.

Now, on to the events of the actual investigation....(that's Part II)

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