"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

GS Question of the Week

Do you believe a zombie apocalypse could actually happen? If so, do you think the world's population is ready for it?

Happy Thanksgiving

Baby Girl Graphics Babies Pictures

I want to wish all my American brethren a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

All-New Fact or Faked

The laws of physics are defied in this all-new sneak peek clip of the next episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. The team is trying to replicate a video from the ’71 mission of Apollo 15 where a hammer and feather are dropped on the moon at the same rate. Clearly this is impossible on Earth, so you’ll have to watch the clip and tune in on Thursday the 2nd at 10/9c on Syfy to find out if they’re able to pull of replicating the original historic mission.

In related news, Syfy has ordered new seasons of Ghost Hunters International and Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files as well as an additional 12 new episodes for the current season of Hollywood Treasure. The second season of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files will begin production in early 2011. Ghost Hunters International will return to conclude its second season with seven all new episodes and team reshuffle with new team member Kris Williams beginning Wednesday January 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM ET/PT. Investigations will include visits to Hamlet's Castle in Denmark, the Castle of Nuremberg, the Huissen House of Horror in the Netherlands and the Petrovaradin Fortress in Serbia. Production on the third season will begin in early 2011.

GS Question of the Week

What are USOs?

Paranormal Community Leadership Award

In the six years I've been maintaining Ghost Stories, I've come across a lot of good people in the paranormal community. Unfortunately, most have since closed up shop. This leads to the recent award that has been passed on to me.

Dinell Holmes from Weekly Spectre created the Paranormal Community Leadership Award to recognize those who genuinely try to benefit this field. No fakes. No frauds or anyone trying to gain some fame and fortune. Just those who are a positive part of the paranormal community. Unfortunately, due to family and time constraints, she's having to say goodbye to Weekly Spectre, but you can still catch her at her other blog Mommy D's Kitchen (highly recommended).

As for this award, I have Courtney from Haunt Jaunts and Jessica from Ghost Stories and Haunted Places to thank. Both deserve this award ten fold. There's not any rules on how many people to pass this along to. Normally, I don't like passing awards along. Not because I don't want to take the time to single out certain people. It's quite opposite. I'm always afraid of leaving someone out and having to go back and add them. In this particular case, most of the ones I know of have already been pointed out by others who have received this award. Below are a few that I don't think have been given this award but should have:

Encounters with the Unexplained
Ghost Hunting Theories
The Debris Field
Phantoms and Monsters
Unexplained Mysteries

Thank you again, Courtney and Jessica! I feel honored in receiving this award.

Flinderation Tunnel

In Salem, West Virginia, sits an old railroad tunnel called Flinderation Tunnel. It's location is not far from the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. The structure itself is about 1,000 ft in length and was built in the 1860s. There are many alleged reasons for its weight in paranormal activity.

One tragedy began with three men working on the tracks inside the tunnel in the 1800s or early 1900s. A train approached them at high speeds and very little warning. One man escaped to a cubbyhole unscathed. Another was supposedly cut in half by the train. And a third was dragged about 75 feet trapped under the train, causing it to derail. He didn't survive.

Another story associated with Flinderation, deals with the infamous KKK. Supposedly, in the mid 1900s, they brought many of their victims to the tunnel. It became a regular lynching spot for them. It was officially "shut down" and the tracks were torn up in the 1990s. Today, it's a part of the North Bend rail trail.

One last story involves the cemetery located on top of the tunnel. On Travel Channel's Ghost Stories, a claim was made that some of the coffins fell through the roof of the tunnel, causing it to be patched on more than one occasion. There were some insinuations that a body may have become caught between the repaired tunnel roof and the cemetery after their coffin fell through. Can't say for sure if there is any truth to it.

The reason for shutting down the tunnel involve people hearing phantom train whistles and seeing the ghost train that continues to "travel" through it. Other reports include unknown lights, phantom mists or fog, footsteps, orbs, growling, screeching,sobbing, sound of metal scraping against metal, voices and various apparitions including that of a little boy and girl who are also often heard talking and giggling.

Happy 6th Blogiversary

Six years ago today, I set up my first blog on AOL Journals. I became motivated to start one after watching numerous specials about ghosts and the paranormal during Halloween. My interests were peeked and I started doing research. I noticed there wasn't a lot of websites that contained straight complete information about certain locations at the time. I had to go to several different sites just to get the overall feel for why the place may be haunted. This led to me setting up a blog on AOL Journals and commenced in writing my first post.

Traditionally, this would be consider a very celebratory event with balloons, cake and maybe a giveaway or two. Unfortunately, I'm knee deep in National Novel Writing Month and catching up on reviews at the moment. Haven't had the time to put on together. So, the celebrations will be put off and converted in to an end of the year kind of thing. More details coming soon. In the meantime...


GS Question of the Week

Do you think possessions are on the rise?

Purgatory Museum

To understand the purpose of a purgatory museum is to understand the concept of purgatory. Purgatory is a halfway point between Heaven and Hell. It's a place for the souls of people who lived good enough lives to avoid eternal damnation, but not good enough to join the angels in Heaven. Prayers by the living can reduce a soul's time in Purgatory.

Relatives offer up prayers or pay for entire masses to be said for the departed. A tormented soul sometimes returns to Earth to ask for help. These visitations were rather common during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The spirit would appear to a relative or friend. Then, reveal it was in torment, and ask for prayers to shorten its time in Purgatory. As proof of its presence, it would touch its burning hand to a nearby object or clothing.

In Rome, a museum has collected these objects for visitors to view. The Piccolo Museo del Purgatorio or the Little Museum of Purgatory is housed in the church of Santo Cuore del Suffragio and dedicated to relieving the souls tortured in Purgatory. The structure is a ten minute walk from the Vatican. Most of the fiery signals date back to the 19th century or earlier. The museum doesn't receive any new objects, not that they need them to believe. One long case against the wall contains objects such as articles of clothing, bibles, prayer books, tabletops, and pillowcases with burn marks that look like they've been made by fiery fingers.

One such object is a slab of wood with an imprint of hand and a cross burned on it. Supposedly, the hand and cross was left on a table by Fr. Panzini, former Abbot Olivetano of Mantua. On November 1, 1731 (All Saints Day), he appeared to Venerable Mother Isabella Fornari, abbess of the Poor Clares of the Monastery of St. Francis in Todi and told her he was suffering in Purgatory. To prove his claim, he touched his flaming hand to her table and etched a burning cross in it too. He also touched her sleeve and left scorches and bloodstains.

The century old museum was the brain child of Victor Jouet, a French priest who traveled to Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, scooping up relics to display in this gothic church on the banks of the Tiber. He was supposedly inspired to build the museum after a fire destroyed a portion of the original Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, leaving behind the scorched image of a face that he believed to be a trapped soul. Jouet died in the museum's only room in 1912, but the museum lives on despite talks of closing it in the 1990s.

All-New Ghost Hunters

In this all new sneak peek clip of the next episode of Ghost Hunters Jason and Grant are at it once again, and the paranormal might be playing games with them. Grant thinks Jason pushes him in the shoulder and Jason is responding to questions Grant isn’t asking. Who or what is pulling these pranks? Is the paranormal trying to communicate? Don’t miss this episode as legendary rocker Meat Loaf rejoins the team for an unforgettable hunt in Alabama at Sloss Furnace. Watch the clip and tune in Wednesday, the 17th at 9/8c only on Syfy.

All-New Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files

In an all-new sneak peek clip of the next episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, the team tries to walk through a video with the man who filmed the unexplained. A scene set among evergreens in the forest causes the man to feel immediate sickness and pressure when coming in contact with an unknown creature. Everything that happens leaves the man lost for logic. Be sure to watch the clip and tune in on Thursday, November 11th at 10/9c on Syfy to see if the team can help make sense of the encounter.

GS Question of the Week

What are flying humanoids?

Murder in the Thumb

From Richard Carson's website:

Murder is an infrequent visitor in the Village of Caro, a community of 4,000 in Michigan's Thumb area.

When Robin Adams disappeared on a steamy August night in 1976 leaving a two-year-old boy
for whom she was babysitting unattended, her friends and family feared the worst.

Her former boyfriend, Melvin Garza, a fiery 19-year-old Mexican-American, had angrily opposed Robin's attempts to break up with him.

Lost amid concern for the missing 17-year-old, who would never have left the little boy alone, was the strange prophesy of a Ouija board. A year or so earlier, the board "said" Robin would die before her 17th birthday.

This was but the beginning of a litany of bizarre of events, some tragic, most lacking logical explanation. Rumors of black magic practiced against a key witness, the extraordinarily accurate predictions of two psychics whom police consulted
combine to create a story with a surprise around every corner.

Add to that, the rarity of a Roman Catholic priest representing an accused killer, the role the little-used one-man grand jury played in the case and the strange behavior of the prime suspect who continued to taunt police as months turned into years with little or no progress in the investigation.

Even after the murder trial that took place nearly eight years after Robin's disappearance, tragedy continued to haunt key figures in the story. Was some form of retribution being sought through practice of the dark arts? Was Melvin Garza plotting revenge from behind prison walls?

Veteran journalist Richard W.Carson, who undertook the book project when no one else would, said he began to feel like a character in a Stephen King novel as his research took one strange turn after another.

Murder in the Thumb, a true-crime book from Marquette Books, provides readers with a riveting account of a small town homicide case in which the predictions of two psychics proved remarkably accurate. Beginning with a Ouija board’s startling prophesy of untimely death followed by evidence of Satanism and black magic, the story suggests dark forces were at work as tragedies, one after another, struck people with ties to the case. See the author’s website at and be sure to click on the video.


In pop culture, we see vampires in various ways. There's the brooding, cursed kind who has a tendency to be a bit obsessive at times. The monsters with pointy ears and long claws who live in castles and steal guy's wives. As of now, they are seen as fast, romanticized and glittery or sleep in coffins and sips synthetic blood from bottles. However in parts of South America, another type of vampire tale is told. People talk of the fearsome Pishtacos, shadowy pale-skinned figures who stalk peasants along dark roads, kill them and drain them of their fat. These stories date back about 400 years. The first mentioning of this creature was by the priest Cristóbal de Molina, a scholar of native languages and Incan culture in 1571. He described natives living around Cuzco wouldn't deliver firewood to a Spanish home for fear of being killed and having their fat used as a remedy for some foreign disease.

The tale of the pishtaco seems to change with each generation. His wardrobe is rather diverse—a belted tunic, a leather jacket, a Franciscan robe, a khaki shirt and matching pants. He supposedly has white skin, although sometimes it's black, and every once in a while he's a mestizo or a full-blooded Indian. For the most part, the pishtaco works at night, stalking his victims on mountain paths, dazzling them with magic powder, and plundering their bodies for tallow and grease. His more classical form has him wearing high boots and a felt hat, with a curved knife and a lasso made of human skin. He's handsome, with green eyes, long hair, and an unkempt beard. The vampire is believed to also present his victims with the back of his hand. His fingers then fall off, one by one, and wriggle like worms in the dirt—a sight so disturbing to mortal men that they become immobilized. Then they're dismembered.

About a year ago, police arrested three suspects operating deep within the jungle highlands of Peru. While searching the area, they made some gruesome discoveries: a pile of human ribs and thighbones, a decomposing human head (the victim's identity was determined), and yes, two plastic Coke bottles filled with what appeared to be human fat. It was believed the gang would confront people along the quiet back roads, lure them to their laboratory with a promise of employment, bludgeon them to death, and dismember them. Then, using candles, render the fat out of the body, capturing it in a basin below. While three were in custody, six more were still at large. Sounds like a story confirming one of South American's worse fears. But if they weren't Pishtacos, why bottle human fat?

The first assumption the police claimed was they were selling the fat to cosmetic companies to be used in anti-aging creams. According to the BBC, the liquid fat went for $15,000 per liter from a pair of Italian Mafiosi serving as intermediaries to the European cosmetics industry. It was to be used for a line of skin softeners. The criminals themselves claimed they were selling it to local shamans to be used in satanic rituals. Inconsistencies in the investigation lead to hints of a cover-up. Could it all have been a hoax?

People were having problems believing in selling human fat on the black market due to its availability leaving no real need for it. The police stated the gang was responsible for the murders of at least 60 people despite only having evidence of one. Three days before the pishtaco arrests were announced, investigative journalist Ricardo Uceda published a startling exposé about a government-sponsored death squad in the northern city of Trujillo. Officers there had engaged in the systematic execution of 46 suspected criminals, he wrote, dating back to 2007. Peru's interior minister, Octavio Salazar use to be in charge of the police unit in Trujillo. The whole story of the alleged Pishtacos had unraveled in a matter of days. In a radio interview, the governor of Huánuco called it "una falsedad más grande que el universo entero" or "The Biggest lie in the Universe."

Is the legend of the Pishtacos true or just stories passed down from one generation to the next? We may never know.

All-new Fact or Faked Sneak Peek

In this all-new episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files the team attempts to replicate a flying object across Skull Canyon. It sounds inviting right? They’re having a tough time making it look like the original where it appears as though someone is in the fetal position, or simply just a dark blob, is just floating through the air. They’ll have to put their heads together to make it truly look authentic to the original. Tune in on Thursday, November 4th at 10/9c only on Syfy to see if they can make it seamless.

GS Question of the Week

Vampires have often been known to drink blood and even energy. But do you think a vampire could sustain his/her life by snacking on human fat?
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