Article: Good Olde Fashioned Ghost Story

GEORGIE_(6)_edited-1Halloween  is just around the corner, nights are getting chilly and morning frost coats the ground.   Each year millions of children (young and old) prepare their costumes for a night of fun, scares and treats.  But even in this age of sterile technology one has to ask, are ghosts real?  Are the things we experience really the paranormal reaching out to us or is it our imaginations. Those  that know me know that Halloween is my holiday and I am an unofficial expert on horror literature, comics and films. I have experienced strange things over the years but I can’t say for sure if spirits roam the earth or not. So I found a couple locals that can officially give us the 411 on world beyond.  I was lucky enough to interview Marc Arvilla and Shadrai, members of the MGH and SPINE organizations to maybe get an inside perspective.  Links to their websites will be at the end of the article. Turn the lights out, get under a blanket, and read below if you dare!!!  😉

UR: Who is MGH and Marc Arvilla?  When did you have
your first experience with Ghosts or the Paranormal?

MGH: MGHPS or (Mass Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society) was founded last year by me. We comprise of the following team members:  Lauren Sheridan, Aimee Favazza, Jay Favazza, Mary Lou Favazza, and Mike Galante.  We came together as a group of friends with an interest and basic knowledge of the paranormal and after putting our skills to the test (and doing a heck of a lot of research) we decided to start our own paranormal group. Fast forward and here we are almost 2 years later and we have helped dozens of families and businesses understand their paranormal incidents and what haunts them (or doesn’t).  A little about me. I personally had some experiences as a child. One incident that sticks out in my mind was an instance where I was home alone, with my dog, and we were watching tv. It was winter so there were no windows or doors open in the house. My
parents bedroom door slammed shut and scared the life out of me. Being a child
my parents told me it was nothing and had no explanation for me. As time went
on I would see things here and there and then it all stopped. Now, later in
life, I have had some more things happen that I could not explain and that
sparked the interest to discover what we have been conditioned to believe does
not exist.

UR:  Obviously, this time of year hundreds of thousands flock to Salem MA. Are there ghosts in Salem MA?  Have you experienced anything in Salem – at any time of the year?

MGH: Salem Mass has become sort of the Halloween “mecca” for those who believe in ghouls, goblins, ghosts and witches. Even though most people come for the fun haunted houses and museum tours there is definitely a dark shroud over the city.
I do believe that there is paranormal activity in Salem and yes, I have had my own experiences here. We were allowed access to a historical building for a brief investigation. In the hour and a half that we were there we documented some furniture being dragged on a wooden floor, disembodied voices and a few EVPs (Electronic voice phenomena). I wish I could tell you where it was but they do not want this known for fear of losing some clients.

UR:  What were a couple of your top locations to investigate and what happened there?

MGH:  Although Salem is fun I would have to say that my favorite location to investigate is the Houghton Mansion in North Adams Ma. I have experienced the gauntlet of paranormal activity there. We captured 100’s of EVPs, a full grown man getting pushed to
the ground, shadow figures, full bodied apparitions, disembodied voices, touching, coldHoughtonMansion1 spots and doors have been opened and closed in plain sight. By far one of the most active locations I have been to. Another favorite of mine was Pennhurst Asylum in Penn. Not a lot of activity the night I was there but definitely active…and creepy!

UR: Is there any time you consider best to do an investigation? Time of Day or Year?

MGH: The winter is my favorite time of year to investigate. I feel that the dryer air allows for more static electricity to build up and makes activity increase. This brings me to the most common question asked: “why do you investigate at night?” The answer may surprise you. No, ghosts do not sleep during the day and only come out at night. Investigating at night makes it easier to hear and see things that are “paranormal”. There are less people out and about and there is less light coming in to cast shadows. This makes it much more likely that a “dark mass’ is not someone passing a window and casting a shadow and also the outside chatter from people is greatly reduced making it easier to determine if you have captured and EVP or your neighbor coughing.

UR: Why would someone want to hire a Ghost Hunter or Paranormal Investigator?

MGH: One thing that I would like everyone to understand, if someone picks up the phone and asks for our help, they are at their wits end. Usually they are exhausted, scared and tired of the activity and have no one else to turn to. They are fearful for their safety and that their neighbors will think they are crazy. They want and need our help in understanding what they are seeing, hearing and sometimes feeling. We are here to help people, for FREE and never ever charge a client for our services.

Here is a link to MGHs video and audio captures. Convincing stuff!!:  http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEWXXJGVL3gDO8VKQNIhDVQ/videos

I later asked Shadrai the same questions and I should note now that MGH and SPINE do not know each other nor work together.:

UR: Who is S.P.I.N.E and when did you have your first experience with Ghosts or the Paranormal?

SPINE:  S.P.I.N.E. is short for Shadrai’s Paranormal Investigations of New England. I had formed this group to investigate the paranormal when I moved back from California & West Virginia in 2007 to continue my research into something that has been a passion since very young. I have stock piles of equipment to record and document what others fear or question in an attempt to understand what more to life and death is there. A question that plagues so many. What happens when we pass? This is the main reason I started the group, to help others understand that there is something more out there apart from the physical realm we live in.

Shadrai is a name that was given to me when I was 14, it is a spiritual name. The name means “One who walks in the Shadows” or “Shadow Walker”. I have used this name for business for years, including as a stage name in Hollywood, when I worked as a Tarot/Palm Reader for the Hollywood Stars. I was a personal reader and made many guest appearances for many clubs to promote their businesses, along with being a spiritual healer for many of these famous clients. That was many years ago. I miss those days.

My first experience with the paranormal came very early in life. I had to be about 2 or 3 when my mom moved into an apartment that apparently had some dark history to it. I had befriended a little girl who “lived” in the house, but much to my dismay, no one else could see her. I could, clearly, and she looked like she was just like you or me, unfortunately this scared my mom & family, even the babysitters. She could physically move things, I saw her do it but I guess everyone else could only see things moving or hear mumbled talking. So I guess that could go down as my first experience, even though I thought this was perfectly normal, and not paranormal.

UR: Are there ghosts in Salem MA? What were a couple of your top locations to
investigate and what happened there?

SPINE:  The places I have investigated have been everything from the Whaley House in San Diego, Houdini’s Mansion in Hollywood, Fort William Henry in New York with TAPS, battleships such as U.S.S. Salem and clients homes and even barns, from all over the country. I used to help out on events to tour those interested in the paranormal with TAPS (that show Ghost Hunters on SyFy) and help to educate people about the paranormal and what we as “Ghost Hunters” do. It was an amazing time and I loved meeting all the people who had so many interesting questions and ideas on what the paranormal actually is.

As for your question to Salem, MA, and if there are “ghosts”, yes. There are spirits there and just about everywhere. There are no more ghosts in Salem than there are in any other location around the globe. However, since Salem has a dark history attached to it, and “curses” from the people accused of witchcraft upon this city, taking into account the manner in which they died, making this area prone to hauntings from spirits that have unfinished business to attend to. I do believe the emotions of a person, before death, does have a lot to do with paranormal activity. Some spirits, in my opinion, are angry, confused or do not know that they have passed on. You can also take into account the very earth beneath the location, said to be haunted, since in our research we have found that certain minerals, stones and even water to be a conductor of energy. Somewhat like a battery for paranormal activity. Quartz for example, can power a watch and also paranormal activity. Some activity, however, is residual, meaning it is like a recording of a past event stored up in these quartz foundations for instance, and released back out into the environment replaying an event, noise or even an apparition. These are considered non-intelligent hauntings, meaning you cannot interact with them and are pretty random since we don’t know what causes the energy stored to be released at any given time. Lots of research still needs to be done here. The intelligent hauntings are ones we can interact with and are possibly fueled by something in the environment that stores energy for them to use to be able to be seen heard and have the ability to move things. These are entities, spirits, if you will, the ghosts we can ask questions to and get a response on our recorders. These are the confused or angry ghosts that do interact with us. They actually can manipulate their environment.

As for top locations, I believe that my favorite place was a barn in Maine, that unfortunately was torn down due to the activity the owners had encountered there. This was a very old barn dating into the 1700’s with updates in the 1800’s that was being restored at the time SPINE was called in. We were called in to investigate the construction workers claims that they were being harassed and scared off the job site by something unseen, but not unheard and definitely became physical towards them. They say that renovations can stir up activity and from what I have seen it truly does. The workers there made claims of things being thrown at them, while on the roof they would be hit from inside the building with what they described as a shovel, trying to thump them off the rooftop, and footsteps and voices telling them to leave. We came in to prove that this was NOT happening, but left with quantifiable evidence that indeed it was happening. I had made sure that our team was compromised of skeptics, contractors with the knowledge of old buildings, retired police officers and also believers & psychics. I always broke them into groups of each type to investigate for a more thorough and more compelling investigation. What we brought out of that investigation was some of the best evidence I have ever captured that paranormal activity exists. Upon research of the building and property we had even uncovered lost gravestones that were returned back to the town and bodies reburied properly. The building however was demolished and the wood was sold to contractors who would rebuild elsewhere instead of on the gravesites of early settlers. It does pay to do research while investigating to maybe reacquaint what has been lost for so long and even forgotten.

UR: Is there any time you consider best to do an investigation? Time of Day or Year?

SPINE:  I do have preferences for conducting investigations. Even though activity happens anytime of day or night I find evenings when people are asleep to be the best time to record evidence. The reason behind this is that you have less human interference (the living) to contend with and have to explain on your recorders (a car driving by or people walking around outside or even inside). I do take into account after an interview what time these occurrences the clients are having happen, and try to do a run through of the location at the times they are saying they have activity, in order to figure out what it is that they are experiencing, document and record it and then analyze before an actual full on investigation.

UR: Why would someone want to hire a Ghost Hunter or Paranormal Investigator?

SPINE:  I think that someone would call in a Paranormal Investigator if they are experiencing something out of the ordinary that they cannot explain in the everyday ordinary sciences we have available. Maybe a child is frightened or they themselves are frightened or feel as though they may be losing their mind. They want proof that something is not right in their location or home or maybe want to find out the history of the home so that they feel less uneasy about occupying this space. The one thing I would say about hiring an investigator is to do your research on them. Make sure you are not being asked for money, a group that accepts donations is ok, but not forcibly so. There are no “experts” in this field, no certifications, just people who have a curiosity and want to find a way to scientifically prove and research the existence of spirits or hauntings. Beware of groups who claim to be experts, there are a lot of frauds out there.  Most of the “hunters” spend their own money on equipment and research for better equipment to record ghosts on and do not rely on charging a fee for an investigation. Quite typically the researchers today will set up lectures and events to help purchase this equipment that is used on investigations. The equipment is quite pricey and you also have to take into account that these researchers have day jobs and family, complete with expenses so if you do “hire” an investigator remember that the really good ones will not ask for money but if they have travelled a far distance to reach you, if you have the funds you should at least offer gas money. If you cannot afford to that is ok too, as a rule none of us will turn away someone who is in need of help. We care first about the living and then do our research on the dead. The good groups are out there, you just have to do some research.  I did want to include the fact that I not only rely on my abilities psychically but also scientifically … I tend to not discuss that I can sense things and rely more on equipment to record actual data. I am not ashamed of the fact I can see and sense these phenomena but I do like to be able to prove it with a reputable source such as recorders, cameras, field sensors etc. so ya, don’t want people to doubt me, or think differently of me but do want to back up everything in a way that can undeniably be recorded.

At this time S.P.I.N.E. is on a brief hiatus, so there is no web page available.

MGHs website is http://www.mghparanormalsociety.webs.com

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