Paranormal Research: adapting to intimidating apparatus & grasping a new gizmo.

I’ve been a busy beginner-paranormalist these last couple of days. On Sunday afternoon, I gathered my ghost investigation equipment before heading out to Anoka’s Oakwood Cemetery. There, I practiced using all of my tools … except the digital voice recorder – which I forgot I had with me. The laser thermometer and the EMF meter are simple, seemingly foolproof, tools; I didn’t spend much time fussing with them during this dry run. I concentrated, instead, on overcoming my fear of my husband’s expensive camera. Once I tamed that, learning my son’s cheap digital video camera was a cinch.

Yes, I enjoyed spending the afternoon wandering the graveyard. No, nothing even vaguely paranormal occurred.

On Sunday night, I figured out how to transfer all the digital data I’d collected to the computer … and how to organize it in a way that makes sense to me. I went to bed pondering what I could do with it.

I spent the daylight hours of Monday learning Twitter … well, getting started in Twitter – I’m sure I have much more to learn. Tweet me: @RRudeParanormal, if you are so inclined 🙂

Monday evening, I settled in at the computer with a program called Windows Live Movie Maker. Determined to figure out how to make a slideshow, I took a deep breath and dived in. Seven hours later, I surfaced with this one minute and forty-seven second “movie”.

Yep, it has a typo. I would like to fine-tune the title. And there are a couple of time adjustments I’d like to make. (I don’t know how I failed to notice those problems in any one of the dozens of times I reviewed and tweaked the damn thing before hitting save – but I did.) I am, however, valiantly resisting the urge to go back in to make the fixes. Sometimes it’s best to just let. it. go. I am going to have to be very careful – I can’t afford to spend too many hours playing with this wonderful new toy if I intend to maintain a healthy writing practice.

Still, I can’t wait to go get more footage (maybe even of something interesting) so I can make better, stronger, longer movies.


Zombies at the dog park.

A well-worn path runs around the circumference of the five-plus acre dog park we visit on Thursdays. From the  dog-lock (double gate), my boxer-cross sighted his kind at the north end of the park. I unsnapped his leash and released him from his impatient heel. His paws kicked up a low cloud of gravel dust as he raced toward them. The pack he joined was ranging over the tussocks and slopes that bordered the path but, from my vantage point, I could see they never left the orbit of the cluster of owners who were trudging anti-clockwise around the perimeter of the park.

At first, I hurried along in my dog’s wake, trying to catch up to the cluster. The biting north wind stole my breath. When I paused to tug the hood of my sweatshirt from under my coat collar, a radical thought struck me: I didn’t have to follow the path. I could instead cut across the frozen but snow-less meadow, and meet the group after they swung southward again.

The dogs noticed me immediately, of course. For just a heartbeat, I swear, they considered. Then – led by my dog and a sleek German Shepard – they came leaping into the un-trampled grass. Even the smallest dog – a beagle I think – plunged in. He bayed as he chased his long-legged companions.

The canines didn’t come to me. They investigated an iced-over puddle, a prickly-looking bush and a big stick – which inspired an enthusiastic game of keep away.

Not a single human left the path.

It wasn’t long before the calling and whistling began. One by one, the dogs returned to their owners. Having crossed the meadow, I fell into line with my dog.

Tonight, I’m wondering why I did that.

This photo was actually taken the night our very good, very strong, dog learned to pull a sled.


Patience Worth brings a whole new meaning to ghost writing.

I just finished reading Into the Shadows – America’s Unsolved Mysteries and Tales of the Unexpected, by Troy Taylor. As a veteran reader of books on the paranormal, I can say this collection of stories is the best I’ve discovered. Often the actual writing in such books is barely tolerable, but Mr. Taylor’s work is clean, his voice is personable, and his tone is not overwrought. One story, in particular, fascinated me.

Original ouija board

In Missouri, in 1913, a childless, 30 year old housewife named Pearl Curren regularly met for afternoon tea with her mother and a neighbor. On July 18th the women decided to experiment with a Ouija board – a gadget that was all the rage in the spiritualism-friendly era. A presence which introduced itself as Patience Worth came through. Over the next weeks, Patience showed a particular affinity for Pearl. Eventually, Pearl was able to dispense with the slow Ouija board, and simply recite and/or write that which Patience wanted to share.

And Patience wanted to share a lot – over the course of the next twenty-five years, she dictated personal communications, essays, a play, several novels and over 5,000 poems. Much of her work was critically acclaimed.

*Lullaby – Patience Worth

Dream, dream thou flesh of me!
Dream thou next my breast.
Dream, dream and coax the stars
To light thee at thy rest.

Sleep, sleep, thou breath of Him
Who watcheth thee and me.
Dream, dream and dreaming,
Coax that He shall see.

Rest, rest thou fairy form
That presseth soft my breat.
Rest, rest and nestle warm,
And rest and rest and rest.

The story becomes particularly interesting when the pre-Patience life of Pearl Curren is examined. By all accounts, she was an “indifferent student”, with no particular knowledge of history nor attraction to spiritualism or writing.

Of course I’ve been all over the web, but I would say the best source for more information and further details is over at Smithsonian.com.

By the way, I would never touch a Oujia board. I hesitated to even post a picture. ‘Too many horror novels & movies for me, I guess.

*I found the text of this poem at Google Books. It was in the public domain title Antholgy of magazine verse.