Ghostly News – 22 Jan 2016

Ghosts are in the headlines again, ranging from new discoveries to well-loved folklore.

First, for those who love creepy “haunted doll” stories, this is an interesting overview of the subject:

In Honor of ‘The Boy’, an Unsettling History of Haunted Dolls in Movies

19 Jan 2016, by Emily Gaudette

“The trailer for The Boy teaches you a lot about a movie theater audience. Some people squirm, some laugh, some look like they’re being tickled with razor blades. Haunted dolls freak people out. This is presumably why people make movies about them.

“Historically, audience have reacted to haunted dolls with a bemused, concerned ‘Oh God!’ because the trope is both funny and disturbing. While the haunted dolls of horror cinema began as effective twists on childish images — in 1963, Talky Tina’s debut on The Twilight Zone stunned viewers — they now occupy a different space in the horror canon. What was once shocking is now laughably cliche, and making a haunted doll feel unique, not to mention scary, is a difficult feat.”

Read more at Inverse.com…

Next, for fans of classic ghost stories and haunted lore, the “Great Shippe” is a well-documented tale.

The Great ‘ghost’ Shippe sets its mysterious sights on New Haven

21 Jan 2016, Fox61

NEW HAVEN–One of the oldest tales in the history of Connecticut’s former colonies is that of the Great Shippe.

It set sail in January 1647 with hopes of a bountiful journey, but its return ended up being much more mysterious than expected.”

Learn more in a video presentation at Fox61.com…

Speaking of ghost stories, I think everyone’s heard some variation of the “ghostly hitchhiker” story. We laugh at it, but — in Japan — it might not be so funny.

Taxi drivers in tsunami disaster zone report ‘ghost passengers’

22 Jan 2016, by Julian Ryall, Tokyo

Taxi drivers working in towns in north-east Japan that were devastated in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami are reporting picking up “ghost passengers”.
At least seven drivers in the coastal town of Ishinomaki, where nearly 6,000 people died after it was battered by tsunami more than 30 feet high, claimed to have encountered phantom fares.

Read more at Telegraph.co.uk…

I’ve investigated at the old hospital in South Pittsburg, Tennessee (USA), and it’s definitely an eerie place. My “gut feeling” is that the grounds are as haunted as the building interior. The site may have many unmarked graves, with related gruesome and tragic tales.

You can explore it yourself, as the following article explains.

Explore Old South Pittsburg Hospital in a Ghost Hunt

16 Jan 2016, Examiner.com

“Folks that enjoy the paranormal activity of old hospitals may have heard of one of the most haunted locations in Tennessee. Located in South Pittsburg, Tennessee the Old South Pittsburg Hospital opened its doors in 1959, and quietly closed in 1998 making way to a larger facility in Jasper, Tennessee. Ghost Hunts USA will be hosting a few ghost hunting overnight events in January and February 2016…

“The history of the land the hospital is built on may contribute to the haunting. During the Civil War, many soldiers from the Union and the Confederate are buried in the city cemetery. Early in the 1920’s there was a tragic fire to a plantation that once stood on the property. During the chaos on that night, seven children lost their lives to the fire…”

Read more at Examiner.com/AXS Entertainment…

Finally, for those seeking new TV shows documenting ghost hunts, several have been announced. The following is just one of them.

Paranormal Lockdown: New Series With Ghost-Hunting Stars Groff and Weidman

15 Jan 2016, by Cindy McLennan

“Destination America’s six-part series PARANORMAL LOCKDOWN, hosted by paranormal all-star Nick Groff and co-hosted by seasoned ghost hunter Katrina Weidman, follows the two as they confine themselves in America’s most terrifying places for an unprecedented 72 hours straight. Living at haunted locations, many of which have never before been seen on television, some being investigated for the first time ever, Groff and Weidman believe that the longer they stay, the more the spirits will communicate with them and the more information they can gather about the unknown.”

Read more at TVSeriesFinale.com…

My thoughts: while 72 hours in a haunted house sounds impressive, I’m pretty sure many Ghost Hunters episodes actually cover nearly as much time. It’s just edited to fit in a one-hour time slot.

Nevertheless, 72 hours straight… I can see benefits and liabilities there.

Yes, if there are any spirits at the site, they may feel more comfortable emerging, once they get used to the investigating team.

However, the lack of sleep — good, normal, sound sleep — could make investigators hypersensitive, or even lead to hallucinations. So, that reduces the reliability of their reactions… but it can also provide extra thrills for the audience.

The show’s credibility will rest on the producer’s decisions, as well as the expertise of the investigators.

That’s the news for now. If you have thoughts about any of these stories, share them in comments, below.

[UK] Ghost Boy Photo Hoax

“Ghost boy” appeared in a widely-publicized photo in late February 2010.

The story was: A British builder took the photo at a school in England that was being demolished. When he reviewed the pictures he took of the demolition process, he saw the image of a little boy in one photo. The builder claimed that the hairs on the back of his neck went up.

The school was Anlaby Primary School, near Hull, East Yorkshire, in the U.K.  Part of the original 1936 building was being demolished.  (The rest of the school is still in use.) The site has long had a reputation for being haunted.

At least two major UK newspapers considered the picture newsworthy, The Sun and the Daily Mail. (Click on the Daily Mail screenshot, below, to see the full-sized image and article.)

Daily Mail news story

However, this photo was a fake… one of many hoaxes we’re seeing online.

This particular photo was created with a 99-cent iPod/iPhone app called Ghost Capture.  The image of the little boy is at the center of the app screenshot below, in the second photo row from the bottom.

iTunes sold this app for 99 cents

This kind of nonsense is among the reasons why I don’t analyze or critique “ghost photos” for readers.

People send me photos all the time; reporters and journalists are especially eager to get me to say that a “ghost picture” is real, when they know it isn’t.  (I’m pretty sure they want us to look gullible or stupid.)

While we want to assure readers when their genuine photo shows an image that they find comforting, we can’t confirm that ghostly images in pictures are really ghosts.

Any photo can be made to look like it has an anomaly.  From 99-cent iPhone apps to Adobe Photoshop, these pictures can look utterly fake or convincing.  Anyone can be fooled.

I’ve said it before: A ghost photo is only as reliable as the expertise and integrity of the person who took it.

If you want to learn how to evaluate ghost photographs, browse my articles on the topic. I don’t know anyone else who’s spent nearly as many years as I have, trying to make sense of “ghost” photos.

Generally, ghost photos don’t show crisp images of people.  At best, the ghostly images are blurry, indistinct, and sometimes difficult to identify unless you know exactly what you’re looking for.  (The same can be said for many EVP recordings.)

Though I’m delighted when I see an eerie image in my own ghost photos, many strange photos can be explained as tricks of the light or something natural, rather than an actual haunting.

It’s smart to rule out the normal explanations, before placing ghost photos online.

[MA] Haunted Salem – Celebrate magazine

Celebrate-article-illusDo you love Halloween?  ? At Hollow Hill, we do!

So, we were especially delighted to see Fiona quoted in the Halloween 2009 issue of Phyllis Hoffman’s “Celebrate” magazine.

Look for “Celebrate” — shown at right — wherever you buy magazines.

“Celebrate” is similar to Martha Stewart’s magazine, but with a wider range of activities… and far easier projects to make on your own.

The Halloween issue lists some of America’s best, haunted locations, including Salem (Massachusetts) on page 35.  There, you’ll see why Fiona recommends Salem for ghost hunting, and especially the Salem Inn (investigated during GhoStock 7) for a memorable night in a wonderfully haunted B&B.

The magazine also recommends some of Fiona’s other favorite haunts, including the Hotel Monteleone and Brennan’s superb restaurant, both in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Whether you’re staying at home for Halloween, hosting a party, or going out for ghostly adventures, we know you’ll enjoy this magazine.  Look for it at your grocery store or public library, or order it from the publisher, linked below.

Official “Celebrate” magazine website: Hoffman Media