Tuesday, April 26, 2011

MSSPI Newsletter Focuses on Mississippi Haunted Sites!

We are very pleased to announce that our good friends and colleagues at MSSPI have just published their first edition of their newsletter Mississippi Paranormal Times.

Editors (and MSSPI co-founders) Angela Burke and Shelly Beard have done a masterful job with it, and we encourage all of you to check it out, subscribe to it and post it in your "Favorites" folder.  There is a sign-up link on the site!  


The featured article in April's inaugural edition is by our own NAPS Team Leader Mike Chapman and focuses on haunted King's Tavern in Natchez. 

Natchez Area Paranormal Society & Mississippi Society of Paranormal Investigators
Because of friendships, mutual respect, and similar approaches to paranormal investigation, NAPS and MSSPI work closely with one another and communicate on a very regular basis.  MSSPI is basically considered our "sister" team, and we consult with one another regularly on cases, team building, and public relations/education.  Mike (of NAPS) and Shelly (of MSSPI) are both Area Representatives in the State of Mississippi and in Central Louisiana for the American Ghost Society, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and led by Troy Taylor.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

NAPS Meeting: Eric Glatzer Gives Awesome Talk!

Photo at Left:  Guest-Speaker Eric Glatzer goes over details of the history of The Cedars and The Ghost of the White Lady with NAPS Case Manager Kim Frith during Friday's meeting, which took place at the very haunted Old Adams County Jail.  Just above their heads is the trap door through which several dozen men dropped while being executed by hanging.

Members and investigators of the Natchez Area Paranormal Society got a double treat during Friday night's meeting: they got to hear Eric Glatzer speak about his many experiences with ghosts in the Natchez Area, but also got to do so in the spooky Old Adams County Jail.  We held our meeting in what is now the Conference Room, right underneath the hangman's trap door where the bodies used to swing after the trap was sprung!  This was definitely one of the best meetings we've enjoyed as a paranormal group, and Eric did a fantastic job with a very interesting talk and presented a fascinating paranormal case.

After gathering in the Civil Defense offices where we normally meet, Mike offered the option of moving up to the Old County Jail just next door.  The Old Jail is considered by some to be the most haunted site in Natchez.  Everyone eagerly agreed, so we moved up there and had our meeting, one of the best attended meetings we've had.  NAPS Member Laura Newkirk was also able to attend, who is in town from Dallas, Texas.  Laura owns Benbrook House in Natchez, which we investigated last fall.

We discussed current cases, both public and private, and went over tasks that need to be completed on each.  Dues are all paid up by every active investigator (thanks gang!), and we are currently doing reasonably well financially, despite money draining trips to out of town cases.  Mike displayed the newest equipment to arrive, the MEL ATDD, and showed off some of its functions.  Then we introduced guest speaker Eric Glatzer.

Eric told us much of his background and how he came to move to Natchez from New York.  He then began to share how he had his own very intense paranormal experience at The Cedars Plantation in Church Hill, Mississippi, which is just north of Natchez on Hwy 553 off of the Natchez Trace.  Eric told us how he had an interactive experience one night with a full apparition of a lady in white, while a guest staying on the second floor of the house.  Eric said that once he swallowed his heart, which had risen in his throat, he spoke to it and that she "turned and glared at me as if to say how dare you speak to me!"  Eric said she then turned and vanished!  That event got him on the road to searching for the paranormal and ghost stories. Now he is one of the most knowledgeable people in our area regarding haunted sites and ghost tales. 

Eric also shared some of his research and history of The Cedars, by bringing a couple of volumes of printed material, including the diary of a former owner of the house, which mentions a ghost.  Eric recounted the stories of others who have seen the White Lady.  Eric himself described her as in her mid-twenties, dressed in formal attire that would be very old, but that when he saw her ghost, "the very lower part of her body wasn't fully formed - like I couldn't see her lower leg area."  All of us enjoyed asking Eric questions and having great fun discussing many aspects of the haunting at The Cedars, as well as general ghost hunting types of issues.  He asked us about how we conduct investigations, and we had fun answering his questions also.  Afterwards, we all grabbed equipment and went about the Old Jail investigating and looking for ghosts.  Yes, believe it or not! several of our investigators had encounters, including touches, seeing a mist and feeling strong sensations, including Eric, who said he sensed a feeling of overwhelming emptiness and hopelessness being transmitted in the cell areas. This sensation is often felt there, and we feel is more than simply feeling psychologically empathetic with those incarcerated in the jail, many perhaps unjustly.

Photo at Left: NAPS Affiliated Member Laura Newkirk and Guest-Speaker Eric Glatzer examine some of the cells at the Old County Jail at our meeting Friday night.

Eric and NAPS also discussed and tentatively planned a joint field investigation with all of our field equipment at The Cedars to search for the ghost of The White Lady (and others).  Eric, a professional videographer for television, will video-record the investigation which hopefully will take place in late summer of this year.  Thanks Eric for a truly fantastic evening!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Demonology Studies: The Rite - Book & Movie

Last fall I purchased, read and studied (twice) a book that I found to be very helpful in my always continuing demonology studies.  It is entitled The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, and was written by Matt Baglio. It is a book I recommend to anyone wishing to further their studies in this field. 

Prayer; the spiritual disciplines; scripture memorization; constantly reading and studying the Bible; reading and studying books and articles by exorcists and demonologists; talking and working with leading people in the field such as Keith Johnson and Bishop James Long; and my own field experiences in demonic cases are all a part of what I do to learn and grow, so I can be effective for those who reach out for my help. My team and prayer support group is a constant source of learning for me also, as we sharpen one another as "iron sharpens iron." My main purpose and energy however, is simply to practice my faith and grow stronger the tie that exists between Christ the Lord and myself.  There comes a balance that must be found in this work, between being and doing.  Faith, strong faith, is the key to confronting the evil one.  It is a struggle between good and evil in which knowledge, truth, and power are manifested in many kinds of encounters.  It is truly a humbling, challenging, and utterly exhausting work.  It is mind and soul bending, it is weighty, but yet it is thoroughly rewarding.  It is indeed, a calling.  He bids select ones of us to come take our place in the battle line, this cosmic battle of good and evil.

In The Rite, the book, Baglio accompanied Father Gary Thomas to Rome and had full access to him as Father Gary trained in the rite of exorcism.  Father Jose Antonio Fortea, whose books I also have studied, called The Rite "one of the best books ever written on the topic of exorcism.  I have read very few books that give a description as appropriate, as precise, or as detailed."

Now, The Rite has been made into a movie, starring Academy Award winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins. The movie takes a bit of artistic license, but in many ways stays true to the book.  It was released early this year, and is set to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 17, 2011.   Recently Father Gary Thomas, the priest whose experiences the movie is loosed based upon, commented on the movie.

Photo on Left: The real Father Gary Thomas, who is with Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga, California.

In an interview with CNA on Jan. 19, Fr. Thomas – who currently serves as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga, California –  explained that he served as a consultant for the film,  particularly the scenes featuring exorcisms.  For a week in June last year, he said he was on the movie set working with cast members and producers. The priest added that “to their credit,” the directors and producers wanted the exorcism scenes to be as accurate as possible. “The environment of that movie set was very reverential towards the Church,” Fr. Thomas said. “The producer and the director and the cast whom I worked with at the time were very open.” Fr. Thomas said he recently saw a screening of the film alongside Anthony Hopkins at a New Line Cinema studio in Los Angeles.

In his words, the movie has a “loose” basis in Baglio's book. One discrepancy Fr. Thomas pointed out was that he went to Rome as a 50-year-old seasoned priest with a desire to learn more about the rite of exorcism  – hardly a cynical seminarian in the midst of a faith crisis. Despite the differences, however, he called the film “very good.” “The human side of the priesthood is very well developed,” he said, adding that the portrayal of “the institutional Church comes out very positively.” Fr. Thomas said that given the reality of the subject matter, the experience was very powerful and even frightening for many involved in the movie. He said that Hopkins, a professed Christian, and O'Donoghue – a practicing Catholic who serves as a lector at his parish in Dublin – “very much” believe in the existence of evil and feared possible demonic attacks as a result of working on the film. “The producer and the two key actors all asked me privately if they could be attacked by doing this movie,” he said. “I said, I can't absolutely say yes or no – which lead me to say  'possibly.'”  “I do think that a person can get attacked, and I don't know if they did but they were afraid,” he said. “I just tried to reassure them.”

Fr. Thomas also said that the intensely eery trailers for the film are “deceptive” in the sense that they make it look like a “horror movie,” which he says is inaccurate. “There's some very riveting scenes – I wouldn't say they're scary, but they're a little startling.” Ultimately, however, “this is a movie about faith,” said Fr. Thomas. “People are going to be very surprised.”

It's certainly refreshing in an age where many (most?) Americans have lost their understanding of true evil as personal beings (Satan and fallen angels), to discover that Hopkins and O'Donoghue are traditional Christians.  A great read on that unfortunate reality is Andrew Delbanco's The Death of Satan: How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil.  To see the official trailer of the movie The Rite, click here:  THE RITE:  TRAILER

Monday, April 4, 2011

NAPS TEAM MEETING: Friday, April 8 with Special Guest-Speaker Eric Glatzer

Our next Team Meeting will be Friday, April 8, at the Civil Defense Offices on State Street.  Eric Glatzer will be our special guest speaker, and will be telling us the story of "The White Lady of The Cedars" which is about The Cedars Plantation at Church Hill.  Meeting starts at 7:00PM.  Don't miss this one! 

It's possible that we may be part of a video'd ghost hunt at this location.  As you all know, Eric is an excellent filmographer and has done numerous video stories in and around our area.  Guests are welcome!