Monday, November 12, 2012

MEMO to NAPS Members & Associates

NAPS will be holding our monthly meeting on Friday, November 23, the day after Thanksgiving. We will meet at 7:00pm, with the meeting location to be announced later.

Skype will be used for those investigators who are out-of-town and available, such as Lauren. Jamie will be snowed under at work, bless her heart! We will be focused upon training at this meeting – first reviewing our investigative methodology and then training on our In-Depth Questionnaire.

We have 11 current investigators with one more, who has been inactive, who may be rejoining us. The focus is developing and plugging-in Case Handlers, who will make initial contacts (responses to) clients and explore their case to see if a field investigation is warranted. We have several ongoing private cases, and we also have potential local public sites that are very interesting.

Guests and interested parties may attend - but please let us know you plan to come so we can meet at a site to accommodate everyone!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

EVENTS for NAPS Team Members

We have two upcoming events, so please check them out and get back with me or Kim on if you plan on being there. Please let us know by 5PM Wednesday, Oct 25. Thanks!

October 31 Halloween Team Dinner and Outing at The Myrtles [Wednesday] We will travel to the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville for supper in the restaurant at 7pm, then wander about on the grounds afterward doing our thing. We have reservations for 9 people at the table - that was their limit. If you'd like to bring guests, we suggest you call yourself to the restaurant and get reservations for your party separately. We have no choice in that, because they limited our reservation to nine people. You don't have to go to supper there, and you can join-in on the investigation outing afterward. Just please let us know what your plans are. If we don't hear from you, we are assuming you are not coming. There will be a lot of people on the grounds because they have a lot of ghost tours during that time. It should be fun. 

November 2-3 Eola Hotel Ghost Hunt with Vicksburg Team [Friday and Saturday] We need help with this event, in which ordinary folks will be coming out to learn and experience a paranormal investigation. It's your opportunity to show others what we do, and also to participate in investigating the Eola Hotel. You do need to understand if you come that you will have some duties, such as taking some people with you and answering their questions and showing them how to do it properly. However, this can be very rewarding and a fun experience. The Eola Hotel is a surprisingly active place!!! I know a couple of you are fairly new to this, so we won't throw you to the wolves! Let us know if you can come both nights, or one of the two. Please let us know by Wednesday as well, if you can! Thanks. Below is a link to this event:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Symbology Lesson: The Eye of Providence


I was sent this photo by a woman who recently visited Natchez with her husband and snapped this photo at the Natchez City Cemetery. She asked about this wrought-iron symbol and what it might be.

The symbol you see depicted in the photo is the "all-seeing-eye." It has many variants in antiquity, including the Eye of Horus/Eye of Ra of the Egyptians. What is pictured here however, is the Masonic Eye of Providence, with the rays of the sun emanating from it. Masonry has other variants of this same theme. Obviously, the person who is buried in this plot was a Mason. 

[Additional Note: Symbology, as a category of study, is extremely interesting. It is one of sixteen categories I study regularly in my own personal regimen of studies. I recommend it highly, both to learn about various symbols and to consider the philosophy/meaning of symbols, and why humans use/need them!]

Friday, October 5, 2012

Proper Equipment: Infrared Temperature Devices

Just a helpful "consumer" warning: 

If you see a paranormal team using a device similar to what is pictured, and you ask them what they are doing and they say, "Measuring the temperature" - then you need to realize they probably don't know what they're doing! 

I'm seeing some teams using this device - it does NOT measure ambient air temperature, it measures the SURFACE TEMPERATURE of whatever it is the infrared laser dot happens to be on. It looks cool but is useless. Ghost hunters need to use ambient air temperature devices, not surface temp ones. We have one of these in case for some ODD reason we need to measure surface temp, but we know what it is for. We have a dozen ambient air temp devices. Apparently many teams haven't a clue...which says a lot about their skill and ability as a serious paranormal investigatory team. 

So many people watch TV shows and think it'd be "cool" to go out and do this...that have no business in the field, at least without the humility of asking a mentor to help them...sigh...

[Yes, I'm saying if you are a team leader and you feel you'd like to be able to contact me and ask questions that would make your team a better team, then yes, I'm available. I'm all for training people that are trying to legitimately help others. Just be ready for me to ask you some questions about your motives and sincerity - or to get you to think about something you need to think about. But I am willing to help you get better.]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ADC's: Crossing the Veil

Many good people hold to the belief that once you die physically, you go to “heaven” (or to hell if you are damned) and that it is impossible to cross-over the divide or through the “veil” and make contact with the humans still living on Earth.

I personally do not hold that belief.

One of the ways I refute this, is what is known as ADC – After Death Communication. Many people, even of the above category, will also say that they personally have experienced a close friend, a parent, a sibling, a cousin, an Aunt or Uncle, or a grandparent who has died (but is still very much alive and well!) and “made contact” with them to let them know that they are okay, and that they are at peace…or they know someone who has had this experience. That, of course, is a crossing-over!

Do you know someone who’s had an ADC?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Strong Christian Themes in Harry Potter

A word about Harry Potter: I am currently engaged in a very rewarding and fascinating study of Christian themes in classic English literature. This includes rereading, studying, and watching where available, all of JRR Tolkien's works (such as the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and the Simarillian); CS Lewis's Tales of Narnia; George MacDonald's Phantases, the Tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and yes...JK Rowling's Harry Potter series of 7 books, as well as all 8 movies. These are ALL chock full of Christian themes that both adults and children of all ages can uses to discuss extremely complex Christian themes - or simple ones. If you doubt that Harry Potter doesn't belong with the others, I'd invite you in the strongest possible terms, to reconsider... because you could not be more wrong! (I'd love to teach a series on Harry Potter and the themes and strong Christian message. They directly refute the worldview of Wiccans and pagans, as well as atheists and materialists.)

Just three references (among many) to read in this regard are: Looking For God in Harry Potter, by John Granger; The Lord of the Hallows, by Denise Roper; and The Gospel According to Harry Potter, by Connie Neal. Please disregard the shreiking by those few hugely mistaken Christians who claim that Harry Potter is "of the devil." My own deep study into the movies and exploring the philosophy and worldview behind the themes and characters is deeping my own understanding of the cosmos, and my relationship with the true and living God. At the same time, I am reading through and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I am struck by the truths that Potterlore is affirming. This all is for your own consideration, especially those of you with children who love the books and have excellent resources in all of these works, including Harry Potter, to teach from about the positives of Christianity, and the dangers of the occult. Happy reading, and watching. By the way, The Hobbit, the first of three movies, is due out this December!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NAPS Presentation to Natchez Garden Club

Attention Team Members and General Public who may be interested in attending:

On Thursday October 11 at 11:30AM, Mike Chapman, Team Leader of the Natchez Area Paranormal Society, will talk to members of the Natchez Garden Club about paranormal investigating, and especially about our investigation into Magnolia Hall last November, which was then aired on Natchez TV. Magnolia Hall is owned by the Natchez Garden Club, and thier officers invited us to speak at their monthly meeting for October.

All Team Members are invited to participate, share their experiences, and help answer questions, especially those who took part in the investigation. We realize it is during the working day however, and most will not be able to come due to work. Any members of the general public who are interested in what NAPS does may also attend. There is no cost involved. Mike will speak shortly after the Club holds a brief business meeting. It will take place in the parlor of Magnolia Hall.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Demonologists Alert: A Must Read Book!

Those interested or engaged in religious demonology should be aware of a set of cogent, relevant books on the topic of spiritual power with regards to dealing with diabolical forces. Clinton A. Arnold, Professor at Talbot School of Theology, has written three outstanding books regarding spiritual warfare. I have all three, and strongly recommend them as part of your study and resource library.

Arnold is particularly an expert with regards to St. Paul's understanding and approach to the diabolical forces that were opposing him, the people he was ministering to and trying to reach. All of us involved in demonology and the study of diabolism (and how to fight it) know how important and central the Ephesian verses are to this field of study, and Arnold breaks them down powerfully in his book Power and Magic: The Concept of Power in Ephesians. What should be noted is that we are still dealing with the same forces and their strategies today. Gnosticism, Dualism, Magical practices, Astrology, Jewish magic (done in the name of King Solomon) and others are still very much alive and well. In addition, he breaks down the study of these demonic forces and powers mentioned by Paul his letter to the Ephesians for us in a way that is understandable and clear, and also gives us ways to stand and resist these forces. Get all three books, and do more than merely read and incorporate them into your worldview and your lifestyle.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Check Out Our Facebook Page!

Natchez Paranormal has a Facebook page that we would love for you to check out, and "Like" so you can keep up with interesting posts, comments, and be much more interactive with us!!!

Go to:  facebook/natchezparanormal

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

King's Tavern in Natchez, Mississippi

King's Tavern at Haunted Natchez: The Truth Revealed
by Mike Chapman

Update: August 15, 2012: This article is a re-post, and originally appeared in this Blog in April 2011. It is being reposted because of Mike's recent appearance in SyFy's Haunted Collector as an expert regarding King's Tavern. People who saw the episode (Ghost Tavern) may be interested in the truth surrounding the Tavern.

Additional Update: April 25, 2013: Very recently, the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures also aired an episode on King's Tavern. Again, producers and researchers consulted extensively with me, used much of our information and research, and failed to give us any credit in the episode for using it...instead, deciding to use other people in the episode who know very little about the site - or who used OUR information in telling the story. That's typical of these television shows, as they are the only ones who wish to be seen as gathering the information. I would say that Ghost Adventures did better than Haunted Collector, but both failed to tell the true story about what is going on, and sensationalized the story in order to maintain their ratings. I did make an appearance in the episode...for a very few seconds. I was the cop who drives up with my blue lights flashing, and is shining my flashlight. Whoop-tee-do. I am currently writing a book about several genuinely haunted sites in Natchez, including King's Tavern, and our actual experiences. The goal is for people, especially locals, to know and understand the truth about real paranormal investigating, and what is true, and NOT true, about many of these sites and what happened there. What people are seeing on TV is mostly fantasy, and is NOT real, or true. The article below will give the reader the basics of what is real, with regards to King's Tavern. The details will be in the book.

From the deep pine forests and hills of north Mississippi to the sun-washed beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi is home to many haunted sites.  I am privileged to have been born and raised in the state’s richest area of haunted locations in the southwest portion of the Magnolia State, in the old river town of Natchez.  Many people don’t know this, but Natchez is the oldest settlement on the Big Muddy, the mighty Mississippi River.  Sitting high atop three-hundred foot loess bluffs overlooking the river, it is older than New Orleans, Vicksburg, Memphis and St. Louis.  First explored by LaSalle around 1682, then settled permanently by the French in 1716 when they built Fort Rosalie des Natchez, the town has been under the flags of no less than five different countries.  Natchez was the home of the Natchez Indians, with three huge villages in full glory when the French began to arrive in force.  The tribe was virtually wiped out by the French after the uprising on November 28, 1729.  Emerald Mound, just outside of Natchez, is the third largest Indian mound in the United States, and was built by the predecessors of the Natchez Indians.  Washington, Mississippi, a small village just outside of Natchez, was Mississippi’s territorial capital and then became the capital of the state of Mississippi before it was eventually moved to Jackson.  Natchez is a terminus of the 444 mile-long Natchez Trace Parkway, with Nashville on the other end.  The Trace served as an overland route of flat-boaters returning north after floating their goods down the rivers to New Orleans. 

As the town “perched on the edge of the frontier” in what was known as the Old Southwest, Natchez has a truly unique history and has seemingly always had a polyglot of citizenry.  Natchez has many interesting periods and subjects in its history, including Indians, French settlers, and immigrants from Germany and Ireland.  Natchez has been home to refugees escaping west from the Revolutionary War, flat-boaters and “Kaintucks” from the Ohio River valley.  We’ve had periods of outlaws and bandits along the Trace, the king-cotton era of plantations and slaves from Africa, the Civil War and Reconstruction era – and all of that is before we even get to the twentieth century!  The twentieth century in Natchez also saw much rich history, with such events as the tragic Rhythm Club fire, the Goat Castle murder, the Old County Jail with its jazz musician hangman, and the establishment of one of the most intriguing and beautiful cemeteries in all of Mississippi.  At one time, Natchez boasted more millionaires than any other city in America except for New York City.  It has been the backdrop of many Hollywood movies, and is truly one of the most unique places in the entire South. 

Today, the spring pilgrimage in Natchez draws visitors from literally all over the world.  These visitors come to tour the dozens and dozens of antebellum (pre-civil war) mansions on display, replete with Spanish moss dangling from the oak trees and hostesses in full costume.  With all due respect to Vicksburg, Natchez is the place to sip on a mint julep, munch on fresh Mississippi grown catfish and hush-puppies, and watch the barges roll by on the Mississippi.  Due to its isolated location, Natchez has always been somewhat estranged and cut-off from the rest of the State.  As a result, Natchez and its citizens have developed its own identity, traveling a path of its own, often not the path chosen by the rest of the State.  It views itself as a very different Mississippi town.  Historian William C. Davis, in his A Way Through the Wilderness which I consider to be by far the best work on Natchez, wrote “In the past four decades (1760-1800, which includes the beginnings of King’s Tavern) Natchez had been French, then British, then Spanish, and now at last American.  No wonder Natcheans felt confused and paid allegiance chiefly to themselves and their own individual interests.”  Most other Mississippians do not realize this sentiment of self-allegiance and uniqueness continues in Natchez to a fair  degree even today. Still, Natchez is not easily accessible and lies off the beaten path.  Natchez is hardly a convenient side-stop located along a major thoroughfare.  It remains almost always a destination unto itself. Samuel Clemens, writer of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, once said of Natchez, “The town of Natchez is beautifully situated on one of those high spots.  The contrast that its bright green hill forms with the dismal line of black forest that stretches on every side, the abundant growth of the pawpaw, palmetto and orange, the copious variety of sweet-scented flowers that flourish there, all make it appear like an oasis in the desert.”

So, with the kind of “ancient” history that began at Natchez long before even the white man came, one can well imagine the potential for haunted sites that must be present here – and in this regard Natchez certainly does not disappoint.  Ghost writer Dr. Alan Brown, of Meridian, recently published his book Haunted Natchez in which he summarizes many of Natchez’ most well-known sites.  In this article, I’d like to focus on the site that many perceive to be the “crown-jewel” of Natchez’ haunted locations and that is King’s Tavern, the oldest structure in Natchez. When one approaches the history of King’s Tavern, whether it is reading its story online or the official historical marker on the grounds of the tavern itself, one is hard-pressed to find factual information.  I would even go so far as to say that it is virtually impossible to find the true history of the tavern unless one digs into the actual archives and records located at the Natchez Historical Society.  We, as the Natchez Area Paranormal Society, did just that.  In October 2010, we launched a full-scale, multi-faceted investigation into King’s Tavern, which culminated in an over-night field investigation with over 10 infrared and full spectrum static cameras and all kinds of sophisticated metering equipment and audio recorders, which occurred on November 27-28.  Much of the historical research was done by me, and P.I.’s Chris Jackson and Summer Stone.  The facts of the origins of the tavern that can be substantiated by historical record are as follows. 

On July 20, 1794, a man named Prosper King petitioned the Spanish governor, who ruled Natchez at the time, for permission to build a house on lot 3 of square 33 - the site where the Tavern now stands.  Almost exactly two years later, on July 21, 1796, the petition was granted to Prosper by the territorial governor Manuel Gayoso de Lemos.  Then, a year and a half later, on January 18, 1798, Prosper sold the property for the mere sum of $50.00 to his brother, Richard King. Whether there was a building on the site at this time is unknown, but in my opinion there was not.  My opinion is based on what follows next in the historical record.  On August 5, 1799, another year and a half after Richard purchased the property; it is recorded in the Minutes of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace (Adams County Courthouse, Adams County Mississippi, p.78) where Richard King was licensed to operate a public house.  It’s fairly obvious to me as someone who has been in construction for most of my life and a licensed building contractor for the state of Mississippi that Richard King bought the property and began building the tavern.  A year and a half later, when it was about completed, he applied for the license in order to open for business.  The tavern was never constructed or intended to be a private residence.  We know this.  It’s also elementary to see this from its architecture and floor plan.  It was not converted to use from a home to a tavern, but later just the opposite occurred: it was converted from a  tavern to become a residence, but more about that later.  Richard built it from the get-go as a tavern and then applied for the license to operate it as just that: a tavern. From the beginning he saw it as a business opportunity and commercial enterprise.  This makes sense, as it was the literal terminus of the Natchez Trace.  So, in my opinion, the actual date of construction was 1798 - 1799.  The historic marker on the site, which literally states “standing before 1789” is absolutely false.  This independent finding was confirmed recently when I met with historian Mimi Miller of the Natchez Historical Society, and she stated that the Pilgrimage Garden Club, which petitioned the State for the marker in the early 1970’s, got confused because there is an older record of another “King’s Tavern” located in the area where present day Liberty Road meets Cranfield Road.  They mistakenly cited the origin of the other King’s Tavern for the one downtown. When I asked Ms. Miller what her estimation of the date of the tavern was, she stated exactly the same time as we do: 1798-1799.

Later, in the 1820’s, the tavern was converted from a tavern to be a private residence when Elizabeth Postlethwaite’s husband came into ownership. On August 27, 1823, Henry Postlethwaite died of yellow fever.  His widow, Elizabeth, and her eight children moved into the Tavern.  She is credited with converting and enclosing the eastern porches into bedrooms, which today are still enclosed and used for seating for the restaurant when they need the extra space.  The Postlethwaite and Bledsoe families held the ownership of the tavern from 1823 until 1970, an incredible 147 years! During that entire time, it was used as a residence.  Most people do not realize that the famous King’s “Tavern,” in existence now for 212 years, has been a tavern for less than 25% of the time!  In fact, it is actually less than that, because even today it does not operate as a tavern, but merely a restaurant.  The one bedroom it does have, is no longer rented out due to lack of functioning central air conditioning and the reticence of the current owners to worry with the demands of a bed and breakfast.  On July 27, 1860, Elizabeth passed away at the residence.  This is a fact that should be noted by any shrewd observer, especially in light of the later claims of a female presence haunting the place.  In recent years (1970-1971 to be exact), it was purchased, restored and converted back more to its original use – to be a tavern and restaurant (known as The Post House Restaurant) by the Pilgrimage Garden Club of Natchez.  Later, in 1987, they in turn sold the tavern to Yvonne Scott, who in 1988 opened the restaurant as King’s Tavern.  Frankly, it is during the time period of ownership by the Garden Club and Ms. Scott, that the “haunted” stories and myths began to emerge, most notably the infamous story of the ghost named Madeline.

The emergence of the Madeline ghost has been a seminal event for King’s Tavern.  Unfortunately, it is one that I think has been wholly misinterpreted and misrepresented.  The following is a typical “report” on the history of King’s Tavern that dominates the landscape when one attempts to find information on the Tavern.  Much of what is in this history is incorrect, but virtually every single story we have found regarding King’s Tavern keeps repeating the same incorrect information.  I have included it in this report as an example of this constant misreporting of the truth.  The source of the report is listed at the bottom of the entry, which is placed in italics:  

THE KING'S TAVERN - NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI: The King's Tavern was built in the year of 1769 and is the oldest building standing in the town of Natchez. This tavern carries the look of most seventeenth century buildings; built with sun-dried bricks, beams that came from scrapped sailing ships originating from New Orleans and barge boards that came from flat river boats once they made their way down the Mississippi and were dismantled. In 1789 a man named Richard King, bought the old house and moved his family into it. He named the building, The King's Tavern, and turned it into an inn and tavern. There is a notorious side to the restaurant, though. In the 1930s, workers were expanding the fireplace and tore out the chimney wall. They found a space behind the wall that contained the skeletal remains of three bodies: two men and one woman. Laying on the floor was a jeweled dagger, which was assumed to have been used in their demise. The woman is thought to have been Madeline, Richard King's mistress. As the story goes, when his wife found out about the affair, she had Madeline killed and bricked into the fireplace in the main dining room. Who the two male skeletons are is anyone's guess... much of the supernatural mischief today is blamed on Madeline, however. Workers report hearing a baby crying in the restaurant - specifically, from rooms that were supposedly empty. The story behind the infant's cry goes back to the 1700s when the building was not only an inn, but also the post office and one of the centers of the city's commerce. A young mother was trying to comfort her fussy infant, when a man named Big Harpe - one of the notorious Harpe brothers - walked over from the bar. She thought that he was going to assist her, but instead, he grabbed the baby by its feet and slammed the infant against the wall. As the distraught mother crumpled to the floor to gather the child's lifeless body, Big Harpe strolled back to the bar and ordered another drink. (Source: Jimmy Smith’s Mississippi Research page- online).

In fairness to Jimmy Smith, he is simply repeating what he has found elsewhere.  I’m not picking on him, as his is only one of dozens and dozens of misrepresentations of the truth. However, that’s just the problem.  As any good researcher knows, one has primary source material, and one has secondary source material.  Most of the time, paranormal researchers go the easy route and grab secondary material they can find online.  Anyone can hack what everybody else is saying with a few keystrokes and a few cut and pastes with a computer mouse.  What separates true professional researchers from the amateurs, is that the true researchers go to the primary source material.  The historical reporting that MSSPI and NAPS does, is to go directly to the primary source materials that are usually in archives and records often buried in a courthouse basement, on library microfiche, in scholarly & well sourced books (that are often rare and out-of-print), dusty, messy newspaper archives, and on historical foundation shelves.  It isn’t easy, in fact it is very time consuming and difficult, but it separates the pros from the pretenders.  True historical reporting is both a science and an art, and takes creativity, resourcefulness, detective work and dogged determination.  As the leader of a paranormal team I will say without reservation that MSSPI’s historical reporting is the best I have ever seen, and I point to them as a standard for my own team, NAPS, to emulate. This is the very thing I point to when I say most paranormal teams are amateurish, because your investigation is only as good as your research, and so if a team is simply going by what they find online for the truth, that says pretty much everything about that team and their findings.  That may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.  What this field needs is good, solid investigators, not another team with a ghost meter and a na├»ve fascination with all the ghost hunter shows on television.  What is particularly offensive to me with the above story and its repetition by anyone and everyone, and that causes my injustice meter to peg out, is the fact that Richard King’s wife is being accused of a particularly diabolical murder, without one single shred of evidence.  She was a living, breathing human being, and her memory is being totally trashed and tarnished without any factual basis.  I note with interest that the stories always say, “The wife of Richard King.”  They never mention her name, because to do so would be to give her personhood.  Well, I’ll give her some dignity, identity and personhood here: her name was Esther.  So for the sake of making a story “sexy” and making people go “ooh and aah” we trash this woman’s memory.  I’m sorry, but the law enforcement officer in me says that to take a folktale story such as what is written above and cite it as history is not only poor evidence, but is careless, reckless and immoral.  Esther King deserves better.  What if she were your ancestor?

From a practical standpoint and law enforcement investigation methodology, I could go on and on about the holes in the alleged story – about the amount of time it would take to brick a body in a fireplace while the body decays and other people can see and smell the evidence; the availability of brick and mortar (not like you could run to Home Depot) – in that time they had to hand-make all their material, and so on.  It is obvious to me this is simply transference of a bunch of stories, one of which is, “The Black Cat,” by Edgar Alan Poe, in which a person is bricked up and entombed behind a wall, for the sake of a interesting “tall-tale.”  Southerners are famous for their “stories” told on front porches, and more often than not they have little to do with the truth.  There are important articles written by noted historians that should be read and their lessons carefully notated by serious paranormal researchers about the nature and culture of folktale stories in the south, and their role in our society as myths.  Furthermore, the story of Big Harpe killing the infant took place in Kentucky.  Big Harpe never stepped foot in Mississippi his entire life. So, the truth needs to be separated from the fiction – the folktales.

The above pseudo history alludes to the popular folktale story that circulates around the Tavern, that in 1932, the remains of three skeletons (one female & two male) and a Spanish dagger were found during remodeling of the building. The bones were “reported” to have been buried in Potters Field of the Natchez City Cemetery, though typically no such “report” exists.  So, the situation that one finds today regarding King’s Tavern, is one in which the “haunting” of Madeline has literally become the identity of the Tavern.  Not it’s architecture, history, age or its place at the terminus of the Natchez Trace.  Rather, it is this alleged Madeline that is said to be haunting the environs that supposedly make King’s Tavern so interesting and such a “draw.”  Not for me.  I personally think that is rather sad given the factual history of the structure and the interesting stories that actually did occur there.  In a local advertisement on television, an actress dressed as "the ghost of Madeline" lures listeners to come and eat a steak.  She slowly fades in and then fades out with an eerie Halloweenish laugh.  Upon entering and being seated in the restaurant, patrons are given a laminated National Enquirer story about some hack reporter’s experiences there.  It is in all of this context that our team, the Natchez Area Paranormal Society, began a very extensive investigation into many different aspects of the Tavern, one of which was to turn every stone and follow every possible lead to see if there is one shred of evidence to support the story of human remains being found there. After extensive searches of all kinds of records, including recruiting the help of the former Director of the Natchez City Cemetery (Don Estes) who also contacted the State Cemetery Archives, there is not one single shred of evidence to support that any human remains were ever uncovered there.  A dagger was found, and we do know that the dagger does exist.  I know that because of photographic evidence showing the dagger and also I was able, after a dogged search, to locate and speak to the owner. However, that is a far cry from finding the dagger buried in the chest of the mummified remains of a young female ensconced in a chimney wall – as some of the stories claim.

If it sounds as if I am totally dismissing the claim of King’s Tavern being haunted, I am not.  I personally believe – rather know - the Tavern has significant paranormal activity.  What I am lending clarification to is the cause of the haunting.  I totally reject the story of Madeline, but I do believe the Tavern is haunted by a female.  In fact, I believe King’s Tavern is haunted by more than one former human.  The first mention on record of any female ghost or spirit at the Tavern is from a Natchez Democrat article dated Saturday, February 23, 1974, in which Thomas Young (who grew up in the Tavern) states, “My mother Hilda died when I was 2 years old and my grandmother has told me many times of the misty figure of the veiled woman in a cloak, with head bowed and hands folded, which stood at the foot of her bed at night after my mother’s death.”  With no historical evidence of there ever being a “Madeline,” it makes far more sense that a Postlethwaite is more likely the true identity of the spirit that haunts the Tavern.  All of the evidence above seems to substantiate this theory.  Recall the fact that the Postlethwaite family lived in the home for 147 years!  What would you place more stock in, a folktale story that is highly impractical and totally unsubstantiated, or historical accounts such as what Thomas Young alludes to?  There is also some interesting photographic evidence that also lends itself to this theory, in which a photograph was taken in the upstairs bathroom a few years ago by a patron of the Tavern, which looks very similar to Elizabeth Postlethwaite!  (Photos above.) Natchez’ foremost professional photographer T.G. McCary, a multi-award winner and known nationwide, examined and studied these photographs on comparison software and concluded that in his opinion, they are the same subject.

Photo at Left:  NAPS Team Leader Mike Chapman conducting an EVP session on the rear porch during our Field Investigation of King's Tavern which began on November 27, 2010.  Photographer Benjie Sanders captured a psychic mist forming in the upper right hand corner.  Many people claim to see a face in the mist.  This mist had no natural cause.

In 2005, Yvonne Scott sold the property to Tom Drinkwater and Shawyn Mars who are the current owners of King’s Tavern.  As I stated earlier, on October 22, 2010, N.A.P.S. launched an extensive, full-blown paranormal investigation into King’s Tavern with interview & historical research phases initiated. Much of what you are reading now is a result of that investigation.  On December 22nd, N.A.P.S. officially closed our first investigation into KT, with a finding of Positive: Class B (significant paranormal activity present); with reservations about some experiences claimed being possibly due to high EMF and some likely due to matrixing (pareidolia) from the high expectations created by advertising of the haunting.  However, none of that is sufficient in our minds to explain all that is happening, and our own investigation revealed plenty of data and evidence on its own (including tactile, olfactory; Class A EVP; Photo and Video; as well as EMF and motion/temperature detection data – many of it cross substantiated).  Furthermore, as has been presented in this article, the investigation uncovered significant errors and misinformation into the history of the Tavern, including dates.  This correction of historical data may be the greatest contribution of this particular investigation.  Lastly, our investigation concluded its finding, but did recommend that the Tavern be investigated further, in the future, to answer specific questions and issues that this investigation raised.  I trust that this report will give you a solid background and clearer insight into the “true” King’s Tavern.  As a team, NAPS looks forward to many more of our own investigations into King’s Tavern in order to fine-tune our findings.  It is our goal as a group to be the foremost experts of King’s Tavern, in all of its aspects.  After all, it’s known as our hometown’s “most haunted site.”

Interview & Consultations with Don Estes: former Director of Natchez City Cemetery
Interview & Consultations with Mimi Miller: Natchez Historical Society
Interview with Tom Drinkwater: current co-owner of King’s Tavern
Historic Natchez Foundation: Land Records, Deed & Titles
Mississippi Department of Archives & History
A Way Through the Wilderness: The Natchez Trace and the Civilization of the Southern Frontier, by Davis
A History of Muhlenberg County (Kentucky), by Rothert
The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock, by Rothert
Natchez Under-the-Hill, by Moore
Natchez: The History and Mystery of the City on the Bluff, by Whitington
The Devil’s Backbone: The Story of the Natchez Trace, by Daniels
Natchez On the Mississippi, by Kane
Archives: Natchez Democrat
The Judge Armstrong Library

© Copyright, 2011, Natchez Area Paranormal Society.  All or parts may be used with permission, we simply require that you cite your source.

King's Tavern Portrait NOT Madeline

KING'S TAVERN - THE TRUTH: The "famous" Madeline portrait that hangs over the alleged haunted fireplace at King's Tavern is a print of a portrait by Jose Puyet named Evita. He was a modern impressionist painter from Spain, and lived from 1922 until 2004 when he died. You can Google Puyet and learn quite a bit about him.
The mass-produced copy of Evita which hangs at King's Tavern was purchased by previous owner Yvonne Scott in an antique store around the corner on Franklin Street. She stated that she bought it because it resembled what she thought Madeline would have looked like (and that is assuming that a real Madeline even existed, which there is absolutely NO proof she was a real person - much less murdered). Now you know the true story. There is no/was no Madeline...the real female ghost at King's Tavern is most likely a Postlethwaite female - as that family lived in the Tavern - converted to a home - for 147 years, and at least two women died in the house.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TEAM BULLETIN: Goat Castle Investigation Cancelled

Notice to all investigators:

I received an email yesterday from Eric Glatzer of Natchez TV, and he informed me that the owners of Glenburnie have decided to cancel to the upcoming Anniversary Investigation of the Goat Castle Murder (Jennie Merrill). 

He stated that the owners may be deciding to put the home on the market soon and do not want a "haunted" stigma attached to the site. That's fair, and they certainly have the right to have an investigation or not, so I am not upset at all. We go where folks want us to come and help.
However, it is disappointing for the loss of a rare opportunity, in the fact that not too many 80th anniversary investigations come down the pike on something that occurred here in Natchez that was published even overseas at the time.

I personally don't think much "paranormally" is happening at Glenburnie any more that is related to the murder, but it would have been interesting to know for sure. I have enjoyed my research into the murder, and learned a lot about the historic case. Just one quick statement about that: There is a contemporary trend "out there" today among some locals that George Pearls did not commit the murder, that it was a frame job and cover-up, and that Dick Dana and Octavia Dockery did indeed have something to do with her murder, or perhaps even Duncan Minor (Jennie's lover and the fourth of the strange quadra-pair of eccentric debutantes). I find the arguments for that line of thinking less than compelling. I think people are bored and LOVE conspiracy theories, and are ignoring Ockham's razor - the principle of the Franciscan monk whose idea is "The simplest and most obvious explanation is usually the correct one." Pearls' story may not be "sexy" or interesting, but the evidence that he did indeed kill Jennie Merrill is pretty straightforward.

I had hoped to actually write down the competing theories of "who dun it" but I guess it'll never be, unless the current owners change their mind or new owners are open to a full investigation.

With that, the future of NAPS will probably be changing. I am pondering shutting down the team in favor of becoming more of a research an educational foundation on the paranormal and related aspects (mainly demonology); and being available to be a consultant and outside expert that other teams can call in to help when needed or phone for advice on cases. Another thing I would like to do is be available for teach and train sessions for other teams that might invite me to come and have a session with them. In either case, I will continue the blog site and the others sites as well, as it would fit the goal of offering education to those in the field both in this State and around the world who tune into our sites on a regular basis. We have not been very active as a Team for awhile, except for my summer Library series around the State that has kept me pretty busy. In the instance of a need to go and help another team on a case, I would call select people who I know to be competent investigators as to their availability at that time to go on the trip, as I'm sure most of them would involve travel.

In the meantime, any of you who would be interested in SERIOUS research and writing, and who would be seriously interested in committing the time to be a part of a research and educational effort and would make regular contributions, send me an email. Specifically, it would be something along the lines of what the research papers were meant to accomplish - a LOT of research and writing and then a well-done, professional paper going into the topic, and reaching conclusions and practical guidelines based upon that research. I frankly don't anticipate much response, because we didn't have much response before. I do understand that people prefer exciting "events" and investigations to "boring" research and educational theory based contributions. However, I feel that is hugely needed in the field. I haven't totally made  up my mind yet, but that's what I'm leaning toward. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Supernaturalism versus Naturalism: An Open Reply

The following is my reply to a comment left by a person who, in his second post, referred to himself as "Cosmo." His basic assertion is that he found it preposterous that demon possession and exorcism would be considered seriously by "modern" people. He basically thinks we should have moved on from this ignorant thinking by this stage of human development. This is very typical of modern "post-enlightenment" thinking that says much about those who hold this position. [What I mean by that is not to assault or impugn their character, but means that they hold a closed view of the cosmos, and that their epistemology is very narrow and reductionistic-limited only to what we can experience with our five senses. That's what I mean by "says much about those who hold this position." Just want to make sure the reader understands that I respect people, but some of the ideas they may hold are quite another matter.]

My view is that they are stricken with a form of scientific blindness, a disease of worshiping science known as scientific reductionism, because it reduces epistemology (what can be known) to merely what the five empirical senses can "verify." There are so many major philosophical, rational, and experiential flaws with this worldview that it would take a library of books to go into them all. Below is my response to his (or her) thinking. Again, please understand my counter-attack is against Cosmo's thinking and worldview, not the person himself.

"In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God."   - 2 Corinthians 4:4

Hi "Cosmo," thanks for your comment. Sorry for the short reply earlier, but I tend to blow off posts from "anonymous" posters who, without honor, love to "hit and run" and post comments and then hide behind anonymity. I also regret that I can't engage in a running commentary, as I currently have my plate full with work and family responsibilities. Thus, below is my best shot in answer to your second comment, in which you did provide at least a pseudonym for your name. I believe a reasonable person can read our very different worldviews and decide between them on their own. Thanks for your interest, and I do strongly encourage you to get out of the epistemological box you have put yourself in and do some more thinking on these issues. I suppose you are doing that, actually, by engaging in this I value that curiosity and drive for truth that you seem to possess. The basic question at issue is: which is a more realistic and reasonable worldview, supernaturalism (the belief that reality is more than what we can see...that angels, demons, God, heaven, hell and life beyond physical death either does exist or at least might exist), or naturalism (the view that this world that we can see, taste, touch, smell and hear is all there is, when we die physically, that's the end for us)? How will I decide on one or the other? How will I know the truth when I stumble upon it, if I ever do?

Your angle is interesting, and I do agree with you on Aquinas (and his approach), who operated by fides et ratio (faith AND reason) and not sola fide (by faith alone), which I view as too fideistic - as it seems you do as well. That's one of the main reasons I left Protestantism behind and became a Roman Catholic. Catholicism has always operated under sola Dei verbum and fidei et ratio, and is far superior to Luther's sola fide. Anselm's fides quaerens intellectum is applicable here also, which of course means "faith seeking understanding." It is likely that you and I perhaps would agree to this point. As a Roman Catholic with strong moorings to the true teaching of the Church (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church and not your local liberal priest or bishop - who often abandon the true Church teachings for their pseudo-enlightened pet theories), my approach is to first use science (reason) as far as it will take me, but to not fall into the trap of scientific reductionism that so many today fall for hook, line and sinker.

However, it seems we part company when it comes to your need to be provided "proof." In paranormal investigating, I have never tried to "prove" anything to anyone. There is so much that is axiomatically wrong with that view...that those who do not believe must be given "proof"...that I hardly know where to begin. You do understand that both science AND faith (belief) are both inductive, and not deductive in how they reach conclusions, right? You do know that science claims that the brain does not "read" data from the five senses themselves (ears, eyes, tongue, touch and nose), but that the brain instead is receiving electrical/chemical impulses sent to it via our central nervous system - through the flow of negative or positive charged ions through dendrites, somas and axons within our neurons. Thus, they potentially can be duplicated or counterfeited by false impulses, such as the shadow-limb itch after a leg amputation, or by applying an electrode probe to different regions of the brain (as in Penfield's famous brains-in-vats experiments).

So, nothing can be completely assured, even by science's worship of the false infallibility of empirical data. Even science has to, in the end, have "faith" that the words you are seeing right now on your computer screen are truly there, and not just a dream or Penfield's famous "brains in vats" phenomenon. It's not that I hate science, it's that I hate when people ignorantly believe (I chose that word on purpose) that science is true and every thing else is ignorance at worst, or superstition at best. The arrogant and sneering attitude is what I thoroughly loathe and despise with all that is in me. Now, I am not saying you have that attitude, but it is certainly there in people such as Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc. But all this is elementary my friend, in the end, that is simply not the way I choose to live my one and only life - trying to "prove" to other people what truth is. I certainly will offer to spend some of my precious time attempting to explain truth, and presenting it to them, but not one darn nanosecond trying to "prove it." That's the problem with the thinking of naturalists - they're always demanding proof... certainty... absolute certainty. They never stop to think how small their little box is and that ultimate reality simply cannot be defined by mere materialistic means. They do not live the rest of your human life that way, but they turn somersaults and back-flips demanding certitude in the realm of ultimate reality, and saw off the very limb that they are philosophically standing on in the process! They will never find God through the lens of a microscope nor a telescope!

I will certainly try to explain and answer questions and refute error, but proving something in the field of religion or paranormal activity is nuts in my opinion (how can one use science to prove something that inherently lies outside of science?). I will REASON with people, converse with people, and try to help people see truth at the same time I am seeking it as well, and trying to learn and grow myself. But don't ask me to "PROVE" something to you. That is your responsibility - to open your own eyes to the truth and crawl out of the scientific, reductionist, primordial rut that the world has gotten you to fall into.

Or, just give it time, maybe you will "evolve." :)    (That's my poor attempt at humor.)

This very thing - the modern demand for proof to the level of absolute "scientific" certitude - is something I wrote a research paper on, and argued that the demand for proof to that degree is three things: unrealistic, unreasonable, and absurd. I wrote a section on each of the three, which I don't have time to go into in detail here. Just suffice it to say that this particular standard or threshold for determining truth is incoherent on many fronts. (In my paper I argued that the proper threshold for determining truth on whether supernaturalism is true, is what we use every day in all other parts of our lives: proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A study of that legal threshold is helpful, because the emphasis is on the word "reasonable." Again, I argue the arrogant demand for absolute proof - or "certitude" is UNreasonable, i.e. ridiculous. It is literally a standard of "proof beyond any doubt." I argued that this standard is impossible - absurd even - and hypocritical.)

For that reason, I can't help but shake my head at colleagues in the paranormal field who say that their mission as a team or with their investigations is to "prove" the afterlife or that spirits exist! That's a fool's game and is chasing pink rabbits. Equally, I dismiss the "demand" for proof by those who first demand it yet would never accept it anyway if it hit them over the head. A closed mind is a closed mind. Helen Keller once said, "There is none so blind as he who will not see." Why should the burden be placed on me - or anyone - to crack open a closed mind? That is each individual's responsibility - to be open to truth, or at the very least - to reasonable offers of truth. We each offer our ideas in the marketplace of truth. Truth is objective and lies outside of us. It is our opportunity and responsibility to recognize it and conform to it. Those who don't are the truly deluded, ignorant and close-minded...NOT the other way around. But, most people don't believe this and continue to sip their kool-aid.

I see both the superstitious/fideistic worldview of "credulity," as well as the adherents of "scientism" (epistemology through science only) as two sides of the same coin - both are locked into closed-minded systems or worldviews that lead them over a cliff into a predetermined outcome. New information and opportunity to grow by discovering reality is thwarted by an a priori denial of anything outside of one's existing matrix. Sorry, but like Neo, I swallowed the red pill, not the blue one. Quite unscientific on both fronts if you ask me. Therefore, I see the dangers in both directions - radicalized "faith" or outright superstition on one end ( a total denial of reason or rationality), and blind "faith" in, and being limited to, the narrow confines of science (limiting oneself to what you can see under a microscope or through a telescope as to what is true or real). So the demand for absolute proof, I respectfully submit, is unrealistic and even absurd when thought about carefully. The key word is "absolute." There is tons of evidence, circumstances, reasonable assertions that can persuade reasonably minded people to a standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" - but that is not the standard you demand. The idea that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" is exactly the kind of thing a narrow-epistemology would demand, and is the root of your problem, but you have to be able to see the problem with it.

You see, I deny your premise of "extraordinary" claim. The claim that there is more to life than what it seems on the surface is NOT an extraordinary claim!

In other words, I am saying that your position is so radically skewed to the position that "anything non-physical does not exist" then becomes simply that anything and everything proposed to lay outside of your radicalized worldview you will automatically deem as "extraordinary." I'm not buying your position one minute! Just because you claim it is "extraordinary" doesn't make it so. 
I think is is very ordinary and natural. I also reject the premise of the word "paranormal" - at least in this context - is inappropriate as well. If angels, God, demons and Satan do exist, then they actually would be part of the natural order of things, now wouldn't they? Just because we can't always see them doesn't make them any less "natural."

The modern demand (and the notion is indeed recent) for "certitude" in the area of religion or the paranormal is absurd - even nonscientific. There is not much beyond the basic laws of physical science (gravity and such) that we humans live by in our everyday lives. "Certitude" or proof beyond any doubt - which I think your demand for proof is asking - is impossible. No one lives that way. Whether it be in a court of law to decide a person innocent or guilty (I am a full time deputy sheriff); deciding where to put one's nest egg as far as an investment choice; choosing a person to marry; which is the better car to purchase; career to choose; College to attend; infinitem...none of these things are "certain." None of these things can be assured of, or proved beyond ANY doubt. They cannot be "proven" to be true, lasting, or the best way. What we humans DO (or at least should do) in our lives AND in religion or afterlife/paranormal questions (when done properly) is to use our reason as far as reason can take us, and then we act "in fides" (in faith). That is, our reason informs our faith, and our faith informs our reason. It is living and acting in a modicum of faith beyond a REASONABLE doubt. We use our reason as far as it will take us, and then we make our best choice, believing and hoping for - but also firmly convinced - that this is the best, TRUE path. It is not a failing to use reason, and it is indeed a surrender to faith that I am speaking of, but the surrender comes on the far side of reason, after reason has done all its work. The Catholic who is properly Catholic (in line with Church teaching) disagrees with the approach of credulity or not using reason that some "Christians" have. They misunderstand what true faith is. We agree that this approach would result in superstition. So the answer is not in faith alone, and thus Catholicism rejects the fide sola of Protestantism. But, it also rejects ratio sola as well (by human reason alone). It is instead reason and faith working together that gives us the proper epistemology.

In summary, we simply cannot live our lives "in certitude." We live our lives in faith, a.k.a. "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." We doubt yes, nothing is certain, but we have looked at the issue in every way, then we make our best choice. That is faith, because it moves BEYOND reason alone.

So, I do not operate by faith alone, nor do I operate by reason alone.

I operate (or try my best to) by faith and reason. That has always been the position of the Catholic Church, who are experts at exorcism. (Well, a certain subsection of it is. Another part of the Church is, sadly, extremely materialistic in the sense that it has abandoned the Church's teaching and understanding of supernaturalism in favor of scientist worldview...or they say they believe but never live as if they do - known as practical atheism. Thus, your kind - so called "enlightened" thinkers who are actually very much in the dark - have infiltrated the realm of the "faithful" very effectively.) That is why exorcism, correctly executed, cannot be undertaken by a Catholic exorcist until a full investigation has been done (including but not limited to extensive psychological and medical examinations) - and in which these professionals can neither explain or only after these important steps are completed, does his Bishop look over the case evidence and give him permission to proceed with the exorcism, is the exorcism undertaken. It is also only the exorcism itself which can give a final conclusion as to whether it truly was a case of severe demonization. The point is, there is accountability involved - he cannot act unilaterally.

Thus, approaching severe demonization (possession is rare and is only the worst, most severe case of demonization) is not merely a science, but is science, reason, and faith all rolled into a complex, yet intriguing mix. I will agree with you that most of the time, it IS indeed approached immaturely and ignorantly by amateurs and do-it-yourselfers, and there are many dabbling in this that should not be. That upsets me too and is indeed often non-scientific and irrational. Just don't throw the baby out with the bath water. I would also caution you to not judge or see things only through the lens of "science" or psychiatry. Should they be steps along the path of diagnosis and treatment in order to bring a solution to the allflicted, and arrows within our quiver or tools in our toolbox? Absolutely! And, they are very much a part of my approach, and the approach of my like-minded friends who do this also. Again, we are not sola fide but instead are fides et ratio. There is a huge difference. The point: we are not and should not be limited to scientific "tools" alone.

So, in answer to your question, I can't (nor should I be asked or expected to) prove rationally that possession cases are what they are said to be. I can however, show it to be a reasonable or reasoned explanation that is not based upon fideism or emotion. The other point is, when a diagnosis of possession or severe oppression is reached, it is done after exhausting the possible natural explanations and understanding clearly that they are not the reason for what is going on.

I also think it perhaps might be helpful for you to understand that possession - as most people understand it, is much misunderstood. It is more accurate to say that people are influenced to various degrees, by personified evil (diabolical evil). Possession is the absolute and most severe case of this. As said earlier, we call this "influence" demonization. Demonization occurs in various degrees, and possession is the most severe.

As for the scriptural verse that I cite at the beginning of this reply: I have not spoken at all about the notion that you have a diabolical enemy who is dead-set upon convincing you of just what you have fallen for. You should carefully consider that as well. In other words, have you considered, truly considered, the fact that Christians think there is a "person" ( an evil yet powerful fallen angel) called the Devil who is set about to deceive people, and his first deception is to have you think he doesn't exist.

In closing, here is a helpful video wherein Father Barron explains cogently the proper relationship between faith and reason: Please take the eight or so minutes to watch this, he explains it so much better than I can. He also makes the important point that someone such as yourself, who is honestly looking for truth, must do so from within a strong faith community, because otherwise the questions and answers become skewed. I am praying for you personally, and for your family. May the God of all creation, who loves and cares for you and knows you by name, watch over and protect you, and led you to a deep, meaningful and moving relationship with Him, as son is to Father, for all eternity, unending. Amen.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Library Lecture Series Rewarding

by Mike Chapman

This summer, thanks to my friend and fellow Team Leader Shelly Beard of MSSPI, I have been lecturing in Libraries in the central Mississippi region. They take place in the evening time and people of all ages are invited to hear me speak on some aspect of paranormal investigating and/or demonology. These lectures have been rewarding because of the wonderful opportunity to interact with the general public. (It also gives me the chance to see my hometown in my rearview mirror and eat at some great restaurants!) My next lecture however, is here in Natchez on Friday the 13th (July) and is a bit is to early teens in a library lock-in. I'm planning on a bit of Hogwart's time with them...not with magick, but with Magik. I'm going to tell them about real dragons, dementor's, occlumency and legilimency...and how to stay away from nargles. But that's an entirely different subject. I digress...

Back to the regular lecture series. I usually offer about 30 to 45 minutes of the basics of P.I., with an emphasis on our unique methodology and approach, which helps dispel many of the common myths about real investigating. I intersperse this with "war stories" - experiences from real investigations, and invite them to raise a hand when they have a question or are not clear on something. The end of the evening is spent simply answering their questions. I do present some evidence, but I do not focus on that. I've found that just having a short time to present everything doesn't afford the proper time to do so with quality. I also believe that evidence analysis is very much a trained skill. It takes someone with much training and experience to "hear" a proper and true EVP, as well as sort through camera or photographic evidence. Like CIA aerial photographs, it takes someone will experience and skill to be able to discern what is real and what is not. I also have likened it to language learning. Analyzing paranormal evidence is like learning a different language. Showing the public evidence "cold turkey" is just not going to work...many of them will not be able to hear or see much of it, despite it being clear to experienced investigators. It leads to confusion and chaos that one cannot afford in an hour and a half lecture time. Besides, more important topics and issues should be covered.

These lectures have taught me a lot about the curiosity of the public in this field (which is substantial) and exactly where that curiosity is centered. Isn't it odd how the "teacher" is often the one who ends up learning the most from the students? I had thought that these would be attended mostly by people who have had or are having experiences themselves, but I have not found that to be the case. There are a few of those, but most people come because they have a deep, inner curiosity about the after-life and what happens to us when we die. However, not all of them are elderly, although there are quite a few older people who attend. These lectures give me the opportunity to share the Truth with them, and I thank God for my faith and the theological training and experience that I've had in my life. It truly is rewarding to see faith and truth meet with a relevant subject in normal peoples' lives and see the light of understanding shining in their eyes. Sure, it's cool to talk about "ghost" experiences and paranormal methodology, but it is truly rewarding to answer peoples' far deeper and more important questions about life, which includes physical death, and the life that goes on afterward for those who have made good choices.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Cross of Christ: Utterly Horrifying, Yet Thank God!

by Mike Chapman

"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." - Isaiah 53:5

As most of you know, we are concluding the season of Lent this weekend with the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. (Actually, Lent officially and technically ends before the Triduum begins. The Triduum directly follows the end of Lent. The Triduum begins with the Liturgy in the evening of Maundy Thursday and ends with sundown on Resurrection Sunday. This is three days, running from sundown to sundown, as the Jewish days did. ) Easter is Sunday, in which we celebrate our risen Lord. Why am I posting this kind of "religious" article on a paranormal investigating Team's blog site? That's easy. It's because as a Team we operate out of a Christian worldview in our understanding of the after-life. Of course, as many mistakenly think, that precludes us from also using science. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having a Christian worldview gives us the best of both worlds actually. We can use science to the degree it can operate, but when science begins to fail (because it is material/physical limited, or reduced) our Christian faith provides objective truth into the after-life rather than a subjective "I'll just believe what I want to believe about the after-life" kind of flea market thinking that many in our culture today have. The Christian faith has a reason AND faith-based foundation for its approach to the world beyond the "normal."

But epistemology is another story for another blog post. What I want to focus upon now is a brief insight into Christ's passion...the agony he experienced in his torture and death upon the Cross. One of the commitments that many of us made for Lent, was to go back and watch the movie, The Passion of Christ. This form of execution by the Romans was borrowed from the Carthaginians, and was horrible. On Holy Thursday, Christ's enemies came for him in the darkness, as if ashamed. His enemies always "operate in darkness," whether it is the darkness of sheer evil or the darkness of ignorance. (This is true today as well.) He told them when they came for him that he had operated in front of them in the broad daylight, but they chose the wee hours of the morning to do their business. What a contrast!

In the service at Mass last night, we were reminded of Christ's sacrifice on the cross for us on that Friday so long ago. What a horror to behold and to think about...yet, thank God he did it. We call it "Good" Friday. That is because now, from what he willingly suffered, we have an opportunity for salvation and a restored relationship with Him. The cross is utterly horrifying, and at the same time we whisper a sincere, "Thank You!" A Christ himself told the disciples on the road to Emmaus, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:25-26). Yes, it was utterly brutal, but it was necessary for our salvation. Of this, we should be deeply horrified, but also deeply grateful.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

MEL METER 8704R - The Rest of the Story

by Mike Chapman

I have stated before that DAS Distributing is by far my favorite manufacturer of Paranormal Equipment - and for many reasons.  One of course, is the fact that the equipment is not merely "adapted" for use from its original intent and design for the paranormal field.  DAS makes equipment designed from the very beginning to serve us paranormal investigators.  DAS Distributing is run by Gary Galka, who is the inventor of the equipment.  I own every piece of equipment they make (and Gary invents) - including several RT-EVP real time recorders, the P-SB7 spirit box, several static E-Pods, and several MEL-8704 meters of various types.  It is very high quality equipment, and is effective.  But, there is another more human reason I love the equipment and the company.

It is common for us, on ghost hunts, to ask, "Who's got the Mel meters?"  We toss that name around without knowing how the equipment got its name.  I am referring to the Mel 8704 EMF meter that, in my opinion, is the best one made.  Well, here's the "rest of the story":

Gary Galka's daughter was named Melissa.  He had always called her "Mel" for short since the time she was very young.  I can relate to this, because I call my own daughter Ana when her full name is Anastasia.  Several years ago Melissa, or "Mel," was on her way home one evening around midnight.  For some unknown reason, she swerved off of the road and struck a tree.  She sustained horrible injuries that night, which occurred on September 24, 2004.  Mel was born in 1987. She was on life-support until September 28th, before her family made the decision to stop the life support, and she passed away. It was not long afterward that Gary’s new found interest in the paranormal field began.  The MEL 8704, one of Gary's inventions that came out of that, was named for Mel, with the 87 being from the year of her birth, and the 04 from the year she passed away. 
“Most of the proceeds from the product (Mel 8704) go to charities such as Compassionate Friends and other known charity organizations.”     - Gary Galka
The following details about Mel's death are directly from a telephone interview with Vince Wilson: “From the moment my wife and I and two daughters got home,” Gary explained, “Mel began to let us know that she was still around.” Gary explained how Mel began playing around with electronics in the house. The TV, radio and lights would come on and turn off and switch channels by themselves. “We could smell her perfume,” he added, “Over a period of time we could feel her hugs and kisses.” These experiences didn’t just happen to him either. His wife Cindy, and daughters Heather and Jennifer also had these wonderful After Death Communications (ADC’s) as well. They all believe that Mel reached out to them in order to help them heal and move forward with their lives. Within six months of her passing, Gary and his wife began to reach out and help other bereaved parents in their homes and through the formation of grief counseling groups. He began researching the paranormal and related topics to better understand what was going on in this field. After reading several books, and watching a few of the paranormal shows on television it became apparent that most paranormal enthusiasts had to resort to using mainstream gadgets and devices that were typically intended for a totally different purpose. Many were modified or adapted to suit the application of paranormal research. Gary, with over 30 years of test and measurement experience sat down and began to design the Mel-Meter. Not only to help give the paranormal community a push forward, but the biggest accomplishment, as Gary explained with pride is that, “Most of the proceeds from the Mel product series goes directly to grief support charities such as Compassionate Friends and other known charity organizations”.

So now, you too know the rest of the story and much more about the Mel Meter than you probably did before.  Makes you want to go out and get another one doesn't it?