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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ghost Hunting 101

It was a dark and stormy night in St. A when I went on my most recent ghost tour. I'm referring to St. Augustine, FL, the Nation's Oldest City, where countless spirits live.

This was a ghost-hunting (paranormal investigative) tour, as opposed to a story-telling tour. Both kinds of tours are exciting, but the hands-on nature of the investigative tour has special appeal for me. Our guide, Dr. Harry Stafford, is an expert in all things extrasensory. He provided us with the equipment needed to detect subtle changes in our surroundings that we might otherwise miss. In addition to our own cameras, we used electromagnetic frequency (EMF) readers and a thermometer. Dr. Stafford also advised us to pay attention to our senses, including our sense of smell. Spirits sometimes manifest the odor most associated with them during life, such as cigarette smoke or cologne.

On our tour, odors were not a factor. However, it soon became apparent that our digital cameras were picking up images our naked eyes couldn't. Dr. Stafford instructed us to look for auras, orbs, streaks, and fogs--exactly the kinds of things my teen characters can detect without a camera in SENSITIVE, the HOMEFREE sequel. Although I couldn't see anything unusual, my camera did pick up a few light streaks and small orbs. But one of my fellow travelers was able to see and feel all kinds of things that the rest of us mortals couldn't. That's right, folks, I was in the presence of a genuine Sensitive. She discerned an unmarked grave and several sites where she was absolutely sure someone had endured great pain. She also saw shifts in light and pattern invisible to the rest of us.

Fortunately, a few spooky revelations were available to us all, including the mysterious gravestone pictured here. At night anyone can see the face of the young woman buried more than a century ago. But in broad daylight, the face vanishes. Trust me, it's true. I'm a writer. I do my homework.....

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