Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mesa Verde Mist

Hello everyone. The Accidental Ghost Hunter is alive and well, and even doing a little traveling. Last summer a friend and I took a trip to Colorado, and one of our stops was the Mesa Verde National Park in the southwestern part of the state.

Like most of Colorado, Mesa Verde is certainly worth seeing for the scenery alone. It was once the home of the Ancestral Puebloans, who lived in the area for approximately 700 years, roughly 600 A.D. to 1300 A.D. Seven centuries is a long time, with many generations of people living and dying in the area. As my friend as I made our way around I was taking photos with both my iPhone and my digital camera. Then my iPhone started acting up while I was taking photos of some of the cliff dwellings. Well, I figured it was because we were in bright daylight. The sun had bleached out the screen, and I apparently hit a button by mistake, as my iPhone was now taking photos in black and white instead of color. Yes, I was annoyed, but I also took a few shots from the same vantage point with my digital camera, and, as you can see by the first photo, they all came out perfectly.

We eventually made our way to the visitor center, and as we chatted with some of the staff we heard some interesting accounts of paranormal events. Again, this would not be unexpected in a place where people had lived and died for some seven hundred years, and most sounded like residual hauntings, such as claims of hearing the sounds of drumbeats and chanting echoing across the canyon at night.

I'm posting two of the photos taken with the iPhone, shortly after it began acting up. The first is for a reference point. This photo also has a distortion in the upper right corner, but I'm going to debunk it by saying it could very well be my finger, since it's right where the iPhone lens is located, and it's an easy mistake to make. The one that follows has what appears to be ethereal
mist. Both were taken on a bright, sunny day, and there was no wind blowing. I also tried to debunk it by looking through my iPhone lens and trying to place my hand in front of it at the same angle as the mist. It felt awkward, and I would have known that my hand was in the way when I took the shot. I could also  clearly see the details of my hand and they were very solid. This photo looks misty, and, interestingly enough, my finger is not in the upper right corner.

So, is this something paranormal? Possibly. As always, I'll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hotel Gadsden Orb

Today, guest blogger, fellow author and accidental ghost hunter David Lee Summers returns to share some photos from a recent book signing in Douglas, Arizona.  Thanks David for contributing.


* * *
On October 13, I was invited to participate in the Arizona Centennial Authors and Artists Weekend at the Hotel Gadsden in Douglas, Arizona.  The Hotel Gadsden is a grand hotel first built in 1907.  It was a home away from home for cattlemen, ranchers, miners, and businessmen in the Arizona Territory.  Visitors to the hotel have included Pancho Villa, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Lee Marvin.

The hotel was designed by famous Southwestern Architect Henry Trost.  Trost designed many buildings in Tucson, Arizona, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.  Arguably one of his greatest accomplishments was designing the University of Texas at El Paso, which he modeled after Bhutan, the last of the three Forbidden Kingdoms hidden deep in the Himalayas.  The Gadsden's Lobby is a terrific example of Henry Trost's architectural style.

As it turns out, the Hotel Gadsden is famous for its ghost sightings.  They even have a page devoted to its haunted history here:

During the book signing and our stay at the Hotel Gadsden, we only had one potential incident, I only had one potential encounter, but it was an interesting one.  My wife was taking photos from the mezzanine, which looks down into the lobby and managed to capture the image of an orb right in front of me.  Now, I realize that orbs are controversial.  Some attribute them to dust or tricks of the light and I certainly can't write off that possibility.  Still, what's odd is that she took two photos in a row and one had an orb and the other didn't.

Before I leave it to you to ponder whether this was a real paranormal event, I'll just note a couple more items.  Of all the photos we took at the event, this is the only one that showed an orb.  Also, it's the first time I've seen an orb appear in a photo with such bright light.

If you're interested in ghosts or history and find yourself in Southern Arizona, I highly recommend dropping by the Hotel Gadsden.  The hospitality is fabulous and it's an interesting look back into days gone by.

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Proofreading" Ghost?

I know, I've been away a long time. Guess my life has been more "normal" than paranormal lately.

About a year and a half ago I switched genres and went from writing historical children's novels to contemporary adult romance novels, which I write as Marina Martindale. So, last night my good friend, "Ginny," was helping me fine-tune a manuscript before it goes back to the editor. We were rewording the dialog in a conversation between a private investigator and an FBI agent, and, as I'm reading out loud to her, I notice a faint shadow going across my keyboard. Keep in mind, my hands were not moving or nor were they on the keyboard at the time, nor was it a power surge. I stopped reading and I asked her if she saw it. Ginny is a sensitive, if not out and out psychic, and she also has the ability to see spirit people. Yes, she saw the shadow all right. She then tells me that the entity is a man, but he is not my father. It is someone who I do not know. At this point I'm not exactly feeling warm and fuzzy, but, since the dogs are all asleep and not barking, she tells me it's a good sign and that he is not a negative spirit.

My latest novel, The Deception, is both a romance and crime story, and she seems to think that the ghost of a police officer may have overhead us as he passed by, and that he possibly took an interest. I never had any friends or relatives who were police officers, but she tells me that spirits can roam, just like we do, and if something gets their attention they may stop to check it out. She also reminded me that there is an electrical substation directly across the street from my house, so there may be a portal over there.

Needless to say, that ended working on the novel for the rest of the night.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Queen Mary Ghosts

Today's post is courtesy of guest blogger, fellow author and accidental ghost hunter  David Lee Summers.  Thanks David for contributing.



These photos are from a ghost tour my daughter and I took during Her Royal Majesty's Steampunk Symposium held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach California on Friday, January 13, 2012.  The strangest incident that happened was when we went to the first class swimming pool aboard the ship.  It's a noted "hot spot" for ghost sightings.  The first photo shows the pool.  Off the upper balcony, we went into the women's dressing rooms.  I snapped a photo of the corridor. 

When I took the photo, I thought I saw a person in the flash and indeed, there is a strange, almost human-shaped shadow in the photo.  I assumed it was one of my fellow tourists, but when I walked up the hallway, I didn't pass anyone or see any other people ahead of me in the corridor or the dressing rooms.  I did get a serious case of the willies as I walked further down the hall and the hairs raised on the back of my neck.

When I downloaded the photo onto my computer, I assumed the shadow I captured was some strange trick of the light.  However, I then did a simple brightness/contrast adjustment and adjusted the color curves a little in Adobe Photoshop and the image below popped out.  I should note, the hallway was completely dark.  The only illumination came from my flash.  If this was a fellow tourist, they were standing in the dark with this apparently non-nonchalant pose.  They had no flashlight and the flash didn't seem to illuminate them. 

Another place that felt very eerie to me was the old boiler room.  The top photo was taken just outside the boiler room.  Inside, the boiler room, I took several photos.  I kept feeling like I was seeing something move outside the corner of my eye.  The one thing that I may have captured is the green glow in the lower left hand corner of the bottom photo.

I'm a professional astronomer and writer.  I'm also an admitted skeptic.  I'm hard pressed to say these photos serve as hard evidence of ghost encounters.  Despite that, these photos do raise questions for me—especially the one taken in the dressing rooms.

For anyone who would like to read more about Her Royal Majesty's Steampunk Symposium, I posted a guest blog about the event at:

My regular blog is at:

Thanks, Gayle, for letting me share my ghost tour experience!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thanks for the Memories

They say that nothing lasts forever, and the time has come to put this blog to bed.  As you all have undoubtedly noticed, I was only able to make four posts in 2010.

It is an unfortunate fact that the economy has been sour for the past several years, and that as a result I simply no longer have the means to travel to historical sites.  I'm also reading reports that the popularity of paranormal reality TV shows is beginning to wane as well.  While I think there will always be an interest in the paranormal and the afterlife, I too have noticed no new programs about ghost hunting or the paranormal taking to the airwaves, and that some, like Ghost Lab, and Most Haunted, are apparently no longer on the air.  At least for now.

I would like to thank all of you readers who took the time to post comments and who decided to become blog followers.  I especially want to thank Cindy Smith, Rick Fritz, Thomas Carter and others who shared their photos and their stories of their own accidental ghost encounters.

I will be leaving this blog up as long as there is an interest, but this will probably be the final post.  Please feel free to browse the archives as they do contain some interesting stories and information. Once again I would like to remind you that all material presented on this blog, including text and photos, are copyrighted.  No portion may be reproduced or copied, in whole or in part, without written consent. 

Thank you again, and goodbye, for now. 


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Accidental Ghost Hunter's Review of Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories now follows Ghost Adventurers on Friday nights on The Travel Channel, and it's a perfect fit.  

Ghost Stories has a similar format to Bio TV's Ghostly Encounters.  Both are dramatic recreations based on anecdotal evidence, and both include interviews with real people who've allegedly had paranormal encounters.  However, unlike the somewhat bland Ghostly Encounters,  Ghost Stories is fast paced and dramatic, making it a whole lot more fun to watch.  The narrator, actor Jay Thomas, bridges the segments together with a well-written script and a delightful storytelling style.  This show also includes detailed historical background information of the places and events being discussed, adding depth and making the subject matter more interesting.

What little tangible evidence that may presented to back up any paranormal claims, be it photos, videos or electronic voice phenomena, belongs solely to those making the claims.  There are no third parties to examine or determine the validity or authenticity of any evidence, nor does the show host any of its own paranormal investigators.  It simply relies on the historical background with paranormal claims and stories, and leaves the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.

If you're looking for a program to debunk the paranormal you'll have to look elsewhere.  But if you're looking for good family-friendly entertainment its' a show worth watching.  It's a lot like the ghost stories told around the campfire, and with the historical information it has some educational value to boot. 


Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Do Ghost Hunters Only Work in the Dark?

Excellent article on called Why real-rife ghost hunters hate "Ghost Hunters."  The author brings up a point that I've never quite understood myself, and that is why do all those reality TV ghost hunters always do their hunts overnight?

I've heard some say it's because ghosts are more active at night.  Really?  Do ghosts punch a time clock?  And what about interference from streetlights or car headlights?  He also questions how well can anyone observe anything in total darkness.  Sure, they're using night vision cameras, but those LCD screens are tiny.  And if you recall in a few of the episodes of Ghost Adventures some of their guys have tripped and fallen over furniture in the darkness, and how smart is it really to be walking around inside a completely dark derelict building?  It's lucky that so far no one has taken a bad fall and ended up with a serious injury.

Granted, I'm an accidental ghost hunter, so that means all of my encounters either happened during the day or in the early evening.  If you click on the "photo" label in the sidebar you'll see an entire collection of photos with all kinds of anomalies, and while I can't speak for any of the guest blogger photos, I can tell you that none of mine were taken any later than about 8 o'clock at night. 

Another point of observation is to listen to the claimant testimonials on Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures.  The typical story goes something like this:  "I'd just locked up the museum for the night and I was the last one to leave.  I was about to get in my car when I looked up and saw the lady in the Victorian dress standing at the window."  Almost without exception their encounters are happening either during the day or in the early evening hours.  So why is it necessary for all the TV ghost hunters to do their work between midnight at 5 am?  Is it to make their shows more dramatic? 

The rest of the article is a very interesting read, which I would highly recommend.  I would have to agree with the author that there are some fakers out there, and well as some television shows in which the hunters do sloppy work.  Take Most Haunted.  They don't even do EVP sessions.  Instead they rely on psychics and Ouija boards, and as far as they're concerned every little particle of dust that the camera picks up is an orb and therefore evidence of ghostly activity.  Yeah, right.  I can't help but wonder if some of the people on some of these TV shows are perhaps more interested in showmanship and doing whatever it takes to get the ratings up than in conducting serious paranormal research.  But at the same time they are bringing the discussion about ghosts and the paranormal into the mainstream.  People who have had strange experiences that they can't explain, or that they have been badly frightened by, are now more able to open up and talk about it because they are realizing that they are not alone and that they're not "crazy."  And that's a good thing.

There will come a time when shows like Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures will have run their course and, if you'll pardon the pun, fade away.  Then perhaps the more serious paranormal research can begin again.

My thought for the day.