Ghost Dog

Ramona DeGraw May 19 2013 HHT Guest

In addition to being a Paranormal Investigator and Office Manager of 2 Historical Ghost Tour Companies, I’m also a pet parent to 3 dogs.  Needless to say, the thought of “ghost dogs” or other “ghost animals” never entered my mind at all until, I moved into a house where one existed. It was a “ghost dog” and there were many nights that I was awakened to hear a dog’s bark coming from the living room area.  At first, I thought it was one of my dogs but, when I checked, they were fast asleep in my bed.  Then, my paranormal investigator side kicked in and I tried to rationalize the occurrence away by thinking maybe I was just dreaming or it was the result of an overactive imagination.  When I got up the next morning, I completely put the events of the night out of my mind and continued on with my day as usual.  Several days passed and I didn’t think of that event at all.  Then, again, I was woken up by the sound of a dog running around on the hardwood floor in the dining room.  Once again, I checked, and all of my dogs were fast asleep in my bed.  I got up and walked out into the hall and was surprised to find one of their balls, which are kept in the living room, rolling down the hall towards me.  I was both shocked and amazed.  I bent down and picked up the ball and then rolled it back down the hall towards the dining room and heard the pattering of dog paws on the hardwood floor once again.  I then took one step forward and the ball came rolling back down the hall towards me a second time.  At this point, I switched on the hall lights and proceeded cautiously down the hall towards the dining room.  I then switched on the light for both the kitchen and dining room and continued to walk throughout my house switching on the lights in every room.  I also checked all the doors and windows and everything was secure with no evidence of anyone being in my house other than myself and my 3 dogs.  I even went out into the garage and retrieved a level and checked every room including the hallway to see if, maybe, just maybe, the house had settled and was off level.  To my amazement, everything was fine.  I turned off all of the lights and went back to my bedroom.  As soon as I closed my bedroom door, I heard a dog’s bark coming from the living room.  Again, I checked and my fur babies were fast asleep in my bed.

Then, one day, about a year after my personal experience with a “ghost dog”, a photograph crossed my desk for authentication.  At first glance, it was a picture of one of our tour guides sitting on a bench surrounded with unexplained light streams in the background.  I figured that this was going to be a routine and that the unexplained light streaks could be debunked as flash flare.  However, upon closer examination, something else caught my eye completely isolated from the original question about the lights.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing yet, there it was plain as day.  Lying in my tour guide’s lap was an apparition of a dog.  Finally, I was holding in my hands hard evidence of a “ghost dog”.

After these two experiences, my style of paranormal investigation was forever changed.  I soon began thinking about the very real possibility of the existence of “ghost dogs” and/or other “ghost animals”.  I found that this experience was leading me down a path into uncharted territory with a plethora of new questions which are unique in one way but somewhat familiar in another such as, “Why are they here?”, “What are they attached to?”, “Did they just fail to cross-over?”, “Do they really exist?”, “How many documented cases exist?”, “Is there more evidence?”  Needless to say, I have quite a bit of research to do before reaching a definitive answer to these questions.

© J.F. Dietz 2013



Psychics & Mediums

Psychics & Mediums

I already know that I’m going to receive quite a bit of flack for writing this article but, I believe that this subject needs to be addressed.  I look at it as the proverbial “Elephant in the living room” which everyone seems to ignore.  Since I’m not one who follows the status quo, which usually gets me into a lot of trouble, I have a tendency to speak my mind on topics that others seem to dance around.  This topic is no different.

To clear the air before I start, I just want to say that I don’t have an issue with psychics or mediums.  At least the people who truly have this gift without any doubt whatsoever.  However, I do have issues with those people who believe they are gifted in this area but, who just put on a show to con people out of their hard earned money which seems to happen more commonly than you think.  Harry Houdini had a problem with it also.  So much so, he devoted a good amount of his time exposing psychics and mediums who were complete frauds.

This huge controversy over the validity of psychics and mediums appears to be central to the U.S. only since no official licensing, registration, or any other qualifications are required.  All you need to do is claim to have psychic abilities whether you really possess this gift or not.  Also, both psychics and mediums practicing inside the U.S. are allowed to police themselves.  As a result, you have the perfect breeding ground for frauds ready to fleece you of your hard earned money or even worse preying on your emotions whether it be grieving for a lost loved one or giving you false hope when you are having a hard time financially.  What’s worse is that it’s very difficult to differentiate between a real psychic or medium and a fraudulent psychic or medium.  Compared side by side, they are almost identical to the average person.

A truly psychic person is born with the gift which becomes apparent usually early on in adolescence.  This gift is also passed down from generation to generation in their family and is genetically encoded into them.  Finally, the majority of psychics or mediums are women although on rare occasions when it may be passed down to a male in the family.

In direct contrast to this, a psychic who is a fraud, spends years developing their people watching skills and their abilities to read  people.  The actual term for this is “mentalism” which is a highly developed skill of listening to what you say so discreetly that you don’t even notice that you are feeding them a lot of information about yourself before you even ask them a question. Also included in the practice of “mentalism” is the con-artist’s skill in reading facial expressions and body language.  As a result, the answers about you that the fraudulent medium or psychic gives will make them appear to be someone who is truly gifted in that area.  Don’t feel bad if you have fallen for this trick on an occasion or two, I have also.  As a matter of fact, a study performed a few years back showed that on average 99% of the general public has fallen for this slight of hand as well.

As a Paranormal Investigator and Researcher, I still remain skeptical of all psychics, mediums, and sensitives (those who are sensitive to spirit activity but who have not psychic abilities).  This is why neither Asylum Paranormal nor Haunted Houston Tours do not use them on ghost tours or ghost hunts.    This choice is not meant to be discriminatory against psychics, mediums, and sensatives but, rather to distance ourselves from the controversy by employing them.

As for those of you who do seek advice from psychics or mediums though, just keep in mind that it is for entertainment purposes only and take their counsel with a grain of salt.

© J.F. Dietz 2013


Friday 13th Real or Not

Friday 13th

This article is dedicated to those guests who booked our annual Friday 13th Tour but, had to be rescheduled due to safety issues as a result of unforeseen weather events in the Houston area.

For those of us who have an unnatural fear of this day, actually suffer from a medical condition called Paraskevidekatriaphobia.  Yes, this is real medical diagnosis.

Prior to the 19th Century, Friday 13th this “most feared day” did not exist.  Another curious fact is that Friday 13th is a unique construct of Western Civilization.  This anomaly doesn’t exist in any other part of the world.  It has been documented that over 21 million people are paralyzed by fear every time this day rolls around on the calendar.  So much so, some people refuse to go to work on Friday 13th while others won’t eat in restaurants and, still others wouldn’t think of setting a wedding to take place on this date.

Some of the urban legends associated with this day are that if 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don’t have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witchesin a covenLegend has it: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Never start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck, as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday. Accordingly, it’s the most widespread superstition in the United States today.

All in all, fear of this day whether it’s real or not, lies locked deep inside the recesses of our psyche cloaked in the shadows of the catacombs of the human mind.  Believe if you will but, keep in mind that we are the creators of our fears.

© J.F. Dietz 2012