Coming Soon!!!

Coming SoonIt is with great pleasure that Asylum Paranormal announces Haunted Lafayette Tours in Lafayette, Louisiana.  Kasey Clark, owner of Haunted Houston Tours in Houston, Texas is the mastermind behind this new venture.  Haunted Lafayette Tours’ projected launch date is Halloween of this year.  Yes, you heard me right, less than 6 weeks away.  Stay tuned to this channel for updates on the Grand Opening of Haunted Lafayette Tours.

Kasey Clark is a genius when it comes to the paranormal or business and, has taken these two concepts to a whole new level melding them together in perfect balance.  If you have ever been to Houston and have the opportunity to take one of her tours or have visited her website http://www.hauntedhoustontours.com, you will instantly know what I’m talking about.  Now, with the launching of her new venture, Haunted Lafayette Tours http:///wwwhauntedlafayettetours.com, you can expect the same top quality tours but, with a twist.  Being located deep in the heart of Bayou Country, Haunted Lafayette Tours will have a Cajun flair to them offering Walking Tours, Pub Crawls, and Ghost Hunts.

Kasey has over 35 years of experience dealing with the paranormal and her company in Houston has been featured in a local magazine, ABC 13 News, KHOU 11 News, and local newspapers in the Houston area.  Additionally, she is an author on the paranormal with her first book to be published very soon.

No matter which tour you choose, you just can’t lose whether it be one of her tours in Houston or in Lafayette.

As a paranormal investigator and author myself and having worked with her for over 18 years, I have to take my hat off to this lady and say, “kudos” to you.

© J.F. Dietz 2013

So, You Want To Be A Ghost Hunter?

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Thanks to TV Shows on “Ghost Hunting” along with media coverage, it has created a heightened interest in ghost hunting which is fantastic.  For those who have either watched one or several of these types of shows or did a little research, I encourage you to do more if you are truly interested in this hobby rather than being morbidly curious.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I said “hobby” and not profession.  Even the most seasoned and experienced Ghost Hunters have an outside job or are retired from an outside job while pursuing their ghost hunting interests.  It’s a rather rare occurrence for someone to make a profession out of it but, stranger things have happened.  For the serious amongst you, I highly recommend starting small to get your feet wet and see how you like it and go from there.  This way, if, you find out it’s not your “cup of tea”, you would not have much time or money invested in the hobby.

My first recommendation is to go on a ghost hunting tour.  The cost averages about the same as dinner for two and is quite fun.  You will usually be in a group setting with a tour guide leading the tour.   For people in the Houston, TX area, I highly recommend Haunted Houston Tours.  They have experienced tour guides and ghost hunters to answer questions and offer assistance for those new to this hobby.  You also have the opportunity to get hands on experience by renting equipment to be used on your ghost hunt.  You can find them at http:///www.hauntedhoustontours.com.  For those residing outside of the Houston area, you will have to check your locale for a ghost hunting tour.

Now what?  You attended your first ghost hunting tour and you absolutely loved it and want more.  I would start by trying to find a local paranormal or ghost hunting meet up group or an active paranormal investigative group.  This is not as easy as it sounds but, for the serious novice ghost hunter, persistence always pays off.  The benefits in knowledge and experience far outweighs the amount of time and research you put in trying to find one of these types of groups.

Once you have gained some experience and knowledge, don’t stop.  This is one of those types of hobbies where learning never ceases.  No matter how long you’ve been doing it, you will always learn something new or be faced with a situation that you have never experienced before.  Independent research is the proverbial “key” to this hobby.

One of the great pitfalls most newbies fall into is ghost hunting equipment.  The myth is that you need every single piece of equipment available to be a successful ghost hunter.  This false belief has poisoned the well for most causing them to abandon their new interest altogether.  Equipment is very expensive even if you are independently wealthy and is not necessary.  Personally, I only have a few pieces of equipment at my disposal (a digital camera, digital recorder, Ghost Box or Frank’s Boxdivining rods, and a pendulum) and I’ve been doing this for 32 years.  All of these pieces of equipment fit easily into my pockets or Day Travel Pack.  My absolute favorite pieces of equipment are my pendulum and divining rods.   You can read my article “Ghost Hunting On A Budget” for more information.  All in all, to be good at what you do, doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

Now that you feel comfortable enough to branch out on your own, “Where do you go?”.  Fall back on your skills of research to find haunted locations locally.  Our Haunted Houston Tours’ office receives several calls a month asking for the location of haunted hot spots in the area.  This route almost always never pans out for the following reasons.  Reason No. 1:  Serious ghost hunters and paranormal experts automatically draw the conclusion that you are not very serious and are very lazy when it comes to independent research.  Reason No. 2:  Serious ghost hunters and paranormal experts are not about to reveal any information pertaining to their ongoing research or locations of interest.  Reason No. 3:  Serious ghost hunters and paranormal experts are unwilling to accept liability in the event you get injured or violate any local or state laws accessing a haunted location.  I know I’m being brutally honest here but, that’s just the way it is period.

In the end, I encourage people of all ages to pursue their interests wholeheartedly no matter what it is, as long as it’s legal and enjoyable.

© 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

 

Ghost Hunting On A Budget

Over the years, people have asked me this question the most.  Can ghost hunting be done on a small budget?  My answer is, “absolutely.”  For those of you who are financially challenged like myself, you can easily get started for under $100 or less.  In this article, I will cover very inexpensive pieces of equipment that will give you fantastic results and serve you well long term.  So, I have come up with a short-list of equipment to have in your arsenal whether you are new to ghost hunting or a well seasoned paranormal investigator.

 Digital Camera

 The first piece of equipment I suggest you purchase, if you don’t already have one, is an inexpensive digital camera which can be found for $20 or less on amazon.com.  Digital cameras with built in flash is that it allows you to take photos at night as well as during the day.  After your ghost hunt, you can go home and download your pictures right onto your computer where you can enlarge them for better viewing.  This allows you to examine your pictures more closely to determine whether or not you captured anything of interest during your hunt.

 Digital Voice Recorder

Next, I would recommend that you purchase a digital voice recorder that allows you to record in “Wave” and also has a built in USB drive.  These are also readily available on amazon.com for around $30.  Not only with this device allow you to ask questions of ghosts while on your ghost hunt but, will allow you to record their answer.  Of course with this device, you won’t be able to audibly hear the ghosts answering you but, don’t fret, you may have captured them on your recorder.  I do need to mention that the first or second time you use this device, it will appear that you are just wandering around talking to yourself giving everyone else who may see you the impression you are schizophrenic but, don’t mind the living.  You’re only concerned with the dead.  After your hunt is over and you get home, you can download your recordings directly to your computer.  You also have the option of using headphones so you can hear better.  The purpose of the Wave Sound Software is so you can bleed out excess noise making your recording a little sharper without altering the recording in any shape or form.  Also, having the USB drive built right into the device itself eliminates having to have another cord connected to your computer.  To me, this is a plus because my computer work station already has enough cords and wires that I’m constantly having to corral at different points in time.

 Spirit Box

Another great piece of equipment to have is a “Frank’s Box”, “Ghost Box”, or “Spirit Box”.  No, these are not all different pieces of equipment but all of these names plus more refer to this single piece of equipment.  You may have seen them used on some of the more popular Ghost Hunting TV Shows.  With this device, you are able to communicate with ghosts in real time meaning you can ask them questions and you will be able to audibly hear them respond to you.  It’s different from the Digital Voice Recorder I mentioned earlier for the simple fact that the “Ghost Box” does not allow you to record the ghost’s responses.  However, you can use the digital voice recorder along with the “Ghost Box” and you will be able to record ghostly responses.  The cost of a “Ghost Box” will usually set you back about $80 which is still not too bad for a micro-limit budget but, at the higher end of your budget cost-wise.  Whether new or used, the cost stays the same on average including shipping.  So, I would prefer to buy new rather than save $2-$5.  This way, you at least have a warranty on the device in case it’s defective or malfunctions.  If you want to add external speakers to this device rather than rely on the built-in speaker, you will have to fork out another $20 if, you can find them.  For me personally, external speakers are nice to have but, not necessary for the device to work.  This item will be offered for sale through Haunted Houston Tours’ website http://www.hauntedhoustontours.com June 2013.  You can also  book a Ghost Hunting Tour offered by Haunted Houston Tours to test out your device once you receive it.

 Dowsing Rods

Next on my list is somewhat unusual but, works very well is “Dowsing Rods” or “Witching Rods”.  Originally, these  devices were used by Water Witcher’s locate water in order to dig a Well.  They were predominately made out of a “Y” shaped Willow Tree branch which would bend in the direction of water sources signaling the spot in which a Water Well should be dug.  With the advent of technology, this device and it’s users became obsolete except in the world of ghost hunting.  Since our bodies are made up of 80% water, “Dowsing Rods” are quite effective in indicating the presence of a ghost.  Another benefit of this device is that they can be made very cheaply if not for free.  The materials needed to make your own set of “Dowsing Rods” are a “Y” shaped Willow Tree branch (free) or you can go to your local Walmart or  other Household Supply store and pick up a bundle of brass coat hangers ($2 or less).  If you go this route, untwist the coat hanger then straighten slightly until one end has a 90 degree angle, snip off the excess leaving you with a long side and a short side.  The short side is the handle you will hold loosely.  Now do another one just like it since you will need one for each hand for them to be effective.  If you happen to have children who are interested in ghost hunting, you can use this opportunity to make creating them a fun family project.  I personally use them all the time.  The only kicker is that the coat hangers have to be either brass or copper since both of these metals are very conductive.

Pendulum

 Finally, the last piece of equipment on my short-list is a Pendulum.  I know, I know.  I can hear everyone balking at this suggestion because of the occult connotations surrounding this item.  Believe me, I completely understand your apprehension about using such an item however, all of this nonsense aside, it’s very reliable and something that can be either purchased or made very cheaply.  If you choose to purchase one, it will cost you around $3-$7.  If you choose to make your own, you can cut this cost in half.  There is no hard and fast rule regarding the materials used to make a pendulum either.  I’ve seen them as simple as a ring on a string to rare crystals.  Let your imagination run wild on this one.  It is also a great opportunity for a fun family project too.

My parting words to you are, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that expensive equipment equals better results.  This is simply not true.  I have seen people use very expensive equipment and get zero results and people who use very inexpensive equipment who get huge results.  Trust me, equipment doesn’t make you a good ghost hunter.  Ghosts do.

Also, all photographs used in this article to represent a piece of equipment is just that, a representation.  I’m not under any circumstances promoting one brand of product over another by any means.  I will leave that job up to the marketers, advertisers, and product developers.  I’m merely a Paranormal Investigator.

© J.F. Dietz 2013

What Are People Thinking?

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Recently it has come to my attention of a Ghost Tour being offered in the U.S. that is counter intuitive and a potential danger to guests    taking that tour.  I’m not going to mention the name of the tour nor the city/state in which it is being offered for potential liability reasons.  The tour that I’m writing about is conducted by a Priest and is held at a location in which malevolent spirits are present.  Those attending his tour are then invited to allow themselves to be possessed by these malevolent/demonic spirits while on his tour.  He touts his tour as “extreme ghost hunting” and for those thrill seekers on his tour seeking that adrenaline rush of demonic spirit possession skating on the brink of no return, he says that this is what will put his tours over the top in the paranormal circles.

Now, I don’t know if it is just me or if anyone else thinks that this concept is insane.  In my 28 years experience as a Paranormal Researcher and Investigator I would not even consider placing anyone in this type of situation unless it is my own personal team consisting of well seasoned Paranormal Investigators.  Even then,  each team member would have the option of accepting or declining such an assignment.  I have learned as a professional that there are things that can mentally and physically injure you not to mention kill you.  Every investigation is different and brings a certain amount of risk with it.  This so-called Priest is not talking about seasoned Paranormal Investigators but, “Joe Average Citizen” who may or may not have had any personal experience with the paranormal other than just watching a couple of television shows.  Either way, in my professional opinion, he is placing innocent people in an unnecessary dangerous situation just for a thrill while assuring them it’s all in fun and is completely safe. As a Professional Paranormal Investigator and Researcher, I find this appalling.

I realize that everyone may or may not share in my opposition to this type of Ghost Tour which is fine by me.  All I have to say is be aware who you are dealing with, ask questions, and find out just what risks you may be taking before you choose to attend a Ghost Tour.

© J.F. Dietz 2013

 

 

“We’ve Come A Long Way Baby”

HHT Meeting Inside PuffabellysLooking back over the years, Haunted Houston Tours has definitely come a long way from its’ humble beginnings.  The owner, Kasey Clark, is a business minded powerhouse devoting every minute of the day ensuring that our guests have a positive experience by streamlining the online booking process, developing a fresh user friendly website, employing creative marketing, and providing excellent customer service.  As a result of all of her hard work, Haunted Houston Tours has grown exponentially every season.  As a living, viable, entity, Haunted Houston Tours continues to add tours while shedding others which are “deadwood”.  The 2013 season is not any different.  We have eliminated our Tomball Walking Tour while focusing on developing tours in Old Town Spring.  Examples of these changes are the addition of a Christmas Walking Tour in Old Town Spring, a Cemetery Ghost Hunt (coming in March 2013) and opening up our tour schedule for Walking Tours and Ghost Hunts in Old Town Spring.  In addition to adding more tours, we are adding more experienced Tour Guides and Assistants to ensure that all of our guests have a memorable experience.  Haunted Houston Tours is becoming the talk of Old Town Spring by offering more “Special Deals”, “Group Discounts”, and “Private Tours.  Be sure to stop by and check our Haunted Houston Tours’ website to view all of the changes and happenings.  “My hat is off” to Kasey for all of her hard work and dedication to developing a hauntingly unique business that offers something for everyone interested in the paranormal no matter age or handicap.

© J.F. Dietz 2013

“Kick Off” 2013 Season

new seasonWell, we officially concluded our second season of operation.  Now, after a brie f hiatus over the holidays, we have now officially “kicked off” our 2013 season.  Beginning this month, top notch insightful articles will once again be posted on a regular basis for your reading pleasure.  We have new topics to cover as well as new perspectives on topics already covered in previous articles.  Join us as we delve deeper into the topics on the paranormal, ghost hunting, equipment, and much, much more.

In addition to the new happenings at Asylum Paranormal Investigations, we invite you to visit our sister company, Haunted Houston Tours located on the web at http://www.hauntedhoustontours.com to view our completely revamped website, new tours, new tour guides, specials, and the gallery which has both photos and EVPs that we caught during our 2012 Season.  Book your tours now to reserve your spot; we’re booking up fast.  It’s going to be a great season and we look forward to seeing you there.

© J.F. Dietz 2013