10/31/14

      12:00:00 am, by Admin   , 316 words  
    Categories: Book Reviews, How We Do The Things We Do

    Goodbye! See you on the websites!

    Note: It's with some regret, key word "some" as it's not completely with regret as you'll see, that this blog - as of November 1st, 2014 - will be more or less left as an archive with no new posts added to it and the comments section shut down. This is because many of the articles in here really should have been put on one of the websites (one of the three Sue and I ultimately look after... Sue's ParaResearchers, my Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts, and our PSICAN site,) as opposed to here for easier access and searching.  The smaller posts and items are pretty much going to be posted to the Facebook pages or groups. (The PSICAN page, the PSICAN group, the Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts page, and the ParaResearchers page.)  We are sorry for those that like the blog format, but we just felt it was time for a change and it will allow better search-ability and overall access to some of the notes we write. We hope you'll check in on our Facebook and Websites as you can.

    Day is done, Gone the sun...

     

    Calling this the "last post" is rather over-dramatic... because it isn't.

    We will be continuing to post information and notes on our websites...

    PSICAN.org - ParaResearchers.org - Torontoghosts.org

    ...and we will be maintaining our Facebook presences...

    PSICAN group

    PSICAN page

    ParaResearchers page

    Torontoghosts page

    ...but mostly focusing on our websites and work there.

    Sue and I have had a lot of fun, laughs, frustration, anger, giggles, general 'moments', and memories writing in this blog and reading the responses, and the posts et al will stand as is in an archive for anyone to visit...

    Our focuses will be shifting to the websites for the long-term foreseeable future, and we do hope you'll pop by those or the Facbook offerings as you can.

    So, from Sue and myself, goodbye Paranormal Blog... we will miss you...

    ...but we're still busy in our fields and we will still be writing!

    All the very, very best to you all!

    Enditall

    10/19/14

      07:09:00 pm, by Admin   , 1091 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - General, Ghost Tours & Travel

    'Tis Halloween Season!

    Note: It's with some regret, key word "some" as it's not completely with regret as you'll see, that this blog - as of November 1st, 2014 - will be more or less left as an archive with no new posts added to it and the comments section shut down. This is because many of the articles in here really should have been put on one of the websites (one of the three Sue and I ultimately look after... Sue's ParaResearchers, my Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts, and our PSICAN site,) as opposed to here for easier access and searching.  The smaller posts and items are pretty much going to be posted to the Facebook pages or groups. (The PSICAN page, the PSICAN group, the Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts page, and the ParaResearchers page.)  We are sorry for those that like the blog format, but we just felt it was time for a change and it will allow better search-ability and overall access to some of the notes we write. We hope you'll check in on our Facebook and Websites as you can.

    SPOOKY NANAS!

    You take these things seriously, right?

    I mean, you weren't going to sully and darken my study of ghosts and hauntings, a study which looks into experiences that often shake and bother people who have them, and make them into a laugh-fest {giggle-factor} festival with Halloween and it's silly sheet-wearing ghosts and jump-scares and the like?

    You wouldn't mock those experients who are upset and nervous with jokes about ghosts and silly decorations around your home to make fun of these things or "amuse" yourself, would you?

    WELL FOR RIGHT NOW, YOU SHOULD!

    BOO!

    Welcome to the season in which all investigators and researchers should cut loose and give in to the more sublime (read: fun!) aspects of ghosts and hauntings... not to mention werewolves, zombies, and other assorted stuff like that.

    I whole-heartedly admit to being a stickler for taking things seriously and making sure things are on the up-and-up when presenting information and data about reported hauntings and the like... and the reason for that is the giggle factor.

    In a very small nutshell, the giggle factor is when people laugh or mock people that say they have had ghostly experiences... and we've all seen it happen.  Someone starts telling their story and some moron has to step up and go, "Wooooo! I'm a ghost!!! I'm SCARING you!!!" or the like, making fun of their tale.  This also gives fodder to some to suppress and avoid legitimate studies into these experiences as they worry about being a laughing stock.  In many ways, the non-believers (who usually self-identify as sceptics, although scepticism means doubt, not non-belief so they're wrong,) love the Hollywoodisation and laughing material about the kooky weirdos that believe in or, worse yet, have an experience with something they think is a ghost.  That keeps haunted sites from letting people in to look around and ask questions, because they don't want to be a joke... and funding through academia on these things isn't going to happen as long as we're all (from the crap ghost hunters to legitimate folklorists and researchers/investigators,) lumped in with the late Don Knotts' Mr. Chicken. (Go on, click the image below... dare ya!)

    CLICK THE IMAGE!!! DO IT!!!

    THAT SAID, this is the exception... because the culture is so pervasive that now is the time to absolutely clutch that skull-headed, sheet-wearing apparition (made of plastic and usually playing the generic "scary sound" noise,) and give 'em a big ol' hug!

    BOOYAKA!

    It's even time for thrill seekers to have their moment... legally of course!  Many places at offering lantern lit ghost tours (in the dark!) and there's a plethora of pop-up haunted rides and places to visit for a good jump scare or two.

    Now is also the time that usually the reality-ish crap about the paranormal on teevee takes a back seat to better things like documentaries on dark history with loads of nasty things from our legitimate past like the machinations of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia who's better known as Vlad the Impaler, or Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, better known as Elizabeth Báthory who, if you look into her, you'll recognise the source of a lot of horror films to name some bloody ones... though Ivan the Terrible's stuff is what chills my blood. There's also ghost documentaries, covering old territory usually, but still I personally love to see new looks about the ghost at The Tower of London or Whaley House.

    Sure, these are the elevated things for eggheads like me (and perhaps you,) but this is also the season for a lot of horror fiction to come to the fore with movies, shows, and all sorts of entertaining goodies... and even eggheads need a good Steven King film that's not about prison life!

    Lantern

    Now, with the knowledge that I'm not paid to do this (and I'm not,) allow me to recommend some places to visit on or before October 31st... and sorry to be Toronto-centric, but that is home for me. 

    Of course, in Toronto proper, you can try to see if there's any openings for a potential ghost tour through Muddy York Tours.

    There are also tours of Kingston, Ottawa, and indeed, even Toronto again through Haunted Walks

    Old Fort York in Toronto is offering lantern tours for the season...

    ...as is Old Fort Erie in (well, of course,) Fort Erie.

    Still one of my personal faves is Old Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake which is a gorgeous trip on a fall day.

    ...and there are many others I'm remiss at not listing, but I implore you to "Google" your town's/city's names and ghost tours and see what pops up!  I also welcome anyone reading this who knows of any tours or the like to post them in the comments section of this post. 

    BOOK EARLY for all Halloween ghost tours!  They tend to fill up FAST and way ahead of time!

    ...and finally, although it's a retail outlet, STRONG recommendation to visit The Amazing Party Store's main shop just South of the QEW. It's an experience! (No, this is NOT a paid advertisement! Sue and I genuinely LOVE this place!)

     The only thing preachy I have to add in closing is please, if you do go out for a thrill or the like, be safe, be legal.  Abandoned properties are not without owners and usually very unsafe and unhealthy... so try to find a place you're invited to and welcomed at.

    Enjoy this spooky season and yes, for the next little while, embrace the giggle-factor!

    Of course, come November, I'll be back to being all grumpy and serious again!

    Happy Halloween!

    End

      06:45:00 pm, by Admin   , 1785 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - Rants

    They are serious!

    Note: It's with some regret, key word "some" as it's not completely with regret as you'll see, that this blog - as of November 1st, 2014 - will be more or less left as an archive with no new posts added to it and the comments section shut down. This is because many of the articles in here really should have been put on one of the websites (one of the three Sue and I ultimately look after... Sue's ParaResearchers, my Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts, and our PSICAN site,) as opposed to here for easier access and searching.  The smaller posts and items are pretty much going to be posted to the Facebook pages or groups. (The PSICAN page, the PSICAN group, the Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts page, and the ParaResearchers page.)  We are sorry for those that like the blog format, but we just felt it was time for a change and it will allow better search-ability and overall access to some of the notes we write. We hope you'll check in on our Facebook and Websites as you can.

    Oh dear, poor Bongo

    Bongo is most upset...

     Remember this post?

     ...and this one?

     I'll toss this one in too...

     If not, have a read... I'll wait.

     Done? Goodly!

     Well, the folks who were responsible for these two issues recently showed back up on the radar, so to speak... and at their usual peak of awesomeness.  (Let's check with Bongo on this one...)

    Bongo in Tears

    Yeah, my thoughts too.

    Anyway, here's the skinny...

    There's a website/blog written by someone I admire in the province (I don't want to involve this fellow in this rant, so I'm keeping it as anonymous as possible, but if you're interested, you probably should be able to find his site through some creative Googling and it is well worth the read,)  and in it, and remember all the key points I'm about to make - I'll bold the important ones for you, he discusses his past being a caretaker for a disused property (a rather impressive hotel, to be honest,) a few years prior to his posting on his site which dates to late April of 2009.  In the post, to give it some context, he states clearly that as of the time of the initial situation, he was still with his ex-wife... again, 2009 was when he's writing this...

    I won't spoil it, but the story is very interesting and involves mostly an instance with a light in one of the abandoned windows that led to a rather unsettling first-hand experience for the fellow... nothing obviously "deadly", as such, but definitely in the unnerving category!

    A search through this fellow's site would show another more blanketed post (posted two weeks after this first one,) about the site and the more urban legend aspect of it (outside of his own experiences,) and in the comments, he mentions that, and this one I'll quote, "...my stint at the hotel was many years ago, and it has changed hands at least twice (possibly more) since then.  I have no idea who owns or maintains the property now."

    Okay? You got all that? A very interesting report, well written, and definitely worth finding via Google!

    So Far... WELL NOW, you know this is a rant... and it's a rant because I have a personal issue with what I call the "Three I's..."

    Intolerance, Ignorance, and Incompetence.

    Well, here it comes.,,,

    Last month, (September 2014) this was posted verbatem...

    "I represent the longest serving paranormal team in Canada, {name withheld}. If you require our assistance please contact us through our website or me personally at {email withheld}. We are not a group of overnight thrill seekers but a team that does extended investigations of a location and its historical records in order to get the complete story. {Name withheld}, the head of our organization has just published his 5th book based on investigations performed by our team. Please check our website to confirm for yourself that we are a professional team."

    FacePalm 

    Are you seeing it?  I'm pretty sure you are...

    Let's dissect this...

    Ancient Juan

    "I represent the longest serving paranormal team in Canada"

    That's not well defined... but as a history lesson...

    Skeptics{sic} Canada (now the Association for Science and Reason) has been around looking into claims of the paranormal since 1984.

    There have been active members of the American Society for Psychical Research in Canada documented since 1908.

    There have been active members of The Society for Psychical Research in Canada documented since 1913.

    Parapsychological Association has had Canadian content since 1969.

    All four of these organisations still have members in Canada. 

    For the record, Torontoghosts was first put online in 1997 and is still going.

    I can list a plethora of other groups and organisations that have been active in Canada especially between 1913 and the mid-1970's... but I won't bore you.

    To also be 100% honest, we knew through a few "members" mostly based in the Peterborough area about the formation of this group in October of 2003... though to be fair, they are not the founder, but they did say they were the beginning of the team proper.

    The fellow who runs the group  says it was founded in 1979... and perhaps that's true, but (and yes, this is a compliment,) it looks like he started the group in his pre-teens... this may not be accurate, so consider it withdrawn as he may be older than he appears...

    ADDENDUM (October 23rd): Thanks to some research, we found out through a Toronto Star article on a haunted location he was at with the original(?) team from 2006, in that same year he was forty-one. A little math now tells us he started his group at the age of fourteen... potentially thirteen.

    ...but as the group was around since dying says of disco, surely there's notes and information from them, right? 

    Checking, Looking. Um...

    Nope.

    The first we heard from him (ourselves) was in February of 2003... when he asked for me to help him find a place to look into his new "theories".  I declined because the request was a little hard to fill... in a nutshell, it was for the holy grail of haunted sites... a place where things happened often and with a schedule to predict them.  He did not mention a formed group in any of the mail we exchanged.

    The next time we heard of this fellow was the release of his first book in August of the same year.  I won't lie here, we had huge problems with the book... the "hiding" of the people and place involved was not thorough and the accusations made in it without firm evidence were troubling.  We even heard from a family member who wrote to us hoping we would help with potential information... we stayed out of it... though in fairness, we had the location figured out by chapter two.  The targets chosen who were panted in a very questionable light were people who honestly deserved better for the legitimate (nothing to do with the paranormal) troubles in their lives... and no, there was nothing "evil" or "wrong" that is evident in their histories... and if there were, BOY would we all know about it as the patriarch suffered badly at the hands of the Canadian Government during World War II due to his ancestry and nothing else.

    We won't discuss his other works, but one of them is mentioned in the linked posts above.

    So, we have twenty-four years without published information about the group, who doesn't acknowledge the people who were (and are) active around them.

    Strike one.

    Welcome to Phone Mail Hell 

    "If you require our assistance please contact us through our website or me personally..."

    I'll let this one slide.  After all, even though the event mentioned happened years before 2009 and the person involved is years removed from the site, one could argue that assistance could mean just information.

    Still, Strike One-and-a-half... only a half strike for not noticing.

    Yup! That's pretty serious!

    "We are not a group of overnight thrill seekers but a team that does extended investigations of a location and its historical records in order to get the complete story."

    Yet they seem to do ghost hunts... and looking through their website, it's pretty much SSDD in terms of what they do with little notation as to "why" they're doing it and to what end... just that they "geared up" for things.  As I've often said, unless you know the "why", the collection of any evidence means not a whole lot.

    I'm giving this the Strike two-and-a-half designation as you can't say you're looking for the complete story when your webpage lacks a LOT of information on the places you investigate... like the entire history... or why you're trying to collect the "data" you are working towards?

    Check it, Baby!

    "Please check our website to confirm for yourself that we are a professional team."

    Okay, Strike THREE!

    First of all, see the above "strike two and a half" bits above.

    Second of all, you're great intuition missed out something...

    You're throwing yourself at a man who has no more connection with the site currently than you do yourself  and hasn't since AT LEAST 2007... seven years prior to your request.

    This speaks volumes about your professionalism and research skills.

    I feel awful about conveying this sort of thing, especially as a rant, but realistically, Sue and I for the last year or more have been trying to reconnect ties with sites, museums, and other places that can be of help in understanding the cause of some of these ghostly experiences people discuss... and the damage was done by bad, arrogant, and just plain silly ghost hunters.

    In this case, had the poster just spent literally four minutes of extra time before making a public statement, he could have discussed and talked with the experient who wrote it and garnered good information.

    Instead, it comes off as slightly arrogant (granted FAR better than the Fort York disaster linked to above,) and with information that the experient (as he's a genuinely educated person in these fields,) realises is wrong and shows a sincere lack of effort or proper information... and is, in fact, not at all professional.

    Leaving aside the fact that the author of the report has about as much to do with that hotel as I do with the office building where my last day job was located, what if he was the current caretaker?  With the way the request was presented and the information given, what might have happened?

    There's a chance that everything would have gone smoothly... but once things started to unravel... chances are, doors would be closed for all of us and information on legitimate sources requested to be censored if not outright deleted/removed... and no one gets anything.

    Has this happened before?  Yup.

    Will it happen again?  Yup.

    Do I expect better from this group in the future?  Sadly no..

    Bongo Again

    You said it, buddy...

    Enditall

      06:08:00 pm, by Admin   , 1405 words  
    Categories: Book Reviews

    Happy Birthday Sweet Seventeen

    Hacky Burpday

    It feels like it's been a donkey's years since I was able to put hand-to-keyboard to do a post or an article for the blog, but as we're now careening towards Halloween and The Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society just past it's 17th birthday, I thought it was high time!  (That, and life FINALLY gave me the chance to have a few moments to do so.

    There are a number of changes coming up, and the first one will be kind of sad, hopefully not, but it's first because any posts between now and Halloween will start with this notice...

    It's with some regret, key word "some" as it's not completely with regret as you'll see, that this blog - as of November 1st, 2014 - will be more or less left as an archive with no new posts added to it and the comments section shut down. This is because many of the articles in here really should have been put on one of the websites (one of the three Sue and I ultimately look after... Sue's ParaResearchers, my Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts, and our PSICAN site,) as opposed to here for easier access and searching.  The smaller posts and items are pretty much going to be posted to the Facebook pages or groups. (The PSICAN page, the PSICAN group, the Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts page, and the ParaResearchers page.)  We are sorry for those that like the blog format, but we just felt it was time for a change and it will allow better search-ability and overall access to some of the notes we write. We hope you'll check in on our Facebook and Websites as you can.

    Next, as this post is being written for Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts' Happy 17th Birthday, I thought I should go through a couple of things that are happening with that site...

    History

    First and foremost, we're returning it to our first love... and what the site and group was supposed to be about... documenting the experiences, the history, the folklore, and the first-hand accounts of ghosts and hauntings in Ontario... and really, little else.

    That's still a mighty handful of stuff to look after (if you do it properly,) but as PSICAN is really a site for the investigations of the more tangible(?) side of things, those notes and ideas should be located there... and even then, the concepts and efforts of looking for evidence of ghostly doings (outside witness' experiences and folkloric/historic stuff,) are not all that clear as one should really have a point to doing that... but that's another article for another time. (Hint - PSICAN isn't really a ghost hunting group either with good reason... but again, that's later.)

    The other reason that we're... well, I am for now... concentrating on history and too often patching some badly damaged bridges.  Sadly, as stated in the past, "ghost hunters" have really caused a lot of issues with the credibility of the subject (as a whole) and a lot of Ontario's historic sites/museum's staff and management have complaints about ghost hunters ranging from boorish behaviour to outright property damage to seemingly obvious fraud in one case. As predicted, however, with the decline of interest in the reality-ish television shows featuring ghost hunting and psychics, many of the would-be ghost hunters have now sought other hobbies and avenues to sate their desire for god know's what...

    Bored

    ...so we are making progress patching up relations... and it's taken over a year to get some people even willing to talk about the subject, let alone allow anyone to visit their museums/sites even for information on potential ghostly legends.

    For anyone who's seen me rant about this before, people who feel/think they are islands onto themselves and if "X" people interested in ghosts causes trouble or issues at someplace, it shouldn't affect "Y" people... they should understand that to the world that may not closely watch these studies locally, the average person (or staff member or site manager or...) only sees that there are people with the same interest who all the same.  The West Guilford Ghost Squad (if such a thing exists,) who all wear matching T-shirts and toques, rolling about with EM meters and night-vision cameras (that they mistakenly call thermal imagers,) and often saying "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?!" in the dark...

    Losers

    ....are pretty much just people that look into ghosts, like those people on that bad teevee show, at least to the average person.  The person that has come to them, in daylight, with a plethora of texts and notes looking into the former reports of odd happenings wishing to speak to a senior staff member - if possible - who identifies themselves as (perhaps) a member of the Society for Psychical Research (or similar) doing work on history and psi related things is will also be seen by the average person who does not have a horse in the paranormal race as being pretty much the same as the West Guilfored Ghost Squad and those people on teevee.

    The next thing, and right now the BURNING complaint from the voices we're now talking to, is the arrogant stance from some that a "ghost hunter" will be highly beneficial to their museum or site and drag in cashmoneymillions for them because ghost hunters are great. The morons that attempt to push this notion forward forget that many of these sites are funded as educational places for their history, not for a side-show, and the average person who spent four to twelve years of their life taking a formal education in being a historian knows that, in the end, funding and assistance comes from the government for being just that.  Ghost tours and "ghost tourism" is a VERY small drop in the bucket for those that have entertained doing it.  

    Some sites that allow ghost tours to happen do so because these events are well thought out and genuinely contain legitimate information about the history of their site... basically a good entertaining look with a HUGE dollop of actual facts tossed in to sweeten the educational component of the site.  These places are rare in the extreme, but offer usually well done tours no doubt...

    ...but one site in Toronto recently changed management, and this new group, horrified by the historical inaccuracies and generic troubles with the ghost tours formerly (not any more) run at their site. They wrote to me to request all information about the place be taken down from our pages.  For the record, our entry on that site is still up with their blessing.  Had this manager read our write-up first, they probably would not have contacted me as they would have noted we actually suggest that the site and stories around it are more than a little trumped up... but, forgivably, their assumption that we're "all the same" led them to believe that as their museum/site was on our website, we must be in lockstep with these now defunct tours.  We weren't at all... and in bringing them up to speed on our articles, I also mentioned to them that the removal of our articles would leave a hole for people doing online research about their "hard to miss" location... which would be filled, no doubt, by far worse than even the questionable tours that used to run there.

    ANYWAY, I guess you can see what I've been up to now!

    Torontoghosts

    On a way more positive note, I am glad that Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts has weathered every storm and continues to do so.  Toronto and Ontario as a whole has a lot of great legends, folklore, and history to explore and maybe understand... and people continues to have reports and stories they wish to share with others of a like mind and share them... and that's why we're here.

    I'd like to say a personal (HUGE) thanks to Sue for keeping this boat afloat through some rough waters over the last few years, especially when other concerns or worries had me running about all over the place.  Sue has had a large (public) hand in keeping our Facebook stuff thriving where I've been kept from doing so, (my day job does not allow access to Facebook during business hours for professional reasons,) but her efforts, through some of her own stormy weather, have been tireless.

    So, seventeen... next year, Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts will be a legal adult in the province!  The year after that, it'll be allowed to drink in Ontario!!!

    Here's to the next seventeen years!

    - Matthew Didier

    End

      06:08:00 pm, by Admin   , 76 words  
    Categories: How We Do The Things We Do

    October of 2014 - Media Information

    Nope

    Sorry, but we will not be taking any media request for any company, group, or individual this Halloween season.

    Although we appreciate hearing from the media, it is not something we will be pursuing in the near or foreseeable future regardless of the project.

    Other parties are no doubt available... just Google your location and the part(s) of the paranormal you're interested in an no doubt there will be someone.

    Thank you again for your interest.

    This is the End

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    The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussions of Sue Demeter-St Clair and Matthew James Didier....two paranormal investigators/researchers based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The blog is now archived, but will remain online for those interested in reading it. Please have a look for us via these websites:

    The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Societies, Paranormal Studies & Investigations Canada - PSICAN, and Pararesearchers of Ontario We are also members and supporters of The Society of Psychical Research, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences

    Pages We Contribute To On Facebook

    Paranormal Studies and Investigations Canada on Facebook

    Toronto and Ontario Ghosts on Facebook

    ParaResearchers of Ontario on Facebook

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    Click Here For Our Paranormal Resources Page

    Thank you to all of our regular blog readers for your support throughout the last eight years! We appreciate it And while comments will now be closed on the individual posts, feel free to contact us through our continuing websites as listed above.

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