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Light in the Dark Paranormal–Holiday Issue

9 Nov

Welcome to the online Holiday Issue of the Light in the Dark Paranormal Newsletter!

Each article in the Newsletter is listed above, beginning with Paranormal Holiday Gifts. It tells you how to buy from or donate to LIDP. You’ll get fabulous and totally unique gifts for yourself, friends, or family directly from our Shameless Self-Promotion Department, Its how we pay for the ink in this Newsletter! If you want to keep getting great articles about the paranormal in Colorado, get something from us!

We then visit Paranormal Encounters at the Museum. It summarizes our experiences at that site in Cokedale where we conducted ghost tours with “civilians” from the town and surrounding area. The article includes a picture of what we feel to be real paranormal phenomena in this very haunted building.

Next is Incident at Ludlow, the true story of a woman traveler on Interstate 25 who impulsively pulled off the road at the Ludlow Massacre exit. She ended-up getting a great deal more than she bargained for! Included is our photo of real ghosts that we took some years ago when we investigated the site.

We then come to my own story of a UFO encounter, UFO Sighting Near Beulah, Colorado. It should certainly make you think about the existence of these strange craft. Maybe you have a rational answer for the sighting?

Lanes End, Comments & Reviews are about a novel I wrote a few years ago. It is paranormal fiction for adults in a contemporary setting involving ghosts, the FBI, and Big Pharma! Pretty good if I do say so myself.

Obsidian Obsession was written by my wife Adrian, a member of LIDP. In addition to being our still photography specialist, she also makes her own jewelry. I know, who doesn’t? But her’s are exquisite and inexpensive. In this story she writes about using obsidian as a gemstone in her Earthline collection.

How about a real email from my friend Jon in Email from the Edge? Here he outdoes himself with a criticism of one of our “common wisdoms,” Let me warn you, he is not very kind to those supporters!

Finally, Jon Pompia of the Pueblo Chieftain was kind enough to take a major interest in what LIDP is up to. He wrote a nice piece about our activities at Ludlow and Cokedale this last Halloween– Local Group Mining for Spirits– click here: Chieftain Article        

(if you can’t navigate this link, try the one at the bottom of this page to go directly to the newspaper).

The southern part of the state, including Trinidad, is the real historic Western part of the state. Its a place where Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and Bat Masterson frequented at the turn of the century. It is also among the most haunted of places, including the ghosts of coal miners and their families. Our Newsletter documents their stories, and is as meaningful to those in the East and Midwest as those in the West.

Thanks for reading about our stories and Light in the Dark Paranormal. Readers are encouraged to comment on or report their own paranormal experiences. Contact Us (confidentiality guaranteed).

Paul Hill, Editor and Publisher

All Rights Reserved, including associated pages & photos.
Copyright 2018, Light in the Dark Paranormal and Paul Hill

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please Contact Us, above and
enter UNSUBSCRIBE in the Comments section)


Pueblo Chieftain Article by Jon Pompia

LIDP Newsletter- Halloween Issue

16 Oct






The Halloween Issue of the Light in the Dark Paranormal investigation group is 4 pages. The links to each page are above. If you enjoy this Newsletter, please forward to you friends and relatives! If you don’t, tell us and we’ll unsubscribe you–no hard feelings. If you have any comments pro or con, let us know that too!

Link to online blog version:

This is not an actual mine, but a very haunted mining museum. Our blog post has current info, photos and video links etc.


Southern Colorado Paranormal

19 Aug

the Newsletter of the Paranormal

The southern part of Colorado, including Trinidad, is the real historic Western part of the state. Its a place where Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and Bat Masterson frequented at the turn of the century. It is also among the most haunted of places, including the ghosts of coal miners and their families. Our Newsletter documents their stories, and is as meaningful to those in the East and Midwest as those in the West.

We’ll continue to talk to Leo Gottlieb and company during our Halloween Week Paranormal Encounter! If you want to see the photos from the 10/27 Encounter, let us know!

On September 29th, a small but intimate group attended our most recent Paranormal Encounter at the Museum. As we toured the environs inhabited by Leo Gottleib, his presence was both detected by a flashlight session and still photos of what was probably him in the form of orbs and bright lights in the rafters.. He answered questions from myself, Adrian, and Louise, (members of LIDP) with the lights off and the visitors standing behind us. We toured his office in the back, and then along the southwest part of the mezzanine where he might of walked to gaze out the front second-floor window when he wasn’t doing his work. Adrian captured several photos of orbs that were most likely evidence of his presence watching us as we tried to find him. Let us know if you’d like to see these photos, and we’ll email them.

Our next Paranormal Encounter will continue our attempts to communicate with Leo, perhaps getting him to appear as a full-bodied apparition! We also have news that the elusive little girl may be the same one who frequently came to the store to play while it was open, not the child that was killed in front of the store when she fell off a wagon. We shall try and find out. We also have no evidence yet of an oppressive ghost, previously identified as a guard who watched over the payroll. We shall continue to look for him.


On September 8th Paul & Adrian Hill conducted the first Paranormal Encounter at the Cokedale Mining Museum, the purpose of which was to reveal to visitors the ghosts of that building. Cokedale residents were invited for no charge and 13 came, including the Town Clerk and the Director of the Museum.

Paul Hill, Co-Founder
Light in the Dark Paranormal
Beulah, Colorado

Below are the articles from the September/October 2018 Issue:

the Event

Paranormal Encounters
experience real paranormal phenomena
@the Cokedale Mining Museum
10 miles west of Trinidad

from September 8th through Halloween

Saturday Nights 7 to 9 p.m.

Contact Us, above

for complete info, answers to your questions,
and reservations . . .

brought to you by
Light in the Dark Paranormal
a paranormal investigation group

the ghosts are waiting!
(see p. 64, New Legends Magazine-Summer 2018)

| max group size: 10/tour | waiver to be signed |
| fee required | 1st come/1st served |

the Cokedale Mining Museum

The Cokedale Mining Museum is haunted. Light in the Dark Paranormal (LIDP) did a short investigation of the place back in February of this year, and demonstrated its probable condition in a few hours (visit our website for photos & videos–link at bottom of page).

The anomalies observed were likely from the ghosts of old coal miners and their families and friends. They frequented the building that used to be called the Merchantile Exchange back at the turn of the 19th century when it was the company store. Customers bought equipment and food, while cashing their pay checks in exchange for company script.

Cokedale is just west of Trinidad. Its the mining town where workers turned coal into coke. The lines of coke ovens can still be seen just west of the town, where hot and grueling effort worked its magic baking off the impurities resulting in 99% pure carbon. The material was then shipped to mills in Pueblo and El Paso to make steel.

You can visit the ovens, Cokedale and the Museum by hopping on State Highway 12 (the Highway of Legends) and proceed a few miles west of Lake Trinidad State Park. LIDP will try to reveal the Museum’s ghosts to visitors in groups of 10 from September 8th through Halloween night. Its not for the faint-hearted!. We can’t guarantee anything, but come if you dare. The Event (above) has more info . . .


Are Certain Animals Harbingers of Doom?

(Edited and condensed from a story sent to me by Bryan’s dad–Ed.)

Or are they friendly forewarners of events yet to come . . . messengers from another realm?

My son Bryan had the most beautiful soul. We lost him in 2010 from a rare blood disorder, only 23 years old. An invisible time-bomb was slowly ticking away inside him, while someone was trying to tell us that something was wrong.

An old buddy of mine had committed suicide shortly before. On the day of his wake I first went outside to fetch the paper, only to notice a white dove on the last step of the front porch. It was looking right at me, but I knew there were no such birds in the area. As I walked directly towards it, the dove did not move, and intently watched me as I grabbed the paper.

Walking around it again, it still watched as I went by. Going back inside, I saw that the dove made momentary eye contact with me. I have no doubt that it was my friend who wanted to be sure that I’d be at his wake. I felt that the white bird was telling me that he was at peace. But there was something that I had missed.

Bryan was attending college in Denver, but had dropped out and came back to our new home. But before his return, there were unexplained incidents involving the doorbell and smoke alarms going off in the middle of the night. At one point I had gone down into the basement to check things out. There I saw a white mist that passed right through me.

After Bryan came home, he had become very ill but was reluctant to see a doctor. By then it was too late. I concluded that my old friend had tried to warn us about his condition, at first in the form of the dove. We were blessed to have him and miss Bryan every minute of the day.

So ends the not uncommon testimony of our friend. Animals appear in dreams or are seen as real creatures doing unusual things or engaging in bizarre behavior. All to get our attention and warn or tell us about what we could not ordinarily know. When one of our so-called “lesser species” acts in a way you wouldn’t expect, take heed.


The Classic Music of Halloween

by Jon Kirkeleit

While nowhere near as numerous as Christmas songs, still there are a number of records that get dusted off at this time of year. Many are light hearted humorous ditties like, Sheb Wooley’s The Purple People Eater; The Monster Mash by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers, The Blob by The Five Blobs, or Jumpin Gene Simmons Haunted House.

Some are more serious, dare we say, spookier . . . Screamin’ Jay Hawkins I Put A Spell On You; Michael Jackson’s Thriller, The Witch Queen Of New Orleans by Redbone, and Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights.

For my money, the most serious – deadly serious– was Jim Stafford’s Jasper. Now Stafford had a small string of humorous country and pop hits in the mid-seventies. Songs like Spiders And Snakes; My Girl Bill and Wildwood Weed. Hardly the kind of singer you would expect something like Jasper to come from.

But together with country pop singer Dave Loggins, he produced a true heavyweight of a Halloween song. Complete with a plodding baseline, moaning sometimes shrieking women’s background vocals, and spoken word verses, the song tells the tale of a rake and a ramblin’ man who by the song’s end has become something very, very different. Consider the lyric: Shadows danced as blue-veined hands, like spiders spinning strange commands, released the beast that dwells in Jasper Dan.

The record was released in the spring of 1976. I believe that it would have enjoyed far greater success had it come out around this time of year.

Jim Stafford, circa that time

Jasper on YouTube

Editor/Publisher, Southern Colorado Paranormal: 
Paul Hill, Co-Founder LIDP

Hard Copy Graphic Design: Bones Skaluba

Contributing Writers:
Jon Kirkeleit, Taxi Bill Kast , Adrian Hill 

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2018, LIDP


the Cosmos of Halloween

by Bill Kast

Halloweens’s sky in Cokedale, Colorado — October 31, 2018: the parade of planets that graced us all summer is nearly over, but three bright ones are still visible early in the evening. Shortly after sunset, the planets are the first things to appear before the brightest stars pop into view.

How can you tell the difference between a star and a planet? You may have heard that stars twinkle, planets don’t. Well, it’s true. The more turbulence there is in the upper atmosphere the more stars twinkle, or scintillate. The planets shine with a steady light.

Jupiter is setting far in the southwest, and depending upon your perspective, is probably behind the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The golden globe of Saturn should still be up in the Southwest, not as bright as Jupiter but still appearing before the stars.

Mars will be up over the horizon to the South, very bright and as orange as a pumpkin. It should be the first thing you see in the sky after sunset. Mars made a historically close pass by Earth last July. Even though it’s diminishing in size daily, Mars is still pretty close, bright and big. Take a look with a pair of binoculars and you may be able to see it as a tiny orange disc. The Moon is in the last quarter phase and won’t be up until after midnight. No howling at the full moon this Halloween!

Halloween and Astronomy

Most of us know about the four major astronomical events of the year here on Planet Earth: the Summer and Winter Solstices and the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. Each season in roughly 90 days long.

Ancient astronomers further divided the year with four “cross quarter” days, each one halfway (or 45 days) between an equinox and a solstice. The Autumn cross quarter day was celebrated by the Celts and Druids of the British Isles as Samahin or “Summers end”. The day was associated with death and spirits, and evolved into our modern day Halloween.

By the way, this author was born on April 30th, close to the Spring cross quarter day. April 30th is celebrated by the ancient Germanic tribes as Walpurgisnacht, the night that the Witches cavort with the Devil in the Hartz Mountains. Walpurgisnacht is the opposite day of the year from Halloween, exactly six months divide the two days. Coincidence? I hardly think so.


The Birth of the Bling

by Adrian Hill

Clunk, clunk, clunk . . . the sounds of my rock tumbler hidden in the corner of my bedroom. As a teen, I fell asleep to the rhythm of my precious rocks being transformed into gemstones. That was my passion.

It still is. For Halloween, I make a line I call Re-Creations from vintage jewelry which endows the supernatural aura of “past lives” to the piece. I also create Earthlines made from various gemstones, especially clear quartz, a natural mineral that protects the health and safety of the wearer.

I remember the tumbler in my closet wrapped in towels to help muffle the sound as it rotated the mixture of rocks, sand, and water. It was noisy, but the result was the rocks being transformed into shiny, smooth gemstones. I learned this technique from lapidary classes
working with silver and using a technique called lost wax casting to make rings. I also cut cabochons from thin rock slabs to change into gemstones.

Today we still believe in luck, wealth, and health. The right jewelry continues to have true metaphysical qualities. You can prove it to yourself by contacting me. I’ll send you facts and photos!

Entre Collection


Jewelry will still be available after Halloween!
(click on photos to enlarge)



Clear Quartz Collection

Paranormal Pendants,
Bracelets & Earrings
from $19

Jewelry Designs by Adrian

or Contact Us, above 


who is Light in the Dark Paranormal?

LIDP consists of Paul & Adrian Hill and Louise Bosche . . .


Louise Bosche is a natural-born psychic sensitive, and attracts phenomenon to her. She is presently an environmental consultant, having retired from her job with the City of Pueblo. She specializes in audio recording.


Paul Hill
is the publisher/editor of this newsletter, plus co-founder of our investigative group. He has a BA in psychology and has been formally looking into paranormal phenomena since 2012. He has had the interest and aptitude in the subject since college, and is a clairsentient sensitive specializing in video.


Adrian Hill, a sensitive in her own right, is retired from the medical community, and specializes in paranormal still photography. She devotes the rest of her time to the design, manufacture, and marketing of her jewelry.



LIDP has gone through several iterations, but is now a stable association that operates as a small business, not a weekend hobby! It no longer does investigations for “free,” though that remains the prevailing ethic for most investigators. There are many groups to choose from for no charge!

Although we are not among those folks, we are in fact ghost “magnets” due to our sensitivities and abilities.

Paul’s background as a real estate broker for the last 25 years also allows him to consult with buyers and sellers of both residential and commercial properties to help determine their spiritual suitability.


Paranormal Inspections
Is your home (or the one you want to buy) spiritually afflicted?

EMAIL paul@lightinthedarkparanormal, or Contact Us, above
“I won’t tell you what you want to hear unless its true.”

Lanes End, an adult fictional ghost story by Paul Hill

Excerpt: “In a loud voice her captor answered with a sinister smile while putting his hand on the apparition’s shoulder.
‘Don’t look away, my dear lady. Its time for the change.’ “

Click on title above to order:, or use Contact Us, above


Preliminary Investigation of the Cokedale Mining Museum
photos & videos


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Preliminary Investigation of the Cokedale Mining Museum

24 Feb

Background and Description of Premises

On the evening of February 9, 2018, Light in the Dark Paranormal (LIDP) investigated the Cokedale Mining Museum. LIDP is a paranormal investigative group consisting of Louise Bosche and Paul and Adrian Hill. Also present was David Harris, Director of the Museum, and several citizens of the town and employees of government agencies located in the building. Cokedale’s a small historic mining town of just over 100 happy souls just west of Trinidad, Colorado.

The Museum itself, also housing the administrative offices of the town and a small post office, was formerly the Mercantile Exchange, a  busy place for coal miners and coke processors to come when they were actively employed in the company town back at the turn of the century. The building is reputed to be haunted by these and other individuals associated with the Exchange “back in the day.”

LIDP conducted a short investigation lasting about two hours, beginning roughly 7:30 p.m. The group started after a brief introduction to paranormal events by Paul Hill (PH) and historic background given by David Harris (DH). The weather that night was cold (20’s) and dry, with the wind eventually blowing from 5 to 10 mph, then calming. The heat was turned off in the museum and the electricity was left on with the lights at low levels. The heat and lights were left on in the offices.

The equipment used in this mini-investigation was minimal, including 2 small maglite flashlights, a hand-held digital recorder, a pocket video camcorder, a still camera, and ordinary compass. LIDP also refers to itself as humanly sensitive to varying degrees, and claims that they would be able to detect the presence of phenomena without hardware if it was present.

Evidence was collected and recorded by LIDP in the 2 hour period of the investigation. PH quickly eliminated the influence of geomagnetic fluctuations caused by geologic events (at least for that night) by the use of his compass which showed no irregularities (the region has been shaken by small quakes caused by fracking, an ongoing mining practice). In the 2 flashlight sessions conducted by Adrian Hill (AH) and Louise Bosche (LB), both audio and visual evidence was captured. Possible visual evidence was also obtained from still photographs taken by AH in the basement, and audio evidence was recorded by LB during her EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) recording done in the kitchen. Video was shot randomly and during the flashlight sessions by PH.

The Museum is a large barn-like building, housing the Museum, offices and auxillary rooms. The main level has a wood floor with peaked roof above, including glassed-in display cases of tools and other artifacts used by the miners, plus life-sized displays including figurines and furniture of the rooms lived in by their families. The upper level accessed by a wooden staircase is a loft-like affair, perhaps 15′ wide and surrounding and overlooking the main level below. Finally the full basement ran the entire length and width of the building, and was constructed of stone and concrete. It was used for storage, and had much misc. equipment and articles from different eras stored there. There was also a set of large wooden doors used for a walk-out to the exterior of the building. Parts of the main and upper levels also contained old equipment and some present-day furniture, including a large iron wheel-driven freight elevator that led to the top floor used when the building was still a miner’s store.

The ends of the rectangular structure were fronted on one end by double-doors that were the main entrance to the museum, including a side exit/entrance accessed by the public. The other end of the building was the rear which contained the Post Office and administrative offices of the city, including a small front office with counter for public access and the City Council chambers. There was also a large room converted to a kitchen. The atmosphere in these areas was heated, but felt “heavy” by anyone with any degree of sensitivity. Paranormal activity apparently was quite common as reported in these areas.

Handwritten accounts by witnesses long familiar with the museum were submitted to PH at the end of the investigation in a sealed envelope. These were not read at the time and shall remain anonymous for now, but suffice it to say that they helped corroborate the findings of LIDP, especially the stories of of a little girl.

Before the investigation began, a tour of the building was provided by DH, which LIDP was seeing for the first time. He provided historic background during his tour and pointed out some large mining equipment that is still on the floor and hanging on the walls of the main level. Many framed photos of the miners and their families were also apparent.

The Evidence

EVP’s / Digital Audio Recordings

In the kitchen toward the end of the investigation, LB and AH tried to record any EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) on the digital recorder. At first there was nothing, but both noticed that someone was playing with the unit while it was still being hand-held. A flashlight was set on the counter, but never touched. The women asked if anyone would turn on the flash, but apparently only the recorder was being manipulated by someone else. That pattern repeated itself for about 10 min., and the session was ended.

When LB listened to the recorder at home a few days later, she heard a squeaky toy and a young child giggling, apparently picked-up in the kitchen when it was being manipulated. Unfortunately, we cannot playback these sounds for you as the unit was new and the recording was accidentally erased during the upload process.

PH can tell you that two of the written accounts by prior witnesses mention a little girl seen or heard. One wrote: ” . . . she has heard a young girl laughing or giggling in now what is the church yard.” The other account wrote of “a small child in a white dress with ringlets” who was killed at the Mercantile in an accident decades ago. In any case, LB states she was unaware of the little girl written about when she first listened to the digital recording.

Flashlight Sessions / YouTube Clips

Earlier in the investigation, LB and AH set up two Maglite flashlights on a table in the rear of the upper level. The idea was to get any ghosts to communicate with the operators by turning the flashlights on for “yes,” twice for “no,” etc. At the very least the light could be on or off when speaking. The investigators have never been able to activate the lights in non-paranormal environments (actively tested), and only in paranormal active settings when they do.

On the first occasion the flashlights were set up and the building lights were turned off with PH, DH, and the rest of the group standing in back. Numerous creaks and groans were heard and recorded from the building itself (paranormal?), but the flashlights remained dark while they were “spoken” to.

(View all YouTube videos below)

The sounds recorded during this first session are worth posting and listening to on YouTube, as is most of the session. Shortly thereafter, PH felt that the best place to setup the flashlights was on a table with a green tablecloth on the mail level toward the front of the building. He was correct. Both flashlights activated themselves in response to questioning by PH, LB, and AH (the observers took basically the same positions behind the table). The rest is self explanatory, and was video-recorded by PH. This session can be viewed below.

The second video can be regarded as solid evidence of paranormal activity; the first possibly since the flashlights weren’t activated by themselves, but noises were heard in the background. This could have been the wind hitting the building, or it may have been signs of paranormal activity.

(View all YouTube videos below)

Random Clip / YouTube

The third video posted to YouTube ( https:// ) shows a short clip shot from the upper level, randomly filmed. Its only about 34 seconds long, but about 23 seconds-in the video shows what turns about to be a large wire cutter apparently self-illuminating with an iridescent bluish hue. The light on the object lasts only 1/30 of a second, equal to one frame of video. Less than 1/2 of a second later, it shows a dimmer afterimage of the same object. Look for the flashes of light in the lower right of the video, and the unit lit up on the LR of the still photo.

The observations on the full motion video are in real time and first appear to be some kind of glitch. When slowed down to 20% of real time (slow motion) and with the scene captured as a still photo, one can see the object illuminated quite clearly. There are no shadows or diffused light on or around the object as one would expect from someone shining a light on it, or taking a photograph with a still camera and flash. The self-illumination perfectly follows only the outlines of the object. The only person we know of that had a still camera with flash (AH) attests that she did not photograph the object.

Did someone else who was not part of LIDP but among the other participants take a flash photo of the wire cutter at the same time PH was shooting the video? Again, that theory still does not fit the apparent self-illumination of only that object and nothing else around it.

(View all YouTube videos below)

Basement Orbs

PH, AH and several members of the group went down into the basement toward the end of the investigation. The large room has been described earlier in this report. While basements could be stuffy, with excessive dust and/or humidity, it was not. On the contrary, the basement was dry and the air was very breathable. AH took several still photos of the room. After reviewing these in-camera, she discovered “orbs” in many of the pictures.

Orbs are very controversial in paranormal circles. Even believers can be skeptics when it comes to orbs, thinking that they may be drops of moisture or dust particles on the lens or in the air. This would not be uncommon in a full basement where the ambient temperature, humidity, etc. would certainly be different from the upper levels.

LIDP will let the reader be the judge. The investigators can tell you that they have never seen so many orbs as in one of the photos. If paranormal, they are said to be precursors of fully-formed ghosts– death forms that float and are spherical, but do so intelligently– not just “blowing in the wind.”


All of the LIDP investigators have not yet seen the random video, but this author feels that its the most important evidence recorded if its what he thinks it is. Any entity able to energize a large man-made object, even for a very short time, is powerful. The phenomenon is akin to energizing a flashlight to communicate, but much greater. There may be a rational explanation, but if you try and debunk it and strip away all of the normal, you end up with . . .

LB’s EVP, even though it was lost, would have been the next most significant, leaving the flashlight session with the lights going on and off representing honest communication from the ghosts present as the next most significant. This was personally witnessed by the observers. We just don’t know who and how many ghosts activated the flashlights. This could have come from the little girl, who didn’t appear hesitant to reveal herself. Could have come from anyone, however. The first YouTube video having only the sounds of the building present is a bit suspect because of the wind at the time.

Finally AH’s still photos of orbs in the basement can be debunked because of the different environment. Dust and or moisture may have indeed caused the phenomenon. Then again since the air felt normal and not dusty, the existence of orbs, especially so many, may have been paranormal.

One final comment: this author feels that the presence of so many genuine artifacts in the Museum may be causing spiritual attachments to those objects used by the miners of old, and could account for some or all of the phenomena.

Suggestion: that another major investigation be done at the Museum. The presence of “civilian” observers went very well the first time, and could be a source of future donations to the Museum. However one more major investigation should be done solo. More equipment would be brought-in, and the time span would probably last until dawn. As always, no attempt would be made to banish the ghosts to the “Other Side.” This notion no longer has traction among serious paranormal investigators.

Thank you for your support, and if the reader has any questions, feel free to comment below or use the Contact Us link above for complete privacy.

Paul Hill, co-founder
Light in the Dark Paranormal
February 25, 2018



the Power of the Sun

15 Dec

The Power of the Sun . . . observed on December 21st of every year.
The Winter Solstice.

Ghost Tours: Marketing Hype or Spiritual Quest?

18 Oct

This post is a re-print of an article by:
Barbara Franco, Independent Scholar on April 10, 2017

The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot begins with an actual ghost causing problems after a docent finishes a tour at a “haunted” historic house museums.

Many museums and historic preservation groups have been unsure how to react to the growing popularity of commercial ghost tours over the past twenty years.  Some museums have tried to avoid any connection to what they perceive as inaccurate, theatrical, or just sensational uses of history. Others have embraced the idea and offer their own versions of ghost and cemetery tours as part of their historical interpretation. How should museums react to public interest in these tours and how can their appeal help museums understand the needs and expectations of audiences?

What might have been a once-a-year Halloween special event has developed into a burgeoning heritage industry, with many communities advertising themselves as the most haunted city or town. Ghost Tours of Philadelphia advertises that, “We bring history back to life.” Ghost tour companies in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Cape May, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland; New Orleans, Louisiana; Boston and Salem, Massachusetts; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia are only some of the places that you will find in an online search for ghost tours.

Spiritualism has a long history in European and American cultures. Many nineteenth-century authors, intellectuals and reformers, many of them women, found spiritualism attractive. Arthur Conan Doyle, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lydia Maria Child were all involved in the spiritualism movements of the nineteenth century. The current ghost tour companies across the country generally date back about twenty years.  How can we explain this increased interest in ghost tours in the 1990s?

The first Ghostbusters movie was released in 1984. Parapsychology, although generally not embraced by the scientific community, is studied at a number of universities, including the University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies. Paranormal television programs have developed as a sub-genre of reality television that presents supposedly scientific investigations of paranormal phenomena, as opposed to purely fictional representations. The 1990s saw an increase in this type of programming with History’s Mysteries (1998-2006) and Haunted History (1998-2008) on the History Channel and Ancient Mysteries (1994-1998) on A& E. Listings of paranormal television programs show a decided uptick from 2000 to the present.

Nowhere is interest in paranormal history more prevalent than Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the standard battlefield tours have been joined by ghost tours designed to attract tourist audiences. As the site of so much death and dying, the Gettysburg battlefield, and the surrounding houses and farms that cared for the wounded, draw visitors seeking to make a connection to this historic and possibly haunted place.

In the summer of 2012, Pamela Cooper-White began a study of Gettysburg’s ghost tours. She interviewed scholars, and attended ghost tours and investigations as a participant observer, as she described herself.  A professor of psychology and religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and author of Braided Selves: Collected Essays on Multiplicity, God, and Persons, Cooper-White set out to conduct a cultural analysis to determine, “what draws people to these experiences, and what cultural and/or spiritual findings might be found in them?” (Cooper-White 34.) Her findings have been  published as “Haunted Histories: A Cultural Study of the Gettysburg Ghost Trade,” in Gettysburg: The Quest for Meaning by the Seminary Ridge Press in 2015.

The ghost tours in Gettysburg began in 1994 when a former National Park Service ranger and author of a book on Gettysburg ghost stories was asked by the Chamber of Commerce to give ghost tours to help develop Gettysburg as a heritage destination. Today, Destination Gettysburg, the tourism promotion organization for Gettysburg, explains on its website that “Dozens of teams have conducted investigations on fields, homes, and taverns; discovering spirits left behind from the Civil War and other periods. You are invited throughout the year to tour our streets, our bridges, and buildings and discover for yourself what has lingered…” Their website lists seven different ghost and paranormal tours.

Cooper-White identifies three levels of engagement with these tours: 1) a folklore or storytelling aspect that is primarily theatrical in nature; 2) a ghost hunting level to observe and experience ghostly activity; and 3) a paranormal investigation level that applies scientific methods to collect evidence of paranormal activity (Cooper-White, 37). Many of the tours stress the accuracy of their historical research and information, and Cooper-White identifies a relationship between the ghost tour community and the reenactment community in their interest in individual and personal stories.

She identifies the ghost community as “a subculture within the larger culture of middle America.” From her research in Gettysburg, she reports that:

The demographics of this group are fairly homogeneous…almost entirely white and solidly middle class, mostly middle-aged, born in the North or Midwest, and from Christian backgrounds…Some are members—mostly nominally—of Catholic or mainline Protestant churches….Many have drifted without prejudice away from institutional religion, stating that they no longer need it when they have direct knowledge of heaven, the afterlife, and God. (Cooper-White 37)

She also notes that she did not encounter evangelical or fundamentalist Christians, Jews, or other religious traditions in her research. Although she encountered few people of color in the course of her research, one African-American visitor, who she interviewed, had had numerous ghost experiences. He felt that belief in ghosts was more acceptable in his family, church, and culture than in white middle-class culture. A Native-American naturalist, whom she questioned, responded that ghost sightings were not a question, but just part of the spirituality of his culture—a natural part of life. There is evidence that many present-day Americans also share a belief in spirits. In fact, she reports that about two thirds of the participants on every ghost tour she attended raised their hands when asked if they believed in ghosts.

Cooper-White set out to determine whether or not a spiritual hunger motivates ghost tour participants. While some visitors are simply drawn to the entertainment factor and dramatic presentations of history, she concludes that “many individuals come with spiritual questions, or even on a deeper level, a personal quest—for validation of their own unexplainable experiences, for the possibility of contact with a lost loved one, and for the greater certainty that there is truly life beyond death.” (Cooper-White 42)

Her research documents a spiritual component to how some Americans experience and interact with history through ghost tours and paranormal investigations. Can we still dismiss ghost tours as just a marketing fad to boost visitation, or do they represent a significant trend in how Americans relate to both religion and history? If visitors are looking for opportunities to interact with history in spiritual quests for meaning, we may need to take the popularity of ghost tours more seriously.

For more on this subject, see:
Pamela Cooper-White, “Haunted Histories of the Gettysburg Ghost Trade,” in Gettysburg: the Quest for Meaning, ed. Gerald Christianson, Barbara Franco and Leonard Hummel (Gettysburg, PA: Seminary Ridge Press, 2015).

Top 10 Ways Skeptics Debunk the Paranormal

30 Apr

the Amazing Randi-former magician/professional skeptic

Skeptics have been around long before Galileo insisted the earth revolves around the sun. They shouldn’t be confused with their newer cousins the Spin Doctors, who are of a slightly different breed. One is chronically in denial about strange new ideas; the other interprets current events within a self-serving context that has little to do with the truth. We could do without both as easily as we could do without mosquitoes, but I suppose they must serve some kind of ecological purpose in keeping the culture honest.

These days Skeptics love to muck around paranormal phenomena, digging their sharp sticks into all kinds of theories that don’t fit traditional beliefs. Spin Doctors ply their trade in today’s political arenas. One could make a good living being either one. Professional Skeptics have their own magazine, and the Spin M.D.’s operate on the news shows every day. Both bend or outright disregard the truth in order to prove their points.

Mind you I don’t object to folks being skeptical, which is having a healthy doubt about unknown things until proven otherwise. I don’t mind those who try and explain things to their own advantage either– that’s human nature. But the skeptics and spinners I’m referring to cross the line.

Let’s have a closer encounter with the first kind . . .

the Top Ten Ways Skeptics Debunk the Paranormal

Using their most common target, the paranormal, the worst Skeptics typically start their criticisms with a pre-conceived negative attitude toward their quarry. Then they proceed to use bad research techniques and a faulty version of the scientific method to “disprove” some aspect of paranormal phenomena.  Occupationally, these folks tend to be magicians, illusionists, therapists, scientists, teachers, priests, and other secretive explainers. Here’s how they tend to think:

1. If I can simulate the phenomenon, what you saw cannot be real. Skeptics delight in inventing ways of simulating what eyewitnesses claim to have seen in the wild, whether it’s Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster. An old MonsterQuest episode shows a friendly Skeptic building cardboard cutouts of Sasquatch and planting them along a roadside where numerous sightings had been reported. He then had observers drive slowly by and later estimate their size. The “observers,” who incidentally were not the original witnesses, generally gave observations in the 6 to 8 foot range. The cutouts were no more than 4 feet high. “Aha!” said the Skeptic. “See, the folks who claimed to have seen a Sasquatch had to be imagining a creature who was very tall.” Boy, he sure got them on that one, these people who never claimed to have seen a real one to begin with.

2. If I can think of a Plausible Rival Hypothesis, it automatically nullifies your hypothesis. The best example I can think of for this brand of Skeptic goes back to Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. A few days after the alleged crash of a UFO, the federal government came up with the rival hypothesis that the UFO was really a weather balloon. Plausible?- sure. Correct? Unlikely. It was proven no more than the existence of a UFO itself, but it was a nice and easy rational explanation for what people thought they saw. Since it was a normal thing in the sky, the Feds reasoned, it couldn’t be extraterrestrial.

3. I simply don’t believe in such things, so they cannot be true. Many skeptics just don’t believe in the thing they’re analyzing, and aren’t shy about saying it. For them, the phenomena must be (insert rational explanation). Perhaps the best example of this way of thinking comes from the likes of “the Amazing Randi” and his friends (one of his best was Alice Cooper, the 60’s rock star who got rich by putting on the grossest stage shows he could think of. Kind of tacky, but he was one of the best at simulating horror via rock music. When they performed as a team, the show would end by the Amazing Randi chopping off Alice’s head). But back to the old pro Randi. He is a former magician and virulent Skeptic who concluded after zero years of research and investigation that paranormal stuff just couldn’t be real. He had always relied on trickery and illusion in his successful stage career, believing that the paranormal is only what he and his buddies did best–stagecraft. If not that, he would fall back on the “natural causes” façade.

4. If some or most reported cases of weird things have proven to be from natural causes, then all cases are from natural causes. This is one of those “neither logical nor true” assertions.  Example: studies have shown that most UFO observations are misidentified conventional objects or natural phenomena—aircraft, balloons, certain kinds of clouds, or celestial objects such as meteors or bright planets (a small percentage turn out to be hoaxes). But between 5% and 20% of reported sightings are unexplained. According to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), there were 5,555 sightings reported in 2016. That’s anywhere from 278 to 1,111 that could not be explained by natural causes! If these stats are right, that’s still a whole lot of folks who said they saw an unexplained UFO. So even though most sightings could be from explainable events, it is simply not true that all are.

5. If a phenomenon cannot be validated by replication in a controlled environment by other researchers, then the phenomenon does not exist. According to these Skeptics, no phenom can be the result of rare or transient events; they must be happening anywhere at any point in time so they could easily be captured and put into a cage or a test tube. Unfortunately, that’s not the way supernature works. Ghosts are transient events. UFO sightings are rare. That defies capturing their data, but does not disprove their existence.

6. I shall proceed to prove my hypothesis in order to support the theory I’m paid to believe in. The scientific method does not presuppose an outcome. Testing an hypothesis requires objective analysis, regardless of the investigator’s bias. Unfortunately too many “scientific studies” often require making the boss happy. He/she may be paying them to test a given hypothesis in order to get a pre-determined result. Legalized medical marijuana has of late been the target of the pharmaceutical industry. In its effort to keep home-grown weed from competing with their own for-profit medications, Big Pharma is suspected of producing “scientific” studies that negate the beneficial medical effects of a natural plant. Their attitude is “if ya can’t join ’em, beat ’em with bad science.”

7. My religion commands me to not believe in anything it does not sanction. Case-in-Point: the Catholic Church. One priest-member of the Vatican community has said that telepathic dreams with deceased loved ones communicating with survivors can only be the result of a) the Devil whispering in your ear; b) God whispering in your ear, or c) your own subconscious making up things. He quite emphatically said that the dead cannot talk to you in dreams or otherwise–a Church teaching.

8. I rely on my own way of investigating and analyzing the paranormal. That’s very nice, but many Skeptics fail to use some basic and necessary tools, including logic. Remember “if A is greater than B, and C is lesser than B, therefore C is lesser than A” kind of stuff? Basic logic comes in handy when doing field investigations or lab work. So does deductive reasoning, where a researcher starts with a general principal and deduces individual facts logically following from it. Inductive reasoning starts with a bunch of independent though related facts and builds a working principal. Most skeptical arguments can be attacked for failing to use these basic tools of investigation and analysis.

9. I rely only on settled science to explain nature. This person ignores or minimizes new information since traditional science has not yet proven its existence.  In spite of a plethora of evidence for the existence of ghosts, including that garnered from the over-the-top ghost “reality” shows, this Skeptic will never accept it. As if science has discovered all its going to discover, this one relies only on the proven and substantiated, leaving by the wayside legitimate phenomena waiting for the scientific community to validate. Unfortunately, there is only a handful of scientists doing any kind of field work in the paranormal realm, and they have to be careful to not be laughed off campus or out of their labs.

10. Witnesses of paranormal events have something wrong with them. This kind of debunker believes only in the drunken fisherman who thinks he sees a UFO flying over his boat, or the ignorant person who confuses a UFO with the bright planet Venus. To them, experiencers of spirit visitations are people who have recently lost a loved one, and are prone to hallucinating what they want to see. Everybody else is just plain nuts.

For this category of Skeptic, if you can’t disprove the phenomenon, attack the credibility of the observer. That being said, there is an opposing position from an otherwise prominent parapsychologist who says There is one thing I feel absolutely secure in saying after spending the last forty-four years of my life conducting parapsychological research; that the paranormal attracts more emotionally disturbed people than any other area of human interest or endeavor. This may be true in Dr. Barry Taff’s (Aliens Above, Ghosts Below) experience. But to paraphrase #4, above: if some reports of paranormal experiences come from nut jobs, not all experiencers are nuts.

By the way, true believers in the paranormal can be just as guilty of their own faulty thinking and practices. But that’s for another post.


Copyright 2017, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved
For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
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All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill



Lanes End Audio Book/Video of Chapter One

5 Jan

This is a spoken-word, or audio book version of Chapter One of Lanes End,
a Journey Into the Paranormal
. Just to help your imagination a bit, I’ve included some imagery. Hope you enjoy it . . .

About the Author/How to Order

Copyright 2017, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved
For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog page
Visit our website
All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill.

The Solstice and the Sun Dagger

21 Dec
Fajada_Butte - Trimalchio, CC

Fajada Butte

Reprise of last year’s post . . .

December 21, 2016 –the Winter Solstice, coinciding with the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year, but celebrated by ancient peoples as the beginning of the time where the days grow longer. More sunlight day by day until the warm seasons, when finally at the Summer Solstice, the day is the longest and the cycle begins again.

Of the Anasazi peoples of the precolumbian American Southwest, the inhabitants of Chaco Canyon in what is now northwestern New Mexico were among the most advanced. They studied the stars and complex astronomical relationships, knowing that the Winter Solstice marked an important turning point in their survival. Many centuries before digital clocks and calendars, they knew that the time to plant was not far away. It was a time of sacred celebration.

Sun Dagger -- Fajada Butte - Chaco Canyon

the Sun Dagger

On Fajada Butte, they constructed what is now called the Sun Dagger, a solar and lunar rock calendar that allowed the sun and moon to shine through carefully positioned stone slabs onto a wall. The filtered light was in the shape of a dagger, illuminating parts of a spiral carving in the wall corresponding to the precise dates and times of the Solstices and other seasonal events.

From Native American Antiquity . . .

” . . . then for the winter solstice, two large daggers embrace the sides of the larger spiral like bookends.  Even more remarkable, it was observed that the 19 segments of the larger spiral marked the 19 year movement of the moon from
minimum to maximum across the horizon.”
Fajada Butte -- sun dagger diagram

Sun Dagger at Winter Solstice- bottom image


Celebrate the Winter Solstice not just as the first day of Winter, but a day of resurrection and renewal.

Paul Hill writes of the ancient Chacoans in his new book of paranormal fiction,
Lanes End. Find out what role he has them play in a modern day drama of rebirth . . . (also watch the video trailer).


Copyright 2015-16, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
Visit our website:

 All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill.

Email Conversations With My Ol’ Friend Bill (about UFO’s!)

29 Nov

A few weeks ago, I sent my friend Bill a link to an article in the Denver Post about Steven Hawkings warning that we’re going to need a new planet sometime in the future. He responded; then I responded, then he responded back, etc. After I few exchanges I felt that we had some pretty interesting observations about life, the universe, and everything.  So with Bill’s permission, I’m reprinting those emails here, in the fond hope that someone besides us can have some fun with our arcane comments. Bill is an amateur astronomer, so he’s starry-eyed but still skeptical…

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during the New Space Exploration Initiative "Breakthrough Starshot" Announcement at One World Observatory on April 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 12: Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during the New Space Exploration Initiative “Breakthrough Starshot” Announcement at One World Observatory on April 12, 2016

Email #1:

To: “taxibill”
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2016 11:43 AM
Subject: Fw: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

Interesting take from Hawking…


Email #2:

From: Bill
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2016 1:23 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

I dunno. Hawking’s always been kind of a pessimist. He’s the one that said we need to quit broadcasting out presence to the universe (via radio/tv/communications, etc.) lest we draw the attention of a hostile alien culture.

I myself am a bit of a pessimist. I agree about the dangers of nuclear annihilation, unsustainable use of resources and the rest. We have a new president coming in January who seems to be determined to set us on a course which will pound us (those who survive) back into the stone age. Mel Gibson’s post apocalyptic “Mad Max” is beginning to look more like prophecy than fiction.

Should we discover an Earth like exoplanet, there is the problem of getting there. Current technologies would take thousands of years to reach the nearest star. I think we’re pretty much stuck with Mother Earth, and we’d better get our shit straight or it’s the end of humanity.

I for one would be satisfied with the discovery of extraterrestrial life, be it intelligent or microbial. I believe the laws of evolution are as universal as the laws of physics. Where there is life, there is evolution. Where there is evolution, the development of intelligence is inevitable.

Maybe those crop circle creating entities will come out of the closet and save us. Who knows?

Email #3:

To: Bill Kast
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2016 10:46 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post


Okay. I like you believe that the earth is being run down to the nub, and that Trump will hasten its demise via his anti-scientific policies. I like you believe that there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe other than us.

But you don’t believe we’ll ever have the technology to travel to distant planets. If that’s true, then any other distant civilization would not have developed that technology either. Consequently you can’t believe that the UFO phenomena could be craft from another world, since they would not have that “impossible” technology any more than we would ever have. Am I understanding you correctly?

If so, that’s where our beliefs differ. I believe that a statistically-significant percentage of UFO sightings are real craft from another world who have mastered interplanetary travel in time and/or space. There is simply too much evidence from credible sources. If not, what are they? If I believe that, I have to believe that the corresponding technology exists for these aliens to get here. I don’t have to understand their motivation to believe this. So I believe that if they somehow developed that technology, given enough time and other resources, we will too.

Then as Hawking says, we’ll be able to escape this planet before they hang out the “closed” sign. I find that neither optimistic nor pessimistic; I think its just logical if one believes in the underlying premise of valid UFO phenomena. If I were to conjecture about alien’s motivation to visit us, maybe its to show us that they exist and demonstrate that we too can develop a way to get to their planet. Maybe when they feel the time is right they’ll teach us how. An evolutionary adaptive mutation with a little help from our new friends who don’t want to see our civilization collapse. I know that’s a violation of Star Trek’s “prime directive,” but I digress.

Most unlike the sci-fi cliché of “they’re here to destroy us!” That belief is more a product of our own violent tendencies than anything else. After all, that’s what we tried to do to the First Americans. But I digress again.

Continue the conversation, please…


Email #4:

From: Bill
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 5:25 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post


Your logical analysis of my statements are flawless.350px-alcubierre

My conclusions about the unlikelihood of interstellar travel are based on current technology and technology on the near horizon. Who knows what the future may bring? I’m basing my conclusions on the speed of light being the limiting factor. This precludes the possibility of technology that would warp space-time, thus bringing distant points closer. But so far, this technology remains in the realm of science fiction. But not entirely…see
Alcubierre drive – Wikipedia

I’m still not totally sold on UFO’s, but I’m willing to keep an open mind. I agree that if they indeed are here, their intentions are to observe and perhaps at some point guide us along. They may be waiting to see if we will come to our senses before we destroy ourselves and/or the planet. If their intentions were hostile, we’d be toast already!


Email #5:

Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 11:43 PM
To: Bill Kast
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

Speaking of sci fi, here’s quote from the Wiki article:

“Relation to Star Trek warp drive . . .The Star Trek television series used the term “warp drive” to describe their method of faster-than-light travel. Neither the Alcubierre theory, nor anything similar, existed when the series was conceived, but Alcubierre stated in an email to William Shatner that his theory was directly inspired by the term used in the show, and references it in his 1994 paper.”

Legends, myths and stories abound about our ancient ancestors having been visited by ET’s. Petroglyphs and pictographs have been found that depict people in what appear to be space helmets and drawings of UFO’s are not uncommon. How did they know about these things? Dreams? Visits? Could ancient astronauts have really visited our planet during its more primitive development, and were the people given knowledge that otherwise would have taken centuries longer to develop themselves? We really still don’t know how the ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids; or how the Easter Island statutes were erected, or how the Mayans built perfect brick walls in their cities with only primitive carving and measurement tools. Check out this geo-design (though there are terrestrial theories about these) that can only be recognized from a high altitude. Created from 500 BC to 500 Ad…

The Nasca are probably best known for the famous “Nazca Lines”, giant geoglyphs which they left etched into the surface of the vast, empty desert plain that lies between the Peruvian towns of Nazca and Palpa.



This is even scarier… Jesus and UFOs in Religious Art-

The Baptism of Christufojesus2 . . . “Were the Magi aliens? A disk shaped object is shining beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus – Fitzwilliam Musuem, Cambridge, England – Painted in 1710 by Flemish artist Aert De Gelder. It depicts a classic, hovering, silvery, saucer shaped UFO shining beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus. What could have inspired the artist to combine these two subjects?”

This is all wild speculation to be sure, and there may be the ever-popular “rational explanations,” but how do we know alien influence didn’t happen? And why couldn’t it happen again at a critical stage in our future development if we are at the edge of disaster? Some far off alien society may already have an investment in us, and may not want to lose it!


Email #6 & 7:

From: Bill
Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:51 PM
Subject: More on the subject of aliens

What If We Do Find Aliens? – Universe Today    Space and Astronomy news

Re: More on the subject of aliens
Fri 11/25, 1:17 AM

If you recall the 1955 sci fi movie, This Island Earth, you may remember that those aliens gave the puny earthlings plans to build a spaceship to go to their planet. If it wasn’t for the damn mutants once they got there, it could have been the start of a beautiful friendship.


Email #8:


Some very interesting footage on this hour long youtube vid. Have no idea of the credibility of same, especially the last clip. But apparently there’s been a surge in UFO activity and reportage since the election and some John Podesta WikiLeaks emails. Conspiracy theories wrapped up UFO stories? In any case, an entertaining hour.


Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2016 1:40 AM
Subject: HOLD ON!!! BEST UFO Sightings October 2016!! Global Alien INVASION Happening NOW!! – YouTube


Haven’t yet heard back from Bill on this video. Should be interesting. Will keep you posted . . .


Feel free to leave a comment below, or send a tweet: @lanesendthebook
Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved
For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
Visit our website:
All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill.


This May Scare You

29 Sep

highway-at-glorious-sunset-232711Do you like to read a ghost story before bedtime? Then you’re more likely to have a scary dream. If you have a scary dream in a place that is pre-disposed to being haunted, you have a greater chance of a supernatural entity visiting you in that dream. If you wake up and remember that dream, the entity may make a new friend . . . you.

The paranormal community is fond of saying its “scientific.” But where does traditional science come-in on this, if at all? Well, so far it only supports the first of these assertions– that you can cause dreams by reading before you sleep, for example. Once we venture beyond that, we cross the line from science to anecdotal paranormal evidence. That’s not supported by the scientific method, but does document incidents reported by credible experiencers and investigators using modern technology. There is in fact substantial such evidence of ghosts and dead people appearing in the dreams of the living.

If we go even further, we can speculate that if you go to sleep in a known haunted place, like some of us investigators have been known to do during their long middle-of-the-night wait for something weird to happen, entities who might be in the same room have a much greater chance of trying to communicate or make physical contact with you. Its easier and much less threatening for them when you’re asleep.

How do we prove this kind of stuff? Traditional scientists just don’t do paranormal field research. Paranormal investigators do. But up until now, the technology used by today’s ghost hunters has been used only for measuring the effects of paranormal entities who exist in certain places. Since we can’t wait for normal science to catch up with this kind of research, I’m suggesting we use our gadgets to measure not just the existence of ghosts, but for a change figure out what’s going on with us live humans. We may find out some interesting things. Its not just how do we affect them? Its how do they affect us?

Can we do an experiment to find out if ghosts or the dead really enter our dreams and become a temporary or lasting part of our consciousness? Can we test what happens when we wake up and remember our dreams? Can we find out if we’ve formed a relationship with someone who is no longer with us? Yes we can. Most dreams are not recalled, but vivid nightmares tend to wake us up! In that brief state between sleeping and wakefulness, lots of information about the dream is remembered and analyzed by the dreamer. Before they fade away, and as those memories linger before we rise, the experience can be imprinted in our brain (recorded into long-term memory). Then and only then is the dreamer most open to making a lasting connection with the entity who might have caused the dream in the first place (btw, those who don’t immediately wake up from such a nightmare will probably not remember it when they do awake).

So let’s conjure up an experiment! We’ll need a brave volunteer willing to spend the night in a paranormaly active environment, have him or her read a scary book, then go to sleep hooked up to an electroencephalograph (EEG) machine to measure their brain waves and rapid-eye movements (REM’s). If they awake from a dream during their sleep (if they don’t wake up themselves, we’ll wake them up as we’ll be able to tell they’re dreaming from their brainwaves and REM’s), we’ll then take notes while they report their experience. Others will measure the existence of any nearby phenomena while the subject was dreaming. Finally, we’ll correlate that information with whatever type of brain waves turned up on the EEG. Pretty cool, ‘eh?eeg

What’s the worst that could happen? Nothing. No dreams; no ghosts. What’s the best? Evidence of paranormal visitation while the subject reported a dream with that entity playing a starring role!

I’ll be doing this experiment in the future. Anybody have a spare EEG machine in their garage? Who wants to be the guinea pig? In any case, I’ll have to wait until my next $15,000 to get that EEG unit. Maybe I can find a used one on E-Bay.

Who knew reading a scary story could start all this in motion? Next time you do on some dark and stormy night, be prepared for a visit when you fall asleep. “They” may be watching you read.

Feel free to leave a comment below, or send a tweet: @lanesendthebook

Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
Visit our website:

All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill.


Sudden Death

16 Jul

A bad accident . . . a sudden transition.

Ghostly spirit or an optical illusion? Saul Vazquez will only say that this photo has not been altered.

Ghostly spirit or an optical illusion? Saul Vazquez will only say that this photo has not been altered. SOURCE: photographer’s Facebook page via CNN News


I don’t know if you’ve seen this amazing photo virally making its way across the Internet, but here it is taken by a trucker’s passenger as he passed by an accident. Clearly seen suspended in the air between the two ambulances is an anomaly that looks like a human shape.

The fatal accident involved a motorcycle, and according to reports the victim later died at a local hospital. Is this mysterious figure a paranormal phenomenon, or can it be explained in the normal course of events?

Let’s first go over what it might be if not paranormal . . . possibly a photographic error of some sort? Maybe. This is the go to argument for most skeptics who view such evidence. But short of an examination of the camera and an analysis of the conditions under which the image was shot, there’s no way to prove that it was. Well then, what about some natural phenomenon like reflected mist or the ever-popular swamp gas? The background does seem to be dense and humid. Maybe. If not that, could the pic be a fake, where the presenter morphed a ghostly image into an otherwise normal photo using his computer? Possible. But only an examination of the photo by a digital expert could prove that likelihood.

Finally, is this photo the product of an hallucination or some other psychological issue connected to the observer?  I suppose anything’s possible, but most cameras don’t take pictures of hallucinations, let alone images of what a person unconsciously really wants to see (that would be a great invention!).

Was the phenomenon visible to the naked eye by anyone else who was busy at the scene? How did the apparition just happen to be caught as a photo? Taken a fraction of a second later, the anomaly might not have been visible to the camera.



Let’s get to the paranormal possibilities . . . is this the image of a dying person in the process of crossing-over to the “other side?” Or is it his ghost? If the unfortunate victim didn’t die until he reached the hospital, then technically-speaking he’s not a ghost (yet).

Are we then looking at the physical manifestation of a Near Death Experience (NDE)? Survivors of such experiences live to tell about it. Those unfortunates who don’t come back may have their NDE transformed into a DE (death experience). We will never know about those who had an NDE just before they died. Not in this life anyway. But does everyone have an NDE prior to their impending end, and are given the choice of returning or moving on?

As an author and paranormal investigator, I’m especially interested in such evidence, as rare as it is. I’m not trying to capitalize on the sad passing of this man, which was a tragedy for his family and stressful for first responders. But NDE’s are an important part my book, Lanes End. One of my characters explains the phenomenon better than I can (Dr. Zarkovian is a therapist and paranormal investigator educated in Vienna, speaking with scientist Dr. Sidney Green) . . .

      “Thus my interest in the paranormal aspects of the case ve’re investigating. Trust me, there are many. I have to be able to account for the existence of ghosts, or earthbound spirits if you vant to call them dat.

      In my thinking, there’s a difference between those who die naturally, or perhaps suddenly from a heart attack or such during surgery, and those who meet a violent death. The first groups appear to experience NDE’s if they survive, and we have to assume that those who don’t may also have an NDE, but then a DE . . .  a death experience. If the process functions as it should at the time, their transition forward and backward, or just forward, flows with no glitches. My concern is vith the glitches.”

     “So what glitches?” Sid asked.

     “Sudden or violent death that the nervous system couldn’t possibly anticipate or be warned about. Victims of war, murders, suicides, horrible accidents, and so on. I vould submit that the body under those circumstances is so shocked and traumatized, involving a cascading failure of organs and systems all in a instant, that the transition process is short-circuited. Then they may not have an NDE and their DE might be interrupted, leaving them stuck between this vorld and the next.”

An NDE Avoidedstory from the Denver Post

Feel free to leave a comment below, or send a tweet: @lanesendthebook

Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

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Unreal Ghosts

1 Jun

Wi Haunted HseRecently, we were called to investigate a home where the owner claimed to have ghosts in her basement. Since the house was nearby, we came over to do a preliminary walkthrough prior to any investigation. There the owner told us how she felt very uncomfortable in the basement, even feeling like she couldn’t breathe. Her dog was also unwilling to go down there.

After walking through and visiting the basement, we too felt bad. But it wasn’t until she told us about her previous tenant who had a meth lab down there did we deduce the source of our mutual discomfort. Meth processing leaves a chemical residue that is a toxic contaminant, and under Colorado law must in fact be disclosed to any buyer or tenant. We advised her that she probably did not have ghosts– just meth.

Today I read in the Denver Post about a couple who was arrested for shooting at “ghosts” in their house. Turns out they were under the same influence whenever they reported the alleged intruders to the local authorities.

Goes to show you: if you’re a ghosthunter, beware of contaminants (meth, mold, asbestos, mice droppings, etc.). All hauntings are not real ghosts.

Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

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Seeing Ghosts

26 Apr

There are two kinds of ghosts: real ones and the made-up kind. The latter are either the phony ones you see at Halloween, or the ones you see (or can’t see) on tv and at the movies– dramatic re-creations based on a screenwriter’s script or a popular novel.  But how accurate are their depictions of the unseen? People learn from television, for better or for worse.

"Red Reddington"

“Red Reddington”

Consider the most recent episode of Blacklist, an NBC television series about the FBI, spies, master criminals, and a main character by the name of Raymond “Red” Reddington (played by James Spader). Red is a rogue ex-spy who unofficially consults with the FBI about uber-bad guys on the loose. My wife and I don’t watch that much tv, but this is one series we have followed for its excellent writing, in this case by Daniel Knauf.

Last week’s episode (Cape May) threw dedicated fans into a tizzy, showing how a ghost as a character can be misunderstood. Apparently no one understood this one. I think I did. The episode presented a paranormal experience for the main character, something totally out of character for the series. But you can decide for yourself if any ghosts appeared. I suggest watching the episode for important subtleties and clues that appear as the story unfolds. If you can’t, stay with me anyway. This should be fun.

SPOILER ALERT!  Don’t read any further if you intend to see the show first. That will be far more interesting then a written description. But if you haven’t been watching it from week to week, you still should know some background: Red’s friend in the FBI (Liz) died in the previous show, someone he had been looking after since she was a little girl when he rescued her from dangerous circumstances. The identity of her presumed dead father is unknown, as is the status of her mother, an accused Russian spy.

That’s really all you need to know, but watch the whole thing if possible. Then come back here and we’ll talk . . .

 DISCLAIMER: to over-simplify, paranormal investigators look for clues and evidence of something unusual in an allegedly “haunted” location. Then they try to “debunk” whatever strange things are discovered in order to explain them by normal circumstances. If they can’t and the phenomenon remains unexplained, it may very well be paranormal. Investigating the paranormal requires the same sensibilities as any kind of investigator, but the process is still very much an art and not a science, despite fancy hardware and claims to the contrary. In spite of confidence in their findings, they can still be dead wrong.

The opening scenes of the Cape May episode show Red Reddington still traumatized by Liz’s death and recovering in an opium parlor run by an old Chinese woman. As he leaves, she reminds him to take his gun, but he gives it back to her.  1st clue: guns don’t work in past-life environments. He then hires a car to take him to Cape May, New Jersey– 200 miles away. We don’t know why, or if he knows why. 2nd clue: Red is mysteriously drawn to this location, which he did visit once a long time ago.

Once he arrives, he visits a diner for breakfast where he spies a woman sitting in a nearby booth. He watches her get up and leave, only to see a man enter who is apparently looking for her. 3rd clue: the man picks up a shiny new pay phone and inserts a quarter to call someone. Where’s his cell phone?  Why is a pay phone even there? They’ve virtually disappeared from public places.

I can go on and on with the various clues, but it would be more fun for the viewers to find them on their own. Suffice it to say that Red was experiencing a residual haunting in the diner, which continues right through his arrival at an abandoned shoreside inn. There he sees the same woman on the beach, whom he watches trying to kill herself by walking into the ocean. He saves her, transforming the residual haunting into an interactive one as he talks to the person he saves.

Residual hauntings are like playbacks of events that occurred in the past, where the witness cannot interact with whom or what he sees. The twist the writer inserted into the story at this point was his ability to start interacting with the woman. Red had stepped back into the past, enabling himself to be part of it as it replayed its sad story. Such interactive encounters are also called intelligent hauntings.

Mysterious Woman

Mysterious Woman

The storyline continues with many additional clues that support the theory of this residual haunting flipping back and forth into an interactive one. Red is caught up in the playback of the events that were responsible for all of his troubles, including the recent death of his beloved Liz. The challenging question one can raise here is, “if Red participated in the events of the past, did he also change the future by his actions there?” This is the classic time travel dilemma, but I’ll leave the implications of that to the writer who probably has his own ideas about it.

I could go on for pages pointing out all the clues within the narrative. But I’ll leap to my own conclusions instead. Scanning through the hundreds of comments on various Blacklist fan sites, it appears no one “got it.” Instead, viewers thought Red was having a dream, hallucinations, having a breakdown, or was simply remembering past events. No. Hallucinations are irrational perceptions produced by a short-circuiting brain as the result of drugs or psychosis. Memories recalled can be vivid, but do not play out in interactive detail. Dreams, whether induced by opiates or just deep sleep, are controlled by the sub-conscious, and are for the most part illogical. Red’s experience as a still rational person was vivid, logical, and interactive.


Red’s Discovery of the Mysterious Bracelet

The mysterious woman was depicted as a ghost who really did kill herself in the past. She drew Red back to Cape May to explain her actions when she was alive, and also to help Red deal with his own guilt, which was slowly killing him. Such is the nature of paranormal events . . . supernatural interventions with a purpose.


For those of you really into this, learn more . . .


Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

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The Solstice and the Sun Dagger

21 Dec
Fajada_Butte - Trimalchio, CC

Fajada Butte

December 21, 2015 –the Winter Solstice, coinciding with the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year, but celebrated by ancient peoples as the beginning of the time where the days grow longer. More sunlight day by day until the warm seasons, when finally at the Summer Solstice, the day is the longest and the cycle begins again.

Of the Anasazi peoples of the precolumbian American Southwest, the inhabitants of Chaco Canyon in what is now northwestern New Mexico were among the most advanced. They studied the stars and complex astronomical relationships, knowing that the Winter Solstice marked an important turning point in their survival. Many centuries before digital clocks and calendars, they knew that the time to plant was not far away. It was a time of sacred celebration.

Sun Dagger -- Fajada Butte - Chaco Canyon

the Sun Dagger

On Fajada Butte, they constructed what is now called the Sun Dagger, a solar and lunar rock calendar that allowed the sun and moon to shine through carefully positioned stone slabs onto a wall. The filtered light was in the shape of a dagger, illuminating parts of a spiral carving in the wall corresponding to the precise dates and times of the Solstices and other seasonal events.

From Native American Antiquity . . .

” . . . then for the winter solstice, two large daggers embrace the sides of the larger spiral like bookends.  Even more remarkable, it was observed that the 19 segments of the larger spiral marked the 19 year movement of the moon from
minimum to maximum across the horizon.”
Fajada Butte -- sun dagger diagram

Sun Dagger at Winter Solstice- bottom image


Celebrate the Winter Solstice not just as the first day of Winter, but a day of resurrection and renewal.

Paul Hill writes of the ancient Chacoans in his new book of paranormal fiction,
Lanes End. Find out what role he has them play in a modern day drama of rebirth . . . (also watch the video trailer).


Copyright 2015, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
Visit our website:

 All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill.

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