Wednesday, August 29, 2012

White Noise 2





Our Radio Interview from last Wednesday is now up @:

http://youtu.be/Dz5ZM3rg6Ek

Please copy and paste to your browser.

I also be joining Lu from Independent Paranormal Consulting on After Dark With Dr. Mike ( 93.9 FM, i25talk.co ) this Tuesday, September 4th @ 9pm MST.

The SpiritChasers will also be featured on their own After Dark radio broadcast Wednesday, September 12th @ 9pm MST, in addition to another fun, informative and spooky radio show in October.

In addition to these publicity tours, The SpiritChasers are currently back in the field and filming material for SpiritChasers 6.

Catch us on the airwaves in the meantime for more adventures in the unknown.



Friday, August 24, 2012

White Noise


 

   The SpiritChasers will be on the radio this Saturday morning in a special broadcast with author and paranormal researcher Stephanie Waters. She is promoting her new book, Ghosts Of Colorado Springs And Pikes Peak, while James and I recount our experiences as ghosthunters and supernatural phenomena in general.

7am Saturday the 25th 96.1 The Beat
7am Saturday the 25th Z107.9
7am Sunday the 26th KCCY 96.9
7am Sunday the 26th on Klite 106.3

   Tune in to hear some spooky fun stories as well as some interesting background on our adventures into the unknown.  We'll have more radio appearances in the days to come and are currently organizing Colorado's first paranormal convention.  SpiritChasers 6 is officially in pre-production, showcasing the latest evidence gathered since last season.  More updates as they come...








Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Living The Ghost Story, A True Account Of The Unexplained



   One of our oldest family traditions used to involve a National Lampoon's-like camping trip to Wellington Reservoir near Bailey, Colorado, each year with my aunts, uncles and six of our cousins.  My sister and I looked forward to these outings with great anticipation every summer, always finding it difficult to sleep the night prior as our parents stayed up late packing the family car with sleeping bags, tents, fishing equipment, an inflatable boat, plenty of beer and filling up coolers with a weekend's worth of food my mother had prepared for all of us.  After more than an hour's drive, we'd set up camp by the 167-acre lake which lied at the base of a mountain resembling Wyoming's Devil's Tower, nicknamed "The Castle".  It was a dazzling place, especially during one's childhood as there were several rocky structures, waterfalls and enough natural architecture to make it the ultimate playground for the imaginative.  For my sister and I, growing up in a stark apartment complex next to a busy highway with two working parents in the early 80's, it was incredibly fun.


   One year, one of my younger cousins nearly drowned in the lake after losing one her flip-flops, diving off a rocky ledge to reclaim it.  Afterwards, sent to her tent for her own safety, she escaped, racing past the campfire riding on the back of her family dog.  She was then confined to her family car, which she quickly figured how to back out on her own.  My sister also lost a wooden clog in a snakehole, and I remember having to do the big-brotherly thing of retrieving it for her.  The trips were always crazy, but always memorable, and as beautiful as everything was, we were certainly reminded of how very dangerous exposure to nature was.  From deep drop-offs in Wellington lake to unstable rock ledges, quicksand, the suction of nearby rivers and waterfalls, poisonous flora and fauna, fires, to intense sunburns, we stuck very close to one another as there wasn't a hospital for miles.



   The element of danger associated with these trips was part of the excitement, though we knew people had drowned there, been attacked by bears, simply disappeared, and some had even been in the plane which crashed into the side of The Castle many years ago.  The Castle was the topic of much urban legend, as it featured a barely-visible cave near it's peak which was supposed to house the ghosts of the plane crash.  Sometimes, with the aid of binoculars, one could make out a mysterious white figure moving about the mouth of the cave, but just when you got the lenses in focus, it was gone.  This particular apparition was supposed to be that of a man who had disappeared from his campsite long ago.  In the nearby general store there was a picture of him which still hung underneath the words, "MISSING", even after all these years.  Some people thought he had survived and was over one hundred years-old, with long white hair flowing in the wind, his long fingernails scratching at the rock walls of his cave, a bizarre hermit who had decided to leave civilization behind.  

   We'd listen as my father and uncles would sit together near our blazing campfire, talking about the Donner Party, serial killers and all manner of unspeakable and strange evils in the woods at night.  It was terrifying to hear, but so seductive that I sat enraptured every time.  Our campsite also resembled "Camp Crystal Lake" from the Friday The 13th horror films, and to add to the general fear was the recent kidnapping of a little girl who was found at the bottom of an outhouse in 1983.  Having to use those outhouses at night was like running through a haunted house, unable to see anything in the darkness outside of your narrow flashlight beam while trying not to hyperventilate.  I remember breathless evening excursions away from the safety of firelight, where the elder men in our family would point out to us the constellations, remarkably clear away from our native surburban streetlights and smog.  I always had a nagging fear during these nighttime tours that gravity might collapse, plunging us into those dark, starry voids.  Everything was so vast and consuming, especially to a child, and there was just something to the darkness of the wilderness itself.

   I would lie wrapped up next to my sister in our sleeping bags, wondering at the rustling and twigs snapping outside of our tent.  Every now and then you might hear someone walking, perhaps on their way to the outhouses, but you could never be sure as they passed, the gravel crunching underneath their feet amplified by the quiet of the surroundings.  You could hear the waves from the lake lapping at the shoreline in the night, strange calls from unidentified animals that sounded more phantom than human, and when the moon was full, the tree branches swaying in the wind could create clawing hosts of the undead upon your tent wall.  It was everything we couldn't see but could hear, everything happening just outside our field of vision, everything going on a little deeper into the woods... The fear of ending up on a "MISSING" notification, of being swallowed up by a still lake in the night, of general exposure to the great unknown and the heavy knowledge that there is no such thing as safety.  

   As I got older, I was often allowed to take our inflatable boat out into the lake myself.  I would still have to remain within view of our campsite, and I did admit to a general anxiety concerning the things I might glimpse moving about beneath the dark waters, but for the most part there was really nothing to fear.  All of this would change on one of the last excursions I can remember to this particular campsite.

   Late one evening, after everyone had retired to their individual tents, I was lying in my sleeping bag as usual, surrendering to sleep.  Nearby my aunt, by the shadow of the moon, saw and heard a figure approaching her tent.  By the shadow cast on the wall, she couldn't distinguish at first whether or not it was me or her daughter, as both us us were the same size at the time and shared the same boyish haircuts.  She noticed, however, her daughter sleeping nearby, so she assumed it was me.  The figure came to her tent, trying the zipper, having difficulty opening it.  She figured that perhaps I had come to say goodnight, but the figure suddenly gave up and walked away.  She then noticed with some alarm that the person she at first thought was me was not headed back to my tent, but was on their way to the lake.  She remained poised with concern, awaiting any more sounds that might reveal the person's intent.  

   Shortly after, I began to stir in my sleep.  I felt trapped in a hypnogogic state and was unable to define where my body actually was.  Half of me was in my sleeping bag, but the other half was walking with bare feet straight into the cold, black waters of the lake.  I physically began attempting to stand with panic as I felt the waterline beginning to rise up over my waist, icy liquid fingers running up toward my neck, I stumbled about the tent in desperation, unable to grasp what was happening to me.  Then, my body, or what I thought was my own body, met the steep drop-off point of the lake, and went over.  I tumbled head-first into oblivion, small hands in front of me, clawing for something to hold onto and finding nothing, and with a final shock and despair I realized I could hold my breath no longer.  I was upside down, barely able to make out my feet in the moonlight through the other side of the water.  I was gasping for oxygen, convulsing and thrashing about like a caged animal, the futility occuring to me only after I had swallowed mouthful after mouthful of the earthy water.  I screamed as I continued to sink, my cries muted, the lake swallowing me, with no clues to my disappearance save for the new waves lapping at the shoreline in the dark.

   In the next moment I was immediately jostled back to reality with the savage cries of survival from a throat hoarse with fear.  I didn't realize at first that these sounds were coming from me, as I continued racing about the tent, banging against up it's walls, clawing at the nylon, trying to find a way out of this horror.  I still thought I was drowning until my father shook me awake.  My screams had woken up the entire camp, lights blinking on far across the lake, shadows moving about, concerned campers jarred into alertness by the sounds of sheer terror.  My family was mystified, I had never before behaved like this, and my aunt had no explanation for her nocturnal visitor.  The next day, an unsettling aura had permeated our campsite, and I could not be persuaded anywhere near the water.  From then on, I would suffer from thalassophobia, the excessive fear or dread of large bodies of water.  We left, and where before I used to wave goodbye the "The Castle", to the lake, to the log-cabin general store out the back window, I buried my face in a blanket, not wanting to see the water shimmering in the sun, sparklingly deceptive.



   A week later, back at our apartment complex, we were watching the local news when we were horrified to learn that the body of a young boy matching my description and age had been found at the lake near our campsite.  He had apparently drowned while we were there.  

   I still have no explanation for what exactly occurred.  Was it psychic transferrence?  Did I agree to trade places with his consciousness in his last moments, making it easier for him to cross over?  Did I simply have the lucid dream of all lucid dreams?  Why did he look like me?  And why was he trying to get into my aunt's tent?  Did he think it was mine?  What would I have seen if I helped him with the zipper?  Who would I have been facing if I opened the tent?

   In later years I was partially able to come to terms with my fear regarding darkness and water.  I have more trust in nature because I have more trust in the Divine, and I believe I did in some way help to release the soul of the boy I'd only briefly met on another plane.  But, what does an experience like this do to a child?  How do they grow up, bearing questions which only generate more questions regarding a phenomena which doesn't seem to want to be proven, but to remain elusive and just out of reach as soon as you get your lenses in focus?  Are they still out there somewhere, skirting the edges of rational thought, still asking?  I still think of him, whenever I pass a campsite, a lake, or listen to the gurgling of a stream at night.  It's still difficult to watch the opening sequence of "The Shining", as the Torrence family are driving up through the mountains to the haunted Overlook Hotel.  In the first shot ( in what looks exactly like Colorado but is actually Montana ), the camera pans over a large, forbidding body of water, over a little island of trees and shrubbery, over heavily-forested mountain roads, gliding like a lost spirit toward rocky peaks resembling "The Castle", as a shrill cacophony of spirits wail like banshees over and past the family car.

   Three of the same cousins who were camped with me on that strange night would in 2008 accompany me to Cheesman Park in Denver, Colorado, the site of a former cemetery and the inspiration behind Steven Spielberg's 1982 film "Poltergeist".  One of them, Denise, whose mother at first thought was outside her tent that infamous night, had by then developed a knack for taking photographs of unexplained phenomena, as had I.  Denise has also, like myself, grown up experiencing a lot of supernatural activity.  I once lived in an old Victorian house near downtown Denver that was the site of a grisly hanging, but after my highly-charged experience at Wellington Reservoir we have both shared an interest in the unknown.  For some strange reason, we appear to be magnets for this type of activity.  She would also, in early 2012, fly out with me to the Biography Channel television studios in L.A. to appear in an interview regarding our odd experiences at Cheesman Park.  This interview will be featured on an upcoming episode of BIO's "My Ghost Story" when the series returns in late September.

   For now, a very good friend and author, Stephanie Waters, who has also been pursuing her own investigation into the great unknown, has just released her second book, "Haunted Colorado Springs And Pikes Peak".  She was kind enough to thank us for our help with her research, give us a photo credit, and write about an investigation of our own as The SpiritChasers on pages 114-115.  The book can be found on Amazon, The History Press, or you may ask for it at your local bookstore.  She is currently arranging signings, as she did when releasing "Haunted Manitou Springs" last October, when we first met her at a Barnes & Noble book signing and shared some ghost stories of own.  She also conducts ghost tours of Manitou Springs at: http://manitoughosttours.com


   The SpiritChasers have also been featured on the SyFy Channel's website as part of their series of stories regarding real hauntings.  Their new program, "Paranormal Witness", also has a Facebook page which features a photo collage of evidence we collected at Manitou Springs' "Cave Of The Winds", the legendary Ute Indian entrance to the Underworld.


   Visit the following links for more paranormal entertainment:  
 
   SyFy Channel website featuring The SpiritChasers: http://paranormalwitness.tumblr.com/page/3

   Paranormal Witness Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SupernaturalSyfy

   Our own Facebook page for The SpiritChasers can be found here:

   http://www.facebook.com/TheSpiritChasers 

   Our main website is:  www.thespiritchasers.com



 
   Thank you for reading.

  - Christopher Allen Brewer, August, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pyro


   Yesterday morning I happened upon a YouTube video of one of my favorite personalities, Milla Jovovich, in which she stormed off the set of the French television interview program Tout Le Monde En Parle ( Everybody's Talking ) from 2002, in defense of her father Bogich, who was incarcerated in 1994 ( released in 1999 ).  Trying to appear empowered, intelligent and emotionally solid while being inexplicably grilled by a panel of other celebrities regarding her fame and personal life ( having left the Soviet Union for political reasons in 1980 ), she later described the show's host ( Thierry Ardisson ) as rude and flippant.  I watched at first with surprise and then envy as she knocked a glass of water off the desk, tore the mic from her body and stormed off the stage, staring daggers at Ardisson before stomping up the staircase off-set.  Just before her breakdown, she looked down upon the desk, and there was a moment where I glimpsed a deep sadness in her face.  It resonated with an image I had seen just the night before.  As the cameras panned away to the stunned audience and guilty-looking panel, the theme song to the X-Files began to play, which I had earlier set as my text tone, knowing this tiny bit of synchronicity was nudging me to pay closer attention. 


   The evening prior, friends had just shown me a television interview from  1963 ( Chicago's "City Desk" ), in which Malcom X was summarily grilled by a panel of journalists while attempting to bring to public awareness to the fact that "negro" was indeed a racial slur, and the resulting tension was nearly palpable.  In his interview, Malcom X explains that;

   "My father didn't know his last name. My father got his last name from his grandfather and his grandfather got it from his grandfather who got it from the slavemaster. The real names of our people were destroyed during slavery. The last name of my forefathers was taken from them when they were brought to America and made slaves, and then the name of the slavemaster was given, which we refuse, we reject that name today and refuse it. I never acknowledge it whatsoever."


   There was also a moment, moments actually, where Malcom X, trying to appear empowered, intelligent and emotionally solid, would look down upon the desk with a deep sadness.  I could tell he was holding many things back, including anger for the ignorance, intolerance and hate cast upon him and his entire race.  It was obvious he had mastery of control, not wanting to appear savage or violent before the cameras and the American viewing public, many of whom considered him a lesser being.  People would like to think that racism is a thing of the past, but our current president has dredged up some very deep feelings in regards to this and a general intolerance, bigotry, hatred and racism has once again swept the country, and not just toward African Americans, either, as evidenced by the actions of a number of people last week.

   With the circus of last week's Chick-Fil-A fiasco, I knew exactly how Malcom X felt, a lesser human being, and yet I have dealt with this issue ever since my sexual orientation was discovered in high school.  I didn't fight it, I didn't hide it.  In my senior year I had been bestowed an Indian name by my grandfather, who, along with my father and uncles, had their Sioux language beat out of them in the Catholic schools they were forced to attend in their youths, also forced to adopt English names.  The eagle feather I received during the traditional name-giving ceremony had been through war, passed down to me from generation to generation of warrior males and as such I was expected to uphold the bravery, courage and determination that such an honor required.

   Last week, Chick-Fil-A held a "Customer Appreciation Day" for those in support of their views against same-sex marriage, which the chain's president and COO Dan Cathy made public on July 16th.  I was obviously shocked and saddened when I logged on to Facebook last Wednesday to see my page flooded with comments from friends and their aquaintences who supported such a move and planned to attend what seemed to me a celebration of intolerance, ignornace and hate.  Many claimed their actions had to do with the First Amendment, but I felt the issue lied far deeper.  Immediately on the defensive, I posted my own rant, which caught the attention of an evangelical stranger from Texas who proceeded to place post after post on my personal page.  He was summarily blocked, and I considered blocking others who shared his views, but I knew this was not the solution.  You aren't able to simply "delete" others in the real world, and those that do, like the shooter responsible for the July 20th Dark Knight Rises tragedy, do so with deadly consequences.  I have no enemies, but I have many who have caused me intense harm and pain, and yet I know they were placed on my path for a reason: to make me stronger, to keep me on my toes, to teach me as much about living and myself as any "soulmate" could.

   Still, I thought a lot about my association with others on Facebook, utterly shaken that one of my former best friends from high school continued posting in support of Chick-Fil-A.  I asked if the church which had recently turned away an African American couple who wanted to wed there would be having an "Appreciation Day" as well, then claim it was all about the First Amendment.  It was this old high school buddy of mine who used to make sexual advances toward me in private, as he had done to other male friends of mine, which I found out when I attended my 20th high school reunion last year.  According to his own Facebook page he was happily married with children, yet many of his postings had to do with calendar girls and other female beach hotties.  Perhaps he, like many chowing down on last Thursday's chicken, did so as a result of fighting his own natural homosexual impulses.

   I looked down at my computer desk with sadness, hands trembling as I decided to remove my rant.  Most people don't log onto Facebook to be offended or depressed, they want to check in on the activities of their friends, loved ones and favorite pages.  I felt I had embarrassed myself, despite voicing my own personal truth, just as others had been doing all day.  I examined some of these relationships more closely, wondering how those involved could consider me a friend and yet come out in blazing support of a person and restaurant chain that would deny my basic rights as a human being and an American citizen.  I ultimately decided to "unfriend" a couple people, knowing full well that I could simply "unsubscribe" from them so I would no longer see their posts, though I simply couldn't condone their actions as much as their bible supposedly couldn't condone mine.

   In less than a month I dealt with an evacuation of my home from the Waldo Canyon Wildfire, then the shooting at the Dark Knight Rises premier occurred which James and I were very attached to, being huge Batman fans and having obtained tickets to the premier as well.  Both weekends I had a perpetual lump in my throat, witnessing the heroism I desperatley needed to be reminded of in humanity and the grief for such loss.  It began to set a sort of friction in motion, one that began burning with the wildfire, not knowing if we'd have a home to come back to, having just moved to Manitou Springs with all of our worldly possessions.  There was obviously great fire in my mind, a lava flowing in my veins and outside the unrelenting summer heat.  I thought of Pele, the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess who had synchronistically appeared before me many times.  There was also a friction that had developed between me and one of my best friends, and after a misunderstanding regarding a remark she made regarding the Aurora shooting I finally blew my top, verbally, savagely defending the nerve endings I felt were completely exposed.  Eventually we made peace, Pele standing near me as I meditated on my acknowledgement of the fact that all fire burns, bridges and all, and that all things come to a head and must be dealt with before an inevitable eruption.  Pele wasn't forgiving me, but encouraging me.  She was forged from fire, and it was her purpose to bring it to others, to help release the lava that had been under pressure for far too long.  Some things had been a long time coming, and throughout the emotional rollercoaster of July I had withheld tears one too many times, trying my best to appear empowered, intelligent and emotionally solid...

   Yesterday James and I visited the old Cave Of The Winds exit, which had been closed off due to the Waldo Canyon Fire.  We didn't enter, I just needed to stand before it, thinking of its entrance to the Underworld the Ute Indians said lied deep within the caverns.  I needed to remind the spirits that I was still there and still just as fascinated.  Near my feet I noticed an odd rock that fit perfectly within my palm, it even felt grooved like Ted Pikul's "Pink Phone" from the 1999 film eXistenZ ( one of my favorites ).  I had just picked up a couple more local ghost story books off of Amazon to do some location scouting for SpiritChasers 6 and was really looking forward to our next adventure.  I held the little stone in my hand as we accomplished the errands we needed to in and around Manitou.  I then returned home to find that the SyFy channel's Paranormal Witness had posted a spirit collage I had made from our adventure at Cave Of The Winds both on Facebook and their official website.  I was at first elated at the recognition, then immediately on the defensive again as I began to read the Facebook comments under my photo from the trollers.

   "FAKE!"   "DUST!" "SMOKE!"

   Again, deciding to defend myself and our work, I informed the gnarled little masses that there was no smoking in the public cave.  Still, they persisted.

  "WATER VAPOR!"  "REFLECTIONS!"  "TOTALLY FAKE!"  ( And these were the "kindest" of them ).

   Did I not just blog about the Hater Generation, kids?  And why do they immediately assume it's their duty to debunk any claims of the paranormal anyway, like that's going to get them somewhere?  So they can cleanse the field for "real" investigators ( as if the "real" ones get that much respect either )?  Why not go debunk politicians or others in positions of power, people who really matter?  Seems like that would be a much better use of time.  No one is going to take any phenomenon seriously that refuses to meet them more than halfway.  Unless a UFO were able to land on the White House lawn, or the Curiosity Rover comes upon an alien structure, or the veil between worlds collapses and we all have the departed speaking directly through our television sets, nothing is going to convince the skeptics that our images are any more than fog, breath, smoke, dust and light reflection.  I don't care now that I've had time to ponder these truths, but when reading those comments I felt in exactly the same emotional state I was in when defending myself regarding the Chick-Fil-A onslaught.  How could people who had no idea who I am and what I do leave such negative remarks?  Then I thought of Ryan Buell from Paranormal State, now struggling with cancer, of Grant Wilson who recently left Ghost Hunters, and clans of other paranormal researchers who have had to deal with haters and ridicule throughout their entire professional careers.  I eventually decided that I should be flattered, like the receiving of rejection letters before the eventual publication of a book.  Though I felt a sadness for those so compelled to leave such slanderous remarks, as it meant that the miraculous attempting to manifest in their own lives would summarily be labeled as no more than DUST, SMOKE and SWAMP GAS.  Such an opportunity to expand one's perception, one's vision, and yet I suppose it all boils down to their fear of mortality, of the afterlife, of the great changes that would occur in embracing a higher concept.

   Just late yesterday, New Zealand's Mount Tongariro volcano erupted for the first time in nearly a century, covering North Island in a giant ash cloud.  I looked up the Maori beliefs regarding thier gods and volcanoes as a smirk began to lift out of the corner of my mouth.  I thought of Milla Jovovich erupting on French television, smashing the glass of water away from her as she symbolically decided to retain her fire, ripping her mic, her means of communication with the ignorant panel, from her body and storming up the stairs, to a higher plane.  I replayed the video several times, feeling Pele nodding in approval beside me.  In most of Milla's films she has encompassed the archetype of the warrior, a spiritual contract of hers which drew me toward her in the first place.  I am blessed to have come from a race of them.  Proud, fierce, focused.  As stoic and quiet as Malcom X as he sat with his deep thoughts, emotions and anger at the injustice running new rivulets of lava through his veins, through his spirit.  I can't and won't always be as reserved as he had to be, for his people, for their rights.  My mother was prone to emotional outbursts and through them she taught me the value of emotion, how fire can be used to forge steel for defense or attack.  I think for awhile I have permission to stare daggers at certain oppressors, to retain my fire, to erupt with tremendous force, to bring my storm to any podium that would look upon me as a lesser being.  I feel Tongariro coursing through me, puppeteering pyroclastic hands ready to shatter glass, an atomic orange crush creating full solar eclipses about my apocalyptic pupils, focused lava radiating love and sympathy for a heart that's always burning.  Internal tectonic vibrations shuddering patterns, brand new tattoos of action onto my skin.  Rivers of magma flowing into a sea of consciousness, creating new lands for me to claim.  All which no longer serves me has molted away and left my steel devoid of impurity, my soil rich and fertile, my language combustive, my arms bearing the gift of fire.



   - Christopher Allen Brewer, August 2012


   The following YouTube video links may be copied and pasted into your browser:


   Milla Jovovich on Tout Le Monde En Parle ( Short Version ):

   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FWVKEtryvw&list=FL_IWmyJeOqaQm-ycZRQJfIg&index=1&feature=plpp_video


   Milla Jovovich on Tout Le Monde En Parle ( Long Version - Better Quality ):

   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL9VSdKBdOU&feature=related


   Malcom X on "City Desk":

   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvzvQpv1XrE

Friday, August 3, 2012

DESTINATION UNKNOWN



   I recently noticed a post on author and UFO researcher Whitley Streiber's Facebook page in which a woman commented about paranormal research being more style than substance now ( she just noticed this ), and I laughed at many of the proceeding comments regarding ghost hunts in skinny jeans and all manner of bling.  Most of these were true, though in defense many have moved away or have never even embraced the "heavy metal" look so popular with our fellow othersiders ( I'd never seen so many leather jackets, goatees and baseball caps than I did at one of the first paranormal lectures I attended ).

   When founding The SpiritChasers in 2006, part of our design was a direct response to this "style", to the cornucopia of paranormal television shows ( completely ridiculous and otherwise ) dominating our sets.  It was both a backlash against the sensationalism and an evolution of it.  Our program began as a mockumentary, then a spoof, then simply our own unique reflection of said reality shows where one of the earliest trends was shouting at the dead for a response.  This quickly progressed into certain teams engaging in bloodletting for the camera, as well as other dramatic and unnecessary acts such as setting fire to oneself, ghosthunting underwater, reenacting shootings and hangings, decorating ghosthunting tools with the aforementioned "bling", and perfectly-timed possessions.


   It was at first with joy, then disappointment, then utter shock and horror as I witnessed program after program deevolve from authentic research into the supernatural to attention-getting antics while utilizing ego-stroking slick equipment and rides, like Bill and Jo Harding's well-funded stormchasing competitors in the movie "Twister".  By 1978, I myself started out watching Leonard Nimoy's "In Search Of" ( I can still hear that eerie, exciting them song in my head ).  In 1980, I would religiously tune in to "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World".  There were other programs and specials on the unexplained I would catch here and there ( "Unsolved Mysteries" had many thrilling segments ), until SyFy brought us "Sightings" in 1992, originally conceived and produced by Linda Moulton Howe.

   I met Linda in 2010 at the 41st Annual UFO Symposium in Denver, Colorado.  I met Whitley Streiber during his "Confirmation" book tour in 1999, also in Denver.  Both greatly impressed me as powerful keepers and conveyors of story.  As an Oglala Sioux, I come from a race of storytellers, and I sat enraptured by those Linda and Whitley shared at their respective lectures.  Both have also had their share of trouble.  Whitley lost some credibility after his reports of a UFO said to be following a meteor, after which the Heaven's Gate cult founder and 38 of his members committed suicide in order to board the supposed craft.  Linda was the victim of an ongoing disinformation campaign by Richard C. Doty, a former special agent of the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).  She has also been accused of general naivety, as has Whitley, though it never changed the fact that both provided me with numerous materials which continue to stimulate and inspire my own research into the many X-Files of our time.  Researchers in sensitive fields will no doubt continue to be rotationally targeted by rational minds grasping to make patterns of reason out of a phenomena which playfully teases, goads and smirks while keeping its secrets just out of reach.  Just as several of the religions I've tried on over the years haven't all of the complete "truth", one might find a bit of God in each of them.

   The earliest books I can recall being absolutely absorbed with were not the Hardy Boys series or Calvin & Hobbes, they were authored by Ed & Lorraine Warren and Hans Holzer, three of the leading paranormal researchers of their day.  I found these books, strangely enough, in the occult section of my elementary school library.  I cannot convey with appropriate enormity how dearly I miss those old Scholastic Book Fairs of that period.  For those deprived of such a joy, once a year one of our elementary school teachers would pass out a flimsy paper color catalog of books for order.  I remember how difficult it was to choose those my parents would be willing to pay for as they were always generic ghost stories or UFO picture books, but they did, and some weeks later our books would arrive, to much rioting and commotion ( mostly from myself ).  My father would watch "In Search Of" with me then, and by middle school came "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World", then not long after graduating from high school "Sightings" aired.  After another long wait I was finally rewarded with shows such as the Family Channel's "The Scariest Places On Earth" and MTV's "Fear" ( both of which I attempted to audition for ).  Soon after came the rest of the programs, which I would still watch, however embarrassing their methods, though eventually they would begin to give the paranormal pioneers of old a very bad name.

   By the fall of 2006, when I was working on invitations for a Halloween party James and I were hosting, I happened to have "Ghost Adventures" on in the background for atmosphere.  This actually turned out to be more distracting than anything, and I thought that the show was more of a comedy than a serious look into the great beyond.  James and I laughed through most of the program, then I must have turned the station three different times to find that each had their own paranormal show, all increasingly ridiculous.  Fed up, I decided I needed to film my own spoof of these shows, in the style of director Christopher Guest.  I could film a short 15 to 20 minute spot that I could burn to DVD and use as an invite to our party.  I worked on ideas late into the night, when the paid-programming infomercials began popping up.  After my initial irritation by these walking exclamation marks plugging their products, I was then inspired to incorporate these infomercials as well.  I created the "HSN ( Haunt Shopping Network )" for our commercial breaks, and James and I would serve as overenthusiastic hosts educating the public on ghosthunting equipment and supernatural phenomena.  I would make it appear very public-access / local programming and self-deprecating, but after filming footage of an actual ghosthunt at a theater from the 1920's, we experienced some authentic activity of our own.  Anxious to include some actual phenomena in our show, we settled on duality, light and dark, comedic and unsettling, and christened ourselves THE SPIRITCHASERS.  Due to the popularity of the show we released a new program every year thereafter, our evidence of the paranormal and our perception widening each time.

   My first ghost hunt actually occured at age 12, which earlier blogs here will detail, and I already had quite the library of the supernatural, plus dowsing rods, pendulums, microcassette recorders, night-vision cams and the like.  Then came the EMF detectors, digital voice recorders, "Frank's Box" became all the rage, as did lasers, K2 meters, IR cameras, giant batteries, static electricity generators, and more.  It was hard to keep up, as equipment cost money, and by then Craigslist and local business were chock full of adverts for ghost tours, house blessings, "Ghoul Schools" and lectures.  It appeared that everyone else had also decided to DIY, too, coming up with ridiculously abbreviated names for their paranormal investigation teams and establishing a hierarchy of team members ( we still chuckle about a team we met one Halloween at Cheesman Park who called themselves S.I.O.U.X., jokingly referring to the "X" as "Xanadu" ) .  No one paid us any mind as we were simply The SpiritChasers, the best of the names already having been spoken for, and it was only James and myself.  No one was going to take us very seriously in or out of this field with such a lampooning title anyway, so we just kept it.  I made flyers for our SpiritChasers premiers, but only felt most comfortable sharing our evidence with friends and family as a lot of the people we were bumping into were quite defensive and hoarding of their evidence and the locations they hunted.  We kept to ourselves and for the most part continue to do so, despite last years's SpiritChasers V premier at the Lon Chaney Theater, which was open to the public.



   A lot of the people we met were also making big bucks off their schools and "classes", organized hunts ( some of which were more like sitting through a strict relative's vacation slideshow ),  tours, conferences, DVDs and books of their travels through the Underworld, hotlines and "house cleansings".  We never made a buck for ourselves, never charged for any of our DVDs and presentations ( despite various offers ), wanting to stay pure, wanting to know that our interest lied in authentic research, not holiday cash cows.  That said, I do have friends and know many bright and moral people who do charge to compensate for materials and resources on their tours.  But, for James and I, it was simply a personal decision to not go into an investigation with distracting dollar signs in our heads or to have to concern ourselves with the energy and unpredictable behavior of large groups.  As such, only our closest friends and family have accompanied us on particular investigations.

 
   We never made it to Waverly Sanitorium ( the holy grail of the paranormal ), we simply made do with our own local haunts, of which there are several.  We never set up a website save for a Facebook page and my work here on Blogger.com.  We never got into Twitter.  We only got around to having the first of our business cards printed up last year out of a forced necessity after being asked for the upteenth time if we had a card.  And we never jockeyed for a spot in the local news media during Halloween as we had no interest in becoming media whores, seeing the harmful effect this had on the egos of other teams.


   We never began a podcast or radio program, which one can do on the internet with ease these days.  We never jumped on the information bandwagon, agreeing with the "top reseachers" in the field that orbs were nothing more than dust and then removed old photos of them from our page ( another trend sprung up when these "top researchers" began reporting HOT SPOTS, as opposed to the passe COLD ONES ).  Everyone is entitled to have their own experience and regardless have their own perception of reality.  If they truly felt that a fuzzy little globe on the upper right of their photo was a spirit, we would never take that away from them.  This, too, became a popular trend after the classes, radio shows and tours: policing other ghost hunting teams, debunking the work of others either out of boredom or perhaps inspiration by One Million Moms.  Suddenly teams right and left were being accused of fakery, as were the television shows ( some rightly so ), but for the record, we have NEVER altered any of our material, save for lightening some dark photographs, nothing has ever been photoshopped in any way.  We never had to.  Some would say many of our photographs may be too good to be believed, but those are the kinds of pictures you might get when you're not storming a paranormal hotspot with greedy teams towing miles of cable and suitcases full of distracting, expensive equipment behind you.



   This year, a slew of new supernatural programs have premiered with more airing in the fall, including the release of Paranormal Activity 4 in theaters this October.  Just when you think the fad is on its last leg, it gets kickstarted again.  The worries, concerns and general fear surrounding the doomsday scenarios of 2012 did a lot to reinvest public interest in the afterlife.  I thought things were coming to a close last year and then Paranormal Activity 3 turned out to be the biggest opening ever for a horror movie.  Also last year, after our premier of SpiritChasers V at the Lon Chaney fell somewhat flat without filling the theater, despite a presentation of our best evidence ever, I thought we were done.  But then a little nightbird instructed me not to give in and I sent our evidence to the producers of "My Ghost Story" and by the next year I had appeared before their cameras twice.


   Right now, a lot of reasearchers will continue to desperately send out resumes, evidence and letters of reference to the producers of any current paranormal reality program for their team's inclusion on such shows, or are still trying to snag one of their own.  We just got lucky.  Many have created apps.  Or, many will, like celebrities turning from stand-up to talk shows, turn to writing, either early on or in their autumn years.  These will consist of a how-to or general "Ghosts Of The Area I Live In" book ( no offense to authors whatsoever as I'm currently working on a book of my own ).  Regardless, after partaking of any or all of the aforementioned steps, a lot of people have jumped ship.  Some people have gone back to UFO hunting, some to cryptozoology.  Much of this has to do with many of the populace viewing this research as no more than a sordid business thanks to a lot of these highly sensational, dramatic and fear-based programs.  Has ghosthunting really become an embarrassingly passe hobby?  And were these the same questions that spiritualists were asking in the 1800's as their golden age of mediumship and ectoplasm-strewn seances were coming to a close?


   Despite everything, I still feel the same magnetic, encompassing pull I did in elementary school whenever I pass by any bookstore or library with an occult section.  I have even dreamed about books I'd yet to purchase.  In 2010 I had a dream about walking past a white steel spinning book rack stocked with informative DK titles in the children's section of an unknown store.  I found a book on ghost stories for young readers and happily exclaimed to James how I loved finding these books when it wasn't Halloween.  Then just last week, we were at a Barnes & Noble in the children's department looking for The Jungle Book.  Rounding a corner, I was immediately surprised to find the very same white spinning rack from my dream.  Perusing through its brightly-colored volumes with some degree of anticipation, I at last came upon the mysterious book of ghost stories I had dreamt about.  On our way to the counter, the book pressed close my heart, I had to smirk at the fact that the "New Age" section, which I would often make a beeline toward for occult materials, had made way for three large bookshelves worth of not just romance, or teen romance, but "Teen Paranormal Romance".  I shook my head in disbelief, pondering the relationships of the young with vampires, werewolves, zombies, warlocks and ghosts.  The archetypes they conveyed smiled back at me coyly as I glimpsed the larger picture, the reason why so many chose to embrace such characters at this point in our history, as each of these characters had access and held the secrets to the Underworld...


   I, like so many of you, grew up watching The Goonies, scrawling my own crude maps to treasures I thought certain I'd find.  I grew up wanting "Proton Packs", just waiting for the day all of this would become a reality.  I grew up watching Poltergeist, wishing I were Robbie, sitting in his spirit tree, then would sit enraptured as Dr. Lesh exclaimed, "Roll it back!", witnessing the parade of ghostly forms they had filmed walking down the Freeling's staircase.  I never would have thought that one day I would actually be investigating the former cemetery that movie was based upon, and that I would appear on national television speaking about my experiences there.  I wished these things into existence, because I yearned for them so very badly.


   I will always hold an interest in the unknown, long after those who are no longer making a buck off of it move on.  Long, long after their mugs disappear from my television set and their radio broadcasts fade to static.  The Great Mystery has always summoned me as much as I have summoned it, tempted me, teased me, seduced me with its inexplicable wares.  It remains a part of me, and a mystery I will continue to uncover no matter the television lineup, viral video, popular new ghosthunting device or technique.  I continue my work on SpiritChasers 6 for release this October at the very same haunted theater James and I first investigated.  I continue work on my first book of my dreamtime pursuits and adventures into the unknown.  I continue to believe, when no one else will, because "it" believes in me, with every image we take, every voice we capture, every chill that runs down our backs when the wind blows through the trees during "deadtime".  Every time Poltergeist comes up on cable and we drop what we are doing to watch Diane Freeling shriek after her kitchen chairs have rearranged themselves outside her field of vision.  That's when I remember what this is all about, the things that happen outside our field of vision, and how absolutely enthralling it is to chase after them.   I will still always yearn to sit next to Dr. Lesh on that nighttime couch as she explains in kind and comforting whispers that, "It's all the things that we don't understand..."

   I close this blog with the lyrics to a song a little nightbird informed me I had to download off iTunes earlier this week, one that sums up with perfection all my questions regarding our research into the paranormal as its golden age nears a close.  From "Destination Truth" to "Destination Unknown", this is a song by the Missing Persons.  Thank you for reading.

- Christopher Allen Brewer, August 2012



"Life is so strange when you don't know
How can you tell where you're going to
You can't be sure of any situation
Something could change and then you won't know

You ask yourself
Where do we go from here?
It seems so all too near
Just as far beyond as I can see
I still don't know what this all means to me

So you tell yourself
I have nowhere to go
I don't know what to do
And I don't even know the time of day
I guess, it doesn't matter any way

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don't know
Your destination

Something could change
It's unknown
And then you won't know
Destination unknown

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don't know
Your destination

Something could change
It's unknown
And then you won't know
Destination unknown

You ask yourself
When will my time come
Has it all been said and done?
I know, I'll leave when it's my time to go
'Til then I'll carry on with what I know

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don't know
Your destination

Something could change
It's unknown
And then you won't know
Destination unknown

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don't know
Your destination

Something could change
It's unknown
And then you won't know
Destination unknown

Life is so strange..."