I had been friends with Serena for about 4 years when her childhood home in Billings, Montana burnt down. The year was 2008 and together we were an unstoppable force, known by many as the “party” type. We would talk about boys and dance class and school, but one thing we never talked about was ghosts. Thinking back, I hardly remember any kind of heart to heart with Serena, let alone conversing about what happens after you die. Little did we know this discussion about spectral beings would come to fruition soon enough, in the midst of catastrophe.
Serena’s home went up in flames on a weekday night, destroying everything her family held dear. Thankfully everyone survived unscathed but the fire still shook us to the core. This was the house we had our graduation party at, where we had sleepovers and made memories. We were only 19 and the idea that everything could be lost in an instant was hard to digest. Even so, they picked right up and moved themselves into the 48 year old hotel aptly name The Billings Hotel . Serena quickly went back to her usual self, calling me up late that Friday night to stay with her. I arrived at around 12:30 am as she was on the phone with her boyfriend. Soon after, paranormal hell broke loose.
After parking in an empty lot, I noted that Serena was on the second floor as I entered the hotel. The room had two beds, so I laid myself across one closest to the bathroom as she finished her call on the bed nearest the window. I began texting, trying to pass time while they dragged out their exchange of “I love you’s” but soon after I relaxed, I heard something – tap. tap. taptaptap. The distinct sound of a finger tapping a glass window. I look over at the closed blinds befuddled, but ultimately passing it off as nothing. Then again - TAP. TAP. TAP. Three clear and intentional taps. I turned in panic to my friend, wondering why and how someone was tapping the outside of our second floor window. She quickly hung up and listened with me. It was nearly 1 a.m. now but we were wide awake. Our adrenaline was pumping as we watched the blinds and heard it again. TAPTAPTAP. It was louder now and we knew neither the heat nor the air conditioning was on, as the weather that night was mild.
Serena flew over to my bed faster than I’d ever seen her move and huddled with me in fear. The tapping persisted, even as we turned on the TV in an attempt to ignore it. This nearly worked as we tried sleeping in spite of it until a large SLAP came from the window, as if an entire hand hit the glass to get our attention. Something shuffled near the bathroom at the same time and as fast as it happened, we were out of the room and down the hallway, determined to find answers. I hurried down the stairs and outside, thinking I could see someone reaching over from either room beside ours. Instead, all of the rooms were dark and unoccupied. There were no nearby trees, no people; there was only me, an empty parking lot, and the realization that this was something paranormal. When I went back inside, I tried explaining what was happening to a janitor and to my surprise he was unaffected, as if he had heard similar storied before.
We ran back to our room unsure of what to do next. After closing the door, we called Serena’s brother who was staying down the hall. He answered with an exasperated sigh, “Was that you guys?”, “Was WHAT us?” Serena questioned back, “The knocking on my door all night.” At this point, we were completely baffled. Was this ghost traveling between her families’ rooms? Were there multiple ghosts in this hotel? We asked him to come listen and explore the window area for a logical explanation. However when he arrived, as these stories typically go, the tapping stopped. Her brother stayed for about 15 minutes until finally leaving, tired and unconvinced that paranormal activity was to blame for the bizarre night. We locked the door and got into bed, exhausted. That was when, not even 5 minutes after her brother had left, we heard it faintly one last time…taptaptap.
The morning after, we flew down to the front desk to ask if the hotel was haunted. Much to Serena's families surprise, we were told it was indeed occupied by some ghostly guests. Although the hotel employee didn't say much more, maybe for fear of stirring up something they didn't understand, we knew the truth. The Billings Hotel belonged to the dead. And they wanted our attention.
Have you ever been alone in a room and sworn you heard the sound of laughter? Maybe it was the sound of music or indistinct chatter, but absolutely no one around who could have made it? Similarly maybe your house is haunted, but only at 11 pm every night when the sound of boots tromp up and down the hall.
All of these paranormal occurrences share the theory that elements in our environment are capable of harnessing human emotions or activity. Furthermore, it is believed that intense living energy can be recorded onto rock or other surfaces and then replayed later. This belief in various materials being able to act as supernatural "tape" is referred to as the Stone Tape Theory.
What was known as "residual haunting" was given the name Stone Tape Theory after a BBC television play called The Stone Tape was released in 1972. The play popularized the idea of residual haunting's being the result of past events stored in natural environments. Despite the recent naming, the idea of residual energy began surfacing in 1837 by Charles Babbage, who believed that voices could leave audible "impressions" in the air as a result of the motion between particles.
Later this idea grew to include different, yet similar, theories attempting to explain paranormal phenomena. This includes psychometry, which is belief in the possibility of receiving historic information trough the physical contact of inanimate objects. Some believe that only gifted individuals posses the ability of psychometry. Others believe that the this can only happen when external forces are just right - during certain weather, or on a particular day or time of the year.
Either way, residual haunting and Stone Tape Theory are very real for many people today. As paranormal investigative technology advances, we are better assisted than ever in recording what was once inaudible to human ear. Often we may receive an electronic voice phenomena that is not a response but rather a laugh, or conversation, or an archaic piece of music - forevermore pointing us back to the idea that we might only be are only listening in on a playback of something that once happened where we are.
I've been interested in the paranormal my entire life; I've said it many times before, in different ways. You may have even heard stories similar to mine before: a traditional Christian upbringing, followed by traumatic childhood experiences, peppered with tragic adulthood heartbreak, and a slew of paranormal experiences sprinkled about. To the eye, I am not anyone particularly unique. I live a normal life, with an average day job, in a less than average city. But in 2019, I decided to allow myself to finally be defined. I took a big a step forward into the world of the occult and started giving myself the abnormal and extraordinary life I had been craving. I became Pretty Fn Spooky, and I let everyone know that the world of the paranormal was my "schtick".
Of course, there's always been an underlying fear of being out of my mind. For years, I lived afraid of my own weirdness, never quite trusting myself enough to be sure I wasn't making this all up. But over time, the realness started to become unavoidable. My paranormal experiences became more tangible, and my metaphysical experiences more often validated. Most importantly, however, this last year awarded me with becoming truly...and I mean really, truly...happy. As if a foggy veil was lifted from my face, my view became clear.
I don't know who needs to hear this, or if maybe I just needed to remind myself but: Ghosts are real. There is more to this life, this world, this universe, than what meets the eye. You are deserving of discovering the truth in all things and you are NOT weird for keeping your sense of wonder. The new year, and new decade, deserves to be as extraordinary and fantastical as us weird ones have always hoped it would be. I will continue on into 2020 as Pretty Fn Spooky as well as Amanda Paulson - paranormal researcher, investigator and professional weirdo. I hope that you continue to join me on my journey.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite cities once again and had the time of my life. New Orleans is known for many things - Jazz, jambalaya and bare breasts on Bourbon, to name a few. But what I come to New Orleans for is more than that. Not only does this city have a community full of intelligent, passionate and cultural diverse individuals that I have a lot to learn from in many ways, but New Orleans is also steeped in interesting history.
New Orleans' history is far reaching - including pirates, french, Cajun, creole, the birth of jazz and of course, pre- and post-Katrina, In addition, there is a rich supernatural history laying beneath every twist and turn in the city. This would include vampires, ghosts and even Sasquatch, is you move out closer to the swamp. I have a multitude of reasons to love it in N.O. but if I had to choose one thing to share with you today, it would absolutely have to be the vast and beautiful above ground cemeteries.
There are a few famous cemeteries, brought to light my Anne Rice novels and teen vampire shows, that you may have known about in New Orleans already. Those would include Cemeteries like Lafayette Cemetery #1 (mentioned in many Anne Rice novels and seen on shows like The Originals) and Saint Louis Cemetery #1 (home to the tomb of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau and future tomb of Nicolas Cage). However, there are many more, dating back to the early 1800's that are open to the public to visit.
A few of the cemeteries I visited on my most recent trip I'd like to share with you, the first being Saint Louis Cemetery #2. Similar to its more famous sister, #1, this cemetery sits near the freeway and is open to the public without a tour or ticket. In this cemetery you'll notice an unfortunate amount of vandalism, including evident structural damage due to Hurricane Katrina. To further explain, this cemetery is made up of 3 separate, walled off sections.
I also briefly visited Lafayette Cemetery #1, however it was closed for repairs. I was still able to see inside the famous front gate and snag a few photos for you.
Lastly, I wanted you share the Jean Lafitte Historical Park and Barataria Swamp Preserve with you. To my delight, my airboat guide took us by this Cajun cemetery that ran flush with the wetlands. He first informed me that the hill seen in this picture is a 2000 year old burial mound and that the cemetery itself has been used for many tv shows and movies over time. My tour guide also mentioned that in all his time living in the area, he’s only visited the cemetery twice at night, as a young teenager. He claims he felt something touch him and that there is definitely something paranormal that remains on the grounds.
As is evident, Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, is brimming with beautiful cemeteries, many of which are decaying and changing by the day. Some are free and open to the public, some are private. All are most likely haunted. What’s your favorite Louisiana cemetery? Have you been to any I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments below.
In 1878 wealthy business man J.J. Browne moved to Spokane, Washington, originally named Spokane Falls, by way of Portland, Oregon. Along with current Spokane Falls resident A.M. Cannon, they purchased 120 acres together to create what we now know as Browne’s (and Cannon’s) Addition. Browne’s Addition drew the attention of wealthy Spokane Falls residents for its view and proximity to downtown. It was such a popular destination that there was even a horse-drawn streetcar line running from Browne’s Addition to downtown starting in 1888.
Eventually, the devastating 1889 Fire destroyed most of downtown Spokane, however sparing Browne’s Addition and other outlying neighborhoods. Home building then continued in Browne’s for years, producing the beautiful and historically important mansions that I often feature on my Instagram today. In the 1920’s, these mansion began dividing into apartments to help service lower income residents who needed to work in the nearby downtown area.
Beginning in the 1930’s and forward, many more low income residents moved in, and the historic homes began to see neglect and disrepair. Spokane resident eventually would associate the area with excessive drug use and crime. 1976 saw Browne’s Addition placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District. As recent as this month, October, 2019, Browne’s Addition will also be passed as the cities first local registered Historic District – of which I was lucky enough to vote and work on while serving on the Historic Landmarks Commission.
Along with Browne’s Addition’s vibrant history comes decade’s worth of ghost stories. Some of the cities most haunted mansions are located in the neighborhood – Patsy Clark Mansion, Campbell House, Roberts Mansion Inn, and 1899 House, to name a few. Most interestingly, one apartment complex’s developer unearthed skeletons when beginning construction back in 1987. As historian Tony Bamonte is quoted saying to Krem2 News, “Prior to 1883, there was definitely a cemetery there.” Apparently MOST remains were found and relocated in the 1880’s, but it’s difficult to how many might be left behind.
The time has come and the autumnal equinox has passed. We’re now in a period which many different earth-based religions call Mabon. Mabon is a time for celebrating the harvest, being grateful for what has come your way and reflection. Mabon also refers to a time in which light and dark are even, as well as a time to put focus on honoring the dead.
As many others in the paranormal field, autumn is my favorite time of year. There are many things I do during the beginning of autumn to bring in the season and prepare me for the thinning of the veil between this world and the afterlife. Samhain or as most refer to it, Halloween, is when this veil between the living and he dead is at its thinnest. When this happens, it can make it easier to communicate with spirits or entities of which have left this world.
A few things I like to do in Autumn include taking elaborate baths, lighting every candle in my house, sipping on pumpkin flavored beverages (I’m not too cool for a PSL) and filling my home with things like acorns, pumpkins, flowers, herbs and pine cones. Naturally, I also like to get in touch with the spirit world during this time by visiting the cemetery, using my spirit board or performing rituals asking to put me in contact with anyone who would like to come forward (which usually then happens in my dreams) I also pull the occasional tarot card to seek advice on whatever path I’m on. More or less, this is my time to amp up the spook in my life to level 100!
What are your favorite fall activities? Do you feel the veil thinning? Expect many more posts from me this season , including an update on my favorite neighborhood in town - Brownes Addition and some in depth looks at my communication with the dead. Happy Mabon!
I recently had the opportunity to investigate the old Buchanan Building. The client, Bailey, is an employee of an office in the upper level of the building, and didn't have any specific claims of paranormal activity, but rather an overall spooky feeling within. Her and I met at the building to investigate on Friday night, September 6th 2019.
The Buchanan building was built in 1911 for James D. Buchanan to house his Buchanan Mortuary business. At the time, his mortuary was considered incredibly modern and was built for a sum of $25,000. Archives state that the chapel was held to the East, reception was to the West and the mourning room to the North. The morgue was at the end of the hallway in the middle of the building - a large room with a skylight - and as we investigated later, the original casket elevator, or "catafalque" (seen below) is in the garage leading to the basement. James Buchanan died in 1920 and in 1924, the well known Hennessy and Calloway Funeral Home bought out the business. It would later hold another funeral home until 1941, and then a plumbing and heating company, a Goodwill, and an antique store. Today it houses multiple different companies and offices.
We held a brief EVP session in an office in the upper level, where a missing brick in the wall revealed a small room behind it. Although this hole in the wall was unsettling, we didn't feel there was anyone with us so we moved on to the garage. Standing above the coffin elevation, I conducted a spirit box and EVP session, with no such luck. The client used the dowsing rods and when asking where in the room the spirit was, one dowsing rod pointed behind her. The rods stayed in this position until we left. Lastly we moved downstairs to the furnace room. The room is surrounded in original foundation stone and brick and holds a modern day furnace now. The Mel-Meter took a base reading of 0 and base temperature reading of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. I set an EMF detector on a table nearby (provided by CambridgeLabs) that has a green-yellow-red light meter similar to a K-2 Meter. The session was not successful until I stated that we were leaving and whoever was there with us would be alone again soon. At that point the EMF detector lit to red and continuously beeped. I tried to pull my phone out to record and it stopped. We continued on, telling the spirit we were leaving and every time, it lit to red again, almost as if it was playing with us or did not want us to leave. This went on for about 10 minutes until we finally moved on, ending the night there.
This investigation, I would say, ends inconclusive. The numerous EVP sessions that I held did not yield any results and I did not catch anything on static camera, so I am unsure who or what is at the Buchanan. The EMF session along with the dowsing rods incident at the coffin elevator, definitely lead to suspicion that there might be an intelligent haunting present, but I do know that the decades of mortuary services held here lend to a heavy atmosphere and possible residual energy within the stone and brick foundation. Maybe James Buchanan has had a hard time saying goodbye to his modern masterpiece, or maybe the building is just overall pretty fricken spooky. Only time will tell.
I recently had the pleasure of attending what is called the 2019 Psychic Sasquatch Spiritual Retreat and Conference. Although I've considered myself a spiritual person for some time now, this was my first experience digging deeper into different forms of spirituality and coexisting within a spiritual community. Little did I know how much this community had to teach to me.
A new friend asked me to attend with her (and for the sake of getting out of town and a story to tell) I said yes. The retreat was a 4-day and night event in the Colville National Forrest over Labor Day weekend, at $30 a day. This was the 4th year they had put it on, but the amount of information to be found online was scarce. We went on Sunday and arrived at the location at 9 am and to our surprise, this was just in time for "circle time"! The beginning of our day kicked off with a sharing circle of about 100 people, a smudging ritual and a dance at the end talking about "unity". Admittedly, I wasn't entirely convinced, (especially after a quick portal opening exercise) that this was the right kind of place for me - I may believe in ghosts and magic but I do NOT get down with hugging strangers. The most notable part of this first activity however, would be the Navajo shaman communicating a message he received from superior beings in his native language. Who were these superior beings, you say? None other than the Sasquatch People!
I have to say, I initially expected to go to a retreat full of Sasquatch hunters. I really thought I had this all figured out until I realized the respect the attendees actually had for the Sasquatch people and the messages they were receiving from the so-called Sasquatch elders. Most of the attendees viewed the Sasquatch people to be superior beings, similar to aliens, that had divine wisdom to share telepathically with their followers. And look, I know how this all sounds. But after sharing a meal with these people or chatting under the sun in the middle of a field, my mind began to open up to what they had to say.
We sat in on a shamanic dragon journey, took pictures with a massive, sun-charging crystal skull and received a Turkish coffee psychic reading, along with shopping different booths and walking around the property. The Turkish coffee reading provided insight for me into the path I've recently taken. She surprisingly mentioned I was surrounded or followed by the dead or dying and I have an understanding of death, and should trust and follow this path since their are no obstacles and a clear future in it to come. The shamanic journey had a heavy focus on manifesting global change and visualizing eliminating pollution. And we ended the day with an hour and a half long, high frequency sound bath. This literally shook our core and created some eye-opening, bizarre meditative hallucinations (spider webs, drowning and Sasquatch for me...lovely.)
Most importantly however, the overwhelming theme of this day was the very apparent love and happiness that everyone in attendance shared. Although in my small mindedness I considered these people "weird", they were HAPPY and they loved the earth, themselves and every living creature (including me) SO much. Not in a cult way. Not in a selfish way. But just oozed a happiness and peace I hadn't seen so tangible, possibly ever. And for that, I can get down with the Sasquatch people from here on out. Expect me at the 2020 gathering.
I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a novice paranormal investigator, as I’ve been in the game for the last decade, however I have recently needed to start fresh with my equipment. As technology advances, naturally, ghost hunting equipment does as well. To keep up with these advances, I’ve recently completed a new ghost hunting kit for myself. I’d like to share with you what my go-to’s are as well as what’s on my current “to buy” list.
What is in my case:
1. SB7 Spirit Box
2. EMF Detector
4. Dowsing Rods
5. 3 Cell Maglite
6. EVP Recorder
Laser Grid Len
Battery Packs and Cords
As you can see, it’s a humble, little kit. Also not pictured is my trusty iPhone, which I utilize as a recording device and point and shoot camera. I have purchased and returned a Rem-Pod once, but couldn’t justify the price for it just yet (I plan on repurchasing at some point, but I don’t believe it’s completely necessary right now.) And lastly, I have a new night vision video camera on its way as well.
On my list for future purchases is an SB 11 Spirit Box and an Ovilus 5b.
What is in your kit right now? And what is your dream piece of equipment? Let me know in the comments, I would love to know.
I don't know about you, but my interest in the paranormal transcends just catching Casper the friendly ghost. After you've collected evidence of a haunting, t's hard to ignore the possibility that there could be even more to this world than what meets the eye. I don't only want to know what goes bump in the night, but what influence the moon and the stars may have, what creatures may lurk in the shadows and what true capabilities humans could hold beyond our ordinary knowledge.
My study into the occult took off about 10 years ago when I began experiencing sleep paralysis (I will dive deeper into my experience with this in the future). I didn't know at the time that the dark, black figures standing over my bed were common among these episodes, but in my search for an explanation, the world of magic, alchemy, astrology, tarot and more, came to light and I've been enamored ever since.
I've been specifically interested in dream interpretation, esoteric knowledge within secret societies (ie. Freemasonry) and the art of divination (through tarot, mostly). All of these have been relevant to my life in some way or have specifically peaked my interest. My dive deeper into occultism has brought me increasing peace and better understanding of myself and the world around me and although I am and will always be just a student of the topic, I have a few resources to share for anyone interested. First, is The Encyclopedia of Dreams by Rosemary Arlen Gulley. There are numerous resources online if you’re looking to interpret your dreams but this one is simplified and comprehensive and super easy to pull out right after waking up. Second is The Dictionary of The Occult by Andre Nataf. I picked this gem up in an occult store in Portland and it has helped expand my knowledge exponentially.
I look forward to sharing my knowledge of individual topics on the subject of occultism. Tell me - what interests YOU the most? Are you a tried and true spirit hunter, looking for signs of the afterlife? More into the mystical ways of the Shaman? Does alchemy float your magical boat?