A Revisit To The Sorrel-Weed House

Much like a NASA space launch, the Halloween Hell Show had a few delays but the countdown continued and here we are on launch day! A successful one at that. For the next 25 days I will bringing you Halloween fun like guest appearances from amazing people, reviews on all things macabre, movie chats, travel locations and even trying a live broadcast on Halloween! Not sure why I am doing this on Halloween since everyone will be out but my buddy Travis and I are committing.

I recap all of this in one breath at the beginning of this video. I strive for brevity because watching a twenty-minute video of me should include sharks, lasers, a questionable parachute and puppies. I do have puppies, though. (So much poop)

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Tonight, I am bringing you with me as I revisit a location that actually made me change my opinion of what goes bump in the night. I wrote about this particular experience a couple of years ago and ever since I have had this weird fascination to….haunts? I don’t know. All I do know is I had something happen to me, it was witnessed by people and I was able to take a picture of it. Read the original post here to get caught up.

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I lucked out and got to take a private tour with a few people and talk with a young tour guide who knows all too well the dark history that the Sorrel-Weed house has. In fact, just a week before she was scratched while giving a tour in the basement. It was nice being able to candidly speak with someone who not only was an expert in the history of the property but had first hand accounts of what lurks in the basement.

So, now that you think I am crazy, please watch the first of many Halloween Hell Show videos as we travel around the country celebrating the macabre of this 2015 Halloween season. Also, a big thanks to Thomas Boatwright and his incredible artwork. He created and animated the intro video for the VeggieMacabre’s Halloween Hell Show. I also got to hangout with him and he’s a pretty swell guy.

Enjoy the show because this is our time of the year! Add a pumpkin beer while you’re at it.

Spooky North Carolina: “Körner’s Folly”

Man oh man, I have been a busy beaver lately. Work always seems to wait until I specifically ask for a break to go completely insane. A little unknown Murphy’s law is “Don’t countdown to Halloween; just acknowledge it’s coming.”. I never take my own advice and end up over promising.

So, here is my latest episode in the series, “Spooky NC” where a friend and I poke our noses around a very odd house located right down from where I live. I have always seen it driving through the little town of Kernersville but until recently, I never had a reason to ask about it. I am glad I did.

It was built in the late 1800’s and nicknamed a “Folly” because of the crazy price tag attached to the building process and the fact it’s just an odd design in general. Every room has its own distinct personality, shape and size. It’s as if a seven-year old drew up the blue prints. I can see how many people in the Körner family thought this was a something that could eventually be the downfall to the family name.

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The house itself sat boarded up and abandoned from the 1960’s through the 1980’s until the city decided to restore it to the original condition and use it for holiday events, social gathering spots and tourism. Since then it has been a pretty popular place and a money pot for the little city of Kernersville, NC. But it also came with something else. Unexplained noises are common there to the locals who walk past the old house at night. They report lights from inside the closed building and the police have a special numbered call when the motion detectors trip the house alarm.

Last year a paranormal investigative team spent the night there and found some pretty convincing evidence like kids laughing from the bedrooms and actually recorded what sounded like a cocktail party on the top floor where plays and parties were held. On their way out of the house early in the morning over half of the lights mysteriously came on as they were backing out of the parking lot. Creepy.

So, that’s a brief and shitty history of the house. Now I want to talk about what happened when we went there.

The house closes to the public at 4pm on Saturdays but will stay open for just a few people who might want to get ghostly evidence if you ask nicely and donate a few extra dollars to the Körner’s upkeep fund. And that’s exactly what I did! I dragged my poor friend there since she likes that sort of stuff anyway and it was just us in the house for a good thirty minutes while the two staff ladies went to their office across the street. I had the camera and my friend snapped pictures on her phone as we made our way through the different levels.

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I didn’t get a spooked feeling or the creeps but I will say it’s a house like no other that I have been in. It almost didn’t make sense structurally. Every time you stepped it echoed and creaked so I have no idea how anyone got a moment of rest there. When editing this I decided to leave the audio out and overlay it with music because all you hear is deafening footsteps and breathing. And that brings me to the only thing we think we witnessed. Or think we did.

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Okay, so remember when I was saying that we were the only two in the building? Yeah….that’s the top of someones head looking over the railing two floors below us. I absolutely did not see that when I snapped this picture and when I showed it to my buddy, she screamed as if there was a spider on her head because we were both absolutely positive we were alone. I am not saying one way or another if this is a ghost but I can be sure of one thing, it’s not a person hiding in the house and somehow tip-toeing around.

And why didn’t I see that when I took the picture? It’s crazy. I guess you would have to be there to fully understand there is no way for another person to be in that house without either of us knowing. The stairs alone would give you away!

I’ll leave it up to you. Here is my short video that starts with a festival up in the North Carolina mountains and some of the people there were far scarier than any ghost could be. Enjoy!

Touched By the Ethereal Plane

Life is what you make of it and sometimes you just have to jump at certain chances. This weekend was one of those chances and I could not say no. You’ll see why.

This past weekend I got to hangout with the crew of the show Paranormal State for an investigation at the renown Sorrel-Weed house down in Savannah, Georgia. That alone was a pretty cool thing to do but what happened later into the investigation, I will never forget. It is definitely something that will stay with me for life. Probably should not have power lunged in a provoking nature.

I think every haunted house that is a tourist attraction in Savannah or Charleston seems to have the same premiss; blah blah civil war hospital blah blah slave house blah blah distressed widow’s suicide…and on and on. I guess that all makes for pretty good stories but no matter how many times I visit, I never really get “spooked”. True, a number of years ago I did have an experience in Savannah but so much time has passed, the thrill is gone. I honestly can’t even remember the specifics. This time was different. This time I caught proof. I think.

Before I get into the investigation part I must say Elfie, Serge and Ryan are absolute delights. They are awesome people who truly take their passion to a high level of professionalism in this field. These are not the people who turn a blind eye to very much and it’s very refreshing to see how they rule out all possibilities before turning to the supernatural for an explanation.

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So, I could go on and on about hanging out with the chaps of Paranormal State but I am really wanting to get to the down right creepy. After a tour of a cemetery and a nice dinner downtown it was time to get locked in the Sorrel-Weed house with these guys and try to get spooked. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to being locked in an old house from midnight to 3am especially with beach and beer just a short drive away. But I committed to doing this and I had to ask myself when would a person get to do this in present company? Not often.

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Inside we gathered and got a little history of the place but I was more drawn to the Robert E Lee painting. It was gigantic and probably priceless. Actually, I just wanted to see if his eyes followed me like an old Scooby Doo cartoon. He didn’t.

Soon we turned off all the lights and broke into groups. It doesn’t matter what you believe, when you can’t see in front of your face, the mind will play tricks on you. Every sound is amplified and every slight movement can be exaggerated. It’s hard to stay focused when you can’t get the movie Poltergeist out of your head.

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We broke into two groups and Serge led us down to the basement. I didn’t think of it but before you start shooting photos with blinding flashes it’s important to say “flash”. I had to apologize…a lot. All these pictures from here on were taken in total darkness. That’s important to keep in mind especially with a certain few that no one can explain.

Of course if you have read any of my older posts about being in notably “haunted” areas, I always break into a power lunge. I can’t explain why but it is a tradition and when dealing with the paranormal and superstition, it’s best not to break tradition. This may have been a maneuver that did not go over well with the permanent residences.

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What followed next, I will say, surprised me. We sat in a small group for a while down in the basement and listened to Serge talk about techniques and reasons for certain team practices. It was pretty neat but I didn’t feel out-of-place or spooked in the least. It was just a house that smelled like mildew.

Then Serge asked if I would feel comfortable sitting in the next room alone while the group left. I agreed to do that. Like I said, I wasn’t feeling weirded out or nervous so sitting in a closed room in the dark wasn’t a problem. Until…

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The first picture is a bit blurry but you can see most of the room from this angle. I was sitting on an old couch and to the right was a chimney with another empty room separated by two back sheets. On the left was another black sheet separating a small storage closet. I didn’t really know what to do because the silence was deafening, you couldn’t see a thing and I knew there was a camera with a voice recorder actively recording so for the first few minutes all I did was sit in silence. After awhile, though, I began to talk and snap pictures feeling just a tad silly. That’s when something started to happen.

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After I posed a question about our mortality and what it is like to be dead (stupid stupid question!) something rushed from the left side of me to the right, sat on the arm of the couch and it felt like an index finger and thumb squeezed my ear. It was so fast and so violent I jumped up and before I knew it I was out the door in a cold sweat. The team rushed to me and I couldn’t even explain but they saw my reaction from the cameras and knew something was happening.

The next two photos are what I captured right before I experienced…whatever that was. I didn’t see them until the next morning and it was both thrilling and unnerving. It sucks I didn’t think to look at them until then but I was so spun up I couldn’t think.

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I looked at this for hours completely dumbfounded. I must have taken thirty pictures in a totally darkened bathroom trying to recreate this photo doing everything from putting my fingers over the lens to blocking the flash. It always comes out reddish or skin toned. Also I was sitting on the couch taking pictures holding the camera at a half an arm’s length away from my body. It is impossible to get a shadow unless the flash is behind me. It’s a dark shadow that moved so fast and fucking touched me. That’s all I can possibly believe. And it’s more than a coincidence after asking such a stupid question.

The rest of the night was kind of a blur. We did EVP sessions and I took more photos but after that happened, I was a little spooked and ready to be in a hotel bed.

I will write more on this after I go through all photos and video but I needed to post this. It was a great time but I think for paranormal hunting, I will leave it to the pros and safely watch it on TV. Like right now!

See? Every time I turn the tube on Paranormal State is on! I am happy to watch it from a far.

I know there are plenty of skeptics that laugh at this and can come up with hundreds of reasons for these photos. They are not dust orbs, though. That shit happened. And I look forward to see what’s on the video. But for now, I will be doing this type of investigating.

Beer hunting!

I’ll write more on this later. Check out the Paranormal State reruns on the Bio Channel and A&E. They are a hoot. A big thanks to Elfie, Ryan and Serge. Thanks for not laughing at me when I ran out of the room like I had a rabid squirrel in my pants.

 

Battle of the Paranormal Shows. We Have a Winner!

What the hell is going on with so many shows about ghosts and the paranormal lately? There are literally twenty shows that have some sort of investigative or first-person account of ghosts and hauntings right now in production. Actually, I bet I am low-balling that number. For the most part, I am pretty happy about these programs because, who doesn’t like a spooky tale this time of the year? There is nothing I like more than to get settled on the couch with a glass of brew, turn on a show that is mostly in night vision and learn about the history of an old inn or dilapidated hospital. To me, they are almost like history programs and the pay off of ghostly evidence is just a bonus. But of all these shows, there is only one that truly creeps me out. My Ghost Story.

You had me at "Warning".

Recently I have learned that the Bio Channel is not Lifetime. Honestly, I assumed Lifetime, WE, Bravo and the Bio Channel were all the same. Just since this past September did I learn that the Bio Channel is the deliverer of all things down right scary and it is because of the show My Ghost Story. Right away this program separates itself from the ridiculously dressed Ed Hardy figure, Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures and the painfully boring Ghost Hunters, with words that will make me miss my mouth when playing a game of Cheez-it catch like “disturbing”. And you know what? A few of these episodes are a little disturbing.

I think what separates this show from all other types of paranormal shows are the real photographs and videos. I mean, take it for what it is. Any of this could be fake but after watching a few of these episodes I am hard pressed to believe that every one is a hoax.

The show has the real people telling you their experiences without actors or drawn out reenactments. There is no narrator or host but rather a simple text explaining who these people are and after their story, what the present situation is. More than not, their situation never gets better. I know this is selfish, but I like it better that way. Such a dick I am! The whole show has creepy ambiance that one can’t help but look over one’s shoulder, try not to peer at the dark windows and keep a close ear for any noises from upstairs. I am not going to lie, this show has been in my mind when the dog has to pee at 2am.

So, with so many paranormal shows out there, why is this the one that makes me want to sleep with rosary beads? I think it is a combination of the first-person accounts with the witnesses and tangible evidence. The tales, whether true or not, are just unnerving. It seems that all the “ghost chaser” shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, there is too much emphasis on the crew and the spooky feeling is completely lost.  Lately, these shows are ether tear jerkingly boring or laughably idiotic. My Ghost Story may not make you a believer but I promise you, next time you are in a basement alone,you’ll want to stay away from the mirrors!

If you want to watch this, and I suggest you do, it airs pretty often on the Biography channel. Actually, this coming Saturday a whole new season starts. But if you can’t wait and want to know what I am talking about, there are full episodes on YouTube.

I love you YouTube. I like pina coladas and getting drunk in the rain. I am not into yoga and I have half a brain. Please marry me.

BONUS!

Here is another review from the Dundee Seasonal Pack. This time I try the porter and chat about my favorite horror selection for Halloween. Please excuse the babbling.

My finger looks like a ghost. Wait a minute…

The Video Rental That Made Me Weird

I remember a time when a trip to the video rental store was a Friday night must that determined what I would be up to for that night and possibly Saturday night too. The whole process took almost an hour to decide what two hours I would sacrifice my youth on because in a store with nearly ten thousand movies, there was a high probability that you could end up with a doozie. That probably explains why Iron Eagle was rented close to two hundred times.  And Muppets Take Manhattan. And National Geographic documentary on Sharks. Anyway, I had a very particular genre of movies that didn’t leave much room for anything new and looking back, my parents must have really dreaded Friday nights in the living room. Who can possibly take that many volumes of Gallagher stand-up without going a little mad? But all that changed one fateful night in 1991 when I slipped the surly bonds of Blockbuster’s normal selection to touch the face of horror and forever alter my Friday nights…and sleeping habits. This video was True Hollywood Ghost Stories and it terrified me. And perhaps it took hold psychologically because even today in my Youtube search, when I found this on a whim, because everything is on Youtube, I had this overwhelming need to look behind me.

I am not sure why I rented this particular video. My idea of a scary movie back then was Harry and the Henderson’s so it’s a wonder how this ended up in the family VCR. Looking at the cheesy late-eighties graphics, there isn’t much to be too disturbed about but that is where this film takes a turn for the unsettling and really takes on the same creepiness as the popular show, Unsolved Mysteries, with that amazing Robert Stack voice. The cool part about this film is it has a documentary feel to it and it is composed mostly of clips of old to recent horror movies. The kicker, and reason it made my blood run cold, was how it explained the supposed real ghost cases that the movies were based on and behind the scene disturbances while making them. Now imagine, if you will, a young boy who had never seen a horror movie, getting all the scariest scenes grouped together and then learning about how they may be true. Yeah. There was a spike in the utility bill that month from the hall light being left on at night.

Meet the host, John Carradine. He wastes little time in the introduction to shift from zero to one hundred when he begins with how the film, and the scariest thing I have ever seen, The Exorcist  not only had evil happenings on the set but was based on a real event. I had never even heard of this movie until I rented Real Hollywood Ghost Stories so when I first laid eyes on that grotesque appearance and raspy voice of the possessed Regan, I think I just sat on the floor and cried. I’m not kidding, I was a little pussy as a youth. During little league baseball I once dove for cover from a pitch that ended up being a strike. So, seeing the most terrifying movie ever made and learning how it was true all in the time span of ten minutes, I shorted out. And this video rental only got worse from there.

The beginning of The Exorcist part was the author, William Peter Blatty and he described what his inspiration for writing the book that later became a movie many believed actually had the devil imprinted in the film itself. He said he witnessed a phone picking up off the receiver itself and come down onto the table. I am the believer that chairs, dishes, phones, shoes, anything that doesn’t live and moves on their own is so much scarier than a creature jumping out at you. So as a very impressionable kid hearing this account had me captivated. Especially when it was followed by this face:

Even as I type this I hate looking at that picture. It had such a profound effect on my as a child and it was many years later that I finally summoned the courage to rent it during a high school sleep over. But this introduction to The Exorcist  was enough for me at the time. Especially learning it was all based on true events, people died working on the film, it caused audiences to go crazy and not to mention the fact that I was looking at something beyond my comprehension to what I deemed scary. It’s like growing up training ponies and then someone puts you on a bull at a rodeo. I could have used a gradual transition to horror.

The next story was of a real haunting of a house in Hollywood owned by an affluent couple, the Sommer’s and it was so bad they ended up selling and becoming a world-wide media spectacle after their story was published in Life magazine. Even the photographer was a skeptic couldn’t explain why or how his film kept having shadowy figured in motion from frame to frame. I loved the story but of course, as a kid I took it all very seriously and every bump was a ghost and every settling noise was a poltergeist. This didn’t help much, especially when they tied in the story of Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hopper’s, Poltergeist, and how much like The Exorcist, people died from this film and the set even burned down. Great. I don’t think this would have been quite as impacting if it didn’t have detailed accounts from Life magazine and NBC reporters that witness all these events. Even though I was an impressionable kid, I knew the difference between loons and credible people. Especially the next “true” Hollywood account about a woman who was assaulted by what was to be believed to be an entity. Hence the title The Entity.

This didn’t go over well either because learning how the local university recorded and documented this story and it became a constant in the world of parapsychology, even studied at the prestigious Duke University, I did not like learning about rape-ghosts. Nope. It’s as if this video kept trying to out-do itself! Each movie and real case scenario was a segway to the next bone-chilling tale. Like how The Entity was a great shift to the world renown Amittyville Horror. And of course, I got a taste of it by only seeing the most frightening scenes.

Much like the Poltergeist scene, a rocking chair doing what it does best by itself is about as scary to me as it gets. Especially when a kid is interacting with it and when an adult comes interrupts everything goes quiet. That is until the adult goes tot the window only to be met with glowing eyes and pig grunts. From then on I did my best not to look outside at night which proved to be tough because I had an atrium in the center of my bedroom.

Well, this fateful video rental kept up the creeps and went into the legends of Hollywood and their ghostly encounters like Houdini and the original Superman who committed suicide. It’s odd that both the original and the motion picture Superman was named Reeves. Is that a well-known fact? Maybe it is. Anyway, the scares peter down a bit but it is still a pretty good watch, even for today’s standard.  They leave the viewer with a really cheesy music montage of a pretty corny song and truth be told, it’s absolutely perfect. It even manages to leave you with the warning not to take for granted you are ever alone in the dark. I took that warning to heart and kept the lights on almost through middle school.

You can watch the whole series on YouTube and I’ll start you off with the first part. Enjoy this as much as I still do. Sometimes it’s nice to look back and still get the same impression from when you were so very impressionable. Sleep tight!

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