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.

 

VeggieMacabre Revisits Savannah, GA

Sometimes you just have to get out-of-town and if there is a opportunity to mix a getaway with a business trip, I say do it. Fortunately for me my adventures have brought me back to an old haunt, so to speak. You may remember last year’s trip to Savannah when I took a look at some supposed haunted pubs that I knew of and managed to knock out some power lunges for the un-rested dead. This year was pretty much the same but it was a solo trip that included a bit more nightlife and a stay in a haunted room. Let’s recap my trip to one of the weirder places in these great fifty states!

I pulled into town late morning and wasted no time finding a parking deck because if you forget where you parked on the street and the meter lapses, expect a $100 ticket. This is a tourist city and they thrive on idiot dollars. The ticket clerk was nice enough to provide me with a map of the city, where to find college girls and drew boobs to show the places to most likely find them. All of this information was voluntarily provided. I just smiled and nodded. That was the first creepy event of the day.

There was still a few hours before my check-in time at the hotel so wasting no time, I headed back to the Moon River Brewing Company for an early lunch and hopefully a seasonal beer or two to make my Uncle Nat jealous. You may have remembered this place from last year.

This is their famous “Apparition Ale” and holy macaroni is it good! I get it almost every time I come here and this year is no different. It’s a bit hoppy but overall not offensive to any of the senses and most would agree, this beer has to be guzzled in a place renown for it’s haunted prowess. In fact, like a typical tourist with no sense of shame for asking, I questioned the bartender if anything spooky happened lately and she proceeded to rattle off at least ten events over the course of a couple of weeks that left her shook up enough to never go to the basement or upstairs office without someone else. One event involved something four feet tall in a top hat showing up behind people. If I saw something that is four feet tall in a top hat, I would punch it. I would punch it so hard. I don’t do short creepy things.

So after a couple glasses of courage and some really awesome crab cakes, I once again ventured back down to the basement where numerous people have not only seen but have supposedly been attacked by a…thing. Without company, I went alone to say hi and snap some pictures. Luckily for me I have an app on the phone for a timer and a stool so I was able to once again do this. Albeit a little quicker.

I am not really sure why this is becoming a Moon River tradition for me but when I am down in the basement where people have died and an evil presence dwells, I feel like the gift of physical fitness is the only thing I can offer. I didn’t get choked or possessed so perhaps it is appreciated. But most likely, if there is something we can’t explain in this cellar, they probably just feel bad for me.

Just before I said goodbye to the Moon River Brewing company I needed to make a pit stop at the restroom and was greeted by a four-year old pooping in the urinal. I can hold it. Off to River street!

Savannah is older that just about any English settled city in America and much of the structures and streets are just as they were almost three hundred years ago. To get from the Main street down to River Street much of the way down looks like this. Never mind the Exorcist stairs, try getting down these after a night of boozing at the club. I am almost positive that people have died on these but this town is so macabre, it probably went unnoticed.

Somehow I always end up back at the Pirate House. Even though we have a special history, I have to say that this place officially sucks. I chalk it up to a Disney restaurant on the outskirts of the park. It’s gimmicky, the staff (at least the ones who served me the last two visits) are rude, the food is laughably overpriced while it tastes like something pirates would eat, the historic atmosphere is plagued with campy pirate shit and most of all, the part that makes this place cool is completely covered up! You would never guess that a tunnel runs directly under you that led hundreds of unsuspecting travelers to their doom. Nope! But you can get the kids eye patches with their kid’s meals. I hope Black Beard hammer punches someone in the nose for what they did to this place. arrr…

After that disappointing trip to the Pirate House it was time to check in and boy was I looking forward to this, for this was no ordinary room. This room is said to be haunted and was investigated by numerous paranormal groups over the years and I just happened to get a last-minute reservation for…way too much. I’ll just say that. But no matter, this blog needs better material and I am willing to battle the forces of the dead to do so. See? I do care.

As I was checking it, the room checker-inner advised me to stop by the consioure desk for a brief history of the room and a guest waiver. I kid you not, I had to sign a waiver before going up to the room! Whether it was a gimmick or not, I will tell you I got a bit nervous signing a waiver to sleep alone in a hotel room. And that’s when I was told why they think the room is haunted and so many leave to either switch rooms or check-out totally. Here is the conversation. By the way, the conseour guy’s name is Scott. I am tired for misspelling consiourre. I think there is a ‘g’ in it.

Scott: “All we ask is that you are respectful to any of our guests that may be present, whether they are seen or unseen. There has never been anyone hurt though many have been frightened by occurrences like noises or things moving. If you decide to leave for reasons of this nature you will receive a full refund. Just sign here noting that I have explained this to you and you understand.”

Me: “Why do people think this room is haunted”

Scott: “Because it is. The cleaning staff will only clean the room with the door open and usually it is two people cleaning it.”

Me: “What happened in the room?”

Scott: “In 2006 a gentleman took his life in the room. People have reported incidences since.”

Me: “2006?!?!?

That immediately sucked all the excitement and wonder out of me. 2006? This is more of a tragedy than a hokey night stay in a place where some folklore was said to have taken place. Also keep in mind that there was no expression in Scott’s tone. He was friendly but very matter-of-fact. I kind of believed him.

Here it is. It’s a pretty small room that is far from special and very much over priced. I couldn’t tell if it was the waiver that I had just signed or Scott’s “serious” face but this room was deafeningly quiet. I don’t know if there is a trapped and tormented soul from beyond there but the area was so small, I couldn’t help but think that it could only be feet away.

It was oppressively sad and I am sure it was all in my head but you just can’t help but feel bad. I really wished I didn’t ask and carried on the idea that some civil war soldier still occasionally camped there. I turned on the TV, took a shower and changed clothes, all will eyes and ears open, maybe wanting to experience something but also hoping not. I needed to get out for a bit so I headed out. I left the TV on. Hopefully the ghosts like Everybody Loves Raymond as much as I do.

Back on the bustling streets of Savannah I felt a little better. I mean, I was taking pictures of a dog in sunglasses so obviously I was in a better place. I did, however, accidentally tip that guy a five dollar bill in the dog’s water dish by mistake. Oh well, it spends that same.

And this place, ladies and gentlemen, is where I spent the majority of my night. The Crypt Pub is a horror bar during the evening hours and some kind of vampire dance club after midnight. Luckily, I am a guy who is long gone by the time that transition happens. But until then, it was a blast with great people and interesting drinks.

The whole bar had those changing portraits that look innocent enough until they morph into some hideous beast. I love them. The walls are blood-red and everywhere you turn there are skeletons posed as patrons or bats swinging from the rafters. This is not a Halloween themed bar but rather a good taste of the strange and spooky Savannah. I can’t think of another city where this kind of bar would survive. And the drinks?

This is a “Frankenberry” and it is glorious. It does taste like Frankenberry cereal but that isn’t why I love it. I love it because I am still a twelve-year-old in a thirty-four year old’s body. It has dry ice and looks like something that the Munster’s would serve. Brilliant and I bought at least three…that I can remember. Look at it in action!

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Everyone seemed to be in great spirits that night. No matter where I go I always seem to make a couple of friends. The couple next to me were doctors from Michigan for the same conference I was there for. Although it seemed a bit strange that cardiologists were in a macabre bar, I took it at face value that Savannah can cast a spell on even the most high in stature. We toasted our foggy drinks to health and fun. Then I watched more horror portraits.

The staff was a lot of fun, too. Shut up.

As the night wore on I decided to say my goodbyes and head out to the crazy bustling streets and try one more bar before going back to the infamous room. It was an English pub that I had visited before and I really wanted to catch the second half of the UGA game so I grabbed a seat at the bar and got into a great discussion with a really cool bartender over pumpkin ale. We all watched the win and pretty soon other people joined the bar including a bunch of frat-looking guys around my age. And wouldn’t you know it, one of them grew up in the same neighborhood my parents live at? What are the odds? The night was going great and I was having a great time until…

That scene actually happened to me. These gentlemen were cool, MARRIED, guys who tell their wives that it’s guys night out and in less than a second they went from high-five football gurus to people wanting to go to the bathroom to do…well…you can assume. I don’t know what’s more shocking; the 180 degree shift in demeanor or the candor in which they assumed I would be okay with that. Now don’t get me wrong, some of my closest friends are gay and I love them to death but they would never come on to me that way. For a brief second I could understand how chicks at a bar feel. Emasculated, I paid my tab and headed for the room. But not before stopping one more place when I was waved down by my bartender friends for a beer. That made me feel a little better.

Soon it was time to depart because I am an old man and 1:30am is like a young man’s 5am. I can’t believe I paid so much for a room that I dreaded all night to come back to. It was an ever presence in my mind and soon it was time to face what I asked for. I am glad for tipsiness because no matter how freaky something could get, nothing was keeping me up long with four bubbly rum drinks in my bloodstream.

Did anything happen that night? I don’t know. Sure there were times when I thought the facet was on or something moved but really, besides the ice machine dumping causing me to do practically the same, I can honestly say it was uneventful. Had this been a popular haunt with historic significance, I probably would have approached it differently and been disappointed that nothing happened. But this felt wrong. I felt like I was as guilty of exploiting this guy’s death as much as the hotel. For whatever reason, I hope he isn’t stuck there. It’s a pretty dull room and there is no AMC channel. Double farts.

So who knows if all these paranormal things are real? It seems that there are plenty of reality ghost hunting shows to say otherwise but it is kind of funny to think they all might be one big snipe hunt. Someday, I am sure we will find out. Until then, I’ll watch Poltergeist and think, “wouldn’t that be cool?”.

Here’s a Joe Bob Briggs breakdown:

Trip Totals

Beers                                               15

Bubbling Death Cocktails         4

Boobs                                               0

Friends                                            8

Unwanted Advances                   One Too Many

Beating Galaga                              1

Pirates                                             100

Cool Graves                                    1,000’s

Ghosts                                              ?

Savannah Trip: The Good, The Beer, The Ghosts

Savannah, Georgia will always have a special place in my heart. It was forged years ago through countless family beach vacations, a middle school field trip where I discovered that girls where not as gross as I imagined, wild college road trips where I really discovered girls were not as gross as I imagined and finally my time stationed near there in the Army. I call it as much home as I do anywhere else and though I am not a current resident, I jump at the chance to bring anyone who hasn’t been. This past weekend I did just that and we hit a few “haunts”, even making time to get a royal sunburn at the beach. Eat it mid-October!

 

We started off for the five hour trek at around four in the morning so by the time we thought about breakfast we were well past the halfway mark. I am not really sure when this happened but somehow I became my parents and insisted we stop at a Cracker Barrel rather than a McDonald’s. I will admit, there is a certain charm about eating under the same roof that has a one pound Sugar Daddy for sale and more Christmas ornaments than the Whoville. I know this restaurant has had some bad publicity with their idiotic rule of not hiring anyone who is gay, but I will admit, their biscuits do make the Pillsbury Doe Boy look like he should be selling ratchet sets instead.

I get a little excited when I am traveling to some place I want to go to, especially cities of nostalgic meaning. Though I don’t recommend breaking the law by exceeding the speed limit AND trying to take a cellphone picture in reference to Back to the Future, in my defense, I saw a palm tree. We were close and by all logic, going 88mph would get us there sooner. Don’t worry, it didn’t last long. I am 3/4 of the way through Crime and Punishment. I get it.

Well look at that. I got us here safe and sound without rocketing back to 1955. Driving down this street brings back so many memories, I can’t even begin to start with the “no shit, there I was” stories and honestly, I am old enough now to realize no one cares. That’s okay because just looking at the cobble streets, historical markers, memorable bars and vibrant tourists traps I have too many warm memories that I don’t mind replaying them in my own head. But this tease of a drive was short because the girlfriend had other plans than being drunk pirates like I wanted. She opted for an afternoon at the beach. I obliged.

I am saving the Tybee Island part of the trip for another part of the blog. I feel that since this is the Halloween season and I had another purpose to come to Savannah, this should take precedence over summer fun. I came back to visit a few places and boy oh boy, they did not disappoint. Not in the least.

Years ago I wrote about a business trip I took to Savannah and the incredible experience that I had at a particular restaurant. I risked looking like a complete jackass and wrote how I saw a ghost.  A full torso vaporous apparition and over the years it has grown into a well sought after story. After that happened I started to become aware that I am not the minority when it comes to spooky happenings in Savannah and this place is known as the most haunted city in America.

Moon River Brewing Company in all it’s glory. This place has been on every paranormal show imaginable and each one has come through with some very creepy footage. What is equally creepy is how all the stories are so similar. It’s not like there are dozens of independent experiences and conflicting sightings. No, just about every person interviewed had like ghostly encounters in the same locations. And one of those location is in the basement where anyone can go, but no one does.

Getting a spot in this place can be tricky but luckily for us we managed to squeeze into a nice two-top just next to the basement stairs with more than an hour to go on the “happy hour” clock. The beers here are incredible and if we didn’t have places to go and ghouls to meet, I would have just camped eating garlic fries and wit beer. But even in beer heaven, my eyes couldn’t leave the dreaded basement stairs and after a couple drinks of courage, I asked our waitress if going downstairs was allowed. She raised her eyebrows, smirked and said, “sure…if you want to”. I did. It’s why I came. The girlfriend, however, was happy to stay with the fries and beer and who could blame her?

I don’t know if all the stories are true and though the “evidence” of a short shadow creature jetting around this place are bone-chilling, I can see how the quiet and musty basement can prod the imagination. But the one thing that I reflect on now is how busy the restaurant was upstairs and I was the only one who was roaming around the famous basement that made shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures so credible and popular. I stayed down here for quiet awhile and took pictures and not a single curious patron decided to come down. Weird.

Another strange thing is when I was taking these photographs I made an effort to take straight photos but so many came out crooked. I know that’s not paranormal but I am a little afraid that I may have a leaning problem.

After enough time passed to piss off a girlfriend, I headed up for more libations and people watching, scouring the pictures for orbs, demons, pirate ghosts, thumbs, and Bigfoot. I got nothin’. Luckily, before we left I was able to talk the girlfriend into a quick tour of the basement because I had a little experiment I needed to conduct.

I know that I can seem a little strange and I am thankful I have someone who puts up with me. I needed to have someone take pictures of me actually in this place. I don’t know, it bugs me that I have thousands of pictures and no proof that I was actually even there. Plus, I needed to show this entity the importance of physical fitness through the power of lunges.

Though this particular lunge is wickedly improper, I think that if there is a…thing in the basement, it got the point. What’s the point, you ask? I don’t know. Ask your mom. (Sorry. You don’t have to ask her.)

But did it work? I don’t know. What do you think?

Well, Moon River Brewing Company was a lovely experience, even if we didn’t “experience” anything. But I will say the atmosphere, people, beer and garlic fries makes this place a step up from any place I would want to be. I just like knowing that wit beer can be consumed while touching the ethereal plain.To the Pirate House!

Remember how I was telling you that Savannah was a dark and creepy place? Yeah, this is similar to a lot of the store fronts and this one in particular happens to be a greeting card and collectible shop. My heart sings knowing the fact that these mannequins are probably stored close to the bathroom and scare unsuspecting grandmothers when they search for a bathroom around April. Had it not been closed, I am sure we would be proud owners of magnolia covered greeting cards. Thank you for your window fronts and also for being closed.

The Pirate House. The last time I was here I witnessed a really strange occurrence that to this day I can not explain. There is no possible way to describe the feeling when I look at this place and going inside it was even more intense. When I left this bar almost six years ago my perception of reality was skewed a bit. Not drastically changed but definitely skewed. I really wanted to get skewed again. In a non-obscene way of course.

We barely made the last call and the bartender looked super annoyed which made me even more annoyed. I didn’t come over here to get the same service as an Applebees in Paducah, Kentucky. I was in an establishment that was older than most states, has tunnels that lead to the Savannah River to shanghai unsuspecting colonials, it is IN the book Treasure Island, famous pirates died here and, most importantly, this is where I saw a ghost. If this bartender wants to be pissy I was in no mood. Much like the guy who puts on the Mickey Mouse suit at Disney World and complains about getting hit in the balls every time a kids hugs him, don’t make the dick-face when we come in at last call. It was 10:30! Don’t be in the service industry of a tourist city and be a jerk. You bag of dicks!

Wow, sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yeah, The Pirate House, established when people lived to be forty and could die from a tooth ache.

I soon got over myself and made it clear that I am glad we were there and the bartender should be performing unicycle tricks on a corner in Pakistan. I observed that the bar changed a little from my last visit and the bar-top was no longer stainless steel but wood and they downgraded the size of their television. Other than that, it was like being right back in 2006. I peered at the corner where I watched some…thing race down phantom stairs and block the TV some years prior. But the mood was different. Too many people. Too many noises. So I excused myself to venture around the now empty restaurant.

You have to admit, even without the countless witnesses of ghostly accounts and the dark history of this place, it does look creepy, eh? I don’t know if it’s the low ceilings or the constant musty breeze but it is impossible to not have a feeling that unless you are carrying dinner rolls and menus, you probably shouldn’t be there. The human brain is a quirky thing but it does let you know that something happened in there. Think I am crazy? You wouldn’t be the first.

Well soon it was time to head out but the cool thing about Savannah (besides the three million other things) is you can get your beers to go. That is right, there is no open container law in this town so we got a couple of Ghost Ales and sat outside for a bit and man, it’s even macabre on the outside!

Well, it was getting late and though walking down River Street drinking Wet Willies’ Mind Erasers and brawling with frat kids sounded fun, I am old and it was time to head back to the room and look through pictures. Those days are long past. Today, I am about craft beer, fine food and folklore. I am an adult. Haven’t you read this blog? (har har har)

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