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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Return to Snake Road

Last Saturday night I was bored and itching to do a bit of ghost hunting so I decided I'd take a drive to Channel, or Snake Road, in Sanger (which is in the eastern part of Fresno County) as it had been a couple of years since I had been there and I wanted to shoot some video for the website. Now normally I wouldn't advise anyone to go alone, so I let a few people know where I was at in case something happened.

For those who don't know the legend, basically it says that a woman and her two children were driving down the very windy road (this is where it gets the nickname Snake Road) and she took a turn too fast and drove off into the river. She was unable to get out of the car and drowned there. Her two children were able to get out, but they drowned downstream. Supposedly the mother wanders up and down the road at night looking for her two children. I did a more lengthy post here, explaining how I felt it was more urban legend than anything else. Still I wanted to check it out.

I left the apartment with both cameras fully charged. But when I got there, my video camera was nearly drained and had maybe four minutes left on it. I have no idea what caused this, but I have been on investigations before where electronic's would suffer battery drain similar to this when there was paranormal activity around.

Still I was able to shoot this bit of video. I apologize for the first part as it's pitch black, even with the night vision turned on. I decided to leave it in as you can hear the confusion in my voice regarding the battery drain. The latter part is me driving down the road as I wanted to show how windy it actually was.

I don't know what caused the battery drain. I did check my camera the next day after recharging it and there were no problems (even used it that night with no problems). Maybe the charge didn't take for some reason. Or maybe there was something out there that didn't want me filming. I think a second trip may be warranted in the near future.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to Make a Zombie

Now anyone who has met me knows I love zombies. Zombie movies, zombie video games, zombie protests on Blackstone and Shaw, you name it. Something about the mindless undead chasing you with only the thought of eating your brains on your mind terrifies me. But zomies are just fictional right? They can't really exist can they?

Zombie Army Krewe - Zombies
Are these real zombies? Photo courtesy of Philip Kromer from Flickr.

According to a recent article on AOL News, zombies are definitely real and they exist mainly in Haiti. But there's a difference. They aren't the undead, just innocent victems drugged to a point that they have no willpower and are forced into a life of slave labor. And it's all due to voodoo.

First a voodoo priest or bokor needs to find a victim. There was a case of a man from Miami visiting Haiti and was dancing with a lonely looking Haitian woman. He felt a little prick on his arm but thought nothing of it. The next thing he knew he had woken up and was still wearing his suit. But he was covered in dirt and was in a field holding a hoe. Luckily he regained conscsciousness and was able to make it back to Miami. Most aren't that lucky.

The main ingredient in the "zombie potion is a poison extracted from puffer fish, tetrodotoxin. Basically what tetrodotoxin does is it inhibits the nerves in a person to the point where it paralyzes them and lowers their metabolic rate. Once the toxin has taken effect, the vicitm for all intents and purposes appears dead and is buried (why an autopsy is not done wasn't said, but I imagine in Haiti these things aren't done for everyone). The bokor then unearths the body and applies a paste of sorts to keep the victem in a trancelike state, and they are now a zombie and forced to do slave labor.

Still, turning people into zombie isn't that common in Haiti and the other countries that voodoo is widely praticed in. And it's not like there is an assembly line of zombies (imagine the union on that one), but most likely some bokors who lack the morals that would prevent others from creating a zombie. Still it's interesting how in this modern day and age that there is a magical potion out there that can turn someone into a zombie.

Now to find the recipe.

Full source: AOL News
Written by Lee Speigel

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Strange things going on at Lost Lake

Lost Lake
Photo courtesy of Richard Johnstone from Flickr

I've recieved several stories regarding some rather interesting things happening at Lost Lake. The Fresno County recreation area, located on Friant Road just north of Fresno on the way to Millerton Lake, has been the site of some rather odd sightings recently.

One witness and their sister in-law were fishing late one evening alone at one of the day beach areas. The witness reported that as they were shining their flashlight on an island across the water, they saw a dark figure moving in the brush. At first they figured it was a coyote or something, but then realized it was too big to be an animal. Just as they were about to turn off their flashlight, the light hit the figure. It appeared to be a young Asian boy, perhaps four feet tall, pale, and only wearing swim trunks. Right as the flashlight was turned off, the person heard a large splash like something heavy was thrown into the water. The witness claims it couldn't have been a fish as whatever it was made a loud splash. They then turned the flashlight back on and searched the area for the little boy, but found nothing. Spooked by this incident, both parties left in a hurry and have never gone back.

The second incident comes from the same two people mentioned before, but this time at a different location in the park. Once again they were fishing late one night, this time off of the broken bridge. Both were talking as their poles were in the water when they looked down towards the water and noticed a large figure in the water swimming to shore. When it reached land, it beached itself and stayed motionless for several minutes. What happened next terrified the two witnesses. Whatever it was, it then stood up on two legs and began to walk around as if it was searching for something. They estimated it was about five feet tall, but couldn't really make out any features as it was so dark. The creature then crouched down on all fours, layed on it's belly and then slithered back into the water and disappeared. Both witnesses were terrified and needless to say, got the hell out of there.

So here we have two seperate types of incidents at the same (generally) location and by the same witnesses. Two possibilities here. One is that whoever told the story is fabricating it, but given the ghost sighting and the stories I've heard about Lost Lake I'm not sure. There's been stories of a young hmong boy hanging himself from one of the trees there as well as several other suicides. Could the ghost they saw have been the same little boy that hung himself?

But what about the strange creature that they saw near the broken bridge? Rumors of a "vortex" of sorts and the land used to be an Indian burial ground have been told for years, but they don't really explain this creature. Granted it was dark that night and maybe they mistook some mundane animal for the thing they saw. But what creature swims onto land, walks around on two feet only then to lower itself back onto all four before sliding back into the water and dissapearing? Plus the fact that whatever they saw was about five feet tall when it stood up. I think Lost Lake needs to be added to the list of places that I need to investigate, so I can hopefully figure out what's going on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ABC 30 reports Bigfoot sightings on the rise in Fresno County

Recently ABC 30 did a short newspiece on multiple Bigfoot sightings in the foothills and mountain regions of Fresno County. Gene Haagenson interviewed several people in the area who have claimed to have witnessed the legendary creature in some capacity.

One was a member of the Mono Indian tripe and says he was in the woods once and smelt a strong odor and associated it with Bigfoot (there have been multiple occurences of a strong rotten egg like odor accompanying a visual encounter of Bigfoot). Another was a Northfork resident who heard strange sounds outside her window one night. Only later, when she heard similiar sounds on a Bigfoot sight did she realize what was outside her window was a Bigfoot. The newspiece then mentions a Bigfoot museum in Santa Cruz and then goes into how many people have taken the search of Bigfoot seriously.

I actually liked the piece, as they weren't trying to make these people out to be a bunch of cooks and portrayed them as normal people who just witnessed something strange. Mainstream science still hasn't taken the idea of Bigfoot seriously, but with the ever increasing amount of evidence being gathered it's only a matter of time before they do.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weird Fresno gets a psychic reading

I know I tend to focus on the folklore aspect of the paranormal in the Fresno area, but I feel sometimes I leave out the metaphysical side.

Now I've never claimed to be psychic or sensitive (some of my ex-girlfriends would agree with that) but there are those out there that are but don't know how to hone their skills. Recently several sensitives that I used to work with in my ghost hunting days have started a psychic group to help those who don't know how to use their gifts to the full extent. One asked me to come to a meeting as they wanted to do a reading from someone the group didn't know (the sensitives didn't read me as they know me and could effect things) and knew how I'm skeptical of things.

The meeting started off pretty low key, the group mediated a bit. Turns out they were focusing on me. No cold readings ala John Edwards or Silvia Brown bullshit going on here. Honestly I was expecting this as that's how most supposed psychics work.

After ten minutes they finished and one of the group leaders asked for a personal object of mine. I've been wearing a Celtic cross and St. Michael's medal that inside when I ghost hunted lately so I thought I would give that to them as it had meaning to me. Each of the group held it for a minute or so before handing it to the next. All of them had a notebook and would jott something down every now and then.

When they were done, each began to tell me the impressions they got. Most were generalize and could be interpreted in several ways. But some were spot on and it was honestly a bit unnerving as I usually don't believe in this sort of thing. One girl asked me if I worked with buildings for a living, I told her how I worked in architecture. Another asked if I was a NASCAR fan, which I am (shut up I love racing). She then asked if I played the guitar. I did when I was sixteen, but haven't in years and I thought this question was weird. She told me I should pick it back up. Too bad I pawned the thing off years ago.

The group meets ever second Saturday of the month. But next month they are doing a Psychic Bootcamp, and the information on that can be found here. After that they will again meet for the psychic circle. If anyone is interested in going they meet at 1474 Van Ness Ave, which is just a bit north of Audie's Olympic Tavern at around 1:00pm. All they ask for is a volunterry donation to help rent the space.

For more information on the group itself, they have their own site which has the information on when they meet and where.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Paranormal educational opportunities in the Fresno area

For those interested in the paranormal, there are two courses one can study this fall at the Fresno Adult Education Center. The first is a class I've been associated with in the past as an assistant, the Paranormal 101 class. The six week class is taught by Jackie Meador of Central California Paranormal Investigators and includes a field trip up to Sierra Sky Ranch on the third week. For those who aren't really familiar with ghost hunting and how to get started this is a good class to take to get your feet wet.

From the school's site:

A 6-week course taking students into the world of what a real paranormal investigation is like with an emphasis on ghosts & hauntings by Jackie Meador, certified ghost hunter and Chief investigator for Central California Paranormal Investigators(CCPI). This course will cover the investigators role, what they seek and where they go to search for unexplained anomalies and using scientific methodology, electronic equipment and research techniques to investigate and analyze evidence. A field investigation to an overnight haunted site is planned which will include an extra cost. Class limited to 20 students.

The other class is a new one and is a class on how to enhance Your intuition. It's taught by Michelle Tedrow who is also a member with CCPI. Michelle is part of a psychic group that I had the chance to spend some time with over the weekend (I'll post my experiences this week, but needlesstosay I was impressed). The course is also six weeks, but unlike the Paranormal 101 class there is no field trip as this class is to teach one how to hone their skills.

From the school's site:

Take a 6-weeks journey of intuitive growth and learn to harness the wisdom and the power of your inner self. Instructor Michelle Tedrow has been in tune with her intuitive abilities for many years. She teaches others how to develop, understand, and control their gifts through meditation and relaxation techniques, with an emphasis on intuition and finding a purpose in life. You will learn how to journalize and discuss your interpretations and make your intuitive ability really work for you. Michelle is currently assisting Central California Paranormal Investigators with their investigations.

If the past is any indicator, both classes will fill up fast. Both are Saturday morning classes starting at 9:00 am and begin on October 2 and run for six weeks. For more information and to register you can click here to go to the school's site.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How legends get started

Disclaimer: Please do not enter any of the locations mentioned in this article without permission from the owners. These places and those like them are considered private property and entering them without the owner's permission is trespassing. You will be arrested for this and will make it harder for serious investigators to do their job.

Is this old abandoned house haunted? Given it's
appearance it has to be right?

See this house? Would you believe me if I told you it's haunted? Why wouldn't you, look how creepy it is. And it's abandoned so it has to be haunted right? Wrong.

The house in the photo is th Craycroft house on Palm Avenue, just south of Herndon. It was built in 1927 by a Frank J. Craycroft who invented a brick that had great insulationg properties that were perfect for the summers and winters here and decided to build his home from this material. Unfortunately tragedy struck two years later when a disgruntled brick mason shot Craycroft who then died from his injuries several months later. This part is known to be true as the story was retold in Valley's Legends and Legacies Vol. III.

Given the story of the death and the appearance of the house (fenced off and in a state of decay) it's easy for an urban legend to take seed and grow. People passing by the house and not knowing the history of it might assume it's haunted. They then mention it to someone else and that person may say they heard it was haunted from someone else. These are how urban legends get started. Same with Kearney Mansion. People assume since it's an old historic building that it HAS to be haunted. And somehow a story like the one where anyone who sees the ghost of Mrs. Kearny dies gets started and is perpuated through the years. Hell even I've been guilty of believing this. When I was in high school I was told there was this cemetery out in the country in Madera that the church had been burned to the ground by satanist and they performed ceromies in the now abandoned cemetery. Of course I believed this as a friend of a friend who in turn had heard it from someone else. Of course none of this was true, but given the nature of the cemetery and the stories I was told it was easy to believe it was.

My point in all this is don't always believe what your told. But that doesn't mean the story still shouldn't be told. Urban legends are just part of our area's folklore. And that's what I've been doing with Weird Fresno lately, telling the folklore stories and urban legends of the area. I'm not trying to prove anything (I'm not that arrogant to think I can where others haven't). I used to love the story but got so caught up in being an investigator and in trying to prove ghosts exist that I forgot what orginally interested me in the paranormal. It was the stories.

So next time you hear a place is haunted or a monster was seen in those trees behind the park or that a UFO laned in a pasture and killed a few cows, don't automatically assume it's true. Just take the story with a grain of salt and look into the story to see if the claims can be verified. And of course pass it on to me so I can add it to the ever growing list of stories in Fresno.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to report a ghost or monster sighting

I've talked a lot on here about local haunted places and areas that strange monsters have been spotted, but I've never really talked much about what to do if you see something strange (cause I know I'd be dumbfounded if I came across a Chupacabra that wasn't a coyote with mange).

But how does one go about reporting what they saw in a way that the skeptics would have a hard time to debunk? While searching my usual sites for a story I came across this list. While I don't agree with it 100 percent (I think taking a picture with of a ghost with a cellphone camera is pointless), most on here are pretty good. I really wish I had come up with this list, but wanted to share it nonetheless.

These steps should be taken as soon after the experience as possible, while it is all fresh in your mind.

1) Get hard evidence. If at all possible and you have a camera handy, try to get photographs. Even if it's with a cell phone camera, a low-resolution photo is better than none at all. If you can get an image, it will increase the credibility of your story manyfold. If you have a voice recorder, record what you see as it is happening.

2) Physical evidence. If it's a creature, see if you can get photos of footprints or other physical evidence it might have left. Collect hair or stool samples, if possible.

3) Time and place. Write down the exact time and place where you saw the phenomenon. In as much detail as you can, note everything you saw, every action. If you didn't have a camera, make drawings.

4) More details. Make note of its size, shape, color, gender. How far away from you was it? (Measure if you can.) How did it move? Did it speak or make noise? Did it see you and react to you? What did it do?

5) Sensory details. Was there a distinct odor or fragrance? How did it make you feel? Did it affect you physically in any way?

6) Other witnesses. If there were other people with you who witnessed the event, record their names, ages, addresses and occupations.

7) Location. Note the exact geographic location of the sighting. This is especially important if you're out in the wilderness. Otherwise, record the building name, room number, street, city and country.

8) Environment. Note the time of day, lighting, weather conditions - even if you're indoors. Was it sunny, brightly lit, dim lighting, overcast, dark, moon-lit, raining?

9) Sky position. If it was a flying creature, where in the sky was it: north, south east or west? How fast was it moving? Estimate its size in relation to something else in the environment.

10) History. Does the location have a history of ghost sightings, haunting activity or previous sightings of weird creatures?

11) Your story. From your notes, write a narrative of your experience, just as it happened. Tell it like a story, but do not exaggerate, make assumptions or add elements to make the story more interesting. Stick to the facts.

12) Other stories. If there were other witnesses to the event, have them write their own stories. Do not consult with each other during this writing; you want each story from each person's perspective.

13) Make a formal report. Report all this information you have documented to a respected paranormal research group. (Do not give them your original materials; give them copies.) You can also provide the information to an established paranormal website, like this one.

There's also several links at the bottom of the page for further reading. Some are a bit silly, but ones like the link to the Centre for Fortean Zoology are rather usefull.

Written by Stephen Wagner

Monday, September 6, 2010

Strange red lights seen over Clovis

Strange lights were reported to be seen over Clovis on the night of August 31, 2010 a little after 11:00 pm. The witness describes them as several red lights and speculates that there were two craft that were flying in some kind of formation. The objects were first seen in the western part of the sky and without any sound quickly headed south.

The witness states that they were unable to make out the shape of the craft(s) as the distance was too great but was able to describe it's flight pattern. The objects were decending slightly as they moved south until they disappeared behind several houses and were no longer seen. The lights were described as being very bright, being compared to that of a stoplight. The lights also seemed to flicker, similiar to that of a strobe effect.

The witness states the aircraft was comletely silent and there was no sound of a jet engine or that of a helicopter. They also noted that they felt it may have been some sort of military aircraft that was on manuevers late at night, but weren't really certain.

Clovis has been a hotbed of UFO activity lately with rumored UFO crashes and other sightings making the local news, but this sighting reminds me of the one that happened on Interstate 5 where two women saw several blinking red lights in a triangle formation. Could what have been seen recently be this same craft or something similiar? Hopefully MUFON will see the similarities and investigate it.

MUFON report: Red lights over Clovis, CA.

We saw some type of UFO tonight that had bright red lights on it-- date: Aug.31,2010, over Clovis,CA at 11:10PM. It seemed to be more than two air- craft flying in tight formation. It appeared in the western sky and traveled silently and swiftly going South. We could not see the shape of the aircraft as it was too far away. It seemed to decend slightly, while going southward, and disappeared behind trees and rooftops until we could no longer see it. The red lights on this were vivid, like the red of a stop light. The lights seemed to flutter back and forth in an almost strobe light effect. The aircraft was silent, and although traveling very fast, we heard no jet engins. These were not helicopters as they were completely silent, nor was it a commercial plane with steady beacon lights. We don't know what kind of aircraft it was-- some new, silent military plane they are taking out on manuvers maybe? This was a lot like the first sighting we had a few days ago of a similar aircraft with red lights on it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gargoyle-like creature seen in Puerto Rico

Image courtesy of Tim Parkinson from Flickr.

There was a recent report coming out of Puerto Rico that a strange creature resembling a "gargoyle" has attacked several animals over the weeks and even one person fell victim to it's attacks.

Witnesses descriptions of the creature describe it as a short bipedal winged creature and emits a "sulferic or rotten odor". What's intersting is how similiar the description is to the original Chupacabra sightings in Puerto Rico, the only difference is that this creature has wings. Apparently this creature has been seen for several years in the Guánica area of Puerto Rico, but in Lajas and San Germán as well.

Another difference between this creature and the Chupacabra is it's choice of prey. The Chupacabra was known for going after livestock, but this gargolye creature has apparently decided to add humans to it's choice of meals. A man in the 1990's claims that he was attacked by a larged winged creature in his backyard. There were injuries to the man's back and stomach, as if something with claws attacked him.

Others have seen this creature over the years. One was a police officer who didn't see the creature, but heard the beating of powerful wings and knew it couldn't be a typical bird. Other witnesses aren't so forthcoming. They are afraid of going to the local police telling of what the saw in fear of either being scorned or being labeled as mentally disturbed.

Could this creature just be another sighting of the Chupacabra? Even though this one has been described as having wings, everything else is similiar to the blood sucker (except for the attack on the person as there haven't been any known accounts of a Chupacabra doing this). Whatever the case may be, I can at least say for certain that this is definitely not an animal with mange.

Full source: Inexplicata