Busy? You can listen to the following article. It’s a five-minute recording. Defining Ghosts In this five-minute version of a June 2019 article at HollowHill.com, Fiona Broome explains the importance of defining what is – and isn’t – a ghost. That’s a personal decision, but it’s an essential basic when we talk about ghosts and …
This is a (beta) podcast from my Ghosts 101 website. And yes, it goes silent at the end… and the silence continues for several seconds. It’s okay to stop it then. This podcast link will stop working by Thursday (23 May 2019). I want to re-record the audio, and that means the MP3 link will …
In the early 2000s, ghost hunting TV shows helped many people learn more about paranormal research and haunted sites. That helped this field expand, almost overnight. However, many viewers were disappointed when they went ghost hunting, themselves. I’ve talked about this in the past, and – I’ll admit – ranted more than a little. But …
Ghost hunters can have very different opinions. There are believers and skeptics. You’ll also meet psychics, and those who want hard proof – or at least electronic evidence – before they’ll take any ghost story seriously. And so on. But, another topic divides ghost hunters, and that’s how much to know before an investigation. I …
The “Gray Man” (or, as many locals spell it, the “Grey Man”) has made another appearance. He’s a gray, ghostly figure that appears before each devastating hurricane in the Carolinas (USA).
According to most stories, he’s a young man who died in a devastating storm that – on September 27, 1822 – made landfall around Charleston, South Carolina.
The man been abroad for two years and was rushing home to his fiancée. Her family’s home was near Charleston.
But, seeing an approaching storm, the young man made a fatal decision. He took a shortcut to his fiancée’s home, and that shortcut included a piece of land with quicksand as deadly as landmines.
In his hurry, the young man drove his horse and carriage into quicksand, and – trying to save his horse as well as himself – both were lost. (In another version, his horse threw him, and the young man landed in quicksand. He died grasping at sand and grass, unable to save himself.)
Ever since then, his shadowy figure has appeared – usually around Pawleys Island, just south of Myrtle Beach – before every devastating hurricane.
Credible stories date back to 1989 and 1954. Other stories – passed down from one generation to the next – describe the Grey Man’s appearance before every major storm that sweeps across the area.
Multiple Gray Man reports have surfaced in the past few days, as Hurricane Florence approaches. I hope it’s just an odd cast of the light, mixed with anxieties over the frightening hurricane approaching the Carolinas.
Who’s the Ghost?
Some people insist he’s Percival Pawley, the first settler. In 1711, he received land grants to develop Waccamaw Neck, including all the land from the river to the sea. Part of that land included Pawleys Island, named after Percival’s son.
Obviously, that Percival can’t be the young man who lost his life in 1822. From my research, the original Percival (also spelled “Percivell”) Pawley died in South Carolina on 14 Nov 1721 (or 1723, in some records).
I also searched South Carolina death records, and the only Pawley who died in 1822 was Martha “Patsy” Pawley, a descendant of Percival Pawley.
Interesting note: The name “Percival Pawley” also appears in many records from Salem, Massachusetts, aka “Witch City.”
I think we can rule out Percival as the victim who died in quicksand.
Other speculate that the Grey Man is Edward Teach. Again, that’s a great story… but impossible. Edward Teach – aka “Blackbeard” – died in North Carolina, and in 1718.
So, for now, the identity of Grey Man is a mystery.
More Ghosts on Pawleys Island
One of the more famous ghosts of Pawleys Island makes a regular appearance at his former home, Litchfield Plantation. The ghost is Dr. Henry Norris, who renovated the house in the 1920.
Several ghosts – including two Boston Terrier dogs, a gray figure, and a woman dressed in gingham – have been reported at the Pelican Inn. (Some want to believe the gray figure is the Grey Man, but I think that’s unlikely. Spirits that appear at very specific times and places don’t usually show up in other locations, in the interim.)
A third ghost is Alice Flagg, whose spirit looks for the engagement ring her brother tore from her lifeless body, and discarded. She’s buried in All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery on Pawleys Island, but she’s been seen in several nearby locations.
Other Spirits that Warn of Danger
The Grey Man isn’t the only spirit who warns of danger.
Of course, there are banshees, but they’re usually heard, not seen. Also, each of them “haunts” (I prefer to say protect) their descendants and relatives. In most cases, they don’t warn strangers of imminent disaster.
“Green ladies” also predict danger and possible destruction, but they usually protect their former homes and castles.
Some ghosts not only warn of danger, but lend a hand when the location (or people) they protect is in danger. One example is the ghost of Ocean-Born Mary, who – according to reports – joined a bucket brigade to save her New Hampshire home during a late-night fire.
Other Grey Men
South Carolina’s Grey Man isn’t the only “Grey Man,” either.
In the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, people report a “Big Grey Man” (Fearlas Mor, aka Am Fear Liath Mòr) near the top of Ben MacDhui. He’s sensed, not seen.
The first written report was by Professor Norman Collie, who encountered the “Big Grey Man” in 1890. Much later, a similar story was confirmed by Dr. A. M. Kellas, though he and his brother, Henry, thought they saw a giant figure in the distance.
To me, that’s interesting. Most ghosts with a lengthy history have a name and a description that fits what people have seen and heard.
In the case of Scotland’s “Big Grey Man,” he’s heard and sensed as a presence. (Only a few, rumored sightings have ever been reported, and – to me – they sound like Bigfoot: tall and covered in short hair. So, I question those stories’ credibility.)
That reminds me of a North Carolina creature dubbed the “Unseen Tracker.” Like Scotland’s “Big Grey Man,” this entity is heard and sensed, but not seen. According to the book, Monsters Among Us, North Carolina’s Unseen Tracker sounds as if he walks on two feet and is heavy. He’s heard/sensed around Charlotte, NC, in broad daylight, on land formerly held by the Catawba tribe.
What connects those stories? A consistent unexplained, emotional reaction. First, the person is uneasy, then feels a murky sense of depression, and then… panic.
Many of the witnesses try to explain the depression in a variety of ways. To me, it sounds like they’re desperately grasping for a logical answer.
Note: In reports of “shadow people,” I don’t usually hear anything about depression. So, I don’t think the Grey Man is a typical shadow person.
But, that feeling of panic – a very deep “uh-oh,” beyond being startled by an unexpected figure – is consistent with 2018 reports of the Grey Man of Pawleys Island.
Let’s hope that – this once – the recent Pawleys Island sightings don’t predict devastation and destruction. As I’m writing this, Hurricane Florence is a category 4 storm, and moving towards the Carolinas.
The idea is not entirely far-fetched. After all, if ghosts, spirits, and other such entities do exist, then they must use some form of energy…
For example, it is thought that ghosts sometimes utilize the ambient heat in a room for energy to manifest, leading to cold spots as this energy is abruptly absorbed.
…There are various types of atmospheric activity that could possibly affect the paranormal activity of a location, with the most common image of this being thunderstorms, so how would these storms be able to exert an influence on supernatural entities?
…Perhaps the biggest factor is simply the sheer amount of electrical and electro-magnetic energy charging the air during storms.
That’s an interesting theory. I’m eager to hear if anyone has first-person experience with stormy weather increasing ghostly activity.
That same article raises other questions about other atmospheric conditions, too:
…A good example would be solar activity from our sun, which sometimes releases solar flares that set loose X-Rays, intense doses of UV radiation, and create what is called “solar wind.” This solar wind is composed of highly charged plasma particles that can lash out to reach all the way to Earth, where it’s electromagnetic energy is powerful enough to cause disruptions in the planet’s magnetic field called geomagnetic storms.
… it is also important to look at other natural explanations for why the weather might produce more reported paranormal activity. The most obvious one is that simply the spooky and rather ominous quality of storms… make for an atmosphere in which people more susceptible to perceiving perfectly mundane things for being supernatural.
I agree, especially if an investigator is new to paranormal research, or is feeling unusually stressed. “Dude, run!” moments can happen to anyone. It’s really embarrassing when the cause is debunked.
The following, one-minute video doesn’t claim to show a ghost, but the face-like image in the clouds is fun.
Lukova looks like a site worth visiting. In the Church of St. George, you can see a remarkably creepy, impressive art installation of 30 ghostly shapes.
Apparently, this 14th-century church was haunted (by at least nine ghosts) – and abandoned – before an artist created these figures. It’s a quirky story. (See my Resources list, below. They share some interesting insights.)
Now, services are held in the church again… with the congregation sitting among the ghostly shapes.
I’m not sure I’ll be in the Czech Republic any time soon, but – if/when I am – I’ll definitely investigate this location. And, I’ll bring all the ghost hunting equipment I can carry… especially looking for EVP.
The Church of the Ghosts - Czech Republic - YouTube
(That’s just one of several videos filmed at the site.)
If you’ve been there, or know of a similar art installation, I hope you’ll let me know. Leave a comment at this website.
I’m very interested in creepy, evocative locations, to see if they attract ghosts… and not just the sculptured kind.
Ghost boxes (and related ghost hunting equipment) include real-time EVP devices, Shack Hacks, Frank’s Boxes, and Digital Dowsing equipment like the Puck and Ovilus.
Today, Kyle (a visitor to Hollow Hill) asked where the words come from. Here’s my reply.
Different ghost communication devices work in different ways.
Some – like the Puck and Ovilus – have a built-in vocabulary. In theory, those are the only words those devices can say.
However, I’ve heard an Ovilus – in dictionary mode – say my name (Fiona Broome) when “broom” was in the vocabulary list, but “Fiona” definitely wasn’t. So I haven’t a clue how that happened.
I’ve witnessed other investigations where the words weren’t in the vocabulary. So, it wasn’t just that one time. (That first was at the Salem Inn, in Salem, MA, in one of their most haunted rooms.)
Those kinds of words are emitted when EMF spikes/surges occur. In theory, the words should be drawn from the built-in vocabulary, at random.
Therefore, when words (or phrases) are relevant and/or repeated beyond a statistical norm… that suggests some intelligent (spiritual) energy is involved.
Some ghost boxes – like Shack Hacks and Frank’s Boxes – use radio stations’ broadcasts. The devices cycle through lots of radio stations in succession – maybe half a second, each – and grab words or parts of words, at random.
I’ve heard those devices speak clearly, in full sentences, even though the clips were brief and strung together in real time.
One of them – a Frank’s Box – produced my late mother’s voice, complete with her regional accent, and “she” said something relevant to me. There is no way anyone would have known that particular phrase or way of saying it, to fake the voice/message.
That happened two days in a row in Ontario (Canada), The first time was at a haunted site investigation. The second was the next day, at a not-haunted hotel site hosting a ghost hunters’ conference.
But, adding a little geek-skepticism here: Is it possible that people – consciously or inadvertently – can use some weird form of psychokinesis to control the words coming through those devices…?
(Psychokinesis is the supposed ability to move objects by mental effort alone. I’ve seen it happen in real life, frequently enough to believe it’s an actual phenomenon, and may explain some poltergeist activity.)
That explanation outside my understanding of physics and psychokinesis, but it’s the only possibility I can think of.
Here’s a demonstration of a Frank’s Box. (Note: I can vouch for Chris being gifted in terms of his use of a Frank’s Box. Other than that, I’m uneasy recommending Chris, based on a few red flags that bothered me.)
Ghost Box session live (shocking results)! (3-28-17) - YouTube
Digital Dowsing – Some of this equipment works very well. I’ve used a couple of models of the Ovilus EMF device. Another research I respect has said that the Puck is even better. You may have seen some Digital Dowsing tools in use on ghost hunting TV shows.
Ghost Box Hacks – Open Source Paranormal’s plans and tips. The site hasn’t been updated in some time, but the information is still useful.
Halloween Ghost Box Tips (2016) :
Ghost Box Tips - YouTube
If you have questions or insights about these kinds of devices, I hope you’ll leave a comment at this site.
For many people visiting California, the haunted ship – the Queen Mary – is a must-see. And a must-investigate. Some ghost hunters claim the ship is home to over 100 ghosts.
Whether or not such high numbers are accurate, the Queen Mary “ghost ship” is still an iconic haunted site, and worth visiting if you’ll be in the Los Angeles area.
Note: If you’ve always wanted to spend the night on the Queen Mary, I recommend doing so, soon. As an April 2018 article in the L.A. Times explained, “An engineering report has warned that the ship urgently needs $5.7 million in fixes and requires a total of $289 million in repairs over the next five years.”
If the money isn’t raised in the next five years… well, I’m not sure what the alternative is. That’s why I recommend spending the night in the near future, if it’s on your bucket list.
Note: If you’re uneasy with the Ouija board in the room, bring it to the front desk and ask them to store it until after you check out.
If you’ll be investigating the ship’s ghosts and haunted rooms, listen to the following podcast. It’s nearly an hour long. It’s well narrated in a “ghost story” style, and – even better – it includes a superb interview with Commodore Everette Hoard (ship’s historian) of the Queen Mary.
He provides some intriguing insights. They could be especially useful if you’re looking for triggers to prompt ghostly activity or EVP responses.
The Haunted Queen Mary | Ghost Stories, Paranormal, Supernatural, Hauntings, Horror - YouTube
If you’re arriving from LAX, which we were, they don’t have a hotel shuttle between the Queen Mary and the airport. We Uber’ed it for $80. A taxi will cost you about the same…
I was sort of surprised about the security out front. Not that there were guards with machine guns or anything. Just staff to direct you to the appropriate place depending on whether you were checking in or coming just to have dinner or do a night activity.
Our luggage gave us away. It was pretty obvious we were there to check-in so up the elevator to Level 3 or “A” Deck we went to.
There’s really nothing special about check-in. It’s the same as anywhere else basically.
Except if you’ve always wanted to stay aboard the ship. Then you might be giddy and bursting with excitement like I was!
Also, I was enamored with the decor. It wasn’t as grand as I’d expected. Dated really. Yet, I was okay with that. It retained its authentic charm.
The check-in lobby’s centerpiece
The Stairs across from the lobby. But gives you a good sense of the decor/atmosphere.
Time zone clocks above the check-in. Not sure they’re still functioning though.
If you drive yourself, be prepared to pay for parking. ($22 for overnight.)
If you’re not driving there yourself, and you want a cheaper option than Uber, Lyft or taxis, SuperShuttle and Prime Shuttles go to and from the Queen Mary also. It would’ve cost us about $35 total for the both of us to get there. We did book a shuttle back to the airport through the hotel. (We went with SuperShuttle for $30 for the both of us. That’s a $50 savings over Ubering it!)
You can also use public transit to get there. That will also save you a bit of money on transportation cost, but you’ll have to trade time for money. (Meaning it will take you a little longer to get there.) Also, you wouldn’t want to do this if you had a lot of luggage to schlep around. There will be walking involved.
Maybe ask if there non-adjoining rooms carry sound from neighbors a little less. (We’re thinking the door in our room that adjoined to our neighbor’s maybe contributed to being able to hear them so well?)
If you’re going to spend much time or money (or both), learn as much as you can, before your visit.
Ghosts of the Queen Mary by Brian Clune and Bob Davis is a recent-ish (2014) book with very good reviews. However, the Kindle edition is so expensive, I recommend getting the printed book instead. (Besides, I prefer printed books.)
The Haunted Queen Mary by the Wlodarskis is a small (110 pages) book with mixed reviews. I recommend getting an inexpensive, used copy at Amazon for one important reason: It was publishing in 2000, before ghost hunting became so trendy. So, though the stories may not be as colorful as those in more recent books, they could be more reliable.
And, as a reminder, here’s the link to Haunt Jaunts’ recent article about spending the night aboard the Queen Mary….
We’re redesigning some of my websites, hoping to adjust the focus to meet your interests. I created this survey to learn what interests you the most about ghosts and haunted places. Readers voted during mid-July 2018.