Tuesday, May 24, 2016

You're Busted, Ghosts!

If you aren't familiar with the paranormal activity in my house and would like to catch up before reading the full report, you can do so here, here, here, and here.

Well, folks! The results are in! We officially have a ghost! I'm not crazy!*

After the photo incident , I visited the TAPS website and found a nearby chapter called SPIRT of PA and submitted a form through their site. A lovely and kind woman named Rebecca got back to me swiftly via email and we set up a time for her to call me for a phone interview.

...Well, technically, we set up two phone interviews. The first interview didn't happen because my phone mysteriously stopped working when the time came for us to talk. Eventually, talk we did, and we set up a Saturday night for the team to come investigate my house. Just for the record, SPIRT of PA does not charge for their services, they do it solely for their love of and fascination with the paranormal.

When the night arrived, Husband took The Kid out while I stayed home and let them in. A homeowner had to be here for insurance purposes, in case something got broken.** They do require complete silence and darkness, however, so I shut myself along with my dog in my room as they went about their business. The whole process took a few hours, and I came out when they took breaks to chat. What great folks, by the way! There were four team members, all of whom exuded wonderful, positive energy. 

Tonight, Rebecca came back to our house (Along with her adorable baby! Hooray!) to deliver the team's full report, including photos and audio.*** They did a very thorough job and I am so grateful to have had this fun and interesting experience. I can't recommend this team highly enough. 

Here is the full report, edited only for privacy:


Case #:   160429
Client Name Teri Brown
Date of Investigation _Apr 29, 2016____Lead___RMB_______________

Address of Location:   PA

Arrival Time: 7:45 pm
Departure Time: 10:30 pm

Investigation Findings

Investigators Present: Rebecca B (Lead), Mark M, Gina M, John K

Equipment Used: Olympus WS-321M Digital Voice recorder, REM Pod, Cybersnap DC-1231 Full Spectrum Camera,  MEL-8704R-REM Meter, Zoom H1 Recorder, Fiji Point and Shoot digital camera, MEL-8200VIBE

Baseline EMF – 0.00Mg
Baseline Temp – 77*F

Known Contamination – Home has a radon system. There was a lot of EMF given off by the cold water pipes – shown to client during investigation.

Investigation Locations:

Guest Bedroom
  • Investigator felt a cold “breeze” while sitting in the computer chair which seemed to relate to heavy pressure being felt.  A second investigation team had the same chill while in the same location.  We could not find a draft or any other source of cold air.
  • Investigator felt a heavy pressure on his head while doing EVP session
  • Investigators heard a loud “Bang” coming from Son’s Bedroom while asking EVP questions.
Son’s Bedroom
  • Investigator felt the room “rocking” as if dizzy or on a boat.
  • Picture frame on the sill appears to have been moved (lifted and placed face down) while investigators were in Guest Room
  • Investigator felt chills and then nausea
  • Investigators heard footsteps coming up the stairs – they verified that no one was moving around the house at the time.
  • Investigators asked for the temperature to be lowered to 73* in the guest room – but the MEL recording temp in the Son’s room went off.
  • Investigators smelled smoke but no source was found
  • Investigators heard knocking in the corner behind the shelf (next to cabinet)
  • Investigators heard walking in the kitchen and down the basement steps
  • Investigators heard movement in the kitchen near the stove area and a loud “BANG” when they approached the stove to investigate.
  • While in the kitchen, investigators heard movement on the stairs leading to the basement
TV Room
  • Investigator did two EVP sessions while sitting in this area but did not get any responses
  • Investigators tried to recreate the photo that Teri took with the image in the background
Living Room
  • Investigator felt like her body was “vibrating”
  • Investigators heard movement in the basement like a “shuffling”

Psychic Impressions:

Investigators got impressions all over the house.  They picked up several names including “Mark” (which might refer to the Mark who was in-house investigating), “William”, “Lindsey” and “Ernie”
Investigator also got the impression of manic female or a crazy female that stayed in the house as the husband went off to work and that the time period might be 60’ or 70’s.
Investigators got the impression of a house fire.
Investigator felt like the spirits were playing a game of cat/mouse with the team and were trying to mislead them.

Historical Background:

Home was built in 1950s as a single family home.

The property was never abandoned or sold at auction. Nor were there any major fires, construction or death noted.

Evidence Findings:

Audio: We have 3 EVPs to submit [TERI'S NOTE: Listen with headphones and sound all the way up]
  1. “H****** - Mark - LR” – class B – 00:00:08
    Recorded in the Living Room during EVP session.  Note: there was an investigator “Mark” on site but this was not his voice nor was he in the room.
Recorded in the Living Room during EVP session – no preceding question.  Imbedded whisper saying “Man” or “Pain”
  1. “H****** - Tess – SR” – class C – 00:00:08
    Recorded in Son’s bedroom during EVP session.  Investigator claimed the room was moving like a ship/rocking while this was recorded.  Imbedded whisper saying “Tess”? Appears to be the same voice as EVP 2
  2. We did throw out 5 “inconclusive” EVPs
Photographs: We have 3 unusual photographs to submit showing the movement of the photo frame:

Video: We have no unusual video to submit


It is the impression of the SPIRT of PA team that there is activity in this home.  It is our impression that the entity/entities were aware of our presence and did not want to cooperate with the investigation.  They seemed to be engaged in a game of cat/mouse during the night and giving misleading information both in the noises they were making or the psychic impressions they were giving.  We don’t believe that these entities are harmful in any way but more mischievous and resistant to interference.  They seemed determined to throw us incorrect clues all night.

We believe that unless anyone in the home feels threatened by the entity, the best course is to ask them to leave you alone when they make their presence known.  Increased interaction will increase their presence.


Pretty cool, right? 

And now, my impressions of the team's findings:

1. That picture thing is nuts. I was sitting in my room (obviously) when it happened, and I heard a loud BANG come from my son's room. I just assumed that the team was in there at the time, but it turns out that they were in the guest room and rushed over to try and find the origin of the sound. I didn't know at the time whether or not that photo had been upright beforehand or not, but the night vision photo taken earlier that night clearly shows that it was. If it had just fallen over, that would be creepy enough, but there is absolutely no way for that photo frame to have fallen that way on that small ledge without ending up on the floor. Someone would have had to pick it up and then put it back down, face down. I mean. Yeah. Creepy.  It's a photo of Husband and I from 2003-ish. My son said that he's always putting it back up and just assumed we were putting it face down for some reason. We set it up tonight, as an experiment. 


3.  There could be more than one?? What???

4.  I'm glad they couldn't recreate my ghost photo. Half of me was worried that I was a fraud, even though I'd tried (and failed) to recreate it myself.

5.  I'm so excited they got audio!!  It's so cool, if difficult to hear. The "Mark" recording is the clearest, and it took me several listens to hear the whisper on the "Man" recording, but I still haven't made out "Tess", sadly. I hope you guys can hear it. You really have to use headphones.

6.  My Kid didn't seem creeped out, and that makes me happy. :)

All-in-all, it's nice to have my suspicions validated, even though it seemed pretty obvious that we had at least one ghost residing with us. I wish we could have found out more about who this person/people was/were, but I guess some things will just truly remain a mystery. Like the loud bang that just came from my empty kitchen.

If you're a paranormal investigator or psychic reading this blog post and would like to visit our home and help us find out more information about these dead people, please email me at yearthirtyone [at] gmail dot com. We will not pay you, but I can make cookies or something?

*Well, at least not because of this. I could still be crazy...but REALLY, who isn't a little bit crazy?

**Not that we own anything valuable - YOU HEAR THAT, THIEVES??
***When Rebecca arrived and tried to log on to our internet to show me her findings, our wifi password wouldn't connect her laptop to our internet. We tried repeatedly, I know I had the right password, but we ended up having to use my laptop instead. NICE TRY, GHOST.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Return of Phyllis - WITH PHOTOS

So, last night Husband and I came home early from a date. He took The Kid up to bed and left me alone. I was bored and still gussied up so I decided to take some selfies, as one does. I took a bunch that I did absolutely nothing with (as one does), then one for Snapchat, then Husband came downstairs and we started watching a movie so I kind of forgot about them.

This morning, I remembered the photos and thought I'd crop one into a new avi. When I opened it in Snapseed, I noticed something very unsettling.


I thought that Phyllis had moved on, but I'm guessing this is her. Or, perhaps it was never Phyllis at all but someone else entirely, which would explain the outfit, which looks to me like some kind of colonial garb.

I should note that we haven't had a ton of paranormal activity lately. The Kid did say that he's seen phantom people walking into rooms where nobody's been (we haven't told him about the other activity), but that was a while back. It seemed the ghost wasn't a fan of our landlord, and things would happen when he was here. Once, a glass I was microwaving with liquid in it flew out of the microwave in his direction; another time, right after he left, the globe from over the light in our bathroom crashed down to the floor and broke - nobody was in the room. Since we've bought the home, however, things have been relatively quiet...aside from electronics and appliances constantly burning out or going haywire.

The lights reflected are the lamp (top) and my phone screen (bottom). The other stuff...I have no idea. The only light sources in the room were the lamp in front of me and the television, which is against the wall opposite the wall the couch is against.

I messed with the levels in Photoshop to try and get a clearer picture:


I have other photos that were taken in succession with this one and the form seems to morph. These two were taken in succession but before the above photo, all at 10:00 PM:

These were taken after the top photo,

at 10:02 PM:

...and at 10:04 PM:

And one taken at 10:14 PM, via Snapchat (so I had to reverse the picture and the image quality is much lower):

For reference, here's what the window looks like from this angle during the day:

Here's what's outside the window:

And here's the view from the window, showing what the window would reflect:

So, I guess I'll contact TAPS after all. Although she seems to be living mostly in harmony with us, I'd be interested to know more about her and maybe help her to cross over to somewhere better, if at all possible. Until then, no more pictures alone at night. *shivers*

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stop Hating Love Day.

It's Valentine's Day, which means that the world's population is split down the middle between people celebrating love and people complaining about people celebrating love.  Hooray!

I've never understood the hatred for Valentine's Day.  I love it, unapologetically.  It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling every year.

The majority of complaints I hear are about the commercialization of the holiday, and how people feel resentful that they're forced to buy a gift for someone.  If you're with someone who makes you feel bad for not buying them something on Valentine's Day, then maybe you're just with the wrong person?

I haven't bought a "commercialized" Valentine's Day gift since I was a little kid and I had terrible taste in chocolate.  At my house, we make cupcakes and decorate them.  We make our Valentine's Day cards, too, along with love letters enclosed.  Sometimes we do go out to nice dinners, but not always ON Valentine's Day, especially when it's a week night.  That's not much different than any other date night for us, though, as we enjoy nice dinners every day of the year.

What's wrong with one day being dedicated to love?  Why do people get so angry about it?  These same people don't get angry when they have to celebrate their moms on Mother's Day or their kids on their birthdays.  Unless you're a Jehovah's Witness and you eschew all holidays, I don't get the hatred towards this one.

You don't have to be in love to celebrate love, either.  If you don't have a romantic partner, you probably have a parent, friend, kid, or pet that you love.  Use this day to celebrate that love.  If  you don't have a living person or thing to love, you probably love an activity - spend the day doing someTHING that you love.

My point is, hating Valentine's Day is ridiculous.  There's enough hate and negativity in this world.  Give it a break for one day.  Spread love.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The YouTube Gap

Getting older is confusing.

Sure, there are some delightful aspects of the aging process, such as fading pride and insecurity, but finding myself out of touch with young'uns is unsettling.  Having a child of my own only magnifies the generation gap and I find myself more and more often mumbling the dreaded "kids these days", made popular by aging curmudgeons the world over.  

Things I've taken for granted as staples in my life are becoming obsolete.  For example, I recently realized that my generation is likely the last to be regular scripted television viewers, as most young people seem to prefer YouTube to the boob tube*.  

After Christmas, my 7-year-old son had a friend over for a play date and they spent a chunk of their time together watching YouTube videos on the friend's new iPod.  I listened in horror at their peals of laughter derived from watching a woman with the most annoying voice I've ever heard saying things that weren't funny.  When my niece visited last summer, she spent an inordinate amount of time trying to show me "hilarious" YouTube videos of outlandish gay men twerking**.  My own kid even prefers watching faceless people play video games to watching a scripted show on the Disney Channel.  

gratuitous photo of my kid since I had no other use for this picture of him looking confused

So, it's not only how they're watching that's changed - it's what they're watching.  And what they're watching is weird.  Maybe this is what it felt like for adults in the 50's when their kids eschewed the richly told stories of radio for flashy, gimmicky television programs.

Even worse than my confusion over this bizarre entertainment preference, is my jealousy of the top YouTube earners.  This article posted on states that the most popular YouTube account right now, based on earnings, is some lady opening toys and playing with them.  That's it.  That's all she does.  You never see her face, yet she earned an estimated $4.86 MILLION DOLLARS last year because people can apparently not get enough of looking at her hands unwrapping and playing with toys.  


Oh, wait.  I know why.  It's because I'm a rational human being who would never have considered the notion that millions of people would want to watch me open packages.  

I once made the mistake of clicking on a video of someone extracting a cyst.  More unsettling than the content (and YUCK, by the way) was the fact that this particular video had over five million views and ads embedded within. You can now literally make a living by popping zits on YouTube.  Let that thought marinate for a moment.

Three years ago today (what a weird coincidence!) I published a video of myself showing off my double jointed shoulders:  

That video has over 40,000 views to date and has garnered me 60 channel subscribers and weekly (often inappropriate) comments. I have ads on it, but I have yet to hit the pay threshold so I haven't seen a dime. I suppose I could make more videos to better capitalize on my flexibility, but it just feels wrong to further contribute to the pointless, time wasting abyss that is the bizarre side of YouTube. 

...Then again, I could use money.  Off to buy some junk to unwrap with my double jointed fingers.

* Yes, I used the term "boob tube".  It means television, you perverted whippersnappers.
**not at all hilarious.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rest in Peace, Grammy.

A week ago today, I was at my Grandma's funeral.  We called her Grammy because she insisted on it and it always embarrassed me a little bit when I was a kid.  Everybody else had a Grandma or a Granny, perhaps, but nobody else had a Grammy.  Then again, she wasn't really like other grandmothers.

Grammy's husband (and my Grandpa) died when I was three years old.  She lived by herself up until about nine years ago when she moved to a nursing home due to her declining health and creeping dementia.  She hated leaving her house, a home that she and her husband had built from the ground up when my mom was a child, but my mom was able to go and visit her nearly every single day, which I'm sure they both found comforting.

When Grammy died, I told mom that I would like to sing "Over the Rainbow" along with my sisters at the funeral.  As the day approached, however, we all decided that we didn't have enough time to prepare and so we played the Judy Garland version at the service.  I still wanted to contribute, however, so I asked permission to speak.

Here's what I wrote, what I read on that day:

As her three granddaughters, Jackie, Tricia, and I have a lot of special memories of Grammy.  After she passed, we spent hours sorting through boxes and albums of photos to display here today which gave us the opportunity reminisce and I thought it would be nice to share some of those memories here today.

For us, a day at Grammy’s house as a child would usually start with a lunch of carrot sticks, chow mein, strawberries from the patch in the yard, grapes off the vine, and a dessert of angel food cake and ice milk (NEVER ice cream).  In the winter, she always gave us hot chocolate with marshmallows and we would argue over who got the Swiss Miss mug.

As a child of the Great Depression, Grammy never threw anything away.  This worked in our favor, as we all enjoyed playing dress up after sifting through the clothes in the many full plastic bags scattered around the house.  We took the clothes home too, which I always considered cool since they were “vintage”.  As a result, I had more polyester in my wardrobe than any kid raised in the 90s had a right to have.

Even though she didn’t have cable or video games, we always found ways to have fun at Grammy’s house.  We’d play office, look through old photo albums, unfold the chairs and jump on the cushions, play outside with Alex the dog and Smokey the cat, nap in the hammock, or play the piano.  Grammy was an excellent piano player and we’ll never hear “Frosty the Snowman”, “Meet Me In St. Louis”, or “Ain’t She Sweet” without thinking of her.

Grammy loved flowers.  She taught us to garden and helped Tricia grow Cotton Candies.  When we went to Disneyland in 1991, she made us stop in front of every beautiful flower so she could take a picture.  Do you know how many pretty flowers are in Disneyland?  It’s a lot.  These arrangements here today are the perfect tribute.  She would have loved them.

Here are some other things that Jackie, Tricia, and I remember fondly about Grammy, in no particular order:

She loved giving and receiving bear hugs
She had a yellow car, which we spent all day watching her buy.
She loved places that offered a senior discount, like Days Inn and Hardee’s
She loved Wheel of Fortune and would play along, writing the puzzles in a notebook every night
She sewed little pouches into her bras and hid money in them when we traveled, which always made it a bit awkward when she insisted on paying for dinner.
She put campho phenique or aloe vera from the plant on whatever ailed us.
She didn’t use toothpaste, but brushed with baking soda.
She kept her house dark and wore special glasses to watch TV
She kept every letter she ever got.
She loved to cut out photos from magazines that she thought looked like us.  They usually didn't look like us.
She hated going to the doctor because she thought they made her sick.
She smelled like wood smoke from her fireplace.  From now on, whenever I smell wood smoke, I’ll know that it’s Grammy, saying hello. 

On Thursday, the day before she died, Mom and I were in her room, watching her sleep.  She hadn’t been responsive since Monday, but had been moving her arms and tossing her head back and forth a bit.  Grammy never liked bright lights, but there happened to be one directly above her bed that was on so that the nurses could see when they came to turn or check on her.  I said to Mom, “You know, I think that light might be bothering her,” and suggested we turn it off.  As soon as I pulled that chain, Grammy opened her eyes, looked right at us, and stretched her arms over her head.  She didn’t stay responsive for long, but we thought that, in case she could hear us, it might be nice to play her some music.  I took out my phone and looked up some of her favorite songs on YouTube and put it up to her hear.  She moved her arms like she was dancing.  I think she heard us.

She was a good grandma and we’ll miss her, but she was ready.  For years, she would say that she didn’t know why she was still here because she’d done all she’d wanted to do.  It’s comforting to know that she’s now at peace.  

We loved you, Grammy.   Thank you for all the wonderful memories.

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