During the last week before Halloween, while re-posting my three articles about true ghost stories I've learned about, I asked readers to tell me of any supernatural encounters they may have had. I was delighted when three people responded, and thrilled that one of them was a “paranormal investigator”-- a young woman named Lori Hines who has written novels based on her experiences tracking down ghosts and spirits in Arizona, especially in a Gold Rush ghost town named Vulture City.
I immediately dashed off some questions for Lori, which she kindly answered, but I still have so many more!
When Lori offered to write a “guest editor” post for A Rolling Crone about her experiences, I quickly accepted. So here is the contribution of Lori Hines, Paranormal Investigator. At the end you’ll learn more about her and how to contact her. The other ghost stories I received, along with one of my own, will show up in a future post.
Is there life after death?
This is one of those questions that will most likely never get a definitive, truly scientific answer. Did that ball really move on its own? Is it a trick or due to the angle of the flooring? Is that deep voice on the recorder really a ghost? Or does someone want you to think it is? And what about that ethereal entity in the photo?
Paranormal investigators are professionals seeking to discover such proof. Yet today's technology makes it rather easy to fake evidence as well as find it.
Why do people want to believe in ghosts? Many of us, including myself, have experienced bumps in the night, disembodied voices, light anomalies, shadows, and physical contact with spirits of the past. We know it's real. Yet for others who haven't had encounters, such experiences are merely stories seen on television reality shows featuring ghost stories or horror movies.
What is the difference between a ghost and a spirit? Many use these two terms interchangeably. But there is a very distinct difference. A ghost is the soul of a person who has died but has not moved on "into the light." This may be because they are attached to a particular location or person, have unfinished business, or may be simply too scared to move on. Psychic mediums and shamans can sometimes help to cross such souls over.
Spirits, such as spirit guides, are capable of moving back and forth between the physical and spiritual worlds at will. Spirits can be angels or demons. There are characters in my novels who were inspired by some of my spirit guides: Joe Luna, the Native American shaman, as well as Brandon and Ian, who are two of the paranormal investigators. [JPG says: I asked Lori if spirit guides were once living beings and she replied: "Yes, many of my guardian angels were once living -- I have Native American shamans, a member of the Third Reich who is atoning for many of his sins and an Egyptian Pharaoh."]
Colorful redrock formations in Sedona, Arizona
Assay office at old Vulture City, near Wickenburg, Arizona
As a paranormal investigator myself, I have been touched and inspired by the past. In Sedona, Arizona, renowned for its spectacular red rock formations and mystical vortexes, I had a hand place itself gently across my left shoulder. I have come across localized cold spots. And heard a 'Class A' electronic voice phenomena (EVP) of a little boy giggling as I sat on an old swing-set next to a dilapidated one-room schoolhouse in old Vulture City, near Wickenburg, Arizona. (EVPs generally fall into three main categories: class A, class B, and class C. Class A being the clearest. EVPs are not heard during the investigation, but are discovered during playback).
Vulture City is a major setting in my first two paranormal mystery novels, "The Ancient Ones" and "Caves of the Watchers", because of its rich history and history of activity. Once open to the public, it is now owned by a private company, Vulture Peak Gold, which leads two-hour private tours through this once thriving mining town, which sparked the development of Phoenix and Arizona. Vulture City, or Vulture Mine ghost town, grew up around the mine discovered by Henry Wickenburg in 1863. [JPG says: I learned from looking him up on Google that Henry Wickenburg "died a pauper despite the fact that his mine produced millions in gold. He ended his own life with a colt revolver."] This picturesque desert city reached a population of almost 5,000 before President Roosevelt closed it in 1942 (WWII), designating gold mining as nonessential to the war effort. The ban was lifted four years later, but unfortunately, no one ever returned.
Much of the activity stems from men, women and children who died or were killed there. This includes smells emanating from the dining hall, light anomalies, shadows, reports of investigators being thrown around inside the assay office, a man seen outside the bunkhouse and even a floating head and torso at the ball mill. Once a training spot for investigation teams, this western ghost town has a hanging tree, powerhouse, blacksmith shop, ball mill, headframe, dining hall and bunkhouse.
Hanging tree outside assay office where 18 men were hanged for stealing gold
Paranormal investigators are on a never-ending quest to communicate with the other side. It is the Holy Grail and the reason we spend hours on end helping homeowners, reviewing video footage and listening to audio. When I tell people what I do in my spare time and what I write about, I hear fascinating ghost stories from friends who have lived in haunted homes or been visited by deceased loved ones. Some of these stories make me laugh. Some make me curious. And others make me cry.
Many believe that ghosts should be banished to 'the other side'; that it is a bad thing for earth-bound entities to be roaming what was once their home. However, if these ghosts are around to comfort the living or can co-exist and enrich people's lives, then they should be allowed to remain.
Is there life after death? I personally believe there is, for I have experienced things I can't explain. And I know I will continue to because I am open to the possibilities.
About Lori Hines
Lori’s publishing credits include the paranormal mystery novels “The Ancient Ones,” and “Caves of the Watchers,” published by Aberdeen Bay. A few of her short story credits include “The Yellow Rose,” published in the 2011 Sisters in Crime, Central Coast Mystery Writers Anthology, “Somewhere in Crime,” and “The Princess Guardian,” published in the 2011 Sisters in Crime, Desert Sleuths Anthology, “So West So Wild.” She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Desert Sleuths Chapter, the Arizona Archaeological Society, Aqua Fria Chapter, and the Arizona Authors Association. Her mysteries are inspired by experiences as a paranormal investigator. She is working on her third novel in The Ancient Ones series, titled Anasazi Whispers. Readers can visit her online at http://lhauthor.wordpress.com/.