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Scouting missions for remainder of 2009.

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Articles GRI will be in a quiet mode for next several months as we start revving up for 2010 and future site research. Team meetings are now on hold until 2010 and the majority of our investigations will be done by a three-person core team for the remaining 2009 time frame.

The economy (and subsequent effect on all of us) coupled with refocusing our goals have seen us streamline the organization and return to our founding principles of field work, analysis and lots of it.

As such, we're going to be doing two strike missions per month to hunt new sites and haunts for the remainder of 2009 and also to engage in one "large" case per month with our occasional investigators and guests. This will remain the case for the remainder of the year to finish out the 2009 plan. As a result of this change, we'll roar into 2010 with a boat-load of new sites that have never been hunted before!

Strike
missions are either very short half-day exercises all the way to full day travel to examine and research a site. They are an excellent opportunity for our occasional investigators and new investigators or those testing themselves for a first-time access to a paranormally active location.

The strike missions will involve two to three investigators traveling to a new site to evaluate it and to do test EVP and other measurements. It is truly an "investigation", but does not possess all the extra work of a more "public" investigation.

Strike missions are characterized by the following qualities:
  1. Fast  - We're in and out in one day or less. Some may go over a day due to travel or multiple site investigations to take advantage of proximity.
  2. We go when we go. These are purely opt-in missions for those interested in going. 
  3. Evidence will be limited to short collection bursts and analyzed within one day to judge a site.
  4. Often, we may hit several sites on same mission set to maximize our footprint and reach.
This is your chance to get in on the action since we have made a few policy changes...

We're going to do these missions no matter what people's schedules are. If you can make it at the designated time, then you are on the mission. First-come, first-serve. If you can't make it, then look for another mission to hook up with us on and sign in for it. Once we commit to the time to leave, that is when we leave.

We're varying distance and sites to allow the team to have access to these missions dependent on their life circumstances and to also open the doors to new investigators who want to try their hand in the field. This is only fair and provides equal chances for people who may not be able to travel far to join in.

Evidence analysis will be done on or just after the mission. We will file reports on-site with our local software and check EVPs and photo evidence at the same time. As soon as the report and analysis are done, they will be uploaded to the GRI database and stored for later planning purposes. This is a "must-do" for being on the strike-team when doing these missions.

If you are not yet a member of GRI and want to test your mettle with us on a scouting mission, please contact us (use the Contact link on left menu) to join one of our scouting missions.

We are being a bit cagey about our new site hunting list, so we've given the sites a set of names that mirror our military bent... It adds a little fun to the process and we've got something special in mind to make this truly mean something for our members. You'll see when you finish the investigation - trust me, you'll like it!

Scouting Mission list and mission code names
  • August - "Ruby"
    • Ruby 1 - August 1 -  Northern California (done).
    • Ruby 2 - August 29 - Old City Cemetery (done).
  • September - "Shangrala"
    • Shangrala 1 - Sept 12 -  Folsom area - book research trip.
    • Shangrala 2 - Sept 19 - Northern California - Pigeon Point Lighthouse book research trip.
  • October - "Elvira"
    • Elvira 1 - Oct 3 -  Nevada
    • Elvira 2 - Oct 17 - Nevada
  • November - "Dirty Dozen"
    • Dirty Dozen 1 - Nov 7 - Central California.
    • Dirty Dozen 2 - Nov 21 - To be decided.
  • December - "Cold Front"
    • Cold Front 1 - Dec 5 - To be decided.
    • Cold Front 2 - Dec 12 -  To be decided.
    2010
    • January - "Frosty" - Extreme Northern California.
    • February - "Shadow" - Northeastern California
    • March - "Green Ghost" - Coastal California
    • April - "Spirit Light" - tbd.
    • May - "Sunshine" - tbd.
    • June - "Dream" - tbd.
    • July - "Apple Pie" - tbd.
    • August - "Laser" - tbd.
    • September - "Jupiter" - tbd.
    • October - "Dark Light" - tbd.
    • November - "Cool Change" - tbd.
    • December - "Ghost of Christmas Past" - tbd.

Grandma Bater's Ghost

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Articles I was asked to write about the ghostly stories of my family by a woman I'm good friends with and ended up posting this story on my site and thought that you might enjoy hearing a yarn from an age past - Thus I share with you the story of Grandma Bater's Ghost:

Many years ago, in the early 20'th century, a woman by the name of Grandma Bater was a fixture of the community in the little town of Sterling City in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

Grandma Bater was known throughout the area and she was somehow associated with the principle industry of logging that was the main business of the town. Grandma Bater spent many an afternoon rocking on the porch, probably knitting or crocheting while watching life pass through the streets of Stirling City. Hers was a typical life and she was quite a lovely person from the way it has been told to me.

Going on the recollections of family, my mother told me of her encounters with the ghost of Grandma Bater. She died sometime in the 40's and her home passed through a number of hands over the years. My mother had the occasion to visit the house as many of our family hunted and fished in the area and spent time in Sterling City.

Not long after Grandma Bater died, the next inhabitants of the house, whom I presume were immediate family, began to notice that at 4:00pm every day, the rocker that Grandma would sit in would take to rocking by itself. No one ever thought to remove the rocker. It just seemed that it was a beautiful and sensitive matter whose origins and reasons for being went without saying.

Faces on Queen Mary

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Articles Not knowing what to make of it, we are posting this odd photograph from the Queen Mary of a doorway photo taken on March 7'th, 2009.

The photo original is shown later in this article. It is at the original size with zero edits.

We would love to hear what you have to say about it!

Heading to U.S.S. Hornet on 7/11

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Articles
 We're headed back to haunted U.S.S. Hornet on July 11'th, 2009!

We're looking for other folks to accompany us! Having investigated there once before, we are excited to return to this incredible ship.

It would be great for GRI to visit the ship in force and/or guests of GRI to visit as a group! If you are interested, then see below! If interested, we'd like to carpool. Jon can take one in the GRI Mustang and then one more vehicle for another couple of folks.

Let us know if interested in banding together for the drive down!



Journey Paranormal Society™

will be returning to


The USS Hornet

for an overnight investigation on

Saturday, July 11, 2009

with special guest

John Michael Capaldi

Whats included:
  • Pizza Party Dinner
  • Special Private Investigation exclusively for JPS™
  • Sleeping accommodations in Sick Bay
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, light snacks included

Activities include:
  • Investigating with psychic John Michael Capaldi
  • Learn How to Set Up a DVR System
  • Experiment with an Ovilus and a Shack Hack
  • Try out a Thermal Imaging Camera

"Attended the U.S.S. Hornet investigation on Oct 31, 2008
and really enjoyed meeting this great team!" 
-  Jon, Ghost-Rider-Investigations


All for $189.00 per person

Limited to 35

GRI Teardrop Trailer Project

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Articles It doesn't look like much now, but in about two months, the GRI Teardrop Trailer will be a huge addition to our group's capabilities!

I got interested in these unique trailers when I saw one while returning from Oregon back in 2007 and decided that one day I would have to build one.

June Update
: The wheels are on and we're going to start the woodworking up next weekend! I'm doing the last bits of metal work and getting the frame finalized, but it's coming along. A photograph will be posted shortly to document our progress!

Continuing on...

Since then, GRI has come into existence and it just makes sense to combine the trailer as both a recreational vehicle and also to use it for mobile investigation work at remote locations.

The photo at right is a preview of the form the trailer will take. It will be a "Benroy" style, which affords maximum use of the overall trailer length and will give us extra room for stowing gear. The trailer will have enhanced power capabilities to support a built-in flat screen monitor and will have a side panel for connection of video/audio/power to all control and monitoring of an investigation right from the trailer. A rear hatch will allow for basic food and drink to be prepared  and we'll be able to put two people up in the unit for overnighters should this be needed..

Broadcasting using Skype over BlogTalkRadio - The GRI solution

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Articles

Broadcasting on BlogtalkRadio is a blessing, until you want to start doing professional-level things like mixing content and adding other inputs to the broadcast, as well as to improve the voice component to get rid of that "telephone voice" from your broadcast. As such, we've been putting considerable effort into building a truly effective broadcast method by coupling a dedicated Skype desktop phone to a mixer-board and to begin broadcasting using this method.

Our research was helped considerably by looking at the following video link. Because of this, we opted to use Skype for the transmission medium for our show, but with a twist... We decided to use the Belkin Skype phone to handle the audio input and output to the mixer-board via a coupler device and to avoid the problems of using a dedicated computer with the attendant difficulties this presents. See:

http://www.digitalpodcast.com/podcastnews/...st-using-skype/

This link is a very informative link about how to optimize your system using Skype and a USB phone connected and how to tune your network for the best connection. It's not for the faint of heart and it discusses a whole range of options you may want to examine to improve quality. It is really a great resource and hopefully more people will pass the link around.

I studied the problem of broadcasting using Skype and decided to go with a Belkin Desktop Skype phone and integrate an Excalibur HC-1 handset coupler to tie into my mixer board. It made the most sense and my first test broadcast of my own paranormal radio show with just the Skype phone worked nicely, though the PIN number was a challenge for reasons as yet unknown. I'm backing up the Skype phone with a land-line to be safe. (changed as of March 2009!)

The advantage is that the desktop Skype phone suffers none of the maladies of the PC variety, namely it's dedicated and no other process tries to compete for it's bandwidth or memory resources. Next, the audio tie-in is just so much easier and I can bypass having a phone stuck to my ear and focus on traditional studio layouts to do my show. Yep, it costs a little extra, but for $79 on Amazon, I didn't get a bad deal. Latest price is around $100 on the Belkin site.

http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=HC-1 for the handset coupler. Our first tests are now underway with this device and it's proving to be a trick to integrate since the default cable couplings need to be customized due to hum in the audio. I found that the tips of the connectors need to be rewired to handle a slightly different arrangement, based on advice in the handi-coupler instructions. A trip to Radio-shack this weekend garnered the parts needed to build the necessary custom cable and it should be up and running this weekend. (As of March 2009, this is still a tough little problem for us - the connectors are jury rigged and we're still trying things out - plan to use the patch only for conventional phone dial-ins straight to the studio).

Update as of April 11'th 2009

The studio continues to evolve. We made a few operational changes.  Primary in the change list is that the broadcast computer is now broadcasting the show via Skype  using our wireless connection to our access point. The support computers are either wireless and we have one dedicated CAT-5 line that handles a secondary computer that is hooked into our audio mixer. We dial in using the old method with the land line to start the show and  then just place it on mute. If we lose the network for whatever reason, we can be back on in a few seconds with the telephone running things to continue the show.

We are also adding a  directed antenna to improve gain for the wireless card so we get better bandwidth for the broadcast computer. We have a Cantenna and will also be building a mast-mounted antenna to get the most db for our $$$.

We are going to examine using the Skype dedicated phone to dial in over the dedicated CAT-5 line next and to keep our long-distance costs down by doing things that way. The big issue is to see how the overhead of two Skype connections impacts the show. A test show will be done to evaluate this and we think it should become the new and final method.

Updated as of March 17'th, 2009

We tried a broadcast with the first setup with the phone patch system and noted that the show would fade in and out as some sort of mysterious audio issue plagued our "Ad-Hoc" show.

So, I went back to the drawing board and decided to do the following:
  1. The Skype Desktop phone is now used to call into the show and then is put on hold. It is the emergency backup in case we lose the other phone line that calls in (the broadcast computer).
  2. A PC with Skype loaded is used to dial into the show through another SkypeOut line and thus we always have two callers minimum on the show. This computer has the input via the USB connection to our conventional sound board and inputs from the sound card and other external inputs to drive the show audio and special effects.
Our first test, using a simple desktop microphone, went quite well and left us convinced that our action to take the show into the next step will be successful. So we're going to rig the sound board to tie in, temporarily, into the line-in with audio inputs to run the studio microphone and a seperate computer with sound effects and EVPs in so we can gain total control of our audio setup.

The Singapore Theory

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Articles In paranormal investigations, it has been noted that sometimes music or speaking the right words will elicit a reaction from a ghost on occasion. This happens often enough to be used as a strategic tool by savvy investigators who plan ahead when entering into the field to hunt spiritual entities.

This theory, often called the "Singapore Theory", "Theory of Familiarization" or "Paranormal Stimuli"  is used in investigation work to create a reaction by the spirits of a particular era by doing something that evokes action on their part. This is usually because of sentimental or emotional reactions to the stimulus.

One thing I tried recently was to use very good Whiskey to give to some spirits that my EVPs were picking up regularly in a couple of areas close to my home and it turned out to be a huge hit with them, so gifts may fall into that definition of a reaction.

Similarly, my visitation of graveyards and wishing the locals a Merry Christmas and bringing gifts to them to thank them for a wonderful year of EVPs seems to have been the ticket to hearing some very gratifying responses. Despite my being an investigator, I also was very touched at some of the kind responses and the Singapore Method can clearly benefit the living in more ways than simple collection of evidence. It does come down to being sensitive to the emotions of our unseen friends while seeking evidence of the paranormal at the same time. A balancing act indeed, but it can be done.

The technique can be used with music, visual stimuli or perhaps even reading passages of a book or poetry that the spirit might be familiar with. The use of meaningful names of personalities can also do this.

Being armed with a foreknowledge of the area being investigated is helpful and carrying a small MP3 player with music from many eras is not a bad idea (as well as portable speakers to broadcast the sound) as a part of the paranormal investigator toolkit.

The desire is to elicit a reaction, visually, instrumentally (EMF) or with EVP results being the payoff. Either that or a potential manifestation. Clearly, the investigator needs to be ready for anything when using the Singapore Theory in their investigations.