Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Scene Safety & Paranormal Code of Ethics

Standards, ethics and safety are all consistent topics that are almost always being tested by the paranormal community. Recently, all of these issues came up in a topic shared with me, by a friend. According to USA Today, on Sunday a group of ghost hunters discovered the body of a 69 year old woman who had been missing while investigating the old Kuhn Memorial State Hospital in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Many paranormal enthusiasts shared the topic among social media. 

Reading the articles and videos being posted, I came across the name of David Childers of Mississippi Paranormal Research Institute (MPRI) whom news outlets interviewed to explain the condition of the abandoned Kuhn Hospital. David had been on scene, and explained the gory scene he encountered (He was not with the group of ghost hunters who discovered the body and according to him has no affiliation). He also explained the rather well known, poor condition of the hospital itself. "In my opinion they should tear it down. It's condemned and is open for things like this to happen. It's an unsafe environment, there are open elevator shafts, black mold, asbestos, and debris, and people ought to stay away from that place."

Quite a visual for anyone who's never been in the hospital. I was actually kind of glad a paranormal enthusiast was taking the time to address the unsafe conditions of the structure. He also took to Facebook to express that he would have no dealings with anyone associated with the hospital, had they failed to heed warning of the unsafe conditions of the building and continued to investigate.

Originally known as Delta Paranormal Project, MPRI's other members and friends took to the comments section to express either support for David's stance on the issue, while others took opportunity to publicly disagree with his decision to sever ties with the hospital. The issue arose from one MPRI member, Karen Fisk Camp. She says "Now it's (the murder at Kuhn) in the spot light though. Now is when TV will be looking at us to do something." This raised a lot of eyebrows among those participating in the conversation.

People began expressing that this was not the time to be worrying about catching the attention of TV producers when a woman was just brutally murdered. Childers has not commented nor responded to people's concerns about using this tragedy as a platform to gain notoriety. Sometimes saying nothing at all says volumes.

It's apparent David does not share the same views with his teammates.

According to MPRI's Facebook, they were originally created for a documentary entitled "The Documentary of Ozbo", but later continued as a "real entity". They are also working on creating webisodes called "Ghost Scouters". This raised suspicion that some of the members of MPRI were looking to capitalize on this gruesome killing to make a name for themselves in the paranormal community.

This prompted a lot of questions concerning safety and ethics in the paranormal community. 

Where to Draw the line 

I will say first of all that situations like this are not anything new in the paranormal community. Everyday we hear the gamut of questionable situations occurring from people being injured to immoral practices occurring.


According to Author Chad Stambaugh who wrote "An Investigators Guide to Paranormal Safety", a survey he conducted last year with over 5,000 respondent turned up the following results; "2014: there were 4,738 reported injuries. This is ranging from a splinter all the way up to hospitalization for lung issues or a broken bone. We also had 24 deaths that were related to/or classified as paranormal investigating/ghost hunting." These numbers are staggering when you look at the amount of people being hurt from issues that could otherwise be prevented by refusing to investigate locations that are obviously unsafe for public safety.

Websites like www.paranormalsafety.com have sprouted up trying to teach investigators the dangers of paranormal investigation that can range from anything from carbon monoxide poisoning to electrocution to falling through a ceiling while in an attic. We will add that according to many Facebook comments, Kuhn Hospital's ceiling fell in on MPRI members not too long ago.

People who deliberately disregard no trespassing signs, ignore laws and refuse to heed warnings, are attributing factors to many of these injuries. Carrying a first aid kit, wearing appropriate safety gear, abiding by the law, and most of all using common sense are all things that may help prevent many of these deaths and injuries that happen yearly.

Being in the wrong place as the wrong time could cost you your life.

There is no substitution for getting permission and refusing to explore uncharted areas that may result in injuries to you or your members.

Be smart. The safety of you and your team members are number one.


With the popularity of paranormal TV and in the move to constantly keep in competition with a ever-growing community of paranormal enthusiasts, people are always looking for a way to stay ahead of the curve by constantly pushing the boundaries of what is both morally and socially acceptable by most standards. It's no secret that many paranormal investigators create YouTube channels mirroring what they see on TV. We have learned historically, that controversial topics put ghost hunters at the forefront of the popular mainstream of paranormal investigating.

Those that are consistently putting out edgy or controversial material are the ones who typically bear the most followers. Those that also put out what the average person views as "evidence of the paranormal" on a very regular basis quickly become fan favorites. And yes, these people have fan bases.

In the race to be the latest and greatest, people forget that a lot of we do, effects other people. Namely this includes private home and business owners seeking help, and the families of the deceased. Running to our devices to speak to celebs was one thing, but now attempting to jump on a fresh scene of a murder is another. At the end of the day we are responsible for our own actions, and how we effect others lives.

Do we want to be known for being edgy and morally impotent, or do we want to have our legacy be that of truth and integrity.

While we are attempting to seek the dead, we need to remember that the living need advocated for as well. This is a concept I learned in nursing. While we are tending to the dead, there is generally a family who needs tending to as well. When a death is fresh, and a funeral has not even occurred yet, an investigation is not appropriate.

How do I feel this can be fixed? I don't know that it can. In a large community that has no solid set of law, standard nor rules. Who says that's right or wrong?  Who do we have to answer to?

I would guess the same courtesies we use in everyday life and interactions should apply to this facet of our lives as well. Starting with "treat other as you would want to be treated" would be a good start. Who we should answer to should simply start with holding people accountable for their actions as a "community". Refuse to stand behind those impose immoral practices.

If you google "paranormal code of ethics" you will see many have tried to establish a set of moral code of conduct practices for everyone to follow.

Like any one in the public eye, as we are, I feel that this comes with the responsibility of being a good role mode with firm moral integrity. We should take pride in setting good moral standard for others out there.

Again I will say, sometimes the RIGHT thing, isn't the popular thing.

For David Childers of MPRI, I commend you for standing up for what you believe is right, by fighting for the safety of others and not giving in to immoral conduct.


I reached out to Karen Fisk Camp for an opportunity to explain her comment which had since been deleted, regarding using the Kuhn Hospital murder as an opportunity to get on TV. When inquired about the deleting of comments she responded, "Oh lord woman I never deleted anything. If it got deleted I didn't do it." Valarie Myers provided a screen shot contradicting her  statement in the original forum this was discussed.

She has yet to respond. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Beautiful Death (Not for the sensitive, real depictions of death)

The following includes real depictions of death, not recommended for sensitive readers...
Whether we like to admit it or not, people are naturally fascinated by death. Many find the subject taboo or disturbing, yet we cannot help to look on when disaster strikes. The highest ratings most news outlets get are when uncensored, raw footage is shown. When a wreck happens, the roadways will show with onlookers waiting to catch a glimpse of what trauma may have been. People fear death, they respect it and they are drawn to it.

I'm one of those people.

Once in awhile something happens that shocks the very core of me when death occurs in the most violent of fashion and yet, the deceased remains beautiful. How calm can come of wreckage and chaos. These are the boldest examples I could find.

Eerie and Macabre, but beautiful all the same:

The Most Beautiful Suicide: The Death of Evelyn McHale

According to Life Magazine; "On May 1, 1947, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the 86th floor observation deck and landed on a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Photography student Robert Wiles took a photo of McHale's oddly intact corpse a few minutes after her death. The police found a suicide note among possessions she left on the observation deck: "He is much better off without me ... I wouldn’t make a good wife for anybody". The photo ran in the May 12, 1947 edition of Life magazine and is often referred to as "The Most Beautiful Suicide".

This Depicition was later used by Andy Warhol in one of his prints entitled Suicide, Fallen Body.

At the young age of 20, Evelyn McHale walked to the 86th floor of the observation deck of the Empire State Building, at 10:30 a.m. I cannot imagine what went through her mind as she stared down 1,000 feet to 34th street below.

Acorrding to Ephermal New York's website, 10:40 am Patrolman John Morrissey, at 34th and 5th Avenue reported seeing a white scarf floating loftily from the sky. This peaceful moment was instantly interrupted by an ear piercing boom. As a crowd gathered, he sees a woman resting peacefully amongst the wreckage of a United Nations Assembly Cadillac limousine. Somehow amongst the violence and wreckage of this car, Evelyn lay beautifully still clutching her pearls as if posing for a pin-up photo shoot.

As if by fate, directly across the street, young photography student Robert Wiles stood with camera in hand. He ran to the scene to take what would be one of the most poingant, surreal photos of American history. His photo was displayed in Life Magazine the same week. The caption of the photo read “At the bottom of the Empire State Building the body of Evelyn McHale reposes calmly in grotesque bier, her falling body punched into the top of a car.”

Atop the Empire State building was left a folded coat, a make up kit and a purse that contained a suicide note; “I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me. My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.”

To read more, I highly recommend this article from Codex99. Their article is the most extensive about Evelyn's history. According to the website;

"Since the Empire State Building was constructed in 1931 some 36 people have jumped from the building, including 17 from the 86th floor observation deck.

Evelyn was the 12th suicide from the building and the sixth to clear all of the setbacks. She was one of five people in a three week period to attempt suicide from the observation deck. In response a 10-ft wire mesh fence was installed and guards were trained to spot potential jumpers. After the barrier was installed people just jumped from other parts of the building, usually from office windows. The most recent suicide, however, was a 23-yo Yale student who managed to scale the observation deck fence on 30 May 2010."

The Death of famous Mexican journalist, Adela Legarreta Rivas

April 29th 1979, Adela Legarreta Rivas was heading to her book release party in Colonia Roma. According to many sources including Vice and Documenting Reality, she was crossing the street to her sisters when two cars crashed on the corners of Avenida Chapultepec and Calle de Monterrey. One of the cars involved, a white Datsun, ran her over killing her instantly. Draped across a pole, in calm repose, Adela resembles a new starlet whimsically daydreaming of things to come.

On scene, photographer Enrique Metinides snapped this photo of Adela who was dressed beautifully for what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, instead it's left her immortalized in one of the most tragically beautiful photos.

Enrique is well known for photographing tragedies and crimes scenes. This photo is part of his collection, "101 Tragedies of Enrique Metinides".

Other images from Enrique include these;

This woman went to Chapultepec, Mexico City’s most popular park, found the oldest tree. She went to the tree, pulled a rope out of her purse, and hanged herself. When they took the body down from the tree, they found a photograph of her daughter in her purse with a note that read: “My husband left me and took my daughter when she was nine years old, and today, when she turns 15 and I still haven’t seen her, I can no longer take the pain and I’m taking away my own life.”

This photo only described as ‘Accidente en la carretera’, 1982 (Road Accident).

The Death of Norma Jean

Marilyn Monroe was Americas sweetheart throughout the 40s - 60s. What many didn't know was the dark secrets that she kept hidden from most, except the people who knew her best. She suffered from hereditary mental illness that left her hearing voices, feeling paranoid and unable to sleep. After quick popularity and stardom, she often found herself in the care of people who did not have her best interests in mind, but instead saw her as a commodity. She was recommended barbiturates to help her sleep, and other drugs to help her wake, so she was camera-ready by day.

August 5th, 1962, at the age of 36, Marilyn was found dead in her home. Traces of pentobarbital (sleeping pills) were found in her liver, and also chloral hydrate in her blood. The reason of Marilyn's death was identified as a "probable suicide." Due to her affair with both John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, other's speculate she was murdered by the Kennedy's because she had become a liability.

Her funeral was attended by only 25 people at the request of family. Many said that she was as beautiful in death as in life. Because she was found face down, her face had lividity (Livor mortis), from the blood settling in the lowest areas of her body

I won't delve too deeply into the history as the facts are easily searchable.

Updated*** Paolo Schmidlin’s painted bronze sculpture, “At Rest,” is a haunting visual of Marilyn Monroe in her coffin wearing her favorite green dress.

The Death of Diana Bryant

The next photo I will share is that of photographer Stanley Forman which received a Pulitzer Prize for spot news. The photo depicts 19-year-old Diana Bryant and her 2-year-old goddaughter Tiare Jones falling after taking refuge on a fire escape that gave way from a burning apartment on Marlborough Street in Boston on July 22, 1975.

2 year old Tiare survived as she landed on top of Diana's broken body. She died hours later. She was a hero. As they began to fall, Diana lifted Tiare's body to a firefighter, Robert O'Neil, on the floor above her. Unable to reach them, O'Neil jumped to the fire escape to reach them. He moved just before it collapsed.

Forman arrived on scene expecting to capture "an impending routine rescue". What he captured has gone down in history as one of the most poignant, compelling photos of all time.

I will warn you ahead of time, that this image, in my opinion is honestly the most disturbing as it catches the moment of life, just before death.

Many may wonder why I would share such a heart wrenching photo. I can only say, that such a photo is a stark reminder that life is precious and can be taken from us at any moment. My own daughter at this time is 19 years old. I can barely bring myself to image what went through her young mind in this moment. I'm instantly brought to memories of my own child's 19 years flashing before me like a whirlwind. Her achievements, her fears, her hopes and dreams all crashing down to the city floor below.

It makes my heart beat faster and stand still all at once. It's nauseating and painful to look at, but the fact remains, this is reality. Many have faced similar fates, but rarely has such a moment been captured on film. This is one of those moments.

Memento Mori: Remember That You Will Die

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Giving Ghost App Ghosts a Face and Name

 May 14th 2014 a woman by the name of Laura Harrison posted a photo, she claimed her daughter's boyfriend took, the night her daughter was going to have their baby. Suddenly, as of June of 2015 the photo has gone viral as a "great catch". For me, it was immediately obvious that this was a ghost app, but for many others that fact was not as apparent. Of the 8k+ comments and growing, the majority were those believing that this was a real ghost. 

For me personally, this prompted some thought. I run a page called Ghost App Ghosts, which is a debunking database for ghost app images. I knew this photo of the nurse well, and I knew she was a real woman, I just didn't know anything about her. I took to my own Facebook page. I asked my own FB pals their thoughts of photos of the now deceased being used as a game to prank other people, or to gain attention and sympathy. They all agreed that it seemed disrespectful. I decided that I would like to research some of these faces we've grown used to seeing as "ghosts". Little did I know that my search would lead me to such a goldmine of information about this nurse.

I began digging for information. At first I was only able to see that she was in fact a nurse, because of a photo I had found of her. My Facebook pal Rob Depew sent me a screen shot with a name of Georgina Pope, and the rest was easy.

Georgina Pope was real Canadian nurse during World War One. She led the first group of 4 Canadian, first contingent nurses over seas to South Africa. All of them ranked as lieutenants.

I can get into a lengthy rant about this woman's history, or about how amazing and brave she was, but I would only be regurgitating information that you can find by going here:

Despite this service, her legacy today by most, has been deduced to that of a zombie-looking ghost app.

Many people would ask, why do I waste so much time trying to convince people like this that their photos are an app? I'll tell you why. For about every 100 people commenting or sharing this kind of crap, there's about 10 who actually are trying to learn the truth. I gave up long ago trying to convince people like this woman sharing this app, that this isn't pparanorma. On the other hand, I can do a service to the people commenting and sharing who really want to know answers.

That's why I speak truth, not to convince this lady she's wrong, but to teach people who want to really know the truth. Some do want to learn.

This photo is not paranormal.

Back away from the para-reality shows and pick up a history book. You'll see your "reality" begin to shift.

Monument dedicated to Pope in Ottawa
The Real Faces of Ghost Apps

Unfortunately Georgina Pope isn't the only person who's been converted to a ghost by app developers. Another popular app that became known as the "Deer Cam Ghost Girl", is also a real little girl who lived around the turn of the century. Aside from first showing up on this deer cam, she was also used as a ghost app on the application "Ghost Capture" among others. She has probably become the most recognized "face" of ghost apps.

I've looked extensively to find out who this little girl is, with little success. She first showed up around September - November 2010 when she was posted on a White Tail (Deer) Chasers forum. The claim was she was captured on a deer cam, near feeders in Sterling City, Northern Texas. She was then identified as a "native American little girl". But, as we can see by the photo she is clearly Caucasian in descent.

Unfortunately, we haven't found her name, but we can give her a face. The fact remains that she was someones child. Possibly someones mother or grandmother, and she deserves respect.

Another ghost that became popular was this Civil War Soldier from the app "Ghost Capture". Unlike most of the soldiers we see turned into ghost apps, this one was not a real combat solider (in the Civil War), but rather a reenactor.

According to the Living History Productions of Ashland Ohio website: "Civil War soldier Jack Skelly was the beau of Jenny Wade of Gettysburg, PA. Corporal Skelly was fatally wounded at the Battle of Winchester in June of 1863 when the Confederates advanced North. Jenny Wade was killed on the third day of fighting at Gettysburg. Neither one knew of the others death."

Even with this being a more modern photo, (and I really don't know if the man here is alive or dead), it still goes to show that these apps are made using the images of real people.
Actor portrayal of  Jack Skelly

In another app by GhostCam by Nightinart, this 19th century woman also became a well recognized ghost app. The odd thing about this one, is that this ghost app, is eerily similar to this woman's original photo. Spirit photography was very popular in the 19th century, just as it seems to be today. This ghost app was pulled from a photo online of a "Double Exposure" tintype, owned by Andrew Daneman of Denmark. This image is titled "Spirit Fakery" in the Luminous-Lint collections.

As much as we would like to think we've outgrown such trickery, Spirit Photography is alive and well, over one hundred years later.


Beside the fact that these apps are sometimes used to hoax others, I am aware that most app users do not mean to to do so with malicious intent. As I've explained before in another blog I've written, I have seen apps used to manipulate others to gain attention, sympathy, or to instill fear.

Aside from that, these apps are used by paranormal teams to beef up their paranormal investigating resumes. When a "news outlet" posts these apps as ghost sightings, you will see a slough of paranormal teams sharing them thousands of times over. This in my opinion spreads ignorance and misinformation to the general public, who assume that if a paranormal team posts it, it must be true. Unfortunately, those who are outside the paranormal community don't know better, but we should.

Now stating that, I think it's important that people associate these "ghosts" as real people with a history and who deserve respect, not to be passed around as a joke. What about the ethics of using other's photos, namely the deceased, to deceit others? Is it not disrespectful to treat the dead in this manner, using them for hi-jinx or tomfoolery? It would be nice if people could see that these people had lives and a family, even if most that loved them are probably gone.

While many may not see my point of view, imagine your family members who died as children, served in the armed forces, or dedicated their lives to tending to the wounded- all being turned into false history?

My mother passed away after a traumatic incident and died in the oldest wing of our local hospital. Ghost stories were passed back and forth at our hospital, and many took the stories as fact. I would not want that for her legacy.

I feel my friend and fellow para-blogger Carolyn Doughtery, of Carolyn's Creepy Corner, said it best, "Sadly, a lot of people in the paranormal community use other's suffering and grief for their own entertainment and/or profit. I've heard the, "Who cares, they're dead" rationalizing before. It's called respect for the dead and respect for their relatives. My late dad served on a well-known ship that's now a "haunted" attraction. It would break my mother's (and my) heart if some asshole used a pic of him from the ship to make up a ghost story."

Whether or not we think about it, there may very well be living loved ones who don't want to see their loved ones images being used for pranking others. Kids will prank kids, I get that. Adults on the other hand should know better. Members of the paranormal community should especially know better. We should be working hard to advocate for the dead. That means the physical embodiment of the deceased, as well as their spirit. We need to get back to ethics and pull away from the side show the paranormal community has become.

This blog is the prelude to a new quest of mine, hoping to put the faces and history of these people to the forefront. 

Looking for help with a project....

Some of you guys who follow my blog, may know that I run Ghost App Ghosts, besides blogging about various issues I see in the para community.

If anyone runs across any real photos of the people they use for ghost apps (or fantastical entities like The Maiden of Bachelors Grove thats used frequently). Im trying to put together as best I can, the real faces of ghost apps. I'd like to find information about them and show that these are real people.

Any of you who can help with what I'm trying to do, it would be greatly appreciated. Full credit will be given to anyone who can help me on this!

Looking for a way to debunk those Ghost App Ghosts? Here are some resources I use;Ghost App Ghosts ran by myself and Andy Henson

Paranormal Dustbusters and Truth Seekers

"There's A (ghost) App For That"  ran by Tkay Anderson and Angela Sangster

Bust That Ghost

I am Kenny Biddle