Monday, December 19, 2011

GHOST GUYS LIVE enter the Madhouse

"I want to open a window into a world that is often misunderstood, maligned and shunned by the very people who would otherwise be celebrating it."- Michael Clark

Hey Creepies,

This week I bring you to GHOST GUYS LIVE, a paranormal group that investigates and experiences the undead like none other than I have seen before.  Below is the Q and A that I did for their interview for Dark River Press, and the full article will be up soon within the week under their spotlights page! Enjoy!

Stay Scared,
Stephanie M. Wytovich

with Stephanie M. Wytovich

1. How did the two of you meet and when did you decide to start working together?

Jim and I met at a Level 4 Biofacility, known as an Integrated Research Facility, under the National Institutes of Health at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana. At the time we did not know each other’s background in the paranormal but somehow ended up in a conversation about the late night radio show, Coast to Coast AM. During the course of our friendship we realized we had the same passion for the paranormal, as well as relevant life experience that we could both bring to the table. Our conversations grew into the launch of Nervous TV and the Hamilton Paranormal Society. Later, about a year ago, the popularity of our own show on Nervous TV, Ghost Guys, caused us to narrow our focus like a laser beam.
I later traveled to North Carolina to complete some film projects and investigations. We officially re-launched Ghost Guys from Montana on September 19, 2011 with our flagship video, Meet the Ghost Guys, and our success has been explosive. We are on a magical journey with our fans, whom we affectionately call our parafamily, and our greatest adventures are still ahead.

2. What interests you in the paranormal? Did something significant happen to you when you were younger that prompted you to get into the business?

Jim & I both started on our individual paths when we were just kids. I had an experience with the Ouija board that is touched on in Meet the Ghost Guys and explained in detail in our book GHOST GUYS: Do You Believe?, which is coming out this spring.
My mother and I were experimenting with the Ouija board and my brother’s friends, who were strangers to us, were asking questions about their friends and relatives. The board was giving them the answers. This had a profound impact on me and started me on a path of exploration of the paranormal at an early age. I didn’t know at the time that this path was my destiny.

3. How do you choose the sites that you visit?

We use the acronym SHEET. The focus in this case is the HE in SHEET, or History and Eyewitnesses. We want to determine if there is compelling history at a location and enough eyewitness accounts to suggest a high level of paranormal activity. Our main goal is to answer the question, Are there spirits at this location, and do they have stories to tell?

4. What has been your favorite places that you’ve investigated so far? Least favorite? Why?

Fort Missoula was a magical beginning. The activity there was thrust upon on us and then dissipated like a fast moving storm cell. Ghost Rails Inn was a Devine appointment. Hotel Meade was our baptism by fire and the birth of ghost evangelism, which we detail in our book. You can’t beat River House, Room 13 and Denton House for intense manifestations of the paranormal.
Lydia’s Bridge, Brian Center and Pisgah Bridge have their own places in my heart as well.
Our least favorite investigations are the ones that do not result in episodes because of the lack of paranormal evidence. There is a tremendous amount of preparation involved with historical research, eyewitness interviews and establishing a chronological investigation pattern, not to mention the hours spent on the actual investigation, the preliminary footage that is shot and the hours of subsequent evidence review. To come up empty handed can be very frustrating.
A perfect example of this is the Devil’s Tramping Ground, ten miles south of Siler City in North Carolina. Despite all of our efforts, not a single piece of paranormal evidence was ever captured.

5. Has there been any place that you have felt disappointed with when you’ve gone there to work? Why?

Yes, the Devil’s Tramping Ground was one of our most disappointing. The compelling history, physical anomaly and eyewitness reports gave us every indication that we would have a very interesting investigation. Unfortunately the physical anomaly, a reported 40-foot, disc-shaped area where nothing has grown for years, has recently experienced plant growth and has all but disappeared.
Despite all the history and reports, we recorded no manifestations of the paranormal. Hours of video and still footage, EVP sessions, ghost box sessions, EMF and IR readings, all proved to be negative. The investigation was a total wash. The only interesting footage we captured was me walking in circles in a black hooded robe. At least it was good for comic relief!

6. How do you prepare before going on an investigation? Any rituals?

Our preparation is intense. We study the history of the location and interview eyewitnesses and look for hot spots and a common thread. We then establish an investigation pattern, or search pattern if you will. We prepare our environmental and emotional triggering scenarios. We calibrate our equipment and prepare our EVP sessions. We determine a game plan for ghost evangelism as well as provocation and rebuke for any malevolent entities.
We then prepare ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally for the task. We have a quiet time in which we meditate and allow the location to speak to us. We offer communion with those spirits that wish to tell their stories and we take authority over dark energies that would prevent them, or us, in accomplishing this objective.

7. What is your favorite tool in the field? Do you like direct communication? EVP? Why?

I imagine our favorite tool is still yet undiscovered by us. So far it is the ghost box. We have had tremendous success with this. Frank Sumption modified a standard radio to rapidly cycle through frequencies and spirits can select words or speak through the white noise. It is a form of real-time, direct communication and it can be very effective.
We have some new and innovative things we are going to utilize going into Season 2 and we are excited to share our anticipated results with the world.

8. Describe how you conduct a typical investigation.

My years on the flight decks of Coast Guard C-130s during search and rescue missions along the Aleutian Islands in Alaska have greatly contributed to our style of conducting an investigation. Our main objective is to execute the plan we have set forth prior to the hunt, but also to be prepared for the unexpected. You have to have a checklist for standard operating procedures but also one for a modification of those procedures and one for emergency situations. Our motto that we lived by in the Coast Guard was Semper Peratus, which means Always Ready. We live by those words even more so now, for nothing is more unpredictable than that which is paranormal.
Our objectives during an investigation are mission specific, knowing when and where to employ various types of equipment. We don’t believe in a catch-all, blanketing approach because that does not work well with a two-man team. Our efforts are highly targeted. It is because of this style that we have been pushed to rely on techniques for stimulating the paranormal. We are inviting the spirits to come to us. We are drawing them in, either as a beacon of hope for those who have stories to tell, or by the bright, red light of provocation with respect to negative energies, so we can draw them out and deal with them.

9. Do you feel that you have a sixth sense when it comes to the paranormal, or are you more focused on tools and a heavy belief system?

I believe Jim and I have been chosen. The universe has selected us for this purpose and it is our destiny. I don’t know that we have so much a sixth sense, as we have a sixth signal if you will. We see ourselves as ghost evangelists and we believe spirits pick up on our presence and our evangelistic style of ghost hunting. We are, in a sense, beacons of light that draw them in, causing them to communicate, to manifest, to perform. We believe they hunger for this experience. We believe they have stories to tell and sometimes we just need to be there to listen. Not everything in an investigation falls within the boxed parameters of pure science. Sometimes we have to reach beyond the veil in a very human way and touch them. We have to commune with them and they with us. Could anything ever be more beautiful?

10. Your style of ghost hunting is very interesting to me. When I watched some of your videos, the way you approach talking/summoning spirits is so different to me because at times it’s easy and soft, and at other times, such as in Hotel Meade, you’re calling out the spirits with anger/agitation.  Why do you think this method works, and when did you decide to start approaching hunting like this? Do you feel it gives you better results? Other comments?

You ask a great question here Stephanie and it touches on the very pivotal point of everything we do as ghost evangelists. That is why you see our style as very different. We are ghost evangelists more than we are ghost hunters. We practice techniques that are a part of our acronym SHEET (in this case ET cubed) that we refer to as Environmental Triggering, Emotional Triggering and Evangelism Triggering. We believe we have discovered not only a method that works, but a method, we strongly believe, that will prove itself in Season 2, by stimulating paranormal activity such as the world has never seen. We are on the verge of a paradigm shift in the paranormal community and ghost hunting will never be the same.
I don’t want to give too much away as ghost evangelism is discussed extensively in our book GHOST GUYS: Do You Believe? We’ll be at Book Expo America in New York City June 5 to talk about ghost evangelism and we’ll be signing and giving away about 200 free copies of our book.

11. People always ask me about malevolent spirits. Have you ever encountered any violence on an investigation? If so, please describe it and why you think it occurred?

I have actually experienced the violence of malevolent spirits on a personal level which I discuss in more detail in our book. Our most violent investigation to date easily goes to River House. The energy that was presented there was astronomical. It started with a chair coming off the wall and into a table and ended with the entire table leaving the floor and slamming violently in the direction of Jim. It is absolutely startling to observe and was very frightening to experience.
It occurred because the level of electromagnetic energy at the location was very high and we were using a technique known as provocation in conjunction with a known paranormal object in the form of an attachment haunting. While we do not condone or recommend this practice as typical with respect to all paranormal investigations we cannot deny its effectiveness in stimulating paranormal activity.

12. Is there any place that you refuse to investigate? Why?

While we have yet to actually refuse an investigation, we have had to regrettably turn some down due to time constraints and scheduling. We have had one investigation refused us because the occupant of a poltergeist-active home did not want to risk publicity even with non-disclosure statements.
I would like to take this opportunity to discourage anyone from conducting EVP sessions or other investigative techniques in their own home. Your home is your sanctuary where you have to live and sleep. You don’t want it to become disturbed day and night by entities of unknown origin. Shampooing with your eyes open is not fun, believe me.

13. Where is the site that you’ve picked up the most energy from?

Again, this would have to be River House. There were multiple entities there that spoke in at least one other language, which we believed to be Arabic. There were male and female voices, the voice of a young boy, and extreme object manipulation. It is at this same location that I experienced violent manifestations of the paranormal prior to our investigation and episode and this experience is chronicled in our book.

14. Who are some of your inspirations in the field and why?

I would easily have to say Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, Aaron Goodwin, Chad Calek and Ryan Buell. I believe they are part of the same paradigm shift and have been chosen, just as Jim and I have, to fulfill this destiny. Zak, Nick and Aaron have set the bar at a whole new level and stepped outside the box of a once ideologically stagnant paranormal community. Chad and Ryan are touring the United States with their movie American Ghost Hunter and are literally carrying the torch of truth from coast to coast.

15. What’s your favorite ghost story?

My favorite ghost story is A Haunting in Georgia which was aired on the Discovery Channel and I personally own the DVD. What I find so compelling about this story is the reaction of the family dog to a paranormal entity in the house. It was convincing enough to once and for all seal the deal in my mind for my belief in the paranormal.

16. Where do you see yourself in the future? Any new projects or sites that you especially want to get to?

We are now getting to the scope of what the brand GHOST GUYS is truly about. I have often said in several video segments, “Join Ghost Guys today, and the future belongs to you!” I truly believe that. If you are a Ghost Guys VIP, you are the future of ghost hunting. That is ultimately what this journey is all about, advancing paranormal research by equipping the ghost evangelists of tomorrow.
We will soon be launching our fully-interactive ghost hunting using GoPro-type technology, where anyone in the world with an internet connection can ghost hunt with us vicariously and will be able to see what we are seeing and to hear what we are hearing. We will also be holding LIVE events in which VIPs will join us in investigations and participate in the evidence review. We will be producing DVDs and a field guide in which we take you step-by-step through the equipment and techniques we use on the show.
Tomorrow is a magical future in which everyone who wants to, will be able to touch the other side and to experience what was once thought impossible. We hope you will join us on this journey.

17. What do you have to say to those that doubt the existence of the paranormal?

I would say first of all that skepticism is healthy. Question everything. Hold to a baseline. Then join us. Observe with an open mind and test what you believe. Be willing to stretch your preconceived ideas to the limit that you are comfortable with, and when you are ready, be prepared for a paradigm shift in your own thinking.
We live in an incredible world of discovery. A simple cell phone does powerful things everyday with energy you cannot see. There was a time when we had to let go of candles and embrace electricity. We had to get off our horses and step aboard jet aircraft. Tomorrow is a whole new frontier of wonder. Now is the time to embrace your destiny and move forward to the creation of legacy. Now is the time to join Ghost Guys!

Michael Clark is Host and Chief Investigator of Ghost Guys and Ghost Guys LIVE . He is also Executive Producer and Editor of each show. Michael founded the Hamilton Paranormal Society (HPS), a paranormal research group whose evidence analysis includes the very latest of science and technology along with historical research, eyewitness accounts and environmental triggering (SHEET ™) to produce startling investigative results. HPS also utilizes Michael's own AEVP ™ technique. Michael is a former Coast Guard Aviation Electronics Technician and C-130 Aircrewman during Search and Rescue missions along the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. He has worked with the National Institutes of Health in providing Homeland Securityto scientists from every part of the world as they research the most deadly diseases known to man. He combines over 20 years of experience in science and technology with over 15 years of studies in religion and spirituality, and his methods were recently featured on Paranormal Swat Radio-Virginia.

Michael says that his passion for investigating the paranormal resulted from unexplainable early encounters with the Ouija Board when he was a teenager. Today he uses his knowledge of science and technology to produce startling results and capture this evidence of the paranormal on film.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Featured Author in the Madhouse: Carla E. Anderton

by Carla E. Anderton

A few days ago, my friend and mentor Scott A. Johnson guest blogged here in The Madhouse about scary stories and why he tells them. Scott’s post was food for thought, as it led me to consider my own definition of what “scary” is and, more specifically, to think of the scariest thing I’ve ever done.

Full disclosure: I write historical horror, but I’m terribly squeamish. While I can study the postmortem photos of Jack the Ripper’s victims from every angle with an almost chilling detachment, at heart I’m still afraid of the dark. I have near paralyzing phobias when it comes to heights, spiders and wide open spaces. Yeah, I know, I’m a fruitcake, and I’m doubtless setting the bar low in terms of what I’ve found to be the most frightening experience of my life. But, nevertheless, shall we?

There’s a saying I’ll paraphrase here that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. So, it stands to reason that while most people would prefer to avoid both, the doing of it is easier said than enacted. Having said that, the scariest thing I’ve ever done wasn’t moving 800 miles away from everything I knew at the age of 22, taking a near fatal fall down the stairs at the age of 26, or even ending my marriage at the age of 32, when I was fairly certain doing so was going to land me in a watery grave in a Carolina swamp, food for alligators. No, the scariest thing I’ve ever done is “start” and “operate” a non-profit arts center, Jozart Center for the Arts in California, Pennsylvania. (

It’s important to place this action in the right context. You see, it’s like June Carter Cash sang first – a phrase which Trent Reznor later co-opted – “I used to be somebody.” I went to the right places, rubbed elbows with others who were also “somebody”. I was a political animal, and every move I made was meticulously calculated with the thought “what will other people think of me/this” uppermost in mind. And then one day I rebelled against this line of thinking, started doing what I wanted to do exactly when I wanted to do it, and while the result was liberating, it’s like that dolt who used to occupy the White House often trumpeted: “Freedom isn’t free.” The price I paid for freedom was fairly staggering and I basically lost the bulk of my life’s work and a career I’d spent better than a decade building. It was worth it, but it was still a serious blow to my self esteem.

So, again in the interest of being genuine, at the time the opportunity to “take over” the arts center presented itself, I was feeling pretty low. I had my writing, of course, and my personal life had never been better, but professionally I felt like I’d failed and I’ve never been a graceful loser. I wanted to lay low, lick my wounds and hope I had the wherewithal to at the very least succeed at the business of graduate school. The last thing I wanted to do was jump back into a political arena where I’d be in the hot seat. I wanted to be invisible, not giving interviews to reporters, the very reporters I just KNEW had witnessed my earlier fall from grace.

Still, the arts center – formerly called a “studio” – was in immediate and very real danger of closing its doors forever. And, of the last decade I so lamented, I’d spent my happiest moments there. I couldn’t stand idly by and let the place cease to exist, not if it was in my power to prevent that from happening. Plus, more importantly, I saw my little boy – he was not six feet tall in those days – CRY because he thought he’d never get to attend another Open Mic, never get to perform again on the first stage he ever stepped on. (There’s been a lot of stages in my son’s life, but I think the one closest to his heart is the one at Jozart.) So, it wasn’t really a matter of choosing to be involved in the “take over” of Jozart. It was more that it chose me.

The initial process of convincing others it could be done and rallying them to the cause was easy, as was somehow getting myself unanimously elected President of the “new” center’s board of directors. (Nobody else wanted the job, trust me.) The paperwork necessary to incorporate and to apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status was tedious, complex and involved MATH – which has never been my strong suit – but not all that daunting in itself. Figuring out how I was going to balance my responsibilities was not as easy as taking them on, but that wasn’t the aspect of the “take over” I found so terrifying.

No, the true terror came when they – the former owners – handed me a key to the place, and I was confronted with the sudden reality that I was in charge, that the buck now stopped with me. I knew from the onset I’d just jumped feet first back into a world I’d turned my back on barely a year earlier, a world where you have to be mindful of every syllable you utter for fear you’ll be misquoted or misunderstand and your own words will came back to haunt you. That much was unsettling enough, but on top of that, I was now in charge of a host of issues that hadn’t occurred to me when I’d taken on the job, ranging from “will we be able to afford the rent this month?” to “did we remember to pay the gas bill?” The concerts and gallery openings I’d attended as a spectator for nearly a decade now were my responsibility to plan, promote and oversee, and the workshops I’d participated in during the same time were now my efforts to coordinate.

Don’t get me wrong. I had help and still do, in fact I’m incredibly lucky to have at my disposal several hard working, dedicated fellow board members and volunteers, all of whom love every dusty square foot of Jozart as much as I do. Still, they expressed confidence in me when they chose me to lead them, and while providing them with competent leadership is a duty I take very seriously, sometimes it scares the hell out of me to realize so many people are relying on me. What happens if they discover I’m a fraud, that I’m no more capable of succeeding at this venture than I am at scaling Mount Everest? (The latter being an impossibility as one of my biggest fears is that of heights.)

Thus far, we’ve been fortunate enough to keep the center’s doors open for close to 17 months longer than originally anticipated. We’re slowly but surely improving the appearance of the facility, and with every event or workshop we increase public awareness of what we’re trying to do and that is to provide the Mon Valley region of Pennsylvania with a top notch location to enjoy and explore the arts. It took over a year, but we finally got the IRS to agree to issue our “non profit status letter”, the official correspondence that will enable us to go after grants and seek out new donors.

Is it still as frightening, 17 months later? You bet it is, because every day brings a new challenge to confront, another goal to meet and exceed, and while the great unknown is no longer “can we do it”, it is nonetheless scary sometimes to imagine just how exactly we will do it. And that’s the stuff of occasional nightmares, or at least of mine…

**Jozart is open to ALL artists including writers
Carla E. Anderton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Ms. Anderton has published poetry, essays, short fiction and plays, as well as completed a historical horror novel, The Heart Absent. For nearly five years, Ms. Anderton served as Editor-in-Chief of a regional monthly newsmagazine, California Focus. Currently, Ms. Anderton serves as the President of the Board of Directors at Jozart Center for the Arts in California, PA, where she lives with her son, two cats and a talkative computer repairman.