Personally, I blame Dustin Pari for this; he has been bopping around Twitter with pictures of Maui saying “You’re welcome.” Naturally, since I had yet to watch Moana, I decided to finally make time and view the acclaimed movie.
It. Did. Not. Disappoint!
And, now, as it happens with movies that you really, really love, I’m obsessed with how the movie was made and the Polynesian culture that weaved throughout the plot. (In fact, I purchased a Hawaiian legend book the other day at work.)
Legitimately, I have been singing “You’re Welcome” from Moana on repeat for a good week now. Darn you, Lin-Manuel Miranda and your catchy lyrics! I mean, I don’t know for sure who was responsible for the song–I know Lin, Mark Mancina, and Opetaia Foa’i all worked together on the Moana soundtrack and give them ALL the points–but “You’re Welcome” and “Shiny” both seem up Lin’s alley.
Also, I am in love with “We Know The Way.” There are so many beautiful feelings that swarm into me whenever I hear that song. It makes me dream of exploration, yes, but, also, the part inside me that appreciates spirituality, history, lineage, and respects nature adores it!
I especially get chills at the part of the song where they sing:
“We are explorers reading every sign.
We tell the stories of our elders in a never-ending chain.”
Here’s an official link to part of the song, so you can join me in the chills, whether you’ve see Moana or not (because even out of context it’s a gorgeous song):
I also give all the props to John Lasseter and the Moana creators; they wanted to respect the Polynesian culture and history, so they did a five year research excursion to talk with locals in the South Pacific. Bonus: they actually hired locals to fact check them, and even invited them back to Disney to approve the film.
In turn, Moana has, as excellently told stories do, inspired me in my own stories. (Note: I am not talking about plagiarism. I know I don’t have to say that, but I want to make that clear.) The rich mythology, scenery, and character development has made me reflect on my skills as a writer and given me the urge to match Moana’s quality in my own writing.
Here’s the amazing thing about well-crafted stories: they make you want to be a better writer. They raise the bar of what you thought was possible, and set the target higher, causing you to push your development as a creator into different areas. Some of which you didn’t think needed worked on, but, after seeing another reach so far, you realized you needed to do better.
It’s not an ego-related thing. It’s not putting yourself down. It’s just looking at another story and saying: “Yes. I can do that. I can reach that level. I know I can.”
So, yet again, I have been inspired to push myself as an artist; to reach the quality that my heroes and role models have accomplished before me. It’s a simple strength exercise game.
Ever since I saw The Shack this weekend, I haven’t been able to get its themes out of my head. Frankly, would I even want that? Nope. I think it’s great that the story sticks with me so much!
The Shack is a heartfelt story about a man, named Mack, who is lead back to life by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Literally, they appear in a shack in the woods and spend the weekend with him. Whether you’re Christian or not, it’s a good story that can reground the best of humanity within you: being good to one another, forgiving those who do wrong against you, and spreading love.
Every time I read–or now watch–The Shack, I feel like a child again.
And, especially now in my life, it’s a message I need reiterated to me.
I have found myself, especially in the past, in seemingly hurricane-like chaotic years, not focusing on love–or trusting in God–as much as I really should’ve been doing. Since Choy, my beloved feline companion died, events have transpired that have shaken me. Frankly, they’ve taken me, unwillingly, a bit away from focusing on God. My belief in him has still been strong, of course. It always will be. However, I realize in hindsight that I was going through the motions of living a strong faith; specifically, I focused on my worries rather than putting my trust in Him. It’s amazing how we can get lost in our own battles, and our fears of the future, and forget to put our trust in God–to trust things will work out the best way they should.
Truly, it’s hard to put your trust in something you can’t see. And that’s the theme of The Shack: God is always with you, his love will guide you, just let him show you the way. (Or, for those who prefer, let “her” show you the way.)
This year, as my birthday approached, I’ve been feeling more emotional as of late. Last year, I spent my special day at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, watching my father go in for melanoma surgery. Mom and I left my dad late that night, after we knew he was safe, settled and the surgery was successful. On the way home, we stopped at Olive Garden and I blew out a candle in an apple crisp dessert.
A simple, small, somewhat melancholic birthday that fell right in place with the rest of 2016.
But it’s not that specific day itself that makes me bittersweet about my birthday, it’s how the year went after dad’s surgery. That landmark moment seemed to catapult my family and I into a variety of stunning developments that grew me into a stronger Katie today. In part, I wish that some things didn’t happen; mom’s brain bleed last April, for example. But, for the most part, I’m happy for how much I’ve grown out of my shell. For example, I’ve found a hidden talent in bookkeeping that I could hone to subsidize my writing career and support my family.
All in all, even if my birthday feels a tad bittersweet, I still remain stubbornly optimistic to see the good that this new birth year brings.
I fervently aim to finish my book and get it out to agents by the time I go to New Orleans, but I am also, now, looking forward to pursuing this bookkeeping career. (If I’m being honest, I wasn’t entirely set on it until now.) I’m excited for Dan, the boyfriend, and I to get engaged and set our combined goals in motion. And I aim, with God’s help, to let my life–and the lives of those around me–be as little stressed as possible. (Especially after the taxes are completed! Hah!)
I impart this wisdom to all of you: hope is never gone, love never leaves, God never deserts you, unless you let it go yourself. As the infamous Dustin Pari says: “#NeverGiveUp!”
For more birthday reflections and ramblings, check out my companion Youtube video, and, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, subscribe to my channel and blog!
Good grief! In my flurry of adulting, I failed to remember that tonight is the FINAL episode of Ghost Hunters on SyFy! I have to make this brief, but I cannot let Ghost Hunters end without formally thanking the TAPS team! (Whether they see this post or not.)
I truly cannot express how much TAPS means to me and how much I’ve enjoyed Ghost Hunters over the years. Putting it plainly, this is the end of an era, for me and other fans that TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) have helped through their ten year run.
Truthfully, I was late to the viewing party; Ghost Hunters was already in their sixth season when I caught wind of the show. It was then that my life changed. I was a bored college student–who was frequently spooked by the notion of ghosts–with nowhere to go and nothing to do on Halloween night, 2010. I aimlessly flipped channels on my mini-TV, trying to find a good way to celebrate the holiday, perhaps by watching a horror movie. (I may have been easily spooked back then, but I still wanted a thrill; after all, it was Halloween.) Lo and behold, I found myself on SyFy, watching people I knew nothing about freeze their asses off in Buffalo Central Terminal.
Those people are some of my favorites, some of the kindest hearts in the media’s spotlight today: Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango, and Josh Gates, as well as others. (I don’t believe that Dustin Pari was a part of the BCT hunt, but he also needs a shout out! Sorry if I’m mistaken about that!)
In present day, these people are my role models, even if I am more of a “paranormal enthusiast” rather than an active investigator. They are professional, respectful, in their field and work hard to bring awareness and comfort to something that people are so easily afraid of. They not only inspire me to be the best in my own paranormal pursuits–a field that was once my own fear, but now remains a fascination–they also encourage me to be the best person I possibly can be.
I know I’ve said it a million times, but these people are mindblowing in how they treat their fans! I am truly grateful that I have gotten to know them while Ghost Hunters was still on the air.
I hope that Ghost Hunters will find a home on another network; that this isn’t the end but a change for TAPS. Whether they remain on air or not, I’m sure they’ll still be pursuing the paranormal off screen and helping others who need them.
Thank you, TAPS, for, plainly, being amazing. For helping us all, whether it was through a television screen or in person. For encouraging us to research, in respect, the paranormal and to broaden society’s acceptance of those who have encountered The Unknown. I’ve learned so much from you and truly wish that this wasn’t your final episode, but I will be rushing to the television to bid you adieu on SyFy.
Love, love, love to you, TAPS, and I wish you many blessings in your future! Whether you are on the air or not, I will always, always remain your loyal little fangirl!
I was not only broken emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well. It took a good couple weeks to stop feeling a pressure in my chest, a good few months until I started exercising again, and only recently have I renewed my confidence in my spiritual practice. Although, the thing is with this kind of loss, it will never really leave. I will carry it until I die, and I’m happy to do so; that’s how much of an impact Choy made on me.
Frankly, I do miss Choy every single day, but I take comfort knowing that he’s in Heaven, pain free, romping and playing with his brother and our other family members. One day I’ll even join him.
But my job isn’t done here on Earth. Frankly, it’s still only beginning. I still have things to do, people to help, stories to write!
Honestly, I’m proud of the growth of strength I continue to see in myself every day. Sure, I’m not invincible; there are still times where my anxiety takes over and I second guess myself.
A few months back, a distant friend of mine offered me these words of encouragement:
Motto #1: “Don’t let the bastards get you down!”
Motto #2: “The tough times are what define us.”
I cannot begin to express my awe and gratitude at receiving these words at that point in my life; they were exactly what I needed to hear. Mom, dad, and I had a lot of challenges hit us all at once in the first few months of 2016. Ones that we never saw coming.
I firmly believe now that, in a way, we needed these events to happen. Too long had we been at a standstill, too long had I been mourning; we needed to be jolted out of our rut and thrust back into living. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really, really wish that some of these events hadn’t happened. But, like my friend said, they truly defined us… they truly showed me the kind of person I am, what I need to work on, and where my true values lie.
So, don’t let a horrible circumstance get you down. Eventually you’ll find your way out of it–maybe not as quickly as we’d want, but the Universe has a way of sending us what we need. God is always watching over us and just waiting for us to ask for help. I know I wouldn’t have gotten through Choy’s death, these new circumstances, or anything that might surprise me in the future without Him. And Zad. And new friends, old, and family members.
YES! It’s August! One more month of grueling hot weather and–hopefully–a crisp autumnal bliss will sweep over Ohio. Enough of the 90 degree weather! Good grief, I want my spookiness, 5PM sunsets, love sleeves, and hot drinks!
All in due time, though. All in due time. Must. Be. Patient!
Truthfully I’m not ready to revel in fall just yet. (Says the girl listening to Pandora’s Halloween radio whilst writing this!) I have two more excursions this summer. After those I can settle down, work on my writing projects (including this dear blog), and soak in the 40-60 degrees! It’s honestly been a hard summer; not solely with this borderline drought weather but with personal issues themselves. I’m looking forward to the season change and with that, maybe, I’ll get some time to work. One can only hope!
On that note, Fall TV shows are going to start up again! YAY! I have missed my evening TV rituals!
It all starts tonight with the season 11 Ghost Hunters premiere! Catch it on SyFy @ 9PM (ET)!
And guess where the location is? Cleveland! My own back yard! YES! I’m definitely adding this location to my list!
Unfortunately, it was announced a few weeks back that this would be the final GH season airing on SyFy. Last I heard the show wasn’t cancelled, but TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) were just shopping for a different network to work with.
Honestly, if you all haven’t watched Ghost Hunters yet, you should! You don’t have to start at season 1, you can just pop on SyFy when the clock rings 9PM!
TAPS is honestly the best group out there in the paranormal media mainstream. They don’t embellish evidence, they don’t provoke entities, and their main aim is to help people with paranormal problems… as well as continue to develop the paranormal field. Furthermore they are the kindest people you will ever meet! I’ve been to five Ideal Events now–I’ve probably met Steve, Tango, and Dustin four times each–and these people are amazing, plain and simple! You get to interact with them and learn investigation techniques; no stage vs audience, just the TAPS crew (plus other celebs) and fans hanging out in a haunted location!
Side note: Ohio State Reformatory back in May was, quite frankly, the best experience I’ve had thus far at an event! But more on that in another post!
Let me just say: Dustin Pari is a joyous rainbow– a Steel Unicorn gift from God! At his events, his motivational lectures are soul inspiring, as well as hilarious, and will leave you with a smile! Go follow him on Twitter to see what I mean! Bonus: he is one of the few celebs that makes it a point to respond to as many people as possible!
All righty paranormal enthusiasts, I’ve said my two cents on one of my favorite shows and am off to do some other writings before Ghost Hunters begins! I’ll see you in the next post soon!
REMEMBER: Ghost Hunters. SyFy. 9PM (ET). GO WATCH!
Well, jeez. In case you guys aren’t following me on my social accounts (which you really should do *snerk*), it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Heck, month. HECK, 2015 ITSELF. Certain things are in motion; I’ve moved on from Fangirlish, and am in the process of leaving Dollar Tree, too. And I’m devoting the ENTIRE SUMMER to my writing — with a little break for vacay in New Orleans. EEE!
I’ve made a video about those changes and will be posting about it later. (The video itself will be posted later today)
This post, however, I’m going in depth with what happened at Ohio State Reformatory.
I do talk about my experiences in both of these videos, but don’t talk much about the “highlights” of the night. (PSA: this will be a loooong post, so I’ll split them up) SO HERE WE GO!
1. Meet + Greet with Josh Gates
Okay. So those who are new to the land of Katie, Josh Gates is a person I hold in high regard. Honestly, he’s my role model (outside of, like, my mom and other family members). I also tend to consider him a colleague. Although while I don’t have 96 countries under my belt, I think he’s a really excellent writer and a very passionate traveler. Which are traits that I possess too. Hence, “role model” and “colleague”.
So I’m in line at Ohio State Reformatory, waiting to meet Josh Gates (again). He’s, of course, the first table at the Meet and Greet. I fish out my copy of the “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” travel journal and present it to Josh. To my astonishment (which, like, I don’t even know why I was astonished: he is a traveler after all!), he starts flipping through the journal. He respectfully bypasses the parts that I’ve written in, which was very cool of him. (Even though he didn’t need to. The entries are only a page long, so they’re mostly full of “OMG I NEED TO GO HERE AGAIN” and “Here’s what we did”)
He stops at “EIGHT PLACES TO FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FEMALES IN THE WORLD” and he starts verbally checking off places he needs to go to, and places he’s been.
Meanwhile, my mind’s going:
What were the places on that list? WHAT WERE THE PLACES ON THAT LIST?!
So I just… kind of… blankly stared… at… him…
Then Josh kind of remembered there was a line, proclaimed “I need this journal” and went back to signing it and taking a photo with me. (I made a mental note, and now have another copy of this journal to give to him next year – yes they are doing it again, and Josh will be there!)
So I go through the rest of the Meet and Greet, FINALLY get to meet Grant Wilson and have him sign “Seeking Spirits” which he co-wrote with Jay. (Jason, you’re next.) To be honest, I was kind of jealous that Dan got all the attention because he wore his “May the Schwartz be with you” t-shirt and Grant and Dustin especially geeked over it.
Here’s the photo-ops of Dan and I with Dustin, Grant, and Josh!
I’ll let you look those over a bit…
… Sweet, huh?
2. Q + A with Josh Gates (and others)
So after the Meet and Greet was over, everyone grabbed a seat for the lectures.
First, Josh HAD to take a group selfie (a la Ellen Degeneres’s Oscars). Hah!
My Q: Have you had any experiences with angels in your investigations?
I was overjoyed that John said “YES”. (Because while the Ghost Hunters believe in the angelic, they haven’t found absolute evidence of them — as far as I know. Which is expected cause ANGELS WILL BE FREAKING ANGELS. And belief is their thing, not proof.)
He went into detail saying that he’s been in situations. Specifically situations where he knew the “Angelic” had come in and “kicked butt” and left. Also he pointed out that angels tended to sound like shrill screeching in his ears. Which… yeah… that’s a thing that’s commonly reported. I mean the angels don’t sound like that to me, though, at all. They’re just like humans talking in my head.
(Zadkiel actually sounds a little like Jared Padalecki to me)
Next up JOSH GATES HIMSELF!! Hehehe. Okay. So THIS experience was THE HIGHLIGHT that kept me going the rest of the night.
Legit, I was SHAKING after this Q.
Q: What advice would you give to someone with low funds who wanted to travel more? (I guarantee to you it didn’t come out that smooth…)
Josh, I swear, LIT UP at my question. His advice came two-fold. “I could rap about this, you and me, for two hours!” He said. (*insert internal fangirl squeeing*)
#1: Take travel out of the “bucket” it tends to get put in to. “Just do it.” Set a goal, go forth!
#2: Get an airlines credit card. Josh confessed he used United because he likes what they did with the merging that happened a few years back.
He even offered to talk to me more about travel — to meet up later and give me more advice. I’m sorry to say that never happened. In hindsight, half of me expected it. I mean, Ideal being the kind of event it is (200+ people vying for Josh’s attention), I probably wouldn’t have gotten more than five minutes with the guy. PAH. Nope. Not even that.
Eh. C’est la vie.
Finally, Grant Wilson, Kris Williams, and Dustin Pari all took the stage together. Man, I have to say: Dustin was a COMPLETE riot! He was so hopped-up on sugar, he kept talking about restaurants and his favorite foods… making even Kris and Grant laugh.
(Sorry Kris about only getting half of you. BLASTED PILLAR!)
Q: What is your favorite story, whether you proved it true or not?
So this question randomly popped into my head. Originally I hadn’t planned on asking any questions at the Q + A. Not even with Josh. But away my brain went! And what else can I do but sate it?
Dustin’s answer consisted of a hilarious tour guide that told the gruesome tale about a father who had strung up his daughter in the dungeon and left her to die. “He was so excited about something so horrible!” Dustin exclaimed.
I liked Kris’s answer. I would’ve felt the same in her shoes. She talked about being in Berlin trenches and how they hadn’t caught a single bit of evidence of a spirit being there. “It was the only time I was relieved at finding nothing.” She said, “because it was a horrible way to die.”
And then there was Grant’s answer. Which amazed the whole crowd. Long story short (and without telling too many details — because this is his story to tell), he had helped solve a missing person’s case in New York City, using an EVP of a woman’s name.
I have to say: I was proud I asked these three that question. Especially with Grant’s. Because there were a couple of follow-up questions to what happened with the investigation. It showed why I like stories, urban legends, and storytelling in general. Tell the right story and it inspires people.
3. Evidence (including The Little Boy Shadow)
Things were quiet for me as we explored the Reformatory that night. I realized I had changed in the past year. As I’ve become more confident, and more spiritually developed, I was less concerned about documenting any paranormal phenomenon. In fact, I just wanted to be there. To be in a haunted location. To exist within the legends that surrounded Ohio State Reformatory. To exist within the story.
Which is why I admire Josh Gates. I think he does that too. Like, yes, everyone wants proof. But it’s less of a mandatory thing.
Still, some things did happen, a little bit in every location:
Here is my evidence video again, so you guys can follow along as you read:
Solitary with Kris Williams. Allison, Dan, and I started in this area. As the group broke off to investigate, I smelled a cigar scent wafting through the hallway.
East Cell Block with Grant Wilson.
On the second floor, Dan and I got an EVP of a prisoner saying “No” when Dan was musing about prison life “Not being so bad.” (Either this was in agreement or opposed to Dan’s comment. Personally I think the spirit was opposed) See my evidence video to hear this EVP.
Meanwhile, Allison was being groped on the first floor. Again. *snickers* Also see my video for an EVP correlating to that.
Administrative Wing with Dustin Pari. OKAY. NOW THIS WAS INCREDIBLE.
So Dan, Allison, and I make our way to this circular room. There’s one door, no windows, and a chair sitting in the center. This has been reported as the “most active room” in the Administrative wing. Allison immediately sits in the chair. I don’t really think anything of it; after all, we’ve been walking for the past couple hours with only brief respites.
What I don’t know is that someone has been singing in the background… and will continue to sing for a good two minutes. (See video) What you’ll hear on said video is me talking about a circular shadow moving across the wall. Nothing had flown in front of my flashlight, which was the only source of light in the room. Weird.
Eventually the singing fades away on my recorder.
But then Allison begins to talk about an “old injury” hurting — her foot. (This is also on the video) Again, later, when I’m at home, I hear the unmistakable sound of a child giggling. Which is absolutely creepy.
Now what isn’t on the video is what I experienced. I had no camera with me and for some reason my recorder stopped before this happened.
Dustin came into the room with a couple. He stood there for a few minutes, conversed with us, and then left. The couple stayed behind. Allison got up from the chair and the female of the couple sat there. The man flicked his flashlight around the room.
And then, silently, all of us turned off our flashlights at the same time and sat in the dark. Silence crept around us.
We sat there for a good minute or so. Our eyes adjusted. Any “imprints” we had on our minds cleared.
Then the man flicked his flashlight on.
And this is what I saw:
I swear. I swear to you. There was absolutely nothing at all to explain this shadow! I was the only one to see it. But I absolutely know what I saw: a small shadow figure, standing two feet away from the wall, in front of this man.
My theory is that this is the same little boy that I caught on my recorder. That he giggled at causing Allison’s injury to act up, and that he was about to prank this man, but I had seen him and brought attention to him, causing the prank to be spoiled.
In any case, Ohio State Reformatory is an awesome place. It is full of rich history, most of it violent and unfortunate, but still rich indeed.
Also if you guys are interested in this event, Ideal Event Management is DOING IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR! (Like I said before!) YEEHAW! I promise you: this event is totally worth the ticket price. Not only do you get to meet Josh Gates and the Ghost Hunters, PERSONALLY shake their hands, but you all get to INVESTIGATE with them!
Get your tickets, before they run out! See you next year, OSR!! Click the image below to go to the event page:
What did you guys think of my experiences? Have you been to OSR before? Do you believe in the paranormal?