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!
If you’ve ever taken a moment to pause one of my YouTube videos, you’ll find I have a lot of sayings floating around my room.
Roald Dahl’s quotation of “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you…” perches on the wall to my left as I type, while Josh Gates and Tom Hiddleston sayings flash above my mirror in the early afternoon sunlight. And that’s only scratching the surface of my decorated four walls! Whether they’re artwork or sayings from TJ Maxx, paintings friends have crafted, or a mural pieced together by my own hands, each piece of decoration on my wall has its own purpose, its own story to tell.
God, I love being in my room. Some people have told me that it’s too cluttered; that it’s good to clear out some wall space. However, while I have had my purging moments and have been deeply satisfied, my walls are truly a reflection of me.
Heck, whenever I change rooms (or houses), I’ll probably cover those walls with quotes too!
This month, a box quote that occupies the windowsill behind my laptop is particularly reaching out to me. I see it every day; it inspires me not only in adventure but in life.
“The best journeys answer questions you didn’t even think to ask.”
This quote is what I would pick to describe my most recent years. There have been some good, adventurous, life changing moments… and some that have been absolute crap. But all of them have answered questions that I didn’t even think to ask in the first place.
Funny how God works, isn’t it?
This Monday, actually, was an anniversary for me. Two years ago, I started talking to my guardian angel (Zadkiel) and really opened up spiritually. And that’s when things started making sense. It was kind of like a puzzle; I found answers to some weird stuff that happened to me in the past, I gained more confidence in who I was–and in my soul and spirituality–and the pieces all clicked together.
In turn, I started to see the magic in the world around me and I stopped wishing I was somewhere else.
Yes, I did actually have moments in my life where I prayed to God that he would whisk me away to places like Middle-Earth or other alternate realities where I could hang out with characters I loved. Where I could adventure, romance, and just escape the responsibilities of our world. Even at the expense of my own family.
But, now, in the present, I really do love our world, and I’m eternally grateful that I do. I love to explore it, whether through travel or spiritual work. (That’s where I find the magic; the best in human kind.) It’s not solely black and white. You can do something so much deeper than a 9-to-5 job and pay bills. We’re here on this Earth to do important; to love, to live, and maybe even to leave a legacy behind. God has put us all here for a reason, it’s up to us to find it and persevere.
The answers will unveil themselves as long as you’re open to them.
Elton Pope from Doctor Who said it best:
“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.”
There’s so much to explore! There’s so many journeys to be had! We only have one life to live, what are you waiting for?
Bonus: a few days ago I published a video about how this past year has been over all with some extra words of encouragement for those going through tough times.
Lord almighty! I cannot believe 2016 is upon us already! Honestly, 2015 was a bit of a challenge for me. I’m happy for the lessons I’ve learned this year, but I would be lying if I wasn’t excited for 2016. I hope for me and my family that it is a good year; it seems the recent years have been a bit of a challenge for us. I’m also looking forward to finally accomplishing some goals in 2016, but more on that later.
First, a bit of fun. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite movies, music, books, and TV shows of 2015. Not all of them were released in 2015, but I encountered them this year.
2015 was a year of nostalgia: Star Wars launched a new trilogy, The Hunger Games ended, and Jurassic Park’s reboot, for me, started it all. I was never a huge fan of dinosaurs and Jurassic Park wasn’t a series I was entirely devoted to until recently. Frankly, I was more loyal to the classic adventures I grew up with (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and James Bond). However, to pay tribute to the great Steven Spielberg, I decided to go to the reboot.
I. Was. Not. Disappointed!
What especially caught my attention was Chris Pratt’s devotion to his Indiana-Jones-like-dinosaur-trainer: a character who was full of heart but a total “badass” (as one of the nephews put it).
Whether you’re a Jurassic Park fan or not, I strongly encourage you to see Jurassic World. The plot is well done, the action is gripping, and the nostalgia is purely palpable.
Speaking of badass movies, No Escape was probably my most favorite film of 2015. When I first watched the trailers, I thought I’d pass on the movie. However, what got me into the theaters was Owen Wilson; it was a first to see him in a serious, action-packed role (vs a comedy like Zoolander) and I wanted to see how well he did. I will tell you: he did not disappoint in the least!
Furthermore, No Escape brings up an issue that not everyone thinks about: monopoly in a third-world country. The cause of the uprising in the unnamed South-East Asia country is, put plainly, a first-world country taking control of their resources. Owen Wilson is unknowingly a part of this takeover and he puts his family in the center of it.
No Escape is certainly action-packed and very violent, as an uprising would be. The pace of the plot is wonderful: fast enough to keep the heart pounding, but it slows down at the appropriate points when Owen Wilson discovers exactly what his employers have been up to. I definitely suggest seeing it.
Favorite song: Lost Stars, sung by Adam Levine.
Lost Stars is an original song found in the movie Begin Again with Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. It was nominated in the 2015 Academy Awards for Best Original Song, which was well deserved (however, it did lose to Glory). The lyrics of the song are poetic and entirely soul-felt. I doubt there is a person in the world who wouldn’t identify with the story it weaves.
The chorus alone gives me chills as the song builds in its ballad:
“And God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.
It’s hunting season and the lambs are on the run,
Searching for meaning.
But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?”
Another astounding thing: this song stands apart. It complements Begin Again, but it’s a song you can put your own meaning, your own story to. It’s universal.
Oh, Night Vale. Ever since I started listening to the famous podcast, around two years ago, my love for Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s “quiet desert community” has grown. I was SO FLIPPING EXCITED to delve into their novel that expanded beyond Cecil’s narration. What’s even better is how the podcast mentions the events of the novel here and there, only being blunt about its existence in the novel excerpt clip above. (I think a few episodes ago Cecil mentioned “that King City fiasco.”)
God, Night Vale will always be one of my most favorite works of creation EVER. AND THEY’RE COMING OUT WITH THREE BOOKS NEXT YEAR!! AHH!
Favorite TV shows: Supernatural and Expedition Unknown Ok. Yes. I couldn’t let the new year begin without mentioned my TWO MOST FAVORITE TV SHOWS!! (Seriously. Go check out my Tumblr: Supernatural is almost all I reblog; and I’m always fangirling over Josh Gates in my various social platforms.)
Supernatural has, and always will be, my top favorite show. There’s a reason why it’s currently airing season 11. For most people, it has to do with the brotherly relationship between Sam and Dean Winchester. However, while I do love the Winchester brothers, they aren’t my favorite characters. Castiel, Gabriel, Lucifer, and Balthazar are. In short, I love how they weave known mythology into the show and put twists on it. Especially ever since season 4, I’ve absolutely adored the angel mythology. Supernatural is the only medium that writes angels the way I believe they should be written (except for the “angels are dicks” thing, because, let’s face it: they aren’t).
I’ve especially loved how season 11 is feeling a lot like season 5. They’re focusing on Biblical mythology again and are bringing back well-loved characters for cameos (Lucifer just appeared in the most recent episode: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” EEK!)
My second favorite TV show has to be Expedition Unknown. I’m a legend junkie with a passion for traveling and exploring cultures. However, I do like where I live… and I don’t want to travel nearly as much as Josh Gates does. Frankly, two-five trips a year will do me good.
But I love seeing what new adventures Josh Gates gets himself into. From searching for Amelia Earhart’s remains to investigating the True Cross of Christ, Josh Gates is always bringing new things to talk about on his show. He brings us along as he rock climbs, scuba dives, and crawls through caves.
In May this year, I met him for the second time and it’s only made me more adamant to watch his show. He is kind-hearted, brave, a joker, and so passionate about his job. Literally, it’s like he’s our Universe’s Indiana Jones.
He’s my role model… and I don’t think I’ll ever stop watching Expedition Unknown.
So that’s my list of 2015 favorites. Honestly, my head is kind of buzzing right now from the processing overload! But my Goodbye to 2015 post isn’t complete until I divulge in my 2016 resolutions. After all, it’s traditional to have goals for the new year, not to mention a good thing to do to keep procrastination at bay.
My plans for 2016 remain the same as they have for the past few years:
Lose 50 pounds; feel healthy and capable of anything!
Finish my first novel and get it put out into the world.
However, I do have goals for my social media profiles: I would like to keep to a schedule. Update my blog weekly, my Youtube videos every two weeks, and post to my Facebook page daily. Especially concerning the content of this blog, I would love to write more reviews; consider this 2015 recap the beginning of said reviews!
So, have a Happy New Year duckies. Say a generous thanks to 2015 and grasp 2016 by the hand — it’s almost here!
I’m sitting here, Layover with Anthony Bourdain playing in the background as I write this. His show has really become a favorite of mine. Second only to Expedition Unknown.
Like Josh Gates, Anthony Bourdain celebrates culture. However, he does it through food, while Josh does it through legends. Both are travelers, explorers, intellectuals, and passionate modern historians. With awesome personalities.
Now why is this relevant to my blog post about New Orleans?
First, excuse me.
I’M GOING TO BE IN NEW ORLEANS TOMORROW! FOR A WEEK!!
The first time I went to New Orleans was as a graduation present in 2011. I had my Bachelor’s degree in creative writing, the horizon looked endless, and I wanted to try something new.
Since Halloween 2010, I had really ramped up my interest in the paranormal. Thanks to Ghost Hunter’s Waverly Hills Halloween Special, I had, yet again, started researching into the things that go bump in the night. The things that still made my spine crawl at the possibility. Was that really a draft? Or was the door pushed by something else? What were ghosts? How do people investigate haunted locations?
I marathoned Ghost Hunters and continued my research into the paranormal field.
And then I came across Destination Truth, GH’s “sister show” with host — guess who — Josh Gates.
Yup. Actual quote there.
Long story short, both my interests in paranormal legends and travel were stimulated, as well as, distantly, my writing. Although, I will admit in the years between 2011 and the present, I was less inclined to write… and wanted to explore. After all, isn’t that what all post-college students do? Find themselves outside of the academic world in one way or another?
New Orleans helped me find myself. I discovered that there was a place in the world where people could be exactly who they wanted to be. That helps them discover it, in a place without judgement. In turn, watching all the eclectic, culture-filled people that live in New Orleans makes a person realize that the strongest criticism — the one we listen to and fear — is inside of ourselves.
New Orleans is… just so hard to describe. Seriously. Maybe, in fact, that’s the perfect description of the Southern Culture Hub. Jackson Square is always packed with a combination of tourists and street performers, mystics and shoppers. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can catch a traditional wedding party leaving the St. Louis Cathedral. There’s music everywhere and people dance to it… just because they’re moved to.
(Those are pictures I took in 2011)
But I’m also excited for the people I’m with to experience New Orleans. My brother, Camille, and Dan. As far as I know, they’ve never been there. (If my memory serves correct) And I’m really excited for Dan to experience his first major travel. He’s only had car trips before… so flying and New Orleans is going to be a completely different world for him.
I’m excited to return. To see New Orleans in a different light. New Orleans helped me become myself. The Wondering Writer who isn’t afraid to jump in the deep end.
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?