Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ghost Hunt at Durand Union Station

On September 29, 2012 I had the pleasure of attending my very first ghost hunt.
A little over a month ago, my sister, Sondra, posted a link to some of us on Facebook with a flyer for the Depot Ghost Hunt at Durand Union Station sponsored by the Southeast Michigan Ghost Hunters Society. She asked 'Who's in?' and knowing how much my son, Nicholas, loves all the those ghost shows on TV, I jumped all over it!

Now, I have done some research on 'orbs'. The following website was most helpful.
They showed many different photos with dust particle orbs. Many of which you will see in my photos.
However, they only displayed two photos of what they call a "spirit orb". 
These are those two photos.
Spirit Orb
Spirit orb emitting energy

Now, after we arrived and were greeted by the ghost team, they proceeded to give some history on the railroad depot. "Hub of the town." "Burnt down and rebuilt." "Dead soldiers caskets brought here on the train and stored until picked up." Blah blah blah. All this information is well and good and gets you in the mood for the hunt, but I wanna get going already...after I pee, of course. It was a long drive and that coffee went right thru me!

Next, they take us upstairs to meet the rest of the team and show us the equipment they use to look for anomalies and such. We are allowed to use some of these gadgets if we wish. Some of us in our group do. Alisha has a device that shoots a red laser and reads temperature. I think Kecia grabs something that emits a pulse or whatever, and Nick grabs an EMF thing-a-ma-jig that flashes red, yellow and green lights.

Kecia (in white shirt) with her gadget and Nick holding the EMF sensor-thing.
Me, I've got my trusty 4G smart phone and a downloaded ghost radar app. Now this is some fancy shmancy piece of equipment, right?! I thought it was fun, but total bullshit! The reason I think it was bullshit is because one of our guides (the lady on far left in above pic) had the same app loaded on her Nook Color and we got different blips and different words all throughout the time we were in the basement. 

Sondra expressing that she was feeling "something" touch her hair and cheek.

The Ghost Radar Classic shows an image of a radar that randomly shows blips on the screen that are either red, yellow, green or blue. When they appear, a single word will randomly 'speak' thru my phone and show up at the top of the screen. Now, since I've been writing this paragraph, I have set my phone on my desk next to me with that app running and have had several blips of varying colors appear and the words that have come thru are "I've" "England" "Shown" "Minute" and "Happily". 
According to the ghost-guide-lady, these are words the spirits are saying to us when they appear. Do any of these words have meaning to me right now as I sit typing? Not that I can wrap my mind around. Ooooh "Hundred" and "know" just popped up. Is it Grampa telling me there are hidden $100's somewhere in this house? I wish!

Kecia switches spots with Sondra so she can get in on the action.
Of the dozen or so pics I took in the basement, this is only one with an "orb". Upper right corner.

OK, so back to reality. All the sites I've visited that discuss orbs pretty much debunk them as dust particles, bugs and so on. When we use the flash, the light reflects off pieces of dust and we get orbs that appear in our pictures.
 I think I can believe this. They do happen way more often than not and especially when I use the flash. 

Casket room. Pic #1 Couple faded orbs around blue door.
Pic #2 No orbs visible.
Pic #3. Although flash was used in all three photos, this pic was much brighter than other two photos and two bright orbs pop out. One near ladder in far corner and one near white window frame. Dust particles or spirit orbs? Hmmm.

Now, I'm not trying to convince you I am a non-believer. On the contrary. In my lifetime I have seen things, heard things, felt things and smelled things that I could not explain. When referring to "ghosts", I know I have had some paranormal experiences. 

Flashback: After Doug's grandparents died, they left us this house and during the first year we were here, I had a few experiences that kinda freaked me out. I walked in the kitchen and standing on the landing near the back door I caught a "glimpse" of Doug's Gramma standing there and a strong smell of roses filled my nose. There were no flowers anywhere in my house and when I rubber-necked to make sure I was seeing her, she was gone in a flash.
Another instance, that I'm sure was Doug's grandfather, was when I was taking a shower and thru the shower curtain someone poked me. I clearly felt and saw the shower curtain move and poke me in the hip. Of course I jumped and yanked the curtain open, but no one was there. That creeped me out, big time! 

While sitting in the living room watching television, I looked down the hallway and saw an arm, shoulder and head (in profile) of a person walking across the hall from our bedroom in to Nick's bedroom.

Sometimes, when I'm alone in the basement on my office computer, I can hear conversations in the other room.
Also, I will get a strong smell of cigarettes, as if someone is sitting right next to me blowing out their smoke after each puff.

Occasionally I will feel, what I'm assuming is a cat, jump on our bed, walk across my legs and proceed to curl up near my feet or sometimes it curls up on my pillow above my head. At first I would think it was Dusty, but when I'd look or move my leg, there would be nothing there. And Dusty-kitty only sleeps up near my arm and shoulder, and then only until I put my book away and he immediately jumps down.

Train going by just as we are heading down to the basement. We all pause to watch it from the platform.
OK, so back to the hunt. Finally we leave the inside and head for the basement. It's separated from the main part of the depot so we have to go outside to get there. As we turn the corner we see a train going by. We all head to the platform to watch it.

Now here is my first "sighting" that is NOT an orb. It is one of those "glimpses" I told you about earlier.
Unfortunately for you, I did not catch it on camera. 

We walk forward, just like in the above picture. I get to the corner and turn right and look down the platform. I see a person in a blue shirt moving towards the building and then disappear. Either they went in to the building or around the end of it. I couldn't quite be sure on the distance from where we were or what was even on that end of the building, seeing as how we hadn't been down that way yet. Inside or outside. I make a comment that I just saw someone down there and the ghost-guide-lady says that there are avid train enthusiasts who sometimes come out and watch the trains. I think this odd at first, seeing as how it's after 2 in the morning and we're in a tiny podunk town, but I shrug and say ok.

Near center, on ground, white water jug and slightly to the right is a stone memorial.

I then snap a few pictures, because they told us upstairs before we embarked on our adventure that we should always take photos in 3's. That way we have before, during and after 'evidence' of anything that may appear. I'm only posting one of these because all 3 are the same. Nothing abnormal stands out in them.

So, the ghost-guide-lady uses her 'walkie' to call up to the other group and tells them I saw a person down here and asks if anything has shown up on their sensors. Of course, all their equipment is inside the building and I suppose they would have only "caught" something if what, or who, I saw went in to the building from the platform. Upon hearing this the ghost-guide-guy (Brad Mikulka) comes running downstairs and does an outside sweep of the premises. He finds nothing. No people anywhere. Mind you, this whole place is fenced in...and, like I said...it's after two in the morning. Who comes to watch a random train go by in the middle of the night? All I'm saying is, I know for a fact I saw a person in a blue shirt moving towards the building.

OK, we've moved to the basement. My sister, Sondra, has the strongest experiences down there. Everyone is cold except me, it seems. I'm comfortable and just sitting back snapping pics (in 3's) whenever someone mentions feeling something. I'm listening to my Ghost Radar speak random words. Doug is trying not to doze behind me in his chair.
But Nick is really in to it! He's seeing bits of ghost-shadows everywhere!

Flashback: Nick has told us that a ghost lives in his bedroom. He sees ghosts as shadows. First time he ever saw something was when he was around 4. We had moved in to Gramma and Grampa's house and were still getting things organized. There were lots of their possessions still here. In the basement at the end of the hall was Grampa's train room/office/utility room. Nick stopped dead in his tracks and said he couldn't go down there. "There's a man standing in the doorway shaking his finger at me and telling me I'm not allowed." Only later when he saw a picture of Doug's grandfather did he recognize the man as the one standing in the basement shaking his finger at him.

Freaky? Just a bit, but not abnormal.

The whole time I'm in the basement of the Depot I feel nothing. I try very hard to see or smell something. All I see is everyone else experiencing something and all I smell is mustiness and mouse poo! Only time something struck me was when I was reviewing a photo I had taken of Kecia and was telling Alisha how I thought it odd that everything I took a photo of in that basement didn't cast a shadow. Just as I was saying how I thought there should be a shadow from the flash, the Ghost Radar spoke the exact word I was about to say. Think I can remember that word now? No! Damn, it sucks to get old and forgetful. Ah well, that was my only freaky moment in the basement.

Casket Cart outside front of Depot.

We head back inside to the part of the Depot that holds the ticket booth and and waiting area.

Ticket Booth
I start moving around hoping I will experience something in here. I take pictures from all angles and corners.

Random orbs, plus a colored one under center chair. Also, what is that shadow under window on right?

That shadow just seems odd. I have no idea what could be casting it. Bothers me now. I never noticed it before.

Couple random orbs again.
Orbs move, as dust particles would as explained by "experts".
This was just strange. I didn't move at all during these three shots. You can clearly see my flash in the mirror ahead, but why would this shot go dark? Hmmm.
Nick said he kept seeing shadows down the hall.

Now, ghost-guide-guy told us the bathroom (which is just to the right of this picture) was an active hotspot. Even though this is the bathroom I used when we arrived, and I didn't experience anything, I decided to go in again and see what I could see. You know that feeling you get that starts in your chest and then spreads as a "chill" thru your whole body? Well, I walked in the room just outside the bathroom and this was as far as I could get. I suddenly got that feeling in my chest and stopped. I took my 3 shots and scooted right back out. I didn't see anything, but that feeling bothered me. I wasn't scared or frightened.
I just know I didn't wanna go in the bathroom at that moment.

Now, the next day, as Doug and I sat at home and reflected on the events of the hunt, he told me he went in that bathroom and entered all three stalls and then stood facing the mirror hoping something might 'manifest' itself with his reflection,
but he got nothing!

All I know is the feeling that went thru me when I tried to go in. 

When the lights were on and I had to pee, I didn't think of anything but that room being a place for me to relieve myself, but that was before I was told it was "active". Who knows. Our psyche has been known to mess with our brains, right?

Outside this wall are the train tracks and the platform. It was in this area that I saw the person outside earlier.
Alisha had me take pics here because she had a strong sense that a child was playing on the floor and she had the urge to go sit and play with them. This is pic #3 and a small orb did appear on the floor to the right of Kecia where it wasn't in the first two. Hmmm.

Nick using the EMF to see if there is a child (or something) here.

 We're about done on the lower level of the Depot. It's time to move upstairs to the attic and conference room.
The attic is said to not be active, but the conference room, we're told, has a very negative, mean-spirited energy.

Doug and Nick using their tools. We're told the hallway is very active. Sondra and Alisha said they saw a woman with long gray hair walk in to this door on the left. The conference room is on right and attic is behind me. Room straight ahead holds all the equipment they use for monitoring.

Furthest part of the attic. The floor was very unstable. I found a firm spot and wouldn't move. Nick and Anyssa were closest to me, but Doug, Alisha and Sondra were even further in to my left.

 Behind me, I'm startled when I see "people". I did jump. Sh'up. You'd be a bit on edge after walking over a floor that you could possibly fall thru and then turn to see these creepy mannequin eyes staring at you.
See the mannequin with the blue shirt, on the left. That is the same color shirt the person was wearing that I saw outside.
It's a train uniform. Hmmm. 

OK, I'm done in here. Onward and out. Everyone wants to head to the conference room now.
I must say, I'm very proud of Anyssa. The two places she said she didn't wanna go....basement and attic!
She did both and she did very well. Proud of you, girl!

We enter the room. I'm one of the first in and I start to grab the chair that Nick is currently sitting in,
but I decide to round the table and sit.
I place the camera on the table and snap a couple pics.
There is one chair in the corner over behind Doug. Anyssa was gonna sit there but changes her mind and sits next to me.
I wait a few minutes then get up and go sit in that chair.

Of all the pics taken in this room, this is only one with an orb. Upper right corner of the room.

The whole time we're sitting here, Sondra complains that she is having a hard time. The room is very negative to her. She gets up and eventually comes and stands by me. Nick is also expressing that he feels terrified.

I never felt anything.

 It doesn't take long and we leave this room. So, we're done. We turn in the devices we borrowed at the beginning. Our guides are just about falling asleep (see ghost-guide-lady #2 in the orange/black coat). We were the third group of the day and it's nearing 5AM.

We head downstairs to go outside.

So, our guided tour is done. We all head outside and take one last walk around the building. I'm snapping pics as I go. 

Faded orbs everywhere.
More orbs, but in different locations.
Holy Crap! Is that a dust orb near top of building or a spirit orb?! Just shocked me how bright and large it appeared outta nowhere.
The next few are one shot each of a 3-shot series. I kept getting a single orb appearing in the 2nd of the 3 pics. It was always in the same location hovering just above the fence-line, until I approached it and it moved out over the tracks.
I just thought it was odd.

Round 1 - Pic #3 of 3

I took a couple steps and shot again.

Round 2 - Pic #2 of 3

I moved a bit closer and the orb moved down a bit also but still hovered above rail.

Round 3 - Pic #2 of 3

I moved right about where the orb first appeared and I got nothing!

 So, I shoot out over the tracks and of course there are orbs everywhere. It's blurry but you get the idea.

Alright, I'm going to end this adventure with three final shots. We are now on the opposite end of the platform from these previous pictures. Doug came with me. I didn't see anything significant until I got home.
I'm looking at the pics on my computer monitor. It's a 22 inch screen. I notice something that I could not see on my small camera viewer. I have put a white circle around the spot in all three photos so you can see the location of what I see.
Remember, you can click the pictures in this blog and you will see an enlarged version.

Pic #1 - slightly elongated oval. White dot in bottom is the water jug from earlier.

Pic #2 - I widened the oval so you can see it's a different photo. I'm sure there are orbs that have moved from the first pic.

In this picture I clearly see the head, arm and leg of someone walking. I zoomed in to verify what I was seeing. I had to pull up all three pictures and keep switching back and forth to see the difference.
Doug did the same and he agrees that the circled object looks like a white shadow of someone walking towards the building.

What do you see?

So, I end my adventure just as it began. I saw a person at the beginning of our 'hunt' and I see this 'person' at the end.

Whether or not you actually believe in the unbelievable is up to you and your...well, your beliefs.

My experiences were mine alone.

Just as Sondra's were hers, Nick had his and everyone else had theirs. 

I had a wonderful time. It was an adventure that I will surely do again!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One of Life's Hard Lessons

Recently we have found out that our cat, Dusty, has cancer. 
Well, the veterinarian's educated guess is that it's cancer. We've had many tests done to find out what is wrong with him, but the fees were adding up and the final test to determine if it actually is cancer was just beyond our budget, so for now we are giving him the best quality of life we can.

Dusty 2001
Being a parent is a tough job sometimes. How do you explain to your child that the pet we have had since she was 3 months old is going to die?

 Let me tell you, it hasn't been easy. 
 While having casual conversation with a friend about all we have gone thru with Dusty these past few months, I didn't realize the impact my words were having on my daughter as she sat listening nearby. Man, what a dolt I was for not being more careful! It's not that she didn't know he was sick, but she apparently didn't realize how sick until I spoke of cremation and burial. D'oh!

But honestly, tell me...is there an easy way? No. I don't think there is any way but the blunt truth. 
Dusty is sick. 
He has a disease that will kill him. 
Four months ago he was a 13 pound ball of fluff and now he weighs under 8 pounds and is nothing but fur and bones.

Dusty and Allie on Yacht Street - late 2001

Every day we wake up and Dusty is still with us, 
is one more day we get to enjoy him. 


He doesn't do much but lay in the same spot next to his food bowl. He occasionally gets up and eats a bit. Thankfully the vomiting is few and far between.

He still goes down the stairs to use his litter box, but jumping up to the front living room window is no longer an option.

 I know that being a parent has its ups and downs. You want your kids to be full of innocence and wonder forever. You don't tell them that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy aren't real. You make them believe for as long as you can. Phooey on the outside world and what they tell us! If my 13 year old son believes faeries are alive in our backyard garden, then dammit, faeries are alive and living in our flowerbed! What harm can it bring? Nothing. It just gives them the freedom to believe in the unseen.

 Besides, it's what we do everyday when it comes to God, or whatever being of higher power your religion worships.
You can't see Him.
 Or touch Him. 
But you know He's there. Something is there. 
Maybe it's just aliens.
Who knows. 
But to quote one of my favorite lines in a movie... 
"I'll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It's bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it's just us... seems like an awful waste of space. Right?" (Movie: Contact)

 All I know that I have learned from life is that we are born. 
We live. And then one day we die. 
Sounds simple, right? Nope. 
Whoever said life was simple has not lived a day in their life.
Let us reflect...

Allie - in utero. July 21, 2000

We are safe here. Inside our Mother's belly. Nothing can get to us. We don't know what hurt feels like. We don't cry. We don't know what it's like to love something with every fiber of our being and then have it taken away in an instant. We just float here and wait for the day when we get to breathe fresh air. 

Smell pretty flowers.

Feel the sun on our skin.

Love and be loved in return.


Touch something soft and furry.

Walk in the snow for the first time.

Throughout our lives we will know many people.

They will be our Family.

Our Friends.

Our Neighbors.

Our Pets.

We will know them for a little while or for most of our days. But know this...
We will love them with all our heart. We will enjoy the time we are with them 
and we will mourn for them when they leave this world.
We will remember them forever!

Sadly, no one can prepare you for death. Even when you know it's coming. When all the signs are there. 

You've been sick for a long time and just couldn't hold out one more day. You've suffered long enough.

  You don't get to see 
one more sunrise or sunset.

You won't get to feel
any more rain on your face.

 Whether we look to the heavens during the times we remember...

Or just sit and pray for the loved ones we've lost.

No matter how much we want to shield our children from pain and loss we have no other choice but to reach deep in our hearts and find the courage and strength to teach them that nothing lasts forever. 
It's a hard lesson. But one we all must learn.

While we still have our Dusty-kitty to love and pet.
There are many others I have lost during my lifetime that deserve a place here.

Please join me in the Lord's Prayer as we stroll thru the past and remember some who have come into my life, filled my heart and soul with love, laughter and tears, then gracefully took their leave to rise up and join the angels.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Barbara K. - Mother of a friend
Doug's Grandparents: Pauline and Stanley Wiechec
Doug's step-Grandparents: Shirley and August Stutzner
Scrappy (top) and Cat
My Grandma: Lois Proctor
My Grandfather: Bert Proctor

Clarence - our Neighbor

My cousin Terri (center)
My Grandfather: Marshall Duffiney

My Grandma: Rosalie Duffiney
My Kitty: Scrap
Doug's Uncle: Donald Wiechec
My Uncle: Dick Duffiney

My Aunt and Uncle: Karen (Kaye) and Jim Morley
My Uncle and Aunt (Left and Right): Donald and Ruth Gezequel
My Grandparents: Arvilla and Walter Morris
Scrap (again)
Siblings: (from left) Aunt Iris, Uncle Roger (still living), Aunt Lorraine, Aunt Adelaide, Uncle Don and Uncle Dick (kneeling). Uncle Gary also deceased, but not pictured.

There are so many more who have gone from this earth, but now I will say to all of you....

Live like there's no tomorrow.

Jump in to each day and the make the most of every minute.

 We must learn to get along with each other.
No matter how strange others may seem.

Smile at every person you see. 
I can betcha a smile will make any person's day
and lift them up no matter how crappy they are feeling.

If you are feeling blue, and can't shake away the gloom,
go buy yourself a treat....like a bright red balloon!

 Never give up the fight!

Take a stand!

And by all means, make your voice heard!

We only have a certain amount of tomorrows. 
So make each today count!

Rest In Peace Dusty
March 1, 2001 - October 27, 2012

You will be forever missed.