Monthly Archives: July 2016

Flinderation Tunnel

Flinderation Tunnel is located in Salem, West Virginia. It is an an old railroad tunnel. The structure is approximately 1,000 ft in length and was built in the 1860’s.

This railroad line was chartered by the Northwestern Virginia Railroad for the B&O. The tunnel section was built between 1853 and 1854. It was actually was an independent company but was essentially financed by the B&O. The B&O timelines show no record of any accident or derailment in or near the tunnel.

Flinderation Tunnel is part of the 72 mile North Bend Trail. It is operated by West Virginia State Parks and is part of the American Discovery Trail. The Flinderation Tunnel has been featured on paranormal shows as it is said that phantom trains are seen and sounds of footsteps and train wheels screeching against the train tracks have been reported by numerous folks in the area.

The stories abound about this allegedly haunted location. There are stories telling of a train wreck, the death of a man, rumors of past KKK murders and numerous ghost sightings. In 2009, I was even present during the filming of my friend Jason discussing Flinderation Tunnel on the Travel Channel.

I have conducted numerous paranormal investigations and completed many hours of research on this location. The place has a creepy atmosphere, with an old graveyard, and the gory story of a deadly train wreck. There are places along the tunnel roof that are missing and have crumbled onto the ground. Traffic noises echo from Route 50 and bounce back and forth within the tunnel walls, making it almost impossible to obtain true EVP’s from the location. The wind whistles through the tunnel and when you look toward either end of the tunnel, the shadows will have your eyes playing tricks on you against the darkness. It is not uncommon to see lights, shadowy figures, and many other light distortions.

According to my friend Jason, local legend tells of a train accident in which two men were ran over by a train in the tunnel. One man was dragged about 75 yards under the train while the other man flattened himself into a shallow cubby hole and survived.

Another story circulating was that there were several men working on the railroad back in the 1800’s. They did not realize a train was coming and one of the workers could not get off the tracks in time. The train caught him and killed him which caused a freak derailment. Many paranormal investigators believe that these stories contribute to the inexplicable fogs, lights and ghostly footsteps that are reported by many who visit Flinderation Tunnel.

There is another legend associated with Flinderation Tunnel. It states that in the mid 1900’s, the Ku Klux Klan brought many of their victims to the tunnel to carry out various attacks and lynchings. Eventually, the tunnel was officially shut down and the tracks were torn up in the 1990’s.That brings us to present day where it remains part of the North Bend rail trail.

I have heard many stories and reports from other paranormal investigators who claim to experience unknown lights, mists or fog, footsteps, orbs, growling, crying, voices and various apparitions to include children who talk and giggle.  There was even a story about  a red “evil orb” that was allegedly captured in a still photo. The man claimed that the orb moved from left to right and knocked him over while he was inside the tunnel.

There is a cemetery located on top of the tunnel. There are claims that some of the coffins have fell through the roof of the tunnel. This allegedly caused the tunnel to be patched on several occasions. There were even some allegations that a body from one of the caskets may have gotten stuck between the repaired tunnel roof and the cemetery after their coffin fell through. I was able to verify with locals that the cemetery above the tunnel has not always been stable. Every time I have ever visited Flinderation Tunnel, I have not been able to see any stones patched because it’s too far up above me and it’s usually very dark.

Most of the legends and stories about the tunnel mention a terrible train wreck but I was unable to locate any historical records to verify the stories. There were no newspaper articles, death records to match the location or any other official documentation that I could use to verify any of the claims. In addition to that, I found it almost impossible to capture EVP’s at this location due to the traffic noise and other contamination from the nearby highway. However, I always felt like someone or something was watching me and there is an overall feeling of uneasiness inside the tunnel. I contribute that to the living humans who regularly visit the tunnel more than I would contribute it to paranormal activity.

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Written by:

Cindie Harper

 

 

 

The Old English Chapel (Mecklenburg Chapel) Sheperdstown, West Virginia

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The “Old English Church” which is also known as Mecklenburg Chapel began as a log cabin in 1745.  The stone structure called the Mecklenburg Chapel replaced the original building in 1769. To this date, the basic structure still remains. It is one of the first church buildings west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Thomas Shepherd, Founder of Sheperdstown, willed the lot where the building stands to the church parish in 1776. After the Revolution, the building fell into neglect. The church was  rebuilt in 1815. There are records of the church being referred to as Trinity Church in 1836. There was a clock located in the tower of the church from 1841 to 1858. The clock was gifted to the church by Rezin D. Shepherd. After the Civil War, the Old English Church became the first Freedman’s School and then the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The original steeple blew off in a storm in the 1890’s. Today the property is privately owned and was used as the Headquarters for the cast and crew of the show “Ghosts of Sheperdstown.”

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Christ Reformed Church Sheperdstown West Virginia

The year 1747 is the date given for the founding of this Christ Church. However, German-speaking residents of the area assembled together for Sunday worship in the tradition of the Reformed Church in the German Palatinate a few years prior to that. 

In the earliest days of the Christ Church congregation, the local Lutheran congregation and possibly some Presbyterian congregation shared the same log building. The stone tower on this church was a part of the original Christ church building.

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It was preserved and included in today’s structure which was erected in the early 1800s. It is a square tower made of native stone and is surmounted by a steeple and belfry. The belfry contains three bells imported from Germany. The bells were imported a few years after the Revolution by a Revolutionary soldier named Michael Yeasley. The largest of the three bells is engraved with the date 1732 and “Rouen,” suggesting a French manufacture.

The cemetery was established in 1774 and is right beside the church. There were graves of soldiers who served in the American War for Independence and some headstones were inscribed in German.

In the Eighteenth century, the Christ Church name also included the word “German” to distinguish it from the Dutch Reformed Church. Another denomination formed in the United States to include both Lutheran and Reformed traditions. It was called the Evangelical Synod of North America. In 1934, Christ Church merged with the Evangelical Synod and became known as the Christ Evangelical and Reformed Church in Shepherdstown after it was realized that the national leadership of the Church desired cooperation and unity.
The landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620 signified the beginning of the denomination in America.  Many years later, in 1957, The United Church of Christ was formed, and the name of Christ Church in Shepherdstown became Christ Reformed Church, United Church of Christ.

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By: Cindie Harper

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The God Helmet. It’s Indie Science.

The “God Helmet” is an experimental device predominantly used in the field of Neurotheology  for the purpose of synthesizing paranormal experiences by manipulating the brain by using electromagnetic stimulation. It is placed on the head of an experimental subject and stimulates the brain with fluctuating magnetic fields.

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A cognitive neuroscience researcher at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada named Michael Persinger has gained attention for his work with the “God Helmet.” Persinger reports that at least eighty percent of his participants experience a presence beside them in the room, which ranges from a simple ‘sensed presence’ to God.  About one percent experienced God, while others reported experiences of ‘another being’. The device uses magnetic fields. This is not to be confused with EMF emissions. The distinction is important because alterations in consciousness have been noted during changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. The Earth is not a source of EMF emissions, but is a source of magnetic fields.  Persinger’s device is also not to be confused with TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation), a clinical technique that employs pulsed ‘trained’ magnetic fields, instead of the ‘complex magnetic fields.’

Persinger reports that some people may be more genetically predisposed to sensing God or another higher power, and they may not need a God Helmet to do so. (Hitt,2008).  According to Persinger, naturally occurring electromagnetic fields can also cause religious experiences, particularly in those with this predisposition to sensing God. It is possible that our brains will always seek out some sort of transcendental hope or otherworldly protection, even if it’s not called God. (Henig, 2007). And some evolutionary biologists argue that there are important individual and collective benefits to a mind hardwired for religion. (The Economist, 2008) It is possible that a component of Darwinism is responsible. Religion may be a way for people to work together, to have an interest in an entire group’s survival or survival of a collective group.

Persinger reports that some people create weak, complex magnetic fields by themselves while others are sensitive to natural and manufactured magnetic fields around us. Researchers say they do not know what neurological mechanism could be generating the experiences that are reported by subjects using the God Helmet. However, using personality tests, they did find that people with an orientation toward unorthodox spirituality were more likely to feel a supernatural presence.

Current studies suggest that the sense of self, which maintains the boundary between you and the outside world, is created in the left temporal lobe. When you lose that boundary, you feel integrated with the whole universe. That would be one kind of religious experience. Stimulating the right temporal lobe evokes a right-hemispheric equivalent sense of self, which the brain interprets as another entity. The “sensed presence” is the right hemisphere’s sense of self. We are only aware of this when the signals in the right lobe rise above normal levels. According to Persinger, there are reports of such experiences in every culture.

The temporal lobes have been associated with producing mystical experiences and visions. The God Helmet stimulates these temporal lobes. This stimulation has been shown to induce a “sensed presence”, under blinded conditions. Persinger has published the papers so you can try to replicate it for yourself and find out whether it works.

Persinger did not build the device to find God. He set out to locate the creative state necessary for scientific discovery. (Hercz, 2002) Persinger believes in the importance of interdisciplinary research because the nature of consciousness, the brain basis to God, is not going to be solved by any single discipline because it is human experience. Human experience is not a single discipline. Persinger states that, “the existence of God is basically irrelevant.” He goes on to state that, “The way God is defined- infinite, forever – is an empty hypothesis. You can’t test it one way or another.” (Hercz, 2002)

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Persinger is not seeking social consensus or mainstream approval for his research on the God Helmet.  His independent research implies that we are influenced by the magnetic fields around us and that those fields are thickening. The GodHelmet research appears to demonstrate that humans can perceive a weak magnetic field directly with our brains. If Persinger’s “indie” scientific research proves to be correct, paradigms will shift. If not, it’s still “indie” science and what’s not to love about that?

Written by: Cindie Harper

 

 

References:

Wheeldon Manor

Wheeldon Manor is a 23, 000 square foot building located in Central City, Kentucky. For the purposes of paranormal research, it is important to note that the walls are 3 brick thick. The building is over a hundred years old with steel beams throughout the building.


There is a railroad track and a large creek beside the odd shaped building.  All factors that are believed to increase paranormal activity at allegedly haunted locations.


After researching this location, I was able to find information stating that different parts of the building could be dated around 1912, possibly earlier. The current building is dated around 1933 and has served many purposes over the years. I found information suggesting that it has served as a car dealership, boarding house for the rail road, an armory, retail outlets, a local newspaper office, a post office, a saloon, a brothel and an apartment building.

The building is presently being used as a haunted house attraction known as Sinister on Center during the fall season of each year.

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Here is a link to the website:

http://sinisteroncenter.wix.com/sinister-on-center-

The building itself has several sections. The basement area is where the maze is located for the haunted attraction. It has several corridors and dead ends. The boiler area is on the main floor and can be described as store front area and the upper level consists of apartments. Some of the apartments are used for the haunted house attraction and have creepy props that include: crime scenes, spider webs, evil clowns standing in corners and much, much more.

During the last investigation at this location, it took me a few minutes to get used to walking into a spider web inside a dark room only to find a creepy psycho clown standing in the corner staring at me. If you’ve ever watched any of my livestreams, you will know that I don’t particularly care for creepy clowns or creepy dolls, and I definitely don’t like spiders. Considering these factors, I rate this building as pretty creepy.

Prior to going into this location, I was told that there were reports of unknown footsteps, feelings of being followed down the hallway, unexplained odors and sounds, disembodied voices, and full bodied apparitions. There are several reports of experiences with a little girl named Maggie and a man named Charlie.Many paranormal investigators and teams, psychic mediums, and paranormal researchers have reported numerous paranormal encounters to include EVP’s and photographic evidence at this active location.

Toward the end of the night during my last visit to Wheeldon Manor, I was sitting alone in “Jerry’s room” on the edge of the bed conducting an EVP session while recording with my video camera. All the other paranormal investigators were in a separate room when one of them asked me if I was willing to turn off my camera so we could all be in “pitch black.” I agreed. I sat there alone for another fifteen minutes until the only other female in our group decided to join me. She explained that she felt a little apprehensive so she decided to sit down next to me on the edge of the bed. We were both facing the doorway that led into the hallway. We had all electronic devices turned off so that there was no source of unnatural lighting. The room was very dark but we were able to vaguely see the doorway. I caught a glimpse of something that briefly appeared to darken the doorway.  Curiosity got the best of me so I began to stare directly at the doorway.  The room’s temperature seemed to drop as I could feel the chill bumps forming on my arm. A few minutes later, a very large (over 7 feet tall), black, human-shaped shadow figure appeared in the doorway. Although there were no discernible features to indicate gender and I did not see a mouth, nose, or eyes, the being seemed to have an intimidating, masculine presence.  It moved extremely fast across the doorway and disappeared out of sight. I felt a slight gust of air and the other female investigator yelled, “Did you see that?” Still in disbelief, I managed to yell, “What? Yes!” The rest of the group heard the commotion and came down the hall to check on us. As we were telling the group what we saw, we confirmed that we both witnessed that same large, black, shadow being move quickly past the doorway.

This encounter left both of us in disbelief as we confirmed that the shadow figure was definitely not a member of the group as we were all present and accounted for as confirmed by all members of the group. We could find no other logical explanation for what we witnessed. The fact that we both saw it and reacted at the same time just left us with more questions than answers.

Upon review of video and audio footage from that night, I was able to hear several interesting EVP’s. A few of the EVP’s were questionable so we decided not to present them as evidence. We also received a few direct responses during the PSB-7 session. I am still kicking myself for turning off my camera at the end of the night. While I am aware that video proof of the shadow figure would not prove anything to anyone who is committed to debunking it, it would really only confirm my experience.  It was an experience that I will not forget and one that compels me to return to this location for the second time this year.

So did I experience a Shadow Figure/Shadow Being? Ghost? Demon? Jinn? Sgili? Alien? Time Traveler? Or was it my imagination?

Well, since another person witnessed it at the same time, I am going to have to rule out the possibility of it being my imagination. I am also ruling out the possibility of it being the phenomenon known as Hypnogogia since it is very unlikely that we were both sleeping and having the same dream.

What are some other theories?

Quantum and theoretical physics, suggest that shadow people could possibly be some sort of other-dimensional beings whose dimension of origin occasionally overlaps with ours. Science now tells us that most of the universe is composed of dark matter that we are unable to see. It is believed that there are many dimensions that are invisible to us. The shadow being phenomena might be caused by other dimensions that overlap our own and occasionally intersect.

We also know that electromagnetic impulses can interfere with the human brain causing as altered perception. Recent studies in Canada have shown that people who are unknowingly exposed to a magnetic field often feel an unseen presence. Since electromagnetic fields are everywhere now, this may account for the increase in the number of shadow beings and other phenomena being reported.

Right now, there’s no law of physics that prevents time travel so some people believe that Shadow Beings could actually be visitors from the future passing through. Other people suggest that there’s a connection between aliens and shadow beings.

Then there is the concept of subconscious thought. Some people believe that shadow entities can be created by powerful emotions and psychic energy. This could account for the reports of heightened “activity” at locations where something traumatic has occurred.

Some people claim they can leave their body at will through meditation (astral projection) and other theories claim that we all travel out of body when we sleep. This concept makes it possible that shadow beings could be a product of astral travelers or twilight travelers.

We cannot ignore the fact that shadow beings have appeared in legends throughout many cultures. There are Native American stories that portray shadow beings as shape shifters and in pre-Islamic mythology, shadow beings were called djinn or jinn. In almost all legends, these shadow beings are said to be able to change their shape and believed to inhabit a parallel world to humans. Many people still believe in their existence.

So what did I experience at Wheeldon Manor? I am really not sure but I am hoping to experience it again this weekend and with any luck, I will catch it on video.

I am planning to livestream from the location this weekend so hopefully you will tune in and participate in the experience.

Written by: Cindie Harper

 

 

The Ganzfeld Experiment and Paranormal

A Ganzfeld experiment (from the German for “entire field”) is a technique used in parapsychology to attempt to test individuals for extrasensory perception (ESP). The Ganzfeld experiments are typically used in parapsychology for testing telepathy.

It could be argued that the concept of the Ganzfeld effect has been around since Pythagoras who was rumored to have lived in pitch black caves to receive wisdom through visions. We also have information that coal miners who were trapped in mines have reported seeing hallucinations, visions, and ghosts when they were in the pitch dark for days.  However, the Ganzfeld experiment was formally introduced by the German psychologist Wolfgang Metzger. In the 1930’s, Metzger established that when people gazed into a “featureless field of vision” they frequently hallucinated and their electroencephalograms changed. The name given to this occurrence was called the Ganzfeld effect. In the early 1970s, Charles Honorton was researching ESP, and began using the Ganzfeld technique. Honorton’s idea was that most people have lost whatever psi abilities they have as a result of distractions from every day life. He believed that if people did receive a psychic impression, they would never recognize it. He believed that by placing subjects in a Ganzfeld state, they would be more likely to recognize a psychic transmission.The first full Ganzfeld experiment was published by Honorton and Sharon Harper in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1974.

During a formal scientific Ganzfeld experiment, the subject is placed in an isolation tank floating in a dense saline solution. The temperature is a constant, comfortable ambient temperature and it’s completely dark and quiet. The point is for the subject to see, hear, and feel nothing. It is known that sensory deprivation allows the imagination to seem surprisingly real since there is no outside distractions (stimuli). The Ganzfeld state is different from sensory deprivation in that the idea is not just to remove all stimuli: audio, visual, thermal, and tactile. The idea is to provide targeted homogenous  stimuli.  

 

Due to the lack of accessibility of isolation tanks and controlled laboratory environments, a present day Ganzfeld experiment usually involves placing a “receiver” in a room relaxing in a comfortable chair with their eyes covered and a red light shining on them. The receiver should also wear a set of headphones playing white or pink noise (static). Eliminating cues for depth, shape, or distance is believed to keep the brain alert and looking for information. When no information is present, the brain starts amplifying the senses until the neural noise is confused as real sensory information.

During the Ganzfeld experiment, a “sender” observes a randomly chosen target and tries to mentally send this information to the receiver. The receiver speaks out loud during the experiment, describing what he or she can see. This should be video and/or audio recorded by the experimenter (who is blind to the target). After approximately thirty minutes, the receiver is taken out of the Ganzfeld state and given a set of four possible targets and asked to select the one that most resembled the images they witnessed. It is known that chance predicts an approximate 25% hit rate. However, during the Ganzfeld experiments, the parapsychology community found that it is common to have a 35% hit rate. 

The Ganzfeld Experiment is highly controversial and has not been scientifically proven but it’s an interesting experiment to try if you are of healthy mind and body. The assumption that any results that deviate from chance is evidence for telepathy,  is controversial. A deviation from chance only proves that the occurrence was statistically unlikely to happen. Until parapsychologists are able to prove the existence of psi or paranormal, it could be argued that the results are likely to be a result of Murphy’s Law.

I have participated in the Ganzfeld experiment at several haunted locations. Two of the most notable locations, The Sallie House and Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, are reportedly plagued with negative and dangerous paranormal activity. The Sallie House experiment was combined with a God’s Helmet session, Ouija, and Black Scrying Mirror.

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There is nothing that could prepare me for what I was able to “see” during that session. You will be able to read my blog about that experience very soon.

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Some have even labeled the paranormal activity at these locations as “demonic.”  

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By using the experiment during my paranormal research, I had hoped it would assist me to capture paranormal activity. I was unable to determine whether or not the experiments actually increased paranormal activity during my paranormal research but they sure made for a more interesting experience.

 

 

Perhaps the creepiest part about the information obtained from these sessions is that I was able to confirm some of the information I received as facts.

 

Some of the sessions were broadcast via livestream by another paranormal investigator who has since removed the videos.

Written By:

Cindie Harper

 

 

Mysterious Grave Expulsion in Morgantown West Virginia

In July of 1975, Morgantown, West Virginia had a strange, unexplained event occur right before the Fourth of July festivities began. The caretaker of Oak Grove Cemetery noticed a suspicious pile of dirt that he suspected was caused by local teenagers who had been shooting off fireworks. However, when he went to investigate it, he was baffled. It appeared as though a grave had been desecrated. The ground above the grave was torn up and he could see the vault coming up through the ground. He phoned the police to report what he suspected to be vandalism. When the police officers arrived, they were also confused by the strange site. After inspecting it further, it appeared to look more like something exploded outward. It is reported that the cover on the burial vault had erupted upward through the earth and burst through the soil and grass.  Upon further examination of the grave, they realized that there was no trace of an explosion, no gunpowder residue, and nothing else nearby appeared to be disturbed.

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The local gas company investigated the site for natural gas eruption, but determined that a gas explosion was not the cause. The ground in this area of the cemetery had been graded a few feet which meant that this grave was one of the more shallow ones. Further examination of the grave itself revealed that the vault had split at one corner, which might have forced the 3-inch thick slab lid to pop upward but not enough to appear the way it did. They also considered the possibility that there was a build up of gases from decomposition that caused the expulsion. However, the men could see a child’s coffin that appeared to be untouched and intact.

The vault belonged to Harry Spitz, who had died in 1912 from cholera. He had been buried for approximately 63 years.  An exhumation of the casket was granted with the intention of solving this mysterious occurrence but opening the casket only presented further mysteries. Harry’s body appeared to be very well preserved. His skin was somewhat leathery but intact and his face was framed by long blond hair. He wore a blue and white suit and had a stuffed lion at his feet. The coffin lining had rotted away but Harry appeared to be in remarkably good shape. The morgue supervisor at West Virginia University Hospital examined tissue samples but no traces of living organisms were found. This ruled out the gas theory. Scientists considered coal mining in the area, but no operations had ever been conducted in the vicinity of the grave. Methane and natural gas were researched and eliminated and no seismic tremors were recorded.

A husk of a flower and a small commemorative plate still lay on top of the casket, untouched. Neither of the objects had been attached to the coffin and should have slid off the coffin easily if it were disturbed even slightly. Even though the police chief remembered receiving reports about a strange group of people who had held séances and various other ritualistic activities within Oak Grove Cemetery, he was not willing to believe that they had summoned up some entity with great force.

Unable to reach a conclusion on what had caused the mysterious expulsion of Harry’s grave, the body of young Harry Spitz was reinterred in a new vault and Harry’s body was laid to rest once again on July 12, 1976. This event still casts a mysterious shadow over Oak Grove Cemetery. This mystery brought out many curious people to stare at the grave. The observers ranged from Fundamentalists to Psychics. Many people had their own theories about what had caused the mysterious event.

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Over the years, many stories have been told about the event. One of my favorite stories involves nursing home employees who took care of Harry’s mother, Desiree. Many of the employees who were involved in caring for Desiree over the years reported that every year the furniture in Desiree’s room would move around like someone had come in the middle of the night and moved it. According to several nursing home employees, Desiree was physically unable to move. In fact, the nurses and medical assistants stated that they do not recall any time where Desiree had talked or moved at all during their employment at the facility.

The mystery remains.