How Do I Keep From Getting Scared…

Here’s a secret.  I still get scared.  Every once in a while.

Over time, my personal scare-o-meter has re-set to a higher threshhold.  When you spend a lot of time checking out places that are reported to be haunted, it’s an occupational hazard. I’m not quite laissez faire, but I do approach most potential Haunt Spots with a sense of “okay, where’s my checklist and what’s this all about?” and dive right in.

Although we’re not in the business of gathering evidence, we record when we have a personal experience — sometimes on the back of our checklist or in the margins.  Sometimes, it’s a jumble of hurried impressions.  We try to be thorough and conscientious.

Recently, I was tooling around a cemetery.  You know, like you do.  We already knew it was going to be a stop in an upcoming ghost tour, but were poking around trying to locate a specific monument.  The researcher I was with is one of those people who has a special relationship with her camera.  If there’s a paranormal image to capture, she’s much more likely to get it than anyone I know.   So, what the heck?  I’ll click on her digital voice recorder for a bit so she doesn’t have to juggle them both.

It was an interesting (read unsettling) visit.  I’ve been in a lot of cemeteries and this one didn’t initially seem any more atmospheric than any other.  It’s got some great headstones.  There are mystery stories lurking beneath your feet.   You know, a cemetery.  I’d been there before, but this time something felt different.  Not right away.  It took a while.  Like something was gathering critical mass before we could feel it inching up our necks.

We spent a goose-bumpy afternoon there, joshing our way around the dead people.  Whistling a happy tune to keep from hightailing it back to the car in an embarrassing fashion.  Each of us glad not to be there alone.

Done – check.  Get out of there.  Drive home and off she goes to her house and I’m safely ensconced in my office.  Oops!  I forgot to give back her digital voice recorder.  Well, heck.  I’ll just turn it on and let it play while I check email.

What was that?

WHAT WAS THAT?

So, I’m scrambling on the internet looking for an on-line manual for the Sony ICD-B600 recorder.  How do I rewind?  How do I fast forward?  How do I find what I heard again?  How do I find ALL the things I’ve heard again?

It was a miracle I didn’t accidentally erase the whole thing, my hands were shaking so badly.  I’d never captured EVP’s like this before.  Heck!  I’d never captured ANY EVP’s before!  Another research partner of mine had, but not me.  And this was the mother lode.  Steve and Tango and Jay and Grant would have been salivating.

Okay, here goes…

We’d been among the graves a little while and had started to confess that we were each feeling uneasy.  The atmosphere had changed.  I asked the question, “Is this your area?  Do you want us to leave?”

“Yes.”

Only imagine a hissy, sigh of a yesssss.  You can also imagine, only it wouldn’t be your imagination, me peeing my pants when I heard that for the first time on the recorder.

There’s more.

Soon after, we’re talking about a distinctly growing feeling of unease.

“Get Out.”

OKAY!  Forget the “Yes”!  Did that whatever it is just say Get Out?  (on-line manual… rewind…) Oh yeah!  That’s what I heard.  Well.  Well, well, well.

What can I say to that?  First, I can try to slow my breathing, but then what?  I don’t want to go back to that cemetery.  It told us to Get Out.  The only correct answer is “Yes, Sir”.  And then you get out.  Like when the stupid family in the movie is told by the entity that’s trying to kill them to Get Out.  The answer should be “Yes, Sir” and you leave.  Period.  Of course, the family didn’t leave and look what happened to them.

But, wait, there’s more…

We had to go back.  We needed to film.  At night.  And, I haven’t even told you about the other freaky EVP’s.

Wanna go with us next time?

Happy Haunts,

Susan Scot Fry

www.CaperCompany.com

Advertisements

3 Days of Halloween Ghost Walks!

There’s something about this place.  Something that keeps drawing me back.  Something that makes me keep digging.  My sixth sense is on high alert.  I just know that there are ghost stories here.

Guess what?

I was right.

It’s been a fascinating and frightening trip into this mysterious town’s haunted history.  Now you’re invited to join in the fun.  Presenting the…

1st Annual Port Washington Ghost Walk

Three nights only – October 29, 30 and 31 – delve into newly discovered paranormal tales of downtown and beyond.  Port Washington is only a 30 minute drive north of Milwaukee but feels like you’ve traveled back in time.

All the details are on the Caper Company website at http://capercompany.com/halloween2010.html.  There are two guided ghost walks to choose from – one includes getting inside one of the village’s most notorious haunts.  Both tours end up with a candlelit exploration of a local cemetery – a place where Caper Company Researchers have personally captured some pretty terrifying EVP’s.

Each excursion into the supernatural will be led by experienced Caper Company Researchers.  On Tour 1, you join me at 6 pm and Char Paulbicke at 7 pm.  Tour 2 is led by Jenni Glueckstein at 7 pm, Ron Scot Fry at 8 pm, and all of us at 9 pm.

Questions?  Feel free to email me at SusanScotFry@CaperCompany.com or give me a call at 262-498-5777.  Already know you don’t want to miss this?  Pre-purchase your tickets on line at the webpage listed above.

Happy Haunts,

Susan Scot Fry


How’s your Halloween shaping up?

Haunted lighthouse

Haunted restaurants

Haunted businesses

Haunted coffee shops

Haunted marina

Haunted train station

Haunted courthouse

Haunted cemetery

Halloween is shaping up nicely.  Want to go?

Happy Haunts,

Susan

71 Great Wisconsin Haunts

I give in!  They’re all yours!  I can’t hold back these great haunt spots any longer. You want ghost stories, you’ve got ghost stories. You want to explore these places yourself – go for it!  We’ve done the work, it’s time to share.

All you have to do is google “haunted Wisconsin” and you’ll find the same lists that got me kick started.  Since then, I’ve researched, interviewed, snooped and poked up more haunts.  Huge kudos and creds to the devotees who compiled these lists, but I can’t tell you the thrill that I get when I find a ghost story that isn’t already on one of them.   It’s like striking gold.

Researching Haunt Spots is exhilarating, exhausting, frightening and fascinating.  On these all-day scouting trips, we’ve managed to visit over 150 places in Wisconsin that are reported to be haunted.  That’s a lot of ghost stories.

So, I dig into how to actually find these places and we go and check them out.  They are rarely easy to find.  After all that work, though, some are duds.  You can’t get anywhere near the place – or once you get there, there’s nothing much to see.  Or it’s private property.  Or the business owner doesn’t want you anywhere near.  Combine that with a thin or frankly boring ghost story and we can call that nixed.

But some – oh, some are mind-blowing.  ‘Hard to find’ becomes a quest.  The story is alluring.  The place is atmospheric and accessible.  Bonus if my research partner captures an EVP or an odd image in a photo.  I jump for joy when the batteries in my camera die.  So far, I’ve collected 71 Haunt Spots.

After we have these experiences, I string 4 of them together into a tour route.  A road trip.  A Caper.  You would think with 71 keepers that that would be easy to do.  Well, it’s do-able, but in the meantime, you are missing my very favorite cemetery in all of Wisconsin.

Huh?  That’s an injustice.  Just because it’s too far off the beaten path to hook into a route?  Well, no more!

Here’s the deal – Instead of only offering all-day, multi-haunt tour routes, I’m going to start offering single destinations.  That’s right.  I can finally get you out to my favorite cemetery in all of Wisconsin!  Just because I haven’t been able to tie it into a longer route yet is no longer an excuse for withholding the creepiness.

I’ll still have full routes coming out, but in the meantime – Have At!  Create your own route.  Grab a buddy or two at the last minute and instead of a movie, pop in the audio story for a real Wisconsin paranormal adventure, follow my turn-by-turn directions and go have some fun.

I’ve got 4 single destinations ready to go and can have 4 more with another days’ work.  I’ve got another full Caper coming out in the next couple of weeks and can add 4 more single destinations at the same time.  Then, I guestimate that I can start giving you new destinations every 2 weeks or so.  That’s the audio story and tour itinerary with all the insider stuff – everything.

Meeting with my great web-guy this afternoon.  He’ll figure out for me how to put the single destinations up on the website.  Can’t be too hard.

This is so exciting!  Finally, I get to share all these great paranormal adventures with everyone.  Why didn’t I think of this before?

(insert forehead slapping sound…)

Happy Haunts,

Susan

Some Spooky Summer Fun

Psychic-Magic Magazine’s Summer Issue is out and yours truly has an article in it!  Granted, it’s a wee more tongue-in-cheek than the usual fare for this e-zine, but hey – so am I!

I had a lot of fun writing the article “Would You Stay Overnight in a Haunted Hotel” and having it come out in re-print at this moment in time is just a big old spooky reminder – I’m ready for a haunted road trip.

Back in June, I found a place I’d like to go – on purpose – overnight – with lots of back-up.  I think it’s time to put that road trip together.  In the meantime, here’s a re-print of the original article…  (Enjoy!)

WOULD YOU STAY OVERNIGHT IN A HAUNTED HOTEL?

By Susan Scot Fry

Not me. Not on purpose, that is.

I’ve done it by accident.

I’d just finished with my 4 month business incubator and had a brand spanking new biz plan in my lap. It was heavy, so I did what I always do when facing a life transition. Road trip. I packed an overnight bag, just in case, and headed north.

My first stop was a labyrinth in West Bend. I’m a fan and had been looking for a new one to check out, so it seemed as good a place as any. If you like your labyrinth overlaid with English country cottage charm next to a busy street, then this one will do it for you. Me, not so much. But, hey, at least I made it there and walked it. It’s all part of the road trip experience. The endless possibilities of ‘where next’ lay be-fore me. Which meant one thing. Lunch. A grilled ham and cheese sandwich later and I’m looking toward the road again.

The wonder of traveling with a GPS means that you’re never without a nearby antique mall. One mall leads to another, kind of like M&M’s or BBQ potato chips, and I’m far enough northwest to wonder, “Do I turn around and head home or commit to an overnight somewhere? Hey, I’ve never been to Fond du Lac. That’s on Lake Winnebago. I’ve always wanted to see Lake Winnebago.”

That’s how I ended up in Fond du Lac’s haunted hotel. It’s just the sort of place I’d pick, too. Not because it’s haunt-ed, but because it’s a very old building in the old downtown, and it’s reasonably priced to boot. It’s got a bar and a res-taurant on site. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. I’ve struck gold!

Now it’s a Ramada, but it used to be called the Hotel Retlaw. When I checked in, alarm bells went off in my head. Where had I heard about this place before? Why is this so familiar? Why does the place feel peculiar? Well, duh, Susan!  It’s on just about every haunted places index I’ve ever read. It wasn’t until I was in my room that it dawned on me. A cell call to my husband, who did a quick search on the interwebs, confirmed my suspicions. I’d checked into a haunted hotel.

I might have wondered about ghosts even if I’d not had my suspicions googled. The hallways were creepy and a bit disorienting. In my room, it felt like something was at either door—the one from the hall and the one from the bathroom. I did a lot of whistling a happy tune, which is what I do when I’m para-nervous. “Oh, la, la, la, it’s all my imagination, la, la.”  At about 12:30 that night, I forced myself to turn off the light and try to get some sleep. Try being the operative word.

Fond du Lac and environs has some stellar hauntings, so I’m sure there will eventually be a Haunt Spots tour of the area. I’ll save the full story of the Retlaw Hotel for then.

So, the question remains. Would you stay at a hotel simply because you knew it was haunted? I might, if I weren’t alone and if I had the nerve to explore more.

You?

Caper Company’s Haunt Spots tours are your chance to explore Southeastern Wisconsin hauntings. Haunt Spots tours are * Self-guided audio tours; * Multi-destination road-trips; * Available almost any day you choose; * You explore at your own pace; * A whole new kind of ghost tour. Susan Scot Fry and the Caper Company team (it takes a village to raise the dead) are living the dream. Please visit them at www.CaperCompany.com.

Who You Gonna Call?

Improv Everywhere is speaking our language – humor and ghosts!

Click on the picture and Enjoy!

Happy (and Laughing) Haunts,

Susan

Haunt Spots Tours Support Free Shakespeare in the Park

Haunt Spots tours are (if you will forgive me) alive and well!

Intrepid explorers are out checking out local Wisconsin ghost stories on the two Capers we’ve got for offer.  We’ve got the raw materials for 4 more tours (4 more!!!) just waiting to be turned into stories and tours to enjoy.

One of the other things that Haunt Spots tours are doing is helping support Milwaukee’s first ever Free Shakespeare in the Park.  A portion of every sale goes directly to the coffers of Optimist Theatre to support that amazing effort.  Shakespeare in the Park is a gift to the city, but it does cost some moolah.  Caper Company is thrilled to help.

If you want to help support free Shakespeare in the Park AND explore some local Wisconsin haunts, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.  Buy a tour!  Check us out at http://www.CaperCompany.com.

Who knows, up next could be a Shakespeare’s Ghosts tour… Now THAT sounds fun.

Happy Haunts (and Thanks for Supporting Free Shakespeare in the Park!)

Susan

Let’s go! Overnight Ghost Hunt

I’ve got the itch and I know where I want to go.  About 2 1/2 hours west of Milwaukee, there’s this enticing and lovely old haunted inn.  It’s near some other Haunt Spots I’ve also been dying to check out.

I think this needs to be a group trip.

Why?  Because I’m a chicken and believe there’s protection in numbers.  I also think the haunts in this area are so sensational that a small group — say 6 of us — would intensify the experience.

So, we drive over on a Saturday in July and check out some haunts on the way.  Maybe picnic somewhere a little creepy.  Check in.  Head out that evening for some night time ghost hunting.  Overnight in the B&B.  (Gulp!)  Spend the next day checking out more haunts.

Spook-a-licious!

I have my own personal issues with staying in haunted hotels.  One time, I was alone and pretty much terrified the whole night.  I think I could give it another try if I had time to psych myself up first.  And, if I wasn’t alone.

(Eep!)

I can do it!

Time to check out some prices — see if I can get some deals at the inn, van rental, holy water …

Sounds like….

…. fun?!

Happy Haunts,

Susan Scot Fry

PS  If you want to go – email me at susanscotfry@capercompany.com

The Rocking Chair

After having been cooped up during our tour, my muttinsky Elliott is happily tearing around in the sunshine with the light keeper’s dog.  They’re two black Lab blurs so similar that I call mine and end up with his.

It’s a gorgeous spring day and I’m even more in love with this little Lake Michigan harbor town.  After stumbling onto the village, I started digging for ghost stories.  I knew Caper Company Explorers would also fall for it’s New England-y charm, so there had to be ghosts.

There are.

The light station is reported to be haunted.  Score!  The folks who run it now as a museum have no ghost stories themselves, but they were warm and welcoming.  A few phone chats later and my research partner and I are on a personal tour.  Our host, Rick, has the dust covers off the furniture and everything is opened up — even the tower with it’s sweeping view.  That early spring day, the marina below had empty slips, but in a few weeks, the place would be hopping.  I’m aiming for this paranormal destination to be on one of our new Haunt Spots tours and Explorers will get to check it out for themselves.

Post tour, during the dog-romp and before we head off for a chilly picnic lunch in a nearby cliff-side park, I ask Rick if he can let me pop back inside to use the pantry — or rather, the room that used to be the pantry.  Now that the light station is a museum, it’s the bathroom.  No problem.  He and my partner can watch the dogs play.

Rick unlocks the door and in I go.  Up a few stairs and into the main area, I see dust covers are back in place and some of the furniture is moved away from the walls to the center of the room.  He had obviously been battening the hatches while we took exterior photos.

Inside alone, the atmosphere is wildly different than when we were all inside together.  Now I understand the sensation my partner was trying to describe to me just a few minutes earlier.

She’s not one to embrace heights, so getting half-way up the tower was a feat. We left her waiting on a convenient landing and I finished the climb with our guide.  After we all descended, she told me of a whispery experience she had while waiting on the landing.

I believe that anyone who’s open to it has a dominant type sensitivity.  Her’s is audio – usually in the form of EVP’s that are discovered later.  So, when she heard an audible whisper that sounded like a suspicious accusation of “who are you?”, it was unnerving.  It left her with the distinct impression that she was an unwelcome intruder.

Now, Hello, here I am.  Another intruder.  No longer in the company of the long time caretaker and guide.  I’m alone.  In the pantry.  Mentally whistling a happy tune to keep my imagination from crowding in on me too much.

Before I leave the panty, I decide I’m going to poke my nose into the kitchen for a quick 2 second peep.  The room left a distinct impression on me earlier and I was curious about how it would feel now that I was alone.  Alone and unwelcome.  Facing me, between the pantry and the kitchen is a shrouded rocking chair.  I step through the pantry door and it rocks.

Twice.

Every pore in my body clenches and I think my heart is going to explode.

Swallow.  Breathe.  Loose board?

Now I’m conflicted.  Is this like when, during stupid movies like “Poltergeist” the entity clearly tells you to ‘Get Out”, but the stupid people studipdly don’t.  They don’t get out!  Stupid, stupid, stupid people.  When an entity tells you to “Get Out” the only answer, if you really feel you have to answer, is “Yes, Ma’am.”  And. You.  Get.  Out.

To poke my head in the kitchen, I have to skirt the rocking chair.  My only excuse is that now I’m so scared that my brain is probably also deprived of oxygen and I’m not thinking clearly so off I go into the kitchen.  I do not humiliate myself by running into the kitchen — hey, it could have been a loose board — but I walk calmly (Hah!) into the kitchen.  I stay exactly 2 seconds.  Maybe 1.  And I calmly (Hah!) walk past the rocking chair toward the exit.  I do NOT turn around to see what it’s doing.  I don’t care a whit that it looks like it’s moving again ever so slightly out of my peripheral vision.

I do not run down the stairs screaming.  No.  I walk out and gently close the door behind me even though the handle now feels outrageously hot to the touch.

Time to go.

I didn’t tell Rick.  He’s been so nice.  And, he spends a lot of time there.  Alone.  The story will end up on the tour and if he hears of the experience then, c’est la vie.  Besides, it could have been a loose board.

Twice.

Happy Haunts,

Susan Scot Fry

www.CaperCompany.com

6 Signs of Psychic Ability

I just stumbled across the North American Psychic and Paranormal Network website and LOVED their tagline.

“We’ve been expecting you.”

(I’m laughing out loud right now!)

One of my favorite recurring tickles is driving by a hotel hosting a Psychic Fair and they’ve got a marquee sign announcing the dates.  The running joke is, “Why do they need to list the dates?  Won’t everyone just show up when they’re supposed to?”

The North American Psychic and Paranormal Network people get it.  You’ve got to have a sense of humor.

Many people consider themselves sensitive in some way or another, but bristle when they hear the “Ps” word.  I’m fond of online dictionaries so here goes…

Merriam-Webster:  Psychic.  Pronunciation: \ˈsī-kik\ Etymology: Greek psychikos of the soul, from psychē soul.

Date: 1642.  Function: adjective: 1 : of or relating to the psyche 2 : lying outside the sphere of physical science or knowledge : immaterial, moral, or spiritual in origin or force.  3 : sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces and influences : marked by extraordinary or mysterious sensitivity, perception, or understanding

Date: 1871  Function: noun: 1 : a person apparently sensitive to nonphysical forces

Conclusion:  WE’RE ALL PSYCHIC .

How?  Well, besides these definitions, where do you fit in these scenarios?

  1. Mom Hearing.  You know they’re getting into something.
  2. They were just talking about me.  That palpable silence that you can feel when you walk into a conference room.
  3. Women’s Intuition.  That inner voice that tells her it was you who didn’t put the seat down.
  4. I was just thinking about you!  Often heard first thing in a long overdue phone conversation.
  5. Don’t even think about it.  Closely related to Mom Hearing.
  6. I just know.  I just do.

These phenomena happen all day, every day, to everyone so, according to this definition, we’re psychic.

So, let’s have a sense of humor and adventure.  This can be fun and exciting stuff.

What’s your psychic ability?

Happy Haunts,

Susan Scot Fry

www.CaperCompany.com

Update…  WOW!  Thanks for all the great comments via this blog and the Caper Company facebook page!  I just found out that this post is one of Haunt Jaunts top 3, too!  Sweeeeet.