A Favorite Story From the Port Washington Ghost Walk 2010

Last Halloween, Caper Company spent the weekend in chilling and charming Port Washington, WI.  We had discovered some delicious paranormal activity reports and, anxious to share the stories, we led a few hundred intrepid folks on the first ever Port Washington Ghost Walk.

As we prepare for 2011, I’d like share a favorite ghost walk story with you from 2010.  Enjoy…

“This is Real”

Halloween ghost walks are a great way to have a seasonal spooky celebration with friends.  It’s like being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day – everyone gets on board and goes for the ride.  The last thing most people expect is to make a real, personal paranormal connection so if it happens, it can be a bit of a shock.

A typical tour group ranges the spectral spectrum — from true believers to total skeptics.  The latter are there to spend an evening out with buddies.  They expect to have fun.  What they don’t expect is to be converted.

Saturday night of Halloween weekend was prime time.  Every tour was packed, so moving from point A to B to C took vigilance from the Caper Company tour leaders.  Happily, as the ghost stories unfolded, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Most of the time, the non-paranormal-fans go along quietly.    There’s a bemused, indulgent expression on their faces when they hear a ghost story they deem particularly incredulous.  If someone in the ghost walk group chimes in with a similar experience, the expression may devolve to a include bit of subtle eye rolling.

This evening, a gaggle of 4 girlfriends among the tour group of 20, were out for an adventure.  3 of the 4, at any rate.  One lady kept her tongue firmly in her cheek the entire time — never naysaying, but always standing a bit back.  She obviously wanted her friends to enjoy themselves, but perhaps was not the first person to have voted for this particular activity.

About half-way through their spectral exploration of the historic downtown, the Port Washington ghost walkers trek up a block, away from the harbor and toward the courthouse.  There’s an alley along the way and soon after passing the opening, our resident skeptic summoned up the nerve to confide in the tour leader.

The term “Looked-like-she’d-seen-a-ghost” had never been so apt.  This poor soul was having an epiphany.  She fervently whispered to the tour leader, almost as though she were both afraid to say anything and equally afraid not to, that she was convinced that the group was no longer alone.  That someone — or something — had just joined them in their ghostly quest.

Sometimes, confession will tip the balance from being scared to something shared and less frightening.  Not so with this poor lady.  Once she admitted it out loud, the phenomena seemed to frighten her even more.  The more she talked about what she was feeling, the more unnerved she became.  Soon, she was exclaiming, “This is real!  I’ve never believed it before, but this is real!  There’s someone with us and this is real!”

Poor dear.

Her distress at being metaphysically aware of something was so overwhelming that the rest of the tour group quickly caught on.  Within minutes, it became necessary for the tour leader to gather the group and offer some calming thoughts.  Everyone banded together to comfort and reassure this lady who was beginning to question her own sanity.  After a short time in a circle, she was composed enough to continue.  Mostly.

For the rest of the downtown walk, she stuck to her tour leader like a sheet to a ghost.  He would occasionally hear  mutterings of her fear-tinged fascination at the experience.  She would glance over her shoulder to see… nothing.  Which seemed to frighten her even more.

By the end of the ghost walk, her friends were starting to rib her a little.  Her eyes were still pretty wide and there’s a good chance her heart rate was still a bit elevated, but she took it good naturedly.  As the tour leader was concluding he felt it important to check in, but there were no more words.  Just a shake of the head and one last whisper, “This is real.”

What will this Halloween bring?

Happy Haunts

Susan

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Tonight’s the Night! The Latest on the Port Washington Ghost Walk

Hey Caper Company Fans!

This weekend is the Port Washington Ghost Walk.

If you’re considering doing the Walk-In thing, that’s super. The weather reports are better than I could have dreamed of, so come on by.

Here’s the latest availability:

Friday, October 29
Tour 1
6:00 – 12 spaces available – Updated 10:oo am Friday
7:00 – 16 spaces available – Updated 12:15 pm Friday

Tour 2
7:00 – 16 spaces available – Updated 12:15 pm Friday
8:00 and 9:00 – wide open

Saturday, October 30
Tour 1 – BOTH TIMES ARE FULL

Tour 2
7:00 – 5 spaces available
8:00 – 14 spaces available – Updated Saturday, Oct 30 8am
9:00 – 14 spaces available – Updated Saturday, Oct 30 8am

Sunday, October 31 (Happy Halloween!)
Tour 1
6:00 – 16 spaces available
7:00 – 10 spaces available

Tour 2
7:00 – 17 spaces available – updated Saturday, Oct 30 8am

8:00 - 18 spaces available

9:00 – wide open

Feel free to call me at 262-498-5777 before 5:30pm for the latest. After that time, I’ll be on a walk and won’t be able to answer.   If you want to go ahead and book a tour instead of walking in, the website is at http://capercompany.com/halloween2010.html

Launching a dream takes lots of good will and help and we all appreciate your support more than we can ever express. Remember, it takes a village to raise the dead!

Happy Halloween!

Susan

Newly Discovered Haunt Spots

This is what it’s all about.  In the world of paranormal travels, the holy grail, the golden goose, the ticket to Ghost Hunters Live is discovering a ghost story that no-one has heard of yet.

This moment may be brief, but it can be so bright. **

It’s practically guaranteed that from the time you tell someone about reports of paranormal activity to the time it shows up on the granddaddy of on-line listings, Shadowlands, will be split seconds.  The time from that post to the haunt being added to the exceptional Unexplained Research map is not even worth measuring.  Those folks are on top of it and we’re indebted.

Allow me to bask for a moment or two because that’s about all we’ve got.  Aaaaaannnndddddd….. Done.

We’ve got two, count ’em, two newly discovered Haunt Spots on our latest tour, “A Forlorn Phantoms to Floozies Caper”.  This tour is pretty eclectic.  It covers 2 very well known haunts and the 2 we sussed out just for you.  The tour takes you on a road trip north of Milwaukee, into Ozaukee County.

Digging into the rumors was so much fun.  All it took was a hint and off we went.  We talked to neighbors, dug into history, visited libraries, and generally poked around until we made nuisances of ourselves.  But, that’s what it took. Not only did we discover some rich ghost stories, but there were other pay-offs.

Pay-off 1:  We captured some interesting EVP’s at one of the new haunts.

Pay-off 2:  The people who manage the other location are going to let Haunt Spots Explorers poke around inside.

Bottom line pay-off:  Now it’s your turn.  We had our fun.  The stories are recorded and the Caper is up on the website. Grab a couple of friends and go check it out for yourself.  Just in time for Halloween.

Happy Haunts,

Susan Scot Fry

http://www.CaperCompany.com

** Kudos and thanks to Rush for these lyrics.  Hey, go with the pros.

We Are Not Alone — Paranormal Trade Shows

J-Random Trade Show ZombiesTo me, the words ‘trade show’ conjure images of zombie-like packs of business people prowling around a convention center clutching one of those plastic vendors bags. They stop at every booth and grab all the swag they can, while assiduously avoiding eye contact. You know what I mean.  You’ve been there, too.  Later, after the fugue wears off and you sort your booty, reason returns and the questions begin.  What are you going to do with all this useless crap? Why do you have that brochure? You have no need to purchase vermiculite by the truck load or to get your gutters replaced by solar compost receptacles.  To whom can you give this pencil with the sparkle eraser?  Into the trash it all goes.

Trick or Treat!Now, imagine yourself at the newest trend in trade shows – the Paranormal Convention. What’s going to end up in your bag here?  It may feel a bit more like trick or treating than killing time away from the office.  Of course for those readers who are already afficianados of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and comic book cons — attending a paranormal convention may already be  de rigueur.

In structure, a paranormal themed convention is pretty similar to any other trade show.  There are workshops, guest speakers, a vendors room and a big party where people far from home hit on each other.  Of course, with this theme, the big party may also take the form of an actual ghost hunt — for a nominal fee.

For us in the Midwest, all roads currently point toward Ohio.  The next big paranormal convention coming up is Extreme Para-Con 2009 in Cincinnati on December 11, 12 and 13.  Info at http://www.extremeparacon.com/.  In between, there aren’t a lot of local-ish choices on the calendar yet.  After Cincinnati, the next one I’ve been able to suss out is in Dayton, Ohio in August of 2010. Check it out at http://www.ohioparacon.com/.  There’s a more comprehensive list of upcoming events and recent passings at http://www.allconferences.com/Society/Paranormal/

So, Hello Milwaukee and Wisconsin!  Is it time for our own paranormal convention?  I’ve got some goodie bags that need fillin and don’t want to drive all the way to Ohio to do it.

Happy Haunts,

Susan

Is it Too Soon?

KnifeEd Gein?  Maybe yes, maybe no.

Jeffrey Dahmer?  Probably.

The 14-year old boy who was brutally killed in Whitnall Park?  Yes.

You won’t be surprised to discover that, in the course of researching Haunt Spots, I run across a lot of murders.  Sometimes, it’s a fit of passion that ended tragically.  Sometimes, it’s more extreme — as illustrated by these first two names.

If the crime occurred long ago, the energy of the area may have become tolerable and the crime has passed into folklore.  There’s no magic number of years, though.  The boy mentioned earlier was killed in 1974, but there will need to be many more years before his story could be considered for a Haunt Spot.  The energy is too painful.  His story is too heart-breaking.

There are still plenty of bullys to encounter.  On the “A No Safe Haven Caper” tour, Explorers go through a mini-cleansing before leaving one Haunt Spot.  It’s for their well-being and my conscience.  No-one wants that meanie to follow you home.

Conscience does make cowards of us all, Hamlet, Act III Sc. 1.   Hey!  I’m not a coward!  My conscience is a personal gauge of right and wrong.  Far be it from me to censor anyone, but I’m responsible for the quality of your experience.  It’s my job to help Explorers have a good time.  If I think a Haunt Spot is too dark or too fresh, I’ll ask other opinions.  Thus far, the opinions have all agreed.  There are a few locations that you may never see.

They aren’t my stories, but I get to tell them.  I do so with a sense of adventure but also a sense of care.  So, no you don’t get all the haunts.  Some should be left, if not in peace, in respectful solitude.

For now.

Happy Haunts,

Susan

Has Ghost Hunters Jumped the Shark?

Ghost Hunters Academy StudentsI admit up front — it could be just me.  I could be going through a seasonal down-swing in my devotion to the whole paranormal reality tv show phenomena.  The shine of Jay and Grant may have dimmed.  The Klinge brothers antics may be inadequate to overcome my malaise.  Zaks’ hair jell and muscle shirts might have lost their edge.  Or it could simply be post Thanksgiving turkey tryptophan narcosis.  Whatever the reason, I have to ask — have the producers of Ghost Hunters jumped the shark with their new series Ghost Hunters Academy?

Am I jaded or is there something about the show’s attempts at being edgy that ring a desperation alarm bell?  Being the gruff guy helped make Jay popular, so are they’re trying it on Steve for size?  Steve has always been a bit of a scamp-in-training– in that ‘let’s see if I can trick Tango into eating this’ sort of way — so I can understand their decision to ramp him up into a full-blown hand-slapper.  But still…

Ghost Hunters debuted October 4, 2004, so they are in their 5th season.  Happy Days was also in it’s 5th season when Fonzie took to his water skis.  But heeeeyyyyy Happy Days also lasted another 7 years afterward.  With the rabid fan devotion of GH — within who’s ranks I proudly remain —  I don’t think we need worry about losing our lads J&G to the gentility of running their haunted New Hampshire country inn too soon.

What do you think?

Happy Haunts,

Susan

What’s Up With My Streetlight?

Our bedroom windows face the street.  There is one particular window that attracts my attention most nights.  It used to be in the attic, but when the former owners of our 137-year old house gutted the second floor, they opened the ceiling up to attic rafters.  It’s a wonderful, airy feel and now the window that would have peered onto the street from an attic gloom creates wheel-shaped shadow puppets in our bedroom.

The shadow it casts moves around the room at different times of the year, depending on where the moon is in the sky.  Sometimes it’s one wheel.  With the helpful glow of the streetlight, sometimes it’s two.   Lately, it keeps alternating as the street light randomly switches on and off.

This is an unusual occurrence.  It’s also totally unrelated to my current affect on electronic gadgetry (aka my Primary Personal Paranormal Sensitivity or PPPS).  But I confess, when I was a little girl, I used to wonder if streetlights going on and off were my fault.  You know those fantastic, super-hero thoughts you have growing up?  I recall a recent-ish t.v. show — one of those “is it real?” expose sorts of things — that told the story of a man who claimed to be able to turn streetlights off when he walked by them.  Oh, I know about timers on street lights now.  I know it wasn’t me.  I watched his story with a hint of guilty pleasure and girlish wonder.  How liberating to imagine that sort of impact on the world around you, especially when you’re a powerless child.

Now, the streetlight that casts this comforting glow on my bedroom ceiling and wall is dancing.  I’m not sure if I hope it gets fixed or not.

What childhood sensitivities do you carry with you even today?  I hope you cherish them too.

Happy PPPS Explorations!

Susan

And, Now — The Conclusion of LM’s Halloween Haunt Spots Adventure

Welcome to part 3 of 3.  LM and her crew of intrepid Haunt Spots Explorers have made their personal paranormal connections and are inspired to think of those who’ve affected them…

“One of our group members has suggested that next Dia De Los Muertos, (not today, unfortunately, because it’s a bit too last minute,) we go back out there for a proper Day of the Dead picnic. I asked if this means we have to cook for 4,000 and she laughed and said no — just as long as we have SOMETHING there for them to pay them proper memory and respect. I pointed out that they probably don’t eat much anyway, what with being transparent and all.

All in all, the entire group agreed that it was a fantastic day, and couldn’t stop talking about how the person who decided not to go with us was silly and had missed out on an amazing experience. I was so happy to have been able to share that day with them, and to make them all so happy too. Like I said, things that I try to organize generally don’t go well — parties, excursions, adventures, etc. But this worked out VERY well. (Oh yes…thanks for including nearest addresses and GPS coordinates on the itinerary, as well as descriptions of the area. In classic “me” fashion, I got us lost at least once on the way to every single location, but we were still able to find our way there.)

Thank you so much for this, and I hope to post our pictures soon. (You will LOVE the one of our youngest expedition member at the EB, suddenly struck by a “writer” moment where she just HAD to sit down and take out her notebook.)

Happy November to you, and thanks again on behalf of my friends for a fantastic Halloween!”

— LM

(PS from Susan…  No, LM — Thank YOU!  And, by the by — the spirits of PF are happy to have met you and your friends.  They look forward to your next visit.)

LM’s Halloween Haunt Spots Adventure… Part 2

And, LM’s Halloween Haunt Spots Exploration continues…

(More ghoOOOOOOOOOOoooosts!)

After WP, we stopped for food at this AMAZING Indian restaurant about 6 miles away from the park. Tiny place, looked kinda sketchy from the outside, but it was incredible. (Royal India Restaurant. Tell your friends.) Two of our group pulled out a notebook and started an impromptu Nepali / Hindi language lesson, which our waiter eavesdropped on and must have decided he liked us. We all got free chai and a free appetizer.

I wasn’t sure how much further our group would want to continue, seeing as it was cold and dark and at least two of them were not wearing appropriately warm footwear or coats. I asked them if they wanted to continue to the last location, or just skip it and go home now that we were all warm and full of comfy food. They all insisted they wanted to continue.

PF was by far the most active place we went. By the time we got there, it was well past nightfall, though the moon provided some decent light. (Oh — and we met up with another Caper tour! We met this couple at WP and asked them to take our picture, then encountered them again at PF. This was just WAY too much coincidence, so I asked if they were on your tour and they said yes. Our skeptic, on the other hand, insisted that they were “ghoOOOOOOOOOOoooosts!”)

Walking out into PF was a bit creepy for several of us, simply by virtue of the fact that we knew we were walking over unmarked graves. We got to John Schwab’s headstone at the center and stood there for awhile, talking and taking a few pictures, and then I stopped and realized something.

I realized we were alone. Just the six of us. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have been a particularly profound thought, except what I realized was that this entire time, I had been feeling as though we were standing in the middle of a crowd. It was so matter-of-fact that I hadn’t questioned it before, but at that time I stopped to think about it. This was not, in fact, a crowded plaza — but it sure felt like one. I asked if anyone else had the same feeling and they all immediately responded that yes, they did — they just hadn’t wanted to mention it, or weren’t sure how.

All except our skeptic, of course. In stark contrast to us, he said he felt VERY alone — like his back was exposed, and someone was about to steal his wallet. He was exceptionally creeped out, and I think it was pure politeness to the rest of us that kept him from demanding that we leave right then.

Then, as soon as we crossed outside the fence surrounding the field, the feeling went away. For all of us.

(to be concluded in part the third)

An Excellent Halloween Haunt Spots Exploration

Welcome to our newest Guest Blogger “LM” — now known as the Infamous LM of Haunt Spots Tour Leader Extraordinaire fame.

LM has shared her wonderful write up of their Halloween Haunt Spots ghost tour exploration.  Enjoy, part the first …

(ghoOOOOOOOOOOoooost!   —  read on, you’ll get it…)

A Hard Luck and Loss Caper at Night 006

EB from A Hard Luck and Loss Caper

Susan —

We had an absolutely fantastic Halloween expedition! The entire group was thrilled to have had a day like last Saturday, and I was thrilled that something I planned actually worked out for once.

We ended up having one too many people to all fit in one car, so we split into two cars and then just regrouped at the parking lot of each location to huddle in my car and listen to the audio CD. Our token skeptic had a lot of fun chiming in with ”

OoOoOoOo…!” at various moments, as well as mimicking fake ghost coughing at appropriate locations. He also declared that, since it was Halloween, we couldn’t just say “ghost” — we had to say it “ghoOOOOOOOOOOoooost!” All day long. Every three seconds. Every rock, tree, and twig we came across was somehow a “ghoOOOOOOOOOOoooost!” Likewise, I assured him that it was a “ghoOOOOOOOOOOoooost” that kicked him in the shins repeatedly, rather than me. (No worries,though — it was all in good fun. After we were done for the night and headed home, he asked if we could please put the audio CD back in so he could listen to all the stories about the places we had just been. I asked if he wanted to skip past the M one, since we didn’t actually go there, and he said no — he wanted to hear it.)

The first two places we stopped, we didn’t find much in the way of activity. Rather, we just soaked up the absolute October beauty of it all. At least two of our explorers wanted to stay there for hours, I think, and thanked me repeatedly for bringing them there. We had one unexplained experience at WP — ironically, witnessed by our skeptic. Four of our group had continued down the path by the waterside, while two of us remained behind to take more pictures. As we went to catch up with the others, the skeptic reported that he’d seen a reflection of a person in the water and assumed it was us — but upon looking up, couldn’t see us approaching from where he stood. We thought maybe it was a trick of the angle or the brush obscuring the path and tried recreating it later, but we couldn’t.

(to be continued…)