My First Year as a Tripper

by Natalie Crist


This will be my first dive into the realm of personal online publication. Naturally  I’ve written previously, however it was always for the purpose of professional advertisement, or literature for product knowledge. In short I’ve never put myself out there for the world to read. Wish me luck!

 

In 2016 I was introduced to Christopher Balzano, and quickly learned about his ongoing Legends Project. Immediately I was drawn in by his enthusiasm, and extensive knowledge. Not only was I in presence of someone who truly had a passion for his field, but a highly educated individual who could offer fresh perspective and alternative opinions on the popular or widely accepted ideas the modern paranormal world had to offer. Hell, not even just the world of weird, he has an opinion on everything!  He asked me to join in on the Legends Project – specifically resparking the Tripping on Legends part, and of course I wanted in.  
shirt1At the time I didn’t even really realize what I was signing up for… I’ll never fully grasp why me, but I suppose it has something to do with my naiveté, my natural inclination to trust what’s given to me. Be it words, smells, sounds, or gut instinct, I have a tendency to blindly believe, and ask questions later. And I was a newbie into the paranormal, so I had no preconceived notions of right or wrong when it comes to stepping into the spooky.  


From the very beginning we hit the ground running. I had never been a part of such an engaging adventure.  Picking the theme song for the podcast was like destiny embodied. I’ll never forget that moment. Pure entrancement. Choosing artwork for the cover. (We argued here – for I’m not zombie fan!) We compromised. The picture of the spooky forest, was perfect for us in my humble opinion.. For me it stood as an allegory – a seemingly blank yet terrifying forest, with a touch of mystery – this was us. It calls to me. It has a luring quality, like you just have to know what lies beyond the blackness…  We had both undergone life altering changes in our personal lives, and we were ready for the next chapter. The empty spaces needing to be filled with adventure; paranormal adventures.

 

17626251_10212808826124518_9004207747878773194_nThis adventure came with a set of issues though – I’m prone to spiritual attack, or at least I think I am.  It could just be my empathic tendencies picking up strong emotions, and I can suffer.  Number two, I despise attention (Not really the personality traits of a Paranormal Podcast host, huh?). Thankfully we’ve worked around these issues!  Christopher is kind enough to shoulder my need for anonymity and does most of the publicity. I don’t really love to be seen on camera, and he respects that. (He’s also much more charismatic, and, er, enigmatic, so the role fits him) But, I am slowly stepping up.

 

2016-2017 was a hell of a year!

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Listen to the Tripping on Legends episode about it…

We’ve been to so many places I had never heard of, experienced so many things I never thought possible, had lengthy discussions about the philosophical meaning of legends, but in the same breath joked about them as well. We have had the cards stacked against us, and we’ve had to learn on our feet. We’ve shelled out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars just experiencing new places, and I wouldn’t want a dime back for the lessons, the connections, and the memories are invaluable.

 

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Natalie investigating the difference between traditional Mary hair and the statue’s

The next time I write I think I’ll delve into the what draws me in so strongly and what my reactions have been. One sentence kind of drives me – Often I forget the words that are said, however I feel forget the feelings.

 

Thanks for reading… I welcome feedback!

 

 

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Grandma’s Raising Your Child

Regina always felt close to her grandmother, Maria, living with her most her life, surviving tragedy together and sharing all of the best times of her life. After Maria’s death from cancer in 1989, Regina found herself feeling guilty over her death and saddened that her grandmother and friend would not be able to share the most exciting stage of her life.  She was dating the man she would eventually marry and soon there would be children.  “I think she would have gotten a kick out of my sons.  She never had a grandson except Paul and Michael a bit later.  She would have loved them.”

Lately Regina has begun to feel that Maria might not be missing out but is sharing her family’s lives in the apartment she used to live in.  Regina has felt her grandmother’s presence since her death, but since the birth of her second child and the boys moving into what was once her grandmother’s bedroom, the feelings have turned to physical experiences, and as the moments seem to intensify, Regina is left more confused than scared.  “It’s scary, but more or less positive,” says Regina, an energetic mother and cataloger at a library in Boston.  “Ever since she died there’s been a connection there.  What’s the message?  I mean, what’s the main purpose?”

grandma2Regina lived in the same house as her grandmother for most of her life.  After a fire in 1981 they were separated for a few months, but when her parents bought a two family house in Everett, Massachusetts, Maria moved in downstairs.  Regina would climb down the backstairs to her grandmother’s apartment to have tea and spend time talking.  When Regina left for college in the late Eighties, Maria became sick.  She tried to come home as much as possible, but the college was in Western Massachusetts and her grandmother was in and out of the hospital.  The night before Maria died, Regina had a confusing dream that seemed to trigger the connection between the two.  She dreamt of standing over her mother’s casket, her grandmother at her side.  The next day, although she was doing better, Maria passed away.  Regina never fully got over the guilt she felt about not being there, and it did not help when years later she heard her grandmother had responded to her absence by saying, “What, is geography more important to her than me?”

The first time she noticed something unusual about the apartment was shortly after her grandmother’s death.  She was staying there with some riends from college.  They joked around and watched scary movies, but some time during the night each of them experienced something they blew off until the next morning when they all told what had happened to them.  They each distinctly heard tea being made, from the sounds of things being moved to the clinking of the pot and the sound of the spoon against the cup.  Regina sees it as a sign of their connection.

“As soon as I would get home from school in the afternoon she would yell up the backstairs, ‘Are you coming down for tea?’  It was our thing.”

Four years later, now married, she moved in to the apartment.  Through the years she noticed small things but constantly pushed the idea aside.  “You look back and make the connection.”  There was often a smell in the apartment she associated with her grandmother, even though the apartment had not been lived in for years and her father had renovated the place.  They both would smell her grandmother’s perfume, White Shoulders, mixed with cigarette smoke, often coming from the bathroom.  Maria would often sit in the bathroom smoking and doing crossword puzzles.  Regina would also see shadows out of the corner of her eye and experience vivid dreams about her.  One involved Maria standing on the newly renovated upstairs porch, dressed in black, holding a baby, and eerily cackling.  She also woke up once to her grandmother in the room glowing white with angelic wings.  She felt it might have been a dream, but the next morning she found feathers in her bed.

1172840_10152431110917841_210684489_oShe attributed most of the dreams and experiences to her imagination and guilt.  When her second child was born, however, things began to intensity.  “When I had Anthony I needed more room so the two kids could share a room.”  She moved Anthony, and his older brother Tom, into the bedroom where her grandmother once slept.  Almost immediately things started to happen.  There was a fire alarm installed in the room that ran off the electrical of the house.  It started to beep as soon as the kids moved in, although her and her husband had lived there for three years without any noise.  They cleaned the alarm, reset it and had an electrician take a look at it, but every time they put it back up it went off.

Tom, her three year old son is often heard talking to someone over the baby monitor.  Regina hears a soft buzz and then her son whispering low enough so that she cannot understand what is being said.  When Regina finally got up enough courage to ask him who he was talking too he explained, “I’m talking to my friend, the lady.  The lady that watches me sleep.”  Tom has started to not sleep in his room, preferring to sleep with his mother in her bed.  Recently, Regina was talking with her mother upstairs with the boys asleep in their room.  Her mother heard Tom talking over the monitor and asked what he was doing.  Regina explained to her skeptical mother, Maria’s daughter, who she feels has had things happen to her but refuses to talk about them.  Regina went back downstairs and right before she opened the door to the boys’ room, she heard Tom say, “Shhh,” over the monitor.

There have been other signs that there might be someone else living in the house.  The family dog does not go in the room unless there is someone in it, often circling around the door when it goes by and running from the room into Regina’s lap.  Regina has seen a figure in the hallway out of the corner in her eye.  She has not gotten a solid look, but she knows there is someone there.  Keys hanging from hooks in the hallway start to swing when she feels someone is there.

nanaLately things have gotten stranger.  Near Halloween she was sleeping in her bed with her son.  From the angle she was at she could see her mirror and through the mirror the reflection from her television.  All of a sudden there was a bright light about the size of a grapefruit in the mirror, slowly moving from side to side.  She tried to rationalize what was happening, thinking it might have been the Halloween lights outside, but she could not tell where the light was coming from.  She closed her eyes, but when she opened them, the light was clearly in the room inches from her, right above her son.  The light then seemed to move into the bathroom, at which point Regina ran into a different room.

A few nights later she was again lying in bed with her son Tom when she felt someone sit on the bed.  She could feel the pressure and thought it might be her husband.  When she looked there was no one there.  She asked, “Nana, is that you?”  The pressure on the bed felt like someone just jumped up and Regina felt as if the room had become suddenly empty.  This experience has confused Regina more than the others.  She always felt the presence was her grandmother, but she does not understand why she would run away when she tried to make contact.

Regina is convinced the spirit is that of Maria, but she is not fully ready to see her grandmother in the kitchen making tea.  “I’m afraid to know.  I like to hear it on the other side but I know it’s not in my head any more.  At some point you have to say, ‘there’s something here.  There’s something going on.”  She feels her grandmother was not ready to die and was on some much medication towards the end she did not know what was happening to her.  If she had, she would have fought it.  She feels Maria wants to see her great-grandchildren grow up and share their experiences.  “She won’t have wanted to miss out on everything she’s missing out on.”  She also feels the nature of what happened points to her grandmother.  “I think the stuff that is happening is her personality.”

Regina also believes the activity will get stronger as Christmas approaches.  “It was her thing,” she says thinking about the holidays spent with her Nana.

Regina has gotten use to the idea of the ghost she might share her house with.  Although she is still not sure what to make of her grandmother, she accepts the signs that are around her.

grandma3It was somewhat discouraging for her though.  Just when she was ready to listen to what her grandmother had to say, she stopped talking.  She continued to smell the roses and cigarettes in the bathroom and sometimes felt someone watching her when she was alone, but the lights and noises stopped.  Pretty soon Regina felt her grandmother must have passed on.

That was until Christmas.

Maria had always enjoyed the holidays.  Regina was able to look back on her experiences in the apartment and see her grandmother had always made herself known around Christmas.  She was not really thinking about it when she put up her decorations this year.  There were other things to think about.  Her husband had just gotten out of the hospital with a heart problem.  More importantly, this was the last Christmas they would be in the apartment.  They had bought a house several months before and were only waiting to finish fixing it up before moving in.  When she had purchased the house she had wondered briefly if Maria would move with them.

Tom, now almost five, made his way downstairs from his grandmother’s upstairs.  He stopped to look at the tree and then went into the kitchen to brush his teeth in the sink.

As Regina finished up the last of the decorations, she heard Tom talking from the kitchen.  He was not singing or babbling, but talking in complete sentences with pauses as he was listening to someone else and responding.  Regina thought it must be her father and went it to say hello.

Tom stood alone on his stepladder with his wet hands in the sink.  He was alone.  “Tom, where’s Papa?”

Tom looked confused.  “Papa’s not here.”

“Well, who were you talking to?”

“The lady with the white hair on the stairs.”

Regina wanted to ask him who the woman was.  What did she look like?  Had you talked to her before?  But all she could do was watch little Tom make his way to the TV room as and think about all the times she had run down those same stairs to go see her grandmother.

Horn Pond’s Little Demons

 

100_0203Most of the locals who walk along the picturesque trails  circling Horn Pond know little of its history. They do not know how it was once used to carry supplies in and out of nearby Boston. They look across its empty surface and do not know that boats and swimmers used to sail and play and laugh.

They do not know it is haunted.

Horn Pond has been a source of mystery since before it was settled. Native Americans in the area stayed away from the pond. Their legends tell of a great battle between the gods of light and the gods of darkness. The bad guys were winning victories all across the land, forcing the good guys to run and hide and try to regroup.   Finding a hiding place in Woburn, they made the mountains of Woburn their home until they got word the bad guys had found their hiding place.  They dug out a trench, waited for the evil ones to enter it and then filled it with water, trapping the demons beneath the surface but not killing them.

It’s not a new story.  In fact, there are several similar references to this kind of battle, including one in Lakeville, Massachusetts, where the legend is attached to Pukwudgies.  There the curse was responsible for the sketchy murder of  John Sassamon, the spark of King Phillip’s War.  The backstory is also responsible for haunted ponds and lakes in Minnesota, Michigan, and Oregon.

It may be the demons that have taken the lives of the people on Horn Pond, but it the human spirits people believe they see at night. In the past two hundred years the body of water has taken the life of over forty-five people, an amount made even more outrageous by the size of the pond. Most of the accidents involved boating errors or small children. There have been some reports of falling through the ice, but what is unusual is that there is no curse or negative Native American-settler story attached to the area. Most bodies of water considered this haunted in New England have a story of a settler taking the life of a Native and the pond becoming a source of death as revenge. Natives and modern Americans seem equally affected by the forces.

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The haunting happen at night and during the day. The pond is used for nature walks and has foot traffic even on the coldest day. Some people have said the mood changes when they reach certain spots. They have feeling fine and then need to stop walking and turn around. They often feel as if they are being watched. Dogs have been known to bark or whimper and then become normal again.

At night lights have been seen above the water. They have been described as bright blue, round, several feet tall and hovering above the water. Several people have seen people walking on the water, always with their back to the viewer. One local tells of a canoe she has seen several times. The canoe always is seen sailing to the middle of the pond and then fades away as she watches. The water itself is closed to both boats and swimmers.

All the Angels in Iowa are Dark

And I started in Iowa.

I’m not sure why except someone had sent me a press release about a monster book from the state, which I really didn’t intend to read, and I heard something on the news about someone from Iowa.  It seemed like a good place to start because, like most of the country, I am completely ignorant to its geography and its complexion.  I can gather from the name it must have a strong Native American heritage, but other than that, I draw a blank.  In fact, it may have appealed to me because what I know of it exists for me as little fragments of facts that I’m not sure are correct.  I can make a strong argument that is exactly what a legend is.

So, week one is Iowa, and here is what I think I know.  Captain Kirk was raised there.  One of its colleges, I believe Iowa State, has the best writing program in the country.  I remember a friend of mine applying to graduate school to the wrong one and nearly collapsing when she discovered her mistake.  There is farming there, or ranching, and it might be in the middle of the country.

At some point, I’m hoping someone thinks this is quaint.  Are we always patting the student on the back who’s not afraid to ask the dumb question and admit they don’t know something.  I do not know about Iowa, blame my parents or the school system.  I am sure a few of the people I get in contact with will look me up to see if they should respond.  If you work under the assumption that this is my way to stick pins in the places across the country I’m ignorant to, does that mean I should be commended for asking and forgiven for not knowing.  Again, at some point, I’m hoping they think this is quant.

Visit Spooky Southcoast’s Pinterest page to see images of the Dark Angel…

Iowa City’s Oakland Cemetery and its legendary Dark Angel were the most common response to my inquiries, although I need to admit most of the people I contacted were from state commissions and agencies.  I was leery at first because I am trying to avoid hauntings, but I discovered something a bit different there.  I avoided their links to paranormal sites and went to the source itself.  According to the Iowa City Government site, the statue, erected under the direction of a grieving mother and wife of Bohemian descent, has a history with the University of Iowa and the surrounding community because:

  • No University of Iowa coed is a true coed unless they have been kissed in front of the Black Angel.
  • Any girl kissed near her in the moonlight will die within six months.
  • If a girl who is innocent of men and the world is kissed in front of the Angel, the Angel
  • will return to its original color, and the curse that turned it black will be lifted.
  • Touching the Angel at midnight on Halloween means death within seven years.
  • Anyone who kisses the Angel will die instantly.
  • Every passing Halloween causes the Angel to turn one shade darker as a reminder of the people she has killed.

Automatically, I’m taken back to other cemetery legends I’ve heard.  I’m reminded of the Graveyard Wager legend where someone, on a dare, has to spend the night in a local cemetery and dies because they become scared and accidentally fall or hit their head.  When the cemetery in your town has a particular monument or statue or unusual grave, it increases the likelihood of this kind of story.  Of course, the death become part of the lore of the story, and their spirit becomes part of the reason people go there on a dare themselves.  This also takes me back to the story of Rockadundee Road and its ghostly gazebo.

As is often the case, the figure is a magnet to the local college area and its connection to love and sex can’t be ignored.  It is a right of passage to kiss in front of the Dark Angel, but if you do, you risk dying.  Only the pure woman, like in modern horror stories, can break the curse and stop the killing.  The Angel has been there for over a hundred years, which leads me to believe she has incredibly high standards or there aren’t many pure young ladies on the campus of the University of Iowa.    The college embraces the legend, and in a weird twist has students translate the inscriptions and markings, which I’m sure adds to the oddness of the location.  The connection to Halloween, along with the references to rites of passage, also remind me of the famous Session House hauntings at Smith College.

Why did the angel turn black?  I’m going to allow you to read some of the reasons and find the one you like the best, and instead offer up another question.  Why are we so quick to condemn and accuse?  In my limited research, I have found nothing, accept the court case mentioned on the site, to taint the woman who patroned the Dark Angel.  Yet she has been accused of witchcraft, been involved in murder plots and adultery, and had her family members reputations smeared to try and explain the anomaly.

There is the hitch though.  We need that mythology to explain that which defies our understanding.  It’s no different than Zeus in the lightening and God behind the flood.  Angels don’t just become Dark Angels without some evil behind it, and if the village didn’t do it, an individual must have.  Throw in an outsider, and I’m not totally sure what people from Iowa would consider at outsider, and you know where the blame is going to fall.  These stories don’t just tell us right from wrong.  They also firmly place those who tell them on the side of the just and those who don’t heed the moral firmly in the dark.

The Ghosts of Two Cultures

Despite our culture’s efforts in recent years to reverse the years of abuse and neglect Native American’s have suffered, there still remains misconceptions and misrepresentations of these people that settled this land long before there were settlers. There has been an attempt to even the scales, but the long standing stereotype of their beliefs and lifestyle remains tipped towards one of two images; the savage or the mystic. We have modified how we identify them, from Indian to American Indian to Indigenous People, but those two pictures still prevail. There have been scores of movies showing our abuses and revolutionary ideas written about by the likes of Howard Zinn and James Loewen have made the realities of enslavement and anthrax covered blankets commonplace in modern history books. The New Age revivals from the sixties until today have shown their unique religious beliefs. Those roles still exist in our heads. The Native American is still a classic villain with a bazaar religion and acting as a mirror to the crimes of our past. Whether residue of centuries of guilt or genuine spirits trapped in their own prisons of emotions, there is a deep connection between the paranormal and Native American culture. This connection can be seen in the numerous reports of Native ghosts and the appearance of Native American ghosts and gods in Massachusetts legends.

Many hauntings fall into the realm of legends in a land as old as Massachusetts, and current reports as well as old folktales fall into basic motifs seen for over three hundred years. This does not invalidate reports as being untrue or merely a symptom of misunderstanding or fear. There is that element to them. Rather they help explain the possibilities of why these hauntings may be true. Deeper examination of these motif help to get a more complete picture of the relationship between settler and modern American to Native Americans.

The idea of the ancient burial ground often comes up in reports of ghosts in older times and modern days. The story is usually the same. Unexplained things happen in a house, most often poltergeist-like activity and odd dreams, and a deeper investigation reveals the house was built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The family is forced to leave the house or somehow expel the spirit or purify the land, which really means cleaning out the old to make room for the new. The concept is scary, the first essential element to a good ghost story. It invades our house where we are supposed to feel safe. Also included in this motif are instances where artifacts are removed and continue to curse or haunt those that take them, as well as dark tales of falling into a sacred land and being haunted or even killed by unseen forces.

It is important to note the wording of the phrase for it is always the same. Take the words “ancient” and “Indian”. “Ancient” allows us to see Native Americans as old, outdated and somehow mystic. The use of the word “Indian” helps paint a picture of the classic images of the people. Never is the more politically correct term used. “Cemetery” is never used in place of “burial ground”, creating a foreign feel that further serves to separate.

This concept has been seen in movies for years. It is interesting to note the modern day version of this tales where the American house is built on a cemetery like in the movie Poltergeist. The interesting aspect is that there are very few if any tales of this type of haunting in folklore until after Native American culture influenced European and American storytelling, although there is a rich tradition of falling into fairy circles and straying from the road into a haunted land.

Mary, a resident of Lexington, tells how her house became haunted by the spirits of “Indians” as she referred to them. She would hear chanting and find items in her house turned around facing the wall. After asking someone to investigate, she discovered her house was built on top of Native cemetery. She called upon a “witch doctor” to make the peace and her problems were promptly solved. She refused to watch the man clean the house and wanted no part of what he had done to help her. There is a Native cemetery in Rehoboth that has the reputation of being haunted. Dogs bark near the site at unseen people and travelers going by notice a dramatic change in their behavior and mood, even at night. There have also been reports of a shadowy figure walking through. In his book New England Ghost Files Charles Robinson describes a man from Middleboro who had his own experiences. The town uncovered an ancient site and went about digging it up. The town experienced unusual occurrences, but one man took a item he found on the site. He woke up to find a Native American ghost in his room and the next morning the item was gone.

The next motif involves attacks that occur on the coast or in lakes and ponds. These stories involve abductions, attacks or murders in a place people are already tentative about although they are places of recreation and enjoyment. Unseen hands drag someone under or tip over a boat. Children are seen and then disappear a moment later. Someone watches an old fashion canoe vanish. Afterwards the site is confirmed as being a location of tragedy, usually sparked by settler misdeeds. This motif is different from the others in that it sometimes extends beyond the spirits of people to include the gods of Native Americans. While a sacred land might be connected to a certain god or myth, the gods only consider the site sacred and therefore suitable to be used for burial. The human does the attacking. In contrast, it is the god who might attack people directly in the water, independent of the tension between Natives and the people attacked.

Any book on hauntings on the Cape and the Islands will reveal scores of tales involving Natives. Massachusetts lakes and ponds also have a high level of paranormal activity. A Westwood paper told the tale of Black Bear and his haunting of WigWam Pond in Dedham. Black Bear was a Native who tried to steal from a settler and was discovered and beaten. He returned later and tried to kidnap the man’s baby but was caught again. He was shot in the water trying to escape and jumped overboard rather than be caught. That part of the pond does not freeze over and cries have been heard there. Horn Pond in Woburn was the site of an ancient battle between the gods of light and dark. The gods of light trapped the bad guys there and then drown them. There have been multiple deaths in the pond through unexplained means. There is a rumor of tragedy in another pond in Lakeville. A branch has been seen being dragged across the water and people have heard voices and been hit, sometimes going as far as being touched on the leg and being dragged under.

Sexual tension and the rape of Native American women proves to be the spark of many hauntings, often becoming the root of water attacks, a certain buried spirit coming back or spectral lights. As settlers moved in they took a different perspective on the males and females they encountered. While males were a source of fear, native females represented sexual mystery and unattainable beauty, as well as objects of affection in a situation where women were not always available. The men took by force and the sexual attacks at times led to the eventual death of the woman. In other reports the woman kills herself rather than be disgraced or goes on living but becomes tainted or changed. While this is an excellent example of guilt in past behaviors, it is also a major aspect of paranormal activity. A rape and murder or suicide could produce enough negative energy to create a ghost.

One such case involves a Native woman who was sunbathing near a pond. Some local boys, angry at her attitude towards the settlers started to taunt her. She died while trying to get away from them and has stayed on at the pond. She has been credited with pushing people in the water and knocking boats over, sometimes trying to grab them and force them under once they are in. Her hand has been seen coming out of the water and some report to have heard her screams.

At times the relationship is consensual but the love is not allowed by one side’s culture. The lovers are kept apart. One or both might kill themselves or a misunderstanding may cause the death of one by the other’s people. It is a story as timeless and romantic as Romeo and Juliet and the numerous reports of old lovers seen at bridges or by the side of the road and widow balconies looking for their lover reveal this motif as still very much alive in the haunted sites of today. One such case is a bridge in Greenfield. A Native woman was in love with a settler and hung for trying to be with him. The bridge is still believe to be haunted by her ghost, although other aspects of the hauntings make it feel more like an urban legend. People entering the covered bridge can invoke the spirit by blinking there lights four times and honking there horn twice.

The last motif is the appearance of apparitions, seen as lights or orbs, in places of betrayal. This betrayal may be a battlefield or the site of a signing of a treaty gone bad, but it becomes tainted ground for Americans. Although there are some physical attacks at these sites, the bulk of the reports seem to be focused more on keeping the grave memory of what happened there alive. Full-bodied spirits are sometime seen looking lost or confused or reenacting the tragedy that happened. Whole battles are seen. Voices are heard or the sound of some action. Other times an unknown feeling overwhelms people in the area. They sense they are unwelcome and should leave the spot. People report feeling like they are being watched. Buildings constructed on the site burn down or suffer unexplained damage.

Two classic examples of this are seen in the southeastern part of the state. In Rehoboth there is Anawan Rock, the site of a surrender to the settlers that occurred during King Phillip’s War, considered by historians to be the most vicious war in American history. The settlers broke the treaty that was signed there causing more bloodshed. The forest near the rock has long been seen as haunted with dozens of reports, including lights, spectral Natives and drums. There has also been a voice heard threatening people in the forest that has been roughly translated into, “stand and fight.” In the Freetown State Forest the hauntings have a different feel. The land there was bought for short money and became a source of tension between Natives and settlers during King Phillip’s War. Today there is a reservation on the land, but that has not seemed to stem the tide of activity or violence the forest has become home to. In addition to suffering similar activity as Anawan Rock, the forest has become a magnet for violence. There have been several murders in the forest, most involving cult activity and even more bodies have been found dumped there. Cases of rape and assault were also common in last few decades there. One Wampanoag spokesman has been quoted as saying the violence there will not stop until the land is given back because the spirits in the forest and the ancestors of those robbed are unhappy and therefore restless.

Given the area and nature of the original settlers of New England, relationships between the societies were destined to create folklore and tales of spirits. Confusion, fear and miscommunications laid the groundwork for hostility and those hostilities flourished into traditions. Again, this does not validate the cynics who say paranormal activity is in the participants mind. Some of these tales, especially those that follow established folk motifs, may very well have never happened or originated in truth and then found themselves changed and manipulated by time. There is little doubt some of the hauntings out there are little more than cultural propaganda, but there are other reasons for the activity reported and for the survival of the legends.

Possible reasons come down to the two views of Natives; the savage and the mystic. The savage was someone to fear. Upon arriving in the Americas, Europeans form tentative alliances and relationships with the people they found. There began a sense of community, but I the backs of both side’s minds there remained an underlining fear of each other. Conversion and the desire for property brought this to light and sides began to form. Friends were now enemies and settlers began turning tribes who had alliances of their own against each other. This created a new need to see the enemy as an enemy. The land had to be cleaned for civilization and these people stood in their way. Details of attacks on settlers became exaggerated. Places were unsafe to go into because you may be attacked. These ideas and beliefs help to establish uniquely American folklore, giving people a sense of identity.

In a paranormal sense, these conflicts led to deep emotions that may still be replaying themselves. Anxiety and animosity are powerful feelings that are often associated with hauntings. People lived in fear and the abstract concepts became concrete in the form of strained relations and violence. Both the negative daily interacts and the killings on both sides led to deaths that still remain unresolved. It is not farfetched to see a spirit trapped by negative energy manifesting itself to the root of its imprisonment. Looking over the reports, most hauntings involve the killing or attack of a native or the invasion into sacred areas as the source of the activity.

Closely related to this is the native as mystic which formed the basis of some anxiety for the two groups as well as acted as ammunition in the propaganda war against one another. Their close religious relationship to the land around them was a source of confusion for settlers and possible trigger for activity. Settler could not fully understand the mysticism of the natives and this helped further isolate the two groups. It also led to the notion of conversion to a Christian belief set which invariably led to the idea that settlers were better and natives should be submissive. Religion also led to misunderstandings. Certain tribes did not understand the concept of ownership of land because of their religious beliefs and breaking legal agreements help escalate conflict. Certain rituals were seen as threats to settlers.

Native’s religion might be the source for actual hauntings as well. Their connection to spirits that they saw as very much active in their lives make them more likely to be sensitive to paranormal forces. They existence of ghosts is an integral part of their religion not in opposition to it. Whether their gods endowed them with certain powers after death can not be said, but it would at least make them open if that sort of thing is possible. At the very least, their deep religious connection with nature would prompt them to come back if they could to defend their land and seek revenge for promises broken.

There can be a debate on the nature of ghosts. An examination of hauntings over thousands of years reveals the same ghosts making their presence known in different places with different names. A vampire appearing in Romania starts to mirror one found in Rhode Island. This lends credibility to people who firmly state the paranormal should be seen as fiction, the recycling of folk beliefs passed off as fact. Science has yet to prove ghosts exist, although what evidence would cynics believe. Fact or fiction, Native Americans have played an important role in the paranormal history of this country. Examining haunted burial grounds and rivers, looking at the folklore passed down about the exploits of the savage, debating the truth and relationship of these separate disciplines, strengthens our identity.

Jeff Belanger’s Latest Book Introduces New Paranormal Movement: Legend Tripping

Picture Yourself Legend Tripping explores how to find, document, and experience ghosts, aliens, monsters, and urban legends.

Paranormal researcher and author launches new legend tripping resource Web site.

BOSTON, MA — July 13, 2010 — The idea of legend tripping has been around for thousands of years. There’s a good chance you’ve already done it. Remember sneaking off into that cemetery at night as a kid to see if there were any ghosts? Remember hearing there was a monster lurking in that old abandoned building and wanting to check it out? Or hearing about a UFO landing site and wanting to plan your next vacation in the area so you could stand where the craft was said to have left its mark? That’s legend tripping. But it can be so much more. We can become part of the story. Today people still seek out these legends in record numbers in an effort to touch the unexplained. In Jeff Belanger’s new book and accompanying DVD, Picture Yourself Legend Tripping: Your Complete Guide to Finding UFOs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Urban Legends in Your Own Back Yard, he explores how to find, experience, and chronicle these legends.

Legend tripping offers a unique and inexpensive paranormal investigation opportunity for those with a big sense of adventure, and it’s an activity that can be done alone or in groups. You don’t need complicated or expensive equipment, just your human senses and a sense of wonder.

“Legends are real,” said Jeff Belanger, author of Picture Yourself Legend Tripping, “They are born, they can travel, spawn offspring, and they can die. For millennia humankind has told stories of ghosts, creatures from distant planets, monsters, and religious legends to each other as a way to connect with the past and explore the future. These legends can be experienced almost anywhere, and oftentimes they are based on more than just stories.”

Any television program you’ve ever seen that explores haunted places, ancient mysteries, UFO sightings, or strange creatures is legend tripping. First there was a story: a legend that was born and grew because people had unexplained experiences and shared what they saw, heard, and felt.

Belanger draws on over two decades of legend tripping experience to show readers how to find these legends close to home or in their travels. When a person stands where the legend is said to have stood, when they interview eyewitnesses, there’s a transformation that often takes place: stories become real, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you catch a glimpse of something paranormal.

“The journey is everything with legend tripping,” Belanger said. “Imps, fairies, aliens, bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Bloody Mary, ghosts, demons-it’s time to start believing.”

In addition to the new book, Belanger also announced today the launch of a new Web site: LegendTripping.com — an online resource for legend trippers that includes a directory of paranormal legends from around the world. Belanger said, “The goal of the Web site is to have legend trippers everywhere submit their local legends and tell our readers about their own experiences while out hunting the paranormal.”

About the Author
Jeff Belanger (www.jeffbelanger.com) is one of the most visible and prolific paranormal researchers today. He is the author of a dozen books on the paranormal (published in six languages) including the best sellers: The World’s Most Haunted Places, Our Haunted Lives, Who’s Haunting the White House (for children), and Weird Massachusetts. He’s the founder of Ghostvillage.com, the Web’s most popular paranormal destination according to Google.com, and a noted speaker and media personality. He’s also the host of the Cable/Web talk show, 30 Odd Minutes. Belanger has written for newspapers like The Boston Globe and is the series writer and researcher for Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. He’s been a guest on more than 200 radio and television programs including: The History Channel, The Travel Channel, PBS, NECN, Living TV (UK), The Maury Show, The CBS News Early Show, National Public Radio, The BBC, Australian Radio Network, and Coast to Coast AM.

About Picture Yourself Legend Tripping
Picture Yourself Legend Tripping: Your Complete Guide to Finding UFOs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Urban Legends in Your Own Back Yard (ISBN: 1-43545-639-4, pages: 228, DVD, price: $24.99) includes a DVD featuring the author and other paranormal experts and is published by Course PTR (a subsidiary of Cengage Learning) in July of 2010. The book is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and many other booksellers.