Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rocky Mountain Whirlwind

Happy holidays! I hope you've all been as merrily busy as I have. The month of December has been a wild ride, that's for sure.

Just a few days before Christmas, I visited Denver, Colorado, to officially launch a Top Secret New Book Project. It was great to see snow again (it's such an unusual sight here in central Virginia) and the good friends who welcomed me were even more a delight. After some long days of interviews and research, I'm sure I wore out my welcome, but the trip was a huge success regardless.

Why the tease? No details? Because this is probably the most extreme, in-depth, and controversial project I've ever been involved with. It is a turning point for me, both personally and professionally. I can tell you this much: the book is about a form of instrumental transcommunication (ITC) that garners verifiable results like nothing else I've ever seen or heard. If you want to learn more, you'll have to keep an eye out over the next couple of months for updates as the manuscript progresses!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mutually Beneficial Paranormal Research

I know I've been a stranger around the blogosphere for the past eight weeks or so, but that is how it goes this time of year. Now that I'm back behind the desk for a while, book projects are getting polished up, reviews are being written, and events are being scheduled for winter and spring.

One upcoming project that I'm particularly excited about is an excursion to Shirley Plantation. I'm back in the field investigating a few select sites, and this is one of my favorites. To help the Shirley Plantation Foundation, I've been offered the opportunity to invite a small team of paranormal explorers to accompany me on an investigation of the farm's outbuildings and grounds later this month.

Why is this one of my favorite haunted locations? First, the reports of paranormal activity on the property predate the Civil War. Second, their most famous spirit, Aunt Pratt, was the center of a well-documented paranormal disturbance that was witnessed by tens of thousands of people. Finally, this is one site that never disappoints me when it comes to remarkable research findings.

Like many of the other historic sites that are trying to keep their doors open during a time when budgets are being trimmed to near nothing, Shirley Plantation is working to find creative ways to attract visitors. Locations with spry spirits are finally seeing the opportunities available in inviting serious paranormal researchers to use their property as a "laboratory" of sorts for a nominal fee. This is an incredibly important shift in attitudes that I hope every investigator is grateful for and will embrace. When I first started studying phenomena in the field, home and business owners, tour guides, and others would rather risk being rude and unwelcoming than even talk of paranormal activity at their sites. I can only wonder how much went unlearned during those decades and how much preservation was hindered because of tight finances.

Finally, progress is possible because of this cooperation.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Upcoming Events, Lectures, and Books!

Wow. August was definitely a month I have no desire to repeat. I'm not one for giving credit to Mercury in retrograde, but there was no question that tragedy seemed to come out of the woodwork. Now that some of those fires are dying down, I'm ready to get back on track - starting with catching you all up on recent developments!

A quick update on what's new:

If you haven't checked out the free mini-issue of Haunted Times, you need to get moving! (No need to download anything - you can read this beauty on the web.) Our first FULL ISSUE will be released in just a few weeks. It's already stuffed with Halloween goodness, fall conference and event information, real life paranormal encounters, investigation tips, exclusive interviews, and more. Check back soon for subscription information and other news.

And then there's what's coming: 

My first published work of fiction is set for release on October 1, 2011 in a book titled Richmond Macabre: Nightmares From the River City. Something else cool about this - 100% of the publisher's profits are being returned to the community as charitable donations to area non-profits who support historic preservation and the arts.

The book is currently available for pre-order at a super price, but if you're a local and can wait a couple of weeks, join me at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum on Sunday, October 2, 2011 (2-4 PM) for the most rockin' book launch party EVER! Catch readings from contributing authors, live interactive music, museum exhibits, and refreshments. Pick up a signed, limited edition printing of Richmond Macabre or a handmade art print of the book's cover (designed by Skull-a-Day creator Noah Scalin) for only $20. Look for me all around Richmond during the month of October promoting this new title! Events details can be found at

You won't want to miss these lectures:

Because of the October 1st book release, I'm sticking close to home for a while. Come out and enjoy one of these free lectures and chat with me in person!
  1. Poe Museum, Richmond, VA - Remembrance of Poe's Death - October 6 @ 6:00 PM "Richmond Macabre"
  2. Henrico Library, Henrico, VA - Fairfield Branch - October 20 @ 7:00 PM "Haunted Henrico"
  3. Henrico Library, Henrico, VA - Glen Allen Branch - October 22 @ 1:00 PM "Haunted Henrico"
  4. Appomattox Regional Library, Dinwiddie, VA - Dinwiddie Branch - October 28 @ 5:00 PM "Civil War Haunts"
  5. Shirley Plantation, Charles City, VA - October 29 @ 1:00 PM "Ghosts of Shirley Plantation"
And then: 

Holy cow! Beth Brown in Wisconsin??

Yep, I'll be joining the folks at BY/OG (Bring Your Own Ghost) again this year for a fun and educational weekend of lectures, gallery readings, and awesome investigations from November 4th through 6th. Check out all of the event details here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: Walking Through Walls by Philip Smith

Let me start by sharing that I am not normally a fan of memoirs, but Philip Smith's Walking Through Walls is definitely an exception.

Philip tells the real-life tale of growing up in 1960s Miami with a stereotypically-Jewish mother and a father who is a world-renowned interior designer. Things take a turn for the strange when his father, Lew Smith, delves into the realm of conscious-expanding lifestyle changes and then learns to harness the power of his mind with the help of a mysterious retreat with an enlightened yogi. Sometimes moving, but often comical, the upheaval of the family's everyday life is shown through the eyes of an adolescent son struggling to deal with his "weird" new dad.

The Smith family eventually moves from Miami's society pages to the spirituality news. Lew hones his abilities as a medium and receives very specific instructions from the spirit world about "psychic healing", a technique which is explained to him to be based on the simple grounds of vibrational energy. After much practice in this unusual new direction, Lew develops a huge word-of-mouth following as a "miracle man" able to cure any disease and heal any affliction. Interior design clients have to wade through lines of hopelessly ill visitors who line up each day outside of Smith's studio. Never once does he charge a penny for his services.

If you have not heard of Lew Smith and his psychic clinic before now, I encourage you to learn more about this peculiar dot on the timeline of American history. If you are already familiar with Smith, I encourage you to read his son's account of his spiritual development, healing techniques, and his legacy. The story is an emotional roller-coaster, but the paths of both Lew and Philip that are shared in Walking Through Walls are certainly examples from which everyone on the road to personal enlightenment can learn.

Walking Through Walls by Philip Smith is currently available from Washington Square Press. Here are a few words about the book from the author:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paranormal Challenge: Waverly Hills Sanitorium

Waverly Hills.I just got word that another episode of Paranormal Challenge featuring yours truly will be airing THIS Friday, July 22nd, at 9 PM EDT on Travel Channel! This time, two teams face off at Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Louisville, Kentucky. Tune in and find out what happens when investigators venture alone with a point-of-view camera down the site's notorious Death Chute...

Remember me telling you about my trip to Waverly? Well, now you know why I was there!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Investigating the Paranormal with Eric Roberts

Be sure to tune in to the Biography Channel this Saturday night at 11 PM Eastern for Celebrity Ghost Hunt and find out what happens when I give Eric Roberts (Dark Knight, The Expendables, Sharktopus) and his adorable wife Eliza Simons (Animal House, Dr. Who) a crash-course in paranormal investigation. With lots of help from psychic medium Chip Coffey and the folks from North Orange Paranormal Society (NOPS), we'll converge on the Roberts' cozy California cottage to try and capture any anomalies that support the claims of several witnesses, Eric included, who report having seen a ghostly woman on the property.

The couple was fantastic to work with, and both were amazed at the discoveries made during the investigation.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's ALIVE! The Electrifying Resurrection of "Haunted Times" Magazine

Let's face it, niche magazines just don't get the recognition they deserve. These publications are almost always put together by a group of hobbyists or fans, and are funded by what's leftover after paying rent and tipping the pizza delivery driver. What is never lacking, however, is pure, distilled enthusiasm for the subject matter.

What if you could take that enthusiasm and add some consistent structure, talented columnists, head-turning artwork, an experienced editorial staff, and featured content that would BLOW YOUR MIND? You'd have one hellova magazine, that's what!

If the photo at the right hasn't already clued you in, Haunted Times magazine has recently put together that very same magical combination. I was honored to be offered the position of Senior Editor, and I jumped at the chance without hesitation. More than anything, I look forward to finding lots of fantastic new talent to share with readers every month!

Along with the change in staff at Haunted Times comes something else just as shocking - a change in format. Forget the days of having to hunt down the most recent issue in the racks at Barnes & Noble! Haunted Times magazine is about to rock the world of digital reading by launching fully interactive issues for your mobile devices or online enjoyment.

Look for the rebirth of Haunted Times in August, 2011. I'll keep you updated about what's to come, including subscription information and where you can go to find lots of freebies to get a feel for the new style and structure!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review: The Survival of the Soul by Lisa Williams

The Survival of the Soul by Lisa Williams describes the journey of our souls from the energy plane to Earth (and back again) using the information channeled from the author's many Spirit Guides.

As someone who is very skeptical of any claims of communication with the spirit world, I was unsure how much of The Survival of the Soul I would be able to digest before it pushed the boundary between believable and bull. I was pleasantly surprised when the author's grounded explanation of this epic spiritual journey wove together many of the ideas embraced by religions around the world, her personal near-death encounter, and concepts and events familiar to the "well attuned" who have lost loved ones and kept me eagerly reading until the end.

Williams outlines the process by which souls cross over after death, including being welcomed by waiting friends and family and undergoing the often grueling "Life Review" to determine the growth of a soul while in a physical body. Though many aspects of a soul's duties and progress are, according to Williams and her Spirit Guides, intentionally kept secret from the living, the rules and expectations for souls wishing to visit those still on the Earth plane clearly explained in the book.

Have you ever met someone for the first time but felt sure you knew them already? Lisa Williams says the reason for that may be because that person is a member of your "soul family" - a group of like souls who work together in differing roles in both the spirit realm and the physical. Particularly fascinating to me was the section about souls preparing to re-enter a physical body and their selection of parents who would best help to teach (or conversely, to learn) the lessons to better that soul's evolution.

The Survival of the Soul is a spectacular guide for expanding your ideas about how lucid dreams, out of body experiences, spirit communication, and other phenomena are connected to the human personality beyond death. Though you may not agree with every detail, reading this book with an open mind may just bring to light many of the facets of the spirit world your intuition has already nudged you toward.  Perhaps that in itself is a lesson for your soul.

The Survival of the Soul by Lisa Williams is currently available from Hay House Books.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Have You Seen Shadow People? Help With a Research Project!

The Shadow PeopleEver since my first Shadow Person sighting in 2002, I've been very interested in learning more about the phenomena. These bizarre encounters span the globe and have so many similarities that, as far as paranormal experiences go, I feel they fall into a category all their own.

Because of my personal connection to the phenomena, I have decided to combine my nine-years of study with the responses of others who have had these close encounters in the form of a research paper for the Rhine Institute. This is where I hope you can help.

If you have had a run-in with Shadow People, I'd love it if you could take a few minutes to answer a brief questionnaire. Know a friend who has had an experience? Pass along the link to them! My goal is to have responses from at least 500 people by August 1, 2011. Let's make it happen!

Click here to complete the Shadow People Questionnaire.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Baltimore Volume 1: The Plague Ships by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Ben Stenbeck

No, I do not read solely for the sake of research - I also read for the pleasure of reading, to appease my longing for a carefully crafted and eloquently told story. That desire was certainly met when I read Mignola and Golden's illustrated novel, Baltimore: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire in 2007, and once again by the most recent installment of the story, The Plague Ships.

The novel introduced Lord Henry Baltimore, a member of the British aristocracy who had left his family behind to serve his country in the battlefields of France during World War I. While in the trenches, he discovered something far more terrifying than the Hessian savagery he had expected. Injured and nearly delirious, Baltimore witnessed an ancient evil feeding on the dead and dying, and then he fought back against it. His out-lash and determination to survive ignited another war, one much worse than the battle between nations - a war between humanity and a vampire horde.

The Plague caused by the vampires infested Europe in waves, bringing WWI to an end. Years have passed, and people in every town and village live in fear of strangers, the dark, and the dead who do not always stay dead. It is at this point where we step into Baltimore Volume 1: The Plague Ships, a graphic novel that introduces the next turn in the title character's fate.

Baltimore, on a quest to destroy the leader of the vampires, finds himself with an unlikely companion during one leg of his journey, and the two fight together against the undead and find an astonishing clue about the origins and perpetuation of the vampire plague. The images during these scenes pull no punches, and have most certainly pushed (maybe even distorted) the boundaries of horror comics. There is no gore simply for gore's sake, mind you, every frame adds another tiny glimpse of Baltimore's inner struggle.

Mignola and Golden truly shine in their storytelling, while Ben Stenbeck (of Living With the Dead) does a stunning job of adapting Mignola's artwork for this action-filled graphic novel. This is the first up-close look the reader really has of Lord Baltimore, and he is every bit the scarred and stoic action hero one hopes him to be.

While the horror comics of decades past were heavily plot-driven, Baltimore Volume 1: The Plague Ships draws the reader in and propels him forward with the instant allure of the book's title character. This dark and moody story is reminiscent of Mignola's earlier Hellboy volumes, but seems to delve much deeper into the shadows without the safety of Hellboy's wisecracks and comic relief.

I fell in love with the beautiful balance of action and emotion in this graphic novel. Because of that, I give it two thumbs up. If you're a fan of the horror genre but have never crossed the borders into the realm of comics or graphic novels, I urge to you dive in with Lord Baltimore!

Baltimore Volume 1: The Plague Ships is scheduled for release from Dark Horse Comics on June 28, 2011.