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Special Report to the Weekly Universe.  [October 26, 2009]




[]  Teenagers, YOU can talk to ghosts! -- Thanks to a starling new book that reveals the secrets of teen-to-spook conversation: The Other Side: A Teen's Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal!

Co-author Marley Gibson writes from experience, stating, "I've had three encounters with what I believe were angels in my life, but it wasn't until I started ghost-hunting that I had paranormal experiences. Since then, I've seen a full-bodied apparition, seen shadow people, heard voices that weren't there, heard footsteps that weren't there, and played ball with what was thought to be a spirit child.

"The more I ghost hunt, the more experiences I have!"
Co-author Patrick Burns has his own true-life spook tale: "When I was ten years old, my mother received a phone call from the woman who'd bought my deceased grandmother's home in Illinois. She claimed to have seen the ghost of my grandmother, and accurately described what she was wearing. This caused my mother to take a 180 degree turn in her beliefs about ghosts, and impacted my interest in the subject at an early age."

"I've had experiences most of my life," adds co-author Dave Schrader. "From my grandmother visiting me when I was three, to her return visit at the birth of my oldest son, 21 years ago, to walking headlong into a full-bodied shadow figure in the halls of Waverly Hills. I've seen and heard things at many places, and continue my quest to understand these experiences and validate them."

All three authors are seasoned paranormal investigators, their many years of experience filling their book with practical advice for the teenage ghost hunters. For instance, what tools should YOU use to hunt spirits?

"You can spend as little or as much as you like, purchasing technical aids to assist," says Burns.  "Mostly, we incorporate everyday consumer electronics for investigations, such as digital still cameras, video cameras, and voice recorders. Chances are, you already have many of the devices we discuss in the book, or can borrow them. The most important item doesn't cost a dime: an open, skeptical, and objective mind."

Schrader adds, "Technology is great. There's some amazing equipment available. But your biggest assets are your senses: feeling things, smelling things, and hearing them. We must use those senses to lead us. Equipment is great for helping validate personal interactions.

"We can all start off small. Everyone has a camera and recorder these day. That’s all you need to start. Grow slow. Don't overspend. Find other groups with different technology, and work out a sharing program so you can try and evaluate items before purchasing them for your team. Most equipment is affordable now and can be easily obtained."

Co-author David Schrader warns, "Ghost investigations should be taken seriously. As a father, I am very protective of kids, and do not encourage ghost-hunting because of the dangers." Which is why The Other Side covers those dangers -- and how to avoid them!

Gibson adds that the real dangers come not from ghosts, but from the living! "You don’t want to enter abandoned locations or places you don't have permission to enter. As with any activity, i'’s smart to know what you're going into, and who will be with you. That's why we stress the importance of teens hooking up with an adult mentor who can guide and accompany them, and offer general support. 
"The most dangerous aspect is being in an unfamiliar location," Burns confirms, "or in a building that is structurally unsound. These dangers cannot be understated or taken for granted.

"There are also the alleged "spiritual" dangers of attachments from negative energies that can't be substantiated scientifically. But it's better to err on the side of caution and put the "shields up" to protect oneself."

"The real danger is going into situations and not being educated," says Schrader. "That's why I feel the book is strong and positive. The ghost hunting techniques on TV are often wrong or portrayed incorrectly. With our book, we hope to educate people and give them a solid base to begin researching.



"With the right information, most dangers can be eliminated. The real danger is in telling people to just watch it on TV, and think they will get enough knowledge from that."

The authors see an increasing interest in the paranormal. Says Burns, "I think there are two factors for this. One, the increasing number of TV programs -- fiction and nonfiction -- dealing with the paranormal. Two, the explosion of the Internet, which has made it easier to find like-minded people interested in the paranormal, and has spawned a plethora of websites where evidence of alleged paranormal events can be collected and discussed.

"Of course, skepticism always follows anything related to the paranormal or supernatural. As awareness of a particular area increases, the skeptics are quick to blow the cautionary whistle -- which is a good thing."

"We need more skeptics," says Schrader, "people willing to question and challenge. We don't need or want blind followers in the field. You need a good head on your shoulders. People enjoy attending events because of the sense of community, the chance to work alongside and learn with people just like them that have similar interests."

The authors promise future books on how to investigate psychics, UFOs, and Bigfoot sightings.


Read the Weekly Universe's reports on ghost hunters in Kansas City and San Francisco and Salt Lake City!


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