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Supernatural Retrospective

Because I’ve always mentioned Sam and Dean in my Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries, I’m publishing this piece on both blogs.

 

The End of the Road

By G G Collins          Copyright 2020

From the beginning, Supernatural has been about more than two brothers slaying monsters. The series has been researched; a satisfying recipe of biblical, lore and fabrication. Drawn by good storytelling, humor and a bit—okay more than a bit—of stage blood thrown around, it caught the attention of several generations. The two stars (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) were barely known when the series began 15 years ago, but soon the characters of Sam and Dean became household words. Supernatural took us places we’ve never been before.

The boys have been thoroughly tested. They’ve had visits to the “cage” and been resurrected. They gone black and white and they’ve been on almost every night of the week. And still fans followed. Dean with his testosterone-laden personality and Sam who—except when he lost his soul—was the more sensitive of the two have created a good hunter/maniacal hunter amalgamation. And through all the ups and downs of their relationship and their passion for their work, they have remained family despite a few dissonant separations.

It is the humor and the asides of this horror series that has kept audiences tuning in for more than a decade. Remember Dean on the airplane in Season One? Screaming like a girl! Ackles recreated that scream again in “Yellow Fever” when he was infected with ghost sickness. It’s a classic; the rugged character showing unreasonable fear. And fun.

In their more poignant moments they have showed compassion. Even Dean has that ability on occasion. In “Roadkill” Molly (Tricia Helfer) doesn’t know she is dead and every year she endures her death once again. When they finally convince her, and she walks into the light they become reflective.

Dean says: “…you think she’s really going to a better place?”

Sam replies: “I hope so.”

Dean adds: “I guess we’ll never know. Not until we take the plunge ourselves, huh?”

Sam says: “Doesn’t really matter, Dean. Hope’s kind of the whole point.” (This is my favorite line of the show.)

As the storyline evolved, other characters were introduced. Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer not to be confused with the producer/director of the series, or maybe?) became a father figure for the boys and their go-to guy for lore. “Weekend at Bobby’s” was Beaver’s moment to shine and we weren’t disappointed.

Misha Collins’ Castiel could make a righteous entrance and became the boys’ “wing man.” Collins played both giggling social media addict (“The French Mistake”) and vengeful angel with equal aplomb. Who knows how many tan trench coats he went through. But bloody or not, Collins is always good.

Then came along Mark A. Sheppard as the king of hell. Sheppard milked every scene and we loved it. He’s bad and that ain’t good. He’s that friend you can never trust. Sheppard played him with a sly absurdity that was a pleasure to watch.

In a bit of inspiration, Kim Rhodes was cast as Sheriff Jody Mills. Usually women played reapers, demons and angels, with the exception of their mother (Samantha Smith). But Rhodes was given a meatier role. She had to carefully enforce the law while becoming one of the guys. In the “Time After Time” episode where Dean traveled backward and met Eliot Ness, she was trying to get Sam to rest and said, “Do I have to use my mom voice.” It was the perfect combination of authority figure and mother.

Early on, it was reported that Eric Kripke (creator) wanted to use a classic Mustang as “Baby,” but was informed there wasn’t enough room in the trunk for a body. So chosen instead was the 1967 Chevy Impala. They did get that Mustang in there during the apocalypse Season 5 when the red horseman drove into town in a red classic pony car. Baby is such an inherent part of the show it had its own episode appropriately titled “Baby.”

Throughout the series, we’ve been treated to a plethora of rock ‘n roll music that the boys’ father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) introduced to Dean. It has made for a rousing soundtrack. And don’t forget all those gaudy motel rooms; absolutely inspired! The person in charge of the wallpaper needs an Emmy please.

And so we find ourselves near the end of the road. It’s been a great ride and while we don’t want it to end, that was always implied; they are hunters after all.

How do I want it to end?

Sam looks up from laptop.

Sam: “There’s a report of an Ōkami in Kansas City.”

Dean: “Hey, aren’t they’re mostly found in Japan?”

Sam: “What do you want to do?”

Dean: “What we always do.”

Boys leave the bunker.

(“Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas plays)

Fade to black.

As we say goodbye to old friends I can’t help but think of what Chuck/God (Rob Benedict) said about writing the books to be known as the Winchester Gospel.

Endings are hard.

 

Watch on The CW, TNT and Netflix

Paranormal Investigation

Paranormal Investigation: Come Along, If You Dare

by G G Collins          Copyright 2019

To protect the anonymity of the investigators and their group, names have been omitted.

The theatre is in total darkness as six people grope their way through the former playhouse. Abandoned instruments stand quietly on stage as if waiting for ghostly musicians. The five members of this paranormal investigative team and this reporter carry flashlights, cameras and a variety of measuring tools to check everything from temperature to electromagnetic fields. It will be a long night. Paranormal investigations begin around 9PM and usually end in the wee hours of the morning. The hours between midnight and 3AM are the most active so an infrared camcorder must be in place to catch energies which may appear as orbs or mists of light. One investigator watches the monitor in the outer lobby as the camera rolls.

Camaraderie is abundant and I was given unlimited access to the investigation which became quite exciting as camera flashes began to strobe the thick gloom. Shouts of “I’m in” and “I’m out” indicate that a participant is taking shots. Any sounds made from a stumble or impact with furniture is acknowledged so it may be culled from the data later on.

It has been reported that a director of a play, back in the theatre’s prime, died during a performance. Will his spirit honor us with his presence? All souls are welcome tonight. We patrol the theatre from back to front, over the stage, and behind the curtains looking for cold spots and other indications that energy, physical or metaphysical, exists. At times the EMF meters (including mine) screech like Geiger counters over radioactive matter. Then the deliberation: Is it electronic equipment, plumbing or a water source far beneath the building? If all those things can be ruled out, then things get real interesting. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Bump in the Night

It begins when something goes bump in the night. We’ve all experienced an unexplained noise or odor that we generally dismiss as nothing. Although it’s very unusual to see a true apparition, reports of sightings continue. If mysterious things create conditions in homes or offices that interfere with normal daily living it may be time to call a paranormal investigation team.

The founder of the team had her first brush with the paranormal when she was taking Polaroid photos where she worked.

“I got an apparition on film. I said, ‘Oh my, I think I’ve got a ghost.’”

That wasn’t the only strange thing to happen that day. When she loaded a new cartridge all the pictures came flying out. They were blood red. Polaroid’s usually come out grey.

It turns out a woman had been murdered at her place of employment and with that in mind she went to the internet for information. She found the woman’s photo in the obits. The murder victim had long hair and was wearing a striped shirt just as the apparition appeared in her own photo.

As if this wasn’t enough, doors slammed spontaneously and her business cards would disappear. She found them stuck between the pages of her calendar.

“I thought my crew was playing a trick on me.” They weren’t.

By then, she had more than a casual interest and reached out to others involved in investigating the paranormal. She joined a ghost club in another city because at that time there wasn’t a group where she lived.

“I was with them for a year and they said I needed to start my own team—and (my city) needed a team.”

The new team became a reality within a few months. Other members include a historian with a master’s degree in history, doctorate level work in history and anthropology. Other members have varied backgrounds including one with a master’s degree in psychology.

Tools of the Trade

When the team goes into a structure to investigate what might be paranormal phenomena it is done with permission of the owner and an arsenal of equipment: recorders, electromagnetic field detectors or EMFs, infrared night shot camcorders, temperature meters to check for cold and hot spots, 35 mm digital cameras—and open minds.

First, a baseline of conditions such as temperature, humidity and moon phase are recorded. Later, readings repeated for verification. Cameras are set up at different locations for correlation. If one camera catches something that the others did not, it’s significant.

Photos reveal paranormal energy in different ways: Orbs or “glowies,” mists and vortices that appear as a white line through a photo. Once readings are completed it is time for the sit-down. The team remains quiet during that period and allows the equipment to do its job.

“If there’s an underground water source and the EMF meter is going off, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a ghost present. We look for any man-made sources first and any explanation we can find because we don’t want to harm the credibility of our group. We don’t want to fake it.”

Extensive interviews are done with clients prior to scheduling an investigation to learn as much about the history of the location as possible. That way, conclusions are reached with as many facts as possible.

Investigations take place in the overnight hours because that is when the activity is most likely to occur.

“There are lots of theories on why that is,” the founder says. “It could be the dew. Water is a conductor of energy. It could be the moon phase. It’s not real conclusive at this point.”

Light interferes with the process so all lighting is switched off. It’s easier to conduct testing at night because there is less evidence contamination with the outside world.

Invisible Friend?

The leader of the team is psychic and thus she becomes another tool in determining authenticity of possible paranormal incidents.

“Animals and children are very sensitive, so when your child walks up to you and says, ‘I’m going to go play with the little boy in my room’ and things of that nature you should pay attention.” Visual and auditory manifestations are very rare. Odors are the most common type of haunting. “That’s why it’s helpful to have someone who is clairvoyant.”

Unfriendly Ghost

It was in an abandoned, and creepy, hospital in another state an investigation became frightening. An entity is present in that building and likely evil.

“He gives off feelings of nausea, dizziness, and fear. If he preys on you, you know it. On the second night (of the investigation) we went into a lab area where we felt very strong energy. We set our recorder down and said, ‘Is anybody here who would like to join us? We’re open to that.’” Asking permission is one of the proprieties of this team. It’s respectful.

The two team members were using an external mic. It is helpful in that it doesn’t reproduce grinding noises from the recorder motor.

“It sounded like somebody sat down on the microphone. Everything on the tape from there is mush. It’s all muffled. We sat there a few minutes. We could feel something was there with us.”

They asked: ‘Would you like to talk with us?”

After a few more seconds they sensed it was time to leave. They bolted, leaving the recorder behind.

During an investigation in a structure that used to be an orphanage they felt the presence of some children and a female.

“We did get an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a woman singing. We kept hearing noises in the next room. We’d go into that room and investigate and there would be a noise in the next room. It kept avoiding us. We picked up a voice on our recorder saying, ‘I don’t care!’ It was none of us.” Voices of men arguing were also taped.

The team uses a computer program that filters out white noise and static. A clearer, more definitive tape is the result. The program also allows members to measure and profile their own voices so they can be identified.

During an investigation in another theatre things got far spookier. An opera singer reportedly haunts the building. Footsteps and other noises have been reported as have moving objects. It has been recounted that atrocities were conducted in the basement during a riot.

Who You Gonna Call?

What should the average person do if they fear a haunting? First, try to rule out a man-made cause. If you can’t, don’t go any further on your own. It’s not recommended that you try Ouija boards or séances as these could make the situation worse.

When looking for an investigative team, pick one that doesn’t sensationalize their findings or anger the entities in your home if you have them. Check for a professional association who specializes in paranormal research.The serious paranormal investigation teams have bylaws and regulations they follow.

“We have very strict protocol to make sure all our data is clean and we collect it in a controlled environment,” the founder says. “You have to wear your camera strap or take it off. All long hair has to be pulled back in a ponytail so hair doesn’t get in front of the camera and look anomalous. No reflective jewelry is allowed. No perfume or cologne. No smoking.”

These steps help avoid contamination of the site. Personal property is respected and the team leaves nothing but footprints much like the hiker’s motto.

Skepticism is a good thing

“We have skeptics in our group. There’s a good quote: ‘To believers no proof is necessary, to the hard-core skeptics you can’t get enough proof.’ We’re skeptics. We’ve thrown out a lot of data that is probably paranormal in nature because we couldn’t correlate.”

Did we find any evidence of paranormal activity during our investigation of the theatre? At least one photo produced an orb of blue light—blue orbs are said to be angels. The team determined that the theatre contained minor energies as a result of residual energy.

“These are event ‘imprints’ that happen over and over,” she explains.

The data collected at the theatre is being evaluated. As for the director? There’s nothing to indicate he materialized this particular evening. Maybe he didn’t care for the billing.

♦  ♦  ♦

For my post on Santa Fe Ghost Stories click here: https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=Santa+Fe+Ghost+Stories

 

Glossary of Ghostly Terms

Anomaly: A deviation from normal.

Apparition: The manifestation of a spirit which can be seen in human form or in blobs or streaks of light.

EMF: Electromagnetic Field. Readings used to determine paranormal activity.

EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena. Captures voices on tape when no obvious source can be found.

Earthbound: A spirit unable to leave the physical world. Filmmaker M Night Shyamalan explored this in The Sixth Sense.

Encounter: There are three kinds: intelligent and formerly human; residual energy left over from the past; and malevolent.

Ghoul: A demon who enjoys a meal of human flesh.

Ghost Hunt: Investigation of a reported haunting using earthly technology to record any paranormal occurrences.

Haunting: A manifestation of unexplainable phenomena.

Orb: Seen as blotches of light in photos. This energy form is frequently dismissed.

Paranormal: The unexplained.

Poltergeist: A mischievous and sometimes malevolent spirit.

Spirit: Ghost of a deceased human.

Spirit Guide: A protective spirit who is with each person since birth.

Thanks For Trying Atomic Medium!

Thank you for the overwhelming response to Atomic Medium on its free promo last Saturday. If you enjoy it, please take a few minutes to write a blurb or short review. I would appreciate it very much. Thanks to all who took a chance on Book 3!

— G G Collins

“Reluctant Medium” by G G Collins Makes Amazon Mystery Top 100 Category

“Reluctant Medium” Enters 4th Week on Amazon Top 100 List

“Reluctant Medium” can be found on Amazon’s Mystery Category Top 100 List: Mystery/SupBook Cover Reluctant Medium Newest 5-2014ernatural/Werewolves & Shifters.

Although there are no werewolves in “Reluctant Medium” there is a shape-shifting evil spirit. The debut novel in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series had a very successful promotional weekend. It has also found its way to the Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy/Paranormal & Urban Top 100 list from time to time.

Thanks to all my readers who have made it possible. Wow!

 

 

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