Ghosts, flashlights, and book research

Those of you who read last week’s Friday Five know that I went on a ghost tour a couple of week ago in St. Augustine.

See, I have a book in really early development stages that will involve a certain amount of ghostitude (no details coming for a while yet, but let’s call it Ghost Book), so I wanted to get an idea of some things involved in dealing with ghosts from someone who makes a living in ghost stories. The only other ghost tour I’ve ever been on was also in St. Augustine– around thirteen years ago when I was thirteen.

I remember being more impressed by that one, but in all fairness, that was clearly a theatrical ghost tour. The one I went on earlier this month specifically advertises itself as the best “non-theatrical” ghost tour in St. Augustine.

“Be skeptical,” our guide advised us as she gave her introductory speech.

I pretended not to be excited when she handed me an Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Detector.

Electromagnetic fields, she explained, have been detected when there cannot be any electromagnetic field explained. When ghost hunters have been far from any electricity, but in the presence of strange phenomena.

EMF detector
Green = no field detected. Red = field WAY detected.

“Don’t get too excited when they turn red,” our guide said. “Sometimes it’s just going to be electricity.”

Though orange and red lights flickered around the tour, I didn’t really experience any paranormal phenomena– unless you count my questioning of reality when one girl on the tour spoke to a ghost in a tone that I can only describe as pornographic– but you probably don’t.

There was one thing that I can easily “logic” away… but then again, if you want to believe it was something more, I could see that too. In one location that we entered, our guide’s flashlight was turned off. She asked the spirits in the room questions and the light gradually came on in what seemed to be a response. The reverse was true in a different room. Someone in our group asked the room questions and the flashlight was on but gradually dimmed until it was off, dimming in a way that you could almost believe someone was struggling to do it.

Of course, the guide could totally have some sort of flashlight remote control.

…Hey, she told us to be skeptical.

The other thing, though minor, that I’m really going to take away from this tour is the difference between “intelligent” haunts versus “residual” haunts, as explained to us by our tour guide.

An intelligent haunt is one when the ghost interacts with the world in new ways than they did when they were alive.

A residual haunt is one in with the remnants of the spirit continue on with an action they performed in life– sometimes at the time of their death. Our guide gave us the example of a soldier who was shot while on patrol. He’s rumored to have been seen still on patrol as a ghostly form.

What about you? Have you ever been on a ghost tour? Have some spooky happenings or knowledge to impart upon me?

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