Friday, July 31, 2015

ParaRant: #CharlieCharlieChallenge Edition (Repost From I Must Be Hallucinating)

This post was originally published on I Must Be Hallucinating on June 17, 2015. 

When I was studying sociology, one of the things that interested me the most was the way trends take hold. Now, when I was in college, there was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I don’t think Myspace had taken hold yet, and neither had gmail. I’m sure you can only imagine how my fascination with sociology and trends has increased over the years with all the social media growth. I tend to get sucked into these channels watching how trends take over. It just amazes me, I mean we have whole sectors of marketing devoted to watching trending topics and hashtags. While this can be a good thing, like in the case of fundraising for natural disasters; it can also be a bad thing- like in the case of darker things like the “slenderman phase,” and now the #charliecharliechallenge.

image from the exorcist
image from the exorcist

The answer I’m sure you are asking is if I’m going to jump on this trend. The answer is- No, I’m not dumb. I’d prefer to not have demonic entities attach themselves to me- that just doesn’t seem like the most fun thing I can do on a Saturday night. I’m sure that some people think I’m over-reacting, but If you’ve read my article about the truth and history behind the #CharlieCharlieGame, you have seen a hint of why I feel that way.

Here’s another thing. Are you going to swim in alligator-infested waters? Are you going to jump off a 10 story building with no protection? Are you going to walk up to a lion and poke it? Then why in the world would you play a game that could possibly get a demonic entity attached to you? Well, yeah- it might not happen. But, what will your life be like if something does get attached to you? I’ve lived in a house that a demonic entity tried to control and luckily got out alive. One may not be so lucky if the entity is attached to you directly.

Taking my thoughts further on this matter, didn’t your mom ever ask “If Johnny jumps off a bridge, are you going to follow?” This is exactly the same type of thing your mother was talking about. Just because all of your little buddies may be sharing their experience on Vine, Instagram or Facebook, doesn’t actually mean that it is a good idea for you to do it. If you have all this extra energy and untapped social media resources, why don’t you use it for good. Why not warn people to not play with the darkness that lurks just outside our realm of normality? Why not share photos of missing kids or raise money for people that need food to survive. Why must you waste all that potential with playing games that you may not want to see what the ending is?

Did you see my vine?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PR Friendly

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10 Must Haves For Your Next Bigfoot Expedition (Plus My Recommendations)

This is not a sponsored post- there are no affiliate links included either.

Last year, The Carolina Cryptid Crew held a public expedition. Participants were chosen by random drawing, plus one that had an awesome submission. Many people asked then and have asked since, what one would bring on a Bigfoot Expedition. Well, there are several things I include in my pack. All of these are not necessities, but will make your experience more enjoyable.

The things that you absolutely must have when on a Bigfoot Expedition is a flashlight (and I highly recommend a camera of some kind).

1. Correct Clothing and Shoes

This may not seem like a biggie to some, but believe me- it is. I've seen people show up to an expedition wearing shorts and flip flops- not a good idea. Not only will you be traipsing around where you can't see 2 feet in front of your face, but there is wildlife out there and lots of bugs (read: chiggers and ticks).

You are going to want to wear hiking boots (or at least good tennis shoes), jeans that you can move in, and a shirt you are comfortable in. You may want to bring along a raincoat. My general expedition uniform is jeans, hiking/ work boots (yes, they are pink), a tank top until it gets cold, a pretty pink camo hat, and a jacket for when it cools off.

Snake guards are always a good idea, as well as a non-scented bug repellant (wristbands work great) and sunscreen.

2. Safety Gear

Along with snake guards, bug repellant, and sunscreen, there are other safety items you may want to consider bringing along. These items include a powerful stun gun, knife, first aid kit, flashlight, hunting vest and snake bite kit.

A survival kit with water purifier is also a good idea. Included in this should be flares, a thermal blanket, and meal bars.


Survival Personal Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, and Prepping. Portable Purifier is BPA Free and Lightweight. Filtration System removes 99.9% bacteria, includes Travel Strap.Stun Gun With Flashlight - Terminator 25,000,000 V Pink- Mini Rechargeable Cheap Reliable Stun Gun With LED Flashlight - Self-Defense - Defend Yourself
Personal water filter, 25,000,000-volt stun gun with flashlight, adjustable beam light

3. Camera

In all honestly, it doesn't matter what kind of camera unless you are a serious bigfooter. Our team uses a combination of trail cameras, bell+howell night vision camera, cell phones, Kodak Easyshare, Kodak Easyshare Sport, GoPro Hero 3, MeCam, and several other digital cameras and camcorders. You just want to make sure you can get a photo if you find evidence or of the big guy himself. 

You could always invest in a thermal imaging camera, but they can cost into the thousands. 

4. Monopod or Selfie Stick

This is pretty essential with a camera. They can help you get a better angle, but they serve a more fundamental role as well. With a monopod or selfie stick, your photos and videos will be more stable because the handle will allow the movement of your body to dissipate before it gets to the camera. If you choose not to use one, I highly recommend using a glove, it can help minimize static noise. 

Premium Battery Free Monopod Selfie Stick Pro - Best For Self Portrait, Group, Vacation And Event Pictures. Wired - Waterproof - Easy To Use All In One For iPhone, Android and GoPro Hero - Simple For Everyone, Makes A Great Gift. - Bonus Ebook
Alexan FlexPro Selfie Stick

5. Mounts

This may seem an odd thing to include, but trust me. I have a GoPro Hero 3 with added IR. In the woods, I use an additional IR light to get a better range on my photos. This meansI have the camera, extra light, and 2 batteries. That doesn't include my phone, flashlight, voice recorder, or any other gear I may carry. So, I use a mount that I attach to my monopod, hot shoe adapters, and velcro to have my set up all smooth (I'll share that another time). This set up is directly determined by your gear and your pereerences. 

You may want to even consider something like a phone lasso that will allow you to put your phone on a lanyard (or anything else with a smooth surface.) I have one on my phone that I keep attached to a wristlet. Then, on an evestigation, I'll switch it to a lanyard. It is always ready to go when I need it. You could also put a voice recorder on it. 

Product Details

6. Voice Recorder

This is a pretty importaant one. There have been nights that we have been at the research area and heard howls all night long. Then, there are nights we may hear 2. There are many options for voice recorders, including apps. I suggest a freestanding one though, it s much simpler. You can get a very involved one like from Sony or Olumpus, or a more simpler one. I prefer this one touch recorder from Uqique. Just turn it on and it starts recording. Great for catching calls. 
Product Details

7. Walkie Talkie

This is one of hose essential things that the team you will be with will most likely have, we do. However, if you are going with a friend (or starting a team), I wanted to include this. If you and your friend get seperated, this is a great thing to have! You don't have to have the best one, just enough diistance to reach eachother. 

8. Evidence Collection

You are going to want something to collect evidence with. While you do not have to have all of this, these are some of the items in mine. Paper bags, ziplock bags, vials, tweezers, disposable gloves, alcohol wipes, surveyor's tape, tape measure, lighted magnifying glass, distance meter, UV light and a notepad to write it all down with and number. Don't forget plaster, water, and something to miz it in. 

I have tweezers, surveyors tape, tape measure, and baggies in my pack I carry along. Then, I have a tool box with the rest of this stuff in it. 

9. Something To Carry Your Gear With

While some items can be left at base camp, some can be worn on your person (or monopod), there are still going to be things you need to have with you and not in your hands. So, you need something to carry it with. 

There are many options available, including utility vests, backpacks, waist packs, sling packs, and more. I personally use a variety of options. I use a small backpack and a waist pack. I also have a larger backpack I keep at base base camp with speakers, extra gear, and all that fun stuff we sometimes use in it- just in case. I've been keeping my eye out for a couple different size camera backpacks because they have easier access and padding for equipment and a utility vest for my husband. If you have recommendations, I'd love to hear them. 

10. The Right Attitude

I saved the biggest for last. I'm not going to tell you what attitude is right because essentially, it is about what is in your heart. 

I'm not setting out to prove that bigfoot (or ghosts) exist to the world- I already know they are real. I am doing 2 things I am trying to get people to open their mind to the possibility of something existing that they cannot see, and I'm looking for an explanation to what I've seen- that's all. If they do ever get proven to exist, I will work to have them protected. I do not want to see them killed, although I fear that a body is the only way to prove what I've seen exists. 

What is on your list of essential gear? 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ghost Hunting Equipment: Must Have Accessories

I'm sure you have all realized by now that I'm a bit of a tech geek and gadget hoarder. Being a paranormal investigator and bigfoot researcher only adds to this. I love my equipment.

Most people know about the basic ghost hunting equipment like night vision camera, flashlight, voice recorder, KII meter, and even thermometer. However, some of my favorite gear is the gadgets that add to the functionality of my general equipment. I'm going to go over my favorites here.

1. Lights

Image result for ir lightsThere are all kinds of lights to use during a paranormal investigation. There are flashlights, color filter flashlights, spot lights, black lights, and IR lights. They all have their own purpose and should be used accordingly. 

Flashlights may seem obvious to see where you are going, but some people use the ones with twist off and on to get answers from entities. Color filter flashlights can help your eyes adjust better and even make the light not as harsh on cameras. I have seen black lights been used in experiments, and I have conducted some of my own, so they are definitely a fun addition. IR lights have a specific function in a paranormal investigation- an external one can help extend the range of your night vision camera. 

2. Tripods, Monopods & Selfie Sticks

Image result for alezan mobileI have many different tripods- I have standard ones, table top ones, laser grid holders, gorilla pods, and more. I also have several monopods and selfie sticks for different purposes, as well as attachments for both so I can attach whatever equipment I want and just have one hand full of gear. This also allows me to set up a tripod with a camera and external IR light for a better range- a camera bracket helps that. 

I do have a favorite selfie stick- the Alezan selfie stick allows me to use my camera, phone, or go pro with different accessories so that I can accomplish what I need to. See my review here. (giveaway here)

3. Power

Image result for dc to 9 voltPower is a very important part of paranormal investigations- we always need to make sure our equipment is charged, have backup batteries, and a way to charge on the go. There are many different battery packs on the market that will allow you to charge anything via USB. There are also solar chargers that can help with this. I have recently bout some adapters that will allow me to use a 9volt battery to in place of a dc adapter- great for old buildings with no power and outside investigations. I use it on a security camera and ir lights. 

4. Tape, Bungees, Etc. 

Image result for gaffer's tapeThis may seem odd, but you should always have a supply of these items on hand. I have had to use bungee cords to attach items to tripods, to fix tripods in a pinch, and even help with command central. Tape is great for measuring, holding down cords, emergency fixings, and even for documenting anomalies like items moving. Gaffer's tape is the best option. It is what photographers use and is a matte black so that you do not have the shine in a photo or video

Other items to include are screwdrivers, measuring tapes, and a first aid kit. 

5. Phones and Tablets

I love using my phone and tablet on paranormal investigations. I actually use my old LG Optimus L90 with some paranormal apps to measure different things, take photos and videos, and record evps. I use the old one because I do not have to worry about getting calls during an investigation. There are all kinds of apps to add to the functionality of phones and tablets during investigations. Some of these include vibration sensor, ghost meters, echovox, spirit boxes, emf detectors, etc. There are even apps from T.A.P.S. I will actually be testing and reviewing some of these soon.