Proofreading Ghost?

I know, I’ve been away a long time. Guess my life has been more “normal” than paranormal lately.

About a year and a half ago I switched genres and went from writing historical children’s novels to contemporary adult romance novels, which I write as Marina Martindale. So, last night my good friend, “Ginny,” was helping me fine-tune a manuscript before it goes back to the editor. We were rewording the dialog in a conversation between a private investigator and an FBI agent, and, as I’m reading out loud to her, I notice a faint shadow going across my keyboard. Keep in mind, my hands were not moving or nor were they on the keyboard at the time, nor was it a power surge. I stopped reading and I asked her if she saw it. Ginny is a sensitive, if not out and out psychic, and she also has the ability to see spirit people. Yes, she saw the shadow all right. She then tells me that the entity is a man, but he is not my father. It is someone who I do not know. At this point I’m not exactly feeling warm and fuzzy, but, since the dogs are all asleep and not barking, she tells me it’s a good sign and that he is not a negative spirit.

My latest novel, The Deception, is both a romance and crime story, and she seems to think that the ghost of a police officer may have overhead us as he passed by, and that he possibly took an interest. I never had any friends or relatives who were police officers, but she tells me that spirits can roam, just like we do, and if something gets their attention they may stop to check it out. She also reminded me that there is an electrical substation directly across the street from my house, so there may be a portal over there.

Needless to say, that ended working on the novel for the rest of the night.


Why do Ghost Hunters Only Work in the Dark?

Excellent article on called Why real-life ghost hunters hate “Ghost Hunters.” The author brings up a point that I’ve never quite understood myself, and that is why do all those reality TV ghost hunters always do their hunts overnight?

I’ve heard some say it’s because ghosts are more active at night. Really?  Do ghosts punch a time clock? And what about interference from streetlights or car headlights? He also questions how well can anyone observe anything in total darkness. Sure, they’re using night vision cameras, but those LCD screens are tiny. And if you recall in a few of the episodes of Ghost Adventures some of their guys have tripped and fallen over furniture in the darkness, and how smart is it really to be walking around inside a completely dark derelict building? It’s lucky that so far no one has taken a bad fall and ended up with a serious injury.

Another point of observation is to listen to the claimant testimonials on Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures. The typical story goes something like, “I’d just locked up the museum for the night and I was the last one to leave. I was about to get in my car when I looked up and saw the lady in the Victorian dress staring out the window.” Almost without exception their encounters are happening either during the day or in the early evening hours. So why is it necessary for all the TV ghost hunters to do their work between midnight at 5 am? Is it to make their shows more dramatic?

The rest of the article is a very interesting read, and I would have to agree with the author that there are some fakers out there, as well as some television shows in which the hunters do sloppy work. Take Most Haunted. They don’t even do EVP sessions. Instead they rely on psychics and Ouija boards, and, as far as they’re concerned, every little particle of dust that the camera picks up is an orb and therefore evidence of ghostly activity. Yeah, right. I can’t help but wonder if some of the people on some of these TV shows are perhaps more interested in showmanship and doing whatever it takes to get the ratings up than in conducting serious paranormal research. But at the same time they are bringing the discussion about ghosts and the paranormal into the mainstream. People who have had strange experiences that they can’t explain, or that they have been badly frightened by, are now more able to open up and talk about it because they are realizing that they are not alone and that they’re not “crazy.” And that’s a good thing.

There will come a time when shows like Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures will have run their course and, if you’ll pardon the pun, fade away. Then perhaps the more serious paranormal research can begin again.

My thought for the day.


Where to Go For Help

As an accidental ghost hunter people will sometimes ask me where to go for help. Strange and frightening things may be happening in their homes or workplaces and, in some instances, their children may be too afraid to sleep in their own rooms.

Since I’m an accidental ghost hunter I’m not equipped to visit their home and do a professional ghost hunt, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help.

It’s been my observation that The Atlantic Paranormal Society, TAPS for short, is the most professional and helpful service for those who are dealing with this type of disharmony in their homes. These are the folks who do the Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International shows on cable TV. They use state of the art equipment, and they do their best to debunk, or find non-supernatural explanations for what may be causing problems in the home. It is not uncommon for electrical or plumbing issues to make strange noises or cause funny things to happen.

TAPS has affiliate members all over the country. Just visit their website at, and click on the ‘Family Members” link. Their services are free, and they will do their best to help.

And just so you all know, The Accidental Ghost Hunter is not affiliated with TAPS.


Relocating Cemetaries

This morning as I was browsing my local news on-line this morning I came across a rather interesting story from one of the local Phoenix television stations. It seems this Saturday the remains of 61 US Calvary soldiers, stationed in Tucson at Fort Lowell during the mid-1800s, along with some of their family members, are going to be exhumed and reburied in Sierra Vista. All in the name of progress. Seems the military dead, along with other dead, are in the way of a redevelopment project in downtown Tucson. They’re going to build a new courthouse on top of the city’s first territorial cemetery, and there were over 1800 people buried there. Many of the other graves have already been exhumed and who knows where their remains were dumped. It seems the mentality here is let’s just kick out the dead and bulldoze over their graves.

Now mind you the Fort Lowell soldiers will be respectfully escorted to their new resting place and reburied with full military honors, but I still don’t think this is right. Cemeteries are a part of our history too. They should be left unmolested and preserved. I’m descended from Druids and those genes must be kicking in, or maybe it’s because of all the paranormal things I’ve experienced myself in Tombstone, but I think it’s very, very unwise to ever disturb the dead build anything on top of an old cemetery. And when the weird things start happening in the new court buildings, oh well. I certainly wouldn’t want to be working there.


How Did I Miss This Orb?

I don’t know how this one slipped by…

This photo was taken back in 2006. I was doing a performance of my living history character, “The Tombstone Storyteller,” for a YMCA convention in Phoenix, Arizona. The Tombstone Storyteller presentation is a 3rd person narrative that covers many of notable events in the town’s history, including the sequence of events leading to, and resulting from, that famous shoot out Fremont Street, later known as “The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” I do this presentation for schools, associations, convention groups, etc. (In fact it was the enthusiastic feedback I kept getting from school kids that inspired me to write Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: Luke and Jenny Visit Tombstone.)

Anyway…as stated before, orbs are a bit of a controversy in the ghost hunting community. Orbs can simply be energy fields. Or they can be evidence of ghosts or paranormal activity. Or they can be dust or insects. However orbs commonly appear in locations known to be haunted. What is interesting to note is I very rarely get orbs in my photos, and this particular photo was taken with my old 35mm point and shoot.

If you look at the upper corner of the room, over my shoulder and to the right, just below the ceiling, there is one mother of an orb! And, just to the right of it is what appears to be a small cloud of mist.

What is also interesting is the fact that I was in a modern hotel in Phoenix which, in all likelihood, not haunted. However I am doing a presentation about Tombstone, and that speaks for itself. Is this orb a ghost? I couldn’t say. But it sure is an interesting coincidence.


Psychiatrists — Modern Day Witch Hunters

The other evening as I was listening to Coast to Coast AM, George Noorey was interviewing psychiatrist Dr. Diane Powell who was discussing her new book, The ESP Enigma. I was absolutely flabbergasted when Dr. Powell stated that being psychic is considered to be a delusional mental illness by the psychiatric community.

This frightens me more than any ghost ever could. It immediately brought to my mind images of the Middle Ages, when anyone who was psychic was considered to be a witch, in league with the devil, and the poor soul was burned alive.

Sadly, it appears this bigotry against psychics carries into the 21st Century, where is has now been stigmatized by the psychiatric community. But instead of witch burning, these modern day witch hunters, (psychiatrists), can simply violate the psychic’s civil rights and lock them up in psychiatric hospitals, which are really nothing more than prisons.

This is not to say that there aren’t people out there with legitimate mental illnesses who are in genuine need of treatment. However, to label people with psychic abilities who are able to hold a job, be it doing psychic readings or a regular job, and who are take care of themselves and their families, and who are in no way a danger to themselves or anyone else, as mentally ill is nothing more than pure, unadulterated bigotry.

Shame on psychiatrists. They are no better than the religious fanatics in Medieval times who burned anyone alive who did not adhere to their strict, rigid dogma. Those who individuals are psychic have every right to use their God-given gift without being labeled or stigmatized. Those of us who have adopted New Age beliefs as our religion of choice, also have every right to believe in our religion of choice, without being labeled or stigmatized.


Welcome to The Accidental Ghost Hunter

Photo by Gayle Martin. Location: Nassau, the Bahamas.

I originally started this blog back in 2007, and migrated it to WordPress in 2017. At the time I started The Accidental Ghost Hunter, I was writing a series of historical novels for young readers that would eventually become The Luke and Jenny book series, and part of my research included spending time in historic sites, such as Tombstone, Arizona. While I was there I would sometimes experience strange things. I also met others who’d had similar experiences in Tombstone, or at other historical sites, so I created The Accidental Ghost Hunter to share my experiences with others.

While I’ve never assumed that every bump in the night is a ghost, I’ve always believed in life after death, and I believe that those who have passed on can remain connected to loved ones who are still living. Or they may, perhaps, have some unfinished business that they need to deal with.

Unlike a professional ghost hunter, I don’t go into allegedly haunted sites with EMF meters, tape recorders, thermal imaging cameras, or other equipment used to document, or debunk, a haunting. It’s just me, visiting historic places, taking photos, and then finding strange anomalies in my photos. Sometimes I can debunk them, other times I can’t. And that’s what makes me The Accidental Ghost Hunter.


P.S. The photo in this post has no anomalies. It is, however, the one in my collection that came the closest to looking like a “haunted” house.

Tombstone’s Swamper Ghost

If you’ve read any of my Luke and Jenny books you’ll notice that one of my principal characters is always a ghost. Since my books are about two modern day youngsters traveling back in time I needed some sort of a catalyst, and a ghost character fit the bill nicely. And because my first Luke and Jenny book was about Tombstone, a town known to be a hot spot for paranormal activity, how could I not include a ghost?

When I wrote Gunfight at the O.K. Corral I decided to use one of the real town ghosts, the Swamper, as one of my lead characters. The Swamper was a handyman at the Grand Hotel back in the 1880s. There isn’t a whole lot known about him. You must remember that during the 1880s Tombstone was a booming mining town, and people came and went seeking their fortune. What is known about the Swamper is that he was a good worker, and his salary included room and board in the hotel basement. And that’s where his story gets interesting. Sometime later, I’m not sure exactly when, it was discovered that the Swamper had dug a tunnel into the floor of his basement room that lead into one of the silver mines. Legend has it he “appropriated” and stashed away a fortune in silver somewhere in that basement that has never been found, and that is why he haunts Tombstone.

I made the Swamper a very benevolent character in my book, sort of like an uncle who takes the two youngsters under his wing and teaches them about history as well as lessons about life in general. And if he really is one of the town spirits I hope he approves.

My books are written for young readers ages 8 to 12, but I’ve had wonderful feedback from teenagers and adults who have also read and enjoyed them.


A Particularly Scary Ghostly Encounter

Most of my experiences as an accidental ghost hunter have been benign. In fact, many times I’m not even aware that I’ve had a ghostly encounter until I get my pictures developed. There was, however, one instance when I was very aware, and it was my most frightening experience to date.

This past summer I’d gone to Tombstone, Arizona, for a weekend event to do some storytelling and sign my books. Whenever I go there I usually stay at a motel in the nearby town of Benson, and being a frequent visitor to that part of the state has given me a wonderful opportunity to befriend some of the locals. I always look forward to seeing them whenever I’m in town.

I had just gotten settled into my room in Benson when one of my friends called. He’d borrowed a friend’s convertible and he wanted to take me for a ride. I was happy to accept the invitation.

One of the wonderful things about visiting small, rural Arizona communities in the summertime is the chance to do some stargazing. Most of us live in cities, and light pollution makes seeing the stars from our own backyards difficult, if not impossible. I told my friend that’s what I wanted to do, and he knew the perfect spot. It was along the side of a road near an old western movie set.

We had just pulled over and shut the engine down. I looked up at the sky and marveled at the billions of stars. It was like looking into an ocean of lights. As my mind began to wonder I thought about Star Trek, and I wondered if perhaps someday we really would explore the stars.

We’d only been there a few minutes when something very unexpected happened. I heard a strange sound. It was the sound of footsteps. Loud, heavy footsteps, and they were coming towards us.

I asked my friend if he heard them. He said yes, he did. We looked at one another in started disbelief as my mind raced with all the urban legend ghost stories I’d heard as a youngster about the young couple whose car runs out of gas on the back road in the woods…and then one of them gets murdered in a grizzly way by an unseen stranger. My friend said something to the effect of let’s get the hell out of here. He started up the car and we took off — fast.

My friend isn’t a man who scares easily, but whatever this was sure scared the bejeebers out of him. We racked our brains trying to figure out what we’d heard, but we’ve never come up with any reasonable explanation. The footsteps were too heavy to be human, and he said they didn’t sound like any animal that lives in the area. We can only conclude that whatever it was, it was inhuman, and not friendly.