Monday, December 5, 2011

Dealing With Grief & Ghost Hunting

This is a re-post of an article moved from our main website to our blog:

The death of a loved one is never easy. Death is a natural part of life, but the question of what happens after we die can still be a mystery for many. If you have ever wondered what happens after we die, you are not alone. Sometimes when people have experienced the death of a loved one, these questions become the focus of their thoughts.

During our time investigating the paranormal we have had many people contact us to investigate their home, and upon interviewing them we discover that they have recently lost a loved one. Investigations where the client (s) have experienced a recent death in their life are very sensitive cases but are fairly common. We understand the desire to want to know that a loved one is safe and well or that the loved one is still around in the afterlife. We have been contacted in hopes that we can provide some closure or give a final message from beyond the grave.

While it is our ambition to find solid proof of life beyond death, dealing with a newly grieving client can be very difficult. If you have experienced a loss and are seeking a paranormal group to help you, first here are some questions you should ask  yourself before contacting a group:
  1. Have I had the time to properly grieve the loss of my loved one?
  2. Why do I feel the need to contact a paranormal group?
  3. Will I find closure in asking a paranormal group to investigate my home?
  4. If the paranormal group finds no evidence of my loved one, will I be ok with that?
  5. If the paranormal group finds evidence of something paranormal in my home, will I be able to handle the findings presented to me?
  6. Should I consider grief counseling from a professional to better deal with my loss?
We don't want to discourage anyone from contacting a group to investigate their home if they feel it is right for them, we just recommend that you give yourself the time to deal with loss before doing so. You should be emotionally prepared to handle any type of evidence given to you or lack thereof before initiating contact with a group. Being in a heightened emotional state is not the best time to deal with strangers in your home attempting to record audio, video, and asking many questions especially pertaining to death. Inviting a paranormal group to your home to find closure with a very recent death may not be in the best interest for you, your family or the paranormal investigators. Give yourself some time to begin healing from your loss, and then consider your options in dealing with any paranormal activity you may be experiencing.

Each person must deal with grief in their own way and there really is no right or wrong way to deal with it. Here are some related information to dealing with grief:

Paranormal Pets

This is a re-post of an article moved from our main website to our blog.

- Psychic Pets -

It is scientifically proven that animals have certain senses that are well above and beyond that of a human. Some examples of theses animal senses are: the dog’s sense of smell, the cat’s vision in the dark, and the bat’s use of echolocation, all of these things would be considered superhuman in our species. Since many animals have more heightened senses than us humans its no wonder that we believe that animals may have psychic abilities.

Take for example animals and earthquakes: Seismologists have been tying to predict earthquakes for years but so far have come up short on finding a reliable method. Numerous reports have shown that household pets often begin to act uneasy or restless just days before an earthquake strikes. A Geologist by the name of Jim Berkland has actually predicted several earthquakes in part based on unusually high numbers of lost or missing pets in a particular area. Perhaps animals can sense the vibrations from the movement of the earth before we humans can, thus making their restlessness a warning sign of things to come.

Other great examples of pets with extraordinary abilities are animals that can predict or detect oncoming epileptic seizures in humans. Then there is the story of a cat who resides in a nursing home in Rhode Island who can predict death. This cat, named Oscar, has predicted about 50 deaths within the nursing home by curling up next to the person during their final hours of life.

Then there is this question: If animals can sense things we can't, can our pets sense or even see ghosts? It seems possible that our pets can see the things we can not considering the many other mysterious things they have the ability to sense. Those who claim their home is haunted often remark of a family pet reacting to something they seem to be seeing but their owner does not. Most reports of such animal behavior involve the pet acting strangely and out of character often reacting in fear or defense. Many people believe that their pets have some sort of extrasensory perception or sixth sense, however, what may seem like psychic-like abilities in our pets may simply be their natural abilities and behaviors that just exceed our own

- Ghost Pets -

Our pets make us happy, they are playful and fun, they listen to us when we need someone to talk to and they comfort us in times of sadness. For many people, their pets have become a part of the family, and in some cases a pet may be the only family a person has. We have a strong connection to our pets from hamsters to horses and everything in between; humans have formed an inseparable bond with the animals in their lives.

When a beloved pet dies it can be like losing a member of the family, the loss of that companionship can be overwhelming, and the grief can be intense. Just as we may question what happens to our loved ones after they die, we often wonder what happens when our pets die. A popular poem suggests that our beloved pets go to a place called Rainbow Bridge, a heaven-like place for animals.

But many stories of seeing, hearing or feeling the presence of their departed pet begs the question what if our pets can come back in a ghostly form? With so many tales of pet owners believing that their furry friend has returned to them in the afterlife, it is difficult to dispute so many claims. Stories claim pets have come back in spirit form to save their owners from deadly situations, others have claimed to sense the presence of their pet curling up next to them in bed. Whether you believe in ghosts or not there is no disputing the amazing bond we have with our pets. And who knows, our connection with our animals may just be so strong that sometimes they remain by our side even after death.

Below I have included a few links to some stories of ghost animals and supernatural pets; the first one in particular is the story of a spirit horse. I have always had a fascination with and love of horses my whole life, as has my daughter.

Ghostly Animal Links:

Melissa - HPIR Founder

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Evidence Credibility

For most paranormal investigators, the ultimate goal in conducting investigations is to find some kind of evidence that can not be explained. However, what may be even more important is the ability to identify sources that can lead to false claims of paranormal activity. The last thing a paranormal investigation group wants to do is to offer false or misleading information to the person or persons we are trying to find honest answers for.

There is nothing more exciting than discovering a mysterious voice on an audio recording or a dark shadow lurking on your video recordings. Catching good evidence is great, but how often do we put our own findings under the microscope?

Case in point: We recently completed an investigation at a location in which many groups have investigated, and most have walked away with some sort of unexplainable audio or video. We have investigated this location in the past in addition to our recent visit and much like other groups who have investigated; we ended up with multiple findings. Pending our return visit, we did some searching to see what other groups out there have captured since we were there last. We found a number of things and a few caught our attention so we decided try some experiments during our investigation. Unfortunately, one experiment which was publicized as a paranormal by another team, we were able to re-create exactly within minutes.

This article is not written to discredit or ridicule other teams, because in all reality none of us are perfect and what one person feels is paranormal, someone else may not feel the same way about. However, cases such as this should really speak to everyone in the paranormal community; always double check your findings and analyze everything possible to avoid misleading claims. Some people are very impressionable, and it would be an unfortunate thing to offer someone misleading information which could induce unnecessary fear. The quantity of evidence is not as important as the quality.

Our team does not always find evidence of paranormal activity when we investigate a place, but when we do find something we can’t explain, we closely examine it before releasing what we have found. We also attempt to check our facts with what paranormal evidence we find, and several cases have just left us speechless. Take for example the Buffington House investigation we did back in 2010: We captured a very clear and chilling EVP of a child calling out for mommy. After some deeper research into the history of the home than what was initially done, we discovered that a four year old little boy died in the home over one hundred years ago. When the facts line up with investigation findings, it really gives more credibility to the evidence.

Each investigation we have done has been a great experience and we truly appreciate those who have allowed us to come into their home or business to check into their claims of paranormal activity. We feel that those who give us these amazing opportunities deserve the best and most honest answers we can give them.  

Monday, November 14, 2011


In order to progress in the work of paranormal investigation and research, our team has disregarded one particular little nuisance: The Orb.

Now, before I start this let me make it clear that I am talking about the most common photographic anomalies captured on ghost hunts. I do realize that there is natural "energy orbs, a phenomena that exists and has scientific explanations. True energy orbs would be a whole other article in itself. But I am going to discuss the most common “orb” seen in most photos.

  • Orb - a sphere or spherical object.

Orbs appear to have taken the paranormal community by storm over the past few decades and these little photographic irregularities have caused much debate. First, in order to secure our argument on these anomalies, I have done a little research on some orb related topics that provides some very interesting facts:
  • Orbs were basically non-existent or (very rare at best) before the 1990’s, however the first photographs were taken in the early 1800’s, so why the lack of orb photography for nearly 200 years?
  • Digital cameras became available in the mid 1990’s.
  • In the 1990’s, the Gallup Poll News Service statistics state that there was a significant increase in the belief of ghosts and other paranormal related ideas. (
My point here is that digital imagery, combined with an upsurge of interest in paranormal phenomena has led to this little photographic fault to become glorified as something that it is not. Now let’s talk about the key difference in film cameras and digital cameras that has resulted in such a plethora of these orbs:
  • Depth of field. (Photography featurethe total focused area in front of and behind an object held in the focus of a camera or lens - Encarta® World English Dictionary) The digital camera has a larger depth of field than a standard 35mm as well as a sharper lens. At this point you are a few ingredients short of an orb photograph.
Next and perhaps the key elememt in all of this is the camera flash. If you are using the flash on your digital camera, any particles in the air that are not in focal distance from your lens can refract the light from that flash causing these little round white balls to appear in your photo. Of course orbs can show up on film cameras too, but for reasons mentioned above, the film camera is less likely to produce an orb photograph.

The orb is nothing more than a combination of natural factors and technology. When a person is hunting for ghosts and taking lots of photographs (many at night) you are actively seeking something anomalous to show up in your pictures. When something does show up that you can’t immediately explain away (most likely because you didn’t see it with your own eyes) one may jump to the assumption that because you didn’t see it when you took the photo, it must be paranormal.
Orbs can be photographed anywhere; haunted, not haunted, indoors, outdoors, daylight, or night. Orbs can appear in many different forms; shapes and sizes can vary, they can differ in transparency, some can appear to be glowing, some even seem to have faces. All these factors depend on the environment and type of particles you are photographing. If you see a face in an orb, this is called Pareidolia (the
imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human feature. Collins English Dictionary)

I think this quote really sums up the current orb obsession: “The tragic aspect of orbs - otherwise harmless photo defects - is that they lead normal people to believe they are plagued by ghosts” (Quote from the, which appears to no longer be an active website as of 9/2012). There are many people who find orbs in their photos, and due to wide-spread misinformation, believe that something paranormal is happening around them when in fact orbs are about as harmless as a newborn kitten.

All of those who are trying to pass off “orbs” as something paranormal clearly have not done their homework on this subject. The advancement of paranormal investigation and research can not happen unless those involved begin to seek the truth instead of filling the information and knowledge pool with a bunch of garbage.

There will be those who disagree with the facts about orbs. As stated on our website, there are no true experts in the paranormal field, and I am not claiming we are experts. We have however have taken the time to research many aspects of what we do, and hope to offer those who have an interest in paranormal phenomena as much quality, truthful information as possible.

If you happen to find an “orb” in a photograph on our website, let me assure you that we are not trying to claim it as a paranormal anomaly. For an example, when we investigated the Keith Albee, I took a photo on the roof in the rain. The photo was great, but it was speckled with rain drop orbs, not paranormal of course, just a photo worth sharing with all of you.  

Below are some articles and websites worth checking out, if you want to learn more about orbs and/or photography please check them out!
Here is a great article on orbs from Troy Taylor, a respected paranormal investigator.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looking Ahead

The madness of the month of October is finally over, and it’s time to relax a bit and look toward the coming months and even into next year. I can finally sit down to work on writing some new blogs which I hope to post here in the coming weeks. I have been considering touching on some hot topics in some of my upcoming articles such as orbs, equipment and investigation case comparisons. But before I get into those more comprehensive topics, I will give a short re-cap of the past few weeks and a look at what’s coming up for us in the next few months.

The highlight of fall for our team is our ghost tours we offer in Guyandotte. Once again we had an awesome turnout for the tours, and much fun was had by all. This season seemed to be the most “active” tours we have done to date, with many reports of personal experiences and encounters from our tour guests. In fact the tour guests were not the only ones who were experiencing unusual activity; several guides even heard some prowling spirits inside one of the homes on the tour.

We set up some equipment inside one of the homes both before and after the tours on Halloween weekend, and ended up with several EVP’s. We of course will be posting these and any thing else we may find in the coming weeks when all of the audio and video has been reviewed.

Coming up next for us is an investigation of a local haunt (we will announce the location after the investigation is complete and be sure to check back, this one has taken several interesting twists!), followed by a couple residential cases. We hope you will keep following us, and don’t forget to add us on Facebook too!

Melissa - HPIR Founder

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Haunted Travels: Moonville Tunnel, Ohio

We recently hit the road and headed a few hours north
to pay a visit to a famous haunt in the back woods of Vinton County, Ohio. Moonville Tunnel is said to be the site of several sightings that including: a headless railroad conductor, a miner and a girl scout. I have a particular fondness for trains and all things railroads so a trip to an awesome old (and haunted) railroad tunnel was right up my alley.

We didn’t do any investigating because the whole group was unable to make it but we did spend a good bit of time looking around and taking lots of photos. Unfortunately we did not have any encounters with these railroad spirits but I thought I would share some of the photos from our trip:

Melissa - HPIR Founder

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Has Led Me Here....

I have been asked many times why I decided to start a paranormal group, and while I don’t care much to discuss the main event that triggered me to start the group I am willing to explain what led me to it. So here are the things in my life that have led me here:

Growing up, I spend most of my life in a house that was built in 1890. Everything I know about the house seems to indicate that it had a colorful history, I still don’t know a lot of details about it but I do know it played a part in the bootlegging of moonshine in the neighborhood. Overall though it just had a quiet history and it was far from being haunted.

I am not sure what sparked my interest in the paranormal but I remember around middle school I would pick out books at the library about ghosts, monsters, UFOs and such and read about them. As mentioned in a previous posting I also was a big fan of paranormal television shows. Halloween was and still is one of my favorite holidays and I even worked a few times as a guide for the local Halloween haunted house.  

I think my first and one of only a few possible encounters with a “ghost” I have had so far was when I was spending the night with a friend. We were the only two in the house when I heard footsteps walking overhead in what would have been the attic of the house. I mentioned it to my friend and the simple answer my friend had for me was “oh that’s just the ghost”. I have been in a few places that I have had an overwhelming feeling of “get out”, but up to that point in my life, that’s about it.

My thoughts about ghosts are that I really want to believe that they exist, and I feel that something does exist but I am not exactly sure what. I have however experienced something that I whole heartedly believe is a real phenomenon, and it is something that I have experienced more than a few times. I have had many instances of what I feel is extra sensory perception being both the sender and the receiver, I have experienced this so strongly that I do not believe it was an odd coincidence.

The main incident that stands out to me happened on a day I lost my pet cat about 11 years ago. I am an animal lover and I had this sweet little orange kitty that was just like a little friend to me. I think I loved this kitty more than any of the others before it and he was a comfort to me when I was going through a rough time. Well I was awakened one morning by the news that my cat was run out into the road by a neighbor and was hit and killed. I lost it, I broke down hard and I cried and cried; it was like I had lost my best friend. A few hours later I had calmed down, but still upset when the phone rings. On the other end of the line was one of my close friends who I had not spoken to in 4 or 5 months, the first words from his mouth was “what’s wrong?” I kind of stood there shocked for a second then I explained what happened. My friend was surprised and saddened about my pet, but what really got my attention was how he explained to me that he was out of state and had the overwhelming urge to call me because he knew something was wrong. He tried calling for an hour but the line had been busy, but my friend didn’t give up until he got in touch with me. His call was a comfort to me on an otherwise horrible day.

I know there are strange coincidences in life, but I think this event just reinforced to me that human connection goes beyond what we can truly understand sometimes. While I have never really seen or experienced a ghost, I have more than once experienced this kind of telepathic communication between myself and others. Even now I rely on my “gut instincts” to guide me when needed. This has led me here, to find out more of what is possible in this world.

Melissa - HPIR Founder

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Local History & Ghost Stories

With the cooler temperatures finally sneaking around, it really must mean that fall is almost here! I love fall, the cooler weather, the leaves changing to beautiful bright colors, pumpkins, sitting by the fire on a cool evening and of course Halloween! Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays and the fall is absolutely my favorite season of all, and there is no better way to celebrate with some spooky ghost tours!!!

We here at HPIR began offering ghost tours in the historic Guyandotte neighborhood of Huntington back in October of 2008. Hoping for at best, 10 or 20 people to show up the first time, we set our expectations pretty low. The first night of the tour we were pleasantly and very unexpectedly surprised when we had a line forming in the parking lot of the Guyandotte Library that went almost out to the street! I think that first weekend we took about 140 people on the tour and it was a huge hit, beyond what we had imaged.

After that first tour we set out to learn more local history, more ghost stories and with getting to know some of the neighbors we were even lucky enough to have the opportunity to actually investigate some of the locations on our tour. So by the following year we had more stories, more places and some personal experiences to add to what we started the year before.

By the time last year’s tour season arrived we really ready and we were much better acquainted with what our tour guests were looking for in a ghost tour, and I think we brought that to life for them. We included some interesting aspects, opportunity to visit several homes and even had a few chance encounters with long departed citizens.

We try to keep “old information” fresh, of course our information is history and we can’t change history, but we can keep you on your toes with what we have in store for you. We will continue adding new stories and new houses and have a few surprises along the way. This year we anticipate this fall to be the best ghost tours to date! We will be able to take more people through the tours and we are always adding new information.

You may wonder why the heck we choose Guyandotte to do ghost tours, well that answer is simple: there are few places with as much history and as many ghost stories as you will find in your own back yard, as Guyandotte has. Guyandotte may have a bad reputation, but one may be astounded to see some of the most beautiful homes and hear the rich history inside this once bustling town. So while you may think of Guyandotte as a place you may not want to visit on a normal day, sometimes you can be really surprised what you can find if you just brush away the dust. So if you are enjoying a nice crisp fall evening and you are in the mood to hear some great ghost stories about a place you might otherwise pass by, come take one of our ghost tours this October and November.  Check out our website that is dedicated just to our ghost tours and to Guyandotte's rich history:

Melissa - HPIR Founder

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Haunted Travels: Spooky Weekend Getaways

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time (besides investigating the paranormal of course!) is traveling. I enjoy traveling to different states and cities exploring historic and often times, haunted locations. There are many places still on my historic and haunted “must visit” travel list, but I have been lucky enough to have been to a quite a few places so far. One of my favorite forms of travel is the weekend road trip; I try to take three to four a year when I have the chance.

Lucky for those of us who live in the WV, KY and OH region, there is no shortage of history and hauntings within a few hours of home. Even if you don’t want to take a whole weekend, there are many day trips that are just as much fun. Here is a few of my personal favorites:

Lewisburg West Virginia, Droop Mountain and the Greenbrier Ghost:

Lewisburg is a historic town and a nice getaway for a day trip or a weekend. Lewisburg offers lots of history and plenty of hauntings, and even offers a ghost tour. Lewisburg is a Civil War battle site and is within 30 minutes of another Civil War battle site said to be haunted; Droop Mountain. Droop Mountain is quite a lovely place and it is said that ghosts from that battle still linger. A rather famous local haunting is within about 25 minutes of Lewisburg, the gravesite of the Greenbrier Ghost. If you are not familiar with this story, check out our haunted places listings for all the details!

Point Pleasant, West Virginia:

Point Pleasant is most likely West Virginia’s grand paranormal central. Not only do you have the famous Mothman to search for, Pt. Pleasant offers many other hauntings as well. Spend the night at the Lowe Hotel, visit the site of the Silver Bridge collapse, Chief Cornstalk’s monument, the River Museum and the State Theater and one may just be in paranormal heaven!

Maysville Kentucky:

Maysville is a very nice historic town that totally caught my attention on a "taking the long way home" drive from Lexington. Maysville is beautiful with lots of lovely old buildings, a very quaint little town indeed! One of Maysville’s paranormal hot spots is the old and very ominous looking Hayswood Tuberculosis Hospital that still sits in the shadows of the town. Another local haunt is the Washington Opera House which located just a few blocks from the old Hospital. Taking a stroll down these streets on a cool fall evening would make any history buff or ghost enthusiast feel right at home.

While I have many other places that I could share, these are some of my favorite local hauntings and I would recommend for anyone to check them out!

Melissa – HPIR Founder

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Paranormal TV: "Reality Check"

I have a confession to make: Back in 2006 when our group had our first meeting some of the people were talking about a TV show called "Ghost Hunters", and quite frankly I had no idea what they were talking about. I was too embarrassed to ask them about this TV show they were all discussing, so I just listened and nodded. Of course I quickly found out what the group was talking about, obviously this was a well known show on television.

I think I began watching paranormal related TV shows before they were so popular, I was a regular viewer of Unsolved Mysteries and would stay up late to watch Sightings. I loved those shows, especially the segments on ghost stories. I equally enjoyed the shows that showed ghost footage caught on camera, one in particular that comes to mind is the Ghost of Hampton Court, I thought that was pretty spectacular catch although I'm sure that one has long since been explained. I still enjoy watching shows on TV about haunted places, ghost sightings and ghost hunting, but I don't typically go out of my way to catch a show. In fact, I watch these shows very few and far in between these days especially since so many paranormal reality shows have sprung up over the past few years.

Today’s shows are all full of drama, excitement, and most of all….ghostly encounters! Television programs are generally meant to entertain the viewer and reality shows are generally staged, edited and I am sure many “suggestions” are made as to the content of the show. The reality is that all people on television shows are getting paid, and if they hope to have a show to get paid for, that show needs to have good ratings. I have watched many of these shows and I think the term “too good to be true” often comes to mind. I think we as an audience watch these shows and assume everything that we see before us on the screen is the absolute truth. We believe that every little noise the investigator on TV hears is a ghost, because they say it is a ghost.

Just like with paranormal investigation, you need to look at every single piece of evidence you collect with a healthy dose of skepticism, same goes for what we are watching on television paranormal reality shows. Whether you are an investigator or a fan of ghost hunting/paranormal reality, I think a “reality” check is in order. I personally do not look at the personalities on these shows as leading authorities on everything paranormal. I think television personalities are experienced in what they do, but really there are no true experts in this field of the unknown.

Melissa - HPIR Founder

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

HPIR Blog Returns!

We have decided to bring back our website blog after taking it down some time ago. We hope to post on a fairly regular basis on all sorts of paranormal topics, group news and even share some stories with you. Please check back often for new posts! We hope you will enjoy.

HPIR Founder - Melissa