So, I have to admit, of the things I’ve had to research, this was one of the most fun things I’ve done. Last weekend, I was able to go on a paranormal investigation tour with Nick Groff from Paranormal Lockdown (formerly on Ghost Adventures). The investigation tour was held on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. As a lot of people know, the “Grey Ghost”, the Queen Mary’s nickname during WWII, is rumored to be super haunted. I managed to stay on the boat too, making it the ultimate experience. The Queen Mary is still very beautiful, but does have the tale signs of some decay that reminds you it was headed for the scrapyard when the city of Long Beach bought it. But thank god they did. We would have lost this beautiful ship to Japanese steel scrapers. It is full of art deco beauty, from murals to staircases and light fixtures, it screams the late 30s and 40s, ultimately giving a glimpse of what it was like to travel the Atlantic before airplanes took over. And I think the ghosts were thankful it was done, because I think not only does it have resident ghosts, it has portals so people that experienced it alive can come back and visit.
So, why did I need to do a paranormal investigation as research? Well, I’ve always had an interest in ghost hunting. I’ve tried on my own for two decades, from ghost tours through London, San Diego at the Whaley House, Alcatraz, the Brookdale Lodge, and others. I love history too. So, staying in old, haunted places and just seeing if I got impressions or EVPs is always fun. My best photo was a picture of a guard at an Irish Prison outside Dublin. He had pantaloon pants and was a dark shadow figure. That was on color film. Um, yes, I even was using those disposable cameras way back in the day.
But of course, it’s because I am writing a supernatural romance that involves a TV show paranormal investigator and a skeptic tour guide at the place he’s investigating. So, I not only needed to get a sense of TV show investigators, I needed a seance too, which is a scene I’m currently writing.
So, this is how I ended up on Nick Groff’s Tours. For a decent price, I got to do a meet and greet with Nick, Elizabeth Saint, and Steve Gonsalves from Ghost Hunters. Then, there was an one and half hour “lecture” Q & A. And the Saturday group of investigators (about 60 people) didn’t hold back about getting into some awesome questions. I learned so much, and I hadn’t even gone on the investigation yet.
That night was amazing. They broke the group into 5 smaller groups to rotate to stations manned by paranormal investigators. We went to the engine room, boiler room, haunted rm B340 for a seance, the Captain’s and officers quarters and ended in the isolation area (for people that got sick on the ship). The most activity seemed to be in the engine room and boiler room. Many people brought their own equipment, but we also got to share equipment that the professional investigators brought including spirit boxes and digital recorder. I, being a newbie, just had apps on my phone. I’ll tell you now, I didn’t catch anything really on my own apps. But I tried. That’s what counted. And I took pictures and videos to document some of the spirit box work.
I made up a video of the experience here on YOUTUBE> Link to see it here. I am also hoping that some other people will put up their own videos of some of the evidence that night. If there is, I’ll link it in this blog post too.
But what was the best experience for me, was actually paranormal investigation in one of the haunted places in the US with TV show investigators I’ve watched for years. The best moment was in the boiler room with Nick. I was lucky enough to be right next to him, between the metal wall divider for the boiler rooms. To note: They removed the boilers from the Queen Mary, and all that is left is the large areas they used to be. So, this is where we set up with the group to do EVP work.
We all took turns shouting out questions in the boiler room, each person pausing to see if later there would be an answer. Nick had placed his digital recorder in the space where the wall had been cut out for a passage for tours through that area. The boiler room we were in had a history of a collision and accidents. So, imagine my surprise when Nick did the live playback when I heard a male voice answer my question. I asked, “Do you need help?” And a male voice answered, “Yes, I do.” And it was very clear, like class A EVP. Not only that, you could catch the bit of irritation of, yeah, of course I do. Duh.
The girl across from me also asked a question right after me. She asked, “What year is it?” and she got a different male voice answering, “1961 or 1967”. It was had to make out the last numeral. So, Nick kept playing it over and over, I kept hearing myself ask that question with a ghost answering, and then debated on whether I heard 1961 or 1967. It was really exciting to catch evidence like that with Nick. It was like being in an episode. I really hope the several people that took video of it on phones and one video camera, actually put it up on YouTube. It would be nice to see it, because it was so exciting to get some good, compelling evidence.
The rest of the night, there were spirit box sessions, EVP work with Steve Gonsalves and up in the Captain’s quarters. There wasn’t really much caught in those areas by myself. But the experience of trying meant a lot. After years of doing a lot of this on my own for fun, it was so awesome to be with other people that took it seriously. Plus, the seance had not only spirits on the ship come through, but relatives from people in our group that came by to say “hi”. So, it was an intense evening, and one I’ll never forget.
So, I encourage all writers, go out and research those areas you’re not sure of. If you can find some kind of tour or experience that goes along with your current novel project, go out and do that. It can turn a weekend getaway or vacation into so much more. And add so much to your novel writing process.
Until next time,