Haunted in Canada

Tis the season for spookiness, creepiness and just plain ordinary hauntedness. So, I started looking for Haunted Canada. Who better to find haunted sites and locations than a Canadian urban explorer? Sure, there probably is someone better, but I’m here.

How to Tell if a Place is Haunted

You might want to try exploring and ghost hunting yourself. But, how do you become an instant expert on the topic of hauntings? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

  • Try a little historical research. What history does the place have? Were there any deaths in the building? Any history of violence or tragedy?
  • Watch for suspicious or odd flashes of light or light orbs in your photos of the location.
  • Do you see anything else unusual like a mist or something that disappears once you turn your head for a better look.
  • Have a map (your own hand drawn map is great) and mark down any odd cold spots or places where you suddenly feel emotional: fear, aggression, anger, etc.
  • Listen for noises – especially anything unusual that can’t be explained in a simple way.
  • Are things different when you are alone, at night? Be careful you aren’t just letting your imagination have free reign.
  • Are any pets afraid to enter a room in the building? Animals can be more sensitive than humans.

Take these tips with a grain of salt. Most noises, lights and atmosphere can be explained once you start looking for a logical answer. I think this is why it is so hard to prove the existence of ghosts. There are so many logical answers. Logic is so nice, firm and solid. Meanwhile, everything else is just a feeling, something you could have imagined or something you want to believe in spite of the logical explanation.

I don’t know if anyone will ever find concrete proof of ghosts. But, they keep on trying.

How to Explore a Haunted House

Don’t go alone. It’s safer with an exploring buddy who can call for help if one of you has an accident, like falling through rotten floor boards.

Gather the gear you need: flashlights digital (or film) camera, tripod to set the camera on, extra lights for better photos in a dark house, sound recording device, temperature gauge, notebook and pen. Bring supplies for first aid and cleaning up after the exploring. Consider a back up for your camera and flashlight this isn’t the time you want a mechanical problem to keep you from exploring.

Don’t impede your own investigation with alcohol, smoking or long hair. Not drinking alcohol should be common sense. But you should consider the photos you will be using as evidence and make sure you get the cleanest, clearest photos you can. Don’t let stray cigarette smoke or long hair wind up being a ‘ghost’.

Find a place to explore. Get some historical background, talk to others who have explored there and get permission from the property owner. (If you are carrying a bunch of equipment into the house this might be the smarter way to go rather than risk having the police charge you with trespassing).

If you can, make copies of floor plans from the location. This will let you plan the route you will explore so you can make sure you don’t miss a room while you are there. You can also use your floor plan to note the exact area you found any paranormal activity.

Visit the location before you plan to explore it. Make sure you will be able to get in. You may need to contact the owner again for a key. You may find your information is out of date and the house has already been demolished, etc.

Don’t start out expecting to find something haunted, spooky, etc. Try to be unbiased when you explore. Don’t get into scaring each other for fun. If you are serious about detecting paranormal activity, approach the location like a detective or a scientist.

Articles

Weird, Unexplained and Paranormal Canada

Paranormal CanadaThere are paranormal explorers all across Canada. Paranormal gets mixed in with everything ghosts. But, paranormal is a lot more than ghosts and haunted houses. In Canada we have a lot more paranormal, unexplained mysteries and mysterious monsters than you may think.

I tried sorting paranormal and ghost hunter links but it became a judgement call based on very little for some groups, researchers and societies. For the links here I read through some of the site’s pages, recent work and blog posts (if there were any). Then I decided whether or not they were truly paranormal in nature. Most were focused on ghosts. I guess that’s where the money is for a lot of them. My heart is with the real paranormal researchers – those who have an interest in the weird, more than just the haunted.

A Paranormal Explorer Needs a Good Camera

One nice thing about a digital camera for paranormal exploring is also a reason I really like the digital camera for exploring in general. – you don’t need to get your film developed. This means you don’t need to spend money on film and developing film. You also don’t need to wait. You can take your camera home, plug it up and see your photos right the same day or evening.

Once you add extra memory to your digital camera you can take all the photos you would ever need from one location. I’ve just bought a new memory card which stores up to 2 gigabytes. I’ve got an older memory card on my back up camera, it only stores 512 MB. Still funny to think of that as only 512 MB. It was a lot of memory at the time I bought that card. (If you want extra memory pick up another memory card and keep it stored safely in your camera bag to switch it out).

Some digital cameras will have a feature which lets you shoot in infrared light, or even low light will help get you something. Flash is not a good option because it washes out everything with bright light for that one instant. To find out if you have infrared on your camera, read the instructions or check the camera manufacturers site for a list of features and how to use them. Most camera manufacturers will have a downloadable instruction guide on their website for each of the cameras they sell/ make.

The new cameras, with more zoom, are becoming bulkier. I bought one for the extra range when I am photographing buildings from a distance. Or, even when I am close to the building itself but want to get close to a feature which is high up or very small. So, for my outdoor work, the bulkier camera with the added zoom is good. You won’t need extra zoom for indoor photos, looking for paranormal activity. You may want to find a camera with a lot of shutter speed. A fast shutter speed means there is very little time between you pushing the button and the camera actually getting the photo. This means you can use a smaller, slimmer camera – which means it is fairly easy to be portable and slip into a pocket or purse. Nice for leaving your hands free when you aren’t actually using the camera.

Being a Solitary Witch (or Wiccan)

Black Hat Society

The solitary Witch, Wiccan or Pagan is alone by choice. There are many reasons for making this choice to be a Witch or Wiccan on your own. There are also lots of ways solitary Witches can share notes, talk and get new ideas from other Witches, when they want to.

Solitary Witches tend to be eclectic, they have their own vision and ideals for the path they follow. They don’t fit in with a standard coven based faith and beliefs. This is one reason they choose to strike out on their own and do things as they feel right to themselves rather than the larger group.

Some solitary Witches also like the privacy of keeping their spirituality personal. Once you start keeping a journal of your beliefs, your ideas, your thoughts and experiences, you may find yourself not wanting to share all of it. Some of our thoughts are too personal. If you share your Book of Shadows you begin to edit it while you write, instead of just writing from your heart knowing everything you write is just for your eyes only.

Of course, some solitary Witches just don’t like joining groups and prefer working alone.

How to be a Solitary Witch

Explore other paths, beliefs and ideas. I’ve read about Sea Witches, Garden Witches, Christian Witches, Druids, and so many others. I continue to read, research and explore. Look at other cultures and other religions too. Don’t close your mind; you might miss something great while you’re so sure you’re right.

Enjoy and appreciate nature, wildlife, wildflowers, gardens, trees and think green. Wicca is a religion about nature and Witches celebrate nature and the natural world. Find your love for it and celebrate what we have.

Keep a journal (Book of Shadows). Write about your discoveries, explorations and research. Most of all, write about your feelings, everything you’re thinking about – both positive and negative. Don’t be intimidated and think you aren’t ready for a real Book of Shadows. Any journal you keep is a Book of Shadows – there isn’t a rule that says you have to write about Witchcraft and Wicca alone or in any certain way.

Build an altar. It can be very private, small and personal or you can go forth and build something right on your front lawn. A garden is a great place to have an altar, an easy place to bring the four elements into. Earth, water, air and fire are routine in a garden, at various times. You can create an indoor alter and have it right on your desk or kitchen counter if that is your best space. Some feathers for air, some rocks for earth, salt for water and a candle to light for fire – that’s all you need for a start. Add personal touches as you grow into it.

Begin paying attention to the Wiccan/ Witch holidays and events. Honour them in your own way. Read more about what each of them means and their history. Pick a favourite, one that has extra meaning to you and make a real event out of it.

Become more aware of the Wiccan Reade, the three-fold law and the concept of harms none.They are all connected, saying the same basic idea in different ways. The idea is simple on the surface. As you consider it from more aspects it begins to get complicated. For instance, is it harmful to work against the free will of another, even if you are helping them? (This is why I don’t get into any spells. It’s a personal choice).

Don’t Set Yourself in Stone

Being a solitary Witch gives you endless options to explore. While coven Witches have to maintain a set of core beliefs to be part of the group, a solitary Witch can always be learning and trying new ideas, looking into fresh concepts and reinventing his/ her path. As a solitary Witch you can always do what feels right to you, without getting the approval from anyone else.

This does not mean there are no guidelines at all.

Being a solitary Witch does not mean you are free to reinterpret the Wiccan Reade. Harm none is pretty clear.

Don’t Buy Like a Witch Tourist

Don’t fall into the idea that you have to buy books, jewellery, tools, special clothes or anything else.

Look for what you want and often enough you will find it, at no cost or very minimal cost.

You can find Pagan books at thrift stores, second-hand book stores and the library. You an also find a lot of information online. Contact the authors of any books you find valuable, some will write back a real reply and even recommend fresh resources to you.

You don’t need to start buying tools, jeweled pentacles or custom clothing until you really know what you want and what will have real meaning to you. Don’t buy anything just because you think you should have it. That’s acting like a Witch tourist, someone who just wants to look like they fit in. Be true to yourself and only buy or collect the things you want for your own personal choice and your own needs.

 

How to Find and Join a Coven of Witches

It’s not hard to find and join a coven if you are sincere and understand the basics of Wicca/ Witchcraft. Some covens will be a tough sell, some won’t want new members (especially new Witches or solitary Witches) and some will just be close minded to anyone who doesn’t fit exactly with their beliefs.

There may be an initiation required before anyone new can participate or join. I didn’t find this the first time I found a coven in my community. They had open meetings every Friday right in town. Not everyone will find this easy acceptance, especially if you live in a small town, rural area. (Less people means there are fewer people to form groups).

It’s all about making contact at first.

A local Pagan, occult or metaphysical store can tell you about covens in your area and give you someone to contact. Or, look online for anyone in your area, anyone who seems to have the same path of belief as yourself and anyone who is already a member of any kind of group based in your state/ province.

Attend events! If there are local Witches they probably meet up for casual social events, especially around the Pagan holidays. Look for people selling Pagan, esoteric or occult tools, books and handmade items at Farmer’s Markets, flea markets and street sales in your town. Ask for business cards, or any kind of contact information they can give you.

Talk to artists who work with natural materials: wood, iron, hemp, etc. Those who make Celtic knots, dragons and pentacles are good to ask about local Witches, including their own circle of friends.

Coffee shops are another good way to find out about local Witches. Look for a coffee shop which supports the local community by putting up notices for events, small businesses and offers local art for sale. The coffee shops make and keep contacts in the area. The owners/ managers may have people you can talk to.

You don’t need to appear an expert, but you don’t want to look clueless either.

If the local Pagans get to know you, see that you aren’t just curious but actually involved, you will be invited to join the group for a ritual.

When you are invited to watch on the sidelines or actually take part in the circle (group) be prepared. Know the ritual basics. Don’t make a rookie mistake – like not understanding which direction widdershins is.

Ask questions, before the gathering. What are you expected to bring? What does everyone wear, or not wear?

Witch and Wiccan Online Communities

 

Geomancy

Collegium Geomanticum

It’s not feng shui, and it doesn’t have anything to do with ley lines or dowsing. It’s been called earth astrology, a Western equivalent of the I Ching, and the forgotten oracle of the Western world. It was one of the most popular systems of divination in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and stands at the center of traditions of magic, philosophy, and initiation deeply relevant to today. What is it? Geomancy.

Geomancy is a traditional art of divination that uses the sixteen geomantic figures – patterns of single and double dots – to explore the mysteries of past, present and future. As a branch of the Hermetic tradition, an ancient Western system of spiritual transformation and magical philosophy and practice, it relies on the fundamental Hermetic law, the unity of the macrocosm (the universe around us) and the microcosm (the universe within us) to open up hidden potentials for knowledge, wisdom, and power and, in the words of the legendary Hermes Trismegistus, “perform the miracles of the One Thing.”

Reading this description makes it seem really complicated and mystical. It’s not that complex. It’s divination using stones. At least that’s what it used to be. People do have a way of taking something simple and making it a huge complicated knot they can make some money out of.

Mid Atlantic Geomancers Geomancers are spiritual ecologists.

Geomancy

A system of divination that employs the scattering of pebbles, grains of sand, or seeds on the earth and then the interpretation of their shape and position.

This is a better description. Much simpler and closer to the basic idea.

The Geomancy Group An association of practising geomancers and other like-minded folk over the UK.

Astrological Geomancy by Anthony Louis
Ancient Astronomy and Geomancy in Kyoto, Japan
Geomance
Earth Mysteries

Dragons Could Exist

I’d like to think dragons could exist. I saved a copy of this years ago, from the source article. 

If it is possible that the Loch Ness Monster may have been one of the last remaining members of an extinct species then the same could be true for the dragon. How else could one explain the remarkable similarity between ancient depictions of dragons and some long-extinct dinosaurs? Well actually, the widely recognized medieval image of the dragon may have evolved from the original serpentine dragon after dinosaur remains were accidentally uncovered in classical Mesopotamia. In ancient Greece, Rome and the Celtic world dragon iconography was much more like that of China. Europe did not convert to the modern, metric dragon until much later on.

But does this alteration of dragon iconography help us determine the origin of the myth? Not really. The dragon, albeit in a more serpentine form, features in the folklore of almost every culture around the world and is synonymous with power, strength, wisdom and often brutality. The ancient civilizations of Central America even worshiped flying serpent gods, going so far as to make blood sacrifices in their honour. The serpent cults of Eastern Europe and Central Asia may once have done the same for their own dragon icons too. Clearly this reptilian obsession is as old as mankind itself.

But does this mean that dragons are nothing more than a distant memory from our primordial past? The people of medieval Europe and Asia clearly thought otherwise. To them dragons were everywhere, hiding in the cave down the road, burning down churches and eating their children. It was believed that the far off lands of the East were abound with the fire breathing brutes.

Are we to take these stories literally? Many scholars believe that dragons are nothing but a metaphor for evil and pagan ritual, but while this may be true of some Christian folklore there is much evidence to suggest that the monsters these people were so afraid of were not merely ideological in nature.

In the Far East, of course, dragons have entirely different connotations. There they are considered to be creatures of great wisdom and spirituality. They are associated with the elements of water and air, rather than fire. The gods are said to have descended from the sky inside the belly of a dragon. Legend has it that Emperor Huang Ti also ascended to the stars aboard a dragon drawn chariot. This, says UFOlogist Hartwig Hausdorf, is evidence that dragons were not living creatures at all, rather some kind of alien spacecraft.

Source – 5 Mythical Creatures That Could Exist – Weird Worm.

Who is the Goddess?

I fixed the formatting but the capitalization is not mine. Some things are well meant but not well written in the practical sense. I found this on Facebook and wanted to keep it around for myself. I think the Crone should be about more than death and endings though, too much focus on that and not enough on wisdom and experience.

And the Child asked the Maiden: Who is the #goddess?

The Maiden turned and replied: the Goddess is Pure. She is the first burst of Life. She is untouched by Man. She is One who finds Joy in everything. She is a Sister. She is a Child. She is One who is Servant to None for She has no Consort and no Child. She is the Huntress. She is Innocence. She is Growth.

But the Child was unsatisfied. And the Child asked the Mother: Who is the Goddess?

The Mother turned and replied: The Goddess is She who nurtures us. She keeps us safe. She guides us. She is the One to whom we can turn. She is the mother with the child at the breast. She is the pregnant woman. She is the One who has the earth as her body, the full moon as her symbol. She is the One on whom we depend for life. She sustains us. She is Life.

Still the child was unsatisfied. And the Child asked the Crone: Who is the Goddess?

The Crone turned and replied: She is Death and Rebirth. She is the Wisdom Collected over many Lives. She is All that has Happened. She is All that will Happen. She is One who has come to the end of the Cycle. She is Feared by the Young. She is the welcome Aid to those in Pain, to those who suffer. She is the One to whom All turn when They no longer wish for the Life She has given Them. She is Destruction in preparation for the New.

Still the Child was unsatisfied. The Child looked around but there was no one else to ask. Finally the Child shouted: GODDESS! GODDESS, WHO ARE YOU?

The Goddess replied: I am the maiden. I am the mother. I am the Crone. I am Diana. I am Isis. I am Kali. I am Birth. I am Life. I am Death. I am Creation. I Sustain. I am the Destroyer. I am one Goddess. I am Thousands of Separate Goddesses. I am in Everything. I am Everywhere. I am Eternal. I am in Everyone. I am whoever You want me to be. I am in You.

And the Child was satisfied.

How to Locate a Ghost Hunting Tour Group

Ghost walks (or ghost tours) are guided tours where guests are shown the haunted history of an area or a location. Ghost tours cater to tourists and are not meant to be as frightening or taken as seriously as an actual ghost hunting would be.

If you want the reality of a ghost hunt you will need to talk to the ghost hunting or paranormal research group and ask to be included next time they go out on something other than a tour. However, you would have to be someone with more knowledge and commitment to investigating the paranormal than at the tourist level.

Finding a Ghost Walking Tour

If you are already online the easiest way to find a local ghost hunting tour group is to try an online search. Open your search site of choice: Yahoo, Google, DuckDuckGo (a new search which I’ve been trying and liking), etc. Type in the search terms – “ghost tour”, “haunted walk”, “haunted tour”, “ghost exploring”, and then your local area which could be the town or city or the county you live in. Don’t restrict your search to a small area, unless you live in a very large city and want to find something right in your neighbourhood.

Don’t forget to check social sites like Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest for people who are giving ghost tours or have been on a ghost tour and given a review of their experience.

Also, search for paranormal seekers and ghost hunters in the larger area around you. Often they will have links to smaller groups in the area on their websites or blogs. This is a great help, of course, for people looking for local ghost tours.

You can also contact the larger groups and ask for information, links or phone numbers to contact any local ghost hunters who would give tours if asked or may already run scheduled tours.

Another way to find your local ghost hunters is to watch where local groups list their upcoming events. I found my local group listed in the local newspaper and a website giving free space to local groups to list their upcoming events. The ghost tours are a tourist service, a small business, so they won’t be trying to be too secretive, they want customers to find them. Ask around town, talk to other local business people and see what they know.

Historical Walking Tours

Here in my area, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, we have Doors Open, which is a tour of historical homes and places. The doors to private homes and businesses open once a year for people to have a look.

Look for tours of historical places in your area and ask the people who give the tour if any of the places are known or suspected to be haunted.

Talk to people in your local historical society too. Anyone with an interest in history of the local area is likely to know other people who share the same interests.

Urban Explorers Like Old Places and History

Try to find a group or individual who explores old places, not for ghost hunting, necessarily. Urban explorers like old places. They don’t focus on finding ghosts or any thing paranormal but they are usually interested and have stories of their own to share.

Local Pagans Will Know Where the Ghost Tours Are

Is there a local group of Pagans, Wiccans or Witches? These are another group of people who tend to be involved in the local paranormal community. Chances are great someone in the Pagan community will also know about the paranormal researchers in your area. (Actually, they are very likely to be part of both groups).

If your town or local area has a Pagan supplies store, ask there about ghost tours. They will likely have a business card, brochure or something they can hand out to tourists looking for a local ghost walk.

Find Out What the Ghost Tour Includes

Don’t forget a ghost tour is a business, like any other kind of tourism service. Don’t pay for the tour without checking to make sure you are getting what you want. Just what does the tour include? Will you need your own transportation between locations, if there are more than one included in the tour? Does the tour guide have a plan for handling things if someone gets too spooked out and needs a break? Will you get to see data taken from the tour and discuss it afterwards, like a paranormal investigator rather than being just a tourist sent on your way right afterwards?

Also, find out what you need to bring. Should you dress warmly, bring your own water or coffee? Find out what you are allowed to bring as well. Can you bring your own ghost hunting gear, if you have any?

Need More Ghosts?

Barrie Paranormal Links: My Own Local Ghost Hunters

How to Start Your Own Coven

You may start a coven when there isn’t anything else local and yet there are many local Pagans. Or, you might start a new coven when it branches away from an established coven.

Starting a coven of your own is not something you should take on by yourself. Don’t try starting a coven of one, that’s not a coven, it’s a solitary. Also, you will need help, other view points, sources of knowledge and experience too.

Narrow down a focus for your group. This is very important if you are in an area where there are already Pagan groups (covens, circles or casual groups). If there isn’t an existing group for Pagans you still need to start with a focus, a statement of purpose. It’s not so easy to be completely open, in spite of good intentions it doesn’t work so well in practice.

Decide how the coven will be run and managed. How many members will the group be limited to? How will requests to join be handled in the future? Should everyone be initiated and what will the initiation be? Will there be rank (including a High Priestess) or will it be casual? Will the group meet once a week or once a month? Will the group have extra gatherings to honour the Pagan holidays? Will the group raise money for causes? There are endless small and large things to decide and talk about.

Choose a leader. Even if the group is casual someone will need to start rituals, open and close circles and so on.

Choose a place and time to meet. Consider available transportation: bus, parking for cars? If you meet in a public place get permission from the owner/ manager, don’t assume it will be ok. If you meet at someone’s home who brings the goodies, if there are goodies being brought?