What is a Ghost?

To many, a ghost is the non-corporeal consciousness (or soul) of an individual. It is thought that this spirit can linger long after the body has expired. When this consciousness lingers instead of, as many believe, ascending to another level of existence, we say that this ghost is haunting. However, a haunting can have a much broader meaning. It may be generally defined as the presence of one or more of the following phenomena at a single locale (be it a structure, geographic area, or object): apparitions, autokinetic manifestations, disembodied voices, and inexplicable sounds or smells.
I have based the following descriptions upon repeated motifs in witness testimony and most of the following terminoloy is my own. The nomenclature and categories herein are drawn from description and not from inferences of any physical or metaphysical compositions. About this, we have no clue, so trying to define these matters in non-experiential terms would be fruitless. However, we can speak in terms of what we have perceived with our senses. We cannot yet speak of "ectoplasm" or "spiritual energy" but we can begin where science dictates we must: observation. From there, we can hypothesize and test but we must always be willing to reject these hypotheses and begin anew.
Types of Ghosts:
Apparition is the term used to describe a ghost that appears to the percipient (as opposed to an auditory, olfactory or kinetic manifestation), often in a recognizable or semi-recognizable form. This can vary from a solid-looking individual (or object) no different from anyone else (often termed “full-body” apparitions), to transparent, semi-solid or even vague, misty forms.
It may be ultimately realized that the apparition is merely a psychic projection. It may only appear to the percipient in the manner the spirit wishes the living to see it, which may go a long way in explaining why some can see ghosts while others cannot. There is evidence to attest that those individuals most psychologically attuned to the phenomenon will have the greatest success at witnessing it. This psychic projection theory can best be exemplified by the argument that if clothing and other objects do not have spirits (souls), then how can they manifest along with the corporeal visage of the deceased? Yet, if this is the case, how can film and video capture apparitions as well? Or do they?
Non-recurrent Apparitions (Crisis Apparition, Class I) – A surprisingly common occurrence, these apparitions generally appear within a short time of their death. They are said to manifest themselves in order to deliver messages to the percipient, often a loved one. These apparitions do not necessarily appear at the moment of death. Sometimes they can manifest themselves hours, days or even years afterward – often at a significant moment or anniversary. However, not all “non-repeaters” (as they are sometimes termed) are deceased. Others can appear at a crucial or dire moment, sometimes just prior to death. These apparitions are known as Anxiety-related, Non-recurrent Apparitions.
Anxiety-related, Non-recurrent Apparition (Crisis Apparition, Class II) – Believed to be a sort of stress-induced telepathy, this type of apparition is circumstantially identical to the first category except the individual whose apparition is witnessed is still alive. However, at the instant their apparition was perceived, they were frequently found to have been enduring a traumatic situation. This type of apparition is tantamount to astral projection (bi-location) or an out-of-body experience; the supposed ability to psychically project one’s self through space-time to either another person’s mind or to actually corporealize. This is thought to explain situations of Doppelgangers and the like.
Recurrent Residual Apparition – An apparition that can be seen by many different people over the course of many days, weeks, months, years and even centuries. Their actions and appearance are often repetitive and they show little or no awareness of their surroundings. They appear like a video loop, repeating the same situation over and over. This has caused some investigators to theorize that what is actually being witnessed is some sort of quantum anomaly – a window that opens onto a specific moment in time.
Or perhaps, like videotape, a moment in time can be imprinted upon the environment and repeat itself long afterward. I term this phenomenon an Environmentally Imprinted Anomaly (EIA). Work has been done that may validate this theory.
In 1982, researchers John Marke and Allan Jenkins performed an experiment at an ancient, “haunted” Kenfig pub in Mid-Glamorgan, Wales. Their theory was that the stone walls, containing substances similar to those used in magnetic recording tapes (such as silica and ferric salts), could conceivably have become imprinted upon by past sounds, which accumulate like an aural patina. The researchers theorized that by applying the proper electrical stimulus, these stones could “play back” their recorded sounds. The two men connected electrodes to the walls and introduced 20,000 volts of electricity for several hours overnight while tape recorders documented every sound. When the tapes were reviewed, the researchers discovered they contained various anomalous sounds such as unintelligible voices (thought to be in an ancient Welsh dialect), an organ and a ticking clock (when no clock was present).
Recurrent Cognizant Apparition – Unlike a residual, these apparitions can move about more freely and interact with their environment in much the same way a non-recurrent apparition might. These “Spirits,” as they are often called, are frequently aware of their surroundings and any person therein, although they may seem a bit confused at times. It is believed by many investigators that this type of apparition is the disenfranchised soul of a deceased individual. Occasionally, witnesses attest to these manifestations exhibiting a degree of clairvoyance or telepathic prowess.
“The Unredeemed” – A cognizant apparition that seems to bear an unresolved emotional crisis. It is believed that these apparitions cannot “move on” until their crisis has been resolved. They are the most active at communicating with the living, however, they may not always know how or why. Often times, they seem to be as confused about their situation as the living witnesses are.
Auditory Manifestations

The following phenomena are more likely to be witnessed than an apparition and comprise the bulk of most hauntings. Auditory Manifestations are characterized by sounds such as disembodied voices, knocks, footsteps and pretty much any other conceivable sound. Like apparitions, auditory manifestations can be either residual or cognizant. For example at many battlefields, such as the famous Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg, witnesses have claimed to hear cannon fire and the sound of galloping horses. These dislocated sounds do not respond to their modern environment, they exist as an EIA or perhaps as a “window in time.”
However, other sounds seem to respond to percipients. For example, a woman hears phantom footsteps and yells, “Go away!” In response, she hears retreating footsteps. There are also the countless cases of those who have “communicated” with the disincarnate entity via knocking on walls or furniture. Although many of these stories tend to tie back to the early days of the Spiritualist Movement and the “rappings” heard at séances, a mediumistic trick that stuck around as a paranormal leitmotif.
These auditory manifestations behave much like cognizant apparitions, simply without the appearance. The hallmark of this type of ghost is its ability to interact with the witnesses, who may ask it questions to which it might reply. But they do not always converse, if you will. Sometimes, though conscious of their state or environs, they may only say one or a few words but those that seem to carry some portent such as “get out.” Since the voice is seemingly responding to the percipients presence, it is logical to assume that this phenomenon is not an environmentally imprinted anomaly, rather a cognizant entity wishing to express a thought.
Olfactory Manifestations Like manifestations of sound, this phenomenon is experienced by one sense only, the sense of smell. Throughout history, witnesses have reported the smell of roses, perfume, sulfur and a slew of other phantom scents that seem to defy logical explanation.
Kinetic Manifestations

Many ghosts may exhibit a degree of impact upon their environment: footsteps are not only heard but felt, vibrating floorboards, a door is opened, a touch felt, or the imprint of a person forms upon a newly-made bed. But primarily they aren’t known for greatly affecting the physical world. One type of ghost is far more energetic than others.
True Poltergeists can best be described as a Recurrent Cognizant but are offset by their ability to manipulate the environment (though rarely with much violence). These seemingly autokinetic manifestations often reveal themselves by moving objects or physically interacting with the environment or witnesses. For instance, a picture frame might be thrown against the wall by an unseen hand, a phantom hand may pinch an arm, or dishes could be dropped from their cupboards. The term, poltergeist, comes from the German meaning “noisy ghost,” which describes its actions accurately. However, German lore describes the spirit as a prankster with a playful orneriness.
Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis is a syndrome similar in all outward appearances to a True Poltergeist. However, this phenomenon is decidedly different in origin. The causative agent in such manifestations is frequently (but not always) an adolescent or pre-adolescent involved in the happenings. It is believed that unexpressed psychosexual or emotional turmoil within this individual can manifest itself subconsciously as psychokinetic phenomena.
Statistically speaking, females 9 – 17 are the most prone to exhibiting RSP but males and even individuals much younger and older have been described as catalysts for this phenomena. Often one can distinguish between RSP and a True Poltergeist by the severity of the incidents. RSP appears to present itself far more vigorously.
I would advise that in cases such as these (when a True Poltergeist has been eliminated as the cause), the agent, their family and their friends should be urged to speak with a reputable and professional psychotherapist. I would not recommend that amateur investigators attempt to “exorcise” any spirit since the causative agent could very well be a living individual’s extraordinary psyche. If, for whatever reason, that does not seem feasible, rest assured that, by all reputable accounts, RSP rarely lasts more than a few months. Furthermore, aside from a few dubious tales, no one has ever been seriously harmed by such manifestations.
Because of their theoretically psychic origins, I am hesitant to classify RSP cases and cases of Anxiety-Related, Non-Repetitive Apparitions as ghosts in the truest since of the word. However, since correlations between the spirit, the psychic mind, and ghosts of the dead have never been confirmed, these phenomena belong here as much as anywhere else.
Combinative Manifestations
Combinative manifestations are essentially that, a combination of phenomena exhibited by other manifestations. For instance, one may see an apparition and smell her ghostly perfume and she may speak to the witness or knock a chair over. Or a residual apparition might break from its incessant routine to impact physical reality by touching someone or speaking to them. It is these anomalies within anomalies (which are actually pretty common) that make up many of the stumbling blocks investigators face in trying to characterize and classify these phenomena. Therefore, I present the preceding as merely a general guide. --Cullan Hudson

Be Our Guest!!!

Have something to say about subjects of the unexplained? Have a story you want to share? Want to just get your name up on our site and you talk about random paranormal things? Want to post a video or piece of evidence? Want to rant and rave???

Be our guest!

First person to email us at westernok@ghouli.org will get the spot! But be prepared, your deadline is Sunday night at Midnight! No censorship and your thoughts and opinions will be posted AS IS. HURRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ready set go! (don't do this unless you really want to write!)

 You may not make it big like Perez Hilton.. but it's still fun!!!!!!!!!


Kids and Haunted Places?

Planning a weekend vacation or road trip with your family is always hard to do. Making sure there is enough for everyone to do outside of riding in a car the whole time can be an adventure on its own. I do remember  vacations as a child with my entire family. We would load up the powder blue station wagon (yes blue!) and hit the road. I remember trips where we got lost in the hills of Arkansas and stopping at cool Route 66 Places. As a child, I did not realize how "cool" those places really were. Now that I am older I have realized that family road trips were great for memories. I remember my parents yelling at us to stop smacking bubble gum. I remember my brothers picking on me and just being annoying, out of sheer boredom from riding in the car for what then seemed to be countless hours. I remember playing the "License plate game" and any other game we could create, just to kill the time. This was way before Ipods, games and DVD players. I remember eating with my family at "greasy spoons" and the joy of getting stacks of pancakes at dinner time. I remember driving down twisting and turning roads in the middle of the night and my dad making "spooky noises" because it was kind of scary for us kids. Instead of my parents non-sheltering tactics, or perhaps their little "pay back game" they played has now, been embedded in my mind forever, and I thank them.
I do not have memories of watching hours of TV, playing computer games or managing a social network page as a child. I actually got out and explored areas and had a great time doing it. As a parent, it's my job to not only raise my children as independent, law abiding citizens, it's my job to create memories for them as well and even scaring the snot out of them on occasion. Mean? I don't think so.

The subject of this blog is sure to raise a few eyebrows for sure. Taking children into "haunted places" seems so taboo and irresponsible to some people. It's a big "no-no" for a lot of people that are in the "Paranormal Field", why, I have no clue. I have yet to read or hear a rational explanation for it, outside of paranoia.
Haunted places and children, sounds so scary doesn't it? In reality, there is a good chance that the paranoid parents have already crossed that line.  If your child has ever visited places such as Historic Museums, Battle grounds, Hotels, B&B's, Zoo's, restaurants and even cultural venue's you have failed to protect your child from "ghosts", If in fact you are one of the paranoid people in the world. Ghost stories are everywhere.  They are a part of life and are nothing to be afraid of.  What makes these places scary is the fear that parents put into their children's minds. I take pride in the fact that I am raising rational thinking kids that are not afraid of historical locations. I wish more parents would jump on that band wagon with me.
This past year I was invited to join a private birthday slumber party at the Skirvin Hotel in Downtown Oklahoma City. I was asked to come share the haunting history of the hotel, teach the kids how to get "EVP'S" and take photos in haunted places. I brought my children along with me. Teaching children to not be afraid is not difficult at all. The kids learn about history and they remember it, because of the ghost stories attached. It makes great memories. The kids at this private party had a blast and explored the hotel in a quite and respectful manner. They did not go around screaming and yelling, taunting the ghosts and running amok in the hotel. They respected it for all it's worth and embraced the history. All of the kids had a wonderful time and I had a blast scaring them with the stories. I do wish the hotel was a little more open minded about their haunting history, but then again. I enjoy helping people pick rooms in the hotel where they are more likely to witness something "paranormal."
Those that are opposed to staying in haunted hotels with their children, honestly shows nothing but ignorance in my opinion. Not only are they robbing their children of great history they are pushing their fears into their children. There are even paranormal groups on the internet that preach about the dangers of ghost hunting and children. Kids stay at hotels all the time and they leave totally intact and without "demonic possession." When I visited the very well known haunt, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs Arkansas I was delighted to see even infants in the hotel. This is the same hotel where the big bad "Ghost Hunters" you see on TV acted like scaredy cats throughout the hotel. I remember late in the night I was walking around in my pajamas to sit on the patio for a while, I passed two little girls, probably around 8 or 9 years old in the hotel. I actually talked to these girls when we checked in and I asked them if they were afraid of the ghosts in the hotel. I told them to wait until real late and hang out on the stairwell so they could see the ghost of a woman.  I totally made up the ghostly scenario, but late that night, the little girls were on the stairs. Waiting. I gave them the thumbs up and kept walking. I made it to the elevator and there was a group of  "ghost hunters" hanging out by the elevator doors. They were armed with EMF meters, video cameras and were snapping photos left and right. I just walked right through the group in my fuzzy slippers. I do remember laughing at them once the elevator doors shut. If they only knew that two young kids were doing the same thing, but being more mature about it. Being innocent and just allowing things to happen instead of feeding off a group of adult idiots.  I remember returning to my room and walking the halls alone. I did not have any ghostly encounters by myself, but all through the night the group of "ghost hunters" were taking photos of our rooms door. The infamous "Room 419" (You can watch the show here 3 parts) is where I stayed and it was rather humorous to listen to how serious these "ghost hunters" were. They had no idea that someone was actually in the room, that was alive!  The next day I did see the little girls and ask them if they met a ghost that night. They had all kinds of stories to share. Stories they will never forget.

This month my family will be hitting the road. Now that my kids are a bit older they will be staying in a room, in a haunted hotel all by themselves. Will they be scared? I doubt it, but if anything does happen, I know they will remember it for the rest of their lives. We are hitting the road to visit family in Missouri. I found a great hotel that has a lot of ghost stories and was even voted "best haunted hideaway" by Triple-A. The Bothwell hotel is a seven floor fully restored hotel in the small historic town of Sadalia, I hope to be able to share some stories once we return from this adventure. I hope my children do have a ghostly encounter, even if it is their imaginations getting the best of them.
In closing, staying where there are "ghosts" is not a bad thing. Parents need to allow their kids to have their own adventures and vacation time. Visit historical locations, museums and maybe even take a ghost tour. Never fear that your child will be hurt or attacked by a ghost at these places. Keep in mind, ghosts have not officially been proven to even exist!  Remember, it's only dangerous and scary if you, the parent make it that way.
Tonya Hacker - GHOULI

The state of Ghostlahoma is up and running!

Tickets are on sale now for the 6th annual Ghostlahoma/OKParaCon event. This year we are excited about having the event in the old Center Theater in downtown El Reno. We have more room, a bigger and better stage and an outstanding audio and video system this year!

The Mustang Times has already written an article about the event Click here to read the article.

This is the first year we have used social media as one of the main resources of getting the word out about the event and so far people are proudly sharing that they will be visiting the State of Ghostlahoma this April 23rd. Click here to find us on Facebook

The 2011 speaker line up has been announced and we are very happy to have Oklahoma's best featured at this years event. Two brand new speakers at Ghostlahoma will be Texas native but Oklahoma bound Ken Gerhard. We realize that people want to learn more about creatures like Bigfoot and because he has worked in the state and has proven to have an informative and fun platform we are more than excited to have him join the speaker line up. The AbandonedOK team may seem to be a bit elusive to ghost hunting teams and people wanting to work with them, but that's not the case. We are happy to have them join the line up as they will showcase what they do as Urban Explorers, visual historians and photographers. We welcome the AOK team to Ghostlahoma!

Vendor Tables- We only have a few spots left. The lobby of the theater will have great vendors sharing their books, services and goods for guests.
New this year, we are offering sponsorships. Why? A sponsorship not only will advertise your business or group, it helps us budget for the line up of hard working volunteers that have been with the conference since it all started. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please email us at tonya@ghouli.org and we will work with you to and your budget to help you get involved with this great event.

  • Will call Tickets- This year we will be offering "Will Call" if you purchase online. Like with concerts, the Will Call line will be a lot faster and hassle free.
  • Day of event- the ticket pricing will be the same this year. But, it will take you a bit longer to get into the event. We do recommend you pay in advance.
Ghostlahoma books and custom t-shirts will be available. We have never had "event t-shirts" before, but no worries. The shirts will NOT be an event advertisement or dated. They are not advertisement shirts. We will have more custom items for purchase this year that you would normally never see at a paranormal conference but we are not allowing the event to be a swap-meet or flea market! :) We encourage everyone to browse through goods and take home the talent that Ghostlahoma has to offer.

We will be posting soon about after hour events and tours as we get confirmation!

Grab your tickets here and learn more about the event! 

Ghostlahoma- ParaCon has been launched!

Ghostlahoma has over the years become one of Oklahoma’s biggest annual events. The 6th annual OKParaCon has promoted some of the states best authors and talents in the state of Oklahoma. The conference has introduced nationally recognized presenters concerning subjects of the unexplained. ParaCon is a fun event for all ages and families. The original conference started out in Oklahoma City at the now demolished historical church  off  North Classen Boulevard. The event then moved to the old Paramount building in Historic Film Row in Downtown Oklahoma City. As we realized we needed more space, the event was then moved to El Reno Oklahoma. We chose El Reno Oklahoma because of  the historical significance, tourism opportunities, preservation efforts, great people and of course because it’s on Route 66.  We hosted the event in the historically haunted Elk’s Lodge right outside of the award winning downtown El Reno. ParaCon has outgrown the Elk’s lodge but we are happy to have the event in the heart of downtown El Reno. ParaCon/Ghostlahoma will explore a new home in 2011. The event location has been chosen and we hope to fill the seats of the historic Centre Theater.

The speakers have been confirmed and the date is set for this years event. We are very excited about hosting this event in a brand new (to us) venue at the currently being renovated old theater in downtown El Reno. Tickets are on sale now and we are already getting vendors wanting to share their goods and services at this Oklahoma event.
We are happy to welcome Ken Gerhard to Oklahoma, although he is not a stranger to our state. Ken has worked in Oklahoma for many years now with his research concerning crypto-creatures. We are also very excited to have some of Oklahoma's best authors and speakers presenting. We are diving head first into the state of "Ghostlahoma" and we hope you enjoy the adventure! Cullan Hudson and Teri White has presented at the event in the past and we are excited to have them both back so we can get up to date on all the great legends, locations and tales floating around our great state. Tammy Wilson will be highlighting Oklahoma Ghost Towns. Her presentation may not have a big "spook factor", but for history buff's she is sure to please even the skeptical. Tonya Hacker of GHOULI usually does not do presentations at ParaCon, but this year she has decided to take a step up and hit the stage offering a brand new presentation concerning ghost hunting, along with spine tingling EVP's that her team has collected over the years. We will also have a special guest that will be offering a glimpse into the often controversial subject of "Urban Exploration". If you love photography you will love this presentation. There is something for everyone at this years event!

If you have not noticed the ParaCon name is being changed to Ghostlahoma. There are many conferences taking place across the nation using the "Para-Con" title. We take pride in offering a fun, educational and entertaining conference that will satisfy all walks of life. From history buffs to skeptics our event always delivers. We do not hire TV actors to speak at our events because we enjoy our states history and legends. We also have found it to be repetitive to have "celebs" come and show us what we have already watched on TV. We also keep our costs down because we are not paying for celebrity presentations. This allows us to offer patrons a high quality event for a very fair price. 

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in El Reno this April 23rd.

Thank you for supporting the state of Ghostlahoma!

12 things I have learned in 12 years

After 12 years of working hands on in the field in the state of Oklahoma I have learned the following....

1) Ghosts do not wear sheets or appear as light strings or balls of dust.
2) not all ghosts are of old people or spooky little kids
3) ghosts will only make themselves know when you are NOT looking for them
4)critical thinking and common sense are the new "paranormal" according to some teams in the state.
5) just because it looks haunted, does not make it haunted.
6) ghosts do not like our technology
7) there is not "thrill" in this field unless you have a great imagination.
8) if there is "hype" with a location, chances are there is next to nothing there. (this applies to paranormal teams as well, hype does not mean they are reputable)
9) people can and often do create the illusion of a haunting.
10) there has yet to be good photographic evidence of a "ghost". Orbs are not ghosts not matter how much you want to believe they are.
11) people that claim to speak to the dead usually can not. If they will not be tested, skip them, they always find someone to believe them.
& 12) more and more people are claiming to be ghost hunters/paranormal researchers because they watch it on TV. In the past 12 years, I have met more ignorant people than I can count. If it's on TV, it's not real. It's for "Entertainment", why is that so hard for people to understand?   

Tonya J. Hacker

Kicking off 2011

Just wanted to give a quick update as to what is going on with the GHOULI team. We are currently screening and meeting up with potential team members this winter and spring. the GHOULI team is a lot different than what is seen on TV and in comparison to other Oklahoma based Paranormal teams. We work together, as a team. We do not have titles or rankings. We all work together to find locations to explore and research. We all have talents outside of being "ghost hunters". Most of us are photographers, authors and hold other specialties that make us who we are and have been for well over 11 years. We do not wear matching t-shirts or have a mobile command unit or car magnets. We do this because we love it, not because we are wanting to get a TV show or exploit the field of parapsychology. We do work with a lot of groups in Oklahoma, but they are not all ghost hunters. We take pride in the fact that we work with a plethora of talented people that have the mindset of history and preservation when it comes to Oklahoma's abandoned and forgotten places and history.

We will be meeting up with several new people for some photography outings. If you would like to meet up or have a location you would like to photograph and explore, please contact us at tonya@ghouli.org

Oklahoma's Paranormal Conference is April 23rd. Information and details will be posted soon. The conference will be in El Reno, Oklahoma.

Investigations- As always, privacy is #1 with GHOULI. We will be continuing investigating a local business and residential homes. We will also be working on several larger investigation locations as the weather warms up.  If you have a location you would like us to research, please contact us at tonya@ghouli.org

GHOULI has teamed up with some great people in Oklahoma. AbandonedOK.com and Strange State

We would like to invite you to offer your opinion on this class C EVP that was collected by GHOULI team member Andrew during a preliminary investigation. The recorder was left alone, across the local business away from the few people still in the building. It has been cleared that it is not a team member making this sound. To us, it sounds like singing, but we are not sure. Please analyze this EVP for us and offer your opinion on what you hear or think. We will not post our opinions or translations until later. Audio file is unedited.

We are looking forward to a great 2011 and getting to know more of you all!


Tonya J. Hacker