The Final Eggshelland

1

The title of this post contains the three words I never wanted to see together. Truth be told, right after I typed that title, I had to stop and pause for a moment, letting the words sink in: The final Eggshelland. Like it or not, in just a few short weeks, the truly magical place that has amazed and enthralled children of all ages will be no more.

To the uninitiated, Eggshelland is the brainchild of Ron and Betty Manolio who, way back in 1957, decided to decorate the front of their Lyndhurst, Ohio home with hand-colored eggs to celebrate Easter. That year, using designs drawn up by Betty as a guide, Ron painted several hundred real eggs, using them to bring three-dimensional versions of Betty’s drawings to life in their front yard. Friends and neighbors were amazed. And while several hundred eggs is certainly nothing to sneeze at, Ron and Betty were only getting started.

ron-betty-manolio-2

Ron and Betty Manolio, standing in front of the 1950 DeSoto that they used for their very first date back in 1954
–via Cleveland Seniors

Continue reading

Advertisements

Live Updates from a Haunted House this Saturday!

0

This went over so well last time that I’ve decided to give it another whirl!

This Saturday, September 15th, I will be conducting a ghost hunt inside a haunted location in Ohio. Since this location will be featured in an upcoming book of mine, I can’t tell you exactly where I’ll be. But what I can do is give you live updates via Twitter and Facebook so you can get a glimpse inside my strange and spooky world!

For my live Facebook updates, “like” my author page by clicking here.

You can also follow my tweets on Twitter by clicking here.

Better yet, why don’t you like me on Facebook AND follow me on Twitter! That way, you won’t miss any of the action!

Continue reading

So What Happened to the Road Trips?

0

Many of you have been reading this blog for several years now (and for that, I say “thanks”) and have raised the question about the lack of recent “road trip” articles, especially since this blog was originally started as a means for re-telling said road trip tales. I just wanted to take a moment to reassure everyone that the Road Trip stories have NOT be discontinued and in fact will be making a strong comeback in the coming weeks.

As most of you know, the Road Trip stories were tied into a book I was working on about historic haunts in the state of Ohio. And while this book is still very much alive (and currently slotted for a 2013 release date), I have encountered numerous roadblocks. Without getting into too much detail, while I had originally assumed that the plethora of ghost reality shows would make getting into some of Ohio’s “most haunted” locations, things couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many of these places want nothing to do with “ghost hunters”, even if they do come with references and the backing of a prominent Ohio university. Seems some of these shows have caused parts of the general public to view the paranormal field as a whole as one that is prone to, shall we say, sensationalism.

That’s not to say I was unsuccessful in my attempts to gain permission to access these buildings. Quite the contrary. It just took a lot more time, phone calls, and even conference calls with Board members, to get me inside.

So rest assured, the Road Trip articles are far from dead! In the meantime, feel free to check out my articles about strange things like funeral flags, petrified mermaids, and urban legends associated with Thomas Edison and his Telephone to the Dead. You can even swing by and vote on which Bon Jovi song you think I’m going to be “busted” by during my travels!

Field Trip #3 Recap: Back to the Museum!

0

OK, so it’s been a while since I gave you guys a recap of my field trips for my upcoming book. Good thing I take lots of notes, huh? Fear not, I’m going to get you guys caught up before you know it! Good thing, too, as I’m currently getting ready to start hitting the road again soon.

Regardless, when last we spoke, I had just completed an investigation of a museum for my book, leaving on a Friday night from work and arriving back home in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Although I didn’t even bother to unpack Ol’ Blue when I got home, I still got very little sleep that night/morning. That’s because I was so excited at the prospect of taking my daughter, Courtney, on her very first investigation for my book!

Let’s be honest here, though. No matter how excited I was, it didn’t change the fact that I still had to figure out how to jam all of Courtney’s travel accessories into the car. Since Ol’ Blue couldn’t hold anything other than the equipment (and me), Steph and I had made the decision that we would caravan, with my wife and daughter leading the way. Yup, that’s right; we needed two cars for everything.

Still, I was very excited about this trip. For Courtney’s first investigation, I had decided on a place that, while it needs to remain a secret until the book comes out, was still near and dear to my heart. Not only had The Ghosts of Ohio investigated the building several times in the past, but we were also the first paranormal organization to be allowed inside to conduct an investigation. The fact that it was also one of the most unique museums I have even been inside of only made me more excited.

But what really made me decide to make this Courtney’s first investigation was the interesting combination of ghosts and family that I’ve come to associate with this museum. You see, when The Ghosts of Ohio was first contacted by one of the museum’s Board members for an investigation, it wasn’t at the Board’s suggestion; it was because of the Board member’s mother! Turns out that mom was a big fan of the ghost reality shows and, after doing some online research, decided The Ghosts of Ohio was the group for the job! Not only that, but as it turned out, the Board member’s daughter was also a fan of the ghost shows. The result was that during The Ghosts of Ohio’s first investigation of the museum, 3 generations of one family took part, making it a truly unique evening. These three lovely ladies would come to take part in all subsequent investigations of the museum, making it feel like one big family. So it seemed the perfect choice for Courtney’s investigation debut.

Of course, I had to get her up there first. Surprisingly, the Pack & Play went into Steph’s car rather quietly. Likewise, all of Courtney’s other trappings managed to squeeze in, too. Not having taken Courtney on many long rides before, we wondered how she was going to do only a multi-hour one-way trip. But other than a brief pit stop about an hour into the ride for food and a diaper change, Courtney came through like a trooper and actually seemed to enjoy the ride.

After a brief check-in at the hotel, I made my way over to the museum to begin my interviews, leaving Steph to wrestle with the Pack & Play. I had roughly a dozen people to interview and had decided to do a round table discussion (which I would record) to knock things out all at once. Also, I’ve found that having several people share their ghost stories at once often makes for a more lively discussion. I was about 30 minutes into the interviews with Steph and Courtney arrived. Shortly thereafter, I began to realize that perhaps it was a mistake bringing Courtney along.

Strategic placement of Courtney's Pack & Play at the hotel

Continue reading

Field Trip #2 Recap: The First of a Double Shot O’ Museums

1

I knew from the start that this road trip was going to be different. For one, I was planning on driving to the Friday investigation, driving back home in the wee hours of Saturday morning, sleeping a couple of hours, then heading back out for Saturday’s investigation. The reason for my returning home, and the other reason why this would be a unique road trip, was because this would be the first investigation for my daughter, Courtney. Yup, that’s right! I was dragging my daughter along for an investigation! She’d survived the Ohio Paranormal Convention, so I felt the time was right. How’d it turn out? Well, before we get to that, there’s the Friday investigation to get to.

CD selection–Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here, Cracker: Kerosene Hat, Warren Zevon: Mutineer, Queensryche: The Warning, Metallica: Master Of Puppets

As usual, the Friday investigation began late Thursday night with my jamming all the equipment into Ol’ Blue. After a somewhat hectic day at work, I drove directly up to the investigation. Thankfully, this particular location was not too far away and I was able to make it up there by 4:00 pm. The building itself has a rather interesting history. It was once a private home but has since been turned into a museum. After interviewing some of the employees, it seemed as though most people who had experienced possible paranormal activity believed a former resident of the house was causing it and it was not tied to any specific items that might have been brought into the museum. For that, I was thankful! Having conducted many “haunted object” investigations over the years, I find them to be the most frustrating, especially when you don’t know which object is supposed to be the haunted one. It’s like looking for a ghostly needle in a spectral haystack.

Continue reading

Road Trip #1 Recap

0

Since this is the very first trip recap, I thought I would spend a little time explaining some of the recurring things I will be including:

  • Visit Recap–This will be where I throw some numbers related to the visit/investigation at you: hours spent at location, video and audio stats, etc. Keep in mind that in most cases, I will be running multiple video cameras at the same time, so a 4-hour investigation with 2 cameras makes for 8 hours of total video.
  • Roadside Oddities–A list of anything weird I encounter while traveling to and from the locations.
  • Great Radio Nuggets–Once in a while, I need to take a break from my CDs (usually when my GPS starts whining that its battery is getting low). If it’s the middle of the night, I’ll try to find a station that’s broadcasting Coast to Coast AM. When that fails, I’ll scan the stations to see if I can find anything worth listening to. For the most part, it’s an exercise in futility. But every once in a while, I come across a great tune that I hadn’t heard in a while on the radio.
  • BBBJ (Busted By Bon Jovi)–I try to avoid Bon Jovi like the plague. But try as I might, whenever I’m scanning radio stations, that damn band finds a way to penetrate my ear hole! So I decided to keep track of every time I hear a Bon Jovi song on a trip, including a running tally of how many times a song has “busted” me. Why? No reason.

OK, so now that we’ve got all the formalities out of the way, let’s get on with the road trip, shall we?

DAY ONE

The very first road trip for my book began around noon on Friday the 13th. After jamming a ridiculous amount of equipment into Ol’ Blue, I was off and heading up I-71. The trip to the first location was going to take about 2.5 hours and since I wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 4:00 pm, I was able to engage in one of my favorite pastimes; spooky detours!

Ol' Blue's back seat, jammed packed and ready to go.

Continue reading

Friday the 13th: The Adventure Begins

0

So here it is: the first of many road trips for the upcoming book. I doubt anyone would believe me, but I really hadn’t planned on starting my project on Friday the 13th. It just sort of ended up that way. I’ve never been superstitious, so it will be interesting to see how this all turns out. If it all ends up going south, you have my permission to mock me for starting such a huge endeavor on an unlucky day.

For obvious reasons, I can’t get too specific on where I’m going. Not only do I need to keep the suspense building until the book comes out, but I also want to make sure people don’t show up dressed like extras from the Thriller video and try to scare me (or fake evidence). So specifics about each location will be kept very hush-hush.

But no worries; there will be plenty of things to read about along the way. At the start of each trip, I’ll give you a full list of equipment I’m bringing, which might include a few clues as to where I’m headed. I’ll be sure to throw in all the CDs I’ll be taking along, too. Heck, I might even give you a peek inside the Snack Bag.

As the journey progresses, I’ll be giving Tweets as I go, which might also contain a few clues. Of course, if I come across anything of interest along the way, say something strange and spooky (or just plain tasty), I’ll snap a couple of pics and send it your way, too. And when all is said and done, I’ll do a full blog recapping all the highs and lows.

Now that the general rules are out of the way, here are some specifics about this weekend’s road trip:

  • Trip will begin at approximately noon on Friday the 13th and continue until approximately 4:00 am on Sunday the 15th
  • Trip will begin in Columbus, Ohio and head northwest, passing through/near Mansfield, Akron, and Kirtland
  • Two separate haunted locations will be visited, one on Friday and the other on Saturday
  • Estimated total mileage for the two days is 457 miles

Equipment being packed into Ol’ Blue for this trip includes:

Equipment for 8/13 road trip

Continue reading

Road Food

1

You can learn a lot from a cat. For example, how to make the most out of a 19-hour nap. Or perhaps how to disembowel prey. The one thing I’ve learned from my big, overstuffed cat, Bailey, is to never, ever pass up an opportunity for a good meal.

Bailey is the ultimate foodie. He also possesses an impeccable sense of endurance. I’ve known him to feast for upwards of 30 minutes, even if the bulk of that time is spent smacking his empty bowl across the kitchen floor. You see, Bailey also believes he is an expert conjurer and that his little ritual will result in a fresh bounty of fish magically appearing in his bowl. Continue reading