Monthly Archives: May 2012

No vlog today. Not for a couple of days. Maybe not for  a couple of weeks.

Going on hiatus. Unplugging from the internet for a while. Except, I think, for twitter and the occasional blog.

I need to concern myself less with presenting what I’m doing and actually get busy doing what I set out to do in the first place.

I hope the first ten vlogs were a good look at what the next few weeks might be like; not glamorous, not adventurous, not really worth documenting every other day. Just getting down to work. On the road. Sitting in libraries and looking for ghosts and surfing friend’s couch to friend’s couch. Vlogs might still surface, but when they do I hope they’re more illustrative and interesting. If you’ve watched this far, thank you!

and no worries, big things in the next few weeks

Day One – Vlog Ten. Theaters and Coke Cans

Boulder Theater was the third investigation I ever did as a young ghost hunter, the second with any kind of organized team. The first was a small restaurant called the Morrison Inn up by Red Rocks. There, I stayed quiet and watched the team, participating occasionally but seeing and beginning to understand how such a team works. It was the theater where I discovered that I could do this, that I’d done my research, I’d studied the techniques, I’d read the articles, and I was ready to go out and get some hands on experience. It was a few months later that I was cast on Academy and everything took off from there.

And so last night, sitting up in the nest that overlooked the stage, above one of the lighting booths, near the speaker controls, just out of sight of the audience seats and looking down at the curtains and stage lights, I thought back to four years ago. Sitting in this same spot. A novice. Where the dark wrapped me up and gave me that fluttery feeling in the deeper part of my stomach, the open door to the hallway behind me giving the sense of being watched, that I might be approached at any moment. Proud of myself for doing it, alone, but listening to the dark. Seeing what might happen. Wondering if there was someone else there beside me, watching and waiting as well.

Four years later wasn’t so different. And it was in the nest that I started my investigation that Sunday night again, alone. The darkness was different now. Less pressing. With more of a settled feeling. After a few minutes I softly asked questions, voice recorder running, flashlights on the floor. I’d gone back to using a few small devices, not feeling under-prepared the way I had four years before with only my two EMF meters and a voice recorder. Now, I prefered it in the dark with barely a handful of tools. I wasn’t there anymore to prove this to anyone, to record on six cameras, to take readings that would prove more scientific in conclusion. I wasn’t a part of the group, emulating TAPS, arriving ‘to help.’ I was there to watch. To learn, to listen. To experience and understand. To be a friend to the spirits in the dark.

In the past four years I traveled across the country, the world, helped with dozens of investigations at the Stanley, more still for frightened homeowners. I’ve lectured. I’ve studied. Researched. Theorized. Had experiences I cannot explain that fit no easy or obvious frameworks. I got a college degree.  I wrote for magazines and blogs. Now I’m writing books. And I don’t know what the future will be. I don’t know where I’ll live come January. I don’t know if the books will take off or if the scraps will finally run out. I don’t know where next my fascination with this field will lead me. I’m exhausted and intimidated, lonely and poor, climbing up hill one step and a time with little support.

But in that moment, surrounded by darkness, invisible to the stage, to the team wandering about as they started their investigation, I wondered if this was how the spirits felt. If they could see both behind the curtain and in front, had to go out of their way to see the audience. If they were otherwise invisible in the dark and were happy enough just to sit, to watch, to wait.

And I felt at peace. It didn’t matter that I’d been couch-surfing for a week. That I had no place to call mine, any constant close friends, a significant other, or any hint of a steady income in my future. The stage creaked and popped and the curtains dangled heavy and the flashlights would occasionally flicker and my voice recorder rolled, and I knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be. And that was just fine.

Day One – Vlog Nine. Denver and Dinner

While eating and waiting for the sun to go down so that my friend could get out of class and we could get together, I watched the neighborhood children playing, running from one house to the next. Many of the small homes had bars on their windows, but their lawns were neat–not in the neat way that old folk’s and suburbanites yards are neat, but in the way that they were contained, tended to, and not overgrown. There was a general sense of upkeep. Families talking in the evening sun. A gentleman working on a garden.

I’m supposed to be outside because Miguel is getting in trouble. One little boy says, spinning a silver plastic gun with an orange tip around his finger.

Your parents fight a lot, his buddy says.


So do mine. A lot. And for a moment they look distant before the neighbor boy’s sister touches the other neighbor boy on the hand and he jumps back exclaiming that she touched him, She just touched my hand! He repeats himself and laughs and the girl in the skirt ducks and hangs against the fence and laughs.

Back away! They shout. Back away! And their laughter turns to teasing and bantering and running about the yard.And I remember long ago when I was their age and a girl’s briefest touch could mean the world and the game was dancing away and pointing and laughing and stealing hats and chasing them about a playground to get them back, where in the simple motion of running and laughing and smiling with a pretty girl, the world was a rush, a surge of excitement in the smallest things.

And I sat there and I reflected on the past and drank the nostalgia like I’d mixed it in my water bottle and shaken until it was frothy and I shook my head and tried to–

And then the street lamps turn on as if to match the disappearing sun exactly. The kids fade back into their homes. The neighbor boy and his sister’s mother comes out and places her hands on her hips and scolds them for their noise and ruckus and they wander inside before wanding back outside, lingering before closing up shop for good. A lone bat flickers and stumbles about against the purpling sky and eventually, when night has fallen completely, I get the call and drive a few blocks and leave it behind for conversation, catching up, and a couch to crash on.

Day One – Vlog Six. First Night.

First night in le back seat of le car. Answering some questions, providing some more details. Getting harder and harder to keep these under four minutes!

Day One – Vlog Five

If you don’t think I’m crazy yet. Maybe now. Living a little, serving a practical purpose, cutting my hair off. Yep.

Day One – Vlog Four

Moving and reflecting and moving some more. Wheels up this weekend.

There’s the air of a stranger in this place tonight. I’ll run to my room in the basement to pick up a power cable for my laptop or a set of DVDs to rip and I’ll stand in the doorway for a few moments, moments that turn to minutes, and look around at a room that’s no longer mine. And it seems strange, to have possessed a place so thoroughly, so intimately, where before was the essence of the bare walls stripped, replaced, where in the glow of my candles or my eclectic blend of posters and art, walls lined with too many books, now there’s empty spackled space with dark smudges, pin holes if you look too close. This is not the same place. It seems smaller and vacant. Which gives this odd oppositional feel, that if we cannot possess the room then we should make it a stranger. And so now it is a space where I cannot sleep. The bare mattress like the walls is naked and bare and says if I’m done with it then be off and so tonight I’m on the couch.

When I open the window for air it brings with it the slow reek of fire. It’s that distinct smell of a forest fire up the canyon not far from where we live. It’s a different brand of smell like a different brand of cigarettes, if so subtle, but you know the smell. There is no plastic chemical odor of melting homes nor the sharp smell of a campfire. This is what the end of the world smells like. All it’s missing is the scent of the catalyst, whatever chemical agent, metallic casing, a defensive strategy and the necessary sacrifices. The fire will strip the branches and the leaves from the trees and turn the world black where I left mine white but both will grow back and the fire will fall from the sky or plane or whatever carelessly lost cigarette butt some other time and in some other place.

Air of a Stranger

Day One – Vlog Three

Graduation and graduation weekend and graduation parties and friends and family and the calm before the storm. Or the storm before the calm. I’m not really too sure which at this point.

Quick textual update by the way too, I’ll answer questions on the vlogs too if you leave any in the comments sections, but it will be on a couple day delay at times. Especially at the beginning, when there’s a number of videos that I need to shoot to establish things before I have time for Q&As. This week will start with moving and end with a Stanley Hotel weekend, so while I’ll be done moving out of my place, I won’t hit the road seriously until next week. Until then it’ll mostly be couch surfing and planning. But that’ll be vlogged in the coming days. Until then, rock on with your bad selves–