I’m REALLY looking forward to Halloween. I just love Autumn, don’t you? This weekend will be Thanksgiving up here in Canada. It was always a tradition in my family to visit the graves during the month of November. That, along with Halloween fast approaching, got me thinking today about my deceased relatives and my great-great-grandmother — my ‘G2’ grandma.
I think I will share something with you. Something about my great-great-grandmother. That’s her below, standing next to her husband, great-great-grandpa, the Freemason:
Great-great-grandma was quite the woman, she always fascinated me. She LOVED reading people’s tea leaves for them, a service she did for free. Actually, any poor soul who came to her house would get promptly sat down at her kitchen table and poured a cup of tea. She would anxiously wait for them to finish their tea then off to the races she would go, reading their tea leaves for them, whether they were ready for the news or not.
She was of Scottish heritage, born in Nova Scotia (New Scotland) in 1874, during the late Victorian era, which was also during the Spiritualist Movement. She had seven girls and three boys with great-great-grandpa. She had what the Scottish call Second Sight, the gift of seeing into the spirit worlds. The world of the unseen, the shadows.
Reading tea leaves was just one of her gifts, she was also adept at reading other types of omens and seeing spirits. As mentioned earlier, she never charged for her services. Her and great-great-grandpa lived on their family homestead in Nova Scotia. She churned her own butter, had pigs, chickens, etc.. She also had a generous, kind heart and felt pity for the less fortunate, often letting the homeless, who were wandering around the countryside begging for food, into her kitchen to whip them up some bacon and eggs for breakfast. Then afterwards read their tea leaves no doubt.
One night, great-great-grandma saw what she said was an “orange ball of light coming down the hill”. She said it was a “forerunner” to her daughter’s death. A forerunner, or omen, that her daughter would soon die. Her daughter, my great-grandmother, died the next day at the age of only twenty-five years old.
My grandmother once told me something exciting about my great-great-grandma. She said when she was a young girl she would often see great-great-grandma go down to the river with two of my great-aunts, all three of them wearing black-hooded robes. They told her they were “baptizing” each other. Well now, that’s different. I wonder what that was all about?
What an interesting woman great-great-grandma was. Would it surprise you to know that she died October 30?
Michelle McKay is a Canadian paranormal investigator of 20+ years. Former TV host: Destination America, Discovery, A&E. Founder of ColdSpot.org. Her great-uncle was pioneer UFO investigator Henry McKay. This may all sound glamorous but in reality she spends her life holding a flashlight and talks to a lot of nothing in the dark. Foremost, she is willing to work for tacos and chocolate.
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The History of Ghost Hunting – a timeline of the 1900’s
By: Michelle McKay (founder of ColdSpot.org)
October 4, 2014
I also did a timeline of ghost hunting in the 1800’s (and the Spiritualist Movement), which is located here. The Spiritualist Movement, which was a paranormal craze, is generally agreed to have begun in the 1840’s and began winding down in the 1920’s.
This is going to be an ongoing work-in-progress. Thus, I will update this page as I come across new information.
In my opinion, the two most notable paranormal investigators of the 1900’s was Hans Holzer (early 1960’s) and Harry Price (early 1920’s).
As for Harry Price, that cool dude with the library and lab that I could only dream of, he was the first to use modern equipment at a ghost investigation. And in 1938-1939 he drafted a Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners. The photo above is of Harry Price’s ghost hunting kit.
Ghost Hunting in the 1900’s:
Queen Victoria dies on January 22, 1901, hence the Victorian era starts to wind down (the Victorian era is generally agreed to have begun in 1837). The Edwardian era begins.
1908 Elliott O’Donnell, a fictional writer, releases his first non-fictional book on the paranormal titled “Some Haunted Houses of England & Wales” in 1908. Some say that O’Donnell was the first ghost hunter. This certainly is not true (see my article on ghost hunting in the 1800’s). It would, however, be correct to say that O’Donnell was possibly the first celebrity ghost hunter. However, some argue that Harry Price deserves that honour instead, and I, personally, would agree with them. For the name “Harry Price” is far more known than the name “Elliott O’Donnell”, in my opinion, at least in today’s society. I would have to conduct a search through newspaper archives of the day to see for certain who was more popular during their time. I will hazard a guess that Price would come out the winner. Nonetheless, for more information on Harry Price, check out my article on him here. Furthermore, some attribute O’Donnell as the one who coined the term “ghost hunter” citing his 1916 book titled “Twenty Years Experience as a Ghost Hunter” as the evidence. However, this is incorrect. A gentleman by the name of H. Addington Bruce (see below) used this term in the title of his book published in 1908, eight years earlier. Some of O’Donnell’s books can be read online here.
In the early 1920’s, magician Harry Houdini began exposing fake psychics.
The infamous Mitchel-Hedges “Crystal Skull” was discovered in the 1920’s in Belize. For more information click here and here.
Harry Price officially begins his paranormal investigations. Harry Price debunks the spirit photographer William Hope. Harry Price’s publication titled “Revelations of a Spirit Medium” was released this year. Harry Price becomes a member of the Magic Circle.
Harry Price is appointed Foreign Research Officer of the American Society for Psychical Research.
Harry Price founded The National Laboratory of Psychical Research.
Harry investigated the Joanna Southcott box “in a blaze of publicity”. Harry Price joins the Ghost Club, and remains there until it temporarily shuts down in 1936.
Harry Price visits the Borley Rectory for the first time.
Harry Price becomes Vice-President of the Magician’s Club. Harry Price begins investigating Helen Duncan (psychic medium, declared guilty by British Witchcraft Act). The American Society for Psychical Research ends Harry Price’s appointment of Foreign Research Officer.
Harry Price conducted the Brocken Experiment in the Harz Mountains, this is the case that made him internationally renowned. Harry Price is 51 years old this year.
1934 The University of London Council for Psychical Investigation replaced The National Laboratory of Psychical Research.
Harry Price investigated the infamous “Talking Mongoose” (a type of weasel) on the Isle of Man (U.K) with Richard S. Lambert (a biographer and broadcaster) this year. Also this year Harry Price produces a talking film called Psychical Research for Movietone News Theatre.
Harry Price had two books published this year, one titled “Confessions of a Ghost Hunter”, and the other was titled “The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap”. On March 10, 1936, Harry Price broadcasted live on BBC Radio from a reportedly haunted manor house near Meopham, Kent. The program was the first broadcast ever to be made from a haunted house. The purpose of the broadcast was “to give listeners a perfect picture of the technique employed in investigating an alleged haunted house”, wrote Harry Price in his book titled “Fifty Years of Psychical Research”. In 1936, Harry Price’s library was transferred to the University of London, followed shortly by his laboratory and investigative equipment.
Harry Price rented the infamous Borley Rectory for one year to conduct investigations. This was also the year that Harry Price says he saw the spirit of a child named Rosalie during a séance at a house in London, England.
The Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast aired October 30, 1938. This is also the year that Harry Price re-established the Ghost Club, making himself Chairman. And Harry also drafted a Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners this year.
The “Interwar” period ends. The Second World War begins on September 1, 1939. On Feb 27, 1939 the Borley Rectory is destroyed by fire. Also this year Harry Price produced a Draft Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners. Harry is 58 years old this year.
Harry Price excavates the ruins of the Borley Rectory cellars and discovers human remains, which he takes to Coopers Studio in London, England to be photographed.
Harry Price testified and gave evidence at the Helen Duncan (psychic medium) trial. During this trial, Helen was the last person to be convicted under the British Witchcraft Act 1735. She was found guilty and served nine months in prison. The ruins of Borley Rectory is demolished.
1947 Kenneth Arnold sees “flying saucers” on June 24, 1947 near Mount Rainier, Washington.
1948 Harry Priced died on March 29, 1948, at the age of 67 years old.
Parapsychologist, the great Hans Holzer publishes his first book titled “Ghost Hunter”, he ends up writing more then 140 books on the paranormal throughout his career. He also appeared on numerous television programs, radio shows, newspaper articles, and magazines. He also starred in a TV series titled “Ghost Hunter” which aired on Channel 2 in Boston (air date not known, will find out then add it to this page), thus making him the original Ghost Hunter (before the current hit series “Ghost Hunters” ever aired). Holzer’s research into the paranormal was exhaustive and massive — to say the least. The contribution he has made to ghost research, and the paranormal as a whole, has been ENORMOUS. To put even just ten percent of his accomplishments and work onto this timeline would require many pages, therefore I will simply just put a Google link of his work here.
Elliott O’Donnell died on May 8, 1965 (see the year “1908” located above for more about him).
Hans Holzer investigates the infamous house at 112 Ocean Avenue (Amityville) with Ethel Johnson Meyers (spiritual medium) in January 1977.
Harry Price – Was Harry Price the First Ghost Hunter?
By: Michelle McKay (founder of ColdSpot.org)
September 5, 2014.
(update: something peculiar happened to me after I released this article, click here after reading this article to read what happened)
Harry Price (psychical researcher) hails the title for the first ‘celebrity’ ghost hunter, although some say Elliott O’Donnell hails that title but I disagree (see here).
Some even go so far as to say that Price was the very first ‘ghost hunter’, which certainly was not the case. Price was not the first person to dedicate his life to investigating reports of ghostly activity. Especially considering that the Ghost Club (the oldest ghost research organization in the world) was formed in 1862 — almost twenty years before Price was even born! And twenty years before that began the Spiritualist Movement. See my article titled “The History of Ghost Hunting – a timeline of the 1800s”.
Furthermore, he wasn’t even the first person to use the term ‘ghost hunter’. As far as can be ascertained, psychical researcher H. Addington Bruce was the first to use the term ‘ghost hunter’ in 1908 — if anybody knows of this term being used prior to 1908 then kindly contact me. [Update: Tim Prasil has informed me that he did some digging and came across a fictional book titled, “The Ghost-Hunter and His Family”, published in 1833.]
It has also been said that Price “contributed greatly in encouraging public interest in the psychic field”. I cannot say that I fully agree with that statement. Price came into the picture during the end days of the Spiritualist Movement craze. So, he appeared on the scene years after everybody was already obsessed with going to séance parties and the like. Perhaps there is more evidence to say that he contributed greatly in encouraging the “end” of the craze (unintentionally or intentionally) depending on how you look at it. If anything, all Price did was “ride” the wave that was already well in motion.
However, one thing that cannot be argued is that the name “Harry Price” is certainly infamous and has stood the test of time. So, therefore, he was certainly a pioneer in his own right. But what exactly he was pioneer of is the question. It is said that he was the first to use equipment at a ghost investigation. If this is indeed correct, which so far from my research appears to be the case, then this would make him a pioneer of that idea. Also noteworthy was the fact that in 1938-1939, Price drafted a Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners.
All in all, Price was definitely compelling — and that can never be taken from him. I don’t know about you, but I find him absolutely fascinating and would have certainly loved to have met him.
After conducting research on Harry Price’s legacy, it has left me with more questions than answers. For example, what were his investigation methods?Which methodologies did he use? And also, how did he get the money to travel all around the world to conduct investigations? How could he afford this? Who, or what, funded him? I myself am extremely busy with my own paranormal research and investigations. So one day when I get some free time I wish to be able to look into this more. But until then, if anybody comes across any clues to possible answers to any of these questions please kindly leave a comment below or tweet me on my twitter. Also be sure to include exactly where you got the clue/info from so that I may verify the information. Perhaps, together, we can put this puzzle together piece by piece…
Harry Price was born on January 17, 1881 and died March 29, 1948. Born towards the end of the Victorian era, he also lived through the Edwardian era, the First World War, and the Second World War eras.
Although he had his first ghostly experience at some point before he was 15 years old (a poltergeist in Shropshire County, England), and he joined the Society for Psychical Research at the age of 39 (in 1920), he didn’t officially start investigating until 1922 (he was about 41 years old). Which was also during the last few years of the end of the Spiritualist Movement.
In the book titled “Harry Price: The Psychic Detective” by Richard Morris, it has been said that the book gives the impression that Price possibly “fabricated” various pieces of evidence for and against psychic phenomena. I have not read this book yet, so I cannot give my opinion on it. Yes, Price certainly appeared to enjoy being in the limelight. However, that alone doesn’t prove he fabricated anything. I would find it most interesting to see for myself just what exactly the evidence is that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Price “fabricated” these things. Until then, I can only give Price the benefit of the doubt.
Price had a library of 13,000 books about magic and the occult which today can be found at the Senate House, located at the University of London in England. He was also a member of the Magic Circle.
It has also been said that although Price began his ‘ghost hunting’ career as a believer, he eventually switched gears and became a debunker and skeptic. As apparently evidenced by the manner in which he wrote his book titled “The Most Haunted House in England” in 1940 (which apparently shows he was a ‘believer’) versus his 1946 book titled “The End of Borley Rectory” (which apparently shows he switched gears and became a ‘debunker’ and ‘skeptic’).
Price is credited as being the first to use equipment at a ghost investigation. His ghost hunting kit is outlined in his 1940 book titled “The Most Haunted House in England” on pages 31 and 32.
HARRY PRICE TIMELINE:
Harry Price was born on January 17, 1881
Harry becomes a member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). Harry is 39 years old this year.
Harry officially begins his paranormal investigations. He debunks the spirit photographer William Hope. He also went to Germany with Eric Dingwall (anthropologist and psychical researcher) to investigate Willi Schneider (psychic medium). Harry’s publication titled “Revelations of a Spirit Medium” was released this year. Harry became a member of the Magic Circle. The craze of the Spiritualist Movement begins to dwindle out.
Harry starts investigating Stella Cranshaw.
Harry was appointed Foreign Research Officer of the American Society for Psychical Research. This was also the year Harry met Rudi Schneider (Willi Schneider’s brother). Harry investigates Frau Maria Silbert in Austria.
Harry went to Vienna to investigate Eleonore Zugen (aka. the ‘Poltergeist Girl’). Harry founded The National Laboratory of Psychical Research. Harry begins investigating Rudi Schneider.
Harry investigated the Joanna Southcott box “in a blaze of publicity”. Harry investigates Jeanne Laplace in Paris. Harry joins the Ghost Club, and remains there until it temporarily shuts down in 1936.
Harry investigated the Battersea Poltergeist in Lavender Hill, Battersea, London. He also investigated a reportedly haunted dressing room at Adelphi Theatre in London, England.
Harry visits the Borley Rectory for the first time.
Harry investigates Frau Lotte Plaat. Harry is 49 years old this year.
Harry becomes Vice-President of the Magician’s Club. Harry begins investigating Helen Duncan. The American Society for Psychical Research ends Harry’s appointment of Foreign Research Officer. Harry investigates Pasquale Erto.
Harry conducted the Brocken Experiment in the Harz Mountains. This is the case that made him internationally renowned. This year Harry also sleeps in a reportedly haunted bed at a museum in Chiswick (London, England).
1934 The University of London Council for Psychical Investigation replaced The National Laboratory of Psychical Research.
Harry investigated Karachi’s Indian rope trick and the fire-walking abilities of Kuda Bux. Also, this was the year that Harry became the first Chairman of the National Film Library at the British Film Institute due to his interest in cinematography. Harry also investigated the infamous “Talking Mongoose” (a type of weasel) on the Isle of Man (U.K) with Richard S. Lambert (a biographer and broadcaster) this year. Also this year Harry produces a talking film called Psychical Research for Movietone News Theatre.
Harry had two books published this year, one titled “Confessions of a Ghost Hunter”, and the other was titled “The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap”. On March 10, 1936, Harry broadcasted live on BBC Radio from a reportedly haunted manor house near Meopham, Kent. The program was the first broadcast ever to be made from a haunted house. The purpose of the broadcast was “to give listeners a perfect picture of the technique employed in investigating an alleged haunted house”, wrote Harry Price in his book titled “Fifty Years of Psychical Research”. In 1936, Harry Price’s library was transferred to the University of London, followed shortly by his laboratory and investigative equipment.
Harry conducted experiments on Ahmed Hussain’s fire-walking abilities which appeared on television. He also rented the infamous Borley Rectory for one year to conduct investigations. This was also the year that Harry says he saw the spirit of a child named Rosalie during a séance at a house in London, England.
Harry re-established the Ghost Club, making himself Chairman. As per Wikipedia, he changed the Ghost Club “from a Spiritualist association to a group of more or less open-minded sceptics that gathered to discuss paranormal topics. He was also the first to admit women to the club.” He also conducted experiments on Rahman Bey who was buried alive in Carshalton. And he also drafted a Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners this year.
Harry put together a national telepathic test in “John O’London’s Weekly”. On Feb 27, 1939 the Borley Rectory is destroyed by fire. Also this year Harry produced a Draft Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners. Harry is 58 years old this year.
Harry excavates the ruins of the Borley Rectory cellars and discovers human remains, which he takes to Coopers Studio in London, England to be photographed.
Harry testified and gave evidence at the Helen Duncan (psychic medium) trial. During this trial, she was the last person to be convicted under the British Witchcraft Act 1735. She was found guilty and served nine months in prison. The ruins of Borley Rectory is demolished.
Harry Priced died on March 29, 1948, at the age of 67 years old.
It is claimed that in 1963 Price “spoke” onto a tape recorder from his grave at a seance — 15 years after his death. You can listen to the audio of the seance here.
A radio documentary titled “Are you there Harry Price?” about his life aired in 1981 on BBC Radio, almost 40 years after his death. Listen to it here:
LOCATIONS HARRY INVESTIGATED:
Borley Rectory (Essex, England)
Raynham Hall (England)
private home séance (London, England)
house in Lavender Hill, Battersea, London (poltergeist)
Adelphi Theatre (London, England)
museum in Chiswick (London, England)
PEOPLE HARRY INVESTIGATED:
Helen Duncan (psychic medium, declared guilty by British Witchcraft Act)
Ahmed Hussain (fire-walker)
Kuda Bux (fire-walker)
Karachi (Indian rope trick)
William Hope (spirit photographer)
Willi Schneider (psychic medium)
Rudi Schneider (psychic medium, Willi Schneider’s brother)
Eleonore Zugen (the ‘Poltergeist Girl’)
Frau Maria Silbert (spiritualist medium, apportation & psychokinesis)
Jean Guzik (psychic medium)
Dorothy Stella Cranshaw (psychic medium. aka. Stella C, and the “Electric Girl”)
Jeanne Laplace (clairvoyant)
Frau Lotte Plaat (psychic medium)
Pasquale Erto (light emitting psychic, aka. “the human rainbow”)
ANIMALS HARRY INVESTIGATED:
“Gef” (the talking mongoose)
BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS HARRY WROTE:
“Revelations of a Spirit Medium”by Eric.J. Dingwall and Harry Price.
327 pages, published 1922. This book was originally published in 1891
by an anonymous author named “A Medium”. Dingwall and Price reprinted
and edited it in 1922. This was also one of the books in the 1890’s
that inspired Harry Houdini to take up the duty of exposing fake
Michelle McKay is a Canadian paranormal investigator of 20+ years. Former TV host: Destination America, Discovery, A&E. Founder of ColdSpot.org. Her great-uncle was pioneer UFO investigator Henry McKay. This may all sound glamorous but in reality she spends her life holding a flashlight and talks to a lot of people. Foremost, she is willing to work for tacos and chocolate.
The following report was sent into our website by Arabella on Aug 15, 2012:
“I’m not sure if this qualifies, but when I was little, my family consisting of my mother, my father, my sister, and myself moved from a house in the “country” to a house in a township. I was about 2 years old at the time, my sister about 6 months. When I was old enough to speak, I’m not sure exactly at what age that was, I had the urge to name my house “Violet”. I have since called the house, which I have lived in for the past years of my life, since we moved, and have become very attached to it, and won’t let my parents sell it or knock it down or whatever would mean taking it from me. Back to my point…
When I was 13, my sister started to go to a church her friends went to, and enjoyed it very much. Every Wednesday night, from about 6, 6:30 to 8pm, my mother (and my father if he wasn’t working nights) took her and I was allowed to stay home by myself. For the first few weeks, I had a friend of mine, Maddie, come over and we’d hang out and watch movies and jump on my trampoline. And when my parents got home, we’d take her home. In the summer, or odd days when the Thursday following was a PA day, she would stay overnight.
I found as I got into the 8th grade, I liked be alone in my house a lot more. So, I started to stay home by myself. The first few times, uneventful. But, then one night, my mom asked me to put some stuff down in the basement (which is fully furnished and perfectly pleasant to be in). My hands were full, and I was going to hit the lights for the rec room with my elbow so I wouldn’t walk into anything, they just came on. I stood still for a fraction of a second, nodded to myself, and said, “Thanks, Vi.” I put the stuff away, and as I reached for the lights again, they just turned themselves off. Again, I nodded to myself, said, “Thanks, Vi” and went back upstairs to watch TV, thinking nothing of it. Of course I didn’t tell my parents or sister.
Now, everything that happens, happens when it’s me, and me alone. My house is not old, like some of the other ones in the stories I read, not Victorian, not over 100 years old. When I moved in, it was no older than 4 years old, and was going on about 20 when this stuff happened, and it’s been happening since I was little, too.
I was scared of the dark. When the power went out, the one thing that would stay on was my night light, and you couldn’t turn on another thing in the house, lamps, fans, that kind of stuff. It was the only thing my parents ever saw.
Now, back to when I was 14. When I was there alone, lights would randomly come on in the dark, like the house was trying to draw my attention back there. Usually for a good reason, too. My dogs wanting out or in, reminding me of something I was asked to do, etc. The TV would come on when I was else where or away from the remote of the TV itself, about the time a show I’d planned on watching was about to begin. I also have a pausable TV, and it’d pause on its own, too. The radio would come on, tune in to my favorite station specifically. The dryer and washer will come on, and when the cycle(s) are finished, they won’t do anything until a new load was in, though this happened only once, as did the dish washer, and I’d thought at the time my mother had put it on a timer, but she said she hadn’t when I’d asked her. When she asked why I wanted to know, I just said I THOUGHT I heard it, but since she hadn’t, I didn’t. And I most certainly did, I have sensitive hearing, and the dish washer is quite loud anyways. Chairs DON’T move, it seems to be things that are connected into the house itself. Computers, TVs, lights, doors, and radios. I assume it’s my house.
My house has adored me since the moment I entered it, and I’m not the only in my family that EVERYTHING in the house works for. No, it’s not that my parents or sister don’t know how to use it, it’s just that it doesn’t co operate with them. But ask it to do something for me, and BAM! It works perfectly. So, it adores me, and I it.
Now, do these things make my house itself possessed by a ghost? Or is my house, my Violet, simply aware?”