Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Who you gonna call? Darcie McGrath and the Quantum Psi Group

Happy Halloween everyone!

In honor of this most excellent holiday, my guest today is Paranormal Researcher Darcie McGrath! Darcie is the founder of the Quantum Psi Group, whose mission is to provide educational opportunities - scientific and metaphysical - to assist the public with knowledge of, paranormal events, concentrating on the survival of consciousness outside of the physical realm. Both elements will work together, as one, in validating and exploring this field.

Welcome and thanks so much for being here, Darcie and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. So let's get on with the questions!

Were you ever a skeptic or did you always believe in the paranormal? What drew you to paranormal investigations?

I got into the paranormal by getting in trouble with the assistant librarian. I was 8 years old, and it was storytelling time in the library. I ended up monkeying around in the back of the group, trying not to be bored, when the assistant librarian came up and asked what I was doing. It was Halloween. It was ghost story time. Why wasn’t I excited by that?

 I put on a practiced face that had been taught to me by my parents and told her, “There’s no such things as ghosts. This is kid’s stuff!”


“Really,” she said. “Come with me.” She took me over to what was, to my surprise, the non-fiction section.


Handed me Larry Kettlekamp’s Haunted Houses. I read it. I was hooked.
 

I read everything the school library’s had to offer. When I got my first library card, I read all that, too. You couldn’t go to the book store to buy books there. They were in the occult section. You didn’t dare get caught there. And in all honesty, they really didn’t have much to choose from. No matter what phase in my life I was in, my interest always came back to that, somehow.

Do you have to have any kind of degree to become involved in paranormal investigations? If so, what kind?

People come from every walk of life to do this. Some are engineers, IT specialists, maintenance people, and plumbers. Some are MIT graduates with degrees in Quantum Thermodynamics. Some go as far as building a degree in parapsychology – but in my experience, the only degree you need is one of curiosity.

How does an investigation come to you - how do you get a case?  Do you seek them out? Do people call you?
When I first started investigating – and that wasn’t until I was about 19 – I looked for them.  Now that I’ve been doing this awhile, and more people know me from discussions and my work at Kirkwood College, they come to me.
That’s still not to say I don’t  check out documented haunted locations out there when in between cases (Farrar School, Lemp Mansion, Pythian Castle).



What do you look for in an investigation?

The number one thing, before we even start, is to sit down and have a thorough interview with each affected person at the location. We can’t always sit down with all of them, but we get as many as we can. Sometimes that gives you more information about what’s going on than any other tool in our arsenal. Many times, based on that, we can decide how deep we need to look. Many times, not that far.

We also use our digital and video equipment to search for video anomalies and audio anomalies that might be considered instrumental transcommunication (ITC). Entities can communicate through almost any form of electronics by manipulating the electromagnetic field (EMF). Sometimes this can be in the form of electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), or visual manifestation on film or digital image.


If we can combine two to three different pieces of evidence to document an occurrence, then there is a high likelihood that we’ve encountered something paranormal.


What tools do you use?

Interviewing is our number one tool. It costs nothing, and it doesn’t need batteries. Our second most useful device is the digital audio recorder. It’s from these that we capture electronic voice phenomenon (EVP).  Digital camcorders are also useful to help capture who was in the room when EVPs occur, and of course, any visual anomalies that cannot be explained.

Another tool that is not used by all ghost hunters, are the impressions of a psychic or medium. It has been the opinion of many notable parapsychologists, such as Dr. William Roll and Dr. Hans Holzer, that if you want to get to the bottom of a case, you must use a psychic. I tend to agree with that assessment. Many times we find that the energy will manifest faster when we have them present, than if we didn’t. It saves us many days and nights of sitting in the dark, hoping the activity will engage us. We confer with them on a regular basis. Their input is combined and weighed equally with all of the other evidence collected to help us form a case.


Our group chooses to balance the metaphysical with the scientific. We find them mutually beneficial in the field, and I have hopes that, some day, the science will help validate the metaphysical, also.


Is ghost hunting an adrenaline rush or are there a lot of boring nights?

I like to say that ghost hunting is hours of complete boredom, followed by 10 to 15 seconds of sheer excitement. Many places do not have a plethora of physical manifestations (slamming doors, moving objects, full figure apparitions). Most of the evidence we find is usually after the fact – after we take the equipment home and compare notes.

Have you ever had a really active location and how did you deal with that?

There was a very active private residence that we were requested to check out, when the owner was in between renters. On our second trip out, we found all of our electrical devices being drained one by one. We’d turn the camera on, and that would die. We turned the recorder on, and that would die. We’d turn the cell phone on, and that would die.

The theory is when energy is drained from multiple items that quickly, activity is present and attempting to manifest. This is a time that we make sure that no one person is on their own. Not only is it a good safety precaution, but if anyone is likely to have an experience, they’ll have a partner witnessing it with them. We also make sure to have a good supply of batteries outside the premise, and plug in any devices that have DC power.


Have you ever been in a situation that really scared you?

My first demonic experience was probably the scariest. I ended up bringing something home from a rather dark location we had just investigated. A psychic friend was the first to recognize it. I didn’t know what to do. I learned very quickly that networking is very important in this field, as is developing your own sense of personal protection.

They often say that there are “no atheists in foxholes” – and I often tell my students – this field is one big foxhole.


What are the biggest misconceptions about ghost hunting?

That you are required to bring a truckfull of investigative equipment on every client trip. Many are eager to do that, however, you can learn just as much by sitting down and interviewing the client. Sometimes anxiety and stress can often manifest in people’s minds as a paranormal experience. Oftentimes, once they have a second pair of eyes examining the situation, it’s not like that at all.

Many people often have latent psychic abilities that they are not conscious off. The interview process helps screen for this. If they are psychic, they are much more likely to experience ghosts and spirits in the immediate vicinity, than other people are. It doesn’t mean that there house is haunted; it means that they are capable of attracting activity to them since other spirits and ghosts can realize this, even when they cannot. I’ve witnessed many times that homes not having any reported activity before, now have it because a different group of people have moved in.


These account for roughly 90% of our cases, and do not require one iota of equipment to be brought in.


What do you think of the reality tv shows about paranormal investigations?

I spend a lot of time in my classes clarifying the difference between television and the realities of the field.

Provoking - a method of exciting paranormal activity by aggressively laying down a challenge or insult – is something I often have to speak out against. Not only is it inherently dangerous since most of the time you don’t know what you’re going up against – many times this stuff can follow you home.  We encourage our children and teenagers not to do this to the living – what gives us any right to do this to the dead.


What’s also not well known is that not all of them are paranormal experts. Some simply have good camera appeal. If they're creating their own fashion line, or launching their own music album – they’re rockstars, not researchers.


The most important thing is that despite what you see on camera, 95% of all television personalities practice some form of personal protection. You wouldn’t believe how many times I get people shaking their heads at the idea of saying a prayer, or calling down a guide before an investigation. Their macho idols on TV don’t do that. I oftentimes have to remind them that the shows are edited for content and time. If you go up and ask these people personally, they tell you they do practice some form of protection. They don’t want to take this stuff home to their families. Many have kids at home. Most have been doing this for awhile. They know the score.



Anything else you'd like to share?

It is often easy to forget that many of these beings out there used to be people just like us. They’re not trophies or tickets to fame; they are intelligent, feeling entities like you and me. Treat them with respect. Even if they’ve done wrong in life, they’re putting themselves through more of a Hell than you could possibly dream of by sentencing themselves to a self-imposed purgatory. They are afraid of judgment, so many of them stay here in this endless existence. They don’t deserve bullying.

On the opposite side of the darkness that gets so much press in this field, I have many intelligent entities that follow me from place to place that help me in my work. I’ve formed relationships – alliances, if you will. Nothing on paper. These are powerful beings. They know my heart is in the right place. I have psychics and mediums tell me this all the time. I catch their voices on recorders constantly, talking to other energies, trying to prompt wayward entities to listen to me when I try to help the unfortunate trapped souls transition to the Other Side.

The majority of the students walking through my door are not only there for what they see on TV. They have questions. Serious spiritual questions. You’d think it strange that they’d come to a paranormal class for answers, but this can be a very rewarding spiritual  experience if done correctly. Would I trade that for money and fame? Never.



Darcie's bio: 

More than 170 students have explored the spirit world with instructor Darcie McGrath since she started teaching Haunting and Investigations 101 and 201 since September 2011. Darcie has 33 years of experience studying the paranormal, with an emphasis in haunting and haunting activity. She also has 20 years of field experience in investigating both private and commercial properties. Her investigative technique includes blending the metaphysical with science.
When not working her full time job in aerospace engineering, and teaching, she is also the case manager of the paranormal research team, Quantum Psi Group.


Paranormal Researcher Darcie McGrath - find her on Facebook
Quantum Psi Group - locate them at their web site: www.quantumpsigroup.org
   -Or click here to visit their Facebook page.

Darcie, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and knowledge with us today. I really appreciate it! If you have questions for Darcie, please post them in the comments section!

And Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Piercing the Veil with Cat Sinclair!


Today, I want to introduce all of you to my friend, Cat Sinclair. She is psychic. Oh, yes she is. Be skeptical if you wish, but I've seen her in action and I know she's the real deal. Cat is funny, smart and totally cool.


Here's her bio so you can decide for yourself.:

I was born a poor black child...Okay, seriously, I was born and raised in Iowa. I grew up with great parents in a loving family. I have been actively practicing my psychic abilities for the past 5 years, but I have always been a psychic--just not practicing. I live with 4 wonderful cats and an assortment of outside entities in the form of stray and wild animals who are attracted to my home, and I feed them all. My website is www.catsnjammies.com and it is a work in progress. I offer Oracle card readings through email, or in person, and I am an active consultant in several paranormal groups. My journey through this incarnation has not been easy, but it has made me stronger, and I learn from all my mistakes.


I had the chance to interview Cat and here are her responses. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section. Cat has a web site http://www.catsnjammies.com/ . She does wonderful readings, so if you're interested contact her for one.

Thanks for being here today, Cat. Let's get on with the questions!

How old were you when you realized you had psychic abilities?

I have always kind of known I was sensing things that others didn't, but after my grampa died when I was in 6th grade or so, he appeared to me one night.  That is when I knew for sure I had a gift.

How would you describe your talents? What do you do?

My talents lie in being able to connect with earth-bound spirits, being able to cross said earthbounds, and communicating with those who come in visitation. Visitation means they have crossed over, but choose to come back to this plane for a visit. I also connect with Angels and my guides. What I do is meditate, and just mentally open the lines of communication. I do Oracle card readings, and I am a consultant for a few paranormal research teams.

I know you do card readings for people. What is the process and how does it work?

When I do a reading, I meditate a bit, connect with my spirits and guides, and then ask for their assistance to connect with the angels and guides of the person I am doing the reading for. Sometimes I am allowed to directly connect with that person's Angels or guides, and sometimes I get the messages through my guides. At that point I begin drawing the cards, and then listening to what the guides say is the message from that card. Sometimes it is very specific, other times it is just a hint.

They NEVER give me intimate details, and they give me just enough info to let the person know what they want them to know. For example, if I get a card that points to a conflict, I get something like "This pertains to a family member you are having a disagreement with and it speaks to you being the bigger person and forgiving" I don't get "Cousin Billy said you are an a** and you need to lighten up. Billy is instead the a** and you just keep on rocking sista". They don't give me details that specific.

In addition to being a psychic, you participate in ghost hunting activities. What is your role in an investigation?


I am a consultant for several paranormal teams. My role is to go into a location and let the team members know what I am sensing, and see if I can connect to a spirit. Sometimes people need to have a spirit crossed over (sometimes forcibly) and sometimes it is a spirit that isn't aware it is deceased. Spirits of children always tug at my heart, and I don't wait for permission to cross them if they are ready to go. I have done a couple of "mass" crossings (where several spirits in one location went to the light) but those really drain me, so I try hard to limit those events. And as a psychic, I too enjoy validation, so I have my voice recorder and my camera, and the groups equipment to validate the information I am getting. It's not that I doubt they are there, but I don't always get the direct or strong connections I would like and sometimes the messages aren't clear to me. No psychic is 100% all the time, and if they claim to be, they are a liar.

Have you ever encountered really nasty spirits and how did you deal with them?

I have indeed encountered some quite nasty spirits. I spend time shielding myself before any encounter, and I can strengthen my shields if I feel threatened. I deal with nasties by asking for help from my Angels and guides to cross them over, and then I call on anything on the other side to help pull them across. Earthbound spirits NEED to cross over to evolve. I have encountered earthbound killers who are afraid of judgement on the other side, others who enjoy feeding off of the pain and fear of the living, and (rarely) some who want to cross, but don't know how. If they were human I can make them go. I do NOT deal with the demonic, but I do have connections to people who do.

Is it true that spirits are more active around Samhain/Halloween? Or is that just a myth?

It is true that the energy is greater during Samhain/Halloween, but ghosts are active anytime. And contrary to popular belief they are not around just at night. Ghosts are active whenever they want to be. I can get as much activity during the day as at night, but for whatever reason, we humans tend to be more aware of ghosts during the night, I suspect it is because we quiet down and start to notice things better. I do know many mediums who can connect with those who have crossed much better around this time of year, but earthbounds are here all the time. They're stuck.

What are the biggest misconceptions about psychics? Are any of them mega pet peeves for you?

I think the biggest misconception is that we can predict the future accurately. I always say the future is too fluid, and there are too many variables. My second pet peeve is those who think I can read their minds. Dammit, I'm a psychic not a mind reader! :-) 


Thanks to Cat Sinclair for visiting my blog today. Post if you have questions about what a psychic does or about investigating spirits. Remember...paranormal research and investigator, Darcie McGrath will  be my guest tomorrow!

Monday, October 29, 2012

When Life Gives you Lemons...

Hi everyone,

It's been awhile since I posted. I had a blast at Romanticon 2012 (I'll post about it soon) in early October but when I arrived home I was fired from my job. It sucks, but I'm trying to deal with it. The one nice thing is that while I'm applying for unemployment and trying to handle my changed circumstances I have to opportunity to write full time and I'm attempting to do just that.

Just before I left for Romanticon, I submitted a story to my EC editor. I'm happy to say I got a bit of good news. They accepted it and my signed contract is winging its way to the EC offices as we speak. I'm thrilled they liked it and I hope my readers will like it too.

Here's the blurb for my upcoming release, Leader of the Pack:

Surgeon Dr. Per Goldwolf needs a mate to make partner in a prestigious practice. Predator-Match.com—a matchmaking service for shapeshifters—not only finds him a mate, they match him with his True Mate. Yohana’s long legs and fair flesh make him lick his lips and her scent makes him rock hard

New packleader Yohana Whitewolf’s life goal is to follow in her sire’s pawprints and lead her pack. Leadership demands sacrifices. To calm her people, Yohana needs a mate. But finding an Alpha male who won’t take over is a tall order. Yohana didn’t want the complication of a True Mate, but Per is a sexy, intelligent Alpha male and she wants to shred his clothes every time she touches him

Everything should be perfect—except she’s a packleader— and the Whitewolf pack is nervous. 

* * * 

Additionally, I hope to take a bit more time to blog. And this week, in honor of Halloween, I have some exciting guests for you. On Tuesday, I'll feature an interview with Cat Sinclair who is a real live psychic! On Wednesday, I will be interviewing Darcie McGrath who teaches Paranormal Studies at Kirkwood Community College and heads up a ghosthunting team, Quantum Psi Group.

So I've decided that even though I've been handed some lemons in my life right now. It's time to use those lemons to make some highly tasty lemonade!





Saturday, October 27, 2012



Fab PSA about the importance of women voting in the upcoming election!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

BDSM for Writers workshop - part 1


This past August, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit New York City to attend an intensive, hands-on BDSM for Writers workshop conducted by sexologist Dr. Charley Ferrer. The workshop started in earnest on Friday, but I flew in on Wednesday so I could do some research/sight seeing. I'll talk more about that aspect of my trip in other blog posts - I took enough pictures to fill a scrapbook.

So on Thursday evening, several of us (Cris Anson and Kathy Kulig) arranged to meet Dr. Charley and her assistant to go out to supper. I have to say it was VERY cool to actually know some of the other participants already. Cris and Kathy are wonderful women and talented EC authors, so it was natural to hang out with them during the workshop. It was a wonderful surprise to meet Dr. Charley. Not that I was surprised she'd be there - I mean she was presenting the workshop of course she was there - but rather I immediately felt a comfort and connection with Dr. Charley. I have to tell you, she's funny, smart, tough as nails and sweet by turns. And when she gets a certain wicked glint in her eye, well...damn, look out. She's got some plans for you!

That first night, I got to try on some metal cuffs and a metal collar. It was an interesting experience too. You'll notice in the picture above there IS a lock on that thing - right in the center front. At first I was a little nervous about that, but I felt an immediate trust of Dr. Charley so I knew that there was nothing to fear with her around. In fact, the entire weekend was like that. It felt like having a guardian angel or a protector very close all the time.

A group of us wandered out of the hotel to find a pub for supper. At supper we talked about what to expect from the workshop and about BDSM - the lifestyle and how it's portrayed in fiction. It was a great meal and so good to talk with Charley.

The following day the workshop was launched in earnest. I met the other attendees, who were all very nice. Like usual, I started out kind of shy.But as the day continued, I think I loosened up. Dr. Charley covered BDSM basics during the day to help prepare us for the trip to Paddles - a BDSM club in NYC - that evening. Some things covered were familiar to me, some things were new. One thing that surprised me (and that I'll need to incorporate into my stories) is that while the sub experiences an endorphin rush which ultimately leads to a state not unlike being drunk, a dominant experiences an adrenalin rush which has them bouncing off the walls. That fascinated me and definitely impacts how I write.

I was intrigued by the idea of importance of ritual in a BDSM relationship. Ritual is important for both the submissive and dominant to allow themselves to get into the right mindset for a scene. Ritual reinforces the relationship and increases intimacy. That wasn't something I really considered and it was a great thing to learn.

Another point Dr. Charley emphasized was that the Dom/me sets up rules - specific rules - and must correct the sub until those rules are followed exactly. The sub should practice until he/she has things right. Training is designed to teach the sub what the Dom/me expects from them so they learn how to behave. She also told us that a Dom/me should always follow through on threats. If the Dom/me says something will be a consequence of disobedience, then it had better be a consequence. Otherwise, the submissive knows they can disobey at will and there will be no consequences for their behavior.

She also mentioned that at a club, Dom/mes often sit and observe. They watch how a sub plays with others, how they behave, and how they accept rejection. This was very relevant because that very evening, we would be visiting a BDSM club. For me, it was definitely my first time at such a club and it was quite the eye opener. I'll discuss the Friday night visit to Paddles next Tuesday.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Memories of Angelo

photo © LaBare Dallas
If you follow EC authors on Facebook and Twitter, you all know that a beloved Caveman, Angelo was killed in Dallas last weekend.

I admit freely I did not know this young man well - not even as well as I would have liked. But what I knew, I liked very well indeed. In fact, I adored him. He was sweet, funny, a magnetic leader, and gave the best damn hugs ever. He also had a warm heart and genuinely liked people - women in particular - and we all knew it.

For myself, the first year I went to Romanticon was also Romanticon's first year. I was new to EC and scared to death. Nervous about all the other authors. Intimidated by meeting the staff. And frankly apprehensive about approaching or getting anywhere near men who were just that unbelievably good looking. See, my experience with good looking men has not been positive. I've often found them to be, at best, distant and cool, and at worst, derisive and condescending. The cavemen weren't like that - they were nice guys. I was pretty shocked and pleasantly surprised.

In particular, Angelo was different. He stood out. He kind of had to. He was a REALLY tall guy. Broad shouldered. Just big. Still kind of intimidating for me at first, but he had a really nice smile. And it was a smile he seemed to mean. So like all the women there, I started circling around him like he was the sun and we were satellites in orbit around him.

That first year he seemed a little shy. Kind of cautious. I think he was still working things out for himself. Or maybe I just assumed that, I'm not sure. But that tiny hint of shyness made him seem more approachable. So I got him to sign my book, which he did. In Spanish. At that point, I just started to hang out in his area. I hope the poor guy didn't find me stalker-ish. It was just that he fascinated me. Grin.

The next year, Angelo was the leader. He seemed more outgoing - though that was probably how he always was anyway - it just stood out from the first year. Angelo was also the life of the party. And every lady present followed him around like he was a rock star. Well, he kind of was. He had that sort of magnetism.

In fact, I remember at one point he started a conga line and we all got behind him and followed him all over the room - he was a regular pied piper. I caught his arm and tugged him down so he could hear me (he was wearing these incredibly HIGH platform boots that were part of his costume for the evening) and I told him that if he could get me to run around the room and work up a sweat, he really ought to consider pursuing a career as a personal trainer. When I heard later on that he'd done that, I wasn't at all surprised. He really was a natural. I think he was already helping his friends with work outs, and maybe he had planned it all along. But if he needed any encouragement, I hope my words that night provided some.

Last year, I was thrilled to see Angelo again and when he saw me, he knew what was coming  and just grinned, opening his arms to give me a big bear hug. I loved that about him. He didn't give me the impression that my affection for him was an imposition in any way. He smiled instead. Took in the affection I felt and returned it in good measure. I can't remember how many hugs I got last year and the year before, but I cherish every one of them.

The picture at right was the last hug I got from Angelo. It was after the bingo party on Sunday night. Some of us were kind of reluctant to leave and he and Rodney stayed until the last of us drifted away to head for our rooms. I was really looking forward to seeing him again this year. When I heard he wasn't going to be able to attend, I was sad I wouldn't get to see him, but so happy to hear he was thriving with his new gym and the life he had in Dallas.

Learning the news a week ago that he'd been murdered was horrible. He was so young and had so much yet to give. So much yet to do. I just can't quite get my head around it. I want to say that my heart goes out to his family and close friends who had the good fortune to know this amazing man so well. I wish them the best during this really difficult time. I can only hope it's some consolation - however small it might be - to know in the outpouring of grief and sadness of others just how many lives he touched. Because he did.

I'm reminded of the line from "It's a Wonderful Life," where the angel, Clarence says to George, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" Clarence was so right. Angelo touched so many lives that his passing leaves an awful hole. But those who knew him will always have the joy of having known a kind, genuine person who looked like an angel and had the soul of one, too. Good bye, sweet man. I'll miss you now and forever more. 


**Note**
Angelo was not only working to support himself, but a son, and family in Venezuela. The family could use some assistance with funeral expenses. To contribute to the fund to help Angelo's family, without worrying about scams go here:  http://www.rubenfund.com/
There you'll find the PayPal account set up for donations.