Behind the Video: Lynette’s Law Exposing Therapist Abuse

You know it’s a passion when you feel absolutely drained after you’ve completed it. This happens a lot with my writing, but this time around it happened in creating a video, the most recent Lynette’s Law video (below), specifically. I’ve been helping Heather Sinclair with her Lynette’s Law movement (http://www.lynetteslaw4maryland.com) since just after the time of its inception and this time she asked for a video underscoring how rampant sexual exploitation by mental health professionals and therapist abuse has been while using the powerful “Lux Aeterna” score by Clint Mansell. This also needed to be completed at least a few days prior to the HB 33 hearing on January 28.

I suppose you can call this a post-production developer’s diary. I wanted to make sure this video drove its message home. It wasn’t just going to be a few pictures and screenshots of articles. No… I wanted to bombard the viewer with as much as I could find. The problem was I kept finding… and finding… and finding. Articles about therapists exploiting their patients are not that hard to come by, actually, and while that’s scary enough what’s even scarier is that most of these cases don’t even end up in the news. Hell, 80% of victims don’t even report what happened to them. So with that perspective in mind I wanted the viewer saying, “Holy crap.”

Keeping with the tempo and the beat, article after article is offered up. There is some graphic imagery as well, and I highlight a couple recent cases in Maryland, disclosing segments of their public documents. The one about Andrew “Clint” Stees is particularly noteworthy since the case document actually does a very good job of stepping through how he groomed his victim… and started moving on to the next one when he was done with her.

All the while as I was piecing it together my heart was being torn. The searing orchestra coursed through my veins relentlessly hour after hour as I meticulously edited each clip. I’ve done heavy editing of my own paranormal show with splashes of special effects, but this was, by far, the most challenging video I’ve yet done. Timing was essential as I tried to emotionally capture the viewer while I was also battling my own emotions. And the content… was gut-wrenching. The video focuses on the headlines, but personal stories behind the headlines are absolutely tragic.

I can’t tell you how many lives and families were destroyed, the number of children that were sexually abused (about 1 in 20 of these cases are minors, but it seems like more). There were delusional statements from a female therapist who intentionally destroyed the marriage of a couple she was counseling so she could sexually exploit the husband and told him, “I made you a man,” and an 18 year old victim of her therapist rapist of three years who she had started seeing for depression and suicidal thoughts telling him, “You made it so much worse.” Others were repeat offenders or were trying to hide behind their religion. There’s far too much to go into… just look up the headlines from the video if you really want to know.

It took me a couple weeks to get it all together, but the next morning after completing the video I was emotionally wiped. It didn’t help that I’d had a strange dream during that night as well, but my heart was heavy. Mixed with a sense of accomplishment and pride was an emotional let down that lingered around me throughout the day. I was certainly glad that Heather was happy with the video and she kept watching it, and others chimed in with positive feedback. That helped me smile through the thick murk that was surrounding me. If this truly helps Heather and Lynette’s Law on Tuesday and throughout the rest of the legislative session, then that’s fantastic. One part of Lynette’s Law passed in Maryland last year, now the rest needs to pass this year. If this is what it feels like after just making a video, I can’t imagine the emotional trauma of those that have suffered through the real horror.

So voice your support with a letter to Lynette’s Law or at the hearings this session!

Introducing the Ghostorian Case Files!


The Inscription of Evil Times

Back in October I introduced a new series of books that I’ve started writing: The Ghostorian Case Files. This is a series that I’m really excited about and really enjoyed putting together the first one, The Inscription of Evil Times. This first case file from the vault of yours truly begins with the unearthing of a ancient stone tablet in the middle of America’s heartland — Iowa, of all places. What in the world is this thing that is thousands of years old doing there?

In a short period of time a number of mysteries are introduced either through the enigmatic doctor that has elicited my help, reports from paranormal investigators, or through my own research and investigation. It’s all laid out for the reader as if he or she is really opening up a folder from my filing cabinet and reading the case documents, which has made for quite an interesting and different format that I think gives the reader an engaging perspective.

There works are shorter than my longer ghost books or lengthy novels, but that means I’ll be able to offer loyal readers more throughout the year. My next Case File, Mysteries of the Church of Darkness, will be released soon!

The Inscription of Evil Times is currently available on Kindle and can be had for only 99 cents here: The Inscription of Evil Times (Mike’s Ricksecker’s Ghostorian Case Files)

In the future I may publish these as a printed edition, perhaps as some sort of box set, but for now they will remain on Kindle, which means I will have more out with the quicker turnover time.

Also, lately, I’ve reviewed a couple of Robbie Thomas’s books and here’s what I’ve had to say:

Parasylum: The open doors of the cursed Grandview Asylum await you in Robbie Thomas’ chiller, Parasylum. With an ending completely unexpected, screams and plot twists lurk around every corner in a paranormal investigation turned fight for survival. Parasylum is an entertaining chamber of horrors waiting to drag you to hell.

Time Shift, The Paradigm: Robbie Thomas drives a fast-paced plot in Time Shift: The Paradigm as the entire world is under siege by strange paranormal forces, leaving death and destruction in its wake. While scientists and leaders of nations struggle to discover what is behind the ancient foretelling of the phenomena, small town citizens struggle to cope with the havoc occurring around them, military occupation, and invisible beings that talk to their children. The world is in complete upheaval in this race against time and prophecies. More than just an apocalyptic tale, many events detailed in Time Shift have already come to pass!

Shadow People Highlights Video Blog Debut

If you’ve been a fan of my Ghosts and Legends video documentary series then you’re aware that I made an announcement on the last episode, “Concerning Videos”, that I will be producing a new video blog that will less formal in structure than the current Ghosts and Legends format and will air more frequently. To debut this new video blog my topic will cover shadow people.

Admittedly, I was inspired to talk about this from a recent viewing of the movie Shadow People, starring Dallas Roberts (Walking Dead). I’ve also had a very vivid experience with a shadow person in my youth and have see a few lurking about when I’ve been out investigating the paranormal. I don’t claim to be a shadow person “expert” but I do have a few opinions on the subject.

There are scores of theories about what shadow people are, where the came from, and how they function. When I’m asked about shadow people I will emphasize the word “theory” because anything we think we know about them is pretty much just that. Until someone can sit down and actually interview a shadow person we can only try to draw conclusions from reported experiences. While many aspects of these reportings are similar, there are quite a few differences as well.

For example, skeptics and many in the medical community immediately jump to sleep paralysis when told of a shadow person sighting because in many cases a temporary paralysis of the body is reported. The medical theory is that the body is trapped between sleeping and waking with the body consciously viewing its surroundings while viewing imagery from the dream while still pinned down by the muscle atonia that keeps people from physically acting out in their dreams. I understand that idea, but why then is the dream state imagery always that of a humanoid figure and not, say, a tree or an airplane or any number of other objects that one may dream about? Also, some people have reported being able to physically interact with shadow people. In my case, the shadow person pulled my arms across my body then ran down the hall which I had to turn my head to view. If this is supposed to be an episode of sleep paralysis then how did my arms and head move?

I’ve experienced real sleep paralysis before while sitting down. I was completely conscious and could hear everything going on around me, but I couldn’t move and my eyes had closed since I dozed off so I couldn’t see. It’s a scary feeling because inside my head I was trying to will myself to move and wake up and couldn’t. I had to slowly start by concentrating on wiggling my toes until little by little more of my body started to move and I could open my eyes.

Commonly reported type figures include a hooded figure, an old hag, a man wearing a hat similar to a fedora, and a humanoid figure both with and without red eyes. Other varieties include ceiling crawlers and animal-type shadows about the size of a cat.

When the video blog is released I’ll append it to this blog entry.

DeBarlo Returns in System of the Dead

System of the Dead, the long-awaited sequel to Deadly Heirs, was finally released on August 21 on Kindle and Nook. A printed option is still in the works, but I am quite excited that this book is finally available for my fans. I’ve been talking about it off and on for years, after all. Here’s the blurb:

“One moment Matthew Rivers is designing a revolutionary computer operating system, the next he is discovered strung from a tree in his front yard. Authorities believe it was a guilt-ridden suicide due to an exposed affair, however, Rivers’s wife refuses to accept that theory and hires private investigator Chase Michael DeBarlo to seek the truth. Chase discovers a web of secrets behind the operating system Rivers had been designing, while others working on the project begin to turn up missing or dead in seemingly unrelated matters. In a turn of events that mixes social networking with code breaking, an unlikely coffee shop girl from Ohio helps tie it all together for Chase.”

The last time we saw DeBarlo before this he’d been hired by the great-niece of a wealthy billionaire to track down her late uncle’s missing last will and testament. He ended up taking on three cases at once, which launched him into a bit of a time management crisis, but at least he got to snoop around a billionaire’s mansion and estate. This time around our detective may not be sitting in the lap of luxury, but the stakes are higher. Everyone wants a piece of the operating system Matthew Rivers had been developing, a revolutionary software that has potential to change the way the world computes.

The host of colorful side characters return with a couple new additions as well. Chase still busts the chops police detective Len Stevens about doughnuts, the reclusive Rock Rickman finally gets out a bit, Dennis Frohman is usual compulsive self, and Monique Coubure is still hanging around Tanner’s. Tate Stevens, Len’s musician nephew has been added to the mix as has tough-nosed journalist Helen Schulze. There’s also a Genelle Starr sighting in her black patent leather Christian Louboutin’s.

Those that have read the short story “All Hail Hack Tucker” will recognize a back alley scene from System of the Dead. Hack, for those new to the world of Chase Michael DeBarlo, is a street informant that Chase retains in downtown Fallsbury. He has a small gang of thugs and in System of the Dead Chase runs into them as he’s searching an abandoned shop. Hack feeds Chase a story, but “All Hail Hack Tucker” answers what the street informant and his thugs had really been up to that night. I’ll be uploading this as a freebie to the website soon, but it’s an interesting side story, almost like a deleted scene from the novel.

A few random tid bits from around the novel… while the operating system that Matthew Rivers was developing is fictional, there really has been a Linux-based operating system known as LuMiX (also mentioned in the novel). I developed this for the Howard County Library System (Maryland) in conjunction with Luis Salazar nearly 10 years ago. While Fallsbury in a fictional town in Massachusetts, Chase does visit the very real town of Wooster, Ohio, where I graduated high school. In Deadly Heirs, Chase visited Westfield, Massachusetts, where I spent elementary school and part of middle school. Where might he visit in the third novel? The meatrake dance story told while Chase is in Wooster is a true one from when I worked at Taco Bell in high school. The baseball banter may seem outdated, but that’s because I started writing System of the Dead during the offseason between the 2003 and 2004 seasons. So Chase weighs in on the Red Sox and the Curt Schilling trade prior to the bloody sock and winning the 2004 World Series.

To wrap this up, some have been asking me about a printed version of the book that they’d like to have autographed. I’m looking into options to taking System of the Dead to print, but in the meantime it will remain in ebook format for the Kindle and Nook.

Therapist Abuse Awareness: The Cause I Fight For

Therapist Abuse Awareness Ribbon

I should be using this space today to talk about the recent announcement of the release of System of the Dead, my second Chase Michael DeBarlo mystery novel. It’s coming out August 21, and you can read the first excerpt here.

However, there are moments in our lives that supersede our own personal goals and must be brought to the forefront. Until recently, I’ve largely taken a back seat to various causes, electing to contribute where I could to a few charities and helping out the community every once in a great while. I was told that was ok because I was such a busy person. Allow me to plagiarize Young Guns II for a second and say, “Not no more, Billy.”

Back in June, I wrote my first non-paranormal Examiner article in years, surprising many with an informative piece on therapist abuse called “Lynette’s Law: A crusade against therapist abuse.” I’ve now followed that up by revealing some atrocious loopholes in the system with “How sexually abusive therapists avoid jail time.” Yes, I’ve become an advocate for therapist abuse awareness, but that’s just simply stating a fact. This is a blog, and I can be a bit more personal here… so let me shed some real light on this whole thing for you.

When you love someone and have a strong connection with that person you not only share in the laughter, but you also experience some of the pain. While I could never fully comprehend the absolute horror of therapist abuse, I’m witnessing the aftermath of a shattered life because of it… and it sickens me, it angers me, it makes me want to hunt down the person that did this and beat him beyond human recognition. It wouldn’t change what happened, but it’s how I feel.

There was a song I wrote as a teen about a different, but related, subject – child sexual abuse – that has relevant lyrics to this situation as well. Please bear with the raw creative writing skills of a 15 year old (although I’m still impressed I wrote the line “Locking goldie and bearing three is not a bedtime story”), it’s the emotion behind the lines I’m trying to convey. Here’s the chorus of “Revenge Room”:

I’m going to take you in the night,
Chain you to dynamite,
Caught in the web of your doom,
Welcome to Revenge Room,
Suffering worse than a widow’s mate,
Innocence is much too late,
Painful end coming soon,
Welcome to Revenge Room.

I suppose my viewpoint on it all is rather simplistic compared to the myriad of emotions I’ve seen from a victim. Like I said before, there’s no way I could possibly comprehend the complete personal violation and obliteration of the delicate fabric of trust. So I sit and stew and write. What else can I do?

Over the past few months I have been witness to an effort to make people aware of therapist abuse and institute change, starting with the simple implementation of background checks for therapists in the state of Maryland. The offender in this particular case was a convicted felon in another state, something that would have prevented him from obtaining a license to begin with should Maryland have required background checks. It would have prevented abhorrent crime from occurring. A petition was created to institute change… and I’ve watched it essentially spin its wheels. The last I looked today it was sitting at 169. The petition has been active for months and that’s all it’s gained? Seriously? If I posted a petition right now about saving fluffy puppies from harm I’d surpass that mark in the first hour! We’re talking about helping real human lives from potential sexual predators, harm, and abuse!

Let me dish some perspective… and I have no problem stating that I ripped most of this straight from the Lynette’s Law website:

Therapist abuse is using the imbalance of power in the therapeutic relationship to…

Control, manipulate and exploit clients.
Encouraging their clients to do things that are not within the clients best interests
Encouraging the clients dependency
Use the client’s vulnerability to the therapist’s advantage
Abandon clients
Engage in an unethical dual relationship with client

Statistics about therapy patient abuse only tell part of the story since most cases go unreported, but here are some numbers:
Approximately 4.4% of therapists report having engaged in sex with at least one client.
The offenders are about four times more likely to be male than female.
The vast majority of sexually exploited clients are women (88-92%).
One out of 20 victims is a minor.

The aftermath is incalculable. 11% of victims of therapist patient abuse end up in the hospital, 14% attempt suicide, and 1% actually commit suicide.

So… no offense to fluffy puppies, but can we get this petition signed already? It’s a no-brainer.

This is a cause worth fighting for and I, along with everything else I have going on, will be working tirelessly to help out. This is far more important than ghosts and mystery stories. We’re talking about something that drives people to kill themselves after this crime has already been committed upon them. Psychological manipulation and controlling patients in order to exploit them sexually and/or otherwise must end. Now.

Referring back to highschool again, my old German teacher once wrote in one of my yearbooks, “Michael – Ein Mann. Ein Kämpfer für die er liebt.” You can look that one up, but let’s just say it’s related to cracking open a barrel of whoop-ass. Some of that whoop-ass will be dished out through the pen, including helping the founder of the Lynette’s Law movement with her autobiography and a psychological thriller titled The Therapist (yes, that is an official announcement, although the Lynette’s Law site had the news first). In fact, all of this is inspiring me to write better. The rest will be dished out… well, however it needs to be dished.

But let’s freaking start with that petition!

Where Next for ‘Ghosts and Legends’?

I’ve just released the latest Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma video, “101 Ranch Wild West Spirits,” and it’s bittersweet. This will be my last Oklahoma video for the foreseeable future since I’ve moved back to Maryland, so I need to consider where I’m going to take the Ghosts and Legends series. It currently has a popular run going on Ghosttales Television Network (GTN) on Tuesday nights, and it’s up for two Paranormal Emmie Awards for Best New Show and Best Episode (“Beginnings”). I don’t want to alter the format too much given its success, but this does give me a moment to step back and examine what I could improve.

Episode 5 saw the introduction of some new special effects, so I’ll probably continue down that path. I also started using some original music by Ron Stevens, a fantastic musician I’ve known for years and whose talents I hope to continue utilizing. I’m also going to enjoy working with the new members of Society of the Haunted here in Maryland and investigating with a fantastic team. It excites me thinking about all the historic locations that are at our fingertips on the east coast and how we may be able to cover them. The upcoming episodes of Ghosts and Legends should be fantastic!

I’m also excited about the conferences and events I’ll be able to get to now that I’m back east. Last weekend, accompanied by Society of the Haunted sensitive Heather Sinclair who talked to people about Lynette’s Law and therapist abuse awareness (sign the petition here!), I spoke at the Past Television Network (PTVN) ParaCon at the old Emmitt House in Wavery, Ohio, and had a fantastic time meeting with old friends and making new ones, including Rick Hayes, Andrea Perron, Bruce Tango, John Tenney, Christopher Moon, and Brandon Kreitzer (that was my obligatory name-dropping sentence, but they’re really all fantastic people). My Sunday presentation covered the relationship between history and the paranormal, but we had an encounter right in the middle of it all. While I was telling the story of the back door repeatedly blowing open during the filming of “Monster in the Closet” for The Haunted, the large wooden door to the conference room suddenly slammed shut on its own. There was no wind and nobody was near the door, so the skeptics in the crowd started asking me how I pulled off the trick. It was no trick, folks!

There’s a bit of a breather here at the end of the summer to get organized for the fall. October always becomes a busy month and I’m already getting some events lined up for it, so stay tuned!

Birthday Blog

It’s been over three months since I last posted to this blog. I’ve been all sorts of busy with my writing and paranormal career as well as my life in general undergoing a number of drastic changes. I am no longer living in Oklahoma and have transitioned back to Maryland. Perhaps more on that another time. Yesterday was actually my birthday… a whole whopping 38 years old.

Every year when I talk to my mother on the phone she always asks me, “So you feel [insert year year] years old?”

I always answer the same: “No.” I really don’t feel any different than I did last year, than I felt the year before, than I felt the year before that. I don’t feel at all that I’m again and, knock on wood, I generally haven’t changed visually either. For the most part, I look the same as I did 10 years ago. I’m fortunate in that, and I hope I didn’t jinx myself by posting that. I suppose all I’m trying to say with this is that I feel young with much left in store for the world. My goal is to see the year 2100, so I have a while yet and 38 is nothing.

I’m wondering what to do with the rest of this space. I’ve reflected enough on past birthdays with Bert and Ernie ice cream cakes, Jingles the clown, sharing the young parties with my sister (poor girl had to wait a week past her birthday to celebrate) while sharing the older ones with my closest friends and later my own kids. Admittedly, I do put up a front that to me it’s just another day, that I don’t feel any older and all of that, but it is a day that I secretly anticipate because it’s the one day that I’m actually allowed to accept as a focus on just me. I otherwise feel really awkward about attention. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy it when it attention comes, but I feel awkward about it on every other day aside from my birthday.

That said, I suppose I’ll receive some attention next weekend at the PTVN ParaCon in Waverly, Ohio where I’ll be speaking Sunday at 2:00 PM. I’m a bit concerned about it since there won’t be a projector available in the conference room I’ll be in, so my presentation is out the window. I’ll have to wing it on speech alone.

This is rambling and sounding more like a journal entry. I used to do that… journal. I torched most of them years ago when I lived on Ft. Meade in a sign that I was moving on from the past. In the end, all I did was lose a piece of personal history that my kids and grandkids could have looked back on later and said, “Wow… and we thought Dad was weird when we knew him. He was even more nutty as a teen.”

I have a couple of birthday wishes. First of all, I’d like everyone who reads this to sign this important petition against therapist abusehttp://www.change.org/petitions/stop-therapist-abuse-now.

Secondly, I wish for a happiness with my kids and life back east where I want and need to be.

Finally, I wish for the writing/speaking/video career to take off in full force. I truly feel that it’s what I was meant to do and it’s been making a steady climb upward, but it doesn’t nearly pay all the bills at this point. Someday it will, and I hope that is sooner rather than later.

This Week: Interview and Speaking Event

This April has shaped up to become my busiest month since October when I toured out east, including the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, and signed at a number of different local Halloween events. I’ll be speaking, signing, and/or being interviewed  at a number of different venues, in multiple states, and over multiple mediums. The kickoff of this event is this Wednesday when I will appear on Leitreanna Brown’s television show “Family Spirit” on BTVN. In addition to talking about my books and a wild experience at the 101 Ranch, Lei will be giving away blessed Native American jewelry!

“Family Spirit” with Leitreanna Brown on BTVN television
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
8:00 PM EDT / 7:00 PM CDT

This coming weekend I’ll be with Society of the Haunted at the “History, Haunts and Legends” event in Jefferson, Texas as we’ll be presenting to our colleagues about the haunts we’ve uncovered in Oklahoma.

Details of “History, Haunts and Legends”:

On Saturday April 14, 2012  the Historic Jefferson Ghost walk will host the Annual Spring History Haunts and Legends Event in downtown Historic Jefferson, Texas.  A fun event for the History Buff, Avid Ghost Hunter, and people with an interest for the unexplained and things that go bump in the night.  The daytime activities will be held at the Visitors Center at 305 E Austin Street from 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.  The night time tours and events will start at 8 P.M. with the Ghost Walk Tour. Cost is $75 per person, or for the daytime only $35 and night time only $40.  For information call 903-665-6289.   brochure can be seen for the  website at www.jeffersonghostwalk.com

I’ve also just recently signed with Haunted Entertainment to represent me for events. They’re a growing presence in the industry and I’m looking forward to this partnership. Stay tuned for more information about specific events I’ll be participating in with them.

Gearing Up for Events

Speaking about 'Ghosts of Maryland' in Westminster, September 2010.

Spring has sprung which not only introduces warmer weather, but also a whole season of paranormal events. I’m always open to attending and/or presenting at any number of events across the country, although I may not have done a very good job of making that fact known. So here’s what I do…

Events in Oklahoma and Maryland get their own specific presentation based on my books of their respective states, Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma and Ghosts of Maryland. If I’m in a state other than those two my presentation is more general on how history and the paranormal relate to each other. It’s somewhat like an oral version of my article “History and the Paranormal: A Working Relationship” on Dark Media Online. I also speak with the rest of the Society of the Haunted team about every month and a half at the Oklahoma City OPERA fairs, and our topics have ranged from historic paranormal locations to evidence we’ve collected to general Q&A sessions on ghost hunting.

Here’s an upcoming schedule of events:

April 11: “Family Spirit” interview with Lei Brown on BTVN television

April 14: “History, Haunts and Legends” in Jefferson, TX with Society of the Haunted

April 19-21: In Los Angeles filming for My Ghost Story

April 28-29: Oklahoma Psychic Educational Research Association fair, India Shrine Center, Oklahoma City

June 22-24: Forensic Ghost Excavation Congress – Convention, Brunswick, MD

Whichever is closest to you, I hope to see you there! And if you’re an event promoter, please feel free to drop me a line about your event.

Plenty of Video News

Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma: EP 5 - The Book

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally finished producing the fifth episode of the Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma video series titled “The Book.” I originally intended this episode to be released just after the book release to highlight a number of the different stories within, but then I had the tour and the holidays and Wimgo was pulled out from under me and… well, you get the idea. It’s been a longtime coming. I spent an extra day working on a new effect as well (white wispy thing during segment transitions). This episode does cover the release and subsequent tour, then highlights the book section by section. However, it’s not all-inclusive. There is plenty more within the book, including an atlas for mapping out your own ghost tour of the state. I’ll be pushing forward with the next episode that will cover the 101 Ranch in Ponca City with a renewed vigor.

Admittedly, some of this motivation comes from an agreement I’ve reached with Richard Parnell and Co. at GhostTales Television Network (GTN) to air the episodes as “Ghosts and Legends” on Tuesday nights at 9:00 PM Central. When Episode 1, “Beginnings,” aired on March 6 it bested their record for a premiere show with more than 20,100 views in the first hour! So, yes, I’m quite excited about this! The new Spiritually Raw television station has also been running a few promos for me.

In other news, we’ve been picked up for another television show episode on the Bio Channel with some of the filming to begin in April. I’m staying mum on a lot of that until everything is wrapped up, but it’s another exciting step forward for Society of the Haunted.