East Coast Swing: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and Inspired Ghost Tracking

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

I’ve been back a couple weeks now, running about like a chicken with its head cut off. October is just that kind of month when you’re both a paranormal investigator and an author of a couple of ghost books with a tour lined up. Quite honestly, I love it, but the blog has taken a bit of a hit in the meantime.

The middle of the month was marked with a short book tour out east to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia, and then a meet and greet in Maryland with Inspired Ghost Tracking. Both of these fine organizations stepped up and offered me an opportunity after the speaking engagement with the Circle of Light Paranormal Expo that was to be held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds fell through less than a month before the event. I can’t say enough about Copperhead Greg Graham and his wife Michelle for their diligent work in lining up the two-day TALA signing and Margaret Ehrlich who scrambled to put together the meet and greet in Maryland. I absolutely cherish friends like them.

With Copperhead in the entrance hall of TALA.

What I will say about the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is that it is the real deal and is everything I expected it to be. Within just a couple hours of being set up at a table in the entrance hall, paranormal activity was already going on nearby. It was a moment during some downtime when not a lot was going on there when we heard one of the fire doors to the wards open and close as is someone was walking through. However, nobody was. A couple of us then walked over to see what was going on and noticed the door to the men’s bathroom was closing slightly (it’s an old large wooden door and does not automatically swing shut). I opened the fire door to see if anyone was down the hall and there was no one. I then tested to see if air flow from opening and closing that fire door would affect the bathroom door. It didn’t affect it one bit. So I shrugged and began walking back toward the direction of my table, but as I passed the men’s bathroom the door started swinging further open!

There are so many things to talk about when it comes to the ghost hunt that Friday night, but he best was saved for last. We were in one of the fourth floor wards and Copperhead and I were setting up flashlights and meters in the center of a room that is known for quite a bit of activity. Other members of the group we were heading up were down the hall. Because this room is quite active, there were already a number of trigger object scattered about the room including a ball that lights up when set into motion that was tucked in against the wall adjacent to the door. Again, we were in the center of the room and my back was actually to this ball. All of a sudden, Greg’s head snapped to the direction of the door and cries from the others in the group emanated from the hall. I spun about and there was the ball bounding out the door and across the hall lighting up in a myriad of different colors!

I highly recommend the ghost hunt at Trans-Allegheny as well as the many other tours at the asylum. Rebecca Jordan Gleason has a fantastic staff on hand to guide you through the enormous historic building, pointing out all the interesting history as well as the ghost tales. I also want to thank Sue Parker for doing a wonderful job of pointing customers in my direction as they came in the door and being 100% helpful the entire time I was there.

Directly after the flashlight tours ended on Saturday night, I packed it up and headed out in the direction of Maryland on only two hours of sleep. Somehow I made it almost as far as Cumberland before I succumbed to fatigue and found a place to crash for the night.

Signing at the Inspired Ghost Tracking meet and greet.

My first stop the following day was to have lunch with my best Maryland friend Luis Salazar who I’ve known since we were stationed at Ft. Meade together back in the mid 1990s. We also worked together for a number of years at Howard County Library. After lunch he challenged me to a round of miniature golf and then helped me bring out all my materials for the meet and greet with Inspired Ghost Tracking.

I’d done a signing with Inspired last year during my east coast tour that started in Louisville, Kentucky, and passed through three different venues in Maryland before concluding in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. That signing was a full-fledged presentation with a slideshow, but this one was a little more informal. I still spoke for a little while after we ate dinner, but it was more of an impromptu Q&A in which I talked about the new book, Trans-Allegheny, and anything they thought to ask me. Afterward, I had coffee and discussed the paranormal with Margaret, Kathy Amrhein, and Ronda Dixon. It was a fine relaxing moment to cap off a tremendous trip before I hit the road again back home.

Ramona Theater Investigation

Orb with movement just after we opened the trap door to the under stage area.

I know everyone is waiting on my recap of last weekend’s tour and the Tans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum investigation, but I had been typing up the Ramona recap before I left. It’s just been a very busy month. Within the next few days I’ll get to TALA and the Inspired Ghost Tracking meet and greet. Also, I’ve put in for a casting call with a Telepictures paranormal show that is using some popularity voting elements. Please vote for me daily at: Reality Wanted (click here). For now, here’s the Ramona Theatre:

Thanks to our new Video Specialist, Ken Melton, we got the opportunity to be the first paranormal team to investigate the Ramona Theater in Frederick, Oklahoma. Yeah, it’s a bit of a throwback for me since I lived in Frederick, Maryland…

We had a full crew with us that evening with Cathy, Ken, Chris, Johnny, Jordan, special guest Mick, me, and Logan who arrived in the wee hours of the morning. Set up of the DVR system commenced just after the walking tour, placing it at the front of the balcony with cameras running both down to the stage and up to the projector both, eight in all. Once set up and a photo sweep performed, the investigation commenced.

We split into two teams with one starting in the projector room and the other starting under the stage, through the creepy trapdoor under the stairs that was almost like something out of Scooby-Doo. Right away we caught something interesting in my camera. Just after the trapdoor was lifted he caught an orb with substantial movement coming up from the stairwell. We usually discount most orbs as dust, but the significant movement of the anomaly in this photograph leads us to believe it may be something else.

Once below, a sweep was conducted for high electromagnetic fields, but were found save for the furnace and hot water tank. While conducting an EVP session to see if something would interact with us there were a couple small spikes on our K-II EMF detectors. A short while later, when the names of the former manager and his wife were mentioned, Johnny’s K-II spiked rather high.

Up in the projector booth, the team was busy chasing down a cold spot. Using a temperature gun supplied by Ken, at any given moment the area being measure would suddenly drop 10 degrees, and this unusual pocket seemed to move about the room. It’s believed that these cold spots are spirits drawing heat energy from the air as they try to manifest.

When we first start an investigation and are setting up, we send a number of photographs to our psychic, Vanessa, who “remote views” in to the location based on the image. In one particular photograph of the second level, she picked up on the fact that it was indeed the second floor, and she also stated we’d pick up activity in the room to the far left. When a small group of us entered that room later in the evening we did feel a heaviness about the room, but more telling was the crystal clear EVP (electronic voice phenomema) we picked up, “Can you help me?”

Given the acoustics of the building, there were many times we had to halt EVP sessions due to noise contamination from the other team all the way on the other side of the building. The latter part of the investigation consisted of three different groups heading into the building individually while the others waited outside. Johnny was the EVP king, having captured a number of interesting phrases including, “Hey,” “What else,” “All over the ground,” and, “Show the way.”

While it generally seemed to be a rather quiet night while we were there, save for the few incidents listed above, the evidence review has been rather enlightening between the EVPs captured, the moving orb photo, and correlating Vanessa’s findings with our personal experiences and the EVP captured in the room she said we’d get it. More on this investigation is to come…

Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma is Here!

Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma is finally here!

It’s finally here1 Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma. It’s been two years in the making, signing the contract just after moving here in 2009. At first, the task seemed daunting. I was in a completely new state and knew very little about it, and it was a lot bigger than the state I had just left: Maryland. For Ghosts of Maryland I had created an atlas for each county of the state so a reader could use the book to map out his or her own personal ghost tour. There are 77 counties in Oklahoma, so I couldn’t possibly do the same. However, the atlas had met with such rave reviews that I still wanted to include it. So I discovered that size matters when it comes to ghost books.

Like any writer in the subject, I had to research, but I had to hit this harder. The way I looked at it was this was going to be a fantastic way to learn my new state. I dove into books and websites and any other media I could find that covered Oklahoma’s history, especially relating to the paranormal. My first target became Guthrie, and my wife and daughter accompanied me to our own driving tour of the town and discovering what was there. Some of that comprises the first section of Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma, including my wife’s peculiar incident on the grounds of the old Masonic Childrens Home, now Dominion House. Given that experience, the Black Jail, the Santa Fe Depot, Blue Belle Saloon, Stone Lion Inn, and the Logan County Memorial Hospital it became quite clear to me that I needed to give Guthrie its very own section of the book.

Shortly thereafter, I caught on with a paranormal team, most of whom are now Society of the Haunted, and became more intimately acquainted with the hauntings of the state. My first day on the job inspired me. First, Ken Melton and I headed west to the library in Elk City to see what we could dig up about the town of Retrop. We wanted whatever background we could find, but we were also looking for confirmation that a church from there had been moved to a neighboring town. We toured the remnants of the town as well, interviewed an elderly local, and took a number of photographs of the decaying buildings. We then headed east to an investigation in Seminole, after which we stopped by a cemetery in Earlsboro. Ghost towns. Cemeteries. These were two sections, I decided, that I would need to include.

Ahd so the pieces started to fall into place: a section on Guthrie, a section on Oklahoma City, Id’ break the state into four corners and make each of them sections. Ghost towns, cemeteries, a chapter on what it’s like to ghost hunt in Oklahoma, and the atlas would round it out. In all there are seven sections and 33 chapters in Ghost and Legends of Oklahoma. Ther are 13 chapters in Ghosts of Maryland. Make what you will of those numbers, but each book has 160 pages.

I’m really not kidding when I say it’s been a labor of love. I really love to write, but it’s a lot of hard work as well. Toward the end I was spending most every night trying to get the manuscript polished. We had a number of investigations at the times as well, including all of our filming for Animal Planet’s The Haunted. I hope the readers will appreciate the amount of work put into this and enjoy the stories within.

I’ve been calling this book a paranormal cross-section of Okahoma with Native Americans, Civil War battles, cowboys, outlaws, wild west shows, etc. There’s a lot of history packed into Oklahoma in a short period of  time, and some of those spirits still remain. Like with Ghosts of Maryland, I hope Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma does its job of maintaining the balance of story and it’s important history without which there wouldn’t be much of a story.

More information about the book and its related video featurettes can be found at http://www.mikericksecker.com/writing/6-books/144-ghosts-and-legends-of-oklahoma.html

Remembering September 11, 2001

It was a different world in 2001, and it was a day that lives in infamy that changed all that. Ten years ago some said that the day was our generation’s Pearl Harbor. It was that and, perhaps, more so, from a certain point of view. It seems everyone right now either wants to know where you were when that day unfolded, or they don’t want you to talk about where you were and talk only about those that tragically lost their lives. Why can’t I talk about both?

At the time I worked for Library Systems and Services, LLC as their network administrator, and I was sitting in my office working on a few things for the Department of Energy library’s website while idly sitting my web browser in the Red Sox chatroom on boston.com. My handle was Rock and the chatroom featured an icon of a set of cans that you clicked on to refresh the page — old school web. It was through that chatroom, of all places, that I first heard about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. A few moments later, one of my co-workers down the hall became upset because her son was an airline pilot and she wasn’t able to get a hold of him at that time. The major news websites were suddenly down, unable to handle the traffic coming in from those wanting to know what was going on and weren’t near a television. My source of news became the Red Sox chatroom and those members near a television that could relay news to us, rich and manhattanbosoxfan if I recall correctly. MBF, understandably, soon left. As the second plane hit and then the Pentagon, other rumors started surfacing such as a possible car bomb outside the State Department. Who knew what was next?

I called my wife, Robin, to ask about her family in New York. I didn’t have much idea of where they worked, and she had no idea if they worked at the lower tip of Manhattan or not. My employer released us if we had family concerns, so I left. As I walked out, fighters jets flew south over the office complex in Germantown, Maryland. My father called my cell phone a few seconds later and asked if I was in an ok area far enough from Washington, DC. I told him I hoped so, that DC was miles away, and hopefully the Department of Energy just across the street wasn’t a considered target. Upon reflection, one can see the arm of terrorism had reached a man in a small Ohio town, spreading uncertainty and fear hundreds of miles away from the attacks.

By the time I got home, Robin had discovered that most of her family was safe and our children would be returning home from school so we could secure them. For the remainder of the day we watched the television in horror, constantly prayed — had a special service down at the church — and I wrote. “First footage of crash near Pittsburgh. That was the flight that they think was headed towards Camp David. That was the one that frightened me the most. Somewhere in the mountains just north of my house is Camp David. My family was closer to a target today than I was… Someone’s been brought out alive from the building. Everything inside is still hot, almost unbelievable. Teams of firefighters go in, work for a few minutes, then come out to be relieved by another team. Just walking there’s four inches of dust… I feel helpless. All I can do is watch and pray. I can’t help in any way at this point. I’m not there helping to dig out rubble. I’m not there trying to help track down the people who did this. I’m not there trying to figure out what happened to the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I’m not there… Trucks and fire crews are coming in from other states without any specific orders. They won’t know what to do until they get there…”

There are quite a few pages. Those are just a few snippets. In the days, weeks, months, and years that followed our lives changed. We lived a couple miles from Fort Detrick, a potential target with its communications center that completely rebuilt its entrances and amped up security. Beforehand, I had been able to simply drive through most times on the way to baseball games the kids would play on post. Detrick also caught notoriety for the great anthrax scare. Had the anthrax been acquired from their facilities there? Homeland Security and terror threat levels were formed. My father started buying and collecting guns. Security has been increased so much at airports that the new terror has become whether or not you’ll be fondled on the way to your flight. And forget trying to bring along a bottle of shampoo. I just don’t even bother with it and drive most everywhere.

Then there’s our troops overseas. Ten years later they’re still over there fighting an elusive enemy. The disorganization and essentially suicidal mentality of the rabble that ambushes our men and women can actually make it more difficult to fight them. It’s chaotic. After Pearl Harbor (a military, not civilian, target), we slugged it out with the Japanese in the Pacific. While there was certainly strategy, it was still rather straight-forward war. That hasn’t really been an option in places like Afghanistan and Iraq where our troops get picked off little by little until the numbers begin to mount up and our war weariness becomes too much. It’s the most effective strategy they’ve had against our military might, and it’s cost us in thousands of American lives as well as the mounting dollars that are bankrupting our country.

But this isn’t a political rant. Ten years ago a nation cried out in agony then united together. It’s been a bumpy ride since then and we still have some bumpy roads to travel. Today we honor those that lost their lives in this horrific tragedy. We are the United States of America… and united we stand.

Deleted Scenes of “Monster in the Closet”

Click to watch the Deleted Scenes video.

The Society of the Haunted recently posted on their YouTube account the deleted scene clips from The Haunted episode “Monster in the Closet.” We appreciate the homeowners of the Edmond house offering the DVD they were given from Pictureshack Entertainment so we could view those videos and see what didn’t make the cut on the show.  We were surprised by what we saw.

The channel is called Animal Planet, and from our understanding their show The Haunted is supposed to be based on animals perceiving the paranormal in and around haunted homes. So why in the world was one of the biggest cat stories cut from the episode? The other one with the cats running circles around us in the backyard as we conducted the blessing was retained, and rightfully so. However, Jasmine reacting to a dark shadow that was also seen by one of us at the exact same time seems to be an incident that is perfect for the premise of the show.

I suppose the dilemma is if that segment is inserted into the show then something else has to go. Well, you can chop off the tale section of my history piece in which I talk about the former police officer telling us about a young man who had accidentally hung himself in the closet. We were not able to confirm the story, so I felt awkward in the interview reciting it. I made sure they knew that there was no corroborating newspaper articles, obituaries, etc. to back up his tale, but they chose to include it anyway. They could have also hacked the bed bumping footage from the show since it wasn’t supposed to be submitted in the first place. The bed bumping incident truly did happen and it was a good personal experience to support one of the stories told by the homeowners, but it came off very poorly on video and our former group leader was not supposed to submit the piece to the production company. She did anyway and the crap footage made the show. Of course, defying the recommendations of everyone else on the team is one of the reasons why there is the word “former” preceding the term group leader. (Now investigating as Society of the Haunted, we run everything by bylaws and group vote.)

While I’m still on this particular scene, I thought it might be interesting to point out a few interesting tidbits about show production. When I said that I saw a “massive black shadow” in the room that Jasmine reacted to, this is absolutely true. However, the editor then spliced in what seems like me repeating myself with the term “huge black mass.” This wasn’t a description of that event. The huge black mass was actually during the team’s second investigation of the home in July 2010 at about 3:00 AM in the living room. The  massive black shadow was in Talasyn’s room that October during our fifth investigation of the home when we knew we had been picked up by Animal Planet and were there to record additional investigation footage. It was also only after being picked up by AP that previously mentioned former leader decided to return to investigate the home with us for the first time since the initial investigation (yet she became the story teller on the show). There’s also her mention of the black shadow looking like a man. Now, I’m not going to discredit that she saw a shadow figure that looked like a man there. Perhaps she did during the first investigation there or that fifth time around when Jasmine reacted to whatever was in the room, but there is no conceivable way that she saw that shadow man during that particular incident. She was the one holding the camera and at no point does the camera pan to the room when Jasmine and I notice the shadow. So this could be another piece of creative editing.

On to the EVP, “Come to us.” I understand why this was cut from the show, but it is one of many EVPs that we captured from that house. The reason why it was cut was because they decided to focus on the wraith for the essence of storytelling. If you toss the word “us” into the mix then it’s not just the wraith we’re chasing out of the house at the end. There were a lot of things going on at that home, not just the creature with the red eyes. However, for television there’s only about 40-45 minutes to tell your story for an hour show. We were all a bit miffed that they didn’t include more audio evidence in the show since we had captured so much, but eliminating this particular one does make sense.

The additional family stories are really interesting. Again, I understand that they have to edit and eliminate some things from the show due to time, so these cuts do make some sense. But these add depth and additional scope to everything that was going on at the house. There was really a lot more as well that they didn’t even produced into a scene that was eventually cut. The family members were in the interview room for hours telling the crew everything that had happened over a 20 year period of time. Pictureshack and Animal Planet really could have created a two-part episode for this one. Of course, I’ve heard that as well from other groups that have appeared on The Haunted as well. For instance, quite a few times I’ve talked with Jenny Stewart from PRRS in Maryland whose team was featured in “The Ghost Box Prophesies” and they had captured even more convincing and shocking evidence from their ghost box than what was featured on the show. It’s really too bad that we couldn’t have seen more of that.

So… I hope you enjoy the additional footage from “Monster in the Closet” which was filmed during our OKPRI days. In the background we’ve been compiling evidence and tales from this compelling case to share with those interested in the work we do. Check the team website often for updates.

First One Off to College

I still feel young. Perhaps that’s because I am, but I have a son beginning college tomorrow and the majority of the focus of this past week has been making sure he’s ready with everything to go. Where has the time gone? And I don’t just mean in getting prepared for college…

Just over 18 years ago this bundle of joy came into our lives in Alaska after an entire day of labor for Robin (got to the hospital at 7:00 AM for her to be induced and Collin was born at 11:26 PM). We’ve been through messy diapers, ear infections, scrapes and bruises (including the time he tried to luge head first on a skateboard), the crochet hook in the foot, loud music, and trying to remind him that there is such a thing known as homework and his teachers really needed that from him. We’ve also been through cute cooing noises, first days of school, chorus concerts, plays in which he stole the show, all-night game nights, road trips to Fenway Park in Boston, awards for drama and woodworking, and graduation ceremonies. It’s been a full range of colorful experiences.

A new era begins for our son, and our hopes are high for him as he embarks on his own life. Oh, sure, there will still be parenting to do as he faces challenges of life that we can impart wisdom from our experiences upon. He’ll also still come home to visit on weekends, which will become fewer as he becomes more independent and involved in other activities.

Everyone has been correct in saying that their children grow up so fast. It may not be in the blink of any eye, but it certainly seems like it. Robin and I pray for nothing but the best for our “Collin Eskimo” and his new future.

The Destruction of Historic Fort Chaffee

Historic Fort Chaffee hospital complex engulfed in flames. (Courtesy Channel 5, Ft. Smith)

Just two weeks ago I finished the latest Paranormal Roads video covering Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, an investigation we had just back in June. So it came as quite a shock last Thursday night when the news hit that the historic hospital complex at Fort Chaffee was up in flames. When the first reports first trickled in it was three or four building that were on fire. However, as the night went on and the firefighters had problems getting to the fire through the maze-like complex and all the foliage that had grown up, it became clear that all the buildings were going to be lost. It was a travesty.

Since we had an investigation again in Arkansas this past weekend at an old sanatorium (can’t say where or which one due to privacy issues), we decided to stop in at Fort Chaffee to survey the wreckage. The destruction was hard to take in. Not only did we choke on the aroma of smoldering embers, but the utter desolation was breath-taking. All that remained were the cinder block crossroads of some of the hallways and the block pylons upon which the buildings sat. Everything else was ash.

The desolation of Fort Chaffee.

The entire area was blocked off with yellow crime scene tape, but there was a decent enough view of the scorched landscape from the parking lot of the untouched country club. As the last paranormal team to have investigated the historic hospital complex, we began filming a piece for use in a small memorial video we’re going to put together when the unthinkable happened. Chaffee began to burn again.

A black plume of smoke began to rise from the tree line and it quickly morphed into raging red flames. Our newest team member, Ken, was trying to coerce the fire department to let us get up close for a few minutes to take a few photos, but once that wall of flame lit back up any chance of us getting on was nixed. There was nothing else for us to do and we had to move on to our actual investigation for the evening. By nightfall the rekindled fire was back under control.

Fort Chaffee fire rekindled two days after it began.

I almost don’t know what to say at this point about our investigation that evening. Chaffee is lodged in the fingertips, and I want to get to work on that video as soon as possible, but I must move on for now. The sanatorium has its own significance that shouldn’t be ignored. Whispers, footsteps, cries out in the dark halls, and the little girl. It was also a great trial run for the new DVR system. I will give the investigation its proper due later this week within its own blog entry.


Digging into paranormal theory

Back to blogging… It’s been a busy couple weeks, and I haven’t blogged as much as I would have liked to. In the meantime, however, I’ve posted the latest Paranormal Roads video which covers our investigation at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. I’ve also been pushing my article writing in a bit more of a “paranormal theory” direction.

The first of these article, “Do ghosts prefer the heat?” was published at the beginning of last week and briefly explores whether or not the excessive heat we’ve been experiencing lately may cause an increase in paranormal activity. Since ghosts utilize energy, including that of heat, it would be interesting the explore that suggestion.

The second article, “Searching for paranormal origins at Belle Isle,” is more of a profile piece, but it encourages thorough research of a location’s history. For instance, the old Belle Isle power plant had  been well known for people falling to their deaths in the abandoned building, but there were many more deaths on the property during the course of the site’s recorded history. Any of those deaths, not just the more recent ones, could be influencing the paranormal activity in the stores currently occupying the grounds.

I’m working on a third that will cover haunted automobiles and junkyards.  People become very attached to their cars and consider them a part of the family. Many cars become horrific death scenes, but still others are filled with positive memories of family vacations from long ago. These energies can attach themselves to vehicles and create an interesting visit down at the local car lot. In any case, that’s all for the article. Don’t want to get ahead of myself here.

It seems that all these new paranormal groups that are popping out of the woodwork everywhere are doing a fantastic job of collecting paranormal evidence and mimicking the shows that are on TV. To a degree, that is fantastic. The more evidence the better. But quality is important, too. My favorite groups are the ones that look a little deeper and try to determine why the hauntings exist, what spirit is really there, and try to dig for answers about the afterlife. Some of the most fantastic conversations I’ve had are with members from those types of groups. I think the articles I’ve been publishing lately reflect my desire to solve mysteries and dig for answers about the paranormal.

Society of the Haunted will be headed back out this weekend to Arkansas for an investigation at another historic location. More on that to come!



Saying Goodbye to Harry

We saw the final Harry Potter film as a family on Sunday, so I’ve had a few days to contemplate the last dozen years of that world being a part of my family’s lives. We were introduced to the Boy Who Lived before the movies started being produced by reading the books to the kids before they went to bed. Along with the books we purchased many of the games, puzzles, and collectibles based on the original series artwork. It’s these things that have really connected us to the series, not the movies. Yet the conclusion of the movie series has sparked these memories of when the children were young.

If I close my eyes I can, for the briefest of moments, magically transport myself back to sitting on the couch in the living room in Maryland with little ones by my side as we explored Harry’s adventures. It seemed that on every page there was some little surprise cropping up in Hogwarts. I can see us sitting at the dining room table with warm beams of sunlight filtering through the windows as we put a Harry Potter puzzle together or play one of the games.  I can even smell the materials… the pages of the books… the game boards… the puzzle pieces. The laughter we shared at certain parts still echoes in my mind.

The movies became a nice supplement for the time we shared, but they never quite equaled that time beforehand. When new books were released during the run of films, reading them became a little… different. I think we all started supplementing movie imagery with what we had pictured in our minds. In an interesting twist, the final book was released on my birthday in 2007.

After we watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on Sunday I told the kids this: I hope that when they have their own children that there will be a series out at the time that they can share with them they way we were able to share Harry. The Harry Potter books aren’t the greatest piece of literature, the plot holes are many, and the randomly dropped bit of storyline were perplexing at times. But it was an entertaining and magical ride in which every single one of us wished we could have been a student at Hogwarts.

Concerning Birthdays

So tomorrow is my birthday. I sincerely appreciate all the birthday wishes I’ve been receiving in a myriad of forms like Facebook. I turn a robust 37, an interesting crooked number. I really don’t feel my age at all. I feel… I don’t know — 30? Fortunately, the years have been kind, so I could probably pass for that, but it’s been an interesting ride thus far and I feel as energized as ever. I’m really just getting started and am excited about what the future may hold. Ironically, if I had succeeded in my dream of becoming a Major League baseball player I’d actually be wrapping up my career about now (if I was fortunate enough). If I at least one day take a few batting practice swings against the Green Monster at Fenway Park then I’ll be pretty darned happy in that regard. It’s a birthday wish for another day…

Fun with numbers: Perhaps ear 37 will be one of the more interesting of my life thus far. Why do I say that? I was born on the 21st… 3×7 = 21. But wait… there’s more. 3+7 = 10 and 10 happens to be what I’ve considered my “lucky” or favorite number. It’s also followed me around a lot: my baseball uniform number, apartment number in Alaska, street name in Oklahoma, both my mother and wife were born on October 10th (10/10). I’ve also had fun with 21 in the past. I was born in 1974… 1+9+7+4 = 21. Another place we lived at in Alaska was numbered 4908… 4+9+0+8 = 21. It’s all in good fun, but I’m sure my numerology expert friends have some interesting insights to these things.

New videos and articles coming soon…