Before I begin you can visit them here. You can book tickets online ahead of time and if you do you get a $3 break on the price of $18 so you only pay $15. It’s a fairly amusing way to pass a Saturday evening and you get a history lesson in the process. .
We met up with the group as it was making its way out of the park, about five minutes early I might add.
It gets serious geek cred for actually doing the research necessary to make the stories of historical events they tell all the more humorous and/or generally weird. It traipses all over the campuses of RISD and Brown and it entertains with little historical tales.
At the beginning you start with the vocabulary lesson. There are orbs, apparitions, specters and poltergeists, each getting progressively more real and physical.
Orbs are believed (by many) to be ghosts in the form of balls of light. They are life forms that travel in groups and are believed to be the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited a physical body here on earth. Psychics claim to talk to them on a regular basis, and ghost hunters encounter them quite frequently. It is said that they are those spirits that have willingly stayed behind because they feel bound to their previous life or previous location for whatever reason.
The photo below is of two orbs that look mightily like flash artifacts but I’ll let you be the judge.
(On a side note, no thanks to Flickr for screwing up the ability to link pictures on WordPress. Now I have to get the HTML code and parse out the fucking image link. Bastards! But I found the hack around it.)
Apparitions – The term apparition is used for any kind of visual, paranormal related manifestation. The key word to remember is visual. A ghost can take the form of an apparition, like an orb or human figure that you can see. However, not all paranormal visualizations are ghosts. They can be in the form of trains, animals, and inanimate objects. Some apparitions of people might not always be a ghost, or spirit of a person. They might just be visions of things or people that were in that same location years ago. These forms of apparitions will not be conscious of their surroundings or of themselves. They are kind of like a holographic video of something that used to be there. This is called an imprint, and is caused by very dramatic and emotional events that become a part of the land and it’s near surroundings. This is however, just a theory that I happen to agree with on certain forms of apparitions. Most professionals in paranormal fields will use the word apparition to describe all paranormal visualizations to keep things simple and avoid any confusion.
Specter or spectre refers to a ghost which is visible–not all ghosts are thought to be visible. It can be applied to the ghost of a good person or of an evil one.
Poltergeist (help·info) is a troublesome spirit or ghost which is believed to throw objects about, make noises, etc.
“Poltergeist” from German poltern, meaning “to rumble”, “to make a noise” and Geist, meaning “ghost” or “spirit”.
So now you’re up on your terminology.
An example of a potentially haunted place is University Hall at Brown University that was erected in 1770. During the American Revolutionary War it was an infirmary and the building was split into sections. The further left in the building, the worse off you were until finally in the extreme left they had the body pit.
We went by H.P. Lovecraft’s house that had been relocated, and then to the Providence Atheneum where one Edgar Allen Poe was known to habituate to hear the story of his courtship with a rather bizarre young lady.
We ended up breaking off early. It was going a bit beyond the hour and a half promised and even at that it had started out early so we’d been at it nearly two hours.
There was one slightly sour note though. They encourage people to bring cameras. So I had my Xacti with me and the guy freaked a bit and asked if I was taking video and I told him I was just snapping still frames with it. I could have been smart and said that any camera made in the last ten years does both still frame and video but that wouldn’t be very nice.