FATE Magazine: PSYCHIC FRONTIERS: APRIL 1999 1
This month, as with December, I'm going to touch on a few interesting items, including a review of
a new ghostly video and a couple of websites.
THE BURGLAR WHO NEEDED A FORTUNE…
According to the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Associated Press and several other
newspapers in late December of last year, a man who was burglarizing a number of homes in Loudoun
County, Virginia, was identified as a suspect because he sought psychic advice and made an "America's
Dumbest Criminals" mistake: he used his real name while calling a psychic line from one of the burgled
It often takes a while for police to pull everything together, but Michael Anthony Silver was
identified and pulled in as the suspect in burglaries going back to 1996. While in the midst of the string of
crimes, a call was made to a psychic hot line from one of the homes.
The owner of the home in question realized he'd been robbed. But it wasn't until he got a phone
bill with a $250 call to the psychic line (while the owner was out of town) that the clue came in. The
homeowner alerted the sheriff, and the hot line reported that the call was made by someone identifying
himself as Silver.
While Silver has admitted to police that he has called psychic lines, he claims the calls were made
from North Carolina.
According to the Maria Glod of the Washington Post (December 24, 1998; "Call to Psychic
Should Have Tipped Thief Off"), "Investigators said that"  "case remained open because they could
not catch up with Silver, who frequently travels. But when similar cases popped up this year, the 1996 case
came to mind.
"Authorities say they have good reason to suspect Silver in the latest burglaries. The homes hit
were all within walking distance of the parking lot where Silver often slept in his girlfriend's car. The thefts
all involved jewelry and small change, believed to be his favored targets."
If Silver did do it…make the call from the burgled home…one can only wonder what advice and
information the psychic gave him during that $250 call, especially since the burglaries continued until he
was arrested. Score one for silly criminals (and apparently clueless phone psychics).
TO DIE FOR…
As mentioned in past columns, there have been a lot of photos of supposed ghostly lights taken in
cemeteries. As a parapsychologist who does paranormal investigations, I get asked all sorts of questions
about cemeteries, mainly whether there are there ghosts to be found there. I usually answer "No. If you
were a ghost, would you want to hang out in a cemetery?"
After looking over a website my lecture agent mentioned to me, I may have to amend that a bit.
2diefor.com is a website run by Michael Nejman, which says it is "Celebrating Cemeteries and the Lighter
Side of Death." The lighter side certainly comes out on the site as Michael, who calls himself the "Grin
Reaper," provides a variety of information and photographs that ought to be of interest to any readers of
FATE that have the slightest sense of humor (and of course some interest in cemeteries and/or death and
FATE Magazine: PSYCHIC FRONTIERS: APRIL 1999 2
According to Nejman, "To Die For! is an irreverent , stream-of-consciousness celebration of
cemeteries and the lighter side of death. It is not a definitive or comprehensive study of the subject, but
rather a light-hearted glimpse at a traditionally gloomy topic."
The site is split into several headstones.
The "Gallery" provides photos, some with the "Grin Reaper," and information of cemeteries
around the US and England.
"Cinematic Cemetery Moments" provides information on death and cemetery related films and TV
shows, including (naturally) "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Going to "Loose Dirt" gets you trivia, quotes and assorted other info tidbits.
"Last Words" gets you just that: famous last words, great quotes and often amusing epitaphs on
"Dying to Get In" reveals "Michael Nejman's Top 10 Cemeteries of the World." Where would
YOU want to be buried?
The most amusing part of the site is "DOA: Death Oddities in Animation." There you will find
quotes and references to death in such animation films and TV series as the recent film ANTZ, in Disney
classics, in shows like SOUTHPARK, THE ANIMANIACS (my favorite) and THE SIMPSONS.
There's a "Gift Shop" where you can buy a "To Die For" t-shirt, a page of "Undead Links" to
cemetery, graveyard and death related websites, and a list of books on cemeteries and death & dying.
This site was named one of YAHOO'S "Pretty Strange Sites" by YAHOO INTERNET LIFE last
Time to look Death in the face and guffaw!
THE STARS COME OUT…AFTER DEATH!
Another fun and interesting site is at http://gothic.vei.net/hollywood/hhome.htm. This is the
"Hollywood Hauntings Home Page," run by Derek Tatum. This site, a combination of two of Tatum's real
interests, the paranormal and the entertainment worlds, provides excellent information on sightings, stories
and legends in and around Hollywood.
There are several sections of this site to visit. You can find out about haunted Hollywood homes
that have been owned by Joan Crawford, Ozzie & Harriet Nelson, George Reeves and Valentino, to name a
few ("Homes"). Get some information about hauntings of Paramount and Universal ("Movie Studios").
How about visiting more publicly accessible places such as Mann's Chinese Theater or the Sweet
Lady Jane Restaurant ("Theaters, Clubs and Restaurants"). Or you could book a room in a haunted hotel
such as the Hotel Roosevelt ("Hotels").
Besides some info about a few Hollywood landmarks such as the Hollywood sign
("Miscellaneous"), you can read about a few Hollywood related curses ("Curses").
Finally, Tatum's put together a very nice list of links to Hollywood ghost sources and to reputable
paranormal sites on the web.
If you have any inside information of hauntings in and around Hollywood, send the information to
email@example.com and mention FATE magazine.
RARE, THOUGH REAL, GHOSTLY ATTACKS
Contrary to what has circulated in the media (including this very magazine), ghosts can not do
much in the way of physical damage to living humans. While psychological damage is common, that's
generally more due to fear and stress inherent in the experience of being in contact with an apparition than
because the ghost wishes to harm the living.
Cases of physical object movement apparently caused by discarnate entities appear to be fairly
rare, though certainly real. In the vast majority of apparitional encounters, however, there is little or no
movement of objects in a location reported. People experience the ghosts with their perceptions (including
perceiving the ghost on a visual, auditory, scent or touch basis), but, as discussed in my February 1999
column, the perceptions, including feeling like one is being touched, are due to the living mind/brain
receiving information from the mind/consciousness of the apparition and translating it into perceptions.
FATE Magazine: PSYCHIC FRONTIERS: APRIL 1999 3
In those cases where physical effects are occurring, they are generally less frequent and certainly
less violent or destructive than many poltergeist cases (in which it is the mind of a LIVING person under
stress using psychokinesis to move objects). From the evidence it would appear that ghosts need to a) learn
how to move objects with their minds and b) tend to do things mischievously or to get attention from the
Most people are nice or at least apathetic. It is rare that a person is actually evil (though there are
many that are not so nice). The same can be said for ghosts. My late friend psychic Alex Tanous said on
more than a few occasions, "I never met a ghost I didn't like."
So, when people encounter ghosts, they often do the entity an injustice. Because so many of us
are taught by culture, religion and the media to fear spirits (and often anything paranormal), and because
such encounters are out of the "normal" range of most people's experience, people who experience
apparitions often react in fear, and certainly develop stresses around the experience. From such reactions
can come psychological/emotional harm.
Instead of running from the ghost (literally or figuratively), people should consider such
experiences rare and wonderful -- and opportunity to experience the paranormal, to learn about life after
death, and to possibly provide something of comfort or aid to the apparition.
Unfortunately, while such occurrences are very, very rare, from time to time a case arises in which
a ghost just can't get along with the living. Such a case occurred from 1989-1990 in Southern California,
recorded for posterity in the home video release "An Unknown Encounter: A true account of the haunting
of Jackie Hernandez."
Produced, directed and investigated by Barry Conrad, "An Unknown Encounter" follows the plight
of a woman living in San Pedro, CA whose home is set upon by paranormal forces. Jackie Hernandez
claimed she was being besieged by ghosts. The apparition of a mean old man was apparently at the heart of
the phenomena, which included bad odors and sensations, and physical sounds and poltergeist-type activity.
Conrad, along with parapsychologist Barry Taff (who, with Kerry Gaynor, investigated the case
made famous as "The Entity"), and others investigated the case. Videographer Conrad rolled videotape on
a good amount of the happenings while they were there, the first visit in August 1989.
On one visit, photographer Jeff Wheatcraft, a friend of Conrad's, was up in the attic with another
individual when he was apparently attacked by some invisible force, and ended up with a rope tied around
his neck, hooked to one of the struts in the attic.
Soon after that attack on Jeff Wheatcraft, Jackie Hernandez moved out of the house to the town of
Weldon, about 300 miles north. In March of 1990, the phenomena began in the new mobile home.
Unusual lights were seen, a black shape was seen in the hallway, a blanket was burned, and more. These
events were also witnessed by neighbors. The same old man's face was also seen.
Watching the witnesses speak of the events is compelling. Some type of unusual lights can be seen
in the footage. A dramatization and discussion of a "séance" using a Ouija board in the trailer was most
interesting. Apparently, one of the attendees was thrown against the wall, the table was seen shaking, and
information flowed fast and furious from the Ouija Board.
The old man's spirit claimed to have been murdered, drowned, in San Pedro. Jeff Wheatcraft, who
seemed each time he was involved in the investigation to be attacked in some way by the entity, was told
through the board that he was the likeness of the man's killer.
In June of 1990, Jackie and family moved back to an apartment in San Pedro, where the entity
apparently followed and was still somewhat active.
There's more, of course, including some very interesting footage of related activity in Conrad's
apartment going on when he and Wheatcraft were there.
The tape provides good coverage of the case, and raises some interesting questions about the
nature of apparitional phenomena. The photos of the lights also seen by some of the witnesses are very
interesting. There is video footage taken in the first Hernandez residence that includes small light flying
like comets across the frame. These are especially provocative to me because a TV news cameraman shot
something very similar in the Brookdale Lodge in northern California, a haunted hotel I was investigating.
What is missing for me, however, are questions about what Jackie's relationship to the ghost might
have been. If the entity latched onto Jeff Wheatcraft because he was the likeness of the man's killer, why
did the ghost follow Jackie to Weldon and back down to San Pedro. Why not stay with Wheatcraft? Why
was Jackie's home invaded in the first place.
FATE Magazine: PSYCHIC FRONTIERS: APRIL 1999 4
In spite of these very important points, I do recommend "An Unknown Encounter" to anyone
interested in paranormal investigations. Order your own video copy of "An Unknown Encounter" by
sending a check or money order for $22.95 + $4.95 S&H in check or money order to:
Barcon Video Productions
3653 Mesa Lila Lane
Glendale, CA 91208
SIDEBAR FOR APRIL PSYCHIC FRONTIERS
A Paranormal Search Engine: PARAseek
It's often very difficult to find good websites through the "normal" channels of search engines on
the Web. One specific site where you can search for key words "devoted entirely to paranormal topics" is
PARAseek. According to the site's info, "It offers key destinations links that our webmasters have selected
as personal recommendations. Furthermore, PARAseek allows all webmasters with paranormal topic
websites of all kinds to add to our index." The only catch is that websites that wish to be listed need to have
a mandatory link back to the PARAseek site.
In any event, check it out at http://www.paraseek.com
Ghost story addicts, attention:
Michael Scott Studios has just released the second volume of my audio-tape series GHOST
STORIES. Each an hour long, volumes 1 & 2, on which I relate some of my more interesting investigations
of apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists, are available from me for $18 each, postpaid, or the set for $30.
In addition, I am now making available a one hour video of my lecture "Exploring the Real-Life X-
Files: Ghosts" also for $16 postpaid.
Send check or money order to: Loyd Auerbach, P.O. Box 875, Orinda, CA 94563
Special offer for FATE readers: Both audio-tapes plus the lecture tape for $40 postpaid (or just
the two audio-tapes for $30).
TERRY: Don't know if you want the above description of my tapes to go in a sidebar, or if you can list it in
the Products page. Also, here's another product being offered:
NEW from the Office of Paranormal Investigations: A video seminar on how to conduct paranormal
BUSTING GHOSTS IN THE 90s is a 5 hour(approx.) seminar on 4 videotapes. Taped in San Francisco in
1997, it is a full seminar providing the basic information an investigator of ghostly phenomena needs to
understand, from BOTH the scientific and psychic perspectives. Presented by parapsychologist Loyd
Auerbach and renowned psychic Annette Martin.
Cost: $140 for the seminar tapes, plus notebook, plus a special test which is returned to Auerbach & Martin
for "grading" and feedback. Purpose: to qualify to become part of the OPI's network of field reporters.
Please add $6 to cover postage/handling. California residents add appropriate sales tax. Please allow 3-4
weeks for delivery.
Send checks & money orders to:
P.O. Box 875
Orinda, CA 94563-0875