Revisiting Alice Flagg

On this week’s post/podcast, I chat with Josh and Cait from Dream Team Urbex, a paranormal team in Fayetteville, NC. Josh got in touch with me in regards to my earlier post on Alice Flagg before his investigation.

Take a look at his video of the investigation:

Our discussion includes revealing some EVP’s that Josh and Cait found along with some mishaps that happened to his equipment.

A Revealing Picture of an Alice Belin Flagg Headstone

A few weeks ago, I received an anonymous email (probably from one of you) that held this picture. When I tried to reply to the email thanking them for the picture and to ask more questions, I received an error message that the email address no longer existed.

Alice Flagg

The picture you see is the headstone of Alice Belin Flagg, the daughter of Allard Flagg and niece to the legendary Alice Flagg. Yes, legendary Alice’s brother named his daughter after his sister.

The Question Remains of “Where is the Legendary Alice Flagg?”

If there are no records of legendary Alice at All Saint’s Cemetery and she’s not buried at Old Gunn, the location I presume is where the tombstone picture came from, then where is legendary Alice truly buried?

Josh says he found evidence that legendary Alice is buried in Charleston. Lucky for me, that’s where I live now.

Time for some deeper dive research in finding the true burial site of the legendary Alice Flagg that is claimed to be haunting cemeteries along the Grand Strand looking for her engagement ring.

What do you think?  Have you found evidence at All Saint’s Cemetery or at Old Gunn Church (Prince Frederick Chapel). Let us know in the comments.

Check out Dream Team Urbex on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/dreamteamurbex/

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Using Laser Grid Pens on Your Paranormal Investigation

Laser grid pens are by far, one of the cheapest ways to update your paranormal investigation kit. I use them on my Stories in the Cemetery Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences with my guests in Charleston, SC. When researching why and how to use this inexpensive paranormal tool, I thought I should clarify a few things about this gadget.

Laser Grid Pens are part of a Paranormal Toolkit

First, this tool should be used in collaboration with a number of other tools in your toolkit. If you don’t have a toolkit, see my recommendations of the equipment I use and the upgrades planned on the Ghost Hunting Equipment page. The grid pen should never be used alone for a claimed haunting. Like other tools, this is not an “I have paranormal evidence from a grid pen only” type of tool. When used with video cameras, EMF detectors, EVP recorders, and other tools, you can then put clues together that a paranormal entity is present. Never claim you have a haunting because a laser was disrupted and you have nothing else to back it up.

What is a Laser Grid Pen?

Think of your cat’s favorite laser toy on steroids. The simplistic pen projects one laser into thousands of little “dots”, based on which tip you have on the pen, into a darkened area or room. Green is usually the color of choice on this device because it can easily be seen in the dark.

The basic use of this pen (which is how we use this device on my tours) is to hold as still as possible for the laser grid displayed not to move. Remember, that my tours are given on the streets of Charleston, SC as a walking tour. In other words, we are quickly investigating several locations and learning about the history of the location. Tripods are available when investigating one location or one room and with the camera setup, the investigator can leave the room and allow the camera to validate any movement.

Once the laser grid is in place, the purpose is that the investigator can then detect disturbances in the grid or an absence of light, thus detecting an entity nearby. To understand what I mean by this, I’m sharing GhostStop.com’s video for the basic use of a grid pen. Without visuals, describing what to look for is near impossible.

Streaks of light in the grid?

Glad you asked.

Ghost hunting television shows are usually our main source for finding what works in the field and the grid pen originated on Ghost Hunters International. Here’s a clip of the team at GHI showing true evidence to their client.

I want to point out that in the still image of the evidence that there seem to be streaks of light in the grid. Take a look at the video again to see what I mean.

This streak of light is caused by something translucent in the grid, thus distorting or bending the laser to seem extended. We’ve all read accounts of someone seeing a “spirit” or “ghost” and my personal belief is that the person claiming to witness this anomaly has the ability to see what others cannot, or has this ability because they were supposed to see the anomaly. In other words, the person claiming to see a spirit has been chosen to witness the supernatural event. But what about the rest of us? The skeptics? That’s where a laser grid pen comes into play.

What if you just don’t have the same ability as those that claim to witness something supernatural? The laser grid pen gives us the capability to manipulate the space we are investigating to witness what we cannot see with the naked or what we were not “chosen” to see.

I usually demonstrate a translucent anomaly with some type of smoke passing through the grid and how it creates “streaks” of light instead of a disturbance of the grid on a solid surface.  This is great for locations that have a reported seen spirit on location such as the Pinckney Mansion site.

Types of Laser Grid Tools

There are some general issues with using the inexpensive laser grid pen. Through experience and research from other paranormal investigators, the pen is known to heat up and distort the displayed grid by either dimming or pulsing, thus burning through batteries rather quickly. For long investigations, say overnight, this is not an ideal tool to rely on for true evidence.

For the sake of my 90-minute walking tours, this is an excellent purchase. The pen does not contain an “on/off” switch. It has a manual button only, so unless you purchase the ring or tripod for a long investigation, expect to hold this button down while investigating. Again, perfectly legitimate when walking the streets of Charleston.

I would recommend using something with a fuller grid as well as an on/off toggle for long investigations for one location. The GS1 by Ghost Stop is a part of the upgrade plan I have for my personal toolkit. The grid displayed is red in color and has full lines (think of grid paper you used in high school).

I am curious to use both the green grid pen “dots” in conjunction with the GS1’s red lines for a more accurate reading. Granted, the video above suggests taking any video to a 3-D modeler to give you the full shape of your anomalies, but what if you could physically see more of your supernatural activity by using both grids together?

Paranormal Evidence with a Grid Pen

During my tours, my guests and I have caught quick glimmers from the pen, but not a full-on disturbance in the grid. These “glimmers” could not be debunked, nor did I capture anything on video. (Using video on my tours is completely up to the guests, otherwise, legalities of waivers and the like would be involved).

Here is a video I found on YouTube of an investigator experimenting with his grid pen. It should give you a bit more of an idea of what to look for when investigating your own locations. However, I am going to highly recommend you use this tool in collaboration with other tools. An anomaly with a grid pen does not justify any evidence. Remember, we are investigators, we need evidence from multiple tools simultaneously before a claim can be made.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References Used to Inspire this Blog Post

Ghost Stop. “GhostStop Ghost Hunting Equipment Demo: Laser Grid Burst Pen.” n.d. 13 May 2020. <https://www.ghoststop.com/Laser-Grid-Scope-p/laser-greengrid.htm&gt;.

—. “Laser Grid GS1 Ghost Detection System.” n.d. 13 May 2020. <https://www.ghoststop.com/Laser-Grid-GS1-p/laser-lasergrid-gs1.htm&gt;.

Higgy Pop. “Detecting Ghosts with a Laser Grid.” 8 May 2017. Higgy Pop. https://www.higgypop.com/news/detecting-ghosts-with-lasers/. 13 May 2020.

MichaelDMaGee. “Laser Grid – Real Paranormal Activity Part 34.1.” 10 October 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX56XSJ6pcc.

Seeks Ghosts. “Pros and Cons of Laser Grids.” 23 April 2013. Seeks Ghosts Blog. https://seeksghosts.blogspot.com/2013/04/pros-and-cons-of-laser-grids.html. 13 May 2020.

 

Spirit Boxes

To Listen to the accompanying podcast episode, visit “Stories in the Cemetery” or search in your favorite podcatcher.

Spirit boxes have long been used in the ghost hunting expedition. I use them on my Stories in the Cemetery Ghost Hunting Experiences with my guests as well as on my personal ghost hunting endeavors. Let’s get into what they do, where you can get them and how to listen for clues to the unknown question of the afterlife.

How They Work

Spirit boxes are, in a nutshell, radio scanners. The unique feature is that you can set how fast or slow to “sweep” the stations. Through the sweeping of the stations, an investigator can hear DJ’s, song lyrics, or disembodied voices over static.

If the sweep rate is fast enough to not allow anything to be heard other than a clicking static, then words from anyone are going to be difficult to hear or comprehend. I tell my guest using the spirit box on my tours to shout out anything they hear from either a DJ, song lyric or any disembodied voices over the static. I believe that due to the fast sweep rate of the radio frequencies, that if something comes through, even from a DJ, that we as the investigators were meant to hear that word or phrase. It takes a solid second or two to say a 1-2 syllable word and if the sweeping stops for that amount of time, I take that as a clue or a spirit wishing to communicate.

Types

Currently, I’m using an SB-7 device. I like the sweeping range of both AM and FM frequencies and it has proven a useful tool for my tours. The only unfortunate component on this device is that the external speaker is weak and requires an external speaker to listen while hunting outdoors.

I will say that for the sake of my tours, without the attached speaker, the hunter who gets this device on my tours plays an important role. They have to literally hold to their own ear and tell the rest of us what they hear. It gives a unique perspective of what they hear.

I’m looking into purchasing the S-Box for a few reasons. It comes with a loudspeaker already built into the device. Also, it has a recording feature for recording EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) with an SD card. This would give another perspective from a different device other than the voice recorder I’m already using. Two different recordings of the same tour might give more evidence into the paranormal realm.

Spirit Box Apps

Along with two manual spirit boxes running, you’ve all heard me talk about the spirit box apps that I use. They’re corny, but I love them to death, no pun intended.

“Ghost Detector” is the main app that I’ll leave running through the duration of the tour. I also use “Ghost Detector” when I’m the guest on a historical tour or on a personal investigation.

The app works like a game or hoax for college kids or a drinking game. Once you turn it on, the app will give green bars and a hissing effect for spookiness. Corny as hell. But the great feature is that the app will give words in the middle of the screen, an interpretation of what the app thinks a spirit might have said. Granted, this game-like app can randomly spit out words at will. I will say about 40-75% of the words that come across the screen are completely random. But the 25-60% that aren’t random are actual clues and communication to the situation at hand.

stories in the cemetery ghost detector app

I’m a believer that spirits from another realm can adjust and manipulate electronic devices at will to communicate. This is why I believe that the communication I receive through apps like “Ghost Detector” is working at least 25% of the time when there is paranormal activity occurring. I use EMF detectors and other gadgets to ensure that there is indeed communication from the spirit realm. This is my belief and until you see it or experience this phenomenon for yourself, you will be a skeptic of such devices or applications.

Another app that I use with activity from other devices is “Paranormal Hauntings” by Brian Holloway. This app acts as a reverse spirit box. In other words, it takes radio frequencies, scans them, but plays back the words from DJs, songs and other programs in reverse. First off, it sounds amazingly creepy and cool. But mostly, it allows the listener to make sense of the gibberish that comes through. Here’s an example of the reverse spirit box activity I captured one night with two guests. I asked the spirit to tell us her name.

As we left the site, I told her goodbye. She responded in the same voice as when she told us her name.

Non-Believers

There are plenty of studies that oppose that spirit boxes and EVP’s actually work. So what’s the difference between an EVP and a voice from a spirit box?

An EVP is a voice or sound recorded on a voice recorder. Some voice recorders have even been created with multiple channels to distinguish sounds heard. (New blog post on this topic later). But the science behind EVP is that it is a voice or spiritual entity that cannot be heard through naked hearing or rather, without a special device like a voice recorder.

Voices heard through a spirit box are sometimes heard over white noise. This is where the skeptics begin analyzing our data and why we hear these voices. I’m not going to quote or even give the details of these studies, but I will point you in the direction of one in particular that I found very interesting. I’m sure you will too. Check out the skeptics and non-believers here.

Conclusion

I love spirit boxes. They are indeed a useful tool when I’m investigating a new location or taking guests ghost hunting on my tours. I love when two spirit boxes (app and manual) sync up and give me two relevant or similar clues without the other hunter knowing what happened. I often find this in the audio later or after we’ve moved on from a location. You’ll have to hear these for yourself since I record every tour. Check out my tour audio here.

As for now, I’m looking to add the S-Box to my Ghost Hunting toolkit. I’ll probably do an unboxing video or show it off during a private investigation soon. Be sure to follow me on social media to see how this device works.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References Used to Inspire this Post

Nees, Michael. “Hearing ghost voices relies on pseudoscience and fallibility of human perception.” 30 October 2015. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/hearing-ghost-voices-relies-on-pseudoscience-and-fallibility-of-human-perception-48160. 16 April 2020.

Nicholson Ph.D, Carol. “Difference Between Spirit Boxes and EVPs.” 2020. Imagine Spirit. https://imaginespirit.com/evps-and-spirit-boxes/. 16 April 2020.

—. “Spirit Box Ghost Responses.” 2020. Imagine Spirit. https://imaginespirit.com/spirit-box-ghost-responses/. 16 April 2020.

Villar, Ashley and Alex McCarthy. “The Statistics of Spirit Boxes.” 4 November 2017. Medium. https://medium.com/@astrovav/the-statistics-of-spirit-boxes-2cf021bf6c3. 16 April 2020.

Called out at the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Visiting this giant piece of Charleston’s history is a must-do for any local as well as any travelers coming through Charleston. I’ve been through the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon on several tours, learning about the history throughout the building and piecing the clues together for hauntings around the city. However, going back to 1771 when the building was constructed, allows any visitor to see the connection Charleston had to our great nation.

The History

Constructed in 1771, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon has been used as several different operations including a mercantile exchange, a post office, and military headquarters to name a few. These different operations show the exchange of hands this building has undergone since the birth of this Georgian-Palladian structure.

Another fascinating piece to this building is that you can see a sliver of the original wall of Charles Town through the Provost Dungeon.

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The original wall of Charles Town. Photo by Nicholas McGirr

The dungeon was said to have housed criminals of all sorts; men, women, pirates, and tea. Yes, I said tea, because, during the Charleston Tea Party, this is where the tea was held to keep it away from the British hidden behind a wall that no longer exists.

The Old Exchange is also one of the four locations where the Declaration of Independence was ratified, an immense part of our American and Charlestonian history. The rooms above the dungeon glorify this moment with the artifacts and staff dressed in period costumes.

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Know that through this article, I am not even touching the surface of the history of this building. I am not claiming to be an expert by any means and I encourage you history buffs to put this building on your bucket list to enjoy for yourselves. For this article, I am focused on basic history to explore any proclaimed paranormal activity.

The Paranormal Claims

There are plenty of paranormal claims to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon including guests getting tugged, pushed or clothing pulled. Others claim that the period costumes of the staff make it confusing for the spotting of spirits because they, too, are in period dressings of their own time. Some staff claim that “staff members” are seen walking into walls from time to time.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr

In February of 2019, a paranormal investigation was led by Grant Wilson from “Ghost Hunters”, Chad Lindbert from “Ghost Stalkers” and Carol Cleveland from YouTube’s “Haunt ME”. I could not find the evidence from this ghost hunt, but tickets ran about $185 for a meet and greet with the celebrities and then a 30-minute ghost hunt afterward.

What I will say is that the venue for this ticketed event usually comes with some merit of the legitimacy of the alleged haunted location and I trust that the pros leading the investigation came up with more than substantial evidence.

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Stairs from the original Post Office. Currently, the lead to overtopping the exposed wall of Charles Town.

My Visit

Once paying for my ticket for the dungeon tour, I immediately head downstairs where my tour guide is about to begin. I already had my spirit box app running as well as my EVP digital recorder. The EMF detector was tucked away in a side pocket of my satchel so I could easily tell if any spikes would occur during my tour.

I will say that once I hit the stairs to the dungeon, the EMF detector was active throughout my entire tour of the dungeon. The erratic lights drew so much attention to other guests of the tour that I had to turn it to face me. The lights were not patterned as I was originally suspecting. With all of the hype of paranormal activity around this building, I was honestly expecting it to be rigged, hence why I took a daytime tour with the normal historian tourists.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr

I reviewed the spirit box app list of words after my tour and was surprised by a number of words. For those of you that have taken one of my “Stories in the Cemetery” ghost hunting experiences, you know that I find that 60-75% of the words provided are bullshit. With this list from the Provost Dungeon, not so much.

Words and phrases like “commit”, “cruel”, “he is guilty”, “violation” were all common themes throughout the word list. Check out the full word list in the picture slides below.

The words “cruel” and “violation” came through right around the time my tour guide was describing the conditions of the dungeon. Women were kept with the men without privacy, rat infestations and of course water coming over the top of the bricks from 1702. All these conditions were in fact “cruel” and were likely a “violation” of standards for prisoners.

The word that stood out to me most was my own name about 16 minutes into the tour. Just the night before, I told one of my ghost hunting guests that I would visit the Old Exchange and he texted me later that day asking how my investigation went. I showed him the list and his reply brought clarity to my work here in Charleston. He said, “They know you by name?!” Ironically, they do. I was called out just 16 minutes of my entering the building and beginning my tour of the dungeon. I have never seen any variation of my name (Nick, Nicky, Nicholas) ever brought through the spirit box app previously.

Conclusion

Upon listening to the audio from the tour, I could only find one instance where I may have heard something paranormal, but the evidence is insubstantial at this point and not worth posting until I have it analyzed. Other than that, I am pleased with the erraticism of the EMF detector (which stopped after I left the building) and the array of words I received through the spirit box app.

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I have explored the city of Charleston with my EMF detector looking for new locations to take my guests. With each passing of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the EMF detector usually signals for me to look further. Sometimes it’s just a blip, other times it’s an erratic display of lights screaming to be heard. I encourage you to visit the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, find an EMF app (yes, they work, just not as sensitive) and see for yourself who might be lurking in the basement of this extremely creepy structure that holds onto so much history of our country.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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Shadows of a Swinging Corpse: The Wagener Building

To listen to the accompanying podcast episode of this blog post: Stories in the Cemetery

The Wagener building is one of the stops on my Stories in the Cemetery Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences and I felt the need to dive further into this huge building on East Bay Street.

A Ghost Story

The building holds an often told ghost story of George Poirier, a suicide from the third floor. His story goes a little like this:

After inheriting a very wealthy cotton business from his father, Poirier knew very little about investments and business management. To escape the demise of his cotton business from the boll weevil insect, and to pay off debts, Poirier sold his cotton stock to the British.

Poirier was already a depressed man, having his fill of dealing with his father’s passed down business and being in over his head after spending his inheritance.

East Bay Street Wagener Building
Photo found in “Indelible Photographs” of Charleston, S.C. from the Low Country Digital Library (lcdl) of the College of Charleston. 1890-99

With the British ship loaded with his last load of cotton, Poirier watched the ship head out to see from the third floor of the Wagener building. The ship allegedly caught fire from someone smoking a pipe too close to the load of cotton and caught the entire ship ablaze.

In all the stress of handling a business he was not trained to manage, losing his inheritance and now the shame to his family of selling the last bit of cotton to the British that was set to fire, Poirier was at his ultimate limit. The story says that Poirier stacked the furniture in the room with his captain’s chair on top; climbed the furniture and hung himself from the rafters. It is said that a broken window on the third floor invited the crows to feast on his carcass before a newsboy found Poirier’s swinging remains the next morning.

Not too bad of a ghost story, huh?

Paranormal Evidence

The claims of furniture moving, being stacked, cold drafts that can’t be explained have all pushed subsequent owners and tenants out of the Wagener building.  There are also claims of a swinging corpse shadow on a stormy night from the third story windows.  I’ve had some subtle evidence come through on my tours of downtown Charleston while passing by the building.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Taken from a rooftop across from the Wagener Building.

EMF spikes around the corner doors and my trusty ghost detector app giving off phrases like “Under the Chair” and “Insects Itching” all come to light after this research. I’m taking the “Insects Itching” as the boll weevil insect that invaded the cotton crops of South Carolina during this time. According to a CDC study, the boll weevil can cause rashes and itching to those allergic to the beetle.

Just before writing this post, I visited the building one last time to look for more paranormal evidence other than a few EMF spikes. What I found was a construction crew working diligently inside and in a restricted area.

With the EMF detector and Ghost Detector app running, I paced around the building a few times waiting for answers. One name, in particular, showed up that I’ve never seen come through the app before: “Elias”. I did my research.

Writer Richard Fowler wrote an article on the building while he, too, was researching the haunting. He discovered a scandal from the original Wageners whose name bears the building but also involving a Washington Whilden, son of Elias Whilden, wrapped around lost business ventures around the great earthquake of 1886.

Reading his article and speculative theory, I’m convinced (again) that I have come across paranormal evidence that my tools are working. You can check out Fowler’s theory here:

Nothing New Under the Sun by Richard Fowler

Future Use

The Wagener Building has plans to be used for an upscale restaurant (yet to be determined) and for wedding receptions. This makes complete sense since the three floors facing East Bay Street are all wide open floorplans and would be a perfect venue for a Charleston wedding.

The back of the building is currently comprised of condos. During one of my tours, a guest explained that she had a friend who lived in one of those condos and has never mentioned any abnormal or paranormal activity. If I’m following the story of George Poirier, I can see where this would be legitimate due to his hanging in the front of the building.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations (including the Wagener Building) using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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