Monday, June 22, 2009

One man's trash... another man's treasure. After a particularly windy day here in SE MN (they're almost all windy - but this one was windier than most) I spied some pink insulation board against a fence at the high school that had blown over from a nearby construction site.

People driving by must have thought it to be trash - and it wouldn't be long before it was picked up and put back in the dumpster. But holy crow these were big pieces! Just right for a bunch of new gravestones! Does it matter that it's mid June? Of course not - it's always Halloween time at our house.

So I pulled into the football field parking lot and grabbed three of the biggest pieces. I held onto them for quite a while until I had a weekend when my wife took the kids to grandma's house in Iowa. Then with two whole days at my disposal, I broke out the power tools and paint. As you can imagine, working on Halloween props in June can raise a few eyebrows - but any serious home haunter worth their salt will tell you that you almost have to start in June (or earlier) if you ever want to get anything accomplished in October!

The gravestone pictured above is the first one I worked on - dedicated to one of my all-time favorite actors: Peter Cushing. I also did one based on the Minnesota themed 'Kensington Rune Stone' and plan on doing the third - and biggest - as a new and improved headstone for Edgar Allan Poe.

This is the greatest part of haunting for me - doing things on a budget (ie: free) and turning trash into treasure. While everyone else driving by saw a bunch of garbage that needed to be taken to the landfill, I saw three new tombstones that will replace my lame store-bought ones that I never really liked. You don't always have to be thinking about Halloween to see the potential for new props in a bunch of junk... but it helps!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Goodbye Vike

A sad day for me. One of my favorite paranormal investigators is calling it a career. I have followed the newsletters of Brian Vike and his HBCCUFO research since first learning about him back in 2003. His insightful interviews with eyewitnesses to UFOs and other strange things have been a steady diet of mine whenever online. Here is part of the statement he released on his website:

I have had a wonder time since mid 2000 meeting, talking on the telephone and writing to the thousands of eyewitnesses who were kind enough to share their experiences with me. Along this journey, I have made long lasting friends, not only with the witnesses, but so many in the media who were kind enough to have me on their radio programs and the countless newspapers who lent a hand in getting the stories out in hopes of finding more folks to a incident, or who directed their readers to my site.

I am leaving the UFO field for good, it is time for me to get back to all the things I enjoyed before getting involved with UFOs. The funny thing is I have spent so much time on this unusual topic I forgot I had another life. All I did was to place every waking hour into the UFO topic. So, time for family and many of the things I once did. Plus a big thing is to look after my health.

I have already set all of my "Report A UFO" links to Mr. John Hayes who operates a great UFO resource. John will be receiving all of the sighting reports that would have come into HBCC UFO Research. You can find UFOINFO at:

Thank you to everyone for your reports and kindness and also my deepest thanks to the folks who helped in supporting HBCC UFO Research. Take good care, Brian Vike - Director of HBCC UFO Research.

I wish you the best of luck, Brian. Here's hoping you get back to good health and that you're able to enjoy time with your family. Thanks for all you have done in this field - you will be sorely missed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ghost Blasters

No trip to the Mall Of America is complete without a spin on the 'Ghost Blasters' ride. It is so cheesy (and incredibly expensive!) but my five-year-old loves it. Of course, it has since been replaced has her 'favorite ride' by the big rollercoaster, which she is finally tall enough to ride, but yesterday we had time to go on one ride and, to my surprise, she actually picked Ghost Blasters.

Over the loudspeaker runs a continuous harpsichord tune that is catchy at first, but after twenty-five minutes in line will drive you batty. Other than cleaning up the attraction and recalibrating the guns to make them 'aim' better, the ride has not changed at all over the years - it is one of only a few original rides still standing from the MOA's first themed amusement park: 'Camp Snoopy.'

I love the atmosphere of this ride and, while standing in line, enjoy imagining what I could do to improve it if given the chance (which is A LOT - remember, this is an extremely cheesy ride). Also while standing in line I amuse myself by feigning fear and protesting loudly that I'm too chicken to go on and need to find the exit. My daughter finds great delight in this, and the other patrons in line can only roll their eyes. We pick names for ourselves: my daughter is 'Esmerelda Copperpot,' and I go by the handle of 'Peter Cushing.' Together we are... The Ghost Blasters!

So we finally get in our cart and enter the doors. The room is pitch black, the only illumination being black lights which highlight the lame wood-cut ghosts that pop in and out. You shoot the targets and they moan and wail, all the while the cart tallies up your points (I finally topped 1,000 for the first time yesterday - but I think that has more to do with the recalibration than my aim).

Of course, no matter what I shoot, my daughter always seems to win. Naturally, I'm proud - after all, she is a chip off the old block - the ultimate Ghost Blaster!