11 Oct 2009
Ghostlahoma’ authors chronicle state’s accounts of the paranormal
By Bridget Nash Staff Writer
Television is overwrought with shows about ghost hunters whose teams storm haunted structures with thermal cameras, motion detectors, night vision and many more tools.
That’s not how Tonya Hacker and Tammy Wilson do it.
“If my team members show up with, like, tool belts, I’m like, ‘You need to go put real clothes on. We’re not superheroes,’” said Hacker.
Other than personally experiencing the paranormal, the only tools she relies on are her good, old-fashioned, non-digital tape recorder, eyewitness accounts and historical research.
Hacker, of Oklahoma City, and Wilson, of Enid, have completed a book on some of Oklahoma’s ghostly tales, titled “Ghostlahoma.”
Hacker, Wilson and author Cullan Hudson, who currently lives in Puerto Rico but grew up in Oklahoma, visited the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County Saturday to talk about their books and share some ghostly experiences.
“To me, one of the most important things to validating haunting is personal experience,” said Wilson. “It’s really easy to look stuff up on the Internet and regurgitate it. We really try to make a personal effort to find out about it.”
Wilson and Hacker have traveled all over the state and beyond researching and experiencing paranormal activity, but their ghost hunting efforts are not like the entertaining ghost hunting shows on television.
“The best way to experience paranormal activity is to sit and wait on it,” said Hacker. “And you could sit and wait for months.”
Hacker and Wilson’s book shares many eyewitness accounts of paranormal activity in the state but one thing the book cannot do is play the audio recordings taped on Hacker’s tape recorder.
“For me, I’ve got some of the best stuff on old-school tape,” said Hacker.
To capture electronic voice phenomenon, challenging and quizzing the spiritual entity, as is done on ghost hunting shows, is not necessary, said Hacker.
“Just sit down and have a conversation and, if they were once human, they will dip in,” said Hacker.
Hacker played some of the EVPs she recorded for the library audience. She pointed out one of the best ways to tell the difference between the EVP and the other voices in the room is the EVP voice won’t carry like the human voices do.
“Dead people don’t have voice boxes,” said Hacker.
Hacker said it also is unrealistic to expect to hear things like “help me” or “get out” if the living people in the room are just having a conversation. Among Hacker’s EVPs are phrases such as, “Stupid people” and “Here they come.”
Hudson also shared some ghost stories from his book, “Strange State” which, unlike “Ghostlahoma,” is comprised of research and historical accounts of strange goings-on in Oklahoma.
Some of Hudson’s stories are older and had to be “dug up” because they are no longer talked about.
“I don’t think they’ve seen the light of day in 50 years,” said Hudson.
Some of Hudson’s older stories came from the “yellow journalism” of small Oklahoma newspapers.
“They would kind of create stories to get readers,” said Hudson. Or they would build up a less significant event, he said.
“Sometimes these stories have to be taken with a grain of salt, but sometimes you wonder what was going on out there,” said Hudson.
Hudson’s book not only talks about ghostly tales but other strange occurrences such as accounts of witches, lost treasure, UFOs and bigfoot.
Hudson’s book, “Strange State,” can be purchased at www.strangestate.blogspot.com.
Hacker and Wilson’s book, “Ghost-lahoma,” can be purchased at www.ghostla homa.com.