Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of the Ghost Adventures’ Crew, 2011 (VB Books)
Whether you are a fan of the hit TV series Ghost Adventures, or just learning about it for the first time, this telling autobiography by the show’s creator and star, paranormal investigator, Zak Bagans, is quite a story! His experiences have been frightful, his commitment arduous, and his passion and honestly unflagging. A must-read. Below, is the Foreword to Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Imvestigator of the Ghost Adventures’ Crew, Zak Bagans (with Kelly Criger), VB Books, 2011.
There is arguably no topic in human history that incites as much contemptuous disbelief and passionate dedication as the existence of life after death. As humans, it is our natural instinct to belittle what we don’t understand, and then follow with statements of derision and ridicule. Even mentioning that ghosts might exist can cause instant damnation and persecution among the religiously devoted and staunchly pragmatic, which causes many people who have had a paranormal experience to remain quiet about it. Maybe that’s the greatest achievement of the dead: they’ve convinced the world that they don’t exist, so the majority of us are either disinterested in proving it otherwise or too convinced in our own beliefs to recognize a new viewpoint. Yet most of us are at least curious to know what happens when we die; some may say that information is even a right of humanity, that if another world exists after our physical bodies die, then it’s our right to know about it.
I wrote this book for several reasons. First, I want to take you on my seven-year journey through the world of paranormal investigation from the documentary film in 2004 through the many seasons of Ghost Adventures. I want to tell you about the things that didn’t make it onto the screen and dig deeper into the most significant events that did. We sometimes spend four days filming an episode and have to boil it down into one hour, so there’s always stuff we want to show, but don’t have the time to. And sometimes even the most significant phenomena that we capture have to be covered quickly because of time constraints.
Second, I want to use our adventures to address leading theories on life after death….
O the blood-encrusted thoughts!
whirring like blades, wheeling
and whining through the
ambushed mind, unbeckoned;
unhindered, unheeded—how does one
pray to be emptied?
Sly little half-truths; those
brazen whole-truths, eyes
like coals, low to the burning;
“‘tis the hooded chill cloaks the fever!”
Old Wives’, you know;
smoldering blue at the gums…
tooth and blade, chew,
then whirrr; whirrr, then chew—
through the indigo watches
of the night.
(C)2018 Sanguine Woods
Sharing these practices and this beloved but fading culture has led me far afield, teaching and speaking. I’ve rambled from the bayous of Louisiana to the ruined hills of West Virginia, and from Memphis to Glastonbury in search of stories and materials and ways of doing. There are so many old ideas newly integrated into my personal practice and my teaching – enough to fill a book. And here it is. May you remember well and enjoy this next journey.
H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference and other gatherings.
She serves as elder priestess at Mother Grove Goddess Temple, a church devoted to the many faces of the Divine Feminine, where she teaches religious education, as well as leads rituals.
Her writings have appeared in print and electronic media. Her essays are featured in several anthologies, including “Birthed from Scorched Hearts” (Fulcrum Press), “Christmas Presence” (Catawba Press), “Women’s Voices in Magic” (Megalithica Books), “Into the Great Below” and “Skalded Apples” (both from Asphodel Press). She blogs as Asheville’s Village Witch (myvillagewitch.wordpress.com) and as The Village Witch for Witches and Pagans Magazine (witchesandpagans.com/The-Village-Witch), where she is also a regular columnist. Her pamphlet “Back to the Garden: a Handbook for New Pagans” has been widely distributed and her first book, Staubs and Ditchwater: A Friendly and Useful Introduction to Hillfolks’ Hoodoo (Silver Rings Press), debuted in June 2012. Byron is currently at work on Gnarly Roots: Spell-Catching and the Origins of Appalachian Folk Magic, and Earth Works: Eight Ceremonies for a Changing Planet.
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