Haunted Real Estate Blog by Mary Pope-Handy mary@popehandy.com

Ghosts, San Francisco, and Mobile Gaming: Oh My!

Right now in San Francisco is the annual “Game Developers Conference“.  I’m aware of this event mostly because my son, Brian Handy, plans on a future in video game design once he finishes college (majoring in computer science, of course).  But today I got an email telling me about a mobile game that the readers of this blog might like and which is getting a special debut at the GDC this week.

What’s it all about?  Ogmento, an “augmented gaming developer”, is showcasing  at GDC their new mobile game, Paranormal Activity: Sanctuary.  It’s an app that’s location based.  Since the conference is in San Francisco, they’re playing with it.  Here’s what I was told:

“…players in SF will be able to participate in an actual good versus evil battle. Running around San Francisco, players will stop at several locations to investigate paranormal activity.

“A list of locations include the Mansions Hotel, Queen Anne Hotel, Trinity Episcopal Church, San Remo Hotel, Curran Theatre, Alcatraz, the W Hotel, and of course Moscone Center itself.”

Now,forgive me for being a purist, but the only problem with this whole concept is that there is a little mixup between hauntings and demons or evil. (As well as a confusion with casting spells and other such stuff.) It’s not really the case that “alive” people are good, and dead people, or ghosts, are evil.  And ghosts may or may not give a care if you try throwing a “spell” their way.  (You know, the odds are against them believing in witchcraft.)  As the readers of this blog likely know, ghosts are not necessarily or  predominantly evil.  Ever visited the Queen Anne Hotel?  The ghost there is NOT bad in the least.  She is, in fact, benevolent and is as likely to tuck you in, cover you if your blankets fall away or fold your clothes should they slip on the floor as anything else.

But hey, it’s a common mistake.  A lot of folks get confused and think if it’s a ghost, it’s gotta be bad.   If I had my druthers, they wouldn’t mix up all these unrelated things which might only find each other in a horror film, but apps sell if consumers respond.

Even so, it sounds like fun to see the mock up of San Francisco and its most haunted spots.  As for me, I’m no video game addict, but I’ve got my people at GDC, and am expecting a full report on this game…as soon as the train pulls in to Silicon Valley….

Bay Area Ghost Hunters

Los Gatos Ghost Tour by Mary Pope-HandyA few days ago, a member of the Bay Area Ghost Hunters  society, Mandy,  called me to ask about viewing a haunted spot in Los Gatos – the site of the old cemetery. Turns out the BAGH had a meeting in Los Gatos at the new Starbucks at 6:30 tonight, and I was invited to join them. I did.

What a nice group of people! I had only intended to stay a few minutes since this week, I’m a single parent (only this week – husband Jim is away on business) and I needed to get dinner on for the kids.  OK, “need” is an exaggeration. They are 16 and 18 and they could certainly fix it themselves. But last night I was showing a listing of mine until almost 8pm and dinner was really, really late – and I just didn’t want to do that again. I guess you could call it Momma Guilt. Or maybe it’s “enjoy them now, soon they’re off to college”.

Anyway, I did stay for about 45 minutes (3x what I intended!) and loved hearing how everyone else – most of whom were first-timers like I was – got interested in ghosts and things that go bump in the night. 

Some in the group were quite intuitive, some had experienced ghost phenomena, and some not intuitive and hadn’t experienced anything, but had a deep curiosity anyway. So the gamut was there. All of them simply shared a common desire to learn more and to see what could be discovered together.

Also interesting to me was the fact that several have worked with cameras and video in their professional work and several had seen “something” in the course of their using these tools too.

My contribution was to provide a list and map (of sorts) of the public spots I know to be haunted in downtown Los Gatos. I hope the members liked it!

I’ll be back! Meetings apparently will happen about once a month. 

Now’s A Great Time to Learn About Ghosts

artwork by Clair Handy

Frost is creeping into many yards in early mornings around the country already; green is giving way to brown and autumn is on its way.

Often this is the time most people associate with graveyards, ghosts and all things spooky. It makes good sense that Halloween would be found in the middle of fall.

For ghosthunters, mediums, and folks involved with the paranormal, this is the beginning of “the busy season”. October may bring a sense of normalcy to many families after the crazyy seasons of summer and back-to-school, but for those in the business of ghost tracking, October is a major rush.

If you are interested in learning more about hauntings, this is a good time to get involved and get an education. There’s a good chance that somewhere near you, a group is meeting to investigate a haunting sometime in October. And there’s a good chance that talks are being provided, books being promoted or classes being offered on the subject matter too.  Check with your parks & rec department, the local library, and the events calendar of your local newspaper. Or do what I do and just “google it”.

If you aren’t in an area where there’s a lot of activity in this arena, you can still get in on the fun. There are books and courses online and via Amazon that can teach you what you want to learn too. I posted about it last month – check out the many resources I’ve listed!

If you know of any great events to help people get their toes wet in ghosthunting or understanding the paranormal between now and mid-November, I invite you to post it here.  Enjoy!