Thursday, June 17, 2010

Local investigator hunts ghosts for over 20 years

Local investigator hunts ghosts for over 20 years

Al Stover / Reporting and Photography

published in 41.12 of the SFCC Communicator

As the wind echoes around him, Chris Martin walks around the graveyard, pulling out his audio recorder and asking the ghosts who supposedly haunt this area, permission to walk around and take pictures of the area.

Just as he turns around, something brushes his shoulder.

This is routine for Martin who has been investigating the paranormal for over 20 years. He said takes a different approach to investigating the paranormal.

“I’m in that gray area of looking at the lighter side of ghost hunting,” Martin said. “You've got to have fun.”

As a child, Martin would go through his grandmother's scrapbooks which contained photos of UFOs, obituaries, and the Loch Ness monster. Martin also said he and his family lived with a ghost.

“We named him Charlie, and he would leave stacks of pennies around the house,” Martin said.
Martin said that doing research was difficult when he started investigating.

“I had to go to the library to find books about ghosts and I ran into a lot of dead ends,” Martin said.

Martin said he has investigated many haunted areas in Spokane, including the 1000 Steps in Greenwood Cemetery.

“When I listened to the tape, I got a recording of someone laughing behind me,” Martin said.

In addition to ghost hunting, Martin works in radio and is a member of the charity groups, Stars Wars: 501st Havoc Squad, and Spokane Ghostbusters.

“It was just another way to do charity events,” Martin said. "We've only been around for three months."

Taylor Dewitt, 14, is the newest recruit for the Spokane Ghostbusters.

“I’ve also done a little paramornal investigating on my own,” Taylor said. “I’m hoping to get more into it.”

Shannon Potradz, a member Spokane Ghostbusters, has went with Martin on investigations.

“They call me the skeptic, but I want to experience something,” Potradz said.

Martin is going to San Diego for the Comic Con. He is staying at the Horton Grand Hotel, which is supposedly haunted by a poker player, according to Martin.

“He was shot while trying to run out with the money,” Martin said.

Although he usually finds nothing when he finishes an investigation, Martin said people are thankful that he showed up. He also said he doesn't charge for his services for ghost hunting.

“A lot of people want reassurance that there is nothing there,” Martin said.

If you are being haunted by a ghost

According to Martin, if someone thinks their house is haunted by a ghost, one technique they can use is rearranging the furniture.

“Ask if you may have moved something, or if there is any weird wiring in the house,” Martin said.

Martin also recommends using sage, or simply telling the ghost to vacate the house.

“Go into a room, make it silent, and tell them to leave,” Martin said. "But be careful if you say you miss it, the spirit may come back."

Ghosthunting equipment

Infrared thermometer - $39.99
Electromagnetic field (EMF) detector - which is can be found on Ebay for as low as $30
Candles - 99 cents - $19.99
Video camera - up to $90
Audio or digital recorder for noise or Electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) - $40- $256
Flashlight - $3.99 - $60

While investigating

One thing Martin suggested when going on a ghost hunt, was to be skeptical of everything.

“A lot of times you aren’t going find something, but when you do, it’s like a roller coaster,” Martin said.

Martin also said to respect the spirits by telling them they there is someone taking pictures and audio recordings.

“They still see this place as their home,” Martin said. “You wouldn’t want someone to just walk into your house without telling you why they are there.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

A helping hand

A fighter's identity

A fighter's identity 

Al Stover / Reporting, Images, and Production

A fighter's identity

Rick "The Pitbull" Welliver is a former pro boxer is the owner of Spokane Boxing and Martial Arts. This is his story from his transformation from pro to coach.

related links:
Rage in the Cage
Storycorps:  My Daughter the Champ: Raising a Boxer

Fridays with Dostoyevsky

Fridays with Dostoyevsky

Al Stover / Reporting and Photography

This story was published in Issue 41.3 of the SFCC Communicator

Frankie Viner sits at the table as students pass by. In front of her are paperback copies of Virgil’s Aeneid, Dostoyevsky’s The Devils, Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, and Melville’s The Confidence-Man.

Viner, a second-year student, is just one of the members who is a part of SFCC’s Lit Club.

SFCC English Instructor, Ryan Simmons is currently helping Viner and her fellow club members get the Lit Club off of the ground. According to Simmons, the Lit Club is essentially a book club for students.

“It gives students who are interested in reading an opportunity to connect with like minded souls here at SFCC,” Simmons said.

According to Viner, the Lit Club unofficially began last spring quarter with six members who met every other Friday.

“We (had) read some great books in class, and we decided to get together and discuss them,” Viner said.

The Lit Club has already read and reviewed The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and The Cave by Jose Saramago. The club picks its selections by first having members suggest what books they would like to read, then putting them to a vote.

Adam Bradley, a second-year student, said Viner recommended the club to him.

According to Derrick Annis, the Editor of the Wire Harp, the club’s membership increased after Club Day.

“We had up to 25 (people)who are interested so far,” Annis said.

Natalie Lester, a second-year student, said discussing literature with other people has helped motivate her to read more outside of school.

The Lit Club had their first meeting of the school year Sept. 24 where they wrote up their constitution and submitted it to the Activities Board. According to Viner, the constitution is currently under review.

“We should know within the next few weeks,” Viner said. “After the review we’ll be added to the agenda and receive a budget.”

According to Simmons, the Lit Club has already begun to brainstorm ideas for activities and events for the year.

“Field trips to literary readings, or sites, book drives, and a fundraiser or two,” Simmons said.

Viner said one focus for the Lit Club in the first few weeks is to discuss and vote on reading selections suggested by new members.

“We’ll see what books they want to read and take a vote,” Viner said. 

Rage in the Cage

Rage in the Cage

Al Stover / Reporting
Jarad Alexandar / Photography
published in 41.4 of the SFCC Communicator

The gymnasium smelled of sweat and pizza as fans filled the bleachers and seats surrounding the six-sided cage. On the opposite side of the room, 22 competitors were preparing themselves for battle.

Northwest Fighting presented Spokane Showdown 18. The event took place on Nov. 7 at the East Central Community Center. The event featured 11 mixed martial arts bouts in front of an audience of all ages.

The main bout of the evening featured Austin Peaker defeating Charlie Shultz for the Northwest Fighting Lightweight Title.

Peaker locked a rear naked choke on Shultz a minute into the first round, forcing the champion to submit.

Peaker, normally a welterweight fighter, explained that he trained hard with his gym and coaches to prepare for the fight. He also said he had never seen Shultz fight before their match.

“I had no idea what to expect,” Peaker said. “I was a little nervous.”

In addition to crowning a new champion, Showdown also featured a women’s MMA bout between Krista Burleson and Kristin Phares. Bart Smith, the event’s promoter, said this was Northwest Fighting’s first women’s fight.

“The girl fights are hard to put together, but they are a crowd favorite,” Smith said.

In the first 20 seconds, Burleson reversed Phares’ take down, mounted her and delivered several strikes to the head. The referee stopped the fight 23 seconds before the end of the first round, declaring Burleson the winner.

Phares, despite losing, was energetic about competing in her first MMA bout.

“I really enjoyed it,” Phares said. “I’m gonna keep doing it.”

The crowd was filled with friends and families of the fighters who competed on the card. Julie Eldred, whose 19-year-old son Justin was fighting for the first time, said she was a nervous wreck watching her son compete.

“There are 25 people here (to cheer) for him,” Eldred said.

The first match on the card featured Roni Ghuman from Kent, defeating Bo Berge in the first round with a rear naked choke. Ghuman said that while he was both excited and nervous, he still remembered his game plan.

“I had to keep it standing and avoid the ground,” Ghuman said.

Three of the fights at Showdown were finished in less than a minute. Welterweight fighter Mike Soderberg knocked out his opponent Brad Roberts fifteen seconds into the first round of their fight.

In addition to the MMA bouts, Showdown featured a grappling exhibition. Northwest Fighting will have their next event Dec. 5 at the Main Event, 8108 N. Division.

Twiss speaks at cultural series

Twiss speaks at cultural series

Al Stover / Reporting
Rachel Fortney / Images

At 18 years old, Richard Twiss found himself a part of the arson squad during the takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building, waiting for the order to burn the building to the ground.

This was one of the stories he shared as part of SFCC's Cultural Series. Twiss came to SFCC to speak to students and staff in a two-part lecture about diversity and being a loving neighbor in an ever-changing cultural society.

Twiss, a member of the Sicangu Band of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux Tribe, used stories and life experiences to explain to students how they could be better human beings and neighbors to everyone else on the planet.  He also stressed how being human means appreciating diversity.

"Diversity is difficult yet it's also beautiful," Twiss said.  "It is not a one-sided deal."

Twiss used the example of the difference between learning how to ride a bike and experiencing it as a context to understanding diversity.

"In the east, you can't say you know something without experiencing it first, this is similar to diversity," Twiss said.

Twiss also had the audience practice an exercise where they said they were "ethnocentric, narrow minded, with limited vision."  He said the limited vision comes from the language people learn and the place where they grow up.  He added that he did not realize he was ethnocentric until he married his wife, who is caucasian.

"When you are in a relationship with someone who is different, they will show you how ethnocentric you are," Twiss said.

One belief Twiss said has helped him become a better human being and neighbor, is what he described as the Seven Generation continuum.  He explained that he learned from the previous three generations but also suffer the consequences of their actions.  Twiss said he considers his choices will affect the next three generations.

"I imagine they are with me and they are helping me make better decisions," Twiss said.

Twiss also spoke about traveling to various parts of the world and learned how different countries revered and respected Native American culture and history.  He played a video of himself and his son going to Irsael and interacting with other ethnicity cultures in different rights of passage ceremonies.

"All of these people would say they are followers of Jesus and living as human beings," Twiss said.

Esther Munroe, 22, said she loved how Twiss had traveled around the world and learned the ways of different cultures.

According to Activities Vice President Ricky Sullivan, Twiss was brought in at an all inclusive rate for $2800 out of the cultural series budget.  Sullivan said he brought Twiss to SFCC after seeing him speak at a conference.

"I thought his information would be useful,"  Sullivan said.

Twiss is also the founder and president of  
Wiconi International, which is an organization that bridges the gap between the beliefs of Jesus Christ and native culture.

He has traveled to different countries, learning different religions, including Hinduism, Islamism, and Buddism, and is currently writing a dissertation where he interviewed 420 people about being spiritual in this age.