The latter part of 2011 hit the Luminus Veritas Team with a host of obstacles to overcome. However, with a new year we are once again open to cases and will be re-establishing our online zine Paranormal Portals as well.

If you are in the Gladewater, Texas area and would like to attend a lecture by Director Samantha Tiner, there will be several of these meet and greet events taking place over the next few months.

Our First Meet & Greet Event

When? Friday January 20th, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Where? : Mammie’s Country Candles & Curiosity Shop at 216 W. Pacific Ave Gladewater, TX 75647

Space is limited and reservations are recommended for this event. Reserve by emailing Luminus Veritas Investigations  at luminusveritas{at} gmail dot com. Alternatively you can stop by the shop and speak to the guys there.

This one to two hour presentation will introduce attendees to the field of paranormal investigations and research as well as allow audience members to ask questions, hear about past cases, and speak with investigators on hand. This is also an opportunity to hear goals of the research team for the coming year and find out how you can help.

Also, we are once again taking on clients. Email luminusveritas via Gmail with contact information if you would like our assistance.


Jefferson, Texas

While researching this historical hotel in Jefferson Texas, things seem to be a bit strange indeed. While, officially, the hotel takes no position or conveys information about the alleged paranormal activity, many of the staff will gladly tell you of their personal experiences with things they have witnessed as well as other guest’s encounters within its walls.

While there seems to be no official record of when the hotel opened, all information that was obtained in my research leads one to understand that The Excelsior House Hotel has been in business since 1855. It has been host to many  famous guests including Ulysses S Grant, Jay Gould, Oscar Wilde, Lady Byrd Johnson and rumor has it Steven Spielberg. As a matter of fact several of the rooms are named after its famous guests.

The Excelsior House Hotel

While the story of Diamond Bessie is a tragic one it seems that this murdered lady still regularly visits the Excelsior. Many guests have even left the hotel in the middle of the night, refusing to return due to the activity there. There are numerous claims about Bessie’s presence in the hotel including: that she has been seen in the upper hallway, pulling the covers from your body as you sleep, and even that she is said to steal the diamonds off of sleeping women’s fingers.

Another report involves the Jay Gould room, which is said to be the most haunted of the hotel. Reports of a rocking chair that will not stop rocking, cigar smoke that can been seen and smelt, a headless man that appears right outside the doorway of the room, as well as a woman in black carrying a child and a little boy.

Rumors abound in town about how Steven Spielberg and a film crew once stayed at the Excelsior. According to these unverified rumors Mr. Spielberg stayed in the legendary Jay Gould room. Checking into the hotel, he went up to the Jay Gould room with bags in tow. He then tossed his briefcase on the Victorian chair and it flew back at him immediately. Sometime after midnight he was awakened by a small boy that asked him if he was ready for breakfast. By 2:00 a.m. he awakened his film crew and fled the hotel; saying he could not sleep for the rocking chair that would not stop rocking. Oddly enough, this reportedly happened just before the release of his blockbuster movie Poltergeist.  Although I can find no evidence to the fact that he actually stayed in the hotel as is claimed.

While one guest reported phantom smells of perfume wandering the downstairs area, the night clerk said it was not the first time something like that had happened and was reported.

Main Lobby of the Excelsior House

So, with the chance of seeing and gaining evidence of a full bodied apparition in this quaint New Orleans style hotel with court yard, plantation type breakfast and fancy iron works seeming to be a pretty sure thing, this investigator is looking forward to checking this one out. I will definitely be reporting on my findings as soon as I do.

Jefferson, Texas seems to be the happening place for many ghost stories, and bumping into the past, on a pretty consistent basis. I have personally visited many times and love the area. Walking through town one truly gets a feel for a much simpler time. The spirits abound and the people are friendly. So, let us know if you decide to visit. We will look forward to everybody’s personal experiences while visiting there.

Till next time! Sleep tight!

It is no secret that there is a great deal of interest in the paranormal out there today. So many areas have no groups that investigate and enthusiasts everywhere seem to be stepping up to the plate in an effort to fill that role in their communities. However, once you’ve made the leap from being interested in the phenomena we are known for to actually stepping into the arena of becoming an investigating group there are many things that you need to consider in order to be successful.

For over a dozen years I have worked with various groups all accross the continental US. I’ve consulted, lead, formed, and  worked with teams. Some of those groups have continued success but many of them failed for one reason or another. So, I am providing a practical series of articles over the course of the next two weeks to help would be investigative groups get started on the right footing. Learning from my mistakes will help you to avoid common pitfalls that groups often find themselves in while stuck.

Starting a group is no easy task. In fact, be prepared for a lot of hard work and dedication. An idea will only take you so far, you have to set clear goals and act upon them to make your team work and become recognized in your community for the service you provide. It isn’t just showing up for the investigation. It entails much more than investigation and analysis to be successful.

This series of articles isn’t going to help those who are just starting a hobby group to try and play at being investigators. If you’re only looking to catch pictures of orbs, questionable E.V.Ps, and try to scare one another in the supposedly “haunted house” then, this series isn’t for you. However, I will say that those groups who follow my guidelines and consider questions that I pose will stand a much better chance of becoming affiliated with a more serious research group like Luminus Veritas.

So, you want to start a group. You’re excited, you’re passionate, you’re willing to put it together and get to investigating. Before you call up your friend, who is convinced he lives in a haunted house, there are some serious things that you need to consider.

Step One: What type of group do you want to be a part of?

There are various types out there. Which would you rather be known for?

  • Hobby groups go and check out local legends with cameras in tow and a voice recorder.
  • The Investigations Group is focused on technology, maybe even modifying their own equipment to try to get the best pictures, readings, and
  • The Research Group comes together to discuss local or well-known legends and stories then try to accumulate information about those stories.
  • The Research & Investigation group which is a combination of the two most dedicated groups.

For hobbyists, it’s easy. Get some friends together, keep it informal, and let the good times roll. However, if you’re looking for the other options, you have much more to consider to become a viable group.

Is there any interest in the community? It’s important to make sure that you have enough people interested in doing the “work” to sustain a group. There are plenty of independent researchers. Investigations and the data collected at them depend of verifiability. For much of the evidence gathered to be credible, you have to provide corroboration. Having a team is essential to this purpose. Yet, too many irons in the fire at first is only going to frustrate everyone involved. So it is important to keep a group intimate.

Having a way to gauge interest is going to be vital to deciding if you have what you need present in the community to start a group. Restaurants are great for meetings.

Group Meetings
Group Meetings

Step Two: Gauging Interest – The Initial Meeting

As a group organizer you’ll want to plan for a meeting for potential investigators and interested community members. Placing an ad on your local Craigslist is a good start. Alternatively, if you are a member of any message boards or forums, often you can start a thread and invite locals to contact you there. Doing this first will enable you to have an approximate number of people who would attend a meeting to discuss the formation and goals of your group.

Next, find a place to hold the meeting and plan in advance. Restaurants are good for this as many of them have banquet rooms that they can close off and then they provide refreshments if people want to purchase them. Avoid fast food chains for this however as the noise is not conducive to your being able to talk with potential investigators. You don’t want to be screaming over kids in playland. Libraries are often ideal as many of them have meeting rooms available for public use. A note of caution in planning: if you have ten people who say they’re interested plan on space for twenty when you talk to the restaurant or meeting venue.

At my first meeting of local paranormal enthusiasts here in Texas I used a friend’s botanicals shop. We expected about a dozen people for the meeting which I planned three weeks in advance having a potluck refreshment situation for the mixer portion. When we got to the shop, I was overwhelmed to find that even arriving early we were already at fifteen. By the time we started, we had twenty-six people signed in. We had people standing to hear the presentation.

Once you have a place booked, and have spread the word that you will be presenting information on a forming group for paranormal research in your area, its time to seriously consider laying out a plan for your potential group. This plan is what you’ll essentially be presenting to the potential members you’ll be meeting.

Step Three: Consider the Details

This has been a brief overview of getting started. There is much more to consider and we’ll be going over the different elements of that presentation in coming articles. So, don’t get hasty in planning until you’ve read the entire series. If you read them all, the outline and plan should be clear for you. You’ll also realize just how much work goes into creating and maintaining a serious group of investigators. But the biggest thing to think about before the next article is the dreaded budget.

Like it or not, every group will have expenses. So, you have to decide what the budget will be and how you intend to raise money for the group. Now I will go over this in more detail in another article but consider the following items before then.

How do you intend to purchase equipment needed? A thermal camera alone can price around $10,000.00 USD. Not to mention the endless supply of batteries needed for digital recorders, EMF & tri-field meters, cameras, flashlights, and the like. How are you going to provide transportation to a location? You will also need basic office supplies to keep track of cases. Things like file folders, back up hard drives, pens, paper, possibly a copier or at least a modest budget for Kinkos.

There are several ways to raise money and find funding that I’ll discuss in the next article about budget, group identity and the various needs that you’ll have to meet in order to properly function.



To further investigate why Jefferson Texas is considered the third most haunted city in Texas, we are going to dig into the legend of Diamond Bessie Moore, whose real name was Annie Stone. It is said that Bessie can be seen at night walking the streets of Jefferson and down by the river looking sad and bewildered and that she frequents some of the local bed and breakfasts and has specifically been associated with the Excelsior House hotel.

She was a petite, well educated, very attractive woman, with fair skin, jet black hair and beautiful blue eyes, who wore lavish gowns and expensive diamonds and was reputed to be a famous prostitute since the age of 15 who plied her trade in New Orleans, Cincinnati Ohio and Hot Springs Arkansas. The diamonds, she had gotten from generous customers and she wore proudly.

Diamond Bessie

Annie "Diamond Bessie" Moore

She came to Jefferson, Texas on a train via Marshall from Hot Springs with her husband Abraham Rothschild whom she had met there. It was rumored they were not husband and wife but, records have been found to prove they were in fact married, in the state of Illinois. It is a fact they did register as Mr. A. Monroe and wife at Brooks House in town. Where he addressed his wife as Bessie. Because of this, the townsfolk put the name Diamond Bessie on her. They could be seen strolling down Main Street and along the river together during their stay and throughout the town as they visited the area. With Jefferson being a bustling river boat port, not much is known about why they were in Jefferson but, it was felt that he hatched the plan to kill Bessie and sell her jewels sometime before coming into town.

Rumor also had it that he forced Bessie to prostitute on frequent occasions to bring him $50.00 a day to support his alcoholic habit. There were also rumors that Bessie was pregnant and trying to get Abe to legitimize the marriage and that is why he killed her to save his family from a scandal of a child born of a prostitute. Who knows why a man does what he does except to say that facts indicate that they had a very violent relationship. He was arrested once before in Cincinnati for beating her on the street. Yet, autopsy reports confirmed that she was not pregnant at the time of her death.

On the morning of January 21, 1877 Abe bought a picnic lunch. He and Bessie were seen heading down the Marshall Road out of town, and crossing a bridge into Cypress Bayou by Mr. Frank Malloy. Several hours later Abe returned alone. When asked about his wife at Brooks House, he claimed she had stayed to visit friends in Cypress Bayou. He was seen at breakfast alone the next morning and wearing some of Bessie’s diamond rings. On Tuesday the 23rd Abe boarded a train for Cincinnati with Bessie’s luggage in tow.

February 5th an African-American woman by the name of Sarah King was out collecting firewood when she came across the decomposing body of a well dressed woman, the remnants of a picnic around her, with a single gunshot wound to her head.

Abe was arrested in a hospital later that same month, where he was admitted for shooting out his eye with a BB gun due to an increasing alcoholic paranoia and an attempt at suicide, which ensued after he returned from Texas and was extradited back to stand trial. It seems Abe was the son of a rather prosperous Cincinnati jeweler and a family member of the European Rothchild’s. When his true identity came out, the trial became a rather big news story. The family hired as many as 10 high-priced attorneys to defend him, in an attempt to avoid scandal. Although he was convicted of the crime, where the evidence was said to be ironclad, his sentence was reversed at a second trial in 1880. When he was acquitted the citizens of Jefferson were dismayed as they had found a soft spot for the sad story of Bessie. After the acquittal Abe faded into obscurity.

Abe Rothschild

The townsfolk buried Diamond Bessie ,on whom they had pinned the name, in an unmarked grave in what is now Oakwood Cemetery. It was said that years later, an elderly man with a patch on his eye came to town asking to see where she lay buried. He thanked the caretaker for seeing that she was given a proper burial and paid him a sum of money to help maintain the grave. Rumor has it that it was Abe sorry for what he had done trying to make peace with Bessie’s ghost. Years later, in the dead of night a gravestone appeared for Diamond Bessie adding to the legend. It was found out later that E.B. McDonald had placed it there along with a fence surrounding her grave. It is also known that on the anniversary of her death each year, flowers mysteriously appear on her grave even to this day.

Needless to say, the tale of Diamond Bessie is well known to locals, as is a number of other local visitors who never left town. But that is another tale all together.

We will further explore another local legendary haunted tale, the one of the Excelsior House Hotel. It seems that Bessie does a lot to add ambiance to the Jefferson streets even today. It could be why the streets are cooler in some spots than others. Maybe, just maybe she tries to get your attention and get to know you. Who is to say for certain?

Till next time, Sleep, tight!

For more information on the Murder and Trial of Diamond Bessie Moore see  the link below.

Jefferson Texas Visitors Information

The field of paranormal research has been classified, by many an academic, as fringe science without validity. What fuels the increasing public interest in subjects under the umbrella of paranormal research? I would like to say that it is the mystery that is lacking in mainstream scientific research. The paranormal goes outside the scope of traditional science and continually explores the meaning of life, going beyond to ask if that life goes on after death in this physical form. For many, this is the ultimate mystery. It poses significant obstacles that require investigators and researchers to be resourceful and to provide new, and evolving, theories on what they encounter. Then it calls on them to speculate on explanations as to why it happens.

The unfortunate side of the interest level is that it cultivates a great many hobby groups who go into locations with their proverbial guns blazing with no idea of where to begin for a proper investigation. Reality shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and Paranormal State have made strides in giving information to these would-be paranormal scientists. However, producers are more concerned with ratings than with accurate portrayal of the investigative process.

The investigative process is actually very lengthy. The parameters established for Luminus Veritas are extensive and meant to be thorough so that we can offer the best possible evidence and explanations to our clients.

When a potential client first contacts us, we begin with basic interviews. We ask many questions about the activity, their background, personality, and even medical history so that we may establish any illness or medical factors to take into account. We also do a preliminary investigation that enables us to get baseline readings of the area in question as well as map out the location to indicate where activity is taking place.
From that initial investigation, we will do extensive research of a location. This includes a follow-up interview process with any potential witnesses that the client mentioned and gave us information for as well as historical data on the house. We’ll look for anything that could be linked to the phenomena that the client describes and we’ll also set up a date for a standard investigation.

In our standard investigation, you would experience much of what you see on television. E.V.P sessions, readings, filming, and photos would be taken by two to three different teams throughout the course of the afternoon and evening hours; while video cameras would be set up to capture any evidence. A designated investigator would monitor the surveillance video to alert the teams to anything happening visually to which they may not be responding. In addition, the monitoring researcher is sometimes called upon to make on the spot analysis of major incidents when they occur.

In what is considered the most tedious phase, our investigators analyze all of the data that we’ve collected. We transfer all of our verbal notes to transcripts taking notes on all the readings. In addition we watch all the footage individually from the investigation, listen to all the audio, and analyze all the photographs. Investigators prepare reports on their experiences at the location and what was found in the evidence captured.
As an example: an investigation that may have only lasted six hours while at the location, will take up to seventy hours to complete. In order to be thorough and meticulous with the evidence we must watch all camera angles separately, listen
to every recorder closely, and transcribe all the readings, notes and analyze photos. Ideally, we would have a large group and plenty of monitors for this task, but working with minimal equipment, this part takes time.

We gather any pertinent evidence to present to the client and the Team Lead, and Director or committee, will make a determination if another phase of investigation needs to be conducted. If so, we repeat the process for the site and analysis. Then, before we close a case, we do a small interview.

How a case closes depends on the client. Many cases are left open as people try to find ways to deal with their experiences. Those cases may result in a referral to local clergy, counselors, or service providers. Still other cases we may close entirely since we were able to debunk claims of activity and offer explanations to what they experience.

Whatever the result, we make ourselves available to the clients we work with. There are always additional questions and we do our best to be available to answer them. Our cases are topped with a final report from the Team Lead detailing the outcome and what steps were taken. We note our conclusions and opinions and then we will make an anonymous version of the file available in our database for general educational purposes.

Every case poses unique challenges. We always begin with minimal staff for our preliminary interviews and baselines; adding investigators as we need them to cover the area that we investigate. There are briefings to let our crew know what we’re looking for, safety issues, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. To cover ourselves in case of accidents, we make sure that we have signed waivers of liability. The document is what I consider one of the most important in my forms list. It keeps everyone in the clear should something violent or unexpected happen.

Our client’s confidentiality is a prime part of what makes our form of investigation work. While it is becoming more widely accepted, some are still not comfortable seeking out groups like ours for assistance. We maintain discretion and, at no time, provide information that can identify a client or their private property without their consent. This is why, in our database, you will find numerous references to John and Jane Doe and locations like 1234 Anywhere St.

In future articles, I will cover specific techniques, equipment, forms, and will do my best to address any reader questions that we get here on Paranormal Portal. If you have a question feel free to leave it in the comments or to email us at One of our investigators or myself will be happy to get back to you or to answer it here on the website.

To support our research and help a client in need of assistance, please consider making a donation. Every dollar goes to help us in our quest to educate and make our findings available to you. See our Donations Page for more information or use the donate button to the left to securely donate through PayPal.

by Amy Robbins

In the ancient Chinese port city of Penglai, a mystery blooms over the water.

The city, featuring a booming tourist trade and a rich history and mythology, is
known for its recurring mirages.  Images of buildings, people, mountains, and
lights fading into view and then vanishing into the air have been recorded for
centuries, prompting tale after tale of immortals and their mountain cities that
slip between worlds.

This occurrence had not been caught on video until 1988, when it was filmed by a
television reporter.  The mirage city was captured on film again in 2005, and
later in 2006.

The  footage of the 2005 mirage is spectacular, and records an event lasting nearly
two hours.  It began at 4:55 p.m. as a small hill on the horizon and three tall
buildings to the east faded into view.  One of the buildings took on the shape
of a pagoda with shining lamps while in the east, a cross could be vaguely seen.
The slopes on the archipelago shifted form to become a peaked hill, and by
5:30, a domed church could be discerned in an easterly direction.  The scene
continued to gradually shift in shape, at its most distinct by 6:20 before
fading completely by 7:00 as the wind shifted.

A  mirage occurs when the air density is higher at one level than at another,
causing the light to bend and create a reflective effect.  An “inferior image”
is formed below the horizon, a reflection of an object above it.  A “superior
image” is formed above the horizon, when there is a cooler layer of air below a
warmer one, bouncing reflective light upward, for instance to form the illusion
of a city on the ocean.

Of course, the site of such a fascinating phenomenon would spark the imaginations
of witnesses throughout the centuries.  Elaborate stories were told of the
vanishing cities and the immortals thought to reside within them, of the Three
Mountains of Immortality known as Penglai, Fangzhang, and Yingzhou.  The Eight
Immortals of Taoist myth were thought to have crossed the sea by throwing their
instruments of skill onto the surface of the water, creating a bridge made of a
bottle gourd, a crutch, a paper donkey, a fan, and other objects personal to
each Immortal.  In 219 B.C., a Taoist master spoke to Emperor Qin Shihuang about
the Immortal Mountains and the elixir of immortality thought to be possessed by
the residents of the otherworldly city.  He sent out numerous people to search
for the fabled city, but none succeeded.  The Emperor Wudi waited on the shore
for years for the mirage to appear, and built the city of Penglai as a balm to
his sadness when the city never took form before him.  Su Dongpo, known as a
great calligrapher, poet, and politician, is said to have encountered Lü
Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals, while in Penglai.  He sought immortality
from the Eight Immortals, and they acceded to his request, but he lost courage
when it came time to leap onto the sea.

It  is truly remarkable that one could witness such an event that has recurred for
millenia, written of in ancient records and recreated in folklore and colorful
legends.  Whatever one’s explanation for the phenomena that occurs in Penglai,
it is a fascinating curiosity that speaks to our imaginations of fantastic
worlds and possibilities beyond imagination.

Link and reference list:
PengLai Mirage Video, Part One
PengLai Mirage Video, Part Two
Visions of Immortal Life in Penglai
Penglai,Land of Fairy Tales
Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea
Eight Immortals of Taoism
How Mirages Work

Want to step back in time? If so and you live in the East Texas area, consider taking a trip to visit Jefferson Texas, listed as the third most haunted city in Texas as well as the fifth oldest city in Texas. Let me give you a little bit of the background of the city and maybe you will see why it is considered haunted.
The rich history of the town begins in the 1800’s when Jefferson was a mecca for riverboat traffic and a prosperous and influential city. It was one of the state’s biggest and busiest river ports and was reported to be the biggest west of the mighty Mississippi.The city was dubbed Queen of the Bayou because of the proximity to the swamps of the Cypress River.

Jefferson, Texas

Clock in Downtown Jefferson

Walking down the streets of Jefferson today is just like stepping back into time and the atmosphere is one of a much gentler era, one where manners and grace once were abundant. A time where everyone knew everyone else, the yards were filled with laughter from kids playing, and music could be heard on a warm summer night from one of the hotels or saloons. Upon walking down main street, you will get a sense of what life might have been like back then. Even on its busiest days of the year however, it is strangely a quiet place seemingly cut off from all the noise and bustle of modern life. Big oak trees surround the area and a gentle breeze seems to always be drifting through. The river is not a far walk from town, and that brings me to one of the reasons it is haunted. I will not go into great detail about some of the reported tales in this article but I will give you some information to pique your curiosity.
The most famous haunting is that of Annie Stone better known to townsfolk as “Diamond Bessie Moore”. She was murdered just outside the city and is said to still roam the streets, river bank and one of the hotels in town. You will see many things about her throughout the town, as she is now somewhat of a celebrity and they are proud to tell you the story and direct you to the spots where she has been seen. There is also the Excelsior House (Hotel) where she has been sighted and many strange things happen if you were to be staying in one of the rooms or wandering the halls at night.

The town has a surreal quality about it, as you can hear the clip clop of the horse and buggy that makes its way through the town, on the cobblestone streets, and a the lonesome whistle of the haunted train the “General Lee” as it makes its rounds telling the history of the town as it goes.

General Lee

General Lee

So whether you want to experience a time gone by or try and catch yourself a glimpse of a ghost. Try checking out beautiful Jefferson, Texas. If your really up for an adventure into the paranormal book you a room at one of the downtown hotels or a bed and breakfast. In my next article,  we will examine details of the hauntingly  sad tale of “Diamond Bessie Moore”.
Until then… Sleep tight.