Archive for January, 2011
Here is a quick tutorial (and guideline) for adding a location to the database. I have wanted to get the manual out there, but in the essence of time, I am just creating a quick article to get this posted to everyone.
Once you get into the hang of this procedure, it should only take about 10-15 minutes to research and add a location. Just keep in mind, you can always come back to a location and add more information at a later time.
Note: Please keep the following standards before the location is shown to the public (dba approved).
- Each location must have a picture.
- Each location must have the latitude and longitude coordinates.
- Each location must have at least 1 history record.
- Each location must have at least 1 paranormal claim record.
- The web address under the demographic information must be the official web address for the location.
- Each location should have a demographic rank.
The following are optional items:
- Official web address.
- Phone number.
So here is how I do it:
Find the picture and save it to your desktop.
Once I find out a location name (either web, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, books, magazine… etc), I immediate do a web search to see if I can find a picture of the location. If the location is not a popular place, this can be tricky… you definitely want the right picture. Once you have the picture, save it to you desktop. (i.e. Right Click save as… )
Find the official website (if you can).
Now, 7 out of 10 times, when I find the picture of the location, I find the official website for the location. When you add the URL for the demographic information for the location, it should only be the office website for that location. If you cannot find an official website for the location… just leave that field blank. The reason is, when you look at the design of the website and database… naturally flowing, that should be the office website of the location. Not saying that if you find a website that is NOT the office website that you discard it completely… these should be added to the resource section or used as sources in the history or stories section.
Seek out the address.
If you find the official website, in most cases there will be the address and phone number for the location. If you don’t find the official website, you may have to dig a bit more to location the address and phone number. If all else fails, then just add the city and state.
Add the demographic information.
Once I have found the information in steps 1-3, I then start the record on PANICd. I go to the location page, and click on the submit a new location button. I enter the name of the location (Please be sure to use correct capitalization here) and move onto the edit screen. Here is the steps I use to enter the demographic information and it cuts down the steps tremendously:
- Upload the location’s picture first. This way you don’t have to save the information then come back to the screen.
- Enter in the address.
- Click the GEOCODE button (or enter the lat and long if you found that instead)
Calculate and enter the Demographic Rank:
- Name = 1 point.
- Picture = 1 point.
- Address = 1 point.
- Latitude and Longitude = 1 point.
- Phone = 1 point.
- Official Web address = 1 point.
- Now click the save information.
You will have to go back into the edit mode and dba approve if you are a database administrator entering the location.
Find at least one history record.
The first history record should be the history of the location. Save paranormal stories for later history records or for the stories section. As you read through the location page, the next logical information that should be found is the history of the location. The history information does not have to be long, just something that includes: who owned the site, when it was built, what purpose it served. In my readings of doing paranormal investigation research, they say that this is important since this information may help explain paranormal activity. A site should not be dba approved without a history location record.
After you find the history record, add it to the location by doing a copy/paste. Please be sure to perform the following while copying the information:
- Make sure you strip out all links within the text. You can do this easily by right clicking on the link and selecting remove <a> tag. In most cases, these links only point to pages on the website that you copy from and do not work once you copy it over to our database. If the links work, keep them. If they don’t, it is just good practice to remove them.
- You can include images if they work. If they do not show up when you view the page… just remove the images.
- YOU MUST INCLUDE A SOURCE – It would suck to be shut down for copyright infringement. Please include the source to your information, especially if you copy/paste it verbatim.
Make sure you DBA approve the history record.
Add a claim (or claims).
Realistically, you would not be adding this site location if there wasn’t a paranormal claim. So make sure you add the claims to the location.
A few notes about this, and this is important since I didn’t mention it in the beginning:
The paranormal claim is the main index for the evidence records; therefore, the claims should be short once or two sentences. For example: If you come across something like: Strange voices were heard, toilets flush by themselves, and shadows were seen. This would be three separate claim records:
- Some people have reported hearing strange noises.
- Toilets have been reported flushing by themselves.
- Shadows were seen in the (would be nice to have the area within the location).
- So in short, the more claims, the better.
If you have a large chunk of text, I suggest putting in the large chunk under stories, then go through and pull out the individual claim records. Under the stories you can cite the sources.
The stories section is designed the same as the history section. It is actually verbatim since I copied it from the history section, so the same rules apply here. If you have a paranormal story, I would place it under the stories section instead of the history section. If you have a story section that explains the history of the location, then place it under the history section.
Just make sure, you site your sources.
As you are performing your research, you may come across other website that refers to the location. Remember that our website is a collection of information for paranormal locations, so the more information the better.
As time permits, I will add validation to these forms, but for now please make sure you enter all of the information for the resources:
- Display As
This information is there for a reason, it is actually to give kudos to the other website in hopes they give us a link back, plus the more information we have for SEO the better. Even if it is redundant information… add all three things.
I know we have not started investigations yet, and I know we have not got other paranormal investigators on board yet… but believe it or now, this is the most important part of the entire database. This is what people are looking for, and this is how we are going to sell the website.
It just so happens, that Marianne and I did have some evidence when we started this project that I was able to add to a couple of locations. Funny thing is at the time we didn’t even know we had it… but I digress on that.
Here is how I find some evidence…. Once I have my demographic, history, and claims. I pop over to YouTube and do a search…. Example: tolomato cemetery paranormal evidence
You will be surprised what you find.
A note about video evidence:
When you add the video evidence, get the embed code from YouTube, not the link. Make sure the settings are no wider than 480px X 385px, and select the look of the grey background.
What I do is:
- Click the embed button.
- Take the check off the Include related videos.
- Check the second box for the grey/dark grey colors
- Copy and paste the code into the embed code box
- Before I save the information… change the width=”640″ in the code to width=”480″ then add a description and save it.
This will keep continuity throughout the database.
Adding a comment about your location is a good way to get a conversation going… once we get more members, and traffic to the website.
Vote for your location.
Doesn’t hurt to submit your opinion about the location, and this surely will add to the location’s rank. Start off the votes but adding your own.
Make sure all is dba approved.
Once all is said and done, go through all the records that you have added and make sure that they are all dba approved. I am working on a quicker way for database administrators to do this… but if they are not dba approved, they will not show to the public.
As you view the location information, you will notice an entry under the Database Summary called Demographic Rank.
The demographic rank serves two purposes. The first, it tells the database administration team, how much demographic information has been collected for the location, and second, it aids in the calculation of the database rank for the location.
Here is how the demographic rank is calculated:
There is a total possibility of six points for this indicator.
- Name of location = 1 point
- Photograph for location = 1 point
- Street address for location = 1 point
- Phone number for location = 1 point
- Web address for location = 1 point
- Latitude and Longitude for the location = 1 point
As mentioned above, the demographic rank also contributes to the calculation of the database rank for the location.
The demographic rank will be calculated and entered by the database administrators.
If you have a Word Press account on a blog, you easily setup Word to easily publish your document as a Word Press post. (Your Word Press administrator must turn on the XML-RPC option within the Settings/Writing section of the blog for this to work correctly). To publish from Word:
The first time you will have to setup your account. Do this by:
- File New Document and Select Blog Post.
- These click on Manage Accounts
- Click on New
- Under Blog Provider, choose Word Press
- Click Next
- Enter http://www.panicd.com/articles/xmlrpc.php under site location
- Enter your username (YOU NEED AN ARTICLE USRENAME AND PASSWORD, supplied by PANICd)
- Enter your password
- Check remember password (or you will have to enter it every time you post)
- Click Ok
- Word will then go out and establish the connection to Word Press and notify you that the connection is good.
- You only have to do this the first time.
- Enter your article.
- Enter a title
Select a category by:
- Clicking on Insert Category at the top.
- Select the appropriate category
- You can insert pictures into your article as well.
- Once you are ready to publish, click on the publish button.
From this point on, you only have to do the New/Blog Post and select your account. You will not have to establish your account again.
When I began my research into the paranormal, I was not driven by the quest to find out the truth. I wasn’t even driven by a concern to debunk paranormal facts. What I found was that I was driven to find out more information. I focused on the pursuit to research the claims, the evidence, and to collect as much information I possibly could about the paranormal. The more information I found, the more I wanted to find.
It was like trying to solve a puzzle that could not be solved, because for every book, webpage, or article I would read explaining the existence of spirits, I could find another one that would totally present the total opposite argument; which in turn would put me right back at the beginning. It was like an obsession.
After a few weeks of “spinning my wheels” so to speak, trying to find that one piece of evidence that would just explain… “Yes or No”, I finally had to make myself stop and ask… “Could it be possible?”
Could it be possible that there is the existence of spirits that walk this planet with us?
Well, let’s explore that for a moment. First, I believe in a higher power. I belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and I also believe that our time here on earth is somewhat of a training session for what we have to come after we leave this world. With this belief, I had the confusion as to why spirits would stay here and not move on to the other world. Why are they here?
This confusion and conflict is based on the fact that, as we are reared by our parents, we are conditioned and exposed to the beliefs of our ancestors. The same living situations, the same traditions, and the same religious beliefs; my childhood was no different. Our family believed that we go to heaven if we are good and if you are a bad person you go to hell… there was never mention or talk of the possibility of the spirit world on earth.
These beliefs where not changed by my research, but it was more of adding to the understanding of them.
The conclusion that I have come to in my mind is that, if a person’s soul (or spirit) is destined for another place when “their time has come”, what if… their timing wasn’t right? What if they were taken from this world too soon, and they missed their opportunity to move on? Could this explain paranormal activity?
Also, what if they were not ready to move on, what if they had some unfinished business to take care of before they could move to the other world. I have heard this before, but dismissed it; however, if you do open your mind and look at the research in a different light, you can find a common connection.
So in conclusion, this is why I entitled this article… To believe or not to believe, this is not the question. The correct question is; do you have an open mind?