About API

Archer Paranormal Investigations (API) consists of a lawyer and a flight attendant, with rotating camera and tech people. We predominately investigate residences; however, we will consider any location. We never charge a fee for our services.

A Yeti Is Just a Yeti Unless It’s Really a …

Eric Shipton's Yeti

Eric Shipton’s Yeti

A Yeti Is Just a Yeti Unless It’s Really a …

The search for the Yeti took a step backwards last month. Daniel Taylor, whose interest in the Yeti was sparked by the infamous 1951 photograph by Eric Shipton, spent 60 years searching for the creature that made the 13-inch imprint in the snow all those years ago. Taylor’s new book, Yeti: The Ecology of a Mystery, provides a new—yet believable—answer to the question: Where have all the Yeti’s gone?

People are fascinated with Yetis, Bigfoots (North American version), and Sasquatches (Canadian version). This is merely semantics since all of these names refer to the same creature. “Yeti” is the Himalayan variety. It’s also called the Abominable Snowman, since it is sighted in snow-covered areas. While setting up foundations protecting the environments they may inhabit, Taylor dedicated his life to locating these humanoid creatures.

DNA testing was attempted to identify this new animal/beast/creature of the snow. It was initially incomplete and abandoned when the researchers learned there was a link with bears. I suspect that since the initial findings didn’t fit with their theory, they dismissed the sample as contaminated. That’s unfortunate. New analysis was completed and the results conclusive.

Nearly every culture has a large, hybrid man/animal creature story. Usually these creatures are classified ape-man, denoting the bipedal mobility of the creatures. One possibility that hasn’t gotten much attention: bears that walk on 2 legs. Until now.

Himalayan Brown Bears, also called tree bears or vegetarian bears (they predominantly eat fruit and are actually omnivores), live in isolated areas in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tibet and walk on two legs. The hair samples that were analyzed came back belonging to these bears.

This doesn’t end the debate on whether the Yeti exists. It merely means that the evidence found doesn’t belong to a Yeti. Keep searching—but remain respectful.

Taylor’s book is getting positive reviews. Check it out.


Little Evil Delivers Comedy with a Bit of Horror

Poster for Little Evil

Poster for Little Evil

Little Evil Delivers Comedy with a Bit of Horror

For those looking for a Halloween movie long on comedy and short on gore, consider the Netflix original movie Little Evil. Adam Scott plays “Gary,” new stepfather to 5-year-old “Lucas,” played by Owen Atlas. Gary is new to parenting and ponders where Lucas’ behavior is typical or demonic. Gary realizes his stepson may be the Anti-Christ and he’s not sure he’s up to the task of eliminating him. Writer/Director Eli Craig delivers a family-friendly horror movie that will have audiences laughing.

Netflix’s $7.5 million dollar gamble pays off. Released on September 1st, Little Evil marks the return of Eli Craig, whose low-budget film Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) became a cult classic. This new film is 75% comedy with 25% horror/spoof. Know that before viewing. The joy in the film is in finding all of the subtle references to other classic horror movies. Craig pays homage to The Shining (1980), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and The Omen (1976). But that’s only the beginning. Multiple viewings will yield more connections.

Bridget Everett steals the show as “Al,” Gary’s co-worker and best bud in the stepfather support group. Her performance is refreshing, not the anticipated stereotypical supporting role.

Craig updates the stale, overused generalizations that weigh down most comedy/horror films. Rated TV-MA for mature humor, Little Evil makes for a good movie night.

Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison, Review

Spirits of the Cage

Book Cover of Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison

The Witches’ Prison in England

Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison, Review

A witches’ prison exists in England. Actually lots of them existed. After the passage of two Witchcraft Acts (1542 and 1563), England saw a large spike in witchcraft trials in the 1580s. However, few prisons survived into modern times. One such prison did. The Cage is a small chamber whereupon a house was built—a private residence. Not surprisingly, it’s haunted.

Paranormal investigator Richard Estep recounts a week-long investigation at the infamous witches’ prison, The Cage, located in St. Osyth, Essex, England. Estep’s narrative follows in chronological order but is separated by personal experiences from the residence’s owner and co-author, Vanessa Mitchell. Illustrations accompany the 291 page book published this summer by Llewellyn Books.

Estep’s prose is pippy as his narrative flows guiding the reader through his team’s selection, arrival, and ultimately their investigation. The 4-member team remains inside the prison-turned-residence for a week, venturing out for smoke breaks, showers, and pub food. They were able to document their investigation, and Estep’s book provides insight into their week.

Estep has over 22 years of experience investigating paranormal activity in England and the United States. He’s highly personable and adapts to any situation as he seems nonplussed by obstacles. His British euphemisms provide a nice reprieve from the seriousness of the investigation.

Paranormal investigations are boring. Most of the time, teams sit and wait. Estep details how creativity helped energize the investigation, as the team tried various techniques to entice the spirits to communicate. The investigation is fascinating. He defines equipment and procedures while narrating events.

The text, however, suffers from too many rhetorical questions, which slows the narrative. Providing little purpose, these questions disrupt the visualization of the events forcing the reader to disconnect from the text and then reconnect to contextualize the situation. It’s annoying.

Unfortunately, this is not a history book. Further, readers should not look toward this text for historical accuracy. And that’s a shame. The historical inaccuracies or vagueness of key events that occurred in St. Osyth and The Cage could have been cured by noting sources or utilizing a historian. Two errors stick out. The first is that St. Osyth, if a real person, did in fact marry the man she was bequeathed to and had a son[1] named Offa King of Essex. The second is that Ursula Kemp’s remains have an interesting provenance. Most recently, her presumed remains were reinterred in a sacred burial plot in April 2011[2]. Both should have been considered for inclusion as it would add credibility to the legends and create an emotional fallacy as to why readers should care about these two women.

Though minor, the two errors diminish the owner’s story. Readers are left wondering how much she truly knows or researched about the popular haunted destination. Mitchell still owns the property, although it remains listed for sale. She wisely opines: “I feel lucky to have escaped….”

Buy the book, though. Estep concludes the book by interviewing other teams and individuals who felt the urge to investigate The Cage. Their voices add to the narrative. But buy the book because very few investigations are published. The paranormal community benefits from these publications.

Estep, Richard, and Vanessa Mitchell. Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., 2017.

[1] According to Catholic Online, http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4926.

[2] According to independent filmmaker, http://www.ursulakemp.co.uk/; news organizations, http://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/news/clacton_frinton_news/14218434.How_Guinness_loving_grandfather_kept_Ursula_Kemp_witch_legend_alive/; and blogs, http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/11/bones-of-witch-laid-to-rest-in-essex.html.

The Blackwell Ghost (2017)—A Fake Documentary

Ruth Blackwell, fictional ghost.

Ruth Blackwell, fictional ghost.

The Blackwell Ghost (2017)—A Fake Documentary

Sitting in my home in Atlanta, Georgia, I spent our Tropical Storm Irma days off flipping through my streaming services looking for something new to watch. Full disclosure: I’m a binge watcher. I will watch and rewatch favorite movies over and over again. It is safe to say that I’ve seen Jaws over 100 times. Same for The Shining. At least 50 times for Scream (not including sequels). I was overjoyed to see a new movie pop up: The Blackwell Ghost, a meh fake documentary but a good representation of paranormal investigations where nothing much happens.

Last year a video went viral. I ended up discussing it on a couple of paranormal radio shows. It featured supposed security footage of a hallway in a hotel. Paying close attention, viewers saw a white form cross in front of the camera. It was a fake—an obvious fake. Little did I realize that this video was the teaser for The Blackwell Ghost, another fake documentary.

Fake documentaries differ from mockumentaries because they are not a parody. Mockumentaries are parodies of real events. The 1984 movie This Is Spinal Tap kicked off a wave of mockumentaries including Best in Show (2000), Bob Roberts (1992), and The Blair Witch Project (1999). Mockumentaries are known to be fictional at the onset. Fake documentaries try to fool viewers into thinking the story is true. An excellent example would be Mermaids: The Body Found. This movie was pure fiction; however, it was not a spoof. The production intended to fool people. The same applies to The Blackwell Ghost.

This short film, clocking in at 59 minutes, profiles one man’s quest to prove the ghost of a female serial killer is haunting a small house. The movie opens with the viral video. The evidence mounts showing this to be fictional. First, the movie is not listed in IMDb.com. Both documentaries and mockumentaries appear in this vast database. A Facebook page exists with less than 5 entries dated either June 16 or June 21. A web address redirects to Amazon to purchase the movie. Essentially, this is a low-budget short film.

The “facts” don’t add up either. I searched Ancestry.com for a James and Ruth Blackwell residing in Pennsylvania during the 1930-1940s. The only couple is an African-American couple. I searched newspaper databases and Google for a female serial killer in that time period. Nothing. I even searched for death records from Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Still nothing. Conclusion: The movie is made up.

However, it’s still entertaining. As I’ve written before, most paranormal investigations are boring. Ghosts don’t perform on command. This movie shows how frustrating these investigations can be. It also highlights how two people can conduct an investigation. Support low-budget filmmakers and check out this movie.

Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDmE0zv2oo4

Is That a Banjo I Hear?

Tucker & Dale with Half-Body

Tucker & Dale with Half-Body

Is That a Banjo I Hear?

Eli Craig’s 2010 cult classic Tucker and Dale vs. Evil features two hillbillies, played by Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, heading out to fix up their waterfront vacation house. The house is an abandoned cabin set deep in the West Virginian woods. While loading up on supplies, “Tucker” and “Dale” encounter a large group of college students heading out on a camping trip. Queue the banjos. Not so fast. As NPR’s film critic Ian Buckwalter asks: … “what if that banjo were just a bango?” This limited-release feature film upends the horror genre by injecting comedy into the plot.

A group of college students rely on stereotypes and mistake a couple of mountain men as serial killers. Through continuous miscommunication, the college students get picked off much like students in another cult classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Make no mistake, though, this is not a spoof or a reboot. The film stands on its own and deserves the favorable reviews it has garnered. Read some of them here:

NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/29/140854152/tucker-dale-vs-evil-deliver-ance-us-yall;

New York Times Critic’s Pick: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/movies/eli-craigs-tucker-and-dale-vs-evil-review.html?ref=movies;

The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/tucker-and-dale-vs-evil-29235.

Filmed for $5 million, critics doubted the viability of the production. The movie was a film festival favorite being nominated and winning a few special awards. Its release was limited; however, it really—like really—bombed at the box office. Ultimately, the movie exceeded the budget by earning $15 million with strong screenings abroad. It became an instant classic. With it streaming on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, the R-rated comedy/horror movie has become a solid cult classic.

In 2014, the sequel was announced. Asked last month, Tudyk and Labine reaffirmed their interest in a sequel once a suitable script is approved by Craig. Seems they’re up for another adventure. Queue the synthesizer.