My friends have teased me all my life when I pick up a handful of earth and state, “I can almost feel the footprints of those who walked before me in this.” I began making women’s historical clothing several years ago and one thing led to another. After most of my adult life spent fascinated by the state I live in (Kentucky), as well as and Ohio River Valley’s bloody history, I decided to share it with others at the encouragement of distant cousin and friend, Sherri Brake-Recco, a well-established paranormal tour operator. I believe my Appalachian roots have been a huge influence in my love for the past and my need to tell its stories. An elderly family member has declared me the “bard of the family,” which I find amusing and an honor at the same time. My base has begun in lovely historic Madison, Indiana and extends into the Bluegrass across the river. My tours are historical interwoven with tragedy, oddities and research of reports of ghosts and what historical events may have caused their unrest, as well as cemetery symbolism tours. I have always felt a strong connection to the past and I offer a “travel-back-in-time” style that takes people into the everyday life details of what it was like to live during a cholera epidemic, what living as a frontier-person in early Kentucky was like, etc.; thus, the name I chose for my tours of A Step Back in Time www.astepbackintime.net.
I am married, with a grown, gone and now-married lovely daughter and a grandson. I live on 32 acres in Trimble County, Kentucky, where I am an avid lover of the land. My hobbies include cavity nesting birds/bluebird trails and monitoring their boxes, vegetable gardening, creating habitat for deer, rabbits, turkey, frogs and other wildlife, and sifting through ruins of old houses I find along roadsides (there’s even one in my woods). When my daughter was younger, we took unusual shopping trips, often finding ourselves in antique shops where I’d feel the grains of wood and have to handle items and she would roll her eyes and say, “You’re not interested in anything unless it’s old or dead.” HA, HA!
20 Questions with Autumn Kruer
1. Where do you see ghost hunting and Paranormal groups, web sites or Ghost information, tours, Books Paranormal Radio and Television in 10 years?
Probably decreasing. Television has made it “in.” There will always be a core group of people who find the unusual, historical, mystical and unexplained interesting, though.
2. What would you personally consider to be the definitive proof that ghosts are real?
Historical data combined with unexplained events experienced by multiple people, including skeptics. The more skeptical, the more I find credibility. Personally, I’ve always felt a connection to people of the past
3. What is the most real evidence you personally have uncovered so far?
Evidence? I am not sure there is true “evidence” yet, but more experiences, probabilities and hypotheses. Again, I’m most interested when skeptics see, feel or hear the same things that “believers” do. That always catches my attention that an entity probably does exist.
4. Are you skeptical of the claims others make of their findings?
Yes, some of them. I think some people see a ghost on every corner because they want to. Many “orbs” have been proven to be a reflection of light, particularly with digital cameras.
5. If you could investigate your "Dream Haunted Hot Spot" where would it be?
6. What was your first Paranormal encounter?
When I was 14 years old my horse flared her nostrils and snorted in terror, refused to walk by the ruins of a very old house and barn in Oldham County, Kentucky and shied, stepping sideways until we were past them. My sister’s horse, riding right next to me, did the same thing. Both were very even-tempered horses. The ruins of the house were a known local haunted hotspot and both my sister and I felt our hair stand up on the napes of our necks. The horses again shied at the same spot on the way back and we both saw a fleeting, human-sized shadow in the loft of the barn.
7. What scares you about Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigations?
The ridiculous, i.e. people who think you’re opening Pandora’s Box or something by even suggesting a place may be haunted.
8. If you could work side by side with one of the Paranormal Investigator greats, who would it be?
Sherri Brake-Recco, of course.
9. Read any good Paranormal Books lately?
No, but I do enjoy reading various accounts online. I do hands-on study, mostly of historical accounts of unusual happenings and reported haunting's and prefer first-person discussions of those who have experienced them while gaining my own impressions.
10. What Question do people ask you most when you tell them your a paranormal investigator?
The most common question? Hmm . . . “Why do you like hanging around in old cemeteries so much?”
I do not claim to have The Sight or to really even be a “paranormal investigator,” but more a person who has always felt an extremely strong connection to the past. I share the stories and the history of haunted places. It is a love of history and people of the past that intrigues me, including their spirits. People find that interesting, as they learn something about the tragedies of history and the probabilities of why a spirit cannot let go.
11. In your opinion, Where is the most Haunted city in America?
Savannah, Georgia or New Orleans, Louisiana.
12. Do you feel more people should get involved with Ghost hunting or Paranormal Investigation?
Only if their interest is genuine, they have a true passion for what they are doing and they research their subjects well.
13. What does the future hold for you?
Doing what I love, which is sharing unusual history, places that are haunted and overall taking people on a journey through the past.
14. Paranormal Conventions do you see them growing? And which ones are the Must go to ones?
I envision them remaining about the same. None are a Must for me, as I do this because I love sharing my love for the past. For me, conventions take up valuable field research time.
15. What is your most favored tool of the trade?
Knowledge and deep study on a local level of the history of each place that is thought to be haunted. Know thy history!
16. Tell us about your best moment in investigating or conference attending for you?
The best moments have been when I find a missing link that ties everything together. For example, a long-hidden family tragedy that explains reports of a presence.
17. What is the hardest part about being a paranormal Investigator?
Reputation; others thinking that you are doing something evil by acknowledging the thin line between the past and the present.
18. How do you document your investigations?
Formally, I don’t. I personally keep a large notebook of old paper clippings, notes and research.
19. Have you ever taken a ghost Tour OTHER THEN YOUR OWN? And, What about it did you not like?
Yes. Theatrical corniness would be the only negative, but it was entertaining.
20. What in the field of ghost hunting and Paranormal or Haunted Ghost Tours needs the most attention?
I think tour operators should know their subject, their area and the history VERY WELL. Just pointing to haunted “hot spots” doesn’t cut it.
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