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East Valley Paranormal

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What Does It Mean To “Ground Yourself?”

When I first started investigating I found myself in a strange place. Growing up, I very much believed in ghosts, psychic phenomena, and many of the other things that fell into the category of the “paranormal.” But having never had a definitive experience,  I was still of two minds: the stubborn skeptic and the willing believer. It only took one investigation and one evidence review before I began to understand what it felt like to connect with that ethereal world.

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But aren’t we all just a little Scully and Mulder from time to time?

As time went on our team began to investigate regularly. I kept a watchful eye on my own progress. What activity did I seem most likely to experience? How did my body react to places that were charged with paranormal activity? And while the phenomena ran the gamut (though there was a heavy focus on auditory phenomena), the way it affected my body stayed the same.

In places with high activity, I would feel lightheaded or a mild, throbbing head pressure. Sometimes, I would start crying for no reason. There was nor real emotion behind it, just a steady stream of tears (which is always fun in public places. Don’t mind me…I’m just crying.) A few of the spirits I grew to know well said hello by tugging on my heartstrings; literally. This would also evoke tears but these tears were connected to very strong emotions of gloom or just a general sense of being emotionally “touched.” Kind of like that Hallmark commercial that just gets to you.

Any time these things would happen Jamie would tell me “You need to ground yourself.”And while I knew it was a way to stop myself from getting all lightheaded and woozy, I feared it might lessen my sensitivity to the things I was experiencing. This,  however, is not the case.

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So! What does it mean to “ground” yourself? It’s really pretty simple. Grounding yourself means keeping a balance between your physical and spiritual bodies. Some of the symptoms you might experience when you are ungrounded include:

  • Dizziness
  • Daydreaming
  • A feeling of being ‘Spaced Out’
  • Feeling sick
  • Heart palpitations
  • Eyes flickering
  • Weight gain
  • Clumsiness
  • Static shocks
  • Falling asleep when meditating
  • Noise and light sensitivity
  • Forgetfulness
  • Having brilliant ideas that never happen
  • Arguing and unable to get your point across

At first, that last one didn’t resonate with me at all. But after giving it a moment of thought, I realized that there were many times during investigations, when activity was high, where I could barely form coherent sentences. My words came out all jumbled. I just couldn’t focus. Looking at that list, it paints a pretty good picture of what it’s like for me during investigations.

So…what do we do about it? The first thing I found that really worked for me was exercise. Before every investigation, it became my habit to go to the gym. I didn’t realize that I was developing my own little grounding ritual. All I knew was that my hour of cardio had become like a meditation for me. It would help me connect with spirit before the investigation even began. Sometimes, a bit TOO well.

I remember one time I was on the elliptical, chugging away, and I was completely overwhelmed by not one but several familiar spirits who all had separate messages for me. Why me? Because I was open to it. Why all at once? Because they rode each other’s coattails. Now, you would think that someone planning on ~hunting ghosts~ that night would be thrilled that they hunted her first but, I have to be honest;  it scared the crap out of me. I had never experienced something so focused and intense. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I do not consider myself a medium. But when you actively seek out the dead, you open yourself up to that communication and, unless you maintain the practices of someone who IS a psychic medium? You can’t always pick and choose when that communication will come through.

That experience helped me understand that “grounding” yourself does not lessen your connection to spirit. It improves it. It keeps you rooted in your physical body while you open yourself to the communication you seek. It strengthens you.

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While exercise was my choice for meditation, it is important to understand that all meditation helps to ground you. My belief in meditation was much like my belief in ghosts when I was growing up: stubborn skeptic, willing believer. I made a lot of excuses over the years as to why I did not practice meditation. It was boring. It was hocus-pocus. I didn’t think I could do it “right” so I didn’t bother doing it at all. But believe me when I say, any amount of meditation is better than no meditation at all. Five minutes of laying quietly and listening to your own breath can do wonders for you, ESPECIALLY when you live in a society that values ~more, bigger, better, faster.~ That world never resonated with me and yet I was too afraid to try something different. It took me years to allow myself the belief that I just wasn’t cut out for the fast paced, compact, traffic-filled life I was born to in Los Angeles. Now that I’ve accepted it, I see that no one is. And while, over these past few decades, there has been a lot of buzz about “being selfish” or “taking time for you,” it seems that, by and large, our lives still run us when it should be the other way around.

There are a lot of guided meditations on YouTube. I’ve never really used any of them so I’ll let you explore the options for yourself. But, I have to recommend, if you want to try a guided meditation, take a look at SageGoddess.com. Located in Torrance, Ca., this store is run by an incredibly knowledgable woman named Athena. She imbues everything she does with thought and great energy. And broadcasts rituals through her website. Don’t let the term “ritual” scare you. For each one she chooses a god or goddess from one of many pantheons. And even if you know nothing about the archetype she has chosen, she will educate you in good, old fashioned, conversational English. And she will talk you down into a very peaceful meditation that frees your thoughts and quiets your mind. The information she gives is interesting. It gives you something to think about and you never feel alone during the meditation. And no, I was not paid to write this. I’m just really appreciative of my experiences with her and her shop. They have gotten me through some very difficult emotional roadblocks and I am very thankful.

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Now that I have twisted your arm properly about meditating, I can move on to crystals. I can’t begin to tout the science behind them. I can tell you that crystals and minerals are like batteries, that they are supposed to foster a transference of energy helping you to create a balance. Again, this is an area where I find myself of two minds. But recently, I was swayed more towards willing believer. While at an event, I found myself overwhelmed with my own emotions as the room filled up with people. I could not stop crying. Tears streaming down my face, trembling. It was just too much. I HATE being emotional in public but all I could do was make myself as small as possible and hope to go unnoticed. Jamie was with me and she handed me a piece of garnet. And within a few minutes, I felt so much better. I was still crying but the panic died down. Now, I mention this because I have tried using hematite which is said to be a good stone for grounding. But it never really did much for me. Maybe I needed a bigger piece? I don’t know. All I know is that I could feel an immediate taking from that garnet. It helped balance me out so that, even though I was experiencing a welling of emotions, I wasn’t experiencing the side effects of worry, panic and fear over having such an outpouring in a public space. Even as I write this, I know that were I to read it, my instinct would be to snort at it with skepticism. But for those of you who suffer from panic attacks or social anxiety, could it really hurt to try?

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I hear the jaspers are great for grounding too.

This has been my journey to connecting not only to spirit, but to myself; to broadening my spiritual tool kit and allowing myself to open up to some of the more new age concepts that old patterns of thought are quick to dismiss. I argue that such dismissal is hubris. And hubris is something we should all be ashamed of. I’m including some links to a few sights I found while researching this post. One of them provided me with that list of symptoms. There is some good information about other things you can do to help ground yourself. Because you can never have too many tools!

Mojan.com

HealingCrystalsForYou.com

Healing.About.com

SageGoddess.com

 

 

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Jury Duty

My posture sank and my head hung low when I received the summons in the mail. Hadn’t I JUST done this? Apparently not. Of course I went through the usual reactions. I checked the date of the last time and while two years passed painfully slow in other regards, it FLEW by when it came to this. I didn’t ponder my excuses for dismissal long before I gave in, resigning myself to at least one long day of absolute boredom and some of the most effed up traffic one could plunge oneself into in Los Angeles.

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Just looking at it makes me shudder.

After playing my fair share of “You can’t get there from here” in Downtown LA, I arrived, relatively on time. Walking into the room where the potential jurors were held was like walking into the DMV without an appointment. I was met by a wall of energy from people who did not want to be there and it was rapidly joined by my own.

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This beast. *shakes head* The original courthouse was SO much prettier.

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Only thing that remains of this building is the original cornerstone.

I’ve been super sensitive to other people’s emotions lately. I was worried that being immersed in such a large gathering of annoyed, irritated, bored people might have some really uncomfortable effects. But I decided to give myself over to the process, seeking the nuances of the individuals rather than the overtones of the horde. And while it didn’t make my experience any less uncomfortable, it was interesting to tune into that discomfort rather than try to check out of it. Of course, no one wanted to be there. But what I found interesting was what felt like an emotional melting, a collective giving in to the process.

As the mouthpiece for the court took us through orientation, we were coaxed into further resignation by her keen mix of discipline, guidance, and humor. She did her job well. She spoke clearly and with confidence. She was patient but powerful. And as she walked the room through the process of filling out the paperwork, instructing us on where to wear our badges and what all the protocols would be, the horde coalesced into a cooperative mass.

The high notes of energy were easy to discern. Confusion over what all the words on the paperwork meant, panic over not having a pen with which to fill it out, that spike of fear that something will be confusing resulting in the individual getting called out of the pack and put on display for being “less than” or not good enough understand or follow directions.  But that soon subsided when the orientation concluded and brought us to the first break.

A soft din broke out over the room as people filed through the aisles, looking for a more comfortable place to be or heading for the bathrooms or vending machines. I knew where I wanted to be. The last trip to this same courthouse left me with indelible impressions of where my comfort zones were. So, up to the front I went, first to the bathroom, then the vending machine for my first crappy snack of the day, then to the cluster of tables by the entrance. Computer, phone apps, a book. I came prepared. And yet, I still found myself falling asleep like a third grader at her school desk, my head resting on my outstretched arm where my jacket would leave wrinkle marks on my face.

Still aware of the room, I could feel the energy around me. In fact, it was the energy and not the noise that kept me from falling completely asleep. The girl across from me, though reading a book, was as bored as I was. The guy next to me? A heavy breather, reading a book called “You’re 50! Now what?” The only people successfully distracting themselves were people who, I figured, were always distracted to begin with. The rest of us were waiting, on hold, a plucked string of tension vibrating perpetually throughout the room.

Beneath the general tone, there were still people who were scrambling. Even though they were sitting or standing still, I could feel them frantic on the inside. “How do I get out? How do I get them to dismiss me?” Truth is, with the system the way it is these days, you can’t. You really are just better off giving in. I had. And the decision to do so kind of made the scramblers fun to watch. The shifting eyes, the weight moving from foot to foot, the looks passed between others they recognized with a similar energy and hence, a similar goal. Little mice ready to scamper.

Just before lunch I was called for a panel. The judge had a clear but rather soothing voice. He was laid back. The case was small. One woman. accused, I kid you not, of “mayhem.” This is a real charge? I did not realize we were still living in 1880. I could, of course, feel her unease but, more so, distrust for all of us. And she particularly disliked the prosecutor who seemed confident that she would win.

Shortly after we were called in for interviews we had to take a long lunch break which was a sad bit of torture. Wait an hour and a half before you finish this job you don’t want to do at this place you don’t want to be. Sitting in this endless hallway of concrete benches and yellow light, the place was the height of 1970’s discomfort. The elevators can’t keep up with lunch time traffic so I opted for the snack bar upstairs. Mistake. Still, banana bread and pretzels are safe enough to keep me company in this place where the minutes prove so contrary. You want to leave? Tick……….tick….tick…. Finally making progress? Break time!

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Misery. Every surface is hard and cold in hideous hues of brown and rust. Tick…..tick….tick…..tick…..

Day two of jury selection proved no less frustrating. More of the same hurry up and wait. I was the last to be selected and the last to be dismissed. Instinct bid me flee like the building was on fire but I resisted the urge to rush. Like the rest of the experience, I decided to use it, observing all the things, walking a casual pace as I continued to sink into the feeling of being uncomfortable. The hike back to the car was ironically literal. Three blocks up Hill St. No lie. Even though I made it back to my car, I think the mountain won. I ached inside and out, every fiber exhausted. The high of knowing I did not have to go back made the rush hour drive home almost enjoyable.

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Do NOT let the grass and fountains fool you. They, in no way, take the edge off the numerous stairs! See that ribbon of silver building in the upper left-hand corner? That’s where we had to park. (I can hear the New Yorker’s laughing at me right now. But it’s true! Nobody walks in LA!)

Those two days I spoke only a few words, stepping inside myself to become that fly on the wall, tuning into individuals whose thoughts were as audible as spoken word. From scampering mice to the reluctantly resigned, I immersed myself in the people around me, listening to their fears, tasting their discomfort and watching them plan their escape.

Perhaps I was fooling myself, disassociating from my own experience by stepping into the pieces of other’s. But I guess we make that choice on a daily basis. We are limited in our perceptions. We have no control over this. The only choice we can make is where and how we focus our attention. If jury duty is our “civic” obligation, then choosing our experience is our personal obligation.

I woke up the next day with a hangover not unlike the ones I sometimes experience after investigations. (And my legs from the knees down were KILLING me. Thanks Hill St.) This feeling is not specific to dark, malevolent, or “demonic” energies.

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It is specific to opening yourself to a different kind of communication. It’s a result of tapping into the energy that fills a space. It’s something we all do to varying degrees. But when communicating with the dead, you direct the majority of your energy towards seeking out that which is not usually seen or heard. You are exercising muscles you don’t use as often. (Like that horrible walk back to the car exercised my poor calves.)

I’m glad that I can’t be chosen for jury duty for at least a year. It’s an exhausting and miserable adventure. And personally, I would rather have a hangover from interacting with the dead than spend another day in the chaotic energy of Downtown LA and her many courthouses.

 

The Danger With the Dead

Paranormal Investigating is dangerous. A blanket statement I’ve heard many times from many sources more specifically regarding the effects of actively seeking to contact the dead. But what does it mean? Where does it come from? Why and how should we heed the warning?

As someone who feels called to do work with the paranormal,  I have pondered this question for years. I have often heard: “The living scare me more than the dead.”  And a calm, methodical, and nearly emotionless approach to investigations is worn as a badge of honor by most investigators who are still struggling to be taken seriously in a field that is slow to yield “scientifically accepted” methods.e362ef3bd89172805e449b33a8f909d9

Most religions teach that the living should not seek to interact with the dead. Some go so far as to call it a sin. And these days, it is not only organized religion asserting that the danger is real.  Investigators both on and off television have gone so far as to say that “ghost hunting” has ruined their lives.

So…should we stop? I believe all things come down to finding a balance. For most of us, investigating is a passion. We would leap at the chance to make it our profession. We envision ourselves as the ones who can help bring more credibility to the field, to show the world that place ~where spirit meets science.~ I know I do. Because of this, we would love to believe that the supposed dangers are largely blown out of proportion. But that would be foolish and irresponsible.

There is an array of methods in the name of protection. From visualizing a protective bubble of white light, to saints medals, to crystals and smudging, an investigator’s kit is not complete without the tools that help to make the job safe. But what, exactly, are we protecting ourselves from? And how can we be sure our methods are correct?

A few weeks ago I had an interaction with a living person that shed some new light on this subject. This girl was a crater of desperation. She was desperate to be heard, desperate to be important, desperate to be validated. The need was so deep it bordered on panic.  She was a black hole looking for stars to eat…a sucking wound. Our conversation left me exhausted and obsessively pondering how I could have better made my point with her. The truth is, there was nothing I could have said or done to help her short of giving her everything she felt entitled to. Her whole world revolved around her. The rest of us were supporting characters in her drama.

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I don’t know what circumstances she has had to deal with in her life. And it doest matter because circumstances are neither good nor bad. Our outlook colors them for better or for worse. Her reactions created the person she is now. The same is true for us in the afterlife.

As I spoke with her, I felt more and more like I had to carefully choose my words to the point where I found myself silent for fear of saying the wrong thing and losing any chance of being heard. There was a manipulation at work, I was sure. But it was so fine that I could not identify the how or the why of it. It just yielded the feeling that the only right thing to say was that which she wanted to hear. It was oppressive.

In the days to follow, my thoughts returned not to the conversation, but to the feelings it provoked; anger, hopelessness, frustration, coupled with a need to go back and try again. Insanity. And I could see a clear correlation between what I had experienced with a living being and with what many people report when it comes to oppressive hauntings.

I believe there are many paths that lead to ghostly outcomes like a death so sudden the soul doesn’t realize it has occurred, but when there are reports of angry spirits, vengeful ghosts, the dead who attack, oppress and possess the living, it is no different than the girl I dealt with. Okay…it is SLIGHTLY different. She couldn’t follow me home.

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But take into consideration someone like that, someone who feels their plight is so desperate that they must resort to whatever means are necessary to get that which they need. As living beings we enjoy the relative safety of physical boundaries. You can see a person wielding weapons. You can log out, hang up, move away. But the dead have a whole other arsenal. Bodiless, they resort to energetic attacks and attachments. They prey on your nervous system, causing symptoms, the source of which remains a mystery. From depression and rage to physical ailments like heart attack, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases, something as simple as trying to get your attention can be harmful.

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Strangerdimensions.com

The souls who fail to crossover, those who are clinging in a futile attempt to hang onto   the things they had or the life they knew, are lingering in a world reflective of their fears and the negativity they attached to the circumstances of their lives. Some are trapped in their death states, others may be trapped in the mental illness from which they suffered, confused and looking for someone with which to share their pain. And since they cannot tell you, they might do whatever they can to show you.

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Many people believe that their interaction with the dead can’t be harmful if it is born of good intentions. But there is a cliche about that for a reason. If a spirit is lost to a perpetual state of fear and confusion, the offer of help may be enough to attract attention but might be too little to do any good leading to unwanted attachments for the investigator or increased activity at the location. It is like deciding to save a drowning man. If you jump in the water while they are flailing, there is a chance they will take you right down with them.

As with all jobs, paranormal investigating presents very real dangers. And it is up to the individual to decide what risks are worth taking. As for me, I choose to stay away from the darker locations: asylums, hospitals, places plagued with stories of malevolent or “demonic” activity. Investigating has helped me become more sensitive to the paranormal and I choose to be mindful of the situations I put myself in. I don’t pursue living emotional vampires in my daily life. And I’m not going to pursue the dead ones either!

 

 

Do They Visit in Your Dreams?

My parents have been dead for some time. My mom died first. My dad died a few years later. It took a while for my mom to make contact with me. I was pretty angry about it because we were very close and I was not prepared to wait years in order to hear from her again. Of course my expectations were unrealistic. I know now that when a loved one dies it takes some time to figure things out. There is work to do on the other side and I am sure there are protocols for contacting the living.

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My mom has never been good at the dream thing. She was more partial to being “the voice inside my head.” She was great at that from the beginning. When planning her, I guess you could call it “wake,” I wanted to line the mantle of the fireplace with pictures of he when she was young and performing on stage. I wanted them all in black frames but when I went to the store to get them, I was having a hard time finding enough to fit the pictures. In my head I could hear her: “Oh honey, you don’t have to do that. All this trouble is not necessary!” And though I knew it was her intention to take some of the stress off of me, her arguing was STRESSING ME OUT! I finally got fed up and said out-loud,”Mom! I know! Let me do this,” just in time for the sales clerk to ask if I needed help. I’m arguing with a ghost, dude. What do YOU think?

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She died after a long battle with breast cancer and I was her primary caretaker. The disease transformed our relationship. It broke us down and brought us together. When she finally started showing up in my dreams she was always sick. It’s hard to explain how I knew that the dreams were her attempts at contacting me. I guess the biggest clue was that I felt somehow removed from the flow and context of the dream. I would reluctantly go along with the images and/or story line waiting for “the point” because the things she usually showed me pissed me off. ~I~ knew she was dead. And even though I felt instinctively that she was using the experience of her illness to get my attention (because it was the only way she knew how) I remember that there was always a point in the dream, usually very early on if not immediately, where I would give her a ~look~ and say “You’re not sick. You’re dead.”

I know! I sound like a horribly impatient daughter! And, admittedly, I was! The only good thing that came from her death was the fact that neither of us had to deal with the pain and struggle anymore. The last thing I wanted to do in my sleep was revisit it!

Now…my dad was a different story. We were mostly estranged during the later years of his life. We had only been in contact for the last few and even then, it was only by phone. He was living in a different state when he died.

The first time I saw him in a dream, my mom was the one to bring him through. I had just gotten my first tattoo. It memorialized them. That night, my dad showed up. He had so much to say! He wanted to apologize for all the things and was eager to show me where he had lived out the last years of his life. You would think that I would have been overjoyed to get a visit from both parents. But forgiveness does not equal trust. The energy he put forth reminded me of who he was when he died. And it garnered a ~look~ to my mom who told me to “Just let him do this.” I understood then that this visit was for him, not for me.

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Of course, I acquiesced, if not a little reluctantly. I let him take me by the hand and give me a tour of the life he lived during our time apart. Mom stayed mostly quiet. She was aloft, somehow, her presence much more ethereal, like a shepherd watching the flock.

Dad’s visits weren’t always in my dreams. But, save for one particularly memorable incident (which I will likely write about in a future blog), my mom was always the one to bring him. Keep in mind that my parents went through a ~bitter~ divorce. But that divorce did not change or nullify the dynamic of their relationship. She was destined to be his guide in both life and death. Even though I knew that things were exactly as they were meant to be, I felt a little bad for her! Would she never be rid of this child she has to raise? Well, last week I think I got my answer.

Thursday morning I woke up from a dream. My Dad had visited. My reaction: “Huh! Interesting.” I got up, walked the dog, and, while making breakfast, began telling a friend about it.  Thank goodness I was talking about it over text because as I relayed the details, I found myself moved to tears which caught me entirely off guard.

The actual dream was brief but I realized that it was full of symbolism. I was leaving my bedroom and, as I tried to close the door behind me, it was pulled from my fingertips which caused me to stumble forward. I was on the verge of anger. My thought? “Is there another ghost in my room because I JUST SMUDGED!” (I actually did just smudge my room for reasons I’ll explain later.) Ready to deal with this disturbance, I flung the door open and, as I suspected, there was a ghost. It was my dad. He was standing next to my bed. I think I caught him just as he was materializing because one of his arms was not yet fully formed.  Really weird.

I paused for a moment, stunned, before I finally spoke: “Daddy?” I knew he was dead. He knew he was dead. And when I rushed forward to hug him, I expected him to disappear like some kind of cruel joke. But he didn’t. He stayed. He felt solid and real. And I remember thinking how odd my reaction was but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. I started crying and said “I miss having parents.” To which he replied, “I know.” And that was it!

As I relayed the simple details, I realized how much meaning they contained. The outfit he chose was from a time in our relationship before disillusionment, when I trusted him and saw him as my father instead of a child. It cut straight through my defenses and rationalizations regarding his ~many~ poor choices and it brought me instantly back to the foundation of trust on which our relationship had been built. Our very brief conversation represented my deepest grief, a grief which, as of late has been heavy on my mind. Most importantly, for the first time, my mom did not have to bring him through. He came on his own. He was responsible, had a purpose, was more mature. He had continued to learn and grow and he was ready to be my ~dad~ again.

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A week prior to this dream I was working in my studio. It’s the room (more like a glorified hallway) in between my bedroom and the back bedroom.  My brother came walking through to continue a conversation we were having. I watched him walk right by me, focused on my room. Out the other door he went at which point I said “Where are you going?” He stopped, looked back, blinked, then turned and looked at my room. Confused, he came back and stared at me. Apparently, he thought I was in my room. He thought this because he saw what looked like someone climbing into my bed and he assumed that someone was me.

Ghosts are not allowed to visit my room. I say that like it’s a normal every day standard rule of all households. And I get that, for most households, it is not. However, I have found this boundary necessary to set and to maintain. Rarely is it usurped. This is why I smudged my room. As I was doing it, I felt like whoever my brother had seen was not a random visitor. It made me second guess my wording. In the middle of saying: “Unless you’re my mom, you need to leave,” I stopped with the need to rethink my words. The feeling, though subtle, was notable. But I stood by my original boundaries. Less than a week later, I dreamt of my dad.

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Yes. I think that the shadowy visitor was him. I think he was trying to figure out the best way to get my attention so that he could convey his message. I’m glad he stopped trying to materialize in my bedroom..cuz..creepy. The dream was more real than any apparition could ever be. His symbol language was perfect; memorable and visceral. It will remain one of the most memorable interactions with “the other side” I’ve had.

Written by: Heather of EVP

 

Paranormal Shower

On Wednesday, Jamie and I (Heather) headed down to EVP’s favorite haunt, The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Ca. Armed with nothing more than our cell phone cameras, our goal was simple: to view the ship through fresh eyes.  Between changing lease holders and pending developments for the land adjacent, there has been a lot of buzz regarding the ship. Though we are privy to the now age-old and glaringly obvious issues surrounding Her care and maintenance, we wondered what the public, who know nothing of the battle over her treatment, see when they tour her historic decks.

Of course, a trip to the RMS Queen Mary would not be complete without an honorable mention for her resident spirits, of which there are many. However, this time, we also encountered some unusual energies we could not quite place. Before I continue, let me state that this story comes with no proof. For the skeptic it will be, at best, conjecture and, at worst, a fairy tale woven around delusions. But for the many of you out there who have visited the ship and come away with a sense that something strange is afoot, I think you will understand.

I’m not a psychic; however, I do tend to be very sensitive to energies and emotions, particularly when I am on the ship. And when Jamie and I are together, for whatever reason, it seems to amplify our receptiveness. (Jamie doesn’t identify as a psychic either but she totally is one. Sorry about it Jamie!)

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Wonder Twin powers…ACTIVATE!

Our team has been on many private investigations and we’ve made countless casual visits. The ship is active at all times of the day but when it is crowded, the energy of the living is like a buffer of white noise that sometimes makes it difficult to focus on which spirits may be coming around to say “hi.” It was nice to be aboard on a quiet day, left to stroll this familiar piece of history without the need to escape a million screaming children or to avoid the large tours.

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A quiet Promenade.

Our walk took us down The Promenade Deck where we were greeted by what felt like four men. I could feel their presence so strongly that they felt almost visible and I paused. It’s interesting but dismissible when you feel/see something like that on your own. But when you have a trusted friend with you who also sees it, it’s a relief. After years of dealing with this sort of thing I STILL wonder if I am crazy or making things up. And Jamie’s immediate acknowledgment of exactly what I am picking up on settles what would otherwise be an endlessly muttering argument that does nothing but cast doubts on my perceptions and degrades any further experiences.

The men were standing side by side, lined up and staring at us, their expressions unmoving and rather blank. Their clothes were dirty and their energy was heavy. It felt like they were lost. We concluded that they must have been related to the boiler room and moved on, asking that the spirits give us some space so that we could continue our visit without feeling like we were going to fall over.

Let me explain a bit. I’m sure that different people experience the paranormal in different ways. But our team has come up with a saying that we use amongst ourselves. We call it being “on the boat,” and, amazingly, it did not originate from our experiences with The Queen Mary. Originally, the saying was born from a very horrible cruise I took down to Mexico for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It think that “my grandmother’s 90th birthday” pretty much sums up my experience but, in case you’re having a hard time visualizing it, let me just say that it felt very much like this:

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Anyway, once I was released from the boat-prison disguised as a pleasure cruise and my feet were on solid ground, I noticed the most peculiar sensation. For several days I felt as if I was still on the boat. It took a while to regain my equilibrium. It was actually the best part of the cruise. As it turns out, this is also how it feels when our team comes into contact with spirits. When the energy is particularly strong, it can make you stumble like a drunk. And when we see each other doing this, we now ask “Are you on the boat?”

Energy came and went as we went about our day. We experienced a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar energies that, for the most part, were fleeting. However, neither of us could rid ourselves of the nagging feeling that the four men we first encountered were very out of place. Though we had dismissed them as having come up from the boiler rooms, neither of us were satisfied with this assumption. This may sound too ethereal for some but, it just didn’t feel right.

Towards the end of our day, as we ended our self-guided tour on R Deck in front of the entrance to the First Class Pool, we sat on the steps in front of the now defunct elevators, and began laying out our feelings regarding these gentleman. We concluded that, they could not get back to wherever they had come from, an unusual conclusion to reach for any of the ship’s own ghostly residents, most of whom, in our experience, can find their way with ease throughout the ship.

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R-deck. Original entrance to The First Class Pool

If those men had come from the boilers or engine room, was there something going on that would displace them? Wondering if maybe management was doing work in those areas of the ship we headed down to The Queen Mary Story which is housed close to what remains of those areas to see if it would provide us with any obvious answers. Much to our surprise, it did.

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Upon entering the lower levels of the museum, we were immediately greeted by a mess of what, at first glance,  looked like construction and some pretty chaotic energy. Turns out, a recent temporary exhibit, “Alcatraz: Life on the Rock,” had just ended.  The exhibit space now empty, they were in the process of breaking down the remainder of the sets and displays. I imagine that whatever artifacts they had on loan were already on their way back to the lender.

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As we sat there, feeling the place out and assembling the pieces of the day’s puzzle, we wondered if the four men we saw on The Promenade Deck had not come from the ship at all, but had instead,  arrived with the Alcatraz artifacts. Had they missed their ride home?

Of course, we couldn’t be sure but it felt plausible and likely that this was the case. None too creeped out, we were lucky that our next stop was an awesome metaphysical store called Sage Goddess where we were able to clear ourselves of any unwanted attachments. (Because really, who wants to bring home one or four Alcatraz inmates?)

I’ll taaaake THAT ONE…

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On second thought….

We mentioned where we had been, what we had encountered and the lovely running the store immediately got out the sage and smudged us. I do not know WHY we have never done this. I can’t count the number of times one or all of us have brought something home from haunted locations. We often wake up the next day feeling horrible; exhausted, used up, foggy, sore and depressed. Have we ever smudged ourselves? No. Downright irresponsible in retrospect. Why would we cleanse our spaces and not ourselves! It’s a paranormal shower.

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I dig Palo Santo wood because Sage smells like armpit.

We learned a lot during our latest visit to The Queen Mary. We saw her through fresh eyes, noticed details we had never seen, met a few surprising historical ghosts and, most importantly, we were reminded of how important it is to protect yourself when dealing with haunted locations. Even when you know a location well and her spirits feel like old friends ready to welcome you back, it is possible that surprises are lurking. So go in and enjoy your experiences but make sure you leave the ghosts behind!

Aside from the link to Sage Goddess above, you can also find Athena’s offerings in her brick and mortar in Torrance, Ca, OR on Etsy!

Learning to Swim

Well friends…another week has come and gone. And although I have a few posts in the cooker, I’ve decided to make this week’s a bit of a brain dump. Lately, my thoughts, as I am sure you can relate, have been reflective of the apparent state of the world. I’m not just talking about the multitude of negative stories that abound in the news and in social media. I’m talking about a general feeling of chaos that seems to permeate everything.

Personally, I live a life that is somewhat detached from the weight of the world. Not that it is devoid of heaviness. That could not be farther from the truth. But I don’t see any reason to add to my own issues by remaining relentlessly alert regarding the state of the union, so to speak.

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Up until recently, my online presence was very limited. There is safety in remaining invisible in an increasingly vocal and connected world. You can dive the depths of still waters as the information EAC rushes by, the sounds of battle muffled and sometimes altogether muted leaving you free to wax philosophical about life, death, and other intangible things. The unplugged perspective illuminates the bigger picture at a time when leaders are screwing up countries and technology is simultaneously saving the planet whilst destroying the world.

But eventually, you realize that you have something to say; that the life you lead and the perspective you have gained is valuable and could possibly help or inspire others. And the only way to put it out there is to put yourself out there; to dip a toe into that current and become visible.

So you mentally prepare yourself. You plan your dives before you venture forth into the sea of opposing opinions and frenetic news on a Facebook feed. You determine your privacy settings and filters and friends, and after carefully checking all your gear, you dive, confident that your entry will go something like this:

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…only to find, not long after, that you have been sucked into the void and it feels a whole lot like this:

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I can’t tell if heightened empathy makes me more vulnerable to the tumult of opposing opinions and passionate pleas I now see every day, or if it just makes me more conscious of my reactions to it. But I am very aware of the negative impact joining the Facebook masses has had on me. Sometimes it feels like the ~touching reunion~ and ~cute animal~ videos only serve as a backdrop to highlight troubled times and misguided people. One minute you are watching doggie cuddling kitty and the next that guy you know through a friend of a friend is ramming his politics down your throat.

When I say “misguided” I am not referring to specific points of view. I am referring to the intensity with which individuals assert their opinions. It is the intensity which closes us off to each other. It is the intensity which fosters blindness and oppression. It is the intensity which narrows minds.

Tempering our intensity can change an argument into a much needed dialog.  Somewhere in the midst of all this yelling is a middle ground big enough for all of us to stand on. It’s a solid foundation, a slower pace. It’s born of appreciation, respect, honesty and trust. And the journey to it begins with the understanding that it is more important to see the people around us so that we can talk ~to~ them instead of ~at~ them.

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I suspect that the world is no more or less chaotic or in peril than it was before this age of information overload. The only difference is that we are constantly immersed in a never-ending game of “he said, she said.” And that’s not just with regards to the nightly news.

A few days ago I was wondering if I had made a mistake by joining Facebook. It made me feel even less a part of society than I had before. My lack of desire for broadcasting my opinions on every issue and my lack of patience for the people who feel it is necessary to do so left me wondering if it would be better to let the world spin without me once more.

But I don’t believe that unplugging is the answer. The age of information is not upon us by accident. And it’s not going away any time soon. But it issues a challenge that we need to recognize. It dares us to be better people; people deserving of this freedom that we often take for granted. If we refuse to govern ourselves and our mouths on an individual level, with thoughtfulness and respect, we will, as a society, sink beneath a sea of angry words. So, with this in mind, I am learning to swim.

Can the Living Help the Dead?

During the morning scroll of the Facebook feed I came across this:

Helping Spirit Meme

These pop up all the time. They ask questions like: “Would you stay in this house for the night?” or “Do you think dead loved ones can communicate from beyond?” Asking questions like this of a paranormal enthusiast is like asking: “Do you believe in ghosts.” The answer is always “yes.” So I usually just scroll right by.

But this one caught my attention because the answer is not that simple. As I sat there trying to compose an answer short enough for Facebook but long enough to convey my point, I realized that my thoughts were sprawling. There was more to this question than first met the eye. So…to the blog with it!

First, let’s define the terms. It may seem granular, but the small task of defining the words “spirit” and “help” can go a long way in clearing up any possible confusion. In this case, I understand the term “spirit” to mean human spirits who have not fully transitioned into the spirit realm. They have one foot in our world and one foot in the next. What kind of “help” could we possibly offer to a soul in this predicament? Many people believe that the best way to help a spirit suspended between worlds is to listen, that they just want their stories to be heard. But I don’t think it’s that easy.

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As above, so below.

It’s true that all humans want to be seen. And I don’t just mean visually. I mean that our soul’s seek acknowledgment. In this way, it makes sense that allowing a spirit to convey its message is “helpful.” But all of us have run into people who can never tell their stories enough. Whether it is the eighteenth time they show us pictures of their newest grandchild or the hundredth time they convey their tales of woe, all of us have encountered people who hold us hostage with their need for validation. Most of the time it doesn’t even matter if we are listening! In fact, many of them are so trapped in their stories that they do not want us to respond. These people are not actually looking for help. They are looking for attention. And they will gladly sacrifice your comfort and well being in order to get that which they think they need.  If this is the case for those of us living within our physical forms, why wouldn’t it be the case for those without? In fact, I argue it could be worse.

Take the television show “The Dead Files.” Psychic Amy Allen, is forever coming into contact with spirits who are “trapped in their death states” or looking to “exact revenge upon the living.”

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Setting aside the argument that “you can’t trust what you see on reality TV,” these claims make sense. Just like in life, there are those of us who are clinging desperately to the past. Many people live their lives steeped in regret, wishing they had made different choices. They become addicted to their story and refuse to move beyond it. Have YOU ever tried helping someone who refuses to accept things and move on?

The answer to the question lies somewhere in the balance. Just like in life, there are souls who are open to receiving help. Whether they just want their story to be heard, they need kindness and understanding, or are simply in need of a little guidance, this kind of help is ours to offer. However, just like in life, there are souls who are NOT open to receiving help. It is up to us as investigators to choose our interactions wisely. Deciding what types of interactions we wish to have with the dead is every bit as important as deciding what types of interactions we want to have with the living. We must always remain mindful of that which we want to manifest in our lives. I’ve heard numerous investigators say “I’m less afraid of the dead than I am of the living.” But I’m not so sure that is wise. It is easier to walk away from a toxic living person than it is to walk away from one who is dead.

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I’d like to thank my friends at the “Queen Mary Beyond The Veil” Facebook page for setting my mind in motion this week! For those of you interested in the paranormal, there is always something fascinating to be found on  the QMBV page!

Written by: Heather of EVP!

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