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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I think every investigative team has a local bucket list, a group of places they hear about or stumble upon during their travels that fascinate the hell out of them and, regardless of whether or not they can get in to investigate, rest assured that these places are always on their mind leaving them open to every tidbit of information that might cross their path. Recently, one of our places resurfaced with interesting developments.
I came upon the place known as “Murder Mansion” in Los Feliz one night while researching the crazy life and former home sight of actor Errol Flynn. One blog led to another and, as I was wending my way along the internet current, I crossed the path of a house that looked familiar. Apparently this house had been a curiosity to many urban explorers and paranormal enthusiasts before me, and yet, upon talking to my teammates and our friends, no one had ever heard of it.
The Los Feliz property sits atop a hill on a quiet cul de sac in a neighborhood where houses sell for millions of dollars. Its nickname makes the tragedy that occurred there obvious. On December 6, 1959 Dr. Harold Perelson bludgeoned his wife, asleep in their bed, to death with a ball-peen hammer. He then went through the jack and jill bathroom to his daughter Judye’s room and attempted to do the same to her. She suffered a glancing blow and managed to flee the house.
Awakened by their sister’s screams, the younger children were told by their father that they were having a nightmare and to go back to bed. As Judye ran to the neighbors for help and the police were called, Dr. Perelson returned to the upstairs bathroom where he took a concoction of drugs which killed him by the time the police arrived at the scene.
The story of affluent 1950’s family life taking such a tragic and fractured turn is fascinating in and of itself. But what happened to the property afterward truly adds to the macabre fascination. A year after the murder-suicide the property was sold in a probate auction to a couple from Lincoln Heights who never moved in. In fact, it remained stagnant, a time capsule of the life that ended that cold night in 1959. Our first visit revealed the same sight we found pictured online. Through dusty living room windows you could see much of the original furniture still in place while other rooms were filled with magazines and junk dated years after the murder. Even as the property passed to the son of the couple who bought it decades ago, it was left to itself, used for little more than storage.
Photo Courtesy of: Thelosangelesbeat.com
Our first visit there, Brian stayed in the car while Jamie and I made the trek up the many stairs to the house. The energy was incredibly stagnant. Inside we saw the now familiar mustard living room chairs and the loom still in the corner. And though we saw no Christmas tree or presents, there was indeed, a jumble of christmas wrapping paper and bows.
Photo courtesy of: Mylabucketlist.com
Knowing the local residents were fed up with tourists, we tried to keep our visit quiet and brief. But we couldn’t leave before getting a feel for what might be going on with the house spiritually. After all, the energy of that horrible night was essentially locked up and incubated over a period of decades.
Sitting on steps beside the driveway as it wound behind the house, we took a few moments to be silent and still. And it didn’t take long for Jamie to have a reaction the likes of which she had never experienced. Even after personally noting that the energy of the house was not right, the fear and the pain that Jamie was connecting with was difficult to watch. The skeptic in me jumped to disbelief at the sight of tears and trembling even though I ~knew~ she was no huckster. I didn’t know what to do for her or how to help. I just did my best to get her to talk about what she was experiencing hoping that putting it into words would make it feel less urgent or personal.
Though it was possible that Jamie was picking up on a general imprint of the past, their was the feeling that the energy was too alive, too current, to be as simple as a scar left on the location. We concluded that even though Judye survived the attack, the fear, the pain, the panic she experienced that night was still there, desperately chasing down help, needing to be heard. It took Jamie a while to gather herself. And even after we made it back down the hill and drove off, the reaction lingered. For me it was an interesting experience, viewed through the lens of detachment that so often affords me an ~appearance~ of calm when things get crazy during investigations.
Photo courtesy of: laist.com
Although I trust in my investigating partners, the nature of our experiences always leaves me wondering about the parts that make up the whole. What part is the environment? What part is due to the events of the past? How strong is that which lingers there? And how sensitive or even over-reactive was might we be? The new developments in this story led me to another personal account that bore a striking resemblance to Jamie’s. For me, it was a step towards validation.
…Just then, Jennifer felt “something ominous.”
Maybe it was the same feeling that drove away the homeless, who once tried to shelter there many years ago, but fled citing unsettling chills, mystery footsteps, unholy noises at night. Maybe it was the feeling described by neighbors in a newspaper that they were being “followed.” Adrenaline squirted in her veins now. She found the concrete steps again. Her footsteps retraced the escape route taken by one of the doctor’s daughters, who fled the house soaked in blood. “I imagined her running away from her crazy dad,” Jennifer says, “and just how awful that must have been…I almost got the same feeling.” She was running now, her hands covered in decades of black dust. She cared no longer for answers, for adventure, or her bucket list. “Oh my gosh,” she thought, “I can’t get away from this house fast enough.”
Perhaps this account is sensationalized. But given what I witnessed during our first visit to this house, it is not too far off from the truth.
It was some time before we returned. My curiosity piqued last year the night before the team was supposed to head out to Downtown L.A. and on the way back, I asked if Jamie and Brian wanted to take a look and see if anything had changed. Much to my surprise, they said okay. This time, we pulled up to the house but didn’t get out of the car. Sitting in the back seat and peering up that dusty hill, the house remained visibly unchanged. But it felt different. I was reluctant to say it, but as we began discussing it, I mentioned that the energy was moving again. The house felt excited, like someone was cleaning it. Perhaps the owner had finally decided to sell. I had no proof, of course, but I voiced my thoughts in the safety of their company just in case I was right. And yesterday, I discovered that I wasn’t wrong.
Photo courtesy of: last.com
It turns out that the owner died last year. And the house has been cleaned out and put up for sale. The time capsule of despair and life lost has been opened and emptied and, judging by the feeling I had during our last visit, the house is happy about it. Many speculate that the it is a complete tear down. As one neighbor put it:
“You can’t have a house sit empty for 50 years and not expect it to fall apart.”
Photo courtesy of: cultofweird.com
As a history and architecture buff, the thought makes me cringe. What a shame an estate from the 1920’s would suffer such a dark history and meet its demise as a result. But I feel sure that whatever remnants were left behind from that terrifying night are happy for their release.
If you find your curiosity for this story is not satiated, please check out the links below amongst which are Jennifer’s original blog post containing many pictures from before the house was cleaned and a link to a series of pictures taken since the clean out. And check the link to a STELLAR article by Jeff Maysh detailing the events of the murder-suicide and containing interviews from the neighbors that knew the Perelson family.
Written By: Heather of EVP
It is a natural cycle. When a pendulum swings too far in a particular direction, its inclination is to swing back the other way, arcing from one extreme to the other. It’s time in the center of its arc is minimal. But it is that center that the pendulum slowly seeks, venturing less into the extreme with each swing. It seeks balance.
The “emotional” side of investigating is the one aspect I talk about the least. There are many times in the field when your feeling or your gut instinct is all you have to go on. If you are lucky, you record evidence to back up the dizziness, the feeling of being watched, or the weird melancholy that isn’t your own but, if no corroborating evidence is captured, then it is ~just~ a personal experience, something that you are trained to minimize. In an attempt to battle the skeptics, general protocol for “evidence” is, understandably, stringent. But is it too stringent? Are we ignoring our instincts in favor of meters and the various array of hand-held tools which we have adapted to our purpose?
Since we started investigating, I have found that my instincts, empathy, physical reactions to possible paranormal phenomena have increased. Fellow investigator Jamie has been my touchstone for this because she has dealt with psychic sensitivity all her life. (I’ll let her tell you her story in her own time.) For me, my sensitivity was always in the form of empathy. I could tell when someone was having a bad day just by seeing a text message that said nothing more than, “Hey.” Often times I would pre-empt someone’s thoughts by speaking them first. Though my experiences were often uncanny, I explained it all away by simply saying “Great minds think alike,” or something along those lines. And maybe my propensity for detailed and accurate first impressions was just a heightened ability for reading the hundreds of minute facial movements that form the most subtle of expressions or a fast take on body language. Perhaps I was just attuned to the details.
Lately, I have been questioning whether these are explanations or excuses. In the past few years I have randomly connected with strangers’ loved-ones begging me to give their daughters or granddaughters messages. (Yeah. It’s seems mother/daughter connections are my “forte”) Often times these instances begin with uncontrollable tears. I hate crying in public. People look at you like you are crazy. On investigations, I “hear” evp’s. Now, I’m not sure if they are evp’s once I have heard them, but I call them that because I am also not sure if I am ~actually~ hearing them or if it is all in my head. Thankfully, in these situations, more often than not, what I hear is captured on audio. It always makes me feel better when that happens. At one time I thought having things like this occur more often would help me feel LESS crazy. Logically, I believed that if the experiences increased, they would become more dependable or I would get used to them or SOMETHING. But no….on the contrary! They happen more often and I feel MORE crazy.
In an effort to combat the “more crazy,” Jamie, Brian, and I use some of our time away from official investigation to casually explore reportedly haunted locations. We use day trips not only to take a break from the usual routine, but to test our feelings about locations we are unfamiliar with. For the most part, these locations are bustling tourists destinations. One recent Saturday found us at just such a location when we visited local Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern California.
It was an awesome outing! The weather was perfect. Big blue skies were interrupted by the occasional fluffy white cloud and there was a chill in the air. The area around the mission which is filled with boutiques and restaurants was busy but not over-crowded which gave the street a very upbeat energy. We began our exploration in the Los Rios Historic District. Known as the oldest residential street in California, many of these historic dwellings have been turned into retail establishments which means they are accessible to the public. I love places where you can shop and saturate yourself with history at the same time!
From Los Rios, we made our way back to the main street, Camino Capistrano where we decided food would be the next order of business. As I was waiting at the corner for the light to change, I noticed a house down at the far end of the street opposite the mission. I’m not sure what drew my attention, but I felt a pull towards it. Upon looking at the second floor, I saw a man standing in the window. And it felt like he saw me. When I say “saw a man” I mean that I saw him in my mind’s eye. Usually when this happens, the images are fleeting and I attribute them to my great imagination. But I couldn’t do that this time. This time, I was captivated.
The man was tall, slender, grey hair, a beard, dark suit, white starched collar, dark tie, and he was standing with his arms behind his back surveying the street. Something in my head said “He’s a judge but he’s not a judge.” Of course, I had no idea what that meant. In fact, I dismissed it because it didn’t make any sense at all. The only other thing I picked up was that he despised the cars on the street. The image was so striking that I gasped. Then I smacked Jamie in the arm and pointed to the house eager to see if she knew anything about the building or if she had picked up on the same thing I had. Jamie said she thought the building was the old courthouse, but she didn’t know much about it. (I always ask her to join me in my crazy because that way I know that one of two things is happening: Either there really is a dead guy telepathically communicating with me from a block away, OR I have finally lost the last of my marbles. Of course, if she is able to validate what I am sensing, there is always the possibility that she is crazy too! But I am alright with that because, as the saying goes, misery loves company.)
Our quest for food took us down the street towards the house with the man in the window and he stared at me the entire time. We finally stopped when our noses detected the smell of yummy coming from the historic adobe right across the street. The rule of thumb for finding a good restaurant in an unfamiliar place is to follow your nose. If you are lucky enough to say the words “I want to eat that smell,” that is where you go! And we did! El Adobe de Capistrano was once home to Miguel Yorba. It was used as the Justice Court, the jail, hospital, post office, store, and stage depot. Now it is the home of yummy smells and weddings. Talk about repurposing.
Jamie and Brian made me sit through an entire meal before checking out my ghost. Luckily, worthy food and a beautiful building made the wait much less painful. We were seated promptly, the service was excellent, and the food was great. We left their hospitality both fat and happy.
I waisted no time heading over to the building across the street. It was closed. (Figures.) But there was a plaque on the front with information about it.
There he was, in all his historical glory: Judge Richard Egan. That was the man who was staring at me and watching the street. It was his house. I couldn’t believe it. They were nice enough to include a picture. Immediate gratification never felt so good! But what about that whole “He’s a judge but not a judge thing?” Well, my jaw dropped when I read:
“Egan was elected as Justice of the Peace in 1870 and while he was not an official judge, legend survives that the local populace named him “juez de plano” or judge of the plains.”
Well, that pretty much left me silent. Or…it should’ve. It actually left me repeating useless things like “SHUT UP! No way! I TOLD you! I can’t believe I told you.” Incidentally, that made me sound much more crazy than I felt.
After receiving confirmation about Judge Egan, we decided to head to the mission. Now, I was pretty pleased with my experience with the Judge, but then it happened AGAIN! Towards the end of our tour the three of us wandered off in different directions. I walked into a room and it felt odd. To be honest, I don’t have the right words to describe the feeling. It just felt like there was someone else there, or that something was going to happen that was out of the ordinary. The energy was just…different. Sure enough, not thirty seconds later, an old padre appeared before me as if in mid-step, and hobbled off into the next room, unaware that I was there.
Again, the image was startlingly clear. I wasn’t actually seeing it. Like the judge, this old gentleman appeared in my mind’s eye. After he disappeared, Jamie found me. She told me that section of the mission always made her feel weird. I told her that I had just seen a man appear. When her description of him matched mine, I felt a bit better. “He’s old and bent and doesn’t like the stairs,” she said. But the real relief came when we both entered the next room, the same one the old padre walked into. Just as Jamie realized that was the room where she always picked him up, I saw this:
Yup! That’s the man I saw. It was really unbelievable. I showed the picture to Jamie who always seems to take these things in stride. (It’s actually pretty annoying. I’m freaking out and she offers a shrug and a “Yeah, that looks like him.” WORK WITH ME PEOPLE!)
I am often reluctant to admit that the evidence we capture when we are at our utmost methodical is still not scientific. Though I am always studying and looking for more resources that will help me scientifically understand the phenomena I am experiencing, a captured disembodied voice or manifested apparition does not explain the means by which these things occur. And if you are going to approach these things “scientifically,” you must strive to understand the “how” just as much as the “what.” Perhaps as an investigator I get wrapped up more in my quest to prove it to the skeptic and in doing so, I leave my personal quest, the thing that inspired me to take this journey in the first place, behind. Perhaps that is the spectrum along which ~my~ pendulum swings and the reason why days like that Saturday in San Juan Capistrano are so important.
When you investigate the paranormal, you quickly learn that ghosts can be anywhere. But it isn’t until it surprises you in some random place that this fact really hits home. Last night, Jamie, Brian and I (Heather) were hanging out together celebrating the approach of Halloween by driving around town in search of festively decorated houses. After satiating our desire for giant spiders and bodies hanging from trees, we decided to stop by one of many in a chain of craft stores for a couple of supplies before heading home.
Our mission was simple. We needed glow-sticks and glitter to recreate a neat little project Jamie had seen online. When mixed together, the contents of the glow-stick and the glitter were supposed to look like glowing fairies in a jar. While wandering through the store, we literally ran into the paranormal. Or rather, it ran into us. Well…it ran into Jamie to be exact.
Let me see if I can paint a bit of a picture for you. Jamie was walking down one of the main aisles toward the front of the store. I (Heather) had just stepped into the same aisle from one of the smaller off-shoots. Brian, who was already up front, had just stepped into the aisle to see if we were on our way to him. As I came out from the smaller aisle, Jamie stopped and turned around to make sure I was in tow. Next to her was a wire display. The framework had dump bins on the long sides. The ends were capped with pegs and stocked with lenticular portraits; the kind that morph depending on the angle from which they are viewed.
Brian was looking at Jamie and I. Jamie was just turning to look at me. And I came around the corner just in time to see one of the lenticulars lift off its peg, levitate for a split second, then hurl itself sideways and hit Jamie. And it hit her hard! It took us all a minute to process what we had just experienced. I immediately checked for someone on the other side of the display, thinking that they had hit it causing the picture to fly off. There was no one there. Jamie was as confused as we were. Both Brian and she were looking at me as if I was going to explain it away but I couldn’t. Brian and I moved toward Jamie as she turned around to stare at the picture which was now laying on the floor silently professing its innocence and claiming its status as an inanimate object. But no amount of silent protest could change what Brian and I had both seen and what Jamie had felt.
Upon inspection, we noticed that the piece of cardboard from which the picture had been suspended was ripped. Luckily, the object was light, so Jamie wasn’t hurt. We stood there, completely stunned, our mouths agape, when an employee came strolling up the aisle. We didn’t even tell him what had happened before he casually dropped this little nugget: “Yeah….our store is haunted.” He didn’t even break his stride. Figuring he was just being a smart-ass, we stopped him and made him explain. As he did, we realized that he was being serious. He told us he heard voices in the back on more than one occasion and that the television in the break room turns itself on. We promptly handed him our card.
Had he told us his experiences before the picture had attacked, we probably would have been less likely to take them at face value. But seeing that picture fly off the rack was incredible. I’m still having a hard time believing it. Before you get all excited and start trying to disprove the experience, let me mention that we did take a few minutes to try to figure out if there was anything that could have caused the event.
The closest set of circumstances consisted of the picture falling off the peg. Perhaps the cardboard it was hanging from finally ripped through and released it letting it fall onto the peg below. We tried to reenact the scenario, but when it bounced, it didn’t go nearly as far as what we had witnessed. And it certainly didn’t have the thrust. Jamie was standing at least three feet from the picture. Had it bounced off the peg after falling from its perch, it would have landed beside her at best. Eager to create some magic at home, we left the store with glitter, some glow sticks, and a whole lot of questions.
If you are wondering how our quest to make fairies in a jar turned out, let me help you with your curiosity. The original picture that stirred our imagination looked like this:
While we didn’t think it would turn out quite like that, we thought it was at least worth a try. We ended up making something that looked more like radioactive goop in a jar. Much less charming.
This isn’t ours. This example was brought to you by: iamjolene.blogspot.com. It is much closer to what we ended up with. We used glitter. First it clumped together. Then it coated the jar. Not at all fairy-esque.
(If you want to try this project for yourself, try going to The Gold Jellybean.com. She offers nice step by step directions and she adds a bit of extra advice that makes the finished product look more like fairies and less like radioactive goop.)
It’s always nice when time with friends leaves you with warm memories. But it is even better when your time together both surprises and teaches you. And this night taught us plenty!
1. Glitter and glow-stick juice doesn’t make for very good fairies.
2. The Michael’s arts and crafts store we went to? Totally haunted. (All right…it’s at least a good candidate for an investigation.)
During this investigation the investigators were being investigated.
1. the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined,usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.
When I was little, I watched this television show called “That’s Incredible.” It was made up of segments that showed amazing stunts, highlighted advancements in medicine and, on occasion, aired stories about paranormal activity. One segment in particular captured my imagination and stayed with me through the years. The story was about a historic inn where the employees heard old-fashioned music, the clinking of glasses, talking, and other sounds that made it seem like there was a party going on. All this occurred in the late evening/early morning hours when most people were asleep or when the inn was vacant. The place was investigated and the sounds were captured on tape. This was the first time I heard about “residual haunting.” Dubbed “The Stone Tape Theory,” the investigators believed that the sounds were emanating from the structure and/or its foundation, and originated from the 1700’s when the in was first built. What employees and residents were hearing was history literally repeating itself.
I had seen movies and shows and I had heard stories about ghosts before. But something about this story in particular intrigued me. It captured my imagination. While the interest in the supernatural was always there, this was the story that made me want to become a paranormal investigator. The idea of witnessing what had happened hundreds of years before was the most amazing possibility I could imagine.
As much as it intrigued me, it bothered me too. Up until that point I had always assumed that ghosts were intelligent spirits of the dead. But this report was telling me ghosts were actually just recordings of the past; organized energy trapped in wood and stone leaking out and allowing us a glimpse at how things used to be. It conflicted what I thought I knew.
As my quest for answers expanded, I learned that ghosts were thought to be both. Some were intelligent and some were simply a recording of the past trapped in objects, structures or minerals. It wasn’t until I began investigating them regularly that I started to suspect that the definition of the word “ghost,” even in its duality, was incomplete. But have we come across enough information from our investigations to flesh the definition out? Here’s what I have managed to put together for myself.
For me, there is a difference between a ghost and a spirit. Hence the heading! Simply put, a spirit has fully transitioned to “the other side” whereas a ghost is caught somewhere in the middle. Generally, a full transition to the spirit world implies that the soul has left the body and has been welcomed back into the loving arms of those who have gone before them. I believe they are welcomed back into the fold of greater energy. This greater energy could be referred to as one god or many gods. Regardless, the work we are born to do here on Earth, is continued on “the other side.” We are not dormant in between lifetimes.
I know that not everyone believes in reincarnation. And I know that many people get immediately butt-hurt at the mere mention of many gods. So if it makes you feel better to think that when we die, we transition to “heaven,” fine. The point is, that when we make a full and proper transition, we are conscious of the freedom we have from our bodies. We are aware of the difference between this world and the next. We can watch over and even communicate with our loved ones until they are ready to make their own transition.
Many people experience visits from loved-ones passed. My mom, who died in 2002, visits me all the time. Spirits can come to us visually or audibly. They can appear in our dreams or send us signs that will make us think of them. They can even interact with the physical world. These things, the reality of which is still thought of by many as debatable, are not figments of our imaginations or a desperate attempt to comfort ourselves over our losses.
Are they haunting us? Technically, I guess the answer is yes. However, the connotation of the word implies that the activity is creepy or unwanted; a bunch of crazy-making experiences perpetrated by some unfamiliar and freaky being. And I suppose that assumption is understandable if it is happening to someone who is unaware that it is a loved-one trying to say “Hey! What up?” But a spirit who is trying to communicate with you generally has your best interest at heart (even if you aren’t aware of it) and, hopefully the activity reflects that.
A residual ghost is exactly what I described in the introduction to this post. It is a recording of the past that, under the right circumstance(s) plays itself back. Some are thought to replay at a certain time of day or a certain time of year. Some are triggered by people who have the right combination of attributes including psychic ability or stress level. This theory behind residual haunting is colloquially referred to as “The Stone Tape Theory.”
The important distinction is that the phenomena is benign. You can experience it, but it can’t experience you. It is like a psychic video tape. It behaves the same regardless of whether or not you are there.
Captured during an investigation at The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Ca, this loud bang was recorded in the bow of the ship on what we later realized was the anniversary of the day she plowed through her wartime escort the Curacao leaving over two hundred men to perish. Later, we found out that this type of noise had been reported numerous times in this section of the ship. It was thought to be the residual sounds of the crew of the Curacao banging on the hull of The Queen Mary with their wrenches as their ship was torn in half.
Here’s where things get tricky. Intelligent ghosts linger, as far as we know, in a state of neither here nor there. They are entities who did not make a full transition after death. Perhaps this means that their world is some combination of our classical world, and whatever lies beyond.
Thinking about how and why this may happen brings forth so many questions! I mean, the thought of existing “in between” anything feels foreign. We are predisposed to “achieving” or “accomplishing.” The state of being “stuck” makes us uncomfortable. Perhaps that is why the thought of becoming a “ghost” is so frightening to so many people.
Like spirit, ghosts can affect the classical world. The motivation behind the communication is where they differ. When an intelligent spirit interacts with or “haunts” us, it is because ~they~ need ~us~ to know or do something for them. When spirit communicates with us, it’s because they want to express love or let us know they are still with us. It is something they do for us.
Though the motivation for ghostly communication appears selfish, that selfishness is not necessarily a negative thing. One of our favorite ghosts, the ghost of a man named William Erik Stark, most commonly communicated with us by growling. But early on I decided not to assume he was a negative entity. Instead, I found his “grumpiness” funny. When he started picking on Jamie, it made me cackle. Now before you get mad at me for being mean, let me explain what I mean by “picking on.” Stark learned early on that he could pull Jamie’s hair and, by pulling her hair, I mean just yanking at a couple of strands at a time. You have to see it in person, but Jamie’s reaction is hilarious.
When it first started happening, she blamed her husband Brian which only added to the funny. Anyway, over time, and many investigations, we realized that Stark wasn’t a bad guy. He just didn’t want to be bothered. After all, the place he resides is known for its many tourists. And those tourists are often not respectful to Stark’s beloved abode. I think over time he grew bitter and assumed that we were just like the scores of assholes that drunkenly roamed his home. At least, that’s what he assumed until we proved him wrong.
Now, he communicates with us all the time. He watches over us in much the same way as he watches over some of the ghosts he shares his home with. And now, he has no problem pulling my hair. It doesn’t hurt. He’s just playing. And it lets us know he’s there.
It’s understandable that people assume ghosts are negative, or scary, or even evil. Interacting with someone you don’t know is nerve-wracking enough without the added fact that they cannot be seen. But “ghosts” are neither good nor evil. The term “Ghost” describes a state of being. It is the motivation behind the ghost that is positive or negative and that must be studied on a case by case basis just like we do with the living. We must remember that ghosts are simply human souls minus the machine (body). Or..are they?
Is the explanation of an intelligent ghost as simple as a soul that, for some reason, is trapped between our world and the next? Perhaps, in some cases, it is. But I suspect there may be other explanations. Maybe there are times when the intelligent energy that “haunts” us is but a fragment of what once was a whole soul. What if there are some people who, in life, experience events so poignant, that, as they transition in death, the part of their being that was the most deeply affected remains behind while the rest of the soul crosses over? After-all, once free of our bodies, we are nothing but an assembly of energy. Intelligent haunts suggest that we are in death the same as we were in life. This means that our personalities, our character traits, and our thoughts are part of our souls, and not just the outcome of firing neurons or brain chemicals.
Perhaps some events, such as the ones responsible for a traumatic death are so damaging to the psyche that an intelligent imprint of us is left behind which, in those instances, is only capable of focusing on the trauma. Take, for example, the Civil War soldier who is still wandering the battle field wondering what the hell happened. There are numerous evp recordings of soldiers who are still trying to figure out what is going on. Did the war end? We assume that an intelligent response to a question means that we are communicating with a whole complete consciousness. But what if it’s only a piece of that person left behind; the piece that is trapped in the traumatized emotional state?
But why would a piece of someone’s soul be left behind? Perhaps it is like when a branch from a tree dies and falls off. The tree still lives, but the branch is no longer nourished or able to grow. It doesn’t have the strength to stay with the tree and the tree no longer has a use for it. The tree is better off without the dead limb. Thankfully, dead tree limbs don’t wander around banging on things and expressing their constant distress. But maybe humans do?
While we are on the subject, I have to wonder: If the energy of the dead can cleave as or before “crossing over,” can the energy of the living do the same? Is it possible for us to haunt ourselves? It seems logical to assume that while we are here on Earth, our energies are contained within our bodies. We eat, sleep, travel, and affect the classical world all from within the skin we’re in. But those of us who are obsessed with looking more closely at ourselves and what lies beyond ourselves have seen proof that our energy radiates. It does not stop at the physical boundary of our bodies. Eastern religion has taught the many ways in which our energies mingle beyond the sensation of touch. And it is with these teachings that the western world is just beginning to catch up.
In Tibetan mysticism, it is believed that people create what are known as “Tulpas,” which are manifestations of intentions that take form in the ethereal plane. Once created, they can take on a life or sentience of their own growing stronger as belief in their existence expands. Also called, a “forced haunt,” there have been cases where reported activity was theorized to be the result of entities which sprang from urban legends and grew stronger from people’s fear of or belief in their existence.
From auras to that heavy feeling left in a room after a heated argument, energy takes up space. If it is possible for pieces of us to linger after death, it stands to reason, or, at the very least, should not be discounted, that pieces of us can be left behind while we are still alive. Whether these pieces are discarded subconsciously, or they separate because they stymie our growth, our souls as a whole are not necessarily absolute. If these pieces are discarded prematurely, is it not possible for them, in whatever intelligence they possess to want what all humans want; to be noticed or accepted? At the same time, if they are intelligent or possess their own consciousness, however limited, is it not also possible for them to be angry over their abandonment or lack of recognition?
While we are breaking down boundaries, it makes sense to mention the theory that those of us who find ourselves haunted by “ghosts” might very well be the ones haunting them. I know! It sounds pretty “out there.” But what if some of our interactions are occurring because, in some other reality or parallel universe, those who have died in our world, are still alive in another?
In 1954, a Princeton physics student by the name of Hugh Everett III began work on his dissertation: “Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics,” which later evolved and gained popularity as “The Many Worlds Theory.” Boiled down, the theory asserts that every time a decision is made, the universe splits into enough realities to accommodate all possible choices. Hence, while in our reality we see that we have taken an umbrella to stay dry while we walk through the rain, there is another reality in which we did not touch that umbrella. Somewhere, out there, in another dimension, we are soaking wet.
I know. It’s a terrible example. It’s an almost irreverent simplification of a theory that broke through a glass ceiling which physicists had been bruising themselves on since the 1920’s. But if I started bombarding you with explanations of “superposition” and the argument over collapsing waveforms, this would very quickly become a different blog!
The point is that if Everett’s theory, or the other theories that have since evolved turn out to be true, then could some of our “ghosts” actually be embodied spirits that exist in parallel universes with which we come into contact due to some weird dimensional proximity? If that is the case, then that would mean the haunt is also the haunted.
Here is out watcher lightened up.
Ghosts have come a long way from corny images of floating sheets or semi-transparent beings drifting aimlessly in a darkened hall. From loved-ones visiting us from beyond, to pieces of ourselves somehow left behind, to other human beings living separate lives in separate dimensions, the understanding of the word “ghost” has grown deeper and more complex throughout the years. The question “Do you believe in…” is quickly becoming “What do you believe in?” And those who are daring enough to examine their own experiences and compare them to those of many others, are finding the word representative of childhood anecdotes to be much more fascinating than stories around campfires once led them to believe.
To view case files from some of our team’s past investigations please visit our website at www.EastValleyParanormal.com. We look forward to your visit and we’ll see you on the other side! This is Heather, signing off!
I’ve always believed that science and spirit are opposite ends of one spectrum. Like love and hate, innocence and guilt, or black and white, these polarizing words signify a unified band of varying percentages and, even at their most extreme, are still connected. A few weeks ago, as I was writing my post “Spirit Meets Science,” I realized that the title claim was highly presumptive. It is something that I tend to take for granted and I am always surprised when this assumption is met with argument.
Science and religion are married. But they are constantly seeking divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Dad thinks mom is gullible for wasting time and money on some guru who says he has all the answers. And mom believes that dad has lost his mind over the hot blond at the office who tempts him with indecent advances.
“But Jim, what about the children!”
The children, those of us who still seek to find our own balance between the two, long to strike out and blaze our own trails, even if mom and dad believe them to be misguided. While the parents bicker and all us kids are left to our own devices, we take the opportunity to sneak out of the house and look for adventures in exotic places like the abandoned house down the street. Sure, we take pieces of what mom and dad have taught us, but we test them in new and crazy ways; ways our parents may never understand.
Though our methods lack polish, our experiences teach us many new things. Unfortunately, our preoccupied parental unit fails to see our growth and, even though we mature, we are continuously dismissed as nothing more than a bunch of meddling kids.
In order for “paranormal investigators” to be taken seriously, a few things need to happen. First, the word “paranormal” needs to be relegated to the annals of archaic terms. Like “Doth” or “lucubrate.” According to Wikipedia:
In most definitions of the word paranormal, it is described as anything that is beyond or contrary to what is deemed scientifically possible. The definition implies that the scientific explanation of the world around us is the ‘normal’ part of the word and ‘para’ makes up the above, beyond, beside, contrary, or against part of the meaning.
Therein lies the problem! The “scientific explanation of the world,” as far as I know, is still changing. The occurrences we study are no more outside the “norm” than the Higgs Boson or dark matter.
“Just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you know EVERYTHING, Dad!!!”
After all, there was a huge chunk of time where people were convinced that the Earth was flat, or that the atom was an indivisible component of matter, or that Pluto was a planet. (Some are still arguing that one. Let it go, people.)
The truth of the matter is that something is going on here. And it’s not in our heads as some would have you believe. I’m not just talking about cold chills or random EMF spikes. I am talking about unexplained voices, apparitions caught on film, and seemingly self-propelled objects. I can’t speak for other teams, nor do I need to. The evidence our team has captured is enough in and of itself to prove, at the very least, that our experiences in the field are both common and normal. Add to this the fact that numerous people have shared these experiences numerous times and what you have is a very strong argument in favor of the fact that something unexplained is going on here.
Taken on a casual trip to a local historic landmark, this picture surprised the hell out of Jamie. The figures in the mirror were not there at the time she took the shot. In fact, she was the only one in the area. There is nothing but a waist-high wall separating the display from the public. Our team went back at a later date to try and replicate the photo, and despite the fact that there were four of us crowding around Jamie in various positions, we could not even come close to replicating what she captured. To see the original, unaltered, photo go here.
This audio was captured at the very end of our first investigation. The chime you hear is the sound of our full spectrum camera shutting down. The scream after the chime had no visible source. The little girl was only heard by one investigator but it was captured on every recording device. If you need more convincing, go here.
One of the major complaints that people have about paranormal investigators or “ghost hunters” is that we do not approach our investigations scientifically. But this is quickly becoming more of an excuse than a reason for dismissal. Our methods and equipment have vastly improved. And I honestly don’t think our audio recorders are suffering from delusions or mass hysteria(two of the most common ways skeptics explain our experiences away).
So science says our methods are highly flawed and our experiences are all in our heads. What does religion have to say about the “paranormal” or, more specifically, the existence of ghosts?
For argument’s sake, let’s use Christianity as our example. With a dominating 2.4 billion of the world’s 6.8 billion people (Wikipedia, list of religious populations), Christianity holds the largest market share. Here’s some of what The Good Book has to say on the subject of ghosts:
Hebrews 9:27 declares, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” That is what happens to a person’s soul-spirit after death—judgment. The result of this judgment is heaven for the believer (2 Corinthians 5:6-8;Philippians 1:23) and hell for the unbeliever (Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:22-24). There is no in-between. There is no possibility of remaining on earth in spirit form as a “ghost.” If there are such things as ghosts, according to the Bible, they absolutely cannot be the disembodied spirits of deceased human beings.
The Bible refers to the spirits of the dead as “familiar spirits,” as in intimate association, personal, or one well acquainted (see, Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; Isaiah 8:19, etc.) and warns against having anything to do with them.
“Mo-THER! You’re in denial!”
Yesterday, I decided to venture further into the WordPress Blogging Community by seeking out other blogs similar to ours. I gotta say, pick’ns were slim. I searched paranormal, ghosts, and evp’s. Then I wondered if I was doing something wrong. Right before I gave up, I found one pretty cool blog. You can and should check it out here: www.ghostguys.wordpress.com. Granted, it doesn’t seem like it has been updated since 2010 but, if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!
While sifting through the categories I came across a post that was right up my alley: “EMF Detection and the Higgs Field.”
Higgs Field? That’s like…physics and shit! Awesome!
The post was brief. It mentioned things like neutralinos and vector bosons which …kind of made me ~grateful~ that it was brief. Now, keep in mind, I’m not stupid, but when you start throwing words like “vector bosons” around, my brain cramps a little, and I find myself reciting calming mantras and visualizing my happy place.
After a few moments of rocking and muttering, I talked myself down from the mental ledge and really put my reading comprehension skills to work. Once I mastered my panic, I found the author’s (Michael Clark’s) theory very interesting. In a nutshell, and hopefully I am getting this right, “Spirits are intelligent collections of electromagnetic energy and massless photons…” When they interact with the Higgs Field ( a field made up of particles that is believed to give all matter its mass), a certain amount of their photons temporarily gain mass which gives them the ability to interact with our physical world ie: move objects or make sounds.
What really resonated with me was how the Higgs Field resembled what is often referred to spiritually as “The Veil” (the term that refers to the barrier or curtain between this world and the afterlife). So, if Mike’s theory has legs, it would make the Higgs Field the place where science and spirit meet.
Obviously, this thought tickled me to no end. Hell, we’ve been using it as our catchy tagline since our team’s inception. Just look at the top of this page! It inspired me to write a new post. But in order to write a proper post, I needed to do my own research into Higgs and bosons and neutralinos. So, to Wikipedia I went. Surely my beloved wiki would have some entries that could explain this vast field of study in a way that this commoner could understand. Surely.
It should be noted that more than one source of mass is known to exist, but in the Standard Model the term “Higgs mechanism” almost always signifies the mechanism responsible for electroweak symmetry breaking… The leading and simplest theory for how this effect takes place in nature is that if a particular kind of “field” (known as the Higgs field) existed, which in contrast to the more familiar gravitational field and electromagnetic field had a constant strength everywhere, then this field would give rise to a Higgs mechanism in nature, and would therefore allow particles interacting with this field to acquire a mass. During the 1960s and 1970s the Standard Model of physics was developed on this basis, and it included a prediction and requirement that for these things to be true, there had to be an undiscovered fundamental particle as the counterpart of this field. This particle would be the Higgs boson.
So there ya go! Electroweak symmetry breaking aside, the explanation of the theory is fairly straightforward and does indeed match what Mr. Clark wrote about in his blog. There are a whole bunch of symmetrical particles floating around out there without mass. Then they collide with the Higgs field and BAM they get all lopsided and suddenly have mass.
I made a scientific model to better demonstrate this complex principle:
Okay…I’ll admit I heard a symphony of crickets in the silent moments after I read that. My brain got stuck on what exactly gives these symmetrical particles mass. It just seems like something is missing. But I allowed myself to temporarily set that little query aside, opting instead to continue my initial quest for a better understanding of the specific terms referenced in the original article.
Once I checked into the Higgs Field, I had to know what a “neutralino” or “neutrino” particle was. Once again, I looked to Wikipedia for a decent explanation in laymen’s terms. This is what I found:
In particle physics, the neutralino is a hypothetical particle predicted by supersymmetry. There are four neutralinos that are fermions and are electrically neutral, the lightest of which is typically stable. They are typically labeled N͂0
1 (the lightest), N͂0
3 and N͂0
4 (the heaviest) although sometimes is also used when is used to refer to charginos. These four states are mixtures of the bino and the neutral wino (which are the neutral electroweak gauginos), and the neutral higgsinos. As the neutralinos are Majorana fermions, each of them is identical with its antiparticle. Because these particles only interact with the weak vector bosons, they are not directly produced at hadron colliders in copious numbers. They primarily appear as particles in cascade decays of heavier particles (decays that happen in multiple steps) usually originating from colored supersymmetric particles such as squarks or gluinos.
So…the neutralinos are Majorana fermions. I suspected as much. And they like…fall off of the larger squarks and gluinos as they decay. Sure. That makes sense. Clearly, ghosts are not made of such things! To assume they are would be like assuming they are made up of snips, snails, and puppy dog tails. And that’s just silly!
So much for layman’s terms. Again, I heard crickets..many many crickets… they were laughing at me…chirpy mocking laughter. And I heard one say, “You asked!” Wikipedia managed an explanation so complex, that when I copied and pasted it, WordPress didn’t know exactly how to type it.
I’ll admit that at this point, I was willing to give up and let Mr. Michael “Smarty-pants” Clark be the brainiest ghost hunter on the block. But I had one more query. Has the science of physics made mention of anything having to do with ghosts? Ever? Though I knew the chances were slim, I returned to Wikipedia (for consistency’s sake) and ran a search for “ghost physics.” Several things came up, none of which had anything to do with the kind of ghosts I was talking about. Still, I clicked on a link that looked interesting. This is what awaited me:
In theoretical physics, BRST quantization (where the BRST refers to Becchi, Rouet, Stora and Tyutin) is a relatively rigorous mathematical approach to quantizing a field theory with a gauge symmetry. Quantization rules in earlier QFT frameworks resembled “prescriptions” or “heuristics” more than proofs, especially in non-abelian QFT, where the use of “ghost fields” with superficially bizarre properties is almost unavoidable for technical reasons related to renormalization and anomaly cancellation. The BRST supersymmetry was introduced in the mid-1970s and was quickly understood to justify the introduction of these Faddeev–Popov ghosts and their exclusion from “physical” asymptotic states when performing QFT calculations. Work by other authors a few years later related the BRST operator to the existence of a rigorous alternative to path integrals when quantizing a gauge theory.
It’s a “relatively rigorous” approach. This silenced even the crickets. It was like I landed in the middle of an episode of “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s Halloween and Penny wants Sheldon to prove that ghosts exist. Is this what the writers do when they give them all that brainy stuff to say? The explanation was so theoretical, that if you spoke it out-loud half of the terms would be in air quotes! Physics makes me cry.
My quest for a better understanding of the article which seemed so innocent in the beginning led me through a maze of terms and names and air quotes. Though it offered little ground towards a better understanding of where spirit meets science, it did make me thankful for the inspiration I drew from the original post. And it made me that much more thankful that Michael Clark’s original post… was brief.