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Posts tagged “Historic

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.

 

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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!


The EVP Perspective of The Los Feliz Murder Mansion

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

A visit to the murder house in Los Feliz. BUCKET LIST!

LA Murder Mansion is on the Market for the First Time in 50 Years

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The Los Feliz Murder House

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

 

View story at Medium.com


Building The Psychic Muscle

 

 

If hiding under the bleachers could have gotten me out of Phys Ed when I was a kid, I would have never gone. I did not like running, hitting things or being hit by things much less doing any of those things in front of a group of my peers.

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And while I LOVED gymnastics and Ice skating, it only took one rotation around the bar for me to realize that I did not like the feeling of having my guts crushed by my own weight and one awkward lap around the ice rink in those green vinyl rental skates to dash my delusions of Olympic gold.

With practice, I could have advanced past my discomfort and fear. I could have achieved some measure of success. But I knew from those first experiences that those muscles would require more work to build than I wanted to put in. In fact, exercise in general would never  come naturally to me.

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People often wonder if they have psychic ability or if it is something that can be developed. The answer is: YES. You have psychic ability and YES it can be developed. But like everything else, we are each born with an individual aptitude that is part of what determines the ease of our developmental success.

I’ve always been sensitive. When I was little I had no idea that it was unusual. I remember my first trip, of course, to The Queen Mary. It sounds funny but, I had a feeling we were being followed by three unseen people. It didn’t feel unusual. It wasn’t scary. I just took for granted that there were extra kids and, possibly, an extra adult with our group. They followed us on our guided tour and I wondered why the tour guide didn’t mention them.

This type of experience continued as I grew up but it was no more than a peripheral curiosity. I never considered myself “psychic” or a “medium.” And while several people I met throughout the years looked at me and said, “You’re an empath.” I didn’t even know what that meant.

When East Valley Paranormal began pursuing investigations, I noticed that my abilities grew. Just like athletes work out their physical muscles, I was working out my psychic muscle. Repeated contact with the dead expanded my awareness; leaving me open to clearer connections. What once were just “feelings” expanded into very palpable interactions.

I remember our first investigation. It was a large group of people. There was a lot of noise. But I remember Bob Davis of Planet Paranormal could hear familiar voices that belonged to no one in our group. I watched him closely that night. And I wondered if he was fooling himself….until I listened to the audio recordings. Sure enough, when he heard something, we would inevitably catch something on audio.

As we continued investigating, I found that I could hear more than I previously could. “Did you hear that?” became my catch phrase to the point where I became so conscious of it that I had to make myself stop saying it!

Here are a couple of clips from a pretty wild investigation we did in Pasadena. The first, is a clip of me talking about something (I have no idea what). You can hear Brian respond but in the middle, I heard something say my name. It felt like they were right in my ear…like a bug had flown into it. It still makes me cringe when I hear it.

You can hear in my tone how uncomfortable it made me.

This is the sound I heard, isolated.

It STILL makes me uncomfortable!

While investigating is one way to stretch and build your psychic muscle, it is by no means the only way to improve it! In fact, The hardest step in learning to use your psychic muscle is following your intuition; having faith in what your gut tells you. Remember multiple choices tests?

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Test tip: If you are unsure of the answer, follow your first instinct.

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It sounded so easy! But it  wasn’t! The moment you tried to let go and fill in the bubble to which your first instinct guided you, you paused, grunted, thought about it, and changed your mind. Why? Were you afraid of getting it wrong? I know I was. In fact, fear like this guides most of what we do.

But the illusion of control to which we cling is holding us back in so many ways. Intuition is our introduction to the unseen world we want to understand. And we have little to lose when it comes to listening to it. It taps into knowledge we have tucked away, information we are not conscious of. To access it, we must learn to hear and then listen to our inner voice, a voice we ALL have. Practicing this helps us learn not only to trust ourselves, but to open ourselves to a source of guidance we often disregard. And the more we listen, the better we hear. It speaks to us more often than you think! But we must be willing to risk being wrong or feeling “crazy” in order to reap the possible rewards.

Another method for building that psychic muscle is meditation. This is something that I am usually too lazy or unmotivated to do. Interestingly, there is science behind the act of meditation. Time even did an article on it!

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(TIME also did an article drawing a link between farting and how it may cure cancer but, I’m sure this proved to be a better day for them.)

Meditation is a way to put the computer at the front of your brain at the disposal of the automated processes in the back of your brain. Your task as the executive (of your life) is to be presented with information, and then to decide how important it is. You tell the rest of the computer if it needs to continue processing it as a high priority. The goal is for your decision process to remain passive. Whatever comes up for you in the meditation, you observe and assign no importance to it. Whatever meditation presents you, you let it pass by.  It’s all just data. This does two things.First, you are assigning a low emotional valence to the thoughts. This lowers the priority it gets for consolidation. That lightens your processing demands. Secondly, your undivided attention is actually providing additional processing power to the thoughts. Once you become aware of them, it takes less time to put them in long-term storage. Most of what we think is fairly repetitive. Processing through them with meditation frees up your computer to do other things. 

Edited excerpt from Synchronicity by Dr. Kirby Surprise

I’ve been thinking a lot about investigating lately and how it has changed my awareness regarding my own array of abilities. It’s been quite a while since the team has been out on an official hunt (official defined as: darkness, equipment, free run of an historic locale, the whole nine yards); amazing how one’s life can get in the way of one’s predilection with death. But while other obligations keep us from collecting our cameras, audio recorders and meters, I will continue to build my psychic muscles through research and by listening to my intuition. Sometimes you need only focus on the first step of a journey in order to embark.


A New Lease on Hope

Just wanted to take some time to talk about our favorite haunt “The Queen Mary” in Long Beach, California. She’s been in the news a great deal lately and there has been a lot of buzz about the possible changes both she and the land surrounding her could see within the next five years.

As some of you know, The Mary is near and dear to our hearts. Our small team consists of three native Southern Californians. She was a part of our childhoods and she has become an even bigger part of our adult lives. The word ~passion~ succeeds only in describing the surface of our love for this historic wonder.

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Her history since finding a permanent home in our very own backyard has been disheartening. To the casual onlooker, she is an aging landmark in need of some repair. To those who look more closely, she is an aging landmark in need of ~serious~ repair and restoration. And to those who have come to know her from stem to stern, she is a victim of utter neglect. But for those of us who have done some digging, who have tried to champion her cause, the outward signs of deterioration speak to more than just a simple case of laissez-faire.

In fact, a glimpse behind the scenes reveals that the whole of her retirement time-line has been plagued by rough seas. And while it is convenient to point the finger at the city who owns her, from what we can tell, even they have been victimized by those they appointed to operate her in good faith.

I’m not trying to excuse the decades-long string of terrible decisions regarding the ship. At the end of the day, The Mary is the one to suffer from every single one. But the blame game accomplishes nothing other than to divide what could otherwise be a very powerful, supporting force that the ship so badly needs. It distracts from the real problem that has been the root of all the troubles these many years:

NO ONE, NOT EVEN DISNEY, KNOWS WHAT TO DO WITH HER.

It seems like a simple concept. But identifying the problem is only the first step. And it is a step that has yet to be successfully completed. She’s a hotel! She’s a museum! She’s a hotel/museum. Maybe if we add this or subtract that… or what if….

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In truth, The Queen Mary has been suffering from a business identity crisis since her Long Beach inception. She was purchased for the purpose of “making her into something.” And nearly everyone that has had a hand in guiding her has adopted that same view. And therein lies the problem.

A look at her history reveals that this ship was born from a state of “in-betweens.” Literally. Conceptualized just prior to The Great Depression, Cunard was forced to ask the government for a loan in order to complete the as of yet unnamed project simply called “Hull 534.” But the government would grant that loan only if they merged with their chief competitor White Star who was also suffering financially. Both companies agreed and Cunard-White Star was born. The Queen Mary was their flagship.

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She spent her life between ports and purposes. When WWII began, she, along with her sister ship the Queen Elizabeth were both converted to troop ships. She was painted battleship grey and newly dubbed “The Grey Ghost.” When the war ended and her service was complete, she was restored as a luxury liner and continued her career of ferrying passengers to and from their destinations.

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This state of “in-between” did not end when she arrived at her final destination. As construction began, so did a battle over jobs between land-based and maritime unions. This resulted in a new classification for the ship as a “building.” And when she opened to the public she was not only meant to be a museum (Jacques Cousteau’s New Living Sea Museum) but a hotel.

The point is that the Queen Mary has never suffered from an identity ~crisis~. In fact, during this entire snafu, she is the ONLY thing that has maintained a clear identity! It is the job of her lessees and management to enhance that which she is, rather than to make her fit into some template of what they think she should be.

QM Daytime Thought Bubble

Recently, there have been new developments regarding The Mary’s lease and, though many consider it naive, I have a good feeling about this. The lease has finally changed hands and with it, certain conditions will also change:

“Michael Conway, the city’s director of economic and property development, said one reason past plans were stymied was the lease didn’t allow for the land to be subdivided, preventing developers from getting financing to build individual projects.

“This will change in the new lease,” he said in an email.” [LA Times]

Granted, this has little to do with the pressing condition of the ship itself, but if they can alleviate the cost of the land to which she is now tethered, and make that acreage not only financially responsible for itself, but get it to generate income to help with the ship’s proper care, it will remove some of the burden of expectation from The Queen Mary and offer some much needed breathing room.

There has been a lot of talk about the plans for the land next to which the ship sits. Shops, theaters, entertainment, a boutique hotel and a giant ferris wheel have all been bandied about but nothing, as of yet, has been finalized. And I confess that as I read through the articles, though I know the project is in its infancy, I find I have a keen eye for worst case scenarios. After years of watching plans both good and ~horrifying~ fail (thank God for the latter) it is difficult to stay positive. But I have to go with my gut. And, quite honestly, we are already seeing some inspiring changes.

For all of you who would love to visit the ship but have found it, in the past, to be too expensive, there is now an excellent offering! For $25, you can purchase an annual pass and with it, is included, three hours of free parking per visit. (The free parking is particularly important. Though the City of Long Beach website says that parking for the ship is $15, the last time we visited it was actually $18 and they raise it for special events. This compares to Disneyland which is also currently at $18 and, while that is still a ridiculous price, you certainly get more bang for your buck. ~Sorry, QM~) Another very recent and much anticipated change is a new agreement for private group paranormal investigations. It might need some more ironing out in the future but it is a wonderful step in the right direction. Hopefully, these changes will herald more of their kind.

The ship has a long way to go before our faith in her custodianship can be fully restored. But, as a public who cares deeply for this landmark and important piece of history, it is our duty to do what is right for her. And right now, the right thing for HER is to stay positive, to risk the disappointment of being let down. Taking pride and ownership in her is a very wonderful and special thing, but when that pride becomes bitter entitlement, it is just as toxic as the organizations that run her into the ground while expecting her to turn a profit.

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Written by Heather of EVP!


Soul Singularities

Though anecdotal evidence is all we have to go on, the stories of near death experiences (NDE’s) are all relatively the same. Some sort of trauma, usually the result of an accident, results in a short span of time in which the victim is declared dead. During the period of death, the victim’s soul separates from their body and floats upward. They are able to see themselves from this detached perspective but feel no pain. They then travel through or are sucked into a dark tunnel. 

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The depictions and descriptions of this always remind me of a black hole. In fact,the pervasive theory regarding black holes says that if you were to travel into one, it would happen at the speed of light. [livescience.com] And that’s what I would call a ~very~ rapid journey.

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Reports of NDE’s speak of a spiritual singularity which again, shares commonalities with black hole theory. The soul reaches a place of “…all consciousness, all knowingness.”Often, one undergoes a partial or, in some instances, a complete “life review” whereby one sees their entire life history in detail from a meta-perspective.

This meta perspective would also be theoretically achieved if you traveled into a black hole. The faster you move through space, the slower you move through time. If you looked into one as you fell, you would be able to see every object that fell in before you and every object that fell in after.

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In 2014 Stephen Hawking released a paper in which he made changes to his own theories regarding aspects of black holes. (You can read about it here.) Hawking proposes “apparent horizons” which allow for the eventual escape of information. Where it was once theorized that what went into a black hole was destroyed, it is now suggested that, since information cannot be destroyed, only transformed, whatever goes into a black hole will eventually come out. The caveat to this is that when it is released, it will be somehow transformed and unrecognizable.

This falls right in line with the pervading ideas about death. Western religions believe that death is the final journey from which we do not return. It is our “event horizon.” However, Eastern religions tend to subscribe to the idea of reincarnation whereby, once the body,  dies, the soul goes back from whence it came only to return to earth in a new form making death only an “apparent horizon.”

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I’m the first to admit that drawing parallels between these two concepts could very well be over-reaching. After all, the evidence is considered mostly theory or anecdotal. But I also believe that our lives are filled with echoes, repeating patterns that, once identified, help us find the answers to the questions that mystify us. So let’s take one more step in this crazy journey and flirt with the concept that originally spawned this post.

While looking for some interesting things to share on the EVP Facebook page, I came across this video of a TED talk by Lewis Brown Griggs at TEDxAmericanRiviera 2012. This is to blame for this train of thought for, in watching it, I was reminded of some things I have often pondered over the years, especially when interacting with spirits while on investigations or even while casually exploring historical buildings that happen to have some lingering residents.

Usually, descriptions of NDE’s conjure an image of the soul detaching completely from the body and floating upward through that dark tunnel about which I previously spoke. But what if this journey is not so clean cut? Once again, I turn to the parallels between NDE’s and black holes.

“Spaghettification,” a term coined by British astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees, theorizes that, upon diving into a black hole, the top of your head would feel so much more gravitational pull than the tips of your toes that you would be stretched, longer and longer, like toothpaste extruded from a tube. Is it possible that something similar happens during a near death experience?

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What if that link to our body remains in tact and instead, we stretch, the bulk of our consciousness remaining at the forefront of that journey, pulling our focus forward so that the turmoil surrounding the body is unnoticed and the return to the singular consciousness can be fully appreciated? It is purely conjecture, of course, but it seems to me that it would be natural to keep a toe-hold on our bodies during such a journey lest the door to our physical world slam shut. 

And this brings me back to my original pondering over “ghosts.” Let me state up front  that I find the term “ghost” woefully deficient. It offers little information regarding what it is we are actually experiencing. The connotations alone conjure images that instill fear and encourage reactionary thinking. It implies that someone has been prevented from moving on. We hear things like “they had unfinished business.” Or we associate the thought of restless spirits as having had lives that were cut tragically short. “They don’t know that they are dead.” Everything leads back to feelings of abandonment, imprisonment and punishment which leaves little chance of entertaining kinder, more natural ideology.

It is possible that what we experience as “ghosts,” as remnants of other times or people, are actually symptoms of several if not many different phenomena. It is in thinking about these possibilities that I began to wonder if some of what we interact with, especially what we consider to be “intelligent haunts” (they respond and demonstrate a conscious awareness of us),  are not trapped souls but are instead, shards of consciousness that have been left behind.

Let’s look once more at the idea of “Spaghettification.” If the commonalities between black hole theory and NDE’s represent mirroring patterns, could it be that in instances of traumatic or sudden death, the soul, instead of leaving the body completely, cleaves, leaving a piece behind? There is a school of thought that believes the soul is actually holographic in nature, that the parts contains the whole. If this is so, then it could account for the intelligent “ghosts” we encounter.

There is a ghost on The Queen Mary known as Jackie. Jackie is approximately five years old. She reportedly died in a tragic accident, drowning in the second class pool. She has been seen numerous times by numerous people over a span of several decades. She speaks out-loud wth relative ease to the extent that she has engaged in conversations. (You can hear segments of Jackie talking to our good friend Bob Davis of Planet Paranormal on the EVP website.) Often times when people hear about her, they feel a sense of sadness that a child spirit has been left behind or trapped.

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Captured by Jamie, we believe the little girl looking profile is either Jackie or Sarah.

But I can assure you, Jackie is well taken care of. She very much enjoys her place on that ship and the many children that filter through on any given day, especially on the weekends. She is perpetually at play. And while she has demonstrated on many occasions just how sentient she is, I’ve always wondered if the five year old is just one aspect of a soul that crossed over and possibly reincarnated years ago. Perhaps it is only a piece of her that remains. 

Sometimes thinking about this stuff is overwhelming. It’s like getting sucked into a black hole. But even when thoughts and theories become long, dark tunnels, the journey is worth it because, just like after a near death experience, they emerge transformed. And that is the ultimate goal!

 

 


Past Lives: Opening Your Mind to the Possibility of Multiple Lifetimes

We have found that once you start looking for it, experiences with the paranormal are more common than we could have ever imagined. One phenomenon in particular that I have always found fascinating and falsely believed to be rare is remembering past lives. I always believed in past lives. And I have even had my own memories. But it wasn’t until I started dipping into research that I became aware of just how common it is. Admittedly, it isn’t  the “casual party goer conversation” kind of common but, it does happen more than one might think…especially with children.

The theory is that children have had less time to forget. Granted, not all children remember who they were or how they died, but it seems to be somewhat common to those who suffered a sudden and/or tragic death. Instead of holding on to that lifetime in such a way as to prevent themselves from moving on in the afterlife (ie: the old adage of ghosts having unfinished business) the soul is reincarnated and the memories of that lifetime are carried forward both consciously and, often, subconsciously, in the form of nightmares.

Though past lives have always been a part of many cultures, here in the states, it is only now reaching mainstream consciousness with shows like LMN’s (Lifetime Movie Network) The Ghost Inside My Child. Each episode follows a couple of different stories. Parents are interviewed about the details of the collective struggle over watching their children deal with the often horrific details of the lives they left behind.

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Now, if the thought of gleaning information from a reality television show about a topic over which you might already be wary makes you uncomfortable, rest assured that there are other sources to choose from. The topic of past life memories has been studied for decades and anecdotal evidence was recorded long before that.

One book that blows my mind is Old Souls. Written by journalist,Tom Shroder, Old Souls is an account of his travels with Dr. Ian Stevenson, a physician and psychiatrist who had been braving the dangerous back roads of India and Beirut for over thirty years to bring back reports of children who speak of remembering past lives and provide detailed accounts of who they were before they were born.

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Shroder’s writing is immersive and the subject matter couldn’t be more interesting. He even includes pictures of some of the subjects interviewed in comparison to the people they claimed to be and, the resemblance is often uncanny. This book is an awesome and dependable source for accounts of past life memories which will move even the staunchest skeptics toward opening their minds.

While the topic has now been brought to television and has been written about for decades, it is likely that the first awareness the general public has of this concept is in conjunction with hypnosis. Past life regression is fascinating to some and scary to others. Personally, I’ve always wanted to have it done but I was worried about it being too expensive or worse, that I would pay someone to guide me through one and find out that they really didn’t know what they were doing or turned out to be somehow undeserving of my trust. A certain level of vulnerability is required to sit in a chair or lay on a couch with the hope of uncovering dependable information. and it’s tough to achieve that without an equal level of trust in the person you have guiding you.

Recently, EVP team member, Jamie found a series of videos on Youtube, of all places, by a guy named Michael Sealey. Among them is a session for past life regression. She listened to several of his recordings before attempting the regression. It helped her get used to the sound of his voice and provided practice in giving herself over to it. Not expecting definitive results, she went through the exercise just to see if anything would happen. What she experienced was way beyond her expectations.

While the entire video lasts about one hour, Jamie was only under a short time before she gleaned some important information. As with most of us, Jamie noted that she finds meditation difficult. It’s hard turning off our brains. We are inundated with thoughts: things we need to get done, worries for the next day or week or month, things we forgot to do. All these things keep us busy and it isn’t until we try to turn them off that we realize how they rule our lives. However, in this instance, Jamie found the experience came quite easy. It felt brief and concise, not at all the jumbled mess of images and quick camera edits we see from things like re-creations on tv.

The meditation guided her to a clearing, an open neutral spot. For Jamie, this looked like a large meadow with hills on either side and a grove of trees at her back. Once there, she was told to call forth whoever was going to come forth. Having done this, the rest came to her without thought which seemed unusual given her tendency to over-think.

A name popped into her head and she turned toward the trees. A woman stepped out.  Jamie looked at her and the conversation, telepathic in nature, began. As they interacted, a few more names popped up and they transitioned from the meadow to a large hallway. The floors were wood. The walls were stone and lined with family portraits, all which were familiar to Jamie. This woman was one of many in a line of the same name. And Jamie knew she had been this person more than once. This woman told Jamie that she was the record keeper. And she told Jamie that she was the one to seek if more information was needed.

Though brief, the interaction provided information that Jamie could research online. And it didn’t take long to verify that the person Jamie had spoken with was real and many details of her life were readily available. Though Jamie asked me not to reveal the name of the woman she spoke to, she did give me permission to post their pictures side by side which, for me, takes this story from interesting to amazing.

This is the woman Jamie met during her meditation.

This is Jamie as pictured on the EVP Website

When I was little the thought of past lives mystified me even though it felt “correct.” I was content to believe in them on a basis of faith never dreaming that I would come close to obtaining actual proof that they were real. But as I’ve grown and remained open to new sources of information, I’ve come to realize that many of the things we consider to be unusual, out of the ordinary or “paranormal” are actually anything but. I’ve heard many convincing stories throughout the years that support those things widely considered to be “phenomena.” And though I am continuously fascinated by every piece of evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, I never expect to find it right beneath my nose. Maybe Dorothy Gale was right when she said, “…if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with!”