When I first started investigating I found myself in a strange place. Growing up, I very much believed in ghosts, psychic phenomena, and many of the other things that fell into the category of the “paranormal.” But having never had a definitive experience, I was still of two minds: the stubborn skeptic and the willing believer. It only took one investigation and one evidence review before I began to understand what it felt like to connect with that ethereal world.
But aren’t we all just a little Scully and Mulder from time to time?
As time went on our team began to investigate regularly. I kept a watchful eye on my own progress. What activity did I seem most likely to experience? How did my body react to places that were charged with paranormal activity? And while the phenomena ran the gamut (though there was a heavy focus on auditory phenomena), the way it affected my body stayed the same.
In places with high activity, I would feel lightheaded or a mild, throbbing head pressure. Sometimes, I would start crying for no reason. There was nor real emotion behind it, just a steady stream of tears (which is always fun in public places. Don’t mind me…I’m just crying.) A few of the spirits I grew to know well said hello by tugging on my heartstrings; literally. This would also evoke tears but these tears were connected to very strong emotions of gloom or just a general sense of being emotionally “touched.” Kind of like that Hallmark commercial that just gets to you.
Any time these things would happen Jamie would tell me “You need to ground yourself.”And while I knew it was a way to stop myself from getting all lightheaded and woozy, I feared it might lessen my sensitivity to the things I was experiencing. This, however, is not the case.
So! What does it mean to “ground” yourself? It’s really pretty simple. Grounding yourself means keeping a balance between your physical and spiritual bodies. Some of the symptoms you might experience when you are ungrounded include:
- A feeling of being ‘Spaced Out’
- Feeling sick
- Heart palpitations
- Eyes flickering
- Weight gain
- Static shocks
- Falling asleep when meditating
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Having brilliant ideas that never happen
- Arguing and unable to get your point across
At first, that last one didn’t resonate with me at all. But after giving it a moment of thought, I realized that there were many times during investigations, when activity was high, where I could barely form coherent sentences. My words came out all jumbled. I just couldn’t focus. Looking at that list, it paints a pretty good picture of what it’s like for me during investigations.
So…what do we do about it? The first thing I found that really worked for me was exercise. Before every investigation, it became my habit to go to the gym. I didn’t realize that I was developing my own little grounding ritual. All I knew was that my hour of cardio had become like a meditation for me. It would help me connect with spirit before the investigation even began. Sometimes, a bit TOO well.
I remember one time I was on the elliptical, chugging away, and I was completely overwhelmed by not one but several familiar spirits who all had separate messages for me. Why me? Because I was open to it. Why all at once? Because they rode each other’s coattails. Now, you would think that someone planning on ~hunting ghosts~ that night would be thrilled that they hunted her first but, I have to be honest; it scared the crap out of me. I had never experienced something so focused and intense. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I do not consider myself a medium. But when you actively seek out the dead, you open yourself up to that communication and, unless you maintain the practices of someone who IS a psychic medium? You can’t always pick and choose when that communication will come through.
That experience helped me understand that “grounding” yourself does not lessen your connection to spirit. It improves it. It keeps you rooted in your physical body while you open yourself to the communication you seek. It strengthens you.
While exercise was my choice for meditation, it is important to understand that all meditation helps to ground you. My belief in meditation was much like my belief in ghosts when I was growing up: stubborn skeptic, willing believer. I made a lot of excuses over the years as to why I did not practice meditation. It was boring. It was hocus-pocus. I didn’t think I could do it “right” so I didn’t bother doing it at all. But believe me when I say, any amount of meditation is better than no meditation at all. Five minutes of laying quietly and listening to your own breath can do wonders for you, ESPECIALLY when you live in a society that values ~more, bigger, better, faster.~ That world never resonated with me and yet I was too afraid to try something different. It took me years to allow myself the belief that I just wasn’t cut out for the fast paced, compact, traffic-filled life I was born to in Los Angeles. Now that I’ve accepted it, I see that no one is. And while, over these past few decades, there has been a lot of buzz about “being selfish” or “taking time for you,” it seems that, by and large, our lives still run us when it should be the other way around.
There are a lot of guided meditations on YouTube. I’ve never really used any of them so I’ll let you explore the options for yourself. But, I have to recommend, if you want to try a guided meditation, take a look at SageGoddess.com. Located in Torrance, Ca., this store is run by an incredibly knowledgable woman named Athena. She imbues everything she does with thought and great energy. And broadcasts rituals through her website. Don’t let the term “ritual” scare you. For each one she chooses a god or goddess from one of many pantheons. And even if you know nothing about the archetype she has chosen, she will educate you in good, old fashioned, conversational English. And she will talk you down into a very peaceful meditation that frees your thoughts and quiets your mind. The information she gives is interesting. It gives you something to think about and you never feel alone during the meditation. And no, I was not paid to write this. I’m just really appreciative of my experiences with her and her shop. They have gotten me through some very difficult emotional roadblocks and I am very thankful.
Now that I have twisted your arm properly about meditating, I can move on to crystals. I can’t begin to tout the science behind them. I can tell you that crystals and minerals are like batteries, that they are supposed to foster a transference of energy helping you to create a balance. Again, this is an area where I find myself of two minds. But recently, I was swayed more towards willing believer. While at an event, I found myself overwhelmed with my own emotions as the room filled up with people. I could not stop crying. Tears streaming down my face, trembling. It was just too much. I HATE being emotional in public but all I could do was make myself as small as possible and hope to go unnoticed. Jamie was with me and she handed me a piece of garnet. And within a few minutes, I felt so much better. I was still crying but the panic died down. Now, I mention this because I have tried using hematite which is said to be a good stone for grounding. But it never really did much for me. Maybe I needed a bigger piece? I don’t know. All I know is that I could feel an immediate taking from that garnet. It helped balance me out so that, even though I was experiencing a welling of emotions, I wasn’t experiencing the side effects of worry, panic and fear over having such an outpouring in a public space. Even as I write this, I know that were I to read it, my instinct would be to snort at it with skepticism. But for those of you who suffer from panic attacks or social anxiety, could it really hurt to try?
I hear the jaspers are great for grounding too.
This has been my journey to connecting not only to spirit, but to myself; to broadening my spiritual tool kit and allowing myself to open up to some of the more new age concepts that old patterns of thought are quick to dismiss. I argue that such dismissal is hubris. And hubris is something we should all be ashamed of. I’m including some links to a few sights I found while researching this post. One of them provided me with that list of symptoms. There is some good information about other things you can do to help ground yourself. Because you can never have too many tools!
My parents have been dead for some time. My mom died first. My dad died a few years later. It took a while for my mom to make contact with me. I was pretty angry about it because we were very close and I was not prepared to wait years in order to hear from her again. Of course my expectations were unrealistic. I know now that when a loved one dies it takes some time to figure things out. There is work to do on the other side and I am sure there are protocols for contacting the living.
My mom has never been good at the dream thing. She was more partial to being “the voice inside my head.” She was great at that from the beginning. When planning her, I guess you could call it “wake,” I wanted to line the mantle of the fireplace with pictures of he when she was young and performing on stage. I wanted them all in black frames but when I went to the store to get them, I was having a hard time finding enough to fit the pictures. In my head I could hear her: “Oh honey, you don’t have to do that. All this trouble is not necessary!” And though I knew it was her intention to take some of the stress off of me, her arguing was STRESSING ME OUT! I finally got fed up and said out-loud,”Mom! I know! Let me do this,” just in time for the sales clerk to ask if I needed help. I’m arguing with a ghost, dude. What do YOU think?
She died after a long battle with breast cancer and I was her primary caretaker. The disease transformed our relationship. It broke us down and brought us together. When she finally started showing up in my dreams she was always sick. It’s hard to explain how I knew that the dreams were her attempts at contacting me. I guess the biggest clue was that I felt somehow removed from the flow and context of the dream. I would reluctantly go along with the images and/or story line waiting for “the point” because the things she usually showed me pissed me off. ~I~ knew she was dead. And even though I felt instinctively that she was using the experience of her illness to get my attention (because it was the only way she knew how) I remember that there was always a point in the dream, usually very early on if not immediately, where I would give her a ~look~ and say “You’re not sick. You’re dead.”
I know! I sound like a horribly impatient daughter! And, admittedly, I was! The only good thing that came from her death was the fact that neither of us had to deal with the pain and struggle anymore. The last thing I wanted to do in my sleep was revisit it!
Now…my dad was a different story. We were mostly estranged during the later years of his life. We had only been in contact for the last few and even then, it was only by phone. He was living in a different state when he died.
The first time I saw him in a dream, my mom was the one to bring him through. I had just gotten my first tattoo. It memorialized them. That night, my dad showed up. He had so much to say! He wanted to apologize for all the things and was eager to show me where he had lived out the last years of his life. You would think that I would have been overjoyed to get a visit from both parents. But forgiveness does not equal trust. The energy he put forth reminded me of who he was when he died. And it garnered a ~look~ to my mom who told me to “Just let him do this.” I understood then that this visit was for him, not for me.
Of course, I acquiesced, if not a little reluctantly. I let him take me by the hand and give me a tour of the life he lived during our time apart. Mom stayed mostly quiet. She was aloft, somehow, her presence much more ethereal, like a shepherd watching the flock.
Dad’s visits weren’t always in my dreams. But, save for one particularly memorable incident (which I will likely write about in a future blog), my mom was always the one to bring him. Keep in mind that my parents went through a ~bitter~ divorce. But that divorce did not change or nullify the dynamic of their relationship. She was destined to be his guide in both life and death. Even though I knew that things were exactly as they were meant to be, I felt a little bad for her! Would she never be rid of this child she has to raise? Well, last week I think I got my answer.
Thursday morning I woke up from a dream. My Dad had visited. My reaction: “Huh! Interesting.” I got up, walked the dog, and, while making breakfast, began telling a friend about it. Thank goodness I was talking about it over text because as I relayed the details, I found myself moved to tears which caught me entirely off guard.
The actual dream was brief but I realized that it was full of symbolism. I was leaving my bedroom and, as I tried to close the door behind me, it was pulled from my fingertips which caused me to stumble forward. I was on the verge of anger. My thought? “Is there another ghost in my room because I JUST SMUDGED!” (I actually did just smudge my room for reasons I’ll explain later.) Ready to deal with this disturbance, I flung the door open and, as I suspected, there was a ghost. It was my dad. He was standing next to my bed. I think I caught him just as he was materializing because one of his arms was not yet fully formed. Really weird.
I paused for a moment, stunned, before I finally spoke: “Daddy?” I knew he was dead. He knew he was dead. And when I rushed forward to hug him, I expected him to disappear like some kind of cruel joke. But he didn’t. He stayed. He felt solid and real. And I remember thinking how odd my reaction was but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. I started crying and said “I miss having parents.” To which he replied, “I know.” And that was it!
As I relayed the simple details, I realized how much meaning they contained. The outfit he chose was from a time in our relationship before disillusionment, when I trusted him and saw him as my father instead of a child. It cut straight through my defenses and rationalizations regarding his ~many~ poor choices and it brought me instantly back to the foundation of trust on which our relationship had been built. Our very brief conversation represented my deepest grief, a grief which, as of late has been heavy on my mind. Most importantly, for the first time, my mom did not have to bring him through. He came on his own. He was responsible, had a purpose, was more mature. He had continued to learn and grow and he was ready to be my ~dad~ again.
A week prior to this dream I was working in my studio. It’s the room (more like a glorified hallway) in between my bedroom and the back bedroom. My brother came walking through to continue a conversation we were having. I watched him walk right by me, focused on my room. Out the other door he went at which point I said “Where are you going?” He stopped, looked back, blinked, then turned and looked at my room. Confused, he came back and stared at me. Apparently, he thought I was in my room. He thought this because he saw what looked like someone climbing into my bed and he assumed that someone was me.
Ghosts are not allowed to visit my room. I say that like it’s a normal every day standard rule of all households. And I get that, for most households, it is not. However, I have found this boundary necessary to set and to maintain. Rarely is it usurped. This is why I smudged my room. As I was doing it, I felt like whoever my brother had seen was not a random visitor. It made me second guess my wording. In the middle of saying: “Unless you’re my mom, you need to leave,” I stopped with the need to rethink my words. The feeling, though subtle, was notable. But I stood by my original boundaries. Less than a week later, I dreamt of my dad.
Yes. I think that the shadowy visitor was him. I think he was trying to figure out the best way to get my attention so that he could convey his message. I’m glad he stopped trying to materialize in my bedroom..cuz..creepy. The dream was more real than any apparition could ever be. His symbol language was perfect; memorable and visceral. It will remain one of the most memorable interactions with “the other side” I’ve had.
Written by: Heather of EVP
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!)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
When it comes to paranormal phenomena, apporting (the ability to disassemble matter and have it reassemble somewhere else) is, perhaps, the one that baffles me the most followed closely by poltergeist (a noisy or, literally “pounding” ghost). And last week I had my own close encounter, the details of which left me shaking my head and pondering both phenomena from an uncomfortably personal perspective.
A common claim associated with hauntings is: “items go missing.” It is believed that some ghosts are capable of apporting objects like keys or jewelry causing them to disappear from the place their owner had put them only to reappear in another location. I have a really difficult time wrapping my head around this. My inner skeptic bucks wildly against belief. It’s one thing to experience objects moving on their own. I’ve experienced this more than once. I ~know~ this happens. But for a complex piece of matter to be disassembled and reassembled in another location? That’s CRAZY. (You’ll notice the term “crazy” becomes increasingly relative the more you delve into the world of spirit and the paranormal.)
Regarding Poltergeist, one of the things that makes this activity incredibly unsettling is that it is believed to be generated from a living agent. That means that these “ghosts” are created from suppressed emotions in conjunction with unacknowledged or un-channeled psychic gifts. When people say “Don’t bottle it all up inside,” there is a good reason. Negative emotions are like poison. They grow and fester when we refuse to deal with them. This is true for everyone. But for some with special gifts, this denial of self manifests in disruptive, other-worldly, ways.
Stacking. Another reason Poltergeists are so dang creepy. WAY worse than the big ol’ monster at the end! But maybe…not quite as scary as the clown.
Every Monday night I meet up with my best friend and we head to our favorite all night diner. It’s tradition. Date night with the wife, we call it. It’s the one night a week we can lay out all of our turmoil and drama on the table along with our eggs and toast and show it to the only other person on the planet who knows us as well as we know ourselves. Together, there is nothing we can’t tackle. And while we might not solve it with the expedience of an early eighties sitcom, we never fail to find a new facet or shed a new light on whatever ails us.
A couple of Mondays ago it was my turn to bring crazy to the table and I did so MOST epically. My ego was throwing the biggest tantrum, possibly, of my life. I was shrouded in a layer of anger comprised of hurt, fear, offense, abandonment, and most powerfully, panic. The culmination of a slow and slippery slope on which I embarked after a particularly shocking and damaging break-up that is now more than a year old, this Monday found me on the pinnacle of a breakthrough. But to get there, I had to traverse what felt like a forest of flame.
There really are no words to describe how ensconced I was in this torrent of negative emotion. Convinced I had been wronged that very day by another long time friend; convinced he had abandoned me, forgotten me, cheated and lied to me, I was pointing finger after finger at him whilst completely disregarding the three pointing back at me.
So there I sat in the sanctity of our Monday night, needing so desperately to tell my story to the one person who always “gets it.” Though I tried not to direct my rage at my oldest friend, knowing she is ~always~ there to listen and support, my words spilled from my lips with an indiscriminate venom. I was battling everything; myself, my emotions, my past, my future, and my friend. I could feel my anger spilling onto the table. I was a woman possessed. I could see her hackles raise in response to it. I could see her rein herself in, reminding herself that this was not about her, that I was not, despite how it felt, attacking ~her~.
As I was flooding the air between us with words I can’t remember, my fist came down on the table to illustrate a point and for the briefest moment, there was a silence in my head. Like I had left myself for just a fraction of a second. It all happened so quickly that I barely broke stride until my friend’s eyes widened and she looked down at the seat next to her. I stopped and said, “What?”
From the seat she slowly lifted her knife. Again, I said “What?” dismissing the incident as a result of the knife falling off the table. But I could tell from her reaction that she was already convinced that this was not the case. We took a moment to ponder it, but apparently, I was not yet ready for this night to be about anything else aside from ME. And after a little bit of consideration, I continued talking.
A week later, I was over myself and Monday night was once again a calm and balanced pursuit. (In the interest of staying on target, I will leave that journey for another post.) After a brief update of how I managed my over-ness, we shifted once again to what had happened with the knife. Though logic insisted it was nothing, instinct continued to argue we pay more attention.
At the time it occurred, we were both very aware that the knife made no sound until we heard the gentle thud it made when it landed. It had been perched across her saucer next to her coffee cup. After it fell, she put it back where it had been and I banged on the table a few more times to see if it would fall again but it didn’t budge. We tried this same thing again a week later and it yielded the same results. In fact, it did not budge when we placed it near the edge of the table either. After running several experiments, all with the same results, we gave up and started reconstructing what had happened.
I was facing her and, subsequently, the knife when it moved but I saw nothing. No flash of metal or reflection of light. No movement of any kind. It is ENTIRELY possible that nothing could have distracted me from my rage. But I did hear the thud as it landed on the seat next to her which came shortly but not directly after I hit the table. We also noted that both the knife as well as the saucer on which it was resting were several inches away from the edge of the table. This meant that in order for it to slip, slide, or fall onto the seat next to her, it would first have to hit the table which would make more noise than it made upon landing.
It was kind of like this only with a knife!
I had only experienced something similar once before. I was at lunch with Jamie and I was describing something (I can’t even remember what) passionately. I remember the feeling behind the words. I felt like I could lift up the whole world. Suddenly, her empty cracker wrapper slid across the table and into my fingers as I lifted them up. I stopped talking and looked at the cracker wrapper, slightly confused. WHY was it in my fingers?
Granted, a small wisp of cellophane like that could have easily caught a subtle draft. But the way in which it moved toward me as my emotions crescendoed and went right to my fingertips as I pinched and lifted struck both Jamie and myself as extremely odd.
Both the cracker wrapper and the knife incident were accompanied by the same feelings from both observers. It stopped us in our tracks. It made us try to figure out what happened. It sent us into disbelief. And it left us questioning an otherwise forgettable experience for weeks.
By now you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with apporting and poltergeists.
If we entertain the possibility that the knife did not fall off the table but was in fact moved, we are talking about psycho or telekinesis which in and of itself is fantastic enough. But to both of us, it felt like the knife disappeared from the saucer and reappeared an inch or two above the seat cushion. Neither of us saw or heard it move. It was just sitting there one moment and landing on the seat the next. It’s not something I expect anyone to believe for I hardly believe it myself. I’m still stuck somewhere on a sliding scale between “Oh yeah right” and “WTFWASTHAT!” But given my state of mind at the time, I do feel like if anything moved it, it was me. I could feel a surge of energy within me and it felt like it had nowhere to go.
And that leads me back to poltergeists. Regardless of whether or not I moved an object through the sheer force of pent up emotions and unfocused will, the feeling that I might have is enough to drive home the gravity of the resulting implications. There was undeniable power in that stockade of negative emotion. And something in me wanted this hoarding to continue.
As I was sitting there across from my support system, peering out through a heavy veil of bitterness and rage, I felt like I was battling death. While my life wasn’t threatened, it felt like my identity was. I felt crazy. The idea of moving objects with my mind would have been akin to the joy of finally having a super power were it not for the great cost at which it came.
That night in our diner, the night my emotions threatened to consume me, the night we both wondered if my rage was to blame for throwing a knife off the table, reminded me on a visceral level of how easy it is to become unconscious, to disconnect from my self. At some point I told myself I was too good to fall prey to such a thing. I knew too much about how people worked to become so unaware. And from there it grew.
We humans are powerful creatures, more powerful than most of us realize. We are connected to everything around us, wrapped in the fabric of space and time. Having had a taste of what it might be like to be so disconnected from my own heart that I could cause disturbances around me was quite a wakeup call. It made me wonder how deeply emotions need be buried in order to seek other, more uncommon ways in which to manifest. The knife helped me see the first subtle step I took to this end. Its silent descent cut through the rage that was drowning out the world creating an opening for self-realization. I’m just thankful it was an isolated incident, for as nice as it would be to have a “super power,” I can say now, after experiencing the trade-off, I feel much more empowered by taking responsibility for my own emotional state.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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!