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 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.
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.
This beast. *shakes head* The original courthouse was SO much prettier.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Paranormal Investigating is dangerous. A blanket statement I’ve heard many times from many sources more specifically regarding the effects of actively seeking to contact the dead. But what does it mean? Where does it come from? Why and how should we heed the warning?
As someone who feels called to do work with the paranormal, I have pondered this question for years. I have often heard: “The living scare me more than the dead.” And a calm, methodical, and nearly emotionless approach to investigations is worn as a badge of honor by most investigators who are still struggling to be taken seriously in a field that is slow to yield “scientifically accepted” methods.
Most religions teach that the living should not seek to interact with the dead. Some go so far as to call it a sin. And these days, it is not only organized religion asserting that the danger is real. Investigators both on and off television have gone so far as to say that “ghost hunting” has ruined their lives.
So…should we stop? I believe all things come down to finding a balance. For most of us, investigating is a passion. We would leap at the chance to make it our profession. We envision ourselves as the ones who can help bring more credibility to the field, to show the world that place ~where spirit meets science.~ I know I do. Because of this, we would love to believe that the supposed dangers are largely blown out of proportion. But that would be foolish and irresponsible.
There is an array of methods in the name of protection. From visualizing a protective bubble of white light, to saints medals, to crystals and smudging, an investigator’s kit is not complete without the tools that help to make the job safe. But what, exactly, are we protecting ourselves from? And how can we be sure our methods are correct?
A few weeks ago I had an interaction with a living person that shed some new light on this subject. This girl was a crater of desperation. She was desperate to be heard, desperate to be important, desperate to be validated. The need was so deep it bordered on panic. She was a black hole looking for stars to eat…a sucking wound. Our conversation left me exhausted and obsessively pondering how I could have better made my point with her. The truth is, there was nothing I could have said or done to help her short of giving her everything she felt entitled to. Her whole world revolved around her. The rest of us were supporting characters in her drama.
I don’t know what circumstances she has had to deal with in her life. And it doest matter because circumstances are neither good nor bad. Our outlook colors them for better or for worse. Her reactions created the person she is now. The same is true for us in the afterlife.
As I spoke with her, I felt more and more like I had to carefully choose my words to the point where I found myself silent for fear of saying the wrong thing and losing any chance of being heard. There was a manipulation at work, I was sure. But it was so fine that I could not identify the how or the why of it. It just yielded the feeling that the only right thing to say was that which she wanted to hear. It was oppressive.
In the days to follow, my thoughts returned not to the conversation, but to the feelings it provoked; anger, hopelessness, frustration, coupled with a need to go back and try again. Insanity. And I could see a clear correlation between what I had experienced with a living being and with what many people report when it comes to oppressive hauntings.
I believe there are many paths that lead to ghostly outcomes like a death so sudden the soul doesn’t realize it has occurred, but when there are reports of angry spirits, vengeful ghosts, the dead who attack, oppress and possess the living, it is no different than the girl I dealt with. Okay…it is SLIGHTLY different. She couldn’t follow me home.
But take into consideration someone like that, someone who feels their plight is so desperate that they must resort to whatever means are necessary to get that which they need. As living beings we enjoy the relative safety of physical boundaries. You can see a person wielding weapons. You can log out, hang up, move away. But the dead have a whole other arsenal. Bodiless, they resort to energetic attacks and attachments. They prey on your nervous system, causing symptoms, the source of which remains a mystery. From depression and rage to physical ailments like heart attack, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases, something as simple as trying to get your attention can be harmful.
The souls who fail to crossover, those who are clinging in a futile attempt to hang onto the things they had or the life they knew, are lingering in a world reflective of their fears and the negativity they attached to the circumstances of their lives. Some are trapped in their death states, others may be trapped in the mental illness from which they suffered, confused and looking for someone with which to share their pain. And since they cannot tell you, they might do whatever they can to show you.
Many people believe that their interaction with the dead can’t be harmful if it is born of good intentions. But there is a cliche about that for a reason. If a spirit is lost to a perpetual state of fear and confusion, the offer of help may be enough to attract attention but might be too little to do any good leading to unwanted attachments for the investigator or increased activity at the location. It is like deciding to save a drowning man. If you jump in the water while they are flailing, there is a chance they will take you right down with them.
As with all jobs, paranormal investigating presents very real dangers. And it is up to the individual to decide what risks are worth taking. As for me, I choose to stay away from the darker locations: asylums, hospitals, places plagued with stories of malevolent or “demonic” activity. Investigating has helped me become more sensitive to the paranormal and I choose to be mindful of the situations I put myself in. I don’t pursue living emotional vampires in my daily life. And I’m not going to pursue the dead ones either!
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!
During the morning scroll of the Facebook feed I came across this:
These pop up all the time. They ask questions like: “Would you stay in this house for the night?” or “Do you think dead loved ones can communicate from beyond?” Asking questions like this of a paranormal enthusiast is like asking: “Do you believe in ghosts.” The answer is always “yes.” So I usually just scroll right by.
But this one caught my attention because the answer is not that simple. As I sat there trying to compose an answer short enough for Facebook but long enough to convey my point, I realized that my thoughts were sprawling. There was more to this question than first met the eye. So…to the blog with it!
First, let’s define the terms. It may seem granular, but the small task of defining the words “spirit” and “help” can go a long way in clearing up any possible confusion. In this case, I understand the term “spirit” to mean human spirits who have not fully transitioned into the spirit realm. They have one foot in our world and one foot in the next. What kind of “help” could we possibly offer to a soul in this predicament? Many people believe that the best way to help a spirit suspended between worlds is to listen, that they just want their stories to be heard. But I don’t think it’s that easy.
As above, so below.
It’s true that all humans want to be seen. And I don’t just mean visually. I mean that our soul’s seek acknowledgment. In this way, it makes sense that allowing a spirit to convey its message is “helpful.” But all of us have run into people who can never tell their stories enough. Whether it is the eighteenth time they show us pictures of their newest grandchild or the hundredth time they convey their tales of woe, all of us have encountered people who hold us hostage with their need for validation. Most of the time it doesn’t even matter if we are listening! In fact, many of them are so trapped in their stories that they do not want us to respond. These people are not actually looking for help. They are looking for attention. And they will gladly sacrifice your comfort and well being in order to get that which they think they need. If this is the case for those of us living within our physical forms, why wouldn’t it be the case for those without? In fact, I argue it could be worse.
Take the television show “The Dead Files.” Psychic Amy Allen, is forever coming into contact with spirits who are “trapped in their death states” or looking to “exact revenge upon the living.”
Setting aside the argument that “you can’t trust what you see on reality TV,” these claims make sense. Just like in life, there are those of us who are clinging desperately to the past. Many people live their lives steeped in regret, wishing they had made different choices. They become addicted to their story and refuse to move beyond it. Have YOU ever tried helping someone who refuses to accept things and move on?
The answer to the question lies somewhere in the balance. Just like in life, there are souls who are open to receiving help. Whether they just want their story to be heard, they need kindness and understanding, or are simply in need of a little guidance, this kind of help is ours to offer. However, just like in life, there are souls who are NOT open to receiving help. It is up to us as investigators to choose our interactions wisely. Deciding what types of interactions we wish to have with the dead is every bit as important as deciding what types of interactions we want to have with the living. We must always remain mindful of that which we want to manifest in our lives. I’ve heard numerous investigators say “I’m less afraid of the dead than I am of the living.” But I’m not so sure that is wise. It is easier to walk away from a toxic living person than it is to walk away from one who is dead.
I’d like to thank my friends at the “Queen Mary Beyond The Veil” Facebook page for setting my mind in motion this week! For those of you interested in the paranormal, there is always something fascinating to be found on the QMBV page!
Written by: Heather of EVP!
A couple of weeks ago I began relaying the saga of Orgone, a mysterious untapped energy source purported to solve issues like drought and to shield residences and individuals from harmful environmental radiation. But how did the questionable scientific findings of Wilhelm Reich, the man with whom its discovery originated, translate into ugly junk piles cast in resin?
Reich’s work went largely forgotten for decades after his death. But in 1970 it was resurrected, in a way, by a man named Karl Welz. Welz is touted with creating the orgone generator. Previously, orgone devices were thought to only accumulate orgone energy but Welz’ device apparently generates it. While acolytes of his work insist that his findings are actually based on the work of a man named Franz Anton Mesmer, the fact remains that we are talking about the same stuff: Orgone. And this energy is known to other cultures by various names among which are chi or prana.
Another name that seems to be a bone of contention with Welz’ followers is that of Don Croft. He and his wife Carol are credited with the crafty trend we are currently seeing. Inspired by Welz’ and Reich’s work, Don began making the resin pieces filled with metal shavings and quartz chips. Later, he met Carol who, using her psychic gifts, saw and confirmed the energy fields which surrounded the pieces. Together, they refined the pieces and spawned a movement known as “gifting” whereby pieces of orgonite are put into troubled environments like tornado alley or on land suffering from severe drought.
The Crofts seem like very nice people who believe whole-heartedly in what they are doing. They believe this information should be public domain so much so that they created a movement known as “gifting”where they distribute pieces of orgonite to areas they feel are in need like cell phone towers (a.k.a. Death Towers) and “any place that doesn’t feel right.” They offer it to the world so that others can replicate it and create “free energy.” However, the question still remains: is it worth giving? Is any of this backed by some sort of non-biased scientific experiment? The following is an excerpt from a pdf written by Don Croft entitled The Adventures of Don and Carol Croft. It begins:
“This is just too bizarre not to have a written record while it’s still fresh in my mind.”
This concession does little to help the skeptical reader suspend their disbelief for within a few paragraphs the story takes a painfully expected and yet decidedly unbelievable turn:
“We started our energy work last year [June, 2000] (aside from the zapper business) when we used the Zapporium–our mobile factory, RV, energy center, home, which is loaded with high energy devices—to heal a vortex in the vicinity of Jim and Melody’s land (we simply parked the RV within the vortex overnight). Both of us sensed, then saw, some very irate aliens (grays) as that was occurring. They were unable to get into the Zapporium because of the intensity of the orgone field and were unable to harm us. The vortex, the energy of which was being ‘stolen’ by the grays, straightened out to its natural form within a few hours & the aliens departed after letting both of us know that they were very perturbed.”
I think it’s safe to say that The Crofts are in no danger of laboratory testing…unless it is aboard a spaceship and they, themselves, have become the unfortunate subjects.
So what, exactly, are these miracle devices that can shield against harmful environmental radiation, remedy droughts and protect against the harmful effects of governmental weather experiments a.k.a. chem trails?
This is actually one of Carol’s pieces. Prettier than much of what is out there!
Orgonite is a chunk, block, pyramid, of two part resin, a.k.a. carbon-fiber-reinforced-polymer, in which metal shavings/pieces are layered with crystals like quartz. Sometimes creators get specific and choose crystals that are supposed to better match the individual’s energy. Sometimes there is a copper coil at the top thought to boost the effectiveness of the piece. And sometimes, people make them more artistic by adding symbols or the old standby: glitter.
The best explanation of the theory behind orgonite comes from a website called “Orgoniseyourself.com”
“…Dr. Reich found that organic materials attract and hold orgone energy, while non-organic metals simultaneously attract and repel the energy.
Orgonite is based on these two principles. It is a 50-50 mix of resin (organic, due to the fact that it is based on petrochemicals), and metal shavings (inorganic). A quartz crystal is also added to the orgonite mix. This is because of its piezoelectric properties, which means that it gives off a charge when it is put under pressure (resin shrinks when it is cured, so constant pressure is put on the quartz crystal).
Due to the fact that the elements contained in orgonite are constantly attracting and repelling energy, a “scrubbing” action takes place, and along with the charge that the crystal gives off, this cleans stagnant and negative energy, and brings it back to a healthy, vibrant state.”
Thank goodness there is at least ONE site that offers a straight forward description of what orgonite is and how it works. The majority of information out there sounds like a dissonant combination of pseudo-scientific jargon and conspiracy theory. Take, for instance, a site I stumbled upon called “Tokenrock.com” when I was looking for an explanation for “scalar waves,” a term which popped up repeatedly with regards to orgonite.
“Scalar wavelengths are considered to be finer than gamma rays or X rays and only one hundred millionth of a square centimeter in meta-width. They belong to the subtle gravitational field and are also known as gravitic waves. Uniquely, they flow in multiple directions at right angles off electromagnetic waves, as an untapped energy source called ‘potentials’.”
Seems legit? Well, a few paragraphs later, it goes on to say:
“There is a covert plan underfoot to change the way time is expressed on this planet altogether using hyperdimensional physics and Tesla technology, by splicing earth back onto a now defunct Atlantean timeline in which Lucifer hadn’t fallen from grace.”
This is what researching Orgone and Orgonite is like…a wildly swinging pendulum that arcs on a spectrum from Almost Science to Tinfoil Hat.
Still, there are organizations that believe so strongly in the power of this resin junk pile, they risk their lives to spread it across a continent. Take, for instance, Organize Africa, a group of people that travels the world distributing chunks of orgonite into the environment. They place them in fields and at the bases of cell phone towers, the sole purpose? To make it rain. And several of their members have spent months in foreign prisons because they were mistaken for terrorists.
A map of the global littering efforts. I mean…gifting.
I honestly can’t tell you if their efforts succeed. If you read any update post (and there are many) on their website, they will assure you that their efforts brought about a complete change in the environment. They talk about blue holes but their many pictures of the sky never actually illustrate this. Maybe I just don’t have the ~eye~ for it. Sure enough, by the end of a successful trip, there is pictorial proof that the skies are crying tears of joy and freedom across the land. But if it rains during the rainy season, even if it’s a particularly dry one, isn’t it just ~possible~ that the rain is not a result of the orgonite?
As a paranormal investigator/enthusiast, I work hard to maintain a degree of objectivity. And as the writer of this little blog, I work hard to pass that on to you. This subject has made me STRUGGLE with that. There is no middle ground. Research has yielded ~nothing~ in the way of scientific proof. And those for or against this topic have little in common save for the passion with which they express their points of view. Given the lack of proof for or against the efficacy of this invention, my personal opinion rests on the side of ~snake oil.~
While I could purchase or make (which would be just as expensive) my own pieces of orgonite with which to do my own experiments, I think, for now, I will settle for keeping my eyes and ears open for any updates or advancements regarding this topic because, honestly? Writing about it just makes me tired.
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.
I think every investigative team has a local bucket list, a group of places they hear about or stumble upon during their travels that fascinate the hell out of them and, regardless of whether or not they can get in to investigate, rest assured that these places are always on their mind leaving them open to every tidbit of information that might cross their path. Recently, one of our places resurfaced with interesting developments.
I came upon the place known as “Murder Mansion” in Los Feliz one night while researching the crazy life and former home sight of actor Errol Flynn. One blog led to another and, as I was wending my way along the internet current, I crossed the path of a house that looked familiar. Apparently this house had been a curiosity to many urban explorers and paranormal enthusiasts before me, and yet, upon talking to my teammates and our friends, no one had ever heard of it.
The Los Feliz property sits atop a hill on a quiet cul de sac in a neighborhood where houses sell for millions of dollars. Its nickname makes the tragedy that occurred there obvious. On December 6, 1959 Dr. Harold Perelson bludgeoned his wife, asleep in their bed, to death with a ball-peen hammer. He then went through the jack and jill bathroom to his daughter Judye’s room and attempted to do the same to her. She suffered a glancing blow and managed to flee the house.
Awakened by their sister’s screams, the younger children were told by their father that they were having a nightmare and to go back to bed. As Judye ran to the neighbors for help and the police were called, Dr. Perelson returned to the upstairs bathroom where he took a concoction of drugs which killed him by the time the police arrived at the scene.
The story of affluent 1950’s family life taking such a tragic and fractured turn is fascinating in and of itself. But what happened to the property afterward truly adds to the macabre fascination. A year after the murder-suicide the property was sold in a probate auction to a couple from Lincoln Heights who never moved in. In fact, it remained stagnant, a time capsule of the life that ended that cold night in 1959. Our first visit revealed the same sight we found pictured online. Through dusty living room windows you could see much of the original furniture still in place while other rooms were filled with magazines and junk dated years after the murder. Even as the property passed to the son of the couple who bought it decades ago, it was left to itself, used for little more than storage.
Photo Courtesy of: Thelosangelesbeat.com
Our first visit there, Brian stayed in the car while Jamie and I made the trek up the many stairs to the house. The energy was incredibly stagnant. Inside we saw the now familiar mustard living room chairs and the loom still in the corner. And though we saw no Christmas tree or presents, there was indeed, a jumble of christmas wrapping paper and bows.
Photo courtesy of: Mylabucketlist.com
Knowing the local residents were fed up with tourists, we tried to keep our visit quiet and brief. But we couldn’t leave before getting a feel for what might be going on with the house spiritually. After all, the energy of that horrible night was essentially locked up and incubated over a period of decades.
Sitting on steps beside the driveway as it wound behind the house, we took a few moments to be silent and still. And it didn’t take long for Jamie to have a reaction the likes of which she had never experienced. Even after personally noting that the energy of the house was not right, the fear and the pain that Jamie was connecting with was difficult to watch. The skeptic in me jumped to disbelief at the sight of tears and trembling even though I ~knew~ she was no huckster. I didn’t know what to do for her or how to help. I just did my best to get her to talk about what she was experiencing hoping that putting it into words would make it feel less urgent or personal.
Though it was possible that Jamie was picking up on a general imprint of the past, their was the feeling that the energy was too alive, too current, to be as simple as a scar left on the location. We concluded that even though Judye survived the attack, the fear, the pain, the panic she experienced that night was still there, desperately chasing down help, needing to be heard. It took Jamie a while to gather herself. And even after we made it back down the hill and drove off, the reaction lingered. For me it was an interesting experience, viewed through the lens of detachment that so often affords me an ~appearance~ of calm when things get crazy during investigations.
Photo courtesy of: laist.com
Although I trust in my investigating partners, the nature of our experiences always leaves me wondering about the parts that make up the whole. What part is the environment? What part is due to the events of the past? How strong is that which lingers there? And how sensitive or even over-reactive was might we be? The new developments in this story led me to another personal account that bore a striking resemblance to Jamie’s. For me, it was a step towards validation.
…Just then, Jennifer felt “something ominous.”
Maybe it was the same feeling that drove away the homeless, who once tried to shelter there many years ago, but fled citing unsettling chills, mystery footsteps, unholy noises at night. Maybe it was the feeling described by neighbors in a newspaper that they were being “followed.” Adrenaline squirted in her veins now. She found the concrete steps again. Her footsteps retraced the escape route taken by one of the doctor’s daughters, who fled the house soaked in blood. “I imagined her running away from her crazy dad,” Jennifer says, “and just how awful that must have been…I almost got the same feeling.” She was running now, her hands covered in decades of black dust. She cared no longer for answers, for adventure, or her bucket list. “Oh my gosh,” she thought, “I can’t get away from this house fast enough.”
Perhaps this account is sensationalized. But given what I witnessed during our first visit to this house, it is not too far off from the truth.
It was some time before we returned. My curiosity piqued last year the night before the team was supposed to head out to Downtown L.A. and on the way back, I asked if Jamie and Brian wanted to take a look and see if anything had changed. Much to my surprise, they said okay. This time, we pulled up to the house but didn’t get out of the car. Sitting in the back seat and peering up that dusty hill, the house remained visibly unchanged. But it felt different. I was reluctant to say it, but as we began discussing it, I mentioned that the energy was moving again. The house felt excited, like someone was cleaning it. Perhaps the owner had finally decided to sell. I had no proof, of course, but I voiced my thoughts in the safety of their company just in case I was right. And yesterday, I discovered that I wasn’t wrong.
Photo courtesy of: last.com
It turns out that the owner died last year. And the house has been cleaned out and put up for sale. The time capsule of despair and life lost has been opened and emptied and, judging by the feeling I had during our last visit, the house is happy about it. Many speculate that the it is a complete tear down. As one neighbor put it:
“You can’t have a house sit empty for 50 years and not expect it to fall apart.”
Photo courtesy of: cultofweird.com
As a history and architecture buff, the thought makes me cringe. What a shame an estate from the 1920’s would suffer such a dark history and meet its demise as a result. But I feel sure that whatever remnants were left behind from that terrifying night are happy for their release.
If you find your curiosity for this story is not satiated, please check out the links below amongst which are Jennifer’s original blog post containing many pictures from before the house was cleaned and a link to a series of pictures taken since the clean out. And check the link to a STELLAR article by Jeff Maysh detailing the events of the murder-suicide and containing interviews from the neighbors that knew the Perelson family.
Written By: Heather of EVP
A while back EVP team member, Jamie, picked up a pendant made of Orgonite. It was ugly but it was supposed to shield her from negative energies especially whilst working with the paranormal. In time, I forgot about it, my questions about the stuff going largely unanswered. Recently, she showed me a video on YouTube that demonstrated the wondrous shielding properties of this manmade “crystal” and suddenly, my curiosity resurfaced. So I decided to do a blog post about it.
Though I made that decision a few months ago, this is the first time I’ve attempted it because I was not prepared for the research RABBIT HOLE it would take me down. Not to toot my own horn but, I have diligently slogged through every pseudo-scientific video and website I have found…devoting WAY too much time to what is, to date, a fruitless pursuit.
Why then, you may ask, am I writing about it? Well… I am writing about it because A. I’ve done ALL this research and it shall not go to waste and TWO because I have actually discovered some pretty mind blowing stuff.
Here we go again…
Orgonite was thusly dubbed for the concept of Orgone Energy, which was created by a man named Wilhelm Reich. An Austrian psychoanalyst, Reich was the deputy director of Freud’s outpatient clinic, The Vienna Ambulatorium. He coined the term “sexual revolution” and influenced various ideas like Gestalt therapy and body psychotherapy. And while he was not without considerable and legitimate contribution, he was eventually banned from the Institute of Psychoanalysis due to his radical political views and had to leave Germany shortly after Hitler came to power.
That hair though!
Though he continued his work in the Untied States, his views did him no favors with the conservative American public. It Probably didn’t help that his theories were very focused on sex which, while common to Viennese psycho-analytic circles, shocked Americans.
The word “Orgone” was a pseudo-greek formation and it is no coincidence that the first syllable is “org” (meaning “Impulse or excitement”) as in “orgasm.” Reich discovered it shortly after coming to America. He considered this biological or cosmic energy to be an extension of Freud’s idea of the libido. Like Freud, much of Reich’s theory was focused on libido except, instead of the focus being on man’s inherently selfish primal drives, Reich felt libido was a life-affirming force repressed by society.
Simply put, Reich believed that what the world needed was: more orgasms. (I mean…who can argue with that?) His theory of orgastic potency, the ability to release emotions from muscles and lose one’s self in an uninhibited orgasm, was the ultimate goal of character analysis.
If you really want to get into the crazy world of Orgonomy go to the Wilhelm Reich Wiki and knock yourself out. It’s really too much to put here, all of it ~fascinating~. But for the purpose of this post, I will simply say that Reich believed this Orgone energy was an untapped, undiscovered gold mine of health and wellness.
His next efforts were focused on the harnessing and amplifying of this energy…none of which resulted in necklaces like the ones shown above. Instead, Reich created a box he called an accumulator which was made of plywood layered several times with rock wool and sheet iron which supposedly intensified the accumulation of Orgone energy inside. His first prototypes were small, designed for mice. He claimed his experiments showed a decrease in tumors throughout the bodies of mice with cancer. Later, he grew the boxes for humans. A simple design, this box was about five feet tall and had a chair inside on which the patient would sit naked.
But see? There’s a little window for all you claustrophobes!
Through much adversity, Reich continued his research, attempting to win Einstein as one of his supporters. But after conducting his own experiments on Reich’s accumulator, Einstein was unconvinced of its effectiveness, relegating results to environmental factors. Though Reich made repeated attempts to sway Einstein, he was ultimately told not to attach Einstein’s name to his work for the purpose of advertising.
It wasn’t until 1947 when several magazine articles were published drawing attention to Reich’s work, with the intention of attacking the field of psychoanalysis, that his reputation was notably damaged. Though he refuted it as a smear campaign, the inflammatory spin was enough to draw the attention of the FDA who, upon investigating, touted Reich’s work as fraudulent and marked it a “sexual racket” further damaging his credibility.
Still, he continued his work, discovering another form of Orgone he called Deadly Orgone Radiation or DOR. He attributed desertification to accumulations of this radiation and created a device called a “cloud buster” to combat its effects. Large aluminum pipes were mounted on a mobile base and connected to cables which were then inserted into water. He believed it could unblock Orgone energy in the air and cause rain.
Anti-aircraft? Anti-DOR! Make it rain, boys!
Whether or not it actually worked was debatable. Eventually his findings were dismissed by the American press and he and his students were labeled “A cult of sex and anarchy.” And joining his reputation on the slippery slope of deterioration was his sanity. He became convinced that the Earth was under constant attack by UFO’s or “energy alphas.” And, when the Food and Drug Administration saddled him with an injunction which prevented him from making medical claims and from shipping his Orgone devices across state lines, he felt he was the victim of a conspiracy. Upon defying the injunction he was imprisoned and, sadly, that is where he spent the remainder of his life.
So there you have it, the story behind the father of this Orgone/Orgonite movement. I know! I have not even touched upon the ugly necklaces or how this questionable science experienced a renaissance which created a burgeoning Etsy market and awesome Instagram accounts of child stars with too much money and nothing better to believe in! Not to mention picking apart the vast list of jargon that poses as explanations, detailing the life missions of people who believe they are helping the planet through global Orgonite littering campaigns, and the direct link to the ever-fascinating chemtrail. I told you it was a rabbit hole and I am bringing it ALL to you. Stay tuned for the next installment of the saga that began with one ugly little necklace.
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.
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.
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?
Test tip: If you are unsure of the answer, follow your first instinct.
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!
(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.
It seems that I am not alone in the emotional work I am currently doing. My closest friends are also struggling with issues that they cannot quite grasp. That feeling of being held back or trapped by some unseen barrier, imprisoned by pieces of ourselves that broke so long ago that we can no longer identify their source.
Like a broken bone that never properly healed, there are things in all of us that now cause a noticeable limp. And while we have managed to mitigate the ways in which they hold us back, there comes a time when we realize that the coping mechanisms which once fostered our progress are now the very things that are keeping us stuck.
The work to get through these barriers is difficult. Like resetting a broken bone, the process is painful. But unlike an old break, there is no x-ray that can clearly show the point at which we fractured. We must dig.
The “shadow” or the “shadow self” is a concept I’ve heard about before. It’s one of those peripheral topics that has presented itself in songs, psychology classes, and through the various new age-ish offerings that, being in the field of paranormal research, I often click through while researching other topics. Originally attributed to Psychotherapist Carl Jung, our shadow consists of those parts of us that we reject or deny. These parts of us are usually aspects we fear, the things that make us not worth loving or make us less valuable.
There is no clear-cut process by which we can root out our issues, no way to simply step back, identify, and discard them. In fact, that is the process that got us here to begin with. There are, however, threads that appear around our frayed edges and when we spot them, we must be willing to examine them. And this is no small task for the second we pull at a thread, it feels like we risk unraveling the very fabric of ourselves, a fabric we spent years weaving.
Frayed edges are represented in different ways, the most common of which is repeating our mistakes. And when we make the same mistake countless times we are hardly kind to ourselves about it. Getting hurt makes us angry ~especially~ when we feel like we could have prevented it. We chastise ourselves or start to wonder if we are crazy. After all, how many times have we heard “The definition of ‘crazy’ is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”
But it’s never as easy as deciding NOT to do something. In order to truly change our behaviors we must find the root of them. What is it inside of us that is bringing about this same result time and time again?
Some people are haunted by dreams which often depict frightening images. They are chased by monsters or experience themselves behaving uncharacteristically. The other day, my friend was telling me about these horrible dreams she’d been having. In them, she watched herself behave in ways she never would. But the dreams had her wondering if this was her real inner self struggling to get out.
As she laid out the details of her dream behavior, it was easy to see what was going on. She was not dreaming about what she was actually capable of. She was dreaming about what she FEARED she was capable of. And it didn’t take long for that little nugget of revelation to expand into an answer to a question we’ve been pondering for years. We have always joked about her terrible taste in guys. But relying on a cliche like “Your picker’s broken” is hardly a consolation when you are dealt one heartbreak after another.
I then realized that while the behaviors she was describing in the dreams were never something she would do to someone, they were all things that had been done to her. At that moment, we realized that she had been dating her fears. Suddenly the levity and banter stopped and we just stared at each other.
The things we try to bury will always find a way back to the surface no matter how hard we try to push them down or hide them. Whether through dreams, physical illness, self sabotage or stagnation, there comes a time when we can no longer move forward broken. We MUST be courageous enough to risk unraveling for it’s the only way we will heal.
Written by: Heather of EVP
So it’s Thursday and I know I have a blog post due tomorrow. This isn’t something I owe someone else. It isn’t something that will make me money. It’s a commitment I made to myself which makes completing the task even more important. And it is the tensile strength of that single thread on which my motivation now relies because it feels like every other thread that makes up the weave of my life has unraveled.
I ate so many cookies this week.
Taking an entire day to coax myself through the process of finding inspiration and organizing words on the paper resulted in using that day to stare at a blank screen. And this activity was broken up by puttering around attempting other projects, all of which yielded what felt like a minuscule amount of success.
Yup. It was about like that.
It is now Thursday night and the paper is still blank. But after walking the dog who currently looks like I feel (she pretty much looks like a tumbleweed), I came home and flipped a brain switch. I sat down at the computer and I committed to making this happen. Still lacking inspiration, I turned to old faithful, YouTube, and sitting there in my recommendations was a TED talk entitled “Getting Stuck in the Negative.” Fitting, I thought.
While watching the video, I thought about all the things that brought me down this week and I realized that, while there were odds and ends that were less than enjoyable, nothing ~actually~ happened to make me THIS depressed and anxious. As the video continued I rolled my eyes and grumbled while the psychologist spoke about practicing positivity but, with a heavy sigh I tried to find some perspective. And then it dawned on me…
I have been no more than a ghost, trading in the present for a narrative in my head that has been constant and unending. It rambled about the things I should have done, it rambled about the things I should be doing and it worried about the future that I will and will not have.
I had a drama teacher who always said: “Be in the moment.” It kind of made me want to slug her. And it galls me to say she was right. So I’ll pretend the advice came from Cookie Monster instead. After all, he was right about the cookies.
I totally ate them.
Negative tapes have been repeating in my head and pressing <STOP> felt like an impossible task. But the moment I went looking for inspiration, it brought those negative thoughts to a halt. Becoming conscious of them left no other choice.
Now I sit here aware of my breathing. I feel the breeze coming through the windows. I hear the traffic out on the main street. And as I listen to the noise of the world around me, the noise in my head remains quiet. Sometimes finding peace feels like an impossible task, but if you take that moment to step outside of yourself and to become aware of your surroundings, it’s often as simple as flipping a switch.
I’ve given Cookie Monster back his cookies for now, happy once more to walk amongst the living. And I can only hope that each time I learn this lesson, doing so will make it easier to put down the cookies before I feel compelled to pick them up.
This post was brought to you by the letter C (as in cookie) and the number 24 (as in the number of cookies I ate.)
Written by: Heather of EVP
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by Heather of EVP!
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!
When I was little I spent the majority of my day singing. I sang regardless of what I was doing. I performed to my stuffed animals. I was mesmerized by musicals. I wanted to be on the stage.
Before I was born both my parents were performers. They met while doing summer stock and both my parents supported my singing. They taught me. My dad helped me through all of my school performances. From perfecting my cockney accent word by word for the role of The Artful Dodger, to memorizing my lines for Peter Pan, both my parents and, especially my Dad, fostered my growth. That is, they fostered my growth up until a point.
Neither of them wanted me to go into the entertainment industry professionally. When it came to acting, singing, dancing, hair, makeup, or any other creative venture, the support ceased the instant I entertained the idea of being an artist.
In their defense, there were valid reasons they did not want their daughter anywhere near the industry. I don’t remember a time when my parents were not worried about money. My memories of childhood are built on an underlying foundation of stress over money. Would dad get the commercial? Would mom’s show get renewed? Would they make it through hiatus? Years of being in a business that is unforgiving and judgmental had made them cynical and they didn’t want their daughter subjected to it.
But in their quest to discourage me from subjecting myself to the many pitfalls of the entertainment industry, they discouraged me, period. “You should have something to fall back on.” “You’ll never be a leading lady. You’re what Hollywood calls a ‘character actress.’” “You don’t want to be in the entertainment industry. Look at what your mother and I have been through.” “Do you know how hard it is to make it in a business where so many other people are trying to do the same exact thing? They have more skills and thicker skins.” “It’s so hard to make a living being creative.”
I was one of those kids who wanted to do nothing more than please their parents. I wanted them to see me as successful and smart. While they spent the majority of their time being wonderful and supportive, those statements which cut right to the quick of my own fears were the ones that remained strong in my mind. I spent most of my time running away from that to which I was predisposition. Of course, I always ended up in one creative venture or another. But my mindset was such that I only allowed myself to see it as a hobby. And hobby was equivalent to frivolous. And frivolous meant that it was not something worth being proud of.
It took me years to finally accept the fact that my creativity is a huge part of who I am. And denying that accomplished ~nothing~ positive. I put off who I was in the name of becoming what I was supposed to be. And all the time I spent denying my instincts, my desires and my passions only reinforced the false notion that I was a failure at life. How quickly the drama escalates when you start off on the wrong foot. But it doesn’t feel like drama at all which makes it incredibly difficult to identify in the first place.
What I’ve learned from this journey, and it’s a lesson I have had to remind myself of over and over again, is that I am the product. Every time my parents asked me what I had that all the others didn’t, my little kid brain answered with: “I’m me.” Of course, that answer was quickly dismissed in the face of the question because it seemed SO obvious that I figured it must have been wrong or, at the very least, not enough of an answer. If being ME had been enough, I thought, they wouldn’t have asked the question in the first place. But all these years later, after battling to figure out what I am meant to do, I have come to the conclusion that my original answer, the one my kid brain came up with, was the correct answer all along.
Adult brains suck. Adult brains tell you no. Adult brains are full of the voices of our parents who got their adult brains from THEIR parents. It’s a vicious cycle! And the answer to all of it is learning to have faith in the fact that ~You~ are the product. ~I~ am the product. The thing we offer that no one else can offer is our very singular point of view. Each one of us has created a slightly different version of this shared space. It is, I believe, literally, what we are on this Earth to do. And it is that vision, that makes every one of us individuals.
Now, it is true that not all individuals will appreciate your individuality. It is entirely possible that you will be denied success where you attempt to succeed. But that has little to do with how many somersaults you can do, how many octaves are in your range, or how good you are at math. Still, the pain of rejection is great and the worry over failing so often guides our choices. It is easy to see life as a bully or some ethereal entity that is “out to get you.”
But if you continue to believe you are a victim, you will continue to be victimized. If the pervasive theory behind ghosts, that ~they remain because of unfinished business~ is even a little correct, then we should make it our mission to live. We need to reprogram ourselves to see our failures as stepping stones instead of seeing them as the end. And the next time you ask yourself “Why would they choose me over someone else,” look inward and know that, while your skill set may get you the opportunity, your success has less to do with your skills and more to do with who you are. YOU are the product. And no one else can offer that.
Written by: Heather of EVP
It’s been a long damn time since I’ve done a book report. Hopefully I have learned a bit more about showmanship since the days of: “The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, is a book about fighting between rich kids and poor kids….” I’m not sure my writing was that bad even then but, it ~was~ seventh grade.
Anyway, as much as I hope my writing has evolved, I KNOW my taste in books has, arguably, for the better. So here goes:
Synchronicity, by Dr. Kirby Surprise, is a book about rich kids and poor kids….. Just kidding!
Seriously though, I AM reading a book called Synchronicity: The Art of Coincidence and Unlocking Your Mind and it IS written by Dr. Kirby Surprise. And though it lacks the socio-economic commentary of The Outsiders, it has managed to captivate current me every bit as much as The Outsiders captivated seventh grade me.
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my brother. I swear it was on his wish list. And, in all honesty, when I purchased it, I knew it would take him forever to get around to reading it and I was curious about it myself. Why not kill two birds with one stone!
Now, ever the cynic, I went into this read with several reservations not the least of which was the author’s name: Dr.Kirby Surprise. As you can see by the picture above, I am not making this up. There aren’t too many doctors of anything that can instill confidence in their acuity once you find out their name is “Dr. Surprise” and, especially after you find out he is a forensic psychologist.
From the name of the author to the name of the author’s alma mater, which enjoys prominent placement at the bottom of the cover, I was almost done before I began reading. “The California Institute of Integral Studies” had me questioning: “Is that a real school?” A little research revealed a fairly clear picture. CIIS is one of many “private colleges” which is generally another way of saying “for profit” colleges that offer degree programs in several specified areas of study for a hefty price. Having gone to a school like this for my fashion merchandising degree, I knew the routine. The credits are not universal, meaning that they do not transfer to other schools. God forbid you should decide their methods are not for you and try to quit before you finish. You will still owe a ton of money but you will have absolutely nothing to show for it.
A look at Yelp revealed exactly what I expected: polarized reviews from one to five stars. If the program speaks to you, you’ll be happy enough. But if it doesn’t, you will be enraged.
As this yelp reviewer said: “Supremely inferior “institute” filled with phonies, “New Age” con-artists, incompetent professors with degrees from mediocre schools, and a very dysfunctional administration.”
Another reviewer said: “If you want to pay out enough money to bail out the auto industry in exchange for the profound academic reward of sitting in a drum-circle while listening to new age platitudes… If you are willing to carefully sift through academic material that ranges from the well founded and intriguing all the way down to proudly presented complete nonsense…”
But this was exactly what my warning bells were telling me. Thankfully, I didn’t go to the trouble of researching all of this before I jumped into the book. However, venturing into the first chapter did not help boost my faith in its content. This is where Dr. Surprise sets us up to understand that the subject of “synchronistic events” would hence be referred to as “SE.” Having read a number of books on the “Spirit Meets Science Spectrum” (I can make acronyms too) this pushed the odds that the book would favor new age cliche over scientific theory.
Now, I get the fact that “Synchronistic Event(s)” is a mouthful and that shortening it might simply be easier for us all. But I am always leery when “phenomena” are made more approachable in this way. And worse, when a whole language of jargon springs up around a subject matter that is debatable to begin with. I often feel like it is an attempt to brain wash me into believing what they say is fact. (Incidentally, this is how you can tell I have been studying the paranormal too long. Paranoia. Occupational hazard.)
After detailing my concerns here, I am surprised I started reading this book at all. But having not researched them or written them down, they were merely muttering to me and I was still willing to give the book a chance. At the very least, it gave me a way to pass the time during my tedious cardio sessions at the gym. And, I have to say, I am thankful that this was the case. By the time I made it to the second chapter, I was curious enough to continue.
I am now more than halfway through the book and I have found it to be both interesting and believable. The subject matter does walk the line between spirit and science. And the concerns which could have been warning me against drinking the good doctor’s questionable Kool-Aid turned out to be no greater than supposition.
Dr. Kirby surprise does a wonderful job of explaining his theories. He provides simple examples in a conversational manner that makes his writing relatable and builds the sort of trust that is required for the reader to set their own doubts aside, helping them to feel safe enough to muse right along with him without requiring them to “believe, or else.” In fact, chapter two is entitled “Don’t believe What You Think.” Here, he doused my concerns over the use of jargon and proceeded to highlight why we should all question even our own thoughts.
In fact, the pages are filled with intriguing ideas and the reader is left to decide whether or not they agree with what the author is saying. He acknowledges both religion/mysticism and science in his quest to detail his theories, focusing on the way they approach the subject matter.
“Philosophies and religions have positive aspects to be sure. But, all tend to declare the nature of your reality for you. A handy service if you would rather cruise the infinite universe of creative possibility on someone else’s autopilot program. The problem is, unverifiable beliefs limit the way you consider alternate possibilities.
Science has a matching problem. A yin to mysticism’s yang.Some followers of the scientific method have made science itself a religion of sorts. They take the easy, self-assured way out. Some devotees declare that their way of investigating reality is the only valid means of determining the truth. Some priests of physics believe that, until something becomes verified by experimental investigation, it is not true. The problem is, science isn’t supposed to work that way. The scientific method is a humble method. It tests one small, very specific set of conditions at a time. Then it asks others to test the same conditions again independently. If results are reliably producible, a small bit of probably true information is added to the knowledge base. Scientists tell themselves stories about reality, just as philosophers do. Good scientists know they are telling stories.”
So I spent chapter 1 ripping the man, the alma mater, and the method apart. But by chapter two I was intrigued. And by chapter three, I was hooked. I hope Dr. Surprise will forgive me because while I, admittedly, spent the first two thirds of this blog post voicing my doubts over the legitimacy of his work, I will likely be devoting two thirds of my time writing other blog posts inspired by it.
Written by Heather of EVP
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!”
When I was little I loved to draw. I drew all the time. My subject matter centered heavily on the realm of fantasy: Unicorns in lands with green rolling hills with mountaintop castles perched above dramatic waterfalls. But I had a problem drawing the waterfalls. I had a terrific concept of what happened once the water fell. I could draw satisfactory representations of billowing clouds of overspray and the ribbon of water descending the cliff. But when it came to the origin, the place from where the water fell, I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I knew enough from pictures to know that it kind of just looked like a straight line, a horizon, but…why?
One day, I was watching one of my favorite shows and, in this particular episode it showed a waterfall from two vantage points: from the bottom looking up and from the top looking down. And at that moment, a lightbulb went on and, while it didn’t change much about the way I had been drawing waterfalls, it DID change the way I felt about drawing waterfalls. I was no longer wary when it came time to complete the picture on paper because I had a complete picture in my head.
It’s hard, even for me, to believe that the memory of seeing one scene on television but, more importantly, of having that question answered, would remain so poignant throughout my life, but it embodies a concept I’ve experienced time and again. That moment provided more than just an answer to a question. It shed some light on who I am, on how I am made.
What does any of this have to do with ghosts you ask? Well…nothing and everything. Bear with me and let me explain. I’ve had a number of really great ideas. Not to toot my own horn or anything (toot.) but I have come up with ideas that not only could make money, but DID make money…for someone else. The problem is and has always been that I am endlessly inspired. For years I thought that maybe I was just too lazy to actually accomplish something or that maybe I had some psychological dysfunction that prevented me from following through. I have spent my life steeped in worry and disappointment in myself for never finishing or achieving that one thing that I am passionate about. Of course, my passions have changed over the years. Each one starts with a burst of palpable depth and hunger that ~must~ be fulfilled. And nearly every one has ended in the worst way…petering out to nothing.
Now, to be fair, many of my ideas took me way out of my wheelhouse. One of the things I have noticed about myself (in my kinder moments) is that I like to think big. I’m like Zeigfeld. There are lights. There’s music. Shit glows! But when it comes to breaking it down into steps, I falter. I stumble. I fall. on. my. face.
If you have gotten this far, then you are likely wondering “What is the point to all of this?”
I’ve asked myself this question numerous times. I think that question, no matter how it is applied, is at the crux of everyone’s lives. It’s an answer we all search for in numerous ways regarding numerous things. It’s a large part of why I started “hunting ghosts” in the first place.
The point is that I have had one of these Ziegfeld ideas rattling around in my head for ~years~ now and I have been perpetually stymied, once again, by the question of execution. And today, with this idea, unlike the numerous others I have had, I believe I was afforded the answer; that one elusive piece of the puzzle. And it didn’t come from some lofty pursuit or a long commitment to proper meditation regarding the subject. It came while I was on the elliptical, hating life, at the gym. Ironically, ~many~ answers have come to me while on the elliptical at the gym. Though I DESPISE working out, it is like a meditation of sorts for me. I have begrudgingly accepted this.
SO, having received the link, that one suggestion that will help me deconstruct my grand idea and break it down into something I can manage, I am choosing today to begin. Today I step into the light of accountability. I am making a pledge not only to my Ziegfeld show, but to myself, that I will put my ideas out there, share what I see and how I see it. And I invite you, the reader to take this journey with me.
If I have managed to spark your curiosity even a little, I am sure you are wondering where the journey leads….what show are we putting together, you and I? That, I will not answer. I need you, dear reader. I need you to ponder, to ask questions, to challenge me. I need you to walk with me while we look at ideas, at books, at the authors who wrote them. I need you to take note about how the things we discuss fit into your lives. And I would never dream of sullying the journey by providing an answer which, in reality, will only change as things evolve, rendering that answer erroneous after all.
I promise, for better or for worse, to be one hundred percent myself, to let you see me. The goal, for now, is to use this blog as a forum to discuss all manner of things, to broaden the scope of what “Ghost Hunting” can be, to redefine many of the terms that, as people interested in the “supernatural” or the “paranormal,” are taken for granted, to broaden my horizons, with you.
So PLEASE, read, comment and subscribe. Help me achieve my goal of following through. And help EVP achieve their goal, the specifics of which will unfurl somewhere along the way.
Written By: Heather of East Valley Paranormal
It is a natural cycle. When a pendulum swings too far in a particular direction, its inclination is to swing back the other way, arcing from one extreme to the other. It’s time in the center of its arc is minimal. But it is that center that the pendulum slowly seeks, venturing less into the extreme with each swing. It seeks balance.
The “emotional” side of investigating is the one aspect I talk about the least. There are many times in the field when your feeling or your gut instinct is all you have to go on. If you are lucky, you record evidence to back up the dizziness, the feeling of being watched, or the weird melancholy that isn’t your own but, if no corroborating evidence is captured, then it is ~just~ a personal experience, something that you are trained to minimize. In an attempt to battle the skeptics, general protocol for “evidence” is, understandably, stringent. But is it too stringent? Are we ignoring our instincts in favor of meters and the various array of hand-held tools which we have adapted to our purpose?
Since we started investigating, I have found that my instincts, empathy, physical reactions to possible paranormal phenomena have increased. Fellow investigator Jamie has been my touchstone for this because she has dealt with psychic sensitivity all her life. (I’ll let her tell you her story in her own time.) For me, my sensitivity was always in the form of empathy. I could tell when someone was having a bad day just by seeing a text message that said nothing more than, “Hey.” Often times I would pre-empt someone’s thoughts by speaking them first. Though my experiences were often uncanny, I explained it all away by simply saying “Great minds think alike,” or something along those lines. And maybe my propensity for detailed and accurate first impressions was just a heightened ability for reading the hundreds of minute facial movements that form the most subtle of expressions or a fast take on body language. Perhaps I was just attuned to the details.
Lately, I have been questioning whether these are explanations or excuses. In the past few years I have randomly connected with strangers’ loved-ones begging me to give their daughters or granddaughters messages. (Yeah. It’s seems mother/daughter connections are my “forte”) Often times these instances begin with uncontrollable tears. I hate crying in public. People look at you like you are crazy. On investigations, I “hear” evp’s. Now, I’m not sure if they are evp’s once I have heard them, but I call them that because I am also not sure if I am ~actually~ hearing them or if it is all in my head. Thankfully, in these situations, more often than not, what I hear is captured on audio. It always makes me feel better when that happens. At one time I thought having things like this occur more often would help me feel LESS crazy. Logically, I believed that if the experiences increased, they would become more dependable or I would get used to them or SOMETHING. But no….on the contrary! They happen more often and I feel MORE crazy.
In an effort to combat the “more crazy,” Jamie, Brian, and I use some of our time away from official investigation to casually explore reportedly haunted locations. We use day trips not only to take a break from the usual routine, but to test our feelings about locations we are unfamiliar with. For the most part, these locations are bustling tourists destinations. One recent Saturday found us at just such a location when we visited local Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern California.
It was an awesome outing! The weather was perfect. Big blue skies were interrupted by the occasional fluffy white cloud and there was a chill in the air. The area around the mission which is filled with boutiques and restaurants was busy but not over-crowded which gave the street a very upbeat energy. We began our exploration in the Los Rios Historic District. Known as the oldest residential street in California, many of these historic dwellings have been turned into retail establishments which means they are accessible to the public. I love places where you can shop and saturate yourself with history at the same time!
From Los Rios, we made our way back to the main street, Camino Capistrano where we decided food would be the next order of business. As I was waiting at the corner for the light to change, I noticed a house down at the far end of the street opposite the mission. I’m not sure what drew my attention, but I felt a pull towards it. Upon looking at the second floor, I saw a man standing in the window. And it felt like he saw me. When I say “saw a man” I mean that I saw him in my mind’s eye. Usually when this happens, the images are fleeting and I attribute them to my great imagination. But I couldn’t do that this time. This time, I was captivated.
The man was tall, slender, grey hair, a beard, dark suit, white starched collar, dark tie, and he was standing with his arms behind his back surveying the street. Something in my head said “He’s a judge but he’s not a judge.” Of course, I had no idea what that meant. In fact, I dismissed it because it didn’t make any sense at all. The only other thing I picked up was that he despised the cars on the street. The image was so striking that I gasped. Then I smacked Jamie in the arm and pointed to the house eager to see if she knew anything about the building or if she had picked up on the same thing I had. Jamie said she thought the building was the old courthouse, but she didn’t know much about it. (I always ask her to join me in my crazy because that way I know that one of two things is happening: Either there really is a dead guy telepathically communicating with me from a block away, OR I have finally lost the last of my marbles. Of course, if she is able to validate what I am sensing, there is always the possibility that she is crazy too! But I am alright with that because, as the saying goes, misery loves company.)
Our quest for food took us down the street towards the house with the man in the window and he stared at me the entire time. We finally stopped when our noses detected the smell of yummy coming from the historic adobe right across the street. The rule of thumb for finding a good restaurant in an unfamiliar place is to follow your nose. If you are lucky enough to say the words “I want to eat that smell,” that is where you go! And we did! El Adobe de Capistrano was once home to Miguel Yorba. It was used as the Justice Court, the jail, hospital, post office, store, and stage depot. Now it is the home of yummy smells and weddings. Talk about repurposing.
Jamie and Brian made me sit through an entire meal before checking out my ghost. Luckily, worthy food and a beautiful building made the wait much less painful. We were seated promptly, the service was excellent, and the food was great. We left their hospitality both fat and happy.
I waisted no time heading over to the building across the street. It was closed. (Figures.) But there was a plaque on the front with information about it.
There he was, in all his historical glory: Judge Richard Egan. That was the man who was staring at me and watching the street. It was his house. I couldn’t believe it. They were nice enough to include a picture. Immediate gratification never felt so good! But what about that whole “He’s a judge but not a judge thing?” Well, my jaw dropped when I read:
“Egan was elected as Justice of the Peace in 1870 and while he was not an official judge, legend survives that the local populace named him “juez de plano” or judge of the plains.”
Well, that pretty much left me silent. Or…it should’ve. It actually left me repeating useless things like “SHUT UP! No way! I TOLD you! I can’t believe I told you.” Incidentally, that made me sound much more crazy than I felt.
After receiving confirmation about Judge Egan, we decided to head to the mission. Now, I was pretty pleased with my experience with the Judge, but then it happened AGAIN! Towards the end of our tour the three of us wandered off in different directions. I walked into a room and it felt odd. To be honest, I don’t have the right words to describe the feeling. It just felt like there was someone else there, or that something was going to happen that was out of the ordinary. The energy was just…different. Sure enough, not thirty seconds later, an old padre appeared before me as if in mid-step, and hobbled off into the next room, unaware that I was there.
Again, the image was startlingly clear. I wasn’t actually seeing it. Like the judge, this old gentleman appeared in my mind’s eye. After he disappeared, Jamie found me. She told me that section of the mission always made her feel weird. I told her that I had just seen a man appear. When her description of him matched mine, I felt a bit better. “He’s old and bent and doesn’t like the stairs,” she said. But the real relief came when we both entered the next room, the same one the old padre walked into. Just as Jamie realized that was the room where she always picked him up, I saw this:
Yup! That’s the man I saw. It was really unbelievable. I showed the picture to Jamie who always seems to take these things in stride. (It’s actually pretty annoying. I’m freaking out and she offers a shrug and a “Yeah, that looks like him.” WORK WITH ME PEOPLE!)
I am often reluctant to admit that the evidence we capture when we are at our utmost methodical is still not scientific. Though I am always studying and looking for more resources that will help me scientifically understand the phenomena I am experiencing, a captured disembodied voice or manifested apparition does not explain the means by which these things occur. And if you are going to approach these things “scientifically,” you must strive to understand the “how” just as much as the “what.” Perhaps as an investigator I get wrapped up more in my quest to prove it to the skeptic and in doing so, I leave my personal quest, the thing that inspired me to take this journey in the first place, behind. Perhaps that is the spectrum along which ~my~ pendulum swings and the reason why days like that Saturday in San Juan Capistrano are so important.
When you investigate the paranormal, you quickly learn that ghosts can be anywhere. But it isn’t until it surprises you in some random place that this fact really hits home. Last night, Jamie, Brian and I (Heather) were hanging out together celebrating the approach of Halloween by driving around town in search of festively decorated houses. After satiating our desire for giant spiders and bodies hanging from trees, we decided to stop by one of many in a chain of craft stores for a couple of supplies before heading home.
Our mission was simple. We needed glow-sticks and glitter to recreate a neat little project Jamie had seen online. When mixed together, the contents of the glow-stick and the glitter were supposed to look like glowing fairies in a jar. While wandering through the store, we literally ran into the paranormal. Or rather, it ran into us. Well…it ran into Jamie to be exact.
Let me see if I can paint a bit of a picture for you. Jamie was walking down one of the main aisles toward the front of the store. I (Heather) had just stepped into the same aisle from one of the smaller off-shoots. Brian, who was already up front, had just stepped into the aisle to see if we were on our way to him. As I came out from the smaller aisle, Jamie stopped and turned around to make sure I was in tow. Next to her was a wire display. The framework had dump bins on the long sides. The ends were capped with pegs and stocked with lenticular portraits; the kind that morph depending on the angle from which they are viewed.
Brian was looking at Jamie and I. Jamie was just turning to look at me. And I came around the corner just in time to see one of the lenticulars lift off its peg, levitate for a split second, then hurl itself sideways and hit Jamie. And it hit her hard! It took us all a minute to process what we had just experienced. I immediately checked for someone on the other side of the display, thinking that they had hit it causing the picture to fly off. There was no one there. Jamie was as confused as we were. Both Brian and she were looking at me as if I was going to explain it away but I couldn’t. Brian and I moved toward Jamie as she turned around to stare at the picture which was now laying on the floor silently professing its innocence and claiming its status as an inanimate object. But no amount of silent protest could change what Brian and I had both seen and what Jamie had felt.
Upon inspection, we noticed that the piece of cardboard from which the picture had been suspended was ripped. Luckily, the object was light, so Jamie wasn’t hurt. We stood there, completely stunned, our mouths agape, when an employee came strolling up the aisle. We didn’t even tell him what had happened before he casually dropped this little nugget: “Yeah….our store is haunted.” He didn’t even break his stride. Figuring he was just being a smart-ass, we stopped him and made him explain. As he did, we realized that he was being serious. He told us he heard voices in the back on more than one occasion and that the television in the break room turns itself on. We promptly handed him our card.
Had he told us his experiences before the picture had attacked, we probably would have been less likely to take them at face value. But seeing that picture fly off the rack was incredible. I’m still having a hard time believing it. Before you get all excited and start trying to disprove the experience, let me mention that we did take a few minutes to try to figure out if there was anything that could have caused the event.
The closest set of circumstances consisted of the picture falling off the peg. Perhaps the cardboard it was hanging from finally ripped through and released it letting it fall onto the peg below. We tried to reenact the scenario, but when it bounced, it didn’t go nearly as far as what we had witnessed. And it certainly didn’t have the thrust. Jamie was standing at least three feet from the picture. Had it bounced off the peg after falling from its perch, it would have landed beside her at best. Eager to create some magic at home, we left the store with glitter, some glow sticks, and a whole lot of questions.
If you are wondering how our quest to make fairies in a jar turned out, let me help you with your curiosity. The original picture that stirred our imagination looked like this:
While we didn’t think it would turn out quite like that, we thought it was at least worth a try. We ended up making something that looked more like radioactive goop in a jar. Much less charming.
This isn’t ours. This example was brought to you by: iamjolene.blogspot.com. It is much closer to what we ended up with. We used glitter. First it clumped together. Then it coated the jar. Not at all fairy-esque.
(If you want to try this project for yourself, try going to The Gold Jellybean.com. She offers nice step by step directions and she adds a bit of extra advice that makes the finished product look more like fairies and less like radioactive goop.)
It’s always nice when time with friends leaves you with warm memories. But it is even better when your time together both surprises and teaches you. And this night taught us plenty!
1. Glitter and glow-stick juice doesn’t make for very good fairies.
2. The Michael’s arts and crafts store we went to? Totally haunted. (All right…it’s at least a good candidate for an investigation.)
During this investigation the investigators were being investigated.
1. the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined,usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.
When I was little, I watched this television show called “That’s Incredible.” It was made up of segments that showed amazing stunts, highlighted advancements in medicine and, on occasion, aired stories about paranormal activity. One segment in particular captured my imagination and stayed with me through the years. The story was about a historic inn where the employees heard old-fashioned music, the clinking of glasses, talking, and other sounds that made it seem like there was a party going on. All this occurred in the late evening/early morning hours when most people were asleep or when the inn was vacant. The place was investigated and the sounds were captured on tape. This was the first time I heard about “residual haunting.” Dubbed “The Stone Tape Theory,” the investigators believed that the sounds were emanating from the structure and/or its foundation, and originated from the 1700’s when the in was first built. What employees and residents were hearing was history literally repeating itself.
I had seen movies and shows and I had heard stories about ghosts before. But something about this story in particular intrigued me. It captured my imagination. While the interest in the supernatural was always there, this was the story that made me want to become a paranormal investigator. The idea of witnessing what had happened hundreds of years before was the most amazing possibility I could imagine.
As much as it intrigued me, it bothered me too. Up until that point I had always assumed that ghosts were intelligent spirits of the dead. But this report was telling me ghosts were actually just recordings of the past; organized energy trapped in wood and stone leaking out and allowing us a glimpse at how things used to be. It conflicted what I thought I knew.
As my quest for answers expanded, I learned that ghosts were thought to be both. Some were intelligent and some were simply a recording of the past trapped in objects, structures or minerals. It wasn’t until I began investigating them regularly that I started to suspect that the definition of the word “ghost,” even in its duality, was incomplete. But have we come across enough information from our investigations to flesh the definition out? Here’s what I have managed to put together for myself.
For me, there is a difference between a ghost and a spirit. Hence the heading! Simply put, a spirit has fully transitioned to “the other side” whereas a ghost is caught somewhere in the middle. Generally, a full transition to the spirit world implies that the soul has left the body and has been welcomed back into the loving arms of those who have gone before them. I believe they are welcomed back into the fold of greater energy. This greater energy could be referred to as one god or many gods. Regardless, the work we are born to do here on Earth, is continued on “the other side.” We are not dormant in between lifetimes.
I know that not everyone believes in reincarnation. And I know that many people get immediately butt-hurt at the mere mention of many gods. So if it makes you feel better to think that when we die, we transition to “heaven,” fine. The point is, that when we make a full and proper transition, we are conscious of the freedom we have from our bodies. We are aware of the difference between this world and the next. We can watch over and even communicate with our loved ones until they are ready to make their own transition.
Many people experience visits from loved-ones passed. My mom, who died in 2002, visits me all the time. Spirits can come to us visually or audibly. They can appear in our dreams or send us signs that will make us think of them. They can even interact with the physical world. These things, the reality of which is still thought of by many as debatable, are not figments of our imaginations or a desperate attempt to comfort ourselves over our losses.
Are they haunting us? Technically, I guess the answer is yes. However, the connotation of the word implies that the activity is creepy or unwanted; a bunch of crazy-making experiences perpetrated by some unfamiliar and freaky being. And I suppose that assumption is understandable if it is happening to someone who is unaware that it is a loved-one trying to say “Hey! What up?” But a spirit who is trying to communicate with you generally has your best interest at heart (even if you aren’t aware of it) and, hopefully the activity reflects that.
A residual ghost is exactly what I described in the introduction to this post. It is a recording of the past that, under the right circumstance(s) plays itself back. Some are thought to replay at a certain time of day or a certain time of year. Some are triggered by people who have the right combination of attributes including psychic ability or stress level. This theory behind residual haunting is colloquially referred to as “The Stone Tape Theory.”
The important distinction is that the phenomena is benign. You can experience it, but it can’t experience you. It is like a psychic video tape. It behaves the same regardless of whether or not you are there.
Captured during an investigation at The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Ca, this loud bang was recorded in the bow of the ship on what we later realized was the anniversary of the day she plowed through her wartime escort the Curacao leaving over two hundred men to perish. Later, we found out that this type of noise had been reported numerous times in this section of the ship. It was thought to be the residual sounds of the crew of the Curacao banging on the hull of The Queen Mary with their wrenches as their ship was torn in half.
Here’s where things get tricky. Intelligent ghosts linger, as far as we know, in a state of neither here nor there. They are entities who did not make a full transition after death. Perhaps this means that their world is some combination of our classical world, and whatever lies beyond.
Thinking about how and why this may happen brings forth so many questions! I mean, the thought of existing “in between” anything feels foreign. We are predisposed to “achieving” or “accomplishing.” The state of being “stuck” makes us uncomfortable. Perhaps that is why the thought of becoming a “ghost” is so frightening to so many people.
Like spirit, ghosts can affect the classical world. The motivation behind the communication is where they differ. When an intelligent spirit interacts with or “haunts” us, it is because ~they~ need ~us~ to know or do something for them. When spirit communicates with us, it’s because they want to express love or let us know they are still with us. It is something they do for us.
Though the motivation for ghostly communication appears selfish, that selfishness is not necessarily a negative thing. One of our favorite ghosts, the ghost of a man named William Erik Stark, most commonly communicated with us by growling. But early on I decided not to assume he was a negative entity. Instead, I found his “grumpiness” funny. When he started picking on Jamie, it made me cackle. Now before you get mad at me for being mean, let me explain what I mean by “picking on.” Stark learned early on that he could pull Jamie’s hair and, by pulling her hair, I mean just yanking at a couple of strands at a time. You have to see it in person, but Jamie’s reaction is hilarious.
When it first started happening, she blamed her husband Brian which only added to the funny. Anyway, over time, and many investigations, we realized that Stark wasn’t a bad guy. He just didn’t want to be bothered. After all, the place he resides is known for its many tourists. And those tourists are often not respectful to Stark’s beloved abode. I think over time he grew bitter and assumed that we were just like the scores of assholes that drunkenly roamed his home. At least, that’s what he assumed until we proved him wrong.
Now, he communicates with us all the time. He watches over us in much the same way as he watches over some of the ghosts he shares his home with. And now, he has no problem pulling my hair. It doesn’t hurt. He’s just playing. And it lets us know he’s there.
It’s understandable that people assume ghosts are negative, or scary, or even evil. Interacting with someone you don’t know is nerve-wracking enough without the added fact that they cannot be seen. But “ghosts” are neither good nor evil. The term “Ghost” describes a state of being. It is the motivation behind the ghost that is positive or negative and that must be studied on a case by case basis just like we do with the living. We must remember that ghosts are simply human souls minus the machine (body). Or..are they?
Is the explanation of an intelligent ghost as simple as a soul that, for some reason, is trapped between our world and the next? Perhaps, in some cases, it is. But I suspect there may be other explanations. Maybe there are times when the intelligent energy that “haunts” us is but a fragment of what once was a whole soul. What if there are some people who, in life, experience events so poignant, that, as they transition in death, the part of their being that was the most deeply affected remains behind while the rest of the soul crosses over? After-all, once free of our bodies, we are nothing but an assembly of energy. Intelligent haunts suggest that we are in death the same as we were in life. This means that our personalities, our character traits, and our thoughts are part of our souls, and not just the outcome of firing neurons or brain chemicals.
Perhaps some events, such as the ones responsible for a traumatic death are so damaging to the psyche that an intelligent imprint of us is left behind which, in those instances, is only capable of focusing on the trauma. Take, for example, the Civil War soldier who is still wandering the battle field wondering what the hell happened. There are numerous evp recordings of soldiers who are still trying to figure out what is going on. Did the war end? We assume that an intelligent response to a question means that we are communicating with a whole complete consciousness. But what if it’s only a piece of that person left behind; the piece that is trapped in the traumatized emotional state?
But why would a piece of someone’s soul be left behind? Perhaps it is like when a branch from a tree dies and falls off. The tree still lives, but the branch is no longer nourished or able to grow. It doesn’t have the strength to stay with the tree and the tree no longer has a use for it. The tree is better off without the dead limb. Thankfully, dead tree limbs don’t wander around banging on things and expressing their constant distress. But maybe humans do?
While we are on the subject, I have to wonder: If the energy of the dead can cleave as or before “crossing over,” can the energy of the living do the same? Is it possible for us to haunt ourselves? It seems logical to assume that while we are here on Earth, our energies are contained within our bodies. We eat, sleep, travel, and affect the classical world all from within the skin we’re in. But those of us who are obsessed with looking more closely at ourselves and what lies beyond ourselves have seen proof that our energy radiates. It does not stop at the physical boundary of our bodies. Eastern religion has taught the many ways in which our energies mingle beyond the sensation of touch. And it is with these teachings that the western world is just beginning to catch up.
In Tibetan mysticism, it is believed that people create what are known as “Tulpas,” which are manifestations of intentions that take form in the ethereal plane. Once created, they can take on a life or sentience of their own growing stronger as belief in their existence expands. Also called, a “forced haunt,” there have been cases where reported activity was theorized to be the result of entities which sprang from urban legends and grew stronger from people’s fear of or belief in their existence.
From auras to that heavy feeling left in a room after a heated argument, energy takes up space. If it is possible for pieces of us to linger after death, it stands to reason, or, at the very least, should not be discounted, that pieces of us can be left behind while we are still alive. Whether these pieces are discarded subconsciously, or they separate because they stymie our growth, our souls as a whole are not necessarily absolute. If these pieces are discarded prematurely, is it not possible for them, in whatever intelligence they possess to want what all humans want; to be noticed or accepted? At the same time, if they are intelligent or possess their own consciousness, however limited, is it not also possible for them to be angry over their abandonment or lack of recognition?
While we are breaking down boundaries, it makes sense to mention the theory that those of us who find ourselves haunted by “ghosts” might very well be the ones haunting them. I know! It sounds pretty “out there.” But what if some of our interactions are occurring because, in some other reality or parallel universe, those who have died in our world, are still alive in another?
In 1954, a Princeton physics student by the name of Hugh Everett III began work on his dissertation: “Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics,” which later evolved and gained popularity as “The Many Worlds Theory.” Boiled down, the theory asserts that every time a decision is made, the universe splits into enough realities to accommodate all possible choices. Hence, while in our reality we see that we have taken an umbrella to stay dry while we walk through the rain, there is another reality in which we did not touch that umbrella. Somewhere, out there, in another dimension, we are soaking wet.
I know. It’s a terrible example. It’s an almost irreverent simplification of a theory that broke through a glass ceiling which physicists had been bruising themselves on since the 1920’s. But if I started bombarding you with explanations of “superposition” and the argument over collapsing waveforms, this would very quickly become a different blog!
The point is that if Everett’s theory, or the other theories that have since evolved turn out to be true, then could some of our “ghosts” actually be embodied spirits that exist in parallel universes with which we come into contact due to some weird dimensional proximity? If that is the case, then that would mean the haunt is also the haunted.
Here is out watcher lightened up.
Ghosts have come a long way from corny images of floating sheets or semi-transparent beings drifting aimlessly in a darkened hall. From loved-ones visiting us from beyond, to pieces of ourselves somehow left behind, to other human beings living separate lives in separate dimensions, the understanding of the word “ghost” has grown deeper and more complex throughout the years. The question “Do you believe in…” is quickly becoming “What do you believe in?” And those who are daring enough to examine their own experiences and compare them to those of many others, are finding the word representative of childhood anecdotes to be much more fascinating than stories around campfires once led them to believe.
To view case files from some of our team’s past investigations please visit our website at www.EastValleyParanormal.com. We look forward to your visit and we’ll see you on the other side! This is Heather, signing off!