Archive for July, 2010

“Ghost Magnet”

Posted in Commentary, History, Investigations, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by S. P.

Have you met anyone (or even perhaps it’s you) who seems to be a “ghost magnet?”  This isn’t necessarily someone who’s “sensitive” or “psychic,” but someone who seems somehow “tuned in” to paranormal activity.  It’s as if the paranormal often finds them, not the other way around.  In almost every case, it’s not the person loudly proclaiming he or she is “seeing ghosts” everywhere.  Instead, it’s usually the person who’s quiet and introspective – you never know about this person’s brush with the supernatural until he or she feels comfortable enough to confide in you about their “experiences.”

I met one such person several years ago while attending college in the northwest.  This person, “Mary,” had already experienced more paranormal activity than most people experience in a lifetime.  As often seems to be the case among those who have a strong connection to the paranormal, Mary’s mother and grandmother were also “sensitive” to the paranormal.

Mary’s ancestors were early settlers to the area.  Consequently, the family maintained a small cemetery just outside of town.  During high school, Mary and a guy-friend decided to visit the cemetery at night, taking along an Ouija Board.  As they soon learned the hard way, Ouija Boards are not something to play around with.  Mary and her friend sat on the grass and began attempting to “communicate” with “spirits” using the Ouija Board.

They soon became aware of a “presence” coming towards them.  Mary felt whatever it was had malevolent intent.  She ushered her friend back into their car.  At this point, Mary wanted to leave, but her friend insisted they continue their “experiment.”  This time, the friend seemed to go into some sort of trance, which obviously frightened Mary a great deal – particularly since she again “felt” the entity moving towards them.

She finally succeeded in snapping her friend out of his “trace.”  They both knew it was time to cease “playing with” the Ouija Board and leave the cemetery immediately.  Once they’d gotten away, Mary quizzed her friend about what happened.  He reported feeling as if an angry old man with a limp was coming towards them.

Curiosity forced Mary to return to the cemetery the next day.  Investigating in the direction from which she’d felt the presence coming from the night before, she found the headstone of a lone male set off from the other family plots.  Unfortunately, none of her relatives recalled the man, who’d died many years earlier.

On another occasion, Mary reported visiting a local history museum housed in a historic home.  She viewed the displays on the first floor without incident.  However, as she climbed the stairs to the second floor, Mary began feeling a heaviness, which she likened to walking into a tarp blocking the stairs.  She described it as so completely overpowering, she was unable to reach the top of the staircase.  Both her mother and grandmother experienced similar powerful “negative” feelings about the second floor.  Supposedly, a psychic visited the location afterwards and claimed “feeling” the presence on the second floor of a male who strongly hated women.

In the metro area where our college was located, a major interstate passed right next to one of the city’s largest cemeteries.  One time while driving down this freeway alone, Mary felt something suddenly enter her backseat as she passed the cemetery.  Mary was convinced something or someone was now in the backseat of her car.  She said she was so scared with its overwhelming presence she could not bring herself to look in the rearview mirror as she felt positive she’d see whatever it was looking back at her.  As she neared her home, she could no longer stand feeling its presence.  Mary slammed on her brakes then yelled at the top of her lungs, “Get out of my car!”  She said she felt it immediately disappear from her car.  She made it home without further incident, but never did look in the back seat until the next day.

My own interesting personal experience connected with Mary happened while visiting her parent’s house one evening.  Walking into a bathroom, just as I was about to flip on the light switch, I felt a cat brush against my leg.  Knowing there were no cats in the house, I searched in vain for what I might have brushed against, but found nothing.  When I mentioned the incident to Mary, she told me their cat had died a few months prior.  Had I encountered a “ghost” cat?  If so, at least it seemed to like me since I didn’t get clawed.

Can I verify any of these incidents?  Certainly not.  However, they do make for interesting – and if nothing else, amusing – anecdotes.

So, who’s your “ghost magnet?”

2010 All rights reserved.  This copyrighted material may not be reposted or reproduced in any form without permission.]



Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by S. P.

The most important word in the paranormal community should be respect.  Unfortunately, it’s something which seems to be practiced less and less by more and more people.  Let’s consider for a moment why respect is so important and why it needs to return as one of the primary virtues among paranormal researchers.  We must show respect to both the living and the dead.

Starting with the living, we must show respect to both our fellow researchers and the owners of the places we investigate.  The amount of childish disrespect among certain people and groups is frankly ridiculous and does nothing to further the reputation of paranormal research as a serious pursuit among the general public.  Instead of serious discussions about theories, research and findings, far too many online sites degrade into nothing but personal attacks and pubic in-fighting.  This is simply unacceptable.  It’s perfectly acceptable for people to hold differing opinions (especially in a field where there are no concrete answers).  These differing opinions might even result in spirited debate.  However, it’s never acceptable to allow differences of opinion to degrade into nothing more than childish name calling and personal attacks.

Likewise we must respect the owners of the places we investigate.  We don’t have a right to investigate any location.  Instead, we are allowed into locations thanks to the good graces of those who own those locations.  They deserve our respect.  Additionally, we must ask ourselves why we’re conducting paranormal research.  If the answer is anything other than to help others, then you should seriously consider your motives for doing this type of research.  There’s a problem from the get-go with respect if you’re “into” the paranormal but lack the motivation to help others.

Now let’s turn to those who deserve our utmost respect, the dead.  If you are incapable of showing respect to the dead, you need to find something else to do with your time, period.  This goes back to your motivation.  If you’re “into” the paranormal simply because it looks “cool” on TV or to get some sort of “thrill,” you immediately disrespect the dead.  Ghosts are not trained dogs who perform on our command – they are the souls of human beings, human beings who were once just as flesh and blood as you and me.  Unfortunately, most of the TV shows today, which is where many now seem to get their “training,” give the exact opposite impression – that “ghosts” can be treated as nothing but objects we can make “perform” for our enjoyment.  Do not fall into this trap.

How can we respect the dead?  It’s actually rather simple: don’t do anything or say anything you wouldn’t say or do to a living person as a guest in their home.  Yes, that means any sort of “provoking” is unacceptable.  It might look “sexy” on TV, but in reality it’s the height of disrespect for the dead.  If your mama didn’t teach you simple manners, then once again, you need to find something else to do with your time.

Let’s get back to that word respect – both for the living and for the dead.

2010 All rights reserved.  This copyrighted material may not be reposted or reproduced in any form without permission.]

Poltergeists in History

Posted in Commentary, History, Poltergeists, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by S. P.

Although the word poltergeist, from the German for “noisy ghost,” entered the English lexicon relatively recently, dating back to the mid-1800s, what we’d now call poltergeist activity is found in much older historical records.  Take for example the following account recorded by the Welsh scholar Giraldus Cambrensis in his Itinerarium Kambriae from around 1191:

In this part of Pembrokeshire it has happened in our own times that foul spirits have held intercourse with men, not indeed so as to be seen, but so as to make themselves sensibly manifest.  For in the home, first of a certain Stephen Wiriet, and later in that of William Not, they rendered their presence known by the throwing of lumps of dirt (jactu sordium) and of other things meant to deride rather than to do bodily injury.  In William’s house, as both the host himself and his guests had repeatedly to deplore, they made rents and holes in garments both of linen and cloth, and against this mischief no amount of watchfulness, no locks or bolts, afforded the least protection.  But what was stranger still, in Stephen’s house the spirit used to talk with men, and when people bandied words with it, as many did in mockery, it taxed them with all the things they had ever done in their lives which they were least willing should be known or spoken about.

By the early 20th century, researchers made the connection that poltergeist activity often centered on a particular person, now referred to as the poltergeist agent.  The poltergeist agent was, and is, generally a teenager, often female, and almost always under serious emotional distress.  Consequently, it seems likely poltergeist activity doesn’t have anything to do with “ghosts,” but instead involves some sort of psychic activity, normally with the poltergeist agent completely unaware he or she is manifesting such energy.

In the case noted above, while we don’t know much more about the specifics, Giraldus provided a compelling clue the events involved poltergeist activity.  He noted with surprise that in hauntings of this sort the use of holy water, even holy water from the font on Holy Saturday, had no effect on the activity.  In fact, priests arriving to perform sacramental rites often became the first ones pelted by dirt.  Strong indications records of poltergeist activity exist far back in human history.

Refecence: Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.  Ghosts and Poltergeists.  Fort Collins, CO: Roman Catholic Books, 1988. (Reprint of work originally published in 1953.)

2010 All rights reserved.  This copyrighted material may not be reposted or reproduced in any form without permission.]

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