Ghostology: The Ghost of Albion

I am asked frequently what are some of the most haunted locations I have investigated and I have a mental list that I keep.  One in particular is close to my heart because it was there I saw my first full bodied apparition during an investigation at the Idaho Normal School in Albion.  The school was established by the Idaho State Legislator in 1893. The citizens of Albion actively lobbied the schools establishment, and donated the land and labor for the new campus. The school offered a two year teacher training program until 1947, when it was renamed Southern Idaho College of Education (SICE). The school was troubled by low income and lack of funding and finally closed by the state in 1951.  The campus remained vacant until 1957, when the Magic Valley Christian College opened at the site, and later closed in 1969. The beautiful historic campus was locked and boarded up until the City of Albion auctioned it off in 2007.  The family that now owns the school rents the grounds in the summer for all kinds of events and during Halloween they host the Haunted Mansions of Albion which I hear is a great event for all of you haunted house aficionados.  See them on facebook for more info.

In July of 2010 I ventured with my paranormal group to investigate Albion.  The grounds are well kept but some of the larger buildings are still largely unkempt and decrepit.  You always know you’re going to have an amazing investigation when you see a ghost ten minutes after arriving.  And so it was at Albion, I was still organizing plans for the equipment setup in the largest building the women’s dormitory.  The building had three floors and at the time I was in the basement.  It was 7pm on a hot July afternoon and there was still 2 hours before sunset but in the basement it felt and looked like midnight on a cool October evening.  There seemed to be endless halls with empty rooms swathed in graffiti.  The construction had placed stairways up to the outside surface every so often, but I had hardly noticed them as I mulled over the possible locations for recorders and cameras.  I was not expecting anything paranormal, but as I have said before the paranormal is unpredictable and opportunistic.

It was a woman.  Her eyes were black and lifeless.  I remember snorkeling in the Mexican ocean and seeing a barracuda with intensely lifeless black eyes.  Her eyes were black, unfeeling, and void like those of the barracuda.  Her skin was white and smooth and yet it appeared hard and dry like hard plaster, cold and still.  The face a long oblong shape with a pointy chin and nose that ran the length of the eyes extending to the small slit of a mouth.  Her hair color was dirty blonde and was held in a medium curl down to the shoulders.  The most striking feature was an enormous flat white collar that looked like it belonged to a uniform of sort, maybe from the 1930s or 40s.  Later, I jokingly called her the lunch lady because in the same area were the remnants of a large industrial mixer that would have made breads and other dishes, but it could have been a uniform for anything from a nurse to a sanitation worker.  I only knew, and I had no doubt, she was and enigma or a mistake in the natural world.  Why would she want to remain where she was so out of place and odd?  But then, I often remind myself, maybe I was the intruder and she was just curious like a questioning glance at new neighbors.  Still I was over whelmed with an unnatural sensation and sense of alarm.

Our encounter was short, but as in many cases it was evermore burned into my mind.  She quickly peeked at me from behind an old door way beginning one of the stairways up to ground level.  As my mind scrambled to process what was happening, I was instantly snapped back into the present and felt the adrenaline inject in to my spine.  I gasped for a breath only to find my lungs unable to comply and startled, stepped back against a wall.  I tried to say something but had no air to make intelligible sounds.

It was unnecessary to inform the others around me that a paranormal event had occurred, the air had changed and an excitement like static electricity wafted in the air.  Their only question was to what level had the paranormal been manifested.  Though it seemed longer, a second after the shock I was fine and an emotional release like cold water on a hot day allowed me to catch my breath and I related what I had experienced.  Everyone became alert and quiet to pause and listen for the woman in the shadows.  But there was only silence.

Embarrassment was the next emotion.  I was the leader and I had flinched in a big way.  Inside I reproved and chastised myself for showing a reaction unlike the many paranormal investigators on TV who seem unfazed by such experiences.  I could not help it, I was caught completely by surprise and I don’t care, that woman creeped me out!  I walked with another investigator down the hall discussing the event.  I only separated myself slightly unaware I had come to the next stairway.  At this location not only was there a door way but a small window in the wall out to the stairwell and through that window she stood glaring at me.  I jumped flailing my arms, knocking a camera out of the hand of my companion.  I made no sound that time, but the message was clear, it was time to leave.  I do not know why she was stalking me and I did not want to find out.

I did go back in the building that night, many times, but I did not see the woman again.  There were many other experiences and events.  Albion remains on my mental list of very haunted locations and I am happy to have had a brush with the paranormal in that place.  I do wonder who the woman was and why I was able to see her when others did not at that moment.  No member of the team that night saw her with their own eyes, but I will end this account by telling that three members of the team do believe to have witnessed a white figure in the original doorway and stairwell while setting up the DVR system’s flat screen.  Unfortunately the DVR system was not recording yet and so it was not documented, so you will have to decide for yourselves what really happened at Albion.

Ghostology: The Ghostly History of George Washington

It is October 2012 and the United States is in the thick of a Presidential Election.  As emotions run high, party pundits make dogmatic speeches in the hopes of persuading the masses to their views.  The relentless roar of the campaigns can become tiresome as political particulars are debated till the truth becomes nebulous and vague.  It is at these times I think it is perfect to remember a few paranormal events from our nations past in order to point out that, supernaturally speaking, the United States of America has been maintained through divine intervention.

Ghost and paranormal phenomena have played major roles in the history of the United States.  There are numerous reports of high ranking government officials who have had contact with ghosts and spirits.  One example is George Washington the first president of the United States.  History tells us that Washington was involved in several events during his life and after death at crucial moments of US history.

George Washington’s first documented brush with the paranormal was reported in the National Tribune in 1880.  During the winter of 1778 while the Continental Army camped at Valley forge George Washington would write, “‘I do not know whether it is owing to anxiety of my mind, or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence”. The angelic visitor would continue to show him a vision of the United States that would extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  The vision was of great relief to Washington at the time who was trying to defend the newly declared nation from the British.

George Washington died in 1799 but General George McClellan, who had charge of the Union Armies in 1862 also conveyed that he was visited by our first president.  He said that early in the morning he had fallen asleep when he was awakened by a voice as he saw a mist followed by the faint outline of a man. McClellan was told that the Union had been betrayed and was shown a “living map” that pointed out the locations of the Confederate Armies. McClellan was able to make notes of the Confederate Armies positions and then identified the visitor as George Washington.  McClellan convinced of the divine nature of the message immediately visited the Union front and made strategic changes necessary to meet the Confederates’ plan of attack on Antietam September 17, 1862 and succeeded in preventing the capture of the Capitol and saving the Union.

Later in 1863 the specter of George Washington was not done yet as the battle of Gettysburg neared.  The 20th Maine Regiment on their way to Pennsylvania had marched till they arrived at a fork in the road.  It was unclear which way they should go but their decision would be critical to the outcome of the war.  It was a cloudy night and as they pondered their choices suddenly the clouds parted and rays of moonlight illuminated the figure of a man on a horse waving the men down one of the roads.  At first the men believed it was General George McClellan, but that was impossible who at the time was not in the vicinity of Gettysburg.  Soon the regiment recognized the figure as that of George Washington. The 20th Maine Regiment would go on to play a pivotal role in the battle of Gettysburg the turning point of the Civil War.

So in this time of election as we reflect upon our values and country it is comforting to also remember the power of the American spirit (no pun intended) and role that the paranormal and ghosts have played in the shaping of our history.  To me it is evident that our nation has been guided in the past and may our leaders today receive guidance now.

News: Harvard Medical School Doctor Confirms Afterlife

Harvard Medical School Doctor Confirms Afterlife. Click on the link to read the full story.  Excellent article about Dr. Eben Alexander who claims to have visited the afterlife. Dr. Eben Alexander has taught at Harvard Medical School and practices neurosurgery. And while Alexander says he’s long called himself a Christian, he never held deeply religious beliefs or a pronounced faith in the afterlife.  In 2008 he survived a week long coma during which he claims to have visited the afterlife.  At the time his brain did not have activity in several key areas making it impossible for him to dream or hallucinate yet what he experienced was a vivid reality of beings and extraordinary locations.  A must read for Ghostology aficionados.

Ghostology Extra: What to Expect During a Paranormal Investigation

My first paranormal investigation happened quite by accident in a hotel room.  I was on vacation in Virginia City, Nevada and as I was testing a new digital recorder I realized the voice of a small boy appeared on one of my test recordings.  At first I thought it was my son but then quickly realized he had not been in the area.  I soon found myself in the hotel’s lobby awkwardly trying to get some answers.  I was embarrassed to just ask “Is this hotel reputed to be haunted?”  Luckily for me there was a small book store and I found a publication that covered the hauntings of the area.  Back in my room I discovered that not only was the hotel haunted but that the very room I inhabited was visited by the spirits of a young boy and girl.  I was thrilled.

Since that time, in 2007 I founded the Southeast Idaho Paranormal Organization (SEIPO), I have visited numerous haunted locations and have conducted many investigations.  Beyond those accomplishments I have spoken to literally hundreds of individuals about their personal paranormal experiences.  There have been many similarities and patterns I have noted over the years. BUT the one characteristic I have noticed above all others is the paranormal is unpredictable and manifests in unexpected ways.

My first official investigation (with my newly formed group) is a good example.  Images of old houses and cemeteries may be running through your mind, but did you think of a demolition derby car?  Yes that’s right; I investigated a haunted demolition derby car.  Two men, brothers, and professional demolition derby drivers were out in their garage getting ready for the next event when a mist formed around the car, whirled around it for a while and then dissipated.  They happened to have a camera at the time and captured some interesting images.  We spent the majority of one night sitting around this car asking questions to it.  We had a few strange things happen but nothing too unusual. The most compelling aspect was our investigation was into the cars past.  To make a long story short, the former owners had gone to great lengths to have the car destroyed and were not too pleased to find the vehicle still “alive”.

I have been pinched, touched, scratched and kissed (yes kissed).  All of these experiences left me dumb founded as to what had just occurred.  I have also been surprised by my reactions.  I was kissed by an unseen force in an old bus station; I literally felt the pressure on my lips.  It did not scare me; in fact, I was filled with giddy-like emotions that I described as “feeling like a young school girl in love for the first time”.  Really!  I am not an overly emotional person, I am very educated and take paranormal research seriously.  And that is why I say during years of paranormal investigation, I have learned paranormal activity is erratically unpredictable and unexpected.

So there may be some of you who think I have just lost all credibility, all I can say is go and investigate yourself and quickly you will gain an understanding about what I am saying.  You will experience thing in ways and at time that will just leave you speechless and wondering how.  I joke from time to time when I speak of these experiences, some events are just so bizarre I couldn’t even make them up, but they are true still the same.

Ghostology: Haunted Histories and Icebergs of Curiosity

It’s almost October and my favorite time of the year.  Not only is fall beautiful, there is football, changing leaves, and of course Halloween also to be enjoyed.  Halloween is just fun as it gives us the chance to dress up as whatever alter ego we choose and become someone else for a while.  With the nights becoming ever chillier, there is always the occasion to sit around a warm fire with friends and loved ones and just talk and sometimes great ghost stories are shared.  Some of my best childhood memories are of such times.  I loved listening to the sound of my mother’s voice as she told us paranormal encounters pasted down from her own life and other family members.  Some were funny and others intense but they all served to build an identity that I could rely on later.  Today around the US not only are their spook allies, haunted houses and corn mazes, many communities are sponsoring local haunted history tours.  These tours are tons of fun and serve a greater purpose in the building of local traditions and community.

In October of 2009, I (and my paranormal organization SEIPO) hosted in conjunction with Old Town Pocatello, Inc. the first Haunted History Tour in our community.  I worked with the Old Town Pocatello’s executive director who has extensive experience hosting community events.  As I talked with her, I asked how she thought the event would be received and she replied that it would be fun but that expectations for a new event should be kept in check.  We decided on two nights and a total of two hundred tickets.  With no real budget we began to choose our locations and make a few flyers.  The original two hundred tickets sold out a month before the event so we added another one hundred tickets which were gone within a week.  It is hard to speculate, but I feel comfortable saying that around five hundred people we returned away for tickets and probably the number was closer to a thousand.  I felt sorry for the executive director who had to deal with several irate individuals who could not get tickets.

The tour itself was an eye opening experience.  The majority of people took the tour for entertainment but there were also many who came looking for answers or maybe just someone to talk to about personal experiences.  Both nights I had tour guests recount personal paranormal experiences in tears and in some cases for the first time, even before family.  These conversations almost universally begin like, “I never have talked about this, but I knew you would understand”.  More than anything the individuals on the tour showed me that the paranormal happens, it is more common than anyone would admit, and these experiences have deeply impacted the lives of those having them.  In our society today there are limited forums where one can go to talk about experiences without fear of ridicule or a medication recommendation, yet they are ubiquitous which is why I see a need for a serious forum for paranormal experiences and discussion.  Paranormal curiosity is like an iceberg among the general public, a little we can see-the majority under the surface.

Ghostology, in a small way, is designed for this purpose to open the eyes of readers to the truth that much more exists beyond what we can touch, see or taste.  During those Haunted History Tours, I was filled with immense satisfaction to witness others explore the possibilities, think beyond their everyday lives and consider amazing alternatives left dormant since youthful campouts and family chats of the past.  At the least, I met many who simply learned more about their communities and were unexpectedly excited to know they belonged to such a rich past and heritage.  I hope haunted history tours, walks or buses become traditional and popular Halloween attractions everywhere.  If your community does not have one-think about starting one!  They will benefit your community and you will see they expose the iceberg of curiosity for the paranormal.

News Article: Poltergeist Activity

Stephen Wagner of about.com has punished the article 7 Signs of Poltergeist Activity(Click on link for full article) Beyond being a fun read there is little new information accept the point that poltergeist activity is different from a true haunting.  Unfortunately Wagner misses the point and misses the opportunity to make an important observation.  He writes “poltergeist activity is the result of psychic energy generated (usually unconsciously) by a person” or psychokinesis but those “persons” are generally young females between the ages of 10 to 25 who are going through puberty.  This is plausible reason that an unusually high number of  High Schools are reputed to be haunted.  Historically, the Salem witch trials involved a group teenage girls having extraordinary fits, things thrown, pinching and other events considered beyond what was normal.  Today the whole of the events have been generalized as hoaxes and mass hysteria, but looking at the described happenings it would be easy to also ascribe poltergeist activity to some of the accounts.

 

News Article: Hauntings in China

Great article out of China about Hungza or haunted houses (Click on link for the full article). This article also references the Hello Kitty murder where a young 23 year old woman was kidnapped and tortured for a month before her death. Her kidnappers then took her skull and put it into a Hello Kitty plush toy.  The murder was solved when 14 year old girl with connection to the murderers went to the police because she believed she was being haunted by the murdered woman.

This article reminded me of a similar case in the United States when Teresita Basa, a respiratory therapist at a Hospital in Chicago, Illinois was murdered. In February 1977, the fire department was called to put out a fire in her home. In the blaze, the firefighters found her nude remains under a burning mattress with a butcher knife buried in her chest. Several months after the murder, Teresita’s coworker, Remy Chua, began having visions and dreams in which Teresita appeared to her begging her to go to the police and tell what happened to her. After some prodding from her husband, Joe, Remy gave Detective Joe Stachula enough information to implicate Alan Showery, a hospital orderly, who had come to her home to fix her TV. He had raped her and killed her, taking some of her jewelry to give to his girlfriend. Showery was tried February 1979 for her murder, and received only a fourteen year sentence for crime.

Though these two murders happened in different countries at different decades the experiences and out comes were the same.  The bottom line: the paranormal events were not necessarily culturally dependent. Though anecdotal, these crimes show that even after death, the two murdered women still had some control over event here among the living.

Ghostology: The Monarch Hotel

The television show Cheers said it best, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”.  That sense of belonging is a natural longing that I think everyone has and so we belong to clubs, churches, and different groups.  Families, though at times very dysfunctional, tend to define us in deep and meaningful ways.  We are social beings and if are deprived social interaction we tend to wither—loners never prosper.

In 2011, I with a group of paranormal investigators spent an evening in the Monarch Hotel in Pocatello, Idaho—it was a night I will never forget.  The Hotel had been luxurious upon opening in 1907 due to its Persian rugs and indoor plumbing.  But after many years it had been converted into a flop house for which purpose it had been used for decades.  As we investigated some of the residents took time from their nightly bongs to speak with us.  Most suspected the Monarch to be haunted, but their experiences did not tend to be frightening or violent, but rather simple manifestations of a presence.  We, as investigators, soon found ourselves postulating that whatever was there stayed because it felt like it belonged to this community of displaced, doped up, artistic individuals and I came to believe this idea more as we come in contact with the paranormal at the Monarch.  The experience made me appreciate the strong innate human characteristics for social interaction and belonging.

The infamous Donner Party is a good example of our inherent social needs.  Most everyone remembers the Donner Party for cannibalism when the group of 87 American pioneers in 1846 set off from Missouri in a wagon train headed west for California, only to find themselves trapped by snow in the Sierra Nevada. What isn’t widely known is that over 19% of male deaths did not arise from starvation or the elements but from violence; moreover, the survivors were more than likely members of a family while those that died tended to be lone individuals traveling to California.  Indeed, 66.6% of males between the ages of 20 and 39 died while only 11% of females died from the same age group.  Males were much more likely to be traveling alone while all females where traveling in a kin related groups.  The Donner Party illustrated that to belong increased ones chances of survival.

If there is an afterlife, it appears that the need to belong is still a basic characteristic.  Except in special cases, like vortexes, hauntings tend to involve individuals who are linked to the geography or structure.  Though many hauntings retell tragic events, I think that if the reality were known, most ghostly activity is not tragic but is family or location oriented and is positive.  I have been told of ghostly activity surrounding family reunions, births, and holidays.  I believe that negative experiences like tragic deaths, unfulfilled lives, murders, etc. are reported and then retold in a greater frequency due to our enjoyment of a good “ghost story”.  I also propose that ghosts of negative paranormal events seem to be attached rather than conscious visitations like those of positive paranormal events.  Of course this observation I admit is simplistic and my experience at the Monarch would tend to indicate a more complex answer.

Though the Monarch is a very old structure, the presence felt there is believed to be the ghost of an individual that died of a drug overdose in the 1980s.  The description was of a young man in his 20s wearing a dark over coat.  Most of the inhabitants even identified the room where the young man had died, though paranormal events seemed to happen throughout the building.  We tried to verify the accounts through EVP and Electromagnetic sessions by asking direct questions to the identity of the ghost.  Though the EVP recording resulted in nothing, we had a lot of success with a K2 meter and seemed verify that the ghost or presence did die in the building, was male and was into drug use.  At another time while in the building, I saw the image of a slender man in a gray overcoat at the end of a lobby.  It was only a brief second, but I did witness it in my direct field of vision rather that the corner of my eye.  What we did not expect as investigators was that we may not be welcome.

As I have stated, the paranormal interaction at the Monarch did not seem to be negative and could be describe as ordinary, everyday events without clear intent or message.  Many had told us they felt like the presence would just hangout in their rooms or move things.  But we were outsiders and neither the other investigators nor I fit the typical description of a Monarch resident and we soon learned whatever lingers in the Monarch wanted us to leave.

There was a consistency to the paranormal activity which in my experience is abnormal.  Generally, there will be long periods of inactivity followed by spikes of activity during most investigations, but at the Monarch the team was continually reporting cold spots, sounds, and other experiences.  One female investigator reported a scratch on her arm and then a metal object the size of a nickel was hurled in our direction from the second floor balcony.  Though there were residents in the building at the time, we verified that there was no one on the balcony at that moment.  We also had luck with our K2 meter which measures electromagnetic magnetic fields.  It seemed something was trying to communicate with us.  Unfortunately, I literally was to become the next medium of communication.

While examining an abandoned closet on the second floor, I began to feel a burning sensation on my back.  Quickly another investigator lifted my shirt and found a foot long scratch on my lower back.  That occurred early on in the investigation.  At the end of our investigation, a member of the team who had not viewed my back asked if he could see it.  I allowed him to lift my shirt and to his surprise not only was the original scratch there but the word STOP had now appeared just above the original.  I was skeptical at first because I had not felt a thing since the original burn, yet once images were taken I also could see the scratch marks that spelled STOP.  It also appeared that it was fresh since drops of blood still dripped from the deepest parts.  I had been on camera and with the group for 45 minutes prior to its discovery, proving it impossible for this to have been a hoax.  Just before the discovery of the word, the group had been conducting an EVP session.  It seems the entity did not like some of our questions.

Many people have asked me if I was completely freaked out by the STOP scratched in my back but truthfully it was very hard at the time to feel any emotion because I did not feel any pain or burning associated with the event.  The first foot long scratch did make me feel queasy and a little unnerved because I could tell and feel something didn’t want me there.  Later, I have come to appreciate the STOP because it is the most direct and irrefutable encounter I have had with the unknown.  The STOP event has caused me to further investigate the other paranormal and has raised some very intriguing questions.  Did our questions empower the entity?  Where we able to have such strong experiences because we were outsiders?  Are ghosts territorial?

I believe the entity feels it belongs at the Monarch and with the residents which may be the reason it does not cross over (if that is the right expression).  If this is a correct assumption, then it seems we tend to remain the same after death with the same wants and desires as we did in life.  I would not characterize the experiences at the Monarch as overly negative, though there was a sense of gloominess and heaviness about the building.  I always try and put myself in the place of the ghost, after all we were strangers unlike the residents disturbing the regular routines of the community.  I will never forget the Monarch and the amazing investigation that took place there and I hope that next time I return there the ghost will continue to be so willing to interact.

Ghostology: Impact Events

I was eight days shy of my seventh birthday when my grandfather, who lived with my family, suddenly past away of heart problems.  I remember it being so fast and at my young age it was hard to comprehend what it all meant.  I just knew that one evening I went to bed without concern and the next morning Grandpa John was dead.  My parents keep most of the details of his death from my siblings and me for some time and it was not till I was much older that my mother began to reveal them.  There was nothing out of the ordinary, he woke in the night with chest pain, my father drove him to the hospital, the doctors examined him and found he had an enlarged heart, they believed he would fine, but in the end he wasn’t and died.  Though this tale could be retold thousands of times by families across the United States, this time it was my Grandfather, and I loved him.  Was his end so pedestrian after he had lived a life full of experiences, accomplishments and love?  No, Grandpa John’s death may have been common, but other events illustrate the extraordinary details of his passing.

Death is a part of life.  Everyone must die.  But as an anthropologist and a paranormal investigator, I have noticed that generally, with death comes mystical elements that all peoples regardless of culture, geography, and time will experience in some manner.  Many of these elements or manifestations are even predicable to a point.  I call them Impact Events: increased paranormal activity associated with any life experience or event that has a strong and widespread impact either physically or emotionally.  A Impact Event can happen at a birth, rite of passage, a marriage, divorce, accident, reunion, illness and of course, death.  Impact Events come in many forms such as electrical interference, audible phenomena, physical manifestations, visitations, precognitions, premonitions, clairvoyance, and coincidences.

Though hard to measure statistically, I believe that Impact events are widespread and common. One survey of the beliefs of the general United States population regarding paranormal topics was conducted by the Gallup Organization in 2005. The survey found that 73 percent of those polled believed in some type or aspect of the paranormal.  With such a large percentage of the population favorable to the paranormal, one would think it would be easy for individuals to accept the association between death and Impact Events or the increase of paranormal activity; but it is not.  This reluctance is even more perplexing when coupled to the fact that most cultures contain beliefs regarding the soul and how long it “lingers” with the living between death and before it passes over to the next plain.  The healing of Lazarus in the New Testament is an example.  Jewish beliefs at the time said the spirit would linger near the body for three days.  Jesus did not raise Lazarus from the dead till the fourth day to illustrate that Lazarus spirit had “crossed over” and then was compelled to return to the body once he was completely dead.  Though anecdotal, Ghostology would reference this Jewish belief to bolster the idea of Impact Events.  Other details surrounding my Grandfathers death also illustrate this point.

As I have stated the factual details of my Grandfathers passing are unremarkable. But then there was his behavior the week leading up to his death.  My Grandfather’s wife (my Grandmother) had died ten years earlier.  I knew almost nothing about her.  The family only spoke of her in passing and in very general terms.  Her death was a painful one not only physically but emotionally for all at that time.  But for whatever reasons, Grandpa rarely spoke of her and I don’t remember any images of her around the house, only in forgotten photo albums.  My mother was surprised when he began to pull out old photos and reminisce of good times when he and his wife were young.  The night Grandpa was taken to the hospital we believe he sat at his desk and viewed those images before waking my father.  Of course, he was having chest pain that night, and possibly earlier in the week as well, though he never complained, but then there was that visit to the cemetery.

Just days before his death, Grandpa with my father visited the grave of his wife.  As they stood and reflected he said, “I wonder how long until I am here”.  This statement was very unlike him and my father reassured him that it would be a long while; he was still in his 60s.  By themselves these accounts are not extraordinary, it seems obvious that he was lonely and he missed the woman he had loved so deeply.  By themselves there was nothing paranormal, but then there was the doorbell the night after his death and the visitations that came years later.

That night, my parents had gone to bed understandably saddened and still in shock from my Grandfathers sudden death, but they were even more so after the doorbell went off and stuck twice during the night.  The doorbell did not just sound but actually got stuck making an irritating metallic grind between the ding and the dong.  My parents can verify that the doorbell has never repeated that malfunction in over 30 years.  Coincidence?  But then there have been the dreams where he has come to family members, or the night my brother arose in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and bumped into a dark figure wearing a black overcoat much like Grandfather wore.  And then there was the man that introduced himself as my Grandfather to a woman with ties to the family, at the time she thought the man seemed different with the clearest blue eyes she had ever seen, but had no idea my Grandfather had been dead for fifteen years by then.  My family believes he still to this day watches over us, especially in times of crisis.

I believe that Impact Events are common occurrences everywhere.  Due to their highly personal nature and controversial subject I suspect that a great majority of them are never reported or even discussed outside family and friends.  My ideas were shaped over many years of observation and study and I expect this is a factor in the many religious beliefs around the world and through time that explain the separation of the body and soul especially when those beliefs involve the soul lingering.  I have spoken with numerous individuals about possible Impact Events and I am always amazed at the similarities in the accounts.  I hope in the future our society can become more open towards these experiences as it will help in the ease of suffering and loss when a loved one passes but also to help the living gain new insights to what it means to be alive.

Ghostology and Dualism

For many years I have thought about possible theoretic elements to incorporate into Ghostology or the study of the paranormal.  I believe that if “Ghostology” is ever to be accepted as a legitimate field of study by the scientific community, an ascribed collection of theoretic concepts and methodologies must first be in place.  The compilation of these models also makes it easier and more transparent (forgive the pun) to communicate the ideas of Ghostology.  One of the primary theoretic concepts that I have found is dualism.

Dualism is the concept there exists universal but opposing binary principals that are interconnected making it that one cannot be without the other to the point that one may give rise to the other.  The most prominent dualistic symbol is the yin and the yang of the Taoist religion which underscores the dualistic relationship of male and female, night and day, land and water.  Many Eastern religions like Taoism emphasize the importance of the co-existence and harmony between opposing forces.  One example would be male and female.  If the two sexes did not learn to co-exist in harmony the human race would shrink from generation to generation till people no longer existed.  Dualism is found all over the world from the Mesoamerican cultures of Central America, Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures.  Even in Western religions like Christianity dualism has had a major impact as illustrated in the story of Adam and Eve—“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as the gods, knowing good from evil” (Genesis 3:5).

By implementing this common and ancient philosophy, Ghostology will explore the paranormal in an attempt to further understand what it means to be human and alive.  In this sense it could be said that Ghostology attempts to understand the living by investigating the dead.  I have always believed that if an afterlife could be confirmed this life and world would be greatly altered.  “Knowledge is power” as Sir Frances Bacon said, but knowledge also allows us to be a more caring society as well.  Just as the understanding of many illnesses once thought to be the result of malicious and sinful behavior has allowed us to treat and show compassion to the effected, the confirmation of an afterlife would allow for the possibility of many other things such as purpose, hope, and universality.