May 2009 Paranormal Underground
At Paranormal Underground, our mission is to publish the highest-quality e-Magazine for our readers. We strive to keep you updated on news from the paranormal world, as well as tackle the topics that most interest paranormal enthusiasts, researchers, and investigators. We hope you’ll find our publication entertaining and informative.
Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 5 May 2009 The Psychology of the Paranormal Investigator Spotlight Discovering the Origins of the Dibbuk Box Special Reports â€” The Psychology of the Paranormal: Are Our Brains Hard-Wired to Believe? â€” Autism and the Paranormal: Is There a Connection? Haunted History The Dibbuk Box Revealed Are We Alone? The Attack of the Reptoids Also Inside: Ghost Hunter Case Files: A Haunted Weekend at the Tokeland Hotel Diary From a Haunted Hotel May 2009 Paranormal Underground 1 Haunted Sites: Studio Cie TV Watch: Medium Psychology of the INVESTIGATOR SPOTLIGHT Discovering the Origins of the Dibbuk Box — Artifact, Legend, or Paranormal Phenomenon? 10 SPECIAL REPORTS Are Our Brains Hard-Wired to Believe? The Psychology of the Paranormal 16 The Philip Experiment: Creating a Ghost From Thin Air 19 Autism and the Paranormal: Is There a Connection? 22 CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Haunted Sites Unexplained Occurrences at Studio Cie 24 Are We Alone? I Always Knew That Damn Gecko Had an Agenda! 26 Haunted History The Dibbuk Box’s History: Myth, Truth, or Both? 2 Paranormal Underground May 2009 30 Depart Publisher’s Note From the Editor Paranormal News TV Watch: “Medium” Member Profile: NorcalMonkey 4 5 6 8 46 e Paranormal Issue FICTION: FEATURED AUTHOR “Ocean Story” by Jordan Burnes 34 PERSONAL EXPERIENCES Diary From a Haunted Hotel 38 Ghost Hunter Case Files: A Haunted Weekend at the Tokeland Hotel 40 Odd Man Out: Paranormal Adventures of a Self-Avowed Skeptic 43 What Are Ghosts? I’d Like to Know 44 tments Reviews of the Month: 48 Book: Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife DVD: Save the Green Planet Theater: Monsters vs. Aliens Ghost Hunter Comic Tell us what you think: E-mail your comments to email@example.com. 49 May 2009 Paranormal Underground 3 Publisher’s Note Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 5 May 2009 Are We Ready? www.ParanormalUnderground.net EDITORIAL Publisher Chad Wilson ChadWilson@paranormalunderground.net Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight Editor@paranormalunderground.net Managing Editor Karen Frazier KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net Science Editor J.D. Harrison ScienceEditor@paranormalunderground.net Contributing Editors Lauren Fletcher Mindy Kinnaman Lisajoyce Vergara Contributing Authors Jordan Burnes Jim Frazier Karen Frazier Terri J. Garofalo Rick E. Hale J.D. Harrison Carolyn M. Hughes Sandi Kennedy Mindy Kinnaman Charyl Miller Pingleton Ryan Tackitt Lisajoyce Vergara Send comments and letters to: Editor@paranormalunderground.net. 4 H ow would we, as a species, react if we knew that other forms of intelligent life existed in the galaxy? In a way, I think we are being protected by the powers-that-be. Knowing how we humans are, we would more than likely pick a fight we couldn’t win, getting ourselves eradicated as a species in the process. Basically, getting the collective chip knocked off our shoulder by someone bigger and badder than we could ever imagine. Does Human Nature Prohibit Growth Beyond “the Familiar”? Someday, when we are determined “ready,” that will change, but seeing how we currently treat our fellow humans, I feel we have a long way to go. Greed still rules the day, as we continue to struggle to conquer the world around us, trying to make it fit us instead of the other way around. I guess we will have to reach a higher level technologically, as well as maturing mentally and spiritually, before this will happen. And, if we can keep from destroying ourselves in the process, I believe we will eventually make it to that point, but until then, we will be kept in the dark about visitors to our planet. Are We Ready to Evolve as a Race? It would be so much easier if we were given the “Keys to the Kingdom,” but that is not the way Paranormal Underground May 2009 How would humans react if E.T. landed on the White House lawn? Are we ready? of things. We must make our own way, and in the end, to me, that is what I prefer. And I hope eventually, we will be ready, because the knowledge that there is a whole universe just waiting for us out there, rife with all its unique challenges for the human species, is exciting. Someday, we will be a part of the bigger picture, but for now we must wait our turn. Let’s look at it another way. Knowing what we know about the human race, how would we react if we knew that other forms of intelligent life existed in the galaxy? Are we ready? I think not. ~ Chad Wilson Publisher From the Editor Psychology of the Paranormal Paranormal Underground Volume 2, Issue 5 May 2009 www.ParanormalUnderground.net ART Art Director Chad Wilson T his month’s issue examines the “Psychology of the Paranormal” and how our brain chemistry affects the world around us. Why do some of us believe in ghosts and other paranormal phenomena while others don’t? In our Special Report, “Are Our Brains Hard-Wired to Believe? The Psychology of the Paranormal,” Managing Editor Karen Frazier takes a look at these questions and more. What makes believers believers and skeptics skeptics? Turn to page 10 for some answers. Is it possible to create a ghost from thin air? A look back at the Philip Experiment says that it is indeed possible. What do you think? And in “Autism and the Paranormal: Is There a Connection,” author and researcher Charyl Miller Pingleton wonders if people with autism experience a higher number of paranormal occurrences, and if so, why? And in May’s Investigator Spotlight, we talk with the current owner of the Dibbuk Box, Jason, an ancient artifacts expert. This Box is said to be surrounded by dark paranormal events. Are these events just a product of the mind? According to the current owner, the answer is no. They are very real. Within this month’s Case Files of the Unknown, we visit the haunted Studio Cie in Lakewood, California; look into the Reptoid conspiracy; and talk about the Dibbuk Box’s history. And our Personal Experiences Design and Layout Lauren Fletcher Karen Frazier Cheryl Knight Art Editor Claudia Ghidella PROMOTIONS section features Carolyn M. Hughes’ ongoing documentation of her paranormal experiences in “Diary of a Haunted Hotel.” Also, Karen Frazier talks about her “Haunted Weekend at the Tokeland Hotel” in Ghost Hunter Case Files, and Sandi Kennedy reveals some paranormal personal experiences. Next month is Paranormal Underground’s one-year anniversary issue! We have another exciting issue planned, including an Investigator Spotlight with Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures, Special Reports on the Henryton Project and the Ins and Outs of Paranormal Investigation, a report on BatSquatch, and more! Correction: In our April article on A.P.A.R.T. of WA, we said they have a monthly event at the Seattle Underground. Actually, it is at the Seattle Museum of Mysteries. We apologize for the error. ~ Cheryl Knight Editor-in-Chief Marketing Karen Frazier KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net MySpace Admin. Chad Wilson www.myspace.com/paranormalunderground YouTube Channel Admin. Karen Frazier www.youtube.com/ParanormalUG Copyright © 2008-2009 — Paranormal Underground™ is a trademark of Ghost Knight Publishing. All rights reserved. Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of Paranormal Underground magazine. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This publication and all content within this publication may not be copied, quoted, distributed, modified, or reprinted without the express written consent of Paranormal Underground magazine. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 5 Paranormal News Mystery Creature Attacks SUV I n Lincoln County, North Carolina, a mysterious creature was said to have damaged a vehicle after scratching and biting it, according to http://paranormal.about.com. The Gilliam family, who recently found their damaged Saturn Vue SUV in their driveway, said that they didn’t see or hear anything. The unknown creature destroyed the brakes. Experts couldn’t say for sure what caused the damage, but the creature was said to have left muddy paw prints — no bigger than tennis balls — on the hood. Study Links “Visions” and “Coffee” questioned 200 students about their caffeine intake. However, the findings did not prove a “causal link.” According to psychology student Simon Jones, who led the study, previous research has suggested factors such as childhood trauma could be linked to hallucinations. When under stress, the body releases a hormone called cortisol which is produced in greater quantities after consuming caffeine. The extra cortisol boost could be what causes a person to hallucinate, the report said. In addition to coffee, sources such as tea, chocolate, “pep” pills, and energy drinks contain caffeine. After asking the students about their typical intake, the research team assessed their susceptibility to hallucinatory experiences and stress levels. Among the experiences reported were seeing things that were not there, hearing voices, and sensing the presence of dead people. The researchers will now investigate whether other aspects of diet, such as sugar and fat consumption, might be associated with hallucinations. The Durham study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Medical Research Council. Yowie Spotted in Bush Near Sydney T P eople who drink too much coffee could start seeing ghosts or hearing strange voices, one UK study concluded. People who drank more than seven cups of instant coffee a day were three times more likely to hallucinate than those who took just one, according to http://news.bbc.co.uk. A Durham University team 6 wo backpackers on a year-long trip around Australia recently spotted Yowie, according to www. allnewsweb.com. Early one evening, the two ladies heard the breaking of branches and loud footsteps heading toward them. After shining a flashlight toward the noise, the women claim to have seen what they described as “an American Bigfoot” charge away into the distance. The Yowie was said to have fur and stand about two meters tall. Paranormal Underground May 2009 Will Kazakhstan Build UFO Base and Alien Embassy? T he Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is in the process of building the world’s first alien embassy, according to local media reports. If these reports are true, the authorities have already allocated a large plot of land in the city of Almaty for this project. Facilities to be built within the complex will include a guesthouse, theater, and translation service. A UFO landing pad and checkpoint will be attached to the embassy, according to www. allnewsweb.com. The report stated that Kazakhstan’s government believes open contact with aliens is imminent and by being the first nation to specifically create such facilities they are convinced they will reap enormous financial and economic rewards. Reports also say that aliens are making use of an underwater UFO base in the Caspian Sea, which Kazakhstan borders. And Fuad Gasimov, the head of neighboring Azerbaijan’s national Aerospace Agency, has gone on record stating the old USSR constantly monitored alien spaceships regularly entering the water but kept this a military secret. The head of Kazakhstan’s space agency, Talgat Musabayev, is said to be heavily involved in the embassy project. Musabayev is an ex-cosmonaut who has spent many hours in space and is an excolleague of Gasimov. Calendar of Events Indiana Paranormal 2009 Convention May 8-10 Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex Danville, Indiana www.indyparacon.com Psychic and Paranormal Fair May 10 USS Salem Quincy, Massachusetts www.massparanormal.net Paranormacon 2009 May 16-17 Fort Wayne Masonic Temple Fort Wayne, Indiana www.paranormacon.com Waverly Experience 2009 May 29-30 Waverly Hills Sanatorium Louisville, Kentucky http://www.para-x.com/waverly.html Women’s International Study of the Paranormal Conference May 29-31 Mansfield Reformatory Prison Mansfield, Ohio www.wispexpo.com Western Pennsylvania Paranormal Conference May 30 Julian’s Banquet Hall Washington, Pennsylvania WPPA.eventbrite.com Into the Unknown 2009 UFO Conference May 31 Garston Manor Watford, Hertfordshire, UK MUFON 2009 International Symposium August 6-9 Denver, Colorado www.mufon.com 1st Annual North Central Indiana Meet & Greet and EXPO June 6 Honeywell Center Gym Wabash, Indiana firstname.lastname@example.org Kansas City Paranormal Conferences June 19-21 Kansas City, Missouri www.kcparacon.com East Central Indiana Paranormal Conference July 9-11 Ball State University Muncie, Indiana http://bsuparanormal.org/ecipc/ 1st Annual “NorCal-ParaCon 2009” Paranormal Conference July 17-19 Monterey Marriott Monterey, California http://norcalghosthunters.com/norcalparacon09.html The Great Lakes Paranormal Convention July 24-26 Old Recreation Building Eveleth, Minnesota http://www.darkplainsradio.com/ event.html The Ohio Paranormal Convention August 14-16 Hara Arena Dayton, Ohio http://ohiocon.southernohioparanormal.org The Mystic Carnival Convention August 28 Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel Vancouver www.forthecauseentertainment.com/ HauntedCon 2009 September 24-26 Hotel St. Michael Prescott, Arizona http://www.hauntedcon.com/ East Coast Paranormal Investigators Conference 2009 October 9-11 Fort Mifflin on the Delaware Philadelphia, Pennsylvania http://aphs.org S.O.U.L.S. Fest Paranormal Conference October 10, 10 a.m.-11 a.m. CDT Julie Rogers Theater Beaumont, Texas www.soulsparanormal.com ParaNooga — A Paranormal Investigator’s Convention December 11-13 Chattanooga, Tennessee www.paranooga.com May 2009 Paranormal Underground 7 TV Watch The “Medium” Channels Above the Norm By Lisajoyce Vergara I magine having the ability to talk with dead people, see the future in your dreams, and read people’s thoughts. Welcome to the world of Allison DuBois. The Arizona native is known for being a self-proclaimed spiritual medium and profiler. Her lifestyle gained the attention of Emmy award-winning executive producer and director Glenn Gordon Caron, who was inspired by DuBois and created NBC’s Monday night hit supernatural show Medium, which premiered in January 2005. The show is based on DuBois’ (played by Patricia Arquette) experiences working with the District Attorney’s office in Phoenix, Arizona, on high-profile cases as a research medium. Aside from working with law enforcement, DuBois is also a wife and a mother of three girls. TV Show Portrays Medium’s Life Experiences At the age of 6, DuBois became aware of her special talent. DuBois believes that her three daughters have inherited her gift as well, which is also depicted in the show. “Every episode is not a biography of my life; it is simply based on my life experiences,” DuBois says on her Website. “It is an accurate portrayal of my life and the people 8 nars and discussing her abilities. She also talks about her books dealing with mediumship: Don’t Kiss Them Goodbye; We Are Their Heaven: Why the Dead Never Leave Us; and Secrets of the Monarch: How the Dead Can Teach Us About Living a Better Life. Actress Patricia Arquette (left) sits next to medium Allison DuBois. who share it, with a little Hollywood magic thrown in.” While the show portrays DuBois’ visions coming to her through her dreams, in real life, most visions hit DuBois while she is awake. Medium Still Going Strong in its Fifth Season Going on its fifth season, the show returns as DuBois’ abilities become known to the public. With her boss, Manuel Devalos, re-elected to the D.A.’s office, DuBois has returned as a part-time consultant, using her psychic abilities to solve violent and horrifying crimes that baffle Phoenix police. Today, real-life medium DuBois tours around the nation giving semi- Paranormal Underground May 2009 About Allison DuBois • Allison DuBois is an Arizona native. She was born on January 24, 1972, in Phoenix, Arizona. • DuBois received a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in history from Arizona State University. • She spent four years participating in various tests at the University of Arizona to assist them in their studies of mediums and psychic phenomena. • Just as depicted on the TV show Medium, DuBois’ husband is named Joe. He is a recently retired aerospace engineer. • DuBois refers to herself as a medium and profiler. She doesn’t use the term ‘psychic’ because of the negative connotation associated with it. YOUR AD HERE! Advertise in Paranormal Underground. • Affordable Rates • Target Audience • Long-Term Exposure Go to www.paranormalunderground.net & click the media tab to view ad rates. Contact KarenFrazier@paranormalunderground.net for more information May 2009 Paranormal Underground 9 Investigator Spotlight Discovering the Origins Artifact, Legend, or Par By Karen Frazier F or those not familiar with the Dibbuk Box, its mysterious story began in 2003 when an eBay listing advertised “a haunted box for sale.” Today, the Box continues to generate buzz around the paranormal community, and a feature film and documentary about the Box are now in the works. Jason, the current owner of the Dibbuk Box, was kind enough to provide us with these questions and answers about his involvement with the box and his research. Jason has been the director of a mid-size museum for the past nine years. He has studied American antiques and ancient artifacts for the past 25 years, collected and researched Mayan pottery for his thesis in the humanities, and has lectured on art history and art appreciation for five years at a mid-size liberal arts university. He currently is working on his doctorate in education. Prior to his museum work, he was a university administrator for more than 10 years. Jason recently worked on several projects with the Smithsonian Institute Museums and served as a researcher/benefactor with the state capitol of Missouri. He is also a lecturer with his state’s arts council, a member of several local historical groups, and a facilitator of exhibits that have served almost 3 million visitors across the USA. 10 Jason frequently travels overseas with exhibits to Germany, Russia, Australia, Canada, and England. Jason has received federal grants for curriculum development for schools across the nation, as well as for the preservation and protection of artifacts. A few years ago, he was the keynote speaker for the Edgar Cayce Conference in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Jason cares for a collection of Cayce reading records at the museum that he manages. Read on to find out more information about Jason and his work with the Dibbuk Box. ***** Q: How did you become involved with this artifact? Jason: Running a historic museum — artifacts of undetermined origin and age are delivered to the Museum’s doorstep almost daily. The story of the Dibbuk Box was told to me by an intern working at the museum for college credit. The intern had been an employee for 2 1/2 years and was very serious in telling me that his roommate had purchased a haunted Dibbuk Box on the Internet. I pulled up the listing and was immediately intrigued by the item and its story. It was very different from any urban legend or horror story that I had ever heard in my life. Keep in mind this was almost six Paranormal Underground May 2009 The Dibbuk Box surfaced on eBay in 2003 wh Does the box contain evil spirits that bring su years ago in 2003 when this artifact was listed on eBay by the first buyer for a quick and distant escape from its effects — there were not any haunted items of this nature being offered typically. Now there are hundreds of haunted items on eBay each week, and many sellers use the s of the Dibbuk Box — ranormal Phenomenon? I had asked the intern if I could see the box sometime at the museum and left it at that for several months. The box was taken away from the intern’s apartment before I could see it, and I felt a great loss — but I carried on for almost eight months when I was told the college roommate had had enough of the box’s plagues and was getting rid of it on eBay once more. I was lucky to have a lot of inside information on this artifact from the intern, and I was confident of it being a Jewish enigma, so I set out to get it — my bid barely won. I was later contacted by the woman that was bidding against me at the time — a glitch prevented her from bidding higher or against me, and she was prevented from getting the artifact. So maybe I was suppose to have the Dibbuk Box. The Jewish Rabbis tell me there are no accidents. hen it was listed as “a haunted box for sale.” uffering to those who come in contact with it? Dibbuk Box storytelling method as a template for creating their listings. The day that I learned of the box, I told my children the box story and it deeply scared them. I assured my kids that the box with the college students was far away from us, and it was . . . at that time. Q: What has been the focus of your research? Jason: It has been frustrating for those that chase spirits and ghosts that my background is in artifact authentication and not the paranormal. Early on I wanted only to see this artifact so I could inspect the box and determine if the construction and materials were a likely set and had reasonable wear as a group- ing. It is hard to fake age and fool someone who works with old items on a daily basis. I made it clear that if the box and its contents did not check agewise and as an organized set, then why look for spirits? Of course, even as I worked on the materials and checked the facts of the creator’s story, odd occurrences continued almost daily. Damaged eyes, prophetic dreams about my work on the box, odd insect infestations, mysterious skin burns, constant exploding lights, flowery strong scents and then Urine always together — the list goes on. And yes, the box and its contents are indeed a unique set following Jewish “kishuf” or ritual magic. My research has led me to learn Hebrew and to read in-depth on Jewish mysticism during the past 2000 years. Q: What has been the most helpful to you in your research? Jason: The depth and speed that I am able to do my research has been greatly aided by the Internet — the records and historical information arrives daily. I would not have been able to discover so much had I started this project 13 years ago. And the access to knowledgeable people — each bringing something from their perspective. People May 2009 Paranormal Underground 11 Investigator Spotlight have, from around the world, been loyal with the research for the past five years — Steve Maas of the LIPRG, Lia Ramses of Haunted Australia, many Rabbis (one from the UK was most valuable), a daughter of a Kabbalah priest in New York, a Norwegian sensitive, Kabbalah students, wiccans, demonologists, Native Americans, even Israelites — the list goes on. I have over nine-linear feet of correspondences — most through emails, many with helpful insight and ideas to pursue. Q: What have you learned in the process? Jason: I have learned about the ancient Jewish books called Sephers; the 2000-year-old Sepher Ha-Razim: The Book of Mysteries only recently translated to English being my most prized source for linguistic kishuf — Jewish magic. It has been re-printed and is easier to find now. I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the Jewish mystical/ esoteric world. I was given the opportunity to learn Hebrew and am very good with the letters and words — just knowing the Jewish aleph biet brings one spiritual blessings. And I have learned much about the mysticism of the Jewish faith. But I must add — it is a faith that I find overwhelming as a person with a Methodist background; yet, this work has certainly broadened my spiritual view. Q: Tell us about the family that created the box? Jason: From the first, the family of Havela the creator seemed to understand that their letting go of the Dibbuk Box was a major mistake on their part. They had been uneasy about not being able to bury the box 12 with its creator and not wanting it around them either. To try to correct their mistake of sending it off with an unwary buyer, they were very free and apologetic with explaining the purpose of the box. Then, when they caught wind of the amount of world interest in their family secret, they circled the wagons and, to this day, refuse access or communication. The last words from them were “The Dibbuk Box has been set in motion — it will not stop — ever!” Not really a threat as much a fact. It has seemed to be turned on with no switch for turning it off — at least none that I have been able to find. It has been muted by being placed in a wooden Acacia Ark lined in 24kt gold. “The Dibbuk Box has been set in motion — it will not stop — ever!” Q: What about the previous buyers? Jason: I located the first buyer after five months of searching, and at first he wanted nothing more to do with the box or anyone associated with it. But he was won over and has been helpful in fitting the pieces together from the Portland, Oregon, location where the box hails from. Oddly, I have gotten much helpful information from his mother — a wise and deeply religious woman who received the box from her son as a gift and suffered permanent and debilitating health since. Blind, crippled, and suffering, she has such inner strength and wisdom over this artifact. We often talk for up to an hour on issues surrounding the box. And often after our talks, she received horrendous injuries or would be found unconscious with a stroke. Paranormal Underground May 2009 She is tight-lipped and isn’t a talker, but always opens up to my inquiries in ways she hasn’t for her son. Q: Do you have any regrets? Jason: One thing I do regret is use of the Internet as a tool that has made my research go so quickly has also put more information out on me then I wish. I prefer to keep the box as my project not my life. On the Internet, they become one, and one loses privacy. That’s why I don’t do shows typically and want to puzzle this artifact at my own pace. I put the Web page (www.dibbukbox.com) up because I could not keep up with the daily hundreds of inquiries. The Website was to provide the information and let me have my peace. Q: How has this artifact changed you? Jason: It has changed me . . . but we all change slowly each day. My change in the past three and half years has been exceedingly quick and prolonged. I find I have no desire to part with the box, and don’t think about the future of it. In hindsight, would I want this artifact if I could go back in time? I am not sure. I feel I am more spiritual in preparing my life for what comes next, and I have a deep appreciation of the tragedy that WWII had on so many people. Some, like the box creator, never got over the effects of WWII. I have located several people who were actually in concentration camps, and their experiences are deeply saddening. Q: What aspects of ownership scare you? Jason: I can work with the box, and I feel I understand its creation and The contents of the Dibbuk Box included a 1928 U.S. wheat penny; a 1925 U.S. wheat penny; a small lock of blonde hair (bound with string); a small lock of black/brown hair (bound with string), a small granite statue engraved and gilded with Hebrew letters that spell out SHALOM; a dried rosebud; a golden wine cup; and a black cast iron candlestick holder with octopus legs. much of its purpose or segulah. As long as it is secured in the Acacia Ark, respected, and not bothered, it is fine. I am more scared by the people who feel this item will magically heal them or enhance them with a great power and, hence, seek me and the artifact out. I have no desire to be sought out — I am a pretty private person. When I am done with my research, I will make my information available in a book and a documentary. And, if possible, the box will be placed on display for those who feel a need to see it. Q: Why do you think this artifact is something more than wood and trinkets? Jason: Taken as a whole, the design and objects seem quite simple. But that is the beauty of it as it was created like an onion with deep mysteries at several levels for each piece. Then again, when combined as a whole, it flows into the mysticism of 2,000 years. The unity of the words, material, and objects is amazing. The pieces relate at several levels — physically, symbolically, and conceptually. It has perfection! Q: The box is identified as being of Jewish origin — your impression? Jason: Rabbis and Jewish Museums don’t doubt it is Jewish — but it is not typical . . . and yet not completely alien or unexpected either. It is a very May 2009 Paranormal Underground 13 Investigator Spotlight According to the second owner of the Dibbuk Box, the Hebrew carving on the back of the box is a relatively common Jewish prayer: Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. Blessed is the name of his honored kingdom forever. A Rabbi from the UK told the current owner of the Dibbuk Box, Jason, that the prayer on the back has the name God written with a hyphen so as to remove sacredness to a degree that the box could be destroyed without committing a sacrilegious act — something known to the Jewish sect. personal artifact, and like the creator’s family’s stance concerning it, it should not be out in public or discussed. My learning Hebrew several years ago and little subtle tricks of the written words picked up only by those with advanced Hebrew skills, lead me to know it is a piece that has had advanced Jewish knowledge. The amount of time required to write the letters/words in wood and stone alone show me it was not a task taken lightly. Also, once the name of God has been written in Hebrew, it becomes a religious piece not be taken lightly. Q: Help us understand what it is like for you to be connected with such an item? Jason: It’s a bit like having a dark secret that you fear will be found out. I have all kinds of ancient pieces — Maya, Greek, Egyptian. People enjoy looking at and handling these links to the past. But this item can only be brought up and shared with 14 my most confidential of friends — and even then that sharing can put a stress on the friendship. Q: Are you aware of how this story has become part of the people’s conscience? Jason: Writers from the LA Times, Forward Newspaper, and professional writers and authors have taken this story for inspiration and written pieces on it. Young professionals trying to get a break in film production are creating movies; some everyday people on the street swear their life has been changed from just reading the story and seeing the image. In all languages, in all countries, the story hits a chord. That chord is awe, and yet most write and say that they don’t want to be anywhere near the Dibbuk Box. Q: What do you find most frustrating? Jason: It is a shame that I have to keep a lot of my research work Paranormal Underground May 2009 under wraps until the movie is out. This type of artifact draws harsh scrutiny to my museum job, self, and then my family. It is a worthy and legitimate puzzle, but one that I cannot let my community be aware of because of the consequences for those that place their own values on my investigation — even in our contemporary time. Q: What is your hope with this item? Jason: I hope to reach a place of resolution with this artifact, and I am not sure when that will be right now — it keeps opening to new avenues of thinking and possibilities. Q: On the Internet, it says there is to be a movie on this box? Jason: Yes. Another person who has been drawn to this artifact and its history is a brilliant well-known producer and director from Hollywood. How he came to find the story, I am not sure. But, I believe because his life story and family has unique parallels to this item’s history, he wants to make the story into a factual film. His team and I have an agreement, and I have complete trust it will be perfect. It will take about two more years to create. A play writer from London was working on the screenplay for almost a year. Her final work, I understand, was rejected by the producer, and the screenplay had to be re-written — by Stephen Susco. That was rejected, and now it is in a second re-write by E.L. Katz. So I guess the Dibbuk Box has undone a few talented people. I am not surprised that this did occur. Do a search on the Internet with the words Dibbuk Box and Movie and you can get all the details. Q: What can you offer to the person who wants to know more? Jason: Everything one needs to do their own research on this artifact can be found on the Dibbuk Box Website. Images of the box or ark and its contents are clear to see, and the details of the story are there — take nothing for granted, and you too will be able to come up with the answers. Also, don’t hesitate to see what others have written online — I have gotten great leads from sites that don’t even know I looked in. Q: Any last comments? Jason: As I have mentioned, I prefer my privacy while I work on this project — do not try to contact me or see me, as I would be uncomfortable with this. I have shared all I can at this time in the article and on the podcast for Paranormal Underground. I am just a guy with a passion like most of you. I have a family to care for, which occupies most of my time. I think my research is solid, and due to tools like the Internet, my research has and continues to progress fairly rapidly. Currently, a motion picture and featurelength documentary are being made about the Dibbuk Box and the mysteries surrounding it. In countries around the world, the story of the Box strikes a cord. Are you a paranormal investigator? Want to be in the spotlight? Jason invites you to do your own investigation into the mysteries of the Dibbuk box and the cultural information surrounding it. A good place to start is on his Website, www. dibbukbox.com. Please respect Jason’s privacy and don’t contact him. For more information, see the Haunted History article in this issue that includes analysis of the cultural and historical aspects of this unique artifact. We have also posted a podcast on www.paranormalunderground.net, which includes an interview with Jason and details surrounding this fascinating story. We welcome your feedback and discussion on the Dibbuk Box in our forums. See you there! If you or your group is interested in being profiled in Paranormal Underground’s Investigator Spotlight feature, please e-mail email@example.com and tell us about your group! May 2009 Paranormal Underground 15 Special Report Are Our Brains Har The Psychology o By Karen Frazier I just completed Psychology Today’s Paranormal Beliefs Test (you can take it at http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/ take_test.php?idRegTest=1321). Surprisingly, I scored a rather high 81 (out of 100). This is what my quick report said: According to your score, you believe that some people are gifted with the power to see into the future and can predict things to come. Although you may not consider all psychics to be legitimate practitioners, you do believe that there are some who do indeed possess a sort of “sixth sense” or the ability to feel and see things that most people can’t. The test didn’t just ask questions about psychics. It also assessed superstition, belief in witchcraft, and spiritual belief, among other things. I just didn’t pay for the full report, so I got the part about psychics. While I found the results surprising — I thought I would fall more in the agnostic range than I did — apparently I am not alone. Many polling organizations occasionally conduct polls about paranormal experience and paranormal belief and achieve with varying results. Some polls show as high as 90% of Americans say they have either experienced the paranormal or believe in it. One of the problems in psycho- 16 logically assessing the paranormal is in reaching a definition of the word paranormal. The Toyback and Milford Paranormal Belief Scale (1983) was long considered the gold standard in assessing paranormal beliefs for research purposes; however, in recent years, it has come under fire from other professionals who feel it is not an accurate assessment of belief. So other scales have sprung up that take into account the various factors of paranormal belief. Does Research Focus Skew Results? With all of the assessments of paranormal belief in circulation, it appears that results are all over the map. No repeat pattern of personality traits and tendencies show up in paranormal belief assessments, which has led some psychologists to speculate that whatever the focus of the study is may actually skew the results in the direction of the study. As William Watt once said, “Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.” It is a well-known fact that statistics can be massaged to point to whatever result one would like them to point to. While there is a place in science for calculating averages and analyzing results, statistics are often Paranormal Underground May 2009 rd-Wired to Believe? of the Paranormal misused to support a pre-determined conclusion. Is this happening in psychological assessment of the paranormal? Many believe that the answer is yes. With all of the scales, studies, and assessments, one thing that seems true is that belief in the paranormal now meets the definition of “normal” human behavior. So the question is this: Is belief driving the occurrence of paranormal experiences, or do actual paranormal experiences drive belief? For researchers, the answer to this question provides a glimpse into the most mysterious of all frontiers — the human mind. Recent research seems to suggest that a belief in the supernatural and/or spiritual arises from the same normal mental processes that bring about reasoning and perception. The prevailing belief at this time is that these normal mental processes are overcome by emotions like hope or despair and redirected into belief. The bottom line? Science is showing that belief trumps rational thinking. Paranormal Belief Rises in Uncertain Times Neuroimaging has shown that there is a constant interplay between the emotional and cognitive regions of the brain. When fear comes into play in this process, it can result in heightened perception; or, fear can override the senses and result in instinctual behaviors. It is in this process that the answers may lie as to why otherwise rational people believe in the supernatural. Historically, belief in the paranormal soars during times of anxiety or uncertainty. The current climate of the world is that we live in anxious and uncertain times, and interest in the paranormal is on the rise. Is this because fear has hijacked our rational thinking processes and overridden it with belief? Many brain scientists believe that there is a correlation between the two — anxiety and paranormal belief — that has been proven by history. According to a recent study in the journal Science, when people were asked to recall times where they were in situations that felt out of their control, they were more likely to report paranormal beliefs. During the recollection, these people were more likely to see patterns and make illusory correlations than people who weren’t being reminded of results out of their control. According to Science, “In the absence of perceived control, people become susceptible to detecting patterns in an effort to regain some sense of organization.” In other words, we attempt to regain control through our mental processes. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 17 Special Report Things that once seemed mysterious are now commonplace. Perhaps in response to this, we are seeking a new frontier of knowledge that won’t be easily explained away. The Kanizsa triangle is an optical illusion that shows how our brains and eyes fill in information that isn’t there in order to make sense of a pattern. Do you see white lines completing the triangle? There might also be a sense of comfort in paranormal or spiritual belief during uncertain times. There is comfort in believing that there is a better place than here, that the dead not only watch over you but also communicate with you, and that you will go on after death. Loneliness and Paranormal Belief A University of Chicago study assessed the belief systems of people with feelings of isolation and loneliness. The personality questionnaire revealed that those with few friends and those experiencing social isolation were more likely to say that they believed in supernatural things like ghosts, angels, and the devil than those who weren’t socially isolated. New Sources of Mystery Another possible explanation for the growing belief in the paranormal is that the human mind loves a good mystery. Slowly but surely, science has explained the mysteries of the universe. While this is a good thing, the desire to find new frontiers for exploration is human nature. 18 Paranormal Beliefs as a Result of Brain Mechanics There is a group of neurons in the top rear region of your brain that controls your perception of where you end and “everything else” begins. This is the perceptual center that allows you to not bump your head on low-hanging ceilings or slam into walls. There are times, however, when signals are sent to this region that effectively turn off this function. Typically, this occurs right before sleep, during meditation and prayer, and following sex, for instance, and may be associated with the brain’s “feel good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine. When this area of the brain is shut off, there may be a sense of connection to everything. Many researchers believe that this is the mechanism driving many spiritual, religious, and paranormal beliefs (such as a belief in alien abduction). There are other brain functions that may also contribute to a belief in the paranormal. The brain’s propensity to see patterns is an example of this. It is impossible for the eyes and ears to perceive every aspect of every object. Because of this, the brain “fills in” the blanks. Take, for instance, the Kanizsa triangle. This is an optical illusion where the brain fills in the blanks and causes the perception of white lines forming a triangle where none exist. In this case, the brain took an incomplete picture and turned it into a whole. Paranormal Underground May 2009 This is one scientific explanation behind many “ghost photos” and EVPs — the brain is taking information that has little pattern to it and turning it into a pattern. Add to that our brains are hard-wired for facial recognition, and it is only natural that photographs of hazy objects are perceived as faces. Interestingly, the brain responds in the same way whether you are imagining you see or hear something, or you actually see or hear something. This response can often cause us to interpret something unreal as real, or to remember something imagined as actually having happened. The more intensely an object is imagined, the more likely you are to perceive something as real. For evidence of this, see The Philip Experiment in the sidebar on the next page. This propensity to see patterns is so strongly ingrained that it becomes integrally attached to memory. And we are much more likely to remember those things where a pattern is perceived. For instance, if you believe yourself to be geosensitive (able to predict earthquakes), and you sense that an earthquake will occur in the next few days and it does, you are much more likely to remember this than if you sense an earthquake and nothing ever happens. One becomes a perceived pattern; the other remains an unremembered event. This is due to something called confirmatory bias — a psychological phenomenon that gives us better recall of experiences that validate our beliefs than those that don’t. We came by confirmatory bias in an honest evolutionary way. During the times of early man, if you What is the definition of the word “paranormal”? The Philip Experiment: Creating a Ghost From Thin Air P hilip is a spirit that appeared to a group of Canadian researchers in the 1970s. He was an aristocrat who lived in 16th Century England who was married to the aristocratic Dorthea but in love with the fiery gypsy Margo. Philip made Margo a “kept” woman, but she was eventually discovered by Dorthea, who accused her of witchcraft. Afraid of losing his status, Philip went along with Dorthea’s accusation, and Margo was tried and burned at the stake. Philip lived the rest of his life in “remorse and despair” until he committed suicide. Now Philip is a ghost. There’s only one catch. While Philip the “ghost” actually appeared to researchers from the Toronto Society of Physical Research, they made him up in a carefully controlled experiment to see if belief in an entity could cause the entity to appear. The Philip Experiment: How to Create a Ghost The Society decided to create Philip as a ghost that couldn’t possibly exist, putting historical inconsistencies and contradictions in the story that couldn’t possibly be true. And then the society met biweekly for months, attempting to conjure the ghost of Philip through mental pictures and creating a belief in his existence. They even went as far as to draw a picture of Philip and describe all of his living conditions. For months, nothing happened. The group sat at a table and did everything to conjure Philip with no The Toronto Society of Physical Research made up the “spirit” of Philip in a carefully controlled experiment to see if belief in an entity could cause the entity to appear. results. And then, one day, there was a knock on the table, followed a few minutes later by knocks on furniture in the periphery of the room. From that point on, Philip appeared to the group and answered their yes or no questions using one knock as yes and two knocks as no. According to the researchers, Philip “exhibited likes and dislikes.” Is the Mind Powerful Enough to Create Paranormal Activity? The researchers did note that Philip’s answers often were in concert with the overall belief of the group. If everyone (or most everyone) thought Philip would answer yes, one knock would come on the table. Other strange occurrences were recorded, as well. Lights turned on and off, and the table apparently moved and trapped participants in the corner. Later groups attempted to repeat the Philip Experiment, which came to international attention. The other groups used the same protocol but achieved no results. More Questions Than Answers Ultimately, the Philip Experiment conjured up more questions than it answered. Did the Toronto group create Philip with the power of their thoughts and beliefs, or did their intense focus on conjuring a spirit cause a wayward spirit that wasn’t Philip to be drawn to the group and answer questions as Philip? The answers to these questions still elude us today. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 19 Special Report to be hypersensitive in the presence of the unknown, so that our default position is, “It’s alive!” rather than, “It’s inanimate and probably won’t hurt me.” Could this psychological propensity explain paranormal experiences? Brain scientists believe it might. The Psychology of Skepticism While most of the psychological studies have been focused on believers in the paranormal, a handful have also focused on skeptics and what causes What you see in this image may depend in great part on outright skepticism when it is societally the the chemistry and dopamine levels in your brain. norm to believe in the paranormal. According to one failed to recognize a pattern (such as study, extreme skeptieating poison mushrooms making cism in an age of belief may amount you sick or dead) you wouldn’t surto a desire to feel intellectually supevive. Making a false association, howrior to the masses. The desire to feel ever, didn’t cause any harm. And so, unique and special is human nature, false associations became ingrained and it may be that this subconscious evolutionary behavior associated desire drives skepticism. Another with the survival of the species. theory suggests that skeptics would like to believe, Importing Aliveness as a but are unable to Means of Survival compromise their Another evolutionary glitch in scientific principles the human brain is importing alivein order to do so. ness to objects. Originally, this was Their extreme done as a means of protection from skepticism, then, is animals that could lay in wait almost actually their search motionlessly. It was always best to for belief. assume that the dark, still object was Peter Brugger, something that could attack and eat of the University us rather than assuming it was a rock. Hospital in Zurich, believes that beThis sense of assigning alivelief or skepticism is merely a matter ness to inanimate objects caused us of brain chemistry. In his study on the subject, Brugger experimented with 20 believers in the paranormal and 20 skeptics. The results of his studies showed that believers were more likely to perceive faces where there were none. Likewise, the skeptics were much more likely to miss a real word contained in a made-up word than believers were. After these two studies, all volunteers were given L-dopa, which increases dopamine levels in the brain. Afterward, the same two tests were given. This time both groups experienced difficulty distinguishing faces or words in scrambled images; however, the perception of words and faces was stronger in skeptics than it had been before the L-dopa. These results are suggestive of the fact that high dopamine levels may increase the propensity to perceive patterns where there are none. Conclusions: The Brain and The Paranormal As of yet, it hasn’t been proven whether paranormal belief is merely a function of our brain and psychology. Statistics of studies are suggestive of some kind of brain shenanigans taking place and driving belief in the unbelievable; however, results are ultimately inconclusive. That the brain may, indeed, play a part in paranormal belief doesn’t necessarily mean that paranormal occurrences aren’t real. All it does is gives us insight into the perceptions of the human mind. What do you think? Can psychology explain paranormal experiences? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think. We value your opinions. How does our brain react in certain conditions? 20 Paranormal Underground May 2009 Paranormal Underground Has New Forums! Visit www.paranormalunderground.net and click on the Forums tab. Offer your opinions on topics ranging from Cryptids to Ghosts & Hauntings to UFOs, and more! May 2009 Paranormal Underground 21 Special Report Autism and the Paranormal: Is There a Connection? By Charyl Miller Pingleton A utism: for some, hearing this word is devastating; for others, it means being special, even extraordinary — for all, autism, whether mild or severe, represents challenge. Some of these difficulties are obvious, ranging from lack of speech and social ability to uncontrollable behaviors, problems with fine motor skills, and a whole host of symptoms in between. We’ve all heard of cases like the one portrayed in the movie Rainman, and have witnessed the almost-miraculous talents displayed by autistic savants. Yet there is more — something rarely discussed by most speech therapists and doctors — the ability of many people on the spectrum of autism to perceive paranormal activity. Could Extreme Sensitivity Caused by Autism Extend to the Paranormal? Imagine seeing dark forms, your deceased grandfather, or even an angelic being and not having the ability to comprehend why you feel afraid (or overjoyed) — not even having the language to tell anyone what is occurring? This is exacerbated by the fact that no one around you is reacting to what you are seeing. In fact, you are most likely punished for “acting out,” as you attempt to convey these 22 Is there a link between autism and the paranormal? unsettling experiences. I am all too familiar with this particular life challenge called autism, as I’ve lived with some form of it for about 11 years now. I have a son who has been diagnosed with Paranormal Underground May 2009 mild Asperger’s Syndrome, and a daughter with more involved autism and severe speech delays. In my experience, people with autism aren’t just different — they’re more like a whole new human species! This statement may not be far from the truth in some people’s opinions, as they see these individuals as enlightened souls who have come to usher in a new era. I don’t know how factual that belief is, but one thing is for certain — the minds of people on the autism spectrum are known to be hard-wired differently (and, thus, function differently) than neurotypical people. Various chemical and neural problems in the brain can cause a person with autism to have overdeveloped senses of touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing. Could this extreme sensitivity also extend to the ability to sense paranormal activity not noticed by others? Many paranormal researchers theorize that people who have the ability to sense the paranormal (i.e., psychics and sensitives) have a genetic propensity of possessing a special type of brain and chemical make-up. This configuration (while not yet defined completely) is said to make the individual susceptible to perceiving energies and natural phenomena associated with the paranormal that are out of the visual/hearing range of most people. What makes this even more interesting is that many people believe all children are born with intuitive abilities, but as they grow older, society and parents inform them that it is not acceptable to have these experiences. Many of us have been told at one point in our childhood that our imaginary friend is just that. Therefore, the “ability” is gradually lost, especially if no genetic propensity exists. Research Around Autism and the Paranormal In terms of autism, a large percentage of people with this disorder retain a child-like, naive mind-set, with significant difficulty comprehending social expectations and processing language. This is coupled with the fact that people with autism, in general, have trouble grasping abstract concepts. How is it that a person who cannot understand something as conceptual as an afterlife (and everything that implies), has the ability to experience, react to, and sometimes be healed by something many consider a suggestive and non-existent phenomena? Join me on my journey to answer this question and many more like it. I am currently conducting research on these questions, and if you have any general information (whether scientific or psychological) on how the paranormal is connected to autism, please feel free to contact me. Also, if you are a family who cares for someone with autism, and you have had experiences with the paranormal and/or divine, I would love to hear your stories. Please be assured your privacy will be protected and all identifying information will be changed in any future publication. Autism is full of mysteries. Perhaps together we can help explain the elements of it the world of medicine just won’t touch. Charyl Miller Pingleton is the author of two spiritual novels and currently lives in Ohio with her husband, who is in the military, and their two children. She can be contacted through e-mail at paranormalautism@hotmail. com. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/Charyl78. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 23 Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites Unexplained Occurrences at Studio Cie By Lisajoyce Vergara L ocated in Lakewood, California, Studio Cie is a hidden gem for beauty and spa enthusiasts alike. The studio specializes in all the right essentials of a day spa, such as makeup application and skin and massage treatments. In 2008, the studio was listed by My FOX LA’s Hot List as one of the Top 5 “Best Day Spas in the Los Angeles area.” What the local news station didn’t report is that the studio is also a hot spot for paranormal activity. Before construction began on Studio Cie’s building in 2005, there were other businesses located there. Prior to the studio, it was a City Financial building, then a tanning salon, and even a photography studio. But according to Owner and Lead Makeup Artist Carol Cisneros, nothing out of the ordinary happened while City Financial occupied the space. During the construction process of the studio, construction workers were trying to locate the main water pipe. They jack hammered the concrete floor and dug about four feet underground. There they found three different paths — open trenches that were several feet long and wide enough for a man to jump into. Cisneros immediately got an uneasy feeling about what was uncovered. A friend of Cisneros conducted a “clearing” at the spa, by burn- 24 Day spa Studio Cie, in Lakewood, California, is home to paranormal events. ing sage, ringing a xenophone-type music maker in all the corners of the building, and praying. The “cleanser” sensed that the studio should not continue to be built, and she warned Cisneros about her feelings. However, the studios construction continued and the studio finally opened on May 23, 2006. Visitors From Within As the studio began business, strange occurrences started to happen. Lights would go on and off. Staff mem- Paranormal Underground May 2009 bers would turn off a light and another light would go on. They immediately called an electrician to check things out, but everything was fine. In the bathroom, the toilet would flush on its own while no one was in the bathroom. One frequent spa-goer reported that while she was in the bathroom, the light started flickering and eventually turned off by itself. She screamed and ran out the door, and then noticed the light turned back on. She immediately went back to turn off the light, but the light had turned itself off. Staff members began to observe the strange activities, and one former staff member wrote on the chalkboard in the dispensary, “We have ghosts.” On another occasion, Ali Mendivil, manager of Studio Cie, was performing her daily opening duties in the early morning. She was alone. As she proceeded toward the hallway, the CD player in the Infra Red Sauna room started blaring full blast and startled her. Cisnero’s daughter-in-law came in to help out at the spa another morning alone, and as she was turning on the lamp in one of the rooms, the door slammed shut. “We had a beautiful three-tiered waterfall that hung on the wall at the end of the hall. This waterfall consis- tently had issues,” she said. “It would overflow and spill out for no reason, and many times the water would just flow somehow out of the back of the fountain. We have no idea how, but we would find streams of water marks on the wall, yet the fountain would still be full.” Cisneros said that one day, the fountain jumped off the wall and landed upside down, unbroken, inside one of the rooms. While no one witnessed the event, everyone in the building heard it. “We ran out of the treatment rooms and thought there had been an earthquake,” she said. “We couldn’t figure out what happened, and then I realized the fountain was no longer on the wall.” Help on the Way With so many occurrences, Cisneros decided to get help. She decided to meet up with Megan Van Alstine, a Canadian who had just come to the states after living in Bali for 10 years. Van Alstine practices Black Hat Feng Shui (intuitive Feng Shui), and she also channels, reads cards, does space and body clearings, and works with crystals and gemstones. She came to Studio Cie and started assessed the situation. The wall that the fountain hung on is a fire wall, and only wood or colors of red or orange should be put on that type of wall, according to Van Alstine. “Now we have the wood and aluminum Buddha picture on that wall and a floor fountain against the wall under Buddha,” Cisneros said. Van Alstine also felt that “bad things had been done on the property.” She then “gridded” the entire studio, placing the appropriate crystals, gemstones, and minerals for that particular grid. Gridding is done to protect and encourage the areas activated by the construction that took place. During the gridding, Van Alstine placed stones in the bottom of a metal container, and then asked “for activation.” The stones danced within the container, and even though Cisneros didn’t see the stones move, she heard them move. “This is the first time I personally, physically experienced a different form of energy,” she said. “When we did one corner, when I asked that the energy be activated, a cool wind blew me back three feet,” Cisneros said. And in two other sections during the “activation,” she was pulled forward by a powerful and frightening energy. Stones were hidden throughout the studio to keep it safe and encourage prosperity. A fountain that was mysteriously knocked Megan also conducted a personoff the wall at the end of this hall, now sits al cleansing of Cisneros. During the on the floor. cleaning, Van Alstine instructed Cisneros to close her eyes and picture a pyramid with a white light in the Indians. He had hidden and was left middle. The light represented God. behind, and then ultimately died. Cisneros had a problem doing what The other child was a young she was asked to do, so Van Alstine Asian girl, about 11 or 12 years old. asked God to gently press Cisneros’ It appeared to Megan that she may palms. Slowly, the palm of Cisneros’ have been murdered. right hand was gently pressed, and “She explained to us that we as Cisneros took a peek at her hand, should be honored that the spirits she could see the indentation of felt safe to try to make contact with her palm. Immediately, she felt an us to help them,” Cisneros said. “Of immense burst within her heart and course, some of my staff had a funny started to cry. look upon their faces listening to MeAfter Van Alstine left, things quigan talk about what was going on. So, eted down for about a year. Then, she stopped herself and said, ‘Wheththings started up again slowly . . . the er you believe me or not, all it is, is a lights going on and off, things would different form of energy. That’s what suddenly tumble off the shelves in everything is, a form of energy.’” the lobby, and products would go When Van Alstine was walked missing and be found in odd places. out the door, she commanded (as she did the first time) that all the Connecting With the Unknown energies and life forms other than Megan came back in January human leave with her and move on 2008 and was able to assess that two with their journey. children were trying to make conCisneros believes that the majortact with Studio Cie staff members. ity of the spirits are good, and that She discovered a little boy, around they are just lost souls who have not five or six years old, whose family’s accepted their death and need help wagon train had been attacked by to move on. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 25 Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone? I Always Knew That Dam By Rick E. Hale D epending on what area of the country you are from, most of us will never see a lizard outside of a pet store. It wasn’t until I was 16 and went on a family vacation to Florida that I saw a lizard for the first time. As I was getting out of the pool, I saw this little green and yellow creature go scurrying across my path and came up with a great idea, I’m going to catch this little dude and bring him home as a pet. I ran after the little beast and watched as he scurried up a tree well out of my reach. Undoubtably, he knew my intentions and was not having any of it. It was not until recently, probably within the last two years, did I learn that this cute little lizard that I almost caught was up to no good. Apparently, some authors of conspiracy theories and their followers claim that these little creatures have big plans for mankind. According to their claims and theories, the warm-blooded populace of the world is in very real danger of the lizards taking over and turning mankind either into slaves or a delicious tasty treat for their bellies. It’s true, they say, someday I may be the pet of that cute little lizard I chased up a tree. The Attack of the Reptoids There are no shortage of conspiracy theories floating around our world 26 and, believe me, no shortage of those who believe them. There was a second man on the grassy knoll, the Central Intelligence Agency has a powerful computer that can read your thoughts, and Roosevelt knew the Japanese were coming to Pearl Harbor. All these conspiracy theories are enough to make me bang my head against the wall until my IQ plummets like the stock market. Of course, the conspiracy I speak of has garnered the attention of cryptozoologists as well as the UFO community. The conspiracy I speak of is the attack of the Reptoids. Paranormal Underground May 2009 In 1999, former journalist and British soccer player David Icke wrote a book that would capture the imagination of the world and make thousands believe that a whole new species was out to get them. In his book, The Biggest Secret, Icke writes, in amazing detail, a theory that the governments of the world are being manipulated and operated by a secret society that goes by two names, “The Illuminati” and “The Babylonian Brotherhood.” Icke claims that this shadowy organization has been running the show for centuries, if not thousands of years, dipping their greedy little paws into everything from world commerce to religion to mass media. Sounds plausible, right? Will the Reptoids Achieve World Domination? This theory of a gigantic monolithic shadow government has grown with amazing leaps and bounds over the past 30 or 40 years. I suppose it could be possible that some powerhungry megalomaniacs could be working night and day to amass as much power as possible and possibly turn us ignorant non-elitists into their unwilling slaves. Everyone from the Freemasons to the Rosicrucians to the Jewish people have been blamed for having aspirations of world domination, and mn Gecko Had an Agenda! this has proven to be patently ridiculous. However, Icke takes things a bit further and adds a new spin to this old conspiracy theory. He claims that this secret society is not run by our fellow human beings but by something far more terrifying . . . giant bipedal lizards, or the Reptoids as he calls them. And again, he takes the theory even one step further and makes the wild claim that some of the leaders of our world are not only in cahoots with these man-lizards, but are human Reptoid hybrids. Apparently, George W. Bush, the former leader of the free world, is not the shaved chimp in a man suit that I thought he always was. No, the former Prez is actually descended from a race of reptilians that came to our world from a distant star many, many moons ago and was placed in power to discredit the United State’s status as the big dog on the block. The author also claims that the British royal family is descended from this race of reptilians and will one day hand power over to their cold-blooded brethren. Perhaps the silliest person to be called a reptoid/human hybrid is actor and country music star, Kris Kristofferson . . . perhaps that would explain the career. Just where did this race of reptilians come from, and what exactly do they want? Many followers of this conspiracy theory claim that millions On June 29, 1988, a teenage boy pulled over next to the Scape Ore Swamp in Lee County, South Carolina (pictured above), to change a flat tire. He was immediately startled by a seven-foot-tall lizardman who was looking down at him with “malevolent red, glowing eyes and large claws for hands.” of years ago, the sinister race of Reptoids came to our world from a planet in the Draco Constellation looking for some new digs to call home. The Origins of the Reptoids When they arrived, they discovered our ancient ancestors still eating bananas and swinging from the trees, chattering away at the strange visitors. The Reptoids, by accident or design, discovered that they could mate with these tree-swinging brutes, and whiz-bang the human/reptoid hybrid was born. The Reptoids decided it would be a good idea to stick around to keep an active eye on their hybrid progeny as well as the humans who evolved without the reptilian DNA. The Reptoids, over time, found that due to certain climate changes on our planet, they could not stay above ground and went about the task of building an intricate network of cities underground where the pure bloods still live, keeping tabs on mankind and controlling their puppet governments of the world. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 27 Case Files of the Unknown: Are We Alone? And as to the question of what do they want, the answer is quite simple, world domination of course, duh. Such an idea would be patently ridiculous if it was not for the fact that many ancient cultures the world over have legends concerning mankind’s contact with reptilian like creatures. In South America, the ancient Toltecs had Gucumatz. Gucumatz was worshipped as the “Serpent of Wisdom” and was said to manifest in the form of a giant serpent. The Hopi of the American southwest has a legend of the Sheti or Snake Brothers. The Sheti was a race of man-like reptiles who lived in vast underground cities and were considered to the friend of the Hopi. Cecrops, a king of Athens in ancient Greece, was supposedly a ruler who had the attributes of a human and a serpent. And, of course, it was widely believed in China that the Emporer was the divine offspring and descendent of the creator dragon. And what about Cobra Commander and Serpentor? Those guys will stop at nothing to dominate the world . . . I’m joking of course. Current Reports of Reptile-Like Creatures Not only can we trace reptilian legends back to the good ole’ days, but giant bipedal reptile-like creatures have been witnessed in our own enlightened times. Between 1955 and 1972, there were numerous reports out of Loveland, Ohio, of a giant frog-like creature swimming in the Little Miami river. Those who claimed to see this creature said that the beast walked upright like a man and had the body and face of frog. However, the Loveland Frog, as he has been dubbed, appears to be completely benign and has never attacked a soul. In fact, it would appear that this creature flees 28 from human contact. Unfortunately, this can not be said about the reptilian humanoid who attacked a 17-yearold boy in the summer of 1988. On June 29, 1988, the teenage boy was driving past the Scape Ore Swamp in Lee County, South Carolina, when he was startled by the sound of his tire blowing out. The young man pulled the car safely to the side of the street and inspected his blown tire. Ancient cultures the world over have legends concerning mankind’s contact with reptilian-like creatures. When he went to change the tire, his car shook violently as if something heavy had fallen on top of it; when he looked up, his eyes met something that would make his blood run cold. Standing over him was a seven-foot-tall lizardman who was looking down at him with malevolent red glowing eyes and large claws for hands. Paranormal Underground May 2009 The creature hissed at the boy and jumped over the bridge into the swamp. The boy got back into his car and drove away as fast as he could on the rim of his blown tire. Later, the young lad would tell police that he felt the creature would kill him if he stuck around and that he barely escaped with his life. Recently, the Lizardman would make a comeback and be blamed for all kinds of nefarious dirty dealings. Several families who live near the Scape Ore Swamp claimed that the Lizardman was responsible for stealing their pets and causing property damage by digging its large claws into the sides of the cars and houses. One resident even claimed to see the Lizardman run back into the swamp carrying a small dog in its mouth. However, the residents treat their mysterious cryptid with a light heart, making the horrible Lizardman the official spokesman for the South Carolina state lottery. I wonder if the Lizardman could sue for image rights? Whether or not you believe that Reptoids are out to corral us like cattle when they take over the world is your business. All I know is that thousands believe this and live in fear of this happening one day. And when this article is published, there will be a few who will read it and claim it is propaganda. They will, in fact, accuse me of being in league with the Reptoids or being a Reptoid myself. Perhaps I am a Reptoid, and tonight as you sleep, I’m going to make you and your yappy little dog my snack. Boo! Did I scare you? Rick E. Hale is a 35-year-old native of Chicago. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, Rick is happily married to a wonderful wife and digs Jazz. Rick believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims. Do You Have Topic Suggestions for Future â€œParanormal Underground Presentsâ€? Podcasts? e-mail email@example.com and let us know! May 2009 Paranormal Underground 29 Haunted History The Dibbuk B Myth, Truth By J.D. Harrison and Karen Frazier I n June 2003, an item was listed on eBay that was accompanied by an amazing story. The seller was a Portland, Oregon, furniture refinisher, named Kevin, who bought what he thought was a Jewish wine box at a local auction in September 2001. The First Owner After the auction, a woman came up to him and said, “I see you bought the Dibbuk Box.” She went on to explain that it was her grandmother’s, who asked to be buried with the box. The granddaughter told Kevin that her grandmother had died at the age of 103, after surviving time in a WWII concentration camp. She was the only member of her family who survived, escaping the camp, making her way to Spain, and ultimately immigrating to the United States. The grandmother acquired the wine cabinet in Spain, and it was one of three items that she brought with her to the United States. The granddaughter went on to say that growing up, her grandmother always kept the Dibbuk Box in her sewing room, always shut, and always out of reach. When the girl asked what was inside, the grandmother told her it was a dibbuk and a keselim. She told the girl to never, ever open the Dibbuk Box. The grandmother wanted the box to be buried with her, but as 30 such a request was against the Orthodox Jewish burial rituals, her request was not honored. Kevin offered to let the granddaughter keep the box, thinking it was a sentimental keepsake. The granddaughter became very agitated and yelled that she didn’t want it. She began to cry, asked Kevin to leave, and quickly walked away. Kevin took the cabinet to his furniture store and put it in the basement, where he intended to refinish it. He planned to give it as a gift to his mother. He left it in the shop and left to run errands. About half an hour later, Kevin’s salesperson called, hysterical. She said that someone was in the workshop, breaking things and swearing. Not only that, but whoever was in the workshop had locked the emergency exit, and she couldn’t get out. Kevin started to tell her to call the police, but his battery went dead. He rushed back to his shop and found his salesperson hysterical. In the basement, Kevin discovered the unmistakable odor of cat urine. All of the light tubes in the basement had been broken in their sockets. There was no one in the basement even though there was only one exit, and the gates were locked when Kevin got there. The salesperson quit and never returned. Paranormal Underground May 2009 The first owner of the Dibbuk Box opened the b Kevin decided to refinish the box. When he opened the box, he found a variety of items inside. • A 1928 U.S. wheat penny. • A 1925 U.S. wheat penny. • A small lock of blonde hair (bound with string). • A small lock of black/brown hair (bound with string). • A small granite statue engraved and gilded with Hebrew letters that spell out SHALOM. • A dried rosebud. • A golden wine cup. • A black cast iron candlestick holder with octopus legs. Kevin decided to return the items from inside of the box to the estate of the seller. The family refused the Box’s History: h, or Both? box and found some mysterious contents inside. items. He also decided not to refinish the box, instead cleaning and oiling it. As he was oiling it, he noticed what appeared to be a Hebrew inscription in the back of the cabinet. Kevin gave the box to his mother on October 31, 2001. While his mother looked at the box, Kevin left the room for a few moments, until one of his employees ran to tell him that something was wrong with his mother. He found her sitting next to the cabinet, her face expressionless, with tears streaming down her cheeks. She was non-responsive. Kevin called an ambulance. His mother had suffered from a stroke. In the process, she lost her ability to speak and form words. When he went to talk with her at the hospital, she spelled out NO GIFT, followed by HATE GIFT. Kevin took the box back. Instead, Kevin gave the cabinet to his sister, who kept it for a week before returning it, saying that she couldn’t get the doors to stay closed. Next, he gave it to his brother, who kept it for three days before returning it complaining that he thought it smelled strongly of jasmine, while his wife felt it smelled of cat urine. Next, he gave it to a friend who returned it after two days. So Kevin sold the box, but found it sitting on the front stoop a few days later with a note stating that the box had a bad darkness. Finally, Kevin took it home. With the box in his house, Kevin began having a recurring nightmare about a hag who beat him senseless. He would awaken in the morning with bruises. Then his brother, sister, and sister-in-law came for a visit. That night, sleeping in the room with the Dibbuk Box, his sister had a horrible dream that she went on to describe to Kevin the next morning. It was the same dream. As his sister related her dream, Kevin noticed his brother and sister-in-law looking at her in horror. They had the same dream when the box was in their house. Kevin called his girlfriend and asked about nightmares. She went on to describe the same dream, which she’d had when the cabinet was in her house. Now, Kevin — and visitors to his home — began to notice shadow people in their peripheral vision. Next, his house began to smell strongly of cat urine. Deciding to research the box on the Internet, Kevin fell asleep at the computer and awoke to the feeling that someone was breathing on his neck. The house smelled like jasmine, and Kevin saw a shadow creature go running down the hall. On Friday, June 13, 2002, Kevin came home and found that all ten of the fish in his aquarium were dead. He decided to sell the box on eBay, because he was afraid to destroy it. The Second Owner The Dibbuk Box was purchased by a college student in Missouri who was curious about the box. It took him until February 2004 to put the box back up for auction on eBay. In his listing, the second owner described his experience. The student professed to have no paranormal beliefs, and claimed he had no expectations that any activity would occur surrounding the Dibbuk Box. Still, in his listing, he described the following experiences. • The student shared a house with six other students. All began complaining of burning eyes. One roommate was listless, and the other May 2009 Paranormal Underground 31 Haunted History had no energy. Two were spontaneously sick. • The box would open on its own. • The roommates suffered a run of “bad luck,” including strange odors in the house, a decaying dumpster out back of the house, a broken finger, breaking electronic devices, bronchitis, and the death of a car. • In October, the owner started seeing shadows flitting in his peripheral vision. • On January, 27, 2004, the student’s hair began to fall out. It was half gone within a week. The Third Owner Jason (see our Investigator Spotlight feature in this issue) is a museum curator who lives in Missouri. A student who was staying with the second owner of the Dibbuk Box told Jason about the haunted box, and Jason was intrigued. Then, in 2004, he heard it was once again up for sale on eBay. Jason won the box by a mere $6. He has always wondered if this means that he was somehow meant to have the box. The morning after he received the box, Jason woke up with burning, bloodshot eyes, which persisted for weeks. Jason had the box checked to see if it contained some type of residue that might cause his eye problems. It didn’t. Immediately, people in proximity to the box began to report bad luck and harm to members of their family. Jason removed the box from “human proximity.” While he had the box in his presence, he noticed the smells of cat urine and jasmine. He also noticed several other odd occurrences. Immediately, Jason set out to track down both previous owners of the box in an attempt to discover the history of the Dibbuk Box. Jason was uncertain about the roots of the story. Was it a hoax, folklore, or something else? After five months, Jason located 32 Kevin who agreed to meet with Jason face-to-face. In his meeting with Kevin, he verified that the box’s history appeared true without any obvious holes in the story. Next, Jason set out to find the family of the box’s creator. According to Jason, the family was originally very forthcoming; however, once they discovered how widespread the interest was in the box, they hunkered down and refused to provide any more information, saying only, “The Dibbuk Box has been set in motion — it will not stop — ever!” While the family was still talk- The box was checked to see if it contained residue that might cause eye problems. It didn’t. ing, Jason discovered the following about the origins of the box. The Origins of the Box The Dibbuk Box’s story begins in the 1930s. Apparently, the original owner’s nickname was Havela. She lived in Poland in the 1930s. At that time, spiritualism and séances were common entertainment. Havela, her family, and her friends began having Paranormal Underground May 2009 regular séances as a means of meeting with those who had gone before them. Soon, however, the small group made contact with one spirit who kept returning to their séances. The spirit began to control the séances, revealing deeply personal secrets if the group didn’t call upon it at expected times. The spirit (or spirits) with whom they were in contact began to have more and more control over the lives of those in the séance group. The spirit wanted the group to perform a ritual that would bring it to the world permanently. The group decided to bring it into this world and trap it. On November 10, 1938, an attempt to trap the spirit went very wrong. It was the same date as Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) — the worst anti-Jewish pogrom in German history. The group believed that the spirit that they unleashed contributed to the viciousness of the Nazi German attacks on the Jews on Kristallnacht. The Dibbuk Box was not what the group used originally to capture the spirit. Instead, it was created decades later in an attempt to undo the evil that they felt they had released that night. What Is the Dibbuk Box? The term dibbuk is thought to originate around the time of the 17th Century from the spoken language of German and Polish Jews. It is thought to be an abbreviation for the terms dibbuk me-ru’a ra’ah (“a cleavage of an evil spirit”), and dibbuk min-hi onim (“dibbuk from the outside”). Its denotation in the spoken language would mean an evil spirit, which attaches itself to a person. According to Jewish folklore, the dibbuk is an evil spirit that attaches itself to the living in order to complete a task. It will use that person’s body until the task is complete or until the person dies. Thought to be the spirit of a sinner in life, by completing this task, the dibbuk can achieve redemption and eternal rest. It is also believed to cause madness. In more recent times, the term dibbuk in Eastern European cultures has become associated with the insane. The belief that a person could be possessed by a spirit was common in both Jewish and Christian doctrines during the Middle Ages, but the term dibbuk and its meaning is more closely related to the practice of Kabbalism. While the term dibbuk cannot be found in Kabbalistic literature, the term davok (“cleave”) is found throughout and is always associated with an evil spirit that clings to a body. Kabbalism, or Jewish mysticism, is thought to have origins as early as the 10th Century BCE, and many of the ideologies and beliefs are found in early writings of Christianity. King Solomon was thought to be a practitioner of Kabbalism, and within folklore, there are tales of his ability to summon angels and demons alike, and have the ability to make them do his bidding. The idea of a spirit being able to possess a living being is not an uncommon one throughout the cultures of the world, but the type of spirit and the control it has varies. In Christianity, possession is almost always associated with demons, whose main goal is the ultimate destruction of the person they are possessing. The dibbuk in Jewish folklore is not so much a demon as it is the spirit of a sinner, or evil person that faces an eternity of damnation and is seeking redemption through the living. This belief was common throughout the Middle Ages in both religions, as early Christians believed that those who were unbaptized or sinners in life could actually return from the grave and do harm to the living. During this period, the belief in these ideas were so strong that in Christianity it can be directly related to the deaths of thousands of innocents as it gave rise to the witch hunts and inquisitions that the Middle Ages are so often associated with. In most cases, it is thought that the possessing spirit can be removed from the person through religious ritual. In Christianity, the rite of exorcism found in the Rituale Romanum has been traditionally used to drive out the possessing demon. Kabbalistic belief is different in that it considers the possessing spirit to be evil but not a demon, and also redeemable. The followers of early Jewish mystic and founder of the Lurianic school of Kabbalism, Issac Luria, wrote a detailed treatise on the removal of the dibbuk in the early 1600s. In it, they state the procedure must be accomplished by a ba’alei shem, or proficient master of Kabbalism. In this ritual, the dibbuk is exorcised from the body of the possessed, and a second ritual known as the “The Dibbuk Box has been set in motion — it will not stop — ever!” tikkun (“restoration”) is performed. During the tikkun, the possessing spirit is redeemed either through transmigration (a form of reincarnation) or forcing the spirit to enter hell. The students of Luria recorded many of these rituals during this period, and even went so far as to create pamphlets for the populace in the recognition of symptoms of dibbuk possession. The present day Dibbuk Box represents a slight mystery when compared to these cultural beliefs, in that very little can be found to associate the possession of an inanimate object by a spirit. At this time, no research material was available to illustrate Kabbalistic ideas based on this premise. However, given the breadth and depth of the Kabbalistic writings, a true scholar on Kabbalistic practices would need to be consulted in this matter. Interestingly, during the 17th Century when the term Dibbuk was thought to originate from Eastern European language roots, Eastern European cultures of the period were full of various beliefs that objects could be inhabited and cursed by evil spirits. It was believed that the spirits could cause harm and misfortune to those who owned the items, and could only be alleviated if the item was passed on to another unfortunate soul or destroyed altogether. Similar beliefs can be found in early Native American cultures, and the accepted cure for these cursed objects was the item’s destruction, although sometimes at a price to the owner. According to the story of the Dibbuk Box, it was Havela’s intention to be buried with the box, which would essentially result in its destruction. There was some concern in Havela’s family, however, that because the box contained the name of God, it would be sacrilege to destroy a sacred object. In Judaism, erasing or defacing the name of God is prohibited; however, as Jason notes, God’s name is spelled with a dash in it — as in G-D — so the box is not considered a sacred object. Interestingly, Jason would also like to have the box buried with him. He has expressed this wish to his family who, for various reasons, do not feel that burying the box with him is appropriate. His son would someday like to have the box himself. And so, Jason is left with a conundrum. Should he destroy the box, or should he keep it with him hoping that his wishes to have it buried with him will be honored? Only time will tell whether the Dibbuk Box will continue to mystify generations to come. A feature film and documentary are currently being made about the Dibbuk Box. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 33 Fiction: Featured Author Ocean Story By Jordan Burnes H e was reading Blood and Chocolate. He enjoyed it, but it was just another book. “Stephen, open this door now,” the boy’s mom called to him from behind a wooden frame. She banged on the door as she yelled, her words muffled by the thickness of the door. Stephen looked at the door and imagined it flying off its hinges to present a small, fat, and pudgy-like creature. Stephen decided to leave. He had done this before, so he would do it again. He closed the book he was reading and threw it on his bed with a force that made it bounce off and hit the opposite wall. Standing up, he went over to his closet and picked out a sweater and black pull over. It was cold outside, but not cold enough for snow, not for another month. He put on the clothes and headed for his window to climb out. He stopped once his foot was halfway outside gripping the frail wooden ledge with his hands. It splintered and made both his hands bleed; he ignored them. He couldn’t leave like this, not without some insurance. He headed over to a bookshelf beside his bed and grabbed a book that sat crooked among the rest, Ocean Story. He also took some money from inside a book on the top shelf and stuffed it inside his front pocket. As he took it, it stained with his blood. 34 He ran back to his window, stuck his foot out to feel around for the drainpipe, shimmied down the pipe, landed on the soggy ground, and turned to look at the city. The air smelled of paint and sawdust, and the sun sat behind the skyscrapers; the moon sitting in the east, nearly full. He headed toward the garage on the side of his house and approached one of the cars that was parked inside. He started to open “The monster smiled as it sang, showing her sharp and jagged teeth.” the car door, but stopped once his hand met the handle. His mom was sure to call it in. He went around the back of the house and took out a bike from inside the rusty shed. As Stephen gripped the handlebars of the bike, his hands started to swell and bleed even more, but he ignored it, stood up on the pedals, and took off down the road, moving his body left to right, careful to keep his balance. He headed toward the city. ***** The streets of Manhattan were overcrowded, and every second he spent on the walkway, the more Paranormal Underground May 2009 crowded it became. Stephen looked around for a different means of getting to were he was going. And as he sped by an alleyway, he decided to turn in at the last second. The alley was dark, as night had descended upon the city, but Stephen found his way around with a small light that was attached to his bike. He turned another corner through the alley and was instantly met by a large, greasy fist. He flew off his bike and slammed onto his back as he watched his bike wobble ahead of him and then fall over — the glass of his small headlight breaking upon impact. The owner of the large fist picked up the bike and peddled away, not looking back. Stephen got up and brushed off his jeans. They were wet, and so was the novel that he had put in his back pocket. His hand ran over the front of his pants and found the bulge of money safely tucked away in his front, right pocket. He stood for a while, gathering his thoughts. As he gazed skyward, a sudden wind blew across his cheek. He searched it over, finding 10 stars and the moon. He turned away disgusted at the lack of greatness that the sky held tonight, or any night, for that matter, in this city. He stretched out his back and his arms, making them pop and crackle, and jogged the rest of the way to a hotel on the corner of a street that seemed almost deserted (except for the prostitutes and drug addicts). He worked hard to avoid any alleyways during his jog there. ***** He found his way into the hotel room up a flight of twisting iron stairs. It was small and smelled strongly of vomit and cigarettes. His room had one small bed and an untouched bathroom, with a coffeepot that was situated on a dresser in the middle of the room. He took a shower and let the water run over his body until it began to run icy cold. He got out and dried off, wrapping a towel around his waist as he lie down on the bed. The novel that had been in his pocket now lay on the table beside him. Stephen grabbed it and started reading while his hair soaked the pillow beneath him. This book handed him ideas, which found their way into his dreams, and soon enough . . . into his life. ***** The next morning Stephen headed to a sailboat shop located by the ocean. He didn’t know anything about needing a boating license, so he walked into the shop with money and hope, but walked out with the pain of humiliation. When late-night came, Stephen went back; the streets by the sailboat shop now deserted — except for the occasional newspaper page that flew by. He found his way to where a sailboat lie in the water and cut the chain holding it with pair of bolt cutters, which still held their Bargain Mart price tag, his hands throbbing as he did so. As the boat became free of its chains, Stephen jumped on. He didn’t know much about navigation, but he knew enough to steer the boat himself. Soon, he was on the water, looking out over the landscape that seemed to never end . . . the ocean. ***** As the boat gained speed, it seemed to race alongside the wind as it sailed out into the ocean. Stephen kneeled at the front with his hand over the side, grabbing the water with his reaching fingers. The moon was directly overhead, and its rays reflected off the water. Stephen decided to tie the sail up to stop the boat. It slowed and set a steadier course through the water, making him see how placid it had really been. An anchor sat on the starboard side of the boat. It had eight arms protruding out of its side, fashioned to look like an octopus. Stephen went over and threw it into the water, creating a ripple that continued on for some time. He imagined the ripple meeting up with some sandy beach somewhere — a beach that he would probably never visit. The anchor raced down into May 2009 Paranormal Underground 35 Fiction: Featured Author the water and caught onto a group of rocks that made the boat jerk just a tad and then stop; the sound of water gliding past the boat ceased. The ocean’s stillness now allowed solitude to be at a point of definition, for Stephen’s ears caught no sound. He took a blanket from inside the boat and brought it to the edge. He attempted to lay it out, but the wind flew by and stole it from him. The blanket flew away over the water, but never touched it. It was simple, but magnificent. Stephen lay down on the boat, and a shiver went through his spine. But even without the blanket, the atmosphere was relaxing. His eyes went to the sky and caught the stars that lay motionless in space, though the lack of motion added to their beauty. They were more plentiful here on the ocean than in the city, millions of them, and the 10 that he originally saw were now camouflaged among all the others. Stephen started to think about all the myths that have been made from these stars: dead relatives, Gods, planets, and even the sign of love. His eyes started to get heavy and he was soon reduced to peering through a his creased eyelids. They soon closed shut altogether as he fell asleep to the sound of a whale that came to sing him a beautiful lullaby. His realization of this scene magnified in his dreams. He knew that he loved the ocean, and dreaded the thought of when he would have to leave that which he loved so much. ***** “Come and listen to my song, the waves will bring you from afar, rewards is what awaits you here, as beautiful maidens shall appear.” A song that came from nowhere, yet somewhere, called out to Stephen. He awoke to the song, and it made him want to stay awake even though his dreams of the stars were lucid and real. He stood and listened 36 as goosebumps took refuge on his flesh. The song was beautiful; he wanted to capture it, to make it forever his. He ran his fingers through his hair and took the first idea that came to mind as a promise. He dashed over to the sails and untied them, and then running to the anchor, he yanked it up as the sails caught wind and put the boat in motion. The water was no longer still as Stephen ran to the wheel and started to direct the boat toward the notes. The moon caught the waves and showed Stephen their growing feroc- ity, but his decision was impudent. He kept following the sound that soon became his first priority. The song held a hidden message that seemed as if only he could decipher it; it told him that the satisfaction it brought him would never end, and not only that, but it would take him to a place, some place better than here, better than anywhere. The sea was getting dangerous, Paranormal Underground May 2009 and clouds were starting to form overhead blocking out the stars and the moon. Thunder crackled above, and it drove him to madness as he gritted his teeth together to taste the salty air. His hair flowed behind him at a furious pace, but then it started to fall, coming to rest on his shoulders as the wind stopped. The water became placid once again, and in the distance, through a light fog, Stephen saw a faint silhouette of irregular shape. The sound was there; he sailed closer, careful not to collide, and the silhouette slowly materialized through the mist to present itself. A woman sat naked on a jagged rock, beholding long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Waves crashed against the rock and sprayed her back making it gleam in the moonlight. This left him with an even stronger feeling of lust. Stephen drew closer and reached out for her; static generating between their fingertips. The woman’s song urged him forward, but as a single lighting bolt struck his boat, their connection was lost. He bowled over into the water but quickly readjusted himself to look up at the woman from below the water’s surface. The saltwater burned his eyes, but he kept them open to gaze at what he had fought this ocean for. She stood up on the rock and took a deep breath, flattening her stomach and raising her chest. She bent down onto the balls of her feet, tightening her calves and thighs, which made Stephen feel warm despite the cold water. She sprung off the rock and dove into the water with her hands in an arrow shape in front of her. The song that she sang now came out in a horrid and scratchy voice, and the beauty that she once held started to fade, as her skin turned to scales, her long hair became locks of seaweed, and her beautiful legs intertwined to form a single fin. Now, the song took a different tune. ***** “Death is what awaits you now, as my stomach starts to growl, your pain shall entice my fears, and your meat will bring long life to my years.” The monster smiled as it sang, showing her sharp and jagged teeth that were layered over with brown and green algae. Stephen realized that the monster he saw in his bedroom that day had become all too real. But now, his mind was his again. And as he started to swim upward, the monster came for him at an alarming speed; her tailfin colliding with his stomach. Blood drifted out of his mouth and mixed with water around him, and if tears had a color they would have been present also. The monster now swam around taunting him. He continued to swim. She came at him again, crazed with the scent of blood in the water; and hit him in the ribs, creating unbelievable pain that made him yell out. But water filled his lungs instead, making him feel as if he was becoming a part of this ocean for good. But he continued to swim, this time breaking the surface and gasping for air. The water was calm, and the clouds in the sky had disappeared. It was silent, for a moment. A hand grabbed his foot and pulled him back under. This time he went down deep. His ears started to pop as pressure started in on his chest making it harder to hold his breath. Stephen looked out into the distance for some last bit of beauty before his demise; he found it. A woman, not a monster, but a beautiful woman with brown hair and ocean-color eyes came rushing through the water toward them. She wore bluish-white scales from waist down, but her torso was fully human. She held a foot of coral in her right hand that was carved to a knives point, and went rushing at the monster below him. The monster was unaware and the woman cut her stomach; claylike blood seemed to ooze from the wound. The monster went at her, and the two engaged. The monster bit the woman’s shoulder and red blood drifted from the puncture. But the woman disregarded the injury and kept fighting. Through a collection of maneuvers and what seemed to be mental ability, the woman took the knife, stabbing the monster in the back of her neck. The monster’s eyes opened wide in surprise, and the blueness they had held turned to grey. She became still, and her body drifted to the bottom of the ocean. A shark followed her down, but then swam away, seemingly out of repulsion. up a book that was drifting halfway between Earth and ocean; he turned it over to see its title, Ocean Story. He walked to a hospital holding that book tight. The nurse told him there was nothing wrong with him. He went back to his house that day, walking in on his parents who sat at a table with divorce papers in front of them; they both signed the papers, and it was better that way. Stephen never told anyone what happened. No one knew of the stolen boat or of the creatures he met that night. Stephen fought for his rights in court to live on his own, and he won. He was only 16, but he got a job at a sporting goods store and found an apartment in a small neighborhood by the ocean. He kept that book by him always, but never opened it again . . . until one night. “The monster went at her, and the two engaged.” ***** A storm had drifted in, and the waves seemed to call for him. The book lay on a chair in the kitchen, slightly hanging off the side. Stephen readjusted it and a strand of brown hair fell onto the floor. He picked it up and put it to his nose. It smelled of the ocean. That day, Stephen bought a boat, and each night he would go out into the ocean and search. No one asked him what he was looking for, although some did wonder, but he never stopped. Then one night, when the moon was full and the stars were in abundance in the sky, Stephen sailed out into the Ocean and never returned. No one knows what happened to Stephen, but every so often, sailors out on a nighttime cruise can hear the songs of the ocean . . . and if they listen hard enough, the sounds of two bodies jumping in and out of the water out in the distance fill the salty air. The woman swam up to Stephen, and they stared at each other. He was out of breath and almost dead, but he preferred to die this way; it was beautiful and uncommon. The woman intertwined her fingers into Stephen’s hair and brought her lips to his. Her tongue slid through Stephen’s lips and he accepted it; he became warm, then his eyes shut, and the brightest darkness he had ever experienced took him. ***** Stephen’s eyes opened to a blue sky filled with clouds and a warm sun. He could feel sand on his back and his nose felt very cold. He stood up to find himself on a beach. He walked to where the surf met the sand. He bent down and picked ***** May 2009 Paranormal Underground 37 Personal Experiences Diary From a Haunted Hotel By Carolyn M. Hughes W hen I began working as a night auditor a year and a half ago at Quality Inn at General Lee’s Headquarters, located on the Gettysburg battlefield, I anticipated experiencing nothing more interesting than having some bizarre request from a guest. However, I never expected my spirit friends to visit so often or to hear so many accounts of activity from unsuspecting guests. I never thought they would alert us to their presence in so many creative ways, or for there to be so much activity involved. I am of the personal belief that spirits only want us to know they are still here and not to forget what happened here, for it is on this ground that they truly gave their “last full measure of devotion.” Here is my ongoing diary of my experiences within the hotel . . . she saw that the back door was wide open, but still locked. Mon., Feb. 16 Midnight to 5:30 a.m.: Courtney was in the middle room where we prepare the breakfast items to be placed in the breakfast room. This is the small area where the attic door is located, right between the office and the laundry room. Courtney heard a noise coming Sun., Feb. 8 8:05 p.m.: Courtney had locked the back door in the laundry room at approximately 5:00 p.m. Both Courtney and Carrie had been in and out of the laundry room at various times since it was locked at 5:00 p.m., but everything was secure. At 8:05 p.m., Carrie went into the laundry room where the time clock is located to “clock out,” when 38 Courtney saw a reflection in this window of a figure in blue standing just over her left shoulder. When she turned around, nothing was there. Paranormal Underground May 2009 from the attic. She opened the attic door, turned on the light, and looked up. Directly under the overhead light in the attic Courtney saw a figure, clothed in dark blue, which appeared to be about 3 feet from the top of the stairs. She described him as solid, then he began to shimmer until he faded totally away. Courtney said that he was visible for approximately 10 seconds before disappearing. When I asked her to describe what he looked like she said, “He had no head and no legs, just a torso and arms.” This account describes and corroborates exactly what I saw on January 12 at 3:35 a.m. in the lobby of the hotel. 6:15 a.m.: Courtney was in the laundry room, standing in front of the deep freezer assembling items for breakfast. The deep freezer sits under a window, and we often use the top of the freezer to organize items. At the time, the blind on the window was up. Courtney felt as if someone was standing behind her and looked up to see her reflection in the window. In the reflection of the window, Courtney saw herself and a figure standing just over her left shoulder dressed in blue. She immediately turned around and there was nothing there. When I asked her again to describe the The photo to the right is of the hotel’s attic. Courtney, who saw the apparition of a Union soldier in the attic, was standing exactly where the photographer was while taking this picture. The Union soldier was at the top of the stairs between the boxes. The overhead light was on when she saw the soldier. Nothing has been moved in the attic since the event took place. figure, she said it was the same one she saw just 45 minutes before — no head, just a torso and arms. Needless to say, I was very excited to hear that Courtney has seen the same soldier that I saw just a few weeks ago. It appears to me that he is desperately trying to get our attention and trying to communicate in some way with us. I also feel that the way he is appearing is, apparently, very important to him. Perhaps he is trying to tell us that he did die by artillery barrage. Given the fact that one wing of our hotel was where 4 out of 6 artillery pieces were situated, it would make sense. For it was in the afternoon of July 1, 1863, that Lt. James Stewart’s Battery “B” of the 4th U.S. Regular Artillery was severely engaged and barely escaped capture on the ground where the hotel now sits. The opposing artillery always aims for other artillery pieces, so this area would have been taking heavy artillery hits. In addition, remnants from the th 11 PA infantry regiment, the 6th Wisconsin infantry regiment, the 147th NY infantry regiment, and several other NY infantry regiments also passed over the property on their retreat during the artillery barrage that Battery B was engaged in. So, our soldier in blue could be from any of these regiments as well. I found this written account, which describes those who participated in the action on our property who made up Battery B, and it could just as well accurately describe any of the soldiers in the above-mentioned regiments: “The term ‘boys’ is literally true, because of our gun detachment alone, consisting of a Sergeant, two Corporals, seven Cannoneers, and six Drivers, only four had hair on their faces, while the other 12 were beardless boys whose ages would not average 19 years, and who at any other period of our history, would have been at school!” I will be working diligently with my digital recorder to try to open communications with this Union soldier who seems to be desperately trying to gain our attention. Stay Tuned . . . May 2009 Paranormal Underground 39 Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files A Haunted Weekend at the Tokeland Hotel By Karen Frazier, Daring Girl Reporter T he last weekend in March, our friends at A.P.A.R.T. of WA invited my husband Jim and me to join them for a cooperative ghost hunting weekend at the Tokeland Hotel in Tokeland, Washington. Along with A.P.A.R.T. of WA, eight other Washington State paranormal groups participated. About the Tokeland Hotel The Tokeland Hotel is a national historic register building that sits on Washington’s Willapa Bay on the Washington coast. The Hotel was built on the Shoalwater Indian reservation as the homestead of William S. Kindred and Elizabeth Brown in 1889. According to the Tokeland Hotel Website, “Two steamers, Shamrock and Reliable, made trips from South Bend to Tokeland. Mr. Kindred used to meet the boats with a big, horse-drawn tally ho.” Tokeland became a destination resort on Washington’s coastline. A Haunted History According to legend, Tokeland is haunted by the ghost of a Chinese immigrant, Charlie, who lived in a closet behind the fireplace. This is nothing more than urban legend; however, just because the story of Charlie is legend, it doesn’t mean that the hotel is without activity. Several paranormal investigation 40 The Tokeland Hotel, built in 1889, is a hotspot for paranormal activity. groups in Washington have investigated the Tokeland Hotel with various findings and results. Prior to our Saturday evening investigation, I had A.P.A.R.T. of WA’s Regan Vacknitz give me a tour of the hot spots and show me some of their findings from their previous investigations. The first room we stopped in was the Room Two. Unfortunately, that was the room that Jim and I were staying in. According to Regan, she and her husband, Vinnie, stayed in Room Two on their last investigation. During the middle of the night, Paranormal Underground May 2009 they were both sound asleep when a bag full of tapes lifted up off of the floor, rattled around, and then dropped back to the floor. It woke them out of a sound sleep. The next stop was Room Three (across the hall). This room is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a black cat. One of A.P.A.R.T.’s team members, Barry, was staying in that room for the weekend, and he was napping on Saturday afternoon when he experienced a bout of sleep paralysis combined with the feeling of something being behind him in the room. In Room 10, where Regan and Vinnie were staying with A.P.A.R.T. team member, Steven, Regan told me that the night before Steven had experienced waking and sleeping dreams of someone screaming in his face all night. This would come into play later in the evening. Next, Regan took me to Room 11, which she refused to enter. From outside of the room, she told me of psychic impressions of bad things that happened in the room. The room had a negative energy, she said. On a previous investigation, A.P.A.R.T. captured an extremely clear EVP (which can be found in at www.apartofwa.com) that was later determined by a linguistics expert to be a mid-plains dialect with elements of French, which makes sense given the history of the area. As we started our investigation, I was loaded down with new equipment, including my trusty Sony digital video camera, an Olympus digital voice recorder, and my brand new shiny Sony Alpha 350 digital SLR camera. Room Three Since my job was to observe and report, I attached myself to a group and followed them into Room Three. In this room, Barry set up a paranormal puck from Digital Dowsing (www.digitaldowsing.com) and, interestingly, a plasma ball (one of those plasma lamps where the plasma moves if you touch it). In this room, the investigators asked any spirits present to move closer to the ball if the answer was yes or move away if the answer was no. They then proceeded with asking yes or no questions. Surprisingly, the plasma would hold steady for the most part, and occasionally, as if in response to a question, it would swirl around. For example, “Is there anyone here?” Swirl. “Are you female?” Nothing. “Are you male?” Swirl. It was inter- According to legend, Tokeland is haunted by the ghost of a Chinese immigrant, Charlie, who lived in a closet behind the fireplace. esting, to say the least. After a while, it appeared that whatever was making the plasma ball swirl left the room, and the swirling stopped altogether and wouldn’t budge no matter what question was asked. We moved on to Room Two. My room. Room Two Earlier in the day, I ran my digital voice recorder in the room while Jim was on his computer and I was gathering equipment to investigate. On review, I discovered interesting whispering noises in the room. Jim and I weren’t whispering. In my room, Joe with A.P.A.R.T. of WA, who I have seen pick up some pretty specific information psychically, told me that he felt that there was a presence in the room. He said it was hard to explain, but the presence was making some strange kind of pressure thing with his ears. We didn’t stay in my room long, but my batteries in my digital voice recorder died, so I was able to replace them right there. At this point, I realized I was extremely comfortable with A.P.A.R.T.’s combination of scientific and psychic approach to investigation, so I attached myself to their group (consisting of Joe, Steven, Shane, and Barry) and followed them to Room Ten. Fortunately, they let me. It was a good room. Room Ten We entered the room and turned the lights out. So far so good. Joe and Shane began asking questions while Barry recorded things on all sorts of impressive-looking equipment. Rumor has it that Barry is the gadget guy. Interestingly, some strange things started happening to my cameras when we were in that room. First, my long-life, brand new, fully charged video camera battery died. I jokingly said, “Please don’t break my camera. I can’t afford a new one.” The camera came back on. “Thank you,” I said. The camera died again. I handed the camera to Steven to change the battery (I’m not May 2009 Paranormal Underground 41 Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files terribly technically proficient) and the camera turned on again. I had Steven change the battery anyway. Next, my SLR lens started whirring in an attempt to autofocus. At the time, I didn’t realize it would do this if the lens cap was off, so I was a little weirded out by it. I took the camera off and set it down on the bed. Then I lifted it by the side and turned it up to my face to see if I could figure out what was up with the lens. My hand was nowhere near the shutter release. It flashed in my face. I looked later to see if it had taken a picture. It hadn’t. It just flashed. I saw spots for quite a while. At this point, Joe said, “Oh . . . so you like the paranormal reporter.” I told whatever was in the room that if it had something it wanted printed in the magazine, it could talk into my little red light. At this moment on my digital recorder you hear a weird scream/grunt sound that no one in the room made. We asked a few more questions, when both Joe and I heard a strange whisper from the corner of the room. Nobody in the room ’fessed up to making the noise, but we couldn’t find it on any of our recorders or video. Joe checked the hall, but no one was outside of the room. Who knows what we heard. It was windy and rainy, so that could have been it. Karen encountered some interesting equipment failure at the Tokeland Hotel. The Hallway All told, we were in Room Ten for about 40 minutes. As we left, I remarked to Joe that it was an interesting room. On my recorder, you can hear the creaks and squeaks of a very old building. You hear our footsteps. You can hear my remark to Joe and his response. You also hear humming (which none of us were doing, but it was windy outside, so maybe it could have been that?) and then a deep, low voice that sounded like a 45 rpm record on 33 rpm. You have to listen 42 with headphones to hear the noise. All three EVPs are available on the Tokeland Hotel EVP video in our video gallery at www.paranormalunderground.net. Click on the Gallery/EVP tab toward the top of the home page. Take a listen and see what you think. I find the grunt/ yell particularly interesting in light of Steven having someone yelling in his face all night long in that very room. All in all, the Tokeland Hotel was an atmospheric place. It is easy to Paranormal Underground May 2009 see how someone would think it was haunted with its creaks, squeaks, and wooden floors. The entire weekend was enjoyable, and I liked seeing how different groups approached paranormal investigation. Once again, I’d like to thank A.P.A.R.T. of WA for allowing me a peek inside what they do, as well as a great weekend of paranormal conversation and investigation. Want to know Jim’s take on the weekend? See the sidebar on the next page. Odd Man Out: Paranormal Adventures of a Self-Avowed Skeptic By Jim Frazier L ast month I accompanied my wife (the Daring Girl Reporter) on a weekend getaway at the Tokeland Hotel on the Washington coast. The event we attended was a “paranormal meet and greet,” for lack of a better term. It was sponsored by the Auburn Paranormal Activity Research Team (A.P.A.R.T. of WA). My wife was there to docuJim Frazier (at center above) remains skeptical. ment the experience for the magazine, and I was there to keep her warm at night in a hotel with a suppose is a new-age term for “psy130-year-old heating system. She also chic.” Most of them seemed pretty hoped that I would have some type unassuming and weren’t looking for of paranormal encounter that might attention, though they were quite open my mind just a smidge and willing to share their impressions make me take this more seriously. with Daring Girl Reporter. Only two Well, I suppose a girl can dream. seemed reasonably certain about The weekend itself was a lot of what they were sensing. fun, despite some of the hotel staff Granted, I am to psychic energy treating us the way most people treat what a bank vault is to radio recepstray cats. The folks at A.P.A.R.T. tion, but in one room I actually felt were great, and I honestly believe something a little brooding, like that they are sincere in what they do. something in there didn’t like me. They don’t accept money for investiIn all fairness, I could have been gations, which means they buy their letting my perceptions influence me, own toys and gas, even going so far as because both of the rooms in questo pay for a weekend in a hotel with tion have yielded some interesting a 130-year-old heating system. That phenomena that didn’t involve sixth tells me, the ever-cynical skeptic, that senses. Not enough to make me a they are doing this because they really true believer, but I think I might want to know what’s out there. Even have a foot in each camp now. the skeptic in me can respect that. Some of the EVPs are just a There were several groups with little too weird for me to blithely igself-described “sensitives,” which I nore. Just so we’re clear, non-specif- ic spooky noises do not count, at least not when they happen in a building so old the wood has dinosaur teeth marks in it. Unless, of course, they are louder than a 130-year-old heating system or the chattering of my teeth. At that point, I’m all ears. I suppose the most overwhelming impression that I came away with was what a social scene the paranormal has become. What once was considered a fringe element has now become cool in its own way. I met some really interesting people, none of whom tried to convince me of anything. In fact, with my science and engineering background, I felt a kindred fellowship with a few of the tech geeks. Some were admittedly a little uneasy about having a skeptic along, but things warmed up as soon as they realized that I was more interested in what they were looking for than whether or not they were faking anything. I might approach a piece of evidence with a slightly more critical eye than most, but I’ll be the first to admit when something exceeds my ability to explain it. For a guy that only agreed to come along for a weekend in a hotel sans children, I now find myself hoping they invite me back for the barbecue this summer. Like I said, I met some really interesting people. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 43 Personal Experiences What Are Ghosts? I’d Like to Know By Sandi Kennedy I read the article “What Are Ghosts” in Paranormal Underground’s April edition, and it is a question I have asked myself. I am still not sure of the answer. I do believe that when we see them, it is at a strong moment of emotional connection in time to them. A moment of sheer joy, fear, or sorrow. I have seen ghosts at these moments. Imagined? I would entertain that idea had it not been for the collaboration of others. I have had witnesses to back me up through the years. The first ghost that I ever saw completely terrified me. I was about eight years old at the time. I was sitting on my couch watching television when the staircase to the left of me caught my attention. I turned to look up it. Slowly down the dark staircase came a man dressed in a suit and wearing a top hat. I saw all but his legs. The image frightened me so much that I didn’t want to go up the stairs that night to go to bed. I told my mother that I saw Abraham Lincoln there. I still remember her terrified reaction. My older brother had told her he saw the same thing. 44 Imagined by a couple of kids? Still possible, but I remember the fear was very real. I loathed that staircase. I was always slow to go up it and fast coming down. The next ghost that I saw, for some reason, didn’t scare me as much. I used to scoot down the upstairs hallway on a little ride-on toy. One day as I passed the bathroom, “The first ghost I ever saw completely terrified me.” out of the corner of my eye, I saw a lady all dressed in white with her hands about her head like she was fixing her hair. I turned to look and she was gone. I again told my mother, and she found it ironic that I told her the lady was facing the toilet. Years ago, the bathroom had been rearranged. The sink and toilet switched and Paranormal Underground May 2009 the built-in medicine cabinet covered by drywall. My mother was herself fascinated by ghosts. She and many others who lived in that house could attest to some very bizarre occurrences there. So my mother did a little research and found that a couple had been married in our house. Sure, with a mother who was so enthusiastic about the spirit world, it could have rubbed off on me. I was filled with stories of seances and tales of my great, great grandmother who was psychic and allegedly spoke with the dead. I was never, however, so enthusiastic about seeing ghosts. Neither was my future husband when he saw the lady in white exactly as I had 10 years earlier. That made me feel a little better about my family not being completely crazy. For better or for worse, he married me, and I moved to a nice little house in the suburbs. I lived there for about two years before I saw my third ghost. I had stopped sleeping in my bedroom because our newborn son was disturbing my husband’s sleep, poor dear. Anyway, I finally got my son to sleep through the night so I thought I’d try to work my way back into the bedroom. Needless to say, it was not easy. My husband had become accustomed to having the whole bed to himself. I had been waking up throughout the night because of it. Upon one of my wakings, I looked to the foot of the bed and saw a bright white, almost glowing, tanktop. I couldn’t make out a person, just the shirt. It only took a few seconds of this to send me running out of the room. Yes, I left my husband behind. Over the next few days I began to look for my neighbor. I thought that he might know something about my house. I knew that a woman who once lived here was committed to Ancora Mental Hospital, and that the house was inherited by the man we bought it from. My neighbor is a good man, and I’m sure he wasn’t looking forward to this subject coming up. But he told me the story of how the original owner Walt had come up missing. He hadn’t seen Walt in a couple of days, so he and another neighbor had climbed in a window and found Walt dead in his bedroom. At that point, I wasn’t sure if I could ever sleep in that room again. My husband did the holy water thing, and I changed everything about the house that we could afford. I even went to a South Jersey Ghost Researchers demonstration to learn more about ghosts. They had many pictures with orbs, and I decided to try to take a picture of Walt. My son, then 11, saw me. I explained to him that I wanted to see if our house had any ghosts. He told me that he had seen one in my bedroom about a year ago. He described a man, bluish in color. He was wearing a white tank “I loathed that staircase. I was always slow to go up it and fast coming down. The next ghost that I saw, for some reason, didn’t scare me as much.” top. I had never told my son about what I saw because I didn’t want to scare him. Now, I just had to ask my neighbor for more details. I wasn’t surprised that when he found Walt dead, he had been wearing a white tanktop undershirt. Sure it could be a coincidence. Maybe somehow my son overheard me talking about it. Maybe I made more out of the other incidents, too. I can’t personally overlook the fact that other people saw what I saw. I now know Walt in name and in stories from the neighbors that remember him. I know when he was born and when he died, thanks to the Internet. I feel sorry for him. I learned that my neighbor, along with many others on our block, raised money to bury him because no family came forward. I feel bad because I chased this lonely man away. He lived alone and died alone. I told my husband that Walt would never leave until we changed everything about the house. The rug in our bedroom was last. That was done this past Christmas. I have made more attempts to sleep in my room, but something still chases me away. I feel the covers move or hear someone walking around. I am still afraid even though I keep a key that I think belonged to Walt. May 1 is the 25th anniversary of Walt’s death. I wonder if I’ll see him. Half of me hopes I do. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 45 Member Profile NorcalMonkey Age: 41. Born/Currently resides: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/San Francisco Bay Area. Status: Single but attached. Education: Bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University. Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Lord of the Rings (books and films), Harry Potter (books and films), any thing by Clive Cussler, Douglas Adams, and lately find myself reading Iain Banks. Favorite music? Short list: Steely Occupation: Customer service/sales for a “green” packaging company. What brought you to Paranormal Underground? Invited after my expulsion from “the board that shall not be named.” What does your member name mean? “Norcal” is short for Northern California, and “monkey” is self explanatory. What do you think happens to us when we die? I’m not completely sure. There’s a side of me that hopes there’s something beyond this existence, but then I would probably enjoy the quiet nothingness of death’s embrace as well. How would you describe yourself? Mostly Harmless. Tell us about what you like to do. I like to listen to music, cook, and surf the Web on the lookout for interesting things. What are your favorite TV shows, paranormal shows, books, movies? The short list would be Fringe, Reaper, Paranormal State, Ghost 46 What areas of the paranormal interest you the most? I’m curious about most aspects of the paranormal field, except cryptozoology. Talk about any paranormal experiences you might have had and how they have affected you. I’ve had quite a few strange experiences, the least of which being my father’s old police scanner searching through 16 channels for a signal for a few minutes, squelching, then turning off. The odd thing was that no one had touched the scanner since his death almost four years previous to the instance happening. Oh, and the fact that it had been unplugged all that time and no battery source either. Zodiac Sign: Leo. Who are your heroes? I’ve always been partial to Benjamin Franklin, being from the Philly area, and social satirist/humorist Bill Hicks. Are you a skeptic or believer? I like to categorize myself as cautiously optimistic. Dan, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Tool, and Texas Tornados, What are your pet peeves? I’ve got quite a few, but the main one is people who demand respect for their opinions/point of view but resolutely refuse to extend the same courtesy to others. Paranormal Underground May 2009 Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by? When you make an honest effort to be the best person you can be, it’s a lot easier to sleep at night. Any exciting plans for the future? Maybe surviving to 50 with all my limbs and senses still about me. Post in the Galleries at Paranormal Underground Post your paranormal photos, videos, and audio at www.paranormalunderground.net. May 2009 Paranormal Underground 47 Reviews of the Month: By Mindy Kinnaman In Your Library: Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife A ccording to author Mary Roach, “This is a book for people who would like very much to believe in a soul and in an afterlife for it to hang around in, but who have trouble accepting these things on faith. It’s a giggly, random, utterly Earthbound assault on our most ponderous unanswered question.” In her 2005 book Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Roach does just that. She provides readers with a very thorough and humor-laden examination where life after death is possible. Though she is not a scientist by trade, Roach clearly has done her homework with Spook. She examines topics such as reincarnation, spirit photography, psychics, and even a court case in which a will was reexamined at the request of a ghost. Roach also provides such witticisms as imagining a combination of Sigmund Freud and Siegfried and Roy after a woman misheard a conversation. The end result will leave readers laughing out loud. With Spook, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I found the book to be such an enjoyable read that I could hardly put it down. Whether you believe in life after death or not, I doubt anyone could read this book and not enjoy it. 48 W gu, viewers will find themselves riding blind on a fun yet horrific roller coaster ride. You do get your answers, and they will knock you out of your seat! Save the Green Planet is one of the best Korean films I have ever seen. Director Joon-Hwan Jang has only made this film, and it is so good that you want to beg him to make more films just as awesome as this. • I give Save the Green Planet 5 out of 5 “little green men.” • I give Monsters vs. Aliens 4 out of 5 “gelatinous blobs.” • I give Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife 5 out of 5 “ghosts.” Save the Green Planet S Monsters vs. Aliens ho said animated films were only for children? The 2009 DreamWorks hit Monsters vs. Aliens features fun for the whole family. On her wedding day, Susan Murphy is hit by an asteroid, which turns her into Ginormica. As a result, she is held in a top secret government facility where she meets B.O.B., Dr. Cockroach, The Missing Link, and Insectosaurus. When aliens set their sights upon Earth, it is up to this rag-tag crew to save the day. Any geek will love the hilarity Monsters vs. Aliens has to show as it references so many classic sci-fi and B-movie gems. Of course, this film is even more awesome in 3-D. And while it has been out for more than a month, it is still popular at the movie theaters. Drop by and catch this gem! On Your Small Screen: o, you’re convinced that aliens are living among us . . . what do you do? Well, if you are Byeong-gu Lee in the 2003 Korean film Save the Green Planet, you kidnap your top suspect and torture him into admitting his dastardly plans. Viewers cannot quite figure out if Byeong-gu is serious or seeking revenge for his mother, a former employee of his hostage who was gravely injured in a work accident. As the police close in on Byeong- Now Playing: Paranormal Underground May 2009 Ghost Hunter Comic Have a Suggestion for an Article? E-mail: Editor@paranormalunderground.net May 2009 Paranormal Underground 49