Archive for spirits

MARY HASTINGS Part Two

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2012 by Dave Lapham

She listened to the wind rustling the leaves of the oaks, the jays squawking, the far-off chugging of a tractor working in the groves. Then she whispered, “I just wanted you all to know I’m back, back for good. I’ve retired, and I’m moving into the house—just so you know. I’ll be visiting you more often.” She stood for a few more moments then drove back to the house. Sometimes she felt silly talking to her folks and Will like that, but it was a comfort, so she wasn’t going to stop.

As she drove into the yard and got out of her car she thought she heard the front door slam and footsteps slapping across the porch. Hmm, she thought, probably my imagination, and she dismissed it from her mind.

She had just finished unloading her car when her sister-in-law, Betsy, and her three daughters-in-law pulled up. They were soon followed by a passel of grandkids and a few great grandchildren. The silence Mary had experienced when she first arrived was now replaced with happy chaos.

“Aunt Mary, we’re so glad…” “Come see my new dog, Aunt Mary.” “I hope you had a wonderful trip…” “You must be tired, poor thing…” “Aunt Mary…” “Aunt Mary…”

Mary was tired, but she was engulfed in love. The younger women took charge of things and began preparing dinner. An hour later Travis arrived with his sons and grandsons, and the noise level swelled. The women eventually served dinner, a celebration of Mary’s homecoming and also perhaps the end of the sadness and mourning over their father’s recent death. When the last dish was washed and the last person had left the house, Mary traipsed up to her bedroom at the end of the hall overlooking the lake, happy but exhausted. She didn’t unpack, just pawed through dresser drawers until she found a nightgown, changed, and collapsed into bed.

In the middle of the night she awoke and looked at the clock on the night stand. Three a.m. She closed her eyes and lay in the stillness for a long time, but couldn’t sleep. Then she heard noise. It sounded like footsteps on the stairs. Adrenalin rushed into her veins, and her heart began pounding. Without turning on the light, she rose up on one elbow and reached for the top drawer of her night stand. She hoped that the pistol, a little .32 caliber revolver, which her father had insisted she learn to shoot from the time she was old enough to hold it, was still there. She fumbled through the papers, magazines, and assorted odds and ends until her fingers touched cold steel. She hadn’t had a gun in her hands in years, but she picked it up now and held it snugly. She sat up in bed and aimed the pistol at the door.

Quickly, Mary slid out of bed. Walking to the door, she opened it. No one was there. She tip-toed along the hallway and down the stairs. She knew someone could still be on the second floor in one of the empty rooms, but she had no desire to prowl in and out of those bedrooms. No, she’d stay downstairs where she could run if she had to. In the kitchen she called Travis.

“What’s up, Sis? You’re awake early.”

“Trav, could you come over here?’ She explained what had happened.

“I’m on the way.”

While she waited for her brother, she checked the outside doors in the kitchen, front hallway, and the office. All were locked with dead bolts. Travis soon arrived and checked every room in the house, finding nothing.

PROTECTING YOURSELVES

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Safety, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I’m a little late posting this morning. Just had a lot to do.

I was shuffling through some old pictures the other day and found one of some of my Marines in Vietnam. Before they went on a patrol, they conducted an elaborate ritual of putting on headbands, “cleansing” themselves with incense, praying, and Lord knows what else. It must have worked, because they got into a lot of scrapes and never lost a man.

Thinking of that made me think of protecting myself and the folks I’m with when ghost hunting. First, what are we protecting ourselves against? Let’s face it. Most ghosts are benign. They are friends, relatives, neighbors who’ve passed away, and when they go, they take their personalities with them. Most people, when alive, are not violent or even mean, although I’ll grant you that there are some grumps. The vast majority of paranormal entities, even the grumps, are not violent. Usually, they don’t have the energy. So, we seldom see objects thrown or experience getting pushed or hit. Most often, we get touched—and not in a harmful way. Female tour guides in St. Augustine have reported getting their bottoms pinched along Tolomato Lane just around the corner from the Old Wooden Schoolhouse. (See the story of this school house in my Ancient City Hauntings.) And Susan Harrell, the Ghost Tours Director at Ripley’s in St. Augustine at the time, was in a room alone when someone ran their fingers through her hair. (You can read that story in Ghosthunting Florida.)

There are occasionally malevolent spirits and demons out there who attack people who aren’t prepared, however. If we aren’t psychologically and emotionally ready, we can have problems. We have to understand that we have the mental strength to ward off attacks simply by ordering the attacking entity to leave in a stern and persistent manner. And remember that it is never wise to provoke an entity. In fact, it’s disrespectful.

To prepare ourselves we need to accept that we might encounter a ghost or other paranormal entity and to realize that we have the upper hand. We also have to use some common sense about going into areas which are known to be hazardous, and it is a rule in all of the teams I know that people work in pairs for safety and to validate any experiences. Common sense also means that we also carry flashlights, extra batteries, cell phones and walkie talkies if we have them, and first aid kits.

In the beginning of this blog I mentioned rituals. I think everyone has his or her own. Personally, I wear a small cross on a chain around my neck, and I always ask quietly for permission to enter. Others might carry small amulets. I also know that most teams have their own rituals, saying prayers beforehand, asking permission of any entities on a site to visit the area. I’ve even heard of some groups who, like my Marines, “cleanse” themselves, most often with sage. I’m sure there are many other rituals and preparations people use. Let me know if you do something special. I’d like to hear about it. However you prepare, do whatever makes you comfortable, and always use common sense.

If you’re interested in this subject, get a copy of How To Hunt GHOSTS by Joshua P. Warren. Shawn at the GhostStop recommended it to me. And finally, 12-21-12 is fast approaching, so if you haven’t bought your copy of 12-21-12 by Parker Lee, a fast-paced little e-book from Amazon, better do it quick. If you don’t read it by 12-21-12, you’ll spoil the fun.

Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to check out Part Two of “Mary Hastings” on Saturday.

BUCK WARREN Part 2

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2012 by Dave Lapham

No one would go with him, and we couldn’t actually see Crazy Crickbaum’s grave from the gateway. I wanted to make sure Buck didn’t cheat, so I rode around to the other side of the cemetery where I had a perfect view. Sure enough, just after I got off my bike and settled in to watch, there was Buck Warren marching boldly up to the grave of Henry Crickbaum.

Buck stood at the foot of the grave, arms crossed, feet spread apart. I was actually impressed. We hadn’t made any arrangements for him to pick up something from the area to prove he’d been there, but he bent down and grasped an old vase of dead flowers. Then he straightened and stood staring at the headstone.

He had been standing there motionless for about three minutes when a luminescent, chartreuse mist oozed out of the grave and formed a funnel, like a small tornado. As the mass rose, the top of it changed into a human-like torso with an indescribable, fiendish-looking head. Piercing eyes, shark-like teeth, the most evil-looking thing I’d ever seen. I was terrified. I almost vomited.

But Buck. Buck was magnificent. He dropped the flower vase, picked up a fallen tree branch, and swiped at the monster, who darted out of the way. As the beast closed in on him, Buck realized that his defense was useless and backed up, then turned and ran. The demon came after him. Buck looked back, tripped, and fell. The awful creature now hovered over him. I screamed, and the demon looked towards me with his fiery eyes, even though I was a hundred yards away. In that instant Buck leaped up and raced toward the entrance, faster than I’d ever seen him run on the football field. The demon turned to follow him for several yards, stopped, and then vanished from sight.

I jumped on my bike and raced back to the entrance. Panting, I slid to a stop and dropped my bike. Buck was sitting on the ground leaning against one of the arches. His hair was snow white—and he was crying. Everyone else stood there in petrified silence, not knowing exactly what had happened to him or what to say. I looked at Buck and related exactly what I had seen. Well, Buck became a hero, a true legend of Washington Junior High School.

But he was forever changed. He no longer bullied anyone, and even though he was as aggressive on the football field as ever, he treated everyone kindly. He’d hit a runner with a jarring, teeth-rattling tackle—and then help the guy up. Buck and I became good friends and remained so, even though I moved to Cedar Rapids, a hundred miles away.

Several years later, Buck and I joined the Marines and went to Vietnam in the same unit. On Halloween, 1966, our company was overrun by a North Vietnamese battalion. Buck Warren died that night saving our company and me.

Buck was buried in the Ottumwa Cemetery not far from Henry Crickbaum’s grave. The demon there has never been seen again to this day.

BECOMING A PSYCHIC

Posted in Afterlife, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Psychic, Stories, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I came across a book the other day, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch, by Ted Andrews. (This book was published in 2001 by Llewellyn, the same folks who published Vivian Campbell’s Stalked by Spirits.) I was intrigued when I saw the book. Ted Andrews, who died at a young fifty-seven in 2009, was a best-selling author and teacher of animistic and shamanistic lore and was most noted for his mystical writings about animals. But more than that, he was really a Renaissance Man. He was a healer, a musician, a clairvoyant. You name it, he did it.

What intrigued me were the titles of some of his books, How to Heal With Color, How To See & Read the Aura, Sacred Sounds, and most especially, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch. I didn’t know much about Mr. Andrews, but this particular book looked interesting.

In this day and age, we have so much technology at our disposal, ghost hunting has become almost a science. We have instruments to measure electromagnetic fields, to capture photographic evidence of shadows and apparitions, to hear voices from the other side. Even the most insensitive slug (me?) can find evidence of the paranormal. And, yes, most teams have a psychic or very sensitive person on the team, but for most the preponderance of evidence is collected with technology. The psychic on the team sort of mops up and confirms the findings provided by the technology.

So it’s interesting what Mr. Andrews has to say. Here are some random thoughts covered in his book. They are his not mine, but I believe what he says is right. I have just started reading the book, which has exercises at the end of each chapter.

We are all psychic. Almost everyone has had a psychic experience. Have you ever met someone who you think you might have known, and yet you know you’ve never met them. You might even know something about them. Or, when you’re driving down a certain street, and something tells you to turn when you hadn’t planned on it, only to learn later that an accident had occurred farther down. It may be a premonition that something was about to happen, a sudden insight, a hunch. Or you might have heard someone say something to you, either inside your head or out. It may have been a dream, a passing thought, or a smell. We’ve all had them. For example, I normally go to yoga at 6:45 Wednesday mornings. This morning I overslept and didn’t wake up until 6:46, a minute after class began. I awoke to the distinctive smell of the yoga studio. Psychic event? I don’t know, but it was really weird.

And if we’ve had one of these experiences, we can have them again. With study and practice, we can develop psychic abilities that might surprise us. I have a friend who is psychic and who, at one time, had only a vague sense that he was. After a couple of experiences, he decided he needed to find out more and began studying with some well-known mediums. He is now the psychic on a paranormal investigating team.

We know, of course, about our five senses, smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight. Mr. Andrews considers common sense the sixth sense, which brings our other senses together. When through our experiences we can integrate our five senses, we will often have an awareness of things beyond what those five senses can tell us. “Common sense helps us to see the patterns of our life as defined by the physical senses.” And our seventh sense, our intuition, helps us to recognize where those patterns are likely to lead.

Mr. Andrews goes on to talk about clairsentience and psychometry, how psychometry works, the basics of psychic touch, enhancing your sense of touch, the power of empathy, and so on. If you can find this book, I highly recommend it. (May be a good topic for PIA next year.) In any case, I’m going to plow through this book to see where it takes me.

And on a lighter note, if you haven’t got your copy of my (Parker Lee) Amazon e-book, 12-21-12, do it soon. Time is running out. And if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will provide a free app to get Kindle books.

Happy Halloween! (Don’t eat too much candy.)

BUCK WARREN

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, a small town in the southeastern part of the state. We had only fifty kids in our ninth grade class at Washington Junior High School, and we were a tight, companionable group—all except for Buck Warren and his three or four lackeys. Buck was a big guy, a tackle on the football team, and he was really good. In later years he played high school football and went on to play in college. But he wasn’t real smart. I suppose because of his lack of intelligence, he had low self-esteem, and in ninth grade at Washington Junior High School Buck didn’t think much of himself. He made up for it by being a bully.

Because I was a wise acre, I taunted him every chance I got. At five feet two inches and 115 pounds I was quick, and Buck could never catch me, although a couple of times his henchmen did. I paid the price, but it was worth it.

Halloween in 1953 fell on a Saturday. Saturdays were when we played our football games, which usually started around nine in the morning. After the games, we’d all congregate down the hill at the drugstore soda fountain. Buck had played extremely well on that day both on offense and defense, and he was all puffed up and lording it over us lesser human beings. So I decided to rattle his chain.

All of us kids knew the legend of Henry Crickbaum, a Civil War veteran, who’d served in the Iowa Sixth Cavalry Regiment and was a hero. But after the War he’d gone berserk and killed a dozen people. The local sheriff reluctantly shot him when the ex-soldier attacked him with a pick ax. Crickbaum died on Halloween and was buried in the center of the Ottumwa Cemetery up on North Court Street.

That part of the legend was probably true, but there was a companion story that every Halloween Mr. Crickbaum came out of his grave and went after anyone who was nearby. I guess he took his insanity to the grave with him. Anyway, that was the story, which I dismissed as a myth.

Well, you know how kids are, especially about ghosts and most especially about cemeteries. And it was Halloween, so that Henry Crickbaum was a topic of discussion at the soda fountain. Buck popped me on the back of my head and strutted around. “I’m not afraid of Henry Crickbaum,” he said with a sneer.

I grinned and replied, “Buck, if you’re so tough, why don’t you go visit old Crazy Crickbaum at the cemetery tonight. You could really show us how tough you are.”

He smacked me on the back of my head again and replied, “Why don’t you shut up, you little dirt ball, before I crush you?”

That started it. Everyone chimed in. “Yeah, Buck. Show us how brave you are, how tough you are.”

Buck got red in the face, but finally agreed. “Okay, you kooks, I’ll show you. Midnight, I’ll be at the cemetery, if you’re brave enough to come watch.”

And I retorted, “Yeah, and right in the middle next to Crazy Crickbaum’s grave.”

We trick-or-treated just after dark. Then almost everyone jumped on their bikes and headed uphill to the cemetery. We all gathered around the big limestone arches at the entrance and waited for Buck, who showed up five minutes before midnight with his three goons. He got off his bike and looked around, a sneer on his face.

He hitched up his jeans and said, “Okay, you melon heads. Watch this.” And he sauntered off into the darkness.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

PARANORMAL ENTITIES

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Investigating, Paranormal, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2012 by Dave Lapham

We in the paranormal community have our own jargon, just like military people, medical professionals, athletes, engineers, whomever. Teenagers, for instance, use their sometimes incomprehensible language, and their parents often don’t know what they’re saying. But for us, that isn’t a good idea. Especially when we’re dealing with clients of our paranormal investigations. They need to know what we’re talking about when we explain activity in their homes, and we need to be able to tell them precisely what we mean. So let me give you some of my definitions.

The most commonly used term is “ghost,” and when I use the word I mean “the spirit of a dead person or animal.” That’s it. Ghosts are intelligent. They can interact with us. They stay in this plane because they can’t or don’t want to move on. They have unfinished business, a mission to finish, and they want our help. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re dead, like Annie in the Page-Jackson Cemetery in Sanford. I met her one night when I was there with the Kissimmee Paranormal Investigators.

Ghosts try to gain our attention. If they are present they may move objects, open and close windows and doors, turn electricity and plumbing off and on, dump out purses—like Lilly at the St. Francis Inn in St. Augustine. And we often sense cold spots or hear unexplainable sounds.

Ghosts—people, cats, dogs, whatever—are intelligent beings and they take their personalities from life into death. If they were nasty when they lived, they’ll be nasty in death. In my experience, though, most ghosts are not malicious—even if they can be grumpy at times. I know a lady in St. Augustine who lives in a really haunted house. I asked her once if she were ever afraid. Her response: “Why should I be afraid; they’re all relatives.”

Demons are evil supernatural beings. They were never alive as we know the word, but they are intelligent, want to interact with us, and are malicious. They are dangerous. Only experts in the field should deal with demons, and if you ever encounter one, get out. Call in the experts, because you are going to lose if you don’t.

Residual hauntings are playbacks from the past. They do not interact with us, but simply play a particular sequence over and over—like walking down stairs and then disappearing or appearing and disappearing in a doorway. It’s like an old audio-cassette you’ve used and erased several times. Eventually, there’ll be short clips on the tape that you just can’t get rid of.

A poltergeist is a noisy ghost. It’s a German word: polter – to make noise, knock, rattle, and geist – ghost. They’ll start with scratching and bumping and progress to throwing objects. One theory is that the person being affected is emotionally troubled and may subconsciously be manipulating items by psychokinesis.

An apparition can be a sudden or unusual light, but in our world we mean a ghostly specter or figure. Ghosts and demons require a lot of energy to appear to us, so we don’t see them often, and when we do they are seldom complete figures. They might appear as an upper torso, a set of legs, a hand. My friend, Joanne, once had a demon in her house which was just a head—a hideous, nasty looking thing. If you ever capture an apparition on camera, you are lucky.

I have discussed orbs, spiritual electromagnetic energy, in a previous blog. What about ectoplasm? Supernatural energy can manifest itself as a thick fog or mist. You’ll often pick up an undefined smoky substance in a photograph, something that you hadn’t seen with the naked eye when you take a picture. But sometimes ectoplasm can be seen with the naked eye. Once at the May-Stringer House in Brooksville at the conclusion of a ghost hunt, a small group of us sat in the dining room. We could see through the kitchen into the back room, which was always well-lit by outside light with windows on three sides. As we sat, the Victrola in the dining room began growling, and a large, black mass filled the doorway between the kitchen and the back room. When it moved forward into the kitchen, we decided to clear out. That was ectoplasm.

Those are the most commonly used terms in our paranormal world. Anyone disagree with me or have anything else they want to talk about? Just leave a comment. Hey, leave a comment anyway, so I know someone is reading this stuff. Have a great day!