Archive for May, 2010

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What, exactly, makes contact with us on paranormal investigations, or “ghost hunts?” This question has haunted me, so to speak, for years. Most of us assume that it is the intact spirit of a dead human being; however, after reading Colin Wilson’s Poltergeist: a Classic Study in Destructive Haunting, I may have another answer. This time the answer may be definitive.

The path to the answer is long and winding, requiring us to make some assumptions the materialist will not necessarily welcome. First and foremost—and I doubt anyone would disagree with this point—humans are inexhaustible fountains of kinetic, magnetic and electrical energy. Secondly, that energy does not evaporate or disappear upon the death of the body (the laws of physics support this notion, specifically the Second Law of Thermodynamics). If we can accept the first two premises, I will add a third—human personality is intimately bound and expressed by the energy we store, produce and throw out into the world. Most of don’t ever attempt to harness or use our energy to affect the physical world; however, the interplay between human “foci” and the boundless energy of the poltergeist (more on this later) exemplifies this relationship between both complementary and oppositional forces (here I consider the forces in classic and quantum physics, but I must leave that for another entry). The evidence for the previous affirmations ranges from psychic healing to E.S.P. to apparitions of the dead (and living).  Anyone who thinks that the evidence does not exist has not researched the history of the so-called “paranormal”, and needs to read the peer-reviewed papers of William James and Frederic Myers from the Society for Psychical Research (to name two among hundreds who have studied anomalous phenomena).

How do we understand ourselves? We need to answer that question before we can decide what a ghost, a poltergeist or an elemental might be. There is an intimate interplay between our various “selves” and what we observe to be happening around us in haunted locations. It is a fact that something is “happening” during some paranormal investigations—but what we don’t often consider is the relationship between what we are observing and how we operate as human beings. Our minds do not create the phenomena per se, but the structure of our psyche organizes and energizes the spirits that draw from us in order to manifest or interact. If it seems intellectually suspicious to accept the existence of spirits as fact, I ask the reader to please read Wilson’s book—it makes perfect sense in the context of thousands of years of human experience. I am not asking for a leap of faith, but for the reader to consult an expert (Wilson) and to accept the preponderance of the evidence.

Our identity is not a solid, continuous, coherent structure. We have to construct our “selves” and create an identity from the fragments of our personality. Freud famously described the Id, Ego and Superego as the elements that constitute human personality. In the Huna philosophy, there are Lower, Middle and Upper selves. We are all aware of the “left brain, right brain” dichotomy, and the fact that one side of the brain can operate independently of the other. In broader strokes, there is the conscious and the unconscious mind, and the differences between “soul” and “spirit” that so many religions define (see Peter Novak’s The Lost Secret of Death for a fascinating discussion of this division). Across cultures, religions and philosophies, we find the same tendencies to view the human psyche as divided into various “compartments”, like rooms in a basement. Science itself supports this notion through studies of the brain, although doesn’t admit that there is a spiritual or extra-corporeal dimension to consciousness.

Wilson takes hundreds of cases of poltergeist disturbances and hauntings—both ancient and modern—and delves into the various theories that best explain the phenomena. He is particularly impressed by Max Long, Allen Kardec (father of Spiritism in Brazil), Cesare Lombroso, T.C. Lethbridge and the Huna philosophy of the self when attempting a coherent theory for the behavior and existence of “discarnate entities” Consider his understanding of the poltergeist:

“In addition to these two ‘souls’ [the conscious and the unconscious] we also “possess” (or “are?) a higher self, a superconscious being who might be regarded as the guardian angel, and—this is perhaps the most interesting suggestion—controls our future. It does so according to the desires and suggestions of the “middle self”—the conscious ego—and most of us have such messy lives because our suggestions are so muddled and contradictory.   . . .

These three souls use three kinds of vital force, or mana, each with a different “voltage,” so to speak. The form used by the higher self is symbolized in religions by the sun. By way of illustrating this vital force on its lowest level, Long cites Nandoor Fodor’s Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, and Lombroso’s case of the poltergeist in the tavern. For the poltergeist, according to Long, is a spirit—“lower soul” which has somehow, in death, become separated from the middle and higher selves. According to Long, the lower self possesses memory, and the middle self does not. So a disembodied lower self is an earthbound spirit of the type that causes poltergeist disturbances. The disembodied middle self, separated from the other selves, is a wandering wraith without memory—in fact, what we would generally regard as a ghost.” (312-13)

A poltergeist, then, is a manifestation that draws energy from our lower selves. The destructive haunting takes advantage of our “energy leaks” to create disturbances in the environment, from rappings and scratching noises in the walls to smashed plates and spontaneous fires. The ghost is a remnant of a soul that never integrated itself, never found a way towards union through a higher spiritual purpose or mission. The ghost, possessing no memory, repeats actions in a mindless loop; it never realizes that time has moved forward. For the ghost, time does not move, but is paralyzed in an eternal present moment where is replays a trauma or relives the habits of an old life. The “higher self” presumably is capable of moving on to another plane of existence or another dimension of reality that we cannot perceive. The higher self is what we usually understand as the soul, capable of evolution and transformation. It seems to me that this is what reincarnates, what is reborn and continues a particular journey of self discovery.

This suggests that one person can divide into various energy forms, both while alive and after death. Lower spirits find us at our most vulnerable and feed off our energy; we can project our “middle selves,” the spirit without memory, into a double that does our bidding at a distance. This may be the body involved in astral travel and out-of-body experiences. All of this can occur while we are consciously occupying the only “self” we recognize: the higher self, the superego, or the seat of the soul. After death, our lower self can continue to generate energy or seek it from others–it is the instinct unleashed, the primitive desires of the frustrated child loosed upon the world. We could haunt someone through the lower self, sucking up the energies of those who allow us, and creating havoc and chaos without the higher self ever realizing it. Our “middle self” could split from us and create a ghost, again without our conscious awareness. What happens to our soul, our “higher self” after death? I believe that we strongly identify with our most developed and aware right brain, and consider that to be the source of our true identity; however, if we have not integrated the elements of our personality, our being, then we may well create the hauntings that others investigate. Could our divided mind fill the world with ghosts and poltergeists? Could that happen even in life? That would explain the complicated relationship we have with spirits and ghosts, the interplay between our conscious and unconscious minds with the myriad wandering spirits and thought forms (elementals and nature spirits ) that surround us.

I have often wondered, as I sit in the darkened hallways of Camarillo or the dingy surgical suites at Linda Vista what is speaking to us, what is slinking around the perimeter, who is touching our hair or brushing our face. If we have enough experience, we know what is exterior to us and what has a “natural” explanation; or so we think. If activity seems to occur more often when a certain person is in the room, it isn’t luck or “sensitivity”: it’s a mild form of possession, an interplay between the overflowing energy of the lower self, the unconscious, and a fragment of consciousness “out there” that is seeking self expression. I now believe that we can be possessed if we are weak, incautious, vulnerable or unaware of our own powerful emotions. Our energy is like food for lower entities, who–in the end–are fragments of the psyche of the dead (and in some cases, the living). We need to exercise extreme caution when we undertake such voyages of discovery in the land of the spirits, because we occupy the same space–and we create the same potential for chaos and terror.

If there is a way around the dilemma of the divided self, it would have to consist of a combination of mental and spiritual practices: as Wilson states, cultivate the authority of your higher self, so that “you” (your true soul) remains in control of your unconscious or lower self. I would add to that the necessity of continual spiritual development and transformation. Pray, meditate, find your path and purpose–protect the soul and foster its potential for great good in the world. Only through conscious integration of all your emotions, instincts, desires and mindless urges will you achieve the possibility of eternity as a soul with its memory–the past– intact; only through such integration is there a future, many futures, for you–the authentic you. Without such a resolution, such a marriage of the selves, the haunting that will most terrify you will be your own.

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Today is Nana’s birthday. She would have been 92 years old today. She died in January, 1999, when she was only 80. There was a time when 80 would have seemed a venerable age; now, with my 70-year-old parents, 80 is not old. It certainly doesn’t seem like the right age to die.

I have tried to hang on to her in various ways over the years. I expected her to visit me in dreams; she did not. I hoped that she would appear at the end of my bed; she never did. I figured that with all the ghost hunting and spirit chasing, she might decide to make contact; my expectations came to nothing. I have talked about her jewelry box before, exclaiming how her perfume is extra strong when I think about her and talk to her—but someone pointed out that the old scent simply accumulates over time when the box is closed, so there’s no mystery there. The more often I open it, the less perfume escapes. I even went so far as to use the IOvilus to attempt to make contact with her—all to no avail.

I swallowed my doubts and consulted a medium in Idyllwild, waiting anxiously for a meaningful message. All she told me was that Nana was completely confused by her death, not expecting it, and felt utterly lost when she passed over. That was not comforting. That did not prove nor disprove anything, but left me with a certain sadness for my grandmother, who never seemed very happy in life, and– if I were to believe the medium–was now lost and overwhelmed by death.

I really did expect, over the last 11 years, that Nana might come back in some form to comfort me, or simply to remind me that she’s still around. The fact that—besides some interesting dreams of other family members—Nana appears to be truly gone, scares me and raises some old specters (pardon the metaphor). I became involved in the paranormal because I wanted to explain to myself, if no one else, why I experienced contact with some people (such as Grandpa Joe) and not others. The person I most wanted to connect with was simply not there. We all fear oblivion, some of us more than others, especially because it turns our lives into hourglasses, a waiting room for death. I don’t believe that nothing remains of us after we pass over—anyone reading soulbank knows that—but I am at a total loss when it comes to understanding the data and making sense of my experience.

The voices I capture during EVP sessions and the messages I get in various ways (IOvilus, mediums, psychics, dreams, etc.) do not point to a coherent picture of the afterlife. In fact, it often seems that messages are fragmented, strange, purposefully cryptic or simply bizarre. Of course, if you look for spirits in places like Camarillo, what do you expect? Even so, it appears to me that what we “capture” are more like echoes and memories than actual lives. Is there a place after death where our identities and memories remain intact? Do we really continue to evolve? To we return to life in a new body? Does it matter that we progress spiritually, or does the same fate await us all?

I just finished a fascinating book by David Kessler: Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms. Apparently, medical personnel (especially nurses and hospice workers) are well aware of the visions their patients experience before death. Many of them are greeted by their deceased loved ones; so many loved ones, in fact, that it’s a common to hear the dying make reference to how crowded the room is. It is all but proven that these visions are not hallucinations,  side effects of drugs or oxygen deprivation. Exactly what is happening is a mystery, of course. Most doctors refuse to believe that what their patients see and experience is “real”; this calls into question the very notion of “real”. If the dying insist that their loved ones are REALLY, TRULY in the room, then who are we to say that they are not? Kessler makes an interesting point in one of his chapters: legally, the words of the dying are given special status in courts of law. In other words, the declarations of the dying are given MORE weight than those who are not actively dying.

If we believe what so many patients report, we certainly do not die alone, and there is a “place”—God knows where (literally)—where everyone we ever loved continues to exist. This seems impossible and fantastic, a true wish-fulfillment fantasy . . . but that doesn’t make it untrue. I wonder, sometimes, if my attempts to call on Nana are somehow forbidden by certain laws of which I am unaware. Perhaps contacting me is the last thing on her list of goals in the afterlife. She knows already that she’ll see me in 51 years (an old gypsy told me I would live until the age of 96), which to her might seem like five minutes. Time, so they say, is irrelevant after death.

But I miss her. I miss her so much that sometimes I simply cannot resist the temptation to see if maybe she will say hello, or tell me that she loved me, or just reassure me that she is fine and even happy. Maybe she would contact me if she knew how sad I am without any grandparents. Maybe she will . . . if I try hard enough.

If she doesn’t, then I still have her little jewelry box with the perfume and my memories; but both are starting to fade with time, and that hurts more than anything.

If you are out there and can read this, I love you Nana. I miss you. I will keep trying to find you. I don’t know what else to do.

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I want to begin this post with Kalana’s story. These are the words of Dr. Melvin Morse, from his website melvinmorse.com:

“Kalana was ravaged with disease since birth. By age four, she required a heart and lung transplant, done at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital in 1994. At seven years of age, her body started rejecting the organs. At one point, she nearly died and was resuscitated.  While still in the Intensive Care Unit, she used an Magna Doodle to communicate as she still had a tube in her lungs. At one point, a doctor came into the room, and her mother told her “Kalana, this is the doctor who saved you.” Kalana shook her fist angrily and sketched “God saved me”.

“After she recovered, she told her mother that she was up in the corner of the room, looking down at the doctor working on her. She talked with “angels in a tunnel with a special kind of light.” It felt good to her, and she wanted to lie down and rest. The angels told her that she could rest for a little while, but then had to go back.
She was told “we will come for you when the time is right”.

On their way home from the hospital, Kalana and her mother saw a strong ray of light coming out of the gray clouds. It touched the earth. Kalana told her mother that someone had just died. Her mother tried to give her a scientific explanation for the stream of light, but Kalana was insistent. She said it was the same light as in the tunnel. When they arrived home, they got a message that another child from their area who had been terminally ill, had just died.

Kalana died several months later. Her mother has given me permission to show the picture of her Magna Doodle message and her story, so that other parents can learn what Kalana experienced.”

Kalana’s story touches me tremendously. In fact, all the stories of children’s near death experiences affect me in a special way. I was one of those children who had an out-of-body experience, although whether or not I was near death is an open question. I was seriously ill; I believe that I was close to death based upon the conversations I heard and the tremendous emotional scarring my parents endured during those terrifying years when I was in and out of the hospital. Sadly, I was not transformed by my experience the way other children have been. In fact, I am terrified of dying to the point where sometimes I simply can’t function. I learned more from the profound sadness of my parents and how it forever altered their lives, than I learned from watching my body on the operating table.

I desperately wanted, and still want, to be “transformed by the light,” but perhaps I never experienced the light. The result of spending my childhood either in a hospital or sick at home is a belief system that I am trying to change. These are the lessons of the sick kid: you are never safe, and fear and suffering await you at the end. Of course, as an adult, I understand that the frightened child has a tremendous amount of power over what I think. I also understand that my poor, sick, “inner child” is not the best judge of reality and is still operating under the influence of terror and sadness. What I see in children who had a true “near death experience,” is a confidence and security that I don’t have. They know something intuitively and instinctual that I have to figure out intellectually. I am far behind them in my spiritual growth and development. I move towards that enlightenment at a snail’s pace; it’s amazing to me how events of forty years ago can still hold such sway over us, defining our thoughts and emotions long after the events ended.

Dr. Morse displays the following quotes on his home page, quotes that merit thought and discussion:

“I don’t “believe in” NDEs! Instead, it is my scientific conclusion that near death experiences are real. Our right temporal lobe permits the opening of a quantum connection with nonlocal reality, at the point of death.

Children who have experienced this “quantum connection” describe it as a “light that had a lot of good things in it” (age 5), or “I saw the sun and it had a happy face for me” (a 3 y/o),”you’ll see, Dr. Morse, heaven is fun”(age 7), most intriguingly, “I went into a huge noodle when I died, well it must have been a tunnel because I don’t think noodles have rainbows in them.(age 5).

My (Dr. Morse’s) research, as well as the research of many others, clearly documents that we are conscious, aware, and have an expanded sense of consciousness beyond the boundaries of our body, at the point of death. This is true even if the dying person seems comatose.  Therefore, consciousness is not dependent on normal brain function.

Why is there any controversy that consciousness survives the death of the brain?

All of the many researchers published in mainstream scientific and medical journals agree it is true. The opposing point of view can be summarized as “I don’t believe it!” The reason they don’t “believe” it is that it doesn’t fit into the current scientific materialistic world view. This is why we need a new paradigm, and this is why we are now giving workshops and demonstrating the New Mind Technologies. People are not going to “believe it” until they see it for themselves.”


I can’t explain how amazing this is. Even though my own out-of-body experience did not “show me the light,” it did accomplish this: I understood, on an intuitive level, that “I”, Kirsten A. Thorne, was not wholly or even mostly contained in the body on the operating table. In fact, I learned rather conclusively that my consciousness was far greater than what was expressed through my brain. So where does the fear come from? I think, in part, that we are most afraid of the unknown. We do not know what it will feel like to be a consciousness without a body, or to possess a body that has little to do with the one we currently inhabit. We don’t know exactly where we go, or how we get there; it’s difficult to imagine speaking to one’s “dead” relatives again. The idea that we can move over great distances by will alone, that we can create our reality any way we choose, or that we can reincarnate is overwhelming if true, a silly fantasy if false.

I am concerned that there is a fantasy element to the afterlife. It sounds too much like wish-fulfillment, too much like a reflection of our anxieties and hopes in there here and now. I don’t want to believe something that isn’t true–and the descriptions of the afterlife are all anecdotal, even though that doesn’t make them untrue. I want to commit myself to a truth, not a fantasy or a dream. I want existence to be REAL, not suffused by hallucination or in any way resembling a dream. The only affirmation that Dr. Morse and others in this small group of scientists on the “other side” of the mainstream can make is this: consciousness survives the death of the brain. That’s incredible and awe-inspiring, but also a little scary. I don’t know what it means–none of us do–and in that area of uncertainty, I live my life. I suppose that life itself, in any form, is a mystery. I don’t understand why I’m here now, or why I was here before, or why I should persist after I’m dead. I’m still not clear on the Point, and if I am unwilling to turn to religion, then I may never understand the point, or the message.

The journey and the desire to know drive us onward . . . but is there an end point to our ignorance? For Dr. Morse’s critically ill children, the answer is yes. For me, I am still wandering in the dark, while those lucky others carry the Light within.

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Dear Readers: This is a story from someone who I know and love, so I can vouch for its authenticity. If you want your personal story published here, please send it to kirstenthorne@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you. Remember to attach a relevant picture, if  you have one.

My great-aunt, Suzanne, now deceased had one son.
He was her everything.
He taught Sunday school during his high school years, but it was WWII and when he turned 18 he enlisted. It was the thing to do and he did it proudly.
She worked more than one job, often 3, one as a shill in a underground speakeasy that served alcohol during prohibition, so there were times when that red head was “well connected”. She would borrow a car every weekend to drive down to San Diego to see him at the base where he was training. And, when she could, she would bring him back to Los Angeles to see his girl, Norma. Often when taking him to the train to return him from “leave”, people would mistake her for his girl, and she was never complimented by this, only annoyed at the suggestion.  She was proudly his Mama.
Before he shipped out, he made sure his Mama  married her then boyfriend, to ease his own mind enabling him to believe that were something to happen to him, she would be cared for. She only married to appease his worry.  Her 2nd husband’s name all but escapes me, TFS or Lori may remember it.
All was well, they exchanged letters, and then D-day and yes he was there, and the once regularly arriving letters dropped off, and then the notice, the telegram arrived, stating that Eugene Baldus Beday was now MIA.  Time stopped, the world as she knew it fell apart. This may’ve been when the “night terrors” began, we’re not sure.  Suzanne couldn’t sleep, or eat and her always trim figure became gaunt with the agony of not knowing where her child was or how he was. 
This went on for almost six months.  And, then one night while enduring a fitful sleep, she awoke and where the wall of her bedroom should have been there was now a stormy sea. The waves were roiling and she could either smell or taste the salt.  And, she was looking out over this ocean towards an unidentified naval ship. As she gazed across this seascape she realized that her son, “Soso” was aboard that ship, and that she would soon have him home.  As this realization came over her, she calmed down, the vision faded, and Suzanne went back to sleep.
And, within a weeks time, she received the telegram noting that he had been found in the sick bay of Destroyer, too ill initially to be identified, soon to arrive back in the states.
He was far too ill for our Navy to release him, near death and skeletal with infection, so release papers were refused for another three or four months, and to finally get him home Suzanne had to sign papers releasing the U.S. government from any liability as to his condition upon release and of any negative outcomes.  She did this happily, bringing him home from somewhere either back East or mid-West, to California to be nursed back to health by his love, Norma, his childhood doctor and his mother Suzanne.
And, that’s just one of the family stories.

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