Archive for October, 2010

The amazing photo above is by Vic de Vera and can be found at flickr.com

Most of us fear dying and death, even those of us with faith. It seems like a cosmic disaster waiting to happen, over which we have no control whatsoever. I have stated here that I have a solid belief in the afterlife, but on gloomy days near the end of October, I am not so sure. Death seems to be lurking in the plants and watching from the darkened hillsides. Death has not happened–it’s lurking. This is why cemeteries and abandoned (and possibly haunted) houses are so peaceful. Death paid a visit, left his signature, and moved on. Ironically, these are the few places where Death does not linger; why return to the place you already robbed of life as we know it?

The haunted house has a life of its own, but it’s a mysterious, post-mortem existence. We feel and intuit the vibrations of something moving and conscious, yet it does not resemble our version of life. It’s removed, yet palpable; distant, yet permeating. The haunted house beckons those afraid of death, because death isn’t there–it came and went, and we find something like solace examining the remains. The structure hangs on, yet is dissolving slowly into the ground. The energy of those that occupied it continues to haunt the walls, the ground, the dilapidated staircase and the rotting kitchen. The haunted house is a corpse, yet it is also something that has been reanimated or set free to exist differently. It frightens us, because we don’t understand what has been left behind, and since we don’t understand it, we fear it.

That fear, however, is a delicious emotion because it masks the essential fact of abandoned houses and cemeteries–something has survived. That makes us feel a strange hope, a dark joy: there is such beauty in the endless workings of decay. Decay creates and revives, transforms what was into something nameless and subtle–what a relief to escape death and enter the realm of the unknown life.

I find death in the most “alive” places, such as malls, airports, cafes, schools, the workplace, the freeways, everywhere there are too many humans playing out the drama of the everyday. In those places, death has its pick of potential victims. In the semi-silence of the haunted house, in the peace of the cemetery, death plays no part. He is distracted by other pursuits. This is why I am a “ghost hunter”–in those hours where I occupy a space abandoned by everyone, a space that has lost its purpose and is forgotten by ambition or any other human emotion, I am free.

True liberation is, for me, becoming part of what everyone else has left to quietly decompose in the solitude of someone’s failed project. Reality is giving up the grand schemes in favor of communion with something just beyond the veil of our terribly insufficient perception. A tiny peek into God’s world is far, far better than a million suns illuminating the pathetic paths of our modern life.

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OK, so here I am cross-marketing my two websites. I wasn’t going to do this, but I am so proud of the Paranormal Housewives and our two new team members, that I can’t help plugging the PHWs and letting you all know how excited I am about our amazing group of women. We are a force for good in the world!!! See: paranormalhousewives.com for more about us and our investigations!

After many months investigating with the Paranormal Housewives, Kimberly Demmary and Lizeth Martinez are now honored members of the team!! Please join me in welcoming them! Below are their bios and pictures.

Kimberly Demmary has an average 9-to-5 daytime life, but her night life is so much more exciting.  In the dead of night, when she is not on stage for a play (or writing one), you can find her walking around the dusty corridors of some of California’s most famous haunts.

 Kimberly has grown up with “Family Ghost Members” for most of her life.  Seeing Grandpa Bud watching over her, in the corner of her bedroom, was not frightening but a warm welcome on sleepless nights.  You would never find Kimberly hiding under the covers when her grandmother would come into her room then vanish through the walls.  She has also shared wonderful paranormal experiences with her father in her childhood home: doors shutting on their own, toy balls rolling around the ground, all to the delight of a 5 year old blond little girl laughing and clapping . . . enjoying every moment…and she still is.

 She is so thrilled to have found a great group of likeminded ladies to share some of the most amazing life (and death) experiences with. A life long dream has finally come true, and, thankfully, she will never be the same again.

 Kimberly is currently one of the unmarried paranormal housewives.  But she shares her life, and ghost stories, with her family and friends.  They all have been so supportive and surprisingly curious about her ghostly adventures.  She hopes she can share the actual investigation process with them in the future.

Lizeth Martinez has always loved the paranormal.  She grew up and stills live in her house where she and family members have had many ghostly experiences.  As a child she would always search for known paranormal locations to see if it was truly haunted.  It wasn’t until recently that she discovered the paranormal community and met the Paranormal Housewives.  Lizeth is very grateful for the opportunity to join the Paranormal Housewives’ team, a group of women that she can truly connect with and experience such wonderful things together.

 Lizeth works for the County of Ventura.  She lives with her parents, siblings, three dogs and her cat, Xena.  She is not married and has no children.  She is bilingual in English and Spanish.   You may contact Lizeth at LizethMartinez1313@yahoo.com.

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I have often wondered if afterlife enthusiasts and researchers are so interested in the next life because this one can be so miserable and confusing. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think my life or life in general is a negative experience or something from which we must escape–but I DO believe that the day-to-day can be overwhelming and lead us to long for something better, something easier.

For example: I spend, unfortunately, many hours in the day trying to figure out if I need to see a doctor about some ailment that plagues me.  Yesterday, it was all about investigating whether or not I have Benign Postural Vertigo or a brain tumor, or perhaps one of the many neurological diseases that will ruin a life in small increments. I based this on the fact that I have experienced severe vertigo on a couple of occasions recently (no, not every day or even every week), and I’m generally dizzy. Allergists tell me it’s allergies, and opthamologists tell me it’s my progressively worsening–age-related–vision. My regular doctor thinks I simply need more Claritin. I don’t really believe any of them–surely they’ve missed something ominous. I won’t consult them further, though, since that would mean horrible tests that would drive me to the brink of insanity. Oh, I should mention that my therapist (hey, everyone has one, right?) thinks most of it is panic and anxiety, or a combination of an ear problem and panic. Whatever. No matter what anyone tells me, I’m secretly convinced that I have a horrible malady that will kill me by inches, and no one and nothing will be able to save me.

That “horrible malady” is life itself. It seems, therefore, that my interest in continuing life doesn’t make the best sense. Life leads to death, which probably leads to more life–is that a terrible thought? My unspoken assumption here is that “more life” isn’t just more of the same, but more of something vastly better: no body to worry about incessantly, no emotional pain, no more hard lessons and endless communion with loved ones who have passed on. Unfortunately, the fly in the ointment are the facts: it appears that more life simply means more challenges and more hard lessons.

As I’ve said before on this site, the best evidence–the most “scientific” in the best sense of the word–comes from Near Death Experiences, reincarnation memories of children (Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker), mediumship experiments (see The Afterlife Experiments) and the famous “cross correspondences” from Frederic Myers to a diverse and random group of mediums. There is much to add to this list, but this is enough for now–what do the results of all these experiments or studies point to? The same conclusion: there’s no fuzzy heaven with a shiny, happy God that endlessly finds ways to make your existence simple and beautiful. No, it looks like the afterlife is all about accounting for your actions in this life, making amends, forgiving yourself and others, and then heading to the next level. If this life is elementary school, you still have Middle School and High School to contend with, not to mention college and graduate school (which is where, I imagine, you finally get your angel wings instead of a Ph.D.).

It seems like we have barely made it out of fifth grade so far in this life. If Junior High is anything like it was for me at 13, I’m in for a miserable spiritual ride. I’m guessing that my rampant fears and life-long hypochondria will not disappear, but will actually intensify, since this negativity has to be burned out of me like a wart under a flame (what an unpleasant image, my apologies). If I don’t handle these fears of mine, then God will see fit to send me to India in the next life, inhabiting a disease-ridden body, unable to walk, begging for alms and waiting for salvation. Why? Simply because until I learn to transcend the petty issues of my physical shell, the lesson will become more and more severe, until I give up. My particular lesson is learning how to let go of fear and the need to control my circumstances; so I anticipate that the next life–unless I make real progress now–will up the ante in terms of pedagogy. With enough suffering, you DO learn to let go and give up, and therefore begin to heal.

I suppose it’s something like hitting bottom for the alcoholic. When you’re passed out in the street without shoes or a shirt, and bums are rummaging through your pockets, you realize that your entire life must change. Nothing that obvious will happen to me–I’m hoping for a moment of illumination, a divine revelation, a sudden epiphany. That may happen, but I continue to suspect that I’m looking for the easy way out. We have to work towards those epiphanies–they don’t magically appear on their own.

So what do I have to do? I wish I really knew the answer to that question. I will keep searching for that answer, because I don’t want to be born again with the stunning realization that the lesson wasn’t learned the last time around, and so,  here we go . . . again.

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