Archive for June, 2013

I used to wonder about all of those homes out there abandoned to foreclosure; were they haunted by the emotions of the living, or did the trauma stir up the spirits that were already there? Or, perhaps, were both situations occurring at once? Of course, there is no way to prove spirit activity in a home, only build a case for it; however, my personal situation placed me in an interesting position to study such a theory.
On a personal note, we have decided to sell our beloved cabin via short sale. There isn’t much else you can do when your home is worth $300,000 less than when you purchased it, and your banks (IndyMac and Green Tree) refuse to modify your loans to an affordable level. For those of you who don’t know this, IndyMac—a subsidiary of OneWest—has already been reimbursed for their real estate losses by 80% of the original loan amount (through the FDIC), PLUS they can resell your house through foreclosure or short sale. So, they stand to make about $340,000 from the sale of my house. Why modify my loan when there are profits to be made? This is why, dear readers, when people email me asking about whether or not they should try to stay in their homes, I say “beware”. It is not in the banks’ best interest to modify anyone’s loan, although some banks are better than others.
What does this have to do with hauntings? Plenty, as it turns out. When you place a homeowner under extraordinary amounts of stress over months, sometimes years, as they navigate the emotional horrors of the loan mod scams, you see an increase in paranormal activity in the house. I used to think that it was a poltergeist-like phenomenon, something like telekinesis, but now I think that it’s our emotions that stir up the spirits that linger around us and our own personalities in distress that split off from our psyche. In my case, I’ve noticed that when I am most upset about the fate of my home, I start hearing raps and cracks all around me, but especially on the ceiling or roof. This terrifies the cats, who can see things I cannot. They start following something across the room and bristle in fear. Yesterday, after yet another crying jag, the entire house started popping and knocking with such force that I felt alarmed.
Perhaps that was the signal that I need to tone down my emotional response to selling my house. As for the new place, it appeared to be nothing but an empty shell at first. It is fairly new; our family has never lived in a house built after 1950! So, for the first time, I was thinking that the home would be both history and spirit free. It is far too early to tell, of course, but there is something funny going on over there, too. The strange noises I attributed to a new house with unfamiliar aches and pains. Fairly quickly, however, I zeroed in on an “active zone” in the house that is very specific (and NOT in my daughter’s room, in case she is reading this) and feels entirely different from anything I have experienced in the old house.
The new house also saw its share of trauma. The owners endured a bitter divorce where the husband underwent a complete change of personality, moved to a distant country and engaged in activities which broke his wife’s heart. She was forced to live alone in the house that he had lovingly remodeled for her. In our small way, we are helping her by taking care of the house and plants and making sure that her home is occupied and well loved. Of course, over time, her house will become ours. What makes a house “yours” is the time, love, and care that you invest in it, not what a bank loan states or who appears on title. In any case, something strange happened at the new house that was not at all traumatic, but plain weird.
Early in the morning, I was lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, wishing that I was looking at wood instead of plaster (my current cabin has wood ceilings, and I adore them), when I heard the insistent and loud coughing of a man in the room. My husband was fast asleep, and I was wide awake. Obviously, there was no source for another man’s hacking up a lung in the bedroom. It wasn’t us, so who was it?
The noises in the house and the general feeling of “occupancy” are very specific to certain areas, and the energy is entirely male, and sardonic . . . it’s a feeling that is close to mockery, but not quite that strong. It’s a slightly arrogant, male energy who seems to feel amused by us. I get the sense that his humor was slightly cruel or condescending. Now, my guess is that the ex-husband might have left some of his personality behind in the house that he built (or extensively remodeled), but given the fact that he is still alive, the theory that works here is simply this: you do NOT have to be dead to haunt your house. I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating: your energy, personality, all of you that is non-local and expressed through mind (not matter) can split off and remain behind, especially where strong emotions were involved.
For that reason, I am trying very hard not to haunt my old house. The only way to accomplish this is to maintain your integrity, your values and your love of your family, yourself, and God (or your equivalent). Most important is to continue in your spiritual practice, since almost—if not all—spiritual traditions seek to keep one’s self, soul and spirit, intact through belief in a higher reality and regular spiritual practice, whether through prayer, meditation or some other union with the divine.
I hope to be successful in this endeavor, but it’s very hard. For not only do I not wish to split my soul and spirit, I do not wish to upset the existing spirits of the house. I have not invited them to the new house, because I am not quite sure who they are, and perhaps I need a ghost-free home for once in my life. However, I suspect the new home is not ghost-free; I need to banish the remnants of a very angry and confused man who left part of himself behind when he jumped ship on one life and started a new one in bad faith.
So, loyal readers and fellow ghost hunters, it appears that hauntings can be very complicated. Just when you think you might understand the dead, you have to bury the remnants of the living, usually the worst part of their personalities and inclinations. If you have any thoughts on this, advice or commentary, I would certainly welcome hearing from you!
Yours in spirit,
Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

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Things I wonder about:

Time. I read somewhere that all the cells in our body are mostly replaced every 7 years or so. That turns out to not be completely accurate, as some cells take longer to turn over and some cells never replace themselves, and yet others have varying rates. Here is the “Short Answer” on this issue:
The Short Answer: Recent research has confirmed that different tissues in the body replace cells at different rates, and some tissues never replace cells. So the statement that we replace every cell in the body every seven years or every ten years is wrong. Using a revolutionary new technique (described below), researchers have shown that:
1. Neurons in the cerebral cortex are never replaced. There are no neurons added to your cerebral cortex after birth. Any cerebral cortex neurons that die are not replaced.
2. Fat cells are replaced at the rate of about 10% per year in adults. So you could say that on average, human beings replace all their fat cells about every ten years.
3. Cardiomyocyte heart cells are replaced at a reducing rate as we age. At age 25, about 1% of cells are replaced every year. Replacement slows gradually to about 0.5% at age 70. Even in people who have lived a very long life, less than half of the cardiomyocyte cells have been replaced. Those that aren’t replaced have been there since birth. (http://askanaturalist.com/do-we-replace-our-cells-every-7-or-10-years/)
Even with the above, accurate answer, it’s fascinating to me that there are documented cases of people with 1/2 a brain who have suffered no observable ill effects or even changes in behavior. They have lost 1/2 of their neurons without apparent consequence. Then, of course, we have those amazing experiments where most mice were subjected to losing most–if not ALL–of their brain tissue and could still run a maze and learn new mazes.
The myth that we replace all of our cells every seven years was typically used to bolster the argument that we are essentially re-created every so often, rendering the idea of a stable identity directly correlated to bodily processes null and void.
How are body expresses consciousness, identity, memory and unique behavioral/personality traits is a bigger topic than I can delve into here. Good evidence points to the independence of all the aforementioned concepts from bodily functions and processes, which brings me to the concept of TIME.
Time is often defined by chronology, a series of events that places processes in motion from point A to point B, and so on. However, none of this happens at the quantum level, where time appears to travel backwards in certain circumstances or loop around itself. The upshot for the notion of time is that it is radically undetermined. Strict chronology is an illusion or a creation required by humans to keep us from losing our minds. We couldn’t function in the world without the notion of past, present and future.
But in that space/place where our consciousness exists and interacts with bodies or something else once there is no body, chronological time does not exist. This explains why a free-floating consciousness fragment can ‘haunt’ a place for hundreds of years. That bit of personality has no idea how much time has gone by, for the whole concept is meaningless.
Truly, then, it makes no sense for us to ruminate on the past, for the past is, by definition, no longer in existence or–better yet–the past, present and future and always, eternally in existence and it is only an illusion that something happened “before”. We remember it as “before,” but there is no place called “before”. There is only “now.” Our memories of the past are stored in some vast, cosmic warehouse where they are eternally available, along with the equally illusory events from the “future”. Past and future are ghostly concepts, and everything we think happened and hope will happen is occurring right now, or it isn’t, and never will.
Let’s not confuse the entropy of living, physical systems with chronology. I will age and die, as will you, but that has nothing to do with the objective reality of the past and the future. That is simply the tendency of all physical systems to fall into decoherence, to disorganize and scatter. We associate that with “time passing”, but there is no natural relationship: we invent the relationship, because that is how we organize our human experience.
You are what you were and what you will be. In that sense, we are already ghosts, caught up in the machinery of eternal consciousness. That is why we can, and do, haunt ourselves, each other and every space we occupy, have occupied or will occupy. Is there a way out of this filmy construct, this tissue of fragmented psyches? Probably. But that’s for another post.
–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

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