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Posts Tagged ‘ghost hunter’

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It’s been awhile, dear readers. So much has been happening in my life that it’s been difficult to organize and express my thoughts. I will do my best, however.

These are the thoughts swirling about my brain:

· Ghosts led me to God;
· God led me to the Catholic Church;
· The Catholic Church has reinforced the reality of spirit in general, and the Holy Spirit in particular;
· I am wondering about the purpose and point of paranormal investigations as a result of the above.

Where to start . . . I suppose that once one accepts the reality of spirit life, or survival of consciousness, one must confront the notion of God. It isn’t as simple as saying to oneself, “I guess God exists”. I had to further define what I understood as God, how s/he works in the world, how God could be human and divine, whether or not I believed that God has anything to do with this world anymore, and most of all, could I accept God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as real and actual, or were they destined to remain metaphors and stories?

The questioning process continues, and likely will continue until I kick this body to the curb. In my particular journey of understanding and faith, I needed more than a nebulous notion of God. He had to either be something real and tangible, or nothing at all. Paranormal investigations had taken me to a certain point: EVP, weird photos, inexplicable personal experiences, accurate impressions from sensitives and psychics, all were valuable and interesting (and, in general, continue to be interesting but less and less valuable) for quite a few years. Then, however, I hit a wall. I have hundreds of EVP. I have a nice collection of weird photos. I have many, many fascinating stories; but they did not reveal anything after a certain point. Paranormal investigations taught me exactly three things about spirit:

· Spirits, human and otherwise, do exist;
· Limited communication is possible;
· Accuracy of communication depends on how fine-tuned is the instrument; you can ramp up your sensitivity through practice and dedication.

That pretty much sums it up. I have had some truly spectacular experiences as an investigator and have some great evidence of spirit communication. But that’s it–the spirits don’t say much that teaches me something about the nature of life after the body. The spirits didn’t answer any burning questions. It’s almost as if they didn’t know themselves, or “they” were simply fragments of an old consciousness hanging out in the ether. Their real selves, the authentic part of them–their soul, if you will–was somewhere else. Either they had already been born again (reincarnated, not in the Christian, evangelical sense) or they were waiting for something to happen in a place where time is irrelevant, or a space where time is irrelevant . . . but then, place and space don’t really exist without time, so perhaps I should say a “dimension” of reality. Waiting. Waiting for what? For a group of ghost hunters to call them into our world for a few moments, so that they can say something nonsensical or trivial?

No, that could not be the answer. Places are ‘haunted’ because of the emotion that they emanate, the energy they continue to emit. Where, however, was this energy, and was it human in any real sense? The spirits we’ve encountered are not fully human. Something fundamental is missing in them. Therefore, what we seek as paranormal investigators is something akin to energy or emotion hunting. The thrill, the adrenaline rush (when it happens, which is not all that often) comes from connecting to feelings that we recognize within ourselves. It’s a communion, of sorts, but not a communion of two, fully formed human beings. The soul is missing from one half of the communication. I had to find the soul. Where was the soul?

In desperation, I finally gave in to an institution that I have been fighting against for decades, a battle that my mother started when she left the Church at 18. When I dragged myself to Saint Bernadine’s, it was with the greatest of reluctance. I know–better than most people, as a Spanish teacher who has spent her entire life studying the crimes and some of the more insidious moral and social teachings of Catholicism–what I am getting myself into. There have been some nasty surprises, and more will surely come my way, but for the most part, my experience with the Church has been liberating, illuminating, deeply emotional and intensely satisfying. Nothing in recent memory has transformed me so deeply in such a short amount of time. In other words, for me, the soul was God, and God expresses herself most profoundly through the teachings of the Trinity and the lives of the saints. This is only a personal declaration. I respect how anyone from any faith or tradition finds God. The point is, find God.

If you know me at all, then you know that my house is filled and covered with images of the Virgin Mary, various saints, and crosses. Jesus shows up every now and again, but I didn’t really know Him very well, so Mary and the saints take center stage. The reasons for this go back to my year in Spain at age 15, where I had my first and most intense conversion to Catholicism. In the intervening 32 years, I simply denied, prevaricated and ignored what the Holy Spirit had communicated to me as a teen. As much as I can pour bile and bitterness on some aspects of the Church, there is simply no other path to God that makes more sense for me on a personal, emotional level. In fact, it has been through the Church that I know understand so much more about the spirit, and what, exactly, I have been doing as an investigator for the last several years.

First of all: There is evil in the world. It is not fictional, metaphorical, or symbolic. There is real, intense, evil in the spirit world. Stay the hell away from it.

Secondly: Without God–or at the very least, a sense of a higher power or transcendence of the body–, paranormal investigations descend into ritual or entertainment.

Thirdly: Paranormal investigations, at least as we currently conduct them with fancy gadgets and the same old questions, are a stage in a journey and not the destination itself.

And lastly: what you can learn from these investigations is fairly limited if you don’t break the mold on a regular bases.

I do struggle these days, but not with God or spirits. I struggle with boredom and distraction during investigations. Once you have ‘crossed over’ to the literal and physical reality of God in your life, once you have experienced the certainty of eternal life and not just expounded the theory, once you have shelved the academic interest and replaced it with spiritual transformation, then what is there left to prove to yourself or anyone else regarding the human transcendence of death? I used to ‘chase ghosts’ to convince others of life after death; then I did it to prove it to myself; now, I wonder what is left to do in this field.

I suppose, paradoxically, what is left to do is to work with the community of investigators on the quality of this life. After all, if ‘ghost hunting’ led me to the Catholic Church, could it do something similar for others? I have no intention of converting anyone to any particular religion; but if I can assist some in their spiritual journey in this manner, then it would be worth it, an honor and a privilege to continue to call myself an investigator.

For truly, I am an investigator. I am also a teacher. I learn as much as I can about the life of the spirit, and I share what I have learned with others who are willing to listen and walk the path with me. I hope that in some small way, the readers of soulbank will be my companions on the most amazing discovery of all time: we have always been, we are, and we always will be.

Amen.

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Contrary to the title of this picture, I will not discuss what the Bible says about the Devil. I will, however, tell you what my subconscious mind says about him, or her, as the case may be. It was 3:00 AM, and I was not fully asleep when a vision took over my mind. It was not a dream; it had none of the bizarre, disjointed features of a dream. It was a lucid presentation of an event–just how to classify such an event is beyond my skills to describe. Suffice to say that I saw an old, old woman–revealed to be 96 years old, the age of my death as foretold by a gypsy–who approached me, smiling. I was happy to see her at first, until I realized that there was something terribly wrong with this old lady. She grinned at me, up close, and I saw a mouthful of rotten teeth as the stench of her breath hit my face. “I am the Devil,” she hissed, and then lifted her arm and attacked me with a pitchfork, stabbing me again and again in my side.

I knew she had come to take me away, and I was terrified. The vision faded, and I forced myself to fully return to my normal, conscious state. My first thought was: I can’t go out ghost hunting anymore. Pursuing phantoms in the dead of night is messing with my head. My second thought was: I am possessed, or about to be, and I’m scared that I might end up committed at a place quite similar to the one I investigate on a regular basis. Thank God such asylums are not longer legal . . . my third thought: GET THEE TO A YOGA CLASS at the crack of dawn. So away I went, early in the morning, to a yoga class that included a meditation that seemed designed for me and my particular needs (i.e., escaping the Devil). We were instructed to sit across from an image of the Divine and he/she directed a beam of light to explode the dark kernels of fear and bad karma that we had accumulated. Those dark seeds turned to ashes and were blown away by the divine wind of love and unconditional acceptance. All the corners had been illuminated, and I need not fear. I was crying like a child by the end of that meditation, and most importantly, I no longer felt as if the Devil were trying to take my soul.

Ghost hunters are a hardy bunch. We stare death in the face and record what is left over. We listen to hours of audio that might include something we don’t want to hear, and don’t wish to invade our lives. We don’t know what responds to us late at night in the old mental hospital, but we’re OK with that. Most of the time. The last time I was at Cam, Louis captured an EVP that could be life changing–yet again. At the time we heard nothing but the insane, incessant banging of the pipes with their attendant odd after-effects that sometimes seem to carry the voices into the atmosphere. I don’t remember exactly what Louis said, something like “do you remember me?” and the response that we heard, huddled around his digital audio recorder in a courtyard, was: “Is that all you want?” No, it was not vague or distorted; yes, we ALL heard it, and Ty (my husband) verified on video that none of us was talking at the time. It was so clear that we could all identify the words quite easily, without headphones or any audio enhancement programs. The voice was . . . tired, and slightly metallic, and perhaps a little sarcastic. He, whoever this was responding to us, wherever he might be–did not believe that all we wanted was an answer to our usual, repetitive questions. Of course we ask the same things over and over, because we are not engaged in a real conversation–we don’t hear the response until hours, days, or weeks later. The voice appeared to know something that even we do not–no, that is not all we want, we want so much more than to know whether or not you recognize us, or know us, or even what you think about our activities in these hideous hallways . . . we want to know more . . . we want to know if you are really the soul of a dead man, and if so, where the hell are you that you can talk to us, why in the name of all that’s holy are you still at Camarillo, what kind of afterlife is that, and the scariest question of all–is there no Heaven? Because if there’s a Heaven, then why are YOU, whatever you are, STILL HERE, inhabiting one of the worst places on Earth?

If a little girl’s spirit can find itself trapped in a place like this, then what is going to happen to me? What if I happen to die somewhere that I really don’t wish to, such as a hospital or a crappy hospice center somewhere in South Dakota? What about reincarnation? I thought we had a choice. Some of my sappier, New Age tomes on the afterlife talk about the fields of flowers and the Being of Diving Love who reunites us with all the people we loved and who loved us, and it’s one, big party until we have to decide whether or not to move on to Higher Spiritual Realms or choose another life to live on Earth. It’s all good, right?

No, it’s not all good. Sometimes, it’s sad, tragic, upsetting, scary and a touch evil. We don’t know shit about the afterlife, really. Of course, if you are devoutly religious, then you DO know, and I admire your faith and divine knowledge–I mean that sincerely–but if you are unlucky enough to not feel that kind of faith to the marrow of your bones, you go out searching for your own answers.

Sometimes you get laughter and humor.

Sometimes you get confusion and sadness.

Sometimes you get the Devil, and he tries to take your soul.

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Consider this quote:

“When we are faced with information that contradicts beliefs we hold, we tend to reject the information or interpret it in a way that allows us to keep our beliefs: ‘in everyday thinking, the mind is very good at brushing aside information that a logician would regard as being of the utmost importance to correct thinking’ (Campbell, 1989:238).”

It’s funny. I spend much of time attempting to uncover the mysteries of existence and consciousness. I read about the paranormal until my eyes dry up; I devote hours a day to untangling the unfathomable, to trying to make real what seems so unreal. I “ghost hunt” in really scary places, and I find things that I cannot explain. There is so much “evidence” out there that it seems the conclusion is obvious: our consciousness, what makes us who we are, survives death and moves on, either to some alternate plane or dimension or quickly jumps into another body to start the adventure all over again. If you really want evidence, truly, then it is out there in abundance, from credible sources, conducted in scientifically rigorous environments. Trust me. If you want to know if this is all true, not just our collective fantasy of immortality, just read. I will provide the bibliography, but I warn you–it’s extensive. I can’t get through it all, but I’m working on it.

My point is this: it doesn’t seem to matter sometimes that survival has been proven, over and over, in many different fields of research over the last 150 or so years. It doesn’t matter, because if you decide it’s impossible, then nothing will ever convince you. Ever. The science of belief is fascinating, insofar as it shows us to what extent we are capable of denying the obvious, refusing to accept the proof, even when the evidence was collected in a way that we sanction; even if we designed the tests, and they still told us the impossible. When faced with the results of J. B. Rhine’s experiments on ESP that conclusively demonstrated, over and over again, that minds could and did influence each other regardless of distance, a professor who knew Rhine well stated, “Even though the evidence is irrefutable, I refuse to believe it.”

Even as I write this, I can hear the voices of the skeptical crying out that I have made a false claim; yet, if I asked them if they had read any of the texts that studied survival of consciousness, their answer would invariably be “no”. The answer of the skeptic is usually “I don’t need to read books about something that is a priori impossible.” We often do not make decisions based on logic or evidence. In fact, most of the time we make decisions based on security, comfort and familiarity. If something contradicts the beliefs that make us comfortable in our world, we simply will not accept it as true, evidence be damned. We see this phenomenon in politics all the time. When we hear that have lost our civil rights, and are about to lose more, we deny that it could be true. When we hear that the U.S. is defying the Geneva Convention and torturing prisoners, we negate the possibility. After all, we don’t do that. Since we don’t torture, it’s not happening.

Perhaps it’s a form of denial, such as our initial resistance upon hearing that a loved one has died. The first stage is denial, although denial comes and goes throughout the grieving process. We won’t believe it, we can’t: our mind is saving us from the trauma and shock of the truth. Our mind protects us. Eventually, however, if we don’t accept reality, we run the risk of becoming mentally ill, disconnected from the world around us. At some point, it behooves us as sane human beings to accept reality, to weigh the evidence, realize that it points in a particular direction, and adjust our beliefs accordingly. If the preponderance of evidence points to survival of death, then why in the world continue to doubt and question?

In my case, I wrestle with the skeptics in my life and the critic in my head. The critic reminds me that anyone who believes in such things as life after death is deluded and pathetic, an uncritical thinker looking to relieve her dread of non-existence. That voice is very powerful–I grew up with academic materialists, who viewed people like my current self as uneducated and gullible. Some people who read this blog find the whole topic amusing and silly; although I shouldn’t care and it shouldn’t matter, the fear that I could be seen as frivolous or illogical keeps me from fully accepting the consequences of what I know to be true. I hide what I know, or I pretend that my paranormal investigations are “just for fun”–because if I am too sincere in my belief, if I live my life with the knowledge that life doesn’t end, then I open myself up for ridicule.

And that, my dear readers, is scarier than any ghost could ever be.

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