Tag Archives | Ghosts

Sightings Of The Ghost Of Occult Alchemist Cagliostro Reported In Italian Town

Mass fear that a notorious spirit has returned? Spookiness via Gazzetta del Sud:

Italian paranormal-phenomena experts have been called to the Tuscan hilltown of Arezzo to probe a dozen alleged sightings of the ghost of legendary 18th-century alchemist, adventurer, con-man and occult dabbler ‘Count’ Cagliostro.

We aren’t here to ‘bust’ any ghosts, we simply study phenomena which appear strange,” said Massimo Merendi of the National Ghost Uncover association. The sightings, “of a two-metre-tall cloaked figure” have occurred in the centre of the town, near its famous Duomo, between March 2011 and last month, Merendi said.

An alchemist, fake physician and necromancer, Cagliostro became extremely rich selling miraculous cures and elixirs of youth, also posing as the founder of an occult branch of freemasonry. Although he was an impostor, his daring and ingenuity briefly made him the darling of Europe. Arrested for heresy in Rome in 1789 he was condemned to death but the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and he died unsung in a prison in the hilltop town of San Leo near Urbino.

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What Do We Fear When We Fear Ghosts?

When investigating the unknown, it’s best to leave obtuse hypotheses aside until all the evidence has been gathered. For many mysteries, this quest for truth can take centuries, for some even centuries mark only small intervals in our understanding, and in the midst of it all changes in fashionable intellectualism obscure and unmoor previous investigations.

Our search for answers into the nature of hauntings and apparitions has been a source of interest since the beginning of recorded history, with the familiar arguments of both skeptics and believers changing little over the years. Yet the experiences persist, and evoke the deeper levels of our existence, and the nature of our relationships with each other, with ourselves and even with the passing of time itself. Michael Newton explores some of these nuances in his review of A Natural History of the Ghosts by Roger Clarke:

“What do we fear when we fear ghosts? Certainly, they evoke the possibility of elemental entities hidden in the world, at least mischievous and even malevolent.

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Exorcisms Performed; Rates Reasonable

I’m sure they are reasonable.  But watch out for the hidden fees and subscription-based extras (e.g., “ectoplasm removal”, “ongoing psychic remediation”, etc., etc.).  From Alanna Gallagher at The Irish Times:

FIFTY-YEAR-old Patrick McGuire is a banker who grew up in a haunted house in Dublin. As a child he complained to his mother about being kept awake by a presence.

“She saw him quite a few times … a person walking across the hallway,” he explains. “One day we had a house guest who said she was psychic and asked for permission to walk through the house. She said the property had a spirit and that it was protecting the family. She pointed to a formal room that we never used where she indicated that a duel had taken place. During the fight a man had been killed.”

There was never any malice, McGuire says, it was just a fact of life in the home he grew up in.

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Want People to Believe in Your Paranormal Experience? Make it Sound “Science-y”

Picture: Harry Price (PD)

In this technological and mechanistic age that good old fashioned ghost stories don’t stand a chance of being accepted as plausible unless you sprinkle a little pseudoscience into the mix. This generation of  flim-flam artists may be just stumbling onto this fact, but fiction writers (as well as some of the earliest ghost-hunters) have known it for years. The protagonists of Bram Stoker’s Dracula bring modern technology to their fight against the eponymous vampire, as do the heroes (and villains) of several H.P. Lovecraft tales such as “The Shunned House”, “From Beyond”. Even Arthur Machen utilized scientific jargon in his classic story of the supernatural (or preternatural?) ”The Great God Pan.”

An interesting study from LiveScience shows that a little techno-babble can go a long way in convincing people of the plausibility of supernatural experiences:

Fans of paranormal reality TV shows like “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures” are treated to an array of technical jargon and references to fancy instruments — ion generators, electromagnetic field detectors and video goggles with built-in speech-synthesizers that allegedly can sense spirits.

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Ghosts Blamed for Rash of Self-Immolations in India

The Daily Bhakshar reports on a rash of self-immolations among Indian youth. In the most recent incident, a young girl doused herself in kerosine and set herself afire. Before she died, she told her parents that two ghostly girls had told her to do it. Strangely, this is not the first such incident:

Henna’s father Abdul Razzaq and brother Feroz were shocked when the dying girl told them that two girls had come to her and asked her to douse with kerosene and accompany them. However, no one saw the mysterious girls entering in or going out of the house before or after the incident. They were also shocked as Henna was absolutely normal and had meal with family before she was found 100% burnt.

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Notorious Haunted Los Angeles Hospital To Be Turned Into Senior Homes

5500298875_753b7616aaThe Los Angeles Times reports on a recipe for trouble, with ambitious developers packing the elderly into one of Los Angeles’ most haunted grounds:

Historic — and some say haunted — Linda Vista Community Hospital that has been closed for two decades is set to be converted into apartments for low-income seniors in a $40-million makeover. The original hospital opened in 1905. It was razed and rebuilt on the same site in the mid-1920s.

Visitors come across stray medical equipment such as dusty baby incubators and gleaming stainless steel autopsy tables. A corner of the basement holds what appears to be a cluster of jail cells. “People tell me it’s the most haunted place in L.A.,” said Maurice Ramirez, executive vice president of Amcal.

Caretaker Francis Kortekaas acknowledged a couple of incidents he can’t explain. In the dimly lighted underground level housing the operating rooms, Kortekaas said he once saw the water turn on when he approached a sink where doctors scrubbed before surgery.

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A Catholic’s Guide To Living In A Haunted House

Alejandro Rojas, UFO and paranormal researcher and journalist, recounts Gary Jansen’s tale of living with ghosts for Huffington Post:

When confronted with the paranormal, many people go through an internal process of questioning and reexamining of their perspectives on the world and themselves: questions such as whether or not they are going crazy, what prosaic answers there could be for the unusual experience or experiences, how people will view them if they dare to share their story, and other more existential quandaries. In his book, Holy Ghosts, author Gary Jansen takes the reader though this process as he tells the story of how he came to believe his house was haunted and how he dealt with it.

Jansen is an editor and author specializing in books on religion and spirituality. Growing up in Long Island, his mother would occasionally talk about the ghost she believed haunted his childhood home. Jansen didn’t think much of it until many years later when he and his wife purchased that very home.

After moving into the house, Jansen and his family began experiencing many strange occurrences which led him to suspect that perhaps his mother was right…

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Hong Kong’s Booming Market For Haunted Houses

ALeqM5hvMNMdjNjAJEHa_anYDDlWDomOHwThis AFP piece on the intersection of morbid superstition and real estate piqued my interest. Local buyers typically shy from residences where gruesome, unnatural deaths occurred, so out-of-towners are swooping in to buy at a discount. Would you be bold enough to mess with the ghosts of Hong Kong?

Then there is the divorcee whose body was discovered a month after she poisoned herself with the fumes of burning charcoal, or the woman hacked to death and mutilated by her domestic helper in an exclusive apartment block.

For bargain hunters in Hong Kong’s turbocharged property market apartments that belonged to the recently deceased are proving irresistible — and the more gruesome the occupant’s demise the better.

By law, buyers are entitled to details on so-called “haunted houses” — or hongza in Cantonese — and many rigorously check the backstory to their potential purchase. Discounts of between 20-40 percent are the standard for haunted houses.

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Who Haunted Betsy Bell?

Betsy Bell

Betsy Bell

An alternate reading of M.V. Ingram’s history of the infamous Bell Witch haunting suggests a sinister secret at the heart of the mystery. This from Victorian Gothic:

The visitations began with sightings of strange animals about the Bell homestead, and of a unknown girl in green swinging to the limb of a tall oak. Soon there came an unaccountable knocking about the door and exterior walls of the house, followed by scratching and gnawing sounds that searched from room to room. It assaulted the boys in the night, ripping the sheets from their beds and pulling their hair as they tried to sleep. Whenever candles were lit to investigate, they would soon hear screams coming from their sister’s room.

Betsy Bell was 12 years old in 1818 when she became the thrall of an unseen tormentor who, for some three years, relentlessly beat her, mangled her hair, pinched and pricked her skin, and once caused her to vomit pins and needles. Her family, early, well-respected settlers of Robertson County, TN, at first tried removing her from the home, but to no avail—the disturbances followed her wherever she went.

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