Tag Archives | Ghosts

Virginia University Offers Course On Communicating With The Dead

Would you dare tamper with other realms in return for three credits? From Roanoke’s WDBJ7:

Radford University students are taking part in an independent study course that’s quite different – learning about the afterlife by reaching out to the dead.

There is a bedroom on campus that has been converted into a chamber, where students have been calling up the dead, for class credit. It’s almost always dark inside, with black drapes. Two large black sheets hang from the ceiling, and a lamp is on the floor.

“For people who are coming in here they are using an ancient ecstatic teaching that’s been used in ancient Greece and elsewhere to contact the dead,” Susan Kwilescki, a professor of religious studies.

Students built the chamber, which they call the psychomanteum, on the cheap. Ran Waide, a junior who helped build it, says the chamber works: “I’ve had a ghost encounter in here.”

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Nearly Half Of Americans Believe In Ghosts

Well, this seems more reasonable than belief in the tenets of mainstream religion. The Huffington Post reports:

A HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that 45 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, or that the spirits of dead people can come back in certain places and situations.

The idea of ghosts as evidence of life after death goes back to ancient Egypt, where it was commonly believed that death was merely a transition to some mysterious netherworld of another existence. While skeptics deny the existence of ghosts, claiming there’s no real evidence, polls have shown the public strongly disagrees.

“There are still many hardcore scientists who regard it as superstition and a residual fear of our past,” said paranormal author Brad Steiger. “I put ghosts in what I call a psychic residue category. In environments where human drama has taken place — a murder, suffering — that emotional energy is somehow impressed in the environment.”

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Disembodied Erotomania

Inspired by Matt’s The Incubus Made Me Do It post from last week, it occurred to me that I’d actually written an entire chapter on the rarely explored topic of astral molestation in my first book. It’s out of print and I’m quite sure none of you have read it, so we’ll just mine it a bit at this point as I finish the final edits for my next book on occult weirdness (out spring 2013). Maybe I’ll do a re-release some day, but truthfully, I basically did nothing to promote the thing because I didn’t like it much. Parts are great but overall, way too dark. As was the nature of my life at the time. The thing is, despite me not liking it much, it was in fact a quite intentional work of magick, intended to destroy the alcoholic jerk off side of my personality (the death impulse) and re-align myself with the sacred feminine current of the multiverse. In that regard, it worked spectacularly well. Details soon. For now, let’s talk about sex with the spirits. It’s certainly one of those things that never, ever would have occurred to me as anything other than total batshit crazy-ville until it fucking happened, which is a theme you’ll find a lot in any kind of occult or paranormal circles. If you’re into this sort of thing, it’s probably because something went down in your inner life that you couldn’t explain. This would be one of those cases. To give a bit of lead up here, because of the bizarro art invasion experiences I had on mushrooms and acid in my late teens, I started playing around with Robert Monroe’s techniques of astral projection at the suggestion of my mother. She went to Berkeley during the sixties and never tried drugs (lame), but had caught a bit of the new age bug that was so trendy at the time...
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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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