Tag Archives | Ghosts

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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Ohio Family Claims To Be Haunted By Ghosts Having Sex

ghost-jpeg1This certainly raises all sorts of questions. CBS Cleveland reports:

An Ohio grandmother and her 4-year-old granddaughter say they have caught ghosts having sex inside their house.

Speaking to CBS Cleveland, Diane Carlisle said this visitation was the latest in a series that goes back to when she first moved to her Euclid home 12 years ago. Her photos prove it, she said.

This time, her granddaughter Kimora saw a man’s bare backside and a woman’s legs with high heels still on. At other times, they’ve seen men, women and children in various rooms and in her backyard.

Even her dog had an experience better to forget than remember. Walking up the stairs from the basement, something caught its hind legs and held them. Now, the dog avoids the basement.

The rest of the family has learned to live with them, Carlisle said.

“[My granddaughter, daughter and I] have grown with them around,” she said.

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Where Does The Law Stand On Selling Haunted Houses?

The Haunting 1963-thumb-572xauto-251169Someone’s assertion that one of the bedrooms in my apartment is haunted got me thinking about this. Do landlords and house sellers have an obligation to disclose paranormal activity and the presence of spirits? Mental Floss writes:

It all depends on the where the house is and the way the laws are worded there.

Some states require sellers to disclose “emotional defects” that could impact and stigmatize a property. This includes traumatic events like murders and suicides, reported paranormal activity and even proximity to homeless shelters.

In Virginia, emotional defects like murders and ghost sightings only have to be disclosed if they physically affect the property (Blood running from the walls? Gotta tell the buyer). In California, sellers do have to disclose emotional defects, but only in a very limited way. The state Civil Code requires that a death on the property only needs to be disclosed if it occurred less than three years prior to the sale and older incidents need to be addressed only if the buyer specifically asks.

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The Spirit Photography Of William Hope

Why do people believe that photographs have the power to capture what we cannot see with our eyes? The Public Domain Review presents a ghastly, ghostly collection from William Hope:

These photographs of ‘spirits’ are taken from an album of photographs unearthed in a Lancashire antiquarian bookshop. They were taken by a controversial medium called William Hope (1863-1933). In about 1905 he became interested in spirit photography after capturing the supposed image of a ghost while photographing a friend. He went on to found the Crewe Circle – a group of six spirit photographers.

By 1922 Hope had moved to London where he became a professional medium. The work of the Crew Circle was investigated on various occasions, exposing Hope as a fraudster. However, many of Hope’s most ardent supporters spoke out on his behalf, the most famous being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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“Shadow Land”: Memoir of a Medium

Elizabeth d'Esperance as YolandeElizabeth d’Espérance, one of the star mediums of the Victorian era, penned a fascinating memoir filled with rich descriptions of altered states and otherworldly visitations. An often-overlooked, first-person account of the 19th century seance from the perspective of the medium herself, Shadow Land is the subject of a recent review at VictorianGothic.org:

Elizabeth d’Espérance grew up in a tired old house on the East End of London, filled with dark, oak-paneled halls and desolate, forbidden rooms that compelled her to explore. “I was very fond of wandering about from one empty room to another,” she wrote,

“and of sitting with my dolls on the broad low window seats, whence I would be fetched with an exclamation of horror and wonder by our servant, who considered my liking for the haunted rooms as “uncanny” and unnatural, threatening me with the ghosts and their vengeance if I persisted in invading their domains by myself.

“I could never quite understand nurse’s remarks about the lonelines of the rooms, though her threats about the ghosts frightened me.

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Spiritualism was the Psychedelic Movement of the 1870s

Spiritualism…complete with altered states, free love, and millenarian ideals. In this piece, Victorian Gothic discusses “The Lighter Side of Victorian Spiritualism”:

“One important and often overlooked aspect of Victorian mediumship is that it could be enormous fun,” says Alex Owen in The Darkened Room: Women, Power and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England. This is the picture that emerges when one looks particularly at the “star mediums” of the 1870′s, who were known for performing theatrical, full-body materializations for eager audiences.

In a dim seance room, the medium would enter a closed cabinet wherein she would tap the mysterious psychical forces that would allow her to manifest one of her spirit familiars. This familiar would then emerge to from behind the curtain to entertain the assembled sitters. Each medium had her own repertoire of otherworldly entitles at her command, each with his or her own distinct personality, speech patterns, favored tricks and antics.

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Lovecraft’s ‘The Shunned House’ Is For Sale

haunterInterested in investing in demonic real estate? The home was built in 1763 by Stephen Harris, a wealthy merchant. Subsequently his children died and his wife descended into madness — in real life, not the Lovecraft story. Additionally, there likely are colonial-era corpses buried in the backyard. The Lovecraftian notes ominously:

The home at 135 Benefit Street in Providence, Rhode Island, that’s featured in H.P. Lovecraft’s story “The Shunned House” is for sale. And if you’re looking for “a particular house on the eastern side of the street; a dingy, antiquated structure perched on the abruptly rising side-hill, with a great unkempt yard dating from a time when the region was partly open country” and you’ve got $925,000, it could be yours.

The house had a colorful history even before Lovecraft wrote about it, none of which is mentioned in the real estate listing however. Aside from a giant monster buried in the basement (which can, admittedly, be killed with acid), it has four bedrooms, a koi pond and a library.

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