The Paranormal

Brown Lady Hospital

Today I will tackle a topic that has always interested me though out my life, the topic being, the paranormal. This is a topic that has been fascinating man for ages, yet at the same time, a topic that has gained a bad reputation, due to many hijacking it VIA hoaxes, or otherwise dishonestly using the term. The photos above are a good example of the bad side, as imagery isn’t foolproof even if the person isn’t deliberately trying to pull off a hoax.

I touched on a VERY tiny portion of this topic in a previous entry, which was about psychic’s (or more so, how I felt a family member was being deceived by one, and a short explanation as to how pretty  ANYONE can pull off such a deception). But though its relatively easy to debunk people whom claim to COMMUNICATE with the “Other Side”, the bigger issue of “the other side” is, not so easy to dispel.

The first place I personally heard about the paranormal, was though stories ive heard from my family (mainly my dad), over the years.

My dad grew up with both parents and 7 siblings in a huge old farm house in rural Manitoba, and there was quite a few stories from there. One interesting factor, was that none of the male occupants or visitors of the household ever had an experience within the house, but all the female occupants (and many visitors), did have experiences.

Not all of them recall the incidents today (as they occurred in childhood, and you forget stuff over the years), but from what the others have said, it was mostly visual, apparitions. Mostly of a man.

In one instance, a visitor would not step past the porch (into the house), for she said she felt “a bad vibe” about the place. One overnight visitor, sleeping in one of the bedrooms, claimed she awoke in the middle of the night to see a silhouette of a man standing in the doorway of there room. And upon trying to wake her husband, she was not successful (though it was the first night of a pre-planned weekend stay, they left hastily the next morning).

And a third story, this one from my aunt. Apparently she was running up the stairs to the 3ed floor (attic) of the house, and as she rounded a corner, she ran into (and right THOUGH), an apparition of a man.  She didn’t realize what had happened, until she was though him (she says it felt like running though a cold shower). An interesting side note to this story, is that it was later found out that the builder of the house had passed away on the day (and within the hour), of this “incident” occurring.

Though all this is indeed hear-say, I consider it all interesting, because its from my family. I knew there backgrounds, and the people telling the stories aren’t the kind to fib or embellish anything.

When it comes to ME personally, ive never actually SEEN anything “paranormal”, like apparitions or anything like that. But I have had a number of interesting (and sometimes humorous) situations happen, over the years.

The first, im not exactly sure how long ago it occurred, but im thinking I was in grades 7 or 8 at the time. We were staying at my aunties house, which was located a short distance outside the settlement of Otterburn Manitoba (I quote wikipedia lol). Known primarily for  the Providence University College and Theological Seminary (located in the town), there was not a whole lot else. Only a local post office. Not even a restaurant or food store.

The days were usually filled with a trip to Winnipeg, or nearby  Steinbach or St. Pierre for shopping (or other errands with my aunt and uncle), but at night, there was never a whole lot to do at there place. In the winter, me, my sister and my cousin (same one mentioned in my Candles & Campfires entry) would play video games, or hockey on the frozen Rat river (located down a hill, and behind there house).

In the summer, we would sometimes walk to the town, and walk around there. I remember that the town always had a creepy feel to it, all quiet and eerie. But of course, the senses can do funny things in strange situations.

In the back of the town, right beside the road to my aunts place, was small graveyard.

And during one visit, us 3 decided to visit the grave yard, look around at the names. We were accompanied by “buddy”, a big black dog owned by my aunt’s  neighbors, but who was allowed to run loose (so he usually ended up at my aunts LOL). Anyway we walked to the grave yard, buddy in tow, and looked around a bit. Then, buddy stops, and starts barking at a grave right in the middle of the cemetery. When he didn’t stop, we all got creeped out and left LOL.

The next night, we decided to go back. So we walked back there, buddy once again in tow. We were looking around again, reading the headstones. Buddy was following us, today, not focused on anything in particular. We were just past the grave that buddy had barked at the night before and looking at another one, when we looked back to see buddy peeing on that very grave. We laughed, then moved on.

Then, out of nowhere, it got REALLY windy (it was a calm night). We quickly, decided to get the hell OUT of there LOL (did buddy “piss” someone off?). When we were a short distance away, the wind once again died down, and didn’t return.  Though we walked to the town at different times after that, we never went back to that cemetery lol.

My aunts house itself, has had its fare share of activity in the time that they have lived there as well. It was apparently a replacement to a home that had been there before (which had burnt down), but im unsure if  anyone perished in the fire though.

But when it comes to weird occurrences in the house, my uncle once seen the nightlight flicker in the bathroom, and seen an apparition standing in the room. My cousin had just come home from work after a late night shift (got home at around 1am), and seen an apparition walking up the basement stairs. My sister always felt creeped out and had trouble sleeping in the house (and avoided the guest bedroom at the very end of the hall, as it REALLY creeped her out). 

I have personally, never seen anything in the house, nor did I ever feel  “creeped out” anywhere in it (including in the back bedroom). I can explain the “creepy” feeling my sister had.

For one,we slept in the living room (on the couch), which had big windows on both sides, that were uncovered (being in the middle of nowhere, all that was across the road was an empty feild). At night I didn’t like it, because with the bright overhead light on, you could not see out (but people could see IN).

And after dark, outside is a whole lot of blackness. So thats likely a big part of it.

Plus we often talked about paranormal things (or watched paranormal videos) with my cousin, so he was of no help lol.

When it comes to my “personal” experiences in the house,  I can only think of are 3 things.

The first, I admit, is not exactly a “personal” experience, but it involved me in an interesting way.

I was told by my uncle told  (the next  morning ), that he thought he had seen me standing by the patio door in the middle of the night (they made a sun room in the back of the house, and that was where I usually slept). Apparently he called my name and I didn’t answer. Presumably because I was sleeping on the couch 5 feet away.

 Another experience that I “had”, also happened in that sun room, but in broad daylight. Me, my sister and my cousin often play fought each other, and my sister and my cousin were. I was about 15 or 20 feet away (the other side of the room), looking out a picture window, when I felt a punch in the back of the arm.

I quickly turned and said “OW CUZ”, then realized they (him and my sister) were on the other side of the room. And they seemed just as surprised as I was. Of course, its entirely possible that 1 could have been messing with me, but they would have had to move across the room pretty fast to beat my quick head turn.

Another “incident” (if you even want to call it that), occurred in the back bedroom of the house. At night it was normally occupied by my dad, but during the day, I liked going in there and reading. One time I must have fallen asleep, but the interesting part was that when my aunt and dad tried to wake me up, they didn’t have any luck, no matter how much they poked and moved me around.

I did not consider this an “experience” at the time, but later on, I found an interesting correlation to one of the stories of my dads childhood home. Its likely a fluke, but considering the status of the house, one can never know. One thing I can tell you, is I did not remember any “dreams” from the sleep, nor do I have even a recollection of them attempting to wake me (not to surprising).

I did have a BIT of an experience, fairly recently (maybe 2 or 3 years back), at my best friends parents place when they lived in a house in the western most area of Brandon.

The family is Wiccan, and are very spiritual in nature. And it showed in the way they decorated there home. Some found it creepy, I found it very relaxing.

In any case, a reoccurring issue, was my inability to fall asleep in the downstairs rec room area (though a part of that may be uncomfortable sleeping arrangements and the room being to hot). But every time ive been down there, even with much hard liquor in my system, ive always got little to no sleep.

One time, my friend was  having a party there, and we were all in the hot tub (inebriated. lol). And he said he wanted to do a Wiccan cleansing ritual. A couple of us were curious, so we tried it. We held hands, closed our eyes,  and let ourselves get completely relaxed, totally calm, minds clear. It felt relaxing, but I felt this strange sensation, like something was pulling at me from behind (not in a literal sense, more like a feeling. Its the best way I can describe it).

I was told that, apparently I was feeling spirit that was to the right of the hot tub (I heard them mention this “spirit” before, but I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention. And I didn’t make the connection, because right of the hot tub was BEHIND me). That was an interesting experience.

The above may paint me as being a believer in this phenomenon, but in reality, im on the fence. In the middle. An agnostic to the concept.

Though “the paranormal” is an umbrella term that is inclusive of a whole host of different phenomenons, the area I am most familiar with is the “Ghostly” aspects. Ghosts, disembodied spirits and such.

Though I consider all the stories above as both amusing and interesting, they are not a confirmation of a belief that any of it is INDEED super natural. In fact, memory is a funny thing. All may be 100% explainable to events and processes in reality. But they are just what I say they are, stories. Fun and interesting little tales, that make the topic interesting and (somewhat) personally relevant.

When it comes to the paranormal, though there are people that try to stay in the middle, ive found that most tend to gravitate to the extreme edges. You are either all in, have no doubts in your mind. Or you are flat out opposed, certain that there is no such thing as paranormal phenomenon.

Having an unwavering stance on either edge of the scale is irrational.

When it comes to those who believe with absolute certainty, you run the risk of falsely equating something explainable as something “paranormal”. Assuming the incident isn’t scary or causing fear, this may not be an overly harmful thing (can make for an interesting story). But putting all your eggs in the paranormal basket, CAN be risky. For example, people often pay good money for a “psychic” to read to them from the “other side”, when realistically, there reading YOU. I covered it awhile ago here.

On the other side of the coin, we have the paranormal deniers. Those that refuse to even entertain the possibility of anything paranormal. Based on the fact that, you can not see it, test it. Which in a sense, is alright. I look around the room, and I see nothing.

But on the other hand, that does not tell us anything. One can not see radio waves.

But you would not see this, or any of my other entry’s, without them (WIFI).  And my cell phone would be a paperweight, without those invisible waves carrying information back and forth between the tower/WIFI router.

But some have argued against this argument, because though you can not SEE radio waves with the naked eye, antennas “see” the waves (like my computer and my cell phone).

So though the above argument is rendered moot, one still can not draw a definitive conclusion.

Indeed, many a person has done there own “testing”, using all kinds of methodologies. All looking for some sort of answer to that ever present question, is there such a thing as ghosts?

And more often then not, they come up empty, or with easily explainable findings. But even this does not mean a whole lot.

To use a quote I heard recently “If you test a cup of ocean water and don’t find fish, does that mean there is no fish in the ocean?”.

One big problem when it comes to the paranormal is, people using the curiosity (gullibility?) of others, to make a buck off of it. Past and present, many have successfully made a buck with flimsy “evidence” caught on camera or tape recorder. And though the technology is now more advanced, you can still see the same thing happening. Your favorite popular Ghost Hunting show may be guilty.

Though its hard to prove, I go by the findings of a small local group in my area called “Assiniboine Paranormal“. They have a lot of material that one could call “possible”, but nothing that can be called “definitive”.

Though many, especially the “Ghost Hunting” shows, claim to be in it primarily to debunk, looking at what is considered “good” often begs to differ. A good rule of thumb, if there looking for ratings or DVD sales, then be very mindful of the content.

In fact, finding something “genuine” that is related to the paranormal ANYWHERE in the media, might be impossible. Though there is more available then ever thanks to the internet, one would not be able to tell is anything is indeed “genuinely” paranormal, amongst the ocean of  explainable and doctored material. Just the nature of the material, automatically renders pretty much everything found by anyone else, suspect.

Its good to be suspicious. And its good to ask questions. Anyone that takes the integrity of the field seriously, should not be afraid to answer your questions as best they can.

Even though the paranormal field has gained a bad reputation, one must not forget that the concept itself, is still a question mark.

So one must be careful when applying the label of “supernatural” or “paranormal” to anything. But also, one must be careful in writing off what does not have the proof to back up such an action.

You can not get a  can not get a positive OR negative result from an informational void.

Psychics

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I’ve been busy with odd shifts at work and navigating through this ole life of mine, so I hadn’t realized it had been almost 10 days since my previous entry (April fools day). But today I’m back, with a topic that you will hopefully deem interesting.

I’m sure we all have heard about psychics at some point in our lives. They also go by mediums, card readers, crystal ball gazers, and have all sorts of other ways to gaze into the future, the past, or to talk to our deceased loved ones. They often charge horrendous rates for demonstrations of their “special” gifts.

Now, I have heard about such people in the past, but not for a very long time.

Until a few days ago, when a family member shocked the rest of us, by announcing (via a status update) that she had been in contact with her father, my grandfather (who passed away in 2004). Browsing through Facebook on my phone at a coffee shop with a family member, my face must have registered my surprise because the person I was with asked what was happening lol. And so I showed him, who too, was initially surprised.

I then re-read the status update, and realized that it said that grandpa had dropped by during a visit to “Susan“. Of course, I initially didn’t put 2 and 2 together, and was wondering who on earth “Susan” was (was it a dream that she was reliving? Entirely possible. Though she forgot to add THAT part into the status update). And so I commented “Susan?”,  curiosity peaked.

I got my answer the next day when I was told that she was a psychic/card reader/spiritualist type of person. This person is a friend of the family member of which this happened to. And it was during her “free” card reading session, that the visit had occurred. Yep, my grandpa just decided to drop by, and tell her how great it was on the “other” side, and that everything was going to be ok.

 This was followed a day or so later by another 2 family members (a cousin, daughter of the one who had the “experience” (my aunt), and another cousin) posting about how they had gone in for some sort of session where all the negative memories were  “removed” from there bodies. And after that, my one cousin said that she had been in a session, where they went through some of the things she was in “past” lives, in great detail.

I’m hoping that all of that was also “free” friendship readings. But I did find out that they had apparently purchased some sort of spiritual “rocks” from this person. Though I have not a clue what their purpose could possibly be (frankly, it took much willpower not to introject my atheistic rationality into any of the conversations).

In any case, the lady is not from around here but is travelling around my province for the next month or so (even coming to my city for a few days). And she has a fairly wide range of “services”. I’m unaware of all her prices, but I know that a card reading is $40 and a full-on psychic reading is $100. And as far as I can tell, one has to book in advance (make an appointment), which is interesting.

When it came to this aunt of mine, whether or not she is aware, being someone’s friend on Facebook gives a person access to a whole treasure trove of information. Quite possibly a boatload of useless stuff, but you may post little clues here and there, and then forget. Clues that one could later find, and when put together, build a profile of you as a person.

Clues, such as information on your parents. Which, may lead to other sources you may not think of. For example, the presence of a Facebook group dedicated to “uniting” all of our family members worldwide, which contains all sorts of details of our family tree. Here (or though one of the other related family members that have parents listed openly), is a good bet to where the name of my grandpa could have been picked up.

So I then decided to plug my grandpa’s name into a google search. Something I (and others) would never have even thought of doing before, for good reason (he never used the internet, so why would he be out there on it?).

But imagine my surprise, when I start finding little bits and pieces here and there. Obituaries from newspapers. Trails posted by family members on websites like ancestry.com. I even found a trail that led back to ME, a listing on an ancestry website that I had never come across before (as it used my full 4-word name). This I found interesting because I have been googling myself for YEARS, just to check what I (and possibly others) have put out there (and cleaning up old digital breadcrumbs as I find them, if possible).

I am not a pro at finding out info about people using the public domain, but I’m sure if your livelihood depends on it, you will have expert methods.

But that brings me to something I mentioned earlier, digital breadcrumbs.

Anyone who grew up in the age of broadband, likely grew up using a variety of past social networking websites that are no longer “the in thing” due to modern facebook dominance.

Nexopia. Hi5. Beebo. Myspace. Friendster. And likely hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites of which we once used to share photos and other posts. Then there could be forums we once participated in. All sorts of sites, with all sorts of purposes, once used, but now forgotten.

 But even if YOU forget about your accounts in all of the above, do they forget YOU? More often than not,  no.

All the information that you added just sits there. To be logged by search engine crawlers. Until the day that someone decides to throw your name into a search engine, and all of this forgotten past digital chatter (attached to your name), could be on display for them to see.

I know it can happen, because about 2 years after high school, just for the hell of it, I threw my name into a search engine (not expecting to find anything, as my real name is uncommon). I was surprised when my past activities on websites popped up right before my eyes.  I even found a posting I had made in grade 9 on a website guestbook (thanking them for the info, as it helped me with a project lol). And the posting is still up to this day.

After finding this, and realizing that I am not the only one who could stumble onto this stuff, I went into cleanup mode, attempting to gain access to each and everyone, and taking down the profiles (since I no longer use them). I was successful, sparing 1 site, which I’m not overly worried about anyway.

If there is a lesson here, it’s that with modern technology today, there are many ways to learn about a person’s background. And that we each may inadvertently give away all SORTS of information that one could use to build a profile on us. And though in this case, we’re talking about psychics, they are not the only entities that may have a vested interest in your past (current, or potential employers?).

And even if the “psychic” seemingly does not have time to build a profile of her clients, there are methodologies that many employ to give you the illusion they are indeed “connected” to the other side, but in reality, they are reading you like a book. South Park did a whole episode, mocking it lol. And if you dig online, you will likely find more about it.

As for my family, it is my hope that they will eventually grow out of this “phase”, or come to their senses about this “Susan”. Frankly, I’m an agnostic in many areas. Anything is possible.

But with the tools available today, it’s easier than ever to be a cheat psychic.

So if you ever find yourself in a situation where your about to spend ANY amount of money in order to contact those deceased, or to gaze into the past or future, remember. . . . . . 99% of the time, things that seem to good to be true, ARE.

And the psychic isn’t reading from the cards, ball, or the “other” side . . . . . . . they are reading YOU.