Tag Archive | "spirits"

Guest Appearance on WDVR FM: Frightfully Fun!

Tags: , , , , , ,


How cool is it to be a guest on a great, live radio station?  This past Monday, I found out just how cool, at WDVR FM/89.7.  Invited by DJs Sande Neske and Manny Garcia of the engaging Out and About with Sande and Manny program, I headed west to beautiful Sergeantsville, New Jersey, with Tom Petruzzelli, Editor of WriteOnNewJersey.com. The kind invitation was prompted by Manny’s discovery of the Write On New Jersey article, The Faces of the Haunted and to his and Sandy’s interest in such things, as evidenced by their own information-rich website, ParanormalUnlimited.com.


I’d never been in a radio studio during a live broadcast, so I was revved to do this show.  After a wrong turn or two en route along the gorgeous, turning leafed lanes leading to Sergeantsville, Tom and I slid into our seats with all of two minutes to spare, still panting as we adjusted our mics.  Sande and Manny were both extremely professional and friendly, putting us immediately at ease.


The DJs asked for more details about the abandoned and reportedly spirited schoolhouse highlighted in The Faces of the Haunted.  From there, we segued easily into other paranormal topics, not limited to the true tale of the night that my uncle passed into God’s hands (For Whom the Clock Chimes) and how my sister-in-law, a woman who’s got her head screwed on straight, was once visited in my guest room by something otherworldly.


During the broadcast, Tom’s niece, Cherene Petruzzelli, called the station.  Cherene has her own haunting tales to tell, and I don’t want to rain on her parade by talking about them here.  Sande took her call and graciously offered to bring Cherene on the show to discuss her deliciously frightening experiences, which have been witnessed by a number of people and documented by a team of paranormal investigators.


After the brief conversation with Cherene, we went to a station break.  Off air for a few minutes, Sande’s eyes flew wide open.  “I just heard a growl through my earphones!” she cried.  “I’m not imaging that.  I’m not making it up.  Oh, my God — there it is again!”   And then Sande pointed to the On Air signs on the wall, explaining that those are never lit when the DJs are not broadcasting.  But the four of us clearly saw those lights blazing brightly!


When human beings pass into spirit (pure energy), they sometimes “kidnap” electrical devices to make their presence known.  There are numerous, documented cases in which street lamps, house lights, and appliances turn on and off, unaided by humans, in the presence of ghosts and spirits*.  Were we visited by something otherworldly in the WDVR studio?  Did we unwittingly invite it in by speaking live, of things that go bump in the night, to an audience of 50,000 people?  Well, things go bump in the day, too, as they did on Monday!  Whatever it was, I’m glad it was friendly!


After the uninvited visitor left (or did it?), we touched briefly on the topic of music and I clued the listeners in to the talent of Taylor Hicks, who has worked and/or performed with, among other notables in the industry, The Allman Brothers, Gladys Knight, and Eric Clapton/BB King producer Simon Climie.


Manny then engaged Tom, owner of Objective: Resumes, to educate the audience on the importance and competitive edge of a professionally written resume, particularly in this economy.


Having crafted resumes, cover letters, and other professional documents for 31 years, Tom is an expert on the topic.  He’s quite knowledgeable about the job market, the ever-evolving trends in resume writing, and how technology continues to dictate those trends.   Through the kindness of Sande and Manny, Tom informed the listening audience as to how they can contact either Tom or myself to develop a compelling resume and cover letter designed to secure interviews.


The hour that we spent on air went by too quickly.  I had a ball, and so did Tom.  We couldn’t have asked for better hosts than Manny and Sande!  If you’d like to catch them live, on air or streaming on the ‘net, check out Out and About with Sande and Manny (Mondays, 3 PM to 5 PM, Eastern Time).  And, if you’re a fan of a broad range of music and interesting, community-oriented topics, tune in to WDVR FM/89.7 any time.  The station broadcasts live, 24/7.


*          A ghost is an entity, often disturbed, that remains behind in the space it once occupied on Earth, while a spirit has moved on peacefully to the next world.


Paranormal State

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



“Despite thousands of years of theological study from every different form of religion, the duality of nature, light and dark, remains unfathomable.” ***


Everyone loves a good ghost story, particularly if the story bears evidence of a genuine haunting.  Born on Halloween and gravitating from earliest memory to “things that go bump in the night”, I relish true ghost stories.  Why, then, when I first tuned in to the A&E series, Paranormal State, was I not so much chilled and thrilled as I was thinking, “Hey, these kids are smart. They got the network to bankroll and film their paranormal investigations and made names for themselves. They’re probably theatre majors seeking careers in that vein.”


Although this reaction was probably the result of too much exposure to reality TV, Ryan Buell, founder and captain of the Paranormal Research Society (PRS), would probably appreciate my healthy dose of skepticism.  Ryan, you see, is a skeptic himself.  But he’s much more than that, and he and I have a bit more in common, as I discovered in reading his absorbing book, Paranormal State, written with Stephan Petrucha.


Tormented by paranormal activity as a child, Ryan’s nightly confrontations with things either beyond the grave or not of this world — or perhaps both — were met with confusion and ultimately, repression on the part of his family.  He grew up with these issues unresolved, turning inward for solutions that never quite materialized, as well as the writings of respected researchers and authors, which also left questions unanswered.  Driven to uncover those answers, while studying at Penn State University, Ryan founded the PRS (Paranormal Research Society) in 2001.  Its objective was to find the truth behind reported hauntings.


In establishing his core group, Ryan’s criteria was no less stringent than that of the classes created and taught by his professors.  He desired associates who were serious and hardworking; cohorts who did not frighten easily, and who could balance their course loads with the rigors of conducting investigations (primarily, long after the sun had set), gathering and documenting evidence, and arriving at well-supported conclusions, conclusions that either affirmed or refuted otherworldly activity in reportedly haunted settings.


What Ryan didn’t want were jokesters and thrill seekers, including students who showed up for investigations after getting tanked in the local taverns.  The resulting, well-culled group was a collection of unique, focused, dedicated, and interestingly diverse young people as thirsty for knowledge of the paranormal as their leader.


The team’s first cases were an old, unsolved murder that had occurred on campus and the 2001 disappearance of a coed.  For the latter case, the PRS collaborated with the local police, who welcomed the assistance.  Soon, the PRS was branching out into other cases, which people often brought to the team.


As word of their investigations spread, the PRS attracted the attention of A&E, which offered to craft a series (originally, 13 episodes) centered upon the investigations.  Contrary to my initial opinion of how the show was created, Ryan did not curry the favor of the producers or directors; they came to him.  When they did, he laid down the law.


The series, like the investigations themselves, had to be conducted with the utmost of integrity: no special effects, no coaching of clients, psychics, or anyone else concerned prior to the explorations, no subterfuge whatsoever for the sake of ratings.  The network’s onus was, essentially, to condense days’ worth of investigations into meaningful half-hour formats appealing to viewers.  In so doing, A&E financed more sophisticated equipment for the team, paid travel expenses, and perhaps most importantly, sought out and identified potential cases beyond the geography of Penn State and surrounding areas.  With input from his team, Ryan would have final say as to accept the cases or not.  And, all investigations, as they had from the inception of the PRS, were to be conducted without monetary compensation from the clients.


In crafting the series, Ryan Buell arrived at a deeper understanding of the paranormal, himself, and his talents.  He also became confident and courageous enough to share some very personal data with his readers.  Like me, Ryan was raised in a Catholic family and retains a strong faith.  While I walked away from the Catholic Church many years ago, and while I got the sense that Ryan no longer practices scheduled rituals as the Church demands, neither one of us threw Baby Jesus out with the bathwater.  We both honor the core of the faith while refusing to bow to manmade constraints that remove it from the teachings, and indeed, the life lived and the examples set by Jesus Christ.


But even with his roots firmly planted in Catholicism, Ryan is accepting of other religions — or the lack thereof.  One of his associates is agnostic; two are pagans (and before you conjure images of devil worship at the mention of “pagans,” please understand that paganism is an ancient religion that respects life in all its forms and those who created that life).  Ryan’s openness allows him to utilize the services of both priests and psychics, often simultaneously: partnerships never sanctioned by the Catholic Church at large.  (And this, I have always found odd, as 39 Books of the Bible mention prophesy, including direct references to it being a gift from the Holy Spirit).


But Ryan himself was not keen on the use of psychics, as many of those with whom he’d had previous contact proved themselves to be charlatans and thieves.  Chip Coffey, a reputable, tell it to ya straight psychic, was more or less thrust upon him by A&E as, I suspect, was soft-spoken psychic Michelle Belanger.  Ryan grew to develop a genuine respect for, as well as friendships with, both of these individuals featured frequently on the series. Michelle, in fact, wrote the enticing forward to Ryan’s book.


Lorraine Warren, a psychic of worldwide renown, was not dropped in Ryan Buell’s lap.  Initially leery of an association with the series, Lorraine came around on her own, impressed by Ryan’s focus and commitment, and that of his team. Lorraine and her deceased husband Ed were, respectively, the psychic and demonologist who had conducted the most extensive work on the “The Amityville Horror” case.  Interestingly, I have a connection to that case via less than six degrees of separation.  My uncle, who passed over several years ago, was friends with the head of the household murdered along with the rest of the family in that infamous house in Amityville on Long Island, New York. Ironically, my uncle and the murdered man had been hunting buddies.


If you’re a fan of the series, Paranormal State, and have yet to read the book, you’ll want to know what cases the volume covers.  I’m not going to give you a lot of details. :-)  Life should hold a few surprises, and those in the book include some behind the scenes information that, because of time restrictions or other reasons, never made it to the screen.  There are a few horrific cases, not limited to those involving demonic activity, the investigation of long-lived urban legend, physical manifestations of spirits at a pub, and the haunting of an asylum whose departed denizens scared two former military men away from the place, with vows of never stepping foot onto the property again.


In the book, as in the series, Ryan and his team debunked a few of the cases as having no basis in the paranormal.  They always seek, first, to attribute unexplained activity to the here-and-now.  These include the creaking of an old house, vibrations caused by nearby train tracks, blackouts precipitated by a power company, or – most interestingly — the beleaguered emotional states of some clients.  Anything else must be proven to be paranormal, as far as one can prove things in an evolving science.


The book is a very basic primer for those uninitiated into matters of the occult; it whets the appetite of those who may wish to delve further into this broad and fascinating domain.


Initially a skeptic, I came away from the book with a much greater respect for Ryan Buell and his team.  This includes original members Elfie Music, who serves as spiritual advisor, Serg Poberezhny, technical guru, and Josh Light, another original member now acting primarily behind the scenes.  Heather Taddy and Katrina Weidman began as trainees assigned to conduct interviews and historical research prior to the investigations, and who became active participants in those investigations.  As with most casts in most series, Paranormal State‘s has gone through changes demanded, in part, by the graduation of the students from the university.


What began at first as a quest for the truth behind alleged hauntings or possessions wound up being exactly that — and much more.  For Ryan and his team’s greatest joy is to bring peace to their clients, whether by helping lingering spirits to  pass over, ousting demons from other realms, or assisting clients to purge themselves of their own, internal demons that prevent them from pursuing fulfilling lives.


If you’re looking for something different in your reading material, something that will leave you still wondering, but in a good way, look no further than this book.


***  Excerpt, page 220, Paranormal State by Ryan Buell with Stephan Petrucha (2010, A&E ibooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)

Read My Palm

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Throughout my twelve years of Catholic school, I’d been taught to avoid fortunetellers like the plague, for some were thought to do the work of the devil.  But, like the length of my uniform skirts and the friends with whom I hung out, I didn’t give much credence to what the nuns had preached.  From the time that I could read fluently, I had researched — through books and whenever possible, personal experiences — palmistry, tarot card readings, phrenology, ghosts/spirits, seances, Egyptology, the Loch Ness monster, UFO’s, lycanthropy, vampirism, astral travel, meditation, tea leaf readings, and Eastern theosophy.


Imagine my astonishment when, a few years ago, my research uncovered the fact that the gift of prophesy is not only mentioned in 38 of the 66 books of the standard Bible, it is deemed to be a gift from the Holy Spirit!   While the Bible differentiates between the practice of consulting charlatans versus those who demonstrate true psychic ability, and issues warnings against the former, it is sometimes difficult, in this life, to discern the between the two.


As a child, I remember reading that virtually every human being is born with a sixth sense, the capacity to predict future events with a reasonable degree of accuracy.  The general consensus was that psychic ability was a type of survival mechanism, and that it could be cultivated if one removed from one’s self, as much as possible, from negative events and persons.


Later, I learned that the discipline of meditation enhanced one’s clairvoyance.  By meditation, I refer to focused and frequently practiced spiritual meditation, not the type designed simply to reduce one’s stress level.


I had my first, unplanned reading as a young woman in her early twenties. I’d been seeing two young men at the same time, and was very much interested in the one we’ll call Dave; in fact, Dave and I wound up getting formally engaged.  Romping through New York City’s East Village one Saturday night with friends, including Sam, the other guy I’d been seeing, we stumbled upon a storefront card reader, replete with the headscarf, gold hoop earrings, and crystal ball.  Everyone thought would be fun to consult her.


Approaching this as a lark, I was shocked to discover that the woman who was not much older than myself saw me with the two men: one blonde (Sam) and one dark (Dave).  She finished the reading almost in shock, saying that although I’d come far in my career for one so young and otherwise had a good head on my shoulders, I’d insisted upon falling in love with Dave, who would “bring me to ruin.”   Well, I was far from ruined, but Dave and I did split up and the schism, at the time, was deeply painful.


For years, this experience haunted me.  How had she known?  She had to have been very gifted, I’d supposed.


But further investigation enabled me to understand that “all of the information is already out there” and it’s just a matter of tapping into it.  Also, a psychic can read a subject more accurately if that subject approaches him or her with an open mind or at least, a generally positive mindset.  Not all clients do, despite their strong desire to be read.  Against my better judgment, and because I’d been pestered to do so, I had once referred a very difficult person to an excellent psychic.  Thoroughly exasperated, the clairvoyant later told me, “He’s enough to make you want to throw away your cards!”


The second reader into whom I ran — quite literally — was sitting, oddly enough, at a little card table on a quiet corner just off New York’s Little Italy.  She, too, had the scarf and the gold hoops, but no crystal ball: just a pack of regular playing cards and a very quiet, slightly amused air, as if she’d known I was about to barrel right into her.


I’d gone to the Feast of San Gennaro with the man I would eventually marry, and remembering well the incident with the first psychic, refused her offer to read my cards!   However, my future husband was very much interested.  His was a short reading, and all I remember was that she’d told him that he had an honest woman in his life, a very honest woman, and that she wasn’t sure if he could handle her.  Considering that the woman was me and that my husband is still wondering, after all these years, what to do with me, I’d say that reader was also dead on!


The next reader and I crossed paths like ships in the night, and this, she foretold, was through destiny (and thereby hang tales too long for this article).  She nailed every physical ailment in my body in the first few seconds — though I had not thought to consult her about those — and then she picked up the brochure of my realtor that I’d brought for her to see.  I was in the process of moving to Jersey and the reader, whose name was Christie, intoned, “There is a job for you across the other side of a covered bridge.”  Neither one of us understood what this meant (yes, spirits do move through genuine psychics), but months later, the light dawned.  My realtor’s office was located at the foot of a sort of covered bridge … one that enabled foot traffic over a busy highway … directly across from the writing job I’d landed!   This was just one of the many things that Christie had predicted, that later came to pass.


Bonnie, whom I met next and befriended, added to my education.  She was the first one I’d known to use a tarot deck other than the original Waite deck familiar to most of us.  The deck she used was called The Rose Deck; it was dark and beautiful, with intricate artwork.  The Rose Deck was but one of many different designs that I would later access through other readers.  Bonnie explained that she used the tarot only as an icebreaker, as some clients were not comfortable with her just pulling their most intimate secrets out of the ether.


This lady explained that when her beloved grandmother had passed on, she was a young child of four.  On the night of the day that her grandmother was laid to rest, Bonnie’d dreamed that her gran had appeared to her, advising her that, at the age of twelve, the young girl would come into the gift of prophecy.  As foretold, that is exactly what happened to Bonnie.  Fascinated with the planets and their influences, she studied astrology and was gifted in this form of reading as well.


Eventually, the accuracy of her work came to the attention of law enforcement agencies in both New York and New Jersey … and I’m talking about both State and local levels.  Often grudgingly by Bonnie, who abhorred violence, her talents were utilized in cracking major cases.  To protect her privacy, I’ll just tell you that these cases all made the headlines in their day: murder, kidnapping, and theft of a large fortune.


Bonnie also had the uncanny ability to simply touch an object and “read” its owner.  One night over dinner in a restaurant, she’d admired an emerald bracelet my husband had given me and reached across the table to stroke it.  Immediately, she got that glazed look in her eye that I’d come to know and began telling me very personal things about a certain in-law that I had never shared with her!  An in-law that had only touched that bracelet once!


Kit, a.k.a. Katherine, was another lovely reader, an older, deeply spiritual woman lauded by the Catholic Church for her continuous contributions to the community.  Kit, in my experience, was an anomaly in that she was a devout Catholic who also practiced as a psychic.  Among the many things that this wife and mother foretold in two readings, she saw me following a certain musician, approximately two years before I’d ever heard his name.  She also spoke of the wonderful friendships, travels, and experiences that my following him would bring me.


A few years later, Trish saw me journeying to the city of that musician’s birth, and the adventures — and great music — that awaited me there, and the good friend with whom I’d traveled.


Most recently, a very nice lady named Robin, who shares my love of music, foresaw me being asked by Sneak Attack, The Counting Crows’ media representatives, to cover one of their recent concerts.  She did not name the band by name but intimated that it was a large, well-respected, well-known act.


If your curiosity is peaked and you wish to consult a psychic, I have but two bits of advice to give you, which I myself have followed.   Seek a psychic, please, through the recommendation of someone that you trust.  And then feel that psychic out.  As I’d learned long ago, we are all indeed born with at least a modicum of clairvoyance, so use yours.  You want a reader who is spiritual; one who believes in a Higher Power, and a positive power.  Anyone who gives you another sort of vibe, avoid at all costs.

Séances, Psychics, and Ghost Hunters: Smoke and Mirrors or the Real Deal?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Seance

Starring Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and the late Patrick Swayze, the film Ghost remains a classic not only with romantics enamored of a good love story, but also with those who believe that life does not end with the death of the body.  Brutally murdered, the soul of Swayze’s character, Sam, remains tethered to Earth in order for him to warn his lover (Molly, played by Moore) that she too is in danger.  Desperate for an emissary able to bridge the worlds between the living and the dead, Sam stumbles upon Oda Mae Brown, a rather reluctant spiritualist played by the irrepressible Whoopi Goldberg.  Unaware of her true gifts and hailing from a line of psychics, Oda Mae bilks clients wishing to contact their loved ones on the other side, via séances.  Her cash-cow subterfuge continues until Swayze intervenes, convinces her of her talents, and spooks her into helping him protect Molly and bring his killer to justice.

 

The comedy in much of Sam and Oda Mae’s early interactions was, of course, a result of an inventive twist: most of us have been schooled to believe that psychics are full of what makes the grass grow green and that séances cannot possibly call forth the dead.   But are they?  And can they?

 

The ritual of the séance rose to its height in Victorian times, ingeniously marketed by a woman who called herself Madame Blavatsky.  Ingratiating herself into high society, this diminutive and charismatic Russian immigrant preyed upon her clients’ grief and curiosity, employing sleight of hand that would have made a magician proud.  Levitating tables, unexplained flickering lights, disembodied moans, ghostly apparitions, and trances through which the dead “spoke” from beyond the grave all marked the séances of Blavatsky, who was eventually exposed as an impostor.  When the famed escape artist, Harry Houdini, lost his beloved mother, he frantically sought a medium capable of contacting her.  Undeterred by the infamy of charlatans such as Madame B., Houdini searched in vain until the day that he died.

 

Despite Houdini’s failure and the machinations of the self-proclaimed spiritualists, human beings continued to search for means through which they might communicate with the dead, or at the very least, gain proof of life after death.  As part of Blavatsky’s ruses, her accomplices often conjured up apparitions of what became known as ectoplasm.  These filmy specters were nebulous clouds (smoke) said to represent the spirits of those passed on.  Although the majority of the photographs capturing ectoplasm proved that the ghosts were manufactured, there remained a handful that defied scientific explanation.

 

Modern-day ghost hunters, including psychics, utilize sensitive, state-of-the-art recording devices and cameras to gather evidence of those who linger in the earthly plane, including ectoplasmic proof.  Those who are on the level have no problem submitting their evidence to intense scientific scrutiny, and in fact, invite such analysis.  And the fact remains that a certain degree of this evidence cannot be explained away as smoke and mirrors; in fact, it cannot be explained, period.

 

Over the years, a growing body of data substantiates the fact that places — physical locations — retain energy.  This includes voice recordings of spirits and photographs of the here-and-now that, inexplicably, illustrate visages as well as full-body images of those long gone.  What happens to one’s spirit when his body is cremated or buried?  What if one does not heed the call to meet one’s maker, but chooses to remain instead rooted to this world, perhaps out of malice, perhaps out of love, perhaps out of nothing more phantasmagorical than genuine confusion?  Do these souls capitalize upon the talents of mediums or the use of other vehicles by which their very existence may be substantiated?

 

The Ouija Board is one such time-honored vehicle that should be approached with trepidation.  The board itself is printed with letters and numbers. Participants (the living) very gently rest their fingers upon the placket, a triangular-shaped piece of wood or plastic, and ask questions of those gone before them.  The placket is thought to move upon the will or whim of spirits, touching upon the alphabet and/or numbers to spell out answers.  As a child in Catholic school, I was taught never to treat a Ojai Board as a game, for it was believed to be — even by the Catholic Church — a portal onto another world, a world perhaps best left unexplored.

 

I did not give this caveat much thought until, long after I’d graduated, a woman I trust, a woman who has never been given to flights of fancy, told me a story that raised the hackles all along my spine.  After an acquaintance of hers, a friend of a friend, had died of a drug overdose, those closest to him were in terrible shock, as the man had been quite young.  Wishing to know if he was all right on the other side, two of these people appropriated a Ouija Board one night and asked my friend if she were willing to participate.  Having an open mind, she agreed.  She swears that her hands, and those of her friends, barely touched the placket.  And yet, upon questioning, the thing spelled out the dead man’s full name, the reason for his death, his apology to those he’d left behind, and his explanation that his death had been an accident, as the drugs with which he’d injected himself had been too pure.

 

Still skeptical, my friend asked the spirit where he was at that moment. She’d hoped he would describe heaven and dearly prayed that he would not describe hell.  To her amazement and horror, the man spelled out the name of the establishment that he used to frequent, the one whose clerk was rumored to have supplied the drugs that had killed him!  Many years after this incident, this woman has never again stepped foot within sight of another Ouija Board.

 

During the course of producing work for a great number of clients, I met and later established a friendship with a very gifted psychic; often, she had supplied the police with clues that helped them solve puzzling and/or high profile murders.  This was always done at the command of the police, who were aware of my friend’s reputation and accuracy.  She had given me a few readings and I’d always found her to be quite accurate.  However, her gifts did not really phase me, as I have researched the paranormal ever since I was a small child.

 

What did stun me, however, was something that happened one night as we were having dinner in a nice restaurant.  Our conversation had been anything but metaphysical; we were discussing work and other mundane things.  As I raised my arm to call the waitress to our table, my friend caught sight of a bracelet that my husband had given me the prior Christmas.  Admiring the bracelet, my friend reached out quite naturally to touch it.  Suddenly, her gaze went flat and in a rather deadpan voice relayed very personal things about one of my in-laws; things so personal, in fact, that most of the family were not aware of them.   Due to the nature of this information, I had never shared it with my psychic friend.  This particular in-law had touched my bracelet but once, the previous Christmas, to admire it!  When the woman “came out of it,” she explained what I already knew: that objects hold the energy of those who had once possessed or touched them.  She also confided that this was how she had broken a number of the murder cases, by touching personal items, such as keys and wallets owned by the victims, to “read them.”

 

Maybe the answer to the question of connecting with our loved ones beyond the grave is not a matter, after all, of seeking out a third-party psychic, or ghost hunter, or medium.  Maybe it’s simply a matter of faith, of waiting patiently for them to contact us. 

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors










RSSLoading Feed...

Live Traffic Feed

RSSLoading Feed...