Poltergeists

February 19, 2008 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Ideas | Leave a comment
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Noises and movements caused by ghost, tied to the earthly plane, terrify some and enthrall others.   

Eerily reminiscent of The Shining, a novel by Stephen King, about a haunted hotel, John Stone’s Inn located in Ashland Massachusetts, seems to be the home of a spectral resident. A young girl has been heard, singing, bouncing a ball, or dancing in the hallways. During renovations, locked doors were opened and lights were turned on and off.  Some staff members claim to have seen evidence of the playful poltergeist, levitating cigarettes or blowing out candles. Unlike the apparitions associated with hauntings, poltergeists are phenomena of real life physical activities; noises, vibrations or movements.   

The Walker family moved into a farmhouse and the children immediate sensed a presence.  Local stories told of the former owner haunting the house after he was murdered on the property. Phenomena such as footsteps, faucets, lights or TV turning on and off.  The spirit seemed to have its own agenda, playfully hiding things and helpfully opening locked doors.   

Ghosts have been captured in photographs as orbs or misty cloud.    

ghostly-image.jpg

Children and adolescents can be magnets for poltergeist activity.   

“Poltergeist activity tends to occur around a single person called an agent or a focus.  Foci are often, but not limited to, pubescent children.” (1) 

Experts don’t agree on the reason for this attraction, but some believe it may be the emotional state of the witness.    Skeptics think that the phenomena may be prank, perpetuated by the child themselves.  There maybe mundane explanations for many of the experiences; noisy plumbing, wind creating vibration or the opening and closing of gates and doors.  This doesn’t seem possible in the case of Hanna, as described by her mother:

Hanna, who had a wrought iron canopy bed, was hanging on to the post and levitating in mid-air! She was holding on for her dear life. Black shadows flying around the room quickly gathered and flew out of the window. (Normally, this window needed something to prop it open, but it was staying open by itself.) When the shadows flew out the window, the window crashed shut and Hanna slammed down to her bed. “ (2)

Country singer Bobby Mackey, opened a night club in 1978, and since that time employees and customers have felt a malevolent spirit.  Shortly after renovations began, Bobby’s wife Janet says she was attacked by the spirit when a ladder scuttled across the floor and nearly fell on Janet.  She heard voices demanding that she leave the building and felt hands pushing her down the steps.  Other witnesses report a song playing on the juke box, even though it was unplugged at the time. The Chief of security once heard loud voices in an argument behind the stage. When he went to investigate, there was no one there.  A customer was attacked by a trash can flying across the room. He turned to confront his attacker and saw a man in turn of the century clothing.  He felt as though he were suffocating and fainted.  Mackey tried to squash the ghost rumors, but with so many different stories, he eventually brought in a psychic to communicate with the spirits.  Echo Bodine is a clairvoyant who can see and hear spirits. Echo reported seeing a young woman who committed suicide in the building, Johanna. Scott and Alonso killed Pearl, burying her body on the property and both men were hung for the murder. All three remain in the building.  Echo also feels more evil seeping from a well in the basement. Echo performed a cleansing to exorcise the building of the spirits willing to transcend to the other side. 

“Poltergeists might simply exist, like the “elementals” described by occultists. Another version posits that poltergeists originate after a person dies in a powerful rage at the time of death. According to yet another opinion, ghosts and poltergeists are “recordings.” When there is a powerful emotion, sometimes at death and sometimes not, a recording is believed to be “embedded” in a place or, somehow, in the “fabric of time” itself. This recording will continue to play over and over again until the energy embedded disperses.” (1) Advances are being made with instrumentation used to investigate poltergeist activities, so one day the scientific community may be able to prove the phenomena truly exist.  Dr Colman  hopes one day to prove the existence of poltergeist activity through research and documented evidence.   We may never know the source of the poltergeist energy, but researches must keep an open mind about whether or not the energy exists.  Poltergeist is a genuine experiences, whether they are created in the mind or in some other realm of reality.   

1. Wikipedia: Poltergeist, Updated April 2007, Retrieved December 2007

2. Wagner, Stephen:  Poltergeist Levitation; About .com, Retrieved December 2007

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Secret Brotherhood of Freemasons

February 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Ideas | Leave a comment
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In 1773, the Boston Tea Party was a protest against heavy British taxes.  Many scholars believe the Masons were involved in the plan, including Paul Revere and Joseph Warren.  Men who didn’t belong to polite society were welcomed to Masonary Brotherhood; Ben Franklin, John Hancock, George Washington and nearly half of the solders of the Revolutionary War were members.   

 “After the Revolution, the American Freemason lodges broke from their British forebears and reorganized under state Grand Lodges. Although these lodges were never centralized under any formal authority, they recognized each other as mutual fraternities. Two different forms of Masonry came to exist in America—the Scottish Rite (following English traditions), and the York Rite (following French traditions). “ 1 

The brotherhood claimed to be a divinely blessed guardian of democracy. Shrouded in secrecy and symbology, many of which dated back to mason trade guilds.  A square, a compass, the Bible became the symbols of an enlightened life.   

“Masons should “square their actions by the square of virtue” and to learn to “circumscribe their desires and keep their passions within due bounds toward all mankind”. However, as Freemasonry is non-dogmatic, there is no general interpretation for these symbols (or any Masonic symbol) that is used by Freemasonry as a whole.” 2 

Lodges accepted members who were not stone masons and the focused on ethical and spiritual ideals of the day.    The society created elaborate rituals and imaginative history.  Public monuments were christened with Masonic ceremonies offering corn meal and wine.   

By 1826, members occupied political offices.  A disgruntled Mason, William Morgan, planned to publish a book that would expose many of the Mason’s secrets.  In retaliation, ominous threats were printed in the newspaper, Morgan was arrested and his home ransacked.  He was released from jail, led away by a group of men and presumed dead. The community was appalled by the abduction and demanded justice.  Twenty six Masons were arrested and tried as murderers and accomplices, however in every case the trial judge was a Freemason.   The conspiracy to protect criminals had a powerful public backlash.  Opposition of the order spread throughout the country.   

Similar to the Knights of Templar, Masons were undone by their secrecy and rituals.  Once admired for their spiritual enlightenment, Masons were suspected of satanic worship.  Citizens voted for anti-Mason candidates, independent of Republican or Democratic parties.  

In 1850s the New FreeMasons made a comeback by distancing themselves from the previous order.  They became a social brotherhood rather than the guardians of Democracy and focused on charitable activities rather than politics.

  1.  Watson, Stephanie: How Freemasons Work, Retrieved January 2008.2.  Freemasonry, Wikipedia, Retrieved January 2008.

Asylum

January 6, 2008 at 10:41 pm | Posted in Ideas | Leave a comment
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Patton State Hospital is a maximum security facility for the criminally insane. The patients have committed heinous crimes, but were found “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.”  According to How Stuff Works (January 2008) 

“Mental illness at the time of the offense is a prerequisite for a not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity ruling, but legal insanity is not simply a judgment of whether or not a person has a mental illness…someone is found to be legally insane if he or she meets one of three conditions:

1.       Because of a mental disorder, the defendant did not understand that what he or she was doing was illegal.

2.       Because of a mental disorder, the defendant did not know what he or she was doing.

3.       Because of a mental disorder, the defendant was compelled to commit the crime by an irresistible force.” 

Patients are treated with anti psychotic drugs and psychotherapy, so one day they may return to society. With medication, patients usually improve immediately.  Mental illness is a disease and it must be consistently treated or relapse can occur.  Unfortunately, patients often go off of their medications when left on their own, because they don’t think they are necessary, or they don’t like the side effects. 

Nearly 90% of those released from Patten will commit another crime. Many of the inmates suffer from Paranoid Schizophrenia and their crimes usually occur because they are immersed in delusions.  They attack others to protect themselves from imagined dangers. Usually family members or friends are in the greatest danger, however, anyone they meet can be perceived as a threat, no matter how innocent or brief the encounter. 

Multiple Personality Disorder

January 5, 2008 at 1:13 am | Posted in Ideas | 1 Comment
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Writers have frequently employed the concept of Multiple Personality Disorder into their fiction.  According to experts, the disorder is not as common place as you might believe. The following notes were taken from BIO Channel documentary series: The Unexplained (Jan 2008).   

Those who suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder experience depression, memory loss and noticeable personality changes. The onset of Multiple Personalities usually occurs in childhood, but the expression of different personalities will happen later in life.  Personalities may emerge after years, frightening those who have known them as one person suddenly see a stranger. 

Gary awoke one morning and didn’t know his wife of six children.  Gary believed he was woman named Mary.  Gary was a hardworking husband and devoted father. When his daughter Chrissie died of pneumonia, his personality seemed to split. A second crisis, this time with his wife Kathryn, lost his precarious grip on his sanity.  Kathryn had no idea what to do to help and Gary left the family to live life as a woman. Left undiagnosed, Gary was known to his new friends as Mary.  Kathryn was ostricized by the small town community.  Gary retained a connection to the family, but he didn’t understand his place in the family, so he believed Kathryn was his sister. The family reunited as a fractured, dysfunctional unit, as Gary continued to live as a woman.  The arrangement, while devastating, probably would have continued indefinitely.  One morning Mary was knocked unconscious by a freak electrical accident, and when he awoke, Mary was gone.  Gary was acting as an infant.      

Gary sought help from a psychotherapist and presented as having Gender Identity Disorder.  Further examination showed memory gaps.  A person must have at least two distinct personalities to be diagnosed, so when the infant personality appeared, there was at least an answer. Gary was lost for 6 years, but one morning he woke up and was found.  His last memory as Gary was of the night Chrissie died. His children were grown and strangers to him.  He continues to switch between personalities with little warning.   

Multiple Personality Disorder occurs through disassociation, a protective response to traumatic experience.  All multiples have suffered repetitive childhood trauma.  Their lives are filled with fear, torment and despair.   Many people who suffer turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the conflict.   

Valerie Durkin started experiencing blackouts and memory loss. Without notice a personality appeared and attempted suicide, taking an overdose of pills. She was diagnosed as a manic depressive and medicated. She was able to function in school, thriving in the structured environment, until her senor year, when her personality changed again.  She became suicidal again and told a friend she wanted to cut her stomach open. Her friend rushed her to the emergency room. Soon after she was diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder.  Valerie didn’t believe she had a disorder, so she insisted her sessions be taped as proof of what occurred.  Over the next year, fifty people came forward and described a horrific past of satanic rituals and torture. The memories were false, planted during hypnosis.  Once her therapist was able to uncover the true reasons for her disassociation, recovery was possible.    

Recovery depends on the therapist’s ability to distinguish between delusions and real traumatic events. Failure to do so will only worsen a patient’s condition.  There is hope for recovery, as demonstrated in the case of Chris Sizemore. Sizemore’s early childhood was marred with graphic, violent events that led to her disorder. Her personalities were organized in groups of three, the good, the bad and indifferent. The case is one of the most well known, inspiring the movie, The Three Faces of Eve.  Chris and her family lived with the constantly changing personalities until 1974, when Chris had a breakthrough.  She realized that be whole she had to take experience all the elements of herself and integrated the three personalities into one cohesive life.  Psychiatrists say the merging of several personalities into one is the most difficult part of recovery.  Some of the personalities may resist the process of integration, viewing it as death.  

The publication of Sybil in 1973 linked the condition to child abuse.  Sybil, a fictionalized character was based on the true case of Shirley Mason. However, critics believe she only expressed Multiple Personalities while in therapy.  Dr Herbert Spiegel felt Mason was highly suggestible and developed over 16 personalities at the urging of her therapist, Dr Cornelia Wilbur.   In 1980, Multiple Personality Disorder appeared in the Diagnostic Manual for American Psychiatric Association. Since 1973, nearly 40,000 Americans have been diagnosed.  There are still unanswered questions as to why some will develop the disorder and others will not.        

Witches

January 5, 2008 at 12:57 am | Posted in Ideas | Leave a comment
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Witches have haunted myths and legends throughout history.  The witch represents the dark side of woman, powerful, vindictive and frightening.   

Greek Mythology has sorceresses as beautiful as they are deadly. Circe detained Odysseus on her island and turned his men into swine; Medea helped Jason win the Golden Fleece but then spitefully murdered his second wife and her own children Hebrew tradition tells of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, cast from the Garden of Eden she became a vampires who would kill children and rob men of their seed while they slept. Early goddess cults had very different views of witches.  Goddess figures were revered for their magical ability to enhance fertility and nurture the land.  The Creation Goddess was recognized as supreme ruler of life and death and she was called by many names: Thesis, Isis, Asura or Yemaya,   

Throughout the Middle East, priestesses trained in the holy arts- Wise Women – were the predecessor to the Witch. Their ritual objects were believed to possess powers for healing and abundance.  The transition from benevolence to wickedness occurred when male dominated religions spread through the worlds. Eve bears responsibility for the fall of humanity according to Hebrew and Christian bibles.   Witchcraft was expressly prohibited and considered the most heinous form of heresy, because it was believed that in order to possess magic, witches must give their soul to the devil.  It was also believed that witches could fly and they would gather for a nighttime “Black” Sabbath. Rumors of cannibalistic rituals and orgies with the devil had a fascinating appeal to the public.   

In 1486, an instruction book for witch hunters, linked lust and demonology to witch craft.  It described women as sexually vulnerable beings, vessels for the devil’s evil doings.  Women who were proficient healing with herbs, such as midwives or caregivers, were accused of evil deeds.  A frenzy of judgments and presumed guilt led to thousands of deaths during The Inquisition. The accused were prodded with needles and tortured until a confession could be extracted.  The Third Degree was the degree of torture that killed the victim.  Even under torture the witch was considered dangerous, because compassion for the victim was viewed as a spell.   

Swimming the Witch was a term used to determine if a woman was a witch: if she floated, she was a witch, if she sank and drowned, she was innocent.  The Burning Times was a period when suspects were burned at the stake. Victims were tortured until they turned on neighbors and friends. Women would confess to anything to stop the pain. Records show that on one signal day 139 women were burned to death at the stake in a small village in Germany.  There were towns that had no women or girls left.  The frenzy spread to the new world.

In 1692, The Salem Witch Trails condemned 200 people as witches; 14 women and 9 men were hung.   Sara Good, Sarah Osborne and a household slave, Tituba, were accused by young girls, striking the first flame to the religiously divided community.  The parents and relatives of the girls used the accusations to attack their political enemies. The hysteria spread to other communities and more innocent women were hanged, their bodies left to rot.   A better understanding of the scientific causes for unexplained phenomena previously attributed to the supernatural, helped end the hunt for and prosecution of witches.   

Wicca is a growing religious movement for modern day witches.  They rely on simple earthy elements to harness the forces of nature to direct positive, healing energy. Midsummer night Sabbath is a celebration of seasons. They live according to the creed:  “Do what you will, but harm no one.”

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