Why Do You Believe in the Paranormal?

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Losing Mom wasn’t the hardest part. The hardest part is dealing with the aftermath. Trying to keep siblings from gouging each other’s hearts out ranks right up there in the Top Two Most Difficult Aspects of Losing a Parent. Then there’s cleaning out the mountains of debris and accumulated detritus crowding Mom’s home of close to 50 years. And oh boy, could she pack it in! Every crevice and cranny was stuffed, quite literally to the rafters, with…everything. I found report cards from every grade. Every. One. The silly notes I passed between friends at school. Faded art projects. And while I have no desire to actually keep the majority of the stuff I unearthed, it still gave me a pretty serious pang to have to throw it all away.

Now comes the paranormal part…

Mom’s house is 1500 miles away from the home I live in now, in Seattle. I was last there a couple months ago, after Mom passed, to help with cleaning and to pick up some items. I stayed in my old bedroom and listened to the sounds of the house around me as I lay awake late at night. This creak, or that sigh as it shifted in the wind, and the clicks and whirrs of the appliances and heating system were all so very familiar.

Also familiar was the sound of Mom’s footsteps as she’d walk down the hall to the bathroom. Her tread was light, but still thudded softly on the thick carpet of the upstairs hall. And there – the squeak of the loose floorboard right outside my room. Two nights in a row, I heard those footsteps, and that distinct squeal that could only be the sound of weight pressing on that creaky spot. The first night, she even paused outside my door, and tapped on it softly.

Did I get up and answer? Nope. I’m ashamed to admit that when the absolute reality of life after death smacked me in the face at 1 a.m. I was afraid. Not of Mom. I wasn’t afraid of her spirit standing there on the other side of the door.

Nope.

It was a purely visceral reaction to the validation of everything I believed. The fear was because I sorta held onto a bit of doubt about – everything. That night, that tiny bit of doubt was obliterated.

Even after decades of paranormal experiences – physically running into ghosts, communicating with them, and having those experiences validated by other sources, I still held onto a tiny kernel of skepticism. And I was okay with that. I was okay with the dichotomy of believing and not believing. My own Schroedinger’s Cat scenario – both real and not real. I could tell people, “Well, this happened, but…” As if that ‘but’ gave me, and everyone else, a way to dismiss what I was legitimately experiencing.

Hearing Mom walk the hallway, just like she did in life, erased forever any lingering doubt I might have had. And that was just a bit terrifying.

It was also freeing. I no longer had to cling to that little kernel. There was simply no other explanation for the sound of her footsteps, and the creak of the floorboard than the presence of her spirit walking past my door. Period. And if her spirit was real, then it suddenly made everything else I’d seen, or heard, or felt, just as real.

The second night, Mom once more stood outside my bedroom door and gently tapped. This time, I talked to her. She was concerned about some family stuff, and I reassured her. She wanted to let me know she was okay, and still around. I told her I was grateful she came back this night, after I was so afraid the night before. We had a good talk, comforting, and she faded away. I knew she wouldn’t be back.

And that was okay. Because although her body was gone, her spirit lives on. I no longer have any doubts about that at all.

Tell me, what made you believe? I would love to hear your stories!

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Where Can You Find Ghosts, Aliens and Bigfoot? Paracon!

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On Saturday, Oct. 22, I drove out to Concrete, WA for Forest Moon Paranormal’s first Paracon. Concrete is tucked in the mountains near the Washington-Canada border, at the base of Mt.Baker. Multiple UFO sightings, an active Bigfoot population, and the town of Concrete itself is extremely haunted. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect location for this event. And it is unbelievably beautiful. I mean really, just look at this!

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Paracon = Paranormal Conference, in case you were wondering. It was my first, and I had no idea what to expect. I was hoping to hear some interesting speakers, maybe learn something, and this Paracon really delivered.

Every speaker that I heard did such a great job of presenting their topic, answering questions, and being available to talk with anyone. I got there late, so I missed the Bigfoot presentation, and only caught the very end of the UFO talk, but here’s what I did hear.

Ghostology 101 with S.J. and Russ Wells of F.O.G. Paranormal.

A thorough, basic primer on the how-to’s of paranormal investigation. Their discussion included definitions of common paranormal terms, safety considerations, and some really amazing pictures they’ve taken on investigations. What I really liked, and haven’t seen in many paranormal groups, was the respect and compassion F.O.G. maintains for their human clients AND the spirits they find during investigations.

S.J. and Russ have been investigating the paranormal for well over 30 years. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, and are experiencing paranormal activity you would like investigated, contact S.J. and Russ at F.O.G. Paranormal

Tying the Paranormal Together with Christina George.

Christina George is a paranormal investigator and radio host with Paranormal Connections. Christina’s talk centered on the idea that all paranormal aspects are linked. Historically, this idea has not been popular in the para-community. The ghost investigators didn’t have much to do with the UFO peeps, and neither had anything to do with Bigfoot crowd.

Christina has over 20 years in the paranormal field, and has found that people who experience the paranormal often experience all of it – spirit contact, seeing UFO’s, developing psychic abilities. So if you’re going to investigate, it makes sense to expand and investigate all of it. Otherwise, links and commonalities that are vital to understanding these phenomena can easily be missed.

Experiencers: The Importance of the First Hand Account with Dave Scott of Spaced Out Radio.

Dave shared his personal experiences – with ghosts, aliens and Bigfoot. More than just telling his stories, Dave’s presentation illustrated something that everyone who’s had a brush with the paranormal thinks at one point or another – Am I the only one who’s experienced this?

No. You’re not. You’re not crazy, you’re not alone. And it is critical to get out, find like-minded folks and share what you’ve seen. Many experiencers never speak up because they’re afraid; of losing family or friends, of being ostracized, even of losing their job. Dave pointed out that even in paranormal investigations, the person’s individual experience is sometimes cast aside as unimportant – because it cannot be measured, or otherwise validated. This is inherently wrong. Our experience is crucial; what we see, what we feel, must also be recorded and shared.

He did point out that it’s important we do this in a safe environment. But those places are out there. The three groups I’ve mentioned are all a really good place to start.

I was so impressed with all the speakers. The common thread through all the presentations was one of respect. Respect for people telling their stories. Respect for the beings who trigger the phenomena. Respect for other investigators. There was a definite sense of cooperation and camaraderie between all the participants and speakers. I have been experiencing the paranormal my whole life, but I am a total newbie when it comes to trying to network with others who have. The people at this Paracon were all welcoming, friendly and it was a huge relief to be able to talk and share openly.

I have to give big kudos to Eric Cooper, his wife Issy, and everyone who worked so hard to put together and pull off this event. Eric is the founder of Forest Moon Paranormal, a paranormal crisis team. Forest Moon is one of the few groups I’ve found (the other being F.O.G) that considers the spirit’s well-being when they are helping clients affected by paranormal activity.

What so many people forget is that ghosts are people, usually people who have suffered a terrible, traumatic event in addition to dying. These spirits are often in pain, frightened and confused, which can cause them to lash out in anger. As I nurse, I can attest to the fact that living humans do this – I’ve seen it first hand. Humans in fear and pain, whether they’re alive or dead, deserve to be treated with compassion and respect to help ease that fear and pain. The good people at Forest Moon and F.O.G. never lose sight of that when they respond to a client’s request for help.

This event will be back next year. I know I’m planning on being there.

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3 Easy Ways To Get Psychically Clean

Remember this?

 

She wasn’t dusting or scrubbing. She was cleansing the house energetically and releasing beings that were stuck in that physical location.

“Oh, that’s just a movie!” No. Sticky, dense, negative energies – and entities – are very real, and can attach themselves to you. Anyone who wants to engage in paranormal activities needs to be aware of this. If you’re already in the field, you know this.

Cleansing can be as simple as wafting a smudge stick, or as complex as a full exorcism. Exorcisms are best left to the professionals – shamanic practitioners, priests trained in exorcism, mediums who can speak to the spirits. However, personal energetic hygiene is just as important as washing your hands.

What Needs To Be Cleansed?

You dust, vacuum and mop, what else needs cleaning? People’s emotional detritus tends to collect and hang out, in living spaces, in public spaces. Pretty much anywhere you can encounter leftover emotions. We all leak negative emotions. Have an argument? A crying spell? Pissed because your boss yelled at you? Those emotions have energy, and the stronger the emotions the more likely they are to linger like so many emotional dust bunnies. If enough of them build up, they can start to take on a sort of life of their own. If the emotions or events are traumatic enough they can start to act like spirits or other supernatural entities.

Anyone, ‘sensitive’ or not can pick up on these lingering psychic dust bunnies. Depending on your level of discernment you may recognize that these emotions are not your own. Nausea, headaches, sudden, unexplained sadness – all of these can linger and reattach to you! You don’t need to be psychic to cleanse, but you do need to be clear on what you’re doing and how you’re going to go about it.

Here are three ways you can cleanse your aura and living spaces. Use them all, or find the ones that resonate best with you. With each though, your intention, your attitude and your mindset are all critical ingredients.

Thoughts Are Things!

Remember, when dealing with the spiritual and astral realms your thoughts make and shape the energies, so use them wisely. None of these techniques will work if you simply go through the motions. You must engage and be present when using any of these. Also, before using any method, prepare yourself.

  • Pause
  • Breathe
  • Calm your mind

 Set Your Intention

This is essential. Say, think, or visualize that any negative or harmful energies be released, dispersed and returned to the Earth for renewal. Hold onto this intention as you are cleansing.

When your mind is calm and your intention firmly in mind, begin. You can use these methods individually, or sequentially. Using more than one has a cumulative, or additive effect. I usually try and get a sense for what I need, and if I need more, I do more. There is no harm in overuse of any of these practices!

Smudge

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Smudging is the burning of sacred plants to clear out negative energies. Sage is the most commonly used, and nearly everyone will say “Burn some sage!” if paranormal activity is mentioned. But, it’s certainly not the only choice.

Sage is easily available; smoke shops and metaphysical stores carry it pre-bundled and ready to use. However, others, like palo santo wood, cedar, sweetgrass, and frankincense have all been used to clear spaces for centuries. Each one acts to cleanse, but they all have additional properties to be considered before using – protection, healing, blessing. Read up on your choice before smudging to ensure it’s in alignment with your intention.

Smudging is essential housekeeping if you actively participate in spiritual practices or seek out paranormal activity.

Trust me on this. I have made this mistake too many times to count. If you are in any measure psychic, or you investigate the paranormal – cleanse your aura and your space regularly. You will be amazed at the difference it makes in how you, and your home feel. You’ll also be amazed at how much your discernment and psychic abilities increase when you consistently clear out the “junk.”

So what does it mean to smudge? You light the sacred herb, and brush the smoke around yourself – top to bottom, front and back – and visualize the smoke dissolving any negative attachments. You can trace the herb bundle itself around your outline, or use a feather to waft the smoke over you.

To cleanse a house or other building, walk clockwise around the space, brushing the smoke towards the walls. Pay extra attention to corners, especially if they’re a little cluttered (like my house!), doorways and windows. Imagine the brushing dislodging the attachments and the smoke gathering it up and carrying it out of the space, really see it going out windows or doors.

Also pay attention if burning ash drops on to the ground. You may want to carry a small, fireproof tray to catch ashes as you walk. Make as many circuits of the room as you need until you feel the energies lighten. Continue moving in a clockwise direction through your entire home until you have cleared each room.

Smudging is excellent for:

  • Regular energetic cleansing.
  • Clearing new items that you bring into your home.
  • After guests leave to remove any lingering emotional traces.
  • After you’ve ‘had a bad day’ or are feeling as if you have attachments clinging to you.

Smudging is not typically how you get actual spirits to vacate. If you’ve got a resident entity, you will likely need more, and that is beyond the scope of this article.

Showering

Well, duh! But this isn’t your quick, jump in-and-out rinse. This is a longer, deliberate ritual to wash away negative attachments from your body and aura.

My latest career was in nursing. I have, in the past, worked with people who hated me. I have had daggers glared at me. I’ve been called every name in the book. Usually by people having the worst day of their life. Not their fault, but the emotional energies still bombarded me. By the end of my shift, I would feel loaded down with the psychic weight of every hateful thought directed my way. I could sense them sinking their hooks into my aura. Left there long enough, they would burrow in until they merged with my own energies.

Waving a smudge stick didn’t always dislodge those emotional daggers, although that was usually my first step. If I needed more muscle because it was a particularly bad shift – or if I’d neglected my energetic cleansing for a few days – I would charge the water coming out of the showerhead to remove the attachments.

To charge the water:

  • Bless the showerhead and water.
  • Visualize that the water is filled with pure light.
  • This light can be white, silver, blue, lavender, or whatever color feels most appropriate to you. But make it bright and strong.

As you scrub, visualize removing the energetic attachments. Or you can state affirmations, such as “I now remove any attachment that does not contribute to my highest healing good.” Visualize them swirling away, being carried down the drain and out to the sea where they will be dissipated and renewed.

As a Reiki Master-Teacher, I will Reiki the water and showerhead, and I can tell you that water is bright! You should use whatever energetic methods, prayers or blessings resonate with you. Whether you are initiated into an energy healing modality or not, realize that your visualization, your thoughts and intentions, carry a potent energy of their own. Use them to bless the water, and cleanse your aura.

When you are done, visualize sealing any holes in your aura, healing any tears, so that your energy field is whole. Picture your aura as a smooth, protective barrier that completely envelops you.

Grounding

This is a perfect spot to sit and ground!
This is a perfect spot to sit and ground!

Grounding is one of the easiest cleansing techniques, but it is powerful for all its simplicity. All you need to do is get your body in contact with the Earth.

Not standing in your high heels on concrete. Not sitting on the steps of your condo or school. (But, if it’s all you’ve got, then gotta do what you gotta do.)

Nope.

I mean get out and get in touch with Mother Earth. Take of your shoes, and get your toes in the grass, or sand, or dirt. Sit against the trunk of a tree and rest your palms against Her. Any spot where you are in full contact with the Earth, will do – a park, the beach, out on a hike. Minimize the man-made ‘stuff’ between you and Her and try to have some of your skin touching the skin of the Earth, even if it’s just your palms.

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Visualize yourself connecting to the Earth through your soles, palms, anywhere you’re in contact with Her. Open these connections wide and release anything that does not contribute to your highest healing good. Use affirmations similar to “I release any and all attachments…” as you did in the shower. Really see these attachments dropping off you and down into Mother Earth.

Synchronize your breathing to your visualizations. As you exhale, imagine the attachments falling away. As you inhale, visualize clean, renewing energy flowing up into you through your connections to Mother Earth. Sit as long as you need to feel clear and refreshed.

Don’t feel bad! You’re not polluting! As with the shower, think of it as putting those attachments into a giant recycling bin so they cannot move on and attach to another person. Mother Earth and the sea are vast, and readily absorb those energies, cleansing and renewing them.

Try all three techniques. Play with them! The real beauty of energy work is finding your best modality. Take your time; be observant of how you feel and what you experience. Adjust and adapt as you need to, just be sure to keep your intentions clear at all times.

Let me know which ones work best for you!

Our Pets and Reincarnation

I had a totally different post planned to put up, but then I found this trailer on Twitter. Have your tissues ready.

I watched this and thought it one of the most heartwarming trailers I’d seen. It’s based on the book of the same title by W. Bruce Cameron and it spent 52 weeks on the NYT Bestseller list! So I was more than a little startled to see some haters calling this trailer “horrible” and “depressing” and “worst dog movie ever” because, you know, the dog dies.

Sorry. Spoiler alert. But maybe the title of the blog post was a clue?

The hardest thing any pet parent has to face is the loss of a much loved pet. The very worst part of letting an animal into your life and heart is the sure knowledge that you will eventually bid them farewell. I’ve done this more times than I want to think about, and with more species than your average pet owner.

There was Pagan, and Domino.

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Magic

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Honda

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Harpo

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Akela

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And that’s not even half. Each one takes a piece of your heart when they go, you feel like that spot in your soul will never again feel right. I have been so fortunate to have a deep bond to many, many animals, to experience the love, communication and understanding that looks magical to an outside observer. I know I’m not alone in this. I know that I’m not the only one to have a much loved pet return to me either, both in a body and in spirit.

What if the premise of A Dog’s Purpose were true? What if our pets (and us too!) come back to experience life after life? The above-mentioned haters also found this tragic. I’m sorry for them. I think it’s beautiful. It means we, collectively, never truly die. That we get do-overs, and a chance to explore every delicious, beautiful, and yes, painful, facet of life.

Reincarnation as a spiritual concept is found throughout many ancient, sacred texts. Even the Gnostic Christians claimed that reincarnation was the true, secret teaching of Jesus. The number of people who believe in reincarnation is staggering. Just counting those who claim to practice religions with reincarnation as a fundamental tenet you’re looking at about 25% of the human population. Even some quantum physicists are now saying our consciousness moves into another universe when we die. First Law of Thermodynamics, right?

But that’s humans. What about animals? Do animals have souls? Just ask that of anyone who’s had a pet that they loved and lost. You can read about how my cat, Magic, came back to visit after I lost her to bone cancer. The internet is full of stories about how the spirits of pets come back, both as ghosts and reincarnated into new, furry bodies.

But how do you know? Truth is, I can’t offer up any proof that would satisfy a cynic.

Answers to the most perplexing questions in spirituality are at their core inexplicable. They must be experienced. They must be lived. It doesn’t matter how many holy books you read, how many churches you sit in, or how many drum circles. They can guide you, point out a path, but you’ll never really know unless you make contact with the numinous.

I have. I know that everything has a soul. A spirit. That spark of the divine that is never extinguished. From the trees in my yard, to the cat curled in my lap, to the wolf puppy that greeted me with recognition in his soul. We had known each other in lives past.

How? You have to be willing to still your mind and listen for those subtle clues. You have to be willing to put in the time to practice – whatever method you choose. Yoga, meditation, dance, journeying all can help you with quieting the mind so you can hear the messages from your soul. More than that though, you have to trust the knowledge that comes to you.

That is the hardest part. Trust. Your mind will want to tell you you just made it up. So will science. So will some of your friends. You have to trust the message and put it into practice in your life. There is a certain element of surrender with this, because sometimes it’ll probably be pretty scary. Not in the ‘you should spend all your money on this stock’ sense. No, this trust usually involves risks of the heart.

Sometimes your heart will break. Sometimes the one you love will leave you. But what if the purpose of life is to experience love in as many different forms and varieties as possible? That’s pretty difficult to accomplish in just one lifetime.

Maybe dogs are the lucky ones. They have so much love to give, and we have so much to learn, that they voluntarily return to us again and again, helping to open our hearts and teach us about unconditional love. And loss. And how to love again after heartbreak.

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Haunted Hiking Trails

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I love hiking! Ok, so I don’t backpack into the back country. Yet anyway. But I am so fortunate that here in the Puget Sound I have access to so many different types of hiking trails to explore.

Being out in Nature forges a connection between you and the Earth that you just can’t get in the city. The energies of the water, the trees and the animals all combine in a way that can only be described as magical. It’s good for you on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

If you’re at all sensitive to these subtle energies, you very quickly realize that you aren’t the only one out there on the trail.

Hauntings don’t only happen in the city. The spirits and energies of the dead can be found anywhere people have been, even if no one lives there now. Haunted forests, trails, ghost towns are found around the world.

I know what you’re thinking. “I want to go to there.”

You can start here, with this article. It says it’s a list of most haunted hikes in every state, but a number of them are abandoned asylums or other facilities that appear to require more like a short walk from the street rather than a hike through some wilderness. But maybe that suits your hiking style – no judgement here! They all have suitably spooky histories attached. In my home state of Washington they list the Iron Goat Trail, site of an avalanche that caused two trains to derail. Now I know my next hiking trip.

So maybe you pick a spot from the list above, or maybe you google “Haunted Hiking Trails in California” (or Rhode Island, or  – you get the idea) and set off on your adventure. Here’s tip Number One.

Don’t build up a great big set of expectations. Don’t count on the fact that you’re going to see or feel all the stuff from the descriptions. Because that’s one of the best ways I know of to not experience the paranormal.

Yes, some people have big encounters – physical, audible, visual – that are stunning. And yes, some places are notorious for consistent encounters. You may very well be that lucky; and if you are I want to hear about it!

Typically though these energies are subtle, and you need to practice tuning in to them. We can all do it to a certain degree. But it does take a conscious effort. The following can help you refine your paranormal senses.

Quiet your mind. Easier said than done, right? Thoughts creep, flit and fly through our minds constantly, and often we are not consciously aware of them. Thoughts resist being stilled and will work doubly hard to get your attention; especially when you first start practicing. Meditation is an excellent teacher of quieting the mind. It’s a skill you want to work on every day, so that when you are out in the field, you already know what to do and how to achieve that quiet mind.

Open your senses. More than what you see, what do you hear? Is there a smell that doesn’t belong – pipe smoke in an otherwise empty cemetery? Perfume in an abandoned cabin? Avoid attaching a judgement or analysis to what you experience such as, “that must be the miner’s pipe” or “the wife must’ve worn that perfume.” Did you feel a touch on your hair? Or feel someone brush past you who isn’t there? Be aware of, notice everything going on around you.

Go beyond your physical senses. Do you feel an emotion that seems to well up from nowhere? Or a thought that pushes at you from outside your skull? Again, avoid judgements and simply experience it. Or – do you get a sense of rushing or prickling inside your skin, like energy moving from one spot to another?

Wait patiently. You must be willing to sit in a quiet space for some period of time. Spirits do not appear on schedule like a show. This isn’t Ghost Theater. Sit. Breathe. Quiet your mind. Open all your senses. What do you experience?

Hiking a haunted trail gives you a twofer. You can connect with the nature spirits AND commune with the departed. Even if the haunted area does not bring forth ghosts, you can still use all of the above to reach out and connect with Nature. Water, Earth and Sky spirits are all around you. Can you sense them and hear their messages?

Is there a downside?

What do you do if the spirits you connect with aren’t entirely friendly? If you’re going to embark on psychic adventures you should probably have some psychic defenses. Because not everything out there in the other dimensions wants to be your friend.

Read about steps you can take to protect yourself next.

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Paranormal Pictures – Orbs!

I love ghost pics and videos. Ok, I know. They’re super easy to fake. I get it. That does nothing to diminish their allure.

Because some of them are real. How to tell the difference though is pretty tricky. I’m certainly no photography expert, however there are some quick and easy things to look for when you’re scanning a bunch of spooky pics late at night freaking yourself out doing research.

Easy stuff first – Orbs! They’re usually dust. Yes. If you have a pic with potential paranormal phenomena (try saying that fast!) most sites that do photo analysis do not even want to even look at orb pics.

Here’s what dust turned to orbs looks like.

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These are faint and far away, but if you look close you’ll see more than just the three I’ve highlighted. But wait, it gets better.

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So many ghosts! Nope, just so much dust stirred up from walking on that dirt floor. Your first clue is how many orbs are floating around. With this pic too, the more you look the more you see.

But sometimes an orb appears to be a genuine manifestation of spirit activity. A sizeable chunk of ghost hunting involves the use of technology – EMF meters, laser arrays, voice recorders – to name just a few. If we’re going to accept that discarnate entities have the ability to manifest through some manipulation of energy to affect these devices then it’s reasonable to presume that they could manifest as an orb in a photograph.

So what’s the difference? Look for:

  • A singular orb instead of a flock.
  • A distinct or unusual shape. Not perfectly round.

When I took the photos above I wasn’t trying to connect psychically with anything. In these two below, I sensed the presence of a spirit and asked them to manifest as an orb. This is what I got in response.

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Ghosts? I took these pictures in a location that is notorious for spirit activity – Seattle’s Underground. While these two pics are both singular orbs, and I was getting a response psychically, it is still hard for me to say that yes, these are spirits manifesting. My sense is the top photo has more potential than the bottom picture. But I would not consider either of these good evidence.

Have I seen orbs that I thought looked genuine? Yes, taken by other people. Do a quick search and you’ll find them too. See if you start to get a sense for what is dust and what may be spirits. I have yet to take a really solid orb photo that I’m confident represents genuine paranormal activity. When I do you can be sure I’ll post it. Until then, I’ll keep trying…

Want to see some really good, unexplained photos? Check out here.

Have you taken pics of orbs, apparitions or other unexplained phenomena?

 

 

 

 

 

Finding That Christmas Spirit

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Even the little critters have decorated for the holidays. My spider friends have glammed up their homes with crystals and turned their webs to delicate lace.

I’m not much of a Christmas person; for most of my professional life Christmas and other holidays have simply been another day on the job. I have lots of nostalgia related to Christmases past but the religious aspects are not part of that past or my personal spirituality. And for the last few years, well, I’ve been something of Scrooge; the Day Itself has passed me by with barely a nod of recognition.

It was almost the same this year.

You might have noticed a lack of posting on my part lately, here and on Facebook. It’s been a crazy couple months:

My mom has been sick since November and a couple weeks ago she had a stroke. As strokes go, she was very lucky and has only very slight residuals. But I did go to southern California to see her and help out. As much as I wanted and needed to be with her, well, SoCal is not my happy zone and it was an uncomfortable time for a whole bunch of reasons. Including a whole host of paranormal ones.

At the same time my sister ended up in ICU with a raging case of pneumonia.

And just yesterday, my reliable vehicle threw a rod. I guess I really should’ve given Fate a safe word. She apparently thought I meant “screw with everything all at once” when I said I needed some changes in my life.

Fate:  “Hey, cool! Here’s a metric buttload of crap for you to deal with!”

Me:  “No, Fate, no I meant I want that whole bestselling author thing I’ve been working on, not fuck up my family.”

But, as these things often go, what seemed like a total chaotic shitstorm at first turned out to be a challenge and an opportunity personally. I’ve found peace with parts of me and mine that needed some serious attention. I’ve found some new, unsuspected strength and resilience.

Most important, I’ve regained the Spirit of this season that I’ve been lacking for quite some time. I decorated, for the first time in years and it felt great. Now as I sit here on Christmas Eve looking at my beautiful tree I have so many things to be grateful for:

I have my health, a wonderful husband and sweet home filled with pets.

My mom and my sister are healing and getting stronger.

Cars are fixable.

I might not have a whole bunch of money right now, but I am wealthy with the love I am surrounded with.

A friend recently pointed out something that I really took to heart. My Scrooginess in the past has been based on my disgust with an overly-commercialized and hyped Christmas. I just wanted to ignore it as much as possible and get through it to the other side. I Bah-Humbugged my way through it and even took a twisted in glee in my bad feelings.

“Not this year.” My friend said. She told me that it was important to celebrate the Season so that we can fill our hearts with Peace and Love. It’s not about buying the latest doodad, or seeing who spends the most. This isn’t a competition. It’s a way to practice opening our hearts and having compassion for all. Even if it’s only for one day, you need to really feel it, and carry that feeling with you throughout the coming year.

Wouldn’t that be a beautiful thing?

How do you celebrate the Season? What traditions do you hold to, or what ones have you developed? I would love to hear how you share the joy of this time of year.

Paranormal Career?

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Not a picture of Garnet, just a spooky looking house.

Or at least the start of one. How would you like to be paid to work in and staff a ghost town? The Bureau of Land Management wants YOU to come and work to help preserve the ghost town of Garnet, Montana.

According to this article from Wide Open Country (.com) Garnet was once a frontier mining town but has been “mostly abandoned” for the last century. In an effort to preserve the town the BLM put out a call for volunteers. Ok, they call it volunteer but then state a stipend is provided as well as a food allowance (sweet!). Huh, every volunteer job I ever had paid zip. Duties are described as giving tours and working in the gift shop. Taxing, very taxing. (I’m using my sarcasm font here. Just so you know.)

The best part – the freedom to explore after closing time and apparently lots of paranormal happenings have been experienced. Second best part, sleeping on site in a provided cabin is FREE! Sounds more like an expense paid vacation at Club Ghost Town.

I’d sign up, but down at the bottom of the article it says they’re no longer accepting applications because they’ve received too many. Ha! Actually I’m really happy and excited for them and the ‘volunteers.’ Sounds like a fantastic opportunity for paranormal investigators and kudos to the BLM for some really clever marketing to get the staffing they need.

Maybe next year…

Would you go and stay for the summer?

 

Cat Ghosts And Halloween

It’s that most wonderful time of the year. No I don’t mean Christmas!

Halloween! Yep, you’re all nodding your heads and smiling right now. If you’re a paranomo-phile (yes, I made up that word) you love this time. The veil between the worlds thins out and we all hope for that contact, a brush with the beyond. Maybe you’ve lost someone special and you’d like just a little touch to show you they’re okay.

That’s what happened to me.

CMagic

In the week or so leading up to last night I’d been seeing little black flashes out of the corner of my eye, especially in her favorite spots; on my shoes, on top of the couch. Magic was only 14, but I wasn’t ready to lose her. Oh, I suppose you never are ready to lose one of your fur kids. It feels like they take a piece of your soul when they leave. I’d lost Jasper two years ago but while Magic and her older sibling Sage were older kitties, they seemed to be in excellent health. Until I noticed she was losing weight, then I felt that tiny lump under her jaw. So little, I thought Sage bit her while they were playing. Except it got bigger, and in just under a month I was crying at the vet over my sweet little girl. She had bone cancer, a very fast, aggressive one. It had already destroyed her jaw. As soon as I saw her x-ray I knew I wouldn’t be taking my little girl home and I had to say goodbye.

Every scrap of clinical and spiritual knowledge in my extensive experience couldn’t ease my breaking heart. It was the right thing, the compassionate thing to do. I knew her little spirit was only transitioning over, and as she passed I watched her move out of her body and into the loving arms of my spirit guide, surrounded by my other departed pets. But I still missed my sweet editor kitty, and how she used to lay on my hands and “help” me write. My writing corner is just a little colder in the weeks and months since she passed. It hurts still to sit and work, and tears often spill when I prop my feet up on the foot stool under my desk where she loved to sleep while I worked.

This is how she helped me write.
This is how she helped me write.

But this week, I’ve felt her near, seen her little black body flash from place to place. She tapped on the shower door like she used to the other night, making it shake and rattle strongly, and I saw a black spot dash away around the corner. But as I sat down to write a Halloween blog, wondering which topic I should address I swept my feet up onto my footstool and pushed a heavy little furry body onto the floor. Magic wasn’t exactly a svelte kitty.

I see and sense spirits on a daily basis, but actual physical encounters with them are rare for me. As with every other time I have physically touched a ghost I didn’t think it was a paranormal encounter at first. My first thought was, When did Sage start sleeping in Magic’s old spot? I actually got up out of the chair and poked my head under the desk, calling to Sage. And before the skeptics can say he ran out the other side, my desk sits in a corner and the only way out from under it is past me. The space under the desk was empty.

I knew my little girl had come to visit again and my heart felt just a little lighter. Magic has been the most present of all my departed animal companions. About 4 or 5 days after I put her to sleep I was sitting on the couch crying, when amazingly, I felt paws press into my arm and phantom weight settle onto my shoulder. She loved to cuddle and would often snuggle onto my arm and shoulder where it rested on the arm of the couch. I waited a few moments, breathless to see if the weight would fade. Instead a slight vibration buzzed on the skin of my shoulder through my shirt. My ghostly kitty was purring! Although her body was gone her little spirit was still very much present and very happy to cuddle with me one more time.

Have you ever wondered if your pet has a soul? They do. Our animal companions are beautiful spirits, and to share a life with them is a magical blessing indeed.

Girls Gone Ghost Hunting Part One

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A few weeks ago my friend Kim took me on a ghost tour of downtown Seattle for my birthday. On the tour we found out Spooked in Seattle also hosts ghost hunts for the public to participate in. Kim and looked at each other and didn’t really have to say anything, we knew we were going there next.

“Next” was an investigation on the USS Turner Joy, a decommissioned Naval Destroyer that’s also a museum. The Turner Joy is moored in Bremerton, Washington – just a short hop across the water from where I live in Seattle. Kim and I signed up for the overnight event – Saturday October 3rd to the morning of the 4th. You too can participate in Spooked in Seattle’s public ghost hunts by visiting their web page. The investigation on the 3rd was the last overnight event for the year, but they do have two-hour events listed for November.

I had no clue what to expect. Sure I bump into spirits all the time – it happens when you’re psychic. But I have zero experience when it comes to the technological side of the paranormal. Truthfully, I’m not very tech-y. I feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to ‘build my author platform’, and half the time I think Siri is smarter than me and plotting against me. You should hear how she says my husband’s name when I ask her to call him.

There were several pieces of equipment provided that night by Ross of AGHOST. EMF meters, a laser grid array, plus ping-pong balls to encourage the spirits to manifest and move something. I brought my own camera and digital recorder. On my phone I had a number of ghost hunting apps, but as I talked about in this post, the general consensus is that while you can sometimes get an EVP or actual EMF reading, the apps do not produce valid data.

We got there at 9 and met the group. There were about 20 or so people there for the two-hour event, but for the overnight there were just four other women in addition to Kim and I. I’m not sure which is a scarier thought – that there are ghosts on the ship or that the six of us would be crawling around the ship into the witching hours of the night. But after 11 that’s what it came down to, and I gotta say, the Turner Joy did not disappoint.

During the first two hours on the ship I picked up the energies of a spirit nearby in several locations, but nothing I could truly call definitive spirit contact. Kim and I both saw a shadow move on a wall of one of the berthing quarters where EVP’s and and other activity have been recorded. No one was in the immediate area that could have caused the movement, but neither did we catch it with the camera.

Later, when it was just the six of us for the night, Kim and I were alone in another berthing area. In this part of the ship an EVP from an earlier investigation caught the word “Sweetie”. As we sat there, talking to the darkness surrounding us, I noticed a clicking sound, repeating at irregular intervals. Looking up I saw this light flashing on and off.

TJMotionSensorThe one hanging on the silver locker, just to the left of the word BURMA. I would love to say it flashed in direct answer to our queries. I really would, but I can’t definitively say that. I can say though, that we weren’t moving around and we found out after the fact that it was a motion sensor set to capture movement on the ladders behind us. We were pretty pleased though to just get some activity early on in the night.

But, as the night deepened it seemed that was all we were going to get. No knocking spirits had answered our queries, no obvious phenomena appeared on the pictures. Only time will tell if the recordings made will yield an EVP. (Yeah, I’m still going through those.) If you thought ghost hunting was glamorous, let me tell you it doesn’t get any better than this! Three tired women sitting at a table asking questions to thin, and kinda stinky, air. The smell of ship is unique, a little diesel, some musty fragrance and others I did not really want to identify.

Melissa had joined us from the other group of women after her friends retired for the night. At one point she left us briefly, taking a journey through a doorway and up a ladder. Kim and I leaned on the table across from each other, sagging just a little lower, our energy levels ebbing. My eyes slipped closed for just a moment and I considered laying my head down…

Then Kim let out a truly blood-curdling scream! I was awake now, standing up and hearing an answering cry from the doorway where Melissa had just descended back down the ladder behind me.

“What the &*^%?” Escaped my lips. Yes, I said a bad word. Maybe a few times. And then I doubled over laughing when I realized Kim had mistaken Melissa for an apparition.

Kim and Melissa were likewise bent over and we all belly laughed for a good minute or so. “I swear I thought she was going to come back from behind me!” Kim gasped. “It looked like she was floating! I didn’t recognize her at first!” Still laughing, we settled back and the table, now refreshed and ready to continue.

Maybe the spirits thought it was funny too, because after that we got more activity…but that’s going to have to wait for the next post.

Have you been on a ghost hunt? Have you tried to capture EVP’s or used other technological toys to capture paranormal phenomena? Tell me about your ghost adventures!