Photo courtesy of rightful copyright holder. Milbourne Christopher was an accomplished magician and a large influence of mine.
Allow me to introduce myself to the world again. For some reason, like cyclical clockwork, after a certain passing time elapses, I again get categorized by certain others as being a little out of touch with reality. Well, that some reason is, to an extent, me, which I will take blame for and later explain. But, I also need to reissue the reminder that I am QUITE established in reality. I have devoted my life to the very cause. I need to revisit the notion of just how deep this devotion is in order to combat yet more misinterpretation of how, as an individual, I relate to the world.
For those who have chosen to follow my blog in recent days, I will say again, adamantly, that I am not a ghost hunter. I simply go where ghost hunters go when I am allowed, or, I go where ghosts are said to be present. I did not learn about monitoring haunted locations from ghost hunters. Rather, I learned from magicians, and from scientists and thinkers who have weighed in on the discussion. Pictured above is one of my greatest investigative influences, magician Milbourne Christopher.
I have emulated a certain line of a cadre that has come before me and that has been much more qualified to speak to the question of ghosts existing and whether they exhibit behaviors that are measurable. As much as I have wanted to go to graduate school, a lot has happened to get in the way of such a goal. Thankfully, there is an academic tradition that exists where a person doesn’t have to pay exorbitant tuition, attend class on a set schedule, or need years for completing a graduation in order to gain a relevant education about a significant discourse. The ranks of magicians include some of the most brilliant minds around, and with their skillsets, they bear unique qualification when it comes to commentary on ghosts. I hail from a tradition where some of the experts may have only a bachelor’s degree, no degree, or may instead have their academic viability forged through developing the all important foundation of learning how the hoodwinking affairs of the world work.
So, let me state emphatically to those three of you who, over the course of weeks and years past, have opted to address me with condescension in your deluded confidence. Do not underestimate my attuned understanding of the world simply because I have tried to interact with you on grounds of kindness. If anything, it is I who have lessened my platform so that I could meet you where you are and do my best to treat you with a genuinely heartfelt respect. Do not, ever again, make the effort to create such sport at my expense. I have given up on there ever being a chance to speak intelligently with any of you again. Therefore, I’m going to simply bypass you and address the open air with my thoughts. The end effect will be the same; either way, I am simply wasting words and brainpower.
I am not saying that I have been without mistakes and errors. To the contrary, it is my own empathy that has cost me the most in this life. If we get ultra technical, we can assuredly and quickly reach a conclusion that my empathy and concern bears no factor on the autonomy of a lone individual. However, in speaking along the lines of the same uber technicality, we can, at the same time, argue that no one should care or help during times of crisis, as is currently being played out in the world. There always exists that possibility that maybe someone does not want our help, even if we are observing them to be drowning in self-inflicted duress.
So, what does learning about life through the wiles of conjurors have to do with ghosts in the context of this specific blog entry? I have learned from polymaths and mathematically gifted thinkers who have chimed in on these discussions and who have demonstrated how to break down the world around us. The application goes for all systems, whether scientific, business, personal, engineering, paranormal, etc. I have to admit, I have thoroughly enjoyed allowing my brain to live in this described world in a very dedicated and esoteric way the past several years. However, when I recently corresponded with retired astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave, I was made to think years back when I used his resume as a model for how thorough an education I wanted to obtain. After actually getting to exchange messages with him, I regretted that I had totally reverted to a world of a specialized form of analytical thinking versus also adding foundational knowledge from across multiple disciplines. But, all the same, critical thinking of the variety that I am used to very much applies to the game of ghosts, but in more ways than one, as I will explain in my concluding comments.
Photo of me standing next to an image of one of my other influences, Harry Houdini.
During the weekend of March 6, 2020, I was riding a wave of joy with my friends as their haunted home was featured on the Travel Channel. During the course of the evening, I was extended the invitation to stay the night at another supposedly haunted home around the corner. I accepted the invite as quickly as it was offered, especially since the dwelling is supposed to have exhibited poltergeist phenomena.
When I arrived at the property during mid-evening, the winds were rather steady, and even gusty at times. This strictly natural phenomenon of wind, of course, contributed to giving the site an ambience as if right out of a movie. Almost immediately, I heard sounds at both ends of the house. Obviously, when I heard a metal clinking sound in the living area on the northern side of the house, I was instantly intrigued because I wanted to know what was contributing to the poltergeist stories affiliated with the structure.
As the night went on, I quietly listened to the noises coming from the environment. It didn’t take long to come up with some quick and testable hypotheses about the noises I was hearing. There was no need to get caught up in the added sounds by the winds. They were no factor, they were certainly not ghostly, and there was no need to allow them to become psychological amplifiers in a place where there was already so much power of suggestion. But, as the night moved forward, it became easy to explain why the sounds were being made intermittently in the southern end of the structure. Then, later in the morning, it became apparent as to why I heard the plink of metal from two rooms away when I was the only individual present in the house at the time.
Because the home I stayed in is currently in renovation status, there are numerous entry ways for critters to come from underneath the house and enter the interior rooms. It was critters that made the scuffling noises up and down the southern rooms. Their scampering became prominent as the night wore on. So, what accounted for the metal plinking at the other end of the home? Were poltergeists at play in mockery of me? As it turns out, the explanation for the evening was more rudimentary. There were several lightweight curtain rods standing upright against the side of the fireplace. In proximity to the fireplace was a hole in the floor that led underneath the house. What happens when a mouse scurries across the floor and scuttles over the end of a curtain rod before submerging itself into a hole? That rod makes contact with an adjacent curtain rod, thereby causing a light metal plinking sound. Did I witness any poltergeist activity that evening? I did not. However, while always trying to play the part of objective skeptic, I can only leave things right there where they concluded for that particular evening. I simply didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary at that property on that selected night. Conversely, I got to answer the more specific questions that the house raised once I arrived at the home and got to experience its atmosphere in person.
The date that this adventure of mine took place was three days later after I had my night of exhilaration with my friends at their watch party. The weekend was a tremendously bittersweet one. I got to share in the storied lore of a wonderful house as its story was broadcast to the world, but most of all, I got to share the experience with the amazing friends who made the whole episode possible. However, the weekend was one of goodbyes, as well. I know the time is coming soon when I will become separated from my haunted homeowning friends as their lives will be beginning a new chapter in a new location. (Today, 03/26/20, I received the wonderful news that my friends decided not to sell their home.) And, while I was in the process of saying that goodbye, in the spirit of such a wonderful night, I thought the time was appropriate for me to also say another goodbye that a poet’s heart feels should be said.
As has so often been the case in my life, whenever I’m served a plate of joy, it usually is also served with a side dish of bittered palatability. Life has to make sure everything is always tempered, just so. Little did I know, while I stood in elation in a home that is supposed to have a mean ghost as a resident, my wonderful weekend was already unknowingly in the process of being undermined because I had chosen to say an additional goodbye on the very weekend when it should have been said (by the law of averages.) Instead, for the second time in my life, I was reminded of what my role in this cosmos really is, regardless of whether or not I were to ever try and resist said role.
There is pain in loss. There is greater pain in parting ways when a final act of intended kindness is taken to be cause for eternal separation on the worst of terms. But, therein lies the very definition of my life. I don’t deal in lies. The lies that have existed in my life I have long since stared down in the face so that they have been dealt with; they can no longer linger as falsehoods. One of the reasons I am so unpopular socially is because of what I do. I go and stare tales square in the face, and I try to determine what their truth values are. Where some others spout devout sayings in terms of magic charms instead of thoughtful character, or who portend to lead the good life, while they bask in reassurance of shortsightedness, I walk into a poltergeist’s lair by myself and tell it to give me its best shot. My challenge to ghost hunting goes far beyond just ghosts. It has an extension, and it goes from ghost hunting across all avenues of life. A person can call themself a ghost hunter and take a bunch of electronics into a house and role play, call what they have done science, and then leave in unchecked confidence. The same pattern applies to those who can’t stand or don’t have anything to do with ghost hunting. I stated this previous sentence in a specific way so that some other individuals I have met are not so easily let off the hook and are reminded of the fact that they are no different than ghost hunters. Many individuals are simply the ghost hunters of whatever their domain may be. You can go into a profession on a daily basis, but instead of being cloaked in electronics, you may be cloaked in other non-electronic devices while they only serve a cosmetic purpose so that you are enabled to work towards accomplishing your end aim. And, my bet would be that the end aim often deals with a deck of cards that is stacked with ‘a priori’ determined outcomes instead of being altruistic and truth seeking in nature, no matter the cost. You see, whether ghost hunter, whether business person, etc., the patterns of role playing stay constant. There is an even bigger message at play, here. While standing in my own element by myself in a haunted home, and while standing in opposition to a ghost while daring it to make itself known in the name of science, I stared down something much more frightening than a poltergeist fourteen days ago.
I stared down a lie.