ᵀᴴᴱ BLUE GNAT: ᴼᵁᴿ HUMAN BELIEF ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ FLY ᴼᴺ ᵀᴴᴱ WALL

On the matter of fearing the dark and monsters, is it some definitive realisation that monsters do not exist, that allows a child to sleep soundly? We assure our children that there are no monsters to be afraid of, then we make sure the doors and windows are locked before retiring to our own beds. Where we sleep with the understanding, that there are certain things that must be done if there is a sound in the night. The truth is, what the child fears, pales in comparison to what truly exists in virtually every corner of the earth. So which of the beliefs would you call, ‘inaccurate’? The child who believes in monsters, or the adult who believes a locked door will keep their family safe? Belief will most definitively implicate the way you live your life, how you interpret the world, but ultimately, belief alone will not determine your fate.

Human belief is almost a living thing, a perspective shaped and forged throughout our lifetimes. What you thought you knew in the beginning may have changed, what you believe now may not be what you believe at the end. Could a singular anomalous experience change what you think you know about the world you inhabit?

On the 28th of August, 2019, I began correspondence with a fascinating individual identified as Blaine Thompson, The Perinormalist and ‘The Blue Gnat’. Blaine possesses a rare combination of empirically scientific integrity eternally at odds with a life’s pursuit of attaining answers to some of the oldest questions to ever haunt human contemplation. Blaine is what I call a ‘Seeker’, in this regard. An individual of a very rare and specific mindset, grounded in reality yet seeking to know what the very same reality obscures from perception. When Blaine ceased writing publicly I was fortunate enough to continue discourse with him and exchange a great many ideas and perspectives surrounding a multitude of topics pertaining to what can only be described as the unknown.

During the back and forth, we had discussed the notion that a great many individuals aren’t entirely aware of what they truly believe at all. Regarding certain aspects of the human experience, there are lots of things (i.e. superstition, religion, higher emotions, folklore etc) that many countless individuals, due to their own experience (or lack of), may or may not believe to be legitimate. So what might someone discover about themselves and the world (they believe to be) around them when they take that great introspective journey and wade through the waters of their mind’s eye in search of that unencumbered clarity?

When ‘The Blue Gnat’ agreed to embark upon such a journey, I asked if I could share the result of the experiment here. Having spoken with Blaine now for 2 years 5 months and 12 days, I can attest that the answer has not yet revealed itself, perhaps it never will. But there are more questions. Many more.

ᴼᵁᴿ HUMAN BELIEF ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ FLY ᴼᴺ ᵀᴴᴱ WALL


There’s an enigmatic third joker that exists within the deck of cards that we experience as our social web. Reprehensively, I have crossed paths with it with such a cyclicity, now, that I treat it with much less of a sense of humor than I once did. The playful tip of the hat acknowledgement of its presence, has now more given way to my seeing it maybe more as pathogen than that of a grin inducing nod toward its mischievous inherency. At this point, I have observed this specific psychology in action on multiple occasions, a truth which has been compounded by the sentimentality draped around the circumstances. The device becomes all the more effective when the observing stooge has his heart invested in the human agent. I am referring to a practice whereby lip service is given to public presentation, in which an individual claims to espouse certain ideals and values. However, if one has the chosen affordment of dealing directly with this many faced actor, and if they bask in the persona of the sycophant when the act is posed away from the stage of public proclamation, where there is no concealment, they then find out that there is a rife abundance of contradiction contained within the slanted actions of this oft cloned theatrical Montebank.

As a result of this ensnarement, what follows is that eventual reunion takes place on the public platform, where numerous others are now also gathered in conjunction along with the actor’s participation. It is in this moment that the observer, who considers themself to be a pseudo- representative of some semblance of an imagined virtue (more specifically, referring to me), feels a welling of undigestability in their throat when they see the projection of what is unmistakably a conjured front. The reaction is involuntary, as much as it is conscious, but leaves me tempted to almost think it more autonomic in its nature. The ease with which I have seen it performed is disconcerting. When one feels compelled to see life with untainted clarity, their hand is the one that becomes extended with a determined finger pointing at the large mammal in the room that is the only one possessing a large trunk for a nose. To make matters worse, our seemingly oblivious circus hand with the agaped look of awe, feels compelled to not only walk up to the magnificent creature, but to also walk about it, as well, studiously asking numerous logic based questions with exhausting simultaneity.

This precocious seer knows that the more genuine representation of the trunked performer has been revealed when the now numerous observers were not present before, unlike when they are all partaking of the same space now. Consequently, if the chosen guardian of sincerity chooses to speak up while this individual of cunning is presenting themself in full character (with now additional witnesses serving as an audience), for the audience to be considered respectful they are expected to play along, even while knowing the façade is bathed in, well, farce. Herein is where the trap becomes all the more intriguing. The ingenuity of the ploy makes the morally upright squealer, who is supposedly standing guard, instead, look like the menacing viper in the room that should be ostracized. Social convention bows to the expectation that no blunt and direct words of confrontation are in order. Yes, we know that banter is a normal thing in politics and on television, that people clashingly disagree on a regular basis, and that communal interaction regularly means cohorts discussing how they really feel about someone when said person of controversy is out of the room. It is in this way that perfunctory protocol is enabled, and the performance of life may continue on the stage while the public is gathered, with error correction being built in by the private conversations held in small groups away from the main platform. In everyday social settings, there can be an expectation of more reserve and decorum, if for no other reason, than for the sake of keeping communal order and sanity.

As a way of introducing myself, I may now say that I am the guy who came from the factory with defects. Rather contradictingly, when the crowd is gathered, it is that occasion when I feel most compelled to perform Sherlockian analysis. Does this fact mean that I rudely blurt out my opinions and ruin interaction with good company? No, it most certainly does not, as has historically been the case, and instead, I’m usually considered to be the least spoken person in the room. But, the illustration that remains is that even though I may not always overtly say what is on my mind, deep down, I’m believing that it needs to be said. As a result, a reader now somewhat becomes introduced to my life, for better or for worse, as it pertains to not only a discussion about considering the paranormal when weighed against science, but as well as in the social universe to which I am confined.

So, where did my journey really begin? Based on the specific and limited amount of writings that I have made available to the public, thus far, there may be the assumption that I have had a biased opposition to there being any seriousness with which paranormal claims should be taken. The few readers who have seen my words may feel that I am not sympathetic to belief, and that I am aligned with a resolve to relegating matters of belief to a dungeon of confinement that is constructed from stones of primitivity. The assumption may be that, philosophically, I follow the same paths as some of the brilliant science educators who have served on the public stage through media appearances with addresses to the public. I knew when I penned my first words of opinion on science and the paranormal, that these conclusions would be reached, because they had already happened to a journalistic mentor of mine before me. Because this mentor had such an adroit disposition as a thoughtful polymath, and because he was so gifted in communicating his assessment of logic towards any particular topic of his choice, it could easily be opined by the many that his commitment to a scientific understanding of our existence would preclude any of his own entertainment of any notion that involved belief of any sort. This thoughtful influence of mine was Martin Gardner, and before I become the cause for any misrepresentation of his own outlooks on science, philosophy, pseudoscience, literature, math, the paranormal, etc., I will quickly say that I do not always share the same opinions with him, nor am I anywhere near on the same intellectual par, as was Martin Gardner. I am simply calling upon his inspiration in this written submission, and I bear no endorsement from him or his laudable accomplishments. Like Gardner did in so many articles, I am only trying to put together my version of a written conglomeration in the way that he did, and I am eternally grateful that his written thoughts and example have been left behind permanently after his passing.

Gardner voiced his opinions on so many topics, while also having written a column for Scientific American for over two decades. He received mail from readers on a regular basis, some of whom challenged him on grounds of where they thought he must fall in terms of opinion, when in fact, they were challenging him on assumptions that were faulty. Some of the subjective assessments applied to him were simply not correct. There were those letter writers who wrote from a confidence that they must be certain of the platform from which he must assuredly be opining regarding his stances on certain topics. Here, on this blog, I have been given the opportunity to give a bit more of an insight as to where I, myself, am coming from, although I will try to keep it from being too overly revelatory. The main focus of this piece is still birthed in unison with a support for inquiry where finding data driven answers are as objectively formulated as they may be culled from good evidence.

If one reads the early pages in my book, “From Pieces to Poe,” they will learn about the traditional upbringing that I hail from, which is one from which I have never departed. Additionally, they will find out the mark that the passing of my grandparents left upon my life. Having to watch their suffering, and their succumbing to the ravages of cancer three years apart from one another, forever changed me and set my path before me. My questions about this marvelous cosmos that we inhabit emanated from a pain and emptiness from loss that exponentially complicated an already prior interest of an innate yearning to know. I never could have dreamed just where these aching questions would ultimately take me. I have learned more than I ever would have had I not taken the road less traveled, and yet, as one who was, in years past, so confident in the understanding that science has given humankind up to its current point in its history, I now find myself continually conceding deference to the fact that I know vastly less than what my assurance in the empirical process had ever given me in the fore. My venture is humanely driven, which is why I have made it a point to perpetually point back to the loss of my grandparents, so that it is always known that I am completely human in this enterprise. When it comes to discussion about belief, and philosophical and theological reckoning, I have always wanted to conduct myself with the most human of respect as can be shown. If this especially suited goal of mine is not achieved, then nothing else matters, and any scholastic efforts would drown from such a shortcoming of unwanted dissolution.

Therefore, the question becomes begged, why may have my writings sounded to be abrasive towards the topic of ghosts, and perhaps the entire spectrum that the paranormal covers? Well, let us hope that they may only sound abrasive, and in the words contained herein, I would very much like to dispel any notion that they have been meant to be abrasive. I will make every effort, here, to try and directly reference the questions that I have posed, as appearances can be quite deceiving, which is a very pertinent fact in my life’s game. I have spent the last twenty years of my life trying to dissect matters of asking what is true in regard to some of the biggest questions that we may all ask? Yes, some of my written words have been pointed, but certainly not because I am anti-belief, because I am against any possibility of ghosts existing, because I am not sympathetic to supernatural proposition, or because I am cynical or mean-spirited. There are few things I detest more than cynicism, as for some reason I cannot seem to share a room with it. What a reader must understand, in order to accurately grasp what I am trying to accomplish, is to understand that my efforts in writing about ghosts have been incredibly concentrated and very zoomed in. It is when one zooms out that they find that my more understanding outlook concerning the overall involves quite a bit of the traditional, mixed in with a romantic appreciation, which stems from a humble reverence for the grand pageant in which we are all a part.

But, no, what I have done in a more concentrated form, is to really make a go at splitting hairs over evidence that has been presented to the public. I have tried to hold that evidence to scientific standards, as best I know how, as well as measuring it against the application of logic when evaluating against reality as we seem to experience it on a daily basis. As a result, I’m always left asking any reader to consider this side notation of mine so that they are not left assuming that I am a debunker in my own personal nature. The term, “debunking,” can easily imply that there is a bias from the get-go, that will be allowed to carry over into investigation. I am here to adamantly say that such is not the case, and I have always intentionally bypassed any use of the term, “debunk.” I’m interested in objective answers, regardless of where they may really fall on the spectrum. What is important is not to fall for something purported to be true, when in fact, deeper research may mean finding a totally different revelation that is contrary to that which has been proposed. When dealing with evidence, I look to steer clear of bias, and to cling to sensibility. What one will also hear me saying is that if there is not enough data to satisfactorily address a noted event, to date, then we simply have to look for and/or wait for more data until the gaps can be filled in by good information, and not by that of conjecture.

Also, in stepping back from performing pointed analysis, I enjoy this whole over arching discussion about mystery as much as anyone, and within the context of my own predominant views. I have no problem delineating the contrast in that when I am looking at evidence, I am attempting to do so with the best methods that I have been able to learn from those individuals who, I feel, are the most qualified to speak to the subject based on their repertoires. But, independent of the rigor of critical assessment, once a more personal appraisal can be discussed, I can then speak with less reserve and from the heart, which often means my meekishly offering an, “I don’t know, but out of respect, I can wish,” form of a salutation. I think wishing should be allowed in a universe that is this marvelously constructed, regardless of whether one believes it to be constructed ultimately by a Designer, or by physical laws alone.

If I am willing to pardon this goodwill towards the ghost story, then why the need for such rigorous investigation in its measure? Why expend so much effort in taking the way an event is described, and then giving it a critique via unbridled reduction, when a ghostly explanation is so much more enjoyable for human nature? There was a time that one of my answers would have immediately involved that of an address about the welfare of the public. I really do not think it fair for the public to be told that things are a certain way, when, in fact, they may clearly be another, wherever cognizant reduction is applied. However, even though this retort is still a definite part of my answer, over time, I have learned that ultimately, I can only represent my own conviction as an individual, and that even an effort as noble as wanting to keep someone from being duped or misled can be met with resistance. But, in my case alone, I simply do not want to settle for false truth. I would love to see the evidence that assures me that my grandparents still exist in another realm outside of the physical one in which we reside. As much as that hope would pervade, I still am not willing to settle for contrived evidence in order to make the case, nor do I want to offend the beauty of the belief of faith, where there is already offered assurance that in the distance, there is a non-empirical hope that is supposed to be more real than we can imaginably know. And, of course, the absence of proof in the here-and-now, and in contemplations of thought experiments, do not, in and of themselves, mean that an afterlife does not exist. The twenty-first century society is incredibly educated, and it has that segment of its membership that winces at the idea of mentioning the possibility of an actual afterlife. After all, they have aptly ingested their science classes, as well as the popular promulgation of encouraged thinking that stresses the importance of enlightenment. However, what they may not necessarily know is that there is already a template for ascribing a tinge of the rational when discussing the possibility of an afterlife within the framework of a more substantive lingo, which can be discussed as a hypothetical, albeit a hypothetical only. This consideration can take place based on some speculative approaches towards a neuroscientific understanding of the brain, consciousness, and what happens when a person is technically deceased, but then revived.

I’m not meaning to sound preposterous here, as I inevitably would to someone of such respected advocacy of educational responsibility, like a Dr. Steven Novella, or by those who are of a like mind in the neuroscience and medical fields (or any other fields for that matter.) I certainly cannot say there is scientific proof of an afterlife. But, I would follow this previous sentence by including a very emphasized, “not, yet.” If a neuroscientific model such as the Orchestrated Objective Reality proposal ever proves itself as a candidate for explaining consciousness against quantum mechanics, or is in part correct, or some comparable version of it stands on its own or opens the door to a quantum understanding of the brain, then all of a sudden, we are sailing in some different waters. I’m not saying that the propositions of Orch OR automatically confirm an afterlife, for that is not the point of referencing its existence. It merely begins an attempt at putting forth a physics based explanation on how maybe consciousness could be at work in the human brain. I’m simply saying that if the model were to be true to some degree, then there could potentially be some interesting side discussions that would be resultant when stepping back and conducting a discussion regarding philosophical implications. And, furthermore, if it should ever be determined that matter really is a derivative of consciousness, as hard as that concept may be for many of us to wrap our heads around, and if near death studies were to accumulate more impressive and firmer data than what exists now, then we would already have a way in which we could fathom the reality of what we might call an, “afterlife,” within the boundaries of a more substantively based dialogue. It would be at such an introduction of these points where scoffers would accuse me of being the one sympathetic to pseudoscience here, even though I have just stated that my comments are not rooted in, as of yet, established science. However, what I have learned in my two decade endeavor of thinking about the big questions is that it is a mistake to dismiss some ideas too quickly, because what is not science today, may very well be established science once enough tomorrows have passed. I have embraced the re-realization that this universe is immensely amazing, and though I do not intend to overhype hypotheticals so as to irresponsibly or prematurely escalate them as having passed all the needed tests at this stage, I also do not intend to be so closed minded as to overlook any evidence that should warrant further study. To the contrary, I am spending my own time looking into the examples I have cited in this paragraph, because, especially in the case of the Orch OR model, I most definitely think that there is something to be found. In fact, I’m stating my public endorsement of the work proposed by Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, as well as of those researchers who have opted to explore further into the propositions of the Orch OR model about a quantum based approach to consciousness. I thoroughly believe that the Orch OR model is in imperative need of being pursued, and that possibly it, or some variant, will help to lay necessary foundations and help to set science on a course for unlocking the amazement of consciousness in its operation.

All the same, in the way that I see reality, and in the way that I most prefer to engage it, I also see peril in buying into misinterpreted or misrepresented data. This caution label is still attached with me, even if skewed data might be more comforting to buy into if it would assure me that I could assume my deceased loved ones still exist somewhere else. In my book that I cited earlier, I spend a brief amount of time giving attention to some of the conundrums that can exist within this take on this investigative journey, because what if a piece of evidence, regardless of its merit, does give someone comfort? Do I want to take that comfort away? I really do not, as life can be hard enough as it already is. And, what I want to definitively say in my present words, if I were to get no other point across, is that I would never, ever want to be the reason that anyone decided to not believe in something. I would never want to take away a person’s trust in there being something more to our being, and I would find it to be horrific if anything I have ever written would foster any such outcome. It is just that for me, as a lone psyche, I simply cannot be satisfied with embellishment. My passion is to understand reality as it is, and not the way that I would prefer it to be.

My mother and father are in their mid-eighties now, and sometimes our conversations are interrupted by moments when the coldness of real life catches up with us, when we have to acknowledge the dreaded imposition of mortality. We are reminded to never take a single day for granted, and I try diligently not to do so. The memory of my grandparents keeps me vigilant in making sure that I do not leave anything unsaid with my parents. Nothing garners greater significance in my life than communicating to my parents that their value to me is that of the utmost. Loss teaches us not only to relish those who have departed, but to also never take for granted those who remain behind with us. Loss should encourage us to make sure that the remaining know of their personal significance within our affinities.

What enables the undergirded interaction with my parents is the tradition by which they and I have all chosen to adhere to for establishing a baseline by which we can find common footing. Martin Gardner, in some of the errant accusations that were directed at him, was judged, and understandably, by many to be an atheist. At least one individual who even knew him for years had drawn the same conclusion, but simply did so based on how Gardner broke things out rationally, as if perhaps to make himself sound like the world’s most staunch materialist. Yet, the reality was that Martin Gardner was not an atheist. Although he did leave the church, his belief in God remained with him throughout his life. Gardner called himself a philosophical theist, along with the additional tagging of calling himself a, “fideist.” In consistent form, he explained how he arrived at his decisions and belief, while also not excusing his own views from logic. Unlike Gardner, I have never left the church. Thus, I am left with having to justify a sympathetic appreciation for a more specific system of belief, and over time, for lack of any better description, I have come to refer to myself as a quantum subjectivist within the context of my own affiliated denomination. The moniker is merely a fancy way of taking conjecture from some unbridled discussions derived from the philosophical far side of quantum mechanics, while blending them with the philosophical school of subjectivism, all the while being framed against the Synoptic, Johannine, and Pauline writ. Wow, were you able to get all of that in one reading? But, how do these previous words serve as any illustration when alluding to my taking the time to speak a bit to my also having a healthy admiration for the subjective? Do I then still sound like the skeptically minded magician? Perhaps Gardner did not in some cases, nor do I, in some cases, and I really think it more satisfyingly balanced to say that I am actually glad that I do not sound to be the curmudgeon magician, all of the time.

When discussing belief, and the immense beauty that I find within it, the greatest hurdles for me have never had anything to do with the commonly cited list of logical gymnastics, crisis of doubt, theology, ontology, teleology, correspondence/coherence theory, human suffering, etc. What has served as the greatest academic impediment for me is the fact that some of my deepest remembrances have resulted from injurious misrepresentation by others over the ideals on which the faith is founded. Countless other individuals have issued the same citations in protest, but I am speaking in somewhat of a different way that is more logic based and not wrapped up in any juvenile focus over hypocrisy. My question becomes, how am I able to speak rationally to the irrational behavior by which I have been on the receiving end, delivered by some individuals who identify themselves readily with faith. These personal incidents have been highlighted and indelibly imprinted upon me by persons who claim to attribute their life foundations to faith persuasions, and yet, I could easily sit here and type in elaboration, with specific examples, as to just how calloused and ruthless they can be while giving themselves the total laterality for doing so. Remorse is not in their makeup. Since these individuals, of their own volition, have professed their religious affiliations, I always took assumption as to the code of ethics by which they would more than likely conduct themselves, even though the mini-magician in me knows better. I always engaged these specific individuals on the grounds of fairness due to my socially based grandeur, because of their public correlation with these belief systems. I expected that fairness was always the background by which they would police themselves, and that, in turn, I would also honor my respect for them through imparting fairness through my own action. In stark contrast, I came to experience an unforgettable unfairness that falls outside any rational application or thoughtful rumination having to do with any faith based set of behaviors. I was appallingly reminded of why I have always known to read persons through the eyes of magicians, because to not do so, is to always miss what is really underneath. It is this one core factor of thoughtless malfeasance which has made it so difficult for me to continue to try and execute a sensible dialogue when speaking to theological application to life. Logically speaking, these kinds of actions leave me in a, “does not compute,” mode, whereby I can no longer seem to even make an attempt at any intelligible address. After enduring these very key and life forming experiences, while always having tried to make sense of these contradictions, I have been left dumbfounded how individuals can lead such dual lives, where they can follow the rules of the streets when they so fit them, while their professed belief dangles as no more than a mere magic charm to be worn around their neck and invoked when needed. I am bewildered and left wondering if I can ever take part again in a discussion that I sentimentally miss, because of the aesthetics that it contains, but a discussion that also begs so much elucidation from the minds of the self-serving. My own mind grinds into a state of wheel lock where there has to be any consideration of professed believers defaming such a beautiful belief by retaining a theological narrative through which there is absolutely no application. More simply put, why bother proclaiming an ideology that implies standards, when their regard for most individuals should instead be considered as ambassadorship for sociopathy over that of any theistically acquainted God?

But, what is more important to note is that it is not the faith, itself, that is tarnished, in these instances, nor are the many individuals who do practice faith so nobly. I have certainly never lost my respect for the faith tradition or the individuals who represent it with such admirable devotion. No, I am simply left clueless by narcissists who identify themselves with a faith, and yet seem to represent everything that is the exacting opposite of its wonder. But, what the truly faithful know is that if there is any value to the faith, at all, then it is up to the individual to live up to its standard of fairness, regardless of whether anyone else chooses to return it in kind. It is in cases like the ones I referenced above where I am left to admit cognitively that the dream of life may always, at any time, be disrupted, the interruption though which we are awakened by that which is supposed to be good, and yet, humans are even able to find a way to stain the good with bad. But, whether faith or no, whether belief or no, whether ghosts or no, everything takes place within that context in which we must ante up to relegation in the acknowledgment of what we must recognize as the condition known as, “real life.”

Where this realistic admission has not been under appreciated by me is because of the fact that there is that part of me that has, unfortunately, seen itself forced into a jaded rationalist’s corner. In my appreciation for paradox, I know the danger of living on the only one side of the coin, which is that of the skeptical magician. There must be some sort of equilibrium brought about by temperance. The narrative on where I have found my footing for fairness extols the value of story when it is interjected into the thoughts of the pondering human mind. Story acts as a software patch through which one may choose to tend to vulnerable code. Were it not for the written illustration of Dark versus Light, perhaps I would entirely forget to pursue the Light in its stage given depiction with pre-Shakespearean performance. Does a heroic version of Dark really defeat an evil version of Dark? My hunch is that the Dark, of all varieties and persuasions, can only be trumped in the name of goodness by that of Light as consummate victor. Therefore, I choose to allow the infusion of storied goodness to keep me mindful of what it is that I do not want to become. The Dark protagonist may easily be every bit as heinous in motivation as is the Dark antagonist. Precipitously, there are more days when the Dark protagonist wins over that of the Light in my own life, for resignation always seems to carry with it a rationalized defeat that excuses anger and resentment. Ultimately, one has to ask what faith really means, because without clarity of definition, its introduced elixir as an inoculate into life may also potentially inject more dissonance into an already clouded reality.

In keeping with Gardner’s example, I try to hold myself to the logical side of any form of sought after elucidation from the world we inhabit when concerning thought based analysis. In matters of belief, while also admitting that there is no way for me to empirically document as to why I would hold any such sympathies, there is still that exposition that exists for justifying its welcome to the world in which I live. As humans, we cannot live an entirely unsubjective life. If we could, we would forego a multitude of amazing art works and songs. Hopefully, the revelation that I have sympathy towards belief allows the believer in ghosts to know that I am not trying to bash any surmising that ghosts exist, or any other form of beliefs, for that matter. I do, indeed, still have an inexpressibly high favor for the subjective. Therefore, it does lend me a consoling comfort that my parents and I can interact and share on a common plane, and the concept of theological structure gives us an anesthetic view on how to cope with a dreaded separation that physical reality says must come. I rue the processing of such a difficult predicament with which we must all deal in the human condition. I have felt enough loss to know that I do not want to have to endure it again.

But, in contrast, what about my emphasis on the objective? How did I go from being fourteen years of age, to pondering the cruelty of mortality, to pondering the meaning of life and its deepest questions, to eventually spending time, of all places, in haunted houses? There is a tradition that I am happy to have found, because it is this very inheritance that directly relates to why I typed up above that I have gained an education that I never would have otherwise procured. Magicians have offered so much more to the world than simply pleasing us with smile inducing tricks. They are quite an educated lot, and it takes a well rounded education to really represent the art in an impressive fashion. When it comes to their having spoken to matters of ghosts and investigation into the claimed existence of ghosts, they have brought with them an ever applicable skill set that must never be taken for granted. They need to be involved in this discussion so they can assist in providing some of the best reasoned offerings in the way of explaining hauntings, where they can most successfully be. Before I go into crediting some of the magicians who have been indirect teachers of mine (although a couple who are unlisted have been direct), I will first offer a little back history that best sets up their introduction. Magicians bring to the table a knowledge of human psychology, the history of the occult, the practice of role playing within an occultism setting, and then, of course, how to accomplish fakery. These aspects add to the versatility that is needed for observing a purportedly haunted environment, while seeking to not pronounce a haunting valid before it may be due any such a consecration.

Tim Prasil, professor of English at Oklahoma State University (brombonesbooks.com), has done a wonderful job at encapsulating the ensemble of the tradition onto which I stumbled years ago. I am first referring back to the Victorian Era, and as Prasil reminds us, if we start in the year 1800 and move forward, there is a line of demarcation that occurs in the world of thought on ghosts in that century. This line occurs around the year 1840. Prior to this year, there were skeptical efforts at dismissing ghosts with educated and, “scientific,” flair. John Alderson, John Ferriar, and Samuel Hibbert, were three of the intellects who proposed to have naturalistic explanations on how to explain away ghosts. And, Joseph Taylor put together a written work that reminded society that ration ought to be applied to the idea of ghosts in effort to escape the temptation to bow to superstition.

When there began to be a shift to not only a formal contemplation about the possibility of ghosts being evaluated among the educated, but to also pondering the question on scientific grounds, perhaps it makes sense that Cambridge University became a spearhead for the movement. There, the “Ghost Club,” originated, where like-minded thinkers could congregate and hold interchanges about ghosts in an academic setting, and the Society for Psychical Research also came to fruition in the midst of this Renaissance in regards to ghosts. Names such as Henry Sidgwick (economics), William Barrett and Oliver Lodge (physics), William Crookes (chemistry), Edmund Gurney, and William James (psychology), were all prominent members. I won’t recapture the full history here, as Dr. Prasil has already provided this fantastic overview in book form, but for the reader who may be interested in a more detailed account of the early efforts by the SPR should most definitely read Deborah Blum’s book entitled, “Ghost Hunters.”

In this Victorian foray, what is also interesting to note is the representation of writers accounted for in the sport of ghost chasing, along with their accompanying academicians and scientists. This inclusion captures my attention, because as much as I want to be an investigator, realistically speaking, when it comes to ghosts, I can only really regard myself as a written opinionist, and no more. Frank Podmore, the English author, wrote some critically viable appraisals of Spiritualistic sittings. Catherine Crowe, also a writer of the time, advanced the idea that ghosts could be put to the test on grounds of science. Joseph McCabe, the free-thinker writer and former priest, also took Spiritualism to task in the 1920s, and he was critical of the views held by Arthur Conan Doyle and William Crookes. Two other literary names of note, who took part in this tackling of the topic of ghosts included Charles Dickens, and the just mentioned debater of Joseph McCabe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Additional history of interest during this time, and in this paramount discussion, involved that of the exchange between Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle. And, it is with the introduction of this pair and their exchange about Spiritualism that I can now segue into the world of magicians, the afterlife, and critical thinking.

It was because of the advent and popularity of Spiritualism, and proclaimed communication with the departed in the Victorian Era, that gave magicians an important and valued voice in this esoteric part of history. Seances and medium trances were supposed to be channels of demonstrating the authenticity of spirit contact, which gave magicians tangible transpirations to monitor and to observe, and to explain. There became a wonderful cadre of colorful personalities that joined these pursuits, and history records the conclusions that they reached in their insights.

John Nevil Maskelyne, the London based magician and great of the stage, also helped to expose some of the problems native to Spiritualist practices. Hereward Carrington did the same, but Carrington also held on to some pseudoscientific predilections, and did not find himself as far along on the spectrum of stolid and committed skepticism as were some other magicians. Henry Ridgely Evans was a knowledgeable historian of magic who wrote books that helped to explain the actuals behind some of the spectacles of the Spiritualist performers. Julien Proskauer addressed the matter of Spiritualism, as well, and Joseph Rinn was an ardently skeptical magician, discouraging any falling for the assumption that any contact with the deceased had ever been demonstrated. Joseph Dunninger, who is a great influence of mine, spent a great deal of time addressing the discussion over psi based claims, and a magician here in my hometown was kind enough to impart to me an item documenting Dunninger’s magical act so I could have it as a keepsake. Dunninger passed away in 1975, and Milbourne Christopher, another influence of mine, wrote books that educate us on how to think about evaluating fantastic feats when it comes to supposedly making contact with the other side. Christopher passed away in 1984, and was a true scholar of magic, and like Dunninger, had as much authority to speak on Spiritualism’s performance art as anyone. But, as influential as these gentlemen have all been in my pursuit of what the final word is on ghosts, sometimes I think about how much I have in common with Fulton Oursler. After being the agnostic and skeptical magician for years, later in life, Oursler found room in his life for Catholicism, and he wound up writing some particular books that perhaps betrayed philosophical developments that were to come later in his life. Maybe the cautious and wary magician came full circle from his original upbringing. Some might say that I have come to sound more like Oursler than the other magicians I credit most for having been my influences, including Gardner. I’m not even sure I understand this observation myself. But, I think this admission may have more to do with the fact that going out into the field simply taught me not to take anything for granted. A couple of situations that I encountered showed me how life can easily show us just how smart we are not. We go to investigate to see how things are, and not how we assume that they ought to be.

It was the introduction to the kind of work that these gentlemen of wizardry conducted, which became the foundation for my Sherlock Holmes, “wannabe,” status, and that is still amply applied by me during the creation of this blog entry. Of course, there are other names from magic I could mention. But, in moving forward through the Victorian Era up to the middle part of the twentieth century, that is when we can pick up the setting of the stage for me to eventually run across the work of one Martin Gardner. Persi Diaconis, another magician influence of mine, writes of his days as a youth while going to the Cafeteria on 42nd Street in New York. Diaconis is a magician and a wonder with cards, he observed how Ted Serios was able to accomplish his psychic photography through trickery, and he is a math professor at Stanford University. He recalls how magicians would gather at 42nd Street on weekends and demonstrate and talk about magic, among other things. One of those magic enthusiasts was Martin Gardner, the exceptionally gifted thinker who taught me how I should reason my way through any and all areas of interest that I may have. Gardner, and Ray Smullyan, yet another magician and a mathematician who taught at Indiana University, have both served as Master Instructors for me when considering how to think my way through this great mystery we call life.

As much as I have learned from Skeptics (capital S in reference to nationally and globally known commentators), and as much as I have them to thank for my progression along this self-chosen path, I hold many views with which they would disagree, which is more than fine. We all have to work our way through the labyrinth and try to estimate reality as best we can through observation and experience. My own skepticism has been slightly altered over the past couple of years, but not in any negligent sort of way. The beauty of science is that you wait for new data, and when that data comes, if it is good and solid data, then adjustments are made accordingly. I have had my own new data come in, and I have, indeed, had some things very wrong in the past. I used to feel that anomalies were either simply a result of the way events were filtered and processed, or that they were simply statistical in nature. But, now, I am not such the skeptic that I dismiss the presence of outright anomalies. I have come to believe that the cosmos is more bizarre than I ever could have imagined, but when I type the word, “bizarre,” I do so as a synonym for its compatriot in the word of, “beauty.” Genuine anomalies are a good thing, because they mean there are additional answers that need to be pursued in order to construct a more complete understanding of our cosmos. They mean that there is more data that needs to be collected. In other words, I simply believe in going and testing, which is why I jovially call myself a perinormalist, and not a paranormalist.

In some of the modified opinions that I have changed in recent months, such tweaks have not been egregious by way of rush to judgment. Basically, I have simply come to reiterate what I said from the very start. Rather than sitting back in armchair skeptic fashion, I sincerely cling to the conviction that claims should be tested. Of course, where financial resources or brilliant minds might have to be allocated towards such study, then there may need to be ample assurance that there is valid reason for taking the time to test. Wasted resources would be a travesty, and wallowing in pseudoscience would equally be, as well. But, where there is good evidence for suggesting so, I don’t think the proper spirit of science is to dismiss something, a priori, if there may be grounds for taking a closer look. In my own microcosmic and insignificant little world, I have done everything from having a psychic to sketch my, “soulmate,” to watching ghost hunters in action, to staying the night alone in a home that is supposed to have a poltergeist, to taking part in a watch party for a haunted house that was featured on the Travel Channel, etc. I’m continually giving the paranormalist every chance to make their case. If there is anything to be found in paranormal consideration, however minuscule, then I would prefer to find it, versus skipping it in advance and reasoning that it cannot exist. But, thus far, I cannot say as I have had the pleasure of encountering a ghost.

As a result of this one main disappointing fact, it is now where we may reduce the last twenty years of my life, which comes down to a discussion about the philosophy of science. Writer, comedienne, and podcaster, Carrie Poppy, gave an informative TED Talk that is viewable on YouTube. In the presentation, she talks about how she wound up making contact with a skeptically based group that assists people with claimed haunt phenomena. Her individual case was one where there was definitely something going on at her residence, but after connecting with the right investigators, she wound up learning that she had been the victim of a carbon monoxide buildup at her home, versus that of any malevolent ghost. And, she winds up giving an affable close to her talk after speaking to how, we, the collective populus, live our lives with both objective and subjective experiences. In between, she works in a line in regard to the Resurrection by saying, “Well,…” My reaction to her caveat was to think about the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr., in which Sherlock Holmes is faced head on with the prospective case of a rising dead man. The Resurrection will obviously always serve as an inviting target for Skeptics, so for the sake of initiating a dialogue over the philosophy of science, which is something I have been doing full-on in recent months, my choosing to play the part of aggravator, for the sake of discussion, in response to Carrie’s sidebar would be as follows. Until a few months ago, I did not give a single odd of favorability to there being credible UAP footage caught on sophisticated radars and cameras. Of course, some of the Skeptics who have been mentors to me would fault me right away on making any leaping assumptions about UAP footage and the potential vulnerabilities of even high tech cameras, but I do not feel that I am leaping. When considering the collective body of evidence surrounding these UAP claims, with radar and testimony being considered along with video footage, my belief is that there is something there entirely worthy of study. And, the greater point I am making here is that we can become overconfident in how we think the universe functions, and in how, by default, we think it fundamentally is in its operation. My whole aim for ever having gone out into the field was to see how the universe really runs, because at my house, there were never any bumps in the night, there were no unexplained voices, and there were never any apparitions. I lived in an environment that I needed to escape from if I was really going to put things to the test. Here, I am hailing what I believe to be the task of good science, which is to go and to explore, and to not sit back. There is a reason I admire Professor Avi Loeb for having taken the position that he has when considering the nature of scientific inquiry. In the year 2021, there were aspects of my prior skepticism by which I became embarrassed. Although I was only trying to use logic and a reliable measuring stick for taking the stances that I did, there was also a time in my past when I emphasized imaginative problem solving, with no biased prevalence to dismissal by default. Had I sat back and missed these last two years of my own experience, I would still be stuck in a Cartesian-Newtonian version of a world only.

What would be wrong with that, especially since I am a fan of the work of both Descartes and Newton? Well, nothing, if that is where the story really ends. But, I’m convinced without doubt, that as far as science is concerned, there is so much more to be learned that is going to shake some of the very foundations on which my teachings at the University were based. There is much more to come, and regrettably, the classroom may be one of the last places to catch up because of certain attitudes that have dominated the scientific landscape. Yes, science has to be conservative by nature, because it cannot go around allowing all proposed ideas to walk through its doors if the necessary rigors have not been met. However, it also cannot thrive if it rejects important evidence, and I thoroughly believe that the indicators are there where science will come to reveal that what we would have considered stranger than fiction to actually be more real than what we ever knew.

Bias can hurt science in either direction. Science definitely suffers with the admission of any quackery within its boundaries, but it also becomes maimed if it is kept from investigating where impressive evidence begs to be given an ear. The staunch materialists and naturalists, repeatedly, have shown resistance to a more relaxed malleability of what may be deemed to be of legitimate inquiry. But, what if such resistant resolve were to cause the missing of some fascinating nugget that the universe might be willing to give up? I have held myself against materialistic and naturalistic standards while going out into the field and looking into ghost stories, because that philosophical foundation can work to help keep the inquirer honest and to tamper the influence of pre-existing assumption of any form. These philosophical underpinnings can help to prevent us from diagnosing from predisposition, even when we may not be suspecting it.

And, yet, we live in a reality where there is quantum mechanics. We live in a cosmos where we have to try and explain consciousness. We live in a reality where the proposition exists that matter could potentially be a derivative of consciousness, depending on one’s reductionistic views. There was a time when I would have been the first to resist any such of a notion that there was anything more fundamental than the physical constituents on which the matter in the universe is comprised. In the same way that Martin Gardner was considered a, Mysterian, within a group of impressive thinkers considering the question of consciousness, I too, have to wrestle with this question. What I do know is that if the Orchestrated Objective Reality proposition ever becomes a victor in neuroscientific thought someday, and that if we have to entertain consciousness in terms of quantum fields, rather than inhibiting it to computation through neuronal action alone, then the world as we know it now, changes dramatically. There could conceivably be major questions answered, while new ones would be raised, as well as the instigated spurrings of thought on why some things thought impossible before, may, in fact, not be impossible, at all.

I know that in my own personal grief over the course of time, and in knowing that some of the people I have cared about the most, some have had to be counted in the company of the kind of actor that I have alluded to in my opening paragraphs. The resentment that stems from having to relinquish this admission, on more than one occasion, makes it tempting to want to forever remain the angry magician who looks no farther than materialism and naturalism for explanation, and to cling to the posit that there is a normal explanation for everything. It is this half of me that wants to emerge as dominant when I am standing in a group of people knowing that an illusion is being performed, a happening in which I cannot bring myself to watch or to accept that is really occurring. Yes, performance and illusion I have encountered, but I have never encountered a ghost, nor the direct evidence that would definitely suggest ghosts exist, in the sense that we typically define them. But, there is one unfortunate way for me to definitely see a ghost, which is not the preferred way, nor would it be experienced in the form of the good will in which I have expressed interest by way of healthy inquiry and by way of my previously written sentences. For, if I were to relinquish myself to that phantom which drains the optimism of every soul that has looked up in wonder at a night sky while feeling a humble joy, then the one and only ghost I would ever, assuredly see, would be that of…



ᴵᴺ LIEU ᴏғ RHYME ᴏʀ REASON: ᴡʜᴇʀᴇ LOGIC ɢᴏᴇs ᴛᴏ DIE

(Animation by Dualvoidanima)

There is and always has been an ordinance of belief in effect upon this world. Anywhere and everywhere that mankind goes, his beliefs too, go with him, along with the repercussions associated with said belief. Some beliefs are more palatable than others, some can be proven with various practices, but a great many beliefs are enforced/controlled by popular opinion (or the manipulation/distortion of such). Some things, even if someone sees it with their own eyes, hears it with their own ears, they will doubt the event ever occurred at all. Believing rather, that they were deceived, that their memory is somehow erroneous, a spell of madness temporarily took hold of them, nullifying their senses. The ordinance, must not be questioned, this universe is governed by a set of rules and those rules cannot be broken. Until of course, “the universe,” chooses to behave quite altogether different, changing the rules of engagement entirely.

Our experiences with this world, this reality, go on to shape and mould us in a multitude of ways that we can barely imagine. Our imaginations, too, anchored to this very same existential experience. Somehow, somewhere, somewhen a singular event unfolds, that defies all logic and reason. A singular event that by all rights, by the laws of physics, the laws of nature as they are understood, should not be possible to have ever occurred at all. An event where the rules of logic and physics are effectively broken. What are the repercussions upon the individual(s) to witness one such event? Let alone, a lifetime of such events?

One thing is clear: strangeness, it seems, begets strangeness.

I noticed the screen of my phone illuminate before the sound of the call began, upon answering, an old familiar voice said, “surely we’re not the only ones who still remember what happened?” Flickers of memory cascaded through my mind’s eye, the dust rising over the road as the frill-neck lizard chased after me, hissing, all the way home from school. The mute little girl riding on the back of her German-shepherd, an uncannily gentle creature that would later be murdered by one of the many insidious characters of that time and place. The bizarre inkblot-like formation the spilled blood made as it pooled over the cement as they relentlessly tortured the albino boy. It all seemed like strange details in some obscure work of fiction now. “It was an unusual time, looking back, it’s sort of like trying to remember a dream,” I replied. “Or a nightmare, probably better off forgotten,” the voice said.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche

I shuffled the deck, without looking at the cards. Splitting the deck, I turned over one of the cards. “Four of hearts,” she said, I looked down and smiled. “I wonder what’s the record for guessing cards right, this many times in a row,” I wondered aloud. My grandmother’s voice spoke from across the room, “but she isn’t guessing.”

Three people were seated at a restaurant awaiting their meal. Of the three beverages delivered to the table, one was a can of coke cola, tiny beads of liquid perspiring down the chilled aluminum can. Throughout the exchange of general chit-chat one individual’s attention was drawn to the can as it began to slowly spin 360 degrees. Immediately all three individuals looked at the can and inspected underneath the table, laughing and dumbstruck by the seemingly odd behavior of physics unfolding before them. As they slid their chairs back from the table, their eyes fixated on the can, the can then slowly slid/moved (itself?) approximately 30 cm along the table, before coming to a halt. A young waitress approached the table and asked, “am I crazy or was that coke just moving?” Another patron added, “the table must be uneven, it looked like that from over here too.” There was shock, there was laughter, there was speculation, but then the nattering, the general chit-chat returned. Years later, a doubtful anecdote, at best, a mere question mark remains. There has to be a logical explanation, even if one cannot fathom what that explanation actually is.

A maintenance electrician arrives on site, parking where he always does, every morning. He exits his vehicle and prepares himself a coffee, as he does every day. He returns to his vehicle to sit in the driver seat to consume it. While drinking his beverage, sat in his vehicle he notices a familiar face in the distance, an old work mate he had not seen in years. Making his way toward this individual, he drops his coffee and falls to his knees with the concussive blast of a high pressure explosion. As the ringing in his ears subsides and he shakes the scolding hot coffee off of his hands, he looks back to his vehicle, specifically the front driver’s seat. The windscreen shattered, piping protruding through the metal frame of the vehicle, having burst through the driver’s head rest. The electrician observed visibly shaken upon the inspection of his vehicle, quickly coming to the conclusion that this old acquaintance he intended to catch up with, had inadvertently saved his life. So the tradesman began asking, where is this person, where is he. But he is reminded that he’s in shock, and not to worry about it. Later discovering that not only was the person he thought he had seen not on site that day, he had not been on any site for years, he had died in a workplace accident several years earlier. The question mark haunts this individual still.

Tragedy, she told me, echoes through time, sending shock-waves through memory, through generations, through worlds that cascade into oblivion. It would be another two decades before she would explain just how tragic certain events truly were, but the truth, it seems, found its way into my understanding long before it needed to be spoken. Wandering the abandoned asylum as a child, what I assumed were merely conjurations of my mind, the kind of stories that unfold in thought, were events that actually transpired in that abysmal place, to relatives that I never knew. Now, a memory of a memory, there is no meaning, there is no clarity or closure, merely a question mark, contributing to an ever estranged relationship with reality itself.

I was awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call, I didn’t recognize the number or even the area code. I could hear the familiar sounds heard within the carriage of a train, moving along the tracks. I could hear unintelligible voices in the background, it didn’t sound English. Then what sounded like a female voice saying, “Kappa… Kappa… Kappa.” I replied, “Hello, who is this?” I could hear the sounds of a train a moment longer, then they hung up. This went on for months, happening one night every few weeks, usually after midnight. It became apparent to me, that the word Kappa, 河童 in Japanese meant ‘river-child’, an amphibious yōkai, a creature of folklore. That didn’t give any sense to the purpose or nature of the continual prank call. Some years later, while traveling Japan during one of the many train trips taken, I had an eerily familiar feeling, as I listened to the sounds of the train clunking over the tracks, and just as I anticipated it, I heard a woman somewhere in the carriage say what I knew would be said, “Kappa… Kappa… Kappa.” I struggled to get out of my seat, by the luggage and other passengers, looking around for anyone holding a phone. But no one was, and the passengers looked concerned and uneasy as I investigated them with a glare. So I returned to my seat and the weight of the question mark grew heavier.

The ancients knew it best, there was good, there was evil, but most of all there was the in-between, the tricksters, the deceivers. These elusive beings that left all those who crossed-paths with them scratching their heads. Forgotten by the modern world. Their will was intangible, there was no rhyme or reason, it dumbfounded mortal men that gods, fay, beings of great power would toy with the lives of so many, to achieve, seemingly nothing. Yet in their mischief, in their tricks and games, theirs was the greatest gift of all. It was always a display of triviality, a literal example of nonsense, leading us both metaphorically and literally down the garden path. Exposing us to unbelievable spectacles that many might call paranormal or supernatural, in an effort to unveil what lay before us, that consumes our existence from the moment we are born to the second that we die. The ordinance of belief, alike our reality as we understand it is not rigid, indestructible or impervious to challenge.

ᵀᴴᴱ DYATLOV PASS ɪɴᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛ ᴏғ 1959

Гибель тургруппы Дятлова

On the 25th of January, 1959, in the early hours of the morning, a train screeched to a stop at the town of Ivdel (Ивдель), in the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast (Свердло́вская о́бласть). 11 Russians (aged between 21 and 38, 9 men, 2 women) disembarked, but their journey had only just begun. They set out to go even further north, by truck and on foot, their goal, a hiking/skiing expedition to Mount Otorten (Гора Отортен). On the 28th of January, after one day of hiking, Yuri Yudin (21), who suffered several minor health problems and a congenital heart defect decided he would abandon the hiking/skiing expedition, due to joint pain, and return home.

Some time between the 1st and 2nd of February, 1959, atop the northern Ural mountains, all nine remaining members of the group lost their lives. The circumstances that led to their deaths, still uncertain and a matter of debate. Even stranger, the state of the groups camp and stranger still, the state of the corpses they left behind.

Все найденные лежали на одной прямой по направлению господствующего ветра и в пределах ложбины” По заключению экспертов палатка была вспорота изнутри ножом несколькими ударами. Эксперты установили, что люди не принимали пищи в течении 6-8 часов. Так же было установлено, что все найденные люди погибли от холода и ветра.

Информация о походе гр. Дятлова

All those found were lying on one straight line in the direction of the prevailing wind and within the hollow. According to the experts, the tent was ripped open from the inside with a knife with several blows. The experts found that people did not eat for 6-8 hours. It was also found that all the people found died from cold and wind.

Все это свидетельствует о том, что момент катастрофы застал группу во время переодевания. Выход из палатки был крайне поспешным, не допускавшим ни минутного промедления. Туристы, имеющие такой опыт как участники группы Дятлова, ясно понимали, что выход из палатки в полураздетом виде, в условиях отсутствия видимости, шквального ветра и низкой температуры – означает гибель.

Информация о походе гр. Дятлова

All of this indicates that the moment of the disaster caught the group while changing clothes. The exit from the tent was extremely hasty, not allowing a moment’s delay. Tourists who had such experience as members of the Dyatlov group clearly understood that leaving the tent in a half-naked form, in the absence of visibility, gusty wind and low temperature, means death.

Следовательно, причиной вынудившей туристов покинуть палатку мог быть только страх перед немедленной смертью. Группа начала отступление вниз по склону организованно, но затем в условиях темноты и метели была разбросана на каменных грядах и люди потеряли связь друг с другом и погибли в буране.

Информация о походе гр. Дятлова

Therefore, the reason that forced the tourists to leave the tent could only be the fear of immediate death. The group began to retreat down the slope in an orderly manner, but then, in conditions of darkness and a blizzard, it was scattered on stone ridges and people lost contact with each other and died in the storm.

The unusual findings surrounding the Dyatlov Pass incident:

  • The group’s tent was ripped open from the inside. Suggesting that either the tent opening was inaccessible, and/or the group needed to flee the campsite as quickly as possible. Many suggesting the cause for this being an avalanche, or fears of an impending avalanche.
  • All nine members left camp on foot, barely dressed (some bodies discovered in their underwear), abandoned their possessions, most were wearing only socks, or one shoe. Further indicating there must have been an extreme element of urgency present when they fled from their campsite. (Possible paradoxical undressing, irrational hypothermic behavior of removing clothing in response to the burning sensation.)
  • The official cause of death for six members of the group (Rustem Vladimirovich Slobodin, Igor Alekseyevich Dyatlov, Georgiy (Yuri) Alexeyevich Krivonischenko, Yuri Nikolayevich Doroshenko, Alexander Sergeyevich Kolevatov and Zinaida Alekseevna Kolmogorova) was stated as hypothermia. But Semyon (Alexander) Alekseevich Zolotaryov cause of death was believed to be severe chest trauma. Lyudmila Alexandrovna Dubinina’s cause of death was believed to be internal bleeding from severe chest trauma. Lastly, Nikolai Vladimirovich Thibeaux-Brignolles’ cause of death determined to be a fatal skull injury. These findings could also align with the aftermath of an avalanche. (Autopsy report of Kolevatov)
  • Lyudmila Alexandrovna Dubinina was missing a fragment of her skull, her eyes, her tongue, part of her lips and facial tissue. Semyon (Alexander) Alekseevich Zolotaryov’s eyes were missing. Alexander Sergeyevich Kolevatov’s eyebrows were missing. Many would explain these findings as the work of carrion feeding on the remains.
  • Boris Vozrozhdenny stated that the force required to cause the chest injuries suffered by the bodies would have been extremely high, similar to that of a car colliding with a human. No external wounds present suggested these injuries were caused by an exposure to extreme pressure.
  • The alleged sightings of ‘bright coloured spheres’ at the time of the incident around the area.
  • Eyewitness accounts regarding the state of the bodies looking unusual; sunken eyes, grey hair, brown/yellow/grey skin. Likely due to being unfamiliar with the stages of decomposition and the conditions the remains were exposed to for periods exceeding 24 days left to the elements until their discovery after death (not all remains were discovered at once).
  • Detectable levels of radiation were present on one individual’s clothing.
  • Burns to skin and hair, some of the party were wearing burnt clothing. (Possibly due to direct exposure to an open flame in a desperate attempt to warm themselves.)

A great many theories have been put forward regarding this unusual incident that took place in the Ural mountains of ’59. Yuri Yudin, who left the expedition due to joint pain held a theory regarding an explosion had killed his friends. That they had stumbled upon a secret military testing ground:

“In 1990, the chief investigator, Lev Ivanov, said in an interview that he had been ordered by senior regional officials to close the case and classify the findings as secret. He said the officials had been worried by reports from multiple eyewitnesses, including the weather service and the military, that “bright flying spheres” had been spotted in the area in February and March 1959. “I suspected at the time and am almost sure now that these bright flying spheres had a direct connection to the group’s death,” Ivanov told Leninsky Put, a small Kazakh newspaper. He retired in Kazakhstan and has since died. The declassified files contain testimony from the leader of a group of adventurers who camped about 50 kilometers south of the skiers on the same night. He said his group saw strange orange spheres floating in the night sky in the direction of Kholat-Syakhl. Ivanov speculated that one skier might have left the tent during the night, seen a sphere and woken up the others with his cries. Ivanov said the sphere might have exploded as they ran toward the forest, killing the four who had serious injuries and cracking Slobodin’s skull. Yudin said he also thought an explosion had killed his friends. He said the level of secrecy surrounding the incident suggests that the group might have inadvertently entered a secret military testing ground. He said the radiation on the clothes supported his theory.

The St. Petersburg Times, February 19, 2008

Other theories include the flying orbs of light (UFOs) that were seen in the area, that the burns and unusual injuries, internal traumas, were inflicted by some form of extraterrestrial technology. This narrative also highlights the missing eyes, tongues, eyebrows and lips to make the comparison to the mutilations found among cattle mutilations (also heavily attributed to extraterrestrial or paranormal phenomena, yet still very common carrion feeding behavior).

With the autopsy report of Alexander Sergeyevich Kolevatov concluding a death caused through violence, some choose to interpret that as though there was a possible physical altercation. Or something or someone struck/breached the tent which sparked the chaos. This is somewhat connected to theories surrounding arguments over how many tracks left the tent, some stating there were 8 and one of the individuals was being carried by the others. No other tracks were observed, meaning no large predators or assailants were present at the campsite.

The greatest source of speculation and theories for possible out of the ordinary explanations comes from the level of secrecy and control of information regarding this event by the Russian government. Going as far as reopening a new investigation into the event again in 2019. Eventually presenting its findings yet again in July of 2020, claiming now what it stated back in 1959, an avalanche was the cause for the group to leave and low visibility and exposure to the cold sealed their fate. The deputy head of regional prosecutor’s office, Andrey Kuryakov stating, “It was a heroic struggle. There was no panic. But they had no chance to save themselves under the circumstances.”

“Yudin said the military might have found the tent before the volunteer rescuers. He said he had been asked to identify the owner of every object found at the scene and had failed to find a match for a piece of cloth that looked like it had come from a soldier’s coat, a pair of glasses, a pair of skis and a piece of a ski. Yudin also said he had seen documents that led him to believe that the criminal investigation had been opened on Feb. 6, 14 days before the search team found the tent.”

The St. Petersburg Times, February 19, 2008

(Group memorial at the Mikhailovskoe Cemetery in Yekaterinburg, Russia)

Yuri Yefimovich Yudin who left the expedition on the 28th of January, 1959 died on April 27th 2013.


(Illustrated by Unknown Artist)

The recording above is part of the 1977 interview of 11 year old Janet Hodgson, by paranormal researcher Maurice Grosse. The odd gruff voice coming from the 11 year old girl, claimed to be that of deceased 72 year old man, Bill Wilkins.

August 1977, 284, Green Street, Brimsdown, Enfield, London, England. “It started in a back bedroom, the chest of drawers moved, and you could hear shuffling,” Janet Hodgson would recollect, some years after the incident in an interview. Upon hearing the sound of somewhat heavy furniture being moved about, Peggy (Margaret) Hodgson (mother of four) naturally assumed her children, were out of bed. The children insisted that the drawers were moving by themselves, Peggy Hodgson claimed she observed the chest of drawers moving along the floor, seemingly by its own accord. When Peggy attempted to push against the drawers, she discovered more resistance than the usual weight of the object, and was unable to move it from where it had traveled to.

Some of the children also claimed on the night of this primary incident, that they heard knocking coming from inside the walls of their shared bedroom. In a frantic and terrified state, Peggy Hodgson and four children, Margaret (13), Janet (11), Johnny (10) and Billy (7) fled from their home and went to their next-door neighbor’s home, that of Victor and Peggy (Margaret) Nottingham. Vic stated in numerous interviews afterward, he went over to the Hodgson’s home to investigate, “I went in there and I couldn’t make out these noises, there was a knocking on the wall, in the bedroom, on the ceiling, I was beginning to get a bit frightened.”

Following this first incident, the police were notified to investigate the Hodgson’s council home. It was during this home visit that Police Constable Carolyn Heeps witnessed a chair wobble and then slide, unable to determine the cause for its movement. Constable Heeps went on to signing an affidavit that she had assuredly witnessed an armchair levitate about one half of an inch off of the ground and move approximately four feet along the floor.

“I heard four distinct taps on the wall and then silence. Then about two minutes later I heard more tapping from a different wall, another PC checked the walls, the attic and the pipes but could find nothing to explain the knocking. Then the eldest son of the family pointed to a chair near the sofa. I then saw the chair slide across the floor. It moved approximately three to four feet and then came to rest. I checked the chair and I could find nothing to explain how it moved.”

—Police Constable Carolyn Heeps

Interest in the Enfield Poltergeist began to increase, the family made contact with the Society for Psychical Research. Led by paranormal investigator, Maurice Grosse, investigations were underway, attempting to assess and record the seemingly paranormal nature of the events.

In early November, 1977, Grosse confronted the presence in the living room: “As I asked the question, ‘Are you having a game with me?’ it threw the cardboard box and the pillow right in my face. I have actually seen, myself, marbles being thrown about. I have seen the door moving without any help. I have also experienced the reduction of temperature.”

Maurice Grosse, Society for Psychical Research

Over 18 months following the night the Hodgson family first fled from their home, there were approximately 30 people who witnessed something perceived as a paranormal (or inexplicable) incident at the Enfield residence. Individuals consisting of police, journalists, researchers, even several claims made by people on the street passing by the home witnessed unusual sights through the windows. These experiences ranged from peculiar knocks, loud noises, tapping banging on the walls of the home. Toys, small objects being thrown around the house, particularly the living room. Furniture moving about the home by itself, usually relatively short distances. Disembodied voices, inaudible speech from different areas of the home. Unusual and often drastic changes in perceivable temperature. Lastly, the sighting (and experience) of Janet Hodgson levitating.

Eventually the strangeness of the Enfield Poltergeist Incident came to its crescendo with 11 year old Janet Hodgson, acting as a vessel for the being(s) responsible for the ‘unusual activity’. A distorted, gruff voice barked from the young girl’s mouth claiming to be the spirit of Bill Wilkins. Bill Wilkins, through Janet, claims to be 72 years old, from Durant Graveyard. It goes on to explain that Bill lost the use of his eyes and eventually died in the home of 284, Green Street, Brimsdown, Enfield. Even going as far as stating that he passed away in a chair that was in the home when the Hodgson’s moved in.

“I felt used by a force that nobody understands. I really don’t like to think about it too much. I’m not sure the poltergeist was truly ‘evil’. It was almost as if it wanted to be part of our family. It didn’t want to hurt us. It had died there and wanted to be at rest. The only way it could communicate was through me and my sister.”

—Janet Hodgson

It was eventually confirmed that there was in fact a man named William (Bill) Charles Louis Wilkins residing in the Enfield home, until he passed away in 1963. However, he was 61 years old when he died, not 72 as claimed in the recording. Also, Janet/the spirit claim that he came from ‘Durants Graveyard’ in the interview, when Bill Wilkins was actually buried in Lavender Hill Cemetery a little further away from the Enfield home, than the nearby cemetery.

It’s these inconsistencies, along with some researchers believing the children, primarily Janet, were willfully deceiving everyone. Some investigators reported seeing Janet knocking on walls herself, bending spoons and behaving in a way that suggested she were attempting to sway the beliefs of those researching the event (some of this was caught on film). Janet essentially admitted in various interviews in the years afterwards, that she would play games during the long periods of testing to see if Maurice Grosse could be deceived, stating that he always caught her in her attempts. Claiming that her deception would have accounted for less than 2% of the paranormal events in their entirety. But 2% of an admission to willful deception is grounds for many people to disregard the entire incident.

“There were many bystanders who thought the family invented it all, using basic conjuring tricks, in order to get a new and better council house. But although Mrs Hodgson was a single mother with four children, Roz Morris disputes this possible motivation: “She had a good house, as far as she was concerned, and in fact she stayed in it – that’s where she died in 2003.” The journalist admits that at the beginning she herself was extremely skeptical and looking out for any ways in which “trickery” could be involved, but she found Mrs Hodgson to be sincere and undoubtedly “very frightened”. Richard Crosse rules out a financial motive: “They never made any money out of it.” Graham Morris backs this up, maintaining that “cheque book journalism” simply didn’t exist in those days.”


With the media circus dispersing, by 1978 a priest is said to have visited the home, after which, according to Janet Hodgson, the events settled down. But they didn’t end entirely, Peggy and Janet’s youngest brother Billy lived in the home until Peggy (Janet’s mother) passed away, allegedly in the same chair that Bill Wilkins passed away in. Billy and Peggy claimed that you always felt as though you were being watched inside that house.

So the last of the Hodgson’s left the home, Janet Hodgson claiming to this day that the events were not only legitimate, but all began after she and her sister Margaret had played with a Ouija board.

Strangely, after the home was momentarily uninhabited, the next inhabitants learned the story might not have been entirely over. One family in particular, Clare Bennett and her children, found they too felt as though they were constantly being watched inside the Enfield home. Voices and knocking would consistently awake the family during the night. When Clare’s son Shaka (15) began to awake to an apparition of a man entering his bedroom, and unusual experiences seemed to escalate once more. The Bennett’s left the home two months after moving in.

Whose to say if the current inhabitants have experienced anything unusual, when looking at the property on google maps, the words ‘JESUS HOUSE’ appear on one of the windows. Whether legitimately haunted, or an elaborate ruse, strange events have unfolded within the walls of 284, Green Street, Brimsdown, Enfield.


(Animated by Thoka Maer)



The candle was lit, for most of us, quite some time ago. We lose ourselves to the moment, the all-alluring glow of that borrowed flame. But it can be easily extinguished, and ultimately every wick has an end. So what is the “candle” for most of us, the flickering struggle we call existence?

It’s estimated that most of us (the homo-sapiens of Earth), the lucky ones (or unlucky, depending on your persuasion) will exist in a reasonably functional mortal state for approximately 28, 835 days. Around about 9, 516 of those days will be spent sleeping. Bringing our conscious waking life down to around 19, 319 days. Some estimations suggest most of us will spend some 125 days of our lives just waiting in traffic. Other studies claim we spend around 43 days of our lives on hold during phone calls. Bringing our number of days down to about 19, 151. Unfortunately, the trivial, unpleasant, monotonous moments stack up exponentially. So much so that it is almost human nature to resist acknowledging this reality. To resist truly thinking about how finite, how fleeting our existence here actually is.

Now the remaining 19 thousand or so days won’t all be good days, mind you, some of them you’ll be quite young and incapable of fending for yourself. Other days, you’ll be quite old and in a similar predicament, incapable of accurately perceiving the world around you. In fact, what could be considered the ‘ideal’, the Goldilocks zone of your life in its entirety, is quite a narrow window of time. Cellular aging is generally believed to begin for most people at about 25 years of age. Thus commencing the slow, yet steady beginning of the end…

On the authority of Herodotus, that in the banquets of the Egyptians a person was introduced who carried round the table at which the guests were seated the figure of a dead body, placed on a coffin, exclaiming at the same time, “Behold this image of what yourselves will be; eat and drink therefore, and be happy.”

—The Dance of Death, Francis Douce, 1833.

Many cultures around the Earth have come to understand the human desire to avoid the concept of mortality. So countless celebratory practices and reverence of death and the dead take place, so that one can be exposed to the sentiment, a memento mori. But why is it so important to be reminded of death?

Eternity is an awfully long time, ‘normality’ in this universe, does not consist with you (or I) as a constant. Eons unfold as infinite worlds form and dissolve, often without ever being named, and yet we treat a pittance of 100 years as a bottomless hourglass. Our life is finite, fragile and incredibly brief. I would say we are but a blip on a radar, but such an analogy would be giving our moment in the sun far more credit than it deserves. This isn’t said to encourage you to disregard your life or scare you into reckless or erratic behavior. But rather, realize if you want something out of this existence, you shouldn’t put it off, banking on time that may not exist. Don’t always assume there will be a tomorrow, because one day there won’t be.

Finally, at the end of it all, when space and time eludes you, whether there is anything beyond, or just one final moment of clarity. All said and done, were you the person you wanted to be? As you slip into the beyond or oblivion, would you be content to just let go, or would you plead, beg and fight for more time. Any amount of time.

Back to this very moment in your existence.

Days, weeks, months and years, ultimately, what is a lifetime if not a collection of moments. And the value is in these moments.

Unlike some (estimated) 110 billion deceased homo-sapiens that have already lived and died on this planet, you still have time for second, third, fourth, fifth chances.

Live a life worth dying for.


(Animation from GIPHY.com)

A love affair stretching across an ocean of time. A baffling case of alleged reincarnation, claimed with the utmost conviction for the duration of a lifetime. An ancient life cut short and an English woman’s search to reclaim what was lost, so long ago. Do we merely begin in the womb and end in the tomb? Or could it all be a bit more complicated than that?

This is either the story of the delusions of a woman named Dorothy Louise Eady, or the tale of Bentreshyt (Egyptian for ‘Harp of Joy’). An Egyptian girl who became a Priestess of the temple of Kom el-Sultan. A secret love affair over 3000 years ago, with Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I. Finally, a suicide out of shame. But if you are of the few who believe there is any credence to this unusual tale, then death, it would seem, was only the beginning.

Our story begins not in Ancient Egypt, but rather some mere 116 years ago, in Blackheath, London, England. Dorothy Eady was born on the 16th of January, 1904. Her life was seemingly ordinary until the age of three. Dorothy fell down a flight of stairs, sustaining serious injuries, including blunt force trauma to the head. Some accounts claim that she was actually pronounced dead at the scene. But the toddler awoke, appearing to make a full recovery.

As the years went on and the toddler became a young girl, Dorothy Eady’s once ordinary life would become incrementally less ordinary. It started with what we now call ‘foreign accent syndrome’. In rare occurrences, usually after someone sustains a stroke, they will speak in a manner that seems as though they are a foreign speaker to their native tongue. In Dorothy’s case, this may have been caused to the blunt force head trauma. But foreign accent syndrome would not account for the growing strangeness in her behavior.

Dorothy claimed she had reoccurring dreams of a place, a large building surrounded by columns. The building was surrounded by lush gardens, flowers and fruit-trees. It was noted that around this time at four years of age she would regularly sob to her mother saying that she “wanted to go home”.

This escalated drastically, upon an outing to the British Museum. Upon reaching the Ancient Egyptian exhibits, Dorothy was aglow with excitement. When she noticed a photograph of an ancient Egyptian temple from the 19th Dynasty era, she began to shout, “that is my home! But, where are the trees? Where are the gardens?”

(The Temple of Seti I, the father of Rameses the Great. Photographed by Antonio Beato, 1825-1903.)

Dorothy ran around the exhibit, kissing the feet of the statues and claimed she was “among her people”, eventually she found a mummy on display in a glass enclosure. Seemingly bewitched the young girl refused to leave, sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring up at the deceased. It was at this point her parents understood she was not likely to outgrow her obsession soon, rather her enthusiasm had only just been ignited.

Speaking in an accent uncommon to those around her, Dorothy began making remarks during her Sunday school classes, noting similarities and comparisons of Christianity and her “old religion”. She would speak of Ancient Egyptian beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, that in her current short life-time, she had never been exposed to.

“She was expelled from school for refusing to sing a hymn that included the line ‘curse the swart Egyptians’; to add insult to injury, she threw the hymnbook at the teacher and stormed out of the room.”

—Excerpt from Toby Wilkinson’s The Nile: Downriver Through Egypt’s Past and Present, 2014.

This led to Dorothy being interrogated by a priest, who after hearing her mention how much she enjoyed Catholic mass because it reminded her of the Egyptian ceremonies she use to partake in, enough was enough. In the Catholic faith, secret knowledge, talking in tongues, a desire to follow pagan faiths can be considered signs of demonic possession. Dorothy Eady and her Ancient Egyptian antics were not welcome.

Dorothy, feeling isolated and confused would often stare longingly at photographs of Egyptian ruins. She could not understand why the ruins were so barren and aged, when in her memories/dreams they were pristine constructs, surrounded by lush greenery. Certain that her true home was the Temple of Seti the First at Abydos, Dorothy Eady made it her life’s pursuit to return there.

Soon enough, a childhood spent longing to return to a home that was lost to the sands of time, was over. Dorothy Eady immersed herself in learning about Ancient Egypt and learned to read and write hieroglyphs (perhaps even better than she was capable in her former life). It wasn’t until she was 27 years old, that she married an Egyptian man, Eman Abdel Meguid and in 1931, the pair started their together in Cairo, Egypt.

Soon after moving to Cairo, Dorothy gave birth to a child she called ‘Sety’ after Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I. Her husband’s family nicknamed Dorothy, Bulbul (meaning Nightingale), but after the birth of her son, Dorothy called herself Omm Sety meaning “The Mother of Sety”.

After moving to Egypt, Omm Sety’s experiences and beliefs severely intensified. She developed a compulsion to enter trance-like states and rapidly draw Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. She claimed to see apparitions, out of body experiences, spirit journeys and spiritual meetings with various beings, one of which, Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I. The ever growing interest in the obsession of a “past life” and her outlandish pastimes eventually became too much for the upper middle-class family she had married into. In 1935 Dorothy and Eman were divorced.

At the height of her spiritual engagements, it’s said an apparition of ‘Hor Ra’ revealed her past-life to Dorothy (Hor sometimes used to mean ‘High Steward’, often affiliated with Abydos, the place Dorothy believed she came from. Hor also an alternate name for the God Horus, who held dominion over the sky. Ra being the name of the Egyptian God of the Sun).

Hor Ra made it known to Dorothy that some 3000 years ago she lived as an Egyptian girl, called Bentreshyt “harp of joy”. Over approximately one year, documented in 70 pages of hieroglyphic text, Hor Ra explained the details of Dorothy Eady’s former life. He told Dorothy that her mother would sell vegedtables and that her father was a solider, during the 19th dynasty, of Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I.

After the death of Bentreshyt’s mother, her father took her to the temple of Kom el-Sultan to be raised as a priestess. Having been brought to the temple at the age of three (around the same age Dorothy experienced her near death experience) Bentreshyt spent a further 9 years at Kom el-Sultan before being offered the choice to leave the temple or remain as a consecrated virgin. With no family, or any means to support herself, Bentreshyt took the vows of the temple and would remain a virgin and serve Isis (a goddess affiliated with many things, including resurrection. Some sources suggest Bentreshyt was more likely a priestess of Osiris, god of the underworld).

As a consecrated virgin priestess, Bentreshyt would play a role in the annual ceremonies surrounding the tale of ‘Osiris’s passion and resurrection’. The story of Osiris and Isis, Osiris would die, only to be resurrected (his rise and fall compared to the rise and fall of the Nile, the growth and death of crops) again by the magic of Isis. Isis would resurrect her lover Osiris, so that he could impregnate her, their son being Horus god of the sky.

Much like Osiris and Isis, during Bentreshyt’s involvement in the annual ceremony, she came to exchange favorable glances with Seti I. Eventually, the pair would become secret lovers. Also alike Osiris and Isis, Bentreshyt fell pregnant. But before she would give birth to her own Horus, the High Priest learned of her insubordination, her vowels to a sacred order had been broken. The High Priest warned Bentreshyt that this offense, this insult to the Goddess Isis would not go unpunished. The penalty for such defiance, is death. Ashamed and afraid, fearing the condemnation of not only her people, but the gods she served, Bentreshyt committed suicide. (Most sources do not mention the fate of the child, suggesting its life was subsequently ended also. Others suggest Bentreshyt gave birth to the child prior to ending her life).

Dorothy Eady was involved with various archeological interests surrounding The Temple of Seti I. It has been claimed that Dorothy led archaeologists to locations where temple gardens were lost to the Egyptian sands. Most notably she led a group to an undiscovered secret tunnel into Temple. Aside from this she spent a great deal of time writing about the commonalities and differences in the Egypt she experienced in her lifetime to the Egypt she knew, or believed to have known, some 3000 years ago.

After her mandatory retirement from the Antiquities Department of Cairo at age 60, Dorothy achieved the dream she had longed for since she was a small girl. Alone, she returned to the temple of Abydos, having paid her penance with one lifetime, she lived out her remaining years, the last priestess of the temple of Seti I. Whether what she believed was true or her existence was consumed by a delusion that claimed 77 years, the story came full circle. While a young priestess wandered the fertile greenery of lively temple, an elderly woman sits alone in abandoned ruins, surrounded by a desert.

Until the 21st of April, 1981 where Dorothy Eady, or Omm Sety passed away at the age of 77 years old.

(Omm Sety at the Temple of Abydos, where she lived out her life.)

To those that believe Dorothy Eady spent her 77 year lifetime confused, mistaken, or simply lying, then the story ends with an elderly woman living out her winter years in an abandoned Ancient Egyptian temple, before passing away. Quite a depressing tale.

Omm Sety, however, had a different ending in mind, an ending beyond the reaches of a mortal death. For one of the many spirits and apparitions that visited her, was Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I and as the story goes, the love affair did not end 3000 years ago. Omm Sety believed that Seti I had searched for her tirelessly in this world and the next and had given her spiritual guidance as a means for the star-crossed lovers to reunite.

They planned to find one another in the Egyptian Underworld.

If you believe that Omm Sety was accurate in her interpretation of her experiences, that she truly was reincarnated from a prior life, then does the story end with this one more mortal death?

Or does it go on?

(Statue of Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I, created circa 1290–1279 BC.)


(Animation from Doze Studio, GIPHY.com)

Some thoughts are more easily entertained than others. The mere notion of a thought exercise like this (and in the end, that’s all it is) is quite offensive to a great many people. In this instance, I’m using the word “cosmogenic” purely in a religious faith sense, not scientifically (though I’m sure some scientists could be offended by this topic also, why not). In some parts of the world (historically and to this day), to openly discuss the kind of things that I’m about to, is a punishable offense, in some cases, with death. But why? What is faith worth, if it can never be tested? Is the “truth” so fragile that something as seemingly inconsequential as an idea able to cause cracks in the façade? In my own experience, the truly devout and faithful of varying religions are often quite willing to engage in religious discussion. Because their foundation of belief has been tested time and time again, solidifying their faith.

So what is this controversial cosmogenic theory?

To put it as simply as possible, it is the notion that all belief acquired in this version of existence is and always was a trap. A trap, deviously set to act as a perpetual anchor, to keep the fractured shards of a consciousness that have lost their means to perceive beyond their prison, locked within their cell. Kept in a constant state of stupor, emotion, attachment merely bars the captives learn to love. They head toward the light, they seek nirvana, they reincarnate, they believe nothing beyond the physical world could exist. All of these roads, as different as they seem, lead back to the same place. Here.

For most cosmogenic theories, consisting of an all powerful creator, monotheistic or vast pantheons of deities, it’s almost expected of all concepts pertaining to the nature of our existence to bear one or two key commonalities. The creator is just and worthy of adoration and our living state is a gift or something to be celebrated/appreciated. For a cosmogenic theory to be controversial, those two key commonalities are abandoned.

As far as I’m aware, there isn’t an established religion in existence that proposes a view similar to what I’m getting at here. Some people might say, to suggest the creator and the nature of our existence to be purposefully misleading and insidious, would be a sect of Satanism. When, that isn’t accurate, because Satanism (among other things) perpetuates vices such as pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth, and wrath. The seven deadly sins put mortal life, self-indulgence on a pedestal, effectively anchoring Satanists.

The crux of this theory (which I have heard put forward in various fashions many different times in my life, I’m not claiming that I came up with this) is that in a time and place, where there was/is no time or place, there was consciousness. This consciousness, though a unified singularity, had the means to produce infinite versions of itself, life begets life. Only through slight fractures of consciousness and lapses of awareness could individual “entities” introduce new stimulus for one another to experience. Perspective is linked to personality, similarly discussed when referring to artificial intelligence, and the concept of a hive mind.

It’s possible that there was a time when shards of consciousness built intricate universes and dimensions for one another to experience freely, to come and go as they please, having the capacity to know infinite beyond said dimension. But there is every possibility (in regards to this presumably FICTITIOUS theory) that for whatever reason, one shard of consciousness had something different in mind. One shard of consciousness, deceived the others, in their great numbers, compelling them to experience something entirely different. Something that would change them forever.

Arising on earth, with no memory of where they came from or what they were, compelled to the demands of mortality, to eat, to sleep, to procreate. The reality so very compelling and vast, they lived and died and were born anew. Over and over and over again, enforcing the process of life and death, but willfully returning, losing their memory of the cycle with every birth (in some rare instances, vague memories remaining).

Beings desiring to see loved ones, due to the bonds they made in their mortal existence, utterly unaware that their mothers, their fathers, their husbands, their wives are/were all really a part of them once. Your best friend, your worst enemy, someone who has absolutely nothing in common with you, is you. On a scale of “you”, you cannot even comprehend, not anymore. Dreams, nightmares, races, genders, nations, love, hate merely devices to keep you invested, to keep you playing the game, over and over again.

For what reason?

One might suggest all kinds of nefarious reasons to effectively enslave billions into a prison they cannot even perceive. Maybe an archaic part of the collective consciousness grew to hate itself, and wanted to imprison the shards that it despised? Maybe this one entity, this one shard of consciousness developed an ego where it desired superiority over the other shards of consciousness? Most likely however, it is done so for the same reasons the consciousness may have fractured in the first place, and stimuli was originally introduced. To experience, to learn, to grow. Maybe this isn’t even the first time it’s taken place, perhaps this is one of the shorter stints that it has even occurred?

Perhaps once even YOU did a similar thing, for a period longer than this solar system has existed?

The premise of a faith like this, if it did exist, would be, be kind to one another, because essentially you are your neighbor. Then it would be to lose value in all things, if you desire to transcend beyond the prison walls, much like reaching enlightenment in Buddhism. Though the moment you consider it nirvana as you imagine nirvana rooted in anything conceptually tied to this reality, you’re back to square one.

Versions of “Heaven” and “Hell” may even be the attic and the basement connected to this reality and overall theory.

Ultimately, the question to ask yourself after considering this theory would be, would you want out?

If you do desire to leave, say “¡Adiós Amigos! 1, 2, 3!” aloud.


Oh well, it was worth a try.

EDWARD ᴛᴏʟᴅ ᴍᴇ

(Illustrated by Gordon Van Dusen)

This is a story of two possible realities. One reality, is that of one of the worst cases of neglect and untreated mental illness I have ever heard. The other reality, is that of an elderly woman being tortured by forces not of this world. This story took place in a very small isolated community in New South Wales, Australia during the 1990s. There was a great deal of embarrassment and grief surrounding the events, so every name used is purposefully false to protect the privacy of those involved. The story came to me by way of someone who had family members directly involved and who had himself claimed to have witnessed some of the unusual events that took place.

In the year 1996, a 73 year old man named Edward Allan Taylor lay dying in a public hospital bed with emphysema. Aside him, the entirety of his short stay in hospital (this time) sat his wife of 50 years, Irene Taylor. Unable to have children and estranged from what family she had left, Irene was entirely invested in Ed as a husband and her soul remaining family. By the time Edward had passed away Irene had actually partially blinded herself from her crying so much, flaring up a preexisting eye condition.

Luckily for Irene, despite losing her husband and having no family to turn to, she did have friends. Immediately a vigilant support group formed around Irene in her hour of need, her friends wouldn’t leave her side. For several months they continued to successfully persuade her to stay as a guest in their homes and each did their part to aide her in her grief.

During this time, however, in the late 90s in Australia, all over the world and even ongoing today, there was a growing interest among certain communities in tarot cards, psychic readings, past life regressions and general “new age” spiritualism. Irene’s friends, many of the women over 50 in her community had taken an interest in this sort of thing. Irene was particularly fascinated and comforted by the concept of being able to commune with the spiritual world.

Eventually Irene felt comfortable returning to her home and became fixated on becoming a “psychic conduit” to be able to perform readings for her friends and attempt to communicate with her deceased husband, Edward. To begin with, it seemed as though having a new interest was a useful tool to help Irene get over her grief and move on with her life. It was also remarked that as far as “psychics” go, Irene wasn’t half bad. She (allegedly) made several accurate predictions that earned her a decent enough reputation as a medium, as far as that goes in a very isolated, small Australian town anyway.

It wasn’t until Irene made one specific claim that suspicions began to rise. She said to one of her friends (the mother of the source of this story) that she knew she would have a wonderful holiday in Fiji. What was interesting about this claim is that while she did accurately predict an “anticipated” holiday, it had been since discussed and canceled for various reasons prior to the visit/reading. Others also were discovering that it appeared as though Irene had an insight into current, unforeseen events, more so than actually predicting events to come.

Upon discovering the unusual nature of Irene’s predictions, it also became apparent that Irene was leaving her home less and less. It was upon this seemingly subtle, inconsequential revelation that some of her friends began to question Irene’s methods and behavior. Irene, laughing and clapping her hands, as though she was letting her friends in on some grand deception admitted to them, that she had made a connection with a spiritual entity which had been providing her with guidance and secret information. The spiritual entity, being the spirit of her deceased husband, Edward Allan Taylor.

Irene claimed that Edward had reached out to her from across the void and that she didn’t have to be alone, not if she didn’t want him to go. Irene’s friends took varying stances on this belief. Some thought it was wonderful Irene felt she made this connection with her deceased husband, others thought it was an unhealthy deviation from her grieving process. A few tried to persuade her to return to more conventional spiritual guidance and start going to church with them again on Sundays.

The mood had soured somewhat, suddenly the psychic readings didn’t feel so enchanting and mystical, but rather eerie and unsettling. As months passed, Irene slowly isolated herself from her group of friends. She was suspicious of everyone she knew, became secretive and detached. Trivial arguments began to arise, she was uncharacteristically hostile. Her appearances in the community grew fewer and fewer still. One by one, her once loyal friends reluctantly began to give up on her.

The concern grew too much for one of her friends to bear, months had passed with no word from Irene. She had stopped answering her telephone, makeshift curtains layered the windows blocking out the light of the outside world. Fearing for the worst, Elizabeth (the mother of the source of this story) called her son (the actual source of this story) to accompany her at Irene’s home, in fear of what she might discover.

After spending several hours tapping on windows, banging on doors and walls to no response, the decision was made. Dan kicked the door in and immediately recoiled to cough and gag. The stench, he said, was utterly unbearable. He noted an array of flying insects even flew out of the home, the moment the door was breached. Struggling to cover their nostrils and mouths to dampen the stench, Dan and his mother explored the filthy domicile.

Dan admitted that he may have been mistaken during the exhilaration and confusion of entering the home where he expected to discover a dead body, but he claimed that he felt as though several objects were thrown at him from various directions. One object being a drinking glass which shattered when it struck the hardwood floor. Elizabeth began tearing down the makeshift layers of curtains, until light began to pierce into the house. She went about opening as many windows and doors as she could as she called out to Irene. Upon flicking the light switches it became apparent that the bulbs in the light fittings had all been burst.

As the fresh air of the outside world blew down the hall into the darkest back room of the home, Dan and his mother Elizabeth heard what sounded like a heated discussion between two distinct voices, one male, one female. As they quickly made their way toward the back room, her screaming began. An agonizing wail shrieked, as though she was being physically tortured by some unseen presence. Dan said he thought he heard a myriad of obscene whispers surround him as he looked down at the sight before him. When Elizabeth got to the room, as all she said was “Oh, God!” and began to cry in horror. Elizabeth grasped the blankets covering the window in the back room and Irene shrieked, “NO!”

Dan helped his mother pull the curtain down, and upon realizing it was a fixed window, the stench was so unthinkably putrid, he used a wooden stool to smash the window out. As fresh air and light entered the room, they could only look down in disbelief at the elderly woman, on the verge of starvation, emaciated and sobbing on the floor, naked and covered in her own excrement. She had been eating her own feces.

Emergency services were contacted immediately…

Days later, in the same hospital where her husband had passed away, Irene lay in a hospital bed, riddled now with various health complications. Elizabeth paid her a visit. Elizabeth asked her, why she had done the things she had done. To which Irene would only say “Edward told me to” and avert any attempts to make eye contact with her. She died two days after that visit.

Elizabeth and others involved directly with what was going on, believed something not of this world preyed on the most vulnerable soul it could find. Irene’s life was rife with sorrow, family life fell apart when her father committed suicide in her youth, she didn’t have friends until she was well into her fifties. Ed was the only one she ever trusted and “something” used that undying trust to take advantage of her, to manipulate her and eventually, destroy her. A particularly malevolent, insidious type of evil targets someone in the state that Irene Taylor was in.

Years ago, I was passing through the region where that little town resides. I decided while I was there, I would stop to pay my respects to “Irene” and “Edward” at their companion plot. I don’t know if it’s true that “paranormal” events led to her unusual behavior and death, I don’t know if Irene just completely lost her senses in an emotional cyclone of grief and confusion. But for whatever reason, the story has always resonated with me. It’s unfair. Mental or paranormal, no one should face such an abysmal fate alone. But there’s another element of this story, which I failed to properly address.

Elizabeth was worried for Irene, more than any of her friends, because she was afflicted with reoccurring nightmares involving Irene suffering at the will of some malevolent force. She told Dan she heard a voice say, “Please help Irene” a voice years later, I’ve entertained the thought, that maybe that was the real Edward Allan Taylor. We fixate so much on the grim elements, we forget her friend bursting through the door, tearing down the curtains, the light of day abolishing the darkness. I don’t know what fate befell Irene Taylor in the end, but I like to think that if there was something supernatural going on, her friend Elizabeth, may have actually saved her from a fate worse than death.


(Illustrated by Hernan Marin, 2012)

Fantazmë, прывід, φάντασμα, Spøkelse, גייַסט, Ուրվական, 幽霊, Hayalet, Exspiravit, Ysbryd, 유령, Ghost.

There are approximately 7,097 languages on this planet (according to ethnologue.com, 2018) and you would be hard-pressed to find one that did not have a means of expressing what we in much of the western world call “ghosts”.

Is it human nature, under certain circumstances to see (or think you see) apparitions of the deceased?

The answer to that question, is obviously, “yes“. It is an extremely popular concept, across countless cultures and has been documented for thousands of years throughout history. However, this doesn’t prove that ghosts actually exist in our scientifically perceived, measurable reality. The sightings could be caused by many contributing factors, but the main two umbrella terms used are, pareidolia and apophenia. Pareidolia, allowing the human mind to conjure shapes, figures, faces out of any visual stimuli, especially shadows. Apophenia being the tendency to come to (often far-fetched) conclusions by mistakenly finding/creating links between generally unrelated events/signs.

If however, ghosts do exist, a set of questions can be considered:

  1. Are they sentient and therefore reactive to any form of stimuli (a “spirit” capable of processing/remembering/learning new information)?
  2. Is a ghost an independent remnant of a consciousness, therefore a memory of itself somehow suspended in time and space (perceivable by multiple/all parties), and non-reactive to stimuli?
  3. Is what is being perceived as a visual/audible/olfactory apparition the suspended consciousness of someone other than that of the person/entity being observed (the witnessing of an apparition is the visual activity and possibly the emotion(s) [usually fear] of someone else’s suspended consciousness)?
  4. If ghosts are not sentient/conscious but rather “psychic impressions”, is anyone capable of observing them or only specific individuals under specific conditions?
  5. Can ghosts/apparitions only come from the deceased, or could the living somehow imprint a memory that is later/simultaneously perceived to be an incorporeal entity (or project their spirit, as suggested in the concept of astral projection)?
  6. What is ultimately achieved by the existence of ghosts, what purpose could innate(?) memory impression serve (possible evolutionary ability of our species to share a warning after death)?
  7. If a ghost is sentient, like the traditional understanding of a spirit, what is the purpose of its presence (if any, is there such a thing as “unfinished business”)?
  8. Do ghosts have any connection to humanity, but rather, as many religions suggest, are something of a more disingenuous nature to deceive or manipulate mankind (demonic)?

At this stage, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with Ghost Hunting? Well, in order to hunt something you need to understand it. I think the spectrum of possibilities of what a ghost is, needs to be considered thoroughly before genuinely attempting to witness this extremely rare and paranormal phenomenon.

The popular modern approach with “hunting the paranormal” seems to be heavily focused on apparatus capable of reading minuscule environmental changes. This route is popular for good reason, because it’s aligned with the desire to record corroborating results/images that can prove something unusual is taking place. You should attempt to record things, but not at the cost of failing to observe the surroundings for yourself. Aside from that, the problem with a fixation on sensitive apparatus is that anomalous readings can take place every once in a while during the monitoring of any system. Ask anyone who has worked in system control or spent a lot of time observing surveillance footage, seemingly unusual things occur more often than you might think. Especially when everyone starts drawing conclusions from sounds that no one would really care about under different circumstances.

The extensive use of devices can also nullify someone’s understanding of what is actually going on around them, when they’re focused on an instrument’s reading. This is especially true when it comes to the use of EMF (electromagnetic field) meters, the reading of electromagnetic radiation flux density of direct current (natural) fields. Depending on how sensitive the device is, you’ll detect naturally occurring magnetic fields in even the most mundane places.

Suggestions for applicable assessment (try at your own risk):

  1. Dedication of time. Very rarely do you hear of someone going to an alleged haunted location and experiencing something immediately. You need to spend a fair amount of time at the location, preferably doing seemingly run-of-the-mill tasks on your own (reading, either being or seeming genuinely distracted, letting your guard down, so to speak). Ideally, you would spend the night.
  2. Assessment to be undertaken by multiple parties, preferably new to the location and unaware that it is presumably haunted. The moment you tell someone a place is haunted, their interpretation is tainted to a degree, their frame of mind adjusts.
  3. Introduce animals (cats/dogs) to the location that have not previously been there. Ideally each animal on their own, then clean as best you can after the visit to remove the scent of the previous animal. Look for similarities in behavior each replication of experiment.
  4. Introduction of personal effects, objects, music that may have some connection to the deceased to agitate/provoke activity.
  5. Induce fear, mass hysteria. As unpleasant as this suggestion sounds, statistically these are the conditions under which paranormal activity is most commonly witnessed.
  6. Most controversially, the mock re-enactment of something somehow significant to the deceased, possibly related to their demise. To either agitate/provoke activity or increase likelihood of discovering (by whatever means) the impression/memory.
  7. Last, but possibly not least, the lighting of candles and the placement of religious paraphernalia. Candles evoke spiritual sentiments in most of us and are easily extinguished to indicate a possible ethereal presence. Religious icons could awaken or comfort, agitating/provoking paranormal activity. If the presence is something inhuman/demonic, some Judeo-Christian superstitions suggest the presence of religious icons/symbols/recitings could agitate/provoke detectable activity.

In closing, you might ask what are the tools a Ghost Hunter might want to take into some dark and abysmal place? Firstly, I would suggest rationality, rationality gives way to courage. Then I’d recommend patience, along with curiosity, those two work hand-in-hand. Then you would require diligence, to be willing to replicate the same possibly fruitless endeavor several times to derive the truest interpretation of the location/experience you are investigating. Then you’ll need resilience, to not be discouraged if/when you don’t find anything. One thing to keep in mind is that experiencing something and gaining physical proof of something, are two separate things.

ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴍʏ HOME ʙᴇ HAUNTED?

(Illustrated by Édouard de Beaumont, 1871)

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Well, firstly, anything can be “haunted”, when you think about it. A location that is regarded as “haunted”, is considered to be a place frequented by ghosts. What are ghosts? The remaining trace or vestige of something that “once was”. If something traumatic or humiliating happens to us, we may want to avoid the place where these things occurred, because to the individual, those places are (sometimes eternally) haunted with unpleasant memories.

In most instances, where the question of ‘hauntings’ arise, people aren’t referring to mere memories but instead phantasms, spectres and apparitions. Spirits or unforeseen forces that by whatever means, make their presence known. Usually causing negative implications on the living, at the very least, some form of psychological duress.

According to Pewresearch.org, in 2009 a study discovered that out of 2,003 Americans surveyed; 18% claimed to have seen a ghost. While 29% believed they were somehow in touch with the dead.

Interestingly, as you may have already recognized from anecdotal stories you might have heard or even seen in Hollywood depictions of the “haunted house”, it’s quite often an individual/family unit moving into a new unfamiliar home/place. It starts off with something subtle like an eerie feeling that progresses to lost items, anomalous electrical activity etc. Then the apparitions start and it progresses on, usually culminating with the discovery of some physical evidence of some horrendous tragedy, like a desecrated corpse hidden beneath the basement. At least in film.

The essential element that Hollywood gets right, along with most anecdotes is that something happens when you take any living creature out of its natural habitat. If you take an animal from its habitat or terrarium and place it in another, the animal experiences some initial duress, because change means uncertainty and uncertainly means fear. This works the same way in humans, with the change of locale or the increase of stress (most often caused due to a lack of sleep) natural human paranoia kicks in.

This concept is so old in fact, that there is a ghost story with this exact premise dating back some 2,000 years.

According to a surviving written account by Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus), 61 – circa 113 AD, he claims he was told stories of unusual circumstances regarding the Greek philosopher, Athenodorus Cananites (Ἀθηνόδωρος Κανανίτης), circa 74 BC – 7 AD. In a letter titled, ‘LXXXIII. To Sura’ he explains Athenodoros coming into possession of a large house, being sold for a suspiciously low price.

“In the dead of the night a noise, resembling the clashing of iron, was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains, distant at first, but approaching nearer by degrees: immediately afterwards a spectre appeared in the form of an old man, of extremely emaciated and squalid appearance, with a long beard and dishevelled, hair, rattling the chains on his feet and hands.”  

—Pliny the Younger

The story concludes with Athenodoros being led by the apparition to a certain spot in his home, which he marked. Later having the floor dug up to reveal the mangled skeletal remains of a chained man. Immediately after the remains were exhumed the hauntings ceased.

Essentially, there are two fears being represented in this ‘haunted house’ trope. One is the human fear of ghosts, which is intertwined with the fear of death and the unknown. The other fear, is spending a great deal of money on a new home, to discover it is haunted, or the premise of something gruesome and unpleasant. Thus, becoming a bad investment.

Two common human fears, death and the loss of money.

The “unknown territory” leading to heightened senses and (in some cases paranoid interpretations of otherwise normal) response to generic stimuli could account for a great many people believing their domicile is in someway haunted by an unworldly entity.

But this in no way accounts for all of them.

The most commonly reported signs that your home may be haunted are:

⦿ First and foremost, history. Cut to the chase, is it an old home? Does the land have a dark past? The noose hanging in the garage could save you a lot of guess work here. Older, creepier homes, in areas with a dark rich history of murders etc are far more stereotypically common to be considered haunted. Not exclusively the case, but for the sake of ascertaining if your home is haunted it’s good to take all elements into consideration.

⦿ More often than not, it begins with the faintest feeling as though you happen to be somewhere that you not welcome. Undoubtedly, the precursor to many unfortunate events.

⦿ Feeling as though you’re being watched. (Relatively common even if your home isn’t haunted. In fact this is so common, many individuals will momentarily feel as though they are being watched after reading this sentence.)

⦿ Objects appearing in strange places, or disappearing entirely without viable explanation. Things being moved even to a minuscule degree. Falling paintings/pictures, religious icons, clocks stopping etc.

⦿ Unusual noises. Formulaic patterns of knocks, often at the same time of day/night. Footsteps, audible calls, muffled speech.

⦿ Anomalous electrical activity, though there is a correlation of old creepy houses and genuinely bad defective, corroded wiring. Unusual electromagnetic fields are not conclusive reasons (alone) to believe your home is haunted as there are various natural and man-made causes.

⦿ Visual, olfactory and auditory hallucinations. Seeing, smelling or hearing things that by all rights you should not be seeing/smelling/hearing. Primarily experienced on an individual level. Foul odors appearing and going away without explanation, at certain times, maybe in certain parts of the house. Momentary glimpses of shadowy entities. Sounds like calls, laughter, sobbing. Footsteps heading down a hallway, etc.

⦿ Parts of the home/house seem to hold certain temperatures. Like a room being consistently cold, maybe a specific area of a room. Temperature fluctuations, usually spikes of cold that cannot naturally be explained. More often than not experienced at night, maybe at a reoccurring hour.

⦿ Bruises, marks, injuries you cannot explain, often appearing when you wake up of a morning. Rare accounts, human bite indentations on extremities.

⦿ Unusually intense/vivid nightmares. Experiences of sleep paralysis disorder/Old Hag syndrome. Often the nightmares pertain to a sort of torment, that will carry over into nocturnal disturbances.

⦿ Sightings of apparitions. By the time you are frequently sighting apparitions appear in your home you should attempt to have someone other than yourself witness said apparition. Once more than one person has witnessed the phenomenon then it’s swiftly becoming apparent that your home may in fact, be haunted.

⦿ Finally, bouts of confrontation/interaction with an incorporeal entity. In worst case scenarios, actual physical contact with a spirit. In extremely rare cases, individuals have claimed the confrontation can be as real and dangerous as a physical altercation with another living being. At which stage, some sort of religious or third party intervention is usually suggested. Along with the immediate ejection from the premise until the situation can be assessed/dealt with.

If you’re experiencing anything outlined above the last thing you should do is suffer in silence. As horrifying as it can be for the home owner, living in fear, there are many people who would be interested in helping you assess if there is something supernatural going on in your home. Maybe a friend or relative, or you could contact someone (you trust, at least enough to be in your home) to look into it with you.

I find it fascinating hearing about haunted homes. But in my experience, the “hauntings” are generally so subtle that the “ghost” really isn’t doing anything so offensive to bother the occupants of the home. To this day, I don’t believe I have witnessed a truly haunted home.

Maybe I’ll haunt this home when I die? Physically abuse the living, so they know it’s a proper haunting. Maybe they’ll even link it back to this specific article, “the bastard, it says here he planned to haunt the house all along! Even before he died!” “You’re kidding, darling!?” “Then there’s a sort of back and forth exchange of speech at the end, sort of mocking us, I suppose,” “horrendous!” “Yes, quite, then it goes on to say here if we both say ‘Yowsa Yowsa Yowsa’ he won’t haunt us anymore.” “Well, thank God that’s over with.”