Monthly Archives: February 2012

Thomas Edison and the phonograph…

Thomas Edison and his phonograph

Though he was working on it in 1877 and filed for a patent a few months earlier, it was on this date (February 19th) in 1878 that Thomas Alva Edison received the patent for his newest invention, the phonograph. He was also one of the independent inventors to invent the first microphone during this same time period.  All of this happened one year before he created the light bulb.

“The phonograph was developed as a result of Thomas Edison’s work on two other inventions, the telegraph and the telephone. In 1877, Edison was working on a machine that would transcribe telegraphic messages through indentations on paper tape, which could later be sent over the telegraph repeatedly. This development led Edison to speculate that a telephone message could also be recorded in a similar fashion. He experimented with a diaphragm which had an embossing point and was held against rapidly-moving paraffin paper. The speaking vibrations made indentations in the paper. Edison later changed the paper to a metal cylinder with tin foil wrapped around it. The machine had two diaphragm-and-needle units, one for recording, and one for playback. When one would speak into a mouthpiece, the sound vibrations would be indented onto the cylinder by the recording needle in a vertical (or hill and dale) groove pattern. Edison gave a sketch of the machine to his mechanic, John Kruesi, to build, which Kruesi supposedly did within 30 hours. Edison immediately tested the machine by speaking the nursery rhyme into the mouthpiece, ‘Mary had a little lamb.’ To his amazement, the machine played his words back to him.”

What did Thomas Edison foresee the phonograph being used for? 

  1. Letter writing and all kinds of dictation without the aid of a stenographer.
  2. Phonographic books, which will speak to blind people without effort on their part.
  3. The teaching of elocution.
  4. Reproduction of music.
  5. The “Family Record”–a registry of sayings, reminiscences, etc., by members of a family in their own voices, and of the last words of dying persons.
  6. Music-boxes and toys.
  7. Clocks that should announce in articulate speech the time for going home, going to meals, etc.
  8. The preservation of languages by exact reproduction of the manner of pronouncing.
  9. Educational purposes; such as preserving the explanantions made by a teacher, so that the pupil can refer to them at any moment, and spelling or other lessons placed upon the phonograph for convenience in committing to memory.
  10. Connection with the telephone, so as to make that instrument an auxiliary in the transmission of permanent and invaluable records, instead of being the recipient of momentary and fleeting communication.

For those of us involved in this paranormal “field”, I wonder where we’d be if it weren’t for Edison or his inventions? And I wonder if Edison had any idea that his inventions would be so important in the future of Electronic Voice Phenomena and spirit communication in general? Edison had an interest in spirit communication and it is widely believed that before his death he was working on a type of telephone to the dead and other tools that would have been a great help to this field. And who knows? Maybe we’re using new inventions from Edison today? Many mediums and researchers claim to have made contact with him over the years. Maybe he has passed all of this expertise onto mortal inventors, scientists, and inventors?

Would you like to listen to some Edison sound recordings?

In the first link below you can listen to some of the very first recordings, including the Mary Had a Little Lamb recording by Edison that is mentioned above.

Communicating with Dead Celebrities and the Famous…

Marilyn Monroe

Everything that I have read leads me to believe that when famous people cross over they lose much of their celebrity status on the other side. And if there is no presence of the ego there then they won’t mind being pulled back down to “earth” anyway. But if we choose or plan our journeys before each incarnation for the purposes of learning and growing, and if some choose particularly challenging paths, then I’d imagine people might reach out to those spirits while on the other side to learn from them. Why not try to do the same while we’re alive? Are all celebrities or famous spirits available to communicate or be channeled?

Here are just some of the celebrities that have been known to either communicate with mediums and researchers or be channeled throughout the years.

Richard Burton

Elvis Presley
Marilyn Monroe
Jimi Hendrix
Richard Burton (who Sylvia Browne claims is still earthbound and has no intention of crossing over)
Audrey Hepburn

Then we have the modern pioneers of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) research. These spirits have been known to reach out to communicate to many EVP researchers, mediums, spirit circles, etc.

Sarah Estep
Friedrich Jürgenson
Konstantin Raudive
Thomas Edison (had an interest in spirit communication and even tried to develop tools to help researchers while he was alive)

And, of course, Biblical figures as well…

What dead celebrities would you love to communicate with?

Jimi Hendrix

A related blog on channeling dead celebrities:

Sarah Estep at work

Spirit Visits While You Were Sleeping…

So I had to change my plans for tonight’s blog post because last night I had an interesting dream. I don’t remember dreams often so this was very significant. The details are unclear and I really wish I would have jotted down whatever details I remembered after I woke up. I had either dreamt or astral traveled to the living room of my late Great Grandmother Van Zandt (whom I called Grandma Van).

Grandma Van died when I was younger, but I do have several memories of her. I remember her on holidays and birthdays, and I remember visiting her in her apartment in my hometown. I remember all of the older ladies from her apartment building gushing over me when I visited. I’m sure I got my cheeks pinched and loved the attention. I remember thinking the elevator ride up to her floor was lots of fun. I remember her bedroom having two twin beds that always reminded me of old sitcoms where couples slept separately.

Grandma Van always seemed very tiny, quiet, and sweet.  After she died I remember being in the apartment while my mother and grandmother were going through her things. I think the main reason I remember that day so well is because my grandmother and mother gave me a wooden church with a steeple that had a music box inside. When you wound it up it played Sweet Hour of Prayer, the doors opened, and a preacher popped out. I remember being obsessed with it when my Grandma Van was alive and so apparently someone remembered that. I thought it was so very cool that I was special enough to get the church and I have kept and cherished it ever since. 

Back to my dream/astral experience/whatever it was… I was clearly in the presence of my Grandma Van. She was sitting in her chair in the corner of her living room. She and I clearly both knew that I was dreaming and talking to the spirit of a dead person. She was explaining something to me and I’m pretty sure I remember her trying to calm me or telling me not to be afraid. I woke up with the dream still vivid in my mind, told myself I was going to remember it, and then promptly went back to sleep. I’m so frustrated that I didn’t document it.

I’d love to be able to have some kind of validation that I truly had a visit from or visited my Grandma Van. Or… maybe it was truly just a dream. I believe that our soul leaves our body all the time while we sleep. I think we visit with our spirit guides and other entities as well. I like to think we get special advice and “heads up” on events we’re about to experience when we wake up. To my knowledge this is the first time I remember having such a pronounced experience like this.

**Updates to this post

  1. The church/music box plays Amazing Grace rather than Sweet Hour of Prayer
  2. My mother has informed me that it was my late Great Aunt Caroline and my mother that I was with while they were going through her apartment. 
  3. My Great Grandma Van died on July 29, 1989. 

House of Spirits and Whispers…

One of my favorite light-hearted non-fiction reads about ghosts is House of Spirits and Whispers: The True Story of a Haunted House by Annie Wilder. I heard this author being interviewed on Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast a few years ago. You can find that podcast here

I really truly could not put this book down once I started it. Annie details how she came upon her old Victorian home in Hastings, Minnesota and the spirits she was unaware came with it. She is so detailed, she even includes FLOOR PLANS!
Retiring in an old beautiful Victorian home is something I have always kind of wanted to do. By the end of the book I was so jealous that I didn’t own her house… and I wanted to make a visit! 🙂


From the back of the book cover: 

In 1994, Annie Wilder and her children moved into a 100-year-old house in a historic Mississippi River town. Beautiful but spooky, the house had been on the market for six months with no offers. It felt like – and proved to be – a very haunted house.

Essentially the story of a remarkable old Victorian house that seems to be a threshold to the spirit world and the astral realm, “House of Spirits and Whispers” has a backstory of the Wilder family’s relationship with the ghost of the home’s previous owner, an old man named Leon.

Covering a decade’s worth of ghostly activity and supernatural events, from whispering radiators to visits and appearances from all manner of spirits and entities, this unusual story is the true account of Annie Wilder’s experiences living in a haunted house.


Author Annie Wilder’s segment on the Biography Channel’s “My Ghost Story” season two, episode three.

For more information you can check out Annie’s website.


Ghost in the Window…

The Ghost in the Window

Could this be the spirit of Frances Grimshaw in the window right before this home was demolished?

I think this is a pretty impressive photo, and as long as witnesses are truthful it just may be a really phenomenal example of a spirit caught on film. The following information is from the original article. See more of my thoughts at the end of the post.

“David Grimshaw was certain it was his mother Frances, who died at 87 last year, after being shown the snap taken by a man demolishing the building.” 

“The 59-year-old was stunned and added: ‘I’m totally convinced – no one else looks like that. She had glasses and big earrings and she used to wear a dress with a bow at the front.’”

“While some may think the ghost is just a mere reflection, Mr Grimshaw remained convinced. He said: ‘She used to stand in that room for hours on the phone – it was the guesthouse reception and she took bookings from there.'”

“‘She would have been horrified if she had known the house was being  demolished because it was beautiful, so maybe that is why she’s turned up.’”

“The demolition team had felt an eerie chill at Meadowbank House. Worker Stuart Shan said: ‘The day before we took the photo, I noticed the chandelier swinging on its own.’”

“And demolition supervisor Robert Johnson, who took the photo, added: ‘It wasn’t until I got home and showed my wife that we spotted the woman.'” 

“‘You can see the jewellery on her and everything,’ he said. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before – the image is so clear. I’ve always been a sceptic but I’ll have to believe in ghosts now.’” 

“The building in Kendal, Cumbria, has now been demolished to make room for a new commercial property.”

The only question that I have about this photo is one that I get really annoyed when people ask in situations like this… but someone has to. Why exactly was this photo taken? The woman seems to be perfectly centered in the photo. Was it cropped after the fact? Was it coincidence? Were there other photos taken? If it is typical for photos to be taken before a structure is demolished it makes the evidence a little more believable to me.
Photos like this will probably never truly be empirical evidence in the eyes of science, but I hope it’s real. What do you think?


Shadow People…

Having a side category of ghosts called “shadow people” has always bugged me a bit.

I’ve had clients experience them, but I have to be honest and say I’ve never had a “shadow person” type of experience. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in shadow people, but there are so many different types of paranormal phenomena and so many ways spirits/entities manifest themselves. And how do we know that what we’re seeing is the same as how someone else sees it? Some people see ghosts all the time… and some of us don’t. Some authors or investigators put shadow people into their own category of ghost and assume they’re all negative… or try to deal with them differently than they would any other typical ghost, just because they manifested themselves to you as a shadow on this particular day. Considering how very little we know about ghosts, I feel this is a little irresponsible.

Shephen Wagner is the author of the paranormal page on His latest conversation is on shadow people encounters. Click on the page below and check out some of the shadow people experiences that people have reported. Are shadow people really any different from any other ghost? Have you witnessed a “shadow person”?

Top Hot Spots in Missouri for Paranormal Activity…

So what areas in Missouri can claim to have the most haunted activity? Where have you been? Where would you like to visit? Add to my list!

Kansas City?

Armor Home for the Aged, Kansas City

(Donaldson House/Kansas City Art Institute, Elmwood Cemetery, Houston Lake, Hotel Savoy, Strawberry Hill, The Armor Home for the Aged, Christian Church Hospital)

St. Louis?

(Lemp Mansion, Powell Symphony Hall, Old City Hospital, Chase Park Plaza Hotel, Jefferson Barracks, Cupples Mansion – St. Louis University, Brookings Hall – Washington University)


(Gillioz Theatre, Landers Theater, Walnut Street Inn, Pythian Castle, Maple Park Cemetery, Springfield National Cemetery, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield)

Brookings Hall, Washington University





Of course there is quite a bit of paranormal activity going on in smaller areas like Independence, St. Joseph, Lexington, Carthage, Joplin, Hannibal, St. Charles, etc. that don’t get as much attention.

Gillioz Theatre, Springfield






What’s your favorite word for “ghost”?

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

The famous Brown Lady of Raynham Hall (Norfolk) captured in this photo from 1936.

“Ghost” can mean many things, especially in today’s world of being obsessed with paranormal investigation (or the term I’m not a fan of… “ghost hunting”). Depending on your spiritual beliefs, many would argue that some of these terms specifically describe “earthbound” ghosts, rather that “spirits” that have crossed over into what I would describe as “the other side”. And, of course, I have a hard time holding back and not giving my own opinion or description of what some of these terms specifically mean to me. Some of these terms I think are just older terms that I would just never use at all.

What terms do you use? What do some of these terms specifically mean to you?

Let’s start with the term “ghost”, shall we? Throughout this post I’ll be including definitions from, the Webster’s dictionary from my bookshelf that I received from my late Great Grandmother Thomas when I was a child, and one reference from the Donning International Encyclopaedic Psychic Dictionary (yes, it’s spelled that way… I don’t know why).


Spirit, dead person appearing again. Specter. (Webster’s Dictionary)

The soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined,usually as a vague,
shadowy or evanescent form, aswandering among or haunting living persons. (

An energy field that makes its presence known periodically in the same area, giving the awareness of a living person; brings a drop of temperature with its presence; perceived clairaudient or audiently by its activities and movements; perceived clairvoyantly as a fluffy, transparent human-like mass, moving very slowly. (Donning International Encyclopaedic Psychic Dictionary)


Unexpected appearance, esp. of ghost (Webster’s Dictionary)

A supernatural appearance of a person or thing, especially a ghost; a specter or phantom; wraith. Anything that appears, especially something remarkable or startling. An act of appearing; manifestation. (


Thing’s being or existence. Reality. Thing having real existence. (Webster’s Dictionary)

Something that has a real existence; thing. (


Vision of absent person. Illusion (Webster’s Dictionary)

An apparition or specter. (


Apparition, specter, ghost (Webster’s Dictionary)  

An apparition or specter. (

specter (sometimes “spectre”):

Ghost or an image of something unpleasant (From Webster’s Dictionary)

A visible incorporeal spirit, especially one of a terrifying nature; ghost;
phantom; apparition. (


(You have to go all the way to the 8th definition to get to what we’re looking for for this purpose) Ghost (Webster’s Dictionary)

The principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul. The incorporeal part of humans. The soul regarded as separating from the body at death. Conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter. A supernatural, incorporeal being, especially one inhabiting a place, object, etc., or having a particular character. (


Ghost (Webster’s Dictionary) 

Informal. A ghost; specter. (


Apparition of a person seen shortly before or after death. Specter. (Webster’s Dictionary)

An apparition of a living person supposed to portend his orher death. A visible spirit. (

One Moment In Time…

Whitney Houston
1963 – 2012 

This evening I couldn’t gather my thoughts to write a post on anything other than the passing of  Whitney Houston. For me this night brings back the same familiar feelings of sadness that I experienced when we lost Michael Jackson. Music is such a large part of my life, and both Michael and Whitney were a part of it for sure.

As I write this we don’t know the circumstances of her passing, but Whitney certainly had her troubles and challenges. This is all sad, but to me it was even more sad seeing Whitney try to come back… she clearly was not the same person, she didn’t have the same magic, and her voice was clearly not there. I certainly hope and pray that she has crossed over to the other side and is breathing a sigh of relief that she has no more troubles, and hopefully she decides that she accomplished what she came here to do. Maybe it was to change the world with her music and that powerful voice? Maybe her struggles and addictions were meant to be an example for others?  So no… I’m not sad for her now. I’ll celebrate for her. But I suppose it is okay to be sad for ourselves because we’ll never know what she could have been or what was still ahead. But maybe another chapter for Whitney was never meant to be.

As I listened to some of her music this evening, I found that there were so many beautiful songs that she sang that I had forgotten. The below video is one of those songs. The lyrics are eerily fitting for the occasion. As she sings in the last line of this song, I pray that she is now truly free.

Channeling Erik…

As a new blogger I’ve been checking out interesting blogs and learning a lot. I didn’t expect to find anything quite like this. Elisa Medhus, MD lost her young son to suicide in 2009. She shares everyday conversations with him from the Afterlife. I’ve only begun to check out this enormous site. Check it out!

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