Tag Archives: demonic entities

Demons, Possession, and the Book I Almost Didn’t Finish

 

A photo I took from inside the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri.

A photo I took from inside the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri.

I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding the subject of demons or demonic possession on this blog. This isn’t due to being afraid of the topic or needing to leave the closet light on when I talk about it, but because the BS-o-meter tends to immediately start flashing in my head when the topic is brought up. It’s not something I do on purpose, and it’s not that I’m trying to be a jerk, it just doesn’t resonate with me, I guess. I’ve always done my best to not offend anyone in discussions about their beliefs, or when people recount their demonic experiences. As Jim Harold famously says, “I keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out.” Most of the time I just listen and try to see the activity as simply paranormal, just like any other experience that may or may not be explainable, rather than attach a demonic name or entity to it. 

 

I admit it! 

But I think I need to finally come clean and admit that I have issues believing in the concept. Oh I know what some of you will use to argue already. Light can’t exist without darkness. A belief in angels requires a belief in demons. Those arguments sound nice, but they don’t settle anything for me, and to be fair, I have the same issues wrapping my head around angels sometimes too, with their names and their color coded wings. For a while last year I was involved in a few phone conversations with a popular television production company about the possibility of being involved in a pilot about angels and investigating whether or not they really existed. I’m not sure where the project ended up going, but many of the personalities they were interested in just had a knowing that angels existed, and that’s not what they were looking for. They wanted someone who needed the proof. It was exciting to be approached, but I’m not sure the topic of angels would have been enough to keep me focused or serious for a whole series. One thing is for sure, though. I’d have to see some evidence before I could confidently say I believed in angels. Now ask me if I believe in spirit guides. (Well… I can’t wait all night for you to ask, but just know the answer is YES. My regular readers already knew this.)

Oh I believe in evil, in a sense that there are bad people, good people, and a whole spectrum of people in between. Those same people may just end up being either the innocent ghost or the trouble-making poltergeist in a haunted house. Many people believe, as I do, that we’re placed here on earth, maybe more than once, to learn lessons and allow our souls to grow spiritually. Perhaps these “bad people” are here to be a part of those lessons, and maybe their struggle with being bad has something to do with their own lesson. But believing in an inhuman demonic entity, or the devil himself, is something that I admittedly struggle to take seriously. Some popular paranormal television shows haven’t helped my opinion, either. Often those suddenly possessed investigators or home owners seem to look like they’re simply starving for attention, and oh look, there just happens to be a camera rolling! The spotlight is on me! I don’t mean to be flip, but that’s how it appears. I have absolutely no doubt that spirit can make use of our energy, or manipulate the world around us, and I believe in some cases a person with a gift can be used as a channel for spirit. But sometimes I wonder if people confuse being mentally unstable, or just plain drama, with demon possession. 

 

The book

This post was originally intended to be a book review, but like it or not, I’ve always had a policy about not mentioning a book by name if I don’t have many good things to say about it. Therefore, I’ll be somewhat cryptic in talking about it, and I hope that isn’t seen as poor taste. I’m far from being qualified to be an English teacher, but if I have the urge to take out a red pen to correct grammar and spelling in every chapter of your book, you simply didn’t try very hard to edit it, and so that certainly means I’m going to have a hard time taking you seriously or trusting your qualifications. The book contains story after story of what is supposed to be taken from actual case files of demonic activity, but they just sounded like good fictional storytelling to me… and I’m not big on reading fiction. I simply don’t believe much of those events happened. And people shouldn’t be led to believe that a simple creek, a rap on the wall in response to a question, or an occasional shadow is a reason to convert to Catholicism, get a crucifix for every room, or look for an exorcist.

If you know me, you know that I can’t NOT finish a book, even if I’m not enjoying it. I take pride in finishing the last word and shelving it ceremoniously. But for the first time in years, I considered not finishing this one. I felt a little silly spending the time on it. It took me forever, but I finished it, sighed, and moved on to the next book on my “to be read” shelf.

 

But…

Like some things I’ve brought up in this blog, I might change my mind about all of this in a year or two, or maybe even next week! If I’m suddenly involved in an investigation where I have pea soup spat by someone walking across the ceiling while cursing me in 12 different languages, you’ll be the first to hear from me. Until then, this is where I am with it all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out in search of evil. I’ve always preferred pleasant spirits “from the light”, but until I’ve experienced it, I refuse to make it something dramatic to fear.

 

Now it’s your turn to tell me why I’m right or wrong.

I know that many of my readers will disagree with me on this. As I say to my students, “you’ll still like me, right?”

As a counter to probably every opinion I just gave here, you may be interested in checking out the ongoing Hidden Astral World series from Gary Leigh’s Psychic Empaths blog, where he quite literally introduces you to Omen, who he claims is a demonic entity. Gary is a loyal reader of the Big Séance and I have a lot of respect for him, so I hope he chooses to still like me after this post. He’s writing about fascinating stuff. I’m just not sure where I am with it all or how to respond. Go check it out!  

 

You might also like:

Categorizing Hauntings (Big Séance)

Categorizing Hauntings (Big Séance)


The Uninvited: The True Story of the Union Screaming House

The Uninvited: The True Story of the Union Screaming House by Steven LaChance (2008), is about a man’s experiences with a haunted house in a small Missouri town during a several year time period in the early 2000s. I was unfamiliar with Steven or the “Screaming House” in Union until this book showed up in an Amazon.com book search. Being from Missouri, I figured it was something I should definitely check out. 

In the beginning, the book focuses a lot on Steven (the author), who is a hardworking single father struggling to make it with three children. After moving from one disappointing rental to another, they manage to find what seems to be a dream home for their family… and this is where the real story starts. I am a person that reads a lot of books that would keep most people up at night, but I don’t usually have any issues. The activity that LaChance describes was enough to keep me from reading before bed. It does tend to be a little heavy on the demonic, and things like oppression and possession, but one thing I liked was that the author was really honest in describing those experiences and his opinions.  

After reaching his limit of paranormal activity, the author finally moved his family out of the haunted home, but activity seemed to follow them, often in the form of nightmares. Fate also seemed to arrange for Steven to meet Helen, the next renter (or victim?) of the home. He felt the need to help her to find answers with the ongoing activity. In doing so, they formed a close relationship, and Steven ended up forming Missouri Paranormal Research (which I believe is now Paranormal Task Force), and the group seemed to spend an exhaustive amount of time investigating in the home. From there, the story focuses on Helen and the extreme experiences she goes through, including signs of possible oppression and possession, threatening both homicide and suicide, and even spending a short amount of time in a mental health facility. Steven seemed to talk himself through the thoughts that I was having while reading. Was she truly being affected somehow by some kind of demonic entity from the house, or was she purely having a psychological breakdown?  

One thing is for sure. You won’t be bored with the twists and turns in the story. 

For Steven’s website, click HERE. For a pictorial tour of the Union Screaming House, click HERE.

 

Author’s bio from the book cover:

Steven LaChance (Missouri) is co-host, with Denice Jones, of the popular Internet radio show Haunted Survivor. He appeared in the documentary film Children of the Grave and his story was featured on The Discovery Channel’s A Haunting. His experiences at the Union screaming house inspired him to form the Missouri Paranormal Research Society.

 

You might also like: 

The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication (Big Séance)

The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication (Big Séance)

Chip Coffey's "Growing Up Psychic" (Big Séance)

Chip Coffey’s “Growing Up Psychic” (Big Séance)

Vintage: A Ghost Story (for the gay teen in your life) (Big Séance)

Vintage: A Ghost Story (for the gay teen in your life) (Big Séance)

 

 

 


Fear and Spirit Communication

On more than one occasion recently, the topic of fear in areas of the paranormal or spirit communication, such as the Ouija board, has crossed my path. So it has been on my mind lately. Below is a somewhat unstructured blabmentary on this topic.

It all began with a reader who commented on one of my Ouija posts. Most of the people who caution me about the use of the Ouija board refer back to their own personal negative experiences. Most of these experiences involve either sleepovers, dares, parties, or other situations where there probably isn’t much planning, focus, or reverence involved. In most of these situations where people are gathered and dabbling for fun, there’s not a lot of seriousness or trust involved, and with so many hands on the planchette, I’m likely to be skeptical of any paranormal event or communication that you tell me about.  Sometimes people will use the term “dabbling” with me, or warn me of evil, as if I’d never ever thought about the possibility or read a book on the topic. It’s a bit insulting to me when people compare my very positive and structured experiments, based on reading and research, with a drunken party or a sleepover from when they were twelve.

That’s okay though. People only have their own experiences to draw from, and we’re all different. In fairness, this particular comment was left on a post from a year and a half ago, a time where I was only starting to read about the Ouija, and I’d conducted no formal sessions yet. It was a respectful comment and was intended to be a warning, or perhaps encouragement to use caution. As I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion, all tools of spirit communication fall in the same boat. Having to fear a Ouija board because it has a sort of magical power to bring in evil spirits, yet thinking a digital audio recorder is fine, makes no sense to me. And I’ve also publicly mentioned how I don’t hold much belief in demonic or evil entities, demons, etc. Negative or nasty spirits who were negative or nasty humans, sure. Bad energy? Of course. But the concept of the devil is something that makes me chuckle when it pops up in a serious discussion. Oh I know, so many of you say “In order to have good, you must have evil”, or “You can’t have angels without the devil”, but I don’t really get that opinion either.

My opinions of demonic or negative energies aside, I’ve always practiced spirit communication responsibly, often grounding and centering, praying or asking for protection, being in a light and positive mood, etc. I also should once again point out that I have never actually had any successful Ouija sessions where I witnessed any communication or paranormal activity.

Right now I’m in the middle of Karen A. Dahlman’s book, The Spirits of Ouija, Four Decades of Communication. On this topic, we seem to share the same opinion, for the most part. She discusses how people fear the Ouija board out of ignorance. They believe what Hollywood or religious leaders want us to believe, and they don’t want to take the time to learn about it. I’m really getting a lot out of it so far. I wanted to include a passage that pertains to fear, but I haven’t taken the time to send her a message asking for permission. She really knows her Ouija! She has a great interview out there on one of Jim Harold’s podcasts.

Another catalyst for this commentary was a portion of Theresa Caputo’s book, There’s More To Life Than This: Healing Messages, Remarkable Stories, and Insight About the Other Side from the Long Island Medium. My mom is a big fan of hers, and she sent the audio book to me as an early Christmas gift. At one point in the book, Theresa discussed how those who fear negative energy and experiences, breed negative energy and experiences. In other words, if you expect it you’ll get it. She also talked about how many of the homes she’s cleared of negative energy had a lot of religious items displayed around the house, as if it was a dare, or an obvious attempt at over protecting themselves. This has really gotten me thinking, and it has sparked a few discussions among friends recently. I suppose it was kind of like an Oprah “aha moment” for me.

Am I still talking? Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! 

 

You might also like: 

Thanksgiving Ouija Session 2013 (Big Séance)

EVP/Ouija/Spirit Box Session: “Ouija… Board” (Big Séance)

A Very Ouija Thanksgiving (2012) (Big Séance)

Ouija Gone Wild (Big Séance)

The Paranormal Podcast… To Ouija or not to Ouija? (Big Séance)

 

 


Why do we assume?

As a teacher, occasionally I will have those days where nothing seems to go right. Some days I set out to inspire and end up coming home feeling like I spent the day pulling entire classes to the park in a wagon… all of them packed in like sardines, excited for the fun to come, but too apathetic to pitch in to help get the group there. (I apparently use this metaphor frequently because my last group of eighth grade students left me at the end of the year with a little red wagon, autographed by every one of them. Those days make it all worth it.) There have been a few times where on those wagon-pulling days I’ve decided to relieve my frustration while breaking the tension of the class at the same time… with a sudden drawn out scream. If you want the full effect, imagine Pee Wee Herman when someone said the secret word. Yes. I’m classy. But it usually works. We all laugh and move on in a much lighter (hopefully) atmosphere. 

The wagon story has nothing to do with this post, but remember that scream and get ready to picture it. 

 

I recently got caught up on what seemed like an endless amount of paranormal shows on the DVR. Episode after episode, I continued to see and hear investigators determine a location was haunted by the ghost of a “little girl”, because they captured an EVP with a higher pitched voice. Of course, it couldn’t be the voice of a little boy, even though little boys and girls voices often share the same higher pitch until puberty. With your eyes closed you might not always know. I hope that little boy wasn’t insulted. I guess they’ve also never heard my voice. I’m mistaken for a “ma’am” in the drive thru frequently and spend my days singing soprano and alto with middle schoolers. And what makes investigators believe that the timbre of the voice they’re picking up is what that spirit’s voice sounded like in life, anyway? What if vibrations come through an octave higher (or lower) as it pushes through the veil? Clearly, spirit voices lose a significant amount of clarity, consonants, and sometimes syllables when attempting communication, so what makes us so sure the pitch determines gender or age? Why do we assume?

In another episode they visit a building that holds centuries worth of memories and emotional stories, but because a rather famous person visited there twice, of course that must be the ghost that resides there. “Elvis! Is that you? Will you autograph my EMF meter?” Wouldn’t they be embarrassed to know that the voice they captured was actually of a fan who died just that week and simply followed them into the building, hoping to have their big moment. After all, no one can see them anymore and they’re pretty frustrated with being ignored. They just KNOW that Zak will hear them.

Okay my last gripe. I’m almost afraid to bring this one up again. “Look! There went a shadow! Go grab Father Dowling. We’re doing an exorcism.” Because a spirit or entity presents itself today as a shadow (on a night where you no doubt begged for some sort of manifestation or communication), it doesn’t make it an evil or demonic entity. Even if it’s quick to get away from you. Even if it’s an unusually short shadow. What makes you think you know? There’s probably a good chance that the shadow was not even paranormal at all, so leave the crucifix in the car. Anyway, it’s just Uncle Charlie, and a shadow is all he could muster today, thank you.  

 

AHHHHHHHHH! These things make me scream and jump up and down on the couch with my hands on my head. Were they edited to look this way? Surely they wouldn’t assume… would they?

Why do we assume? AHHHHHHH!

Ah well. At least I feel better now.

 

Related Posts: 

 

How to Evaluate the Authenticity of an Observer’s Supernatural Encounter (Big Séance)

 

 

 

I Still Watch Ghost Hunters… So What? (Big Séance)

 

 


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