Monday, April 19, 2010

Seeing is Believing

I recently joined the New Jersey Ghost Investigations team as their psychic medium. I finally had the occasion to go out on my first investigation with the team. I have been on plenty of other investigations with other teams around the country and in Wales, and have my own little stash of what has now become in recent years fairly standard ghost-hunting equipment. When you go out with a team as a medium, you are also relying heavily on your personal sensory and mental equipment to pick up information about spirits.

In all of my various investigations, I have been privy to all kinds of bizarre and seemingly "impossible" events. I have been virtually lifted off the ground by the scruff of my neck by a spirit that I later found out was an angry security guard standing outside a judge's chambers when I apparently ventured too close to the judge's door. I have felt sudden cold spots and cool breezes signaling the presence of spirits. I have smelled odors that appeared and disappeared in impossible sequences in response to spirit communication that were without a tangible, physical or logical source. I have heard them in many ways including footsteps, muffled body movements, canon fire, tapping and so on. I have certainly been able to obtain information about spirits which came without any underlying logical or rational foundation, simply by tuning my "imagination" in the right direction.

However, I have always been somewhat aggravated by the fact that while I am a very visual person, and can "see" spirits with my internal third eye, I have not been able to "see" them with my physical eyes. Many people can and do see spirits - most often in the form of apparitions and shadow figures. I have never quite understood why I have not been able to do this. I assumed that it was due to a subconscious fear and desire not to see. It is helpful to pay attention to old adages such as "Be careful what you wish for" - particularly when it comes to seeing ghosts. I often wondered whether I could truly handle the emotional fear of seeing a ghost. What if they appeared all bloody and disgusting as in death? What if they came to my bedroom and crawled into bed with me? Not unusual, since I have heard several personal stories to this effect. What if I couldn't handle the visual impact? What then? I think all these fears stopped me from "seeing" with my eyes. This, of course, implicitly assumes that ghosts can indeed be "seen" with one's physical eyes.

I am no longer an apparition-virgin! Our team visited a very old haunted firehouse in New Jersey. A fireman committed suicide at this firehouse and apparently was actually seen years later by one of his fellow firefighters in the mirror of the firetruck as it was parked inside the garage. The firefighters who work there to this day are so spooked by the eerie feeling that pervades this old building that they race to see who can be the second-to-last to leave the building at night. No one dares to stay there by themselves. True, the place has a strange feeling. I felt as if I were being followed as I walked around.

During the course of the night, this poor spirit was extremely active in communicating with our group. He not only responded to questions with appropriate, immediate knocking noises, but you could also hear his footsteps in the firetruck garage while no one was there, and he actually threw three plastic spoons from the kitchen counter into an adjoining hallway upon request by our team member! There was no one near the counter or in the hallway at the time. There were plenty of witnesses to the flying spoons - myself included. Once, while we all gathered to examine the spoon on the floor, this elusive ghost decided to throw a brochure from the table behind us, and threw it about five feet away onto the ground. We all heard it - and there was no one in the room and no currents of air that might have caused it. It was clearly deliberate.

However, the crowning moment came while I stood in the little hallway with my team member and one other woman. We were facing a little dark hallway where the restrooms were located. My team member said, "Do either of you see a mirror in that bathroom?" We both said yes. And as we looked at the mirror, which reflected some light from a kitchen window behind us, we saw a black figure, head and shoulders, moving in the mirror. We all moved slightly just to see if any one of us was reflecting in the mirror - but we weren't. This black figure seemed to float up and down a couple of times, very gently as if he (it was clearly a young man) were slowly bending his knees and standing up. Then he turned his face so we could clearly see his profile. Then he turned back and looked at us directly.

As he was moving around, I (being skeptical by nature) kept the corner of my eye on the other two women to see if they moved in tandem with this black figure. But they didn't - not only that, but one was too short to be visible in the mirror and the other was located to the side of a wall not within the reflection range. Nor could anyone have walked in front of the kitchen window outside because this figure took up the entire space in the mirror - not just the window area. One of the other team members heard us exclaiming about this figure. He stood behind me and the four of us watching this silent black figure moving around in the mirror. Then the figure slowly moved to the left and out of the frame of the mirror - like a bad pantomime. Then, as if goofing on us, he snuck back in again from the left. All this time - and it lasted for several minutes - we were all talking about what we saw.

This spirit was not vague and undefined or wispy as one often hears about. No. This spirit was very well defined. He was obviously male and obviously relatively young. To the others he appeared to be wearing a strange black cape around his head and shoulders. To me, he seemed to have a particularly bad mullet haircut with long hair reaching his shoulders. He clearly wanted us to see him. He obviously wanted to play with us by his demeanor.

How did I feel while watching my first ghost apparition? Strangely normal. I was not frightened or disturbed. I was merely fascinated. This spirit gave us the luxury of time to look around and try to debunk him while he was moving around. That is what was extraordinary. Four witnesses saw him with their physcial eyes and could not debunk what they saw!

Even for "believers" in the supernatural, it is one thing to trust that spirits exist and something else entirely when you can see them with your physical eyes...