It is my personal belief that spirit activity exists virtually everywhere. The grocery store, that summer rental, the office next door, and “home sweet home” all qualify as locations ripe for cohabiting with spirits. Everywhere! That’s what I believe, and I doubt I’ll be changing that opinion any time soon since I have been fortunate enough to record spirit voices everywhere I’ve tried. I don’t think this is abnormal or unusual. I think that’s the way it works, and unbeknownst to us, it has always been so.
That said, there are an ever-increasing number of locations labeled as being haunted. We all know and accept Eastern State, the Winchester House, and Bobby Mackey’s, just to name a few, but there are also thousands of local properties burdened with the same reputation, and many of those have begun to advertise. This translates into decent income for some, but does little to solve the mystery of whether or not the reputation is deserved. Most of the story telling that creates these ghostly monuments is based in reality, but would truly fail the lie-detector test. Many include actual witnesses who can attest to frightening experiences – terrifying events during the course of daily activity – things not easily explained, and therefore perfect additions to the rapidly growing mythology of the place. And the question for us is, as always: How much of this is real?
Certainly, since I believe that spirit presence is an automatic factor in the life of every location, it stands to reason that from my point of view, no place is clean. But it doesn’t seem possible there would be so many hotbeds of paranormal depravity among us. Nowadays, it seems as though any location whose history includes even the most natural of deaths, is billed as being haunted by some poor soul who’s only claim to notoriety is that he passed away on the premises. “He died an unhappy man, only to yearn throughout eternity for the loss of his one true love.” How many of us are happy about dying? Does anyone enjoy the demise of love? Certainly, for this to serve as the foundation for a claim of “paranormality” is ill conceived. There is pain and great suffering in most people’s lives, and we learn to deal with it and hopefully grow as a result. Of course it’s possible that the deceased people in question may not have handled things quite so well, but it seems to me that we may be making more of things than is truly there. It seems to me that the stories surrounding most so-called haunted houses are hyperbolic at best and obviously stereotypical. These days, the logical conclusion is to spawn an exaggerated claim of great paranormal goings-on and of course, there’s that profit. But is that so bad?
Doesn’t it keep a lot of us off the streets, so to speak? Truly, if there is paranormal activity throughout the world, then those of us who investigate such things need somewhere to practice! I’ve been to places like this, and have found myself buying into the false history as quickly as the next guy. I’ve felt things I didn’t really feel, seen things I interpreted incorrectly and heard all the same spooky noises everyone else hears. I almost don’t want to admit it, but I’ve succumbed to the legends and wallowed in the misunderstandings.
I just don’t feel all that bad about doing it. It was great fun! In fact, while I may not have gathered a single shred of evidence (outside of the obvious EVP), I think I learned from each experience. Of course, what I primarily learned was how not to misinterpret my human need to psychologically share in the experience of others.
We should learn how not to believe while investigating such places; how not to misunderstand occurrences; how not to inadvertently massage evidence, or translate active imaginations into false substantiation. Because I’ve also been to places without reputation and fanfare – places where today’s misery is real and where the unknown effectively introduces itself to frightened people. I’ve been to places so full of spirit presence that the air is thick with their thoughts and replete with their attempts to be known.
One has to be able to find the truth, for after all, isn’t it truth we seek? One has to be able to rise above the personal experience and focus on the reality. We have to be able to cut through the bullshit and find the veracity of things, and it doesn’t matter where you are or how real the paranormal lineage of a place actually is, one has to be strong enough to walk away with only reality in our findings. That which is factual and provable will withstand the harsh, dispassionate light of day; will rise above the claims and the advertising.
Practice makes perfect, so bring on the abandoned antebellum mansion near the swamp. Bring on the decaying asylum and the forgotten prison. Bring on the Civil War hospitals and all the empty houses at the corners of Fifth and Main in every town. And when we’re finished with as many of those as we can stomach, we’ll be ready to help the little boy who can’t spend one more night alone in his room with the creature who won’t stop tormenting him. And maybe, just maybe we can put all this practice to good use.