Respect for the Medium

I’m just a weekend away from my reading with a medium. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while, and if you are a listener of The Voices Podcast, then this is not news. Regardless of how excited I am about it, there is still a great learning experience to be had, even though I hold a life-long mistrust of mediums that has only recently softened. 
 
Lately, I’ve had some positive first-hand experiences, so now seems like the perfect time for both the reading itself and for whatever leap of faith I’ll have to take. I attended one of these things with my daughter some time ago, and I was remarkably impressed by the medium’s accuracy, even though she didn’t hit every nail on the head. Nobody’s perfect, but none of the usual stereotypes proved true either, so I decided that day that I wanted to record a personal reading for the podcast. This has been in the works for many moons.
 
I’ve been extended a number of free mini-sessions over the past few years – impromptu, short ventures of five minutes or less – probably offered because of what I do with EVP. But these have always seemed somewhat preposterous – full of Native American spirit guides, wolves that travel by my side, and old crone-like women protecting me. I don’t know what to make of this stuff, but an full-length reading should be more conclusive. The medium I have chosen is someone I know, but she is clueless about my personal history or that of my family, so if the other side chooses to communicate, almost anything they say will be unknown to her ahead of time – I’ve told her nothing. We haven’t discussed my goals or intentions, my attitude, or what I would like to hear. This is going to be a pretty cold reading, and a fair test of her gift – she’ll be completely on her own. Whatever happens, will happen – accurate or not.
 
Believe it or not, I have an odd history of skepticism, and nothing has tested it more than mediumship, but that’s primarily because you so rarely are able to prove the findings as right or wrong. Either way, my intentions are not to judge her accuracy. Her contribution to the paranormal is an important and significant aspect of the field, insofar as mediums speak to the heart and soul of the deceased. EVP seem primitive and incomplete when compared to her work, and yet they receive more universal credibility. That seems unfair to me since the medium is the ultimate conduit in spirit communication. If Dad can’t speak the language, he’ll need an interpreter; if Aunt Sue is lost, she’ll need more than my audio recorder or IR cameras. 
 
So, it seems that mediums operate completely in the realm of unbelievability. It is difficult enough for me to deal with a mouthy skeptic – I can image the flack a medium has to dodge. Therefore, my hopes are for a good reading, and even though I can promise you everything will be taken with a grain of salt, I intend to view the situation as an experience well worth both the money and the effort – no matter what. Voices Podcast listeners will get to go along for the ride, so I recommend the rest of you tag along just this once – maybe we’ll all learn something, and generate a new and much deserved respect for the medium.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

 

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Impeccable Timing

A man told me a tale while we were discussing Season One of American Horror Story. It seems that early one crisp Thanksgiving day, while driving down a lonely, local road, he happened upon a transparent person crossing in front of his speeding car. Slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting the figure, the car came to a stop just a few feet away from an unfazed revenant. Yes, he was indeed transparent, seemed to lack one leg, and consisted of a shimmering, unstable substance. The driver was not drunk or otherwise impaired; he wasn’t tired or distracted. It was just a trip down the road for cigarettes on a holiday morning; a trip he had made many times before.

The apparition turned and looked him right in the eyes, offered a beaming smile, and literally tipped his hat, before turning to predictably disappear. “He faded away. He was just gone.” The man went on to say he was shaken, and stayed stopped in the road until the sound of an approaching car snapped him to his senses. He slowly proceeded home, and not knowing how to explain the encounter, kept it to himself for years. “You know,” he confessed, “I might have been driving too fast. Maybe that thing made me slow down so I didn’t hit a tree or something.”

Maybe, I thought, and I remembered reading a similar story a few months earlier concerning a woman trapped in a burning building. She was confronted by a floating apparition who directed her through the maze of fire, and eventually to safety. It was a miracle, and she was completely convinced her life was saved by “the white angel.” Maybe my friend in the car was keeping similar company.

Were these angels? Possibly deceased human spirits sent to save the living from an unnecessary and horrific death? No one will ever know of course, and it requires faith to see this as a backup plan for when our senses and sensibilities fail. But there are those who disbelieve the paranormal verity suggested by both of these incidents; naysayers who can offer no explanation, but plenty of doubt. There always has to be rationality; a real reason – maybe “something more believable.” Because they lied? “Well, let’s just say mistaken.”

My inner believer wants to slap the skeptic right off of some people. I am amazed at our inability to accept one another’s honest testimony. Must we know whether these two incidents were real or imagined; whether they were placed into the mind by a higher power, or manufactured by a subconscious need to survive? All the possible explanations are preposterous, but does it matter?

There are times when the paranormal comes to visit in ways we could not have even imagined, and frequently, we benefit. Often, we lose sight of the true nature of things paranormal – we prefer to make it frightening and menacing. We so easily welcome the notion of demons and monsters; creatures whose only purpose is to suck the life out of us or possess our mortal souls. But the true meaning of such things doesn’t have to be abhorrent. When we least expect it, the paranormal comes bearing gifts – of life, love, and an understanding of what it means to be flawed and in trouble. Sometimes, the paranormal is a good thing to have around. Sometimes it’s timing is impeccable.

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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

Beside Us

The lady misplaced her jacket, and they spent a portion of three months searching for it. She remembers hanging it on a hook in the hall closet, so they were certain it was not lost, but after a while, they forgot about it, and no longer cared. It would show up eventually, no doubt.

Lately, they’ve been experiencing loud, unexplainable banging sounds, and their three year old frequently complains about a strange man in his room. So, yesterday, when the jacket was found hanging on the railing, in plain sight, they were understandably disturbed. The long forgotten jacket appeared on the end piece of the railing at the bottom of the most noticeable place in the living room. Something paranormal was possibly afoot.

But here’s the interesting part, because a story about a missing jacket doesn’t typically qualify as a legitimate “paranormal” event – she found her car keys in the jacket pocket. Car keys that she has used every day while the jacket was on sabbatical. The Mister said she turned a whiter shade of pale and muttered something about seeing the “ghost hunter” down the street. That would be me, and just so we understand each other, I absolutely believe their story.

Now, I’m not saying I think their house is haunted, but I know these people, and inventing this tale would not be their kind of thing. I like to think I have a pretty good BS detector, and everything about them screams “the truth.” Regardless, I volunteered to look into it, if they wanted – they did not. I offered to provide some equipment they could use on their own, if they felt it might help – they thanked me and said no. All I had left to offer were words of comfort, but it seems they really just wanted to talk about it; they’d be fine.

Well, I was glad I could help in some way. More often than not, it’s enough to just lend an understanding ear. People often feel better by getting it off their chest, and the simple act of saying everything out loud becomes a cleansing measure. Besides, I think there are too many people conducting investigations at the drop of a hat these days – investigations that may not be warranted or result in positive experiences for the so-called victims.

Not every odd occurrence should become part of the paranormal laboratory, you know – sometimes acceptance is the better path. On rare occasions, we miraculously realize that learning to deal with life as it is presented is the true test of who we are, and that sometimes, spirit life is permanently and intricately intertwined with our own. Sometimes, we come to the understanding that sharing our existence with what we cannot comprehend is only normal, and that truly, if we want to be left alone, we must find the will to reciprocate. Not all ghosts need to go away; some spirits belong beside us.

It’s difficult to think of such things this way, because we seem geared against coexistence, and our fear is so easily justified by peers and society. Fortunately, every now and then, one of us (perhaps even a small family) rises above the dread and apprehension in order to willingly share life’s tranquility. Peace is always more easily found when all involved are allowed to partake.
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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

A Little Paradise

I have had enough! I need a vacation. Respite. An intermission from life; adult recess. A reprieve, man! Now, if only all I have to do is wait until August! Well, I like the summer – 100 degree days and all, but I love the ocean. That includes the bathing suit sand, the nagging seagulls and the incessant jelly fish. Bring ’em on – they can even sting me, as long as I’m nowhere near here when they do.

I want to enjoy peaceful, lazy palms on white sands. I want to live a Corona commercial. I want my most complex decision to be whether to shoot at 1/1000 of a second or go for low depth-of-field. I want to play dominoes often enough to actually win once – maybe twice. I want to watch “The Wild Bunch” on my iPad in a beach chair under an umbrella, and not have to explain why I like it. I want the sound of crashing waves to lull me to sleep late at night and wake me very early every morning. I want to pick up stupid seashells and convince myself how totally enthralling I find them. I want to tell myself that one day I’ll move there permanently, play guitar outside without an audience, and stare aimlessly at a very blue horizon.

I don’t want to watch children, make meals, Swiffer the floors, or solve problems. I don’t want to offer words of wisdom or comfort to people who think I’m stupid, read 300 emails a day, or “go off” about how idiotic my daughter’s softball coach is. I am through with ignorant drivers, crazy religious freaks, political pundits, lazy store clerks, and all but the most basic decision-making. I don’t even want to finish this sentence – that’s how “over” things I am right now. And I deserve a vacation! Not because I work so hard, or because my boss is a fool (I’m retired), or even because my life is oppressive. It’s just time! Ya know? It is finally time to pack as much stuff as we can, get on an airplane, and breathe in a little paradise.

Below is a photo of where we are going. I understand the tv reception is pretty awful, and the Internet is hit and miss. How glorious! It’s an eight hour flight too, but I can’t wait – it’s only four months away. Four months? Good grief, that’s 1/3 of the year – over 120 days! But I can make it, and I know it’ll be worth the wait. If your vacation is going to be better than our’s, don’t tell me. I don’t need to know. It’s not about that anyway, but I know me, and if I start thinking about your lobster omelets, cracked crab for lunch, and daily full body massages, it will just fester.

I’m kidding, of course – sorta… But I do hope all of us have the chance to wind down, recharge, and basically just relax. Vacations are very important to our well-being – mental and physical, so I wish everyone as many days of sheer heavenly bliss as you can afford. So, St. Croix, here we come. Thirty feet from the Caribbean, and many hundreds of miles from home. Just look at the picture! Well, I know it’s not exactly the Taj Mahal, but it sure won’t suck.

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Also visit Voices Unplugged at http://voicesblogunplugged.wordpress.com/

Without a Shred of Relevance

The other night, I was sitting in bed recording while my wife slept and the CPAP droned, but as soon as I stopped, she was awakened by a vivid dream. To make a very long story short, it turns out that I captured a voice saying “wake up” just seconds before she actually did.

I love it when EVP fit the situation so relevantly, and it seems to happen often. This kind of meaningful interaction is what most convinces me of their authenticity. No matter where they occur, EVP can be downright uncanny when it comes to situational significance, but lately I’ve been wondering just how often this actually occurs. I’ve been pondering a new kind of classification that reflects the relevance of these voices.

We already classify EVP as A through D to indicate strength and clarity, and personally, I use three others – N, E, and R. Huh? N designates a noise phenomenon – something I believe to rarely be paranormal (re: There Is No Silence, Chapter 4). E stands for Extreme EVP, and R represents those which need to be played in reverse to be understood. Now I want to add more! I am a bureaucrat at heart, you know.

Perhaps numbers could be used. We could start at the number one and go to five, with one denoting the most relevant EVP, and five indicating total irrelevance. Well, it needs work, but I wanted to see how many random EVP samples would actually achieve #1 status. It turns out not as many as I thought. The majority of 200 specimens were classified #3 – somewhat relevant, but not necessarily. In fact, the results made a beautiful bell curve when plotted on a graph.

Of course, this doesn’t attest to the authenticity of EVP. We’ve always been aware of how whacky some spirit comments can be, so this occasional absurdity is nothing new. Still, my test results have caused me to embrace these less lucid fellows much more than before. We should be more appreciative of the lowly #5 voices; those without a shred of relevance. I don’t know about you, but I find them infinitely more fascinating.

On July 7, 2009 I recorded a voice that said “Collins is 51 today” – a high-end, fully understandable B-class comment that related to absolutely nothing. This was quickly followed by another voice saying “caw caw caw.” (No, it wasn’t a bird – trust me.) The point is, these comments may not be relevant to situation, location, or people we know, but they’re spoken from somewhere other than here, and in that regard, they’re very important.

Statistics are important too. Indeed, statistical evidence may be the most compelling argument for the authenticity of EVP voices, but it goes much deeper than numbers, trends, or anything that fits on a chart or graph. Each individual EVP represents the expression of someone unseen, and my guess is that while they may not always be relevant to us, they’re probably very relevant elsewhere. So, happy birthday, Collins – wherever you are. You’re A number one in my book. Maybe I’ll throw a surprise birthday party this July 7th, so save the date. Do you think he’ll feel the love from so far away? I wonder how many of us it will take.