EVP Central

I used to refer to my mother’s house as “EVP Central.” I swear, once I thought I heard a voice claim to be the “dispatcher,” and frankly, there were so many different spirits representin’ at such an amazing frequency, the idea of a dispatcher seemed wholly plausible. That was in the beginning of my trip with EVP, and it was a fruitful initiation, but it feels like a very long time ago now.

These days, it’s not so hectic over at Mom’s. EVP frequency has dipped from time to time over the years – there’s always been a recovery, but the past few months have been downright mystifyingly quiet. I still manage to record the occasional comment or two, but the party atmosphere has vanished. No more joking, sarcasm, or weird impressions of the living; no more preaching or attempted words of wisdom. Now, it sounds like every other home I’ve investigated – often they say something fascinating, but mostly, they’re rather pedestrian.

As my mother grows older and nearer her final days, I would have expected activity there to increase. It felt like a logical conclusion over the years, and I couldn’t wait to record the droves of deceased family members and friends. I’ve been expecting a smorgasbord of transcendental treats – spirit voices off the hook, if you will, and I could just see ’em all lining the walls and floating around; bouncing on the beds or trying out the microwave. Instead, they may have grown tired of answering my stupid questions. Maybe they’ve run out of interesting things to say. I suppose it’s possible that I’ve gotten on their literal last nerve, annoyed them into silence, or maybe this is just how it goes – that as we approach our final days, everything becomes a little more serious. Those who visit may become more respectfully quiet. Who knows?

If I’ve learned anything about the paranormal over the years, it’s that everything is unpredictable and totally random. With that in mind, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t follow my “game plan” – nothing ever does. With the paranormal, stuff either happens or it doesn’t, but either way, it’s usually gone quickly, and while we’d all love to have been there, frequently we’re not. I guess that’s what is going on at EVP Central – these days it’s a lot more not than got, and I don’t have to like it, but I definitely have to accept it.

Well, I’ll still be recording there for as long as I can. I don’t have to come out with dozens of wildly disassociated voices – I’ll be more than happy with the occasional “hello” or a soft-spoken “yes” or “go away” from time to time. It was fun while it lasted, all those rousing spirit conversations, but nothing lasts forever, and I’ll definitely count myself lucky for being there when the time was ripe.

I guess when you can go anywhere you want, do whatever you please, and never have to worry about paying the rent, finding a new “haunt” seems normal. Transparent becomes the new black, after all, but wouldn’t most of us do the same? No sense in sticking around here when everything else is your oyster. I guess that’s why I’ve always felt so blessed to have heard from these people at all. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss it. EVP Central seems closed for business – just a skeleton crew on board. And me, of course – till the end, whenever that will be.
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

The “Un-cemetery”

I often speak of my favorite graveyard – Druid Ridge Cemetery, in Pikesville, Maryland. It’s a huge, rambling place containing many thousands of graves, but it’s favored spot in my heart stems from an unparalleled beauty, and the way it insists on animating my being. Druid Ridge is a supremely peaceful site – a kind of improbable gated deliverance from the predictable turbulence of life. For a time there, I would visit often, but changes in my life have kept me away this past year or so. Now, each trip past her main entrance has given rise to a solemn promise that I’ll return again in spring. Not just to visit loved ones, but to bask in the cherry blossoms and dogwoods; to commune under the shade of spruce and maples; to meander inconstantly down the paths by the pond, with the ducks and the greenest of greens… The reddest of reds.

Perhaps I’ll stop by and see some old friends – participants in my EVP Cemetery Project. Mrs. Sappington and her still unmarried daughter, Anna; Mary Kratzmer in her very private mausoleum for one; the Thompson family of 14. Others – they all took the time to speak, and I frequently visit for a moment, offering a metaphorical tip of the cap or a quiet “hello, it’s a beautiful day.” A little maudlin perhaps, but it’s the way Druid Ridge surrounds you, even though it can certainly stir one’s capacity for dread – particularly at night, alone with the spirits and a transcendent sense of surreal continuance. But this is not an inherently creepy or suspect place; not sad and heavy – Druid Ridge is the “un-cemetery,” and over the years I have assimilated her into my core. It’s the place I wish to be when the time is right.

I’ve decided to take a page from my friend Patrick’s Big Seance blog and share some photos of Druid Ridge, but with a slightly different approach. These photos will hopefully communicate the majesty of this chosen place. No headstones or markers, family names or plots – not even a single statue. Just the expression of God’s beauty, the hopeful dignity of a final resting place, and the simple noble confluence of nature and the soul. These photos were meant to communicate the place as I feel it, and the way it beckons me. I hope you enjoy my un-cemetery… If you can find it.

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True Believer

I died last night. It’s the second time in three nights too. Of course, I was dreaming, but these are the only times I ever remember having a dream like that. My life wasn’t in danger – no one was chasing me; I wasn’t falling off a cliff; weapons were not involved. In each dream, I had already passed, and the events that transpired did so completely from within the afterlife. That’s kinda heavy, no? Imagine waking up from that!

There was this guy there who was somehow able to make things happen on the other side. (Think of the here and now as the other side.) He was a congenial guy, and quite happy in his little room with gadgets and dials and computers. He told me he could do all sorts of things that would “show up over there” and he asked me what he could do for me.

Being a newbie, I didn’t know exactly. EVP, perhaps? I recommended a particular investigator to speak to, but that was too predictable, he said – “let’s try something new.” His idea of “something new” was to post on social media, and see who responded. As you might imagine, several people did just that, and most of them were pretty annoyed about the whole thing. Pranking at the expense of a dead guy? Not funny. Just one person asked if I was speaking from beyond the grave, to which we promptly clicked the like button and answered “yes!” Then everything went completely dark, and we could no longer hold the connection.

Facebook flaming aside, my deceased mentor was thrilled with the success of his “something new,” but I woke up troubled. I opened my eyes with his last words firmly imprinted on my brain. “At least you found a true believer,” he said, and it appeared I had. It was 5:01, and I was very much alive, thank God, and highly focused on the idea of “a true believer.”

For those of us who involve ourselves within this paranormal circle, I wonder about the nature and levels of our belief. Since it’s not religion and therefore makes no promises, it seems reasonable that our paranormal belief would be highly conditional, but even so, it’s unlikely that any of us would surrender a single suspicion in the name of unbridled faith. Who among us can truthfully say they know beyond any shadow of doubt that the afterlife is real? And for those willing to make the claim, could they also accept something like my dream scenario as being possible? I doubt it. I certainly wouldn’t.

“But this was only a dream, Randy. You can’t base anything on a pair of stupid dreams, right?” Definitely not, but it has been bothering me that maybe the largest missing piece of the paranormal puzzle is our having the willingness to accept unconditionally. Mediums know because they engage in all sorts of spiritual cavorting. Some of them can see, hear, touch, and even smell spirits. Wouldn’t they qualify as true believers? The rest of us can’t even agree about the medium’s veracity, much less trust the message, but if we could… If we were actually able to relax all the walls around us, would the game change?

I don’t know. I think we’re probably doomed to forever distrust the most significant part of living – it’s certain continuance. I wonder if we will ever even come close to being able to grasp and understand the truth of such shrouded concepts as paranormal, ghost, and afterlife. We claim to need proof – evidence of unquestionable reality, and we seem so reasonable with that viewpoint, but the true believer wouldn’t care about such things. He or she would already know, so maybe they are our only best hope of meaningful signification. Maybe our only way toward legitimate progress is to follow the true believers into the veil. I don’t know. It was just a dream, after all, but sometimes the line between life and death seems so delicate and porous. As though at any moment, we will simply awake… But what then?
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Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.