Full Of It

Lately, I’ve noticed some unusual events – small, barely recognizable paranormal incidents that seem to be increasing in frequency. Now this immediately presents a credibility issue for me because I’m a researcher – a self-proclaimed title that carries with it the mandate for supposed objectivity. Plus, I’ve always been suspicious of those whose involvement with the other side increases proportional to their activity in the field. To put it nicely, I think they probably benefit from an overly active imagination. Another way to say that is, they’re full of it.

I don’t want an overly active imagination, and I certainly don’t want to be full of anything – especially “it.” But I know what I’ve seen and heard! And lately, some strange stuff has been going on all around me. I almost don’t want to admit to it, because It makes me feel like one of those cops who chases the UFO down Main Street only to watch it dart away at incredible speeds. “What’d you see out there, Bill?” Uh… nothing. And I understand, because no one wants to feel everything he says or does will be suspect because of it. People frequently assume that you’re no longer able to be objective, and that sucks.

Well, a few nights ago I heard a deep throated woman giggle while I was smoking at the back door. I turned right away, but no one was there, so I chalked it up to something natural that my distracted mind misinterpreted. A day later, I heard it again in the bedroom – louder and more prolonged. My wife didn’t hear it, so again, I ignored it, but this morning while frying bacon, the same giggle. I decided something had to be going on.

Last month it was a mist in my mothers living room – twice, and the month before that a voice saying “hello,” and before that there was something else, and then something else… Frankly, I’m a little annoyed by all this other worldly attention. Assuming, of course, that’s what it is. I probably am too immersed in the subject; I could somehow be creating everything in my mind – for reasons unknown even to me. I could be making it up! Except, I’m not.

So it leads me to wonder whether or not personal experiences increase as one’s paranormal involvement grows deeper. In other words, are spirits choosing to communicate more frequently and in different ways – as in “the more you seek, the more you find?” Does that even make sense? I never would have thought so before – I truly would have argued against it, because I’ve seen too many non-sensitive people proclaim a new found sensitivity almost overnight. I don’t want to join that club.

I’m sure we all know someone who began to develop mediumship after only a few weeks in the field. Turned out she was always able to feel and see spirits; understood exactly what they wanted – she just never knew it before. It’s hard to investigate with someone like that – they already know everything, so I don’t even need to be there. But am I joining her ranks now? God I hope not, but other people aren’t hearing what I’m hearing, or seeing what I’m seeing, and that means either something has changed in my relationship with the spirit world, or I’m one psycho dude. I don’t want to be psycho, but I also don’t want to be “one of those” either. I’m perfectly happy searching blindly for my results – I don’t need the fast track, instant gratification of an “I already know” attitude.

Well, at least these spirits have stopped at merely making themselves known – so far. I shudder at the possibilities. Hopefully, they realize what a rotten conduit I would be, and are unwilling to take it any farther. I can only hope my spirit guide is fending them off for me. Maybe it’s cyclical and all of this will go away and return to normal, or maybe it’s just my turn, ya know? Wait! Did I just say something about a spirit guide? Oh no! Too late – it’s already started. Drat!
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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.

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A Ghost Story

So here’s a story for you. I guess it’s more of a claim because, as luck would have it, there’s not a shred of evidence in support. So, let’s call it a yarn instead. A tall tale but a short saga – something destined to thrive around campfires and office water coolers. Conversational filler – a ghost story, if you will, and a relatively lame one at that. Unlike most ghost stories there’s no high drama or suspenseful crescendo here – no one is frightened by gruesome goings-on or unspeakable horrors. A typical ghost story is movie worthy in the right hands, and touches that certain spot in our psyche. Real ghost stories have the popular gene.

Not this one. This one is casual by comparison, and actually fits a realistic model, because like most true paranormal experiences, the event happens quickly, and then it’s gone. Advance warnings don’t often accompany the real thing; no fanfare when they’re over. There’s nothing extraneous, and this ghost story is unpretentious and timid as well. That’s probably why I believe it – in and out with a flash; gone in the blink of an eye; poof, like a wisp of winter wind.

So… The man sat on the sofa where he always does, directly across from a glass fireplace cover, and stares at his own reflection. After only a few seconds, he notices a line of thick white mist dart in front of him, stop to his right, and reform in the shape and size of a seated, human torso on the sofa next to him. He looks, nothing is there, and two seconds later the reflection fades and is gone. The story is over. The event is accomplished in less time than it takes to read about it. There’s no lingering trace; no source capable of creating the mist, and no changes in the environment are evident. He doesn’t know what to think. He wasn’t sleeping, day dreaming, or suffering a psychotic break. There were no hallucinatory medications involved, no surface reflections, changes in the temperature, or other people present.

But if this is a ghost story, where are the howling banshees and red-eyed demons? What about menacing shadows and thick black masses? Can we have a little ectoplasm at least? What could possibly cause such a thing? So atypical – such a non-grisly, benign, and almost poetic expression of spiritual transformation – as graceful as a breath.

Most of us already doubt the tale. There’s always a viable explanation for such things; our crime is usually one of distraction – something was missed. Perhaps he wasn’t as observant as he claims, or is predisposed to seeing such things. Possibly he made it up. Certainly, we can’t label every strange occurrence as something paranormal – most probably he made a mistake, his senses in err. After all, without a witness, and so little else to go on, it would be irresponsible and wrong to accept this tale as accurate – it simply could not have happened as he described it. But if it happened to you?

I’ve seen all kinds of things that are unexplainable. I’m convinced that I’m not easily flustered, fooled, or bamboozled, and I try very hard to approach such things intelligently. Still, this will always be one more tall tale of the unexplained, and I don’t know how to argue against that. But again I ask, what if it happened to you? It’s always a little different then, isn’t it? Never a question of veracity, observational skills, or mental acuity. When it happens to you, it may be confounding, but it’s always real. We reserve our best skepticism and our categorical invalidation for others.

We love to find the answer, debunk the magic, and disprove the outrageous. With all of that going on, there’s precious little time for acceptance; no room for awe – certainly not enough to understand this spec of a ghost story. Unless it happened to us. Oh well, it is what it is, right, but I always wonder if it just might 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.

It’s All So Exhausting

I’m mentally tired. For a lot of reasons, actually. Some of them are to be expected – pick up the kid, answer the phone, clean the house, blah blah blah… But some stuff is instantly annoying. For example, I’m getting phone calls that burglars have selected our neighborhood and are specifically targeting my block. Fake FBI robo-calls have convinced my neighbors that there’s real danger afoot, and that the world’s most vicious and unstoppable crime lords will be stealing all our big screen TVs any day now. I wonder what someone does with so many of those?

I’m tired of corporate promises that suddenly evaporate. For instance, my bank promised we’d “never have to pay for checks again.” I suppose what they forgot to add was “until you run out.” My mother has asked her cable company to turn off the voice mail feature eight times, but it’s still working. There is a circle of corporate insanity out there, with the electric company, grocery store, and my insurance provider – all charter members. The phone company can’t add all of a sudden. Mom’s doctor couldn’t spot arrhythmia. I just don’t understand it, and it’s all so exhausting!

I don’t feel I should have to endure all these roadblocks along the path through life, do you? I know some of it seems harmless – just part of normal commerce (or questionably educational), but I’m willing to take my chances without so much absurdity at every intersection along the way. So, if we meet one day at the mall, or mulling over tomatoes in the market; if our paths cross at a baseball game or we discover we share the same taste in cinema; if we just happen to find ourselves face to face for no reason at all, here are some things you shouldn’t mention. I can’t say for sure what will happen if you do, but I’m certain it will exceed your expectations. You’ve been warned.

1. Do not tell me to quit smoking! I know it’s a filthy habit and it’s killing me – this is not news. And I don’t wanna hear how easy it was for you to quit.
2. Do not mention that I’ve gained weight. So have you, fat head.
3. I don’t want to hear Obama and Hitler in the same sentence ever again, so unless public displays of ignorance are your thing, hush.
4. When you find out I do paranormal research, don’t tell me your wife is psychic. I don’t care. Besides, she’s not, or she’d have warned you not to tell me that.
5. Don’t ask me if I’m still married to “whatshername.” If we haven’t seen each other in that long, just keep walking, for god’s sake.
6. No, the grand kids are not keeping me young.
7. Yes, I remember you. And yet, I never tried to stay in touch. Hmmmm…
8. If you heard I was dead, don’t bring it up. I promise not to mention how often I heard you were stupid. I’m clearly not dead, but stupidity is unavoidable.
9. Don’t ask me if I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. It’s not the question – it’s everything that follows.
10. Don’t tell me so-and-so turned out to be gay unless he’s getting married and you know where he’s registered. I’d rather buy a crystal serving dish for some guy I haven’t seen in forty years than spend one minute gossiping about his sexuality with you.

There are others, but if you embrace these ten suggestions, I can handle anything else. Unless you start on politics or religion, and then all bets are off – I don’t have time to “straighten you out,” and you’ll force me to try. In case you’ve forgotten, I understand the true meaning of the word obnoxious, and I know how to execute. Life’s tough in the big city! So, peace… Smiley face… Go Orioles!
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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.

Anything Is Possible

I understand why people who are involved with the paranormal do not view the subject casually. That’s me. It holds great meaning for me and challenges my convictions in an intensely philosophical way. And occasionally, it strengthens my religious beliefs and redefines my understanding of our true relation to the universe.

I used to cringe every time I heard myself attempting to convince others of how dispassionately objective I was about the subject, because I’d hoped to remain the eternal skeptic. And I really tried, but wearing a mask of total impartiality never worked – you could always see the real me underneath. Eventually, I felt so hypocritical that the better part of valor was just to own it, so I confess – I believe there are events for which there are no plausible explanations. Therefore, even if only by definition, paranormal anomalies must exist.

That doesn’t mean I think every stray noise is demon clatter, or every mist, mass and vapor a ghost. It doesn’t mean that the continuance of the human soul can be proved or that God is behind a lick of it, but being a true paranormal disciple means anything is possible. That includes Heaven and Hell, possession, the transcendence of the soul, little green men, and water nymphs named Bob. I’m not saying I’m down with everything – just that I’m seriously not ruling anything out.

“But I thought you were a modern man,” you may ask. I am! But I refuse to be blinded by that modernity; I cannot accept the foolish notion that there must be limitations to existence. Science doesn’t limit possibilities, so why should we? Art doesn’t feel obliged to inhibit either it’s form or expression. What are mathematicians if not the architects of an unknown future? Why should we place the things we’ve witnessed into a little box labeled “nonsense” and store it on the top shelf with the rusty garden tools?

Being objective isn’t so difficult if the intention is for truth. You just tell it like you see it, and let the chips fall where they may. There’s no vested interest in anything paranormal being truth or illusion – it is what it is, and if it’s the truth we’re looking for, then I don’t see how we can arbitrarily decide that something can not be possible. Don’t believe in spirit communication? Unwilling to accept alien visitation? Demonic possession, climate change and evolution all sound like a bunch of hogwash? Fine, but you’ll have to prove it.

I mean, that’s how it goes, right? For years it’s been acceptable to assume the burden of proof belongs solely to the paranormalist* – it’s up to us to provide the world with iron clad, irrefutable proof backed by solid, unquestionable evidence. And if that’s not possible, every piece of our premise tends to be negated. But I think it’s time we share the burden for a change. It’s not good enough to dismiss paranormal explanations with a chuckle and a knowing look toward the local mental institution. Claiming an idea to be preposterous must be accompanied by facts, reason, logic, and a willingness to explain why. If you’re going to aggressively nullify things paranormal, then you’ve invited yourself into a conversation that carries with it some responsibility.

There’s just as much reasonability in the concept of life after death as there is in additional dimensions at the quantum level. Both ideas must bear the strain of reason – both concepts require some original thinking. Neither one merits anything less than our best consideration. Ultimately, no one cares what we believe – only what is factual. If we don’t know what that is yet, we must not be looking everywhere.

The word “paranormalist” borrowed from Renae Rude.
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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.