I’ve been doing a lot of radio shows lately to discuss my book, Avalanche of Spirits. Many of the radio hosts ask me to share some of my experiences with the ghosts up at Wellington because what I’ve experienced there has actually knocked me off of the fence of my “ghost agnosticism” and pushed me firmly into the realm of the believer.
As I describe my experiences there, I often find myself thinking, “Geez – if I listened to me talking, it sure wouldn’t be enough to convince me that ghosts were real.”
But then, I’m not trying to convince people that ghosts are real. After all, I can’t do that. What I can do is hopefully intrigue people enough to get out and discover for themselves. Or not. Let’s face it – I investigate for myself. I’m selfish that way.
Still, in my “career” as a fledgling paranormal investigator with just a little over a year under my belt, what I am discovering is this. Paranormal activity is remarkably subtle. I’ve never had a Zak Bagans “OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE THAT?” kind of moment. Even when I stumbled across a full-body apparition last fall, it wasn’t that kind of moment. Instead it was a moment of quiet awe. As soon as the apparition disappeared, I bounced around like a jumping bean, but in the moment I was transfixed and remarkably calm.
I’ve never seen anything levitate or fly around a room. I’ve never sat down and had an audible conversation with a ghost. I’ve never seen anyone’s head spin around totally backwards as they projectile vomited pea soup. Instead I’ve felt a series of very subtle things – small anomalies that melded together and added up to a belief that something beyond what we consider “normal” was happening. There have never been any “Holy crap this should be on television” moments. Instead they have been small moments that are out of the ordinary. A touch. A sigh. A sound. A small visual anomaly. A feeling of anxiety. An emotion or picture in my head that doesn’t make sense or apply to me in any way. And yet the whole winds up to be greater than the sum of its parts for me.
Either the people I’ve investigated with are remarkably calm, or paranormal activity is subtle for them, as well. Certainly we’ve all asked one another in hushed voices, “Did you see that? Did you hear that? Did you feel that?” But there’s never running and screaming. No “Dude! Run!” kinds of moments. And I’ve been in some places that I feel are pretty actively haunted.
Does this mean I will never have that kind of moment? I have no idea. I just know that in setting out to experience the paranormal, it’s all been remarkably subtle.
Perhaps that is why debate rages on about whether or not ghosts exist. Because the clues, while there, are quiet and easy to misinterpret. Unless you pay attention, you may miss them altogether. On the other hand, if you are looking for them then you may misinterpret normal phenomena as paranormal activity. It’s all such a delicate balance – this thing we call ghost hunting. It requires you to be open to possibility but not prone to flights of fancy. It requires focused attention without obsessive intention.
Back during my agnostic days, I always thought that what it would take to knock me off of the fence would be something huge. A whole bunch of people seeing and talking with an apparition at the same time, all while catching it on camera. An alien space craft landing on my lawn in front of the entire town and the little green men coming up to me and saying “Take me to your leader.” On camera, of course.
And then I had the experience(s) that convinced me. A series of subtle events that all added up to something I couldn’t quite explain.
This doesn’t mean I am going to stop seeking. I still want to see the spoon bend and watch the object fly around the room (although I’ll skip the pea soup vomit.) And as my belief in ghosts has evolved in the past years, I can’t imagine it is done evolving. I am open to all experiences – subtle and not so subtle – that can help me to get a better understanding of what it is I think is really going on.
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