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Posts Tagged ‘paranormal’

Spirits have come up a lot on conversation lately.  Perhaps it’s that time of year, as we gear up for Pentecost.  I apologize if I’m repeating myself as I may have written some of this before, but the memory doesn’t trap every detail like it used to.  My mother-in-law comes into the office quite regularly.  You can hear the front door open and yet no one is down there.  But the visits that make me pause the most are the ones she has with younger son.

Younger son shared with us that he visits with Grandmom in the kitchen.  She asks how school is going and he tells her.  Then she leaves.  I think she just likes catching up with him since he was only 2 and a half years old when she died.

I love watching movies or reading books about spirits and ghosts.  Hamlet’s father, Simba’s father, The Others, lots of great movies that explore the spirits in the world.  Lots of plays explore this idea, and have since the first plays.  I was speaking with someone this evening and we talked about the fact that every play, film, television show has been a re-run since the original Greek plays.  So if you think about it-there is story after story about ghosts.  It is clearly a shared experience of humans over time.  Has everyone experienced it?  Nope.  But this is something that crosses over cultures and genders and ages.

I like the idea of being able to check in on loved ones every now and then.  I was as the farm recently and felt my mother-in-law there.  It was a very strong presence.  At one point, I walked upstairs and felt her, smelled her.  It was for a brief period of time, moments really, and then she moved on to some other spot.  But I felt her spirit.  I could smell her.  So I went into her closet to see if it stilled smelled like her and it doesn’t.  It just smells stale.  So the smell didn’t come from there.  The only thing that makes sense in explaining it is it was her spirit.

Could it be our own need to feel and believe our loved ones are in a better place with no pain, wants, or needs?  I suppose, but just because it’s not there and just because you can’t touch it or see it doesn’t mean it isn’t real.  We carry a piece of them in our hearts and perhaps it calls to their spirits so when we need a boost, they come and visit.

A few spirits floating around just adds a little flair and excitement.

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My mother-in-law was dead, to begin with.  There is to be no doubt about that or what follows will not be as phenomenal or paranormal.  I’ve written about my late great mother-in-law and her visits and little ways of helping.  I may have written about the times youngest son has visited with her in our kitchen.  He is unfazed by this and not scared by it.  He just tells me about Grandmom being in the kitchen and asking him how he is doing.

Well, time to add a new visit.  My father-in-law just got both his knees replaced and was in the hospital and then rehab for the past several weeks.  He came home today, which is a joyous event.  I’m very proud of him and the work he did in rehab to get home.  When we stopped by to see how he was doing, he told us that the kitchen television wasn’t working.  Now the only person who has been in the house for the past few weeks is my hubby and he knows not to touch a television set-up.  He even watched a bit of telly one night and it was working fine.  I offered to take a look at it because usually I can figure out the problem.

This problem was simple.  Every cable except for the power and exterior coaxial cable had been unplugged from the cable box.  But the cables were still plugged into the telly.  There was one cable plugged into the telly but not into anything else.  The audio and video cables had all been unplugged from the cable box and were buried and tangled as if they had been that way for years.  Then, the HDMI cable that was plugged into the cable box was not the same HDMI cable plugged into the telly.  Now, I don’t think my mother-in-law was the type to set up a telly and cable box and deal with the input and output cables, but I truly do think she had some fun randomly messing with the television set up in the kitchen.  Once the set up was fixed and the telly was getting the signal, I wondered if Mom had done it.

I went up stairs to just make sure no one else was in the house.  I knew no one else could be in the house-the alarm hadn’t been tripped, but still I had to check.  As I got to the top of the stairs, I walked into my mother-in-law’s spirit.  I smelled her.  I felt her energy.  I went into every room upstairs figuring they might still smell of her, but no.  Not even her walk-in closet.  That actually smelled stale.  But at the top of the stairs, when I stepped onto the landing, I walked through her.  Her scent was so clear.  I felt a force of energy outside of me.  It surrounded me and then passed through me.  It was wonderful and creepy.  A good creepy, but still creepy.  Hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms stood up.  The air was colder.  Then as I went down the little stairs off the landing, the air was warm and stuffy and stale again.

I’m curious now to see if she visits us here tonight.  If the office door opens and closes at midnight, I’ll know who it is.

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On Sunday, the boys and I had a blast hunting for the Jersey Devil.  We made a little film of the boys’ adventure.  This is the trailer to the film.  Hope you enjoy it!

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My sons have discovered the Jersey Devil.  I introduced them to this fine piece of folklore over a year ago, but one has to meet children where they are.  They weren’t ready to connect to the Jersey Devil last year, but now they are ready to embrace this awesome connection to living in south Jersey.  My oldest has been researching JD on the web and discovered the episode of Destination Truth in which Josh and company trekked to exotic south Jersey and our beloved Pine Barrens to search for Mrs. Leeds’ thirteenth child.

If you aren’t familiar with the lore, grab a copy of Weird NJ by Sceurman & Moran and you will bring yourself up to speed with fun recollections from some locals, Pineys and non.  The short version is that Mrs. Leeds found herself preggers once again way back in 1735.  She cursed the child, calling for this one to be a devil.  While the baby was born human, it quickly transformed into a creature with hooves, wings, a horse-like face, and the ever popular red devil eyes.  It killed everyone in the room and burst out of the house.  He’s been haunting south Jersey ever since.

I’ve been hooked on JD since 1978.  In third grade, my art teacher had us do a unit on the Jersey Devil.  We learned the folklore and, then based on the descriptions we read, we created our versions of JD in various mediums.  This is my favorite kind of learning–face it, it’s every kid’s favorite type of learning–interactive and purposeful, with built-in assessments that are fun.  I didn’t think about the fact that my pieces were going to be graded, I simply focused on making the best JD art I could.

I shared this story with my boys and they were very intrigued.  We’ve been reading Weird NJ and one of the young adult novels…The Weird Club: The Search for the Jersey Devil by Fairbanks.  They are hooked.  After my sons watched the Destination Truth clip they told me, “Mom,you know  that show you watch with the guy who goes places and you’ve tried to make us watch it?  He looked for the Jersey Devil!”  This was shocking for my sons to think that we have a shared interest that they don’t feel is dorky. 

I think my sons would love to hang with Josh Gates.  I’d love to hang with Josh.  Please remember, when I say hang, I mean hang out, not hang for dear life on a perilous bridge or on a zip cord.  I don’t know that I’m adventurous enough to be on the DT team, but I wouldn’t mind being a researcher for the show.  I love the concept of the show.  I agree with some of the online postings about the contrived nature about the team (for the record, I don’t care who is schtupping whom).  Overall, the idea of going on adventures that are centralized around the amazing myths, legends, and folklore of our world is awesome.  But I couldn’t be on the team-I couldn’t eat the foods they eat.

Thus our lunch would have to be at a restaurant that Josh would probably consider bland.  His website says that he hopes the show and his adventures inspire children to go out and have adventures of their own.  So many children just don’t do that anymore.  I am fortunate that my boys do this all the time and have connected to Josh on their own, validating that what they like to do is cool.  It would be neat to chat with Josh about the Jersey Devil and some of the other trips they’ve done on the show.  The trip to the Antarctica and the search for the Yeti would have to be discussed.  Particularly the hair sample found while searching for the Yeti that was determined to be an unknown DNA sequence by the DNA people would be explored at length.  How cool is that? 

I would also seek Josh’s advice.  The boys get a wee bit creeped out after spending some substantial time on different legends.  This leads to the classic child to parent question, “Do you believe in…?”  How does Josh handle such a question?  I know how I handle it…I tell my sons that there is so much I don’t know about the world that I can’t say it’s not true.  How can I prove that these creatures aren’t out there, managing to hide from our intrusive existence?  I can’t.  I also don’t want my sons to lose their sense of wonder quite yet.  Then again I haven’t lost mine yet.  Neither has Josh, or at least it seems that way.  And why should we lose that sense of wonder?  That belief in what we can’t see?       

It’s awesome that the show offers some television time that isn’t us versus them with our boys.  Yes, we have Looney Tunes, Three Stooges, and a ton of movies that we all find entertaining.  We also enjoy our Animal Planet and Discovery shows.  But DT has some science AND entertainment.  By combining his love of archeology and theater, the show covers a lot of ground and Josh has some great expressions and reactions, particularly when eating various animal parts that no human should ever ingest.

Did I mention we would be at a bland restaurant?  Quite possibly some “safe” chain place with overpriced appetizers?

Well, it’s past the witching hour for me.  Mrs. Leeds’ thirteenth child is roaming the Pine Barrens somewhere, possibly searching for a place to bunk when Hurricane Irene shows up.  An earthquake and a hurricane all in one week for Jersey.  Quite a lot of fun.  A big adventurous week for two small boys.  Possibly even enough adventure here for Josh.  I’d let him know he has a standing invitation to dig in our backyard with the boys.  They’re searching for a Hadrosaurus.

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I heard the office front door again tonight. This is happening more frequently and truly gives me the creeps. I’m not sure who the ghost is but it seems s/he/they don’t mean any harm.

I know there is a craze right now with the paranormal. I’ve been hooked since I was about eight or nine after relatives took a picture of my uncle’s grave and there was an unexplainable orb next to the headstone. Plus, my grandmother’s house always had a creepy vibe.

I’ve felt uncomfortable in certain places. My dorm in college is a good example. The dorms are in the building that was the Pennsylvania Institute for the Deaf and Dumb (1826-93), now called Hamilton Hall at the University of the Arts. If one knows anything about institutions during that time period, you know that they were usually over-crowded, understaffed and full of unfortunate cruel experiences. Sections of that building gave me chills whenever I went through them.

I’ve visited a few historical places in my time and felt uncomfortable in certain spots, later finding out those rooms or hallways were the location of murders or crimes. Now I am not professing to be anything but perhaps more easily creeped out by places with energies or maybe I just like the macabre. But I do know I would prefer it not to be in my home.

I wonder if it is my late mother-in-law. Just dropping by to say hello or to tell us to organize the office. We’re working on it, Mom. What (or who) ever it is, I hope it doesn’t happen again tonight.

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