Monday, June 12, 2017

The inconclusive follow-up investigation. . .

So, figuring sooner was better as far as trying to recreate the image if it was an illusion I headed back out to the Vernonia Memorial Cemetery. That way the grass should not have grown too much. Unfortunately, it was apparently due to be mowed, so by the time I got up there, the portion with the downed tree branch had been cleaned-up and mowed.

(It's not exactly the same angle, but it's clear the grass looks very different mowed anyways.)

This also made it a little harder to identify the exact grave, and get an estimate of the size of the pot nearest the figure, obviously. (But if we assume it's 1 ft, that means the figure is only 2.5 to 3 ft tall.)
None of the graves in that immediate area appeared to be children, but given a full list of graves is available online, and we can see that it includes all ages. Children among them include; Scotty (4), Evelyn (10), Terresa (4), Amy (11), and Frederick (7). You can check the full list yourself on Find A Grave (if you're into that kind of thing):

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I'm not saying I took a picture of a ghost. . .

. . .but I think this image is worth examining.

Being in Vernonia, Oregon, I decided to walk up to the Vernonia Memorial Cemetery (basically you walk uphill on Bridge Street until you feel like you can't possibly be on the right road and keep going) and try one of those techniques you don't hear a lot about on all those ghost hunting shows, take daytime pictures of a place with no reported hauntings, but connection to spirituality and/or death. Or simply take pictures because you have a odd feeling, like perhaps you're not alone?

Well, none of those pictures, for some of which I even invited anything present to show itself, captured anything. However, because of recent wind, there were several potted flowers that had tipped over (I righted a few of these, if it makes you feel better about the fact that I might be disturbing the dead), and a large tree branch that had come down across a couple of graves. So I took a picture of that because it was interesting:

(The only thing I've done to this image is re-sized it, since it's somewhat large.)

It too looked perfectly normal, until I expanded it too full size. That's when I saw this:

(This time, all I've done here is cropped the image to fit.)

And incase it you're not quite seeing it, this appears to be the apparition of a child in a hat:
(Clearly I've edited this one. If you'll notice the flowers in front of it as well, it's clearly too small to be an adult.)

But is it an apparition? Well, I can't say. It could just as easily be an illusion. No point in getting too excited or bummed about that. I can see two reasonable future courses of action here; identifying the occupants of the nearby graves to find their age, and seeing if I can recreate the image to prove it's only an illusion.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Mythology of the Titanic

April 15 marks the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. For many people this tragic event is very simply explained by inferior steel/iron, lack of lifeboats (which were also not properly filled), and unheeded ice warnings (or a rouge iceberg). There are alternate explanations for the sinking, including a few that state the titanic was switched with another ship for insurance reasons. But there have long been even more bizarre legends and myths around the famous wreck.

* Rapping Below Deck *
One of the oldest stories involves a rapping or hammering sound. Rumors of workmen trapped in the hull apparently circulated around the ship, but later explanations would of course include the warping of the inferior steel/iron.

* The Mummy's Curse *
Some claim that among the more valuable items in the cargo hold, was the cursed mummy or sarcophagus (sometimes identified as Princess of Amen-Ra, or artifact no. 22542), who having caused the deaths of many involved with her, took the ship to the depths. Truth is artifact no. 22542 is actually the coffin lid of a Priestess of Amun, which William Stead and Douglas Murray wrote a ghost story about, before Stead went down with the Titanic. His mummy ghost stories then became entangled with survivors' other stories. The lid itself is still sitting in the British Museum. Amen-Ra, by the way, is just another variant name of Ra/Amun-Ra, the ancient Eygptian sun god (there's a link to the wikipedia page for him in the resources list below, encase you're curious).

* Other Ghosts *
Several ghost stories surround the artifacts recovered from the titanic. Apparitions and paranormal activity are supposed to plague museums that host them. Temperature drops, moving portraits, EVPS, ghostly touches, and shadow figures, have all been reported.

At least one person claims to have interacted with the ghost of Captain Edward John Smith, the captain of the Titanic, giving him a tour of his ship. However, he is also said to haunt his former home.

Ghost orbs have also been reported over the Titanic's resting place. Submarines in the location have reported communication errors, and even phantom SOS calls.

* Premonitions & Recognitions *
This entry of course would not be complete without mention of the various precognition claims related to the Titanic. Most notable is Morgan Robertson's “Futility” about the unsinkable SS Titan which bore many similarities to Titanic, including hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage while carrying too few lifeboats, despite being published in 1898 (14 years earlier). While the book is real, whether or not it is purely coincidence is up for debate.

William Stead is also known to have penned a tale about a White Star Line ship that rescued survivors of another ship after it hit an iceberg. This and his tale about a sunken mail ship have cause many to believe he knew he was to die on the Titanic.

Another claim comes from the helm of Titanian, when in 1939 the helmsman supposedly stopped at the position of the Titanic's wreck on a premonition, at which point a iceberg appeared and struck the hull, causing slight leakage.

Legend also has it that dying young woman interrupted a violinist (Wally) to tell him of her premonition of the massive ship sinking. That night, another violinist (Wallace) went down with the ship.

* Bonus: Interesting Facts *
- Titanic's RMS designation stands for Royal Mail Ship. In addition to passengers, there was a great assortment of cargo being brought across the Atlantic.
- The Titanic was originally designed with enough lifeboats, rumors say the head of White Star did not like the way it looked and ordered the number to be reduced.

Resources & Further Reading/Viewing:

12 Spine-Tingling Ghost Stories About The Titanic” Ranker
(Last modified prior to 2017-03-03)

Amun” Wikipedia
(Last modified 2017-02-17)

Bob Rickard & John Michell. The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena. 2nd Edition. London: Rough Guides Ltd, 2007.

Cursed Mummy on the Titanic; Did a mummy's curse send the Titanic to the bottom of the ocean?” Snopes
(Last modified 2012-04-12)

Legends and myths regarding RMS Titanic” Wikipedia
(Last modified 2017-01-22)

RMS Titanic alternative theories” Wikipedia
(Last modified 2017-02-08)

RMS Titanic” Wikipedia
(Last modified 2017-02-19)

The Myth of the Titanic Mummy” Unmuseum
( Last modified between 2000 and 2017-02-19)

Titanian - Echo of Titanic” Encyclopedia Titanica
(Last modified prior to 2017-02-19)

“Titanic Mystery” Mysteries at the Museum (series, 2016)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bible Journaling: Editing the Bible?

Here's another tough question for religious folks.

In The Exorcist (the TV series) we find Father Marcus has edited/journaled his bible, in a scene that is clearly meant to be shocking and disturbing to the religious audience members, as Father Tomas yells at him for it. But this may have been a hit or miss move on the production team's part.

Browsing online recently for stamp making supplies, I noticed Micheal’s has a Bible Journaling section. Now, where I come from a Bible Journal is a journal you write in while reading the Bible, but if you look into the trend, people are painting the extra wide margins of their Journal Bibles, and even right over the text itself. This begs the question, is Bible Journaling (which can potentially be done with any sacred book) a good way to get deeper into God's word, or a fun way to deface the word of God?

I've mentioned previously that I write notes in book margins, correct typos/facts, highlight in books, and on the rare occasion, deface the margins of books that no monetary or intellectual value, but there's just some lines you don't cross, yes? More then one book of the Bible states not to add or subtract from it's content (Deuteronomy and Revelation if I'm not mistaken). Noting what a word means or what it says in a different translation of your sacred book is one thing, but adding upbeat phrases and using markers to make it unreadable (which is subtracting from the content) seems to be quite another.

However, some people practically swear by it:

While others have some more critical thoughts:

And some use rules to take a middle ground:

Monday, December 19, 2016

Repelling & Trapping Spirits

Here's a post I've been working on for a while, guess it's a bit overdue. . .

Previously I've posted about exorcisms, cleansing, and blessings. But that's not the only potential way to deal with spirits.

There's been an increase in attempts to trap spirits on ghost hunting shows, often using a specially made box, such as the Devil's Toybox (a mirror lined box), a Faraday Box (metal), the Inferno Cage Trap (a Faraday Box with cameras and charms), and the Wraith Web Trap (an electrified cube dreamcatcher with a crystal ball in the center).

It harkens back to the Dybbuk Box (a wine box supposedly containing a powerful Demon, one which was even blamed for the holocaust), and Middle Eastern tales of Djinn in bottles and other objects (where the nature of the spirit wasn't always as cheerful as kid's movies might have you believe. . . by the way, Aladdin doesn't take place in the Middle East, it takes place to the east of the Middle East, so, probably in China. But the point of the comment was that often they were so angry from their imprisonment that they punished or killed the person that freed them).

Logically, it's really a questionable pursuit. First off, paranormal investigators aren't even on the same page concerning the existence and composition of spirits. Then there's the fact that it's often 'evil' spirits they're trying to trap, even though there's rarely any collaborating reports of 'evil' paranormal activity in the area. Plus, on occasion, they've claimed to be successful in blowing up trapped ghosts with dynamite, which creates a lot more questions then it answers (assuming you don't subscribe to Scientology, wherein spirits need a physical body to protect them). 

It also directly conflicts with the concept of NOT destroying possessed objects, because the evil is released and free to find a new home.

Another method of dealing with spirits is simply to repel or otherwise block their attacks. Such efforts date back well into ancient times, with ceremonial bowls being buried under houses, and magical talisman being kept in the house. The ancient Egyptians are said to have used honey to repel evil spirits. More recently in the USA, people would put a baby shoe inside or near a wall (since babies are often considered more at risk, I'm not really sure what this is supposed to do to repel evil, maybe it's just to confuse spirits).

Water mixed with herbs, and sprinkled around, or brushed on mirrors is said to be effective as well. Not to mention mirrors themselves, placed in windows, are supposed to ward off spirits.

Salt has long been used to ward off demons and witchcraft. The whole activity of throwing a pinch of salt over you shoulder to ward off bad luck after you've spilled some, is actually a Christian ritual intended to keep the Devil from sneaking up on you because you wasted such a precious resource (mind you, salt is not as hard to get a hold of as it once was).

Garlic may also be used to ward off demons, of which vampires are sometimes considered a 'sub-species'. Garlic salt seems like it should be a particularly useful tool. Other countermeasures often involve the corpse of the suspected vampire itself; such as pulling out all their teeth, tying them up, nailing the coffin shut (which is still done today), staking the corpse, wedging a brick in their mouth, or carving out their heart, burning it and drinking water mixed with the ashes. Delicious.

The dwelling itself can even be designed to repel evil. In China roofs are curved to deflect evil spirits, which are said to fly quickly in straight lines. So if one hits your roof, the arc will throw it back into the air.

And if all else fails, or you just want to be left alone without bothering the spirits, the TAPS book Seeking Spirits claims that green olives will simply dampen your ability to perceive spirits. But you may need to eat a lot of them to get this benefit, like a jar.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The haunted Lotus Cafe (Portland, Oregon) is to be demolished

Where do ghost go when the building they haunt is demolished? I don't know. Some people say that spirits haunt the land, which means they don't go anywhere, they haunt the new building. Others believe only objects can be haunted, and that once you remove the haunted object from the property, the haunting ends. John Zaffis comes to mind. There's other theories and combinations of the two theories, but I could get sidetracked discussing irrelevant theories. After all, scientifically, you have to prove there even are ghost before you assert that anything might happen to them.

Point is, sometimes haunted places get demolished, and paranormal investigators are left with questions. Which is exactly what's happening to the Lotus Cafe and Cardroom, which is being leveled for make room for a high rise hotel:

I saw the boarded up building for myself last week, and again this week:

I like to think that people would have tried harder to save a historic building, a haunted landmark, or at least a favorite hangout. But this is real life, the building is pretty worn down, business might not have been great, and a hotel really would be good for other businesses in the area.

So what will happen with the haunting? I've heard stories go both ways. Sometimes the property continues to be haunted when a new building is put up, such as the private home that was built on a site where a rectory had burned years before. Other times the haunting goes away, as was the case when another home owner tore down his porch to get rid of the residual haunting that keeping him up at night.

At the very least it'll be something interesting to keep an eye on if possible.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Flat Earth & Hollow Earth

I've posted previously on the group still convinced the Sun revolves around the Earth, and as I prepared to write up a bit on those who still think the Earth is Hollow, I found I never actually posted about the next interesting topic in this category, people who believe the Earth is Flat.

Yep, you read that right, it's 2016 and there are people that still believe the Earth is Flat, people that still believe it's Hollow, and people still convinced the Universe revolves around the Earth. And I'm sure there's a lot more fringe groups with similar beliefs, but we can worry about those later.

(Trekky0623's depiction of Flat Earth, 2008.)

You can visit the Flat Earth Society’s website for yourself:

And if you're into physics, go to their FAQs and scroll down to the bit about gravity, because it's hilarious and totally inconsistent with their answers to other questions:

That probably sounds disrespectful. I suppose it is, but they believe in something and they're sticking to their guns, trying to prove it. If nothing else that shows loyalty and conviction. So, that deserves some respect.

And they do have a point on the Moon landing conspiracy. If a flat Earth were possible with the currently understood laws of gravity, then a spaceship would be unable to orbit the earth because there is no curvature, thus falling back and crashing, so we likely would not be able to reach the Moon. But since Flat Earth doesn't make sense with our current laws of gravity, that doesn't seem likely, it seems more likely that if things 'just fall' the Moon would fall into the Earth. But I'm sure one of them has worked out why that doesn’t happen.

(Map of interior world of a Hollow Earth, from "The Goddess of Atvatabar" by William Bradshaw, 1892)

The Hollow Earth camp seems to be less organized, but they also have websites:
- This is more of a book advertisement then a Society or Network to be fair.
- And wow, I can't even. Just take a look at all that, skim some of it maybe. . . and you'll know what I mean. I wasn't sure if the authors of The Rough Guild to Unexplained Phenomenon were serious about Hollow Earth or not when I was reading their chapter on it, but the sheer amount of content on this site and the fact that it's still being updated suggests the site's authors are serious. And it appears that the Hollow Earth crowd are generally more likely to be religious fanatics then the Flat Earth groupies. Mind blowing.

I think I'm going to need to see if I can set-up some interviews, because honestly the whole thing is fascinating, even if it is hard to swallow.