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Quaerere,  Perceptum et Docere

The I.C.P.R.P.I. is a not-for-profit research consortium and educational resource centre. The purpose of the consortium is to firstly; gain a better understanding about the enigmatic nature of psi-phenomena as related to the human condition. Secondly, to act as a depository for related research into the investigation of psi-phenomena, which is to be made available for all interested persons world-wide, and finally, to uphold and positively augment the reasoning and purpose of psychical and parapsychological research in order to better the discipline as an accepted, and respected aspect of science and philosophical inquiry. 

The I.C.P.R.P.I. is invested to research and scholarly contribution, yet not limited to of the following areas of such thought: Hauntings, Apparitions and Poltergeist phenomena, Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), Post-Mortem Survival (PMS), Psychokinesis (PK), Metaphysical Studies, Dream-State Research and Astral Projection, Out‑of‑Body Experiences (OBE) and Near-Death Experiences (NDE), Mediumship and Spirit Channeling, The Occult and Magical Arts as related to the paranormal, Altered States of Consciousness, Ecto-Connectivity (EC), Religious Experiences and Beliefs (Sympathetic/Contagious Magic), Psychic Healing and Alternative Medicine, Astrology and Divination, Demon Possession and Demonology. In addition to this, The I.C.P.R.P.I. is also interested in regional and international aspects of Folklore and Urban Legends, Cryptozoology, as well as UFO incidents, Alien and Abduction phenomena.

We welcome all to participate in our investigations, and welcome your individual input in order to better the understanding of these and other controversial subjects.

“…Scientia potentia est, sed parva; quia scientia egregia rara est, nec proinde apparens nisi paucissimis, et in paucis rebus. Scientiae enim ea natura est, ut esse intelligi non possit, nisi ab illis qui sunt scientia praediti…”

Thomas Hobbes, De Homine, 1658.


The following listing of organizations, agencies and private groups and societies constitutes a primary listing of affiliates, and which represents the professional end of the field of psychical research and related paranormal investigations. These organizations have been chosen by the I.C.P.R.P.I. as the main source for investigating this field from a professional and exact standpoint, and are of such advised for serious scholars to take part in. Having said that; it is important to realize that other groups and organizations that refer to themselves as professional and/or as ‘parapsychologists,’ though not having a scientific background, or at least having an actual working knowledge of the profession, should instead, begin taking part in serious research in order to better acquaint themselves to this profession as a whole…Its not only about ghosts and poltergeists. Although I can certainly respect the interesting nature of the popular ‘ghost hunting/reality “in-your-face” television shows,’ it would be a good choice to ‘investigate’ from another perspective. Furthermore, though this blog page is a retrospective of popular notions and concepts; almost entirely from a ‘folkloric’ perspective, we do indeed value the importance of the purely scientific quest to get the truth by scientific means. I hope you will too.

Training and Research

        If you’re looking for down-to-earth training in parapsychology, consciousness studies or transpersonal psychology, there are several organizations that can offer this, either from a scholastic, hard science foundation (listed later on in this report), or from a more hands-on foundation, taught by real-time professionals in the field. My first recommendation is Loyd Auerbach, a well-known expert on ghosts and psychic experience, holding a Master’s degree in Parapsychology; is director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, as well as a professor at JFK University. He is the creator and instructor of the Certificate Program in Parapsychological Studies at HCH Institute, and hosts many lecture series both from a distance perspective and in California. Professor Auerbach is known to be open to questions and for offering sound advice for those who are serious about the profession.

For more information, please visit: and For professor Auerbach’s Blog page, visit:

 My second recommendation is Dr. Andrew Nichols, Ph.D., a well known figure in the psychical research community, having been seen in dozens of documentaries, is author of Ghost Detective: Adventures of a Parapsychologist and who is director of the American Institute of Parapsychology (AIP), a non-profit research and educational organization based in Gainesville, Florida. AIP’s purpose is to foster to its students a greater understanding about the anomalous aspects of the human experience, which of course includes the subjects of ghosts and hauntings. AIP conducts various courses in parapsychology, aimed at the general public, and maintains a library specializing in parapsychology, abnormal psychology and occult/mystical studies (a collection that includes hundreds of books, audio-visual materials and issues of the main parapsychology journals for students). Dr. Nichols and his staff offers top-notch instruction, but don’t expect silliness or reality show drama — This is the real thing, and will offer its students a chance to explore this topic from a direct point-of-view.

            For more information, please visit:  


 Top Organizations in Parapsychology and Psychical Research 


        The following organizations are among my favorites, and are ones I am involved with directly, or indirectly. I hope you, the reader, will take a moment to look at these groups and institutions and see how the ‘Real Ghost Hunters’ operate within the profession of psychical research. This listing should be regarded as the best of the professional organizations affiliated with the methodology utilized by the ICPRPI, and is recommended for the serious researcher to take part in, and/or join. No doubt, there are other groups and organizations befitting this listing, so if I missed anyone, my apologies. Please send your details for review, and we’ll be happy list you here. Otherwise, enjoy the grand opportunity you have to take part in the actual study of parapsychology from the top listing below. 


  • Rhine Research Center (USA)

Based in Durham, USA, the Center continues and expands the work of J.B. and Louisa Rhine, the Rhine Research Center is an integrative center for the study of consciousness. It serves as the hub for ground-breaking research and educational activities on the nature of human consciousness, which includes all aspects of paranormal and psychical research. This organization offers a scholarly listing of lecture and conference series, as well as resources that will aid the researcher in all areas of the field.

2741 Campus Walk Ave # 500
Durham, NC 27705-8878 — (919) 309-4600


  • Society for Psychical Research (UK)

The SPR was first overseen by Henry Sidgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University, and the society’s first president. The SPR is the ‘first learned society’ of its kind, founded in London in 1882 for the purpose of “investigating that large body of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and spiritualistic, and to do so in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems.” Among the early members of the SPR were such prominent figures as the physicist William Barrett; the experimental physicist Lord Rayleigh; Arthur Balfour, philosopher and Prime Minister Gerald Balfour, a classical scholar and philosopher As this is the first such organization to openly research and ponder such things; other than another of England’s premier psychical organization; ‘The Ghost Club,’ the SPR continues to be the pentacle of such societies, offering students, researchers and the public a plethora of resources regarding this area of scientific inquiry, though lecture and conference series, library inter-loan privileges and much more.

For further information: The SPR
49 Marloes Road, Kensington, London.

W8 6LA — Tel:  0207 9378984        


·         The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (USA)

The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (PA) is the international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of ‘psi’ (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. It is also engaged in the more traditional aspects of the research, such as ghosts, haunting and related paranormal events.


·         The Parapsychology Foundation (USA)

The Parapsychology Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation which provides a worldwide forum supporting the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena. The Foundation gives grants, publishes pamphlets, monographs, conference proceedings and the International Journal of Parapsychology, hosts the Perspectives Lecture Series, and even conducts an Outreach Program. In addition to this, it also operates The Psychic Explorers Club, operated by world-renowned psychic, Eileen J. Garrett. Visit for more information.


·         The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research P.E.A.R. program (USA)

The (PEAR) program, an organization that has existed  for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. It continues to research various aspects of anomalous phenomena.  This unique organization also housed the International Consciousness Research Laboratory international, interdisciplinary consortium. Its goal is to foster a broader range of inquiry; to encourage a new generation of deeply creative investigators to expand the boundaries of scientific understanding; and to strengthen the foundations of science by reclaiming its spiritual heritage. 


  • Society for Scientific Exploration (USA)

The SSE is a multidisciplinary professional organization; the SSE is committed to the study of phenomena that cross traditional scientific boundaries. Designed as a professional organization for scientists and scholars who study unusual and unexplained phenomena, the SSE intermingles the foundations of mainstream science and technology with such concepts as consciousness, UFO research, and alternative medicine, yet often offers profound implications for human knowledge and technology. The SSE provides a professional forum for presentations, criticism, and debate concerning topics which are for various reasons ignored or studied inadequately within mainstream science. Their secondary goal is to promote an improved understanding of those factors that unnecessarily limit the scope of scientific inquiry, such as sociological constraints, restrictive world views, hidden theoretical assumptions, and the temptation to convert prevailing theory into prevailing dogma.


  • Institute for Scientific Exploration

            The ISE conducts groundbreaking research in the biomedical, natural sciences, and social sciences fields, as well as investigates alternative practices, such as alternative medicine therapies, and alternative scientific theories and hypotheses, in order to help explain the many unanswered scientific questions, as well as, the many scientific anomalies and other unexplained phenomena of all kinds that have been observed in these fields. Secondly, based on research findings, ISE’s mission is to develop novel services and technologies that will benefit people, and help solve the major problems faced by corporations, government agencies, and other organizations and institutions that serve society, worldwide. This organization should be considered among the more scientific, though not entirely from the psychical perspective. This is an excellent organization for those who hold degrees in a scientific discipline, who wish to get active in a present field, and/or to publish though their network.


  • The Ghost Club (UK)

Noted as the original ghost-lore and paranormal organization in history (founded in 1862) the Ghost Club has had an illustrious membership. From Charles Dickens, Siegfried Sassoon, Harry Price, Peter Cushing, Peter Underwood, Maurice Grosse and many others, today the Ghost Club is a non-profit, social club run by an elected Council of volunteers. Its purpose remains true to its roots; the Ghost Club offers open-minded, curious individuals the opportunity to debate, explore and investigate unexplained phenomena with like-minded people and record the results for posterity.   The Ghost Club offers overnight and on-site investigations (Throughout the United Kingdom), as well as club meetings and a newsletter for its members.


  • Cognitive Sciences Laboratory (USA)

The Laboratory conducts Parapsychological research, and is part of The Laboratories for Fundamental Research based at Palo Alto, USA.


·         The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (USA)

The purpose of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is to promote serious investigation and critical thinking in the areas of the claims of the paranormal and similar concepts of a controversial nature. Though at first this organization appears to be the international naysayer of the paranormal investigator, it is vital for said researcher to view the opposite spectrum of the paranormal debate, and learn from their studies and contributions in order to better our own scholarly database. To that end, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry serves as a staging point from the skeptic’s point of view, and then to consider their findings in spite of the oftentimes demeaning approach in doing so.  


  • Department of Psychology, University of Goeteborg (Germany)  

The Ganzfeld project at the University of Göteborg (Gothenburg) is aimed at bringing so-called subjective psi-experiences into a laboratory setting which will the exact nature of the experiences and the conditions influencing their occurrence to be studied. It incorporates the essential features relating to the occurrences of the spontaneous phenomena. The focus of research interest is the nature of consciousness and its relation to brain processes and human potential.


  • Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia (USA)

Founded by the late Professor Ian Stevenson, the main purpose of the unit is the scientific investigation of phenomena that suggest that currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the nature of mind or consciousness, and its relationship to matter, may be incomplete. Examples of such phenomena include various types of extrasensory perception, apparitions and deathbed visions, poltergeists, near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs), and claimed memories of previous lives.


  • Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (USA)

The Institute, based at Freiburg in Germany, engages in research concerning insufficiently understood phenomena and anomalies at the frontiers of current scientific knowledge.


  • Institute of Noetic Sciences (USA)

The Institute is based in California and conducts research into consciousness-related matters. Founded by astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, now serving as a board member for the institute, he continues to be active at institute events, including lectures and conferences. The institute is an excellent way to find scholarly information and related referrals within the psi related communities, as well as offering a way to contribute and gain knowledge in this arena.


·         Berkeley Psychic Institute (USA)

Also known as the “psychic kindergarten,” founded in 1973, the institute is designed to further education in various aspects of psychic research, and teaches how to recognize and develop psychic abilities through classes in clairvoyance, meditation, healing and energy. This is an excellent resource for those living on the west coast of the United States.


·         The Boundary Institute (USA)

Boundary Institute is a nonprofit scientific research organization dedicated to the advancement of 21st-Century science. We are currently pursuing two major research themes, one concerning the foundations of physics, the other the foundations of mathematics and computer science.


  • Centre for Fundamental and Anomalies Research C-FAR(USA)

The Centre for Fundamental & Anomalies Research aims to encourage, sponsor and conduct research into controversial or open issues in science and philosophy, and to use findings to promote positive social change.


·         The Koestler Parapsychology Unit KPU (UK)

·         The Koestler Parapsychology Unit is a research group based in the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh. This scholarly organization consists of academic staff and postgraduate students who teach and research various aspects of parapsychology and psychical-based research, including: the possible existence of psychic ability, the belief in the paranormal the psychology of anomalous experiences, pseudo-psychic deception and other aspects of the field.


·         Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute PNI (USA)

PNI researches, among other topics, the anomalous experiences (those of a person’s having a paranormal, psychic or otherwise bizarre experience) that it cannot easily be explained using our conventional laws of science. Subjective paranormal experiences in temporal lobe dysfunction Déjà Vu, Out of body Experience and Vortex Pluralism to name a few.


·         The Paranormal Network/The Office of Paranormal Investigation (USA)

The OPI draws on the investigative and research traditions of parapsychology, psychical research and other fields of science to provide information and consulting services for the general public, Media, Business, the Legal Community, Law Enforcement, Realtors, and other specialized audiences. It is interested in potential applications of psi experiences in those arenas.



The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena is a scientifically-oriented educational charity and amateur research organization dedicated to a better understanding of anomalous phenomena.


  • Austrian Society for Parapsychology (Austria)

Based at Vienna University, the society organizes public lectures and maintains a library, and serves as an excellent resource for our German/Austrian scholars and Germanic speaking students of the paranormal who are looking for related information and lecture series in their home countries. It also offers good resources for contacts and links, as well as having an excellent archival section of past and ongoing investigations and symposiums on the many aspects of psychical research.


  • Exceptional Human Experience (USA)

Here’s another excellent web community that focuses on fascinating topics regarding   everything within the realm of parapsychology, but also the concepts of psychology, anthropology, sociology and all things akin to the human condition. Although the founder and primary contributor, Rhea White, passed away in 2007, the contents of this scholarly community continue, with their exceptional web journal ‘Psiline.’ For more information, on the subject of psychical experiences, contact directly.  


  • The European Paranormal Society Germany (German)

Teps-Germany is located in Essen, Ruhr, and investigates throughout Europe. Because the founders have typical occupations, their meeting times are by appointment arrangement to be determined. This is a new organization which is dedicated to serious research and for the collection and preservation of all findings.   


  • The International Institute of Metaphysics IMI (France)

The L’Institut Metapsychique International (IMI) or ‘The International Institute of Metaphysics’ is another excellent resource and scholarly organization/society for French-speaking students of the paranormal. Located in Paris, and established in 1919, the IMI supports the scientific study of phenomena related to paranormal, psychical and occult research. It houses an excellent library at its headquarters, and hosts lectures and related symposiums throughout Paris. 


  • Psychic Science (UK)

Dr. Michael Daniels BSc (Hons, 1st Class), PhD, AFBPsS, CPsychol. Is the administrator of the Psychic Science web page. He is Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Program Leader for the M.Sc in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. He is the author of several books and many academic articles and chapters in the areas of transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, psychical research and Jungian psychology. This site offers an introduction to parapsychology and a number of psi tests online. It is an excellent resource for those interested in the other aspects of Parapsychological research, which has been neglected in recent years. It retains a professional and courteous way in teaching this area of psychical research.


  • Paranormal Database (UK)

The Paranormal Database is a serious ongoing project to quantitatively document as many locations with paranormal/cryptozoological interest as possible, region by region throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Ninety-four areas are currently covered, now totaling over 9600 entries, with frequent additions and current stories continuously updated. This is website will offer the serious investigator a chance to explore the United Kingdom from an insider’s point of view. For our world travelers, this association will prove invaluable.   


  • The Princeton University School of Engineering Anomalies (USA)

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program is a scholarly aspect of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Its primary goal was to experiment the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, such as systems and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. Though this organization is comprised of scientists and engineers who take their craft very seriously, they are open to ideas about the paranormal from a purely scientific stance, and have a plethora of scholarly contributions to the field. Their theoretical models and detail to proposed implications will serve the technical student of psychical research with favor. 


  • Scottish Society for Psychical Research (UK)

The SSPR was founded by Professor Archie Roy in 1987, and aims to investigate all types of phenomena known as Paranormal or Parapsychological, and collect, classify and study reports of such phenomena. There are monthly lectures in Glasgow, (Sept. through April) which usually take place in the Boyd Orr Building of the University of Glasgow. These lectures cover everything from medium-ship and psychic detection to ghost and haunting research. The SSPR also has the PSI Report Magazine, which covers its meeting minutes and offers information of upcoming lecture series and referrals. 


  • The Harry Price Website (UK) 

This web page is dedicated to the life and work of England’s most famous ghost hunter and controversial psychical researcher, Harry Price (1881-1948). Harry Price had offered a great deal to the exploits of the historical psychical researcher, as well as for modern-day researcher. Though the constant victim from naysayers and critics of his day, he had investigated the concept of parapsychology with a certain zeal that continues to be used to this day. Best remembered for his research into Borley Rectory ‘The Most Haunted House in England,’ Price was one of the first researchers to use animals, primarily dogs, to accompany him on overnight vigils, as he believed that such animals had a keener sense of the unseen world around us. This concept, which is hardly refuted today, was an topic of humor in his day. This website will offer researcher a good look into the paranormal investigation of the past.  

* Please note: All stories, conjectures and resources have been written by the author, Greg Jenkins. All photos used are either those of the author, or are from a non-licensed source, such as from a public domain.  As the stories are in part from the author’s books, and owned by Pineapple Press, Inc., permission must be secured before any story, in part or in whole is reproduced, outside of being used as a cited quotation.       




Who is Dr. Barry Taft?


According to his website:


Dr. Barry E. Taff, who holds a doctorate in psychophysiology with a minor in biomedical engineering, is a world-renowned parapsychologist who worked out of UCLA’s former Parapsychology Laboratory from 1969 through 1978 as a research associate.  During his four-decade career, Dr. Taff has investigated more than 4,500 cases of ghosts, hauntings, poltergeists and conducted extensive studies in telepathy and precognition, eventually developing the initial protocols and methodologies for what was later termed “remote viewing”.  He also, was himself, investigated as a psychic subject, the results of which were published in Behavioral Neuropsychiatry, “A Laboratory Investigation of Telepathy: The Study of A Psychic”, Vol. 6, Nos. 1-12, April-December 1974-January-March, 1975.

One of the cases Dr. Taff investigated in 1974 gained international fame as the book and motion picture, The Entity, starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver, released by Fox in 1983.  Dr. Taff served as technical advisor on The Entity as well as being represented in the film by the character “Gene Kraft”. What’s unknown by the media is the fact that, in real life, The Entity followed its female victim for quite some time after our initial investigation, continuing its vociferous nature. Allegedly, Doris Bither died in 1999 of cardiopulmonary failure at the age of 58.

Dr. Taff has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs including Coast to Coast A.M.with George Knapp CBS News, KNBC News, KABC News, Strange Universe, Unsolved Mysteries, The Joan River’s Show, A Current Affair, Hard Copy, Sightings, Judge for Yourself, The Extraordinary, The Montel Williams Show, The Wil Shriner Show, The Suzanne Somers Show, was a recurring guest on NBC’s The Other Side, Haunted History, Mysteries & Scandals, ABC’s World’s Scariest Ghosts Caught On Tape, The Girls Next Door, Sci-Fi Channel’s An Unknown Encounter & California’s Most Haunted (highest rated shows in Sci-Fi’s history) for which Dr. Taff also served as creative consultant and technical advisor.  Taff also has recently appeared in the DVD Special Feature sections of The Mentalist (Warner Bros/CBS-TV, 2009) and the feature film, The Haunting in Connecticut “Anatomy Of A Haunting” (2009) and the 20th Anniversary Re-Release Pkg. of Friday The 13th (Paramount Pictures) and most recently, Ghost Lovers on The Travel Channel (Feb. 2011)





Dr. Taft has consulted for government, business, and law enforcement, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Language Institute (DLI), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the FBI, Interpol, LAPD, California Highway Patrol, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, and the Westminster Police Department. He has served as a technical advisor or script doctor on the films Logan’s Run, Demon Seed, Altered States, Poltergeist, and The Entity.  Dr. Taff has written numerous articles for magazines and journals, and has been featured in many books on paranormal subjects ranging from precognition to UFOs.

In the spring of 2010, Dr. Taff’s, book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown is available at, Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and book stores everywhere.


Now Dr. Taft has a new podcast on the way called “Psi Files,” and it promises to dismiss the bovine excrement and offer the facts as they are. As a genuine and serious psychical researcher, he will offer us a better understanding of various disciplines within the arena of psychical research and parapsychology, as well as Ufology and strange things in between.

So, if your looking for a serious and honest take on such things as ghosts and hauntings, turn off the staged reality TV fodder, and tune in to Psi Files and get the story straight.

Also, be sure to look for his books, and follow him on Twitter too!

Contact:  (310) 273-2864





(B.) Magnified view of conidial heads in area outlined in red. Image taken through a dissecting microscope with Sony W-300 camera (40x magnification). The largest heads are about 400 to 500 micrometers (0.4 to 0.5 mm) in diameter. The heads appear roughened by radiating string-like chains of conidia, another characteristic separating this mold from Rhizopus. These chains of conidia are readily broken in prepared slides and are difficult to show intact under high magnification with a compound microscope. The yellowish background is the basal felt (mycelium) on surface of bread.


I know what you’re thinking; this is about a ghost hunting club that’s investigating the alleged spooks roaming the halls of Clarkson University in New York, right? No, not at all; it’s a serious study conducted by professor Shane Rogers to see if there is a connection between various molds and fungi that may cause various psychotic episodes; that “toxic molds can trigger psychosis and that such might cause you to see and hear things that go bump in the night,” says the Huffington Post.

“Hauntings are very widely reported phenomena that are not well-researched,” Rogers admits, but with the proper research, a connection might be found. He continues to tell us that so-called ghost sightings are often reported in older buildings, and because some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air, that a connection might exist. Basically, professor Rogers and his group of researchers are attempting to determine whether some of these hauntings are linked to specific pollutants. If this is so, then the concept of psychical research will have to add a new discipline to the profession – Environmental analysis to reputedly haunted locales.

And though many serious researchers already apply some such tests to research sites, such as ‘ion counting’ to possibly explain certain emotional and topic-specific psychological responses by some sensitive people, the study is logical and timely. Moreover, because historians are well educated on the affects of certain molds if ingested, such as the LSD-like affect of eating Ergot found on wheat and other grains, the testing for molds and fungi as a possible causative agent might end up a fledgling department to the field of psychical research.

Recently, Clarkson University posted their intentions regarding this research project in this online posting on the university’s website. Below are excerpts of such intentions:


Undergrads Research Link Between Hauntings & Indoor Air Quality…

“Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Shane Rogers said human experiences reported in many hauntings are similar to mental or neurological symptoms reported by some individuals exposed to toxic molds. It is known that some fungi, such as rye ergot fungus, may cause severe psychosis in humans.” “The links between exposure to toxic indoor molds and psychological effects in people are not well established, however, Rogers said. Notably, many hauntings are associated with structures that are prime environments to harbor molds or other indoor air quality problems… And that hauntings are very widely reported phenomena that are not well-researched,” he said. “They are often reported in older-built structures that may also suffer poor air quality. Similarly, some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air. We are trying to determine whether some reported hauntings may be linked to specific pollutants found in indoor air.”

Rogers continues: “By comparing these samples to samples from places with no reported hauntings, the researchers hope to identify factors unique to the haunted locations. They are looking for commonalities in the mold microbiome in the places believed to be haunted compared to the controls, as well as analyzing the types of toxic molds that may cause psychological effects in humans. What I do hope is that we can provide some real clues as to what may lead to some of these phenomena and possibly help people in the process,” he said.

What makes this an incredible story for researchers of the paranormal is that it’s a serious study that falls firmly in the arena of empirical research, placing an otherwise important aspect to such research, which has been lambasted with ridicule since people began investigating such incidents, in a fair and honest light. “As a longtime fan of ghost stories, Rogers says; the goal is not to debunk the legends but to instead provide insight on why certain places are perceived to be haunted…What I do hope is that we can provide some real clues as to what may lead to some of these phenomena and possibly help people in the process.”


According to the Clarkson University website:

“Rogers’ team of undergraduate students plan to measure air quality in several haunted locations in upstate New York, including the Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg, N.Y. The museum is the former home of Madame Vespucci, and, according to Haunted Places, her voice can be heard echoing from the museum’s upper level at night.”

This is a classic haunting case that has been told and retold for many years, and has a fixed place in the annals of folklore. Though either way the results turn out, we should be happy that those firmly lodged in the arenas of hard science, engineering and other disciplines are taking that first big step in facing obstacles that otherwise frighten, or insult them. Furthermore, if they are honest, and cannot link empirical data that will enforce a cause other than down-to-earth causes, than a great amount of applause should be offered to these researchers, and most certainly to Professor Rogers for bearing the brunt of the obvious naysaying from his detractors, and possible chagrin from his colleagues.


Good show professor! We look forward to your findings…


For more information, check out these websites:



Here’s one of those stories that gets you right in the heart. By now most of us have heard this recent story where a baby girl was saved by Utah’s finest. It isn’t too hard to believe as cops put their lives on the line every day; take personal risks that many of us would never consider, and serve their communities; we’re all accustomed to these men and women going the extra mile to save someone in need. But when they get an extra boost from the beyond, it really should get headlines, in spite of the fact that major news sources didn’t pick up on this story until more reliable and honest news sources did. Regardless, this type of “otherworldly” occurrence may not be as rare as we might think.

Many psychical researchers believe that for the most part ‘paranormal’ events occur all the time, but most of us don’t experience such events because we have become too engrossed in worldly things, work; school; kids, and what have you. We tend to keep the paranormal in our TV shows, and disregard the rest as bunk. There may also be visual and auditory aspects to the human makeup that shields us from certain realities. Indeed, the human eyes can only see a fraction of what animals can, as is our hearing grossly limited. Perhaps when we see a dog or cat looking into the thin air and reacting as if someone or ‘something’ is there, perhaps there really is…We just can’t see the same things.

Perhaps such a responsive reaction can occur in humans, but only under certain conditions. For the first responders who were notified of a submerged vehicle by a local fisherman, they likely knew the result would be grim; having seen far too many grim things in their careers, they might be a bit hardened. Yet, each claimed to hear a voice saying “help me” coming from the overturned car, a voice that should not have been there. As the water was freezing, with ice forming over it, the chance that someone could have survived overnight in those conditions is just not likely…But someone did.


Baby Lily

 Jennifer Groesbeck and baby Lily

Here’s the story, written by Lauren Zima, with Video provided by

“A toddler named Lily is in critical condition after a car accident, but it’s miraculous that she survived at all. Investigators think the 18-month-old was in an icy Utah river for about 13 hours. Her mother was found dead at the crash scene, so here’s what’s really eerie: Rescuers said they heard a call for help from the car.”

“To me it was plain as day. I remember hearing a voice. It didn’t sound like a child. Just saying, ‘Help me,'” a responder said. Again, Lily’s 25-year-old mother was dead when investigators found her. Her car had gone over a bridge and couldn’t be seen from the road. A fisherman spotted it Saturday, but it’s believed Lily and her mother had been upside down in the water since Friday night.”

“This was a very dramatic rescue to get Lily out of that submerged vehicle in a very icy Spanish Fork river. A total of seven emergency responders — three police officers and four firefighters, ultimately had to be treated for hypothermia,” KSTU reports.

“Grabbed the baby in my arm, raised its head up out of the water as I tried to release the seat belt,” said one responder. Lily was stuck upside down in her car seat. It’s unclear why the accident happened.”


Without a doubt, this is strange story, but not entirely unheard of to psychical researcher. Regardless if people believe it or not, or that the first responders were just hearing things (all four of them at the same time), doesn’t really matter. To the believer, however, it was a testament that a mother’s love will stretch beyond the grave to save her child. And that’s exactly what happened.


The family of the mother and child has set up a GoFundMe page, so PLEASE give if you can:

Lily needs our help! Requesting donations for medical expenses and funeral costs. NOTE: in fewer than 24 hours, the family has raised close to $18,000, and its steadily rising. This money will help baby Lily, and pay the enormous medical bills that will follow. This is proof that there’s still hope for humanity…

Great job and Thanks!


Further reading:


Dr. Parisetti

Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti


I would like to introduce a friend and colleague, Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti, a medical doctorand member of the Society for Psychical Research and the International Association for Near-Death Studies. He serves on the scientific advisory board of the Forever Family Foundation, a nonreligiuos, not for profit organization with over 10,000 members worldwide, and organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge of afterlife science amongst the bereaved. Dr. Parisetti is a professional in psychical research, and offers much for researchers everywhere.

Now, in order to best serve the research community, he offers an ongoing newsletter, which highlights all aspects of psychical research that directly faces the primary issues of this topic, and challenges the many questions that follow.

For more information, visit his website and get the word out.


The real poltergeists

The word poltergeist inevitably conjures up images of Hollywood “B movies”, and I believe that these, although possibly entertaining to some, have actually done a disservice to the credibility of psychical research. When, in the public eye, inexplicable phenomena attributed to “paranormal activity” are clearly a matter of grotesque fiction, it is difficult for the real phenomena and the very serious investigations that are carried out, day in and day out, by careful and often scientifically trained researchers to be taken seriously. And that is a shame, because these phenomena rank amongst the most interesting and the most difficult to explain.

Now, I may already detect some raised eyebrows here. “What do you mean – some readers may ask – by day in and day out?” I mean that occurrences of Recurrent Spontaneous Psycho Kinesis (or RSPK, which is the name poltergeist activity goes by in parapsychology) are actually more frequent than one may imagine, and most cases remain unknown not only to the general public, but even to the specialists. I understand, for example, that the Scottish Society for Psychical Research has been investigating for some time a very active RSPK case affecting a household in the small town of Paisley, some 10 miles from Glasgow. Who will ever know about this case, apart from the affected family, the investigators and the small number of people who are interested in such matters? Occasionally, RSPK phenomena become so strong and so disruptive that the police get involved, and this is typically followed by a passing interest by the media. That, however, hardly ever goes beyond a sensationalist article in a local newspaper. Therefore, I think it is difficult to grasp the real dimension of this phenomenon on a world scale.

More raised eyebrows, perhaps, at the mention of very serious and often scientifically trained researchers. “Aren’t these phenomena – some other readers may ask – typically looked into by weirdos going around dark places with night vision cameras thinking they are in a movie?” Well, some certainly are, and a quick search on the Internet will reveal tons of “paranormal investigators” groups, most of which are composed by hobbyists with little or no training and very little capacity for critical analysis. The activity of these groups and their claims further detract from the credibility of serious research. Yes, because RSPK has been and currently is looked into by very, very serious people employing sophisticated methodologies with exceedingly stringent controls. Rather than on some “paranormal website”, the reports of their investigations are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Enter here, as a brilliant example, Dr William G. Roll, a noted psychologist and parapsychologist who has worked in the field for over half a century. In the early 1950s, Dr Roll undertook research in parapsychology at Oxford University, and subsequently worked at the Rhine’s Parapsychology Laboratory (1957-1964) . In 1986 he joined the psychology department of the State University of West Georgia, and in 1989 he received his PhD from Lund University in Sweden. Does he strike you as a possible weirdo going around dark places pretending he’s in a movie? I don’t think so. Yet, he is best known for his work on poltergeists, a topic he has consistently explored throughout his career.

My inspiration for this article comes from a paper he published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration in 2003 entitled Poltergeist, Electromagnetism and Consciousness. In the paper, Dr Roll discusses from a modern perspective several poltergeist cases he investigated and proposed elements of a theory to explain the occurrence of such phenomena. To understand what we are talking about, let me briefly summarise one of the cases reviewed. The case is suggestive of what we technically define as “living agent” RSPK, as it appears that the phenomena are linked to one particular person – often an adolescent member of the family. Other cases are defined as “discarnate agent” RSPK, because the activity cannot be linked to the presence of any living individual, and indications emerge of a link to a deceased whose personality appears to have survived physical death and capable of generating macroscopic physical phenomena.

In 1993, Roll investigated the case of Tina Reusch, a 14-year-old who had been at the centre of disturbances in her home in Columbus, Ohio. Roll writes, “There was a string of occurrences in my presence that I could not dismiss. Tina and her parents agreed to my bringing her to the Spring Creek Institute of North Carolina University for research and counselling”.

So, in this particular case, we move from a naturalistic environment (the household where the disturbances were appearing) to a laboratory environment within an academic institution, where most if not all the elements are under the control of the investigators. In the laboratory, Dr Stephen Baumann was testing for micro-PK (that is small-scale mental influence on objects, physical processes or living beings) and Tina was invited as a test subject. In two separate sets of experiments Tina produced promising results, but there were problems in the test protocol that made them difficult to evaluate. Researchers were puzzled: the same girl who was at the centre of major psychokinetic effects at her home was just showing “promising results” in micro-PK experiments? But then, as Roll writes”,

“The RSPK occurred during breaks in the tests when Tina was not trying to use PK. To study the incidents under controlled conditions, we set up a table with PK targets. If any moved, we would know where it came from. Tina was not allowed near the table; otherwise, her movements were not restricted. The heaviest target to move was a 12-inch socket wrench. When Stewart and Baumann were standing between Tina and the table and facing her, there was a loud noise from the hallway behind the girl. The wrench had moved 18 feet, passed the two experimenters and Tina without notice, and hit the door to a storage room. In all there were 21 movements of objects when Tina was under observation, of which eight came from the target table. The incidents showed a significant decrease with distance.”

Now, these are definitely not people pretending to be in movies, but what they witnessed is most definitely movie material! Cases such as this one leave me speechless. I think that we are confronted with only two alternatives. Number one is that three academics simply lied. They made up the entire incident. The incident never happened – it is pure invention. In a way, I would almost like to be able to believe this explanation, because the other one is so fundamentally shocking to be almost disturbing. But I cannot believe the fraud hypothesis – I simply cannot.

And then, I am left with my sense of profound unease. Yes, because practically all the effects appearing in parapsychology research are tiny. Small variations appearing through sophisticated statistical techniques. The fact that the effects are small “protects” me in a way from their equally upsetting significance. But a 12-inch socket wrench basically dematerializing from a table and rematerializing at a distance of 18 feet and ricocheting on a door – in a university laboratory and under observation by three top-qualified scientists – is simply massive. Incidentally, in most poltergeist reports it is said that objects bouncing from the walls are never seen in flight – they seem to appear out of thin air after having bounced…

The wrench incident at North Carolina University – and the thousands of similar occurrences reported by the most reliable witnesses for over a hundred years – simply tell me that I live in an unreal world. By that I mean that the solid, material, predictable, understandable reality conveyed by my sense in fact does not exist. The real world is a world in which objects can pop in and out of existence. One in which mind cannot only influence the output of random number generators or the growth rate of bacteria – it can move 150-pound pieces of furniture across a room.

That sense of unreality is what I find most upsetting, and have to live with.

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As a fan of all things strange; Ghost stories, UFO encounters, cryptozoology and the many tales that make up our weird world, I feel the most fascinating are those that have a long shelf life, specifically those based in oral traditions and world folklore. This tale is not unlike the many bigfoot tales you may have heard, though to the native populations in this region, as with many native American tribes throughout the United States, believe them to be true. Having been told around the campfire for centuries before the Western invaders arrived, as a tale to enthrall the young and old alike, or perhaps the legends are indeed true, where these tribes are still coexisting with this, and many other creatures that have lived in peace and harmony since man originally walked the earth. Either way, the tale of the mighty Kushtaka continues to inspire those who love to look on the stranger side of things.



To begin our journey into the thickets of the strange and seemingly impossible, I thought I would highlight one of my favorite creatures of both legend and eye-witnessed account; the “Kushtacah” or “Kushtaka” of Tsimshian and the Tlingit Indian folklore. Because I am a student of folklore, oral traditions and urban legends, and an avid reader of such aspects of anthropology and archaeology, I found this tale of extreme interest as I was growing up. The Kushtaka; which is often pronounced (Koosh-Tay-kaw), is likely one of the best examples of trans-world consciousness; meaning that we as a human community have certain similarities that echo each other, regardless the distance or isolation of each grouping of each community. As the Kushtaka falls within this category with extreme ease, we shall take a look at the similarities of two very different peoples.

Firstly, let us briefly examine the ancient writings of the Vedic texts and the many tales as seen in them, as well as the Puranas, another doctrine of Hindu history and folklore, specifically that of the legend of the monstrous creature known as the “Rakshasas.” Though these texts are quite extensive and involved, we can see that the Rakshasas is a violent and cruel creature that has the ability to shape-shift into any image it wishes; speak as humans do, or as other known animals in order to lure its pray to death. The legends are detailed in Vedic history and with the Hindu people, though there appears to be a connection between this legend and that of the legend of the Kushtaka of the southern region of Alaska.

Like the Rakshasas, the Kushtaka is also said to be a creature that can transform into different animals, and is able to trick its victims as the Rakshasas does. Both are able to call out and fool its intended victims, such as sounding like babies crying in order to lure a woman to the sound, only to be eaten when she arrives. They can also emulate a woman’s voice of distress, again luring a rescuer, only to find doom in its place. Apparently, the only difference is that Rakshasas can also take on the image of a man or woman, specifically one’s relative or loved one. As the victim approaches that image, he or she is quickly devoured. Likewise, the Kushtaka is also said to transform, and will do so for the same reasons. Indeed, the imagery of these two distinctly similar creatures from folklore, each from distinctly different cultures can make one think, but are these monsters of antiquity simply misidentified creatures of fact? After all, the common manatee was once mistaken for mermaids by ancient mariners, so perhaps the Rakshasas and the Kushtaka were also misidentified creatures that truly did exist, and perhaps still does.

Regarding Alaska’s Kushtaka legend, this creature has been seen for centuries by native peoples here; and at least since the 18th century by Europeans. To the Eskimos and other ancient tribes of long ago, it was referred to as the “Urayuli,” and for the Dan’aina Indians and other Athabaskan natives of the central Alaskan plains, it was called the “Nat’ina.” Whatever the name, it too was a trickster with many guises and specific purposes. And though it was apt to lure and kill, for some tribes, however, it was actually known to help those who were in distress, or lost in the woods. The one thing that seems to be true to all is that it is a shape-shifter that can fool man and animal alike. Even the name Kushtaka has been translated to “The Otter Man of the Land” by some, which might suggest that its primary disguise is that of a harmless otter, a creature that was often hunted for food. If hunters got too close to their pray, the tables would turn, and they would become the target themselves. Others in this region insist the name simply means “hair-covered giant,” which certainly points to one of the many hominids, in spite of the fascinating and colorful legends. Certainly, the Kushtaka has a completely different place in lore, primarily for those interested in Cryptozoology.


Current sightings of the Kushtaka


“The Alaskan news source, “The Delta Discovery” reports a story about a mother and two sons witnessing a Bigfoot. Most Bigfoot sightingings in Alaska are recorded in the southern region. This report in Kasigluk is no different, in fact this is the region where most of the Tlingit Indians have seen Kushtaka. Alaska has multiple names for Bigfoot, besides Kushtaka, The Den’aina Indians of South central have Nant’ina and the Eskimos of southwest Alaska call it “Urayuli” or “Hairy man.”

Eyewitness sketch —


This story, though amazing in of itself is certainly of interest to Bigfoot researchers, but its one of many related of the years. But one of the most famous stories of the Kushtaka in current history is without a doubt the “Thomas Bay Devils Incident,” which was described in a book called The Strangest Story Ever Told by Harry D. Colp. The author relates his horrific tale about the three prospectors and himself who had an up close and personal encounter with several huge, hairy creatures that almost killed them in 1901. The four men; Fred, Charlie, John and Harry were told that there was a gold vain in the mountains near Thomas Bay by a local Indian guide, and decided to send one of the men to explore the region. Charlie, being an excellent prospector and mountaineer started off in his canoe and supplies to locate the area and return with samples of gold, if possible, and to map the location so the men and make their claim. But, Charlie would find more than gold in those mountains.

When Charlie returned to the camp, he managed to bring back a sample of quartz encrusted with gold flakes, but he also returned with a wild and most frightening tale. According the man, as he was securing the samples, he noticed what looked like a group of natives running down a ridge near the Ess River. He said that as they got closer, he saw that they were large, hair-covered men that moved like galloping and hopping, or as he put it “They ran like monkey devils!” Charlie went on to say that these horrible creatures had very coarse, matted hair, smelled repulsive and had welts and sores all over their bodies. He said he almost didn’t get away, claiming that they were on his heels right on until he jumped into his small canoe and rowed away as fast as he could. He even had deep scratches on his back to prove the encounter occurred, saying that they had claw-like fingers that didn’t look like anything he had ever seen. Charlie refused to ever return to that place, and was said to have gone back to his home almost insane from the experience.

Since this fledgling encounter, there have been other sightings by non-native peoples, especially trappers, miners and wilderness guides. According to Harry Colp, another incident occurred in 1925 that reignited the Kushtaka legends, prompting others to be as well-armed as possible when venturing in the Alaskan wilderness. Allegedly, while a well-known trapper and his dog made their way through the mountains near Thomas Bay and adjacent hills; as he lay down traps for small game, his dog took off into the woods. The man cried out for his companion to return, but it never came back. Even as it were getting late, the dog never came out of the woods, so the man returned to his camp for the night. When he returned the following morning, he found the majority of his traps to be ripped apart, while the rest were sprung or untouched. He also found a series of footprints that appeared to be a mix between a man and something with long talons. As he was an experienced trapper and guide, he knew the difference between animal tracks, and these tracks were something all together different. Regardless, he still could not find his canine friend, and decided he’d make another search the following day. He did, according to the other trappers at the camp, but the man never returned. A search party looked for him, and made it aware for other trappers and mountain men to look for him too, but he was never seen again.

More modern reports of these creatures continue to come in to authorities and Bigfoot researchers every so often. As recent as May, 2012, while two teenaged brothers and their mother were riding their all-terrain vehicle near the native village of Kasigluk, they spotted a huge, hairy man-like creature walking toward them, seemingly from the woods adjacent to Fox Lake. The thing seemed to lumber as it walked, looking downward towards the ground, with its arms hanging well below his knees, like some strange-looking ape. It had a pointed skull at its apex, and its face completely covered with fur.

As the stunned family watched the thing simply going for a walk, another group of people stopped and stared too. The others were taking part in an Easter egg hunt when they spotted the creature taking his afternoon stroll, and just looked on in amazement. When the creature finally looked up and realized he was being watched, it simply turned and walked back into the woods. Was this the famous and often feared Kushtaka of Indian legend? Whatever it was, one thing seems certain; something large and furry is lurking in the wilderness of the Yukon Kuskokwim delta region, something frightening.

In spite of the laughter that usually accompanies reports of a Bigfoot, or similar creatures of the unknown, the Kushtaka legend sadly garnishes the same response. Though many hominid researchers and other cryptid hunters certainly know of the Kushtaka legend, very few have had the chance to actually spot one, or brave the wild Yukon Territory to secure the creature’s existence. Regardless, if you do get the chance to visit this beautiful wilderness paradise, the native peoples there will tell you their legends. You may also get to interview a handful of eye-witnesses as I did; hearing detailed accounts of their encounters, and if your especially fortunate, you’ll get a glimpse of something spying on you from the deep-green thickets; something large and hairy — Just hope and pray that these creatures of legend do not descend on you as they did to poor Charlie; the man who barely escaped with his life.


*Copyright material from upcoming book by Greg Jenkins. Please address if using for professional use; for related websites, research organizations. no outside publication or for personal use. Thank you 




Amazing monster sighting by…Charlie Sheen?

Weekly World News

Charlie Sheen went to Alaska to find Kushtaka (half-man, half-otter) and… he found him!

A month after his Loch Ness monster mission failed, Charlie Sheen headed to Alaska to find the mythic Kushtaka, which translates to “land ottter man.”


Sheen went into the Alaska wilderness with his friend, Marla Palotta last week armed only with three cups of coffee and a “winning” attitude.


Sheen saw Kustaka hiding in the brush and reportedly “pounced” on the beast.  “Sheen looked crazier than the beast.  I think Kushtaka was more afraid of him than Sheen was of Kushtaka,” said a local hunter.

Stories about the elusive Kushtaka originated among natives in Southeastern Alaska … and according to Charlie, it’s “a shape-shifting trickster who is half man, half otter. It lures one away from the campsite with the mimicked sounds of a crying baby, then kills you, takes on YOUR form, and returns to…

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Courtesy of the ‘Enchanted Hollow’ website

 Merry Christmas, Happy Yule and a Joyous Winterfest to one and all!

For many people worldwide, the holidays render both joy and mirth. For others, it brings unhappiness and sorrow. It’s a complicated time of the year for many reasons, but regardless, we all know these holidays as either a High Holiday, or simply an aspect of our commercially-charged world. The fact is, however, the holiday you think you might know, with the jolly fat man shimmying down the chimney, and the standard over-played songs echoing on the radio, is simply not the way it always was. That is to say, that the human race has celebrated this time of the year since the dawn of civilization, and in very different ways.

As I will be having a cookbook coming out around May, 2015, I thought I’d share a little history of the ancient customs of what I refer to as the “Paganus peoples” and a recipe a recipe or two. So, whatever your faith, custom or background, take this gift as my holiday wish for you, a blessing that all will have a safe and joyous  time with family and friends, and a wonderful year ahead…Cheers!

For ancient peoples, and many pagans today, the Winter Solstice has been a standard time of the season for celebrating many things. Whether for giving thanks for the past year’s harvest, or to secure a favorable harvest for the year ahead, this season has many faces. And while some peoples had other devotions, pre-Christian peoples had some of the most festive celebrations you could imagine. Either way it’s offered, you can bet the history, the customs and the sheer imagination involved will surprise you.

Celebrated between December 20th and the 31st in the northern hemisphere and on June 21st in the southern, is a traditional holiday, along with All Hallows’ Eve and Easter, are the most recognized world-wide, as well as by the Christian faiths, though most don’t realize it. As Samhain is synonymous with All Hallows’ Eve, and Ôstara with Easter, so is Yule to Christmas. The variations are actually quite small, though for the majority of contemporary Christians today, they are completely unaware of the facts; to the chagrin of both scholar and contemporary pagan. The original Yule holiday celebrates the winter solstice, when the Holly King battles the Oak King for ruling rights, where the Holly King wins, and rules until Midsummer. It is a time for slumber, and waiting out the cold winds from the north, as well as representing a time for prayer and thanks for the food stored before the first frosts arrived, and for the bountiful harvest yet to come.

The ancients would have associated this holiday with the Wild Hunt, and the Norse god Odin, where the last hunting parties went out before the heavy snows set in. It is also associated to the pagan Anglo-Saxon rite known as Modranicht, meaning “Mother’s Night,” where sacrifices were made on what is now known as Christmas Eve. Nonetheless, this is a time for rejoicing as it is a time of fear; fear of the unknown and of the darkness, though at the same time, a sense of joy in knowing that hope and trust will eventually come to pass. In short, this is a wonderful time, and should be praised to one’s path; meaning that personal flair and enthusiasm should be seen by all who enter your home.


Colors and aesthetics to use — Forest Green, Mulberry Red, Indigo Blue and Snow White


These basic colors represent those of nature and hold great significance for both the ancients and contemporary Paganus folk alike. Forest greens signify the very life that offered fruit and nuts, as well as a means for making shelter and defensive shields and weapons. Greens represent life, so be sure to dazzle your home or place of worship with such, as this honors life and hope in many meaningful ways. Likewise, the color of mulberry; a deep, blood red also denotes the lifeblood of the trees, as well as a token of life offered to other living things, both man and animal. Blues and whites also have a place for this season, as they signify the darkness of the winter skies, and the light of the stars, and offering a sense of hope for the coming midsummer. Add these accompanying colors to serving tables, alters and to your clothing to honor the season, and inspire those around you.            


Trees, fruits and herbs to offer — Apples, Red Currents and Bayberry, Mistletoe and Evergreen boughs  


Suggesting steadfastness throughout the winter, we can see two philosophies you might consider: The first signifies those things that keep life during the winter, such as the apples and berries, which are kept for food throughout the snowy season. The second concept is the hearty greens that do not fade in spite of the bitter cold. The bayberry, holly and evergreen remain thick and fragrant no matter how frigid the winds blow, as does the mistletoe, which hibernates at the tops of trees. You could offer bowls of pinecones to signify sturdiness and self-esteem, and boughs of bayberry leaves mingled with branches of evergreen or similar pine, tied with ribbons of corresponding colors as a way to greet friends old and new, and to ensure that old things pass, and that new things always return.          


Animal icons for this season — The Stag, Snow Fox, Boar, Bear and Dove


The deer and stag, as well as the bear and the boar have direct lineages to the ancient Celts, Britons and Anglo-Saxons, and represent strength and longevity; able to survive almost any adversary; either by nature or by predator. The dove and the snow fox represent speed and agility, which may have stood for such wishes on the community for surviving or ‘outrunning’ the sleet and snow. Either way, the ancients understood the path of nature and that which flourishes, so be sure to honor these stout and quick icons of old with natural effigies of these creatures, such as the antlers of a stag, or claws of the bear. You can show reverence through creative designs on foods as well. When making meat or fruit pies, be sure to pay homage to the animal that represents your spirit or your group, by adding a dough representation on the top. Doing so not only honors the ancients, but also livens-up the appearance of foods.


Fragrant scents and festive music to consider — Frankincense, Myrrh and Acacia Gum; and Classical quartets


Believe it or not, Frankincense and Myrrh was cherished among resin incenses used by magi centuries before the wise men offered it as gifts to the Christ child. Indeed, such resins were utilized by Chinese magi and physician alike almost 500 years before the birth of the infant Jesus. Not only this, but scholars now believe that the gummy sap that oozes from the Boswellia and Commiphora trees native to Asia, Africa and various parts of the Middle East, may have many healing properties for aches and pains, arthritis and even headaches. Magically, of course, both have properties that repel negativity and evil influences, which may be the reason so many Christian churches continue to use the smoke in their rituals. Either way, ancient Paganus folk were no different, as they too prized the rare resin for its supernatural forces.

When celebrating Yuletide and the Winter Solstice; be sure to burn the delightful resin of Frankincense and Myrrh for an uplifting and spiritual feeling so synonymous for the season. You may add a few grains of Acacia Gum resin for a scent of the exotic. Bayberry candles are also appropriate for the season, as it grounds the area with the steadfast aroma that has allured our ancestors for centuries. When selecting music for the Yule holiday; notably that which goes beyond the commercial spectrum, we might be dumbfounded to find just the right music to fit that of Paganus peoples. Yet, with a little searching, you’ll be surprised at just how much is out there. Indeed, when I celebrate with friends, where food and drink is abundant, I tend to have Celtic folk music playing; such as Enya or Clannad, both excellent examples of modern Celtic music that will fit those who enjoy new age and metaphysical-like music. Moreover, artists like Lisa Thiel, Dar Williams, Emerald Rose and Loreena McKennitt are also wonderful examples of bright and positive music that will settle and inspire those of our mindset. Without a doubt, these women are viewed as true icons of the Paganus path. When sitting for the main meal, I find that soft and sophisticated music like chamber music and classical quartets perfect for settling the soul and grounding the area. Though some might feel it too stuffy, when just the right music is found, it will make all the difference in the world.    


Foods and libations to offer — Wassail, Meat Pies, Heavy Meats and assorted side dishes


Whether Wæs þu hæl, translating toBe thou hail” for the ancient Anglo-Saxons, or Ves heill for the ancient Norseman, these cultures took part in the curious act of Wassailing, an ode and a gift back to nature. Though thought of as a Victorian-era custom, where nicely dressed men and woman walked the city streets caroling to those listening; sometimes collecting money for the poor, or simply doing it for the sheer joy of the season, the true history dictates the celebration of life and the harvest of the apple trees. Indeed, it was not uncommon for villagers to take to the orchards with the spiced-apple drink and loafs of bread to thank and plea. While soaking up the drink with shards of bread, and then squeezing the liquid into the cracks of the trees, it was thought that doing so offered thanks for a bountiful orchard and harvest, and acted as a plea for another good harvest come the following midsummer.  When celebrating the Yuletide season, you might want to begin with Yuletide Wassail, the highly festive and spiced drink of history. Other drinks to accompany this could be Hippocras, also called “Tripple” and Hogmanay Berry Bounce. Each is a customary beverage, and can be used for opening Yule rituals and with meals accordingly. Consider natural berry teas and drinks, as well as apple cider for those who wish to abstain from alcohol. For starters, offer bowls of assorted nuts and seasonal fruits, such as apples and various berries, such as blackberries, red currents, blueberries and some types of winterberries. For the main meals, begin with a selection of hot soups, such as Bosham Lobster Soup, Stewed Pompion a “Spicy Pumpkin Soup” and Pease Pottage with bread wedges. For the feast itself, consider dishes like roasted Honey Chicken, which always gets complements, a Grete Pye, that time-honored tall meat pie that goes along with the Yule season as much as a warm cup of Wassail, or perhaps Dr. Dee’s Roast Beef and Crisps, an authentic English delight. Other meats like Herne’s Venison Pottage and Dainty Pasties, along with side dishes like Scotch Clapshot Potatoes, Frumenty, a thick wheat stuffing, and Onions in Cumin Sauce are great choices for a celebratory meal of great regard. For dessert, consider traditional Cornish Figgie Hobbin and Clotted Cream and English Syllabub, along with a plate of powdered, candied fruit to round out your event.


*After dinner drinks like Brandy Syllabub or Raspberry Shrub are excellent choices for this holiday, as the spicy and fruity tastes will unite a sense of the ancient, along with a warm feeling for you and your friends. Like the Samhain, and if possible, have a small fire burning in an outside fire pit, or if not possible, you can gather a few candles together to signify the fire and warmth of your community, which signifies the very life of our ancestors.


Here are a few drink recipes for your holiday feast!


 Yuletide Wassail


English recipe, circa 16th Century

Here’s to thee, old apple tree; that blooms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, three bushel bags full, an’ all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah!

Without a doubt, this quaint ode to the ancient act of “Wassailing,” as collected by the Whimple History Society of east Devon, United Kingdom, certainly shows the importance of fruit trees to pagan and common man alike. One of the most favored holiday drinks in the history of antiquated beverages, Wassail has been an English tradition for many centuries, and continues to usher in jubilant cheer even today, though its roots can be traced back to the dark ages. Wassailing or “Waes hael,” a time-honored toast to health and prosperity was, and is a ritual honored by Paganus folk of Celtic and Germanic traditions, where the people would walk through the orchards and sing and drink the festive beverage to the health and growth of the trees. It both thanked and beseeched the orchard in producing for the years to come.

Wassail is easy to make, and will no doubt delight your guests during the winter months and all through the year, as well as offering your home the aroma reminiscent of old England, when the scent of chestnuts filled the air, and rolling fog blanketed the countryside…When our ancestors danced and sang in the dark of night, to rejoice the Yuletide season and the Winter Solstice.


To make Wassail, you will need the following ingredients:

2 cups Brandy

3 small Apples (Cubed or cut in shards)

6 Medium Juice Oranges

6 cups Cider or (hard apple juice)

3 cups Cranberry Juice

12 Cinnamon sticks

30 to 40 Whole cloves

1 tablespoon Allspice, ground

½ cup Raw or Natural Sugar

2 teaspoons Aromatic Bitters (found in most gourmet grocers and liquor stores)

5-10 slices of Bread (For toast to be served with the drink)


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and then crush the cinnamon sticks, allspice, and half of the cloves into pieces using a mortar and pestle. Take the crushed and broken pieces and wrap in a large piece of cheese cloth and tie the ends with string. Take the remainder of the cloves, and pierce them into 3 of the whole oranges, and three of the apples, and then slice the rest into thin slivers. Next, combine the cider, or apple juice, along with the cranberry juice, and aromatic bitters into a stainless steel or glass casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes, making sure not to boil. Stir the mixture to agitate the ingredients, and then add the sachet of spices, apples and oranges. After 15 minutes, add in the brandy and turn off the heat.

Take the eggs and divide the yolks from the whites. Beat the egg yolks until light, and put aside. In another bowl, whip egg whites until stiff and frothy. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, and set aside. Fold in the egg yolks with the whites, and then slowly pour in about a half cup of the wassail to the egg mixture, slowly stirring in order to temper it. Remove the spice sachet from the wassail and pour in egg mixture. Transfer to a punch bowl if you wish, or leave in the hot dish. Float the baked apple and orange slices in the wassail and ladle by the mug, topping each much with a small slice of toast if desired, to represent the ancient custom of offering.

This wonderful drink will not only lift the spirits of your guests, but will add a special scent to your home that will pronounce to all that good times are waiting inside, inviting everyone who catches the delightful aroma, that a celebrative occasion awaits. Serve warm from a large serving bowl, with ladle, garnished with the sliced oranges. Serves 15 to 20 respectfully


Hogmanay Berry Bounce


            English recipe, circa 17th century

An all time favorite drink during the Cavalier days; especially with the ladies of the court is this delightfully light and fruity drink. Made with cherries, raspberries or blueberries, this traditional ‘bounce’ recipe will soon become a favorite for any party or feast you will host. Thought to have traveled down from the Scottish highlands, this mixture is believed to have existed during the first mention of whiskey’s inception, as expressed in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, in 1495. The word “Hogmanay” refers to a New Year’s event in Scotland, but is actually related to the ancient festivals of the Celts, the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons, where it had various individual meanings. It represents the festival before Yule, but also stands for “hoog min dag,” which means “great love day” to the Flemish, “Oge maiden,” meaning “A new morning” to the Celts and “Homme est né,” meaning “Man is born” to the ancient France, and representing the last day of the year. Today, Hogmanay is marked for the festive torch and bonfire ceremonies observed today in Scotland, though this event can be dated back to medieval times. Although there are several variations of this recipe, this one seems to be a historic favorite.


To make a Hogmanay Berry Bounce, you will need the following ingredients:


1 lb. Cherries, Raspberries or Blueberries

1/5 cup Scotch whisky (single malt Scotch is best)

1 cup Natural or White Sugar


Much like a traditional Shrub recipe, first place the berries (cherries work very nicely) in a medium-sized to large earthen crock or wood cask and add the whisky and sugar. Mash the entire concoction with a potato masher until a fine mush. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth sieve into another pot or jug, and clean the earthen crock or wood cask of any pulp or seed, and then return the liquid to it, sealing off with lid with cellophane or wax paper, wrapped tightly with string. Store in a dark, cook place for at least 3 weeks for proper fermentation, strain once again through cheesecloth into a separate, clean bottle; or preferably glass demijohns or carboys to store the wine, as this will give it an authentic look. Keep in a cool place until ready, and serve in frosted wine or whisky glasses straight or over ice. Serves 6 to 8 respectfully




 Ghosts- Hammersmith_Ghost

 The Hammersmith Ghost


“Poltergeists, phantasms of the dead, ghosts, and haunted houses are words which to most of us represent a kind of pre-scientific science fiction. Like Frankenstein’s monster and the vampire, they keep going because we sometimes like to escape to the misty and creepy, but completely safe, land of childish imaginations.”

Dr. William G. Roll, Ph.D., 1972


This statement by the late parapsychologist, in his book: The Poltergeist; conjures a proper and scholarly view towards the subject of ghosts and associated events that seem to create more questions than answers. Indeed, though these sentiments are quite sober and reasonable, he devoted his life to the understanding of such things as ghosts, poltergeists and haunted houses all the same. In the end, he secured a sense of understanding and reason for psychical researchers around the world, with honor and logic that shall no doubt be long lived. Yet, we must contend the age-old question: Are there such things as ghosts and haunted locations?  Since the dawn of mankind the question of survival after the death of the corporeal body has been asked in one form or another, leaving the questioner to ponder onward without the dubious pleasure of obtaining an answer of empirical order. Regardless, anthropologists believe that ancient humans did indeed ponder such questions, and that they found ways of appeasing the unseen by following various methods during and after funerary rites. Whether to gain favor from the dead or as a result of simple fear remains the question.

From at least the period of Neanderthal man; dating 60,000 B.C., evidence of funeral rites had been determined fact through the remains of flower fragments and animal remains such as antlers and pelts found atop and within gravesites, indicating that a form of reverence was committed by the living unto the dead. Moreover, the many cave paintings discovered later would seem to indicate an afterlife belief system by way of art, showing stick figures of man in various states; from birth to manhood; in the hunt for food; to old age and finally death. Other images would show at least an interest in the afterlife through luminous, bipedal creatures coexisting with the living, sometimes interacting and sometimes floating about or near the living in some altered state. Indeed, these events would continue throughout history, and would be found in every culture.

From the time of the ancients we can see a definite focus on the spirit entity as a separate aspect of the corporeal body. The Epic of Gilgamesh written somewhere around the 18th century B.C. expresses a good amount of information regarding spirits and daemons that were readily accepted as fact by the majority of Sumerians and similar peoples, specifically detailing entities with present day attributes. The “Utukku” of Akkadian mythology were types of discarnate spirits that also held similarities to the contemporary concept of daemons or devils, and could be either evil or benevolent, a view very similar to that of the Egyptians and Mesopotamians. These people held secure views that these spirits of the dead, in fact an ether-image of one’s soul could not only coexist for a prolonged period of time after death, but that it could also visit the living, act as conveyors of information, such as an oracle, and exact revenge on an mortal enemy if need be. Moreover, these spectres might also be subjected to a second death; this time from a position of death to eternal release, to exist in a state similar to the Christian concept of a heaven.



The Utukku

Later, as other regions embraced the Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i faiths, people begin to witness a dichotomy of sorts, where in regions like Babylon and Assyria, the discarnate being was now able to transcend simple positions of haunting or simply lingering on in any one area, to that of taking on a more defined aspect of their own, even creating a singular and separate society coexisting with the living. Here we can see the leap from the limited stance to an entitled, self-realized reality; now having the ability to come and go as they please and exist in a so-called netherworld, a place that is as real as the physical world, but on a different plane of reality and existence. In effect, the spirit may not only travel; visit friends and family, and exact revenge on the wicked, it is now capable of having its own separate existence, complete with a home and family life beyond the veil of death.

In contrast to this concept, regions that embraced Judaism, Islam and Christianity found the more supernatural aspects less appealing, as the use of spirits and associated entities might be seen as mirroring the old magic-filled ideas found in Egypt and Babylon. The Koran denies the concept of ghosts altogether, classifying such supernatural ideals as that akin to the Jinn, the cosmic entities, along with man and the angels, that make up the three sentient creations of God; a force that exists in a different reality altogether. The ancient Jews might have seen the idea of ghosts directly related to magic; specifically those kingdoms that made great efforts to suppress their freedom in the name of their suppressor’s infernal gods and demigods. Basically, the idea of using magic and the belief in ghosts might very well be conceived as blasphemy, and disobedient to God’s laws, as both were quite evident during that vast time period. One example might be viewed with the lack of certain creatures, as listed in the Jewish Mishnah and similar orthodox doctrines. To that end, it is possible that simple realities like the existence of felines, for instance, were shunned from the hierarchy of Jewish literature simply because their former captors paid so much reverence to cats as equal to gods or as related to gods. Likewise, as a simple house cat might be denied a certain amount of veneration, so does the concept of ghosts and spirits, which exemplifies very few references to such things, considering the interest as dabbling in the occult, and being akin to spiritism and similar forbidden activities. Indeed, the First Book of Samuel (I Samuel 28:3-19 KJV), describes the story of King Saul and his dealings with the Witch of Endor, who summons a spectre for the purpose of divination as a great act of sin. Thus, the idea of ghosts becomes a taboo subject, and one left to scholars or to those embracing the mystic aspects of this faith.

“The ghosts rejected are th’ unhappy crew depriv’d of sepulchers and fun’ral due: The boatman, Charon; those, the buried host, he ferries over to the farther coast; nor dares his transport vessel cross the waves with such whose bones are not compos’d in graves. A hundred years they wander on the shore; at length, their penance done, are wafted o’er.”

Vergil — Aeneid VI


We can see by this passage that by the 1st century a profound understanding of ghosts; apparitions and that which exists beyond bodily death was beginning to evolve. The adventures penned by the Augustan-era poets Horace, Ovid and Vergil, told many ghost stories in tales meant to fancy the scholar and commoner alike, but also to recount histories, steeped in the unknown with a feverish joy. Though for the most part Roman spirits were viewed with the typical mannerisms, they became elevated to the relevance of a curse, whereby the spirit in question could be held responsible for a portion of land to be haunted, as well as being cursed. Indeed, there are many historical examples of such cursed places, such as the many burial chambers that lie beneath the city, where voices and other human-like echoes had been heard by the commoner, soldier and statesman alike. Here, and in similar burial chambers and assorted underground mausoleums such events had been witnessed and shunned because of the activity. Other reports of haunted locations in and near the Roman capital began to grow in frequency, and in some cases, these places were boarded-up and sealed to detain the spirits, fearing that once loose, they might seek revenge on their mortal foes, such as the soldiers and statesmen who might have sent them to their graves.



Le philosophe Athénodore vint à Athènes, lut l’annonce et entendit

le prix que sa modicité rendait suspect.

Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, the first century Greek essayist and historical scholar had chronicled several stories about the haunted baths of Chaeronea, an ancient Grecian city now known as Livadeia. He wrote that these once beautiful and flowered lands, known primarily as a place of many fierce battles were being besieged by violent spirits. The area itself; mostly ruins by that time, still had enclosed bathing pools with aqueducts, which made the circumference dark and foreboding, as well as easy to be viewed as enchanted by the villagers there. One of this region’s time-honored legends revolved around the spirit of a man who was murdered on the grounds, and that his angry spirit would groan and lament throughout the night, making it impossible for any citizen or wayfarer to escape the bellowing agony of the fitful spectre. The community gathered frequently to complain about the restless spirit, until the day came that action was necessary. The result was a garrison of soldiers searching the premises and then sealing up the chamber portals with wood and stone blocks, and then salting the ground to help bind the spirit I question. In addition to this, ornamental talismans and other magical icons were used to secure the area from future spectral disturbances; likely making this one of that century’s first community-organized exorcisms.

Another legend regarding this region tells of a ghostly army marching up the hills and through the dales of Chaeronea searching for an enemy that had been dead for centuries. It is believed that this spectral army was the élite unit of Theban soldiers known as the Ἱερὸς Λόχος the “Sacred Band of Thebes,” which was wiped out by Philip II of Macedon around 337 BCE. The army had been witnessed with colors risen and spears prepared for battle, right on down to the leather armor and bearded faces. Witnesses continued to report that this ghostly throng of soldiers could be observed engaging an unseen enemy and then disappear. Others would claim to hear sounds of grunting men and the clanging of swords, while others would say that they heard nothing, just viewing the misty shapes of military men fighting. In the end, this event may very well be one of the first chronicled examples of a ghostly army, an action or drama-like series of phantasms that has since been reported around the world and by every culture throughout history.

Meanwhile, the concept of ghosts and haunted locations was already ancient in many Far East and Asian cultures. From the second century B.C. to the end of the 14th century, tales of ghosts and supernatural creatures were arriving with silk and spices along the great trade from Chang’an, intermingling with the Roman Empire and others. Later as the trade routes expanded, the famous explorer Marco Polo would continue the tradition of cultural exchange as Europeans learned about the Far East’s examples of the spirit world. Indeed, one can imagine how interesting it was to ancient peoples that their concepts of ghosts and hauntings were not dissimilar in concept, only different from a cultural point-of-view.



Asian ghosts


Throughout Asia, specifically in China, ghosts were as common and as accepted in their culture as their gods and rituals. And much like their European counterparts, ghosts had specific cultural meanings that set them apart. From tormented spirits and benign shades of a person’s soul to horrible abominations that mirrored daemons; this culture’s folklore was a rich and diverse as the intricate fibers of their silk and artistic creations. Certainly, when we view the Chinese concept of lost or wandering spirits of the dead; angry spirits seeking revenge; hungry ghosts and even seemingly happy spirits, we will see that there is a unique bond that connects all cultures in spite of their differences, or even if they had not formally met. Once cultures intermingled, it most likely astounded our ancestors to learn that their views and philosophies towards the strange world of spectres and ghosts were quite similar in most respects.

The Chinese culture in particular has many spirits and various demons to speak of. Out of the many there is the Kui and the Kuei-shen, which are basically common house ghosts; malevolent spirits or daemons known as Oni and a Diào Sǐ Guǐ, which are spirits of those who have died violently or who had committed suicide. There is the Yuān Guǐ, spirits of those who died a wrongful death, and which are cursed to roam the world, haunting the living in hopes of finding an answer to their problems they had in life. Then there’s the Wú Tóu Guǐ, which is a hideous vision of a headless man or woman that wonders the earth in search of something unknown to the living, a concept that is just as common around the world and in all cultures. In addition to this type of spirit, there is the Nǚ Guǐ, an unruly spectre, usually that of a tortured woman who died violently or by suicide. They are considered dangerous because they have a propensity for searching for revenge on their abusers during life. This classification of ghost is quite common in the traditional belief system, and can be found in practically every region of the country. There is also an È Guǐ, or “hungry ghost,” which will sometimes be seen during “Hungry Ghost Festivals,” an elaborate series of celebrations and releasing rituals aimed at freeing condemned spirits by giving them an offering of food. These spirits are of people who might have been selfish or greedy in life, and due to that sin, is cursed to feel hunger in death. Without a doubt, this culture is brimming with colorful and reasonably significant ghost lore.

There are many other types of spirits said to roam the Chinese landscape, and indeed all of Asia and Far Eastern cultures that seem to follow a systematic behavior very much like that of any other culture worldwide. To be sure, we can see various cases of elemental entities, such as water spirits, woodland ghosts and mountain wraiths from Tibet to the Polynesian Islands, and all in between. In Japan, for instance, the ghostly traditions hold similar attributes as their western counterparts, having just as many colorful spectres roaming the islands and provinces. Here, when a person dies, that soul enters a state of purgatory until such time that that person receives the proper Shinto or other Buddhist funeral rite and burial. If that is done properly, that person’s soul becomes a Reikon, a spirit designated to become a family guardian. If, however that person is denied the proper funeral rites, or if that person was murdered or had committed suicide, then that soul becomes a vengeful spirit known as a Yurei, which haunts the physical world like a common ghost of world traditions.

The Yurei, which translates to “The Dead,” basically reflects what all of us are to become, though retaining violent overtones of an insane person, or criminal mind bent on revenge. Either way, this classification of ghost is still considered a common entity experienced.  Indeed, though the Japanese culture has its share of similarities when it comes to things of a supernatural nature, there are other aspects to their spiritual philosophies that transcend the norm. One oddity to the rule is that the living can also haunt the living, believing that a strong emotional energy from a living host can affect another living person in a positive or negative manner, having attributes to the doppelgänger of German lore and literally translating to “double goer,” representing a living impression of a separate living person. In spite of these ancient concepts from two vastly different cultures, there seems to be a direct connection nevertheless.


Ghosts india

Indian ghosts

In India and its territories; from Sri Lanka to Mumbai and the borderlands of Bangladesh and Nepal, various ghosts and spirits roam as freely as the vast array of animals do in the massive jungles and forests here. Ancient in origin, many of these spirits are of the most colorful in all of folklore. Spirit entities that have the power to transform from animal to human, to mythical creatures pairing well with anything the ancient west could imagine, the native peoples here have accepted such things for centuries. Though for the most part the spirits of the dead walk the earth for about a year until they can cross over to another reality, or be reborn to another life form, the most common type of ghost is known as a Bhoot, an entity long believed to be restless spirits of the dead, who for whatever reason were denied entry into that culture’s version of a heaven or nirvana; and who are assigned a semi-physical medium to walk the earth for a nonspecific period of time. Though traditions vary from region to region, most agree that these spirits are angry in that they may have died by violence or suicide, or who were wronged in some way. Moreover, if a proper funeral rite was not offered, a person’s soul might seek revenge for the disservice, making the haunt similar to many folkloric belief systems observed in Asian cultures.

One particularly frightening aspect of the Bhoot is its behaviors and features. Though the concept of a hitchhiking ghost appears to have its lineage in ancient Grease and then following to Europe and England, where hapless travelers would pick up seemingly weary, and lone people on a roadway, only to find that these souls vanish in the midst of their journey, also have roots in ancient Africa and India. In this case, such a person, usually a woman wearing white garments is observed walking on an unlit road late at night. A traveler, usually a lone man will pick her up, and in the process of talking with the woman, the man will often find that the hitchhiker is odd, and behaves strangely. He might first notice that the woman will cast no shadow, or might be observed hovering slightly off the ground, as if gliding, but when he takes a closer look, he might find that the woman’s face had changed, appearing to have four eyes and two mouths, as well as having feet facing backward, the sure sign that the woman is indeed a Bhoot, or a creature known as a Churail, in Nepal. Without a doubt, these spectral oddities appear more monster than ghost, though many of their attributes mirror the traditional phantasm observed world-wide.

Regardless the similarities or uniqueness of such spirits of the dead, there certainly seems to be a connection between all peoples and customs. One suggested theory by the late Dr. Brian G. Turkington, PhD approaches a less-visceral opinion of such sightings as being related directly to the human condition in spite of the much dissimilarity of various cultures. Dr. Turkington referred to this idea as Ecto-connectivity, an idea that takes the word “ecto,” from of the Greek root word ektós meaning outer, or that which is external or outside, such as from the related word ectoplasm, representing an alleged mist-like substance from an unknown source of human design, and akin to the ethereal realms where ghosts are said to inhabit. He felt that such is a concept directly associated to the human condition as a whole, regardless of the vast differences. In short, the premise is that all humans and possibly some species of animal may have a direct, spiritual link to each other, making it possible for humans to have an innate understanding of themselves without social or physical cues; witnessing similar events of a psychical nature, as well as experiencing events that appear either on or within the ethereal realms, and from many perspectives.

As the centuries waned on, there have been countless reports of poltergeist outbreaks, what many today refer to as recurrent and spontaneous forms of psychokinesis, or recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis (RSPK), though known by many other names to different cultures. Other events like the classic haunting; complete with phantom footfalls in the night, cold and hot spots emanating from places where such variations should not occur; disembodied voices; unintelligible sounds and even music have been experienced since ancient times; filling the experiencer with a preternatural dread not dissimilar from modern day witnesses of the unknown. Undeniably, every age and every culture has had experiences that can only be described as paranormal in nature, despite the language or cultural barriers.

One of the first recorded haunted houses or otherwise enchanted domicile legends might very well be seen in the works of Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, otherwise known as “Pliny the Younger;” one of Rome’s greatest lawyers, authors and statesmen. Around Year 50 A.D., reports were surfacing about a common home in Athens, Greece and its haunted reputation. The home was a simple dwelling, yet appeared to have a noisy spectre who moaned and clamored during the night, and his apparition being observed wearing the clothing of a well-mannered man of the day, though clad in iron chains. In what might very well be the fledgling incident that has formulated countless tales of chain-laden ghosts; inspiring a plethora of Hollywood renditions of such events; like that of the ghost of Jacob Marley, who warned Ebenezer Scrooge of his greedy ways in the Charles Dickens’ novella — A Christmas Carol, this event amazed and frightened even the most hardy men of ancient civilization. Once the elders of the village decided to investigate the spectral goings-on and searched around the home and grounds, they eventually unearthed the skeletal remains of a man bound in iron chains; a man in fact, that had been reported missing a year earlier, and presumably who met his end by the hand of another. Once the elders buried the remains in a nearby cemetery, and given the proper rites of passage, the disturbances ceased.

From the era of late antiquity to the Middle Ages, western society was grasping the concept of respect for the dead, or at least gleaning a healthy fear of the dead if the remains were not properly buried and given the expected funerary rites as seen by the primary religious factors of the day. If a body was haphazardly disposed of, such might not warrant much spectral attention, as doing so might be necessary in times of plague or war, where bodies would be buried in mass graves or burnt on great funeral pyres to prevent disease. However, if the body is not blessed or is otherwise mistreated, then the spirit of that person might be seen again, and might very well be perturbed that that particular respect was not afforded to them. Moreover, many cultures have chronicled examples of just what happens when the deceased is not given the proper respects.

During this period, specifically in medieval Europe, ghosts were placed in various categories, due largely to the Catholic Church. The two types of spirits were the standard ghost of a living person, and the other of daemonic origin. The souls of the dead, if not given the proper burial, or perhaps was a victim of a crime, might return to earth for a certain amount of time, and for a certain purpose. These entities could be benign in their behavior or quite violent. The primary idea was that these ghosts were residents of purgatory, who have been offered the chance to repent for their particular sins. Though strictly a dictate of Catholicism, we can see the teachings of the church in the common folklore, having the chance to avoid the fires of hell by doing service in a separate locale other than the heaven. These souls would have to pay their debts in a specific manner according to their sin.



Medieval spectres and ghosts

Another aspect to the medieval spectre is that it was often viewed as being more human than spirit. Indeed, some ghosts could be imprisoned for a certain amount of time, physically touched or held, and on occasion may even be released by a priest through a last rite of passage; post mortem. Though not as common as the typical frilly, semi-translucent spirit, the later type was certainly a relevant form of folk tale designed to place a certain amount of fear in both the faithful and the heathen. Regardless, however, it was the ever-present fact of early death by the many wars, disease or the harsh cruelty of the day that kept the people in line, along with knowing that the afterlife could be quite horrendous that helped them make wiser decisions.

The daemonic type of spirit, in contrast, was not of human origin, meaning that it was never human to begin with, rather an entity directly from hell, and sent to either tempt or mislead mortal humans. The medieval era instilled more dread than folly, as people believed that such creatures stalked humans for the devil’s gain, and had many supernatural powers to win humanity over. However, for Europeans and other Christians, with the simple name of Jesus Christ, these daemons would dissipate and return to their various levels of hell. Certainly this concept would continue with the faithful, as well as those who entertained in such concepts. We can see the power of Jesus throughout this period, past the renaissance and well into Victorian England with the tales of other popular spirits and revenants, such as Varney the Vampyre as seen in the popular penny dreadful magazines of the day, and more specifically Bram Stocker’s Dracula, which is responsible for being the fledgling source of contemporary understanding of such entities. Though largely incorrect from actual folkloric accounts of wraiths and various malevolent spirits, we can see how such entertaining fodder can persuade the masses nonetheless.

Various spectral entities that would eventually transmute their image over the years would find favor in entertainment amongst the civilized world, and continue to haunt the minds of common folk in villages and small towns throughout Europe, though such entities were anything but a traditional ghost. In Poland and throughout the Carpathian regions, as well as in adjacent Slavic lands, various forms of discarnate phantoms known as the Moroaică or the Naw, were types of wandering souls or spirits that have been reported throughout the centuries, striking fear and awe to its witnesses. Taking the example from Catholic doctrine, these lost souls could be the unfortunate victims of murder or suicide; who were not given the last rites at the time of death, or that of an infant that was not baptized before it died; all constitute the deep impact religion had on the folklore of a particular time and location. Nevertheless, we can see a significant roster of such events from the Gothic period well into the late Renaissance, where these wandering spirits walk the streets in an oblivious manner, as if looking for someone or something. Indeed, such spectres continue to be seen throughout the world, though are mostly classified as something more akin to a non-intelligent form of spectral energy pattern, commonly known as a Place Memory Event, sometimes referred to as a “residual haunting” to the lay investigator. It is also known as the Stone Tape Theory with many psychical researchers, whereby images, sounds or other aspects of the five senses, as well as the psychic sense may be detected by various means.

Regardless of the modern concepts of what these manifestations could be, European folk legends from medieval times are filled with benign ghosts and malevolent spirits similar to the aforementioned wraiths of Central and Eastern Europe. Known formally as a Revenant, from the Latin word “revenans” meaning returning or to return, is a classification of entity seen as something enhanced to that of a simple spectre, seemingly created for the purpose of feeding on the living. Such legends have their roots in Slovakia, the Ukraine, Romania and Hungry, and vary in description, though for the most part exemplify the classic legend of the vampire in precise detail. Whereas the ancient Greeks had the vrykolakas, and the Vikings had the gjenganger, which have specific overtones of the undead returning in flesh for the purpose of revenge, and which can be dealt with in various ways in order to detain or destroy them, the Romanian strigoi and the Serbian vampir take on a more spectral nature in consistency and purpose, leaving the modern concept of the vampire myth to that of Bram Stoker and Hollywood respectfully.



Medieval era revenants

The later version of the revenant deals directly with the “unfinished business” theme, where this entity has returned for the purpose of getting even with an enemy; a husband retuning to take his living bride to the grave with him; or to simply haunt a person or place because he or she had been denied mortal rest or entry into an afterlife due to being uncouth in life or because of any manner of offenses, from murder and committing adultery or incest; suicide and not being baptized. And though these would constitute the primary reasons for the revenant’s existence, in England, however, this concept is quite different, and can be dated back to the age of the Anglo-Normans, later following to Ireland and then to early America. Here, the revenant appeared to take on strictly vampire-like attributes, such as existing solely on the taking of blood for sustenance; being observed lumbering through quiet village streets at night; seen with eyes glowing red, and then returning to a grave before dawn. Moreover, influential writers of the 18th and 19th centuries, most notably authors Montague Summers’ The Vampire: His Kith and Kin, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla and Robert Southey’s Thalaba the Destroyer, would continue to chronicle the revenant in the vampyre form, almost totally reducing the spectral aspects entirely and placing the ambulatory “undead” motif into modern culture and literature alike.

By the late 19th century, the concept of ghosts was evolving into a new foundation that involved faith and religious reason. The ghost, spectre and the haunt was now considered approachable, lacking the customary negative attributes as seen a few decades earlier, where old world ideals of blood-sucking or soul-devouring creatures fell to the wayside, albeit retaining some of the time-honored trappings. The old, abandoned houses and deserted castles might still hold the spirits of the past, but were now less of something to despise, and more a thing to admire, and desirable to actually contact and understand. This was the age of religious enlightenment, where knowledge stood far bolder than that of a century earlier. This was an era of exploration, a time of mystical wisdom and altered human perception, when the séance room was taking the place of the priest’s council; and where the spiritualist church was gaining acceptance even in the most dogmatic regions of western culture. This was the rebirthing of mediums and soothsayers, magick and divination like that not seen in human history since ancient times.

In understanding the modern concept of human survival and what we refer to as ghosts of the dead; the once living consciousness that had somehow survived the bodily death of that once corporeal being, we must first base our investigations not within the scientific circumference, but rather on the mantle of faith and individual belief systems. Once that task has been honestly explored, then and only then should we consider the scientific aspects of the question. Through an incredulous notion from a scientific point of view, we should understand that many aspects go into the ideal of ghosts and all things “haunted.” From the religious viewpoints that span the planet, being the first step in reasoning for humanity, to the more scientific avenues of thought, both from the open-minded researcher to the hardboiled naysayer, the existence and purpose of ghosts and post mortem survival has always been with us in one form or another. Certainly, without such contributions, psychical research as we know it would not have formed as we see it today.

So what are your beliefs…What will follow the death of the corporeal body?


Selected Bibliography

Maher, M. C. (1999). Riding the waves in search of the particles: A modern study of ghosts and apparitions. Journal of Parapsychology, 63, 47–80.

Harper, Charles G. Haunted Houses. Detroit: Tower Books, 1971.
Images and engravings

Kirby, R.S. (1804). “The Hammersmith Ghosts”. Kirby’s Wonderful and Scientific Museum. pp. 65–79.

“The Utukku”

Nasium la cité des leuques

Fiji Arts

Medieval Spectres and Ghosts

Morbid Anatomy Museum “Revenants.”



In the past year alone several videos have surfaced in the media that have gone viral on the Internet, pushing even more speculation into the existence of such things as ghosts and other strange things, as well as the question of sentience after the death of the corporeal body.  In The Best Ghost Sightings Of 2014. (Part 1) , published by “Mister Enigma” you will find a few really good examples of situations that otherwise defy logic, and the laws of physics (seemingly, at least).  The first segment shows a couple of children playing in a store shop, with items falling to the ground on their own accord. This could, of course, be a purely natural occurrence, though when we see a glass curio cabinet, and notice that the glass is being blown out from within, we should at least investigate further. In spite of there being natural factors that could produce such effects; such as heat, vibration and similar natural occurrences, none seem to be a factor here.

Another segments shows infrared footage of certain ghostly phenomena, including the ever-popular “orb,” a subject of some debate, and mostly thrown out by psychical researchers, nonetheless proves of interest. The footage was taken in a Liverpool (UK) Medical Laboratory, and shows some interesting visual anomalies, where on past occasions a ghostly image of a man and a dog have been witnessed. Considering there are copious amounts of bodies, body parts and such in the location makes for the question of spectral residue, such as from alleged cursed objects? Whether or not it is factual ghostly interaction is the question, but it is certainly interesting.

Yet another video piece taken in New Orleans, LA shows what appears to be a ghost-like image of a giant man (at least twice the size of an adult man) walking across a street. The footage was taken from a security camera, and shows the dark image casually walking on the walk-path, with a very human gait. The only aspect that might take away from the argument that it is simply a cross-over image or a burned in image does not seem to work, only because of the image’s placement and size. Moreover, people walking on the street appear to see the image and react to it. Is it a ghost of a once living person…Or an inter-dimensional being from beyond?

What do you think?


Check out the other videos from Mister Enigma, and subscribe!
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