Have We Finally Witnessed the Holy Grail of Ghost Hunting?

Posted: September 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

The Paranormal Housewives visited Death Valley recently, and—although we had many fascinating experiences—the most amazing and thought-provoking incident occurred during an investigation of the Amargosa Cemetery, just down the road from the Opera House and Hotel.

There were eight of us—Erin, Marsha, Liz, Kimberly, Vee, Ty, John and me. We had taken the requisite pictures of cool, weathered crosses and makeshift shrines, and decided to conduct an EVP session on the grave of Marta Becket’s former partner, Tom “Wilget” Willet who died unexpectedly in 2005. Ms. Beckett is the Grand Dame of the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House, who, up until recently, performed every week in the Opera House that she lovingly cared for over the last several decades. Here is a little history on Marta:

However, we think the most remarkable thing Marta has done is this: She created something from nothing. In 1967, Marta went on a camping trip and wound up in Death Valley Junction to have a tire repaired. While waiting, she went for a walk and came across a deserted building. It was old, dusty, and dilapidated. She looked inside through a crack in a wall and saw an abandoned theatre. And Marta had a vision. She would re-create the theatre and return it to splendor. The next day she leased the building and created what is now known as the Amargosa Opera House. Marta performed there for decades. If no one came to see her, Marta gave her performance to herself and her God. Years later, Marta decided to create a giant mural on the wall. It took her four years to create a tapestry of many people in an audience.     www.saintsforsinners.com/marta-becket.html

There is a beautifully written article on Marta’s final season at the Opera House in the Las Vegas Sun, September 30th, 2010 (online). Please read it if you care about Marta and everything she represented for the arts in an inhospitable place: (http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/sep/08/amargosa-opera-house-visionary-marta-becket-prepar/)

I apologize for that departure from our story, but there is no way to understand Death Valley or the Amargosa without knowing something about Marta Becket and her dream. Back to Tom Willet’s gravesite: I am on the left, Marsha is next to me, and next to her, Erin is seated. We are addressing Mr. Willet, asking him if he misses Marta, wondering if he is still performing wherever he is now, and other questions along those lines. Marsha’s husband, Vee, is standing in front of the entrance to the cemetery, about 20 feet in front of us. Ty is filming, Kimberly and Liz are wandering around, and John is looking at a grave. It’s around 11:00 at night, the air is warm and dry, (it’s Death Valley, after all) and we have no particular expectations as far as experiences are concerned.

I think Marsha sees them first. She points to the right side of Vee and—in a very excited voice—asks us if we see what is standing next to him. I don’t, but Erin does; she exclaims that another one is forming on the other side of him, and Marsha sees more of these whitish forms around us, standing by other graves. Pandemonium ensues, as more of these forms build and shift around Vee and us. I am, at first, very frustrated: I can’t see them. Then, as I relax and watch Vee, I see it—a misty, translucent form to the right of Vee, that appears to move through him to the other side. It has the shape of a tall man, but it morphs into a different form—smaller and thinner. Then I see them forming and transforming on both sides of Marsha’s husband. Marsha and Erin see them everywhere, and although I don’t see all of the forms that they do, what I see is enough to baffle me utterly. Erin and Marsha are seeing the exact same phenomenon, describing it at the same time, talking over each other in their attempts to describe what is happening all around us. Ty is filming, but doesn’t see anything—neither does anyone else.

Eventually, the forms fade away. We are wondering if this has been the power of suggestion, but that doesn’t explain why we were witnessing the same thing at the same time. We discard that notion—and then comes the battle of interpretation; at least, it’s a battle for me. Erin is sure that these forms are souls of the dead, or spirits. I am not so sure. Marsha seems to be open to various possibilities. We discuss this for quite awhile, and the conversation continues into the next day over lunch. What confuses me is my own reaction to what I saw—I am upset and almost angry. Why? Something extraordinary happened to the three of us, yet I don’t know what I saw. If it was a natural phenomenon, I can’t imagine what it could have been, out there in the bone-dry desert. Also, why would it start and stop the way it did?

If this was a supernatural phenomenon, then WHAT WAS I WITNESSING? Was I truly surrounded by the souls of the dead? Were they once the people buried in the cemetery? Where did they come from? Could they have been earth spirits, somehow related to natural forces? Could they have been divine, akin to angels? Why would they visit us? We always ask for contact, but when we actually receive it, I tend to panic. I wonder if, deep down, I might believe that seeking contact from the dead or from the Divine is crossing a border behind which we are supposed to stay. Maybe God, or a greater power, keeps these secrets for a reason. If I am committing some elemental trespass against Nature and God, I will, somehow, have to pay for that. No matter how overwrought or dramatic that might sound, I am concerned that I am seeking the answer to something that I am not supposed to know. Not now.

On the other hand, one could argue that if the divine decided to manifest itself, it did so for a reason. If I saw angels or souls in the cemetery, it happened because I was destined to see it. God knows that we have all spent countless hours seeking the supernatural and absolutely nothing comes of it except exhaustion, dehydration, hunger and aches and pains the next day. So, is it OK to accept what we all saw as something of a miracle? Or was it just a trick of the light and the atmosphere? The endless circle of doubt nibbles away at the most extraordinary experiences, turning them into something mundane . . . why can’t we accept the miraculous? Must we forever crush angels into dust?

As we left the Amargosa for the last time, Marta Becket herself wheeled out into the lobby. I was shocked at her appearance—frail, pale, weak, her hands and feet trembling, her face gaunt. She looked like a woman with little time left on Earth, and I think she is well aware of that fact. As she states in the Las Vegas Sun article, “I’m not going to live forever . . . . “I can’t imagine the afterworld being as beautiful as this. I’d like to know what it’s like over there. I’m getting myself ready for that.” Seeing her for what is probably the last time, I thought about the meaning of what we saw in the cemetery. If those figures were emissaries from the ‘other side,’ then there is nothing to fear. I hope, like Marta, when the time comes . . .  I will be ready.

–Kirsten A. Thorne

  1. Joanne Kennedy says:

    I do hope you post the video of what you all saw. I would love to see that clip.

    How exciting. This sounds like a paranormal investigators dream night 🙂

    I don’t think we are ever allowed to see, hear or feel anything that we are not meant to. Don’t be scared. Count yourself amoung some of the luckiest people in the world. Not everyone gets to see what you did.

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