Mission SJC Ruins With PHW

One would think that the longer you investigate paranormal phenomena and the world of spirit, the less afraid you would feel. One might even think that it would be business as usual, occasionally boring, but certainly nothing to fear anymore. One would be wrong.

Boredom is only a factor when you’re not paying serious attention to what’s going on around you, either because your devices are all-consuming or there are too many (human) distractions. If you are truly tuned in to the worlds you can’t see, then your fear can escalate over time. It can become, sometimes, overwhelming. I should say here that I am representing my own feelings–Kirsten’s–and not necessarily how Erin, Jennifer or Marsha feel. Maybe they would have a different opinion about this.

For me, the recent news of two investigators’ violent deaths comes as a warning and a wake-up call. I cannot say for sure whether or not their investigations had any effect on their emotions, behavior or the tragedy that ensued; but if they were anything like me and others I know in the paranormal field, those investigations certainly impacted them on many levels. Investigators routinely live in more than one world, and we have little idea who we are reaching on the “other side” from us; we can hope that those voices are human and kind, but we are often wrong. Just as we run into many unsavory characters in the material world, I imagine that there are just as many souls that are lost and corrupted who take the time to communicate with you. In fact, I often wonder if the impure of heart and the hopelessly lost form the majority of the spirits that answer our inquiries.

Otherwise, I doubt that they would have time for us. Anyone imprinting his voice on my audio or using my mind and emotions to communicate with me is probably in some sort of spiritual trouble. I leave out of this equation family members who desire to reach out to loved ones with the intention of relieving their worry or grief. For everyone else, there are probably darker motivations for communication. When I enter a building with a solid, haunted reputation, it takes me less than a minute to pick up the emotional content of the place. That has come with years and years of experience. That immediate impact affects me more deeply now than it did five or ten years ago. Now, when I walk into a troubled building, I almost lose my breath. It hurts.

One thing I noticed about agreeing to home investigations where the activity was strange or upsetting: afterwards, I would feel drained, with the characteristic headache at the base of my neck. That headache usually extended into the next day and sometimes into the next week. I would feel ‘off,’ slightly out of control of my emotions and exhausted to the point of feeling physically ill. Many paranormal investigators don’t have great boundaries, a characteristic that makes them effective at picking up spirit activity; however, it also leaves you vulnerable to the emotions and intentions of some very troubled and angry people. I also noticed that listening for EVP for hours on end can damage your well-being in many, subtle ways. Paranormal activity would spike all around me while I listened to my audio because I was connecting myself to another reality. That reality is one that none of us understand well.

Investigators often fight intensely over ethics, good practices, techniques, how to publish results of investigations and where investigations are conducted. What we don’t talk about enough is how what we do affects our emotional and spiritual life. In some cases, it seems to be all for the good; in others, it leads to tremendous pain, conflict and loss. Most paranormal groups fade out in about three years or so. The ones that don’t are careful, very careful, about where they investigate and with whom. They have particular, individual practices for self protection. They also know when it’s time to take a break from that world and focus on something else: our families, our lives in the here and now, our friends.

The PHW have learned when to take a step back and when to jump in with both feet. Right now, it seems the paranormal community needs to love, respect and take care of one another more than anything else. We have all proven to ourselves that, in addition to the great joys, there are great dangers in the spirit world. Let’s remember to protect ourselves and each other. If we don’t, then more of us will be lost to that world we only see through a glass, darkly.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD



Posted: June 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Walker House in San Dimas has a restless little spirit, a boy about 10 or 11 years old. The historic building has been converted into a beautiful restaurant, and the wait staff know that they have a ghost.


He seems to spend much time in the basement, although he has been seen on the third floor in and around one particular room, which three of the Paranormal Housewives identified independently of each other. We can feel his presence very strongly.


We lured him with a teddy bear, equipped with motion detectors and other sensors. He ‘answered’ our yes and no queries in a very logical fashion, giving us as much information as he could via our technology.


There was a particularly sad moment: I asked if he was with any friends, and the bear lit up like a Christmas tree. Then Marsha asked if he was in Heaven: no response at all. It was the only question he did not answer, and his silence made us realize, yet again, how little we understand about the afterlife, and how mysterious these contacts truly are.


He answered more questions later, but his silence regarding Heaven made me wonder: is “Heaven” a concept that has no meaning to him? Is “Heaven” a purely religious concept with no meaning in the afterlife?


The Walker house has more than one child roaming the building. They have been spotted in the restroom, running around corners and wandering through the dining room. The staff has heard many odd, unexplained noises, and when we were there, the lights flickered on and off for the duration of our visit. They said that had never happened before.


As of this writing, I do not know of any reason that the Walker House would have child spirits inhabiting it. It was not a private residence; however, there is no way to know who might have spent time there over the many, many decades of its existence.


And there is no way to know, of course, who may have died there and why they consider the Walker House their version of Heaven.


–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

715,000 for 800 square feet. Yup. Only in L.A.

$715,000 for 800 square feet. Yup. Only in L.A.

I won’t belabor the point, nor will I continue to write on this topic, but I ask that my readers give me one more chance to discuss the topic of housing in Los Angeles.

I decided yesterday to run the numbers and see what my husband and I could afford to buy in the greater Los Angeles area. My husband is an attorney, and I am a tenured professor at a local college. We are not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re certainly making a respectable income. We are solidly middle class. Anywhere else in the country, owning our home would be expected and relatively easy to do; but here, we can afford a $408,000 home. What does that get you in Woodland Hills, the city where our jobs happen to be? NOTHING. There is NO HOME CURRENTLY FOR SALE that would could buy. There was one, but they were only accepting all cash offers. Who has all cash? The multitudes of investors buying all of the houses in the area and renting them out for absurd prices.

I checked Calabasas and Agoura. There was one house, and here it is:

Actually, MORE than we can afford. Notice the square footage. Plus, it's a tear down.

Actually, MORE than we can afford. Notice the square footage. Plus, it’s a tear down.

I love old houses, don’t get me wrong; my dream is to live in a house from the 1920s, and here is a house!!! So, what’s the problem? Well, for starters, it has 700 square feet. The other issue? It’s in such terrible condition that it must be torn down. I know this because my husband and I actually visited this home a year ago when the residents were clearing out the house. No renovations had been done in at least 60 years, and the entire foundation was crumbling. The list of what is wrong with this place would take many hours to detail, but suffice to say that I am VERY willing to fix up an old house, and even I could not imagine how I could even start to fix this disaster.

Here is a house that we cannot afford to buy in Woodland Hills (it’s about $90,000 too high, but it’s the closest thing I can find):

Very pretty, right? 700 square feet. No garage. No bathroom on the ground floor. A kitchen the size of a closet.

Very pretty, right? 700 square feet. No garage. No bathroom on the ground floor. A kitchen the size of a closet.

The one above is in the cheapest neighborhood in Woodland Hills. It’s a vintage Girard cabin. Perfect for us. I checked it out with great enthusiasm and high hopes. Even in our wildest dreams, we don’t fit into a 700 square foot home. This one is surrounded by houses that stare down at the tiny backyard, and there is nowhere to park and no garage. The bedroom is downstairs and requires one to walk up a circular, metal staircase in order to use the one bathroom. It used to be a rock musician’s studio. No one ever thought to actually live there. The kitchen is the tiniest affair I have ever seen–it is literally smaller than my very small closet.

The monthly payment for the above homes is around $4,000 per month if you add in taxes, insurance, PMI and fees that the FHA charges for their 3.5% down payment program.

The home we rent has 1100 square feet, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge deck with a killer view of the entire Valley, a big kitchen, is on a fabulous street with much more expensive homes and is vintage 1962 in excellent condition. We pay $2300 per month, and the rental company takes care of all maintenance and repairs.

We all know this, I suppose, but it’s recent news to my stubborn self. Unless you are an all-cash investor, a flipper, a huge rental conglomerate, a REIT or a millionaire, you will not be buying a home in the Los Angeles area. So what, you might say. Who cares? I care. When you squeeze out the middle class to the point that over 70% of Angelinos cannot afford to buy a home, you create a situation where families have to cram into tiny apartments and cannot invest in their neighborhoods or help to create a community. The history, charm and beauty of the many neighborhoods in Los Angeles is lost as investors buy up and tear down historic homes, or they gut them and “remodel” them with the cheapest Home Depot specials so that they are “renter friendly.” The owners in our neighborhoods are no longer families who carefully tend to their yards and who host block parties and yard sales. We are the middle class, and we can’t lovingly build and create our local communities, because we are not allowed in.

As much as I need to rent and appreciate the ability to do so, I also know that I don’t improve the property or make a big effort to garden and paint because it’s not my house. I keep it up, but I don’t do all those little things that homeowners do. I would have painted the front door. I would have replaced the spider plants with rosemary. I would have terraced the back hill. I would have repainted the trim and stripped the kitchen cabinets. All those little projects that make a house a home are on indefinite hold, because I know that I am a temporary occupant of that house. I sign papers that say I have one more year to live there, MAYBE another year after that, but at some point, the owner will decide to sell, and we won’t be able to afford to buy it. So we’ll move on to another rental property unless the real estate market has crashed to the point that we can afford to buy.

We are taught that owning a home is one of those markers of adulthood, something that makes us true members of a community and allows us to upgrade not only our home, but the entire neighborhood. We grow up believing that only the young, the poor or the unstable and uncommitted choose to rent. Of course, that’s not true; but the ideology of this country pushes us in the direction of owning. I know realize that this is purely an economic reality and has nothing to do with status, morals, values or some home-spun Rockwell painting depicting the American Dream. We are pushed hard into buying a home by a culture bought and paid for by banks, lenders, agents and other financial institutions and . . . dare I say it . . . our own government, based on one thing and one thing only: they all make lots of money if we buy houses. The further we sink into debt, the more money we throw into a hugely inflated mortgage, the more fees and insurance we cough up, the more money our financial institutions make, and all those associated with them.

I watched more than half of the people in my old neighborhood undergo extreme financial and emotional trauma as most lost their houses and were forced to move. The pain was–as is–palpable, as houses sit vacant and start to fall apart. How could we possibly think that the crisis is over? It’s only over for the wealthy. It’s not over, not by a long shot, for the middle class Angelino. I’m grateful for my little house on the hill, don’t get me wrong–but something is wrong when I realize that we will never be able to purchase a home in the town we call home, the town where we work, the neighborhoods that we love and have dedicated much time and energy to. We serve this community in a variety of ways, and yet we cannot put down roots here and feel that we are truly welcome to stay as long as we wish.

This is really about the abysmal differences in social class in this part of the world. It’s really about the fact that the middle class is sliding down that economic ladder while others occupy the top 1%. What do we need? Do I dare say, a revolution?

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD


(Read the above carefully: it’s NOT anti-Christian; it’s saying, we have to walk the walk.)

I, Kirsten, am a Christian. I’m not proud of what some Christians say about paranormal investigators. I don’t read the Bible as a text that condemns ‘alternate’ understandings and expressions of spirituality–in fact, I believe the Bible supports those understandings; but that is not the topic of this post–I wanted to offer you all an update on that extraordinary meeting I had with Pastor C. and the exorcist. Before I can do that, I need to give you all some background information and then . . . onward.

The PHW have been exceptionally busy this month, with a home investigation in Ventura, an important meeting with producers for a scripted show based on our lives and investigations together, and another investigation at the Lincoln Heights Jail in downtown Los Angeles. Since the two investigations were back-to-back, Erin stayed with me overnight and attended church services with me (even agreeing to help me with an art project for the “Souper Bowl of Caring” which involved coloring at Starbucks).

We arrived at the church, and I showed Erin around and introduced her to the pastor. He made some cryptic remark about our meeting with the exorcist showing up in the sermon, but I figured he might include a passing reference to it, at the most. I was about to be seriously shocked.

The topic was Jonah and Nineveh. I wasn’t terribly familiar with that story, but it concerns God’s command that Jonah go there and convert the masses. Nobody, apparently, wanted to go to Nineveh. The metaphor was coming together—Pastor C. drew the comparison with himself not wanting to “go there” when it came to certain areas under his pastoral care; and then he said it: Paranormal phenomena always seemed to him explainable by science, and if science didn’t have an answer now, certainly someone would explain all the weirdness in the future; however, his world view had been ‘seriously challenged’ by that meeting with the exorcist and me, and since then he has re-thought his position on supernatural events (as a side note, it seems odd to me that anyone who preaches the Bible would find supernatural events in this world to be odd, impossible, or easily explained by the gods of Science; but that’s a topic for another post).You could have knocked over Erin and me over with a feather. He looked directly at us as he stated that he was no longer going to ‘run away’ from things he did not understand.

In order to fully grasp the significance of the pastor’s message for me, (and I think for Erin, too) you have to understand what most of our society thinks about paranormal investigators. In spite of the television shows and the general interest in the paranormal, a group of women who go out and look for evidence that the physically dead are still communicating with us are considered eccentric at best, laughable and gullible at worst. There is no better way to marginalize someone than to suggest that she is nuts or deluded. My version of reality doesn’t fit with materialism, which is the dominant secular religion of American culture. We worship Science without truly understanding what real science is. In our paranormal groups, we feel compelled to say that everything we do is ‘scientific’ because we are so afraid to say it’s an art, as well. Science is the ultimate arbiter of truth in our culture; if ‘science’ says it’s real, we all accept it. Never mind the fact that ‘science’ has changed its mind multiple times on basic issues concerning what food we should eat and what medications we should take. Science is a product of culture and history just like every other field of inquiry, and changing paradigms in science upend the entire enterprise on a regular basis. Yet, we deify what happens in labs and vilify other ways of knowing, other areas of expertise.

It’s frightening to me that materialism has taken over our minds to such an extent that we have to meet in secret and find shadow communities to share our most basic, human experiences that fall outside the confines of what is acceptable to discuss in public. The price for me has been high: I have lost job offers and credibility at work due to my openness about the paranormal. I have endured jokes and sarcastic remarks from family and even some friends (ex friends, I should clarify). When I meet someone, I hide a big chunk of my life from then until I am sure that they won’t treat me as if I were a gullible fool or an oddball to be dismissed.

Therefore, when Pastor C. declared that he wasn’t running away from these very real experiences that don’t fit with his worldview, it was a revolutionary act. When he dared to question his own worldview, it was an even more subversive act. Pastor C. has turned out to be the rarest of all individuals: someone who is committed to live what he preaches.

Erin and I stayed for a few minutes after the service feeling vindicated in a way that we hadn’t thought possible. True, nobody knew to whom the pastor was directing his remarks; but that changed last night. During a small group meeting, one of the ladies finally came out with it: “just what were you referring to that made you change your mind about the paranormal? You’re like a whole different person now!” Pastor C. waffled a bit, not wanting to give me away or make it personal. It was right then and there that I decided that I had had enough.

“It was partly about me,” I said, “I’m coming out of the paranormal closet. It takes more energy to keep this secret than it does to simply explain it.” After the initial weirdness of that confession and some awkward silence, everyone seemed relieved. After the meeting ended, one of the ladies came up to me and said, “I just love you!” and hugged me. Soon thereafter, there was a little circle of people around me who wanted my phone number and email address. I have a feeling that leaving the closet at this particular church is going to open the floodgates for all people who share extraordinary experiences and have no one to talk to about it.

Now they have Pastor C. and me. From there, I’m thinking that the revolution will catch fire. What is it, exactly, that is changing here? First of all, there is an exhilaration one feels when you are honest about your life and experiences, and the reaction isn’t one of polite dismissal or open and rude skepticism (I love skeptics as long as they are polite and open minded). For me, the revolution is about accepting the possibility that we don’t understand the whole of reality, and that science can only go so far in explaining the non-material aspects of ourselves and our universe. This is changing at the cutting edge of physics, however, as more and more scientists are beginning to see the implications of their work at the quantum level. I am not a physicist working in this field, only a layperson who has read extensively on the topic in books designed for the non-expert, but I can affirm that physicists are (and have, for decades in some cases) observing phenomena that do not support a materialist vision/version of the universe (or multiple, interacting universes, but that is another story).

It is not only in the realm of the Humanities that the human spirit is emerging as eternal and non-material. Reincarnation has been studied and thoroughly investigated by scientists and academics of sterling reputation. Let’s not forget the caliber of the men and women of the original Society for Psychical Research in London, who thoroughly and persuasively made the case for human survival of death in the late 1800s! Anyone who cares to put in the time will find abundant ‘evidence’ for what Marsha, Erin, Jennifer and I experience on a fairly regular basis. The human personality, intelligence, soul and spirit do not end at death. Why is that not cause for celebration? And, isn’t that what Christianity has been saying all along?

Maybe we are much more terrified that we, these imperfect beings, might be around for the very, very long haul. For Erin and me, however, the fact that Religion—in a small and local way—just validated us and what we do is worth more than words can say. So I leave it here, and I thank you for reading.

Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

My Meeting With the Exorcist

Posted: January 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


This has been a difficult entry to write. I don’t know how to begin or how to explain what happened in that meeting, because much of it was more felt and sensed than directly communicated. I will start with some background and hope that the rest will make sense.

I had met with my pastor prior to him setting up this meeting with Father P. During our meeting, I spilled it all: my life as a paranormal investigator, my run-ins with negative and possibly demonic forces, the strange stuff that follows me around from time to time, (what I call “spirit manifestations”) and my philosophies on life and death and the afterlife. I am, usually, quite good at gauging the reactions and intentions of the people to whom I choose to confess the oddities and curiosities of my life; however, on this occasion, I wasn’t paying enough attention to the effect that my words had on my pastor. That day, I needed to tell all my stories without filters or careful editing. It might have been just a little too much to process for a pastor who barely knows me and has had no experience with the paranormal. That might explain why he hastily arranged a meeting between a Catholic exorcist and me.

My first impression of Father P. was contradictory. He seemed to be an extraordinary gentle soul, but had an aura of darkness about him. He was thin, tall, hollowed and very quiet. I felt slightly afraid of him. After an opening prayer, I launched into my history with the Paranormal Housewives and explained what we do, how we do it, why we do it, and so on: the usual introduction to a weird situation. Father P. was not responding, but listening, and observing me very closely. Pastor C. seemed dissatisfied with the approach I was taking and encouraged me to talk about the unidentified spirits following me home. His focus seemed to be about the times I had felt out of control or confused by the spirit world rather than my abilities as an investigator or my skill at discerning what is positive and what is negative on the other side of the veil.

Pastor C. was unsuccessful in his attempts to coax me to discuss my fear, confusion and ignorance of the energies that occupied three of my houses over the last fifteen years. I was reluctant to reveal such intimate feelings to Father P., because I didn’t want to be judged by a representative of the Catholic Church, I didn’t know him very well (and he still hadn’t said a word) and mostly because I don’t wish to emphasize the difficult aspect of my contact with spirit to the exclusion of the amazing doors of knowledge and perception that this contact has opened and facilitated. Much of what I have learned has changed my life for the better; concentrating on my own moments of doubt and fear does not seem productive.

Finally, Pastor C. revealed that he was concerned about me, and felt that I wasn’t spiritually prepared for what comes up during paranormal investigations. He was saying, in effect, that I was messing around with forces greater than myself, and I might be incapable of handling the ugliness that could arise from those situations. Although Pastor C. is emphatically NOT fundamentalist in his beliefs, he may be still harbor some genuine concern regarding paranormal manifestations. The belief that contact with the dead cannot happen (unless these are souls in Purgatory needing one’s prayers for release—but that reflects Catholic doctrine) is a common interpretation of Scripture for Christian pastors and churches. The general consensus among the various denominations of Christian churches is that there is no bona-fide contact with the spirits or souls of once-living people, since you are either in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory (although Purgatory is a Catholic concept). Anything that contacts you while you are on Earth is demonic in nature and only desires your ultimate spiritual destruction.

It is at this point in the meeting where Pastor C. seeks Father P.’s opinion and validation of his concerns about me. Father P. says something like this: “If you concentrate on Jesus’ infinite love for you and everyone and everything, you will be fine.” He elaborates on the intense and all-consuming power of God’s love. Nothing can destroy that love, and nothing evil can conquer it under any circumstances. He spoke of meditating on that love and simply being with it and in it, not hysterically invoking Jesus’ name in an anxiety-producing effort to repel demons. He placed great emphasis on the peacefulness and timelessness of absolute love. That is all the protection that one needs.

I told Father P. that I and we (the PHW) pray before every investigation and afterwards. I tell him that I ask for protection from the Holy Spirit and don’t wish to communicate with anyone in spirit unless that communication is sanctioned by God. That statement pleased him; in fact, he smiled for the first time. Everything from that point forward changed from stiff and odd to comfortable and illuminating. I asked if he thought that the spirit of those who have passed from this earth could be bound or tied to people who won’t allow them to move to the light out of grief, trauma or unresolved emotion. He agreed completely with that statement. He also agreed that homes or buildings can be places a spirit would hide out in fear of judgment or persecution. This was a revelation to me, because he was contradicting the Christian fundamentalist viewpoint (which, I need to clarify, Pastor C. does NOT share; his is a liberal and progressive church) that all spirit contact is from demonic entities. He was agreeing with the vast majority of paranormal investigators that there is something of the human spirit that can stay behind and play out traumas of the past, either because someone living cannot or will not let them go, or because they are reluctant to abandon old routines, habits, ideas, preconceptions or beliefs.

I expressed my absolute and total relief that he was not of the mind that I was a pawn of the devil. When he told me that I (and my team) am the “first line of defense” for him, I cried. I am not, out of ignorance, talking to demons, but I am actually performing a service for the Church and him by weeding out cases of psychological disturbance, true contact with the dead, and poltergeist phenomena created by extreme duress or conflict in the living. There are multiple categories of paranormal experience, and only in exceedingly rare cases are we dealing with demonic manifestations. In those rare cases, our team has figured it out very quickly. We know when we walk into a room that the demonic is influencing a person’s behavior and creating an atmosphere of confusion, dread, depression and depravity. I have faced this direct assault on three occasions: twice during a home investigation and once in an abandoned ward in a state hospital.

How did we know then that these were not spirits of the dead, a time warp where the past was playing on or physical effects of trauma in the living? That would require too many pages, but let me offer a brief distinction between paranormal phenomena involving the spirit and manifestations of the demonic: during one home investigation, the client had drug and alcohol addictions and had, I believe, interacted with forces he thought he might control, but which instead were controlling him. The feeling in the house was one of darkness and confusion. All my photographic and audio data was destroyed (black images and a buzzing interference on audio) by some force which did not want to be revealed. I knew that I needed to leave that house from the moment I walked in; however, I did not have the strength yet to make that proclamation to the other ladies. I have that strength now.

The second time also concerned a home investigation where one of the clients confessed to practicing witchcraft and then claimed to see something evil crouching in the corner of the ceiling. Why she was surprised that darkness and depression had invaded her house is something of a mystery; she herself was using the dark arts to contact her dead husband. When you seek contact with the dead through occult practices designed to give YOU the power of contact with the other side, you will run into the demonic very quickly. That is an open invitation. “Ego” and “Evil” (as Pastor C. stated) are very closely related. If you seek contact with spirit through the power of God and not through your own power via the occult, you may be granted the opportunity of true spirit contact.

The third time, in my opinion only (I don’t want to interpret this experience for the other ladies, who may or may not see it the way I do), had something to do with an evil force that had used the mental and emotional illnesses of the patients in the ward of the old State Hospital as fodder for his own personal desire for power and control. I think that this “thing”—which shall remain nameless—took advantage of the patients’ lack of self control and their emotional pain to manifest itself. Once it had the sufficient emotional fuel to wreak havoc, that’s exactly what it did. It made a sad situation much worse and more desperate. It also, I believe, prevented the genuine and positive spiritual interaction from occurring for more than a fleeting moment.

The rest of our and my investigations concerned psychological, spiritual and residual manifestations that could have negative emotional content, but were not in and of themselves ‘evil’ or demonic. Most responsible, spiritually or religiously grounded investigators DO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between the spirits of ‘transitioned’ souls, stone-tape residual effects, poltergeist activity and demonic manifestations. I think Pastor C. is afraid that I (or anyone who does what I do) can be ‘tricked’ into thinking that something is innocent when in fact, it is evil. How do I know if something is genuine or faked by the devil?

I know it in its positive effects. If I leave an investigation invigorated, excited and intrigued, I know; if over the next few days, reviewing evidence is revealing and thrilling, I know; if I feel happy, loving and entirely myself for the next week, I know. If, on the other hand, I am sick for days afterwards, have nightmares, experience unsettling manifestations in my house that continue for weeks, or if the investigation itself was heavy, draining, confusing, depressing and emotionally difficult, then I know that I am in dangerous territory and action is required. Even the negative investigations have tremendous value, however. The scary confrontations with the unknown (and perhaps unholy) sent me straight to church—two churches, in fact, count me among their members—and allowed me a closer relationship to God (or whatever you may wish to call the Universal Good). If it weren’t for those frightening encounters with the dark side, I would not have been sitting next to Father P. and Pastor C. experiencing the spiritual power of their blessings and love for me.

What meant the most to me during that meeting was the unconditional acceptance of who I am and what I do from a respected and powerful member of the Catholic Church. Not only did he not judge, reproof or criticize me, he actually sanctioned my work—our work—and thanked me for doing it. He agreed to be a resource for our team in the event that we need his services. When he recounted some of his experiences battling the devil, it was so terrifying that I almost begged him to stop. I do have to know, however, what kind of damage evil can do, so that when I am confronted with it again, I will recognize it quickly and make some important decisions. I do not know how Pastor C. feels about that meeting. He may still harbor the fear that I am in over my head, and perhaps doesn’t agree with Father P. regarding contact with spirits of the dead. It may have been unnerving for him to hear such unwavering and unquestioning support for me, if he feels that I am, in any way, in spiritual danger.

As I stated before, Father P., for the first twenty minutes of our meeting, did not talk but only watched me. Now I know why. He was reading me on a spiritual level, checking me for any signs or symptoms of demonic influence or oppression. He did not find anything that worried him or required further intervention. I wonder if Pastor C. thought that I might have been harboring something dark of which I was entirely unaware. In any case, this is conjecture and speculation; but it makes sense.
Father P. saw right through me and believes that I am a child of the Light, as we all are; there is nothing he needs to cure, expel or expiate. I am whole, I am capable, I am strong and I am good. The meeting with them both changed my life on many levels. Father P. knew me by the end and had a message for me that I will never, ever forget. He could not have given me this message without—somehow—knowing my entire life and psyche. It has to do with releasing my anxiety, fear and insecurity and knowing that I am on the right path. Anxiety is my number one challenge in life. He revealed to me how it had affected everything I do and blocked me from everything I could do. He told me how to dispel it and said other things which I prefer to keep to myself.

By the end, both Pastor C. and Father P. engulfed me in pure love. It was amazing, to say the least. Our closing prayer ignited such spiritual power that the overhead light started blinking, turning off and on at random intervals. It was yet another affirmation that the world is so much more complex and fascinating than we can possibly imagine; and that the power of love can change every, single detail of our life and our world, it we would only let it.

—-Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

Jim Tucker

You know that a book is important to me when I still have 15 pages left and I can’t wait to write about what I have read so far. I am a big fan of Dr. Ian Stevenson’s research and Jim Tucker’s work as well (see: Life Before Life). The late Dr. Stevenson worked out of the University of Virginia in the Division of Perceptual Studies where Jim Tucker continues his work on reincarnation. Drs. Stevenson and Tucker are the world’s leading authorities on children’s past-life memories along with Carol Bowman, who is a non-scientist studying the phenomena in depth.

Return to Life picks up on Dr. Tucker’s American reincarnation cases and offers several examples of apparent past lives lingering well into a current life. Typically, children start forgetting these memories at around age 5, but some remember key features of a past life well into adulthood. One of the stories recounted is quite well known already—the case of young James who remembered a life as a WWII pilot shot down over Iwo Jima—and is well documented in Soul Survivor, a book his parents wrote after documenting his case for many years.

One of the chapters is particularly interesting to me: those cases where there is little hard, objective evidence that connects one person to a previous personality but where the child (or adult) continues to exhibit behaviors, phobias and emotional reactions that are not easily explained by current life situations or childhood traumas. I fall into that category myself, and to this day struggle with emotions and reactions that don’t appear to originate in this life.

I have discussed this elsewhere in this blog, but I still have more to talk about when it comes to the topic of past lives. In my case, my childhood was remarkable for the ‘weird’ remarks I would make and the odd behavior I would display, for no apparent reason. Lately, I have been reinterpreting stories and memories from the past and wondering if my experiences had something to do with breakthrough memories from the past. All of this, of course, leads me to wonder what the ‘self’ really is, and what part of Kirsten has come back this time around. One of the children in the book explains it as having a different personality, but a same self. That might take me hundreds of pages of writing to unravel (sorry, PHW readers, but sometimes I just have to write it out!).

When I was around five years old, I remember feelings of terror regarding drug use (illegal drug use). Anytime someone tried to make me take a pill or give me a shot, I would lose my mind. This was especially difficult for me, since I underwent two major surgeries at age five for unrelated issues and was often forced to deal with prescription drugs. I also had asthma and spent a fair amount of my childhood attached to an inhaler and prescriptions for steroids. However, I did know that there were medicines that one had to take for illness and drugs that people took for fun or to alter their consciousness. The idea of taking or being forced to take a drug to alter my consciousness terrified me to the point of trauma.
When I discovered joints hidden at the bottom of a drawer (I was seven or eight at the time), I lectured my parents about drug use even though they had never discussed the topic with me and were shocked that I knew what a joint was. I was obsessed with marijuana plants, hating them intensely and trying to keep my parents away from them (they did have one on the deck of one of our many apartment buildings, and no matter how much they lied to me about what it really was, I KNEW it was a ‘bad plant’). The 1960s psychedelic culture created total panic in me, even though I was not directly exposed to it. My parents listened to Cream and The Beatles, and even though there were psychedelic elements to some of the music, it was not their interest and there is no good way to explain my trauma around a certain aspect of 1960s hippy culture.

My fear of psychedelic music, images or lyrics had to do with the fear of losing consciousness. I associated that kind of experience with death. I know that the 1960s were obsessed with alterations in consciousness, but as a four and five year-old, it was odd that I was in full panic mode over any alterations of my consciousness produced by certain music, sights or sounds. To this day, I suffer from severe anxiety over anything I ingest that I don’t feel is 100% tested and safe for me. I am terrified of any kind of drug; I don’t even take Tylenol without extensive soul searching and fear. In high school and college, I would drink alcohol to excess—there was no panic over that unless I started to feel like I was seriously altering my consciousness—but I would not touch any pill or illegal drug even though everybody around me had no such qualms.

Even now, falling asleep is scary because it involves alterations in consciousness. A threat to my conscious awareness can come in almost any form, but I struggle attempting to remain in control of my faculties and not drift off, never to return. I remember an incident at 15 that triggered a very old memory. I was watching “Major Tom,” performed by David Bowie, on our old television in the living room. It was 1980. As I watched him and listened to the song, I had an out of body experience and a profound alteration of consciousness that so terrified me that to this day, I cannot watch Bowie perform the song without profound feelings of fear. I felt that this music would, somehow, kill me or take me so far out of my normal, rational experience of life that I would be mad or drugged and not be able to return.
The fear of drugs seriously affected my friendships. I would cry if a friend smoked a joint. I would lecture fellow college students on the dangers of drugs and make myself an unwelcome guest at many school parties. Anything, even an aspirin, seemed to contain the horrendous possibility of a slow, downward spiral into unconsciousness. As I have written about before, I ‘knew’ the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco not from a tourist point of view, but from the standpoint of a drug addicted, teen-aged prostitute.

That, of course, is speculation. However, it fits with certain behaviors, automatic reactions and responses, emotional trauma and general life perspective that doesn’t make much sense unless I lived a certain kind of life in my distant, previous-personality past. There are other aspects to my life as a young adult that point strongly in the direction of the past life that I mention above, but the details are so personal and painful that I don’t wish to relive them in a blog post. The most I am willing to say is simply this: I knew what it felt like to prostitute myself for money and drugs without ever actually doing it. I would talk to myself about my life as a prostitute, the narratives rich with detail, yet I should not have known or understood the content of those narratives. I have repeated those stories for years, for decades, even.

As weird as that sounds, I know that my instinctual reaction of nausea, sadness and depression simply writing about it validates that it did happen, and not in my current lifetime. Psychologists are the enemy of reincarnation theories, since they would always say that the roots of this narrative are in my childhood, and that I repressed the memories that would lead me to understand myself a certain way. Of course, when an entire profession bases its authority on key evidence that the individual cannot, by definition, access—repressed memories resulting in unconscious behaviors—there is no way for me to claim my life as within my understanding. The mental health profession cannot prove their theory nor can I prove mine; but how many key aspects of our lives can we not prove yet know to be true? Most, I think.
My strongest evidence comes from the memories that I do indeed have access to, and no ‘logical’ explanation for. My highly precocious childhood and my abnormal understanding and knowledge of a world I never lived in is proof enough for me. In many ways, I am still struggling to overcome the legacy of that past life. I believe that it continues to traumatize me to this day, but since I can’t find a mental health professional who treats past life trauma (wait—I’m in L.A.—they are probably everywhere), I will continue to work on the details of this life the best way I know how: bringing these issues into the light.

Back to Jim Tucker’s book; I DID finish it as of this writing, and I have to say that I am slightly disappointed with the theories he proposes that explain reincarnation. It is common in the last several years to use quantum theory as a tool to understand everything anomalous, but dare I say we lay people might not understand quantum theory well enough to make such sweeping connections to phenomena such as reincarnation? Yes, it’s true that particles behave strangely in quantum physics, so much so that an observer is required to bring a result into reality; it is also true that particles can exhibit backwards causality, where an observer can determine in the present the outcome of something that supposedly already happened.

It’s fun to go in circles with quantum mechanics and speculate on what it means for consciousness, but until there is some definitive proof that consciousness is required in the observation process in order for a present reality to coalesce, I have to take all this as interesting but not necessarily compelling. OK, so Dr. Tucker does say that important figures in the field of quantum physics have stated that the conscious observer is necessary for the outcome of present reality, but I need to read the original sources in order to accept that. My fear, of course, is that I will not be able to comprehend the original sources at the depth necessary to be able to make any true statements.

Dr. Tucker admits that he is speculating based on some commonplace tropes in quantum physics (I am really tired of the double-slit experiment and Schrödinger’s stupid cat), but I keep coming back to a basic problem with the idea that the universe and everything in it does not exist without my conscious observation (or someone’s conscious observation). It sounds too much like solipsism, the notion that the individual creates his own reality with every act of observation, and therefore the moon is not there if I do not look at it. Dr. Tucker does address that briefly, but doesn’t satisfy my objections.
Maybe this sounds stupid and reduces my credibility, but this little story doesn’t seem to have a good answer for me: the other day, I was looking up at the balcony and I tripped over a clump of grass that I had no idea was there. I fell and was injured. I did not observe that clump of grass, but it was there nonetheless. This sounds a lot like the disagreement between Bishop Berkeley and Samuel Johnson, which goes like this:

“Refutation of Bishop Berkeley
After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — “I refute it thus.” ”
Boswell: Life

It appears that quantum physics is being used to prove the validity of what I see as sophistry: matter only appears to exist because we perceive it to exist. I don’t want to start walking down this long road of philosophical debate, because, frankly, it exhausts me. If the universe is a great thought, and our lives are successions of dreams, then there really is something pointless about existence itself, since it is not REAL (and here, drum roll please, is where I am supposed to ask ‘what is real,’ but let’s hold off for a moment on that one). Dr. Tucker disturbs me when he compares lives we live to dreams. He finds that metaphor most apt to understand our multiple incarnations, but for me the metaphor falls flat. Most dreams have very little in common with what it feels like to be alive in the world. He quotes a communicator through the famous medium Leonor Piper who, when asked what the afterlife is like, states that she was most shocked at how REAL it was, how everything had substance and weight. Reports on the afterlife via reputable mediums coincide on this observation; there is nothing vaporous, illogical, bizarre or contradictory in the afterlife. It seems just like a natural extension of this life.
Therefore, the extended comparisons to dreams don’t make much sense to me. If incarnations are us dreaming new existences, then it sounds like our lives are rather inconsequential. We are working out our spiritual development, but to what end? In which world? With what consequences? Dreams are experiments in reality that are not, in the end, real; dreams are psychological in nature when not precognitive, lucid or visionary or facilitating contact with the spirits of the deceased. Most dreams, probably 99% of them, are not indicative of a new reality but are rehashing our current one. No one can argue that most dreams feel like dreams, and that wandering around in the world of the awake is very, very different—very predictable, for one thing.

So while the dream analogy falls flat for me, I do understand why Dr. Tucker has to follow that route. If you accept that reality is created by the observer, you take away an external, objective world that forces people to interact and engage with challenging situations. If you believe that the world only exists as your projection of consciousness, then you run the risk of believing that you have no obligation to change it for the better, unless it’s to work on your personal, spiritual evolution. There is no suffering ‘other’ that needs you, just endless projections of you, everywhere you look. Take away the suffering other, all that which is NOT you, and you are left with a world saturated with your consciousness alone, your giant ego in search of self expression. It makes you God. And that makes me very, very uncomfortable.

I suppose that is the crux of the problem. These “we create the universe” theories turn the self into the Creator. Whether or not you believe in a Creator separate from you is not the issue; do you believe in anything that is not an extension of you? If you don’t, you’re probably two years old or a certain kind of scientist. I might have misinterpreted Dr. Tucker’s intentions or analyses here, and if I have, I hope he or someone who knows his work better than I do will set me straight.

We may not ever be able to “prove” reincarnation as scientific fact. I am dismayed by the fact that science is considered the ONLY way to prove an assertion. The statement “we live more than one life” can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt through other venues besides hard science. It can be proven using legal definitions of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.” Once you have accumulated enough anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that it becomes preposterous to reasonably believe anything else, you can declare your case proven for the vast majority of the population. Why is it that we are so obsessed—especially in the study of the so-called ‘paranormal’—with proving via the scientific method something which hard science CANNOT EVER ACCEPT AS PROVEN?

The blessings of neuroscience or psychiatry will not be forthcoming. We can use their language and their methods to explore issues of continuation of consciousness, but we are not going to be invited to their awards ceremonies or ever find a place at their table.

That does not change the fact that reincarnation is the closest theory that fits the truth of so many people’s experiences. It does not change the truth of my life or the truth of the lives that I lived before, or the reality of the lives I have yet to live.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW
Kirsten with glasses


Dr. Tucker DOES mention “the mind of God” at the very end of the book, and wonders if we’re all just playing a part in a larger, creative consciousness. I don’t think my previous remarks are invalidated by the last three pages of the book, however; what’s missing here is the link between human and cosmic or God consciousness. Nothing is more ‘real’ than God or the cosmic mind; so our ‘dreams’ must be vitally important to the evolving, emerging universe. We are either vitally important to the creation of reality, or we are sleep walking through multiple existences with no discernible purpose or point. Clearly, I would prefer that we are awake and actively involved in creation. This doesn’t, however, ease my misgivings over the idea that much of reality is horrific, unchangeable, incomprehensible and beyond our ability to re-imagine or re-conceptualize. These ‘dreams’ of realities are, I think, not dreams at all, but a very cold, hard external world that demands our active participation to save the Other. The whole ‘co-created reality’ theory seems to ignore the fact that most of the planet is in a struggle to simply survive. These considerations regarding quantum theories and consciousness are simple mind games for someone hungry and homeless. Where’s the call to action in this very real world?


One of the questions that people ask me the most is this: Are you a sensitive? Or: Are you psychic?

You all know me pretty well if you’ve been reading this blog. You probably already know how I’m going to answer this question. I usually like to look at the question itself, examine its underlying assumptions, and figure out what the person actually means when asking such a question.


“A sensitive” assumes that there exists a category of people who pick up spirit activity and receive impressions (via visions, emotions, and auditory channels or occasionally via smell or touch). There are people who do this very well; Erin receives ‘pictures’ in her mind that provide her with clues and symbols about who is communicating and/or why. Jennifer has often said that she ‘feels’ people and is guided by her emotions. Marsha tends to base her impressions on both emotions and images, combined with data gathered from audio and devices designed to measure changes in the environment. I began this journey relying only on audio, photo evidence and whatever our devices were pointing to; however, I changed over time. Now, it seems that all manner of impressions come pouring in, mixed and confusing, but mostly affecting my emotions in ways I still do not understand.


We are ALL sensitive, but not all of us in the general public are good at it. Most people ignore or downplay their impressions, thinking that others will judge them as ‘crazy’ or weird if they describe something that they couldn’t know via ‘normal’ means. The Paranormal Housewives have become very adept at picking up activity from the conscious and unconscious entities that have passed into another state of being. We have different strengths, but when we walk into a house now, it takes only a few minutes for the pictures, the sensations and the emotions to come flooding into our conscious minds.


When outsiders criticize paranormal investigators, it’s because they’ve lumped us in with cheating mediums, storefront psychics, crystal-gazers, and all manner of New Age weirdness. The negative reactions have followed me at work and in other areas of my life, but those reactions are based on faulty logic and negative associations. So, I thought I might take a moment to explain what paranormal investigators do, why we do it, and our understanding of what we’ve found.


  • We don’t assume that every time a device registers a change in the environment, we’ve ‘found a ghost’. Alterations in temperature and the electromagnetic field are noted as possible indicators that something anomalous is happening in the environment. We will later check to see if those changes correspond to personal experiences, odd voices on the audio or anomalies in photographs or video.
  • We take our impressions seriously, all of them, whether they are emotional, visual or auditory in nature. We write these impressions down to see if they can be corroborated later or if they correspond to changes in the environment that we recorded before, or if they back up voices caught on audio.
  • We don’t declare a site “haunted”, but rather “active.”
  • We don’t pretend to know with certainty who might be creating the energies, impressions, or data. We can make educated guesses, but we will not certify the identity of an energy—or consciousness–that is usually only capable of limited communication.
  • We combine all techniques and don’t define ourselves as “scientists” or “psychics”. What we do is more of an art than a science. Our work requires creativity as well as careful analysis of data. We don’t pigeonhole ourselves as specialists in only one area of paranormal investigation.
  • We’re not terribly fond of tons of gadgets, preferring to focus our attention—in an almost meditative way—on the spiritual manifestations of the site. However, we are open to any gadgets that might assist us in understanding the nature of the activity.
  • We don’t investigate sites with intense negative energy. We don’t perform exorcisms, explore anything demonic or open ourselves up to anything that seeks to harm others. If we encounter something evil or harmful, we protect ourselves and our families from exposure to it and find a team that specializes in that area of paranormal investigation.
  • We always seek the light of understanding in all that we do. If we are able to help a distressed spirit, we will do all in our power to do so. If there is lingering trauma in the environment, we pray or find other ways of clearing the negativity, sadness, or fear that remains there.
  • We can’t always help. We don’t pretend to be able to send anyone to the Light who does not wish to go there. We don’t have the power to send someone away. People possess free will, both here and in the afterlife. An individual’s decision—either a person in the flesh or in the spirit—is more binding than anything we can do as a team.

We don’t profit from investigations. If someone needs help, we will find a way to help that person. That will always be free.

However, if you want to feed us dinner or make us cookies, that would be just fine.

Jennifer Storey

One last thought: you, reading this, are ‘sensitive’, too. Have you ever felt the hairs rise on the back of your neck when you enter a certain building or home? Have you ever known that you were in danger before you were actually in danger? Have you ever been thinking of someone only to have that person immediately call you? Have you ever sensed that something was wrong in the environment and you decided to move away? Have you heard of police officers who develop a sixth sense or “gut instinct” regarding a case? You can call it intuition, sensitivity, instinct or sixth sense, but it is all the same thing. We can pick up information that goes far beyond what the material world provides us. We can either honor that knowledge and information and use it to protect, help, guide or learn, or we can ignore it and make our worlds smaller and much less interesting.

Whatever it is you do to find the Light is alright. If you need us, you know how to find us.

With love and respect,

Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

possibly paranormal marsha at jail