Posts Tagged ‘California ghosts’

img_6109I was

at work, hiding out in the ladies’ room. I have this strange habit when I really want to be alone in a restroom: I look out from under the stall and make sure that nobody is there. This was a relatively small restroom with only a few stalls, so it was easy to peek out and see that nobody was there. Another odd thing about me is that sometimes I decompress in bathrooms without actually making use of said bathroom. This was one of those times. I sat on top of the toilet seat and enjoyed the silence. Until, that is, I heard the sound of high heels walking across the linoleum floor and heard the adjacent stall door open. Funny, I thought, I never heard the door open. I also didn’t hear the toilet seat open or anything else: total silence after the mystery woman entered the stall next to me. I wondered what she was doing there without making a sound, and I started to worry.

I peeked under the stall to see if she was actually there or not. No feet. I opened the stall door to see if anyone was there–but nobody was. The high heels had clicked their way into the bathroom and into the stall but never left. I realized that I had heard something that had not “happened” in a typical sense. For a moment, I realized yet again how extraordinary life can be, how odd and inexplicable. There are so many mysteries that happen to us daily, but how often do we really make the effort to understand them and study them?

I left the bathroom and decided that I had to tell someone about this. I found my colleague, pulled her aside, and told her what had just happened. “Oh my, this building has its very own ghost!” she laughed. I attempted to impress upon her how odd the incident truly was, and she laughed again before changing the subject. For the umpteenth time, I was shut down and the story forgotten soon after it was told. Why do people do this? Why do we assume that anyone who has a serious, anomalous¬†‘incident report’¬†to share is not worth our time or attention?

I have noticed at work that my interest in the paranormal is common knowledge to my colleagues and our administration. People ask me about my most ‘interesting’ or ‘terrifying’ ghost experience, yet completely dismiss my recounting of the incident as soon as they hear it. I have come to believe that there is real fear around the topic of the paranormal. I am not sure why. There are so many fascinating mysteries embedded in reality, yet most people need absolute clarity in their lives to feel comfortable, and the presence of the paranormal destabilizes our world, making it unfamiliar and strange. One either celebrates that oddness and mystery, or one runs from it, preferring the daily certainties.

When we refuse to take these reports (and note, I prefer ‘reports’ to ‘stories,’ because our culture does not accord stories the seriousness of truth) at face value and actually consider the truths they may hold for us, we diminish our collective experience in an essentially incomprehensible world. I do believe that we can make tremendous progress in understanding the realms of spirit and consciousness if only we were able to put aside the notion that it’s somehow laughable or crazy to wander outside the material world of our five senses.

I think we all see ghosts on a regular basis, but decide to code them out of our experience. We reject the strange, we turn our backs on the world of spirit, and we refuse to alter our world view to accommodate parapsychological phenomena. Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule, such as Marsha (pictured above), Erin, Jennifer and Kimberly. We have created this community where it is safe to explore all the implications of paranormal phenomena and what they might mean for our existence, not just in the here and now, but in the past and in the distant future, beyond the horizon of death. We don’t much care if the general public thinks we’re crazy or deluded: we know that we are not. We are, along with others in our field, pioneers of a new reality.

Who in your life believes you, no matter how much your paranormal ‘incident report’ seems to stretch the boundaries of the possible? Who will always listen with an open mind and an unending curiosity? Those people, my dear readers, are your true friends.

Keep filing those reports. You may be unfairly judged by small minded materialists, but one day, your version of reality might change everyone else’s world. We can only hope.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

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


Rancho Los Encinos Child 1

Rancho Los Encinos Child 2

Rancho Los Encinos Rita

Rancho Los Encinos Eulalia

The family above were residents of Rancho Los Encinos in the late 1800s; the children belonged to Rita, and Rita’s mother–Eulalia Perez de Ayala. I try to divine something from their pictures, but I only see innocence in the children, hope in Rita, and exhaustion in Eulalia. The Rancho is not in the best of shape these days, due to the extreme budget cuts in the California Parks and Recreation programs over the last several years. It is beautiful and well-kept, but has an air of abandonment and loss about it. I know that feeling. Pierce College feels the same way, after three years of slashing away at public services and education.

The most fabulous Rob Wlodarski and company set up this investigation and were kind enough to invite the PHW to attend, although Erin and I were the only Paranormal Housewives available. At first, she and I had the same feeling: how was ANYTHING going to measure up to the church investigation, where we were like guests at the Spirit Show of the decade? It’s difficult to overcome that feeling of disappointment, when you hang out in historic rooms and nothing remotely odd or strange happens. I think that is due, in part, to the fact that many of the rooms in the original adobe house have been used for teaching the history of the site for so long. There are big posters and photos of the way things used to be in the adobe, with displays and the like. There is nothing terribly atmospheric about that, because the purpose is pedagogical. Those rooms bear little resemblance to the original home.

It wasn’t until Erin and I wandered into the living room at the end of the adobe house (or what certainly appeared to be a perfect recreation of the living room, with the original rug) that something shifted in the environment. The rest of the team was several doors down conducting a solemn and quiet EVP session; we could not hear them. The door to our left opened to an outdoor hallway, and there was a door behind us that led to another ‘teaching room,’ with displays and photos. It was around sunset, which–my dear friends–is the REAL ‘witching hour,’ if you ask the PHW, and Erin and I were alone. My husband was talking to the ranger far away by the offices.

We heard shuffling and muted conversation. Erin assumed, as did I, that people were talking on the other side of the door. Erin checked twice to see who was outside. Turned out, of course, that not a single, solitary soul was near the living room. The conversation stopped when she got up to look, and resumed when she returned and we continued the EVP session. We heard knocks and more rustling, which to me sounded like a woman’s long, crinoline skirts brushing against each other. When we played back my audio, the conversations and rustling were so clear, we again assumed that somehow, we were mistaken and people MUST have been outside (although, they would have had to run and hide when we checked, then return like stealthy thieves while we returned to our seats and start talking in muted tones . . . not likely).

Then Erin played back her audio. She had been recording only a few feet from me. We heard the rustling . . . but not a single, solitary conversation or spoken word of any kind. We played that clip over and over . . . nothing. My recorder picked up entire conversations and responses that simply were not on Erin’s recorder at all, even though her device was so close to mine that there is NO WAY it would not have picked up all that commotion if all that commotion had been . . . from the living.

Rancho Los Encinos Living Room Better Pic

And then, just like that, the investigation became very, very interesting. Yes, we will post those clips for your listening pleasure; but I am in the process of installing my computer and equipment at a new house (OK, so Ty is the one doing that, I confess) and I need a few more days. In the meantime, I leave you this thought: after you have read all of this, listened to our clips, evaluated our experiences, what else could we possibly do to convince you of the reality of the spirit world? Or the reality of the survival of consciousness? Maybe you need to experience this yourself, if you haven’t already; or maybe, this all makes perfect sense to you. If so, congratulations–I’m still reeling from the shock of it all.

More to come . . .

Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

Rancho Los Encinos Erin Mist

Rancho Los Encinos Skull

Rancho Los Encinos Arty Tree

Rancho Los Encinos Joe with Shadow

Rancho Los Encinos Kitty and Ty

Rancho Los Encinos Old Mural