Friday, August 29, 2014

Poltergeist Communication


Several years ago, a reader asked me about poltergeists and if these entities had the ability to use audible communication. There were a few modern reports, but I wasn't sure if these were exaggerations produced by the witnesses. So I decided to look over some of the prominent historical cases and post a few that exhibit authenticity even though the commentary may be a bit folksy. I offer my opinion at the end of the post:

John Arnason, in his Icelandic Legends gives an account of "The Devil at Hjalta-stad" as written by the Sheriff Hans Wium in a letter to Bishop Haldorr Brynjolfsson in the autumn of 1750.

"The sheriff writes: “The Devil at Hjalta-stad was outspoken enough this past winter, although no one saw him. I, along with others, had the dishonour to hear him talking for nearly two days, during which he addressed myself and the minister, Sir Grim, with words the like of which ‘eye hath not seen nor ear heard.’ As soon as we reached the front of the house there was heard in the door an iron voice saying: ‘So Hans from Eyrar is come now, and wishes to talk with me, the ------ idiot.’ Compared with other names that he gave me this might be considered as flattering. When I inquired who it was that addressed me with such words, he answered in a fierce voice, ‘I was called Lucifer at first, but now I am called Devil and Enemy.’ He threw at us both stones and pieces of wood, as well as other things, and broke two windows in the minister’s room. He spoke so close to us that he seemed to be just at our side. There was an old woman there of the name of Opia, whom he called his wife, and a ‘heavenly blessed soul,’ and asked Sir Grim to marry them, with various remarks of this kind, which I will not recount."

“I have little liking to write about his ongoings, which were all disgraceful and shameful, in accordance with the nature of the actor. He repeated the ‘Pater Noster’ three times, answered questions from the Catechism and the Bible, said that the devils held service in hell, and told what texts and psalms they had for various occasions. He asked us to give him some of the food we had, and a drink of tea, etc. I asked the fellow whether God was good. He said, ‘Yes.’ Whether he was truthful. He answered, ‘Not one of his words can be doubted.’ Sir Grim asked him whether the devil was good-looking. He answered: ‘He is far better-looking than you, you ------ ugly snout!’ I asked him whether the devils agreed well with each other. He answered in a kind of sobbing voice: ‘It is painful to know that they never have peace.’ I bade him say something to me in German, and said to him Lass uns Teusc redre (sic), but he answered as if he had misunderstood me."

“When we went to bed in the evening he shouted fiercely in the middle of the floor, ‘On this night I shall snatch you off to hell, and you shall not rise up out of bed as you lay down.’ During the evening he wished the minister’s wife good-night. The minister and I continued to talk with him during the night; among other things we asked him what kind of weather it was outside. He answered: ‘It is cold, with a north wind.’ We asked if he was cold. He answered: ‘I think I am both hot and cold.’ I asked him loud he could shout. He said, ‘So loud that the roof would go off the house, and you all would fall into a dead faint.’ I told him to try it. He answered: ‘Do you think I am come to amuse you, you ------ idiot?’ I asked him to show us a little specimen. He said he would do so, and gave three shouts, the last of which was so fearful that I have never heard anything worse, and doubt whether I ever shall. Towards daybreak, after he had parted from us with the usual compliments, we fell asleep."

“Next morning he came in again, and began to waken up people; he named each one by name, not forgetting to add some nickname, and asking whether so-and-so was awake. When he saw they were all awake, he said he was going to play with the door now, and with that he threw the door off its hinges with a sudden jerk, and sent it far in upon the floor. The strangest thing was that when he threw anything it went down at once, and then went back to its place again, so it was evident that he either went inside it or moved about with it."

“The previous evening he challenged me twice to come out into the darkness to him, and this is an angry voice, saying that he would tear me limb from limb. I went out and told him to come on, but nothing happened. When I went back to my place and asked him why he had not fulfilled his promise, he said, ‘I had no orders for it from my master.’ He asked us whether we had ever heard the like before, and when we said ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘That is not true: the like has never been heard at any time.’ He had sung ‘The memory of Jesus’ after I arrived there, and talked frequently while the word of God was being read. He said that he did not mind this, but that he did not like the ‘Cross-school Psalms,’ and said it must have been a great idiot who composed them. This enemy came like a devil, departed as such, and behaved himself as such while he was present, nor would it befit any one but the devil to declare all that he said. At the same time it must be added that I am not quite convinced that it was a spirit, but my opinions on this I cannot give here for lack of time.”

In another literary work where the sheriff's letter is given with some variations and additions, an attempt is made to explain the story. The phenomena were said to have been caused by a young man who had learned ventriloquism abroad. Even if this art could have been practiced so successfully as to puzzle the sheriff and others, it could hardly have taken the door off its hinges and thrown it into the room.

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Donald Ban and the Bocan - Scotland: An 18th Century ‘Talking Poltergeist’ Case

A similar account titled "Donald Ban and the Bocan” by W. A. Craigie, M.A. was added to "Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution & Custom Being The Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society and Incorporating The Archaeological Review and The Folk-Lore Journal" in 1895 and later published in The Book of Dreams and Ghosts:

"It is fully a hundred years since there died in Lochaber a man named Donald Ban, sometimes called “the son of Angus,” but more frequently known as Donald Ban of the Bocan. This surname was derived from the troubles caused to him by a bocan—a goblin—many of whose doings are preserved in tradition."

"Donald drew his origin from the honourable house of Keppoch, and was the last of the hunters of Macvic-Ronald. His home was at Mounessee, and later at Inverlaire in Glenspean, and his wife belonged to the MacGregors of Rannoch. He went out with the Prince, and was present at the battle of Culloden. He fled from the field, and took refuge in a mountain shieling, having two guns with him, but only one of them was loaded. A company of soldiers came upon him there, and although Donald escaped by a back window, taking the empty gun with him by mistake, he was wounded in the leg by a shot from his pursuers. The soldiers took him then, and conveyed him to Inverness, where he was thrown into prison to await his trial. While he was in prison he had a dream; he saw himself sitting and drinking with Alastair MacCholla, and Donald MacRonald Vor. The latter was the man of whom it was said that he had two hearts; he was taken prisoner at Falkirk and executed at Carlisle. Donald was more fortunate than his friend, and was finally set free."

"It was after this that the bocan began to trouble him; and although Donald never revealed to any man the secret of who the bocan was (if indeed he knew it himself), yet there were some who professed to know that it was a “gillie” of Donald’s who was killed at Culloden. Their reason for believing this was that on one occasion the man in question had given away more to a poor neighbour than Donald was pleased to spare. Donald found fault with him, and in the quarrel that followed the man said, “I will be avenged for this, alive or dead.”

"It was on the hill that Donald first met with the bocan, but he soon came to closer quarters, and haunted the house in a most annoying fashion. He injured the members of the household, and destroyed all the food, being especially given to dirtying the butter (a thing quite superfluous, according to Captain Burt’s description of Highland butter). On one occasion a certain Ronald of Aberardair was a guest in Donald’s house, and Donald’s wife said, “Though I put butter on the table for you to-night, it will just be dirtied.” “I will go with you to the butter-keg,” said Ronald, “with my dirk in my hand, and hold my bonnet over the keg, and he will not dirty it this night.” So the two went together to fetch the butter, but it was dirtied just as usual."

"Things were worse during the night and they could get no sleep for the stones and clods that came flying about the house. “The bocan was throwing things out of the walls, and they would hear them rattling at the head of Donald’s bed.” The minister came (Mr. John Mor MacDougall was his name) and slept a night or two in the house, but the bocan kept away so long as he was there. Another visitor, Angus MacAlister Ban, whose grandson told the tale, had more experience of the bocan’s reality. “Something seized his two big toes, and he could not get free any more than if he had been caught by the smith’s tongs. It was the bocan, but he did nothing more to him.” Some of the clergy, too, as well as laymen of every rank, were witnesses to the pranks which the spirit carried on, but not even Donald himself ever saw him in any shape whatever. So famous did the affair become that Donald was nearly ruined by entertaining all the curious strangers who came to see the facts for themselves."

"In the end Donald resolved to change his abode, to see whether he could in that way escape from the visitations. He took all his possessions with him except a harrow, which was left beside the wall of the house, but before the party had gone far on the road the harrow was seen coming after them. “Stop, stop,” said Donald; “if the harrow is coming after us, we may just as well go back again.” The mystery of the harrow is not explained, but Donald did return to his home, and made no further attempt to escape from his troubles in this way."

"If the bocan had a spite at Donald, he was still worse disposed towards his wife, the MacGregor woman. On the night on which he last made his presence felt, he went on the roof of the house and cried, “Are you asleep, Donald Ban?” “Not just now,” said Donald. “Put out that long grey tether, the MacGregor wife,” said he. “I don’t think I’ll do that to-night,” said Donald. “Come out yourself, then,” said the bocan, “and leave your bonnet.” The good-wife, thinking that the bocan was outside and would not hear her, whispered in Donald’s ear as he was rising, “Won’t you ask him when the Prince will come?” The words, however, were hardly out of her mouth when the bocan answered her with, “Didn’t you get enough of him before, you grey tether?”

"Another account says that at this last visit of the bocan, he was saying that various other spirits were along with him. Donald’s wife said to her husband: “I should think that if they were along with him they would speak to us”; but the bocan answered, “They are no more able to speak than the sole of your foot.” He then summoned Donald outside as above. “I will come,” said Donald, “and thanks be to the Good Being that you have asked me.” Donald was taking his dirk with him as he went out, but the bocan said, “leave your dirk inside, Donald, and your knife as well.”

"Donald then went outside, and the bocan led him on through rivers and a birch-wood for about three miles, till they came to the river Fert. There the bocan pointed out to Donald a hole in which he had hidden some plough-irons while he was alive. Donald proceeded to take them out, and while doing so the two eyes of the bocan were causing him greater fear than anything else he ever heard or saw. When he had got the irons out of the hole, they went back to Mounessie together, and parted that night at the house of Donald Ban."

"The bocan was not the only inhabitant of the spirit-world that Donald Ban encountered during his lifetime. A cousin of his mother was said to have been carried off by the fairies, and one night Donald saw him among them, dancing away with all his might. Donald was also out hunting in the year of the great snow, and at nightfall he saw a man mounted on the back of a deer ascending a great rock. He heard the man saying, “Home, Donald Ban,” and fortunately he took the advice, for that night there fell eleven feet of snow in the very spot where he had intended to stay."

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The Bell Witch: An American Haunting

Tennessee is home to one of the most disturbing ghost stories of all time: The Bell Witch: An American Haunting which was one of the earliest American versions of a talking poltergeist. As with all traditional American folk stories there is modification and exploitation in the media. There are several books about the witch, but many Americans heard the story for the first time in the film An American Haunting, which was released several years ago and based on actual events. After reading the some of the original accounts of the haunting, I was surprised on how accurate and detailed the production was.

The Bell Witch is a story about John and Elizabeth Bell and their children, who lived in Adams in Robertson County in the early 1800s. Some of the original commentary from one of the children follows:

"Kate Bates was a member of our small community. One day, she and my father argued over a business deal. Over time, she became more and more displeased with my father, and legend has it that she cast a spell over my family, cursing us to be haunted for life.

"From then on, our family was visited by an apparition or ghost. She wasn't a friendly ghost, so we referred to her as a witch. She became known as the Bell Witch.

"At first, the Bell Witch couldn't speak, and she communicated in soft, whistlelike sounds. Gradually, her voice developed, and she felt free to communicate with us verbally. In the meantime, she was torturing our family. At night, my sister and I would lay in bed gripping our covers tightly because she would be pulling them off from the end of our bed.

"Occasionally, she would hit us or scratch us, and she wouldn't stop even when we cried. She teased and tormented everyone in my family except for my younger brother, John Bell Jr. She liked John and would protect him from harm and would harm those who were cruel to him.

"Eventually, the Bell Witch killed my father by poisoning him. She put black, poisonous liquid in his food. The curse of the Bell Witch continued for years, so my brothers, sisters and I were forced to leave home. Our friends and neighbors would often come and stay in our home to experience the haunting for themselves. We even had visitors from other cities who traveled to Adams just to see or hear the Bell Witch. My parents would feed and house our visitors, hoping that the visitors would experience the haunting, too.

"The people living in Adams were so tired of the Bell Witch and her trickery that they excommunicated her from the town and ordered her to live in a cave on the outside of the city, where she still lives today.

"If you are brave enough, you can go to Adams, Tenn., and visit the cave where the Bell Witch was sent to live. However, I want you to be very careful!

The Missing Headstone

The latest chapter of Middle Tennessee's famed Bell Witch story could be titled "The Tale of the Homesick Headstone."

It begins in 1860, when the 22-year-old great-granddaughter of John Bell died and was buried in the family cemetery, her rest undisturbed until the headstone disappeared about a century later.

It ends earlier this month, when the missing marker turned up in Nashville, upside down and broken in two.

"The stone was found in Madison," said Tim Henson, a local historian and curator of the Adams Museum in the Robertson County town. "It was used as a stepping stone in someone's yard for at least 41 years."

Now the marker is in its rightful place. Getting it there had its spooky moments, which seems fitting for a member of the family at the center of one of the South's most celebrated ghost stories.

In 1817, an angry spirit took up residence on the Bell farm in Adams, about an hour's drive northwest of Nashville. Some people identified her as Kate Batts, an eccentric woman who believed John Bell had cheated her in a land deal.

She tormented the family, slapping, pinching and pulling the children's hair. She sang hymns, preached and plagued their father, who fell into recurring bouts of illness until he died in December 1820, a terrible smell on his lips and a mysterious bottle of black liquid nearby.

The tale has been the subject of books and movies, including An American Haunting (2006). And townspeople and tourists say Kate still haunts today, throwing salad spoons and blue balls in the air.

The supernatural Bell mystique may extend to the headstone of Mary Allen Bell Coke, if the story its finder tells is any indication.

The marker had made its way to a trash bin in Madison, where a homeowner found it years ago and added it to the lawn.

"A contractor from Springfield, working on that house, brought it home," Henson said. The contractor, Janie Hudgens, was intrigued and went online to research the dead woman. That led to funeral director and Bell descendant Bob Bell in Springfield, who called Henson.

Hudgens said that after she and husband Sparky found the stone, she made it her mission to find out where it came from.

"I'm from Alabama, and we respect the dead there," Hudgens said.

"When we found the headstone, that bothered me. For three nights straight, I was on the computer till 3 or 4 in the morning looking for where the tombstone belonged."

The night before they were to give Henson the marker, they were in bed with the room dark when the screen came to life, static crossing its screen. Not long after she turned it off, "it came on again, and it was on the page about the Bell family."

Then there was the wind, which she said "blew the deadbolt-locked door open."

As she told Henson, "I think this stone wants to get home."

Henson recently took it to the cemetery and placed it on the grave, but that was just for a brief visit. It'll remain in storage until it can be safely and securely displayed.

"We just want to place it back in the Bell cemetery that it belongs in," he said. "We know within a foot or two where it's supposed to go. We want to put it back so that it can't be taken away again." - tennessean.com

Sources:
Icelandic Legends
stavacademy.co.uk
The Book of Dreams and Ghosts
wikio.com
munseys.com
Craigie, W.A. - "Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution, & Custom Being The Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society and Incorporating The Archaeological Review and The Folk-Lore Journal," Vol. VI.—1895
tennessean.com
The Bell Witch: An American Haunting


NOTE: These cases, in particular 'The Bell Witch' incident, were manifestations of self-created entities. The vast majority of poltergeist hauntings are actually an unconscious genesis by a living human. These entities do not 'talk'...though communication through writing and physical will have been well documented. For example, the movie Poltergeist depicted, for the most part, a severe haunting. The entity was not created by anyone in the family...but gained energy through the family's fear and anxiety. It was a very entertaining film, but most of it was simply conjecture. The San Pedro Poltergeist - Jackie Hernandez and the 'The Entity' Investigation - Culver City, CA - 1974 are good modern examples of poltergeist hauntings. The infamous Enfield Poltergeist case was most likely a possession where the victim somehow channeled an actual spiritual entity. Unfortunately, many Georgian and Victorian writers used 'poltergeist' as an incorrect descriptor for most hauntings...Lon

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Readers' Eerie Encounters


The following accounts were submitted by readers:

DR. M's DOG

Some time in the 1950’s I was visiting with my friend’s family in Toronto, Ont. Canada, where I grew up. My friend’s father, who was a respected chemist/scientist, told me a story that had happened to him recently. He had returned home one evening to find a strange looking dog on his veranda. The dog seemed to want to come in the house with him and he, feeling sorry for the dog in the cold of the late fall, took the dog in, fed it and put an old coat on the floor in the kitchen for a bed. In the morning he let the dog out and it trotted away.

Later that day he received word that his brother, who lived in New York City, had died suddenly. He made arrangements to leave immediately for New York. When he arrived there many hours later, he made his way to his late brother’s home. He rang the doorbell and waited for his sister-in-law to let him in. When she opened the door he saw beside her the dog that had visited him the previous night.

Dr. M was very quiet after telling me this story. I don’t think he shared it with his family and this is the first time I have related it and it happened about 65 years ago. E.Mader

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DESERT HORROR

Hi, back in 1980, a friend and I were in high school and spent a lot of time exploring the desert near Tucson, Arizona. One night in October (don't remember the date), I was spending the night at his house. He lived in a old ranch house that had a old barn/shed near a dry river bed where we used to sleep in so we could talk and wander around at night. This night was a little cold for October and it was clear with no moon.

Anyhow, it was around 1 AM and we were about a mile away from his house in the riverbed talking. We had a miner's lamp that was operated by a 12 volt battery and was worn on his head. It cast a half mile beam. Ahead of us was a tall (20 plus feet) Palo Verde tree which was very thickly covered with branches so we couldn't easily see the other side. Suddenly, the tree shook violently and we heard a loud snort like sound. Fearing a pack of Javalinas (wild pigs) or maybe a loose bull we froze. My friend shone his light on the tree about our eye height and we saw nothing. The tree shook again but higher up. He fixed the light on the tree about 15 feet off the ground. What we saw we will never forget, two big blue eyes set about 1 foot apart! Again the tree shook followed by the sound of 2 heavy feet running the other way. Needless to say, we ran the other way!

The next day we returned to search the area. We found large footprints going the other way. The strange thing is there were sightings of strange lights in the area skies for the next couple of weeks. This happened on the west side of town at the base of the Tucson Mountains. CM

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THE HAMPTON BLUE LIGHT?

Dear Lon,

I am writing about an incident that happened several years ago. First, let me say that your site rocks. I live on an acreage 5 1/2 miles from the town of Hampton, Iowa. Late last summer there was an incident in the town that we heard over the police scanner about 9:30-10:00 p. m. People were calling in to the police department saying they were having trouble sleeping because there was a bright blue light just pouring through their windows.

After several of these calls, one police officer came on the scanner saying that he was a few miles on the edge of town and he could actually see what was a vivid blue ceiling type effect covering the whole town.

Within minutes, there were several calls coming in from the different officers and a few business owners saying that their electronic gadgets, ie: door locks, shop lights, etc. were all going crazy. The police, who have as part of there nightly rounds check all the doors on the main street businesses to make sure they are locked, were reporting that they were having to backtrack and redo their routine.

I couldn't see anything from where I live and after a small amount of time, nothing else was said. I imagined they might have switched channels or scrambled the channel. The next day when I went to town and asked a few people who I know to be fairly open minded like myself, if they had seen/heard anything about the blue light or the electric gadgets freaking out. Nobody seemed to know anything or to have heard anything.

I waited for our weekly paper to come out and checked the neighboring town papers for anything about it, but, nothing showed up. I just wanted to know if anyone else has written about this or if anyone has ever had anything like this happen in their area. Name Withheld

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THE VISITOR

I am a Hospice nurse, so death is part of my daily work life. I had been called to sit with a family while my patient was dying, not an unusual request in my line of work.

My patient was a widower who had also lost his only child to cancer a few years back. His niece and nephew were waiting for the grandchildren to arrive. The niece remarked that it seemed so unfair to the man to be dying alone after he, himself had so many losses. The nephew was outside on his cellphone arranging transportation for the out of town grand kids, I was sitting with the niece. The nephew came inside saying he was going to the motel to pick up two of the kids, I asked him to help me straighten the room to make room for visitors.

After the nephew left, I performed a quick once-over, and noticed a sweet looking young lady standing in the doorway, I assumed the kids had started arriving. I made brief eye contact with the girl, and stepped around her to give her privacy with her grandpa. Back at the dining room table, talking with the niece, she again mentioned the sad fact that he was dying alone. I reminded her about the girl in the room...to which she replied, "There's nobody back there." I walked back to look...there was only the dying man. I described the girl, we looked through family photos, but could not find anyone resembling the girl I saw. The niece said her husband was talking to a woman outside, but when he returned, he said he was talking to no one.

I looked AT the girl, not through her; we made eye contact. I have not seen her since...but I suspect I will. Someday. Suzanne

Strange Encounters : Bizarre & Eerie Contact With UFO Occupants

Weird Encounters: True Tales of Haunted Places

The X-Files - The Complete Seasons 1-9

Fringe: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]


Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Evening at Le´Dome


The following anecdote was forwarded by a reader:

Hello, Lon.

Le´Dome was a restaurant on the Sunset strip. Back in the mid 1980s, I was in the lounge enjoying a drink with a friend. Near us, a striking, elegant couple was seated. They both looked European.

She was a stunning brunette. Her face had all the captivating features that can get a guy in trouble. Dark red lipstick sealed the deal. A timeless long black evening gown graced the contours of her remarkable body. This was the kind of woman every leading actress in old Hollywood wanted to be.

He was blonde, strong with chiseled features, classically handsome. Some men exude a presence and his was heroic. He wore a black tuxedo. Draped from his shoulders hung a matching half-cape. There was a red ribbon near his neck. The ribbon was either some kind of adornment to his shirt and collar or it may have been the closure that fastened his cape.

They were sitting at a small round table in front of a charming fireplace. Above the fireplace mantle, a mirror reflected the low glow of a few wall sconces in the room. They sat opposite each other, separated by a lit candle placed at the center of the table. Each had a tall glass of red wine. Their posture was properly perfect. Their demeanor was stoic. These two were mysterious.

I felt that this couple was not in costume. There were no Halloween parties that time of year and I don't believe their reason to be there was to stage theatricality for the sake of getting attention. No, they were simply being whoever they were.

Intrigued by them, I often peered, sneaking glances, to see what they were doing. They sat and looked at each other. The entire time they were there, I never saw them speak. I never saw them drink. Each glass remained completely full. They didn't gesture. Not for a moment did he or she fidget to get comfortable. They just didn't move at all. That was odd.

I joked that, "I don't believe in Vampires, but if there are any, we might be seeing two of them right now." It seems silly, but I became eager to see them leave. They would have to stand-up. They would be standing in front of the fireplace mirror. I truly wanted to see if they had a reflection in that mirror.

So I looked over at them even more often, too often. I admit that I bruised the boundary of social etiquette. But my curiosity trumped good manners. I didn't care. I wanted to see them in front of that mirror. I didn't want to miss seeing that.

After looking away for a brief moment, I looked back to see them again. Unbelievably, they were gone and the wine glasses had vanished too.

I was astonished.

One can surmise that a Le´Dome maitre d´ simply escorted them away to a dining table, that somehow I was distracted, lost track of time, and missed that activity.

That is the rational explanation. But I'll never really know what happened. You see, afterward, I walked through the restaurant to see if they were seated at a dining table. I didn't find them. - Kent M.

The New Vampire's Handbook: A Guide for the Recently Turned Creature of the Night

True Blood: Steve Newlin's Field Guide to Vampires (And Other Creatures of Satan)

The Vampire Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Bloodthirsty Undead


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Tumbling Run Valley 'Hex Cat'


I have written extensively about the York County, PA Hex Murder (Rehmeyer Hollow) and some of the history of Pow-wow folk magic, Pennsylvania Dutch hex-meisters and witchcraft...including my personal experiences. Previous to the Rehmeyer murder was the Tumbling Run Valley 'Hex Cat' incident in Schuylkill County, PA. At the time, it was also a national story. I have included several reports of the incident and follow-up information. Enjoy...:

Feline Blamed For Casting Spell Over Family

PEOPLE STIRRED BY STORY

While Hex Tales From Tumbling Run Have Created Derision, the Authorities Are Surprised at Number of Weird Complaints

Pottsville, Pa, Sept. 28.– In the gray of the early morning a score of the more intrepid farmers of Tumbling Run Valley and a few interested ones, on invitations given by Miss Mary Isabella Thomas, who alleges that a “hex” or witch has placed a spell on the family through the machinations of a relative living in Orwigsburg, watched in vain for the appearance at the farm house of the black cat, which the young woman says has assumed gigantic shape, at times reaching the maximum height of four feet. They waited with a gun loaded with a gold bullet, but the feline for the first time in many weeks failed to put in an appearance.

Spirit Frightened Away

Some of her waiting guests believe the evil spirit was frightened away by reason of the fact that they carried Bibles, crucifixes, and talismans to break witches’ spells. Miss Thomas says that the big cat will surely appear some morning, and then either she or her uncle will shoot it with the golden bullet. They have great faith in the precious metal messenger of death, although lead bullets tailed them on other occasions. Miss Thomas has taken up her residence with a neighbor, and the haunted farmhouse has been deserted.

Since she made public her statements that a “hex” is following the family, she has had five offers of marriage. She has decided to accept none of them. Mrs. Sarah Potts has offered to give her sister, Mary, a home with her, despite the fact that she is named by the latter as being the author of the family’s misfortunes. Miss Thomas still possesses charms sent to her by a California witch doctor, and she says that she will guard them closely for future use.

Farmers Wrought Up

The farmers of the Tumbling Run Valley are greatly wrought up over this mysterious “hex” case and want the strange affair thoroughly sifted to the bottom. The Republican, of Pottsville, the largest daily, in an editorial asks for an investigation.

While the “hex” stories from Tumbling Run have created derision and laughter in Pottsville, the authorities were surprised at the number of weird complaints which came in from that vicinity. One farmer, who has brought a large quantity of milk from the Tumbling Run Valley for many years, declares that the fresh fluid was discolored as he brought it to market. There were also three automobile accidents in that vicinity. - Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - 28 September 1911

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Pottsville Republican
Wednesday September 28, 1911


The funeral services over the remains of the late Howell Thomas of Tumbling Run Valley were held this afternoon from the house in which he was born, 301 N.Third St.,and which house is still in possession of a member of the Thomas family. When asked whether death was caused by a stroke, his brother stated that some people claimed it was, but he knew better and believes it was the effect of the spell placed upon him that was a direct cause of death.

Pottsville Republican
Thursday September 29, 1911


A careful estimate of the number of people who have visited the Thomas farm in Tumbling Run Valley within the past several days places the number at about 100. Practically all of these people were bound on the same mission,namely for the purpose of either capturing the hex cat or getting a view of this feline that has caused not only residents of the county and state great anxiety but the residents of other states.

Pottsville Republican
Friday September 30, 1911


Early this morning this office was notified that the "Hex Cat" that caused many a night's loss of sleep and untold anxiety to hundreds of persons has been captured. It sounded rather doubtful, but an investigation partly convinces us that Mgr. Kelliher of the Gatley & Brennan firm had more than the ordinary black cat. That it possessed some evil spirit, there was no disputing.

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AFTER A WITCHCAT

FAMILY LIES IN WAIT WITH SOLID GOLD BULLET


'Hex" Hat Caused Various Kind of Woe In Tumbling Run Valley and Can't Be Killed With Ordinary Ammunition

At Tumbling Run valley, near Pottsvllle, Pa., a family is lying in wait for a witchcat with a gun loaded with a solid gold bullet, and has also put a "witchcat-eatlng cat" on the trail of the "hex," or witchcat. This witchcat appeared at the home of Howell Thomas, some weeks ago. It was always seen at four o'clock In the morning prowling around the barnyard, and It Is said to have grown until it was four feet long. It Is averred that the hens began crowing like roosters and the pigs barking like dogs, and this first evidence that something was wrong was followed by horses, cattle, poultry and even people pining away and dying.

The climax came when Howell Thomas himself died. Two daughters were leftone a spinster, the other married. The former charged the latter with having put the "hex witchcat" on the property, and at the funeral the two had a grievous clash, for the unmarried sister tried to expel from the house the married "witch-sender."

The Thomases had been shooting at the "hex" and though their aim ordinarily was good, they seemingly could not hit the strange cat. After her father's death, Miss Thomas held a conference with an unknown witch doctor and announced that it had it had been revealed that the reason the bullets had not been effective was be cause they were lead.

She followed directions and molded a solid gold bullet out of a five-dollar gold piece. But when the magic bullet was in the gun ready for use, the cat failed to reappear. Miss Thomas and the neighbors have lain in wait for the "hex," but all ln vain. Some declare its absence due to the fact that too many people have been wearing crucifixes and talismans to protect themselves. The affair became so mysterious that the Pottsvllle Republican editorially asked a complete investigation.

The latest turn to the mysterious case, however, is the most Interesting of all. A black cat owned by a Schuylkill Haven man has been found by the "hex" doctors to be a "hexahemeron cat." This cat Is said to have been born on the 6th day of the sixth month In 1906, and to have been one of a litter of six kittens. It was blind only six days after being born, whereas all ordinary cats are blind nine days. The word hexahemeron is taken from two Greek words, "hex" and "hemera," and means a completion in six parts. It is usually used in referring to the six days' labor of Creation, as described in the first chapter of Genesis.

While there are only five books in Moses in the authorized Bible, the hex, doctors declare they havo a sixth book of Moses. In this book the witch of Endor describes full power to the hexahemeron cat in warding off evil spells. It was declared that the "hex cat" had beyond doubt an engagement with the evil one, whereby It had imparted to it an imp, or spirit. The Schuylkill Haven cat has never eaten anything but toads, frogs, lizards and serpents, and the hex doctors agreed that its presence will restore the Thomas homestead to a normal condition. - Sausalito News, CA - 24 February 1912

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'Hex Cat' Man Frozen to Death

W. S. Thomas of the Tumbling Run valley, widely known throughout the state as the originator of the famous "Hex Cat" episode of several years ago and since that time a self imposed hermit in a little shack in that valley, was found dead from exposure in the building on Saturday evening, by a farmer. He had evidently been dead for some time. Deputy Coroner Dirschel investigated the cases and decided an inquest would not be necessary. Thomas was of a peculiar disposition and he obtained state wide fame following his making of a silver bullet to kill the black "Hex Cat" which he claimed was responsible for his troubles. His place of residence was quickly populated with dogs and cats and his peculiar manner of living brought him before the authorities on several occasions. - Pottsville Republican - August 13, 1920

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An excerpt from The Mystery Animals of Pennsylvania

Black felines have a lengthy pedigree in the annals of brauch and hexerei, thanks to an overgrown foundation in the Tumbling Run Valley, near Mount Carbon, again in Schuylkill County. These are the remains of the Thomas Farm, and in September of 1911, with the death of Pottsville native Howell Thomas, another story of witchcraft and hex came to light.

Although Thomas’ death was attributed to a stroke, his daughter, Mary Isabella, attributed it to witchcraft. She had received a warning from an elderly practitioner of powwow that she could expect a visit from a black cat, one sent by “an enemy from Orwigsburg on a mission of evil” and as a result, she had taken to carrying a revolver on her person at all times. When it finally appeared, it hissed at her and Mary Isabella shot it. But the bullet failed to have the expected effect, causing the cat to swell up to five feet long. The witch-cat then did its evil work. The cows sickened and died, followed by the horses, apples, and vegetables, and finally culminating with the death of Howell. At his funeral, Mary Isabella accused one of her sisters of being the Hex Cat (or the witch behind it, this part of the story isn’t clear), and apparently, Howell felt the same during his lifetime. Another powwower told Mary that the Hex Cat could be killed by a golden bullet, but after this was procured the bewitched cat failed to appear.

Seven years later, the Pottsville Republican was to lay the blame for the Hex Cat affair on the shoulders of one W.S. Thomas, a self-imposed hermit found frozen to death in a shack near the former Tumbling Run resort in January of 1918. Who was this W.S.? The answer, of all places, may be found in the Lock Haven Express for June 29, 1916. A William Thomas was sentenced to an unbelievable three months in prison for the crime of attempting to burn down a city block. The punishment surely did not fit the crime in this case! It seems that William was a landlord in Pottsville: he owned an entire block near Third and Race Streets in that city. He also seems to have owned the infamous Tumbling Run farm; Howell was a relative, and since his death in 1911 William felt that the Hex Cat was out to get him. The article mentions the additional detail that at some point, the barn of the farm was burnt. The cat apparently followed William back to Pottsville, and he attempted to burn his property in an effort to dispel the cat. No word on whether it worked, but the town elders of Pottsville apparently felt that this delusion – or was it a delusion? – warranted a lessening of his sentence.

At any rate, Mary and the other hunters managed to kill a black cat, which was nailed to a barn. This was likely the black cat owned by a Schuylkill Haven man which was called by powwowers a ‘hexahemeron cat’. The cat was supposedly born on June 6, 1906 (666) as part of a litter of six kittens. The Thomas Farm was called the Hex Cat Farm in popular lore, and countless trips by locals were taken to the tumbling remains of the farm to see the decomposing remains of the black cat. A rather morbid pastime, to be sure.

Charms and Cures in the tradition of Pennsylvania Dutch PowWow

Hex and Spellwork: The Magical Practices of the Pennsylvania Dutch

Gypsy Witch Book Of Old Pennsylvania Dutch Pow-Wows And Hexes

Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History & Lore


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Slap-Happy Entity Gets Spooked


I recently received this email from a reader:

Dear Mr. Strickler, the episode I'm about to report has happened to my father, a very serious and - to some extent - skeptical person, back in the 50's here in Brazil. My dad, in his 30's, was still married to his first wife back then. The case happened in a property that was built by him (he supervised the construction of the house), hence it was not your typical old haunted house. No disturbances of any kind had happened there prior to this.

One day, my father was sitting in the living room when suddenly a loud cracking noise was heard. Upon checking the noise, he noticed that a wooden cabinet, which was used to store china and porcelain utensils (mugs, saucers, cups etc.), had fallen. Apparently the wooden footboards have mysteriously broken loose and the cabinet fell over itself. Not understanding what had just happened, and angry for some of the mugs got broken with the fall, dad then witnessed a small lusterware light fixture fall over the living room table and break. Out of the blue!

When he realized what had just happened, my father shouted in anger something like this: "Damn! There is something strange in this house!" Then suddenly, he took a slap in the face. There was nobody in the room, he was all alone, yet my father's wife heard the slap and ran from the kitchen to see what had happened. Interestingly, my father's face got marked in red as if he had been really slapped by a person. On that same day, dad fixed the light fixture and had it placed to its proper place. The next day, however, the light fixture did mysteriously appear behind a door - as if someone had removed it from the ceiling one more time and silently thrown it there. Weird! After the episode, neither my father nor his wife noticed anything strange in the house again. Two decades later, dad got divorced and soon married to my mother, never to live in that house again. I believe the story because my father is a very serious person and is not prone to fantasies. - MG, São Paulo, Brazil

NOTE: The ability for the entity to cause large items to move and the force of the slap should have been an indication for concern. In some instances, an entity will have the wherewithal to simply 'move off'...for whatever reason. I believe that the father's strong will and reaction may have 'spooked' the spook. Lon

Better Homes and Hauntings

The Sallie House Haunting: A True Story

Haunting Experiences: Ghosts in Contemporary Folklore


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Iraq War Anomaly Inquiry


The following narrative was forwarded by a friend who owns a security company. The witness is one of his employees who started working for him after several years in Iraq and Afghanistan. He states that he worked for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations (CID) before and during the conflicts. He left the service for unspecified reasons. This account is second-hand but I believe the witness' sincerity though he wishes to remain anonymous. The anecdote was written by the witness and has not been edited except for some spelling. I included this report in my most recent book Phantoms & Monsters: Strange Encounters

I was an investigator with CID from 2004-2009 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of my work was related to various schemes (bribery, money laundering, theft, etc.) by enlisted personnel.

In 2005 I was informed that I would be embedded with an Army infantry unit in a mountainous region in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate (Iraqi Kurdistan - northeast Iraq). Once I reached my assigned location we were briefed on strange activity that had occurred in a particular area just a few miles from the Iranian border.

We started the investigation by reading reports that came from a few local villagers and Kurdish military (Peshmerga) who stated that people were being hunted in the mountains by an unknown creature. One man told me that the locals called it a 'ghool'. He had never seen it but it was described as a tall man-like creature with long arms and legs who fed on human flesh. I reported the information I gathered to my superiors after returning to the unit HQ.

A few days later I was ordered to return to the area of the strange activity and investigate further. An infantry squad with squad leader was assigned to accompany me. The general consensus was that it was likely a soldier who left his post (AWOL) and went batshit and started causing problems. Armed conflict can induce the worst in people to surface. If this was the case and the individual was killing non-combatants our job would be formidable.

After a few days of surveillance and searching we had no clue of what we were dealing with. If this was indeed a soldier or other civilian man we would have seen him or gathered some evidence. I was starting to believe that this was a wild goose chase but the villagers were animate that there was something hunting them.

One evening the squad leader and I were going over a report when we were alarmed by a god-awful scream that came from the direction of a mountain pass that we had just searched a few hours before. A few local people who had been outside quickly made their way home. It was obvious that they had heard this scream before.

Within the hour the squad and I were slowly entering the pass. It was night but the moon was very bright so we were able to see around a bit. We searched the entire area for several hours using night vision and high-intensity lights. We found nothing - not a footprint or remnant from any creature fitting the description.

I have always wondered what we heard that night. I have asked a few learned people for their opinion but with little satisfaction. There were many strange instances in Iraq that just never made the light of day. I heard of some but I'm positive most were just filed away.

NOTE: interesting story...there have been humanoid claims by the Persians for almost 900 years. There is a Persian story about Ameen and the Ghool which included reference to the 'Valley of the Angel of Death' as well as other folklore. I do hope that some of the strange phenomena experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan are disclosed at some point...Lon

Sketches of Persia: From the Journals of a Traveller in the East. Volume 2

Folklore and Legends: Oriental

Folklore and Legends: Oriental

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Other Side


It was November 23rd, 1993, the day before Thanksgiving. I was spending the night at my best friend Lexy's. I was enjoying the simple luxury of being allowed this time with her, because until a few months before, I had lived with my mother and had grown up in a Steven King novel of physical and physiological torture. But now I was living with my grandmother who, while seeming to resent having me in her house, was completely dismissive of who and where I spent my time allowing me freedom for the first time in my life.

Lexy and I were laughing over something silly when her older sister Ann walked in with the cordless phone. She was simpering over the person she was talking to.

"Oh that's so amazing" she squealed, "I can't believe you could see that!" This went on for some time until she handed the phone to Lexy. After a few seconds, to my great irritation, Lexy was making the same gushing sounds.

Lexy handed me the phone, "You have to try this! He's physic, he'll tell you things that'll blow you away!"

"Yea, no thanks" I pushed the phone back at her. I wasn't going to let some fraud turn me into a giddy idiot.

"Come on" she begged, with her sister chiming in.

Finally grumbling, I took the phone and said through clenched teeth "Go ahead, tell me all about myself!" I was going to carve him up like a turkey and pass back the phone.

There was a pause, and a bemused young man said "I don't know, I know you're scary!'

Very satisfied with his answer I handed back the phone. It really set me on edge that anyone who had psychic abilities could treat them so casually. I had a degree of them myself, and had ruthlessly turned them as off as much I could. I couldn't fathom being at ease. It was a war I had been fighting with myself for a great deal of my life. My mother had almost convinced me anything along those lines was the work of the devil, as she herself had been indoctrinated. I wavered between the fear of the things I could see and complete denial.

The phone made it's way back to Ann while Lexy laughed at how rude I had been." Eric's a really nice guy" she was saying, "you'd like him if you gave him a chance."
I shrugged it off. "Not into his little parlor tricks."

Much to my surprise, Ann kept trying to pass back the phone. "He wants to talk to you" she persisted. Finally I took it and made nice for a few minutes rather then be rude to Lexy and her sister. I was relieved when Ann took it back as soon as she could and left.

"Apparently he likes you" Lexy teased.

"He's nice, you were right, but I think he just gets a kick out of me. I was the only one who wasn't blown away by him." Privately I was wondering how Eric would have felt if I had turned the tables on him and started digging around in HIS head. Surface reads are the easiest things to do. But, since he had respected my space and didn't try to dig, I would extend the same courtesy. I was kind of surprised and amused with myself, that over the next half hour my mind kept drifting back to him.

Ann returned with the phone, "he wants to talk to you" she said flatly, handing it to me. She turned on her heel and walked back upstairs to her room.

I looked at the phone, and Lexy "She into him? I don't want to step on any toes."

Lexy shook her head, "I don't think so, I think she's into his friend Kenny."

"Oh, well do you mind if I talk to him for a little bit? I don't want to be rude to you."

She waved it off, "don't worry, enjoy yourself." she grinned, "I'll be here all night."

So I took the phone, and to my utter amazement 5 hours passed in the blink of an eye. After a couple of hours Lexy had gone to bed, and I spent the night getting to know one of the most vital and electric people I would ever meet.

I feel I should stop here and explain a little bit about Eric. His energy is intense, he's like chaos. When he decides he wants something, it's happened before you even knew it was on the table. Suffice it to say I was his girlfriend by the end of the night and a month later we were engaged. At 16 I can only say I was dazzled by his attention and fell for him very quickly.

With his encouragement I soon started seeing my abilities in a different light. Within weeks I could describe events that took place in area's we would drive or walk through, see spirits, hazy images of the future, people's true natures with hidden thoughts and images and found my true gift of seeing into the past. Often key events that took place in someones life that molded them into who they are. Eric's strength was looking into the future, channeling, seeing the same aspects of peoples hidden selves as I (hence his little session that night with Lexy and Ann) and receiving visions. It was a whole new world for me, once the door was cracked, it banged open.

With my new sight I became more afraid of my grandmother's house which was almost 200 years old and had mirrors from the civil war era that would show me frightening almost fun house versions of myself when they weren't hazy with orbs. There was a clock from the same period that would chime at weird times or start and stop when I came home. There was also shadow people who would follow me from room to room. Many was the time I would call Eric scared to death, demanding he tell me how to turn it off. "There's no going back" he would tell me, "you can't walk through life with your eyes closed." He had confidence I would get my bearings eventually and learn how to deal with it.

In the meantime, Eric's best friend Kenny and Ann who I had grown much closer to due to Kenny's obsession with her, had formed a tightly knit group. That's when things really started to happen. Ann would see shadow people walking through the walls of her house, moving up the stairs and gathering at the chandelier in the dining room. She would also feel people touching her and sometimes calling her name. Kenny would see the same shadowy people, and feel the air around him move as though there was a strong breeze in a tightly closed room. Crosses would appear in the wooden grains of his bedroom door. Things would be moved around his house, his cats would hiss and snarl at things unseen, and he had horrible nightmares of seeing his face in a mirror with blood running down the glass. For all of us, electric clocks and lights and appliances would short out or have surges. To this day I have problems with electricity. I blow out watches, lights, streetlights, etc.

Lexy and I drifted during this point, I was so busy with Eric and this unworldly experience that Ann and Kenny were also going through with us, that I turned more towards them. I was also struggling to go through the process of becoming fully emancipated as I coped with my mother's increasing viciousness, so I didn't have much to give Lexy at that point. As far as my mother was concerned, Eric noticed as I suffered through her visits and phone call rants, that she paralleled the activity going on around us. When the supernatural activity was really strong, she would get even more ugly, even threatening my life. When things were calmer, she was also.

One day during the thick of it I was sitting on the steps leading down to the basement where I watched Eric pacing. He was showing me where this all started for him.

"I was in high school, and my one friend Becky asked me to talk to her friend Heather. She was scared for her. Heather had recently lost her aunt Susan, who had been like a mother to her. She had started dabbling with some pretty dark shit. She had been messing with an Ouija board trying to talk to her aunt and she got in over her head. She started talking to this spirit named David, he seemed OK, he was a little boy who had drowned. He was nice enough to her, but soon another entity started coming through. He used to terrorize her."

"Why did Becky ask you to help?"

"Because everyone knew I was very religious."

"Doesn't being very religious, studying the Bible, and having an open mind to things like the occult, contradict each other?" To me it was all confusing. I had had it drilled into me that God was little different then this evil tyrant who sat brooding up in the clouds, eagerly watching his creations for the tiniest infraction so he could gleefully cast them into a fiery hell.

"You can't study the Bible and not figure out there's so much more out there then we can even begin to figure out. There's no way to scratch the surface in one lifetime. That's why I don't rule out anything. These things are real, to ignore them because you cherry pick which passages to study would be ignorant and blind."

"Maybe even in our case, dangerous" I observed.

He nodded, "So she would sit here, and we would be talking, and she would go into this trance and this being would come through. He would talk about things, in riddles sometimes. He would give predictions, like their being one world currency, politics, things that would happen in my life. He even told me that someday I would meet the Parish."

I looked at him stunned, "do you think he meant me?" my last name was Parrish.

He again nodded, "Oh yea, he said, you think you're something? Just wait until you meet the Parish! I had thought he meant a church, but now I know better."

I sat there in stunned silence for awhile, with this eerie feeling that I had been watched my entire life by something evil.

"There was many things in riddles, things I've never figured out. Couldn't even remember them all now, he just enjoyed playing games with us. As time went on he got more cryptic and taunting. He told us through Heather that in life his name had been Henry Bisby Kane. That he had been a preacher in the 1800's in Arizona. He had taken his congregation out to a cave and sealed them in by making everyone believe it was the end of the world. He never let them go. Even now he preys on lost souls and draws them in. He's full of rage, very cunning and extremely dangerous. Heather had made a deal with him to let her see her aunt one last time. She was down here-"
Suddenly I could feel my blood run cold.

"Shannon? Shannon what is it?"

I heard him from a great distance. I was almost in a faint. I saw a figure walk from the wall a few feet away from Eric had been standing. It was slender, in a stained white dress, brittle hair and the flesh melting from the bones. As I looked on in horror, it ascended the steps in an odd jerky gait and passed through me to disappear through the door at my back. The feeling of it moving through me was like nothing I can even begin to explain. The horror of it, the understanding that death itself had just scraped through me, I couldn't breath. I was shaking so hard I felt my teeth rattling and gasping. My heart raced so hard I though I might just die on the spot. I couldn't even speak. Eric was frantic. Finally I managed to draw in a full breath and burst into tears. "He showed her" I sobbed, "He showed her what her aunt looked like, NOW, DEAD, A CORPSE!!! The f**king thing walked right up these stairs, right through me!"

The next hour is a haze in my memory, I know it took him a long time to calm me down, and for me to stop shuddering.

When I was able to hear the rest of it, he explained to me that I had just described what she had seen, right down to the dress.

"Are we safe from this? Every day now Ann or Kenny are freaking out about something they've seen, we're seeing things all the time, can this hurt us? And what happened to Heather?"

"She's OK now" he said reassuringly. "The last time she channeled him I went toe to toe with him, begged God to save her, quoted scripture and banished him from her in Jesus' name. I'm not trying to say we did an exorcism, but we made it uncomfortable enough he seemed to have moved on. She straightened out after that, grades went back up, she stopped wearing all black, stopped having nightmares and channeling. The really interesting thing is she doesn't remember much of it all. She remembers hanging out down here, but not the channeling or seeing her poor aunt, or the nightmares or anything. No idea of why unless it's her way of subconsciously protecting herself by blocking it out."

"Have you tried to talk to her about it since" I wondered out loud.

"She just shuts down, she wants nothing to do with it, it's like talking to a wall."

"Defense mechanism" I agreed.

"Yea, most likely."

Later that night after I fielded a frantic call from Ann who thought something tried to grab her arm when she was walking down the stairs of her parents house, I was walking down the hall by Eric's room. I thought I heard something drop. Forcing myself to be brave, I walked into the dark room, and as I was reaching for the light I saw a hand come towards me. All bravado fled and I screamed the house down until Eric came running in.

"This has got to stop" I said grimly, "We need to do something, we can't just sit around waiting for it to screw with us!"

"I could try to channel" he offered quietly.

He had on a few occasions channeled this one spirit, who was kind and very dear to me. It had explained to me it had been with Eric always and was one of his guardians.

"How do you know that if you trance out, Kane won't come in?"

"We don't" he replied uneasily.

I looked at his broad shoulders and took careful note of the way he out massed me by over 50 pounds and towered over me by almost a foot, and asked him what would happen then. "Would he kill me? Go after your parents? Burn this place down?"

He shook his head, "he can only use my voice, my body is protected. He would never be able to cross that threshold."

"How do you know?'

"Heather would have tried to kill me wouldn't she?"

"Alright" I firmed up my failing courage and managed to sound much calmer then I felt, "let's just do this, either way, I need some answers."

We closed and locked his bedroom door after leaving word with his mom we were going to be watching a movie. I turned the ringer off his phone and pager, and perched on the side of his bed. I held his hand and watched for any sign of fluttering of his eyelashes. He always closed his eyes when he went into a trance, and the only thing that changed was his eyes would slowly open when he had made the connection. He squeezed my hand reassuringly and I sensed him leave. I can't explain it more then that, I just felt him leave. I gently laid his hand back down by his side and waited for his eyes to open. It took much longer then usual. First I noticed the side of his mouth draw up in a smirk. His cheek twitched. The head turned ever so slightly towards me, then his eyes slowly opened. I watched them slowly sweep the room before they settled on me. They were no longer green, they were muddy and dark. They're not his eyes I thought frantically. Even when he had channeled his dear guardian, his eyes had only become slightly more clear and emerald, these were not the same eyes.

"You" he whispered.

The smirk remained. I knew precisely who I was dealing with. "So we finally meet" I said calmly. "I had wondered if you would come."

The smirk grew. "You called me."

"How did we do that?"

"You keep visiting me."

I stayed silent for a moment, waiting for him to tell me what he had come for. Eric's body twitched, his hand spasmed. I laid my hand soothingly on his. The being didn't even notice.

"Yes" he said after a moment. "You're wondering who I am. I am the keeper of souls."

""So what do you want with Eric and I? Our souls don't belong to you."

"They will" he sighed.

"Never" I assured him.

"You don't love him" he turned Eric's brilliant gaze on me. "You never did, and he knows it."

"I wouldn't expect you to understand love."

"I know all about you" he continued raspily. "I know everything your mother did to you, I was there when she broke the chair over you."

I gasped, I had never even told Eric about that. He knew I had been physically abused, but he didn't know how bad it was. "She has split personalities, are you trying to tell me you were one of them?"

"So weak" he smirked.

"You're calling me weak now?"

"No, her. But you were always meant of be one of mine."

The eyes drifted closed and Eric's hand started spasming again, and a moment later he moaned and started thrashing.

"Eric? Baby! Wake up, come back! Eric, honey please!" I pulled him up in my arms and rocked him.

He dropped his head on my shoulder, "It was him."

"Oh yea, got to say I'm not fond of all of your friends."

He raised his head and smiled tiredly. I was happy to see his eyes were once again a dark green.

"What does he want?"

"I think he really wants us both."

"What else did he say?"

I repeated it, right down to him affecting my mother. "That would make sense" he nodded, "if she has a fractured personality, and her depression keeps her down, she's very easy prey for something like him."

"But why would he bother with me? Did he know I was going to grow up and be with you someday?"

"I think he targets anyone like us, who are strong and spiritual, maybe having strong physic abilities make us more vulnerable, because we're linked to the other world and more open to them. I think he must target us young because it might be easier to break us then."

It wasn't long after Eric went to bed, channeling sessions always exhausted him. Since I had been staying with his family for the past few months, I went into his mom's room and watched TV with her until she turned in for the night. I however lay awake all night trying not to jump at every shadow that danced on the walls or every little sound.

After that things became worse for the four of us, Ann was convinced things were after her whenever she was in the house, Kenny was seeing things and my mother was making my life a living hell. Even going so far as to taunt Eric that if she ever managed to get me back in her house, I would never make it out. To say it escalated is somewhat of an understatement. I was exhausted, as was Eric. Dreading what I knew had to be done, I held off as long as I could.

Finally after a few more weeks, we decided to try to channel one last time. I was going to try to find out how to get rid of Kane in our lives once and for all. I was nervous, I didn't know the scripture like Eric, I had no idea of what I could actually do, but I knew my own strength.

I wish I could relate the conversation that took place between Kane and I when Eric reluctantly managed to push himself under, but to be perfectly honest, much of it is gone from my memory. I remember him telling me he has always been there, and wasn't the only one. We were of special interest to him, because of our strength and ability's, and I remember passionately arguing, but I couldn't tell you about what. I have a sense at one time he started challenging me and revealing things I wasn't allowed to keep the knowledge of, but they're far gone. I think this session took place for almost an hour. It went on and on until finally those squinting muddy brown eyes rolled up and Eric seemed to pass out. I was so exhausted, feeling as though all of my energy, even some of my life force had been drained away, I just stretched out and put my head on his shoulder. I knew sooner or later Eric would swim back up. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew I woke with a start to see Eric's brilliant green eyes.

"Hey you, I think we did it." He passed a hand tiredly over his face and sat up.
I got up and began to slowly pace. I couldn't stay still.

"He left, I think he he might be banished or at least gone for good. I don't feel him anymore."

I know we talked at length about what had been said between Kane and I, but as I said before, I don't remember too much of it. I can say things did calm down, Ann stopped seeing things, as did Kenny. Eric and I hadn't told them about his channeling, so they didn't know we believed the source of this nightmare was gone. The fact that they stopped experiencing things as soon as this took place, was proof enough for Eric and I.

Now at this point I would like to wind this all up with a quick happily ever after spin, but in fact Eric and I didn't stay together much longer. We started fighting too much, and he became obsessively controlling and I became defiant and withdrew completely. At 16 and 19 I don't think we had the life skills to balance two A type personalities. But the interesting thing about the aftermath of this all, (and I'm the only one of the group who believes this) is what happened to each of us. Eric's control issues went to an even darker place, and he started having issues with drinking. Ann who had been this "good Girl" became very loose, and most of her friends lost all respect for her. Kenny who was the most social person I had ever known, who lived for his friends, became dark and bitter and pushed most of us out of his life. I didn't go back to my mother's, but was able to get my own place and go out on my own. I spent the next 5 years in an abusive relationship, where as a stripper, the drinking and drugs almost finished me off. It really seems like we each became the manifestation of our dark side. The impulses that we might have been able to balance and resist before, destroyed everything in each of our lives that had meant the most to us. I find this to be an eerie coincidence.

I'm happy to report Eric and I found our way back to being friends, each married and doing much better. Our lives have returned to being back under control, Kenny has recently followed suit. Ann is still caught up in it from all accounts. Still playing fast and loose. It's also interesting to me that the two stronger ones (Eric and I) pulled back from this first. I think when you open the door to this kind of thing, the consequences can last a lifetime. Another modern example that quickly springs to mind is Mel Gibson, and the downward spiral his life took after he made "The Passion."

Now if you're thinking this all sounds just like the Poltergeist film series, you couldn't be more accurate. It really seems like the writers of the films had first hand experience with this entity. Almost everything about the Kane we came to know from personal experience is relayed in this series. In the opinions of Eric and I, it's completely based on the real entity and his story. You can find references to Kane the stealer of souls in popular fiction, such as Nora Robert's Key Trilogy series. You can find little towns in Arizona named Bisbey, or places where there's references to that fateful expedition. I believe we're not the only ones who have had experiences with him.

Frankly, it never feels over, when Eric, Kenny and I get together weird things start happening. It feels like a live wire that still hums with power.

So, anyway, that's my weird story. Not a ghost story exactly, but every bit of it is the truth, and had a huge impact on the lives of 4 kids who opened Pandora's Box. Shannon

Nora Roberts Key Trilogy

The Passion of the Christ (Definitive Edition) [Blu-ray]

Poltergeist (Blu-ray Book Packaging)