As investigators of the paranormal we look for answers to the causes of claims of activity. We receive calls from people with claims that range from strange noises and feelings of being watched to full blown claims of demonic spirits that mean to do harm. We’ve developed various techniques for proving or debunking claims by looking for patterns. For instance in many cases where people claim to have visitations in their sleep (also known as “The Old Hag Syndrome”) it can be a simple case of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. I can’t count the number of times we have found extremely high EMF in a clients bedroom, which has been know to cause people to have horrific nightmares with waking dreams that appear to be extremely real. The reason for this article is that there is a pattern that is appearing in more and more cases. As you have deduced from the title of this article this pattern has to do with mediums and the children of clients. First thing that I would like to make clear is that I do believe there are mediums with abilities and that there are people who do not, but I don’t want to stray too far into that topic right now. What we have found popping up in several of our recent cases is children who are afraid of being in their homes. In each of these cases the client has had another group into their home with someone claiming to be a medium. The mediums all made claims that there were several spirits in each home. The interesting thing is that in every home there was an evil entity that the medium claims to clear out of the home. Isn’t it strange how every home had an evil entity and they were able to clear them? But the issues of claims persist, especially with the children. The children’s ages ranged from 12-22 years old and in every case the children were present during the investigation and witnessed the mediums and their claims. I am not writing this to judge the mediums or their techniques or to judge the parents. I am writing this with the hope that people will realize that children can be horribly affected by things like hearing that there are evil spirits in their homes. Most children aren’t comfortable with the thoughts of any spirit in their home. In my opinion it is one of the worst things that can happen when a child is afraid to be in their own home. Isn’t your home supposed to be your safe haven? I think we all need to remember to be careful around kids and remember that their feelings should be of the utmost importance.
Not too long ago, in the month of May 2009……..10 volunteers entered the room dressed in an odd array of clothing:
- a ski mask,
- large dark glasses,
- a large black graduation type gown
- white socks
These ten volunteers took their seats facing the back wall of the room. They were to sit and do nothing for 15-20 minutes. Mrs. Patricia Putt enters the room, sits at a table 12′ away from the volunteers and begins the reading. The seated volunteers were asked to read out loud pre-specified short passages. Putt stated this “helps the spirit to enter and make contact by hearing the sitters voices“. All of the readings were written down and given to the volunteers , they exited the room, changed clothing and came back in, for their results.
This experiment is was conducted by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Mrs. Putt, a Psychic featured in newspapers and magazine articles and on several TV shows, accepted this challenge in hopes of collecting a $1million prize. The only stipulation for collecting was to “prove and demonstrate paranormal powers under a controlled environment”. All testers agree to stipulations prior to testing and sign a waiver stating that test are conducted fairly. Preliminary tests are conducted prior to the final experiment. Preliminary tests included were a double blind testing of dowsers featured in Enemies of Reason hosted by Richard Dawson; Derek Ogilvies reading minds of babies and animals in Extraordinary People on Five. Both tests offered no definitive proof of paranormal evidence. Mrs. Putt was the first person to pass this first round of preliminary testing.
Professor James Randi, a magician and debunker, offered $1000 of his own money in 1964, to anyone who could prove paranormal claims under a controlled experiment. Many claim to have this power, very few came forward to accept this challenge. Many cite that the experiment is fixed by Randi and cannot be won.
10 readings, each written specifically for one of the 10 volunteers, all volunteers dressed in the same attire, sitting with their backs to the tester, had never met or spoken to Mrs. Putt. After the Readings were completed, each individual got a complete set of all the readings, presented in random order, volunteers were to pick out a reading most applicable to themselves.
The test would be deemed successful if, 5 of the 10 volunteers selected the reading written specifically for them. Mrs. Patricia Putt felt completely confident that she would be issued the $1million dollar prize.
All 10 volunteers selected a reading that was not written for them. Putt made no excuses, was kind and professional accepting the final outcome. One day later, Putt decided that the protocol she had agreed to prior to the test was too difficult, laden with many barriers preventing her to exhibit her psychic abilities. “volunteers being bound head to foot like black mummies felt tied so were not free to link to spirit, making my work a great deal more difficult“.
The prize is still there waiting for you, (IS) the proof is out there?!
I have always been fascinated by Ehrich Weisz. Who you ask? The Great Harry Houdini that’s who! We all know the name and it instantly conjures visions of straight jackets, hand cuffs, or of the Milk Can Escape also known as the “Chinese Water Torture” trick. There are numerous articles, books and even movies that taut his magic acts and abilities, but what I think of when I hear the name Harry Houdini is Spiritualism.
The 1920’s in America is often thought of as “The Roaring 20’s” and of us think of jazz music, prohibition, speak easys, and gangsters, but what about the Spiritualist Movement? People from around the world were reeling from losing an estimated 15 million people in the World War One and 21 million more to the Spanish-flu pandemic and they were searching for ways to connect with the dead. It was in this era that so called “Spirit Guides” emerged to help the bereaved contact their loved ones who had passed. The media of the time wrote glowing reviews and highly dramatized accounts of communication with people’s departed loved ones, and the people believed! If it was written in news papers it had to be real! It seemed as though the more famous they were, the more they charged. (Sound Familiar?)
In 1913 Houdini’s mother Cecilia, passed on and Harry was so distraught that he hadn’t been there at the end, that he consulted spiritualists in an attempt to communicate with her spirit. Harry soon realized that these so-called spiritualists were con-artists. While traveling the country and the world for that matter, Houdini met scores of mediums and witnessed 100’s of seances only to come away upset at what he knew was fraud. Houdini at one point even proclaimed that these people were “Vultures Who Prey on the Bereaved!”
With Harry’s back ground in illusions, he set out to figure out how the Mediums and Psychics tricked the public, which he did. Houdini then aligned himself with O.D. Munn, editor of Scientific American. Scientific American offered $2,500 to anyone who could prove that they had psychic powers. In the summer of 1924, Houdini targeted Mina Crandon of Boston. Followers called her “Margery”, non believers knew her as the ” Blonde Witch of Lime Street”. She was renowned for conjuring the voice of her dead brother, Walter, whose spirit rapped out messages, tipped tables, and even sounded trumpets. Walter was unfriendly, answering questions and quoting scripture in a gruff disembodied voice. Margery, by contrast, was charming and attractive—at least when she wasn’t showing off her most convincing psychic talent: extruding a slithery, viscous substance called “ectoplasm” from her orifices. Photos show this otherworldly substance flowing from her nose and ears, but mostly it emerged from beneath a sheer kimono like a string of entrails—an “ectomorphic hand” that Walter used to carry out his commands.
A panel from Scientific America visited Margery and was all but convinced that she was the real deal . When Houdini learned the committee was prepared to endorse Margery, he was outraged. Having already exposed the tricks of other celebrity mediums, Houdini was sure the committee was about to be fooled, so he canceled his shows and headed for Boston.
Margery met with Houdini and the panel from Scientific American for a séance and she took her seat infront of a three-sided Chinese screen. Soon the lights dimmed and an eerie whistling filled the room. Then the spirit of Walter whispered his arrival, even touching Houdini on the inside of his right leg. After a break, Houdini ordered an electric bell enclosed in a wooden box brought to his feet. Then Walter levitated a megaphone and boomed: “Have Houdini tell me where to throw it”.“Toward me,” Houdini said, and the megaphone flew through the air and landed in front of him. That was just the beginning. Throughout the evening, Walter produced a sequence of spectacles, ringing the bell box on command and tipping over the wooden screen. Houdini had done his homework. He knew that Dr. Le Roi Crandon, Margery’s husband, always sat on her right. He was a Harvard-educated surgeon and her promoter. Houdini also guessed correctly that he would be seated on her left in the circle, with hands joined, feet and legs touching. In anticipation to the séance, Houdini wore a tight bandage under his right knee the entire day leading up to the show. It had been so tight and was so painful that it made his skin tender to even the slightest touch. The sensitivity paid off. He could feel Margery twist and flex in the dark as she moved her left ankle slightly to get to the bell box under the table. Later, he felt her shift again to tip the Chinese screen with her foot. The flying megaphone stumped Houdini for a few hours, but he eventually figured out that Margery had placed it on her head, dunce-cap-style, with a momentarily free hand. She then jerked her head in his direction to send it crashing to the floor.“I’ve got her,” he said when the evening was over. “All fraud. Every bit of it. One more sitting and I will be ready to expose everything.”
A second séance at a Boston hotel featured a levitating table. Houdini reached out in the dark and found Margery’s head lifting the table from beneath. He again felt her legs move as she reached to ring the bell box. “The slickest ruse I ever detected,” Houdini said later, in something close to admiration. But when he announced his findings to the committee, he was asked to hold off on a public denunciation. The committee was conflicted. When it refused to award the prize after several additional séances, the Spiritualists became enraged—as did the spirit. “Houdini, you goddamned son of a bitch,” Walter roared. “I put a curse on you now that will follow you every day for the rest of your short life.” No Matter what Houdini said 1/2 of the panel was still firmly under Margery’s seductive spell and continued to report that she had supernatural powers. In October, Scientific American published an article that described the committee as hopelessly divided.
The dithering angered Houdini. In November, he published a pamphlet called Houdini Exposes the Tricks Used by the Boston Medium “Margery,” complete with drawings of how she produced her manifestations. “She certainly was clever in her maneuvering to pull the wool over the eyes of the committeemen,” he said, admitting the ingenuity of her techniques as he debunked her show. Houdini’s pamphlet humiliated Margery, but he wasn’t done yet: The “scourge of Spiritualism” wanted to make the religion disappear. But the spiritualist caught on and eventually banned Houdini from their shows. Imagine that?
I’ve been a paranormal investigator for almost six years now and I have never known of another investigator of Asian descent aside from myself and Joe Chin of Ghost Hunters International fame. This has always been a taboo subject in my family since many Asian cultures believe that people become spirits upon death, but you leave them alone afterwards. Even jokingly saying that you think the house is haunted will get you a tongue lashing from the conservative family members. You just don’t talk about it.
The belief is that many spirits are harmful and just talking about them will bring about bad luck to you and your family. The happiest time of the year in the Chinese culture is the New Year and it’s believed that many things can happen will bring about bad luck for the year including watching a horror movie. I was always taught to stay away from ghosts and spirits.
One exception is the Chinese Ghost Festival. Much like Halloween, it’s a celebration of the dead where it’s believe that the gates of the underworld open up and allow the spirits out. Families will make offers to appease the spirits such as newly harvested grain as well as burn simulated paper money allowing the spirits to have something to spend when they return to the underworld. Outdoor activities and getting married are avoided this time of year keep a spirit from following anyone home causing a year of bad luck.
Nowadays, my paranormal adventures are not mentioned around my family. While they may not agree with my choice to investigate, it is who I am. I do wonder if Joe Chin or any other Asian investigators have experienced the same thing I have.
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