Sunday, January 23, 2005

Speaking of Weird, Paranormal Phenomena...

We were speaking about weird, paranormal phenomena (doo dooo doo doo doo), weren't we? Well, whatever. Right now it almost looks like I may be experiencing (or may have just experienced, anyway) a supernatural incident (not the first, mind you). I don't really have much to tell you about it least until I check up on a few things first. However, I thought it might be cool to bring up one of the strangest "true-life hauntings" in American history, the story of the "Bell Witch". Of all the many supposedly real supernatural events in history, this one stands out as weird for several reasons, not least of which (witch? which?) was the fact that the entity in question actually murdered somebody. Even more chillingly, the haunting is said to be still going on.

There have been many explanations put forth as to what the "Bell Witch" haunting was really about. There was even a movie made about it. However, one of the many first-hand witnesses included none other than General (and future president) Andrew Jackson. Whatever your feeling (or lack thereof) about paranormal phenomena (doo dooo doo doo doo), this still makes for an interesting part of American history and folklore. Read and enjoy!


Don Snabulus said...

Every time I think something is paranormal, it winds up being the cat or a squirrel or something. I once had a bat brush my face with a leathery wing while I was laying in my sleeping bag camping one night.

I think most stuff winds up being more mundane when a critical eye is cast. That isn't to say I can explain everything that has happened to me, but I am not quick to draw the conclusion that any of it is supernatural.

Maybe the "other world" stays away from me due to halitosis or my giant widespread aura of cynicism. Maybe I am just too insensitive to perceive it. Either scenario suits me fine. Real life is adventure enough.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I'd take real life a lot more seriously if it would stop doing such strange things to me.

DewKid said...

As I'm also a cynic about these sorts of things, I was curious if there was any of the usual "blurry picture" fare out there. I finally managed to find this: picture of the girl with a "image of a man" standing behind her that "professional photographers ... couldn't explain where the image came from" looked to me like.... well... a double-exposure. The difference in lighting and clothing proves its not? Um... couldn't they have taken the second picture at a different time of day? HELLLLOOOOOOO

Anyway, I love ghost stories, and that was one that I don't think I'd ever heard of. Thanks Moody!

... now about the "incident" you experienced.... You got my curiosity up!

The Moody Minstrel said...

The Bell Witch is an interesting story and quite controversial. Though it is still generally listed as "unexplained" and widely believed, there have been a number of "experts" that have put up some very good arguments as to why it was probably a hoax. Perhaps the most interesting argument therein is the fact that the Bell Witch legend bears so many resemblances to the strange case of "Gef the Talking Mongoose" that took place on the Isle of Man in the 1930s. (No, I didn't make that up.) That is now generally considered to have been a hoax (skillfully carried out by the family's abused 16-year-old daughter, which kind of sounds like Betsy Bell), though there are still a lot of stubborn believers and ghost-hunters pursuing the case.

Incidentally, in this sudden, strange bout of ghost-hunting I've been doing recently, I have noticed something. The Bell Witch is said to have told the last person she spoke to, Henry Bell, that she would next appear about 100 years later, in the 1930s. Curiously, many if not most of the most famous "real-life" hauntings took place in the 1930s. These include such well-documented cases as Gef the Talking Mongoose, Borley Rectory (the fabled "most haunted house in England")(no, it wasn't the screaming shack), and the Brown Lady, among others. As I mentioned, Gef is now widely believed to have been a hoax. As for the Borley Rectory hauntings, a lot of people experienced them, but the documented on-the-scene "research" was carried out by someone who was anything but objective, so a lot of it should be taken with a grain of salt. It's hard to make any judgment on the Brown Lady one way or the other. it a coincidence that all these hauntings happened in the 1930s, when the Bell Witch promised to return?

(Cue X-Files theme.)

The Moody Minstrel said...

Okay, DewKid, I'll satisfy your curiosity a bit. I'm sure it's just a lot of weird coincidences and bad dreams (and malfunctioning cameras), but anyway, the "incident" I'm talking about is the trip I took to my parents' house in Oregon last December. In a nutshell, the following things happened:

1. I and my two kids were sleeping in my parents' bedroom (while my parents slept in the guest room) since it was the only room able to accommodate three beds. At 6 a.m. in the morning after our first night there, we were already wide awake because of jet lag. Suddenly, there was a banging on one of the windows. Through the partly-open venetian blinds, we could see a silhouette. It immediately vanished. I ran and looked out the window, but there was no one there.

2. Mao received her first camera as a present from my sister. Naturally, she went around shooting anyone and everyone, going through two rolls of film in rapid succession. On both rolls of film, almost every picture taken in one particular room of the house (at different times on different days) shows strange, luminous spots and sometimes a reddish globe hovering in one corner.

3. With my digital camera, I took a picture of the outside of the house at night so I could get the Christmas lights. I noticed there was a white smear in one corner of the picture, but I didn't look at it very closely. I used that picture in a PowerPoint presentation of my trip that I showed to my 9th grade students. On first projecting the picture onto a movie screen, the students and I all freaked out. The "smear", which is very clear, looks like a skull made of mist. Not only that, but it has a large, faint area of mist under it that looks chillingly like a skeletal body...a well-proportioned one, I might add.

4. My sister told me that, ever since January of last year, every time she has gone and stayed with our parents (which happens about once a month) she has been woken up in the middle of the night at least once by someone either rubbing or slapping her face. Also during the same period of time, there have been several occasions when she has sat in one particular chair (at my aunt and uncle's house next door) and felt a sharp thump on her head as if either a very large drop of water had fallen on her or someone had given her a tap there with a finger.
Apparently other people have reported similar phenomena when visiting my parents or my aunt and uncle next door during the same period (since last January).

5. As I mentioned, the strange goings-on started happening last January. That was right after my grandmother died. I might also point out that the chair Brenda keeps getting "thumped" in used to be grandma's favorite chair.

So, what do you think?

DewKid said...

Very cool stuff. Freaky too. Okay - Quid Pro Quo:

Mary and I are convinced there is a ghost living in the living room of our current house. It doesn't seem to stray far from this room, but is often messing with things in our house. In particular, it seems to enjoy changing the channels on our TVs. More often than not, we turn the TV off at night, knowing we watched a particular show, and in the morning it will be on, for example, the spanish channel.

Okay, probably something wrong with our TVs (two TVs seem to exhibit this behavior), but it's weird. Once we turned off all the lights downstairs, and went to bed. A light came on in the hall, and near as we could tell, both our kids (before Megan was born) were still sound asleep in their beds.

The strangest occurance happened to me one evening when I was standing by myself in the living room. I felt a cold chill run down my spine, and I glanced into the next room where I could see the black screen of the TV. The face of an old man was staring back at me and I just about jumped out of my clothes. Mary came in shortly after and noticed that I looked very wrong. It took me at least an hour to even go near that TV. Since then, I've stood in the same spot, convinced that I saw a reflection or something, but have never been able to recreate the experience.

Not sure if I believe this stuff (I'm sure there are perfectly good explanations) but what the hey. As long as they aren't poking or pinching, I'm cool with it!

Speaking of which, I'd love to see your digital pic with the skullish blur, if you'd share.

Anonymous said...

... and then suddenly, Moody's sister turned into a cabbage ....

* BOIK! *