Spookiness

I love spookiness. I live with it. I am living in a house with a deer skull buried in a holly tree. No idea why, but I’m leaving it alone. There was an extension added in 1835 that used a broken-up gallows stone in the walls. Lately I have learned that the water supply comes from an ancient holy well. This place has been here since at least the early 1700s, probably much longer, and I love it. I find more weirdness every year.

There aren’t many ghosts here. There’s a shy woman and a dog. The flat I lived in before coming here had some really nasty bastards in it. CStM experienced them and would not have moved in with me if I had stayed there. I have been told that previous residents here heard a ghost piper but the only pipes we’ve heard making sounds are the plumbing.

About now there are eyes rolling. ‘Oh dear oh dear, the old daft bugger believes in ghosts’.

I believe nothing. I am old school scientist. I believe only what I see and experience for myself. I do not believe in God because while I have seen plenty of evidence for what is called ‘supernatural’ I have seen no evidence to suggest anyone is in charge of it all. No evidence that there are any rules.

When I was Romulus Crowe (a previous online incarnation) I once had a fight of sorts with an Australian who said (I paraphrase) ‘if you’re real, why don’t you get James Randi’s million dollars?’

Well, I don’t claim telekinesis or cutlery destruction or anything that can be tested. I cannot call up ghosts to order. However, I agree with Randi on one important point. Every stage psychic is a fake.

The Australian set me a challenge. ‘One of these three statements is true. Which one?’

Easy. He had told me the answer several days earlier and had forgotten. So I gave him a quick lesson in cold reading. It worked on him, an absolute sceptic. It works so very much more easily on those who want to beleive.

I know how to fake it. It’s depressingly easy to dupe people.

But I cannot prove it. Unlike the stage ‘psychics’ I cannot call up just enough ghosts for the show and never miss. I cannot guarantee that every ‘ghost’ links to someone in the audience, because I am not just making shit up. I am not going to claim your dead relative has a message for you. They don’t. Most are confused, they think they are dreaming. Some know what’s happened and are having a good time.

Some aren’t even really ghosts, they are a repeating recording of a past event. Those are the most interesting – somehow, an event gets recorded on the surroundings and replays either at set times or in response to some kind of trigger. You can’t interact with these, you’re just watching a movie. Imagine though, if you could figure out how it happened and replicate it to order. You want bluebirds to follow you every time you walk up to your house? How much would you pay for that?

Anyway, I can’t produce proof yet and really don’t care enough to try so I can never go for James Randi’s million dollars. I don’t need that much money anyway.

Okay, I know, you ‘rational people’ think I am nuts and I’m okay with that. Meeting me in person is unlikely to change that opinion. I have nothing to prove and nothing to gain (unless I do figure out how to produce ambient environment recordings, then I’ll be paying high rate tax for evermore). You want to live fully in one solid world. good luck. I wish you were right. It’s a little strange here sometimes.

But have another look at James Randi, the King of Debunking. I really think he genuinely wants to find that proof. He’s not setting out to debunk. He is offering a million dollars to someone who can prove what, I think, he really would love to see.

He is no fake, no charlatan. He does not ‘believe’ in things. Okay, sometimes he’s an arse and sometimes his methods are silly but on the whole he means well. He is right in his debunkings. So much can be faked, and faked easily. That does not prove the real thing doesn’t exist, it just proves that someone has learned how to fake it effectively.

As I said, cold reading is not a difficult skill to acquire. There are other ‘psychic’ tricks that are easy too. What makes them easy is that if you are a stage psychic, everyone who comes to your show already believes in you, and already wants to be chosen and duped. Even when Randi outed a fake psychic in one video, the dupe refused to accept that what he had been fed was fake.

You can have your assistants mingle with the mumblers before the show. Chat about what they hope to hear. Pass that info – along with the seat number – to the stage guy and it’s game on. How to get the seat number? ‘Oh, I’m right in the back row, where are you?’ ‘I’m in D13’. ‘Right near the front, lucky you.’ Gotcha. It is almost depressingly easy. Now of course you can have a nearly invisible earpiece in the performer and prompts while he’s onstage.

Faced with an audience who wants to believe you cannot fail. They will overlook the wrong guesses, they will not connect the chat they had before the show with the absence of that person from the audience. They will dismiss from memory all the hints of trickery because they really want to believe that Grandma has a message for them. If she does, and it’s not ‘What the blistering fuck are you doing?’ then it’s fake.

You know, if I was utterly unscrupulous, I could take up stage psychicry now. I won’t because I’d be too embarrassed to giive people that false hope. Their dead relatives are dead. Maybe they went to some Heaven or Hell but if those exist, nobody comes back from either of them. Hell, you can’t, and Heaven, why would you?

I don’t call myself psychic. I don’t often see ghosts of people, although I have seen a few ghost dogs including the one here. I hear them, I can touch them, but I see no more than a shadow if I see them at all. CStM and her mother have seen our ghost woman, CStM saw some of the ones at the flat I had before. That place had a lot of short-term tenants, and so did most of the other flats in the block. Wasn’t hard to work out why. Even if you refuse to believe in ghosts, a permanent uncomfortable feeling is not a good reason to stay.

One thing about that flat that initially baffled me… no spiders. None. Not even in the attic. I had an entirely spider-free attic. This house is riddled with spiders…. except for one room. Unlike the story, it’s not the room with the gallows stone in the wall. It’s much older than that part of the house. It’s the master bedroom which we don’t use because it’s upstairs and the heating system doesn’t go upstairs.

We used to be plagued with mice and regaled with exhibitions of rabbits from the kitchen window before the pine marten arrived. Also before the dog worked out that catching mice was like finding bacon money. Seems the combination of pine marten outside, bacon-loving dog inside, has pretty much eradicated the mice and also most of the rabbits. A digression…

I don’t know how old our female ghost is. I suspect she lived here when the master bedroom really was the master bedroom. Might be hundreds of years or tens of years. Now we live almost exclusively downstairs because we really don’t need the top half of the house other than for storing crap.

Basically, I am at the point where I can easily convince those who want to believe in an aftelife using outright fakery. I cannot convince those same people of the same thing with what I know to be true.

Irritating, huh?

There is an upside. I am way past caring whether anyone believes anything I say now. I am not a lecturer any more. You don’t need to pass an exam based on my ramblings. You can trust or not trust what I say and care about it no more than I do.

But when I die, well then I am really off the leash.

23 thoughts on “Spookiness

  1. Trouble is James Randi exposes fakery, but ignores the real thing. The real thing has no interest in ‘winning’ a million dollars! Also some of his tests are biased against success, like the old one testing seeing Auras. Nowadays we know that kinaesthesia is a real thing and that it indicates something to the person who sees that way. Modern studies from real scientists have moved way ahead of James Randi. He’s just a relic. Poor old chap.

    We lived in an ancient house that everyone, even sceptics, felt “creepy”. I only ever ” saw ” one ghost. I was in bed. For some reason I suddenly opened my eyes and there was a young man standing at the foot of my bed. On my shocked blink, he was gone. But others got “stroked” on the cheek in the bath. We had to warn our guests….no one was harmed!

    Invisible dimensions simply withdraw when faced with unfriendly humans. We should at least be agnostic.

    Nice interesting post! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wonder if Randi has been exposing fakes for so long that he now goes into every investigation assuming it’s going to be fake. It’s not scientific but to be fair he does not claim to be a scientist.

      So far I’ve been lucky – bathrooms have been ‘off limits’ but CStM might disagree on that one.

      One thing though, they don’t always withdraw if they have unfriendly intentions themselves…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I always find it odd that other people seem to have had no experience of the paranormal. Certainly it’s not something I talk about, though I once had to get out of a pub because I felt a dreadful dark sensation. It was unpleasant because I was with friends, however they could see I was in a bad way though I don’t drink alcohol and wasn’t pissed.

    Apologised to the chap behind the counter, it’s an old pub down by the old part of Leith docks – and he didn’t bat an eye. Seems a murder took place a century or more in the back room and a small number of other people had experienced similar sensations.

    So it’s not always about solitary things during a quiet night; the pub was heaving, and that’s why he’d opened the back room.

    Another was in my own house – and this was an overwhelming smell of a prepubescent boy. Just one area. The house is in a mews and it’s 200 years old. No idea why he was there, though it’s possible he was a stable boy. Knowing sod all about the subject I made an effort to get someone to exorcise him. At the time the concept they could communicate by smell was alien to the individuals I spoke to, so I just took matters into my own hands – and he’s gone. No hocus pocus, no chanting, no religious stuff, just a very personal chat with a standard kid who hadn’t a clue he was dead.

    I could yabber on about buildings I refuse to enter, about hairs on the back of my head going ballistic. Now I just take it as a given and accept that other people are not quite as sensitive.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Smells appear often, but are usually put down to bad drains. That doesn’t work in most of this house because most of it has no plumbing at all πŸ˜‰

      I don’t go upstairs at night often. Nothing threatening up there apart from the ubiquitous spiders but sometimes there’s a perfume…

      Liked by 1 person

      • In our last house, a thirties semi, I used to smell perfume. After my soon to be wife moved in, she smelt it to. Not often, but old lady perfume. I once walked through a patch of it. I’m largely agnostic about most things, and was never bothered by it. Couldn’t explain it by anything we had in the house. Filed it under “meh, that’s different “

        Like

  3. One thing that always intrigues me is the various feelings you get at ancient sites. Arbor Low in Derbyshire was an especial case in point. When I went up there last, the place was what one might term rather lively, and also had a flock of sheep in the field.

    A site like Stonehenge, though, feels as dead as a pile of rocks. My tentative hypothesis is that there is something about lots of people tramping around a site which temporarily removes the spookiness element to a place. Interestingly livestock don’t have this effect, so it isn’t just big mammals wandering about which does this trick, but needs to be people.

    Another observation is that a very many old churches are built on these sorts of hot spots; the area feels spooky and dowsing equipment goes wild there. I don’t think that the religious aspect has anything to do with the spookiness, I think that this is natural variation which has simply been used by religious folks over the years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have wondered if ghosts can die. Or maybe move on somewhere or get reincarnated or whatever. Ghosts cannot surely be free of the energy rules of nature. Maybe if they have no energy source (whatever ghost-food might be) they simply fade away.

      Stonehenge was abandoned and ignored for a very long time. It could, perhaps, have just died.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Stonehenge was abandoned and ignored for a very long time. It could, perhaps, have just died.”

        No, I think it has been killed by greed, avarice and exclusion of the public.

        What its become is a disgrace. These places are meant for interaction. They are not monuments, but points of inspiration. Stonehenge has been killed by us putting it in an isolation ward.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Same thing at the site where they burned Maggie Wall. They built the cairn, then bunged a cross on top. Now it’s for tourists and hidden in the cracks between stones you’ll likely find silver coloured coins, or worse, copper coloured.

          https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/dunning/maggiewall/index.html

          Fortunately there’s no energy there, though at some stage there was (hence the cairn). Fortune for the brain dead morons who leave those coins; to keep you safe from a hex, the coin must contain silver and it’s best you use coinage from the time the person lived.

          My grandmother kept a purse with exactly that, going back 300 years. I have it and I could sell them for a handsome amount, however I never will. I know why she and my mother kept them as is – and I was forced to use one some time back. It’s cemented into a wall my neighbor disturbed when he removed a fireplace.

          (He’s developed bipolar, has tried suicide several times and been sectioned twice. I just hope he doesn’t try self immolation! And yes, at the time of his “alterations”, when I was very aware he’d pissed something off, he poo-pooed the whole thing and only grudgingly allowed me to provide the coin and watch it being cemented into place.)

          Liked by 2 people

          • This is why I won’t remove the deer skull in the holly tree. I have no idea why it’s there, maybe it was just put there for fun, but it’s been there long enough for the tree to grow around it. I’d have to cut off branches to free it.

            And, anyway, I quite like it πŸ™‚

            Liked by 2 people

  4. We have ghost dogs and cats. Sometimes something jumps off the bed upstairs. All dogs and the cat are downstairs. We know who it is though. A much loved dead cat. I see movement out of the corner of my eye. Nothing there of course. It’s reassuring actually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have never seen or, before, heard of a ghost cat. I always assumed that they’d think ‘Oh I don’t need food any more so I don’t need you’ and just buggered off.

      Ghost dogs are pretty common though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am reminded of a tale of a ghostly horse.

        Some friends of my mother tell a tale of seeing this apparition quite by accident. They own a thoroughbred mare, and whilst tough enough to survive daytime temperatures, they have found their horse too thin-skinned to tolerate winter night-time temperatures, so this mare gets brought in and put in a stable every evening.

        One evening, the man of the house was going out to fetch this mare in. The horse knew the routine and would normally be waiting for him by the gate, a behaviour entrained using food rewards. This time though, the horse was way away over the other side of the paddock. Thus the man, in true Yorkshire fashion shouted “Come on then you silly cow, you know it’s time!”.

        At which his mare nudged him from behind; she’s been standing by the gate, hidden by the hedge all along. Bemused he turned to his horse, then looked to the other one, which had vanished.

        Both he and his wife have now seen this ghost, and have done the normal due diligence which anyone in this sort of position does: check fencing, check for other horse, check for other horse jumping out of paddock and so on, and have drawn a blank.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never seen a ghost to my knowledge; however, my husband has seen a few, even from childhood. He saw my late father, who actually talked to him as there was a message he wanted to say. The most realistic was in a disused building in Liverpool, so much so that my husband greeted him. It was only when he mentioned the rude chap who hadn’t responded that he found out that he was a ghost and had died in a first aid room that he’d exited from. Apparently the building is on a list of most haunted in Liverpool.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Highly unlikely Leg’s. Those who have died very recently seem to have the ability to communicate with close family and there are numerous testimonials of mothers who knew their child had been killed in WW2. One was truly astonishing, because the mother was in bunk in a yacht when her pilot son popped in to say he was sorry.

    Actually seeing them takes an enormous amount of energy, and they have very little of that. So some people do actually “see” them, however they are unable to conjure up clothing. That’s one thing that catches out bullshit artists. Those who have experienced the phenomenon do – always – on reflection confirm they only made out the face and the body was shrouded in a sort of mist. It could be the reason why in these sightings people imagine a cloak or gown.

    Poltergeist are a different lot altogether, they seem to accumulate around girls going through puberty. Actually it’s a bit more tricky; they need to be girls who are lonely and for whatever reason, have a lousy relationship with their parents. They can make noises and shift things, but television and smartphones mean most kids don’t give a toss if they hear a very light tap in a skirting board.

    As you speculated there seems to be some form of transference to stones and on nights when the temperature and humidity is right, then apparitions can suddenly materialize. Lots of those in Edinburgh in the old town area. It’s almost like a video inasmuch as the apparition walks the same route, makes the same noise on every sighting – and in one case the lady walks into a wall. It’s a solid wall now, but it had a door about 200 years back.

    But meandering down Union Street fully clothed in broad daylight is something even very young children who died cannot do – and they have by far the greatest amount of energy.

    Liked by 1 person

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