Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Night Noises

We all know that houses can produce unexplained noises in the night, and we've learned to dismiss most of them and go back to sleep. I remember a year ago when I was sure there was someone in the house with us, because I thought I heard a door close upstairs, but later I was able to rationalize that our windows were open and I probably just heard the next-door neighbors opening their front door.

There have been a couple of incidents I am hard put to explain. The first happened several years ago and involved a pile of ashes on our dining room table. We were preparing for a Christmas Eve dinner with guests, and I had put a new white tablecloth on the table. We left the house and went to the commissary (grocery store for you who are not military-connected) to pick up a few last minute things, and when we returned an hour later, found a pile of ashes, about a tablespoon's worth, on the table, on top of that pristine tablecloth, an incongruously neat little pile of ashes where ashes could not possibly be. We were never able to solve the mystery of how they got there. No fireplace, no light fixture above the table, no signs of forced entry, no reason for the ashes to be there. The former resident of the house, who had died in the middle bedroom of cancer, had been a smoker. Had he dropped in for a visit, or for a smoke? We'll never know.

A few months ago we moved to another house. Last night I was sound asleep when I woke a few minutes after 3 a.m. to a loud crash in the kitchen, just down the hall from our bedroom. I stumbled out of bed, and accompanied by my two dogs who mistakenly thought it was morning and they were going to get something to eat, felt my way to the kitchen.

I was groggy and did not even think to feel for the light switch in the hall. Since the light switch in the kitchen was on the far side of the room, I stood peering into the darkness until I spotted something round and dark lying in the middle of the floor. When I picked it up, I found that it was a small frying pan. But how had it ended up more than 3 feet from the drying spot on top of the dishwasher where I had set it after washing it the night before?

My husband's reasoning: it must have fallen off the counter and rolled there. Possible? Certainly, but it doesn't fit my memory of where I set the pan, which was not near the edge, the lack of earthquakes in our vicinity, and my memory of the sound I heard, which sounded like something had fallen flat on the floor, not rolled or scooted or bounced. So, natural event or ghost cat or ghost chicken (poultry-geist)? No way to know for sure.

Well, the pan was unharmed, so no point worrying about it. . . unless it happens again! Cue spooky music.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Increased Traffic

With understated wit, cartoonist Mark Anderson has taken a humorous look at one possible consequence of the public's increased interest in the paranormal.

The desire to contact spirits and a new sport called ghost hunting, which used to be of interest to only small segments of society, have attained popularity and become mainstream. Could this possibly lead to decreased bandwidth in the spirit world? Probably not, but it's a very funny cartoon.

Do you ever wonder what the ghosts who haunt sites visited regularly by ghost tours think about the increased traffic? Do the spirits there gossip and joke about the wide-eyed tourists who parade through their homes with flashing cameras after the crowds have gone home? I hope so. Somehow, I feel it's only fair to complete the circle. What goes around comes around, you know.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Debunking the Poltergeist Fakers

Here's another great debunking video from Patrick Doyle. I love the way he studies the fakes and then reproduces them. It's hard to argue with the results. Most intelligent people can figure out by the way people "sell" their videos, often with their outrageous claims of proof or elaborate set-ups with spooky music in which they tell us things like "this is the most haunted house in the most haunted city of [fill_in_the_blank], but most of us don't have the time or know-how to actually figure out how they did it and call them out.

Most of what is on YouTube or other sites, whether video or photographic evidence, either has a perfectly natural explanation or is being manufactured as a practical joke on you. Seriously, don't be gullible. Question everything. I especially like one quote Patrick used in this video: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Don't just take someone's word for it.

Watch more Haunted Hoax episodes HERE.