Monthly Archives: March 2016

Why Do We Need A Sasquatch?

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I’ve noted previously that I listen to a podcast hosted by Shannon LeGro, Ryan Sprague and Sam Shearon called Into the Fray.  The linked episode is the St. Patrick’s day edition of the podcast and features an appearance by well known podcaster Micah Hanks of The Gralien Report.  The show ranges widely over a number of topics and is well worth a listen.

I was intrigued, however, by a question that Micah Hanks brought up during the course of the discussion.  He asked, setting aside the ‘reality’ of Sasquatch and the hunt for evidence, even supposing that there was no actual physical creature that we could point to and call a Sasquatch, why is it that human beings have had some version of this creature in their folklore for literal centuries?  I think that is quite a good question and it got me to thinking.

As with all good questions, this one does not have a single answer so follow along as I jump down this rabbit hole for a moment.

I think that Mr. Shearon has a valid point.  Since the human being became more ‘civilized’ and spent less time being afraid of being eaten in the night, it seems that our species of hominid has delighted in scaring itself.  From the ancient ‘fairy’ tales and ghost stories to big budget, epic scare-fests like Jurassic World, we seem to delight in scaring the beejesus out of ourselves and those around us.  What better way to spice up a trip into the woods than inventing a creature that moves through the forest like a giant wraith and might just snatch you when you are not looking?

In relation to the idea that we like scaring ourselves, that fear can also serve a useful purpose as Sasquatch makes a terrific booger man.  In cultures where human children do not spend all their time indoors, glued to video games or cell phones, stories often arise that are designed to prevent kids from wandering too far from home or going into certain areas.  I suspect that Sasquatch, along with a host of other creatures serves this purpose in some societies.

I think that another factor that springs up, also related to fear, is the fact that the wilderness, particularly at night, can be a scary place.  Even if there are no giant bipedal apes running about, there are still plenty of sounds and movements in the bush that get our attention and make our imaginations run wild.  While our logical mind seeks an explanation for what we are sensing and for the creepy feeling of being watched that humans sometimes get, our story telling brain cannot help but invent monsters like the Sasquatch to fill the dark corners of our mind.   Again, we circle back to the fact that we love to scare ourselves.

I think, too, especially amongst modern victims of the ‘we now know almost everything there is to know’ scientific establishment, there is a need for mystery, a driving need to have something that can not be easily explained, dissected, put in a box with a custom label, archived and forgotten about.  I think that there is a strong desire, despite our apparent worship of science and technology, to thumb our noses at the establishment and what better way to do that then by believing in and developing lore about a creature that so-called science dismisses outright and with extreme prejudice?

Related to this idea, is the thought that, humans are explorers by nature.  I see no reason why the species would have spread as it has if we did not have some instinctual chip in our heads that made us constantly ask, “I wonder what is over that hill?”.   Linked to this desire to explore is a curiosity that makes us want to see what actually lives in the deep ocean and possibly even the vast reaches of space.  Why would we be excited about going to Mars or some other planet unless we truly are a curious and exploratory organism?  Unless we have been paralyzed by the instinct squelching ‘publish or perish’ atmosphere of academia, humans have displayed a talent for contriving reasons to go ‘over there’ and one of the reasons we see more and more today is the search for Sasquatch.

In short, I feel that there are numerous reasons why Sasquatch is found in human lore.  The Hairy Man represents something visceral and real to us.  In my own view, it is a representative of the very spirit of the forest and this is why, if there were no such creature and even if there were no such legend, I believe that people would have invented it.


The Perception of Evil

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Since I am going to be talking about a flavor of Christian practice, I want to make it very clear that I have no bone to pick with Christianity and Christians in general.  I strongly disagree with some of the theological implications of Christianity but I have known too many people who have benefited from Christian religion and who lead lives in which they try to follow the example of their Master.  I even know some serious neo-pagan types who have the occasional conversation with the Christ energy and those interactions have been healing to them.

There exists within Christianity, however, a fundamentalist subset whose narrow-mindedness is, in my view, dangerous.  I happened to hear one of these individuals on a podcast not long ago, talking about a set of hostile hauntings that he ‘endured’ and spouting his particular brand of belief whenever he had the opportunity.  While I will defend to the death this man’s right to believe whatever he wants, his brand of ‘spiritual warfare’ is not only insulting to the beliefs and practices of others but is, in my opinion, hazardous to those who are facing paranormal incursions.

To be certain that I fully understood what this man was saying, I actually read one of his books over the weekend.  During the course of reading this work, I learned that:

  1. The religious community in the area around this person’s home was apparently out to get him because he did not profess the exact same beliefs they did.
  2. In addition, this entire area was a  wretched hive of scum and villainy second only to Mos Eisley space port and filled with Satanists and ‘witches’ (the author specifically attacks the religious community in the area but I am not going to put those attacks in print).
  3. While I acknowledge PowWow as a form of traditional witchcraft, the author’s ignorance is such that he lumps it in with Wicca and seems to think there is some similarity in practice.
  4. In addition, First Nations people still practicing their traditional beliefs are “pagan” and obviously in league with Satan since they do not follow Christianity.
  5. The First Nations people were responsible for part of the issue on ‘his’ land since those pagan folk cursed the land when the good Christian white people took it from them in another of a long series of ridiculously unfair treaties.
  6. All paranormal activity is the result of demonic (i.e. fallen angels) activity.
  7. Giving money to televangelists will lead to opportunities for your ‘deliverance’ if you are ‘oppressed’ by ‘demons’.

I can only call this sort of black and white, us vs. them thinking paranoid and dangerously delusional.  I certainly think that it is the case that a hostile haunting might benefit from the services of a qualified Christian exorcist, depending on the type of infesting entity, but, even in those circumstances, we are talking about an individual who has been ordained, been through a rigorous apprenticeship with an exorcist inside their denomination and is intimately familiar with the rites of exorcism for his or her denomination.  The efficacy of such an exorcism, whether carried out on a building or a person, is then going to depend on the faith of the exorcist, his or her relationship with their god and helping spirits (angels) and the type of spirit that is being addressed.

I really feel that this individual created most of his own problem by being pugnacious but I do not have the space to go into that here.  Suffice to say that, if, instead of immediately assuming that the odd things happening in his home were the result of ‘demonic activity’ and going into ‘spiritual warrior’ mode, this person had sought the calm of meditation and tried to discern what he was dealing with, he might have saved himself a lot of pain.  He freely admits that it is very likely that battles were fought between First Nations people and white settlers on or around his land.  Gettysburg should teach us that those who die in battle can be restless.  Rather than assuming that Satan was out to get him, this fellow could have used the services of a qualified medium to assist him in finding out what spiritual presences were there and what they wanted or at least how best to appease those forces and live lightly with them.

Instead, the author tried repeatedly to cast the spirits out of his home.  He addressed them as if they were demonic and thus invited the presence of exactly what he was afraid of: disharmonic entities that fed off the fear of human beings.  Reading the book, I could not help but note how the haunting continued to escalate, the more this individual tried to end it using techniques taught to him by ministers on TV and DVD.  Personally, I suspect that, if he had spoken nicely to one of those ‘witches’ he was always railing about in the neighborhood, they would have been able to advise him on how to live with the spirits on his land.

What is sad to me about the whole scenario is that this person never learned the lesson that spirits, like people, are often simply looking for a little respect and compassion. While there are beings that certainly need to be removed from human habitations, more often than not, it is actually the humans who need to adapt and be flexible enough to live with the unseen neighbors who surround them.


Protection Dogs of Another Sort

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Here is a picture of the newest addition to my family.  As of this writing, we have not decided on a name yet but he came from rescue called Nato so that is what we are using for now.  He was a stray, found and dropped at a high kill shelter with an embedded harness requiring surgery.  The outlook was pretty bleak for him until a local rescue organization picked him up, got a vet to treat him and then put him up for adoption.

This is one of my personal crusades.  Although I love pure-bred dogs like Golden Retrievers and Irish Wolfhounds, there are so many dogs of mixed heritage that need homes that I can not, in good conscience, do anything but rescue when I need a canine companion.

My last dog, who passed over in December, was a rescue from the pound local to us at the time.  She was a Border Collie mix who went on to work search and rescue and to be a faithful companion for thirteen years.  We knew we could never replace her but we also knew that we missed having dog energy around so, after giving ourselves a little time to mourn, we started checking Petfinder and found this little fellow.

Now, here is the interesting part for all you magical / Fortean / paranormal folks out there.  Nato had not been in my apartment more than a couple of hours before he stopped playing (he is very much a prey/play driven pup), sat down and stared at the space around my protection altar, cocking his head and very cutely letting me know that he could see and/or hear the house protector spirits.  I politely asked my spirit guardians and ancestors to accept him into the family and he went about his merry way.

It seems to me that I once saw a ghost hunting team on TV using a dog as a detection device.  There is something to be said for this idea.  Dogs have a long history in the lore of strong association with the dead and liminal places.  Dogs also have senses that detect things in ranges we could not even imagine, both visually, aurally and olfactorily.  There is a reason that police officers and special forces personnel use dogs as part of their arsenal; dogs can detect danger much earlier than a human and, if properly trained, will alert to it and even go after the source.

In much the same manner, most books on psychic and magical protection will tell you to watch animals in the house, particularly dogs and cats, for unusual behavior if you suspect the presence of unwelcome spirits or magical energies.  In my own experience, this usually entails repeatedly going back to a particular spot, staring, ear twitching, abnormal aggressive behavior such as growling or teeth baring or abnormal fright behavior such as tail tucking, ear lowering and crouching.

If your normally confident and outgoing dog, stands and stares at a spot in your house (or elsewhere), suddenly drops his tail and ears and slinks away or begins barking and showing teeth for no apparent reason then you might have a spirit incursion or strong concentration of negative energies that needs to be sorted out.  Remember to be sensible and check for mundane reasons for the behavior (you might simply have mice in the walls) but, if you can find no logical reason why this behavior happened and, especially, if it continues, then you might want to seek professional help or at least take up a regular banishing practice until it resolves.

While I never encourage people to ‘freak out’ about spirits and magic, acknowledging that most things can be banished by laughter, I also strongly encourage people not to ignore these things and hope that they go away.  Many haunting and curse stories start with an pet being unaccountably upset and then progressing to manifestations that the humans sense.  View your animals and particularly your ever-faithful dogs as a valuable early warning system in times of psychic trouble just as you count on them to alert you should someone burgle your home.


The Idol of Nightmares

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It seems that Greg and Dana Newkirk, from the Week in Weird, have an open line to the really strange.  Not long ago, I wrote about a report that they placed on their blog about Black Eyed Kids.  I’ve been meaning, for some time, to take a look at another article of theirs that had caught my attention: The Idol of Nightmares. I had seen this post from December 2015 referenced on Facebook and a couple of other sources that I follow but just had not had time to follow up on it.   Please note that the picture above actually came from the original blog post.  Given the content of the piece, I did not feel comfortable posting a picture of the actual ‘idol’.

Please read the full article linked above as it is quite interesting from a purely paranormal perspective.  In summary, the Newkirks were contacted by a gentleman who found a burlap wrapped package in the attic of their home.  After unwrapping the item, the homeowners discovered that it was a long faced black statue (pictures are available on the Week In Weird site but be aware that the viewing the item has caused some people to have nightmares).  After opening the ‘idol’, the family members began to experience bad dreams and, when they tried to rid themselves of the figurine, paranormal occurrences in the home.   The Newkirks took the item for their Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and Occult and Mr. Newkirk, as well as others who came into contact with the ‘idol’ suffered from nightmares as a result.

I have noted, in previous writing, some of the dangers of collecting articles that are purportedly haunted or ‘possessed’.   My own psychic senses agree with those of the New Orleans voodoo practitioner Mary Millan (aka Bloody Mary) – the statue could have been put “there for for a thousand reasons and <be> tasked with a thousand jobs”.  This priestess recommended what I would call “having a chat” with the ‘idol’ after making an offering of rum and tobacco (common in that tradition) as well as some cleansing ideas for the family that had handed over the figurine.  This lady also gave some recommendations for re-purposing the figurine, again, with rituals from her own tradition.

Many people, when they think of magic, default automatically to the movies and the wonderful special effects that are seen in blockbusters with magical characters (think Gandalf’s epic struggle with the Balrog in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy or Dave’s battle with Morgana in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).  The truth is that magic is normally much more subtle.  One develops a feel for magic over time as the seeming coincidences pile up and one can no longer ignore the fact that “this stuff is working!!” Often, to be really effective, magic needs a link into the physical world and thus we have whole disciplines of magic devoted to the creation of potions, dusts, ointments, elixirs, talismans, etc. whose sole purpose is to bring specific energies through into this realm.

The statue inherited by the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and Occult is such a physical link for a magical act.  My feeling for the item is that it is a protective talisman with a spirit literally bound to it.  This linkage makes the artifact volatile since my sense is that the linkage is not entirely voluntary but was forced on the spirit in some way.  An example of this type of forced pairing would be found in the stories from the Middle East of items of jewelry that have djinn bound to them.  Please note, I am not saying that a djinn is bound to this piece; the spirit attached to this article does give me a more African tribal feeling but this may be influenced by the appearance of the statue.  It is definitely not a being of ‘smokeless fire’ though.

In this case, we have a situation where a being is being held against its will.  The nightmares and paranormal phenomenon associated with the figure are partially due to its anger at its situation and partially due to the being trying to uphold its end of the ‘deal’ by driving humans away from a particular locale.

I do not feel that binding spirits is a useful exercise.  If I were the holder of this artifact, I would seek the release of the spirit or, if the spirit refused to be released (this will sometimes happen when a spirit feels it has a debt to work off), the item needs to be placed in a specific location and the spirit told to ‘guard’ that area.  The spirit should be ‘fed’ regularly (rum, tobacco, incense or some other easy to obtain offering), appreciated for its work and released from service as soon as it feels that its debt is paid.  In short, the spirit should be treated as you would want to be treated if the situation were reversed.


Missing 411: Faery Led?

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I have finally gotten copies of David Paulides’ Missing 411 books and am making my way through them slowly (lots of other reading to do). I am finished with the Eastern United States book and will be going on from there. I realize that Mr. Paulides has now moved into some city cases so I am a little behind the times but I felt a need to get down some thoughts and impressions that I have had since I last wrote about this subject.

First of all, I will state right away that I am not attached to any one solution for this mystery and, furthermore, that I do not feel that there is a universal explanation of the cases. As I have said in the previous writings just linked, there are multiple causes for these disappearances. My own psychic experiences have only enhanced this opinion.

Here are some of the other things that have come out as I have investigated in my own psychic and magical way:

  1. A spirit with whom I have a very close relationship got very uncomfortable when I brought up these cases. Now understand that this being is very protective of me but the spirit warned me outright that some of these cases are the results of predators that “are not of this world” coming through and taking people. I asked specifically if this was related to what humans call ET abduction and the spirit showed me that these ‘predators’ were simply alien and not necessarily in the sense of being off planet.
  2. In one shamanic journey that I took, I asked to be shown the site of a recent disappearance. I was transported into a wooded area (sorry, I am not sure where exactly this was – the vision could have been entirely symbolic) and shown a path that led by a huge boulder in what looked to be old growth forest. At first, I did not notice anything amiss but, as I walked around the area in spirit, I became aware that the feel of the place seemed ‘off’. I changed my angle of view and realized that there was, for want of a better term, a hole in the pathway. I approached carefully as the animal guide with me was not happy about any of this and noted that, when I looked directly into the hole, my perception was of looking into space. I believe that anyone who walked into the hole would not likely be seen again.
  3. As I read the Missing 411 book noted above, it became obvious that, in many instances, the person missing could not be tracked by dogs and left little sign behind for human trackers. In those cases where tracking did work, the subject behaved in a completely uncharacteristic manner – wandering off of safe trails, out of back yards, away from the safety of homes – only to disappear and either never be seen again or to be recovered later under mysterious circumstances. As I read, I could not help but recall the faery lore of Europe where those Faery of the ‘Unseelie” variety, the ones who view humans as prey or, at best, subjects for cruel sport, would attract the attention of a human and then lead them away into the Otherworld. Often this dastardly deed would be accomplished by the appearance of lights that led the subject into a swamp or marsh (geography that appears often in the 411 cases) or by the use of glamour to make the person believe they were following a trusted companion or by the use of glamour to seduce the traveller into following. In any event, the person who was Faery led generally disappeared completely (or sometimes drowned in a swamp) and was only ever seen again if the Faery released him or her, often through the exigency of a concerned relative who knew the lore of recovery.

Given my own impressions of heavy Faery activity in an area not far from one of the Missing 411 clusters (I lived for a while in the Catskills, near the Adirondacks) and the discomfort expressed by both spirit helpers above, it certainly seems likely that some of the predators not of this world are Faery in origin and, if we look with eyes to see, we understand that there is a large body of lore that bears on the Faery kidnapping humans, particularly children.  I would note, too, the prevalence of bad weather following these events; The Fae certainly have the ability to effect local weather patterns and have been known to do so when locals aroused either their affection or ire.