pjthompson: (bigfoot)


1. Let me Thread you a story…(1-16)
2. We got us some spooky properties here in town, left over from the days of the Great Spirit Invasion of ’07.
3. Spirits poured into town from all over through a rip in the Space-Time Continuum, taking up residence in homes and businesses.
4. Madame Nimby, town exorcist, & her son Rupert sewed up the rip with existential thread and that kept new ghosts from coming through.
5. But they were so busy exorcising the ones already here they couldn’t keep up. It took a deal of time for things to settle down.
6. Most ghosts was just lost souls sucked through the rip by accident and easily persuaded to move on to a higher place.
7. Some, though, were stubborn & not inclined to persuasion. Folks who had those spirits in their homes & businesses had a tough choice.
8. Either move out or learn to live with haints. Some businesses made deals with the ghosts to stay quiet during business hours.
9. Likewise, some residents made similar deals, asking that the hauntings stop after everyone had gone to bed.
10. Still others just couldn’t live with the ruckus, or the spirits refused to cooperate. But we take care of our own.
11. The town banded together to build new homes & businesses for those forced out. That left about a dozen spooky abandoned buildings.
12. Madame & Rupert laid down salt & warding spells ‘round those places. Kept the bad spirits from wandering.
13. Nowadays our biggest problem is out-of-towner ghost hunters pestering us to do investigations (cuz we got us a ghosty reputation).
14. Some of these are sincere folks just wanting to understand the nature of the universe & we towners got no problem with them.
15. Others seem to see ghost hunting as entertainment. I don’t hold with people who use the lost souls of the dead that way.
16. But ain’t no spells for exorcising dilettantes. More’s the pity.

This story can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (The Siren)

What do Howard Hughes and the Gabrielino-Tongva Indians of Southern California have in common? It happens they shared a plot of land on the Westside of Los Angeles, separated by eons of time and circumstance. And they may also have shared a plot or two in the Otherworld.

While doing research on ghost hunting for a novel, I came across a book called Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Los Angeles by Jeff Dwyer. It’s part of a series, each set in a different city, and basically gives a brief overview of ghost hunting techniques and equipment followed by a long list of “haunted” locations.

Imagine my peaked interested when Playa Vista was listed, a stretch of land just down the hill from where I live, and part of the rampant development of the Ballona wetlands which once peacefully coexisted with the undeveloped runway of Hughes Aircraft. Howard Hughes refused to develop this land—the last piece of prime, “under-utilized” property on the desirable Westside of Los Angeles. At his death, the moneymen were wetting themselves in anticipation of the plunder. Because Hughes’s will situation was in chaos at the time of his death, it took many years, many lawsuits, and countersuits to get things squared away. The abandoned Hughes site contained old office buildings and engineering buildings, massive aircraft hangers (including the one where the Spruce Goose was assembled), and a runway. Movie companies were the only ones using this property for a long time, the empty hangers becoming sound stages. Parts of Titanic were filmed there, among other blockbusters. Raleigh Studios still retains these hangers, but the rest of the property has been highly developed.

hangers

Hughes Aircraft/Raleigh Studios hangers.

Enough strange things happened in these buildings that paranormal investigators came to check it out. Reportedly, the abandoned office buildings were especially active. A memorable episode of the paranormal T.V. show, Dead Famous, comes to mind, in which the intrepid investigators had many spooky adventures at the old Hughes complex. (I’m ashamed that I remember this—and so many other stupid-spooky shows—but I am a ghost show addict. I can’t help myself.) An anthropologist who worked on site reported the ghost of a small 1950s era white boy seen by many of the folk on the property. This little ghost even followed her home upon occasion. They also repeatedly saw “something colored bright white moving along just at the corner of their vision… For reasons that she was never quite clear on, she and the other workers came to the conclusion that the white shape seen moving in the lab was another spirit, specifically the ghost of Howard Hughes. As far as she knows, people on the project continue to see it.”

Finally, the lawyers and the moneymen stopped arguing and settled things in the courts. It was decided by the victors that the Hughes property would become a new live-work-play development (mixed residential, business, and entertainment) called Playa Vista. This was a massively controversial project from the start, as many wanted to protect the wetlands and the openness of the area, but the LA Board of Supervisors caved, as they always do when massive amounts of development money are involved. The Playa Vista project was bulldozed through the approval pipeline and the bulldozing of the Hughes property began.

Imagine everyone’s chagrin when the excavations uncovered human remains: what was left of a massive Gabrielino-Tongva Indian village and cemetery that had occupied the site for centuries (some say thousands of years) before Hughes got ahold of it. The developers were required by law to call in archaeologists, and tried to pass it off as a few paltry bones that they flung into a storage shed, treating them with great disrespect. It turned out this was a major archaeological site and around 411 bodies were recovered. The problem, as far as the Gabrielino-Tongva were concerned, is that their tribe is not federally recognized. This means they are not legally entitled to “repatriation”—that stipulation in U.S. Federal Law which requires Native American graves and artifacts to be treated with respect and reburied with tribal ritual after being disturbed. You can read about the whole sordid story in detail here and a more condensed version here.

Eventually, and with many years of pressure from Indian activists, the Playa Vista people agreed to set aside a memorial place where the bones could be shuttled out of the way of the development, out of sight of the rich folk, and reinterred. If this city blog can be believed, this took place on December 11, 2008. (I leave it to you to decide whether this memorial is cheesy.)

01_tongva

The Tongva Memorial

Now, as many a paranormal investigator will tell you, disturbed Indian gravesites are just asking for trouble. Some will say this attitude is racist, “blaming” the Indians for every weird quirk that happens on a property they once occupied. There are others who don’t look upon this as blaming the Indians, but perhaps as a matter of the disturbed dead seeking redress for the genocide visited upon them by Europeans. I probably fall into this latter camp, although it’s possible I am an unwitting racist. I would not be the first middle-class white girl reluctant to confess to that particular sin.

Regardless, Mr. Dwyer (you remember him from way up top at the start of this post?) states that, “Disturbance of these graves may be linked to strange mists that have been seen in the area. Small blue clouds float a foot off the ground and rise to a height of about four or five feet. At times they are stationary but sometime (sic) they move, slowly, against the wind.” Those pesky orbs so beloved of paranormal investigators have also been sighted and “there are reports of electrical and mechanical problems” at the construction site. “It is anticipated that occupants of several new homes and offices in this development will experience paranormal activity…”

I will confess that having lived in this area all my life and passed through that particular stretch of highway more times than I can count, “tooley” fog (aka tule fog) has always been prevalent on that road between the Westchester bluffs and La Ballona Creek (no more than a quarter mile north). This is one of the only places I know of on the Westside of LA where this fog happens and I’ve seen it many times, usually late at night. Although I don’t remember it ever being blue or moving against the wind. Mostly, it just sits like the spirit of malcontent, thick as dread, hugging the ground while ten feet off the earth the air is clear. The Ballona wetlands have always been an eerie place. Back in the day there were no streetlights, and at night that part of Lincoln Boulevard tended to be as dark as the heart of a developer, with nothing but empty fields, scattered and abandoned buildings, and that ground-hugging fog in the right weather. Driving through there late at night by myself really gave me the shivers. Not hard at all to imagine uneasy spirits even before they dug up those graves.

The development has civilized it somewhat, lifted the highway ten or fifteen feet (which was a good thing as it flooded rather badly when we actually had rain), put in streetlights and masses of butt-ugly buildings. The land west of Lincoln Boulevard was set aside as protected wetlands and a bird sanctuary, but Playa Vista continues to screw with the land and undercut the natural habitat of the wetlands. They have to be continuous monitored by environmentalists and activists. Besides all that, they ruined a perfectly good scary place and I will never forgive them for it, but I have to say, strange fogs are not particularly convincing to me as evidence of spirit activity.

ballona

Restored Ballona wetlands with southern range of butt ugly buildings.

butt ugly

Eastern reach of butt ugly buildings on the Hughes property.

Orbs spotted with the naked eye? Maybe. (On digital cameras—no, I don’t think so. Too many rational explanations.) Electrical and mechanical problems? Maybe. Or maybe not. Things flying around a Playa Vista apartment and horrid noises in the night? Now that I’d like to see—if anything like that had been reported. Which, as far as I know, it has not. And maybe that’s all the Playa Vista stories are at this point: resentful people like me who didn’t like to see that rapacious development and would enjoy casting a ray of darkness upon it for spoiling our fun.

But, aesthetic principles aside, I would not be caught dead living in one of those butt ugly buildings. Just in case.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (Default)
From the Simile of the Day Generator: Destiny is like a loaf of bread.

My parse: The more you eat, the less you have.

Or perhaps: Slather it in butter and you won't care.

Maybe: The Universe takes the loaf and leaves us the crumbs?

It's a good thing I don't do this every day or I might go insane(r).

The other thing I'm wondering on this alternately sunny and rainy day is why it is that we're here in December and most of the major cable networks have new "ghost" shows on. October I could see, but December? And SciFi (won't use the ridiculous new name) is running a Ghost Hunters marathon on Christmas Eve. Very festive. Here's the roundup:

FLN
  • Haunted Homes - It's hard to decorate when poltergeists are flinging your froufrous, but Martha has tips for decorating and clearing ceremonies. (Plus, she pretty scary herself.)
A&E
  • Paranormal State - Do paranormal infestations cause acne, I wonder?
  • A Haunting - In which A&E attempts to prove that demons are everywhere. Paranormal State has something of the same vibe.
  • Extreme Paranormal - Geeky and fey guys acting all macho with the dead folks.

DSC
  • Ghost Lab - Texas is big—and so are its paranormal investigators. Also, loud, bullying, and disrespectful. Disclaimer: I know for a fact all Texans are not like this. Most are good people.

SciFi
  • Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Hunters Academy - That's one hell of a franchise.

TLC
  • Ghost Intervention - From the producers of Ghost Hunters: how to get rid of the pests that GH proves you have.

BIO
  • Celebrity Ghost Stories - Ridiculous, yet kind of creepy. Especially the one David Carradine did three months before he died. It involved a haunted closet and an eerie experience with a tie. I'm absolutely serious.
  •    Ghostly Encounters - Short, Canadian, and truly eerie.
  •    Psychic Investigators, Psychic Kids, reruns of Haunted History - Ghosts are a great schedule filler at Bio.

HIS
  • Haunted History - Old, moldy, and venerable. Also, Ghosts of Gettysburg, and many another one-short ghost-themed show.

TRV
  • Ghost Adventures - This show has replaced Most Haunted on their line-up, which was far and away the most ridiculous show on TV. I'm not sure Ghost Adventures is much better—far too much testosterone going on—but it is a slight improvement.

TruTV (formerly Court TV)
  • Haunting Evidence - Because crime is worth exploiting in every possible way.

There are many, many more. I've probably watched all that have been broadcast in the U.S., one eye jaded, the other fascinated. When I'm not laughing outright, that is. It's strange that there should be such a crop of them, proliferating like circles in the fields of England, but people are obviously watching and boosting the ratings or they would not be breeding so. They fill some kind of hunger, but I can't figure out exactly what. For myself or anyone else.


Ghosts are like...where's a simile generator when you need one?
pjthompson: (Default)
I've become the links queen lately. I belong to several feeds and recently they've been hitting the strange sauce rather heavily. I'm going to try to confine the link salad to one or two days a week because Lawd knows ya'll have got quite enough to read as it is. But some of this stuff was too delicious not to pass along in hopes it tickles somebody's imagination.

Like this eerie tale of bones found in a basement and ghost hunters who claim an apparition showed them where to look.

Or this scholar who has come up with a method of decoding the Voynich Manuscript which has puzzled folks for centuries. Alas, her methodology seems to work quite well and is disappointingly mundane. Where are the arcane mysteries of yesteryear, I asks ya?

My synopsis here couldn't possibly top the headline for this article: "Sorry I ate your great-great grandpa." I think some of the comments have it right, though. Westerners have quite a lot to apologize for themselves.

Another sad tale of ancient Indian burials being disturbed in a cavalier manner.

You could not pay me to move into this subdivision. Respect, people. It isn't that hard to figure out.

Under the category of Neato Kobeato! you can now visit Pompeii through Google Street View.

EVPs

Aug. 31st, 2009 12:02 pm
pjthompson: (Default)
Perhaps I should have saved this one for Hallowe'en.

From the notebooks, May 13, 1998:


EVPs
(On hearing tapes of spontaneously-generated "spirit
voices," so-called EVPs: Electronic Voice Phenomenon)


The mumbling dead
speak non-sequiturs
as if they have forgotten
language, that thing
which made them most human.

“I came up with Betty;”
“I went to see the war”--
one-phrase grooves
that click on and off
with ancient preoccupations.

Sometimes what they say
freezes in my heart
and turns my lungs cold.
“The soul stays down here,”
says the voice from the crypt,
and I cannot catch my breath.

Are the souls of the dead
crowding round us even now,
like ekimmu out of Babylon,
jealous of the air we breathe,
hungry for the touch of flesh
they cannot possess?

Then give me oblivion.

If not the golden light,
if not even the fires below,
then I want nothing, nothing.
Anything but wandering feet
which cannot feel the road.
pjthompson: (Default)
Death Rentals in Italy*



That must be the Villa di Assassini Recidivi, I guess.

Or perhaps the Villa di Cacciatori Fantasmi.

Perhaps I have watched/read too much about serial killers and ghost hunters.






*Dream Villas in Italy
pjthompson: (Default)
In my apparent research into ghost hunting for my next novel, I came across a book called Ghost Hunter's Guide to Los Angeles by Jeff Dwyer. It's part of a series, each set in a different city, and basically gives a brief overview of ghost hunting techniques and equipment followed by a long list of "haunted" locations.

Imagine my peaked interested when Playa Vista was listed, the rampant development taking place where the Ballona wetlands once peacefully coexisted with the undeveloped runway of Hughes Aircraft. Hughes refused to develop this land—the last piece of prime, undeveloped land on the Westside of Los Angeles—so at his death the money men were wetting themselves in anticipation of the plunder. It was a massively controversial development from the start, as many wanted to protect the wetlands and the openness of the area, but the LA Board of Supervisors caved, as they always cave when massive amounts of money are involved. The Playa Vista development was bulldozed through the approval pipeline.

Imagine everyone's chagrin when the excavations of this property uncovered human remains: what was left of a massive Gabrielino-Tongva Indian village that used to occupy the site. The developers were required by law to call in archaeologists, and tried to pass it off as a few paltry bones which they flung into a storage shed, treating them with great disrespect. It turns out that this was actually a major archaeological site and nearly 400 bodies have been recovered so far. You can read about the whole sordid story here. (Long story short: the Indians got shafted yet again.) You can see pictures of the development and surrounding lands at [livejournal.com profile] doisneau's LJ here.

I remarked in this blog at the time that I really would not want to be part of that development or live in those units. Disturbed Indian grave sites are just asking for trouble. Mr. Dwyer states that, "Disturbance of these graves may be linked to strange mists that have been seen in the area. Small blue clouds float a foot off the ground and rise to a height of about four or five feet. At times they are stationary but sometime (sic) they move, slowly, against the wind." Those pesky orbs have also been sighted and "there are reports of electrical and mechanical problems" at the construction site. "It is anticipated that occupants of several new homes and offices in this development will experience paranormal activity..."

In which PJ undercuts the Halloween spirit somewhat. )
pjthompson: (Default)
You can view some atmospheric pictures of the notoriously haunted Waverly State Sanitarium here, plus a click through to an eery video, as well as read the commentary of someone who took the tour. Ghost Hunters will be doing their 6-hour live show from Waverly on Halloween night. I see a DVR recording in my future since that's way past my bedtime on a school night.

Apparently, the owners of Waverly want to turn it into a kind of haunted resort. Oh my. Herein lies my hypocrisy and contradictions. I think using the trapped and tormented spirits of the dead as entertainment like this is wrong—yet I eagerly gobble up all these ghost shows, and if I was anywhere near Waverly, I'd take the tour, or the one at Eastern State in Philadelphia, or any of the other infamously haunted places around the country.

I will further confess that the only reason I visited the Drum Barracks in Long Beach (actually adjacent Wilmington) is because they're supposed to have Civil War ghosts. My friend and I tried to surreptitiously get EVPs and took a lot of pictures, but we got nothing of scientific value. We did experience heavy atmosphere and creepy feelings: in other words, no evidence at all.

I guess I'm informally doing research for my novel, Venus in Transit, because I've been reading a number of books on ghost hunting and one of the MC's in that novel is a paranormal investigator. I hadn't planned on doing that, but the season has coincided with the time of year when I wonder what I'm going to work on next. VIT has the advantage of being two-thirds finished. I got close to 70k done on it before it went belly up. I went off on a tangent that didn't work, and I realized the ending was too nebulous, so it sort of died on the vine. I've had a few years to think about it and may have a new ending forming up. I also recently reread what I'd written, and everything but that tangent seems to hold up pretty well. (I can't say the same for the other older, unfinished novel I thought of working on, that which used to be called A Taste of Night before Vicky Petersson.)

And btw, those of you living in the Philadelphia area might be interested to know that Eastern State Penitentiary, abandoned and super-haunted prison, puts on a haunted house extravaganza this time of year with actors and special effects and loads of bloody-gory family fun.

I'd go in a minute if I was in the neighborhood. Even though that would be wrong.

Booga-booga, ya'll!
pjthompson: (Default)
1. Reiki can open up your energy to such an extent it will activate your mediumistic powers.

2. Green olives can deactivate your mediumistic powers, at least temporarily.

3. Steve Gonsalves used to be a police officer in Springfield, Massachusetts, my dad's home town.

3a. He had his own paranormal group before joining T.A.P.S. full time. Many of the members were in the closet about their ghost hunting because they worked for organizations like the FBI which might frown on such activity.

4. Brian Harnois used to be in the Air Force military police. This scared me more than the ghosts.

5. Grant and Jason are friends with the writer, Jodi Picoult.

6. Sometimes evilbad people try to fool the ghost hunters with fake ghosts!

7. Donna, their case manager, is an "Environmental Engineer." I find myself wondering if this is anything like a "Sanitation Engineer."

And I've only read 32 pages. Think of how knowledgeable I will be when I've finished the entire 273 pages.


*Ghost Hunting: True Stories of the Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Soceity by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Michael Jan Friedman
pjthompson: (Default)
The Month and a Half From Heck is finally over:

☛ One of the busiest end of the fiscal years I've experienced in awhile
☛ Followed closely by the Meeting From Hell Heck preparation
☛ Painting and furniture moving and re-moving
☛ Another tribe of workmen disrupting the routine of the household (one more tribe to go and then we've exhausted our redecorating resources—and then some)
☛ Some numbskull deciding to push forward with the 2nd draft of her novel during all this, after only about a week off from the 1st draft

There are far worse things that could have happened to me during this time, so it gets a Heck designation rather than Hell, but it did leave me rather exhausted. After the meeting on Tuesday I collapsed in a heap. Oh, I still came into work Weds-Fri, but I wasn't exactly at my best, just dragging through. I gave up trying to write anything some time the week before, am still on vacation from writing (need to refill the well), and I gave myself permission to be a complete vegetable this weekend.

I was looking forward, with the perversity of a true ghost afficionado, to the six hour event Most Haunted Live which went off 9 p.m. Friday night from the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. I'd just had my new DVR box from my cable company installed on Tuesday (with a return visit on Friday since they didn't do it right on Tuesday) and I'd already successfully recorded three episodes of Ghost Hunters, one hour of the medium Lisa Williams, and had the WE Tv line up of supernatural programs on Saturday night to look forward to (Rescue Mediums is a hoot, followed by John Edward). Because it's the time of year it is, there were other ghostly things to be had on Discovery and whatever the hell channel runs Ghostly Encounters (Sundays). (October always brings enough ghostly programming to choke even a devotee like myself.)

So I figured I could at least make it through midnight on the Most Haunted live event (I usually make it at least that late on Fridays), then watch the rest at my leisure, plus have all those other trashy programs to watch when I felt like it. Dudes, I was sound asleep in my chair by about 10:15. I must have been out at least twenty minutes, because on reviewing the Most Haunted recording the next day there's a big chunk in there that I had absolutely no recall of. I decided not to try to make it to 12, went to bed and slept very soundly.

It had been a very long time since I'd completely vegged out on a Saturday—I literally can't remember the last time I did that. But I did last Saturday, and it felt wonderful. I spent hours with the cat on my lap watching ghostly programming until I started to wonder about my psyche and this fascination with seeing dead people. (I still wonder, frankly, and have no solidly convincing answer for myself.) I didn't even read during that time, just sat there gawp-mouthed.

Sunday was more productive, but then I felt more rested. And now L.A. is surrounded by flame, dozens of wildfires, and a thick coating of ash on my car when I went out this morning (and yes, that means we're also breathing that crud). Dead trees, dead houses, a dead church, dead animals, and at least one dead person. We're haunted every year at this time with flame, and heroic firemen make heroic stands to save people and homes. And still we learn nothing from it. And still we rebuild in the same places and push on with our lives.

It makes me wonder about our collective psyches. I have no answers for that, either, that aren't knee-jerk and simplistic.
pjthompson: (Default)
Ghost Hunters of the day: I can't believe that goofy Brian is now a father. My only thought was, "I hope the mom isn't the psycho he was involved with in earlier episodes." (Not that it's any of my business.)

And what's up with the show being over for the summer? They were on all of six weeks, I think. Both of the episodes from last night—the Manson murders and the Chaplin studios in Hollywood—could easily have been hour episodes on their own so I don't see why they were truncated. The Manson stuff was truly creepy.

It was also interesting to see Chris Fleming of Dead Famous on the show (as seen on the Biography Channel). IMO, Chris is somewhere between Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters on the credibility scale. He combines tech with mediumship, though no mediumship was evident on the Ghost Hunters episode. I just have a very hard time buying "channeling" and orbs. I notice that Grant, Jason, and Chris will be appearing at a ghost hunt on the Queen Mary in December? Two hundred thirty dollars a head, if you wanted to attend. A little rich for my blood.

Interesting fact of the day: Today my biological father would have been 107 years old. I was born in the last quarter of his actual life, but it still amazes me that he was so old when I showed up, and that the anniversary of his life was so very long ago. It's like I was living with ghosts since the day I was born. Rest in peace, dad.

Random quote of the day:

"The life of the dead consists in being present in the minds of the living."

—Cicero

I swear to God this came out of the quote file after I wrote the two entries above. Sometimes the synchronicity of this file floors me.

Picture of the day:

I decided to illustrate this quote with this image.

Here is the photographer's story about that day.
pjthompson: (Default)
So I'm thinking of giving up writing to become a Reiki Master. Either that or a ghost hunter.

I think you can see how the three are related, right?


Random quote of the day:

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."

—Scott Adams
pjthompson: (Default)
✒I got good news about my bad ankle from the foot doctor yesterday: the exercise program is working. I won't have to have surgery or take gut-shredding medication. Huzzah.

✒My favoritest show in the whole wide world started its new season last night: Ghost Hunters. Dig those wacky plumbers! Which means I still didn't watch my tape of Wire in the Blood.

✒I've spent the day designing the most ridiculous airship ever. It's been loads of fun, but I'm not sure it would ever get off the ground--or stay in the air. Cartoony, but fun. Frank Reade meets Loony Tunes. If form follows function, this probably doesn't function at all. Must make prettier, sleeker.

✒I spent another $50 at Amazon, justifying it with the "I need it to write my novel" excuse. Okay, maybe I needed one of those books. The others were just because. I will never be out of debt.

✒Being a writer is one of the wackiest things on earth. It means you have to get intimately acquainted with all sorts of strange subject matter: airships/hot air balloons, flintlocks, air currents, string theory, boundary branes, men's underwear...

✒Here's a funny link: Indiana Jones loses tenure.

ETA: Oops. Did that last one already. That's how random my brain is these days.


Random quote of the day:

"All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question 'What are light quanta?' Nowadays every rascal thinks he knows, but he is mistaken."

—Albert Einstein, letter to Michel Besso, 1951

Hangin'

May. 7th, 2006 01:15 pm
pjthompson: (Default)
Hangin' out with belly problems watching the Ghost Hunters marathon on SciFi. Love that show. The plumbers are the only credible ghost hunters on TV. All the others are mostly only good for laughs.

Also thinking about werehorses.

Last night I finished Moon Called by Patricia Briggs because [livejournal.com profile] buymeaclue recommended and I'd been curious about it. Liked it alot. She gives a much more coherent review here then I could hope to do today and which I pretty much agree with. Go, read.

That is all.
pjthompson: (Default)
They're real—and they're spectacular.

Or maybe they're just dust bunnies.

Whatever. Kev said I must post these, and I always do what Kev says. Some people think orbs are spirit or energy emanations and I've heard they're best captured on digital cameras, so huh. Other people think they're just floating dust particles flaring when the flash hits them. I reserve judgment. Wouldn't want to fall under the spell of any "left over hippy sh*t." I do know that when it comes to my apartment, Dust Never Sleeps, especially around the various screens in the place, so huh. But the only places in my apartment I got orbs was here at the computer station and over the mantel. And in all my years of taking pictures (gazillions of pictures) I don't remember ever getting them before. But I could be confused. In fact, likely.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here's where I hang out online when at home. Please note the enormous orb on the screen of the old TV on top of the filing cabinet, and in the old computer screen. Please note that I haven't yet gotten all the files off the dinosaur computer so it's still sitting there reflecting orbs back at me—mocking me, pleading with me not to trash it, flinging Albert Camus quotes into my face. There's also a very faint orb in the screen of the iMac, but it doesn't show up so good here.

Albert Camus: "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

(Which is a seriously upbeat quote for ol' Al, but I love it.)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

There are actually eight orbs in this close up, some of them pretty faint. If you want to find them yourself, don't read the rest of this.


Orbs: (1) the big 'un on the TV, (2) one off the left edge of the TV, (3) a small 'un between the copyholder and the calendar, (4) another small faint one in the bottom right edge of picture next to the calendar, (5) a small, faint one just below TV on filing cabinet, (6) a large, faint one in the upper left corner of picture, (7) a small, faint one just above the big 'un, (8) another small, faint one on the upper left edge around the TV screen.
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I've been reading a book for the last couple of months: _Ghost_ by Katherine Ramsland. One reason it's taking me so long to get through it is because, well, it's not much of a book. Just interesting enough to pick it up now and again to read a few more sections, but not so compelling that I'm ripping right through it. It purports to be "nonfiction," relaying how Ms. Ramsland got drawn into the world of ghost-hunting and her explorations of that world. That sounds like an interesting premise, right? Unfortunately, she manages to repeat the same information over and over without ever heading anywhere in particular. It wanders, meanders, drifts, wearing out plenty of shoe leather but never arriving at a destination. And she's always declaiming about wanting to keep her scientific objectivity--but there isn't a hell of a lot of objectivity in evidence. She hypes up the drama promising thunderous revelations...which never quite come off as advertised. Many times, though, there are moments of unintentional humor; instances when Ms. Ramsland comes off as something of a dim bulb with a Ph.D. It mystifies me how some books get into print.

So what's the point of all this besides sour grapes? Well, I have a confession to make. (Isn't that what blogs are for?) Another reason it's taking me so long to read this book is because I'm highly suggestible when it comes to this ghost cr!p. I can't read this book past late afternoon, when dusk starts gathering, because my imagination starts to do a hoodoo dance with me. I expect whangdoodles to slither out of the closet; haints to materialize from out of the gloaming; bogles to go bump in the night with extreme attitude.

Which is not to say I believe in ghosts. Some days I most definitely do not. Like Mark Twain said, "I do not believe in ghosts, but I am afraid of them." I've had just enough creepy, unexplained things happen to me that I've got the notion something's going on, but I don't want to have that notion confirmed--no sirree. I've always been more comfortable with oracles that leave me room for doubt. I don't want absolute confirmation or confrontation. I don't want to *see* anything or hear anything that might rip aside that safe little curtain of rationality. I'm content with the afterimage of presence, the fading smell of manifestation. I reserve a part of my brain for doubt and rational explanations. I need to maintain the ability to retreat there, even if another big part of me gets caught up in the airy-fairyhood, even if another big part of me loves that frisson and seek out things which make my spine rattle with it. But only at a safe remove.

Having a good imagination can be a powerful tool for both good and evil. And I have a brain that is perfectly comfortable with holding irreconcilable ideas within the same skull. Who needs to have a devil on one shoulder, an angel on the other? I've got that pitched battle going on daily in my own twee brain (matinees Sat-Sun). This believer/skeptic thing is just one of my many dichotomies.

It comes down to this: if the universe is stranger than we can imagine, it must be very strange indeed. And if that's the case, anything is possible. And if _that's_ the case, I'd rather not have that confirmed--if it's all the same to you.

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