Pentagram Pizza with Idolatrous Sprinkles

That’s our idol, and we will see you in court!  The Satanic Temple is going after Netflix for using their Baphomet in the new “Sabrina the Satanic Witch” series. (OK, its real name is Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.  Via The Daily Grail.)

I think I blogged her before. Or I should have: “Orgasms I have with my spirit lovers have been way more satisfying than any I’ve had with ordinary men.” (No, it was someone else who had a “sex with ghosts” website, now 404’d.)

An underground chamber has been located under the Pyramid of the Moon in the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacán. Was it a place for initiatory or shamanic ceremonies, or was it where they kept the . . . special Beast? (Via The Daily Grail.)

A Room Full of Eerie, Masked Idols Has Been Discovered in Peru. “Deep in the enormous citadel of an ancient Peruvian culture, archaeologists have uncovered a corridor containing 19 mysterious black wooden statues.”  “We assume they are guardians,” said an archaeologist. Or maybe they were special Beasts. (Via The Daily Grail.)

Got Ghosts with Your Historic House?

When I was handling the sale of my mother’s Arizona home after her death, the real estate agent and I were perched on the kitchen counters doing the paperwork, because the furniture had already been moved out.

Working through a long sale-listing questionnaire, I came to a question asking if the property were haunted. “You’re kidding!” I said.

“Oh no,” he said. “That’s Arizona law. You have to disclose if the house might be haunted. It’s based on a court case from some years back.”

I checked “No.”

But what if you are the buyer? You have found, perhaps, your perfect restoration project. “Everything is going smoothly until your electrician meets you at the top of the basement stairs and tells you you’re going to have to find another electrician. He’s not going down in the basement again. Ever.”

So writes M. Elwell Romancito in a recent issue of Enchanted Homes, a slick magazine of Taos, New Mexico-area real estate ads published by the Taos News. Also known as Melody Romancito, she is an artist, muscian, journalist, audio-video editor, ghost hunter and exorcist, which just goes to show that to live the bohemian life in a place like Taos, you need a few arrows in your quiver.

Her suggestions range from tidying tools and clearing remodeling trash (“This goes a long toward appeasing spirits who take to hiding tools.”) to keeping a journal of times, dates, and nature of each paranormal occurrance.

Antique furniture should also be regarded with suspicion: “Inquire about the history of an item before buying it.”

While “several locals have reported that bringing in Tibetan Buddhists for a house clearing . . . has been effective,” if things get tough, contact some other religious leader or “do a Google search for ‘Taos psychic medium.'”

I tried that and got 10,600 hits. Of course, a lot of them were actually in Santa Fe.

Wiccan Ghost-Hunting in India

If you are of a certain age — or if you hang around the “occult” section in used-bookstores — you might remember the ghost-hunting team of English witch Sybil Leek (1917–1982) and American parapsychology author Hans Holzer (1920–2009).

They were both writers, but the books appeared under his name, such as The Lively Ghosts of Ireland.

I was just reminded of them by reading this recent review of Bhangarh to Bedlam: Haunted Encounters, which covers some similar ground. Only most of the ground is in India, where — even with all of the kinds of polytheism, henotheism, and monism (and other -isms) that live under the umbrella term “Hindu” — Wicca, too, has gained a toehold in the religious landscape of the subcontinent.

In fact, author Deepta Roy Chakraverti is the daughter of Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, credited with bringing Wicca to India, as I noted in 2006.

The author who is a corporate lawyer by profession investigates the presence of the supernatural in the world we inhabit and writes about paranormal encounters she has had ranging from Bhangarh Fort on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, in the Lodhi gardens, the Konark Temple in Orissa, and the mental asylum of Bedlam in London. . . .

Deepta explores the energies of the Safdurjung Road house of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was assassinated and the psychic investigator writes about her experience . . .

She recalls a chilling encounter in the chapter “Who Walks on Marine Drive? “related to a peanut seller on Mumbai’s Marine Drive who has a horde of people, including a father-daughter pair flocking to him. The people, says the author are those who died suddenly in the 2011 terrorist attacks and are hovering between the worlds of the living and dead.

And in the interview/review she quotes Holzer himself. We have a tradition!

Bhangarh to Bedlam has a Facebook page, is available on Amazon in India but not here, it seems, and has created some controversy there.

An Indian website in April 2015 reported,

It also includes a chapter on a popular shopping mall in Kolkata, where a number of accidents and suicides have taken place in recent times.

And this is where a controversy has erupted, with the mall in question demanding that all references to it be eliminated from the book. According to Roy Chakraverti, a corporate lawyer by profession and a psychic investigator by calling, who is the daughter of the self-styled Wiccan priestess Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, the publishers [not identified] bliged by calling off the publication of the book.

But also in April, Life Positive Books (New Delhi)  announced its publication. Same house? Different one? Roy Chakraverti hints at dark forces:

The dark energy has its own power. I feel that this fiasco happened because there were one or two political entities in the background, which were afraid of a Wiccan woman gaining popularity.

According to the Facebook page, launch parties and signings are ongoing.

Back to Blogging, Short Version. Also Ghosts.

Short version: I was real busy and then I picked up a nasty cold. Savor the irony: I think that I got it at a National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness First Aid class (two intensive eight-hour days).

I have all these links to comment on and books to review and, basically, I have done zilch. Expect a lot of short posts-with-links.

So let’s talk about the dead, specifically those from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Rod Dreher links to an article about a man whose visits to the area apparently led to possession — at least, that is how the Buddhist priest responded.

His wife had already left the house when he woke the next morning. Ono had no particular work of his own, and passed an idle day at home. His mother bustled in and out, but she seemed mysteriously upset, even angry. When his wife got back from her office, she was similarly tense. ‘Is something wrong?’ Ono asked.

‘I’m divorcing you!’ she replied.

‘Divorce? But why? Why?’

And so his wife and mother described the events of the night before, after the round of needy phone calls. How he had jumped down on all fours and begun licking the tatami mats and futon, and squirmed on them like a beast. How at first they had nervously laughed at his tomfoolery, but then been silenced when he began snarling: ‘You must die. You must die. Everyone must die. Everything must die and be lost.’ In front of the house was an unsown field, and Ono had run out into it and rolled over and over in the mud, as if he was being tumbled by a wave, shouting: ‘There, over there! They’re all over there – look!’

There is more, much much more. Processions of the dead. Vanishing hitchhikers. And stuff like this:

A fire station in Tagajo received calls to places where all the houses had been destroyed by the tsunami. The crews went out to the ruins anyway and prayed for the spirits of those who had died – and the ghostly calls ceased.

That would get my attention, since I have to drive past the ruins of neighbors’ homes every time I want to get out to the state highway. Luckily no one died here, no one human.

Gamers and Ghost-hunters

What gaming I do has been on computers rather than consoles, so this is a development I missed—using the new Xbox for ghost-hunting.

Ever since the release of the Kinect motion sensor controllers in 2010, gamers have been posting videos of “Kinect Ghosts” detected by their Xbox 360. The Kinect prompts you when a new person is in the room, a phenomena dismissed as a glitch by most users if they’re alone. However there are hundreds of videos on youtube of not only ‘someone not there’ being detected, but these ‘ghosts’ also using the motion controller to operate the system.

It makes sense, really. Ever since the invention of the flash camera and the tape recorder, not to mention other instruments, people have been trying to record photos, audio, temperature anomalies, and other “hard” evidence of ghosts.

The blog posts links to this YouTube video of a “Kinect Ghost,” and from its links you can find others.

Have you tried it?

When Hitler Spoke Latvian

A BBC piece examines EVP —  Electronic Voice Projection — or the alleged recording of spirit voices on tape or digital recorders.

The simplest explanation is that EVP voices are just stray radio transmissions. Usually they are so faint and masked by static interference that it’s hard to make out what they are saying, and the EVP investigator has to “interpret” them for you.

That might seem like a weakness but that’s also their power. As Joe Banks, a sound artist, points out, a dead person speaking in studio quality wouldn’t be nearly so convincing as a voice you must strain to hear.

Banks has an ongoing project called Rorschach Audio. He suggests that the voices are the aural equivalent of inkblot tests devised by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. He argues that while the EVP experimenters think they are doing parapsychology, they are actually unwittingly carrying out psychology experiments.

Also, dogs speaking English.

Sex with Ghosts, Vengeful Mummies, etc.

At The Hairpin, A Q&A with author, photographer, and ossuary expert Paul Koudounaris.

Two quotes:

Back in grad school I was known as the Fox Mulder of the art history department. Everyone else was working on Rembrandt and I was looking at woodblock prints of witches. . . .

If you consider Psycho, the one thing that makes Norman Bates absolutely unfit to be a member of human society is that he has his mother mummified and dresses her in clothes. That what marked him as a lunatic. But back in 1700 in Sicily that would have marked him as the paradigm of a loving son. At that point death was not a boundary, it was just a transition and the dead still had a roll to play.

I have my own ossuary on the mantel, but it is for birds and small mammals. It started with the discovery of a sharp-shinned hawk “in kit form” by the driveway when M. and I moved into this house.

The Daily Grail.

Just a Small Town Ghost Story

An old house in a small town in eastern North Dakota.

The house was once a boarding house for railroad workers, so I am told, as well a private home through the second half of the twentieth century and so far in the twenty-first.

When I go grouse and duck-hunting with my friend G., who has lived there for the decade past, I usually sleep in the enclosed front porch, which is about 8 x 12 feet in size. That room contains a single bed, a desk and chair, a lamp, and a disassembled bookcase — nothing more. (I like that room because I can take my dog outside easily.)

In 2011, I left for the 1,000-mile drive home, went about five miles down North Dakota 200, and wondered where my cell phone was. I stopped the truck and looked — no phone. I went back and with G.’s help searched the 8 x 12 room and the lawn between the front door and where I parked.

“Clarence must have taken it,” he said.

Once home, I went through the truck like a drug agent looking for contraband. No telephone. Nor did it ever appear at G.’s house.

This year, my fifth visit to the house, I kept a close watch on my telephone, and it came home with me safely.

But then I walked into my temporary bedroom and smelled cigarette smoke—a strong smell, as though someone had just finished their cigarette in the little room.

I asked G. about it. He was blasé. He had smelled it, his wife had smelled it, his teenage stepkids had smelled it. (No one in the family smoked cigarettes.)

And I smelled it four or five times more, at odd intervals, not connected with time of day or humidity or anything like that.

G. attributes it to one Clarence Bolz, who owned the house a couple of decades ago. Mostly he haunts the workshop attached to the garage, G. said. Small items sometimes disappear, and now and again G. smells Clarence’s cigarettes.

Such a ghost story would be too minor even for Fate magazine’s reader-submissions column. But it was the first smell-linked haunting that I had encountered.

The Wizard and the “Reality” Ghosthunters

Oberon Zell, co-founder of the Church of All Worlds and headmaster of the Grey School of Wizardry, looks to have a bit part in a reality TV series, Ghost Girls. Its Facebook page calls it “an off-beat Supernatural/Reality Based TV show pilot about three ‘Real’ claravoyant [sic], beautiful women, who also happen to be divas of the supernatural. They and thier [sic] unusual friends commune with ghosts, and seek the unusual and unexplained mysteries.”

“Uncle Oberon” hopes to see some product placement for some of his Mythic Images Collection as well. And why not? They might as well decorate the set with real Pagan art, instead of something just “faked up” (to use Gerald Gardner’s phrase) for the filming.

Ghost Tales of Cripple Creek, &c

At my other blog, a recollection of my one venture into collecting ghost stories.

And a couple of incidents that did not make it into the book, mainly because they were “too personal”  and not connected with other people’s experience.

And a CNN story on how for “growing ranks of pagans [sic], October 31 means a lot more than Halloween.” Y’think?