Monday, December 7, 2015

Joan Wester Anderson on Angel Encounters


People around the world attest that they have had unexplained, personal encounters with beings they believe to be angels. Best-selling author Joan Wester Anderson offers her view

JOAN WESTER ANDERSON is one of the most prolific American authors on the subject of human experiences with angels - a vocation that was inspired by her son's own personal encounter (see page 2). Her many books, including Angels, Miracles, and Heaven on EarthAngels and Wonders: True Stories of Heaven on Earth and An Angel to Watch Over Me True Stories of Children's Encounters with Angels, have been national best-sellers. In this interview, Joan provides her view on the nature of angels, their purpose and relationship with human beings, and some astonishing experiences.

What's your definition of angels? Are they spirit entities unto themselves or are they people who have passed on?

Although it is commonly believed that angels are the spirits of people who have died, this is not true. All Western religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – teach that angels are a separate creation, never to be human, although they can take on the guise of humans when and if God needs them to do so.

When humans die, according to these same faiths, they become like angels – that is, spirits without bodies. The proper term for this group is "saint."

What is the relationship between angels and the human race?

They have been given to mankind as messengers (the word "angel" means "messenger" in Hebrew and Greek) and guardians. Some schools of thought believe that each person is given his/her own angel at the time of creation, and that angel stays with his charge until death. In other teachings, angels are not one-on-one, but come in great glorious groups at special times.

Your books present some pretty amazing stories. How common do you think such experiences are?

I believe they are very common.

According to Gallup, over 75% of Americans believe in angels – even more than attend church regularly. This says to me that many people are looking back at the coincidences in their lives and are beginning to see something else – perhaps a certain protection or comfort coming at just the right time.

It isn't easy to convince people if they haven't had an experience. Hence, my own belief is that these things happen regularly, and many people simply choose not to go public with their stories.

Next page: Why angels help some and not others

< Continued from page 1

One thing that has always bothered me about many angel stories is that angels come to the aid of people in sometimes relatively mundane circumstance, such as a stalled car in a snowstorm. Obviously, there are many people in much graver need of help. Why do you think some people are aided by angels and others are not?

I don't think it has to do at all with one's "worthiness" or "saintliness." I've heard plenty of stories from people who were actually angry at God or estranged from him when an angel came.

But I do believe that prayer can change things. People who regularly ask angels for protection, who try to live good lives and help one another, etc., seem to feel confident of angelic help, and perhaps that's why they receive it.

But we must remember that bad things do happen to good people; angels will not always be able to keep such things from happening, because angels do not and cannot interfere with our own free will, or the results of others' free will (most of the time).

But they will be with us to comfort us when suffering is inevitable.

Will you relate one of your favorite angel stories -- one you think is compelling?

My son's story is my favorite, of course. He and two friends were traveling across country on a terribly cold night. Their car broke down in a deserted cornfield and they would probably have frozen to death there (some people did that night). But a tow truck driver appeared, hitched them up, took them to safety and when they got out of the car and turned around to pay him, he was gone, and so was his truck.

This is compelling because:

  • there was more than one person seeing the same thing
  • it was a state of emergency and no rescue vehicles were then on the road
  • there were no tracks left in the snow by the truck
  • it was my son!

I have also loved the story of the two pilots in a very small plane flying in fog, and unable to land. A voice came over the speaker and talked them down into a small airport, where they landed safely. They discovered as they got out of the plane that the airport was closed, and no one was on duty.

Further, they were so off course that no other airport could have contacted them.

The author of many angels books, Joan has also written Forever Young, the life story of actress Loretta Young, published by Thomas More Publishers in November, 2000. The actress had read the angel series, and requested Anderson as her biographer.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What You Need to Know About... Telekinesis

Businessman holding crystal ball, face reflecting on ball - Bambu Productions/Iconica/Getty Images
Bambu Productions/Iconica/Getty Images

What it is, how it might work, and how you can test and develop your powers

Whoever believes in psychokinesis, please raise my hand.

Psychokinesis (PK) - sometimes referred to as telekinesis or mind over matter - is the ability to move things or otherwise affect the property of things with the power of the mind. Of psychic abilities, true psychokinesis is one of the rarest. Few have been able to demonstrate this ability, and even those demonstrations are highly contested by the skeptics.

Do people have psychokinetic powers? Do you? Is there a way you can test and develop your PK abilities?


Here are brief outlines of some people who have demonstrated remarkable PK abilities:

Nina Kulagina. One of the most celebrated and scrutinized psychics to claim psychokinetic powers was Nina Kulagina, a Russian woman who discovered her abilities while attempting to develop other psychic powers.

Reportedly, she has demonstrated her powers by mentally moving a wide range of nonmagnetic objects, including matches, bread, large crystal bowls, clock pendulums, a cigar tube and a salt shaker among other things. Some of these demonstrations have been captured on film. The skeptics contend, of course, that her abilities would not stand up to scientific testing, and that she may be nothing more that a clever magician.

Stanislawa Tomczyk. Born in Poland, Tomczyk came to the attention of investigators when it was reported that startling poltergeist-like activity occurred spontaneously around her. She could control some telekinetic feats, but only under hypnosis. In this hypnotic state, Tomczyk took on a personality that called itself "Little Stasia" who could levitate small objects when Tomczyk placed her hands on either side of them.

In the early 1900s, one investigator, Julien Ochorowicz, watched these levitations at very close range and observed something like fine threads emanating from her palms and fingers, although they were examined carefully before the experiment. And it didn't seem to be a trick. "When the medium separates her hands," Ochorowicz observed, "the thread gets thinner and disappears; it gives the same sensation as a spider's web.

If it is cut with scissors, its continuity is immediately restored." In 1910, Tomczyk was tested by a group of scientists at the Physical Laboratory in Warsaw where she produced remarkable physical phenomena under strict test conditions.

Uri Geller. Geller is one of the most well-known "psychics" who has publicly demonstrated feats of psychokinesis: spoon and key bending have become almost synonymous with Geller's name. Although many skeptics and magicians consider his metal-bending performances nothing more than adroit sleight-of-hand, Geller has allegedly shown that he can manifest the effects over great distances and in multiple locations. On a British radio show in 1973, after demonstrating key bending to the astonishment of the host, Geller invited the listening audience to participate. Just minutes later, phone calls began pouring into the radio station from listeners all over the UK reporting that knives, forks, spoons, keys and nails began to bend and twist spontaneously. Watches and clocks that had not run in years began to work. It was an event whose success surprised even Geller and thrust him into the spotlight.

Some magicians may be able to duplicate some of these effects, but there may be legitimacy to this telekinetic phenomenon. In April, 2001, University of Arizona psychology professor Gary Schwartz conducted a "spoon-bending party" at which about 60 students were able to bend spoons and forks, with varying degrees of success, seemingly with the power of their minds. (Do you want to try it yourself? Here's How to Host a Spoon-Bending Party.)


Some researchers contend that the most common form of psychokinesis is one that is not consciously intended. Poltergeist activity, they suggest, might be caused by the subconscious of people under stress, emotional turmoil or even hormonal peaks. Without conscious effort, these people cause china to fly off shelves, objects to break or loud rappings to emanate from their houses' walls, among other effects.

In the same way, PK might also be responsible for phenomena experienced at séances. Table tilting, knockings and levitation might not be caused by contact with spirits, but by the minds of the participants. And, yes, many, many séances have been hoaxed over the years, but if you think the paranormal phenomena documented at some séances is not real, read the article How To Create a Ghost.

Next page: How You Can Test Your Powers of Telekinesis

Telekinesis - Photodisc / Getty Images
Spoon-bending parties can be a way to test psychokinetic abilities.  Photodisc / Getty Images
< Continued from page 1


How psychokinesis works is unknown for certain, but many parapsychologists think that it is a demonstration of the physical influence of a person's brain on the physical world.

Robert L. Shacklett at Speculations about PK says that laboratory tests demonstrate that "the release of relatively large amounts of physical energy can be triggered by thought power." And this power can move or influence things, essentially, because cosmologically we are all connected to everything else.

"'Thought' takes place at a different level than the physical (call it 'mind') but interacts with the physical through a weak coupling between physical energy and a more subtle energy form," he says. "The physical level operates in accordance with natural law except at the times when thought interacts with it.


How remains the puzzle. But there are theories:

  • Some researchers suspect there might be a quantum connection. Unpredictable, often bizarre effects have been documented in the world of subatomic particles, ruled by the perplexing laws of quantum mechanics. Are our minds capable of directing subatomic particles and energies in a way that results in PK phenomena?
  • One theory is that psychokinesis is the manipulation of a sort of human "magnetic field" around the body, which can be concentrated in a specific area. For this to work, they say, you must be able to relax completely and focus your attention without distraction.
  • Another speculation is that mediums or participants in a séance are able to coalesce sound or heat waves within a room to form coherent energy which can then be directed at an object, such as a table, causing it to move.

    Although the "how" of PK remains unknown, research and experimentation on this fascinating phenomenon continues in respected research labs around the world. (Go here for a brief history of psychokinetic research.)


    Can anyone have powers of telekinesis?

    "Everyone has the potential to be able to be telekinetic," says Deja Allison at Telekinesis on Crystalinks.

    "Telekinesis is created by higher levels of consciousness. It cannot be created by 'wishing it' to happen on the physical level. The energy to move or bend an object is created by a person's thoughts created by their subconscious mind."

    Several websites suggest ways that you might be able to develop or strengthen powers of psychokinesis. Using Psychological Telekinesis says meditation and a kind of chanting, which they provide, can help train your mind for the task, even though they offer no proof of any kind that it really works.

    Mario Varvoglis, Ph.D., author of PSI Explorer, suggests that the best way to begin testing psychokinetic powers is not by trying to move a table or even a matchbook. Varvoglis says it's much better to see if you can influence movement on a microscopic level - micro-PK. Micro-PK has been tested for years with such devices as random number generators, in which the subject tries to influence the random outcome of the machine in a way that is much greater than chance. Some of the most interesting tests of this kind were conducted at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Laboratory (PEAR) laboratory at Princeton University - and their results show that some people really can influence the computerized random number generators with the power of their minds.

    Spirit Online offers this seven-step method of improving your PK:

    1. Meditate daily for half an hour, 15 minutes if your schedule is too busy.
    2. Attempt PK at least once a day, twice if possible. Give yourself a good 30-60 minutes to try it.
    3. Focus on one method for at least a week; if it shows no results, switch methods.
    4. Be at ease; instead of taking it too seriously, think of it as an experiment, a game. If you try too hard you'll just end up frustrating yourself and you'll get nowhere.
    5. Don't give up.
    6. Don't tell yourself you can't do it, because you can.
    7. BELIEVE!

    This site also provides instructions for a few tests you can set up and conduct at home.

    There are a few online experiments where you can test your psychokinetic abilities:

    • RetroPsychoKinesis Experiments Online offers three tests: the same bell curve test as above, a clock face that you try to manipulate, and a pendulum whose swing you try to influence. If you succeed at demonstrating psychokinesis, be sure to let me know.

    The Poltergeist Phenomenon

     - New Page Books
    New Page Books

    An interview with Michael Clarkson, author of The Poltergeist Phenomenon

    The poltergeist phenomenon is one of the most intriguing and baffling areas of paranormal research, in great part because there are physical manifestations: objects being moved (even thrown) about; electrical devices going on and off by themselves, or malfunctioning without cause; loud bangs and raps; water dripping from ceilings from seemingly no source.

    Many hundreds of cases have been documented over the years, and although the effects were once attributed to ghosts (poltergeist means "noisy spirit"), it is now thought to be the unconscious product of human agents.

    In his book, The Poltergeist Phenomenon: An In-Depth Investigation into Floating Beds, Smashing Glass, and Other Unexplained Disturbances, award-winning investigative reporter Michael Clarkson reviews 75 notable cases and talks to the victims and eyewitnesses to the perplexing, often unnerving disturbances in an effort to bring us closer to an understanding -- or at least an acceptance of the reality -- of the phenomenon.

    Following is an interview with Mr. Clarkson.

    Q: Many paranormal researchers suspect that poltergeist activity is not caused by a ghost or other outside entity, but by living individuals. Has your research led you to the same theory?

    Clarkson: Yes. My research suggests we are dealing with haunted people, not spirits or buildings. Poltergeist energy (recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis or RSPK) usually revolves around a person in the room, most often a young person going through puberty. In only about 5 percent of the 75 cases I reviewed, a spirit was reportedly involved and perhaps acting through a young person to move objects.

    For RSPK, it seems, a number of components must come together for a "perfect psychic storm," and that's one reason RSPK is rare.

    There is usually stress or repression in a house and the poltergeist agents seem frustrated and have no other way of expressing themselves. As well, the agents often have unusual brains and the ability to tap into nearby energy sources to move things unconsciously with their minds.

    Q: Obviously, a great deal of energy is required to move some of the very heavy objects documented in some poltergeist cases. If this energy is indeed coming from the minds of people, what do you think is the physical mechanism involved? How do we work this out scientifically, if we can?

    Clarkson: Somehow they temporarily suspend gravity - this is called zero point theory -- to allow the objects to move. And then they subconsciously tap into energy sources such as household electricity, geomagnetic storms, magnetic fields in the area, or even electrical energy from the human mind-body. This is hard to reproduce in a lab because RSPK usually occurs in a stressed family environment. If we try to copycat this, ethical issues are involved.

    Q: I was very intrigued by one of the cases you describe in your book, that of "Popper the Poltergeist," which at first involved only the unstopping and spilling of bottles. To me, it is most peculiar that this case had such very specific, directed targets. Do you have any thoughts on the "why" of this?

    Clarkson: Parapsychologist William Roll suspected that the young boy who seemed to be the poltergeist agent was unconsciously causing the events through mind over matter, partly because he was going into puberty and partly because of his attitude towards his father. After interviewing family members, Roll came to the conclusion the boy was angry at his father and that he vented this through his unusual mental powers at objects, particularly those he associated with his parents. Because many of the incidents involved bottles which might be associated with a woman, they may have reflected "unmet dependency needs" that Jimmy had with both his parents, Roll said.

    Next page: The Amazing Randi; future study

    < Continued from page 1

    Q: The Tina Resch case, also cited in your book, has come under some criticism because she was caught, in some instances, "cheating" -- that is, caught creating some of the effects. Do you think there was some legitimacy to this case?

    Clarkson: Possibly. There were many eyewitnesses to earlier events -- movements of objects and electrical devices, including lights, going on and off by themselves while Tina was in the room.

    As well, a telephone flew across her lap and was recorded by a photographer. Witnesses swore she did not throw it.

    However, when she was later caught cheating, it made headlines around the world. I call this the When the Circus Comes to Town Syndrome. Because we are dealing with mainly young people, they like attention and when the legitimate RSPK dissipates, as it usually does, they try to maintain attention through trickery, and that casts doubt on preceding events.

    Q: You include a brief profile of arch-skeptic James "The Amazing" Randi in one chapter. Do you think he, as a magician, is at a disadvantage in his view of poltergeist phenomena? In other words, because he is a magician, he assumes that such fantastic things must be tricks.

    Clarkson: That's one good way of looking at it. Another issue is that he seems to be a professional skeptic, or, rather, a professional cynic. He wouldn't give me a proper interview for my book because he thought poltergeists were bunk - and yet he claims to keep an open mind! Unfortunately, Randi gets a lot of publicity and his is often the last word the public hears in the media about a reported paranormal event. Unless Randi sees things happen, they didn't happen.

    Q: It continues to astonish me that skeptics dismiss poltergeist phenomena despite the testimony from many hundreds of eyewitnesses, including dozens of investigating police officers. Do these skeptics have an agenda or are they simply in denial?

    Clarkson: Hard to tell. There could be different reasons for different folks.

    I agree that eyewitness accounts are the weakest part of evidence in any incident, but police officers are not normal witnesses -- they are trained to capture details when the action is fast and furious, they tend to be skeptical and they closely watch a person around whom the activity revolves. Some skeptics may have cultural bias, others are turned off by cases of trickery -- of which there are many.

    Q: Do you have any thoughts on how we might come to really understand poltergeist phenomena? Do you think we ever will?

    Clarkson: Unfortunately, tests for psychokinesis (PK) are often inconclusive, but it's even harder to prove poltergeist energy exists because it is so fleeting and because families are often embarrassed and don't let parapsychologists into their homes, or they do so when the energy is decreasing. Research funds for PK seem to be waning in recent years as some university labs have closed.

    We might understand it better if there is an intense case which is researched properly, gets scientific study and good press, and is followed up by PK research as the poltergeist agent gets older. There is an on-going case right now in Canada, but the woman does not want her name used because of the stigma attached to poltergeists by the mainstream media, mainstream science and, often, the mainstream public. Until it becomes more accepted, we won't get to second base.

    Michael Clarkson is the author of six psychology books, including Intelligent Fear and The Secret Life of Glenn Gould, and has won many newspaper awards for his investigative writing, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his article about reclusive author J.D. Salinger.

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    Spookiest Shadow People Encounters

     - Illustration by Dana Augustine

    Illustration by Dana Augustine

    Readers tell of their strange, often terrifying encounters with the dark, mysterious entities known as the Shadow People

    Is it just because they are talked about more and more in paranormal circles, or are people really experiencing encounters with shadow people in increasing numbers? Or have these entities always been around? To be objective, we also have to consider that these experiences might be strictly illusions or psychological disturbances. However, you'd have a hard time convincing the people who offer the following stories that what they saw and felt - and what terrified them -- wasn't real.
    When I was younger, there was a "man" at the top of my stairs. I used to go to the bathroom every night between about 12 and 3 and he would always be there! He was a shadow on a mirror. I was only about four or five, but other people saw him, too. He even tried to push one of them down the stairs!
    Since moving into the house across the road, though, I haven't seen or heard from him. I can't go in my old house upstairs, because there's a very unwelcome and hostile feeling to it. I still can't work out who he is. I've also seen him in my friends' houses, and he just stands there... looking at me, although there's no face, just a shadow. -- Lauren
    As a child of between 8 and 10, I had regular but always terrifying visits from what I always described as a tall shadow of a man in a cloak and a top hat. All black, very tall. Once he was carrying a cane and once a briefcase. He spoke to me one time in a loud, booming voice. He would disappear through the wall at will and return the same way.
    They were experiences that I would recall to friends throughout my life, and I have always described him as the "shadow man". He has not returned since I worked up the courage to run past him and out of my room. -- Sandy
    I was only about 10 or 11 when I went to this house. It was daytime and the building was well lit.
    I looked into a few rooms and saw nothing out of the ordinary... until I turned into a hallway. It was at the other end of the hall, looking at me. Although it had no eyes, the feeling was undeniable. The shadow person and I watched each other for some time. I didn't think it was real, but then it started walking toward me slowly.
    I turned and ran. I looked over my shoulder and it had traveled about 7 meters in the split second I looked away, but when I had my eyes on it, it moved slowly. I got out of the house and looked at it again. It had stopped at the door, almost like it was unable to leave the house. It turned and walked back into the house. -- Courtney
    I'm in my teens and from New Zealand. Half a year ago, I would lie on my bed and casually surf the net. From the corner of my eye I would see a dark mass on top of my wardrobe facing towards me. But when I finally turned to it, it shrank to nothing -- quite fast. At night the black mass would be by my bedside or at the doorway. I would hide under the covers and curl up in a ball. I just wanted to cry for help. -- Amie
    < Continued from page 1
    I have two sons who talk often about what they call "The Shadow Man". The latest experience was when I had buckled both of them in the car and had forgotten something in my house. I went back in to get the item. I heard my five year old screaming. I went running back out. My son was in shock, screaming, "Did you see it?! Did you see it?!" I said, "See what?" Then my six year old said calmly, "The Shadow Man." They both said he was standing right there on the deck.
    My six year old says that the black and the white shadow follows my five year old. They say they talk to them all the time. -- Diane
    When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, we saw one in the house we were renting. I had just gotten off the graveyard shift. We were chatting before going to bed and my wife said she saw "something" in the back room.
    Our cat was on watch, perched on my wife's belly, occasionally growling. I was a big skeptic: Aw, that's a bunch of b.s., etc.
    That morning I started toward the back room with that attitude... and stopped in my tracks when both of us saw the hunched black shape move and turn to look at us with those horrible red eyes. I honestly wish I could say I didn't see what I did, but I sure as hell did. Still freaks me out. -- Dath
    Starting at four or five years old, when we moved into our house, my daughter has been afraid of our basement. She said that she could hear children laughing, weird sounds, and that "the dark man" lived down there. She also said that she had a ghost friend she called Bradley staying upstairs and that Bradley keeps the dark man away from the top floor.
    When she was around 15, she was home with a friend, sitting on the couch watching a movie. Both she and her friend saw a dark shadow in the shape of an adult upper torso hovering by the front door. Within seconds of seeing the shape, it "flew" toward them and then straight down the stairs. My daughter said it was scary, but she's been more accustomed to bizarre happenings.
    The friend never came over again. -- Lisalu68
    About four years ago, I was lying in my bed wide awake in the middle of the day. The windows in my house were at least 10 feet off the ground, so it could not have been someone's shadow from outside. No one else was home at the time. I looked up in my hallway and at first I didn't see anything... but it saw me, apparently, because I guess I frightened it. I looked directly at it. It was transparent and of gray color and had the shape of a man. When this entity saw me see it, it got scared because it shook like a person would and then it took off down the hallway. -- Amy
    I know this sounds crazy, but I swear it's true. Years ago I was visited by what I now know is a shadow person. I was lying on my sofa and fully awake. It was approximately 10 p.m. and I remember thinking, I'll go bed shortly. Then I saw this tall dark figure come from my front door. It was male, all black, long coat and a hat. I asked, "Who are you? How did you get in?"
    He walked over and I felt drowsy and unable to move, yet not afraid. He leaned over me and breathed on me. I watched him disappear into the wall. With that I looked at the clock... and it hadn't changed! The next morning I woke up and my left arm was sore. I looked and saw a red, tent-shaped mark on the top of my arm. I've even shown the mark to a relative just to confirm it. -- Donna
    This started happening to me about a year and a half ago. One of my friends and I were walking to a friend's house and we were taking a shortcut. Then out of nowhere there was a shadow figure about as tall as me, which is 6'3". It had a tail like a wolf and was all black. When I first started seeing it, it had eyes about the size of two pennies. But as time went on they got bigger and bigger. The last time I saw it, its eyes where about the same size as a lime. Not only that, they changed color.
    What scares me the most is the fact that the last time I saw it was about two months ago. It used to show up a few times a week, and its eyes where crimson, which is the aura color of hatred. I've been attacked by it before: painful ear ringing, nausea, and dizziness. It might have gone away, but I think it might be planning something. Nothing has happened yet... just waiting for it to show up again, then I'm going to banish it as best as I can. -- Cameron

    Saturday, November 14, 2015

    On the Trail of the Chupacabras

     - ryan burke / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images
    ryan burke / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

    It attacks in the night, sucking the blood from its helpless victims. Let's follow the bloody trail of the elusive "goat sucker" -- chupacabras -- over the years

    Their first known attacks were in March of 1995 in Puerto Rico. Eight sheep were discovered dead, each completely drained of blood. Investigators found three strange puncture wounds in the chests of the animals. Despite the odd circumstances, authorities could only attribute the killings to a known predator -- a fox, perhaps.

    Others, however, recognized the similarities in these deaths to the enigmatic cattle mutilations which had been taking place in the American southwest with increasing regularity. Was there a connection?

    Five months later, however, the attacks intensified and became more bizarre than any cattle mutilation.

    In August, 1995, as many as 150 farm animals and pets were killed by a mysterious predator in and around the Puerto Rican town of Canóvanas. In most cases, like the sheep, the animals were drained of blood through small holes. A definite pattern of unexplained killing had developed. Several of the animal victims were goats, which inspired the locals to christen the killer, el chupacabras -- the "goat sucker." To this day, its rampage of gruesome slayings has continued and spread to many parts of the world, including the United States, Mexico, even as far away as Australia.

    After hundreds of killings over decades, chupacabras has eluded capture. Several sightings have been claimed, and its description fits no biological classification -- and its killing methods puzzle forensic experts.

    If eyewitnesses can be believed, and until the experts can deliver a plausible explanation for the bizarre deaths, chupacabras remains a real modern mystery.


    In Canóvanas, about 30 citizens claimed to have seen the chupacabras, swearing that it had swooped down from the sky and leapt over treetops.

    It wasn't until November, 19, 1995 that a detailed description of chupacabras came from an eyewitness. On that autumn night in Puerto Rico, the creature struck again. Farmers awoke to a horrifying scene: dozens of turkeys, rabbits, goats, cats, dogs, horses and cows... dead, with no explainable cause. Just the mysterious markings left by the blood-drinking chupacabras.

    But in the north-central city of Caguas, a startled homeowner caught the world's first fleeting glimpse of the goat sucker. Described as having huge red eyes and hairy arms, the creature allegedly broke into the bedroom of the house through a window, tore apart a child's stuffed Teddy bear, and left a puddle of slime and a single piece of rancid meat on the windowsill before disappearing.

    Through the end of 1995, chupacabras had been blamed for more than 1,000 mysterious animals deaths -- all resulting from blood loss through one or more puncture wounds. In that time, several more eyewitnesses came forward, consistently describing the the creature as being monkey-like, but having no tail. They characterized it has having large oval red eyes that sometimes glowed, gray skin, a long snake-like tongue, fangs, and long spinal quills that may double as wings. Those who saw it say chupacabras stands between four and five feet tall, hops like a kangaroo, and leaves a foul, sulfur-like stench. At the site of some deaths, unidentified three-toed tracks were found. Zoologists could think of no known animal that adequately fits this strange portrait.

    Was the chupacabras the figment of agitated imaginations? Could the witnesses have mistaken a fox or a panther for this weird creature? Was it, after all, just a superstition? In any case, the killings continued.

    In March, 1996, chupacabras struck for the first time in the United States. It had somehow crossed the Caribbean and slain 40 animals in a rural area northwest of Miami, Florida. On May 2, a report came from the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas: a six-year-old pet goat was found dead with the unmistakable puncture wounds of chupacabras. On that same day, the creature appeared further south in Juarez, Mexico, where it preyed on dogs and other small mammals. More witnesses verified chupacabras' description: the row of spikes or feather-like projections running down its spine; the way it stands upright on three-toed feet with its forearms suspended at chest level, not unlike a kangaroo; its large sometimes glowing eyes.

    The next day, May 3, in northern Mexico, the village of Calderon is terrorized by a giant "bat-like" creature that feasted on the blood of several goats. Like a scene out of Frankenstein, farmers formed vigilante groups to try and stop the monster, but without success. Throughout May, reports came in from all over Mexico where chupacabras left dead cows, sheep, and rams in its bloody wake.

    Next page: Theories and Attacks

    < Continued from page 1


    Although the eyewitness accounts make it extremely difficult to categorize the creature as any known predator, some authorities have ventured that chupacabras may actually be a large vampire bat. The world's three species of blood-sucking bats live predominantly in the warm climates of Latin America where most of the attacks have occurred. But vampire bats do not directly kill their victims; they stealthily creep up on their sleeping prey, make painless incisions, and lap up the dripping blood.

    Although they can infect their victims with rabies, they by no means drain even small animals of all their blood.

    Other proffered theories for the chupacabras include that is an extraterrestrial, a demon, a living dinosaur of some kind, some weird vampire kangaroo, or a genetic mutation that has somehow escaped from a secret government laboratory experiment.

    They're pretty far-out ideas, but no stranger than the thing itself. The idea receiving the most credence from authorities is that the attacks are made by hungry, stray dogs. Yet it's an odd hungry dog indeed that doesn't eat its victims, but merely lacerates them with its canine teeth and drinks their blood.


    Whatever it is, chupacabras' appetite for blood has not been satisfied. Reports of their ghastly attacks continue to make their way into the press. Sightings were made in the Dominican Republic, Tucson, Arizona, and continued on the island of Puerto Rico. Hardly a month goes by without an assault on some helpless animals by the chupacabras:

    • In November, 1996, a Mexican rancher near San Antonio, Texas, claimed to have captured the chupacabras with a coyote trap -- and produced the photographs to prove it. (This story and photos used to be online, but have sinced become unavailable.) The rancher had set the trap to capture whatever was killing his goats, chickens, and a donkey. What he caught was something he could not recognize. Allegedly, the body of the strange creature was taken to a major Texas university for identification, although this cannot be verified.
    • In November, 1997, chupacabras was back in its original stomping grounds where it killed two goats, bled another dry, and made off with a small kid from a small farm near Loíza, Puerto Rico. Investigating police believe that attack took place around 2 a.m., about the time a farm hand heard the "flutter of wings" and saw frightened horses and cows running "as if the devil were in pursuit."
    • On the night of November 12, 1997, near Perth, Australia, two friends investigating what sounded like the squealing of a wild pig, encountered a creature with large, piercing red eyes, a body covered with stringy matted hair, large teeth, and a distinctive sulfur-like odor. "It was about three feet high when on all fours," said the witness, "and about five feet when trying to stand up. In its mouth was part of a kangaroo. Within a split second, it leapt straight up -- dinner and all -- as if it had springs for legs."
    • Thirty-four hogs were found dead with the trademark puncture marks on November 17, 1997, near Aricibo, Puerto Rico. The pigs were being raised by inmates of the Sabana Hoyos prison who had planned to feast on the animals for Christmas dinner.
    • Near Hesperia in Southern California, a creature matching the description of the "goat sucker" attacked another pig in December, 1997. "I encountered something trying to get to my pig that was unbelievable," said the owner. "When I came around the corner, it stopped and looked up at me. My dogs seemed to be afraid of it. It then disappeared into the bushes."

    There have been many more reported attacks right up to the present day.

    It would be easier to discount the all of these accounts as peculiar attacks by a variety of different predators if it weren't for the consistent eyewitness descriptions of the chupacabras. Is it just possible that this is some kind of creature, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, that has not yet been classified by science? Or is it just another myth perpetuated by fanciful human imagination? Whatever it is, I'll continue to bring you updates on this ongoing and bloody mystery.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2015

    The Incredible Powers of D. D. Home

     - Archiwum

    Daniel Dunglas Home was the most celebrated medium of the 19th century. Although his name is not very well known today, he astonished audiences, friends, heads of state, and the rich and famous with startling paranormal feats and levitation. His seemingly impossible powers bewildered those who witnessed them, including many respected scientists and journalists.

    Did D. D. Home truly possess extraordinary paranormal abilities?

    Or was he a gifted magician, far ahead of his time, who was able to fool even the closest of observers with slight of hand and magician's illusions? Although there were certainly many skeptics among his contemporaries who denounced him as a clever fraud, they could never really prove how he accomplished his many incredible demonstrations.

    To this day, there is much mystery surrounding Home.


    Home (pronounced "Hume") was born in 1833 in Currie, Scotland. Like many people who seek the public spotlight or a presence in "show business," Home seems to have exaggerated or fabricated details of his early life and heritage. For example, he was baptized as Daniel Home and seems to have adopted the middle name of Dunglas. Although he claimed to that his father was the bastard son of the tenth earl of Scotland, his father was actually an ordinary laborer and, by some accounts, an abusive drunk. As a baby, he was adopted by an aunt and at age nine was brought to America where his new family settled in Connecticut.

    Home may also have created some myths about his childhood.

    He said that as an adolescent he began to experience premonitions. At age 17, poltergeist activity would occur when he entered a room: mysterious raps would be heard and furniture would move by itself. Were these stories Home made up to enhance his mystical persona, or were they early signs of unexplained abilities that Home would later be able to control?

    Although he had little formal education, as an adult Home could converse intelligently on a number of subjects, could play the piano, and developed an easy wit and charm that facilitated his profession as a "professional house guest." It was at this time that his remarkable abilities came to prominence. His early reputation as a medium was made by his séances, which participants declared as uncanny, and his apparent powers of clairvoyance and healing.


    Over his controversial career, these are just some of the feats D. D. Home was seen to perform around the world:

    • In a well-lit room before Professor David Wells of Harvard and three other spiritualist investigators, Home caused a table to move all about, even though he stood nowhere near it. It took all the strength of two of the witnesses to restrain the table. Upon its release, the table levitated completely off the floor for several seconds. When Wells and two others sat on the table, it continued to rock. They could find no scientific explanation for the experience.

    Next page: Levitations, manifestations and more

    < Continued from page 1
    • In 1852, Home first demonstrated self-levitation. Witnesses watched in astonishment as he rose a foot or more above the floor. When they tried to hold him down, they too were lifted off the ground.
    • During séances, he was able to make phantom hands appear, which sitters were able to feel. In 1857, he held a séance in Paris with Napolean III and his empress, Eugénie. The empress held a spirit hand that she recognized as her dead father's -- because of the characteristic deformity of one finger.
    • He was able to elongate his body by as much as 11 inches.
    • In a July, 1868 séance in a normally lit room of the home of a client, the host's elderly mother was levitated in the chair in which she sat.
    • In December, 1868, Home gave what is perhaps his most famous performance. At his apartment in London, Home conducted a séance for three respected gentlemen. After some "conventional" spirit apparitions, Home began to walk around the room. His body elongated, according to the witnesses, then Home rose off the ground. Returning to the floor he then went into an adjoining room. The men heard a window open in that room and shortly after saw Home apparently floating in midair outside their window. The apartment was three stories up. Home opened the window from the outside, then "glided into the room feet foremost and sat down."
    • In 1871, Home was tested by William Crookes, a respected physicist and fellow of the Royal Society. With a contraption of weights he had devised, Crookes sought to measure the "power, force or influence, proceeding from his hand." Crookes measured a force equal to about three-quarters of a pound, and was at a complete loss to explain it. Crookes was also witness to Home's levitation, which, he wrote, challenged his "most firmly rooted articles of scientific belief."
    • In a demonstration he did many times, Home could hold white-hot embers in his bare hands. He was even seen to plunge his hands and his face into a hearth fire, "moving it about as though bathing it in water." His skin showed no signs of injury whatsoever.


      Home astonished many, but not all. Harry Houdini, known for his debunking of spiritualists and séances, denounced Home as a fraud and claimed to be able to duplicate his feats of levitation... although he never did. And while many skeptics were sure Home's demonstrations were only trickery, Home was not once -- in any of his 1,500 séances -- caught in any kind of deception or exposed in perpetrating a hoax.

      This fact alone earned him his great reputation.

      So, while reason says that Home was an extremely gifted magician and illusionist -- on a par, perhaps, with some of the great illusionists working today -- such legerdemain was never proved. And because many of his feats were accomplished in broad daylight in full view and inspection of witnesses, Home must be regarded either as one of the greatest magicians of all time... or a true medium with extraordinary, unexplained powers.

      That brings about an interesting point, if one takes the position that Home's abilities were not supernatural: If Home had presented himself as a magician rather than a medium, he might be regarded and remembered today with greater awe than the legendary Houdini.

      I Think She's Dead... Lift Up the Body...

       - Photo: Henrik Sorensen / Stone / Getty Images
      Photo: Henrik Sorensen / Stone / Getty Images

      An "innocent" teen game turns scary -- and inexplicable

      In my article "The Scariest Games," I include a game or trick called "Light as a feather, stiff as a board." Often attempted by teens at parties and sleepovers, the objective is to levitate someone as he or she lies on the floor using only a few fingers placed beneath the person. Normally, this would not be possible – or very difficult – but it is said to work by some unknown means.

      The game has other names and variations. In this case, Rose C. remembers that it was called "I think she's dead" – a decidedly more morbid slant on the trick. It also turned out to be much scarier for Rose and her friends. This is Rose's story....

      THIS HAPPENED IN Los Angeles in 1973 when I was 10 years old.

      I have a sister named Lizzy, who is seven years older than I, and she and her teenage friends decided they wanted to try levitation – on me!

      There was a girl in the neighborhood named Diane who everyone said was a witch, but she was 17, really nice, pretty, and blonde, so we kids were never afraid of her. On this day, Diane, my sister, and about six of their friends came to our house. My sister Lizzie and I shared a bedroom, and we all gathered to try the "trick" that Diane was going to show us. They chose me because at 10 years old I was a skinny little girl and probably weighed all of 70 pounds soaking wet... but weight would turn out to be irrelevant.


      Diane asked me to lie on the ground face up in the center of the room.

      She was squatting on the floor behind my head, so I was looking right up at her face as I lay there. Lizzy was squatting at my feet and the six other people were paired up at my sides – two at my shoulders, two at my waist, and two at my calves.

      Diane's first instructions were that they place their entire hands underneath my body; they would try to lift me first to see how difficult it would be.

      Despite my petite size, it was like trying to lift a sack of potatoes and we all laughed as the group flailed about trying to get me off the ground.

      Next, Diane said we would make the first real attempt. She instructed me to think the words "I'm dead" over and over again once they started the trick. When I agreed, everyone resumed their places, except this time they were allowed to place only two fingers (middle and index) underneath my body at their corresponding points.


      The lights went off. In the pitch darkness, Diane started a chant and asked everyone to repeat after her, one at a time, starting with the first person on her right, then continuing around my body until it came back to her, and on to the next verse. The chant was four verses:

      "I think she's dead (all repeat in turn)... I know she's dead (repeat)... She is dead (repeat)... Lift up the body!"

      The last statement, "lift up the body," was not repeated, but was everyone's cue to lift me. Again, they tried, but with only two fingers each. I didn't budge. Everyone laughed, the lights went on, and they were all disappointed that the trick didn't work.

      However, at that point Diane took me aside and said, "You didn't think what I asked you to think, did you?" And the truth is, I didn't. The words to her chant scared me and I remember trying to think of anything but "I'm dead."

      Next page: They try again

      < Continued from page 1


      Then she said, "If you don't think what I asked you to think, it won't work. So, do you want to try again or should we just forget it?" I didn't want to be a party pooper, so I said I'd try again. This time I did exactly as she asked, and as soon as the lights went out, I began to repeat the words "I'm dead..." over and over again in my head.

      They started the chant, which I was not paying attention to, and the next thing I knew I felt as if I were lying flat on a stretcher and being lifted towards the ceiling – fast!

      So fast, in fact, that I felt a rush on my way up. I was lifted to about adult shoulder level, then something shoved me forward and I landed square on my feet.

      Someone turned on the lights and I found I had landed right in front of the mirror, so I was staring at my own shocked, white face. I started to cry.

      My mother rushed in asking angrily, "What did you do to Rosie?" But I was beyond comfort.


      Everyone said that as soon as the words "lift up the body" left Diane's lips, my body started to rise – fast! They didn't have to do any lifting at all. In fact, Lizzy remembers having to get to her feet quickly to keep up with me. Apparently, Diane knew that, and that's why everyone started at the squatting position, to make it easy to quickly get to their feet.

      When I got to chest level, they told me, they felt my upper body fly forward – the force shoving them backward a bit, and that was when I landed on my feet.

      My sister and I still tell this story and it still brings chills in remembering the events.

      For months after that incident, I was afraid of being in my bedroom by myself and I refused to step on the spot where I was levitated. Since then, I have experienced numerous unexplained phenomena and I feel that this event somehow opened a window, allowing me to peer into another realm, and perhaps allowing the inhabitants of that realm to peer into mine....