Thinking about trying something a little different for my next entry (this whole blogging thing is kind of new and I want to keep it fun)…so while I’m working on some other things, I wanted to discuss a common theme I hear in ghost stories.
WHY IS IT ALWAYS A WOMAN IN A WHITE DRESS?!
Watching my favorite ghost shows or exploring local legends, it seems that there is always a lady in white. The story is always different, but she’s always there. Sometimes she’s a widow waiting for her husband, other times she’s a young girl who’s life was taken too soon…or sometimes she is the murderer herself! So, is it the same spirit who is constantly manifesting all over the world at different times? Doubtful. I’d be willing to say that this legend has carried on over the years and found its way into different cultures, as stories seem to do. Maybe people aren’t really seeing her as much as the stories lead you to believe and it’s more of a “Mary heard it from Mark whose parents are friends with someone who saw the lady in white in the window!” type sighting.
Now, I’ve been doing a little digging to try and figure out where this particular legend may have started but it is nearly impossible to pinpoint. Here are a few examples I could find:
Frederick I of Prussia’s death was reportedly predicted by the appearance of a lady in white, and that was all the way back in 1713.
The Hohenzollerns of Germany were said to be haunted by a “lady in white”. Some thought it was Countess Kunigunde von Orlamonde who died in 1382 and had killed her all of her children.
There is white lady of Haapsalu Castle who went in disguise as a man to be with her lover and was eventually found out and killed. In Estonia there is now even a “White Lady Days” festival!
The Netherlands have the “white maidens” which are often associated with witches and faeries.
In the United States there are countless stories of the Lady in the Lake, who seems to always have befallen some sort of tragedy and who is dressed in white.
These USA stories are much more modern and often involve murder, suicide & betrayal. Maybe that’s why she’s in white? Some sort of symbolism that she is “pure” and innocent and didn’t deserve the events that happened?
Seeing how long legends of the lady in white have been around is truly fascinating. There has to be a grain of truth to these somewhere, doesn’t there? Part of me wonders of some of these stories tie in with the Bean Sídhe (Banshee), a type of faery that brings the omen of death to families when they hear her wailing. As a faery witch I have read a great deal about Banshees, and that was my first thought when browsing through the older legends.
As for many of the more modern “lady in white” stories, I tend to believe they are mostly urban legends. Every town has a haunted bridge, or a school bus crash where the ghosts of children will move your car…and of course the lady in white. These stories are always fun, and get people spooked but I can for sure say as soon as someone tells me “There’s been sightings of a lady in white…..” I usually become a lot more skeptical.
Who knows, maybe someday I’ll run into the lady in white. Maybe she can tell me why she is so sad.
So this excerpt is in reference to T.C. Lethbridge hearing footsteps outside his door every night while he was staying at a house in Cambridge. Now I’ve discussed receiving sets and telepathy a little bit before, but I’m going to discuss a little bit more, as I really can get behind this idea. Again, it’s not the end all be all, but I do think Lethbridge was onto something.
“I have little doubt that steps of this kind are a telepathic phenomenon and I just happened to be on the right wavelength to receive them. I may have only received a part of the projection. Had my receiving set had a slightly different tuning, I might have seen the tramping figure and not heard him. Or I might have felt him as a ghoul and neither seen nor heard anything. These things appear to differ from dreams in which you hear, see & feel. They differ again from the psychometric pictures. One evidently receives them on a very narrow band and this has to be most accurately tuned in to for any reception to occur at all. The phenomena suggest to my mind that the world may be crammed with projections of this kind and we can receive only those in that narrow band to which our bodily set happens to be attuned. This would explain why many people never seem to have any extra-sensory perception at all. They may just be unobservant, but perhaps they are tuned into wavelengths which nobody ever uses.”
Are we born tuned into these specific wavelengths? Is it something we develop over each of our individual lives? It’s hard to say but I tend to lean towards the idea that we are born tuned into them and that we can tune into others with work & meditation. Some may just have more of the propensity to do so. I like his idea that some people are naturally tuned into wavelengths that aren’t really used and perhaps that’s why some people have no paranormal experiences in their lives. The chances are slim that someone will want to pursue the answers if they have no questions.
Personally, I know that as a child I was very tuned into things, and still am. My mom tells me stories of the things I used to see and say. For example, the night my grandfather died (before she received the call) I was in my room and she heard me having a full conversation with him. I was just chattering away like he was sitting in there with me and just a few minutes later she received the call that he had died on the operating table. I had no idea he had even been in surgery or anything, and neither did she. Now, I wish I remembered this happening but the memory must be tucked away in my brain along with all the other memories of a very young child. It’s always weird to me how we don’t remember so much of our young lives. Maybe snippets or pictures here and there, but so much of the detail is lost or forgotten.
Are there things constantly squawking at us trying to get our attention and we just simply can’t hear them? Are we sometimes projecting things subconsciously that others can pick up? Maybe this plays a part in residual hauntings as well. Over the years I’ve heard/read countless stories of people claiming they hear or see things at very specific times. Whether it’s a lady in a white dress descending the staircase at midnight every Wednesday or footsteps passing by doors at the same time every night. Not everyone sees or hears these things, so maybe specific people are tuned into the wavelengths of the imprinted energy left behind by former living beings. Most residual hauntings appear to be just that, and nothing intelligent that may be trying to communicate a message.
Also, I would think that this can play into witchcraft. Witches most likely are born with a higher receiving set, or have worked very hard to open up.
Our minds are capable of so much that we do not understand, and I think that the world is also a place filled with many mysteries that maybe we aren’t supposed to know the answers to…but that will never stop me from trying to understand.
This is a short one, and it may ruffle a few feathers, but I’m going to address the dreaded red circle. I see so many pictures that people post of a grainy black room…with a circle or two placed where they see “faces” or “figures” or the “ghost of Marilyn Monroe” and it’s so hard to take them seriously.
Sure, maybe you do see the faces there! The human mind tries to make sense of what it sees. It wants to organize things into shapes and patterns. This is called pareidolia. The definition according to Webster’s Dictionary is “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” So, looking at clouds, inkblot tests…or staring at a grainy picture of a dark room often lead to pareidolia. There are also plenty of other explanations…reflections, dust, bugs, camera glitches etc. Not to say that there aren’t paranormal things caught on camera or film, but it’s alarming how many people jump straight to “IT’S A GHOST!!”
I remember growing up I was terrified of the paranormal happenings I experienced, but would also often scare myself. I’d lay in my bed and stare into the doorway and if I stared long and hard enough I could start to see shapes or figures in the darkness. Try it. Try turning off all the lights and staring into a corner or a doorway and you’ll see what I mean.
People using this as “evidence” always hurts a little, because people already don’t take the paranormal community seriously. Believe me, I understand that it’s so hard to prove that spirits exist. You know what you see and experience and you can’t always prove that to others…but the red circle really is not the way to go about proving that we’re not all a bunch of crazies.
Here are few examples of pareidolia I pulled from the internet.
At the end of the day, if you have to draw a circle around something in a photo, it’s probably not anything. Please, please stop sharing these photos as actual evidence. Always try and debunk things and find rational explanations. It’s so important for what we do, and for the answers that we are seeking.
Stay vigilant. Stay educated. Stay aware.
E-mail me at email@example.com if you have any questions or points of discussion.
Hey y’all, while I’m working on a more in depth entry about T.C. Lethbridge and the stone tape theory, I figured maybe I’d share one of my own spooky tales! Hoping to do some horror movie reviews soon too :).
Aside from the story I shared in Haunted (check it out if you haven’t!) I’ve had many other experiences over the years. Nothing quite as scary and enduring as what I shared on the show but here is one that stands out:
I’ve come to the conclusion that things are attracted to me (too bad it’s spirits and not Zak Bagans), especially when I’m with my mom. About a year and a half ago, I was laying in bed watching South Park and was finally getting sleepy. My eyes were heavy and I just started to close them when I felt a really light tickle trace down my bare shoulders. Almost like when a stray hair tickles you. My hair was up in a ponytail so it wasn’t that. For a few moments I was too scared to turn around, afraid I’d see a shadow figure or something else straight out of a nightmare. Eventually, I got the courage and turned over. I didn’t see anything standing there lurking, but my closet door was open with the light turned on. I got up, shut it and tried to convince myself that my cat learned how to open the closet door and flip the switch…it’s amazing what our brains can rationalize when we’re scared. Not long after I slipped back under my faery comforter and began to drift, something whispered “EXCUSE ME” right in my ear. You know the feeling when someone talks really close to your ear and you get goosebumps all over your body? It was exactly that. I shot up and looked around to see nothing. Needless to say my mom and I cleared the apartment the next day and that seemed to help. Whatever comes around usually doesn’t stay for long anymore, which is nice. But sometimes it’s a real shocker when these things happen. You never really get used it!
Some of the most interesting stories I hear from people are urban legends…and I always wish so badly they were real. Most of the time there isn’t anything to back up these crazy stories, though. I visit places and people share all the stories of the people that passed away or committed suicide in building and how they MUST be haunting the place. It makes for great spook factor, but post investigation research usually doesn’t turn up any record of these events. I’m going to share one of my favorite Colorado urban legends and probably more in future posts 🙂
Third Bridge – I think this one is my favorite because I’ve heard this one for my whole life, and everyone seems to have different accounts of what happens at Third Bridge. It’s a VERY popular place for teenagers to hang out and try and scare themselves. I’ve investigated the area and I’ll share my experiences as well. Below are some of the claims that I’ve heard.
The Native American Drums: Every person hears the drums. Rumor has it, there was a nasty battle with the Native Americans there many years ago and that you can still hear the battle drums, and sometimes even see a warrior spirit on his horse. The drums? They’re oil drums. Needless to say, being out in the middle of nowhere in the pitch black the drums do sound extremely eerie…but they’re explainable.
The other rumor I have heard is that there was a bus crash full of children and their spirits haunt the bridge. If you pull up in the middle of the bridge and turn off your car it will move by itself and there will be little hand prints all over. I call BS on this one!! I’ve actually heard this exact story told about other haunted places. I think this is a pretty common legend among many creepy locations. I also have a friend and fellow investigator who was a cop in that county and there are no historical records of a bus crash.
People claim to see lights and orbs in the area, which I completely believe. Regardless of the legends and rumors the place definitely has a very strange energy.
Car crashes. Now this one is true and there are records of it happening in the area. According to the cop I spoke with, most people go to the wrong bridge, as they aren’t labeled. Most of the actual activity (and one of the car crashes) is at “ghost bridge” which is the next bridge over. In 1997, there was a crash where two girls died and then another five were killed in more recent years. Maybe they actually do haunt the area!! My heart goes out to all the people who died. The roads are very dangerous in this area so please be careful if you go to visit!
When my team went out to investigate, it was pretty quiet most of the night, minus the neighbor harassing us. Not that I blame him, because it probably gets annoying having a bunch of teenagers hanging around your area all the time (though it isn’t illegal to be there if you are not breaking curfew, not blocking the road and not doing anything ACTUALLY illegal!) Towards the end of the night we started getting some activity on the REM Pod and K2 which is interesting because they didn’t light up the entire night and then all the sudden went crazy…and there is definitely no power source to cause that. We also ran into a really respectful nice group of teenagers playing with a Ouija board (eek!) and the K2 went crazy while sitting on the board. We even made them all hand their phones to a friend to walk away to make sure it wasn’t picking up on that. Video below!
I’m choosing to discuss poltergeists as my first entry because of the psychological trauma that the movie caused me as a child. Steven Spielberg’s “Poltergeist” was my introduction to the horror genre. Even though I was used to dealing with paranormal occurrences I enjoyed being scared from things that WEREN’T real. I read countless scary stories and would sneak books from the adult section of the library about ghosts & serial killers (yes, I know. Weirdo.) When I didn’t have my nose in a book, my mom would take me to blockbuster and I’d immediately run over to the horror section, absolutely fascinated with the creepy covers. My little hands would grab each one and I’d run to my mom and say, “What about this one?!” I was always met with a hard no. Eventually my mom said she knew a scary movie that I would be allowed to watch and I was overjoyed! I was probably around 9 years old and the film had a “PG” rating so it was perfect for an intro movie. What my mom didn’t anticipate was that Carol Anne gets sucked into…wherever she goes…through her walk in closet. And guess who else had a walk in closet? That’s right! Me! I spent years and years being absolutely terrified of my closet, and even still get uneasy being in one. It’s funny how things from our childhood haunt us.
Okay, here’s my take on everything. Keep in mind this is a condensed version, but I’d love to discuss.
Many poltergeist cases report that the activity comes on strong and ends in a relatively short amount of time.
The history of poltergeists can be traced as far back as ancient Roman times.
Poltergeist phenomena is a focus of study within parapsychology.
Lots of famous “poltergeist” cases are thought to be fraudulent (I tend to agree).
Poltergeist activity often happens around a single person called an agent or a focus.
One of my favorite occult/supernatural writers is Colin Wilson. His books are a bit dense and difficult to sit down and ready for long periods, but all are packed with loads of valuable information.
In his book, Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings, he goes on to discuss many cases and theories of these “noisy ghosts”. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a pretty solid case study. There are many cases discussed, some that Wilson even investigated himself. Please, do yourself a favor and read it.
Over the years I’ve heard many different theories. One of my favorites is that poltergeists are a manifestation of the minds of troubled or sexually frustrated adolescents. That it is simply their angst taking on a physical form and making the plates fly across the room or the light bulbs combust. In the 1930’s Nandor Fodor was the first to popularize this theory. I hadn’t heard this name until reading Colin Wilson’s book and it doesn’t seem Fodor was some half wit who claimed to have all the answers. He researched many cases including the infamous “Bell Witch” case which is been written about countless times and had multiple films made based on the story. According to The Guinness Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, “Poltergeist expert Nandor Fodor called the Bell Witch ‘the greatest American ghost story’ and believed it could be explained naturally as poltergeist activity generated by the youthful Betsy, a likely focal point. But other ghost investigators find that explanation unsatisfactory”. There were many people at this time who disagreed with the theory of RSPK (Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis), but it seems that after some time, people came to give it more credit. People began to widely accept this belief up through the 90’s. But, Wilson’s introduction to “Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings, ” says that in the early 90’s, things began to shift back in the direction that poltergeists were spirits and not some form of RSPK. There is still a division in belief today.
As a practicing witch, I can get behind the theory of RSPK & manifestation, simply because I do believe we manifest our energy into reality. All of us do, and there are some that it comes to very naturally. Some may even be doing so without really knowing that they are doing it. So yes, I believe that this can happen, but I don’t think that this is the sole answer to what a poltergeist is.
So, the other option is that a poltergeist is a spirit. What makes them different from other spirits then? Why do they have enough energy that they are able to cause so many things to happen in the physical world? If they are NOT cases of RSPK maybe they can be spirits who have a very strong energy, possibly someone who died with a lot of hatred and anger. Spirits are attracted to energy, yeah? Perhaps instead of the activity being caused through RSPK, the energy has simply drawn spirits to it. Like a beacon of light in the darkness (I always like to picture Patrick Wilson standing with his lantern stuck in the further in the Insidious movies). Anger, sadness & stress are all strong emotions that can provide a spirit energy to feed off of. Still the question stands, though, what makes it a poltergeist and not just an angry ghost?
Maybe, just maybe both are completely valid. Could there be be cases of “mistaken identity” in the supernatural world? I think so. In my humble opinion, poltergeists are the “ADD” of the spirit world. The term is thrown around pretty loosely. If some sort of physical manifestation takes place like a glass being knocked over or doors slamming many people tend to just throw out the term “poltergeist activity”. Possibly because it grabs people’s attention. True cases of poltergeists, I believe, are far and few between. I could sit here and reference tons and tons of cases but I don’t want to make this blog sound like a college paper I threw together the night before it was due.
This being said, I’d love to witness a true and proven case of RSPK. As any paranormal buff, I would LIVE for it. I love seeing, feeling & hearing paranormal things because then I know! Most people look at me strange when I say I want to be bitten or scratched while I’m on an investigation. It will never be enough to convince someone else, but I’m clinically sane (mostly) and know what my experiences have been. Anyways, every case is different. I believe that it is completely possible that there are circumstances where someone who has abilities but may not know is projecting their angst into reality. Or possibly on rare occasions, some who may be able to do it on purpose.
As an investigator, I once came across a case of a possible poltergeist. I was skeptical, but hoping with every bone in my body that it would have been the real deal. The people seemed genuinely terrified and the pictures they sent of the “evidence” would be absolutely insane if it were real. As we pulled up to the house, my heart sank a little, and in my gut I knew it was going to be an interesting night…but for the wrong reasons. As it turns out, it was the filthiest place I think I have seen in my entire life, on top of an admittedly tumultuous household. Sounds like the perfect ground for a poltergeist, right? But in this case we were able to deduce that the live-in girlfriend of 6 months was causing all the activity herself, on purpose. Needless to say I was pretty bummed I didn’t get to watch some clothes spontaneously catch on fire or kitchenware combust.
In the end, always look for logical explanations. Try and document everything you can, and always know people will not believe you. It isn’t your job to convince them. I think that both of these theories have merit, and that maybe there are cases that were causes from one or the other…and probably many other explanations too.
Leave a comment and tell me what you think! Maybe a part 2 will come later down the road.