Hauntings and Other Oddities
And yet this post may come across as being a bit woo – woo. I also apologize about being vague with details.
I’m generally a pretty hard nosed skeptic. Nonetheless, I’m not very quick to scoff at stories like the following by Brian Niemeier:
Spend any amount of time working in any kind of theater, whether movie, Broadway show, summer stock, etc., and you’ll meet at least one old hand who’ll tell you that every theater has a ghost. I’ve worked at multiple such establishments over the years, and inevitably there’d come a slow night when the general manager who’d worked there since high school–you could still work your way up in a company to a job that paid a living wage back then; a guy I knew started out mowing lawns at the theaters in this chain and eventually made vice president–would come down from the office and fraternize with the staff. And he’d always have at least one personal account of something weird happening in the small hours while he was splicing reels together up in the booth.
When I made my own move from the booth to the office at the theater in question, there’d already been freaky stories circulating among the staff for years. Take the time when the opening manager came in first thing in the morning and found a ski glove stuck to the top of the screen in auditorium two.
You’re probably thinking, OK. What’s the big deal? Some pothead booth op or class clown usher glued it to the screen the night before after everybody else went home. Case closed.
And you’d think that because you don’t know how closing and opening procedures at a modern movie theater work.
The whole article is worth a look. I know of other very hard-headed people who also are open to the existence of what, for a lack of a better term, is the supernatural, or simply the unexplained. Of course, if one insists that the only explanations allowed are materialist, that makes it difficult to ever explain.
So, yes, I’m skeptical. In the sense that, a lot of people who’ve claimed to gifts or being touched have been shown to be charlatans. That said, there’s a correlation between the kind of narcissism that craves public attention and approval and wanting to be special, and being willing to lie or color the truth to get it. What little I have dug up that can be relied on is that most of these things can almost be written off as mere coincidence, except that things line up a little too neatly, a little too often.
I know that while I never ran into anything dramatic like the story above, there are a very few times I’d run into something odd.
I like the woods. I like the woods at night. As a kid, in New England, I’d spend a week at a time camping with boy scouts, and one of our activities that we weren’t supposed to do (nudge, wink) was to steal guidon flags from other troops. So yes, we stood watch, and yes, we snuck around a large BSA campsite with multiple trails, cross trails, parallel trails, etc..
I was very comfortable with it, and good at it.
The point is, middle of the woods at night did not bother me.
Yet there were patches that I avoided like the plague for the skin – crawling sensation of something simply wrong.
Ditto a lakehouse I rented in my Navy days as a student. The lakeside and area around the house was beautiful in the daytime, gave me the willies at night, and glad as hell when the (short) rental period was over. The basement of that house particularly – and I had relatives with old houses with… “character” (as in photos on the wall of the property and building from 1850) who’s basements and attics didn’t freak me out, and I loved staying in my grandparents basement.
Yeah, I know, cold, pressure, subsonics, etc… maybe.
There are also two cases of dreams that I distinctly remembered for being utterly mundane and unusually detailed (as in, I actually could read words and paragraphs) that I woke up wondering what the hell that was about, and found myself in that position within two months. I’m not sure they broke the quandary between precognition and freedom of will and to what degree it truly was”seeing the future” because in one case, the book in question already existed though I had not known of it, and would have bought it the second I discovered it (and did buy it the first time I saw it), and in the other, it was the logical consequence of a choice I was already considering, though I was unaware that I’d be taking that exact path ahead of time (it wasn’t my first choice) or of that mundane detail of the process.
So, yeah. I’m skeptical of things that cannot be proven except by witnesses testifying, that could be environmental or mental tricks (there’s a series on a number of different ways you can take advantage of the brain’s processing shortcuts to make people believe something happened which didn’t).
Yet, if there is a spirit to us, that interacts with the universe as energy, then there may well be a mechanism, through quantum consciousness or other models we haven’t conceived of yet, to focus on things, to skew the odds our way just a bit and have them come about through seeming random chance, for our presence to be imprinted on the environment, or even live on after us. Or things that never lived in us at all. Or to be aware of things that we shouldn’t be able to directly, materially, perceive.
I don’t know. But I’ve seen just enough, and heard enough from people I trust, that I’m not going to write it off.