Friday, October 24, 2008


Poltergeist phenomenon fascinates me. The closest I've come to understanding it is to look at the context in my life in which I've witnessed it. There were three girls in my family; my two sisters were in a love/hate relationship and 11 months apart, then six years later, I arrived. During the adolescence and teenhood and my own, the poltergeist activity in our home appeared. I've heard it said many times that "hormonal" girls and activity go hand in hand. My friends had no troubles in their houses, but then, they didn't live on a ton of quartz rock with a spring running under their home in a building that was used as a Civil War field hospital. So, perhaps it's a combination of conditions. A sort of paranormal stew.

I've seen things be flung by unseen forces which happened when I was younger and didn't seem strange to me. I thought it was the same thing as seeing a bird fly or a person jump. I didn't know at the time it wasn't normal.

I forgot a lot about the poltergeist activities such as things mysteriously missing after you set them down, doors slamming, boxes being unpacked after being packed...that is, until I became a 14-year-old.

Every ghost hunter has a moment when they truly want to run in panic. Mine occurred at the age of 14 when we were preparing to move from our manor home to the big bad awful west--Arizona. I wasn't happy about the move. In fact, I tried to make ghostly sounds to scare away perspective buyers with no luck.

Still, the house sold.

We'd boxed up our things to have them unpacked the next day. We had several plaster ceilings just simply dump onto the floor all at once. Disconcerting events, but not unheard of in that house. We had film crews there who watched the wallpaper peel off the walls as they walked by, so it wasn't off the charts. I had a high tolerance so I found it more or less amusing.

Then, one day when my father and brother were looking for a rental house in Arizona and the reality of the move became real, my mother, oldest sister, and myself were home alone. We sat in the breakfast room on one end of the house having lunch and discussing how we hoped they'd find a house with a pool since swimming pools in Northern Virginia were a rarity in private homes.

A huge crash send us running through the house to the far side music room where what we saw made absolutely no sense and to this day gives me shivers. In fact, I was so hysterical that I was begging and crying to sleep in a hotel. The house didn't seem to want to let us move and I was taking it's cue after this incident. In all my years there, I never took incidents to be directed at me, but this was so violent and so unexplainable that I no longer felt safe there.

We had set up in the music room a tv tray. Those old-fashioned ones with the folding legs that clip into the tray. On top of it we had a huge pickle jar filled with pennies and paper rolls. We'd been stacking the pennies into stacks of 10 to put them in the rolls. Across the room, about 12 feet away, an oval painting of my mother's uncle in WWI costume was fastened to the chimney. Well, the picture with its glass cover was now underneath the folding tray face down and unbroken. The tray had come out of its clips which cannot happen without lifting it up and out of them, the legs splaying out, it had fallen atop the picture. On top of the tray, the stacks of 10 pennies were perfectly aligned. Not even slightly shifted from place. We studied it, shaking our heads and looking around us.

I slept in one of the carriage houses that night. I was too scared of the house. After that incident, more happened and escalated and the other haunting features of footsteps and voices were louder and more urgent than usual.

Still, I could handle things that were explainable like history repeating itself in sounds and smells, but I could not get my mind around how this picture flew across the room, knocking a tray up and out of its clips, ending up underneath it face down, the pennies still perfectly neatly stacked. I didn't know of any statistic that could explain that scenario ever occurring under any circumstance.

It was a turning point for me. It stuck in my mind that the combination of upset over having to move and the repressed anger about it and the site on which we lived combined into something that was most unusual. To this day, I cannot wear a watch. I kill them usually within the first day of wearing it. As time goes on, I can't even keep them in my purse. I tend to set off alarms when I'm in times of distress when I walk in and out of stores. It's an odd kind set of circumstances, but I do believe that some people are more kinetic.

When I watch "Ghost Hunters" I can't help but notice that consistently Jason and Grant get more activity. They're like magnetics for stuff. I think it's part of how they're made up. I think it's part of how I'm made up. Some folks are just good switches for activity.

What is a poltergeist? I think the best explanation I can give is an emotion manifested into a physical event under the right conditions and with the right catalyst.

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