Monday, July 20, 2009

Three Events

In the interest of being sure that I write every day even when I’m busy, I’ve been making a point of adding something to this blog every day. This weekend was the exception, as I spent a total of 16 hours sorting through everything in every closet, cupboard, and cubbyhole in my house. The end result was 6 bags of garbage, at least 8 boxes of stuff for “goodwill”, and a huge pile of items waiting for our town’s autumn cleanup day. I drove all the way to Trenton and back yesterday to donate aforementioned goodwill items, and I feel pretty good about having all this stuff out of my house. I still have a box of things that are collectible and therefore sale-able, and I will deal with these in August.

I’m off to London yet again this week for two more John Foxx events. One is at the Apple Store on Regent Street in London, where John will be doing a reading from his novel, “The Quiet Man”, along with visuals by Karborn. The other event is the launch party for the DNA Exhibition at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury. That is a private event, though the exhibition can be viewed at the Horse Hospital from July 28 to 31. DNA is an exhibition of works by artists and filmmakers who are influenced by the work of John Foxx. It sounds like a great presentation, so if you’re in London I recommend you check it out. I’m sure I will have a review of it as well when I return.

I was talking via e-mail with a friend about meeting up in London before the Apple Store event, and we ended up talking about the paranormal and “supernatural”, namely because she had read my blog posting on the Ghost Hunters series. I do have an open mind about such phenomena, though I don’t think everything put forward as a “haunting” is necessarily a haunting. There are probably rational explanations for most things. I don’t believe in the idea of “supernatural”—all phenomena are natural to some degree, even if they are “extra-ordinary”. Additionally—I don’t think that the occurrence of certain “paranormal” phenomena in a location necessarily an indication of a haunting, or even of regular paranormal occurrence.

By way of example, let me share a few things with you that have happened in my own house. My house is fairly old by American standards; it was built sometime in the 1850s. I live across the street from a cemetery, and from a house that more than likely has some kind of residual activity due to a father murdering his wife and children and then killing himself there in the 1960s. However, I have never felt that my house is “haunted” or is a magnet for paranormal activity. The three events I’m about to share don’t change that opinion in my mind.

The first event happened a couple of years ago. I currently spend about 2 hours per day on meditation and Hindu prayer, but a few years ago I also performed pujas (ritual worship) at least 3 times a week, if not daily. The pujas were usually to Ganesha, Shiva, and (mostly) Kali. At the height of my Kali Puja practice, I would lie in bed at night and hear footsteps in my living room downstairs, along with the jingling of anklets. My cats would hear it too—they would sit up, ears perked up, and watch the staircase, as the footsteps would inevitably head towards the stairs and on their way up to the loft where I sleep. I never saw anyone connected with those footsteps. It didn’t happen all the time, and I wasn’t afraid of it. I do think of it as a side-effect of doing extreme puja—it’s like something takes form and walks around the house. Since I’ve stopped doing regular puja I no longer hear the sound.

The second event happened a couple of weeks ago. I was sleeping, and having a strange dream, when I was suddenly awakened by a set of arms patting me down, going up and down my sleeping form. I was under the covers and saw them move with each arm stroke. I finally said, “leave me alone”, and it stopped. I had a distinct tingling sensation all over my body afterwards. I looked at the clock, and realized it was just past the time the alarm should have gone off—it wasn’t set properly. Weirdly enough, it was as though someone was trying to wake me up.

The third event happened yesterday, and could have a rational explanation, but it’s still puzzling. I have a root cellar underneath my house that needs to be accessed from a separate set of iron doors outside. My washer and dryer are down there, so frequently on weekends I yank open the huge door, and walk up and down the concrete stairs to bring laundry up and down. I have 2 cats that live down there, and they love to go out on nice days, so I leave the iron door open while I’m doing my wash in the summertime. I don’t close the door until it starts to get dark, and I’ve shooed both cats back into the cellar. As it was getting dark yesterday, I went to put the cats back in the basement—and found the door closed. I was home the whole time, and know I did not close it. If someone had come around back and closed it, I would have heard it—it makes a terrific creaking sound when it opens and shuts. It is possible that in my haze of doing 50 million things at once, I closed it and didn’t realize it. But my unconscious habit is to leave it open, so if I did, that would be really strange. My neighbors have no reason to come into my yard and close the door, and my next-door neighbor working outside would have noticed if someone else had been in my yard. So—there could be a logical explanation for it, but it was strange. The closed door did turn out to be a good thing, as a neighborhood stray cat was looking for a way in to get at my cat’s food dishes in the cellar, and those attempts often cause fights between the cats.

So, those are my three occurrences. You can make of them what you will. As I said earlier, I don’t think that the events are evidence of a haunting of any kind, as they are so circumstantial and spread apart chronologically. They are a bit on the “unexplained” side, but they are not frightening. They just add to my conviction that not everything has an immediate rational explanation and doesn’t necessarily need one.

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