10/20/15: RUN FOREST RUN


The other day, I posted a story on my Facebook page that I thought was particularly interesting. It was an article that sighted a study of what Americans are afraid of.

It seemed that instead of terrorism, the new fear that is creeping into the United States is the fear of paranormal activity.

According to sociologists at Chapman University, a sizable 52% of America now actually believes in paranormal occurrences, like ghost appearances, alien contact, and demonic possessions.

More Americans now believe in various spooky concepts, from ghosts to extra-terrestrial creatures. More than 41% of respondents said they believe in ghosts, and 26.5% said they believe the living and the dead can communicate with each other through inventions like ghost boxes, electronic voice phenomena or the less sophisticated Ouija board.

It is also interesting to note that as we reported, scary video game sales are on the rise and children and pre-teens are still summoning a spirit using two pencils carefully balanced on each other to play the so-called “Charlie Charlie Game.”

These results are part of the second annual Chapman Survey of American Fears, collected from a representative sample of 1,541 Americans over the age of 18. The broader goal of the survey—which explores how much the country fears everything from natural disasters to vaccinations to the paranormal—is to determine both the causes and consequences of these fears.

People are rationalizing that the world around us is changing rapidly and previously held truths are actually not as truthful as we once thought, so why wouldn’t it be possible for the supernatural to be real, too?

Of course, when I posted this story on my Facebook page, there were a few people that jumped into the discussion saying the same old worn out phrases like, “there are no ghosts only demons,” or “there are no ghosts, ghosts don’t exist so this statistic is worthless.”

Well, I have several answers to people who say there are no ghosts. First of all, I have been on many ghost hunts, have officiated and was a medium at a number of séances, and, participated in the exorcism of both a house and a human being.

Ghosts and dark powers exist and I am still trying to figure out what the phenomenon is and for lack of a better argument I use the word “ghost” or “demon” to describe it.

However undaunted, there are those who claim to be skeptics say that they have never seen one or experience on so they do not exists.

Well I have never been in a bank during a robbery either and yet there are many people that have – and they would swear that robberies in banks happen. I know that when a bank robbery happens, the media puts blurry pictures from security cameras on the news to find the suspect. Even if a suspect is caught – there is still a jury that decides in court if the robbery happened and the suspect in the blurry picture is really him.

But of course circular logic doesn’t work with hardened skeptics, but I think there is something that always foils their skepticism, and that is always Mystical Topography and Toponomy.

Places on earth with strange names, or places on earth where horrible things happen have a power about them. Some places are considered dangerous or creepy only because of some horrible event that has happened or continues to happen there.

Mystical Toponomy is the notion that there are powerful and sacred places on the Earth.

So let’s say you don’t believe in ghosts, so then you probably wouldn’t mind spending the night and having a forced camp out in Auschwitz, behind a locked gate.

Okay maybe that is too obvious, how about staying the night in the old shed where serial killer Ed Gein skinned his victims?

How about staying the night in the room at the Cecil Hotel, where Richard Ramirez would wash the blood off of his body after a night of murder – or drink the water from the tank where the body of Elisa Lam rotted for a week until she was found.

Sure that was nearly 3 years ago and I am sure the tank was sanitized – but who would take chances, you never know what may still be lurking around.

Tourists are now allowed to visit Prypiat, Ukraine – however there aren’t many takers.

Prypiat, within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, was founded in 1970 to house workers at the doomed power plant, and was subsequently abandoned in 1986 after the disaster. The horror film the “Chernobyl Diaries” is about a group of friends that decide to take an impromptu tour of the ghost town.

Needless to say it was not such a great idea. Yes, there are allegedly ghosts and large, black demonic birds that live there – but the dust alone would give you a radioactive sneeze fit.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in ghosts, there are some places in which none of us would want to spend a night.

And why?

Because it can be argued that we are programmed to fear the paranormal and we hold to the idea that there are places that have ghosts.

There are places so creepy, tragic or mysterious that they deserve the label of being haunted.

When I attended a showing of the film “The Martian” there was preview to a film called “The Forest” starring Natalie Dormer from the television show “Game of Thrones.” “The Forest” is a supernatural thriller set in the legendary Aokigahara Forest or the suicide forest located in Japan.

Aokigahara, also known as the Trees of the Sea, is a 35-square-kilometer forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji. The density of the trees is so massive that you can wander in pitch black darkness during the day. Due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is also known for being extremely quiet.

It certainly a peaceful site the only problem is that hanging from the trees are decaying bodies, and on the ground are rotting corpses and skeletal remains of those who decided to shake this mortal coil and commit suicide.

The forest has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology and is the second most popular place for suicides in the world right after the Golden Gate Bridge. Almost 100 people a year wander in the forest never to return again.

More than 500 people have committed suicide there in the last 50 years. Japanese authorities have a hard time finding and removing all those bodies. Every year they do a sweep of the area in hopes of removing the bodies and it is being more of a task as the suicides are increasing.

The suicide plague has gotten so bad that the officials even put out signs throughout the park displaying discouraging messages like: “Life is precious! Please think about it!” or “Is she really worth it?”

It is also an interesting to note that even those who do not wish to commit suicide and want to find friends there sometimes die as well. The reason is that due to the magnetic iron deposits from Mount Fuji – Compasses and GPS systems fail and people end up getting lost if they go too far into the forest.

Closer to home, there is a place that is picturesque and beautiful where the dead are still dancing in a watery grave. Lake Tahoe has been the subject of legend with tales of a monster swimming in the water, to an underwater pyramid, but the most bizarre legend of all is that if you were to take a submarine down 900 feet just off South Shore, you would see hundreds of bodies suspended in the water, preserved perfectly like an underwater wax museum, most wearing clothes from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.

The legend is this is where the Mafia killers dumped bodies after executions. Some fishermen even call the spot The Grave. At Tahoe, many locals talk as if everybody knows about this, that there are lots of gangsters down there, wearing pinstriped suits, with sneers on their faces and bullet holes in their foreheads.

What, or whom, Lake Tahoe holds in its average depth of 1,000 feet is a mystery, except for those who have lost family or friends to drowning, boating accidents or other fatal mishaps. But the conditions within the second-deepest lake in the United States keep the mystery unanswerable.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported a number of factors contribute to the phenomenon, according to Dr. Anton Sohn, chairman of the pathology department at the University of Nevada in Reno.

When people drown, for instance, their lungs fill with water, dropping them into the depths of the lake.

Death brings decomposition where bacteria consumes bodily flesh at some pace. During that process gases such as methane, nitrogen and oxygen are produced but the type of gases formed depend on the type of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, Sohn said.

The gases would allow a body to rise “like a balloon. The body buoys up to the top,” Sohn said.

Since the lake has frigid temperatures bodies don’t decompose, thus gases don’t form, prompting them to stay submerged.

Lake Tahoe has a constant temperature of 39 degrees between the depths of 600 to 700 feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It’s surface temperature varies with the type of season. In months such as August and September the surface temperature runs between 65 to 70 degrees. During this time of year, the surface temperature is as cold as 40 degrees and as warm as 50 degrees.

Of course, it is said that South Lake Tahoe is haunted.

Moreover, rooms on the fourth floor of the Mont Bleu Casino are haunted especially room 416.

According to hotel staff, a ghostly specter walks the 4th floor hallways late at night wailing for help in finding “Jerry” or possibly “Larry”. No one knows who any of the these people are, but the hotel staff has taken to calling the spirit “Jessica” due to her alleged resemblance to movie star Jessica Alba. The ghost seems very distraught and seems nearly hysterical and runs back and forth through the corridors often for several minutes in a semi-transparent state.

Now would you spend the night there?

Most of us experience a certain thrill of anxiety when telling ghost stories or watching movies that feature ghosts and other supernatural beings.

Now we know that more and more people fear the paranormal, have seen ghosts or have experienced some strange sense of doom in a location that is considered hallowed or haunted.

But of course there are still those who believe that since the existence of the paranormal has not been scientifically proven; a belief in its existence may constitute magical thinking.

All you have to do is ask the skeptics if they are willing to spend the night at a known haunted place— all you have to do is offer an invitation to explore the area to prove once and for all if these entities exist. I think you will find the skeptic magically absent.