Weird News, Ghosts and the Paranormal.

Haunted Summer Reading Part Two

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I’m excited to share the second and last part of my Haunted Summer Reading recommendations. As with Part One, with the exception of one book, these recommendations fit into the category of the paranormal or spirit communication. Feel free to comment or contact me with other suggestions or additional information. I want to thank Thomas here at News From The Spirit World for inviting me to share. My name is Patrick Keller. You can catch my blog at BigSéance.com

Voices From Forever by Randall Keller

After listening to one of his podcasts (The Voices Podcast) and finding his two blogs (The Voices Blog and The Voices Blog Unplugged), I knew I had to have his first book. Randall Keller is such a fresh voice on the subject of EVP and spirit communication. He’s a full-time EVP researcher who also finds time to be involved in some paranormal investigations as well. If you read this book, you’ll learn a little about why someone might start a journey into EVP, but you’ll also learn that this man takes his work seriously.

I am proud to say that Randy is now a friend of mine (and it turns out he may be a long lost cousin too). He has helped inspire me to dig deeper into the world of EVP and I’ve learned a lot since then. In the last year or so I have been fortunate to have been invited by him to work on some larger joint EVP experiments. It has been a great experience.

Speak with the Dead: Seven Methods for Spirit Communication by Konstantinos

I’d considered getting this book for a few years. It seemed to pop up every time I searched for new books on the topic of spirit communication.

I think maybe it was the cover art that kept me from committing to it, but I’m not really sure. I ended up finally tracking down a copy and reading it as part of my research before conducting several séance experiments last fall.

The Seven Methods…

Konstantinos, featured in this séance video, gives how-to advice in this book. The methods include (in his own words) Microphone Recording, Broadcast Static Recording, White Noise Recording, Video of the Dead, Scrying, Direct Mind Contact, and Séance Made Simple. Basically, in possibly more recognizable and current terms, these are instructions for the different ways of going about recording EVP, using radio sweep (such as a spirit box), recording Video ITC (Instrumental Trans-communication),

communicating clairaudiently and clairvoyantly, and of course, séance. If you’re not aware of what scrying is, Wikipedia tells us “Scrying (also called seeing or peeping) is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and less often for purposes of divination or fortune-telling. The most common media used are reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals, stones, glass, mirrors, water, fire, or smoke.” In this book, Konstantinos focuses on scrying using water.

Is it for you?

Now as usual, I have to be honest here. Written in 2001, many of the technological information or instructions are already very outdated. Not many EVP researchers stock up on cassette tapes anymore. Also, I’m not sure if many of the feedback loop instructions for video ITC would work in the new HD and digital TV world. But, if you’re not someone who is already very experienced in these topics, there is still much to learn.

It is very easy to understand. If, like me, you’ve read a trillion books on EVP and have spent quite a bit of time researching and practicing it, you won’t gain much from it (unless you’re looking to learn about old school techniques). But, video ITC and scrying are two things I haven’t tried, and reading this book may have just given me the inspiration and confidence to give it a try sometime.

My Favorite Part!

The author shows you how to perform a ritual he calls the “Ancient Rite” to prepare your mind for spirit communication and “summoning” specific spirits. I know from previous comments on my blog that summoning is somewhat controversial among my readers. I tend to think it can be done respectfully, and frankly, in this field it seems like it would be very necessary at times. Anyway, if I continue to be honest, like most practices that even mention the word “candle”, this ritual had me at hello and just seems cool and fun.

The Most Haunted House in England by Harry Price

Introducing Harry Price (1881 – 1948), the British psychic researcher and one of the very first true paranormal investigators. I very much recommend this book about the Borley Rectory to anyone in the paranormal investigation field, new or seasoned. It is like a lesson in taking things back to the basics in an investigation, although Harry was pretty techie for the time period. I think one of the reasons I am so painstakingly detailed and incredibly organized in my investigating and analysis is this book. I highly recommend reading this in the fall… next to a burning candle… in a tub. I’m sorry, is that weird? Well that’s how I did it, anyway. Last time I checked the book was out of print, but there are usually used copies for sale online.

While we’re on the topic of Harry, check out this fascinating video of an interview with Dr. Price. I have not been able to figure out exactly what year it was filmed, but I love it! I love the library and the laboratory. I love that he smokes and uses the ash tray as if it was scripted. I love the eerie chime of the clock. I even love the awkward pauses and the throat clearing.

Ouija Gone Wild by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Before I began doing Ouija experiments of my own, I needed to do some research, and I was looking for a book that would tell me it was safe to get started. This was the book that allowed me to click the “buy now” button for my first Ouija board.

Rosemary (along with Rick Fisher) mentions in the introduction of the book that they’ve had no negative experiences with the Ouija. They are convinced it is a “neutral tool” for spirit communication.

After reading this introduction I was convinced I was ready to give it a try. After all, as a paranormal investigator and the writer of a blog called The Big Séance, it is probably something I should have some experience with.

Then I read on and changed my mind over and over as I read the rest of the book. You see, much of the book is a collection of recounted experiences and true stories of different talking boards going back to 1886.

Much of the earlier experiences with the Ouija board are pretty benign, since it was intended for lighthearted entertainment purposes. But most of the more modern stories are overly dramatic and filled with evil activity. The authors attribute this to Hollywood.

I really really really wanted to come away with full signed permission from the author to give the Ouija a try, but most of the stories made me wonder why I ever wanted to.

At the same time, I understand that in this day and age a book about nice and fluffy, positive experiences with a Ouija board is going to go nowhere. So, after finishing the book I came away with several things.

  • Hollywood has turned talking boards into something very different from what they originally were.
  • People who have negative experiences with the Ouija were most likely “playing around” or perhaps using the board for the wrong reasons.
  • A person with negative energy, or a board being used in a negative atmosphere will have a higher possibility of contacting lower energy entities.
  • If you’re looking to try a Ouija board, buy a new board, rather than a used board with an unknown history.
  • At the time I bought this book, I hadn’t had a proper Ouija experience, so I was thankful that Rosemary included some basic instructions for those willing to try.

Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne

I had to hold back from putting this nerdy book at the top of the list. I get so super excited about fall and Halloween and I got SO MUCH out of this book and loved it. Halloween is coming! Get in the mood!

What we know as “Halloween” comes from so many places, traditions, and cultures that it is very easy to get lost in it all. Just like America itself, Halloween really is a blend of it all.

The earliest roots come from Pagan traditions that were later changed by the Catholic church into what we know as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Throw in a little Guy Fawkes Day (which I’d never heard of), the Celtic festival of Samhain, and the Roman festival of Pomona, and hundreds of years later we open our doors on the evening of October 31st to hear “trick or treat” being shouted by masquerading children of all ages.

Some interesting things I learned…

  • Interested in a 9th century recipe for “All Souls’ Bread” that the Roman Catholic clergy encouraged the living to offer to spirits of the dead? This book has it.
  • For a while the holiday seemed to be more about love than anything spooky. Many early Halloween traditions included young women practicing divination of all kinds to determine their future husbands. If you’d like to try it, you can stare into a candle lit mirror at midnight on Halloween. The face of your future love will show up over your shoulder. Not creepy at all (rrrriiiiiiight). This is also where bobbing for apples came from. Another tradition was for girls to hang their wet blouses to dry above them while they slept. Apparently your future husband will visit and “turn the sleeve”. Good to know.
  • Another interesting tradition… the Irish “Dumb Supper”. A young woman was supposed to see the shape and image of her future love if she cooked and served an entire meal backwards. I’m not sure how this works but I’d love to see it.
  • Lesley includes a page out of the October 1911 issue of The Delineator, where ideas for entertaining in October are given. Love it! Time machine, please!
  • Using pumpkins as lanterns, or carving pumpkins into “jack-o-lanterns” came from the Irish. Before they arrived to America where large pumpkins were available, they used hollowed out turnips. The story of “Jack” (which there are different versions of) is also fascinating.
  • The Mexican “Day of the Dead” is something I think is fascinating… and I’d love to experience it.
  • I’ve always wanted to experience the Victorian era, but Halloween in those days just seems so interesting and fun! I LOVED this section in the book. Also, one of the main reasons I like the movie Meet Me In St. Louis is the depiction of Halloween in those few scenes.

There is also plenty in this book on the more familiar 20th century Halloween traditions.

It’s not a new book (it was originally published in 1990), but it’s a good one with lots of fun facts and history. If you want to learn about the history of many of our traditions from this season while also getting in the mood for ghosts and goblins, you should check it out.

Ghosthunter’s Survival Guide: Protection Techniques for Encounters with the Paranormal by Michelle Belanger

Most of the time when someone contacts me with paranormal concerns, they’re not so much interested in an investigation immediately.

They just want to be heard and get some feedback and maybe some suggestions or answers. Many times I just encourage people to get this book.

I can’t say I’ve tried all of the techniques that are covered, and I also wouldn’t feel capable of conducting some of them, but you never know what you may need to be prepared for in paranormal situations. And some people may feel comfortable adopting some of the practices on a routine basis. Don’t let the title deceive you, this book could be useful for anyone.

Michelle Belanger has many books on several topics, but I’ve been known to bug her about when another great book like this one was coming out. I just recently found out that The Ghosthunter’s Guide to the Occult is now available!

3 responses

  1. Pingback: A Discussion of Spirit Communication and Exercises for the Novice | Earthpages.org

  2. Pingback: Recent books to land on my doorstep… | The Big Séance

  3. Pingback: Haunted Summer Reading Part One | News From The Spirit World

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