Monday, April 12, 2010

Lights and Ghosts, Again.

This post is the product of a friend of mine's interest in two cases involving poltergeist houses and light phenomena, which he ran across while blundering about the internet. He sent them to me and they have their interesting elements, so I thought that you should get the benefit--for whatever it's worth. I've added a third case which serendipitously I fell into at the same time.

Case one: Clayton, NC; late June/early July 1962. A widow is living in a house with her two children, daughter age 19, and son age 22. Near the end of June, they begin to have light phenomena flashing in the house in the evening. This amounted to very rapid sequences of light, like a rapid strobe-light. [the rate of this was too quick to count, but it was several flashes per second]. The light seemed to be sequential in color to some degree, showing yellow, pink, and white light.

This business was often enough and disconcerting, that the family talked about it and it ultimately got into the media. As soon as that happened, they began to get nasty anonymous phone calls. Due to all this, the police were called in [under the suspicion of some sort of harassment] and so was well-known poltergeist expert, William Roll [on the left]. Several people claimed to have seen the flashes, and Roll became convinced [very possibly wrongly, as he had a preconceived theory of what all poltergeist cases were] that the lights were associated with the daughter. [subconsciously via psychokinesis].

The one genuinely intriguing thing that his questioning concluded was that the light though very "bright", did not seem to affect the eyes in the way such a bright light should---we have seen this "non-blinding" bright light before in UFO cases. Throughout his first investigations, Roll thinks that he himself never gets to see the lights because he is somehow a "hex" throwing cold water on the phenomenon. And the lights DO go away for a while.

Then a couple of days later, the family gets another nasty phonecall, which says that they will start back up. They do. Even the police now witness the light flashes [reminiscent of the Toledo case]. Wiring is disconnected [after the whole house is inspected] in the daughter's room, and the lights persist. Now we are all the way to July 10th, and neighbors are awakened by the flashing. They call the cops and emerge with their guns. The affected family vacates the house as well. Police on the scene see a pinkish light emerge from a window [and supposedly disappear]. Nights later a policeman inside the house witnesses light flashes while the daughter is in sight but with both hands occupied. Roll decides to camp out on his back in the flower garden, and he at last sees light flashes. The family has finally had it, and moves away. The phenomenon stops, and does not follow them to their new home either. Roll floats the idea that the daughter caused all this by PK, and the mother dismisses him with "electricity in your body don't make phonecalls!"

Although a tad oversimplified, I'm rather on the side of mom on this one, as in some instances the daughter was a bit away [others were closer] and the affair smacks of Catherine Crowe style spirit hauntings more than teenage angst to me. But.....

The second case sent by my friend was from Culver City, CA in 1974. A 30-something mother with two boys [ages 16 and 10] met a couple of California ghostbusters at an occult book shop and told them that her house was haunted. Naturally they were interested and made a series of interviews/investigations.

The haunting phenomena were limited to moving objects and odors to begin with [one of the ghostbusters saw a flying frying pan himself] , but two others elements emerged. The woman said that she was being often "raped" by the spirits [whether she used the classic term "incubi" or not isn't stated]. She would show the investigators her bruises where she had been held by lesser demons while the larger one assaulted her. Well, who can say anything about that?

Then the light phenomena began, often with the investigators present. Supposedly the accompanying photo represents one such case. [It's a bit dramatically posed for my tastes]. Allegedly the walls were covered to block out any source, but the lights showed up anyway. First they would look like a spot on the covered wall. "It" was asked to blink and it did. It was asked to move away from the wall and it hovered in the air. Showing that it had good taste in music, when the son played Black Sabbath [which he said he knew it disliked] it grew angry and large. On a next night a BOL showed up and tried to assume the figure of a man [the incubus?] This show was not able to be photo'd for some reason. At the end of the week the whole thing was dying; the family moved out and the lights never re-manifested. This thing has less of an air of reliability to me but this is what is claimed.

The last case comes from an eighteenth century book by Augustin Calmet entitled The Phantom World. This writing has become somewhat popular lately because it mentions vampires, and resonates with the recent craze. [I cannot relate to that as the topic is one of no interest to me at all]. But Calmet writes of many things. One of these involves a poltergeist light.

This story comes from a French Count and Countess who were traveling in the south of France and stayed at plush lodgings in Marseilles when they did. [The case dates from sometime in the 1700's but the exact date is not stated]. At the time there was a famous and much respected "natural philosopher" named Pierre Gassendi, who was regarded as both intelligent and pious. The Count sent the incidents to him for comment. [Gassendi is on the left].

What was reported was that the royals were awakened by "luminous spectres" entering their room. When the summoned servants brought in candles, the lights would disappear. [exactly as described by Catherine Crowe]. Once again all windows etc were covered to no avail. These lights hovered in the air and were sometimes "angular", sometimes spheres, sometimes ovals. You could read letters by the light, and the light itself seemed to have some symbols [undetermined] on/in it. If you attempted to grab one, it just disappeared. Most curiously perhaps, the presence of the lights gave the observers a sense of peace and pleasure.

Gassendi, an honest science-minded man, said that he could not say what it was. Being a pious man, he wondered if it could be a message from GOD since the royals were good people and the lights gave pleasure. Augustin Calmet, who was a Benedictine and a scholar, begged to differ. GOD would not send such a fancy "message" and leave it undecipherable--"GOD does not jest", he said. He went on to wonder if some "natural" phenomenon could be at work, or whether the royals had some strange hallucination.

Later the Count was in Marseilles on his own and assigned to the same room. Here again came a BOL, this time seen by him penetrating the chamber "through the wainscot". Later still, the Countess tried to claim that she had rigged the whole affair by having a maidservant hide under the bed--this despite the inadequacy of explaining all the different light positions [including on the bed surface itself] and the Count's separate experience. Well, such noise in the case effectively ruins confidence anyway, since we have no good "in-field" investigation to refer to.

Despite the believe-it-or-not qualities of these incidents, they contain interesting elements of strangeness that we have seen elsewhere--so perhaps were worth re-telling anyway. At least we know that Hollywood believes that poltergeists are associated with light phenomena as the screen-capture above attests [what more proof do you need?]
And "undeniably" of greatest significance: the lunar crater Gassendi is the site of more transient anomalous light phenomena [15 cases since 1900] than almost any place on the Moon. And, no, I don't think that there's any possibility of a connection whatever, so don't start a new internet growth industry.


  1. Hello, Prof.

    I am curious as to how/why these bright lights could be 'non-blinding' to the experiencer's vision. Perhaps they are not truly light, and only mimic some of light's more common properties. Some, not all. Perhaps they choose not to blind their audience. In any event, a most interesting post. (The idea of intelligent light vis-a-vis the French nobility is somehow comforting.)

  2. anomalousness agreed. I tried to very briefly lay out a few lines of thought [smoke-blowing fragments only] in the Midnight in Finland post earlier. To my knowledge, we have not had a good discussion of the various hypotheses which could "model" the sensation of non-blinding bright light or non-reflecting bright light [which seem to me to be the same thing] anywhere in the UFO or Psi community...and I haven't had time to put my inadequate head to it either.

  3. Part 1

    Prof: 'Roll thinks that he himself never gets to see the lights because he is somehow a "hex" throwing cold water on the phenomenon.'

    Possibly he was what used to be known in the trade as an anchor, Prof.

    The Sufis use the extremely ancient image, (viz Noah's Ark, Jason's Argo), of assembling specialised crews to build and man ships to take them to the realm of spiritual enlightenment.

    Supposedly this's figurative, but another possibility’s: 1) it ain't figurative at all; 2) crew and ship're one and the same thing ('organ'-ised in such a way the specially chosen 'parts' can function as a mindbendingly more powerful new 'energetic' whole); 3) some of the UFOs witnesses report may be examples of such crews - from HERE - going on trial runs to try out some of their new capacities; 4) some of the contactee reports may be examples of such crews from ELSEWHERE going on far more advanced outings before taking on the void, (i.e., the THREE BALL SORT OF THINGS UNDERNEATH Adamski's flying 'saucer' may've been a nervous system 'interpretation' of the REAL crew).

    Such a crew/ship, though, so the esoteric theory goes, requires two key components: at least one member who functions as what's been called the powerhouse, who everyone else feeds off; and in the event they don't have sufficient control of that power once it’s fully unleashed, another member capable of functioning as a sort of dampener to step things up or down; or, in the event of an emergency, at least slam on the brakes.

    (This, supposedly’s also why Black Arts/Voodoo practitioners sacrifice, say, babies: not as a gift to the Devil, but to harness the kid's spirit as a sort of unwitting genie-like powerhouse; and this's supposedly why such practitioners live in perpetual dread of the day the kid cottons on to where they 'came' from - because there ain't a set of brakes that can stop what happens next).

    I also suggest the source of Uri Geller’s debacle when he 'failed' on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show back in the '70s was they set an ‘anchor’ or what they'd've thought of as a jinx on him.

  4. Part 2

    This's where another Sufi term now comes in handy - the swimmer.

    In a lot of mythologies, there's this character - Odysseus , for instance - who's always getting thrown up on beaches by that particular mythology’s sea god.

    Notice, while Odysseus’s capable of assembling and captaining the crew of a ship himself, he's also capable of reaching land without use of a ship.

    Well, according to the theory, it'd take longer than many people's lifetimes to train most people to 'swim' to the 'other' side on their own - 'ship' building, therefore’s a way of speeding up the process.

    'Swimmers' though're supposedly' individuals sufficiently equipped with power and capacity not only to help others make it over to the far side but also 'swim' all the way back on their own in order to help still more make it over.

    Which brings me to the 2 dimensional (angular/ovular/circular/dot)light shapes: some of ‘em ‘re possibly just such 'swimmers' - i.e. individuals - from ELSEWHERE but of only sufficient capacity or strength to make preparatory exploratory sojourns until capable of coming more fully across.

    Which means some of the more 3 dimensional ones, may actually be 'swimmers' who've FINALLY managed to make it more fully across.

    Which leads to the possibility some of the succubus/incubusesque 'rape' episodes may actually be some of these 'swimmers' attempting to non-maliciously 'explore' or interact with life forms completely unknown to them, though of course to the life form being ‘explored’ it’s still a form of rape, even if unwitting.

    Ditto some of these ‘anal probing’ sessions with ‘greys’.

    Saying all that, I know from personal experience some of these 'things' are little bastards: not only vicious, but deeply malignly intentioned - both ones from here AND there, (both human, non-human, and human/non-human collaborations).

    In fact, I actually went through a phase - as part of my 'training' - when this huge, planet-sized energy life-formed 'god' 'd periodically be unleashed on me. I was 'enabled' to see myself as it 'saw' me: it viewed our form of matter-based life as a sort of disgusting skin-encased grub or maggot of fat and grease, both filled with and oozing all manner of disgusting pustulent sticky fluids and seething gases.

    It loathed our form of life so much it'd've actually squashed me like a bug if it'd've been allowed to; ‘something’ seemed to keep it sufficiently at bay to just prevent this, though, almost as though to observe how I reacted, but at times this hateful thing still actually managed to squash me down on my knees or pin me down folded in two. It kind of made me know how the ants felt when me Dad used to infuriatedly squash them with his thumbs for daring to run across our kitchen tops.

    Anyway, I tell you all this, for what it’s worth, in the sincere hope you never have to go through such things yourself, Prof, but if you do, know that they're survivable.


    Prof: “the lunar crater Gassendi is the site of more transient anomalous light phenomena [15 cases since 1900] than almost any place on the Moon. And, no, I don't think that there's any possibility of a connection whatever”.

    Ah, but what if the person who chose the name read the same thing as you?


  5. Can't comment on any of this other than it's much more about you than we need to know on the blog. I hate to say this, but you need to tune it down a bit. Let's depersonalize the discussions as much as we can.

  6. Hiya Prof, I thought I'd sneak this in the back end of the blog where nobody will read it. Believe it or not, I'm considered a skeptic and wouldn't like folk to doubt my intelligence.

    On Thursday evening, I was making a deadline and stayed late at work. I was alone in the building and had locked the doors. I had music on and was happily focused on the paperwork. At 20:30, someone opened the door in the next room, walked across the floor like I do (noisily)and opened the door outside of my room. Although initially startled, I waited for a colleague to pop in and say they'd forgotten something. Instead, the door to the stairs opened and then silence. Still expecting a colleague to burst in and attempt to make me jump, I watched the door and planned to be very blasé.

    Nothing happened and nobody entered or left.

    It left me slightly unnerved, but I stayed and finished the work just before 9pm. The only way out is through the doors and room from where the activity had arisen.

    The next day, I was reflecting on this and have to say it was most peculiar. The doors are 2 1/2 hour fire-doors (mandatory closers)and not inclined to excitement in draughts. The footsteps were swift and I felt them through the floor in my room. My door 'swished' as the air was displaced by the others opening. Altogether, I'd expect such incidents to have an air of uncertainty about them. Some sort of lingering doubts? Instead, the entirely solid, material reality of the incident is simply curious and not very 'ghostly' whatsoever.

    Despite asking at work the next day if someone was playing jokes, it's hard not to suspect mischief when the alternative is so strange. My sceptical side doesn't enjoy ambiguity when it's like this.

  7. Nothing wrong with being a skeptic... that's simply saying that one uses ones mind to assess alternate hypotheses for non-obvious experiences. I am a true, and proud, skeptic in that sense. As long as i maintain the open-minded attitude which, according to the philosophers of science is supposed to characterize science [even though it rarely does], then I am on the "side of the empirical angels".

    Your report is amusing in a way you couldn't know: my sister-in-law just called me to tell me that their house had significant poltergeist activity all weekend. Hah!! The tricksters are active here at the end of May Day week. Take it as a privilege. I don't get those fun experiences and wish I did.



Blog Archive