Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Going Bump in the Day: another "Happy Poltergeist" incident.

We tend to think of Ghosts, Hauntings, Poltergeists et al as sinister, but sometimes, some locations, they manifest in almost purely benign ways. Some of these repetitive phenomena may go on and on without even a "trickster" element in them the majority of the time. In a way, it's as if "they" [whatever "they" are] are merely going about their "lives" in some poltergeisty way, rather indifferent to our own. Such a poltergeist manifests in my brother and sister-in-law's house, and another incident worth mentioning occurred recently, so I'll tell you about it. It was a pretty neat one as you'll read.

Although I am quite ready to subscribe to the hypothesis stated above, and although two cats prowl this particular house, this event wasn't their doing. [Sometimes, admittedly, one begins to wonder if certain cats aren't deliberately doing mischief themselves however ... but that is another "mystery" that I will never solve.]

So, no. The cats weren't up to this one. Here's the background for the event:

The house is a historical Victorian rowhouse built in the 1880s. It is the best preserved in Wheeling and is on the national historical registry, and is quite attractive and "interesting". I can see why a ghost might want to hang around in it, if it had nothing better to do. There have been a string of incidents ever since my brother and sister-in-law bought it and fixed it up --- hmmmm... eight or so? years ago. Most of these things are apparently-human-induced sound patterns, equipment shutting on or off at "inappropriate" times with no one in the vicinity, the occasional spectacular object movement, and a variety of less bulk-categorizable incidents, but also including several apparitions. Occasionally more than one person is present to experience whatever this is.

On this day, the house was occupied by my sister-in-law, two grandchildren, two grandchildren-in-law, and of course two cats. To set something aside right off, all these people like each other [and the cats], and none of the kids is experiencing any "bad times" or unusual stresses. They are good and happy kids. The kids are also very "conservative" straight-shooter types, who really like their grandma. William Roll's "stressed pre-puberty teen-ager" hypothesis is right out the window.

My sister-in-law was on the ground floor when she heard and felt vibrations directly through the ceiling above [the main bedroom], as if someone was jumping on the bed. And that's what she thought [even though that's not kosher in the house, and the kids don't do it]. At that time, the three girls were on the second floor and so could be the culprits. The older boy had escaped the girls to the third floor and was losing himself in video games.

The girls wandered downstairs, and were asked one by one if they'd been jumping on the bed. All said no. Well, OK, but they're still the leading hypothesis, correct? They said that they weren't in the bedroom, and while in another room didn't even hear the "jumping" sound.

Then the jumping started again with all four of them in the first floor room. And again it was directly overhead. The girls said: " Kenny's here", and in unison agreed that that this is "who" it was.

A short back-step: veteran readers of this blog [with good memories] will remember that "Kenny" is/was an old family member from the early twentieth century era, who died young. "He" has for several years manifested apparitionally to one of my sister-in-law's grandchildren, who visits her grandma frequently. These manifestations have particularly large evidentiary "punch", because "he" identified himself by name to the grandchild at a time when no such "kenny" was known to the family --- this young boy NOT being formally named "Kenny", but the fact that he had been called that as a nickname only was discovered later. Very peculiar and interesting element of this situation.

Well, back to this recent moment: as the jumping continued, the grand-daughter who had the long term "relationship" with Kenny, looked up at the ceiling and shouted: "Kenny!! Quit jumping on the bed!!".

.... and "he" did. That particular manifestation stopped and did not resume.

Kenny seems a happy ghost, indeed. The best kind really if you have to have one around the house.

And who/what is Kenny?? You're on your own on that one. I satisfy myself with the [to me] FACT, that he/it is real, and is not any common physically-reducible phenomenon, but rather some element of the spirit or psychic aspect of our world.


  1. This kind of thing irks me! I mean, it bugs me a lot and doesn't bend to reasonable explanations or conform to expectations either. Rather, it's mischievous and challenging to how I like my reality to behave.

    Nevertheless, my parent's house has enjoyed many of the peculiar features and incidents you've written about - same period too. Experienced by multiple individuals at different times and not all blood-relatives either. Some incidents (a *something* skittering past your face on the pillow) only happen in one room but happen to different people. Voices are heard from another room like the conversations of men - heard on sunny days and deep into the night by (again) different people.

    Beyond the daytime mischief of missing objects, footsteps and electrics, interrupting sleep has been a common feature. Whatever the source, it's no respecter of the 'right-to-sleep-after-a-hard-day.' Again, friends, relatives, visitors etc. Footsteps, doors opening to butt against walls/ beds and different degrees of meddling with bedclothes and feet.

    The awkward thing is that once someone has had a multi-sensory unusual experience, they're not equipped to process it. It happened. It was apparently material in effects on the senses and environment. Where else can one go with it?

    In some ways, I picture a Venn diagram with overlaps between psycho-social traits; sleep disorders and such-like. But somehow, these aren't enough to explain all of the incidents which makes it hard to be sure which were potentially unusual - or hypnapompic for example.

    The incident I mentioned recently has similarly left me prevaricating between a prank and something peculiar. Irked once more and chuckling.

    No doubt there are a lot of families across the world who have similar experiences. In a way, these accounts and retellings slosh around the human condition and rarely emerge as more than group-folklore. Fun to talk about when the mood is right.

  2. I used to think that this sort of thing was rare, and thereby possibly easily dismissible by assuming a small number of lousy witnesses; but no longer. All one has to do [very much like UFO cases or certain of the simpler "psychic" experiences] is describe them to people and here come their own experiences with the "things".

    Of course it is nice to have such told you by people that you intimately know and "understand". I have been blessed to have in my family individuals who live in a poltergeist house, others who experience "trickster" misplacements [hidings?] of objects regularly, another with regular clairvoyant imagery of a very specific kind [car accidents on the road ahead], a silhouette shadowman, a powerful phantom hitchhiker, etc etc etc. And that's just immediate family members.

    This stuff exists and does not reduce to materialistic "textbook" explanation. That makes many people uncomfortable. It doesn't me any longer. By studying these things now for a serious while, they are just a mysterious part of the Universe, which give the lie to Materialist Reductionism.... a philosophy which in any profound sense makes no sense anyway.

  3. My father in law comes to our house to check on us a lot. My husband is 43 and we recently found a photograph of his dad at 40 and they look identical. I said to my husband, "That makes sense that I see or hear you talking, when I know you are 50 miles away at work." Now when I hear him, I will respond. When I see him, it is a full bodied apparition, and I have to make sure it is not my husband. I have even told the dog not to bark at him!

    1. Very interesting information, and it fits well into a lot of such phenomenology stretching back into our past. You might be interested in reading the Catherine Crowe posts I've put on the blog much earlier. I think that there's a "Search" function on here somewhere, so that would make it easier. Or buy her early 1800s book [reprinted] The Nightside of Nature --- a great read, maybe even important --- which speaks of those full-bodied real-as-real apparitional events. Thanks for the "data".

    2. That book is available in a free, searchable online facsimile edition. The Night Side of Nature; or, Ghosts and Ghost Seers by Catharine Crowe, 1848 edition.

  4. Prof I've a suspicion as the children grow up Kenny'll fade into the background until another generation of kids come along to wake him back up.

    Speaking from personal experience you can get the reverse of this of course where crabby or even downright nasty entities make their finger stabbing presence felt on an increasingly regular basis as certain members of the household suddenly decide as far as they're concerned they're now officially 'old' and want to be babied in the same way they insist their grandparents were when they were kids.

    At times it can almost feel like the flesh and blood ones're working in tandem with the spectral ones.

    Moving house - especially from a neighbourhood of 'oldies' competing with each other for who's the most feeble and geriatric - does gradually help to break or diminish the spell.

    1. You could be correct. It will be an "experiment-in-the-running" over the next several years as the most often experiencer of "Kenny" grows out of high school and into adulthood. Even then, the older "resident", Doctor Ackerman, may still anchor the phenomenon, as the house seems to produce manifestations regardless of the kids being there.



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