PARANORMAL SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT: ON SPIRIT BOARDS

paranormal-supplies-safety

Though mankind has likely attempted contact with its passed ancestors since time began, no method of spirit communication has been as prolific or direct as the spirit board.
The development of this tool is likely traced back to the Victorian Era. At the time, Spiritualism had begun to take hold, first as a thing of parlor games and later growing into a philosophical movement.
By the 1860’s, when the harsh, short lives of the American population and the ravages of the Civil War lead to a fervent interest in contacting the deceased, the movement began growing in America, possibly due in part to popular stage mediums including Anna Eva Fay and the Fox Sisters, and high-profile adherents such as former First Couple Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The first patent for the spirit board design is credited to Elijah Jefferson Bond, a veteran of the Confederate Army and 1872 Maryland Law School graduate.

Before the advent of the spirit board, the foremost method of spiritual contact were Seances, Automatic Writing, Scrying and Table-Turning (a somewhat reversed version of the spirit board).
But the thought a simple and effective device for contacting spirits without the need of a Medium was appealing to many.
The launch of the spirit board into popular consciousness was precipitated by the atrocities of the first World War, with many Americans losing family members to the horrors brewing in Europe.
By the mid 1920’s, the spirit board was a household tool, and has only been growing in popularity throughout the world since.

However, as with all things metaphysical, misunderstandings and the occasional intentional obfuscation are known to permeate popular culture.
Hollywood depictions and tales of spirit boards leading to demonic possession are well known, and the relegation of the most common brands of board to toy store shelves has stirred the ire of many a moralist.
It must be kept in mind, however, that a board itself is merely a tool, and in and of itself has no more intrinsic power than a pen or hammer – the power all lies with the operator.
The way in which this power is manifested, however, continues to be subject of contention. The two presiding theories currently are:

1. Spirits.
Of course, most who experience the spirit board firsthand are given to attribute its phenomenal properties to the spirit world.
There is much validity to this statement – many messages relayed from the board are messages which either seem so cryptic or so specific that the operator would be unlikely to compose them, no matter how creative.

2. The Ideomotor Effect.
The Ideomotor Effect (also known as the Carpenter Effect, named for W. B. Carpenter who proposed the theory) is the scientific term for the operator unknowingly controlling the planchette.
Those exhibiting the Ideomotor Effect are theorized to be acting from subconscious and unintended muscle movements, thus exhibiting a response that the operator would want to see.
Though Carpenter intended the theory to debunk the popular theories of Spiritualist Phenomena, its validity in the Paranormal sphere can be interpreted towards more Clairvoyant abilities such as ESP.

No matter which theory is correct, we at Paranormal Supplies would never discourage spiritual and physical safety when using a spirit board.
If, as many purport, the phenomena is indeed enacted by spirits, one should of course take necessary precautions to protect oneself.
It must be kept in mind, however, that the spirit board is not dangerous in and of itself, and the ownership of one will almost certainly not open one up to hauntings.
The board is simply a gateway – no more an ambassador of the spirit world than your door is an ambassador of your house – but caution should always be exercised regarding whom you invite in for the evening.

The Sun Is Up, the Sky Is Blue, It’s Beautiful and We’re Not Klaatu

That time in the 70’s when we wanted a Beatles reunion so bad that we believed anything

In their minds, they had ability to form
And transmit strange theories far beyond the norm
So read our blog, and learn about a band from yesterday
And how the airwaves gave them unexpected fame

The year is 1977. A revolutionary space opera, Star Wars, is laying waste to box office records. The Commodore PET computer is being slowly shuffled into affluent households (with cassette tape capabilities!). The space shuttle prototype “Enterprise” is taking its defiant first steps into the stratosphere. And amid all these events – brave steps toward a brave new world – a Rhode Island journalist began enticing his readers with a delicious rumor. The Beatles had reunited, and the most popular US single of their newly-named band reflected the spaceward-ho feel of the times: “Calling Occupants (Of Interplanetary Craft)”.

paranormal-supplies-klaatu-beatles

Of course, the radio sector writ large took this rumor and ran with it. Cleveland station M105 is largely responsible for propagating the rumor by actually playing the song, and when the first strains of music hit the airwaves, the public understood the connection immediately. With its swirling “Strawberry Fields Forever” mellotrons, the bridge from “A Day In the Life”, the nearly inhuman catchiness of its composition, and vocals that absolutely must be Paul… or John… or George… well, one of them, anyway… clearly it must be the work of none other than The Beatles!
Die-hard fans, conspiracy theorists and wishful thinkers across the nation began dissecting their newly bought albums for clues.
Meanwhile, a three-man band hailing from the pine-dense wonderland of Canada noticed a strange phenomenon. They had released their first album, entitled 3:47 EST, in September of the previous year. Though critical reaction was lukewarm to moderately positive, their diehard Canadian cult fanbase gave them motivation enough to continue with their (far more ambitious) second album and an excuse to party UK style while recording it in England. But to their shock, in the American Midwest, not only was their latest single 2nd on the Billboard chart, their album was selling like hotcakes to the tune of 300,000 (!) copies in two months. They’d even received a letter from Karen Carpenter, detailing how much she loved their music and that she’d very much like The Carpenters to cover their strange little ditty about space aliens (this actually happened)! Terry Draper, Dee Long, and John Woloschuk, collectively known by the moniker Klaatu*, were seeing their star rise in the strangest of ways.

Back in the states, fans noticed the “small” quirks in Klaatu’s writing style and (non-)image, citing these abnormalities as intentional clues left by the Fab Four to signal their return to only their truest fans. One would think that the “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy would have soured the fandom to such endeavors**, but then again, it was the seventies.
The clues commonly cited by fans were as follows:
First and foremost, the band sounds like the Beatles. Worth noting because no pop band in the mid seventies wanted to sound like the most influential band in history, of course.

Second, the album was released on Capitol Records, the same distribution company responsible for releasing the Beatles’ albums in the States. Capitol being one of the largest labels in the world at the time notwithstanding.
Third, the album’s sleeve gave no recording credit to specific band members, no band photos were included anywhere in the album packaging, and all songs and production were credited simply to “Klaatu”. Theorists asserted that if the Beatles had reunited, surely they’d want their new project to be recognized based on the merits of the music itself instead of riding on hype over its creators (And, for the record, this is probably the least far-fetched of these clues).

Fourth, Ringo Starr had just released his album Goodnight Vienna, featuring a parody of the film “The Day the Earth Stood Still” as the album’s cover. In the scene parodied, two aliens arrive to earth, Klaatu and his robot minion Gort, and in the place of Klaatu is… you know where this is going.

Fifth, a rumor stated that playing “Sub Rosa Subway” backwards revealed the line “Listen, listen, listen/It’s us!/It’s us!/It’s the Beatles!” … it doesn’t. Except, maybe, kind of…

Klaatu’s second album, entitled Hope, was released in ’77 and did little to dispel any rumors (though, being a high-concept prog rock album released during the Noah’s flood of high-concept prog rock albums released in the mid-70’s, sales had started to stagnate). By the release of Sir Army Suit, the band’s third album, the rumor was effectively killed. The band (and their label) included actual photos of the band in their promotional material for the first time, which finally gave the band faces but unfortunately was also the nail in the coffin of Klaatu’s mainstream success. They did carry on for a few more years, however, releasing two further albums before taking off to their home planet (of Toronto) and leaving us with a mostly stellar – if not somewhat puzzling – body of work.
The band broke up in the early eighties, with Dee Long going to work for EMI for a brief time (and even got to meet Paul McCartney, once) before finally moving to producing animation and working on music in his spare time (he even has a Bandcamp!). Terry Draper went back to his roofing business before also embarking on a solo career (more on that here). As for John Woloschuk, he became an accountant but evidently still has a great sense of pride over the band’s work.
To this day, fans debate whether the band’s “Beatle clone” hysteria was deserved and whether the band would have been able to gain popularity without the rumor. But the indisputable fact remains, Klaatu’s moment in the limelight is a fascinating – if a little misguided and frustrating – footnote in the history of rock. And perhaps, it’s a bit of a warning to those up-and-coming musicians out there. The next time someone says your band sounds like the Beatles, well… It could always be worse.

*Editor’s note #1: Klaatu were an absolutely rocking band. I highly recommend, their music is pure nerdy goodness.
** Editor’s note #2: Some theories were crazy enough to blend the two into one mega Beatles alternate universe, so there’s that too. The (massively paraphrased) theory was that Klaatu’s album was created from tapes left behind by “Real-Paul” era Beatles, and shelved until after the rumors about Paul’s death had died down. Also this, from Klaatu’s second album, Hope.

Some would say that this article has nothing to do with the paranormal, and therefore has no place on Paranormal Supplies' blog. I would assert that this article has everything to do with the paranormal, and therefore absolutely has a place on Paranormal Supplies' blog.

Sources:

http://www.klaatu.org/klaatu1.html

Beatles Again

Klaatu’s Official Website

5 Musicians Who Have Experienced the Paranormal

Of all professions, perhaps none are more intertwined with the influence of the supernatural than that of the Artist.
As such, perhaps those of an artistic mind are more open to paranormal experience – or more willing to accept an experience as such.
Please enjoy our list of 5 musicians who are believed to have had paranormal encounters!

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5. MEAT LOAF

Yes, the guy who sang “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”.
Evidently, Meat Loaf is an avid believer in the paranormal, going so far as to frequently use an EMF meter to track apparitions.
He also experienced an encounter with a ghostly lady, clad in white, during the recording period for his Bat Out of Hell album.
As he lay in his bed, he saw a thin, pale woman pass by his window. Thinking that it was one of his producers’ groupies, he thought nothing of it until a short time after.
He later was confronted with poltergeist-like activity, slamming doors and smashing glass until he finally downed an entire bottle of sleeping pills – not exactly the wisest action – and only then slept until morning.

kendrick-lamar1

4. KENDRICK LAMAR

Kendrick Lamar reportedly met the ghost of Tupac, who told him “Not to let (his) music die”.
He purports to have seen Shakur come to him in a dream, appearing in silhouette and giving his fan a moving word of encouragement.
Pardon the pun, but the experience must have been… “humbling”. 😉

bob-dylan1[1]

3. BOB DYLAN

During the recording of his seminal album Time Out of Mind (Because all of his albums are “seminal” somehow), Bob Dylan had repeated experiences involving Buddy Holly.
Always subtle, as most experiences of the sort are, Holly’s music became a dominating prescence on the radios of Dylan’s recording studio.
The catch – Dylan and crew had no hand in tuning in.
He even alluded to this in a Grammy acceptance speech:

“I just wanted to say, one time when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at the Duluth National Guard Armory (late January, 1959)…I was three feet away from him…and he looked at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was – I don’t know how or why – but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record, in some kind of way.”

david-bowie1

2. DAVID BOWIE

We’ll be honest, it’s not surprising that David Bowie has made it on to this list.
During the mid-70’s, Bowie’s ‘Thin White Duke’ phase was in full swing, at which time he began experimenting with magic and… other substances.
However, all this experimenting came with a price, as Bowie gradually grew paranoid that seemingly everything was out to kill him;
Nazis, heights, a group of witches called the Brides of Satan, and even the Manson family (though this was 1970’s California, so perhaps this was not so farfetched as his other fears).
This all came to a head, at which point he hired a White Witch by the name of Walli Elmark to come and exorcise the demons from his home.
According to Bowie’s wife at the time, Angie, the swimming pool bubbled and boiled and churned and ‘thrashed’ in unexplainable ways until the exorcism came to a conclusion.

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1. ROBERT JOHNSON

Probably the most notable example of a musician meeting the supernatural, the tale of Robert Johnson barely needs an introduction.
Leaving home as a teenager (and mediocre blues musician), Johnson would within the course of his short life become one of the most influential musicians of all time.
So how could someone who, upon leaving home an unimpressive instrumentalist, suddenly become renowned as a blues crooner for nearly a century after his untimely death at the age of 27?
Practice certainly could have had nothing to do with it.
Clearly, Johnson made a deal with the Devil himself.

This may seem like hyperbole, but it must be remembered that a great amount of the man’s personal life is an enigma… the only lasting testiments that Johnson existed at all are a handful of eyewitness accounts… and his songs.
Most of his 29-song repetoire consisted of reworkings of older blues traditionals – unsurprising for a delta blues musician – but included three songs he penned himself.

Their names?

Hellhound On My Trail, At the Crossroads Blues, and Me and the Devil Blues.

*shiver*

These songs detail a Faustian pact made at a crossroads between the speaker and a ghostly dealmaker (for women and fame in exchange for his soul, naturally), and the demon’s subsequent pursuit of the speaker to the ends of the earth in order collect his debt.
The speculation that this story is more than pure fiction – in fact, possibly autobiographical – has not been lost in the generations since.
After all, we know nothing of Johnson except what he left as a legacy.

Sources:
https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-haunting-of-meatloaf-is-exactly-as-weird-as-it-soun-1738349647
http://www.zimbio.com/Celebrity+Paranormal+Encounters+That+Will+Freak+You+Out/articles/QqwEKqkz2kA/Kendrick+Lamar+saw+Tupac+vision
https://www.lightforcenetwork.com/aradia/david-bowie-and-white-witch
http://www.openculture.com/2015/07/the-story-of-bluesman-robert-johnsons-famous-deal-with-the-devil-retold-in-three-animations.html

The Trick-Or-Treatise: On the Evolution of A Custom.

The origins of Halloween are pretty well-known to most fans of anything even remotely other-worldly.
It’s technically “supposed” to be called Samhain (pronounced Sah-When) and is derived from the pagan Celtic festival which took place around the solstice.
Of course, other traditionally spooky celebrations such as Walpurgisnacht (although that’s in April) have been mixed in, and in recent years Halloween has become Christmas’ hyper-commercialized spooky brother.
But that’s another article.

The celebration of Halloween has today become inseparable from ghost hunts, revealing costumes, and binges of equal parts alcohol and horror flick.
Today, however, on this fantastic holiday, we will look at something a bit more kid-friendly: Trick-Or-Treating.
How long has it been a thing? And why?
Sit back, dear reader, for today we learn.

Cat girls

Trick-or-Treatise part I: The Conquering
The Holiday of Halloween, of course, has pagan roots. Samhain was celebrated on the first of November and was meant to venerate the harvest (and drink).
They also associated the darker half of the year… from fall to winter… with death and decay, and believed that the spirits would become active on the day before Samhain.
In an attempt to ward off the less kind of these ghosts, and to pay tribute to fallen relatives, they left out small meals and loaves of bread and other small treats.
Thus, Halloween has managed to stay true to its roots of horror and partying for millenia.

Near the end of the Roman Empire, great areas of Celt land were overtaken and conquered.
During these ages, the practice seemed to continue, such was the appeal of Halloween even in ancient times.

Trick-or-Treatise part II: The Souling
Near the 8th or 11th century, The Catholic Church had gained control of the area. The Church’s calendar contained two holidays, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
All Saints Day was intended to honor fallen saints, and observe the importance of their martyrdoms. A feast was mandated to be held on the 13th of May as commemoration.
All Souls Day, unsurprisingly, is meant to venerate passed loved ones and ancestors, and became linked with a practice known as “Souling”, which consisted of leaving out small sweets and treats on All Souls Night.
Incidentally, this is where the similar practices observed in South America (known as La Dia De Los Muertos) originated.
All Souls Day was originally observed sometime in the Spring, and later sometime in Winter, but always intentionally directly after the feast of All Saints.
This eventually led to the amalgamation of the two into All Hallow’s Eve, which occurred overlapping Samhain, likely because it was most convenient for all observers.

Trick-or-Treatise part III: The Guising
Since the Celts are wont to set trends for Halloween, the final piece of the Trick or Treat puzzle falls into place in the 16th century, based in the Scottish practice of “Guising”.
Guising is essentially the same as trick-or-treating as Americans would know it, with children donning outlandish costumes and going door-to-door to collect treats, with the exception that the child is often expected to actually perform a trick.
Associated rituals, such as “mumming” developed in other countries (and included essentially the same practices) but not necessarily set on Halloween.
However, in America, a phrase shouted by mischievous kids on their neighbor’s doorsteps became widespread and included reference to the other well-known Halloween practice of extreme pranking:

"Trick or Treat!"

On Fri. Oct. 13, 2017

Human society has long been known to ascribe significance to certain days.
We have holidays, for example. These include Christmas, Labor Day, Beer Can Appreciation Day (which also happens to be my birthday), and my personal favorite, Halloween.
Sometimes we hold anniversaries in high regard, birthdays, or even simply “a good day”, in which nothing particularly negative happens within a 24-hour span.
But there is one day that, to many (barring a few fans of a certain horror franchise), is regarded with a certain air of dread and avoidance.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia* – because everything has scientific name – is the complete and paralyzing fear of Friday the 13th.
Often, we attribute phobias to an innate and understandable fear. Spiders, snakes, heights, clowns… these are all phenomena that, though not everyone shares the fear of them, everyone can at least understand why they would be scary to some.
Spiders likely feasted on our primordial ancestors, and on top of that, just look terrifying. Especially the Maratus Personatus. Google if you dare.
Heights are inherently dangerous, and doubly intimidating if you’ve ever seen Vertigo.
Clowns are… well, needless to say, research has been done.
But why have we in the Western Hemisphere all agreed to be afraid of a single, seemingly random day out of the month?

13th

Perhaps this superstition has its roots in numerology. Many cultures regard a certain number as cursed or unlucky.
In Japan, the number 4 is often regarded with a similar solemnity, as the word for 4 in Japanese (“Shi”) is a homophone for the word for death (also “Shi”).
But in America, it is known as a fearful number. Probably even the most dreadful, aside from possibly 666 (the numbah! of! the! beast!). But why?
“Death” and “thirteen” don’t bear much resemblance, I would argue that 79 is far more intimidating, and no-one can seem to trace the origins of exactly why it’s meant to be unlucky.
The ancient Turks are said to have absolutely loathed the number – avoiding its use in all but the most necessary situations – and the ancient Vikings and Indians associated it with death.
The Vikings may have associated it with bad luck due to the God Loki (of course), who crashed a dinner party of twelve gods and consequently conspired with the god Hod there to murder Baldur, who was killed by a lance of mistletoe puncturing his heart… Man, Norse mythology is brutal.
The Indians believed that the 13th member of any gathering was sure to die by the end of the year.
There were 13 disciples at the Last Supper, one of which betrayed Jesus and caused his death (which occurred on a Friday).
I would argue this example has less to do with the number of people at the table and more about Judas’ motivations, but I’ll move on before this gets all Andrew Lloyd-Weber.

Our fear of Friday, however, has more of a tangible basis.
Though I personally like Friday – weekends are nice – the day is regarded as an unlucky one in Christian cultures.
Evidently, Adam and Eve were ousted from the Garden on a Friday. Thus, it is the weekly anniversary of mankind falling from grace.
As was mentioned before, Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
In English, it is named after Frigg, the Norse Goddess of – you guessed it – death.
So, uh, T.G.I.F? I feel like such a wet blanket when I research this kind of thing.
By the way, the oldest tale I could track down based on the well known day was the aptly titled novel “Friday, the Thirteenth” which was released in 1907.
It’s about bank fraud, or something. So, you know, exactly like the film.

So, do you laugh in the face of fear? Shroud yourself in Superstition? Or perhaps you have some interesting anecdotes about the Unluckiest Day in the Western World. If you do, send us your story, we'd love to hear it!

 

SOURCES:
https://www.thoughtco.com/why-is-friday-the-13th-considered-unlucky-3298238
http://bismarcktribune.com/news/columnists/keith-darnay/origins-of-friday-the-th-may-be-ancient/article_d90455b5-8af6-59bd-831b-833183b8ed46.html
https://www.tofugu.com/japan/number-four-superstition/
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/the-origin-of-friday-the-13th-as-an-unlucky-day/
*”Paraskevidekatriaphobia” was coined in the early 90’s by a Dr. Donald Dossey, 1934-2016.