Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween: The Shadowlands

This is a post about three years in the making. I've been wanting to post this website every year around Halloween, and until this year it would mysteriously go down every single year around this time, probably because the emphasis on the paranormal that the holiday provides causes a heavier traffic load on its web servers. It seems now that they have a far more reliable and faster web host, though, so I'm going to finally post it this year.

I've known about this website just about as long as I've been online. I've actually corresponded with Dave Juliano before, but nothing lately. He seems like a nice, grounded guy, which goes a long way in winning my support. He's a ghost researcher in the New England area, but what makes his website special is that it doesn't just focus on his own experiences. The website contains thousands of user-submitted "true" stories, (and here I enquote "true" because anybody can submit anything and say it's true), as well as a lot of factual information about hauntings and what to do about them.

I say "factual" because, although the guy personally believes in ghosts, having been the victim of a haunting himself, he is also his very own skeptic. He strikes down a lot of rumors and misinformation and superstition as well, probably because those just make the whole profession look bad. I first discovered the truth behind sleep paralysis through this website because before I had no idea what it was even called to look it up. Although it's scary as hell as your brain tries to rationalize what's happening to your body, it's comforting to know that you're not being victimized by a malevolent force and it's relatively harmless.

My official stance is that I can't say I believe in ghosts because I've never had any personal, verifiable experience with the paranormal. However, I can't say that I don't believe in ghosts because I personally believe that anything is possible until it's proven impossible, and although there has never been any scientifically viable evidence of the existence of ghosts, it has not been proven impossible. Oddly enough, I do believe in evil as a force, though. It seems stupid to believe in evil, which I've pretty much rationalized down to people's own inherent selfishness, as a force but not believe in ghosts. I guess it comes from my Christian upbringing. You can't believe in God without also believing in Satan, so I tend to be wary of reportedly haunted places and try to avoid them.

I've read that evil spirits will use the premise of a seemingly harmless spirit to entice people to opening a door for them to enter their lives. Once you invite a spirit into your life, it opens the door for any number of spirits to come with it, and many of them are evil spirits. Then there are ghosts who are not evil, just malevolent. Maybe a serial killer or psychopath or child molester that died and got trapped in the spirit plane, or even someone who is just pissed or confused about being dead. Either way, if you meet up with a spirt there is a very high probability that it will not be friendly, or something with it will not be friendly. Ever feel an overwhelmingly menacing presence someplace for absolutely no justifiable reason that makes you feel amazingly uncomfortable? Yeah, tell me evil doesn't exist.

I think the best thing to do when confronted with a possibly evil spirit is to have a strong conviction in something greater than it. Rely on your faith in your god. I'm pretty well convinced that it doesn't matter which religion you follow or which god you believe in, but malicious spirits simply fear a belief in something more powerful than them. It's not the god that they fear, but the strength of your conviction. They may try to make you fear them, but if your belief in something greater than them makes you apathetic to their shock tactics, then they will have no power over you, and that's what they want. Don't give it to them.

At any rate, I would definitely check out Dave Juliano's
personal story. It's a pretty creepy Halloween treat. The first time I read it back in the late Nineties, I had trouble sleeping for a few days afterward because I kept imagining all the things he'd witnessed. I also highly recommend the articles section for factual information and practical advice.

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