Ghosts Among Us

ghosts

Generally speaking, you could spit in any direction and hit someone who claims to have seen a ghost.  No shortage of those stories but there are some interesting consistencies when it comes to providing evidence.

I’ve listened to dozens of ghost stories told by people who seem to believe them but you know what they never say? They never say, “I saw a ghost and took a photo of it.”

Everyone that claims to have shot a photo of a ghost also claims that it was an accident. They say, “I was just taking a picture of this here empty staircase for no particular reason.” Or, “I shot this portrait of two people in an oddly off centered fashion”. Conveniently, “ghosts” appeared in exactly the right spot after the fact.

My ex-sister-in-law claimed to have photographed the ghost of Jerry Garcia. She proudly showed me a photo of what was obviously lens flare.  She was an experienced photographer and I felt she should’ve known better.  On the other hand, she also claimed that the ghost of Jerry Garcia did everything from giving her directions to the nearest pay phone to helping her move furniture. Sometimes you have to consider the source.

My mom once stayed for a week at the Monroe Institute, a place where people go to practice having out of body experiences and to train in the art of remote viewing. I thought it was fascinating until she told me that, during her visit, participants were told that the spirits living there would appear in photographs in the form of orbs. For a place that fancies themselves to be conducting scientific research, that is some hocus-pocus nonsense.

I don’t mean to pee in anyone’s candy corn but photos with lens flare are not pictures of ghosts and orbs are bullshit.  Sure, orbs will show up in photographs but they too are another form of lens flare.

I was a full time professional photographer for 15 years.  I have been all over the southwest visiting ancient cemeteries, old churches, ghost towns and abandoned motor lodges on the old Route 66.  I have shot tens of thousands of photographs in these places along with countless photographs of weddings and guess how many unexplainable pictures of “ghosts” I have?

That’s right. None.

The one thing that every bogus “ghost photo” of lens flare and orbs have in common is that they were obviously shot by amateur photographers on point and shoot cameras with built-in flashes. For the record, smart phones are also point and shoot cameras with built-in flashes.  The flash being too close to the lens renders all kinds of weird results and, not understanding how cameras work, easily excitable picture snappers immediately assume their cameras are haunted when unexpected things appear in their photos.

Enthusiastic ghost hunters firing their built-in flashes into swarms of nocturnal insects or into the mirror, or towards any kind of shiny object are ready and willing to accept bad photography as evidence of the super natural.  Failing to shade their lens from the sun and being blinded by the light, these are the same people who think they see the face of Jesus in a piece of burnt toast and go around checking their children’s hands and feet for the stigmata.

A few years ago, while on a quest to find an authentic photo of a ghost, I contacted every professional photographer I knew and asked them if they believed they had ever photographed a ghost or had any photos that defied explanation. They all said no.

I bet you think this story is about how I don’t believe in ghosts.

Let’s not jump to conclusions.

Maybe the issue isn’t that ghosts are real but maybe the issue is that they can’t be photographed.  More specifically, something that cannot be seen with the human eye is not going to show up in a photo because, according to the laws of physics, for something to be visible it must reflect light.

Inversely, if vampires were real they would show up in photographs and in mirrors because you can see them.

If you want me to believe otherwise, evidence more compelling that what I’ve mentioned will need to be produced.  The average person has a better chance of photographing a bona fide UFO than taking a picture of a ghost.

Not seeing and still believing.

There are those who claim not to believe in anything that they can’t see with their own eyes.

I call bullshit.  By that rationale, to a blind person, nothing is real.  Additionally, sight is only one of the ways that we experience and interpret reality.  You can’t see the way a pot roast in the crock pot smells but the scent most certainly confirms the existence of the pot roast.

No one has ever shot a photo of gravity, or inertia, but these things are real and for that matter, please show me your photos of music.

Ghosts stories, taken at face value.

Created by DPE, Copyright IRIS 2007

Several years ago I wrote a story for this blog called Watching The Flowers Sway.

I was proud of that piece but I never explained where it came from or why I would write such a horrific tale in the first place.

In 2003 one of my past wedding clients was murdered.

I saw her face on the news while drinking my morning coffee and I said, “That’s her!” as if I had already been talking about her though of course I hadn’t been.

The story on the news said she was missing and presumed dead.  The police found a horrific scene in her classroom at the elementary school where she was an Occupational Therapist.  I remembered watching her walk back to her car after she left my studio for the final time.  Though I was not involved in any way, I felt that I had somehow let her down by not protecting her, I guess everyone probably felt like that.

The police said the janitor did it. The physical evidence against him was overwhelming even without the body which took almost two months to find.

Later that evening her husband was on the news pleading for anyone with information to come forward.  It was heartbreaking.  They had been married less than two years.

And then the news team went to interview the janitor’s family.  The parents weren’t in a talkative mood but they found one of the janitor’s friends who said, “Martin wouldn’t have done something like that, he just bought new rims for his car.”

With a character witness like that and a trunk full of blood and hair, Martin was going to need a really good lawyer.  No Saul Goodman was gonna get him out of this shit. He needed Johnnie Cochran and even then, O.J. seemed less guilty.

With the body being MIA, the story quickly fell out of the news and there was only a brief mention when the case finally went to trial in 2005.  The body had been found by then and it, along with all the other evidence, was enough to get Martin sentenced to life in prison.

Good.

Fucker.

I watched the short bit on the news about the verdict in the trial.  Two things stood out. One was that Martin’s mom was shown crying and saying, “I know my mijo is innocent”. No, he wasn’t. And, two, cameras were rolling on Martin when the jury read the verdict. He sat in his chair, bobbing his head and looking around as if everything were right with the world. He didn’t look the least bit concerned.

Six years later in 2011, I grew curious about the case again.  Very little information was made available at the time and I still had so many questions.

One night I laid in bed looking up anything I could find on her case.  A lot more information had been made available and it was gruesome, all of it, but I read every article I could find.

I was considering writing about it but I didn’t know what to say or where to start.

It was late at night when I finally ran out of articles. I plugged my phone in and turned out the light.

I hadn’t even gotten my pillows situated when the energy in the room changed.

It was dark and there was nothing to see but I swear there was another entity present, I could practically feel it breathing on me.  I knew positively that it was her and the message was unmistakable.  This was a cease and desist order of the highest kind.  In retrospect, I wish I had tried to communicate but to be honest I panicked and turned the lamp on and just sat there like a big scardey-cat for almost an hour before getting brave enough to turn the light back off.

I decided not to write anything about her, ever.

But then I changed my mind.

While laying in bed trying my best to get some sleep I decided that she probably wasn’t trying to scare me.  There’s no reason she should have any animosity towards me. Perhaps I had misunderstood.

I decided to conduct an experiment.

For three days I asked her what she wanted me to say.  On the third day the story poured out.  I moved my fingers on the keyboard but the images weren’t mine, they were hers, and they just kept coming.

I believe I channeled the entire story from her eight years after her death.

There are no photos to back my claim but eyesight is not the only way to experience reality.

You may read that story here if you like.



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A Time To Create

 

“We’ll not be given time to create, we be asked to create in real time.”

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Two years ago, I fled to the Sky Island Mountains to seek shelter from the turmoil and recharge my soul under the blazing sky.

In retrospect, that is why all of us were there. Why so many would travel from so far to meet on the mountain in the name of finding the flow.

Some said it was a cult, and they were probably right, but we went anyway.

Nothing was good on the day I left and I drove for a very long time.

What happened next changed everything in an instant. The lights came on and it was time to start over.

Xavier was standing on the porch at the end of the road to Oracle.

Accusations were made and some said it was contrived.

It was not.

With more unlikely details than I could possibly arrange, somethings fall outside my scope of practice and this was one of them.

But even if it was, contrived that is, I say “what of it?” and advise the inquisition to walk away peacefully while they still can.

Two years ago in a flurry of fear and hurt and desperation, I went to a retreat to study Tai Chi and drink wine with my friends.

Instead, I met a boy and we played push hands and fell in love on the couch.

We’re married now but getting married was easy. Easy compared to the force of nature it took to bring us together and break us free.

The wedding was nice but this was the day of creation.

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What’s Your Elephant?

I could keep waiting for people to change or I could change and the latter necessarily meant it was time to boss-up with no remorse for the blood in the water.

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It’s been said that to carve an elephant from a block of wood, all one needs to do is cut away everything that does not resemble an elephant.

It would not do to lament the corners of the block or the shavings of wood that are cut away. They are not elephant shaped, so why would you want them?

To hold on to things that do not serve begs the same question: why would you even want them?

I took some time off from writing this blog but now, on a rainy day in Easterville, I have something to say.

It was time to clean house because the elephant had become unrecognizable.

Asking people for things they don’t have with the persistence of a dog scratching fleas is, well, exhausting to say the least.

The definition of insanity after all is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I could keep on keeping’ on, waiting for people to change while time keeps on slipping’, or I could change and the latter necessarily meant it was time to boss-up with no remorse for the blood in the water.

You know what I’m talking about.

If your elephant is integrity, why do you rationalize?

If your elephant is honesty, why are you willing to live a lie?

If your elephant is better relationships, why do you pursue people who are less than worthy of your attention?

If your elephant is enlightenment, why do you stay asleep?

The alarm is going off, it’s time to wake up.

 

Home

Sometimes things don’t work out.

No, sometimes they don’t work out at all.

And, sometimes, it seems heartbreaking.

Things were not as I thought I wanted them to be.

As it turns out, I thought wrong…

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Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
Arizona burned bright with flames a mile high.

And it waited.

It waited while a boy stood at the crossroads, asking for a sign.
Caught in a fluorescent bath of indecision, he looked at his watch, he looked back at his car, he looked at the suitcase by his feet.
It should be so easy, just get on the plane.
“I prefer to be in the plane”, he thought to himself, but his feet still didn’t move.
He thought of his dream, turbulence in crossing the Mississippi River.
A blaze of glory with a sudden stop.
Going down in flames to die a proverbial death.
Something’s gotta give.

He stood in the parking garage and considered his other dreams…

Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
with thorny arms and hot breath,
Arizona changed his mind.

“You don’t have to take your life at face value”, he would breath in the words from her mouth as she said it to him later, though he heard it then.
He tried to reach out and grasp the glow of her heat but it was on him already.
In him already.
Compelled his thoughts.
Already.

He didn’t know what he knew while he stood at the corner of uncertainty, not exactly, but a spider moved in it’s web and the wind stirred the surface of the water.

“What if I told you that if you get on this plane nothing will ever be the same?”
He heard the question though it too was yet to be asked.
“What if I told you that you can’t go home again?”
“What if I told you that you never left?”

Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
a silent creature in Arizona waited with unblinking eyes.
Warm sand against it’s belly, in the shadow of a tree.
Without worry.
Patiently.

Xavier locked his car and picked up his suitcase, this is what fate feels like.
It was time to go.
Home.

Books About God

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“It grieves me that you wake up frightened”, sayeth the book about god.

Does god grieve for my fear?

I don’t know.
How would I know?

But I do, wake up frightened that is.
Everyday.
Frightened that the hummingbirds will not come back.
Frightened that while the flowers bloomed and rejoiced in the sun, I looked away.
Hopeful petaled faces waited for me until they could wait no longer.
Frightened that I’ll never find the downbeat to live in real time.
Frightened that I won’t get what I want,
and frightened that I will.
Frightened that I would wake up in an empty space.

The book about god says there is no empty space.
This god novelist sure has got my number.

She knows what I know.

She wakes up in a pool of her own regret and terror.
Everyday she thinks something about this familiar dirty window is comforting.
Something about the dark recess of the house, where the air is still and the little dog sleeps, something about the smell of coffee in the morning seems like home.

But is it?

Is it the one and only,
or only one of many?

She knows what I know
and she still writes books about god.