Monday, January 31, 2011

February Fright Fest Coming Up Soon

N.A.P.S. has been asked to participate in February Fright Fest (F3) in Jackson, MS on February 12, in an information and educational role.  Chuck Jett, host of the event, contacted N.E.A.R. Paranormal Founders and Demonologists Keith and Sandra Johnson, to ask them for a recommendation for a Team in our area, and Sandra recommended us. Keith and Sandra, as well as most of their investigators, were core members of T.A.P.S. before leaving to form their own team - N.E.A.R. (New England Anomalies Research) which focuses more on demonic cases.  N.E.A.R. is located in Rhode Island.  They maintain a close relationship with T.A.P.S. founders Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson.  Keith, Sandra and Keith's twin brother Carl are considered some of the foremost demonologists in America.  Keith has written two books about his experiences, Paranormal Realities and Paranormal Realities II.  It's nice to know they would recommend us to people such as Chuck who ask them for recommendations from our area. Again, thanks Sandra!

The Event
February Fright Fest (F3) will be held on Friday and Saturday February 11-12. We will ony be there on Saturday from 10:00am until 6:00pm.  The public is invited to attend.  Admittance on Saturday is free. The location is in Jackson, MS, at the birthplace of Eudora Welty, known as The Commons.  The Commons is a quaint, beautiful little compound stowed away off of Congress Street in the Belhaven area.  It is best accessed by taking the Fortification Street exit off of Interstate 55.  This eclectic event will be attended by authors, artists, dancers, performing artists, people interested in the horror genre - both movies and literature, people interested in paranormal investigations, even people who reenact medieval jousting.  Friday's event is in the evening, and is the "Black Hearts Ball."  It's a fun costume encouraged event.  Everyone is invited to attend.  There will be no charge for admission either Friday or Saturday.  On Saturday, there will be horror movies showing in the gallery, as well as vendors and panels.  The vendors will consist of authors and artists; a prop maker/special effects costumer; and us as a paranormal investigation group. Our focus is to be there on Saturday, starting at 10:00am and ending around 6:00pm.  We will be located inside at our vendor table.

Our Role:
N.A.P.S. has been invited to fill an educational and awareness role for the event.  We will have a vendor booth and will answer questions of the general public and display some of our evidence.  We will also participate in a Q & A panel (Question and Answer) where a moderator and the general public will ask us questions.  Panel topics will include paranormal investigation, EVP, spirit photography, demonology, strange encounters and other topics.  We invited MSSPI to participate in the event with us and share in the vendor table and panel.  We plan on having evidence on laptops for people to look at and listen to (EVP, photos and video), as well as printed information. 

So, mark your calendars and make plans to attend!

Ghost Debate: Focusing On the Positives

The recent debate over the word ghost being in the Bible should be seen as just that - a debate – and  a minor one at that. We are in agreement on far more than the one issue in which we are not.  We are all passionate in defending our positions, and most of us love discussing our ideas and beliefs.  That is a good thing.  We need more of that instead of blindly following some set line or approach.  Debate and discussion needs to be passionate and needs to occur - otherwise we don't ever come to a point of "owning" our faith.  It's our responsibility to take what has been given us and to incorporate it, through free will and choice, and shape it into a strong, self-aware relationship with Christ that we can defend and call our own.  In this current debate, what should not be lost or forgotten is that we all agree on most things by far.  The preacher and I have been in touch and we are united strongly in saying that spiritual activity and demonic oppression is on the rise, and that Christians everywhere need to be aware of it and ready to deal with it. Coming against Satan and his kingdom, who is real and is increasingly active in our own back yard, is what is most important. 

This means that we all need to be not only aware, but spiritually ready with a strong faith and the necessary empowering of the Holy Spirit to deal with the growing menace. This preacher, who recently conducted a three-part series on paranormal activity at his Church in Natchez, contacted me by email.  He is a good friend of mine and I consider him one of the best teachers of scripture in our area.  I also recently phoned him for help in a situation with someone I needed help with, and he was a big help.  We simply disagree over one issue, and that is whether or not the spirits of deceased people can make contact with the living. Yes, it is true that we are both convinced that our position is correct.  I also want to say that no one knows for sure – in my opinion the Bible is not super clear on the subject.  So, no one should be extremely adamant and dogmatic about this topic, including me.  I have tried to make that clear in my writing on the topic, that this issue is a minor one in the grand scheme of things theologically and biblically.  My approach is to offer an explanation for the millions upon millions of sightings and experiences that human beings have, and that they are not illusions or every single one of them demonic.  Another goal of mine has been to force people to tighten up their definitions.  “Paranormal activity” is what Christians specialize in – iron axe heads floating, people being raised from the dead, other people vanishing, seas being parted, etc.  Christianity is the ultimate paranormal belief system! 

I think it is a good thing that both sides of the issue have been presented, and people can read and decide for themselves whether ghosts are real or imagined, sometimes passed-on humans and not always demons, or not.  The fact is, both viewpoints have their strengths and weaknesses – as is true with almost any position on anything.  The preacher graciously emailed me his three sermons of the series and I strongly agree with 99.9% of what he said.  Spiritual warfare is something that both he and I are very aware of that is lacking among most Christ followers.  The fact that he and I agree on virtually everything in the area of spiritual warfare and “paranormal activity” should be the positive focus, not the one disagreement.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Book on ADC: After-Death Communication by Deceased Loved-Ones

One of the categories of human experience that many of us have had, is that experience wherein a loved one who has recently died appears to us in some form.  It is usually a one-time event, and occurs within a couple of months of their passing.  Furthermore, it is not solicited by the recipient by conjuring or consorting with a psychic or medium - it just happens.  Of course, scientists and materialist will say it is simply hallucinating.  Some fundamentalists will deny it and say "impossible."  I think those with a balanced, realistic Christian understanding believe quite differently.

In the last several years this phenomena has become the topic of intense research and study, and a book was written about it and published in 1997.  The phenomena is known by the acronym ADC - which stands for After Death Communication.  It joins NDE and OBE within related fields (Near Death Experience and Out-Of-Body Experience).  The book is entitled, Hello from Heaven! and was written by Bill and Judy Guggenheim. You may want to get a copy and check it out.  It is published by Bantam Books, ISBN-10: 0553576348, and sells for around $10.00. 

Some believe that contact by deceased humans is impossible.  Those of us who have had contact simply know better.  They say we are mistaken, deluded.  Or, they say it is demons.  The problem is, "they" are saying it.  Well, "they" weren't the ones there.  I suppose they take us for fools.  But in the end, it doesn't matter what "they" say.  There is far too much human experience that is directly to the contrary.  Also, the scriptures, despite what some say, do not preclude this possibility.  I have examined all of them closely and carefully.  The scriptures do mention ghosts or spirits of deceased humans.  It doesn't matter if the word ghost is used or the word spirit - the concept within the context is ehe same - a former human being who has died is what is meant.  Christ himself mentions it in the context of saying no, he isn't one when he reappears to the disciples.  If it wasn't a possibility, why would He even mention it?  And what good is the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits if there are no differing spirits from which to discern?  I could go on and on.  The Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Church (two huge branches of Christianity worldwide) believe in purgatory or some form of it.  Quantum physics and string theory are also interesting in this regard, and provide a scientific basis for this phenomena.  So, it is entirely incorrect to think that solidly biblical Christians do not believe in ghosts (spirits of the human dead) doctrinally or scripturally.  That's simply not the case.  

Here is what the authors and publisher have said in the promotion of the book Hello from Heaven!:

Is there life after death? Will we be reunited with our deceased loved ones when we die? Can they communicate with us now? Hello From Heaven! contains 353 firsthand accounts from a new field of research called "After-Death Communications" or "ADCs." An ADC is a spiritual experience that occurs when a person is contacted directly and spontaneously by a family member or friend who has died - without the use of a psychic, medium, ritual, or device. ADC experiences are always initiated by deceased loved ones and can happen anywhere and anytime. The authors conservatively estimate that at least 50 million Americans, or 1 out of 5 people, have had an ADC.

Hello From Heaven! is the first complete study of after-death communication experiences. The authors provide an introduction and overview of this field and focus on the twelve major types of ADCs people report, the loving messages they receive, and the effects on the lives of the experiencers. They present persuasive evidence that ADCs are authentic contacts by deceased loved ones and discuss some of the many far-reaching social and spiritual implications of their findings.

During their seven years of research, Bill Guggenheim and Judy Guggenheim interviewed 2,000 people who live in all fifty American states and the ten Canadian provinces. Through their in-depth interviews, they collected more than 3,300 firsthand accounts from people who believe they have been contacted by a deceased relative or friend.

The 353 firsthand accounts in Hello From Heaven! are deeply poignant and comforting. Presented as complete short stories, they offer powerful emotional and spiritual healing, especially for those who are grieving or afraid of death. Many reveal information the people did not know - and could not have known - before their ADCs occurred. In other cases a person's life was protected, or even saved, by an ADC experience. And sometimes two or more people were together at the same place and time when they shared an after-death communication. Read these joyous and uplifting reports and decide for yourself whether they offer modern-day evidence of life after death.

Hello From Heaven! has been featured on "20/20" by ABC-TV News and by many other TV and radio programs, newspapers, and magazines.

Note: If you have personally had an A.D.C., or know of someone who has and wouldn't mind sharing it, please contact me at  I am extremely interested in collecting these stories.  You do not have to share your full name.  Just a first name will do.  Thank you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Team Leader Certified in Parapsychology Course from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland

The Koestler Parapsychology Unit of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland is one of the most prestigious parapsychology research institutions in the world.  Last fall, NAPS Team Leader Mike Chapman completed an online course through this research unit, taught by noted parapsychologist Dr. Caroline Watt.  Mike received his official certification in the course recently by mail. 

While the course covered many aspects of parapsychology, it was concentrated on psi - the two major aspects of which are psychokinesis and E.S.P. (extrasensory perception).  The course lasted 10 weeks and involved extensive reading, study, case review, guest expert articles, audio file study and online interaction with Professor Watt and other students from around the world.

"I learned a tremendous amount about the field of parapsychology, and its strengths and weaknesses.  I also learned a lot about research methods such as Ganzfeld stimulation, the history of spiritualism, the many myriads of categories of E.S.P., and all about psychokinesis, survival hypothesis and poltergeist activity from the perspective of a parapsychologist.  I feel like I'm a far better investigator now.  Dr. Watt is very knowledgeable, approachable and very personable.  I know if I need her help I can email her and she will answer my question and give assistance. That's really nice and a great added benefit. While I'm far more causal oriented than a parapsychologist would be, and do not want to be limited in that regard, I do value the contributions of the field in examining paranormal activity."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bringing Truth To Light in an Age of Darkness

"Darkness cannot put out the light. It can only make God brighter."  - Anonymous

In following up yesterday's post on the word "ghost" occurring in the Bible, I want to say a couple more important things.  I do not wish to come across as argumentative.  No one has said that I was, but I want to be clear in where I am coming from.  It is not a matter of being argumentative, but a matter of bringing truth to lightThis "crisis" is not only doctrinal, it is pastoral.

Our main goal as a paranormal investigation team is to help families in crisis.  We do not consort mediums or psychics for divination.  We do not consort with the dead (necromancy).  We reject witchcraft and its modern nomenclature: Wicca.  That is all condemned in scripture.  The Spirit we consort with is the Holy Spirit.  We teach and educate on the dangers of occult practices.  So much is misunderstood about the paranormal. It is a neutral term.  It can be bad or very good.  People need to learn their terms before they make comments on things they know little about.  Consorting with the Holy Spirit can accurately be deemed paranormal (more technically accurate: it is supernatural).  We respond to people in need, and investigate to determine what is causing their problem.  We hold their hand all the way through the process and help them understand what is going on by identifying the source(s) of the phenomena.  Once that is done, sometimes we have to do follow-up work with the client, such as we are doing in two cases currently.  This is all done from a Christian point of view, from beginning to end.  The follow-up work we are doing right now with one client is ongoing work to bolster the client's spiritual formation, and might just as well be called discipling.  So, this issue is not only doctrinal in nature, it is pastoral.  Being a "pastor" to people involves much more than mere preaching.  We do not simply "tell" people what to do, we walk them through it by coming into their homes time after time if necessary, and guiding them through a navigation to draw closer to the true Light of the world.  I don't know how to be more clear than that. 

In this current time, Satan and the kingdom of darkness are on the move.  That is the "crisis" I am speaking of.  Such a time as this requires a pastoral response, not merely a doctrinal one. Our doctrine must be true and defensible scripturally, but must also make sense in the context of human suffering and experience and meet the need of the common man and woman on the street and in the home. The times grow perilous and people are in crisis and suffering torment.  The spirit world is very, very active in our current time.  Meanwhile, while this is happening in the midst of families in crisis, far too many Christians are clocking in on Sundays at their churches and ignoring the reality all around them Monday through Saturday.  Currently, we have a heavy case load with two separate families in Vidalia, one in Winnfield, La; another in Monticello, MS; and one case we have been on for weeks in Pomona, New York.  The New York case involves African voodoo and animism combined with ancestral worship and Islam, and is one of the most serious, complex cases I have ever come across. I have done more pastoral ministry in the context of spiritual warfare the last few months than I have done in years.  Indeed, in one case from Franklin County, MS, the client told us there was simply no way she could approach her pastor with the phenomena she and her family was experiencing.  Why? Because they simply would not believe her, and would ostracize her immediately as a kook. Her "church" was not an option.  We were an option, they chose us, and we helped the family.  That is pastoral. [Click here to read a few of our testimonials.]

We provide an option that is sorely needed.  The cogent option we offer is that we can approach paranormal investigation with an open mind, and can remain free to truthfully diagnose a family's problem with one of several possible causes, and not be hamstrung with limited causal properties.  The average church as well as science, both limit themselves to an extremely narrow range of cause.  We are free to move and choose properly among many possible reasons, including but not limited to psychological, emotional, psycho-kinetic; natural; architectural; physiological; paranormal; preternatural and the supernatural.  I can promise you this, we will not be detered and we will carry the Light forward in this present darkness.  We say, as Martin Luther said at the Diet of Worms in 1521 where he was on trial, summoned to reaffirm or renounce his views: "Here I stand, I can do no other - so help me God, amen."

Other Posts on This Topic:

CS Lewis On Purgatory Which Theologically Supports Ghosts
With all due respect, if I had to choose between a local pastor's thoughts or CS Lewis's thoughts, I believe I'd side with CS Lewis, hands down.  He was far smarter than any of us and is someone who is certainly safe for us to trust theologically:

Hebrews 9:27 Is NOT a Verse That Refutes Purgatory
This post covers a commonly cited verse used to attempt to refute the concept of purgatory - which it does not.  What it actually does refute is the concept of reincarnation.  This is the first in a series in which I will be looking at verses that misguided people often use to say ghosts can't exist, and shed light on their true meaning.

It's a Shame We Have to Fight Christians To Help People
A lament of having to fight through the closed-minded fundamentalists' ignorant rhetoric and condemnation in order to help people, and how they are irrelevant.  They aren't at the places we go trying to help people, we are.

There will be much more to come in the comings weeks and months as we build a polemic against such thinking and answer our critics with our apologetic.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Discussion on Ghost Theory This Friday Night

We will be having a Team get-together this Friday night at the Civil Defense Office.  We will not be discussing much business at all.  The idea is actually to get away from all of that, and have fun discussing ghost theory, evidence, some of our experiences on cases we've done, cases coming up, ask and answer questions, and have fun talking "shop."  C'mon out and join us this Friday night, January 28, at 7:00pm.

Thanks go out to Cheryl Freeman and Michael Hynson, both N.A.P.S. Paranormal Investigators, who have just joined the American Ghost Society (A.G.S.)!  Benjie Sanders joined recently and Mike Chapman joined months ago.  Welcome aboard to the best nationwide "professional" ghost hunting organization.  Make sure you get signed onto the private A.G.S. facebook page.  You will learn a lot there. If you need help with that see Mike, who is an A.G.S. Area representative.

Preacher Says the Word "Ghost" is Not in the Bible

Some members of a local church contacted me about their preacher who said from the pulpit in a sermon that the word "ghost" is not found anywhere in the Bible.  I was not there, as I no longer attend this church.  According to these people it was said, but they know better than accept it and have contacted me to let me know.  The members themselves are giving me scriptures that directly contradict what the preacher supposedly said, and are revealing that the Bible does, of course,  mention the word "ghost" or use "spirit" to mean that of a former human who has passed on.  So, these members of this preacher's church do not need me to correct him.  They just wanted me to know. 

I feel encouraged that they respect me enough to know that I would never believe something if it was not at least defensible in scripture.  I am always amazed at how something I do draws such attack by churches I've been to and people that go there.  If it's true he said ghost is not in the Bible, then this preacher may be the only person who thinks this way, save a few others who choose to turn a blind eye to the scriptures.  It is not my job here, nor my intent, to run this preacher into the ground. He is a good man, and I've known him for a long time.  I wonder why he feels so threatened.  Well, my aim here in this post is simply to point out that if he did say this, that clearly he is incorrect and should be ashamed of himself for saying so.  It is one thing to try and say that ghosts are not former human spirits, it is quite another to say that the word "ghost" does not occur in the Bible!  It is also fair to point out that my preacher friend is the one who chose to go out of his way to "preach" so adamantly on this subject, rather than take the opportunity to say that good Christians can and do differ on our beliefs in this area. He apparently was quick to assume to be an authority, and we know what assumptions can do. He is not an authority in this, has no idea what we do because he has never bothered to inquire, and certainly has not dealt with the people we have dealt with on our investigations.  He chose to speak so adamantly and self-assuredly, and to side with those who choose such a closed-minded view of the subject at hand. Such narrow-minded condescension is tiresome to say the least, and does little to accurately represent the Church of Christ Jesus. To be so outspoken means that it is certainly fair to respond to his obviously incorrect statements and teaching.  In fact, as you will see later in this post, there is a biblical mandate to do so.

I really don't care that much what this preacher believes, just as I'm sure he doesn't really care what I believe.  It certainly is not my job to go around correcting those who have a different view or who utter incorrect things.  Apparently, he thinks it's his job.  However, I do view it as an opportunity, since people are contacting me, to assure them that their understanding and reading of the scriptures is indeed correct, and that it is perfectly fine to refute or disagree with what the pastor is saying and not be bound for hell for doing so.  I certainly am not advocating people leave his church over it.  That's none of my business.

To correct what the preacher said, the word "ghost" is mentioned 6 times in the New International Version of the Holy Bible, the version most commonly used by the majority of Americans.  Simply put, the preacher is wrong, and is apparently allowing his own lack of understanding and fear of the truth to twist the Bible into not saying what it is saying.  Again, for the thousandth time, that is eisegeis.  He is simply reading into the Bible what he thinks in order to make it say what he wants it to say.  Sigh.  How long must this be repeated?  People often do this in order to advance what their own belief is. He, in my view, is choosing to not allow the scriptures to force him to change what he accepts as truth.  To accept that ghosts are real would force him to change a couple of things in his worldview, although certainly nothing major or earth-shaking.  He and those like him would rather deny overwhelming human experience and say ghosts can't be real.  But there again, he certainly can defend a position that ghosts are not former humans, but never can he defend that the word ghost does not occur in the Bible.  I reserve the right to defend my position that ghosts are real, and scripture does not refute this belief.  But yes, to my friends, it is rather dishonest for him to say that the Bible does not use the word "ghost." Reasonable, ordinary people with a brain of their own know better, despite all the twisting and turning and maneuvering he might attempt.  All one has to do is a simple word search on any Bible software program.  There's a free one on the Internet available to anyone, at 

I ran a search at this site and came back with six results.  Try it yourself.  See if the preacher is correct or not.  The six results are:  Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49; Luke 24:37; Luke 24:39; 1 Samuel 28:13 ghost(ly); and Isaiah 29:4 ghost(like).  Now is he going to say that the Bible doesn't actually say this?  It's right there in black and white (and in the original Koine Greek - I looked it up).

Christ's Own Words in Luke 24:39:
"Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have.”  This verse, spoken by Christ himself, reveals not only that he himself used the word "ghost" or "spirit" (take your choice) but also defines it as what every single one of us understands a ghost or spirit to be - a disembodied spirit of a human, who used to have flesh and bones. It is that which survives the physical body but lives on.

I think some of the members of this church understand that the preacher, a well-meaning man, just cannot say otherwise due to influences on him by closed-minded people with a lot of influence.  To the lengths he is going however, is a bit too far, a compromise of the truth, and should not be condoned.  I think deep inside he knows better, or may have a nagging suspicion, but he just can't go there.  However, by saying such an obviously incorrect statement, he only succeeds in discrediting himself and making all his other teachings subject to being called into question.  Does he not realize this?  Did he just get over-excited in a moment of zeal?  Did he not do his Bible research?  Who knows.  If he can say that the word ghost is not in the Bible when it so obviously is, how can he defend anything he says, and how can he ask his members to trust anything he says? He does not seem to be offering an opinion. Rather, he seems to be declaring unequivocally that his version of the subject is definitively what "the Bible says is truth."  He is not, in the main, an obtuse and bigoted man; and yet, in this subject matter, he is being exactly that: obtuse and bigoted. How curious. And why does he feel the need to be so...condescending? It is interesting that this same preacher would (and should) defend the concept of the holy Trinity, which is a word that is NOT found in the scriptures.  However, he so easily says that the word ghost, much less the concept, is not!  Rather interesting, don't you think? 

So Why?
This leaves us with the most important aspect: why would he deny the Bible says "ghost" when it so obviously does?  I find it odd and peculiar that he is in such a hurry to so quickly take a swing at this subject.  What has him (and them) so nervous and jumpy?  Three possible answers we might consider: Fear, Control and Influence.  Grown men and women fear changing their beliefs more than anything.  We fear change.  We fear the unknown. We would rather believe the lie we know than believe a truth we can't quite wrap our minds around and control.  This fear rules our faith, and it leads to a closed-system of belief in which no fresh ideas or illumination can break through.  These folks simply keep teaching themselves the same things over and over.  To change their understanding on a matter involving a tenant of their belief system would be tantamount to changing who they are.  Regrettably, they have confused their identity with their beliefs, instead of melding their identity in Spirit and wisdom, which only comes from the scriptures being enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit.  This only works when one comes openly and humbly to the scriptures with an attitude that you will allow your mind to be molded, like clay in the Potter's hands, Romans 12:1-2. All of us are guilty of these fears, the need for control, and subject to influence, me included.

As someone who has grown up in the modern version of the Christian Church, and who has been an ordained minister in two denominations (including the one this pastor is of), I have come to understand from the inside how the modern church so easily compromises scriptural truth and often abandons it for the safety and comfort of man's traditions and social culture.  The apple core is a bit rotten.  It is fair to say that while much good is done in churches today, it could be far, far better.  It is also fair to say that much damage is also done in and through the mindless "machine" of the modern "church."  It is absolutely vital to remember there is a huge difference between the visible "church" and the Church "invisible" - the true bride and Church of Jesus Christ. We have indeed compromised far too many of the rich scriptural truths of the Bible in favor of hunkering and bunkering inside of man's warm and fuzzy little box that so many have come to be so comfortable in.  We actually (almost - but not quite) force preachers like this good man to feed us what we want our itching ears to hear, and to stay away from feeding us that which we do not want to hear.  To hear such a obviously wrong statement about ghosts shouldn't surprise us.  It is a product of a closed-minded church to what the Bible really says, and belongs in the trash heap with such teachings as "drinking is a sin" and "anger is a sin."  The scriptures teach that drunkenness is a sin, not drinking (Christ's first miracle was changing water into the very best wine; John 2:1-11.)  Anger is not always a sin, unrighteous anger is a sin (Christ himself was justifiably and righteously angry when he beat the money-changers out of the temple with a self-made whip; Matthew 21:12.)  Ghosts are real, and at the very least Christ himself used the word ghost or spirit to speak of them; Luke 24:39. So, this latest hooey should not surprise us.  Our teachers and preachers tell us what we want them to tell us.  St. Paul warned us this would happen:

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.   - 2 Timothy 4:1-5

The result is a scrubbed clean, sanitized version of the Gospel, where evil, vile monsters don't exist, we all just need to have good manners, and Jesus is transformed from who He really was to a Mr. Roger's who wants you to be a good neighbor.  People are fearful of the truth and those who are so fearful often have great influence - through money and their power - on those who lead and direct the church.  That's the sad truth. The good preacher almost had to say what he said.

I have severed the ties to such encumbrances and non-truths (at great cost), but I would not have it any other way.  Scripture again is so true: the truth will set you free (John 8:32).  I feel that I have been liberated from the shackles of man's attempt to force me to believe what man wants me to believe.  I am liberated by God's holy Word to the "true truth" not "man's truth." I have no power and have little influence, but I have more of God's truth because I am now outside the pathetic little box he would have me chained in, and can allow scripture to direct my mind and soul, rather than be subject to man's influence and pressure to conform and compromise myself to a safe and sanitized belief system. In other words I am no longer under their undue influence. Awareness is nine-tenths of the battle to get out of the box. Yes, I am attending a Church, but not one that denies such obvious truths.  Yes, I am held accountable, but not by well-intentioned but misguided spiritual confessors. 

I am not asking anyone to believe as I do - each person should examine their own thoughts, actions, and lives and decide for themselves what they should believe.  No one should accept what I say, but should search scripture to see if what I say lines up with the truth.  They should do the same with any church, denomination, and especially a preacher.  That is called the Berean principle, and is drawn from St. Paul's writing in Acts 17:10-14.  Some who would not be lemmings and "yes men" have done exactly this.  They have found the pastor's words, in this instance, to not line up with scripture.  Good for these modern-day Bereans!  I do not condemn this man, but consider him a good brother in Christ who is mistaken and misguided on this one issue. What I oppose is his theological position, and especially his attitude within it.  I do believe he is between a rock and a hard place, trying his best to preach the gospel to some people who simply will not hear certain things - not even to consider it as a possibility. I just wish he would be a little less obtuse on subjects he shouldn't be, and a little more courageous in combating the closed-minded.

I note with a smile that those who contacted me know something very important, and so I leave you with the scripture that they apparently are well aware of:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. - 2 Timothy 3:16

I, for one, welcome an open debate on the topic, using reason, tradition (history), human experience, and most importantly that bane of all banes, scripture!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Paranormal & Sci-Fi Movies

The promoter of an upcoming public relations event in Jackson, MS, on February 12 has invited our Team to have a vendor table and do a Q&A panel in order to represent Paranormal Investigations.  The theme of the February Fright Festival (F3) is the Horror genre - both in Literature and Movies.  We have invited our buddies at MSSPI to take part in that with us.  So, I have been diligently preparing myself by making sure I'm "up" on the latest paranormal movies.  To be truthful - I am far behind!  I absolutely love movies, and I have a significant collection of them in my prized DVD Library.  My close friends will tell you I quote lines from movies all the time.  (I think I drive them nuts with it actually.  Such as: "Jenny taught me how to read and I taught her how to dangle!")

However, with that being said, the "horror" film genre has never been one that I particularly liked at all.  I mean, once you've seen one movie in which the squealing young female survives the wholesale onslaught of the monster or the bad guy, while all of the strong, grown men are slaughtered - you've seen them all.  Sorry, but that just isn't believable to me.  Also, there is a difference between "startle" and "scare."  These movies have never scared me because they are just so ridiculous and unrealistic.  So, I'm still refusing to watch the boring and ridiculous "slash n' gash" movies.  You may love 'em, but it sure isn't what I consider entertainment.  I need more of a mental exercise. 

So, armed with that thought, I have done quite a bit of research online lately in developing a list I'm working through to get caught up in the more significant and classic paranormal and Sci-Fi movies of the last 30 or 40 years or so.  I even opened a Netflix account, have many of them queued up, and so I've been working through them one-by-one: watching them while munching on popcorn. Hey, I like this kind of research!

The movies I've seen very recently are:  1408; Paranormal Activity; The Entity; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Others; & White Noise. I have actually done quite a bit of research in the past on the Anneliese Michel case on which the Exorcism of Emily Rose was based upon, including listening to actual recordings of her possession. Watching the movie The Entity triggered a new round of my research in the Michel case, as well as looking into the case of Doris Bither, the real "Carla Moran" of the movie The Entity.  Bither died in 1995 of pulmonary arrest.  Her son, Brian Harris, has recorded an interview about his experiences when he was a child of what was going on in the house and with his mother.  Lastly, I am becoming somewhat of a self-proclaimed expert in the real The Exorcist case, which did not involve a teenage girl, but was a boy.  I actually know his real name and lot of details about his case in St. Louis that most people might be shocked to know (such as that the entire case started with the use of a Ouija Board).  So, I'm trying to do my homework!

Of course, I have seen many other of these type of movies and even own many of them, such as: Ghost; The Sixth Sense; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Signs; The Exorcist; the Alien series; Poltergeist; The Shining; Minority Report; The Omen series; even The Ghost & Mr. Chicken!  I've seen oldies such as Night of the Living Dead; Psycho, The Legend of Hell House; some of the Star Trek movies and War of the Worlds.  I'm sure I've seen many more but just can't think of them right now.  It's not like I'm totally out of the loop.

So, what have I not seen that you think was either good, or is a significant movie?  I have the following in my Netflix queue to watch soon: Jacob's Ladder; The Mothman Prophecies; Don't Look Now; The Dead Zone; The Gift; The Innocents; and The Uninvited.  Please do not suggest movies like Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street.  Sorry, but those movies are crap (IMHO).  Give me something with a respectable plot and that does NOT involve a chain saw or an axe! I know the upcoming Festival is on the "horror" genre, but I can only take so much!  I'm lookin' for movies the quality of Ghost, Signs, Sixth Sense, etc. that I may not have seen and slipped under my radar.

So, what do you think?  Help me out here!  What am I missing - What do you suggest? 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daytime Photo of Myrtles Apparition Photo Area for Comparison

Wednesday, January 19, Lead Paranormal Investigator Mike Chapman traveled to The Myrtles Plantation and took dozens of  photos of the area on the grounds where the apparition photo was taken on November 4, 2010.  The original photo by P.I. Kimberly DeLorenze is posted at left.  One of the daytime photos of the same area, taken today, is posted just below it.  This can be used for comparison purposes.  N.A.P.S.'s Case Manager Kim Frith accompanied him on the trip.  These shots were taken around 4:30pm today, January 19, 2011.

The original apparition photo was taken with a SVP Full Spectrum high-definition camera in photo mode; the shot has been gray-scaled with a photo editor.  The daytime photo was taken with a Nikon CoolPix 990.
Mike's theory is that the photo is a residual apparition, in which a male seems to be holding his arms out to take in the child, and an adult female seems to be walking away.  Recently, another investigator, Shane Shippy of Pomona, California, pointed out that a fourth apparition seems to be visible to the right of the slanted tree on the right of the photo, which appears to be a female servant or maid in dark, full length dress. Others think it is the large tree in the background, although it goes lower into the picture than the tree trunk.

Kim made an important observation that corresponds with Mike's theory above.  She observed that all four apparitions are on a line that is on the path that goes directly from the Caretaker's Cottage (which is to the left in the Original apparition photo) and goes straight to the Main House, which is to the right in the original photo.  The photo at left is a shot from the Caretaker's Cottage looking toward the side steps of the Main House, and gives a perfect perspective of the path or line between the two.  The apparitions appear right on top of this path - or line - between the two sets of steps.  Could it be that a mother (perhaps Sarah Mulford Stirling?) was "dropping off" one of the girls to the caretaker for care, and a female servant had accompanied the mother out to do that?  That idea fits the positions and locations of the apparitions in the original photo.  It also lends weight to the idea or theory that the apparitions are residual. Of course, that is all simply speculation. Interesting!

Thanks to all of our A.G.S. peers and colleagues who are making comments on the photo.  Your opinions matter greatly to us, and we appreciate your professionalism and candor. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cemetery Preservation Project at Mead Villa Started

Our first Cemetery Project for 2011 got kicked off today with two Investigators getting a head-start on the Mead Villa Plantation Cemetery Preservation.  Kim Frith and Mike Chapman began clearing the path from the Main House back to the Cemetery, which is located several hundred yards to the East.  The woods are completely grown up and thick, with no existing path to the burial ground.  The Cemetery itself is completely grown up and obliterated, except for a marble obelisk that marks the Cemetery.  We made great progress using a chain saw, lopping shears, a weed-eater, and a gas powered leaf blower.  We have completed clearing a five foot wide path back about 75% of the distance to the grave yard, and have done some clearing the rest of the way back to the plot.  We have not done any clearing in the cemetery itself.  Our first goal is to make a wide path back to the site which will allow us to use a four-wheeler to carry equipment and supplies as we work.  We are also clearing the wide path so that a 50" zero-turn mower can be used to mow the path and cut the cemetery area.  We hope such a path will encourage the on-going upkeep of the Cemetery and path once we clear it and make the path to it.  Further projects will include marking all the graves, using Don Estes and our two team dowsers Kim and Benjie.  Also, to list and do research reports on the people buried there, plot the cemetery and graves, GPS all locations, and install signage.  We will then turn all of our research and photographs over to the Natchez Historical Society in Natchez for archiving. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

N.A.P.S. Investigators Learning Dowsing Techniques

Photo at Left:  FLIR i7 photo of Don Estes, center left, dowsing for human remains at a N.A.P.S. Investigation in the Fall of 2010. 

Two N.A.P.S. Paranormal Investigators, Kim Frith and Benjie Sanders, have undertaken an apprenticeship with Don Estes in the art of dowsing, specifically dowsing for the purpose of locating human remains.  Don has instructed them in how to make their own dowsing rods, which they have done, and also how to properly use the rods in locating remains.  Friday morning at 10:00am, they met with Don at the Natchez City Cemetery to undergo some tests that Don put them through, helping them with their technique and to gain confidence in their findings.  Don was impressed by both student's progress and accuracy.  One particularly interesting grave they were made to practice on was a mother buried with her infant male son in her arms.  Part of what Kim and Benjie are learning is to identify the sex of the body.  Both students passed the test, with the rod indicating a female until it reached the torso area, when the rods then turned outward indicating that they had located the male baby.  Other tests required them to tell Don how many bodies were located in a particular area.  Both passed all the tests with flying colors.  Don was also very impressed with the dowsing rods they made for themselves, and said they were actually superior to his own.  So, the two are planning to make Don a set, with the handles being a size that he said would work well for him.  Don, working with Kim and Benjie, will be identifying the grave sites of the people buried at Mead Villa in the near future. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

N.A.P.S. Team Alert!

Team Meeting Friday Night at 7:00pm in the Civil Defense Offices, in the basement of the Sheriff's Office on State Street.  The public is invited to attend, as well as prospective members or anyone curious.  (We will go into an Investigators Only Session at the end when we discuss case specifics.)

Our Banner, Sign & Business Cards have arrived, Rack Cards will be here by the 19th!

On the Agenda:
Basic News & Announcements
Schedule & Upcoming Events
Recent Happenings
Public Relations & Marketing Campaign 
          Fund Raising (including dues)
          Training – Certification Process
          Evidence Handling
          Evidence Review
Newest Equipment & Books
Cemetery Preservation Project at Meadvilla
Bios (including portrait type photo)

See ya there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cryptozoology: The Rougarou

The Rougarou is a type of werewolf in the Cajun folklore of French Louisiana.  In so many words, it is the bigfoot/werewolf of Cajun country.  Some local Cajun hunters have claimed to have seen the Rougarou in Anna's Bottom, long known as a place of mysterious, evil creatures and hauntings.  NAPS is looking into conducting an investigation in an old Church in Anna's Bottom in the next couple of months.  There have been reportings of significant paranormal activity in the old Church, including apparitions walking through walls, turning door knobs and doors opening in full view of people. 

Rougarou has alternate spellings of Roux-Ga-Roux, Rugaroo, and Rugaru.  The etymology of the word Rougarou is that it is derived from the French loup-garou. Loup is French for wolf, and garou from Frankish garulf, meaning a man who transforms into an animal. The rougarou is described as a creature with a human body and the head of a wolf or dog, similar to the werewolf legend.

In the Cajun legends, the creature is said to prowl the swamps around Acadiana and Greater New Orleans, and possibly the fields or forests of the regions. 
There are various legends and stories mostly inherited from the European werewolf with local features. A common legend says that the rougarou is under the spell for 101 days. After that time, the curse is transferred from person to person when the rougarou draws another human’s blood. During the day the creature returns to human form. Although acting sickly, the human refrains from telling others of the situation for fear of being killed.

Another being, known as Ruagau, is supposed to be associated with Native American tales and legends, but it isn't clear if that creature is a Sasquatch, a wendigo, or a rougarou.

Rougarou represents a variant pronunciation and spelling of the original French loup-garou. According to Barry Jean Ancelet
, an academic expert on Cajun folklore, the tale of the rougarou is a common legend across French Louisiana. Some call the creature rougarou; while others refer to it as the loup garou. The rougarou legend has been spread for many generations, either directly from French settlers to Louisiana or by the French Canadian immigrants centuries ago. The creature is said to prowl the swamps around Acadiana and Greater New Orleans, and possibly the fields or forests of the regions. The rougarou most often is described as a creature with a human body and the head of a wolf or dog, similar to the werewolf legend.  Often the story-telling has been used to inspire fear and obedience. One such example is stories that have been told by elders to persuade Cajun children to behave. According to another variation, the wolf-like beast will hunt down and kill Catholics who do not follow the rules of Lent. This coincides with the French Catholic loup-garou stories, according to which the method for turning into a werewolf is to break Lent seven years in a row.

A common 
legend says that the rougarou is under the spell for 101 days. After that time, the curse is transferred from person to person when the rougarou draws another human’s blood. During that day the creature returns to human form. Although acting sickly, the human refrains from telling others of the situation for fear of being killed. Other stories range from the rougarou as a headless horseman to the rougarou being derived from witchcraft. In the latter claim, only a witch can make a rougarou—either by turning into a wolf herself, or by cursing others with lycanthropy (the ability or power of a human being to undergo transformation into a wolf, or to gain wolf-like characteristics).

The creature spelled Rugaru has also been associated with the Native American 
legends, though there is some dispute. Such folklore versions of the rugaru vary from being mild Bigfoot (sasquatch) creatures to cannibal-like Native American wendigos. Some dispute the connection between Native American folktales and the francophone rugaru.  As is the norm with legends transmitted by oral tradition, stories often contradict one another. The stories of the wendigo vary by tribe and region, but the most common cause of the change is typically related to cannibalism.  A modified example, not in the original wendigo legends, is that if a person sees a rugaru, that person will be transformed into one. Thereafter, the unfortunate victim will be doomed to wander in the form of this monster. That rugaru story bears some resemblance to a Native American version of the wendigo legend related in a short story by Algernon Blackwood. In Blackwood's fictional adaptation of the legend, seeing a wendigo causes one to turn into a wendigo.It is important to note that rugaru is not a native Ojibwa word, nor is it derived from the languages of neighboring Native American peoples. However, it has a striking similarity to the French word for werewolf, loup garou.  It's possible the Turtle Mountain Ojibwa or Chippewa in North Dakota picked up the French name for "hairy human-like being" from the influence of French Canadian trapper and missionaries with whom they had extensive dealings. Somehow that term also had been referenced to their neighbors' stories of Bigfoot.

Author Peter Matthiessen
argues that the rugaru is a separate legend from that of the cannibal-like giant wendigo. While the wendigo is feared, he notes that the rugaru is seen as sacred and in tune with Mother Earth, somewhat like Bigfoot legends are today. Though identified with Bigfoot, there is little evidence in the indigenous folklore that it is meant to refer the same or a similar creature.

The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans has an exhibit on the Rougarou and features a life-sized mannequin of what the Rougarou might look like.

Monstropedia and Wikipedia

Monday, January 10, 2011

Professional Analysis of King's Tavern Photos

Tim McCary is an award-winning photographer and is simply the Natchez area's best, hands down. He has graciously agreed to be our photography consultant, and will occasionally be reviewing interesting photographic evidence and rendering his professional opinion.  We are extremely excited about having him help us in that regard. We recently asked Tim to do an in-depth forensic analysis of two photographs from King's Tavern to see if they are consistent with being the same person. That analysis is the subject of this post.  He next will be doing an analysis of our startling Myrtles apparition photo which was taken in early November.

The King's Tavern Photographs & Their Background:

The photo above left was taken in the upstairs bathroom in 2007 by a guest staying at King’s Tavern. To every single one of our Investigators, it bore a striking resemblance to Elizabeth Morgan Postlethwaite, whose portrait is to the right. She is the woman who first owned the Tavern after the original builder - Richard King, and it was she who converted it into a residence (and enclosed the north porches to make bedrooms out of them).  These are the two photos we asked Tim to analyze. Many observers feel that the apparition photo is of a younger Elizabeth, and ghost theory supposes that ghosts manifest in appearance as to how they view themselves. It is difficult to make an exact comparison due to the fact that one is a profile and the other is a straight-on portrait. However, while one has to be careful of matrixing (seeing faces in clouds) it is undeniable that they are strikingly similar. One has to wonder who the real spirit is that haunts King’s Tavern. Is it a servant girl of Richard King someone decided to name Madeline? We can find absolutely no record of such an event, nor even any record of remains being found in the 1930’s in the chimney! We did find the Spanish dagger. So is that all just an embellished folktale? Or, is the female spirit that haunts the Tavern one of the Postlethwaite women who owned and lived in the Tavern for 148 years? The first mention on record of any female ghost or spirit at the Tavern is from a Natchez Democrat article dated Saturday, February 23, 1974, in which Thomas Young (who grew up in the Tavern) states, “My mother Hilda died when I was 2 years old and my grandmother has told me many times of the misty figure of the veiled woman in a cloak, with head bowed and hands folded, which stood at the foot of her bed at night after my mother’s death.” With no historical evidence whatsoever of there ever being a “Madeline,” it makes far more sense as paranormal investigators, that a Postlethwaite is more likely the true identity of the spirit that haunts the Tavern. The evidence we have collected seems to substantiate our theory, including what Tim says below.

Tim's Expert Analysis:
Tim advised me that he took both photographs and uploaded them into Photoshop. He next sized them appropriately, and subjected them to a measurement grid, making comparisons to such items as pupil to bridge of nose, pupils to lips, etc. He said in every measurement it was a match. His written analysis:

"I loaded both the portrait and reflected profile in Photoshop. In a side-by-side comparison, it is very likely that these images are of the same subject."

Tim's Bio (From His Website):
Timothy G. McCary, a native Mississippian has spent his lifetime immersed in the visual arts. His creative spark was ignited when attending summer art camps at the University of Mississippi at the age of 6. He was bitten by the photography bug in high school and started an apprenticeship with S.J. Parham, a local portrait photographer in Oxford, MS. During this apprenticeship he learned the basics of photography, composition, and lighting as well as the use of incorporating a variety of media such as oils and pastels to enhance the final appearance of the photograph.

Tim received a degree in Photography from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984. While attending Southern MS he received the Outstanding Photographic Student Award. He attended seminars, participated in workshops and studied with several successful photographers while in college. During his senior year at USM he joined the Mississippi-Alabama Professional Photographers Association and won the prestigious "First Timer's Award" given to the highest scoring photograph entered by a beginning member. He has won over 40 print awards as well as being named the Mississippi Photographer of the Year in 1989.

Upon graduating from college, he and his wife Penny selected Natchez in 1985 as the perfect place to call home. Many of his portrait commissions come from the Natchez area, however his work is commonly found in homes throughout the South-Eastern United States as well as several foreign countries. He currently has an exhibit in the Arts Natchez gallery that features not only portraits, but landscapes and still-life.

Tim is a firm believer in continuing education and attends several intensive workshops a year, studying with the top photographic artists in the world. He is a member of the Dead Artist's Society, a fellowship of 21st Century artists that is dedicated to discovering their own artistic voice. "We are a small but very passionate group that continually strives to push our artistic abilities beyond the common perception of what is a photograph and what is a work of art. I feel that when I look at a photograph I have made, it's only the starting point, much the same way a potter looks at a lump of clay, or a sculptor looks at a block of stone".

©2010 T.G. McCary Photography       Website:

C.S. Lewis on Purgatory, Which Theologically Supports Ghosts as Former Humans

To the Team:

It would probably come as a shock to many in the Christian circles I grew up in, to note that the foremost Protestant theologian of all time, C.S. Lewis, believed in purgatory.  This doctrine, which I personally tend to believe as well, supports theologically how and why ghosts could be former humans who have passed on but who are somehow stuck in some "middle way."  In additional posts I will be discussing scriptures that some fundamentalists use to claim that there are no such things as ghosts, and show that they are, in my opinion, making incorrect assumptions in the classic scriptures used against the idea of ghosts.  I will exegete (not eisegete) what the scriptures are saying.  I submit that a very close scrutiny of these passages will likely surprise the average person and perhaps cause them to think a little deeper on the subject. 

I will also be presenting many scriptures that deal with the support of the idea of purgatory and ghosts as former humans.  I may not convince a single soul, but any fair-minded person should be able to take away from it that the idea is defensible, is sound scripturally and theologically from a positional point of view, and that it is not something that is clearly wrong or outlandish. The idea here is to establish that scripture, reason, experience and history all point to, at the very least, an arguable and defensible position that ghosts are real and that they are humans who have passed on.  This is the first of what probably will be dozens of posts on this subject over the coming months. Of course, we certainly regard those with a different opinion than ours as Christian also, but they are the ones who are claiming that we are theologically and scripturally unsound (that is putting what they are saying and thinking mildly). Good Christians ought to be able to disagree on this without one side deeming, with a gasp, the others' position as being scripturally or biblically untenable.  My purpose in these coming posts is to give those of us who are deeply committed Christians a solid defense for the idea that Christians can most certainly believe in ghosts and do not have to stand for others relegating us to being "heretical" in believing this way.  I would also caution against getting too worked up about being criticized.  It is unpleasant and absolutely should not happen to the degree it is, but we simply should learn to expect it, grow stronger through it, and keep right on helping the people we are helping.  The ones who are criticizing you are not out there with you helping our clients, they are too busy staying home working up arguments against you! Question: You do understand what that makes them, right?  Answer: Irrelevant.  My humble advice: focus your energy and attention on what you can influence and control, which is growing deeper in your relationship with God, and helping your clients. Of course, if you feel judged and condemned, that's another matter entirely, and each of us will have to carefully and prayerfully consider his or her path. 

The bottom line is, no one on this side of life knows for sure what a ghost is - but the fact is, ghosts exist.  Christ and his disciples knew they existed - they use the word ghost rather than demon in one passage.  It is senseless to refute that fact and what billions of people experience in their lives, both today and all throughout history.  To claim differently is to render oneself irrelevant and unrealistic.  (True theological positions must fit with real life.  To hold that there are no such things as ghosts is simply not a cogent argument in face of overwhelming human experience to the contrary.  It doesn't stand up to biblical/scriptural scrutiny as well.)  The argument should be, in my opinion, just what is a ghost - not whether they exist or not.  Are they figments of our imagination?  Demons in disguise?  Phenomena caused by psycho-kenesis?  Humans who have passed on?  This is where the debate should center.  In that debate, Christians who share Christian dogma as their unifying concern should be able to express their differing opinions on this lesser subject without being condemned, preached at, and made to feel that they are not in truth - especially those who are helping people who are beset with paranormal activity to the point they are so upset about it that they are desperate and crying. 

To treat the subject crudely, as some fundamentalists Christians tend to do when we have a knee jerk reaction instead of getting down and really looking closely at all aspects of a subject, is to miss an incredible opportunity to teach our people (especially our youngsters) how to approach that subject and teach what truth is.  Being fair and measured instead of bashing people and ideas with a sledgehammer seems to me the way to go, when what we are dealing with is not a matter of dogma or even doctrine.  It just seems to me that good Christians could disagree over such a minor issue as ghosts.  It should be clear that all of us are clearly opposed to consorting with witches, tarot cards, Ouija boards, psychics and even reading your horoscope. God demands that we turn to him for all things for life and living, not to go around him. We should not be confusing the word "paranormal" with "occult."  Christians should have a voice in the current paranormal field and scene, other than "it's just all wrong and bad."  People, deeply Christian people, simply know that's not true.

An example of treating a subject crudely is when we tell them there is no such things as ghosts, so they turn away in frustration and consider us as unrealistic people who are out-of-touch with reality; or worse, nuts who are living in Oz.  They simply know better.  Everyone you talk to has a ghost story.  Everyone!  People who don't have a personal story know someone close to them who does.  How much better to tell them about God, angels, ghosts, demons, and occult practices that are dangerous, and dive right into the whole subject with a knife-edged scalpel instead of bashing it all with a hammer.  It's a great opportunity to talk about Christ and His power over all of that.  In my opinion, we should dissect this aspect and that aspect instead of dismissing the entire category or field.  That would be faith building and truth revealing.  That would be real, and engaging.  That would capture their hearts and deal with what is on their minds and in their lives.  We do the opposite (dismiss it all) and wonder why people view us as irrelevant and useless.  By telling people there are no such things as ghosts, we force them to create an "underground conversation " whereby certain "taboo topics" are off limits.  These discussions about topics and subjects that people know to be true are undertaken in the workplace, in the home, and in every place except the church, because it is only the church hierarchy, too often so detached from ordinary life, that doesn't seem to get it. 

Update: 1/11/2011:  Just last night five of us on the SOR Team visited a house with demonic activity.  The woman told us in near tears that she was so grateful that we would come to her house and help her and her two children, because she didn't have anyone to turn to.  She was fearful of what others would think of her.  She has been dealing with this in her home for over three years, and no, it is not her fault.  The people that lived in the house before her were into witchcraft and Ouija boards, drugs, and sex, with one of the individuals dedicated to the dark side of witchcraft.  The individual trying to be a dark witch was taken out of the home on an ambulance stretcher and admitted to an in-patient psych ward.  They moved out and sold the house to this lady, without telling her anything about what was going on in the house (the presence of spirits and entities).  There is even a current debate within the real estate legal field on whether paranormal activity or even activity that could contribute to a later haunting should be part of the "material" disclosure requirement when selling a home to a prospective buyer. This woman, her son and daughter moved into a bad situation that she did not cause, and she was not even told about it.  She felt helpless, and yet her father is a preacher.  Sadly, this is the second case we've encountered in which people felt that the local church was the last place they could turn to.  It simply shouldn't be that way, but it is.

I have listed below what C.S. Lewis had to say about purgatory, to open my defense and treatment of Christians who are deeply committed to Christ, who are born-again, faithful to God, study the scriptures on the subject, and yet believe in ghosts as former humans.  This will be an ongoing subject of many future posts.  And one last thing, I am not trying to "prove" anything.  I am not trying to prove that ghosts exist, that ghosts are former humans who have passed on, or that purgatory is real.  I don't really care what a particular person reading this chooses to believe or not.  My point is to present the case that it is possible.  I will be presenting ideas, opinions, facts and scripture exegesis that will make an honest person to take pause and think.  I am showing that scripture, reason, experience and history all say that it is possible, so it is disingenuous to state that it is impossible or a crazy, unbiblical idea. So, without further adieu, here is Lewis on purgatory:

I BELIEVE IN PURGATORY..."Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age, the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to him?

I believe in Purgatory.

Mind you, the Reformers had good reasons for throwing doubt on the 'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then become.....

The right view returns magnificently in Newman's DREAM. There, if I remember it rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer 'With its darkness to affront that light'. Religion has claimed Purgatory.

Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'

I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much.

My favourite image on this matter comes from the dentist's chair. I hope that when the tooth of life is drawn and I am 'coming round',' a voice will say, 'Rinse your mouth out with this.' This will be Purgatory. The rinsing may take longer than I can now imagine. The taste of this may be more fiery and astringent than my present sensibility could endure. But . . . it will [not] be disgusting and unhallowed."

- C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, chapter 20, paragraphs 7-10, pages 108-109.

February Fright Fest 2011 in Jackson

N.A.P.S. has been asked to participate in February Fright Fest (F3) in Jackson, MS on February 12.  Chuck Jett, host of the event, contacted N.E.A.R. Paranormal Founders and Demonologists Keith and Sandra Johnson, to ask them for a recommendation for a Team in our area, and Sandra recommended us.  Mike is in contact with Keith and Sandra through their Demonologist forum group.  Keith and Sandra, as well as most of their investigators, were core members of T.A.P.S. before leaving to form their own team - N.E.A.R. (New England Anomalies Research) which focuses more on demonic cases.  N.E.A.R. is located in Rhode Island.  They maintain a close relationship with T.A.P.S. founders Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson.  Keith, Sandra and Keith's twin brother Carl are considered some of the foremost demonologists in America.  Keith has written two books about his experiences, Paranormal Realities and Paranormal Realities II.  It's nice to know they would recommend us to people such as Chuck who ask them for recommendations from our area. Again, thanks Sandra!

The Event
February Fright Fest (F3) will be held on Friday and Saturday February 11-12. The public is invited to attend. The location is in Jackson, MS, at the birthplace of Eudora Welty, known as The Commons.  The Commons is a quaint, beautiful little compound stowed away off of Congress Street in the Belhaven area.  It is best accessed by taking the Fortification Street exit off of Interstate 55.  This eclectic event will be attended by authors, artists, dancers, performing artists, people interested in the horror genre - both movies and literature, people interested in paranormal investigations, even people who reenact medieval jousting.  Friday's event is in the evening, and is the "Black Hearts Ball."  It's a fun costume encouraged event.  Everyone is invited to attend.  There will be no charge for admission either Friday or Saturday.  On Saturday, there will be horror movies showing in the gallery, as well as vendors and panels.  The vendors will consist of authors and artists; a prop maker/special effects costumer; and us as a paranormal investigation group. Our focus is to be there on Saturday, starting at 10:00am and ending around 6:00pm.  We will be located inside at our vendor table.

Our Role:
N.A.P.S. has been invited to fill an educational and awareness role for the event.  We will have a vendor booth and will answer questions of the general public and display some of our evidence.  We will also participate in a Q & A panel (Question and Answer) where a moderator and the general public will ask us questions.  Panel topics will include paranormal investigation, EVP, spirit photography, demonology, strange encounters and other topics.  We have invited MSSPI to participate in the event with us and share in the vendor table and panel.  We plan on having evidence on laptops for people to look at and listen to (EVP, photos and video), as well as printed information. 

So, mark your calendars and make plans to attend!