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Stranded motorists on a lonesome road are rescued by angels. The phone rings with a call from beyond the grave. A blood-sucking predator is sighted again in the south of Texas. The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal is your gateway into the world beyond the known. Covering topics from cryptids to psychics, telekinesis to telepathy, this concise handbook will guide you through the eerie, the undeniable, and the strange world of the paranormal....
Stranded motorists on a lonesome road are rescued by angels. The phone rings with a call from beyond the grave. A blood-sucking predator is sighted again in the south of Texas. The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal is your gateway into the world beyond the known. Covering topics from cryptids to psychics, telekinesis to telepathy, this concise handbook will guide you through the eerie, the undeniable, and the strange world of the paranormal.
Once upon a time, events like ghost sightings were commonplace. Parlors were redecorated to accommodate seance rituals, and ghost stories poured from the culture. Psychic occurrences and abilities might have been feared and disliked, but they were accepted as a normal part of life. Today, we are experiencing a resurgence of all things paranormal—in our books, our movies, on the internet, in the way we look at life.
Join paranormal investigator and psychic Judith Joyce as she delves into this world with haunting detail and illuminating clarity. Joyce touches on all of the major aspects of paranormal phenomena, and more. Do you have telepathic powers? Can the Ouija board really speak from the Other Side? Use this paranormal primer to find out.
The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal
The Akashic Records are a compendium of knowledge said to exist on an astral or nonphysical plane. The term Akashic derives from a Sanskrit word meaning "sky," "space," or "ether." The Akashic Records are thus envisioned as a cosmic library containing records of everything that has ever occurred anywhere—including thoughts and feelings. Anything you or anyone else has ever thought, dreamt, or experienced throughout time is preserved forever in the Akashic Records.
Jane Roberts, channeling the entity known as Seth, claimed that an idea, once conceived, exists forever. Thus anything you need or desire to know—literally anything, even things that are hypothetically impossible to know—can be found within the Akashic Records. Methods of accessing these records include mediumship and hypnosis.
The meaning of the word "alien" varies depending on context. According to the dictionary, the word means "strange," "foreign," "belonging or owing allegiance to another country or government," or "differing in nature or character typically to the point of incompatibility." In standard everyday usage, the word usually refers to residents of a nation who are not citizens—for instance, "alien workers" or "illegal aliens." If someone is identified as an alien in a news article, most likely the reference is to a human lacking the required documentation. In the language of the paranormal, however, "alien" is a synonym for "extraterrestrial"—life-forms that are not native to Earth.
The way people use the word "alien" may reveal their attitudes. The nuance or undercurrent implicit in the word tends to be one of fear or hostility, at least when it isn't mockery. People make jokes about aliens from outer space or they report horrific alien abductions. By contrast, those who consider these beings benevolent rarely use the word "alien" when referring to them, preferring neutral terms like "extraterrestrial" or friendly ones like "space brethren" and "visitors." Ufologist Budd Hopkins, who considers aliens predatory, suggests that they should be called intruders.
If aliens are visiting our planet, why are they here? What is their motivation? What do they want? Answers to these questions may lie in testimony given by countless people from all over the globe who claim they have been abducted forcibly by aliens, sometimes repeatedly and over extended periods of time. Alien abduction is also known as abduction phenomenon. The first widely publicized case was that of Barney and Betty Hill.
The standard term for an abduction victim is abductee; however, some prefer to be called experiencers. Although experiences vary—with most described as traumatic, some as neutral, and a few as pleasurable—abduction researchers have discovered commonalities among many testimonials.
Most abduction reports describe individuals who are taken aboard an alien spacecraft, where they are usually subjected to forced physical examinations, especially of the reproductive system. Some claim that aliens harvest human eggs, sperm, or even fetuses. Others claim that skin and hair samples are taken. Yet others claim that tracking devices are implanted in the human body.
Most abductees are eventually returned, typically back to the place where they were abducted. Although these are frequently public places, abductions and returns tend to be unnoticed by bystanders. (Exceptions do exist.) Some suggest that extraterrestrials may possess sophisticated cloaking technology that creates temporary invisibility shields.
Following their return, many abductees experience "missing-time syndrome," which is a form of posttraumatic amnesia. They may notice odd things: their watches have stopped working or their clothing is inexplicably torn; jewelry or other items may be missing and later mysteriously returned. Some discover strange scoop-shaped scars on their bodies, especially on their legs.
Alien abductions may be more common than is actually reported. Some believe that many who experience abductions lack conscious recall of the event. In other words, just because you don't remember being abducted by an alien doesn't mean it didn't happen. Many who do recall encounters may be hesitant to describe experiences, fearing ridicule or accusations of mental illness. Others will not come forward because their captors have advised them not to do so and they are afraid.
Abductions may not be random. Abducted children report being told to expect future visits. Like human child molesters, aliens allegedly warn children not to tell their parents of their experiences, or else ...
Whether or not an actual abduction is remembered, many abductees share common experiences— for example, extreme anxiety, especially of medical procedures. Many have recurrent disturbing dreams or nightmares with motifs that include weird aircraft, medical exams, running, escaping, or being captured. Some experience flashbacks during waking hours. Many develop a sudden and sometimes inexplicable interest in UFOs, including a compulsion to learn more about them. Some abductees develop health problems, although others experience miraculous healings of preexisting conditions and illnesses.
Mainstream science dismisses the literal validity of abduction claims, attributing them instead to false-memory syndrome, mental illness, or attention-seeking fraud.
Theories differ as to why aliens abduct humans. The most malevolent suggest that aliens are studying us in order to enslave us more easily. Others claim they seek to create transgenic beings, hybrid human-aliens, who will live discreetly among us and insidiously and gradually conquer Earth. Could it not also be true that these technologically advanced aliens are just scientists seeking pure knowledge?
Those perceiving extraterrestrials as benevolent suggest that they wish to preserve the human race. After all, we tag endangered animals and subject them to DNA testing. We store the DNA of endangered animals in order to protect them against extinction. Perhaps aliens consider us endangered and desire only to prevent our extinction.
Not all alien encounters involve abduction. Testimonials from those who claim to have encountered extraterrestrials range from accounts of horrific abduction to statements of gratitude for having met such spiritually evolved and technologically advanced beings. Since 1972, sightings and encounters have been classified as seven types:
Close Encounters of the First Kind involve sighting a UFO.
Close Encounters of the Second Kind involve discovering evidence of UFOs or extraterrestrials.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind involve sighting extraterrestrials or simple contact with them.
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind are alien abductions.
Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind involve continuous communication and the potential formation of a relationship between alien and human. The human is more than the equivalent of a laboratory animal. The alien may serve as the equivalent of a spirit guide and may be described as entirely benevolent.
Close Encounters of the Sixth Kind involve the death of a human being or a terrestrial animal, such as a cow, during an alien encounter.
Close Encounters of the Seventh Kind involve genetic interchange between humans and aliens and the creation of hybrid or transgenic beings.
Alix de Telieux
The modern Spiritualist movement was born in 1848 when the Fox sisters of Hydesville, New York allegedly communicated with a spirit via rapping and knocking. Young Maggie Fox is usually credited with spontaneously inventing this system. Although it is highly unlikely that Maggie or anyone in the Fox family was aware of it, in fact, this type of mystical rapping was not a unique phenomenon. Over the centuries, similar experiences had been recounted. The best documented is the 16th-century haunting of the convent of St. Pierre de Lyons in France.
In 1522, Alix de Telieux, a young novice, ran away from this convent, absconding with some jewels. She was reported to be living a dissolute life, and a few years later, the convent heard reports that she had died, possibly in 1524. In 1528, another young nun, Anthoinette de Grollée, who had been Alix's friend when she was at the convent, began hearing mysterious sounds in her room, as if someone were rapping loudly on the floor with their knuckles, although no one was there. The rapping was ignored at first, in hopes that it would go away, but it did not. Instead, it grew louder and more continuous. As with the Fox sisters, this disembodied rapping was not isolated to Anthoinette's room, but followed her throughout the convent. Other nuns heard it as well.
Eventually, the convent's mother superior felt obliged to notify the bishop. He dispatched a priest, Adrian de Montalambert, to investigate. Montalambert heard the rapping and, convinced that it was Alix, tried to communicate with her. He decided to ask the spirit questions that it could answer with a predetermined, codified number of raps—one for yes, two for no, and so forth. Once the system was established, the ghost became extremely communicative, even chatty. The spirit confirmed that it was indeed Alix and said that she had obtained a reprieve from purgatory in order to seek salvation. She gave the priest the sordid details of her life, confessed her sins, and begged for absolution. She requested that arrangements be made for her corpse to be exhumed and reburied in the convent. Only then, she claimed, could she rest in peace.
The request was granted. Alix was given a funeral appropriate to a nun in good standing. For a few days afterward, all was quiet, but the spirit's final departure was dramatic. The rapping abruptly returned—this time in the form of loud, constant drumming. Father Montalambert returned to the convent and reestablished contact. As the spirit announced that Alix had been released from purgatory and was en route to heaven, Anthoinette was seen to be levitating.
Suddenly, there was a huge thud similar to the sound of a massive hammer. Witnesses heard the sound of thirty-three distinct and loud blows accompanied by the sudden appearance of a light so blindingly, dazzlingly bright that no one could see. (In Christian context, the number thirty-three has tremendous significance as the age Christ reputedly attained before the Crucifixion.) Following these thirty-three thuds, the noise stopped, the light went out, and Anthoinette tumbled to the ground. The rapping ceased forever.
You clearly see someone standing before you ... until suddenly the being vanishes into thin air or walks through a wall. You see a dazzlingly beautiful woman standing on a cloud, but when you attempt to discuss this strange sighting with others standing nearby, you realize that you are the only one who can see her. Or perhaps the entire crowd does see her ... until she too vanishes into thin air. These are classic examples of apparitions.
An apparition is the paranormal appearance of someone who is not alive (such as a ghost), not human (such as a spirit), or a living human being who is not physically present. Some ghosts appear as apparitions, but an apparition is not necessarily a ghost. By definition, an apparition must be visual. Without exception, apparitions are seen. Paranormal phenomena that are heard—a poltergeist's rapping or a ghost clanking its chains—are not apparitions, unless there is also a visual component.
Some apparitions interact with those who witness them while others do not. Regardless, an apparition is substantial; it appears to be physically present, not merely seen in the mind's eye. Some apparitions look extremely normal, nothing in their appearance indicating that they are paranormal. For example, you open your front door to discover a friend or neighbor standing there. You may speak with each other, or the person may be oddly silent. Nothing seems paranormal until, hours later, you discover that your visitor was actually miles away at the time or no longer among the living. Other apparitions are instantly recognizable as paranormal—for example, transparent ghosts or fantastic creatures.
Apparitions of the dead or dying may be accompanied by drops in temperature or cold spots. They may also be accompanied by auras or vividly bright light. The most famous fictional apparitions are the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future in Charles Dickens' story, A Christmas Carol.
The most famous apparitions are the so-called Marian apparitions—visions identified as the Virgin Mary. Although some have been dismissed as illusions, the Vatican asserts the validity of many, including those that occurred in Knock, Ireland; Fatima, Portugal; Lourdes, France; and in Medjugorge, previously in Yugoslavia, but now within the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The most renowned occurred on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City, where the apparition now known as the Lady of Guadalupe was first witnessed on December 12, 1531. The basilica built on that site is the most visited Roman Catholic shrine in the world, the annual pilgrimage celebrating the anniversary of that apparition attended by millions. Over six million pilgrims were there in December 2009.
A crisis apparition is a very specific type of apparition in which the person witnessed is later discovered to be someone who could not have been there because he or she had just died or was dying. There are various theories put forward to explain crisis apparitions. For example, one suggests that when someone is near death or in the throes of extreme trauma, they are somehow able to send a message telepathically to someone with whom they share strong bonds. Another claims that, at the moment of death, it somehow becomes possible for the dying to project an apparition of themselves. A related phenomenon may be phone calls from the dead.
Many cases of crisis apparitions have been reported, but in general, they are difficult to verify, as the person witnessing the apparition is usually alone at the time. A famous exception involves the case of eighteen-year-old British Royal Air Force pilot, David McConnell. On December 7, 1918, McConnell was ordered to fly his plane from the base at Scampton, Lincolnshire to another at Tadcaster. He left at 11:30 A.M., telling his roommate, Lieutenant Larkin, that he would take the train back, expecting to return later in the afternoon.
At 3:25 P.M., Larkin was reading in the room they shared when he heard footsteps approaching. McConnell opened the door, still wearing his flying uniform and holding his flight helmet in his left hand. The men greeted each other and spoke briefly, then McConnell left, shutting the door behind him. Larkin heard footsteps receding and assumed that McConnell had gone to file his flight report or have tea.
Twenty minutes later, another lieutenant came to their room, wanting to know when McConnell, with whom he had plans for that night, would return. Larkin told him that McConnell had already returned, but the other man was adamant that he had not. They went to search for him together and discovered that McConnell had, in fact, not reported back, and that the front gate guard had not seen him. They continued searching.... His plane had crashed and he had died at 3:25 P.M., the time when Larkin reported seeing him. The case is considered unusual because, although only one person witnessed the apparition, Larkin reported seeing McConnell to several people, describing exactly what he had witnessed before he could possibly have known of the plane crash.
An apport is an object that mysteriously and miraculously appears in a closed area—for example, a room in which a séance is being held. The object just materializes as if out of thin air. A classic example is the sudden materialization of a vase of flowers or a trumpet. However, any sort of object may materialize, from the tiniest jewel to massive blocks of ice.
The word itself derives from the French apporter, "to bring." Thus apports may be understood as gifts or messages from spirits. Apports are considered examples of physical mediumship.
An asport is an apport in reverse—an object that mysteriously disappears from a closed area and miraculously materializes elsewhere. For example, a vase filled with roses may disappear from a room in which a séance is being held only to rematerialize spontaneously in another room miles away.
Nickname for a United States military base located in southern Nevada, approximately eighty-three miles from Las Vegas. Another nickname for the base is Dreamland. Area 51 is located within the Nevada Test and Training Range complex, hidden in the mountains around Groom Lake, one of many dry lakebeds in the region. It is estimated to have an area of approximately 575 square miles. Area 51 is so top secret that it does not appear on U.S. Geological Survey maps or on aviation charts.
Although Area 51 is a restricted area, totally off limits to the public, it is the subject of much fascination, speculation, and rumor. A mecca for UFO enthusiasts, it is contained in a valley ringed by mountain ranges that make it virtually impossible to get close enough to see. To describe the area as remote and harsh is an understatement. To reach the closest vantage point, Tikaboo Peak, approximately twenty-six miles from the base, requires some hiking and steep mountain climbing. Temperatures in the region are extreme, ranging from thirty below zero in the winter to 110 degrees in the shade during summer months.
Excerpted from The Weiser Field Guide to the paranormal by Judith Joyce. Copyright © 2011 Judith Joyce. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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Field Guide to the Paranormal
Index of Terms