Personal Thoughts on the Paranormal

Let me provide an analogy to help you, the reader, understand where I am heading with this opinion piece relating to the field of paranormal exploration and research.  The beginnings of a tsunami consist of seawater.  As it moves onto land, it becomes mixed with all kinds of debris originally foreign to the ocean.  As the giant wave and subsequent larger ones, approach dry terrain, the saltwater becomes a muddy mix of trash, dismantled buildings and other materials; cars, gasoline, petroleum, waste; deceased animal and human life, etc.  In other words, ocean water is not meant for dry land and vice versa.  Once the water comes onshore, it creates a whole host of problems and challenges.

Now, is where I enter into my thoughts about the field of paranormal research and where it’s headed if we don’t stop and look at things from a larger perspective. When I say “paranormal research,” I am including all of the branches of anomalous phenomena that people investigate.  The current discipline of supernatural study can be just like the tsunami that’s made its way well onto dry land; at least in some regards.  In addition to the many positives, it’s often full of foreign, degrading material, rampant egos, exploitation and misidentification of spiritual energies, make-believe and much more that’s cheapening it in many ways. 

While reading this, some may feel that I am looking at the glass half full, ignoring the positives and benefits to studying the unknown.  Instead, I feel that I am looking at things from a bigger lens and a wider panoramic view.  The following are more or less observations I’ve made over the years, not necessarily criticisms.  In life, sometimes we have to look at certain situations, which are often pushed under the rug instead of 1) addressing apprehension over dealing with them head-on and 2) bringing these particular conditions to light as a way to foster wider perspectives.

It’s a privilege to study the unknown and supernatural realms.  It’s amazing to connect with those who’ve transitioned to the other side.  It’s equally enthralling to study and get a glimpse into other life forms and beings.  As such, those studying the otherworldly need to approach their work with sincerity, devotion and professionalism. Perhaps, if everyone involved, engaged in this mindset, the field of psychical research would be taken more seriously.  Those possessing an unwavering intrigue into the mysteries of the paranormal need to first ask themselves why they want to actively investigate and explore these outer realms.  Those who’s desires are dominated by frivolous reasons won’t necessarily last too long in the field nor will they be considered professional.  Even people who tirelessly engross themselves in paranormal investigation need an occasional reminder to take their explorations and studies in a more earnest manner.  Aside from surveying other preternatural creatures and interdimensional beings, the human spirit realm consists of once-living individuals and animals who’ve crossed the veil into the vast realm of the otherworldly.  It is with great opinion that we need to respect and honor those in the afterlife and beyond, just as we would treat the living.

I have been deeply involved in the field of psychical study for twenty years.  While that doesn’t make me an expert or any researcher an expert, it does provide me a front row seat in observing some of the discipline’s current trends.  There should be a cohesive, universal approach and philosophy when it comes to exploring the unknown.  Although researchers have their own unique approaches and styles, there should always be a strict adherence to protocol and standard operating procedures.  There should also be greater advocacy for the spiritual energies and beings we come across.  Instead, I am seeing some divisions that are catering to an almost polluted and scattered sense of what paranormal research has become.  I am also seeing the authentic paranormal world placed next to the paranormal world the living is creating.  The two are becoming quite incompatible and let me elaborate as to how.

Let’s examine the definition of the word, “paranormal.” Merriam-Webster, defines the word as, “strange events, abilities, etc., that cannot be explained by what is known about nature and the world.” The definition elaborates by saying, “…not scientifically explainable.”  Conscientious researchers don’t use the various impressions left over by entertainment and mass media to try and explain the supernatural.  One should never rely on the traits of fictional characters, such as Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers to examine and theoretically explain a ghostly being.  Instead, depend on what’s evident in the authentic world, not on what’s part of the world of make-believe and fantasy.

Original anomalous events exist on their own and should be left untainted and untampered with.  Of course, they can be explored, studied and analyzed by curious individuals but should be accomplished without instilling the unneeded subjectivity and bias that are completely foreign to the bona fide supernatural realm.  We are seeing the mortal world treating these raw events like a blank canvas –  adding various types of color and texture that ultimately transforms them into a polluted piece.  Once this happens, the once authentic world of the paranormal is now contaminated with what the human element places onto it – judgement of contrasting opinions, ego-based projections, inaccurate classifications and descriptions, superficial desires, among many others.

1.     There is entertainment’s idea of what the supernatural realm is based on, which is conveyed through Hollywood’s numerous movies and television shows on the subject. 

2.     There is the real-life view of what the supernatural domain consists of, which is often swayed by Hollywood’s creations and further influenced by differing ideals and viewpoints.  Both of these have created a false sense of what the paranormal truly is.

The field of paranormal research is a melting pot of individuals with various levels of experience (beginner versus seasoned), principles, goals and belief systems.  Diversity is often welcomed in other aspects of life.  In this case, in order to make the field become a more stable, wholesome environment, not all individuals investigating the supernatural belong in the same pot.  For example, those who are just out to thrill-seek and get spooked may not be on the same psychological level as those who passionately devote time to the scientific study of paranormal occurrences.  Those who visit a haunted location to mainly thrill-seek most likely, do not have the same incentives as those who truly investigate a location through onsite case studies, historical, geological, archaeological and/or genealogical inquires, witness interviews and tedious data review.  Sadly, some are in the field to only try and make a name for themselves and will go to any lengths to do so even if they exploit / disrespect the departed and other types of beings.   These groups will not mix with people who are inherently humble and approach their work with ethics, respect and the Golden Rule. 

A paranormal occurrence, by itself, is left untainted.  It is consistent of the entities and their environment. The structure and intent of each anomalous situation stands on its own with authenticity and purity.  It’s when the human element gets into the picture when things become distorted, twisted and manipulated – often with ambiguous outcomes that cater to the naïve and gullible.

Ghosts, spirits, interdimensional beings, alien species – any entity dominating the outer realms – is not meant for our amusement and entertainment. Studying these beings and creatures just like a biologist approaches the study of biology, or a physicist approaches the study of physics, is fine.  As long as the investigative study is done with legitimacy and respect.   These energies are not here to be misclassified, mocked at or oppressed as is often seen with media and entertainment venues.

As with many professions, one needs a license or permit to practice that occupation.  There are sets of bylaws and standard operating procedures that need to be adhered to.  One needs to be of sound mind and be considered competent enough to engage in the specifics of his or her type of vocation.  Violation of the governing rules typically leads to suspension or expulsion from the position.   This same principle should be applied to the study of the supernatural as a way to keep it controlled and realistic.

Mixing Halloween, Horror, Science Fiction with Real-Life Paranormal Phenomena

It’s quite memorable to reminisce on our childhood years around Halloween, October’s main claim to fame.  As kids, we would anxiously anticipate, as the days and nights grew closer to the 31st of the month.  We’d excitedly plan our chosen costumes, who we’d go trick-or-treating with and what piece(s) of candy to enjoy first.  As the numerous decorations of fake ghosts, goblins, pumpkins, witches, zombies and black cats made their arrival into our imaginations, we’d soon learn to associate Halloween with various fear-provoking adjectives – spooky, scary, ghoulish, macabre, horrific, etc. 

Not everyone has read about the true history of Halloween, but that doesn’t interfere with the realization that the events during the month of October have nothing to do with the real-life supernatural realm – other than the thinning veil between our world and the afterlife.  A fake, cartoon drawing of a ghost is not the same as an authentic earthbound entity or evolved spirit.  The two are irrelevant to one another; yet, people are continuing to fuse make-believe with reality.  With this, enters some serious consequences and outcomes for the paranormal research field and its future leaders.  Collectively, we need to teach ourselves and the field’s next generations that genuine anomalous occurrences are mostly unrelated to the highly imaginative and unrealistic plots of numerous fictional television and film ensembles.

In fact, let’s explore the words, “spooky, scary, ghoulish, macabre, horrific,” etc., in more detail.  In reality, it’s not the spiritual entity that’s considered to possess the meaning of these adjectives; it’s the living person’s projections onto and reactions to experiencing something paranormal that are considered, “spooky, scary,” etc.  The spirits of grandma and grandpa don’t have ghastly features as often depicted in horror movies.  No shining, red, demonic eyes, blood and/or pus streaking down their faces, rotten-looking flesh, etc.  Humans are inherently taught to fear the unknown; thus, when we encounter something otherworldly, it’s normal to assign a daunting connotation to what we’re experiencing during that particular event.  However, we need to remember that it’s the living realm conveying these inferences not the other way around. 

As researchers of the unknown, we need to always be cognizant of the ethereal beings we come across; as for the high majority, these are the spirits of those cherished and loved by people.  You never know if you may run into the apparition of someone’s beloved mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, co-worker, etc.  As such, it’s imperative to treat these earthbounds and/or spirits with dignity and respect.  But, if someone chooses to ascribe spooky nuances to such an encounter, it not only denigrates that once-living individual but the paranormal research field at large.

Motivations for Exploring the Paranormal

Inflated egos, personal entitlement and staunch competition are running rampant in the field of paranormal investigation and research.  It’s truly sad.  Studying the supernatural isn’t about fame, recognition or notoriety.  The quantity of social media followers a ghost hunter has or how many TV shows someone’s been on should not be placed as most important.  Just because someone has millions of “likes” on their Facebook page(s) or supporters on their YouTube page(s), doesn’t automatically place them in the category of most experienced and/or respected.  It’s often quite the contrary.  For example, one extremely famous YouTuber traveled to Japan to visit the Aokigahara forest, dubbed the region’s “suicide forest.”  Instead of respecting and honoring the young man who had recently took his own life earlier that day, this particular individual instead, chose to mock and disparage the deceased on video for views.  This immediately prompted outrage for this YouTuber who clearly lacked any veneration for the dead, especially someone who suffered with enough hopelessness to end his own life.

What’s imperative is the quality of devotion, time and work someone puts into his or her ongoing psychical enquiries – and what these contributions are doing to advance the discipline of supernatural study.  Arrogant attitudes often lend to unknowingly and sometimes knowingly exploitation of the deceased.  The afterlife and other realms are not here for humanity’s amusement and entertainment.  They are not placed in cages for us to merely gawk at and manipulate.  They are not here for us to control or possess.  Their preternatural existence is completely independent from those in the physical world.  All encounters between the two domains should occur without any misuse, deceit and/or false portrayals. 

Misidentifying Entities and Using Incorrect Terminology

We all know the saying, “Words have power…”  This is why we all have to choose our words wisely in an effort to avoid misunderstanding.  There is no exception with certain terminology relating to paranormal research.   I am seeing a lot of individuals misidentifying the ethereal realm and other beings by creating inaccurate descriptions and using incorrect terminology. In reality, is it entirely possible to classify and define something that can’t be proven?  Certain beliefs and/or a lack of informed knowledge is usually the cause for this.  Let me provide some examples:

Negative versus malevolent:  While the two distinctions share some commonalities, there is a difference between the two terms when describing the characteristics of an anomalous entity.  Malevolent denotes something purely evil and wicked with an intent to harm.  In adjective form, negative means something bleak, pessimistic, cynical, unfavorable, etc.   With this in mind, would you use the word “malevolent” or “negative” to describe a human earthbound energy that perhaps, lived a bad life and has the same unlikeable personality traits and behaviors in spirit that he or she had while alive?  To me, it makes more sense to use the latter term.  In my opinion, malevolent should be reserved for nonhuman entities that are considered malicious and vile.

Ghost versus spirit:  Yes, we all use both words interchangeably when describing the ghost or spirit of a once-living individual.  However, there are differences between the two.  A ghost is usually stuck or chooses to remain in the mortal realm due to various reasons.  With this, he or she either cannot or will not move on into the “light” and evolve into the spirit world, eventually moving up the reigns.  Spirits are the ethereal liveliness of those who’ve moved on peacefully but are willfully able to come back to the earthbound realm.  They also advance through the various levels in the afterlife. Thus, they are not stuck on this plane nor do they have unfinished business.

How many paranormal investigative websites have creepy, scary and menacing themes?  For the ones that do, what impression does it give off about the human spirit world and beyond?  What does this do to certain individuals who are experiencing something paranormal in their home or business?  For the ones who are generally unnerved, these sorts of websites may be a turnoff and/or increase their anxiety.  Yes, these sorts of designs cater to the thrill of encountering a ghost, spirit, Bigfoot, UFOs, etc., and may be a bit catchy, but don’t always accurately characterize them.  Does grandpa or grandma have green skin with black eyes and seeping pus?  No, they look just as they were when alive, albeit a bit younger and healthier, perhaps. 

Paranormal research is not something that I do merely for fun.  I am conscientiously devoted to the scientific study of supernatural phenomena and how metaphysics fits into the overall equation.  Not everyone is and that’s fine.  However, if you call yourself a “paranormal researcher,” then you better be doing more than prancing through a cemetery at night to have a thrill.  Researchers of the unknown devote a lot of time to their case studies and exploring the anomalous. 

Investigating the supernatural is both beautiful and mysterious.  It enables us to step outside the confines of mortality and connect with and learn from other beings and those dwelling in the afterlife.  It also gives us a front row seat in knowing that we will eventually learn the secrets of the universe once we transition to the spirit realm.  For these reasons and many others, the field of supernatural investigation and exploration should be treated with dignity and integrity.

Bereavement Hallucinations

Bereavement Hallucinations: Visits and Messages from the Dearly Departed

Those who’ve transitioned to the ethers remain with us. Although not physically, the dearly departed are with us energetically with the beat of their soul dancing right along to ours. Every day. Every night. Those who have journeyed to the stars linger in our hearts, our minds and in each of our senses. Mourning is an intense emotional state. As such, it’s highly possible that the griever via a hallucinatory condition, sees, feels or hears the individual(s) who’ve passed on. When this happens, the mourner constantly senses the person he or she has lost. Typically, these illusions are comforting and make the living feel as though they haven’t endured any loss.

According to Ronald Pies, M.D., in his article Hallucinations of Loss, Visions of Grief, post-bereavement hallucinations could be considered a disordered grieving process called “complicated or pathological grief” (Pies 2018). This has even been recommended as a new diagnostic classification in psychiatry’s DSM-5 diagnostic guidebook. In addition to a single person experiencing these mourning mirages, groups of individuals have collectively experienced these hallucinations, typically following a very traumatic occurrence. For example, Singapore General Hospital reported the many ghost sighting accounts from survivors and rescuers after the highly catastrophic 2004 Thailand tsunami that claimed the lives of over 200,000 individuals. In fact, some people were so terrified at these visual perceptions, which caused them to quit their supportive aid.

Culturally, the faith of the Thailand people holds that the spirits of the deceased can be pacified only through relatives at the scene of the tragedy. What’s interesting is whether these hallucinations have any paranormal and/or spiritual origin. Are these illusions simply holograms of people no longer living in the physical world? Or, does our immense sadness act as a capacitor, allowing the ethereal energy of the deceased to come to us? Do living individuals produce these hallucinations out of intense grief or do the spirits of our dearly departed sense our sadness and as a result, manifest to our senses? It may be a combination of both and definitely a topic that warrants further researching. 

Neuroscientists have examined the underlying brain compositions and operations that may shed a light onto the reasons for these grief hallucinations. There is still a lot to be uncovered, however. Scientists and medical personnel are exploring a condition known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS), where an individual witnesses vivid visual hallucinations that are not linked to delusions or psychological problems. Typically afflicting older people, CBS could be caused by eye damage or destruction of the visual cortex.

Nowadays, there is more acceptance and discussion of spiritual happenings, which projects out into the general cosmos. Spiritual beings may then feel more comfortable and willing to commune with the living, especially after a premature and/or tragic death. Then again, we need to realize the cultural implications as well as how these so-called grief mirages may have different opinions and explanations across various cultures. Anthropologists have discussed how the beliefs and death ritual ceremonies vary across the globe but there isn’t as much known as to how differing ethnicities experience the deceased. As with many other facets of supernatural phenomena, there needs to be more exploration into the causes of and experiences with grief hallucinations.

These hallucinations are very real and quite heartbreaking. Vaughan Bell, author of the article Ghost Stories: Visits from the Deceased, discusses a 2002 case report by German researchers who examined a mother’s experiences after the tragic death of her daughter. While intensely grieving her daughter’s untimely death from a heroin overdose, a mom regularly witnessed her child and occasionally heard her say, “Mamma, Mamma!” and “It’s so cold” (Bell 2008). One Swedish study examined the prevalence of hallucinations among elderly widows and widowers within the first twelve months after the spouse’s demise. Half of the participants occasionally felt the presence of their beloved. Approximately one-third documented seeing, hearing and conversing with the departed. We have to acknowledge how the yearning for the presence of someone we love is so engrained in our every-day fabric. When that person is no longer present, our unconscious fervently desires to fill the void by bringing our dearly departed back into our present. In a way, bereavement hallucinations may be a willing act of compensation to cope with the newly found sense of loss. Furthermore, many people can find healing solace while encountering the presence of someone no longer with them.

References:

Bell, Vaughn. “Ghost Stories: Visits from the Deceased.” Scientific American, accessed April 3, 2020 at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ghost-stories-visits-from-the-deceased/

Pies, Ronald. “Hallucinations of Loss, Visions of Grief,” PsychCentral, accessed May 19, 2020 at https://psychcentral.com/blog/hallucinations-of-loss-visions-of-grief/

Photo designed by Karina Cubillo from Pixabay

Does The Soul Continue On After Death?

By Nicole Strickland

According to many scientists who’ve studied the concepts of life after death, there is substantial evidence that the soul continues on a quantum level. Quantum physics claims that our lives continue on in a parallel universe regardless of what happens to us in our current plane of existence. The laws of quantum physics convey that life is not comprised of matter but of vibrations that break away from time and space.

Munich’s Max Planck Institute for physics proclaims that the physical universe that we reside in is only our perception and an infinite beyond exists once our bodies cease to function. Many experts now claim that there is no death of human consciousness only death of the body, the shell that houses the true essence of a person. According to renowned researchers, quantum mechanics permits consciousness to live on after the brain ceases to function.

Stuart Hameroff of the University of Arizona along with British physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, assert that our consciousness is merely information deposited at a quantum level. The pair describes this process as “Orchestrated Objective Reduction” (Orch-OR), merely confirming data that protein-based microtubules or a structural constituent of human cells hold quantum information that is housed at a sub-atomic level. This material within the microtubules cannot be destroyed once someone is beyond the threshold of death; instead, it dispenses out to the universe.

“If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, ‘I had a near-death experience,’” Dr. Hameroff goes on to say. He further mentions, “If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul” (Hameroff 2016). Based on its unearthing research, the Max Planck Institute considers that this world or our present day comprises just the understandable material level; however, there is a much larger scale infinite reality that our world is embedded in. This allows our lives in this plane of reality to be surrounded by a spirit realm. Thus, an ethereal quantum field lives on despite the death of the human body.

Renowned scientist, Robert Lanza’s concept of biocentrism is another intriguing theory that builds upon the ideals of quantum physics. Theoretical evidence suggests that physical death is a concept that our consciousness makes up. Lanza asserts that death cannot exist as there is no marginal way to define it. Biocentrism’s main distinction is that life creates the universe as opposed to the latter creating life. It claims that life and biology is the integral duo for being, reality and cosmos. Biocentrism also proposes the revitalizing idea that life is immortal. Lanza eloquently mentions that when our bodies physically die, our lives then become a “perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse” (Lanza 2010). We are taught from an early age that our bodies eventually die. We know they die since we are connected to our bodies while living in earth’s realm. In essence, biocentrism supports the notion that when we die, our energy lives on and travels to another universe or dimension. It maintains that the consciousness exists in the energy housed in our bodies and is released once death comes knocking at the door.

Indeed, studies are revealing a lot about the mysticism surrounding the human soul, but will science ever be able to unearth all of the reasons why – or how – the human soul survives physical death?

References:

Hameroff, Stuart & Roger Penrose. “Consciousness in the Universe: A Review of the ‘Orch OR’ Theory,” Physics of Life Reviews, accessed May 19, 2020 at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188

Lanza, Robert. Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe. Texas: BenBella Books, 2010.

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado and the Beautiful Stranger

General History of “The Del”

 People from all over the United States have heard of the Hotel Del Coronado.  A historic gem by the sea, the renowned hotel is located in the picturesque City of Coronado and a short distance from San Diego, California.  As one of the last remaining luxurious seaside resorts, the Hotel Del Coronado continues to serve as the epitome of nostalgia.  Back in 1846, the Coronado peninsula was a barren land as opposed to what it has become today: an exquisite village with million-dollar mansions, delectable eateries, vintage shops and of course, it’s iconic Victorian hotel. 

When California became a part of the United States, the Coronado terrain was sold for $1,000 in 1849; once the Civil War came to a halt it was later purchased for $10,000. Elisha Babcock Jr., a railroad executive, arrived to San Diego from Evansville, Indiana in 1884. Along with his friend, H.L. Story, he envisioned how the stretch of land and climate could attract people from all walks of life.  As such, a syndicate called the Coronado Beach Company was developed to purchase the peninsula and commence a thriving city.  It was in 1885 when Babcock and Story bought the Coronado land for $110,000.

Promotional events took place with the aim of advertising San Diego as one of the most attractive places in the nation.  Babcock envisioned building a resort that would be adequately known as the “talk of the Western world.” It was on Independence Day in 1886 when a community picnic celebration took place, signaling the start of an annual tradition that still exists today. 

The Reid Brothers were the chosen architects for the construction of the hotel and resort.  For the ensuing 40 years, local pioneers worked together to establish a modern city.  The arrival of John D. Spreckels brought further fascination into the City of Coronado and its prized hotel icon. Babcock then persuaded Spreckels to financially subsidize the Coronado Beach Company.  The latter managed the corporation and hotel via his San Francisco residence.

The Hotel Del Coronado underwent further renovations from June through December of 1902.  This dawned a new era for the city with the arrival of Tent City along the Silver Strand. The mission of Tent City was to provide a social arena for Coronado’s residents, which included boating ventures, concerts, plays and vaudeville shows; however, 1939 brought an end to this era of vacation mindset.  The hotel eventually went up for sale after the dissolution of World War II.  Sadly, at this point, “The Del” was not the epitome of opulence it once portrayed.

The passing of time brought about new owners to the premises, including Kansas City hotel mogul Barney Goodman.  Goodman instituted further renovations to the edifice, such as a fifth floor and the addition of fifty rooms.  Upon his death, local entrepreneur, John S. Alessio, assumed ownership of the hotel in 1961.  Alessio’s refurbishment contributions included the improvement of public areas and guest rooms.  The original windows inside the iconic Crown and Coronet rooms were detached and replaced with massive plate glass varieties that are still present today.

The Hotel Del Coronado Corporation purchased the structure from Alessio. As the board’s chairmen, M. Larry Lawrence became the hotel’s sixth owner.  It was his design proposal that brought about the structure’s Victorian grandeur.  Lawrence constructed the Grande Hall, big enough to accommodate 1,500 people.  The number of guest rooms went from 399 to 689 due to the building of the Ocean Towers and further pool side development.  Between 1963 and 1983, $40 million was allocated for restoration, repairs and the replacement of defunct machinery.

Today, people flock from all over the world to visit and/or stay at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Guests and locals can choose from many activities, whether it be a relaxing walk along the beach, lunch or dinner at one of its prized restaurants and shopping in the many boutique stores.  It’s always an impressive site as you drive down Orange Avenue and see the hotel’s red-roofed turrets as you inch closer to the grand edifice.

In addition to the beauty that older hotels bring, there’s typically a ghost story or two surrounding their historical charm.  The Hotel Del Coronado is certainly no exception as many people, including myself, have encountered either apparitional sightings, eerie cold spots and disembodied vocalizations.  As you might have guessed, the legendary hotel is listed as one of San Diego’s most haunted abodes, mainly due to one ghostly account:  the story of Kate Morgan, also known as the “Beautiful Stranger” of the Hotel Del Coronado.

The Story of Kate Morgan aka “The Beautiful Stranger”

Provided as an excerpt from my book, San Diego’s Most Haunted-The Historical Legacy and Paranormal Marvels of America’s Finest City, here is the tale of Kate Morgan:

The story of Kate Morgan is perhaps the most popular spirited tale associated with the edifice.  Kate Kathleen Farmer was born in Iowa on September 23, 1865, to George W. Farmer, an affluent miller and his wife, Elizabeth, who passed away shortly after giving birth.  Having no surviving brothers or sisters, Kate was then primarily brought up by the males in her life, and it has been suggested that as a result, she turned out to be rambunctious and uncontrollable.  In her late teens, Kate wed Tom Morgan on December 30, 1885, and the couple had one child by the name of Thomas who passed away just two days after his birth.

In 1892, on Thanksgiving Day, the young and beautiful Mrs. Morgan checked into the Del under the alias “Lottie A. Bernard.”  She was alone and despondent when she arrived, having waited five lonesome days, possibly for her husband Tom Morgan. Sadly, just five days later, Kate was found lifeless on one of the exterior staircases leading to the beach.  She was found to have a single gunshot wound to the temple, and it was later ruled that she committed suicide.  The news of her demise became a national sensation, as her description and circumstances were telegraphed to police personnel around the nation.  Tom sent a letter to the San Diego coroner identifying Lottie A. Bernard as Kate Morgan.  The letter mentioned that her Iowa-based grandfather was Joe W. Chandler, and that he should be the one to receive her remains.

The situation surrounding Kate Morgan’s short stay at the Hotel Del Coronado continues to remain quite ambiguous to this day.  Thus, the events preceding her tragic demise are not entirely based in fact, leading people to infer and formulate their own conclusions as to what transpired.  The coroner’s inquest took place on November 30th, just one day after her youthful body was found.  Witness testimonies have provided in-depth information about her actions and behavior during her sojourn at the Hotel Del Coronado.  At the time of her stay, Kate seemed ill and depressed, and told hotel staff she was suffering from stomach cancer, possibly concealing the fact that she may have been pregnant.  Oddly, she told employees to not worry about her condition, as her brother, who happened to be a doctor, was soon to arrive to help her.  Kate even approached the front desk several times asking about her brother and when he was to arrive.  As it turns out, this young, beautiful woman never had a brother; thus, most people feel that the man she was anxiously waiting was in fact her husband Tom.

It was determined that Kate Morgan resided in and worked at the Los Angeles home of L.A. Grant, where she went by the alias “Katie Logan.” She was reported to be a sufficient employee, always tending to her assigned duties.  Her husband was known to be a gambler, a fact that concerned her at times.  Another oddity is evident, in that she left for San Diego without her personal belongings, therefore suggesting she would soon return to Los Angeles.

As she traveled by train to San Diego, witness accounts disclosed that a woman matching her physical description quarreled with a man who left her en route.  One of these eye-witnesses was a man named Joseph E. Jones, who documented that Kate and a man had a significant altercation.  The man got off the train in Orange County, whereas Kate continued south toward San Diego.

Many rumors have circulated around Kate’s tragic death and still do so to this day.  Almost immediately people wondered why she traveled to the ornate hotel alone, something that women of her time period rarely did.  Some say she wanted to divorce Tom, especially since witnesses declared that she wanted to get some papers signed.  It has been speculated that she committed suicide; however, others feel that she was the victim of a senseless crime. 

Mrs. Morgan visited a gun shop in San Diego and purchased a .44 Bulldog.  She may have arrived back at the Del between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. later that night.  A witness spotted her standing on her room’s veranda as she gazed toward the stormy Pacific Ocean.  Perhaps her husband finally arrived at the hotel, where the couple further argued; however, the condition of her hotel room did not indicate a struggle of any kind.  If Tom and Kate did argue, maybe he fired his gun at her head, ultimately ending her life.  This scenario seems quite plausible.

The medical examiner testified that the bullet found lodged in Kate’s forehead came from a .38 or .40 caliber weapon, a bullet commonly associated with the Derringer gun that Tom carried on his person. Additionally, Kate was found to have been shot in the temple at an upward angle, indicating that  she was standing a couple stairs above her assailant.  Also, the positioning of her body on the staircase was not indicative of a self-inflicted wound. Her pistol was oxidized the following day, suggesting that her attacker washed his bloody hands in the saltwater ocean, then came back and strategically placed the gun underneath her hand so it looked like she committed the act.

Personally, I believe she was tragically murdered.  Perhaps, her earthbound spirit remains at the hotel as a way to tell her story.  I have talked to Kate many times, letting her know that there’s a better place for her, one with eternal love and peace.  I hope she has heard me and understands that when she’s ready, she can move on to that beautiful place.  Maybe she already has.  Kate Morgan’s legacy is an everlasting part of the Hotel Del Coronado.  What better place than, “The Del”?

Many people have documented strange accounts in her room on the third floor, which was numbered 302.  Today, it’s 3327. The bed in the room sometimes shows a body imprint.  The television has turned on and off seemingly by itself. Pillows have been neatly stacked and guests encounter bed sheets being ripped off them.  Guests have experienced flickering lights, cold spots, phantom scents, disembodied voices and footsteps, the opening and closing of doors and belongings moved around.  Individuals have even seen Kate’s full-bodied apparition adorned in a dark dress in various parts of the hotel, on the beach and on the stairs where her physical body was found. 

I have had odd experiences in the hotel.  I often experience the sense of being watched along with extreme nausea.  This could be due to a high EMF (electromagnetic field energy), which can cause these symptoms.  A couple of years ago, my friends Jim and Karen Frazier came down to Southern California for a visit.  Their first stop was San Diego and a memorable stay at “The Del.”  One evening on the way down for some cocktails, Karen and I noticed a white mist in the hallway where their room was located.  It formed into a humanoid shape then vanished before our eyes.  We both felt female energy.  Did we encounter Kate in ethereal form? 

 Other Ghost Stories Associated with “The Del”

 Other ghosts adorned in vintage attire have been spotted throughout the hotel, including phantoms clad in suits.  In the gift stores, employees have documented items flying off the shelves.  Concierge staff have heard disembodied whispered conversations.  The ghosts of a little boy and girl have been seen peeking out from behind window curtains.  Some paranormal activity is residual in nature and some intelligent. So, as the saying goes, some people have checked into this lavish hotel but haven’t checked out.  In all honesty, if someone chooses to linger around, what better place than the Hotel Del Coronado?

By Nicole Strickland

Published in Paranormal Underground Magazine’s West Coast Ghosts column

Children And The Paranormal

Children and the Paranormal

Written by Nicole Strickland

Paranormal Researcher, Author, Lecturer

Paranormal research is an ever-evolving field with new developed theories, tested methodologies, technological developments and further understanding of what constitutes life after death.  The interest in this field is not limited to the adult population; we are seeing an influx of children of all ages commencing an intrigue in ghosts, spirits, hauntings and the afterlife.  This is important not only for the future of supernatural research but for how our future generations examine and study the field at large.  

The lingering question is how we go about educating our youth as many aspects of the paranormal are not considered age appropriate.  There are various debates among today’s paranormal researchers on whether we should even attempt to educate young children on ghosts, spirits and hauntings.  In my opinion, I don’t recommend investigative practice until a child reaches the age of maturity or 18-years-old by society’s standards, unless, of course, it is during an adult-monitored educational course.  However, I do think it’s useful to educate boys and girls about general paranormal research practices, classifications of ghosts and hauntings, spiritual protection, etc., especially if that particular child expresses a substantially consistent intrigue in the realm.  Furthermore, this is especially imperative for those with innately intrinsic psychic / empathic abilities as they move through life with the capacity to communicate with the dearly departed.  It’s how we construct and go about educating that truly matters as successful teaching methods will positively reach our future paranormal investigators. 

There are many supernatural researchers, including myself, who offer age friendly classes for kids who want to learn more about what goes bump in the night.  One such course is taught by Oregon Ghost Conference President Rocky Smith and Aaron Collins, lead investigator of NW Paranormal Investigative Team based out of the Portland, Oregon area.  One of the purposes of their class is to educate kids about the paranormal, including various tools of the trade utilized in research practices.  Aaron actually shows his young course attendees how to properly use various gadgets and provides them hands-on training.  After that, both Rocky and Aaron take the children to a certain conference location known to have spiritual activity and assist them in conducting an investigation.  Of course, they invite parents to come along, too.  

“Sometimes, we actually make contact with spirits with our equipment and the kids get very excited along with their parents,” Aaron goes on to say.  He further echoes that, “children are more susceptible to seeing and experiencing spirit activity than adults at times, as their minds are pure and untainted.”  If I may personally elaborate, kids lack the heavy ego that often pollutes the field of supernatural research. 

After the investigation is completed, the children regroup back in the classroom to discuss their findings and past experiences.  Aaron and Rocky have found that even the boys and girls who are very shy tend to open up and share their past encounters with the paranormal.  One of the take-away points of their popular course is to warn kids to never conduct an investigation on their own and always have a well-trained investigator on hand.  The feedback from the children and parents has been phenomenal; thus, why Aaron and Rocky continue to offer this class each year. 

“If I can help just one child, then I feel that I have done my job,” Aaron relays. 

Some boys and girls have an innate interest in the afterlife from birth whereas others develop an intrigue later in life. Some of our youth are born with inherent intuitive abilities often classifying them among the Crystal, Indigo or Rainbow Children, which you will read about in later paragraphs.  Of course, an understanding of overall child cognitive and psychosocial development is crucial in order to successfully support a child’s overall intrigue in the supernatural.  Adequately fostering children’s growth through these stages is not only beneficial for social, emotional and intellectual development but for the spiritual maturity of each child as he or she moves through life. 

Colleges and universities educate about both Jean Piaget’s theories of child cognitive development and Erik Erikson’s beliefs regarding the psychological development of human beings.  If boys and girls successfully graduate through each stage, they will be more prepared to face and seamlessly transition through the others. Let’s delve deeper into these phases and examine how a child might perceive, understand and/or react to paranormal and spirit phenomena.  Note that it is imperative that adults understand the learning implications of these phases so they can be better adept at nurturing a child’s growth though them.  In other words, success or failure at each stage will directly affect the next.  With healthy developments in intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual growth, a child will, of course, be more grounded when working with ethereal energy. 

Jean Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development 

1. Sensorimotor Stage (0-2 years): During this phase, infants primarily focus on what is immediately in front of them.  They concentrate on what they are visually seeing and interacting with.  Object permanence develops around seven to nine months, which is a sure sign of memory growth.  This can positively affect their ability to experience psychical / spiritual phenomena as the experiences can be stored in their brain, which further affects how they will perceive these encounters at later developmental stages. 

2. Preoperational Stage (toddler – 7 years): During this stage, children further develop language, memory and imagination.  While they can’t yet differentiate between cause and effect, they will perceive fantasy as real.  Therefore, in their minds, any perception of paranormal events will be real. Proper fostering of grammar will enable kids to better express the world around them.  Natural intuition is strong and based on thinking so children in this phase may not be able to logically explain ghostly experiences. 

3. Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years): During this phase, children develop concrete, logical thinking with the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy; thus, boys and girls can initiate understanding of paranormal events.  Kids develop their understanding of the external environment and can comprehend that one’s own thoughts and feelings may differ from that of others.  Additionally, they can start to examine their past ghostly experiences from a cause and effect standpoint.      

4. Formal Operational Stage (11 years plus): Children can now start to think abstractly and form hypotheses; they can examine their surrounding environment in hypothetical ways.  In regards to paranormal research, they can postulate new theories and attempt to test existing ones.  Furthermore, children can initiate their own individual studies of the paranormal realm with the ability to comprehend various concepts. 

Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

1. Trust vs. Mistrust (0-1.5 years):  When parental guardians provide reliable and trusting care, babies will start to have trust in their caregivers.  Conversely, if they don’t receive adequate care and affection, they will learn to mistrust others and their environment.  This will result in self-concept and self-esteem issues down the road.  In order to function and succeed in today’s society, a person should feel confident in his or her abilities. 

2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (1.5 – 3 years): With the development of new skills and abilities, children start to acquire a sense of autonomy and independence. If they are encouraged to develop these traits, boys and girls will become more confident and secure in contributing to society as older children and adults.  

3. Initiative vs. Guilt (3-5 years): During this stage, children foster their interpersonal skills.  If they are supported in their attempts to lead and make decisions, boys and girls will become more confident to do so as an adult.  Conversely, if adults do not support a child’s initiative during these years, he or she will develop guilt and a lack of resourcefulness. 

4. Industry vs. Inferiority (5-12 years): Children start to feel proud of their accomplishments. He or she desires to win approval by showcasing certain competencies valued by society.  If boys and girls aren’t supported during this phase, they will doubt their abilities, lack confidence to achieve goals and therefore not reach their full potential during adulthood. 

5. Identity vs. Role Confusion (12-18 years): An adolescent stage of development, teens foster a sense of self, personal beliefs, values and goals, the learning of roles they may participate in as adults, committing one’s self to others, and accepting others for their own individual beliefs.  Without exploration of possibilities, teens will not learn how to fit in with society. 

6. Intimacy vs. Isolation (18-40 years): Adults at this phase want to have a sense of commitment, care and happiness in a relationship. Avoiding this can lead to despair, isolation and depression.  In regards to paranormal research, a person has to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually stable.  Significant depression can cause an individual to be more vulnerable to the spiritual realm and even lower level entities.

7. Generativity vs. Stagnation (40-65 years): Adults start to develop their sense of self in the big picture (career, family, etc.) and give back by contributing to society. By failing to do this, people can feel stagnate and unproductive.  Studying the supernatural realm, as with other fields, is a way to learn more about our world and galaxies beyond by contributing to society. 

8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair (65 years plus): This is a recollective phase as adults look back on their lives and contributions or lack thereof to society.  Despair and hopelessness may occur if they don’t feel like they have led a successful life.  The goal is to have a sense of closure and completeness and accept death without fear.  People at this stage may even start to become more interested in the paranormal as they contemplate their own mortality. 

The take-away point for each of Piaget and Erikson’s stages is that development or lack thereof at each stage directly affects the next.  Thus, there should be successful growth at each phase in order to fully develop one’s own cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual growth.

Perhaps, by a cosmic shift, there is an ever-increasing interest in the study of paranormal phenomena in today’s world; as we know, this intrigue is not just limited to the adult population.  Children and teens are showcasing a desire to learn more about the supernatural realm and what constitutes life after death.  Both adults and children are now made more aware of ghosts, spirits and hauntings whether it’s due to mainstream media’s focus, talk amongst peers or an innate interest.  In regards to our youth, parents should be made aware of the key signs that their child is communicating with the spirit realm.  Some of the prevailing indications include:

  • Withdrawal from family / peers 
  • Changes in academics / activities
  • Sleep disturbances / lucid dreaming / not wanting to sleep in a certain room
  • Drawing unusual and/or unique pictures of people
  • Preoccupation / spending time alone
  • Sudden change of routine / wanting to go out at night with friends
  • Sudden fear of a location
  • Talking or gesturing with unseen forces
  • Recalling information from deceased relatives or friends
  • Big interest in studying the paranormal 
  • Extreme perception / sensitivity; signs of psychic ability
  • Frequent illness / diagnosis of depression or anxiety

As parents, it is important to keep a positive attitude by keeping an open and healthy dialogue with your children in regards to their interest in or possible encounters with the other side.  Provide a safe place when having a discussion and try not to lead the child; in other words, let him or her naturally talk and describe what he or she is experiencing. Never ridicule a child for his or her intrigue in the paranormal nor make he or she feel inferior or weird because of his or her encounters.  

Parents of intuitive and psychically inclined children should aptly learn about the innate traits of Crystal, Indigo and Rainbow Children.  Sadly, it is often that these types of kids are mislabeled and diagnosed with mental disabilities or emotional disturbances. For this very reason, teachers and support staff should be educated on these psychic traits and how they can look similar to or replicate a medical diagnosis, such as Attention Deficit Disorder or Autism.  When psychically inclined children are put in a situation where they either don’t understand their natural gifts and/or can’t healthfully express them, they often act out in various ways, thus causing a parental guardian or teacher to assume something is “wrong.” What’s sad in this case is that a child’s gifts are labeled as negative due to complete misunderstanding when all along they should be looked at as innately beautiful. 

Nancy Ann Tappe is widely known for her studies of Indigo children. After 1980, she found that 80% of children were born with indigo-colored eyes, similar to the third eye chakra responsible for regulating clairvoyance or the ability to see ghosts and spirits.  Kids with Indigo traits are often labeled as aggressive, hyperactive, possessing the “warrior persona” with the intent to break down old systems and bring restorative integrity to the world.  Boys and girls in this category are extremely perceptive, telepathic with natural leadership abilities.  They have both right and left-brain alignment with sensitivity and psychic aptitudes.  They are often categorized as “old souls” as they possess wisdom beyond their years.  Sadly, these boys and girls are often diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, emotional disturbance, oppositional defiant disorder or even Autism.  In fact, to combat this, Nancy came up with the term “awe-tistic” and ADHD acronym “Attention Dialed into a Higher Dimension.” 

Blue-Ray children are the forerunners of the crystal kids.  They usually evolve very early and are often seen teaching other youths at a very young age.  With extreme telekinetic powers, they are quite aware of their mission on earth.  Some of their traits include stubbornness, a unique love of language and travel and vivid imagination / dreaming.  Determined souls, these boys and girls are exceptionally drawn to water and have a thriving love for animals. 

The crystal kids are the newest generation of Rainbow Children who are typically labeled as having Autism and don’t communicate with the outer world according to society’s standards.  But, communicate they do, just not according to what society deems “appropriate.”  They are often labeled as having speech disturbances and delays, lack of physical abilities, and hypersensitivity to their surroundings.  These children are known for their natural healing qualities, clairsentience (empathy) skills and compassion, who prefer to communicate via music, sound and/or sign language.

In a world of their own, these boys and girls are too often labeled as having Autism.  In my opinion, Autistic traits should never be regarded as being weird or unusual; rather, with proper understanding of Crystal children, people will start to realize that these boys and girls offer something quite beautiful to the world.  Once educational systems and parental guardians start to realize that Autism is a cosmic gift, only then will these children be allowed to develop, flourish and successfully complete their mission. 

Savant Syndrome is a rare and extraordinary condition where people who are deemed to have mental or physical disabilities can showcase a certain level of genius in particular areas.  Linked to having a massive memory, approximately 10% of Autistic-labeled children have this astonishing gift.  Kim Peek is perhaps, America’s most famous Savant.  The movie, Rainman, is based off Peek, which highlights his extreme memory capacity.  At the ripe age of just 16-months-old, he started memorizing various books and vast amounts of information relating to history, literature, geography, statistics, etc.  With the rare aptitude of being able to recall almost every detail he read, Peek was born with macrocephaly, or a condition with an abnormally enlarged head, cerebellum damage and agenesis of the corpus callosum or the absence of the nerve bundle that connects the two brain hemispheres. 

Adults should develop awareness of various psychic abilities, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience, among others, as they will be better adept at recognizing these gifts in their offspring.  Perhaps, find a local, reputable support group for other kids who possess intuitive abilities.  Is there a well-respected paranormal investigation group that offers education for children? Some schools are even offering “paranormal clubs” for those who are interested in the supernatural. As always, boys and girls should be positively encouraged to grow their instinctive abilities and not be chastised for possessing their unique skills.  

At a young age, boys and girls should be taught how to get in touch with their feelings and spiritual self through energy work, reiki or chakra cleansing.  Just as with adults, they should learn about spiritual protection, meditation, grounding and centering techniques.  When studying the paranormal, kids can learn about the classifications of ethereal entities and hauntings.  They can befriend others or find a trusted mentor who possesses similar intuitive skills as this will naturally enable awareness and self-acceptance of their abilities.  As always, it’s imperative that the child’s environment is conducive to his or her unique aptitudes – restful sleep, proper nutrition, elimination of toxins and/or added stress, etc.    Remember that children can learn to understand, cope and utilize their gifts. 

After reading all of this, it may come as no surprise to you that many paranormal research teams are seeing an influx of cases involving children.  These cases may entail an active private residence where children are experiencing anomalies or they may be about educating parents and children about psychic gifts and how to recognize, cope and utilize them.  Either way, there are various tips and suggestions for handling cases concerning youth.  Here are some questions investigators can ask when taking on any such situation:

  • Is the child’s experience innate or learned?  Learned meaning that the child has heard parental guardians or other adults talking with each other about their odd encounters.
  • Is the experience stemming from the child’s personal or external environment or another area of the home?  If it is a child’s bedroom or playroom, first examine the space to determine if something natural to the location is causing concern.  Do events happen only at night?  Perhaps, it’s a case of “monster-under-the-bed” or fear of the dark.  If a child is having experiences only outside of the home, perhaps there may be some form of anxiety or fear of school or social situations.  Or, perhaps, the external location may be paranormally active.
  • Are the child’s encounters backed up and supported by other witnesses?  If so, this may suggest an authentic haunting of some sort. 
  • Are there any biological factors causing a child’s experiences? (medications, change of routines, changes in environment, stress, sleep disorders, puberty, excessive stimulation prior to bedtime, etc.)  If so, first rule any one of these out as the cause prior to deeming a child’s encounters as paranormal. 
  • Children need daily routines and if any one of their routines is altered, it may cause significant stress, perhaps, making them more vulnerable to anxiety and heightened imaginations. 

Again, never judge or ridicule a child for his or her alleged paranormal encounters and/or psychic skills.  With parental guardian verbal and written consent, an investigator can interview a child regarding his or her experiences.  If a very young boy or girl is involved, picture drawing may be the most beneficial. Once the picture is completed, you can ask the child questions about it, making sure to focus on the “what, when and where,” not necessarily the “why and how” as younger children won’t be able to understand.  If you are dealing with a teenager, you can sit them down and interview them.  Make sure to establish a safe and honest place for them so they can feel comfortable in openly sharing their experiences.  

In closing, there are various ways we can help psychically inclined children to reach their full potential.  Let’s start by getting rid of societal and/or medical labels.  Start realizing that these kids are exhibiting a brand-new communication and social structure.  We should stop medicating these children as it will only stagnate their intuitive growth and understanding.  Remember that pharmaceutical treatments are more for an adult’s convenience, not necessarily for the child’s, especially when it concerns the fostering of spiritual growth.  Children need to be taught how to successfully channel and utilize their amazing gifts, not be ostracized for them.  We need to learn how to accommodate our newer generations and the natural evolution of human species.  Remember that these groups of psychically inclined youth are here to spread peace, honesty and integrity throughout the world.  Once we allow them to do so, we will undoubtedly see more infiltrated love, increased humility, cures for diseases, dissolution of animal extinction and world peace. 

Written by Nicole Strickland

Paranormal Researcher, Author, Speaker

PSA Flight 182

This is It, Baby!

Reflections on Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182


“This is it, baby! Brace yourself! Mom, I love you!” – the last physical set of words echoed by captain James McFeron and first officer Robert E. Fox of Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Flight 182 on its final descent into San Diego on an unusually warm Monday morning of September 25, 1978.   At 9:02:07 a.m., America’s Finest City changed forever as the jet liner N533PS with a smile across its face met its untimely fate in the quiet suburb of North Park at the intersection of Dwight and Nile Streets.  

About nine minutes prior, the PSA Boeing 727-214 airplane entered San Diego’s skyline with 135 passengers and crew aboard when the unspeakable occurred after a customary scheduled flight from Sacramento to San Diego via Los Angeles.  Thirty-seven passengers on this particular flight were regular PSA employees who were flying for free.  Many of them were either San Diego or Los Angeles residents who were traveling to Lindbergh Field to attend an operations training colloquium.  

Established in 1972, PSA, or the “World’s Friendliest Airline” worked to mimic the “swinging 60s” and had recently expanded to offer services throughout the state of California.  With the “Catch our Smile” theme, its planes showcased the epitome of bold colors, consisting of fuchsia, orange, red and white stripes along with confident PSA logos, a black-button nose and smile.  

On the hot, Santa Ana morning of September 25th, as one of the proud “Grinningbirds” of the PSA line made its final approach toward Lindbergh Field just 4,000 feet above, a Gibbs Flight Center Cessna N7711G, rapidly ascended at 120 mph, approximately 1,300 feet below when it struck and was taken down by the larger jet.  Just a couple of agonizing seconds ensued when McFeron uttered the heart-wrenching, poised words, “Tower, we’re going down; this is PSA.”  

Inside the small Cessna cockpit sat 35-year-old United States Marine gunnery sergeant David Lee Boswell and Martin Kazy, who was the proud owner of a commercial pilot license with years of certified flight instructor experience.  The former was learning the components of the ILS or Instrument Landing System.  A little known fact held that Lindbergh Field was the only airport in the city’s vicinity equipped for ILS certification training.  Thus, the Cessna was coerced to contend with the Boeing aircraft for air space above the airport.  On-board transponders signaling both planes’ headings, altitudes and glide paths were connected to dashboard-supported ILS instrument gauges.  However, even with these technological aides, the eventual outcomes for each proved to be tragically futile. 

The course of events to happen just moments after impact left a permanent mark on the souls of all San Diegans and those across the United States as the happy, smiling PSA aircraft violently crashed nose-first, just 80 feet northeast at the crossroads of Dwight and Nile Streets.  The reverberating impact and towering inferno as a result subsequently took the lives of seven on the ground and was forcibly albeit reluctantly witnessed by many.  The sheer magnitude of this collision along with the thousands of gallons of jet fuel initiated an imposing shock wave on the San Diego Museum of Natural History’s seismograph. 

After colliding with the PSA jet, the little Cessna and its two souls aboard rapidly fell toward earth as the 110-ton plane impacted and flipped the 2,100-pound Cessna upside down right into the PSA aircraft’s right wing.  What ensued after collision tore the latter in half, resulting in the rupturing of one of its internal fuel tanks along the PSA jet’s right wing.  Captain, first officer and flight engineer Martin Wahne grappled with the doomed airliner. 

A sequence of ill-fated events occurred in the moments preceding disaster. In a way, we must thank both the Cessna and PSA jet as new and improved safety procedures and regulations arose out of this catastrophic misfortune.  At 8:59:30 NAS Miramar duly informed Flight 182 of “traffic at twelve o’clock, one mile, northbound” to which McFeron replied, “We’re looking.”  Further conversations moments after revealed that there were two smaller vehicles (both Cessnas) flying in front of and below the larger jet.  McFeron was then mandated to “maintain visual separation” from any incoming aircrafts and to inform Lindbergh of his final approach.  This meant that PSA flight crew had to maintain a visual on the Cessnas at all times without impacting them.  

Flight 182’s descent was aided by Lindbergh Field whereas NAS Miramar was in charge of the Cessna’s (N7711G) approach.  Just thirty seconds after 9:00 a.m., Boswell was notified of and acknowledged that “traffic at six o’clock [directly behind them], two miles, eastbound; a PSA jet inbound to Lindbergh Field, out of 3,200 [feet altitude that], has you in sight.”  Just eight seconds later, Lindbergh updated McFeron that there was “traffic, twelve o’clock, one mile, a Cessna.”  A quick exchange between McFeron and Fox revealed that “I think he’s pass[ed] off to our right,” or “I think he’s passing off to our right.”  Air traffic controller statements suggested that he thought he heard McFeron say “passing,” which implied that PSA crew visualized the Cessna passing to its right.  

As a result, Lindbergh control did not convey any additional information to PSA Flight 182.  

Just before 9:01 a.m., further conversation between the PSA crew indicated their assumptions of the Cessna being out of sight; additionally, it was unclear whether their assumptions were regarding the Cessna 401 or the Cessna N7711G.  Furthermore, the latter Cessna changed its course from 70 degrees to 90 degrees without letting Miramar know.  This decision placed it in the direct path of the larger jetliner.  Additionally, Boswell and Kazy did not have admittance to Lindbergh Field’s radio transmissions; perhaps, if they had, they would have probably been able to pinpoint their location relative to Flight 182.  Thus, as you can glean, visibility was the core issue for both aircrafts.  

Twenty-eight seconds past 9:01 a.m., Miramar was alerted of an imminent collision between the Cessna and PSA jet.  It was revealed that Miramar chose to only notify the Cessna of “traffic in your vicinity, a PSA jet has you in sight, he’s descending for Lindbergh.”  This transmission remained unacknowledged by both Boswell and Kazy.  In utter amazement, PSA 182 and Lindbergh Field were not notified about Miramar’s radar-activated conflict alert warning, thus, contributing to the concluding destiny of both aircrafts. 

Within minutes of the unbelievable impact, San Diego emergency crews rushed to the scene; a prospect surely mimicking the sights and sounds of war.  In fact, there were hundreds of individuals who landed upon the location to offer whatever assistance they could.  What they and North Park residents were coerced to see in the aftermath would soften the toughest of individuals.  A quiet, tree-lined street with chirping birds and quaint houses just moments before turned into a scene of sheer disaster with towering flames, shattered pieces of jetliner and lifeless bodies.  Years after this indescribable event, first responders, residents and fellow Southern Californians suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and with good reason.  Even in the present day, many individuals cannot go a day without being reminded of PSA Flight 182. 

As a paranormal researcher and historian, I am drawn to locations that have witnessed utter tragedy and heartache.  The intersection of Dwight and Nile Streets is one such site that I have visited on numerous occasions.  On different days and evenings, I have spent considerable time here trying to offer consolation to the passengers and crew of flight 182, the two souls aboard the Cessna and those on the ground.  It has been my personal mission to let them know that they are free from any pain and suffering associated with their last seconds in the physical.  I have openly talked with each and every one of them; in my heart, I know they have heard me.  

As Paranormal Underground Magazine has a supernatural theme, I will share that I have experienced some profound spiritual encounters at the crossroads of Dwight and Nile Streets.  Some of the occurrences are so powerful and I keep them private in order to hold their respect and reverence.  However, I will share one particular event that struck my very center: one morning, as I pulled up along the east side of Nile Street and parked my car, I noticed movement out of my right peripheral vision.  When I glanced over in that direction, I saw a beautiful young stewardess adorned in her colorful PSA uniform.  She appeared as she would have looked when boarding the flight as opposed to her eventual exodus; in other words, she materialized as whole without a scratch or bruise.  Perhaps, the inherent message in appearing before my eyes was her way of letting me know that she’s “okay” and “at peace.” It is my sincere hope that all those who perished have or will soon be reunited with loved ones in the “light” and have found eternal love and solace.  On one of my recent visits to this location, I sensed an overwhelming feeling of peace unlike that of other times.  

I am sensitive to any tragedy; however, I have been exceptionally rocked and saddened by the crash of PSA Flight 182. Perhaps, there are elusive reasons as to why, those that I don’t really need to know or understand.  Interestingly, my mom was pregnant with me by one month at the time of this disaster.  Several of my maternal relatives resided just a few blocks south of the impact.  When I was in my primary years, I flew Pacific Southwest Airlines on a couple of occasions.  I distinctly remember choosing to sit in the red, flower-adorned seats and looked forward to receiving my little PSA wings pin from one of the stewardesses.  As with many others, I have fond memories with this airline as a young child. So, for these aforementioned reasons and those beyond, the story of flight 182 really hits home. 

It’s entirely possible that what those souls felt in their last breathing moments on the planes was unlike what those felt on the ground. I would like to think that their fear was overshadowed by hope; by the many prayers and by the conviction that they might make it.  I imagine the feeling was, perhaps, similar to driving up Santo Road in my mom’s neighborhood of Tierrasanta, San Diego in the wake of the 2003 wildfires, not knowing whether I would see her house or a pile of ruins. I held onto hope. 

In their final physical moments, they, too, held onto hope at the same time as feeling a sense of surrender – surrender to the free fall, to saying goodbye to the physical world.  They held hands, they prayed, they cried, and they loved each other during those last few moments of their lives.  I would like to think that their souls left their physical bodies before impact and peacefully passed and landed in the arms of God. 

James McFeron and his flight crew were unwavering heroes in their last seconds on earth; their courageous and calm composition in the face of impending disaster is nothing short of pure admiration.  Every soul that sadly departed the physical world on that fateful day in 1978 lives on in our hearts, memories and every jetliner that flies among the skies.  Their accomplishments and devotion to their family, friends and work will always be remembered with high esteem.  Even though I am just one person among many, this article is my way of honoring their legacies. 

A memorial ceremony is held every year on September 25th for those who tragically slipped the surly bonds of earth at 9:02 a.m. in 1978.  It’s a time for family, friends and fellow San Diegans to come together and commemorate all those who were lost but not forgotten.  A memorial plaque showcasing the names of the departed sits underneath a tree in front of the North Park Library, a tangible reminder to hold them close in our hearts for eternity.  Let’s remember that the 135 souls aboard, including the two in the Cessna and the few on the ground, flew with a set of wings and departed with a set of wings and it is my hope that they are soaring high among heaven’s pastures. 

PSA Flight 182 – Always in our hearts!

Written by Nicole Strickland

Paranormal Researcher, Author, Lecturer

Reference:  Bevil, Alexander D. “Memories That Will Never Go Away – The Crash of Flight 182 and its Aftermath.” The Journal of San Diego History 63, no. 3+4 (2017)

Glen Tavern Inn

Glen Tavern Inn Article

Written by Nicole Strickland

Paranormal Researcher, Author and Lecturer

Known as the “Citrus Capital of the World,” Santa Paula is a city in Southern California’s Ventura County.  It is named after Catholic Saint Paula.  Located along the Santa Clara River Valley, the area’s first inhabitants were the Chumash Native Americans.  In 1769, when Gaspar de Portola and his Spanish expedition set foot on California territory, they migrated through the area, setting up camp on August 12th.  With the founding of the San Buenaventura Mission, Portola’s Franciscan missionaries became quite active in the region, founding an Asistencia.

Many consider Nathan Weston Blanchard to be the founder of Santa Paula as in 1872 he purchased 2,700 acres for his new town.  The Union Oil Company commenced in 1890 after the unification of various small oil companies led by Thomas R. Bard, Wallace Hardison and Lyman Stewart.  In the early 1900s, Hollywood found the area to be quite conducive to filming with Gaston Melles relocating his Texas-based Star Film Company to the region in 1911.  Iconic actors, such as John Wayne, Carol Lombard and Steve McQueen sojourned at the inn.  It has also been suggested that famed magician, Harry Houdini, spent the night at the location while traveling.  

In addition to these noted facts relating to the city, the building of the Glen Tavern Inn is still considered the most iconic piece of history relating to Santa Paula.  In fact, the building is aptly situated on various Chumash villages and campsites that lie adjacent to the creek and above the Santa Clara River.  Due to the rapidly increasing oil industry and need for accommodations, the Bungalow / Craftsmen / Tudor-style Glen Tavern Inn was constructed in 1911 by Crookshank & Summers, Hunt and Burns, a firm quite well-known for its monumental properties throughout coastal California. Known as “The Little Potter,” visitors were able to seek and find first-class lodging, delectable food and adequately equipped, hospitable treatment.  Having survived both the good and bad, the historic structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

One of the early Glen Tavern Inn brochures specified that the three-story edifice consisted of 44 rooms, a bar, dining facility; pool and spa rooms.  J.N. Crane was the proprietor of the structure by 1917. With the advent of WWI draftees in Ventura County, a special banquet took place with dancing located in the large, decorated lobby.  Just two years later, the region was plagued by a potent influenza, which caused all hotels and restaurants to temporarily shut down.  It was during 1919, when Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Estep bought the property; in 1921, world-renowned composer and pianist, Ignace Jan Pederewski checked into the inn.  

In March of 1928, Santa Paula was the victim of ferocious flooding as the St. Francis Dam malfunctioned.  As a result, the Glen Tavern Inn was temporarily utilized as a possible morgue for the deceased and provisional shelter for displaced individuals.  Furthermore, this historic abode has survived fires, other floods, murders and even suicides – events all culminating into a deeply historic tapestry. 

History and the paranormal are so intrinsically intertwined; as a result, it is no wonder that the Glen Tavern Inn is one of California’s most haunted abodes. These historic occurrences have, in a way, left a psychic imprint of times gone by on the property and in part, is why the structure is so well known to paranormal researchers.  Intriguingly, the property’s third floor is rumored to have consisted of a gambling parlor and house of ill-repute.  The legends attached to the third floor include that of a beheaded prostitute and a cowboy named Calvin. According to many, various ghostly activities at the inn come from various historical time periods allowing the living to tap into a past event in history. 

Rob Wlodarski, the founder and director of the International Paranormal Research Organization (IPRO), is a noted author, archaeologist and historian, having worked on various cultural resource projects in Santa Paula since 1972.  As a cultural resource consultant for the City of Santa Paula, Rob and his team have conducted fifty-plus paranormal investigations inside the historic edifice, having permitted access to several buildings and other locations within the city.  

In regards to the paranormal, Wlodarski states, “Over the years, I have documented shadowy figures, a screaming woman, phantom children playing on the stairs, doors that will suddenly slam shut, door knobs that will jiggle when no one is occupying the room and strange gusts of cold air.”  Phantom smells have been documented, such as the aroma of alcohol and tobacco.   Upon the varnishing of the second floor landing, phantom imprints of a small left foot would appear without a beginning or ending and would continue to do so after each coat of varnish. 

With rooms 201 – 208 undergoing restoration after a fire, the IPRO concentrated on the second floor during a paranormal research project.  It was during this time that team members heard a loud disembodied female scream, which was also captured on an analog tape recorder.  The team was not able to come up with a logical explanation of the ghostly scream.  It was relayed to IPRO that a woman committed suicide at the end of the hall.

Brandon Alvis, talented filmmaker and founder of the American Paranormal Research Association (APRA), feels that there is a specific type of energy on the property that attracts certain people.  He feels that the location’s energy seems to influence those who are enduring a rough period in their lives.  In fact, upon moving there, he was told that the inn will “make you or break you,” a sentiment he has come to truly believe.  Sadly, some individuals that took up residence at the Glen Tavern Inn never made it out. 

Brandon has spent many years researching the iconic property.  In fact, after residing at the Glen Tavern Inn for over two years, he shares one common supernatural experience: the disembodied voices of children.  On numerous occasions, Brandon has heard the voices of a young boy and girl in the lobby; second and third floors. Rob even relayed that he, too, has heard the spiritual giggles of a young male and female child on the second floor. 

After several years of supernatural investigations on the property, it is theorized that at least 15 spirited entities reside at the inn.  Rob mentions witnessing a man in period attire walk between rooms 306 and 307 before vanishing through the locked exit door.  Another investigator reported seeing an apparition in what appeared to be a chef’s hat with arms folded across its chest.  He further discusses how the sense of being watched by unseen eyes is so strong as well as water and shower faucets turning on of their own volition.  In regards to the locale’s paranormal hot spots, Brandon feels that the second floor and the lobby have the most disturbances; however, activity is known to take place at anytime and anywhere within its confines. 

Brandon further echoes that, “From my years of living within the walls of the Glen Tavern Inn, I can tell you that there is a specific type of energy that attracts certain people.  Over that span of two years, I am aware of two deaths that took place in the building – two deaths that seem to be a familiar trend of those living at the inn.”  Various individuals have documented and continue to document photographic and light anomalies; apparitional sightings; mists; temperature drops; environmental meter spikes; both disembodied vocalizations and captured electronic voice phenomena.  In fact, some of the audio captures suggest the presence of at least three ethereal children and various male and female ghosts. 

In regards to approaching a paranormal research project at the Glen Tavern Inn, Brandon feels that the location is an interesting locale for the fact that not one particular methodology seems to work best.  He believes that the inn and its ghostly residents appear to work on their own time; allowing their ethereal forms to be heard and seen with the living individuals they choose to interact with.  He shares that APRA has conducted multiple experiments on the second and third floors to no avail.

“I would describe the Glen Tavern Inn as a charming place that will make you feel welcome with open arms.  It’s not until you settle down as time passes that you will see the true colors of this strange location,” Brandon goes on to say.  One day, he hopes that he and his team will be able to tell the true story of what it’s like to “…live in the walls of such a strange and ugly place.”

Written by Nicole Strickland

Paranormal Researcher, Author, Speaker       

RMS Queen Mary: A Spirited Ship

RMS Queen Mary

A Spirited Ship by Nicole Strickland

There are very few ships still in existence that compare to the innate beauty and rich history of the RMS Queen Mary.  The RMS Queen Mary is perhaps, the most legendary liner to ever sail the oceans.  A testament to British shipbuilding, the Mary is currently moored in Long Beach, California, where it has ebbed and flowed with the tide since 1967.  I have been conducting both historical and paranormal research on the Queen Mary for 15 years.  I have been able to investigate many popular and highly traveled areas on the ship.  When I step aboard the ship’s decks, I am instantly entranced by her innate beauty, innocent aura and historical significance. 

The task of building the RMS Queen Mary represented a brave and elusive responsibility, especially in the early 1930s, as she was to be the biggest, quickest and most luxurious liner ever constructed.   With design concepts commencing in 1926, It came at a time when there was fierce competition between ship building companies in Britain, Germany, Italy and the United States. Cunard’s elderly trio of express liners, Mauritania, Aquitania and Berengaria, were eventually replaced by the Mary and her running mate, the RMS Queen Elizabeth.

For its time period, John Brown & Company, Ltd. was probably the most established shipyard on the planet.  Its origins began in Glascow in 1847.  It carried a strong reputation for building reliable passenger vessels, many for the Cunard line, as well as battleships and large liners for other companies.  In 1871, the renowned company moved to the Barns o’ Clyde (Clydebank) and in 1899, John Brown and Company, Ltd., a Sheffield steel maker, took over the previous shipyard and held the construction of the legendary Queen Mary entirely in its hands.

Completely built, the Queen Mary was equipped with many public rooms and facilities to cater to each passenger.  Art Deco-inspired, she was equipped with Sports, Sun, Promenade, Main and A-H Decks.  She had 27 public rooms, 21 elevators, three restaurants, a ball room, gymnasium, hair and beauty salons, a Turkish bath and two pools, a garage, mailing processing areas, two cargo holds, three children’s playrooms, a chapel and synagogue, writing and drawing rooms, two libraries, three lounges, three smoking rooms, a shopping area, isolation wards and a completely functioning hospital.  Furthermore, her machinery was nothing less than pure engineering excellence.  In fact, 56 different varieties of woods from all over the world were utilized for the ship’s interior rooms.   The Queen Mary’s utilization of this material was so ubiquitous, that she was given the name, “The Ship of Beautiful Woods.” 

September 26, 1934 marked the official day of the RMS Queen Mary’s launching.  More than 200,000 eager people came to watch her meet the waters.  Children even had a day off of school to witness this majestic event.  No one knew the ship’s new title. Interestingly, there were 101 suggested titles for Job 534.  People assumed the liner would be named Queen Victoria and keep up with the tradition of titles ending in “ia.”  However, as H.M. Queen Mary cut the satin cord and crashed a bottle of Australian wine against the ship’s bow, she said, “I am happy to name this ship, Queen Mary.”  She went on to say, “I wish success to her and to all who sail in her.”

The Queen Mary began her maiden voyage as a luxury cruise liner on May 27, 1936, completing successful pre-WWII and post-WWII round trip voyages from Southampton to New York City.  Many notable people, such as business moguls, entertainers and actors, have traveled aboard the Queen Mary. While sailing on the Queen Mary, passengers had the opportunities to exchange viewpoints, political beliefs and ideas, while further enjoying various amenities catering to a broad range of interests.  Furthermore, Art-Deco brilliance can still be seen throughout its inner walls. Even in retirement, the Queen Mary historic ship still remains as popular as she was the day she sailed. 

The Blue Riband is a prestigious prize given to a passenger ship with the fastest crossing on the Atlantic Ocean. The Queen Mary attained this accolade twice during her luxury ocean liner years.  In August of 1936, three months after the ship’s maiden voyage, the Queen Mary took the coveted Blue Riband prize from the Normandie, as she posted impressive quick times, both ways on the same transatlantic route.  After a stint in dry dock to receive adjustments and brand new propellers and on her 48th round-trip voyage, the Queen Mary won back the admired prize in August of 1938.  She completed the 2,907-mile westward journey in three days, 21 hours and 48 minutes, at an impressive rate of 30.99 knots The Mary held onto this accolade for the next fourteen years, until the S.S. United States achieved it in 1952. 

Arduous times lay ahead for the RMS Queen Mary.  On August 30, 1939, the Queen Maryanxiously sailed from Southampton to New York, as war was nearly imminent.  In September of 1939, war was officially declared between Britain and Germany, ultimately placing the Queen Mary in a precarious situation.  Both the RMS Queen Mary and her sister liner, RMS Queen Elizabeth, were therefore requisitioned for service in World War II.   In March of 1940, the British Government informed Cunard that the Queen Mary would be outfitted for troopship duties, lasting the length of combat.  In fact, due to the liner’s fast speeds, she was able to carry numerous servicemen from all walks of life to and from their destinations.  Adolf Hitler even had a ripe award of $250,000 out to any skipper who could sink the massive liner.  Of course, Hitler’s plan never succeeded, as The Grey Ghost consistently outsmarted the enemy.  The ship’s crew and servicemen should be remembered for their diligence in keeping its hull and inner walls afloat. 

The RMS Queen Mary, alongside her sister ship, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, have contributed to the World War II allied forces in so many unimaginable ways.  Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill said, “Built for the arts of peace and to link the old world with the new, the Queens challenged the fury of Hitlerism in the battle of the Atlantic.  Without their aid, the day of final victory must have unquestionably been postponed.”  

The RMS Queen Mary’s sailing success was not without tragedy, as the liner nearly endured her end of days while sailing the oceans.  The worst tragedy occurred on October 2, 1942 as the Queen Mary was making her way across the oceans. She accidentally struck her World War I British escort ship, the HMS Curacoa, as both ships were involved in a mandatory zigzag motion to avoid obliteration by the enemy.  Tragically, over 300 Curacoan sailors drowned as a result of the accident. Unfortunately, due to strict Navy orders, the Queen Mary could not stop to rescue the surviving men. All she could do was throw out life preservers for men to use as a floatation device. The Curacoa met the bottom of the ocean within five minutes.  Tragically, many of its sailors’ phantom calls for help can still be heard to this day in the R Deck Forward area of the ship. 

The Mary once again evaded disaster when she sailed into Trinidad to refuel.  A German submarine sailed into Trinidad and actually sunk two idling vessels. If the Mary had not received an urgent coded message to leave port and alter her route, she, too, would have met her demise at the bottom of the ocean.  In 1941, both sister liners traveled through the hot climates of the Indian Ocean and Red Sea without air-conditioning.  The lower decks would reach a stifling triple digit temperature. Therefore, numerous men suffered physical ailments brought on by the oppressive heat.  Arguments and gang warfare consistently transpired.      

The Mary, once again, encountered two more near catastrophic events. German and Italian spies uncovered the Mary’s whereabouts and transmitted this information to U-boats situated off the Brazilian coast. Once again, with luck on her side, allied forces intercepted the message and changed the ship’s route. An oil tanker was obliterated as it departed the port at the exact time the Queen Mary was scheduled to leave the port.  Averting tragedy, the ship commenced her 3,300-mile venture to Cape Town in March of 1942. 

Then, as the Queen Mary rapidly pushed onto South Africa, a life-threatening fire erupted on B Deck, just underneath the liner’s bridge. This two-hour flame fest was ignited by faulty electrical insulation.  As the smoke and flames reached the bridge, every crewman performed his duties perfectly.  Thus, no one was mandated to abandon ship.  Once again, the Queen Maryprevailed.  

Post World War II, the RMS Queen Mary returned to luxury as an extravagant vessel, where many people could relax, vacation and enjoy her ornate and gorgeous ambience, as well as the abundance of onboard activities.   As previously mentioned, quite a few celebrity names have touched upon her decks during her reigning days on the seas.  Long Beach, California has been the Queen Mary’s docked home since 1967.  Thousands of visitors flock from all over the world each year to visit the RMS Queen Mary in Southern California.

The RMS Queen Mary is equipped to fulfill the curiosity of many people, from children to elderly adults.  She is loaded with many attractions, shops and various dining options.  The Queen is home to annual events, various tours and a variety of ongoing and seasonal attractions.  She has a variety of gift and souvenir stores that cater to those who love to shop.  For those who love art, the ship still houses some of her original Art-Deco pieces.  She also features great sightseeing views from her Promenade and Sun Deck areas.  The ship wouldn’t be Queen without featuring award-winning restaurants, gratifying the pickiest of eaters.  The Mary is quite the entertainer, as she has even been home to various television and movie productions.  There is even a great hotel onboard for those who want to spend the night on the Queen.  Passengers have the option of staying on A deck, B deck or M deck.  There are many different cabins available ranging from small twin bed cabins to luxurious first class staterooms. 

Today, the Queen Mary is noted as the 6th most haunted location on our planet. Considering her history, it is no wonder why she has this statistic.  There are some theories for why the liner has so much spiritual energy. History and the paranormal share a deep kinship.  Ghosts and spirits seem to be attracted to places that have experienced a lot of emotion, tragedy and death.  There seems to be a connection between sentimental states and psychokinetic energy.  Scientifically, water is a natural conductor for electricity and the ship sits in a body of water.  Furthermore, she has elements that contain spiritual energy, such as quartz, iron and bronze. Inanimate objects, such as antiques and personal belongings, may also explain why a location becomes paranormally active. The Queen Mary holds numerous artifacts and original furniture pieces. It is theorized that some energies are attached to a particular object.  Places that contain portals and vortexes are also known to house ghostly energy.  Portals and vortexes are kind of difficult to explain and understand.  Generally speaking, a portal allows spirits to travel from the living world to the spiritual world.  Think of it like a bridge connecting two planes of existence.  You guessed it:  the Mary is said to house at least one portal in the women’s changing room, located in the former first and third class pool.  Additionally, the ship seems to have some kind of psychokinetic influence where visitors from all over the world project their emotions and excitement on the ship.  In my opinion, I do believe that there are other, more elusive reasons as to why the Mary is so paranormally active.  Perhaps, the mortal world is not meant to understand them. 

People experience many different types of ghostly energy on the ship.  There are numerous visual sightings of apparitions and shadow figures.  Individuals experience disembodied voices, cold spots and many personal accounts of the paranormal.  There seems to be an equal amount of both residual and intelligent spiritual energy. In my experience aboard the vessel, and having investigated numerous locations throughout California and even out-of-state, I believe that the Queen Mary is the most active location I have ever researched. The historic ship is a mecca for paranormal researchers and a huge capacitor for spiritual energy. As moths are to a flame, spirits are to the Queen Mary!  

Since I have been investigating the ship for so many years, I have been able to develop a rapport with some of its resident intelligent energies.  There is one little spirit that I want to discuss in particular.  Her name is Jackie.  There are many theories attempting to understand her origins; however, no one really knows where she comes from.  I will say that there is no forensic evidence that proves a little female child by the name Jackie passed away on the ship.  None.  With that said, it leaves many of us with questions about her:  Was she a stowaway that somehow got lost aboard the ship?  Was the name “Jackie” a middle name suggesting why she wasn’t recognized in the passenger manifests?  Did she ever travel the RMS Queen Mary with parents and other siblings? Or, was her dad one of the many servicemen fighting for freedom during World War II?  Has she come through one of the alleged portals?  Is she somehow the Queen Mary’sinnocent voice?  Has Jackie been chosen to be the Queen Mary’s spiritual ambassador?  These questions and a lot more, are ones that investigators and researchers have tried to answer.  

Even though she displays typical childlike tendencies, I do believe that Jackie is a highly evolved spirit that has many ethereal duties on the Queen Mary.  I have had numerous personal accounts with her, as well as captured evidence of her introducing herself as “Jackie.”  She loves to interact with guests and is highly talkative.  I have had the honor of seeing her spirit twice in the former first and third class pool, where she is most commonly experienced.  

Visitors can have a ghostly encounter in any area of the ship. Many people report the phantom smell of strong cigar smoke right outside British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s suite.  There have been reports of disembodied conversations and screams on various decks.  The Queen Mary’s curious ghosts also like to knock on passenger doors and walls throughout.   Phantom footsteps, sounds, smells and voices can be heard from anywhere on the ship.  You name the ghost and the Queen Mary most likely has it.  For ghost seekers alike, the Queen has various paranormal tours, where passengers can embark on the ship’s paranormal hot spots. 

The RMS Queen Mary isn’t just a ship, she’s a legend: a legend with a beautiful spiritual aura.  She definitely speaks of a nostalgic and bygone era.  There were many people from different walks of life who traveled the oceans on the Queen.  The RMS Queen Mary has navigated folks who might not see the next day’s beautiful sunrise all the way to those folks who saturated themselves in her luxury and extravagance.  Thus, the ship is home to various impressions left from her former crew and passengers, some who are still trying to find their way home.  Her inherent beauty, nostalgic character and abounding history will remain in the heart and soul of her visitors forever.  

For more information about the RMS Queen Mary, you can visit her website at http://www.queenmary.com or you can call her directly at (562) 435-3511.  You can also visit my website, www.spiritedqueenmary.com

Living Realm Influence On Paranormal

How Does the Living Realm and Our Natural Environment Cause and/or Contribute to Paranormal Activity?

Approaching paranormal research is the same as approaching a noncomplete puzzle.  You have pieces scattered about and it takes careful thought and determination to find the matching pieces and put them together.  Even though some connect, the puzzle isn’t completely finished until all portions fit together to create one unified product.  With paranormal research, you are testing theories and applying unique experimentation that may or may not help to explain the cause(s) of anomalous phenomena.  It’s important to use creative and constructive thinking during this process; perhaps, consider other rationales to explain the answers we’re seeking. 

Suggestibility and Bias

In my professional opinion, one area that is often overlooked in the paranormal investigation and research arena is how the living realm causes and/or influences anomalous phenomena.  Let’s face it: we can’t know about supernatural occurrences without mortality attempting to explain and define it.  This begs me to ambivalently ask this question:  is a paranormal case study ever without bias and power of suggestion?  In other words, many notable haunted locations have been talked about, explored and investigated over time by many people from all walks of life.  Each person that has witnessed ghostly activity, conducted a case study or casually observed something otherworldly at a specific site has already contributed to bias.  Just think about the various data, personal encounters and eye-witness testimony that’s been documented at supernatural-infested locales via mainstream media, books, articles, lectures, etc., for the casual observer or seasoned researcher to access.  I am not even going to discuss the entertainment industry’s contribution to affecting one’s belief about the paranormal. 

However, I will mention how it’s recently suggesting that spiritual beings are entities to be feared through the various shows and movies about demons and malevolent creatures.  Due to this spread into the conscious and subconscious, more and more paranormal groups are receiving e-mails and calls from home owners and/or renters complaining of a demon in their home.  This just goes to show how easily a human being is swayed into believing one thing or another.  What’s interesting is how a person may truly believe that his or her encounters and description of occurrences are real, even when they’re proven otherwise.  Sometimes, people are so cemented in their beliefs that they will refute any evidence to the contrary.

What often happens is that people train their minds to formulate a consensus of what’s going on that is solely based on someone else’s work and research.  Now, some of this research may be accurate and something that is worthy of knowing; however, much of it can be polluted, false information originated by various human filters – religious predisposition, belief or lack thereof, personal baggage or psychological states of mind, to name a few.  Even certain personality traits could predispose certain individuals to attributing a noise at night to a ghost or spirit.   California’s Chapman University even released a survey that found that those who are generally scared are more likely to believe in the supernatural.  I am not suggesting that we ignore others’ opinions, findings or beliefs.  I highly advise that individuals apply their own analysis and scrutiny and then see if it matches what others have discovered.

If you rely on what others say or document in regards to paranormal phenomena, you may not always get genuine evidence. 

It’s important for people to conduct their case studies critically and conscientiously, while keeping others’ findings close at hand, should they need to refer to them.  It’s good to have a variety of data – whether proven genuine or not – on hand; as in the end, it can be helpful in regards to attempting to put the pieces of the unknown puzzle together.  But, solely relying on what others’ say can skew what is actually going on, especially if it’s not accurate.

Let me give a couple examples:  a group of individuals walk into a supposed haunted building with uncurbed excitement and gadgets ready to be utilized.  After some time exploring the premises, one person reports feeling a foreboding presence.  Soon after, this feeling extends to everyone involved.  Maybe this is power of suggestion (most likely is) or truly a powerful entity making itself known to all the explorers in the group.  In the field of paranormal research, it is typically recommended to notate subjective material only to be disclosed after the investigation is completed to corroborate intuitive impressions and/or personal encounters.

How do you explain the numbers of paranormal incidents skyrocketing around Halloween?  Of course, some of it can be explained by the thinning veil between our world and the next.  Many people do experience heightened psychological states during this time, which affects how they perceive and react to certain anomalous phenomena.  When your senses are overloaded by ghostly stimuli as presented during September and October, it’s only natural that a person will become hyper-focused on it.  The mind is a mysterious vessel as it constantly tries to make logical sense out of its environment. 

There are numerous YouTube videos about a certain residence in the United States that has been claimed to be haunted after a murder.  In these videos, people have examined police body cam footage and document having heard certain EVPs or electronic voice phenomena.  Some also report seeing apparitions and shadows in the home.  Whether this is true or not, those that have no prior knowledge of the case will be subjected into believing these alleged paranormal claims by watching these videos.  So, they are trained to look for just those anomalies, potentially missing authentic types that may showcase.   Those that are gullible and believe everything they see and hear without in-depth analysis and critical thinking will be further duped by allowing these videos to enter their conscious.  This creates a snowball effect where more and more videos are produced that spread erroneous information.  When this happens, a false haunting takes place or one that is psychokinetically engineered by the human mind.  

Psychokinesis

Let’s take a moment to examine psychokinesis (PK) more closely.  In the movies, those noisy cabinets that seemingly move by themselves are said to be caused by a curious ghost.  While this may be the case with certain situations, PK energy doesn’t have anything to do with the deceased at all as it originates from living human beings.  In 1914, author Henry Holt in his book, On the Cosmic Relations, first discussed psychokinesis in more depth.  He explained that psychokinetic situations occur when an individual’s psychic aptitudes are able to influence the movement of a physical object without any physical assistance. Over the years and after studies into this perceived psychic ability, there remains a lot of controversy regarding its scientific veracity as it is said to violate some laws of physics, be the result of a person’s professed ability to cause such events or entirely simulated using magic skills.

Psychokinesis and projected thought forms go hand-in-hand in my opinion. Since we’re made of energized cells, it makes sense that our thoughts are, too. A mere thought can take on its own life form if enough power and intention are focused on it. If you critically think about it, this could be one of the contributors of why there’s an influx of the living and spirit world interacting with one another.  It can also be the cause of why there are so many reported hauntings and inflows of supernatural activity.  Across the globe, are all the documented paranormal happenings truly genuine paranormal occurrences or are some of them created by the human mind, whether it’s via psychokinesis, tulpas or living thoughts, or through pure imagination?

Day and night, there are paranormal case studies occurring across the planet.  I am not doubting that this is consistently waking up the afterlife and providing the impetus for it to interact with those in the physical world. It’s synonymous to a revolving door at a department store; as it keeps moving and operating in a circular fashion, so do the living and departed as they come in and out of each other’s existence.  However, it’s important to sift through potential false hauntings and imagined supernatural phenomena and understand how they are created.

Let’s look at some other factors that could cause false positive hauntings and invented paranormal phenomena.  What percentage of reported anomalous activity from around the world is linked to one or more of the following?  This would indeed, be a very intriguing and mind-opening study; one that showcases that not all reports of paranormal occurrences are truly, paranormal.

Infrasound

In 1980, engineer Vic Tandy claimed that Infrasound could be the cause of observed paranormal phenomena.  It specifically refers to low-frequency sounds vibrating from 0.1 to 20 Hz, just under the level of human hearing.  Infrasound is utilized in monitoring seismic activity and for locating artillery in World War II, for example.  Tandy discussed in his paper “Ghost in the Machine,” that he worked in a laboratory noted for its spooky vibes. He also discovered that the low-frequency vibrations further caused dizziness, fear and blurred vision.  Individuals reported feeling anxious and on edge there; however, these apprehensive feelings subsided when a fan putting out noise at a frequency of 19 Hz was shut off.  Tandy conducted experiments at several haunted locales.

Sleep Paralysis | Hypnagogia | Hypnopompia

Authentic visitation from the astral plane should not be confused with sleep paralysis, which is more or less a physical phenomenon. Simply put, sleep paralysis is a feeling of being awake but unable to move your body. It usually occurs during one of two states: the hypnagogic or when you are falling asleep (predormital sleep paralysis) phase or the hypnopompic state or when you are waking up (postdormital sleep paralysis). The dreamer is typically not aware that he or she is dreaming but instead thinks he or she is awake in the bed. During this time, you may be unable to move your body for several seconds or even up to a minute. Other symptoms may include a sense of pressure, a feeling of choking and/or seeing a presence standing over you. You may not be able to speak; however, you are fully aware of what’s happening. During an episode, a person may also experience the sensation of falling, floating, flying or leaving their body (out of body experience or OBE).

Sleep paralysis will usually end on its own terms, when someone touches you or you make a conscious effort to move. It may accompany other sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, disturbed night sleep, slumbering during the day, etc. Sleep paralysis may also be caused by certain medications, substance abuse, medical condition(s) and/or mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Sleep deprivation or times of intense physical and emotional stress may trigger an episode.

Many sleep researchers believe that this condition may be a sign that someone is not adequately moving through the stages of sleep. It is rarely connected to a psychological problem or mental illness. For hundreds of years, people have described sleep paralysis as experiencing some evil force or entity; in fact, almost every culture has reported this phenomenon and the belief that someone is being attacked by some shadowy, malevolent specter. Although it may seem that a supernatural force is attacking you during this stage of sleep, a paranormal origin is quite unlikely. Reality and fantasy mesh together during an episode with lucid dreaming potentially intensifying. Some people will mistake sleep paralysis for alien abductions as its identifying symptoms often mimic abductee reports. It often affects people in their 20s or 30s.

It is recommended to get at least six hours of sleep, but preferably eight to ten. If you have recurrent episodes, talk to your physician as he or she may refer you to a sleep study specialist. Sleep is a fundamental human need; without it, we would not be able to effectively function. When we slumber, we cycle through phases of NON-REM and REM (rapid eye movement). The REM phase happens around 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The first phase may last around ten minutes with each additional one lasting longer with the final episode lasting 60 minutes. Heart rate, breathing and brain activity are more active in this state. During REM, we are dreaming as our eyes move about in different directions. NON-REM comes first followed by a shorter duration of REM; then the cycle repeats itself. Our body’s organ systems repair and rejuvenate during deeper levels of NON-REM.

Is it possible to have a true paranormal encounter or visitation from the other side during sleep paralysis? It’s feasible and certainly should not be ruled out. This is especially the case with the aforementioned predormital and postdormital states of sleep mainly because our inhibitions are lowered while in these phases.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Yes, even the slightest carbon monoxide leak can cause people to have symptoms that mimic paranormal encounters.  Various symptoms can be caused from a CO leak, which include hallucinations, sleep paralysis episodes, apparition sightings, feelings of unease or weakness, headaches and nervousness.  There have been many instances of resolved CO leaks, which resulted in a cessation of all perceived paranormal activity and physical symptoms.

Electromagnetic Field and Electromagnetic “Fear Cages”

One can’t talk about paranormal research without discussing the effects of EMF or the electromagnetic field.  An EM field is caused by increasing electric charges, which proliferate at the speed of light.  The EM field basically exists everywhere.  Electronic devices emit readings, some of which are very high, which can affect those who are sensitive to EMF.  In fact, EMF sensitivity can produce a variety of symptoms, ranging from flu-like feelings, headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, nausea, fear, heart palpitations and the sense that you’re being watched by an unseen presence.  A “Fear Cage” is an area of highly concentrated EMF, which can cause perceived supernatural occurrences for those who stand in its path.  So, when sifting through all the objective and subjective data from a paranormal case study, it’s warranted to examine EMF and its effects on humans.

Certain Psychological Disorders

It’s commonsense that certain psychological disorders can either affect how a person perceives and reacts to ghostly activity or cause someone to exhibit symptoms that mimic actual paranormal occurrences.  Various psychiatric medications as well as others (including illegal substances) can cause a person to experience a false paranormal encounter.  Schizophrenia can produce delusions or false beliefs that are not based in reality or hallucinations, which cause a person to see or hear things that don’t actually exist.  In the beginning phase of Schizophrenia, symptoms of it can easily go unnoticed by friends and family.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (a psychiatric injury) and trauma can be linked with perceived paranormal activity.  It can cause hypervigilance or being overly alerted to one’s environment, which may contribute to imagined visual, auditory or tactile encounters.  Epilepsy and certain seizure disorders can cause situations that mimic supernatural activity and the list goes on.

In my opinion, continuing scientific studies are needed to understand the brain functions during a supposed or genuine paranormal incident.  For example, let’s say that there are numerous reports of similar activity at a location from different people.  But, then a few reports of activity come in from people that don’t match what the majority of others have documented.  Maybe these are accurate and maybe they are not.  It may be beneficial to further explore these individuals to see if they are dealing with any psychological disorder, medication use, sensitivity to EMF, etc.  Perhaps in doing so, it can unearth a discovery that can potentially explain how and why these few people reported phenomena that strongly differed from the norm.

Closing Thoughts

In my opinion, there needs to be a standard, universal protocol for all paranormal researchers to follow.  Conducting a case study should involve careful scrutiny of not just the reported / witnessed anomalous phenomena at a location but also the living human beings who step foot on its premises.  This will unearth a whole new set of observations, opinions, and questions that can lead to further unlocking the secrets to supernatural phenomena.  Hopefully, this will enable investigators to better distinguish between real activity versus that which is created by the erroneous or the imagined.

Reference:  Strickland, Nicole. The Afterlife Chronicles: Exploring the Connection between Life, Death and Beyond. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2021.