Christianity was often confusing to me. It asked me to believe in a God that I could not see. It had a narrative about demons and angels, and all of them were invisible. But at the same time, it also promoted fear of anything not defined in the narrative thousands of years old. Every spirit or force that we could not see had to fit into the box of either God’s or angels or something extremely dangerous and unpredictable.
So, when something good happened, we praised God and his protective angels for it. When something bad happened, it was either our fault or we believed we were possessed or influenced by something demonic. All of it turns out to be very anthropomorphic and causes us to create the spirit world in our image. It works pretty well for religious entities because this fear of the unknown helps market the man-made solution to that uneasiness. It is temporarily regulated by the affirmations about the invisible God.
Since my deconstruction started, I have explored many things that my previous religious system never allowed me to pursue. The manufactured hysteria around things that it didn’t understand, caused a significant amount of paranoia, and would literally stop me from exploring anything slightly different. But now that I am free from the confines of my religion, I am free to explore things like meditation, karma yoga, tarot, and other religions they give me a glimpse of other viewpoints and understandings.
I resist the urge to accept any belief system fully, but I try and find the truth in all of it. Although I believe that our understanding of the spirit world is limited, it is still fascinating to think about and explore. Most often, the most radical views are from the people who have never really explored, but rather are simply repeating the tentative views that were passed down to them or what they heard from a radical preacher there was selling something else.
This past weekend, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and investigate the hotel that inspired my first novel with a few of my new friends Carmen Burns and Night Owl Paranormal. They probably didn’t understand fully how important it was for me to face the irrational views of my past and experience it for myself. But they were very understanding and helpful and explained things as we progressed through the night. It was described as a paranormal investigation.
Without going into detail about the equipment involved, just let me say there was a significant amount of monitoring equipment, cameras, and other detectors. The cameras were simple, night vision cameras connected to a central location where we could monitor activity and watch for clues while resting, but also record what the cameras experienced. From what I understand, most of the instruments measure different kinds of electromagnetic activity, temperature changes, and different frequencies for voice detection. It wasn’t necessary for me to understand it fully to just simply experience what happened.
From the cameras, we quickly realized that the family of raccoons that came and tried to steal our pizza would help us rule out most loud noises that were heard throughout the hotel as they knocked over cameras and acted like usual raccoons. From the cameras, we also could observe various inconsistencies that were fun to speculate about; but, the real fun came when we went out into the dark to investigate.
Our first room was what we called the ballroom. All the normal ghost hunters carried devices that they positioned throughout the room. They also had other handheld devices and apps on their phone that helped with detection. Two of the devices, a REM Pod and a Music Box alarmed almost instantly. Although it was amazing to me that this was happening, it was even more exciting when they seemed to respond to what we said or to the 1920s music I played. I would describe this experience as mesmerizing, more than fearful. The only time I felt fear was when the raccoon appeared underneath my chair and when the fog machine (that detects shadow figures) came on unexpectedly.
Later, we had an experience in an upstairs hotel room. I suggested we investigate the area where other people had felt something before. When we got to the spot, once again the detectors (that don’t always activate) came on. As we investigated the hotel room where the activity was, the EVP detector app was delivering messages that seemed to be in response to what we were doing. Messages of where to look and which direction to go and where not to go seemed to be in direct response to exactly what we were doing. When the investigators followed the directions, they found an antique toy and documents from 80 to 100 years ago. It was so hot and uncomfortable there we abandoned the search, hoping to return later.
Later one of the investigators played the piano for the spirits and received an amazing response, even though the keys were sticky and it didn’t resemble much of a tune. We returned to the ballroom, which was in close competition with the upstairs hotel room for the most activity. By 1:30 in the morning, we were all exhausted. Even the raccoons had turned in for the night, so we decided to call it a day.
I was very simply moved by this experience. It’s not my new religion, but it also doesn’t make me want to return to my old one. It was very simply just an enlightening experience that I would gladly do again.
I am so glad now that I can just accept these experiences for what they are. Just because I can’t fully explain something doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or evil, or out to get me. If the spirits in these old buildings have anything in common with us, they seem as individual and unique as we are. Since there are bad people in the grocery store and in churches, I assume that not all the spirits are friendly. But like everything else, we can only experience community when we get to know them more personally.
There are many things that I don’t fully understand, but one of the best things to do is investigate them.
Three cheers to Carmen Burns and Night Owl Investigation from Southern Missouri!
Be where you are,
Be who you are,
Be at peace!