Drunk Ghost Hunting, Headless Bobbleheads, An Entity That Rocks, And Strange Encounters In California
Over the summer, at a Brooklyn Paranormal Society Meetup, I was speaking to a gentleman of the Christian persuasion who told me that being drunk was decidedly against the rules of good spiritual conduct, as was related to him in the Holy Book. Drunk ghost hunting is after-all the activity that BKPS began as.
I had to reveal to him, in full disclosure, that what happens at a typical BKPS drunken ghost hunt, does in fact involve drinking, but rarely have any of the participants exhibited tell tale signs of drunkenness, per se.
Beer is served, wine poured, and liquor mixed and consumed (I am often seen with a gin concoction in my hand). But actual drunken behavior, as one would associate with the term? Not a common sight. Truth be told, alcohol is merely the currency by which the true commodity is exchanged, that being, conversation. Preferably, good conversation.
That is the one abiding rule by which all participants are in agreement. Discussion and the lively exchange of ideas, concepts and stories. The more exotic and fantastic the story, the better. Really, we are seeking information upon that nebulous realm — the paranormal.
Alcohol can facilitate the conversation, and even the mere hint of liquor, can engender an atmosphere conducive to the loosening of the tongue. Fact is, some of the participants don’t even drink alcohol, choosing rather, a mocktail, soda or “Rob Roy.” There is of course, no accounting for taste. To each their own.
At that Meetup, while knocking back a UFO IPA at the bar, I made the acquaintance of a gentleman named Mick. Mick, it turned out, wasn’t there for our paranormal gathering (drunk ghost hunt). He had no idea, in fact, what the Brooklyn Paranormal Society was. He was just another patron enjoying a tall glass of malted barley and hops. However, Mick did have a paranormal story he needed getting off his chest.
“If you want to see some shit go down,” Mick told me, “you want to stay at this place in Los Feliz. I can get you the address.”
“You mean in California?” I asked.
“That’s right. I was laying on my couch in the middle of the day. I got this place because it was so close to the studio we were recording in. It was awesome, I was having a blast. There’s like a space between the back of the couch and the book shelf and then there’s a wall. The TV’s over that way and the Wurlitzer and I was just chill in there watching some TV and a bunch of fucking books and some mugs, some Beatles bobble heads, all this shit just went flying off the shelf across the room.”
“Get the hell out of here,” I said. I took a deep gulp from my beer then asked, “Was it an earthquake maybe?”
“No fucking way,” Mick replied. “I’ve been in an earthquake. I was in the North Ridge quake. I definitely know the difference between an earthquake, a tremor. I know the difference between asleep and awake states. The shit flew off the shelf and shit broke.”
“I started cleaning up stuff,” Mick continued, “I gathered up all the pieces of broken coffee cups and the bobble heads but I just couldn’t find John Lennon’s head.”
“Oh shit,” I said, “They decapitated John Lennon?”
“I fucking looked everywhere. I couldn’t find it. I just assumed they didn’t have his head, maybe. I called up the owners of the house and I was like ‘Hey, do you have like, entities living in your house? Because a bunch of your shit just flew off the shelf.’”
“Did they think you were crazy?” I asked.
“They said, ‘Oh yeah, totally. Sometimes it plays the Wurlitzer. We think the ghost is pretty cool, doesn’t seem to be up to anything bad.’ So I asked the owner what kind of liquor the ghosts might drink? I ended up buying a bottle of Jameson and telling the entity ‘No bad vibes. I’m gonna be staying here for a little while.’”
“That was mighty obliging of you,” I offered.
“Nothing else happened there except one of my shirts disappeared. That was really weird because I don’t have many shirts. Good shirts are hard to find. I just didn’t understand how that happened, but what I will say is that shit flew off the shelf right by my head.”
“California is a creepy place,” I said, “All the weird shit happens in and around LA.”
“Sometimes it’s good weird stuff,” Mick answered.
“But sometimes,” he added, “the other kind of weird as well.”
“You weren’t stoned, when any of this weirdness happened?” I inquired.
“I know I look like a hippie,” he said, “and I listen to jam bam music, but I really don’t smoke pot that much. I don’t want to engage with the spirit realm, but I guess I really didn’t have a choice this year. I’ve had two encounters this year. The second one occurred back in February, also in California.”
“It was a really nice place,” Mick continued. “Friends of mine were in India for two weeks and they have a big house – salt water pool, pizza ovens and two chicks to take care of their dog and cook breakfast every morning. They invited me to stay there while they were gone so I was chilling and zoning out, no radio, no TV, just smoking a cigarette, and this fucking thing comes into my brain- it was like I could see it in a dream but I was totally awake.
“This thing was like a huge circle, it was a big old round thing. It had a face, which I couldn’t even begin to describe, but it had enough similarities to a face to know that it was. It had a weird little body that kind of hung off on this angle.”
Mick waved his hand over to his left side, indicating where the creature’s body hung.
“It had no topographical features. It struck me as ancient in nature but it was so bazaar it was like something from a DMT trip.”
“Did you say DMT?” I asked. “Terence McKenna talks about that.”
“Yeah, I’ve been to some far out zones,” Mick said. “Let me tell you, it is something worth doing. DMT is awesome. It is very deep and very intense. There’s no way to describe it, but that level of weird? This thing, with the face, was at that level of weird. This thing was real creepy and it lasted for about a minute. It just rocked its head back and forth softly, slowly rotating. Did that for about a minute and a half then it was gone.
“The next thing that happened occurred the next night. This is the cool one. I was down stairs by the pizza oven and I was smoking a cigarette when this thing, this is hard to explain, I didn’t see it but I could feel something coming towards me at an angle, like 11:30 and 2. Does that make sense to you?
“Well, this thing got to me, then I had the best day of the year. It was like I was on fire, I was killing it. I would like, walk down the street and meet a bunch of girls, it wasn’t even fair. The only way I could put it into words is that the Holy Spirit was in me.”
“You mean like spiritually energized?” I chimed.
“Something had happened to me, that day was so powerful. I just wanted to share it with people, people who are interested, like you. And I don’t blame you because I’m interested too, I want to know what that was.”
“Your description of the entity,” I offered, “ reminds me of the Mutated Guild Navigator from the movie Dune. Are you familiar with that?”
“Spice dude,” Mick answered.
“Yeah, they don’t have arms or legs and they just float in this vat,” I said.
“I could see some familiarities,” Mick added. “It was totally bazaar and what was really creepy is that it got in here, inside my mind.”
‘Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting’ is an article by Andrew Arnett, with updates in 2023 by Anthony Long.
“It was two years ago, right around this time, close to Halloween, when Sonja and I found ourselves walking down Atlantic Avenue and, a mimeographed advertisement hanging on a street lamp caught our attention. It was a flyer for a drunken ghost hunting event with the Brooklyn Paranormal Society. Both drinking and ghost hunting are remarkable pastimes, each in their own right, but the combination seemed irresistible.”Andrew Arnett, co-founder of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society
Anthony Long, Chief Ectoplasm Officer (CEO) of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society, offered a remarkable proposition – he would, through the means of alcoholic inebriation, open himself up to demonic possession, all for the sake of paranormal science. It seemed like a brave, if foolhardy undertaking, but there is in fact method behind this madness.
Looking at the word “alcohol,” we find that the term originated in the Middle East (interestingly enough, a place that prohibits the use of alcohol) and comes from the Arabic “al-kuhl,” or “al-kuhul,” which originally meant a fine black powder.
This powder was used as mascara and was obtained by sublimation, which refers to a process of heating a solid to a vapor and then condensing it down again to a very fine powder. The Arabic term “ghūl,” and the English “ghoul,” referring to a flesh consuming evil spirit, are also derived from the original “al-kuhl.”
By the 16th century, the English co-opted the term, compressing it into one word – alcohol – referring to anything formed through sublimation, and in terms of a liquid – distillation and fermentation. “Spirits” then, were created through distillation and fermentation. By modern times, the term was parred down to refer only to distilled spirits, or liquor.
Health writer and enthusiast Jason Christoff has an interesting take on alcohol and its effects on the human body. He states:
“In alchemy, alcohol is used to extract the soul essence of an entity. Hence, its use in extracting essences for essential oils, and the sterilization of medical instruments. By consuming alcohol into the body, it in effect extracts the very essence of the soul, allowing the body to be more susceptible to neighboring entities most of which are of low frequencies. That is why people who consume excessive amounts of alcohol often black out, not remembering what happened.”
Alcohol, in effect, kicks the spirit out of its physical vehicle, making it vulnerable to be taken for a joy ride by other, malevolent spirits. This may be effective but, as a method for hunting ghosts, has its obvious drawbacks. The idea of using oneself as bait for evil spirits is not a very good one. It’s dangerous. Things can get messy and who knows what disembodied parasitic entity you’ll drag back to the house.
“Alchohol is a con on the ‘Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting’ list” says founder, Anthony Long.
“We’ve had some negative results from alcohol,” Long stated. “Things have, on occasion, gotten out of hand. We’ve been kicked out of a few bars. We have basically moved on from using alcohol as a method for ghost hunting but, we still like to have a few drinks beforehand.”
Fortunately, in our modern day and age, there are a plethora of means by which one can get out there and track down the elusive spirit. Hunting ghosts, ultimately, is really just like hunting anything else – it is a matter of time, place and energy. Time and place are self explanatory – you find a paranormal hot spot and you go there after midnight.
Energy refers to a number of things. It can refer to the “Chi,” or magnetism, of the ghost hunter, medium, psychic, shaman or brujo wishing to make contact with the spirit world.
Energy also refers to the spirit itself. Ghosts are nothing if not energy itself, having shuffled of the mortal coil, and exiting this three dimensional, physical universe, all together.
Finally, on Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting there is the energy which surrounds us, such as electricity and radio waves, which spirits can manipulate. Energy is a type of interface, if you will, with the other side. With today’s advanced technology, we have at our disposal, many new devices which can measure these disparate energies and, help us “talk to the dead.”
One such device is Franks “ghost box,” also known as the “telephone to the dead.” The device is used extensively in Brooklyn Paranormal Society Ghost Hunts, it scans AM or FM radio frequencies, allowing you to hear a brief glimpse of the output as they are being scanned. Through this EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), you can ask the spirit questions and they can “answer” back.
Could such a device actually put us in contact with the other side? Perhaps. In subsequent installments, we shall take a closer look at these devices, and test, to the best of our abilities, their relative efficacy.
“I recently saw the movie Winchester and was disappointed with the overall experience. The film, which tells the story of the Winchester Mystery House and its eccentric owner Sarah Winchester, had a lot of potential for a spooky and intriguing story. However, the execution fell short in my opinion.
One of the biggest issues I had with the movie was the pacing. The film felt slow and dragged on in certain scenes, making it difficult to maintain my interest. Additionally, the plot felt disjointed and confusing at times, making it hard to follow along with the story.
The acting was also underwhelming. While Helen Mirren did a decent job in her role as Sarah Winchester, the supporting cast fell flat and failed to add any depth to their characters.
On the plus side, the special effects and production design were impressive, creating an eerie atmosphere that added to the film’s spooky theme. However, this was not enough to save the movie for me.
Overall, I would rate Winchester a 2 out of 5. While the movie had its moments, the slow pacing, disjointed plot and underwhelming acting made it hard for me to fully enjoy the film.”Anthony L., founder of Brooklyn Paranormal Society.
Helen Mirren has wrapped production on a scary movie called Winchester and it looks like it will be spooky AF. Based on the story of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, who was advised by a medium to build a labyrinthine mansion in order to escape the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester Rifle, invented by her dead husband. Sounds pretty juicy to us, and better yet, it is based on a true story.
The movie hits theaters this winter and stars Academy Award winner Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester, along with Jason Clarke as a skeptical San Francisco psychiatrist sent to evaluate Sarah’s mental stability, only to find she may not be so crazy after all.
Mirren, explaining the appeal of the role, tells PEOPLE, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe people can be haunted, and Sarah Winchester is a haunted person.”
The movie is directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and is being filmed in Australia, and on location at the actual Winchester home in California. “It’s about a woman who is deeply troubled by the violence of the rifle and what she inherited,” says Peter Spierig, “She’s trying to come to terms with that.”
Michael Spierig says the movie will be a “classic haunted house scary movie,” explaining “From what we’ve done over the last couple of months, I think everyone will be pretty scared,” while it is also “very much a drama about people dealing with grief and loss.”
The real life Sarah Winchester of the Winchester movie was married to William Winchester, whose company, in 1860, developed the Henry Rifle, a gun utilizing a lever mechanism to load bullets into the breach. Its ability to reload rapidly made it a vast improvement over the muzzle-loading rifle, common for that time. As a result, the rifle became the weapon of choice for the Northern troops during the Civil War, and in turn, made Winchester filthy rich.
In 1862, William Winchester and Sarah Pardee married in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1866, Sarah gave birth to a daughter who tragically died a short time later due to a children’s disease known as “marasmus” in which the body wastes away. Sarah then collapsed into madness for a ten year period.
Tragedy struck again when, in 1881, her husband William died from pulmonary tuberculosis. Sarah inherited from him $20 million dollars, 48.9 percent of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and a non-taxable income of $1000 a day. But all the money in the world could not alleviate Sarah’s deep depression over the loss of both her husband and child.
Thus, Sarah consulted a Spiritualist medium who said “your husband is here.” After describing what her husband looked like, the medium continued, “He says for me to tell you that there is a curse on your family, which took the life of he and your child. It will soon take you too. It is a curse that has resulted from the terrible weapon created by the Winchester family. Thousands of persons have died because of it and their spirits are now seeking vengeance.”
The medium instructed Sarah to sell her home in New Haven and move towards the “setting sun.” There, she would be guided by the spirit of her dead husband to “build a home for yourself and for the spirits who have fallen from this terrible weapon. You can never stop building the house. If you continue building, you will live. Stop and you will die.”
Sarah traveled to Santa Clara, California, and in 1884, bought a six room home under construction and began the process of building a sprawling mansion whose purpose was to trick, bewilder and confuse the ghosts that she believed were after her. Thus began a non-stop construction project that would continue for the next 36 years, employ 22 carpenters working year round, 24/7.
The house would eventually reach a height of seven stories and contain as many as 160 rooms. There were 47 fireplaces, three elevators and countless staircases which led nowhere; closets would open to blank walls; hallways that would double back and doors that would open to steep drops. All this in an effort to frustrate the ghosts seeking revenge on her.
Sarah Winchester eventually died in 1922 at the ripe old age of 83. The mansion has subsequently been declared a California Historical Landmark and has come to be known as the “largest haunted house in America.” Paranormal investigators consider the location a paranormal hot spot, with dozens of ghost hunters and psychics visiting yearly. Many sightings of ghosts have been reported there, including the ghost of Sarah herself.
The question remains – was Sarah merely an eccentric heiress with an overactive imagination, or was she really haunted by ghosts? Perhaps she was neither. Researcher Richard Allen Wagner throws a wrench into the case by presenting a totally different angle.
Wagner asserts that the mystery of the Winchester House as presented to the public in the Winchester movie is a sensationalized folk tale created to sell ghost tours and is not the legacy that Sarah Winchester handed down. Through his research, Wagner reveals that Sarah was a Rosicrucian and a Freemason, who most likely saw herself as the reincarnation of the genius Francis Bacon, a Rosicrucian and the writer who (allegedly) worked under the pen name William Shakespeare.
The Winchester House, rather than being a maze to entrap ghosts, is a repository of Rosicrucian symbolism, adorned throughout with numeric cipher code and Cabalistic references. For instance, the supposed “Seance Room,” located at the exact center of the mansion, is actually the Rosicrucian “Sanctum,” a sacred location for meditation and initiation.
There are Shakespearean windows featuring Francis Bacon’s ”hide and seek “ themes, “Switchback Staircases” which double as “Jacob’s Ladder” and iron wrought gates representing twin Masonic pillars of “Boaz and Jachin.”
In Wagner’s assessment, Sarah Winchester was a woman far ahead of her time, someone who built a house that was a three dimensional equivalent of an Escher painting, representing a fourth spatial dimension. Her use of upside-down pillars and hallways which double back display an understanding of gravity, light and the curvature of space as demonstrated in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
Certainly, this is the kind of multi-layered mystery that intrigues us at the Brooklyn Paranormal Society and, we’ll be sure to be first on line when the Winchester movie opens in theaters on February 23, 2018. At least, we’ll be shooting for it.