Lost Halloween Traditions for Summoning Future Lovers


Halloween is the time of year when the veil between life and death becomes thinner, but so does the one between present and future. Many lost Halloween traditions involve girls and young women foretelling your future partner through unique rituals. You don’t need a crystal ball to see your future lover, just some autumn food, some household essentials, or maybe some comfortable walking shoes.

Want to see your future lover this Halloween? History suggests…

Playing with Food


Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

  • Eat an apple and comb your hair in front of a mirror at midnight on Halloween. Your future husband’s image will appear over your left shoulder.
  • Have women mark apples and then place them in a tub of water. Then have men bob for apples to see future love matches.
  • Peel one long strand of an apple skin and throw it over your left shoulder. The first initial of your future partner’s name may be revealed.
  • Or take that apple peel, nail it above your front door, and the first person to walk under it will have the same initials of your future lover.
  • Make a fire and have all your unmarried friends tie apples to strings. The order in which the apples fall off the string is the order everyone will get married. The owner of the last apple dropped will never marry.
  • Go to bed with an apple under your pillow and you may dream of your future spouse.
  • Grab some hazelnuts and designate each one for a love interest. Throw them into a fire. The hazelnut that burns to ash, instead of popping, is your future partner (Scottish tradition).
  • Eat some salted herring before bed. It will cause a thirst that will hopefully summon the sympathetic spirit of your future partner (with a glass of water of course).
  • Blindfold yourself and pull a cabbage out of the ground. Examine the root with your hands to collect clues for your future spouse.
  • Make Colcannon (a traditional Irish dish made with kale, mashed potatoes, and onions) and hide a ring in it. The person that finds the ring is getting married within the year.

Easy Household Divination

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
  • Sprinkle letters cut out of a newspaper into water to see your future lover’s name.
  • Get three bowls. Fill one with clean water, fill another with foul water, and leave the last one empty. Blindfold a friend and have them pick a bowl. If the bowl with clean water is picked: your future partner will be attractive. The foul water: your partner will already have been married before. Empty: You will die alone.
  • Hold a candle in front of a mirror in a dark room (sometimes after having walked up/down stairs backwards) and your future lover will appear.
  • Eat a sugary dessert made of walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg before bed. Your future lover will appear in your dreams (Scottish Tradition).

Outdoor Predictions

  • Find a stream at a point where the land belonging to three people meet (easy right?). Stick your sleeve in the stream. Go home and hang your shirt/dress over the fire. That night your lover will appear and turn over the sleeve to allow the other side to dry.
  • Take your friends outside for a hazelnut hunt. The first person to find a burr is the first person to marry.




A Repository of Paranormal Knowledge: Black-Eyed Children

This series explores the paranormal basics: key terms, categories, theories, and schools of thought. This will prepare you to be an intellectual ghostbuster. 

Black-Eyed Children (aka Black Eyed Kids or BEKS) are paranormal creatures resembling children, usually between the ages 6 and 16, with pale skin and black eyes. These creatures are often seen hitchhiking or panhandling. They might appear on your doorstep asking for help escaping an unseen danger. People note their hypnotic powers and relentless requests. Legends of these black-eyed children begin in the 1990s.

People attribute the first documented BEKS encounter to Texas journalist Brian Bethel.

The story picked up more notoriety in 2014 when the Birmingham Mail published a story about paranormal investigator Lee Brickley (people question this title). Brickley was investigating claims of BEKS in Cannock, Staffordshire. The Daily Star picked up the story and ran with it.

Reported sightings are numerous, but many believe this is just a hoax or trick of the eye.

Below I have included an encounter with black-eyed children to give you an idea of their characteristics and behaviors.

Further Reading

Creepypasta article on Black-Eyed People 

Thought Catalog‘s “16 Terrifying Encounters With ‘The Black Eyed Kids’”

“Everything You Need to Know About Black-Eyed Ghost Children,” Buzzfeed

“Dark Visitors: Black-Eyed Kids – Horror or Hoax,” About.com

This story was published recently (October 17) for Jezebel’s 2016 Spooky Story Contest.

Untitled, from user whoneedsadrink

This story happened to my brother (Chris), about two years ago.

He works at a small grocery store that opened at 5:00am. This isn’t one of those monster stores, it only has maybe 10 aisles. He is a shift manager and typically gets to work at 3:30-4:00 in the morning to get the store ready to open. He always meets another employee there, and they are never to enter the store alone. It’s out on the outskirts of town in a quiet suburb.

So one Saturday morning, he gets to work and the other employee hasn’t arrived yet. He sits on the curb and smokes a cigarette while he waits. It’s almost 4:00am, very quiet in the world, and he can clearly hear children playing and laughing in the alley behind the store.

The other employee, Anthony, arrives a few minutes later. As Chris is unlocking the door, he asks Anthony if he heard any kids playing in or near the parking lot. Anthony says he never heard anything, and they go inside and get ready to open the store.

A delivery truck showed up about 15 minutes later. Chris goes to the loading dock to help unload the pallets. He asks the driver if he saw any kids playing in the alley behind the store and the driver looked at him like he was crazy and said that no, he never saw any kids.

Chris brings the pallets inside and when he goes back into the store, he hears Anthony calling his name from the front of the store, by the registers. Anthony sounds a bit panicked.

“Ummm, Chris?” he said. “You said you heard kids right? In the parking lot?” Chris nods and Anthony points to the front entrance of the store. There are two little girls standing at the door. Both are wearing black hoodies. The older girl knocks loudly on the door.

They approach the door and Chris asks the girls what they want. The both have their hoodies up over their heads and bangs that cover their eyes, so he can’t see their faces. He says the older girl spoke. “Can we come in and use your phone? We need to call our mother.” Chris says that he isn’t allowed to let anyone into the store before they open, but if they want, they can give him their mom’s number and he can call her and give her a message. “No,” she answers. “You need to let us in so we can use the phone.” He declines again and apologizes and offers to call whomever she wants, but reiterates that he can’t let her in. She started to get angry. “Why can’t we come in? It’s not like we’re going to hurt you.”

He said that at that moment, his blood ran cold and he got the most horrible feeling. And my brother is a big guy and not easily frightened, especially by children. He told them to wait right there and that he would be back. Anthony stayed up front and Chris called the police and asked if they had any reports of missing children, because there were two little girls alone outside of his store and that was very odd. The store isn’t located near houses and it’s quite a walk to get there from the surrounding neighborhoods. The police officer says that she doesn’t have any reports of missing children, but that she will send an officer to the store.

When Chris went back to the front of the store, Anthony said the children had walked away. After a few minutes, two police officers show up and Chris explains the morning’s weird events. They look at him like he must be high on meth. He said he could tell they didn’t believe a word he said. One of the officers asked if they had security cameras that showed the front entrance and Chris confirmed that they did. The officer asked if they could watch the video. So they went back into the office and rewind the security tape and sure enough, the officers can clearly see the two girls on camera. Now understanding that there really are two girls alone outside at 4:00 in the morning, they rush out to look for them. Chris mentions that both he and Anthony felt very unsettled around them and had a bad feeling in general, as I’m sure the cops were probably judging them for not letting the children inside the store.

Chris went about his business and opened the store. When his shift was over, he called the police station back to see if they ever found the girls. The officers never saw the children and no parents ever called to report them missing.

Anthony went home and told his brother what happened and how weird it was. He said his brother’s eyes widened and he asked if the girls had black eyes. Anthony said he couldn’t tell, because one girl never spoke or looked up and both had hoodies over their heads and heavy bangs. But he said that both him and Chris felt very unnerved in their presence, like something was off. This is when Anthony’s brother told him about the phenomenon known as the Black Eyed Children.

Weekly Yuputka: The One-Handed Ghost

Yuputka (n.): the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin. 


Today’s scary story comes from the Paranormal Story Archives on About.com (June 1999). I used to read these for hours when I was younger (and will probably do so this weekend).

Enjoy your scare!

The One-Handed Ghost, from Terri

When I was 12 years old, my sister and her husband and their two-year-old (my niece) moved into a house on the next block. The family who vacated the house had moved because their teenage daughter had a friend who was missing, and the strain was too much for the girl. I was spending the night on a weekend, and I was downstairs with my sister and niece doing laundry. As we went up the stairs to the main floor, I turned to help my niece up the stairs. She had been playing around the basement and talking to herself (or so I thought!). As I turned to grasp her hand, she said, “C’mon lady, c’mon.” I was amazed to see a girl of about 16 or 17 standing at the base of the stairs dressed in a white dress with her arms outstretched. She was missing her right hand. On numerous occasions, I was to see this ghost. It was nothing to wake up and find her sitting on the bed or looking into your face. I would follow her down the hall into the living room or into my niece’s room. Several months passed, and the missing girl was found. She had been mutilated and cut into many pieces by a machete. Her right hand was missing when they found her. It seems that she was supposed to go to her girlfriend’s house after work on the night she disappeared. She never got there. She was abducted and murdered. Her best friend kept seeing her in the house, and her family thought she was nuts. Hence the reason they moved and my sister rented the house. I have heard that the girl still haunts the house, and it never stays occupied long. My sister lived there longer than anyone else, she is psychic, and she said that she never felt threatened by the girl. To this day, it still gives me the cold chills and nightmares.

Indiana Cemeteries: Buswell and Justus Cemeteries


When I was told I had to drive to Schererville, IN for work, I began looking for cemeteries along US 52 and 41. I  chose two cemeteries based on two specific memorials I wanted to see. Two memorials with tragic stories. Though, I was also surprised to find a third memorial that brought me to tears.

Buswell Cemetery (Kentland, Newton County, IN)

Buswell Cemtery is surrounded by corn fields, and corn cobs cover the dirt road going up to the cemetery. While there was the usual damage seen in old cemeteries, it was in great condition.


Epitaph: One less to love on earth, One more to meet in heaven.

I sought out this cemetery, because I read the obituary of James A. Whaley (1862-1921) on Find a Grave.


He is surrounded by his wife, children, siblings, and parents in Buswell. I thought about the loss of James and also those affected by his death…those who are now buried next to him.


When walking back to the cemetery entrance, a distant memorial caught my eye. It was in the back of the cemetery and was separated from the rest of the interments. The grave was for a newborn named Debroah Kay Axsom. The marker looked homemade and was more human than any memorial I had ever seen before. Admittedly, I stood in the back of the cemetery fighting back tears.


Justus Cemetery (Oxford, Benton County, IN)

Justus Cemetery is next to a golf course in Oxford, IN. When driving through Oxford, you cannot miss their love for their award-winning race horse, Dan Patch. There are streets named after him. His name is written in large letters on a barn roof. He is even buried there. But another day, Dan Patch.



When I was on my Find A Grave app, I came across another obituary. Two young boys drowned trying to save a young girl in a gravel pit in Benton County. While I was unable to find the grave for Marvin Mounce, I was able to find Carol Albertson’s (1924-1938). I was moved by these young boys who attempted to save a young girl (she survived), not knowing how to swim themselves. I wanted to pay my respects to these small town heroes.



When possible, I try to find information on the people behind these stone memorials. People are more than the stones that mark their burial plots.

Weekly Yuputka: The Photographs

Yuputka (n.): the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin. 


A short and sweet spooky story from Jezebel’s 2013 scary story contest. Maybe rethink your next camping trip?

Photographic Memories, from user AnnieBannanas

I grew up in New Mexico and was always very into the outdoors, hiking, camping, rock climbing, etc. One summer when I was 19 I went on a 4 day/3 night camping trip near my parents’ house on my own. Might sound weird but I had been to this area many times and it was quite safe. Anyway I brought my camera and took lots of pictures. When I came back and developed my film, there were 3 extra pictures that I didn’t take… of me… sleeping. One each night.

None of my stuff was missing or stolen and nothing happened, but it freaked the hell out of me.

The Famous Screaming Skulls of England

Photo by like a fool | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 CC

Screaming skulls are ghosts in/attached to human skulls that haunt a location, most commonly places in England. Most often, these spirits seem to be attached to their homes and will exhibit poltergeist or ghostly behavior when removed. According to mental_floss, the origins of these legends are ambiguous:

Britain’s screaming skull legends are fascinating for both their persistence—they’ve been passed down orally for generations—and the mystery surrounding their origins. Though little academic literature exists regarding the skulls, many paranormal enthusiasts have noted a tenuous link to Celtic mythology, in which the strange powers of the human head figure prominently. However, others note that if the skull legend were Celtic it would likely appear throughout England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. Instead, the legend is restricted to rural England, which means its origins may be part of a uniquely British superstition.

The following are some of the most famous screaming skulls in England. You’ll notice some common threads!

The Bettiscombe Skull

Location: near Lyme Regis, Dorset, England

In the 17th Century, Azariah Pinney brought a slave back to his home (Bettiscombe Manor) after traveling for the English Civil War. The slave died under mysterious circumstances, and he requested that his body be returned to his homeland in the West Indies. His request was ignored and he was buried in a local graveyard. Screams were heard coming from his grave. Repeated attempts to dig up and bury his body elsewhere were followed by the same angry screams.

In 1963, the skull was tested by Professor Gilbert Causey of the Royal College of Surgeons and the professor concluded the skull belonged to a prehistoric woman in her 20s. The skull still remains at the manor today. You know, just in case the professor is wrong.

The Burton Agnes Skull

Location: near Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England

Burton Agnes Hall was built in 1598, during the reign of Elizabeth I, by three sisters of the Griffith family. The youngest sister, Ann, was attacked near her home by robbers. They beat her after she refused to give them her mother’s ring. Townspeople heard her cries, rescued her, and returned her home. She died 5 days later. On her deathbed, she requested that her head be placed within the walls of the manor.

The family ignored her request. Shortly after she was buried and the house’s construction was complete, the sisters began to hear noises throughout the house. Her sisters returned to her family’s burial vault to undo their mistake. The body was completely intact, but the head was separated and placed away from the body. Some stories say the head was even grinning. The head was taken back to Burton Agnes Hall. The noises stopped.

The noises would happen again when later residents tried to remove the skull. They put it back. The skull was later placed within the walls for safety. Although the noises have stopped, Ann will sometimes make a ghostly appearance on the anniversary of her death.

The Calgarth Hall Skull 

Location: Windermere, Cumbria, England

Myles Philipson, a Justice of Peace, owned Calgarth Hall and much land. He wanted more land and pursued the property of a young couple. The young couple refused to give up their home.

He somehow hid one of his silver cups and their home, told the authorities the young couple stole from him, and they were arrested. Since he was the Justice of Peace, they were found guilty and sentenced to death. On the scaffold, the young woman uttered a curse on the Philipson family: “Hark’s to here, Myles Philipson, that teenie lump o’ land is t’dearest grund a Philipson has ever bowte. For ye shall prosper niver maur, yersl, nor yan of o’t breed. And while Calgarth’s strong woes shall stand, we’ll haunt it day and neet” (Source).

Shorty after their execution, two skulls appeared in Calgarth Hall. They screamed loud every night. Although they were removed from the property, they always appeared back in the hall. Philipson faced many hardships (because of the curse?). The skulls were eventually boarded up in the walls of the house.

The Theophilus Brome Skull

Location:  Tunstead Milton, Derbyshire, England

Theophilus Brome was a local man who requested to have his head buried in his farmhouse, separate from his body. His fellow villagers followed his instructions, but someone later tried to remove the skull. The villagers’ heard piercing screams and quickly returned the skull to the farmhouse. In later years, villagers tried to remove the skull again, only to have their spade split in half when digging it up.

The Tunstead Farm Skull

Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, England

This story is about a skull named “Dickie.” It was kept on a windowsill and its origin is unknown. Could it be the skull of a woman who was murdered in the very room it resides? Could it be Ned Dixon, an ancestor of the farmhouse? No one knows.

The skull is said to serve as guardian of the house, making noises whenever strangers are present. Dickie has also alerted residents to the births or illnesses of farm animals. Dickie has even warned of the coming death of a family member.

Mental_floss  explained that the skull is also protective over of the land:

[…] the Tunstead Skull […] mostly looked out over the farmlands making sure nothing was amiss—that is, until the Railway Company tried to build a new track through part of the Tunstead land. According to locals at the time, each day the company would start building the track, and each night, Dickie would undo their work. In 1863, a magazine called The Panorama reported: “It was the steadfast belief in the district that the ghost would undo, at the Coombs embankment, the work which had occupied many men during the day, and that Dickie was only propitiated at last by an interview with the engineer, at which he was promised a free passage over the line forever.

According to legend, robbers tried to steal the skull, but returned it after its incessant screams.

I recommend checking out this great site for some interesting primary sources.

The Wardley Hall Skull

Location: few miles outside Manchester, England

The story behind the skull of Wardley Hall has one unlikely legend and one possible legend.

  1. Roger Downes owned the house during the time of the English Civil War. One day while out drinking, he proclaimed that he was going to kill the first man he met. Downes thrust his sword through a local tailor. He was eventually tried for murder, but was let off due his influential family. Shortly after, he was drunk again and attacked a watchman with his rapier on The London Bridge. The man fought back and successfully cut off Downes’ head. His head was returned to Wardley Hall. Historical records mostly disprove this story.
  2. Another, more probable legend says the skull belongs to St. Ambrose Barlow, one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Before the English Civil War (and its persecution of Catholics), Francis Downes, a devout Catholic along with his wife, owned the property. They allowed mass to happen in the Hall’s chapel. A Benedictine monk named Barlow who officiated in the chapel was caught by authorities when working in a nearby chapel (Morleys Hall). He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. He was hanged, drawn and quartered. His head was impaled publicly, but Downes took his head and secretly took it to Wardley Hall.

The skull later appeared in a box that fell out of a wall in Wardley Hall. The current owner, Matthew Moreton, threw the skull in the moat, believing it was that of an animal. That night, a large storm broke out. Moreton thought the skull caused the storm, so he emptied the moat and retrieved the skull.

Sources: mental_floss, real-british-ghosts.com, and The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits.

Weekly Yuputka: The Girl on the Dirt Road

Yuputka (n.): the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin. 


During Jezebel’s 2012 Scary Story Contest, a user shared her haunting experience of being lost at night in the rural South as a young girl. She stumbled across an old shack and met a little girl that helped her find her way home. Who was this young hero and what was her story?

Untitled, from user NotScared

Alright, I have one that’s kinda freaky, but in a good way, I guess. For me, at least. So when I was a kid, we moved into this house that was literally in the middle of nowhere. There were maybe five houses one the street, generously spread over about twoish miles. Cows regularly wandered into our yard from a farm on the other end of our five acre property. We were the last house on the street. Other then the farm on one side, the street out front, we were surrounded by undeveloped woods. Being a curious child, I would often wander into the wooded area, playing various games, pretending I was an Elvish Ranger or a Lady Knight. Once, while pretending to be an intrepid explorer lost on an alien planet, I managed to wander farther into the wooded area then usual. I wasn’t worried, it was only a little ways back that aways to my house….wasn’t it? Nope. So, I walked and walked and walked, trying to find something that looked like civilation. Eventually, I did. It should be noted that this was just about the time the sun was officially down and I was freaking out. The house I found was a little more then an old shack, but when I knocked on the door, a black girl a bit older then me answered the door. She was dressed in a ragged blue dress and barefoot, which was something that didn’t strike me as odd then, because it’s the South. I spent most of my child hood without shoes. I told her I was sorry to bother her, but I was lost and I was scared and I just wanted to go home. It should be pointed out that I started crying, at this point. The girl smiled, told me it was alright and yelled back into the house that “This girl got herself lost, mama, I’m gonna take her to the road and show her the way.”

She took me by the hand and lead me out to the dirt road that I would swear wasn’t there before. We walked down this dirt road for what seemed like for ever.

“You scared?” She asked me.

“Yeah.” I said, sniffing and shivering. It was cold out, but she didn’t seem to care.

“Don’t be. You’ll get home. Just stay on the road.”

Eventually, we came to the end of the dirt road and we to the asphalt. The girl told to walk that way down the road and I’d be home in no time. I begged her to go with me, but she said she couldn’t go off the dirt road.

So I walked by myself down the road. When I looked back, I couldn’t see her anymore. It was well and truly dark by now, and absolutely freezing. After about five minutes of walking, A cop car came up behind me. The officer who came up behind me said that they had been looking for me all day, was I alright?

Turns out, I had some how wandered nearly five miles from my house, managing to completely miss the various houses and churches whose back yards I was literally walking through. When I told my parents about the little girl who had shown me back to the road, they wanted to go out to the house and thank the family and the little girl for their help, but we couldn’t find the dirt road. Eventually I decided that it must be the overgrown path and dragged my parents down it. We found the shack, but it was empty.

Eventually my parents decided that I must have been mistaken and to give up the search. But I was sure that this was the place. Years later, when I was in middle school, I was helping out at the library, reordering the old newspaper articles, I found one from the fifties. Nothing big, just a tiny obituary of a girl named Maggy. She was killed by a hit and run driver on the road I was walking on when I was found by the police, just as she was walking off the dirt road to her house.

Indiana Cemeteries: Mound Cemetery


It was the first weekend of October. The air was cold and the sky was overcast. Obviously, it was time to visit a cemetery.

I drove to the small town of Pine Village, which was a very solitary drive down country roads. I was surrounded by livestock, corn fields, and farm houses. I even saw a goat standing on top of a sitting cow. A perfect Sunday drive and the ideal scenery for this taphophile.

I was looking for Mound Cemetery, which is indeed…a mound. A friend was kind enough to share a screen shot via Google Maps. As you can see, it has a very unique layout.


Mound Cemetery has some very interesting Indiana history as described by Genealogy Trails:

Mound (Round) Cemetery is a unique landmark in Adams Township with much speculation that the large perfectly shaped mound which rises about 30 feet was an Indian mound. It is encircled by a road about one-fourth mile in length, forming a circle at a crossroads. The larger portion, three-fourths, of the mound was donated for a cemetery by the Martindale family; the remaining one-fourth was purchased from the Little family. Many of the early settlers of Adams Township are buried there.

When I arrived to Mound Cemetery I was very taken aback. It was eerily quiet. I could only hear distant birds and the wind blowing through the corn. I was very alone. I’ll admit to looking back a few times to make sure I was actually alone. I blame it on the weather.

The cemetery, along with its interesting layout, was beautiful. At its highest point you get great views of the surrounding countryside. I loved this cemetery. I wish it had seating, because I would have sat there for hours.


Here’s a short video of my drive around the cemetery.

Driving on the gravel road around Mound Cemetery.

A video posted by Ashley (@ash_la_folle) on


Here are some shots from the Mound towards the surrounding roads.



The cemetery had many older memorials with hand imagery. There were also a few gravestones dedicated to those who served in the Civil War, World War I and II.









A Repository of Paranormal Knowledge: Artificial Ghosts

This series explores the paranormal basics: key terms, categories, theories, and schools of thought. This will prepare you to be an intellectual ghostbuster. 


An artificial ghost is a ghost created though the collective imagination and energy of a group of people.

The Philip Experiment

In 1972 a parapsychology experiment was conducted to see if humans could create and communicate with a fictionalized ghost. The experiment occurred in Toronto, Canada and was led by several members of the Toronto Society for Physical Research. This group had a diverse set of backgrounds:

The experiment was conducted by the mathematician A. R. G. Owen and overseen by psychologist Dr. Joel Whitton. The test group consisted of A. R. G.’s wife Iris Owen, former chairperson of MENSA in Canada Margaret Sparrows, industrial designer Andy H., his wife Lorne, heating engineer Al Peacock, accountant Bernice M, bookkeeper Dorothy O’Donnel, and sociology student Sidney K. (Wikipedia)

None of these members had ever demonstrated psychic ability.

The group created a man named Philip and his life story:

  • “Philip Aylesford” was born in 1624.
  • He joined the military at age 15 and was knighted at age 16.
  • He was friends with Charles I.
  • He fought for the crown in the English Civil War.
  • He married a woman named Dorothea.
  • While married, he fell in love with a Gypsy girl. Dorothea found out and accused her of witchcraft. She was burned at the stake.
  • Philip committed suicide in 1654 (age 30).

Once the story was complete, the group met to meditate, visualize, and materialize him into existence. After having no success for months, the group turned to techniques used by Spiritualists: seance and table-tilting. Rosemary Ellen Guiley describes their first contact with Philip:

On the third or fourth table-tilting session, the group felt a vibration under the tabletop. The vibration became raps and knocks, and the table moved beneath their hands. When one member of the group wondered out loud if ‘Philip’ was responsible, a knock sounded in answer. Using a simple code of one rap for yes and two for no, the group communicated with the spirit, who claimed to be the very man they had created. Although the spirit was able to give historically correct answers concerning the events and persons–perhaps due to cryptomnesia or extra-sensory perception (ESP) among members of the group–it was unable to provide any information about itself which had not previously been manufactured as part of his life’s history. (The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits 254)

People questioned the validity of the study, pointing to the unreliability of seance methods and the lack of solid controls (Wikipedia). Additional experiments were done with the characters “Lilith” and “Humphrey” with similar results. The Owens believed the study demonstrate that a group’s subconscious could created effects resembling a ghost or psychokinetic (PK) effect, what they termed “PK by committee” (The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits 254).

A short video about the experiment:

Ghosts Created in Labs

Parapsychologists aren’t the only ones creating ghosts. According to mental_floss, scientists created their own ghostly sensations in the lab.

Olaf Blanke, a researcher from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL), first had to find the scientific culprit for these strange sensations [the presence of an unseen entity]. He and his team analyzed brain scans of patients suffering from neurological disorders who experience the ghostly feeling. They found abnormalities in the areas controlling how the brain sees the body, or one’s own spatial self-awareness. These abnormalities “can sometimes create a second representation of one’s own body, which is no longer perceived as ‘me’ but as someone else, a ‘presence,’” says Giulio Rognini, who led the study.

Armed with an understanding of where the feeling of being haunted comes from, the researchers set out to recreate it in “healthy” people. A group of subjects—oblivious as to the experiment’s purpose—were blindfolded, their fingers connected to a robotic device. When the test subjects moved the device, a robotic arm behind them mimicked the movement, poking them in the back. Sounds pretty straightforward, but when researchers introduced a slight delay between the subject’s movement and the resulting poke, the subjects were spooked. They felt they were being touched by another presence. Some even reported sensing more than one “ghost.”

Both are interesting experiments which put forth the question: are ghosts real or something we create (whether through energies or through tricks of the brain)?

Weekly Yuputka: The Halfway House

Yuputka (n.): the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin. 

yuputkaHere’s a great story about a haunted house with some interesting history. This story was one of the winners of Jezebel‘s 2014 scary story contest. The house is pictured above. Enter at your own risk!

The Judge’s Chambers, from user MissAnnThropist

My fiancé and I met in the Washington DC area and after being together for about a year, we moved from the city to the nearby suburb of Rockville, MD.

It was a strange-feeling house even if you’re not particularly woo-woo or believe in vibes. It had a tendency to just attract crazy. One of the upstairs tenants was a painfully-shy and awkward man who worked at the library and looked like the caricature idea of a serial killer. He had been living there since before my MIL owned the building and sometimes when he was drinking heavily late at night (which was most nights), he would pace back and forth loudly and yell. He was unwell to say the least.

More than once, a mentally ill homeless person showed up at the front door of the building, insisting that they either lived there or wanted to rent an apartment. The historic district of Rockville was a “nice” part of town in which you almost never saw people living on the street, so it was even stranger.

A lot of creepy shit happened in the building and a number of things in our apartment in particular.

My fiance’s cigarettes were inexplicably hidden from him a number of times, once on top of the fridge.

The radio in our kitchen would frequently get turned on or off, despite having a manual dial that had to be cranked to the side and clicked on order to power it on or off.

A random smiley face that looked like it’d been drawn by a finger showed up once on the medicine cabinet mirror when we were taking a shower.

Fiance woke up in the middle of the night once and asked me why there was a Confederate soldier walking through our bedroom.

A couple of times, the smell of sulfur would come from the non-functioning fireplace in our bedroom. Twice, the smell of sickly sweet perfume that I can only describe as “Eau de Grandma” flooded our bedroom for reasons I can’t fathom. You couldn’t smell it in the hallway outside of our door or anywhere else in the apartment.

While at home along a few times, I heard a distinctive and animalian growling coming from one of the corners of the ceiling in the living room, but saw nothing. My dogs would lose their shit and bark at the area of the noise until they began shaking and curling up with me.

One morning, we woke up and walked into the kitchen to find a drinking glass sitting in the center of the floor. The glass had previously been sitting IN the sink, so it was a bit puzzling. It was sitting upright and as we moved closer to it, we found that it looked as if something had taken a BITE of out of it and then neatly placed the shards INSIDE of the glass. There was not a speck or splinter of glass anywhere on the floor around it. The other side of the glass had 3 long scratches in it. I didn’t want to touch it and didn’t want my fiance to touch it either, so I picked it up with a plastic bag around my hand like it was a pile of dog crap and took it to the outdoor trashcans.

A couple of days later, a branch from a large tree over the carport (where the trashcans were) fell onto the carport and almost nailed one of the building residents.

If we burned candles in our bedroom, for some reason they would burn so high and hot that it made the room unbearable to be in, even if there was no heat on and it was cool outside. This is in a VERY large bedroom with a 14 foot ceiling.

I’ve been prone to issues with depression and anxiety since my childhood years and even though I loved that beautiful building, living in it was NOT good for me. Even when we weren’t stressed about weird stuff happening there, we fought a lot more when living there, we got sick a lot more, and had just plain bad luck. My fiance had to go back on medication for depression for the first time since before we’d moved in.

We learned at some point that the house had once functioned as a halfway house for psychiatric patients transitioning out of a huge sanitarium that had been open nearby from 1910 to 2001. The sanitarium was called Chestnut Lodge.

About 3 months before we moved into that house, the abandoned Chestnut Lodge building burned down and collapsed. A developer ended up buying the land and building very expensive housing on it, calling the development Chestnut Lodge after the facility. Apparently the sanitarium was an inspiration for “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”.

We didn’t find out until we were moving out a couple of years later that the scary upstairs neighbor originally moved in as one of the last halfway house patients.

My MIL sold the house awhile back, but it took over a year on the market to finally get bought out.