Recipe For A Haunting

What is a recipe for a haunting? What is it that makes a place paranormally-active?

As with most answers, it depends. It depends on the location. It depends on what's on it, beneath it, above it, and around it. It depends on the history. It depends on all the living souls who resided or passed through there, and all the events and moments that occurred. It depends on what's been done to it, spiritually or ritualistically. It depends on weather conditions and field statistics. It depends on who or what has died there...or who or what has been summoned...

A recipe for a haunting is a combination of several or all these things. All the factors that contribute and come together to create a very special, very strange, and sometimes very spooky place. The type of ingredients that make up places like this include the following:

  • History - all the people (and animals) and events that make up a place. Everything that has happened and everyone who has lived there or passed through. And all the changes, transitions, and transformations. What a place originally was, what it became, and what it is now. History is very much vital to what makes a place haunted or paranormally-active. It's basically a one-word summary for a lot of the other factors or "ingredients". Though not everything is always recorded or documented, the history of a location can answer many, if not all your questions and tell you what is going on and why.
  • Death - especially by murder, suicide, war, agonizing illness, or sudden accident.
  • Traumatic/Emotional/Major Events - things that happened at places or in one's life that was very emotional or traumatic for them, such as a heated argument, a wedding, a betrayal, a lavish party, some kind of injustice, or big historical events like battles, assassinations, and executions.
  • Emotion - whether it be bitter anger, intense fear, unbridled joy, or deep sadness, great emotions and feelings tie a person's heart and spirit to a location.
  • Traffic - as in, the number of souls who have passed through or resided in a location or area. Places where many people have stayed or gone through retain that bustling energy and often imprints of them are left behind. Populous public places like hotels, bars, pubs, inns, restaurants, theaters, bordellos, B&Bs, and taverns are a prime spot for this.
  • Ley lines - believed to create places of great power, energy, and even magic where they intersect.
  • Limestone and/or quartz - believed to retain memories or psychic imprints that, if on or near the land/property, can replay the events thus creating a residual haunting.
  • Flowing water - believed to provide and serve as an energy source for spirits.
  • Railroad tracks - believed to provide and serve as an energy source for spirits.
  • Sensitive or medium - someone who can sense, feel, see, hear, and often communicate with spirits, thus becoming a beacon of light for the spirit world and attracting all sorts of entities.
  • Agent - someone who is going through an emotionally stressful and tense time (usually an adolescent) and could be subconsciously exerting psychokinetic energy, creating poltergeist activity and phenomena.
  • Burial grounds and cemeteries - sacred sites designated for graves, mounds, and memorials of the dead. These type of sites should NEVER be disrespected or disturbed.
  • Power lines, power plants, and other sources of high EMF - believed to provide and serve as an energy source for spirits.
  • Rituals/Summoning/Religious Ceremonies - especially ones associated with the black arts or devil worshiping - can invite, invoke, bring in, or open a portal or door to the demonic or other negative entities, whether purposely done or not.
  • Weather Conditions - some believe certain weather conditions, such as lightning storms, can increase, enhance, or provide more potential or energy for paranormal activity.
  • Field Statistics - some believe changes or specific field statistics, such as the moon phase, solar activity, and temperature can increase, enhance, or provide more potential or energy for paranormal activity.


The Mysterious and Macabre Side of McAlester

McAlester, Oklahoma is an interesting town. It has a retro charm to it, with lots of old buildings and places like the Happy Days Hotel and Angel's Diner.  But it serves a serious and important role as "the home of many of the employees of the nearby McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. This facility makes essentially all of the bombs used by the United States military." McAlester is also home of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, which is "the site of a 1973 riot that lasted for days and is generally regarded as one of the worst in American history." Another significant and historic building of McAlester is the large Masonic Temple. As the oldest Masonic building in Oklahoma, the McAlester Scottish Rite Temple towers over the town, with its intriguing architecture and secretive society of the Masons. The city itself has a very historic atmosphere to it, and a bit of a strange one as well. Some people are put off by the vibe of this city, or are not sure what to make of it. Of course, as a paranormal investigator, I'm naturally drawn to places of mystery and unsettling vibes. I had actually participated in two investigations at an apartment complex in McAlester back when I was with S.P.O.OK and G.S.I. But I never knew this city had so much potential in the line of paranormal activity...until I got involved in this next case.

It was early February 2012 when I decided to get involved in this case in McAlester, Oklahoma. The clients had been posting on the Tulsa Paranormal Meetup Group website. My mom had been in close contact with them, talking with them frequently in e-mails and over the phone. I had been staying out of it, not wanting to take on any major cases or formal investigations with me currently not being on a paranormal investigation team. But after hearing so much about what was going on, and then reading about it myself on the site, I could no longer sit back and ignore it. These people had A LOT going on, and they needed help. Or they at least wanted other people to take interest and pay attention, and let them know they weren't crazy. Their reports of activity ranged from frequent loud knocks and bangs that would keep them up at night, to their cat acting strange and scared, to seeing shadows, hearing a growl, and even the wife feeling choked by an unseen presence while lying in bed. But the claims were only the tip of the iceberg. To fully appreciate this case, we must dig deeper. We must find the source of the activity. Which I personally believe, is not one but many things. A true combination of all the right paranormal ingredients, starting with: the location.

The couple were living in a two-story townhouse in McAlester, Oklahoma. To sum it all up...A murder had taken place next door. A pest house where diseased people were taken to was once nearby. As was a retirement home, which most likely housed lots of elderly people, some of which could have passed away there. A "mote" of running water flowed directly behind the house, which could have provided energy. And, there was also mention of there being a connection to the Choctaw indians and the Trail of Tears on the land. So, what we have is a whole lot of death, trauma, and tragedy (as well as a potential energy source) all condensed in that area. That's some pretty powerful stuff, and a perfect recipe for spirit activity. Furthermore, the wife was also apparently a medium or sensitive, so she very well could have been (and seemed to be) attracting spirits. Actually, it seemed as though both of them had some possible sensitive abilities. The couple had told us that they HAD had paranormal experiences and encounters with spirits before moving to this location, however, nothing to this degree. It's possible that this place could have opened them up to it more, the wife especially. Regarding their claims, some of the activity they described sounded more poltergeist in nature. The constant knocks and bangs. And the fact that there was a lot of emotional stress and tension in the home. But some of it did sound like it could have been intelligent. And some of it did sound like it could be negative. Or was trying to get their attention, but if so it definitely wasn't doing it in a nice way, with the growling and choking and everything.

They actually had S.P.O.OK come out and do an investigation, and got some potentially interesting footage. But they still wanted other people to come experience it as well. There was some talk among members of the meetup of doing a cleansing, but once we all sat down together at the meetup with the clients, we decided to do our own investigation first. My friends of the Mid-America Paranormal Research Society would conduct the investigation, and they invited me along as a guest investigator, to which I accepted.

So, we set it up, and close to mid February we drove down to McAlester to see what we could do to help, and what we could experience and capture. Overall our investigation went well, and we did have some activity. After touring the house a bit, Chelsea (from MAPRS) and I went with the clients, driving around the area where the pest house used to be. There is now a country club in that area. We drove up to it, and I immediately felt strange sensations. It definitely felt weird there. My stomach tightened and the air felt heavier. It became harder to breathe in that area. When we got back to the house I walked up the stairs (which I was already kind of uneasy about) and felt I was struggling to do so. At the top of the steps my heart was beating fast and I started getting this really panicked feeling. I don't know why. That lasted a few minutes. The wife told me that the same thing had happened to her after visiting that pest house area and coming back to the house. She said she had felt like something was on her back when she was on the stairs, and said she had fallen down those stairs three times. They'd even heard creaking on the stairs and saw a shadow head down them from the view from their bedroom. I found it difficult to go up and down those stairs the whole time I was there. My legs were wobbly as I went down them, and I held onto the railing for dear life. A little later when I went upstairs, Chelsea told me that the wife wanted me to check out the closet off the master bedroom, which I did. As I got further into the closet the air felt heavier again. Or thicker. My legs felt funny, like it was hard to walk. It was like trying to walk underwater, or through thick mud or something. I told the wife what I felt afterward and she described feeling the exact same thing in there. So....I don't know. Maybe I was picking up on the same things she had experienced.

I did some baseline EMF readings throughout the house. It was pretty much just what you would expect. The K-II and my ELF spiking around electronics and all that. But there were a few times I got a temporary spike and could not get it to do it again in that specific spot. There was also a spot on the stairs where I kept getting a spike, but sometimes it was there and sometimes it wasn't. And then it moved from the middle of the steps to right at the wall. The husband said there was a breaker box on the other side of the wall but that it was further down. I don't know what to make of that spike. It really seemed like it should have been explainable, but then it wasn't completely consistent. I even used my ELF on it the next day and got a reading next to the wall again. So, I don't know. The spike was weird, but I don't know whether to lean toward paranormal or not on that one.

The first thing we really did once we were all set up with the DVR and recorders was go sit in the living room and do an EVP session. We also set out a flashlight to communicate with, and this thing started up before we could even finish telling them what to do with it. We just kept getting response after response with it. It seemed to be telling us it was a little boy, maybe around 4-years-old. They talked to us for a while. We also asked about the woman who was murdered next door, and the flashlight seemed to indicate she was there with us as well. The flashlight would turn on to answer certain questions with a "yes", and it would turn off when we asked it to so we could reset it for the next question. We even had two flashlights going at one point. The flashlight communication went on for HOURS. They were messing with the flashlight the entire night. Even when we all were upstairs and had left a flashlight downstairs on the kitchen floor, they were still turning it off and on. There wasn't anything wrong with the flashlight. It was brand new, fresh batteries and working properly. And walking around the flashlights on the floor didn't affect them. We also put it on the table at one point and it still turned on and off when asked. This was my first time witnessing this in person. I've tried doing the flashlight communication before on investigations and it's never worked for me. So this was just really, really cool to watch and interact with. We should have all if not most of it on film too. When we had it in the dining room, the wife and I were asking it questions. It seemed to be telling us it was a man, and that he was there because he knew the wife was sensitive and wanted her help. He also seemed to clam up entirely when I asked any questions relating to the scary man or dominant man. It seemed he did not want (or wasn't being allowed) to talk about it. But, as I said, this flashlight stuff pretty much went on the whole night. We heard little sounds throughout the night too, but no big loud thuds and bangs like the clients claimed to hear a lot. It seemed like the spirits were really focusing their energy on the flashlight. Later that night the group was doing a session upstairs in the master bedroom and appeared to be communicating with the dominant or negative spirit with the flashlight. He was a little more difficult to get responses from and didn't want to turn the flashlight off when asked. I was actually sitting outside the room at the top of the stairs by myself, staring down at the bottom. But as the group were getting colder in the master bedroom, Chelsea went to get the thermometer, and after taking some readings in the bedroom she announced it went to 66.6 and then turned off. That's when it got my attention and I joined them in the room.

As the flashlight communication died down, the others left me and the wife alone in the room to do an EVP session using my own recorder. She and I asked questions for over 30 minutes, and the flashlight continued to respond. We heard a few little sounds, but again, nothing loud or definitive. We wrapped up the investigation after that. During my sessions I really tried to get the message across to the spirits and make them understand that what they were doing in the house was bothering the clients and that they needed to stop or quiet it down so they could sleep. And that they needed to respect the clients living there and not do things to disrupt their life. It seemed like we had come to a compromise, based off the responses from the flashlight. They seemed to say they were going to behave. The clients told us they were actually able to sleep that night, so maybe it did help. Maybe the spirits just wanted to talk and felt they had been heard. But....we had cameras filming and a lot of recorders going the whole night....so there was A LOT of evidence to go over. My mom, fellow meetup member Tyrone, and I did do the cleansing on Sunday. It seemed like it was going smoothly...at first....but I have reason to believe it didn't complete and wasn't effective. I honestly didn't feel that suddenly lighter feeling afterward like I have with other cleansings. I had had a headache the whole time I was there, and it did go away during the cleansing (same with Tyrone), but it came back when I went and sat down in the living room again. And when I went upstairs the closer I got to the top the harder it was for me to move my legs. It felt unusually heavy and hard to move. The clients also reported continued activity after the cleansing, even after repeated attempts to make the spirits behave or go away. So, it honestly somewhat shames me to say that it was not successful. It does bother me to feel like I couldn't help these people. I really wanted to. I got involved in this case and invested myself in it...I wanted their situation to be resolved...not only the paranormal issues but the personal issues between the clients themselves as well. The truth is, however, some cases just don't end that way. No matter how much you want them to. Sometimes the paranormal activity is too strong...it just won't go away or release its grip on a place (or person). And with an area like this specific one, that really isn't that much of a surprise. But that doesn't mean you should give up or quit fighting. Even if it doesn't work the first time, I would continue to fight for the safety and well-being of clients. Those who are being haunted...plagued....attacked...or just living in fear. They need help.They need someone to be there for them, if even just for company and support. But the clients have to want to continue to fight for themselves. If they don't, there's not much you can do. I've tried keeping in contact with these particular clients. I want to be there for them if they ever need someone to talk to about this stuff. It's incredible how the paranormal can tear a family apart, or put even more strain on a relationship that's already having difficulties. Sometimes people just need to know that someone is on their side, especially the ones they care about the most. But sometimes...getting out is the only way you can help yourself...and each other.

I had wanted to do more with the cleansing...I had wanted to do more about honoring, acknowledging, and respecting the dead. But due to limited time and money, we only focused on the house itself and the entities within. I'm not sure if much can be done with that place. Perhaps the spirits are just too strong or too stubborn. The clients had already had plans of moving, so hopefully they left all that behind and don't have to deal with it anymore. But that location...with everything that could be contributing to the activity, I don't see it suddenly stopping. I think it's there to stay. And I think it's possible that there's even a portal or vortex in that house or area, allowing spirits and entities to easily pass through, coming and going as they please. Maybe some places are meant to be that way. Maybe once the perfect recipe for the paranormal has been put together, it cannot be undone. And maybe we all have our own personal purposes for being brought to them.

 
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