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
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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