Is there an organic explanation to why we attract what we fear most? This is a question the Olsen family has been asking for years. The old saying goes that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but this provides little comfort to the members of a family that appears to attract strikes by lightning spanning four known generations. Unfortunately for them, it has been proven that lightning can indeed strike the same place twice. Lightning has absolutely no memory and has as much chance of striking any place despite its previous actions. But, what is the likelihood of it hitting moving members of a familiar line multiple times? According to National Geographic, "The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000."
Apparently, if you're an Olsen, your odds seem to be much greater! After examining and mapping the family tree, something mysterious was revealed. Since 1899, ten members of the Olsen family from Illinois have been struck or nearly struck (within feet) by lightning.
In May of 1899, at the age of 23, Christ Olsen was killed during a visit to his fiance's home. Oddly, years later in 1921, Ollie, Christ's brother was struck and killed at the barn door while checking on animals during a storm. Understandably, their sister Christine lived the rest of her life in fear. In 1941, Christine's worst nightmare came true. While caring for her grandson, Bill, Christine's living room was struck by lightning. Thereafter, she'd race to the car hoping the four rubber tires would insulate her from another strike during a storm.
However, that's not the end of the stormy strangeness. Two decades later, in 1961, Bill the now grown grandson and his daughter were barely missed by a ball of lightning that struck his kitchen. Five years after that incident, in 1966, Bill's cousin Connie was walking to her sister's car after leaving work when she was zapped by lightning. Despite the hit, Connie survived. Four generations later lightning is still attracted to the Olsen family. When Bradley Hampbel visited his grandmother, he was nearly struck by lightning that hit a nearby barn door. A black chard mark reminds him just how close he came.
Is there something organically inherited, passed down the genetic line of Olsen's that makes them more likely to attract lightning? Is it a curse, something supernatural or mere coincidence? Who knows, but the events do seem extraordinary.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
It all started in a little place called Cambridge in 1855 when a group of gentlemen from Trinity College began discussing ghosts and psychic phenomena. The official coming out, or formal announcement of The Ghost Club appeared in The Times (London),1862. As far as we know, The Ghost Club is considered to be the first organization of its kind to include respected academic figures. Not only did they openly share and exchange ideas on psychical abilities, but members also participated in paranormal investigations.
Spiritualism came into vogue during the Victorian era in response or rather rebellion to Puritan ways. Many Victorians were inclined to abandon conventional religious teachings for a more enlightened way of thinking. It's thought that the writings of Charles Darwin, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the reputable physicist, Sir William Crookes played a role in influencing the turn in thought.
One of The Ghost Club's earliest members was Charles Dickens. I can only speculate that discussions from these gatherings had some creative influence on his story-writing, including the classic tale, The Christmas Carole.
The founding members actively investigated places considered haunted and people claiming to have psychic ability. One of the group's earliest investigations turned out to be the debunking of the Davenport Brother's spirit cabinet. Even though they proved it was a hoax, it was never officially published in The Times.
After Dicken's death, The Ghost Club dissolved until it was revived on All Saints Day in 1882 by Alfred Alaric Watts and Reverend Stainton Moses. At the same time, another group formed, The Society for Psychical Research (SPR). Some people in the community, including Reverend Stainton Moses were members of both organizations. The fundamental difference being that The Ghost Club remained a secretive and selective group of true believers in the paranormal, whereas, SPR was made up of individuals dedicated solely to the scientific study of psychical phenomena.
All historical documentation of The Ghost Club's existence barely escaped being destroyed. During an 18 month wrap of the club's meetings, and due to the confidential nature, members suggested that any trace be erased. However, the British Museum agreed to keep the clubs material secret until 1962.
Despite deaths, internal disruption and changing of club presidents, The Ghost Club still remains. The club continues to meet monthly at the Victory Services Club in London and yearly investigations are scheduled.
Judging by the number of television reality shows and movies in the current market, you'd think interest in all things paranormal was a fairly new trend. However, this is not the case. With increased circulation into the mainstream, a lot of misinformation and exploitation regarding paranormal phenomena continues. I truly hope the good will outweigh the bad. Perhaps, it will generate continued scientific research, influence creative thought and heighten the general acceptance of things that we can't readily explain.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Intuitives, Sensitives and Psychics: What's the Difference?
Throughout my travels, research and everyday conversations, I've
experienced a variety of reactions from people when paranormal terms sneak into the discussion. Either the people I'm speaking with will show polite interest and curiosity, or I get the rigid scorn of skepticism and crossing of the arms. Most are cautious and are trying to determine if I'm a total nutter, a crazy woman, or perhaps, credible on some level. Previously, I was reluctant to discuss anything paranormal with people outside of my immediate, trusted circle. Let's face it, no one wants to be thought of as a weirdo or mentally unstable. Even those who are more open to the possibilities still have preconceived notions or images about the paranormal. This is understandable since by definition it is outside the norm. I admit, I still lean towards the side of cautious skepticism and don't believe everything I personally hear, see or even feel. I choose to study, interpret and analyze certain information to determine (not always successfully) from, where and why it's being relayed.
I realize that if I trip while walking, it's probably because I wasn't paying attention to where I was going, or if I taste something bitter, it's because a random spice got mixed into my food. However, there are times when the five senses can't provide the immediate answer, and this is when I pause and take a moment. This is where my passion for awareness, further study and answers thrives.
More times than not, the term psychic conjures images of 1-900 infomercials, neon signs in shady neighborhoods, wrinkled grandmas with crystal balls, voodoo ceremonies, circus acts and the local nutter who dances around in a field wearing bright colors and loving trees. What!? I only do that on the solstice. LOL. We can thank the creative cons who have successfully exploited sciences inability to definitively prove the existence of other sensory abilities for such universally shared imagery.
My attempt in discussing this is to hopefully break down the basics defining intuitives, sensitives and psychics by putting them in the simplest of terms to show the science and fluidity behind the extra-sensory abilities of people. In reality, these levels of a 'sixth sense' are not abnormal. At the lowest level we all possess intuition, which guides survival of our species.
Without getting too metaphysical, philosophical or scientific, I'll begin by stating
we (humans) are inherently designed to sense and react to all forms of life and the physical world. It's been proven that we live in a world of streaming, "Energy that cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another." In fact, Albert Einstein is the most famous mental intuitive in history. He understood this concept better than anyone. What we have labelled as psychic phenomena is merely energy that carries or holds vibration, intelligence and emotion. Energy is flowing, connecting and withdrawing all around us. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it is not there. It is the unseen nature of what is. This 'stuff' has already been or is on its way to being physical.
We've been biologically equipped with functions to aid us in our environment. Think about smell, sight, hearing etc. We hardly give much thought about these physical senses, so why do we second guess the possibility of other inherent tools? Doesn't it make sense that by design we'd be outfitted with more? Think about these other (sixth or seventh) senses relating to wisdom and strength, we just access them differently than we do physical senses such as taste or smell.
To better understand the different psychic types, I've broken down three: Intuitives, Sensitives and Psychics. By doing so, it might appear that lines are drawn between categories, but this is only for explanation purposes. As people accept and develop abilities they may evolve from one to another, or they may not. It is a fluid process and sadly, not much is understood about why it occurs. Many theories and solid bases are being established, but nothing absolutely conclusive has yet to be proven (as far as skeptics are concerned). If you are a person who possesses abilities you already have your proof. You know what is absolute, but it is difficult to transfer this knowledge to the current scientific community.
Intuitives have the ability to understand or know something immediately and without conscious reasoning. They possess a knowing, or receive intense impressions through feeling or emotions. Meaning what they are experiencing is more than just an instinct, but rather an overwhelming wave that is impossible to ignore. Also, some intuitives experience physical body aches, pain or nausea. Most impressions come though as thoughts, conceptions or ideas. Being intuitive may be frustrating because it's difficult to explain to others how you know what you know, without having previous knowledge.
Sensitives, or sometimes referred to as highly-sensitive people (HSP) are more receptive to electricity, electrical fields or waves, sounds, smells, moods, emotions and extra-sensory conditions and presences. They may not be able to explain, understand or communicate what they are sensing, but they know it is happening. It seems there is a biological difference in sensitives that allows their nervous system to process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly than the average person. It is also thought to be hereditary. Manchester Paranormal Investigation (MPI) states, "It is estimated that approximately 15-20% of humans have nervous systems that can be described as highly-sensitive. Sensitives are spiritually, mentally, or emotionally attuned to things outside of the ‘normal realm of consciousness’."