Most assuredly great to have Brad Steiger back with us at Examiner. In this interview we discuss his book "Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places". Delving into haunted locales around the world and knowledge regarding the spirit realm. A haunting of a time for sure when it comes to walking the corridors of Brad's mind. I hope you enjoy this interview. Presenting.
1. Could you give us some background history wise on the Second edition of Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places?
BS: Since the book was first published by Visible Ink Press in 2003, I have received dozens of emails and letters from men and women who have recounted their own encounters with real ghosts and restless spirits and from those individuals who expressed their mixed emotions when they found themselves residing in haunted places. Although numerous readers commented on the enormous size of the First Edition and joked about how they could use the book to do bicep curls, this new edition, in addition to retaining the accounts of the earlier edition, contains many new accounts of hauntings and firsthand interactions with paranormal manifestations that can only be identified as ghosts, as well as many new and compelling illustrations.
2. What are your thoughts on ghosts? I am curious to hear your perspective on this? Like for instance if someone sees a ghost dressed in Civil War attire and once I saw Native Americans dressed in complete attire in spirit form. Do you feel these are glimmers from the past from our now moment or actual beings caught in limbo or spirits and they get to choose their wardrobe? Some thoughts on ghosts please.
BS: To answer your first question regarding the sighting a ghost in attire representative of an earlier time period, I would respond that you may well have a glimpsed a glimmer from the past or a combination of phenomena. To answer your second question, What are ghosts?, I offer the following theories:
1. Spirit Residue--After 60 years of research, I have found the largest number of haunted houses are due to what I term “spirit residue.” In these cases a powerful human emotion--fear, jealously, hate, pain--has been somehow impressed into the environment of the house or place. It is my contention that the sounds and sights of the haunting may be perceived by the psyche of the sensitive as if they were images on a strip of motion picture that keeps being fed through a projector again and again. The percipients of these kinds of hauntings cannot interact with the ghosts any more than one can speak with the images on a motion picture or television screen and have the pre-filmed images of the actors respond.
2. Spirits of the Dead--For many years I held stubbornly to the hypothesis that all ghosts were bits of psychic residue. I strictly separated evidence of survival of the spirit after death from accounts of ghosts. As my on-site investigations increased in number, I encountered spirit manifestations that clearly seemed to be the result of identifiable intelligences that wished to communicate messages from the Other Side to loved ones or to interested parties. Other haunting phenomena appeared to be caused earthbound spirits of deceased humans that were unable to detach themselves from the people, places, and things of the physical world and had not progressed to the light of a higher dimension.
3. Poltergeists: --In common parlance, any violent and disruptive haunting is said to be caused by poltergeists--raucous entities that toss objects about the room. In the view of many psychical researchers, such phenomena is born not in the machinations of a ghost or spirit entity but rather in the psyche of a living being who is undergoing some kind of stress, psychic upheaval, or severe and dramatic psychological adjustment. Such an individual (most often an adolescent) expresses unconscious aggression toward others through dramatic manifestations of psychokinetic power (mind over matter). In some cases I have investigated, poltergeist phenomena have interacted with the haunting manifestations that already existed in the home, thereby producing intensely negative and disruptive energy.
4. Spirit Parasites: I used to be as dogmatically opposed to the concept of demonic possession. Many years of research and encounters with entities that are unabashedly evil have convinced me that homes in which murders or other violent physical deeds have been committed may become repositories for nonphysical leeches of the soul that I prefer to call "spirit parasites." These beings are hideous and grotesque in appearance, often manifesting as reptilian-like entities.
5. Spirit Masqueraders: I believe this class of pseudohauntings to be the machinations of another order of beings that in the past we may have called fairies, elves, or nature spirits. These beings are more nonphysical than they are physical. Indeed, they may be paraphysicaI interlopers from other dimensions. They are "in-between" beings, posing from time to time as ordinary humans, disguising the fact that they are really phantoms, creatures that have materialized from some haunted dominion unknown to us. In some benign instances, they may be angels in disguise that have come to give comfort, aid, and inspiration. In some of the more frightening cases, they may be fallen angels that aim to deceive, lie, and enslave. Theoretical physicists now speak freely about parallel universes; perhaps from time to time these entities intrude into our world from a universe that may almost be a mirror image of our own. Or perhaps, as the ancient philosophers suggested long ago, the appearance of spirits is evidence that we are part of a larger community of intelligences, a complex hierarchy of powers and principalities, a universe of interrelated species, both physical and nonphysica1.
3. Being a Stephen King avid reader I saw Shawshank was mentioned in the book as the Ohio State Reformatory? Is this the same Shawshank in the film? And could you give us some information about the hauntings going on there?
BS: The old Ohio State Reformatory at Mansfield, Ohio, made famous by the motion picture based on Stephen King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is said to be haunted by the ghosts of inmates and guards alike, all of whom seem to be seeking some kind of spiritual redemption and peace.
When the reformatory was constructed in 1886, the architect Levi T. Scofield intended that his prison would fulfill the ideals of the mid-19th century-- to teach the incarcerated individuals a skill, instill within them a fear of God, and return to society as contributive citizens. The prison has the largest freestanding steel cellblock in the United States, with cells stacked six tiers high, 593 cells designed for 1,200 inmates.
The State of Ohio abandoned the old reformatory in 1990. In 1995, the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society convinced the state to rehabilitate the sprawling, castle-like prison. In 1999, the Society was permitted to purchase the reformatory and 17 acres for one dollar.
After the motion picture The Shawshank Redemption was released in 1994, the reformatory became popular both with movie fans and with ghost hunters. Among just a few of the restless spirits reported in the Ohio State Reformatory are the following:
*The inmate in Cell 17,who killed himself by dousing himself with light fluid, then lighting up his own body.
*The wife of warden Arthur Glattke, who died under suspicious circumstances in 1950.
*Arthur Glattke, himself, whose spirit has been seen in numerous spots in the reformatory.
*Urban Wilford, a guard who was killed during a prison break attempt in 1926.
In my book, I quote the October 13, 2002 issue of the Detroit Free Press, in which travel writer Gerry Volgenau described the spirit manifestations of the reformatory: “Ghostly images appear. Faces emerge in the shadows... Visitors hear voices, sometimes singing...Most unnerving of all, people say they’ve been touched: a flick to the ear, a finger poke in the shoulder, a push from behind, an ankle grabbed on the stairwell. And...they were utterly alone. Or were they?”
4. I am curious to the story of Abraham Lincoln consulting mediums? I really wanna see the film Lincoln. Would you share it with us?
BS: Abraham Lincoln was constantly chided by the newspapers of his time for his consultations with the spirit world. The Cleveland Plain Dealer lashed at him shortly after his election to the presidency for "consulting spooks." The president-elect's candid reply was: "The only falsehood in the statement is that the half of it has not been told. The article does not begin to tell the wonderful things I have witnessed."
Openly and admittedly, Abe Lincoln consulted mediums and spiritualists of his day. Historians and biographers have recorded that he had a strong spiritual heritage from his mother and her family. His consultations varied from those received from “granny women,” (backwoods fortune tellers) when he was in his youth, to sittings with the most famous mediums of the day during his tenure as president. Reared in an atmosphere where people hearkened to advice from the spirit world, he was never a skeptic.
In times of great crisis, the president's wife would arrange seances to calm her husband. Some of the gatherings took place in the White House itself. Nettie Colburn, a favorite medium of Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as other Spiritualist channels would relay information from the spirit world which the thoughtful president would consider with all the intensity of his serious nature. Lincoln admitted that the messages he received from the spirit world enabled him to come through crisis after crisis. His influence extended to other figures of the time, and even the hard-nosed Union General and future president, U.S. Grant, later turned to Spiritualism.
5. What is a story in the book that you can share with us that you personally found to be the most perturbing?
BS: The old lumber baron’s home in Wisconsin contained elements of the paranormal that continue on occasion to haunt my dreams. The manifestations in that home constituted a persistent living nightmare for its occupants. The lady of the house appeared almost to be suffering psychic battle fatigue from her constant confrontation with the paranormal incidents in her home. We explored the basement, wherein she had so often heard heavy footsteps, thuddings, and scrapings.
We visited each of the upstairs rooms and discovered two additional “cold spots” to the ones we had discovered elsewhere.We ventured up to the attic where the family had so often heard the sound of heavy objects being dragged across the dusty floor. As we opened the door, we caught sight of a wispy something retreating to a darkened comer of the cluttered storage area.
Irene Hughes ( the late famous medium/seeress) gave many psychic impressions as we walked from room to room. As we toured the house, we were treated to an occasional object that suddenly became airborne without any apparent physical cause for its levitation. These were small objects, mostly children’s toys, such as an alphabet block, a plastic dish, and a little doll that had been made from a stocking.
The phenomena seemed to be centered in the second floor and the attic, and the family reported that they often heard the sounds of something heavy being dragged across the floor. Although the house was quite large, the entire family circle, which was composed of father, mother and three children, aged nineteen to six, slept in two rooms downstairs. No one slept upstairs.
The other center of the haunting appeared to be located in the basement, and the phenomena in the eerie area under the house consisted primarily of knockings, thumpings, and the sound of footsteps running down the stairs and shuffling across the floor.
According to family members, the ghostly manifestation of the haunting that terrified the family the most was the materialization of four skeletons in one of the upstairs bedrooms. After appearing in startling blood-red color, the skeletal figures would slowly manifest themselves in what appeared to be solid, three-dimensional representations of a man, two women, and a little girl. Each of the images appeared in period dress of what appeared to be fashions in vogue around the time of the 1890s.
Once the entities had fully materialized, a bizarre ethereal drama would unfold before any witness who might be present to observe the phenomenon. As the ghost of a lovely, long-haired blonde girl sat playing idly with her dolls, the man in the spectral re-enactment strangled one of the women while the other stood by with a pleased expression of immense satisfaction. Over the years, various prior inhabitants of the house and other individuals who had witnessed the grim spirit portrayal had assumed that the haunting might very well have been set into motion by a tragic playing out of the eternal triangle. The ghastly re-enactment seemed to be telling those shocked persons who had witnessed the grisly performance that at some time in the past the man of the house had strangled his wife to please his mistress.
6. How about a positive story involving ghosts like a spirit appearing and bidding farewell to a loved one etc?
BS: I have so many in the book that it is difficult to select just one; however, here is one that is quite moving:
Feeling sad and depressed, Ken Lehmann had left the bedside of his mother, who was dying of cancer. The ordeal had been a long and painful one for his poor mother, as well as an emotionally exhausting one for him. Ken’s father had passed away four years before, and his mother had been in ill health since that time. His mother told him to go home and get some rest, Kenny. She said that he must not stay here another night worrying over her. She pleaded with him to goo home to see his wife Audrey and their children.
Ken said that he would go home and look in on his wife and kids, but then he would come back to the hospital in a few hours to be at her side. When he arrived at home, he saw that the kids were already tucked in their beds, so he sat and talked with Audrey and told her that he was certain that Mom was soon to pass. “I really didn't want to leave her alone,” he said softly, trying to hold back the tears.
Audrey urged him to get a little rest before he returned to his vigil at the hospital. She told him that she had a sales presentation to finish before she went to bed, so she would be up if the phone rang. Ken checked his watch and decided that he would nap for a bit before he returned to his mother’s bedside.
“I couldn’t have slept more than thirty minutes when I felt what I knew to be the touch of my mother’s lips on my cheek,” Ken said. “It was a kiss of such sweetness and love that it could only have come from my mother. “I opened my eyes and sat up. I had left a small lamp on in the room, and there, in the dim light, I could distinguish a kind of mist that had assumed human shape. Although I could not make out any distinct features, I knew that it was Mom. I felt the strongest emanations of pure love flowing to me from that vaporous form. Then it floated out of sight through the ceiling.” When Ken called the hospital a few moments later, he was not surprised to learn that his mother had just died. The night nurse said that she had been about to call him.
“The kind nurse spoke a few words to console me,” Ken said. “But I had just received the greatest sort of consolation from my mother, who had come to show me that there is life beyond physical death. And no one will ever be able to convince me that it was not my mother who gave me that wonderful good-bye kiss!”
7. Let's get into Shadow beings and poltergeists and spirit parasites and things of the negative persuasion. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon and how does one protect themselves from beings with negative intentions?
BS: Sherry and I try always to remember that negative entities and spirit parasites cannot achieve power over anyone unless they are somehow invited into someone’s private space or unless they are attracted to an individual by his or her negative thoughts and actions. A person will become especially vulnerable to such spirit invasion if he or she should abuse alcohol or drugs or exploit someone mentally, physically, or emotionally.
Evil or negativity is an imbalanced, chaotic, destructive energy, the opposite of growth and productivity. When an individual is negative, depressed, and discordant, he or she opens the psyche to an invasion from a parasite from the lower frequencies of the spirit world.
One should be wary of an indiscriminate exploration of the occult or of “ghost hunting” in haunted houses or places. Without the proper discipline, study, and discernment, the ill-prepared will be liable to interact only with those entities who will seek to deceive and entrap them.
Experienced psychical researchers understand that the physical world is closer to the realm of the lower, more negative, spiritual frequencies of the spirit world than it is to the dimension of higher beings. Because we exist in a material world, our psyches will always contain more aspects that are similar to those of the lower vibratory realm than the higher spiritual planes.
If you should have an encounter with a negative being from the more chaotic regions of the spirit world, you will quite likely experience a prickling sensation that will seem to crawl over your entire body. You will instantly be filled with an awareness that you have entered into a very dangerous liaison. If you continue the contact, you will experience a mounting sense of terror or a distinct sensation of unease, depending upon the strength of the discordant vibrations emanating from the spirit parasite. If you should find yourself seemingly locked into such an encounter, utter prayers of love and harmony and ask that higher spiritual guidance be manifested around you.
Those who have accumulated many years of experience researching and exploring the unseen world have come to understand that the spirit world is populated by all manner of discordant entities as well as more benevolent and benign beings. Those psychic investigators who have spent many years perfecting their knowledge regarding the unseen world have also become very much aware that many of the inhabitants of other dimensions of reality have never been human. While some of these discarnates envy human flesh and their human experiences, other such beings hold the human species in the greatest contempt and will seek devious ways to humiliate and destroy their victims. The best way to avoid a negative encounter with a spirit parasite is to seek always to elevate one’s thoughts, works, and deeds to the highest levels.
8. What about the orb phenomenon? What exactly are orbs in your experience?
BS: I pretty much agree with George Michael who states In his e-book Colors of the Soul & Colors of the Web, that when people come into contact with true orbs, they are viewing real, interdimensional vehicles, known to the Egyptians as “sun boats” and referred to in the Bible as “Merkabah.” In the Kaballah and in certain schools of Jewish mysticism, the Merkabah (Merkavah) is the Divine Throne Chariot described in the prophet Ezekial’s mystical experience and is associated with the heavenly realms. In George Michael’s view the orb or Merkabah is how the soul gets around in the earthly dimension after its physical, material, life has ended.
Real orbs, Michael says, can be sensed or heard. The sound they make is a super-high tone, chiefly heard inside the head, beyond normal hearing. Many individuals who have encountered true orbs have experienced the orb speaking telepathically to them.
According to Michael, orbs have many appearances, including globes, globules, balls of light, and hovering round balls, and they range in degrees of illumination from bright and glowing to faded and barely-visible. There is great diversity among the erratic, fast-moving objects, Michael states, because there are many different types of orb phenomena. Some may even be separate life forms or nature spirits. The human spirit or ghost type, he says, are usually seen at about eye-level to about ceiling height and are often filmed in graveyards and haunted locations. The human spirit type may appear larger than some of the other types of orbs.
Hardly a week goes by that Sherry and I do not receive photos taken by sincere individuals who believe that the dust motes, water droplets, and insects are true orbs that they have captured on film.
9. What is the story of the Minotaur of Clearwater Florida by Azhran? I live in Florida and saw that story and thought it would be a weird way to depart this interview.
BS: I have corresponded with Azhran for quite some time and find his explorations into the unknown contain both mystical, as well as psychics, elements. The frightening encounter with the Minotaur seems an example of what he terms a “blend of harmonic inharmonies” that somehow manifest to form an image of a monster from the darker levels of the collective unconscious.
Quoting from his account:
Across the bridge [in the cemetery], the energies there are both very enticing, and heavy, lingering with the essence of damnation. It is here that this Minotaur reigns. Once you come back from the other half of this area, you are overcome with a peace and a more calming effect, in essence without realizing it you feel “safe” again, even though consciously (most times) you never felt like you were in danger to begin with.
I will never completely cross the bridge on the nights of the eerie fog because of what happened on this night I took five friends who were intrigued by my descriptions and wanted to explore. I still occasionally awaken screaming out of terror and guilt.
The night we went happened to be a very foggy evening. Once we spanned the bridge we could see the sidewalk how it curved around in all sorts of ways an eerie labyrinthine yellow brick road so to speak. Close to the ground was the eerie fog, a kind not seen too often in the humid climate of the summer in Florida.
Around a bend in the sidewalk we all saw the ghostly image of a man hanging from a branch at the top of one of the strangest looking trees I have ever encountered. We froze, the fog moved away from the tree as several spirits emerged all surrounding the tree, and then from behind the Minotaur emerged. The spirits were herded into a strange quasi circle as they moved around the tree and behind this creature. I hadn’t encountered something like this before, this was uncharted territory for me, and I was bothered because I had friends with me, who I now felt responsible for their safety, and wasn’t sure what to do. A passing train blew its horn, which snapped us out of it, as we screamed and bolted down the sidewalk, the only destination in mind was “Away”-- except for my friend Jack, who for whatever reason, charged the Minotaur, and the scene faded.
Azhran describes a harrowing time as he and his friends recover Jack and make their way out of the cemetery. Azhran and his five friends part, and it is several days before they make contact and he finds that most of them refuse to discuss the frightening encounter. Three weeks later, he finds that Jack has been taken to the emergency room. Later, Jack’s family flew him to his native home in Connecticut where two days later Azhran received a call telling him that Jack had crossed over. He died at the age of twenty-three, surrounded by his family.
10. What can we expect book wise in the future from the Steigers?
BS: In February, our Four-Legged Miracles: Heartwarming Tales of Lost Dogs’ Journeys Home. Sherry and I are currently completing Real Encounters, Different Dimensions, and Otherworldly Beings.
Purchase this book and many other greats through Visible Ink Press.
Jeffery Pritchett is the host of The Church Of Mabus Show bringing you high strange stories from professionals in the carousel of fields surrounding the paranormal.