So this past week I had an opportunity to take one of the few “ghost tours” offered by the Bellevue Park.  In this ghost tour you get to tour all parts of Bellevue Hall; a place that is frequented by paranormal events.  So it’s the real thing in terms of a haunted house.   There are no intentional props, sounds or planted scares, just an ordinary old mansion with most of the lights turned off so that your imagination can run wild.  At the beginning of the tour, the staff do warn you to not intentionally invite any detected presences to follow you home and to in fact ask them to stay behind.  This is the “real thing” in terms of haunted houses.

And this absolutely got me excited with a giddy sensation of a child.  Some people thought I was a little wierd to want to go to pay admission into a real haunted house.  Wierd or not, apparently lots of other people had the same fascination or thrill I had.  I estimate nearly 50 people of all ages showed up even some kids.

But still I was thinking what is it that makes me want to go to a real haunted house.  Is it because watching a horror movie doesn’t scare me enough?  Well actually I don’t want to get scared!  I get very scared with lots of fictional horror movies.  I kind of knew that the Bellevue Hall tour wasn’t likely to scare, but rather tease with thoughts of “what if”  or “I wonder what’s in that dark corner?” or “Would I dare spend the night sleeping in this house?”.  I mean in every horror movie I’d remember or can imagine things generally only happen when there are two or less people.  A crowd of chatty tourists walking closely together just doesn’t lend itself to getting spooked.  I kind of think that real ghosts are not there to perform for our entertainment and would rather choose to go away and hide until there are a lot less people around.

So on the tour there was no obvious signs of any paranormal activity. Our tour guide mentioned that the hidden entrance to the basement had a latch that frequently unlocks itself at the end of the day.  We got a chance to tour the basement and eventually walk up the stair well to that hidden entrance and see that latch; it was clear there was no way that this latch could accidentally open; it could only open with direct and obvious force.  And yet at the end of the tour another excited staff member met us with a flashlight and with excitement declared the “latch unlocked itself!”  So she said did anyone else want to join her again in the basement and try it out for ourselves?

Another person and myself jumped at the opportunity. We entered the hidden entrance, closed the door and witnessed the latch being shut by the staff member.  I checked it out myself, it was solid shut.  For a moment I wondered if one of us should stay behind to witness the latch moving on its own … I imagined the latch moving and me starting to go in terror trapped with a ghost at the top of the stairs unlatching the latch and me with no where to go but to venture into a basement that is pitch dark and has many of twists and turns to get lost. …. I quickly nixed that idea and stayed close behind the staff member who had the one and only flashlight as she lead the way thru the basement out to other set of steps that lead to the main basement door.  Liked excited puppies we quickly ran back upstairs to the other side of the hidden entrance and pulled on the door … Nothing.  The door was solidly locked. Sighh… yet at the same time maybe a bit of Phew because then I’d be scared.  I waited around maybe 15 minutes and still the door remained locked.  Oh well.

So what is it about wanting to get really close to be terrified to death yet not really wanting to be terrified?  I mean I’ve gone to the Brennan Healing School and have been much more open to psychic sensing so actually one of my fears was that I might be particularly good at making contact with a ghost.  I might have better than average ability to see and sense one of these ghosts.  And this is one twisted area where somehow feeling “better than” is sort of “worse” or at least very confusing.

There were two levels of the Bellevue Hall that the guide mentioned that the strongest paranormal activity: The Basement and the 3rd floor.  OUr tour guide took us to the basement first.

When we were in the basement our tour guide demonstrated use of dowsing rods to communicate with the “entity” in the basement.  The rods moved on their own returning yes and no responses to the questions the guide asked aloud.  She then asked if anyone else wanted to try and lots of people wouldn’t dare touch them.  My curiosity was way to strong so I almost grabbed them out of the tour guides hand.  I asked a few questions silently in my head and the dowsing rods moved to indicate the spirit in the basement was a woman but not from the last owners (the DuPont family) but from the original owners.  As we walked down one of the “secret” tunnels in the basement I felt chills running thru me as the dowsing rods felt as if charged with electricity.  If I had “better than” average sensing ability I was definitely doing a good distorted job of closing my senses down while occassionally peaking out .. “mmm mmmm mmm I see nothing I see nothing, I hear nothing , I hear nothing … what was that? … I see nothing … I am not here … I am just another non ghost believer … mmm mmm mmm”

When we got to the 3rd floor I have to admit I was taken aback. This was the floor the staff have closed to the public because of too many paranormal events.  This floor was definitely the most menacing.  It felt angry, furious, crazy, wild, unstable and dangerous.  Seeing exposed holes in the ceiling and walls certainly added to that feeling.  Note that some of these holes seemed to reveal some other larger cavity or space behind them. This floor had many rooms with many doors and plenty of opportunity to let your curiosity lead you to look at every dark corner or hidden space where something could be hiding.  The guide took us to one room where a child has been spotted thru the 3rd floor window crying profusely.  She took out the dowsing rod and asked if anyone had any questions.  I had a couple questions but I hesitated to ask them. I mean I did want to ask this child spirit “Did you like hiding in that closet that’s now closed and directly behind where the tour guide is standing?”  I felt a terrifying chill when I thought of that question and when the tour guide made a “final call” I remained silent and never asked my question.  I did not ask because, I was scared out of my wits my question would be answered and I’d be dead-on and then that child spirit would recognize that and lock on to me.   Strangely I also hesitated to ask because I would feel embarrassed to have asked such a question in front of all these people — as if such a question was a very vulnerable thing to ask.

So I share this experience with you partly to just allow my little kid share his “Halloween” experience so that some of you can go “oooooh little Willie that was really spooky … you were so brave to go there …. Wooooow” and give my inner child approval.  But it’s more to shed some light on the question of why I wanted to go and why I’m certainly not alone in this venture to want to travel to the edge between terror and safety.

There are certainly a large number of us that love to be scared and spooked out yet at the same time we hate it because it brings us to the parts of us that feel an overwhelming terrifying threat to our survival.  A ghost seems to exhibit that right combination of subtle voyeurism into our worst fears.  It says to you “Please Stay Away and Please don’t look here” and immediately you can’t help but to want to look there and sort of get closer until you witness a big BOOOOO or hear a demonic GET OUT!!!

I tried to intellectualize about why I want to get my self almost scared to death.  But the truth is that there was something about knowing that I was in a real haunted house that I might be possibly rubbing up against passing spirits that I felt more “alive”.  There is something more real about witnessing either first hand or second hand unexplained things that defy all the laws of science and technology.  It is sort of inconvertible evidence for me shown in it’s purest form that something very real exists long after our physical bodies perish; that the impossible is possible and it’s happening all the time right in front of our faces.

There was also a sense of compassion for these spirits which my senses tell me are in a state of perpetually revisiting their life wounds over and over again in this house.  I want to know them, their lives, listen to their tragedy, their sorrows, hopes, and fears and somehow I believe that if I could do that they would be healed and could move on and somehow some part of me would be healed and could move on as well.  It sounds strange for me to say this, but I Love them!

So I guess that’s maybe what draws me.  And that what makes me feel alive.  And I guess that’s also what’s so scary.  And somehow I think that’s true for a lot of us, but for most of us a mildly scary movie or maybe just a rated PG trip to the Haunted Mansion ride in the Walt Disney World theme park is good enough to tease a little of that aliveness in us.

« »