Friday, December 4, 2015

A Haunting in Beverly – I DO Believe In Ghosts – I DO, I DO!

In the Beverly neighborhood on Chicago's south side, old, massive homes line some of the streets in a spooky Halloween-type setting where tree branches look as if they might reach out to grab unsuspecting motorists and plunge them into depths unknown. One of those homes on one of those streets belonged to my friend, Clare. 

On the day I met her, I sat in front of her home for the first time, staring at the structure from inside my car. Something about the house caused my heart to palpitate and I felt instantly uncomfortable. The discomfort was so palpable, in fact, that I had to force myself to brush off my uneasiness just to make it up the sidewalk to the steps. With much trepidation, I climbed the stairs and tried to convince myself that my fearful perceptions sprouted only from my overactive imagination. 

"Want to see the rest of the house?" Clare asked after we drank tea at her dining room table.

No, not really, I wanted to say. But I accompanied her from room to room, anyway, the uneasiness following me with every creak on the floor and through every doorway. As Clare showed me around her spacious house with its giant rooms, she asked me if I wanted to see her basement. 

I didn't, but having never met her until that day, I didn't want to admit to her that basements have always frightened me. As I peered around the eerie underground space, I thought about Wes Craven. Was Clare's basement a model for his A Nightmare on Elm Street movies? Would I find Freddy Krueger lurking in the shadows? 

1984, the year I first met Clare, was the same year the first Nightmare movie appeared in theaters. Combining my feelings and observations with Clare's admission that she and her family shared their home with a ghost, I absolutely, with no hesitation, believed that a ghost lived in her home.

I met Clare through my oldest daughter, Keeley, who had been friends with three of Clare's children. Escaping the rants of her stepfather, Keeley moved in with Clare and had no apprehension at all about moving into Clare's home despite the fact that Clare AND her children had clearly stated that the house was haunted.

Unlike her mother, Keeley believed in nothing paranormal, so it was no wonder when, on her first night living in their home, she ignored admonitions not to intimidate the ghost – Keeley thought everybody was joking about him. 

Since Keeley was the only one tired enough to sleep that first night, everybody but Keeley remained downstairs. All of the bedrooms were upstairs, and if Keeley wanted to go upstairs by herself, she would be alone. Clare and her children were concerned about how Keeley would react if the ghost decided to appear to her in some form, so they reminded her again and again about the ghost.

In addition to the original Nightmare movie, Ghostbusters had also made its debut that same year, and after Clare and her children reminded Keeley again about their "houseghost" and asked once again if she would be OK going upstairs by herself, Keeley climbed the squeaky steps and flippantly remarked, "I'll be fine – if he bothers me, I'll just call the Ghostbusters." 

Clare and her children exchanged knowing glances, thinking her remark would be just enough to set off the ghost, and warned, "He's not going to like that," but Keeley was so certain that no ghostly activity whatsoever would occur, she dismissed their warnings, ascended the creaking stairs to the room they had assigned to her, and jumped on the bed, ready for a good night's sleep.  

Nonbelievers generally don't believe in ghosts until they experience their own ghostly encounters. Some former nonbelievers, after having had experiences with ghosts, now run their own ghost hunting companies. Some of them even televise their findings. Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel and Paranormal State that used to appear on A&E are two ghost hunting programs that come to mind. 

I sometimes wonder what would convince a nonbeliever of a ghost's authenticity, because while I have had my share of ghostly encounters (read Touched By a Ghost if you want to read about one of them), I have always believed in them.

Keeley, on the other hand, had never believed in them. So on her first night at Clare's house, after she had found her room and sat down on the bed, in less than a minute, one single event challenged every belief Keeley had ever held. Because in that minute, as she sat down on the bed, with Clare's family awake and only one floor below her, the bedside table lifted off the ground beside her, and hung in mid-air, rocking.

Something strange happens to the throat of a person who is frightened beyond comprehension – a voice chokes into silence and any attempt to make sound becomes thwarted. Though she tried to scream for help, no voice erupted;  though she tried to thrash her arms and legs around, no movement ensued.

Like the Cowardly Lion who holds his tail, closes his eyes, and cries, "I do believe in ghosts" (in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz), Keeley would now admit to believing in ghosts.

So what about you? Do you think that not believing in something means it doesn't exist, or are you open to the possibility that beings exist beyond our abilities to perceive them through any of our five physical senses and that they roam among us on this planet? If you don't believe in ghosts, what would it take to make a believer out of you?

Just wondering.

One more thing: consider the house's history when purchasing a home in any old neighborhood. Why? Because when Clare sold her house and I asked her if she told the new owners about the occupant she left behind, she responded, "Nobody told me when I moved in and nobody asked me when I sold it." 

I can tell you with certainty that if I ever move into an older home, I'll find out about its history BEFORE I move in.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Astrological Synergy Between The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr

Energy moves our bodies, wires the synapses in our brains, and lights up our world. Synergy is the combined effect generated by the interaction between or the cooperation of two or more organisms that results in something greater than what each individual alone could expect to accomplish.

Individually, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were/are amazing musicians. Together, however, they were exceptional, sensational, phenomenal, and inspirational.

The exchange of energy begins when two creative geniuses (Lennon and McCartney) connect. When others of like mind join forces (Harrison and Starr), they contribute their creative energies as well. 

That energy exchange between hard-working, committed people with a common goal is often palpable. The energy involved in the dynamics of those types of groups is so powerful, in fact, that it can profoundly impact an entire world, as it did with The Beatles. 

Though energy can be measured, it can't yet be analyzed. For instance, what constitutes success in group dynamics? If one person in a group is taken out of the group, how does the group change? Would The Beatles have been THE BEATLES if even one member had been replaced by someone else?

When John Lennon and Paul McCartney met, they connected on a level that allowed them to support and encourage each other while they merged their unique talents and their individual styles. Some part of each of them was drawn toward the other through some invisible force that created musical harmony. They became a team with a purpose. 

When George Harrison joined The Beatles, another element was added to the duo – another dimension where more energy interacted with the already established duo and the relationship changed to include George. By the time Ringo Starr became a member of The Beatles, all of the elements necessary for an electric and eclectic mix of poetry, magic, and music combined to create the phenomenon known as The Beatles.

The dynamics of any group, however, are complicated. In the case of The Beatles, those relationships included not only the relationship between the four of them, but also John's relationship with Paul, John's relationship with George, John's relationship with Ringo, Paul's relationship with George, Paul's relationship with Ringo, George's relationship with Ringo, and a still different dynamic when only three of them were together.

Combine talent with skill, innovation with music, and personality with passion, and you get The Beatles. The Beatles affected people of all ages around the globe. Would it be possible to duplicate that kind of success in the music world again?

Energy in a horoscope is found through aspects – the way the planets and signs relate to each other. Can the merging of the energies with The Beatles be shown astrologically? 

Astrologers look for many factors when trying to determine relationships between people. One of those factors is harmonics, or the mathematical relationship between various aspects in two or more horoscopes. 

An astrology chart is divided into twelve houses. Beginning on the left side of the circle, just below the horizon, sits the first house. Going in a counter-clockwise direction, the next house (the second house) sits next to the third house, and so on until the chart ends at the twelfth house. The astrological chart is a mathematical computation that takes into account the longitude and latitude of the birth place, the exact time of birth, and the date of the individual's birth.

Once the math has been computed (in the "old days" astrologers computed everything by hand and it sometimes took hours – today computer horoscope programs take only seconds after inputting the information), the astrologer (or program) assigns planets and signs to individual houses and interprets the relationships between those planets and signs.

Conjunctions (planets and signs that align with each other) and trines (planets and signs that are four houses away from each other) show "easy" relationships. Squares (planets and signs that are three houses away from each other) and oppositions (planets and signs that are six houses away from each other) show friction or "hard" aspects.

In the case of the Beatles, the relationship between the four (see graphic with all four names) shows lots of conjunctions, but also enough oppositions and squares to make life for The Beatles very interesting and challenging. 

What astrologers might find particularly interesting is what appears in the second house of money and assets. Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, aligns nicely with all four musicians. Any astrologer looking at this combined chart could see, in retrospect, why The Beatles saw an unexpected rise to fame. 

Also, the sign Leo, a common sign for entertainers, shows in the fourth house of home and family. These four felt at home with each other in the early years when their stars shone brightly.

So the question is, could The Beatles success be duplicated in our lifetimes? Never say never.


Photo of the Beatles is from wikimedia commons.

The four natal (birth) charts of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

The combined chart shows (from inner circle outwards) the charts of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison. A combination chart always starts with the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries.