Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
-Shakespeare (from Hamlet)
“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
― Nikola Tesla
I've had a lot of opportunities lately, to think about the paranormal. I'm going to assume that if you're reading this post that you've thought about it a bit yourself (and if you don't believe in the paranormal 1. You might want to stop reading and 2. I don't care, so you might as well go try to invalidate somebody else's trauma).
YIKES but that was snippy! While the mature, polite woman trapped inside me wants to be all apologetic for that last remark, most of me has more or less had it with being called names, and having people who weren't there tell me how lucky we were to live in a haunted house, and how THEY would have done it so much better than we did (and maybe they would have. So what). I really have no problem at all with folks who are genuinely skeptical though. I used to be too, so I totally get it. To be fair, I think most people fall into the 'skeptical' category. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little envious of those who could hold an objective fascination and excitement around all things spooky, without remembering the fear that we felt. I think some people are so much better at it than others though. It's like, some folks can study big cats of the Serengeti and learn tons about them, get great photos and have exciting stories to tell, and others would go and get eaten by a lion. The unprepared and uninitiated (like we were) would likely fall into the second camp (especially since we never planned on going to the Serengeti, never wanted to go to the Serengeti, and weren't even fully aware that the Serengeti is where we had ended up).
While my interest in the subject has gone on long enough for me to understand the fascination and excitement experienced by others and the desire researchers have to learn more (I share that desire!), the experience was incredibly traumatic for us. I watch shows about it on television (in fact, our story will be on TV at the end of the year) and it either seems as though the goings-on are very dramatic and in your face, or tiny things (that are really open to interpretation) are attributed to paranormal forces. It always seems as though the people involved know just what to do, how to handle it, who to call. The reality was so different for us. I think it was a time/location thing (NOBODY talked much about that stuff back then). Even today, most paranormal discussions have an element of the tongue in cheek, and while interesting, one rarely hears about what the impact might be on the human psyche.
My sister (a psychologist) who was there in the house with me, compares what happened to us with being in a psychologically abusive relationship. I don't care that we were were rarely touched (well, rarely, not never. Dawn and my daughter were scratched and bruised). To say we were unable to think clearly was the understatement of the century. We were always afraid; afraid to talk, afraid to make things worse. I don't care how many people say "Oh, it's harmless", we knew, KNEW it wasn't. We knew it on a cellular, visceral level. It's as harmless as any form of psychological abuse could be. And hey, I'm not minimizing abuse by saying so. I have been physically assaulted too, and what happened to us in the house was worse. Not only were we tormented, but we had no way to manage and understand what was happening to us. I can't begin to tell you what it's like to not even have full use of your own thoughts, and to live at that level of fear for six months. And we aren't alone.
One of the most touching things about coming forward with our story was the number of people who contacted me via my fan page to tell me their stories. It touched me because, in many cases, these were people who had had really traumatic things happen to them and I was the first person (a total stranger, no less) they felt comfortable talking to about it. I'm so, SO glad that they reached out, and I understand how hard it is to keep a secret like that. If I could have hugged each one of them personally, I would have. Having to keep the secret makes everything so much worse. But not keeping it can lead to ridicule, which I'm all too aware of. And that can feel like being traumatized all over again. Over this past year or so, I've more or less learned to take the 'Taylor Swift/Shake it Off' route, but it was something I had to learn and I needed a lot of help to do so. I still have tough days. The saddest thing though, is knowing there are still people out there who are suffering in silence. I'm planning to do something about that, hopefully by the end of the year. Not sure what yet, but I'll keep you posted.
Having said all that (and in spite of my previous, snippy comment), I have been really grateful for ALL the folks who have shown their support. The people who get excited about haunting and want to buy and live in haunted houses inspire ME to keep digging! I still want it all to make sense. My logical mind fully expects that we will understand paranormal phenomena someday, and it's the brave folks who get excited about it all that may be the first ones to sort it out. It's an unusual journey, for sure, but one I'm not done taking just yet.