Friday, December 7, 2012

A Word About ORBS

      My husband Matthew and I have some very unpopular opinions on the subject of orbs.  From the research we've done we can only conclude that most folks think these fascinating spheres of light are nothing more than dust. I can agree, to a point.  When we catch these orbs on digital cameras, they certainly resemble what dust looks like.  We have purposely stomped on a rug just to get the dust moving and snapped away, revealing a plethora of fancy orbs dancing all over the place. However, there is a problem.   A few years ago, we both started seeing these orbs with our naked eyes.

     We started to notice our dog jumping up from the couch and chasing something unseen. Having already experienced the paranormal, we are, understandably, a bit sensitive to the possibility that there might be something in our presence that we could not see. So we started taking pictures every time our dog behaved this way and, almost without exception, there would be an orb or two right where he was pointing.  They were on the ceiling, on the walls, big ones, little ones, clusters, moving ones with 'jet streams' following them,  and rainbow ones standing still.  The more this happened, the more we really started to pay attention.  I believe we came to the following conclusion:

Just because something looks the same as dust in the camera does not necessarily mean that it cannot be other than dust.

Then we started seeing them with our own eyes, without the camera.  And, we were able to point to where we saw them and take a photo and there they were.  They look like twinkling stars sometimes, or like a small golf ball, occasionally with rays coming off of them.  They look very much like the benign orbs I saw at the house  in which we used to live ......the Grave's End house.  I find it fascinating that this phenomena has once again become commonplace in our home.   We sit by the TV in the living room, cameras by our side, and just relax. We go about our normal evening and sometimes nothing shows up, but.....sometimes......we see the same thing at the same time and get it on camera nine times out of ten.

We have quite the collection of photos at this point. I brought them to a recent lecture I gave and the audience was both interested and very skeptical.  Well, so am I.  But there they are.  I will try to post some of them to this site as soon as I can figure out how.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paranormal Witness - The Aftermath

So, a few days have gone by since the show.  My initial reaction of "that was fun" has been replaced by "wish I hadn't done the show."   I very much want the subject of the paranormal to be taken seriously and I'd forgotten how silly it can be treated by certain folks.  I went through this when the book was first published and I should have known better.  My bad.   When I Google my name, instead of just coming up with people talking about the book or the paranormal in general, I get "Sheepshead Bay Woman Held Down in Bed by Angry Spirit",  "Gravesend Woman's Sci-Fi Tale" and, the most offensive, - a N.Y. newspaper's headline, "Horror House."  After spending more than an hour with one of their reporters, talking to him about our experience and how amazing I thought it was and how our paranormal experience even lead to compassion for whatever was in our home, 'Horror House' was the best he could come up with.  I know the genre invites this sort of thing, but I wish it didn't. There are books out there, stories out there, besides my own, that take these matters seriously and wish to elevate the whole idea of ghosts/hauntings/after death communication, etc. to subjects that can be talked about with the same respect as any other legitimate experience. But that would lessen the entertainment value, and that's what TV is all about.  I knew that. I kept thinking about an episode of Paranormal Witness that we'd seen last season about a deceased woman who appeared to others in order to save the life of her injured son.  I cried during that show. It showed how a traditionally 'frightening' experience can be viewed in a poignant and compassionate way.  I had hopes that some of those values might have ended up in our episode. The little lady in the white dress was a sad figure, not a scary one. The old couple from whom we purchased the house had lost their only son and daughter-in-law. I wish the TV show would have chosen to focus on those elements of the haunting.  But again, I should have known better. My bad.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Paranormal Witness"


     This Wednesday, August l5th, at l0 pm, the SyFy channel will air their second episode of the new season, "A Brooklyn Haunting."  This hour-long episode is based on the SyFy channel's extensive interviews with myself and members of my family.  They seem to be quite thorough,  not to mention really nice folks.   I had been approached by two other TV shows, but after viewing their work, decided against it.   I have always felt that the story I documented in Grave's End sort of speaks for itself and does not need too much hyperbole. However, I also understand that SyFy has a show with an audience who wish to be entertained, so I am expecting a certain amount of CGI and scary stuff.
     The people with whom we met were, without a doubt,  kind and attentive and seemed sensitive to our story, seemed to understand that what happened to us was personal.  I watched the last season of Paranormal Witness and was very impressed at how they presented the stories.  They seemed to focus on not only the paranormal events, but also the people and/or families to whom the events happened.
One show about a mother, after her death in a car crash, trying to get help for her still alive son who remained in the wreckage, was done so beautifully, with heart and feelings and respect for the family involved.  It was one of the few 'ghost shows' that I can say truly touched me. Very well done.
     The interview process was a bit uncomfortable.  They booked a studio in Williamsburg that, unbeknownst to them, had little to no heating.  They came from England and booked ahead of their arrival so I am sure they were as shocked as I at how cold the studio really was.  It was mid-December and a freezing day outside.  I sat there, under the lights, for over eight hours and felt like I was going to start to shake so hard that they'd have to stop shooting.  They put blankets on my legs, gave me hot coffee and tried their best to make me comfortable, but, in retrospect, I don't know if I'd do the interview again under those same circumstances.  It took me hours after I got home to truly warm up. I was chilled right to the bone.  The lights did not prove to warm up anything, and they had a portable heater by my knees, but nothing helped.  It was so, so cold.  Just thinking about it makes me shiver (which, considering how hot it is today, is sort of welcome!) Even at the time I wondered how being so cold might affect the interview.....well, we shall see on Wednesday. They interviewed Matthew, Christine and my brother Joey on a different day, thankfully, so they weren't quite as cold.
     It's a little nerve wracking to let other people present your story.  I don't know how we look, although I got a glimpse of myself on the preview.....not impressed..... and, more importantly, how will our story be shown?  Will it be all scares and no substance?  Will they take things out of context? I am trusting the SyFy crew to do a good job.........

Friday, July 27, 2012

How can anyone really know?

It always fascinates me to hear someone say that they are positive there is no such thing as the paranormal. I am a skeptic, yes, but a very open minded one. I know that I don't know. I know that in this amazing universe, or multi-verse, anything is possible. There was a point in time when the idea of germs was laughed at, to the peril of countless patients. Germs were suspected long before they were seen in the microscope, but way after their effects were felt.  Doctors knew patients were more likely to get sick if they were near someone else who was sick, but could not explain the mode of transmission.
Ludicrous explanations were offered......witchcraft and sorcery, to name a few.....but nothing sensible.
Once the germs were actually seen the explanation was crystal clear and science then set about learning how to protect patients from the tiny, nasty invaders.  With paranormal experiences,  I feel we are kind of at the stage of seeing the effects of something, i.e. balls of light, but not knowing what it really is, so we offer the best explanation we have right now.....ghosts or goblins or visual disturbances......but these semi-conclusions do not fit the bill entirely.  I believe someday science will cross streams with the paranormal and explanations  for much of the phenomena will pop up that will be crystal clear, and quite surprising to both schools of thought.  Isn't that idea even more exciting than just assuming everything paranormal is caused only by the usual suspects?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Was Our House Really Haunted?

   The dictionary definition of 'haunted' is as follows:  To inhabit, visit or appear in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being.  By that definition, our house was surely haunted.  However, I still feel that the definition needs to be changed, or at least broadened.
    While we were experiencing all the phenomena it certainly did feel that ghosts or other supernatural beings, as conventionally understood, were inhabiting our house.  I don't have any other explanation for the apparitions some people saw, or the noises we heard or what made a glass jump up from the arm of my chair, in front of me and Christine, and hover, mid-air, then come down, finally resting at my feet.  I have no other explanation for the varied phenomena Karin experienced, or for the suffocating dreams or voices of giggling children or floating balls of light and small, shadowy shapes that seemed to like being in our living room.  It all sounds so unbelieveable.....even to me......even as I type this.  Did that really happen to us? Yes, it did.  But I wish it could have been explored more.  Let me explain.
    When there is frightening phenomena happening, it is normal to want it to stop and normal to try to put in into an understandable box.  You see an apparition and go along with the accepted dogma that it must be a dead person trying to communicate.  But what if we are way off about how we view the paranormal?  For instance, at the time our haunting took place, there was no internet access.  There were no ghost shows on T.V.  The topic was not freely discussed and it was frowned upon by most people I knew. This made it harder to come to the conclusion that we had an actual haunting occurring, and also made it easier, once that idea was accepted, to view it in the traditional manner and seek traditional help, i.e. a psychic investigator and a medium. But I have always felt, as I express in the last chapters of my book, that we missed something, that there was more to what was happening to us than was so easily categorized. 
    We now know that there are a few different types of hauntings: There are the residual types, which means that an action by a person seems to be recorded somehow and played back over and over, the apparition doing the same things, including walking through walls that were not there when the original action took place. Sounds reasonable, except I can't understand why this type of haunting is not causing more of a fuss.  I mean, recorded.  On what?  Some universal DVR?  When I hear this mentioned on TV I want to scream out, Isn't this the most fascinating thing ever??
      There are other hauntings where the phenomena seem to be interacting with living people. There is ESP and psychokinesis and clairvoyance, all of which I will get into at another time. Parapsychologists are discovering new bits and pieces of the paranormal puzzle all the time.  I hear more now of EVP's,  which are electronic voice phenomena, or the recording of voices when no one has spoken into the recorder.  Electromagnetic activity seems to both rise in the presence of ghosts, and, at the same time, the existence of a high electromagnetic field seems to cause various uncomfortable feelings often mistakenly attributed to hauntings.
     There are just so many questions, not just about our haunting, but all of them.  Perhaps they really are caused by disembodied souls trying to communicate. But what if psychic phenomena is a window into another dimension that has nothing to do with death?  There are just so many possibilities.
     I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel to describe what happened to us in that house as merely a 'haunting' doesn't go far enough.  I think if we had taken the time to dissect it more, the way Karin wishes it had been, perhaps some very interesting insights into the paranormal could have been uncovered.
  What I do know, even though I am still a skeptic and still question, question, that there were elements of our haunting, most specifically the suffocating dreams, the balls of light, and the apparitions we all saw, that made me understand there is something that exists after this life ends. I don't think everything that happened to us points in that direction, but these experiences, for me
help me to believe in an afterlife.  What that afterlife is exactly.....well.....who knows?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Did We Stay So Long In A Haunted House

       This is the most frequently asked question concerning Grave's End, so I thought I'd address it first
The haunting, as described in the book, lasted about thirteen years.  It is important to understand that, as I state in the book quite a few times, the activity was never constant, and we had frequent respites lasting sometimes for nearly a year.  Given so much time, it's  easy to push events out of your mind, especially if you don't want to believe they are paranormal in the first place.  There is no way we could have remained in that house if it were not for these appreciably long breaks.
     Another reason is that, although frightening in its own right, this was an actual haunting, not one that appeared in a Hollywood film.  No one was thrown against the wall or vomited pea soup or had anything actually harm them. No creepy music played in the background and no one's eyes turned black. The most violent thing that happened was when the clip flew at Karin, and we responded by getting out of the house for a while.  Even the nauseating suffocating dreams were a minute or two in length and neither Karin nor myself felt we were ever in any danger.  It may sound incredulous to many that these experiences could be almost incorporated into our lives, but they were.  They were in the background, not the forefront, of our daily existence.  The lengthy times between occurrences helped the most and allowed us to simply go on living as if there was nothing amiss.
     The other reason for staying so long was the truly all encompassing nature of my dysfunctional first marriage.  The relationship and all its frustrating and hurtful nuances was a constant preoccupation, for myself as a wife and, more regrettably, for my children, who had to cope with their parents' flawed emotional life.  During some good times, we tried to imagine working things out. Marital therapy, a trial separation, nothing helped.  There were arguments that never should have been allowed to happen, and the continuous and draining stress and strain of an unhappy union was, by far,  the most prevalent problem in that house. In all seriousness,  the occasional 'odd' happening or suffocating dream was not as disruptive to our psyches as the daily grind of that marriage.
     I have no desire to speak of the intimate details of that relationship, but I have to say that it was disturbing enough to nearly render me incapable of concentrating on anything else.  It took me years of therapy to get the courage to break out, go to nursing school and learn how to stand on my own two feet.
     It was only when I finally had the courage to end that relationship that I truly came into my own, and fully acknowledged the other events occurring in our home.  The most active part of the haunting happened after I was separated and living alone with my daughters.  Without my ex-husband's presence and the stress of that marriage, there were less respites and more concentration on the haunting. I finally had the courage to face that head on too. 
      Sometimes it's hard for me to recognize the woman in Grave's End as myself.  I am now quite assertive, very proactive in most areas of my life,  and no longer fear what people might think or say about me. I look back and it appears to me that I was stuck in some sort of emotional quicksand during that portion of my life, and I am so glad to be where I am at the present time.  
     Sometimes I wish I would have written Grave's End as a memoir of a woman overcoming a destructive relationship, with the paranormal occurrences taking a back seat instead of the other way around. It would have been closer to the truth, but even more invasive than the original.  It is unsettling to put your personal life onto paper and, in retrospect, I don't think I would have liked to share with the public the intimate details of my marriage and all it's labyrinths of pain, and all the emotional injuries sustained by every one of us, to this day. 
     Perhaps Grave's End was better off just being a little book on the paranormal experiences of one family. Less painful that way. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

 My name is Elaine Mercado and I am the author of the book, Grave's End, A True Ghost Story, published by Llewellyn Worlwide in 2001.  In the years since my book was published, and after the initial booksignings, radio talk show and cable television appearances, there remains a surprisingly steady stream of interest regarding the paranormal activity addressed in the book. This blog is my attempt to answer some of the more common questions that seem to come up for some readers.  I also wish to say that I remain very grateful to all the readers of  Grave's End. What I thought was just this little book about my family's experiences with the paranormal, has turned out to be so much more.  I have a stack of 'thank you' notes from so many people who took the time to share their experiences with me, who thanked me for making them feel less crazy.  Some even wrote how reading Grave's End made it easier for them to believe in an afterlife.  I am quite grateful for this, and I hope this blog can serve as a vehicle to further explore the existence of ghosts, orbs, electronic voice phoenomena, etc.  I am looking forward to expressing my changing views on all things paranormal, as well as exploring the different views of many people out there who have also had encounters with the paranormal.