Ghosts & Spirits Tarot

Since I just got done reviewing “The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations” by Claude Lecouteux I thought now would be the perfect time to take a look at “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” by Lisa Hunt. I know I seem to be near pants wetting excited over every tarot deck I review, but seriously you guys, “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” is incredibly impressive. How impressive? Incredibly.

I have to say, I think the masterful Mr. Claude Lecouteux himself would be impressed with the amount of work Lisa Hunt put into “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” because what you have here is a tarot deck where each card depicts a different spirit, ghost, or liaison between the earthly and spiritual realms from folklore and legend. So yes Lecouteux fans, all the subjects of his books that have been reviewed here on The Buffet are represented in this deck: The Wild Hunt (The Chariot), Vampire (The Hanged Man), Revenants (Six of Cups), and yes party people, even the Poltergeists from the last review (Ace of Swords).

Ace of Swords - Poltergeist

I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you that I would gasp with surprise and glee with each page turn of the booklet as a treasure trove of creatures and characters were revealed. La Llorona! The Flying Dutchman! Headless Horseman! White Ladies! Each entry has a brief description and bit of context along with a divinatory meaning.

The artwork is perfectly suited to the subject matter and despite the obvious darkness implied, Hunt brings beauty to most of the cards despite the specter of death the hangs around ghosts and spirits. I’m a fan of the Day of the Dead and I became quite smitten with Hunt’s rendering of it for the Ten of Cups.

Ten of Cups - Day of the Dead

And I was swept up by The High Priestess, who in the “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” is an Enchantress/Sibyl. Hunt’s text brings perfect understanding to what we see in the card.

The most famous oracle of Greek/Roman legend, the Sibyl of Cumae (Italy) guided Aeneus through the land of the dead and enabled him to return to the living. The Sibyl interweaves the energies of past lives and future events. She illuminates the scene where dream-like specters mingle with relics of the past. A pathway provides a passage to clarity and higher understanding. The sparkles indicate a divine presence.

The High Priestess - Enchantress/Sibyl

What else can I say to convince you that “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” by Lisa Hunt is 100% amazing? How about even though I received a free copy to review I went ahead and bought a second copy so I could get it signed by the artist? Did I mention I found this deck incredibly impressive?

The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses

Paranormal enthusiasts! Wake up! Over here! Over here! If you consider yourself a paranormal investigator, a ghost hunter, or an armchair paranormal expert I am about to tell you about THE book you need to read if you want to have real game. We’re talking about separating the boys from the men, the Caspers from the, from the, well I can’t think of the name of some adult type ghost but you get the idea. What we’re talking about my friends is Claude Lecouteux.

Regular Buffet readers know that it is no secret that I adore Claude Lecouteux’s books. It started with “Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind”, a rare look at revenants. Then it was “The Secret History of Vampires: Their Multiple Forms and Hidden Purposes”, where indeed Lecouteux revealed all kinds of vampires. Lastly there was “Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead”, which was one of my favorite things of 2011 AND inspired me to start a new household tradition! And now Lecouteux offers us “The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations.”

As I’ve come to expect from Lecouteux, the level of research is astounding. The book opens with a thoughtful discussion of “What is a Poltergeist?” His aptitude with medieval texts means that “Poltergeists” is not only filled with stories you’ve probably never read before, but it also allows Lecouteux to track the evolution of belief in, and explanation of, poltergeists. A particular highlight for me is back in the Appendices where you’ll find the debunking of a 1649 instance of poltergeist activity. Also in the Appendices; Exorcismus domus a daemonio vexatae (Rite for the Exorcism of a House Tormented by a Demon) which is how priests would attempt to rid homes of poltergeists in the Middle Ages when poltergeists were considered to actually be the Devil or demonic activity.

I can’t imagine a more thorough text available on the subject of poltergeists and the homes they haunt. Are they spirits, genies, the dead, the Devil, demons, witchcraft, hoaxes, or from psychokinetic abilities? Lecouteux covers all of that as well as the variety of ways people from all eras would attempt to rid themselves of poltergeists. If you’re anybody who is anybody claiming to know anything about the paranormal, you have to read this book. Also, if you’re anybody looking for an insanely fascinating read about the evolution of poltergeists in human culture, you also really should read this book.

STUFF!

While I’ve been sitting on the sofa letting my ass get wide working my way through old seasons of “Chuck” and “Numb3rs”, and getting sucked into new television like “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm” (Damn you Hulu!), friends of The Magical Buffet have been actually accomplishing things. So much so that I’m way past due in giving you guys the rundown on all that has been going on.

My friends at the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society have a new website going. It has many of the same features as before, like a chat room and forum, but the upgraded site now also gives them the capability to broadcast investigations live online! Nifty, right? If you haven’t checked them out before, now is the time. www.nnyprs.com

Remember Paula Chaffee Scardamalia who wrote the wonderful essay “Weaving a Woman’s Life” for The Buffet? And how she had a wonderful book, shockingly titled, “Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom”? Well that book is now available as an e-book! Also, her more current work under the umbrella of “Divining the Muse” has a beautiful new website! You can learn more about getting a copy of “Weaving a Woman’s Life” (with free PDF downloadable journal) and her other fascinating work with creativity by visiting her newly refreshed website www.diviningthemuse.com.

Apparently this is the time of year for website upgrades (Jim, get on that!), because New Age musician, and long time friend of The Buffet, Paul Avgerinos just gave the Round Sky Music and Studio Unicorn websites a complete overhaul! You may remember I just talked about Avgerinos’ “Bliss” album in October 2011. In case you’re wondering, it’s still relaxing.

There has also been interesting news out from The Pluralism Project at Harvard University. I received this press release that I think will be of great interest to many of you.

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University is pleased to announce the launch of America’s Interfaith Infrastructure: An Emerging Landscape, a website documenting and resourcing the interfaith movement in the United States. Dr. Diana Eck, a professor at Harvard University and director of the Pluralism Project explains, “While interfaith organizations play a vital role in cities and towns across America, their critical contributions to our multireligious society are often overlooked.”

The Pluralism Project has been researching religious diversity in the United States for the past two decades; however, America’s Interfaith Infrastructure: An Emerging Landscape represents an in-depth pilot study of interfaith efforts in twenty cities across the U.S. Since 9/11, interfaith initiatives on the national scene have gained prominence and are increasingly covered in major media outlets for their outstanding work, yet few have chronicled interfaith efforts at the grassroots level. This pilot project documents the richly diverse interfaith movement as it continues to develop in the United States. Initiatives include: an innovative community video project in Omaha, Nebraska; a thriving women’s interfaith network in Syracuse, New York; and a long-standing, replicable tradition of a festival of faiths in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dr. Diana Eck explains the importance of this new resource as a starting point for scholars, activists, students, and citizens:

“Ten years after 9/11, the need for inter-religious understanding and cooperation has never been greater. Interfaith organizations create innovative programs to engage and educate – they also offer a counter-narrative amidst the rising rhetoric of division. People of all ages and beliefs from across the country are collaborating in the arts, social services, youth leadership programs, and civic initiatives at unprecedented levels. New forms of dialogue are emerging as we speak.”

The Pluralism Project invites activists, students, educators, and community members to share their own story of the interfaith movement by submitting a short audio or written piece that may be included in the storytelling portal of America’s Interfaith Infrastructure: An Emerging Landscape.

The site, www.pluralism.org/interfaith, includes promising practices, leadership profiles, case studies, and multimedia features; a summary report of the findings from this pilot study is also available.

Lastly, (I know! Freakin’ EVERYONE has been doing stuff except me!) remember Avi Glijansky, creator, writer, and director of the awesome web series “The Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros”? Well sadly he isn’t back with season 2 yet (where I secretly hope to get a cameo as God), but he is part of something new and fun that I thought I would bring to your attention; “The Silver Lake Badminton and Adventurers Club”.

In a world full of secrets, lies, and depravity, there are some crimes that the police are just too mainstream to handle. Enter: The Silver Lake Badminton and Adventurers Club. The heroes Silver Lake deserves but hasn’t necessarily heard of yet.

It’s an over the top hipster noir Scooby Doo adventure, filled with actors you may recognize from “Cupid and Eros”. Here’s part one to try out!

I guess this is a reminder that it’s time to get up and get moving! It’s time to innovate, to reinvent, to create! I’ll get right to that after this next episode of “Chuck”.

10 Questions with Varla Ventura

1. So Weiser Books just launched two lines of ebooks, Paranormal Parlor and Magical Creatures. Can you tell my readers a little bit about those two lines?
Magical Creatures is a collection of stories from out-of-print and public domain books and includes such delightful beings as mermaids; goblins, pookas, and other members of the fairy kingdom; vampires; werewolves; and even mummies! Most of these are “fiction” or folkloric. Paranormal Parlor covers the wonderful world of psychic and supernatural—from old Victorian séances to classic ghost stories.

2. You’re the official curator of these two lines of books. What does that job entail?
I comb through volumes of stories, folktales, and true accounts to find hidden gems with secrets of their own. Sometimes the story is more in the author or the creation of the story. Once I have picked out the pieces I write a little about each book and author into an introduction, trying to put it in modern context. Not all the books are outstanding literary works—sometimes they are just quirky enough to be collectible, which is really what this project is all about. Being a lover of the strange and the forgotten, it is truly a labor of love.

3. What are a couple of your favorite books from the two collections?
From the Magical Creatures collection one of my absolute favorites is Polidori’s “Vampyre, A Tale”. One could argue it isn’t the finest vampire story ever written, but it has tons of cultural and pop-cultural significance. Polidori was Lord Byron’s personal physician and was there the fated night that Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary (Wollstonecraft) Shelley were gathered round the fire, conspiring to write their own ghost stories. This story was born that night. In addition, this was the first vampire novel written and published in English, which pre-dates Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” by seventy years.

From the Paranormal Parlor collection I think the stand-out is this novel, “Jap-Herron”, which was written entirely via the Ouija board. Sounds interesting enough on its own, but it turns out the author and her medium were channeling the ghost of Mark Twain and they claimed this was a novel he had been waiting to write since he died seven years before. The author, Emily Grant Hutchings, claimed that Twain identified her as “the one” to be his scribe. It went to press but was pulled immediately from the stands because Twain’s publisher and daughter sued Hutchings and her publisher.

4. Not only are you the curator for these lines of ebooks, you’re also an author. You wrote “Beyond Bizarre: Frightening Facts and Blood-Curdling True Tales” and “Book of the Bizarre: Freaky Facts & Strange Stories”. What are these books like?
These are collections themselves, probably why Weiser’s publisher thought of me for the first of these e-book collections. They are books of supernatural stories, hauntings, ghost encounters, UFO sightings, strange laws still on the books, bizarre news stories, weird medical conditions, and all manner of sea shanties, rock and roll horror stories and basically truth-is-stranger-than fiction kind of stuff. The kind of thing you read or hear about and then think it isn’t true, and then you investigate further and discover not only is it true, but it is way weirder than you first thought.

5. How did you get interested in, for lack of a better phrase, “the bizarre”?
I was kind of raised in a freaky household. We played a lot with Ouija boards and Tarot cards, celebrated Halloween like most families celebrate Christmas. Seriously, one year my mom kept us out of school until after Halloween so we could fully participate in the costume making and pumpkin sculpting. So I kind of always had an unusual outlook on things. I love freaking people out and I was at a party spouting some weird story and my friend said, “Hey, why don’t you put all your crazy stories together into a book?”

6. Care to entertain my readers with a favorite “freaky fact”?
In 1971 a man in Pennsylvania sued Satan—sighting The Devil himself as cause for all of the man’s ill luck. It was thrown out of court on the grounds that it could not be proved that Satan lived in Pennsylvania at the time.

7. Will these two lines of books from Weiser only ever be released as ebooks? Where can my readers go to buy and download them?
As far as I know there are no immediate plans to make them print books, though I would guess that if one in particular were enormously popular it might be considered. The idea is for someone to be able to collect these inexpensively and amass a collection at their fingertips. They are currently available on Amazon for Kindle, B&N’s Nook and in the Apple store for the any of their reading devices. You can search by the names of the collections, individual title, or by my name.

8. Are there going to be more books added to these collections? Any that you can tell us about now?
Oh yes! Many, many more. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what there is to come. Most of these first ones are personal favorites, but I have begun now to start exploring for new books through a variety of channels—references from the backs of my favorite old volumes of books, recommendations from friends and readers, and online searches. Among the next round, which will be released in early December, we have a ghost story by Charles Dickens, a holiday kidnapping story by L. Frank Baum, a collection of Pooka tales, and a fabulous publication circa 1900 all about a series of séances that took place in San Francisco.

9. And what about you? Will there be more books from you for my readers to look forward to?
I am pretty immersed in unearthing and resurrecting these volumes of forgotten lore, but when I surface I am sure to be half-way through my next manuscript. I have a ton of ideas, and am constantly gathering stories.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.
Have you ever seen a ghost?

Nope, but it isn’t for a lack of trying.

About Varla Ventura:
Varla Ventura is the author of “The Book of the Bizarre” and “Beyond Bizarre” and is a lover of all things odd and unusual and truly freaky. Her favorite holiday is Halloween, which she celebrates almost every day. She lives in the attic of an old Victorian in San Francisco. She can be found online at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/varla-ventura, http://varlaventura.wordpress.com/, and http://facebook.com/varla.ventura.

10 Questions with Paul Bartholomew

1. With over 35 years of paranormal research, how did your focus end up being on Bigfoot?

I’ve always had an intense interest in various paranormal phenomena. Two childhood standout incidents would be the 1973 national UFO flap (in which there were many UFO sightings in the Northeast) and the August 1976 Abair Road Sasquatch outbreak. To study Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest was fascinating, however to have “Bigfoot” in your own backyard (symbolically) was intoxicating. Most people back then ignored the New York and New England sightings. Later, I would attend Vermont’s Castleton State College and study under the late Dr. Warren L. Cook. I had contacted Cook in the 1970’s and we had exchanged information on UFO’s and cryptozoology for years. A loose network of researchers formed and interest in the topic often drew overflow crowds at lectures. Bruce Hallenbeck, a great researcher and writer from Kinderhook, N.Y., documented what became known as “The Kinderhook Creature.” Interviews with New York residents turned up many creature encounters that had been socially hidden or ignored.

So in short, our research showed that Northeastern Sasquatch reports were often overlooked and under-reported. In reality there was a long history of such sightings from Native American traditional accounts. The Iroquois, Algonquin and Abanaki referred to the “Windigo” and “Stone Giants,” or giant men of the mountains. Champlain wrote of a creature called the “Gou gou.” Sightings continued into the 1800’s of what were often called “wild men” or strange bears. And we have similar accounts right up to present day.

2. People generally focus on Washington state, and the Pacific Northwest in general, when they think of Bigfoot. How do they react when you start discussing the Bigfoot history of New York state?

Most people are simply unaware of Sasquatch sightings in the Northeast. That concept is getting better however. One of my major goals is to show that there is a rich history of Sasquatch sightings right here in the Northeast. Credible sightings by respectable witnesses are hard to ignore. Most people aren’t aware of such a history. You have to remember that the witnesses have everything to lose and nothing to gain by coming forward with their accounts. Many view their sightings as negative experiences– they open themselves up to ridicule. Perhaps with a better understanding of the entire Sasquatch phenomenon on a whole, one day witnesses may be able to report their encounters without fearing retribution.

3. Most of my readers don’t realize, but Whitehall, NY has an official protective habitat for Bigfoot (or Sasquatch). What was the process like to create the measure and have it passed?

Back in 2003 and 2004 I wrote a legislation and presented it to the Village and Town of Whitehall to create a “protective ordinance” for Sasquatch. It worked on various levels. It recognized and drew attention to the fact that there is a rich history of reports here and that these accounts should be embraced by the region. In that respect, it would help to create a better understanding of the Northeast Sasquatch, while promoting eco-tourism. Also, the measure was passed in honor of the late Dr. Warren L. Cook, who had done pioneering research into this.

4. After so many years of research what prompted you and your brother Robert to finally write “Bigfoot Encounters in New York and New England”?

BIGFOOT ENCOUNTERS IN NEW YORK AND NEW ENGLAND helped to establish that Sasquatch accounts are plentiful in the Northeast. With an intense public interest in this topic, our goal is to push this mystery out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of scientific respect and scrutiny. Hopefully, witnesses will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their experiences. If anyone has an experience, I would love to hear from them at: bfcreature@yahoo.com

5. For my readers who may be interested in researching Bigfoot, where would you suggest they begin (besides by reading your book, obviously)?

For anyone beginning to study the Sasquatch phenomenon, I would suggest they get a copy of John Green’s “SASQUATCH: THE APES AMONG US.” This is the best book ever written on the topic. Green even included the 1976 Abair Road Whitehall, N.Y. encounter. Also, the History and Discovery Channels continually run specials and show episodes on cryptozoology.

6. What’s your favorite piece of Bigfoot evidence?

What is impressive about the Bigfoot or Sasquatch mystery is the collective case for it’s existence. The late Professor Grover Krantz (Washington State) felt that there was compelling evidence just based on footprint evidence alone. You add to this scores of respectable eyewitness encounters, hair samples that defy classification, the rich traditional history, strange recorded vocalizations– and you build a compelling scientific case. Unfortunately, a body may be the only thing that settles the issue.

7. Harry and the Hendersons, Six Million Dollar Man “The Secret of Bigfoot” episode, or Sasquatch Mountain?

I grew up on “The Six Million Dollar Man” and can remember professional wrestler “Andre The Giant” playing Sasquatch. There was also a UFO-connection in those episodes. Another from that era that should be noted as well was The Creature From Black Lake (1976). I guess I am a fan of the early 1970’s low-budget films– they are a lot of fun. Also, I can recall an episode of “Fantasy island” in which Peter Graves playing a Sasquatch hunter. This was a neat episode because it portrayed these creatures in a positive and compassionate nature. But I have to say that my all-time favorite show was “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.”

8. Obviously I’ve been focusing on your Bigfoot work, but what areas of paranormal research, as opposed to cryptozoological research, are you particularly interested in?

UFO research is what I first became fascinated in. Pioneering researchers like John Keel and Brad Steiger drew connections between the paranormal on a whole. Keel felt that these enigmas were differing manifestations from the same same source. So i am interested in the entire scope of the paranormal thanks to Ufology.

9. With all the research you’re doing, what can my readers expect to see from you next?

More research on cryptozoology, Ufology and hauntings. I have a UFO manuscript I am developing right now and hope to have it published soon. There are some documentaries pending. I hope to be able to do more lectures and am collecting new information all the time

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

Will the Magical Buffet be publishing manuscripts of struggling authors in the future?

It’s funny you ask. I’m continually amazed that many people think that I not only have The Magical Buffet website, but that I’m also an actual book publisher. From my experiences working with publishing companies ranging from relatively large to almost unheard of there is one common thread: publishing is HARD! It takes a lot of time and money, two things which I never seem to have.

Perhaps one day, but it seems highly unlikely unless my financial situation and time constraints change.

Of course I’m always happy to publish essays and articles on the site! I’m quite proud of the diverse collection of authors and topics that have ended up on The Magical Buffet over the years.

About Paul Bartholomew
Paul B. Bartholomew has been researching UFO’s, cryptozoology, and Paranormal Phenomena for over 35 years. In 2003 he appeared on and was the unit field coordinator for an Outdoor Life Network episode of “Mysterious Encounters: The Creature of Whitehall.” In 2005 Bartholomew served as a researcher for the History Channel’s “Giganto: The Real King Kong.” In 2008 Bartholomew appeared in an episode of the History Channel’s “Monster Quest.”

Earning a B.S. in Communications at Castleton State College (Vermont), Bartholomew studied under Dr. Warren L. Cook, Professor of History & Anthropology. Together they investigated many sightings of large unknown bi-pedal creatures in the New York and Vermont area.

In 2004 Bartholomew wrote and lobbied for legislation in Whitehall, New York, to create a protective habitat for Bigfoot or Sasquatch. The measure passed both the village and the town of Whitehall and was dedicated to the research and memory of the late Professor Warren L. Cook.

Bartholomew has given hundreds of lectures across the Northeast to libraries, museums, and schools. He has appeared on scores of radio shows and is a regular on local news programs. He has worked with researchers across the globe including Canada, Australia, France, England, and China.

In 2008 Bartholomew and his brother authored BIGFOOT ENCOUNTERS IN NY AND NEW ENGLAND (www.hancockhouse.com). In it hundreds of Bigfoot and Sasquatch encounters are documented across the Northeastern United States, from the traditional histories of the Algonquin and the Iroquois to the Abanaki. The legend of the Sasquatch is tracked from the “Wildman” encounters of the 1800’s to the Bigfoot experiences of today. The book fully documents how the phenomenon has been a consistent part of the human experience from as long as we have recorded history.

Bartholomew still, writes, researches, and investigates unexplained phenomena and has several future projects and books pending.

The Vengeful Djinn Introduction

Not too long ago I received a review copy of “The Vengeful Djinn: Unveiling the Hidden Agendas of Genies” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Philip J. Imbrogno. I really enjoyed the book and set about trying to verbalize what the book was about and why it was a worthy read. The problem was, my mind kept wandering back to the introduction written by Philip J. Imbrogno. It was just so good at explaining the book, and it did so in such a way that I couldn’t wait to get into reading the book itself. On a whim I contacted Llewellyn, the publisher of “The Vengeful Djinn” about being able to publish Imbrogno’s introduction on The Magical Buffet for my readers, and much to my delight they said yes.

So without further ado, Philip J. Imbrogno’s introduction from “The Vengeful Djinn”!

INTRODUCTION

There has been a growing interest in the paranormal in the past several decades. Ghosts, poltergeists, spook lights, demons, angels, fairies, shadow people, strange creatures, and UFOs have become staples of movies and prime-time television shows. Our attraction to the supernatural is more than a passing fascination—claims of encounters with paranormal entities such as those mentioned above are not restricted to believers or wide-eyed dreamers. Accounts of sometimes frightening experiences are made by people from all walks of life—credible people—who report seemingly incredible things.

I have been investigating paranormal phenomena with an emphasis on UFOs for more than thirty years. I have found myself amazed and sometimes even confused by the variety of reports I’ve received. I’d often ask myself, “Where do these phenomena come from and where do they go when they aren’t seen?” The answer to this question can now be answered by new ideas in theoretical physics. One of these new ideas states that our universe is composed of not one, but multiple dimensions, some very close to our own and many far away in space and time. Periodically, several of these closer dimensions may interact with our world, resulting in the merging of several realities.

My investigations over the years have led me to believe that what we call “the paranormal” takes on a variety of guises, making us humans think we are witnessing multi-faceted phenomena. Actually, this may not be the case at all. In one of these other realities or dimensions close to our own is an intelligent, ancient race that has existed before humans walked the earth—beings with great power who throughout recorded history have been identified by every culture. The Native American shamans call them the “great tricksters,” and to the Hindu of India they are known as “deceivers.” In the West, they are called “devils” and “demons.” New Age spiritualists know them as “the con men of the universe.” This ancient race may be responsible for the majority of paranormal events witnessed over the centuries. We have known very little about them, for only one part of the world has historically documented them and their effect on the human race. Ancient Middle Eastern lore tell tales of a race of mysterious and highly intelligent creatures called the djinn. In the Qur’an, a surah entitled Al-djinn frequently mentions the djinn and refers to them as “God’s other people.” The word djinn is thought to be derived from the Arabic root janna, which means “hidden” and should not be confused with the Arabic word jannah, which means “paradise.”

In the West, the djinn are known as the genies of fairy tales, wish-giving entities trapped in bottles, lamps, and rings. The word genie usually conjures up exotic but harmless images, such as the 1960s television series I Dream of Jeannie, in which Barbara Eden played an obliging, well-meaning, and often ditzy genie freed from a bottle by an astronaut, played by Larry Hagman. “Genie” also has comical associations, such as in the Disney movie Aladdin, based on the tale from Arabian lore. In these depictions, genies may have a bit of prankster in them, but they seem benign, even helpful, and we in the West laugh at them. We have little knowledge and lack fear of the real race, the djinn.

Middle Eastern cultures have a considerably different view of the djinn, however. In many Islamic households, just speaking the name of the djinn will cause the bravest to flee in terror. They consider the djinn to be quite real and a great threat to humanity, causing misfortune, illness, possession, and even death. The djinn hide in the shadows, biding their time and watching us, looking for opportunities to strike, interacting with humans only when it suits their purpose. They are powerful shapeshifters and can live for thousands of years. To cross the djinn is to invite destruction.

My introduction to the world of the djinn began in the mid-1990s while I was traveling through the Middle East researching the Knights Templar and their connection to the Holy Grail. After two weeks of what seemed to be nothing more than a wild goose chase, I began to hear stories about the djinn. At first I had no idea what they were. An old friend, who later became my guide through some very perilous country there, explained the djinn as the origin of the Western “genie.” Like many westerners, I laughed, thinking of those jolly wish-granting spirits. Well, my host took the existence of the djinn very seriously—to him, they were very real. The djinn’s true nature and reality became evident to me as I collected a great deal of information on them and visited some of the places where they are reputed to enter our world. I realized they represent an aspect of the paranormal that had been largely untouched by western researchers. I also realized the djinn could be the hidden source of the diversity of paranormal events everywhere.

I briefly introduced the djinn in two of my previous books, Interdimensional Universe: The New Science of UFOs, Paranormal Phenomena, and Otherdimensional Beings and Files from the Edge: A Paranormal Investigator’s Explorations into High Strangeness. Although I didn’t go into much detail, I found the djinn attracted a lot of curiosity and attention among readers.

Several years ago, noted paranormal investigator Rosemary Ellen Guiley and I began investigating paranormal hot spots in New York that generate a great number of reports relating to UFOs and other types of phenomena. We have been exploring the possibility that in many of these high strangeness locations, portals that connect our world to an unseen world exist. When I mentioned my research on the djinn to Rosemary, she told me she was very interested in them due to her research into angels, demons, fairies, and shadow people. After many long discussions, things began falling into place; we could see the connections among parallel dimensions, the emergence of paranormal phenomena, and the race of ancient beings that exist in a reality very close to our own. During our research, we gathered evidence of the djinn in the Western Hemisphere and applied it to paranormal and UFO phenomena. The result is an interesting and compelling picture that raises many questions about what people are really experiencing. Are the djinn behind our paranormal encounters and experiences? Are they behind some of the terrifying experiences people report? If so, what is their purpose? According to ancient lore, the djinn once occupied this world, and they seek to reclaim it. Are they using paranormal avenues to invade our reality? Is their reality merging with ours? We should consider all of these possibilities. There may be a dark agenda below the surface of our experiences, and we fail to see it because we’re preoccupied with the superficial characteristics of the experiences themselves. No one has the complete solution to this cosmic puzzle yet, but I believe we are offering a number of important pieces to solve the mystery.

This book will take you on an adventure into a world of the unseen, hidden from us in the shadows for countless centuries. We present to you the truth about the race of beings you thought only existed in your imagination—or your nightmares. If you choose to fear anything in your life, fear the djinn. Enter their world…if you dare!

–Philip J. Imbrogno

Excerpt reproduced from The Vengeful Djinn by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Philip J. Imbrogno © 2011 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury MN 55125-2989. Used with the permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

2011 Lake George Paranormal Expo

This past July 2nd and 3rd was the first ever Lake George Paranormal Expo. The event was put together by the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society and Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center, which is where the event was held. The expo featured over 30 vendors and boasted a schedule of 10 presentations.

I need to preface my write up of the event with a little information. I had been feeling under the weather for the better part of June and had actually been home sick two days during the week leading up to this event, so I didn’t even come close to taking in all that the expo had to offer. With that out of the way, let’s talk about what I did get to do at this event!

The vendor room was full of all kinds of fun stuff. Multiple booths were selling gemstones and minerals, there were various psychics, aura photographers and a person doing aura drawings, assorted paranormal groups and more! I got to meet some of the folks in the North East Paranormal Society. It turns out they’re based right out of Albany, NY and do lectures and other events in the area. I also got to talk to Paranormal Security Department, whose Paranormal Science Director has a project going through a grant process. Buffet readers may be seeing some articles from these two groups here on the site in the future. And you know me, I can’t go to anything like this and not do a little shopping, so I visited Kelly at Country Wickhouse Candles. She sells all natural handmade soy candles, and she had some special ones for the expo! There was Ghost Hunter, Witch’s Brew, and more. I picked up Sleepy Hollows.

Kelly and her soy candles.

Now as I said, there were 10 presentations given during the two day expo, but I didn’t have the energy to be there for all of them. I’m particularly bummed that I missed Dan Lowenski’s presentation “UFOs, Humanoids and Related Apparitions” because I’ve seen Dan speak twice prior to this event, and both times he was excellent. I also missed James Annitto, a demonologist and paranormal researcher that the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society was very excited to have in attendance.

But let’s focus on who I got to see! First, I made sure to check out the NNYPRS Tech Team on Saturday. If you go to an event put on by the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society attending one of the talks from Brian Leighton and Carmon Rust of the Tech Council is a must. The work they do to create and test research equipment on the cheap would bring a tear to MacGyver’s eye.

Brian (left) and Carmon (right) of the NNYPRS Tech Council talk about equipment for paranormal investigations.
They passed around their equipment. This is me with TOD. It's a miracle I gave him back.

After them I stuck around to hear Gordie Little discuss “Paranormal Common Threads”. It’s no secret to readers that I just adore Mr. Little, and as per usual, he charmed his audience with the assorted tales of haunted occurrences that he’s heard over the years. If you haven’t picked up his book, “Ghosts of Clinton County“, do yourself a favor a get a copy now.

Gordie Little charming the crowd.

On Sunday I got to the expo early to get a seat for Paul Bartholomew’s presentation “Bigfoot Experiences in New York and New England”. I’m glad I claimed a seat early because his talk was packed to capacity. It’s not surprising, the man is a legend in the Bigfoot research community. In 2008 he and his brother had their book “Bigfoot Encounters in New York and New England” published. The book is 176 pages, but trust me, when listening to him discuss the subject matter it’s apparent he has a whole lot more than 176 pages worth of knowledge. Hopefully there are more talks and more books in Paul Bartholomew’s future.

Paul Bartholomew discussing Bigfoot.

Then guess what happened next? I gave my presentation “Protection from Evil: Religion, Folklore, and Myth”! Better still….there were people who came to hear it! I didn’t pack them in like Mr. Bartholomew, but around 15 people comprised an attentive audience who appeared to have a good time.

Me giving my presentation.

I wish I could have spent more time at the Lake George Paranormal Expo. Hopefully the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society will have another expo in the Lake George area next year. For those of you interested in attending a paranormal expo like this, the 3rd Annual Northern New York Paranormal Expo will be happening in Plattsburgh, NY in October! You can visit the NNYPRS website to get information and be kept up to date as the details solidify.

(There will be more photos from the event on The Magical Buffet’s Facebook page in the near future if you want to check them out too!)

NNYPRS Tech Council: Being a Paranormal investigator

By Brian Leighton

I get asked by a lot people to join NNYPRS, they saw the shows and want to be a ghost hunter!!!! Now as soon as I hear the term ghost hunter, I usually cringe, then roll my eyes and politely respond with what is needed to join our team (sign up at our forum and start joining discussions) most people that contact me never follow through.

Now the TV shows out there are pretty entertaining but while they have done a lot to help bring the paranormal sciences into the main stream it also has not shown everything involved with a proper investigation. That’s not the TV shows fault, a lot of what is involved is REALLY boring…. For example, when you watch most shows they are reviewing data for about 3-5min. YA RIGHT!!!! Try 20+ hours for a 6-8 hour investigation. How is that possible?? Well when you have 4 cameras recording for 5 hours that is 20 hours of video that you have to review, plus EVP sessions, AND all the photos that are taken!!!! But wait there’s more…..That is just the investigation!

One thing that NNYPRS does is a historical research on the property. What this does is helps us separate fact from fiction. There are many times that we are told “I heard a guy hung himself in this room” or “there was a huge fire and someone died” The problem is without proof of the event it is simply just a story. We have a couple investigators that spend countless hours combing through newspapers, atlases and other resources. Now the internet has made this a little easier, it allows us to do this mainly from home as opposed to before when there were several trips made to local clerk’s offices to search deeds and land records. Sometimes this still has to be done. This allows us to give the clients a detailed history of when the property was settled, who lived there, possibly who died and if there were any traumatic events on the property. When we leave the client has a file about an inch thick about their property.

Now I don’t want you guys to think that I am bashing all the shows out there, some are kind of close to what we do, “Ghost Hunters” is one of them. Then you have a show like “Ghost Adventures”, also known as the “Jersey Shore” of the paranormal shows (not sure which one would be Snooki). Pretty much the farthest you can get from what an investigation should be, but it is entertaining…

The best part of this is that we do it for FREE!!! We NEVER charge for any investigation at all…NNYPRS is run with donations, member dues and fundraisers like the Expos we produce. Our next one is at Fort William Henry in Lake George, NY July 2nd and 3rd. We have a lot of awesome people that will be speaking at the event, demonologists, bigfoot hunters, yours truly as well as other members of our group. You can visit with the psychics or enjoy all the other vendors that will be there. So if you want to find out what it takes to be a paranormal investigator stop on by and we will be more than happy to show you all the equipment!!!!! See ya there….

About Brian Leighton:
Brian Is the NNYPRS Team Leader and head of the Tech Council. You can contact him at Brian@nnyprs.com with any question or comments.

Hey Folks,

It’s Rebecca and I thought I’d give you all some more details about the Lake George Paranormal Expo that’s being presented by the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society and the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center.

It’s a two day event being held on Saturday July 2 and Sunday July 3, 2011. The hours are 10am – 8pm both days with speakers starting at 10:30am both days. Speakers you ask? They’ve got a great bunch of folks coming out for the event! Gordie Little, who you may remember from “Spicy Italian Ghosts”, NNYPRS Tech Council, who keep providing The Magical Buffet with paranormal related articles, James Annitto, demonologist and paranormal investigator, Bob Canino, author of “UFO’s in Upstate NY”, and more! Like me!

There are assorted vendors attending, ranging from psychic readings to aura photography to soy candles featuring scents being created specifically for the expo! There will also be activities for the kids!

Admission is $12 each day for adults but you can save $2 by bringing a non-perishable food item for donation!

To learn more visit: http://nnyprs.com/lake_george_expo.htm

Hope to see you there!

NNYPRS Tech Council: TOD

By Brian Leighton

This past October I attended the 2nd Annual Northern New York Paranormal Expo put together by the City of Plattsburgh and the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society. While there I fell in love with TOD, the adorable Terrestrial Optical Droid new to the NNYPRS. After reading my article about the event, Brian Leighton who has been writing about paranormal research technology for The Magical Buffet, jumped to the obvious conclusion that I would want a whole article devoted to TOD. He was right.

From a box of junk comes our newest team member.

One of the great things about being a geek, I mean head of the NNYPRS Tech Council, is that friends and family give me all kinds of stuff that they don’t need any more. Sometimes what I get is pure junk, but sometimes I hit the jackpot!!! This was the case recently when my brother, preparing for an out of state move, decided to get rid of some of his stuff. I ended up with two big plastic totes of stuff that makes geeks like me drool, among them was an interesting toy.

It’s called SPYKEE and it is a remote controlled robot. We have nicknamed him TOD, it stands for Terrestrial Optical Droid, He is named after a former team member whose sole desire on an investigation was to climb into attics and crawlspaces so that he could get a thrill. TOD is outfitted with a camera, microphone, and I control it with my laptop or my android based phone. Now aside from the fact that I am a big kid and this thing is cool, this is a very practical tool for our paranormal team. We often get claims of noises in areas that my 6’3″ 350lb frame can’t fit in. That is where TOD comes into play, I have modified him to make him more compact and he now carries a more powerful light to see in the dark. So now when we get a report of a noise in a crawlspace or attic, I can run him into the area and transmit noises through him to track his exact location. Once I get to the correct area, I can use the camera to see if there are any loose pipes, animal droppings or nests and then take pictures to show the client. Now TOD has a few other tricks up his sleeves…well he doesn’t have arms anymore. He also carries a microphone so I can actually monitor an area and run an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) session with no human presence. He also has an alarm setting so that if the camera detects any movement he sends an alarm to me through my laptop or phone.

That is one of the great things we do at the Tech Council, we turn things that people don’t want into tools that people don’t expect. Like most of my tools TOD is getting upgrades very soon. His next upgrade is a better quality camera and I am currently putting together the parts to make that camera pan and tilt so that I can get a better view of my surroundings. Those are some of the newest tools (toys) that we are developing within the Tech Council.

Some of the other tools we are currently working on – a Hydrophone made form an old buzzer and a 35mm film case, an underwater camera made from an old web camera and clear housing. Both of these are being tested for our Champy investigation we are going to do on Lake Champlain this summer.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our group visit us at www.nnyprs.com. And if you are interested in attending one of our Investigative seminars in Albany, NY then send me an email at Brian@nnyprs.com.

Brian following TOD's adventures on his laptop.

About Brian Leighton:
Brian Is the NNYPRS Team Leader and head of the Tech Council. You can contact him at Brian@nnyprs.com with any question or comments.

Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes: Investigation Summary

Article Provided by Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes.

Private Residence in the Newark Valley of Upstate New York.

We got a call to check out a house in Newark valley in upstate NY. The owner had been having activity and wanted some answers to what was going on in her home. Her husband had even witnessed a large apparition in the basement. He actually walked over to it and swished his hand right through the dark shadow man standing before him. Then the shadow man vaporized right before his eyes. They also had lights flickering, doors closing and opening, and a lot of other noises in their home. After figuring where to set up our equipment and started our investigation, we had a heard a lot of noises and had some really high EMF spikes in the living room. My EMF meter was sitting on the table in the living room and it just started going off for no reason at all. We had many motion lights coming on for no reason and the house seemed to have a lot of paranormal activity happening. We picked up our equipment and headed home.

The next day I was looking over my photos taken from the investigation. I could not believe what I had captured in several of my photos in the living room. It was a huge man standing right where we were getting very high EMF readings. The man was huge and it was easy to tell it was not any of our investigators. At first it showed no head, only shoulders and his large body. The next picture showed his head and you could plainly see he was wearing a large hat. We showed the family what we captured along with the high EMF spikes and motion lights going off with no one around them. They could not believe what we captured for evidence in their home. We assured them that it was okay and nothing that could hurt them.

They still have activity in their home but they know its okay and not to be afraid of the ghosts among them. They are harmless and never tried to hurt them. Here is my photo of the large man that haunts their home.

The first picture is my sister walking by the large ghost in the living room.

Copyright belongs to Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes

The next one is the large ghost standing by himself in the living room.

Copyright belongs to Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes

To learn more about the Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes, visit their website.