Thursday, July 17, 2014


   The term ghost is widely used to refer to any paranormal activity that occurs in the home, but it is really a misnomer.  Ghosts or the spirits of those who have passed on may cause a paranormal disturbance in your home, but they are not the only cause of a haunting.  To determine the type of haunting, an understanding of different types of entities is necessary.

  • Residual Ghosts-Residual ghosts are probably the most common type of haunting.  It is believed that when a traumatic or emotionally charged event occurs in the lives of the living that it can be imprinted on the environment.  Certain geological features like the presence of water, limestone and other stone features seem to hold images of past events.  The residual ghost is seen performing the same tasks, walking the same path or singing the same song at regular intervals.  The characteristic person searching for a lost love or walking passively through the area they inhabited when alive is almost certainly a residual ghost.  They repeat the same pattern whether you are present or not.  You can't interact with a residual ghost because it is not aware of your presence.  In fact the residual ghost is not really present at all and is simply an image of a past event.

  • Intelligent Spirits-Intelligent spirits, sometimes referred to as earthbound spirits, can interact with you.  No one knows for sure why the spirit of some people remain on earth, but paranormal investigators and researchers believed that the person has unfinished business to complete or is unaware that he has died.  In some cases it appears the spirit lingers simply because it chooses not to pass on to the next realm.  Intelligent ghost may attempt to communicate with you by making sounds or moving objects.  It may appear as an apparition that resembles the human form or appear as a mist.  This ghost may react to your activities or respond to requests.  Direct questioning during an EVP session may elicit direct responses.

  • Inhuman Spirits-Inhuman spirits are not the spirit of someone who has passed away.  These spirits were never human and may be referred to by some as evil spirits or demons.  The goal of negative inhuman spirits appears to be to break the will of the individual in order to possess them.  These spirits may manifest in a semi-human form, often half man and half beast.  A horrific stench may accompany a haunting by an inhuman spirit.  Angry growls emanating from the walls or appearing to come from all directions may be audible at all hours of the day or night.  These spirits reportedly have great power and can hurl people and heavy objects across the room and have even been reported to cause occupants of the home to levitate.

  • Poltergeists-Poltergeists earn their name from the German for noisy ghost, but most paranormal investigators agree that a poltergeist really is not a ghost at all.  The theory is that a person, usually an adolescent female, subconsciously causes objects to move, creates loud bangs and crashes with no known cause and other physical disturbances due to repressed rage or emotional upheaval.  The telltale sign of poltergeist activity is that it begins with a sudden onset and generally disappears just as suddenly.  It should be noted that not all poltergeist activity centers around an adolescent girl and that this theory has never been proven by scientific evidence.

  • Shadow People-Shadow people are shadowy figures that resemble a human.  These beings often appear in corners or in dark hallways, but may be seen peering in doors or standing by the bed.  The characteristic sign of a shadow person is fedora or top hat and what appears to be a dark cape.  Shadow people have been reported across cultures by those who have no knowledge of prior descriptions, yet the descriptions remain largely the same.  No one knows for sure what shadow people are but some believe they may be either alien or creatures from another dimension.  Although shadow people appear to be harmless, extreme fear and a feeling of overwhelming dread often accompany a sighting.

   If you experience paranormal activity in your home and don't know what to do, the first step is to determine the type of haunting you are experiencing.  Once you know whether you are dealing with the spirit of someone who has died or some other entity, you will be better able to make decisions about what action to take ( if you haven't had the life scared out of you!). 


   The Nachi Fire Festival is one of Japan's cultural gems. Listed as an intangible cultural asset the festival has a history of more than 1500 years and is one of the most spectacular festivals of the summer. Held on July 14th each year, the Nachi no Hi Matsuri or Nachi Ogi Matsuri (Fan Festival) is a traditional fire festival involving ritual offerings, music and dance. The festival is held in a remote area of the Yoshino-Kumano National Park on the Kii Peninsula. The shrines where the Nachi Fire Festival takes place are part of the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine and the Hiryu shrine, which is located at the base of the massive Nachi waterfall, which with a 133 meter (about 436 feet) drop is the highest waterfall in Japan.

   The festival involves 12 (portable) mikoshi shrines, each decorated with mirrors and gold, and 12 massive ceremonial torches. Carried from Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine down the old Kumano road to the Hiryu shrine, they are then purified by fire and water. The festival is fantastic, you can feel the spray from the waterfall and you can feel the

heat on your face from the torches - it is usually prudent to keep a safe distance as it is isn't unusual for the fire bearers to lose control and singe a few spectators. Known as the Nachi-no-Hi-Matsuri or Nachi-Ogi-Matsuri (Fan Festival), the event begins on the morning of 14 July every year with ritual Shinto offerings, music and dance. In the afternoon the 12 sacred mikoshi, beautifully decorated with gold and mirrors, are carried along with 12 ceremonial torches towards the Hiryu shrine, located near Nachi waterfall.

   White-robe priests carry 12 enormous torches of cypress wood. These purify the path for the unique mikoshi of Nachi. Usually mikoshi (portable shrines) look like palanquins, but these are 10m (30ft) tall vermilion panels decorated with mirrors and fans (this is also known as Ogi Matsuri, the 'Fan Festival'). In the background are the vermilion pillars of the shrine, and the 133m (436ft) waterfall which first attracted Emperor Jimmu to worship here at the dawn of Japanese civilisation.

   Following a sacred ritual in the shrine itself, the mikoshi are carried to the stone steps just under the waterfall, where the torches are lit and the torch-carriers purify them by walking up and down the steps in circles. The purification by fire and smoke is completed by water, in the form of the mist spraying from above. The Kumano mountains have been revered as the site of great mystical power for more than 1000 years. A Buddhist paradise was said to be hidden among the peaks, to be reached in life by the devout worshipper who undertook a pilgrimage to the mountains and prayed at the shrines.