Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pregnancy and the Paranormal: What Can We Learn?

How pregnancies affect the paranormal realm is a subject that has been covered extensively only by a rare few investigators and writers. Most of the information I was able to research acknowledges that women have heightened senses because of the hormonal surges. They "generally will notice a heightened sense of smell, become more observant, and increase their intuition." (Theresa) There are mixed reviews over whether a pregnant mother increases paranormal activity in the home as it is assumed that because a child in the womb has just crossed over from "the other side", they therefore should naturally attract a lot of attention. Some claim that there is no activity in the home or that any previous activity has ceased as a result of the pregnancy. Others, however, have a different story...

 

     "I am pregnant with my second child. During my first pregnancy I was forever being woken up at 3 a.m. to TVs, radios, and toys, being turned on by themselves. After I had my daughter it all stopped. Now I am pregnant again small things are happening to make me think it is starting again. The other day I got chills on my arm in the shape of fingers and last night right before I fell asleep something flicked my hand."
     "I am currently pregnant and recently started hearing whispering in my ear...."
     "Since I learned I was pregnant, is that I have a constant feeling of being followed and being watched...." (thestir)

Since my wife and I have had some interesting paranormal experiences while she was pregnant with our daughter Hannah, I really wanted to share our story. But first, just because I love to put a twist on writing, I'd like to take the reader on a historical journey. First, there is an interesting account of the life of Mae Nak in Bangkok, Thailand that has a tragic ending. Then, I'll bring the story back to America and share some local experiences with a conclusion about a little girl who still resides in an Alton, Illinois house and what happened there.

Fact or Folklore?

During the reign of King Mongkut, sometime between 1851 and 1868, a woman named "Nak" and her husband "Tid Mak" moved into a house in Bangkok's Phra Khanong district. Shortly afterwards, her husband was summoned off to war with a local clan. Nak was already pregnant with their son and both of them died while she was giving birth. After some very bloody fighting, Maak become gravely wounded and returned home, unaware of his wife and son's passing. At his house he finds Mae Nak and his son and reunites with them to resume their lives together, never realizing that they now are ghosts. People tried to inform Maak of what had happened. "A busybody neighbor tries to warn Mak of Nak's metaphysical transformation but police records show she was burned alive in an unexplained house fire. Mak's own mother-in-law drops by to tell him he's living with the ghost of her dead daughter, but then she drops dead before she can utter the words." (elsiamiam)

One day Maak sees his wife reach for something by extending her arm through the ceiling. This tips him off that the ghost story is true and as a result he devises an escape plan. That night he goes to bed with his dead wife and later gets up to use the bathroom. He then flees her, but she finds out and pursues him. In an attempt to successfully escape her, he covers himself in Blumea balsamifera sap, which is believed to ward off ghosts. Then he runs to a sacred temple grounds for protection. Nak becomes enfuriated and returns to their village, spreading disease and causing violence among its people. An exorcist finally comes to the village to end this charade. There are different accounts of what happened, however, her spirit does become forced into either her own skull or a clay pot that was thrown into the river. To this day people visit her shrine because to many locals, Nak is the Thai Patron Saint of Obsession due to her deep devotion to her husband.

The Journey Back to America

Anyone having even the slightest interest in the paranormal should be familiar with the series Ghosthunters and the respective team members of Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves, and Dave Tango. Amy Bruni, who joined the Taps team in 2008, brought a steely feminine element to the show and the investigations she hosted. Her obvious chemistry with Adam Berry put an even stronger twist to the show's episodes - but that's another story.... On the September 5th episode, Amy, who is pregnant, walks off an investigation. Her camerawoman who usually follows Amy and Adam around was attacked and received some scratches from an entity. It was at this time that Amy began feeling very uncomfortable "because she was afraid of a spirit attaching to her unborn child." (Examiner) Although there really isn't any proof that this can happen (so far as I have researched), it is certainly a plausible concern. Infants are in a delicate state of balance and an entity can disrupt this homeostasis on a spiritual level. Vulnerability is a powerful tool when placed in the wrong hands and, of course, the innocence of the unborn is the strongest example of such vulnerability. Amy's heightened senses set off her alarms in this investigation and her motherly instinct to protect her child kicked in to its fullest effect.

An Unforgettable Experience in Alton, Illinois



In previous blogs that I have written, I touch on a trip my wife and I made to Alton, Illinois for one of their ghost tours. The Civil War Cemetery was by far our greatest experience with evidence, however, there is another story that has never been told.  Here’s my wife’s experience in her words:

“I was 14 weeks pregnant and the pregnancy seemed to be going along smoothly. Perhaps too smoothly. My prenatal visits had been uneventful and everything seemed fine. One of the biggest things that stood out to me was that at 14 weeks, I was still able to fit into my jeans. Hannah was my 6th baby and never before had I been able to fit into my jeans that long. Looking back, that should have been my first clue that something wasn’t right, but I missed it while reveling in the joy of wearing my regular wardrobe just a little bit longer.

A few days before the Alton trip, I started having a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right and I was having reservations about going on the trip. I didn’t have any physical symptoms and was feeling fine, but I am a very sensitive and introspective person and learned long ago that I can sense things others don’t, so I pay close attention to my feelings. Tim and I talked about it, but I ultimately decided to go since I didn’t have any physical symptoms. I had coordinated this trip and had a huge group of family and friends coming - some as far as the boot heel of Missouri, so I really didn’t want to miss it.

The investigation did not disappoint either. We experienced so much and I have never before or since, had that much activity happen on an investigation. A few days after our Alton investigation I had a doctor’s appointment and received the devastating news that the baby no longer had a heartbeat. It was a complete and utter shock, as I had no physical indication that anything was wrong. My doctor told me after the D & C that by the amount of bloating in the baby, the baby had died over a week ago. That was about the time my nagging feeling had started.

The doctor suggested we do an autopsy to check for chromosomal abnormalities and find out the gender of the baby to give us some closure. The results came back and our baby girl, named Hannah Faith, had Trisomy 13 which caused the miscarriage. Tim and I have talked about it many times since then and wondered if Hannah was the reason for the immense amount of paranormal activity that night.

Could the spirits sense that she was deceased and were drawn to me? Was Hannah’s spirit still close to me and it got the other spirits attention? Did the spirits know what I didn’t and they were trying to tell me? Or maybe were they trying to comfort me, knowing that one of the harshest realities in life was about to sucker punch me right between the eyes? The only thing I can say with certainty is I have never had such an overwhelming paranormal experience before or after that night in Alton. A part of me would like to think that it was because of Hannah - that I got a very brief, but tangible experience with her.

Miscarriage is such a unique grief; the pain is so real and deep, yet you are grieving for a person you never even got to meet. There are no wonderful memories to reminisce on or photo albums to look through when your heart is breaking. It’s just this horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach while people say stupid but well intentioned things like ‘it was probably for the best since she was sick’ or ‘you will get pregnant again.’ Hannah’s brief life deeply impacted our family and my feeling is, that night in October of 2008, she made an imprint on the spirit world in Alton as well.”

The Alton Home

On our tour, as related above, we stopped at one of the homes in town that was said to be haunted by the presence of a little girl. Much of the house did not reveal any activity except for two rooms. The first one, her bedroom, proved to be quite active. Upon entering the room we could feel a playful presence on and around the bed. After using the dowsing rods, each one of us was able to experience some activity, however, for some reason, my wife drew the most attention. The rods would go crazy in her hands.

Heading downstairs, we entered into the kitchen where the owners had set up a pendulum on the dining room table. The little girl was reported to like making the pendulum swing by pushing it. On most nights she did so, but not always. Tonight proved to be a very active night for this activity as well. The pendulum swung constantly and with a force the owners said they don't normally see. Again we wondered, how much of her constant presence was due to my wife's pregnancy? It is as though spirits on the other side are able to see the presence of unborn children in the womb. Physically it was not yet obvious that she was carrying a child, yet the little girl seemed to know. The rest of our investigation in Alton proved to be just as active and her pregnancy may also have been the contributing factor for our great success in the Civil War Cemetery.


So, the questions surface. Was the little girl trying to communicate with my wife that she was carrying a dead child inside her? How much of this information was known by the Civil War soldier who led us through the gravestones, finally revealing himself in the form of ectoplasm? Can it be said that unborn babies are that bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds and, can we ever learn anything about that invisible barrier through this "bridge"?

Some Concluding Thoughts

The story of Mae Nak certainly must have a good amount of folklore woven into the story. There are some facts to be found, though. The mother and child did die together which will certainly create unrest with their souls. There were also police reports to verify the house fire and the death of the mother-in-law. How true it is that they were able to manifest themselves in near physical form, enough to fool Maak, is, of course, under speculation. Could the fact that she was pregnant been enough to give her the ability to not only appear in physical form but also to have been able to create chaos and illnesses in their village? Spirits have the ability to harness energy, but what are the limitations?

Amy Bruni, I am sure, went through the same thought processes that my wife and I did about investigating while pregnant. It certainly seems true that there is more paranormal activity when an unborn child is around. Amy's concerns about a spirit "attaching" itself to her baby is absolutely a issue to take very seriously. Entities in the spirit world have knowledge and powers we do not yet understand. I look forward to the day when all of our pioneering paranormal investigating pays off with some scientific answers.

                                                      In Loving Memory of Hannah Faith Yohe

                             "May the angels take you upon their wings and lead you into paradise..."



Works Cited

http://elsiamiam.blogspot.com

http://theresashauntedhistoryofthetri-state.blogspot.com/2011/12/pregnant-investigator.html

http://thestir.cafemom.com/pregnancy/155096/spooky_true_accounts_of_pregnant

http://www.examiner.com/article/amy-bruni-walks-off-ghost-hunters-investigation

http://www.thaiworldview.com/bouddha/maenak.htm