Friday, January 23, 2015

Supernatural Entities Manifesting In Churches And The Role Of The Trickster

St. James the Greater

Enter The Chapel

Nearly any site or piece of property can be haunted or visited by an entity of some sort. Churches are certainly no exception to this rule. A mystery that I have recently come across is the coloring of light that a spirit takes form. Shadowplay is done with dark or black coloring while many apparitions seem to be absent of color and are white. Orbs, however, can take on any color, be it red, blue, yellow or green. Are there any similarities in color with religious apparitions?

The roles that religious entities play is also very important and their unique color may reveal something about their inherent nature and the role color plays with light. We can ascertain a lot of information from stars in the universe simply from their color. What can be discovered about the supernatural realm?

Some spirits are good and may even be holy like the sightings of the Blessed Mary or any number of Saints. Yet others are evil and have rotten intent like any number of demons that can haunt a home or building.

There is yet another type of spirit that can bounce back and forth between these roles. The element that ties their activity all together is...                                                                            HUMOR.

Ever Heard of a Trickster?

Throughout human history if an unexplained phenomenon would occur, many times it would be explained through some form of mythology. One of these types of folklore is the trickster.

"Operating outside the framework of right and wrong, tricksters do not recognize the rules of society. Their characters are far from simple, however. Often childish, greedy, lustful, and even nasty, tricksters can also be friendly, helpful, clever, and wise. Sometimes they appear to be clownish, clumsy, or foolish, although they usually possess amazing powers of survival. A trickster may come to a sorry end in one story but then, after being miraculously brought back to life, reappear in other tales."

One of the most well known tricksters is Brer Rabbit, a very well known character within African American culture. So, how does this tie in with paranormal entities?

Well, just like the fox in Brer Rabbit, supernatural entities can take on the characteristics of tricksters. I would assert that nearly every spirit realizes early on that they are invisible to the physical realm. What better circumstance to be in to play tricks on people? Many folks do not even believe in the paranormal and so the entity gets yet another "leg up" on the scenario.

For those of you who receive my newsletter or who have viewed my sister site, you will also have been introduced to the African Death trickster and the Anansi. Anansi is the spider version of this myth that is prevalent in both African and Native American cultures.

Journey to the Most Southern Cape

One such ghost haunts the halls of the Africana Library in Kimberley, South Africa. The first librarian, Bertrand Dyer, "drank arsenic in 1908 after he was found doctoring the accounts.

"Visitors have seen books crashing to the floor, and heard teacups tinkling at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The story goes that it took over three days for him to die. He is seen in his Victorian clothing, pacing the halls of his beloved library. Often books are rearranged or moved and the only clue to their mobility is the sound of hastily retreating footsteps. The librarians say that if they ever need to find a book, they ask him and the book will suddenly fall off the shelf." 

In this instance the "trickster" works in several ways. First of all he dies and then comes back to life, perhaps not quite so miraculously. Secondly he works to do good in that he will help the current librarians. But the one thing that makes him a good trickster is that he'll knock the books off of the shelves and then take off like a little kid. I'll bet he is snickering as he runs down the hall.

St. John's Methodist Church

Although this is a very grainy photo, this church in Oak Park, Illinois is the active site of a trickster. "Beneath [its] outwardly quaint appearance...lurk some unusual tales. The basement of the church is said to be particularly active. It is home to the ghost of an old lady and one mischievous phantom who likes to play pranks on visitors.
On at least one occasion, several churchgoers were playing pool in the basement when one of the balls disappeared. After looking in all the pockets and on the floor, the ball dropped from the ceiling with a thud."

In this case the trickster is very aware that he or she can manipulate objects through quantum entanglement and does so at the joking expense of the churchgoers. This "phantom" may be utilizing the principles of teleportation to move the billiard ball from the pool table pocket to the ceiling. 

St. James - Sag Church

couirtesy of Flickr
This church holds a host of supernatural stories that dates all the way back to 1897. The cathedral building is situated on a ridge known as Sag in the town of Lemont, Illinois. The high ground it stands upon was formed about 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. The church is Catholic and it was built with pale, yellow limestone that was quarried from the local Lemont area. Limestone in and of itself is food for entities and so when it is claimed that this type of limestone "has some curious qualities", it is of no surprise.

"St. James has acquired the name 'Monk's Castle' because it has been said that if unwanted visitors were caught trespassing out here at night, the monks would apprehend and force them to kneel down on ball bearings all night in prayer."

This story is made up and corresponds with the most important aspect of the concept of a trickster - the use of myth. It is an attempt by the locals to sort of "trick" outsiders into believing that the site is truly haunted. Or are they really trying to play Brer Rabbit? Perhaps you should decide. Here's a documented story:

A Cook County Police Officer submitted a two-page report about an event that occurred while he was on patrol in November 1977. As he drove past the St. James cemetery, he saw "8 or 9 hooded figures dressed in monk-like habits walking slowly up the hill towards the church and rectory." He hollered at them saying they would be arrested for trespassing. They ignored him and so he grabbed his shotgun and called for backup. As the officer stumbled through the cemetery, the figures simply glided up the hill silently and in unison. The monks were never found and the officer even brought in canine dogs, who were unable to find any scents. 

This report has been officially filed for viewing and it has become quite famous. As of yet I have not been able to get a copy of it. If I do, I will present it to you in an upcoming newsletter.

St. James Catholic Church

My family and I have been parishioners of this church for a number of years. My wife grew up in this church and attended the private school across the street. I have been an active member now for about 4 years. It is a beautiful building to experience Mass and the spiritual leaders are warm, friendly, and down to Earth.

We have had a couple paranormal incidents in our church. The black-framed lights that you see hanging from the ceiling have been seen moving during mass. When it happens it is only one of the lights and never the same one. There isn't any wind or strong air current that would blow through the church to make them move. I have already run through the list of possibilities to debunk this activity. I have not been able to explain their movement. Could this be the actions of a trickster or did these phenomenon occur as a result of an entity exploring the boundaries of the quantum/spiritual worlds?

Quite frequently shadowplay can be seen occurring more so towards the ceiling of the church. A dark mass will quickly come into my peripheral view and then disappear just as quickly. It's as if something is in flight. On more than one occasion, as well, I have seen flashes of bluish-green light that bursts quickly into view in various areas of the church.

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons
Recently I was perusing photos of churches on the blog site Rome of the West and I came across the photo your see above. If you look on the left side and at the front of the pews, you will see a rather large, bluish-green anomaly. I have contacted the owner of the photo to see if he can offer any explanation. I have not heard from him yet. It is very fascinating, even a bit disturbing, in trying to ascertain what that anomaly is in the front. I would like to think it is a religious apparition, but its shape makes me wonder.

I do see an interesting parallel, though. For those of you who receive my weekly newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 2 shows a photo of an angel-like apparition appearing during a church service. If you look at the color of the "angel", you will see it is of a similar hue as the entity in St. James' church.

So, what can we deduce from the unique color of religious apparitions?
A look at the light color spectrum will give us a bit of an insight.

Everyone should be familiar with how the light spectrum works.

Indigo is the coolest and least active part of the spectrum with red being the most active. So, why is it that religious entities can take on a bluish-green hue?

Ahhh...that is a subject to be covered soon! Stay tuned....

Works Cited


  1. Intriguing photos and enlightening (forgive the pun!) accounts of the role of spectral/spectrum colors. We've always loved trickster characters and usually include them in our novels. And though we were familiar with Coyote as a First Americans mythological trickster archetype, we'd never really considered poltergeist activity as a manifestation of a ghostly trickster. As usual, your articles offer great food for thought!

    1. Thank you for your "food for thought"! I will have to check out your novels that involve tricksters as I am just learning about them myself. I have read many African American writers, but don't recall the strong role these characters play. As always with my writing, I try hard to bridge ideas you may not have previously considered. I appreciate the kind words and I hope to be one of the first in line for your new book! :)