Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Recipe for a Subterranean Haunting: The Basilica Cistern and the Whaley House

Water plays a very important role in the level of activity on a haunted site. It essentially acts as a conduit through which spirit energy flows. Electric fields are able to affect water in the world of science and there may be some connection to the paranormal realm. "Water, being dipolar, can be partly aligned by an electric field and this may be easily shown by the movement of a stream of water by an electrostatic source." The video below shows a quick example of this phenomenon:

Although a bit complicated to explain, water's molecular structure allows its hydrogen bonds to bend and become disrupted. Electrostatic energy is the "influencer" in this example, but electromagnetic fields in general may work in much the same way because separate static fields can occur within electromagnetism. Taken a little further, the presence of EMFs have the ability increase the melting point, evaporation rate, and dissolution rate of oxygen - thus altering water's physical structure. 

When water is "influenced" by the presence of ghosts, several of these traits may occur. As is already well known by paranormal investigators, ghosts emit electromagnetic fields. This is how their instruments are able to detect them. In the same vein, ghost activity can be increased by increasing the level of electromagnetism in the atmosphere. This is how EMF pumps function. Is there some sort of phenomenon that water possesses which helps increase ghost manifestation?

In the video below, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson from Ghost Hunters briefly discuss three elements that they have found to be prevalent on haunted locations. The elements are almost a "recipe" for paranormal activity:    

The cover photo for this article was taken inside the Yerebatan Sarnici, also known as the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey. It is an amazing structure that dates back to the 6th century:

"One of the magnificent ancient buildings of ─░stanbul is the Basilica Cistern located in the southwest of Hagia Sofia. Constructed for Justinianus I, the Byzantium Emperor (527-565), this big underground water reservoir is called as “Yerebatan Cistern” among the public because of the underground marble columns. As there used to be a basilica in the place of the cistern, it is also called Basilica Cistern. The cistern is 140 m long, and 70 m wide, and covers a rectangular area as a giant structure. Accessible with 52-step staircase, the Cistern shelters 336 columns, each of which is 9 m high. Erected at 4.80 m intervals from one another the columns are composed of 12 rows, each has 28 columns."

The purpose of building this massive project was to ensure that water was available to the empire should it come under enemy attack.
If you would like to take a quick tour of the cisterns, check out this video below:

As you can see from the video, a walk around this ancient site reveals its spooky nature with shadowy lighting and dark waters. The geological material inside this structure makes it ripe for paranormal activity. The water potentially acts as a conduit for ghosts, as it extends throughout the entire structure. The pillars are made from marble and its composition also may give rise to paranormal possibilities:

"Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to the heat and pressure of metamorphism. It is composed primarily of the mineral calcite (CaCO3) and usually contains other minerals, such as clay minerals, micas, quartz, pyrite, iron oxides, and graphite. Under the conditions of metamorphism, the calcite in the limestone recrystallizes to form a rock that is a mass of interlocking calcite crystals." -

Within the Basilica Cistern there is a "recipe," which is very much like the one Jay and Grant talked about in the video. The geology of this underground structure works in tandem with the water in the cistern to create a habitat or home for ghosts. Many people get creeped out when they visit this marvel in Turkey and there have been reports of ghost sightings in the underground chamber, but nothing officially documented. 

So... are these ghosts merely the figment of wild imaginations? Let's journey over to California back in the United States and see if another cistern can help shed some light on this question.

The Whaley House

In 1857 a man named Thomas Whaley had a dream. He wanted to build a brick house that would stand apart from any other in the San Diego area. "Whaley boasted, 'My new house, when completed, will be the handsomest, most comfortable and convenient place in town or within 150 miles of here.'" He made his own bricks and he had found the perfect plot of land to construct it. There was one problem, though. A tragedy had occurred on this piece of land to which Thomas witnessed firsthand. From this incident spawned the tale of Yankee Jim Robinson. 

"Yankee Jim was given a Catholic baptism to save his mortal soul, after which the 6'4" newly christened Santiago Robinson was hauled up onto a buckboard wagon and a thick, coarse rope was placed about his neck. The wagon pulled out from under his feet and dropped him within inches of the ground; in fact, Jim was so much taller than the average fellow that the toes of his boots were scraping the dirt. A handsome mustachioed young man from New York (Thomas Whaley) stood in the crowd observing Yankee Jim slowly strangle to death. And the rest, as they say, is history."

Thomas was not a man given to superstition. He was, though, a man who saw an opportunity to buy a nice chunk of land. Brushing aside the local folklore, Thomas moved forward with his dream project. Building the house right on top of the spot where many men had been hanged, the wraith of Yankee Jim became just the first of many ghosts that continue to haunt the now Whaley House Museum. There are reports of hauntings in this house - especially from each of the family members in the photo above. Alex Matsuo shares her experience below:

This house has always had an amazing amount of paranormal activity, but the discovery of a cistern by archaeologists may put a new twist on its hauntings. It is located adjacent the museum and served as a water source for the family. Inside of it over 72,000 artifacts have been found. But it isn't the artifacts that are the most interesting part:

"The cistern played a role in the dark history of the Whaley House. Violet Whaley, Thomas Whaley's second eldest daughter, attempted to commit suicide in late July of 1885 by throwing herself into the well. Violet was rescued; but she eventually shot and killed herself three weeks later."

Here the cistern serves as a source of tragedy as well. Although there have been no connections made to the underground water source, I challenge to think how much of an impact it may have on the site. The artifacts have been dated as far back as the 19th century and with so many of them, there must be a rich history tied to them. And we already know that rich history = paranormal activity.

It is uncertain when the well was active how much "influence" it may have had on the Whaley House's ghost activity, but here again the "recipe" for strong hauntings exist. As far as I have researched, the Basilica Cistern has no recorded tragedies tied to its underground water source and perhaps may be why ghosts have never been documented. 

Can geology and water alone have an impact on paranormal activity or does their need to be a tragic event tied to the location to, in a sense, make the "dough rise?"

What are your thoughts or experiences with this type of haunting?

I'd love to hear about it in the comment box below or anywhere you find this article posted and... thank you!! 

Works Cited:

Photo courtesy of Rob Hurson - Flickr

Photo courtesy

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Are You a Paranormal Writer Looking to Grow Your Audience?

Paranormal Insights is currently seeking writers who have a deep interest in the paranormal and the unexplained. If you write a blog, have published a book or if you currently or have written for a paranormal publication, I'd love to hear from you.

For over three years now I have been researching and writing articles that are meant to give readers a different "insight" into the paranormal realm. There are many, many websites out there that document haunted locations all over the world. Some go a bit further by doing their own investigations or by offering up their thoughts of what they have seen, read or researched. Paranormal Insights has continued to try to be different from those sites through unique perspectives and insightful connections. Anyone seeking to write for this website should please keep this in mind.

Paranormal Insights has always been a once a month publication. This will allow you to hold your article as the default one for about 30 days. The average viewer traffic is approximately 500 page views a week. This site may move to bi-weekly articles, depending on article submission levels.

There are certain criteria that must be met for your work to be accepted. Ultimately the discretion is mine and I will always be forthcoming for any reasons of acceptance/denial. Some of the requirements are listed below. This list is not exhaustive, but serves as a general guideline for submission:
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If you would like to further discuss the criteria for submission or submit an article for approval, please drop me a line @

Thank you very much and I look for to our communication... of what's on the other side of the veil!