Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Portents of 2009

In the spirit of the season, I would like to give some portents that have been given to me from others, that pertain to the year ahead.

Make of them as you like, remember if it from the lips of God it will abide, if from man…well then it shall stinketh…

The light of the east in the rubble of the west shall be a trouble for those who have forsaken the iron grip.

Beware of those who say peace to lull you into swift confidence; they shall eat you from the inside out and lay waste to the remains.

The peace that many long for will not be seen in the multitude, but in the stillness of the quiet night there will be those who will understand and be silent to watch.

The blood that flows from David shall indeed bring peace to all the sons of Abraham, but those who love the fast path to heaven shall never find it.

Those who have left may still linger but those who are still behind are more important. And those who seek an answer may ignore it while it still might be screaming in their face.

Turmoil sharpens the sword of the untested. It hardens the resolve of those who have abided and yet show mercy. The innocent shall lead those resigned to their destiny to greater day.

Oh yes and blue wins over green. Times 12.

While waiting…

Eat more veggies.

Good to the last.

Take it for what it is worth,

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Soul Pillars

Recently I posted an article briefly covering a phenomena that I have discovered while researching the death experiences of terminally ill patients, I called them phone calls from the dead or Dead Ringers.

In these phenomena someone receives a phone call from the residence of someone who has recently or has long since passed this mortal veil. More times than not it coincides with the death of a terminally ill patient, and the ringer is somehow related to the deceased or the next of kin.

Many see this as an attempt by those who have recently passed to communicate to those who they have left behind. Usually the message is comforting, letting the loved ones know that the dead no longer suffer pain, and their love continues beyond the grave.

This is one of the most common paranormal events that happen at the end of life of terminally ill patients. It does not occur to every terminally ill loved one who crosses the veil, but it happens enough to show a clear pattern. I lost both of my parents in the 1980’s when I was in college, and I wish this would have happened to me. But it did not. But it has happened to others. Various medical partners in assisted living have witnessed it as well, so it is not ‘grief hallucinations’ as some would vehemently assert.

Another common phenomenon that I have found while researching the passing of terminally ill patients is that of ‘Soul Pillars’.

This is a phenomenon that is not readily perceived by the average person. And many who witness it almost never tell anyone else lest their sanity is called into question. But as I have investigated this phenomenon and sharing with my interviewees some of my personal paranormal experiences reports of this phenomenon arises over and over again.

It seems that when ‘sensitive’ individuals are around the time of death of certain patients they notice a light coming from the person’s body just as they pass away. Just as these same sensatives might have personal paranormal encounters such as visibly being able to see ghosts or other supernatural activity, they also are able to see this strange occurrence.

Many who have witnessed it have the opinion that they are witness to the patients soul passing from the body to the other side. Usually it lasts only for a few moments, from a split second to less than a minute. Other times Holy objects in the room where the deceased passes also have an influence over the ‘Soul Pillar’ and might even have a beam of energy to emit itself.

The color of the ‘Soul Pillar’ varies. Some people see a white pillar all the time, others see a pink or purple one. Some see pillars of various colors emitted from the dying ones body.

The location on the body from where the pillars are emitted also varies.

Most of the time people see the pillar coming from the chest, others see it sparking from the forehead. In rare occasions it comes from multiple sources.

What are these caregivers and family members witnessing? Is it the event where our soul actual leaves the body at time of death to cross over to the region beyond?

It is not ‘Grief Hallucinations’ since people who have been objective to the state of the patient see this phenomena more often than those in the immediate family, or the constant care nurse.

Following are a few stories of such happenings and you can make the conclusions yourself.

Becca has been with the visiting nurses association for almost two decades and has seen many patients slip through the mortal bonds of earth. It took her a long time to come to terms with regularly seeing her patients die, at first she tried to detach herself when she dealt with the terminally ill. But she saw this was not an answer. She tended to dehumanize her clients and that made her job cold, shallow and stressful. She was also sure that she was not giving her patients the quality care emotionally that they so desperately needed at this the end stage of life.

It took her about 5 years to develop a proper approach to her job in which she could both empathize with her patients and yet not become overwhelmingly enmeshed with their trials that it had an emotional impact on her life away from work.

It was shortly after this that she began to see the ‘Soul Pillars’.

As her custom when she began to see that the end was near for her patients she would gather at the bedside with any family that had been called to say their final goodbye’s. They would hold hands and pray in whatever faith language they chose to help their loved ones last moments be filled with love, song and spiritual care.

She remembered that she was gathered by one particular man’s side one afternoon, his son and daughter stood with her singing ‘Amazing Grace’ as the last raspy breaths came from their aged fathers lungs. Becca opened her eyes after on chorus to look down at her patient in order to make sure he was still breathing , since the rasping had ceased. She was astonished to see a blue-white pillar pouring from the dead man’s chest.

It looked like a large electrical bolt that only lasted for a split second.

The man’s children still had their eyes closed in prayer as they all sang together, but Becca saw the pillar springing from the chest and pass through the ceiling above.

It was gone in an instant.

She was amazed but did not share what she had seen with the patients family, and after a while was sure that it was just some mirage or trick of the ambient lighting.

But then it happened again. And again.

Now for Becca it happens almost all of the time. And she is no longer alone since others are now also spontaneously witnessing the pillars as they comfort others who are passing on. Within seconds of the last gasp of air, the pillar shoots up, and the body is just a lifeless shell. The soul has left the body to go…elsewhere.

Michelle worked in hospice for only a short time until her first encounter with a ‘Soul Pillar’. To her they always appeared purple or violet. They had become commonplace to the death experience with her. But one night she had a start as the commonplace supernatural experience changed drastically.

Reverend Arnold was diagnosed with cancer at the ripe old age of 82. It quickly ravaged his body and he was incapacitated within a few short months. Michelle had watched over the reverend with his faithful wife by their side for over two months before the final battle was over. Michelle heart the death rattle in the dying man’s breath and she knew it would only be a matter of time before he was gone. Almost on cue the purple pillar sprouted from the Reverend’s Chest and to her surprise the pastor’s wife saw it too and exclaimed with awe and wonder.

In barely a split second the light from the chest was joined by another equally powerful light. This time it was from the crucifix from across the room. It came in a long slender beam from the figure of Christ and entered into the dying man’s forehead. The pink beam seemed to intensify in power then at once both lights stopped at the same time.

The Reverend had passed.

Leaving an astonished group in the hospice room.

What had happened there? Even though not a Christian in the strict sense Michelle is certain that spiritual power flowed from that Crucifix into the dying Reverend’s body. But for what purpose?

One can only imagine.

If you have experienced similar experiences please write me in the Paranormal Narthex at the top right of the page, I would love to hear from you. If you wish I can add your stories to my book, “Ushered through the Veil” which highlights other at death supernatural occurances.

One thing I have learned through all this research is that at the time of death,

We are not alone.

No matter where we are, or in what situation death finds us.

Yet you are never alone when you break the mortal coil.

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Vote for me to be a take part in the new paranormal show from the Discovery Network, click the link below and vote! You can vote every day!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A True Christmas Miracle

In the denomination in which I had my Theological training, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, one is trained to look for miracles. The CMA (which will give various false leads in Google if you are looking for the denomination instead of the Country Music Awards) believes that God works today as He did in the days of the New Testament, if you have the eyes of faith to perceive it.

I think that was one of the tenants that drew me to the Denomination like a magnet in the days when my faith in Christ was fresh and new. The excitement of infinite possibilities of faith visibly manifest in the congregation of the local church was a possibility I intrinsically knew existed, although many faiths have either ignored or denied such manifestations of the Godhead in modern times.

It was made real to me early in my Christian walk when I was told the story of Bettie by a new friend of mine at Lake Shore Alliance.

Sadly the church is no longer in existence. The World War 2 founders of the church have had their time to thrived and pass on, they have all recently gone through the veils of eternity. The church was experiencing a rapidly declining enrollment in the early 80s when I first began to attend the congregation. By the turn of the century the church had closed and its land was acquired by the denomination in order to start a new fresh outreach to the west county of Erie.

But back in 1983 when I first came to the church it was populated by a small but loyal group of people who reached out in love and compassion to anyone who entered their doors.

I was one of them.

As a troubled youth I had ran into trouble in the neighborhood and the congregants knew of me before my shadow even graced the steps of the front door. In the late 70s I was swept up in the drug culture and my companions were various elements of the criminal underground, my friends were thieves, drug dealers, violent bikers and various other malcontents. So inevitably I myself came to personally get to know the local law enforcement in the area, in a bad way.

But in May of 1983 I had a personal religious experience that changed my life, and instead of shopping around for a church I just went down to the end of the street to the nearest one, Lake Shore Alliance.

It was a wonderful match. I was immediately accepted and nurtured by wonderful caring people of all ages. It was a rarity even back then.

In the years at the church I heard my first Missionary stories, some of which I have related in this forum. In the atmosphere of acceptance of the supernatural I also had related to me many stories of miracles and works of wonder.

One of them I have to classify as a true Christmas miracle.

Jamie was only 16 and had been diagnosed with leukemia. She was a bright and thoughtful young girl who often spent her time helping others. She volunteered in a local rescue mission to feed the homeless, formed a youth group for inner city children and every holiday she would gather clothing and toys for the underprivileged who suffered through the long and harsh North Eastern winter season.

But in her 16th year she could do none of these special things to help others that she thrived on. Instead she spent the Thanksgiving and Christmas season on the other end of the helping arm of charity as she was in the final stages of the disease and she could hardly even care for herself.

The family loved to camp, and in this her final Christmas they thought it would be a wonderful idea to spend the holidays in the camp they had deep in the Allegheny woodland, far from any vestiges of civilization. Jamie loved the snow covered landscape when they would come here during the winter season and having a special Christmas with just family and friends would build memories and ease her soul.

It was a wonderful time and the snow came down slowly making the experience a perfect holiday moment for the entire family. However, by December 23rd the storm had increased to a full blown blizzard and it seems that the family would have no choice than to spend the holidays in the cabin for all the roads quickly became impassible.

That night as the winter gales blew and the thick snow mounted up around the cabin Jaime’s father was woken by an odd noise. It was the sound of the strong winds rushing through the cabin.

Upon exploring the reason for the sound Jamie’s father found that the front door of the cabin was wide open, and it seems it had been for quite a while, since a large pile of snow had built up at the doorstep.

Quickly he pushed the snow out of the way and closed and secured the door. As he turned to the couch in front of the fireplace where he had left his daughter for the night his heart skipped a beat.

Although the fire still roared in the fireplace, the couch was empty.

Jamie was gone.

He searched the cabin but she was nowhere to be found. So there was only one answer, for some reason she had wandered out into the storm.

In our day this would be tragic enough, but in the days before wireless phone service there was no way to alert the local authorities to the plight of the missing girl except for direct contact. There was no landline phone service in the isolated wilderness where the cabin was located.

So instead of immediately contacting the authorities the family bundled up and went searching for the young girl through the storm themselves.

Of course the blowing snow had covered all traces of her footprints, so their all night search was fruitless.

By morning they had lost hope that they could find the girl on their own so the father decided to finally make the long trip through the treacherous winter roads to the nearest town in order to contact the nearest authorities to aid them in the search.

It was a long and arduous journey just to get to the nearest main road in the mountainous area. It was almost mid day before he made it to the first road that had been plowed, and as he turned onto the road he saw something out of the corner of his eye.

There was a body lying in a snow drift by the side of the road.

It was Jamie.

As he ran to her it was obvious that she had somehow made it all the way down here in the night and she had come to the road after the plow had come through. She was unconscious on the drift of plowed snow. She was cold and barely breathing, but still alive. Quickly her father scooped her up and took her to the car. Frantically he drove to the nearest hospital which was almost an hour away. During this time he could hear her daughter mumble, which gave him some encouragement. But the words she mumbled puzzled him, “beautiful” she kept repeating, “you are so beautiful”.

They arrived at the emergency room and the doctors quickly took her back to make sure she had not suffered any permanent damage from the unsheltered overnight stay in the harsh winter storm.

Jamie’s father paced the floor for hours outside the hospital room waiting to hear the results of all the examinations and tests. The night had begun to fall on the 24th before he would receive any concrete news about Jamie’s condition. Finally about 7:30PM the doctor overseeing her care came to him and told him the good news. Miraculously she was fine. She had a mild case of hypothermia but there was no frostbite and all the test came back normal. She was in perfect health.

Jamie’s father was a bit confused. In the confusion of the moment had he forgotten to tell the physicians about her terminal illness, or were they just speaking in general terms?

He asked the doctor how this incident would affect her battle with the cancer. The doctor looked puzzled, and looked back at the young girls chart.

Shaking his head in confusion he told the man that there was no sign of cancer in the young girl, but he would have to make a few more tests.

The father was upset and distraught, how could they have missed such a condition while they examined the young girl for so long a time? But there was nothing he could do but sit and wait again as the doctors preformed yet a few more tests on the young girl.

During an interim between going to x-rays and having blood tests he finally got to see Jamie. She looked healthier than she had in over a year. She was awake and smiling. He asked her what in the world she was thinking, wandering out in the harsh winter weather like she did.

As she replied her face seemed to radiate a peace and serenity that he had never noticed before. “Daddy, an angel came to me in the night. He carried me into the snow and carried me up to heaven. God did not want me there yet, He told me I had a lot to do before He would see me there. The angel took me back left me beside the road, he told me you would be coming soon but I got tired and I fell asleep.” Before saying any more the orderly took her away to the x-ray room.

Soon all the tests came back.

There was no sign of the Leukemia.

Jamie was cured.

A true Christmas miracle.

Jamie was sure she was not delusional and had wandered out in the blizzard by her own. She knew she had been given a second chance and had been touched by the healing hand of God. Therefore she dedicated her life to serving Him and helping others, and eventually went onto the Mission field to serve the underprivileged in the third world.

I never met Jamie, her family attended another CMA church in the area. But her story inspired many in the early 80s, including myself. How God worked in her life gave a comforting assurance that no matter how dire the circumstances God is always there. Sometimes there might not be a miraculous healing as spectacular as hers, but still God is there to comfort and help.

However, every once in a while in the midst of oppressive strife and suffering you do get a real unexplainable occurrence that defies all logic.

An honest to goodness miracle, that impacts lives for generations.

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Different Pyschic Vampire

I am sure most if not all of the readers of this blog have heard of the term ‘psychic vampires’.

Like the vampires of old these parasitic beings live upon the life force of others. Unlike the blood sucking freaks of old the new age psychic vampire drains the very life force of its victim either willingly or unwillingly.

Just do a google of the word ‘psychic vampire’ and you will come upon a cornucopia of various explanations, tales and beings who claim to be able to drain the vital energies from another fellow traveler on this great marble in space.

Even in a recent History Channel program profiling ‘real’ vampires they touched upon the subject highlighting the life and psychic needs of Michele Belanger. Michele is an author, performer and self proclaimed psychic vampire. She has a circle of willing victims on whom she feeds. The History Channel’s program “Monsterquest” produced evidence that there is an actual physiological component to the abilities of the psychic vampire.

However I believe there is a different kind of psychic vampire that just does not hinge on the singular characteristic of life draining. True that is the dominant and trademark quality of these creatures of the night. But there are other characteristics of the vampire that also have been popularized by both literature and cinema over the past two centuries that are mere secondary afterthoughts to many examination of the psychic vampire. These are the mesmerized followers, controlled and unconditional obedience of these followers, violent fear of the revelation of their true nature and ungodly minions.

Now these characteristics are not historical but they are imbedded in the modern fictional narratives of the creature and when you get right down to it the figure of the vampire is shrouded in myth and story telling from the dawn of time. Be they the Vetalas of ancient India or the Middle Eastern legend of Lilitu (from which we derive the non Biblical but archaic rabbinical traditions of Adam’s first wife Lilith) stories of demonic entities that thrive off the life blood of the living are found in every culture across the globe. The encounters with these life draining entities have evolved and their characteristics have developed into the familiar figures that are now in many variations, popular culture icons in our 21st century. And these characteristics are minor but yet quintessential aspects of the beings which we call vampire as we know it in our modern world. Again these are:

The Mesmerized Followers
The classic vampire of literature has a supernatural ability to have their victims become enraptured so they are under the creature’s complete control. They ignore the clear warning signs of danger that surround this relationship and willingly give themselves to their controller.

Unconditional and Controlled Obedience
The mesmerized followers of the vampire give the master complete and unconditional obedience. Every aspect of their existence is focused on the continuing support and nurture of the master. Their innate desire for self preservation is muted by the overwhelming compulsion to obey the master’s every whim.

Violent Fear of the Revelation of their True Nature
The vampire lives a life of a lie. The creature strives to appear normal in the society in which it preys, so it may acquire its victims and blend into the masses. Any threat to this charade is met with quickly and violently.

Ungodly Minions
In addition to the mind controlled followers of the master vampire, the master also has distasteful fellows who follow them around to do the ‘dirty work’. They too are under the complete control of the master but lives on the edge of the community. They are deemed too ‘unclean’ for full integration in the brood but still are necessary for the brood’s existence.

I would posit that modern day broods of psychic vampires litter our world today. They are not pale and wear the neo-goth clothing that many self proclaimed vampires use as a cultural banner. No, these broods live among us and are virtually undetectable. But they still have a psychic master who controls and drains the followers in an unnatural way. Is it supernatural or psychological? In my experience it is both. The psychological issues fuel a spiritual bondage that can produce paranormal events.

Julie was a baby boomer child. Her father did not serve in the war, instead he was one of the fortunate few who had a medical condition that allowed him to escape the draft. All of his friends had gone off to the various fields of battle leaving behind their wives and girlfriend’s alone and vulnerable. This was a dream come true for Julie’s father since he was a notorious lady’s man. The problem came when Julie was born to one of his buddies wives. Not only did it destroy a marriage, it devastated a soldier on the front lines who thereafter volunteered for more and more dangerous missions. Missions that eventually ended his life. And it brought to a screeching halt the flagrant womanizing of Julie’s father. In the small coal mining town in Pennsylvania in which they lived the community might look the other way at wanton fraternizing, but leaving a single mother and neglecting parental responsibility was not just frowned upon it was punished socially…and sometimes with vigilante justice.

So Julie’s father was forced to marry her mother. Julie was stuck in the middle. Her father hated her for imprisoning him to a monogamous marriage and her mother saw her as the child that had killed her true love in Germany. She grew up unloved and both physically and emotionally abused. And it was shortly after her 7th birthday that she became the sexual focus of her degenerate father.

The stress of years of sexual, emotional and physical abuse shattered Julie’s inner being. When she finally moved out at the young age of 16 she did not have eating disorders an OCD or multiple personalities. Her inner battles with loss of control instead changed her. She so ordered her life that she would be in complete control. She would no longer be used, instead she would use others. Her friends, what family she allowed close to her and those she worked with. She would manipulate them with lies followed by emotional pleas and crafty acting. Everyone was but a pawn to attain her goals. When she finally married she chose a milk toast loner who needed to find meaning in his mundane life. Friendless he was attracted to Julie’s otherworldly power over others. He was soon entrapped and became the first mesmerized by her manipulation of truth and reality. It was easier to live the lie of the ‘cult’ of Julie than it was to exist in the harsh world that had buffered and bashed him through his formative teenage years. But in their secret chambers Julie was a harsh mistress, exacting harsh judgment for any minor infraction. And the slight was never forgotten, but only exaggerated over time. But on the surface they seemed a warm and happy couple, charming others at their dinner parties and playing the part of conscientious active community leaders.

Together they had 3 children, all girls. They were taught to obey and guard the truth of the rigid perfectionism that the master demanded of all her followers. When the oldest daughter finally came of age she moved out quickly, not even discussing this with any others of her family.

Julie’s rage was unquenchable. She did all she could to make the lives of her daughter and her new boyfriend living hell. She would make anonymous calls to the boyfriends work and eventually he was fired. She disowned her daughter. And her daughter’s years under the spell of Julie had made its mark in her own psyche. Her bizarre behavior and similar attempts of control forced her boyfriend to have her assessed by a mental health professional. She was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Although they stayed together for a few years, it was a very tough road. Julie ignored them and secretly cursed them until the day that her daughter had conceived.

Julie had a granddaughter.

She was drawn to this baby, not just as a loving Grandmother would to a darling grandchild. She wanted the child under her control. And the daughter was drawn back to the mother as well. Soon the daughter had left the boyfriend to move back home.

On the surface this seems like a simple case of a psychological issue passed on from one generation to another.

That is what I thought when I came to the family on the as requested by one of the members. I was sure that perhaps Julie herself had Borderline Personality Disorder or a similar condition. They are very hard to pinpoint and diagnose for a therapeutic professional let alone a Christian Counselor.

But there was something very odd about the family and their interactions.

With a look the children obeyed Julie when questions became too personal. When talking to the children alone they would try to answer but then nervously look around. Their faces would become ashen and a change would come over them. They would then become a different person, very angry and abusive with their language. The soft quite voices of a shy child became the aggressive accuser of the mother in the adjoining room.

It was if the silent communication and the automatic personality changes were manipulated by the master in a preternatural way.

I had never felt such cold evil like it embodied in an individual before.

It was a cold and calculating intelligence, an intelligence that felt not altogether human.

After a few meetings with the family I knew there was really nothing I could do short of an exorcism. But the family was unwilling to even think about going that route. So I recommended a local counselor and bid them goodbye. I was later told by the counselor that the oldest daughter did go to a few sessions but once they got down to the real issues of the family they never saw her again.

A severely dysfunctional family with severe emotional problems?

Or a familial brood of psychic vampires who thrived on the control of their own and others to meet the need of their life draining id?

I don’t have any evidence of paranormal activity from the incident, but the feelings I had from the family left me very disturbed. You felt there were other eyes watching you, always on you waiting and watching for an opportunity to strike.

The only other times I had felt such intense other worldly malevolence were in demonic deliverance sessions.

Another type of Psychic Vampire? After visiting Julie I could not help but associate what I saw with Jim Jones and his obsessive control of his congregation at The Peoples Temple in the 70s. Or Hitler’s rise to power by manipulation and cult of personality. I also am reminded of David Berg former Christian and Missionary Alliance Minister who through manipulation and lies gathered together his cult ‘The Children of God’ in the 60s. He distorted truth and manipulated his followers to the extent that the church became nothing more than a sex cult that provided its leadership with sexual slaves of all ages.

But then again I am reminded of many other dysfunctional families I have counseled or interacted with over the years. Perhaps the story of Julie reminded you of others that you yourself have met.

Do broods of psychic vampires dwell around the world? In a way I would have to say yes, to one extent or another. They are altogether different than the lone Psychic Vampire who uses the persona to attract willing victims. In these familial broods the victims are not willing, but trapped souls in a state of living death. Unable to change because of fear and self doubt.

Did you meet some of them this past Thanksgiving? Or will you meet them this Christmas? They come to feast on more than Turkey, Ham or Pie.

Unlike other psychic vampires who prefer Halloween, these type prefer the Holidays in which we are in the midst of.

Keep your eyes peeled and your senses keen this holiday season. And if you can, reach out a hand to help those who you meet who walk in the twilight.

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Vote for me to be a take part in the new paranormal show from the Discovery Network, click the link below and vote! You can vote every day!