Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Vampire's Crypt of Erie Cemetery

Erie County Pa has its fair share of paranormal places.

From hauntings , close encounters to UFOs, Bigfoot sightings and Bessie the lake monster, the county is full of high strangeness.

But one of the most mysterious places of supernatural legend in the county is the Vampire's Crypt that lies in The Erie Cemetery between 26th and 19th streets.

Now the cemetery has its share of unique tombs, Erie was a chief industrial town in the 1800s and the wealth of the city is evident in the many lavish personal mausoleums the cemetery holds.

But the Vampire's Crypt stands out from even the most lavish of tombs.

It is not because it is the most ornate, no on the contrary its fairly sparse-it even lacks a family name. But over the doorway is an ornate "V", that has given it its infamous name.

There are many stories of supernatural and odd experiences at the Crypt, and with this entry I am going to try something a little different, an animated video blog.

For more info on the Vampire's Crypt, it's background and other stories about the supernatural occurrences there read this article of mine on the Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/article/what-lurks-the-vampire-s-crypt  and the full story in my book "Eerie Erie: Tales of the Unexplained from Northwestern Pennsylania" due August 2011 from The History Press!

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Unexpected Demon

Have you ever wondered what exactly it takes to have a malevolent force to manifest itself into our plane of existence and harass those otherwise abiding in peace in our realm of physical reality?

Me too.

Despite many encounters with destructive and malign forces that express themselves in our realm of existence in one form or the other I have often wondered what kind of force is required to unleash this abominable force upon our senses.

Of course there is the usual suspects.

A dark site of archaic unknown evil, long forgotten, but which echoes into our present time; an ancient site of human sacrifice or execution; a place of unjust and generational repeated action which resulted in the death or corruption of the innocent or a site repeated and volatile occultist and satanic rituals preformed in order to illicit a response from the realm of the fallen itself.

All the fun stuff of occultist lore.

But what happens when the most seemingly minuscule of actions actually makes manifest a demonic force that not only presents itself upon our earthly plane but which interacts with others by which it causes physical and dangerous attacks on all who dares to enter its sphere of influence?

Erie Pennsylvania has many Catholic Colleges and this event took place on an off campus housing facility not directly associated with one of these Colleges.

It was a multi bedroom house that was rented a few years ago by four College wrestlers. These four friends were large bulky brutes and were quite bold and fearless.

Hardly afraid of anything.

But events unfolded within their residence that forced all of them out and one refused to even enter the building to retrieve his personal belonging after one particular night of terror.

When they first moved in the apartment it was a quiet and tranquil abode. They studied, relaxed and threw their fair share of rowdy parties. They were there for almost a year before the problems started. And they could trace it back to one particular incident.

It is an incident that has undoubtedly happened millions of times with varying levels of fury and rage. Some will call it sacrilege, others just call it just a natural and innocent act of frustration or disappointment.

One night after studying his assigned theological homework, one of the wrestlers became very frustrated. He was at the school on a scholarship and struggled through most of his subjects. He was barely making a C average on most subjects, but in his Catholic Theology course he was failing miserably. He just could not comprehend all the complicated concepts and his failure with these courses doomed his G.P.A. That night he was vexed beyond compare by the teachings of Transubstantiation.

Knowing he was doomed to fail the early morning test on the subject and seeing his wresting and Collegiate future slip through his fingers he cursed at God and threw his Bible against the wall.

I have known many who have done the same thing, even Clergymen who were in a crisis of faith.

But something was unleashed that night by that small incident of anger and frustration.

The wrestler eventually worked out a deal with his theology professor but within a week of the incident with the Bible strange things began to happen in the shared apartment.

At first it was just puzzling.

After two of the roommates washed the evenings dishes they stacked them on the right side of the sink and went to bed.

The next morning they were all on the left side of the sink. In perfect order.

Next were the bookcases on the south side of the house.

The bookcases on other walls were not affected. But two of the six rooms had bookcases on the south. One morning the occupants of those rooms woke up to all the books piled up one upon another in perfect form.

Soon the phenomena became more dramatic and increased in intensity with every day.

Books would fly off shelves.

Glasses would shatter in locked cabinets.

One morning they woke up to find their backyard littered with dead rats.

It culminated one evening when one of them young men's fiance had come to visit. They were walking down the back stairs when suddenly the 250 lbs hulk of a wrestler was pushed by some invisible force down the stairs. Ripped from his fiance's arm he tumbled head over heals down the staircase like a rag doll. He fell at the bottom of the stairs and lay motionless.

That what when his fiance saw it.

It was a dark form that lurked at the bottom of the stairs, hovering over her fiance. It raised its shadowy head up to her and leered at her with his glowing red eyes.

Her scream rolled up from an inner terror that she had never before or has never since experienced.

And with that sound her fiance roused and slowly stood up, and the shadow figure faded.

That night he was checked out at the emergency room, and had only a few bruises.

They never returned to the apartment.

His roommates knew of the strange occurrences but tried to shelter themselves by considering that the physical manifestation a mere hallucination from the trauma of seeing her fiance take such a harrowing tumble.

But soon that shelter would be destroyed by a storm of evil.

Within a week they would wake up with scratches across their body, have the house reek with a thick sulfuric smell, and come home from classes to find the living room furniture ripped apart.

The paranormal phenomena peaked when one morning while one of the men was shaving in the bathroom. He saw the shadow take form behind him and saw a face next to his own.

They all moved out and told the campus minister about all of the incidents. He listened with shock and after talking with the local church hierarchy did the only thing he could think to do.

He called the Vatican to find the nearest Catholic exorcist.

The nearest priest trained for the rite was in Buffalo and he came before the week's end.

What exactly happened at the cleansing of the apartment, nobody knows.

In fact nobody is talking about the incident at all. They were told not too.

They did not want to tarnish the reputation of the College.

I found out of this by one a former wrestler who had been best friends with the young men who went through the torment. He himself had a similar incident while living in Pittsburgh. You can read his story here: The Specter of the Watchers it has some interesting background on this incident and Nephilim.

But whatever happened there seems to be working, other students have lived there in the years since and none of them have experienced anything out of the ordinary. The young girls that live there have no idea what transpired there just a few years ago.

A Bible thrown in rage manifesting a violent demonic presence?

I would suspect there is more to the matter than that.

Either there was more to the background of the person who did the act or the location of the house was in someway predisposed to such a malignant manifestation.

Otherwise for every act of outrage over faith unfulfilled or disdain of dogma such specters of evil would be billowing out from the abyss at every turn. But instead, usually the out come of such acts are either a deepening of faith or its complete loss. And God knows our hearts. He knows our frustrations and our limitations, our disdain for living in a less than perfect world.

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Friday, March 13, 2009

How to prefrom a Blessing or Consecration to cleanse a building from malevolent entities

Since I have started this blog there does not a week pass when I am not contacted by 3 to 4 people who desperately need the intercession of an Exorcist with a problem entity that has been giving their family problems.

Last year we tried to form an alliance of people trained in such encounters to help in such situations, unfortunately only a handful have replied. So in a vast portion of the US I have no one to send to help. Therefore I have come up with a few rites to help those who face such situations. This is a very simple ceremony, and it is blatantly Christian. It is for the novice. I will also be publishing within the next few months a more advanced rite that includes Cleansing and building Exorcism rituals in a book called "An Exorcist's Field Guide". This is also for the novice and it fully explains in a step by step process how to do these rites with a flexible form that can be tailored for various situations.

But for now here is a simple Blessing or Consecration ceremony, it is at my Examiner page here:
The Rite

Hope this helps. It will either calm things down or increase the activity dramatically. If it increases contact me at the Paranormal Narthex in the sidebar.

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Fortean Investigator Joke

Thought I'd pass a joke along! It's an experimental casting video for "The Gray Area".

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Thing in the Churchyard

Continuing on in the subject of my previous blog entry, "A Haunted Church" I would have to relate that sometimes I get some flak from other Christian Ministers for even suggesting a church that is right with God can be haunted. Many offhandedly cast aside even the remotest possibility that such an occurrence could happen.

While I will not give an extensive history of such here, (and if one were to make a scholarly search in historical documents published records from around the world the concept of a 'haunted church' is not only not an oxymoron, it seems to be quite a common occurrence) I would like to highlight in this article one of the most disturbing occurrences of a church haunting I have ever encountered.

This encounter with a dubious entity also was published on the front page of a leading Western Pennsylvania Newspaper over a century ago. Yet today it has been long lost in the mists of time, and all but this historian know of what happened in that ancient churchyard in Shenango Township in Lawrence County Pennsylvania so many years ago.

It was November 1869, David Barge came trudging through the dark woods that surrounded the outskirts of New Castle Pennsylvania one late dark Thursday evening. He came through the mostly unexplored back woods to open the doors of the small Savannah Methodist Episcopal church for the weekly prayer meeting. It was not an uncommon thing for him to do, for since he had come back from his duties as an officer in the American Civil War he had began to seek solace within the church, and it was his quickly becoming his only brief bit of peace from memories of the bitter conflict that had ripped not only his country apart but his local community as well.

But all the horrors he had beheld in this conflict of brother between brother within the past decade did not prepare him for the horrors that awaited him in the churchyard that late November night.

The New Castle News of Monday February 26th 1917 tells of the encounter of that dark Thursday night. Reporter David P. Jackson related the tale told to him by the eyewitnesses:

"As it sometimes happened that nobody came to the prayer meetings, he waited in front of the church to see whether it would be necessary to light up or not. No one came and as he turned around to start home, there stood a mysterious thing beside him. David Barge was a veteran soldier...He had courage to contend with flesh and blood but this thing seemed to be a fallen spirit untimely released from the vastly deep, where, since the flood, they had been confined in chains of darkness awaiting judgment day. "There is something about the mysterious and uncanny that is more terrifying than real danger and this ghostly figure did something which Confederate guns had failed to do. He was so panic stricken and fled wildly from the churchyard, so anxious to put space between him and the apparition that he did not take time to open the gate but leaped the fence. His agitation was so great that when he reached home, nearly a mile away, his folks noticed something was wrong and with some difficulty induced him to relate what had happened, as he knew he would be laughed at."

Barge's 18 year old nephew, Eli Gaston was there at the time. The next evening Gaston and his brother went to their friends farm on which land the tiny church stood. They had great sport at the expense of Eli's Uncle and his great scare from the 'ghost' by the church. After a few hours of joking about they decided that they would investigate the churchyard themselves. So they walked through the cornfields and made their way to the tiny church. They stood there where David Barge had stood the night before and they saw nothing. Having proved their point they turned to walk home.

It was then that the apparition 'glided' from behind the church and came to a halt right in front of them.

Once again it is best to hear what happened next in David Jackson's own words from the 1917 New Castle News,
"At this sight all their philosophy vanished and they became as panic stricken as David Barge had been and fled as precipitately as he did. They were ashamed to tell anyone about it that night, but the next day they took a fourth young man into the secret and that evening the four repaired to the churchyard with their nerves firmly braced, determined to investigate the phenomenon. "At the usual time the unearthly figure appeared and glided toward then, but this time there was no panic-they stood their ground. The ghost remained a few moments and then glided away to the rear of the church where they could see it standing beside a small tree and they heard a scratching sound such as a cat makes when trying its claws on the bark. It would disappear while their eyes were upon it and then reappear at some other spot. Once when it came near them and stood motionless one of the boys asked, 'What do you want?' Whereupon 'it made a groaning sound as if trying to speak but could not.' To quote the language of my informant. It disappeared in the graveyard and was next seen visible outside, in the meadow, but they could not see it crossing the fence as a material thing would have been obliged to do. The party seperated, two taking their station in the meadow and two remaining in the graveyard. Sometimes, the ghost would be seen in the meadows, but they could never observe its progress from one to the other. It just disappeared and reappeared.

"The night was cold, there had been no snow and the long grass was crisp with frost and crackled under their feet whenever they moved. The ghost had been invisible for a while and the two in the graveyard were watching intently in every direction for its reappearance, with every sense at high tension from nervous strain, but they neither saw nor heard anything till suddenly they found it standing closely behind them. If they retreated it would follow but it would retire if they advanced toward it. It was a white object with a resemblance to a human figure but the form was so vague and indefinite that they declared that they could not see it move when it changed its place but, as Eli Gaston said, 'It seemed to glide over the ground as if it were on wheels'."

After that night the boys spread the story of what happened to them all over the small farming community. Farmers and towns people gathered at the church every night to try to have their own encounter with the entity. A century and a half before it became vogue they were 'Ghost Hunters', in their own way. They wanted an encounter, and they brought guns and pitchforks just in case.

But it never came back.

Soon after this story was published in the New Castle News, Reverend Charles Merill the old church was torn down and a new building was erected in 1910. It no longer stands near the cemetery where the strange apparition appeared those nights long ago.

At the current church building there has been no reported encounters with the paranormal. In fact correspondence with the current Pastor shows that the congregation did not even bother to keep old photographs of the church.

It makes you wonder why.

Of course the apparition was considered an 'Nephelim' escaped from Sheol when interpreting the dated language of the story. So the witnesses and community considered this a demonic entity that appeared at the church.

But why the church?

And why would a 'Nephalim' appear in a graveyard just to scoot around a bit and not really bother anything except to scratch the bark of an old tree?

Perhaps more congregants should have shown up at that Thursday night prayer meeting in that late November night.

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope


How to do a blessing or consecration rite for the extrication of paranormal phenomena

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