Monday, December 5, 2011

Return to the Creature of the Black Ravine


In the summer of 1986 I was a short term Missionary to Burkina Faso, West Africa. It was a wonderful experience, it gave me a chance to explore new cultures and literally minister to thousands of disenfranchised villagers.

And it was also one of my first encounters with high strangeness.

During my time in West Africa we would venture out into the wilderness and minister to small villages in the savanna. During off time we would be able to venture out and explore the wonders of West Africa.



A few times while in these isolated villages I was on guard duty and slept atop our Rover, armed with just a bush knife to dissuade robbers from stealing our vehicle. One night in a village that was nothing more than a few mud huts in the middle of nowhere I was sleeping atop our Rover when something came walking down the street. Of course there were no street lights, in fact there was no electricity. I was in complete darkness, with only the stars above for any light. But I heard movement and saw a dark shadow on all fours walking slowly down the street where our vehicle was parked. In size it could have been a Lion, except that part of Africa has not had a feline population for well over 150 years at the time. It came right up to our vehicle, and for a moment I thought whatever it was it would soon climb the top of the truck and attack. But it circled the Rover a few times and moved on down the street.  I never found out for sure what the thing in the dark was, but I knew that it was BIG.

On another occasion I encountered another intriguing cryptid that was worshiped as a  fertility god in a region called Dafara. I wrote of it previously in my article, "The Creature in the Black Ravine" and it has been featured in author Brad Steiger's book "Real Monsters". This creature lived in an isolated pool at the bottom of a lush chasm far from any other source of fresh water.


On the edge of this pond the locals sacrificed their livestock in order to appease the creature in the pond and  hopefully be granted a male child. Of course I thought it was a local myth, until they started to throw the sacrificial meat into the pool. For more info on what I encountered you can read the original article here online or check out Brad's book.


I was only able to take 2 photos of the Dafara pool, the villagers frowned upon photographing their sacrifices. The black and white photo above shows them in the middle of a sacrifice, and we were warned to put the cameras away. The color photo below was a quick picture I tried to take as they butchered an animal for the Dafara creature and made supplications to the fertility spirit.



Often strange and awesome things are found in the far reaches of the globe. I hope that after 25 years the creature I encountered in Dafara is still abiding deep in that primordial pool. It would be a shame indeed if the modern world has encroached in the West African savanna to snuff out another mystery of the wild.

Until next time,
Pastor Swope

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Slenderman Updates



Since I published the article on Slenderman a few months ago, I have been inundated with e-mails of personal accounts of encounters with the tall entity.

I thought the Halloween season would be a great time to share some of the more creepy one's with you, my friends. Some names and locations have been changed.

"Traci" writes,
"I was maybe 4 when I remember seeing the man standing outside of the daycare door. I was afraid, really afraid. He bent over in a weird way and smiled. His skin was too white, like a custard and his teeth were rotten. I remember crying and crying. He went away, but I could feel him. He wanted to get me... He would appear when I was really stressed out, either from school or after fighting with a friend. the worst was when I was 11 and my best friend Joanne and I had a really bad fight at a sleep over and I came home in the night. I remember walking down the sidewalk and I heard something behind me. About a block away the darkness kind of shifted, I don't know how to say it any different. But in that darkness far away I saw this tall thin man walk just into the light of the streetlamp. He was really tall and had a bald white head. That was when I remembered the bad man from daycare. I started to run and every time I looked behind me the man was closer, but I never saw him move. I got home and slammed the door and locked it. I didn't know what I said to Mom and Dad, but I ran upstairs to my room and hid under my bed covers. I swear that a few hours later i looked out the window and he was standing across the street just at the edge of the streetlight lamp...It is like he is waiting for me to do something, to mess up or something, and he will get me. I know I will die."

Ted writes,
"We were deep in the woods of Beech Fork camping, when one night we fell asleep around the campfire. I remember waking up and I saw something move in the trees. I don't know if I was dreaming or having a hallucination, but just at there was a tall thin man in a dark suit walking in the woods at the edge of the camp. When his face came into view i noticed he had a demonic grin, it scared the ____ out of me. I kicked my brother and he shot up in his chair, but by the time I tried to get him to notice the man, he was gone. Needless to say I had a hard time sleeping for the rest of the weekend..."

June tells a story of her childhood,
"We lived in a small house in a normal suburb. My bedroom was all the way down the hall from the bathroom, and I never had an issue with making my way to the bathroom until the one night I woke up and at the end of the hall there stood a very tall man dressed in dark. He had a long, thin neck and lurked in the shadows in the corner right next to the bathroom. I screamed and ran to my bedroom. Dad came to see if I was alright and after I told him what i had seen, he assured me that it was a nightmare. He walked with me to the bathroom for a week after that, and it was quite a while before the dark man returned. This time I was halfway to the bathroom when I noticed movement in the corner and there he was again. he was a little different, I can't really describe it right, except that to me as I remember it he was 'squiggly' as if all of him was moving at one. I remember I froze where I was and then his face poked out of the darkness, it was like a sideways football but very pale pink. His eyes were deep set and he had only a slit for a nose and no lips to speak of. It's teeth were sharp and almost needle like. It opened its mouth and made a grunting noise as it moved its jaw as if he was chewing. I screamed and wet myself right there. I don't know how long I stood there screaming, but it felt like forever. The man started to move from the shadows, and the next thing I knew my fathers hands were on my shoulders shaking me. The man was suddenly gone into the shadows and I remember staring into my fathers face for a while before I recognized him. he had spun me around and was asking me what was wrong. That was when I was 11 years old, and ever since I have been scared to death of the dark. I do not know if I was seeing things, that my imagination had gone wild for some reason; but I swear every now and then I see the shadows move."

Click on the picture to order the book from Amazon
Lastly, from Brie
"Honestly, I don't know where it came from. I have no idea what my imagination was drawing upon to produce it. But it did a good job because, even to this day, I will have an instant and crippling reaction to it.

It was very tall -- seven or eight feet, but maybe a bit more -- and humanoid. It wore a dark suit with a white shirt and black tie. It wore a black bowler hat. But it had no face. Where a face should have been, there was a white blank. Nothing. And it would just stand there, staring.

I remember seeing it -- probably from dreams, but extremely vivid dreams. I remember seeing it standing across the street from my house. Sometimes, at night, I would creep to the window, and there he was -- staring up at my window. That's when I would creep into my parents' bed and sleep with them, which was something I generally didn't like to do. But for some reason, he could never cross the street.

But he COULD pass into my grandparents' (maternal) yard. I remember him there only twice. Once was a sunny afternoon, hiding behind the cherry tree that used to be there. Between the tree and the neighbour's dog pen, but closer to the tree. And then once on an overcast day, up at the top of the hill, by the old shack that was inexplicably up there. (My grandfather told me to never go in there because there were probably raccoons.) Again, just staring.

And once, around the time my sister was born, I saw him at the window. At the ___ window. I just remember backing away slowly, going into my uncle's old bedroom, and hiding in the closet. Grandpa found me eventually. He asked if I was playing a game. Grandma scolded me to get out. I don't remember what I did, but I know I wasn't speaking. They eventually got it out of me, and Grandma said that he had come because I hadn't eaten my lunch (I was always refusing to eat because I had all kinds of digestive problems.) Obviously, they didn't take me seriously. But again, I don't really think it was real. It was probably a bad dream.

But the times I remember the most -- the most vivid, and the most terrifying -- were at my grandparents' (paternal) house. I have so many memories of this thing there, specifically. These grandparents were the ones from County Cork, Ireland. They believed strongly in their folklore, and for whatever reason, were convinced that I was a changeling. Now, I was allowed to play outside -- by myself, which I loved because nobody else would let me do that -- but only if I had some special stones in my pocket and a set of Rosaries around my neck. (They were wooden and didn't have a cross attached to them. So maybe they weren't exactly Rosaries.) They were afraid that my "real" family would be back to get me someday. (Coincidentally, they hid all kinds of objects like this around my house. Obviously, though, not at my other grandparents' house.)

I was allowed to go back as far as I could in the yard, but I couldn't, say, go across to other houses. That was the only rule. The backyard was big enough, but beyond that was an old horse pasture that was covered in grass as tall as I was. There was an old fence, too, that was falling apart.

That's where I saw it. In the horse pasture.

It was an overcast day. It was going to rain. I think it was April. I was wearing my red raincoat that I could never snap by myself because the snaps were too hard. The lining had all these red whales all over it.

But, yeah, I was toward the back of the yard -- by the pear tree -- and I saw him. I froze, just watching. And then he moved. And the way this thing moved -- it wasn't human at all. It was, I don't know, serpentine. Distorted. It was like Stretch Armstrong, or something. He took one big step -- his legs stretched -- and he was halfway across the field. And he did it again, and he stood at the border of the yard. Just standing and staring. Staring with that blank face.

I remember running. I remember screaming hysterically. I saw Grandma on the porch. And then there was a huge gap of time missing. I was on the couch, covered in blankets. Granddad was there. He said I had gotten sick, had some kind of "spell", but I was okay now. There was an overwhelming sense that I was safe. That whatever it was, it could not cross that border into the yard."

Are these stories all telling of the same type of entity, or are these mimicking spirits drawing from a communal subconscious? As the Slenderman mythos grows, so does the personal encounters of an entity that is either similar to the tall man or it is Slenderman itself made manifest...

My new book on this topic "Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact" is on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Slenderman-Fiction-Robin-S-Swope/dp/1477507795/



Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Does Lake Erie Harbor an Underwater UFO Base?


Around 9Pm on Saturday September 17th 2011 unknown air borne phenomenon was observed over Lake Erie near western Erie County Pennsylvania by two households.

Two residents of Japan street in Millcreek Township had stepped outside for a smoke when they noticed 6 orange glowing objects in the sky, car alarms and police sirens had gone off at the same time as the incident and the pair went over to their neighbors house to verify what they were seeing. Here is his testimony as per the MUFON database:
It was approximately 9-910pm. My neighbor and his friend knocked on my door and started to tell me about these abnormal lights they saw in the sky. Then we saw one orangeish light in the sky. It was North/North West from my house, so it appeared to be above Lake Erie.

The light was visible for about a minute. It appeared to be moving west(left in the sky) slightly, the light started to fade a little bit, then completely disappeared. During this time the light moved up and down slightly. The light was orange, but didn't appear to be a fireball. It was not making any sounds that we could hear.

My neighbor and his friend then told me that maybe 4-5 minutes before, they stepped outside their house to smoke. They saw 6 orange lights (like the one I saw). The lights appeared to be north/north west (again appearing to be above Lake Erie
) They ran into their front yard to get a better look. The six lights appeared to be in some sort of formation, moving together. During this time multiple car alarms in our neighbor hood alarmed (I heard these while I was inside my house) The car alarms were on different streets. After about a minute or two, they came and knocked on my door, that is when I saw the one light I previously mentioned.

When I first saw the object, I wasn't sure what it was, planes usually appear higher in the sky. Also I've never seen a plane with an orange light like that. I really couldn't think of any logical explanations, especially after the story my neighbor and his friend told me of seeing six lights. We all found it to be slightly odd that there were a number of car alarms that had gone off as well. I have no clue what it was, but it was definitely out of the ordinary.

The witness had contacted me on Facebook within minutes of the sighting asking if I had heard anything about the phenomenon, his description of the object was similar to the UFO filmed over Moscow on September 9th of this year:



When the witness saw this video he said the object was very very similar to what he encountered on the 17th. Could this be the same or same type of object?

Southern Lake Erie has been a hotspot of UFO and aerial phenomenon lately. One of the chapters in my latest book "Eerie Erie: Tales of the Unexplained from Northwestern Pennsylvania" (The History Press, July 2011) is titled "A Hidden Underwater UFO Base in Lake Erie" in this chapter I recount the mass of UFO sightings above and below the waters of Lake Erie within the past few years. Massive objects being reported crashing into the waters on the Lake's Southern shore, an amazing incident of a large UFO landing on the icy Lake that launched scout ships witnessed and recorded by Coast Guards, and many more.

On August 8th of this year, a fireball was detected by all-sky cameras from the Southern Ontario Meteor Network at 1:22 a.m. EDT. According to Space.com, "It was picked up over Lake Erie and proceeded south-southeast over Ohio," said Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.The meteor was last tracked north of Gustavus, Ohio, and the potential impact zone for meteorite fragments is a region east of Cleveland"
A similar object impacted in lake Erie in 2008. On November 13th 2008 the Ashtabula Star Beacon reported that multiple witnesses from Ashtabula to Madison Ohio had heard and witnessed a large object crash into Lake Erie's southern shore. At first police and local authorities thought it to be an aircraft, but Madison Township police Sgt. Rick Barson is quoted in the Ashtabula Star Beacon as saying, “We had enough information from two people in separate places that seemed to have seen the same thing, but we had trouble getting a good description that would fit the type of craft we believed this plane could be.” Later NASA would claim that the object entering the lake was a meteorite, but that is not what the witnesses saw, they saw a craft of some sort.

Lake Erie has a long history of unexplained aerial and underwater phenomenon. For centuries Lake Erie has been host to a phenomena that many in past eras have called “Wizard Lights”. In the December 12, 1867 issue of the Brooklyn Eagle there is an article “A Curious Phenomenon on Lake Erie” in which is recounted the instance of a burning ghost ship seen off Erie. The writer reports that local sailors have been seeing these lights for over 50 years throughout the lake. When rescuers would venture off toward the burning lights, they would simply vanish. Soon the sailors would nomore go to the rescue when these lights appeared, they knew that they were something odd...something otherworldly.

Recently places on the western part of the like such as Sandusky and Cleveland have been hotbeds of UFO activity and simular lights have been filmed, making them a Youtube sensation. These UFOs have been investigated by world famous UFO researchers and even the focus of such cable television shows such as “UFO Hunters” and “UFO Files”. Cleveland ufologist Aaron Clark in the March 8, 2007 Cleveland Plain Dealer declares that "Some believe there's a UFO base on the bottom of the lake."

After compiling incidents from MUFON, eyewitnesses and other UFO databases, I have noticed that there have been an alarming amount of diverse UFO sightings above and below the surface of Lake Erie within the past decade. Does Lake Erie play host to some sort of underwater UFO/USO base? Something is happening below its murky waves, something unexplained.

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Friday, August 19, 2011

Interview on WQLN 91.3 Erie's PBS Radio

My interview on Erie's Public Broadcasting Radio show "Weekend All Things Erie" will broadcast on 91.3FM Saturday 8/20/11 at 7am and Sunday the 21st at 3pm.

Kim Young, award winning broadcaster and Penn State Professor and I talk about my new book "Eerie Erie", exorcism, the paranormal and the afterlife.

You can ctch it after it airs online at WQLN's website.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Odd minutes


Tonight at 8PM catch my interview with Jeff Belanger and his crew at 30 Odd minutes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Werewolf Book 2nd Edition

Brad Steiger's new edition of The Werewolf Book is out in September, with a few stories by yours truly. Updated and expanded, this is a must for the lovers of Lycanthropy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Slenderman


He was officially created in an internet contest when the readers of the “Something Awful” forums were asked to create a paranormal entity in a thread named “Create Paranormal Images”. The scheme was to create eerie images and use them to trick people on paranormal forums into thinking they were genuine. Users started photoshopping images by adding fake ghosts and other bizarre figures, usually accompanied by a fake back story to make them seem authentic.

On June 10th of 2009 a user named Victor Surge posted to the thread with 2 photos and an explanation that the entity stalked children.

The myth of Slenderman was born.

The explanation that Victor Surge included with the photos was the haunting detail that the photographs were taken on a day on which fourteen children disappeared. He then further explains that the library where the photo was found burned down a week after the pictures were taken. This Slenderman entity was a shadow creature, overly tall and thin. It had long arms that stretch to inhuman lengths to ensnare its prey. To add to its unearthliness, Slenderman had no face. His primary motivation at first was to kidnap and kill children. Supposedly, he is seen right before the disappearance of a child or even a mass kidnapping of multiple children. He seems to prefer silently stalking in the midst fog enshrouded streets and wooded areas so he can obscure himself from the casual eye. However, children have been able to see him when adults in the vicinity could not. The mythos also states that children also have dreams or nightmares concerning The Slender Man before their disappearance.

Quickly the mythos was expanded. Once Slenderman was seen, he would stalk you for the rest of your life. His goal was to slowly drive you insane by appearing in your periphery, eventuallythreatening you with death. Soon his victims no longer were limited to children but teenagers and adults were soon to become stalked by the tall faceless man. The mythos quickly gained some trappings of Ufology’s Men in Black phenomenon as he appeared in a dark modern suit with white shirt and black tie. He also gained added appendages, which sprout from his side like tree limbs. One UFO site adds: “Once his arms are outstretched, Slender Man’s victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them. Slender Man is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk. Whether Slender Man absorbs, kills, or merely takes his victims to an undisclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any body’s or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.”

Soon image board across the web contained threads including original Slenderman art as well as stories. Soon blogs were dedicated to the mythos and Youtube videos chronicled the diabolical entity’s torment of a few ill fated individuals. There is even an alternate reality game: Marble Hornets that combines Youtube and twitter accounts to build a narrative surrounding a film student's discovery of horrifying film footage his friend had taken.

Some say the Slenderman myth is inspired by archaic archetypes of folklore, like death stalking the plague riddled inhabitants of Medieval Europe as depicted in Hans Holbein's 16th century woodcuts of the Dance of Death. But recently the mythos and folklore has begun to manifest itself into real life. On November 6th 2009 a young man called Coast to Coast am with an encounter his girlfriend had with an entity resembling Slenderman. It started a flurry of listeners to call, relating their own stories of Slenderman type encounters. Here are the calls.


Some take this call to be a hoax, or the ramblings of some people who mistakenly perceived the game of Marble Hornets to be a real account. Or in the case of the mother who called, (The Buffy episode is called “Hush” which was the 10th episode of the 4th season which aired on December 14, 1999) it is attributed to someone who has inserted a dramatic television show’s visual story telling into her past dreams. But I do not think this is what was happening. I too have received stories of various encounters of Slenderman. The first came in August of 2009, from a woman named “JoAnne”:

“…from childhood I have seen this demonic figure. He is a tall shadow. He has no face, but he has long arms. Out of the corner of my eye on certain nights I see him and his arms seem to be reaching out to me, and when I turn to look at him, the thing is gone. I have the real feeling that if I don’t turn around to look at him his arms will catch me up and I will die.”

“JoAnne” then described some personal details of her life that accompanied the “Slenderman” appearance, which included child abuse and neglect at a young age. Close to the end of her letter she made the chilling announcement,

“I am afraid that he is stalking me, and that one day I will not be able to catch him trying to snatch me up. This fills me with such fear, word can’t describe. Sometimes I think I am going nuts. I feel like he is going to get me when I don’t expect it. Some nights I can’t sleep, noises outside make me jump. When the wind cranks up and things start to rattle, I am so scared. I need help!”

I responded to “JoAnne” and gave her some simple prayers and commands for the entity to leave her alone. I have tried to contact her numerous times, but I never get a reply. One part of me feels it might be a psychotic incident with prolonged effects on her mental state, but when I started to receive other similar letters, I began to think twice.

I received an anonymous comment on my blog dated January 12, 2010 that in part reads:

“ My name is____. I am being hunted by a shadow creature. It is tall and thin and tries to catch me in its long arms. I saw it in a dream, and now it is real. All I see in the face are two eyes, and when I look in them those arms try to get me.”

And a more recent and extensive one comes from a few weeks ago:

“…every night since the start of June, between 12 and 4 in the morning I get a phone call from my ex-girlfriend. She has been attacked or being stalked by a ghost or something more. Let me tell you a bit about her before I go any further. She has severe depression, insomnia. She also has some mental trauma, what kind I will not say, because that is between me and her but as far as I know, that could be the entire reason why this is happening. Anyways since I've been dating her, a person she calls “The Man” has been giving her distress. Apparently he's been around a lot longer then I've known her, but she says that it wasn't that bad when she was younger. Her first experience with “The Man” around 7 or 8, she would see a man with no real face, just a body and a blank mass where a face was, in her backyard standing by the fence. Not really believing in ghosts, she freaked out and called her mom saying there was a person outside, when her mom got there, she seen a glimpse of a person before he vanished behind the fence. How much of this is true, I dont really know, I was just told these stories by her family when I came over now and again. . About a year ago, she called up around midnight complaining of “The Man”. She said she could feel some one watching her through her windows, and she wouldn't get out from under her covers to turn on a light or do anything. But back then I was her boyfriend and had to fight the big bad monsters for her, so I had to couch her on what to do and when to do it so she wouldn't be scared. I would always tell her its ok and that she will be fine. There were several instances where I believe either she was possessed or just the trauma of her past affected her to the point where she developed a split personality. Its also a reason why I think the trauma and 'The Man' are linked. I could immediately tell something was different because of her eyes. Normally they were a pretty blue, but then they were cold and grey. Finally after we broke up after three years in January, the man seemed to disappear. Up until June she talked to me occasionally but never past midnight. But now she calls every night between 12 and 4 complaining of The Man. I guess hes been watching her more and more. Every night he looks through her window or watches from the woods when she walks through her house…”

So is this some sort of fiction become reality because of the overworking of imagination and psychosomatic power like a tulpa? Or is it a demonic entity that has taken on the guise of an internet mythos to feed on fear and destroy the minds of those that fall into its deception?

I was about to go with the latter until recently when I heard a few stories that place the Slenderman in paranormal experiences before the mythos was ever created. First came from a coworker within the month.

Around 2002 she worked at another location and made friends with a woman who had paranormal encounters. One of the most chilling was when in the middle 1990s when the middle of the might she woke up to see a tall dark and thin humanoid figure at the end of her bed. It reached out its arms and its finger elongated to an inhuman length and reached toward her head. She was paralyzed, even though she tried to scream and move she could not. As the tendril fingers wrapped around her head she lost consciousness. Soon after she that noticed she was sluggish. She became ill, had frequent headaches and nausea and could not sleep. So she sought medical help, and as a consequence had an X-Ray done of her head and upper torso. The Doctors found a small metallic object had been implanted into the base of her skull. When the doctors tried to remove the foreign object they found that it had become entangled into the central nervous system at the spinal cord, and it was too risky to remove. The woman even showed the operation scar to my coworker as proof. But my co worker still did not believe the story, which aggravated her friend very much. The friend then brought her X-ray to work and showed my coworker the proof. A small metallic object had been implanted at the base of her skull in such a location that made it inoperable.

Was this woman an alien abduction and implant survivor? At first look that seems the conclusion, but the appearance and after affects of the encounter matches the Slenderman mythos so closely it makes one ponder. In fact after telling my coworker of the Slenderman mythos, she was shocked and a bit unnerved. It fit perfectly. But why the implant? Perhaps to follow you the rest of your life?


Click on photo to order on Amazon



A few weeks ago I put a request out here on my blog for any readers who had a Slenderman experience to write in and tell me about it. It so happens that the responses also predate the invention of the mythos. First from a man in the idwestern United States that wishes to be anonymous because of his position in society:

“Dear Pastor:

I stumbled onto your website much by accident and was intrigued by the 'Slenderman' story. I have vivid memories from childhood regarding a throng of these people emerging from the woods near our house, which was about a quarter mile from the edge of a large state forest in _______________. As a child growing up in the 1950s, my mom always warned me about "gypsies" who occasionally made their way through our neighborhood. Even so, I was intrigued nevertheless. I recall one occasion quite vividly. I was about 4 or 5 years old, playing in the back yard. I recall going into the garage, which was separate from our house. I became aware of a swishing sound, like someone walking through tall grass. I glanced out the garage window and saw an entire line of these 'Slender people' coming out of the woods just beyond our neighbor's house. They were heading our way. I was momentarily frozen. What do I do now? Fearful the "gypsies" might carry me away, I retreated into a corner of the garage and watched the procession through a crack in the wall. This was something out of storybookland! They were all slender, but some were taller than others. A few wore scarves, but their garb appeared drab with colors faded. There were a few slenders of small stature, whom I took to be children. They were holding the hands of the ones wearing scarves. I could not see their faces, but I recall their fingers were exceeding long. When they crossed into our backyard, they continued walking single file in zombie-like fashion. When they reached the coal shed (which was behind the house but about 10 feet from the garage) they divided into two lines. One line went between the coal shed and the house. The other passed between the coal shed and the garage. They continued in their slow, relentless pace, walking past the side of our house, down the road and up the hill in their slow, plodding fashion. As soon as they were out of sight, I rushed into the house. My mother immediately locked all the doors and drew all the window shades until my dad came home from work. Over the intervening years, I have often wondered about that day. Who were those strange people? Where did they come from? Where were they going? Your photo triggered recollections of that afternoon in the garage, but I saw more than just a shadow person. I saw the whole clan!”

And another from “Jason” in Ohio,

“My 22-year-old brother used to have dreams about Slender Man as a 7 year old, and he doesn't even know about the "Slender Man" myth. We were talking about weird experiences in our old house and he started telling me about his dreams about a tall guy without a face.

He also said that when he was in that house by himself, he was at the other end of the hallway, and he saw a creature similar to that lean out the door of his bedroom and look at him.”

And a last short remark from another anonymous,

“… at times thinking I see him out in the streets. But it's happen way to many times for it to be a coincidence”

So what is happening? Encounters of a being similar to Slenderman have been happening for decades. What shall we make of this?

As many things we have explored here together, I leave it to you, dear reader. Is Slenderman nothing but a mythos made up on a website on June 10, 2009? Or is it an archetypical vision of death which stalks us all, and only a few can perceive it? Or is it a real demonic presence taking on the mythic form or a tulpa formed by the mass conscience of internet readers?

You decide, and leave your comments.

For I myself, I first read about Slenderman in its full mythical glory about 6 months ago before piecing together the jigsaw pieces. And even then I was unnerved as I have not been in many years. Is there something in the dark? I hope it is not the stalking Slenderman.

UPDATE: My new book "Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact" is out on Amazon for just $10. Click on the link below to purchase my Slenderman book:
http://www.amazon.com/Slenderman-Fiction-Robin-S-Swope/dp/1477507795/



Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Ο Χριστός είναι η νίκη

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eerie Erie Pennsylvania



My new book, Erie Erie: Tales of the Unexplained from Northwestern Pennsylvania is out!


From the historical accounts of the mysterious Giant Indian Mound Builders that pre-dated the Indian inhabitants of the area, to the curse of the Erie Indians; the book focuses on odd history and strange supernatural happenings that have occured in the Tri-State area of PA-NY-OH for the past 2 centuries. The book also focuses on the frequent UFO sightings over and under Lake Erie which makes one wonder if Lake Erie is an Underwater UFO base? There is also a section on odd cryptids that have been sighted in the area since the times of the Native Americans: Bigfoot, the Thunderbird and Phantom Panthers. This book is not just for the local residents, it contains many chapters that will entertain the Fortean investigator in all of us.


Find it on Amazon here:



Or avaliable at The History Press online here:





Thursday, July 7, 2011

Slenderman?


I know that "Slenderman" is a fictional character made up in an internet contest a few years ago, but I have been getting some letters of real encounters with the odd man in a variety of situations. If you have had an encounter with the spooky fellow yourself or know of someone who has, I would love to hear the story. Write me at theparanormalpastor@roadrunner.com and indicate if you wish to remain anonymous or not! I will be writing the article at the end of the week.

Blessings,
Robin

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heavenly Guardians


Cheryl was just getting out of watching a hockey game at the old Erie County Field house years ago. The field house stood on a busy road just off an Erie exit of Interstate 90. Cars would go speeding by in both directions as people made their way to and from the highway. There were many tragic accidents on this busy roadway as pedestrians, mostly teenagers, would cross the road after a concert or sporting event to make their way back to their nearby homes on foot. Cheryl was crossing the street after the hockey game with a few friends, when she lost her footing and fell in the middle of the road. One car swerved and barel missed her. Suddenly Cheryl was lifted up to her feet by some unseen force, just as another car sped past her. If she had not been raised off the ground, she would have been another fatality of the busy roadway. She could not explain it. She knows that she did not do it herself. Something had raised her up from the ground and saved her life. As a spiritual person who has been raised in a church all her life, Cheryl is pretty sure what saved her that day. An Angel. A guardian Angel.


Almost every ancient culture had a belief in angelic messengers from God. Ancient Hellenistic culture believed that every individual had a guardian spirit assigned to them, Plato and his followers expanded this belief. In his Phaedo, Plato talks of a destiny or guardian spirit that is the constant companion of man. Ancient Sumerians also believed in guardian spirits and many ancient Mesopotamian homes had altars dedicated to the resident's guardian angels.

Angels are talked of quite frequently in the Old Testament. Specifically Psalm 91:11 tells us,

"For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways." (NKJV)

In the New Testament Jesus Himself talks of guardian angels in their relation to children,

"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven" Matthew 18:10 (NKJV)

Whether seen or not, guardian angels are among us today.

Stacy and his boss had an emergency in another field location of his employer. So they both quickly entered their vehicle and took off down the highway to their destination. Stacy forgot to buckle his seat belt. Although they were going well below the speed limit, the person that ignored the stop sign and sped through the intersection was not. The impact tore of the back axle off the Ford truck and sent it flying in the air and tumbling down the road. He remembers having one hand on the cab's roof and the other on the door. He could feel the ground beneath the roof as it turned end over end. Finally in a matter of seconds that seemed an eternity, the remaining part of the truck stopped. The glass in both door windows were smashed, but neither Stacy or his boss were injured. The paramedics that shortly arrived were amazed. Stacy remembers climbing out of the wreckage and seeing a man standing on the side of the highway with no car in sight. An odd thing to see, who walks down the highway? And after he pulled his boss from the wreck, he once again scanned the area. The man was gone. The roadway was enclosed by guard rails and deep foliage. there was nowhere the man could have gone. He disappeared. Stacy has always felt that his surviving the accident was a miracle. He is sure the person he saw was his guardian angel.

Recently I was sent this picture from a reader in Puerto Rico:


Here it is in Black and White to see the phenomenon more clearly:


If you look close, you can see the being behind the standing girl. It looks as if it has wings. I sent this photo to author Brad Steiger earlier this year and he had it analyzed by Dr. David Oester. Brad e-mailed me Dr. Dave's conclusion:
The haze is not around the body, but away from it. It does not resemble any aura, but it could be spirit energy as in ectoplasm. The photo was taken with Slow Shutter as the lights in the background are representative of hand holding a camera showing duplicated lights instead of a single light ray for each light. This would be considered paranormal.

What is behind the standing girl? I have repeatedly contacted the supplier of the photo, but he does not wish to elaborate or be recognized by the public since he is a person with a high profile in the local community. But the implications are obvious. For thousands of years, spiritual people, philosophers and clergy have claimed encounters with supernatural beings who have been charged by the Master of the Universe to watch over specific individuals. Most of the time they are invisible. Sometimes, on rare occasions they make themselves known. But one thing is evident about these heavenly guardians...

They walk among us.

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Up Up and Away on the 21st of May



It's that time again.

Another doomsday prophet has predicted the end of the world (sort of) with the rapture happening May 21st 2011. I am sure you have all heard about it. If not all you need to know is related in these two articles:



In this post I won't go into the long history of predictions of the end of the world. There is an extended list here: A Brief History of the Apocalypse. Since the Assyrians in 2800BC mankind has been awaiting impending doom. From the beginning, we have been seeing the end as nigh.

But the Bible tells us that no man will know when the end of the world will occur. Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 24:35-37 tells us,

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."

Harold Camping also predicted that the rapture would happen in 1994.

In this world of doubts, upheaval and fear one thing we can count on is that the rapture will not happen on May 21, 2011. And the World will not end in October 21st.

Even the Theology of the Rapture is quirky; it is less that 150 years old and was formed in a controversial period of Christian History. But more on that on May 22nd.

Until next Time,
Pastor Swope

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Witch of Endor


Before "Return of the Jedi" Endor was the home of a certain Israelite medium who had made a living fooling the local citizens by claiming that that she had access to their dead loved ones. After King Saul had banned all the effective mediums from his kingdom following the prophet Samuel's death, all the traditional methods of finding God's will eluded him and he was tormented about his future as a disobediant king. He eventually turned to this one of the last mediums of Israel, who lived in the area of Endor. Saul and the medium were suprised when the actual spirit of the prophet Samuel appeared and pronounced a curse upon Saul.

Here is a write up of this incident and the historical and theological background of life after death. Where does the Bible say we go when we die? Follow the link. Thanks to Pastor Baz and Bryony for the chance to write on this subject on the Christian Cryptozoological and Paranormal study Group Blog!

The Witch of Endor Part 2

Monday, May 9, 2011

Real Aliens



Brad and Sherry steiger's new book "Real Aliens: Space Beings and Creatures from Other Worlds" is available now on Amazon. I have had the privilage once again to be able to contribute to one of the Steiger's books in this series with this new release. Like its predecesors in the 'Real" series, this one does not dissapoint. It is an entery level book for those unfamiliar with the topic as well as a thorough overview of current topics and encounters to thrill the novice as well as those who have been investigating the UFO phenomena for years. Just a look at the table of contents will spark the curious to take a look at this latest work from Brad and Sherry:

Little Green Men
The Blonde Nordics
The Greys
The Praying Mantises
Reptilians and Serpent People
Robots and Androids
Hairy Dwarves and Bigfoot types
Frightening Encounters and Acts of Hostility
Contactees
Abductees
Sex with Aliens
Alien-Human Hybrids
The Star People
Aliens and the Military
Aliens and the Presidency
Astronauts and Aliens
Aliens and the Space Program
Underground and Undersea Alien Bases
Aliens and Secret Societies
Nazis and Aldebeeran Aliens
Alien Researchers Face Threats and Daath
Aliens in Earth's Prehistory and Religion
Aliens: Decievers or Deliverers?
Do We Face a Final War of the Worlds?

This book is fascinating reading. I contributed my research on the Presque Isle UFO/Bigfoot encounter of 1966.
You can buy the book on Amazon: Real Aliens

Thursday, April 28, 2011

UFO on Lake Erie

I am currently writing a book for the History Press called "Eerie Erie" which details many unexplained and paranormal events from local history here in Erie Pennsylvania. (which explaines why i have not updated here recently, my deadline is May 2!) In my research on UFO sightings on Lake Erie and the possibility of a hidden underwater UFO base there I came across this video, that I have never seen before.



I hope to get publishing new post after I finish torementing myself with this book!
(over 60 hours of research in 2 weeks!!)

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Dwayyo, Werewolf of the Northeast



I have a new article on my Examiner site, about the creature called the Dwayyo. It is a local cryptid of the Blue Ridge area of Maryland. Here is the introductory story:

According to ‘Aubrey’, she was driving her old Subaru on Coxey Brown Road near Myersville, Maryland late in the summer of 2009 when she had an eerie feeling.


It was as if she was being watched. The road was lined with trees, she was on the outer edge of Gambrill State Park, and the forest was beginning to grow thicker. According to her, as she turned on Hawbottom Road, where her friend lived, the feeling became overwhelming. The hairs on the back of her neck rose in terror as she sensed the unseen eyes upon her.


She wanted to stop the car and take her breath, she was afraid that she would veer off the road and hit a tree because she her nerves were getting so unsteady that she began to shake. But she knew that whatever was watching her, and following her was out there, and she took what little comfort she had by being safer inside her rust rotted car.


Still, to prevent a wreck, she slowed down as she headed south, and that was when she saw the creature. At first it was a blur to the right of her periphery vision. Something that was moving through the trees, a shadow that flickered as it went in and out of sight on the edge of her vision.


It was a brown smear of color that popped out in contrast to the dull dark grey trees that she passed. Whatever it was, it bobbed through the underbrush and between the trees to keep pace with her car. She thinks at the time, she was going around 25 miles per hour. She then slowed down once more to take a good look to her right, and make sure that she was not seeing things. As her car slowed to a crawl, the brown blurry smear of color seemed to bound out of the woods closer to the road.


With a massive leap the hazy color became flesh as a huge dog-like animal on two legs emerged from the foliage.


The fangs, Aubrey wrote, are burned into her memory. Huge fangs from a mouth grimaced in anger and hate. She could feel the fangs as if they were ripping her skin while the creature stood there panting on the side of the road. Drool dripped from its huge mouth as she heard a loud growl, and she looked into the dark eyes. Darkness took up its entire eye, there was no white at all. It was if she was staring death and hell head on in dizzying madness.


Then it leaped, arms outstretched with claws grasping the wind. Instinctively Aubrey stepped on her gas pedal with all her might. The squeal of her tires seemed as if her car too was screaming in horror at the thing that emerged from the dark looming forest.


She did not look back. She didn’t want to know if the thing was following her. She didn’t feel the eyes upon her anymore. She was too shaken to really feel anything at all.


When she made it to her friends house, she sat in the driveway shaking as she looked around to make sure the creature had not followed her there. The house was also in the woods, at the opposite side of the State Park.


When she felt safe, she made a mad dash for her friend’s door, and banged on it frantically. He did not know what to make of her story. Aubrey knew he did not believe her. He had lived in the woods all his life, and had never encountered what she had seen. He assured her that it must have just been a dog, perhaps a rabid one at that. Her mind was playing tricks on her. But the young woman knew what she had seen that late summer day. It was no dog. It was something out of a horror movie come to life before her eyes.


Though she told nobody what she felt it really was, she called it a werewolf. That is until after she did some research in the local college library and came up with the name that others had called it when they too saw the forest come alive.


She had encountered the Dwayyo.


For the full article and more on the Dwayyo, go to my Examiner article here: DWAYYO

Monday, March 28, 2011

Link: Is the Paranormal Industry self perpetuating?

Pastor Baz from the Unity in Paranormal Community has another spot on article I would like to share. http://ccapsg.blogspot.com/2011/03/do-we-create-spooks-is-paranormal.html
As a spiritual person, no matter what your faith or creed, if you are SINCERE and truly looking to help others, you need to be sure you have a clear calling to help others to be rescued from dark entities.
If you are looking for fame or glory in the paranormal world, the area of demonology should be avoided. As a minister it has not brought parishioners running to my doorstep. And more times than not your collegues who have not been trained in this type of ministry think you are a loon.
Yet there are many who boast to be a demonologist or exorcist without proper training in pastoral counseling let alone psychology who attempt to claim fame in the paranormal community. If you deal with real people with real issues you need real training. Waving a cross, sprinkling Holy water and reciting a few prayers will do no good if you have no inner resources from which to draw upon if things go bad. You need to be called out from the crowd to minister to the oppressed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What is a Demon?


Demonology is a hot topic in Fortean circles currently. With the advent of paranormal investigation becoming pop culture and the flurry of 'deomonologists' associated with them making a mark in paranormal media, the focus on demons would seem inevitable and logical. There is also the disturbing research of author Nick Redfern in his wonderful work 'Final Events'; which focuses on a possible Government cover up of demonic UFO activity for decades. In almost all areas of unexplained phenomena, investigators are linking Fortean topics to diabolic ethereal forces.

But what is a demon?

There are various theories by various experts with varied world views.

That tends to make it very confusing.

I'd like to make an attempt to look at the topic historically, theologically and practically in a series of posts here on my blog.

First, I think we need to look at the etymology of the word 'Demon' to give us a historical perspective on the meaning of the word. It is like many things an evolution and convolution of ideas philosophical and theological.

First, let look at the Hellenistic Etymology of the word.

The original meaning of δαίμων 'daimon' or demon in antiquity was far different than the meaning as we understand it today. Its overall meaning, according to its first use in the Homeric Epics is “a power that accompanies men and dispenses destiny”. Homer sees it as an impersonal power or one of a divinity that distributes incidents in the individuals’ life.

The term then becomes personified as Hesiod includes demons in his classification of rational beings, in which he categorizes them as men who have passed on into an immortal afterlife.
Plato later expands the meaning in multiple ways: by calling demons as the offspring of gods and other beings who become interpreters between man and the gods(Epinomis 984E); by classifying them as spirits akin to guardian angels that watch over cities and individuals(Phaedo 107D; Republic 617D; Statesman 271D, 272E); and finally as the highest and divine element in man(Timaeus 90A).

Plato’s student Xenocrates and others expanded these concepts even further by suggesting that there were three classes of demons: those that were eternally disembodied spirits, the disembodied souls of the dead and the soul or sentient force that abides in man. Within this framework the demon was also given human emotions and motivations as well as the moral distinction that some of these beings were good, while others were evil.

By the 4th century the word became associated with primarily evil or unlucky events, and the demon became a kind of scapegoat for the gods. Demons became the source of trouble and woe to the human race and eventually they were regarded as evil entities, even though the idea of both good and evil demons still remained in the philosophical debate.

Plutarch and Apuleius further developed demonology by determining that the individual was constantly surrounded by these unseen forces and they affected them on a daily basis. They developed the demonology of the early Christian Era, and Plutach postulated that the gods of the polytheists were in fact demonic spirits (Moralia 361C; 415A-419A). Judiasm in the Pre-Christian era had already adopted this philosophy that demons were evil intermediate beings, and the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Church also attests that pagan gods are in fact demonic entities (1 Corinthians 10:10)

The belief in demon possession became widespread, leading to exorcism by pagans(Lucian, Lover of Lies 16; Philostratus, Life of Appollonius IV.20), Jews(Josephus, Antiquities VIII.ii.5[46-49], and Christians(Acts of Peter II; Justin, Apology II,5).

In the evolution of the concept of demons and demonology, it is interesting to see how analogous the original and primary concept of the term is with our modern notion of ‘spirit’. Being an ethereal but manifest force is of course the primary characteristic of demons as we view them today. However it is very interesting to see that the ancients talked about an animating force that was both outside of them as divine and internally as a guiding presence. According to The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Empedocles believed that “daimon was a separate spiritual being, not the psyche which accompanied a man from birth” (Brown, 1979, Vol.1 p.450). This discussion itself shows that some may have thought that demons were also internal beings that also dwelt within men, perhaps producing unexplained feelings or emotions. This if true could be the basis for the concept of demon possession.

It is also fascinating to see that Plato’s students classified some demons as the disembodied spirits of the dead. Many Christians believe that ‘ghosts’ if real are demonic entities, and this would support that theory. However demon in our historical cultural context does denote evil primarily, and as we have seen ancient Greco-Roman culture did not adhere to that view exclusively. Therefore the theory cannot be substantiated by this historical anecdote. In our present philosophical understanding the 3 categories of demons proposed by Xenocrates and others can be distinguished as different and distinct phenomena. The soul “in” us is a different thing than a permanently disincarnate being; while they are both spiritual and ethereal in nature, it would seem theologically that they are distinct in substance. Also while Scripture does not specifically define what exactly a demon and a ‘ghost’ are in substance, it would seem by reference that they are also distinct from one another.Otherwise while during the storm on Galilee when the disciples though that Jesus was a ghost (Matt 14:22-32; Mark 6:45-52), would they not have tried to expel it from the area? After all they were trained and anointed to exorcise demons as they ministered in the area in the previous chapters (Matt 10; Mark 6:7-13). Thus this incident would imply that demons and ghosts are two distinct phenomena.

So we see that the term 'demon' has undergone quite an evolution in concept over its course in history. However, since the Christian Era in Western civilization the meaning has changed little. It is rather the theory of their origin and order that has changed greatly over the past 2,000 years as church Theologians and Rabbinical Kabbalists have tried to unravel the mystery of these ethereal entities. That topic will have to be addressed in a future part of our discussion.

For another interesting look at the demonic and the supernatural in Fortean studies I advise you to read: The source of the supernatural - A question that is not easy to answer By Rev. Barry Porter


Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The UFO-Bigfoot Connection



This October 22-23rd, the PA MUFON and the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Soiety join efforts and hold a convention near Pittsburgh. I interview Stan Gordon on the real life connection that sometimes arises with both phenomena His new book "Silent Invasion" highlights the Bigfoot-UFO connection in a series of bizzare incidents in Western Pennsylvania.

The article is on my Examiner page:
http://www.examiner.com/paranormal-in-pittsburgh/stan-gordon-speaker-at-the-ufo-and-bigfoot-conference-coming-to-westmoreland-cc
Remember to pray for Japan!
Pastor Swope

Pray for Japan


Just a note for all to please pray for Japan in these dire hours.

No matter what your religious affiliation, faith or belief system we all need to reach out to God (or higher power of your choice) and ask for intervention in this time of nuclear crisis.


I truly believe if we do make a concentrated effort to pray, God will answer.


I have seen it countless times before. From children being healed of deadly diseases, to miraculous interventions of for safety, health and distress; God does still work miracles.


All we have to do is take a moment or two out of every day for the next week and pray for Japan.


Together we can see a miracle happen.


It's up to you.


Please join me this next 7 days in praying daily for Japan.


Blessings,

Robin

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Of Weeping Statues, Past and Present


In late January of this year a 'visionary' visited the "Our Lady Queen of Reading" in Reading, Ohio. Not soon after the miraculous began to happen. In the back of the shop, a statue of the Virgin Mary began to weep. Then a statue of Jesus on a stairway also began to produce miraculous tears. Here is a local report of the phenomena as reported by WCPO channel 9:




Such accounts of weeping religious statues are not limited to Roman Catholicism; throughout history there has been accounts of weeping statues in various religions from ancient Greco-Roman paganism to modern Hinduism.

Dio Cassius in his 'Roman History' talks of not only a statue of Minerva weeping blood and milk, but also of a statue of Vibius moving on its own accord:

"While all this was going on, portents of no small moment again occurred, significant both for the city and for the consul himself, who was Vibius. Thus, in the last assembly before he set out for the war a man with the disease called the sacred disease fell down while Vibius was speaking. Also a bronze statue of him which stood in the vestibule of his house turned around of itself on the day and at the hour that he set out on the campaign, and the sacrifices customary before war could not be interpreted by the seers by reason of the quantity of blood. Likewise a man who was just then bringing him a palm slipped in the blood which had been shed, fell, and defiled the palm. These were the portents in his case. Now if they had befallen him when a private citizen, they would have pertained to him alone, but since he was consul, they had a bearing on all alike. So, too, these portents: the statue of the Mother of the Gods on the Palatine, which had formerly faced the east, turned around of itself toward the west;that of Minerva worshipped near Mutina, where the heaviest fighting occurred, sent forth a quantity of blood and afterwards of milk also; furthermore, the consuls took their departure just before the Feriae Latinae, and there is no instance where this has happened and the Romans have fared well" ( Roman History: Book 46 Chapter 33 Pararaphs 1-4, Leob Classical Library, Translation by Earnest Cary)

According to Lucan, the statues of the gods were weeping and sweating as Ceasar advanced on Rome:
"We have heard how the native dieties wept, and how with sweat the Lares attested the woes of the City" (Pharsalia Book 1 Vesrses 556-557, Translation by H.T. Riley)

And a statue of Apollo wept for four days according to Julius Obsequens in his "Book of Prodigies" (Chapter 12)

In a reverse action, statues of Hindu gods in from Ganesh to Krishna drank up milk by the gallons in India for a few days in September 1995 and again in August 2006 and September 2010.

What are we to make of these incredible feats of what would appear to be the miraculous from ancient Rome to humble Ohio?

Of course such feats can be easily faked. To make a statue weep, one needs only a hallow statue filled with liquid and pin holes made in the enamel paint at the corner of the statues eyes. Allowing for time and temperature, soon the statue will seem to cry. Add food coloring and it will look like blood. According to those who doubted the eating idols of India, the statues were filled with kitty litter and likewise had holes in strategic places for the milk to be absorbed.

But is that what was happening, or is the miraculous manifesting itself in these phenomenal iconography? Vatican authorities are very cautious when lending credence to such phenomena, often they steer clear of any such claims and let the religious fervor of these incidents work themselves out.

Unless there is thorough analysis of these weeping objects of adoration, we cannot know if it is a product of a supernatural manifestation or but cheap and contemptible chicanery.

When it all comes down to it, I guess it is a matter of faith...

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bigfoot Sighting Near Pittsburgh


Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society's Director Eric Altman has investigated a recent Bigfoot sighting near Pittsburgh. I write about the incident and the Society's initial investigation on my Examiner page: http://www.examiner.com/paranormal-in-pittsburgh/new-bigfoot-sighting-near-pittsburgh with photos.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Athenodorus, the Worlds First Paranormal Investigator

While delving into Greco-Roman religion for a course that finishes my Master of Divinity degree, I remembered back to an old article in Fortean Times by Professor Barry Baldwin. In the 12th in a series of articles for his byline called "Classics Corner" he references many incidences of ghosts in classic literature of the ancient world. Upon reading the original texts one story stood out, that of the Athenodorus and the ghost of Athens found in Pliny's "Letters". Athenodorus Cananites (c.74BC-7AD) was a Stoic philosopher and a teacher of Octavian (Ceasar Augustus). He also seems to be histories first recorded Paranormal Investigator!


Here the story of his encounter as recorded in Pliny the Younger's Letters, Book 7.

“There was at Athens a large and spacious, but ill‑reputed and pestilential house. In the dead of the night a noise, resembling the clashing of iron, was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of fetters; at first it seemed at a distance, but approached nearer by degrees; immediately afterward a phantom appeared in the form of an old man, extremely meagre and squalid, with a long beard and bristling hair; rattling the gyves on his feet and hands. The poor inhabitants consequently passed sleepless nights under the most dismal terrors imaginable. This, as it broke their rest, threw them into distempers, which, as their horrors of mind increased, proved in the end fatal to their lives. For even in the day time, though the spectre did not appear, yet the remembrance of it made such a strong impression on their imaginations that it still seemed before their eyes, and their terror remained when the cause of it was gone. By this means the house was at last deserted, as being judged by everybody to be absolutely uninhabitable; so that it was now entirely abandoned to the ghost. However, in hopes that some tenant might be found who was ignorant of this great calamity which attended it, a bill was put up, giving notice that it was either to be let or sold.
It happened that Athenodorus the philosopher came to Athens at this time, and reading the bill ascertained the price. The extraordinary cheapness raised his suspicion; nevertheless, when he heard the whole story, he was so far from being discouraged, that he was more strongly inclined to hire it, and, in short, actually did so. When it grew towards evening, he ordered a couch to be prepared for him in the fore‑part of the house, and after calling for a light, together with his pen and tablets, he directed all his people to retire within. But that his mind might not, for want of employment, be open to the vain terrors of imaginary noises and apparitions, he applied himself to writing with all his faculties. The first part of the night passed with usual silence, then began the clanking of iron fetters; however, he neither lifted up his eyes, nor laid down his pen, but closed his ears by concentrating his attention. The noise increased and advanced nearer, till it seemed at the door, and at last in the chamber. He looked round and saw the apparition exactly as it had been described to him: it stood before him, beckoning with the finger. Athenodorus made a sign with his hand that it should wait a little, and bent again to his writing, but the ghost rattling its chains over his head as he wrote, he looked round and saw it beckoning as before. Upon this he immediately took up his lamp and followed it. The ghost slowly stalked along, as if encumbered with its chains; and having turned into the courtyard of the house, suddenly vanished. Athenodorus being thus deserted, marked the spot with a handful of grass and leaves. The next day he went to the magistrates, and advised them to order that spot to be dug up. There they found bones commingled and intertwined with chains; for the body had mouldered away by long Iying in the ground, leaving them bare, and corroded by the fetters. The bones were collected, and buried at the public expense; and after the ghost was thus duly laid the house was haunted no more.” (http://www.vroma.org/~hwalker/Pliny/Pliny07-27-E.html)



Thanks to Prof. Bladwin's original work you can read more ghost tales from ancient Greece and Rome in my Examiner article here: Hauntings in Ancient Greece and Rome
Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Thursday, February 3, 2011

UFO over Jerusalem



If you haven't seen it yet, here are the videos of the UFO recently seen over the Dome of the Rock.




Now, the Muslim Holy site is also the place of both the Jewish temples, the rock were Abraham offered up Isaac and some say the area of the Crucifixion of Christ. One could say it is the holiest place on Earth, at least to the Judeo Christian and Muslim tradition.


So why at this time is this visitor making such a spectacle?


Perhaps as some say, it is a divine sign that God is in control despite the chaos which is engulfing the Middle East and the world wide angst of what might happen.


Or if you are of the type that believes UFOs are visitors from the future, is it our future descendants getting one last look at this holiest of places before the unthinkable happens?


The Middle East is in turmoil. Change is coming. If the Muslim Brotherhood has its way, the entire region would be ruled by hard line Islamists who want to erase Israel from the face of the Earth.


We are all collectively holding our breaths, aren't we? Could this be the first bell to toll the end?

Another sign for those who believe in the 2012 predictions?


If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I am not a believer that the world will end on December 21 2012.


Given current events perhaps December 21 2012 is too late of a date for the end of the world...


Only the Father knows.


Pray for peace in the Middle East.

UDPATE 2/17/2011
Evidence is mounting that this is a hoax, though there still is some debate.
As for the world situation, at this time the turmoil in the Middle East rages on. Is this the beginnings of a new stage of history with a democratic Middle East? Or will religious extremism win out in the end? Only time will tell.

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope