Journal

Author: Mason Winfield Created: Friday, February 26, 2010
Journal

Those of us who attended Christian churches in the 20th century may have taken His existence and the truth of His story as a matter of faith. We were likely taught to envision Christ as a pacifist, a saint, a victim, and a lamb. Our most familiar images of Him are pale and halo-crowned, in the role of blessing people like a gentle, revered priest, or in one of the stages of suffering and death on a cross. Patient, enduring, borne by angels and resurrected by God, Jesus is not an action-figure in most contemporary imaginations. He might not always have looked so timid…

This may seem like a unusual article for a ghost-hunter, but… It’s the season of Christmas–an unusual time of year.

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We live in very definite physical space as well as within measurable but indefinable time.

We move about as we choose in physical space, which can be relatively constant. We can go, stay, or return to a single spot on the earth, and often times not much will have changed. The Great Pyramid is a handy example.

We have no choice about time. It changes irrevocably around us. The seconds tick as we sit. Yet there is this cyclical quality about it, too, at least as regards the calendar year. Any single cycle of the year will come again, predictably, unstoppably.

Not all points in time or space seem of equal significance, at least in their effects on human consciousness. Some places and times are more impactful than others. Great sacred spaces (like Stonehenge) and power-times–like a solstice–are obvious examples. Both types of power can be exploited for the development of the interior life.

We’re coming up on MidWinter’s Day, the Winter Solstice, likely the most sacred point in the Western year. Christmas, its companion festival, is the most influential holiday of the American calendar. You might suspect that I would be writing about the spiritual impact of the time. We usually get a good Christmas-season ghost story, for instance, from East Aurora’s Roycroft Campus where I have my office. But I’ve done that many a year in the past, and I’d like to write about power-space, American style.

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 The nights are closing in around the days, and the northern world enters the year’s darkening quarter whose official prime is Halloween. I think a discussion of power-times–essentially power-points in the calendar year–would be more salient and spiritually uplifting than what I’m about to deliver, but I have already done that many a time. Those articles are in the archives of this website, and a 4,000 year old holiday doesn’t change that much since I posted them. Why don’t we talk about some of the psychic encounters that have been reported over the years on Haunted History Ghost Walks?

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Every few weeks I drop on out to South Wales, NY, for a couple early evening scotches with an old friend, my former headmaster at The Gow School, David W. Gow. We talk about the campus, its direction, and its personalities from before, during, and after the thirteen years I taught there. Almost never does the talk turn paranormal. But one of my favorite tales about a classic East Aurora site comes to us by way of these happy hour conversations and the memory of a cafeteria cook from before my time on campus. I think I can update this site again in mid-October with something more Halloweeny than this ragtag tale of a presumptive religious apparition at one of my favorite East Aurora pubs. But what isn’t Halloweeny about ghosts?

 

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 In the old days of the Colonial and plantation era South, the African American servants and slaves believed that a certain shade of blue had an effect on ghosts and negative spiritual influences. They called all such forces, “haints.”

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 After a ghost walk, I often fall into conversation with the attendees. To me it’s just friendly socializing and a bit of relaxing after two hours of remembering lines and focusing on deliveries. I pick up some great stories this way, though. One I heard recently got my antennae up. It was a story about a very young child having frequent, determined encounters with invisible little beings in his home.

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The Iroquois of New York are no supernatural snobs. When it comes to looking into the realm beyond this, they are ready adopters of any tools or techniques they fancy. Until recently it wasn't understood that some aspects of African American supernatural belief may have made their way into Iroquois tradition.

Remember the old Elvis song, "I'm the one, I'm the one..." The association of birth order–all that "seventh son" stuff–with a natural gift for magic may be no stranger than the observation that popular music could have brought ancient magic into Iroquois culture. See what you make of it. This tale is from "Iroquois Supernatural," the upcoming book (co-written with Michael Bastine), in print by September 2011.

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 The lights have been with us since the beginning of time, and they will be with us until the end of time. 
DuWayne Leslie Bowen

This is an excerpt from Iroquois Supernatural, by Mason Winfield and Michael Bastine, from Chapter 3, "The Witches' Torch." To be published in fall 2011.

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 It’s always thrilling for me to get to interview a credible witness to any psychic experience. This story from my Algonquin friend Michael Bastine is another reminiscence of his years with Mad Bear. I wish he had told me the story of this electrifying night even a month before he did, but I understand. He witnessed so many marvels in the old shaman’s company that it’s hard for him to know where to file them in his mind. They just keep coming out. As it is, this one has come in too late to appear in the book we are writing together, The Iroquois Supernatural. I may as well just tell it to you here.


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 Re the title: Disko is my six-month old, short-haired kitten, an energized smoke-and-cotton colored slinky with claws at both ends. Her name is short for Shodisko, the Seneca title for the Iroquois Trickster. Like an apport, she appeared on my back porch last August at one pound and an estimated six weeks old. And “fey” is a broad term meaning, among other things, “enchanted” and “otherworldly.” This is a dream I think I wouldn’t have remembered except for her.

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