Summoning Circle

Posted in Wyrd on November 9, 2021 by Occult Detective

I thought this was an interesting meme floating around the web. When I posted it, I got some interesting responses: Tarot Cards, Comic Books, Frazetta Art, and the like, but what would “I” put in the circle that I feel best represents “me”?

So from left to right we have a guitar pick, a d20, and a Mjolnir talisman. Beyond representing my love for playing guitar, the pick symbolizes creativity and intent. The d20 acknowledges my love of the game, but also is an embodiment of the friendships forged at the table. The Mjolnir is more than a symbol of my faith for it also represents love and family and magick and wonder.

But what is the common denominator between all three items? Storytelling, for it is what attracts me to the guitar, to roleplaying games, and to Northern European spirituality. I tell stories, regardless of the medium. It’s a large part of my paranormal investigations — collecting stories and sharing them with others. It’s why I write, draw, play music… Every hobby, every passion, every fiber of everything I love is centered around stories. And if there’s a campfire involved, all the better.

Magic(k) in Paranormal Investigations with Shawn, Michelle, Eilfie, and Me

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on November 5, 2021 by Occult Detective

“Bob Freeman, Eilfie Music, and Michelle Belanger talk about the use of magic before, during, and after paranormal investigations. They all share their personal practices and stories of real-life investigations.”

A few nights before All Hallow’s Eve I joined Shawn Hebert for a roundtable discussion regarding the use of magic(k) in paranormal investigations to launch the second season of his podcast, The LVX Files. The real stars of the episode were the whimsical and ethereal Eilfie Music, whom I adore, and the erudite and perspicacious Michelle Belanger. Both are paranormal television veterans, having cut their teeth on Paranormal State which ran from 2007-2011. Michelle, of course, in addition to being an author, has gone on to be a part of a number of other programs, including Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman’s Portals to Hell.

Just to give you a few insights into the discussion, firstly I was very much under the weather. I had been suffering from a pretty nasty ear infection and between the pain medication and antibiotics it’s a wonder I was coherent at all. Luckily, Eilfie and Michelle were on top of their game and did the heavy lifting. Secondly, I was having all kinds of technical issues. Not only was my internet dropping in and out, but the overhead in my den was giving me fits, hence the dim lighting.

All that being said, man did I have a ball in this discussion. This was my second time as a guest on The LVX Files and Shawn is a terrific host. He’s just so comfortable to talk with and is able to direct the conversations effortlessly. I appreciate that he is always a part of the moment. A lot of interviewers tend to be aloof and separate from the subject. Shawn is not shy about climbing into the mud with his guests and that’s much appreciated.

While our roundtable tended to focus on the television side of things, which was completely reasonable considering Michelle and Eilfie’s pedigree, there was a lot of good general information that dropped.

Let me explain things a bit from my perspective. I have zero interest in gathering evidence to prove a location is haunted to the public. I have zero interest in whether the public at large believe in the multiverse of dimensions that exist and are home to the vast array of entities that make up what some call the spirit world. I have a vested interest in helping people who do believe they have encountered these beings, in whatever form they take, and I am compelled to interact with them, for my own interests and in the interest of helping those in need.

I don’t feel like the so-called “scientific method” used in paranormal investigations is of much use beyond looking good on television. The gadgets tend to give an air of verisimilitude to the viewer. It gives them something tangible to focus on when, in reality, the best tool an investigator has is their 5 (or 6) senses. Unfortunately, that does not make for “good television”.

So, what do I use beyond those senses?

A typical investigation finds me first doing a tarot or rune reading beforehand. Usually tarot. This gives me a feel for the place. Next, I do a sweep of the location with copper dowsing rods. This helps me isolate the active areas and gives me a clue as to what sort of energy I am dealing with. Then, I open a dialogue, sometimes using a digital recorder or ghost box app. I’ll sometimes utilize scrying mirrors, summoning circles, blasting rods… the whole occult arsenal.

Having an opportunity to chat with like-minded people was a thrill for me. It’s more rare than you’d imagine. We occult detectives are an isolated breed. And for the talk to go down with three of my favorite people, well, that’s just icing on the proverbial cake. With luck, we’ll have the opportunity to rattle the chains of the departed together, in some lonesome clime or long forgotten hall… when these plague days are well behind us.

#Norsevember: Four for Thor’s Day

Posted in Norsevember on November 4, 2021 by Occult Detective

Well again, Sleuths. As a card-carrying Heathen, how could I not embrace Norsevember? I thought I would add a quick missive today, sharing four books I would recommend to those interested into delving into heathenry. So let’s to it:

The Poetic Edda:
Stories of the Norse Gods & Heroes

Jackson Crawford

The Saga of the Volsungs
with The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok

Jackson Crawford

The Wanderer’s Havamal
Jackson Crawford

Two Sagas of Mythical Heroes:
Hervor and Heidrek /
Hrolf Kraki and His Champions

Jackson Crawford

Ha, well there you have it, four books and just one author. Jackson Crawford is the face of modern Old Norse studies. He parlayed his scholarly compulsion into a respected position as professor of Nordic Studies at two prestigious universities, as well as being a consultant on movies and video games, before setting youtube (and patreon) on fire with his Viking Cowboy shtick.

The guy knows his business, and I’ve found these translations to be solid works, well suited for those entertaining this field of study. And, as an added bonus, his publishing house, Hackett, is right here in my home state of Indiana.

The fact of the matter is, the heathens of old were storytellers. If you want to learn to be a heathen in modern times, you’d best start with the stories. If you only read one, make it the Havamal. Everything, and I mean everything you need to know about what it means to be heathen is there. Then it’s all about writing your own story as you introduce yourself to the gods and the spirits of this glorious multiverse.

Skál and Fair-weather.
Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

#Norsevember: Skál and Fair-weather

Posted in Norsevember, Wyrd on November 3, 2021 by Occult Detective

Once more my dragonship, Alba Gu Brath, takes to sea as another Norsevember is upon us.

Here is an excerpt from a short missive I wrote for Alex of Spells & Spaceships, Norsevember’s progenitor:

“…within those stories of Odin and Thor and Freya lay links to those sort of spirits I had come to accept, the land and water wights, and I imagined that the gods themselves did truly exist, but that they were my actual ancestors and they achieved a sort of godhood through our reverence of them, and they became aligned with elemental forces.

What I didn’t know then was that I was embracing animism.”

Hi. My name’s Bob and I’m a Norse Pagan Northern European Animist.

an·i·mism/ˈanəˌmizəm/ (noun)

  1. the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena.
  2. the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.
  3. a doctrine that the vital principle of organic development is immaterial spirit
  4. attribution of conscious life to objects in and phenomena of nature or to inanimate objects
  5. belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies

I am reminded of something the late, great Norm MacDonald said, “…we are not superior to the Universe but merely a fraction of it.”

I believe that all things, be they creatures, places, or objects, are imbued with a distinct spiritual essence.

I also believe the gods of the Northern Europeans were, at one time, living and breathing individuals whom many of us revere as our venerated ancestors and who have become the embodiment of natural and preternatural forces.

Your own mileage may vary.

So, for Norsevember this year I am going to post on my heathen spirituality every Wednesday, Odin’s Day, and I will post reviews of “Norse”-related content throughout the month.

Skál and fair-weather, my friends. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Old Ghosts Can Be Like Old Friends

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on November 2, 2021 by Occult Detective

As I’ve often shared, I grew up on the edge of my maternal grandparents’ 60 acre ranch, but what I don’t speak of often is of how my mother, after a falling out with hers, moved us from the farm into the nearby town of Converse, population 1200 (give or take). Considering I went to school and bought my comics there, you wouldn’t think there would be much of an adjustment.

Well, you’d be wrong. I hated it. I hated the house we moved into. I hated being away from Turkey Creek and Little Pipe Cemetery. Luckily, moving out was just four years away… but, I adjusted over time. Still, I resented being taken away from the farm. I loved it in the country, but our new home did have a peculiar charm to it.

It was (is) haunted.

I thought maybe it was because of all the renovations required to make the dump livable, but there was plenty of activity in that house. Mostly of the residual kind, but on occasion, intelligent presences manifested over the years. Night terrors and sleep walking, things I had “grown out of” returned. There were phantom smells, footsteps, and knocks. And little secret rooms hidden in the walls which I made use of.

Of course this was a time, these young teenage years, when I was experimenting more readily with magic, so I was attracting a certain amount of activity through these studies. I certainly felt something with sinister intent. Overactive imagination? Maybe…

Later, when I discovered an old map of the town, prior to its name change to Converse, should I have been surprised to discover that our house was built on the site of a former church and cemetery? Our neighbor had a skeleton in their basement, dug up while doing some excavating, and when you looked out across our yards you could see the roll of the lawn give up the telltale sign that graves had once littered the landscape.

The intelligent hauntings have seemingly long since passed, though residual activity still occurs there on occasion. It seemed to be rekindled when my father was struggling with cancer from the hospital bed we’d set up in the living room. After he passed, things quieted down again, or so my mother says.

Still, sometimes when I visit, when I walk into the rooms I called my own as a teen, I get the sense still there is something there, watching me, wishing I would lie down to sleep there as I had once done. Maybe someday I will again, just for old time’s sake. Old ghosts can be like old friends, even the ones who mean us harm.

#OCCULTOBER: The Last Word

Posted in Occultober on November 1, 2021 by Occult Detective

We have reached the end of another OCCULTOBER. As usual, I did not accomplish everything I hoped, but it was a smashing success nonetheless. I want to thank each and every one of you for stopping by as we journeyed through the hinterlands together.

Hallowe’en has grown to become the second biggest holiday here in the States, and that popularity is spreading globally. But, before I move to discuss the investigation we held on Devil’s Night, I want to encourage you to embrace another holiday, one every bit as spooky as Samhain. We are just 181 days out from Beltane, or Walpurgisnacht…

Latha Bealltainn, Beltane, May Day, Summerween, Walpurgisnacht. As Samhain is a time when the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest, so too do we find the veil thinning at Beltane between the living and the fae. It is a magical time, and every bit as dark and wondrous as its opposing celebration.

Both are Seasons of the Witch and I have long felt that Beltane should be held in the same regard as All Hallow’s Eve. Perhaps 2023 will be the year that finally happens for us here in America. Let us light our bonfires, cast spells beneath the stars, and lay out treats for the spirits of Alfheimr.

Alright, as for the paranormal investigation conducted on Devil’s Night, the 30th of October, it was, as they say… eventful. We began before 11pm, conducting a walk-through of the property.

The building once served as an Oddfellows Lodge, with a commercial property on the first floor, business offices on the second, and the Lodge proper on the third. During prohibition, the second floor also served as a speakeasy and brothel. Needless to say, a building with a lot of history in its more than 150 years of service.

It was on that second floor when we discovered out first evidence. We detected the unmistakable smell of tobacco, and were confident no one had been smoking in the building. It had been thoroughly cleaned earlier in the day and the upper floors had no visitors since. Shortly after, a light turned on of its own accord, and as we investigated, we witnessed a shadow figure, multiple times, spying on us. In another room we discovered a chair had been moved from its previous placement, and several doors which had been closed tight were found ajar.

On the third floor, a ring of seats I had previously set up was found disrupted. An antique wheelchair had moved from its original position and sat a good12 feet away. We verified it couldn’t have rolled from where it had been originally placed, then prepared for an Estes session.

I went under the hood, unable to see or hear my compatriots. It was a telling session, wherein my partners were convinced that multiple entities were communicating. Hopefully I will be able to post the session to youtube soon.

All in all it was a stellar investigation with several interactions that made the event a memorable one. Here’s the scorecard, using the Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements:

Alright. That’s all for now. This really is the Last Word, at least as far as OCCULTOBER is concerned. Thank you all for being a part of it. Let’s make next year’s festivities even better.

As for what lies ahead, book and tarot reviews are coming, a patreon announcement, exciting news about upcoming anthologies, and lots more. Just because Hallowe’en is over doesn’t mean the world grinds to a halt… Magick never sleeps.

#OCCULTOBER: All Hallows (Tarot) Read

Posted in Occultober, Tarot on October 31, 2021 by Occult Detective

Neil Gaiman’s All Hallows Read holds a special place in my heart. The idea of giving books as a Hallowe’en tradition is something every author and reader should get behind.

I got to thinking this evening that we occultists might take it a bit further. Next year I propose that in addition to (or instead of) treating the printed word that we might offer up tarot readings to people during the holiday season..

So, there you go. Next year. All Hallows Read. Free Tarot Readings.

See you then.

#OCCULTOBER: Pareidolia

Posted in Occultober on October 29, 2021 by Occult Detective

pareidolia (noun) par·​ei·​do·​lia | \ ˌper-ˌī-ˈdō-lē-ə : the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern

apophenia (noun) ap·​o·​phe·​nia | \ ˌa-pə-ˈfē-nē-ə : the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas)

synchronicity (noun) syn·​chro·​nic·​i·​ty | \ ˌsiŋ-krə-ˈni-sə-tē : the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (such as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung

I have always felt a strong connection to the Mississinewa, its river and the forest surrounding it. It is the epicenter of the strange and unusual I have been chasing my entire life. I am tethered to those environs, preternaturally so.

As I was perusing google maps, investigating aerial views of particularly active locations, I noticed a strange anomaly. A trick of the eye? The remnants of long drowned roadways? Of course… Nothing to see here. It’s like the Sphinx of Mars, right?

Still, Ive never one to dismiss synchronicities…

I feel the need for a long stroll through those woodlands, like that symbols is an invitation to visit the strange and unusual while the veils still thin…

We’re two days out from Hallowe’en proper, but as I fondly share as often as I can find ears to listen, the state of mind that overtakes common folk this time of year is the headspace I occupy all year round. But I do enjoy this time spent when the rest of the world is on the same page.

So, while many become sad because this Samhain Season is almost past, I am content. The strange and unusual is always a part of me. When I look in the mirror each morning, my other self whispers “Happy Hallowe’en” each and every day.

Be safe out there, sleuths.

#OCCULTOBER: Three for Thursday: Paranormal Apps

Posted in Occult Detectives, Occultober, Paranormal on October 28, 2021 by Occult Detective

Short and sweet today. As it’s usually Three for Thursday around here, and with but three days till All Hallow’s Eve, I thought we’d keep with the Samhain Spirit and I would share my three favorite Paranormal SmartPhone Apps.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Sigil Engine: A technomantic tool to create magickal sigils, quickly and easily.

Runic Formulas & The Book of Runes: Elder Futhark runes what Scandinavian God gave to us is able to help, heal, and also to destroy. They help in making a powerful protection amulet or talisman for achieving success. Runic Formulas is your helper on the runic way, it contains not only a collection of runes amulets, bind runes, sigils, glyphs, talismans, and magic formulas but also a handwritten book of runes meanings with clear descriptions for every rune from Elder Futhark. Start your Viking journey with Runic Formulas.

Law Is For All: A toolbox for practitioners of Thelema

THREE

Sono X10 Spirit Box: Sono X10 Spirit Ghost Box is a great tool for both amateurs and professional paranormal investigators. We have created a Ghost Box and a Spirit Voice Box combined in one single ghost hunting tool. Control the sweeping speed, from 100 ms to 150 ms with a single button.

TWO

My Moon Phase: My Moon Phase is the best app for tracking the lunar calendar. It has a sleek dark design which makes it easy to view information such as the current moon cycle, moonrise & moonset times as well as extras such as when the next full moon will be. If you’re interested in moon photography, you can also find out when the golden hours and blue hours are so you can take the most beautiful photos.

ONE

Paranormal Elements: Explore, collect, and analyze paranormal experiences using this innovative organizational system from the makers of Spirit Story Box. Read my review of this app HERE.

#OCCULTOBER: The Chair Was Not Empty

Posted in Occultober on October 27, 2021 by Occult Detective

A quick missive, about last night. I joined three of my favorite people — Michelle Belanger, Eilfie Music, and Shawn Hebert — for a roundtable discussion about the use of magick in paranormal investigations.

It was everything I hoped it would be and more. My three cohorts were charming and erudite, and while I was hopped up on pain meds. I was still more than thrilled to be a part of this two and a half hour chat.

The podcast will be available for download on Samhain, the 31st of October. Search for The LVX Files wherever you get your podcasts… This will be the first episode of Shawn’s second season. You don’t want to miss it.

%d bloggers like this: