Remember when the parapsychologists in Poltergeist tell the Freelings about a fantastic poltergeist experience they’d had just before they see what’s going on in Carol Ann’s room? It goes like this:
Yes, Ryan photographed an extraordinary episode on a case in Redlands.
A child’s toy, a small matchbox vehicle, rolled seven feet across a linoleum surface. The duration of the event was seven hours.
Seven hours for what?
For the vehicle to complete the distance. This would never register on the naked eye, but I have the event on the time-lapse camera.
Poltergeist (1982) has a number of realistic incidents (mixed with many not-so-real ones) in the first portion of the movie – even the chairs stacked on the kitchen table are not far off from the more spectacular of documented poltergeist incidents. (In fact, Tamara witnessed something similar – but far less artistic – in an anomaly-laden house, not once, but three times in succession.)
The most realistic thing in Poltergeist is the investigators’ excitement over that little Matchbox car moving by itself. In reality, assuming the floor was level and there were no other factors that might affect it, that movement would be pretty amazing – unless you believe everything you see on shows like Ghost Hunters.
The truth is, anomalies don’t perform on command, and for something truly anomalous to happen while a TV crew is filming, would be truly jaw-dropping. Reality TV is entertainment, pure and simple. Oh, there’s no doubt episodes are based in true stories and experiences, but we guarantee you that real events caught on camera on a weekly series, are about as likely to happen as water turning into wine.
Recently, someone asked us why nothing “big” happens in Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin, our account of our stay in an allegedly haunted little house in the woods. We were surprised by the question because we were trying our best to recount what really happened and didn’t want to exaggerate the events for the sake of entertainment. Rather, we wanted to document them. We had been given a specific duty: to investigate and report. We were not there as a TV-style ghost hunters.
That’s why we went in with as little knowledge of the history of the cabin as possible. We didn’t want to have any expectations because the mind plays tricks, makes connections, and leaps to conclusions when you’ve been fed information, and that leads to inaccurate reporting.
That said, we were pretty amazed by what did happen. We even conceived of The Cliffhouse Haunting during our stay and were inspired by several events we witnessed.
But as far as reality goes, Tamara has spent many hours in allegedly haunted locales over the last thirty years and has been fortunate enough to witness a handful of anomalies that are pretty impressive. But the cabin was the gift that kept on giving. We saw, heard, and felt things in and around it that were peculiar – and occasionally quite frightening. While we can find possible explanations for most – if we try very hard to dig some up – we can’t explain everything we experienced. We were, to put it mildly, impressed.
Compared to the ghost-of-the-week TV reality shows, our experiences are pretty tame, but from the moment we walked in, there were minor anomalies that would thrill a serious non-entertainment-oriented ghost hunter. They certainly excited and inspired us.
We hope you enjoy our account for what it is – a realistic look at a “haunted” house. We admit that going back in and reliving it while we prepared it for publication gave us both the shivers, but we’ll tell you up front that neither of us levitated, spoke in tongues, or spotted any demons. However, we did experience some things that made us wonder if we’d ever agree to go back.
We probably would, but we’re just crazy that way.
And speaking of ghosts, don’t forget that our Gothic Horror novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, is available now for just .99!