“Excuse me, sir. Where is the group, The Visionaries, lecturing?” Papa asks the man at the desk.
“It’s in the main conference room. Just go down the hall and go through the first door on your right,” the guy says, eyeing us like we are a group of freaks from a side-show. A few weeks ago I’d probably have thought the same.
“Thank you,” Papa says.
We step into a large room with a stage on the far end. There are hundreds of people here. And we’re twenty minutes early. I can’t believe so many people are into this. We should have gotten here even earlier. We take a seat in the second to last row. I take a seat next to Sage. In the back of the stage is a large screen and to the side is a laptop on top of a podium. On the left side of the stage there is a long table with all sorts of weird gadgets. To the left of the stage there is a closed door leading to who knows where and on the opposite side is the exit. Above the mouth of the entrance hangs a clock.
The room becomes even more pact as the presentation is about to start. There are people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds; all bound by a love of the paranormal. Seated behind me is this massive biker dude talking to this dweeb about a time when he thought he had some paranormal experience. The biker dude looks like he could squish the dweeb like a bug. If that doesn’t say it all then I don’t know what does.
I turn back around and turn my attention to the clock. One minute to go. The door next to the stage opens and out comes the paranormal group. Everyone begins to applaud as they make their way onto the stage. A close up image of them is projected on the screen behind them. They all look around their late twenties or early thirties. They are wearing identical headsets with little microphones attached to them. They’re a rag-tag group, as diverse in personality as most of the people here. I don’t remember any of their names, but what I do remember is the tall mulatto women is a medium and the leader of the group. She is very curvy, with brown curly hair and big brown-sparkling eyes that seem to look through you and into your soul. She’s clothed in a flowing skirt and a lilac top with frills around the neck line. She is adorned in jewelry. She takes her place at the head of the stage; the rest of the team follows behind.
“Welcome,” she announces, in a sweet yet booming voice. “For those who don’t know me, my name is Calista. I am the lead investigator and clairvoyant/medium of this group. Behind me are our investigators, Lawson and Gunner.” She gestures to them with her hand.
Lawson is a burly man. He has long dirty-blond hair slicked back into a ponytail, a scraggly beard, dark green eyes, and his arms are coated with tatts. His garb is a pair of ripped jeans and a black t-shirt with a skull on it. Gunner is of a stocky build. He’s a Latino. He has black piercing eyes and a crooked nose. He is also wearing jeans, but his are falling down his ass, showing off his boxers. He has on a heavy green sweater with a large number seven in white, and a red cap that he’s wearing “gangsta” style. Hanging around his neck, over his sweater, is a gaudy cross. But it’s not like any cross I’ve seen, there seems to be something else scrawled on it. Both men come across as cocky.
Are we to be reduced by desperation to enlist their help? I’d much rather be left alone in a room with the biker dude behind me than be left in a room in the dark with either of them.
“Our technicians, Adelaide and Allan Avery.” Calista gestures to a young couple who are both holding hands.
Something glints off Adelaide’s hand; I think it’s a wedding band. Adelaide has straight blond hair that she has pulled back into sleek bun, light blue eyes magnified by her bright pink glasses, and a pair of white shorts and a pink buttoned up blouse. Allan is Asian; his jet-black hair is spiked up. He has on a pair of big grayish-blue glasses that magnify his light-brown eyes. He is tall and thin. He has on a white shirt with blue stripes going across and a pair of skinny jeans.
“We are here today to talk a little bit about what we do. For those of you that don’t know about us, we travel around the Southern states looking to debunk paranormal activity. More than seventy percent of the locations we’ve been to have had actual phenomena.”
“Wow,” people murmur in the crowd as they stare at them in awe. “And in four out of ten cases we get actual footage and readings.” Wouldn’t they have to get at least seven out of ten cases with actual footage to debunk seventy percent of locations? I look over to see what Papa thinks, but he is staring intently at the group, as are Sage and Mama. Marisol is sitting on the ground quietly playing a game on Papa’s phone. I turn my attention back to the group. They go on for a little while talking about what they do.
God, hurry it up already! I’m dying here. The right side of my face is partially swollen, my eye is blackened, my leg is killing me, and every little movement brings shooting pain throughout my being. Somehow I manage to nod off anyways.
By the time I recover, Adelaide and her husband Allan have just begun to go over their equipment. They start with an EVP recorder which basically stands for an electronic voice phenomenon. It’s a device they use to communicate with spirits. This is what tells them if it’s an intelligent haunting or not; they informed us that an intelligent haunting is when a ghost or an entity can interact with you, like George. An unintelligent haunting is when you are experiencing residual energy, basically a recording of the spirit’s life being played in a continuous loop. In that kind of haunting the ghost will not even be aware of your presence. I wish that was the case here.
“Those kinds of hauntings are not to be confused with poltergeist activity in which case a person is experiencing psychokinesis. Which is when a person’s mind, without consciously knowing, will be what’s causing the disturbances,” Allan explains.
Next up on the list of equipment they mention is an EMF meter or an electromagnetic field meter. It is used to detect fluctuations in the magnetic field which are said to be caused by ghosts. The one they’re using has little lights on it and they sometimes use it to have conversation with ghosts who will answer their questions by touching the box and making the little bulbs light up twice for a yes and once for a no. The last two important pieces of equipment they use is a motion detector and an infrared camera which they set up in a room said to be inhabited by a ghost.
Once they’re done talking about their equipment, they switch off the lights and playback some footage they captured, some audio recordings, and photos — some of them contain orbs, other’s faces; unexplained masses like the one I’ve seen, and manifested spirits. The only thing that really catches my attention is an audio recording captured of a spirit saying, “DIE!” Must be a friend of George.
They go on like this for another half hour, until someone flips the lights back on. Then Calista announces that it’s over and that they will now be answering questions, which will cause me about fifteen more minutes of discomfort.
“If angels exist, then why don’t they help spirits cross over? Why do spirits need mediums?” a man behind me asks.
“That’s a good question,” Calista says. “The thing is that sometimes spirits don’t want to go into the light. Sometimes they want someone to know their story, so they will decide to stay earthbound no matter what any angel or spirit guide or even their higher-self suggest. God gives you a choice whether you want to go or not and he respects your wishes.”
“What’s a spirit guide?”
“A spirit guide is a spirit that will help you all through your life’s journey. Sometimes it’s a relative or a friend that’s passed, even one you have never met, or a friendly spirit; other times it will be a spirit who had experienced many past lives who will ask God if they may help you. Some may be somebody that you had asked for assistance from on the other side before you entered into the physical realm. Some are here to help you achieve a goal in life so that they themselves can rise to a higher state of consciousness. They’re also known as your guardian angels.”
“What’s a higher-self?”
“Well, we are made of four components; our mind, body, soul, and spirit. And, we have three levels of consciousness; the conscious, the subconscious, and the superconscious. The conscious level makes up our mind, body, and soul; basically it makes up our personalities and who we are. The subconscious level is the mind of our soul where we can connect with our three-dimensional self and our spiritual self. The superconscious level is our spirit which is made in God’s image. The part of us that is pure. This is your higher-self, the self that is at one with God.
“It is also our higher-self that chooses for us to reincarnate so that we may become even more in one with God, so that we may overcome past karmic debts.”
If that’s the case then my higher-self has some serious explaining to do.
Calista continues, “Most people don’t know this, but God does not put you into hell, you do. What level depends on your guilt and your deeds on earth and your time there will vary. There is no time up there, a few earth seconds down here can feel like years up there or vice versa.”
“Is trying to overcome your past karmic debts always the case for entering into the earth plane?”
“No, sometimes you just want to experience being human or you come down to help others. Other times God will ask for you to come down because he has a purpose for you, but ultimately the choice is yours.”
“But doesn’t your higher-self want to do his will so it will choose for you to go down?” one man remarks.
“What are some other reasons ghosts will stay?”
“First of all let me point something out, a lot of spirits that I have come into contact with have said that they don’t like the term “ghost” because the word is mostly seen in negative light, most prefer the word “spirit”.
“Now for your question, there are different reasons for them being earthbound. Sometimes they stick around because of unfinished business or perhaps they feel that they didn’t have a lot of time down here. Some may have died tragically and they haven’t coped with their deaths. Others may not even know they died because their deaths were sudden or unexpected causing them not to see the light. In a lot of cases I find that they believe something they did while still in their physical forms will cause them to go to hell. Thus, they are in no hurry to enter their fate.”
After a number of repetitive questions I block out their voices, not hearing a single word they say. I focus all my thoughts on one thing. How in the world are we going to approach them? I hope someone else thinks of something brilliant, because I’ve got nothing.
I’m standing the second they announce that we can now purchase merchandise and that they will be signing books. I follow behind Sage as the rest of the slowpokes are just starting to move. What’s with them, I’m the one who should be really sore.
We begin to walk down the aisle towards the people getting in line for autographs. We might be able to get a word in edge wise with the team as they sign a book; if Papa will spring for one. This is taking forever. Two thirds of the audience seems to want a freaking book signed. We are halfway down the row of seats when Sage stops in front of me.
“What are you doing? Hurry before the line gets any longer!” I urge him gruffly.
“I’m trying, somebody stopped in front of me to tie his shoe.”
“What are you stopping for?” Papa asks Sage.
“Someone stopped to tie their shoe,” I answer without turning to look at him.
I groan as I tap my foot impatiently, waiting for this idiot to move. Buy slip-ons! Eventually the man finishes tying his shoe and we make it to the line. How convenient, we are like the last people in line. I just know these people are going to have to leave before we get anywhere near them. How are we going to ask for their help? I wonder. I try to look around the large obstruction that is Sage to the table where Calista should be seated.
“Just ask,” a calm soothing voice calls out behind me. I turn around and find Calista standing beside me, her soul searching eyes fixated on me. I jump back in surprise.
“How did you —?”
“Can I talk to you and your family in private?” Calista asks ignoring my question. I am so dumbstruck by her appearance that all I can do is nod assent. She gently takes my hand and leads me out into the hall to where nobody is in earshot of us. The rest of my entourage follows behind.
Had I spoken my question out loud or did she somehow read my mind?
Calista clutches both of my hands and she puts her face close to mine. “Girl, you need our help,” she says earnestly, like she already knows the gravity of the situation.