I spend a good deal of time at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas. I’m also a regular participant in the Austin Horror Society, and have just begun hosting my own monthly horror film events, Ravencraft’s Vault of Horror. So, I appreciate the kind of passion that goes into creating something like the Munster Mansion in Waxahachie, Texas.

This incredible home belongs to Sandra and Charles McKee, and is the result of Sandra’s passion for the 1960’s TV show, The Munsters, and the utter devotion Charles has to his wife. The building is a realization of what 1313 Mockingbird Lane. I say realization, because there was not real model of this home. It existed as sets on the TV show. Sandra watched the shows again and again to design the blueprint. She used the paces of Lily Munster (Yvonne De Carlo) to determine the scale. What resulted is nothing short of incredible. You can see the painstaking detail in their gallery, but the pictures do no justice to what it’s like to actually be there.

On October 21-22, 2016, they had their open house. This is a big charity event where they give tours and have entertainment and activities. The rest of the year this is their private home and is not open to the public. I shared a stage with Merlin the Wise, who I work with at Sherwood Forest Faire. Merlin entertained with his family-friendly magic and I did… weirder stuff. 🙂

All in all, it was a wonderful experience. If you ever get the chance to visit in person I highly recommend it. Here are some glimpses of my view of it all.

Amazing recreation of the Dragula from the show

Where Pat Priest (Marilyn) met fans

Pat Priest was an incredible trooper, meeting hundreds of fans and being so kind and sweet to everyone the whole night.

Our stage

All set up and ready to begin

I got to met and chat with horror actor Jim O’Rear

Carnival lights and rides

Games and fun

Animal rescue

Eager volunteers

Rick the Fire Breather

Rick is just amazing!

Amazing Munster mobile by night. That engine was serious! Chuck revved it up several times during the night.

Merlin, delighting families with his magic

Merlin before stunned crowds

My weird collection of stuff

Sharing the giant spider

Can you believe this was the first time some had seen a shrunken head?

The costume contest!

Me after the first night!

The Weekly World News was always the best and they did not disappoint with this macabre article from December 2004 announcing that the United Nations was busily canceling Christmas after Santa’s body was found frozen, floating in a block of ice.

Children are devastated as the news reaches them. Damn! That’s dark stuff!

As it turns out, this was good news, according to psychologists. It will help break the kids from their greed. See the whole article in the Google archive.

I don’t know what happened after. Was this all a case of mistaken identity? Was there a cover-up, and Santa has been replaced by an impostor, run by the government, or the toy corporations?

Let us all take a moment to remember. We miss you, Santa.

Regardless of your political leanings you were likely surprised by various things in yesterday’s election. I was too. Then I looked back to the numbers that I did in January about the election and it was all there.

For January I wrote an article where I used numerology to project out various things about 2016. I ran numbers for Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

379px-bernie_sandersAt that time it showed that Bernie Sanders had a good chance to win, but it required him to stick with his base in a mode of collaboration and not give into the machine. Sanders moved his energy from that base to supporting the party choice. Had he drawn on his support and continued his original path there is a good chance he would be president now.

donald_trump_sr-_at_citizens_united_freedom_summit_in_greenville_south_carolina_may_2015_by_michael_vadon_13Trump’s numbers showed him to be a likely winner, especially against Clinton. At the time I used the word “destiny,” which is a good description of how it played out. Paired with Sanders, Trump’s energy would have been very different. Paired with Clinton he had a clear advantage unless her supporters put in a tremendous amount of work and energy.

The numbers don’t write things in stone. They describe the energies that are needed to make things happen, how the work needs to be done. In this case, everything seemed to follow the path of least resistance.

pay-530338_1920I did not follow up on the numbers as the campaign continued. It wasn’t something that I was actively discussing with people and I had honestly forgotten that I’d even done this. In the past, I’ve not been big on doing public predictions. I use the numbers for more personal things rather than projecting out world events. You can bet that I’m going to be paying a lot more attention the the upcoming numbers and sharing what I can.

Now that this path is defined, we can still apply our own energies to how it will affect us and our personal goals. It’s an exercise in balance. If you want to know more about your own numbers reach out and we’ll see what energy is surrounding you.

Saul Ravencraft will be performing at the Munster Mansion October 21-22. He’ll be sharing paranormal entertainment along side Merlin the Wise from Sherwood Forest Faire. Dress up and come check it all out!

Poster for Munsters Mansion October 2016 event

Poster for In Search of with pictures of exotic landscapes and a profile of Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy hosted this pioneering series that offered “possible explanations” for strange phenomena

My paranormal entertainment is a theatrical exploration of the weird stuff that they used to show on In Search Of. (Now that was a reality show! Unsolved Mysteries later went in a similar direction.) Ghosts, legends, monsters, powers of magick and of the mind, bizarre artifacts… These fascinating ideas are there, waiting to be explored and experienced. I realized that all of these things I had been exploring were interesting to people who weren’t necessarily ready to go down the rabbit hole themselves.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. People who dig into these things enjoy them. Many of the Victorians who participated in sĂ©ances did them because the were enormously entertaining. That’s how my sincere interests evolved into this unusual style of interactive entertainment. We play. We try. I get to strengthen my own skills at connecting, but a number of others connect strongly as well. It’s all intended as a show, but stuff comes up.

Probably the most dramatic moments happen when we are doing thought experiments. I will have people think of a person and try to get impressions of that person. Sometimes I just get impressions. Sometimes I get all the way to a name. More often than I expect, someone will decide to think of someone they know who has passed on. Occasionally it will be someone who has passed quite recently. As the impressions come through this can be a very emotional moment for all of us. When it first happened it really alarmed me. They were crying. My heart was racing. Other people in the room weren’t sure what to think. Then they thanked me. Their love and concern for this person was so strong and they were happy that I was able to share it with them.

Stylized drawing of a blue outline of a person's head with a glowing blue brainDuring some of the intuition games I play, where someone in the audience attempts to reach out, the person playing will sometimes make a very strong connection. Usually we are working with objects, trying to get them to tune into something specific. Most people do better than the expect because I create conditions for them to open up in spite of themselves. A few seem to have some strong natural abilities. Sometimes they don’t even know. I always hope that they become more curious and start to explore their intuition.

When exploring these idea, even when it’s just for fun, there is always the possibility (maybe even a probability) that we will connect with real things amongst the stories, the theater, and the games. That is why I always treat my entertainment with the same respect that I do any sincere probing into the magickal and spiritual world. I use the same techniques to ground and clear myself and the performance space. As a result, our connections are joyful and fun, and we don’t bring up anything that will follow you home!

Just a reminder that I am booking private events for October and beyond. If you want to take your friends down the rabbit hole we can make it happen. Contact me with your event and we’ll make something special for you.

Weekly World News, Sep 5, 2005, Vol. 26, No. 52, p. 23

Weekly World News, Sep 5, 2005, Vol. 26, No. 52, p. 23

I really miss the Weekly World News. They had the most interesting takes on some of the strangest news ever. It was always fun and there were some truly bizarre stories buried in there.

Looking through the archive available on Google Books I came across this little gem from 2005. (Click the picture to see the original.) The story reports on a ghost who was apparently hit on the head when he died and just couldn’t remember why he was haunting the place. They got it all worked out. Thank goodness!

It got me to thinking a little about the nature of spirits and what it is like when we move forward. In what I do there is a lot of interest in souls who have passed on and what they experience. Spiritualism is the religion most connected with souls who have passed. Regular connection with these spirits is the whole point of spiritualism. In this perspective death is merely another threshold, like turning 21. We move into a different life, with different experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. We are still ourselves and we are still doing things.

The change in perspective is a big one. All of the fleshy limitations disappear—though if the WWN story is accurate there may be some lingering effects. Are they real effects? Are they choices? a reluctance to move forward? Is it the spiritual equivalent of living in your parents’ basement? Ideally we move into a new perspective where we break boundaries of time and space. We don’t gain any super knowledge, but our new view lets us understand things, much like an adult understands things that a 3-year-old can’t imagine. For some, this is a big leap forward, so much so that they have little need to deal with the life they left behind. Others like to check in. Others seem to get a little lost.

Personally, I think that we are supposed to have some connection between this world and the next. It is subtle and sometimes incomprehensible, but a connection nonetheless. Let’s hope that it doesn’t leave us wandering around, endlessly haunting, looking for the glasses perched on our head. That would be hell right there!

Photo from old movie of people holding a séance

Sitters gather around the séance table, hoping for a sign.

While they are no longer at their peak, ghost investigation shows are still pretty popular on television. We follow haunted histories tail investigators as they attempt to make contact with the departed. This is not a new thing. In fact, people have been enjoying spiritual entertainment for as far back as we can remember.

Hamlet confronts the ghost of his father and learns terrible news.

Hamlet confronts the ghost of his father and learns terrible news.

Places have had legends of strange goings-on, souls who met a tragic end or have unfinished business who seem to linger, creating confusion for the living. Clearly this idea was well established when Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. Hamlet’s confrontation with the ghost of his murdered father is what sets the whole story into motion.

Ghost stories around the camp fire are an old tradition, and kids of all eras have dared each other to go into forbidden spaces on the chance they might encounter the ghost or monster reported there. In the 19th century, however, a different approach to encountering these spirits led to a whole new way of thinking. Like the ghost-hunting shows of today, some people took it very seriously, while others explored it as a fascinating and very diverting form of entertainment.

The history of the sĂ©ance, which evolved into what we think of as ghost-hunting today, had its humble roots with the Fox sisters, some young girls who manifested mysterious raps and other signs of communication with the spirits. Perhaps others had done this before, but something that was new here was the rise of media. In a time where someone would go their whole lives in a radius smaller than some people’s daily commute there was suddenly forms of communication that allowed astonishing stories to reach the population at large. When news got out about what the Fox sisters could do people wanted to see. They wanted to experience it. Suddenly it seemed that others could do this to. People eagerly read these accounts and wanted to experience them as well.

Line drawing of hands on a planchette

The Ouija board we know today evolved from this automatic writing tool called a planchette.

While professional mediums roamed the country, giving demonstrations in lecture halls, many took to their own parlors to attempt spirit contact. There was no denying that some people seemed to have a stronger connection with the spirit world, but the possibility was that anyone could find themselves in contact. Tools like the Ouija board and other instruments for detecting and communicating with the dead were introduced. Anyone could play, and many did.

While a lot of the controversy surrounding spiritism revolves around whether or not these manifestations were real a lot of people frankly didn’t care. They enjoyed the stories and experiences of spookiness and the idea that there was something mysterious that was more interesting than the dreary work and frustrating politics that was the center of everything else. (Sound familiar?)

Of course, as media became more wide-spread and technology evolved the majority of people turned to television and movies for their spooky experiences. A handful of people have always stayed connected to these things and the faithful have continued to explore their ghostly connections in communities like Lilydale, NY. The rise of the ghost-hunting reality shows started a new interest and people are trading in their Ouija boards and ringing bells for infrared cameras and EMF meters.

Now, as then, people see this as an enormous amount of fun.

I have been interested in these phenomena for as long as I can remember. I do have a genuine interest in the paranormal and I continue to explore for my own answers. But I can’t deny how wonderful it is to gather together and enjoy some spirit theatre, ghostly entertainment. With October coming up a lot of people are thinking about the spooky (though many of us carry Halloween in our hearts all year round). Let me introduce you to the world of live, haunted entertainment with a variety of offerings that can be tailored or combined for your party, event, or outing. Contact me to arrange one of these spirited activities:

  • Private ghost tour — Austin has a number of fascinating haunted locations, several which are convenient to downtown. Let me lead you through the places and the stories, with a stop off here and there for a beverage or dinner. It won’t be like the herd-tours that you see in cities. This will be a personal event that engages everyone.
  • SĂ©ance — This is where it all began, a group of people gathered together, hoping to make contact. I have a variety of approaches to fit different moods and goals. I enjoy recreating the atmosphere of the Victorian experience, but I also have techniques that draw in more modern equipment. These can be performed in private homes or other venues.
  • Ghost exploring — If you really want to take your cameras, recorders and devices and go on a ghost hunt I can help you realize your dream.
  • Haunted artifacts — If you don’t want to go quite so deeply, I can give you a private exhibition of some of my haunted artifacts and even teach how to find and care for such things yourself.

Remember, these things are not just for Halloween. In fact, that is my peak season, so that’s when it’s hardest and most expensive to book things. If you enjoy spooky books and movies or know someone who does, consider booking these activities to enjoy ghostly fun any time of the year. The Victorians certainly did!

2016yayA new year has arrived. I, for one, am happy to say goodbye to 2015. It was a year which demanded a lot of hard work, which made it very difficult for me to stay connected to others. That’s not my favorite lifestyle and I’m looking forward to the adventure and variety that is promised to me by 2016.

People are always curious about what the year has in store. For the month of January I’ll offer a remote reading special. Get your lucky numbers for $10, a year projection for $20 or a year projection and a single question for $30. There’s a PayPal form at the bottom to get yours. You’ll get a report through email.

But, I’ll share a few general observations about 2016 right here.

First, there is a big change happening from 2015 to 2016. Last year was very much about people having to “go it alone.” Safety nets were pulled away. Trusted resources were withdrawn. Everyone had to be more willing to stand on their own feet because, frankly, some of the help just wasn’t there like it has been before. For some this has been a good thing. Everyone should appreciate their own gifts and be willing to be self-reliant. We are given the gifts we need and it helps when we learn to trust them. However, it has been a rough time for many and they have been left feeling a little helpless and overwhelmed.

In 2016 there will be a lot more collaboration and helping each other. It’s a year to look out for people who seem to struggle with things that come easily to you and for people who seem to do well with things that you find difficult. Reach out. Find ways to exchange, to partner, to help each other. Look for help and guidance from these people, but always offer something in return. Make it a two-way street. Your network and resources will grow and you’ll find that the skills you bring to the table increase in value as people better appreciate what you can do. You’ll also find that you have more respect for the people around you.

This will be a bigger trend, as the United States starts to move away from a “my way or the highway” mode and begins to enter into serious collaboration with other world powers. Part of this will be economic realities all over the world, but look for some real changes in global and domestic policies that look for win-win solutions for everyone. This will be followed by some real ingenuity that hasn’t been seen since the World War II era.

The presidential election is in many people’s minds. There is a lot that can happen between now and November 8, but based on what I can see today: Sanders will win if his supporters continue a collaborative approach. He is also in line with the vibration of the year, so he has a lot on his side. He will fail if he moves into a more traditional mode of meeting fire with fire. Hillary Clinton can only win with an extraordinary amount of hard work on the part of herself and her supporters. Donald Trump has a chance if voters can be motivated to calling for complete change. It’s not impossible and Trump has an aura of destiny about him that draws him to this path and cause him to relentlessly pursue his goals. Ted Cruz would win if there was a tremendous drive from religious support, but he will still be shrouded in mystery.

I’ll try to keep an eye on the signs as we move closer.

I wish you prosperity in the new year. Be open to help from people you know and trust, not from big entities like the government or major organizations. Be open to providing help to those you know personally who could benefit from your knowledge and skills. These collaborations will make enormous differences to you.

If you want to get more specific information for yourself take advantage of my 2016 New Year Remote Reading special. You’ll find other specials on that page. This is only available during the month of January, so don’t miss out!

witch_of_endor-1777I mentioned that I was collaborating with Theater 13 for the Haunted Holiday event last night. The crowd was very enthusiastic as we viewed the classic 1981 film Ghost Story. It’s one of those films that is much more about the dread and the story than lots of gore and jump scares. We all toasted the Chowder Club and declared ourselves honorary members.

During the intermission we took some time to let people share some of their own ghost stories. We had several of them, and many involved strange figures at the foot of the bed. I introduced the Konxari cards that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. Everyone got to check out the cards and then we tried an experiment. I passed around an envelope which contained a story I’d clipped from an 1888 edition of the Austin newspaper. Everyone got to hold the envelope in their hands and try to tune into what was in there. I was glad to see people take this pretty seriously. Then we had a number of people blindly pull some of the Konxari cards. We passed those to a judge and let Lydia read the story aloud to see if there were any connections.

There were three solid hits! The other two were not specifically mentioned in the story, but based on the contents they might have been a message about the truth of the person’s death. Furthermore, a couple of people had an impression of fire. The heading of the next story was about a cotton fire. Overall, it showed that we have a crowd that is pretty tuned into this stuff!

Look for more information about the next Theater 13 event. It’s not just a movie. It’s an experience!

SaulRavencraft_sig

Tonight is another fun, free event with Theater 13. The Haunted Holiday will be at Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub in Austin. We’ll see the movie Ghost, the last film with Fred Astaire.

Like most ghost movies, this one is a slow build to a revelation. It’s moody but fun…a classic kind of spooky tale. There is also snow, so that makes it Christmassy.

konxari_cardsDuring the Interactive Intermission we’re going to invite people to share any of their personal ghost stories and I’ll break out my Konxari cards. This extraordinary tool was designed by artist, Matt Busch. It’s a series of cards that present ideas that relate to death and the spirit world. Whereas a Ouija board—which we explored in October—is intended to make a direct connection, these are designed to help exercise intuition when dealing with hauntings and similar situations. We’ll play with the cards and see if the group can use them to tune into something specific.

I’ll report the results here later. Everything starts at 7:00, but come early for dinner!

SaulRavencraft_sig