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!

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.

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.

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

According to this article on panda.org somewhere between 200 and 2,000 species of plants and animals go extinct every year. Of course, according to this Atlas Obscura article we discover about 15,000 new species—mostly insects—each year. What we don’t hear about very often is a species that comes back. When we do it’s generally something like the coelacanth, which was believed extinct when a fisherman caught one in 1938. They were living where we weren’t looking. (Read more tales of rediscovered species on thedodo.com.)This is a different sort of story. A group of students in Winnipeg, Canada had the chance to work with some very special seeds. The seeds were discovered by archaeologists digging in Wisconsin inside a clay ball which was buried in a pot approximately 800 years ago. This clay ball was a technique used by Native Americans to preserve seeds and it sure seemed to work. Some of the seeds were still viable!

Example of a harvested Gete-okosomin. They are massive!
Photo by @heirloomexpo on Twitter.

The students have planted and cultivated the seeds and grown a squash called Gete-okosomin which translates to “really cool old squash.” Of course, they aren’t the only ones involved with this extraordinary revival. The seeds have been distributed to a number of people who are attempting to revive the species by cultivating the vegetables and then collecting the seeds. This video news report provides some more details about the project.

Wow! That guy is pretty laid back. I wonder if squash is the only thing he’s cultivating!I think this is an amazing, hopeful story. Too many latch onto the stories of doom and destruction. This is proof that things can turn around with the right discoveries and people focused on the problem.

It will probably be a while before we get to have one of these on our table, but it will be worth the wait!

This has been quite a week. I wrote briefly about the séance sessions that I held at the Museum of the Weird last week. On the 31st I was featured doing numerology readings for a private party.  Sunday was also involved with a private event, so today was my day to rest and recuperate. (Though I am at the Museum tonight.)

It is interesting to connect with so many different minds and questions in a short period of time. I must form a sort of bond with a person or with spirit and then completely let it go. I know how to ground and clear and create a safe space for what I do, but it is still very demanding.

So, I spent the day doing some bureaucratic paperwork, washing some dishes and catching up on The Walking Dead. Of course, now we begin he acceleration toward the end of the year. For those who don’t carry Halloween in their hearts all year round they will turn their attention to Thanksgiving and Christmas (or Yule, if you will). As we move into these changes of season, changes of rhythms, and changes of mind—always a feature at this time of year—rest is important. Don’t get too caught up in obligations and seasonal chaos that you forget to take some time, even a little time, for your own rest and peace. It will become critical as you become busy with family and friends.

Of course, this time is also a point when we tend to reflect on where we are and where we want to go. Self-doubt can be high, especially with the helpful observations of the people who don’t spend time with us during the rest of the year. This is an excellent time to consider booking personal readings or having a psychic party, to teach yourself and your friends a tool you can use yourself in the upcoming year. It’s enlightening and a lot of fun. Use my new contact page to find out more.

Find the joy as we move toward the end of 2015. Next year will bring a good deal of change for all of us!

Wednesday night at the Museum of the Weird I conducted a couple of sĂ©ance sessions that were opened to the public. I think it’s safe to say that most people have had no experience with this sort of thing. Would it be like Disney’s Haunted Mansion? Would things fly through the air? Would things jump out and say “boo!?”

If you are looking for an experience like that I can certainly set up that sort of Spirit Theatre. However, in this case we were going for something very different. We used the tried and true techniques of the nineteenth century séance parlor to reach out and get answers questions put to the spirits.

We prepared the room. We grounded and cleared people. We connected with spirit guides. We got answers.

Of course, so close to Halloween (or Samhain, if you will) the veil between the worlds was pretty thin. Contact flowed pretty freely. I find, though, that with a group that is truly open to communication and who takes the proceedings seriously that we are usually able to get answers.

Some questions were simple, others were deeply personal. Using numbers for people we kept everyone anonymous so they could choose whether or not to acknowledge themselves. A few revealed themselves during the sharing time after the session. Many kept it to themselves. All acknowledged that they received a personal message for them.

I truly enjoy introducing people to this experience. Just as when I do fortunetelling, things are not exactly what people expect. It’s not like the movies. It’s weird and wonderful. It’s a very human sort of experience that helps you to appreciate what it must have been like for the thousands who gathered around the sĂ©ance table in the 19th century.

Of course, one doesn’t have to wait for Halloween for this sort of thing. The spirits are around all year round.