Ghostly Locales from Around the World
by Jeff Belanger
“Ghosts are everywhere. Every town has its buildings, houses, and cemeteries about which locals whisper and which school children hurry past when walking by. Ghost legends are powerful—they’re one of the few events today that still survive mainly by oral tradition. The tales of ghost encounters get retold, and soon certain locations get a ‘haunted’ reputation.”
So writes Jeff Belanger, who has compiled and edited the Encyclopedia of Haunted Places: Ghostly Locales from Around the World. (New Page Books, ISBN 1564147991, 360 pages, $19.99.)
“To truly understand a haunted location, you need to get local,” said Belanger. “What makes this book unique is that the entries are written by people who have done the haunted field work to back up each ghostly claim—hearsay and urban legends weren’t enough. Each entry combines the history, the tragedies, and eyewitness accounts of each haunted locale.” There are numerous black-and-white photographs of haunted places and even some pictures of alleged paranormal phenomena.
The directory reports on more than 250 haunted locations in the US and Canada, as well as several sites in the UK, Asia and Australia. The research was done by dozens of real-life ghostbusters who investigated haunted houses, hotels, restaurants, theaters, parks, battlefields, graveyards and other places in their areas that are visited by spirits.
Haunted places in the book range from the world-famous, such as the Ford Theater in Washington DC, haunted by Abraham Lincoln’s ghost, to obscure Midwestern farmhouses with their own histories of personal tragedy.
For example, one of the listings in the “Great Lakes” region is a pizza restaurant in the Willow Springs section on the South Side of Chicago. Rico D’s Pizza Ristorante was once owned by Al Capone, who used the first floor for illegal gambling and the second floor as a brothel. Employees of the restaurant reported seeing a female specter dressed in 1920s wardrobe and walking toward the stairway leading to the second floor. She is even said to have spoken to the employees before vanishing from sight.
The book also includes a region-by-region directory of contact information for the various paranormal investigators whose work was featured in the book. The encyclopedia is a haunted travel guide, a ghost hunter directory, and a repository of ghostly legends.
Jeff Belanger is the founder of Ghostvillage.com, the largest paranormal community on the Web receiving more than five million hits per month. Belanger is also the author of:The World’s Most Haunted Places: From the Secret Files of Ghostvillage.com and Communicating With the Dead: Reach Beyond the Grave. He has been a guest on more than 50 radio and television programs across North America.
Discovering the Endless Possibilities for Altering Your Everyday Reality
by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse & Mark Vicente
Part documentary, part narrative drama and part visual hallucinogen, the quantum fable What the Bleep Do We Know!? Discovering the Endless Possibilities for Altering Your Everyday Reality, is now a book by the producers of the film of the same name. Not just a movie tie-in, this stand-along book offers deeper insight into the fusion of science, philosophy and religion.
The award-winning movie was the fourth most successful documentary of all time in the U.S., grossing over 12 million dollars. A director’s cut will be released in theaters in January, 2006.
With the help of more than a dozen research and theoretical scientists, it takes you through the looking glass of quantum physics into a universe that is more bizarre and alive than ever imagined. Then it takes you beyond, into the outer edges of our scientific knowledge of consciousness, perception, body chemistry and brain structure. What is a thought made of? What is reality made of? And most importantly, how does a thought change the nature of reality?
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHORS/FILMMAKERS
What inspired the film and the subsequent book?
It really started when Will Arntz became inspired to give back, to fund projects that would actually change consciousness, make a difference in the world. Shortly thereafter he had an epiphany that he should be involved, that it should be his project. So, coming out of retirement from his first successful software company, he started a second and earmarked part of the profits for projects with a conscience. While expecting to evaluate the works of others looking for funding, Will met Mark, who was editing a film at the same time. Together at a class where quantum physics was the center of discussion, someone suggested writing a book about it. Mark thought — why not a movie? Thus, Will founded the “project” and his movie team was two thirds formed. Then, when it was imminent that a producer was needed, Betsy became the third side of the triangle.
What were some of the unique challenges of putting the book together?
Just like with the film, the concepts are huge and 1000s of books could be written on just one of the chapters. Trying to fit it all into one book was tough. People are looking for conclusions and much of what we write about is still being explored. We didn’t want to write a self help book. We wanted to write a self exploration book.
How is this book different from the movie?
In the film you have a finite amount of time. In the book we were able to expand on the ideas because we had more space. The book was also written after the film had been out for a year and we had the opportunity to do more interview and investigation to better understand the ideas.
How will this book affect the common person?
Mainly, it’s written for everyone. It’s entertaining and compelling, and it makes concepts which seemed out of reach for most people understandable. We’re hopeful people will be inspired to gain more knowledge about themselves and the great new discoveries science is making about us and your universe.
The water crystals also respond beautifully to classical music as well as to synchronized prayer
By Masaru Emoto
Atria Books 2005, 178 pp., $22.95
References to this book kept crossing my path, so when I was asked to review it for New Age Journal, I took this as a sign of some sort of synchronicity and accepted. I come to this review a bit handicapped, having not read the previous Emoto books: The Hidden Messages in Water or The True Power of Water.
The Secret Life of Water focuses on Emoto’s work with frozen water crystals and how they physically appear in response to positive and/or negative energy. In this case, the energy provided is in terms of messages that are thought silently or spoken aloud: “You’re beautiful,” “You fool!” for example. Emoto shows in the many photographs that are provided that the crystals that form in response to negative thoughts are misshapen; while the ones that are created with the positive thoughts are crisp and symmetrical. The water crystals also respond beautifully to classical music as well as to synchronized prayer.
Emoto also speculates on some interesting hypotheses: “In every minute of the day, about twelve comets, some as heavy as 100 tons, fall to earth. These comets are made up mostly of ice. When the ice reaches the atmosphere, it forms clouds and eventually falls to earth in the form of rain to fill the ocean. And since we are mostly water, in a sense we all come from outer space.”
The author admits that the study of ice crystals is a subjective, and not objective, science. Also, some ideas are not new to the New Age community – we’ve all heard that if you talk to plants in a pleasant fashion, they will grow faster and that people who are prayed for in hospitals seem to recover more quickly. And to say that Emoto is a water enthusiast is an understatement! The man seems to have studied everything there is to know about it. However, the study of the ice crystals (at least to me) is a new innovation and it is interesting to see the photographic evidence of how the crystals form in response to various stimuli.
The author writes much about hado – the subtle energy that exists in all things – and also adds a bit on lunar cycles, homeopathy and music as a channel for healing. All in all, I enjoyed the book’s positive message of the effects thoughts and words have on the physical plane with the focus on water as the source of life. If the reader can embrace Emoto’s philosophy, he or she will truly add a new dimension to the phrase “go with the flow.”
Reviewed by Diane Saarinen
Diane Saarinen is the new book reviewer for New Age Journal. Visit her website for her thoughts on writing, hunting for second-hand treasures, and – oddly – her cat.