The Phoenix

Monday, October 30, 2006

Spooky Story Six: Demonic Possession - The real 'Emily Rose'

Warning: This post contains some very disturbing images...

Last year, as part of my spooky stories series, I did a post about the true story behind the movie The Exorcist. If you dare, you can read the post

The movie is based on the exorcisms of a little boy that actually took place here in St. Louis. In fact, I recently visited the hospital where many of the rituals were performed.

But that's another story... (If you're feeling brave, make sure to read my Epilogue at the bottom).

Is demonic possession real? Or is it simply attributing something spiritual where the problem is clearly psychological and mental?

In 2005, a movie about demonic possession was released, titled The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The makers of the film said that they based their movie on a true story. In reality, the girl's name was Anneliese Michel, and she lived in Germany. Anneliese believed she was possessed by six demons, and the Catholic church allowed local priests to perform the rite of Exorcism. In the end, it wasn't enough. On July 1, 1976, 23 year old Anneliese died.

Growing up, Anneliese Michel (pictured right) was part of a very devout family in Klingenberg, Germany. She was perfectly healthy until she was 16 years old. Very suddenly, Anneliese suffered from convulsions. She was diagnosed with Grand Mal epilespsy. Soon thereafter, she began to see demonic faces and hear evil voices.

She was unable to attend college, as her seizures and hallucinations began to increase in severity by age 22. Conventional medicine didn't have an answer, so the family turned to the Church. Anneliese and her parents were convinced she was possessed by several demons. Her mother reported stigmata, her speaking in tongues, and making predictions that did come true.

The Catholic Church at first refused. However, Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt visited the Michel family and recorded Anneliese speaking in tongues and in different voices (pictured left). After playing the tape for the Bishop, the Church finally agreed. The priest and pastor carried out 67 rites of exorcism, the official ritual known as "Rituale Romanum." Anneliese was also taking very powerful drugs at the time. These included Tegretol and Aolept.

Poor Anneliese exhibited strange and terrible behavior (pictured right). She licked her own urine off the floor, bit the head off of a dead bird, barked like a dog continuously, and she ate insects and coal. Eventually, she refused to eat alltogether. During one exorcism, the priests demanded the names of the six demons inside of her. In an evil and animalistic voice, she replied that she was possessed by: Lucifer, Cain, Nero, Judas, Fleischmann (a shamed 17th century priest), and Hitler.

Anneliese had predicted the day she would be free of the demons: July 1, 1976. At midnight, her parents and the priests reported that her violent outbursts abruptly stopped. She weighed a mere 68 pounds and was suffering from pneumonia (pictured left)During the early morning, she told the priests to "beg for absolution." And her final words were to her mother when she said, "Mother, I'm afraid."

She never woke up that morning.

A sensational trial took place immediately after, where prosecutors claimed that Anneliese's parents and the Church were responsible for her death. She should've been put in an insitution, something Anneliese refused. Doctors said she should've been force fed as well.

Her parents and the priests were all found guilty, but received only 3 years probation.

Was Anneliese a poor victim of misplaced religious beliefs? Or was she truly possessed by demons, including Lucifer himself? Is demonic possession even a possibility?


1) The movie The Exorcist is a Hollywood version of real events that took place here in St. Louis. Father Bowdern and Father Halloran performed several rites of exorcism at Alexian Brothers Hospital. Soon thereafter, the boy's room was locked up...and eventually, the whole fifth floor was abandoned as well. There were many reports of strange things coming from that room, long after the boy was gone. The wing was eventually demolished. A construction worker found Father Bowdern's journal in the room before demolition, and that diary was the basis for the film.

St. Alexius is the new hospital built, literally next door to the old Alexian Brothers building. I was speaking with a hospital executive there just this last week. He said that when they were installing a new security fence along the hospital's perimeter, they were digging and struck the old Alexian Brothers Hospital's foundation.

That day, elevators were constantly getting stuck on the fifth floor, and only on that
fifth floor.

2) Christianity is far from the only religion dealing with demonic possession. From voodoo to Islam, many other religions have their own rituals and rites in dealing with such evil.
Feeling brave? See video footage of an Islamic exorcism HERE.

FEELING SUPER BRAVE? Listen HERE to one of the 43 actual recordings of Anneliese's exorcism. (A German website released some recordings just after the Emily Rose movie was released).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Spooky Story Five: Love from the Afterlife

It seems many of you, my blogger buddies, have personal stories about life after death. Almost everyone I know has had an experience with receiving some sort of "sign" from a loved one that had died. Skeptics will say that it's simply the mind, filled with grief, trying to cope. And honestly, I'm sure that's the case with many of these stories.

But sometimes, the effect is so profound, you cannot dismiss it so easily.

Here are some experiences from a fellow blogger,
Jenna Howard. She writes about passion on her blog. But here today, she writes passionately about love from the afterlife.

I had written about this on my blog because I had absolutely nothing to say at the time. Yes, it happens. Anyway, a comment asked: "Jenna, do you think you could write down one or two specific experiences you had - especially the one where you felt the bed sink and everything after your grandparents passed? I think it's perfect for my spooky stories series I'll be running from Sept. until the big finale on Halloween."

Well, who am I to resist the Phoenix?

It was 1994. The only reason why I remember the year is because that was when we lost my grandparents within a week. We lost Grandma to cancer, then several days later Grandpa followed her. At the time I was in Kingston, Ontario, having the time of my life with my best friend and had no idea what was happening back home. My family had decided to let me finish out my holidays (it was only a day difference) so when my mom picked me up at the Calgary International airport, she told me that Grandma was gone and Grandpa was in ICU. The guilt was massive. Silly but that's the way I felt. This was also the first time I would experience loss and it through me for a loop.

I'm not the best sleeper. If the furnace kicks on I wake up. At the time I was living at home, snug in my bed. What yanked me from my sleep was the sensation of someone sitting on my bed! I flipped over and half expected to see one of my parents sitting there, checking up on me.

No one.

With my heart pumping a mile a minute I decided "Okay, it was a dream," and I went back to bed.

Days happened again. I felt such an obvious sensation of my mattress sinking - as if someone was sitting down. Again, I flipped one. This happened a few times at random intervals. Always jarring me from my sleep, I could feel my bed sinking in one spot. I don't know what made me say it but I stared at the ceiling, thinking of my grandparents whom I loved & adored (especially my grandma) and said "I'm sorry I wasn't here but I won't feel guilty any more. Love you. Miss you. Bye."

My bed never shifted again. And I have to confess...I kinda miss it.

This wouldn't be the last time this would happen to me. In February we lost my dad to Valley Fever and we were all down in Phoenix. When my brother and I had arrived at the hospital I had written on my Dad's forearm over and over again, I (heart) U. He was unable to speak, and I kept "writing" that I loved him over and over and over for the simple truth of touching him.

I was sleeping in a strange bed (something I'm never good at) and sharing my room with my mom. A "touch" came out of nowhere, on my right shoulder (I'm a stomach sleeper) and I swear to this day I felt "I (heart) U" being written on my skin. I flipped over half expecting to see my father there. Instead, it was shadows of unfamiliar shadows.

Figures that he'd visit me one last time to say good-bye, just like his Mom had 12 years earlier.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Spooky Story Four: The Mothman Returneth

Last year, I did a spooky post on The Mothman. It's probably one of my best scary stories, and I get a lot of hits from people Googling The Mothman everyday. You can find my original post HERE. The question now is...have there been other Mothman sites lately?

For those too lazy to read my first post, and for those who need a refresher, The Mothman is a winged creature, standing about 7 feet tall, and has bright red eyes. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of reports of encounters and sightings with this flying thing near Point Pleasant, West Virginia from 1966 - 1967.

The reports made national news, as Mothman sightings kept coming in, along with sightings of UFOs all over the place. It is here in Point Pleasant where the infamous Men in Black first made their public appearance as well.

Townspeople also reported that they were having psychic visions and dreams. Basically, it was a weird time for Mount Pleasant that eventually ended in disaster. The Silver Bridge collapsed on December 15, killing 46 people. And immediately after, sightings of The Mothman abruptly came to a hault.

Since 1967, there have been worldwide reports of this Mothman appearing prior to major disasters:

* People reported seeing the Mothman just days before the Mexico City earthquake in 1985.

* There have been many interviews in Chernobyl from those that said they saw a winged man-creature, right before the nuclear reactor disaster in 1986.

* Minutes after the Twin Towers' destruction on September 11th, 2001, observers reported seeing "winged, flying men" flying near both towers. The picture (at left and right) shows that the flying creature is much too big to be any kind of bird.

* Newspapers in Tbilissi, Georgia wrote about how some guy said he got information from a "winged phantom" concerning the Church of St. David being in danger. Soon thereafter, there was a major earthquake striking Tbilissi on April 25, 2002. The church suffered massive damage.

* Months after the Tbilissi quake, Chinese citizens reported seeing The Mothman. Shortly after reporters published their stories, a Chinese MD-82 in the northeastern part of China. There were further reports from people saying they knew the plane was going to crash because of information given to them by "a man that looked like a moth."

* There are reports all over the world, even in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So what is The Mothman and why does it seem to follow major disasters? Is it trying to warn us of impending doom? Or is there something sinister involved? Or perhaps, it's simply the human imagination trying to cope with tragedy.

Although the tragedy of Mount Pleasant was 40 years ago, it seems the myth of The Mothman is still one that captures our attention and our imagination. Whatever you believe, catch Sci Fi investigates this Wednesday night, as the crew goes to Mount Pleasant, WV to investigate The Mothman (Sci Fi Channel).

I was in Charleston, WV this summer and no one would take me on the hour drive to Mount Pleasant. As one local resident told me, "For us, it's all very real Too real." For those that live in the area, The Mothman represents a very scary and uncertain time in their town's history.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Spooky Story Three: Grandma's Goodbye

Most of us have lost a loved one. How many of you have received "signs" from the recently departed? Are these experiences legit? Is there life after death, and do our loved ones try to reach out to those in the world of the living? Or is it simply a way for the grieving to deal with the loss? Perhaps it's an emotional/psychological mechanism we place on ourselves to make the death less painful.

Regardless of your belief, no one can discount the affect such an experience can have on a person. Below is Angel Jr.'s story, a blogger buddy of Shaken Not Stirred. Angel Jr. is the only blogger I have met in person, meeting him at the airport in the mountains of West Virginia. He told me this story, and looking him eye to eye, I know his story comes from the heart.

My grandmother passed away about 14 years ago, although the pain of losing her is still fresh.
I had been told that when a person passes away, they say goodbye in certain ways. The departed might leave "signs" for family and their friends.

I believe after my grandmother passed, she left such signs for us.

My sister had been traveling with the university tennis team. This was before everyone had a cell phone, so she was unreachable. Her team was out of state so she wouldn't be back in her dorm room for several days.

During her tennis match, one of her racket strings broke. When she went to change her
racket, the first thing she found in her racket bag was something that felt like a card. Thinking it was a mushy letter from her boyfriend he might have snuck in her bag before she left, she pulled it out eagerly.

It wasn't from him.

It looked like a Christmas card (it was April at the time). She opened it up, not recognizing it at all and knowing she hadn't put such a thing in her bag. It was indeed a holiday card, and it was signed "love Grandma and Grandpa" in Grandma's handwriting. She felt this sudden feeling of doom, but continued her tennis match. When it was over, she found a payphone and called home immediately.

That's when she got the news Grandma had just passed away that day.

We found it strange that the card was not only in the bag, but literally right on top of her rackets. To this day, my sister has no idea how that card got inside her racket bag.

Another sign had come before anyone even knew Grandma had died. In my parent's home, my father was sitting in the family room with our dog. The dog suddenly began barking at some photographs above our television. My father tried to get him to quiet down, but the dog was
relentless and kept barking. My father followed the dog's eyes to a picture of my Grandmother and Grandfather.

Literally a couple minutes later the phone rang and my father was told the news of Grandma's passing.

During my Grandmother's wake, my family did a rosary vigil. One of my mother's best friends was so shaken by the suddenness of Grandma's passing, she was sobbing and actually speaking outloud. She kept saying over and over again things like "we love you" and "we miss you."

Without warning, her rosary fell completely apart. Her rosary's beads were strung with each bead completely separated from the next by a chain, unlike a string of pearls. Between each bead, there is an independent set of links. One or two rosary beads can fall off with some effort, but our friend's rosary had completely come undone--each bead hitting the floor one-by-one. I remember hearing the beads bounce off the floor and watching them go their separate ways.

It struck everyone as odd, as a rosary cannot break in that manner.

I think that was the last of Grandma's signs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Spooky Story Two: Freaky Phone Call

The following story is from someone that wishes to remain anonymous, but I know this guy personally, and I can verify his story myself. Several years ago, when he told me this story, it gave me the absolute chills....right to the bone.


I was a student at a private university, and my fraternity had to do so many hours of community service. One of the easiest things for frats and sororities to do was to make phone calls for the Alumni Association. It was only four hours in one night, once a semester. No big deal. It was boring, and the only thing exciting might have been hearing a funny answering machine greeting or whatever.

One night, something happened that still freaks me out to this day.

I was calling the Wilson residence. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were alums of my college, so I thought this might be an easy call to make. Hopefully, they would donate a little money. If not, maybe they could at least join the Alumni Association.

After three or four rings, a male voice answered the phone with a simple "hello."

"Is Mr. or Mrs. Wilson available?"

"What's this all about?" the gruff old man said.

Great, I thought. He probably thought I was a scam-artist. I told him I was a student at his alma mater, and that we were calling alumni to ask for their support. The old guy replied with something about him and his wife being on Social Security, and that they didn't have any money to spare. I started to apologize, and try to salvage the call when suddenly a woman's voice came on the line.

"Hello? Someone there?"

Fantastic. Now I'm going to get yelled at by husband and wife. "I was just talking with Mr. Wilson, ma'am," I replied.

"Oh no, it's just me here. My husband passed away three years ago. Is there something I can help you with?"

I nearly passed out. I mumbled a few "sorries" and hung up. Immediately, I told my fraternity brother in the cubicle next to me what had just happened. He freaked out too. So I went to the supervisor to tell him what had happened.

The supervisor said he'd take care of it. He was afraid that maybe the lady had an intruder or something in the house. He called Mrs. Wilson and verified that she was home alone, safe and sound.

To this day, I have no explanation for what had happened. Just whom the hell was I speaking with anyway?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Spooky Story One: A Poltergeist Haunting?

The following spooky "shorts" were submitted by a fellow blogger that wants to remain anonymous. These personal experiences occurred in a house he had lived in as a teenager, and interestingly, most of the spooky stuff centered around his teenage sister too. "Bob" is extremely skeptical, and has always sought to find a simple and reasonable explanation for every single event. But as you'll soon see, many of Bob's experiences cannot be easily dismissed.

We had a small, extra bedroom/sewing room. It was right across the hall from the bathroom and the window looked out across the front yard. I walked past the bedroom one evening and noticed the curtains were open. It was getting dark and crappy looking outside and I decided to close the curtains.

I went into the bathroom, took care of some business, and when I came out the curtains were open.

I had not heard anybody come down the hall but, really, the only explanation was that someone had gone in there and opened the curtains. Why though?

I went back to college (I'd been home on the weekend).

When I returned a few weeks later my mother and I were talking. She asked if I ever thought there was something spooky in the house (and she doesn't believe in stuff like this.)

At the same moment we both said, "The curtains ..."

My sister had been in the same room. She shut the curtains and turned to make the bed. When she turneed around the curtains were open again. My sister also reported that sometimes things would seem to move toward her. They never hit her, but they'd move her way.

The upstairs living room was just above my bedroom. One night I had just gone to bed -- everybody else had gone to bed hours earlier. As I lay there I heard someone walking briskly around the perimeter of the living room. There was no pausing as if they were walking around the furniture and if I had to swear I'd say they were walking against the wall as if the room were empty. The walking started and stopped in the living room -- it had not come from or gone down a hall. The distinct sound of someone walking up against the walls just suddenly stopped. The "person" made two or three laps beofre ceasing.

Several buddies were spending the night and there had been some argument over who would sleep where. The guys all wanted my brother's old bed rather than a hard, uncomfortable floor.

Roy won.

He hadn't been in bed but a minute or two before he complained that the bed was shaking. We told him 'tough shit' as we thought he was joking. As he complained further, we decided he may not be yanking our chain and we turned some lights on and took a look. The bed seemed fine. Out went the lights and we all hit the hay. A minute later Roy was complaining again ...

Roy ended up sleeping on my floor.

These three occurances might have some rational explanations behind them. "Bob" has run through them many times in his head. It seems the more he tries to explain them away, the more he's convinced that there was something else responsible. Experts say that a house's "spiritual energy" is able to manifest itself only with certain occupants. They say teenagers provide the emotional potential from which spirits can draw from. This may be true, but it seems a house seems to come alive for only certain people. "Bob" says that his cousins live in the house now, and they haven't experienced anything freaky. And "Bob" has lived in several apartments and houses since college, and he's never had any supernatural experiences in any residence since.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fathers Be Good To Your Daughters

Scientists have known for a long time that in the animal kingdom there's a strong link between chemical cues and sexual maturity. In rats, for example, if the biological father is removed from a family, the baby females will always mature faster. The longer the biological father is around, the slower the sexual development occurs in his daughters. This is an evolutionary tool to prohibit inbreeding.

But is this true in humans?

Researchers from Penn State believe this is so.

Recently, the phermone receptor gene in the human olfactory system that links phermones with the first menstruation (called menarche) has been identified. Doctors have always known there was a link with phermones and menstruation in other ways, however. For example, women in close proximity to each other (girls in college dorms, women at the office, etc.) will have their menstruation cycles synchronized. Strange but true!

The Penn State researchers collected menarche information from nearly 2,000 college students. They also took into consideration environmental factors such as living environment, education, status, and the presence (or lack of) a biological father.

"Our results indicate that girls without fathers matured approximately three months before girls whose fathers were present," Dr. Robert Matchock explained. There was also a direct relationship between the length of the absense of a biological father and the onset of menarche. The earlier Daddy was a no-show, the earlier the first menstruation arrived.

Maybe scientists can develop some sort of Daddy Phermone Release Machine. Wouldn't that be great? If the father isn't around, just plug in a machine that sends out the proper cue to slow down sexual development. There - problem solved.

Until then, I'll strap my daughter onto my back...

Established 2005...

Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by science is always stranger than fiction


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