Tag: boneyards evps
The Saturday 6/27 show concluded with yet another simultaneous Ouija board-EVP session that gave us all plenty to talk about. Audience volunteers JOY and JOE (not the same Joe who sat at the board in the previous show) personed the board while the audience and I gathered round to watch. Joy and Joe contacted someone named V I V (short for Vivian, or perhaps it’s 3 initials) who was 7 8 years old and standing to my R I G H T. What did she think of the show? S U B T L E. (That was a first, and a particularly eloquent response that made me blush underneath my sadhu ocher, ash and dirt). Did she know anyone in the audience? YES. J O E. How did she know Joe? H O M E. Joe and I didn’t like where this was headed so I quickly changed the subject: would Viv like to speak with us electrically? YES.
I took a few steps away and fired up my trusty P-SB7 “spirit box” and connected it to a loudspeaker as usual. Somewhere between the hiss of the spirit box and my ad libbed one-liners Viv’s seemingly jovial mood changed and she suddenly got annoyed with us. When I asked if she could say my name, a voice (continue reading…)
We had an enthusiastic crowd Friday night for my first show and first concluding seance at the Art Church of West Philadelphia. The Ouija board was personed by audience volunteers JOE and JOHN and the planchette was zooming about urgently. We spoke to a M A N who was 5 0 and A R M E N I A N who told us he did not speak or write English well. His name was L A M E K (Lamech? A Hebrew surname; were we talking to an Armenian Jew?).
Kolkata’s Armenian Ghat, a former loading dock along the banks of the Hooghly built long ago by Armenian merchants, is mentioned in the show, and after the Ouija board spelled the word Armenian an audience member, someone who was not touching the board, spoke up and self-identified as Armenian).
I asked Mr. Lamek if he knew anyone in the audience and he spelled J O E. When asked if he had a message for Joe it spelled out L A L A L A L A over and over. This oblique response has happened to me twice before (in 2011 during my previous show Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead and in 2012 during a midnight seance on the stage of Philadelphia’s historic Plays & Players Theatre) and my belief is that it means the spirit doesn’t want to answer the question, or (continue reading…)
As is always the case for me with a new Boneyards venue, I’ve done a little pre-show ghost reconnaissance. Amazing otherworldly video and transcript below. They’re there and they’re waiting for us.
“Hi folks, Jeff Stanley here … 3 shows coming up on the 19th, 27th and 28th of June. 5219 Webster Street in Philadelphia.
And of course one thing I need to do is see if there’s anyone here with us. And you know what I’m talking about. I have here as usual a P-SB7 Investigational TransCommunication Research Device for listening in on voices of the dead.
I understand this place was built in 1925 and was originally a private residence. It has now been made into a performance space.
250 milliseconds, I’m doing FM, scanning reverse …
Is there anyone out there who’d like to talk to us today?
You might want to go on foot. (I’m taking this as a hostile spirit telling me to get the hell out but as usual there are multiple competing voices vying to be heard.)
If there’s anyone here who would like to audition and be in the show with me …
No clue. (presumably no clue what the I’m talking about regarding a show, auditions, and this weird device in my hand).
…you gotta really belt it out.
Not me. (a shy one but three hams are coming up) (continue reading…)
This posting is a promised addendum to my 3/17/15 seance and EVP session held in room 551 of the Hotel Colorado on a two-day stopover during my Amtrak Writers Residency trip across the US. To learn about my encounter with the Most Adorable Ghost-Hunting Family Ever, a Disney Channel reality show waiting to happen, I urge you to read the full entry here before proceeding. (If you’re looking for the Bachelors Grove Cemetery EVP session and slideshow they’re here).
The Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, CO was built in 1893 and is considered by many to be haunted. Supposedly, the hotel’s ghosts include a young girl in Victorian clothing seen playing with a ball, a woman who hovers over sleeping male guests, and a man who roams the hallway on the fifth floor (where I stayed). Both of the primary haunted rooms, 325 and 553, were booked, so the clerk kindly put me as close to one of them as possible, which wound up being room 551 which also has its share of haunting tales.
One popular story about room 551 regards a ghostly interior decorator. In 1982 an attempt was made to replace the wallpaper. The morning after contractors put it up, all the paper had mysteriously rolled off the walls and was in the floor. They reapplied it but the next day it was found on the floor again. After a few more tries, the contractor got the idea to leave several wallpaper samples on the bed overnight. When he returned the next morning all of the samples but one were on the floor. They papered the room with the choice left alone on the bed and the wallpaper stayed in place. Also, there is supposedly a high level of electromagnetic energy detectable in the hallway between the door to 551 and an unmarked door across from it which leads to the attic.
All caught up? Good. As I explained in the aforementioned posting, as soon as amazing Iowans the Warren-Powell family and I entered my room on my second night they all fanned out with tablets and smartphones and began snapping away at every square inch of the place. I told them not to bother as I had already done that and seen nothing unusual. The words were barely out of my mouth when high school senior Cody interrupted. “You’ve got a little boy in the bathroom.” Huh? Sure enough on the pic he had just snapped we could make out what seemed to be the solid figure of a short person (let’s say roughly a 10-year-old) leaning halfway in the bathroom doorway right where we were standing, yet it wasn’t visible to the naked eye. Are you getting chills yet? I was. Here is the original photo and a closeup of the mirror (click on any photo to enlarge it):
(News Flash: Jeffrey Stanley’s BONEYARDS reincarnates in Philly this June at the Art Church of West Philadelphia as part of the 2015 SoLow Fest. Tickets and full details here.)
This posting is a promised addendum to my 3/14/15 visit to Bachelors Grove Cemetery, a brief stopover during my Amtrak Writers Residency trip across the US. To read about my witch encounter and see my Bachelors Grove Cemetery slideshow read the full entry here. (If you’re looking for the Hotel Colorado ghost photos and EVP session they’re here).
Now for the audio I recorded live from my P-SB7 spirit box at the Fulton family grave. As usual I have slowed it down but maintained the original pitch, boosted the volume and applied a little noise reduction. I stress again, as I’ve done here in the past and in my Washington Post story on this subject, that I remain agnostic about the existence of ghosts, and also view the spirit box as a form of surrealist art; an aural version of the old Exquisite Corpse game created by the Surrealists. That said, a transcript and my interpretation follow: (continue reading…)
The Friday 2/27/15 show marked the New York premiere of Boneyards after my performing it regularly in Philadelphia since its launch in the 2013 Philly Fringe. The concluding séance was my first one at the Morbid Anatomy Museum and the results are in: that sucker’s haunted.
My antique 1917 Ouija board with 1920 planchette was personed by audience volunteers Aaron and Chris while audience volunteer Josie stood aside and served as questioner. The rest of the audience stood in a circle watching the disturbing, heart-breaking events unfold.
They contacted a presence/spirit/demon/subconscious ideomotor impulse (depending on your beliefs) named R U S T Y who was 7 and died In 2 0 1 0. Did he see the show? Y E S. What did he think of it? U 1 which I cheekily interpreted to mean “you’re number 1.”
Was he still in the cellar with us? N O. He was upstairs on the T O P F L O O R of the two-story museum. How did he die? G U N. By whom? D A D.
Later he told us he had wafted back down to us in the cellar and that he was hovering at the C E I L I N G. Previously I had told the audience that from past experiences speaking with children on a Ouija board they tend to indeed talk like children, giving brief answers and also misspelling words. This was borne out when we asked if he could see us he said Y E S, thanks to the M E A R (mirror).
A full-length mirror is part of my set and is used at various times during the show. I also point out just before every séance that it’s there to provide a window for the spirits to see us and the show as, according to James Merrill’s epic supernatural poem The Changing Light at Sandover, ghosts get the best views of the living via reflections. (continue reading…)
DON’T MISS THE NYC PREMIERE OF JEFFREY STANLEY’S BONEYARDS AT BROOKLYN’S MORBID ANATOMY MUSEUM ON 2/27/15! DETAILS HERE.
A Shaheb’s Guide to Indiashaheb – (India; also saheb, sahib; from the Hindi and Urdu sāhab, master; from Arabic ṣāḥib, companion; participle of ṣaḥiba, to become friends) 1. formerly, a term of respect for any male landowner 2. formerly, a term of respect for white European men during the British colonial era 3. (modern) any white man
Assume with me for a minute that ghosts really are, without a doubt, real. The dead really can contact us. EVPs/Raudive voices/ghost box voices are the real deal. That said, it follows that it’s pointless to try and get any decent EVP’s in a cemetery. Why would ghosts be hanging around a cemetery full of strangers when they can go back to their still-living families or the places that were near and dear to them in life? Sure, cemeteries can be creepy and I’m not sure I’d enjoy traipsing around in one at night, but really my belief is that they are generally ghost-free.
Unless a particular grave or cemetery is historically believed to be haunted; then, it might be worth a look. Take the notorious Bachelor Grove Cemetery outside of Chicago which I plan to visit in March during my trek on the California Zephyr for my Amtrak Writers Residency. Or the Dennison family crypt in Kolkata’s South Park Street Cemetery, one of my favorite haunts in West Bengal, India. When I was last there earlier this month I took my trusty P-SB7 spirit box with me, the one I use live onstage in Boneyards, to check it out. (continue reading…)
Hear it…with the heart
I won’t hurt you
Free-associate amongst yourselves with those words and phrases as you read on. Let them percolate, let your mind fill in the blanks and make them make sense — make it into a narrative. Get the idea? One of my favorite elements of the spirit box is that it puts a modern spin on the Surrealists’ old exquisite corpse parlor game.
Unless of course the spirit voices are real. It’s times like this when I hit a wall and become confounded. Let me explain the flabbergasting sequence of events.
1. In mid-October my family and I squeezed in one last camping trip for the year at our beloved Pine Barrens, home to the Jersey Devil, Ong’s Hat and lots of sasquatch sightings. Seems like a perfect place for an EVP session and I finally got around to trying it on 10/18/14. My wife and young son were exploring in the woods behind our lean-to and I seized on the moment to turn back, dart around to the far side of the lean-to for a moment of solitude and quiet, and turn on the box and my video camera for a minute and half. Just inside the lean-to was a book I’d brought with me which I was eager to finish: Annie Jacobsen’s bestseller Area 51. It was indeed a good book. The video is below and I’ve already given you the transcript above. Mind you, I didn’t listen to it right away and forgot it was even on my camera.
2. Three weeks later in early November an exciting opportunity fell into my lap for a possible New York premiere of Boneyards at a perfect venue in Brooklyn (details to follow as soon as dates are confirmed; I’m still in the midst of firming this up).
3. Another week goes by, which brings me to this weekend. It’s now been a full month since I recorded the video. I sit down last night and upload all of my October pix from my camera onto my home computer. Amidst all the Halloween and camping photos, there sits the EVP video. I slow it down, add some noise reduction and give it a good, hard listen as is my usual procedure. Phrase by phrase I work my way through it, deleting the ones that are too hard to hear or understand. When I hit the word clairvoyant I’m intrigued. Remember that a clairvoyant is someone who can see into the future. Is it calling me a clairvoyant? Impossible. If I could predict the future, believe me, I’d know it. I can only guess that it’s calling itself clairvoyant and think little of it. I move along. When I get to the last word, Brooklyn, I nearly fall off my chair. Holy cow.
Was this clairvoyant spirit a month ago telling me that I’d soon be exploring the possibility of doing my show in Brooklyn? If I’d listened to it a month ago would I have even put it together in this same way? I’m not sure. I keep listening to that last word again and again trying to hear it … with the heart. See what you think, and stay tuned…
[photo via wikipedia]
Frank Sumption, known for creating “Frank’s Box,” aka “ghost box” or “spirit box” — essentially a modified AM/FM radio said to allow communication by spirits from the Other Side by sweeping over different radio signals and forming messages from the various audio fragments — passed away earlier this month.
He lived modestly with his family in Littleton, CO and there is a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for Sumption’s funeral expenses.
Whether or not the voices are “real” is irrelevant to me. If the idea of Frank’s box makes you roll your eyes or you’re caught up in “debunking” it you’re missing the point and need to check your ego at the door and try again. As I say in my show, life is full of magic and meaning if you’ll only open your eyes — all 3 of them.
A descendant of Frank’s box, the mass-produced P-SB7, has proven a trusty tool for me in my autobiographical black comedy theatrical performance Boneyards, which concludes with a real, audience-led seance combining the spirit box and an antique ouija board in an earnest attempt to contact the dead, and which I wrote about last Halloween in the Washington Post as well as numerous times right here at Jefe’s House.
Thank you, Frank, wherever you are, for your terrific tool/prop/broken radio/supernatural device, depending on your beliefs. Despite the naysayers I will continue using my spirit box with pride, fascination, and curiosity both on and off the stage.
“My Father Did This.” See Frank in action demonstrating his box at the haunted Stanley Hotel in Colorado:
Dear Sunday Audience,
I’m stunned that yet again the voices have spoken backwards. I’d heard of this happening but only experienced it the first time during my 7/16/14 recording. I never imagined it happening to me again, yet here it is less than 2 weeks later. Are my “synagogue saints” trying to scare me away and be done with us? You’ll have to decide.
Do the names Jane and Patrick Foote or Jason mean anything to any of you? If so, feel free to post a comment here or email me privately. The voices recorded during your session say these names emphatically as you’ll hear, either identifying themselves or calling for these people. Perhaps I’m mishearing the names, see what you think. I tried doing a web search but didn’t turn up much. I did find a pair of siblings named Jane and Patrick Foote, born to a mother with maiden name Durbin, the same as actress Maud Durbin whose name comes up in the show. I haven’t checked further to see if they’re related but perhaps a junior genealogist among you will want to take up the mantle and report back. Video here– (continue reading…)