Jefe's House

Tag: frank sumption

RIP Frank Sumption

by on Aug.21, 2014, under The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

Frank Sumption

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:

 

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays from Boneyards

by on Dec.22, 2013, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

We’ll leave a light on for you.

SadhuShiva3 and Boneyards wish you happy holidays, a wide open third eye and a brightly illuminated new year.

Look for us to resurface after the spring thaw.

Thine,
Your Friends in the Cellar

 

 

 

 

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Boneyards EVP Log – 11/3/13

by on Nov.05, 2013, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

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Jeffrey Stanley, American sadhu.

Before proceeding I strongly urge you to read and hear the 10/20/13 seance transcript and video regarding the “Buddhist  exorcism” the audience and I attempted to conduct in an effort to help “V,” the  spirit of a 2-year-old toddler, escape and pass through the door to Heaven in accordance  with the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

During the next show on 11/2/13 I was happy not to have heard from V, as it hopefully meant our so-called exorcism was successful and she  moved forward.

Boy was I wrong.  The following (and final) show on 11/3/13 left me completely floored.  This is one of those good Ouija board stories. No possessed kittens, no dire warnings of doom, but a truly positive and spiritual experience. The  Ouija board at its best.  Read on… (continue reading…)

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Boneyards EVP Log – 11/2/13

by on Nov.04, 2013, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

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The Hindu God Shiva, or Mahakala as the Tibetan Buddhists call him, is a prominent presence in the show.

The Saturday night audience was a full house of Halloween weekend and Day of the Dead revelers. At the closing seance, bold audience volunteers Mike, Mel and Tara personed the Ouija board. The planchette was shooting all over the place but sadly all we got was strings of consonants over and over which made for a frustrating experience. It did say when I asked what it thought of the show, CLAP.  Also it confirmed that it was not alone and that there were 7 of them in the room with us at that moment. If you’ve been following the previous seance posts you know there are at least 12 spirits (or subconscious ideomotor impulses, depending on your beliefs) in the building whom I have affectionately dubbed the Synagogue Saints. It’s not unusual for all 12 of them not to make a showing at once.

(Personally I was thrilled not to hear from little V, because if she had made a showing it would mean our haunting Buddhist exorcism in the previous show had been a failure. I urge you to read/watch that now, and  then to read what happened in the Earth-shattering final session on 11/3/13.)

While the Ouija session continued I fired up the P-SB7 spirit box as usual, and here are the highlights. The raw footage is 7.5 minutes. I have cut it down here to the most clearly spoken minute of highlights. Each has been slowed down and had the volume amplified while maintaining the original pitch, for better ease of listening. Transcript with my comments follows below the video: (continue reading…)

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Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing

by on Oct.31, 2013, under The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

wapobanner2October 31, 2013

These ghosts are primed and ready to provide a ghoulish Halloween.

These ghosts are primed and ready to provide a ghoulish Halloween.

On Faith

Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing
by Jeffrey Stanley

I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind.

I like Ouija boards. I’ve used them since I was a teenager.  More recently I’ve messed around with electric spirit boxes, also known as Frank’s boxes after their inventor Frank Sumption.  They’re radio receivers which allow you to listen to and record voices of the dead, also known as EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) or Raudive voices, after one of their early discoverers.  Over the past two years I have frequently used Ouija boards and spirit boxes in my performance art, attempting to conjure up the dead as my co-stars before a live audience.  At one of the universities where I teach playwriting and screenwriting part-time I am also the faculty adviser for a student-led paranormal investigation club.  Friends and fans assume I am a true believer but the truth is that I am not.  I am a healthy skeptic.  And that’s depressing for me because it means that on some level I feel certain there’s nothing out there. I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind. (continue reading…)

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Boneyards Final Shows This Weekend

by on Oct.30, 2013, under Shaheb Cafe, The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

Come wake the dead.  BONEYARDS returns for 2 final shows this Saturday and Sunday 11/2 and 11/3 in Philadelphia.  Times and tickets.

Meanwhile please enjoy my latest article in today’s Washington Post about my theatrical experiments in contacting the dead as performance art over the past two years.  Thank you for your support and patronage, and Happy Halloween.

wapobanner2October 31, 2013

On Faith
Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing
by Jeffrey Stanley

I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind.

I like Ouija boards. I’ve used them since I was a teenager.  More recently I’ve messed around with electric spirit boxes, also known as Frank’s boxes after their inventor Frank Sumption.  They’re radio receivers which allow you to listen to and record voices of the dead, also known as EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) or Raudive voices, after one of their early discoverers.  Over the past two years I have frequently used Ouija boards and spirit boxes in my performance art, attempting to conjure up the dead as my co-stars before a live audience.  At one of the universities where I teach playwriting and screenwriting part-time I am also the faculty adviser for a student-led paranormal investigation club.  Friends and fans assume I am a true believer but the truth is that I am not.  I am a healthy skeptic.  And that’s depressing for me because it means that on some level I feel certain there’s nothing out there. I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind. CONT’D>>

And also out today from Drexel University a story about the PIG of which I’m the proud faculty adviser…

drexelnow_overDrexel Paranormal Investigators Haunted by the Unknown
by Alissa Falcone
…It doesn’t hurt that the group’s faculty adviser also has an interest with the undead: By day, Jeffrey Stanley teaches classes in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s Screenwriting and Playwriting Department, but at night he transforms into undead residents of cemeteries from all over the world during “Boneyards,” his performance that imagines supernatural comic monologues.CONT’D at drexel.edu>>

 

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Boneyards EVP Log – 10/20/13

by on Oct.21, 2013, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

1920-SeanceBefore proceeding I urge you, gentle reader, to read and view the previous show’s (10/17/13) seance summary as there is a direct carryover with this one culminating in my effort to conduct a “Buddhist exorcism,” for lack of a better description, on the 2-year-old “V,” a recent arrival at the synagogue and not one of the 12 original ghosts at this location that I call the Synagogue Saints.

All caught up now? Great, you may proceed.  At the show’s climax audience volunteers Eric and Kristen personed the board.   We at first assumed we were speaking with an adult spirit (or subconscious ideomotor impulse, depending on your beliefs) but then it kept spelling MAM, MAM, MAM over and over. At first we thought it was their initials but it told us NO.

Do you know anyone here?  YES. 

Who? LAURA.  

Yep, there was indeed a Laura in the house who looked decidedly freaked at seeing her name spelled out on the Ouija board.  How do you know Laura?

The response was more MAM over and over again.

LAURA: I don’t know anyone with those initials.

ME:  It’s talking like a child saying the same word over and over. I think we’ve got a kid here.

MY USHER SUSAN: Do you mean MOM?  YES … MAM, MAM, MAM.

Indeed the repetition was childlike and rather sad.  We imagined a young child calling for its mother over and over and not sure how to spell it. This is extremely similar to my encounter with young MALA/MALALA 2 years ago during BZ:ABOTD who wound up following me from the Blue Grotto in West Philly to Plays & Players Theatre and taking up residence there but that’s another story.  In short, it seems children who have died violent deaths are particularly frightened and stuck, not sure how to move on. Heartbreakingly, they especially want to find their mothers.

Where’s your real mom? KILLED. 

Who killed her? (continue reading…)

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Boneyards EVP Log – 10/17/13

by on Oct.18, 2013, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

IMG_2813After a month’s hiatus we’re back online, folks. Boneyards is back from the dead to rock your underworld just in time for Halloween. Only 3 shows left — 10/20, 11/2 and 11/3.  Last night’s 10/17 show was the kickoff. Read on –

Something quite phenomenal happened at last night’s seance that closes every show. In short, a dead kid needs our help and  I intend to help her. Will you join me?  At first, our two Ouija volunteers Kathryn and Geoff (with verbal help from Questioner Karen and myself) got the planchette to tell us its initial, V, and that it was years old.  This has happened to me before but rarely; a child spirit that has been around for many, many years will take on a certain adultlike maturity even while remaining childlike in its answers and overall behavior.  This was borne out as V, when answering a question, would point to the star shape on the Ouija board rather than spelling a complete word, just like any 2-year-old might.  In a different context it might have been adorable.  V did confirm that she was standing to my right (I held out my right hand and asked if she was near it or near my other hand), and that she was not alone. This didn’t surprise me as I already assumed that the 12 Synagogue Saints, as I call them, were in the room with us.  But V told us that only 5 were present.  I don’t know why, but I feel that V was a little girl although gender was never specifically discussed.

I crossed the room and fired up the P-SB7 spirit box.

Meanwhile at the Ouija board, the planchette moved to YES and stayed firmly planted; not just sitting there but refusing to move. If you’ve used a Ouija board a lot you know what I mean. We switched Ouija volunteers numerous times in an effort to “warm up” the board, like tuning in a radio, but the result was always the same.  The planchette was firmly planted on YES.  Prior to this, the planchette had also been moving extremely slowly and we cracked jokes that maybe it was an old woman who has visited us in a previous session.  At that the spirit box called out “Lazy!” loud and clear across the room (see the full EVP video and transcript below).

But there is a larger picture unfolding here, readers.  This kid,  this perished toddler, V, is frightened and asking for our help. Some of the spirits around her are also asking us to help her.  I’ll tell you what I plan to try in the upcoming show this Sunday, but first get the full picture–

As always the raw footage is 5 minutes long. I’ve cut it down to the most audible highlights. Every EVP has also been slowed (continue reading…)

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THE TALKING DEADS in Philly

by on Oct.13, 2013, under Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Boneyards Reopens 10/17/13

Press Contact: info@shiva3.com

10/14/13 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philadelphia, PA –A real seance with real ghosts.  But we don’t need to tell you that, you’ve already seen it.  There are lots of Halloween events being promoted right now, especially of the big budget “haunted” house/prison/hayride/forest/valley variety with a cast of dozens of monsters/zombies/vampires/murder victims and we love those and patronize them as much as the next guy and gal every year, but why not consider something different for you or your friends eager to freak themselves out while also being profoundly moved on a spooky October night?

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Jeffrey Stanley performs death ballads “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones, “Louis Collins” by Mississippi John Hurt and his own original “American Sadhu” in BONEYARDS.

Transcripts and videos from previous shows are online for you and your colleagues’ perusal. We recommend you start here .  You might also want to check out the first EVP recording made in the 118-year-old synagogue that is the show’s location when New York City playwright and Drexel University Performing Arts faculty Jeffrey Stanley held the world’s first ghost auditions.  Stanley, who often writes about religion for the Washington Post, will be discussing seance as performance art in that publication later this month.

Performance dates are 10/17, 10/20, 11/2 and 11/3.  Thanks for your consideration and for supporting independent theatre in Philly.

Thine,
Your friends at Shiva3 ProductionsIMG_2830

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Boneyards is Back for 4: 10/17, 10/20, 11/2, 11/3

by on Oct.07, 2013, under Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Later this month Jeffrey Stanley discusses seance as performance art in the Washington Post. Stay tuned.


Press Contact:
info@shiva3.com

10/7/13 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philadelphia, PA – The ongoing seance-as-theatre experiment continues.  After a successful run in the 2013 Philly Fringe BONEYARDS is back from the dead to rock your underworld just in time for Halloween. Same autobiographical, spooky show, same mouldering location, same real ghosts. 4 dates: 10/17, 10/20, 11/2 and 11/3. Tickets $10, seating is limited to 20.

The hilarious, eloquent and haunting follow-up to Stanley’s 2011 hit “Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead,” this true to life romp resurrects the cadaverous–from Philly’s Laurel Hill Cemetery to a British colonial graveyard in India to ancient Greek tomb worshippers. Paranormal activity guaranteed.

Times, tickets, photos, press, playbill, and real voices from the dead here.

About Your Destination
Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and beyond crowded South Philadelphia in the 1880s.  They pushed south from the original “Jewish Quarter” near South Street, opening Jewish schools, hospitals and some 140 synagogues along the way. Hard to believe today, eh?  In 1909 (continue reading…)

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