Don’t miss my autobiographical stand-up tragedy Jeffrey Stanley’s BONEYARDS while it’s at the Art Church of West Philadelphia as part of the 2015 SoLow Fest.
Friday 6/19 @9pm
Saturday 6/27 @9pm
Sunday 6/28 @7pm
This morning while hurtling across western Pennsylvania I enjoyed my final Amtrak breakfast. I sat next to a uniformed Amtrak police officer en route to a meeting at our final stop on the Capitol Limited, Washington, DC. From there I’ll take a two-hour ride to Philadelphia on the Amtrak Acela Express and be home in time for dinner.
Across from us sat two elderly women from Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The officer had spent 26 years on the Chicago police force before retiring into a much less stressful “second career” working for Amtrak.
After a few minutes of instinctively probing their names, destinations, life stories, I sprung it on them that I’m a (continue reading…)
St. Patrick’s Day
Today I was up writing by 6:30am. I never heard from my enthusiastic train buddies from about an evening seance last night. I slept well and am sorry to report no supernatural activity. (I did hear from them later about doing the seance tonight. More below). (continue reading…)
Don’t miss my stand-up tragedy Boneyards while it’s in NYC at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.
Friday 2/27 @8pm.
Last chance to book now.
A Shaheb’s Guide to India
I’ve traveled India a bunch in the past five years and have learned that almost no one in India seems to have heard of a Ouija board. I’ve also been in tons of stores ranging from rustic bazaars to gleaming shopping malls and have never seen a Ouija board for sale even though they have plenty of other Western toys and board games.
People there do, however, know what you’re talking about when you explain it, only they call it “doing planchette” and those who do it would only ever make their own. The idea of buying one seems foreign to them. Culturally, “doing planchette” seems to hold the same place as it does here: spooky, scary, forbidden, inviting doom, naughty, tempting, very real. Once I got my wife’s Hindu family elders talking about it, they recalled tons of stories that pretty much parallel the kinds of escapades you hear recalled in the US.
Her great uncle warned me against it, telling me there’s a reason God has created two separate dimensions for the living and the dead, and that to try and bridge the gap is inviting trouble. He then told me how once as a young man he and a bunch of friends were vacationing in a small shack in the jungle on a wildlife preserve (the Indian version of the “cabin in the woods” archetypal horror setting) and one evening they got bored and someone made a planchette board. They typically use a coin as the planchette. They soon were in touch with a man who said he was recently deceased. He said he was a Naxalite (Indian Marxist rebel) who had recently been killed by a rival Communist. At that moment the lights went out, engulfing them in darkness. Everybody freaked, they balled up the planchette board and threw it away and my great-uncle vowed never to do the planchette again.
He remains true to his word. I asked him if he would draw one for me exactly as they had drawn them back in the day, and he grimly said, “This is not possible.”
I dropped the subject but later that evening I approached my wife’s grandmother to ask the same question. She shrugged and said, (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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)