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“A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue” short documentary

When I’m not out filming projects in locations that I probably shouldn’t be at, I’m most likely reading books, online articles, magazines, you name it.  I’ve been a big geek for history and mythology for as long as I can remember so very few narrative types hit the sweet spot for me as ghost stories do.  Creepy tales–are they real or not?  did they happen or are they completely bogus?–tend to be a nice collision of rumors, darkly wishful collective thinking, and factual history.  That’s the type of cocktail that filmmakers seem to enjoy and I’m no different.  Big-time, international legends (Robin Hood, Mulan, Pecos Bill, etc.) are widely celebrated, as they should be, but I’ve always felt that lesser-known, community-based stories are often underrated and underexamined.

There can be an inclination to throw away local legends (the kind all of us here on earth are bombarded with from time to time) when they don’t hold up to scrutiny.  Fact-checking is best served in courts of law, not necessarily when it comes to telling fright stories.  Ancient paper files disintegrate, get lost, catch fire, and are intentionally discarded.  People lie and others make mistakes.  It happens all the time.  History–the concise, crunchy kind that we cling to nowadays–can be more delicate and elusive than we’re comfortable admitting.  One flawed or misread vintage article can easily send a researcher down the wrong street.  We must give space and respect for legends and how they function in fleshing out the bigger pictures of sociocultural values.  If you squint and turn your head a certain way, there’s more truth being revealed than you may realize.

Chicago, Illinois is similar to many other big cities in the sense that it has a messy history.  Lots of people came crashing towards a chosen area during a time when institutionalized documentation wasn’t quite on the same level that we have today (to put it mildly).  Sometimes rumors and legends are all that we have left.  They fill in the gaps where files fall short.  Folks in the earliest decades of the 20th century, and beforehand, had a difficult enough time keeping track of the living so when it came to the dead….the details can get easily muddled.

A lengthy, old travel route coursing through Chicago and certain suburbs, Archer Avenue is heavy in history and graveyards which means that ghastly stories are inevitable.  The value of these tales–and the value of neighborhood legends in general–is that they’re reflective of the histories of their respective locations.  Religious obsession?  Covered.  Guilt, fear, and fascination regarding displaced peoples?  Absolutely.  Industrial Age tech shock:  scary innovative equipment and automobiles turning machines into new monsters to watch out for?  Very much there.  The ever-present threat of poverty?  Constantly highlighted in bright, blazing lights.

What were the past preoccupations of the people in your area?  Dig into whatever the rumors are and you’ll gain plenty of insight.

The Archer Avenue stories presented in this short documentary are captured in their quickest essences.  This is only a brief, 13-minute adventure–history, and twists on history, as a kind of carnival ride–not a day trip.  It’s designed to spark your curiosity.  The beautiful, awful, silly, unnerving folktales included here call for further investigation and in-depth reading.  It may seem like there are too many creeps crammed into a singular line of land to be believed–do they ever bump into each other and, if so, what happens then?–but remember that these are tales circulating around just one street in Chicago so you can imagine what the rest of the city is like…..

*This is a guest post written by Derek Quint, Director of Addovolt Productions

*Derek Quint is an independent filmmaker based out of Chicago and the director of the short documentary, “A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue”.  “A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue” is an entertaining and fast-paced ride through the folklore of Chicago’s spookiest street.  This project is narrated by Michael Marius Massett and features music compositions by Andre Miguel Almaraz and Michael Marius Massett

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Paranormal

Fright night on A&E channel on October 30th

If you live in the United States and your getting into the Halloween mood early then check out A&E Channel on October 30th for a night of Ghost Hunting.

First off at 8pm ET/PT, A&E embarks on the longest continuously filmed paranormal investigation in television history with “World’s Biggest Ghost Hunt: Pennhurst Asylum.”

Watch Paranormal investigators Ali Horrick, Katie Burr, Zak Heino, Max Baumle and Austin George as they investigate one of the most haunted places in the U.S in this 2 hour special.

You can read more about the show here in a post I wrote earlier this month.

Then at 10pm ET/PT, the highly anticipated season one finale of “Ghost Hunters” finds the team, Grant Wilson, Daryl Marston, Kristen Luman, Brandon Alvis, Mustafa Gatollari, Brian Murray and Richel Stratton, capturing compelling evidence of a figure lurking inside an abandon 19th century hospital in Texas.

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When Demons Get Into Our World

An exorcism is a religious practice of removing demons or other possessing spirits from a person or place. Ridding someone of a diabolic possession is not always an easy process, but many believe it is necessary for the safety of the victim and those around them.

Exorcisms have been practiced for thousands of years and across several major religions, including: Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and, of course, Catholicism.

Exorcism in Catholicism

Though called by a variety of names, the ritual of exorcism can be found in nearly every form of religion. However, it is most often associated with the removal of demons in Christianity; specifically in the denomination of Catholicism. Catholics believe that the power of Jesus Christ provides priests with the power to expel evil demons.

Baptism, blessings, and the cleansing Prayers of Deliverance can be considered forms of exorcism in the Catholic faith, but Major Exorcisms are what we typically associate with the word.

This form, also known as the Rite of Exorcism, is considered when a powerful entity has taken control of an individual. This rite can only be performed by a priest, or with the permission of a Bishop.

Identifying the Possessed

Demonic or spiritual possession can display itself in many ways depending on who, or what, has actually taken hold of the host. Most signs are quite similar to what we associate with mental disorders like schizophrenia, but escalate much quicker and are accompanied by events or characteristics that can only be considered paranormal.

Some symptoms of possession are:

– Sudden hair or eye color changes.
– Tone of voice switches randomly from very high to very low.
– Speaks in tongues, or languages they’ve never learned.
– Ability to move the body in unnatural or humanly impossible positions.
– A sudden aversion to all religious objects, practices, or materials.
– Exhibits extreme rage along with superhuman strength.
– Recants past events they’ve never heard of as if they were there.
– Ability to read the thoughts of those around them.
– Levitates at will or during sleep.

Due to advancement in medicine and many tragedies that have occurred during exorcisms, an extensive investigation is now required before an exorcism will be performed. It’s essentially a process of elimination to determine if the person is truly possessed by a spiritual being or not.

A priest will enlist the help of a psychiatrist, medical doctor, and Church-appointed paranormal expert to determine if the symptoms can be explained by mental illness, a medical condition, or fraud. If the investigation concludes that the individual is truly possessed, then an exorcist is appointed to the case.

Performing the Rite of Exorcism

The appointed exorcist dresses in this surplice along with a purple stole, and makes his way to the victim. He then begins the ritual by speaking a series of statements, prayers, and appeals.

These can be divided into two groups: Those in which the priest asks God to free the subject from the demon, and those in which the priest commands the demon to leave by the name of God.

The priest will perform various actions at specific times during his recitations, such as: laying his hands on the victim, splashing holy water on everyone in the area, clasping or hold up a holy relic, and making signs that signify the cross on himself as well as the victim.

All of these things are repeated until the demon has been expelled, or the priest has exhausted all options.

Most Famous Exorcisms

Though there have been many documented cases of exorcisms, there are a few that stand out.

The Exorcism of Ronald Doe

Upon the sudden death of his aunt, a teenage boy attempted to communicate with her through Ouija board. Soon after, many strange things started occurring around him. When no one could explain the events, two priests were called to help.

During multiple exorcisms performed on him in 1949, the priests witnessed his bed shake violently, various objects flying around the room, many words appearing in wounds on his body, and the boy speaking in a guttural tone.

Once the 30th rite was completed, everything suddenly stopped and the boy had no memory of the previous events. Though given the pseudonyms Ronald Doe and Ronnie Mannheim, the boy’s true name was never released. The diary kept by one of the priests was adapted into the film and novel, The Exorcist.

The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel

A German Catholic woman named Anneliese Michel, initially thought to be suffering from depression, began hearing voices that told her she was damned. Over time she developed seizures and became intolerant to many things related to her religion, like walking past a crucifix or drinking holy water.

After psychiatric treatment and medication showed no improvement, her family turned to the church for help. From 1975-76 over 60 exorcisms were performed, some lasting as long as 4 hours.

She died in her home on July 1, 1976 from malnutrition. Her case has been considered a misdiagnosis of mental illness, negligence, and abuse. The films of Requiem and The Exorcism of Emily Rose are based on her story.

Ossett murder case of 1974

In the British town of Ossett, a man by the name of Michael Taylor expressed that he felt evil within himself. He began to verbally lash out in his Christian Fellowship Group, and his erratic behavior escalated even after an absolution was performed.

A priest and a group of Methodist clergymen were eventually called in to carry out an exorcism. The rite lasted for many hours from October 5th to 6th in 1976 and those involved claimed that at least forty demons spoke through him.

When they were all too exhausted to go on they allowed him to return home, though they feared that at least three demons were still present. A few hours later, he was found in the street covered in blood. He had murdered his wife; tearing her face off with his bare hands.

Exorcisms are protected under the first amendment in the US and still preformed throughout the world today. In fact, the many films related to them have caused a sharp increase in the number of exorcisms being requested.

However, only a handful of priests have been given the ability to perform them and less than 1% of all requests are granted. Whether you believe in possessions or not, the need for exorcisms has been around for a long time and will probably be around for many years to come.

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Paranormal Records in Danger with World’s Largest Dreamcatcher and Ouija Board

The Guinness World Records committee has never been shy of judging weird activities, but it has now joined the paranormal world with its involvement in determining if a giant Ouija board in Salem, Massachusetts, and a huge dreamcatcher in Russia are of world record sizes. Are they? Will they attract world record demons and spirits? Will Guinness be there to measure them?

“On October 12, 2019, Rick “Ormortis” Schreck, vice president and director for the Talking Board Historical Society, will unleash the beast, crushing the current Guinness world record set on October 28, 2016 by almost two-and-a-half times the size. To put this in perspective, because “size matters”, the finished board is as long as a 72-foot brontosaurus, weighs more than a six-ton elephant, and is large enough to park five eighteen-wheelers on it!”

For those not quick with truck-to-square-feet or elephant-to-pound conversions, the Ouija board created by Rick Ormortis (get it?) weighs about 9,000 pounds, covers 3,168 square feet, is made of 99 individual sheets of plywood and is coated with over 20 gallons of wood stain. (Photos of it can be seen here.) While those are impressive measurements for the appropriately-named Ouijazilla, the planchette (the small platform used to move around the board) deserves special attention. Even though it’s 15.5 feet long, 10 feet wide and weighs about 400 pounds, the giant planchette can easily be moved around the board by one person … or one giant spirit or demon.

Schreck is a Ouija board collector and maker from New Jersey, so he knows about the alleged powers of the boards. He’s been working on Ouijazilla since June 2018, two years after the Guinness people named a board painted on the roof of the Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania, as the world’s largest at around 1,302 square feet. You can do the math yourself and see why Ripley’s Believe It or Not named Ouijazilla the new world record holder. Some sites are reporting that Guinness agrees, although its website still lists the one in Pennsylvania as the biggest. As for giant spirits and demons, there have been no sightings yet, but this is Salem – it’s only a matter of time.

“I want the world to really start changing. There are a lot of angry people now. It’s an attempt for the people to come together for good.”

Meanwhile in Russia, Bibigul Mamaeva, a Kazakh shaman who claims to be a “direct descendent” of Genghis Khan (a 2003 study found evidence that Genghis Khan’s DNA is present in about 16 million men alive today), made an attempt to regain her Guinness-recognized record for the world’s largest dreamcatcher with her new brushwood circle which measures 12.63 meters (41.43 feet) in diameter. Mamaeva claims she held the record until 2016 when it was broken by Lithuanian artist Vladimir Panarin, whose ring measured 10.14 meters (33 ft 3.21 in) in diameter and weighed 156 kg (343.9 lb). Mamaeva’s may be a bit lighter due to the use of brushwood and yarn decorated with beads and feathers. (Watch a video of her building it here.) While she expects Guinness to recognize her record, there’s been no official word yet.

Can we hang one over Washington, Moscow and Beijing?

As for catching giant Russian spirits, the video and photo on RT.com show Mamaeva’s dreamcatcher still on the ground – not the prime location for plucking demons from the sky before they land on a sleeping child – the most common use for the spirit devices. Will it fulfill her goal of getting “people to come together for good”? That depends on how small the hole in the center of the dreamcatcher is to prevent certain world leaders from making it through.

Giant Ouija boards and huge dreamcatchers. Do we need more signs that the world is worried?

Source: Mysterious Universe

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