The Dreaded 'D' Word

January 20th, 2016


The other night I was perusing through our social media accounts looking at the paranormal groups of which we are members and came across an aggravating situation that seems to be becoming more and more common.

A woman was asking a question about whether or not something could follow a person home from a potentially haunted location. I am far from being any kind of expert but being the first to see the query, I answered to the best of my knowledge from the readings that I have done over the years. I said that I think it is possible and I also stressed that it is important to watch the situation to see if anything happened as this was the first she had suspected anything strange was occurring. I offered some minimal advice about what she could do if she were to become more concerned and left it at that.

The posts that followed were the ones that annoyed me. Without anything more to go on than her question, others were informing this poor lady that only a truly evil spirit (a demon specifically) could attach itself to a person and stated that’s definitely what was happening. I feel this is wrong on so many levels.

Le Cauchemar (The Nightmare) - Johann Heinrich Füssli

Le Cauchemar (The Nightmare) - Johann Heinrich Füssli

Let’s start with the fact (if you can call anything related to the paranormal “fact”) that a spirit attachment does not have to be an evil spirit. One of the theories behind why the deceased don’t cross over is that they are not ready to go; whether it is unfinished business or an “attachment” to someone or something they would be leaving behind. At the very core of this thought process is that a spirit is attaching to someone or something. While people can be evil, I’m pretty sure we can agree that not all people are that bad.

On a personal note, when my day comes, I know I will want to hang around a few of my loved ones…I am kind of attached to them after all.

The secondary reason these other people may be jumping the gun by telling this woman it was probably a demon, is sheer mathematics. Despite what the ghost hunting shows might make it look like, paranormal activity does not occur that consistently. Ask any paranormal investigator worthy of the title and they will tell you that a majority of this type of activity can be explained by rational circumstance. Those cases that do prove to have an unexplainable origin are few and far between. Now when you consider the rarity among those cases involving a demon, you are looking at an incredibly miniscule number. It certainly isn’t common enough to be suggested before even investigating the area, talking to a witness, or seeing some of the occurrences with your own eyes. Perhaps we could look at the rational first?

Now let’s just go way out on a limb and say this case does manage to buck the odds and there really is a demon involved. Why frighten this poor woman and her family before setting up some kind of support for her? She has only just started believing something paranormal may be happening and now, without any leads on where to go or who to turn to for help, she is going to feed this thing with her increased fear. Unless the people telling her right out of the gate that this is a demon, know what they are talking about and are prepared to go help her, would it not be better to guide her in the direction of someone reputable to help her with the problem? Unfortunately that is not what was happening. These people were just dropping the “D” word and leaving the discussion. If this had been a conversation about sports, my dad would have called them “armchair quarterbacks”.

Maybe it isn’t fair for me to judge. Like I have stated, I am no expert and will never claim to be one. I simply feel that it is important not to frighten people more than necessary when due diligence hasn’t been taken to rule out the more common explanations. These people are already afraid, questioning what they are experiencing and even questioning themselves. Fueling their fear by implying they are dealing with a demon is doing nothing more than making the situation worse…no matter what the cause may be.

I’m sure these people had the best of intentions and were trying to help; it also makes me think of an old expression that I once heard… A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The Royal Ontario Museum

January 6th, 2016


[Lana] For me, New Years has always been a time to reflect. This has been an amazing year for us and it has inspired us to look back at some of the great trips we have taken in the past. This museum is definitely one of our favourites. The trip from this article took place on October 18th, 2013. We hope you enjoy.

One of the largest and most respected museums in North America, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a short walk from aptly named Museum Station. Located in Toronto, Ontario the ROM is an architecturally stunning building igniting wonder and curiosity before even entering its walls. The current incarnation has only existed since 2007 (Michael Lee-Chin Crystal) but the Museum itself has been open since 1914. The original building actually housed 5 separate museums (Archaeology, Paleontology, Mineralogy, Zoology and Geology) until they were combined into one in 1955.

One piece of advice when visiting this beautifully maintained cultural centre…arrive early. This place is huge. There is so much to see, no matter what part of history speaks to you. Whether you enjoy the diversity of cultures from around the world, battles and inventions that have shaped our modern society, natural historical finds like fossils and mineral deposits, or unique wildlife that may not be familiar… you will be able to spend an entire day and still not see everything.

Now, of course, John and I wanted to see as many of the exhibits as we could but there are certain things that interest us more than others. I don’t want to speak for John (though I think she would agree), but I personally would prefer to learn about various cultures. That being said, we are lucky on this visit as the special exhibit is Mesopotamia, birthplace of written language (cuneiform), city life, law and the stuff of myth.

[John] Lana is right, all cultures intrigue me greatly and I was very excited to experience this exhibit.

[Lana] On a personal note, the most enjoyable aspects for me related to the impressively detailed artwork (depicting everything from the tales of the gods like Gilgamesh to epic battles to victorious hunting trips) and how it changed over the thousands of years as the Sumerians gave way to the Assyrians and Babylonians. This included the astounding architecture of the simple (easy for me to say) ziggurats to the incredible Ishtar Gate.

[John] Being in this exhibit with Lana was like being with a walking encyclopaedia. Lana’s brain for history and facts never ceases to amaze me and he really made this a much deeper experience for me because he was able to help me connect the dots within the backgrounds of the various pieces we were studying. I tend to get lost in trying to keep track of the histories and that often makes me frustrated in an exhibit like Mesopotamia. I typically focus on the artistry and the emotions of the history but not always being able to remember or follow the facts can take away from the occasion. I honestly credit Lana with making this day a truly rich one for me.

[Lana] You’re making me blush. So glad I could help make it a more enjoyable day for you.

My one regret, although I do understand the reasoning behind it, is that we were not allowed to take pictures as we toured through. The program that you can purchase at various stops along the way is a wonderful compliment to the tour but it still doesn’t give the feel of really being there or even taking your own photos.

[John] This is often a frustration for me in museums and galleries. For us, taking photos is a wonderful way to commemorate the experience and while the programs and books offered are typically beautiful, taking our own photos allows us to provide our own perspective. On this occasion however, we had to be satisfied with our memories and I must say there were points when I was overwhelmed with awe. Staring at artefacts and artworks from so long ago filled me with an intense feeling of amazement. We often lose sight of the fact that our lives now are influenced from civilizations of so long ago and this exhibit reminded me of just how deep our current roots run.

[Lana] We arrived shortly after the ROM opened at 10am and spent a good two to two and a half hours in the featured exhibit (although it didn’t seem nearly that long). We continued on our journey through the east viewing ritual tools and masks of ancient Asiatic cultures, weapons that defended and conquered lands in the Middle East, and the sculptures that show the reverence to the gods of the classic mythologies of Egypt, Greece and Rome.

[John] Leaving the Mesopotamia adventure and walking into other major museum displays was disorienting for me. I hadn’t realized how involved I had been in the first part of our day here and I actually had to sit down for a few minutes as we reached our second exhibit. The energy was so different in this space that I had to give myself some time to adjust to the change.

Wandering through rows of displays filled with masks and traditional dress, hats and bowls and bags of all sorts… this held an entirely new magic. Despite the joy I felt among these pieces, I still felt like a part of me was in the Mesopotamia exhibit. I don’t know what it was that held me so strongly but it definitely made the rest of the day a bit tougher to navigate and be present, though I had no desire to leave for anything else.

[Lana] As we barely touched on the European section of the ROM, John realized the time. Were we to have any hopes of avoiding rush hour traffic, we would have to put an end to our day. It was probably just as well… I too still felt as though I was captured by the Mesopotamia exhibit and wasn’t giving the other displays the attention they deserved.

[John] Walking away from the museum left me emotionally exhausted and I had to resist the urge to turn around and spend the remaining few hours of the day strolling through different sections. Alas, we had to make the trip home.

[Lana] With so much left to see, we will certainly need to come for another visit.

It is hard to believe that this was over two years ago. We are definitely going to have to return soon.

(Top L-R) Bust of Greek General,  Cocijo - Mesoamerican Zapotec Deity, Dionysus - God of Wine (Bottom L-R) Sunbird II - Sorel Etrog, Oweekeno House Post, Sphinx

(Top L-R) Bust of Greek General,  Cocijo - Mesoamerican Zapotec Deity, Dionysus - God of Wine (Bottom L-R) Sunbird II - Sorel Etrog, Oweekeno House Post, Sphinx

(Top – Bottom)Wolf Headdress - Lightning Snake, Iroquois Oral Tradition in Stone, Nightbird Golden Eagle Feather Headdress

(Top – Bottom)Wolf Headdress - Lightning Snake, Iroquois Oral Tradition in Stone, Nightbird Golden Eagle Feather Headdress