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On a lark I took a course in ghost photography several years ago. Taught by a parapsychologist and tour guide, it covered such things as best locations for ghost photography, how to call earthbound spirits into the area, polite banter with non-physicals, and, of course, best techniques for photographing them. The instructors also covered what to do when a ghost follows you home.

Although a sensitive and intuitive person by nature who had experienced more than one run-in with specters, I was not at all convinced that such a bizarre kind of photography was possible. So when the instructors took us to an old building being razed in Morrison, Colorado, that had once been home to a film and special effects movie studio in the 1920s and 1930s, I was intrigued.

Not only is Morrison a romantic and thoroughly western cowboy kind of town, it’s a party town very near the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. Just about every performer who can fill a 15,000-seat venue has played there. Point being, if I had any chance of finding earthbound spirits that night, it would probably be in a town that literally rocks.

That’s when I learned that Morrison also had its share of haunts and ghost stories. Supposedly, a murder had been committed in this tumbling-down, old structure that had once hosted cowboy actors and directors such as John Ford.

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So I walked into the space between the last three standing walls of the old building, flashlight in hand, with about a dozen other giggling photographers out for evening of Halloween hilarity and hoping for a good scare. That’s when one of instructors said, “Now everyone turn your flashlights off.”

We did, and the darkness that followed took my breath away.

“Now,” he continued, “point your cameras and click.”

Flashes illuminated the darkness for 10 of the longest seconds I’ve ever lived. I will never forget the screams and the things I saw floating through the air around us. Orbs zoomed toward me and ectoplasmic goo swirled around people as camera flashes lit the room. That was the night I became a ghost photographer.

© 2013 by Jalynn Venis, All Rights Reserved. Jalynn Venis is an author of fiction and non-fiction. After living in four haunted houses and having many encounters with the spirit world, Jalynn published her first non-fiction e-book in 2010: Cassandra’s Field Guide to Ghostly Encounters.

One of the most famous photos of a ghost — Lord Combermere

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Photograph of the Combermere Abbey library taken in 1891 by Sybell Corbet

The man sitting in the chair is believed to be the ghost of Lord Combermere. At the time Corbet took the photo, Combermere’s funeral was taking place four miles away.

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When was the last time you got really scared? It’s wonderful how paranormal events and observations put us in touch with our spiritual natures.

Some people think of me as a ghost chaser or ghost hunter, but, in fact, it’s usually the other way around. Earthbound spirits and other non-physicals find me.

They tug on my sleeve, touch my shoulder, brush across my hair, and wake me up in the middle of the night to get my attention. And it’s not because I’ve got a sign on my back that reads “I see dead people.”

Thank God I rarely see dead people in the spooky, newly-murdered-gooey-gross or  cemetery-freeze-dried forms popularized by horror films. Instead I see people who look anxious, sometimes upset and concerned. They just want to communicate with another person. They find me because I happen to walk into their environment and the energy around me speaks volumes. It tells non-physical beings that I am a sensitive, energy-reading intuitive. And that information prompts them to nudge me, knock on my door, and talk to me.

When I was young, this ability scared the heck out of me. I tried to ignore it, deny it, suppress it, defy it – you name it, but my intuitive nature didn’t go away. It got bigger. At some point, one simply has to bow to the absurdities of life and acknowledge their paranormal aspects. So I started talking to non-physical beings and trying to understand what they wanted. As a writer, I processed my experiences by writing about earthbound spirits and other non-physical beings I encountered. When I did, life and death began to make sense.

I learned that I could ask for help from God or angels and receive comfort and guidance when I got scared. I found that I could define boundaries and, essentially, set my hours for interacting with non-physical beings. For awhile, I hung out a shingle that read “The Intuitive is In.” Many people made use of it – both physical and non-physical.

These days, I stick to doing what I do best: writing about things that interest and inspire me. I write about my paranormal experiences and those of others in an effort to build bridges between this world and the multi-dimensional universe, which is to say the next place we travel to – at least some of us – when we die.

October is the ideal time to reflect on the paranormal and our endless fascination with it. It’s that time of year when we, as a society, buck up, don our Halloween masks, watch spooky movies, and find the humor in “Boo!”

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After all, according to some scientists, two-thirds of all people believe in the paranormal and things that go bump in the night. How can you not believe in something that is so pervasive and self-evident? The non-physical universe intersects our little corner of the galaxy night and day, and almost everyone has had an unexplainable spooky experience.

For the two-thirds of you who do believe in ghosts, I hope you’ll read my book Cassandra’s Field Guide to Ghostly Encounters. A true field guide, it teaches you the basics of living with ghosts, how to clear spirits from homes or offices, and how to make the most of a good haunting. Plus, you’ll find pictures of ghostly visitors and see how energy beings show up on Earth in photos taken by me, Jim Venis and some of our friends. Best of all, the e-book is on-sale during October for less than the cost of a cup of coffee!

So take comfort in the fact that the scariest month of the year is when we give ourselves permission to explore and enjoy the unknown. We allow the visitation of colorful strangers on Halloween and enjoy the company of friends at costumed gatherings.

Just don’t be surprised if some of the people who whisper in your ear or knock on your door aren’t anywhere to be seen this Halloween. Be tolerant, be kind and remember, ghosts are people, too.

Jalynn Venis is an author, video producer and intuitive explorer. After living in four haunted houses and having many encounters with the spirit world, she wrote Cassandra’s Field Guide to Ghostly Encounters, now on sale on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

Copyright © 2013 Jalynn Venis. All rights reserved.

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I recently watched The Day the Earth Stood Still. What a timeless tale that is. Whenever I watch this film, either the original with Michael Rennie or the newer one with Keanu Reeves, I think about the vastness of space and about the many other intelligent beings who must share this universe with us.

A National Geographic research poll in 2012 revealed that 36% of Americans think that aliens have visited Earth and almost 80% believe that the U.S. government has kept information about UFOs a secret from the public. In 2011, a CNN poll found that 80% of people in the United States believed in UFOs and a government cover-up.

Many well-known professional, military and government leaders have claimed to have seen UFOs or evidence of extraterrestrial visitation, including President Ronald Reagan, President John F. Kennedy, Mikhail Gorbachev (former head of the USSR), President Jimmy Carter, General Douglas MacArthur, Senator Barry Goldwater, General Nathan Twining (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1955-1958), Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Director of the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book), J. Edgar Hoover (head of the FBI from 1935-1972), and Edgar Mitchell (former NASA astronaut).

Yet the official policy from the U.S. Government is that extraterrestrial intelligence is not visiting Earth, and there is no conclusive evidence that such life exists or has ever visited us. Yet, General MacArthur said they did exist and they are visiting us. Some of his comments about future wars being interplanetary wars were recorded and released to the public, and some of his official letters on this subject have been released as well.

Monsignor Corrado Balducci, a Vatican theologian, went so far as to say that ET contact is real, and the Vatican gets regular reports of this from its embassies around the world. Edgar Mitchell claims personal knowledge that extraterrestrials exist and their visits are covered up by our government. In fact, throughout recorded history, many well-known people have reported seeing UFOs. Historians of the time reported that Alexander the Great was aided by flying shields that destroyed a fortress wall and helped him win the Macedonian siege of Tyre in 332 B.C.E.

Evidently, you don’t have to be extraordinary to see a UFO. Thousands of rational, intelligent, ordinary U.S. citizens claim to have seen UFOs, extraterrestrials or witnessed related events that the U.S. government denied – people like you, perhaps, and people like me. Frankly, if you can’t believe a former NASA astronaut who’s been a rocket man, exited the Earth’s atmosphere, walked on the moon, and seen many things between here and there, well, who can you believe?

As for me, I stand in good company with Mitchell, Hynek, Reagan and Kennedy on the subject.

People often ask why ETs haven’t parked on the mall in Washington, D. C., and conspicuously made themselves known to the U.S. government and the media at large, opened the UFO up for tours, and had photos taken with the natives.

Think about it. If an alien civilization remarkable enough to travel the universe with ease were to send a representative to meet the people of Earth, what would that individual be like and how would such an extraordinary person make himself or herself known to us? I’m guessing that individual would be something of a superstar combination that’s part Captain Kirk, part ambassador, part intellectual, part scientist, part philosopher, and part friend to humanity.

If you were an intelligent being from an advanced civilization on a world in another galaxy, would you find it relevant, and, in the universal scheme of things, important to talk to…

1)       Leaders of a society who’d rather waste time bickering among themselves as children scrambling to be King of the Hill rather than make timely, practical and rational decisions that are good for the people and the economy?

2)      Corporate raiders and king makers who believe it makes good sense to sell people bio-engineered, quick-made synthetics as a food substitute, rather than produce genuine, naturally grown, nutritious fruits, vegetables and nuts?

3)      Military leaders and their subordinates who have fingers poised over enough fire power, explosives, chemical bombs and nuclear weapons to annihilate all of humanity?

4)      Business strategists and barons who believe that it’s good business to buy water rights out from under farmers, ranchers and homeowners just because they’ve found a way to manipulate the legal system and file paperwork that lays claim to natural resources before anyone else does?

5)      Heads of multinational corporations that have made public statements that human beings and other living things do not have a right to water?

6)    People who would rather make a quick buck today at the expense of humanity and the environment than take reasonable, safe precautions and sustainable steps that add a little to the costs of manufacturing and production, but are responsible measures that ensure a healthy future with clean air, water and land for everyone and everything?

Life on Earth is complex. Much of the time, it doesn’t make sense. And, clearly, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human nature can be weak and very greedy.

Every time I watch The Day the Earth Stood Still, I think about these things.

I contemplate life on Earth and the contradictions of the human psyche, and I wonder just how far humanity will allow the bullies, Goliaths, extremists, screaming psychopaths and megalomaniacs to go before we collectively say, “No. That’s enough. You’re done. You’ve crossed the line in the sand. Your reach has exceeded your grasp on reality.”

So who would you rather talk with if you were a visiting alien superstar?

If I were an extraterrestrial, I’d rather talk with you.

Albert Einstein in His Study

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Albert Einstein

I write about life, death and the mysteries of the universe. Also metaphysics, ghosts, angels and science-fiction.

This is the spot where I’ll please and provoke you, riddle you, and sometimes share a laugh or two.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you’ll come back soon!