Saturday, June 25, 2022

A Desert Haunt Part 4-Guest Blogger

 Excited to publish Part 4 of Guest Blogger Rick's story, A Desert Haunting!  Truly an amazing story.  Although Rick gives us a lot credit throughout the story, he and his family are the ones that dealt with the issue head on.  We only provided a little push, along with some inspiration to come forward and do the things that needed to be done.

That is the whole reason we share our story, to help others and give them strength to deal with something that is torturing them.  

If you'd like to catch up on Rick's story you can do so by clicking these links, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

If you'd like become a guest blogger and share your story, we encourage you to do so!  Our goal remains to help others and give them strength.  Sharing your story could help others get the help they need!   Click here to become a guest blogger!

As always thanks to all  of you for your continue support and kinds words!

Lance & Jennifer

A Desert Haunt, Part 4

Looking back on the events that led us to conclude our rented desert house was haunted, it is interesting to see how slowly the events unfolded. Writing this story has actually helped put these things into perspective.

To recap: We moved into the house in February 2018 and lived in relative calm while we settled into our new environment, not realizing the changes that were very slowly building up over that first year. Several "new" things happened at the beginning of 2019: a used shed arrived one week in January and Buddy showed up the next; Sheri's horse riding lesson program took off in February so that people were coming onto the property on an almost daily basis; that led to Sheri adding another horse for kids to ride in March; also in March we added a corral, shelter, and round pen to accommodate the horse and improve the riding lessons.

We always linked the arrival of our rescue dog, Buddy, as the catalyst that ramped up the activity level in our home. Putting these events in context makes me wonder if it wasn't the combination of all those changes. But letting Buddy move into the house with us was the first time something sought to get our attention. Like most people (I assume) we tried to figure out logical explanations for the falling/moving/missing objects, the noises, the uneasiness, the mood swings, the illnesses. It got harder to explain things away the more frequent, physical, and personal they became.

Between January and May, the activity escalated so that we had no doubt we were living in a haunted house. In fact, the whole property was haunted. We had become complete believers! I tried to find a way to deal with the activity, but I admit we were living in fear of the unexplainable.

As I mentioned in Part 3, Memorial Day weekend 2019 set us on the path to learning to coexist with our situation.

That Saturday morning Sheri noticed a car turn into the area in front of the house and stop. She wasn't expecting any students, so she went outside to see what they wanted. Inside the car were two women and a three- or four-year-old girl. It turns out the driver, and younger of the two women, had lived in this place with her grandparents for a couple years starting in 2010.

The young lady was with her mother and child that day and just felt the urge to visit. She said her grandparents really loved living at the place and she wanted to come by for the good memories. She said her grandparents added the irrigation for the lawn and planted the two mulberry trees in the little back yard, they built the deck and planted the roses at the front the house. Her grandmother kept a couple horses in the same area we had ours. She said she had good memories of living here, which was a really happy time for them.

Sheri asked if they had ever had any strange experiences while living here. The two women exchanged a glance. The young lady went on to say that in 2012, her grandfather had a massive heart attack while in the house. They called an ambulance, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. It's highly likely he passed away on the property. Shortly after his passing, she and her grandmother moved away. At the time of this visit, her grandmother was living in a nursing home in Arizona. They were interested in why Sheri asked the question, so she invited them inside where they could talk more comfortably and include me in the conversation.

After coming inside and filling me in on the connection our visitors had to the property, we started telling them about what we were experiencing. Walking to the area by the loveseat, Sheri explained this is where we would often smell cigarette smoke. The granddaughter said that’s where her grandfather had his chair, and he was a heavy smoker. He would either smoke in his chair or on the back porch - the other area we would smell smoke.

We explained that all the activity inside the house seemed to pick up after we brought Buddy inside. The two ladies said the grandfather was especially opposed to a dog being in the kitchen and around the dining area. It so happened that we had placed Buddy's kennel at the end of the dining table. This was probably not something he would have approved.

They didn't stay long, but in that short time they validated much of what we were experiencing. Maybe the most unique validation was when Sheri mentioned how her bra would unsnap right at the front steps when she was going inside after her evening chores were finished each day. The two women were a bit taken aback, but then related how Grandpa thought it a funny practical joke to pull on women. They had no doubt who was responsible for the bra unsnapping. In fact, they said to yell at him and tell him "You stop that right now!"

Needless to say, our Saturday turned out to be quite enlightening. We now had a name and a reason why Buddy seemed to have triggered the activity. I will be honest that while Sheri was accompanying our guests to their car I said to the room, "That's your family, now is your chance to go with them and be with them again." I do feel guilty about trying to push a ghost off on them, but I was desperate to resolve our issue. And for a few days it seemed like maybe he did go with them.

Having this information fall into our laps couldn't have come at a better time because of the next thing that happened that Memorial Day weekend. I was looking through Twitter and saw a reply in Amy Allan's Twitter feed to a post by Lance about his family's blog, their haunting and Dead Files experience. I opened the blog in my browser but didn't actually start reading it for a couple weeks.

While we now had a good idea who was haunting us, we weren't exactly sure how to use that information. We thought maybe he had gone with his family, which he might have, but after a few days Sheri's bra unsnapped; an announcement that he was back. So we took their advice to call him out by name and tell him he couldn't that. Sheri read him the riot act, so to speak, setting up her boundaries. Having someone to scold was therapeutic in a way. Doing this was mostly effective. Every once in a while he reminded Sheri he was still around by performing his favorite stunt.

At this point it was as if he decided he could come and go, and also travel with us. Maybe I gave him the idea with my suggestion and, at times, it felt like the house had a different vibe, like he was gone. Other times, we got the familiar feeling he was back. Even other times, it felt like a spirit was around except the energy was completely different. Darker. Could this be something new? Or maybe something that was always here, just more subtle?

One day a riding lesson student told Sheri that she had a dream about our house. Sheri asked, "You did? What was it about?" The girl, about nine years old, said she dreamed our house had hidden passageways under it and doors to every room that kids were using to watch us. She said adults couldn't see these kids.

Sheri immediately associated this dream with the heat ducts under the house and the vents in every room that Buddy hated. He would growl at these vents and sometimes come completely unglued and lose his mind barking at one. He seemed to especially dislike the kitchen vent. This revelation floored Sheri because her student had never been in our house and had no idea about our paranormal experiences. Yet she had this dream that just seemed to fit what was going on. When Sheri shared it with me I thought it significant that she used the plural "kids". It made me afraid we had something letting in more than one entity, like a portal or pathway. This only added to my anxiety.

This went on for weeks. I would sage and suggest the grandfather go to the light and be with his loved ones waiting for him on the other side. I would go to every room repeating what I had heard Amy say on one of her episodes, "All negativity must leave this place. No negativity may remain in this place. Only love, light, and peace may enter." I also added, "Any dead must leave." I mixed a solution of holy water and tar water, put it in a yard sprayer, and sprayed the entire property boundary repeating the same mantra.

During this period, between May and September, I was continuing to sage and research while my dreams and sense of unease ramped up. I had been recording Dead Files episodes on DVR and was watching at least one episode every night. While I was picking up some tips, I was also worrying that my efforts might trap spirits by botching a cleansing. I also read or watched that removing one spirit might set the condition for another, more negative one to take its place. Sort of like how the universe abhors a vacuum. Well, that didn't sound too good. I was getting a bit paranoid about that concept. By this time I was reading through the blog and the extreme activity Lance and his family had gone through. I felt somewhat consoled by the fact that at least ours was not as bad as theirs.

By the time September rolled around I finally finished reading the most recent post about the Eberhardt's story. I was caught up and I was amazed at what they went through. I was thankful we weren't dealing with anything to that extent. I don't know if we would have survived! As I shared in Part 3, I posted a note to Lance, thanking him for sharing their experience and letting him know it was helping me with our situation. His response helped me know what I needed to do.

The first thing that struck home was that I needed to stop being afraid. I had been trying to face the situation, but I had not let go of my fear. I needed to stand up for myself, Sheri, and Buddy. Without fear. After reading their experience and knowing they got through it, I had more confidence that I could too. That confidence also helped me with my fear. I dug down and realized I had faced more than one life-threatening situation in my military career without fear; I could do the same here. Taking back my home became my mission.

Of course this didn't fix things overnight. The other side had a vote and wasn't ready to let go. My new attitude, however, never wavered. Just making the decision that I would no longer be afraid is empowering. The dreams were the last to go, I think because sleep is a time when we are most vulnerable.

My approach to the spirits also changed. I stopped using the sage and would acknowledge the grandfather's presence when I felt it. I was more in charge and would remind him that we are in the house now and we are continuing to care for the trees, the yard, and the roses. We even planted an elm tree on the west side of the house to add our own touch. I would tell Grandpa if he wants to stay he has to follow our rules and not scare us or Buddy. This approach has been working. Fear is a thing of the past, even if we still have experiences.

What happens now are just experiences. Stories to tell. I mentioned Grandpa seemed to travel around with us. Three stories make me believe this. One day I was at work, about 45 minutes away, when I got the strong smell of stale cigarette. It was so strong I pulled the car into a parking lot and looked in the car trash bag for a cigarette butt. I was perplexed for a bit until I remembered Grandpa. I invited him to stay inside one of the buildings around me. The smell dissipated, but he wound up going back home with me. Another time Sheri was getting out of the truck going into a store for horse feed. While she was walking away from the truck her bra unsnapped. He had to be told that if he couldn't do it at home, he certainly couldn't do it in public. The last time it happened was on a trail ride Sheri went on with a neighbor friend. She had confided with the neighbor about some of our strange activity. During the ride our neighbor asked Sheri if she let her "friend" tag along. Sheri said "No, why?" "My bra just came unsnapped," she answered. Sheri advised her to give him a good talking to. The neighbor slowed her horse down and Sheri could hear her talking. Bras have remained snapped for several months now.

I continue to meditate and envision positive energy in the form of white light protecting us and our space. If I get a little lax on my duties Grandpa lets me know through Buddy, who remains my early warning system. Any activity is met with a firm reminder of the rules and the admonition to not bother Buddy. I continue to struggle with my moods and sudden anger. It's usually because I have failed to meditate and cleanse myself of negativity. I know this will be a constant struggle as long as I'm living here.

I am still not comfortable going in the metal shop or the tack/feed shed after dark. Recently I have started recording when I go into these places. I have captured a few unexplained noises, possibly voice, on the digital recorder while in the shop. Nothing has been captured in the shed or the house despite my turning on the recorder when I feel like something is happening. I am reluctant to do much investigating in the house because I don't want to stir up activity.

So that's our desert haunt. As long as we live here the story will continue. But we have learned to live with our spirit…or spirits. We have never really confirmed the presence of a portal or pathway. If there is, our protection may be working since things have calmed down significantly. I truly appreciate the Eberhardts for letting me share my story on their blog. It's been nearly five years in the making and I don't think I would be as comfortable with it were it not for their story. I encourage anyone who has gone through something similar to share your story. Not only could it help someone else, but it will also help your healing. It has mine. Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 30, 2022

A Desert Haunt Part 3-Guest Blogger

Part 3 of guest blogger's Rick haunting is finally here!  You can catch up on Part 1 by clicking here & Part 2 by clicking here

If you'd like become a guest blogger and share your story, we encourage you to do so!  Our goal remains to help others and give them strength.  Sharing your story could help others get the help they need!   Click here to become a guest blogger!

Hope you enjoy reading Part 3 of Rick's story!

Lance & Jennifer

A Desert Haunt, Part 3

With the consensus reached that we were dealing with something (or things) paranormal, Sheri and I decided we had to take action. The only problem was what action could we take?

For my part, I went to my go-to solution for anything I didn't understand: research. I used my standard internet search engine to read up on what to do if your house is haunted. That got some really interesting results. But I went through the list like I was weeding a flower bed. I tried to evaluate the sources and throw out the advice that didn't pass my gut check and spent my time on those that seemed more credible.

I have to say it wasn't an easy task. It wasn't an exact science, either. I went with what made sense to me or resonated with my own experiences. I wasn't wanting mystical, religious, or ritualistic solutions. I wanted something that would work once for all. I was naïve. I know now it doesn't work that way, but that was my starting point on this journey.

For Sheri's part, she was depending on me to come up with a strategy while she was dealing with the strange activity on a near daily basis. She was in the midst of the fight, so to speak, and had no time to develop tactics. Thankfully, she was open to ideas and, like anyone in a fight, quick to grasp anything that might give her the advantage.

My online research soon shifted to television and the massive amount of programming about the paranormal. It had been several years since I had watched Ghost Hunters and I was amazed at how the genre had just exploded. The show I was most drawn to was The Dead Files, because of Amy Allan. To me, she was sincere, gifted, and was working with people dealing with things in their homes like Sheri and me. Steve DiSchiavi's investigations added the validation to Amy's walks.  It didn't take long for me to learn from her that every solution was unique and they also took time. I watched every episode I could. Sheri watched with me, sometimes we got more than a little freaked out about the things Amy would see. I'm sure Sheri thought I was becoming obsessed with watching the show. I guess I was. Finding an answer to our problem kind of drove me to it. We even talked about trying see if she would come to our home.

So what was our problem? I described most of the activity in Part 2, but I wouldn't actually call that the problem. That was just weird stuff that happened. Things to talk about. Stories to tell. To me, the real problem was how living in our home was affecting each of us. Things that are not easily described or measured but the real mental toll it was taking as time went on.

I was dealing with some serious mood issues. I am not normally a moody person, let alone downright angry. But I am here…it's something I struggle with to this day. We had certainly gone through a serious life change after my leaving the military (a part of my identity that was stripped away and now gone). That's a story in itself and anyone having gone through the separation process will know what I mean. I'll just sum it up this way: One day you're a 24/7 contributing member of something that, once it's done with you, revokes your membership, replaces it with papers that show you once belonged, and sends you on your way by moving you one final time to where you want to go. Oh, and thank you for your service. Yeah, it was hard for me after 30 years, 6 months, and 15 days. Maybe that explained my mood changes.

Accompanying the moodiness was the unease. I guess some might argue they are the same, but not me. I do agree they complement one another, like peas and carrots, to borrow from Forrest Gump. Both of us were on eggshells, not from worrying about what kind of mood the other might be in, but from whatever was happening in the house. What would "it" do next; would we do something to set "it" off?

A month into my research and I had got some sage and started cleansing our home about once a week using a combination of techniques I'd read about that seemed appropriate for our situation. I had no idea what I was doing, but intent seemed to be a common theme from what I was reading. So I went with what felt right to me and the intent for spirits to have a one-way path to leave but not come back. Having been raised in a Christian home I also returned to prayer and began meditating to envision God's positive energy surrounding our home and pushing out the negative. This seemed to reduce the activity, but I needed to repeat the sage weekly along with constant prayer and meditation to keep things semi-quiet.

Buddy was my early warning device that activity was ramping back up. He would start avoiding certain areas and keep watch on them. His interest at these times was mostly centered around the heating vents in the floors. The kitchen was not a happy place for Buddy. He would growl low and quiet at it from the entryway, back up and cautiously approach again like he was trying to make sense of something that required extreme caution. Another early warning was the smell of cigarette smoke. That's when I knew it was time to sage and send up prayers again. We would go through every room wafting the smoke into every corner and repeating out loud that this was our home and only for the living. Anything else had to follow the smoke out of our home and off the property.

At least it felt like we were doing something. I think now that we were likely amusing our unseen roommates but they were willing to play along and tone it down for a while.

While this was going on I was bombarded with dreams. Dreams I can't remember other than that I had them and how I felt afterward. The impressions were raw and vivid. I tried keeping a dream journal for a while but gave up after not being able to remember them or put into words the impressions they left on me. These were hazy, confusing feelings of impending doom, of running and hiding from something. I would usually wake myself up from trying to yell or confront whatever was in my dream, but my voice wouldn't work. I would then pray and try to surround our house with my vision of white light descending through the home and pushing the darkness out every window, vent, and pipe until I fell back asleep.

Sheri suffered through this period too. Sometimes my attempts to yell would awaken her and then she would wake me up saying I was having a bad dream. Needless to say I wasn't getting much rest and neither was she. While my fellow commuters slept on the bus to and from work, I used my time to read and watch the paranormal shows, seeking an answer to our predicament.

Sheri was affected more physically than me. Not only was her sleep disturbed because of my dreams, she started having health issues. She began getting terrible migraines and unexplained pinpoint pains throughout her body. Bruises appeared on her legs and arms without any explanation or recollection of bumping into anything. Strange rashes appeared in odd areas and disappeared. Every so often she would have the sensation of being touched. In April 2019 she had a sudden debilitating pain in her abdomen that resulted in an ambulance trip to the emergency room and the urgent removal of her gallbladder. The medical promise of a quick recovery from what was considered a routine procedure took over a year for the pain to subside even though the surgery part healed quickly and without infection. Three years later and that area will sometimes become sensitive to the slightest pressure, resulting in sharp pain.

As things were spiraling downward in 2019, her moods changed too, although not to the extent of mine. It was just enough for our combined moodiness to create conflict, resulting in our snapping at one another over the smallest issue. We would retreat into our own thoughts or activities, not feeling like talking to each other for a while. These were the times to leave the property and go out to dinner or shopping. Once away from the place, we would almost immediately return  to our (previously) normal symbiotic selves with normal conversations and laughter and enjoying each other's company again.

Sheri also saw shapes floating around which would leave her questioning her own eyes. Once while standing by the refrigerator she saw something that looked like a solid black sheet of construction paper appear in the kitchen and float into the utility room and disappear in the wall. Another time she saw something white through the slats of the wood fence that gave the impression of someone coming up the driveway. The horses noticed too, but when the object should have reached the end of the fence and continued in plain sight up the drive, nothing ever emerged. She also saw a gray rectangular shape appear in the desert while riding near the house. It floated across the ground like a magic carpet and then disappeared. The horse was watching it too with pricked ears. At other times, something would slap the bottom of her stirrup hard enough to feel and make a sound. It also spooked the horse. There were no sticks or shrubs high enough to reach the stirrup, which would have hit the horse's chest anyway. If not for the reaction of the animals to these things, Sheri would have thought she was hallucinating.

Speaking of the animals, we believe they were being affected too. They reacted to things seen and unseen. Buddy didn’t have any health issues, but he was reacting to things inside the house we couldn't see. The same cannot be said for the horses. We arrived here in 2018 with two healthy horses and in March 2019 we added a third mare. The first indication was when the horses became unusually lethargic. In June, Sheri took the youngest of the two original mares, Maggie, to the vet who ran a series of tests. The surprising result was she had a heart murmur and beginning stages of heart failure. A condition the vet said was very unusual in horses, especially Arabians. She was given medicine and told to bring Maggie back for a checkup in a few weeks.

Because of that diagnosis, Sheri took the other two mares for a checkup. Our oldest horse, Samantha, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Again, the vet said this was unusual because thyroid issues in horses usually accompany other health problems that Samantha did not have. The vet called it a standalone thyroid condition and prescribed her a medication to treat it. Our newest and youngest horse, Summer, basically received a clean bill of health.

Over the next couple of weeks Maggie's health continued to worsen. On July 30, 2019, Sheri made the heartbreaking decision to have our sweet mare euthanized. Our last day at home with her was a tearful day outside in our little backyard patch of grass letting her graze while giving her favorite treats of watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes. I still tear up remembering that day with her.

Shortly after, Summer was found in her corral laying down and unable to get up. She had foundered overnight and her front feet were too sore for her to stand. Sheri worked with her and was able to get her back on her feet for short periods of time. We thought we were going to lose her also. Thankfully, Summer recovered enough to stand and eventually make a partial recovery but she still has bouts of lameness and sore feet.

Samantha has been on the thyroid medicine for three years now. The levels have never returned to normal, so the medicine is the only way we have of controlling it. Other than that, she seems fine and is a great trail and lesson horse for children. Our trusty paint mare is pushing 30 according to vets, a pretty old age for a horse.

Throughout all this, sage-ing, prayer, and meditation were a continual part of our lives. Somewhere during that time, an episode of The Dead Files aired featuring a place from my home state of Missouri. This was my first introduction to the Eberhardts, although I didn't know at the time how important their story would become to us.

This Memorial Day weekend is especially significant because of two events that happened on the same weekend in 2019. They started us on the path to turning our situation around. It's funny how the intersection of these two important events were lost on me until going through my notes to write this. But there they were, staring right in my face. You don't always recognize the importance of something right away.

The first event was an unexpected Saturday visitor from a young lady who lived in this house several years ago as a child. The second was an innocuous one-word reply from Amy Allan's Twitter to a Tweet by Lance about his blog…this blog. Following that link opened a connection to their complete story.

I left the page open in my web browser for 2 or 3 weeks before joining the Eberhardt's on their paranormal journey from the beginning. It took me a while, but I finished reading everything in September. Their story hit me in a way I could never have imagined. After reading that last entry, I posted a comment to Lance and mentioned our current situation. One small part of Lance's reply set me on the path to dealing with our home. He said, "My only suggestion would be to handle it now; head on & without fear."

That short sentence in the midst of Lance's reply had an enormous impact. It said I could handle it. I needed to face it. I did not need to be afraid. Time was not on my side.

I hope you'll forgive me for being flexible with the chronology. Many things were happening simultaneously while I was trying to make sense of them and seek answers. In my next post I'll wrap up our story with the revelation of our 2019 Memorial Day Weekend visitor and the decisions we made to "handle it", thanks to Lance's encouragement.

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