The Awakening (2011) – Movie Review

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the-awakening-2011-movie-posterThe Awakening (2011) – Movie Review

In 1921, London, a young woman enters a parlor with a photo of someone close to her that has recently passed on. She, along with several other grieving families, is attending a séance. When the séance starts the young woman quickly sees the deceit and reveals the medium and her cohorts to be charlatans.

The woman is Florence Cathcart and she has traveled the countryside exposing fakes and frauds of ‘spiritual’ businesses in the wake of WW I. She has even written a book about it. No sooner does she arrive home when she is called upon by Robert Mallory, representing The Rookwood Boarding School. Mr. Mallory’s beliefs are in opposition to Florence. However, he was sent to request her assistance, to calm frightened children after the death of a student rumored to be caused by a ghost. He offers several photos as proof of a haunting.

Florence accepts the job at the school and seems to have quickly squashed the rumors with her sleuthing. She soon learns that she may have bit off more than she can chew as paranormal activities escalate with no clear scientific explanation to debunk them. There are some creepy scenes but what really drives the film is the character of Florence and her transformation during the film. The exceptional sound-crafting as noises echo through the immense estate combined with a classical score create a substantial dark atmosphere.

This film is wholly British in style and execution, delivering a classic ghost story, in a slow burn, period piece. The acting is superb; both Rebecca Hall and Dominic West (Florence & Robert) offer top-shelf portrayals. This was not a full-tilt Paranormal Activity style haunt but much more low key. The film is aligned with a more discerning viewer, who likes some serious drama. I would say The Awakening is along the lines of The Others, The Woman in Black and The Sixth Sense. It is not for everyone but I enjoyed it.

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The Dangers of Halloween

The Dangers of Halloween

Ah, Halloween! Costumes and Candy, scary movies and masquerade parties, pumpkin carving and rubber masks…
… And let’s not forget; putting yourself and children in spiritual danger, attracting negative energy to your home, inviting malicious spirits into your house.

Welcome to the Dark Side of Halloween!

No one warns you of the hidden dangers of Halloween – the less obvious, malevolent dangers that lurk behind your harmless fun.

Ouija boards – the sales of Ouija boards increase dramatically in the month of October. It is important to get information about not attracting negative entities through the board. Don’t just go about it willy-nilly or hand it to your children and let them go hog-wild in the spiritual domain. In using the Ouija Board, you are giving permission for spirits to enter your body and move your hands and fingers (partial possession). You can read more about the dangers of using Ouija Boards in my previous articles about Ouija Boards.
Graveyard visits – Many like to wander through graveyards just for the Halloween mood and atmosphere. Malevolent spirits are attracted to gravesites because they feed off the misery of tearful relatives during funerals. If you go into a gravesite and provoke spirits to come forth, they may attach themselves to you. Also, any disrespectful behavior can cause angered ghosts to follow you home.

Séances – Asking into the air, “Is there anyone out there?” is like standing in a crowded city with thousands of dollars in your hand and saying, “I dare you to take this money from me.” Some will ignore you, some will show concern for your blatant indiscretion and still others will attack you, conspire against you, or do you harm. Most of the time, someone from your group would have to have some physic ability in order to make contact, but approach this common Halloween activity with care. How often would you invite total strangers into your home?
Dabbling in the Occult for fun – It may seem fun to see if something will actually happen if you try your hand at spells, rituals, and ceremonies, but the truth is; you never know what you may unleash.
Provoking spirits in any of the above mentioned activities will often lead to bad outcomes. You wouldn’t poke a tiger with a stick, would you? The problem is, because you can’t see entities, you don’t know what you are provoking. Just remember, even a mouse can deliver a nasty bite if poked with a stick.

Halloween Decorations – Gravestones on the front lawn, graphic scenes of violence, pentagrams, upside-down crosses and satanic images are all a no, no! According to a psychic medium I recently spoke with, gravestones on your property attract negative energy and spirits to your home. The spirits of murderers and evil men will be attracted to violent images you have portrayed for the holiday (images with bloody knives and death). Combine this with any of the above mentioned Halloween activities and you have a recipe for disaster. There are plenty of Haunted House attractions to visit and to get cheap Halloween scares. Most of these are not in homes and not where people live. Visit them for Halloween fun; don’t make your home a target for dark spirits.

As a general rule – Be respectful of the dead. I know that is not a word we acknowledge these days; politicians don’t respect each other, their office or their constituents – companies don’t respect their customers – people don’t respect the elderly – no one respects others in traffic, supermarkets or ball games – children don’t respect their parents – people don’t respect other’s religious or social beliefs – Why should anyone respect the dead? Because you can’t put a restraining order on a ghost! That’s why! Once you’ve angered a spirit, there is no telling what could happen. They are not bound by the same laws, physics and ideals that we are.

Whether you believe in these things or not is not important. Quite often it is the people that don’t believe that make the biggest blunders and have problems because of them. Most of the time it is not like the movies, where there is instant and violent poltergeist activity. It may take an angered spirit months, even years to build enough strength to do you harm. So be careful. And be aware of The Dark Side of Halloween.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

The Dangers of using a Ouija Board – fact or fiction – part III


Ouija Board – fact or fiction – part III
The Dangers of using a Ouija Board

The biggest danger posed while using the Ouija Board is using it alone. I believe the reason for this is the following: when using it with others, there is always one or two people that are skeptics and that somehow decreases the power of the entity you have contacted, or at least keeps it in check. When using the board alone you become fully trusting of the spirit. Wanting to keep the communication open, you offer yourself, your energy and your belief, totally.

Often, the entity will start out nice and cordial. It may tell you things about its life, how it died and other details that may give you some excitement. Then, it may turn in an instant, become nasty, spiteful, and even begin to use profanity in its language. This is when it has become dangerous. You can never tell for sure if some dark entity has taken over the portal and is pretending to be the first spirit you had contacted or if the dark entity had been the only spirit you had communicated with all along and had gained your trust deceitfully for the very purpose of breaking you down.

After the spirit has gained your trust, it may start to offer suggestions for dealing with your own life and situations. It will give you opinions about your loved ones. Sometimes it will tell you that your family, husband, or wife doesn’t really love you. It will make up lies, telling you your spouse is cheating on you, and your family or business partners are trying to deceive you. The entity will say you were adopted or your father was not really your father, etc, anything that will create misery, conflict, hatred, or discord. It may use vulgarity and tell you vulgar things about yourself or family. This is a demonic entity and it will literally try to destroy your life by attacking your psychological well-being.

Getting rid of a board is not always as easy as it sounds. You will be surprised at the board’s tenacity for reappearing in your home, or being replaced by another board. One time I had discarded my Ouija Board by burying it deep within a trash bag with a bunch of other trash piled on top of it. I watched as the garbage men hauled it away. Case closed, job well done. Two days later a neighbor had left a bag for us, as she often did because we had two young children, with some hand-me-down clothes and games. Within the stack of five or six games we found, you guessed it, another Ouija Board. It had been a different board but we have to assume the same entity would be communicating through it. I did not use it. I did not want to find out.

Even after you have successfully dispatched, discarded, or destroyed a board, the entity that you had communicated with may still be present in your home and in your life. You may have opened a doorway, a portal from the spirit world that will not be closed simply because you have discarded the board. Many different entities can pass in and out through this portal. This portal may be in a physical place such as a basement or backyard or it may be associated with you and follow you to new locations if you were to move or vacation. At this point you may have to seek professional help to close the doorway. It will be important to protect yourself with prayer and good spirituality.

Anything more than casual or occasional use of a Ouija Board will strengthen this doorway and make it more difficult to close.

The traditional Ouija Board is not the only danger associated with contacting the other side. Doing things like, spreading flour on the floor to see if there are any footprints or markings in the morning and/or using a recording device to ask spirits to come forth are both rituals of communication. Having a séance or trying your hand at remote writing can also have negative outcomes. When it comes to these daring little games always remember, it is not a game.


To read part I and part II of this article, click on the ‘Strange but True’ category in the right hand column.

related articles:
The Dangers of using a Ouija Board – part I
The Dangers of using a Ouija Board – part II

Ouija boards & Witchboards – fact or fiction – part I


 Ouija Boards – fact or fiction

I recently purchased the movie Witchboard on DVD. It is a ghost/possession movie from 1986 starring, Tawny Kitaen. While the film is decent, though not as good as I had remembered, there was a very interesting element to this DVD; it came with a mini Witch Board insert-sleeve. The glossy cardboard sleeve has the traditional Ouija Board markings and design. Perforated edges can be removed, to make it dimensionally proportioned. One end contains a pop-out planchette to use with the board.

On the opposite side of this Ouija Board is the traditional film info; scene listings, credits, running time, etc. I have no intention of using this novelty. I will not pop-out the planchette or break-off its ends for aesthetic reasons. It is promotional items like this, which become collectible.


There is another reason why I do not pop-out that planchette, lay it upon the board and ask questions of the mystical world beyond. I do not need the movie Witchboard, Paranormal Activity, or The Exorcist to tell me of the potential dangers. I had learned a long time ago that these boards, although some are even manufactured by Hasbro, are not ‘games’ at all. I’ve had experiences with Ouija Boards, myself.

Sure, some of the things that have occurred could be rationalized as overactive imagination or subconscious knowledge coming to the surface of conscious thought. However, there are always a few things that leave a big fat question-mark, long after the Ouija Board is gone. Of those reading this, half of you are scoffing and half of you know exactly what I am talking about. Many people have had experiences with these ‘games’ and none of the experiences have a happy finale. In the end, it is always, “I have to get rid of this damn thing!”


A recurring aspect of Ouija Board phenomenon is the fact that, a board, once attached to a person that uses it, is not so easy to get rid of. It usually takes several attempts to dispose of the game. Somehow, the board always seems to fall out of the garbage pail, and not taken away by the garbage men. It is then returned to the house by another family member or neighbor, who doesn’t even know your original intention was to get rid of the accursed board to begin with. So, it winds up back in your home at the oddest time, sitting there on the kitchen table or bedroom desk, as your jaw goes slack and eyes go wide with terror.

At a later date I will relay a couple of past experiences.

For now, I would like you to indulge me with an experiment. Make sure the room is quiet. Shut off any music and the TV in the background. Make sure you do this at a time when no one will disturb you. Now, look at the computer keyboard you type on. It resembles a Witch board, doesn’t it? The only things missing are Yes/No and Goodbye. What I want you to do is open up a simple word-processing program. ‘Word’ is too complicated. Open up notepad. Click on the white page and set your cursor so it is ready to type. Do not type anything. Looking at the keyboard, place your fingers on the plastic area directly under the keys of the keyboard. Try to get all five fingers touching the plastic. Now, I want you to clear your mind of all thoughts. All worries, appointments, wants and needs, aspirations – clear them all out. Gone. Take a few deep breaths. Relax. Wait a few more moments in meditation.

Now, ask the all important question, “Is anybody out there?”

For the third night in a row, without any clicks of the keys, the word ‘hello’ has appeared on my screen.

Side note: I would suggest shutting down your computer at night, before bed. Another note, the word count in this blog came to 666 words,  strange.
Sleep well, my friends.