Monday, February 23, 2009

Activity Update

First I think it's funny that I've lost a follower since my paranormal post. Oh well, your loss. So really this is an update to the activity in my house.

I've seen the boy in my house on few occasions, but not in the last 10 years. Last night I could not sleep as my tweet stream can testify. I did finally log off of my computer and laid in bed waiting for sleep to come over me. The desire to record any sounds in my room was overwhelming but I didn't of course. I couldn't sleep at all. I lay there waiting for the grip of sleep. Around 3 (the fabled "Witching Hour") I began to see a heavy shadow by my dresser. I at first addressed this as my eyes were not completely adjusted to the lack of light in my room. However, shortly there after, I started to see smoke and smell it, white and seemingly from coming from the floor. My first instinct was to look at the charger of my laptop as I had left it plugged up. No fire, the smoke was quite thick at this point and I searched, without getting out of my small & old bed, to no avail. Suddenly the smokey image of the boy in our house appeared before me, not even 2 feet from where I lay! He seemed quite aggetated and I could still see the dark shadow figure by my dresser at the back of my room. I could not tell what the boy was trying to communicate to me, but I know he does not like this dark soul in my house.

I'm beginning to believe this dark figure may be either a spirit that I've seen before, not in my just in my house (he doesn't like me and if I knew the way I would get rid of his evil ass (pardon my French). The boy is trapped in the house for some reason and I'm pretty sure he died in a fire as the smoke and fire smell that came prior to his appearance would tell me. However, I have not found any evidence of fire in my neighborhood since it was built in 1963.

I have two theories on the spirits in my house. It is either or both these theories taken place together. One is that this boy did die in our house and is stuck there. My second theory is that since I can see these spirits, whether ghost or not, they are attracted to my location (as I've had experience with some spirits in more than one location, including my own home) and want to have their presence known. I honestly think it is a combination of both since I've seen my late fiancee in the house but he had visited the house a few occasions so by theory of spiritual residue, show at that location, but I've also seen/sensed him in two of my old vehicles. I've also had experience with a couple different demons, one which I will only refer to as "The One in a Trench Coat" (I know his name and will not repeat it as saying his name only gives him power) has possessed not only an ex-boyfriend but also my baby sister (who to this day swears she has never been possessed). I did an impromptu exercism in both instances that solved the problem for the moment. I do not believe the dark figure in my room is this same demon, I don't believe, I KNOW it's not the same one!

The dark figure may even be my late grandfather, Charlie. He was not the nicest man and we believe he may not have ever come to know the Lord. Well, I kind of know he didn't. I hate to judge, but the day before he died I was connected. We (my baby sister and I) went to see him in the Hospice next door to where my Grandma Comer (my biological father's mother) had been before she died. I hate hospitals and nursing homes, and I'm scared of mental handicap people (long story for another blog). I sat next to Charlie's bed, where the tall sturdy man lay shrivelled up almost as bad as my great grandmother who died with Rheaumatoid arthritis. I sat looking at him, my sister telling me to say something, my niece Alexia wanting to leave. It was the day before my birthday so I thought in my head as loudly as I could "Don't you die on my birthday Charlie, I love you but don't do it!"

My birthday came, I went out with my friends, got drunk (which is used to be a problem for me) and at 12:15, technically no longer my birthday, Charlie passed away. Needless to say my baby sister told me while I was drunk on whiskey (bad, bad, bad!) and she was drunk too. My Aunt Patty has seen Charlie numerous times now (she lives in Indiana). She has spoken to him and tells my grandmother about these things.

Now we are over a year since his death and he is still around. My mom smells cigarette smoke in the house, fresh smoke. No one has smoked inside the house since my dad had a stroke in 2002. Charlie smoked 3-4 packs a day. The smoke could come from another source too however due to the nature of this situatation.

I'm going to close this as I'm trying to watch Intervention on A&E about a woman who is on a feeding tube blaming the molestation she went through as why she can't swallow. I hate when people live a life as a perpetual victum, especially when they don't have mental handicaps preventing them from moving on (such as Bipolar Disorder and mild eplipse). But that is for another blog. Trust me, I will write a blog on that!

What Would Marvin Harris Do? (Originally Posted on MySpace in 2007 on my blog there)

The title is a joke in my anthropological theory class but here's my book review on Cannibals and Kings by marvin harris. Enjoy!

Marvin Harris, love him or hate him, he was (and may still be) one of the greatest minds in Anthropology. His many works on different subjects, from cannibalism to theory, have shaped the thinking of those after him. He argued against insensible rationale and for a new way of looking at culture. One might consider him one of the reasons post-modernist theory really took off. However, he did not just push for this particular line of thinking but was known to take a materialist view point from time to time. In his work Cannibals and Kings he brings in this line of thinking on top of a historical deterministic point of view as he stated in the introduction of the book. In addition to this line of thinking, at the end of the book he also adds that cultural determinist would understand his line of thinking as well, since there is a fine line between the two.

Through out this text Harris consistently refers back to the "reproductive and ecological pressures" on a culture. These pressures are what jump start change within a culture. What is fascinating is the fact that many cultures make the same changes, yet depending on the environmental elements of an area slight variations occur, such as pigs being tabooed in the Middle East and cows in India. These were cultural responses to environmental changes in the area. This equates to a cost/benefit approach to all changes, whether it be from hunter/collector to band society, band to village, village to chiefdom, chiefdom to state, and so on. The use of the terms cost and benefit alone tell us of the materialistic, almost Marxist, approach. He also discusses the correlations between reproductive pressures, intensification, and depletion and how a culture adapts and changes.

Harris presents each of his theoretical assumptions, reproductive and ecological pressures, the cost/benefits of change, and also intensification and depletion with examples from both modern and ancient cultural groups. Food, mainly protein consumption, is one of the main ways he demonstrates the effects of his ideas. My favorite group example was the Aztecs. Their use of cannibalism as a means for obtaining protein in an area almost devoid of animal protein was very insightful and made perfect sense. A group needs protein to survive and in response to their gaining agricultural expertise and growth of the group itself, protein began to lack. The cultural change was to go to war, obtain prisoners and then eat them in what appears as a cultural gloss of religion. But the reality is that it was in response to the reproductive pressures, the intensification on the environment and the depletion of these resource so that there was no animal protein base and limited plant protein base.

Really his central argument is that no matter what differences cultures may have they tend to follow a determined path based on their own interactions with the environment. Take the people of India. Because of monsoon seasons they were able to farm, but needed animal help to cultivate the land. They then used cows and oxen to till the land and grow crops. As the population began to intensify however the land area allotted for each family farm grew smaller and the number of cows that could be used for food became smaller since they were really needed more for the fields. Harris helps explain this by demonstrating how many calories it would take to raise a cow to kill versus how many calories one would get from eating the cow and compares it to the amount of calories it would take to raise a cow to help with the fields and the caloric return of the harvest. It was overwhelming the difference. On a caloric level, it is more cost effective to raise cows and oxen to help in fields than to butcher them. As the intensification led to lower efficiency, the culture responded by making it a religious taboo to consume beef. This makes perfect sense when one looks at the fact that if a family killed its last cow during an extremely bad dry spell, when the rains came, they would not have a cow to help with the fields and would have a much lower caloric return. Therefore making beef taboo was a way to help preserve a the peoples way of life through culture.

This is in comparison with the Aztecs who, in the middle of the Valley of Mexico, ran out of animal protein, reacted in another manner. They did not have domesticated animals to help in their fields as it were and had developed a form of agriculture sans animal help. With intensification came even more of a protein shortage and the culture had to react. It did so in the manner spoken of above. The reaction of the Spaniards when they arrived in the New World should be expected since their agriculture was based on rainfall and started in a feudal system. When the Spanish faced similar protein shortages their culture had reacted differently, but it was inevitable with population intensification and the like. However, the Aztecs methods can not be looked down on for it was how their culture reacted to a determined situation.

Harris's use of other anthropological data used in comparison with his theoretical approaches allows for an almost flawless argument. He uses data collected by himself and others on cultural groups who basically are the epitome of their particular type, i.e. the Indus Valley people for hydraulic groups, the Bushmen for hunter-collector societies. With this data he shows how cultural groups are related and therefore there is an amount of determinism involved. It is not a matter of evolution but of the society about to break on itself and change occurring. A good example of this is that the Chinese basically invented the steam engine, however it was not implemented until all natural means of transporting goods were depleted and it was the only hope for the culture. He also addresses what he feels in inaccurate methods of looking at culture, such as the Freudian approach to male supremacy. Harris feels that male supremacy cultures are in response to the environment and reproductive pressures where as the Freudian approach blames mom and your upbringing. In the context of cultures as a whole, the Freudian approach is not applicable in this situation. He does point out that there are some good things about Freud's work, but it just does not apply to cultural anthropology, it is more individual analysis.

One subject touched on frequently, even with dealing with European cultures, was female infanticide. Each culture practices it, in one shape or another, and whether they want to admit it or not. With European cultures, especially during medieval times, killing your infants was considered murder, unless it was on "accident." As Harris points out through out the text, the reason females were chosen for this treatment was not because the group did not realize that killing females was going to make having more children more difficult, but because the cost and benefits of more males was more beneficial to the whole. Take the Eskimos for example. They live by mostly hunting, since there really is not much plant foods available in the Artic region. Therefore if there are reproductive pressures causing intensification on the environment, then the first to be removed from the equation would be the "weaker" females. Harris never once says that females are indeed weaker. He actually makes it very clear that to kill female babies is not necessarily the best of decisions, but it is what is the most cost efficient means of being able to continue to obtain food. More males means that they will be able to haul in the large prey that are available to them in that region. More females would not mean complete disaster but would require more calories be spent in the attempt to obtain the same prey.

Through the readings outside of this text, you can see the background that Harris came up through in the field of anthropology. From Durkhiem on, the building blocks of materialism and historical determinism can be seen and are reflected in this piece. In addition, many anthropologist have also been influenced by him as well.

No one can make me say there were weaknesses in this book, unless you count making one think. It was slightly dense in places but overall ease to read. I would like to point out that if one did not look at the copyright, you may find it hard to believe it was not written at the start of the Iraq incident with this quote:

"Today, hovering on the brink of a third world war, we are scarcely in position to look down on the Aztecs. In our nuclear age the world survives only because each side is convinced the moral standards of the other are low enough to sanction the annihilation of hundreds of millions of people in retaliation for a first strike. Thanks to radioactivity the survivors will not even be able to bury the dead, let alone eat them (121)."

Even though this text is 30 years old it can be related to today. This work shows that no matter the individual choices, the cultural outcome will be the same. We will either stretch forth with new technology or we will decline back into a "lower" level of society. As we intensify our efforts at food production, we lead, inevitable, to declining efficiency.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something Resembling a Logical Though

If this is incoherent and rambling, forgive me. It has not been properly edited and I'm writing it on my lunch break. I don't really have much to say other than I'm tired of being woke up in the middle of the night by someone/thing to find nothing there. I need to get decent headphones and an audio program that will allow me to isolate sounds in mostly white noise. I've been randomly recording the sounds in my bedroom as I sleep.

Now for the most part there is not much, except for about an hour before I wake up me farting. But in the two recordings I've listened to all the way through, starting an hour or so after I go silent, i.e. sleep, you start to hear a tapping sound. I can definitely say this is not my laptop hard drive as you can hear the fan every so often come on then go off and it's not a clock, even though it sounds like one, kind of. It is several taps, in second hand beat, but stop. There is silence and it will repeat approximately every thirty minutes to hour and half. I haven't listened closely enough to thoroughly establish a pattern.

My home is very haunted. Since moving into the house, one can hear someone walking around in the attic from time to time. Previously I would conclude this may be rodents, however, we've now established there are no longer any rodents of any kind in our attic as we've sealed all their holes and taken strict measures to make sure they do not get back into our attic. Yet the walking continues. In addition, I've watched as my door has opened on it's own and also closed on it's own. Prior to the foundation repairs made to the house, logic would dictate that it could be the uneven foundation, however, the house is level now and hinges do not have memory of their own. Also there is the sightings of our old cat Stinker followed by the strong smell of cat urine in my bathroom that comes after these sightings. (My mom locked her in the bathroom instead of having her put down when she would no longer use the litter box and wasn't eating.)

It should be noted the house next door to ours, which we lived in prior to moving into the house we currently reside in, has demons. I know this since I have seen them myself and my sisters witnessed them while babysitting the various children who have lived in that house over the last 2 decades since we moved out of that house. The activity in my house may very well be residual activity from that house, but this is not very likely. Also I dated a guy who was into Satanism while I was in high school. He "cast" demons around me to protect me, which I then had to have banished as demons really do not protect anyone. Then there was all the crazy spiritual games we played as teens not really knowing any better.

Thus the activity in our house is most likely a combination of some tragic event that transpired on our street prior to us moving there and the consequences for our stupidity as teens. In addition, my grandfather who just passed away last January has been spotted in the house and I've heard him trying to make his presence known but unable to materialize. My late fiancee only appears in the den of our house, which at one point was a garage, or in the front yard. My biological father's mother has appeared also, shortly after her death. The main ghost though is a young boy, between the ages of 6-8, who will run up and down the stairs. We have at least one picture with his face in the front door glass. It is not my little brother has the picture was taken while he was at his mother. Most pictures of the front door of our house either do not turn out or distorted in some way. Orbs are a common occurrence in pictures taken within our home.

I guess my point is, I slept like crap last night and something was trying to tell me something but I didn't record the sounds in my room (where most activity happens even before it was my room). There is the possibility that some of this is very negative indeed. I do tread carefully in what I do and keep an ear open for the signs of actual demon activity. But prayers are welcome as the children who stay in our house have nightmares regularly and I never want to sleep at home.