July 17, 2018

Haunting of West Point

The U.S. Army summoned the Warrens in, to investigate the paranormal phenomena that was occurring. This is precisely what happened at West Point. It was October 1972. The executive officer at the United States Military Academy telephoned the Warrens a day before they were scheduled to present a general lecture to the cadets there. Though the officer’s comments were deliberately vague, he nonetheless told the Warrens that a curious security problem had arisen, and he wanted to know if they’d be willing to help in a professional capacity before they lectured the next day at the Point. Without probing, the Warrens agreed to lend assistance. “Good ” the relieved officer said, “I’ll send a car for you tomorrow at three p.m.”

A little past four p.m., they entered the gates of the United States Military Academy. The sergeant pulled the car up to the entrance of the headquarters offices, swung open the rear door, and escorted the Warrens to the executive officer of West Point. Major Donald Bolling, an orderly, good-natured man, offered Ed and Lorraine a seat in his office. He then briefed them on an already prepared schedule: dinner with the officers of the faculty at six, followed by a general lecture to all classes at eight. “One more thing.” for the next few minutes Major Bolling went on to explain how an unaccountable breach of security was occurring in the home of West Point’s Superintendent the commanding general. Naturally, the military police had already been over the problem, but to no avail, he conceded. Matters had only gotten worse. Therefore, it had been decided to get outside opinion on a problem that appeared to have no natural explanation. “So if there’s no objection, the Superintendent would like to speak with you before dinner.” “We’ll be glad to help,” Ed replied. “Do you know the nature of the problem?” “Between us” the major almost broke into a grin, “there’s a ghost in the general’s quarters.”

Switching off the lights, the Executive Officer took his cap, escorted the Warrens out the office door and introduced them to an Army photographer who sat waiting in the hallway. Strict limits had been placed on the collection of information that day, all documentary records would be the property of the U.S. government. Outside, the call of cadences broke the silence as cadets marched through the gray stillness of the afternoon. The group took a leisurely stroll to the Superintendent’s quarters, known officially as the Sylvanus Thayer Mansion, an impressive brick structure built in the Federal style. A general staff aide answered the front door to the mansion and showed the group inside. Within moments, the commanding general and his wife entered the foyer and Executive Officer introduced them to the Warrens.

The general impressed Lorraine as being a kind, compassionate man of great wisdom and intelligence. The general’s wife directed everyone into a sitting room that was beautifully furnished with period antiques by previous generals over the course of two centuries. “Nothing macabre has happened here,” the general said, sitting in what appeared to be his favorite chair. “Nevertheless, a number of incidents have gone on in this house that, so far, no one has been able to explain to my satisfaction. Some background: in the basement there is a private study; that room is kept locked and secure. But no matter how many times the bunk in there is made up, it’s always found ripped apart later. Upstairs, ghosts have been seen flitting about the house. These I haven’t seen, but they’ve been reported for years, and apparently they go with the billet. Now, I wouldn’t mention any of this except that we have an unusual, persistent problem: personal belongings and other important articles are regularly found missing. Not stolen,” he emphasized, “but missing temporarily.” The general stopped for a moment to put on his glasses. “I grant you, none of this is terribly important unless put into perspective.

One of the responsibilities of the commanding officer here is social protocol. In this house, we receive our fair share of government leaders and Army brass. Recently, on special occasions, some potentially serious events have occurred. Wallets have been stolen, pockets have been picked, money and personal mementos have been taken from eminent dignitaries and their wives. Later, all the stolen items are found upstairs, neatly laid out on the dresser in our master bedroom.” The Warrens sat mum, taking in the unique nature of the problem. “This foolishness cannot continue,” the general said forcefully. “Yet we know that no person has committed these actions. So my question to you Mr. and Mrs. Warren is the following: if this is a ghost and I stress, if it is then you tell me: can a ghost manipulate physical objects?” “Yes,” Ed answered, “it can.” Providing the objects are of no significant weight, such as the ones you describe.” “All you right then,” The general said,” “does this sound like a ghost to you?” “Based on what you say, yes,” Ed answered. “In fact, it is quite probable that a human spirit is at work here because the items did not disappear completely.” Taken back by the reply, the general looked at Ed for a moment. ” Would you be able to tell if there is a ghost in this house that steals wallets?” Lorraine saw this as her opportunity to reply: “Sir, I am a clairvoyant. The best thing would be for us to walk the house. This would allow me to determine if in fact a spirit is causing the disturbance. It’s the best test.” The general and his wife agreed, and the group rose to their feet.

Ed and Major Bolling headed for the basement with the key to the downstairs study. As usual, the bunk was torn apart, as though someone had been sleeping in it. Yet nothing else was disturbed. They closed up the room and headed back upstairs. In the first floor kitchen, Major Bolling showed Ed a cutting board with a wet spot on it. “It almost dries,” he told him, “but every afternoon, it gets wet again!” Elsewhere accompanied by the general and his wife, Lorraine stood with her eyes closed in the center of the downstairs rooms, beginning with the sitting room, trying to perceive any invisible presence. Nothing was apparent on the first floor, although Lorraine found herself somewhat transfixed in one of the mansion’s back bedrooms. “This room,” she said, “this room right here is where John Kennedy stayed whenever he visited the Point. The vibrations in here are truly beautiful.” A bit amazed, the general’s wife told Lorraine that she was right: “This was the President’s bedroom: he couldn’t climb the stairs because of his back.”

After leaving the first floor of the mansion, the general’s wife led the way up the banistered staircase to the second floor. In each room, Lorraine picked up impressions of the powerful individuals who had spent time in the house, but hardly any sense of a mischievous spirit. In one upstairs bedroom, Lorraine again paused for long moments. “An elderly woman spent a long time in this room,” she mused. “The woman would often stand by that open verandah and look out to a field.” Lorraine walked to the window. In the distance, she saw the cadets standing in formation on the parade ground; then she turned back into the room. “This was a very wise woman who shared a burden with a man in her life. She counseled him but the man was not her husband.” The man was Douglas Mac Arthur, said the general. The old woman is his mother. This was Mrs. Mac Arthur’s bedroom when her son was superintendent here.” The upstairs group then walked back down to the sitting room, where everyone met once again.

Lorraine admitted she did not feel the presence of anyone responsible for causing the phenomena, but on the other hand, it is possible that a spirit has deliberately avoided us. “Is there any way of finding that out?” asked the major. “Yes, answered Lorraine, “this could be determined in the trance state.” The major had a look of concern on his face. “Does this mean we have to hold a séance?” “No,” she laughed, “I’d just sit down sometime this evening, once the hubbub and vibrations of the day died down. It was decided to hold a gathering in the mansion after the evening lecture. If the problem could be solved once and for all, it was at least worth a try. At a cordial dinner held at six o’clock that evening, the Warrens were introduced to officers of the West Point faculty who, with their wives, were extremely curious about the whole subject of the supernatural.

At eight, Ed and Lorraine presented a general lecture on spirits to the Army audience. Their talk as usual had slides of ghosts, apparitions, and other unusual phenomena, which brought the customary response of “Ooo’s” and “Wow’s.” Although the lecture was received with enthusiasm, none of the cadets thought for a moment that such things could go on at the Point. During the question session at the end of the lecture, a young lady in her thirties stood up and told the Warrens that she felt it was a good time to say something she’d been carrying around all her life. She wanted everyone to know that what the Warrens were talking about was true. These unusual thing do go on. Her father was the flight leader on that squadron of fighters lost over the Bermuda Triangle in 1945 and he never returned home. He and the other men were really lost at sea. And though people might like to think it’s some sort of hoax, it isn’t. When she sat down, the entire audience erupted into cheers and applause. With this the lecture ended and Ed saluted the cadets and bid everyone good night.

The Warrens made their way back to the Thayer Mansion with the executive officer, plus a private group of officers and their wives whom they had met at dinner. Lorraine explained to the major that she felt Mrs. MacArthur’s bedroom was the most favorable place to attempt communication. The major in turn told Lorraine that the general and his wife had to depart for New York by helicopter at ten. Though elsewhere on campus, they would stop by the mansion before leaving. “Fair enough,” she replied. Upon being met at the front door by staff aide, the group made its way upstairs to the MacArthur bedroom, where the officers and their wives found seats on the floor. Lorraine added, “Where people spend a third of their life sleeping, is an excellent source of vibrations.”

All lights were turned off but one, and Lorraine closed her eyes. “I see a black man approaching,” she soon said, speaking out loud like a newscaster. “He’s wearing a dark uniform with no braid or decoration. This man is with us now.” Eyes darted around the room, but no such figure was visible. “This man is overtaken with a sense of fear, guilt, and lack of acceptance. He feels very sorry for something.” Lorraine stopped, her body tense, her arms straight out beside her. “He’s speaking to me now. He tells me that he has been accused of murder. His cell is in the basement. But the Army has exonerated him of that murder. He is very, very sorry and he cannot hold his sorrow any longer. This is why he has been taking wallets he wants the Army to know his sorrow.” “Everyone in the room sat silent, waiting to hear more.” “What is your name, young man?” Lorraine asked. “Tell me your name. He tells me his name is Greer. He spells it G-R-E-E-R. What is the date?. It is the early eighteenth no, it is the early eighteen hundreds. He doesn’t know the date anymore. He says he just wants his sorrow to be understood. He wants to know who I am.” Lorraine, deep in trance, began to bend forward. Ed told her to lean back. “Mr. Greer,” she said, “I have been sent by the Army to find out your problem. No, Mr. Greer, you are not held in dishonor,” she said in an apparent reply. “Your exoneration was for a purpose. It is on the records that the death you caused was not a murder. Your exoneration stands. Listen to me, Mr. Greer. Your sorrow is understood by the Army. But it is only proper that your sorrow be over. There is nothing we can do for you. You are holding yourself back; you must exonerate yourself. Enough time has passed. It is now the twentieth century. This is the nineteen seventies. You do not understand the present day. Each time you take belongings from an important person, you put the Army in a very dangerous position. He tells me he has no more need to do this. He feels confused. He wants to come back to life.”

Lorraine’s arms slackened, then she began to drift away from the trance. “Lorraine,” Ed said forcefully, “stay with him. Try to send him on.” Lorraine sat silent for long moments, and then again spoke. “To live again, Mr. Greer, you must go to the light. It is time for you to surrender yourself and begin again. Everyone must do this. Focus on the light and step toward it. Go to your friends and family. Go home to the light, Mr. Greer. Focus on the light and drawn toward it,” Lorraine suddenly snapped awake, her eyes wide open. “He’s gone. I lost him,” she declared.

The lights were switched back on as the officers and their wives rose to their feet, speaking in anxious hushed tones. Lorraine, standing in the center of the group, gave a complete description of the man and said at the end, “Greer had simply vanished.” Shortly thereafter, the entourage made its way downstairs and left, while the Warrens and the major waited in the sitting room.

A few minutes later the general and his wife arrived. Lorraine briefly reviewed the communication she’d had, noting in conclusion: “I didn’t get the impression the Greer really wanted to be here. In a way, I think he was just waiting to be dismissed. After this, I seriously doubt that any more pockets will be picked. But if it does happen again, please let me know. There are things I can do at a distance.” ” That’s very nice of you,” said the general. “however, there’s one small item. No black man has ever served at the Point until this century. But I promise you, the major will have this matter checked out completely in the next few weeks.” As they spoke in the foyer, a helicopter could be heard descending outside. It was time to go. After an exchange of gratitude and farewell on the front steps, the general and his wife crossed the lawn and boarded a large service helicopter bound for New York. The Warrens slipped into the back seat of the waiting limousine, wondering if Greer had indeed ended his travail of over a century.

A few weeks later, while lecturing at Boston University, Ed and Lorraine were called from the stage to take a telephone call from West Point, could you please do something about the ghost of a civil war cavalryman who refuses to leave one of the dormitory rooms.  We need the space.”

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