July 20, 2018

St Michael the Archangel

St Michael St Michael the ArchangelThe familiar picture of St. Michael the Archangel, with sword in hand, vanquishing Satan is inspired by the book of Revelation.  A great war shakes the heavens. “Michael and his angels fought the dragon.  The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated.” (Rev 12, 7-8) Michael, the Archangel, is God’s commander in battle, the powerful messenger of His truth, who fights against evil and its deceptions.  He is a symbol of God’s victory over the forces of darkness; a pledge that God and the forces of good will prevail no matter how hard the struggle.  And so, over the centuries, St. Michael has been chosen by soldiers and armies, by cities and places as their strong patron.  He is invoked by those who must fight hard against powerful forces of evil, even at the cost of life.

Those engaged in law enforcement, those who must combat crime and strongly entrenched networks of evil, call upon St. Michael.  St. Michael is also called upon at the time of death, when one must struggle against fear and darkness.  Like the angel who came to strengthen Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, St. Michael is a patron to call when death draws near.

Christians have always recognized that life is a battle against evil in many forms.  Powerful forces we can hardly describe go about the world intent on destroying all that is good.  They can appear overwhelming and cause great fear.

Yet, a force more powerful than all the combined forces of evil protects us.  By God’s grace, the power of Jesus Christ is ours.  And his angels are the army that wins the battle.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; protect us against the deceit and wickedness of the devil.  May God rebuke him we humbly pray.  And you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God banish into hell Satan and all of the evil spirits who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen

Ghosts of England Pt 1

BORLEY CHURCH

By Tony Spera

borley ed lorraine Ghosts of England Pt 1Where does one go to fish for trout?  A trout brook, of course.  Want to photograph Lions, Wildebeests, and Giraffes?  Perhaps the African plains would be a good choice.  So where would one go to find and photograph ghosts?  Why- the mystical haunted British Isles, of course!

My first sojourn to England and Scotland occurred back in May of 1981.  My wife and I had accompanied Ed & Lorraine on what promised to be a ghost filled excursion.  Neither Judy (my wife) or I had any idea on what to expect from the trip, except that Ed had mentioned to me that the food wasn’t very good.  He said it was a lot of fish & chips, mushy peas, cucumber sandwiches and warm beer!  I hadn’t held out much hope of getting a home cooked spaghetti and meatball dinner!  But what the heck, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, I thought.

On arrival at Heathrow airport, we received an immediate  pleasant  surprise.  We were walking down one of the terminal ramps when all of a sudden Lorraine yelled out  Jane! It’s me, Lorraine!  I quickly turned to look, and low and behold it was Jane Seymour!  (Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman).  I remember standing there in awe for a moment, and putting my hand out to shake her hand.  I’ll never forget Lorraine saying,  And this is my daughter Judy and her fiancée Tony.   Here I was, sloppy and stupid from the long flight, hair unkempt, clothes wrinkled, about to shake hands with this famous beautiful movie star!  And although Miss Seymour had just flown in from the States herself, she looked as fresh as a daisy.  She shook my hand and said,  Pleasure to meet you.  I mumbled something unintelligible, something resembling  me too  and stood there like a big dumb jerk.  It was a moment frozen in time for me, a moment I’ll never forget, – a moment Miss Seymour probably doesn’t even remember!  I was extremely impressed by her down to earth manner. (While I was floating on cloud 9).  This is a good start, I thought to myself. Not 5 minutes into London and I’ve already met an international movie star.  After renting a car from Swan National we headed to our first destination, a little town called Sudbury, about 2 hours out of London.  Basically about all I remember about the drive was that Ed was driving on the M1 motorway at speeds Mario Andretti would’ve found scary, and I think I mumbled Jane Seymour’s name several times while drifting in and out of a jet -lag induced sleep.

Sudbury is a typical small English town, very quaint, very old.  We stayed at a nice little B & B (Bed & Breakfast) readying & rejuvenating ourselves for the first (and one of the most) Haunted locations, the infamous  Borley .  One thing about the English Breakfasts; they are good!  A typical breakfast consists of cereal, eggs; sausage (also known as bangers) fried tomato, a rasher of bacon, toast, juice, and coffee.  Some places even serve-baked beans on the side.  (Ed Warren had previously told me that the breakfasts were indeed GOOD)  Borley Church is perhaps one of the most haunted locations in all of England.  Actually the most haunted location was the Borley Rectory, which was constructed in 1863 by the Reverend Bull.  It is said that 2 entities regularly haunted this location, the Borley Nun and the Borley Monk.  In 1939 the Rectory burned down, but the haunting phenomena just seemed to transfer to the Borley Church, which was constructed in the 14th century.  Needless to say, we were all quite anxious to get there and set up for the night.

We arrived at the church at around 10:30 P.M. (Lorraine had earlier received permission and an entrance key prior to our arrival.) The first thing that struck me was the crypt just inside the front entrance.  (Known as the Wallgrave Crypt).  My wife (then my fiancée) Judy immediately began to feel nauseous and light headed.  This is a rather common occurrence for someone who is psychic, which Judy is to a degree.  (Remember her mom, Lorraine Warren, is a renowned psychic whose abilities have been tested and documented by researchers at UCLA).  It was curious to me that Lorraine did not sense anything out of the ordinary, nor did she feel nauseous. (At this time.)  I took several photographs of the crypt, then moved toward the altar section of the church.  Ed Warren was setting up a cassette tape recorder.  Lorraine and my wife were seated quietly in one of the small wooden pews.  There is something here. I can hear someone breathing. Lorraine’s exclamation startled me.Where is it Lorraine?  Ed said as calmly as if he were ordering Chinese take out.  Over there, behind Tony.  I still remember how I felt at that moment, kind of like the feeling you might get when you think you’re going to crash into something with your car.  (Panic, shock, and adrenaline rush all come to mind).  I stood motionless, not knowing what I should do.  Don’t move!  Ed yelled at me. (He was preaching to the choir at that point, for I was frozen solid in space and time).  It’s a woman. She’s wearing a black robe, like a nun’s habit…yes, I think she is a nun!  Lorraine had offered this information slowly, methodically, in a low even voice.  It was the first time I had witnessed her speaking in trance.  She’s asking what we are doing here.  Lorraine continued slowly.  Ask her who she is Lorraine, Ed quipped, this time sounding like he was ordering a pizza.  I remained frozen in place; the only sound was that of MY breathing!  It’s the Borley Nun!  Lorraine said, her eyes closed tightly.  She’s fading now, but I definitely get the sensation that she’s curious about our being here.

Tony, you can move now.  Ed was smiling over at me. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.  Well kid, you just experienced a ghost!  How do you feel?  Ed patted me on the back.

I think I’m still in shock.  I definitely felt something, but I don’t know what, exactly.  A feeling of dread or doom or something.  My knees are shaky!  Just then Lorraine and Judy came up to me. They both looked reasonably calm.  I felt like a jerk, being the only one who appeared frightened.  I looked at my watch; it was 11:15 P.M.  How long are we staying?  I said rather sheepishly.   Only until the Devil’s hour.  Ed answered, laughing.  The Devil’s hour?  When’s that?  I asked.  3:00 O’clock in the morning. Anything that comes in 3’s is an insult to the trinity . . .  3 knockings, rapping’s, pounding sounds.  That’s why it’s called the Devil’s hour.  Ed said matter of factly.  Does stuff like this always happen so quickly?  I mean, we were only here for about 45 minutes.  I looked at both Ed and Lorraine.  Judy was walking near the back of the church at this point.  Sometimes nothing happens for days and days.  Other times they happen very quickly, like tonight.  Lorraine explained.  Yeah. Ghosts come when they want to come, not when you want them to.  Ed added, At that point, I wasn’t sure I ever WANTED them to come again.

The remainder of the night was very quiet, with no further incidents, sounds, or impressions from Lorraine.  At 3:00 O’clock we prepared to leave.  I had  experienced  my first (of many to come) ghostly phenomena . . . The Borley Nun.  So how did you like your experience with the Borley Nun, kid?  Ed asked.  Oh it was alright I guess Ed.  But I gotta tell you . . . I’ll take Jane Seymour any day!  Wait till tomorrow kid, just wait till tomorrow!  Ed said grinning.  I walked out of the church, passing several ancient tombstones on the way to the rental car.  Judy was already in the car, beckoning to me.  I glanced up at the sky and watched the full moon’s glow caress the stone church.  I thought of what tomorrow might bring . . . and that a warm beer sounded pretty darn good right about then.

Ghosts of England Haunted England & Scotland Part 2

By Tony Spera
Visit # 1

whitby abbey 3 Ghosts of England Haunted England & Scotland Part 2The drive to Whitby was one that held much excitement for me, as it was the location chosen by Bram Stoker for his Vampire novel, Dracula.  I had taken over driving tasks from Ed, since up to this point Ed had been doing all of the driving and had appeared to be getting a little weary.  I must admit it took awhile to get used to driving on the left side of the road while sitting behind a wheel that was on the right side of the vehicle.  The real trick however was maneuvering through  roundabouts – rotaries that connected multiple roadways and re-routed traffic to various other roads and highways.  By the second roundabout I secretly wished I’d taken Skip Barber’s advanced racing course.  I remember coming over this rise, the winding road replete with hairpin turns and drop-offs which kept my concentration at a peak, when out of nowhere, looming in the distance, I could see the ruins of Whitby Abbey!  It’s hard to describe the feeling one gets upon first witnessing something so ominous, so old, and so beautiful.  The Abbey had actually been founded in approximately 657 AD on land given by Oswy King of Northumbria in thanks for his victory over King Penda of Mercia.  It had been a double monastery, having housed both men and women.  It was destroyed by the Danes, but rebuilt by the Normans after the Conquest in the thirteenth century.

I felt a shiver travel up the back of my neck as we came closer to the wondrous towering ruins.  My stomach was doing flip-flops as I put the car in park and shut off the engine.  (I think it was a combination of nervous anticipation and the greasy fish & chips lunch I had just consumed.)  Judy was busy loading film into her camera.  Lorraine was rummaging through her handbag for some digestives ( cookies).  Ed was fiddling with his tape recorder, (he seemed to always be fiddling with his recorder).  As for me, I just stood there, awestruck by the sight of the massive Abbey ruins.  I wondered about the traditions that had been born there, about the people who died there, and of the many stories that are now lost to history.  My thoughts were interrupted by Ed Warren who was yelling that he had to visit the men room.  I think I yelled something back like “Now THAT’S more information than I needed to know” and began walking closer still to the ruins.  Judy approached me and began snapping pictures.  Lorraine also came up to me and said something about the magnificence of it all.  Ed returned from the men room and explained to me that a lot of spirit phenomena had been witnessed at Whitby Abbey, by himself and by many others.  We stayed for about an hour when suddenly Ed said, Ok, let’s go!  Go ?  I thought. We just got here!   We’re leaving now !  Ed proclaimed.  We’ll come back tonight, after the witching hour!  Witching hour ?  I asked feebly.  Yeah.

After 12:00 midnight.  That’s the best time to witness and photograph ghostly phenomena!  We all jumped back into the rental car, and headed down the road towards Robin Hood’s bay.

My first visit to Whitby Abbey was an uneventful one.  Little did I know what I would be in store for later that night !

Visit # 2 ( After Midnight, May 1981 )

We had found a little pub to eat in near Robin Hood’s bay.  Judy ordered Fish & chips.  Ed ordered steak & kidney pie.  Lorraine ordered a scone with tea.  I ordered Lasagna.  ( It didn’t resemble any Lasagna I had ever seen . . . it tasted like nothing I had ever tasted.  I washed it down with a warm bitter beer.  Then it was off to Whitby Abbey again – this time my stomach was doing double flip-flops.  We arrived at approximately 12:30 A.M., and I must tell you it looked even more magnificent, more ominous than it had in the daylight.  No one was there.  No caretakers, no tourists, (except for the four of us)- no police.  The only sound was the whipping wind that blew in from the North Sea.  I was excited, anxious, apprehensive.  I was . . . well . . . cold!  I began by setting up my 35mm camera on a tripod, while Judy and Lorraine walked around to the east side of the ruins.  Ed Warren was fiddling with a tape recorder.  What happened to me next is beyond comprehension.  I remember feeling this great sense of doom or dread (much like the feeling I had at Borley Church, only much more intense.)  I had a distinct sense that something was right behind me.  I turned suddenly and there was this thing . . . I can only describe it as a cyclone of wind blacker than black.  It was pulsating and spinning but made no sound.  I knew it was evil itself!

Immediately I began to feel weak in the knees.  It sounds totally incredible I know, but I swear this thing was trying to get me!  I was able to issue a sound, more like a high pitched squeal than a sentence.  I was trying to say to it . . . Get back, get outta here!  I don’t know how Ed heard me because he can’t hear very well (from his World War II Navy gunner days) but he came running towards me and this thing.  He was yelling “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to leave and go back to where you came from”!  He was throwing some kind of liquid at it.  (I found out later that it was holy water).  He kept commanding it to leave.  At first it just backed off a little bit.  But then it faded away into nothing.  I was down on both knees at this point.  Ed grabbed me and pulled me up a little bit.  Are you alright, kid?  He said, genuinely concerned.  I don’t remember much after that.  My head was spinning and I felt like I’d pass out at any moment.  I know that I sat in the car for a long time, shivering.  Judy and Lorraine came up to me, both expressing concern.  I really felt helpless let me tell you.

It’s one thing to go up against another human being.  I used to have to do it all the time. (I was a police officer).  It was quite another thing however to go up against something preternatural.  Something so totally evil in nature!  After tangling with this thing, wrestling some drunk in a bar would seem like a day at the beach!  That night, after returning to our B& B (Bread & Breakfast hotel ) I stayed awake a very long time contemplating what had happened to me.  I wondered why it was happening to ME and to no one else at the time.  I was the strong one, (or so I thought).  But then it struck me that this thing, (evil) came to me on purpose.  To show me that no one is strong next to it.  That no one can challenge evil and win without God’s help, which Ed had called upon.  Ed had told me many times since this incident never to underestimate the power of Evil to confuse!  I said the rosary that night, with more intensity and conviction than I had ever done before.  And suddenly I realized that with God’s love and guidance I‘d be able to face whatever might be in store for me tomorrow . . . even warm beer and bad Lasagna!

Ed and Lorraine Warren Bio

Ed Warren, born September 7, 1926, was born and raised in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut on the tough east side.  That part of the city was known as the “Bloody Bucket” because it was a frequent hang-out for hoodlums and gangsters.  While Ed was a boy, he lived in a haunted house from the age of 5 until age 12.  His father, then a police officer would explain to young Ed that the strange occurrences witnessed in the home had a logical explanation…but of course his dad never did come up with a logical explanation.

There were times when Ed would be out playing, and if he returned to the house and no-one was home, he would not enter the house…sometimes staying outside for hours in the freezing cold weather.  Ed would see ghosts, hear footsteps, pounding sounds, and rapping on walls frequently in the house.  This frightened him, but also made him want to learn more about the types of phenomena he had encountered.  When Ed turned 17, on September 7, 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served with the armed guard aboard a Merchant Marine ship.  He was decorated for heroism after saving a fellow sailor from icy waters after their ship caught fire.

Lorraine Warren, born January 31, 1927, was born Lorraine Rita Moran in Bridgeport, Ct.  She attended prestigious Laurelton Hall private school in Trumbull, Ct.  She worked at various jobs during the war to help the war effort.  Ed and Lorraine Warren were married on May 22, 1945 in Bridgeport, Ct.  They have one daughter, Judy, who is married and lives in New Milford, Ct.  After his World War II service, Ed attended Art school.  He painted nautical scenes, country landscapes, and his real passion-“Haunted Houses”.  He began touring the New England states with Lorraine seeking out haunted houses to paint.  One now famous house that he found was the “Ocean Born Mary House” in Henniker, New Hampshire.

Ed likes to relate the story as such: “I was with Lorraine and another couple that we used to socialize with.  We were probably about 19 or 20 years old at the time.  We were traveling around New England trying to sell some of our paintings, which I did sell for tremendous prices, 3 or 4 dollars each! You have to remember though that back then gas was 12 cents a gallon, and hot dogs were a dime.  A movie was a quarter.  So the 3 or 4 dollars we made on each painting wasn’t so bad after all.  Anyway, we were driving through New Hampshire and I see this sign that says “Henniker”… I looked back at my friend Jerry who was in the back seat and said that I had heard of a haunted house…the “Ocean Born Mary” house and that it was in Henniker.  Jerry looked at me and said, “Oh , come on Ed, there must be a hundred Hennikers”.  Just then we rounded a corner and there was a sign that said, “This is the only Henniker on EARTH!”.  So I guess that solved THAT argument.”

“Anyway, we asked some college kids where the house was, and they gave us directions to it.  We pulled up front, and man, I gotta tell you, it sure did look haunted from the outside.  I said to Jerry, who was a real skeptic up to this time, “Hey Jerry, why don’t you go up to the door and see if they’ll let us in?”  His response was “Are you crazy? There’s no way I’m going up there!” “So I did the logical thing.  I threw Lorraine out of the car and locked the doors!  I knew if anybody could get us in, it would be Lorraine with her Irish charm and all.  We watched as she knocked on the door.  We saw this light in a window high above, then the light reached the lower level and finally the door opened.  We could barely make it out, but soon we saw Lorraine motioning for us to come on up.  To make a long story short we all got into the house and spoke with a Mr. Roy, the caretaker.  This was the first time Lorraine had ever had a psychic experience…she astrally projected out of her body and hovered above us!”  Since that time, Lorraine Warren’s psychic abilities have steadily increased.  She has been tested at UCLA under the watchful eye of Dr. Thelma Moss.  Her abilities are well documented.  Lorraine can best be described as a clairvoyant and light trance medium.  This means that she can hear, feel, and sense things through her sensitivity or “sixth” sense, rather than the normal five senses.  She can also see a persons “Aura”.

Lorraine describes it like this; “A persons Aura is the supernatural glow that emanates from every living thing.  It is the energy that surrounds us, it evens surrounds our pets.  I can tell quite a lot about a person from this glow.  You see the aura produces different colors, blue hues, green, red, yellow and various other shades.  They have different intensities to them, some are bright, some are dull, sometimes they spike out like fireworks.  From the condition of the aura I can tell a lot about a person.  I can tell if they are religious or not, if they have emotional troubles, or even if they have a violent temper”.

The Warrens have been the nation’s top psychic researchers for over 3 decades, and have lectured extensively at colleges and universities through out the country.  They were 2 of only a handful of investigators ever allowed into the infamous “Amityville Horror” home and have the only pictures ever taken inside the house.  The Warrens have had 2 movies made of their cases, one “The Haunted” from their book, and the other “The Demon Murder Case” also from their book “The Devil in Connecticut.” The Warrens have been featured in ten books.

They are:

Deliver Us From Evil

The Demonologist

The Devil In Connecticut

The Haunted

Werewolf

Satan’s Harvest

Ghost Hunters

In A Dark Place

Graveyard

Ghost Tracks