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Mary Pickford Lost Film Discovered/ Mary Pickford Cocktail


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Here is a brief 45 second clip from the lost and rediscovered Mary Pickford film, posted by Keene State college where is was screened last Friday:


*The First Misunderstanding (1911)*



She appears to be playing some age appropriate role; this was not always the case with many of her films, where often she was too old to be the "girl" that she was cast as.


The backdrop uses painted canvas representing an interior, very common to films of that era.


I haven't found any press releases covering how the screening went. If and when I find that, I'll post. The full film will likely wind up on youtube or some other link. I'll post that too when I find it.

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Hi Tom,


One insight that years of paranormal research have uncovered, is that presences "attach" not only to a place, but to people as well. Mix with the latter, and things may "attach" to you as well! Some people have enough invisible presences around them to fill a stadium!


This can happen due to the person being a born medium and not taking measures to protect themselves. It can also come about when one "opens a doorway", through certain practices. What your lady from Trinidad was doing, is a guaranteed "door opener"! Once such portals are opened, they are very hard to close, and the person responsible will be getting more than they bargained for.


(There is an lesson to this effect in the old vampire legends. According to folklore, for a vampire to be able to enter your home, he has to be first invited in; after that, he can come and go at will! Not that I believe in physical vampires, but I do believe there are parasitic entities on the other side.)


The surest way to make a skeptic a believer, is for them to play with such practices; then they will be getting something that will make them revise their belief system! (Not that I would ever recommend doing that.)


It has been observed that some people have phenomena only after moving in to a certain location, and that they cease experiencing after moving out. In other cases, the phenomena follow the individual wherever they move or how often they move.


I knew a young lady who had to move every few months, because "crap" would follow her around, no matter how often she changed address. At first upon moving in somewhere, things would be quiet, and then the "stuff" would start up, slowly at first and then with greater frequency until her life became hell once again. I personally witnessed some freakish poltergeist phenomena while visiting with her. What I saw and heard made a most indelible impression on me and could not have been explained away by a skeptic had he witnessed it. No wonder the girl was close to losing her mind.


Interesting that the other lady also experienced the mirror portal effect. Through some of my questions, I think you have identified the source of your manifestations. In many cultures, it is customary to shun such people. Probably not a bad idea. I am glad for you that you are now "clean"; these things don't always end that way.


Note to readers: We got on the subject of the paranormal on this thread when it came out that Pia Zadora demolished the vintage Mary Pickford Hollywood mansion, Pickfair, because she claimed it was haunted and unlivable. This is an interesting subject and I welcome other readers to share their experiences, if they have had them. I appreciate Tom and Eugenia telling me about theirs!

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Well, Thelma Todd, I didn't know that ghosts will also attach themselves to people.


Again, I really don't know if my visitation experiences were dreams (which cold blooded logic would tell me they must have been) or a series of paranormal events (the possibility of which I don't dismiss).


As for the two lady friends, the one who saw ghosts all her life, including through mirrors, as well as the one who may have been indulging in voodoo, I haven't seen either one since 1995. It seems to me that my nightmare/ghostly visitor/whatever-it-was events took place at least 15 years ago, possibly a little more. So the time line with my acquaintance with the two ladies may, indeed, coincidence or not, overlap. A little bit spooky, if you pardon the expression.


Makes me sort of glad that I didn't followup a couple of years ago when one of them (the one possibly into voodoo) got her telephone number to me through a common acquaintance. She now lives in New York City and, from all that I heard about her, is doing well.


Speaking of ghosts and Pickfair, which got us on this topic in the first place, according to various internet sources, hauntings at the home were sighted long before Pia Zadora got the property. Even Buddy Rogers, who was married to Mary Pickford for the last 42 years of her life, apparently reported seeing a phantom lady in white in the house after Mary's passing which he thought was Mary. But Pickford herself was concerned about the place when they lived there with Fairbanks, if the following report is to be believed.


The following is from an article called Star's Ghosts Haunt Their Hollywood Homes at




Here's the bit on the haunting of Pickfair:


Silent screen star Mary Pickford and her famed husband Douglas Fairbanks Sr. lived in a haunted Beverly Hills mansion.


It stands in the foothills of Santa Monica Mountains and was called Pickfair.


Before their ownership, a tragic fatality is said to have taken place there. Soon after taking possession, Miss Pickford spoke to Douglas about the unaccountable noises she heard now and then, especially at night. Knowing his wife to be highly imaginative, he attributed them to "wind under the eaves." But the disquieting noises persisted. Douglas himself admitted he heard them and both eh and Mary tried to find an adequate explanation without success. The noises were like the pacing of a nervous woman's feet- up and down, up and down.


One midnight, Mary awoke from a dreamless sleep, got out of bed and walked to the door. The head of the staircase was dimly lighted but not so dimly that she was unable to see the figure of a young woman holding what looked like a piece of musical manuscript. Miss Pickford was not at all frightened because the face was so kindly and attractive and the star stepped forward and stretched out a welcoming hand. then the figure turned as if to descend the staircase and faded into thin air.


Again, when the couple were sleeping in the front bedroom, Mary became conscious of a creepy feeling stealing over her, and a noise in the attic above began. Douglas, too, admitted later he was aware of a "suffocating oppression." They both described it as the distinct unearthly sensation that they were not alone.


There came an ominous rustling of curtains, and ten there stood before them, at the far end of the room, a ghostly female dressed in what appeared to be a modern clothing. She was apparently in great trouble; her hands were clasped together and her eyes turned upward with an agonized expression.


Fairbanks was the first to speak; "Mary, do not be frightened, but do you see tat weird figure there near the curtain?" "Yes, I do, Doug, she said, shuddering. "thank heaven I have you near me this time."


The same specter was seen by several guests of Pickfair from time to time. A titled Scotchman who passed several days there in 1929 had an even more frightening experience than the one by his hosts. On the first night, he slept soundly until 3 in the morning. He had been awake a short time when suddenly the door of his bedroom blew open and slammed. Almost at the same time he heard the sound of creaking shoes pacing forward and backward in the large room.


Fixing his eyes in the direction from where the sound come, he saw standing in a corner the feminine apparition, hands clasped as if in prayer. It came forward, and to the man's terror, touched him on the forehead with fingertips that felt icy cold. Before he could give a gasp of surprise, the figure disappeared.


In an interview which Mary Pickford gave in 1933, she said; "I do not yet know who this ghost can be or what she wants, but I now she appears here at Pickfair and we are becoming used to her.

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Hi Tom!


Thanks again for sharing, I do appreciate it!


Openly and frankly sharing such experiences, and comparing them to what has happened to many others, is very helpful! If you had had such events in your life, realising that they are commonplace, can be reassuring; that one is not "crazy".


I tend to think your experience was an unwelcome visitation, and not a good one either. The fact that you were immobilised in it's presence is a bad sign right there. "Nice people", whether on "this side of the curtain" or not, don't do such things! The fact that you were in a borderline state between waking and sleep does not at all rule out the possibility that it was a real experience. In fact, I think it makes it likely.


I assume you never experienced such forced immobility during sleep/waking throughout your life, except at such moments? If it was a problem you have always had, then there may be a physiological explanation.


I appreciate your links and information about the female presence at the Pickfair mansion! Her identity has been a source of lively speculation for years in Hollywood. One other popular theory is that she was one of Fairbank's many mistresses. Based on the information you have provided, I tend to believe she was already there when the "First couple of Hollywood" moved in.


I'm a little surprised Pickford openly talked about this to the press in 1933. The culture was far more skeptical of such possibilities then than today. Also, she had nothing to gain by coming out with such a story. It wouldn't have helped her career and risked public ridicule.


Based on the description you have provided, this sounds like a sad, pathetic and lost spirit. When apparitions appear with "props", like this one did with her sheet music, it's a sign of someone stuck in their past, endlessly reliving their life experience while being earthbound. Not a great afterlife! Her actions also suggest someone pleading for help; she knows she is stuck and knows no way out of her situation. Sad.


I'll read those links later. Thanks for the information!


PS: It's interesting that you mention your Belle from Trinidad is "doing well". One of the main reasons such ritual is engaged in (besides hurting others), is to ensure personal prosperity. It's literally a pact with the dark powers; such "assistance" does not come free or without strings. The eventual price is more than most of us would be willing to pay.

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Thanks again, Thelma Todd, for your analysis. Well, the speculation that my experiences may have been something other than just nightmares does make them more interesting to reflect upon, I suppose. I say that rather flippantly and with the reassurance that they have been over for so many years now.


Those visitations, whether in a dream or from the spirit world, are the only times in my life in which I felt completely physically immobilized. I felt as if I could not move a muscle and was completely vulnerable for whatever the visitor chose to do - which, as it turned out, was stare at me without saying anything. I distinctly remember, as I was in that half awake, half asleep state, struggling to open my eyes wide and being incapable of doing so.


As for my friend, and her ceremony sacrificing some poor chicken, she never really talked to me about it much. But, obviously, with her Trinidadian culture, it was something that she took in her stride. I remember how when I protested to her about the cruelty of taking the bird's life for a ceremony, she laughed it off and said, "Oh, Tom, it could have been a goat."


I assume that means that goats are another animal that face sacrifices during voodoo ceremonies. My friend, by the way, never once said the word "voodoo." It's a word that I've been flashing around during this conversation, assuming that's what it was all about.


By the way, I never thought I was "crazy." I just thought I was having a doozy of a series of repetitive nightmares (and lasting about two years off and on it got pretty rough, at times, as I'm sure you can well imagine).

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Hi Tom,


The more you share with me about this experience, the more I think it wasn't just a dream or nightmare. It's a common type of experience with entities, especially of the not so friendly kind. You are blessed and fortunate that this didn't "escalate" as such manifestations often do, and even more blessed that it ended years ago. Who needs this kind of stuff?


I also think it fortunate that you no longer have anything to do with the Trinidadian. I feel that re-establishing contact with her would have been a mistake.


With each post, you give me more pieces to the puzzle! Very revealing was her response about her sacrificing a chicken; it could have been a goat! Worldwide traditions about blood sacrifice rituals have long believed that the higher up on the biological totem pole the thing sacrificed is, the more appeasing and pleasing it is to the powers invoked. The bigger and more evolved the animal, the more life force released and hence the more favor one is currying with whatever is being invoked. Goats are highly valued in the voodoo tradition as sacrificial animals. Other traditions have valued the sacrifice of bulls and horses; the bigger the animal, the better! I needn't tell you what the most "pleasing" type of victim would be. This a family website!


Her tradition traces back to Africa, and goes by various names. Called "Voodoo" (or some variation thereof) in West Africa, Haiti, the former British West Indies and New Orleans. In the Spanish Carribbean, it's known as "Santeria"; in Trinidad it's "Obeah".


Whatever one chooses to call it, it's rudiments are the same: Ritual circles, sacrifice of an animal as offering to some African derived god, invocation for some purpose and finally, drumming and dancing, all done to provoke a trance and for one of the participants to become possessed by the god.


One has to ask, what sort of entity would want to feed off the killing of an animal in exchange for "favors"? Allowing oneself to become physically and mentally possessed by such a presence is even more disturbing.


With all due respect to those for whom this is all a native and revered tradition, as someone who has studied the paranormal and it's impact on the living-all of this raises strong red warning flags! I personally think nothing good can come from it.


People who do this have been known to use such rituals to harm others. Had you ever given this woman offense, she might have done something about it and sent something your way! Who needs "friends" like this?!

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Well, Thelma Todd, I want to thank you for the education that this discussion has provided for me, regarding the paranormal and its many permutations.


I'm not saying anything against my friend, with whom I got along well, though the news of the animal sacrifice at the time clearly disgusted me and took me by surprise. And even if she was into "obeah," as you call it, in no way could I envision her trying to do me any harm. When we parted, we parted as friends, thus she tried contacting me a few years ago.


Nor do I know exactly what, now, to make of those visitations or dreams that I had years ago. But you have certainly given me a lot of new information, thus much to ponder.


And I rather suspect, as well, that this thread has been a learning experience for more than a few other readers, as well.

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Maya Deren on the left; documentarian, experimental film pioneer, voodoo priestess.






Most of the active participants in this tradition are women by far.




Zonked out for Shango; the upturned eyes tell us he is in another place. The whole purpose was to dance into a trance/possession state.



*Divine Horsemen The Living Gods Of Haiti*




Full 50 minute documentary.



Hi Tom,


Thanks for your compliments and appreciation! I put a lot of effort into these replies because of the far reaching importance of the subject. Experience of the paranormal has touched many lives, including a number of stars as well as the people who later acquire their homes. One doesn't have to be famous; such phenomena exist in every town and community. The next house one buys or the next apartment one moves into could bring you face to face with such experiences! I do hope to be informative to the other readers as well!


About your friend from Trinidad. I'm glad to hear that she was a nice person and one not likely to wish you harm. Many of the people who were born and raised in these traditions mean no evil. I do think that they, perhaps unwittingly, open themselves to invisible influences to a degree that they themselves might not be aware. This is very powerful stuff what they dabble in; it can have real world effects and effects on all that they come in contact with. It's no fake Halloween show!


Some practitioners take measures to "insulate" themselves from the potential psychic fallout of this darker magic, by invoking the protection of the divine as well. Hence the strange eclecticism of voodoo "altars", which besides talismans to African gods, will feature pictures and statues of Jesus, Buddha and various Hindu gods. These people aren't taking chances, they are hedging their bets! There is a certain have-it-both-ways disingenuousness to it, resorting to blood sacrifice along with invoking (what I think) a darker power while asking the divine to protect them from what them are doing. I could compare it to an arsonist who frantically calls for the fire dept. to come and help him just as he is starting the blaze!


The chicken is sacrificed for a twofold reason: first, to feed the entity invoked and second to use it's blood as ritual magic. For millenia and in many cultures, blood was thought to have a magical power that goes beyond the purpose medical science describes of it. In voodoo ritual, the chicken's head is cut off, the lead dancer then swings the headless chicken at all the other participants, spraying them with blood in an "anointing". In the case of a goat, the throat will be cut, the blood passed around for drinking and for other ritual marking of the participants.


I personally believe that all these practices- the sacrifice, the blood, the trance, the possession create a psychic contamination. Any number of influences can enter the lives of the people who do this, as well as those who associate with them. Whatever one's intentions, I think it opens a Pandora's Box.


I recommend watching the film link above. It was shot by pioneering experimental and avant garde film maker *Maya Deren* in 1947-54. She was in Haiti filming a documentary on the subject. As a documentarian, she crossed the line by becoming a part of the subject itself; she became an initiated voodoo priestess.


Her film is absolutely compelling and unforgettable. The drum rhythms are haunting, the (mostly) women dancers are clearly zoned out in a trance. For a whole group of people to do this makes an eerie impression. These people are not extras and this is no fake Hollywood production! Our culture has no knowledge of, or experience with anything like this.

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Your knowledge on the subject continues to amaze me, Thelma Todd. Have you ever considered teaching a course on the subject, assuming that there is such a thing (obviously, a course strictly for adults). I will definitely check out the link.


Yes, my friend was a very nice person, but also rather naive. I was reminded of that when you referred to the fact that sometimes these people don't realize the forces with which they are dealing.


With your description of how a headless chicken is treated, it's no wonder that I recall her saying that they had to spread newspapers all over the floor of the hotel room in which they performed the blood sacrifice.


Naive or not, my friend had more personal integrity than many others I've known. Months after I had lost all contact with her and had no idea where she had gone, she sent a sizeable amount of money she owed me (which couldn't have been all that easy for her financially either). I've continued to hold her in high regard for that last act of friendship.

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Hello Tom!


You're very sweet, thank you!


I have no plans to teach a course, as I don't feel it's my calling. There are many other specialists in the paranormal field who do make it their life's work to educate the public. That doesn't rule out the possibility that I may do that someday. I enjoy sharing on these boards about a number of subjects. The size of our readership here is not insignificant, even if we never hear from most of them. The subject of film can be tangential to many other topics.


With each one of your posts, you give out more clues that I find revealing! The thing that stood out in your last post is that they would conduct such ritual in a hotel room. I think I know why.


The people planning and guiding these events know full well they are opening a portal. They avoid doing this on their own property or in their homes because they don't want such a portal in their house or property! If they felt this was a good thing in itself, then you would think they would like to do this on a regular basis on their own premises. Wrong! Someone among them knows just as much as what I'm telling you, and apparently doesn't want the psychic fallout and exposure. They know what can come from this as a collateral effect, and don't wish to live with it.


Hence they go to a property (i.e. a hotel) which they can rent by the night and disband from. The leader at least must do some "protection" ritual to firewall his or herself from anything "attaching" to them from such practices. Whether the followers take care do this is another matter; they could be more vulnerable.


That is not a hotel room I would like to check into! Subsequent guests can have things "attach" to them without their knowledge, as the portal remains open long after the voodoo ritualists have left. Really, this can be compared to some nut who says he just loves to go poo-poo on carpets, yet dislikes doing it in his own house, preferring to dirty the rug in someone else's home!


In Africa and the Caribbean, it is very common for voodoo ceremonies to be held away from any home or property owned by the participants. Often an open field is used. Doing it at the same location repeatedly energises the portal. Although voodoo is often performed at "churches" and temples dedicated to it, many prefer borrowed or open air locations that they do not have to live in. Those who make these decisions know what they are doing.


You mention your friend being naive. Voodoo is not about thinking, belief or reason. Voodoo is a practice, not a belief system. It's something you do; it's for participants, not spectators. There are no voodoo catechisms, no voodoo "theologians" or scriptures to study and debate. It's whole purpose is to drop your mind, trance out and make yourself a pliant channel for some hidden power. That, combined with the blood magic aspect, makes it a controversial form of spiritual practice.


PS: I hope you do watch *Divine Horsemen*. Watching it, one is witnessing something remarkable. Deren herself well understood that she could not convey the essence of it by being just a detached observer; she had to join it and participate in order to understand it.

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That's very perceptive of you, Thelma Todd, your reasoning for the selection of a hotel room by my friend and her fellow participants. I had never thought about that aspect before, just turned off by the chicken business.


There's a great movie script in the makings here with all the information that you have provided. And, yes, I will be checking out the link you provided.

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Rudolf Valentino's famed Falcon Lair, reputed to be haunted.




The ill omened Jean Harlow house.




Hi Tom,


It was great of you to share your recollections! This discussion prompted you to recall details, some of which may seem small or insignificant to most people but which are meaningful to one familiar within the field. In discussing people's personal experiences, I've learned to be almost like a detective, where it is important to ask the right questions, rule out other possibilities and to carefully weigh clues and details!


As this process has prompted you to think back more on it all, if any other memory comes to mind, do feel free to share.


For the rest of you readers, feel free to describe any experiences you have had. I will certainly do my utmost to ensure that this forum remains a place for thoughtful and respectful discussion. These matters are not to be joked about and the persons coming forth with personal accounts do not deserve ridicule.


Tom I looked at the Pickfair link you provided. It's quite a coincidence that it mentions two other star homes that I came across during my research about Pickfair and it's history: the *Rudolf Valentino Falcon Lair* mansion and the *Jean Harlow* house, (Whose creepy history has long fascinated me!) I was considering doing later posts about these homes, but your link clinches it for me! I will follow up in later posts!


PS: if any other of you have gone on celebrity home tours in the Hollywood area or have gone on "ghost tours" anywhere, let me know!!

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Thelma Todd, I look forward to your writeups on the hauntings at Falcon's Lair and Harlow's old home.


I know that Valentino had Falcon's Lair constructed just the year before his death. Ironic, isn't it, for those who believe in hauntings, that Rudy's ghost has been in the establishment so much longer than he had been when mortal.

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Hi Casablancalover,


I enjoyed the celebrity named sandwich links. The one for Heimerhouse was really good, where you could eat a "Benedict Arnold", "Sigmund Freud", "Albert Einstein" and a bunch of movie stars! Very provocative! Must help sales. I wonder is there is any satirical symbolism to listing some names under "ham" or "bologna" sandwiches!


Sorry for the delayed response. As you could see, I devoted a lot of time and energy responding to Tom and Eugenia. I considered that subject of vital importance, as it could affect anybody and in some cases, have serious consequences!

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Hi Thelma Todd,


I saw your comment on the Fake Spiritualists thread, and I'm certainly glad you enjoyed our exchanges here. Having said that, I doubt that you enjoyed them any more than I did, as it was a real education for which I am most grateful. It was almost like talking to a ghost detective. And, yes, I did see that 50 minute documentary about voodoo in Haiti. (I've got a real problem in dealing with the animal sacrifices).


As far spiritualism is concerned, I don't have any particular questions off hand, though must express some surprise when I read Wikipedia's definition of it to see that it was actually called a religion.


If you have any insights on the subject it would be great to read, but please don't feel any pressure to do so. You've already provided a lot of food for thought with your speculations that my recurring "nightmares" years ago may have been something more ominous than that.

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Hi Tom!


I'm glad to be back with you here!


I wanted to remove our further discussing spiritualism to this thread, because past posts here have set an entirely different tone for taking up this topic. Your thread dealt with the theme of fake spiritualist con men/hustlers and generated a response premised upon that.


I wish to point out that I would never trust anybody who claims to invoke sixth sense phenomena on behalf of his "clientele" for money! Nobody should; such people are automatically suspect. Even if they started out with some genuine "gifts", the temptation to tell people what they want to hear and to string them along for further "revelations" (and more fees) becomes hard to resist. Once a person goes down that slippery slope, their "gift" diminishes; that's if they ever had them to begin with.


Psychism for hire is almost always charlatanry. I say "almost", because there are always exceptions to every rule. One is usually safe to assume that such claimants are full of it, should be avoided and given no credence.


Every state at one time had laws prohibiting it, because of the long sad history of such people descending into extortion, blackmail, and the preying upon the fears and gullibility of their clients. Many a family found out that the family fortune and assets got written over to a psychic, upon the urging of the "spirits"!


Yet spiritualism is too important a subject to dismiss out of hand. I would distinguish between professional psychics, spiritualists and spiritualistic practice itself. Over the centuries, many people have dabbled in the latter on their own, perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps out of conviction but usually out of ignorance of what the consequences could be.


Paranormal researchers have uncovered abundant evidence that past dabbling in practices such as seances, "channeling", magic circles and Quija boards greatly intensifies phenomena at a location, much of which can be caught on recording devices. It's even easier to experience firsthand. Some locations have been investigated by a number of groups over the years, and some researchers try to "draw out" the presences by resorting to seances, "automatic writing" and Quija boards. Experience has shown that that type of "investigation" invariably makes it all worse for the family or owner that has to live there! They are the ones stuck with the fallout, they are the ones that have to go on living there long after such "investigators" have packed up and left.


Cave Girl mentioned *Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society* on the other thread. Blavatsky was a 19th century Russian woman who traveled widely in the orient and became acquainted with many of it's arcane practices and traditions. She ended up "channeling" two Tibetan "masters", and built up a worldwide movement called the Theosophical Society, which enjoyed a lot of following among the upper classes. The society and it's literature glorified spiritualist practices, encouraging it's members to dabble in such. This produced so much fallout that you could spend the rest of your life reading all the testimonials and criticisms that came from it! Her movement produced a lot of publication, both pro and con. (One acquaintance of mine was at their headquarters in Wheaton Illinois, and was frightened to death by a large head apparition that appeared in front of her!)


Sometimes people are affected by such practices unwittingly. There was group in Texas called out by the owners of a location that was having some very scary phenomena. The new owners found a portion of the basement that during renovations, revealed a hidden sealed room, containing a lot of strange objects and memorabilia. The contents revealed that the house was once a "Spiritualist Church" in the 1910-1920's. The investigators were savvy enough to realise that all that stuff was sealed for a reason, and that opening the room released a lot of strange and malevolent phenomena. They recommended that the objects found in that room be returned there and the room resealed. That helped to a great degree, but still did not make "the weird stuff" cease entirely.


Such practices can not only contaminate their practitioners and the people in their lives, but the very location itself for a long, long time. Researching property history on an old house one is considering purchase of, is never a bad idea. That includes information about past tenants, the connection of the property to the Native American past, to records of past suicides and deaths. I would NEVER buy a property that was once a "Spritualist Church"!


That a location itself can be charged up with an invisible "portal", was well known to your friend's voodoo circle.


PS: the animal sacrifice part about it is what makes it a darker form of practice; the invocation of entities that are not beings of the light. That's why those voodoo "altars" love to prominently display statues and pictures of Jesus. These folks are in effect praying to the Lord to protect them from their own black magic! A strange form of double dealing!




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Well, Thelma Todd, you've certainly made an impressive study of the paranormal. Thanks very much for some of your insights on spiritualists. I wonder if you have written a book on the subject or perhaps had a few articles published. If not, perhaps some time you would consider doing so.


Perhaps you've been to an establishment where sightings are reputed to have occured. You stated earlier that you have had some personal experiences with the paranormal, including, I believe, witnessing poltergeist activity . Obviously, that has had a profound effect your belief system, as it would so many others who are now confirmed skeptics.


As for myself, after the conversations with those two friends to whom I referred earlier, I have kept my mind open to all possibilities. And, of course, these exchange with you, in turn, have also made me wonder even more about my own "dream" experiences lo those many years ago.

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Mind blowing is putting it mildly, Thelma, especially if these scientists are eventually able to start to further understand or, perhaps, even prove the existence of other dimensions in co-existence with our own. I'm afraid it's all a bit much for my poor little brain to try to wrap itself around.


But it is fascinating. And in the meanwhile, we all have the further excitement of ghost tales, a few even involving some of our film industry favourites.

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Hi Tom,


I have personally witnessed scientific observations of particles appearing and disappearing into unseen dimensions. I was at a particle accelerator laboratory on a tour, where they accelerated atoms to near light velocity and "smashed" them. The resulting collision "shrapnel" consisted of sub-atomic particles that would fly wildly about. The results were visually projected onto a large 4' X 8" viewing table. They used a misty "cloud vapor" in order to see the "trails" created by these fast moving minute objects.


Being able to see this motion in real time, I was astounded when the scientist pointed out trails "disappearing" and then "resuming" out of nowhere! Some particles "disappeared" suddenly and were never heard from again! He explained very matter of factly, that we are witnessing particles going in and out of unseen and unknown dimensions!


He was so nonchalant about this, that it was like describing a visit to the grocery store; that's how commonplace this type of observation has become! Yet it's implications are earth shaking. It raises unlimited questions and possibilities!


Sometimes the particle decay would be reversed, meaning the particle had "rejuvenated" during it's "sojourn" in a place we can't presently know! Sometimes the reappearing particle would pick up mass and velocity, as if "propelled" back into our world by a great force. Such observations have caused scientists to speculate that some of these dimensions have time that flows in reverse of ours!


It also causes them to believe that these hidden dimensions have their own energy fields, entirely independent of our own world.


This is all pretty far out stuff, but modern physicists now deal with this everyday! Right now, the fuller exploration of such realms is beyond their experimental means.


Check out the website of *NYU theoretical physicist Michio Kaku*, who often appears on the Science Channel and has written very readable books for laymen, explaining the latest cutting edge results in his field. He talks of 11 dimensions (needed for string theory to work) and multiple universes over lapping with our own. Physics is becoming metaphysics!




Edited by: ThelmaTodd on Oct 19, 2013 9:05 PM

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To those readers who found our discussion here fascinating and would like to get involved with it firsthand, there are paranormal investigation groups all over this country and in your area as well. Most of them have websites and are more than willing to share the results of their investigations with the public. You can also join them and get involved with a field investigation.


Some groups require members to be trained in investigation. Some will have opportunities to go into the field, or offer chances to do background research on a location. Research can be laborious and require many hours of digging through property records, public records and newspapers. Sometimes the past tenants and owners of a place have to be looked up and interviewed for their experiences.


There is so much for them to investigate that their main constraint is not a lack of cases, but rather the demands of time and money upon the organisation and it's members.


Some groups confine themselves entirely to the use of technical instruments and they are primarily gathering evidence. Others work with mediums in order to augment the findings of their equipment. Some will work with a religious/clergy member as well.


The problem for many of them is not the finding of evidence that recording devices can pick up on, it's what to actually do about some of these presences that they come up against. Very often these are quite malevolent and intrusive, causing the people living in that location considerable discomfort and grief. Most of the time these groups are contacted by a distraught family that are at their wits end, and wish for it all to end. When deciding which group to get involved with, you must ask: are they merely evidence gatherers? What if anything do they actually do to help the situation once they determine that the location is "hot"?


The problem a great many of these families face is that the entity(ies) want the living to leave; not always easy when the owners have sunk their life savings into a house and have nowhere else to go, besides having a property on their hands that may not be easy to sell. Worst of all and demanding an intervention are situations where small children are involved. As mentioned earlier in this thread, children have a heightened perception and are often the most vulnerable to influences. In a location where there is (are) a very malevolent entity(ies), children are in danger. They are vulnerable to possession, are often urged to hurt themselves and others by these invisibles, and can also be psychologically scarred for life by such strange goings on. The parents become helpless in such situations and require outside help.


Merely being a curiosity seeker is probably not a good enough motivation to engage in such activity and to expose yourself to the potential influences of these locations.


The subject of film leads to the subject of stars, and the subject of stars leads to the personal lives and lifestyles of those stars. That Hollywood is rich in reported hauntings seems to go with the whole subject of film itself. Many of the stars homes are reputed to be haunted, or sometimes a star buys a home that turns out to be haunted. In the case of Mary Pickford and Pia Zadora, it was both of those possibilities!


Edited by: ThelmaTodd on Oct 20, 2013 1:20 PM

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Thelma, it's been really an education to read your great writeups on the paranormal. This isn't the kind of conversation that you expect to find on the TCM message board, of course, but that takes nothing away from its fascination. And perhaps there are a few readers here for whom this conversation has really served a valuable purpose, as well.


One never knows where a thread initially about a lost Mary Pickford film will lead.

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Tom, I want to thank you for your role in keeping the discussion going, as it helped probe the subject in greater depth! Whatever one's personal experiences, they are seldom entirely unique and usually fit a pattern well known to those who have studied this field in depth.


A study of Hollywood hauntings is interesting not just from a paranormal point of view, but for the light they shed on the sometimes sad and tragic personal lives of the stars. Great wealth and fame do not always protect or insulate one one from suicide, violent death and self-destructive lifestyles. The strange business and career that the stars have chosen for themselves has unique rewards and pitfalls.


These folks were used to great fame and public attention while living. In the unfortunate event they become earthbound spirits attached to their former homes, they find themselves bewildered and angry that people are milling about in their former mansions not noticing or hearing them. Much of the paranormal phenomena of Hollywood is driven by a desire to get the attention of the living.


At one former haunted star mansion, the owners were urged to create a place of honor commemorating the star who once owned the place: a conspicuously placed portrait, a gathering of the personal effects left behind by the star and even a commemorative plaque. As silly as it sounds, this did the trick! The phenomena ceased. The new owners even took to occasionally screening the star's old films! If that sounds like an infantile response on the part of the departed person, well no wonder! Show business and stardom have always appealed to emotionally needy and immature people! One doesn't necessarily "grow up" upon passing, especially if earthbound; then the person remains "stuck" in terms of further growth and development. "Spooks" can be like the living, craving love and attention!


I personally would like to get involved in an investigation of the former residences of Thelma Todd and Mae West, also reputed to be haunted. In the case of Ms. Todd, she died tragically and young, in the prime of her life and career. Ms. West lived a long life where she was used to success, getting her own way and having it all on her terms. That can be the profile of one who is often reluctant to move on when it is time for them to move on. I would like to work with a local group someday, in the role of providing a "trigger". Being a lifelong pianist, I can play songs from their movies. Some paranormal investigators believe strongly in the use of such "triggers", especially involving music, as it helps prompt phenomena. Unfortunately, I do not live in the Los Angeles area, and my time would be limited to a short visit.


(I was allowed to play the piano recreationally in off hours by the management of the Chicago Theater, a 1920's movie palace that featured a lot of live performances as well. The dressing room walls have signatures and graffiti left by the biggest names of yesteryear. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the place, often playing old film music from the 20's and 30's.


Very often, while technically alone, I felt and sensed quite a "crowd" surround me while playing. I never did feel alone in that place! I sensed the presence of a lot of chorus women who seemed to enjoy the vintage music I played. It was amusing and fun for me, this sense that I'm entertaining a group when no group was physically visible!


The security guard told me the place is quite haunted, and that several guards quit in the past, frightened by their experiences. The "stuff" would usually happen in the period after midnight and before dawn, but especially around 3 AM. Once he heard a woman singing loud and clear near the stage, turned on the lights and there was no one there! Old theaters have long been reputed to be haunted. He learned to accept such experiences and took them in stride, but not everyone can deal with it and end up quitting.


Places where live performances took place leave great residual, emotional energy. It can often be palpably felt, especially late at night when the place is empty.)

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A subject that has not been broached on your thread, Thelma, is that of haunted boats or ships.


As a boy I grew up watching Errol Flynn films on television, and his celluloid image became, for me, the spirit of adventure and romance. In fact, it still is today.


I've also become a bit familiar with the actor's life. There are few figures in Hollywood's history who became quite so controversial as Flynn. But during his day the actor always claimed that any publicity, good or bad, was good, and he rarely disputed or defended himself publicly against some of the more outragious claims made about him.


Flynn lead a life of genuine adventure before he finally arrived in the film capital. Of particular note, was a leisurely six month trip that he and three other young daredevils took on a schooner, sailing along the Great Barrier Reef to New Guinea.


And Flynn would always have a greater love affair with the sea and sailing than he ever would with any woman. After becoming a film star he would purchase two schooners from which he would often flee Hollywood, sometimes at the exasperation of studio boss Jack Warner.


In his heart of hearts, I think Flynn was a sailor. Okay, he was a sailor who wanted to be a writer. Okay he was a sailor who wanted to be a writer who also wanted to have a hell of a good party time. Eventually the latter aspect of his character overwhelmed him, unfortunately. That, combined with a increasing emotional downward spiral that started in the 1940s, would eventually lead to an early death at age 50.


But his spirit, however, that may well be another story.


After his contract with Warner Brothers terminated in 1952 and he made a failed attempt at film production in Italy the following year, Flynn, accompanied by his wife, Patrice Wymore, lived much of his life on board his 118 foot schooner, the Zaca, sailing between his Jamaican estate and Palma de Mallorca, Spain.


Following the actor's death from a heart attack in 1959, the Zaca remained moored for a few years at the Club Nautico in Palma de Mallorca, where few repairs or attempts at upkeep were done for the vessel, as Flynn's lawyers squbbled endlessly over his estate. Those attorneys, desiring to be rid of the Zaca, consigned her to an English millionaire playboy, Freddie Tinsley, who swore he could sell her in France.


What he did, instead, was to strip the Zaca of everything that appeared to be of value, abandoning her in 1965 in Bernard Voisin's boatyard in Villefranche. Voisin would later claim her for non-payment of rent. David Niven, in concluding his chapter devoted to old friend Flynn in his best selling reminiscence, Bring On the Empty Horses, wrote sadly of a chance encounter that he had with the deteriorating remains of the Zaca while he was in Villefranche.


It was while the Zaca lay in this sad state of disrepair that either a fisherman or nearby skipper of a yacht (depending upon which source you choose) claimed to have heard the sounds of music and women laughing, further seeing the silhouettes of party goers dancing past the windows of the boat, as the lights flashed off and on. The problem was that there was no one aboard the Zaca at the time and the electricity to the vessel had been disconnected.


Over the course of the following 20 years there would be other locals who said they heard similar sounds coming from the Zaca, as well as those who claimed to see the ghost of Flynn pacing his deck, the sightings of the actor usually coming around twilight. One man was so frightened by what he saw that he leaped overboard from his own boat, being rescued from the water, shivering and shocked.


Having heard the ghostly tales about the schooner, Voisin decided to have an exorcism performed in 1979. Rather than doing it aboard the boat, a model of the Zaca was taken to a Monte Carlo church, attended by several people claiming to have seen Flynn's ghost. According to reports, the exorcism was presided over by both a Catholic priest and an Anglican arch deacon. The exorcism was considered to be a success and, since then, there have been no further reports of ghostly parties taking place on the vessel or the spirit of its famous former owner.




The Zaca's sad history of decline would change through a couple of subsequent owners, with the schooner finally being overhauled, rebuilt and refitted in a two year operation by Italian businessman Robert Memmo, the schooner making a grand entrance at the 1993 Monaco classic regatta. It is my understanding that the vessel that Flynn sailed is still sailing today, entertaining celebrities and politicians, visiting various ports in the Mediterranean. Its winter berth is in Monte Carlo.


Errol Flynn, a renowned conversationalist among other things, was a man who never let something as trifling as the truth get in the way of a good story. It was for no small reason that he was sometimes compared to Baron Munchausen. And these tales of ghostly midnight parties and his own spirit seen walking the decks of his schooner, whether true or not, these are tales the old boy would have loved.



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Thelma, when you were entertaining that invisible crowd of chorus girls in that Chicago movie palace, it's a shame that my friend who I told you said she could see spirits wasn't there is confirm your feelings.


If there's ever been a Hollywood star who could be cursed with a restless earthbound spirit not many would be more likely candidates than your namesake. Her death remains one of the great unsolved Hollywood mysteries.


It would be exciting for you, no doubt, to participate into an investigation of reporting sightings of her ghost, possibly gliding down that long flight of stairs she is reputed to have scaled that final evening before ending up in that garage.


I had never heard that there were ghostly reports on Mae West before.

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