Tag Archives: Wicked

Open Your Eyes: A Chilling Tale of Sleep Paralysis

It was late.  We were hanging out in the basement of my family home, the usual dark and private place for teenagers to dwell.  My then boyfriend and I were squished into one lay-z-boy chair watching a movie, which was the norm when you worked at a video store and got all the new ones free.

photo courtesy amazingers.com

I must’ve fallen asleep.  I don’t remember what I was doing before…lights.  Round, amber flashes before my eyes and the startling cry of a lost child.  Someone or something was pushing down on me, pressing the air from my lungs and I couldn’t move to stop it.  I had lost all control of my body.  I thought I was shaking, but I couldn’t make my arms push the monster on top of me away.  I couldn’t even open my eyes.  Only darkness.  And the increasing panic that I was being punished, or worse killed.  Open your eyes!  I commanded.  Open your eyes!  

When I woke from the blackness I sobbed audibly.  It was only a minute or two, but it felt like a full nightmare.  My boyfriend was holding my arms, terrified.  What just happened?  I thought you were having a seizure!  What’s wrong?!  I didn’t know what to say, or what happened, only how I felt.  No matter how I tried, I couldn’t move.  Was it a sign?  Was something after me?  Had I gone too far into the paranormal world and now one of them was after me?  I couldn’t say anything.  Who would believe me anyway?

Several weeks earlier, my family celebrated Christmas and both my sister and I received Sylvia Browne’s Book of Dreams.  Browne, a world renowned psychic, was an author my sister had turned me onto, and we’d been reading several of her books about the afterlife, haunted locations, and totem spirits.  I’d been slowly making my way through this book, which was more an educational book than a paranormal or spiritual read like her others.  The Book of Dreams dealt with archetypes and dream symbology, common images that represent the changes or people in our lives.  You know, like how we all have dreams about flying or falling or showing up naked to class.

A week after my scary episode, I was in the living room, stretched out on the couch reading through my Book of Dreams.  On sleep disorders, actually.  I bolted upright.  Sleep paralysis.  A condition where your state of sleep is interrupted and your conscious mind “awakes” before your body does.  Seriously, check out WebMD.  The symptoms include feeling an evil presence, stiffness of the body, flashing lights, loud noises, hallucinations, a weight upon one’s chest, and/or a sense of choking.

So I’m not crazy after all.  Or possessed, which was quite a relief.  And sleep paralysis is not a chronic condition, it’s rather rare.  It only happens if your body goes in and out of a state of sleep and consciousness too quickly.  I’ve never experienced it since, thankfully.  What I do find odd is the fact that I read about my experience one week after going through it.  Was I meant to get that book to help me understand what happened?  Was someone watching over me?  Or am I just really that superstitious and gullible?  Something tells me I wouldn’t be asking these questions if I just dreamed about showing up naked to school.

Have you ever heard of experienced sleep paralysis?  What do you think about it being a medical physical condition that attaches negative emotions to its occurrence?  It has a paranormal ring to it, don’t you think?  Sweet dreams, my ghoulies.

This is Why I Won’t Touch a Ouija Board

There’s a reason all movies with ouija boards are in the horror section.  Why didn’t I pay attention?!

Sam, Roberta, Teeny, and Chrissy

Have any of you watched the movie Now and Then?  It was a 90’s film about four friends who grew up together in a small town and the one summer that changed their lives, making their bond last forever.  There’s a lot of familiar faces in the film:  Gaby Hoffman, Christina Ricci, and Thora Birch playing the young girls and Demi Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Melanie Griffith, and Rita Wilson playing them as adults.  Bonnie Hunt, Janeane Garofalo, Hank Azaria, Brendan Fraser, and Cloris Leachman all support as well.  If you were a tween like me who grew up with this film, you probably watched it cause of him…

Devon Sawa - Hearthrob of tween girls in the 90's everywhere. See this film and Casper.

Anyway, you stock up on Mambas (which are better than Starburst) and watch the story unfold with your sister or best girl friend in tow.  One of the main adventures the girls have is a night reading with the ouija board in the graveyard.  After numerous failed attempts to conjure up Marilyn Monroe – “she didn’t cooperate last time,” they decide to speak with someone buried in the graveyard, a boy called Dear Johnny, who died the same age as they are.  What happens next is the unfolding of how Dear Johnny died and what will help him to rest again.

Now and Then isn’t a scary movie, it’s a movie about friendship.  Friendship and a little paranormal mystery.  I blame all my willingness to “ouija” on this film.  If I had only watched something along the lines of What Lies Beneath or Paranormal Activity instead, I might not have been so enthusiastic.

I will share with you my first experience with a ouija board later this month, and trust me, it’s a creepy one.  For today, I’ll share with you a few snippets of experiences and why I will no longer use a ouija board.  In case you’re unfamiliar with ouija boards, Catie Rhodes wrote an AWESOME historical post about their creation, the various forms they’ve taken on, and how they’ve been used in film.  You really should check out her post!  I’ll wait for you…

Hello again!  So briefly, the ouija board is a talking board meant to be an inbetween medium for spirits to connect with us.  Sounds cool right?  Well, it can be.  Let me take a minute and explain some of my opinions on how ouija boards work.  I emphasize this is just my experience I’m basing this on.

  • Ouija boards will not work for everyone.  An openness is required and the more connected you are to an individual who is also touching the pointer piece will impact how well the board works.
  • Ouija boards let in anything you give energy to.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, expect to get messed with.
  • Blessing the area helps.  Invite only kind spirits into your communication circle.  I’ve had positive experiences with this which I will share.
  • Do not be disappointed if a loved one doesn’t communicate with you through the board; it means they are happy and healthy on the Other Side.

Image via onlineouijaboard.net

Ok, when I said that it depends on who’s using the board with you, that’s been my history with the process.  I’ve tried to use a ouija board with different friends and gotten gibberish responses that make no sense.  But when I attempted to communicate to spirits with my high school best friend we always got full word responses.  I accredit this to our ability of finishing each others’ sentences and knowing what the other was thinking without saying a word.  We were very close, and I would be so bold to say kindred spirits/soul mates at that time.  The energy we channeled was probably better equipped to receive messages.

Prime example, once we used the board to try to communicate with a friend’s family member who had passed.  We didn’t get anything when she tried to use the board, but when my friend and I did we believe we made contact with her Aunt and talked enough that the whole experience was so moving and emotional our friend cried.

Remember when I said you can’t control what comes in, but blessings help.  That was one instance where it did help.  We lit a circle of candles around us and said a little prayer.  We asked that only spirits who would bring forth light and goodness enter our circle and that any spirits intending harm be banished from it.  We let our friend ask the questions and we read the responses.  This was a very powerful experience for her, and even myself to witness it.

I feel I learned the hard way about blessing the circle first.  I gave up using the talking board after a spirit we’d been successful talking to several times started mocking me through the board.  It was scary and cruel and I wanted no part of it anymore.

That ended the weird paranormal pranks for awhile.  I had a few odd occurrences while living in the dorms in college that friends teased was “my ghost” following me to school.  I never used a ouija board again, but it could’ve been him moving stuff IN BETWEEN dorm rooms.  Our residence hall was set up in what we called “cubes,” which consisted of 3 different squared arrangements of rooms on each floor, so students lived in the A, B, or C cube of their prospective floor.  In my cube, objects would mysteriously disappear from one room and end up in others.  Since it occurred most often amongst my “cube friends” it was blamed on my ghost.

I’m thankful there hasn’t been any recent activity of that nature in my life.  I’m still open to paranormal interaction, but I don’t want them following me around everywhere.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for those that can see and communicate with the dead on a regular basis.  I would think their lives are very difficult and scary at times.  It’s an unknown world to us, but one that will forever intrigue us.

What do you think?  Have you ever used a ouija board?  What was your experience?  Have you ever felt a spirit was communicating with you?  How did you handle it?

A Wicked Party

Last week I shared with you my Wicked review about the story of the Wicked Witch of the West.  Today I wanted to share some ideas for throwing a Wicked party!

Party Option Number 1:  A Wicked Party

     I’m a little behind this year with my Halloween decorating, but last year Joe and I went all out.  It all started when we helped my brother and sister in law decorate their house for a Wicked theme party.  The whole family and several friends were coming over for brunch and then we were all headed to see the musical.

They had tombstones in their yard.  We cobwebbed the house, set skulls and crows and bugs around the tables, and draped the entryway with Halloween streamers.

     Everyone was already so excited to be getting together and attending the show, but we didn’t tell anyone we were getting all spooked out!  We wore witch hats and invited everyone in the haunted house.  The most creative decoration was made by my brother, courtesy his wife’s closet.  Can you guess what it is?

Me and Tammye, my sister in law, trying to get our hands on the ruby slippers!

Oh no, she's dead! Anyone else notice the super creepy shadow we somehow arranged on the wall? *shudder*

This party was so much fun, and even if you didn’t plan to attend the show, you could still throw a Wicked party because who isn’t familiar with the story of The Wizard of Oz or the Wicked Witch of the West?!  You could jazz it up more than us and all come as the characters if you wanted.  Maybe you could make theme foods like a Yellow Brick cheese road, and a fun lime-flavored drink to go with the Emerald City.  The key is to make it YOUR kind of party.  If you’re having fun planning it, then your guests will certainly enjoy themselves to.

 

Party Option Number 2:  A Make Your Own Scissorhands Theme

Our Spider Victim

 

I told you Joe and I got excited after helping my brother.  So, we came back and decorated our own house and planned another Halloween party.

We cobwebbed the house, making sure to drape all the paintings and posters, put plastic bugs all over, and made a spooky music mix cd to play as guests arrived and even had a fog machine!

     We plan to bust out our decorations really soon this year.  Set up the haunted houses, turn on the jack-o-lantern lights, light the candles. We even put in scary movies while we decorate to get us in the mood.

As guests arrived we did a simple soup (vegetable tortellini), salad, bread dinner with fun orange-colored appetizers (cheez balls, chips and salsa, pumpkin bars, etc.).

So here’s where things got fun.  While eating, we were all watching the film Edward Scissorhands, which is actually a nice Halloween/Christmas movie about a man with scissors for hands who changes the lives of a small town community forever.

After dinner, Joe and I announced we were going to play a game.  I dumped boxes of plastic picnic ware on the table along with some straws and toothpicks and a couple rolls of tape.  The contest was who could make the best scissorhand…but what they didn’t know was they also had to prove its functional ability by eating one more dish with their scissorhand!

Party Guests Displaying their Scissorhand

We timed out the contest and everybody had fun “bragging” over who’s scissorhand was the best.  One guest even decided to eat the rest of their meal with their invention!

The ideas for Halloween parties are endless.  Look to your favorite films and stories of the season and base your party around that idea.  I’m sure many of you have thrown some dazzlingly wicked parties, now do share!  What kind of Halloween parties have you hosted or attended?  What made them so fun?

I See Dead People

Image from the film Sixth Sense

Hello my Hauntings!  Welcome to the first of Wicked Wednesday’s Ghost Story series.  Every wednesday I’ll share a personal story about my encounters with the paranormal, and I plan for them to get progressively creepier as the month goes on.

So today, we’re doing a bit of a montage.  I’ll share with you some of the spooky moments of my past, and if you’re comfortable, and open-minded, I’d love your thoughts and stories as well.  Let’s get started!

Most of you are familiar with the 1999 film by M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense.  A brief summary is a young boy is able to see spirits who don’t know they’ve died, and by helping them, he is able to help a downtrodden childhood psychologist.  The very telling scene of the film is when Cole, the boy, admits to Dr. Malcolm that “I see dead people.”  Chilling and honest at the same time, if you ask me.

My stories are nothing so dramatic.  For one, I can’t pay people (let alone professionals) to listen to my problems, though I’m sure I’d benefit from it.  And second, I don’t see dead people consistently.  I just see them sometimes.  The following is a composite list of the some of the strange, unexplainable, and honest situations I’ve experienced.

The Painted Pebble:  This story isn’t scary, so much as unexplainable.  My grandmother passed away when I was five years old.  I don’t think I understood what death meant for many years later.  Because I have so few memories of her living, most of my connection to her came from sleeping with the stuffed animal lamb that was in her hospital room when she passed, visiting her grave with my mother, and leaving a painted pebble on her tombstone that I painted with her favorite colors, pink and purple.  I was probably between 6-8 years old, and friendship pebbles were all the rage at school.  I made this one for my grandmother and left it atop the gravestone.  For over a year, that pebble never left my grandma’s burial site.  No matter when my mom and I went, that pebble was still painted and sitting on her tombstone.  Now, science isn’t my strongest subject, but I’m wise enough to know that between Wisconsin thunderstorms, tornadoes, and oh gosh, I don’t know WINTER, that pebble should’ve lasted all of week or two at most before the paint washed off or a lawn mower pitched the thing several yards away.  I believe it was a token of love and friendship that my grandma kept to let me know she still thought of me.

The Feeling of Not Being Alone: Twice I can recall being in my family home, up in my room and stopping whatever I was doing at the time because I “just knew” I wasn’t alone. The first time I experienced this phenomenon, I was reading on my bed, when I felt the weight at the end of the bed sink down, like someone had just sat next to me. It was so physical that I looked up, expecting to see someone. I stared at the space at the foot of my bed for a few moments before saying aloud, “I know you’re there.” I then felt a finger run up my big toe. A few weeks later, I was again reading in my room. Same thing. I strongly felt I was not alone in the room. This time I asked the spirit if they intended harm or good to me. At that moment I felt the most reassuring hug around me, warm and comforting. I’m sure many of you are reading this and thinking I’m plain batty for believing. But I have done some research on the subject. Most paranormal investigators can agree that a person’s openness to experience is key in what they will or won’t perceive. But take a smaller, more common example like deja vu’ or coincidences. A lot of us have either experienced or know someone else who has where you could finish a person’s sentence, hear the phone ring and know who is on the other line, have a dream and foresee an accident or a new baby. We don’t usually discredit those little signs that present themselves, but when a person starts talking out loud to an invisible person in their room, they’re crazy. Somehow, the line between acceptable and possible paranormal activity is quite gray to me, meaning I believe anyone has the potential to experience things like I described, but not everyone is willing.

The Old Man and His Dog: A tedious and yet annual event in my town is college moving day, and the landlords around here have conveniently scheduled move in day to be 2 weeks after move out day. So for 14 days or so, college kids around the city find storage bins, garages, and trailers to stuff their belongings into and crash on couches until their new leases begin. I was staying at my boyfriend’s house during this time, while he was away visiting family. I had heard from his roommates that the house was haunted, but never before seen or heard anything. During my stay, I woke up early one morning with the heightened sense I was not alone. When I looked down at the foot of the bed I saw an old man with a plaid flannel shirt standing up with a black dog beside him. I knew he didn’t intend any harm, but it was a little freaky. I did have to get up and turn the lights on.

These are just a few of my paranormal experiences. If you ‘re craving more, check out my post on Paradise Road, a real Wisconsin Urban Legend. I list my many ghost sightings there.

Want to know more about coincidences? I recently read The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield and did a book review about his theory of humankind becoming more in tune with our coincidences.

Please share with me your thoughts and stories about the spirit world. Has anything like this happened to you?

As always, Happy Halloween! See you Friday for another guest post blog hop with the Life List Club, costumes not necessary…yet.

A Wicked Review

Hello Everyone and welcome to the first post of Jess Witkins’ Wicked Blog!  All month long get your fix for the hauntings and paranormal stories you love.  Here’s the line-up:  Mondays will be All Things Wicked (book reviews, movies, Halloween Parties, costumes, etc.), Wednesdays will be Ghost Stories, read at your own risk, and don’t turn off the lights, and Fridays will continue to alternate between Guilty Pleasures – featuring my favorite things about fall, and Life List Club Guest Posts – helping you achieve the best YOU!

     To start off today I have a WICKED review for you about Gregory Maguire‘s witchy tale, Wicked.  Everyone knows the story of Dorothy and her dog, Toto.  She landed in Oz, killed the Wicked Witch of the East, obtained her magic ruby red slippers and set off on a journey that would forever change her life.  But what of the other witch?  The Wicked Witch of the West.  No one knows her story, not yet.

Wicked chronicles the coming of age of Elphaba Thropp – our Wicked Witch.  Born green as grass with razor-edge teeth to a holier than thou father and a trollop of a mother, Elphie is a creature of her circumstances.  She was shut out for her color, and disliked for her independence, nonetheless she showed grave responsibility for her family, which included a younger sister, Nessarose, who was born with no arms, and a brother, Shell.

Said to hiss like a dragon and piss on the floor gleefully, she was a terror in her toddler years.  When college came around and found her attending Shiz University, a whole new world was opened up to Elphaba.  For starters, how would you like to have Galinda Goodie-Too-Shoes for a roommate?  That’s right Galinda.

Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz

Things get witchier and wickeder when Elphaba uncovers information that the Great and Powerful Oz has plans of genocide for the Animals.  You see, in Oz there are both Animals and animals.  The Animals have learned the ability to speak, study, raise young ones, teach, work, and act rather humanely.

Maguire has cast a spell with his prequel story to The Wizard of Oz.  Readers learn more parts to the original story, such as when did the Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch of the West first meet.  And why the Tin Man despises her so.  All your favorite characters return, from Munchkins to Flying Monkeys, and there are even more, tik tok things and painted soldiers of the tall grasses.  Make no mistake, Maguire’s tale is more than a yellow brick walk through your childhood’s favorite story.  The book, Wicked, is a dark tale.  It’s full of intrigue, affairs, murders, espionage, deceit, hallucinations, and of course, magic.

Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire has written several books enlightening us on otherwise adult versions of classic fairytales.  You can check out the other titles at his website.  His inspiration for writing this story came about after reading newspaper headlines in London at the start of the Gulf War.  The ideas began to form around a story of the nature of evil, and who’s more wicked than the Wicked Witch of the West?

Many of you have probably seen the broadway musical version of Wicked which starred Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda.  I will warn you the book is, as I said, very dark and for mature audiences.  When the book was adapted to the stage, that was the first thing needing to be addressed.  The plot was subdued and made appropriate for larger audiences.  From what I’ve seen in his author interviews, Maguire seems alright with the changes, after all, didn’t he take the same liberties from the story of L. Frank Baum?

Are you curious about the real story of the Wicked Witch of the West?  Who’s the most evil character you can think of?  What made them wicked? 

Tune in again wednesday for a chillingly true ghost story!  Happy October!

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