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Victorian Paranormal Stories/ Open Lines

Date Friday - June 1, 2018
Host George Noory
Guests Varla VenturaOpen Lines

Author Varla Ventura is a lover of all things strange, freaky, and terrifying. She discussed her latest work documenting the supernatural, classic ghost stories, legends, hauntings, séances, superstitions, and death customs that rose to popularity in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and the little-known story of Mark Twain’s ghost. Ventura stated that the rise of spiritualism in the mid-19th century coincided with a fashion for paranormal parlor games. The craze was ‪"borne on the back of it as a kind of entertainment" she said, and for the most part was indulged in by the upper classes who both had time and space in their homes for it. She also mentioned that her grandparents (who were both deaf) hosted similar psychic games in their home for other deaf friends.

Ventura recounted an eerie story from her new book involving a friend who, while staying in a small cabin alone on his property had an experience that deeply disturbed him, although she described him as a stalwart, no-nonsense type. It was just after dusk when he heard an "‪incredibly low moan" that was so strong that it rattled objects on the shelves. The sound cut off abruptly and repeated twice more, each time getting closer. Ventura recalled that he was too unnerved even to go outside and investigate. Ventura also talked about stories of the "banshee" of Irish lore. The tradition is that the witness who sees the creature and hears its deathly wail will soon experience the death of someone close to them. She also told the story of Emily Grant Hutchings, who claimed that she channeled an entire novel from Mark Twain after his death.

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Open Lines occupied the second half. Shirley called from Illinois to comment on psychic research and ghost hunting and advised that ‪"when dealing with the unknown, you have to be on solid ground and you have to control your fear." Josh from South Carolina described a deeply moving and positive experience of "a white angel who walked right through my body." Jane in Mississippi recalled attending a psychic fair and seemingly got on a roll by winning all of the guessing contests. Despite the theme of the event, she said that the organizers and others were suspicious and perhaps a little frightened.

Kevin in Michigan remembered going to sleep during a Coast program a few years ago, but woke up from a deep sleep when he heard a man claim that the devil had "taken his spirit." George recalled that the guest "went from being normal to this horrendous possessed voice," and this is probably what startled Kevin. George then played the recording from 12 years ago. Paul from California related a scary nighttime experience from his Army days when he woke up to see a black figure near his bed. He said he "sunk into my bunk bed and couldn’t move" when the figure touched him. Robert called in from Arizona with a Ouija story from his childhood. After a friend mocked whatever was communicating with them, he said the foot of his bed "lifted about a foot off the ground and dropped" three times. His friend apologized, and the disturbances stopped.

News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein, Dr. John Curtis, Peter Davenport

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