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Horror Mystery and Lore

Atrocities of Carrie (2013) and Other Tricks of the Mind

What an interesting thing the mind can be in an age where misfits enjoy stories that illuminate the horrifying nature of what lies in the depths of the human psyche. Man can be driven to madness when his mind is invaded, when his sanity is questioned, or when his morals have been corrupted, but what is hidden amongst his deepest darkest dreams, desires, and fears? How can we really know what is real and what is imagined—more importantly, do we dare pursue those instincts within to find the true power that could be concealed inside every single one of us?

Psychokinesis is a concept that is often regarded with derision, especially within the scientific community and yet it has been studied fairly extensively. It seems like the results from such experiments and theories are never released in any legitimate form, but instead further speculated upon—then again, perhaps that’s why we have gotten so many great movies in the horror genre that depict these people with larger than life abilities that potentially threaten the lives of anyone caught unable to defend themselves.

Paul Draper Bending Spoon
Paul Draper Bending a Spoon

The pure number of speculated types of psychokinesis is quite outrageous—name a type of object and there is probably a -kinesis to cover it. Of course, there are the more well-known versions of the phenomenon, such as telekinesis the ability to move objects with your mind, pyrokinesis the ability to create, control, and extinguish a fire with your mind. There are also ones that are less widely known, or even otherwise unheard of—like aerokinesis which is the supposed ability to manipulate air molecules to create wind, or similarly atmokinesis, which would enable the person to manipulate weather conditions.

These types of psychokinesis range into the absurd, so much so that there is even one for manipulating the perception of time, or manipulating time itself, which is called chronokinesis—not to say that these powers wouldn’t be absolutely stellar to have, but to say that they already exist in the world as we know it today would be leaving yourself open to mockery. All of these different types of manipulating objects solely with the power of one’s mind is reminiscent of the television show Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005) in which people belong to certain tribes in four separate kingdoms, select people within these tribes possess the power to manipulate the natural element that their tribe is known for. Not to say that it’s not a great television show—but the idea of these kinds of powers existing without anyone truly taking note of such amazing gifts renders the whole thing even more fictional in nature.

Carrie (2013)
Carrie (2013)

Fictional cases of psychokinesis are easily identified—after all, being able to control the world around you with your mind is probably the superpower that is most popularly wished for. Characters like the mutants for X-Men comic books and subsequent film franchise, as well as movies like Push (2009), Chronicle (2012), and more recently Code 8 (2019) have made us yearn for superpowers whereas darker movies like Brightburn (2019) show us exactly why most of us are pretty glad that these kind of powers aren’t up for grabs. In Brightburn (2019) we see what the world would have gotten if Superman were part of an evil race of aliens. The remake of Carrie (2013) as well as the original show exactly what would happen if the unpopular, beaten-down, and bullied girl ended up having telekinetic powers and eventually being pushed too far. Everyone has their own limit on how poorly they can be treated before they finally stand up for themselves.

An alternative theory as to why it isn’t widely known that these powers might actually exist is that any time this type of phenomenon occurs, it is typically mistaken for poltergeist activity. This theory suggests that some reports of poltergeists are not actually manifestations of the dead, but instead unconscious manifestations of a person’s psychic turmoil.

People Who Are Known For Their Psychokinetic Abilities

Despite the skepticism surrounding any possibility of psychokinetic abilities, there have been a few cases where people have been able to prove under scientific observation that they have the ability to manipulate the world around them in some way or another.

Nina Kulagina

Nina was one of the first Russian citizens to participate successfully in the research that the Soviets conducted when seeking to weaponize telekinesis. She demonstrated her abilities under controlled lab conditions by stopping a frog’s heart.

Uri Gellar

Known for his ability to bend spoons, but his authenticity is questionable as he was a performer in theatre and magic circles prior to his dynamic spoon-bending performances.

Ted Serios

Made famous for the concept of thoughtography—he alleged that he had the ability to transfer his mental images onto photographic film while under the influence; due to his problems reproducing this ability while sober, researchers debunked his claims.

Matthew Manning

Claimed an ability to affect electrical and mechanical devices, and had an aptitude for automatic writing.

Tibetan Buddha Statue Meditation
Photography by RKTKN

Tibetan Monks

In Tibet, there are monks that are known to have the ability to raise their body temperatures through the power of meditation, possibly the most plausible of all of the phenomenons attributed to psychokinesis, as it relates to the mind’s control over the body. Monks would sit in temperatures of approximately 40˚ Fahrenheit in a meditative state using g Tum-mo Yoga techniques, then have wet ice-cold sheets draped over them. They would be able to raise their body temperature so effectively that in most cases steam would rise from their bodies and the sheets would be dried within about an hour.

Movies that Illustrate the Darker Side of the Psychokinetic Powers

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Horror Mystery and Lore

Ghost, Demon, or Poltergeist?

Silhouette Behind the Door
Photography by MontyLov

Haunted by Ghosts

As was discussed in our article Ghosts Can Be More Than Just Dead People, ghosts are generally the spirits of humans and animals that have passed away. What people assume or claim are ghosts are not necessarily fitting of their description, but it’s easy to understand why the whole thing might be a little bit confusing. The truth is, is that ghosts, demons, and poltergeists are often mislabeled and it, therefore, makes it more difficult to really know what kind of being the evidence acquired actually points to. Ghosts, spirits, and apparitions all point to the same thing—the spirit or soul of a human or animal that has passed on. These spirits haunt locations, objects, and most importantly other living creatures. Haunting living creatures is not to be confused with possessing living creatures, not to say they are unable to possess, but not all possessions are ghostly in nature—and this is an important distinction to be made.

Possessed by Demons

A lady screaming in the dark
Photography by Camila Quintero Franco

Another topic for confusion is how demons are perceived, this is unfortunate because much of the evidence for demons seems to simply be cases of malevolent ghosts and not entities that are truly demonic in nature. One such misinformed definition, from Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, is that demons are, “a type of spirit that may be either good or evil that allegedly has the ability to intervene in the affairs of humankind.” While it’s true that many cultures perceive some demonic entities to be good, the word spirit was a poor choice in attempting to define what a demon actually is.

Religious definitions, such as the one from Christianity, assert that demons are evil minions of Satan and that their sole purpose is to torment people, then inevitably lead them into sin. The strategic takeover of pagan cultures turned their deities into demons in Christianity. Other religions, however, suggest that demons can be good or evil entities—or indeed have a dual nature like human beings. Regardless of the nature of the entity, good or evil, demons quite often exercise their ability to possess or inhabit living creatures. There are instances reported where demons have possessed inanimate objects, but this can be chalked up to another case of a ghost that has been mislabeled as a demonic entity.

Terrorized by Poltergeists

Demons and poltergeists are also quite frequently confused for one another—the main reason for this is because Poltergeists are mischievous and often malicious spirits or energy. Ghosts and poltergeists also confused for each other, but poltergeists, in particular, are entities or energies identified by their consistent abilities to interact in a vigorous way with their environment. It would be unfair to say that poltergeists are not, in fact, a type of ghost or spirit, but if they are to be classified as ghosts in any sense, they are in a league of their own entirely.

The earliest reports of poltergeists tell of the different types of interactions they have within the environment that they inhabit. These interactions include, but were not limited to, throwing rocks or other objects, loud noises (such as shrieking, and knocking or rapping), inexplicable lights and apparitions, as well as in rare cases sexual assaults. Later cases would grow to include technology-related events, such as phone numbers being dialed repeatedly or televisions turning on. The speculation that remains with poltergeists relates to the scientific data that has been collected in pursuit of evidence of their existence—many cases of poltergeist activity have clear indications of mental problems within the agent (or the primary person being affected) that even support theories of psychokinesis.

Some examples of poltergeist activity caught on camera.

Hopefully, this helps answer an age-old question we often see: “What is the difference between a ghost, a demon, and a poltergeist?” Below are a few scary movie recommendations related to ghosts, demons, and poltergeists.

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore

Ghosts Are More Than Just the Spirits of the Dead

Take a walk through a creepy forest
Photography by Jack Cain

What Are Ghosts?

Are they the benevolent spirits of our loved ones who have passed on? Or are they malevolent specters haunting the shadows, waiting for the moment to attack unwitting victims? Modern folklore says that ghosts are the souls or spirits of a dead person or animal that can often be perceived by the living. These apparitions vary widely in descriptions, whether they be completely disembodied sounds, translucent forms of a person who has passed, or wisps, orbs, shapes, and other realistic silhouettes. From firsthand experiences and stories passed down through the ages, it seems that these entities can be fully aware of their surroundings, or simply faded recordings tragically repeating moments from within their own lifetime.

There is a widespread belief in the afterlife, including the manifestation of spirits which is highly intertwined in the ancestor worship that has appeared in cultures across the world since before the written word. These beliefs have led to funeral rites, exorcisms, and attempts to contact those who have passed as a means to put the spirits of the dead to rest. Contacting those who haunt your halls can be done in a number of ways, most notably through a séance wherein participants use Ouija boards or mediums.

Disembodied spirits are identified not necessarily by their appearance as apparitions, but by the displacement of objects, strange or flickering lights, as well as an auditory presence—laughter or screams with no origin, footsteps when there is no one else around, ringing bells or other spontaneous music that comes from untouched musical instruments. Haunted locations are believed to be associated with possessing spirits who still have a strong attachment to the location from their own past, whether it be sorrow, fear, or distress due to a violent death. People can be haunted as well—not entirely unlike possession, but the person being haunted does not have their body inhabited by the spirit itself, instead, they are likely associated in some way to the unhappy experience that keeps the spirit tethered to the world of the living.

Ghosts walking down the road
Photography by JR Korpa

There are multiple types of spirits that are known to haunt the living, even in the modern age. First, is called the interactive personality—these are considered the most common of all and are often human in nature. Whether it’s your deceased Aunt Sally coming to tell you that she’s not happy that you took her vintage jade brooch or a person lost to history they’re not always kind apparitions. These personalities can make themselves known in a variety of different ways, whether visible or not, some can speak, make noises, touch you, or even cause odors reminiscent of when they were alive (i.e. a perfume they used to wear, or cigar smoke). Those who study and hunt for ghosts are convinced that these spirits retain their personality and can still feel the emotions that would have been relevant to them during life.

Not all of the commonly acknowledged apparitions go out of their way to communicate with people—if you’ve ever heard of the White Ladies, you know that most if not all of these women keep to themselves, by lingering mournfully in a cemetery, or an aging historical building. These White Ladies are described as being dressed entirely in white and can be heard sobbing, crying, or wailing over the painful loss that drove them to take their own lives. They’re not known to necessarily interact with their environment, so much as to be painfully aware of where they are and continue to wallow in the depth of grief that keeps them stuck where they died.

The term poltergeist would most likely conjure images of a swirling vortex and alternate dimensions resulting from disrespecting ancient burial grounds of Native Americans, but it’s not the most accurate portrayal. Poltergeist is actually one of the most common names for a ghost that can interact with their environment—except that instances of these spirits are more often associated with violent interaction with their physical environment. They can knock items off of shelves, open cabinet doors, slam doors, stack chairs, or generally displace objects from their original resting place. Not too surprisingly, poltergeists are the most terrifying because they give us the impression that if they can move things around us, then they can also take physical action upon us.

So, whether you’re experiencing unnatural phenomena throughout your house or are out hunting ghosts in an abandoned building, you may find that there are multiple types of entities that you come across. Ghosts are herein described as the spirits of people or animals that have passed away that may have an unordinary attachment to the world of the living–good or bad, it depends on the person they were in life. Due to the lack of documentation that has been proven to be authenticated, it’s unlikely that you will be able to capture viable evidence that would declare with finality that ghosts are real. It is, however, important to continue to try to document proof of the existence of ghosts, because otherwise, we may never know.