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The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts: Are Spirits Always Who they Claim to Be?



Are spirit guides really what they claim to be? Image:

The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts tells the true story of one man’s attempt to verify the information given to him by a channeled spirt guide. While trying to get closer to the truth, Joe Fisher found himself entangled in a web of deceit from the spirit world that resulted in him taking his own life.

Joe Fisher and “Philippa”

Joe’s entanglement with the hungry ghosts began when he attended a number of channeling sessions in Toronto in the 1980s. The sessions were facilitated by Roger Bellincourt, a hypnotherapist with an interest in the paranormal and past life research.

In these sessions Roger was attempting to help his friend Aviva who was suffering from Leukemia. The illness was causing Aviva great pain and the hypnotherapy sessions were originally intended to help her cope with it.

Aviva was an atheist but was openminded towards anything that could help her, given her bleak diagnosis. Roger attempted to call spirit guides to come through Aviva and help her with her pain or possibly even cure her of her disease.

During one of these sessions Aviva suddenly began speaking in another accent. Her face changed and she looked like a completely different person. The voice that came out of her claimed to be a man named Russel Parnick who lived in England in the 1800s.

Roger realised that Aviva was a spiritual channel and was able to be a vessel that allowed spirits to communicate. As the sessions continued the spirits were able to help Aviva with her illness and even managed to predict her medical results. One week the spirits claimed that Aviva’s white blood cell count would drop and sure enough this was confirmed by a doctor the following week.

As these sessions continued, word began to spread and a group of people began coming every week to see the spirits coming through for themselves. Eventually Joe Fisher heard of the sessions and attended to see what it was all about.

Joe watched as the frail frame of a terminally ill woman was suddenly taken over by the spirit of a charismatic man who’s energy dominated the room: Russell Parnick.

Russell noticed Joe’s presence and informed him that he has a spirit guide that wants to speak to him. Russell claimed Joe’s spirit guide is a woman from Greece named Philippa.

Joe was intrigued and continued to attend the sessions in order to learn more about Philippa. Apparently Philippa and Joe had been lovers in a past life in Greece in the 1720s and 30s.

As time goes on Joe becomes fascinated with Philippa and he begins to fall in love with her. Unfortunately Joe had a real life relationship with a woman named Rachel. To try to reconcile these relationships Joe brought Rachel along to the sessions.

Strangely, when Rachel attended the session Philippa refused to come through but instead the couple were greeted by William, a Scottish man claiming to be Rachel’s spirit guide.

Rachel was creeped out by the whole thing and decided to stop attending after just a few sessions. Joe continued to go to the sessions to connect with Philippa. Philippa explained to Joe that he and Rachel and only had three lifetimes together but she and Joe had 17 lifetimes together and they were true soulmates.

Joe began having problems in his relationship with Rachel and began to try to seek out communication with Philippa on his own. Philippa told him that he could connect with her simply by clearing space in his mind at the same time every day. Joe felt Philippa’s presence in his life grow.

Joe began talking to Philippa in his everyday life and believed he was receiving communication from her but he wasn’t sure. When he returned to the channeling sessions with Aviva she was able to confirm that he was in fact communicating with Philippa on his own.

One day Joe was out for a run and struggling to climb a hill when he heard Philippa’s voice. She told him to imagine that his feet weren’t touching the ground but were instead pushing off from just above the ground and it would make the climb easier.

Later that week he went to a session with Aviva and Philippa came through. He asked her “what have you been saying to me while I am out running?” and Philippa replied “I was telling you to imagine that your feet are placing one above the other in the air.”

There are many similar occasions in the book that seem to corroborate the spirit guides claims and prove that the “Philippa” Joe heard in his head was the same entity being channeled through Aviva.

Joe Tries to Corroborate The Identities of the SPirit Guides

Joe became obsessed with Philippa and desperately wanted some tangible validation that she was real and not just his mind playing tricks on him.

First he attempted to verify the identity of one of the other spirit guides, Ernest, that came through during Aviva’s sessions. Ernest made a lot of claims about his previous life that would, in theory, be fairly easy to corroborate. Ernest claimed that:

He was once a man named William Alfred Scott

He joined the RAF in 1937 at the age of 20 and as a member of 99 Squadron was based at RAF Milton Hall, Suffolk.

He moved to Newmarket Heath in September, 1939.

18 months later he was transferred with the rest of the squadron to RAF Waterbeach and Air Base.

99 Squadron had to sleep in the grandstands at Waterbeach as there was a lack of accommodation.

He flew the Wimpy or Vickers Wellington bomber and was very passionate about it.

The planes he flew had a 48 foot hoop under the plane that would be parallel to the ground. They would fly low over the water and this device would cause the mines to blow up, making it safe for ships to pass through.

It is important to note that this was all occurring in the 1980s, long before the internet was publicly available. It would be very unlikely that Aviva could have found this information without traveling to the UK.

Joe took this information and ran with it. He travelled to the UK and found a building that held information about World War II squadrons in the UK. Here he was able to confirm that all of the things Ernest had claimed were in fact true.

He was also able to find some members of Ernest’s squadron who were still alive. He played them the tapes of Ernest speaking through Aviva and asked them if they recognized him.

The men were shocked with the detail that was coming from Ernest. He seemed to know things that could only be known by people who were actually a part of 99 squadron. They also recognized the voice as one of their squadron members: Sergeant Malcolm Scott.

Joe was thrilled but puzzled by these revelations. Everything seemed to match up with Ernest’s story apart from the name. Was Ernest lying about his name?

Joe returned to Toronto and confronted Ernest at the next channeling session. Ernest had a hundred excuses for why his name didn’t match up. In particular he claimed to be concerned that revealing his full identity would put his soul’s karmic progression at risk. Joe was angry that he had been mislead.

Ernest then claimed he was reincarnating soon and disappeared from the sessions not long after this. For months Joe continued to prod the other spirits for information on where Ernest was being reincarnated. Eventually it came out that he was born to parents named Hugh and Susan in the County of Kent in Southern England. He was born on the 13th of July and his name was Thomas Hugh Graham.

Joe took these details and tried to corroborate them. He scoured the list of births in 1985 in the UK and managed to track down a Thomas Hugh Graham. The date of birth was not listed so he sent away for the birth certificate. It arrived and the date was just as the spirit guides had claimed: July 13th. Even more spookily the parents names were also exactly correct. The place of birth was listed as Aldershot Hampshire, 35 miles from Kent.

Joe managed to track down the phone number of Hugh and Susan and attempted to ask them some questions about their new baby, explaining that he was given some information by a discarnate entity.
Understandably, Hugh and Susan were reluctant to talk to Joe and he ended his investigation there.

Not long after this Joe was at a party when he ran into a man named Sanford who had also been attending the sessions with Aviva. Sanford took Joe aside and warned him that he had encountered the dark side of the spirit guides and that he should be careful.

Joe was not deterred. He was riding high on the successes he had had in corroborating some of the spirit guides stories. He decided it was time to track down Philippa’s real past life in Greece.

Joe got on a plane to Greece and was determined to find Thoreau’s, the village where Philippa claimed to have lived in the 1700s. He was not able to find the village but was able to find the surrounding area which Philippa had described.

He played the tape of Philippa speaking to locals to see if they recognized the language. They claimed it sounded like a mixture of Turkish and Greek but were not sure where to find people who spoke like that.

Eventually Joe stumbled across a brochure talking about the floating houses at Alexandropolis and his heart sank. Philippa claimed to have walked for four days to see the spectacle but this couldn’t have been true. Alexandropolis didn’t exist until 100 years after her death.

Joe felt completely betrayed. He had fallen in love with the spirit of Philippa only to find she had been lying to him the entire time. He couldn’t deny that she was a real spiritual entity as she had knowledge of things that Aviva couldn’t possibly have known but she just wasn’t who she claimed to be.

Joe couldn’t figure out why the spirits would reveal so much, only to lie about some of the details that would allow their existence to be proven beyond a doubt.

Joe decided to give up on trying to nail down these spirits and tried to go back to his normal life. Before long he sensed the spirits were seeking revenge on him and he got sick. He wrote on page 297 of his book “The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts”:

“Early in 1988, I was living in a little house facing Adolphus Reach on the northeastern side of Lake Ontario. During this time of soul-searching, while still grappling with the emotional upheaval of pulling away from the guides, I noticed an inflamed swelling over my navel. It was readily apparent that pus was gathering within and fueling this growth, which was painful to touch. I tried to squeeze the suppurating appendage into submission, but without success.”

Eventually he drove himself to the emergency room and the doctors admitted him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with omphalitis.

Omphalitis is a rare condition that normally affects newborns. After the severing of the umbilical cord the navel is a potential port of entry for organisms and infection can occur. It is very rare to see this diagnosis in a fully grown man.

Joe received emergency surgery to remove the infection. The next morning he received a call in the hospital from another channeler that he had visited in Toronto. Joe was confused and asked how they knew where to contact him since he hadn’t told anyone he was in hospital. The channeler replied “My spirit guide talked to your spirit guide and told me where you were.”

Joe Fisher’s Suicide

Joe Fisher committed suicide on the 9th May 2001 by jumping off a cliff near his rural home, not long after his book was published. What was supposed to be a book about finding joy and purpose by communicating with spirit guides turned into a harrowing account of what can go wrong when messing around with the spirit world.

Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts: A hoax or something stranger?

At a glance it seems easy to dismiss this story as a horrible hoax perpetrated by Aviva, the woman who channeled the spirit guides. There are some elements of the story that make this difficult to believe.

How could a random woman in Toronto have picked up all of the specific information required about Greek geography and dialects, about World War II bombers, and specifically about a child born on the 13th of July that same year on the other side of the world.

If we concede that Aviva was in fact channeling spirits why did they reveal so much about their previous lives only to lie about some of the most important details? Do they really need to hide their identities for reasons we can’t fully comprehend?

The Astonishing Legends Podcast does a fantastic job of covering The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts

What theories do you have about the Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the Dodleston Messages: messages from the past that appeared on a computer in the 1980s or the strange story of Barbora Skrlova.

The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts by Joe Fisher

You can buy Joe Fisher’s Book: The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts on Amazon.

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Crisis Apparitions




Can we communicate with our loved ones telepathically during times of crisis?

In the early 1800s, Pastor John Frederick Oberlin moved to the town of Bande-la-Roche, France, hoping to educate the residents and relieve them of their superstitions. In the end it was Oberlin who was educated, becoming convinced that the apparitions residents saw in times of crisis were real.

Pastor John Frederick Oberlin and the Crisis Apparitions of Bande-la-Roche

John Frederick Oberlin, a well-known pastor, teacher, and philanthropist from the 18th and 19th centuries, completely changed the way of life in the Bande-la-Roche valley in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace. When he arrived in the area, he didn’t like the superstitions of the locals, especially their stories about seeing their dying family members appearing to them in spirit form before their deaths. Despite his efforts to educate them and speak against these beliefs, the reports of such sightings continued.

A significant turning point in Oberlin’s attitude towards the apparitions occurred in 1806 when a devastating avalanche struck Rossberg, burying several villages in its wake. The aftermath of this catastrophic event was marked not only by the physical destruction but also by an increase in the number of villagers claiming to have witnessed visions of their deceased loved ones.

As these accounts multiplied, Oberlin, the steadfast clergyman, found himself grappling with a growing sense of doubt. The sheer volume of testimonies and the intensity of the experiences described by the locals led him to reconsider his earlier dismissal of the supernatural. The tragic circumstances surrounding the avalanche seemed to challenge his previously held orthodox views.

In the face of mounting evidence and the profound impact of the disaster on the community, Oberlin began to believe that the villagers were indeed be perceiving spirits of the departed.

What are Crisis Apparitions?

In most supernatural encounters, the spirits involved are usually belonging to people who have passed away. Sometimes, however, the spirit seen is belonging to someone still living. What does this mean?

One idea regarding crisis apparitions suggests that when a person dies, their soul is released from their body. This liberated soul can then move freely across space and time. The belief is that the individual’s soul might want to make a final visit to say goodbye or provide comfort to loved ones.

In some cases, crisis apparitions involve a person who is still alive. For instance, someone might hear the voice of a loved one delivering a message or warning during a vision. According to a theory, when a person is in physical pain or danger due to illness, they might unconsciously project psychic energy to their loved ones. This projection could happen without the person being aware of it, driven by the challenging situation they are facing.

This type of crisis apparition resembles visions of those who have passed away. As the energy is sent to the receiver, their brain interprets it as an image of the sender. Researchers believe that some individuals may be more sensitive to this energy, increasing their likelihood of having paranormal experiences.

Other Notable Examples of Crisis Apparitions

A woman having an out of body experience is seen by her husband who was hundreds of miles away

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s book, The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, (affiliate link) in 1863, a man named S. R. Wilmot and his sister, Eliza, sailed from England to New York. They faced a severe storm that lasted nine days. Wilmot, feeling seasick, stayed in his sleeping area for several days and nights. On the eighth night, after the storm eased, he dreamt that his wife, Mrs. Wilmot, visited him in a white nightgown, kissed and caressed him, and then left.

The next morning, William J. Tait, who shared quarters with Wilmot, mentioned seeing a lady visitor. Wilmot was surprised because Tait’s description matched exactly what he had dreamt. When asked, Eliza denied being the visitor.

Later, Mrs. Wilmot asked her husband about his dream, describing her own experience of going out during the storm, finding the ship, going to the stern, and entering the cabin. She hesitated at first when she saw Tait but eventually kissed and caressed Wilmot, just like in his dream. Mrs. Wilmot shared this vivid experience with her mother, insisting it felt too real to be just a dream and that she believed she had actually been on the ship.

A Man Sees His Wife’s Dying Sister-in-Law

“In the higher part of the door was a glass window, and I all at once, in the darkness, saw a face looking through that window. The face was very well known to me, though for the instant I did not associate it with the original, as she was 300 miles away. I instantly opened the door, found nobody there, and then searched the ivy with which the porch and house are covered. Finding nothing, and knowing it was impossible anyone could have got away. … I at once knew the face was that of a married sister-in-law of my wife’s. I told all our family of the circumstance directly I got home, and judge of our dismay when we had a letter to say she died at the very hour I saw her. Monday was the evening I saw the face, and on Wednesday, when we were at dinner, the letter came.”

W. Goodyear.

Apparitions of the Living Vol 1 p. 523

A Man Sees His Brother During a Near Death Experience

“It was either in 1874 or 1875. My brother was third mate on board one of Wigram’s large ships. I knew he was somewhere on the coast of Australia  …  I looked up, and, to my astonishment, saw my brother coming towards me from the outside door of the kitchen. … I noticed he was in his sailor uniform with a monkey jacket on, and the wet was shining on his jacket and cap. I exclaimed, ‘Miles, where have you come from?’ He answered in his natural ‘For God’s sake, don’t say I’m here.’ This was all over in a few seconds and as I jumped towards him he was gone. I was very much frightened, for I had really thought it was my brother himself; and it was only when he vanished that I realised it was only an appearance. … About three months afterwards my brother came home, and….I asked him in a casual manner if he had had any adventures, and he said, ‘I was nearly drowned at Melbourne.’ He then told me he was ashore without leave, and on returning to the ship, after midnight, he slipped off the gangway between the side of the ship and the dock. There was very little space, and if he had not been hauled up at once, he must have been drowned. He remembered thinking he was drowning, and then became unconscious. His absence without leave was not found out, so he escaped the punishment he expected. I then told him of how he had appeared to me, and I asked him the date. He was able to fix it exactly. … He had no recollection of thinking specially of me at the time, but he was much struck by the coincidence, and often referred to it. He did not like it, and often when he went away said, ‘Well, I hope I shan’t go dodging about as I did that time.”

Apparitions of the Living, Vol 2, p. 141

Billie Holiday Sees Her Mother at the Time She Died

Billie Holiday wrote in her memoir of a strange incident occurring at the time of her mother’s death. Her mom was very young when she had her, and they were close. In the middle of the book, Billie talks about a strange moment in a hotel room with her boyfriend after a show:

“I don’t believe in ghosts, but something weird happened that night… We were just sitting there when suddenly I felt my mother behind me, touching my shoulders. And I knew she was dead. I told Joe, ‘Mom just left, and she’s dead.’

‘You’re crazy,’ he said. ‘You must be losing it.’

‘Listen to me,’ I said, ‘you better be good to me because you’re all I’ve got now.’

Her mom wasn’t sick, and she was only 38, so nobody expected her to die. The next day, people acted strangely around Billie. She went up to the road manager and “told him Mama was dead and what time she died the night before…He blew his top, raised hell with everybody backstage. He swore somebody must have told me. But nobody had told me nothing.” The crew knew about Billie’s Mom but didn’t want her to know as it might impact her performance.

Knock Once for Yes Podcast covers the topic of Crisis Apparitions

Have you ever had a crisis apparition experience? Tell us about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the phenomenon of paranormal apathy or twin telepathy.

Interested in Talking to Spirits? Try one of our paranormal communication apps!

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MacKenzie Family Omens




The MacKenzie family received various omens to warn them of death that was about to occur in the family.

In the early 1900s, the MacKenzie family line in Scotland experienced several different paranormal omens, warning them about deaths that would soon occur in the family.

These stories have been gathered from 1934 book “Family Ghosts and Ghostly Phenomena,” by Elliott O’Donnell.

The Prophecy of the Face

One evening, young Sylvia MacKenzie was alone in her small house, sitting in the living room. She heard a tapping sound at a window facing a small garden. When she looked, she saw a strange face with a long, narrow nose and no nose at all. The eyes were very pale, set at an angle, and far apart. The face seemed to be looking at her in a menacing way. As Sylvia stared, scared and unable to move, the face slowly disappeared. When her parents came home, she told them about the scary vision. They were really upset because, as they explained, their family believed this ghostly face showed up only when something bad was about to happen.

The next day, Sylvia’s brother Robert, who was in the Canadian forces during World War I (between 1914-1918), was killed on the Western front.

Miss MacKenzie and the Ghostly Arm

One morning, another, unamed member of the Mackenzie family went upstairs to get something from her bedroom. While leaving, she heard something fall behind her. When she turned around, she saw an old-fashioned silver candlestick on the floor next to the chest of drawers. Curious, she went to pick it up and noticed a “beautifully round” arm, from the elbow up, coming out of the wall beside the drawers. The skin was very white, and the hand had long, slender fingers and filbert nails, like a woman’s hand. As she watched, the arm slowly faded away and disappeared.

After it was gone, she remembered her family’s stories about a phantom omen—a strange hand seen only by family members that predicted death and misfortune. She worried that her vision foretold her mother’s death, who was very sick at that time. Fortunately, her mother recovered fully. A few days later, the family received news that a cousin had died tragically. It made the young woman wonder if her vision had predicted this sad event.

Mr MacKenzie and the Cold hand

One night, Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie were at a cinema in Glasgow. While watching the movie, Mr. MacKenzie suddenly felt a cold hand touch his cheek. Annoyed, he thought it was the people around him playing a prank. A little later, he felt the cold hand on the back of his own hand and got really scared. He knew his family believed in a ghostly hand that showed up before someone’s death. Unable to enjoy the movie, they left right away.

When they tried to sleep that night, Mr. MacKenzie felt someone moving in the room. He lit the gas to check, but the room was empty, and the door was locked. As he went back to bed, the cold hand touched his forehead. He grabbed the arm, describing it as soft and slender, and felt it up to the elbow where it suddenly disappeared. The next day, they got a telegram telling them that one of Mr. MacKenzie’s sisters had died during the night.

Here is another gripping ghost story recounted by Scotish author Elliot O’Donnell

Have you had any similar experiences with in your family? Tell us about it in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in other omen phenomena such as Our Lady of Fatima or Katherine Hobbs predicting her own death

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