Are spirit guides really what they claim to be? Image: hyperallergic.com
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
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Fleshgait: Predatory Mimic in the Woods
A fleshgait is a creature that imitates the voices and appearances of people in the woods, with the intention of luring them away. People who have seen fleshgaits describe them as tall, thin, grey beings with long claws and no hair.
Description of a Fleshgait
Imagine a mysterious creature lurking in the depths of the woods, capable of mimicking human voices and appearances. Meet the fleshgait—a cunning trickster that entices unsuspecting wanderers. Witnesses who have encountered these eerie beings describe them as towering, slender figures, draped in a shroud of grey, with razor-sharp claws and an absence of hair.
Picture this: as you venture into the wilderness, unaware of the lurking danger, the fleshgait slinks in the shadows, perfecting its masquerade. With a supernatural ability to mimic the voices of both people and animals, it skillfully mimics the ones you hold dear, beckoning you deeper into its treacherous domain.
It is widely believed that fleshgaits are dangerous towards humans and often lure them deeper into the woods in order to harm or eat them. Some people also think that fleshgaits are connected to the Missing 411 disappearances, but there is no evidence to support this claim.
The powers of fleshgaits are not fully understood because nobody has witnessed their full capabilities. Based on reports, here are the commonly agreed-upon traits:
Voice Mimicking: Fleshgaits can imitate the voices of both humans and animals. They can only mimic voices and phrases they have heard before. Their calls can be captivating and difficult to resist, even when people know the voice is not from the person they are concerned about.
Super Speed: Fleshgaits are known for their unnaturally fast movement, often disappearing quickly into the woods.
Excessive Strength: Animals found torn apart in areas where fleshgaits are sighted suggest that these creatures possess tremendous strength.
While some reports suggest that fleshgaits can change their shape, not all reports mention this ability. Reports of shape-shifting fleshgaits occur frequently enough for many people to believe in their shape-shifting abilities.
The Lore Lodge covers the the legend of the Fleshgait
Angeles National Forest, California – Alex Reynolds, Sarah Mitchell, and David Thompson, had a heart-stopping encounter with a fleshgait almost ten years ago. Despite the scary moment, these brave explorers managed to come out of it without any harm.
On a sunny afternoon, specifically on July 21st, 2013, the trio set off on an exciting adventure deep into the breathtaking Angeles National Forest. Towering trees and stunning views provided the backdrop for an experience they would never forget.
As they went further into the wilderness, a strange feeling of unease settled over them. It felt like the forest was holding its breath, and they sensed something they couldn’t see. Curiosity pushed them forward, unaware of the terrifying encounter they were about to face.
In the heart of the forest, they heard a voice calling their names from all directions. Confused, they looked at each other, trying to figure out where the calls were coming from.
With fear gripping them, the hikers cautiously followed the enchanting yet unsettling voices. Suddenly, in a sunny spot, they saw the fleshgait appear. It was tall and slender, with eerie eyes that seemed to shine from another world. Its appearance matched what others had described—a tall and thin creature with pale skin that stood out against the green forest.
Surprisingly, the fleshgait showed no signs of wanting to harm them. Instead, it seemed curious and watched them with an enigmatic gaze. The hikers watched in both awe and fear, their hearts racing with a mix of emotions.
After a few intense moments, the creature vanished into the forest, disappearing quickly as if it were never there. The hikers were left bewildered but relieved that nothing bad had happened. They hurried back to civilization, eager to share their extraordinary story.
How to Know A Fleshgait is Near
Here are some signs that suggest that a Fleshgait may be nearby:
You hear someone calling your name, but it’s not the person you know. For example, a woman heard her “mother” calling for help in the woods, even though she knew her real mother was far away. Despite the strange voice, she felt a strong urge to follow it. Later, she heard chattering noises and realized something was wrong. She barely escaped.
Your group feels like it has more people than before. People often sense an “extra person” around them before a fleshgait attack.
You see claws wrapped around a tree or a very thin figure that doesn’t look human. Many people witness them with their hands wrapped around trees or standing nearby. Some even describe them as resembling the character Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
There are reports of animals being killed in unusual ways or strange disappearances happening nearby. This makes sense because fleshgaits are predators.
The forest suddenly becomes quiet and eerily still. This often means there’s a predator nearby and creates a feeling of panic in the woods.
Your “friend” starts acting strangely and doesn’t sound like themselves.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to trust your instincts and make a quick exit from the area.
How to Avoid a Fleshgait Attack
Fleshgaits are believed to be attracted to bright colors so it may be wise to wear more dull colors when adventuring in the woods.
Have you ever seen a Fleshgait? Tell us about it in the comments.
One of the Belmez Faces.
In 1971, strange stains in the shape of human faces started appearing on the kitchen floor of a house in Bélmez de La Moraleda, a little village in Andalusia, Spain.
The Story of the Bélmez Faces
Another Belmez Face
Back in August 1971, María Gómez Cámara noticed a weird stain forming on her kitchen floor. It soon transformed into a creepy face, and to her surprise, the stain seemed to move around.
María tried to remove it, but nothing worked. Her husband and son even tried destroying it with a pick-axe and re-cementing the floor, but it came back a week later, along with more faces.
News of the “house of faces” spread quickly, attracting many curious visitors who wanted to witness this mysterious phenomenon for themselves. Parapsychology experts arrived and considered it a great mystery. They even claimed to have recorded strange voices in the house.
A local urban legend began to spread claiming that skeletons were found buried under the floor during an investigation.
Eventually, a new floor was made, and people thought the faces were gone for good. However, just two weeks later, a different face started appearing, surprising everyone once again.
By Easter of 1972, a large number of people were visiting the house to witness the faces. The Pereira family continued to claim that new faces kept appearing for the next 30 years. These faces were of both men and women, and they varied in shapes, sizes, and expressions.
Investigations into the Belmez Faces
The main researchers involved in the Bélmez case were Hans Bender and Germán de Argumosa. They worked together in Bélmez and Freiburg in the early 1970s when the alleged phenomena began. Surprisingly, neither Bender nor de Argumosa published an official report on their findings.
Bender only mentioned the case briefly in his journal, Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie. He did make some references to the case in his lectures, particularly mentioning the sealing of certain areas of the floor where faces were forming, using transparent plastic material. He stated that slight changes in the faces’ appearance during this sealed period, as documented by a notary, supported their paranormal origin.
In 2014, a TV show called Cuarto Milenio, hosted by Iker Jiménez, conducted a technical analysis to investigate the possibility of a hoax related to the Bélmez faces. The research was carried out by José Javier Gracenea, a chemical engineering doctor and general manager of Medco, along with Luis Alamancos, a forensic criminalist who served as the chairman of Gabinete Pericial Inpeval and director of the Spanish Institute of Applied Criminalistics. Alamancos was later honored with the European Police Cross of Honor.
With the permission of the house owner, Gracenea collected samples from the faces and analyzed them. His conclusion was that the images “were not created with paint” and that there was no evidence of external manipulation or added elements based on scientific knowledge and analysis techniques.
Alamancos attempted to replicate similar images using various methods that had been considered valid in previous investigations, including concrete solvents, hydrochloric acid, and silver nitrate. However, he failed to reproduce the faces and concluded that he was utterly perplexed by the phenomenon.
Skepticism about the Belmez Faces
Super Horror Bro covers the Belmez Faces
According to skeptical investigator Joe Nickell, the Bélmez Faces were intentionally fabricated, and he believes that the faces had a very unprofessional and amateurish appearance in their design.
Similarly, Brian Dunning from Skeptoid has written that investigations revealed the faces were actually painted onto the concrete floor, initially using paint and later with acid. Dunning also suggests that the woman residing in the house was involved in perpetrating a hoax on the public, potentially for financial gain.
In a journal article published in July 1993, Luis Ruiz-Noguez discussed the presence of three pigments commonly used in paint manufacturing: zinc, lead, and chromium. Based on this, Ruiz-Noguez suggested that the use of paint should be considered when it comes to the Bélmez faces, particularly with the suspicion of lead being involved. Here are the reasons he provided:
Lead was commonly used as a pigment for primary colors for a long time.
The analysis showed that the amount of chromium present was too low to be a likely option.
Lead tends to create dark and hard-to-see colorations, unlike chromium.
The most common and inexpensive primary colors are enamels that contain lead, which are widely used in homes because they are easy to apply.
However, Ruiz-Noguez also mentioned some objections to the hypothesis of paint being used based on the ICV (inorganic chemical values) samples. These objections include the fact that alkydalic-type enamels are not resistant to abrasion, paint leaves a visible film that is easily distinguishable from the surface it is applied on, and alkydalic enamels have low chemical tolerance to acids, alkalis, and detergents.
What do you think caused the faces to appear in Belmez? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed learning about the Belmez Faces you might also be interested in other ghostly faces such as the SS Watertown Ghost Faces or faces appearing in an airplane oven on Flight 401.
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