The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts: Are Spirits Always Who they Claim to Be?
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
You can buy Joe Fisher’s Book: The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts on Amazon.
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The Arkansas Dog Boy
Gerald Floyd Bettis – The Arkansas Dog Boy
A Victorian-era house stands proudly at 65 Mulberry Street in Quitman, Arkansas. It was built in 1891 and is reportedly haunted by numerous spirits including a WWI soldier, an old man, and a particularly terrifying entity known as the “Dog Boy”.
The History of 65 Mulberry Street, Quitman
The house where the spirit of the Arkansas Dog Boy is said to reside. Photo: Jason Roberts Online
Quitman is an old town in north-central Arkansas. During the Civil War, many men joined the Army there. Until 1870, Quitman was a busy place where people traded goods, and it was a key point for those traveling across the state. It had large, beautiful houses and buildings.
The Garrett family built a beautiful house there around 1890. After living happily there for a few years the Garrett’s sold the house to the Jackson family. Benjamin Jackson lived there with his wife, who died young. Their son, Joseph, was born in 1898, fought in WWI, and died young too.
In more recent times, the Garrett House got a bad reputation because of the Bettis family and it’s now known as the Bettis House. Floyd and Alline Bettis moved into the big house in the early 1950s.
After many years without kids, they had a son, Gerald Floyd Bettis, in 1954. People who knew Gerald said he was a naughty kid. “His parents were good people, but Gerald was a troublemaker,” Holabird said. Gerald liked to collect cats and dogs, which is why he got the nickname “Dog Boy.”
The Dog Boy of Arkansas
Gerald, the Dog Boy, would torture stray animals for fun. Neighbors could hear the animals cries and were incredibly unsettled.
Gerald was desperate for attention as a child and was constantly showing off and behaving strangely. He never moved out of his parents home and as her grew older he allegedly imprisoned his elderly parents in their own home, at times being abusive.
When Bettis grew up, people in town say he was very tall, about 6’4″, and heavy, almost 300 pounds, much larger than his old parents. It was often said that he physically abused his father, and there’s even a story about him throwing his dad out of an upstairs window when he was a teenager. His dad, who was in his 70s then, managed to hold on to the window ledge until the police arrived.
As an adult, Gerald sold plants, including marijuana, from a sunroom he built, leading to his arrest based on his mother’s abuse testimony and his illegal activity. He later died in prison from a drug overdose. After his mother’s death, the house was inherited and then sold to Tony Weaver, whose family experienced repeated paranormal activity in the home.
The Hauntings at 65 Mulberry Street
Karen Shillings, founder of The Central Arkansas Society for Paranormal Research (CASPR),became interested the house after speaking with the Weavers about their paranormal experiences.
Weaver’s wife told Shillings that she would switch off all the lights when she went to work at night, but they would be on when she came back. She first thought someone was breaking in, but then weirder things happened. Once, a handful of pennies fell down the stairs from upstairs all at once, right in front of her, Shillings said. After half a year of these things happening, she was really scared and didn’t want to live there.
Tony Weaver also saw strange things. Once when he was working on the house, he saw a man who looked like a soldier from World War I in the living room. But when he went for a closer look, he was gone.
Another couple, Quinton and Stephanie White, lived in the house in 2003. They saw strange things like the toilet flushing by itself. One evening, Quinton heard a noise upstairs, and when he checked, some wooden boards that he had stacked were all standing up straight. They only lived there for a few months.
Weaver still owns the house and tries to sell it, but hasn’t been successful. He says strange things keep happening. Once he lost his glasses and medicine after complaining about not being able to sell the house. He also said that if people the ghosts don’t like come in, they will feel cold and their hair will stand on end.
One woman who wanted to buy the house said her daughter, who is sensitive, felt very sad in the house. Another time, a chair reclined by itself and stayed like that while people were looking at the house. A dog refused to go into the house.
Ed Munnerlyn, who was fixing up the house in 2007, also has had spooky experiences. He said he feels uncomfortable, like someone is watching him, and he thinks he has seen ghosts. He also believes he saw the ghost of the Dog Boy, who was a big, scary-looking man. Sometimes he feels like a cold wind is blowing on his neck and hears noises, but can’t see anything. He believes the ghosts are letting him know they’re there.
The CASPR Investigations into the Dog Boy of Arkansas and other hauntings
Mr. Creep’s Crypt covers the story of the Arkansas Dog Boy
In 2005, Shillings and her ghost research team visited the house two times. “The first time, we felt areas that were colder by 10-15 degrees than the rest of the house. We used a special tool that measures electrical energy, and it found something we couldn’t explain,” she said.
Shillings also said that they sensed a ghost in the kitchen, and one of them felt like he was touched. “We saw a face looking at us from upstairs when we were outside, and we all saw it, but no one was upstairs,” she added.
The second time, they brought along a spirit medium, who made contact with what seemed like the ghost of Gerald Bettis. This ghost was angry and told them to leave.
They took video footage of strange things like balls of light moving through the wall and flashes of light that couldn’t be explained. However, Shillings said that the most impressive footage is lost and they haven’t been able to find it, which troubled her.
Have you heard of any stories similar to the Dog Boy of Arkansas? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in other hauntings such as the story of the Sallie House or the Entity Haunting.
Tomino’s Hell: The Cursed Japanese Poem
An excerpt of the cursed poem, Tomino’s Hell
According to the legend of Tomino’s Hell, if you read the poem aloud you will become cursed.
The Legend of the Cursed Poem: Tomino’s Hell
Tomino, was a young boy living in Japan in the early 1900s. Tomino reportedly lived his life with a severe physical disability that confined him to a wheelchair.
He enjoyed writing poetry as a way of helping him cope with the overwhelming emotions he had connected to his disability. Upon composing a rather grisly poem, Tomino’s parents were anything but pleased. This reaction was not surprising given Japan’s tendency for strict cultural norms, and the fact that the poem dove into some pretty intense details.
To discipline him for his chilling verse, Tomino’s parents confined him to their basement without food. In time, due to the harsh conditions of the damp and frigid cellar, Tomino tragically passed away from bronchitis.
The legend goes that Tomino’s spirit lingered within his disturbing poetry. Anyone who dares to recite his poem out loud risks invoking a curse upon themselves, causing bad fortune and despair.
Victims of the Curse of Tomino’s Hell
The curse of Tomino’s Hell Poem became famous when people began to suffer unfortunate events after reading the poem aloud.
In 1974, a movie was released called “To Die in the Countryside”. It was written and directed by a man named Terayama Shuji. He got a lot of ideas from Tomino’s Hell Poem for his film. People started saying that he died because of the poem.
There were also rumors throughout Japan about some college kids dying after they read the poem.
The legend spread, claiming that if you read the poem aloud you could have a bad fall, lose your voice forever, get really sick suddenly, or even have a car crash.
Back in the 1980s in Japan, it became fashionable to record friends while they read the poem aloud. This fad took off and it was said that reading the poem aloud didn’t usually cause any problems.
It appears that the curse has an unpredictable nature. It could even be part of a mysterious pattern that we don’t fully understand yet. These days in Japan, even the older and wiser folk avoid talking about the poem, worried that it might bring them bad luck.
If you would like to try it for yourself, here is a version of Tomino’s Hell translated into english by David Bowles:
Elder sister vomits blood,
younger sister’s breathing fire
while sweet little Tomino
just spits up the jewels.
All alone does Tomino
go falling into that hell,
a hell of utter darkness,
without even flowers.
Is Tomino’s big sister
the one who whips him?
The purpose of the scourging
hangs dark in his mind.
Lashing and thrashing him, ah!
But never quite shattering.
One sure path to Avici,
the eternal hell.
Into that blackest of hells
guide him now, I pray—
to the golden sheep,
to the nightingale.
How much did he put
in that leather pouch
to prepare for his trek to
the eternal hell?
Spring is coming
to the valley, to the wood,
to the spiraling chasms
of the blackest hell.
The nightingale in her cage,
the sheep aboard the wagon,
and tears well up in the eyes
of sweet little Tomino.
Sing, o nightingale,
in the vast, misty forest—
he screams he only misses
his little sister.
His wailing desperation
echoes throughout hell—
a fox peony
opens its golden petals.
Down past the seven mountains
and seven rivers of hell—
the solitary journey
of sweet little Tomino.
If in this hell they be found,
may they then come to me, please,
those sharp spikes of punishment
from Needle Mountain.
Not just on some empty whim
Is flesh pierced with blood-red pins:
they serve as hellish signposts
for sweet little Tomino.
Who really wrote Tomino’s Hell?
Buzzfeed Unsolved covers the legend of Tomino’s Hell
After a little bit of online research we have found that Tomino’s Hell was actually written by a man named Saijō Yaso and published in 1919. Saijō Yaso was a popular children’s author at the time. He wrote Tomino’s hell during a difficult period in his life shortly after the passing of his father. Whether he intended to create a cursed poem or just express the negative emotions he was feeling is unknown.
Have you ever read Tomino’s Hell aloud? Did anything spooky happen? Tell us about it in the comments!
If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in other curses such as Rudolph Valentino’s cursed ring or the curse of the Passion of the Christ movie.
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