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Danielle shares some stories about spooky first-hand paranormal experiences from her haunted childhood home in central Arkansas. As a kid, she was horrified of the bloody man with no eyes and the creepy attic lurker who visited her at night. But was one of them there to protect her from the other?

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Summary of today’s stories of first-hand paranormal experiences

When you were a child, did you ever get in trouble for something that a ghost did? Can you imagine not only being tormented by a nasty entity, but then getting blamed for the havoc that it wreaked?

Our guest today grew up with something sinister in her attic. Something that liked to creep, to crawl, to make loud noises in the middle of the night…and to create endless nights of horror. Let’s hear her terrifying personal ghost stories, today, on Homespun Haints.

What is dowsing?

We’ve always heard the word dowsing used to refer to the very specific and uncommon practice of using a pair of rods or sticks held laterally in the hands in front of the body. Asking a yes or no question may result in the dowsing rods moving. A different meaning can be assigned to various rod movement patterns. Rods moving towards each other could be a “yes;” crossing an emphatic “YES!” And away from each other a “no.”

Rods specifically manufactured for the explicit purpose of dowsing have their handles encased in a low-friction tube, so they rotate freely. They’re designed to allow spirits to communicate without expending too much energy.

When Danielle talks about dowsing in this episode, she’s referring to the pendulum technique. You know, like the time Becky used a pendulum to speak with the spirits of soldiers in a haunted Civil War Battlefield in Nashville. In the great tradition of thrifty witchcraft, Danielle’s college friends used whatever they had on hand to ask yes or no questions of unseen entities. We guess anything dangly that moves back and forth without influence from a significant force can be a dowsing tool. A pendant necklace, a spider on a silk thread, a tube sock half-full of frozen corn…hell, get creative.

Can a haunting cause sleep paralysis?

Most people caught in the throes of sleep paralysis report seeing shadowy humanoid figures and experiencing fear. Some say that this stage between wakefulness and sleep causes hallucinations, and that the fear is a side effect of not being able to move. One of the most common causes of sleep paralysis is stress, coupled with sleep deprivation.

But this is the 21st century; we’re pretty much all stressed and sleep-deprived a lot of the time, no? So how come only some people experience sleep paralysis? And only in some situations, not every time they’re sleep-deprived and stressed?

Danielle’s theory, based on her own teenage first-hand paranormal experiences, is that sleep paralysis may have a third cause: ghosts. She believes that the shadow people were there in her childhood bedroom all the time. But she believes she could only see them when she was experiencing sleep paralysis. When the haunting subsided, and her entire family stopped noticing strange noises in the house, Danielle’s sleep paralysis resolved.

Are child ghosts or elderly ghosts more likely to be demons?

It’s a theory we’ve heard before; when you see an unidentified supernatural entity who is presenting as the spirit of a deceased child, it’s probably a trick. We’ve heard that this might be because children are so innocent that their souls immediately cross to a better place when they pass away. Therefore, they never become earthbound spirits.

This would imply that there are no real child ghosts. Every representation of a child ghost is something else disguised as a child ghost. Whether this is the case exclusively for nefarious reasons, or just because the entity enjoys identifying as their childish self, we have no way of determining.

Why do demons disguise themselves as child ghosts?

Because the living see children as innocent, they might be a good costume for a sneaky evildoer to get into one’s good graces. Danielle might be the first to tell us that the same is likely to be true about entities who present as the spirit of a very elderly person.

This seems counterintuitive at first. Children may be arguably innocent, but by that logic (e. g. if time lived begets corruption), why would we see an elderly spirit as innocent? Danielle’s theory is that, in addition to displaying innocence, a nefarious presence would also want to present as something or someone physically harmless.

If you think about it, maybe some of these entities really do see themselves as physically harmless. Since they’re non-corporeal, perhaps the harm they cause is only psychic harm. Indeed, psychic influence could manifest into physical injury, but perhaps these entities can only use roundabout ways to influence the physical realm. Maybe that’s why Danielle’s college friend group spent nearly 6 months interacting with a demon without experiencing serious harm?

Have you had any first-hand paranormal experiences like these?

baby Diana with the midcentury rocking chair in her childhood bedroom.
Interestingly, every time baby Diana had night terrors, she would hide behind the midcentury rocking chair in her childhood bedroom.

Have you ever owned a haunted antique? Do you have haunting-induced sleep paralysis? What’s the weirdest thing you use to dowse with? If you were a ghost, would you prefer to communicate through dowsing rods, a pendulum, or a Ouija board? What percentage of child ghosts and/or elderly ghosts do you think are actually demons in disguise? Join the discussion in our Facebook Group, or on Patreon.

Speaking of sharing personal paranormal stories, let’s all cross our fingers that Danielle sees some spooky things at the haunted Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, and comes home with more haunted Arkansas stories to share. But most importantly, make sure to say goodbye when you finish dowsing, or you’re gonna have a spooky day.