Joelle Velez of Diosa Luna Magick sees shadows in her peripheral vision that may be more than meets the eye. What is the difference between ghosts and shadow people? What are spirit guides, and how can they help us?

Episode Summary

Why do those shadow figures Joelle sees in her peripheral vision always disappear when she looks straight at them? Is it that they shy away from eye contact, or does looking directly at them somehow limit her ability to perceive them? And what do they have to do with the invisible visitor that shared her childhood bedroom?

Episode Show Notes

About Joelle Velez

Joelle Velez who tells us of her experiences seeing shadows in peripheral vision
Joelle Velez of Diosa Luna Magick

Joelle reads tarot, performs reiki, designs shirts, and crafts candles and oils for use in magickal practice. You can purchase her mystical goods and distance reiki on her Etsy store, or get yourself an early Halloween present from her online clothing shop. Connect with her on Instagram to keep up with her latest news.

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Episode References

What’s the difference between shadow people and spirits?

“Shadow people” is a phrase used to describe supernatural entities which appear as an absence of light. Physical objects cast shadows, but if you see a shadow that is not cast by a physical object, which appears to have agency–almost to cast itself–you might be looking at a shadow figure. The Hat Man is one famous shadow person with a sinister reputation. While previous guests have described shadow people as more sinister than spirits of the deceased, Joelle’s experience has been different.

Could anything else cause someone to see shadows in their peripheral vision?

We’ve all seen things that we thought were eyelashes, stray hairs, or just plain shadows. But what if you eliminate all those “other” things and you still are seeing shadows in your peripheral vision. Could it be you’re seeing something that is supernatural?

Why do shadow people lurk in doorways?

Becky posits during this episode that doorways are liminal spaces, which always seem to be haunted. That comment led Diana deep down the rabbit hole of speculation, especially since she frequently saw shadows in her peripheral vision which darted through doorways while working at the haunted ski lodge. Catch up with Diana’s rambling thoughts here.

Can dogs sense spirits?

Joelle’s father recommended she bring the dog in her room to see if she would exhibit any strange behavior that could corroborate Joelle’s experiences. But throughout her stories, Joelle specifies multiple times that whatever dog was in the room had no reaction to what she was seeing.

It is indeed possible that, when a dog senses something that you sense, it’s not perceiving the ghost so much as perceiving your perception of the ghost. Smelling your fear, so to speak. It’s also very feasible that dogs just sense a lot of normal, rather than paranormal things that we cannot, and so they seem paranormal to us.

While the common trope of dogs’ superior sense of smell isn’t 100% scientifically accurate per-se, their hearing is demonstrably more sensitive, as is their night vision. With these heightened senses, there’s a good chance dogs can sense ghosts. And yet, as cat people, we just had to pose the argument that there’s at least one kind of companion animal that does it better.

What are spirit guides?

Joelle believes that everyone has a spirit guide. We’ve heard before that mediums have more of them, but that doesn’t mean that more are necessarily better. But what actually are spirit guides? Are spirit guides spirits of the deceased? If so, are they ancestors from this life, or friends from a past life? If not, are they guardian angels? Are they the same thing as spirit animals?

Based on an amalgam of the opinions of our diverse guests, my interpretation is as follows. Spirit guides are whatever you need them to be. They are equivalent to energy, a guiding force in our lives. Just because some people see a spectral wolf following beside them, while others see an angel of light descending from the heavens does not make either person wrong.

Even being able to see or sense this energy is a gift, or perhaps a talent that can be developed. but just because you may not see yours doesn’t mean it isn’t there. If you can’t sense yours, that may just mean its energy is taking a form that’s more amenable to you. You may sense it as a gut feeling. You may notice the recurrence of a particular number or image in the tangible world. They may just be those shadows in your peripheral vision.

How do you use a pendulum to communicate with ghosts and spirit guides?

A pendulum is a divining device used to answer yes/no questions. This can be complicated and meaningful, like an obsidian pyramid on a chain made of stones representing the colors of the chakras, and a board of potential answers, like yes, no, maybe, and undecided. You can watch how Becky used a fancy pendulum set to talk with some entities on a Civil War battlefield on our 2022 haunted Nashville trip. But a pendulum can also be Macgyvered out of your necklace by dropping a ring around it. Hell, a strand of hair or shoelace with a bead or an earring would even do the trick.

When using a pendulum for divining, the method is fairly simple. For your pleasure, here’s a quick primer on how to talk to ghosts with a pendulum.

How to use a pendulum to talk to ghosts and other entities:

  1. Hold the dangling pendulum still.
  2. Say (aloud, preferably) something like “give me your highest and truest ‘yes'”.
  3. Wait patiently for the pendulum to sway back and forth. This direction now stands for “yes,” meaning the perpendicular direction would stand for “no”.
  4. Completely still the pendulum with your other hand, and ask your yes/no question.
  5. Wait patiently for the pendulum to swing back and forth, using the direction to glean your answer.
  6. If the direction of sway is neither a clear yes or no, it’s either a “maybe” or your hand is jittery. You can always still the pendulum and try again.

Is this practice vulnerable to faking or false-reads? Oh yes, absolutely. It’s ideal for the pendulum holder to attempt to relax, clear their mind, and focus on actually keeping their hand as still as possible. It’s tempting to try to hurry the pendulum up by giving it a little jostle, but if you consciously move your hand at all, you’ll never get an answer from anything outside your conscious mind.

But with the fallibility of the human body, it’s easy to argue that your small subconscious movements influence the “answer” the “ghosts” are giving the pendulum. I’d like to reframe this objection with the response, “so what?” Our subconscious minds are amazing. Worlds worth of knowledge and information exist within our subconscious minds, that our conscious minds usually have very little access to. Some of this secret knowledge might come from the other side, or a higher power, who is really to say? I believe it’s fair to argue that, while the conscious mind is busy attempting to still the hand, the subconscious mind is generating micro-movements that do actually answer our question. The pendulum is merely the amplifier which magnifies these tiny hints.

How do you use tarot cards to answer yes or no questions?

What if you don’t even have a hack pendulum, but you’ve got some cards? There are several ways card readers use the cards to quickly answer simple yes or no questions. One way is to pull any card as you usually do. If the card is upright it’s a yes, if it’s reversed, it’s a no. Like a little more mysticism and well familiar with your deck? You could allow your own feelings about the card’s meaning to lean towards positive (“yes”) or negative (“no”). This technique allows for a third answer: “maybe,” for those cards that are neutral or unclear. It also allows the reader to use common playing cards, which may look identical when upright or reversed.

What can a parent do to help a haunted kid?

In this episode, Joelle laments that there was no right answer that her father could’ve known when she asked him about the entity in her bedroom. Really, “no right answer” is canon for being a parent in a lot of situations.

When your kids come to you saying they saw something that you can’t explain, our guests overwhelmingly advise reassuring your children that you believe they are telling the truth. Actually listen when they tell you about the entities they’re witnessing. And then go ahead and follow through on believing, because the kids are probably seeing more than you are. Those shadows you see in your peripheral vision might be images as clear as you and me to their young, impressionable eyes.

Until next time, have a spooky day!