Tag Archives: devil

Movie Review: the Conjuring 2

22 Jun

It was a hot and stormy night. Actually it was hot and dry, having hit almost 100 degrees in our little mountain town in Colorado. Since we do not have air conditioning, my wife and I did something we rarely do: we went to the movies.

conjuring2There we watched the latest incarnation of the semi-fictional adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the original ghost hunters.
The Conjuring 2 follows up where the commercially successful original left off (The Conjuring). Since the sequel will probably be a summer box-office smash, the two will soon be a cinema franchise. Watch for the Conjuring 3 coming soon to a theater near you.

But back to our movie. A rollicking, scary, funhouse summer flick to be sure; the kind we boys used to take our high school girlfriends to for lots of clingy hugs.

SARCASM ALERT! When I get especially critical, I tend to drip sarcasm, so please forgive me if some splatters on this page. I just can’t help myself.

The plot is based on the “true” paranormal investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who back in the late 70’s allegedly looked into the haunting of a flat in London (the Enfield Haunting). It was occupied by a recently-single mom and her brood of kids, including one otherwise charming pre-teen girl who became the spokesperson for the unseen entity also sharing their quarters.

The girl is well-played by Madison Wolfe; the semi-hysterical mom also well done by Frances O’Connor. Both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine. She could probably play an absolutely perfect angel if the right role came along, but I can’t vouch for Wilson’s inexplicable Elvis imitation somewhere around mid-film, even though I have to assume it was in-character for Ed Warren.

Anyway, to cut to the proverbial chase . . . the young girl character draws heavily on the female star of the 1973 release of The Exorcist, only unlike that girl, this time the possessed was up and out of bed while running around causing all kinds of mischief. Ed and Lorraine dutifully chase her (“it”) like some civilian geek squad on assignment from “the Church” that wouldn’t get itself officially involved. In the predictable end, the geek squad wins and the evil is vanquished.

Conjuring 2 is not a bad movie, but its also not a ghost movie. It is a demon movie (and not about a poltergeist, as the entity is commonly referred to). So don’t expect scary ghosts. It has instead more than the usual number of jumps and startles substituting for a dramatic build-up of genuine fear, and the setting of the house is artfully scary– what one would expect for a not-so-quiet demon who likes to party.

I concede that this movie was not made for aging paranormal investigators like ourselves; its aimed squarely at the 18 to 34 demographic. They will probably like it. But for us fully-formed (for better or worse) adults in the room, it is as they say “what it is.” What is instructive about it is the more valuable lesson for types like us. Its the distinction between “horror” and “supernatural” stories, with Conjuring 2 being an excellent example of the former.

What is true horror? Its like pornography: you know it when you see it. But instead of sexual arousal, horror causes sudden emotional stimulation characterized by fear, loathing, and an adrenalin rush that energizes a flight or fight response. Was the Exorcist horror or supernatural? When I first saw it in a theater, I witnessed grown men get up and run out of the place! But I read the novel before I ever saw the motion picture . . . I couldn’t sleep the first few nights– too scared. My opinion: definitely Horror/Supernatural for the movie; Supernatural/Psychological for the book.

To be real Horror with a capital H, a story has to exploit your primal fear at its most basic level. Not just ghost stories like the kind that scare you but don’t necessarily horrify you. Horror is visceral– biological/conscious jump-up and run away before you die fear. Supernatural is cerebral– the more subtle psychological/subconscious keep-you-up-at-night or have nightmares fear.

Beyond film genres and the depiction of the Warrens and their paranormal adventures, its also worth mentioning their real-life background. Why? Because they are yet having an influence on the minds of a far younger generation on a hot weekend in 2016.

Ed Warren (who died a few years ago) was a self-proclaimed demonologist. His wife Lorraine is a medium and joined her husband in the early 50’s as investigators of the paranormal. They were trailblazers, among if not the first to use tape recorders and other electronics of the day to scientifically measure such phenomena. Unfortunately, they had a built-in bias. They were devout Christians, and believed that all paranormal events were the result of diabolical forces.

I don’t have to criticize a major religion for its paranormal beliefs, as its a fact that in the Catholic Church for example, that belief is dogma. The priests in the Exorcist were of course Catholic, and admirably performed their duties in casting out the devil from its possession of a young girl (based on a true story). Where the Catholic Church goes awry in my opinion is its continuing insistence that ordinary ghosts are also the result of diabolical causes. They are not in most cases, which I can attest to from my own experience and most of those of my cohorts with only some rare exceptions.

I understand this misguided doctrine. I grew up Catholic, but left its confines many years ago due to other differences with its belief structure.  But let’s get back to the movies about the Warrens . . . both foster the belief that Satan is behind hauntings, and that is just not the case. That belief makes for more dramatic stories and can appeal to one’s inner religious child, but scaring grown adults into a given belief is exactly why I left that institution.

What we call “ghosts” today are the manifestations of dead people living their perfectly normal afterlives. They include those existing along either margin of the border to the Other Side as ghosts (earthbound spirits), or freed spirits who’ve successfully crossed over and are just visiting. Whoever else is lurking along the interdimensional boundary between life and death I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain that they rarely include demons. Somewhere they may indeed exist to lead us into temptation and drag us screaming into hell, but they’re unlikely tenants of the average haunted house.

(Read another opinion on the story’s credibility)

 

Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:

http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.wordpress.com
Visit our website: http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.com

All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill.

 

 

 

 

Portals

1 Oct

In both scientific and supernatural circles these days, much is made of the concept of “portals.”

The Ghost Adventures boys were convinced that the Bobby Mackey’s saloon in Kentucky had a portal to hell in the cellar…an old well where years ago the remains of a gruesome murder were dumped. Physicist Lisa Randall theorizes that portals to other dimensions really exist, and she is trying to find them using the world’s largest particle accelerator in Switzerland.  Many are convinced that Stonehenge in Britain is really a portal to both the past and future, as further encouraged by the recent archaeological discovery of more of the structure buried underneath the visible surface.

Just what is a portal? The dictionary defines it as a large door or gate to a building. The Internet has co-opted the word to mean a site serving as a guide or point of entry to the World Wide Web.

The paranormal community has adopted it to mean an entrance or exit to a world inhabited by supernatural beings. Demonologists believe such portals can be gateways to hell. In this context, portals can be literal doorways, as found in closets or basements. They can also be part of man-made underground features, the kind that exist in abandoned mines, old wells, or even sewer systems. But can they also be virtual doorways through an invisible boundary between dimensions?  

When Ghost Adventures investigated the Piotrowski house near Cripple Creek in Colorado not too long ago, the alleged paranormal messages they recorded spoke of the “underground,” and said “drain the well.” There was in fact an unexplained loss of huge amounts of water from their modern piped-in supply, but Dan was unable to pinpoint the cause even when it was investigated by the local water district. What could an old well have to do with a present-day piped-in community water system?

When Light in the Dark Paranormal visited the house, we spent considerable time in the basement where we communicated with an unknown entity. This was also where GA dug out the water heater* to reveal a buried box and other artifacts from a distant past.

We later recorded a strange EVP there that seemed to mimic the sound of that water heater being removed by GA months earlier (if anyone wants to hear this audio clip, leave me a comment below and I’ll publish it. Its very strange).

Was the basement or a hidden well in Dan Piotrowski’s house a portal to another dimension? If a well was dug in the 1800’s, or when the foundation was excavated to build the present house in the 1970’s, did one of them open a portal to evil?

We believe that the site was formerly that of a goat-rancher’s cabin in the 19th Century, as our research and EVP’s with that entity seemed to suggest. In those early days, folks had no piped-in water, and that precious liquid was obtained by hand-digging a deep hole in the ground until the water table was reached. Homes were often built right over these wells in order to make retrieval in the winter a manageable, non-freezing task. Today there are many old buildings with such abandoned wells, or newer houses built over the site of old wells.

How such wells could become portals to another dimension, diabolical or not, is the Big Question.

When people dig deep holes in the earth, can they be creating conduits for human souls or other subterannean entities to travel through? Jules Vern’s Journey to the Center of the Earth was the mid-nineteenth century classic that explored that concept among others. In that story, the explorers became hopelessly lost in an underground universe (hell?), only at the end to be ejected to the surface via an erupting volcano (resurrection?).

Notions of the afterlife begin deep in the ground for many religions. The ancient Greeks long believed in Hades, that underworld where the dead were escorted to their final rest or punishment, as the case might be. Many of us know all too well about the Christian belief in hell as a place of eternal damnation; somewhere “down there” from which there is no hope of escape. Hindus, though believers in cremation and the reincarnation of departed souls, do have a belief in both heavens and hells (somewhere in the “lower worlds”) as interim destinations before a soul returns to earth. While traditional native American tribes each have slightly differing beliefs about the afterlife, historic Utes in Colorado did bury their dead in rock-covered graves in the mountains, and were especially concerned about the comfort of the departed and the disposition of their surviving property. 

As different as these and other cosmologies are from each other, is bad always down and good always up?  Either way, do the dead use portals to proceed from life to afterlife? 

Back at the Piotrowski house: in addition to everything else, there was a tribal influence.  A Ute versus Comanche battlefield was just down the road, and it is possible that the Utes buried their war-dead up on the hill under where the house now stands. Were their energies released via a portal created from Dan’s basement or the goat-rancher’s well? Besides the Ute and the rancher, were there other entities there too? I must admit that my own perception of an “ancient one” scared me. My intuition told me that a very old spirit was watching us, wondering what we were up to.

Was it evil? I don’t know. But it was enough to make two of our investigators ill and retreat to the outside.

It may also have been the same “something” that drove Dan Piotrowski’s tenants to fear and anger; an inexplicable outcome that made it impossible for him to rent out that home again, eventually leading to its foreclosure.

If they truly exist, these portals may also allow access to beings who have no previous connection to the event site. Stories of “territorial” spirits persist…those who roam the land around a site using a portal to come and go.

What’s even scarier is what both demonologists and priests will tell you. Afterall, the one thing they have in common is their unequivocal belief in demons. Some contend that the Devil and his minions take advantage of hauntings, using portals to enter a site and pretend that they are ghosts! Now that is really insidious. Sometimes what is perceived as the ghost of a child may really be a demon impersonating one. What their intentions are using this charade, I’ll leave for your own speculation.

But if you’ve hung in with me so far, suspend your disbelief for one more paragraph…

What if over the millennia, powerful beings took up residence under our earth while our ancestors were still hunting wooly mammoths? What if their intentions toward us humans were not so nice, and what if they established conduits and pathways and portals back up to our world to do their work? What if over thousands of years different civilizations and cultures deified these creatures as evil gods in order to explain their sightings and influences?

What if they still walk beneath our feet?

It is the Halloween season, and part of my avocation as a paranormal investigator and writer is to give you a good scare right about now. So be afraid, and keep your portals closed…

Dan Piotrowski’s house was a great example of
a Haunted House for Sale in Colorado
what’s the connection to Halloween?


For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings

(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.wordpress.com
 Visit our website:  http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.com

 All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill,
Copyright 2010-2014
All Rights Reserved

*by the time you read this post, this Travel Channel video
may no longer be available.

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