America has a long paranormal history. There are countless families living their perfectly normal life until they had the misfortune of coming across to the most diverse spirits or poltergeists. The most infamous is the colonial house of Amytiville, located in the state of New York. The story became a ‘best-seller’ in its time and now we can find several films that recreate those terrible episodes that plagued the marriage of George and Kathy Lutz and their three children. They left the house terrified just 28 days after accommodation.
One of the leading experts in the field is New Yorker Dan Sturges, who featured recently in a long article in ‘Narratively‘. He is one of the most eccentric parapsychologists who scarcely believe in the existence of paranormal forces himself, although he does believe in ghostly apparitions. He is dedicated to plumbing the telluric energy of iconic historical places, such as the Merchant’s House Museum in New York, which is one of the oldest buildings in the metropolis. However, when it comes to attending cases of strange phenomena located in private homes, he is quite skeptical: “If I see that things are a bit vague or I feel that the story is getting bigger, I go out”,
When we speak of “paranormal event” we refer it as something unknown, which is beyond normal and cannot be explained
“He does not want to hunt ghosts, but to know why and when paranormal phenomena occur,” says journalist Leonora Desar, who recently interviewed him.
For a reason, he belongs to the Manhattan-based Parapsychology Foundation, which provides grants to restless scientists to investigate all kinds of strange events that happen in the brain, and not outside of it, as many think. The foundation is dedicated in understanding phenomenon’s ranging from cases of telepathy, poltergeists, studying how the mind works when it is affected by certain hallucinogenic drugs or what happens in it when an individual is having an out-of-body experience.
A question of “energies”
“Sturges talks about his work as an ordinary job, as if he were a plumber or a carpenter,” Desar observes. Can it be possible to capture real psychic phenomena that the human eye cannot capture but certain people who are sensitive to them can? “I think everyone does, up to a point,” says the parapsychologist. “When you walk into a room where there was a big fight the tension is so strong that you can cut it with a knife.” For him, everything is based on energy and our ability to perceive it, even the most innocent facts. “When you see two people meeting for the first time and you think: ‘these two are going to be together’. Or when you are attracted to someone and it is reciprocal. It cannot be explained, it is just energy, and you know it. We all have a little ability to feel it; just some people have it more intensely.”
He tells clients to not worry: “If you really have a spirit at home, why don’t you just enjoy it?”
The case of Sturges is quite peculiar since childhood he always had a certain inclination towards the world of mysteries. He graduated from the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, which many of his detractors will see as a pretext to criticize the veracity of his actions and words. After a while he realized that this was only going to give him a job as a commercial actor, so he eventually enlisted in a high-level security company.
Years passed by and Sturges wanted to turn his life around, which was a bit boring. Together with a longtime friend named Dom Villella, they founded a group they dubbed the Paranormal Investigation of NYC that was based in their colleague’s basement in a Brooklyn home. This is how they began to make trips to archaic and abandoned places in search of ghosts.
One of the sites chosen was a house in very bad shape in upstate New York with a cemetery right at the rear. There they moved with all their equipment and utensils typical of paranormal investigators. When they collected all the images they had recorded, he noticed that there was a white shadow crossing from one side of the camera to the other and then vanishing. But that didn’t make him immediately believe in ghosts. “When we say that something is paranormal we mean the same idea as UFOs,” he says. “It is something unknown, which is beyond normal and cannot be explained.”
I don’t think I will be the first to demonstrate the survival of the soul after death. But I’d like to be on the trail.
He’s not afraid of ghosts at all. “Sturges said that a spirit would never hurt you unless you hit a door or trip on the ladder of fear that you have something you don’t understand,” writes Desar, the journalist who interviewed the parapsychologist. “He doesn’t believe in demons or esoteric characters. To him that’s nonsense; after all, none of them have ever tried to harm him, even when he has harangued them to do so. He tells clients not to worry. ‘Yes, really. they have a spirit at home, why don’t you just enjoy it?'”
One of the characteristics that best define Sturges is that he also has no claims to uncover a great hidden truth. Judging by the description of the American journalist, he only does it for pure entertainment. “For me, it is like a great search,” he says. “I don’t think I’m going to be the first to demonstrate the survival of the soul after death. But I like to be one of the people who are looking for answers.”