Reality Checking with Brent Raynes

Who Ya Gonna Call?

My adventuresome spirit and continuing quest has taken me down some curious pathways of late. In fact, like Alice in Wonderland, I think I may have gone down a rabbit hole or two, and the landscape in this alternate realm is substantially different from the culturally accepted mainstream one that logical left-brain folks must traverse. Does this mean that I’m in my right mind at last?

Alas, where does one begin in describing such a journey to the far side (or should I say the far out side)? Hmmm. Well, I suppose the direct approach is always superior to beating around the proverbial bush in such matters.

Recently I’ve joined the growing ranks of “ghost hunters,” that fearless breed of paranormal detective who often explores abandoned buildings and cemeteries under the cover of darkness. With K2 meters, cameras and recorders in hand, and what have you, we seek, if possible, to obtain hard evidence of the ghosties.

For me to take up ghost hunting hardly surprises those who know me as I’ve always been into weird and unexplained things. Though I’m best known for my UFO interests, my curiosity hardly stops there, and, of course, I have long expressed that the complex UFO enigma is embedded with its fair share of assorted paranormal dynamics.

A few months back, Mark Kelso, president of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts Center in downtown Fayetteville, Tennessee, became engaged in a friendly conversation about spirits with the Arts Center’s Artist in Residence Jon Thunder, a full-blooded Apache Indian seeker of the truth who is always open to a challenging conversation (and who has already been interviewed several times by this editor and columnist in the past). Both Mark and Jon have independently of each other heard what sounded to each of them like footsteps inside the century old Arts Center (formerly a church building).

“As it turned out, Brent Raynes, the editor of Alternate Perceptions magazine…is a personal friend of Mr. Thunder,” Mark Kelso wrote in the April 2010 edition of The Gallery News. “Mr. Raynes contacted (me) and asked for permission to come to The Arts Center to take a tour. ….During Mr. Raynes’ first visit…he brought along his daughter and his wife. His daughter also claims to have the ability to pick up paranormal activity (and) triggered in on the exact same locations that other people claiming to have the same ability did. They also made some digital recording during that visit. Mr. Raynes’ first evaluation of The Arts Center peaked his interest enough that he arranged another visit and brought along Sandy Nichols, founder of the Alien Research Group, and Bret and Gina (Oldham) of the Halo Paranormal Research and Investigations.”

Late on the Saturday afternoon of March 27th my wife Joan and I, along with our daughter Chandra, converged again on the Arts Center where we were soon met by Sandy, Bret and Gina. Mark got there a little later (due to another commitment), while Jon Thunder was already there when we first arrived. We were introduced to a psychic lady friend of Jon’s who described sensing a presence downstairs in a back corner of the building near the stairs, where my daughter Chandra and others have sensed something as well.

Before the evening was over Mark became impressed with Jon’s friend’s apparent abilities and wrote in his article, “The strange thing with her (she is not from here) was that she pointed out William R. Carter’s portrait and told me things about him specifically and then about the relationship between him and the artist that painted his portrait that very few people in The Arts Center probably even know. Yet she had no idea who he was other than the fact he donated the building.”

After introductions and some socializing, Bret and Sandy stepped outside to retrieve their instruments (i.e., K2 meters, video cameras, digital recorders, etc.) from the vehicle that they had arrived in together. It was at this point that something rather odd transpired. “We were in back of Sandy’s SUV with the hatch open,” Bret recalled later. “We were talking. Not sure about what. Sandy was facing the building and I was kind of turned sideways but mostly had my back to the front entrance of the building. Sandy was speaking and right in the middle of something he was telling me I turned and looked over to the door because I felt someone had come out. Not sure why as I didn’t hear anyone come out but for some reason just felt that someone did so. I looked over to see who it was. At the same time, I turned around to look Sandy looked up and over to the door area too. I told him I thought someone had come out and he said that is exactly why he looked over there too. Of course, no one did come out and we were both puzzled as to what had caused us to both look over at the door at the same time when no one was there. When we came in and found out that Jon was sending out spirits, or at least bad ones, we both thought the timing of it all could very well be more than just a coincidence.”

Yes indeed, Jon had been beating his large pow wow drum and chanting up on the stage while Bret and Sandy were outside. When they came inside explaining what had just occurred, Jon expressed great interest and explained that he was coincidentally performing a ceremony to banish any spirits from the building who didn’t need to be there during our investigation!

From my studies of the Peruvian whistling vessels, it has become my understanding that ancient Peruvians (and other ancient people too) used whistles in ceremonies to call in spirits. Thus I brought along four Chimu era replica Peruvian whistles to do a meditation before we fully launched into our ghost investigation. A group of us sat on the floor in a circle while Jon added the powerful accompaniment of his large drum. The effect was pretty profound and awesome.

This was the first time that Bret and Gina had ever experienced these whistles. “I didn’t really know what to expect and basically just thought it would be a relaxing experience,” Bret shared with me soon afterwards. “At first I was experiencing nothing and really wasn’t even feeling that it was relaxing me that much. After a few minutes of it and getting into more of a rhythmic pattern with my breathing, much as I would do if I was doing a regular meditation, was when I started to see a big fire. As we continued, all of a sudden I felt like I had slipped back into time. I was still sitting in a circle and in the same place as I was with you guys but I was not with you guys anymore. The fire had turned into a big fire and I was sitting in a circle around that fire with a group of Native Americans all dressed in ceremonial costumes. There were no women. It was a group of maybe 6 or 7 men and me. I noticed that we were sitting on dirt or in the desert. I couldn’t tell which. I remember I looked up at the sky and saw a very clear night. The sky was filled with bright glistening stars and the moon was bright. Not full but almost. The fire was big and roaring but I could see the men on the other side. Then a large white funnel came down from the sky and encompassed the entire group. It was swirling very fast but oddly enough not affecting the fire. It was a bit larger at the bottom close to us and then went in slightly and stayed the same size all the way up. It was hollow. I know in the articles you sent me that others who have seen these vortexes or portals have reported that they thought it looked like it was moving in a clockwise direction. [I should note here, for the benefit of my readers, that these articles that Bret is referring to were sent to him after his whistling vessel experience…Brent Raynes] I can’t say positively though because just as it was appearing was when that woman yelled ‘stop’ and everyone stopped blowing the whistles as did I and opened my eyes. [Bret is referring to Jon’s friend, who claimed that spirit wanted us to stop at that point…Brent Raynes] I wasn’t able to get back to that place when we resumed again for a few minutes… I was really wanting to see what the meaning of the vortex was and what was going to happen next. Throughout the experience I felt very energized as if my body was filled with positive energy and the effect of that lasted for sometime afterwards.”

Speaking of Peuvian whistling vessels, while researching an entirely different matter, scouring through the pages of many different back issues of FATE magazine, I just stumbled upon “Chan Chan and the Lost Empire of the Chimu”, written by none other than long-time noted American ufologist Jerome Clark in the March 1971 (then only 50 cents) issue of that magazine! This well-written feature contained photographs of 11 “effigy vessels” (clearly all or most of them being Chimu whistling vessels). Though his article mentions their pottery, art, and what we seem to know of their history and religious beliefs, the author didn’t mention about the whistle component of those beautiful “effigy vessels.” Of course, their whistle component remained below the radar of most authors and researchers for many years, until after Daniel Statnevok’s initial 1972 discovery of the psycho-acoustical properties of these whistles and the publication of his book Animated Earth in 1987 helped to focus and raise more awareness of this aspect.

At any rate, getting back to the main story at hand, our ghost hunt that evening lasted for an estimated five hours. Hours of video and audio was obtained to be reviewed later, most of which didn’t prove altogether that conclusion unfortunately. I should mention that during our initial visit before this one, Chandra had obtained the clear audio of (of all things) a horse when she left her digital recorder in the basement. Mark dug into the history of the building and learned that before it was a church it seems it was a livery stable! We also did what is called a Ghost Box session in the basement of this building that was conducted by Bret and Gina. This is a technique for attempting to communicate with spirits through the white noise of a small radio that is sweeping continuously back and forth through the radio frequencies. This method echoes the early pioneering work of Dr. Konstantin Raudive.

“The team was disappointed with the amount of static they were picking up,” Mark wrote in his article. “It really takes a trained ear to hear the voices between the white noise on the radio. We asked them what the building was being used for and they answered us. We asked them how many spirits were in the building. On this, they could not agree. I asked them what the building was being used for in 1934. No answer.” Mark also recalled how he heard his name come out over the Ghost Box more than once and how the English translation of Jon’s father’s name was heard too.

Since then we’ve investigated a large hospital in Fayetteville that was closed back in 2001 (the day before the tragic 9/11), in the company of three former employees of that facility. We seem to have picked up several dozen possible evps there (an evp stands for "electronic voice phenomena"). Some of these were really odd indeed. Two pictures taken inside the hospital contained some decidedly unusual imagery. We’re going back again soon to conduct another investigation. Plus we’ve got some pretty credible people coming out of the proverbial woodwork wanting us to come and investigate their haunted homes as well.

So stay tuned my friends. We’ve barely scratched the surface here. My next column should contain a good deal more information on some very intriguing experiences and data obtained from our latest investigations, and who knows what results our future investigations will produce.

Stay tuned!