Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Haunted Artist's Adjustable Bed

I'm sure you've seen the advertisements for an adjustable bed. You can raise the head up to a sitting position and the foot part goes up as well. Ever since I’d seen the first advertisement, I wanted one of these beds. They have the most luxurious memory foam mattresses that one sinks down into like sleeping on a cloud.

After opening up our change bank and counting out all the coins putting them in the bank’s coin sleeves, which incidentally took hours, Roger and I cashed in for real money, the folding kind, and took off for the bed store. A few days later are adjustable beds arrived? We decided to get two separate beds which could be adjusted to each of our requirements, but would still be able to share bed linens, space, and the electrical outlet.

The first night, it was just like the ads had promised.  We popped some popcorn, open our cans of diet coke, and adjusted the beds to watch the latest pay-per-view movie. It was fun. I forgot to mention, that the beds also have a vibrating feature to massage one's back and legs. It costs quite a bit extra for this feature.

It was sometime around 3 AM, when my bed started vibrating waking us both up. I searched my light stand for the remote control, and it was lit up like I had just turned on the vibration feature.  Irritated at being awakened, I quickly shut off the vibration, the end table light, and went back to sleep. In the morning, I checked the alarm feature and timer, and both were in the off position.

The following night, we turned in late, so I put the bed down in a comfortable sleeping position and drifted right off to sleep.  Around 3 AM, the head started to rise up and the foot followed suit. I jumped out of bed before it made me into a human pretzel, and grabbed the remote control. The remote control was once again lit up like the night before when the bed started vibrating by itself.

This strange scenario happened again and again. All the time, Rogers’s bed was just fine, and didn't act up. After one week of tolerating my misbehaving bed, I called the store.  The manager apologized for the inconvenience and sent a technician out to check on the bed that evening. I must say the bed store had excellent customer service. The technician came out that night around 5 PM and took the entire bed apart. He checked the remote controls, the motor, and all the parts seemed to be working perfectly. He gave me a new remote control and told me to call him if there were any more problems.

I continue to have problems with the bed, so the store delivered a brand-new bed to me once again apologizing for the inconvenience and explaining to me that they have never had a problem like this before with one of their new beds. That night, I went to sleep with new confidence that my bed would behave.

I was wrong.

Around 3 AM, the bed started rising. It hummed away as the head rose up to put me into a sitting position, then my knees started rising up to meet my chin. Of course, I jumped out of bed before that could happen. The next morning I called the store very frustrated. Once again they sent out a technician to check out the bed. There was nothing wrong with any part of the bed.

We went through this same scenario three or four times (I can't remember exactly if it was three or four times).  The store delivered three beds to me during this time even trying a new manufacturer and model. The same thing happened with each bed. 

I'd like to say the problem was resolved, but it was not. I still have the last bed they delivered, and decided to just unplug it from the wall. Knowing that would finally solve my problem because there was no electric connected to it; I lay down to take a nap. About an hour into my nap, the bed started vibrating. I jumped out of the bed and grab the end of the electrical cord. It was still unplugged. I reached over and touched the bed. Everything was quiet no vibration, so I cautiously lay back down on the bed.  After a few minutes, I felt the vibration again. This time, I didn't panic and get up. I just laid there thinking about what was happening. The vibration was different. It was more like the vibration I've felt at my drafting table while I'm trying to paint. It was the kind of vibration my daughter described when she was sitting at her desk trying to do her homework. It was more like an electrical current going through the bed than a mechanical vibration.

I never called the bed store back. They stopped taking my calls. I wonder why. Roger has never had a problem with his bed, to date.  I never told the bed store about the way the covers on my bed rose in the air a foot off the surface and undulated in waves.  That would have just complicated matters.

This morning while I was enjoying my coffee sitting in my Lay-Z-Boy chair… incidentally, that’s now where I sleep most of the time…the bed started to rise up. It scared the crap out of the cat! I grabbed the remote control, adjusted it back down to flat, and apologized to kitty.

And this is why I recommend to anyone who lives in a haunted house don't waste your money on an adjustable bed.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Stormy Week

It's another hump day, and we've had thunderstorms all week. I've been trying to observe the house more carefully since we've started this project.  There have been more and louder clicks and knocks during storms. The dogs have been whining and restless for hours at a time. The cat's have been on edge and easily spooked (no pun intended).  The animals seem to stare at nothing there. The cats stare, look frightened, and run and hide. It seems like odd behavior to me, but I've never really noticed before.  Maybe it's the storms themselves that put everyone on edge… then again, maybe not.  I can only guess.

We've decided to put a camera in the main part of the house. Remembering what hassles we went through with the other camera and set up, I dread the process. Though, I think it's necessary to have a camera in the main part of the house. I'm sure it will be interesting to our watchers. It may lead to more knowledge and discovery about the house. I think that in itself is worth the trouble. We will have the camera available from 11 PM to 5:30 AM. We will not have the sound on in the main part of the house unless the sounds from the televisions in the bedrooms do not interrupt broadcasts.  I want to enjoy late-night television. It's the only time of day not interrupted by human activity, telephone calls, visitors, and the usual chaos.

Late night, is my favorite time of day.  It is my time to sit in my lounge chair, have a snack, and tune in to a movie or watch what I've recorded on our DVR.  Late-night, in this house, is the only time when nothing or no one interrupts my movie time except knocking and tapping, doors opening and closing by themselves, footsteps, and flying balls of light. I've learned to ignore all that.  Ghosts are far less annoying than a cell phone!  Sometimes I use the late-night hours to create art, make a piece of jewelry, read my Nook, or write my memoir.

See you on the cam. Come and chat with me. Leave me a comment in my blog or on Ustream. You can also follow the adventures of the Haunted Artist on twitter at @Caterina_L


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This morning, I had a wonderfully vivid dream.  I was in a home in New England. The house was sitting on a foundation or huge rock which formed a natural porch front and back.  It looked much like a house one would see in Camden, Maine.  I decided to take a tour of the house and began walking through the rooms.  It was a little cluttered the home of a writer.  Most writers and artists I know tend to clutter up their space a bit and have less than organized minds.

The furniture was rustic, and a door with french windows and a Light Colonial Maple stain led to the back rock porch.  When I stepped through the back door, I was greeted with a breath-taking scene looking out over the ocean.  A small island jutted out of the water near the center of the bay, and a spit of rocky but tree-covered land curved around to the left.  The sand was strewn with seaweed, grasses and dark pebbles. It was enchanting. The kitchen off to the right proved to me this author was a bachelor and not very tidy with his kitchen duties.  I grabbed a sponge and gave him a little help cleaning up.  I saw he also needed better curtains to frame the lovely scene at the back of the house. Explaining that my mother was a dressmaker, and I had learned sewing skills as a child, I offered to make a set of cafe curtains for the window over the sink.  Just as we were about to enjoy a slice of strawberry cake, the dang alarm went off and took me away from this charming house.

I have two recurring dreams.  One that I move from my house to some place I think is better, then discover I don't want to live in the new place.  I try to get back to my little, haunted house, but it is too late.  I can't afford to purchase the house back, and my life in Florida is gone forever.  I always wake up from that dream with a great feeling of sadness and vow to myself that I will never leave this house.

The second recurring dream, I've had since I was a child is about a plane crash.  A plane flies overhead and crashes behind a row of buildings.  I'm standing at the back of the buildings and watch it as it almost touches the roof.  Then, there's a loud crash and bright flash.  As the years have progressed, so has the action in the dream.  The last time I had it, I was not standing looking out over the tragedy but peering at the sky from inside a body bag.  A fireman in a bright yellow coat is zipping the bag closed as I watch.  As you might expect, I avoid flying.

Dreams have always been a big part of my life and my creativity.  I've read that people do not dream in color.  My dreams are so colorful, I can set a pallet to what I see in the dream and often do.  At my art shows, visitors ask me where I get my ideas and designs.  I dream many of them.  Sometimes, the force behind the dream is so strong that I get out of bed, go to my studio, set the pallet and design to what I saw in the dream and create the painting that day.  This usually happens in the wee hours of the morning, so I've learned to live on five hours of sleep and be happy.  I consider the dreams a gift.


Monday, May 7, 2012

It was a long weekend.  Someone has to clean this haunted house although it might add to the atmosphere if I let the cobwebs grow, and a layer of dust with ghostly messages on the end tables might be interesting.  I think if thirteen ghosts want to live here on a free ride and not pay any room or board, they should at least do the dishes and clean the windows in the art room!

We had phantom cigarette smoke in here last night.  I haven't smelled that in a long long time.  It appears concentrated in a room for a few seconds then completely disappears.  No one in the house has ever smoked, and our neighbors don't smoke.  When we first smelled this phenomena a few years ago, we went to the garage, walked around the house outside, and even walked to the other houses surrounding us.  The odor was only in our house and in one room.  Sometimes, it shows up in the computer room and sometimes in the master bedroom.  But, like I said, it has been a couple years since we smelled it happening.

Tonight, we are supposed to get thunderstorms.  Usually, the activity picks up and things get stronger when there is a storm.

Well, I must stop blogging and work on my memoir.  I've been thinking about it all day, but haven't written a word.  Getting this draft finished has been a long, arduous process, but it's still fun at times.  I hate deadlines!  It took me months to decide to share the ghosts with the world, and now they are internet stars.  I hope they don't mind.  Maybe someday, they will find their story on the shelves at Barnes & Noble!

I must also stop avoiding my art room because there is a camera in there.  I find it difficult to concentrate with the internet watching me.  I have an art show in November in Ft. Lauderdale, and I must get some painting done!

Good night all,

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's hump day once again, and only three days till Cinco de Mayo.  Since all the Mexican restaurants will be packed, I decided to make my own Mexican dinner. This year, I'm going to try making tamales from scratch. Coming from an Italian family, I don't have much background in the art of Mexican cooking.  It's time to go to the food network channel and look up tamale recipes. Maybe I'll find a website by a genuine Mexican chef.

Now, for an update on my haunted art studio Project.  We finally have a new IR camera mounted on the ceiling that takes in almost the entire art studio, and also, a new microphone. For some reason the new microphone is not picking up the whispering as much as the old microphone. However, the old microphone is attached to the Webcam. I'm not sure what to do about this, but I think I will try using the old Webcam as only a microphone. We've had so many problems setting up the system, I'm really afraid to mess with it.  Eventually, when the site becomes popular and I have a lot of visitors per night, I would like to invite guest investigators to do an investigation and broadcast it in real time. I think it would be interesting.

I've also had another idea.  I'm considering putting our leftover IR camera in the main part of the house focused on the front door.  This is the flight path of our afternoon spirit who slams the front door walks to the middle of the Florida room and then disappears.  I was advised by C.A.P.E. Paranormal to yell "hey you" when I see the apparition walk through the room. If it's an intelligent spirit and not a residual haunt, he should respond. I did what they told me to do. Not only did I yell to him, but I ran after him into the living room. He did not respond, stop, or turn.  I guess he's a residual haunt.  One investigator suggested that this apparition might be one of the cracker cowboys who took care of the homestead coming into the barn to feed the animals. This seems logical since he comes through the house at approximately the same time during the day, and this would be the time of day that one would feed the animals.  I grew up in a county of farmland, and this would be the time of day when my uncles called the cows in from the fields fed them and milked them.

Departing from the subject a bit, I've always liked cows. They have such beautiful eyes and long luxurious eyelashes.  Most have a wonderful temperament.  They seem quite intelligent, and as with other animals, they know their feeding time.  On my uncle's farm, the cows would start their march toward the barn without having to call them.  They would go to their individual stalls and stick their heads through the pipe harnesses waiting for their dinner.  Dinner smelled lovely because it was a mix of grain, flax pellets, and molasses.  I watched my uncle make the mix and then feed the cows.  While the cows were busy eating, he would attach the automatic milking machines.  They were so busy eating; they didn't mind the milking machines.  On a hot summer day while I helped with the chores, we would stop in the milk room where there was a huge vat of constantly churned and refrigerated milk waiting for the milk tanker to arrive.  We would take a long ladle, dip it in the cold milk, and pour it into cups for a refreshing milk break.  It was so rich and creamy.

Well enough woolgathering.  It's time to start my day.  I'm trying to figure out how to allow everyone to comment on my blog.  Be patient with me. I am exceptionally technologically challenged.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Veil Between Me and rhe Dead? Ewwww

Wow, it's Tuesday already, and I feel like I've had a lost weekend.  We've been waiting for two weeks to get all the adapters, cameras, and cables to set up an IR camera, daytime camera, and microphones in the art room.  Last night, we finally had everything assembled, put it all together, and it didn't work.  In my mind's eye, I could see me grabbing a hatchet and going Lizzie Borden on the whole computer setup including the IR camera, web cam, cables, adapters, and the boxes they arrived in!  The computer, which I might add, disconnects from Ustream at the slightest provocation and will be my first target.

It seems that the adapters we purchased, which incidentally took over a week to get here, do not allow the microphone that is on the IR camera to work when plugged into the computer system for which the adapters were purchased.  Add to all this, the IR camera is on permanent close-up, and would only be good if one wanted to focus on spiders running around the edges of the haunted closet.  After two hours of frustration, I decided to shut everything down and go have a dish of ice cream.  Today, after a good night's sleep, I'm back to my somewhat sane self, and will order more equipment from Amazon.

I've received some interesting comments from people watching and listening to my haunted art room cam.  It seems that anyone who listens to the microphone with good headphones or good ear buds can hear whispering.  Some words and sentences do come through quite clearly, but much of the time, it sounds like just a group of people whispering to each other.  I've heard it several times now, and it is creepy!

Today, I received an explanation by one person who does the audio work for a television show about paranormal experiences. This is part of her explanation:

I also took the liberty of listening to your audio off the webcam. In all my experience of doing audio I have never heard what I heard from your audio, except once when I did the Mud House audio.  Very few people are aware of the phenomenon that I have named/labeled as "Sounds beyond Silence" Only a few choice audio analysts know of it. I witnessed/heard it at the Mud house and now again in your audio.  In this phenomenon, the veil between life and death is so thin that one can actually hear the sounds beyond silence in the death realm. Whole conversations on the other side will be heard but not audible. I wouldn't doubt that you have experienced many active spirits throughout your home.

This is an excerpt from an analysis of my house and situation by a paranormal team leader who has investigated this house several times:

Caterina’s house was filled with energy, readily apparent on our first visit. I mean good energy, her personality spilled over into everything.  Neighbors in her area experience similar haunting. We call that a cluster.  But, spirits are like roaches, where there is one, there is usually more. They are also attracted to high energy people. Caterina's house is a magnet for these earthbound spirits.  I have never experienced a home like hers, where we can consistently anytime, catch Class A EVP.  And intelligent answers at that!

As I get the website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages organized and updated, I will put more comments and findings from the different investigations on the web sites.  The above analysis was done by Vishi Garig of C.A.P.E. Paranormal.

Barring any more unforeseen technical problems, we should have the IR camera and new microphones working in about one week.  Until then, you can watch the website and listen to the EVP's through the equipment on hand.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hump Day Thoughts

I guess it is over a week now that the cam has been on. Thankfully, the ghosts must not mind the new stuff in the art studio. They haven't appeared visually in my bedroom, hallway, or dining room. The lights haven't been going on and off by themselves, and they havent thrown any of my stuff around. All is peaceful. I like peaceful.

I still hear chatter in the background. I wonder what causes the footsteps. If a ghost can pass through a wall or door, then what is keeping it from falling through the earth and ending up in China coming out of the ground there feet first? Also, how can they make loud footsteps? They don't weigh anything if they are a mass of ectoplasm. By the way, I looked up ectoplasm.

(from the Greek ektos, meaning "outside", and plasma, meaning "something formed or molded") is a term coined by Charles Richet to denote a substance or spiritual energy "exteriorized" by physical mediums. Ectoplasm is said to be associated with the formation of spirits, however since World War II reports of ectoplasmic phenomena have declined and many psychical researchers doubt whether genuine cases ever existed. (Jan Dirk Blom A Dictionary of Hallucinations 2009, p. 168)

Here's something else from Wikipedia: Ectoplasm on many occasions has been proven to be based on fraud. Many mediums had used methods of swallowing and regurgitating textile products smoothed with potato starch and in other cases the ectoplasm was made of paper, cloth and egg white or butter muslin.

I hope you aren't eating breakfast while reading this!

Back to the football-player-sized ghosts with the tap-dancing cleats on their cowboy boots. I can hear them stirring through my pencils and brushes which are sitting in different parts of the room in plastic coffee cans. I like Folger's Simply Smooth. I also hear my chair creak like someone just sat down in it. Sometimes it sounds like it is rolling around. They also talk to each other and whisper a lot. I'd think it would be difficult to find something to talk about with the same group of people after 150 years.

On a deeper note, if I died, I'd want to move on to the "next act" in our existence. I wouldn't want to hang out in some artist's studio, by the way, which I share with my cats. Especially, when my two cats were having urine-squirting wars with each other and the new cat across the street. The exclamation we recorded on one EVP during this time was "It sure stinks in here, lady!" I agreed with her and hosed the place down with No More Spray cleaner and lots of hot water mopping before they settled their territorial dispute.

I hope the ghosts at least sit down and watch TV with us at night. The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Blue Bloods could help them along with some of the boredom one might suffer with an eternity trapped in a 2400 s.f. ranch home. They told one team of investigators they like hanging out here because we are fun people. See, they do get bored.