Archive for the Paranormal Books Category

On ASD and “AUTISM and the GOD CONNECTION” by William Stillman

Posted in General, Paranormal Books on April 28, 2010 by voicesofoctober

   

      Since April is Autism Awareness Month what better time to comment on a book which not only offers a unique perspective on autism but also bristles with paranormal overtones.  AUTISM and the GOD CONNECTION by William Stillman is such a book.

     Before I get into my commentary on Bill’s book however, I would like to give you a brief and hopefully simplified overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder, usually identified by the acronym ASD  (for the sake of brevity I will use ‘ASD’ when referring to autism throughout the remainder of this article).

 ♦ Autism Spectrum Disorder ♦

     As I said, I’d like to keep this simple and present some key points of ASD under the assumption that many of you who read this are either totally unfamiliar or know very little about autism.  I’m giving you this sort of  ‘introduction’  not only as a lead into my commentary about Bill Stillman’s book  Autism and the God Connection but also because many of you will know someone or someone who cares for someone on the autism spectrum sometime throughout your life.  

     According to the CDC:  Currently, “It is estimated that an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD.”* I use the word ‘currently’ as it seems stats on ASD are ever-changing .   Simply stated ASD is a neuro-biological disorder involving  impaired social interaction, significant difficulties in understanding verbal and nonverbal communication, and exhibiting repetitive and challenging behaviors.  It has no cure.  Children with autism will become adults with autism!  No definitive cause for ASD has  been determined although genetics does  play a role but as many as 100 genes may be involved.  Symptoms  should manifest before 3 years of age but unfortunately diagnosis usually occurs a few years later.  Mental retardation can co-exist with ASD but is by no means always the case.  On the average 41 % of children with an ASD exhibit an Intellectual Disability meaning an IQ below 70.* Early intervention is the key to positive outcomes for children on the autism spectrum and the earlier the intervention the better.    Children with ASD show a preference for structure and predictability and frequently respond well to treatment based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.  Something I would like to bring to light here is that although many of us like a predictable, daily routine, we usually do not overreact  if  we circumstantially and periodically need to deviate from our daily routine.  Not so with many folks with ASD.  Sometimes even a slight change in their normal schedule can have devastating effects!  Children and adults with ASD  are not going to accommodate us so we need to accommodate them to the best of our abilities.   There are many more facts and detailed explanations concerning autism throughout the lifespan which I will not go into here.   However there is something I would like to add.  As noted ASD commonly presents with 3 core deficits sometimes called the “Autism Triad.”  In addition to impairments in communication, impairments in social interaction and repetitive and limited interests and behaviors we might add a fourth, sensory processing disorder or sensory sensitivities.  Many times individuals with ASD exhibit significant tactile, olfactory, and especially visual and auditory sensitivities.  New research indicates that there appears to be a preponderance of gray matter in those parts of the brain responsible for processing visual and auditory stimuli.  Many of us exhibit some sensory sensitivities perhaps to fluorescent lights, certain types of  noise, or even the way our clothing rubs on a certain part of our body to name just a few.  In someone with ASD, however, these sensations are much more pronounced.  In fact so pronounced it can cause a person to be extremely restless or even engage in aggressive behaviors until they obtain some relief from the irritating stimuli.  When I was designing or consulting on designing a productive learning environment for adults with ASD, sensory sensitivities were always in the forefront of consideration.  This leads to the question: Is it possible that many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder could also present with ‘special sensitivities or heightened  spiritual or ‘paranormal’ perceptions?’ 

*(Source http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html).  

♦ Autism and the God Connection – a book by William Stillman ♦

     William Stillman is an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome and has published numerous books on Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Bipolar Disorder to name a few.  In addition Bill has appeared on national television and writes a column for the quarterly magazine The Autism perspective and is active in the autism self-advocacy movementThrough his autism workshops and private consultations he offers a unique perspective on autism through his humanistic point of view.  I have attended Bill’s presentations and they have touched me deeply as well as taught me something about myself in the process.

     Autism and the God Connection copyright 2006 is the first book in Stillman’s Autism and the God Connection trilogy which includes The Soul of Autism & The Autism Prophecies et al. 

   Autism and the God Connection is a ‘must read’ for many of you who are not only interested in autism but autism and its possible connection to psychic phenomena and paranormal encounters.  Although Stillman approaches these events from a mostly spiritual perspective, through his travels as a private autism consultant for people on the spectrum and through the willingness of people to share their sometimes unusual experiences while caring for someone on the autism spectrum he has compiled some compelling stories of clairvoyance, telepathy, spirit communication and connections, aura perception, and ‘hauntings’   Bill supplements these experiences with some of the finer points of his humanistic perspective on autism.  He explains it in a way that inspires and brings to light the unique attributes of people with autism and also discusses the awakening of his own spirituality.  Bill proposes that the senses of people with autism “vibrate at a frequency different from most.”  which in turn makes them highly sensitive and emotional beings.  Stillman also infers that autism may be more a “gift” than a hindrance given the sensitive, spiritual nature of people on the spectrum.

   It is understandable that raising a loved one with autism many times cultivates an atmosphere of confusion,desperation–and even hostility.  The last thing a parent wants to hear is that their child is a ‘Godsend’ or spiritual prophet!  Although Autism and the God Connection seemingly implies that, at the same time it offers another perspective on a profound and sometimes mysterious disorder.  Perhaps just a flicker of light and hope in the darkness.  

   Whether you are caring for someone on the autism spectrum, interested in learning a bit more about ASD, a Psychic or paranormal enthusiast or are looking for some illuminating  and spiritual food for the soul this book will fit your needs.

If you feel a loved one that you care for may be experiencing psychic phenomena or spirit communication or encounters,  I’d love to hear your story, of course confidentiality will be respected.  You can e-mail me at: grandpajoe2@verizon.net ~JJA

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Commentary on HOW TO HUNT GHOSTS A Practical Guide by Joshua P. Warren

Posted in Paranormal Books on April 7, 2010 by voicesofoctober

   

     

      You’ve finally decided  you’d like to go find some ghosts but  need some basic pointers on paranormal investigation including what equipment you might want to bring along, and oh,  how about a good explanation of just what an entity is?  Well just grab your copy of HOW TO HUNT GHOSTS -A Practical Guide by Joshua P. Warren and you’ll be ready to conquer any haunted house or  apparition filled prison, well…partly.  In my humble opinion, the written word is no substitute for actual physical participation in a paranormal investigation with an experienced team or individual, but that’s another article for another time.

     HOW TO HUNT GHOSTS et al copyright 2003 is the creation of Joshua P. Warren.  Warren is the founder and president of L.E.M.U.R.  a paranormal research team and has made numerous appearances on TV and radio networks.  Unlike the authors of the other paranormal books I’ve reviewed, I have never met or spoken with Mr. Warren.

     The contents of the book adequately support the title.  The book is layed out in two sections.  The first section touches on everything from entities to naturals in addition  to a wide range of  paranormal phenomena and terminology  and Warren convincingly presents all topics in a balanced fashion for the most part.  His commentary and analysis go a bit deeper than just superficial explanations and this presents for an interesting, informative read.

     The second and final section of HOW TO HUNT GHOSTS deals with the ‘Whys, Wheres, and Whats’ of ghost hunting including something on just about every common piece of para-equipment extant.  Joshua continues on with the logistics of an investigation and some pointers on strategies if  you in fact,  find paranormal activity.  Last but not least Warren cleverly includes examples of a “Ghost Research Log, and an Interview Form for Owner/Resident in the appendices and a list of “Equipment Resources.”

     Overall HOW TO HUNT GHOSTS – A Practical Guide would be a welcome addition to any novice  para-investigator’s library.  However I must caution the reader that Warren makes a few controversial statements which are a bit biased and which some readers may take offense to:

[1] He lends a somewhat more credence to orbs than is currently fashionable.

[2] He asserts that it is perfectly ethical to charge for services (investigations) as long as payment does not influence the integrity of the work.

[3] He states that: “…many professional psychics are frauds.”

     If you can get past a little biased thinking the book is a good primer for the beginning paranormal investigator. ~JJA

Upcoming Posts in Voices of October: 

~ Book Commentary on Autism and the God Connection by William Stillman – something a bit different…

~ Transcript of my interview with a local newspaper.

~’Augmentative Spirit Communication’

 

Commentary on GHOST EXCAVATOR Unearthing the Drama in the Mine Fields by John G. Sabol Jr.

Posted in Paranormal Books on March 15, 2010 by voicesofoctober

    

    

      If you’re tired of the ‘same-old, same-old’ in books about the paranormal; bored with reading compilations of case files and personal encounters; have begun questioning the applicability and validity of the current investigative methodologies then you might want to read GHOST EXCAVATOR Unearthing the Drama in the Mine Fields, Copyright 2007 by John G. Sabol Jr.  This book definitely stimulates the gray matter in addition to weaving a ghostly tale exemplified by the ethnic and cultural history of the Mahanoy area. 

     The author, John Sabol, has an impressive list of credentials and has been involved in paranormal investigation and research well before some of the self-proclaimed ‘leaders in the field’ had even seen the light of day.  I spent some time visiting with John in his home in Mahanoy City in Eastern Pennsylvania the black heart of the  hard coal fields . We discussed his latest book, along with his experiences, fieldwork and methodologies.

     GHOST EXCAVATOR et al is Sabol’s first book and is basically in two parts.   Through skillful use of vivid imagery Sabol successfully paints a picture of the “haunted” landscape of the anthracite fields of eastern of Pennsylvania in the first part.  Delving deep into the origins of the local folklore and urban legends as a function of ethnic struggles and survival in this harsh environment.   I was born and raised about 15 miles from John and can truly relate to what he imparts. I experienced  a childhood much like he did growing up amid the culm banks and the remnants of coal breakers and abandoned deep mines.  While trying to remain unbiased as I write this I must say that Sabol was no longer the sole owner of his  experiences and subjective interpretations, as I read this book  they became mine also, as memories resurfaced and crystallized.  In his descriptions and perceptions of this stark landscape Sabol sets the stage for the second part of his book.

     Borrowing from the fields of archeology, ethnography and anthropology  Sabol attempts to construct a new and fascinating multidisciplinary methodology of ghost research, and here is where things get a bit confusing.  this section of the book is fraught with new terminology, acronyms, and labels that  John has created to introduce and explain his theory.  Perhaps a degree in one of the disciplines mentioned above would be  helpful.  I emailed John concerning the complexity of this section of Ghost Excavator…and he obligingly replied that he appreciated my honesty and that sometimes he forgets that he is not lecturing to a college class–or something along those lines.  Nevertheless, John has gone where few authors go and even fewer succeed that is:  proposing a unique research methodology of paranormal investigation that  probes deeper into haunting phenomena than just the “Horizontal sweeps and Ghost watches” that are the standard of most investigators.

     You will either love or hate this book–and if you’re somewhere in the middle after the initial read–read it again to make a final determination. I read it three times.  If I label a few other books I’ve commented on, ‘paranormal fast food,’ than Ghost Excavator et al is exotic dining for the paranormal connoisseur–but you don’t always have to like what you eat. ~ JJA

You might want to visit John Sabol’s C.A.S.P.E.R. Research Center @ http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeoqapc/ghostexcavator/index.html

Commentary on Jeff Belanger’s book – The Ghost Files – Paranormal Encounters, Discussion, and Research

Posted in Paranormal Books on March 3, 2010 by voicesofoctober

                                         Jeff Belanger is no stranger to the world of paranormal phenomena.  He is not only an author of numerous books on the subject but also happens to be the founder of Ghostvillage.com,  purported to be the most popular paranormal website extant.  I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff in April of 2009 during a TAPS “Beyond Reality Event” at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire.  I found him to be personable and intelligent yet surprisingly humble.  I enjoyed our chat following one of his presentations and promised to buy at least one of his books. 

    Needless to say I have read 4 of  Jeff’s books since we met including the one I’ve just completed, and the subject of this commentary:   THE GHOST FILES  Paranormal Encounters, Discussion, and Research. Copyright 2007.

     I found this book entertaining, interesting and informative to say the least and I could have probably read all 200 + pages in one sitting but chose to make it last.   The content of the book adequately supports the title.  If you’re like me,  then it seems you are never satiated when it comes to reading about people’s personal encounters with the ‘other side’ and Belanger includes plenty of these subjective occurrences!  Selected from the archives of Ghostvillage.com, Jeff recounts the personal experiences pretty much verbatim with little if any editing adding a bit of insight or food for thought at the end of each.  Belanger also includes chapters on a wide variety of topics such as psychics and spirit communication to name just a few,  including some history on their origins and evolution.  He occasionally intersperses some personal encounters in these chapters to supplement the particular subject.

Although Belanger’s GHOST FILES offers no groundbreaking methodologies or new research in the area of paranormal phenomena and I would list it under the genre of ‘Paranormal Fast Food,’ it does provide a good, entertaining read for the ‘paranormal junkie’  who enjoys reading about personal encounters and general paranormal subject matter.   I found it a pleasurable read and I also read research papers and books on Quantum Theory.

    So if you want an interesting and entertaining read without having a PH.D. and a Thesaurus at your fingertips, definitely get yourself a copy of Jeff Belanger’s THE GHOST FILES …  As with the other books I’ve read by Jeff–I wasn’t disappointed. ~ JJA

Entities-R-Us Book is on Amazon!

Posted in Paranormal Books on March 2, 2010 by voicesofoctober

Check out Terri’s new book: Entities-R-Us Book is on Amazon!.