C.A.S.P.E.R Research Center

Ghostly "Milusos"

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This section is based on those personal memories, recollections of living in a “foreign” culture, Mexico, from 1981-1992. It concerns the symmetries involved with understanding the differences (and similarities) between my own  “etic” viewpoint, derived from being born and raised in the United States, and living in a cultural system with different values and beliefs.

 

This cultural experience, and the engagements involved, are very applicable to ghost research, and I have adapted and used many of the lessons learned from living, on a daily basis, in that environment. These “lessons” reflect adaptations, use of situational personalities, and fragments of the past in the contemporary environment, and non-contextual (discontinuous) sensory manifestations and stimuli.

 

The “milusos” of the title refers to a popular Mexican movie of the period, and concerns the life of a “talachero”, a “jack of all trades”, who would improvise his way through life, doing whatever job and activity that crossed his path. To me, this is the embodied essence of a ghost researcher, and it is how I conduct my field investigations, which are performance-based and situational, depending upon the type of haunting drama involved. It is an approach using the investigator as an actor, in a situation where multiple and different personality skills are used to reflect on, and recall a past performed (and still performing) drama and/or activity. For me, this seems very appropriate, since besides my university teaching job in Mexico, I was also an actor, appearing in more than 35 feature films, TV programs, “soaps”, and commercials during this period. The skills and knowledge I learned, in both the methodology and theory, and “practice” of acting, help me in the investigative performances I conduct at haunted locations.

 

Ghosts and hauntings are part of symmetrical space, and it is in this space that I would like to enter some random thoughts and ideas about research and field investigations that derive from the “milusos” of my experiences and ongoing research. It is also an opportunity for me, and for those who read this, to “think outside the box” of programming and standardized “practices”, the “normal science” of ghost-hunting, as dramatized on TV and exhibited on many internet sites. It is also an opportunity to “think outside the blog”, by targeting specific individuals: those, who after viewing this website, and reading its content, are interested enough to leave a comment, suggestion, and/or critique of the info, data, and analysis contained here. It is interacting within/reacting to the symmetry of the ghost research and theory presented here, by providing a socio-technical (emic/etic) genealogical link with this data by interacting with/to it.

 

The following, then, are “fragments” of thoughts about ghosts and hauntings (in no particular order or sequence of importance). Please return to this section often, as I will be continually updating this section. And please do leave your comments and suggestions. For the only way to improve something is to continually work on it, using all the methodology and techniques that are relevant, engaging, and symmetrically resonant with the data. This is the “milusos” of the ghost researcher, the “talachero” in action:

 

 

“Things, all those physical entities we refer to as material culture, are beings in the world alongside other beings, such as humans, plants, and animals” (B. Olsen ). To me, the sensory manifestations of residual hauntings and/or interactive entities are real- and not super- natural, or para- normal. They are a part of the culture of the past………..

 

…..Within these post-physical death “human” movements, “other” human beings (in the situational role of witness, resident/occupant, casual observer, investigator) are not “detached” from the symmetrical mix of past-present space, but are an integral part of a complex socio-technic (emic/etic) genealogical assemblage that links past actions and drama directly to the present. The recognition of this requires the redefining of what we do in haunted spaces, and necessitates a more entangled activity involving multiple fields of engagement………..

 

We need to move from a concern with being “ on the scene” (and experiencing a haunting manifestation), itself normally a “hit or miss” event, thus compromising our analysis and evaluative interpretation of a haunted location…….. to a “controlled” “mise-en-scene” of a framed performance-based, “emically-sound”, sequence of engaging activities, to better “judge” authenticity of anomalous experiences through continuing engagements………..

 

We work upon the “continuities” which run “through” our brief encounters with the fragmentary sensory remains of a dead individual’s memories and experiences……..

 

It’s important to use multi-variate hermeneutically (interpretative) “etically-sound” techniques that are solidly-based on contextual “emic” research………..

 

Interactive apparitional haunts should be both “people-specific” (resonating to age, gender, occupation, social position, etc in performance-based events) and place-specific (occurring at those locations of memory, dream, event, and habitual activity)……….

 

The “ghost travelers”, and the organizations and individuals that sponsor them (who function more as travel agents that researchers or investigators) are “selecting”, “valueizing”, “altering”, ‘producing”, “destroying” these haunted locations, and therefore they should be considered cultural resources and managed as “endangered spaces”………

There is a new wave of “embodied” heritage tourism where “in-situ” sensory experiences of “being there” and “experiencing something” becomes more important than “knowing about” the actual drama that occurred there. . that possibility of a “chance encounter”- the excitement/nervousness of a “blind date” with a ghost!.........

 

Ghostly cultural artifacts, as sensory manifestations, are potential spaces for fields of influence where relationship building and interactional/intercultural communication can originate..forming bridges where information can flow freely between past and present…..

 

Performance “rehearsals” are “experiments” in trying to open networks of communication linkages, providing a “portal” of entry to a past drama……….

 

We search for, and should celebrate, the discovery of an element of discontinuity in life and physical space, not as “disruptions”, but as a fundamental feature of the human interaction in hauntings…….

 

Zones of “disturbance” (altering the original space composition/distribution) and zones of “resonance” (sharing a “cultural practice” or restoring a physical setting) both induce restimulation of a haunt drama, by altering the “mise-en-scene” mix….they are not necessarily opposites, and can occur simultaneously……..

 

Intra-site dynamics: physical centers of activity (S.I.M.S. zones) and physical peripheries of haunting influence.. Is that anomalous sensory manifestation the former, or the latter?... important for the location of performance…..

 

The history of a location needs to be more empirically more sensual rather than a “dry” narrative description of events and activities…..determine the sensory intensity, evolution, and extensiveness.. to determine the “real” underlying drama of the space, not what history “said” what happened……

 

Hauntings are not a history of individual “personhood”, but of a relation to the physical space, in a particular situationally-structured “pose” that involves a particular cultural stance………

 

The ethnoarchaeoghostologist is always working upon relationships, that will explain the fragmentary nature of anomalous sensory manifestations, between past and present trying to turn “action” (these sensory stimuli) and experience (observation, perception, recording, measuring) into representation (the underlying haunting drama)……..

 

The remains of the past, in the form of these sensory manifestations, are “mobilized” in “practices” of representing and restimulating past behavior………

 

Space is the provider of the physical frame for living- and through which the ghost “moves”. Physical space at haunted locations is not fixed, but subject to templates of thought and experience…….

 

The “body” and the embodiment of once was a “lived” life is the most intimate of “spaces”. Through the body, the sensitivity of the haunted space is revealed: sight, smell, taste, touch and sound. It is through the personal bodily involvement that the understanding and sense, the sentience of the past, comes through in contemporary space……..

 

Explore the intersections of trauma, its acoustical soundscape through “ear witnesses”, memory, and the materiality, in the form of other sensory manifestations, of the associated haunting…….the difference between the narrative account of the event and the manifestation (haunt behavior) of it…..      

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