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Home > Horror News > Western Horror News > Lecture Makes Ghost Stories Real
Lecture Makes Ghost Stories Real
By: RSS/News Feeds

Many people claim to have seen, heard or felt a ghost. But researcher Loyd Auerbach is probably one of a few living people to report being hit on by a dead woman.

Auerbach lectured on the haunting of the USS Hornet Sunday afternoon at Unity in Marin in Novato’s Hamilton Square. The event was sponsored by the International Foundation for Survival Research, a San Rafael-based organization that supports research into life after death.

Auerbach says it’s not at all surprising that a dead person might be a little flirtatious. After all, he says, ghosts are people, too.

“People who are dead behave the way they did when they were alive,” Auerbach said. “They don’t become evil, and they don’t suddenly gain wisdom.”

Auerbach has spent 25 years hunting ghosts, mainly around the Bay Area. His academic credentials include a degree in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University and one in parapsychology from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, where he serves as an adjunct professor.

But it’s Auerbach’s training as a magician, mentalist and “psychic entertainer” that he says helps him screen out the fakes and attention-seekers he meets, as well as those who mistake natural phenomena for the paranormal.

“Strong magnetic fields and low-frequency sounds can produce an emotional reaction,” Auerbach said. “We investigated one case in Martinez where some nearby power lines were causing people to have an uneasy feeling.”

In another case, Auerbach discovered that a series of mysterious footsteps echoing through a couple’s attic was really the sound of a squirrel storing nuts for the winter.

“We always look for another explanation than the supernatural, and we often find them,” he said.

Other incidents aren’t as easy to explain. Auerbach visited a Mill Valley house whose owners were troubled by the sight of a 6-year-old girl who would play with their children before disappearing. His team determined that the little girl was the “ghost” of a woman who wasn’t dead.

“When we contacted the family who had lived in the house before, they told us that the ‘girl’ we were looking for was upstairs (in the family’s new house), alive, slipping in and out of consciousness,” Auerbach said. “When she would wake up, she said she’d been dreaming that she was herself as a little girl playing with a nice family down the street.”

Francesca McCartney remembers the incident well. The president of the Academy of Intuition Medicine, a Mill Valley organization dedicated to helping students develop their powers of intuition, contacted Auerbach about the case in the early 1980s. She says the ghost of an elderly woman continues to appear at the house.

“They never did get rid of that ghost,” McCartney said. “They called in a Catholic priest, and that calmed things down for a while, but it didn’t really change things.”

Of course, Auerbach’s claims have a host of skeptics,. One is the former curator of the USS Hornet in Alameda, who told Auerbach he wasn’t a believer, even though he’s one of those who saw a phantom figure aboard the ship. Auerbach said there might be 50 to 60 apparitions inhabiting the aircraft carrier.

He’s convinced, however, that most didn’t die in the line of duty.

“They’re there to protect the ship; to keep it as a museum,” he said.

Most of the ghostly figures Auerbach says he has encountered sound more like Casper than a creature out of “Poltergeist;” from the Livermore ghost who helped a 12-year-old boy with his homework to the spirit of a murdered waitress at the Moss Beach Distillery in Half Moon Bay whom Auerbach believes has a crush on him.

“People say these things are rare, or that they’re not normal,” Auerbach said. “But almost everyone I meet has a ghost story to tell me. It’s probably extremely normal to encounter these things. It’s just that we’ve been socially conditioned not to talk about it.”

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