America’s First Poltergeist – Lucid Dreaming – The Paranormal Podcast 815

Everyone thinks that the Bell Witch haunting was America’s first poltergeist case BUT they’d be wrong! We explore the Appalachian case of The Wizard Clip which preceded the Bell Witch by 20 years or so.

Michael Kishbucher, the author of a new book on the case, joins us along with Jessie Norris of the Middleway Conservancy to talk about this little known but fascinating poltergeist.

You can find Michael’s book, The Appalachian Legend of the Wizard Clip: America’s First Poltergeist, at Amazon: https://amzn.to/48Izhif

In part two, Nisha and Norma Burton join us to talk all about lucid dreaming and their oracle deck, Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living: Your Oracle and Guide to Mastering the Dreamscape, which you can find at Amazon: https://amzn.to/48Q4dgJ

Thanks Michael, Jessie, Nisha & Norma!

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TRANSCRIPT
Jim:

America’s first Poltergeist. It’s probably not the one you’re thinking of; and lucid dreaming. It’s all on this edition of the Paranormal Podcast.

Announcer:

This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.

Jim:

Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I’m Jim Harold. So glad to be with you again and happy New Year everybody. We’ve got a great two-part show for you today. First of all, we are going to talk about America’s first Poltergeist. It’s the Appalachian Legend of the Wizard Clip. And then we will be joined by Norma and Nisha Burton to talk about lucid dreaming and lucid living. As you are listening to this program, of course, in a place that’s safe to do it, from your favorite podcast app hit the share button and share this show with a friend. We want to grow the show in 2024, and the only way we can do that is with your help. So please hit that share button and share the show, share the love. And now we’re going to talk about that fascinating case. One I didn’t know about Wizard Clip.

I have to be honest, I’m a little embarrassed because my family on both sides is originally from West Virginia and it turns out that America’s first Poltergeist happened in what is now West Virginia. And we’re talking about the Appalachian Legend of the Wizard Clip. And our guests today are Michael Kishbucher, and also we have with us Jessie Norris, the Middleway Conservancy President. And Middleway is where this event happened. And I’m embarrassed because I’d never heard of this. I’ve been doing paranormal podcasts for 18 years. My family is relatively close to this area, being from Tucker County, West Virginia on my dad’s side, and never heard of it. But hey, you learn something new every day and that’s why we love to do these shows and talk about spooky stuff. And I just have to mention this because it’s such an interesting background. Michael first learned intelligence trade craft, and I’m sure that helped him researching this book while serving in the US Air Force. He earned a master of science and strategic intelligence degree from the Department of Defense’s Joint Military Intelligence College and a master of strategy degree from Air War College. And he analyzes adversarial military capability for the Defense Intelligence Agency as a civilian in federal service. I’ll have to ask him why he got into spooky stuff. Very interesting. But Michael, thank you for your service to the country. Jessie, thank you for your service to your area in getting the word out about this, and welcome to you both to the program.

Michael Kishbucher:

Thanks so much, Jim, and we appreciate your support.

Jessie Norris:

Absolutely.

Jim:

So first, Michael, I do have to ask you, you have this very kind of intelligence-oriented background. How in the world did you end up writing a book about America’s first Poltergeist? Where’s that connection?

Michael Kishbucher:

I started researching a local legend from my home area in western Pennsylvania in 2016 just as help for Lion’s Club, a charity event, and they wanted to base a haunted barn on a local ghost story. It was a headless ghost story about a woman named Barbara Davidson. I really hadn’t done this before, but I found that it was a great hobby. I got really interested in it. My job forces me to think about warfare almost constantly. So I almost found it therapeutic to get into folklore. It’s something to think about other than adversarial capability to destroy your way of life. So therapeutic is definitely a great way to put it. But anyway, I started with that story. I wrote a book in 2019 doing the history of these legends from my hometown area. And then once I finished reading that or writing that, I got into related podcasts. And of course Astonishing Legends was one of my favorites.

Jim:

Sure, they’re fantastic.

Michael Kishbucher:

And I joined the ARC and I started corresponding with Scott and some folks there and just went from there. That’s how I picked up the hobby.

Jim:

Now, Jessie, I’d like to ask you, can you tell us a little bit about your area of West Virginia and specifically going back historically around the time that all of this occurred with the Wizard Clip? And I know we’ll get more into the story, but just tell us a little bit about the area, if you will, and its history.

Jessie Norris:

So the town was founded by John Smith in 1734 and not the John Smith that many of us are familiar with, a kin to him.; but, he settled down here and, in order for him to be able to start a town, he had to have enough people to start developing on tracts of land. And Livingston eventually was one of those people because he was able to incorporate the town and turned it into Smithfield. And at the time we were still in Virginia, so it was often confused with the Smithfield in the Tidewater region. And so mail was often sent in the wrong different directions. And so a lot of times, Smithfield, Virginia, where I’m currently at, actually ended up being called Middleway because it was in the middle of the way of a lot of different areas. So it was a main thoroughfare, but also even previously for Native Americans as well. So it was definitely the middle of the way. And even if you look up Clip Town, Middleway will be what pops up because a lot of people still consider us called Clip Town from the legend that we’re talking about today.

Jim:

So geographically in West Virginia, where is the Middleway that we’re talking about located?

Jessie Norris:

Yeah, so we’re in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, so we are pretty close to DC; about an hour, hour and a half away from there. So we are a sneeze away from the Virginia line in Maryland as well. So very nicely located, just far enough away from all of the city and whatnot, but close enough to get to everything if you need to. 

Jim:

So very cool. Very cool. So Michael, if I understand correctly, this story really revolves around Adam Livingston. Tell us about who Adam Livingston was.

Michael Kishbucher:

Yeah, Adam is the protagonist in the story. He was the son of immigrants from lands that would become Germany, and they settled in Pennsylvania, I believe in Lancaster County. It was either Lancaster or York, I can’t remember off the top of my head, but they grew up there. He grew up there during a very tumultuous time in American history. It was before the revolution, so there were still a lot of pushback from the Northwest Indians in that part of the territory, so they wouldn’t have a lot of raids on their lands. And at the time, Pennsylvania didn’t have a militia at all, so it wasn’t incredibly safe to live there until even after the revolution because Pontiac’s Rebellion happened right after that. So when he inherited some land in Virginia, he picked up and moved his family to Virginia, which had a well established militia that had pushed the native population beyond the Appalachians at that time.

Jim:

Jesse, can you give us a basic outline of the Wizard Clip, what it was?

Jessie Norris:

The story itself, there’s a lot that goes into it, and I can guarantee you Mike will be able to fill you in on all the somewhat gruesome details and other historical pieces of it. But the very overarching concept of the story was dark and stormy night, like any good scary story starts out. And we were definitely in a Protestant town and a traveler came in the middle of the night to Adam Livington’s home. He graciously took him in and over the course of the night realized that he was going to be sick and pass away. And so he actually called for Livingston to find a priest in the area because the gentleman was Catholic and being very, very against anything Catholic at the time, Livingston said, absolutely not. And the gentleman passed away without his last rights being read to him. And pretty instantaneously after that, a lot of really, really eerie things begin to happen, from animals having their heads cut off to hearing animals running around outside, feeling like animals are coming at you when nothing’s actually there.

You’re going to have things falling off the shelf and things being thrown at you, logs jumping out of the fires, and this stuff being to really torment the Livingston family. And then shortly after the haunting started, they started hearing the sounds of shears and clipping. So that is where you get a lot of the story from Wizard Clip coming from is because there were crescent moons clipped out of clothing. You’d have things cut into ribbons from your dress to your clothing that’s locked away in a trunk to animals, all kinds of awful things happening to this family. And Livingston being at his wits’ end reached out to every source he possibly could from conjurors to pastors, ministers in the area, none of which were able to do anything toward the spirit if they were even lucky enough to enter the threshold of the home.

And eventually, Livingston was so driven mad that he actually went to a neighbor that was Catholic and asked to be able to meet with the priest. And so they all attended Mass together and he had actually previously had a dream that he was going to meet somebody that was going to help relieve these torments that were happening. And so he was seeking out that person and actually during mass found that it was the priest who was there who was Father Cahill, and he was able to come to the house, after being convinced enough to come to this house, and actually witness the things that were happening. And he was able to bless the home and everything stopped for a little bit. And then things started happening again, very similar to what had happened previously. And it ended up taking another priest to come in and Mike will be able to fill you in a lot more with that. But he came in and actually after Father Gallitzin. And who’s the priest who came over from Baltimore? Correct? Mike, you can nod your head yes, if I’ve got right. You and the archdiocese or the Archdiocese got – 

Michael Kishbucher:

Yeah, he was in Conewago at the time, but the diocese one was in Baltimore that was over them.

Jessie Norris:

Perfect. And then so both of those priests were actually able to come in much later after this incident started happening and bless the home and actually hold a mass there. And that’s when everything finally stopped in most retellings of this story. And with that relief, Livingston actually ended up converting and becoming Catholic and then ended up actually donating over 30 acres to the Catholic church. And there’s record of that happening. There’s record of Father and actually writing down the accounts that he had and interviewed all the town people and Father Cahill. And so we have the written accounts of these things happening. And then what’s most interesting is you can drive right over the bridge across from Middleway, and the land that was donated is Priestfield, which is still there, and it’s actually a Catholic retreat center. So it’s one of those things where it’s a little too real and creepy where there’s just, yeah, so there’s a lot more in depth that I can go out, but that’s my very quick tour of retelling of Wizard Clip that I give most people. But it’s definitely one of those very eerie stories. And one of the interesting things that I heard in one of my ghost tours that I did was a lady told her daughter, who’s actually there at the time, who was in her seventies, she’s like, whatever you do, make sure that the Catholics continue to own that piece of property, interact there, because it’s the only thing that’s keeping the poltergeist at bay from running amuck again in middle way. And so quite interesting. Yeah, that’s the very gist, high level.

Jim:

So the concept is, is that Livingston lets this mysterious stranger into the house, the mysterious stranger passes, asks for a priest, Livingston does not comply, thus the Poltergeist, thus the haunting, somehow it’s some kind of retribution for not honoring his last request. That’s basically kind of the idea, right?

Jessie Norris:

That’s correct. Yeah. And then all of the hauntings really rate from G all the way to R, just really depends on which retelling you’re looking at, but there’s definitely a lot of consistencies across the different retellings of what happened.

Jim:

We’ll be back with more about Wizard Clip right after this.

Announcer:

If you love the Paranormal Podcast, be sure to check out Jim Harold’s Campfire where ordinary people share their extraordinary stories of ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and terrifying encounters. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune into Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now we return to the Paranormal Podcast.

Jim:

My question is why is this not better known? And Michael, you certainly please comment as well, both of you, because when you think about older cases, Bell Witch, Bell Witch, Bell Witch, that’s all you hear. And again, you don’t hear Wizard Clip. Why do you think that is? Why didn’t we know about this?

Jessie Norris:

Yeah, and, that’s a great question and I’m going to let Mike talk a lot about this. He’s very knowledgeable on the Bell Witch, I could definitely see a couple of sparks flying up there with him, but really my guess is we were originally going to have a railroad coming through Middleway, and we have in our town minutes that the people of Middleway were fully against it. Now, this was a town that was bustling with business. We had three doctors. We had two of everything, which was very uncommon back in that day. And so you were passing through and being able to get everything redone. And so that’s how the story got spread at that point in time because you’d be able to carry that story from one place so transient to the next. But with the railroad going to the town next to us, that’s pretty much when Middleway died.

It was a very rapid decline right after that. And we kind of just stood still in time. And if you come to Middleway, you’ll really see that playing out. The homes are not redone. I mean, redone is in, they’re kept up as best as a personal owner can do, but they’re not torn down and rebuilt back up like the town that got the railroad, Charlestown did. And so we’re really paused in time. So I think when that railroad moved and we lost all of the businesses here, we lost the people carrying the story. And so then it kind of fell into where it was your grandmother telling you about that story and then the next generation, and so it became a lot smaller, and now with the power of the internet, people can find more stuff about Wizard Clip, but previously it wasn’t going to really travel around for any major amount at any point. So definitely happy now, but that’s my educated guess, how it happens. 

Michael Kishbucher:

Yeah. I’m fascinated by this story, and for many reason;: the religious historical context is so interesting. Adam’s father fled religious persecution from Europe, so he was from the Palatinate and it had been ruled by Protestants for decades. But in the 1730s when he chose to immigrate, it had gotten a new Catholic ruler, and the head of state also caused the, you know,  directed the head of church. So everyone had to either be Catholic or be oppressed, and he was Lutheran. So they fled the territory to the United States, and that’s where we get some of the ideas about Adam being bigoted against the Catholic church from his father. And then when he gets to Middleway and the haunting begins around 1790, 1791, right around George Washington’s first term as president, this country is ruled by deists. We’re in the American Enlightenment, we’re kind of not so interested in the supernatural anymore. We have separation of church and state, things like that.

 And the Catholic church was just now getting its foothold in this territory. Before that, it was very much suppressed. And so this story of a super long haunting that was, there were several different denominations unable to help this family, this Lutheran family. The first church he turned to of course, was his Lutheran church, and his pastor basically said, there’s somebody playing a trick on you. This can’t happen. Ghosts aren’t real, go back home and figure it out. So of course he didn’t like that. So he went next to Methodists and he got a Methodist minister and some of his congregation who come to the house, and they didn’t even get across the door before they got chased away by a hail of stones. They just run away being pelted by rocks.

Next after that was, we think probably he convinced some of his Lutheran brethren to come after hearing what happened to the Methodists and they made it into the house. But as soon as they started praying, a large rock came out of the chimney and whirled around on the floor for he said upwards of 15 minutes, before, and they got scared and ran off. And then finally he was so fed up, he went to what he calls a conjurer in the South Mountain in Maryland, which is probably a folk magic practitioner. And he was given herbs and a riddle to catch the demon and a spell book and a prayer book, and told what to do and attack some things up on the walls and things like that and say certain incantations. Well, the next day after he did this, he woke up and all these things he was given to catch the spirit were found in a chamber pot, so a toilet. A 1790s era toilet.

And so the Poltergeist, the first part of the story of the Poltergeist lasted from 1790-ish, 1791, all the way to 1797 when he convinced the Catholic church to come help. So that’s a long haunting. It’s longer than the Bell witch haunting by far. And then we have this really interesting character, Father Gallitzin, come to study the haunting because then as is today, you can’t just do an exorcism willy-nilly, it has to be approved by a bishop. So when Father Cahill wrote assumedly to Bishop Carroll in Baltimore, the bishop sent Reverend Gallitzin to do an investigation, and he investigated it for three full months in 1797 and became thoroughly convinced that they needed to do an exorcism, and he tried to perform the first one, the house rumbled and groaned and roars were heard so loudly that he ran from the house himself. He got scared, and it ended up taking both Gallitzin and Cahill to overcome this force. And that’s not the end of the story. After that, another entity shows up and stays with them for another 17 years. It’s the longest haunting of any – 

Jim:

That was the one that was more benevolent though, wasn’t it? The second voice?

[overlapping speech]

Michael Kishbucher:

It depends on who tells the story. Yeah, it depends on who tells the story, but it did a lot of things that I wouldn’t consider benevolent, such as shattering a mirror in front of the children that were trying on dresses and accosting them because of their lack of modesty. 

Jim: Oh my.

Michael Kischbucher: 

Yeah. They would scream at them every night during Lent to get up and pray for three hours a night. So sleep deprivation, things like that. Yeah, the poltergeist actively definitely didn’t happen or didn’t end. There was a visiting minister at the neighbors. It also didn’t stay at the Livingston’s. It also started affecting the neighbors. The McSherrys had a visiting minister one night during a storm, asked for lodging. He was Methodist. They put him up in a place where priests would also stay on an occasion, a room that they kept for a visiting priest because they were Catholic, and the poltergeist rattled the house and threw things around all night, heard footsteps all night long, so much so that McSherrys has got no sleep. And the next day they went to the minister and knocked on his door and asked if he was okay, and he didn’t know what they were talking about. He slept fine. So this isn’t the kind of thing that a benevolent voice would do. So I argue in the book that it might not have been considered so nice today.

Jim:

Now, let me put it to you this way. Let me ask you this. Now, on the face of it, there would be a very angry or multiple angry Catholic spirits. I’m sure that maybe you both have had this idea. I’m sure other people have. It could have been a trickster spirit that was actually pretending to be Catholic under the guise of offering a justification or for whatever reasons, to prey upon prejudice, whatever it might be, but it wasn’t Catholic at all? It was just some kind of strange entity or nasty spirit that was messing with them under the guise of being Catholic.

Michael Kishbucher:

Yeah, I think that’s a good point. In the book, I compare an older story called the Devil of Glenluce that occurred in Scotland that had all the same hallmarks. It was a haunting that started off low level against the family for no reason. It wasn’t Catholic, they were Presbyterian, but it grew with strength until it started throwing rocks at people, started to clip their clothes, if that sounds familiar. It started fires and things like that. And then it grew a voice very much like the Bell Witch, very much like the Wizard Clip. And it haunted them for four years, I think, four or five I, I’d have to go look at my references; and tormented the family. Preists came to do exorcisms. They didn’t work, and then one day it just went away, kind of like the Bell Witch and kind of like the Wizard in Middleway. But that happened in the 1650s in Scotland.

Jim:

Now, I’d like to get both of your perspective on this. A lot of times when people hear the word folklore, they think, oh, it’s a fairytale. It’s a fun story that these, for lack of a better phrase, old timey people told, and it went from generation to generation. Ooooh what a spooky story. Judging from your tone, Michael, this is not just a spooky story that yeah, probably over the years has been embellished and retold and maybe grown some different facets. But it sounds like based on your telling of this, that you believe this is something that happened in reality, and possibly these people were really haunted by something very disturbing. So I’ll ask both of you, what are your thoughts? Is this at its roots, something historically? I mean, you talked about the field, it’s still there. This really happened. It’s just not an old timey fairytale.

Michael Kishbucher:

Well, what interests me about the Wizard Clip stories that, it happened before the Bell Witch haunting just before a couple of decades before, and there’s a lot more evidence that Catholic Church documented, documented everything. You can find it. The first history that was copied by Georgetown University in 1825. It’s still on the records. The Exorcist wrote letters that are still around. So there’s letters in the newspaper during the haunting, from Adam’s wife talking about it. So it’s more documented than the Belt Witch. So I’m not exactly sure why it’s not as well known.

Jim:

Jessie, what do you think,this really happened?

Jessie Norris:

I have a degree in this time period in history, and it kind of attracted me to this area. I hadn’t actually heard about Wizard Clip before I moved here. I just happened to fall into this. And I mean, it is one of those things where there’s so much written evidence of the recounting of what these people witness and the fact there’s overlapping facts of what’s actually in the pieces written that it’s hard to deny that something happened. I think it’s impossible to deny that something happened, whether it was a trick of people or like you said, a different entity all in its own. Something definitely happened in this town in the 1790s that didn’t have any plan on leaving anytime soon and was going to make sure it made a point of it and make a spectacle of this family as well. Yeah, so I think the fact that there’s so much evidence that we could even Google today and get back to and review ourselves. Even Father Gallitzin,I was reading some stuff a few months ago, and he had done thorough interviews and investigations on this and basically interviewed anybody that had experienced anything related to this story to make sure he had as much information on what was happening as possible. And so I think that certainly something happened, it had to have.

Jim:

Now what do you think about this idea? I interviewed years ago a journalist from Canada named Michael Clarkson. I don’t know his status today, but this probably 10 years ago. And this guy was a hard boiled journalist, covered the police beat, covered I think homicides, a serious news person, and he went into the poltergeist topic with a very kind of skeptical bent like, oh God, this is just someone…  at the end of it, he came out the other side totally different, believed it was real, but believed it had in some ways more to do with the people themselves, that the activity was absolutely real, but somehow emotionally their energy almost generated it. So if things moved or things got clipped, it was actually happening, but somehow there was some kind of mix of emotions. A lot of times you’d see it with adolescents, those kind of things, people with a lot of energy. As you go through that phase of life. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that there’s a chance that Wizard Clip, and by extension other poltergeists are real, but they’re not demons, they’re us. What do you both think about that?

Michael Kishbucher:

One of the major themes of this in this book, the first book I wrote about, I wanted to figure out the literal truth, and that was kind of a fool’s errand. This one, I wanted to focus more on belief and why folks, what caused people to believe things in history because they did and they acted on those beliefs. I say just because today a court is not going to allow spiritual evidence in a case because we don’t believe it has utility or it can be proven, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen in 1693 and people didn’t die because of that in Salem. So whether or not something actually happened as a spiritual attack or there was folklore migration that was used by people to, as a tool of change for something to improve their congregation or whatever, who knows? To me, it’s just as interesting.

Jim:

Jessie, do you have any thoughts on that?

Jessie Norris:

I so very much want to believe that this was something beyond the veil. I’ve seen stuff and I’ve seen stuff in my own home because I live in a home that was built in 1816, and I’ve heard plenty of other people’s experiences and their faces very much indicate that something definitely spoke to them. I do think that those things definitely 100% transpired at least a good chunk of it on the family and the people that they brought into that situation, whether it was the church trying to get what they want and using their own spiritual guides to get that, or practical tricks, I don’t know. I don’t know. But just like Mike was saying, there were real life consequences that happened. The consequences of those actions left some people fighting to death and making them doubt their religion, which in this period, I mean that was everything you did day in and day out revolved around there being something bigger than yourself. And for there to be doubt put into that is pretty substantial into someone’s ideological underpinnings. And so the real life consequences are very evident and it’s hard not to shake, though obviously you can’t shake them. And so like I said, there’s a real life place you can go to where this consequence still exists of this entity haunting this family. And so it’s one of those things where it’s just eerie enough to really make you question whether it was real or not.

I am definitely one of those people they unless I see it, I’m not going to believe it or if it can be proven. But as a, I’ve certainly seen things enough myself to believe that something certainly can happen.

Jim:

Now, one of the wildest parts of this story is the fact you have someone who is so against Catholics, he won’t call in a priest because if I understand correctly, he probably thought a priest is like an otherworldly weird shaman of some type, and to go and do a total 180 and convert himself, I mean, isn’t that one of the wildest aspects of this story in that context that someone’s specific religion was so dear to them at the time to convert to Catholicism? That would be for me to convert, to start worshiping space aliens. I mean, again, I’m married, I’m Protestant, I’m married to a Catholic, so not, I am not casting aspersions. I’ve sat in through many masses, but I’m just saying for him to make that leap was revolutionary at that time. Isn’t that one of the wildest aspects of this case that maybe we don’t fully get today because we’re like Protestant, Catholic? What’s the difference?

Michael Kishbucher:

Yeah, we’re living in much more ecumenical times. But back then it was to the point where Lutherans and Catholics would say the worst things about each other. There was real hatred. So Adam definitely believed something was tormenting him enough that when he found relief from the Catholic church that he donated 34 acres of land. That’s profound for that time period. And we didn’t even talk about the Exorcist who was a Russian prince.

Jim:

There was an – Well, tell us a little bit about that. You can’t just leave that hanging there. Just tell us a little bit about that.

Michael Kishbucher:

Yeah, father Gallitzin, the one that was sent by Bishop Carroll to investigate the haunting, he was born in the Hague to a Russian prince who was the ambassador there at the time, father Gallitzin’s upbringing. He was not Catholic. He converted at age 17 under much pressure, I wouldn’t say pressure, but his father was very much against his conversion from the Russian Orthodox to Catholicism. And he basically gave up all his titles. He was going to lead a gilded life. His godmother was Catherine the Great, so his life was privileged, and he gave it all up to go be a Catholic priest in missionary on the frontier in Pennsylvania. And within three years of us getting there, he was investigating a poltergeist, this guy. And today it began in 2005, but the church is vetting him for canonization on his way, becoming a saint.

Jim:

So folks, all this didn’t start with the Exorcist in 1973 or whatever it was. It’s going on way before that. Now let me ask you this, and then I have kind of a final question then we’ll share where people can get the book. They certainly should. If you love history and you love ghosty stuff, this is a great book to pick up The Appalachian. And I say Appalachian, I know it’s in vogue to say Appalachian, but I’ve always said Appalachian, the Appalachian legend of the Wizard Clip and probably correct. But Jessie, this area, it strikes me, it just seems to me, and maybe it’s psychological, that some places are spookier than others. You go into a particular area of the country and it just feels spooky, does Middleway and the surrounding area, does it have that feel to you? Does it just feel like a liminal space, kind of a spooky space?

Jessie Norris:

Yes. No. I’d have to really say I have never felt any ill will in this, spirit wise, in this town. And I’ve had a lot of people come through here to stay. I actually ended up running an Airbnb during the pandemic here and had a lot of fun doing that and met all kinds of people, several of which who were very excited to stay in a really old house because they were really spiritual. And I had a medium stay, I… It is been a fun adventure living there for the handful of years that I have. And to be honest, even those people who are very in tune with themselves spiritually in the spiritual world had no bad vibes, I guess as the kids would say today, really nothing negative here, but I did have one person mention that there was a cloud. It was like a cloud right outside of Middleway kind of hanging around.

But everything here was fine. Everything was sun shining right over the town, but there were clouds around it. And so that was pretty interesting, especially when I heard that person tell me that her family had been here for generations. She’s actually related to the Smith family, and that pretty much having the retreat center was the only thing keeping Middleway safe. And that’s always, ever since that person told me that, it kind of hairs pricked up on the back of my neck kind of thing. But no, I would say you’re going to walk around Middleway, and I would be surprised for anyone to say that they feel anything negative. I’m sure that, and there are some negative stories ghost-wise around here that I have, but overall, I would say no place is 100% positive. But overall, I would say I don’t feel any harsh negativity around here from the spiritual side whatsoever.

Michael Kishbucher:

And she’s not mentioning that there was a Civil War battle right there in town and there are unmarked graves.

Jessie Norris:

Yeah, we, we did have – we were right on the edge of being in Virginia and being a part of the Confederacy and being that close, you have people that are very much like 50/50 on how they feel about slavery. And so we very recently, one of the churches in town did a scan of the grounds to find out that there were not just two unknown soldiers, but two other ones. And those are from families in the south that were too poor to be able to exhume their dead and bring them back home. And so they’re still there, and in shallow graves never going back home. And I do have a ghost story for that if we ever want to talk about it, but nothing too crazy. But we do have some soldiers ghosts that are still seeming to want to walk around midway, hundreds of years later. 

Jim:

I love to have you on Jim Harold’s Campfire to tell that story, so…

Jessie Norris:

[overlapping speech] You go. It’s a really short one. It’ll be a really short podcast. You can have a tidbit.

Jim:

Well, we do Campfire. We do about 10 stories a week, and they’re about five to 10 minutes each. That would be perfect. So let’s stay in touch on that. 

Jessie Norris:

We could definitely do that. But yeah, and we’re all positive. And yeah, there was a Civil War battle, so there are people buried, interesting. Mike, you haven’t heard this, but one of the new updates about what’s beside the church, we thought that there were multiple bodies and we couldn’t figure out what was going on. We’re talking like dozens and dozens of bodies after the Battle of Smithfield. And it actually ends up with, that’s just a bunch of body parts and limbs scattered

Jim:

oh gosh

Jessie Norris:

right beside the church. Yeah. And then we do have some unmarked graves of several dozen slaves that were beside the main cemetery that we don’t have marking anymore. But yes, so we’re working on, that’s one of the conservancies we’re working hand in hand with the churches to really try and figure out how we can honor those people. But yeah, so Middleway definitely is an onion. There’s lots of layered history, and it’s really been lost in time. And so it’s been one of my jobs to work with locals and people that have moved away, but have ancestral ties here to really dig up that information and piece it back together.

Jim:

Now as we close out, we love spooky stories on these shows. So if each of you could give us one vignette, one thing that happened during Wizard Clip that we’ve never covered yet, that’s one of your favorites and you think is one of the spookiest, and I’ll ask each of you for one of them, and whoever’s the bravest can go first, or has one they really want to blurt out.

Michael Kishbucher:

Yeah, I’ll go first. So the helpful voice could be really vindictive. And one of my stories, the stories that stuck out to me was there was a very ill woman in Winchester, which is how far away, Jessie?

Jessie Norris:

About 25, 30 minutes.

Michael Kishbucher:

But by horseback

Jessie Norris:

By horseback.

Jim:

By the way, I think Winchester was also the hometown of the great singer Patsy Cine, if I’m not mistaken.

Jessie Norris:

I believe you’re correct. Yeah.

Jim:

But go ahead. I’m sorry.

Michael Kishbucher:

She was Protestant and she wanted to convert. She was very ill, had been in bedridden for a while, and runner was sent to Middleway to the Livingston’s neighbors that were Catholic, the McSherry’s to find a priest. There was word that there was a priest there for the weekend. And so by the time the runner got there, she was getting much more sick, and he found the priest and he told him what was happening, and the priest said, okay, yeah, no problem. I’ll help get my horse. And they went to this small spring pasture, it was only three acres. It was very small, and they couldn’t find the priest’s horse. They thought maybe it got loose. The whole town got involved. 30 people went looking for this horse, nobody could find it. Middleway is not that big. Nobody could find this horse. So after much delay, another horse was readied for the minister and the priest, and he rode off. And as soon as he was outside of earshot, the priest horse was heard neighng in that same pasture where he was supposed to be right in the middle of it. And the voice said that he made it invisible because you shouldn’t wait until your deathbed to ask for a priest to convert to Catholicism. So that one always stuck with me.

Jim:

Oh, man, boy, that helpful voice. Wow. Yeah, with friends like these…. Jessie, do you have a story?

Jessie Norris:

I should have gone first because Mike has done a very thorough job, obviously in this story. I can’t recommend his book enough, genuinely. It was fascinating, but I think, I have to give a very general overarching story for this, or else my poor tour guests would be with us for forever. And we’ve got so many other ghost stories to talk about in Middleway, but one that I always try to plug in when I have time is right when the death happened, and right when the person passed away, Livingston was said to have asked a servant in the home to sit in the room and be with the body, which, you couldn’t pay me enough money to sit there.

And so they lit candles, and as soon as they let the candles, all of them were snuffed out. And then they come and they all light them again. Again, instantly snuffed out and in some accounts clipped out. So clipping could have happened earlier, who knows. And then, so eventually Adam Livingston actually brought up two candles from his bedroom that were lit completely fine over halfway burned down, no issue. And as soon as he walked in the threshold of the room, the candles were snuffed out. The gentleman instantly went out of the home and never ever intended to go back in after he witnessed that. And so the haunting quite literally happened in many cases as soon as the gentleman passed away. But yeah, I always thought that that was pretty interesting. Potentially the Wizard Clip clipping started earlier. So in some accounts they say that he was a barber or a wig maker or a tailor. But yeah, I think it’s always interesting. And then one of the things that me and Mike have no answer to, but would love anybody to help us figure out is why crescent moons? We have no idea why 

Jim:

Very odd. There’s so much more to the mystery we haven’t been able to talk about tonight, but we have a solution for that. You should get the book, the Appalachian Legend of the Wizard Clip, America’s First Poltergeist, and tonight we’ve been joined by the author Michael Kishbucher and also Jessie Norris. Now I want to ask you, Michael, where can people find this book and more information about all of your books?

Michael Kishbucher:

My publisher shows the History Press. They’re an imprint of Arcadia Publishing, so you can go to their website or any, if you’re in the area around Middleway and that Tri-state area, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia West, it’ll be in bookshelves all over, probably the local section. It’s also on Amazon or Noble, all the usual websites.

Jim:

And Jessie, where can people find more about the Middleway Conservancy, Middleway, and your neck of the woods?

Jessie Norris:

So they can go to middlewayconservancy.org. We have the story of Wizard Clip and a nice walking map there for anybody if they want to come and hang out. And they can always email me if they want to ghost tour and want to ask me any questions. I’m happy to answer them and oh Facebook is also a good place to start.

Jim:

Excellent. Michael and Jessie, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it very much.

Jessie Norris:

Thanks. Oh yeah, thanks. It’s been great.

Jim:

And the book is, again, the Appalachian Legend of the Wizard Clip: America’s first Poltergeist, and we thank Michael and Jesse for joining us, and we thank you for joining us. Great guests and a great topic. Next up on the show, Norma Burton, Nisha Burton will talk to us about lucid dreaming and lucid living right after this.

Announcer:

Follow Jim on Instagram @TheJimHarold, and join our virtual Campfire Facebook group at virtualcampfiregroup.com. Now back to the Paranormal Podcast.

Jim:

Now, I’ve always been fascinated with the topic of dreaming. It’s something that we all do. It’s absolutely universal, but the idea of lucid dreaming, understanding what’s going on during your dreams, and actually being able to impact them and be active participant, and then crossing it over until your waking hours, I think it’s fair to say that’s the topic and much more for this recent work, Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living: Your Oracle and Guide to Mastering the Dreamscape by Norma J Burton and Nisha Burton. And they’re both joining us today on the show. Now, this is not just a book, it is also a book and an Oracle deck. Now, this is a podcast that is audio, so I can’t show it to you. But rest assured, this is one of the most kind of gorgeous packaging and work I’ve seen across our desk here. It’s a beautiful oracle deck.

It’s a book, and it’s in a nice case, just very, very well done, and I can’t wait to hear more from Nisha and Norma on this. Now, they both have very, very interesting backgrounds and have done many, many things over the years. I probably will sell them both short. Norma is a trance psychologist and scholar of world religion specializing in Buddhist psychology, Jungian dreamwork, trauma, healing, and applied neuroscience. And Nisha is a skilled visual artist and dreamworker, trained in the art of journeying deep into subconscious from a young age. And for the past decade, she’s been immersed in the practice of lucid dreaming, and plus she does many other things, including one of my areas of interest, she’s an AI technologist. Nisha and Norma, thank you so much for joining us to talk about Lucid dreaming and Lucid Living.

Nisha Burton:

Thank you for having us. 

Norma J Burton:

We’re really glad to be here.

Jim:

So you both have such diverse and interesting backgrounds. How and why did you decide to put them together to work on this topic of lucid dreaming?

Norma J Burton:

Well, I was really impressed over the last 10 years or so with Nisha’s lucid dreaming skills, I’ve been around a lot of dreamers because I work with a Jungian psychology base, and my daughter was becoming a very advanced lucid dreamer, and she writes down every dream. So she has a compendium of literally thousands of dreams over the last 10 years. And at a certain point I said, Nisha, you’ve got to share this with the world because you’re very advanced in this skill. So I got excited about encouraging her to share it. And she’s also a beautiful graphic artist, so she started putting images together to teach the different stages of lucid dreaming. That’s how it began.

Jim:

And Nisha, for your part, how did you feel about working with your mom on this project?

Nisha Burton:

Yeah, I mean, it was a really great collaboration between the two of us. And I think what’s so nice is having been raised in this lineage of the appreciation of the dreamtime, understanding how to go into the psyche and navigate it and work with those liminal realms from my mom, really it felt like the perfect combination of a project for us to work on her with the astute knowledge around years and years of helping people to navigate their own psyches. And then me with my quote lived practice of doing lucid dreaming as well as studying deeply into it. Yeah, it felt like the perfect culmination of our two works and our two paths. And then also really that desire to help people understand how to lucid dream, how to work with their dream world, and to do it in a nonlinear way. Because a lot of times books about lucid dreaming, they’re great, but they are very linear, and maybe somebody will get into it for a while.

And then I’ve heard time and time again, people saying, I tried lucid dreaming. I had a few lucid dreams, and then I just fell off of it. And so as we were thinking about this project and how to construct it, the idea of having it be combined with an Oracle deck so people can access information about different pieces of lucid dreaming and dreamwork in general by pulling a card, it’s one, a very fun idea. And then it also provides people with a continued motivation and playful attitude towards learning those skills. And so that’s how it all came about.

Jim:

Now, just taking a step back, maybe there are people out there who have heard of the concept of lucid dreaming, but a lot of terms are just kind of thrown out, lucid dreaming. I lucid dreamed last night. From your perspective, and this could be either or both of you chiming in on this one, explain to people how you would define lucid dreaming and explain it to somebody who maybe doesn’t have a deep understanding of it.

Nisha Burton:

Absolutely. Yeah, that’s a great question. One that we get a lot because there are, for one, there’s different types of dreams just in general. And so lucid dreaming is a dream in which you become completely aware that you are dreaming within the dream. And so you wake up to the fact, aha, I’m dreaming. And then that might be it. Some people get so excited that then they just wake themselves up. But there’s skills and there’s ways to continue the lucid dream too. So then you’re able to sustain that conscious awareness and presence that you are dreaming within the dream and have a certain amount of agency over the dream and be able to interact with the dream in ways that you never could before. And what I say to people too is if you’ve had a lucid dream, you would know it. And if you haven’t had a lucid dream, you also know it because it is an experience unlike any other where you feel completely present and it feels as real as this waking reality within the dream. And you are as aware as you are in this waking reality. 

And so some people may have dreams where they’re slightly aware that they could be dreaming, but then they fall back into the dream material or they’re like, oh, yeah, I kind of knew I was dreaming. And then I woke up and I remember this one moment where I thought that. And whereas that’s really great, and it’s a wonderful step towards lucid dreaming, it’s not a fully lucid dream. And so we have one card even that talks about that, the levels of lucidity and how there’s various levels within the dream realms of lucidity that you can come to. And each step is wonderful, and each type of dream is wonderful too, not to discount or discredit dreams that are non lucid. Those are very valuable as well. But lucid dreaming is its own complete thing, which is really exciting.

Jim:

Norma?

Norma J Burton:

I work with dreaming that’s not lucid in two different ways: through people’s dreams that they have at night and working with all the symbology of that and helping them to interpret them. And then I also lead drumming journeys. So it’s a trance-induced lucid state through the drum journey. So those are both very valuable distinct states. But then as Nisha is saying, the lucidity within a dream that is called lucid dreaming is its own kind of state, but something that’s common between the trance induced drumming journey and the lucid dream state is that the senses are highly awakened. So that’s one way that you can tell you’re in a lucid dream because you can feel and sense everything like the wind blowing across your face or tasting a donut or things like that that are very sensually exciting. So that’s a beginning stage of lucidity in the dreamtime is having your senses fully awakened in the dream.

Jim:

Now, I remember back many years ago when I was in college and we were doing a TV production, and it was a sports thing, so we were a basketball court, and I took the basketball and I was at half court, and I shot it, and I made the basket. Unfortunately, they weren’t taping at the time, but I made the basket. But the thing is, I could have stood at that half court line and shot it a hundred times more and not made it, but I made it that one time. It strikes me that maybe lucid dreaming for the average person is kind of like that. You might luck into it once and it might just happen, and then you are aware of it. You can’t fully control it, but you kinda know, Hey, I’m in this dream. And it’s kind of like that. Is that a fair analogy? And if so, is there a way we can go from being Jim at half court who just happened to make a lucky basket to being someone who can do that relatively consistently?

Nisha Burton:

Yes, I love that analogy because it’s really, it is what it is. It’s a skill and it’s a practice. And so lucid dreaming, it can happen, and it does happen for many people spontaneously, and maybe even some people at a young age, they would have a lot of spontaneous lucid dreams. But to hone the skill of being able to have regular lucid dreams and being able to sustain lucid dreams and being able to induce lucid dreams more or less at will is really a skillset like practicing to be a great basketball player where it takes the daytime practices that you’re doing throughout the day. And I’ll talk about those a little bit. So what you want to do is train your mind to be constantly questioning if you could be asleep or awake, because many times we’re in dreams and fantastical things are happening, like there’s a pink elephant in the middle of the room, and yet we just go about the dream, like, oh, of course this is happening now. No, I’m not dreaming. 

Our minds are just trained when they’re in the dream space not to question anything that is happening. So what you need to do is train your waking mind to constantly be questioning if you could be dreaming or if you’re awake. And how you do that is first, by tracking and paying attention to your dreams, writing them down and seeing what common themes and occurrences are happening. These are called dream signs, and basically you’re tracking and collecting what your personal dream signs are. So maybe you’re in the elevator a lot in your dreams, maybe you are in your home or walking down the street. These would all be dream signs if they occur constantly in your own dreams. And then what you want to do is perform what’s called a state check. A lot of people are familiar with the state check of looking at your hand and flipping it back and forth.

When you do that in waking reality, obviously your hand stays the same. It’s like it is every day. But when you do that in the dream time, your hand will shift, it’ll morph. One time I had it turn into a lobster hand instead of my own hand. And so that is a state check that’s very common. There’s also ones like jumping up in the air, seeing if you float any longer or if you come back to the ground, if you come back like you normally would in waking reality, you’re awake if you float up beyond in doubt that you are dreaming. So when you perform the state check throughout the day while you’re awake, you’re training your mind to perform those state checks regularly and to question again if you could be asleep or if you’re awake. Well, what happens is whatever your mind does enough in waking reality, it also starts to do in the dream time.

And so the next time you’re dreaming and you’re say, in an elevator, you don’t think you’re dreaming, you think, of course I’m awake. This is normal. You jump up, but then you float. You don’t come back to the ground. Aha! That’s when lucidity clicks in. And when you’re able to become fully lucid within the dream, because you’ve seen the dream sign, you’ve performed a state check, the state check has verified that you are dreaming, and then you become lucid. And so that’s just a general big scope of how you do during the day to be able to consistently have lucid dreams at night. And the one other piece is intention and how important that is. So having a strong and clear intention about first becoming lucid within your dream time, and then also what you want to do next in your lucid dreams as you become more skilled at that practice. And that’s what the deck is really nice for too, is one, teaching people how to have lucid dreams, but also offering guidance and ideas around what intentions to set for lucid dreaming so you can continue your journey beyond just becoming lucid

Jim:

Norma, thoughts?

Norma J Burton:

There are so many levels within lucid dreaming that Nisha has experienced. So there’s much to learn. And I say the same thing to people about the lucid state and the drumming journey. There are so many places to go in these other dimensions, people to meet, things to do. So there’s a geography of it that I’ve done it with people all over the world, and there seems to be a consistent geography of the dream time. And so there are things that humans are here to learn by being aware of depths of reality within the dream time. It’s very exciting, and it’s part of our birthright as a human consciousness to explore these other realms just as much as we want to go on a trip around the world, there’s so much to do in the lucid state, and we have a responsibility in a way to become conscious to those levels.

So it’s like mystics have done through the ages. Here comes my comparative religions background. Mystics have had access to these realms and have explored incredible things, knowledge that we need to have as humans. Einstein said he got many of his inventions by going into the dream state, right? So there’s a lot that needs to be discovered and delivered through us, through our unique personality and things that we each need to know that are there in the dream time for us to bring back. And our earth really needs that kind of genius right now, don’t you think? Bringing things back to apply here that are beyond our rational capabilities sometimes to get there? So yes, having access to these mystical states is so important.

Jim:

Now, I want to ask you about something that I’ve long thought about dreams, and you can tell me if Jim, you’re onto something or if, oh, Jim, so, so wrong. But for example, I’ve always thought they’re kind of two kinds of dreams. There’s the mental junk filing dream where I go and I go to the grocery store and I shop and I’m in the produce section during the day. And that night I have a dream that I’m flying on a head of cabbage. That to me, strikes me as okay, this is just my brain doing something biologically, doing some filing or throwing away of junk and those kinds of things. And then, for example, a few days ago, I had a dream of my late mother that obviously falls into the category of a meaningful dream. Is that wrong or really are all of our dreams meaningful?

Norma J Burton:

That is such a great question, and it often arises, and I tell people, every single thing that your dream gives you is important. So flying on a head of cabbage is important, and it’s true that we’re sorting through our daily life in the dream time. But yes, we are sorting through it in a particular way, remembering certain things for a reason. So our dream time does a tremendous cleansing process on our unconscious every night. If people are prevented from dreaming, they become mentally unstable. Our dreams every night, even if you don’t remember anything when you wake up, they are cleansing our unconscious and teaching us things. So I tell people to pay attention to whatever dream fragment they can remember. It’s like welcoming a little woodland animal that’s very shy out of the woods. If you write down one fragment of a dream that you have, it will show the dream time that you’re paying attention to it, that you’re available, that you want to know. So don’t discount anything. Really. Write down every write down too. I’m saying when you wake up, write down what happened in your dream time.

And have a regular practice of writing them down when you wake up. And one more thing is when you wake up, a lot of people say, well, I just can’t remember them. They’re just gone when I wake up. Well, don’t move your head if you move your head even slightly to the right or left. No kidding. It’s like an Etch a sketch. It’ll erase the dream. So just stay very still when you first wake up and try to take yourself back, just like stepping back into the dream rather than stepping forward into the day. And then you’ll start to be able to remember. And it’s amazing how quickly a person that tells me, oh, I can’t remember my dreams, but if they just start doing this practice of laying still, don’t jump up to an alarm clock, lay still. Go back into the dream and then write it down. Within about a week, you’ll be remembering the dreams and they will become more and more meaningful too. It’s like what you call the junk dreams or things that don’t seem apparently meaningful will start to shift and the dreams will consistently be giving you meaningful, important, amazing information.

Jim:

Now, over the years, I’ve heard, obviously journaling and those kinds of things, I got to believe our devices are also the enemy of good sleep and dream hygiene. Is that correct?

Norma J Burton:

Well, there’s an app that signals you every morning when you wake up to say, did you write down your dream? 

Jim:

So it could be a friend, I guess, or foe.

Norma J Burton:

You can write it down right within the app. So they have a way of collecting dreams and then if you choose to, your dreams can be shared with others and you can be in a community of people keeping track of their dreams. So yes, so I’m joking away in a way about that, but it’s right here on our phones that we can record our dreams. But I want to tilt the other direction too and say, right, that people spend so much time involving themselves with their screens, that it does tend to take them away from valuing their dream time. And also just saying, if you use a lot of substances to alter your state during the daytime, you are sacrificing your nighttime dreams. So lots of times people that use a lot of substances can’t remember their dreams at all. So I always say, you’ve got to back off of being in the Dreamtime during your day, be in ordinary reality, stay awake in ordinary reality so that you can have a dream time and be awake in the dream time.

Nisha Burton:

Yeah, and I’ll add to that too, that with the phones, it is good to have boundaries and a good practice with your phone and looking at your screen. If you are looking at it right before bed, the blue lights are messing with your circadian rhythms. And just like my mom was saying, there’s great apps that you can use to assist you in recording your dream time. But also if you are pulling out your phone first thing in the morning and looking at it, that’s very much going to rob you of your memory, of your dreams. And so just like my mom was saying, stick with the recollection, the collecting of your dream time first. And even if you can just remember a feeling for a few days, if all you get is a feeling you had after your dream, but you’re at least writing that down, that’s a way to signal to the dream realms that you want to know, that you want to have them be in conversation with you.

And then, yes, you can use your phone as an ally, and one way you can even use your phone as an ally for lucid dreaming, which is kind of a funny way, but it’s one of the cards we have too, is it’s called Digital interface. And your phone can actually be a state check too, because in the dream time, you’ll notice that your phone is not behaving the way that it does in waking reality. It might be glitching, there might be things like coming up on the screen, weird viruses, all of this stuff can happen, or even just the text on your phone screen or the time on your phone screen won’t stay consistent and coherent. So what you can do throughout the day if you want to use a phone as an ally for lucid dreaming is that you’ll look at your phone, you look away from it, you look back at has it changed? Has anything weird happened? Is it not in your hand anymore? If any of those things happen, you know you’re dreaming lucidly. And if none of those things happen, then you’re awake and you’re still with your phone and waking reality.

Jim:

Now, I always feel that personal experiences are very illustrative, even if we’re talking to experts like yourselves. And I will ask this individually of both of you. Could you share one lucid dreaming experience you’ve had that you would feel comfortable sharing that’s had a great impact on you and why?

Nisha Burton:

Absolutely. Yeah, I can start that off. I’ve had many, so picking one is always a challenge, but in the deck too, I wanted to make sure in the book to talk about and give lucid dream examples from my own lucid dreams, because like you’re saying, I feel like that grounds the information so much and can really help people to understand what a lucid dream is, especially if they haven’t had one before or what the particular practice we’re talking about is in practice. So the one that first came to mind for me was my first lucid dream, which can be a good example of how one might, not my first ever, but my first lucid dream when I was really dedicating myself to the practice of lucid dreaming, and I was doing all of the categorizing of my dreams, finding my dream signs, doing the state checks throughout the day.

So this was the first one I had when I was really dedicated to the practice of lucid dreaming. I was out on a walk with my friend and it was a normal day. It was a beautiful day. We were walking around something that again, I do often in waking reality. So there’s a dream sign right there. And then we turned the corner, and when we did, we were going into this kind of back alley area and there was a scary person standing right there, and I was really terrified and I was like, oh, no, what’s going to happen? We’re in danger, all of these things. But then I realized, and I had this moment when I questioned – questioning mind coming online – could this be a dream? And so very quickly I jumped up into the air a little bit, which had it been a real situation, it might’ve looked strange, but hey, you’ve got to do what you got to do.

So I jumped up into the air and sure enough, I began to float and I was so elated, one because this terrifying situation had been completely diffused. It was no longer scary because I knew I was in a dream. I knew I couldn’t be hurt. I had this experience of that ultimate freedom of lucid dreaming and what it really provides. And then also because I decided that I wanted to fly, which for many lucid dreamers and especially when you’re first getting into it, it can be one of the most beautiful and profound experiences of having that freedom of flying. And so I flew up high, high into the sky away from the scary dream situation and feeling total sense of peace, agency, and the beauty of it too, when I woke up from that dream is that it doesn’t just stay in the dream time.

It comes with you, that feeling of safety, of peace, of elation, of freedom. Then when you wake up having had that experience where you were completely present in your dream time and had this complete, not control, but agency in the dream time, then that carries with you into your waking reality, where then you feel that feeling inside of yourself throughout the days to come. And that’s why this book and deck is called Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living, too. It’s not just about your lucid dreaming experiences, it’s about how ordinary reality and the dream time have a crossover. As you begin to bring more and more conscious awareness into both states of reality, and as you can hear, bringing the lucid awareness into your waking reality makes you have lucid dreams, and then having lucid dreams creates more presence, awareness and peace in your waking reality as well. So there’s a big crossover there.

Jim: 

Norma?

Norma J Burton:

An experience that comes to my mind is drawing upon my work with drumming journey lucidity, and then how that when you work with drumming journeys as a practice, you are going into a state that is lucid similar to lucid dreaming, and you meet your power animal who is your guide in these realms, and you grow to trust your power animal so that you build up over time a relationship. It’s Martin Buber, the great theologian called it an i-thou relationship within us, and we all have this capability to have this I thou relationship that we have to develop. So you develop trust and this guide being, well, one time I was going through a difficult life stage of having owned a big retreat center and trying to decide if it was time to sell it, let it go, big life decision. So here we are talking about lucid dreaming, lucid living.

So I had built up this relationship with my power animal. It was a dragon. And so I went into my nighttime dream, and whenever your power animal appears in the nighttime dream, it’s quite unusual. It’s not very often that the power animal from the drumming state appears in your nighttime dream. So that for me was a signal of waking up. So when I saw my dragon come in my nighttime dream, I woke up in the dream, became lucid, and asked it the question, what should I do about keeping or letting go of this retreat center and the dragon, I flew up with the dragon, we flew over the retreat center and the dragon said, this is what I’m doing, and it blew its fiery breath down and burned it up and it said, it’s time. It’s time to let go, and I needed that. Then I came back into ordinary reality, and it gave me great guidance, courage, strength, to dissolve this big business, and it had been my heart’s desire to have it, but it was time to let it go. So that’s an example of how the message from the dream time, and when you have built up this relationship with trusting the dream time, it can really help you to have guidance in your ordinary reality life for difficult things you might have to do

Jim:

In terms of kind of spurring on a lucid dream, do you both have the ability at this point, let’s say you’re looking for that guidance on a big life decision, or if you just decide that evening you’d like to fly over the Alps, do you both have that ability to just kind of turn that on at a moment’s notice? Any particular evening you so choose?

Nisha Burton:

Yes, I would say that I do for the most part with my lucid dream practice just being as strong as it is and for how long I’ve been doing it. But at the same time, you know, some people get hyper fixated on wanting to have a lucid dream every night, and that can be fun. But there is value, like my mom was saying earlier too, in having all of these different types of dreams. And so for myself even, I don’t try to have a lucid dream every single night. But Jim, as you’re saying too, it could be nice if there’s a specific thing that I’m having way heavily on my mind. If there’s a question I want answered or if I’m just wanting to have an experience, maybe I have read about or studied a particular path with lucid dreaming and I say, oh, I’d want to learn specifically about this practice here, so let me go now that I’ve read about it, have a firsthand experience with it, and really having a clear intention around lucid dreaming is such a key part of being able to regularly have them, like I was saying before.

So I’ll give another brief lucid dream example where I was reading about, and I’ve studied quite a bit, the Tibetan Dream yoga practice, and a lot of it, not to get too big, but a lot is about learning and practicing, seeing the illusory nature of the dream time, so you can recognize that in waking reality as well. And then connecting with what is called the clear light of the mind, of consciousness. And so within my dream as I was going to bed before I fell asleep, I thought I’d really like to have an experience of what that clear light consciousness is like. And so as I drifted off to sleep, I held that intention and I held the intention to become lucid so that I could go towards that. And then when I did fall asleep, I was able to become lucid. I was able to carry that clear intention all the way through into my dream.

I was in my room, I woke up in my room and I did a state check of looking at my hands, and again, I’m still asleep at this point. I’m in my dream looking at my hands, my hands shifted. They were not my regular hands, so I knew that I was dreaming. I became lucid. And then I remembered that intention. And that’s such a key part is bringing through that memory because there is this barrier between ordinary waking reality and the dream time that is a veil of forgetting, almost, where we pass through it and then we’re like, oh, I wanted to do something, but now I don’t remember. Or even just the remembering of to check if you’re dreaming or not. But with this time, I was able to carry through that memory of what I wanted to do. And so I said, aha, yes, I want to experience the clear light.

So I floated up out of my ceiling, I floated up out of my room and towards that clear light. And there are some experiences in lucid dreaming too that are hard to articulate in waking reality because it is those more transformative and other worldly experiences where really it is outside of our scope of words. But going there, being with the clear light, feeling what that felt like was a truly profound experience for me. And so yes, there are the ways that by setting these intentions and having the next stage, the next stage, the next stage of what we want to do, maybe first we start off, we just want to fly, then we want to have a good time and eat lots of candy and have no repercussions, no stomach aches. We can do that on lucid dreams. But then there come stages where we want to meet guides, where we want to speak with ancestors when we want to have these experiences of what the celestial realms are like. And so all of that builds on itself.

Jim: Norma?

Norma J Burton:

Like Nisha was saying, learning to set a clear intent is everything. Working with different shamanic teachers, they always emphasize your intent and what you intend clearly will happen. So the power of intent is something we’ve got to honor and work with. If I want guidance on a difficult decision, I have to make the dream. Time never fails me. As Nisha was saying, you have to remember your intent in the dreamtime and follow after what starts happening and honor it as, oh, this is leading me to the answer. It might come in a very symbolic form, not a direct word spoken to you or something, but the symbols of it are giving you the answer that you were seeking. So you have to be open to how the answer comes, but it never fails me when I have a big decision to make that I get very clear guidance from the dream time.

Nisha Burton:

And I’ll add to that just briefly too, that with the deck and the cards, a practice that we encourage people to do is to pull a card before bedtime. And especially if you’re feeling like, oh, I don’t know what I want to do, or I haven’t had a lucid dream and a recent time or maybe ever to pull that card and let that card, the intuitive guidance towards which one you select, be your guide of what the intent for the night is, be your guide of what maybe the practice is that you need to dedicate to be able to have lucid dreams or what you could try out in a lucid dream. And so having that, pulling it, putting by your bedside. But even if you don’t have the deck too, write down, then, what your intent is, write it down and put it by your bedside. Having that physical act in waking reality anchored as you’re getting ready to go into your dream time is such a great way to be able to, like you’re saying, turn on the lucid dreaming switch

Jim:

More about lucid dreaming right after this.

Announcer:

You’re listening to the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.

Jim:

So I know Nisha talked about this a little bit, but if you can explain to us a little bit more where the Oracle deck comes in, because the idea of a book, people can kind of understand, okay, read the book. This will give me kind of guidance tips, tricks, ways to incorporate lucid dreaming in my life. They may not be as familiar with the idea of incorporating an Oracle deck into this. So please share with us, expand on, because you did talk about it a little bit, your thoughts on it and what you actually do with the Oracle deck.

Norma J Burton:

Well, I’ve experienced since the Oracle deck has been out, about a month now, I’ll show it to people and then I say, draw a card right now, just draw a card. And so every time I’ve done that, the card relates to an issue in their lives. So we created this deck to be Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living. So the lucid dreaming instructions are there, but then there’s an application to your daily life. So I have people read the Lucid Living part of it, and it really does in a miracular way, in other words, quite a magical way, give you just the insight that you needed for the issues that you’re dealing with. So having it be an Oracle deck is opening a person up to receptivity, to guidance in that way of trusting, into taking a chance to see what the Oracle deck says. So the lucid living part of it is very important too. What do you have to say about that Nish?

Nisha Burton:

Yeah, I’ll build off that. I mean, it really is a unique thing. Like I said, I’ve done a lot of studying into lucid dreaming and into these various realms and through various scholars. And so the Oracle deck and having it in the form of an Oracle deck is something that I haven’t seen out there before. And the reason, like I talked about earlier for making it this way is to be able, like my mom was just saying, to give people an opportunity to access this information intuitively and to not get overwhelmed with having to read a full book or having to digest all of that information in a very linear way and to break down what’s contained within the book. A bit more too is that for each card you pull, there’s the lucid dreaming message, which is the teaching around lucid dreaming, a different aspect of it, different state checks, different journeys you may take within the lucid realms, different archetypal energies that you may encounter.

So there’s that teaching about it that is very much teaching you how to lucid dream and how to navigate the dreamscape with consciousness. And then like my mom was just saying, there’s the Lucid Living message, which is what you would find more traditionally in an oracle, where it’s giving you the guidance that you’re seeking for your daily dilemmas, for your questions about should I stay in this relationship, should I take this job opportunity? All of those things. And so those two messages are interrelated with one another too, and showing you how what you’re doing in the dream time is impacting your waking reality and vice versa. And then taking together, you’re able to see a full picture and get both teaching knowledge around lucid dreaming as well as guidance for your daily life. And then with the traditional Oracle deck too, there’s different spreads that you can do.

So say you woke up from a dream that was particularly troubling, or you had a lot of questions about, you can pull a spread that is a dream guidance spread that will give you insight into what the dream is reflecting in your waking reality and also what your dreamtime gestalt though we’re all feeling and messages are in the dream that you’ve just had. And then there’s also spreads for, say you’re wanting to really hone in on your lucid dreaming practice, and how do I get this? How do I become lucid? How do I take this next step? Well, you can pull a spread that’s designed in a specific way to be able to give you guidance about what area you might want to explore the most, what state checks or stabilizing you should do to be able to have the lucid dream, and what are typical energies you should call out to for support within the dream time.

So you can see how it’s a really unique system and a way of accessing this information. And also, let’s see, there was one more piece that I wanted to include about all of that that you’re able to see also with the illustrations. That’s another piece is that it has these cards that I’ve designed very much to give the feeling of the dream time and pulling from images from my own dreamscape and people that have seen them say, yes, this very much feels like it’s taking me into the dream time. So having that visual aid, it’s really bringing together all the various ways of learning, the reading, the kinesthetic, the visual, so that you’re able to have this full sense of what lucid dreaming is like, and then achieve it step through that card vision into your own dreamscape.

Jim:

Well, unbeknownst to Norma, she said, pull a card. She recommends that people pull a card, I pull a card – lifting off. Now, I don’t think that you’re going to give me a full diagnosis of my whole life situation through one card, but what could lifting off mean?

Nisha Burton:

Yeah, definitely. Okay, so the Lucid Dreaming teaching about lifting off, it’s related to out of body experiences, which is an aspect of lucid dreaming, but it’s also kind of its own thing where you’re able to transition from sleeping in your bed in waking reality directly out into an out of body experience. And a lot of people will explain, well, a lot of people have experienced having sleep paralysis, which is where you wake up, but you’re not able to move your body. And it’s a lot of times a very scary situation, and maybe they’ll even see scary beings by them. It’s definitely a common occurrence that people have a lot of fear around, however it can be used. That experience of waking up and not being able to move your body is an opportunity to transition into an out of body experience. And that’s where the lifting off card’s teaching comes in because it’s teaching you how to be able to pull out of your sleeping body into your etheric, astral, dream body, whatever you want to call it, and then be able to explore this in-between liminal realm while you’re still in your room.

But again, you can do a state check, see that you’re really in your dream body, and then have fantastical amazing lucid experiences from that state. So that’s the Lucid Dreaming Teaching. And then the Lucid Living Teaching is a lot about, one, noticing your surroundings, noticing what state you’re in, in waking reality, becoming more present with your daily life, with your surroundings and checking them. And then also being able to lift up to lift off into a new way of being in your life. It might be a moment in your life journey that you’re really taking a next step forward, that you are moving towards a new level of leadership that you’re moving towards, a new project that you’re working on, that you’re moving towards something that is calling you to lift off into this next stage. So that’s a quick reading and showing how there’s both the Lucid Dreaming teaching and then the Lucid Living message.

Jim:

Well, certainly something to think about. I’ll keep all of that in mind. And also we’ll keep in mind and recommend everybody who is interested in this subject. Check out Lucid Dreaming, lucid Living. I don’t know if you would call it a book/Oracle Deck combo. I don’t know if that’s the right phrase, but it’s certainly very handsome, would look great on a bookshelf. It’s just really substantial. Probably a really great gift too. Norma and Nisha Burton, where can people find this and more information about everything you both do?

Nisha Burton:

Absolutely. So the deck and book is available everywhere. Books are sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, directly from our publisher Redwheel Weiser, and in bookstores. And then also we have our website, which is luciddreaminglucidliving.com. Very simple, same name where you can find the link to the deck as well. And then also information we’re going to be launching very soon, two online classes. One is a Dream 101 class where it’s really teaching you how to connect with your dreamtime, how to remember your dreams, how to catalog your dreams, how to work with your dream time. So that’s kind of a beginner introductory course for people who want to develop a better practice with their dreamtime and help to understand and remember their dreams more. And then there’s a masterclass in lucid dreaming, which is the next level, the next advanced level of learning how to really navigate lucidly through the dream realms and working in an in-depth way with lucid dreaming. So you can find more about those classes, get on the wait list for them on our website. And then we also have an Instagram. It’s again, luciddreaminglucidliving, same everywhere. It’s the handle. And that is a place that I regularly post quick information, little sample spreads and polls, and lots of details about lucid dreaming in bite-sized ways. So if that’s a good way for you to learn about and consume information around lucid dreaming, you can follow us on Instagram as well.

Jim:

Excellent. Our guests today have been Norma J Burton and Nisha Burton, and we’ve been talking about Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living: Your Oracle and Guide to Mastering the Dreamscape, Nisha and Norma, thank you so much for joining us today on the program. It’s been a lot of fun.

Both:

[overlapping] Thank you so much for having us

Jim:

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