Google Maps Ghosts

It’s quite common these days for people to spot weird things on Google maps street view. People have seen everything from aliens to the Loch Ness monster. The problem I have with a lot of these sightings is that there’s no context. What looks like a scary clown stalking the countryside could have been a a dad dressed as clown on his way to his son’s birthday party for all we know.

The Stuart Hotel as it appeared on Google street view (February 2016)

One of the more famous ghost pictures found on Google Maps is that of the Stuart Hotel in Liverpool. I shouldn’t say ‘ghost’ really since it looks more like a demonic elf or something. The most logical explanation is that it’s a Halloween mask or costume that has been put in the window.. possibly on purpose so that others would see it and think it’s real. Maybe the owners knew that the Google earth van was coming to town that day and they thought it’d be funny to put a cardboard cut-out of a gremlin in the window or something. The reason I am so sceptical is because I’ve actually done something similar myself.

It’s a little blurry but above is a picture of my old flat as it appears on Google Street View. It was probably around 2015, we had recently played a gig and had been paid with Star Wars memorabilia (unusual I know) one of the things we got was a life size cardboard cut-out of Han Solo. After his legs accidentally fell off due to being moved from room to room a lot, I decided to put his top half on our front window sill for the sake of being weird for no particular reason. It was of course fantastic that the google street view van turned up a few days later and managed to capture Han in the window.

It’s not so unusual for people to try and draw attention to themselves or their houses, just look at the mad stuff people cover their houses with on Halloween and Christmas. I think a lot of what we see as ghosts or monsters on Google Street view is nothing more than people pranking the world by doing something weird for the cameras.

Another explanation might just be good old pareidolia! we do tend to see faces and patterns in things, it just seems to be the way our brains are wired. It explains why a burnt piece of toast might look like it has the face of Jesus on it or why light reflecting off a window might look like a vampire looking in at you. It’s our overactive imaginations and our tendency to turn every unknown shape into something familiar.

Yesterday I drove past an old building near me that has always looked pretty cool to me, I think it’s because it’s red/pink and it has old fashioned windows which are in a way Georgian styled. We used to drive past it to go to band practice. When I got home last night I decided to check it out on Google Street view to see if it had any ghosts in the windows. I know it seems silly but it just looked like it might be haunted. This is what I found..

I don’t know what that thing is in the top window, but it looks ghoulish to me. I don’t know if you’ll be able to see what I’m seeing, but it kinda looks like a monster with a pointed head and pointy ears with a hand that has very long fingers or fingernails. It’s face is partly hidden by a window muntin (yes, muntin is a new word to me too)

It is most likely a reflection of something, maybe the clouds. It could be something covered with a sheet in that room or anything else that is quite innocent. It just shows you how easy it is for some people to see shapes, figures and faces in windows on Google street view, especially if they’re looking for something weird.

I’m not doubting the existence of ghosts and I’m not saying that all Google Street View ghosts can be easily explained as something quite normal or innocent but it seems that most of them can probably be explained as such. There will always be the real ghosts that may in fact go undiscovered. Let me know if you find one!

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Daily Card (11th December 2020)

Another card from the Devil’s ACRE Lenormand deck!

You may have been struggling to make an important decision recently. It may not have seemed important to the people around you, in fact they’ve not put much effort into helping you but in your mind it’s very important. The good news is that today, something will guide you to a decision. Look out for signs from the universe, the answer will become much clearer if you pay attention to the signs.

Daily Card (9th December 2020)

Today’s card was also drawn from the Devil’s Acre deck.

Your enemy is not a physical person, your enemy at the moment is in fact ‘self doubt’. You doubt your own abilities and occasionally you rely on other people to get things done because you assume others know better than you. You know the old saying ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ well even though you may not believe you’d do a better job, the truth is you would do a good job and by taking on the challenge it would help to alleviate some of your self doubt.

Unexplained scratches

If you like watching documentaries about ghosts like I do then you’ve probably noticed that if someone is being haunted by an evil spirit or a demon, they tend to find scratch marks on them.

The person often wakes up to find scratches on them. It is less common for them to appear during the day but this still happens. Maybe this has happened to you or you know someone who says this has happened to them.

If you don’t know anyone who has experienced this, then let me tell you that it has happened to me.

You may be expecting me to tell you an exciting tale about an evil demon who tried to steal my soul or something along those lines but instead my story doesn’t involve a malevolent demon or a revenge seeking spirit. It simply involves an unexplained phenomenon.

It all started a few years ago. It was a regular Sunday afternoon and I was sat in my bedroom reading a book when all of a sudden I felt a horrible burning pain on my upper left arm. I quickly pulled up my sleeve and was astonished to find three long scratch marks.

My boyfriend was in the room with me and I showed him the scratches straight away. His instant response was to tell me I must have scratched myself in my sleep and that I’d only just noticed. As great as this explanation sounds, I knew that wasn’t the case. The scratches were new, I could tell. They were raised and bleeding very slightly. I’d been awake for 7 hours so any scratches I may have inflicted on myself in my sleep would have surely begun to scab up by that point.

After dismissing his explanation, my boyfriend then suggested that I’d just scratched myself without realising. This too seemed implausible since I was wearing a thick jumper so it would have been difficult to scratch myself that deeply, plus I’ve never scratched myself that hard and not realised as I did it.

A few days later, the same thing happened again, only this time I had scratches on my other arm. It started the same way with a burning sensation. I started doing some research online and all I could find was articles to do with demon possession and haunted houses.

I didn’t jump straight to the conclusion that a demon was after me because I just didn’t feel like that was the case. The house didn’t feel haunted, there were no other signs that my house was being invaded by unearthly beings. I didn’t feel frightened or threatened. The only odd things happening to me was the scratches.

A few days later it happened for a third and final time. These scratches where the most painful and appeared on my back. Again it was three long scratches and it started with a burning sensation.

Since this happened to me, I can’t watch documentaries about demons and ghosts in the same way. Whenever someone claims to have been scratched by a demon, I think ‘Yeah yeah it happens’ I can’t take that sort of stuff seriously because I know it can just happen without explanation.

You could say that it’s different when scratches appear on someone who is also experiencing other signs of a haunting, but what if all signs of a haunting are just a bunch of things that sometimes happen with no explanation. The laws of probability say that unexplained scratches would happen in conjunction with other signs of a haunting to some people. Other signs could be things like unexplained footsteps and a feeling of being watched.

It feels like I’m doomed to go back on fourth with my opinions about the supernatural. Sometimes I’m provided with evidence for ghosts, other times I am confronted with facts that say otherwise and then there are times like this, where weird stuff happens and I don’t know why.

The Shadow Man

Even though people have encountered shadow people for centuries, it is only recently that it has become quite a mainstream paranormal topic.

The first memory I have of encountering shadow people was when I was 4 years old, I had no idea what they were but they didn’t frighten me. They’d always appear at around twilight time in a particular corner of our garden, one would appear for a split second and then vanish and then a few minutes later another would appear for a split second and it’d go on like that for a while. I was so accustomed to seeing them that I didn’t really think they were anything out of the ordinary. Eventually I mentioned it to my dad, he said he’d seen them too when he was young and that eventually I’d stop seeing them.

I stopped seeing the shadow people in our garden at around 6 years old. The cessation of my experiences with shadow people ended at around the same time that I began to question reality more. I think that at that age, children begin to develop an ability for critical thinking and as the mind changes and evolves, the ability to see otherworldly beings seems to end.

Not all paranormal experiences end during childhood. Many adults see shadow people but there seems to be a difference in how they’re perceived. Adults who have seen shadow people tend to have a more negative view of them. They often say that they could sense evil. It’s difficult to decide whether there are different types of shadow people, maybe we’ve been wrong to group all paranormal things that resemble a shadow as ‘shadow people’ some of them could be aliens, some could be time travelling beings and others could be something much more demonic. It is the latter catogory of shadow people that I want to talk about.

One warm summer evening in 2009, I got a call from a singer who was starting up a band, he’d heard I was a guitarist looking for a band and wanted me to come round for a jam. I turned up to his house the next day with my guitar, met the other band members and had a fun afternoon of playing music.

The exterior of the house.

It all seemed well and good and although I was apprehensive about making a good first impression, there was something else that bothered me. His house was creepy! we were practicing in his dining room but when I went to use the upstairs bathroom, I felt uneasy, I didn’t like being alone in that house. At the time I didn’t think too much into it because I was more concerned about joining the band and music, but after being invited into the band, I began to notice more about that house.

It was probably a few months later when I actually saw something. I was in the kitchen making myself a cup of tea, the kitchen door was wide open and it led to the hallway which had the stairs and a door to the living room in it. In the corner of my eye, I saw a tall black thing walk quickly from the bottom of the stairs through to the living room. I could tell it wasn’t human, but regardless of this I checked the living room and there was no one there.

You don’t only see it, you feel it.

I saw the black thing in the corner of my eye a few times but I didn’t mention it to anyone as I thought I’d be laughed at. I’d seen things in the corner of my eye before and I think most people have. Most of the time it’s just your imagination, but this is different. You don’t only see it, you feel it.

When I started dating the singer, I told him about what I’d been seeing in his house. He said that his mother is a strict Christian who insists the house is blessed and can’t be haunted. I should mention here that it is his mother’s house but I didn’t really speak to her at first, it took a while to get to know here.

A view from the kitchen to the hallway. (Although you can’t quite tell from this picture, the stairs are on the left and the living room door is on the right)

One day I was sat in the conservatory chatting to the rhythm guitarist we had at the time, he was facing the door which led to the kitchen. He was in the middle of talking when he suddenly stopped mid sentence, his face went pale. I asked what was wrong and he said he’d just seen a ghost. I asked him what it looked like and he described it as a tall black shadow. I mentioned that I’d seen it too but when the singer (now my boyfriend) came back from the shop he told us to stop being stupid and that if his mum heard us talking about it, she’d chuck us out.

His mother didn’t like anyone to discuss ghosts in her house and she wouldn’t even entertain the idea of her house being haunted, her son (my boyfriend) was very much the same in the early years.

I remember one night when it was just myself and my boyfriend in the house recording music in the dining room, I went to the kitchen to get a beer when I noticed a rattling sound. I looked around the kitchen and saw a bead necklace hanging from a door handle swinging from side to side. I assumed it must have been knocked somehow but as I watched it, it became more erratic and started swinging faster and became almost aggressive. I shouted for my boyfriend to come and look at it, as soon as he walked in and saw the swinging necklace, he grabbed it and flung it in a drawer and refused to discuss it. He has changed so much over the years, but I believe he didn’t see the shadow man like everyone else did because he refused to acknowledge things like that.

Years later, the singer and I began living together elsewhere but we still visited his mother in the house. Our bass player at the time had also moved into the house because he had nowhere to live. This is where the story gets weirder. I had told the bass player about the shadow man in the house so at the time I wasn’t sure if the events which happened next occurred because I’d filled him with paranoia, but the shadow man definitely seemed to get stronger as soon as he moved in.

He felt the shadow man was watching his every move.

Our bass player who was once a loud and energetic character became more and more withdrawn the longer he lived there. He confided in me one day that he’d heard someone shout ‘Fuck you’ loudly in his ear when walking down the stairs on numerous occasions and that he felt the shadow man was watching his every move. Even though I had seen the shadow man with my own eyes, I put his experiences down to his use of cannabis.

Regardless of my skepticism I remember we decided to ask the tarot for guidance, it didn’t really help that we kept drawing ‘the devil’ card in every reading. I took this as a sign that there was something a bit odd going on. Not long after he’d hit rock bottom, he left the house and the band. He had a lot going on in his head, but looking back now, I can’t help but think that the shadow man fed off his negativity and that if he remained in its presence much longer, it would have attached itself to him.

The Devil Tarot card

After some hard times recently, my boyfriend and I ended up having to move in with his mother, so as I write this I am in the domain of the shadow man. Nothing has changed, there is an oppressive atmosphere and I have seen the shadow man a few times but it’s always such a brief sighting that it’s hard to even describe it. My boyfriend has now also seen it.

The layout of the house has changed a little over the years. There’s a door that goes into the kitchen from the dining room and this door has some frosted glass that allows you to see into the kitchen. Whilst my boyfriend was recording some guitar for a song in his makeshift recording studio in the dining room, he saw what he thought was me walking into the kitchen. He saw it a few times in the corner of his eye, so he became quite distressed when he found that I was still in bed with a migraine and had not left the room. His mother was out so the only explanation was the shadow man.

Finally I have a kind of conclusion, or atleast an explanation. One night I was sat downstairs talking with his mother about her journey to becoming a Christian and she told me something that she’d never mentioned before, it was something that could finally explain everything that had been going on.

It had once tried to drown her in the bath.

I already knew that she used to dabble in the Occult as a teenager and that doing all of that had encouraged her to turn to God later in life. What she’d never mentioned before is that whist messing around performing rituals and séances, she had unwittingly conjured something evil into her life. She described it as a tall dark thing that would come into her bedroom at night and try to strangle her. She said that it had once tried to drown her in the bath. It wasn’t until she became a Christian that she stopped seeing it.

This could explain the origin of the shadow man but the unsettling thing is that although she claims to not see it anymore, everyone around her has. Believe it or not, I have tried to keep this post brief, but there have been a lot of other people who have encountered the shadow man in her house.

Maybe her belief in God has protected her from the shadow man but it has entered our reality and can’t leave. It could be looking for a new person to attach to, I believe it was trying to attach itself to our old bass player. I only hope that I am strong enough and positive enough to keep the shadow man from attaching itself to me.