I hear dead people...
Upon meeting Dan Mewhinney, you would never guess that the fit, brunette, blue-eyed man with the gap-toothed smile has powers beyond your wildest imagination. He believes he possesses the ability to speak to spirits and demons from beyond the grave.
"People have no idea what it is like," Dan says of his gift. "It is very hard to find support. People think you're crazy."
Indeed they do. When Dan was just 14, his parents sought to have him medicated to control the voices he says he's experienced since infancy.
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Dan claims to have been born under a "veil," or, with a portion of the embryonic sac surrounding his head. This, he says, allows him to be extra sensitive to the world around him and may possibly be the source of his powers.
He recalls hearing the voices for as long as he can remember. It was only when he began insisting that his imaginary friends were real that his parents thought he was mentally ill. They took him to a therapist and eventually sought serious mental help at which point he was put on Lithium to stop the voices and visions. Dan claims it was only when he recorded the voices and played them to his doctor that people began taking him seriously. Thusly, he stopped taking the medication and began perfecting his skills.
Dan is clairaudient, meaning he can hear voices and sounds that others around him cannot hear. He believes these are the voices of spirits that have not yet crossed to the other side.
Lucky for these spirits, Dan can help them cross via the portal located in his torso. The spirits are guided through by the angels that accompany him on his every move.
"I am a walking portal," Dan says. "There is a portal in my midsection that I use to cross people into the light. With the help of my guardian angels of course."
Dan is the founder of the Southern California Paranormal Research Society: a group set up to help ghost hunters, sensitives and families living with paranormal problems, to show them that they are not alone.
"When I realized the world I was aware of as a child was really around me and that other people were getting confused and going through these harsh situations, to psychiatrists and getting medicated, but that these things we sense were real, I started a group to help support their families," Dan says.
He and his fellow paranormal researchers in So Cal PRS work free of charge to clear homes of spirits and negative entities.
Last week, I tagged along with this group of professional paranormal investigators as they visited various haunted locations in and around Orange County.
Led by Dan, the group consisted of Shelley Hofberg a median clairvoyant who practices professionally in Hollywood, Anji Moya, a Native American sensitive who dabbles in spiritual healing and massage therapy, Bill Mchale, the resident techie employed by a popular local amusement park whose main objective is to grab conclusive evidence of the spirit world, and my brother, who tagged along with me hoping to experience some paranormal phenomenon.
We approached each location with caution, but before we could begin our investigations we had to hear about the dangers involved.
"There are no warnings or disclaimers in ghost hunting," Dan said. "Anyone can do it and no one warns you of the risks. They don't warn you of someone or something following you home, crawling into your head and messing with your life. Destroying your life and the lives of others around you. They don't tell you about protection."
I soon learned that you can protect yourself in several different ways. The group cites religious faith as the top mode of protection. While burning white sage and cleansing with sea salts are also popular methods.
For Anji's protection, she has six Apache spirit guides that allegedly beat her up (they punch her in the jaw and hit her on the head) or yell at her if she is entering a dangerous spiritual situation. But she also uses minerals and stones to fend off the evil. She carries them in a medicine bag around her neck.
Filled with different stones and crystals, these rawhide bags can aid in catching spirits and trapping their essence inside.
"At a case out in Corona we've caught some spirits in our crystals," Anji notes. "It was a negative case involving a succubus. Now those crystals have cracks in them. Fissures in them. They are completely destroyed because the spirits were either trapped in there and were trying to escape or because they knew that the stones were protecting us."
Indeed protection of one kind or another is necessary. Dan claims to have been followed home on numerous occasions by negative spirits or demons because he was not properly protected. He recalls one such instance occurring last year where three spirits supposedly worked together to ruin his life.
"They were trying to collect my toenails and hair clippings to do spells on me," he remembers. "It wasn't fun."
Unfortunately for Dan, he cannot clear demons through his abdominal gateway because demons are not of this world. The only cure for demons, he says, is time and distance.
Heeding this warning we began our journey to multiple public locations around the county. All of which were in preparation for what we would experience that night after sundown: The clearing of what Dan and the others believe to be a Satanic residence.
From the day excursions, I learned the gist of how these investigations go down. We had Dan and Anji setting out, sensing the spirits and alerting Shelly and Bill. Then Dan would ask the spirit questions and Shelly would answer for the spirit using her mental powers. All the while Bill would be measuring the environment for activity using a temperature detector and an electo-magnetic field reader.
Although I received no conclusive evidence of spirit inhabitation (EVPs or photos containing orbs) from these visits Dan, Shelley, Anji and Bill seemed very confident and energized by our journey. The spirits seemed strong with them that day and the team was convinced that the showing later that night would be something to remember.
Because the spirits we encountered during our day trip were all generally happy in their environments none of them were passed through to the other side.
It was only later when we entered the Satanic House that spirits would be cleared.
To protect the anonymity of the former residents of the house I was asked not to disclose its location.
Once the sun bowed below the horizon and the rain began to come down, we entered the driveway of the vacant residence. There we met two additional members of the So Cal PRS crew. Kristin (who wished to keep her surname anonymous), a healer there for extra protection and Louis Gonzales, a sensitive who has visited the residence before and wished to share his expertise with the group.
The home seemed normal to me with its white walls, beige carpet, popcorn ceilings and an early '70s layout. But according to the group, this house used to belong to Satan worshipers who buried the bodies of their sacrifices in the back yard.
The group claimed to have sensed a grandmother and grandfather spirit inhabiting the home. These two evil entities were apparently holding several child spirits in the home with them, denying them a chance to cross into the light. The bodies of these children are believed by the group to be buried outside the home.
Upon inspection, Shelley sensed that there was a portal in the corner of a guest bedroom. Soon after, Dan claimed to smell the sent of vomit in the air.
"He's manifesting vomit," Dan called to the group. "That's not a good thing." Dan then walked through some ectoplasm and playfully flung it about.
"Stop throwing that at me!" Anji answered back as she was getting her aura massaged by Kristin to ease the pain of her spirit guides' beatings.
Soon a sweet smell filled the air. To my untrained nose it appeared to be the sent of Kristin's cherry flavored throat lozenge, but Dan knew better.
"Thats not a lozenge," He said. "That's grandma's perfume."
Shelly noted that the grandfather spirit was getting upset. "He is producing negative energy," she called out.
Following that upset, we then entered what the group dubbed the "prayer room" in order to be closer to the grandfather spirit.
It appeared to be a simple bedroom with a closet and a window. Basic. Normal even.
But Dan suddenly got the urge to draw a pentagram on the wall, as if a spirit was forcing his hand. Anji became uncomfortable at the sight of this and claimed she saw a shadow person in the bathroom outside the "prayer room" door. Shelly confirmed it was the grandfather's spirit and the group claimed to feel its cold energy.
From there we moved to the living room where Anji saw a red-eyed demon running up and down the walls. She sat down to clear her mind and massage her jaw when a ghost child came to her and sat on on her lap. It was a strange sight to see Anji petting the air where she claimed to see the child spirit's aura, much like you would pet an invisible dog.
"The grandmother is afraid that we are going to take the children away," Shelley said. "The children want to leave."
At this time Dan made it known to the spirit children that all they have to do is walk to his abdominal portal and they would be taken to the light. One child spirit, Daniel, really needs to cross, Dan said. Apparently, Daniel is a big source of the grandmother's power.
So Dan sat cross-legged near a wall for a while. He was chatting with the spirits using Shelly to interpret their voices, trying to convince the grandmother spirit to release the children.
"I think we're going to have to get some shovels and dig these bodies up from the back yard," Dan suggested. But Kristin remembered that Dan had brought holy water with him and he could bless the ground outside instead, which was agreed to be a much more logical solution.
Not much happened after that, except sitting around. Because neither my brother nor I had received any evidence that there were spirits in the home, we left. It was 3:16 a.m.
The next morning Dan called to tell me that he and the group had crossed 12 spirits later that night. The uncle spirit (who manifested after my brother and I had said our goodbyes) and the grandfather spirit stayed behind because they were afraid of the judgment they might receive once they crossed into the light. Most of the spirits crossed via a vortex in the ceiling of the home but one child, Daniel, crossed through Dan's torso portal.
"I got a little sick," Dan said. "I could feel his cold. It was like an embrace. But overall it was a great night. A happy outcome."
Unfortunately, not everything ended well.
Sometime after the clearing Anji dropped a spell book off at Dan's house. Dan claims that three demons came out of the book and have been wreaking havoc on his life ever sense. They have been causing his cats to vomit and his dog to bark. Dan says their commotion also makes it difficult to sleep.
If you have spirits or consider yourself a sensitive you can contact The Southern California Paranormal Research Society at 818-848-5299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.