Voices from the Dennison Crypt

DON’T MISS THE NYC PREMIERE OF JEFFREY STANLEY’S BONEYARDS AT BROOKLYN’S MORBID ANATOMY MUSEUM ON 2/27/15! DETAILS HERE.

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A Shaheb’s Guide to India

shaheb – (India; also saheb, sahib; from the Hindi and Urdu sāhab, master; from Arabic ṣāḥib, companion; participle of ṣaḥiba, to become friends) 
1. formerly, a term of respect for any  male landowner
2. formerly, a term of respect for white European men during the British colonial era
3. (modern) any white person
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Assume with me for a minute that ghosts really are, without a doubt, real. The dead really can contact us. EVPs/Raudive voices/ghost box voices are the real deal.  That said, it follows that it’s pointless to try and get any decent EVP’s in a cemetery. Why would ghosts be hanging around  a cemetery full of strangers when they can go back to their still-living families or the places that were near and dear to them in life? Sure, cemeteries can be creepy and I’m not sure I’d enjoy traipsing around in one at night, but really my belief is that they are generally ghost-free.

A still from the background looping slideshow in BONEYARDS.
A still from the background looping slideshow in BONEYARDS.

Unless a particular grave or cemetery is historically believed to be haunted; then, it might be worth a look. Take the notorious Bachelor Grove Cemetery outside of Chicago which I plan to visit in March during my trek on the California Zephyr for my Amtrak Writers Residency. Or the Dennison family crypt in Kolkata’s South Park Street Cemetery, one of my favorite haunts in West Bengal, India. When I was last there earlier this month I took my trusty P-SB7 spirit box with me, the one I use live onstage in Boneyards, to check it out. Continue reading “Voices from the Dennison Crypt”

RIP Frank Sumption

Photo via drinkwinemortuary.com

Frank Sumption, known for creating “Frank’s Box,” aka “ghost box” or “spirit box” — essentially a modified AM/FM radio said to allow communication by spirits from the Other Side by sweeping over different radio signals and forming messages from the various audio fragments — passed away earlier this month.

He lived modestly with his family in Littleton, CO and there is a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for Sumption’s funeral expenses.

Whether or not the voices are “real”  is irrelevant to me.  If the idea of Frank’s box makes you roll your eyes or you’re caught up in “debunking” it you’re missing the point and need to check your ego at the door and try again.  As I say in my show, life is full of magic and meaning if you’ll only open your eyes — all 3 of them.

A descendant of Frank’s box, the mass-produced P-SB7, has proven a trusty tool for me in my autobiographical black comedy theatrical performance Boneyards, which concludes with a real, audience-led seance combining the spirit box and an antique ouija board in an earnest attempt to contact the dead, and which I wrote about last Halloween in the Washington Post as well as numerous times right here at Jefe’s House.

Thank you, Frank, wherever you are, for your terrific tool/prop/broken radio/supernatural device, depending on your beliefs.  Despite the naysayers I will continue using my spirit box with pride, fascination, and curiosity both on and off the stage.

“My Father Did This.”  See Frank in action demonstrating his box at the haunted Stanley Hotel in Colorado:

7/27/14 Boneyards Transcript

Dear Sunday Audience,

I’m stunned that yet again the voices have spoken backwards. I’d heard of this happening but only experienced it the first time during my 7/16/14 recording. I never imagined it happening to me again, yet here it is less than 2 weeks later.  Are my “synagogue saints” trying to scare me away and be done with us? You’ll have to decide.

Do the names Jane and Patrick Foote or Jason mean anything to any of you?  If so, feel free to post a comment here or email me privately.  The voices recorded during your session say these names emphatically as you’ll hear, either identifying themselves or calling for these people.  Perhaps I’m mishearing the names, see what you think.  I tried doing a web search but didn’t turn up much. I did find a pair of siblings named Jane and Patrick Foote, born to a mother with maiden name Durbin, the same as actress Maud Durbin whose name comes up in the show.  I haven’t checked further to see if they’re related but perhaps a junior genealogist among you will want to take up the mantle and report back. Video here– Continue reading “7/27/14 Boneyards Transcript”