By Robin M. Strom-Mackey
When you find the keys are not on the ring by the door, or when a cherished family watch isn’t in the jewelry box where you left it, but shows up on in the bathroom, you may be blaming the kids or considering early-onset Alzheimer’s. However, there may be another explanation…one that takes you into the realm of the paranormal.
Apports are objects that appear with no explanation. The term was first coined by paranormal investigator, Nandor Fodor, who described the phenomenon as the, “’arrival of objects through an apparent penetration of matter (Cheung, 2006).’” During the height of the spiritualist movement many mediums would produce objects during séances. The objects themselves were often small, like a ring or a medal. Not surprisingly many of these objects could be hidden in a pocket or clothing of the medium and then produced at the right moment via sleight of hand. Many such mediums were exposed as frauds by investigators. Many...but not all. In the eastern religions apports have also played a role. Islamic religious Sufis and Hindu swamis are known to produce apports. Sai Baba of India has been able to produce small items such as sweets from his closed fist, and pull objects such as statues from the sand with no clear explanation as to how (Cheung, 2006).
Asports are objects that unaccountably disappear. Cheung defines it as, “psychic phenomena involving the disappearance or transportation of objects, supposedly accomplished with the help of the spirit (Cheung, 2006)."
All this defining may be a bit confusing. It is possible for an object to be both apport and asport. For example, an object can disappear from one room (asport) only to be found in another (apport). Then again an asport can disappear, never to be seen again, or an object appear (apport) from thin air only to remain with the person.
It has been theorized that spirits or mediums dematerialize an object at its location, and re-materialize the object at a new location, using a kind of “beam me up, Scotty,” quantum teleportation system (zSuzanna, 2006). Science to date has not been able to dematerialize anything but tiny bits of matter. Thus apports may be ahead of developments in quantum physics, or it may be proven eventually dematerialization/re-materialization is not possible on a larger scale.
Another theory for the phenomenon is that spirits lift the object from another dimension and bring it forth into this dimension using, “a type of psychic magnetism (Cheung, 2006).”
Objects moving, disappearing or appearing are one of the classic signs of poltergeist hauntings. The popular theory being that poltergeist hauntings are caused by a human agent and not a spirit. The human whom is usually identified as an adolescent, is believed to be using (wittingly or unwittingly) telekinesis to move objects or make objects appear or disappear. For example, a few of the famous poltergeist cases include stones or rocks appearing out of thin air, which then rain down on the house or the inhabitants. These stones can appear outdoors or indoors, and are difficult if not impossible to explain.
Apports and asports are phenomenon that has also been known to occur at haunted locations. Balzano and Weisberg point out that when this type of activity begins to occur many people brush it off, thinking they are the ones being forgetful. Even when the activity picks up, they may still ignore the phenomenon. However, the authors contend that, “this displacement becomes a type of gateway haunting: an intelligent haunting that involves a spirit that is still holding onto parts of its human self.” This may be the spirit’s initial attempt at communicating, which if ignored may cause the activity to intensify (Balzano, Weisberg 2012).
Many asports or apports are comforting objects that may show up in one location, and then another, seemingly moving about of their own volition. In the book Haunted Objects the authors describe the case of Stephany DeSantiago whose deceased father had owned a much loved St. Raphael medal. When her father died DeSantiago put the St. Raphael medal in the casket, but the funeral director returned it to her explaining that it was their policy not to bury jewelry with the dead. DeSantiago was beside herself, knowing that her father would have wanted to be buried with the medal. Shortly after the burial she took a trip out to the graveyard, dug a shallow hole over the grave and buried the medal. A week later she noticed something on the kitchen counter. The St. Raphael medal had returned. She then gave the medal to her small son, thinking that Grandpa would have wanted him to have it.
But tragedy struck the family again, and DeSantiago's young son was killed in an auto accident. Again she wanted the medal to be with the owner. So she took the medal again to the grave yard, and this time buried it over her son’s grave. When she went again to the graveyard to lay flowers on her father’s grave she found the medal hanging on the gravestone. This she took as a sign from the two of them, the medal was meant for her. S
he took it home, put it in an old cigar box and put it under her bed. During long nights of mourning she would often take it out and hold it, until one particularly bad night when she reached under her bed for the box only to find the medal gone. She said she figured her father had taken it as a way of saying that she needed to stop mourning and move on with her life.
She reports that occasionally she finds the chain on either her father’s gravestone or her son’s, but that she doesn’t touch it or move it, having faith that it will reappear in time. She admits she never knows when or where it will appear, but that she takes it as a sign that her loved ones are saying hello.
A T.A.P.S. paranormal investigator, Nancy Planeta reports an asport/apport that followed her home. The team was investigating the Seven Sisters Inn, in Ocala, Florida. While on the investigation the quirky tome first appeared on a nightstand in the room which once belonged to Elizabeth Scott. It was a book of the poem, “The Lady of the Lake” by Sir Walter Scott printed in 1893. In a building full of collectibles and antiques, the old book was the only item that was part of the original estate of the building; having been found in the attic. For some reason Planeta was drawn to the book, spending several minutes leafing through it before setting it down on the nightstand and departing the room.
Later in the evening, the team was investigating in the loft area of the building (a converted attic). It was warm in the room, so they decided to switch on the ceiling fan. As they did so an object flew off the fan hitting Planeta in the head. It was the book again. Surprised and encouraged, the team took the book back downstairs to Elizatheth’s room. The next day as Planeta was unpacking her gear, she found the book buried under her laptop. Surmising that the book was of monetary value, she called the owner of the bed and breakfast to report the finding and offer to return the book. Surprisingly the owner told her to keep the book, telling Planeta that the book had chosen her as its owner. Since in possession of the book, Planeta reports it continues to disappear occasionally off the desk in her bedroom, only to reappear in odd places. To date she has found it in a waste basket, the china cabinet and once in the refrigerator (Balzano, Weisberg, 2012).
So, if you find that the car keys are not on the ring by the door, or your favorite old book is unaccountably found in the trash, you may want to reconsider blaming yourself or the kids….
Balzano, C. Weisberg, T. (2012) Haunted Objects: Stories of Ghosts on Your Shelf. Krause Publications, Iola, WI.
Cheung, T. (2006) The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings. Harper Collins Publishers in cooperation with Barnes and Noble Inc.
Zsuzsana (Issue date: Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006) Paranormal Insider. Retrieved November 25, 2012 from http://archives.gophercentral.com/index.aspx?op=i&title=Apports_Asports_and_Ghostly_Hijinks