Can you receive messages from the spirit world?

Klaus Schreiber receives the image of his deceased daughter on a television screen.
Klaus Schreiber receives the image of his deceased daughter on a television screen.

“I’M MARTY AND I’M AN ADDICT,” Marty Hopkins announced to the assembled group.

“Hi, Marty!”  The group said this in unison.

Marty continued.  “I am hopelessly addicted to unsolved mysteries, just like the rest of you.”

There was a ripple of laughter throughout the gathering at the Old Towne Library.  They met here every first Monday evening of the month at seven p. m.

Marty began his program.  “I first became interested in Thoughtography when I was about seventeen and happened to witness Ted Serios on the old Joe Pyne Show.  I was flipping through the channels when I spotted him.  A Polaroid camera was pointed at his forehead and he was doing some wild gestures with his free hand.”

“Ah, Ted.  Good ol’ Ted,” a fellow on the back row commented.

“Ted!” Another exclaimed.  Everyone knew who Marty was talking about.  Many were laughing.

“You all seem to know exactly who Ted Serios was, but if you don’t I will refresh your memory.  Ted was a Chicago bellhop, prone to drinking sprees.  Serios claimed to be able to capture his thoughts on Polaroid film. That is when the word Thoughtography was coined.”

“Are we still calling it a hoax?”  Someone blurted out the question.

Ted Serios believed he could take pictures with his mind.
Ted Serios believed he could take pictures with his mind.

Marty Hopkins replied, “I am sure that ninety-five percent of the people who have followed his story believe it was a hoax.  Two respected hoax-busters claim to have figured out how he did it.  When he was on Joe Pyne and made the rounds of other talk shows in the late 1960s, I tuned in to all of the shows I could find.  I analyzed his behavior and mannerisms and I am still not convinced he was a complete fraud.  I do not see how aiming a Polaroid camera at the tiny homemade gizmo he required to accomplish his feats would result in such a good image.  In fact why did a photograph of a scene come out of the camera at all?  Why wasn’t it a photograph of his forehead or the gizmo itself?  The only foolproof way to stage this live—and he gave some live performances—would be to have a dummy camera pre-loaded with already developed prints of the eerie images, and they showed this was not possible, as they loaded the camera in front of the viewers.”

Bob raised his hand.  “I watched all of the shows too, Marty, every opportunity I got, and for the life of me, I could not detect any tricks.  Like you, I also bought the book, The World of Ted Serios, published by his discoverer, Dr. Eisenbud.  Ted did give dramatic performances.  It almost seemed like he was possessed.”

“It is such a fascinating possibility, I want it to be true, Bob,” Marty admitted.  “It is amazing to think about, which leads me to my real topic for the evening, Klaus Schreiber.  Klaus was a man in West Germany that had an electronics hobby and he had a workbench for such in his basement.”

“Never heard of the guy!”  Bob exclaimed.  There was slight mumbling among the rest.

“One afternoon in 1985, while having beer with his friends, Klaus mentioned a popular a radio show and they tuned it in.  The topic on the show was about receiving messages from another dimension.  As they enjoyed one beer after another they decided to attempt to receive some spirit messages themselves with the use of a tape recorder.  On the recording, Klaus asks a deceased friend to come have a drink with the group.  They left the recorder on for awhile, then rewound it and played it back.  On the recording, after Klaus requested the friend to come, there is nothing but a humming noise for a long while, then, a voice on the tape said ‘hello, friends.’  It was recognized by all as the voice of the deceased friend.  Most of the group was so unsettled that they did not want to have another beer with Schreiber.”

“That would do it!” One of the ladies commented.

“Klaus began spending more time alone in his basement, working first with more tape recorders, then, he branched out into television.  He made video cassettes of new “friends” that he had discovered dancing across some of his television screens.  The “friends” are moving, speaking images, mainly of dead celebrities like Romy Schneider, his own dead relatives, and one in particular, his own deceased daughter,” Marty explained.

“Really?” Bob asked.

“It seems so, Bob.  And Schreiber is not the first.  Thomas Edison reportedly spent much of his later life trying to develop a device that would act as a receiver for spirit messages, as did many others,” Marty explained.

“I had not heard of Schreiber,” Wendy announced out loud.  “You really dig deep, Marty.  Where did you find that one?”  No other members of the group, avid unsolved mystery junkies, had heard of that one either.  Marty began to pass around prints of some of Schreiber’s television images.

Then, he began to talk again.  “These people, Serios and Schreiber, may seem hokey to most, their stories unbelievable.  What if there are spirit communications floating about out there that we will not even have the technology to pick up for a hundred years?  Or what if there are no spirits out there at all, but instead electrical or magnetic imprints of people or animals that have existed and their activities—an energy, just beyond our reach?”

A rumble of “hmmms” went throughout the group.

Then Marty added this:  “At the very time Ted Serios was making the rounds I had an experience with a Polaroid camera that left me quaking in my boots, myself.  I was about eighteen or nineteen and took a photograph with our household Polaroid of a visiting family member.  I had been elected the family picture-taker.  If you are familiar with old Polaroids of that era, you know they had pre-packed film cartridges that you loaded in the camera, then, latched the little door.  There is thick black paper that comes out of a little slot to advance the film after each shot—you pull on it.  I took a photograph of my tiny niece, a toddler.  It was the first shot on the new film pack, black and white.  I waited for it to develop and when I did I had the shock of my life.  The picture I had just taken of my niece was miniaturized somehow and in a little square area in the foreground.  What was that in the background, I wondered?  It was a photograph of the same niece when she was six months younger, hanging groggily over a corduroy throw pillow—the same little girl at two different ages of her life—all in the same photo, and the first photo on the film pack.  I am going, ‘Whoa!’ There are other strange and unidentifiable objects in the photo.  It is not a good photo—I should have thrown it in the trash, but I had to save it, and I have saved it over forty-five years, because I think it could be something. Yes, it is something—but what it is, I don’t know.  It is something that violates the laws of time and space, or our current scientific knowledge of them.”

The only sounds that came from the mouths of the assembled group at the Old Towne Library could only be described as otherworldly and ethereal.


Please click the book cover image to read more about Sara Marie Hogg and her novels.


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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Sara, I don’t understand it. It’s far beyond my imagination. But there is a part of of me that believes such strange and often eerie things actually happen. Life is infinitely more fun if you’re not always a skeptic.

    • Sara Marie Hogg

      Sometimes my own skepticism can’t help but fade away, especially if strange incidents happen to me personally, and they often do.

      • Caleb Pirtle

        I used to ignore or try to forget incidents so difficult to explain. Now they fascinated me and only feed my curiosity.

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