Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Who Ya Gonna Call?
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Who Ya Gonna Call?

Local woman writes book about how to get rid of demons

Jodee Taylor - July 21st, 2014  

Samantha Harris doesn’t particularly like getting rid of demons. It gives her nightmares, makes her physically ill and provokes unexplained accidents.

But the flip side — people continuing to live with an evil spirit — is untenable as well.

“I do this solely to help people,” says Harris, 25. “They have nowhere else to turn.”

In order to help, she’s written “Fighting Malevolent Spirits,” a collection of stories of her own “house blessings” as well as DIY instructions for people who think they have mean spirits of their own.

Harris, who moved to Traverse City in March, uses herbs (white sage, sweetgrass), olive oil, salt and holy water in her house blessings and says she has a 98 percent success rate. The failures were at homes where the family didn’t follow her instructions, she says, or weren’t fully behind the process.

The blessings aren’t all sweetgrass and light, however. She’s had occasions when the “entity” has invaded her own home, where the “darkness” is so heavy it makes it hard for her to breathe or when clients have attacked, shrieking and yielding weapons.

And yet, Harris continues.

“I used to not believe in this stuff,” she admits, “and now I kind of specialize in demonology and get the worst-case scenarios.”

When Harris first hears from a potential customer — who either finds her through her website, via word-of-mouth or from one of her appearances on TV (which aired on the Travel Channel and Discovery Channel’s Destination America) — she confers on the phone with them for an hour or two, both to gauge their sanity and to calculate the severity of the haunting. Most of her callers are not mentally ill, she says, although almost all have some kind of dysfunction, ranging from alcoholism to sexual abuse.

“Any negativity in a natural situation creates an opening,” Harris says, “and makes it easier for entities to attach themselves.”

The first call is almost a “mini psych evaluation,” Harris says, and includes asking about prescription drug use, to see if the “haunting” is a result of side effects or asking if the sound in the attic could possibly be a raccoon. But “90 percent are genuine hauntings.”

Harris herself has also had psychology evaluations, specifically when she was diagnosed with dyscalculia, a condition like dyslexia except with numbers. She’s passed them all. She’s a 2011 graduate of Michigan State with a degree in communications and runs her own wedding photography and videography business.

The “gift” (“or maybe it’s a curse,” Harris laughs) has been passed down on her mother’s side of the family, she says. “Every female is intuitive,” Harris says, but “we don’t use it. It’s like a muscle.” Her own premonitions started in grade school, when she dreamt about her grandmother’s beloved dog dying. She also was able to predict what was in wrapped presents and took a picture with an unexplained figure in it at summer camp on Burt Lake. She then began reading everything she could find.

Between graduation from Dexter High School and her freshman year at Central Michigan University, she helped a boyfriend’s family with an entity. It gave her the confidence to learn more about house blessings. She has since come up with her own materials and prayers, which are directed to a nondenominational spirit.

She doesn’t belong to an organized religion but says she works for God.

“She’s a very spiritual soul,” says her mother, Michelle Harris, 60. “She believes in God. God is much bigger than any one religion.”

Michelle Harris also has a “gift” and remembers knowing ahead of time what day her grandfather would die (“It was horrible”) and who was calling on the phone. When she was quite young, her grandmother asked her if she heard things other kids didn’t, then told her how to deal with it, Michelle Harris says.

“She told me to ask the spirits to leave — and they do!” says Michelle Harris. “She told me to call on God.”

Skeptics abound, of course, equally from religion and science, Samantha Harris says. She welcomes them.

“Skepticism is often given token lip service,” writes Sharon Hill for the Center for Inquiry, a national group of skeptics. “Several ARIGs (amateur research and investigation groups) say they welcome skeptics. However, what open-minded skepticism really means to them is that one is open to the paranormal conclusion as the correct conclusion.”

Hill goes on to say that, because “only certain gifted individuals can ‘sense’ the spirit present or communicate with the entity, the nongifted cannot confirm or deny such an observation.” Despite science having considered and rejected the existence of ghosts, the public still embraces the idea, Hill writes.

Michelle Harris says her daughter gets hate mail telling her she is working for the devil, among other things, and that having these powers has been hard on their personal lives as well. Samantha had a four-year relationship that broke up and Michelle is going through a divorce with her husband of 40- plus years.

“It does exact a toll,” Michelle Harris says.

Samantha Harris will visit Horizon Books in Traverse City for a book signing to coincide with Halloween on October 25 at 3p.m. For more information and other events, go to www.michiganpra.com.

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