by Tony Harrington
At a recent Spirit Seekers meeting, one of the team members mentioned something to the effect of “The later in the night an investigation takes place the more active it will be based on the fact that the witching hour is at 3:00 a.m.”
This sort of gave me pause, mostly because I was concerned if this information is accurate and furthermore, if it is not accurate, why are so many people misinformed about this aspect of our supernatural world?
I can’t blame the confusion to be honest, most of what people know about the paranormal stems from watching shows such as Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. These shows toss out words and definitions with rapid-fire frequency, but occasionally they just get their facts wrong. Let’s face it, there is no fact checking that has to go into these programs, we just grin and accept that someone else will come along and set the record straight. Couple this misinformation with the conventions of Hollywood film making and you have a myth that is harder to kill than (insert favorite movie monster here).
Depending upon which “specialist” is giving the lecture the “Witching Hour” can either be:
1) The time at which warlocks, witches, Satanists, and Charlie Sheen practice the dark arts, perform rituals, and conduct sacrifices.
2) The accepted European folklore hour during which malevolent spirits are given free rein of the earth to conduct their evil deeds.
The exact hour of the “Witching Hour” is also up for debate. Some claim the time begins at the stroke of midnight while others hold that 3:00 AM begins the darkest hour. Others, like myself, simply believe this is a load of malarkey. There is no set time at which spirits become more active, they do not perform on queue and they do not hold to our earthly constraints such as time and distance.
Midnight is often used because it is the zero hour, the passage of one day into the next. Some believe that at this time there is a rip in the veil that separates our world from theirs. Yes, it is a fascinating concept but when you say it out loud it reeks of Hollywood. There is simply no scientific proof to substantiate the claims as there is no method by which to measure increase in paranormal activity with any consistency.
Those that claim that the “Witching Hour” is 3:00 AM use this number as the converse of 3:00 PM, the time of day Jesus Christ was said to have succumbed from his crucifixion. If Jesus is a symbol of all that is good and sacred then the opposite of of Jesus and everything connected to him indicates an alignment with evil. Using this theory, 3:00 AM is the time when evil can walk the earth and ghosts and goblins are no longer held back from making their presence known.
Three in the morning has been used in several horror movies from “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” to “The Amityville Horror” and several other films in between to draw the audience in and further push the “Witching Hour” agenda.
In theory it would be nice if there was some magic time at which ghosts would put on a spectacular show. In actuality, it simply isn’t so. I discussed this with a friend of mine who is a self-proclaimed witch. When I asked her about the “Witching Hour” she said with a laugh, “We can be wtichy anytime we want, we don’t have to wait for a certain time of day.”
During our investigation of the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium last year, 3:00 AM came and went without so much as a whimper while the earlier part of the night (prior to midnight) had investigators hearing music, footsteps and whispers. None of these personal experiences happened during either the midnight or three AM “Witching Hours”. Our horrifying experience in Smackover, AR transpired around 9:30 and 10:30 without a Witching Hour in site.
While we were at a private residence in Mayflower, AR, a television turned on by itself and guess what? That’s right, it was not on either side of the suspected “Witching Hour”.
Still, you will have television shows and so-called paranormal celebrities offering their theories on the subject and almost all of them will be pushing the “Witching Hour” agenda. What they won’t tell you is that it does not exist. Why does activity seem to increase during these times for those who swear by the hours? Because it is extremely quiet in a house at these hours and homeowners and investigators can hear more and experience more when their senses are heightened by the darkness and the deafening quiet that early morning brings to a household and surrounding town.
The greatest mystery of the “Witching Hour” is that it does not exist outside of the fabricated world of “Paranormal State”, “Ghost Adventures” and the like. Heck, even world-renowned paranormal specialists the Warrens couldn’t keep their stories straight as to which was the haunting hour so they compromised and claimed midnight as “The Witching Hour” and announced that 3:00 AM was “The Devil’s Hour”.
Thankfully, a majority of educated paranormal investigators know that this so-called hour is nothing more than a myth, and we can only do our best to continue educating others and hope that over time this little nugget of pseudo-fact is purged from existence.