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Richelle Hawks lives in Salt Lake City with her teenage son. Next year, she will be moving to a small town in upstate New York, where she has just purchased a house with her longtime partner, the paranormal writer Stephen Wagner. She has been practicing bodywork for nearly a decade, and maintains a large full time private practice. She also maintains an online bookstore, makes and sells art items, and homeschools her son. Richelle attended Washburn University, the University of Utah, and the Utah College of Massage Therapy. Her writings on the paranormal, UFOs, legends, the occult, and healing therapies can be found at . Her blog is found at She also contributes to the Women in Esoterica blog,, and has a weekly column at Binnall of America.

The Box at the End of the World: Homespun Efforts to Contact the Spirit World
by Richelle Hawks
(Copyright 2007, Richelle Hawks - All Rights Reserved)

11:50 December 11, 2007

The Box at the End of the World: Homespun Efforts to Contact the Spirit World

The desire and models for direct, two-way contact with the otherworld is likely as old as we human beings. Anciently, there are ancestor cults, mushroom cults and shamanistic societies and the like. More historically recently, there are various forms and manners of occultism, Spiritualism, and very recently, the pop-culture phenomenon of ghost hunting.

In another article, Gender, Heroes, and the Social Dynamics of Ghost Hunting, I pointed out the quite masculine, almost steroidal aura within this developing paradigm of neo-spiritualism that is ghost hunting. The terminologies, accoutrements, and overall effect are very militia-derived, and in general, I argue that the ghost hunt can be viewed as a postmodern, interactive version of the classic androcentric Hero Journey myth.

Within the ghost hunting, paranormal world, there is a quickly developing trend. Many individuals and groups are developing 'boxes'-that is, technological communication devices for spirit contact. This general idea of building devices for two-way spirit contact is certainly far from new. Many such techno devices have been constructed, using whatever array of machinery has been available, beginning in the middle of the 19th century with photography, then later with phonographs, electricity, radio, vacuum tubes, television, computers, etc.

Using combinations, manipulations, modulations, and variations of all these devices, sometimes even with the intervention of spirit helpers; there have been some famous spirit machines developed. Notably, there is Thomas Edison's never completed spirit device of the early 20th century, then Metascience Foundation's controversial Spiricom high strangeness in the 1980s.

And now, with what is perhaps the father of the modern spirit communication machine, there is "Frank's Box." The machine was developed by an apparently eccentric Frank Sumption, and used extensively by paranormalist Christopher Moon.

Said to be inspired by an article in a October 1995 issue of Popular Electronics Magazine, entitled Ghost Voices, with the coverblurb, "Are the dead trying to communicate with us through electronic means? Try these experiments ad see for yourself." Well, Frank did.

Although according to Christopher Moon's Haunted Times Magazine website, Sumption is no longer interested in affiliation with ghost groups. Despite his withdrawal, the legacy of Frank's Box is thriving.

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Recent Articles by Richelle Hawks:
Yabba Dabble Doo: How Aleister Crowley Introduced the Iconic Gray Alien
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