Featured Painting:
The Ghost-man Only Rings Twice

Thunderstorms and power outages go hand in hand when you live in rural Kentucky. My ghost story began with a purchase of an old fashioned battery powered landline telephone that was operational when the electricity went out.
Between 2003 and 2008, there were a number of occasions where I could swear I heard the phone ringing only to find a dial tone.  For example, stepping outside of my house to feed the horses, only to be drawn back inside hearing the phone ring.  My cordless phone lists all missed calls.  Each time, no one had called. The first few times I wrote it off and thought to myself it must have been something else.  But, if that were the case, what was it?
After a time the random sound of the phone ringing and other bizarre paranormal occurrences in my home couldn’t be written off.  It almost felt as if the Universe was mocking me somehow; finding humor in the fact that I was literally beginning to question my ears. My mind would start spinning, as if it was running in some vicious circle fueled by confusion and angst.   I know I heard it ringing!  Or did I?  If it’s not ringing, what is going on?  Is there something wrong with my hearing?
By 2009 a decision needed to be made how to handle the escalating ghostly activity at my farm. I contacted four unrelated paranormal investigation teams I found on the internet and asked them for help. My reason behind this was simple, no group could be influenced by another teams findings.  For the most part the investigators were college educated professionals from all walks of life who took a scientific approach to paranormal research. Some teams came in a van wearing matching tee shirts and hats with their logos on them. They all brought special cameras, electric meters, hi tech recording equipment, thermal imagers, and electronic equipment I couldn’t begin to explain. Each team took hours meticulously setting up equipment and charting results. Some investigations lasted all night while others extended entire weekends. I had no idea how painstaking and intricate paranormal investigations were or how dedicated to truth these people were committed. Their integrity impressed me. I was in awe of the process and grateful for their help.
I was amazed by some of the evidence the teams collected; the investigators actually managed to record several bone chilling Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs) while in the house. On one EVP the investigator asked “Are there any children here?” when he played back the tape you could hear an audible male voice answer, “You have to look.” It made me feel hopeful that more defined contact could be made. The teams captured some remarkable film footage as well, with orbs darting by me while I was sitting on my couch or bed. After all of the evidence was collected the team’s findings were that there is currently paranormal activity surrounding me. That all sounds very cool in theory but living with it is another story. For all my psychic connections and insights it was still a mystery how things worked on the other side.
Every once and a while there was another bizarre experience with the phone ringing only to find there were no calls.  Each time there were unanswered questions about the event.  Each time felt perplexing.  Sometimes a strange sense of dread and foreboding swept through me.  An eerie sensation would pierce the air, cutting through it like an ax swung wildly in all directions, a small thought in the very corner of my mind bubbled to the surface: you’re not alone.
One day in 2010, running out of batteries for my camera I took the batteries out of my antiquated phone and unplugged it from the jack. Without another thought, I set the phone down on the dresser in the guest bedroom and forgot about it.
Another few months passed.  My friend Shannon came to stay with me while I was recovering from an operation. In the middle of the night, I heard her cry out to me, “Lura, answer the phone!”  Picking up the cordless phone next to my bed in my sleep-induced haze, I quickly realized it was dead. In the background a phone was still ringing. My friend was sleepy, but I was wide-awake now with all my senses electrified. So far, Shannon didn’t have a clue that something supernatural might be taking place.
 I got up and rushed to the guest bedroom nearly trampling my friend in the process. Approaching the doorway it was hard to stifle my loud cry of exhilaration. Before me, was a soft, sparkly, white, mist hovering above the unplugged telephone almost caressing it! All I wanted to do was touch it, become a part of it like my decision had been made long ago to connect with this ghost. My excitement morphed into calmness as I moved forward and snatched up the phone. It felt like a soothing, cool, inviting, blanket wrapping around my head and shoulders when I picked up the receiver and placed it against my cool cheek.  The phone continued to ring two more times as I silently listened and waited.  Then a faint crackling noise filled my ear as the grip of the mist intensified.  The sound of the phone was my reality now, nothing else seemed to matter.  The entire scene before me moved in slow motion as if I had stepped into a parallel dimension. Seeing my friend standing in the hallway through the mist as she franticly flailed her arms made me feel sad for her.
Finally, the mist lessoned, receded and then completely disappeared, as the phone went silent. I gently put it down and tried to collect my thoughts, but no sooner had the phone been placed on the dresser then the television in the living room turned on and off without anyone touching it, making me jump.  Anyone physical that is, not anyone living.  Within minutes, my friend had gone from a comfortable sleep on the couch in the living room to witnessing a ghostly event. The shock on her face from the frenzy of paranormal activity made me wish she hadn’t been here to see it.
At this point I had to come clean and tell the truth about my haunted house and my paranormal past if I wanted to keep my friendship with Shannon. After a long conversation still she insisted we get rid of the phone. Together we scooped up the phone, wrapped it in a thick blue towel, and headed out my back door and safely stored the phone in a plastic orange container in the barn.  Later as we were sitting on the couch talking, the front door motion detector went off making us both jump. After that sleep was out of the question and to my disappointment Shannon left my house at dawn vowing to never return.
For a time, my life seemed to return to normal.  Several weeks later however, curiosity got the better of me and I brought the phone back into my house.  Making the decision to use an inexpensive camcorder to record the phone in question seemed the scientific approach. It was still unplugged on my dresser without batteries collecting dust. When I stepped out of the house for an hour to run errands or mow the lawn I placed the camcorder next to the phone.  Upon my return, the first thing I did was check to see if the camcorder had caught any evidence.  Much to my dismay, the recordings showed no evidence of anything unusual.  No mist- no ringing phone - Nothing. Not one to give up the quest to capture proof, the experiment continued on for several months.  Then, it happened!  I recorded the unplugged telephone ringing again.
In 2012 a producer for the paranormal reality television show, ‘My Ghost Story Caught on Camera’ contacted me. A show was created based on my story and titled, ‘The Ghost-man Always Rings Twice,’ and was episode 69 of season six.  My ghost story about my haunted phone was shared with the world when it aired in August of 2013.
Time passed and I sold the farm, leaving Kentucky and moving to Florida, taking the haunted phone with me.  Placing the phone in storage up in the attic in my new home seemed like the right idea.  In 2014, a year after the show aired, I went back to Kentucky and spoke with the man who bought my old farm. Asking him if there were any paranormal activity since he moved in took all my courage. I felt relieved when he told me nothing unusual had taken place and his wife and kids loved the farm.
 Later curiosity overtook me again leading to another investigation, like the last time, recording the disconnected phone while it sat on my dresser in my Florida bedroom without batteries.  Nothing happened. No phone ringing, nothing unusual. Strangely, it felt a bit disappointing – as if some sort of magical experience were fading now and a little bit of magic had slipped away forever.  Yet, at the same time, there was relief that nothing happened - that I had somehow worked my way back from the Twilight Zone I slipped into when living in Kentucky and normalcy had returned once more. Months passed.  Then, one day while showering the phone rang. Frustrated, dripping wet, rushing toward the sound of the ringing telephone, it wasn’t long before I found myself reliving the events in Kentucky.  My cordless phone hadn’t rung because the call list read no calls.  I felt like screaming because this time the camcorder was turned off!  For several weeks following the event the original experiment resumed.  Whenever I left the house or walked the dog, I left the camcorder was left running.  Finally, in April 2015 to my astonishment, the unplugged phone was filmed ringing once again.
The paranormal events in my Kentucky horse farm were intermittent, dispersed between eerie experiences and periods of normalcy. Why were the events happening to me again?  Why did there seem to be something following me from Kentucky to Florida?  Was somebody, someone, or something trying to communicate with me?  Is the activity really connected to the phone or is it connected to me?  At one point in my life I had a near death experience – did a door open up after that experience and make me more open to spirit communication?  So many questions with no the definitive answers.  One can only guess.
I’ve attempted to channel such experiences into a creative cross between diorama art and post-modern style art in ‘The Ghost-man Only Rings Twice.’
By J. Lura Ketchledge

In ‘The Ghost-man Only Rings Twice’ Lura combined realism diorama art with a post-modern influence for the central piece of her Near-Death Inspired Art collection. The soft-cool-blue background is meant to sooth the eye. At the same time, dark foreboding question marks surrounding the edges of the phone stand out like a warning beacon. The question this art piece provokes: is this phone a conduit to the other side? Being a three-dimensional piece makes a huge artistic statement and gives vista, length, depth, texture, and touch while evoking truism to the piece. By encasing the haunted telephone receiver open, it begs to disarm the paranormal activity surrounding the antiquated phone. The unplugged phone presents like a hostage behind glass, separate, disjointed, without batteries, tricking you into thinking it is benign. The reality television show, ‘My Ghost Story Caught on Camera’ created a show based on this haunted phone entitled, ‘The Ghost-man Always Rings Twice,’ and was episode 69 of season six that aired in August of 2013. Is this artwork something to fear or to covet? What would happen if you bought it and took it home?

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My First Out-Of-Body Experience

I remember my first kiss, the first time I rode a bike without training wheels, and my first out of body-experience. The pivotal event that was to change my perception about death happened on
a markedly hot August day, in 1972, five days before my 13th birthday. That afternoon, I tagged along with two friends to a stable I had never been to before. I was put on a big horse, tied to the hitching post. No one asked me if I could ride or not.

As soon as the stable hand untied the horse, it bolted. The horse went wild; the stable hand caught the reins and stopped it. I was scared and begged to get off. The stable hand abruptly let go of the reins. My horse took off, with lightening speed down the driveway, heading for the highway with me still on its back. The world around me was a blur of motion, while I desperately held onto the horn of the saddle, time itself seemed to compartmentalize. I was still terrified, obviously, since I was on a runaway horse. The biggest surprise was that I didn't fall off.
As I pulled back on the reins, trying to stop the horse, I instinctively felt the horses’ panic, like picking up a radio signal. We darted onto the road together, one doomed soul, into the traffic, full-speed, with no hesitation. The slick, oily surface on the freshly paved road connected with the horse’s hooves, like black ice.
Two strides later, and we were airborne. I remember it felt like the air was sucked out of my chest, in one mighty blow. Suddenly, I was behind my body, looking at my back, hovering a few feet off the ground. I saw myself sitting on the horse. It felt natural, this separation out of my body, being a spectator. I can tell you every detail; seeing the waves in my long brown hair; the pattern of my green, print tank-top; and the dried out needles on nearby pine trees.
Next, I was slingshot back into my body, as my left knee was crushed. Sliding across the road, I was pinned between the pavement and the horse, as my ankle fractured, and skin ripped off my leg. At the last possible moment, I put my arms in front of my face. My elbows and forearms scraped across the pavement, and I desperately wished that I was still separated from the physicality of the accident.
After we stopped sliding, the horse pushed against my body to right itself, pressing me into the pavement, even more. I did not cry or question what had happened. Immune from panic, I was calm and in survival mode, at this point, unable to shed a tear. I got up and with one good leg, hobbled out of the road, to avoid getting hit by a car. I glanced down at the gruesome sight of my crushed leg, with little emotion, except a distant sense of regret.
When no one came to my aid, I slowly hopped back to the barn.  As I waited for my parents to take me to the hospital, I knew something more than breaking my leg had happened. My first out-of-body experience had altered me, and in many ways, I was no longer a child. I tried to recreate the surreal moment of separation in my paranormal painting, ‘My First Out-of Body Experience.’
By  J. Lura Ketchledge

Lura Ketchledge’s near-death experience inspired art collection takes you on her paranormal journey starting with, ‘My First out- of- body Experience’ when she was 12 years old. Lura made the choice to paint in ‘naive art’ technique with bright dreamlike colors because it took her back to a child’s point of view. The snapshot of little Lura on horseback without color added realism with conflict to the bitter memory of the accident that nearly killed her
The Departure

Horses have been my life. They have also been my death. Back in 1979, when I was 19 years old, I went out for a horseback ride in the country. Cantering down the field, my horse stumbled, and I was off the saddle in an instant and airborne. I didn’t feel the impact, because I never hit the ground! I was abruptly hurled into a black velvet tunnel, at a high rate of speed.
Me, the real me, detached from my body, as I was flung out of the saddle into a pitch-black dimension. One minute I was riding a horse, the next it felt like I had left the planet! My departure and death was so unexpected I couldn’t comprehend my life was over when I had just begun to live.
The depth of the tunnel seemed bottomless; the place I went to was limitless. I then had a powerful review of my life, too complex to write about. What I did not have was a religious epiphany, in my near death experience: absent was heaven or hell, or any biblical references at all. Death, for me, seemed factual with an order of logical progression and profound spirituality.
Also, what kept resonating throughout this experience was the concept of love, and how vital it is to be good to others. Not false kindness, but having sincere compassion for people and animals, that is what holds the most value in life.
I learned all human beings are shrouded in ignorance, by design, in order to learn hard lessons through each life we live. When you die, the superficial facade falls away, and we awaken from the dream into the truth.
Did this make me a better person, probably not, just more informed. I am not a vegan, new-age, kind of gal, who gives readings, or who chants and believes the universe is sending her a message. Plain and simple, I am just an author who candidly talks about her near-death-experience. In ‘The Departure’, another of my paranormal paintings, I tried to express my departure from the physical world at the moment of my death. 
By  J. Lura Ketchledge

In ‘The Departure’ Lura choose a simple, classic, dramatic, expression of a dark passageway with the bright white light at the end of the tunnel. The riderless horse in black and white added echoes of the grim reaper, and expressed the contrast between life and death. The thick brush strokes of coal black texture represent the current she was swept into her near-death-experience. What you don’t see is Lura in the painting. The reason she took herself out of the painting illustrates her first person view of the departure from physical reality. The swirls of thick white light at the end of the tunnel represent the never ending circle at the final destination we all must take when we die.
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