Who you gonna call? The Devil's Toy Box

I was a bit surprised to learn that there is a lot to learn about mirrors in the paranormal realm, going back to the ancient Greeks.

Mirrors and any reflective surface, such as water, have been used for magic spells and for resisting evil. They are also a source of much superstition; one belief being that looking into a mirror can steal your soul. Another being that it is a precursor of death.

Divination with mirrors is called Crystalomancy, Catoptromancy and Scrying. In the Greek myth Narcissus looked upon his reflection in the water and died. The ancient Greeks also believed that dreaming of seeing one’s reflection was an omen of death. A worldwide folklore custom is the removal of mirrors from sick rooms, in case the mirror draw out the soul.

In researching this history I found that there was something called a psychomanteum, which is a mirrored room set up to communicate with the spirits. People would get inside this room to communicate with entities.  The room is set up to optimize psychological effects such as trance and seeing visions or apparitions. It's key features are low light or near-darkness, flickering light, and a mirror. The dimness represents a form of visual sensory deprivation, like the Gansfield effect, a condition helpful to inducing trance. This box or mirrored room was sometimes called an apparition booth. This seems to be a kind of precursor to the Devil's Toy Box. The Devil's Toy Box seems to be something that was derived from the idea of an infinity mirror. 

An infinity mirror is a set of mirrors facing each other so that one mirror reflects an image back onto the facing mirror, creating a series of smaller and smaller reflections that recede into an infinite distance. This effect can also be seen in an old fashioned fun house of mirrors at an amusement park.

In a classic infinity mirror, lights are placed at the edge of a mirror, and a second mirror is placed above it. When a subject looks into the mirror, the lights appear to recede into infinity, creating the appearance of a tunnel of lights of great depth.

The reason why the reflections recede into the distance is that the light actually is traveling the distance it appears to be traveling. To explain, I found this fascinating description in Wikipedia.  I don't usually get this technical, but I just can't help myself. Sometimes only mathematics can do the trick in explaining something.

"In a two-inch thick infinity mirror, with the light source itself one inch from the front two-way mirror, light from the source only travels that one inch. The first reflection travels one inch to the rear mirror and then 2 inches to, and through the front mirror, a total of 3 inches. The second reflection travels two inches from front mirror to back mirror, and again two inches from the back mirror to, and through the front mirror, totaling 4 inches, plus the first reflection (3 inches) making the second reflection 7 inches away from the front mirror. Each successive reflection adds 4 more inches to the total; 3rd reflection = 11 inches, 4th = 15 inches, and so on.The multiply-reflected light follows a folded path which is much deeper than the arrangement of mirrors."

Is that cool, or what?

I have had trouble tracking down the exact explanation regarding who invented what is now known as the Devil's Toy Box, but it seems to be Mr. Joshua P. Warren. At least he named it and made it popular.

Joshua P. Warren is a well known paranormal investigator, author and speaker.  He has written thirteen books, including the regional best-seller, Haunted Asheville, and How to Hunt Ghosts. Mr. Warren first discussed the Devil's Toy Box on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. "You simply let it sit and let it do it’s work."  Supposedly if you were to let this sit for awhile the six mirrors, according to Mr. Warren, cause an energy loop. Over time you may hear strange noises coming from the cube. Growling and scratching noises have been reported.

The Devil's Toy Box is a six sided box with mirrors facing each other and locked together inside a box. Lights and a microphone are placed inside the box, then sealed up. The theory behind this modern day infinity box or psychomanteum, is that light is waves. These waves can be manipulated. A laser, for example, is a very high-energy light wave with a frequency manipulated to take a beam of light and super concentrate it. In the Devil's Toy Box, it is taking light and refracting it back on itself. Instead of speeding light up, its slowing it down on an infinite loop. Like the infinity mirror, light is bouncing in six directions, in an endless loop, simultaneously. It is believed that the six mirrors together  is like adding a signal booster to the reception on a different wavelength.

Some sources have claimed that this box can be used to trap a spirit. As stated above, Mr. Warren caught noises on his recorder inside the box when there was absolutely no noise source, growling and voices. The mirrors attract spirits and like the experience of being put into a trance-like state, the spirits seem to experience the same thing and become mesmerized or stuck inside the infinity mirror light loop.

Trap? This sounds familiar....."Who you gonna call?"
Have you seen Ghost Busters? Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray hunt down and trap ghosts inside a box. In the movie they actually base their "trap" on quantum physics. The "Ecto-containment unit" utilizes a high-voltage grid of lasers to do its job. (Paraphrased from my own blog on the show Ghost Asylum.)

So it seems to me that the idea for this box has evolved and been influenced by ancient beliefs in the occult, folklore, the movie Ghost Busters, and a little bit of quantum mechanics theory, with a dash of good marketing thrown in. Does it work? Like anything gadget-y in the paranormal realm, maybe, maybe not. Let's try it and see. Let's give it some time. But trap a ghost? No. I have a very hard time believing that anything or anyone is able to trap something corporeal, spiritual, invisible, from the other dimension, the afterlife, whatever.

Who ARE you gonna call?

(Much credit has to be given to the movie Ghost Busters for all of this. On an episode of Ghost Asylum, one of the investigators is caught on tape quoting from the scene in Ghost Busters when they trap two ghosts at the court house. 

"Two in the box, ready to go. We be fast, you be slow."  

Mr. Ackroyd, Mr. Ramis, even you Bill Murray, you inspired us all as ghost hunters. You were the first commercially successful ghost hunters among us. I bow to you.)

"Two in the box, ready to go. We be fast, you be slow."
Peter Paul Reubens, Venus Before a Mirror


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