By Stephanie DuBois and Stacy Jenel Smith
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." -- "Hamlet" by Shakespeare
"Ghost Whisperer" regular Jay Mohr might play the skeptical Professor Rick Payne on the series about a medium played by Jennifer Love Hewitt -- but he says he was made a believer on day one of the CBS show.
"The first day I was on the set, Love (Hewitt) was telling me, 'It's good to have you coming in as a guest star...' And as I went to respond, a light behind me exploded. I don't mean burned out. I mean like something out of 'Mission Impossible: 3" Shattering 40 feet away in tiny, tiny pieces."
Other times, Mohr adds, "You watch footage and you see someone standing behind Love who wasn't there when we shot the scene. It happens over and over again, but only with her."
Mohr says "Ghost Whisperer" creator/exec producer and renowned medium James Van Praagh has offered to give him a personal reading. "No, let me be honest, I begged him for a reading," says Mohr with a laugh. "But then when I realized what it entailed, I said, 'You know what? No.' Someone is going to communicate with the dead, with people who have crossed over. I don't know if I want that drawer in my bureau opened, you know? I've been getting along fine without it. I've been fortunate enough to live life in such a way as to have no regrets about unfinished business with anyone who has passed away. I am a believer, I just choose to turn it off."
Obviously turning off the other side, people who've crossed over, angels in our midst, our Divine Heavenly Homies or whatever you choose to call them is easier said than done, as the following celebrity encounters will attest.
Mandy Moore was recently bemoaning - no pun intended -- the fact that she was staying in a haunted house in upstate New York to record her upcoming album on "Late Show with David Letterman". The singer/actress told Letterman, "As soon as I arrived in my part of the house I walked around to every room saying, 'I'm just here for a couple of months and I'm here to do something real and creative, so please don't scare me, please leave me alone!'" Apparently, the haunter didn't get the hauntee's message because Moore reported she's been returning home late to find all the lights on, her laundry thrown on the floor and she's hearing footsteps at night.
Keanu Reeves has reported seeing ghosts at least a couple of times. The first time was when he was just five years old. "I was sitting on my bed, my sister was asleep and our nanny was there - and through the doorway came this white double-breasted suit. No body and no legs - just a suit, then it disappeared." Reeves says his second ghostly encounter occurred during lunch with a friend in Austin, TX, when he saw a ghost appear behind him. He recalls asking his friend, "'Did you see that?' And she said 'Yes.'"
Back in 2003 Matthew McConaughey reported a tenant was apparently already living in his new Hollywood home - a ghostly apparition he subsequently affectionately named Madame Blue. "The first night I'm hearing noises," said McConaughey. "I'm hearing bass sounds, wood moving and coyotes, but then I heard this sound like a dime dropping from ten feet off the ground onto a glass table. I popped out of bed and went, 'That's too much trouble, man, that's man-made, and that was not the house." He said after searching for the source of the ruckus - in his birthday suit, natch - he initially found nothing. "But I've seen her since. She has no problems with me. We get along just fine. She's a cool ghost. Maybe me being nude all the time is why we get along."
Minnie Driver, co-star of FX's new series "The Riches," ran into an otherworldly caballero while visiting Mexico a couple of years back. "There was a strange Mexican in a sombrero and a poncho at the end of my bed," recalled Driver. "I promise you, he was standing at the end of my bed when I woke up very early in the morning. He disappeared before my very eyes! Before I could even say, 'Hola!' and 'Buenos Dias,' he buggered off. And it was very frightening and weird."
Of course there are some celebrities that were just in the right place at the right time to be subjected to the confluence of paranormal energy that seems to arise on the sets of movies that have to do with all things Biblical including Jesus Christ, Revelations and the Devil.
"Jesus of Nazareth" director Franco Zeffirelli and producer Vincenzo Labella talked about the spectacular storm that came up when they started shooting the crucifixion in the 70s miniseries. But unexplained incidents have occurred on more than one production on the life of Jesus Christ.
"Passion of the Christ" star Jim Caviezel was struck by lightning during shooting of the film directed by Mel Gibson. "We were shooting the Sermon on the Mount," recalled Caviezel, speaking to Newsweek. "About four seconds before it happened it was quiet, and then it was like someone slapped my ears. I had seven or eight seconds of, like, a pink, fuzzy color, and people started screaming. They said I had fire on the left side of my head and light around my body."
Be that as it may, Caviezel said he was forever changed by the experience of playing Christ. "I love him more than I ever knew possible. I love him more than my wife, my family. There were times when I was up there [on the cross], and I could barely speak. Continual hypothermia is so excruciating. I connected to a place I could have never, ever gone."
Bill Pullman told us that during shooting of NBC's "Revelations" miniseries in Italy, Greece, Prague and Matera, there were strange phone incidents. "Cell phones can be tricky over there...people tend to think they're turned off, but they're not and there were some strange moments where people heard conversations they shouldn't have," he says. "After several such occurrences, "You think, 'Is this just coincidence, bad technology...or is this all kind of meant to mix things up a little bit?'" After shooting, Pullman said he "wished that maybe we'd had a little Papal water spread around before we started on 'Revelations' but we didn't have time."
Adding that he shot the horror film "The Grudge" in Japan, and in that country "you go to a temple to make sure you're protected when you deal in these sorts of subject matters."
Ellen Burstyn recalled a moment of pure terror during shooting of the now classic 70s horror film, "The Exorcist" to Guideposts Magazine recently. Every one was so spooked by strange accidents on the set and the death of a night watchman, "at one point director Billy Friedkin had every new set blessed by one of the real priests working on the film," said Burstyn.
The day she freaked out she'd been reading the paper. "There was an article on the devil, its appearance in religion, its usage in literature, the fear of it and its reemergence in the public's consciousness. As I finished the piece a lazy thought strolled across my mind: 'Wouldn't it be funny if it turns out that Satan created the world and is more powerful than God?' Suddenly a maniacal voice sounded loudly in my head, laughing wildly. It said, 'That's the crack in your mind I've been waiting to enter. Now I'm inside your head.' In a panic I leapt out of bed, my heart pounding, and stood barefoot in the middle of the room. I thought of the character in the movie, Father Karras, who jumps out of a window rather than let evil overcome him. This is how he must have felt. I had to take hold of myself, so I sat on the floor, closed my eyes and breathed deeply, flooding my mind with God's presence. I filled myself with prayer, with love. My heartbeat slowed down. The awful voice went away. I felt protected and safe, reassured again that good is more powerful than evil, but we must always be vigilant against the latter."
Solace lies for many celebs in the belief that angels are always vigilant on our behalf.
VH-1's "Celebrity Fit Club" host ANT has no doubt whatsoever his life was touched by an angel.
The comic says he struggled with a cornucopia of substance abuse -- alcohol, crystal meth, and heroin until what he calls his "spiritual awakening. I was sitting at home alone and it was a quiet evening, about 2 in the morning," he recalls. "I hadn't slept in like four days and for a split second I saw my life as it really was - alone, desperate, pathetic... I said, 'You know what God? If you really exist I could use some help right now.' I don't think I'd ever really bowed my head in submissiveness and subservience before that night, but I prayed with everything in my heart when I said those words."
He recalls falling asleep, then waking up "at 4:12 in the morning - and there she was floating. I thought 'I have died and Bea Arthur is God'...because she looked like Bea Arthur. I think He sent me something I would understand," quips the openly gay comedian. "But she didn't have a tangible body...I couldn't touch her. She was more like a mist."
ANT says his Golden Girl Angel told him, "'You're killing yourself. You have to stop this...you have a purpose in your life and you haven't achieved it. You're trying to go before your time.' Then she said there is something great out there running the show and it's not me. It was the most beautiful, scary and surreal experience I'd ever had."
There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy indeed.