A few weeks ago, Paranormal 2 actress Natasha Blasick made news for claiming to have had sex (two times, actually) with a ghost. Blasick first shared her story on This Morning, a popular British daytime talk show with a real verve for oddball guests and overwrought set design. Speaking remotely with hosts Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley, and accompanied by psychic Patti Negri, Blasick says, “I could feel the weight of a body on top of me, and I couldn’t see anybody, but ... I could feel the energy, I could feel the warmth ... and at first I was very confused with all that, but then I just decided to relax and, um, it was really, really pleasurable.”
As she speaks, a hashtag appears on the screen: #SexWithGhosts.
Understandably, Schofield has a lot of questions: “When it was over, I mean, did the ghost say ‘Thank you?’ Or, um, or did he just leave?” He just left, Blasick says, but he came back in about a month, and it was “about the same” as the first encounter. “So it was full-on ghostly sex?” Schofield presses. Blasick nods, somewhat hesitantly. “This is full-on, penetrative sex, by a ghost?” he asks again, getting, I think, hung up on the wrong details. Blasick says yes, that’s what it felt like.
The succubus and the incubus (the female demon and the male demon, respectively) who seduce humans to evil ends are religious concepts that date at least as far back as the 14th century. But in modern, secular terms, it’s not a concept that draws much attention.
Negri, whose psychic practice is based in Hollywood, adds that Blasick’s story is hardly as outlandish as it might sound. “I’ve come across this for years,” she says. “I have clients literally worldwide that have had this experience. It’s not that uncommon.”
This is news to me.
SPECTROPHILIA IS CLASSIFIED AS both a phenomenon and a fetish, depending on how the term is being used; in cases like Blasick’s, where an actual sexual encounter is experienced, it’s the former. When categorized as one of many possible paraphilia—extreme sexual arousal caused by atypical objects, situations, or persons—spectrophilia means simply (well, sort of) the sexual attraction to ghosts or spirits. (Confusingly, this term is also used to describe individuals who experience sexual arousal from images in mirrors.)
Despite Patti Negri’s assertion, neither the phenomenon nor the fetish is particularly well documented. The succubus and the incubus (the female demon and the male demon, respectively) who seduce humans to evil ends are religious concepts that date at least as far back as the 14th century (and in some cultures’ folklore, probably much earlier). But in modern, secular terms, it’s not a concept that draws much attention.
When spectrophilia does surface in pop culture, it’s pure camp: There’s a scene in Ghostbusters in which a female spirit performs fellatio (I ... guess?) on Dan Aykroyd’s character, Ray. Then there’s Kesha, who, years ago, gave a fewinterviews in which she claimed to have “made out” with a ghost. (She later wrote what one might consider an ode to spectrophilia in the form of a song titled “Supernatural.”) And the Travel Channel has run a Valentine’s Day special on the topic called “Ghostly Lovers,” complete with a few semi-soft-core re-enactments.
It’s true that if you go looking around the Internet, you can find a little bit of Tumblrinterest in the subject. (One extremely Tumblr-y post—a gif of a frustrated, screaming young woman—is titled, “Legitimately Cannot Find Anything About Queer Spectrophilia.” The information shortage is real!) That this is the most that Tumblr—known hotspot for the fetishistic and freaky—can offer left me feeling vaguely disheartened.
But then, through a series of clicks I could never hope to replicate, not that I should or would, I found a website called SummoningSuccubus.com.
Run by self-proclaimed Occult Master Erik Vonroth, who, according to his email address, is based in Israel, the site claims to offer members “secrets to attracting a succubus/incubus.” When I entered my name and email address and clicked “SIGN UP NOW!” I was sure I’d be asked for money, at which point I’d obviously give up. But after confirming my email address, I was immediately sent the first lesson of the promised seven. The subject line reads “Katie, Your First Succubus Summoning Lesson.” I regret using my work email address.
The email provides a link to a secure page on Vonroth’s site. Lesson #1 is titled “Are You Succubus Material?” This worries me, because I did not realize there was even the possibility of ghost rejection. Below a brief and vague introduction, the page contains a Google Form questionnaire. Here I am asked to give my name (again), my age, and my gender. I’m asked whether I’d prefer a succubus or incubus. Curiously, under the question “For what purpose do you wish to summon a sexual spirit?” there is an option for “long-term friendship.” This makes me very nearly too sad to continue reading.
But I do—there are a few more questions about sexual preference (“What are the characteristics that are important to me in my spiritual lover?” is one, and again, I do not get why “funny” is an option), one’s experience with the spiritual world, and a sort of spectrophilia ETA: Vonroth wants to know how long you think this will take (how would you begin to guess?) and how much time you can devote to summoning sexual spirits.
I cannot in good conscience fill out this questionnaire and allow a personalized result to be sent to me in two days. I already get so many weird emails. But I really want somebody else to go through Lessons #2-6, and I want them to let me know what happened.
ANOTHER GUEST ON NATASHA Blasick’s This Morning interview is Dr. Ciaran O’Keeffe, a psychologist and paranormal investigator. When he appears on screen, so does a graphic that reads, “Doesn’t believe in Spectrophilia.” O’Keeffe explains to the hosts that Blasick’s alleged encounters were almost certainly owed to sleep paralysis, a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep that causes a temporary inability to move. Sleep paralysis is also associated with visions (often terrifying ones) and the feeling of pressure on one’s chest; these factors, especially in unison with erotic dreams, could certainly account for experiences like Blasick’s.
Not that she agrees with that theory. “It was different,” she says. She’s sure of it. Schofield tells her he “hopes the specter shows back up and [she has] another lovely evening,” which I guess is nice of him.
As convincing (to you and I, anyway) an explanation as sleep paralysis might be, spectrophilia is, like so many supernatural concepts, inherently impossible to prove or disprove. By definition, there will only ever be one side of the story. Natasha Blasick experienced something that made her believe she had literally phenomenal sex with a ghost, twice, and no amount of sleep expert testimony is going to change that. Good for her.