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The Annunciation by Botticelli, circa 1490, shows the artist's conception of the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary.

We are all supernatural travelers, souls who have come from the spirit realm to sojourn on this earth.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy - from Hamlet by William Shakespeare, 1564-1616.

The Lord will command his angels to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

After a lifetime of many supernatural and paranormal incidents, I'm convinced that God, the angels, and spirits continuously try to guide and protect individual persons and all humanity. I believe they attempt to come to our aid through direct messages to our conscious minds, through our dreams, through "third parties" such as the holy books and the advice of persons wiser than ourselves, and through direct physical action. I believe anyone who cares to listen will receive these messages; we all have this psychic ability. God has chosen to make us partners in creation and healing; we are all interconnected with each other and with the God force and are capable of doing great good. Nevertheless, since we are all connected, those who choose to commit destructive acts affect all of us; this frequently causes harm to the innocent, at times directly and at times indirectly. There may be harmful spirits also, but I've never encountered one. I've been careful about avoiding negative powers that might be in the spirit world, and I'd advise anyone to do the same. I've never had anything but positive experiences with the spirit realm.

You find what you seek.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Goodbye/Hello with Love

I believe that the spirits of the newly departed want to say one last goodbye – and often quite a bit more - to their loved ones, and they do their best to get us to hear it. Some don't say goodbye but get another message through instead. These are the spirits who like to hang around for awhile to keep an eye on us after their entrance into the spirit world. My nearly 92-year-old mother died on September 30, 2011, and she is the latter type.

As I write this, I feel that she has entered the room and is happy to see me writing about her. I feel her laughter.

The last few years of her life were extremely difficult. She could do nothing for herself and was in a nursing home. She couldn't speak or communicate much in any other way, but she seemed to understand most things said to her almost to the end. She smiled a lot and expressed her feelings with her eyes.

The last week of her life she was unconscious, but she had many visitors anyway. On the day before she died, her room was filled with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends. People were coming and going and chatting all day long. Time and time again loved ones hugged her and said, “I love you.”

I was there from mid-morning to about 11:30 that night then decided I had to go home and get some sleep so I would be able to stay with her the following day. Her half-sister and one of my sisters spent the night with her.

On Friday, September 30, I woke up around six and walked into the
bathroom to brush my teeth. Still drowsy, I stood at the sink a few minutes. As I stood there motionless, I suddenly felt an intense energy come through the wall behind me like a fresh breeze, and I instantly knew it was my mother. I immediately was certain that I wasn't going to make it to the nursing home on time, for she already had died.

Next, she did something that I had never experienced before. I felt the “breeze” come straight to me and enter my feet then swoosh upward through me very quickly. It was like feeling a soothing breeze all around my body but also all through it, too. As it passed over my vocal cords, it blew my mouth open and formed the words, “I love you.” I didn't say those words myself. They were spoken by the energy that was the spirit of my mother passing through and over me. I'm certain of that.

She hadn't been able to say those words the day before, but now she was free and strong; and she said what she wanted to say to everyone.

I forgot about brushing my teeth, and headed for the phone to call my sister at the nursing home. Before I could reach it, the phone rang. Surely enough, it was my sister phoning to tell me my mother had just died.

That wasn't the last I heard from my mother. I'll tell you about her other visits soon.
May you and your loved ones have peace and share many happy moments filled with love.

The Supernatural Traveler

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Haunted House on Laurel Street, New Orleans

New Orleans is known as an exotic, mysterious, spooky city, and for good reason. It has more than its share of ghosts, some of them that rare breed of flamboyant look-at-me ghosts that are sure to get attention. You might think the stories of these ghosts are merely fantastical, but I can assure you at least some of them are the real thing.

Why ghosts are so outgoing here is unknown, but they are. They seem to like to show what they can do. Well, this is after all a partying city, so it seems natural that our ghosts would hold onto their party spirit and try to have some fun. Unfortunately, they frequently have their fun at our expense, scaring the red beans and alligator boudin out of us.

A few of these New Orleans ghosts have been written about so much that they are rather famous, but I’d like to introduce you to a ghost that you probably have not yet heard about. She scared me clear out of a claw-legged bathtub way back in the summertime of 1960 when I was 14 years old.

It happened in my Uncle Pat’s house on Laurel Street not many blocks up from Jackson Avenue. The house was a beautiful two-story duplex with a façade reminiscent of New Orleans Greek revival architecture. It was rather elegant, I thought, but nonetheless creepy in its corners and crevices. Something a bit unsavory seemed to be lurking behind the renovated 14-foot high walls.

Still, my sister Sylvia and I, being the small-town girls that we were, found visiting there to be the height of our summer vacation. Uncle Pat and his wife Margaret took us to all kinds of fun places like Pontchartrain Beach, Audubon Zoo, movies at the Saenger Theatre, City Park and the art museum, and, of course, that homemade ice cream place in somebody’s yard uptown. As it turned out, Uncle Pat’s own house was one of the most interesting places we could go: It was haunted.

The house was in a neighborhood of large old homes built mostly in the late 1800s, some in the early 1900s. On Uncle Pat’s block of Laurel Street, few houses had any space around them. Most were very close together with mere walkways between them.

Uncle Pat’s house had a driveway on one side that went all the way to the back yard, a yard which neighbors considered to be large but which I considered to be very cozy. On the side of the house opposite the driveway and behind a half-oval shaped room that jutted out from that side of the home was a brick courtyard, charming and inviting like other New Orleans courtyards. Uncle Pat and Margaret had laid the brick and created this little oasis.

At the very back of his “big” lawn, Uncle Pat had a shed that extended almost all the way across the yard. Its dark and dank interior gave me goose bumps, so I never once ventured into it. I could see it was filled with ancient looking oddly-shaped sharp-edged tools for which I couldn’t imagine a benign purpose.I was told that most of these tools had been in the shed when Uncle Pat and Margaret and her family moved into the house, and they didn’t know the intended use of the tools either. They looked like antiques from a much darker era, and I felt they were somehow connected to the Mississippi River docks that were only a few blocks away. My mind dove into the nether regions when I tried to imagine what the tools had been used for in the old days.

The yard around the shed was bright and cheery, thanks to Uncle Pat and Margaret and their love for working, gardening, and staying busy. Giant hibiscus and other bright flowers bloomed there throughout the summer.

Margaret’s side of the house was as bright as her flower garden. Tall windows, almost floor to ceiling, let the sunlight pour in, and the magnificent old wood floors glistened. Margaret herself was a bright spirit, a rather overly endowed woman on toothpick legs who sang opera as she cooked delicious New Orleans meals. She seemed a good match for Uncle Pat, whose eyes always sparkled and who loved to tell jokes.

Margaret’s entire family were good natured. Their eyes twinkled, and they always smiled as if they had startlingly good news to tell. At the same time, they seemed to be keeping silent about something ominous, protecting me and Sylvia from things unseen. Margaret’s parents, her sister Lillian, and her brother Henry lived in the other side of the house, but her younger brother and his family lived in a different part of the city. He, too, was good natured but more ordinary than the rest of the family. That’s right: Margaret and her family were a little strange.

Margaret belonged to a group of spiritualists and frequented their meetings and séances, and the rest of her family apparently were believers. Uncle Pat had never believed in that kind of stuff. He was a practical down-to-earth retired army captain who didn’t take to supernatural nonsense - not until Margaret had dragged him to one of the spiritualist meetings. Afterward, he didn’t mind telling people what he had seen with his own eyes and had heard with his own ears: messages from beyond coming through the mediums and a shape-changing medium who took on the appearance of different spirits.

I remember how intense Uncle Pat became when he told about the shape changer. I myself, even at the age of 14, found that hard to believe, but I could see that Uncle Pat had become a true believer. That séance had to be convincing to make him desert his skepticism so quickly. It was scary to hear him tell about it.

The stories weren’t the only scary things at the house on Laurel Street. The other side of the duplex was dark and foreboding. Neither Margaret’s mother nor her sister had her talent for interior decorating or her housekeeping stamina. Their side of the house was dusty and disorderly and heavy with the smells of strange concoctions cooked and eaten in the not too recent past.

The siblings, Lillian and Henry, though adults who were employed full-time at ordinary city jobs, reminded me of genies from a faraway land, and I half expected them to be swallowed up by some small exotic vase at any moment. The parents, on the other hand, old and bent and slow and shrunken, appeared to be more like gnomes and full of secrets that even their children didn’t know.Though I liked all of them for their cheery friendliness, I couldn’t shake my wariness when I was around this odd family.

But what I was most wary of were the parts of the house that I had never seen and didn’t have the courage to want to see. The stairs on Uncle Pat’s side led up to only two bedrooms and a large walk-through closet. That left the remainder of the sizeable second floor opening only to the other side of the duplex, and I never saw any of those rooms.

Sylvia and I slept in Uncle Pat and Margaret’s two upstairs bedrooms. Their bedroom was the half-oval shaped room downstairs and was nowhere near the stairs. That left me feeling a little too far separated from my best protection at night. Sylvia, always a brave and bold spirit, laughed at my fear. She did, however, by right of age take the least scary room for herself. I had to sleep in the bedroom with the huge closet full of dreary looking boxes and draped objects of unknown identity. This deep closet also opened into the other side of the house. Knocks, bumps, and a variety of weird and frightening sounds came from the closet at night, so I always wound up in Sylvia’s room long before daylight.

Margaret, Lillian, and Henry laughed at my fear and started a running joke about the ghost of their Uncle Willie, who supposedly had lived in the house at one time. I think Henry even went into the closet one night and added to the sounds that I already had heard. I told everyone that I knew Henry had gone into the closet to scare me. They all laughed, Sylvia too, and said the knocking wasn’t Henry but Uncle Willie.

One night Sylvia stopped laughing when the knocks and bumps followed me into her room. We both were scared out of our wits and shouted at the noises, “Go away! Go Away!”

When I told everyone about it the next day, they were silent and looked at each other with dread. Sylvia, obviously feeling their tenseness, denied that the bumps had gone into her room. I was surprised to see that the others still seemed to believe me.

The following night Sylvia, Uncle Pat, Margaret, and I watched the Democratic Convention on television. Then we sat on the porch, and I listened to the adults talk about Kennedy and Johnson and their ideas of why Johnson should have got the nomination for President. When we came back inside, we played Monopoly for awhile. Then everyone was ready for sleep except me. I had not yet taken a bath, and Margaret would not let me go to bed without one.

Things had quietened down, and I remembered the bumps of the night before and didn’t want to go all the way back to the bathroom at night when no one else was in the back part of the house. (The house had been built long before the luxury of indoor plumbing in that section of the city, so the bathroom had been added onto the back of the house years later.)

“There’s nothing back there that can harm you,” Margaret assured me. “Get your pajamas and go take your bath now.”

I followed Sylvia upstairs, got my pajamas, and came back downstairs where everything already was dark. My knees shook, so I started singing to give myself courage. I recently had heard someone sing “Bill Bailey” on television, so that’s what I sang as I made my way through the kitchen and into the bath.

I kept singing as loud as I could as I turned on the water, undressed, and climbed into the big old claw-legged tub. I was trying to scare away anything and everything from the beyond and keep all living souls awake in case I needed a quick rescue.

I shook with fear as I tried to bathe, and I kept looking around to check out all corners of the room. Then what I feared most happened: bumps and knocks and other weird sounds. They weren’t loud, but they were in the very next room, the kitchen. It sounded like someone was putting groceries onto the shelves of the pantry, as if they had just come in from shopping.

Then there was what sounded like the rustling of a long stiff skirt and petticoats against the floor. And there was the strong feeling of a presence in the kitchen, a presence who was not any silly made-up ghost and certainly not Henry or any other living soul. I sang “Bill Bailey” even more loudly and stared at the closed door. Then I heard the rustling of the skirt approach the door, and my voice shook.

The rustling reached the door then stopped, and my voice cracked into silence. My eyes were glued to the door, and my whole body shook with fear as I sat in the bathtub. A strange haze started coming through the door, a haze from the floor up to about five and a half feet. It entered the bathroom and stayed next to the door, and, even as afraid as I was, I couldn’t look away from it. Within several seconds it began to take form before my eyes, and I could see it was the spirit of a young woman who was dressed in the apparel of the late 1800s. I let out a loud gasp, and the apparition disappeared immediately.

I hurled myself out of that tub like a catapult, hit myself with a towel a few times, and yanked my pajamas onto my dripping wet body. My voice came back, and I was belting out “Bill Bailey” again as I bolted through the dark kitchen and into the next room then up the stairs. I bounded into Sylvia’s room and slid to a stop.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, and I had the gall to say, “Nothing.”

I was angry over the ridicule I had received about my fear when all along there was at least one very real ghost in the house, and I suspected Uncle Pat and Margaret knew about the real ghost. I decided to keep my mouth shut about the entire experience.

Little good did my silence do. For the rest of their lives, Uncle Pat and Margaret kidded me about singing “Bill Bailey” and bounding up the stairs in only three steps to get away from the ghost of “Uncle Willie.”

There was a ghost all right, but not any Uncle Willie. She was a lovely young woman who looked as perplexed and frightened at seeing me as I was at seeing her. I think she must have died unexpectedly at a young age and still was confused and reluctant to leave her home. Hopefully, she has made her adjustments to the next life by now.

Recently Sylvia and I rode by the house when we were in New Orleans for the day. It and most of the houses on the block had survived Hurricane Katrina, and that section of Laurel Street had been beautifully renovated. It looked better than it ever had, and the house where Uncle Pat and Margaret had lived was still the most impressive. It had been painted a bright cheery color, and comfy looking lawn furniture sat on the front porch. The pretty wrought iron fence was still there, and the yard still flourished with shrubs. The crepe myrtle that Uncle Pat had planted, now at least 55 years old, still stood in front of the house.

That day I wondered if the young woman in rustling petticoats still came home from shopping to put her groceries in the kitchen pantry. I felt certain that she was an innocent spirit but not the only spirit in the house. I wondered about the unidentified tools that had been in Uncle Pat's shed and about the unsavory spirits I sensed near the walls and heard in the closet. Are they still there? Do they pose a threat to anyone? Is the house still haunted as it was in the summer of 1960?
May you have joyful travel and leisure and understanding of your connection to the spirit realm.

The Supernatural Traveler

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Jolly Ghosts of Funerals Past

The best place to meet a ghost is at a funeral. It might sound funny, but it’s true. I’ve found that the deceased is always present at the funeral and almost always is in good spirits. No pun intended. Also, the deceased is always accompanied by an older and wiser spirit or by an angel. I don’t know why some of the newly departed get a spirit guide and some get an angel, but that seems to be the way things are. Maybe it depends on the heavenly personnel available.

I’ve found that angels can’t be mistaken for mere human spirits because of the overpowering peace and love which emanate from them and because of their intensely bright light. They appear to be beings who are composed only of light. I believe, because of their brightness, it’s impossible for us to see them clearly while we are still physical beings.

The spirits of the departed, aka ghosts, however, can be seen as clearly as we in the physical world can be seen. Probably the most clearly focused spirit I’ve ever seen was my father at his own funeral. He has been quite active in these regions since his death, and it apparently started at his funeral or sooner. It seems that he never laid back and took a rest.

When I first saw him, I was sitting in a family room that looked out over the larger chapel of the old funeral parlor in the small southern town where he had spent most of his life. He was laid out in his open coffin in the chapel, as was the custom. My mother, quite bereaved but still able to hold down her end of a conversation, was standing about four feet in front of me and talking with a family friend. The family room and chapel and entire funeral facility were crowded with chattering people. It was the wake the night before the funeral, and I was just sitting there watching it all; I didn’t feel like talking or socializing.

Except for my mother’s deep sorrow, the mood was light and almost festive, and that was an appropriate celebration of my father’s life. After all, he had lived a long, productive, and good life, and everyone who knew him liked him. He died very suddenly at the age of 85 after working in his yard for several hours, so he spent his last day on this earth engaged in one of his favorite activities. There had been times of suffering in his life, but he was granted a quick death without a period of lingering illness. The pastor who later spoke at his funeral said it was the first funeral service he had ever attended at which no one said anything negative about the deceased. We were not surprised about that.

Anyway, the night of the wake as I sat there watching the people mingle, I looked across to the other side of the chapel where the front double doors opened into the foyer. That entrance way, too, was crowded with people. As I looked at the open doors and the people there, I suddenly saw the spirit of my father and another spirit make their way through the crowd and enter the chapel. The other spirit seemed to be guiding or escorting him, almost like a tour guide. I immediately forgot that they were indeed spirits and watched them walk through the chapel toward my mother. My father came over and stood at her left side, wrapped his arm around her back, and put his hand on her right shoulder. He stood there like that, with the guiding spirit at his other side, for quite some time.

As I said, I forgot that he was a spirit. The wake now seemed like one of our old family gatherings. People walked about, talked, and laughed, and my father seemed to be enjoying it all immensely.

After awhile he turned around and looked at me and said with a big smile, “Isn’t this something, Glory Girl?”

As soon as he said that, I remembered this was his wake and he was a spirit. As I realized that, he and the other spirit disappeared before my eyes. That was a sad moment, for I didn’t want to see him go. At the same time, it was a happy moment for me, knowing that he was well and happy too. Years later he appeared to me again at a time when I needed immediate help, and he also later appeared to one of my sisters. I’ve seen him vaguely many times as he noses around. I think he does a lot of traveling and checking up on things as part of his work in the hereafter.

I think the lives of spirits are in some ways similar to our lives here in the physical world. They seem to have responsibilities to take care of, and most of them are extremely conscientious about those responsibilities. They are persons like us; in fact they are us, continuing life’s journey with greatly expanded wisdom, freedom, and power. It is unfortunate that many people in this world see them almost as some kind of fearsome freakish side show totally separated from ourselves. Spirits, aka ghosts, are our own kind. I’m convinced that if you meet up with harmful beings from beyond, you’re facing something else entirely, not mere ghosts of the dearly departed.

I’ve seen many downright jolly ghosts at funerals. My Grandma Winnie McCune, of course, had a great time at her wake and funeral. She had with her not only her spirit guide, who did indeed seem to be Buffalo Bill Cody, but also Grandpa Mac and an entourage of friends who were in a party spirit. It was great. As I sat there and watched it, I only wished that everyone could see it as I did. It was a wonderful sight and a wonderful feeling.

My Aunt Peg, who had been a vaudeville dancer in her younger days, also came to her funeral with an entourage of partying friends and relatives. They were full of laughter and fun, as Aunt Peg had been throughout her life, even though she had experienced much sorrow and adversity. What a great beginning to a new life she had that day. As I recall it now, I again can feel the tremendous joy that
Aunt Peg and her friends had that day. It was a fine reunion for them.
May you experience great joy and friendship in this life and know the joy that is to come.

The Supernatural Traveler

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Spirit with a Happy Message

The spirit of my own father has come to my aid, as I told in a previous post. He also brought a message to one of my sisters. She said she was at home alone one day and was in the large walk-in closet in her bedroom. She heard the front door of the house open and then heard footsteps coming down the hallway toward the bedroom. At first she thought her husband had returned, but then she began to feel that these were the steps of our departed father. The footsteps came into the bedroom and approached the closet, and, as my sister said, she felt goose bumps on her arms. The footsteps stopped just outside the closet door, so she turned and looked toward it. She saw a hand - with only the middle three fingers extended and the little finger and thumb held under - reach around the door frame. Then she knew for certain that it was our father, and he was telling her that her pregnant daughter Sharon was not going to have twins, as her doctor had said, but triplets.

My sister immediately walked to the door of the closet and looked into the bedroom then rushed to the bedroom door and looked down the hallway but saw no one. She still was alone in the house, and she was convinced that the spirit of my father had happily brought her a message. It was one she needed so she could prepare herself for the three new grandbabies that were on their way. Not long afterward, an ultrasound revealed triplets, not good news for the mother, but she got used to it. The triplets recently celebrated their eighteenth birthday at a casino on the Mississippi coast, and two of them just graduated from high school, one with a full scholarship to college. The other one will graduate next year.
May you grow in wisdom as you grow in years. May you be free of fear and be filled with courage, compassion, love, peace, joy, generosity, excellent health, and an abundance of all good things. May you have satisfying and well paying employment, if you need it, and a good home for yourself and your family. May you be surrounded by angels and blessed by God.

The Supernatural Traveler

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Last Seance

I’ve never cared to see tables or any inanimate object move of its own free will. That’s just too spooky for me. So, after the flying table at my grandma’s séance, I wasn’t interested in any more seances.

Nevertheless, when I was about fourteen years old, I got a “special request” for a séance.

My mother and one of my sisters had gone to visit relatives in Savannah, Georgia, and while there they had attended a séance in the home of one of my cousins. It turned out that this particular cousin had a friend who was a medium, and she, my cousin, was eager for my mother and sister to see what this medium could do.

They came home and told me about the séance, and it sounded like the same kind of thing that my grandma had done. The medium had called on the spirits and they knocked, bumped, and clanked to answer questions. The spirit of my Grandpa Mac appeared on the scene again, introducing himself to the medium. My mother and sister insisted they hadn’t mentioned his name to the medium, and my cousin said she hadn’t mentioned any names to her either.

Using automatic writing to get the message, the medium announced that Mac wanted to talk to someone named Gloria. Well, that apparently floored my mother, my sister, and my cousin, since none of them had mentioned the name “Gloria” either. The medium advised my mother and sister to have me use automatic writing to “contact Mac.”

My Grandma had told me about automatic writing, but I had never tried it, and I wasn’t exactly eager to try it. Yet, my sister talked me into it. One Sunday afternoon we sat in my bedroom, I with some paper and a pencil on a table. My sister told me to hold the pencil as lightly as I could, so I did. I barely kept it upright as she started asking questions.

Nothing for awhile. Then the pencil slowly started drawing circles. I remembered my grandma saying the circles showed a happy spirit. Well, we certainly didn’t want any unhappy angry spirits coming around. The circles got larger and larger and faster and faster, and the pencil did seem to be moving on its own power and will. With questions and answers, “yes” and “no” sort of things, it seemed to gain strength.

Then someone asked, “What is your name?”

The pencil made a very definite and strong movement. It stood straight up. I moved my fingers just barely away from it, and it wrote out the name “Mac” very fast and powerfully. Everyone present could see I wasn't touching the pencil as it wrote the name. It frightened us all so much that we all laughed nervously, and the pencil quickly wrote, without my touching it, “Don’t laugh.” But we laughed even more because of our surprise and fear.

And that was that. I didn’t want any more of that. I loved my Grandpa Mac, but for some reason I wasn’t so sure the spirit we had attracted was him. I didn’t want to take a chance of dealing with an imposter. And that was the last séance I ever attended.

However, when the medium James Van Praagh had his television show, I loved to watch it, and I would love to attend one of his conferences. He seems to have a genuine talent for contacting spirits and delivering their messages.

I think anyone who wants to get into the séance thing should do so only with the guidance of a professional, because I suspect that seances can go very wrong if those present are inexperienced or have the wrong motivation.
May all your encounters with the spirit realm bring you understanding and comfort. May you feel the joy of angels surrounding you. May you have good health. May God fulfill your every need.

The Supernatural Traveler

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Ghostly Kitchen Band and the Flying Table

Even though I loved hearing about it as a child, I had a hard time believing Grandma’s tale of Buffalo Bill’s spirit thundering up on his big white horse to save her and her friend from two malevolent men in the night. Yet, after some of the things that have happened in my life, it no longer seems so farfetched to me.

When I was eleven years old, Grandma’s best friend was my Aunt Florence, who, as I said in my last post, was the widow of Grandma’s only brother. As widows, both of them were captivated by the spirit world, and they liked to conduct their own seances. Grandma lived with us at the time; but, since my mother wouldn’t allow such goings-on in our house, the seances always were held at Aunt Florence’s house.

Grandma was in her mid fifties then and liked to color her hair red and keep it curly with a home perm. She still was fairly shapely and was very proud of that, and she bragged about her small waist and tiny feet. She was a big flirt. She also was a chain smoker who laughed a lot and bitched a lot. When Grandpa was still alive and they went on picnics in the parks of Denver, Grandma wore little shorts with halters in the style of movie stars back then. We had many photos of her posing in her shorts. As I wrote before, she seemed like an exciting high adventurer to me. She certainly brought much excitement into my little life.

Aunt Florence, on the other hand, was heavy set and solemn and thought it would be a sin to color her gray hair. She parted it in the middle and pulled it straight back into a little knot on the back of her neck. She had huge dark eyes that nearly always looked sad, but occasionally her lips turned up in a little smile and her eyes sparkled ever so briefly. She hardly ever said a word and almost never laughed. She wore big baggy dresses with hems just above her ankles and nearly always wore a full-length apron as if she were ready to cook a feast.

They didn’t seem to be a very likely pair to become close friends, but both of them had known great hardship most of their lives, and I think that brought them together even more than their being sisters-in-law.

Aunt Florence lived in a very small four-room house with fake brick siding that looked nothing like real brick. The interior was plain and sparsely furnished with simple wood furniture that looked like it was made by local carpenters. Some of it probably had been made by her late husband. Aunt Florence kept everything sparkling clean. The kitchen was the largest room. It was furnished with an old-time sink with a faucet that looked like an outdoor faucet, a small second-hand refrigerator, a small second-hand gas range, a wood table and four wood chairs. There was a window above the sink, a door that led into the living room, and a door that opened to the exterior. There were few cabinets, so nearly all the pots and pans and cooking utensils hung on the walls.

The seances were held in this kitchen. Grandma thought the seances would be better and the spirits stronger if I and my fifteen-year-old brother Jesse and our distant cousin Jack, who was fourteen, would attend. She told us that the spirits love children. Jesse and Jack went to a few seances before I did, and they insisted there were real spirits and I should come and hear them. So, one night when my mother had to work, off I went with Grandma and Jesse and Jack to the séance at Aunt Florence’s house.

Grandma and Aunt Florence set some bowls of water on the counter to “help attract the spirits,” according to Grandma; and Aunt Florence brought another chair from the living room so all five of us could sit at the table in the kitchen. They sat Jesse and Jack on opposite sides of the table, and Grandma and Aunt Florence sat opposite each other. I was between Grandma and Jesse. Aunt Florence turned the light out before she sat down.

“Why do you have to turn the light out?” I asked. I was not one who liked darkness.

“Spirits make their own light,” Grandma told me. “If we leave the light on, we won’t see the spirit light. First they’ll start bumping and knocking on the walls. Then the lights will come, and then maybe they'll knock on the table to answer our questions.”

There was enough moonlight coming through the window for me to barely see everything in the kitchen, including the expressions on the faces of the four others.

Grandma told all of us to place our hands palms-down on the table, so we did, and she started asking questions, such as: Are there any spirits here? Do you want to say anything? Is Mac here? If you’re here, then let us hear a knock. For awhile we didn’t hear a sound or see anything unusual, but still it seemed a little spooky to me.

Grandma stopped talking, and Aunt Florence asked questions: Is there a spirit here who wants to talk to us? Are you here, Brant? Brant was her late husband.

Still, not a sound. Grandma asked more questions, and then said, “Now we have to wait.”

So, we all sat quietly with our palms on the table and waited. To me it seemed like we sat there a long time, but it probably wasn’t more than about five minutes. Then we heard a loud pop on the bottom of one of the pans that hung on the wall, as if someone had slapped it. Then there was a bump on the wall near us.

“That’s just this old house creaking and popping,” Jesse said.

“Be quiet. It’s not the house,” Grandma said. “Is that you, Mac?”

That was followed by several bangs and pops on the pots and pans and then by so many it almost sounded like a kitchen band. Then all went quiet.

“Now the lights will come,” Grandma said. And again we waited.

“There’s a light,” Jack told us, and he pointed toward the corner.

And, surely enough, small lights started flashing on and off all over the kitchen.

“It’s lightning bugs,” I said.

“No, it’s not. Lightning bugs are sort of green and they fly around in the air,” Jack said.

He was right. These lights were a very bright pure white, not at all the color of lightning bugs, and each light was stationary. At first tiny lights flashed close to the walls. Then lights flashed on and off in the open spaces of the kitchen and in mid air just over our heads.

“Mac, are you here?” Grandma asked again, and there was a loud thump right in the middle of the table, so loud that Jesse and Jack and I jumped. It definitely sounded as if it had come from above the table and not from below it, but there was nothing but vacant air above the middle of the table.

“That’s him. He’s here,” Grandma said. Two more very loud thumps came very quickly. “That means he’s happy,” she said.

At that point, with everyone’s hands still on the table, it rose very quickly, with no wobbling or tilting, straight up about a foot into the air. I screamed, and the table fell back down. Jack jumped up and turned the light on, and he and Jesse looked as scared as I was. The three of us looked under the table but saw nothing unusual.

“There’s nothing under there,” Grandma said. “That was the spirits. Now we have to calm down and start all over.”

“I want to go home,” I said, and I was out of there.

I didn’t go to anymore of the seances, and neither did Jesse and Jack. That was enough for us. Jesse told our mother about the séance and the table, and she fussed at Grandma for “scaring the kids.” But I’m sure Grandma and Aunt Florence continued their seances without us.
May you enjoy life in this physical world and in all your encounters with the spiritual realm. May you find comfort after the departures of your loved ones and have the courage to continue your own life.

The Supernatural Traveler

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buffalo Bill Rides as a Spirit Guide: Early Influences and My Grandma Winnie

When I was a little girl, our family home was only one block from a Southern Baptist Church, and that is where we kids went to Sunday School and church every Sunday morning. During those years my father was recovering from tuberculosis for a long time, and my mother worked in a bag factory and also had to take care of five little children and a husband who was not yet well. My parents needed all the free time and rest at home that they could get, which was almost none, so we kids were sent off to church by ourselves.

My older sisters and brother were told to watch out for me and let me sit with them in church, but they would have none of that. So, I wound up sitting on an empty pew by myself nearly every Sunday morning from the time I was six years old until I was twelve. I was enthralled with the worship service and listened to nearly every word the preacher said, although at that age my mind naturally wandered quite a bit.

I loved to hear stories of the return of Jesus and in the early years actually expected him to appear in the baptistry at any moment. And I loved to hear the Old Testament stories of the time when God and the angels were present and speaking to the ancient Hebrews. I thought of these stories so much that it seemed to me that God and the angels were right there with me, too, and now I still believe they were and are today.

My siblings not only wanted nothing to do with me at church, but they wanted nothing to do with me at home either. They didn’t want to be stuck taking care of a bothersome little sister, so I had to spend most of my time looking at books or playing by myself or just sitting around thinking or listening to the birds and the quiet. I think I developed a kind of natural way of meditating back then as a little girl that has stayed with me all my life. I just sit quietly and focus on whatever natural sounds or sights are available and admire them and “blend” with them and with the rest of creation, forget about myself as an individual, and open myself to whatever communications might come my way.

It was in those early years when I had to learn to depend on myself and when I spent so much time alone that my interest in God and the angels grew. Unfortunately for me, neither my family nor the people at church seemed to think that God or the angels were “here.” To them, spiritual beings were in some far away Heaven which we living humans had no access to.

But fortunately for me, my maternal grandmother, Winnie Brannon Nelson McCune, saw the world differently. She was Pentecostal, and for her spirits and angels were in the here and now and they were as real as she was. They weren’t quiet or grim either. Her spirits were loud and fun loving, and the spirit world was thrilling and full of excitement for her. She told many stories about spirits, and I always loved to hear them.

She and my Grandpa Mac, Elmer Joseph McCune, who was not my natural grandfather but was Grandma’s third husband, lived in Denver, Colorado. Whenever they drove down to visit us in Louisiana in their old Dodge with the fake leopard skin seat covers, I felt like two high adventurers were in the house. They had tales not only of the spirits but of their travels in the Rocky Mountains. They sat up late into the nights smoking and laughing and talking. Those were thrilling times for me.

My Grandma Winnie was my favorite relative. She may have been a little bit nuts, and at times she was a “bitch on wheels,” as the saying goes, but she had a grand love for life, a strong faith, and a lot of courage. She was convinced that Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody) was her spirit guide. When we visited her and Grandpa in Denver, she took us to Buffalo Bill’s grave and the little museum on Lookout Mountain.

She had a story she loved to tell of how Buffalo Bill, riding a beautiful white horse, and someone else on a horse had saved the lives of her and a friend. She said when she was younger, one night she and a friend decided to walk the few miles from their country homes to the small nearby town. As they were walking down the gravel road far from all the houses, a car stopped, and two men jumped out and tried to force them to get into the car. She and her friend became very frightened. Suddenly they heard the thunder of horses’ hooves and looked up the road where they saw the spirits of Buffalo Bill and another cowboy storming toward them, she said.

“We could hear the hooves and see Buffalo Bill and the other cowboy and their horses as well as we see each other,” she told me. “They road up fast and nearly knocked the men over. Those men got so scared they jumped into their car and drove off without looking back. Then Buffalo Bill turned around and rode toward the car and disappeared as we watched. He saved our lives. I know he’s my spirit guide.” That was the story, and every time Grandma told it it was like the first time.

Grandpa Mac died and was buried in the big veteran’s cemetery in Denver when I was eleven years old. That brought on some dark times for Grandma. She came back and spent several years in Louisiana in our neighborhood. Not long after her return, she and my Aunt Florence, who was the widow of Grandma’s only brother, started having seances at Aunt Florence’s house. I meant to tell you about those in this post, but I’ve already gone on too long. That will be my next post. Those were some fascinating seances. My mother told me not to go. . .but. . .well. . .I was a kid and I wasn’t perfect.
May God bless you with appreciation of both the physical and spiritual worlds and with understanding and wisdom. May God bless you with good companionship and good times.

The Supernatural Traveler