Category: Creepy

Number One Rule of House Selling–Installment the Seventh, Spooky Series

In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil.

In early 1999 my partner and I decided it was time to purchase our first home together. We looked primarily in the Raleigh and Cary areas with the aid of our wonderful realtor. One Saturday in particular our realtor had scheduled us to visit more houses than I could have ever imagined possible in the span of about 3 hours. Little did I know how overwhelming that would be for an intuitive!

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellGoing into any unfamiliar space is a bit harsh on the senses for an intuitive, but going into many in a short span of time is almost overkill. I had never had the intimate experience of unabashedly walking through someone else’s personal space without that person present, and that dynamic of energetic intrusion was very odd for me. We went into a couple of houses that felt peculiar, though not for any specific spiritual reason. When a structure is uncomfortable the assumption is often made that there is a spiritual presence causing the unrest. Though there likely are spirits on every square inch of the planet does not discredit such factors as elemental influences, electrical charges, ley lines, random anomalies of physics that we can’t readily account for, etc, as influences over how we feel in a space. For this and other reasons we’ve seen the rise of Feng Shui in the western world as a refined art in creating harmonious living, elementally. My unrest in most of these houses seemed to be just that–born of them not being the right balance for us.

We entered one house in particular, in Cary, that felt a bit odd. There was no alarming sensation, nothing I could put my finger on. It was a nice little split level, though not quite what we are looking for. The three of us meandered through the house going our separate ways. I explored the upper level while my partner was in the lower level, the realtor in the mid-level. As I was checking out the upper guest bathroom I saw a woman in a dark dress walk past the door. Thinking nothing of it, I finished my tour then came down the stairs. I paused at the mid-level, taking in the vantage point of the center of the house. As I did I glanced back up the stairs. I saw a woman in a black dress with fine white polka dots on it step from the hall into the very back bedroom. I marveled over the dress, as it was a rather full skirt, the sort one used to see floating atop a petticoat in 1950s style dresses. In the previous homes we had viewed other realtors were in and out with clients, so besides the odd style of dress, I didn’t really give more thought to this woman being in the house.

After a few minutes we re-convened at the mid-level when the realtor said we could go ahead out and she would lock up behind us. I asked her why she needed to lock up when there was someone else in the house. She looked at me like I was clearly ill and said that there wasn’t anyone else in the house. I told her what I had seen, and being the dutiful realtor she charged up the stairs to sleuth out the stranger. My partner and I looked at each other, shrugging. I genuinely thought there was someone else in the house–I had no indication to think otherwise. I had my feelers on to check out the unseen aspects of the house and had no ill feelings about it at all. The house felt quite light.

The realtor came back downstairs insisting that there was no one in the house, and by that point I believed her. She looked at me like I was completely nuts and brushed past me to open the front door. As she and my partner were walking out of the house I glanced down into the lower level where a toddler–a little
boy–in a walker stood stock still just at the bottom of the stairs. He had a pacifier in his mouth and was looking at me. I don’t recall any particular communication between us, just the mutual acknowledgement that we could behold each other. The realtor called to me again and we left.

We decided against that house on practical grounds, though I wasn’t thrilled with the thought of moving into a place so energetically cluttered that the spirits were already making contact, even if they were benevolent. The house that we ended up buying, also in Cary, was cosmically frenetic, though in a different way. It’s no wonder looking back that I stayed worn out in that house. Generally speaking, Cary has a quartz bluff that runs through part of it, which in my estimation accounts for a lot its chaotic vibes. Because of the quartz veining the area is known for having an inordinate amount of lightning strikes. Our home was about four miles from that core and it influenced my work greatly. I began journeying to the house and the land before we moved into it, allowing it to know me and to get a feel for how we would all merge into the space of Home. From my early journeys to the Nature spirits on the property to the very last ones before we moved from it I had the constant feeling that the land in that area couldn’t heal from some ancient interplanetary wound, which only exacerbated any spiritual unrest, of which there was plenty in our home and surrounding area. The most obvious visitor was the wife of the previous owner. She was living; however, the couple had divorced and some facet of her soul didn’t want to give up the house. I often would walk into the kitchen and find her standing defiantly in front of the stove. After a few talks she was willing to concede my kitchen and I released her to Spirit.

Moving house is a huge energetic transition. Some land functions like static electricity for emotions, thus holds imprints of events, creates vacuums for spirits. Some structures hold so many great memories they can’t help but be places that discarnates want to linger. And much as we wouldn’t leave behind our entertainment center, so should we be aware of not leaving behind aspects of ourselves. Strange as it may seem, sometimes it’s not spirits of the dead peering from the windows of deserted houses, but spirits of the living. Go into spaces with the attitude that what needs to be released can be, that what facilitates compassionate living stays, roots. Whether coming or going, do the healthy thing for all involved and declutter.

All in a Day’s Work–Installment the Sixth, Spooky Series

In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil.

For several years I’ve worked as a technical documentation specialist for a state agency housed in the renovated old Rex Hospital in Raleigh. The hospital itself was functional in the mid 1930s through the late 1970s, becoming the agency I’ve worked with in the early 1980s. When I first came to work at the complex 11 years ago I did not know that it had been a hospital, though the greeting of trauma energy as soon as I entered the building was a profound clue. My tension was confirmed within my first hour there when I was told that it had been the largest hospital in the area at its inception, and shortly after I received my orientation hazing with the ‘ghost stories’ of the spirit nurse in elevator 1 who likes to play with the buttons and skip floors, the murmuring crowd that can be heard when alone in the building, doors opening and closing on their own—the usual paranormal fare. Of course accompanying those stories were ones of the collectively marked infant graves in the courtyard, various rumors about blood in the morgue (though I never saw that), and just general mumblings of uneasiness in certain areas of the complex from a grounds keeper.

Intent on my writing gig, I left the woowoo at home. I showed up everyday, did my work and called it a day. I never had any intention of mixing business with… well, business. Of course it wasn’t long before I started having odd experiences. It started out innocuously enough, hearing my name yelled out in an empty room (I had a huge office to myself for about a year), hearing the door to my office open and shut followed by the footsteps of someone walking up behind me, though no one would be there when I turned around, and an ever persistent feeling that someone was standing behind me while I was working. Events reached a crescendo when I felt an unseen hand linger on my shoulder one afternoon. I’ve set the intention fairly clearly that I will allow spontaneous spirit communication because that is part of my job as a deathwalker. However, I’m not receptive to being randomly touched by any stranger, living or spirit. I completed what I needed to do for the day then went to my car. I sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes holding space for the dead to move through. They came in droves. I’d never experienced a mass psychopomp event before. They never stopped coming. The only reason that I ended the session was because I was tired and it was dark outside. I felt bad for the truncated session, but I had to respect my own boundaries. Nobody loves a tired deathwalker.

I sat with the memory of that session for a long time, and as a result became more tolerant of the spirit interactions of my day job. I no longer separated my jobs. Part of my arrival routine became to greet the dead much as I do the living when we pass in the hall—which, by the way—on several occasions I’ve passed random people in the hall, brushed right up against them, only to glance immediately back to find no one in the corridor but myself. It has truly become the norm. When I softened to the regularity of spirit visitors they began to interact with me more, particularly after my office was relocated to the 4th floor.

I don’t know what the 4th floor was used for in the hospital, but as soon as I moved up there I began to see a few spirit regulars. One in particular was a young African American woman in her early 20s standing to the far left of the sinks. She was dressed in a very simple peach colored shift with a tiny hat the same color. She wore white gloves and clutched a white pocketbook tightly in both hands in front of her. Her gaze was toward the floor, and she didn’t seem happy. She was not interested in talking with me but she did let me know that she was not a patient at the hospital. She had been a guest visiting someone who had died there. The understanding that her loved one was no longer in the building did not occur to her, but she was afraid to be released. I did not coerce her and went on my way. I saw her several times, always in that same spot, and we would greet each other amicably.

One afternoon I was sitting at my desk when I felt her come into the office. Her mood had brightened considerably and she wanted to be released. She passed easily on to Spirit when another soul came. I held the space for that one to move through, when more continued to come. I sat for maybe 15 minutes as spirits moved through. However, even with all the movement I observed something unusual. There were hundreds of them observing the parade of souls, some even venturing to come up very close to my face, as if I was an oddity to them. In that session I felt that these were not all souls of those who had affiliation with the hospital. In fact, some of the souls I was sensing had never been human at all. Some had never even been in form, but were discarnate wafting entities. When I closed my eyes and visualized the complex from above it appeared as a vast vortex extending deep into the ground with thousands of souls meandering in it. It felt like a stagnant thinner area in the veil, when it should have been a free-flowing Grand Central Station of souls, easily sliding Here and There. Despite the number of souls I sensed in the space, those seeking to pass through had dwindled. Many were lingering just to watch.

Having spirits converge at a focal point then not facilitating some kind of release for them isn’t the smartest idea, but it’s also futile to try to force one to move on when it doesn’t want to, let alone to try to force hundreds. Yet I felt that this stagnancy was happening for a reason and I needed to honor it even if I did not understand it. I had my guides call on the guardians of the land there, to create the safest most supportive atmosphere possible for all souls inhabiting the space—living or discarnate. I figured if I couldn’t move them through the default was to make the veil there comfortable for us all. I checked on the situation fairly regularly, though, holding brief sessions to release those who were ready.

That was more than two years ago, now, and I continue to work with the space. No matter how many sessions I hold, souls never stop coming to pass through my openings for them. I have come to regard the complex as a haven for souls who indeed have endured some sort of trauma, even if that trauma merely was not passing peacefully into What Comes After. I’ve also concluded that there is something about the land itself that attracts all of these souls. What was built on it in modern times as place to care for others was merely focusing the land’s innate power to do just that. Perhaps with time and attention the land will give up more of its mysteries.

Higher Consciousness Shopping–Installment the Fifth, Spooky Series

In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil.

Apparently the American trend of vast strip malls is a bad idea, energetically speaking, as it seems I have quite a few stories of odd experiences in them. I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one. This event in particular happened in the Winter of 2006.

On my way home from work one day I went to the newest, shiniest Wal-mart in Raleigh. The whole MegaloCenter area on which it is situated is very discordant for me and I don’t go there often at all. As it was, a specific item that I needed was only at that location, so off I went. From the second I passed through the enormous automated doors something was wrong. I literally felt a twinge in my head, like a synapse torqued funny and the tingly effect of it rippled through my whole body and into my etheric field. I truly should have turned around and left immediately but my consumerist hunter-gatherer instincts were having none of it. Once inside the fluorescent patina reflected off my skin and I hesitated to get my navigational bearings. When I did, I noticed something very odd: it sounded like a radio was on, inside my head.

I am quite clairaudient so I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the buzz at first. As I made my way through the store, I began to realize that when I passed directly by certain people, the buzz would clarify into distinct words and phrases. I noticed that the voices changed as I passed by different people. I passed a young couple and had two voices go through my head at once, lovebirds individually cooing over each other. Then I passed a woman and heard a proliferation of expletives about having to find a specific item for someone else. It wasn’t until I passed a little girl of about six or seven years old holding the hand of an old man that I realized what was going on. When I passed her I heard a little voice begging for someone to please get her away from this mean man, I realized I was hearing peoples’ thoughts. I was spontaneously, though unintentionally, cosmically eavesdropping. I recognized the phenomenon for what it because it happens almost every night when I lie down to sleep. In hypnagogic states most people see abstract visuals–blurbs light or random scenes–until they shift into sleep. For those who are aware, this state is the precursor to lucid dreaming. I do sometimes see odd visuals in pre-sleep but most of the time I flip through the bandwidth of the Universe, hearing anonymous conversations, voices, music. It quite literally sounds like a radio dial skimming stations, never quite settling on one for any length of time, though the phrases that manage to come through are distinct. Sometimes I hear several conversations and languages before I fall to sleep. This bedtime ritual I gave in to early in my childhood, and I never really think about it too much.

However, standing in the middle of Wal-mart I couldn’t think of anything. My head was full of everyone else. I had never felt anything like it before, and frankly I never had reason to consider it possible. As soon as I processed that the little girl was experiencing deep distress about the man with whom she walked, I began to project back to her, telling her that she was powerful and she could overcome anything that she needed to. I told her that I was with her and loads of angels and lightbeings walked with her, and that we would all do our best to take care of her. I felt sick at that point. I didn’t want to hear anything else. I forewent the object of my trip and started to make my way out of the store.

As soon as I stepped out of the door there was an audible crackling in my head and I had an instant migraine. It hurt so badly that I was in disbelief that I wasn’t bleeding somewhere. I hadn’t had a migraine in a few years, and never had one so suddenly. My head hurt all the way home, and I still heard voices that whole time. I lay down, everything spinning inside me and out. I tracked the pain to a specific spot in my head and in it I felt a rapid exchange of information–the cosmic equivalent of some Universal mainframe. It wasn’t harmful, per se, but it seemed that the physical pain itself was coming from the furious exchange of data. I asked my guides to come in and facilitate as gently as possible whatever was going on in my brain, and in about 45 minutes the headache was gone, and I was the only one in my head.

I maintain that the ground beneath that shopping center houses some kind of hyper-charged grid that is not getting along with the supersuburbia atop it. I don’t know what alignment of elements triggered the event in the store–timing, aliens, dental work, planets–I don’t know.

Personally, I like to think I was upgraded.

House on Summit Drive–Installment the Fourth, Spooky Series

In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil.

At this point I hope it’s obvious that words like “ghost” and “haunted” don’t come up in my vocabulary. I’ve learned that those words conjure charged reactions in people, implying fixed ideas about spirit activity. My unusual education in soulful arts has taught me that spirits deserve to be put in categories as much as people, and every case of otherwise unexplained activity should be examined unto itself. It’s become very hard for me to call a suffering spirit, a mischievous faerie, a hyper-polarized piece of land, or the projections of a deeply troubled consciousness a “ghost.”

House on Summit Drive, The house I grew up in, as shared in "Real Wyrd."Of course I didn’t always make those distinctions. When I look back to my childhood, I recall having interactions with spirits pre- kindergarten. At that age and until my mid-teens, neither my culture, my upbringing, nor my emotional maturity allowed me to view those experiences as anything other than the traditional model we are given for ghosts. I filtered all those interactions through lenses of fear, trauma, alienation, and victimization. In recounting those experiences now it is my goal to present them as they were to me then: scary.

I lived with my mother, my older sister, and two collies for most of my youth, and we all witnessed some pretty creepy events together. The most recurrent of these events usually happened at night, and that was the sound of a man’s heavily booted feet coming down our hardwood hallway, stopping right at the juncture of our three rooms. We never had trepidation about the presence itself, but the shock of hearing those thudding footsteps never abated. Another frequent collective event involved our clock radios. Each of us had a clock radio in our room, and it was a regular pastime for all three of them to go off at the same exact second in the middle of the night. No other electrical appliances or timepieces in the house were affected, but playing with clock radio alarms was popular with our visitor. Again, no real terror involved, but the element of surprise never lost its edge. Another odd occurrence that while not as frequent but was loads more frightening, we would wake to what sounded like all the silverware being shaken inside the kitchen drawers, only to find not a thing out of place upon examination. Along that line, we were awakened on at least one occasion by what sounded like every window in the front of the house being smashed out, though found nothing harmed. Those very exaggerated events were just flat out unnerving. On rarer occasions we heard the piano play by itself while it was closed, just a few tinkling notes. (I have that same piano still and on occasion it plays itself, closed.) What seemed to be a favorite prank to play on me, in particular, was opening the kitchen cabinets. I could walk out of the kitchen and return later, knowing there was no one else in the house, and the cabinets would be wide open. It’s also relevant to add that the two dogs we had were always on guard when these things would happen. One of them reacted defensively to our bumps in the night, while the other cowered and couldn’t be coaxed into areas where something odd had recently happened.

My sister and I each had some harrowing experiences alone in that house, too. One morning when my sister was 12-13 years old she was waiting on our front porch for the school bus to come. Everyone else had already left. She was sitting on the front step when she heard a rap on the window behind her. She knew that she was the last one to leave the house, having locked the door herself, and she became afraid. Looking back over her shoulder she saw nothing in the window but the curtains fell back into place, as if there had been someone there.

Just after my sister was newly licensed to drive she had come home to an empty house late one evening. She entered through the dark kitchen and was standing near the sink when she heard slow, heavy footsteps coming from the far end of the hall toward her. Pulling a knife from a nearby drawer which she had recently gotten from a knife review she stood frozen and the footsteps stopped. There was no one else in the house.

In my younger years it was the custom for my mother to put to put the little sister to bed so that she and my sister could enjoy the close of the day together. Though I was getting drowsy, I still heard their chit chat, teaspoons clinking in mugs of tea. I remember lying on my back on the bottom bunk of my captain’s corner beds staring fixedly at ceiling, tuning out all but what they were saying. After all, what kind of little sister was I if I missed anything? I lay on my back staring at the ceiling, trying for all I was worth to hear what they were talking about. I recall my vision cutting out for a split second, though I could still hear them, then I felt myself lifted three or four feet off the bed. I felt arms scoop me up, constricting my ribs so much they hurt. I was suspended for a few seconds, then the next thing I knew I was flipped completely over and flung rather unceremoniously face down on my bed. I hit the bed so hard it moved on the hardwood floor and I smashed my forehead into the headboard. I started screaming immediately, “That wasn’t funny! You scared the crap out of me!”

Of course they both came running, and my mother frantically switched on the light. I babbled on about what had happened, blaming them, and my mother assured me that neither she nor my sister left the kitchen, let alone come to my room. I listened to my mother talk, but I remember looking around the lit room reasoning that I had been lifted to a height higher than my top bunk. I also recall leveling with myself that neither she nor my sister could have picked me up, let alone thrown my body any distance. The bruise on my forehead the next morning indicated that someone could, and apparently had, as I also had faint red marks on my ribs. This was the only time I recall ever feeling physically threatened by the dynamic in our home, and that fear stayed with me for a long time.

I used to have slumber parties almost every year for my birthday. I recall the year I turned ten having several girls over. We’d had an evening of pizza, cake and silly television, then retired to my bedroom to listen to music. My mother had long since gone to bed, yelling at us every few minutes to turn the radio down. We were all sitting on the floor of my room, jamming, when we heard heavy footsteps pound down the hallway, stopping right outside my bedroom door. All of my friends knew that odd things happened at our house, but the house spirit rarely acted up when we had guests. We sat there listening to a light scuffle just on the other side of the door as my mother yelled at us for running down the hall. I don’t think my mother enjoyed having a bunch of screaming little girls to soothe, but it did make for a memorable party.

When I was about fourteen I went through a particularly difficult time. I recall one evening that I had an altercation with my mother and was very upset. I went to bed and cried for a quite a while when I felt someone sit down on the bed behind me. I was lying in foetal position and felt the mattress dip. I shifted subtly back against the form that pressed into mine. A cool hand swept back the hair that stuck to my damp cheek. I lay there for a minute or two considering that I was still angry at my mother, yet feeling I should address her given the concern her gestures showed. Raising up, I started speaking to her and turned to look back, only there was no one there. For a few seconds the cool touch lingered on my cheek and I could still see the dip in the mattress. Gradually the mattress raised back to an uncompressed state. and I knew my comforting visitor was gone.

Another night when I was about 16, I woke up for no particular reason to find a man and woman standing on my right, a woman at the foot of my bed, and two figures to my left. They were all dressed in black, and they stood slightly above me looking down to where I lay. The man was holding an open book in his hands, and was reading from it. I could see his mouth moving though I heard no sound. Their style of dressed was turn of the 20th century. I had the distinct impression I was crashing a funeral, and I had the vantage point of the corpse. The odd thing is when I jumped at seeing them, they stopped their ritual, gave me a shocked look, then vanished.

I don’t think about the events on Summit Drive terribly much, now, odd as that may seem. I register with detachment that they were frightening, yet they were also somewhat routine for us. I’ve also lived in a lot of different places and know now that every space has its unique spirits, imprints, and phenomena. I do wonder, though, if the current owners of the house where I grew up have the same spirit guests.

Charitable Neighbor–Installment the Third, Spooky Series

In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil.

Feeling the death experience of another Being is not an odd occurrence to me. The sensation of my body’s systems shutting down, the pressure of hands wringing my throat, the aching chill of life draining from a fatal wound are rather familiar. Not to say that all deaths are so dramatic. Some are quit gentle in passing. Growing up, feeling others’ deaths were my most frightening spirit encounters. I did not understand that these beings didn’t intend to hurt me (for the most part), but were seeking acknowledgement, compassion, help in transitioning. With the help of my spirit guides, as an adult I rely on their support to help me experience others’ deaths and maintain my wits while helping invading spirits move on. There have been cases in which souls tell the story of their demise with my body but don’t want to move on and that’s when the efforts of my guides are most needed. Most of the time now I experience the deaths of others only within dedicated psychopomp rituals. However, it seems the most common time for me to experience spontaneous death moments of the clingy variety is in the wee hours just before dawn. Though I am accustomed to feeling my body be some soul’s last attempt at biological life, I found myself very disturbed by a specific soul that just couldn’t let its number be up.

Scottish Hills, Cary, NCThis episode occurred about four years ago. A cultivated level of higher awareness kicks in during these death experiences, and it was within that altered framework that I knew instantly that I was not the only one in my body. I knew that I was in my bed, that it was still dark outside, and I was aware that I was convulsing. My heartbeat was scant, my lungs labored for the smallest puff, and my limbs were leaden. I registered that the sensations were exactly that—sensations–and not mine. I felt my guides scrambling in and around me, in what I call ‘cosmic triage,’ doing whatever it is that they do to hold the boundaries of myself in place while sweeping the extra life force to its destination. I attempted to speak with them, and when I got no response decided to just observe and wait it out patiently. The whole ordeal lasted probably 3-4 minutes, and when I felt my pulse regulate and my body calm down, I sat up and took a few deep breaths. I had just begun to do some grounding techniques and recoup lost rest when I felt the bed begin to shake. Looking over I saw that my partner was lightly convulsing. I’ve mentioned before that I‘m willing to walk a long line of allowance in the work that I do, but when it turns to real threat I get very angry and that’s when things get interesting. I knew the spirit had been evicted from me and hopped into my partner.

Immediately I called in the directions and began to track the spirit. As soon as I specifically located it in my partner’s form it leapt from him and vanished, though I could still sense it around our house. As my partner lay still and breathing smoothly, I projected myself through our entire property looking for the transient. I started in the attic and worked my way through every room, cabinet and closet, even the gaps around the appliances. When I found nothing I walked the perimeter of our yard, then crawled through the mailbox to no avail. I could feel that the spirit was still there, but I couldn’t track it. It was dodging me completely. It occurred to me then that I had not checked the chimney. Diving down the brick length, I found nothing and came to rest in the living room facing the fireplace. As I stood with my back to the room pondering my next move I realized I wasn’t alone. I felt movement in the back of my hair. Something was touching me, then I felt a very large body press into my full length from behind. My whole body broke out in chills and I turned to see a transparent mammoth creature partially in my physical space. The Being was easily eight feet tall and four feet wide. It reeked of everything dysfunctional and offensive and I was immediately repulsed. Even if this entity hadn’t been still trying to attach to me, the predatory aspect of its nature was enough to make it harmful to anyone. Having felt that, I had a vivid understanding of why my guides had worked so furiously to move this entity out of my form. He had a very fond connection to darker aspects of human nature and he wasn’t ready for that part of his biological experience to be over. He had no intention of going quietly. In fact, he had no intention of going at all. I was appalled that after having tracked him and experienced his disposition, the Being was still trying to crawl into my form.

Thoroughly disgusted, I told it point blank that it couldn’t stay in my house and I entertained no dissent on the instruction. The Being did not want to move into Spirit space. I coerced it as far as the divide between our house and the neighbors’ but couldn’t get it to budge from our property. I knew I couldn’t move it the rest of the way and I couldn’t just block it out of our etheric space. The Being was revolting and I couldn’t just leave it there to turn up on the neighbors’ doorstep. I called in my guides to deal with it the rest of the way, then watched, trembling, from my vantage point in our bed while my spirit teachers lifted the wayward spirit.

No sooner had I returned fully to my body and opened my eyes than all around our cul-de-sac home security alarms went off in tandem. Over the din my partner sat bolt upright in bed and asked me what had happened. All he recalled was having a bad dream, though as I recounted the series of events he nodded. Then, as we settled back to bed the screeching siren of an emergency vehicle pierced the night, its flashing lights coming to a stop at a house in the cul-de-sac behind ours. My partner and I looked at each other eyes wide.

I don’t know what happened that night. I don’t know if indeed a neighbor in the other cul-de-sac died, or if a sinister visitor was making house calls. I know that I’m eternally grateful to be able to do the work that I do, and for the support and wisdom of my spirit teachers.

Hotel Phillips and Murderous Insomnia–Installment the Second, Spooky Series

In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil.

Early Spring of 2002 I had the fortune of spending a week at the beautiful Hotel Phillips in Kansas City, Missouri, while on a business trip. I am quite used to loads of spirit traffic when I stay in hotels; however, my stay at Hotel Phillips offered a bit more than the luxury experience the lush establishment touts. From the first night that I checked into room 1513, I sensed many presences again, not unusual at all, as I do quite a bit of psychopomp work. Staying in hotels for me is like being tapped on the shoulder constantly, far from restful, and Hotel Phillips was no different. Upon checking into their room, other people hang up their clothes first thing. I create sacred space and release errant energies, a gesture part compassion and part hopeful of a solid night’s sleep.

One presence in particular stood out right away, a female whose only visual aspect was a white lace hem that I saw close to the floor. I saw her in my room and hall several times the first few days that I was there, though she would not allow me to feel her. What was odd about this spirit was when I offered to release her, she did not want to go. I also got a sense with this presence more than any of the others that she had indeed died in the building, and needed friendly company. Regardless, I couldn’t sleep in the room. She was not particularly bothersome or ever present, but her air of unrest was contagious.

Thursday morning I got up, showered, and was drying my hair in the bathroom when I felt that I was not alone. The feminine presence was with me. I opened the bathroom door to find a distraught woman standing there. She was about 22-25 years old with long auburn curly hair, a Caucasian woman in a rather formal 1930s style dress. Her white hem fell just above her ankles, which was what I had been seeing all week. As I gazed upward I saw a large bloody wound in her chest, which dripped blood and tissue onto the floor. She had been shot and was experiencing the panic of her death moment before me.

I stepped out of the bathroom and through her, as she stepped to the side of my bed. I did not learn her name, but I felt a strong sense of betrayal and that she had become involved in a relationship with a man that could not for whatever reason come to fruition. This man is who shot her. I often learn information around the cause of death, and it’s always fascinating stuff. Staying true to my role as psychopomp means that details are mere curiosities. The only real objective in working with the dead is to learn how I can facilitate helping them move on to the next phase of their destiny, and doing just that. Everything else is superfluous. That said, sometimes learning what I must from them and helping them shift is no easy feat.

I asked her if she wanted to move on, and she hesitated. I told her that she would not have fully shown herself to me if she did not want help and asked her what held her here. My sense was that she was waiting for the man who killed her–her lover–to somehow redeem himself to her. I told her that she may have a long wait, that she had already had a long wait, and that she could wait for him to make amends in a much better place than this hotel. After a bit more discussion, she allowed me to walk her into Spirit space and all was restful.

I went on to work for the day, but from the minute I entered the room that night, I was uneasy. The oppressive feel of the room was worse than it had been since my arrival, and I realized that whoever was there was angry at me, yet the spirit refused to communicate.

Once in bed, the lights were out for about two minutes when I began to hear extremely loud scuffling noises moving around the room. I lay there and listened for a few seconds, when finally the sound reached a crescendo behind my headboard forming a complete circle around me. The entity meant to frighten, if not threaten me. Though difficult to describe, there was palpable movement in the discordant sound and it pushed against my ribs. Non-consensual physical contact from spirits is an extremely disturbing phenomenon. When an encounter reaches that point fear becomes anger.

Enraged, I observed a male in the room, about four feet from the foot of my bed. Although well-dressed he was surrounded by black clouds. He, too, was Caucasian, though physically did not appear entirely human. I knew this man was the killer, and that he had killed many times. He was a nasty piece of work, and he was angry at me for interacting with the woman. He had killed her in the hotel, though not in that room, and he had never been linked to the crime. His pride was wounded that I knew what had happened, as he was used to getting away with everything. I had seen his dirty deeds and he wanted to eliminate me as a threat. He was afraid that I would hand him over to some authority for punishment. He was so stuck in a defensive consciousness that he didn’t seem to realize that he was dead.

I told him that I didn’t care what he had done in his life, that I wasn’t there to judge him. Gradually his energy softened. The noise in the room stopped. I said that this was not the place he needed to be anymore, that whatever happened between him and the woman was between them, and if he felt ready to deal with that from a more useful place that I could help him. I also made it perfectly clear that I was ready to sleep and we would not be negotiating all night. When I said that to him, the clouds around him began to dissipate, but I still did not see him clearly. I held the space for a good 45 minutes or so, but he went relatively easily. For the first time since I checked into Hotel Phillips my room was quiet on all fronts.

The next morning I approached the concierge, asking if anyone had ever reported anything strange about room 1513. He, along with the staff at the front desk, went pale and asked me what had happened. When I told them that I saw a woman in my room, they stammered a bit, eventually going on to say that they had not had reports about that room, and had not had anything reported at all since the hotel had re-opened after renovations the previous Fall. They offered to assign me to a different room, and when I declined huddled in the corner whispering. Clearly they were aware of creepy occurrences, but I couldn’t tell if they would be relieved or disappointed to learn that their gangster spectre was no longer a guest.

–Be sure to read the 2014 followup to this encounter!

A Sprite and a Bullseye–Installment the First, Spooky Series

In celebration of my favorite time of the year, I’ve decided to take a departure from my regular column format for this month, instead electing each day to write out as many of my creepy ‘spirit visitor’ stories as time allows between now and Samhain. I started writing some of them down a few years ago with the idea of publishing them in a collection at some point. For now I just want to feed the veil. This first one isn’t exactly ‘bump in the night,’ but it creeped me out as much as affirmed. The afternoon in focus was mid-week, sometime in the Fall of 2003.

File:Bullseye1.pngOne afternoon I went to return an item at a popular local retail store. Frankly I was in a really bad mood, annoyed that I was having to make the return as it was, but doubly perturbed as it was the end of my work day and the line was very long and not budging. I was extremely self-absorbed, my inner talk mostly consisting of complaints and expletives. I was oblivious to my surroundings, save the woman who was right in front of me. I couldn’t tell much about her, only that she hunched over the push bar of her shopping cart, a foot propped on its lower rung. I thought there was a little person in the cart as the woman was murmuring softly, and every few minutes a matchbox car would fly out of the general area of the cart. The woman would go retrieve the toy, and resume her slumped position. For whatever reason, I did not perceive there being anyone in the cart.

The process of retrieving the toy repeated a couple more times, but all I registered was how the line had not moved, I was tired, my feet hurt and I just wanted to go home. I could not have been more wrapped up in myself or my annoyance. We stood there a few more minutes, when I heard a little voice say, “Kelley.”

I froze. Understand I hear my name called out all the time clairaudiently. I registered immediately that this time it was not a spirit voice I’d picked up on my own frequency, but that there was very much an external speaker. Looking around me I saw no one I knew, certainly no one who would know my name. Then I felt this weird ripple through my energy and I leaned out to peer around the woman leaning on the cart. Indeed there was someone there. Peeking around the woman was one of the most beautiful little boys I’ve ever seen. He was maybe two years old and was looking right at me when he said with bubbling fae-like enthusiasm, “Kelley! Hi!” His smile was bright and huge, as was the light all around him. He truly was hard to look directly at for the glare of the brilliant glow around him. This kid was on a different channel, spiritually speaking, and I felt that about him immediately. The woman, who I presume was his mother, turned to me red-faced and speaking something I didn’t understand, clearly shushing the giggling child. What I heard her life force say loud and clear was that this was not the first time he has done this, and it embarrassed, if not frightened her. She hurriedly shushed him, but I could tell the little boy was mischievously aware of what he’d done and he wouldn’t be silenced.

I don’t know why, but my eyes started watering, and I said, “Hi!” back with a little wave. He giggled more and his mother nodded but did not make eye contact with me. She approached the counter as the line had finally moved. I stood shocked. I was completely gobsmacked, and keenly aware of my surroundings, though no one else in the line seemed to have registered a thing. Why would they? Planes of being had not shifted and opened up to them affirming that the link with All That Is is always at work, slicing incisively through foul moods in return lines. I found myself having an internal conversation with this little boy over the next few minutes, thanking him for letting me know he was there, that he cared enough about my mood to risk speaking to me in a very special way, and for showing me something very special about himself. I thanked Spirit for letting me know that not only are there more of us out there, all ages and varieties, but that we are living on multiple planes and have a very different experience, without shame or hesitation, even in Target.

Education of a Deathwalker

Question:  Dear Kelley,
I have been very concerned over my son Ian. He has been troubled with symptoms of depression for about a year or more. He seems like a different boy and I am very worried. Can you give me some insight? I would really appreciate your help.
Sincerely, Elissa Ray

Thank you for your note, Elissa.  Initially meet an aspect of Ian sitting in a small dark pit where he is staring straight ahead.  I ask him what brings him to the pit and he says, “I don’t have to think.”
Although I don’t really expect an answer I ask, “What is it that you don’t want to think about?”  He stares ahead, nonresponsive.
I ask him if he will let me take him to another place that has a lot more color, but he doesn’t have to think and feels better.  Agreeably, he takes my hand and I lead him up to Spirit for healing.  As we near the Source Realm, he starts to cry.  He lets go of my hand and looks back at me but moves into Spirit space eagerly.
I ask his guides to lead me to a place that will feel comfortable to him when he is ready to talk with me.  After a few moments he returns with the gold-tinged souls of three older people (two women and one man) following closely behind him.  He seems to be very happy that they are with him, and they seem to be souls of the dead that he somehow knows.
I ask Ian what his depression is about and he replies, “I feel sad all the time.”  I ask him what the source of that sadness is and he does speak, but I feel very clearly that it is related to the death of someone significant to him.  This person is a teenager, but someone that Ian views as in his own age range, and the death of this young man was very distressful to him.  I do not have the impression that this young man was someone that Ian knew very well, but could likely be a soul that came to Ian after he had already died.  The significance of this teen seems to be that his death was Ian’s first brush with his own mortality and that of those he loves.
As we sit in this very uplifting space I ask Ian if he experiences death a lot, and he says that he does, and that it scares him to the point that he is afraid to live.  He is afraid everyone that he loves will die.  We talk about that for a bit, about how everything in form eventually moves out of that form to be formless, yet still exists.  Then we talk a bit about how he has had the opportunity to reunite with souls of those the dead that he has felt close to in this Higher space, and that he always has that availability.  He understands from this that he can revisit this space and those that he loves.
I ask him what he needs to feel a connection to his own ability to be in form or out of form, and a young man approaches us then.  It seems as though this is the soul of the young person for whom Ian has felt the most sadness, and Ian hugs the teen.  They talk privately for a while.  The young man looks over at me and smiles reassuringly, and after a bit Ian returns to sit by me and the three souls that are waiting.  Ian’s life force feels different to me now, more willing to flow and participate in life.  I ask him if he is ready to go back to Thinking Life now, and he says that he is.  I leave him in front of his house, where he walks gingerly inside.
I ask his guides what else I need to share with his mother about his close proximity to the dead, and one replies, “Ian is well protected.  He needs creative outlets—art—to express his feelings.  He is sensitive to the dead and the death realm and needs validation for his experiences with them.  When he hears them or sees them he needs to be able to tell his mother about them and receive acceptance of his abilities and perceptions.”
Ian is in possession of a very special ability as a communicator with the dead, and possibly  as a Deathwalker—one who leads the dead to shift out of form peacefully.  Some people refer to it as ‘midwifing the dead.’  As you can imagine, without a really healthy perspective on that shift, the reality of death can be very daunting, particularly to a young human.  It’s not something that many in our culture will admit to or have an operative framework for understanding, let alone be able to explain to someone else.  Being receptive to the plight of the dead can also take an incredible emotional toll when one can’t sift out one’s emotions from those of his or her formless visitors. Nonetheless it is a powerful ability that can also create an empowering depth of compassion and self-assuredness.  A book that may be of interest to you is Shamanic Guide to Death and Dying by Kristin Madden.
Be well, Elissa!

Confessions of a Reformed Depressive

Question: This week the question for my column comes from myself. I haven’t featured a personal inquiry in my Q&A before, which after some thought made no sense. I’m on as much a quest for insight as anyone, and somehow in opening myself up to that observation, I decided to share.

I’ve been wondering why I’m not very emotional lately.  In fact, life has been so level that I wondered if I’m depressed.  Except that life is good.  I’m relaxing into it.  I’m challenging myself in needed directions and flowing with the insecurities and jubilation such new territory brings.  So why am I not overrun with emotion about this newfound stability? I am feeling. There is no lack of feeling…

Then I considered…  what if this is the way life is when your neurotransmitters are finally balanced?  What if this balanced state is the way functional polarity feels? Given my history of chronic depression, it would make sense that I don’t recognize it. Whatever it is, it’s manifesting in livelihood,  productivity,  motivation,  the ability to feel comfortable creating myself as I want to be and not as I feel I should be, for others or for my contrived self.  Life really is pretty good.

Realizing that fact, I’m left pondering:  how much of depression is habit?  How much of it was me getting to this point of balance before, sensing the lack of drama, and creating one to fill the FEELINGS void?  What I’m noticing is that I don’t act out of emotion anymore.  I no longer REact to everything predominantly at an emotional level, and that is saying a lot for a Moon girl (I’m a Cancer).  I spent my early life’s development priding myself on my ability to feel beyond  empathy (to feel others as if perceiving their feelings) to connecting directly with the feelings of others. I took on so much crap that wasn’t mine, and what was mine I dressed up in lace and had tea parties with (I’m dead serious here– I used to personify my feelings as invisible playmates and talk with them).  For me sliding into the feeling state of all things and walking around in their shoes  (I do love shoes) was a way of life. Even my own emotional dynamics I played and replayed so many times my synaptic response couldn’t have been anything BUT a seratonin rut.  I gave it nowhere else to go, even when it asked. I don’t fault myself too much for that masochistic behaviour.  That learning  process  and heightened state of being sensitized me to parts of life and myself that I would have been too insecure to feel otherwise.

Other aspects of an All-Feelings existence are becoming very clear too.  Quite often I have thrived on the feelings more so than the person, the situation, or the occasion.  The result of being more tuned into the sensation of an experience than with the experience itself is not living in the present.  This sinister technique delays feeling until after-the-fact. It’s a means of staying caught in the cycle of processing and recycling the feeling, and never really connecting or knowing the person, the event, etc. In truth, it’s a means of never connecting with real feelings, and  an elaborate way of saying I was a drama queen.  I’m not anymore.  I’m lighter, leaner, burning on at least more cylinders, and living really well.  So it is no wonder that at this very balanced place in my life I am looking around and seeing that I am not re-creating any drama to thrive on.  I am connecting with the people, the places, the events, the situations.  All there is is Now. And in my self-obsessed history of dramatic flare, I find I have the nerve to consider it dull.  The extreme highs and lows I always thought were inspirational, motivational and cathartic (and they truly were) were also gutting me from the inside out.  I don’t have to split myself open  to be creative anymore.  I don’t have to have my life upheaved, or be constantly bowled over by passionate waves to realize how good I’ve got it or how deeply in love I am with my personal life.

It’s ironic that when I reach the mental health goal in life that I have wanted, my reaction is to assume that because it doesn’t meet a projected (and inflated) outcome, something’s wrong. Hypnotherapy has it right-on with the idea that we play tapes over and over until we learn:

  1. that the pattern is indeed a tape,
  2. that we can stop playing the tape, and that
  3. we can either come up with a new program to follow, or *gasp* pursue free will

I am catching myself in the act of putting in the same tape.  Because there is no drama, I think I must be cutting off from my feelings, when in reality I’m very happy and choosing to live out of more of my Self than just emotion.  I am living out of sensation, intentional thought formation, co-creation, my soul…  Most of us can recognize the point where we have the option to go in a different direction.  It’s the point that feels like freedom and sheer panic all at once.  It is the greatest moment of power we can have as humans.  The ancients called that moment alchemy— the magickal point of integration between opposites combining to produce something new.  The thing is, because we don’t arm ourselves with the knowledge of What Comes Next, we stick the same tape in and keep on going. Why?  It’s familiar.  It’s easy. It’s comfortable, even if deep down we know it’s not working.

Not this time.  I have nothing to recreate.  I have battled depression my entire life for a plethora of reasons.  Not one of those reasons is as powerful as I am. Throughout my life I experienced a space that my spirit teachers referred to as The Great Sadness, this fiery well, the overwhelming presence of all emotion of all beings at once consuming. This space felt like tapping into the collective consciousness of all suffering. I realize now that this dimensional space is a place we all pass through on the way to What Comes Next, and that I do not have to contribute to that well anymore.  In that wisdom I  create the space within myself to welcome new healthy ways of processing my feelings and living the experience of life through All That I Am, not just All That I Care To Perceive of Myself.  Moreover, instead of discarding my feelings now for being less because they are not so charged, I value them more because I am in a more level place to find my truth through them. I am in a more stable place to honor the truth around me.

Depression is nothing if not a refiner of perspective, and I can now raise my teacup in toast to my having an abundance of that. I know now what feelings are mine and what ones aren’t. The world inside me and the world outside me are finally safe enough places for me to experience The Present.

Do I have Spirit Guides?

Dear Kelley, Since 1999 I have been “off track” with my life. The pillars of career, relationship, and finances have crumbled away. Now, I am in my prime and I’m really desiring to do meaningful work in this life, have the experience of true love with a man, and be “in” this world. Do I have guides? Who are they and how can I let them know I need their help – now!! These years of bankruptcy, unavailable men, and jobs of little money and no fulfillment of my skills cannot be why I am here. I really want to contribute in a meaningful way. Do you have a light or hit on a direction for me? Thank you! “Jo”

Hi Jo! Thanks for your note, and sharing your lovely sense of humor =) When I ask to meet your spirit guide, I am led to an active volcano on an island. Sensing the energy of this volcano as very feminine, it indicates to me that she is Pele, Hawaiian fire goddess who shaped the surface of the land (pretty powerful stuff). There is the quite obvious fire aspect of her power, which I sense as an intense ability to create what she needs for herself. What surprises me though, is that she also has a very profound relationship with air, in that she very freely moves her energy wherever it is needed. More than a factor in creation, she knows when to relax and float on the breeze. You have not had enough of that luxurious rest in your life, and it is time to provide it for yourself. The volatile combination of fire and air feels to be a quite poignant in the cycle of destruction and creation. We often forget that destruction IS part of creation, and in this Crone aspect of the Goddess, she is the epitome of that process. As she is your spirit guide, you embody that process. This guide is here to help you burn out the deadwood of your life and replenish it with prospering, thriving Life. Pele point blank says, “She has the ability to rise above circumstance and into herself.”

To bring her into your daily life more, she asks that you acknowledge her by lighting a candle. Spend some time regularly talking with Pele and cultivating a relationship with her. However you meditate, begin opening and holding a place for her and her energy in your life.

Give some attention to third chakra clearing. The third chakra is the point in development at which you energetically realize you are part of All Things, and honor that connection. The true harmony of that connection rests in realizing who YOU are, and in being able to stand confidently in who you are while making that observation about all of life. The third chakra is all about confidence, which is the fuel for intuition. Pele indicates you have become more withdrawn than is your nature, due to feeling used or just battered about by the world. It’s not your nature to draw in, and she shows me that doing some work on your third chakra will help you feel more confident not only about connecting with the world, but your place in it.

There is also a panda bear working with you right now. I have the sense that he is your lifelong animal guide. It may behoove you to do some reading about pandas and their energetic/spiritual influence. However, YOUR panda says that he brings you comfort, very much in that teddy bear sort of way. He loves you very much, and is intent on helping you find the line between comfort and growth, as well as between loving connection and co-dependence. It seems you have tended to be full-bore one or the other, and not observed the balance that is best for you. He is here to help you with that. Even his black and white coloring suggests balance, appropriate boundaries, yet bold sense of self. He also seems to carry an intense yet artful knowledge of ritual, that is, finding the way in which day-to-day processes and observances create a mind/body/soul connection. He seems to have a lot in store for you on that front—a very disciplined and lovely way to help you find how you spiritually relate to All Things.

He asks that you keep an image or little figurine of a panda near you, as you have a tendency to feel unsupported by the world. This memento can serve a s a reminder that you have powerful spiritual allies who are channels of Universal power, at your disposal. In your meditative space, it would be good to ask him to step into you and let you truly feel his abilities and the gifts he brings you. This merging is called shapeshifting, and is the foundation of working with animal guides.

Between these two guides you have a good bit of instruction available to you in changing the direction of your life. Both are incredibly powerful in their own way, as are you. I hope that in the work you do with them, you come to hold that power the highest way that you can, and see the results you deeply want. My best to you, Jo!