Tag: ghosts

Hotel Phillips and Murderous Insomnia

Every year for Samhain I publish accounts of my more charged, and in some cases creepy, spiritual pursuits. The Dead Time is a treasured journey to Solstice, and as it is a time of untime, the shadowed season presents a great opportunity to tell the stories that many who do shamanic work won’t tell–the occasions when things don’t go well or the unseen presents itself unexpectedly. You may recognize some of these accounts from my previous stories, while others are more recent. Enjoy the solitude of the darkness, and know the light will soon warm!

Hotel Phillips - Photo by hotelphillips.comEarly 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—the garment 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, that she had become involved with a man and the relationship 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. 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. 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.

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellI 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.

Read more spooky stories in “Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World,” my collection of true paranormal experiences as a lifelong intuitive.

Also, read the 2014 followup to this encounter.

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.

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 (deathwalking). 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.

If you’re not familiar with deathwalking, it’s a shamanic approach to releasing unquiet dead. I teach classes in it, and it’s a big focus of my shamanic work. Learn more about deathwalking:

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