Tag: paranormal

Samhain Sentiments – Compassionate Work with the Dead

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellFor several years I’ve made effort to talk openly paranormal experiences from the perspective of someone who views them not as Nature’s side shows or intrusive investigation into the spirit world, rather as an honest look into times that the unseen pokes back in startling ways. Ultimately, creepy experiences are still about spiritual imbalance and restoring balance where possible, and where wanted.

It’s that last bit that gets many psychics and intuitives who work with the dead, discarnate souls, and general bump-in-the-nightness into personal trouble. Many contemporary empaths bring to their work a good/evil dichotomy that implies where imbalance is observed, balance/healing must be done. My experience has been more along the lines of open dialogue, which implies listening to the distressed being’s story, as well as compassionate companionship in facilitating them to what they need. That may be total release, to move on to their next destiny. It may be a kind gesture that affirms them in some way. It may be realization that the dynamic is note mine to affect at the time.

Ultimately, my experience has been that healing can’t be forced on beings in the unseen, any more than it can be forced on those of us in the formed realm. That bit of insight, along with a few others came a a few years ago, in a blog post called, Six Things the Dead Want Us to Know About Life.

Samhain Stories – Saturn’s Gift

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellEvery year on Intentional Insights I share some of my more charged, spooky, Samhain Stories. This year I am releasing a collection of such encounters in Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World, to give further insight into my experiences.

As a lifelong intuitive and neoshaman by choice for over two decades, not all of my experiences with the spirit world have had direction, instruction, or even clarity. Every one of them, though, has meaning. Working with the unseen of the earthly realm is an opportunity to learn about life out of form, and be of some kind of service to spirits in need. Working with the other side of death equips me better this side of life.

This story marks one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had as an intuitive, and certainly one of the saddest times in my life.  It gives a classic yet modern glimpse into what I call the tribeless modern mystic, as only a gift from an ancient God can–Saturn’s Gift.

What unusual encounters have you had?  How have they affected your life? Comment on your experiences and be entered to win a free ebook of Real Wyrd!

Real Wyrd is available in print and ebook editions at:

Samhain Stories – Number One Rule of House Selling

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellEvery year on Intentional Insights I share some of my more charged, spooky, Samhain Stories. This year I am releasing a collection of such encounters in Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World, to give further insight into my experiences.

As a lifelong intuitive and neoshaman by choice for over two decades, not all of my experiences with the spirit world have had direction, instruction, or even clarity. Every one of them, though, has meaning. Working with the unseen of the earthly realm is an opportunity to learn about life out of form, and be of some kind of service to spirits in need. Working with the other side of death equips me better this side of life.

The rule? why, it’s declutter, of course! But who ever thinks to declutter their lingering spirits, emotions, or traumas? Number One Rule of House Selling

What unusual encounters have you had?  How have they affected your life? Comment on your experiences and be entered to win a free ebook of Real Wyrd!

Real Wyrd is available in print and ebook editions at:

Samhain Stories – Hotel Phillips and Murderous Insomnia

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellEvery year on Intentional Insights I share some of my more charged, spooky, Samhain Stories. This year I am releasing a collection of such encounters in Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World, to give further insight into my experiences.

As a lifelong intuitive and neoshaman by choice for over two decades, not all of my experiences with the spirit world have had direction, instruction, or even clarity. Every one of them, though, has meaning. Working with the unseen of the earthly realm is an opportunity to learn about life out of form, and be of some kind of service to spirits in need. Working with the other side of death equips me better this side of life.
In this particular story, I was on a business trip to Kansas City, MO, where I stayed at the lovely, vintage Hotel Phillips.  Despite that I traveled alone, at no point was I left to myself in the room…  Hotel Phillips and Murderous Insomnia

What unusual encounters have you had?  How have they affected your life? Comment on your experiences and be entered to win a free ebook of Real Wyrd!

Real Wyrd is available in print and ebook editions at:

Samhain Spectres – An Unearthly Warning

Four years ago in celebration of The Dead Time I began sharing some of my more creepy experiences of the wyrd. Sooner or later most people experience phenomena they can’t explain, or that occurs outside the bounds of their belief system. What it is and what it means is open to interpretation, and most certainly is in the eye of the boo-holder. Bless the darkness, hold the light.

This is the most recent addition to my collection, although the incidents only marginally included me. This experience reminded me of the many reasons that spirits visit us and introduced me to a phenomenon I hadn’t experienced before.

Earlier this year my sister, Ellen, expressed concern that something odd was happening in her home. Hearing these words I perked up as her house often has interesting, but soothing activity from peaceful spirit visitors. The mountains of North Carolina are very active spiritually and etherically, and she resides at the heart of the region. In fact, we’ve even ventured to say that the exact spot of her home is a rejuvenating place for souls in and out of form. That something out of the ordinary distressed her gave me pause.

We didn’t have another opportunity to talk before I went up to her place for a visit. That area is always very “busy,” so on general feel alone, nothing felt off to me. However, as we all wound down for the day and casual conversation came up, something else new happened. My nephew mentioned that something was going on in the house. My sister has often acknowledged visitors, and my niece has on occasion reported interesting events. This was a first for my nephew.

He began by telling me something that he hadn’t even had a chance to tell his mother, which was that one night he’d heard pacing upstairs in the small hall between his room and his sister’s, as well as on the balcony that overlooks the livingroom. He could hear individual footsteps shuffling over the hall carpet and boards supporting the balcony creaking with each step. It went on for quite some time until it eventually stopped. He also indicated hearing a woman’s voice.

At that point my sister chimed in, saying that was the exact spot that she’d heard someone walking, directly above her bed downstairs. She’d been home alone at the time. Though she’d not heard a voice, she felt that the presence was feminine. Fairly comfortable with experiencing such phenomena herself, she was not at all happy to learn that it was affecting her kids. As we discussed what spirits are and how to interact with them, I put feelers out around the house. Again, I got nothing beyond the usual busy stream of life force that I know is typical for her home. Things felt peaceful.

A caveat of this story is that since having twins, I’ve been highly conscientious of sounds that come through the baby monitor. From the first minute that we moved them into their room to sleep alone, I kept an ear tuned to pick up sounds that did not originate from them. Of course, I heard none. Later that same evening at my sister’s, their dad and myself were putting the babies to bed in the third upstairs room. I was highly aware that this was the area where they had heard the pacing woman, but I trusted my perception. Everything felt fine. The room was a bit upended as they were in the midst of redoing it, but it was fine for the babies. We put them down for bed and shut the door behind us.

I went into my nephew’s room to grab the monitor and turned it on. As I walked back down the hall toward the stairs, I got right in front of the room where the babies settled and I heard muttering through the monitor. What instantly struck me as odd was that I could hear the babies chattering through the monitor as well as with my ears, but the muttering only came through the monitor. I froze, and heard nothing. I took a step back, and there it was again. Plain as day, I heard the croaky voice of an old woman muttering. I couldn’t make out what she said, but she was distressed, very upset about something. The other feeling I had was that she had no intention of leaving, that she was protecting something. I attempted to engage her but she did not respond. I listened to her and my children for about a minute, then the voice stopped. With careful steps, holding the monitor out before me I tried to locate the voice again and could not.

I was a little rattled that I’d heard what we had just been discussing moments earlier, and that for the first time I’d experienced Electronic Voice Phenomenon. What really bothered me still was that beyond feeling the spirit woman’s distress, everything about the home and area still felt peaceful. This observation did not mesh with the intensity of her upset, and it definitely was not aligned with her etheric assertion that she was not leaving. Posing a completely new dynamic for me, I was confused.

Returning downstairs I described what I’d heard, and we discussed it further. We all agreed there was nothing malevolent about the visitor, but that she was insistent about being there. It was futile to release her at that point. After laying out their boundaries for visitors in their home—those in form and those not—we spoke them to the house and general area and left it at that. Nothing further happened that weekend.

A few weeks later I got a frantic phone call from Ellen. They were in the process of finishing the third room when they discovered the electrical outlet between that room and the balcony was loose. Upon attempting to tighten it, it fell out of the wall and fire shot out. The outlet hadn’t been wired correctly and had completely burned through, save a tiny connecting filament. The state of the outlet should have caused a fire, and had that outlet been used it definitely would have.

Immediately my sister had begun crying. There had been no further disturbances in the house since my visit, though they had all remained vigilant of the old woman and their etheric boundaries. As soon as Ellen realized what was happening, she knew the woman had been trying to warn them that the outlet was dangerous. She thanked the spirit profusely for attempting to alert them to the danger, and all has been safely quiet since.

6 Things the Dead Want Us to Know About Life

One of the earliest intuitive abilities I recognized in myself was the ability to interact with the dead. As a child I was terrified of them. They woke me from sleep, made noises in my room, touched me, gave me visions. Nothing in my belief system had taught me how to communicate with them well, of the graphic ways in which they can communicate, or even about what death is. As an adolescent I realized not all spirits I saw were products of a completed life in form. Some were spirits of trees, living animals, or beings that have never been in form, though nonetheless influenced the lives of those of us in form. In forty years of communing with the world in this way, several universal messages have been conveyed. The unifying concept in these messages is that what happens in consciousness stays in consciousness, and I distilled them to six general observations:

    • How we live now is the state of the afterlife. While the body ceases to be, the mind and soul carry on. The state of our consciousness in life is the state of our consciousness in death. If we foster worry and anxiety now, that’s our mode of operation after. By focusing on negative or hurtful aspects of life, we stew in them in death, causing consciousness to stagnate. If we are mindful and live in the present in life, in death we continue to broaden consciousness, further opportunity to make choices to support that awareness.
    • There is no magickal place of punishment or reward. This insight garners strong emotional reactions from many people. Most of our world religions are built on the idea that regardless of the plight of our lives, we are destined by our actions to spend everafter in torment or joy. Again, what the dead indicate is that what comes after is based on our perspective in life. How one behaves in life is what one experiences after life.
Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

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.

  • Everything lives on. In some guise, form, or unform, the essence of every thing remains and becomes some other manifestation of itself and All Things.
  • Spirits aren’t wise or moral just because they are out of form. Our culture perpetuates a myth that upon death souls become penitent and/or enlightened. In my experience, wise deceased were so in life. Souls that were confused, frustrated, angry, etc, are so in death.
  • What we don’t heal in life stays with us in death. Thoughts, habits, or beliefs that don’t support us or undermine us, such as lying, using others to further ourselves, or denying our true natures do not magickally vanish when we leave form. For this reason, when we seek to release harmful dynamics from our lives, we are also assuring peace in death. We assure ongoing tranquility.
  • Working with trance states affects knowledge of how to die. By accessing the imagination via ecstatic trance, dreamwork, or other method of altered consciousness, we experience life without the ego. In this pure space and consciousness, we catch glimpses of what it feels like to be out of form, to be our undaunted wild selves.  The more we connect with our true nature our quality of life improves.  The better we live, the more comfortable we are with the truth of mortality.

While my experiences with the spirits now are more balanced than those of my childhood, the prevailing message is that spirits do affect our lives. By living well we die peacefully, which means that we have no need to disrupt the living. By living well, everyone’s experience of consciousness is improved.

If you love reading true stories of the wyrd, every year for the Samhain season I share several in my column, Intentional Insights.  Check the archive there under the ‘Samhain’ and ‘paranormal’ tags.  If you want to learn more about shamanism and deathwalking, visit Soul Intent Arts.

Samhain Spectres – An Afternoon with Max, the Crystal Skull

Max, the Crystal Skull

Max, the Crystal Skull

Four years ago in celebration of The Dead Time I began sharing some of my more creepy experiences of the wyrd. Sooner or later most people experience phenomena they can’t explain, or that occurs outside the bounds of their belief system. What it is and what it means is open to interpretation, and most certainly is in the eye of the boo-holder. Bless the darkness, hold the light.

This story isn’t creepy (well, to me), so much as peculiar. Crystal skulls have been a focus in the mystical community ongoing, though interest in them became more common after the last Indiana Jones film. There are quite a few of them, several of which date back thousands of years. A few years ago one of the most well-known ones, Max, visited my area, hence, An Afternoon with Max, the Crystal Skull.

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

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.

Samhain Spectres – Hotel Phillips and Murderous Insomnia

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

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

Four years ago in celebration of The Dead Time I began sharing some of my more creepy experiences of the wyrd.  Sooner or later most people experience phenomena they can’t explain, or that occurs outside the bounds of their belief system.  What it is and what it means is open to interpretation, and most certainly is in the eye of the boo-holder.  Bless the darkness, hold the light.

In this particular story, I was on a business trip to Kansas City, MO, where I stayed at the lovely, vintage Hotel Phillips.  Despite that I traveled alone, at no point was I left to myself in the room…  Hotel Phillips and Murderous Insomnia

The Tribe of the Modern Mystic – Setting Spiritual Boundaries with Challenging Energies

In a recent discussion around disruptive energetic activity in someone’s house a question arose that often comes up in such dynamics: What do you do when a visiting energy doesn’t honor boundaries?

Many people at some point encounter energetic or spiritual activity in their home or workspace that they find disruptive, disturbing, or flat out frightening. Most often, how that energy is dealt with determines how well the dynamic finds balance. I’m careful to distinguish “energetic” from “spiritual.” Sometimes the activity in a space is due to odd fluctuations in the etheric field and has nothing to do with spirits. In this case, balancing the elements of the space can bring relief. Likewise, there can be a spiritual presence that readily exhibits a personality or humanoid traits, such as a female form or voice. Ultimately such disturbances indicate a different kind of energy out of balance and don’t carry a “good” or “bad” judgement. They just indicate that something needs attention. For most people it is the element of surprise that is bothersome. This is true whether the disturbance is another person coming up behind them or an insect popping out. Once they get their bearings on the situation they manage it by asserting a more suitable way to approach, or by determining if that particular bug can roam freely in the house. With the boundary set, things calm. It’s no different with spiritual energies. In the case of a spiritual interruption, we set boundaries, such as, “It’s OK if you’re here, though I allow no physical contact,” or “It’s OK that you’re here, though please no surprise visits.” What happens when the energy doesn’t hold up its end of the peace?

In order to understand why an energy doesn’t honor a boundary, let’s examine what that energy may be and its reason for making itself known to start with. There are many scenarios under which spiritual activity happens, and I can only touch on a few here. Figuring out what sort of visitor is present is key to resolving any unrest it causes. Some visitors warn about dangerous situations. Once the danger is removed, the energy moves on and disruption stops. Others are enticed into a peaceful environment and simply want to enjoy it. Some don’t know they’re deceased and don’t realize they need to move on. Others perished traumatically and are locked in a PTSD dynamic, acting out their demise until someone understands that’s what’s happening and helps them move on. In some cases a paranormal disturbance can indicate trouble in the home. The phenomenon referred to as “poltergeist” activity isn’t necessarily a spirit visitor at all, but an unconscious projection of a person in the household (usually a child) who has been traumatized and doesn’t have the communication skills to express their distress.

Spirit VisitorsAnother frequently occurring phenomenon is the visitation of spirit guides (or as some call them, guardian angels), who shake up the environment, particularly in the case of children, budding intuitives, or empaths who refuse to acknowledge their Other sight. Even in the case of a visiting guide–beings we often assume to be gentle angelic creatures–we question their need to sometimes be forceful or frighten us. Sometimes we have received gradual small signals that we may have ignored or just didn’t process as spirit communication, so a bigger display of need finally gets our attention. Another way to look at it is by considering that spirits are beings from a foreign country and they don’t speak the language, or don’t know the customs. They don’t know that disembodied voices in the night scare us, or that dropping onto the mattress while we’re sleeping is a bit rude. Again, that element of surprise prevents us from perceiving friendly interactions, or at least misconstrued actions with good intentions. Hence, this is the reason the accepted historic accounts with angels always begin with, “Fear not!” Moving past that initial shock is what determines whether we get the memo.

All of that said, when we have such experiences an opening for them has to be created somewhere. Sure we can feel so terrified by spirit interaction that we run screaming from it and never look back, and no such contact happens again. The cultural myth of “fire in the head” exists for a reason, though I think it’s somewhat misunderstood. We’ve all read legends of the old man who heard voices and went crazy, or the young girl who was visited by spirits that wouldn’t leave her alone. The message handed down has been that if we don’t accept the task of becoming a seer or conduit of the spiritual world in some way that bad things will happen. I think it’s more benevolent than that. In my experience we don’t have to take on the whole arena of what a spiritual encounter may mean, even ones that are very personal. We don’t have to quit our jobs and move to an ashram in India or suddenly become vegetarian and take herbalism classes. It may mean that kind of sweeping life change for some people. What it demands without question is that we honor that we had an experience outside of our understanding, that we allow that one little interaction to open our understanding of All Things. That’s all. In that light when we have a challenging spiritual experience and we refuse to acknowledge it, chances are the environment will become more restless, not because we are cursed or are refusing the leadership of a spirit guide, but because we are refusing some wisdom to light within ourselves. This is the reason that instead of dismissing energetic adversity we open a dialogue with it. This is why instead of shutting down that part of ourselves we set boundaries for how we can accept it. We do so not because we need to control the unseen, but because we have had a spiritual opening, an opportunity to learn something about ourselves.

Still, what if we go through all of these things and our visitor is still being obnoxious? I tell clients to keep two things in mind. The first is that All Things are connected, so when we speak from our truth, All Things actively participating in that connection recognize that fact and honor our needs. Create the habit of observing and regrouping when caught offguard–seen or unseen–and set a boundary not out of shocked fear, but from personal truth. It works. The second thing I tell people when a visitor isn’t honoring their boundary is, because All Things are connected, consider what All Things is trying to communicate something important. It may be about us, about the energy, or about the environment. There is a reason it is persisting, the least of which is to be merely bothersome. A final consideration is if the experience has traumatized the individual it’s very hard to find a place of balance from which to set boundaries. Activity will likely persist until the PTSD of the individual can be released.

In our western culture we don’t have the community Crone sitting by the campfire scrying out the best way to do this year’s crop planting or helping us make sense of experiences that don’t fit our norm. For this reason I actively teach people how to soften their experience of Other and to learn to integrate it into their lives. Western culture is the only thriving population on the planet that regards paranormal activity as astounding, riveting, or disturbing. All other cultures have integrated it into their experience of everyday. As a result of our separation from our spiritual perception, we panic when it seeks to reunite with us. I first met my spirit guide when I was about twelve or thirteen. I woke over years finding him standing at the foot of my bed, or at the end of the hall when I got up for water in the night. All he did was stand there, but that was all it took to terrify me. I didn’t learn who he was for another fifteen years. For that reason through private sessions, classes, and Distance Mystery School, I’ve committed to create a new tribe of support for children and adults whose lives are blessed with such experiences and an uncontainable inner knowing. I’ve committed to create The Tribe of the Modern Mystic.

As you feel led, I’ll be waiting by the fire.

Healing the PTSD of Paranormal Probing

This week’s inquiry is a comment from my last article Paranormal Investigating – Troubleshooting the Middle World. “Kelley, you said “Should you find residuals from the encounter with these spirits – things like paranoia, troublesome thought or behavior patterns that disrupt your daily life – these are indications that your PTSD switch for paranormal experiences has been flipped on and you should seek help in turning it off.” I dabbled stupidly with the Ouija board as a kid and other things before I realized the seriousness of it. Now, decades later it seems that something may have remained. How can I turn it off? Thanks, Carolyn.”

Thanks for reading and contributing, Carolyn. The absolute best thing to do if you feel PTSD or anything unfinished from these experiences is to find a shaman to help you. I can do this work remotely, but if you let me know your location perhaps I can connect you with someone with whom you can work in person if that is preferred.

Traumatic experience with the paranormal could be as benign as the shock of being told information you weren’t prepared to know or that no one else could know. It could be as jarring as seeing objects move, hearing voices, seeing visitors… Fright can even come days later in some signal, synchronicity, or dream pointing back to the spirit interaction. The definition of ‘trauma’ varies person-to-person. The point is you know you’ve been traumatized if you can’t step out of the fear stemming from the original interaction.

Generally speaking, there are three layers to the aftermath of such spirit interactions. First is turning off the switch, which I call rebalancing your etheric field. Second is removing any errant life force that may be clinging to yours. Third is healing focused on balancing the energy shifts from all of the above.

There is no shortcut to finding the place in your etheric field that is vulnerable to the trauma and rebalancing it. Where it’s located is unique to the individual and the experience. If you are adept at working with the etheric field you can do this yourself, though I would still recommend allowing someone else to do it. The life impact of this kind of imbalance bears being thorough. There are many ways to balance the etheric field, all of which require some knowledge of life force and how to move it.  At this stage, the original trauma is healed, as are emotions that came with it.

Removing unnecessary energies attached to yours is called by many names depending on culture and circumstance—depossession, extraction, releasement. The state of having unneeded life force attached to yours is not good or bad. It’s not light or dark. There are no such judgments in shamanic work. What exists is a state in which you are not functioning at your desired ability and benevolent work can be done to re-establish balance.

Like attracts like. When you experience something that puts you into a panicked, anxious, or terrified state, you attract energy of that same state. Psychological models call this PTSD, or being “shell-shocked.” Spiritually speaking PTSD is recognized when you attract people who express the same feelings, situations reinforcing those feelings, or spirits/energies of similar trauma. You think the distress and building panic are yours, when in reality like attraction is merely exacerbating it. This scenario constitutes a spiritual emergency. Until you direct healing to the trigger for the trauma the anxiety and panic keep playing out and/or attracting more of the same. This is the spiritual truth of any trauma, not just those of paranormal origin.

After balancing the etheric field to restore calmness and removing unnecessary life force, healing is directed to all levels of your being, to help changes from the etheric and spiritual work to gently ground.

How About Demons? by Dr. Felicitas Goodman

How About Demons? by Dr. Felicitas Goodman

That’s it, in a not-so-brief nutshell. If you want to understand “the switch”–what it is, how it functions, and how the spiritual technology of managing it crosses cultures and time, the definitive work in my opinion is How About Demons? by Felicitas D. Goodman.

Be well, Carolyn.