I often find myself wondering what my beliefs are when it comes to the supernatural, specifically things like ghosts and spirits. Living in Salem, MA (the Witch City) it's kind of hard not to think about these things since our whole town's claim to fame lies in the hands of dead witches who supposedly haunt these streets on a daily basis. We all know people who have stories of growing up in haunted houses, people who have seen ghosts wandering the halls of their work place at night, or we have known someone who had a friend whose uncle's girlfriend's sister did a seance in her house and now every time she lights a candle the radio turns on. But how do we know if these stories are true or if we just WANT them to be true?
Being someone who is generally pretty open minded, I often tend to lean towards believing in all of these unexplained phenomena. I have had my fair share of palm readings, Tarot card readings, Ouija Board fun, and have even been to see some mediums. I figured the best way to look at each event was to approach it with the idea that the main reason for my being there was for entertainment purposes, and anything else that might happen would just be an unexpected bonus. This was specifically the feeling I tried to hold onto when I recently went with some friends to Regina Russel's Tea Room in Quincy, MA. Regina's offers a variety of different readings and I had been there once before, back when I was still in high school, for a relatively unsatisfying Tarot card reading. The woman who performed my reading certainly knew her cards and was obviously a very skilled people-reader, but I'm sorry to say that her days of being some kind of prophet seemed numbered. I remember walking out of my appointment feeling slightly entertained, somewhat curious, and mostly disappointed. It was because of this reading that I was hesitant at first to return to Regina Russel's, but again, I took to mind that as long as I went into the reading thinking it was mainly for entertainment purposes only, I hopefully wouldn't leave feeling disappointed again...especially since this time I had opted for a spirit reading.
The difference between your average run-of-the-mill Tarot card reading and a spirit reading is that instead of sitting across from someone who is only a few steps up from saying "Pick a card! Any card!" is that you are instead shut into a small room with a person who is supposedly going to be speaking to someone beyond the grave. Spooky, right? I had never had a one-on-one spirit reading before, so I honestly wasn't quite sure what to expect and I would be lying if I were to say I didn't go into this appointment hoping against hope to be able to connect with my mother.
When it was time for my appointment, I was taken away from my friends in the waiting room and told to follow a somewhat frazzled looking woman into a tiny room off a back hallway that was furnished with only one small table and two chairs. If there hadn't been a window in there I would have sworn we were about to play Seven Minutes in Heaven in Regina's closet! Because I was only paying for a 15 minute reading, the woman basically got started the minute we entered the room. She asked me to sit down and to let her know if there was anyone specific I was hoping to contact that day. Being a little skeptical, and almost biting my tongue to keep from shouting out "My mom!", I remained calm and told her that I was just curious to see if there was anyone out there, you know, beyond the grave, who was trying to get in touch with me. I half expected the woman to sit down across from me and hold my hand on the top of the small, wooden table, but instead she put her little purse down, removed the hair clip that was barely containing her frizzy hair, and crossed her arms over her chest and started pacing back and forth in the tiny room. I wouldn't go so far as to say it looked like she was having some kind of fit, but I do remember thinking that if all I was paying for and expecting was entertainment, it seemed like this woman was going to earn her money, and then some.
She started off by saying that she could see/sense five different spirits around me. This was a little shocking, considering there were only three deceased people in my family whom I was close enough to that would make me think they would want to hang around me in their afterlife, but again, trying to remain passive, I kept quiet and let her continue. She told me that they might be spirits of people I'm familiar with, or they could just be some random spirits flocking to me, since apparently I am very intuitive and open, which creates a sort of magnet approach for these kinds of spirits. I was starting to feel a little like the Pied Piper.
The first spirit who reached out to her was a heavyset woman of average height, probably middle aged, whom she thought was a teacher. This immediately got my attention (although I'm proud to say that I was able to continue keeping a blank face) due to the fact that all of those descriptors could have been about my mom. Again, I didn't want to say anything because I wanted this experience to be as "real" as possible and I felt that if this woman could see the hope written all over my face, she would mark me as an easy target and basically spoon-feed me anything she wanted. I think I replied with a generic "Oh, really?" and she went on to say that she just kept getting a teacher vibe but nothing else really seemed to be coming through. I was glad that I was able to keep my composure because I figured that if my mom's spirit really was going to try to contact me, she probably wouldn't have just said, "I'm a teacher" and then stopped talking. I would like to think that she might have been able to offer a few more facts about herself and/or our relationship, so when this teacher person moved on and stopped trying to communicate with me, I didn't feel rejected or even upset. Although I have to be honest, I am curious if there might be a past teacher of mine who might have died who for whatever reason felt the need to hang around and visit me.
I wasn't able to get much information about the next spirit who came to contact me. The medium started off by asking if there was someone in my life named Danny; that just so happens to be my father's name. She said that the spirit who was coming through was doing so from Danny's side and that he had a message for Danny, which would make sense as Danny's father (my grandfather) died when I was five. I was desperately hoping the message would be something along the lines of, "Tell him to grow up and get his act together!" but unfortunately that wasn't the case lol. She said the spirit was telling her that Danny is in the process of looking for a new job (which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in my family as Danny changes jobs more frequently than most people change their underwear) and that he should continue looking because he will have his new job by the end of 2012. I wonder if I should let my uncles know that they might need to be replacing him soon in the family business? Nah...I'm sure that knowing him, they already have a back-up ready and waiting!
The next spirit came through quickly after that and the medium asked me if I was close to someone named Jenny. I told her that I have a friend named Jen and she confirmed that yes, that was who this particular spirit was referencing. She told me the spirit coming through was an older woman, "a grandmother type" and that she had been trying to get in touch with Jen for quite some time. Apparently Jen has a similar energy to me in that her aura is welcoming to spirits, but for some reason, Jen is a little more closed off than I am, therefore making it harder for spirits to connect with her. The medium asked if it had been a while since I last saw Jen and I confirmed that it had been, since I don't think I had seen her since Christmas. The spirit then asked if I would bring a message to Jenny; she wanted Jen to know that whatever it is that Jen has been struggling with, that it will get better and should have resolved itself by this summer. The spirit was very concerned about making sure Jen doesn't shut down from anyone close to her or shut out the people around her, as they will help her come to her decision. At this point I'm thinking to myself, "What the hell is going on with Jen?" but then the spirit seemed to fade, having already given me the message. What was interesting about this particular experience was that my friend Jen is only called Jenny by her grandparents and aunts and uncles on that particular side of her family. No one else calls her that. Also, my friends and I were actually going to Jen's house after our readings, which again, would be the first time I was seeing Jen since Christmas. Obviously there is no hardcore evidence here, and even though I did my job and passed the message on to Jen, I still don't know if there really is some kind of internal struggle going on with Jen that she has been battling. I do think the coincidences are a little interesting though.
At that point in my reading, the medium was no longer pacing back and forth in the room, she was in fact sitting across the little table from me and tended to lean back against the wall with her arms folded across her chest and her eyes closed while she communicated with the spirits. No other spirits seemed to be jumping out to connect with me, so she asked if there was anyone specific I wanted to try to get in touch with. I figured it was now or never to mention my mom, so I did so and she asked me for my mom's name. Once I told her, she put her head down on the table and just kind of rocked her head back and forth a little bit. (Again, even if I left with no actual spirit connections, this woman was good at making these communications seem interesting at least!) She seemed to connect with my mom pretty quickly and said that my mom loved me, was very proud of me, and that I am stronger than I think I am. At this point, I think it's important to note that no matter how much of what the medium had just told me was "stock response", meaning that she could have been saying those things to any daughter, son or loved one from a spirit, and that even though the skeptic in me knew there was a good chance these were just generic words, it still did not stop me one bit from crying right there in that little closet.
The medium then went on to say that my mom was glad that everyone had received all of her belongings that they wanted and she wanted to thank me for making sure that was all done the way she would have wanted. (Interesting side note: I am the executor for my mom's estate and have been in charge of not only figuring out who gets what as far as materialistic things, but I also am the one who writes out the checks to distribute any money left in my mom's estate after all the bills are paid off). Then the medium told me that my mom was worried about my sister since she tends to close down and bottle everything up inside herself. She said she wants my sister to try to open up more and let people into her life easier. This is something we have been trying to get my sister to do for years, so maybe the 23rd time's a charm, right Em? ;) Next she told me that my mom was very happy that I am with Roland and that she knows he will always take good care of me. The medium then asked if I have any children yet and I told her no. Her response was, "Well, then you will!" She said that my mom told her I am going to have a daughter of my own and that my mom has already met the spirit that will become my daughter and that when she is born she will have my mother's eyes. I will admit that this hit a certain spot in my heart, because as corny and hokey as this may sound, I have always felt that I am destined to have a daughter, even though I went through stages in my life where I wasn't even sure I wanted to have children. It's just this feeling that I have, almost like a knowing, that I am meant to be a mom and that I will have at least one daughter to whom I will be very close. Obviously the medium could have told all of this to anyone, as it wasn't very specific to myself or my mom, but still, hearing the words was enough to strike a chord in me and touch me in a very special way. Even if it's not true, is it bad or wrong to think that my mom's spirit and my future daughter's spirit have already met and connected on some level? Especially considering the fact that they will obviously never get to meet here on Earth?
At this point in the reading, someone walked by and knocked on our door to let the medium know that our fifteen minutes were just about up. Kind of like Last Call at the spirit bar. The medium then asked me if I had any questions for my mom before we ended the session. I was honestly still reeling from the whole experience and hadn't thought of any specific questions to ask beforehand, so the first one that came to mind was to ask if my mom had any regrets. The medium put her head down again and told me that my mom did regret all of the arguments we had had over the years and the time and energy we each spent being mad at each other. She said my mom was sorry for letting things go on the way they did at times and she wished she had let more things go. The medium also said (repeatedly) that my mom was sorry that her body just couldn't keep up with her. She said that my mom was fighting right up until the end but that her body just wasn't strong enough to hold on. The word "cancer" was never mentioned by either myself or the medium, but it hung in the air like the dark cloud that it is. Tears once again stung my eyes as memories surfaced of the last night I saw my mom, and how I watched her body bring forth its last remaining option of having to shut itself down.
As a means of attempting to complete the session and probably lighten the mood and end things on a higher note, the medium told me that my mom will often hide my keys from me as a way to get me to slow down and enjoy life more often. She also said that when my mom is near me, she frequently flickers the lights to get my attention and let me know she is near.
I thanked the medium, wiped my eyes one last time, and went out into the lobby to join my friends and discuss all of our sessions. There were four of us that had readings done that day, and I can honestly say that out of the four readings, mine seemed to be the most accurate. Even to this day, weeks after the spirit reading occurred, I still can't say with 100% certainty that I believe everything the medium told me. I have gone over and over everything she said to me and have thought about how I acted in the session or if I gave anything away by my facial expressions; things that would have encouraged the medium to react to me in certain ways, but unfortunately I will never know. I do know that I still believe in ghosts and spirits and I do believe in the possibility that there are people out there who are capable of speaking to these spirits, and maybe the medium was able to talk to my mom, but maybe she wasn't. This is where I have to remember that my main goal for going to the medium was for entertainment purposes, and anything else I got from the experience was a bonus. I can admit that I never actually do lose my keys, however, I find it to be a weird coincidence that since having my spirit reading, there have been a lot of different lights flickering on and off in my presence.