Of Ghosts and Other Things

It's October, and as such, most find that they are inundated with ghosties, goulies and all kinds of paranormal wanderings as we lead up to Halloween. It always amazes me how many people suddenly find the idea of the paranormal and spirits to be more accepting when we come to this time of year, as if the holiday itself gives them permission to look into a lesser viewed side of our existence.

When I set out to write Three Truths I didn't set out with the idea of including the spirit of Simon's wife. But she became and integral part of the story, another match maker of sorts, for the beleaguered couple. I didn't realize until the story was done how much my own belief system had somehow transplanted into the storyline. They do tell us to write what we know. And, in this case, I know a thing or two about spirits.

I can't even begin to tell you when this fascination with spirits began. From the beginning I was picking out books from the library involving ghosts and otherworldly beings. Stories of hauntings never scared me, only served to imbibe with compassion of those who may be trapped by circumstances or beliefs and, even, a strong sense of history with a respect for the past. But still, this doesn't explain how the shy little girl from a small Maine fishing community ended up wandering through darkened buildings in the dead of night looking for something that would terrify most people. It also gave little warning of the personal journey that the experiences took me on and how it would change my life and my own belief system.

At first, I thought it was the history that got me. I hate vague inaccuracies and the more I researched the paranormal locations in Maine, the more irritated I became by the copy and paste mentality that I found on multiple sites. The same information was dredged up time and again with respect for the legend, location or the accuracy involved. I was just this that I lamented on a local Ghost Hunter message boards and it was this drive that had me attending one of their meet ups. After talking with them I joined their group and spent a very interesting year travelling the state and investigating a number of locations. It was one of the busiest and also the most interesting experiences I ever had. As a child who loved to look through the windows of houses and imagine the activity within, being a ghost hunter took me inside the walls. I found myself exposed to all sorts of emotions, actions and, even, inactions (as some places did not live up to the expectations), but throughout it all I began to realize that this was something I was supposed to be involved in because it continued my journey into discovering that I had another side to me as a spirit intuitive.

Bah, a spirit intuitive... a bunch of mumbo jumbo most would say. My husband was one of those that had no belief in the paranormal... at the beginning. To this day he poo-poos those that claim abilities, even when I point out that his wife is among those with the ability to communicate with spirits. I'm not a medium. I can't do this at will, only be receptive when they come to me. I can't carry on a conversation with them, but I can hear some of them, and I can see some and only sense others. It's randomness and that randomness only leads to doubts among the skeptical. I can only appreciate their skepticism, I'm a card carrying member myself, and tell them what I've experienced. They have to experience it for themselves in order to truly believe.

When I started writing Stealing Darkness I only knew that Minn Sterling was a woman with a psychic ability that she could not control, nor deny. She had watched her mother struggle with her own abilities and it had driven her to her end. Minn lived with the fear of losing her mind and that was what keeps her from getting close to anyone, including the one man who loves her the most.

The idea that this is not a gift, but a calling is not new. As many people as there are that tout their "gifts" to the world, there are just as many who go about quietly and try to help as they can. Most aren't stopping people in the grocery store line and many will never offer up tales of being chased up a stairway by an unseen entity. But that doesn't mean they aren't out there. Because we are. On the rare occasion I talk about my interactions with spirits I'm quick to point out that manyof them come to me for help. I try to do my best to help them, but often it's just a need to be heard. The obvious deterant to this would be to hear them while they are alive so they don't have to carry it with them after. Compassion in life as in death is the key. We'd all do a little better with compassion.

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