Q & A: Mexican Ghosts Speak Spanish

Q: Hi Jennifer. My grandma died last year. We miss her a lot! My mom says she sometimes catches flashes of her, which I believe, but why can no one else see her? Sometimes I think I sense her, but I’m really not sure. When you experience a ‘ghost’ how can you tell it’s not your imagination? –Emily; New Braunfels.

Great question.

But let me answer the last part first.

Imagination is when you’re watching a scary movie and too scared to get up and pee. Intuition is when you open the bathroom door and see a man walk through the wall.

If a ghost, angel, or deceased loved one appears, it’s my experience that (most) everyone in the room will experience something. Even if they later try to reason it away.

HOWEVER. Only those with clairvoyant tendencies would (likely) see it.

Imagine this scenario:

A few friends gather at Peter’s house, drinking and chatting  when a sudden presence fills the room. So strong that Peter stops talking and stares at the wall.

Peter: Wait. What was that. Did ya’ll see that?

Susan: See what?

Peter: A man. There by the window.  I swear I saw something?

Edmund: I dunno, but I just got the chills.

Lucy: Right when you said that, I smelled cigarettes. Did someone say ‘Harold?’

Susan:  Ya’ll are crazy. I’m leaving.

Peter: Please don’t. The queso’s almost ready.

Susan: No, I don’t feel right. Something’s up.  Excuse me a sec.

Susan calls home, learns her son sliced his foot and needs stitches ASAP. Peter researches to find the original homeowner, Harold Smith, a heavy smoker, drank himself to death in 1899. No one likes Peter’s house anymore.

The End.

Okay, that’s silly and oversimplified, but you get the point. ‘Clairvoyant’ is one of those loaded words, but it just means ‘clear seeing’ and is by far the easiest extra-sensory perception to glamorize on film. But spirit detection is rarely down to eyes alone.

IMG_6236 (1)

Intuition/Psychic ability breaks down to:

  1. Seeing
  2. Feeling
  3. Hearing
  4. Knowing
  5. Smelling/Tasting

Peter saw. Edmund felt. Lucy smelled AND heard. And Susan — our skeptic– demonstrates intuition isn’t a woo-woo phenomenon. I personally think clear knowing is the strongest, most trustworthy of the four. Sometimes you just KNOW. You don’t know how. You just do. And inevitably it’s about something really, really important, right?

Every person alive has at least one of these gifts whether they ignore it or not. Those with a decent command of all four are the world’s ‘psychics’ or ‘intuitives.’ Those who claim they do and tell people lies for money and attention are charlatans.

Know the difference.


Now I’ll share something that really happened.

Picture it. Estado Morelos 2008.

My mom, our friend Heather, and I traveled to Mexico for a family wedding and shared a room in this hotel overlooking scenic Tepoztlán.



Pretty, right?

It was also FULL of Spirit. Like, everywhere. In the streets. In the market. In church. The entire city felt charged. Not haunted. Just charged. (Frenchman St. in NOLA’s French Quarter feels similar.)

I felt it. Heather felt it. Mom felt it. But it was in our hotel room we encountered a pushy, dead Mexican.

I woke in the middle of the night because I felt –I dunno– something.

Imagine squeezing a balloon. Not enough to pop it, but enough to think you might. That’s what woke me– something pressing against my subconscience. I opened my eyes and pulled up on my elbows.

The room felt still.

I remember being hot. There was no a/c so they’d given us fans, but really, they just made noise. We’d opened balcony doors to stave off heat, but there was no wind either. Only moonlight, a whirring fan, and the distant chirping of foreign bugs. I kicked off the covers. And that’s when I noticed the bottom of my mattress, sunk down.

Like someone sitting there.

I yanked in my feet. Let me assure you the mattress was hard as a damn rock. It’d take something with mass to make it sink that deep. I stared at the empty (yet occupied) space with a pounding heart.

The air got crackly.

Oh hell no, I thought. LEAVE.

But that guy —I could tell it was a guy— didn’t budge. And he was super happy I acknowledged him. Because then he started talking. FAST.

A quick word about Spirits talking: Rarely do you hear them outside yourself –like you’d hear someone next to you–talking. You hear it inside. But it’s completely different from your brain voice. Does that make sense? It’s almost like a super loud thought, yet you know it’s not coming from you.

The cool brown tiles felt good against my feet. I slipped to the bathroom and shut the door, quickAnd do you know that cabrón followed me to the toilet?!  I wasn’t imagining things either because rapid unfamiliar Spanish zipped through my conscience like ticker tape. I caught a few words.

. . . mil setecientos . . .

“Go away!” I whisper-hissed, too scared to look up in case he manifested in front of me.

. . . José.

“Váyase José!” I waved toilet paper at him.

. . . de cólera, he implored.

“Eres muerto, Jose!” ( Jesus Cristo! How do you say go to the light en Español!?) My mind raced. “Vaya con Dios!” I still wouldn’t look up.

“Who are you talking to?” I heard my mother.

And then he was gone.

I re-entered the room to Mom and Heather, wide awake.

“There’s a damn ghost in there telling me he died of cholera in the 1700s.” I plopped defensively on my now un-sunken mattress.

And then it got interesting.

In full disclosure, I need to let you know Heather is a professional medium and my trusted go-to when I want a reading. She’s also a big ol’ chicken who gets really uncomfy outside the loving presence of angels and deceased loved ones.

Poor girl had been lying there hours. Unable to sleep. Overwhelmed by images of bones, mountains, native people, and snatches of conversation from long ago. And she couldn’t shut it off.

“They obviously don’t sage here,” she sighed, sitting up, fluffing her pillow.

Everyone knows how bad it sucks to lie there exhausted in the wee hours, mind churning like a hamster wheel. Let me tell you it’s 1000 times worse as a psychic. It’s like a movie reel shining bright, constant, moving pictures behind your closed eyes. And you can’t do CRAP about it except wait for it to be over.

Mom later confessed she’d seen a man hovering over Heather in the doorway, but didn’t say anything.

We turned on the lights and waited several hours for breakfast.

( P.S. Local Mexican coffee mops the floor with Folgers.)

That same trip,  Mom and I hiked two, steep, dangerous hours to the top of an ancient pyramid and encountered –I have no choice but to believe– an angel.


But I’ll save that story for another time.

Next time you say prayers Emily, ask Grandma to let you know she’s there. Maybe you’ll dream about her that night. That’s a form of clairvoyance, too. In the meantime, believe your momma.



If you have a question regarding paranormal or metaphysical phenomena, please send it to jennifer@jkabay.com. I’ll archive and answer as appropriate, when I can.

Thank you.









Astrology & April’s Jenniforecast.


What a weird, touchy subject.  People share politics and colonoscopy results, but ask their sign? Now hang on a minute. That’s personal.

Like it or not, astrology is a science. Maybe a pseudoscience which means it doesn’t get funding and experts are ridiculed behind their backs. But it’s science nonetheless.

Every person I’ve ever met loves staring at the night sky. Heads against the grass. Eyes twinkly. Thoughtful. We’re commanded to peace in those moments, aren’t we. Staring. Wondering. Feeling connected without knowing why.

Maybe because every single atom in our human body is made of elements forged by dying stars. Really. Did you know that?  Joni Mitchell did. David Bowie did. Carl Sagan, too.

Oh ya! Good ole Carl! We love that guy!

Sagan was an astronomer.


Astronomers (in simplest terms) study planets, moon, stars, galaxies, and all things celestial.

Astrologers (in simplest terms) study planets, moon, stars, galaxies, all things celestial, and their positional effects on humans.

Can you name a famous astrologer?


I get it. I really do. Heavily jeweled people with tacky websites slinging words like psychic and prediction don’t help. But let’s be objective. Just for a moment.

Astrology’s not woo-woo. Nor is it connected to evil. That may be the most irritating dismissal of this study. If a benevolent God created our infinite Universe, wouldn’t some part of it have some effect on us? Even a little tiny one? I mean, wouldn’t it be weirder if it didn’t?

That was rhetorical, by the way.  Of course the heavens affect us.

Ask an ER nurse what happens during a full moon. Too subjective? Consider the moon and tides. Gravitational pull isn’t mystical, yo. It’s science. Our bodies are 60% water. Make the leap. Is it magic when female roommates and colleagues eventually synchronize menstrual cycles?

That’s just the moon, folks. There’s a lot more galaxy out there. (I think I lost the men with the period talk.) Guys, I’ll give you a second. Go ask a girl about the period thing. Go ahead. We’ll wait. It’s freaky. But it’s true.

Our universe is mysterious and we don’t have the all the answers. Anyone who claims they do is probably after your money.

Do I swear by astrology? No.  I wouldn’t even call myself an advocate. But I acknowledge its logical approach to answering questions. Reputable astrologers aren’t hovering over crystal balls. They’re studying charts, tables, graphs, and it’s CRAZY complicated. Have you ever seen a birth chart?


Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So that’s where horoscopes come in. Horoscopes are like Cliff’s Notes for all that complicated work. Newspapers can’t accommodate deep celestial findings for twelve different signs. That’s why they’re so general. They have to be. And that’s it. You can tack loaded words like divination to it if you want. But isn’t that a bit –I dunno– dramatic?

Right now we have 88 official constellations and 76 you’ve probably never heard of. The other 12 are named for the Zodiac.

Sagittarians are smartest! Capricorns the luckiest! Scorpios the best lovers!

Whatever. All humans are subject to luck, intelligence, and varying levels of talent in the sack. Reporting that Virgos are anally retentive doesn’t mean Aquarians or Cancers aren’t.  But let’s pick on Virgo a moment, because they can handle it. (Capricorns? Not so much.)

Next time you’re out dining with a Virgo, pull all the sugar packets from the caddy. Leave them disorganized on the restaurant table. You watch that Virgo squirm. Chances are they’ll put them all back in order. By color. Patting the edges to ensure they’re all in there square then look at you like, what?

Hardcore astrologers break it down even further, dissecting each sign into four: Gemini I, II, III, or Cusp, for example. And they ALL have different readings. Late-May Geminis are obsessive. Early-June Geminis, not so much. What would people think?

But I’m here to remove complication and deliver April’s Jenniforecast.

So let’s get on with it.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Karma is STRONG in your world right now. Your loving–and not so loving– actions yield swift reactions, so be careful. Especially around that person going out of their way to undermine you. P.S. It’s okay to let someone else hold the reigns. Really. NO REALLY. Drop the reigns, Aries. Advice: Don’t act. Observe. Avoid financial decisions that include the word ‘quick’ or ‘now.’

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Ooh, this is an emotional month for you. If you feel fragile, it’s because hard lessons are repeating. Why aren’t you listening? The most powerful thing you can do this month is get enough rest and quit resisting. Repeat after me: CHANGE IS GOOD. It’ll feel better on the other side. Promise. Advice: Speak up when they ask. And quit procrastinating.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
This month promises to end well for you, Gemini. But you must be VERY clear with your intentions. The universe won’t deliver if you’re not clear with your wish list. The stars predict an unexpected blessing and remind you that not all blessings are financial. See what happens when you stop making excuses? Advice: Don’t take sides. Think diplomacy.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You had some really good ideas last month. Why haven’t you done anything? It’s okay to dream big. And you don’t need someone’s permission to move forward or be happy. The stars encourage you to be a bit selfish this month, Cancer. The time is NOW. Advice: Curb your aggression, though. No one likes a control freak.

Leo (July 23-Aug 22)
Don’t try to multi-task this month, Leo. One thing at a time. People have been very patient, but now’s not the time to tap dance on anyone’s good graces. Make a list –and prioritize– the things you need to do. It’s not as complicated as you think. Your private efforts ARE making a difference. Advice: A big, new idea will be born this month. Cultivate carefully.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sept 22)
This looks to be a very nice month for you, Virgo. But play close attention to your circle. Not everyone is celebrating with you. Don’t forget to be playful amid all that organizing and planning. You’re very creative beneath all that control. Say yes to that invitation. Advice: Focus on others this month. In fact, STUDY them.

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22)
Try really hard not to overspend this month because it’ll make you feel worse. Your thoughts have been spinning like a hamster wheel because you’re not balanced. If life feels like a puzzle, try to assemble the pieces a different way. You already have everything you need. Advice: Scrutinize your expenses. Where do you spend your money?

Scorpio (October 23-Nov 21)
You’ve been a little lax with your health, Scorpio. You know what you’re doing. And overdoing. Misery at work is self-imposed. The stars gently remind that you are prone to moody bouts and next month will be better. No one will make you happy but YOU. Advice: Attempt to be quiet this month. One hears plenty in silence.

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21)
This may be a challenging month. Family and relationship conflicts will bring intense discussions. It’s not that your opinions don’t matter, it’s that the people you’re dealing with are stubborn. So focus on the small stuff because you can’t handle big right now (and that’s okay.) The stars specifically warn against sitting too long or being idle. Advice: Change is GOOD. Especially now. Compromise or suffer!

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19)
Slow the hell down, Capricorn. It’s okay to ask for help! Expect sudden changes later this month, especially financial ones. You’re making a better impression than you realize, but isn’t that usually the case? Courage and risk-taking yield good results. Advice: People will meddle and offer to help. Know the difference. Accept the help.

Aquarius (January 20-Feb 18)
Being self-indulgent will distract you from your goals. Allow yourself to be led by others if things feel stagnant. Water is always your friend, Aquarius, so retreat there if things feel a little volatile. Watch your words with sensitive family members. That tongue can sting. Advice: Nothing will feel right if you’re not happy at home. Start there.

Pisces (Feb 19-March 20)
Feeling neglected, Pisces? The wait is over. Positive, sweeping changes are on the horizon and you’re in the driver’s seat. Wheee! Focus on your mental, rather than physical health. They’ll eventually be in sync. All systems are GO, but be advised to stick to your decisions. Being flaky will disintegrate all your hard work. Advice: Time to shine, fishface. You have good people around you!

Have a FANTASTIC month, everyone. If all else fails, be nice and do your best. Those go a long way no matter what you believe.