Everywhereness.

The loudest I ever heard God was on a train.

Alone in the open doorway of an empty railcar with my feet on the platform, waiting for the last train home.

From a distance I must’ve looked sad.

A thin girl with bright orange hair.

Staring.

Shivering.

Smoking.

My longtime ex-boyfriend and even-longertime ex-best-friend were five thousand miles away, but also right in front of me. Their ghosts had followed me to London, and wouldn’t leave me alone. Haunting. Mocking. Sneering. Glad I was gone.

I lit another cigarette.

It had all happened months before. The painful, drawn-out breakups. First with him, then with her.

Losing one was incapacitating.

Losing both was catastrophic.

I was a fucking wreck.

Crying in secret. Or sometimes in public when the wind blew a certain way or the wrong song came on. Their memories sliced through me with blunt scissors. And I was a dutiful masochist.

Rewinding and replaying my part in the tragedy over and over and over and over again. Smoking and drinking until every nasty thing they said about me was true.

(Not looking for sympathy, here. Everyone’s had a trampled heart. I’m just trying to set a scene.)

Bottom line? My well-being was drop-kicked and shattered. Splayed on the concrete at Liverpool Street Station, reflecting my very worst.

So that’s where my mind was that night. Grieving. Loving them. Missing them. Hating them. Cold fingers holding a cigarette, watching the clock, waiting for Christopher who ran off to get us a tea, my brain voice whispering things like:

You deserve being sad.

They were right about you.

And the same thing will happen with Christopher.

Because you–

And that’s when it happened.

.

.

.

So how do I describe this.

.

.

You know when you use a walkie-talkie,

and you push the little button to talk

and your voice blocks out all other noise,

and you can’t hear anything until you let the button go?

—It was like that.

.

.

My inner voice got muted like someone pushed a button.

STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!

something screamed.

But not a mean scream.

More like . . . interruption.

And it was LOUD.

So loud I jolted.

Then a

soft

quiet

calm

male

voice

continued gently.

Completely overriding my thoughts.

Dear Jennifer, please stop.

I looked up.

You must stop. You made some bad decisions for a short time, and that really is all.

I looked around.

Where–

Everyone messes up. Everyone. It’s all about lessons. For everyone.  Are you listening?

I nodded. By myself on that train car in the freezing cold I nodded.

You are loved more than you know. You have learned. And it will get better. It already is. Now no more.

I looked around like a maniac.

The voice was IN my head, gentle but firm, and so very obviously not my own.

And here came Christopher, smiling, holding two cups of steaming tea.

“What’s wrong, darling, you been crying?”

I nodded.

“Something just happened,” I managed.

“Tell me.” He swiped my cheek with a finger.

I accepted the tea, stubbed out my cigarette then told him.

Clearly, two counts of Divine Intervention.

(The second miracle is that Christopher stuck around.)

My healing began that night. And I remember it with profound gratitude.

Not for God’s existence. But for his Everywhereness.

I wasn’t in church and certainly wasn’t treating my body like a temple. But He was right there, privy to my pain. Loving me while I was quite incapable of loving myself.

(Note: I use the He pronoun for simplicity; that’s not really how I define things.)

So what’s the deal. Why am I sharing this.

Well.

     1. Because this is what I write about: The Other Side.

 And 2. Because last year my brain got noisy again.

Not in my personal world. But in the world around me.

And I’m about to switch gears, because how do I recap 2016 in a tidy blog?

The deaths were . . .

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— hard.

And not just the famous ones. I lost my beloved grandmother, too. And then election season. Sweet Jesus, election season. The only thing rougher than election season was being an EMPATH during election season.

Fear.

Anger.

Misogyny.

Derision.

Don’t remind you, right?

People’s inner psychos came out.

Somehow, someway, the word pussy wriggled its way into a presidential debate.

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People shouted but didn’t listen.

I discovered some of my ‘friends’ maybe don’t like black people

certainly don’t like Muslim people

and definitely not gay people.

And wait . . .  had they always felt this way? 

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I found myself on the defense for being white.

I scrolled past pictures of dusty, bombed Syrian babies and watched Mein Kampf grow a waiting list at the library.  A waiting list!

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Remind me what planet we’re on?

And just when we were in the home stretch . . .

George Michael up and died.

On Christmas.

S e r i o u s l y.

I said it on Facebook and I’ll say it again.

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What the message is, I dunno. But it made me want to scoot my chair closer to God and listen to Careless Whisper on repeat. And also start writing a blog series about His everywhereness –something I’ve considered a very long time. 

Because I never found him in a building.

(Okay, there was that one time.)

Mostly I found Him hanging out where I was.

In the cracks.

On trains.

In lyrics.

Through coincidence  divine orchestration and intuitive nudges that wouldn’t go away.

But especially through people I met at just the right time.

Like my friend Emily, who writes about this stuff, too. Emily is the only other person I know (my age) who owns a kaftan. She also agreed to join me on my little God Tour.

And just yesterday when I thought maybe I shouldn’t write this — because hey– it’s personal, a complete stranger approached me and said “I just gotta tell someone.”

He was tall. Black. Homeless. A gentle weathered face like John Coffey in The Green Mile. And he smiled at me real big.

“I was so cold yesterday and feeling real low cos I didn’t have anywhere to go.” He closed his fists for emphasis. “I asked God to please help me. He guided me to a motel to get warm and stretch my legs and you know what? The lady there -I told her not to-but she ordered me a pizza.”

He started to tear up.

And so did I.

I recognize a message when it’s standing right in front of me.

“And this morning something told me to check my account,” he continued. “It was weird, you know? Because I haven’t had money for so long, but I did. I checked my account. And you know what? There was money in there. I couldn’t believe it. My old employer finally deposited some funds we been fighting over and now I can breathe. I can eat and get warm and I’m so grateful. God listens, He really does. Even though I’m homeless. I’m sorry, ma’am. Here I am, a grownup man crying. But I just had to tell somebody.”

So just in case

I had ANY doubt

 I should move forward with this . . .

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.

.

.

Thanks for reading.

If you’d like to follow this blog, you can sign up for notifications.

See you in the cracks.

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Love, 

Jennifer

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A Case for Reincarnation.

Time?

1991.

I’m 13. Maybe 14. Driving across country with the fam. Sprawled on the backseat of our Dodge Caravan with my yellow Sony Walkman, listening to Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits, staring at the dome light. Wishing I was tan. Pretty. Better at math. Hoping Virginia doesn’t suck.

Really, this was the extent of my concerns.

But something was about to happen. Something 25 years later, I still can’t explain.

Don’t Ask Me Why came on.

Suddenly 

I’m in a bright, upstairs room. The one with two large windows opposite the door. White wallpaper repeats a delicate pattern along clean walls and sunlight spills across the floor. I stare at the wooden rocking horse. It’s new. Barely used. And I feel sad. Simultaneously I sense a tall woman and the rapid passage of time.

What the —

I ripped out my ear phones.

My parents discussed travel routes. Pit stops. How long til Atlanta.

I sat up. Eyes wide. Whizzing past cars and trees.

We didn’t say WTF back then, but it certainly would’ve applied.

I wasn’t sleeping.

Nor daydreaming.

So what. Was that.

And why did I feel so very, very . . . melancholy. 

Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe I was creating a really effective video to the song.

 . . . but.

I’m still halfway there? In the tall-ceilinged room. The rocking horse. Is it mine? The lady. I don’t see her. But I know she’s tall and well-dressed. Mostly, WHY DOES THIS FEEL SO FAMILIAR?

I closed my eyes, trying to see more.

I’m not observing this room. I remember. It’s on the second floor of a grand house. The window panes are thick with rippled glass. Large, potted ferns decorate the periphery as well as —for some reason I know this— a landing on the carpeted stairs.

I don’t come up here often.

The song finished. And so did my vision —if that’s what it was.

I sat there stunned.

This wasn’t a daydream like closing my eyes, wanting to be somewhere else and imagining a beach, or whatever. And it wasn’t some astral projection where I transported behind closed eyes —not that I could’ve achieved that or, even knew what ‘astral projection’ was back then.

No.

This was revisiting someplace I knew. But forgot.

And trying to recapture that feeling now?  In this blog? Under scrutiny?

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Please, allow me an analogy.

Imagine a great-grandmother, ravaged with dementia at the end of her long, full, vibrant life. The culmination of 98 years —childhood, parents, summer, tantrums, teddy bears, church, Christmas, school, fall, Roosevelt, university, snow, births, career, winter, marriage, pregnancies, spring, world war, telegrams, tears, laughs, friends, Easter, children, Eisenhower, deaths, Korea, Elvis, retirement, Beatles, Vietnam, grandchildren, Reagan, Disney, Thanksgiving, retirement, Grand Canyon, diagnosis, and a cancer that swallowed her husband whole —forgotten.

And now she’s dying.

Surrounded by weeping strangers. Calling her Mother. Desperate, one of them hands her a blanket. Within it, her firstborn’s smell somehow perfectly preserved. Confused, she pulls it to her face.

A century splashes over her.

Her babies. The popcorn they strung for Christmas. Her husband. The way he shaved left-handed and smiled sideways. The Key-Lime recipe she saved for her eldest daughter. The backdoor handle you lifted up instead of down. Her granddaughter’s deep dimples and chocolate smile. The P.G. Wodehouse novel she needed to finish and the iron —did she turn it off?

Everything.

But she switches off again.

.

.

.

.

This isn’t about an old woman. Or dementia.

Not at all.

I’m asking YOU READING to consider the intimate impact of memory. The soft feelings of life and traumatic confusion in their sudden removal.

That moment right there.

That’s what I felt that day.

Confused?

Me, too.

I was in 9th grade. Did I experience weirdness from time to time? Sure. But the majority of my psychic run-ins were still years away.  I had zero foundation for this experience.

Maybe the song prompted it?

I stopped and rewound. Pushed play. Over and over. From Texas to Virginia. Trying to hold onto —and make sense of— that room.

The song starts again. A strummy little number about— well, I’m not sure what it’s about. But really, it’s irrelevant. My experience had nothing to do with the song. No cosmic connection between me and Billy Joel. Boo.

Still.

That upstairs room (and feelings therein) are raw and accessible, even now.

So what was it?

A past life?

Slip in the Matrix?

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If so, what’s the significance? Why show me that little bit and nothing more?

These days, I describe metaphysical phenomona with clarity and opinion.

But not this.

I feel naked and splayed writing this because I never told anyone can’t explain it.  Still, I protect its integrity by not adding or assuming details. I’ve shared what I know.

And I know that room existed, once upon a time.

A room with dimension and warmth from large windows spreading sun on the dark wooden floor, polished beneath my feet.

CIS:PH.457:174-1968

 

*******************************

I don’t know the people in this photo, nor its date.

This isn’t the room.

But it captures my feelings.

Please feel free to share yours.

If anything like this has ever happened to you, I’d love to hear about it.

Love,

Jennifer

Q & A: Alzheimers and ‘Lost’ Souls.

Q: Hi Jennifer. How can someone, like that ghost you encountered from the 1700’s, still be HERE? Why don’t they find peace? Why are they stuck? —Christina, Houston

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it.

(She’s referring to THIS experience if you haven’t yet read it.)

My encounter suggests poor Jose’s been stuck in some rocky, Mexican purgatory 300+ years. But that also supposes a linear timeline. (You can read more about the space/time problem here. )

Please remember Heather had a ghosty run-in that night, too.

So.

What if the land was responsible for our mutual paranormal experience, and not a ghost?

(bear with me.)

Supposedly, we have several spiritual “hot spots” here on Earth:

Sedona, Arizona

Machu Picchu, Peru

Ayer’s Rock, Australia

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Glastonbury, England

. . . to name a few.

I’ve not been to any of these places. And I’m not a fan of the word “vortex.” ( like, at all.) Makes me think of nutball New Agers and Bermuda Triangle enthusiasts. Still, their theories are somewhat provable by ley lines, plate tectonics, and magnetic fields (all real).

So maybe those locations– as well as the little pueblo we visited in Mexico– have some geomagnetic or spatial components that make the proverbial veil thinner there?

I don’t know enough to take a stance.

But I DO know many describe Sedona’s atmosphere the way I described Tepotzotlán’s: charged.  I also know when I’m about to experience some serious ghost action the air around me crackles like polyester from a hot dryer.

Maybe I need to go to Sedona?

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Q: Dear Jennifer, I read that when a person has Alzheimers and they pass, they are in such a confused state of mind that they don’t completely cross over. Do the deceased know how to cross over even though their minds are altered? Thank you for any answers you can help me with. — Vicki, Texas 

Hey, Vicki.

I’m no brain expert. But really, who is. Even top neurologists admit limited understanding. What’s it, 10% comprehension or something silly like that?

I personally feel those suffering with Alzheimers already have one foot on the Other Side.

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I witnessed it with my grandfather, his beloved essence evaporating one painful month at a time.

He stared past me like a stranger while I searched his once vibrant blue eyes.

Remember me, Paw Paw? It’s Jennifer. You used to carry me on your shoulders? Remember how we played in the pool? You drove me back and forth to cheerleader practice and brought dinner to  play rehearsals? You drove us to Disney World, treated the world to dinner. You were our living Santa Claus, Paw Paw. Remember your great-granddaughter, Sophia? Isn’t she lovely? Paw Paw, are you in there?

One time, near the end, the fog cleared.

He looked at Sophia, then me.

“Well!” he smiled, some twinkle restoring in his Carolina Blue eyes. “She’s wonderful!”  He looked at me with that wonder reserved for the elderly, curious where time went, his expression saying look how big she’s gotten!

Paw Paw opened his bear arms wide and she fell in.

But his eyes died before the hug finished.

I bit my lip so I didn’t cry.

At least he saw her. Really saw her. That one last time.

Did his brain allow him through those precious seconds?

Or did God.

And was that a gift for me?

Or for him.

I’m no doctor.

But I know in the physical body, the brain rules supreme. What happens after death is spiritual— therefore God’s–domain.

Human rules and vulnerabilities do not apply.

No wayno how are dementia patients bumping into each other in heaven, asking for directions. No. They are whole.

They’re home.

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I love and miss you, Paw Paw. I hope your heaven is custom fitted with a recliner and football game, turned up extra loud. 

Thanks for your question, Vicki. Hope this helps.

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

Love,

Jennifer

******

P.S. Has anyone been to one of those vortexy places listed up there and felt something unusual? Let me know!

 

 

Q & A: Long Island Medium and the VOID.

Q: Hi Jennifer, I’ve watched the show, “Long Island Medium” and believe that woman, Theresa, is the real deal. I’ve heard her often say, “so and so wants you to know they’re at peace with our father in heaven.” My question is: HOW can a soul be at peace and still be with us on Earth? After a person dies who has God in his or her heart, HOW do they move from the spirit realm to our physical one? —Christina, Houston

Interesting you use the phrase “real deal.” A friend of mine received an unsolicited reading from Theresa and actually ended up on that show. And that’s the exact phrase she used. Real deal.

“So and so wants you to know they’re at peace with our father in heaven” is a comfort phrase for the living. She wouldn’t say that to someone who believed differently, because not everyone defines the afterlife that way.

(And that’s okay.)

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As for moving between realms –well– that’s a deeper question.

If I start talking ‘dimensions’ and quantum theory this’ll read science like fiction.

But this I know for sure.

Human rules for space and time DO NOT APPLY to the Other Side. So:

1. Take all your assumptions.
2. Crumple them into ball.
3. (Cue En Vogue.)
4. No, you’re never gonna get it.
5. Never ever gonna get it.

Why?

Because our brains are hardwired for linear timelines and compartmental definitions of space.

1 to 10.
A to Z.
Left to right.
Once upon a time, the end.

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Pragmatists will NEVER be comfortable with these conversations.

But here’s the deal.

I’ve personally experienced the VOID. That wordless place between space and time.  I KNOW it exists. Though exist might not be the word.

Few years ago, we were watching tv when the living room –and all daytime noises– evaporated.

Like someone flipped a switch.

Radiant peace undulated in my periphery, filling the space like warm liquid. The room was an illusion.

I saw my beloved grandfather across the room, next to my little girl. Not as an opaque person; but a shimmery outline, his flat cap confirming his presence.

Grandpa?

I couldn’t talk.
Didn’t have to.

My Grandpa died. But he was right there. And this was COMPLETELY unlike any visit I’d had before.

Was this a place?
. . .  or the absence of one?

Had I slipped into the Divine? Who made this happen?! And why wasn’t he sitting next to me?

We lack vocabulary for these things.

I recall that part in Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth Gilbert experienced it, too:

“Simply put, I got pulled through the wormhole of the Absolute, and in that rush I suddenly understood the workings of the universe completely. I left my body, I left the room, I left the planet, I stepped through time and I entered the void. I was inside the void and I was looking at the void, all at the same time. The void was a place of limitless peace and wisdom, the void was conscious and intelligent. The void was God. But not in a gross, physical way–not like I was Liz Gilbert stuck inside a chunk of God’s thigh muscle. I was just part of God.”

I remember reading that bit, and feeling like YA! You go witcha bad author self, Liz! THAT!

People of different faiths who’ve had near death experiences describe the variations of the same.

Who’s to say Spirit can’t come and go as they please? Or that God doesn’t encourage them to pop in and give us love nudges every once in awhile?

My advice?  Try not to overthink the HOWs.

We probably couldn’t grasp the answer anyway.

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****************

Thanks for these questions, Christina. I’ll answer the rest of them in the next week or so.

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

Thank you!
Love,
Jennifer

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Love,
Jennifer

*****

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beneath a London Pub.

One of my weirdest run-ins with the Other Side happened in London, 2000. I still don’t know how to classify it. Nothing like it’s happened since. What makes it super odd is that the SAME thing happened to my mom when she visited in early 2001.

In the exact same spot. A whole year later. And I hadn’t told her a thing.

Keep reading.

Christopher and I were still dating back then. He knew the West End as well as any cabby; and on days out we explored pubs, markets, museums, and parks. Proud to show me his city, he dragged me around London’s alleyways by the hand, always walking faster than me. One afternoon he took me to a stunning old pub called Lord Moon of the Mall.

London has a gazillion beautiful pubs, but this one’s probably top 10. It wasn’t one of those low-beamed ceiling, crackling fireplace, pint-with-the-neighbor cozy kinda pubs. No. We walked into an expansive room of a hundred small tables canopied by towering, ornate ceilings and grand, arched doorways. Patrons unwound beneath giant bookshelves and the watchful eyes of portrait Noblemen, peering from their giant gilded frames.

We ordered beer from a long, polished bar and found a cushioned spot in the back room. A barkeep removed empty pints and dirty ashtrays from our table so we could get on with our date. Back then we were still getting to know one another, so we talked about everything but the future we didn’t realize we’d share. I wasn’t in touch with my ‘gift’ yet, so we didn’t talk about that either.

A few beers in, I had to pee.

The loos were downstairs.

I distinctly remember walking downstairs happy happy. Up there was a guy I REALLY liked, and here we were, out on a beautiful day in London’s belly.

I descended a narrow, carpeted stairwell then reached a little hallway.

And that’s when it happened.

The din of a crowded pub, the entire world around me — GONE.

Sadness consumed me whole. It was dark. Women were crying. Reaching out. But not just women. Wailing. On both sides of me. It was too dark to see. They felt hidden, forgotten. Their collective, profound desperation entered my cells. I was still present me –I mean I wasn’t someone else from another time– but the pub was gone.

I stood there frozen, eyes filling with tears. (Sometimes now, when I’m deeply tapped in, I sorta get sucked in a daze while getting info.) It was like that in that downstairs hallway, but body-wide. I physically couldn’t move.

Excuse me.

Annoyed Londoners skirted around me. The noises came back. Clinking glasses, laughter upstairs. Christopher!

Pardon me.”

The sadness sucked away. Like a vacuum. The darkness gone. Just like that.

And I was TOTALLY in the way. I shuffled to the bathroom stunned, like what in the F dash dash dash just happened?!? My confusion amplified by having been extremely jolly just moments before, upstairs chatting with my future husband. Now tears streaked my cheeks, my senses fatigued by something horrid –I suspected–from a long time ago.

And yes, I was sober.

Anyway.

A year later, my family came to visit, and we took them to that pub. What happened before wasn’t really on my mind. –Not until we had to go the bathroom.

Mom and I walked downstairs.

We reached the hallway.

She paused, a strange look on her face.

I didn’t say anything. I kinda just waited for it. Thankfully, it didn’t remove her from the premises.

“I don’t like it down here,” she frowned. “Do you feel that?” She looked up and around, touching the dark wood panelling.

No, I didn’t. Not this time.

“Let’s go,” she shuddered, pulling me into the bathroom. “I don’t like it down here.”

*******

That was 15 years ago. I called her this morning to ask if she remembered that day. She did –a bit.

“I didn’t like it at all,” she recalled via FaceTime. “I felt apprehensive walking down there. Then immediate fear. It was dungeon-like, I remember.”

Now, I’ve visited that pub several times since then. That creepiness only happened once. And I still don’t know how to define it.

I don’t know the history of that building, nor the land it was built on. God knows every patch of London has a past. Maybe someone reading knows.

Also, selecting an image for this post was difficult — a picture of the pub would conjure a warm fuzzy desire for cold beer and international travel, so that won’t do. Plus, I never ‘saw’ those trapped, wailing people.

Feeling was enough.
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*****
Author’s note: I’m visiting London next month. Maybe I can pop in and snap a photo of that hallway.

Sharon

Last week, I sat on the chaise beneath my Beatle painting talking to my friend, Michelle. It was pretty late. We were both tired. I nursed a beer, her a glass of wine. Kids ran around screaming to our mutual irritation, while our husbands attempted to assemble furniture in the next room. I wouldn’t’ve said it was an ideal time for spirit to show up (WAY too much noise) — But someone on the other side was anxious for our attention.

I kept seeing tiny pops of light around Michelle. Over her head and also in front of us- like old timey flash bulbs. Bright and quick. Distracting enough to make me stop and LOOK. When this happens around strangers (which it does, often), I try to ignore it. There’s really no socially acceptable way to say “Sorry for interrupting, but do you know someone dead who might be trying to say hello?” . . . Luckily my friends know the deal.

“Someone’s with us,” I said.

Michelle admitted she felt something, too. We both held out our arms. Chills. Chills are a popular favorite with Spirit. It’s a non-invasive physical way to get our attention. I often get body wide chills when I deliver a message accurately. Almost like they’re saying, “Well done!”

So we knew someone was with us. But who? I actually got the sense of several someones with us. I got the feeling of a woman. And an older man. I sorta stared at the floor while they flashed images at me. The woman showed me a beautiful white cat. A well dressed man playing the piano. An old stuffed animal with a frayed faded ribbon around its neck. A vase with a single white flower. “A daisy?” I guessed, not entirely sure. I relayed this to Michelle as quick as the images came. And I could tell by her face, it all made sense.

“It’s my mom,” she said.

“What was her name?” I asked.

“Sharon,” she said.

Then we both got chills. Big ones.

I got a vision of Sharon clapping. Jumping up and down. She was very happy, excited, like a little kid, THRILLED that Michelle was paying attention.

“She’s definitely here.”

People have a tendency to look above and smile when I say “Mom’s here, or so-and-so’s here.” But Sharon stood right in front of us. I couldn’t see her. And I don’t know how else to say it- but I could see the air was different where she stood. I reached my arm out. It was warm. Crackly. Like static energy. And then, more little pops of light.

Then all of a sudden, I had trouble breathing. I stopped talking because I had to catch my breath. I realized it was a reference to a different person, showing me how they died.

“Who had lung problems?” I asked.

(I don’t remember your answer, Michelle. Was it your grandparents?) I asked them to please not be so physical with me and the feeling disappeared immediately. They just wanted to relay that they were there with Michelle’s mom. As for Sharon, what a lovely spirit. She gave me the feeling of special affection for a boy child and overwhelming joy that we knew she was there. She was very happy, surrounded by family, and it was very important to her that Michelle relay this to her siblings.

There were more flashing images, but I forget details. When spirit visits, it’s not ME giving the info. It’s them. And the feelings of heaven are difficult to recreate via blog. It’s like trying to relay a gust of wind.

Anyway. It’s been so long since I wrote about Spirit. Mostly because my house has calmed down. With Michelle’s permission, I’ve documented this event and procured some pictures.
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And mothers. They may close their eyes, but they never stop loving.

Sharon
1934-2000
mom