My First Paranormal Experience


I was six years old when I had my first paranormal experience, but I still remember it like it happened yesterday.

I grew up in a little log cabin that sat across the lake from my grandparent’s house. It was every child’s paradise. Being the first grandchild, I was very spoiled by both of my grandparents. My grandfather, who I called Poppy, let me follow along as he checked his traps in the woods. He’d always bring me a package of caramel creams, and we’d sit on a log and enjoy a snack halfway through. While I was very close to Poppy, my heart really belonged to my grandmother, Nanny.

My memories of her are actually very clear, despite how many years it’s been since I last saw her. She babysat me in the afternoons, meeting me at the bus and walking me down her long lane to her house, where we’d sit in her chair and watch Dialing For Dollars, an old show that aired back in the early seventies.  She had a pink bedroom, with a pink telephone, and a little dog named Skipper, who adored her.  She hung elves on her Christmas tree every year, and let me play with them, even after I broke one. Every day with her was a gift.

It came as no surprise when Nanny died when she was only fifty-five years old, which is only six years older than I am today. She had scarlet fever as a child, which weakened her heart. She’d been to countless doctors over the years, but the medical world couldn’t do anything to help her ailing heart. One morning, she simply didn’t wake up. All of us were aptly saddened. Nanny was a special person, with an embracing sense of warmth. She’d just tuck me into her lap and the world suddenly felt like a better place. The night after she died, I had a dream about her.

In the dream, my mother and I were going to her house to pack away some of her clothes for the Goodwill so Poppy wouldn’t have to contend with it. As we came into her living room, I was shocked to see Nanny siting on the couch, smiling at me.

I ran and jumped on her lap. “Nanny! I thought you died,” I said, filled with awe that she was actually here with me.  I looked for my mother to show her that she was wrong. Nanny didn’t die! My mother was already in Nanny’s bedroom, pulling clothes out of her closet. How could she have walked right by Nanny without seeing her?

Nanny turned to me, and I could feel the love pour through her.

“I did die, sweetheart, but I couldn’t leave without telling you goodbye,” she said. I hugged her with all my might, and then woke up from my dream.

That story still causes goose bumps to rise up on my arms, because I know it was true. Nanny looked out for me for many years. I don’t know if you’d call her my guardian or my angel, but she was there for me many times in my youth.

I started experiencing clairaudient experiences soon afterwards. My ears would ring when a spirit was near, but I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Should I find it scary or fascinating? I wasn’t even certain what it meant. One of the reasons why it took me so long to figure it out was due to Nanny. She’d nudge me when I was making a bad decision, or if I needed help. I remember literally having my hand in the cookie jar right before dinner, when my ears began ringing loudly. I pulled my hand out quickly, startled by the sound, just as my mother walked into the kitchen. She did it again when a man tried to break into our bedroom a few years after that. My ears began ringing, and I knew I needed to run to get my mother. It would happen again and again, saving me more times than I could count.

Years later, Nanny would actually save my life.

I was eighteen-years-old and was driving back from a job interview on a busy two-lane highway. My old Pontiac Grand Prix was a monstrous beast, but when I put my foot on the pedal, she could almost fly. I enjoyed the sensation of driving fast with my windows open, music flowing through the speakers as freely as the wind blew into my windows. I was approaching seventy miles per hour, singing along with Journey on my eight-track stereo, when I saw Nanny’s face in my mind.

Slow down! She warned me, her face white with fear.

The image was so abrupt and clear, I couldn’t help but listen. I took my foot off the gas and moved it to the brake pedal, slowing down until I was down to forty. At that precise moment, my front tire blew out.

Had I been going seventy, I probably would have had a very serious accident, possibly even flipping the car in the process. Since I was only going forty, I was able to coast to the side of the road, safe and sound.

I haven’t felt her near me in years. I think she knew that it was time to let go and let me make the mistakes I needed to make to become the person I am today. I miss her, but I’m so very grateful for the time she spent with me, both living and in spirit form.


Joni Mayhan

Please check out my new book, The Soul Collector, available on