Living in the Moment

Image

Take a deep breath. Allow the air to fill your lungs, and just let your mind go still. What are you missing? What is really important in life?

Once you know what this is, latch onto it with every ounce of your being and let it become the priority. Life will go on. Change is inevitable. Bad things will happen. Good things too, if you let them.

For me, it’s all about living in the moment.

I don’t worry about the things that will happen tomorrow and I don’t fret over the mistakes I made yesterday. As long as there’s a tomorrow, there will be another chance to make things right. I refuse to sacrifice this precious moment in front of me for anything else. Like the artist who lingers inside of me, I capture it in my mind and hover over it, protecting it with all my might.

There is a quiet hush in the air as a storm slips in. It is coming in agonizingly slow, stealthily almost, as if it’s trying to sneak up undetected. The day started with an overcast canvas. The flat grey sky highlighted the black bare limbs of the November trees. Everything was utterly still, as if holding its breath, waiting. There wasn’t a squirrel or bird in sight. As I sat by my window watching, I imagined them tucked snugly into warm nests, dreaming of warm days and sunshine.

Life has a resounding element to it, as if nothing happens by accident. The stir of the breeze ruffles the last of the dry brown leaves, sending them scuttling across the hard-packed ground, uncovering an acorn that might be discovered later by a hungry squirrel.  The flurry of the day sparks my imagination, prompting me to grab pen and paper, spilling my imaginings into a place where they will be captured, like a photograph, so I can revisit them later.

Somewhere, not far from my quiet window, the world hustles and bustles, like it usually does. People fight traffic in their cars, noticing the color of the stop lights, but missing the color of the sky. They worry about jobs, money, and unfinished tasks, things that won’t matter at the end of their lifetimes when they are looking back, wondering what they missed.

Life is a series of events. We have no means of dictating most of them. The sun will rise and it will set. New lives will be created, while others are ended. People need to work to pay the cost of simply existing. The things that are in our control often spin away from us just out of reach. We struggle to change the tumbling direction of our lives, but we have no more control of this than we do the wind that blows from the heavens. Just breathe and let it happen.

There is a purpose. You have to trust that. Everything will be okay.

On our deathbeds, will we wish we’d beaten the Main Street stoplight, made a better presentation, or change the mind of a person filled with hatred?

Probably not.

We will wish that we’d spent more time with the ones we loved, enjoying them for the sake of just being together with no expectations. We will wish we’d treated ourselves with more quiet times, allowing our minds to slowly unfurl, appreciating the beauty around us, enjoying all these moments that were practically handed to us with gift wrapping.

The joy isn’t in the results. The outcome isn’t always the goal. Focus too much on the trivial things and we’ll miss the tranquil moments, the times when the world presents itself to us full and whole, ripe for the picking. Eat an apple and feel your teeth sink into the skin, as the juices trickle down your chin. Hug a child, feeling her small hands squeeze you back. Pet a cat and listen, really listen, to the sound of the purr. Delight is just a concept, a creation of our own making. Happiness is where we find it.

I sit in front of the window, watching, taking notice of the world outside. I am living in the moment, as I usually do.

I refuse to waste a single second.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Surviving as an Empathic Sponge

Image

I was in my mid-forties before I realized I was an empath.

I was at the doctor’s office for a routine check-up. The nurse came into the room to take my blood pressure. As she was taking my vitals, I kept getting very clear images of her basking in the sun on a resort island with friends and family. I narrowed my eyes, wondering where that was coming from, and then the vision expanded. I saw her with a group of people who were family members, but not immediate family. I somehow knew she was single and didn’t have any children. The people she went with might have been siblings. I’d been getting impressions like this all my life, but never had the courage to confirm them, so I took a deep breath and asked her about a necklace she had on. It was a gold sea shell on a chain.

“Oh, yes. I got this when I was on vacation last week. I went to the Bahamas with my sister and her family. It was so nice there,” she told me, then frowned as my blood pressure sky-rocketed.

I walked out alternating between smiling and shaking my head. How had I known that? Had I been a psychic all my life and hadn’t known it? It happened to me all the time, but I had always attributed it to my excellent imagination. What if it was more? When I got home, I started doing some research and learned about empaths.

An empath is someone who basically feels what others are feeling. Most true empaths will feel both emotion and pain. If someone shows them a bad cut on their arm, the empath will feel a searing pain as well.  Being around negative people nearly drives them to the ledge. And they sometimes know things they shouldn’t know about other people.

As I read through the check-list of empathic traits, I felt like they were describing me word for word. I’d never enjoyed being in large groups of people. Places like shopping malls and airports were nightmares to me for reasons I couldn’t put my finger on. I’d feel the bristling, bustling energy and it would give me a feeling similar to claustrophobia. All I wanted to do was escape. I’d find myself avoiding excursions like Black Friday shopping, and tried my best to find a quiet place in airports to retreat to when I was forced to fly. I just assumed everybody felt this way, but I was wrong.

After the experience with the nurse, I began truly testing this concept. When I got an impression, I tried to validate what I was feeling. While this sounds simple on the surface, it’s sometimes easier said than done. My next opportunity was a difficult one. A friend told me a lie.

I don’t know how I could tell she wasn’t telling the truth, but I knew it with every cell in my body. Someone was passing a story around about something she denied doing. I knew in an instant that she was guilty of this misdeed, and was lying to cover her tracks. There wasn’t an instant way of proving or disproving my impression, but I tucked it away in the back of my mind. Years later, more stories circulated that she’d done something similar once again. It wasn’t confirmation, but it was enough for me. She instantly went on my “do not trust” list.

At first, I thought this build-in “truth meter” was just a physical cue I was picking up on, that I was simply reading the other person’s body language. When people lie, they often will provide “tells”. Their voice might change, going a pitch or two higher, or they might touch their face often. Some people fidget, or look to the left frequently. Honestly, I can never remember which direction they look at, and wouldn’t know a lie-inspired fidget from normal behavior, so I realized there must be more to it.

For a long while, I just avoided the places that made me uncomfortable and narrowed my friends down to a handful of positive-minded people, but that wasn’t always possible. There are many times when an empath is forced to be in crowded places, or fly on airplanes, or find themselves in tears when someone shares a sad story. I can’t look at pictures of abused animals and children that people often post on Facebook without feeling it on a deeper level. And headaches? If you have one, then so do I. It got to a point where I had to do something about it.

The first thing I learned was how to ground myself. Grounding is a method of releasing all that excess emotion and energy into the ground. The visualization that helped me was to imagine myself as a tree with roots sinking deep into the soil. With every breath I’d take, I’d imagine a white loving light shining on my head, pushing the black, negative energy through my body, and eventually deep into the ground where it could be absorbed. Being in the shower as I did this was very helpful in the beginning because I had the physical sensation of water raining down on me. Now, I can do it anywhere with no more than a cleansing breath.

The next thing I learned was how to shield myself from the energy. Similar to the way I visualized a white light shining down on me, I imagined this white light surrounding me, radiating from my core. I saw it repel negative energy, pushing it back towards the sender. As I would part through a crowd of frantic people trying to get to their gate, I imagined myself safe inside my white light bubble, parting through the sea of energy, untouched and unscathed.

Others feel that meditation helps them. I haven’t had much luck with this technique. My mind wanders away from the serenity at hand and pretty soon I’m plotting out my next book, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for other people. Look for guided mediation on the Internet. There are plenty of them to be found.

Something else that helps me is to give myself little pep talks while I’m going through it. I was recently shopping at a very busy Wal-Mart. The place was packed to the gills with people who’d just gotten out of work and wanted to get home. Unfortunately, there were at least three screaming toddlers, and four cashiers on duty to handle the herd of impatient, angry people. I didn’t have to eavesdrop to hear the grumbling. It was coming at me from all directions. I felt myself getting tense and my heart began racing. It almost felt like a panic attack or what I image claustrophobia to feel like. I took a deep breath, grounded myself, shielded myself, and then began to reassure myself that it would be over soon. There are only eight people ahead of me. I should be through the line in less than twenty minutes. I pulled out my phone and began browsing through Facebook to see what everyone else was doing. Pretty soon, I was next in line and the ordeal was over. I wasn’t overloaded with other people’s energy and didn’t allow it to put me in the same sort of mood. Mission accomplished.

There is a flip side to this. Being an empath can actually be wonderful, if you know how to use it correctly. I am able to tune into other people’s emotions and help them with situations. I’ve been told I’m a very good listener, which is also an empathic trait. Animals love me and I love them as well. I can tell when one of them isn’t feeling well or is out of sorts about something going on in the house, and then solve the problem before it becomes an issue.

And…it makes me a writer. I tune into other people and then mirror their emotions on paper.

If you feel the same way, do some research. There are plenty of “are you an empath” quizzes on the Internet. While many of them are very generalized, allowing you to conform yourself into the category fairly easily, use your best judgment. If you feel it, you feel it. You can call it what you want, or not call it anything at all.  By all means, I am not an expert on this. I can only tell you how I feel and how I deal with it.

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation like I described earlier, take the time to ask the question or make a comment. “That’s a pretty necklace,” was all it took for me to get the confirmation I needed.

And remember to take a deep breath.

In with the positive energy, out with the negative.

It helps. It really does.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

A Solitary Life

Image

I’ve been alone now for two years.

In many ways, I’m content with that. I have no restrictions on my schedule. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. I can make last minute plans to attend a ghost hunt. I can write until the wee hours of the morning. And I never have to compromise.

I remember when I first was divorced, nearly eight years ago. After being married for almost twenty years, I felt a combination of emotions that pushed together like tidal waves of oil and water merging in a torrid ocean. I could decorate the house however I wanted, but I had to learn how to do my own income taxes. I could spend all day on the sofa, watching sappy movies with no one to berate me, but I had to also mow the yard and clean out the gutters. I could climb into bed after an endlessly exhausting day with no one else’s needs to consider except for my own, which meant sleep and only sleep, but I would sleep by myself. And when I had great news, I’d have to celebrate alone.

After my divorce, it took me several years to build up the nerve to start dating again. The world had drastically changed during the nineteen years I was married. You no longer met people through friends and acquaintances; you met them on online dating sites. This was very terrifying, but horribly intriguing to me at the same time. I amusedly referred to it as “man shopping.”

And there was a plethora of them. Smiling ones, serious ones, dark-haired ones, bald ones. Some were looking for a companion to ride on the back of their motorcycles, like an attractive accessory, while others wanted a dining companion, or someone to make them laugh. At first, I naively bought into all of it. I read what they wrote and took it to be the truth. I learned the hard way that all is not what it seems. People lied. They posted outdated photos, they neglected to share essential information, like the fact that they were blue-goose crazy, or even worse…already married.

I played this game for several years. I’d take a deep breath and answer a message from one of the men on the dating site. It would lead to several more messages until we’d agree to meet for coffee or dinner. I remember the panic that would set in hours before the date. I’d spend far too much time and attention on my appearance, trying on every article of clothing I owned until I realized that nothing in my closet was going to make me look ten years younger and twenty pounds lighter. With a hope and a prayer, I’d end up throwing on the first outfit I tried, and then drive to the venue, terrified at what would happen next.

The first five minutes would set the tone for the entire encounter. Was there an instant attraction? Did he look like his photo? Did he seem pleased at what he saw when he looked at me? Everything would be shallow in the beginning; almost like dipping a toe into a lake to check the temperature before swimming. If it was satisfactory, you’d step in a little deeper, allowing the water to cover your ankles.

Over dinner or coffee, we’d probe each other even further, wading out a little further. Do you have kids? What do you do for a living? Do you have family in the area? What do you do for fun?

If all went well, there would be a second date, which would sometimes lead to a third, or a fourth, or a fifth. After about a month of consistent dating, I’d let go of my life raft and would delete my profile on the dating site, hopeful that I’d never need it again, but then the doubt would settle in. Did he also delete his? Or was he still fishing for something better?

I’d hate myself for doing it, but I had to know if he was as serious as I was. I’d set up a fake profile, just to look. One time when I did this, the man of my intended affections messaged me before I could even complete the profile. “Hey there, sexy,” he said to the woman who’s photo I borrowed from someone else. I nearly sunk to the bottom like a stone.

It took me several years of honest-to-God hard work to find someone. I stayed with him for two years, and things were perfectly wonderful until the lure of bluer waters pulled him away from me. There will always be younger/blonder/thinner. Some men will always look. It’s in their nature. When they unceremoniously dump you for one of those improved models after you’d settled in for the long haul, it takes a bit to get over it.

So, here I am, two years later.  My house is decorated like I want it to look; I often take off for weekend excursions with friends. I stay up late writing and climb into a bed filled with cats afterwards. I am twenty pounds heavier and four years older. I’ve gone through hell and back since I last cast a net into the dating pond. I should be happy. I really should be, but something is missing.

I miss having someone to share my deepest fears with. I miss curling on my side, feeling the warmth of another body behind me. I miss languid Sunday mornings, reading the paper over endless pots of coffee, after cooking and then consuming a hearty breakfast. I miss hugs.

I’m just not sure I have the energy or the courage to do it.

I heave a deep sigh just thinking about creating a dating profile, which will lead to “hi, my name is Joni,” and then wading through all the hopeful dreams that could turn to sludge in the wink of an eye, leaving me jaded and empty all over again.

Maybe I’ll just let my life stay the way it is.

There are worst things than living a solitary life. I could be living a solitary life, while being with someone else who is also leading a solitary life. I think that would be far worse. If there’s a happily-ever-after out there for me, hopefully I’ll eventually find it. If not, then life will continue like it is. Alone and lonely, but strangely happy all the same.

It’s all how you look at it.

And how far you’re willing to swim to find it.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Ghostly Pajama Party – my night at the Curtis House Inn

Image

I knew the moment I walked into the room that someone was waiting for me.

It had been a long day and a long night already. It was just after midnight and we’d just come from a four hour presentation. Lorraine Warren, the celebrated medium, had hosted an event in nearby Monroe, Connecticut. My friend, Sandy, and I had made the two-and-a-half hour drive down from Massachusetts to be a part of it. Since driving back two-and-a-half hours wasn’t an option, she had reserved a room for us at the Curtis House Inn, in Woodbury.

Built in 1735 by Anthony Stoddard for his son Elikim, the house would open its doors as an inn in 1754. Originally, the house contained two stories, with the second floor sporting a massive ballroom. The ballroom was eventually converted into individual rooms, with a third floor being added in the early 1900’s. It has the honor of being the oldest continually opened inn in Connecticut.

Our room was in the carriage house, which is connected to the main house by a charming footbridge. Four rooms had been carved from the structure, with the main floor being used for storage. While the main house is known to be haunted, no one had reported any activity in the carriage house.

I was tired when we got to the room. Thoughts of investigating were far from my mind. I actually hadn’t given the accommodations much thought. I’d reserved our tickets for the Lorraine Warren event, while Sandy had handled the overnight reservations. A friend had recommended the inn because of its relative proximity to the Warren event.

It didn’t dawn on me that we were going to a haunted inn until I walked in the door. It was as if the room was filled with invisible guests already.

As an experienced and enthusiastic paranormal investigator, finding a haunted venue is usually very exciting to me, but at that moment it was the last thing I needed. I just wanted to change into my pajamas, read a little from the new book I’d just purchased at the event, and then close my eyes for seven or eight hours until I was properly rested and ready for the next day. Dealing with ghosts wasn’t on my agenda.

It was then that I realized Sandy had mentioned we would be staying at a haunted inn.  I guess in the back of my mind I’d thought we could wander the grounds and inn to do a few EVP sessions, before retiring to our room. What I hadn’t considered was the fact that we’d be hosting a pajama party for the paranormal realm.

The room had two twin beds, so I quickly claimed the one nearest the door, and then retreated into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and to change into my sleeping attire. I’d barely closed the door when I realized I wasn’t alone.

Being clairaudient, with a dash or two of clairvoyance thrown into the mix, I can hear and sense ghosts and spirits. I hear an audible tone that drifts around the room, allowing me to identify the location of the entity, as well as the gender. My clairvoyant abilities, which are still developing, provide me with more information. This entity was a ghost, not a spirit who’d crossed over into the next realm.  While spirit tones usually don’t bother me, the sound of a true ghost always gets my attention. You never really know what a ghost is capable of.

This ghost was a young female, possibly a maid from the early 1800’s, who’d worked and lived at the inn. I saw her in my mind as thin, with long dark hair that she wore in a bun under a white cap. She wore a pale blue dress with a large white apron over the top of it. She didn’t mean me any harm, but was curious about me.

It’s my understanding that anyone with mediumistic abilities, the ability to communicate or sense ghosts and spirits, is instantly identifiable to the afterlife. I don’t know if we emit a certain glow, or they are just able to sense our abilities, but they definitely know we’re there and that we can feel them as well. Maybe she was looking for help, or to pass a message on. She might have just been seeking a human connection with someone who could feel her, after being ignored for the better part of two-hundred years. I’ll never know because my abilities don’t extend that far.

“I know you’re here, but I can’t communicate with you,” I told her. “I’m not a true medium. I can feel you and get an idea of what you look like, but I can’t communicate like a real medium can,” I told her. Most mediums won’t bother to say this out loud. They will talk telepathically with the ghosts or spirits. It often makes me feel inapt, not being able to do this. If I want to talk with them, I have to use my ghost hunting equipment.

After getting somewhat settled, I returned to the room to find Sandy already in her pajamas with her digital voice recorder in her hand. Also being a budding clairvoyant, she must have gotten a similar message while I was in the bathroom.

“This room is wall-to-wall ghosts,” she told me.

Normally an investigation has more of a formal feel to it. We gather our equipment, including our meters to measure electromagnetic energy, and our beloved Spirit Boxes, and conduct a session. It usually starts with one of us sweeping the room with a Mel Meter, to see if there are any electromagnetic spikes that would cause our equipment to alert us. A false spike could often be caused by faulty electric wiring, or devices like clock radios, that usually emit high levels of energy. We didn’t even bother this time. The room was full of ghosts and we knew it. All we needed was a way to record them.

We turned on our recorders and began asking respectful, gentle questions of our invisible guests. As we began, we started sensing the others as well. One entity was male, and was joined by several other females. I didn’t like him as much. He felt controlling and a bit hostile. We asked them general questions about where they lived, how old they were, and why they were still lingering at the inn. We even pulled out a Spirit Box to see if we could get a response, but the ghosts just weren’t talking. We didn’t record a single EVP.

By this time, I was getting really tired. I’d been up since seven that morning and had worked a full day before making the two and a half hour trek south to Connecticut. All I wanted was some nice REM time to recover my energy. As I’d soon find out, it wasn’t going to happen.

The minute I turned out the light and rolled onto my side, I felt them swoop in. The feeling is very similar to the sensation of a person walking very quietly into a room. Sometimes I just know they’re there. I can feel the displacement of air, the sense of their energy behind me. Added to this was the very loud buzzing in my ears. By the sound of it, there were at least a handful of ghosts trying to get my attention.

I’ve been taught to surround myself with white light and then inform the entities that they are not allowed to come near me for the duration of the night, so I did this. I envisioned the light as being very bright, radiating from my body like a solar flare. As it would turn out, it would be like a bug light to a flock of moths.

One touched my hair, pulling it back from my face. Even though I’ve had this happen numerous times, it still unnerves me. I don’t like to be touched, especially by people I can’t see.

“Stop touching me!” I said, probably jarring Sandy out of early sleep stages in the bed across the room. I closed my eyes again and tried my fail-safe method of counting backwards from 21. Usually, all I have to do is think the number “21” and I’m well on my way, but this time it wouldn’t work because someone touched my leg. It felt like a cold hand being placed on my ankle. I pulled my knees up into a fetal position, wondering if I would ever get to sleep.

“Are they bothering you?” Sandy asked.

“Yeah, they keep touching me,” I told her. She sighed, feeling bad for me.  She could feel them as well, but they usually gave her a wide berth when she told them to stay away. For some reason this never works for me. The more I resist, the closer they come.

I tried reciting the Lord’s Prayer in my mind, something that usually calms me, but before I could get to the “amen,” I was jolted off my pillow in pain. It felt as though someone reached into my eye socket and grabbed a handful of eyeball.

I started to sit up, when the pain moved to my chest. The hand lunged into my chest and grabbed onto my heart. It almost felt as though I were having a heart attack before the feeling eased and then moved to my leg. I was under attack.

I jumped up from bed. The room was dark, with just a gentle glow from the street lights filtering through the window. While I once loved sleeping in total darkness, I just can’t do it anymore. After experiencing what I did with a negative demonic entity that I wrote about in my book, The Soul Collector, nothing would ever be the same for me.  I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of what’s hiding in the dark that I can’t see.

“Do you mind if I turn on the lamp?” I asked.

“No, go ahead,” Sandy said.

I have to give Sandy credit. Being my friend comes with a very large burden. While she also is coming into her own abilities, mine seem to be far more disruptive.

I turned on the light and then turned around to consider my bed.

“Maybe I can sleep in the car,” I mused.

Sandy laughed. “I think they’d find you there just as easily.” It was a truth I didn’t even need to respond to. If I was in the vicinity, a ghost would be sure to find me. I have a very hard time sleeping in hotels for this reason. If there is even one lingering around the building, it will hone in on me within minutes of my arrival, promising me a night of restless sleep. It’s another reason why I’m still single. Some baggage is okay, but mine would be difficult to handle for most people.

I went back to bed with a determination of finding some sleep. We had a big day planned for the next day. Our friends had invited us to investigate at the abandoned Sterling Opera House in nearby Derby. I’d seen photos of the building and was eager to experience it for myself.

I curled back on my side and with a dire determination, finally fell asleep. I’d be woken up minutes later by someone again grabbing my ankle. This would go on the entire night. The minute I’d fall asleep, I’d either be poked or touched until I woke back up again. Several times the touch would come with a strong smell. Once I smelled cigarette smoke and another time the very foul smell of a dirty animal nearly made me choke. What little sleep I would manage was interlaced with dreams of people I didn’t know, trying to urgently tell me things they wanted me to hear. When I woke up the next morning, I felt as tired as I had when I walked into the room at midnight.

I don’t have any wild stories to tell about furniture being thrown across the room or the contents of my travel bag being dumped on the floor. All I have is the personal experiences that prodded and pulled at me for a solid nine hours.

If you invite me to go somewhere that involves overnight travel and I hesitate, please don’t be offended when I decline the invitation.

Being a sensitive in a world filled with ghosts isn’t always easy, but it’s all I know. Maybe one day I’ll learn to handle it, but for now I’m just doing the best I can.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

The Haunting of Standish, Maine

Image

The town of Standish, Maine, is ripe for a ghost story. Surveyed in 1750 by two captains, hoping to create a place for their men to settle, it would go through an evolution of changes before it became the quaint New England town it now is.

A fort was constructed in the place where the center of town now stands. A large red church was build, as was a house for the town’s first minister, Reverend Thompson. The original church was torn apart by the towns people, but a second church was built later for a Reverend Merritt. Our investigations would bring us to both the Old Red Church and the Thompson House, now known as the Maine Street Grill restaurant.

We met up with Barbara Williams, who runs a paranormal group in Maine, and who is also one of the most talented psychic mediums I’ve ever met. While we were intrigued by the locations, my friend Sandy and I primarily went to this investigation for the opportunity to spend some time with Barbara.

The first thing Barbara would probably want me to tell you about her is that she is NOT the psychic medium from Maine in my book The Soul Collector. I met Barbara shortly afterwards, as she helped me rid myself of another ghostly attachment.

I actually met Barbara while I was finishing the edits on my first book Lightning Strikes. She was doing a cleansing on me, pulling off all cords and attachments, leaving me feeling much lighter and freer than before. As she was working on me, she asked me if I had just written a book. I was a bit floored. She really had no way of knowing this about me. It wasn’t something I brought up and we weren’t yet friends on Facebook. I must have nearly jumped out of my seat before answering her question.

In the calm way she does everything, she quietly told me that I should get it published soon. That it would be a good time for it. She also alluded to the fact that my books would be very well received, and that she would one day be able to say she knew me before I was famous. I’m still holding onto this hope.

Since that time, she’s become my most trusted mentor. As I struggle to understand the clairaudient and clairvoyant abilities that I was born with, she’s been there to provide answers and confirm my suspicions. She’s taught me so much, but I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what I can learn from her.

We started with dinner at the restaurant. As we ate, Sandy and I could feel several of the resident ghosts drift into the room. We often will get mind pictures of what they look like and use each other to confirm our suspicions. We are usually eerily similar. This time, we both picked up on a male and a female who were once brother and sister, possibly the children of an early home owner. While this was interesting, it wasn’t evidence.

We wouldn’t be able to investigate at the restaurant until after they closed. As soon as we finished eating, we headed across town to the Old Red Church to kill some time.

Image

The Old Red Church first opened in 1804 after being granted to the proprietors of The First Parish Meeting House for service to King George during the war of 1754. A second floor was added in 1848 to be used for the Standish Academy. It would later be used for the Standish High School before becoming a Historical Landmark. Originally painted brown, sun and weather oxidized it to a reddish hue, giving it the name.

The church portion of the building was set up in a very Puritan manner, with wooden sectioned-off areas for families. The families would purchase these areas for Sunday worship. After spending a few minutes on the hard wooden benches, you begin to understand more about life in the early 1800’s. You weren’t supposed to be comfortable. It was part of the process of worshipping. We conducted an EVP session in the downstairs level, but the acoustics of the church made it difficult to capture any responses.

Image

We meandered up to the second floor and took a tour of the school area. The room was set up like an old-fashioned classroom, complete with period desks and books. A mannequin, representing the teacher, stood at the front of the room. We spent a few minutes just taking it all in before the cold started getting to us. As I walked back down the stairs, I tried to imagine what it must have been like back in the days before central heating.  I thanked my blessings as I got into the warm car to head back to the Maine Street Grill.

By 11pm, the restaurant had closed and the last of the bar patrons were leaving. It was finally time to investigate!

Our team headed down to the basement for our first session. The basement has been known to be a very active location. Other investigators have experienced growls and loud noises, and often feel uncomfortable in the space. We set up in a storage room at the very end of the building.

Joining us were six other people. Keith Glen is an old friend of mine. We used to investigate together on a regular basis, but hadn’t seen each other in almost a year. He came to the event with his girlfriend, Deanna, a paranormal enthusiast herself. Also joining us were Brad and Breanna. It was their first investigation and they were enthralled to be there.  Two other men, known to us as “the dentist and his brother” were also part of our group for the basement, but left shortly afterwards. They didn’t stay long enough for me to catch their names.

We’d barely gotten started when I had an experience that would send me flying off the step-ladder I’d been sitting on. I felt the very distinct feeling of someone running a finger down my back.

I turned, fully expecting to find someone standing behind me laughing, but the back of the room was empty. Everyone else was in front of me. It really set the mood for the rest of the session. I would continue to look over my shoulder for the duration.

While we were down there, we captured several relevant responses.

The first came when Keith Glenn asked if the spirits were allowed to go to other parts of the house. There is a very soft whispered response of “yes”.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/basement-sb-do-you-go-to-other

The second response came through the P-SB7 Spirit Box, which scans through the stations on a radio at a rapid rate, only landing on each station for a fraction of a second.  The theory is that ghosts and spirits are able to use this to formulate words. We always enjoy using the Spirit Box because we get an instant response to our questions. While a true EVP is much more formable, we have to wait until we listen to our audio to receive the response.

I asked if there was anything in the basement we needed to be afraid of.  The response was quick. “Oh boy,” it said.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/basement-sb-anything-we-should

After about thirty minutes, we moved onto our next location, which wouldn’t provide me with any EVPs or Spirit Box responses. I wouldn’t get anything else until we stopped at the bar area on the third floor. Here, I received so many responses; I had to narrow them down and choose my favorites.

Image

(there seems to be a mist forming at the left side of the photo)

The first is an EVP, which is a ghost voice that wasn’t heard at the time, but was captured on my digital recorder. I was trying to get my Spirit Box set up and was having difficulties.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/bar-room-trying-to-get-the

The next one is another EVP, captured after Brad asked if they could tell us their names. The response is a very soft whispered “Yes.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/tell-us-your-names-yes

I had to laugh when I listened to this response. We didn’t understand what it said at the time, but thankfully I recorded the session and heard it later. “They sell beer!” someone says enthusiastically. The New England accent is undeniable.  Beer sounds more like “beah”.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/sb-theyre-selling-beer

I’m hoping they weren’t talking about me on this next one. “That woman is evil!” This was from the Spirit Box.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/sb-that-woman-is-evil

The last one is interesting because of the content. This is also from the Spirit Box as one of the ghosts informs us that “Jesus is coming.” Interesting.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/sb-jesus-is-coming

We ended the night by spending ample time with Barbara, talking about our abilities. Being a sensitive is often very frustrating. We know a ghost is there, but aren’t able to gather much more information. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a mind picture to go with it, but most of the time it’s just the cue and nothing else. For me, I hear a tone, similar to an ear ringing. Sandy feels a tingling on her head. Both of us also feel a sense of someone coming up behind us. Barbara helps us narrow it down.

All in all, it was a great night. It came with very little sleep, like most of them do, but it was enjoyable and rewarding all the same. We got to spend time with some old friends and met some new ones as well.

Happy hauntings.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Altered Destiny

ImageDo you ever wonder about your choices?

Sometimes I think life is nothing more than a path filled with forked roads. You find yourself at a cross-road and have to make a decision. Do I go left or right? Just that one simple decision could alter your entire life.

I narrowly missed being involved in a horrific traffic accident once. It really made me stop and wonder about it. I’d misplaced my keys that morning and spent a few extra seconds looking for them. Had I walked out the door at my intended time, I probably would have been killed. Those three or four seconds were life altering.

It made me really consider the concept of destiny. Every second of the day leads to the next second. What we do in those seconds dictates what comes next. Sometimes I don’t feel it’s entirely accidental. It feels like there must be a mastermind behind some of the planning, or at least I hope there is.

For me, my life turned on a dime when I was seventeen years old.

I had no direction in my life. I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school. I didn’t have any passions or dreams. I just meandered from one thing to the next.

Then, one night everything changed.

I had a horrific fight with my mother, which led me to move out of her house and into my father’s house. This meant that I had to also change schools in my junior year of high school. The entire move to a new school was devastating and I didn’t know where to fit in. At my old school, I’d fallen in with a crowd who enjoyed partying, and I became a very devout rebel. When I walked into my new school, I saw in an instant that this just wouldn’t work any longer.

North Posey was literally in the middle of a corn field. The kids who went there were the kind of kids you see on sitcoms, American apple pie and sunshine. Future Farmers of America was a big club in the school, and nearly everybody in town went to the football games each Friday. A party girl from Mt. Vernon, who smoked and drank wasn’t going to last long there.

I tried to fit in. I really did. I hid my smoking and gave up the rebel attitude and tried to find my mid-western roots somewhere deep inside me, but I still just didn’t fit in. I’d changed schools in the middle of a school year, in the middle of my second-to-last year of high school, where friendships had long been established. I wouldn’t find my place friend-wise for nearly a year, but I found my lifelong dream in a classroom.

I didn’t know I was a writer until a teacher showed me that I was.

Mrs. Hunt was always smiling, but she could be tough when she needed to be. She assigned us small writing projects and then helped us improve our technique. I felt as though I’d finally found my calling. It felt like walking into a dream for me. I was mesmerized by the process of putting words on paper and creating something whole. As our projects got larger, I began to really stretch and grow. Mrs. Hunt didn’t let this escape unnoticed. She took my stories and read them to our class, as well as her other classes too. I couldn’t have been happier.

I took what she taught me and expanded on it. I majored in English in college for two years, and after dropping out to join the workforce, took creative writing classes on the side. I joined a writer’s group, wrote short stories, and just kept at it until I’d finally written something worth publishing. I wrote six books before one would be published. Lightning Strikes was actually my sixth book. The others were just practice books.

When I published Lightning Strikes, I wondered what had happened to Mrs. Hunt. I wondered if she knew of the impact she’d had on my life. I decided to find her. I reached out to a friend who still lived in the area and mailed him a copy of my book to give to her. A month later, I received a letter that made me cry.

She had fallen on hard times. Her husband was very ill, and she’d become bedridden. She said she once loved reading, but had given it up years ago. When she got the copy of my book and saw the dedication I wrote to her on the very first page, she cried. It meant the world to her to know that what she had done – the countless lessons she’d taught, had changed someone’s life. That letter was worth more to me than any amount of money in the bank.

If I hadn’t had that fight with my mother, prompting my move to a new school, would I have ended up as a writer? And what consequences did I set into motion when I found my old teacher and thanked her for inspiring me?

In the end, it all counts. Every bad decision, every stroke of luck, every lost key changes your destiny, at least a little. It’s one of the reasons why I always try to do the right thing. I’ve seen people with less integrity find greater success, and I’ve seen Karma look the other way, when she should have shot daggers instead. I’ve never had it easy. Nothing has ever fallen into my lap. I’ve had to fight hard for everything I have, but in the end I’m thankful it was difficult.

It all came together to make me the person I am today.

I’m not perfect, but I’m okay with that.

I’m me. I’m here, and I’m happy.

And I’m a writer.

Life is good.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

The Haunting of the Purple Head Bridge

Image

The Purple Head Bridge is a narrow one lane bridge that connects Indiana to Illinois, spanning the Wabash River with barely a hope and a prayer. Driving across it is fairly precarious. While it’s structurally sound, it’s also only one lane wide. Drivers alert one another by flashing their headlights from the other side.

It’s also incredibly haunted.

Ghost stories abound, but pinning the legend down to just one story is difficult. It depends on who you ask. Some say that a man tried to commit suicide there, but something went horribly wrong. When he jumped from the bridge with a noose around his neck, he inadvertently decapitated himself. The sight of his floating “purple head” can be seen bobbing around the bridge. Others say Ku Klux Klan activity from the 1960’s causes the disturbances. Some blame it on fierce Native American battles as they defended their land. I’m not certain what the cause is, but the area is definitely creepy. I had one of my most frightening and perplexing paranormal experiences there several years ago.

It all started with a trip to Indiana. My entire family, outside of my children, resides in this mid-western state, scattered mostly in the southern tip. When I return for a visit, there is almost always a ghost hunt set up and waiting for me.

Initially my family and friends were taken back by my ghost hunting, but after hearing about my adventures and sampling some of my tantalizing EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena, aka spirit voices) they wanted to experience it for themselves. Through this, I’ve gotten to investigate at several locations I would have never dreamed of pursuing on my own. The Purple Head Bridge is a good example.

Our group was fairly small, consisting of my younger sister, Leah, my old high-school friend, John, and his wife, Melinda. Leah had been ghost hunting with me before, but it would be John and Melinda’s first time. While Melinda was a firm believer in the paranormal, John was decidedly on the fence. He’d have to see it to believe it, which I can appreciate.

It was a muggy summer evening and the cool breeze from the Wabash River was a welcome relief. It had taken us several wrong turns to find the bridge, but once we did, we just stopped at the end and took it all in.

By all accounts, it looked like an old train bridge, but my sister assured me that it sees plenty of traffic since it is the only bridge in the area linking the two states. She told us that we were supposed to drive out to the middle of the bridge and turn off the headlights. If we were lucky, we’d see the purple head floating somewhere near the bridge.

As this turns out, it was nearly impossible and actually quite dangerous. As soon as we drove out onto the bridge, a car appeared at the other end, waiting its turn. Sitting in the middle with no headlights would be a very good way to get rear-ended by an unsuspecting vehicle. So, we moved onto Plan B.

We’d park on the other side and hike down to the river’s edge. Surely if the head floated near the bridge, we could see it from our vantage point below. The only problem with this was the bonfire and party going on nearby. Apparently the bridge is a local hang-out for teenagers in the area. So, we moved onto Plan C.

Being an avid Geocacher (go to Geocaching.com for more info, if you don’t know what this is), my sister knew of a location just ahead where a Geocache was hidden near a single-grave cemetery. She didn’t know if it was haunted or not, but it was worth a shot. We continued down the narrow road. The trees grew in a canopy across the road, providing a dark tunnel for us to navigate through. As we drove, the moon winked through the trees, setting the mood.

We found the area and pulled off the side of the road to park.  We stood for a moment and read the marker. The memorial park was set up for a man named James Johnston, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia, serving in the Revolutionary War.  He apparently survived the battle and lived out his final years in the Indiana/Illinois area. A sign directed us towards a long dark pathway, which would lead us to the memorial park.

The dirt path trailed deep into the forest, providing a perfectly chilling backdrop to what we would soon experience. We walked single-file down the trail, the light from our flashlights bobbed out ahead of us, illuminating swatches of the deep underbrush and the slip of trail that parted between it. A cadence of crickets and cicadas chirped from the depths of the darkness. An occasional car whished past on the main road, just to our right, making us giggle with thoughts of people reporting strange lights in the forest near the haunted bridge. Our smiles soon faded as we reached the end of the path.

The area was no larger than a standard-sized living room. It consisted of a park bench and a single grave, surrounded on all sides by the deep, dark woods. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. The trees barely stirred in the breeze and even the crickets quieted down as we arrived. It was as though the very woods itself was holding its breath, waiting to witness what would happen next.

I sat down on the bench, while the others stood nearby.

“I’m going to do an EVP session, so I need everyone to stand very still,” I said. “I’ll ask a few questions and then wait for a response. Then I’ll turn it over to the next person,” I told them. We’ve found that the best way to do an efficient EVP session is to set guidelines in advance. The first person asks as many questions as they want, before passing it to the person on their left. By taking turns, we never talk over one another, and it gives everyone a chance to participate.  I turned on my recorder.

Before I could begin to speak, I began hearing the sound of voices nearby. I paused, and asked the others if they also heard it. I wouldn’t know until later, but I recorded a very poignant EVP.

“I hear voices. Does anyone else hear that?” I asked.

During the break between my sentences, a ghostly voice says, “I hear annoyed.”

(click the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-1

We all sat quietly for a minute, but couldn’t hear anything. After a while, I pulled out my flashlight. While I’m not a huge fan of using a flashlight as an investigating tool, I will admit that it has its advantages.  Sometimes it comes on instantly when a question is asked. It also gives everyone something to focus on during the EVP session, keeping them both entertained and quiet as they watch the light.

“If there is anyone here with us, can you turn on the light?” I asked.

Almost immediately, I felt something whoosh in from the forest behind me. It felt like a small comet of cold air, blowing into me with a force that sent my hair flying in front of my face.  I jumped up from the bench, startled. As everyone goggled at me, I laughed, embarrassed to be so easily alarmed. Some fearless ghost hunter I was.

“Was that a bug?” my friend Melinda asked.

“No, I just heard something behind me,” I said, embarrassed at my jumpiness. What I didn’t realize, was that I had a very good reason to jump from my seat. The whoosh I felt wasn’t a cold breeze, it was a ghost. And he had a message for us.

“Go away!” he hissed, right before I jumped up from the bench.

(click on the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary

After composing myself again, I sat back down and asked  a few more questions, which went unanswered. I turned it over to the next person in the group, and sat quietly until everyone had a chance to ask questions. No more EVPs were recorded until we got up to move to the grave.

According to the psychic mediums I’ve spoken with, people are supposed to move into a white light when they die. The ones who chose not to cross over are often confused. Some don’t even know they are dead.  I knew there was a ghost nearby, because my ears were ringing, like they do when I feel a ghostly presence.

Image

I began talking about the white light. As my words came out, they almost sounded like a prayer. I told them that the white light was a place of peace and love, and that their families were waiting for them with open arms. I encouraged them to look upwards to see if they could see the light, and to then pass through it to find the solace and redemption they deserved.

As I finished, I promptly stepped backwards and nearly fell in a hole.

When I’m nervous, I can’t always count on my emotions to follow the rules. Sometimes I laugh when I’m afraid, and this was one of these times. As I giggled, you can hear a very distinct response. The most interesting thing about it is the accent. It sounds like it comes from someone with a very strong Southern dialect.

“I’m gonna get the light,” he says.

(press the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-2

We spent a few more minutes there, paying our respects to the fallen soldier before heading back up the path to our cars. The full surprise of what we witnessed wouldn’t present itself until later, when I listened to the EVPs. Then, the full story was told.

I think there were two distinct entities in the woods that night. One wasn’t happy we were there. He swooped in from the very woods to deliver two messages he hoped would chase us away. The other was from a very kindly voiced man, who we hope took our advice and moved into the light.

Was the angry ghost the one who is known to haunt the Purple Head Bridge? It’s not something we’ll ever know for certain. As I left Indiana and headed back to my home in Massachusetts, I spent a lot of time thinking about it.

I hope they both found peace.  I really do.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm