Preview of Ghostly Defenses

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Being a Sensitive

I was born with a gift that scared me. I knew when ghosts were nearby.

It started when I was six years old. I would lay in my bed after my mother had tucked me in, allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness. I looked around my room, watching the shadows move at the corners of my room. At first, it didn’t scare me because I didn’t know what I was looking at. It was just something I had always seen. It was normal.

Then, I began hearing a ringing sound that accompanied the moving shadows. The sound swooped in, as if carried on the wind. It swirled around the room, coming closer and closer, until it zoomed away from me again. I wouldn’t understand what it was until I was seven.

That was when I saw my first ghost

It approached my bed, not stopping until it was mere inches away from me. I was so scared, I couldn’t even scream. All I could do was look up at it with terror, feeling the anger radiate from it like something I could see and touch. After a few minutes, I finally found my voice and screamed for my mother, chasing it away.

When I told my parents about what I was seeing and experiencing, they told me it was just my imagination. “There is no such thing as ghosts,” they said.

I experience ghostly activity throughout my life, never fully trusting what I was sensing was true. Was I really feeling ghosts? I didn’t tell anyone for fear they’d think I was crazy. I kept the information to myself until I met like-minded people, people who were sensitives like me.

I happened upon them in the usual way. I was drawn to the field that had held me captive for forty years. I joined a ghost-hunting group. Through them, I met friends who were also able to sense and feel ghosts and I began to learn more about my abilities.

One thing I didn’t count on, though, was the fact that nothing would remain the same. Once I tuned in to this ability, it grew and developed, much like a well-exercised muscle.

Opening that doorway changed everything in my life. I no longer suspected that ghosts and spirits were nearby, I knew it as clearly as I knew the sky was blue. The more I trusted my gift, the better it became, making me more desirable to the spirit world. They began following me home from restaurants, stores, and even from the homes of friends. I had to get a hold of this gift before it got a hold of me. Unfortunately, I walked into a very bad situation I wasn’t prepared for.

I wasn’t protected.

I was like a lamb, leading myself into a den filled with lions. I didn’t understand the impact my ability had in the spirit world, and how vulnerable it made me toward darker energy.

I wrote this guide to help those like me. When I first started out, I had no idea where to turn to. Please consider this a starting place to help you get to where you want to be.

Sometimes we all need a little push in the right direction.

Thank you for reading this preview of my new paranormal guide, Ghostly Defenses. This book can be found on Amazon.com by following the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Defenses-Joni-Mayhan-ebook/dp/B00IMUUDZC/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1393338740&sr=1-3&keywords=joni+mayhan

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

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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

 

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.

Lighting Strikes banner cattailshttp://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

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

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Old photographs

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I came across the photo quite by accident. I was researching a book I plan to write. I needed old pictures from a house we once lived in – a house that was haunted beyond comparison. My mind was set on looking through all the old photo albums to see if I could find anything amiss, anything that would support the haunting. I was hoping for a creepy face in a mirror or a window, one I’d missed when I so carefully pasted the picture into the album more than twenty years ago.  Instead, I found this photograph, an encapsulated memory that is frozen perfectly in time.

It was 1990. I was just a little older than my daughter is now. Life was complicated, as it often is, but it was easier too.

Having a one-year old wasn’t something I had ever encountered before. Nobody could have fully explained it to me beforehand. It was something I had to experience for myself. Life came with sticky fingers and very little sleep. I shopped with coupons, did the dishes with one arm as I held her in the other. I cooked dinners that were often burned. The house usually looked as though it had been turned upside down and shaken and I seldom wore make-up or brushed my own hair. I had no friends, my husband worked long hours, and my family was a thousand miles away.

And my daughter was nothing like the sweet cherub I’d imagined. She was sometimes an outright terror. She threw tantrums at the drop of a hat. She wouldn’t allow me to snuggle or cuddle her for long, and she refused to take naps. When she was two, she wouldn’t allow me to brush her hair. I had to chase her through the house first. If I was lucky enough to catch her, I had to straddle her and brush her soft curls through her swinging arms. And she always wanted three books to be read to her at bedtime, usually the same three books she always chose. If I tried to skip a chapter to hurry up the bedtime process, craving a few minutes to myself, she’d always catch me, even before she could read herself. It probably goes without saying that she was the love of my life.

Never, had I felt such overwhelming love for another human being. Since the moment she was born, maybe even before then, I felt a connection with her that I’d never experienced before. She was so quick, so smart. She taught me how to look at life in a brand new way. When we put her on her first carousel ride, she spent the duration of the ride studying the gears above her, as if trying to figure it out. She started crawling at seven months and was outright walking by nine months. Nothing would stand between her and what she wanted. She made me examine my life and all the fears that had held me back from my dreams. If a two year old could master uncertainty, why couldn’t I?

When she looked at me with those bright blue eyes and smiled, the world just faded away around us. I would have done anything for her. I would have died for her if I had to. I’d never felt that way before. It was simply mesmerizing.

I’d always considered myself a modern woman. I worked because I enjoyed it. I liked making my own income, not having to rely on someone else for my existence, but it all changed the moment she was born. My values turned on a dime. How could I hand over this precious child to a stranger? How would I know that they would feed her when she was hungry, change her diaper when she was soiled, or looked at her as if she was the most amazing creature who ever existed? I just couldn’t do it. All my priorities,all my thoughts of making a name for myself, fell like dust to the ground. Nothing mattered anymore except for her.

We were living a typical life of newlyweds with a baby. With me out of work, we were suddenly living on one salary in a house we’d just moved into. Vacations were a luxury we only dreamed of. Going to Hawaii was something I thought I’d never do. But then it happened. My in-laws gave us frequent flyer miles to fly to Hawaii on our way to the island in the South Pacific where they lived.

We only spent two days in Hawaii. It was all we could afford at the time. I should have looked around and really appreciated the overpowering awe of actually being in Hawaii. I knew people twice my age who had never been before. It should have been a dream come true and in some ways it was, but I only had eyes for my baby.

I marveled at the way she curled her little pink toes into the sand, squealing with glee as the ocean lapped up onto the shore, covering her feet. I laughed as she chased the seagulls, always out of reach from her outstretched arms. And I loved the way she pointed to her bathing suit, the one with two little fishies kissing, and said, “fishies,” in a proud voice.

I might have seen Hawaii, but the best part was seeing it through her eyes.

As I was packing up my house recently to move further west, I came across that tiny little bathing suit in a cardboard box marked “Laura.” It was nestled in between all the other cast-offs from her childhood: the dress she wore for her first Easter, the handmade unicorn costume she wore in the third grade, a pair of red glittery shoes that she insisted on wearing when she was two. I just held the bikini in my hands for a moment, marveling at how tiny it was. And then I thought about the woman who once wore it.

Laura is now 24. It came as no surprise to anyone that she would never settle for less than what she wanted. Teachers described her as tenacious and social. She made friends easily and took on challenges with the same fearlessness she displayed all throughout childhood. She put herself through college and graduated with a mechanical engineering degree. Unlike many of her peers, who would struggle to find work, she’d already secured employment by the time she graduated. She now works as a nuclear engineer on a Navy submarine in another state. She has many close friends and a new boyfriend I’m eager to meet. If anything scares her, I’ve yet to see it.

Even though I don’t see her as often as I’d like, I still remember moments like this when the world just faded away. I was on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, but I only had eyes for the small jewel in front of me.

My Laura.

Captain Sibley’s Haunting

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Riverside Cemetery is nestled in a forest at the end of a one-lane dirt road in the heart of a ghost town. It is both haunting and haunted, two traits that make it hard to forget.

My friend Sandy and I stumbled across it almost by accident several years ago as we explored the dirt roads that laced through the woods just outside Barre, Massachusetts. Somewhere in the wooded acreage, the remnants of the lost town of Coldbrook Springs could be found. We hoped to find an old foundation, but what we found instead was a piece of encapsulated history.

Coldbrook Springs was once a bustling town with two hotels, a bowling alley, a blacksmith shop, post office, billiard hall, a box mill, school, and nearly 35 houses. It was removed in the 1930’s as part of the Quabbin Reservoir project. The state bought all of the buildings and demolished them to provide a clean watershed for the Ware River, which flows into the Quabbin Reservoir and provides drinking water to Boston and its suburbs. People were relocated to nearby towns of Oakham, Barre, and Hubbardston, and the town simply ceased to exist.

Besides a few foundations, the cemetery is virtually all that remains of the old town. We walked the grounds, taking in the mixture of old and new headstones. Birds chirped in the distance as the wind rustled through the tops of the tall pines. At the back of the cemetery we found a monument to the Naramore children, who were killed by their own mother in 1901.  We spend a quiet moment reading the inscription.

Poverty stricken and living with an abusive husband, Elizabeth Naramore went to the town for help. When officials visited the residence, they determined that the children would need to be put into foster homes. Before they could do that, Elizabeth killed them, from oldest to youngest, and then attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide. A monument was erected in the 1990’s to remember the lost children. It’s hard to stand there and not feel a rush of emotion. Over time, the stone has gained a collection of toys and small cars, left by saddened visitors.

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As we walked back towards the entrance, I was drawn to a group of three tombstones.

They were old and faded, the words difficult to make out on the worn slate stone. The first stone listed the name of a Catherine Sibley, who lived from 1805 to 1874. Beside her grave was the grave of her husband, Captain Charles Sibley, who lived from 1808 to 1849. And sadly, beside his was the grave of their four children. This was what caused me to pause.

They were listed, one after another, telling a heartbreaking story.

  • James died on October 9th,1843, at nine months old.
  • Catherine died on September 19st, 1847, at 6 years, 5 months.
  • Mary died the day after her sister, on September 20th 1847, at the age of 2 years, 7 months.
  • Charles died the day after Christmas on the same year, December 26th, 1847, at the age of 12 years, 7 months.

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We just stood there, taking it all in, trying to wrap our minds around the tragedy of losing four children, two of whom died within a day of one another.  How did they die? Was there a horrible disease that swept through the area, taking their children one by one, teasing them to believe that one would survive, only to have him taken from them the day after Christmas? My heart went out to their parents.

I am always very respectful of the dead, and with this comes a sense of compassion. As a paranormal investigator, I know that not all of the souls pass on like they’re supposed to. When faced with a tragic death, some lose their way and become earthbound. We wanted to make sure this wasn’t the case. We pulled out our digital recorders and conducted a short EVP session.

“Captain Sibley, are you still here?” Sandy asked.

The response was heart wrenching. “Yes, Heaven won’t take me.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/captain-sibley-yes-take-me

The EVP is faint and must be listened to with headphones on high volume. For reasons I can’t explain, the audio has faded over the years, perhaps from being transferred too many times, or possibly for other reasons. Maybe I was the only one meant to hear it.

After listening to it, I couldn’t stop thinking about this poor family and the possibility that the father was still lingering around his grave over one-hundred and sixty years later. I went back to his grave the following week.

In the quiet of the cemetery, I sat beside his headstone and just talked to him. I didn’t know if he was listening or not, but I wanted to help him if I could. I told him about the natural process of what happens to us after death.

“When we die, we’re supposed to cross over into the white light, moving to the place where we’re supposed to go. Some people call it Heaven,” I said. I looked around at the quiet bank of trees, wondering if he was there, or if I was simply talking to myself. I had to continue though.

My voice sounded like a prayer as I began speaking again. “Look for the white light. It’s right above you. All your family is waiting for you. Call out to them to help you cross through.” I took a deep breath and then added something I hoped would help. “God loves you and welcomes you with open arms. Go find the peace and serenity you deserve.”  And then I cried.

I went back several weeks later to see if he was still there. I turned on my digital voice recorder and asked again. “Captain Sibley, are you still here?” Later when I listened to the recording, all I heard was the sound of birds chirping in the background. If he was still there, he wasn’t responding.  I hoped he’d listened to my advice and found the peace he so deserved.  For insurance, a year later I brought a psychic medium to the cemetery and he crossed over five souls. My hope was that if Captain Sibley hadn’t crossed over initially, that he’d gone when the psychic medium gave him another opportunity. Either way, I truly feel he finally found his way.

The story would have ended there if I’d been able to let it go. Thoughts of the Sibley family haunted me. I couldn’t get them off my mind. I reached out to a friend who has a knack for researching and she was able to provide me with more information.  She filled in many of the details for me, fleshing out the bare-boned tragedy and giving it life.

The Sibleys had a long history in Massachusetts. They arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1629, quickly becoming a very prominent family. They boasted statesmen and soldiers of the Revolutionary War, as well as being prosperous business owners.  An early relative of Charles Sibley’s was Mary Woodrow Sibley, who allegedly showed Tibuta and Indian John how to make the urine cakes used to test for witches during the Salem Witch Trials.

Nearly two centuries later, Charles Sibley was born in 1808, the youngest of five siblings. The family relocated to Barre, Massachusetts while he was a child, setting up a homestead just outside of Coldbrook Springs. When he was 25 years-old, he married a woman named Catharine Brigham who was three years his senior. He was listed as “Captain Sibley” on his gravestone, but no information could be found about any military services. In colonial times, this was often added to the name because of the family’s past military service.

They were married for two years before having their first child, a son they named Charles, after his father. Three years later, they would have another son named Nelson. Daughter, Catherine, was born two afterward, named after her mother. The following year, they would add another son, James, to the family, but he would die of whooping cough before his first birthday. In 1845, they would have a second daughter they named Mary. And in 1848 they would have their last child, who they would also name Charles.

They would lose all but two of their children soon after to dysentery.

Dying of dysentery was a very horrible way to go. An inflammation of the lower intestines would lead to a high fever and painful, never-ending diarrhea. Left untreated, the victim would become dehydrated and eventually succumb to the infection. It is often caused by consuming contaminated food or water, or from poor hygiene.  Charles himself would die two years later from Typhoid Fever, after being sick for eight straight days.

Charles’ wife, Catherine would live to be sixty-nine, dying in 1874 in Boston. Her death certificate listed paralysis as the cause of death, although I’m sure there’s more to the story. Sons, Nelson and Charles (the second) would survive both of their parents. Nelson married in 1870 and died in 1900. Charles married in 1882 and died sometime after 1930 in Highgate, Vermont. His occupation was listed as a paper carrier.

There is still so much I don’t know about the Sibley family, and I’m certain this won’t be the last time I’ll think of them.  One thing is certain, I feel as though I was led to his grave for a reason. Maybe it was just to remember them, like they should be remembered.

Or maybe it was to help.

Either way, I’m happy this family found their way into my life.

Heaven will take you, Captain Sibley. You just have to ask again.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Many thanks go to Marian King for her valuable research. You gave me some much needed closure.

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

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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

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Living in the Moment

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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

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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

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Surviving as an Empathic Sponge

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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

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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

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Ghostly Pajama Party – my night at the Curtis House Inn

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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

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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

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

The Haunting of Standish, Maine

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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