Paranormal Unity and a Dollar

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The first time I heard the term “Paranormal Unity” I had mixed feelings.

First, I thought  back to my Girl Scout days, when we’d sit around a camp fire singing Kumbaya, feeling a togetherness I haven’t felt since. We promised to always have one another’s backs and help each other succeed in the world. I saw us as this unstoppable force that could change the world. I imagined the paranormal world embracing this attitude; sharing information and helping us understand the unknown a little better.

Then, I just shook my head and thought, yeah right

This could never happen in the paranormal community, mostly because we aren’t a community at all. We are nothing but a bunch of islands scattered in a vast sea. Some of us play well with others, reaching out to various teams for support and to share ideas, but most of us don’t. There is more bickering between the teams than ever before.

I’m not sure I even got into the field for the right reasons. So many people claim they investigate because they want to help people or help ghosts find their way to where they’re supposed to be. I got into it because I was curious. It’s as simple as that. I had several experiences that I couldn’t explain and I wanted to know more. Once I dipped my foot into that ocean, I was hooked. I wanted to know more and more and more. If I helped people or ghosts along the way, that was even better.

Now I’m reconsidering this field. You can’t go on Facebook without seeing someone bashing someone else over how they investigate, or whether a house was even haunted. People open their homes or businesses up for investigations and other people get on social media or radio shows, telling the world they are frauds or thieves, or whatever strikes their fancy. I find myself defending people – defending my friends. And then I find myself under attack for standing up for my friends. Seriously?

I had a very bad experience two years ago that truly scared me. It made me question everything I’d ever heard about ghosts. It made me believe in demons and angels and spirit guides, things I would have rolled my eyes at a decade ago. It was a very humbling experience for me. It made me realize that everything isn’t always as it seems. And that bad things can and will happen, even when you’re as careful as you can be. It makes me understand why a homeowner could flee their house, but still love the house enough to not want to give it up.

In the aftermath of my own experience, I’m still strangely curious about the paranormal. I still go on the occasional investigation if it intrigues me. I try to keep myself protected and I only go to places where I think it’s safe. I don’t go to old prisons or old TB hospitals any longer. I don’t go to cemeteries, because who knows what you’re going to find there? I’ve gotten some flak over it. While most people understand, others will try to discredit my story, telling me that someone who went through what I endured would never willingly step foot in a haunted location again. I don’t know what to tell these people except that it did happen and I am still intrigued. I’m just more careful now.

When I do go on investigations, I try to help out as best as I can, knowing the most I can do is collect data. I’m not certain how much this helps anyone. Is knowing really better? Are psychic mediums the only ones who can help trapped entities? Is that even possible? I’ve been told there is no such thing as trapped ghosts. I’ve been told that ghosts are literally everywhere, but don’t usually bother people unless they are upset. I’ve been told things that directly conflict with other things I’ve been told. And every single person who told me these things held firm in their convictions that they were right and the naysayers were wrong. So, who’s right?

Honestly, nobody knows for sure. I’m sorry. I don’t care who you are and what you do; you can’t truly know these things until they happen to you. There might be a light we all go to. There might not be. There might be a demon in the basement. There might not be.  There might not even be such a thing as demons. Who knows? All we do know is that something happens to us when we die because we’ve collected enough evidence supporting this. The best thing to do would be to make it a group effort, pooling our resources.

And stop hurting each other.

Paranormal Unity and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee. That’s about all. While I love the concept, it just will never work in this field. You just have to find people who you enjoy spending time with, and who won’t hate on you the moment you turn your back, and just do what you do. Or maybe we should just all leave well enough alone. We could all be doing more harm than good, despite our best intentions.

When it comes right down to it, the only ones we’re truly hurting with our negativity is ourselves and our field. The more we bicker, the more we discredit everything we’ve collectively done. We tear down each other’s evidence, we point fingers, we say snide things when we don’t agree with what we’ve heard. And through that, we make ourselves look foolish. We make people outside our field scratch their heads, wondering if we’re all just a little crazy.

I’m not going to say anything bad about anyone else. People come to the place they are because they’ve lived through things that shaped them that way. I’m not perfect either. I just try to stay away from the bullies and find the people like me, who just want to learn more. And I write books about it, because that’s what I do.

I will go on to protect my friends, because that’s also what I do. I’ll help people who need my help, if it’s something I’m capable of helping with. I’ll tread lightly, trying not to do more harm than good.

But just know, that inside when I hear you talking badly about one another, I will shake my head sadly.

We’re all people, having a human experience. We should help one another, at least a little.

And we should stop all the hating. It doesn’t help anyone.

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: https://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_sc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1380891194&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=the+soul+collecor

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Angels of Ember trilogy – in this post-apocalyptic thriller, follow sixteen year-old Ember Pain as she fights for survival in a world that has become dark and deadly, fighting against all odds to prove that good truly does conquer evil.

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Angels%20of%20Ember

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Defending a Mansion

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I am normally a very laid-back person. If something bothers me and I can’t fix it, I take a tip from my dog. I kick a little dirt on it, after marking it for later reference, and then move on.

Some things are harder than others to move on from, though. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who go out of their way to bring a little gloominess to everything they touch. When I encounter them, I try to remember that negative people are simply that: negative. They’ll find fault with anything and everything. I can usually just do the dog-thing and kick a little dirt on the situation and move on, but not when it comes to friends or family.

If you know me, you’ll probably remember that I am very passionate about the Haunted Victorian Mansion in Gardner, Massachusetts. I visit any chance I get. I am peculiarly drawn there. I just can’t seem to stay away.

A lot of my fixation involves the house itself. Built in 1875, the Second Empire Victorian style mansion is beautiful in detail and rich in history. The nine-foot tall mahogany doors lead to a luxurious interior that was state-of-the-art for the late 1800’s. The house boasts two cisterns that once collected rainwater from the slate roof, providing the occupants with running water. The hand-carved moldings and cornices speak volumes of a time when houses were built slowly and lovingly. A sophisticated call-system was wired through the house, allowing people on one floor to communicate with those on other floors. Famous people frequented the mansion back in its heyday. Minnesota Fats played pool there. The likes of Bette Davis, PT Barnum, and Norman Rockwell were frequent visitors. President Calvin Coolidge even spent time there. Walking through the doors is like traveling back in time.

The house is owned by two of the nicest people I’ve ever known. Edwin Gonzalez and Lillian Otero are very warm and welcoming. From the first time I met them, and they greeted me at the door with hugs, I knew they were special people. Over the years, they’ve collected a group of friends, who fondly refer to themselves as the Victorian Mansion Groupies. We help out with investigations and fund-raisers, and anything else that needs time and attention. Heading up this group is Marion Luomo, the Victorian Mansion Caretaker. She tirelessly tends to the house while the owners are away, checking to insure the house is in good order, and often opening up the house for investigations and tours. She is often joined by Tina Aube, who is just as addicted to the Victorian Mansion as I am. Our friend, Sandy MacLeod joins us on occasion, as does NE POST founder, Christopher Cox, and co-founder, Christina Treger Achilles, who are pooling resources for repairs to the house.  Together, we all have a mission: to save the Victorian.

The Victorian has fallen on tough times. 138 years of freezing and thawing, pigeons, hurricanes, and blizzards, has taken its toll on the house. The gables are pulling away from the building, and the slate roof has been leaking for many years, threatening the entire structure. Chris Cox brought in a contractor for an evaluation, and the news wasn’t good. If the house isn’t repaired, it might not last another year or two.

Anyone who owns an old Victorian knows they can be money pits. When Edwin and Lillian first moved in, they spent money hand-over-fist, fixing the plumbing, trying to get the fireplaces to work safely, updating the electrical, and a host of other repairs. Any money they received from tours and investigations went almost directly to the repairmen. When the house became too paranormally active to live in, they were forced to move closer to Boston, where they share a small space at Lillian’s sister’s house.

At this point, they could have sold the house. They could have put it on the market and taken a financial hit for all the money they’d already invested into it. But, like many of us, the house had a hold on them. They loved it and wanted, if nothing else, to save it from total ruin. They just couldn’t walk away and leave it up to fate.

Nearly every penny they receive from investigations and tours goes right back into the house. Besides the expensive repairs, they have to pay the mortgage, the electric bill, town taxes, and insurance. They do this for a house they can’t even live in, while maintaining a separate residence nearly fifty miles away. When the house appears on a paranormal show, it brings more interest. More people want to tour it or investigate it, bringing more money for the repairs that are desperately needed.

And some people have criticized them for it.

They say they’re exploiting the spirits, while raking in tons of money and enjoying their fame and fortune. Those people have never seen Edwin and Lillian drive up to the event in their old Honda, or understand that they now live in a room that is smaller than any one room in the mansion they own, but can’t live in. They’ve never seen them break down in tears when talking about the events that led them to flee from their own house. They’ve never seen the love in their eyes as they talk about their beloved Victorian.

As Edwin recently said, “Who would do that? Who would buy a house they couldn’t live in?”

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course. Some say the house is filled with ghosts, while others proclaim it to be ghost-free. If you lived it from the inside-out, you would probably have a different take on the matter. Imagine being pinned to your bed with invisible hands, waking up to find a woman standing by your bedside crying. What would you do if your doors slammed on their own accord, while you listened to footsteps walk around your bed while you tried to sleep? What if you were overtaken by something you couldn’t explain, waking up days later with little knowledge of what transpired? Would you really want to stay there?  I’ve spent the night there twice, and I can tell you that it wasn’t a pleasant experience. While I love the house dearly, I’d never want to live there. If I had the opportunity to seek help, or at least have some of my questions answered, I too would turn to people who could possibly offer assistance. The problem is: who do you believe?

Not all the people invited to the mansion are there to investigate. Some have been called in to help. Multiple people have blessed and cleansed the house. Others have offered answers to some of the questions plaguing the owners. In the paranormal field though, answers are never cut and dried. Since there aren’t any rule books on the subject, all of the information being provided to the owners has been varied, and not always helpful. Some have caused more harm than good. Others have tried to fix this, only to make it worse. For the moment, the house is much calmer than it’s been in years, but that isn’t guaranteed to last. As we all know, change often happens quickly and without warning.

So, please…be more considerate. Remember that this is a house that needs help. Sponsoring paranormal events brings money which is needed to fix the house. If the house isn’t repaired, it has only a few years left before it will fall into a swift decline. It is a piece of Gardner history, a treasure that is precariously hanging by its last hope. If having it featured on paranormal television shows helps this house stick around another hundred years, what harm is it doing to you?

If you have ideas that could help Edwin and Lillian, by all means, please share them. We all love that house and want nothing more than to see it transformed back to its former beauty.

Now, I’m going to kick some dirt over this and move on. I have another book to write.

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

Angels of Ember trilogy

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=joni%20mayhan

For more information about the SK Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion, please see their website: hauntedvictorianmansion.com or find them on Facebook.

http://hauntedvictorianmansion.com/index.html

The Soul Collector – Part 3

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The Soul Collector – Part 3

In the fall of 2011, I wasn’t in a good place. With my head still reeling from the sudden break-up of my two-year relationship, I was a thousand miles away from my family, and I’d picked up a negative spirit attachment.

He haunted me during the day, lingering over my shoulder. And he haunted me at night, whispering in my ear as I tried to sleep. Sometimes he even found his way into my dreams, sending me chilling nightmares of decomposing bodies and bloody sacrifices. A psychic medium told me he was a soul collector, a negative spirit who collected souls in the hopes of elevating his status in the spirit world. I wouldn’t have believed her if I hadn’t been living it from the inside out.

As a clairaudient, I could hear his signature sound when he got close to me. I could feel literal waves of negative energy. It was like being in a room with someone who was shouting at you, with one exception. I could feel him and hear him, but I couldn’t see him.

After not having any luck getting assistance from the psychic medium, I reached out to another friend who was an investigator and a medium. Michael showed up at my house the day after my call, bringing his wife Nancy, and his friend and fellow investigator Steven. They cleansed and blessed my house, leaving it quiet for a few days. But, then the spirit came back, angrier than before.

During this time, I was also going through some personal issues as well. I’d been dreading December first. It was the date my ex-boyfriend and I had planned a trip to Florida. We would go to Orlando and watch his son participate in a Disneyland parade with his high school band, and would stay with my father and step-mother in nearby Lake Wales, where they owned a winter home. After the break-up, I changed my ticket date to later in January, which set me back an additional three-hundred dollars.

I thought about him and our failed relationship that entire week, wondering if he regretted his decision. He had never been a big fan of my ghost hunting and gave me the ultimatum of “quitting or he would leave.” Honestly, I don’t feel anyone should get to choose anyone else’s hobbies. I offered a compromise, but he wasn’t interested. He made fun of my clairaudient ability, telling me he was worried about me because I thought I had “super powers”. I had to roll my eyes at that. If I truly had super powers, I would have chosen to shoot flames from my eyes, leaving him hairless and crispy. Several weeks later, one of his family members posted photos on Facebook of his trip to Florida without me and I was heartsick to see that he’d taken another woman in my place. I recognized her from a wedding we attended just before our breakup. I promptly deleted all of his family from Facebook, cried my eyes out, and just tried to move on.

Life has a way of throwing you curves though. As if the breakup and the negative spirit attachment weren’t enough, I finally got word from the literary agent I’d been working with for my book, Lightning Strikes. After sending her draft upon draft, making the changes she suggested for nearly a year, she said she was going to pass on my book.  She wished me good luck and turned me loose.

If there’s ever been a time in my life when I’ve been close to a complete emotional breakdown, this was it. I’ve never been the kind of person to wallow in my sorrows, but this just went beyond anything I was capable of dealing with.  I became even more despondent, wanting nothing more than to crawl in a hole and just stay there until the world became nice to me again.

Thankfully, my friends wouldn’t let me hide myself in my pit of despair.  They forced me to get out.  Where did we go? Ghost hunting, of course.

A lot of people didn’t understand why I would dare go ghost hunting when I’d had such a horrible experience. The answer was very simple and was two-fold.  I needed to get out of my house and I needed help. What better place to go to seek help?

I asked question upon question, hoping to find someone who had the answer to my problem. How do you get rid of a negative spirit attachment? Everyone had a different answer. Burn sage, have a house blessing, ask a psychic medium to help you, pray.  The list just went on and on. I didn’t rule any of them out, but most were things I’d already done to no avail. In the meantime, the haunting had gotten so bad, I was afraid to even walk into my bedroom where he seemed the strongest. Items started disappearing and reappearing in other places, strange knocks could be heard on the walls, lights would mysteriously turn themselves back on, and the ringing in my ears became nearly deafening.

Frantic for help, my friend Sandy and I drove to Maine to spend time with the psychic medium who had first identified this spirit attachment. I’m not mentioning her name on purpose. While she was helpful at the time, we’ve since parted ways and I don’t want to stir up any trouble.

We met her at her house and talked about the soul collector. She told me he was presenting himself as being very tall and thin, with dark hair, and piercing black eyes. She said he reminded her a little of the person in the “Scream” painting, because he liked to open his mouth very wide, as if screaming. And yes, he was still lurking over my shoulder, whispering in my ear, claiming me as his own.

She had a conversation with him, telling him he needed to leave me alone.

He told her he wouldn’t. That I was now his.

We drove in separate cars to have lunch at a diner. While Sandy and I followed her, the ear-ringing completely went away. I was elated until we pulled up at the diner and I heard it return as the psychic medium got out of her car.

“Well, that was interesting,” she told us. “He said that no matter how much praying Charlotte and Mary did, it would never be enough to drive him away.”

I was chilled to the bone. My mother’s name is Charlotte and my grandmother, who’d passed away several years prior was Mary. She had no way of knowing this. It’s not something I made public to anyone at that point. My mother was aware of my situation, although I’m not certain how much she believed me at the time, and my grandmother was dead. Was she praying for me on the other side?

Then the psychic medium told me something that nearly sent me over the edge.

“Do you have a daughter?” she asked.

“Yes,” I answered, feeling my gut clinch appropriately.

She looked down, dismayed at this information. “I’d try to stay away from her at this point,” she said.

I felt the world literally crumble at my feet. My relationship with my daughter had been strained since my divorce from her father and we were finally starting to make some head-way on rebuilding it.

“Why?” I asked, dreading the answer.

“Because he’s telling me that if I won’t let him have you, that he’ll take her instead.”

The Soul Collector – Part 2

I was at a very bad place in my life.  I’d been unceremoniously dumped by my boyfriend of two years, my family was a thousand miles away, and a very negative spirit had attached himself to me.

I wouldn’t learn how bad he was until I made the trek to Maine to spend Thanksgiving with my paranormal friends. The minute I walked into the house, the psychic of our group told me that I had a spirit with me and that he was bad.

Really bad.

He was a soul collector.

She said that when she looked at me, she saw hundreds, if not thousands, of spirits behind him. They were lined up, row upon row, following this spirit everywhere he went. And they looked sick, as if they’d died of some sort of tragic disease.

My blood turned to ice.

The place we investigated was the site of an old tuberculosis hospital.  How could this have happened?

I am always very respectful of spirits when I investigate. I always ask them if they need help and never, ever provoke them just to get a response. Why would one of them follow me? It made no sense. Surely there were other people out there who were far more interesting.

That’s when I began to learn my fate in life.

I am a beacon.

People who are “sensitives” are able to sense spirits. Some just feel them move into the room, others have physical cues like a tingling on the back of their necks, or goose bumps that rise up on their arms. For me, the cue is actually physical. I hear them. I am clairaudient.

The tones move in, almost swooping down upon me. Some tones are high, some are low. As they move farther away, the tone grows softer. I’ve dealt with this ability all my life, but had recently been working with it on investigations. It was like having a new toy.

Unfortunately, like any muscle, once you begin flexing it and working with it, it grows stronger. It literally made me grow brighter in the spirit world. I must stand out like a bug light to a flock of moths.

She promised to help me with it and sent me on my way. It was a long drive home, hearing his signature tone in the car with me. I began to almost panic. How could I live like this, knowing someone very evil was lurking over my shoulder? How would I even begin to lie in bed and close my eyes? I was terrified.

I researched the subject as much as I could, learning that negative entities could actually collect other spirits. In some cultures, they are known to do this in order to achieve a higher rank in the spirit world.  I slept very little, often retreating to the couch in the living room, where it felt a little safer. One thing was for sure: my bedroom was a hotspot for spirit activity.

Every time I went in there, my ears would ring like crazy. I could feel the sensation of eyes glaring at me, could see the movements out of the corner of my eyes. I would feel soft touches on my face, feel my hair being gently caressed. Sometimes the covers would be pulled off of me. My cats got to the point where they would flee from the room with their ears flattened. I tried to pray. I burned sage. I recited the Saint Michael’s Prayer. I recited The Lord’s Prayer.  And I cried a lot.

Why me?

Seriously… This guy could have picked on any number of people. The place where I went to was popular with the paranormal world. Investigators were in and out of there on a regular basis. I touched base with the psychic again and she told me that it might have something to do with my overall well-being at the time of the investigation. When people are depressed, they are more susceptible to spirit attachments.  Great.  There’s nothing like being kicked when you’re already down.

The days passed by slowly. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t talk about it. My teenage son lived with me four days a week and I didn’t want to scare him with what was happening to me. But, on the other hand, I didn’t want to endanger him either.  What was I going to do?

The psychic told me that the soul collector wanted me. That he wasn’t ever letting me go.

Mine. He told her.

She said that he stood behind me constantly, whispering in my ear.

“Can you hear him?” she asked me.

Thankfully, I couldn’t. I could just hear the ear shattering buzz that followed me through all the hours of my day. Knowing that he was with me nearly sent me off the deep end. He followed me into the bathroom, was always lurking close as I showered and dressed, he hovered over my bed all night long, just inches away from my face. He wasn’t letting me go.

He wanted to cut me off from everyone and he started with my electronics. I suddenly began having issues with my internet connection, and then my cell phone. I would call someone and the line would become filled with static. Sometimes it wouldn’t work at all. My phone would be dead and nothing short of rebooting it would get it to work again. Not only was I terrified, I was being systematically cut off from the rest of the world – cut off from the help I desperately needed.

I kept reaching out to the psychic, asking if she could come to my house, offering to pay her way, offering anything I could think of to get this spirit off of me. Unfortunately, she was going through issues of her own with family and her job. She kept telling me she would help me, but as the days went by, I began to lose hope. I fell into an even deeper fugue that I just couldn’t emerge from.

I’ve always been a “bounce back quickly” kind of person. I’ve never suffered from depression or had anything truly get me down for more than a day. I usually wake up the next morning, determined to conquer what is ailing me. This time, there didn’t seem to be any hope.

I’m thankful I had great friends as I was going through this. Since they were also ghost hunters, I didn’t have to prove to them that I wasn’t crazy. They knew that what I was dealing with was real. They listened to my stories, offered me couches and spare beds to sleep on, and tried to help me figure it all out. But, no one had an answer for me.

And it just kept getting worse.

The ear ringing grew to a level where it nearly drove me insane. I started hearing louder thumps on my walls, and the nightmares intensified, leaving me on the brink of insanity.

One day while I was working, I could feel him looming over my shoulder, but I tried to ignore him as usual. “Don’t give him anything,” the psychic had warned me. But, he found other ways to get to me. Very suddenly, my cell phone came on and began playing music. I sat stock-still, just staring at it. In order to turn my phone on, I had to push and then slide a button. To get music to play, I would have had to scroll through the apps to find the music icon. The worst part of all of this was the song choice.

“Addicted” by Saving Abel.  It’s a song about a man who is emotionally and sexually addicted to a woman.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-ChyVXzbjA

It’s not the kind of song I wanted a soul collector serenading me with.

It hit me on two levels too, something I’m sure he was well aware of.  I used to burn my ex-boyfriend CDs, selecting songs that made me think about him. This was one of the songs on the last CD I burned for him and it brought me back to a place where I didn’t want to go.

Emotionally, I was simply shutting down. I didn’t sleep more than a few hours a night. I stopped eating. I lost fifteen pounds, which wasn’t something that has ever been easy for me, and I started smoking again. I’d given it up years earlier, but here I was lighting up again. I was quickly moving from depression to oppression, something I wouldn’t understand until I reached out to another friend, Michael.

Michael is a paranormal investigator and a friend. He’d been studying with the Catholic Church on exorcisms. He is now the investigator the church calls when they have a report of a demonic possession. He goes in to check it out. If he feels it’s a true possession, he calls in the church to perform an exorcism, which he also participates in.

Michael, his wife Nancy, and friend, Steven, were at my house the day after my call. They literally dropped everything to help me.

Michael’s background in the paranormal field is complex. His mother was an Irish witch, who helped many people during his childhood.  Besides being an experienced paranormal investigator, Michael is also a medium. He has the ability to sense and communicate with the spirit world. He walked around my house with his eyebrows raised. I knew he had found something, but he wasn’t telling me everything.

“You definitely have something here,” he told me. “But, we’ll deal with it.”

He burned sage, recited prayers, and sprayed holy water on every wall, window and mirror. He even blessed my pets. He told the spirit to leave, and then planted Saint Benedict medals at the four corners of my property. All was well for several days.

I got some of my energy back and began feeling like myself again. I was working on the first book of my paranormal trilogy, Lightning Strikes, at that time. I was down to the final edits and began making some real progress with it. I felt like I had my life back until he came back again.

The next time would prove to be even worse than the last.

He had me in his sights and he wasn’t letting me go.

Lucky me.

Joni Mayhan

Many of my experiences with the soul collector ended up in my paranormal trilogy, Angels of Ember. Lightning Strikes, the first book in the series, is available on Amazon.com for Kindle for only $2.99.

http://www.amazon.com/Lightning-Strikes-Angels-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0085Q6SCK/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

The Soul Collector – part 1

I was warned to never talk about him.

Never write about him.

I was told to completely erase him from my memory. If I didn’t, there was a very good possibility that he could come back to find me again. I held onto this story for several years, trying to do what they told me to do, but I just couldn’t.

I needed to tell my story.

I wasn’t in a very good place when he found me. I was at the end of a two-year relationship with someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. When he walked away very suddenly, it left my whole life in shambles.

With my entire family living a thousand miles away, I didn’t have anyone to turn to. After spending weeks locked inside my house with the curtains drawn, I finally decided to get out and do something. People told me that staying busy was the best cure for a broken heart. So I tried.

I had been ghost hunting for several years and found it to be a fun, exciting way to pass the time. By this time, I’d already developed a true knack for getting EVPs, Electronic Voice Phenomena. When I turned on my digital voice recorder and asked questions during an investigation, the spirits spoke to me. I didn’t understand why they singled me out, giving me very clear responses to my questions. I was just happy to be successful at something. My entire life up to that point felt like a near miss.

I’d spent twenty years trying to find my way as a writer, only to be shot down by countless agents and publishing houses. I tried to open my own pet store in the early eighties, but was stopped short due to financing issues. I was married for nearly twenty years, but found myself divorced and all alone at forty-two. After the failed relationship that ended with a blindside, I needed something to cling to, something I could claim as my own. So I dove deeply into ghost hunting.

At first it was just pure entertainment. I was invited to explore creepy places where I had the opportunity to speak with actual dead people. As I got more confident, I became fearless. I would be the first person who dared to go into the darkest, scariest places. I’d crawl into basements, sit by myself in a totally dark room and invite the spirits to touch me and communicate with me. It was an adrenaline rush, a way to push my life to the edge, a way to feel something other than misery. And I became good at it.

I booked investigations at the creepiest locations I could find. Sometimes I had two ghost hunts in one weekend. I was completely captivated.

Imagine: actually speaking to the dead.

I asked questions I’d always wanted to know the answers to, and I began getting very clear responses. They told me that Heaven was beautiful. They told me they were lonely, that they enjoyed talking with us. They told me their ages, the places where they lived, the reasons why they still clung to their homes.

I began to really tune into the way my ears began ringing when I was on investigations. I started learning that each spirit had a different tone. I could track them around the room, knowing immediately where they were. And they spoke to me on my digital recorder. I didn’t understand why all this was happening to me until I came far too close to one.
We investigated at a location I won’t name. I don’t want other thrill-seekers to go there and try their luck. I’ll just say that it was a place where very bad people once resided, a place I had no business visiting.

Nothing exceptional happened during the investigation. We sat in the dark, asking questions and marveling at how our equipment was responding. When I got home, I had a strange feeling that just wouldn’t leave me. My ears were ringing with a strange tone, and I had the almost constant feeling that someone was standing right behind me. When I listened to the audio I had recorded the night before, I heard something that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

“Who are you?” I had asked.

“John,” was the answer, spoken directly into my recorder. It was an intelligent response!
(I deleted many files after this experience, so I don’t have a copy of this evp.)

I was elated. People were always trying to debunk my evps, telling me it was just the wind, or someone clearing their throat. But, there was no denying this very clear response. Someone had answered my question.

Then, a woman began talking to us. She told us she was back in.

And another told us that it was cold in there.

I listened some more, hoping for something more. What I heard nearly made my heart stop.

“What do you want us to do?” I had asked.

“Fall,” came the answer.

“What are you doing here?” I asked again.

The answer came swiftly. “Following.”

I tried to shake it off, but the feeling of being watched was so strong I couldn’t ignore it. My ears started ringing even stronger and I began to get mental images of a very scary man frowning at me, looming over my shoulder. My moods became dark. I lost track of time, finding myself sleep walking at night. I became jumpy. The least little thing scared me. I stopped being the first person to crawl into dark places during investigations. I spent a lot of time glancing over my shoulder and I hardly slept at all.

My bedroom became a torture chamber for me. The minute I walked in, I could feel something there, standing in the corner. I started seeing movement out of the corner of my eye. Strange sounds began to happen throughout the house. Suddenly ghost hunting didn’t sound like such a great idea. What had I messed with?

It just got worse. My cats began watching things come into the room and drift over the top of my bed. They both stared with the same intensity that they would watch a housefly, except it was winter and there weren’t any bugs. I tried to debunk it. I looked for any possible explanation, but there weren’t any. I had picked up an unwanted hitchhiker.

Being a paranormal investigator with a few years under my belt, I knew about sage and the process of cleansing a house. I did this frequently, filling my house with the rich smell of burning herbs. I followed up by telling the spirit to leave. I prayed, asking for protection. I recited the Saint Michael’s Prayer. I did everything I could think of, but nothing worked. He hovered over my shoulder, making my life miserable.

Probably the worst part was having to keep all this to myself. If I started talking about having a ghostly attachment, people would surely think I was crazy. I tried to maintain a normal existence and continue living my life as if nothing horrible was happening to me. I posted happy, silly things on Facebook, worked feverishly on my first book, Lightning Strikes, and spent time with my nearly grown children. I wouldn’t understand what was truly happening to me until I began spending time with a very powerful psychic.

Thanksgiving was a very depressing holiday for me. With my family a thousand miles away and my promising relationship having hit the rocks, I had nowhere to go. My two children were spending the holiday with their father’s family. I didn’t want to spend the holiday by myself.

I put out a very needy plea on Facebook, asking if anyone had room at their table for me and my wish was quickly granted. I was invited to spend the holiday with several of my ghost hunting friends in Maine.

I made the trek, trying not to think about all that I had lost, but I couldn’t help it. After nineteen-years of marriage, I had spent five lonely years trying to find my place in the world. I thought I’d finally found it and had embraced all the opportunities, only to find myself completely alone again. I wasn’t sure I was up for the challenge. Having to spend a family-oriented holiday with near strangers seemed like the end of the world to me. And then it got worse.

Much worse.

The minute I walked into the door, the psychic took one look at me and said four words that nearly rocked my world off its axis.

“We need to talk,” she told me.

That was when I learned that my suspicions were right. I did have a negative spirit who was following me around. What she said next would leave me with nightmares for months.

“It’s bad. Really bad,” she told me. “He’s a soul collector and he has his sights set on you.”

The next six months would be the worse months of my life.

…to be continued

Joni Mayhan
Many of my experiences with the soul collector ended up in my paranormal trilogy, Angels of Ember. Lightning Strikes, the first book in the series, is available on Amazon.com for Kindle for only $2.99.
http://www.amazon.com/Lightning-Strikes-Angels-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0085Q6SCK/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

Most things happen for a reason…

I’m a firm believer that most things happen for a reason. It’s just a matter of interpretation.

I came to this belief when I was in my mid-twenties. Having worked in the pet industry for several years, I decided that I wanted to open my own pet store.

The thought was alluring. I’d be my own boss. I could select the products I wanted to sell and spend the day happily immersed with helping people with their pets. I found a location that would suit me well. It was a small space in the middle of a huge shopping plaza. As I sat there in the parking lot, watching people go in and out of the various stores, I was delighted.  This could really work for me.

I found suppliers who would sell me the products I wanted. I devised an ordering system, planned out the store aisle by aisle, and began working on my business plan. The only thing left to do was find funding.

As things turned out, finding investors was nearly impossible. No one wanted to loan a twenty-five year old woman the amount of money it would take to get started. After several months of searching, I finally was forced to give up. It was the worst moment of my life. All my hopes and dreams vanished in an instant. I turned away from my dream with tears in my eyes and went to work for someone else.  Then six months later, I saw the reason for the failed attempt.

The anchor store for the plaza went out of business.  One by one, all the cute little stores flanking it closed their doors as well. A year later, the plaza was nothing more than a ghost town. Had I opened a store, I would have been among them, losing everything I had and everything I worked for.

It took several years before I realized that opening my store really wasn’t my destiny. Something inside me struggled to get out. I began staring at blank pages in my typewriter, watching as they filled up word by word with stories. It didn’t take long before the words became a book, then two books, then three. I was an author!

Getting my books out to the masses was another obstacle. After being turned down by countless literary agencies, I realized that it wasn’t my time. I needed to live more, experience more, before I could truly be the writer I wanted to be. I finally decided to self-publish and the results have been incredible. I’m not a best-selling author with my books in major chains, but people are actually reading – and loving – my work. Had I reached my first dream, none of this would have happened.

Now, when something bad happens to me, I shake it off because I know that something better (or different) needs to happen to me instead.  If nothing else, it makes life easier, makes the bad things feel like opportunities to find good things. I just try to listen to what the universe is telling me.

It’s all in the way you look at it.

It’s just a matter of interpretation.

Joni Mayhan

Author of The Angels of Ember Trilogy- available on Amazon.com for Kindle or in paperback

  • Lightning Strikes
  • Ember Rain
  • Angel Storm

 

My Number One Fantasy

Sleep. It’s a wonderful thing if you can find it. It’s that mind-numbing place I find when my head nestles into my pillow and the bed becomes an extension of my body. I usually enjoy it for a full five minutes until something wakes me up.

When I was younger, I taught myself relaxation methods that are very similar to self-hypnosis. I started counting backward from twenty-one, allowing my body to relax a little more with each breath until I was boneless and floating. Now, all I have to do is simply think the number “twenty-one” and I’m instantly asleep, so much so that I stay away from blackjack tables for fear the mere mention of the number will start me snoring.
The only problem with my little self-relaxation method is that it only works the first time. After my blessed five minutes of power-napping, I’m up for a while. I usually lie there for a while, deluding myself that this time I’ll fall back asleep, until I just can’t stand it any longer. I mean, come on. There’s cereal in the kitchen, Facebook on my computer, the last half hour of my favorite paranormal show on the DVR.

My other reason for losing sleep is the paranormal. Ghosts simply love my bedroom. I haven’t figured out why, but it doesn’t take them long to discover me. As soon as I find that sweet spot on my pillow, my bedroom becomes Ghostland Central. They swirl around my bed, hover inches from my face, making my ears ring with the sound of their presence. Soon, I’ll feel something sit down beside me on the bed. Another will gently caress my hair, and then the angry one will lean over me with murder in his ghostly heart. If I’m lucky enough, I will evade them by falling asleep. If not, then it will be another long night, pretending that noise in the corner is my cat playing with a piece of paper or the rap on the wall is just the wind.

As for my number one fantasy…it’s not sleep, but that’s another blog entry altogether. 