Is Your House Haunted?

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Have you ever come down with an illness that starts slowly? The first symptoms are very subtle. You might feel tired and run-down. Days later, it might evolve to a sniffly nose or a cough. If you’re like many of us, you’ll be in denial for the first stage of the cold. You’ll attribute the tired feeling to not getting enough sleep; the sniffles could just be allergies. Like illness, a true haunting seldom comes without signs and symptoms

The first thing you might notice is a feeling of being watched. It’s that sensation you get when someone comes into a room quietly and just stands there. Sometimes it might take you a moment to realize they’re there and you’ll turn around with a gasp as you see them. A ghost might give you the same sensation.

You might also notice that items left in one place inexplicably show up somewhere else.  Or a light you turned off suddenly turns back on again.  You might also hear sounds that aren’t normal to the house. Sometimes the haunting will never progress beyond this, but other times it will escalate. Being aware and then taking action is important during the beginning stages.

The first thing you will want to do is rule out normal explanations. If you’re hearing footsteps in the attic, go up and look for signs of an animal. Has a squirrel broken through a vent? Do you see mouse droppings or chewed insulation? If you feel like you’re being watched, rule out high electromagnetic energy, which can often make a person feel paranoid, even leading to hallucinations. Bedside alarm clocks are often big culprits, as are ceiling fans, microwave ovens, or faultily wired electrical outlets or circuit breakers. If you don’t own an EMF meter, which most normal people wouldn’t, you can begin by narrowing down the area that affects you. Do you feel the sensation of being watched only while you’re in your bedroom? Try moving or unplugging items to see if it alleviates the sensation. If all else fails, an inexpensive EMF meter can be found on the Internet for under $50, or you could simply call your electrician.

If you’ve ruled out all normal explanations for the signs of a haunting, the next step is to figure out why your house is haunted.

  • Did you just move in? Chances are the house has been inhabited by an earth-bound ghost for a long time and is just letting you know they’re there. I don’t feel it’s ever okay to live in a house with a ghost. Even if it’s dear old grandma, she’s not in a place of rest and she needs to find her way to the next dimension (aka Heaven or The Other Side).
  • Did you just start a renovation project? This often will trigger a ghost to come out of hiding. Imagine being so attached to your house that you didn’t want to leave it after dying, and then watching some numb-skull rip out the beautiful kitchen cabinets you spent eight months building from scratch. You might jump in to complain too.
  • Have you been dabbling in the paranormal? Did you go on a ghost hunt and attempt to communicate with the dead? Something might have taken you up on this and followed you home. If you investigate, you should always, always, always protect yourself during investigations. I cover this in the last chapter of my book The Soul Collector.
  • Are you a sensitive? People who are able to sense and even possibly communicate with ghosts are more at risk for having ghosts follow them home. In the ghost world, sensitives stand out. A ghost might recognize you as someone they can communicate with and will follow you home. If you’re curious if you’re a sensitive, I wrote a blog called “Do you have a Sixth Sense?” that might help you.

The truth is:  ghosts are all around us most of the time. Being a sensitive, I can tell you that I’ve sensed them at restaurants, movie theaters, and at other people’s homes. While I was interviewing someone for my latest book project, I captured three very clear ghost voices on my digital recorder. One helpfully asked us if we’d remembered to turn off the light.

Opinions will vary on how to eliminate the haunting.  Here are the top suggestions:

  • Claim ownership of your space. Let them know that you live there now and that they need to move on. Tell them to look for the white light, which is a doorway to the other side, or to call for a family member who has passed on to help them. Being dead on our side of the veil isn’t a pleasant experience. They’ll be able to see and hear the things we do, but will have very limited abilities. If this doesn’t work, move onto the second tip.
  • Do a house cleansing. You can do this in a number of ways:
    • Ask your minister or priest to do a house cleansing.
    • Contact a trusted psychic medium to do this. How do you find this person:
      • Many metaphysical shops will have a list of psychics in the area.
      • The Internet – research this person thoroughly before inviting them in.
    • Do it yourself. Purchase white sage mixed with sweet grass from your local metaphysical shop or purchase it online.
      • Be calm, but firm as you do this.
      • If you have connected with your spirit guides or guardians, ask them to help you. Everyone has spirit guides, but might not have connected with them. Ask anyway. You never know who is listening.
      • Open a few windows in the house as you do it.
      • Light the sage and fill every room in your house with the smoke, starting with the outermost corner and working your way to the front of the house. Let the sage smoke cover every inch of space in every room, from floor to ceiling. Some say the smoke is calming to them, helping them transition to the next plane.
      • As you burn the sage, tell them you are filling the house with light and love and that no negative energy may remain. Tell them this is your house and you’re taking it back. Encourage them to find the peace and love they desire through the white light. Tell them it’s time for them to go.
      • When you’re finished, stub out the sage stick on the front walk.
      • Some people will follow this up with a ring of sea salt around the border of the house, or on the windowsills and doorsteps.
      • Others will also take a warm bath filed with sea salt and lavender, ridding their body of the energy.
      • Cut your ties. You can do this physically, as well as mentally. Cut the cords that connect you to this energy and then move on. Don’t think about it. Shove it out of your mind. Thinking about it could actually draw them back in, so avoid this as best as possible.

What do you do if your house is still paranormally active after all these measures have been taken? Some ghosts are going to be resistant about moving on. Typical measures aren’t going to work with them. You’ll have to move into a second phase.

  • Contact an established and highly recommended paranormal group to help you. Be forewarned that this will often increase the activity, but if the group is able to help you, it will be worth it in the end. When you reach out to them, ask for references from other clients they have assisted. A good group will not charge you for their services. If they do, you should probably run the other way. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer them a donation for the time and money they’ve spent helping you. Many won’t accept it, but others will. Offer anyway.
  • Contact a trusted psychic medium. Talk to your local metaphysical store for references. Ask for references of clients the medium has helped. A good medium will be able to remove the middle man and talk directly to the ghost, helping them to move to the other side much more effectively. Many mediums will charge for their services, but some will not.
  • Move. I don’t like this last option, because you are only leaving the problem for someone else to deal with. Or worse, you go through the effort of moving, only to discover the ghost has followed you.
  • Research the history on the house.
    • Go to your local town hall and research the census records and death records to find out if it’s a former home owner. Sometimes a tragic event could have caused them to stay behind. Or maybe they’re just attached to the house. Sometimes just knowing who you’re dealing with helps in moving them on. Talk to them by name. Tell them you understand why they’re there, but it’s your house now and you promise to take good care of it. Then, do the cleansing.
    • Go to your local library and read back issues of the newspapers. Find out if something tragic happened. Sometimes all they want is for someone to acknowledge what they lived through. Follow it up with a cleansing.
    • Do nothing. Allow the energy to calm down on its own. Don’t acknowledge them, don’t be fearful. Just go about your life as usual. Sometimes this simple thing makes a difference, but sometimes it just makes it worse.

All of these suggestions are just suggestions. Ghosts were people too, and not everything is going to work with everyone. The more resistant a ghost is, the harder they will be to move along. But always start at the beginning of the list and rule out normal explanations first. You will save yourself a lot of time and stress. When I went through this myself back in the 1990’s, I wasn’t sure what to do and resources weren’t as prevalent as they are today. I ended up moving out, leaving the energy for someone else to contend with. I later heard that the house was sold five times in five years and it made me feel very guilty for not pursuing it further.

Whatever you do, do it with a purpose and remain calm. Fear is never a good tool for working with ghosts and neither is anger. Most hauntings are human in nature and a sense of compassion will be your best ally.

What if the haunting isn’t human? Signs of a non-human haunting will range from foul smells in the house, to finding unexplained scratches on your body. If you suspect this isn’t human, find a professional to help you, whether it’s a member of clergy, a trusted paranormal team, or a good psychic medium.

And always believe it will work.

Faith and a firm sense of belief will carry you much further than doubt and fear.

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

Ghosts and Electricity

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I’ve often wondered about the correlation between hauntings and electricity.

As paranormal investigators, we know that ghosts can manipulate our electronics. We’ve seen it happen over and over again. Cell phone settings get inexplicably changed during an investigation and radios or television sets get turned on and off, just to list a few. But, what if ghosts can actually pull energy from these devices?

One of the most standard pieces of paranormal investigation equipment is the EMF meter. Simply stated, an EMF meter measures the changes of the electromagnetic field in a given area. There are various units, some more precise than others, but I prefer the Mel Meter, manufactured by D.A.S. Distribution Inc., because it is easy to use and also measures the ambient room temperature. If you hold one near a source of electricity, the reading on the meter will often increase. Electrical appliances such as alarm clocks, ceiling fans, and microwave ovens will cause an EMF meter’s readings to spike upwards. So, what does this have to do with ghosts?

Everything around us is made of energy, even our own bodies. When we die, where does that energy go? Does it get released into the atmosphere around us? Or does it stay encapsulated?

Theories abound. Since energy is neither created nor destroyed, it remains. Many paranormal investigators and psychics alike believe that the energy remains with the spirit. This is one of the reasons why investigators use EMF meters, hoping to detect the presence of a ghost. It’s not why I use one, though. I use it primarily to debunk a haunting.

We were called to investigate a house where the owners felt there was a ghost in the basement. They brought us to one particular doorway, telling us they always felt as though they were being watched when they stood there. It took me about five seconds to figure it out. Beside the doorway was a very large electrical box. I put my EMF meter near it and immediately got a very high reading.

High EMF readings can affect the human body in various ways. One thing it can do is give the person the feeling of being watched or the sensation of being fearful. People who have experienced high EMF over a period of time sometimes report hallucinations as well. Health-wise, it isn’t good either as it has been linked to cancer and sleep disorders, since it could reduce the melatonin levels in the brain, which is the hormone that stimulates sleep. It can also point to a very dangerous electrical situation. The owners were advised to contact their electrician immediately to prevent a catastrophic house fire. After they fixed the electrical issue, all the sensations of a haunting stopped entirely.

Whenever I stay at a haunted inn, I will walk around with my EMF meter and check the levels. In one inn, we discovered that a faultily wired ceiling fan was causing a high EMF reading, giving the people in the bed below it the sensation of being watched. Bedside alarm clocks are also prone to emitting high levels. Correcting these man-made issues will often eliminate the feelings of a haunting, so it’s always worth looking into.

But, what if there is already a haunting and the ghosts are just using the electricity like a feeding station? Most of us have encountered something similar in the field.

We call it “battery drain.” Prior to an investigation, we always check our batteries to make sure they’re fully charged.  Sometimes though, we’ll discover that our new batteries become instantly drained the minute we walk into a haunted establishment.

Many enthusiasts feel this is a ghost’s way of powering up. They will drain the batteries, and sometimes even the energy of the investigators themselves, in order to communicate or manifest. After living in a haunted house for 13 years, I can tell you that there is some validity to this theory.

Our house sat under high tension power lines. When we sold it in 2000, I knew nothing about electromagnetic energy. I just knew our house was haunted. Items moved of their own accord, footsteps could be heard in empty rooms, and writing once appeared on a wall. I’ve lived in several other locations with ghostly presences, but have never had the same level of activity. Do the ghosts feed on the extra electromagnetic energy, giving them more energy to manipulate their environment? While it doesn’t explain every haunting, I think it’s worth considering.

Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, New York, is one of the most paranormally active locations I’ve ever been to. I’ve personally seen shadow figures wandering the hallways, heard footsteps and unexplained noises, and had the pleasure of having a ghost pass right through me. Every time I’ve investigated there, I’ve come away with countless class-A EVPs. I’ve also witnessed my EMF meter’s numbers rise on request. Why would one location be so much more active than many others?

Locations are usually haunted for a variety of reasons. If numerous deaths occurred there over a period of time, it would stand to reason that there would be more opportunity for a haunting. But what if there is another explanation?

I recently had a conversation with Sharon Coyle-Farley, owner of Rolling Hills Asylum to inquire about this theory.

Directly across the street from the facility is a power grid. Is it possible that the ghosts from Rolling Hills are using that energy to help them manifest and manipulate their environment?

Here’s what Sharon said:

“I hadn’t taken a reading from the power grid in ages so I went over to it. Its directly opposite the east wing (you can google earth it – 11001 Bethany Center Road, 14054) a 2 lane road – approximately 24 feet from the start of my land – and approximately 20 additional feet to the building itself (so approximately 44 – 48 feet away). The strongest hit is at the gate of the grid – varies with what I imagine to be power surges between 11.0 & 17.1 on the Mel. As soon as I take two steps in either direction – right, left or behind me it immediately subsides down to 3.0 to 4.0 on the Mel and by the time I am at the tall Cypress at the edge of my property (close to the road) it flat lines at 0.0 on the Mel. Which means – which is what I always knew (just couldn’t recall the stats) – that the power grid does NOT leak EMF into my building – which is why we get flat line readings of 0.0 on the Mel everywhere in the building -unless at a live power source – such as when the microwave in the green room is operating. So – the hits we are getting within RHA are true EMF spikes caused by spirit activity. Do I think the grid is an energy source for them – I sure do. I think they draw from it – feed from it – like going through a McDonalds for lunch – they come and go to it and it also draws other entities to it which in turn brings more entities/activity into RHA.”

This doesn’t explain every haunting, but it is something worth thinking about.

It could explain the “paranormal hangover” I always experience the day after an investigation. I’ve spoken to others who have felt the exact same way. I am just exhausted. Even if I’ve had enough sleep the night afterwards, I will always wake up the next morning so tired I can barely function. Depending on the location, it might take me days to build my energy back up.  Since I’ve learned the valuable lessons on how to properly ground and shield myself, some of this has lessened, but not completely. Are the ghosts using my energy to do the things I’m asking them to do? Does every EVP come at a cost?

Part of my fascination with the paranormal field revolves around the “why” factor. I’m interested in learning more, which will hopefully help me and others better explain the experiences we continue to have as we investigate haunted locations.

If you have a theory you’d like to share, please let me know.

Working together will help us answer some of the questions we all encounter.

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

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 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