To some, this will be just another ghost story. To me, it is THE ghost story. The one that erased any amount of skepticism I had. The one responsible for me waving a smoking sage bundle every time I go near a location rumored to be haunted.
Several years ago, I came into contact with a woman (let’s call her Aurora) online who listed herself as an “energy healer.” I thought, cool, my chakras need aligning. Let’s do this. It delighted me to discover she only lived forty-five minutes from my home.
My first visit with her was interesting. I had no idea what to expect, and I was slightly nervous. We sat and discussed the process and took a few moments to get to know each other. During our chat, every couple of minutes I felt a soft touch on my calf, like a feather brushing across the skin. I glanced down, finding nothing there. I remember thinking I was making it up until I would feel the sensation again. It persisted. Finally aggravated, I bent down and swatted, and thought, leave me alone! Aurora smiled and told me it was her ghost. A young Native American spirit that came from the land under her home. She told me the land her home sat on was once “an ancient Indian campground.” Apparently, during a battle with the white settlers, all the Natives were murdered. When she discovered her place was haunted, she had a psychic come out. This psychic told her the tragic story and also informed her the corner in one of Aurora’s bedrooms contained a “portal” to the spirit world.
I’d always believed in ghosts, but being touched by one, validated my belief. It intrigued me. I should’ve run like hell and never went back. Unfortunately, I didn’t run. And I went back. Several times.
Over the course of those visits, Aurora performed three “attunements” on me, aligning my chakras and clearing out the clutter from my energy field. I also had more encounters with her playful ghost, not threatening or frightening, so I thought nothing of it. At my third visit, she invited me to a local ghost tour put on by the chamber of commerce in her county. The tour would cover several local locations, including a cemetery and her house and property. That day, I learned her land housed the partial remains of an old barn which had once been part of a horse racetrack and had been destroyed by a fire. According to Aurora, it too was haunted, but by something much darker than the young spirit roaming around her house playing tricks on people. The “entity” was so dark, Aurora didn’t go into the old barn. At least that’s what she told me.
I was so excited to attend my first real ghost tour, and I convinced a good friend to accompany me. On the day of the event, we gathered at the meeting spot. Right away, my friend and I spotted two young men and an older woman who stood off by themselves, all dressed in goth-style black clothing with black-dyed hair. They didn’t interact with anyone else during the tour and they seemed to keep their distance from the rest of the group. My friend said she thought they were creepy and felt they were drawing energy from the surrounding people. There was also a group of ghost-hunters out of Houston who joined the tour, carrying many types of ghost-hunting equipment. When it came time to travel out to Aurora’s place, everyone caravanned in a funeral-like precession. This would be my fourth visit to her place.
The first part of the tour was of inside Aurora’s home, and we focused on the one front bedroom she claimed contained a portal in the right front corner. Three of the ghost-hunters stayed in the room, running a digital recorder, taking still photos, and using EMF detectors. One by one, the devices’ batteries drained. Before the EMF died, the needle moved in an erratic pattern, causing all sort of excitement. No longer able to use any of their equipment, one of them created a set of dowsing rods from two wire hangers, and those who wanted could use them in the room. I got in line. My friend refused to even step foot in there, and she urged me not to take part. Despite her request, when it was my turn, I followed instructions for using the metal rods, and walked forward. As soon as I stepped through the doorway, a jolt of what felt like electricity shot through the rods, they crossed in front of me, the ends smacking into the opposite forearms, and zapped me. The energy sensation raced up my arms, shoulders, neck, and face. There was no pain, but it felt like a low wattage shock. I dropped the rods, backed away, and didn’t try again. It definitely left me spooked. The three dressed in all black continued to steer clear of everyone else. They entered the room, but didn’t interact with anyone other than themselves, whispering to each other. And watching. They put off a make-your-skin-crawl eerie vibe.
My friend and I didn’t follow the large group into the old barn. We waited for them to finish the tour and followed them to the next destination in the charming downtown area of where we were. The rest of the tour, including an old cemetery, was a lot of fun, and we ended early evening and ate supper at a local restaurant in town. The ghost-hunting group and a few others—including the strange goth trio—announced they planned to go back out to Aurora’s after dark and hitting the barn again. Since it was on our way home, I wanted to go watch. The phrase curiosity killed the cat comes to mind when I look back on my decision to go back there. And not only did I go back, but I went inside the dark, musty barn to observe the others' work. Leaving my friend standing next to a giant oak tree, I approached the barn door. I have one word to describe the events that followed our entering.
Standing just inside the doorway, I backed myself up to the splintered wall behind me. The group created a large circle in front of me about five or six feet away. Dust particles rode on bright beams of flashlights whisking about the area. One of the male ghost-hunters began calling out to whoever or whatever was “in the barn.” He asked it to show itself or make its presence known. “Make a noise. Bang on something.” A loud knock came from somewhere off to the left of the group. It sounded like a horse kicking a wooden stall door. One woman said she was freezing, that the air had grown “colder” since we’d gone in. I didn’t feel any difference in the temperature. The same male voice began to provoke the spirit by saying, “Show yourself or are you too weak?” And that’s when several began to goad whatever was in the barn to touch someone in the room. I shrunk against the wall, too freaked out to move the three or four feet toward the door. I wanted out. But I couldn’t. I didn’t want any space between me and the wall. I wanted nothing to slink behind me. I knew the group taunting whatever darkness plagued the location was wrong. They were asking for serious trouble.
When I heard the awful sound of someone retching outside, I peeled away from the wall and scattered out of the barn. I found my friend hunched over. “I need to get away from here,” she said. As I helped her into the passenger seat of my car, I noticed the goth trio watching us from a dark corner of the yard. We were silent the first several minutes during the drive back to my house. The day’s events played back in my head. She laid her head back with her eyes closed. When I couldn’t hold back any longer, I expressed my sympathies for her getting sick. I asked if it had been the food we ate earlier in the evening. “No,” she said. “It was that place and those people and what they were doing in the barn. Shouting and calling out to whatever was in there. It’s bad. It’s really bad.” I shivered, the hair on the back of my neck prickling. “And did you see those people standing there watching us? They didn’t go in the barn. They stood off to the side, listening. It was like they were waiting for something.” I apologized for dragging her with me. That was when I felt it. A thump on the back of my seat. Keeping my hands at ten-and-two, I stared out the windshield, hoping it was my imagination. Another thump. No. This was not happening. I’m officially wigged out, and now, I’m imagining things, I thought. When something began pressing into the back of the driver’s seat, pushing into the small of my back, it reminded me of when the girls were younger and they would kick my seat. Still, I remained quiet. But inside my head, I was telling whatever was in there with us to get out. Go away. Again, the intentional, foot-in-the-back sensation from behind me. A few miles from the house, I signaled and pulled over.
“What’s wrong?” my friend asked.
“Something’s in the back seat.”
She glanced back. “I don’t see anything.”
I unlocked the doors, climbed out, and pulled the back door open. Peering inside, I inspected the seat, both floorboards, and the small area up near the back windshield, expecting to find an animal. I’d left the windows cracked half-way when I parked near the barn. Except, nothing was there. I almost didn’t get back inside. But we weren’t far from the house, and I needed to get my friend back so she could get some rest. On the rest of the drive, nothing happened. After we arrived home, told the story of our day to the kids and my husband (who laughed, mind you.), I fixed some hot tea, and my friend and I went out on the front porch. We rocked in the two old, paint-peeled rockers.
“We brought something home with us,” she said.
During the next couple of months, both my daughters, ages ten and fifteen, experienced things. Voices, dark shadows, and the youngest complained of hearing a “heartbeat” in her walls at night. I began to see things out of the corners of my eyes. Dark things that would dart the second I looked. At night when my husband was working, I never felt alone. Something seemed to be there with me, watching. I once woke screaming from a nightmare that someone was trying to choke me. I sat upright, clawing at my neck. My husband jumped up from his side of the bed, flipped on the light, checked under our bed, and the rest of the house. The following morning, I noticed I’d scratched my throat. My friend called me first thing that day and told me she’d awaken in the middle of the night with the thought that something was wrong with me.
Fast forward to four months after the ghost tour. I had a house full of women, hosting a Pampered Chef party. My sister-in-law came out of the guest bathroom and dragged me into the hallway.
“You have a ghost,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked. But I knew what she was going to say.
“A spirit. It’s a young male, maybe mid-teens. Native American, I think. He’s bare chested, but has some type of cloth covering his waist area. I came out of the bathroom and he was standing there, staring at me. I blinked, and then he vanished.”
“Are you sure?” I looked around the hallway, the skin on my arms prickling.
“Yeah. And he’s angry.”
My sister-in-law, visiting from Florida, had no clue of the ghost tour I had attended, and nothing of what we’d been experiencing at the house. The following day, I called the woman who lived on the property with the barn. I’d listened to my friend and not returned for any further “energy clearing.” I explained what had happened the night we drove home, what we girls in the house had been experiencing, and what my sister-in-law witnessed in the hallway. I asked Aurora to help me. She refused. Said she couldn’t and didn’t “know what to do.”
I was lost. Terrified. And embarrassed. I didn’t have anyone to turn to in fear of them either laughing at me or thinking I was crazy. My husband told me we were imagining it all, and “ghosts aren’t real.”
I researched online and emailed several mediums that would come out and take care of my ghost problem for a lofty fee. Then, I found someone who was willing to do a spiritual clearing. From Australia! For anyone reading this and thinking I’m nuts, I had to believe if she said she could do it, she would. Within a few hours of her agreeing, we exchanged a few emails about me, my girls, my experience, and a few details of the ghost tour. She asked me not to tell her anything about the ghost, where he was from, age, physical description, or any thoughts I had about him. She told me she’d be starting clearing soon and recommended I keep thinking positive thoughts while she worked. She would email me when she finished.
A little over an hour later, I received an email from her. I wished I would’ve saved it, so I could read it again to assure myself that it really happened. Many of the details in the email have faded from my memory. A few have remained. The clearing worked. The spirit was a fifteen-year-old Native American. He identified with my oldest daughter, same age, and her feisty, teenage angst. He didn’t like my husband, and when he was home, the spirit would hide in our closet under the stairs (a detail about our house I hadn’t told her). He’d died in a “fire.” An older man’s spirit who continued calling me “kitten” helped the psychic medium cross the young spirit cross over. “Kitten” is what my deceased maternal grandpa called me and my sisters. The medium said she’d envisioned putting the young Native in a rowboat, and she and my grandpa watched him row across a river to the other side where his “family” waited for him. She said the “elders” who welcomed him “home” thanked us and they would forever protect my home and property.
I was astounded and grateful for her efforts to put an end to our strange experiences here at the house. I never heard from Aurora again. I no longer put myself in vulnerable situations in ghostly encounters without first setting boundaries to protect myself. I am a firm believer spirits and ghosts are among us, and I also believe they can interact in our world, good or bad. I don’t fear them, but I have a found respect for them.
In my recollection above, I mentioned the gothic trio because I am convinced, they had ulterior motives for attending the ghost tour that day. Whether or not they carried any responsibility for my experience or my friend being ill, is unknown. I am 85% convinced the woman I have named “Aurora,” set the events of my “haunting” into motion. Anyone who has received any type of energy work will tell you at the time of receiving the treatment, energy is exchanged, and you are wide open spiritually and emotionally, thus leaving you in a vulnerable state. For a naïve individual, this is risky, unless you know how to protect yourself. Did Aurora “open” or expose me to a state where I became susceptible for a spirit to “attach” itself to me? Only she knows. But I do believe the energy work had something to do with what occurred after my energy sessions with her.
It’s been seven years since then. I have often wanted to write about it, but feared readers would either not believe me, laugh, or criticize me for doing something so stupid. Last summer, I decided to take the experience and use it for inspiration in the first book of my new paranormal series, Something Dark This Way Comes. I added many factual details into the story. To protect the privacy of a few individuals, I used fictional names, and a fictionalized town name for the area in which the experience took place. My goal is to entertain readers with a fun, creepy tale based on a real-life event. The story contains some threads of reality, truth, and personal experiences weaved into what I hope to be fantastic fiction.
You can read more about book one, Something Dark This Way Comes in my previous post.
Thanks for reading! Catch y’all next time I get around to scratching on the post!
In December, I finished the first draft of book one in my new series! The Birdy Nightingale Paranormal Chronicles. *Think the X-Files meets Texas, where the spooks at night are a frightening sight. So far, I have four books planned. My goal is to have at least ten books in the series, featuring Texas paranormal mysteries based on regional tales, lore, and legends. From the Marfa Lights of west Texas, the numerous Bigfoot sightings in the swampy forests of east Texas, the creature of Caddo Lake in north Texas, the elusive Chupacabra of south Texas, and everything in between, there is a plethora of weird & creepy in the Lone Star State.
I'm super excited to introduce you to my newest heroine, Eudora "Birdy" Nightingale, a single mom, a respected investigative journalist who adheres to a strict code of journalistic ethics, and someone who suffers from Misophonia. "It's a real condition." The sound of repetitive tapping or someone chewing can send her through the roof. When she loses her job with her hometown newspaper, she takes a job she financially can't refuse, a writing position with a travel Texas paranormal magazine, The Tex-Files. (You know, until she can land another "legitimate" writing gig.) Trying to adhere to her strict code of journalistic ethics, and being a skeptic to anything paranormal, Birdy feels she's living out a real-life oxymoron. Her struggles with producing a great story without blurring the lines of fact and fiction will present oodles of challenges along the way.
The series begins with book 1, Something Dark This Way Dwells, where Birdy and her teenaged daughter, Ryan, pack up a vintage Winnebago and head to Broken Arrow, Texas to investigate a supposed haunting. Her plan to go in, get the facts, write the story, and get out, takes an unexpected twist when the magazine sends a photographer to assist her. Fletcher Prescott, a spirited "surfer" from South Padre and the son of the magazine's editor-in-chief, shows up with a "Mulder-ish" personality. He and Birdy are in a constant state of disagreement, especially regarding the spooky stuff. And as if writing for the Tex-Files Magazine isn't difficult enough, Birdy has to put up with Fletcher's "What's up, dude?" beach lingo, and he wears flip-flops. Flip-flops! 0_0 (Can you imagine Birdy's reaction to the constant "flipping" & "flopping" noises with each irritating step Fletcher takes?)
Trust me. Even I wondered if Birdy's yes-I-can attitude could get her through the first assignment without choking Fletcher, or if her disbelief in ghosts would have her tossing in the proverbial towel and ditching the assignment before I finished draft one.
But of course, our quirky, determined heroine prevails despite the many struggles she faces. As for Fletcher's outcome, you'll have to wait to read the book.
Look for Something Dark This Way Dwells this summer!