Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Good, Bad, & the Ugly

I watch a lot of detective shows that sometimes remind me about my experiences in that field. From age 40-55, from 1991 until 2007, I worked almost daily, pro bono as a psychic on murder cases. A few times, I helped find a killer. The work often made me sick and upset, as I expect it does for other police officers. My joy came from leading a detective down a path of thinking that he hadn’t pursued.

Except for one female detective, they were all males. The camaraderie between them was more profound than is shown in movies. Like many jobs, they had an almost secret language of looks and words. The best part was that I was treated like an equal part of a team. No job prior to that felt the same. As a teacher, I never found that other teachers banded together as a whole. Instead, it sometimes felt like little middle school cliques.

The worst part was when detectives would insist that I look at murder victim pictures. I tried to avoid it, but some guys were tricky and thrust them in front of me. I’ll never forget those haunting scenes. At the time, my psychic mind was more concerned with what happened and not the finality of it.

Right before I cut way back in this work, I starred in a half hour show, Psychic Witness, which played on the ID channel all over the world and on Netflix for a year, and made me mini-famous. Reliving the murder during the four days of shooting the show felt beyond horrible, since I had seen it in my mind’s eye the first time. The capper came when the man playing the murderer asked me the killer’s motivation and I had to explain it to him, all the while wishing I could have prevented it.

I made a decision to not be famous. During that mini-famous time, my thoughts were so jumbled. People wanted to be my friend and it wasn’t about me. Others stared at me in stores. I didn’t want to leave my young son and spend my life on the road as a psychic. I’m a teacher, writer, and musician and I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as just a psychic. I think about this decision often, with some pathos but little regret.

My respect is huge for everyone in law enforcement. It’s a difficult and dangerous job for low pay. My heart goes out to every single one of them.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Loss & Gain

I started life as an athlete. By age eight, I gleefully ran the four safe blocks that my mother mapped out. The next year, I rode my bike. By sixth grade I was the fastest runner in my elementary school and one afternoon, I rode forty-two miles and wasn’t even winded. I excelled as a fast and furious basketball guard, but quit because of the rule that I had to stop at half court and watch my target make baskets. For fun, I practiced the long and the high jumps, but our school had no girls track team. Fie on that, since my conservative parents refused to get a lawyer to try to put me on the boys’ team.

In seventh grade, I followed my older sister into cheerleading. A quiet child, I discovered all the yelling helped me find my voice. By tenth grade, several grown-ups involved in picking new cheerleaders told my father that I was the best for squad tryouts. Once in my thirties, one of those men even expressed his deep regret over the unfairness of what happened. The girls on the varsity squad convinced the coach to let them help pick the new squad. They outnumbered the adults and didn’t chose me. I’ll never know why, but I think jealousy. I felt devastated and shock, and I cried all night.

Weeks later, I attended the first meeting for the school musical. The director boomed out, any people in sports, leave now, cheerleaders leave now. Destiny had paid me a visit. In my junior and senior years I had the lead in the musicals and senior play, and to this day, I’m a performer. I thank my lucky stars that those girls ruined what I thought was my future path. Although I don’t know any adult cheerleaders.

Horrible things happen, and then wonderful things happen, and we are forced to follow newly opened paths. In the midst of horrible it’s hard to hope for wonderful, but it comes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Trouble: Avoid It or Dip In?

Part of my psychic ability is knowledge of trouble before it happens. That keeps me a bit protected and safe, but I’ve had my share of bad luck. Sad but true, I knew it was coming. Instead of adapting, I’d forget I was forewarned and then have to face it like a big wave, with a last-minute choice to swim under it or flip over it.

Every decade a horrible thing has happened that I thought I might not live through. But here sits a happy old lady, a cockeyed optimist. That’s from South Pacific, my first Broadway show, and my daughter took me. But let me get back to trouble. When I hear the word, I think of River City and the Music Man. I planned to buy a Broadway ticket for the revival but it’s $600 and crowded, so I’ll go to Vermont instead. Anyway, Music Man is a holdover from my youth, so maybe it should stay there.

Conflict is present everywhere. In writing classes, I learned the necessity of it. Every story, every joke, and most days of our lives contain conflict and resolution. How we face the resolution part is what divides the optimists and the pessimists.

Someone asked me again last week, do you predict bad things? I tell them it’s a matter of whether they want to know everything. I also explain that it’s like voice lessons. I don’t tell my students that they’ll never be as successful as Adele or Justin Bieber, but I do lay out the improvement strides that will occur.

When bad things happen, if you can’t swim under or jump over the problem, get to the other side with optimism. It’s good for your cells. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Longing

If I played that Facebook game where I oddly explain what I do for a living, I’d say I address longing. In music lessons, I help with a desire to capture the beauty of making music to find rapture. In psychic readings, longing is omnipresent. Love, health, work, and coming to terms with the past, that’s some of what I discuss. This week, at the end of a reading, a woman said, you’re a medium, tell me more about the people who have passed. Meanwhile, I had spent most of her session as her mother. She saw me in that room, but the voice coming from my mouth was not mine. Why can I not remember to explain that as it happens? 

The most important things in life are not things, but stuff you can’t touch or prove. Yearning, love, frustration, and yes, desire for your next experience. As a child, I longed to be grown up and free. As a teen, it was romance, in my 20s, adventure. In my 30s, 40s, and 50s, I wanted to be a good mother and enjoy my work. Now I long for serenity, a continuance of my lovely career, and a whole bunch of trips thrown into the mix. I live for the future. When I think about mistakes, I ponder the longing that took me in that direction.


Today is my once-a-week ice cream day. What will I long for when I’m 90 and decide to eat it every day? Maybe it’ll be new friends to replace those who have passed, a driver who makes me laugh, and the continued ability to move my body. I wonder if psychic people with dementia can still predict?

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Resolutions: What We Want and What We Get

Until I was 40, I wanted to be mysterious, petite, and blond. Finally, with my shocking psychic predictions, I’m mysterious, even to myself. With age, I’m thinner and shorter, so now I look at my skinny bones and think, I’m petite. My black hair has gone gray, so I pretend it’s close to blond.

Every Christmas, I used to ask Santa for a horse. I bought one as an adult, then sold it so I could afford my son. He’s way more fun.

With the Covid isolation, I looked back at old goals and made new ones. When regrets surfaced, I forgave myself because I wasn’t the woman I am now. When I looked at my bank account, I fantasized about five trips to Europe. Unable to travel, I threw money at the steep hills in my yard to make rolling ones and the new long driveway that now reaches my door.

Last month, as the excavator moved earth for six solid hours, I watched him sweat and jump in and out of big boy equipment. When I invited him in to get his money, he made a detour to his truck for some cologne. As a single woman, I just wanted a whiff of a sweaty man. What I got was a perfume factory. He sure did try though.

After a decade of house and property renovations, I have a different New Year’s resolution.  I’ll pursue adventures and discover firsts instead of repeats. I’ll make plans for what I want but try to enjoy what gets dumped on my lap. I’ll work on contentment in 2022.

Now, please excuse me. I have to go run my car up and down that new driveway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Knowing About Death

Today I was thinking about a man I met in Rome in 1974. He was chivalrous, troubled from the Vietnam war, and wealthy. I haven’t seen him since then, but today I saw him clearly, and then in my mind’s eye, I saw his life slip away.

I think we all know when we’re going to die. Some people don’t want to think about it, and others, like me, ponder and embrace the reality of it.

As my nurse mother stood by my 76-year-old father’s hospital bed, he asked her, why is everything shutting down? He probably never thought he’d be cognizant of the physical process of slipping away.

My mom spoke openly of death, and in that context, she often lamented losing her high school classmates. Class of ’42 is dwindling fast, she’d say. But she was an optimist, so then she’d say, just one more year, that’s all. Many times, she said she needed one more year to welcome a first great grandchild. Another time it was a trip she wanted to take, and other years it was just an age number. She made it to 87, and the last year of her life I didn’t hear a word about wanting more time.

As a shy child, I used to reward myself when I did a brave thing. I’d ride my bike two exploratory blocks further than usual, then sneak an extra cookie. If I raised my hand in class and spoke out loud, then at recess, I’d run as fast as I could around the perimeter of the playground. Oh, did I love to run.

I thought being a child meant being the bravest. So many new things, so many obstacles, so many people bossing me. Now I know, the oldest people have to be the bravest. They are the keepers of faith, the calm, the knowledgeable, and the wonderful. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

What I Discovered About Ghosts

I’m in the midst of a job as a tour guide for history/ghost tours in Lebanon, PA. As patrons asked me questions, here is what surprised me. I’ve never seen a ghost under eleven years old, nor have I seen an old person ghost. Maybe that’s because those ages are the least troubled, and they move on to another dimension and don’t hang around.

I only see the top two thirds of a spirit with no lower half, and they float. From my ghost research, that’s common for other ghost spotters. Some spirits wear diaphanous gowns and some wear clothes from the period when they lived.

Ghosts are not scary to me, but disgruntled ones make me uncomfortable. I’ve read they are wandering souls so it’s possible they aren’t comfortable either.

The first time I experienced ghosts was with my Great Aunt Naomi when I was about five. As we climbed the stairs of the Farmers Trust building to her tiny apartment, she stopped to rest. I flattened my body against the wall and said I was afraid of the ghosts. She told me they’re harmless and that I should leave them alone.

Spirits talk to me but I don’t think they listen. This is how they present themselves to me. I see them, hear them, smell them, or get goosebumps.

Thirty years ago, a good psychic told me, you talk to dead people. Horrified, I tried to pretend it wasn’t true, but I knew it was. Since I’m a medium, I guess that’s my specialty. Can’t say I’m especially fond of them though.