Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Visited by Spirits


Lucy Burdette: I have never considered myself to be someone who is visited by spirits of the great beyond. Maybe it’s that I don’t know how to listen for them. If you have read my Key West series, you will know that Miss Gloria has a part-time job in the Key West cemetery giving guided tours. In one of the scenes from my August book, A SCONE OF CONTENTION,  Miss Gloria is visited by spirits of her ancestors in Scotland; she definitely knows how to connect. 


Speaking of spirits, a most interesting thing happened during my sister Susan Cerulean’s book talk for the Friends of the Key West library. We chatted on zoom in front of 100 interested readers about her memoir “I have been assigned the single bird.” The book braids together two stories – her caregiving of our father during the last eight years of his life with Alzheimer’s, and her caregiving of the earth, particularly birds. She had just finished talking about how my father hated to be left out of anything and seemed to very much enjoy the idea of being the subject of her next book. Then she was asked a question about what people could do who are concerned about the planet. But at that moment, an alarm began to buzz. I knew it wasn’t something in my house, and she didn’t think it was hers. But after a few minutes, she left the screen and returned with my father’s old alarm clock, which had been in the pile going to the dump. Because it didn’t work! Have a listen to what happened next:





Honestly, we were quite flabbergasted about that event. The timing was too strange not to have been a message from our father.


Our good friend Pat Kennedy (who you may remember from various blogs written for us) sent us this note after the talk: “This gives me an awesome idea.  If you know me well you will remember how I hate to be left out of a party. So I’m programming my own alarm clock that goes off at party time and demand that my children include me and the clock in all future family gatherings – after I’ve moved on.”


So here’s the question Reds: do you feel you have a connection with people who have moved on from this life? Or if not, have you had a particular experience that makes you question your doubts?


80 comments:

  1. Okay, that’s really weird and, at the same time, pretty amazing! [So, did Sue decide to keep the clock, after all?]

    I can’t say that I’ve had any messages from folks who have moved on . . . though I wouldn’t mind having one or two or a few. . . .

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    1. Oh yes, that clock got moved right back inside!

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    2. I’m keeping the clock, Joan, even tho it’s “broken!”

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  2. Oh my goodness! I love this. And yes, I'm a believer. One story. The morning after my mom died and I woke up after an exhausting, emotional night Donald was already awake and i said to him, "I have something to tell you." He said, "me first. Your mom just paid me a visit. With your dad." (My dad died 36 years ago). I sat up and said "did they dance through a big gate together? " And he said yes. We had both had the same "dream" of my mom and dad who danced in to let us know they were together and they were okay.

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  3. WOW, ROBERTA AND SUSAN, that is such a weirdly amazing occurrence. That would have totally freaked me out if I was giving a presentation!!

    I am a believer, and have been fascinated by ESP and psychic powers ever since my teenage years. But despite this, I have never had an actual connection with spirits from beyond.


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    1. It was mind-boggling Grace! Maybe our dad was particularly good at making himself known? About me, I always wonder if I don't listen hard enough, but this was hard to miss:)

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  4. That's amazing and touching, as is Kaye's story.

    I was close to my father, who died at age 62 when I was 32. Since then, at random infrequent times, my right ear (not an alarm clock!) rings for a few seconds. I always stop what I am doing and think of Daddy. I pay attention, asking myself what he would think of what I am doing in my life. It makes me smile to have a little contact like that.

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  5. Great stories Roberta, Kaye, just wow. I am don't think I really connect with their spirits, but loved ones do come alive in my dreams. When it happens, I am aware of their presence in my heart.

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    1. I have had lovely happy dreams where my mother walks in, or my favorite aunt, sometimes my dad. I always wake up smiling because it's going to treat to have a little visit with them.

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    2. I didn't proofread that. I meant because it has been a treat to have a little visit with them.

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  6. I love these experiences so much. There’s a powerful force of —something— that exists. And who are we to name it? Lucy, did Susan feel happy afterward?

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    1. She was so shocked by the whole experience--all happening live. If you watch the little video, you can see that in her face. Since then, we've laughed and laughed because my father hated to be left out of family gatherings!

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  7. What a fascinating story! Thank you for sharing it. Honestly, I'm not much of a believer in supernatural stories, though I love them. Rational explanations can usually be found. On the other hand, as I get older I think--why be a naysayer? Perhaps there is something more to these experiences, and whether or not there is, if we find comfort or reassurance or joy in them, that's DEFINITELY real.

    After I scheduled my 1st Covid vaccine, I had a dream which included my father (who passed away in 2018) sitting in an old broken down car (think 1940s), behind the driver's seat of course, in the backyard of a farmhouse. All very on brand for dad--he loved cars, he grew up on a farm. I approached the car, but stopped because, well, Covid! He looked out through the space of the missing window and said: "Baby girl! Get that shot. I'll see you later and we'll hug then." (Dad was a big hugger.)

    I was thrilled, but a little nervous (unnecessarily, it turned out) about the shot, and I think dad in my dream was reassuring me--everything will be ok. Was it my subconscious, manifesting my father as a figure to reassure me? Or a visit from dad from beyond?

    I don't think it matters. He showed up and was comforting, and that's what matters.

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    1. I agree--no need to parse it. It was exactly the sweet message that was necessary at the time.

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    2. That IS What matters, Jess. Also I'm sorry to have missed your launch last night. I had saved the Facebook event link, but I hadn't gone to the bookstore and registered. When I saw that I needed to, it was too late.

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  8. I can't begin to relate the things I've witnessed at the beds of my hospice patients. But my favorite is the story of Rosario.

    Rosario had a gastric cancer, was unable to eat or drink much, weighed maybe 75 pounds. She lived in a little post war house, no air conditioning, and it was a hot summer. We'd done all we could for her, and now the plan of care was to keep her comfortable with all the magic in our pharmacopoeia. She had four wonderful strapping sons who cooked and cleaned and played music and sang to her. And she had the support of several lay Dominican women who were omnipresent.

    It seems a statue of Our Lady, not sure which one, was coming to San Jose, could be viewed at several churches, and had a reputation for healing. Those four sons, accompanied by the Dominicans, gathered Rosario up in their arms and took her to be blessed, perhaps healed, although they knew that was unlikely. This was over Labor Day weekend.

    When I returned to work on Tuesday, I got a call from Rosario's RN case manager, saying I needed to come to the house immediately. And so I did. The weather was hot, more than usual for the South Bay, and I dreaded being in the tiny house, so close with inadequate ventilation.

    When I come in the front door, I found the home very cool and comfortable. As I went into Rosario's room, I smelled a heavy scent of roses although there were no flowers in sight. Room spray maybe? Maybe not. The Dominicans were all there, murmuring prayers, saying rosaries, candles burning. This room, too, was pleasantly cool. I looked for an air conditioner, but the windows were open, along with a door to the back garden.

    Rosario was lying in bed, smiling, pain free, coherent, and excited to tell me of her pilgrimage to the statue of Our Lady, one well known in Mexico for bringing comfort to the sick and dying.

    For another six weeks this scene repeated itself. Rosario did not attempt to eat or drink again, and she remained alert and aware. The Dominicans prayed around her day and night. The four sons cooked food for everyone and made music. I'm not sure anyone ever slept. The smell of roses was continual, not explained by candles or perfume or room freshener. It was a consolation, sent by Saint Therese, the "Little Flower."

    And in mid October Rosario said goodbye, and she peacefully transformed to another state of being.

    I was present for a miracle.

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    1. Ann, your story gave me chills. I am sure you have many since your work brought you into close contact with people in the end stage of life. Beautiful story.

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    2. That's a wonderful way to pass, Ann. Thank you for sharing. Some day, when we can sit down together over wine, I'll tell you about some of the very interesting things that happened when Warren was dying. I have no doubt that his passing was peaceful because he told me it was.

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    3. Gigi: Bouchercon 2022/Minneapolis. Fingers crossed!

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    4. And, that is lovely and remarkable. Thank you for sharing.

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    5. Wow, Ann. That gave me chills. What a wonderful experience.

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    6. What a lovely story! And so beautifully told. Thank you for sharing. <3

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  9. Wow Ann, that is an astonishing story. And so wonderful that you were able to be a witness. You did such important work--hospice workers are truly angels in my book

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  10. Ann, what a touching story. It eclipses my own experiences. I like the alarm clock sitting on a shelf waiting for its moment.

    A few days after Mom died, friends invited me and my daughter for dinner. When we returned to her house, the garage door was running up and down continuously. As soon as I pulled the car into the other stall, the door stopped going up and down. Bizarre. Soon after, as I went through storage trunks in the attic, I pulled out a white Shetland cardigan dating from the seventies. No moth holes, so I put it in the church resale shop bag. Immediately, I felt Mom's presence. "Young lady, that sweater has plenty of life left in it. You take it home."

    It lives in a plastic storage bin with a block of cedar.

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  11. Oh my, these stories are wonderful! Lucy, how great it is that you have it all on film or tape or whatever it is - do you like to watch it over and over?

    My mother loved to do jigsaw puzzles and so do I. I really believe she has been communicating to me with missing pieces that I find here or there. Okay, maybe it's the cats, but who is guiding the cats? I remember on particular time I had looked high and low for a certain piece, one with a very distinctive shape. More than a week later, and I had vacuumed during that time, I found that distinctive piece on the floor in front of the recliner, several rooms away! The cats may have helped her but I knew it was my mother letting me know she was around.

    I'm sure she is often reading over my shoulder too and many times I think to myself how much she would enjoy a book I was reading. Probably I don't read fast enough for her but she hasn't started turning pages yet.

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    1. Oh Judi, imagine if the pages start turning!! Be sure to let us know

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  12. What a great story/post to start my day with. Thank you. No spirits here, but I do love hearing about others' stories...

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  13. I was there on Zoom Lucy. The noise felt a little annoying until Susan found what it was and then, it felt very special.
    I never had direct contact with someone in particular but I experienced feelings while visiting some places.
    Once I went to a prayer service ( not sure it is the good term) at Bath's Abbey in England, we were maybe twenty in this thousand years old place but it felt like it was full of all the people who prayed there through the years, very special.

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    1. Yes Danielle, exactly! at first it was annoying and then kind of marvelous. I can totally believe one would feel the spirits in an old, sacred setting. Miss Gloria certainly does...

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    2. Danielle, that's the same kind of feeling a friend reported from Machu Picchu. That sense of many whose spirits contributed to a sacred space.

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    3. Danielle, I've had that experience in very old places of worship myself. A priest friend of mine says sacred spaces aren't created because of a connection to a Bible story or a saint. She says sacred spaces are created because people gather there and with their worship, make it sacred.

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    4. Our Friends Meetinghouse is that kind of space. It has Spirit embedded in the walls because of the centuries of worshipers.

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  14. Ann, you definitely saw grace in action with Rosario and her family. How remarkable. St. Theresa of the Little Flower was honored by the church I grew up attending, so I have heard of other miracles she has been credited with. Who knows? There's no way we can understand everything in the universe, and most especially the afterlike. Not many have been able to report back.

    And Roberta and Susan, was your dad kind of a card? Sounds like he might have been one for a laugh! How comforting, to get a "message" from him.

    My own experience kind of flattened me until I talked to a minister and a doctor about it, and since with other medical professionals who have been in the presence of the passing from life to death. They had all had similar experiences to mine.

    My maternal grandmother, a dear, sweet woman who raised nine of her own children and took in another, died with a dozen family members, including me, around her bed. She was 92, had failed kidneys and mild dementia, and had lived for several years with such bad macular degeneration that she had not read her usual five or six books a week for a long time. She had been widowed at that point for over 25 years.

    My mother and her two sisters who were there were wailing and sobbing, and imploring Grandma to "hang on". I was at the foot of the bed, and I was silently praying for Grandma, and telling her it was okay to let go, if she needed to. All of a sudden, the room became brilliant with light. I looked at my cousins to see if anyone else was surprised, but no one else seemed to notice, and then I heard Grandma's voice, and I felt a deep sense of peace as she said, "It's going to be all right". That was the moment she died.

    Since then I have not feared death or dying. The message today, more 25 years later, still feels so strong, and so comforting.

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    1. That's an astonishing experience Karen. So no one else in that room saw the light or heard her voice?

      and ps yes, Dad was definitely a card!

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    2. If they did, they didn't tell anyone. Neither did I, because it just felt so personal, and because the rest of the family was just so grief-stricken.

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  15. I have been visited by relatives who have left me. The visits generally happen in dreams, and come as signs that they are happy and no longer in pain. Once I was even visited by a cat who had escaped the house and disappeared--probably prey for coyotes. He appeared in my dreams two days later, very excited to let me know that he could do all kinds of cool things "in this place" like walk right into my dreams at night to let me know he was okay. That was seven years ago and I hadn't seen him since, until a couple of weeks ago, when he appeared to ask me to take care of a mother cat with kittens. I'm keeping an eye out, but no stray cats yet , , ,

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    1. Oh my gosh Gigi, let us know about the cat with kittens...

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    2. This is so special, Gigi. Soon after my old Gizzy died I had a dream that I glanced outside and saw him frolicking in the grass, as as healthy as could be. Such dreams give us so much comfort I believe.

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  16. Lucy,

    I'm not sure if this directly answers either question in your post. I was thinking about Scotland and spirits. Reading about Miss Gloria, I was reminded of my own experience the last time I visited Scotland.

    Our tour included the Scottish Highlands. I was in Edinburgh for a History conference and it was a wonderful tour with many lovely people from all over the world - Sweden, France, Italy, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and so on.

    I was looking out the window when I suddenly started crying for no reason. I was having a wonderful time and all of a sudden I started crying. It is as if my mood suddenly changed and there was a very sad feeling. Reading about Miss Gloria in your post, I think that I had a Miss Gloria moment. Guess what? We were in the Scottish Highlands on the anniversary of the 1745 battle at Culloden. Today I wonder if I was feeling the spirits of my Scottish ancestors who perished at that battle? It was a beautiful day and I could not fathom why I was suddenly in a black mood. It was just a moment and then I was fine. I was happy the rest of the day. It is a mystery. My great grandfather was born in Scotland and he ran away from home to join the Navy.

    Loved the ARC of SCONE OF CONTENTION from Net Galley. I preordered a copy from my local independent bookstore. I love books about Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England.

    On another note, thank you for sharing the story about your Dad and your sister. Great video.

    Diana

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    1. You're welcome, and thanks so much for reading. I feel certain you must have been channeling the Scottish people. I was disappointed that I did not feel the spirits, but one of our travelers definitely did, and she shared that with me so I could write about Miss Gloria.

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    2. Lucy, I honestly do not know if I felt the spirits. All I know is that I felt a sense of great sadness. I do not know if it is different for Deaf people?

      Diana

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    3. Diana, I visited Culloden when I was in Scotland on my honeymoon. The very stones and grasses of the place seemed melancholy. I believe places can contain a reverberation of what happened there.

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    4. Diana, I've visited Culloden, too, and it definitely emits a deep sadness. I think Julia is right about places holding the energy of traumatic events.

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  17. I had a dream where my late Grandfather would move things around the house he had shared with my Mimi. In the dream I asked him why he did that, and he smiled and said that he liked to keep Mimi on her toes and also that it was to show that he was watching over her. I woke up from that dream feeling so good.. He was such a personality - handsome, smart and mischevious, and the dream was so realistic and so like my Grandfather ~

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  18. I was there for that astounding moment and it reminded me so much of my late mother who strongly believed in ESP. She told me frequently that she sensed her grandmother's presence often via a sense of smell. It was such a pleasant experience for her and because of that I have always associated positive feelings toward these events.

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    1. So interesting that experience her mother's presence by smell. When I was working as a therapist, I heard about a patient smelling cigar smoke, but it was a very negative connection.

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  19. Too soon for me to talk about this, but, yes, I do believe.

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  20. I love all of these stories. After my husband passed away two years ago, my daughter-in-law started having very lucid dreams about him. Sometimes she would get up in the middle of the night to write them down so she could tell me about them. Last week, she dreamed that my son (who would be visiting over the weekend) and I were on our way over to her house. She was alone--I guess my son and the children were out--and she was upset that she wasn't ready yet. Suddenly my husband--her father-in-law--appeared and told her not to worry and go take her shower, that he'd be there to welcome us. You'd better believe we were all thinking about that during the weekend.

    Other than that, sometimes our cat comes to sit on my lap, something she rarely did when Mike was alive because she favored him, and she'll stare straight into my eyes. It always makes me think of Mike and to feel his presence, just a bit.

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    1. thanks for sharing that Margie. Cats are so mysterious and definitely connected to other worlds...

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  21. I'm a believer. I may not understand how or why it happens, but I don't need to. My brother, who died when he was 25, sometimes stops by in my dreams. He wasn't much of a talker before and he still isn't, but he had the most wonderful grin and it's always a welcome sight. He just checks in with me. One of the earliest dreams, he got on a bus I was riding. Awkwardly, because in this dream I realized he'd died, I asked "So, how've you been?" His answer, "Well, mostly dead." And that grin flashed.

    Ann, what a wonderful blessing for those who experienced that miracle!

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    1. Your brother sounds like a stitch Flora, I'm glad he shows up for you!

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  22. That alarm clock is spooky funny! I'm afraid I have no beyond the grave experiences. After Dad died, Mom said she was still in bed (he always got up early) and she saw him in the bedroom doorway beckoning her to get up.

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  23. I am loving your stories. I've always wished something like this would happen in my life, but it never has. Perhaps I am too skeptical. But I do have an interesting, 2nd hand comment. My sister is a normally hard-headed, not at all woo-woo, person but she told me that she sort of believes in ghosts. Shed lived in England for 4 years - husbands job transfer- and said she heard too many true-life stories there that could not be otherwise explained. Hmm. Of course I do hear voices when I am writing...:-)

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  24. That is such a cool happening, Lucy.

    I don't know I've ever been "visited" by spirits. But there are things I do, or see, that remind me of loved ones. Every time I bake a pie crust, I'm reminded of my maternal grandmother, who taught me. Every time I (try) to fold a fitted sheet, I'm reminded of my paternal grandmother, who could do it perfectly. Now that's something I wish I'd learned before she died!

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  25. Such wonderful stories today, Lucy, and I love the video. Also the photo! It made me think of Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire, which I definitely think is one of the "thin" places. I've felt those often in England, not exactly ghosts, maybe more like layers of time. It's both eerie and wonderful.

    As for ghosts, I was extremely close to my maternal grandmother, and on the morning of her funeral I woke very early and felt her presence in the room with me. She was telling me that she was okay and that everything would be fine. It was enormously comforting. I dream about my parents and my brother all the time. It's always a little shock to wake and realize they are gone.

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  26. I dream about my loved ones who have passed all the time, but I wish I could have a visit while I'm awake. I've had visits from some not-so-friendly sources a couple of times, so I don't understand why I can't have the good visits, too. Although when I had one of the bad experiences, my father seemed to be there protecting me. My father told me right after my mother's funeral, the next morning that she had visited him and spoke to him. I asked him what she said, and he couldn't remember or didn't understand. I don't think he told anyone else about this occurrence, probably because he knew I would be receptive to it. My father also was a water witch or diviner and could find water. He always kept a special forked tree branch in the boot (trunk) of his car. He was in real estate, which included rural areas and used it there.

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    1. Kathy, that is so cool about your dad's water witching!

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    2. I thought it was interesting, Debs. Oh, and he could take off warts, too.

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    3. Water witching fascinates me. How can it possibly work? Yet it seems to.

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  27. My dad passed away at 93 after several years of struggling with dementia and being confined to a wheelchair. We were very close. For 48 hours after he died I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of exhilaration that I knew was coming from him. Free at last. I haven't feared death since.

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  28. I have not, but I have written some ghost stories, and when I asked people on line at Facebook parties whether they had experiences with ghosts or connections with people who had passed on, I was blown away by so many positive responses. Fascinating stuff!

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