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Understanding the Unknown
Just because no one else can see what you see, does not mean there's nothing there.
Have you ever been awakened by an unexplained noise or felt like someone was watching you even though there was no one in the room? You just might have had a ghostly visitor.
Has your child ever called to you in the middle of the night, crying about a monster in the closet? Was he afraid to sleep in his room even after you assured him that you didn't see anything in the closet but his coat? When we don't see what they see or hear what they hear, children get frightened. And just because you can't see what your child sees doesn't necessarily mean there's nothing there. Children see and hear more because they're open psychically.
Carrsen's first word at six months was his grandmother's name. She'd died over a year before. Penny, age four, had conversations at night with her late grandmother. Steve, age three, had an imaginary playmate—his uncle who was dead.
At what age do children who talk to ghosts get labeled as having a mental illness?
Children Who Talk to the Dead: Psychic or Psychotic?
"Go away. You're scaring me," whimpered eleven-year-old Ellen. Her voice was barely audible. She'd been curled up in a ball in the corner of her hospital room for hours. Tears trickled down her face; her eyes were watery and red. "I don't want to see you anymore. You're dead. Leave me alone." No one could hear Ellen because she was speaking inside her mind.
Down the hall, psychiatric nurses Sheila and Nancy were talking. "Ellen worries me," said Sheila. "She says her dead grandfather is trying to take her with him. I don't see him, but Ellen is terrified. What do you think?"
"You worry too much," answered Nancy. "Ellen is a sick child with a very active imagination."
"You're right, but just the same, I'm going to go check on her." Sheila realized that at 3:00 A.M., Ellen would probably be asleep, but she was still worried about the little girl.
She opened the door to Ellen's room quietly and peered into the darkness. At first she couldn't see anything. After her eyes adjusted, she saw Ellen sitting on the floor in the corner, her eyes wide open in terror.
Sheila, a grandmother, automatically reached out and took Ellen into her arms and began to rock her. "Don't be afraid. I'm here. Nothing can hurt you now."
All night Sheila thought about what to do. In the morning she called me. "Can you see me today?" said Sheila. "I read in Good Housekeeping that you're a medical intuitive who can talk to ghosts. Can you tell me how to help a terrified eleven-year-old girl in our psychiatric ward who says she sees her dead grandfather? The psychiatrist says the best place for this child is in our locked ward, but I disagree. I don't think she's hallucinating. She's a sweet kid and I'm afraid she's going to get worse if she doesn't get help soon."
We set up an emergency appointment for that day. As Sheila walked into my office, I noticed her wrinkled brow and tired eyes. "Tell me about your little girl. I'm going to close my eyes so I can listen intuitively."
As I listened to Sheila's voice, I tuned in and saw the little girl's face, her terror, and her deceased grandfather standing next to her. I wasn't imagining. The scene was real. After three years of being tested for my psychic abilities at a nearby university, I knew when my intuition was accurate. But I needed more information to go further. "Does the child say why he's there?"
"No. She just starts crying whenever he comes near."
"There are two main reasons why ghosts contact the living: the first is that the living need them," I explained. "The second is that the dead need the living to do something. My medical intuition tells me that this child and her mother are suffering from mental and physical abuse."
"How do you know that?"
I explained, "I can see a man hitting the child's mother. He's drunk. I see the little girl hiding in her bedroom closet."
Sheila interrupted. "You're right. She used to hide there until her mother said it was safe to come out. What can I do for her?"
"Before I can answer that, I have to find out when the first incident occurred.
"I see the child at six months waking up to loud voices. She doesn't like the sounds. She cries for comfort, but no one comes. That was the first time her grandfather came to her. She wasn't old enough to realize he was dead and she allowed his spirit energy to soothe her. She fell asleep. He kept coming until she told her mother about his visits. Her mother got afraid and told her to never let him return. The child trusted her mother and stopped being comforted by the grandfather, which was a big loss for her. The child needs to trust what she sees. At some level, her grandfather is real. Denying what she sees is creating tremendous fear.
"You can help her by asking her questions," I continued. "What does he look like? Is his face kind? What is he wearing? Tell the child to say 'I love you' to her grandfather. That will distract her enough to be able to hear what he has to say. Hold her hand so she won't be afraid. Then tell her to ask him what he wants. Try to understand and don't be frightened. Respond with your love and common sense. Once she gets the message, she'll be able to sleep and she'll get better."
"I'm not sure I can remember it all. Can I call you if I need more help?"
A week later Sheila called. "I did what you recommended and the child responded beautifully. I feel she's got a built-in helper now and I've become a believer in ghosts. Bless you."
* * *
Often I get calls from medical aides, nurses, paramedics, and psychologists who have hunches or feelings about a patient. They don't necessarily believe in psychics or medical intuitives, but their desperation leads them to call me.
Children often see ghosts that adults cannot and they get scared when people in authority do not see the ghosts or understand what to do to help them. Some doctors call ghost visits hallucinations and prescribe Prozac or Ritalin to stop the child's visions. They don't realize that tranquilizing the child makes it easier for ghosts to be seen and heard. The child can't see or hear ghosts when their minds are busy thinking about sports, schoolwork, and friends.
I've Been There
I remember being awakened when I was fifteen by a gray cloud pouring through my closet door toward me. The cloud became larger and thicker until I could see the forms of two robed men coming closer and closer. I pulled the blanket over my head, but I couldn't breathe. I screamed, "Ma, Pa! Help! They're back again!"
"Not again," my father hollered as he flipped on the light, threw open the closet door, and checked under my bed. "You're too old to be frightened of the night. Anyway, there's no one here. Now go back to sleep." He shut off the light and went back to bed.
Quietly I shut my bedroom door and turned the light back on. I had learned that as long as the lights were on, they wouldn't come back. I didn't know who I was more afraid of—the two strangers whom no one else could see, my father's temper, or my mother making fun of me to my brothers at breakfast.
My family didn't believe me. I couldn't tell my friends for fear they'd make fun of me too. Was I imagining the two men? Why couldn't anyone else see them? Who were they? What did they want?
I wanted to sleep through the night and stop fearing the unknown. I wanted to be normal. Twelve months of these two men waking me up every night was making me wonder if I was losing my mind.
One morning I woke up rested. I'd slept through the night. No one had awakened me. Excited, I wondered whether it was possible that the two men had left. The second night went by without interruption. Then the third and fourth night, I began to feel optimistic. After two months had passed without a visit from the night visitors, I stopped counting. They were gone—forever, I hoped. Would they return? I prayed they wouldn't.
How different my life would be today if I'd known then what I know now! I might have listened to the ghosts and found answers. Maybe I wouldn't have been so afraid.
Years later I heard my four-year-old daughter talking to someone in her room at night. I went in and asked who she was speaking with.
"Grandma," she said to me. "She comes every night."
My throat tightened and my eyes flooded with tears. I was terrified, and I didn't think I believed in life after life. I took her arm and said to her, "Your grandmother is dead. She can't talk to you or anyone else. This is all imaginary, so stop it." When I left her room I was shaking. I remember leaning against the wall in the hall outside her door. Through the closed door I heard her say, "Shhh. Mommy's afraid. I'm not. We'll just talk quieter."
Penny wasn't afraid of ghosts. She continued to demonstrate her psychic skills and opened the door for me to learn about my own intuitive abilities. My child became my teacher.
"How could my eleven-year-old daughter, Penny, pick 99 percent of the Academy Award winners?" I asked my coworker Jenny. "The only time she missed was when she wanted her favorite star to win."
Jenny, an intelligent, beautiful, slim woman who never appeared to get riled in a crisis, responded eagerly. "Your daughter is psychic," she said. "Intuition works best when desire and greed get out of the way.
"I've noticed you've been studying graphology and 'seeing' into the future," she continued. "Handwriting analysis shows personality tendencies, not what will happen tomorrow or the day after. If you're interested in psychic phenomena, I'll bring you a book you may want to read."
Positive she was wrong about the purpose of graphology, I reread every page of my $.50 book on the subject. She was right.
The next day Jenny brought me a book about psychic phenomena and placed it on my desk. I read the entire book that night, unable to put it down. For the first time I had an idea of what had been happening to me all my life. In high school, I'd been the resident "Ann Landers." My friends would ask me questions about their love lives and test scores and I'd give them the answers. My classmates had never helped me the same way so I thought they didn't care. But when I'd read this book, a light went on in my head. I realized they hadn't been able to see what I saw. I hadn't realized how psychic I was. I got excited. I wanted to learn more. When my friend asked me to join a study group, I didn't hesitate.
Understanding Sets the Foundation
The weekly sessions with the study group filled my mind and body with love and understanding. I was accepted and encouraged to talk about my strange experiences here. In this group of women, finally, I could be me.
For the first time I met people who also had unexplained occurrences and talked about them without fear of ridicule. I felt safe among these women, my soul sisters, who wouldn't want to lock me up because I saw things they didn't. No one criticized or laughed at me.
We talked about everything: our fears, dreams, tastes, goals, relationships, and desires. There were never any putdowns or negative responses to my questions, only intuitive insights on how to accomplish what was needed or wanted. No subject was taboo.
We were encouraged to meditate to enhance our connection to the earthly world and the spirit world. My intuition expanded so rapidly that often I couldn't tell when I was using my intuition or when I was being logical. The support of the group kept me from falling off the cliff of sanity.
Whenever I was afraid, they gave me unconditional love. When something would happen that didn't make sense, they'd help me understand how to use my intuition to get past my confusion. Slowly, I learned to trust my intuition more fully, and with that trust, came accuracy. During the next two years I read every book I could find on the paranormal. I couldn't get information fast enough.
All my life I'd been plagued by an eating problem. When someone talked about something during a meal, I would "see" what they were talking about on my plate. Discussions of surgery made my meat take on the appearance of blood and guts. Conversations about the flu or vomiting would cause me to leave the table without eating.
Reading books about intuition helped me understand why I suffered so much when people talked about these things during meals. I hadn't realized how sensitive I was and how simply mentioning something would automatically make me visualize what was being said. At least it helped me stay thin for years!
The more I learned, the more I understood. The more I understood, the more I let go of the pain of being different.
Saved from Poverty by Her Father's Spirit
A group member asked me to do a psychic reading for one of her friends, a woman I'd never met before named Mary. I reluctantly agreed to go to Mary's home and give her an ESP consultation.
As soon as Mary answered the door I said, "Your husband has a message for you." I don't know why I said it, and I repeated the words again even after she said, "He's been dead for over twenty-five years."
Why was I saying I had a message from a man who had been dead for twenty-five years? The next few words that came out of my mouth were even more bizarre.
"Your husband wants you to believe he's here," I replied. "He says the book with his favorite poem is still on the end table next to your bed." I couldn't see her bedroom. How did I know about the book? I was scared. What was going on?
Mary smiled and said, "That book is still there. I read it often, especially his favorite poem."
I heard myself ask, "Do you have a candle? It's easier to see spirits when the lights are not so bright."
She went looking for a candle while I waited in the kitchen, half wanting to bolt out of the house. This experience was becoming more than I thought I could handle.
Mary returned with the candle and shut off all the electric lights. Suddenly my voice burst out, "Don't let our daughter sign the papers tomorrow." I didn't understand what was happening. Who was this daughter?
As if Mary could read my mind, she replied, "Our only child lives in California. She's been going through a messy divorce. I'll call her as soon as we're done and give her the message."
Bewildered, I questioned silently, "What was I doing here?"
During the next hour I repeated his words again and again. "Don't let our daughter sign the papers tomorrow." What papers? I had no idea what was happening and didn't want to know. I just wanted the evening to end. Thankfully, we finished and I went home.
The phone was ringing when I arrived at my house. Mary had immediately called her daughter in California but her daughter didn't know what this "message" was about. I was relieved. Now I could just write the experience off as a figment of my imagination.
The next morning, Mary called again. "I just got off the phone with my daughter. She forgot about an appointment she had with her lawyer this afternoon. She's been dating him for over a month. She doesn't think there's anything to worry about but, just in case, I warned her not to sign anything."
I returned home from my secretary's job at 5:00 P.M. to find a message on my answering machine. Mary wanted me to call her as soon as I could.
My hand shook as I dialed the number. "My husband was right," she said. "The papers that Suzy's lawyer wanted her to sign were her divorce papers relinquishing all financial obligation from her soon-to-be ex-husband. California law dictates that all monetary assets be divided 50/50. Suzy's been dating the attorney so she trusted him and would have signed the papers without reading them. Her husband had set the whole thing up. My daughter and her four children would have been left with nothing! I'm so glad you were able to give me my husband's message. We can't thank you enough."
I was glad for Mary's daughter, but I didn't want to talk to her husband again, no matter what the reason. But several days later, Mary's husband suddenly appeared in my car as I was driving to work. He wanted me to call Mary and tell her Suzy wanted to commit suicide. I told him there was no way I could tell Mary that her daughter, who was 3,000 miles away, was about to kill herself.
"Tell her," he yelled and jabbed my shoulder so hard I swerved and almost had an accident. "You've got to save my daughter."
"Okay, but on one condition: that you never come see me again." He agreed.
I didn't actually call Mary. I had just said I would to get her husband out of the car. But later that afternoon, Mary phoned and asked if I had a message for her. My head felt like a hammer was hitting it straight down the middle.
"Yes," I answered, "call your daughter. Your husband says she's depressed."
An hour later, Mary called again and said, "I am so grateful. If I hadn't called my daughter, she said she would have killed herself."
Mary's husband kept his word. I never saw him again. Without her father's intervention through me, Suzy would have been broke. She didn't know about the attorney's deception and neither did her mother. I wasn't mind reading, or storytelling. I hadn't imagined Mary's husband in the car with me. His message was factual.
Excerpted from They Don't See What I See by Ruth Berger. Copyright © 2002 Ruth Berger. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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A Note to the Reader
Chapter 1: Understanding the Unknown
Chapter 2: Creating an Intuitive Pathway
Chapter 3: Making the Ghost Connection
Chapter 4: Ghost Training for the Survivors of Suicide/Murder Victims
Chapter 5: Facts & Myths About Ghosts
Chapter 6: The Healing Group Answers Our Most Common Questions
Chapter 7: Messages from Spirits
Chapter 8: Channeling Training
A Final Word
Posted August 12, 2005