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Loitering at the Gate to Eternity: Memoirs of a Psychic Bystander

Loitering at the Gate to Eternity: Memoirs of a Psychic Bystander

by Louisa Oakley Green


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Author Louisa Oakley Green didn't believe in psychic phenomena when she met her husband Stephen. Now, twenty years later, this self-described "psychic bystander" from New Jersey shares haunting tales from family, friends, and strangers who see life through the veil of clairvoyance and mediumship.

In Loitering at the Gate to Eternity, Green chronicles the psychic tales of everyday people, from school teachers and business professionals to blue collar workers, from children to senior citizens, as well as four gifted psychic professionals. Some have had only one psychic experience in their lives while others are guided by them daily. Green offers engrossing insights into the world of clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences, and the peculiar penchant deceased relatives and friends have for sharing burdens and celebrations.

Providing credence to the belief that everyone possesses psychic ability, though some seem to have a more natural affinity than others, Loitering at the Gate to Eternity chronicles Green's journey from skeptic to believer through more than one hundred paranormal stories involving her husband, his family, and friends.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475988758
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/16/2013
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.42(d)

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Loitering at the Gate to Eternity

Memoirs of a Psychic Bystander


iUniverse LLC

Copyright © 2013 Louisa Oakley Green
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4759-8875-8


Ancestral Dreams, Omens, and Hauntings

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

—Khalil Gibran, Lebanese American artist/writer (1883–1931)

Before sharing the stories of my husband, Stephen, I thought it would be helpful to review some family reminiscences about his psychic ancestors, beginning with the heart of the Italian side of his family, Grandma Dolores. Most of their stories are brief, but they offer a glimpse into what it is like to live in a psychic family.


Grandma Dolores was born in San Marco dei Cavoti, Italy, in 1909. I remember Dolores as a sturdy, gray-haired woman under five feet in height, with a sweet, heavily accented voice and a smile that exuded love. She possessed that wonderful combination of adversity-forged strength and unconditional nurturing common in Italian women.

Sleeping "Telegrams"

Dolores was best known within the family for the psychic messages she received in her sleep. She would wake up from her prognostic dreams and jump into action to alert relatives and friends about a foreseen event. In one instance during the 1970s, she woke up and insisted that her younger daughter, Stephen's aunt Anna, call their cousin Mario. Mario was a tall, muscular man who had begun working in construction as a teenager and eventually established his own company several towns away. The family hadn't seen him in a while, but Dolores told Anna that something was horribly wrong.

She was right.

Mario had a son, Nick. Nick had been an active child. Because he was born with a clubfoot, he had endured several surgeries and much teasing at school. As a young adult, however, he was finally coming into his own. He was in college and had found a nice girlfriend.

When Anna called, Mario was startled at the timing. He was just about to notify the family of some terrible news. A driver had cut his son's car off in traffic, resulting in a serious accident. Nick was in the hospital in critical condition. Ten days later he passed away.

Spilt Milk

Over her life Dolores had multiple premonitions that one of her children would get hurt, and she tried her best to persuade fate to take another route. You may recall that she had predicted her daughter Connie's injury that resulted in a dislocated shoulder. Aunt Anna remembers another time when a similar warning bell went off in Dolores's sleep.

"Mom wouldn't let any of us kids out to play or do anything, because she had a dream someone was going to get hurt. She was positive of it," Anna said, noting that her older sister Connie was about nine years old at the time. "Mom took Connie to the store with her, thinking she would be safe. At the time milk bottles were made of glass. While Connie was carrying one, she tripped, fell, and cut her face on the broken glass. She needed quite a few stitches."

Thankfully, because Connie was so young, it healed well, leaving just a small scar on her face.

"So even though Mom was really careful, her dream did come true," Anna said. "I was very young, yet I remember it. We were mad because we couldn't go outside to play. But she was adamant about what this dream had foretold and didn't relent. Unfortunately, she could only foresee the event, not prevent it."


Anna was the youngest of Dolores's four children, and she is the only one still living. She is a tough, spunky brunette with the mischievous ways sometimes exhibited by the baby of a family. She is also an inheritor of the family's psychic ability, something that has both helped and mystified her throughout her more than seven decades of life.

Aspirations in Blue

Career counseling can come from many sources, but the following one will probably not appear in any books containing vocational advice.

When Anna was single back in the 1960s, she met a young man who complained to her about his work. He felt stuck and unhappy in what he was doing. She blurted out without thinking, "Why didn't you become a cop like you originally wanted to?"

The man eyed her in disbelief. After all, they'd just met. Where did she get that information? More curious was the fact that she was absolutely right. He had wanted to join the force. He asked her how she possibly could have known that he aspired to be a police officer. She didn't have an answer—she just knew.

Bootie Alerts

When she wasn't offering career tips, Anna provided early warnings on incoming family members. One such alert went out to her older sister Connie.

After Connie delivered two sons, Stephen and Edward, she decided that her family was big enough. It was time to save up for a house. To ensure that she would stop at two children, she quietly practiced birth control.

So when Anna declared, "You're pregnant!" Connie felt confident that her smart-alecky younger sister was wrong.

The next week Connie went to see her doctor, who confirmed she was going to have a baby. The following year, Connie's youngest son, Tom, was born—a sweet little bundle of "I told you so."

Disarming Offspring

Children do the cutest things, but they have no sense of personal peril. As a result, parents spend a lot of time saving their little darlings from themselves. Having psychic ability would be extremely helpful to any parent—and in Anna's case, it was.

At about the same time her nephew, Tom, was born, Anna had her hands full with her own three-year-old son Angelo. One morning, when she was in her upstairs bedroom putting on her makeup, Anna felt a pang of panic. She dropped everything and dashed downstairs, unsure of what she would find. There, in the middle of the kitchen floor, was her precocious toddler smiling and holding a large, gleaming knife—terribly cute, terribly dangerous. She took the cutlery away from Angelo before he hurt himself. Fortunately her second sight had given her a heads-up on his mischief.


Great-Aunt Genevieve, whose nickname is Gen, lives in Pennsylvania coalmining country and belongs to the paternal Polish side of Stephen's family. She's a spirited, plainspoken woman who has seen many mysterious predictions come to pass in her eighty-five years. One of them is illustrated in the following tale.


Fate played a central role in how one of Gen's favorite uncles both lived and died.

Gen's uncle Albert, whose nickname was George, heeded the call to join the military in the Great War (later renamed World War I). He was sent to the trenches somewhere in Europe, where more than a million men fought side by side in a war of bloody attrition from 1914 to 1918.

"He was drafted," Gen said. "Everybody was. Why else would they go?" Before he joined the army, Uncle George had never ventured farther from his home than he could walk. He was an outgoing young man who had a close relationship with his brothers, but all that changed after the war.

When he returned home in 1918, he was shell-shocked, suffering from what is now called post-traumatic stress syndrome, and experiencing epileptic seizures.

"When he came back, he was a different man," Gen said. "He kept to himself. He wasn't like that before he left. He had been a strapping, healthy young man full of life."

After the war Uncle George was never able to hold a job. Instead he was the family handyman, doing odd jobs around the house. He lived in the attic of the house next door to Gen with his sister, Agnes (Gen's mother), his niece Helen, and Helen's husband and small daughter. It was not unusual for several generations to live in one house and for extended families to live next door to each other.

Life was hard for coalminers and their families, and death was no stranger to them. Gen said that one well-known harbinger of the Grim Reaper was when an owl would perch on a tree near a person's home and cry out.

"Owls always cry before someone dies; they sense death," Gen said. "People used to try to chase them away by throwing rocks at the trees."

If any of Gen's relatives had tried that scare tactic one fateful night in 1934, it didn't deter the bird from its dark mission. During the evening, an owl perched near the family's house, crying mournfully. Uncle George died at three o'clock the next morning. In an ominous twist, the family noticed that the owl didn't go away, which puzzled them. The next evening it was still there, intoning a melancholic "hooo." Helen went into labor and was driven to the hospital to have a baby, but all did not go well. She died in childbirth. Following her death, the nocturnal predator was gone.

"The baby survived. Helen left behind two young girls," Gen said. Fortunately there was plenty of family around to help raise them. Still, the house must have felt achingly empty with the sudden departure of the quiet war veteran and the young wife and mother who was his niece.


Stephen's late father, Leo, has one surviving brother, Thomas. As Great-Aunt Gen's nephew, he is also part of the Polish side of the family. Thomas, now retired, worked as a technician and foreman at a nuclear power plant. While he hasn't had many psychic experiences, he does remember a few.

Fruit Flies

Apples have symbolized various things across many cultures. In the Bible eating one led to problems in the Garden of Eden. In the world of science one fell on Newton's head and is said to have inspired his theory of gravity. In the case of Thomas an apple offered a remembrance of someone departed.

"We had some fruit sitting in the bottom of a deep bowl with maybe five inches between the top of the fruit and the top edge of the bowl," Thomas said. "It was two days after my mother's funeral, and suddenly one of the apples popped out of the bowl, rolled off the table, and went onto the floor."

While he couldn't be sure it was a sign from his mother Mary, Thomas found it unlikely that the fruit jumped out of the bowl on its own.

The Siren of Slocum

Music stirs deep and primitive emotions in the human psyche. It can evoke the joy of celebrations, the sadness of loss, and in the case of one innocent, summer fishing trip Thomas took with his son, the fear of the otherworldly.

Thomas's father, Leonard, was a retired coal miner born in the early 1900s in the Nanticoke area of Pennsylvania. He was a very tough man—so tough that when he was in his nineties and broke his hip, he walked several blocks to the hospital by himself for treatment. That was all the more remarkable when you consider that he suffered from emphysema and black lung disease.

Leonard lived independently until he was in his midnineties. He then became sick for a brief time, before passing away.

"About a week or two after my father died, I took my son Thomas Jr. to Mud Pond in Slocum, Pennsylvania, for some fishing," Thomas said. Mud Pond is atop a mountain about fifteen miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre. In the 1990s it was a nearly deserted area, providing a private haven in which Thomas and Thomas Jr. could fish for bass.

"We heard this female voice singing a church song," he recalled. "It kept going on and on for maybe ten to twelve minutes in the woods. But nobody was there. It was a scary, eerie type of sound.

"That scared my son. He didn't want to fish after that. He wanted to go home." Thomas Jr. was nine years old at the time. Thomas can't recall if they caught any fish that day, but the sound of the disembodied woman singing remains etched into his memory.

Connie and Leo

Connie and Leo were not particularly psychic. But like me, they found themselves surrounded by people who were. They married in June 1960, and ten months later, they had a honeymoon baby. Connie had hoped for a girl and planned to name her Stephanie. When a boy arrived instead, the name was converted to Stephen. Their son turned out to have inherited a rich vein of psychic ability from his grandmother Dolores. The following three chapters describe more than four decades of his psychic experiences.


Walking Amid Ether and Ghosts

At four years old, I disrupted our church services by announcing to our minister that in one year he would not be around anymore.

—Irene Hughes, American psychic (1920–2012)

Earliest Memories

Many children fantasize about riding on a flying carpet; not too many accurately simulate the experience.

Stephen grew up in a three-story home built in 1917 in Belleville, New Jersey, a historic town bordering Newark. Belleville was first settled in the 1700s, officially becoming a township in 1839. The town is best known as the birthplace of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. History buffs might also recognize it as the first place a steam engine was used in the United States. During the 1960s, this urban satellite of New York City was inhabited by working-class families, most of whom were close-knit, first-generation Americans.

Stephen's house, like most others in his neighborhood, had plaster walls, large, arching doorways, and thick oaken woodwork throughout. Homes in Belleville were crowded together with barely a car width between them, sometimes less. A chain-link fence surrounded the twenty or so feet of grassy backyard where Stephen (pollen allowing) and his two younger brothers played with their GI Joe action figures.

My future husband's bedroom was on the second floor, beneath the floor that, in previous times, would have been the servants' quarters. With three boys to raise, his mother, Connie, was as strict as a drill sergeant but loving and protective. His father, a salesman, worked long hours and was frequently on the road. Often Stephen and his brothers were in bed by the time their father returned home.

As a typical Catholic boy, Stephen didn't know much outside of catechism regarding the spiritual world. True, his family had many members possessing a sixth sense, but he had never heard about more esoteric experiences, such as out-of-body travel. So at age eight, when he began having what he innocently referred to as "pillow dreams," he had no idea what was truly going on.

Stephen was occasionally given hay-fever medicine that made him drowsy. Lulled into a hypnotic state, he found himself riding on his bedroom pillow like Aladdin on his magic carpet. He soared above his home, gliding over rooftops, busy streets, a nearby bridge spanning the Passaic River, and the steeple of an old church in the neighboring town of Kearny toward his aunt Anna's home.

Somehow he never quite reached his destination, but the aerial view of the surrounding area was something he saw repeatedly, providing a geographic observation of northern New Jersey that few people saw in the days before Google Earth. Later, these memories would prove useful to him when he rode his bicycle around Belleville and nearby towns. He never got lost.

Invisible Mall Rat

Window-shopping can be an enjoyable activity, but most people browse with their feet firmly planted on the pavement. It was not always so with Stephen.

One September evening in 1977, when Stephen was sixteen, he dozed off in his room and stepped out of his body. He found himself floating from above urban Belleville, with its tangle of highways and wall-to-wall buildings, to an area of New Jersey where rooftops spread out like islands amid a sea of lush trees. By now out-of-body travel was a familiar concept to him, so he didn't give this mystical mode of transport any more thought than getting into his parents' car for a short trip. He arrived twenty miles away at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Rockaway, New Jersey, just before its grand opening. Stephen walked around inside, taking his own personal, astral tour.

"The lights were off and the gates were down in all the stores," he recalled. "But the shelves were stocked and ready to go. I went into the Waldenbooks store and saw three New Avengers paperbacks that I wanted to read." He continued to check out all the new stores. After an evening of browsing, he returned to his body still resting back at home.

The following week his father announced that he was taking the family to a new shopping center. Stephen had never heard of Rockaway before, but when his father pulled into the parking lot, he immediately recognized the mall as the place he had visited during his out-of-body adventure the week before. As they walked through the main entrance, he spotted the Waldenbooks store and went inside with his mother. He knew which shelf the books he sought were on, but he couldn't immediately find them because someone had piled other books in front of them. He pulled the obstructing books aside to reveal the New Avengers series he had seen during his astral tour, and then he bought them.

Excerpted from Loitering at the Gate to Eternity by LOUISA OAKLEY GREEN. Copyright © 2013 Louisa Oakley Green. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword: Fate's Sense of Humor....................     xi     

Preface: Dancing Skeletons....................     xiii     

Acknowledgments: Invisible Helping Hands....................     xv     

Introduction: The Psychic Cheat Sheet....................     xvii     

Part I: Psychic Bloodline....................          

Chapter 1: Ancestral Dreams, Omens, and Hauntings....................     1     

Chapter 2: Walking Amid Ether and Ghosts....................     11     

Chapter 3: Journeys Through Souls and Time....................     21     

Chapter 4: The Psychic Handshake and Unseen Worlds....................     37     

Chapter 5: Flickers from the Other Side....................     55     

Chapter 6: Mysterious Encounters of Psychic Bystanders....................     67     

Part II: Psychic Friends and Strangers....................          

Chapter 7: Friends with Psychic Benefits....................     77     

Chapter 8: Playing Dead and Other Tales....................     105     

Chapter 9: Paths of the Psychic Masters....................     125     

Chapter 10: Peering Through the Gate to Eternity....................     147     

References and Suggested Reading....................     153     

Dear Reader....................     159     

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