In this book, John shares with us fifteen fascinating stories of what happens when clients ask him to contact their dead friends and relatives. Included here are the story of a 30-something New Yorker who was unable to stop fantasizing about suicide until he conveys healing words from her dead fiancé; an account of an encounter with a grieving young woman in a drugstoreand the message he conveys from her dead six-year-old son; and a disturbing story of an unsolved murder case solved by information he received from the other side.
Above all, this is a book filled with comfort, love, forgiveness, and hope. For Thomas John, death is not the end, it is just the beginning. Our friends and relatives are still with us. They care for us. They watch over us. And, in times of particular need, they offer us their help.
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|Publisher:||Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
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Never Argue with a Dead Person
True Unbelievable Stories from the Other Side
By Thomas John
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Thomas John
All rights reserved.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING WATCH
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
During my childhood, I remember my grandfather as a handsome guy, in a very striking sort of way. He was tall, skinny, and wore flannel shirts all the time. His clothes were simple—his plaid flannel shirt, broken-in blue jeans, and always a pair of well-worn, thick-soled, leather work boots. The skin of his face was tired and stretched. His eyes were bloodshot, perhaps reflecting the stress during his years as an officer in the army, or maybe it was the strain of his unhappy marriage to my alcoholic grandmother. He had a thick head of hair, with only a few gray patches on the sides. He had regrets—the affair he had had all through my father's childhood and the fact that he emotionally could never trust anyone. His presence was quiet. He had a way of walking into a room and immediately being seen and then as quickly disappearing. We met the first time when I was the tender age of four. When we saw each other, it was always at night. He would come to my bedroom, speak quietly to me for a few minutes, and then leave. I am the only person to whom he ever said: "I love you." To say that my relationship with my grandfather is unconventional is an understatement, to say the least. But what makes it all even stranger is this: my grandfather, Leo, passed away five years before my birth.
My grandfather was a hard worker, of the blue-collar variety. A career electrician, he rarely missed a day of work over his thirty-five-year-long tenure with the union. He led a fairly uninteresting life. He was never happy in his marriage, and had many affairs with women, and drank many of his fears and anxieties away at the bar. Because of this, his relationship with my father suffered. But we never really spoke about these things in our family. My grandfather died after battling cancer two years before my parents were married, and my grandfather became little more than a memory in an 8-by-10 photo. Leo didn't like to take photographs, and only a few black-and-white pictures of him survived. My grandfather wasn't discussed much at reunions or family gatherings. Any of my relatives' accounts of him paint him as a hard-working type of guy, up early every morning; the type who believed only after a full twelve hours of labor did one deserve to sleep. He served in the army for four years, an experience that made him formidable in the way he disciplined my father. In life, he was described as a quiet man of few words, who kept to himself. He did drink heavily, but wasn't a belligerent or mean drunk. "He was a quiet drunk, but a drunk he was," my cousin, his niece Mary, would comment dryly, when reminiscing during annual family excursions to her small home in upstate New York.
As a young boy, I experienced vivid dreams. The visceral colors, senses, and emotions in my dreams were very much real to me. I did have normal dreams like everyone else, ones where I would wake up and remember surreal details, maybe a vivid scene or two that stuck with me for hours after awaking. But often, perhaps once a week, I would have a wild, vibrant dream where I saw brighter colors, bigger shapes, sharper sensations, and more primal feelings than usual; these dreams seemed to be coming from a different dimension.
My parents recall that, as a child, I would awaken, even as young as age three or four, to stir them out of their slumber and insist on recounting my dreams to them, right then and there. The dreams, my mother would later tell me, seemed unnatural and strange—they were so specific and all too real. I would describe every detail, every color, and articulate the details in a vocabulary far advanced of a four-year-old. Sometimes, I would describe the people I encountered, usually family members who had recently died or relatives who were about to cross over. My parents found this bizarre. By the age of seven, I had been to every psychotherapist, priest, rabbi, and anyone else my parents could think of to help me. Many of them actually encouraged me to talk to the "dead people." Even a Roman Catholic priest—whom my family visited when I was ten—affirmed that the Bible was, in fact, written by "special people," also known as "mystics" and "seers," and that there are, in fact, gifted people who can communicate with the dead. "It's the Angels talking to you," Father Michael told me.
My grandfather was the first to visit me, and to this day he continues to appear in my bedroom, late at night. Our connection is, now, vastly different. These days, his visits are more about his checking up on me or gracing me with a simple hello. When he first came to visit, I did not understand his intentions. At first, I mistook it for a dream. I did not yet realize it was different, or rather, that I was different. During his first few social calls, my grandfather didn't say much. I remember being comforted by a vision of him, feeling a warmth come over my chest. As time went on, he started to relate specific messages. He told me about his estate and how my grandmother's handling of what he had left behind disturbed and upset him. Another time, he passed on a message about my grandmother's health, which proved true the following day. My grandfather had many secrets and now, in retrospect, I think he visited me at a such a young age because he needed a cathartic means of ridding himself of these secrets. He wanted someone to know who he was, because for his fifty-seven years on Earth, nobody really knew.
One night, I woke up my parents to tell them that Grandpa Leo was in my bedroom. This had been going on for the past couple of years—a visit by my grandfather in the middle of the night, me waking my parents, them coming into my room only to find my assertions unsubstantiated. My mother muttered, "This is getting to be too much." I shared with them that Puppa was confused about why Jack had ended up with his prized wristwatch, despite the fact that he had wanted his wife to have it. That watch held significant meaning to my father, who had purchased a Rolex for Leo and inscribed it "To Dad, Love Tom" (yes, I am a junior, named after my father). I sleepily said something about "a donkey bank," asked if I could have a drink of water, and then asked to be put back to bed.
My parents were dumbfounded. Jack was my grandfather's best friend. I had mentioned the watch before, but this was the first time that I had mentioned Jack. He and my grandfather had worked together at the electric company for sixteen years. The mention of the donkey bank was chilling, and nobody could make sense of it for a month, until my Great Aunt Rose came for a visit and told us an unsolicited story about my late grandfather's treasured possession—a bank in the shape of a donkey that she had found in her attic the preceding week. My parents searched for this wristwatch high and low for years. It was the one personal item of my grandfather's that my father actually wanted, but three days after his death, it mysteriously went missing.
My grandfather, who had come back from the grave in Spirit to tell us the exact location of this watch, was completely ignored. Yet, my parents still refused to believe.
It would be years until they finally saw the error of their ways.
Flash forward several years. Jack came to my sister's seventh birthday party. Although he lived an hour away, he often frequented family events, staying in touch with us with the occasional holiday or birthday card. My parents affectionately called them "the odd couple." Jack was the diametric opposite of my grandfather in so many ways. Jack was short, Leo was tall; Jack was well groomed, my grandfather was somewhat sloppy and disheveled; Jack had striking dark eyes that jumped out at you, Leo had gray-blue eyes that sunk deeply into his skull; Jack was liberal, whereas my grandfather was conservative. However dissimilar they may have been, Jack had a deep, intuitive understanding of Leo. Jack was the only person who really appreciated Leo, something my grandfather told Jack before passing away.
Jack brought my sister a Barbie doll and Wizard of Oz hair clips thoughtfully yet awkwardly wrapped in white tissue paper for her birthday. As the party progressed, it transformed from a seven-year-old's party into a completely different scene. The men sat around a card table drinking beer and smoking cigars, while the women gathered in the kitchen gossiping about the latest PTA meeting as they sliced up an Entenmann's Danish. I observed the cigar smoke–filled vista quietly from my vantage point lying on the den floor.
At a certain point, my grandfather's name was mentioned. It wasn't uncommon that Leo's name usually came up when Jack was around. The men reminisced about his flannel shirts and how he had only three in rotation, which he washed only occasionally. Someone brought up how he hated animals, yet one time he took in a stray cat and treated it like royalty. They fondly remembered his contempt for Democrats and how politics was about the only thing that got him talking. "Leo was tough on those liberals," Ricky, the son of my grandfather's friend, chimed in from across the table. Cards hit the table one after another. Someone was out of beer, and there was talk about getting another six-pack from Cumby's and switching to Texas Hold 'em. Then, out of nowhere, there was a dramatic, palpable shift in the air. The smoke cleared. The room fell silent. Then I saw it, the faintest image of my grandfather, stooping down next to me on the floor. "Watch this," he whispered, his face inches from mine, just floating, ephemerally, like a slide projection of an old photograph lingering in the dusty, smoke-filled air. I looked up expectantly, holding my breath, looking back and forth from the ghostly apparition beside me to the seemingly completely unaware men and women carrying on with the business of the party just a few feet away.
A second later a loud voice boomed from the poker table. "Can't believe I still got that Rolex," Jack chuckled. "Only thing he gave a damn about was that Rolex, eh Tommy?"
All the color drained from my father's now ashen face. "Yes," my father acknowledged. "Who wants another beer? Mickey? Can I get ya another?" My father, visibly shaken, left the table abruptly, accidentally knocking over a glass of water in the process.
My father immediately went to the kitchen, but he did not make the usual bee line for the refrigerator, opening the door to get another beer while simultaneously grabbing the bottle opener to open it, in his beer retrieval ritual dance. Instead, he seemed disoriented and confused, rubbing his hand over his head quizzically. He did not open the refrigerator; in fact, he didn't move at all. He wasn't doing anything in the kitchen. He just stood there, scratching his head. Then he walked right by me, tiny beads of perspiration now covering his furrowed brow. His complexion grew a deep red, like after he'd had a few, but this time it was darker and deeper and covered his entire face. He was flustered, a state unfamiliar to my experiences of my father. My gaze left the Uno game on the floor and instead was focused on my father in the kitchen. I crawled to the doorway between the den and kitchen and poked my head through the beaded curtains to get a better view. My father spoke in a hushed, forceful tone with my mother, waving and flailing, and nervously pacing back and forth, feet stomping angrily on the vinyl tiles.
After this exchange, my father returned to the card game in the den, but the men were on to new topics. Carl was bragging about his wife's new job at the attorney general's office. Jack sipped on a bottle of beer and complained about problems with his '84 Mazda 323. My mother quickly came and went, sheepishly placing a bowl of cashews on the table without so much as a word.
The story's revelations—and finally finding the missing watch after all these years—did not make my parents feel any better for knowing. They were not validated or relieved by this message from my grandfather from beyond the grave. In fact, they were unnerved, almost angry.
We never did get the watch back from Jack, who ultimately passed away a few years later. The watch was nowhere to be found. I like to muse that my grandfather took the one possession he loved and treasured more than any other back to the heavens with him. To Leo, this watch represented all the qualities about himself of which he was most proud: his punctuality, his reliability, and his son.
We never again talked about that fateful night, the night that Jack revealed he had had the watch all along. My parents just weren't comfortable with the implications, though I knew that in a way, it comforted them. They couldn't wrap their heads around it. They didn't have the language to understand the events or speak about them after the fact. But it became less about the watch as a memento of my grandfather or as an antique time-keeping device and more about the watch as a symbol of my grandfather's validation of his love for his son, my father, and validation of the man as a proud, hard-working person of value.
Around my twenty-third birthday, during one of my grandfather's frequent visits, I finally just asked him straight out: "Why was it so important for you to relay a message to Dad about your Rolex? Why did you need the missing watch to be found despite the unsettling consequences of the revelation?"
"Because," he said, smiling mischievously, as his apparition, appearing as a strapping young man this visit, stood before me, "over here, there is no room between our thoughts of secrets or ideas of mysteries. We have to clear all that out. Here, where I am now, this is a world of light and clarity, such a clear sense of knowing and truth that is rarely ever experienced on Earth. Our job is to shine light into the dark corners of the lives we left behind and at least try to expose these mysteries in some way to people who may not want to know about them."
I nodded, trying to take it all in.
About a year after this conversation with my grandfather, my father and I were sharing a beer on the front porch of our family cottage in New Hampshire. We were putting together a jigsaw puzzle, an activity we occasionally enjoy sharing. I was working on the far left corner; he was working on the center. We chatted about the recent Red Sox loss and other superficial topics, nothing too deep. It was a clear night, bright twinkling stars decorated the dark blue country sky. My father took a long, deep breath, and I could see his eyes shift from the evening sky to the ground below. Out of nowhere, he blurted out: "So, you think Grandpa's okay up there?"
"I do, Dad, I do," I said, feeling a bit awkward.
"How do you know that, though?" he asked, his eyes finally meeting mine for the first time that night.
"I just do. Sometimes you don't 'know' things. Sometimes you just feel them. You just get a sense...." I paused to think about the odd late-night visits from my grandfather, still going on, and the various messages he had passed on to me, and through me, over the years. I thought about life, about how my grandfather shaped my future fate from such an early point in my childhood. How many mysteries and puzzles he had solved, I considered them all, as the events flashed before my eyes. Life is a weird mystery—we only get the briefest time to live on the physical plane. Change is the only constant, but it is the only way to discover the many mysteries we are meant to experience in our lives. I savored this visceral connection I was experiencing between myself, my father, and my grandfather, a connection transcending time, space, life, and death, and wished in vain that it would last forever.
"That's good, son." My dad paused a long while, lighting and inhaling deeply on a cigarette. "I get what you mean." He exhaled just as deeply off to the side of the table.
The stars shone down from the heavens and warmed our souls, and in that moment, I knew, without a doubt, my grandfather was watching over us.CHAPTER 2
"A lot of you cared, just not enough."
—Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
Caroline Small sat patiently in my waiting room as I prepared the office to start a reading. I had been traveling for a few weeks to see friends and family, and this was my first day back in the city doing readings. Whenever I disconnect from the Other Side for a long period of time—which isn't often—I like to give myself some extra time to reacquaint with my office and surroundings, and prepare for the reading. The truth is, I'm always aware of the Spirit World, but it does shift a little bit when I am not actively giving readings to people. People often ask if I am always aware of what is around me, and if I am always seeing the Spirit World—is my day filled with a constant bombardment of dead people and messages from odd-ball Spirits? An analogy I like to use is as follows: suppose you are driving for thirty minutes. Along the way, you pass hundreds of vehicles and pedestrians in your travels—big cars, little cars, trucks, vans—who knows? If you got from Point A to Point B and someone asked "What was the color of every car you passed?" you would probably not remember. Maybe you would remember one car that really stuck out in your mind, but you wouldn't remember them all. That would be me when I am driving down the road, not trying to tune into anything. However, when I am working, I am paying attention, tuned in and very aware. So, I see more and I am aware of more—just as if you drove for thirty minutes but before you left the house, I reminded you to pay attention to what you were driving past. In that case, you would probably remember more of the vehicles that you saw.
I was saging the room and taking some extra time to pray, before I greeted Caroline. After saging, I quickly meditated and started to feel a male Spirit around her. Visually, he was a handsome guy, maybe in his thirties, with dark hair and dark eyes. His look was very well put together and his skin was a dark olive. He looked to be Greek or Italian.
"Are you here for my next client?" I asked the Spirit.
"I sure am," he said. "I'm the dead fiancé." He winked at me.
Excerpted from Never Argue with a Dead Person by Thomas John. Copyright © 2015 Thomas John. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
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
Chapter 1 The Case of the Missing Watch 1
Chapter 2 Time Out 13
Chapter 3 Teaching Mommy 29
Chapter 4 "Young Hearts Run Free" 43
Chapter 5 Hockey Goal 53
Chapter 6 Tony 67
Chapter 7 The Two Dads 77
Chapter 8 Maternal Love 87
Chapter 9 There's Chocolate and Champagne in Heaven 93
Chapter 10 "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" 105
Chapter 11 "Murder, She Wrote" 121
Chapter 12 House for Sale 139
Chapter 13 "And Now You Know the Rest of the Story" 155
Chapter 14 Dying to Believe 171
Chapter 15 Wanted: Dead or Alive 191