Joe Nickell, author of The Science of Ghosts credits himself with being the world’s only full-time, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. Mr. Nickell also happens to be Senior Research Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and Investigative Files Columnist for Skeptical Inquirer. The basis for his dismissal of ghostly encounters is explained in simple terms:

**After four decades of investigations by Mr. Nickell, not a single ghost has ever been validated by science;

**Science cannot substantiate the existence of an afterlife energy that functions without a brain (enabling one to walk or gesture). As explained by the science of neurology, when the brain dies, brain function ceases;

**Ghosts are almost always reported as seen wearing clothing (which is inanimate).

In his book, the author neither claims to have seen any apparitions during his investigations nor witnessed any unexplained paranormal activity; hence I understand his reliance on scientific evidence to prove their existence. Without firsthand experience of paranormal activity, the concept of “ghosts” is difficult to fathom unless one is presented with compelling evidence or has a strong belief in the subject. I have both evidence and faith.

Carlton County Jail, Ottawa ON, Canada

Carlton County Jail, Ottawa ON, Canada

As a writer, I seek out experiences that authenticate what I am writing about and that is what drove me to stay overnight alone in one of the ten most haunted places in the world—the Carleton County Gaol in Ottawa. I was conducting research for a book at the time (Where Angels Gather) and the jail played an important role in my story. The other compelling reason for my visit was curiosity—my mother had worked at the jail sometime in the 1940s or1950s.

9th floor, women's ward. Photo of inmates

9th floor, women’s ward. Photo of inmates

I arrived at the jail (now the Ottawa Jail Hostel) in January 2009 during the worst snowstorm of the season and was handed a key to a room on the 9th floor. This was the area that had housed women inmates and coincidentally where my mother worked as a matron. As it turned out, I was the only guest staying on that floor. My room was at the end of the hallway, and when I explored the facilities later that evening, discovered I was just a few stairs away from death row and the gallows!

To give you a little history, the Carlton County Gaol served as a prison for 110 years, until 1976. Conditions at the jail were harsh. There were no glass panes in the windows of the exterior stone walls that lined the cell blocks of the men, hence cold and snow drifted into the corridors in the winter months and during the summer, flies and mosquitoes infested the cells. The women’s ward appeared to have better treatment and inmates were sometimes allowed to keep their babies with them during incarceration.

Wire net in stairwell to prevent inmates from jumping to their death. Photo by Beverley Young,

Wire net in stairwell to prevent inmates from jumping to their death. Photo by Beverley Young,

Over the years many prisoners committed suicide by jumping into the central stairwell that plunges from the upper floors all the way to the lower level. Eventually safety nets were strung across the stairwell to prevent suicides, but death continued to stalk the jail— some the result of secret hangings inside the prison by cruel guards or at the hands of prisoners themselves. The last public hanging took place on February 11, 1869 when Patrick Whelan was hanged for assassinating Thomas Darcy McGee, one of the founding Fathers of Confederation.

I joined a small group of tourists for a guided tour of the jail early that night and had my photo taken inside Patrick Whelan’s cell. Our tour guide spoke of reported incidents of steel gates closing suddenly on unsuspecting tourists, sometimes causing injury, hence one “problem:” gate was chained shut. I had already requested and received permission to further explore the jail on my own and so at the conclusion of the tour, I left the building to have a bite to eat in a local restaurant thinking I would continue my tour later.

It was sometime after seven o’clock when I struck out alone. There was just enough light to find my way through the cell blocks. The energy, especially around the death row cells, was dark and heavy. At times, I felt like I was being watched but did not feel threatened in any way. It was an eerie feeling wandering through those dark hallways and empty cells, yet I had the distinct feeling that I had been there before. Eventually I found my way to the basement kitchen, which was rented out to a catering company I learned from a cook who was working that evening. He spoke of hearing strange noises and shadows in the hallway outside the kitchen where several deaths had apparently occurred.

Perhaps the most disturbing room was the one where hangings took place. The hinged door behind the noose opened to allow the public standing outside at ground level to witness hangings. Several photos later, I returned to my room sometime after nine o’clock and fell into a deep, exhausted sleep, unusual for me as I rarely go to bed early. Surprisingly, I slept for 12 hours straight and didn’t wake up until 9:00 AM! In the morning light I noticed several initials carved into the pine plank floor and when I took a closer look, discovered my own initials ‘BY’ among them!

Trying out Patrick Whalen's cot!

Trying out Patrick Whalen’s cot!

I didn’t have time to shower or I would have missed the complementary breakfast served in the dining hall. After a quick bite I headed home and hit the shower. While washing my back I felt something rough and when I looked in the mirror, found three fresh scratches, each one about 4 to 6” long. I had heard about psychic attacks before and had no doubt that the scratches on my back had happened sometime during my long sleep the previous night.

A couple of days later, when I transferred the photographs of my jail visit to computer, I received another surprise. In one of the photos taken of me in Patrick Whelan’s cell, an evil-looking face appears very clearly behind the bars. Other people who have seen the photo pointed out a body and a pair of hands in a strangle position. And in a photo I took of the room where I stayed, the reflection of spirits are seen in the window—a man and woman dressed in a matron’s outfit and jailer’s uniform, and two men seated at a table. I have shown these photos to several people, one a journalist, who all saw the figures clearly. (I chose not to show the photos here as once they become public, I lose ownership. It’s not a risk I wish to take.)

And so I am left wondering how Joe Nickell’s “science of ghosts” would measure up against my real life, or rather paranormal experience, at the jail. How would he scientifically explain the photographs of spirits wearing clothes from an earlier era? I have seen several spirits over the years—none of them naked! And so I will heed past advice from my blogging friend Anne (Writing From the Twelfth House and go with the Occam’s razor theory—that the simplest tenable explanation, the one requiring the fewest assumptions, is most likely correct.

Have you ever seen a naked ghost??

Throughout my many years of contact with the Spirit World, I have had some unusual and memorable experiences, but the one that tops the list was a visit from three hungry spirits who demonstrated a fondness for sweets among other surprises. It happened early in my career as a Tarot reader and left me convinced beyond a doubt that the souls of the departed continue to live an active life, and may, when it pleases them, cross the fine ethers of time that separate our world from theirs.

Buddhist Temple, Shanghai China

Buddhist Temple, Shanghai China

When a Chinese woman, whom I will refer to as Kim, telephoned for a reading, she did not specifically request contact with the other side, but as it turned out there were a few spirits who desperately wanted to communicate with her. Chinese people are generally open to the spirit world—it is part of their culture after all—and they continue to honour their ancestors long after they have departed this world.  I prepared for the reading prior to the appointment with my usual meditation and opened the door for messages from the other side.

As I slipped into an altered state of consciousness, the spirits of three Chinese men appeared before me. I saw them clearly with my mind’s eye: two middle-aged men and one elderly man who communicated in a language that I later discovered was mandarin. Of course I wasn’t able to understand him and I sensed the old man’s frustration as he repeated the words over and over until they took on a rhythm in my head. I repeated the foreign words out loud as I searched for a pen and paper and then printed them while the Chinese gentleman continued to sound out each word in his language. I did not understand their meaning or intent, but it seemed important to the old man that I write down his message to deliver later to Kim.

Normally once spirit contact is made and the message has been delivered, the spirit disappears. Not the case with these gentlemen. They followed me around the kitchen and even demanded that I look out the window for Kim as they waited impatiently for her to arrive. By now she was just a few minutes late for her appointment. During this time, I found myself pacing about the kitchen and growing more impatient as the minutes ticked by. This was highly unusual behaviour for me as meditation would normally relax me. Also out of character, I made several trips to the cupboard for cookies, which I devoured hungrily.

After several minutes of pacing and stuffing my face with cookies, I realized that the spirits were controlling my actions. This was a new experience for me and definitely not acceptable. After all, they were guests in my home! With all the firmness and conviction I could muster, I ordered the three spirits to sit down and be patient! I assume they did not appreciate being told what to do, and perhaps found my behaviour rude, because they disappeared right away. As I waited for Kim and pondered the visit from the three spirits, I became apprehensive. Would Kim believe the incredible story of the old man and his two companions? Should I pass on their message to her, and what if it didn’t make sense? I convinced myself that the communication with the spirits had been too real to not be meaningful!

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

When Kim arrived and I described the three Chinese spirits to her, she confirmed that they were indeed male relatives who had crossed over some time ago. I handed the piece of paper to her with the message spelled out phonetically. “Can you read it to me?” she asked. I read the message aloud several times, and with each reading the words began to take on the sing-song rhythm of the old man’s voice. Kim listened carefully then explained that the message I had received was in her native Mandarin dialect.

Kim showed me where her name appeared in the message with the last name before the given name, according to Chinese custom (e.g. Yung Kim). Kim understood the message but did not share the contents and I did not press her for an explanation. I delivered the remaining messages I had received from the other two men, including a question about what Kim had done with the photographs of her brother who had recently died. Kim explained that following her brother’s death she had gathered his photographs together and stored them away in a box. According to Chinese custom, photographs of deceased souls must be removed from sight.

Months later after I got to know Kim better, she took me to the graveyard where her three relatives were buried side by side. It was a strange feeling to stand at the graves of the three spirits who had appeared very much alive when they visited me. I felt honoured by their visit and the experience further confirmed what I already believed – physical death is not the end of life, but rather the beginning of a new Afterlife.

Do you believe in the Afterlife?


This month’s topic really excites me. I am as avid about “Clearing” as I am about keeping a clean, well organized home. Clearing not only brings positive changes into your life, it opens you to new possibilities and new experiences, and generally helps to restore balance to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states. I have some tips on clearing energy to share with you along with a short video of a Gong Master Odette working her magic, plus an amazing audio to help clear away the blocks that prevent you from attracting abundance. These techniques, along with the video and audio, can easily be tried on your own or with a friend.

Clearing with Sage Image courtesy of

Clearing with Sage
Image courtesy of

Clearing Negative Energy

The energy in your home has a greater impact on your well-being than you might realize. Imagine what breathing in negative energy all day can do to your thought processes and your overall well-being! The first thing I do after moving into a new home is to clear the energy. In fact clearing is important enough to be added to the routine maintenance plan for your home. It should also be done when there is illness in the home.

Start by opening doors and windows to let in a good supply of fresh air. The length of time to leave them open, of course, depends on the weather outdoors. Next light candles in a candelabra, if you have one, and let them burn for about one hour in each room, or until the air feels lighter. To get rid of heavier energies, (negative spirits and entities) burn white sage in a small fireproof dish and carry it to the four corners of each room, hallways and stairs.

As you smudge each room, call on your guides to help you eliminate all negative energy and replace it with positive energy, balance and peace. Also ask for protection for all who live in the home and for all who enter. You can also protect and seal the exterior of your home by walking around the outside perimeter, using the same smudging technique. Then smudge yourself and family members and household pets by drawing the smoke with your hands towards you and over and around your head. To maintain a peaceful balance in your home, play hymns, classical music, chanting or New Age music of any kind.

The Magical Effects of the Gong

Gongs are powerful instruments and healing tools that are quite effective in clearing rooms, balancing the chakras, and for health benefits. I became enthralled with the gong when I watched a video of Gong Master Odette play the gong for a client at St. Michael’s Tower, Glastonbury Tor in England. Odette refers to this sacred site as the “heart chakra of the world.” Besides being a Gong Master, Odette is also a Reiki Master and Spiritual Healer based in London UK. Her Gong teachers include Grand Gong Master Don Conreaux, the creator of the Gong Bath.

As Odette circles her client with the gong, watch how the reflection from the sun forms a heart shape around the recipient’s heart chakra and appears to brighten and pulse in rhythm with the gong.

Clearing Blocks to Creating Abundance

Judy Satori

One of my favourite audios to listen to is Judy Satori`s Clearing Blocks to Creating Abundance. Judy is an energy healer who states on her website that she has worked with all the Christed Star races in workshops and events around the world. In her audio recording, Judy shares three energy transmissions that work together to help clear blocks to bringing in abundance and manifesting what you wish to create in your life. In Judy’s words, “The energy holds powerful magnetic vibrations to clear the thought patterns of past life that may be preventing you from attracting abundance into your life.”

Just sit back in your chair and listen to the audio. Judy does the work for you…she tells you which chakra to place your hands over and recites three different prayers in a foreign language  to help you release blockages due to:

Lack. Thoughts and beliefs from past where there has been a lack of abundance;

Loss. To clear energy patterns from past where others have taken from you and prevented your abundance in some way.

Limitation. To clear energy patterns where there has been a limited sense of abundance, an expectation from past that your abundance is limited.”

Judy suggests that you listen to the audio three times each session for seven days. I have listened to her audio several times and highly recommend it. Click on the arrow below to listen to the audio recording.


Thank you Odette sharing your video. Please visit Odette’s site  at

And thank you Judy for sharing your  audio. Please visit Judy Satori’s site at

Do you have any clearing techniques to share?

Canadians proved they were ready to embrace change when they elected a majority Liberal government this past fall, under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. After looking at Mr. Trudeau’s history and his numerology, I discovered some intriguing facts.

Jusin Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire

Justin Pierre James Trudeau was born on December 25, 1971. To be born on Christmas day is indeed special but what made his birth date even more intriguing was his brother’s birth (Alexandre) two years later, also on Christmas Day. It was enough to start a rumour mill that their father Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who happened to be Canada’s Prime Minister at the time, was the Antichrist. On top of that, his license plate contained the numbers “666” (commonly referred to as the Mark of the Beast). The senior Mr. Trudeau however was only guilty of being flamboyant. When John Lennon and Yoko Ono met Pierre Trudeau during their peace movement he had this to say about him, “If there were more leaders like Mr. Trudeau, the world would have peace…you don’t know how lucky you are in Canada.”

In the numerology world, our current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s primary number is ‘10’. At his highest potential Mr. Trudeau’s calling is to use his gifts of sensitivity, strength, expressiveness and intuition to serve others for a higher purpose and to guide with authority and compassion. The number ‘10’ resonates with change, leadership, independence, originality, determination, adaptability and creativeness. It is no coincidence that his party ran their campaign on the promise of “change”.

Trudeau and Obama

President Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Like President Obama, PM Trudeau is not afraid to show his emotions. They are both “heart” people who openly express a deep love for their country and people, who have compassion for those in greatest need, and a deep desire to make the world a better, fairer, more caring place for all. The two leaders hit it off well and for the first time in many years, a president of the United States is hosting a state dinner in honour of a Canadian prime minister.

Justin Trudeau’s calling unfolded with perfect timing as we prepared to enter year ‘9’ in numerology (2+0+1+6), an era ripe for change when people are looking for transparency, honesty and integrity in world leaders. We not only want, but rightfully so expect leaders to live by higher principles and to lead by example, drawing on their innate wisdom to guide them. Spiritual politics is the term I apply to this style of politics, and it seems that Justin Trudeau was born and groomed for this type of leadership role from an early age. He was born into a political family—his father Pierre was Prime Minister of Canada and his maternal grandfather James Sinclair was a cabinet minister.

Former PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Former PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Though he was born into a privileged life, it did not protect Justin Trudeau from personal tragedies. His parents separated and later divorced in 1984. His mother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. In 1998 at age 23, his youngest brother Michel drowned in a lake after being swept away in an avalanche while skiing in British Columbia. Both parents, Pierre and Margaret, remained strong influences in Justin’s life and helped to shape the spiritual path he was destined to travel. From Pierre came an appreciation for nature and the environment and a strong sense of social justice; from Margaret a hippy philosophy of love, openness and acceptance of all.

When his father died in 2000, Justin delivered a moving eulogy which summed up his deeply spiritual roots: “Mere tolerance is not enough. We need genuine and deep respect for each and every human being, notwithstanding their thoughts, their values, their beliefs, their origins. That’s what my father demanded of his sons and that’s what he demanded of his country.”

His wife Sophie Grégoire appears to follow a similar spiritual path and mantra. A former television personality and Kundalini yoga teacher, she favors Swami Sivananda Radha’s philosophy “to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.” Sophie and Justin married in 2005 and have three children.

One of PM Trudeau’s first actions when he became Prime Minister was to increase the number of Syrian refugees to Canada from 10,000 to 25,000. Canada has opened its borders to Syrian families, and the smiles and gratitude expressed by these weary travellers when they arrive in their new country is truly heartwarming. It is my hope that this humanitarian effort will help Canada to balance out the karma it carries, along with many other countries, for having greatly restricted entry to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi regime in the 1930’s.

PM Trudeau welcomes Syrian refugees

PM Trudeau welcomes Syrian refugees to Canada

Did we learn our lesson back then or will history repeat itself? Only time will tell. I, along with many other Canadians, breathe easier knowing we have entered an era of spiritual politics as we find our way back to a kinder, gentler, more compassionate nation. What are your thoughts on the subject? Is the world ready to embrace spiritual politics?

In closing I wish everyone inner peace for 2016. This is where world peace begins, with each individual. And to quote Sophie Grégoire “Not only Canada but the world as a whole is called upon to choose leaders who can generate unity and compassion throughout the world. This is how you find peace, right?”

I was very pleased to be Hugh’s guest blogger at for the month of January. If you haven’t visited Hugh’s blog I suggest you do so and leave a comment to enter a draw for a free numerology reading by yours truly. Three winners will be announced early in February.

I was very pleased to receive word this fall that my short story The End of Politeness was a winner in the 2015 Ottawa Public Library 50+ Short Story Contest. (The certificate of Award can be found under ‘Awards’. My winning entry has been changed slightly to give it more of a Christmas theme for this post.) As several friends have asked me to share the story, here it is for your enjoyment.

Thomas Kinkade Christmas

Thomas Kinkade Christmas

The End of Politeness

The hand on the curtain moves slightly. White on bone. Then disappears. It’s Christmas Eve in the rest of the world but not here on Oak Leaf Private.

Across the street in the tidy bungalow at number 44, Stella turns away from the bedroom window to speak to her husband. “She’s watching our house again, that Mrs. Parker. Nosey Parker I call her. She thinks I can’t see her, but I do. And I tell you, that woman is up to no good.”

Frank has slipped from the pillows that support him and one eye is scrunched against the bedspread, while the other blankly regards the rose pattern in the wallpaper.

“Frank?” A look of panic comes over Stella. She approaches the bed and bends over Frank for a closer look. “For a moment I thought you had left me.” She releases her grip on his shoulder and sits down on the bed. The sudden movement causes Frank’s head to wobble and it comes to rest against his chest. Stella wraps both arms around her husband, and with a mighty heave, repositions him against the pillows. She sits back and appraises him with a practiced eye. “Dear me, you’ve gone and dribbled tea on your nice pajamas.”

Stella fishes a slightly used tissue from her apron pocket and dabs at Frank’s chin with loving precision, and then at the brown stain on his pajama top—sky blue flannel with rows of navy and red anchors. Frank’s favourite pair. Stella rubs furiously, but her efforts fail to remove the stain that circles one of the anchors like a bull’s eye.

“You know Frank, ever since you had the stroke I’ve sensed a considerable change in our relationship.” Oh,” she says, fluttering a hand at him, “I don’t mean your dependency on me. Heaven knows I would never complain about that. In sickness and in health I vowed fifty-five years ago, and that is not about to change now. Despite the fact that I never achieved the recognition I could have as an artist, I don’t hold that against you Frank. When you held me in your arms and told me I was your “Queen”, that was enough for me. I chose to overlook your little indiscretions.”

Stella pauses long enough to peer into Frank’s eyes. “I know you are listening to me, so don’t pretend otherwise.” She sits back with a puzzled look. “Is it the clock you are wondering about? The chime is silent, I know. Well, I confess to removing the pendulum last evening and pitching it outdoors into the street. It was driving me crazy. “Tick tock, tick tock,” all day long until I thought I would go out of my mind.”

Not one to sit still for long, Stella plants a well-positioned kiss on her husband’s forehead and stands up. She now has an aerial view of Frank’s mottled head through wisps of dirty white hair. “Your illness was a blessing in disguise Frank, because it brought us closer together. Much closer.” She takes one of Frank’s veined hands in hers and rubs it thoughtfully with her thumb. “Oh, I know what you’d say if you could speak, but never mind. That’s all in the past and we’re dealing with the present.” Her eyes fold into a smile. “Do you remember the last words you spoke to me, Frank? We were sitting on the sofa, listening to an Italian opera, when you leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Stella, my bella.” Of course it brought a flood of tears, which I attempted to hide from you, and I could only choke out your name in response. I treasure those words, Frank. Had I known at the time that you would never speak again, I would have drowned us both in tears. That stroke silenced the music of your words forever.”

With a final affectionate pat, Stella returns Frank’s hand to its former position on his chest. A sudden gush of air implodes from somewhere deep within the recesses of Frank’s bowels, and Stella lets out a chuckle. “My how that brings back memories. I recall the first time you broke wind in front of me Frank. We had only been married for a week and I was mortified. Your face turned the color of ripe strawberries, but I wasn’t going to let it get the better of me. No sir. I turned to you, and cool as a cucumber said, “Well, Frank, I guess the honeymoon is over.” That brought a smile to your face and the end of politeness in our household.”

Stella gives a delicate laugh. “We were a couple, weren’t we Frank? I will never forget the entrance we made at the Grand Duke’s ball in Venice. Me in flowing organza and you, my prince charming, in white tails with gleaming brass buttons. And when the officers stood to salute you, I fell in love with you all over again. We turned heads when we swept into that room, didn’t we Frank? Now people tell us we’re cute when we hold hands and give us one of those smiles they reserve for babies. I hate it when they do that.”

With sudden recollection, Stella glances at her wristwatch. “My heavens, you must be starving. I’ll go and fix lunch for us right away. Now, I’ll only be a minute, Frank, don’t despair.” With purpose and determination, Stella strides from the room, leaving Frank to stare helplessly at the tea stain Stella missed on the quilted spread.

The kitchen Stella enters is littered with empty bags and an assortment of cereal boxes and canned soups. Dishes fill the sink and clutter the countertop, along with used teabags and rotted fruit. Stella is unaffected by the mess and stench as she immerses herself in the task of searching the cupboards for a can of chicken noodle soup. She pushes a stepstool over to the counter to reach the highest shelf and begins to hum the song Mockingbird Hill.

Meanwhile Frank patiently waits in the bedroom where plenty of paintings and photographs adorn the walls to entertain him—Frank and Stella on one of his ships; Christmas in Hawaii; friends they met while traveling whose names he has forgotten, and a faded patch where a photograph once hung of the unmentionable that brought joy into their lives for a brief time. And of course there are Stella’s paintings, a collection of semi-abstract nudes in the style of modern art. Stella refers to them as her “body and soul” collection. Frank teasingly calls them “body parts” as he can never quite figure out how all the pieces fit together.

A loud crash is heard from the kitchen, followed by a disturbing quiet, and the humming ceases. Eventually the light in Frank’s bedroom dims, and still there is no sign of Stella. What is Frank to do? Time passes and then a flashing red light appears in the driveway of Number 44. Moments later the doorbell rings, startling the silence.

From out of nowhere, Stella appears in Frank’s bedroom. “Someone is at our door, Frank and I forgot to turn off the Christmas lights. They’ll know we’re here.” Stella paces back and forth thinking out loud. “What shall I do? I know. I’ll just ignore them and they will go away.”

The police officers at the door do not go away. They rattle the front door handle, and when there is no response, they search for an open window. Stella hears a thud and the sound of breaking glass. She glances at Frank with the wide-eyed look of a trapped animal. “They’re breaking into our house Frank!”

Voices are heard in the front hallway followed by footsteps coming down the hall. Stella hides behind the bedroom door, and forgetting for a moment that Frank cannot speak, puts a finger to her lips to silence him.

Two police officers enter the bedroom with their arms shielding their noses.

From her hiding spot Stella wants to scold the men for tracking snow into her house but holds her tongue. The senior officer approaches the bed and glances at Frank. “Call an ambulance,” he says to the younger officer. “I’ll check out the rest of the house.”

A short while later an ambulance pulls into the driveway and parks behind the police cruiser with the lights still flashing. Within minutes, two attendants have bundled Frank onto a stretcher and are prepared to remove him from the bedroom, when Stella steps out from behind the door. “Wait!” she says to the senior police officer, “Frank never goes out without his hat.” She plucks Frank’s fedora from the dresser and hands it to the officer. The startled officer jumps back as the hat falls onto Frank’s chest.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” Stella apologizes. “I just don’t want Frank to catch a cold. Where are you taking him?”

The senior officer ignores Stella and motions to the waiting attendants to proceed. Stella follows them to the front door with both hands on her hips. “I demand to know where you are taking Frank!” she says in a commanding voice.

Outside the house, Mrs. Parker and other concerned neighbors hover by the ambulance, their faces pale in the moonlight. When the second stretcher is wheeled into the back of the ambulance and the doors close, the audience quickly disperses.

The senior officer and his junior partner stand by their cruiser chatting, in no apparent hurry to leave. “How long do you think he was dead?” the junior officer asks.

“Couple of weeks, more or less. It’s like an epidemic. We made three calls to this neighborhood in the past month. Just last week, we picked up the woman across the street. Now this guy.”

The younger officer nods. “A helluva way to spend Christmas Eve.” He grins at his partner. “You sure got spooked when that hat fell on you. You looked like you’d seen a ghost!”

Both officers laugh and get into their vehicle. When the cruiser pulls out of the driveway behind the ambulance, Stella stands in the doorway, waving goodbye to the officers.

“Well Frank, I think that was quite enough excitement for this Christmas Eve. Shall we go inside? You look for Bing Crosby’s Christmas album while I fetch us a nice glass of eggnog. No, I won’t forget the rum.” Stella glances at her neighbor’s house across the street. “I see you peeking out from behind the curtain, Mrs. Nosey Parker.” With a smug look, Stella links her arm through her husband’s. “Merry Christmas Frank.”

Copyright Beverley A Young 2015

Christmas greetings


When Sandra contacted me to ask whether I’d be interested in investigating her sister’s house, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. What better way to spend Halloween Eve than in a haunted house with the spirits who inhabit it? It was over an hour’s drive to Glengarry County where the house is located and when I arrived Sandra and her niece Kathy were waiting outside. The house looked innocent enough in its darkness, though the street was dark and strangely deserted, with no ‘trick or treaters’ in sight.

courtesy of

courtesy of

Kathy heard a noise in the backyard and went to investigate while Sandra and I went indoors. During a brief tour of the house, I remarked that the energy was strongest in the living room, near a particular wall. “That’s where my father was waked” Sandra replied. I took some photos, lit candles and the three of us settled down in the living room. I chose a rocking chair to sit in and leaned my head against the backrest with my eyes closed. Within minutes I felt the sensation of being rocked. “Someone is trying to rock my chair,” I announced. “That would be Bonnie,” Kathy replied. “You’re sitting in her chair.” (Bonnie is Kathy’s mother and Sandra’s sister) “Now she is trying to tip the chair,” I exclaimed.

We sat in silence for a few minutes while I waited for contact. “A male spirit is here. He’s not very tall, about 50 years old. He says “Anyone who buys this house will have money problems.” He mentioned the name Frank, that he was a visitor to the house, and that he sees Frank from time to time. (Sandra acknowledged that Frank was indeed her father’s friend and frequent visitor to the house. Her father died at the age of 48). Kathy, whose parents eventually took over the house, added that her father used to complain all the time that the house was a “money pit”.

I remarked that Bonnie was still present but seemed afraid to speak. (Kathy confirmed that her father often fought with her mother, Bonnie.) When the male spirit left, Bonnie began to communicate telepathically and I verbally passed her messages on to Sandra and Kathy. “I’m staying here to look after the place,” Bonnie said firmly. “I’ll leave when someone moves in. I don’t want to live with a bunch of strangers.” Kathy smiled and acknowledged this was indeed something her mother would say. Bonnie then gave messages to her sister Sandra. “We used to bicker a lot when we were kids,” she communicated. “You didn’t like getting the coal (for the stove). You were afraid of (mice?)“

The wall where the wake took place. Bonnie's chair in the right corner. The white shadow is not a reflection.

The wall where the wake took place. Bonnie’s chair in the right corner. The white shadow is not a reflection.

Ask her about Mike,” Kathy urged. At this point my legs went cold up to the knees and I acknowledged out loud that it felt like Bonnie had tried to sit on me or beside me on the chair. I got up and moved across the room to the sofa to let Bonnie have her chair. “She says Mike is not with her,” I responded. “What does she think of him?” Kathy wanted to know. “She says he is a scoundrel; that she used to tell him to think before he acted.” (Kathy later acknowledged that Mike had committed suicide and it made sense that he wasn’t with Bonnie.)

Bonnie also communicated strongly that we “clear the house” (to get rid of negative energy). The house had been for sale for over a year without any offers. We did as Bonnie asked and started by sageing ourselves first, and then Sandra and Kathy each carried a lighted candle while I held the bowl with the burning sage as we moved from room to room, starting with the downstairs and basement, then moving upstairs. I said a prayer aloud in each room to clear the energy and to protect the house and the people who entered. I also asked Bonnie to send buyers, specifically the right people for the house.

Table where the reading took place. We all felt Bonnie's presence. Note the white shadow on the wall.

Table where the reading took place. We all felt Bonnie’s presence. Note the white shadow on the wall.

We finished the evening with a special reading for Sandra and Kathy during which time they each received personal messages that were meaningful to them. It was close to 9:00 PM when we finished, and as we prepared to leave, a text message came through on Kathy’s phone. “An offer came in; the house is sold!” Kathy yelled and burst into happy tears. “Wow, Bonnie works fast,” I said. “I’ve never gotten results this quick before!”

Was it coincidence, or did Bonnie decide after a year that it was time to move on and help her girls sell the house? I leave it to you to decide. We sat down with the spirits that Halloween Eve and listened to what they had to say. Sandra, Kathy and I were there…we saw, we felt, we heard, and that’s all we have to say.

By the way…if you are looking for an agent who specializes in haunted houses, check out Paul’s blog at

© Photos and article Beverley A Young 2015

Here in Canada the trees are on fire with red, gold and orange sprays of color. The days grow shorter and colder and the wind strips the leaves from their branches to prepare a patchwork quilt for mother earth. The mood is set for Halloween when ghosts and shadow men come out to play. In the spirit of Halloween, I have collected some of my favourite haunted tales, sent to me from readers, to share with you. Warning: don’t read these stories at bedtime!

halloween ghosts

From Rebecca

I live in what used to be an old pub that is approximately 600 years old so the house has seen a lot of things! When I was about 7, I used to sleep with my door open and would see the shadow of a man wearing a hat appear round the corner of my door. I used to ask the man to leave me alone because I was petrified, and he did.

On the third floor is where most people have seen spiritual beings. My aunt who tried for a baby for 6 years flew from Ireland to stay with us. While sleeping on the third floor, she felt someone sit on the bed and touch her belly. The next day she was pregnant. Another guest fled in the night because he saw a girl looking through the wardrobe at him, and then disappear.

A child ghost used to play with my sister’s hair. When I was around 11, I was playing in the living room downstairs when I saw a long-haired girl in an old fashioned nightgown watching me on the sofa. My stuff is constantly going missing until I ask for it back and sure enough, it returns. My whole life I’ve always felt people around me. I’m never alone and sometimes it scares the life out of me!

From John S

I first saw a shadow man as a child. Shadow blobs are parasites that feed off negative emotions like fear, sadness and anger. They are like bugs but can have a slight influence on people to perpetuate the emotional pain so they can continue feeding. The larger human looking shadows are a little more powerful. They can attach to families where there is abuse or emotional pain and can perpetuate the cycle of abuse in families for many generations.

I recently had an encounter with a hat man at a local park. He had blue eyes, dark grey skin, duster-like trench coat, and large hat. He also wore a bluish-white canister about a foot long, cylindrical shaped on his chest. It was a source of power, like a crystal vessel. I communicated with him and he said he was from another dimension where they evolved underground for some reason.

They do have physical bodies but can astral project so well that they cast shadows and can interact with this plane with their astral bodies. He was interested in the activities at the park, at least pretended he was. He followed me home. This was the first time I communicated with a hat man and I doubt it was a chance encounter.

From Pamela

My hubby’s grandpa passed away and then a year later his dad passed away. He was extremely close with them. One morning my hubby picked up his phone and it was completely drained although it was fully charged before we went to bed. The last few times we were at the cottage, we were startled by things—at first just the television coming on at 3 AM or the flashlight turning on, and the lights acting weird. Now we are getting awakened between 12 and 1:00 in the morning to loud knocking on the walls and our four year old son whimpering in his bed afraid.

The last time we stayed at the cottage we woke up at 1:00 to a loud bang and knocking on the wall. My hubby ran into our son’s room and found him startled but not quite awake, whimpering. Meanwhile I was sitting up in bed scared, looking into the kitchen and listening/watching. All of a sudden I saw a moving fog patch, the size of a human pass in front of two chairs then disappear. I yelled to my hubby “something’s out there” and he went into the kitchen but didn’t see anything. We believe it was his dad.

From Lore

When I was about 6 years old I was in my bedroom one morning with the door open to the office directly across the hall. I looked up from what I was doing and saw a little boy staring at me from the doorway. He was entirely in black shadow and his posture told me he was nervous about watching me. I did not feel threatened, only that it was a child observing another child. I stared back at him for a few seconds then yelled for my mom and the boy retreated into the dark office.

I described him to my parents as a boy made of shadows, but his form was distinct. Our house was built by my parents and we knew of no deceased children so I don’t know why a ghost child would be there, but the memory of the event has stuck in my mind.

Over the years I have had vivid dreams of being on another planet with two moons that orbited it and the majority of the planet was water. The people there looked like humans, but had more advanced technology and their architecture had an Asian flare. Usually a man or a woman—teacher, professor, or technician, would greet me and tell me I was there to observe and they would proceed to teach and show me different things. When I woke up from these dreams, I would try to draw a map and pictures of what I saw.

You mentioned that shadow people come from a different dimension or planet and the shadow boy I saw as a young child was clearly observing me. I wonder if this was some kind of astral foreign exchange program or just a child’s overactive imagination.

From Dan McGee

Dan shared two short videos he posted on YouTube. The “Donner Party Ghost” has a good story behind it. The “Ghost Mouse” is really bizarre but worth a look if you like the unusual.

Donner Party Ghost

Ghost Mouse

My personal scariest story happened at the Ottawa Carlton County Jail, known as one of the ten most haunted places in the world. I stayed overnight alone on the 9th floor, just steps away from the gallows and Death Row. I was researching a story at the time and got permission to wander around the jail and take photos at night. The cell blocks were dimly lit and the air was heavy with negative energy. When I visited the cell where the last man hanged in Canada had stayed during his final days, I just had to lie down on his cot. The next morning when I awoke in my room, I had three long scratches on my back with no explanation as to how they got there. To my surprise when I arrived home and transferred the photos from my digital camera to computer, I discovered several images of spirits – some of them in the very room where I had slept! Interestingly, two of the spirits were dressed in the outfits worn by jail staff at that time. To read the full story about my jail adventure, click on

This Halloween I plan to travel out of town to investigate a haunted h0use. What are your plans for Halloween?

happy halloween


I don’t know God on an intellectual level. What I know for sure is that the only way I connect with the Creator is through the mind in the heart. This heart connection to God is authentic, without bias from the intellectual mind or external influences. When I speak to him in total honesty and bare my soul I know he will respond—either in words or action, and sometimes both. I am not a religious person yet I have come to know the nature of God over the years through life experiences and on my quest for truth. This is what I know for certain about the nature of God:

Spiritual God

That he is referred to by many names, including: God, Jesus, a “Higher Power”, the Creator, Allah, the “Oneness”, God Consciousness, the “Source” and Spirit;

That God is father to all and was most closely represented in human form by the man known as Jesus of Nazareth, and in spirit form as the God consciousness or “Oneness” that connects us all;

That the Creator is a loving and compassionate soul who listens without judging or criticising. He is the wise Magi, the mystical, magical source that can work magic in our lives through opportunities that lead us to our calling in life, or he can wreak havoc in our lives through lessons that help us evolve as spiritual beings;

He rewards us when we choose a path of service to others, or one that inspires and uplifts, or otherwise benefits humankind in some way. The greatest rewards come from selfless acts, without personal gain as the intent behind the act;

His rewards come in several forms—sometimes monetary and more often as blessings, insights, or wisdom that benefit us and help us to grow in some way;

He is an all-knowing, all-powerful energy that rules the Universe with the help of a spiritually powerful team of Higher Beings, known as The White Brotherhood (“white” referring to “Spirit”);

He is a merciful God, not responsible for war, death, disease, starvation or any other form of human suffering, or the demise of our planet Earth. Those are our mistakes and consequently our responsibility;

No matter what you did or did not do in the past, he will always be there for you. He is forgiving, a dependable, loyal and constant parent, friend, mentor, spiritual advisor and the source of all knowledge. He will not seek you out—you must seek him;

God’s nature is most compatible with ours when we have faith that he knows what is best for us; when we turn our will over to him, and when we speak to him with an open, trusting and honest heart. He is transparent and we must be too, if we aspire to know and be the nature of God.

Donna McMillanI was inspired to write this post by two recent experiences. I learned from my long-time friend Donna McMillan, who was Maid of Honour at my wedding in 1969, that she was terminally ill. I volunteered to drive her 94 year old parents and their dog to Toronto to visit her, and after thinking it over, Donna gratefully accepted my offer. I was honoured that she trusted me with this delicate task and made arrangements with Donna’s parents the following day. We stayed at Donna’s home in Toronto and I drove her parents back and forth to the hospital daily to spend time with their daughter.

As she grew sicker and weaker, Donna was in constant discomfort and expressed her readiness and willingness to go. On the eve of what would be her last day in this world, I witnessed a beautiful and most moving exchange. There were just the four of us in the room—Donna, her parents and me. It was very peaceful. Donna said “I can feel it” and opened her arms wide. Her eyes were bright with a light in them that wasn’t there previously. Donna had a beautiful, private moment with each of her parents before we left the hospital and her last words to me were “I don’t want them to be alone when they find out”.

At 3:00 a.m. a neighbour knocked on the door with a message that Donna had passed. As I prepared myself to waken Donna’s parents, her words came back clearly in my mind. “I always wondered why you chose me to be your Maid of Honour, and why at this time we reconnected. Now I know it was destiny. When I asked (God) who to trust to tell my parents about my illness and to bring them to visit me, your face floated in front of me.” I too believe that God had a hand in bringing Donna and I together at the end of her life.

Front Page of TrualityMy second inspiration for the post came via another friend, George Kokich, the founder of Spiritual Frontiers Canada. George had left a telephone message while I was away and sent an email announcing the completion of his first book ‘On Truality: A Forgotten Idea About the Source of All Creation’. George asked me to write a review for his book, which I did, and in the process it got me thinking again about the nature of God and my relationship with him. The message was clear…I had been thinking about writing an article on this difficult and complex subject for a long while. The timing was perfect.

George refers to his first book as an introduction to truality. His second book, currently a work-in-progress, promises to provide more detail and background on how he discovered truality during his evolving, life-changing spiritual journey. The 32 page book can be downloaded for free on George’s website at where you can also read the reviews and more about the author and book.

Do you believe in God? What do you know for sure about the nature of God? Your comments, insights and life experiences are always gratefully received.


Having lost my own mother to cancer when I was fifteen, I am acutely aware of the lifelong impact on children (infancy to age 17) whose parent or parents die. These children face a gauntlet of emotions as they grow up—deep sadness, a great sense of loss, and in some situations guilt and abandonment. Recently I stumbled upon the book The Loss That Is Forever by Maxine Harris, PH.D., about the lifelong impact of the early death of a mother or father. I saw many parallels in my own life in the examples Harris uses from her case studies.

Just over 5% of children are survivors of the early death of a mother or father. A higher number of deaths involve fathers while a smaller percentage involves the loss of both parents. The overall consensus of the adult children Dr. Harris interviewed, and I agree with them, is that they grew up feeling different and alone, without someone to watch their back.

A parent—a father for a boy and a mother for a girl—serves as a living example of how to be a person. Children follow the example set by that role model and when it is lost, the child struggles to piece together an identity. That same child may seek out an alternate role model in a family member or someone else they admire. Some become avid readers of adventure stories or biographies in their search for a role model to emulate and measure up to.

Without a mother or father to guide them, children often feel they are missing out on information that is vital to their own adult development. For example, observing a friend’s mother folding laundry can trigger an overwhelming sense of emptiness in a child who did not have a mother to teach her this simple task.

James Dean

James Dean

Actor James Dean was nine when his mother died. His father put him on a train with his mother’s casket and sent him to his hometown to be raised by an aunt and uncle. Dean used to sneak out of his uncle’s house at night to visit his mother’s grave where he would cry and plead “Mother why did you leave me? I need you…I want you.” Eventually his emotions turned to anger and he defiantly promised himself “I’ll show you for leaving me…I’m going to be great without you!”

Children grieve differently from adults. Adults may feel bereft and empty when someone dies that they loved deeply, but they know they will survive. On the other hand, children who lose a parent go through a range of emotions—panic, pain, terror, confusion. After all, if the parent they depended on can be snatched away from them, then nothing is safe, predictable, or secure anymore. Later in life, these same children may experience difficulty maintaining an intimate relationship out of fear this loved one too will abandon them.

Very young children lack the language skills and thought processes to even begin to make sense of a parent’s death. In comparison, adults who survived the Holocaust or the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki lived through horrors that could not be described or explained in words. These adult survivors were as helpless as children to make sense of the devastation and catastrophes that changed their lives forever.

Survivors of early loss speak of an emptiness that can never be filled. Infants and toddlers who lose a parent feel their absence rather than loss. They have no personal memory or attachment to the parent who died and only know him or her from stories and photos shared by family members. It is this absence they feel when they observe their friends celebrating Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. One woman whose mother died when she was a baby described the loss this way: “I never had her, so I don’t feel the loss. I experience the absence of a mother. There’s a hole where Mother should have been, a blank space.”

For most children, the loss of a parent would register ten on an emotional Richter scale. Sudden death—whether from murder, accident or unexpected medical crisis—shatters a child’s sense of security in the world. The early death of a parent also shatters core beliefs about safety, parental power, lovability and reality itself. One adult survivor described his reaction to his mother’s death when he was in grade eight as being “numb, like a sleepwalker going through the motions of life, unable to comprehend what happened.”

In situations where a parent dies from suicide, Dr. Harris has this to say: “The suicide of a parent shatters a child’s belief that he or she is lovable and worthy of being loved…a child must contend with the fact that the parent died willingly, that he or she sought death and knowingly, thoughtlessly and selfishly left the child behind. (The question) “If my mother or father loved me, how could they have left me?” haunts the lives of the survivors of suicide.”

Madonna was just six when her mother died.

Madonna was just six when her mother died.

When a parent dies young, children are introduced to death in a way that influences how they see the world for the rest of their lives. Singer Madonna says that her mother’s early death when she was just six taught her that life was short and no one should wait for the things they really want. Without a mother to guide her choices, Madonna was left with the responsibility of inventing and reinventing the woman she would become. Having grown into adulthood without the guidance of my own mother, I can certainly relate to Madonna’s sense of having to create and recreate the woman.

It’s when I observe the close relationship between mothers and daughters that I feel the loss of my own mother so keenly. I feel cheated that I never knew my mother as an adult or had her help and guidance when raising my own children. On the positive side, I attribute my mother’s death to my early interest in spirits and the Afterlife—an interest that has grown into a lifelong passion. What I know for certain is that parents who cross over continue to watch over and guide their children from the Afterlife.

Book Cover-The Loss that is ForeverHave you experienced the death of a parent or parents at an early age? Whether you did or not, please share your thoughts and feelings on the topic, I would love to hear from you!

The Loss That Is Forever by Maxine Harris, PH.D. is available at

©Beverley A Young 2015

Most people today think of themselves as not being superstitious and may even frown on such practices. Yet our everyday lives are filled with common expressions and habits that fit into the category of superstition. While avoiding such practices as walking under ladders makes perfect sense, other superstitions are so imbedded in our belief system that we fail to recognize them as superstitions.  So just how superstitious are you?

Do you say “bless you” when someone sneezes? At one time it was believed that when a person sneezed their soul was thrust from the body. A person close by would utter “Bless you” to protect the detached soul from being claimed by the devil until the soul rejoined the body.

Do you consider horseshoes to be good luck symbols? Horseshoes used to be made from iron which was considered to have magical qualities because it was able to withstand fire. The blacksmiths who made the horseshoes were also thought to have special powers because they worked with the fire element and magical iron. It used to be common practice for people to hang a horseshoe over their front door to welcome good luck.

Do you say “knock on wood” and follow up with a couple of raps on something made of wood? This expression is commonly used to avoid tempting fate to change a string of good luck. One explanation suggests the superstition originated in the eighteenth century when men would knock on the wood stock of their muzzle-loading rifles to settle the black powder charge and ensure the weapon would fire cleanly. Another theory suggests the tradition has pagan roots. Pagans, believing that trees were home to fairies and spirits and other mystical creatures, would knock on wood once to request a favour or good luck, then knock a second time to express their thanks.

Do you avoid having a black cat cross your path? The Western culture especially views this as an omen of bad luck. Black cats have long been associated with witches and evil spirits. Gamblers are especially wary of the ‘black cat curse’ if they see one on their way to a gambling event. In certain cultures however, including Japan, Great Britain and Ireland, black cats are seen as omens of good luck.

Do you shake hands with someone you meet for the first time?  This tradition is believed to have originated as a gesture of peace to demonstrate the hand concealed no weapon. When two people shook hands to seal a business agreement, the agreement was not official or legally binding until the hands parted.

Do you cross your fingers when you tell a lie or wish for good luck? This superstition tends to be more common in Christian countries, suggesting it is related to the sign of the cross—either asking forgiveness for telling a lie or calling on the Heavens for good luck, depending on the intention.

Do you believe that a broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck? It was once commonly believed that a mirror captured part of a person’s soul, and when a mirror shattered, part of the soul was scattered too. In some cultures, mirrors and reflective surfaces are covered in a house where someone has died, to allow their soul to leave without getting trapped in the mirror.

Do you believe that accidentally spilling salt is a bad omen? One theory suggests this superstition originated with Judas Iscariot when he purportedly spilled salt at the Last Supper shortly before he betrayed Jesus. Another common superstition holds that throwing a pinch of salt over your left shoulder balances out the bad luck with good luck.

Do you believe the number 13 is unlucky? This belief is so widespread that apartment buildings skip the thirteenth floor and instead number them from twelve to fourteen. Interestingly Apollo 13 was the only US mission that failed to land on the moon. One theory links ‘thirteen’ to the Last Supper, where it is believed Judas Iscariot sat at the thirteenth place at the table. Or it may have evolved from Viking lore—Loki, the trickster being the thirteenth god. On Friday October 13, 1307 King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar. Most of the knights were tortured and killed.

Are you familiar with the superstition around ‘Dead Man’s Hand’— a pair of black eights and a pair of black aces, plus a fifth unspecified card? Although this is actually a good poker hand, legend has it these were the cards held by Wild Bill Hickok, the famous Wild West lawman, when he was fatally shot during a poker game in Deadwood in 1876. If you see a character in a film dealt this hand, it is highly likely he will soon meet his end.

I lived my first fifteen years in a house at 13 Rosemount Avenue. Our family certainly had more than its share of bad luck even though I recall seeing a horseshoe hanging over one of the doors. Given the same circumstances today, and if my parents had the money to do so, they might hire a Feng Shui practitioner to advise them on how to change the energy in the house. Or perhaps rid the house of negative energy by burning sage. Instead of carrying a rabbit’s foot for good luck, people today wear angel pins or keep statues of angels and other symbolism like crosses or stones in their home to watch over and protect them. (I am one of those!) We think of ourselves as more spiritually aware souls but have we simply exchanged one set of superstitions for another? And will future generations look back on our well-intentioned practices as superstitious beliefs?  What are your thoughts on this?

©Beverley A Young 2015

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