A few years ago when the first edition of my book The Haunting of Natalie Bradford was released, I was invited to speak at a local library during their monthly “Luncheon with Books” event. I was happy to oblige especially since the city that I would be visiting was on my “To Research List”. I remember walking into the reception area to see that it was already full of people without an empty seat in the room. After an hour of lecture about all things ghostly and supernatural, I signed books and visited with many people curious about my research. I then began packing up my things when one of the librarians stopped me and proceeded to tell me about a local man whom she thought I might be interested in researching. I remember her saying that he lived during the 20th century and that he had a “gift” of being able to find lost objects. She went on to say that he was somewhat of a local celebrity, and she had a newspaper file on him if I would be interested in seeing it. It piqued my interest for a moment, and I nodded affirming that I would follow up in the future.
The months wore on as I became engrossed in other writing projects, mainly the second book in the Bradford series and then my latest release, The Phoenix Mission. Although the librarian’s suggestion stuck in the back of my mind, I had no idea just how intriguing this “local celebrity” would become.
Just a few weeks ago, I pulled out my planning workbook and studied my list of projects. I had jotted a few notes down about the psychic from Mississippi who could find lost objects. Since my main character, Seth Phoenix (The Phoenix Mission) was based on this same type of phenomena, I decided this might be worth pursuing. I then put together a folder and binder for this project leaving the labels blank and jumped in my SUV. Thirty minutes later, I pulled into the Pontotoc County Library where Regina had already pulled the files that I needed.
I sat down and began thumbing through the newspaper articles. I scanned the pages looking for content that might prove the man’s gift of ESP or Clairvoyance. To my surprise, this man known as Seymour Prater went far beyond finding lost objects. Yes, he was a 20th century prophet with uncanny similarities to another modern day psychic known as the Sleeping Prophet, Edgar Cayce. And while Edgar Cayce was healing the sick through his sleeping visions and revelations, Seymour Prater was “seeing” the past in the present and even identifying a man’s killer.
I immediately became mesmerized by the stories of Seymour Prater. How did he do it? What was this gift that he had? He had the extraordinary gift of Clairvoyance. Although we all have gifts, most people aren’t aware of these specialties and even more unaware of how to develop them. Clairvoyance is the alleged ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through extrasensory perception. A person who has this ability is called a clairvoyant (“one who sees clearly”). Hundreds of people seeking answers visited Mr. Prater in Mississippi during his lifetime. When asked to help locate a lost object or solve a mystery, Mr. Prater would usually place his hands over his eyes for a moment while he sat quietly considering the question. He then responded with the same introduction each time, “I see, I see….”
As I continued my research of Mr. Prater, I came across a story that stood apart from the rest. A story about a deaf man, beaten and killed in his store on January 3, 1931. His dead body lay in a pool of blood against the hard wood floor. The man’s corpse lay on his side still clutching a piece of peppermint candy in his hand. The densely populated town quickly began to talk about the “Floyd Place” and the haunting of Mr. Floyd. Soon the whole town was scared to walk past the property where Arthur Floyd had been attacked in the late evening hours. The Floyd family and local police struggled to find answers as the trail to finding the killer remained cold. The Floyds had run out of ideas until they decided to consult the psychic from Pontotoc County. And when Seymour Prater closed his eyes this time, images of the murder flashed before him as he began to track a killer through the eyes of a clairvoyant…