An Excerpt from The Haunted Volume III


The Lincoln House (5)
Circa, 1833

Situated on a hillside in the Columbus Historic District is the renowned Lincoln House built in 1833. The two level, wood framed house was once home to Columbus mayor, C. L. Lincoln. The house has been in the family for more than 135 years. It’s one of the oldest pre-Civil War homes in the city and in recent years past, the home was a popular bed and breakfast.

Noteworthy features of the home include a front porch with original wavy glass jib windows, white columns, and a front door with the original blue and red Venetian side lights. The house also includes a basement where the original kitchen was located along with a carriage house and stables. As decades have passed, the house has undergone modern updates and the addition of brick floors in the original English basement. The Lincoln Home is the recipient of a Heritage Trust Award (1999) and an award winning landmark in the history of Columbus.

The present day home owes its gratitude to the owners, Sidney and Brenda Caradine who have lovingly preserved the house, but a number of eye witnesses have left the Caradine’s wondering if some of its ghostly residents are still there, reminding us of its beloved past.

In November of 2017, a friend and I purchased tickets to the Ghosts and Legends Tour that’s held annually in the Fall. After arriving in downtown Columbus at the Tennessee Williams home and Welcome Center, we boarded a bus for an hour long tour. The bus navigated through the downtown area, stopping at various points along the way. Each time the bus reached a tour stop, all guests exited and were joined by guides wearing costumes relative to the historic period and story that they narrated.

We made a few stops before we reached The Lincoln House, and even though I had already heard that the house was haunted, I didn’t know any details about the place. The bus driver turned at the corner of College and 7th Street, slowly making his way along the dimly lit street. Then just as we approached the house, I noticed a man standing near the right end of the porch and a lovely, brown-haired woman gazing out the front window. Both of them were dressed in period costumes with the woman’s hair pulled up and tucked into a loose bun at the crown of her head. Her ivory dress was a floor length, chiffon gown with a high-neck lace collar. The gentleman standing outside on the porch was dressed in captain’s attire with a poet sleeve, white shirt and a bayonet by his side.

The bus pulled forward a few feet from the steps leading up to the top of the porch where we all exited and gathered in a semi-circle at the bottom of the steps. We were greeted by the home’s hostess who was dressed as Mother Goose. As she stood on the front porch steps, we listened as she narrated The Lincoln House story in a rich southern dialect that echoed the southern belle’s voices of the past. Then we were introduced to Sidney Caradine who finished the narration with another ghostly tale.

At the completion of the stories, I was surprised that we were being led back to the bus. I looked beyond the steps and toward the window where the Victorian lady stood just moments before. Wasn’t she a part of the tour? I assumed that we would be entering the front parlor of the house to hear another haunted story. However, my assumption was not only wrong, but the woman in the window had now disappeared!

A bewildered expression covered my face as I turned to our guide, Dr. Bridget Pieschel, a local expert on the town’s history and also an English professor and Director of the Center of Women’s Research and Public Policy at MUW (Mississippi University for Women, 1884).

“Aren’t we going inside the house?” I asked.

“No, we don’t go inside.” Dr. Pieschel answered, shaking her head.

“Oh.” I replied with a downturned smile as I started for the steps, and then I stopped. I turned and looked back at the porch.

“There was a woman in the window.” I said pointing to the front of the house. For a moment, I worried if I should mention the work that I do. Paranormal research wasn’t for everybody, but I felt a strong nudge to mention it.

“Well, this is Mother Goose. You know, she just narrated a part of the story here on the front steps and Mr. Caradine was on the front porch, but they’re the only two hosts here.”

I shook my head and responded with a nervous laugh. Fearing I might sound crazy, I leaned forward and whispered.

“I saw a woman in that window. She was standing right there.” I pointed to the window to the right of the front door.  Mr. Caradine’s wife joined us on the sidewalk at just that moment and introduced herself to me.

“I’m Brenda Caradine. You must have seen Miss Sue.”

“Miss Sue? Oh, is she inside the house?”

“No, you must have seen her ghost. She’s the ghost that appeared to the women who stayed in the downstairs room.” She said with a genuine and bold confidence.

A tingling chill crept over my body. I rubbed the goosebumps now evident on my arms and nodded. Then without hesitation, I asked Mrs. Caradine if I could come back at a later time and interview her. If the image that I saw standing in the window was, in fact, a ghost then I knew that I had to know more about The Lincoln Home and its history.

“Mrs. Caradine, would it be okay to contact you in a few weeks and schedule a time to talk with you. I am a writer and paranormal researcher.”

Mrs. Caradine’s approval was immediate as her eyes lit up. “Oh, yes. Please do!”

“Okay, I will be in touch with you in a few weeks. And thank you so much.” I shook her hand and then followed Dr. Pieschel back to the bus.

Just as I sat down next to Lisa, she immediately noticed the expression on my face. She looked at me as if she was waiting for me to tell her what was on my mind. As the bus began to move, I turned to look back at the house.

“Lisa, when we first pulled up to the house, did you see a woman inside that window?” I pointed toward the front porch.

“Yes, she was standing by the front door.”  Cold chills spread across my arms again.

“What did she look like?”

“She was wearing a white dress. Her hair was in a bun—

“Oh my God.” I mumbled as I covered my mouth.

“What’s wrong?”

“Lisa, I saw the same thing, but I saw the image of that woman standing on the inside of that window. The owner of the house just confirmed to me that no one was inside the house at the time they were telling the stories.”

Lisa smiled and nodded. “Wow. We just saw a ghost.”

“I believe we did. And if it’s the same ghost that they spoke of during the story, I have to know more. I’m coming back.” I promised as the bus pulled away from the curb.

Two months later, I phoned the Caradines and arranged to meet Sidney at The Lincoln House. After driving for an hour, I arrived in front of the house and parked along the street. I got out of the car and grabbed my backpack and camera case before climbing the same steps that had led me to the front of the house just weeks before when I first saw the ghost.

I paused for a moment on the sidewalk and studied the front porch area. The nervous flutter of “butterflies” in my stomach consumed me as I began to put one foot in front of the other. I walked steadfast toward the front of the house when all of a sudden the front door opened, and I was greeted by a tall gentleman dressed in a red, button down shirt and wearing a baseball cap. He closed the door behind him and introduced himself.

“Hey, I’m David. Can I help you? Maybe carry something for you?” He asked, extending his hand.

I smiled and replied. “Oh, thank you, but it’s not too much.”

“Did you have a nice drive over?” David led me to the door.

“Yes, it’s been a sunny February day.” I answered with a smile.

“Come on in and have a seat. Sidney is on his way over from his house next door. He also owns the Amzi Love House that’s been in his family for over a hundred years.” David motioned toward the front room on the right.

“Oh my! That’s intriguing.” I marveled.

As I entered the wide open entry from the foyer, my senses immediately alerted me that we were not alone. I sat my backpack and camera bag down on the corner of the sofa and then moved toward a pair of wingback chairs positioned right in front of the window where I had seen the woman’s apparition. David followed me taking a seat in the chair to the left of me.

No sooner had I sat down than the image of a man dressed in a dark suit appeared before me. He stood near the entry to the parlor and appeared to be uninterested in us until David handed me a photo. Then without warning, the now invisible man stood over me, leaning down as if he was looking at the picture in my hand. Amused and slightly unnerved by the drop in temperature near me, I leaned toward David.

“He’s standing over me!” I blurted out before I could stop myself.

David glanced at me, his eyes wide open and fixed on the space directly in front of me. Although I felt like an idiot, I couldn’t ignore how the entire left side of my body was now icy cold. I rubbed my arm in an attempt to warm myself. Then I twisted my body in the chair and faced David in an effort to ignore the ghostly presence. I placed a notepad on my lap and began to write down important details as David talked about the history of the house and some of the paranormal stories that had surfaced over the years.

Shortly thereafter, we were joined by Sidney and Brenda Caradine. I was immediately charmed by Mr. Caradine’s gentile manner as I observed him with his wife. Due to Mrs. Caradine’s failing health, Sidney had assumed a more protective and nurturing role, but both of them still exhibited a passionate love for the house as they shared stories of family history and legacies left behind for the last 185 years.

One of Sidney’s most intriguing stories involved the paranormal encounter with a large, handcrafted replica of a trolley car that still sits in the parlor today. Years ago, friends of the Caradine family came to stay at the Lincoln House. After enjoying a southern dinner and fellowship, the couple retired for the evening. Nothing unusual had happened in the home since their arrival and they had no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary, but sometime after midnight, they were awakened by a loud and unexpected sound coming from the foyer.

The two of them lay quiet with bewildered looks and creepy goose bumps as they listened to the sound of Louie Armstrong singing It’s a Wonderful World. The music was crisp and clear as the sound bounced off the walls of the Lincoln House, and then as the couple slowly edged off the bed and out into the hall, they were shocked to find the music coming from the trolley. A handcrafted trolley that had been in the family’s heirlooms for decades without anyone ever knowing that it was a music box!

They all examined the trolley the following day and found the hidden mechanism that was responsible for activating the music, but after examining the switch and finding it difficult to slide forward, it seemed impossible for it to come on without someone manually moving it. And so the mystery remains to this day. Who turned the trolley on after decades of silence?

I listened and watched Sidney’s pale blue eyes as they widened and filled with awe while he told the trolley story, and Mrs. Caradine’s almost childlike wonder burst forth each time she took a breath while telling her own personal account with the ghosts of the Lincoln House. It was enough to convince me that I had to spend the night there, even if it was only once. And before the end of our interview, my reservation had been made.
Thrilled and now committed to contacting the ghosts of the Lincoln House, I had to find a team. A team of ghost hunters who wanted to make contact here as much as I did. In just two weeks, the ghost hunt would commence.

Get the rest of the story!



The Myrtles Plantation~A Haunted Good Time


The Living Dead and a Haunted Good Time at The Myrtles Plantation

~America’s Most Haunted House.


          For years, I have wanted to visit The Myrtles Plantation and stay overnight at the famous haunted resort.  Finally after rearranging my vacation plans due to a rainy weather forecast at the beach, I chose to take a detour to Louisiana Plantation country.  Remarkably, this trip would prove to be memorable in an almost prophetic way.

         A couple of days prior to our departure for Louisiana, my daughter, Hannah and I both seemed to experience a strange foreboding that we couldn’t shake.  Was it our apprehension about visiting one of America’s most haunted houses?  Maybe it was the disappointment of having to cancel our beach plans.  Although I have been trying to get to The Myrtles for the past two years, the timing was never right for a trip.  Neither of us discussed this unnerving feeling until the day we left.  We had been traveling for an hour or so and decided to stop for a restroom break and snacks at a convenience store where I have visited many times on the travel route to Jackson, Mississippi.  We pulled into the store about 10:00 a.m., got out of the SUV, and went inside.  Within seconds of me entering the restroom, I overheard a woman’s screams coming from the inside of the store.  I was terrified.  Was the store being robbed?  Hannah rushed inside the restroom and frantically explained that a tragic wreck had just happened in front of the store.  I rushed out the restroom door and to my horror witnessed the aftermath of a car that had been crushed and dragged by an 18-wheeler until it managed to stop directly in front of the store.  People were everywhere.  One woman was almost in shock, screaming because she witnessed the event and heard the metal crushing as the car folded like an aluminum can.  I began to feel sick at my stomach and saddened as we observed the lifeless body of a 20-year old male who had crossed over into the afterlife in the blink of an eye.  Within seconds.  He was killed on impact.  My body was consumed with a chill that I couldn’t overcome as I realized how close we came to being in the path of the truck as it dragged the car.  Timing and death.  It never discriminates.

         I took deep breaths and slowly exited the parking lot making my way onto the highway.   I said a prayer for a safe trip and contemplated the irony of what had just happened versus my final destination where a history of sudden death was prevalent among the shadows of the mysterious Myrtles Plantation.  What was I walking into?

When we arrived at The Myrtles Plantation, we were greeted with open arms by the staff and I was excited to meet, Hester, the African American woman who has worked at The Myrtles for many years.  Hester can be seen on an episode of Ghost Hunters when the paranormal researchers/show came to The Myrtles to conduct an investigation and film a few years ago.  I have seen the episode more than once and immediately recognized the sound of Hester’s voice when I entered the gift shop. 

         We quickly checked in and Hester answered my questions.  She informed me that a newlywed couple had just left in the middle of the night, hours before our arrival.  They were staying in the main house.  Although I felt some relief since we would be staying in a cottage that was formerly used as the horse stables, Hester informed me that all areas of the plantation had reported paranormal activity.  I began to worry a little.  Would I be joining the statistics of those people who were frightened off the plantation?  Hester admired my daughter’s long, soft golden hair as she touched it and let Hannah’s hair fall between her fingers.  She commented that “they” were going to love her hair.  “They?”  Who is “they”?  “They” was the ghost of the Woodruff children who died of poisoning and were known to inhabit the area where our cottage was located.  We placed our suitcases in the room and made our way back to the gift shop.  The next tour was about to start in 10 minutes at the main house!        

                    3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Our tour guide signaled the start of the tour by ringing a bell to let others know that another tour was about to begin inside the main house.  We joined her here on the back porch and followed her into the foyer.


          This is the main staircase that leads upstairs to the bedroom where the children died.  This is also the staircase where William Winter collapsed into his young wife’s arms and died after being shot in the chest while standing on the right wing porch of the mansion.  He stumbled back into the house shouting for his wife.  “Sarah!  Sarah!”  He wanted to see her face one last time before he died.  The 17th step where he died is the 3rd step from the top.  He is often heard climbing these stairs.    

After I entered this main room, I immediately had the sensation of being watched.  But I felt that there was more than one entity in the house.  I picked up on three or four different personas.  I did not use an EMF detector during the tour because it would have been distracting to the tour guide and other guests.  I relied on my intuitive instincts and clairvoyance as we walked the first floor of the mansion.

We were not allowed to take pictures beyond the foyer, but while I was in the women’s parlor, I experienced an uncomfortable feeling of tragedy and envisioned Chloe when she was caught eavesdropping.  I began to feel dreadful and depressed and my chest became very heavy and tight as if I had been struck.  There was residual energy still very prevalent to me in those rooms.

As we exited the house onto the back veranda, I took some pictures of the alley where Chloe’s ghost was caught on camera by an insurance representative taking pictures of the property.  I later investigated this area, but did not pick up any EMF readings here.



Later that evening, we visited with some of the other guests here on the back porch where a skeptic from California challenged us to some very intense and thought provoking questions about the possibility of life after death.  We discussed our viewpoints until almost midnight before turning in for sleep.  Hours later, we would all have interesting experiences to share over breakfast the following morning.

After dinner in The Carriage House restaurant located on the plantation grounds, my daughter and I waited for nightfall while preparing our camera, EMF detectors, and thermal heat sensors for some ghost hunting on the property.  We first set out to tour the back of the property where the cabins are located.  We turned on the EMF device and immediately began getting a reading.  And the lights were zipping back and forth in a wild pattern before disappearing as if it was there and POOF, now it’s gone.  While walking this area, I had the sensation of someone running up behind us then stopping as I turned around to look.  Then when we would begin walking again, something would rush up to me again.  One time, I thought that my hand was touched.  It startled me.  Something was taunting me, playing with me as we walked the back path of the property.  The following morning one of the guests who had stayed in the cottages in this location informed me that he awakened with all the bed covers tucked neatly around him.  He said that when he went to bed the night before, he pulled all the covers off to the side and only covered his lower body with a top sheet.

As we continued around to the side of the house, the EMF detector went crazy again as the lights bounced back and forth.  I was standing on the steps where William Winter had been shot in the chest by the blast of a shotgun.  He stumbled backwards through the gentleman’s parlor and made his way to the staircase before he died in his wife’s arms.  This is the picture of the exact location of the murder and also the site of substantial EMF readings.  (Note: There was an A/C unit nearby.  I tested the unit several times in an effort to debunk any readings.  Nothing registered here, but only in a certain spot on the porch/stairs.)



The site of William Winter’s murder at The Myrtles Plantation.

 We then continued our walk to the front entrance of the property.  I was eager to get some night time photos of the front gates and guard house where it has been reported that the ghost of the former caretaker has been seen on numerous occasions.  He is an African American man who wears a straw hat and tells people to go away because The Myrtles is “closed” he says.  This man was electrocuted by accident, I believe, in the guard shack during the 1920’s.  This part of the property was probably the most frightening to me.  Although I never saw anything or picked up any reading, I was scared the entire time that I was walking this path to the gates.  I swear I saw a figure watching me from behind this tree. I quickly snapped a picture and got the heck out of there!  CREEPY!




I have no idea what that smoky haze is on this photo!  This is the front entrance to The Myrtles Plantation.

One of several EMF readings at The Myrtles.  This reading actually went higher, but I managed to catch it here when I snapped the picture.  I was in our room at the old horse stables.  There were no televisions, computers, or microwaves in the rooms. 

         After an hour of roaming the property, we decided to sit on the porch at the main house.  I laid the EMF detector down and did not touch it.  I waited.  Within minutes, its lights began dancing across the device.  Flashing once, then twice, and three times before resting a moment.  I watched with amusement and stayed silent about my findings since my daughter, Hannah was beginning to tire.  I whispered “Goodnight” to the ghosts and made my way to the cottage.


Dusk at The Myrtles Plantation.



After showering and settling into bed, we dozed off to sleep for a few hours until I was suddenly awakened around 4:00 a.m.  Without reason, I abruptly awoke and sat up in the bed staring around the room.  The silence was almost deafening and yet we had left the bathroom fan and light on before going to bed.  My eyes moved around the room, but I saw nothing.  Why did I feel as if someone was in the room with us?  I hate that feeling.  You can’t shake it.  I settled back down in the bed and closed my eyes.  Somehow, I had to get some sleep.  Ghost or no ghost.  I was exhausted.  I began to drift into a deep sleep.  I felt that familiar feeling of slipping away into LaLa land.  Then just as I was about to sink into silent lucidity, something lightly stroked the underside of my chin down to my neck.  Like fingertips brushing across my skin.  My eyes flew open.  I slung the bedsheet aside and brushed my hand across my neck and chin as if to wipe away the feeling of being touched.  I saw nothing.  No one.  No ghost.  No apparition.  I heard nothing, but deafening silence.  And yet I felt unnerved, now looking forward to sunrise.  I waited a few moments, then collapsed back on my pillow and fought sleep another two hours.  When the alarm went off, I was already awake. 

We got ready and made our way over to the gift store where a plantation style breakfast awaited us.  I was eager to talk to Hester and share my experiences.  Upon entering the store, Hester immediately greeted me with a smile.  I wasted no time.

“Good Morning, Hester.  Can you tell me if any of your guests have reported being touched?”

Hester smiled and nodded before answering.  Her tone indicated that she had been asked this question before.  “Yes, we hear that often.”

“Where are they touched?  Can you tell me?”  I couldn’t wait to hear this.

“The feet.”

I shook my head.  “No, this wasn’t my feet.”

Hester stopped what she was doing and turned to me, giving me her full attention.  “Where?  What happened?”

“Hester, I felt someone touch my face.  Right here.  Under my chin.  It felt like a light stroke.”  I demonstrated how fingertips can move across the underside of the chin creating a tickling sensation.

Hester smiled and said, “That sounds like one of the children.”

A cold chill came over me.  I poured myself a cup of coffee and served myself scrambled eggs with sausage and biscuit.  As the other guests joined us, I began hearing about their experiences the night before.  A lady from Phoenix, Arizona reported feeling someone sit down on the corner of the bed, but when she turned to see who it was, no one was there.  She also reported feeling someone attempting to adjust her pillows and rearrange the coins that she had left on the fireplace mantel.

Some of the staff members shared recent occurrences from prior guests.  One story included one of the scariest encounters I’ve ever heard.  Just two weeks ago when a wedding party was being held on the grounds, one of the attendees decided to take a nap after having too much champagne.  She returned to her cottage and fell asleep only to awaken with the bedsheets hovering over her.  She began screaming and crying as she ran around the back of the property.  A member of the staff had to intervene and try to console her, but she insisted that the bedsheets were in fact hovering over her when she awakened.

Staying at The Myrtles has been a long, cherished wish for me, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to experience its magic and mystery, as well as, its history.  Do I think that The Myrtles is haunted?  Let me put it this way.  Although I did not see an apparition (THANK GOD!), I have no reason to believe that it is not haunted.  During breakfast, some of the staff members shared their experiences with the ghosts of The Myrtles Plantation.  It seemed everybody had something to contribute.  Coincidence?  I don’t believe in coincidences.  But I do believe in ghosts!  SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON!



The Haunting of Natalie Bradford Full Cover

FOREWORD from The Haunting of Natalie Bradford~

I began my research twenty-five years after Liz Bradford’s death.  Unknown to me, there was a hidden story within a story.  The synchronistic findings were incredulous, and I found myself bewildered as I uncovered a prophecy that seemed to be predestined for Natalie Houston.  Was she simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Or, was she being used as an instrument to reveal a prophetic message?

My research carried me to the graveyard where Liz Bradford had been buried.  I looked all around, not knowing which way to go.  I closed my eyes and concentrated on the area while listening for my sixth sense to guide me.  I then opened my eyes and walked directly to the site where Liz Bradford lay!  A new tombstone was laid on Ms. Bradford’s grave.  It was larger than the old one I remembered, and it had an inscription.

Trees had grown to maturity from the hillside gravesite hiding the front view of an abandoned Lindenwood.  The grass seemed to be greener and thicker than it was years ago, and I noticed a new bouquet of flowers resting at her headstone.  I will never forget the uneasiness that swept over me as I stood in the same place where I had stood twenty-five years before.

Later, my research took me to the courthouse in search of the court records from Devon Bradford’s trial.  It took almost three weeks to locate the transcripts.  Of all the files in the room, the Bradford case had mysteriously been misfiled in a box stacked out of place.   I wondered if someone was trying to warn me to stay away.  Each day I sat in the small, crowded storage room of the courthouse and studied the transcripts as if I was in a hypnotic trance.  The more I read, the more scared I became.  My research continued to turn up more and more bizarre coincidences that sent chills creeping up my back.

A few months after the first draft of this book was written, I came in contact with the bartender on duty the night Liz Bradford was murdered.  During my interview with him, he told me that Liz Bradford’s suitcase sat packed just inside his stepfather’s office door.  He said it sat there for many weeks, maybe even months.  I was saddened for her.  She never came back to pick it up.

Years later, I found myself living in a house behind The Rex Plaza where Liz Bradford was murdered.  Not knowing the history of the house, my husband and I bought it as an investment and later found out it was haunted.  I still do not know the origin of the spirit, but I can promise you, it scared the hell out of me.  We lived there five years.  Many days I sat on my redwood deck in the backyard of my home and gazed across the fence at the parking lot of the prestigious motel.  I daydreamed of the days Liz Bradford once walked the floors of the lavishly decorated lounge serving cocktails to the wealthy guests and out of town patrons looking for some nightlife in Elvis’s town.

I still visit the restaurant where she worked and try to imagine myself as a customer on the night she died.  The parking lot and facility is still standing in the same structure it was 38 years ago. The spirit of Liz Bradford is still prevalent to me when I walk in the restaurant.

Today, I live in a house that is ghost free.  After many years of extensive study and dealing with the paranormal, I have to say I don’t miss the unnerving chaos that ghosts can cause, but some ghosts such as the spirit of Liz Bradford need us to tell their stories.  Sometimes, the person they pick to tell the story may not be a coincidence.  Natalie Houston was a non-believer in the spiritual world, but she got an introduction that would change her thinking for the rest of her life and her sleep.  Sweet Dreams, Natalie



Crossing Over~A Bridge Between Two Worlds

A cross forms a bridge over the cliff into a bright landscape.
A Bridge Between Two Worlds

The following essay was recognized and awarded for ranking #58 in Personal Memoir/Essay out of 19,000 entries, Writer’s Digest Annual Competition. (2001)  Modified, July/2015

I wrote this some years ago…but I thought you might enjoy reading it today.  One night when I was driving home from a babysitting job, I lost control of my car and crashed over a bridge into water some 30 to 40 feet below.  With no street lights around, I was surrounded by total darkness.  This moment in April, 1986 changed my life…for the rest of my life.

A Bridge Between Two Worlds

My eyes flew open.  I frantically reached for the handle to roll down the car window as the vehicle flooded with muddy water.  I didn’t realize that every window in the car had shattered upon impact.  Splinters of glass covered by head and I could feel tiny, sharp slivers of glass protruding from my face.  Sand swirled around my eyes causing them to sting and burn.  I hung upside down, my legs pinned under the steering wheel.  The car had flipped as it went over the side of the bridge.  Suddenly, I realized there was no way out.  I was overwhelmed with despair and sadness as I realized that I wasn’t going to live even though I struggled, suffocating before my lungs filled with water.

Flashes of light darted in and out of my mind.  Scenes of my childhood zipped through my mind like a movie reel.  Scenes from my childhood days until the age of fourteen.  Then suddenly it ceased. My body began to feel limp and lifeless as life quickly evaporated.  It felt much like the physical sensation of fainting as my soul was sucked from my body.  A vacuum pulling the spirit away into another realm.  A realm where I floated as if by magic.  I stood suspended above the vehicle and stared at the once shiny, new Oldsmobile upside down in a deep, muddy creek some forty feet below the old farm bridge.

Praise The Lord

The night sky was black except for a bright, shining full moon until suddenly a massive light burst forth surrounding me.  The light consumed me and forced me to close my eyes for a moment.  I stood bathed in the light, void of any earthly clothes or possessions.  It was an indescribable canvas before me.  A pathway painted with light.  The light was pure love, but it was a love beyond any earthly experience.  It was the love of a mother for her child multiple times over.  It was an unconditional love, with no expectations or assumptions.  As I stood paralyzed by its glory, I became confused for a moment.  Moments were seconds or milliseconds in the time scheme of things.  I turned and looked back at the car in the creek.  I thought about my loved ones and wondered if it was really meant for me to die at the young age of sixteen.  Something urged me to return.  There was something that I had not accomplished.

I was stunned by a loud but warm, male voice that echoed around me instructing me to “just walk toward the light”.  I swung back around and faced the light.  The voice repeated the instructions again.  “Just walk toward the light.”  It was so tempting.  The love and peace in the light was so great, I yearned to know more.  And then just as quickly as the voice spoke, the light disappeared.  In a flash, I was back in my body fighting to hold my breath for just a few seconds longer.

I felt my legs sliding free from the steering column.  I floated on my right side away from the driver’s seat.  The headrest and roof of the car had caved in locking me in a near death position, but at that moment I miraculously floated through an opening in one of the windows.  I opened my eyes and saw a light beaming into the water as I neared the top, aching for a breath of air.  The water splashed as I surfaced and I gasped and coughed taking in large gulps of air.  I sobbed and stared at the moon in bewilderment as I began to swim toward the creek’s edge.  My shoulder ached as I realized that it might be dislocated.

The creek bank now posed another challenge since it was more than 30 feet high and was nothing more than red, clay dirt.  There was not any handy tree branches or roots growing out of the side of the embankment for me to grab hold of.  I dug my fingers into the mud pulling my 128 pound body up the steep incline.  My fingernails peeled and bled as I pulled myself to safety.  The red clay hid the blood trickling down my hands, but it could not disguise the pain as my fingernails ripped and tore with each struggle.  After finally reaching the top of the bank, I lay in the farm field and grieved.  The top of my thighs throbbed with pain.  I massaged my legs beneath the wet jeans and felt the ten inch long welts from the blow to the steering column.

I slowly stood up and began my half-mile walk back to a fellow church member’s house.  I was once again surrounded by darkness since there were no lights on the country road, and the only company that I had was the sound of barking dogs in the distance.  I stumbled into the yard and limped up the porch steps. I knocked on the door.  Martha opened the door and gasped upon seeing my blood stained face and my sweater ripped to shreds from tree branches that penetrated the car windows as it crashed into the creek.  Martha refused to give me a mirror until my insistent begging finally convinced her that I needed to examine my mouth.  I placed the mirror in front of me and opened my mouth to remove the remnants of muddy leaves and a leech that had attached itself to the inside of my bottom lip.  A few hours later after a trip to the hospital, I fought sleep as I battled the sound of sand swirling around my ears during the crash.  And attachments unlike the leech had already began moving in.

Two people communicating by telepathy. Digital illustration.

It wasn’t until several years after my accident that I discovered the impact near death experiences have on people like me.  I was doing some research on psychic phenomena, a subject I’ve studied for many years, when I learned that survivors of these experiences typically report an increase in psychic abilities.  I was shocked and relieved to learn of this new revelation since I seemed to have an increase in what I called “weird” insights.  These insights came to me over the years with increasing regularity, sometimes on a daily basis.  Although I have always thought of myself as being in tune with the supernatural, it wasn’t until this accident that I seriously began to question what happened that night.

Over the years I have learned through frequent research trips to the local library and through conversations with like-minded people, that the soul we possess, capable of travel to another dimension, is simply an energy field.  This same energy field is known as an aura composed of bright light surrounding our bodies in hues of the primary colors.  It is capable of picking up both positive and negative vibrations in the physical world, as well as the spiritual world.  According to this research, I must have inherited a heightened sense of awareness while I was near death.

There have been times when I have physically felt the aftermath of premonitions.  One day while sitting at work, I suddenly felt a crushing blow to my head and chest area.  Having sensed for several days that something dreadful was imminent, I realized the crushing sensation must be from a near future accident.  Approximately three weeks later, I was involved in a serious car wreck that left me with cuts and bruises to my head and airbag burns to my wrists.  The car was totaled.

How do I view this uncanny talent?  At times, I am not sure.  It is certainly frightening and unnerving from time to time.  On the other hand, it’s a blessing.  I have experienced so many insights that there are too many to mention here.    Are all premonitions only meant to serve as warnings?  I don’t think so.

That bridge changed my life in several ways, but most importantly it changed my perception of what life really is.  It solidified my belief in a hereafter.  It also brought with it a realization of the treasures that surround me everyday in the physical world.  I am no longer scared or ignorant of the unexplained.  Nor am I critical of those who trust me enough to share their own extraordinary experiences.

Over the years, I have learned to accept a heightened sense of awareness.  I have learned to give in to life’s promptings and follow the yellow brick road.  Although there have been times when I wasn’t sure where that road would take me, I developed a soulful peace that I can thank the Light for while I was on that bridge.  For it is when we ignore that nagging feeling, that the real doom prevails.  Sometimes it is not always a warning that we must heed, but a message we should grasp, or a path we should follow.

Praying to the Divine Spirit