Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Memories of a Southern Christmas

The other day while doing research, I found this letter to Robert E. Lee by three little Southern girls, and his response. I was so touched by their exchange, that I wanted to share the story with you. I thought it would be appropriate to include this Christmas, as this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. It was first printed in 1867 as part of Mrs. Louise Clack's Christmas Gift To Her Little Southern Friends, and all proceeds were given to Orphans of the South.
Enjoy, Laine

Dear General Lee:

We think you are the goodest man that ever lived, and our auntie says you will go right straight to heaven when you die; so we want to ask you a question, for we want to know the truth about it, and we know that you always speak the truth.

Please tell us whether Santa Claus loves the little rebel children, for we think he don't; because he did not come to see us for four Christmas Eves. Auntie thinks you would not let him cross the lines, and we don't know how to find out unless we write and ask you. We all love you dearly, and we want to send you something; but we have not any thing nice enough; we lost all our toys in the war. Birdie wants to send you one of our white kittens--the one with black ears; but Auntie thinks maybe you don't like kittens. We say little prayers for you every night, dear General Lee, and ask God to make you ever so happy. Please let us know about Santa Claus as soon as you can; we want to know for something very, very, very particular; but we can't tell even you why until Christmas time, so please to excuse us.

Your little friends,
Lutie, Birdie, and Minnie

My dear little friends:

I was very glad to receive your kind letter, and to know by it that I have the good wishes and prayers of three innocent little girls, named Lutie, Birdie, and Minnie.

I am very glad that you wrote about Santa Claus for I am able to tell you all about him. I can assure you he is one of the best friends that the little Southern girls have. You will understand this when I explain to you the reason of his not coming to see you for four years.

The first Christmas Eve of the war I was walking up and down in the camp ground, when I thought I heard a singular noise above my head; and on looking to find out from whence it came, I saw the queerest, funniest-looking little old fellow riding along in a sleigh through the air. On closer inspection, he proved to be Santa Claus.

“Halt! Halt!” I said; but at this the funny fellow laughed, and did not seem inclined to obey, so again I cried,“Halt!”. And he drove down to my side with a sleigh full of toys. I was very sorry for him when I saw the disappointed expression of his face when I told him he could go no further South; and when he exclaimed, “Oh, what will my little Southern children do!” I felt more sorry, for I love little children to be happy, and especially at Christmas. But of one thing I was certain--I knew my little friends would prefer me to do my duty, rather than have all the toys in the world; so I said: “Santa Claus, take every one of the toys you have back as far as Baltimore, sell them, and with the money you get buy medicines, bandages, ointments, and delicacies for our sick and wounded men; do it and do it quickly--it will be all right with the children.”
Then Santa Claus sprang into his sleigh, and putting his hand to his hat in true military style, said: “I obey orders, General,” and away he went. Long before morning he came sweeping down into camp again, with not only every thing I had ordered, but with many other things that our poor soldiers needed. And every Christmas he took the toy money and did the same thing; and the soldiers and I blessed him, for he clothed and fed many a poor soul who otherwise would have been cold and hungry. Now, do you not consider him a good friend. I hold him in high respect, and trust you will always do the same.
I should be pleased to hear from you again, my dear little girls, and I want you ever to consider me, 

Your true friend,
General Robert E. Lee

Sunday, July 7, 2013

She Hears Dead People

I am honored that Dr. Katherine Ramsland has chosen to write about my book in her column in Psychology Today, shown below:


A blog that probes the mind's dark secrets

She Hears Dead People

A woman who becomes “suddenly psychic” turns “curse” into a gift.
Jessica Lunsford was a third-grader in Homosassa, Florida, with big plans to become a fashion designer. Then one night in February 2005, she went missing from the doublewide mobile home where she lived with her father and grandparents. Although there was no sign of a struggle, a stuffed purple dolphin was missing from Jessica’s room and the front door was unlocked.
Unfortunately, there were several potential suspects among the area’s known sexual predators. Among them was John Couey, 46, who resided 100 yards from the Lunsfords. Police questioned him and even went into the room where he was holding Jessica captive, but they didn’t see or hear anything related to her.
Authorities finally arrested Couey on March 17, whereupon he confessed to kidnapping Jessica while high on drugs. He’d kept her in a closet for several days before tricking her into getting inside some large garbage bags and then burying her. Jessica's remains were found on March 19. An autopsy indicated that she’d been sexually assaulted and had died from suffocation.

Laine Crosby’s experience as an “investigative medium” began with this case. She suddenly sensed one day, as if she were inside the grave, that a little girl was buried alive and needed help. But the searchers weren’t looking in the right place. Laine was screaming, but no one could hear. “I’m so close,” she writes, “it’s almost as if I’m an overlay, a varnish on a picture.”

Laine wanted to inform the police, fax them a map, anything to help, but her husband persuaded her that they would ignore her or think she was a kook or had guilty knowledge. When Jessica’s remains were found, and Couey admitted he’d buried her alive, Crosby resolved that she’d never hesitate again, no matter what anyone thought. She’s convinced she might have saved the girl.
I met Laine through Mark and Carol Nesbitt, whom I’ve known through my paranormal investigations. Mark was featured in my book, Ghost: Investigating the Other Side, and I’ve often stayed in the “Ghost House” where his Ghosts of Gettysburg office is located. Together, we wrote Blood and Ghosts: Paranormal Forensic Investigators. Laine became part of some of those stories, because we crossed paths at certain sites and she gave us some readings on several incidents.

For example, at the Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, Virginia, large dark stains on the hardwood floor of a third-floor room suggested the presence of blood. In one area, it took the shape of a body that had bled out, and in another area there seemed to have been a bloody struggle. (I’m not psychic and I could see this.) The new owners knew of no violent incidents there, but they did have a few ghost stories.

I watched as Laine had a conversation with a man who’d died (I heard only her side). Apparently, he was still in the room. The victim described a struggle with his brother-in-law, who’d shot him twice. He lay dying for a long time, he said, and his body went undiscovered in that room for five days. He gave a name and year, but we never found records.

Laine also performed remote viewing for us when she couldn’t come along on a trip, and during this time, she’d told us she was writing a book about her experiences. Now it’s done. Investigative Medium – the Awakening has been published. I was eager to read it.

In 2004, Laine moved from Atlanta, GA, to a haunted house on a former plantation in Maryland. Besides going through culture shock, she soon learned that the property was loaded with spirits, largely from a slave cemetery. When they overheard her tell her kids about spiritual realities, they came calling. Lots of them.

The chaos finally settles down as Laine finds people who can help her to learn more about her spiritual talent, as well as about the history of her new abode.

This book is the first in a series as it describes Laine’s developing ability to absorb the complex details of a decedent’s life story. One spirit in particular, Janette, offers up a long tale about love, family, and slavery. She appears to have had a similar tussle with racism and sexism from her 19th-century circumstances to Laine’s struggle with prejudices against her spiritual abilities. So, the two stories are parallel.

The second book, which is excerpted at the end, looks to be more along the lines of Ghost Whisperer, but The Awakening lays the groundwork. It introduces readers to Laine’s family, her sudden psychic abilities, and her involvement in the process of her mother’s dying, as well as in the stories of people who once lived (or fought a battle) on the plantation grounds. Watching how her gifts affect her family is its own intriguing narrative.

Laine’s talents are well suited to helping historians, historical writers, taphophiles, cold case detectives, and missing-persons organizations. I expect that her books will bring her plenty of new inquiries.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to Cleanse Negative Energy

I’ll never forget going to my daughter’s fourth grade winter concert and listening to the other moms talk about their Christmas vacation.  The O’Hairs went to Walt Disney World, the Webbs went to the beach, and then it was my turn.   I didn’t think my husband would approve if I told these women I stayed home and performed an exorcism, but I would have liked to have seen their faces, if I did share this news. I paused as I contemplated how much to say.

“Oh, you know, we celebrated Christmas, visited some historic sites, the usual.” I stopped there, and they all turned back to their conversation not really knowing how to respond to such a sad, uneventful story.  But that’s the story of my life.  My close friends love to hear about my adventures, but sometimes, I have to leave reality at the door for the good of my children, parochial school, and those who may not want their kids playing with a child who sees ghosts and  doesn’t even care.

I like to watch CIA thrillers and pretend to understand how these agents feel, taking their children to swim meets and soccer practices, then rushing off in the middle of the night to detain terrorists at Dulles International Airport, and then back home to make pancakes with whipped cream smiley faces by morning.  I live the most honestly deceitful life I know.  And I love every minute of it.

If you’ve read the excerpt of my book, you know I live in a new house on an old plantation.  When you read my book, you will know the horror of our first months here, and how I had to cleanse my house.  It was a hard time for me, and for my family.  The spirits didn’t all come with the house, but when word got out that I could hear them and see them, they came from all around to get my attention.  In other words, I was haunted.

I can’t begin to tell you how many people have told me stories of unwanted hauntings, so I feel it is necessary to explain how to take care of ridding yourself of unwanted energy. I had to learn myself, and I hope to make it easier for others.

When you walk into a room where people have had an argument, you may be able to sense it.  The energy feels different.  When a friend is mad, you may be able to feel that too.  Our emotions are energy, and we can leave behind this energy.  When I say energy, this can be spirits or ghosts, or it can also be just plain energy, or emotions.  Positive energy and positive thoughts attract positive energy, and negative thoughts (and deeds) attract negative energy.  This is not necessarily ghosts, and it is not demons.  It is just energy that is attracted to an energy source to live. It is parasitic and is often attracted to like energy, but can also wander in with guests, contractors, or those who may service  or visit your home. Many people assign names to this energy, but in essence everything is just energy, and I define these by their nature- negative or positive energy.

If you are moving into a new house, you may want to remove the energy of anything which may have happened there before you arrived. It is always a good idea to cleanse your home whether you’ve lived in it for years or are just moving in, although rarely do people do this unless they find themselves with a haunting.

“Hurry and get over here!  I have a demon in my closet!” If you’ve sent me an email with this line as the subject, take a deep breath.  First of all, when you are sensitive, energies, entities, ghosts, or whatever is in your closet may feel malevolent.  Only with experience comes the gift of discernment, so please don’t jump to conclusions if you are scared.   Ninety-nine out of a hundred times, that scary thing in your closet is just a ghost, or the air conditioning unit.  Just because something makes the hair stand up on your neck, does not mean it is bad.  How would you feel if you died and ended up in someone’s closet?  Well, you probably don’t want them chasing you around with sage and screaming at you.  Ghosts are people too.

Second, Asking me for help won’t do the trick.  I can come over and get rid of your ghosts, demons, negative energy and all the scary stuff, but it is your house and they know it.  If you are not the one to cleanse your house, they won’t take you seriously, and they may come right back.  You have to take control and do the cleansing yourself for it to work.  Or, at least be part of the process  and demand they (it) leave. You can have a sensitive with you if you need help in feeling if energy has changed, but ultimately, you have the responsibility to get the job done right.  Ministers and priests can also help if you feel more inclined, but you must be the one to take control and keep control.  

Control is the most important part of the process of expelling anything unwanted from your home.  If your will is firm and unyielding, it will leave.  If you are scared because you are hearing voices, seeing shadows, or feel things that go bump in the night, you need to tell them that they bother you and they must leave you alone.  When you hear them, tell them you hear them, and that is NOT okay.  Ask them to please leave you alone so you will not be disturbed.  Be firm but not outraged.  Remind them that it is your home and ask them to respect your wishes.

Don't try to figure out what or who is there. The more evp you get, the more excited they get, and more come.  The more you talk with ghosts in your home, or attempt to talk with them, the more active they will be. More will come because you are trying to reach them.  When more come, you’ll feel more, hear more, and see more. Don’t make this mistake.  Your home is your sanctuary. Don’t treat it like a venue for your personal paranormal investigations, unless you like hearing and seeing them. In that case, you would not be reading this blog. Don't use a pendulum at home.  Let them know your home is a place of immunity where you can be yourself, and you don't want to be bothered there.

Then, I would do the cleansing I've outlined below.

There are lots of Internet sites which tell you how to cleanse your house, but I have never found any which have given me as detailed information as I am going to give you.  My friend and colleague, Sensitive Patty Wilson, told me how to do this when I started working on murder cases years ago, and I started getting “the icky stuff” in my home.  It really works.

And before I go any further, I will tell you I am a Christian, and you must have faith in God for this to work.  Prayer is highly underestimated, and it does work.  We get what we ask for; we really do!  You must have faith, and you will be protected.  I have known a couple of very nice Wiccans who also cleanse homes.  The cleansing has worked well by bringing the good energy of mother earth into several homes.  However, I was contacted when a demonic entity could not be expelled this way.  My theory is that the Wiccans were relying on that which was good and of the earth, not the creator of all things earthly.  God is the ultimate good, and to Him we must go for all things pure and good. No matter what your religion, if you do not believe in that which is higher than yourself, this won’t work.  Every religion has its own way of expelling negative energy, and asking the creator, the Universal being of love and light, to do the work. This is God, no matter what name She/He is given, and with faith it will work. 

If you feel that a person is in need of an exorcism, that is reason to call the Catholic Church.  There are dedicated priests and an arm of the church which deals with exorcisms.  There are many stages, and an exorcism takes time, observation, and much documentation.  My purpose here is to explain how to cleanse your home of negative energy.


In preparation for the cleansing, you should be well rested.  I cannot stress this enough.  You may become exhausted doing this, depending on what you encounter.  Working with spirits takes a lot of energy.  Whether you realize you are expending energy or not, you are.  Spirits use energy to communicate, manifest, and exist in this realm.  Whether they hang out near a fuse box, a water source, or you, they are pulling energy to exist.  Don’t be surprised if you are very tired after the cleansing.

What you’ll need:
A supportive friend
Sea salt
Prayers, hymns, Bible or prayer book

You may want some sea salt, or some people use sage.  Holy water is fine too.  But honestly, I’ve never seen an entity scared of sage, or sea salt for that matter.  It is the prayer which works.  However, I believe using these are metaphors for what you want to accomplish. Spirits will see and hear you and know your intention. 

I am highly allergic to burning sage, so I never use it.  I do use sea salt on occasion because sea salt is a cleansing agent, and that is the point of the cleansing.  I have holy water, and I will use it on occasion to mark doors and entrances when I encounter a demonic entity, but that is not common.

The size of your house and your property will determine how much sea salt you will need, but for a three bedroom house on a half acre, you may want to put about 1/4 to a half cup of sea salt in a small open container to use.  If you have a farm with a lot of acreage, you’ll need more, of course.  We are going to make sure all of your property is cleansed.

Some people use the Bible, which is always a good source. I also use a book called Armor of God by Dave Juliano.  Armor of God is a compilation of many prayers, used by a variety of Christian belief systems, to protect oneself and others from negative entities or evil spirits.  There are prayers for personal protection and the protection of others, as well as prayers for spiritual welfare, exorcism and deliverance.  You may want the book just as a good resource whether you are asking for protection as you sleep, or as an aid for spiritual assistance.  However, this is not yet available as a download, so you’ll want to order it in time to receive it in the mail before the cleansing.

I like to have someone with me, and I have suggested you have a supportive friend. 
Your support person can help you feel when the room feels lighter, happier, or has a different emotion.  And, you have someone to help if you need it.  I came across a situation where I needed help, and I was very glad to have the support.  At the Tillie Pierce House in Gettysburg, I was checked into the blue room for the night.  I walked in and right back out, as I could barely breathe.  The owners of the inn explained they had a few “runners” from that room, or in other words, guests who literally ran out of the inn in the middle of the night, never to return. Of course, every innkeeper always thinks it is fun to put me in the haunted room.  Fun for them, not me!

As I investigated the situation, I found a soldier who had never crossed over into Heaven.  This ghost was not in his right mind, and he was hiding with no inclination that he was dead.  He was a Union soldier behind Confederate lines, and he was scared he would be caught.  When he heard my Southern accent, he roared at me to “GET OUT”, and then he just disappeared.  I discovered he was going directly upstairs into the attic and hiding under the rafters.  I couldn’t reason with him, and I did not sleep in that room that night.  I like my rest and it is no fun to be demeaned. If I wanted that, I have teenagers at home.

The next night, a group of paranormal investigators came to film there, and they didn’t have a psychic, so they asked me to help them figure out what was going on.  I was having an event at the Ghosts of Gettysburg Headquarters next door, so during a break, I stopped by the Tillie Pierce House with another investigator who I was working with for the weekend.  I went into the attic, and the nasty spirit was once again hiding under the rafters, and he wouldn’t leave.  He screamed at me to leave him alone, so I did not approach him, but I explained that I was there to help him.  He calmed down, and relieved, I shifted my weight onto my left foot.  The board was not nailed down and as my ankle turned, I fell straight down through the attic floor and into the room below.  I looked like a wishbone as one foot was stuck above my head in the attic, and the other foot was hanging below the ceiling, well into the blue room below.  I remember seeing the carpet come up at me.  The other investigator with me was a burly 6 foot 3, and he reached down, scooped me up, and pulled me back into the attic.  I think that was the paranormal feat in this story.  The entire embarrassing moment was caught on film, much to my chagrin.  So, another person is always helpful, if only for safety- or rescue!


The Cleansing:

Before you begin, say a prayer of protection.  Ask God to come around you and protect you, and that His angels may shield you and those with you from any negative energy during the process.  You can also visualize a bubble of white light around you.  Ask Him to help you to bring love, and expel any negative energy.

With a container of sea salt in tow, go to the bottom floor of the home, whether this is a basement or first floor.  You do not need to go into a crawl space.  You will walk room by room through the floor, and in each room, you will walk the perimeter and sprinkle a tiny amount of salt.  While you sprinkle the salt, you will say in an assertive voice, “I command all destructive entities leave this person, this place, and this property, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  Once you say this, begin saying it again.  You will say it hundreds of times, by the end of the cleansing.   Be sure to say it as I have because if there are negative entities, you don’t want to play semantics games with them. Ordering them off the people, place, and property makes it clear you want them gone from everyone and everything.  I’ve made that mistake before, and that’s another learning experience I won’t discuss here.
Continue from room to room, and don’t forget the closets.  You don’t want any energy to remain.  Sprinkle salt behind dressers and around the perimeter of the closets and utility rooms.
When you have finished with that floor, say a hedge prayer from the Armor of God, and/or pray the Lord’s prayer. You will feel a sense that the room is lighter. 

The hedge prayer asks God to put a hedge around the home to protect those within.  I also pray that any energy may leave, but no new energy may enter.  I tend to put the sign of the cross with my hand, above windows and doors and pray nothing will enter through those passages.

After step 3, I go to the next higher floor and repeat the steps, and then the next higher floor and repeat the steps until the house is cleansed.  Then, walk outside and do the same around the perimeter of the house, and then again around the perimeter of the property.  I pray and ask God to put angels at the corners of the property to keep everyone within safe. 

Remember, these are spiritual prayers and God will make sure that unwanted spirits do not set foot on the property.  So, please don’t be mad at me if your mother-in-law continues to drop in unexpectedly.

Throughout the cleansing, if you feel that you need extra help, more time in an area, or if there is something which still will not leave, please pray.  Just stop anywhere you feel is necessary and let your senses be your guide.  Say prayers, demand it leave and white light and angels come.  I have called on archangel Michael in sticky situations with stubborn energy too. I have also been known to sing the children’s song, Jesus Loves Me when I can think of nothing else to say, or I’ve exhausted all the prayers I know.

On occasion, I visit locations where I feel something malevolent, and it is built up energy from arguing, rather than an entity. People at the location may have treated each other with anger and disrespect, and this energy becomes residual.  If you are helping someone with the cleansing,  and if you have reason to believe there is something malevolent and it is not your house, please be sure to instruct the owners to stand their ground and be assertive, without being violently angry.   Some negative entities see anger as a smorgasbord and may hop on for the free meal. The energy which accompanies anger is strong, and it can fuel a negative entity instead of turn it away. Do not taunt the negative entity, and do not try to hold a two way conversation. In this situation, without the aide of a medium, use your senses. You do not need to know what exactly you are dealing with, if you do what I have explained.  Do not try to use a pendulum, by any means, and do not try to get evp once you have determined its nature. Just tell it to leave, and call on God for help.


Also, after the cleansing, there are things which can be done to make sure the house is light and has good energy, especially if there was good cause to cleanse the house to start. 
Don’t argue
Play happy music to change the vibration, such as Hildegard Von bingan
Do not watch crime dramas or particularly violent movies
Continue to live peacefully, and continue to pray to God to be with you in your home.

Every night I pray and ask God for angels to stand guard around the beds of my children.  And when I pray, they sleep at peace from other-worldly interference.

Once when cleansing my own house, I heard crying in a closet in my daughter’s room.  When I went upstairs, I realized that the ghost of the little girl in our home was scared I was trying to make her leave.  Since she was only six when she died, and she never crossed into Heaven, her child-like mind was without the ability to understand my intention.  I explained to her that I meant for “destructive” entities to leave, and that meant bad stuff, and she was a good little girl.  She was relieved, and I learned to be sure and explain what I am going to do before I begin.

I have learned from experience that ghosts are often confused about where to go, so I try to clarify.  Since I live on an old plantation, I am the intruder, and I have told the ghosts who lived here previously, that they can stay.  However, new ghostly visitors have to go.  I want to know who is in my house all the time. Most of the time, the existing ghosts ask them to leave, but there are times when I have to actively take charge. You may want to do the same as you cleanse.

I often start the cleansing with a prayer to protect myself, and I may say a hedge prayer.  Then I talk to all the ghosts and explain what my intentions are and why.  I express what the owners want in terms of who must leave, and who can stay.  I then tell the ghosts that if they want to go to Heaven, I will cross over everyone at the conclusion of the cleansing, and they can meet me at a specified location.  I say this on every floor I cleanse, and I ask them to tell their friends.  After I am done, I cross them into Heaven.  And those instructions will be in another blog, if you so desire.

Good luck!

Many blessings,