Becoming a Medium

Updated: Feb 9

People often ask me at what age did I become aware that I was a medium. I answer that I’ve been this way all my life. It’s like asking a blind person (blind from birth) what it’s like to be blind. He or she knows no other way to be, so being blind is normal. As such, I know no other way to be. Being able to connect and communicate with spirit is part of me. It’s my normal. So how did I end up doing this professionally?

My brief answer is that I spend a third of my life exploring it; a third of my life running away from it; and a third of my life embracing it.

To begin with, I had many encounters and experiences with spirit as a very young child. Spirits around me became my “imaginary friends” or so my mom tried to convince me. Seeing a “ghost” was not acceptable, especially being raised in an overly religious household. Being aware of the future and precognition certainly wasn’t part of any church doctrine, though foretelling and prophecy stories are peppered all throughout the bible.

Around age five, I got my first confirmation that spirit was around me and that I could sense them in many ways. Older siblings awakened me in the middle of the night to keep them company in their room. They were visibly shaken, and I conceded to leave my room to stay with them. These siblings, a decade or so older than me, had been at a séance and were told that the spirit of a woman was going to visit them in their sleep.

As I began to drift off to sleep in their room, I felt as though I was being watched. I could hear breathing coming from a dark corner of the room, nowhere near my siblings who lay next to me. The smell of strong perfume filled the room as I asked what the heck one of them was wearing because it stunk. They told me that they weren’t wearing any perfume as I felt the warm breath move out of the dark corner and approach me on my side of the bed. This spirit wanted to make close contact and had made herself known by sense, hearing, and smell that she was present. In my mind’s eye I could see her. I had no desire to see her up close with my physical eyesight, so I pulled the covers over my head and began to pray for this spirit to leave. No doubt I was scared, but I was excited at the same time because it confirmed all I was sensing, hearing, and smelling. This was not my imagination.

As I got a little older, I naturally began giving readings in my back yard dressed up as a typical fortune teller. Our neighborhood would hold carnivals and white elephant sales to entertain the other kids in the area and to earn candy money that we’d spend at the Culmore fix-it shop that sold five and ten cent candy. I would don a long, black and white, cotton skirt; black tee-shirt; and a long Parisian silk scarf, borrowed from my mom, that I’d tie around my head and let drape about my shoulders. A small goldfish bowl turned upside-down sufficed as my crystal ball. My brothers would pitch a heavy canvas tent on the side of our house that allowed for privacy where I could take my clients. The large, blue with yellow trim tent wreaked of mildew and was hot and humid in the sweltering summer months in Northern Virginia. For ten cents, I’d sit and gaze into the upside-down goldfish bowl on the floor of the musty, dark tent, and tell them their future. These were my first professionally paid readings.

I was teased mercilessly growing up by friends and family. I tried to hide from the unkind and cruel words as I was regularly called a witch and that I should be burned at the stake. My closest of friends knew of my abilities and accepted me, though they didn’t understand me. Sometimes, life could be very lonely.

I continued doing readings with a 52-card deck of bicycle playing cards at parties and sleepovers. In fact, cards confirmed my precognition by age eight. I began to play poker for pennies with a group of friends from parochial school. Here I began to connect with the thoughts and feelings I would experience when something was about to happen—like winning a poker hand. As my psychic skills grew, so did my dreams as a source of precognition. My dreams were coming true not only for myself, but for others as well.

At age 10 I held my first séance in my sibling’s room where I had encountered a female spirit 5 years prior. The show Alias Smith and Jones was a TV hit with outlaw type characters modeled after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which had been a wildly popular movie in 1970. The main characters, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, were played by Pete Duel and Ben Murphy. Sadly, Pete Duel took is life by gun shot in the early hours on December 31, 1971. That New Year’s Eve as my friends gathered to celebrate the New Year, I conducted my first séance asking for Pete Duel to connect with us. I lay the newspaper clipping with his picture on the middle of my sibling’s bed.

By this time, I had seen and learned enough about how to conduct a séance and what to expect, by hanging around my older siblings and their friends who all dabbled in the metaphysical. I was fortunate to have hung out with them and from time-to-time at the Orb in Georgetown, one of the first metaphysical shops in DC area that was a magical place (like the Zodiac Club in Bell, Book, and Candle) with colorful characters and a cat named Pyewachet.

On the windowsill facing the front yard of our family’s two-story rambler, was a collection of decorative colored glass bottles from Pier One Imports that were very popular in the 1970s. As we began asking for Pete to step forward, we heard pinging all around the room. We saw a small orb in the mirror that hung over my sibling’s dresser. Filled with excitement, I could feel the energy building as I had felt in other seances. Very suddenly all the colored bottles crashed into each other and fell to the ground and broke. It startled and scared us, and we ran from the room.

By age twelve I was reading books about witchcraft, spells, astrology, and numerology. In those days there were no mediums or psychics with TV shows to show you the way. You worked with what you had, and the public library was a free source of information. I read about the early roots of Spiritualism, Madame Blavatsky, Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, Dolores Cannon, Sybil Leek and Jeane Dixon to name a few.

I saved up and bought my first deck of Tarot cards at Brentano’s bookstore at 7 corners shopping mall. US Games still held the copyright to the Rider-Waite Tarot card deck that were quite expensive. I kept them wrapped in the same Parisian silk scarf that I borrowed from my mother for my fortune-teller costume. Today’s cards are not held in such reverence as I see other readers hauling tomes of them from event to event without a thought as to the influence that they are exposing their cards to. I keep the original deck wrapped in silk to this day.

My interest in the occult grew as my friends and I began to play with the Ouija board. Yes, by the time I bought my first Tarot deck, “The Exorcist” had been released and the Ouija board use had been blamed for the demonic possession—or so it seemed. The Ouija board was fun and filled our days with talking to the other side, until one day it was no longer fun, and Ouija had turned against us, or so it seemed. There is a very long story here that I’ll save for another time, but suffice it to say, I put Ouija down and gave it the respect that most seers give an unknown open portal.

To be continued…

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