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When Enough is Enough

10 Nov

Before I pick up where I left off, I’d like to tell you all I’m sorry you had to wait so long for this particular post. This post has had approximately 40 revisions, and has been a labor of love for sure! Writing is normally cathartic for me; however, there is something that feels different to me this time, knowing that when I hit “publish” its there for the world to see. This portion of my story still has a sting to it for me. Writing about it, and essentially reliving and processing it all over again has been much more intense than I anticipated. The purpose of starting Soul Posts was to tell my story in hopes it would help others. If reading my posts does that, it’s worth the intensity I go through sometimes to tell it. With that being said..

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I was in an unacceptable living situation, facing the very real possibility of a foreclosure on my mortgage, and my optimism had gone out the window.  I felt hopeless, helpless, and alone.  I was embarrassed that I hadn’t yet found a job, and I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with anyone; especially the friends I’d realized weren’t really there for me.  The last thing I wanted was for my feelings to be down played, or to be criticized for letting it bother me in the first place.  I’d spent enough time beating myself up over it, I certainly didn’t need any help in that area.  I felt like there were very few supportive people I could count on, and the ones I felt I could, I didn’t want to bother.  My husband was as supportive as always, but he was living it too.  I didn’t want to upset him more, and I knew he would get more frustrated that he couldn’t somehow come to my rescue and fix it. My good friends were only a phone call away, but I felt guilty calling them.  I knew they wouldn’t mind being there for me, but I didn’t want our first live conversation instead of email in months to be about my problems.

So there I was.  I had gotten myself into quite a pickle.  On one hand, I was living with an increasingly unstable house guest, and on the other I had a former friend I hadn’t confronted yet. I woke up one morning and after dealing with yet another of my Aunt’s outbursts, I decided I’d had all I could take.  Enough was enough.  I’d reached my breaking point.   I was tired of being taken for granted and used.  Things had been building up for some time and what had been simmering below the surface started to boil and bubble over.  I made a decision then that if anything was going to change, I needed to take some kind of action.  I could no longer sit silently hoping that things would change on their own.

I have always been inspired by Maya Angelou, both as a writer and as simply an extraordinary person.  I have a site bookmarked on my lap top of her quotes, and I go there when I need a kick in the pants.  Her words give me courage and inspiration to do those things in life that I consider the most unpleasant. Looking for the courage to stand in my power, I found these:

  • “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
  • “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I don’t really think there really is any right or tactful way to tell someone you feel they’ve used you. I was worried about losing my friend, but I confronted her anyway.  I picked up the phone and dialed.  I got her voice mail.  I drafted an email and let it sit for a couple of days before sending it.  I worded things as carefully and as non confrontational as I could while still getting my point across. Email is never the best method of delivery for this sort of thing, but she wouldn’t pick up her phone, and I had things I needed to say.  I knew she was avoiding me, and I felt I had the right to be heard.  She reacted how I expected her to.  But…instead of denying it or justifying it, she focused on something much more petty that I’d mentioned during our conversation back and forth via email.  I mentioned how she came back into town and visited mutual friends, but never mentioned it, how she’d lied to me about her birthday only to have me find out from pictures posted on Facebook, and how hurt I was by it.  I also told her that I really didn’t care to be around our mutual “friend” anymore.  Every time we had made plans, it was like the two of them were a package deal.  The “other third” was always tagging along, even when I thought I’d made it clear she wasn’t invited.  I explained that the dynamic of the two of them together was unpleasant as they took turns taking pot shots at me and disguising it as kidding.  She defended her right to choose who she spent time with as well as who she chose as her friends.  By the time the conversation was over, she’d managed to use every nasty, vindictive tactic in her repertoire.  My gut had been right yet again and I wasn’t at all happy about it.

I grieved the loss of that friendship for quite some time.  I wondered how I could have allowed myself to be taken for such a fool.  I considered myself an intelligent, intuitive person and I couldn’t see at first how I had managed to get involved in such a toxic friendship.  After pondering it for a while, I had to admit that I’d allowed it to happen.  When I didn’t say anything after the first or even tenth incident, I created the situation.  I had not established any real boundaries in the beginning.  I feel that if I had, I would have discovered a lot sooner exactly what type of friend she really was. After I worked through my feelings and after I’d done my inner work, I was no longer willing to settle for that kind of relationship; whether it was a friend or family member.

The type of relationship I’d had with her and with my Aunt were toxic and depleting.  No wonder I felt alone and unsupported!  Picture yourself with a cup, or any other kind of container or vessel; a lovely, crystal decanter filled with your favorite wine; for example.  Now picture the people you interact with every day.  There are those who deplete you and take your wine, and there are those who support you and replenish your wine.  The goal is to spend most of your time with people who replenish you.  The ones who deplete you should be kept at a distance.   You can’t give anything of value to anyone else, if you yourself are empty.

After all was said and done, I realized the thing that pissed off my ex-friend was the fact that deep down, she knew I was right.  She had used me.  I knew when I confronted her that I wasn’t going to get an admission out of her that she was wrong.  In all the time we’d been friends, over six years, I’d never gotten even one apology from her.  I wasn’t expecting one.  I just knew I had to stand up for myself; otherwise things weren’t ever going to get any better for me.

It amazes me the lengths that some people will go to just to avoid admitting they were wrong.  To them, it’s perfectly fine to end a relationship to avoid admitting a mistake or looking bad. There’s something these types of people should know:  You already look bad! Just because you don’t want to admit you were wrong, made a mistake, or be real with yourself, doesn’t make it any less true! After all, being fallible is a part of being human. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. It doesn’t have to be the end of life as you know it. You don’t have to beat yourself up for it or judge yourself. You can never go back, so why spend so much time looking there? Admit your mistakes and failures, fix what needs to be fixed, and move on. If you’ve hurt someone, do your best to make amends and then get on with living your life. Anyone who cares about you is not going to think less of you if you do!

…next…don’t tread on me…

New Year…New Life…Part 2

11 Sep

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Having someone move in with you is always an adjustment, and I believe that you never really know someone until you live with them.  I knew some things about Auntie; like the fact that she didn’t drive,  she had some health problems, was a bit eccentric, and was barely on speaking terms with her kids. I knew that she’d been married and divorced several times,  that her last long-term relationship had ended, and that she received Social Security Disability payments every month that she planned on saving up to get her own place. I’m not the type to pry into someone’s personal life, so I never asked her what her disability was.  I figured if she wanted to tell me, she would. Looking back on it now, I wish I would have asked.  Her disability was Bipolar Disorder with symptoms severe enough that they kept her from obtaining/keeping gainful employment.  I didn’t know when I invited her to stay with us, and I am still amazed that neither my Mom nor Auntie felt that piece of information significant enough to share. In the countless conversations over the years with both of them, the subject never came up–not even once!

Living with someone with untreated Bipolar Disorder is not something I’d recommend to anyone, certainly not those with children, and especially not after what my family and I were put through.

***I feel it’s important for me to add that this in no way is meant to say that people with Bipolar Disorder are bad people.*** 

What I AM saying is this:

If you have Bipolar Disorder (AKA Manic Depression) and you’ve been prescribed medication, then your physician feels you cannot manage your symptoms on your own.  If he or she is willing to sign disability paperwork and you are granted Social Security Disability; then your doctor and the federal government are in agreement that your symptoms are severe enough to keep you from functioning in even normal activities of daily living, to include keeping a job. Further, if you are aware that you need medication and knowingly refuse to take it, you suffer and those who love you suffer right along with you.  After all, there is a reason why what a doctor gives you is called a “prescription” not a “suggestion”.   A very unfortunate and painful lesson I learned first hand.

A few days after Auntie arrived, the arguments began. It started out innocently enough.  She felt displaced and uncomfortable because she wasn’t in familiar surroundings.  She was also nursing some recent wounds.  She was heartbroken having just been through a very painful breakup to be followed by the added insult of discovering her daughter had gotten a hold of her bank card number and was using it for everything from ordering pizza to wiring money to friends. The first three or four times she blew up at me for no reason, I took it in stride.  I knew she was going through a rough time and I tried my best to be patient with her.  I gave her as much sympathy and understanding as I could under the circumstances. I assumed it was just the adjustment period and would get better given time.   It didn’t.  She started not only blowing up at me, but the kids as well.   She would hold grudges and sulk for days. Auntie’s moods were increasingly erratic and unpredictable. It didn’t take long before everyone in the house had at least gone a round or two with her.

If you would like to read more about Bipolar Disorder or the disability criteria, please have a look at the below links:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20436786,00.html

http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/win-can-you-get-disability-for-bipolar-disorder.html
http://bipolar.about.com/od/disability/a/disability_bp.htm

…next…choices

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My Induction Into Paranormal Life: Taking Stock

1 Aug

Most people get to a certain point in their lives and start to evaluate; especially after something significant happens that causes them to be faced with a major life change or their own mortality.  The death of a relative, getting married, having kids, losing a job, turning 40, or any other life changing event or milestone can prompt you to take stock of your situation.

After I lost my job, I had plenty of free time to take a good, long look at mine.  I did have a lot to be thankful for.  I had my health, a nice home, 3 beautiful kids, and a husband who was everything I could ever hope for. But..I still didn’t have joy in my life. Life seemed daunting, hard, a struggle to get through most days, and I couldn’t figure out why.  The two main causes of stress in my life; my oldest daughter and my job, had now been reduced by half.  As a parent, I knew I needed to figure something out.  I was tired of being miserable! In my opinion, you can’t be a good parent and take care of your kids if you don’t know how to take care of yourself.

I had read that a gratitude journal could help change one’s focus from the negative to the positive things in life, so I decided to give it a try. One of the things the article suggested was to think of the people in your life who support you.  These people are the ones who want to see you succeed, do well, be happy, and are there for you no matter what.  I wrote down the people who came to my mind first; my husband, my parents, my life coach, my therapist, my aunt, and my mother-in-law.  Then I started to think about my friends.  Friends support you, right?  robin williams

I have two really great friends that I met after my husband and I got married in 1994, and we’ve been friends through all the military moves to different states and countries.  No matter the amount of miles separating us, or how often we saw each other or spoke on the phone, we could always pick up right where we left off as if no time had gone by.  I wrote these two friends down.  The friends I had made more recently, I’d made at my job.  After I examined my friendships with them further, I decided that they weren’t really friends.

Had I gotten it wrong somehow? Maybe somewhere along the way, I’d gotten the wrong idea about what a friend is supposed to be.  After all, these days with Facebook and Twitter, a “friend” is just someone you know or that your friends know.  Was it possible that I’d misinterpreted the meaning of that word all this time? I had managed to take a task meant to change my outlook, and turn it into a reality check.

I’ve always had a hard time making friends. Later, after finding out about my gifts, I would learn that it’s always difficult for an empath to trust, due to our ability to read others.  I know when people are being honest and sincere and when they’re not. Maybe because most of my “friends” were at least 5 or 6 years younger than me, didn’t have kids, weren’t married, etc., I expected too much from them. The only basis for comparison I had was how I treated them.   I was there for my friends to confide in and rely on.  I was there for support, to have fun with and commiserate with.  I considered their feelings, was honest with them, and I didn’t judge them if their opinion was different from mine. I was there to give advice if they asked for it.  I valued each one of them as a person, treated them with respect, and they knew I genuinely cared. I realized that they were benefiting much more from being friends with me than I was from being friends with them.  As a matter of fact, when I reached out to them for support, they usually made me feel worse; not better!

…next…letting go…

My Induction Into Paranormal Life – Part XVI

28 Jul

I’ve been told I am a powerful manifestor. I have to agree. Whatever I’m focusing on…positive or negative…will usually manifest. This is a wonderful gift when I’m focusing on something I want. When I was stuck in negativity and playing a victim role, I was focusing on the things I didn’t want. As you can imagine, during that time it didn’t seem so much as a gift as it did a curse. I spent a long time thinking I had the worst luck, and if anything was going to happen that was shitty…yep, it would happen to me. I lived life waiting for the other shoe to drop with an outlook that was very pessimistic. I believe that if you spend your time focusing only on the negative things that happen, that is all that you are going to notice. You may even be attracting more negativity toward you, without realizing it. Like attracts like.

I wanted change. I attracted change. It wasn’t exactly how I imagined it, but it happened nonetheless. After taking that 30 Day course and losing my job, I became convinced that it was my lack of self-esteem that led me there. To put it very simply, I felt that my insecurity projected out to people around me, and they treated me the way I thought I deserved to be treated. I now found myself with a dilemma. The analytical part of my brain couldn’t accept this notion that if I just changed my thinking, POOF, my life would change. I could have the joy, confidence, and security I wanted with no limits? “Yeah, right,” my inner critic would sarcastically exclaim. As it turned out, my inner self, and I were both right.

As a result of the incredible changes I was able to make in such a short time, I found myself looking for anything I could find under the heading “Self Help”. I devoured all I could. Some of it was very useful. Some of it wasn’t. After realizing that I wasn’t going to find what I needed in a book, I decided that I needed to be able to speak to someone live, one on one, so that I could get answers to my questions. I liked the free course I took and it helped so much more than I expected it would, that when the time came for a paid course I was interested in, I decided to go for it. The price was reasonable to me, and I did receive a severance when I got fired, so I figured I’d benefit not only myself by taking it, but my family and my next employer as well. The course brought together many different coaches on various topics, and I was like a sponge soaking up all I could. One guest in particular resonated with me so much that I decided to take her up on her offer for a free call with her.

I was so nervous before the call that I almost chickened out! I had made a promise to myself that I would never let insecurity or fear stand in the way of something that could benefit me ever again, and I forced myself to keep the appointment. It was the first time that I had ever given myself permission to be vulnerable and allow someone else to help me instead of me helping everyone else. I had spent much of my life being the strong one, the nurturer, the peacemaker, the bigger person. In return I’d gotten heartache and betrayal. I had to find out what I was doing wrong!

…to be continued…

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My Induction into Paranormal Life-Part XIII

14 Jul

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A few days ago, on July 10th, 2013, it was exactly a year since I left my job. It’s really crazy how life can change so drastically in the blink of an eye; yet seem to come full circle again and leave you right back where you started. I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and soul-searching, and I’ve learned so much in such a short time; about myself and others as well.

It’s important to note that I didn’t know I was an empath until recently and throughout my life, I’ve always been very sensitive to the feelings of others. I have always been extra sensitive to negative energies, especially the ones that were focused toward me. I’d spend countless hours analyzing. I would feel responsible for them and turn them inward; thinking it was my fault. If only I was(n’t) ______, if only I wouldn’t have ______, or it’s because I _______, was common inner dialogue for me. There have been times in my life that this type of self-criticism has damaged my psyche to the point of despair. Once it got to the point of me being suicidal. Thankfully, I recognized the thoughts I was having at that time as being unhealthy and I sought help. I felt those familiar feelings last January, and I started looking for ways to climb out of the pit of despair I found myself in.

One very difficult morning, I couldn’t face going to work that day. It was a chore just to get out of bed most days, which made me habitually late during that time. Not wanting to face the judgement of being late yet again, I called in sick. After my husband left for work and the kids left for school, I found myself crying and unable to stop. I got out my lap top and Googled, “I hate my life.” I found a website that was about self-love and how to get it. It was a life coach’s web site. I didn’t know anything about life coaches, so I don’t know why I had the opinion I did, but I had always thought that life coaching was a bunch of, “Life is wonderful…lah dee dah…” and I really wasn’t in any mood to read about how great life is and all you have to do is think positive, etc. I started reading the information on the web site thinking it was going to be another one of those kinds of deals. I almost closed out the page without reading it, but something inside told me to give it a chance. My soul voice was guiding me to something.

…to be continued…

My induction into paranormal life…Part V

30 May

When I woke from my nap, I went outside to enjoy some sun, clean the pool, swim and relax.  At about 4 pm I went inside to get dinner ready.  The evening was pretty uneventful.  The days I had off went on fairly routinely, with me doing cleaning around the house, laundry, dinner, and spending the evenings with the kids and my husband.

The evenings that I worked, I would get home at around 3 am, climb into bed exhausted, and get up with my husband to help him get the two older kids out the door for school, and to get our youngest ready for daycare.  I would normally take a nap in the afternoons so that I could be rested for work those evenings.  After what happened that first night; I would always feel a twinge of apprehension during that part of the tour.  Most of the time I would allow the guests to take their photos and I would stand where I felt was a safe distance away.  I often told the tour guests of my experience there, but not in as much detail as I have here.  I would always remember the dream I’d had, but I eventually chalked it up to coincidence that I’d had the dream that night as opposed to some other night.

I had forgotten about the books I purchased until I was cleaning up our bedroom a couple of weeks later.  I have a chair on my side of the bedroom that my grandfather gave me when he first moved in with my parents.  He was a rather tall man, and the chair had belonged to one of his girlfriends. Since it was much too small for him to use, he asked if I could use it, and it’s been in my bedroom ever since.  I had set up a small reading area on that side of the room, but for the most part the chair gets used for clothes and anything else that I don’t feel like putting up right away.  I think I’ve actually used that chair to sit and read once since I’ve had it!  As I was sorting through the pile of clean clothes on the chair and putting them away, I saw the bag with the books inside.  After I finished cleaning, I put dinner in the oven and sat down to thumb through the books.

One of the books I’d purchased was written by a woman who was the former manager for the ghost tour company in St. Augustine I worked for.  Curious, I looked in the Table of Contents to see if the Inn where I’d had my incident was mentioned. I found it, and I excitedly turned to that particular chapter’s page and began to read.  All of the stories I’d learned for the different stops on the tour were mentioned,  and then I got to one that was unfamiliar.  She described the experiences of a family who had stayed there years ago over Halloween.  The wife reminded me of myself; interested in investigating the paranormal and obtaining evidence. She had chosen to stay at that particular inn purposely, due to its haunted reputation. The woman mentioned having a visitation by a female spirit during her stay.  She said the woman was of Spanish decent and she had also seen what she thought to be the woman’s death in her dream.  Intrigued, I read on. The wife had done some research and said she believed this spirit to be the spirit of a woman who had been “…killed by a Spanish soldier’s sword; although no documentation exists of her death.”  What was even more interesting was there was hardly any documentation of this woman at all. There were birth records; all others were destroyed in the first of two fires that devastated quite a bit of that part of old St Augustine.  The Inn; however, and the corner it stands on as well as the next block made it through unscathed during both fires.  The woman in the book mentioned that she planned on continuing to research until she found out with more certainty who this Spanish woman was, and if she could document any involvement with a Spanish soldier of the era.  I remember thinking since the death I saw in my dream was very similar to the one the woman described in the book to the author, this must be the same spirit.  In my opinion, there is no succubus at that location, only the spirit of the Spanish woman merely trying to get her murder solved and get justice.  Coincidently, a little later in the book, there is a story of a Spanish Soldier said to walk certain streets of Saint Augustine’s historic district. This soldier, according to the book, had an affair with a well respected Spanish gentleman’s wife when he was alive. This Spanish gentleman was said by some to be the Governor of Saint Augustine during the first Spanish occupation; before the British arrived. There are some conflicts in the stories; however, which happens when dealing with folklore passed down through the generations via oral tradition.  In one version, the soldier was hired by the Governor to kill his wife. Because the Governor was bound by strict Catholic doctrine to his wife, divorce was not an option. He saw this as the only way to be free to pursue another woman he had become infatuated with. Another version of the story is that the soldier fell in love with the Governor’s wife and they had an affair. When the Governor found out, he had both of them killed, and the soldier and Spanish woman both are earthbound spirits due to the fact they have not yet gotten justice for their murders. I worked for the ghost tour company for a rather short period of time, only 3 months. In those 3 months, I had experiences almost every night I worked. I never had another negative experience like the one I had my first night.  I believe this is due to the fact that I started taking measures to protect myself.

After finishing for the night and before heading home, I would say the following aloud, “I am going home now.  Anyone who may be with me must stay here.  I do not want anyone following me home; interacting with me or scaring my children. I will see you again next time I work. I am the living; therefore I make the rules on this plane.  Please respect my wishes.” It may seem silly to some; especially those who are skeptical regarding the existence of Spirit.  In my work, I often come across those that have the same views I had before I started doing those ghost tours in Saint Augustine. They think if you ignore the activity it will go away, or that by denying Spirit’s existence altogether; they will be safe. You see, being a skeptic doesn’t necessarily protect you from a spirit draining your energy, forming an attachment to you, or communicating with you–especially if you are a sensitive and are unaware of your abilities–which was the case with me.  I believe that it is easier for spirits to communicate with us in our unconscious sleep states; hence the dream I’d had about the Spanish woman’s murder.  I firmly believe that spirits know when a person is a sensitive; whether the person is aware or not.  Spirits with a consciousness, those that are aware they have passed on, will be drawn to a sensitive because they know their presence is felt.  I have always attracted spirit activity, and friends jokingly call me The Ghost Magnet. I wasn’t aware until about a year ago that the reason I did was because I was a sensitive and an empath.  My propensity for attracting paranormal activity was a big reason why I was hired.  I never had one tour go out with me where the guests were disappointed.  There were always personal experiences; such as hair pulling, someone being touched, or hearing someone whisper in their ear, and there was always some form of photographic evidence captured.

The ghost tour company I worked for had two customized hearses that we used to drive our guests to the various stops on the tour.  They definitely added to the creepiness that guests are looking for when they sign up for a ghost tour.  The hearses our company owned had been actual working hearses in their “former lives” and were said to be haunted as well.   I was pretty skeptical about the validity of those claims until I showed up for work one night and the hearse I normally drove was taken by another driver.

…to be continued…

My Induction Into Paranormal Life–Part IV

27 May

The part of the story that I hadn’t shared with my husband was the disturbing dream I had after going to bed that night.  In the dream I saw myself standing back outside across the street from the Inn, only this time I was alone.  It was pitch dark outside and looking down, I noticed I was in my bare feet.  I looked up at the top story windows and stepped off the sidewalk into the street. I noticed that I was standing in a dirt road.  Next, in the dream I found myself lying on the bed in what I somehow knew was the room where the negative entity was said to reside. Then the perspective of the dream changed and I could see myself lying on the bed from up above.  I floated up above myself, watching and hearing the television show that was on in the background. I must have returned back into my body because in the next instant, I awoke feeling as if someone was on top of me.  I was struggling for breath and fighting to get out from under a man who appeared to be dressed in an old style military uniform.  He reeked of liquor and had a crazed, angry look on his face as his hands squeezed my throat. Again the perspective changed and I was once again seeing what was happening from outside of myself.  I was looking down from the ceiling at the man who was straddling me, choking the breath out of me.  I noticed that my clothes were torn and somehow I knew that this man had forced himself on me after I had refused his drunken advances.  After a moment or two, he reached into his overcoat and with two hands held something over his head that gleamed in the lantern light of the room. Looking down, it was if I’d been transported back hundreds of years in time.  This room was no longer the room where the dream began.  There was no TV now, the walls were made of stone, and the furnishings were more ornate and looked like the type that would be in the room of a noble lady of the early Spanish period.  As he held what I now knew was a sword over his head by the gleaming, lengthy blade; I realized I was now back on the bed, looking up at him in sheer terror.  I had managed to gain enough breath back into my lungs after he let go and mustered up all of the strength I had, managing to crawl out from under him and up against the wall at the head of the bed.  I bent my legs and with all of the adrenaline coursing through me, I kicked as hard as I could.  It was hard enough to knock him off balance and he fell off of the bed, hitting his head with a loud thud on the floor. Not knowing where I was or how to get out of the room, I ran blindly as fast I could.  My hair had fallen over my face and was obscuring my view.  Stumbling blindly with my throat burning, coughing, and gagging as I struggled for breath, I ran head on into a waist high dresser situated at the opposite side of the room.  I looked up and saw the terror stricken face of a woman I had never laid eyes on before staring back at me from a mirror made of what appeared to be some kind of polished metal.  Raven black hair, brown eyes opened wide in frantic fear, olive skin…all features that were not mine reflecting back at me, but somehow I was her! I looked down at a hand that was not mine that moved as mine and brushed the tousled hair out of my eyes.  I was startled out of the disbelief of being in  the body of someone else by the image of the man moving behind me.  I whirled around just in time to feel the blade of his sword plunge deeply into my chest with a hot, agonizing crunch.  My knees buckled and I fell to the floor, looking up at the man standing over me with a satisfied smirk on his face.  Once again I was looking down from above, watching this beautiful woman fade away from life before my eyes. The man heaved his sword out of her breast, placed it back inside his overcoat, and gave her one last kick before leaving the room.  I woke with a startle in my own bed, sweaty and terror stricken.  My hands flew to  my chest expecting to find a wound.  I remained there for a moment trying to make sense of what I now realized with great relief was a very vivid dream.  Once I’d gained my composure, I grabbed my journal and pen from the table beside my bed and wrote down every detail I could remember.  Shaking off the last remnants of panic from the dream, I got out of bed.  I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror just to make sure I was indeed me again. Hands still shaking, I headed to the kitchen and brewed some coffee, made a cup, and went outside to have a much needed cigarette.

The day wore on and as I went about my daily routine of doing laundry, cleaning up and applying for jobs online, the dream faded more and more into the background. The next few days went by without incident and I headed back to St Augustine for a final run-through with my friend/manager. All new drivers were required to be evaluated on their knowledge of the route and the script before being approved to work on their own giving tours. I arrived, parked, and headed up to St. George street.  We had arranged to meet up at the store our employer owned and have lunch while I finished my new-hire paperwork.  As we were enjoying our lunch, she asked me how the training had gone a few nights prior and what I thought about the tour.  I told her that I had enjoyed the tour, up to the point where we made the stop where I’d had difficulties that night.  I described to her what happened to me and how I felt during the time we were on that particular stop.  She seemed to find the story interesting, but really didn’t say much about it.  I didn’t tell her about the dream I’d had that night; to this day I’m not really sure why not.  After I completed my walk through, we went back to the store and she gave me my schedule for the next two weeks and my direct deposit form to fill out.  While I was filling out the form, she also suggested I purchase a couple of books they sold in the store about St. Augustine’s haunted history.  I bought them, gave her a hug and headed home.  When I got home I set the bag from the store with the books inside on my bedroom floor and settled down on the bed for a nap.

…to be continued…

My Induction Into Paranormal Life…Part III

26 May

At first it was fun, asking a supposed spirit questions and getting intelligent responses.  The other guests asked the spirit to blink the lights twice for yes as instructed by our guide, and asked several yes or no questions.  This went on for about 5 minutes until finally my colleague continued on with her tour. I personally didn’t ask any questions.  I didn’t really believe that what was happening was real.  Honestly, I thought that there was something in our guide’s pocket that she pressed to make the lights blink, and later; after all the guests had gone, she’d let me in on the trick.  I thought this way until approximately 30 seconds after she resumed speaking.  What happened after that 30 seconds passed started a chain of events that made me not only a believer in the effectiveness of using a K-2 meter to gauge energy fluctuations, but also in the legitimacy of the tour.  I no longer thought there would be secret “parlor tricks” I would be let in on after my training ended for the night, to impress the guests.  I realized that the ghost tour was exactly what it was advertised to be–a tour that took guests through the purportedly haunted hot spots of St Augustine, gave them a chance to take photos and capture evidence and possibly have experiences of their own.

I stood across the street with the other tour guests as our guide took us through the  history of this particular Inn.  As I listened to her give us the details of  how the ghost of a kindly old slave woman is said to reside on the top floor, I began to feel strange.  At first I felt dizzy, and I ignored it; assuming it was only a temporary thing, and would pass. Another minute or two went by, and I started feeling even more dizzy and light-headed–to the point that I removed my jacket thinking a blast of the chilly air would make me feel better.  It didn’t.  After another moment or two I had broken out in a cold sweat and felt awful.  I was nauseous and was doing all I could to remain vertical.  I started running down a mental checklist.  Had I eaten?  Was I locking my knees?  How many hours had it been since I’d eaten?  Yes, I’d eaten.  It had only been about 2 hours since I’d last eaten, and I wasn’t locking my knees.  So why was I feeling this way? I didn’t have a logical explanation for it.  I thought that maybe I was coming down with something; after all it was September and the flu had been going around. I had taken this job after being unemployed for going on 3 months, and I really needed it!  There was no way I was going to screw it up for myself by getting sick, so I was doing the best I could to ignore how I felt.

I remember our guide pointing to the upstairs window on the top story of the building as she spoke and as I looked up to see the window of the room she was referring to, my gaze was caught by movement over to the left.  I noticed there was a porch swing on the back patio.  Because of the angle I was standing in relation to the patio, most of the swing was obscured.  I could tell it was a porch swing by the chain as well as a small part of the back, seat, and arm that were visible to me from where  stood.  I also noticed that the swing was moving back and forth. By this time I was really feeling lousy, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by falling out in front of all our guests into the street.  I remember one of the guests asking me something, and I pretended not to hear her.  I was intently concentrating on not tossing my cookies into the street, and I was afraid that if I opened my mouth to answer her, that was exactly what would happen.  Not a great way to start a job or make a good impression!  I focused on the part of the swing I could see.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Concentrating on that instead of how awful I felt seemed to help somewhat.

Soon we were off in the direction of the patio as some of the guests had asked to take a peek since this was one of the only B&Bs in the historic city with a pool.  We all followed our guide to the patio.  As I rounded the corner where the swing was, I noticed a chain across it with a sign that said, “Please do not use the swing. It is in the process of being painted.”  I reached for my phone to take some shots of the swing and realized that the battery was dead.  I had taken pictures at the previous stop and the battery had been at 80%.  Shrugging off the confusion,  I walked over to our guide and asked her to let the guests know to take some shots of the swing.  They did, and one of the women came up to us to show us what she’d captured.  In the middle of the swing in one of her photos was an anomaly that appeared almost like a wisp of smoke, but too opaque to be smoke.  It was in sort of an S-shape.  In the next photo, it was gone.  My coworker asked me why I’d asked the guests to take pictures of the swing.  Did I know something would be there? I told her that I’d seen it moving only minutes before, and really expected to see guests sitting there when we came around the corner.  We all agreed that was a bit strange, and after speculating for a few moments on what it could be, we again turned our attention to our guide.

We left the patio, went back around the side of the building again, and our guide began telling us about experiences guests had in the room next to the one inhabited by Ms. Lilly, the kindly old woman. She said that this room had an energy that was the only negative energy documented there.  She mentioned that the experiences were documented mainly by men who stayed in the room and began describing them.  She described them feeling as though they were being held down in the bed, unable to move, and finding it hard to breathe.  She also mentioned all the symptoms I had experienced just moments before.  She said the entity in that room was thought to be a Succubus.  (If you aren’t familiar, a succubus is a demonic type of entity.  It is thought to be a rather sexual energy that seeks out men for its victims.)  Because she said it was thought to be a succubus, I figured my experience was probably nothing more than just being tired, the onset of the flu, or something I ate.  Although I felt off throughout the rest of the tour, I did start to feel a little better as the night went on.

The tour ended, my coworker and I parted ways, and I made my way up St. George street and back to the prepay lot where I had parked my car.  I remember feeling a presence behind me, like I was being followed.  I even looked over my shoulder behind me a few times, but didn’t see anyone.  I got in my car, checked the back seat, locked the doors, started it and began my hour long journey home.  I remember thinking to myself that I was not going to like walking back to my car at night in the dark.  I’d never been to St. Augustine at night by myself before; frankly, I normally don’t go anyplace I’m not really familiar with at night. I figured this was the reason that walking to my car had me feeling out of sorts. As I drove home, the closer I got to my house, and around familiar surroundings, the better I started to feel.  I arrived home and walked into the house.  Instantly, I felt a huge feeling of relief.  There was no more nausea, no more fear, no more dizziness.  My husband was waiting up to see how my night went and I proceeded to tell him about it.  I told him that I didn’t want him to worry, and since I felt better I figured it was just a case of my overactive imagination getting the better of me.  We both agreed that was the most logical explanation.  It wasn’t until a few days later when I spoke to my friend; who was also the tour manager, that I began to realize that wasn’t the case.

…to be continued…

My induction into paranormal life continued

22 May

When I started my new job, I was very excited to meet new people and give the tourists who had never been to St. Augustine before a lesson in history that they were probably not aware of.  Like anyone starting a new job, I did my research on the area as well as the locations I would be going to.  Like so many of the tour guests I would later meet; I was rather skeptical about the haunted history of the area.  I figured that the tours were a way to make my employer money and that by exploiting the sordid past of many of the locations there, we would be able to give tours that were unique enough that guests would have a great time; nothing more, nothing less.  There was a script to memorize, of course, and I set about the work of doing so with fervor.  I was familiar with some of the stories that I would be telling, since my husband and I had gone on a ghost tour  when we stayed at a bed and breakfast in St Augustine a couple of years prior for our Anniversary.

I was super excited to start this new chapter in my life, and the job seemed like something I would really enjoy.  I loved ghost stories, the paranormal, and haunted history.  My husband and I were both intrigued by these things, and because of the common interest, we made annual trips to Savannah, GA for our anniversary.  We had attended ghost tours in Savannah as well and I knew that I would be giving my guests the same kind of thrill.  I was looking forward to getting trained and getting out there!  Finally, the night approached when I was to go out with one of the guides on a tour for training, and to get a feel for how everything came together when guests were present.  We left on her tour at a fitting midnight time of departure, after she handed K-2 meters out to the group.  K-2 meters are tools paranormal investigators use to gauge fluctuations in energy.  She mentioned that the K-2 meters measured any fluctuation in energy, so if the K-2s started to register a fluctuation, look first to see if we were near any electrical lines, electronic devices, etc,  before assuming we had something paranormal going on.  I remember being impressed by this, as well as her explanation about the fact that spirit energy fluctuates, which would cause the K-2 meter to light up briefly and then with little bursts.  If the lights stayed lit, it was more than likely something interfering with the meter such as electrical power; nothing more.

We went along the route making stops, mostly at Bed and Breakfasts that were supposedly haunted and getting the history of each while we stood outside with our meters.  We were encouraged to take pictures as well.  I was on the tour for training, but took the opportunity to snap some photos and use the K-2.  Finally, we pulled up to a Bed and Breakfast that has been reported by some to be the most haunted Bed and Breakfast in the US.  The tour group and I disembarked the van (we used a passenger van for large groups, and this one was rather large at about 12 people including me), crossed the street, and listened intently as our guide went over not only the history of the place, but also the spirits said to reside there.

As if on cue; as we were standing across the street from the Inn our guide was telling us about, my K-2 meter was going crazy! It lit up and went dark, then lit up again with more lights this time, then went dark.  This happened for a few minutes or so.  Since the group was intently listening to the guide, I didn’t want to interrupt.  I just watched my meter in disbelief.  After several minutes went by and our guide was still talking, a woman next to me asked me if I noticed what my K-2 had been doing.  I replied, “Yes, I did see it, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and I didn’t want to interrupt our guide.”  Others heard the conversation between the two of us, and before I knew it, I had a crowd gathered around me.  I looked at my coworker with a sheepish, “I’m sorry” look on my face.  She came over to check it out herself.  At this point the K-2 was lighting up all of the lights, all the way to the red, back down to two green lights, then back up again to the red in response to questions.

….to be continued…