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The Family Link L.E. Roberts

Copyright 2012 by Laura E. Roberts

Introduction The world is full of skeptics, non-believers and those who won't admit to having experienced unexplained phenomena. We have heard it said, there is an explanation for everything. Yes, this is true but that explanation is not always a scientific one. I come from a family split down the middle by these beliefs. My father believes that there are no unexplained happenings, everything has a scientific cause while my mother and her side of the family are strong believers in paranormal and psychic phenomena. Most times, we begin as non-believers and faithfully venture into the mystery after a first or second unexplained experience. Not all of these are like the movies, and not all are horrifying events. The experiences that the women of my family have had range from messages from loved ones, prophetic dreams, and the desired help from a child. As far back as my grandmother Marian can remember, my great-great grandmother from Youghal Co. Cork, Ireland was one of the most superstitious women. Mary Galvin was

a woman of many Irish beliefs about after-life, the dead, and bad omens. She told stories of the towers that were built in the inner walls of the towns to keep out the dead and watch over the townspeople. She gave birth to Mary Bridgid Fuller who, my grandmother claims, never spoke of any unexplained experiences or dreams but was like her mother in her superstitious beliefs. My grandmother, born Marian Fuller, was the first in this line to have experienced and shared her stories. Her 8 children, her children's children, and their children are adventuring through a world of psychic and paranormal phenomena to this day.

Paranormal Experiences and Phenomena Many may ask, what is a paranormal experience? What classifies such experience as paranormal? A paranormal experience for a person usually resides within the small definition of “a happening or experience that is outside the realm of normal experiences or scientific explanation�( The belief in the paranormal and the afterlife did not begin as a new fad

within the last few decades. In fact, the beliefs of souls and spirits date back to the ancient Egyptians who entombed their dead and preformed intricate burial customs to ensure an afterlife for their lost loved ones. They viewed mummification as an initiation into the mysterious afterlife. In modern day culture and religion, many believe in the spirit and soul of the body, and the separation of those after death. Is this a mere coincidence that cultural and religious beliefs spread across continents share similar views of life after death and the importance of burial customs? In China it is believed that the dead co-exist with the living, in South America the Day of the Dead is celebrated for the sake of spirits and in Eastern and Asiatic religions, death is not the end but a transition. In the Buddhist religion, the soul leaves the body during death and finds or new body or in some cases, ascends to a higher state of being (Ronald). Many of those who believe and debate paranormal existence question this “transitional state�. Could this state be the spiritual realm in which the paranormal phenomena exists?

Many mediums and paranormal investigators believe that a soul or spirit can be bound to earth until they are able to let go of emotional attachment to people and places so that they can ascend “into the light”. This light is thought to appear at funerals and that any spirit willing to ascend can go through (Ronald). Some spirits, typically those who exhibit negative energy, are those who cannot forgive themselves for deeds they have committed in their human life or they are not able to emotionally detach themselves from the physical world. The restless spirits gain energy to move, make noises, talk, or move objects from the physical world. A common misconception is that spirits are found in cemeteries when in fact, the most spiritual activity recorded has been in homes, malls, movie theaters and other areas where there are many people. These experiences are not just sightings of ghostly figures or having objects thrown across the room at you. There are roughly 10 types of paranormal phenomena that one might come across. These are Déjà vu, premonitions, apparitions, telepathy, out-of-body experiences, reincarnations,

Poltergeists and levitations, auras, mediumship and neardeath episodes. Rosemary Breen’s 2011 Paranormal Report gives a chart of the rate of occurrences of these experiences within all people. The line of women in my family have of course, had Déjà vu, premonitions, apparitions, and a small mix of the other seven experiences (Breen).

Irish Spiritual Superstitions Ireland and its people have had superstitions and folklore for centuries. There is a wide range of beliefs about almost any topic of life in Ireland. And while some of these beliefs may seem strange or silly, the Irish culture uses them as a rule-of-thumb for their every day life. From birth to death and everything in between, there are superstitions, folklore and omens that guide the Irish life. The two that are most significant and interesting to this book are Banshees and Will-O’-The-Wisps. Both of these are considered to be “unlucky” or unfortunate for an Irishman. Of course there is a good balance between the good and bad superstitions that the Irish believe in, but it is the bad omens that play an interesting role in Mary Galvin’s life.

Banshees A Banshee is a fairy-like woman or spirit that is regarded as evil or frightening in many folklore stories but also has peaceful

qualities about her for many Irish believers. A Banshee is believed to be the spirit of a woman who died a very violent death. Her spirit is trapped on earth to watch over families and warn them of danger and death. The typical Banshee’s physical form is that of an old and grayed woman dressed in rags, with pale, almost transparent skin and red eyes. The Banshee is known for her ear-piercing screams and wails that warn people of an imminent death or danger. A Banshee does not bring death but warns the family in which she watches over ( A Banshee may be heard keeing, which is an Irish term for crying much like women at funerals. In Irish tradition, it is never a good sign to hear or see a Banshee, regardless of her allure. Banshees do not appear often to people but when they do, she takes one of six different forms: ď ś An old woman dressed in black with long gray hair and covering her face with a veil.

 An old woman with long white hair, red eyes and dressed in a green dress  A deathly pale woman with long red hair dressed in a white dress sometimes a shroud.  A beautiful woman wearing a shroud.  A beautiful woman with silver-white hair wearing a long shimmering silver dress.  A headless woman naked from the waist up and carrying a bowl of blood.

Will-O’-The-Wisps Will-O’-The-Wisps are flickering lights seen in the night around marshes or forests. They have both positive and negative legends about them. Most Irishmen believe that a Will-O’-The-Wisp lights is the light of a spirit or soul that has been unable to leave earth. Upon seeing the light, it is a

guide to help find a lost or deceased traveler in murky, shallow waters. Others believe that the wisps are mischievous spirits who lead lost and wary travelers astray. Either way, those who can see the wisps are said to have a gift of knowing when kin is in danger.

Mary Galvin Mary Galvin is my grandmother’s grandmother. She is the first to talk about any kind of “out-of-this-world” experiences. Although she didn’t have many paranormal experiences with ghosts or unexplained phenomena, she did have some superstitious incidents happen. She lived in Ireland where the majority, if not all, of the population was strongly superstitious and religious. Mary had told stories of deaths and rare occurrences that were passed down through the family. Mary had claimed to hear the cry of a Banshee the night before the death of a neighbor woman who was giving birth to a child. In regards to Irish superstitions, the Banshee’s

cry warns people of imminent death of a family member or loved one. After the death of her neighbor, Mary said that the rocking chair on her front porch would rock back and forth during the day and night without wind. Mary also said that she saw a Will-O’-The-Wisp during the night but was strong enough not to follow or search for it. Mary’s superstitions and stories have been passed down through our family and although we see them as merely Irish superstitions and traditional beliefs now, they are a significant part of the link we share with each other and the spiritual world.

Marian Link Marian Link, born Marian Fuller, is my grandmother. She was married to my grandfather Robert Link and had eight children. Six of these children were girls and two were boys. Of the girls she gave birth to, all of them have had some sort of paranormal or spiritual experience in which they have no scientific explanation for. Born and raised as an Irish Catholic, she believed in the superstitions her own

grandmother told her, but felt the conflict between that and the Catholic Church. My grandmother admitted to being a skeptic to paranormal experiences until she moved into her own home with Robert in Dubuque, Iowa. I interviewed her not long ago and she began to tell me stories about houses that she lived in, and houses that my mom grew up in. She was the first to really accept and share her paranormal experiences with the family, which I feel made it easier for us all to share. She was the first strong link between the spiritual world and the women of the Link family. The first experience she told me about was at her house in Dubuque. My grandma’s father had inherited a large mirror from a family member. The mirror was fought over by her father and his brother. My grandma said that her father would tell people that his brother wouldn’t get that mirror over his dead body. After he passed away, the mirror was placed on the floor up against a wall because of its size in a room upstairs. His brother had come over to take the mirror, and while talking in the living room

downstairs they heard a loud crash. Upon coming to the room upstairs where the mirror was, they found it smashed to pieces on the floor. The unexplained part of this was that the frame of the mirror was perfectly intact; it was the glass that was in pieces on the floor. The next few stories she told all happened in their first home in Oelwein. The house was split in two and half was moved into town where they lived. It is rumored that in the house, before it had been split and moved, a racial hate crime had been committed. It was said that the Klu Klux Klan had hung an African American man in the house and set it a blaze. The house was then split in two and the intact half was moved into Oelwein, Iowa. My grandparents bought and moved their family of 10 into the home. This is when my aunts first started to experience paranormal activity. I was at the kitchen sink doing dishes while Bob was at work, and the kids were in school. I felt a tap on my shoulder strong enough to make me think that Bob had come home early. I whipped around out of fright to find no

one behind me. I turned back to do dishes but had a sinking feeling that someone was watching me in the kitchen. The next strange experience that I can remember was when Cindy had gone down to the basement and was sprayed with water out of nowhere. To this day, we do not know where the water had come from. Also, in the basement the lights would go on and off throughout the day and night with no explanation. We had plenty of experiences with missing objects in the home, but there was one that really stuck out to me, and that the girls and I talk about to this day. Mary had a pair of earrings that went missing; for weeks we searched the house from top to bottom and couldn’t find them. One day, I had made the bed and went to dust the armoire. In the mirror I saw a reflection of some sort, but I thought it might have been a car passing by. After, I turned around I saw Mary’s pair of earrings sitting there on the blankets of the bed. We talked briefly a few weeks ago during our Easter party about the stories and she told me that she wondered if her house that she lives in now isn’t holding some sort of spirit

or phenomena. She stated that she had been seeing movements and hearing noises. She also feels like she is being watched during the day when she is at home alone. These slowly progressed since my grandpa’s death in 2008. She has been interested in contacting a medium to see if her feelings are correct but is hesitant to contact someone this early. She believes that it is just my grandpa due to changes and remodeling she made within the home that he would have disapproved of. She is in the process of finding information to help her understand what she is experiencing.

Jennifer Roberts Jennifer Roberts, born Jennifer Link, is my mother. Currently residing in eastern Wisconsin, she is married with three children, I being the only girl. Most of my mother’s experiences that she can remember happened during her childhood that is typical for beginning events. During many phone calls and talks, she could only remember two significant experiences that she felt had a paranormal or

unexplainable activity to them. The first experience that I can remember is when I was about 10 years old. We were living in the house out in the country of Fayette County at the time. I was lying in bed when I saw my little Indian dolls on my dresser start to move, almost as if they were dancing on my dresser top. This was the first time I ever experienced anything that I could not explain, and the first time that I felt unsure of my own home. It spooked me enough that I ended up sleeping on the floor of my parent’s room that night. The other experience that I specifically remember was when I was about 15 or 16 years old. We were still living in the house out in the country, which was an old stagecoach stop for the town of Otsego, which was located directly across the road from the old Ostego Cemetery. I was sound asleep in my bed when I woke up to the feeling of someone sitting at the end of my bed. I felt a body sink into my mattress and when I awoke there was no one there. However, there was an imprint of someone sitting at the end of my bed. I waited for my eyes to adjust enough to

validate what I was seeing. I’ll never forget that impression in the mattress of my bed, or the way the sinking of it felt.

Laura Roberts It was not until mid-April of 2008, my sophomore year of high school, that I recalled my first paranormal event and began to understand why it had happened. I was incredibly young, maybe five or six years old, but I can remember every detail, even up to the smell of my grandmother's house. According to the 2011 Paranormal Phenomena Report written by Rosemary Breen, “At least one in ten of every first paranormal encounter occurs before the age of six years” (Breen 6). My grandmother, from my father's side, had lived in a very old, creaky home where my father and his siblings grew up in a small town in Iowa. Her home seemed like a castle when we were young, and I also sensed a great many secrets or something mysterious about the house. Although I was never afraid of her home, I knew there was something being held back from my knowledge. A handful of my cousins and I had slept on the pull-out

couch in her living room of her 3 story home. It had been around the time of Christmas, because that was the holiday in celebration. I had woken up in the early morning, just as the light began to come through the windows of the living room. From my curled up position on the couch I could see into the dining room straight ahead, to the left into another portion of the house mainly used from the Christmas Tree and Grandfather Clock. There, was the flight of stairs separated in two by a platform, including a tall window and white curtains. Behind those curtains came a rhythmic thud of a drum we had placed there the night before when we played with our musical instruments we received as gifts. My cousin Ben had gotten a small toy drum set that we put behind the curtains on the platform. It included a bass drum and pedal, which would be the source of the noises I heard early that morning. I recall being chilled, watching the curtains, wondering if someone was playing behind there. Could someone really be awake earlier than I was? I knew this wasn't possible. The curtains where white but almost transparent and I could see no one behind them. Yet, I

continued to hear that thud of the bass drum. After a few years I came to find out that I had an aunt, my father's sister, Debbie who passed away of illness when she was three years old. To this day, I believe that it was her in the early morning hours playing that drum on the platform of my grandmother's staircase. I don't remember any other significant occurrences until April of my sophomore year when I started putting these ideas together. My friend Ethan has taken his own life on April 16th, 2008 and on the day of his funeral, the 20th I was approached by a middle-aged woman who told me my full name, my birthdate and a cherished moment between Ethan and myself. I was confused at first when she told me she has spoken to him. He had shown up in her bedroom the night of his death, pacing and crying, yelling of his regret. She told me that she was a Medium, an individual who could communicate with those who had passed away. She began to tell me that he was worried that I was angry with him, that I wouldn't forgive him for being irrational. This women, Mrs. Boise as I know her, was the mother of one of

Ethan's friends in school. She knew whom he spoke of and she knew whom to contact. I was told that I was one of those he needed forgiveness from, or else he couldn't forgive himself to cross over. Mrs. Boise told me and Ethan's girlfriend Angie that he didn't accept the light at his funeral, he couldn't forgive himself to leave and he had chosen to stay until he knew that we had forgiven him for killing himself. It was that night that I had my first dream. Angie had told me that he hadn't left a suicide note; she was heartbroken, confused, angry, bitter and above all, lost. I could see the pain she felt crumbling her from the inside out. As I was falling asleep I thought about her, about what Mrs. Boise said at Ethan's funeral, and the way Angie looked like a beautiful statue dressed in yellow and wearing Ethan's flannel shirt. I asked Ethan out loud, not expecting to receive the response that I would, “why he had done this to the ones he loved, and how was Angie suppose to feel any comfort?� There he stood, tall to me, with his deep brown curls falling into his eyes. He looked rugged, but sweet. His face

was sad, and I could feel an undeniable sickness in the pit of my stomach. His skin was whiter than I remembered, almost transparent to be exact. There was nothing around him, just a solid blackness that felt eerie, like it was creeping upon us as we stood facing each other. He was holding something but I couldn't make it out. It threw me off because of the unnatural color, the brightness of it made me feel calmer. It was a spring color, pink and orange, maybe mixed. As he drifted closer he held it out to me; a Care Bears notebook, bent and frayed from use. He looked me in the eyes and I saw a tear trickle from his right eye. I noticed something then, a mark on his neck, long and red like a scratch or burn. I felt a deep sympathy, an aching pain in my heart at that moment.... and then I woke up. The dream had confused me the rest of the next day. I pondered the significance of it. Knowing that I had asked Ethan the night before for a sign of comfort, I didn't expect a reply. That night I called Angie because I was curious if she knew why I would have dreamt of something so

minimal like a notebook. She told me she had one but she hadn't used it in a long time. I told her to look through it while we were on the phone and as she did I heard a small gasp, a shortness of breath from the other end of the receiver. I asked “Angie, are you alright?” and that's when I could hear it in her voice. A small sob, another gasp and silence. A few seconds later she responded, “Laura, I found his note”. *** That day was the first day of many that I asked Ethan for signs or dreams because I figured he would respond somehow, some way. That was also the first day I knew I had something other people couldn't comprehend. Having dreams about lost loved ones is typical as a grieving process but these were different. These dreams told me information I didn't know, stories I couldn't learn from anyone else. Naturally I let the dream slip from my attention after a few days. It was not until I had another of Ethan that I began to question if I was letting my imagination go wild in my dreams and things like the

notebook were a mere coincidence or if I was really on to something. Only a few weeks later I was lying in bed, saddened about Ethan's death and still not quite stable when I asked him for another sign, anything really. I needed closure. It was hectic, people running everywhere. Faces I didn't recognize. There was close to a hundred of them, just running frantic. It was loud but I couldn't make out one word. I was feeling panicked, angered, rushed. I didn't know where I was or what I was doing. I stood in the middle of this crowd. It seemed like a shopping mall, with a second floor, doors to stores and a car in the middle of the opening. I saw him then. Ethan and Alex were standing by the car, their long curly hair swept around with every rushing person that went by them. They were standing far from me, 100 yards I was guessing. I tried to yell for them to get their attention but the bustle of people was far too loud. I tried to make my way towards them but I couldn't push past the crowd. Instead I was being pushed back, away from them. I put my hand out, yelling their names

over and over but they never turned in my direction. I felt hopeless then. I ended up on the second floor overlooking the open area where I just was. I could see the car, and I could see Ethan and Alex. Then people started yelling louder and running in all directions. Alex looked up and met my eyes. He pulled on Ethan to follow him, I assumed he was trying to get to me through the rushing people. Ethan looked up and for a moment our eyes locked and my heart stopped. I could sense guilt but I couldn't understand why. Ethan mouthed a brief sentence to Alex, turned away from me, and started walking further and further from me while Alex had disappeared into the crowd of people. I felt alone, and hurt. I couldn't understand why he didn't come for me with Alex. I watched him walk away through the people as I screamed his name so loud I felt a lump creep up into my throat and tears swell in the corners of my eyes; then I lost him. I woke with a start and I recall the first thing that went through my mind. It was a man's voice, young but strong telling me these exact words, “I'm sorry, I couldn't stay�. I

knew that the voice I heard when I woke from this dream was Ethan. I felt that the loneliness and pain from the dream was how he felt the day he took his own life, and when he left without looking back was his way of coping. *** I started working at a nursing home my junior year of high school. There was an elderly man there that resembled my grandfather who passed away so much that it was emotional for me to even have a conversation with him. The night before I drove to Oelwein with my mom to see my extended family I had a dream about this man. I was standing across the dining room looking at his empty seat. The dining room was full of the residents eating their dinner but Bob wasn't there. A woman's voice came from behind me answering the question that was running through my head. “Bob Sterr died last night� she said very softly. Then I woke up... I thought about this dream as I rode along for four hours in the car. If I had these somewhat prophetic dreams about Ethan and about my grandpa, was this? I texted a friend

who worked at the nursing home with me and told her about my dream. I said “Halie, I had a dream that Bob Sterr died.” I received a text back shortly afterward with her response, “He did.” I'm sure my face went white after this, and my mom asked me what was wrong. I told her about my dream, and that Halie said Bob did pass away that night. To this day I hold that dream in my heart as significant. Did he meet my grandpa? Did he feel the need to let me know when he left because we shared that connection? This wasn't the last of the dreams about the patients though. I had one a few months later about a resident Lucy passing away, and just like Bob, she did. *** I had another voice incident like Ethan's the day my grandpa died. He had been hospitalized for about a week so his death wasn't sudden and unexpected. I had gone to see him with my mom and younger brother. He wasn't opening his eyes or responding much, but he held my hand probably as firmly as he could. I remember how different he looked, how frail and sad. My mom asked him to open his eyes for

her but he never did. He had such beautiful blue eyes, and I remember wishing so hard that he would just once more. A week later, on September 29th, 2008 he passed away. I don't recall dreaming of anything significant that night, or that I dreamt at all. This is why I was so startled and confused by a voice that I heard as I woke up. It was a man's voice, deep and powerful. It said to me as I opened my eyes, “Don't be afraid, I'm always with you.� I remember this so vividly because as soon as I heard that I leaned over and logged onto MySpace from my laptop. The time was 6:01am in the corner of my screen and I couldn't help but wonder why I had woken up with a start and didn't feel the least bit sleepy. I put this what the voice had said on my MySpace page, I felt that it was something significant but I couldn't figure out why. At around 6:15am I gathered my clothes to go take a shower for school. As soon as I locked the door to the bathroom the phone rang. I could hardly hear the conversation but I knew my mom's voice was starting to shake. She talked for what felt like 10 minutes to me but it was probably around 2 or 3. After she

hung up, she let out a loud cry and said over and over “He's dead. He's dead�. This is when I knew that the voice that woke me up that morning was my Grandfather. The next few days were hard on us as a family. He passed away in the beginning of the week, and his wake and funeral were not until the weekend. My mom had left to head to Oelwein, Iowa where my extended family lived and my brothers, my dad and I stayed back to finish out as much of the week's school and work as possible. On Thursday of that week was his wake and Friday, the funeral. Thursday night I slept on one of the beds in my grandparent's basement. There were two beds down there, one in the far back room and one in the open area. Ashley, one of my cousin's, slept in the back bedroom and I took the open area. Friday morning, quite early if I remember correctly, maybe around 5am, I was asleep with my hand over the side of the bed, when I felt someone grab my hand and hold it firmly. I woke up and thought it may be Ashley, but what was she doing up so early? The light was barely coming through the small windows that this time so I knew

it couldn't be anywhere near time to get up. I looked up, still feeling my hand in another and saw no one. My immediate reaction was fright and I ran as fast as I could from that bed to the family room upstairs. I remember sitting there, looking at the old photos in a box on the dining room table as the sun came up and everyone started to wake. I couldn't get that feeling out of my head, the way it felt so real, and so much like how my grandpa held my hand in the hospital. I can't prove it was him, or that what I felt was real, but in my heart I know my grandpa held my hand that morning to prepare me for a hard day ahead. I was not the only one though to have dreams and significant experiences about my grandpa around this time and a little afterward. When I told my mom about what happened that morning, my cousins chimed in to tell me they were experiencing strange things too that they believed were signs from Grandpa. Of course it seems that I have had significant and meaningful dreams as a large part of my experience with

paranormal phenomena and although they are significant and a little eerie, they don’t seem too out of the ordinary compared to what I’ve heard from other’s experiences. I never saw any apparitions throughout high school and so I was unsure if I really had the sort of gift that the women of my mom’s side do. Even though they never really saw anyone, there were significant times when they knew they were not alone. While I do not doubt or intend to demean my premonition-like dreams, I think the sighting of apparitions and true haunting are the closest someone can be (other than an exorcism) to a true paranormal experience. My freshmen year of college was a pretty relaxed one as far the experiences and dreams went. I often felt that because I had left my hometown, that I had disconnected myself from my dreams of the Ethan, the nursing home, etc. I began to truly long for those signs again because I cherished the gift that I had of communicating with them. Throughout the year I had a few dreams here and there but really nothing too significant. That is, until I saw my first apparition.

I lived in Donnell Hall at the University of Dubuque my freshmen year of college. It was three floors of guys and one floor of girls so it wasn’t too unruly, except when you were trying to study. It was late, maybe 3 or 4 am. All of that coffee to keep me away at the library had settled in and I needed to make my way down the hall to the bathroom in the dorm. I opened the door to the hallway, and at this time it was not too uncommon to see security walking through the halls. I caught something, a figure of a person, out of the corner of my left eye in the stairwell. At first, I thought it was just security and didn’t take a second glance too quickly. After a few steps I turned at looked. It was a young man, possibly between the ages of 18 and 20, standing in the hallway looking out the window. I had never seen him before, and after almost two full semesters at a private university, that’s uncommon. As I looked at him for what felt like minutes, I noticed something about his appearance. He wasn’t exactly… solid. I felt like I was in a strange Sci-Fi movie. I could see the outline of the staircase behind him through his body. That’s when I knew

I wasn’t seeing just anyone. I felt like I was gawking to be honest, although I probably didn’t look at him for more than a few seconds. He never turned to look at me. Instead I turned away quickly. I thought to myself, maybe I’m just seeing things. It was late at night and I was groggy. I walked to the bathroom and took a quick glance over my shoulder. He wasn’t standing by the window anymore. I went to the bathroom and actually pinched myself. I wasn’t sure if I was awake or not. Had I really just seen my first ghost? I was spooked beyond belief. That had never happened to me before and I wasn’t sure if I actually saw it or I was dreaming. I ended up going back to bed after I settled myself down. The next morning I still remembered the guy in the stairwell and decided to do a little digging on the history of UD and if there had been the death of a boy on campus. My search results were minimal. I found nothing that would tell me who that young man was and to this day I still don’t know who I saw that night in Donnell.

My second apparition was seen that same semester. The facts about the experience are much different from the first. This time I knew who the spirit was. The Spartans Boys Basketball team was playing a home game in the Stoltz Gym. Of course a friend had suckered me into going. We sat in the bleachers facing the opposing team’s fans. On left side of the bleachers where we were sitting, there is a sort of balcony that overlooks the court. Spartan fans were gathered there too. Of course being my curious self, I was scanning the row of students standing there when I noticed a familiar face. It struck me odd that I would see her here because the only place I had ever seen her was my high school some three hours away from Dubuque. It was only a split second that she looked in my direction, smiled, and turned away. I knew I had seen an apparition. She was like the first, somewhat transparent. I also knew who she was, and that she was dead. Her name was Lisa Martin. We went to high school together at Lomira. She was a senior when I was a freshman. She went to the University of Dubuque for

nursing when she graduated. It is out of the ordinary for a Lomira High School student, located in Southeastern Wisconsin to choose to go to the University of Dubuque so I feel that connected us in a way. Her sophomore year in college, my junior year in high school, she was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dubuque. Although I don’t know all of the details of her death, I remember being told by a close mutual friend during a soccer game in which I was working. I never had any experiences with or about her until that day in the gym, which was unusual for me because I didn’t know why she would appear to me four years after her death. Nothing ever came of that sighting and I never had another experience with her after that. I did feel however, that she wasn’t sad or depressed. She wasn’t hurt or angry. She was just like any other fan, cheering on her college basketball team. Since these sightings I haven’t had much in the area of paranormal experiences to report about. At the end of my sophomore year in college I started a new job at a residential treatment facility and moved into a new house.

Since I’ve done both, I have had some strange happenings in which I am still trying to process and understand. As of right now, I continue to focus on and accept dreams that I have and have been doing some significant research in that area.

Prophetic Dreams and Dream Interpretations When I tell people stories about my dreams, I get asked almost every time if I can see the future before it happens or if I can communicate with ghosts. My answer is always the same, no. There is a common misconception about prophetic dreams and visions. In fact, there is a difference between the two. A prophetic dream is a real dream. The dreamer has no power over the dream, the setting or actions taking place. A vision on the other hand, is when the dreamer or individual is aware of time and space. Visions are enlightening in all chances, whereas dreams are not (Domhaff). Don’t disregard prophetic dreams though, because they are just as enlightening as visions.

The Hall-Van De Castle System for dreams and dream interpretation says that only memorable dreams will have an impact on the dreamer. In the system dreams are divided into two groups, good fortunes and misfortunes. Good fortunes count for roughly 6% of dreams while misfortunes count for about 36% in both men and women. The HallVan De Castle System says that there are a total number of 4 specific types of dreams that we can have; these being transcendent, existential, anxiety and ordinary. Transcendent dreams contain unusual or distorted settings and positive emotions and interactions. Existential dreams involved deceased characters, sadness, and confusion. Anxiety dreams contain major unfamiliarity and physical aggression. Lastly, ordinary dreams contain familiarity and most likely, positivity.

Ashlyn Mustard This is also when my cousin Rochelle mentioned to us that her daughter Ashlyn had had a paranormal experience at her grandma's (my aunt Sue) house a few months prior to

my grandpa's death. Sue's house to me didn't seem old, just the usual home in Oelwien. In fact, it reminded me a lot of my Grandma Robert's first home, the one in which I had my first experience with the drum. Sue had lived here for as long as I could remember, maybe my whole life. I had never really felt uncomfortable in her house and I never sensed anything out of the ordinary so Ashlyn's experience gave me the chills and curiosity to find out more. At this time, Ahslyn wasn't speaking much about the experience so we heard the story through Rochelle and Sue. Later, Ashlyn began to clarify questions for us and it became vivid to us that she was not making up what happened. One day at my grandma and grandpa's I went to the bathroom upstairs because someone was using the one downstairs. When I was going to the bathroom a little boy came out of the shower curtain and he didn't say anything, he just stood there staring at me. I ran downstairs to tell my grandparents and they went up to see but no one was there. A few months later they were digging up the carpet in my mom's old room and they found a picture of a little

boy. They showed it to me, it was the little boy from the bathroom and he was wearing the same clothes. I haven't used that bathroom since. My grandma wrote the boy a note asking him to stay away and to leave. No one has seen him since.

Ashley Bedford Ashley Bedford is my first cousin, the daughter of my Aunt Cindy. When I was younger, she was the cousin I always turned to because we were able to relate easier, regardless of the age difference. When I found out that she had had a paranormal experience, I felt even more compelled to talk with her about what I had been going through. Upon hearing about Ashlyn’s ghost sighting, I started to remember an incident that happened at Sue's when I was younger that we had forgotten about, or maybe we made a conscious effort to leave it in the past. It was someone's wedding, or anniversary, or maybe a family reunion. I was sitting on Rochelle's bed with the door open, facing the bathroom across the hall. Ashley was

taking a shower and getting ready to go. I sat patiently waiting for her to come out when I heard a loud thud come from the bathroom. I don't remember reacting to that, just waiting and wondering what she was doing in there. A few minutes later she opened the door, and looked afraid or sick. I asked her what was wrong and at first she didn't say anything. She had a bewildered look in her eye, and to admit, I was a little frightened by her. She came to me sitting on the bed, put her hands on my shoulders and told me in a very sincere and authoritative way, “Never go into that bathroom Laura, ever.� Confused and scared, I agreed. I never found out what happened that day until years later when Ashlyn's story surfaced and spread like wildfire through the Link family. Ahsley had even forgotten the whole experience until she was reminded by the story of the little boy and the bathroom. I said something to my mom and my aunt Cindy (Ashley's mom) at the table that day about how I never went in there because Ashley told me not to when I was younger. After Cindy and Sue

questioned Ashley about why she told me not to go, she began to recall the event that happened that day in the bathroom. This exert is taken from Ashley’s email to me about the incident... You may remember more than I do. It seems that I have suppressed some of the memory. I have, from talking to other family members, figured out the date of said memory. It was May 11th, 2002...the day of Amy and Jason's wedding. I was just a week and a half shy of turning 18. I think that is kind of interesting because it seems that the presence that I felt or saw only appears to children. We were at Sue and Tim's house getting ready for the wedding. I remember being in the upstairs bathroom. I don't remember if I had just gotten out of the shower or if I was getting into the shower. I do remember that I saw something in or around the shower and that I passed out. From fear? From shock? I'm not entirely sure, but when I talk about it or attempt to draw out that memory I kind of get a sick feeling.

Sue Ledesma After hearing multiple stories about her house being haunted by a child, my Aunt Sue decided it was time to see what options she had to get rid of the spirit. She tried to find a history of her home but traced the owner back to the actual builders of the home and none of them had a child pass away while living at the home. She contacted Mary Ann Winkowski, medium and author of When Ghosts Speak. Mary told her that she could sense the presence of the boy through the phone and to write the boy a letter stating that it was Sue's house now and that the boy had no right to be scaring girls in the bathroom. She wrote that it was his time to leave and when or where the next funeral was so that he could cross over. The mystery of this boy still remains interesting to the family. Who was he, why was he attached to the bathroom and why did he only show himself to adolescent girls? Mary Ann's book, read by all of the women since these stories started surfacing, states that a spirit can be attached to an object in the house or an

antique, not necessarily the house itself. It is very possible that Sue had an item in which the boy was attached to and traveled along with it to her house. My guess and the assumption by much of the family is that he was attached to the picture of himself that was hidden under the carpet upstairs. Roughly four years later, after the family had thought the little spirit was helped by Sue and crossed over, there was a small but significant experience in the house. Sue was lying in her bed with her terrier, Sadie, on the phone with a friend when she caught Sadie slowly watch out in front of her from one side of the room to the other. Sue described it as if Sadie was watching something move across the end of her bed. Sadie suddenly started barking and it became out of control, which was unusual for her. Sue had to end her phone call with her friend to calm Sadie down. Sue felt that it was clear the little boy hadn’t left.

Concluding Thoughts The events of our pasts continue and progress every day. They will not stop, nor will the story. For now, these are the experiences that link us women together, but there are no doubts that the type and amount of paranormal phenomena will double through generations yet to come. I am finding myself experiencing more types of phenomena every day. Since writing my stories, I have had frightening experiences in my new home as well as my new job at a residential treatment facility. Because I am still trying to decipher these significant events, I have not included them in my stories above. Getting older and accepting the belief in life after death and paranormal events has made a great difference in the amount and types of events that I have had. My dreams had never frightened me, nor had seeing the two apparitions on campus at the University of Dubuque. I was open and accepting of these but now the phenomena has become eerie and is beginning to alarm me. I will continue to investigate and document these events for

future writing. Expect more experiences, more family history, and a sequel. For now, I leave you with the evidence of life after death. Your belief is always your choice, but reflect on your own experiences that you’ve made scientific excuses for. You might be a link to the other side too.

Bibliography "The Banshee In Ireland." Irish Folklore. Mar. 2012 <>.

Breen, Rosemary. "Paranormal Survey Report." Psychic Revolution. Oct. 2011. Feb. 2012

"Paranormal (redirected from Paranormal activity)." 02 May 2012 < activity>.

Roland, Paul. The complete book of ghosts :. Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, 2007.

The Family Link  

True collection of paranormal pehnomena experienced by four generations of women.

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