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Voices to Visions July 2011 _____________________________________________________________________________________________


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Magazine Contributors

Cheryl Smeed Workshop Articles Alice Mary Herden Founder of Dust and Shadows, a Paranormal Investigation and Research Group. Alice is also freelance photographer, digital artist. Her experiences with the Paranormal go back to where she resided with her family in Largo. Encounters with the paranormal have been from breathing to a full black mass apparition. For this magazine, I wanted to share as much information about the paranormal without all the adversity. I do hope our readers learn as much as we do with each month we put this magazine together.

Articles • Editor Views: Alice Mary Herden • Interviews: Alice Mary Herden • Encounters: Alice Mary Herden • Paranormal Folklore: Alice Mary Herden • Famous Haunting: Alice Mary Herden or Karen Bashak • Famous Locations: Alice Mary Herden or Karen Bashak • 101-Dictionary: Alice Mary Herden • Paranormal Team: Alice Mary Herden • Workshop: Cheryl Smeed • Dust and Shadows: Alice Mary Herden


Cheryl is a certified parapsychologist with over 30 years’ experience. She is clairvoyant and remembers communicating with spirit companions from a very young age. Cheryl brings to our group the ability to communicate with disembodied spirits, providing information and insight to our investigations. “If you keep your mind open, you will see far beyond your beliefs.”

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Issue Contents All material and information gathered within this magazine are researched and/or solely opinions stated by the writer. You choose your opinions and beliefs upon your own conclusion with each expressed view or article written. Photography Artwork

Karen Bashak

All photography and artwork within this magazine are property of the photographer and/or artist. Some photos used are public domain and credited. Interviews

Article Writer Karen and I work together at the same retail establishment for over 5 years. She is talented, smart, beautiful and just a joy! I am so happy that she has time to write articles for our magazine.

Interviews are conducted via e-mail. If possible, some interviews are conducted in person and recorded. Our Sponsors Vision-Vault LLC Green-Fly Media (coming 2012) Merchandising Professionals LLC Action Sales and Merchandising INC Arrowwear USA

Jesselee Lang Concept Art for Paranormal Folklore Jesselee Lang is a superb 3D fantasy-based artist that tells astounding stories through digital art. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he provides design, artwork, and graphics to the web, print, and video game industries. He offers free images for download at his website, and you can find his art spray-painted on the sides of train cars. Jesselee enjoys creating powerful stories, projecting them into a single work of art for others to appreciate. His works put you in the middle of the action. I met Jesselee through a stock photography site. I enjoy in artistic view and creative imagination. He is a great addition to this magazine.


Become a sponsor Sponsors donations help with the yearly payment of the website. Business sponsors receive free advertising within our print magazine, full page, and a link on our website. For more information about becoming a sponsor, please email us at: Special Thanks A special thanks to my husband, Donald Herden Jr. You have been the light of my life and I love you will all my soul. Thank you for being a huge supporter in all my goals. I could have never lived without you. Our Magazine is non-profit. You only pay for printing and shipping.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ IN THIS ISSUE • Editors Views Take A Seat • Interview Dakota Lawrence Mark Edward Liat Silberman Mary Greer • Encounters Ouija Board • Paranormal Folklore Bridge of Souls • Famous Places Borley Rectory • Famous Haunting Cheltenham Haunting • Readers Ghost Stories Ghost Stories • 101-Dictionary Séance • Workshop Are Ouija Boards Safe • PTM Third Eye Paranormal • Dust and Shadows Location May-Stringer House


Special Thanks to: My husband, Mom-n-law, Dad-n-law, and Michelle for your help with the photos in this month’s issue! We are looking for someone to write articles for our magazine, if you can contribute your time, please email us at: Voices to Visions: a Dust and Shadows Magazine in association with Vision-Vault LLC ©2011

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________


Photo of Fortune Teller by Alice Mary Herden

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Editors View

Photo of us provided by Behind the Icon

For entertainment only Psychics, are they real? On April 27, 2011, my wonderful husband bought tickets for Behind the Icon with Chip Coffey, the renowned psychic and medium. I do not know what I was thinking, nor did I know what to expect, maybe a little different then what I actually witnessed. There were varieties of people, from young to seniors that have had some type of paranormal experience or just wanted to talk to someone that had passed on, and boy there were many Super VIPS, more than I thought there would be, since the price was $149 a pop! He explained that there were three segments to this show, first would be the Q&A, and then picked out readings, and then the investigation. He talked a little bit, about what he has done, with a little bit of arrogance showing, he had some jokes now and then, and some things that have happen, as far as the show Psychic Kids and Paranormal State. Questions AND ANSWERS I was the second in line to ask a question; yes, I was a little nervous and did not quite get my question asked the right way, maybe I was intimated or overshadowed by his introduction. While I was standing waiting in line to ask my question, I cannot remember what started this, but it had to do with Jennifer Love Hewitt, he stated that “her breast


would make great dowsing rods” as he pranced side to side on the platform excelling his chest. Granted, I giggled but quickly became confused thinking was that really appropriate. My question was to know his theories on Children of the Paranormal as well as Spirits of Children. The wording did not come out right. Therefore, there was no defined answer. Nevertheless, one thing that kept coming up as an answer to some of the other persons questions about their own child’s experience with the paranormal was, PSYCHIC. Although I have to admit, I did agree with some of the things he stated but more over disagreed with his conclusions. He stated in some answers to questions by some people using the term for the child that has seen a ghost, a psychic. I am sorry folks, but is this the right word to define a child that sees a ghost or apparition. This can go so wrong in so many ways. Let me explain why, please. Say your child has seen a ghost. Then you assume that from what you have been told being at this show, your child is a psychic. I am not saying all parents would do this, but the money can be there. Can you put your child through these paranormal episodes and this child figures out a way to satisfy whomever they is teaching them to enhance this ability they might have, just so they can go do what they want to, like play with their friends. I am not saying all kids or parents are like this, I am saying, is the interest honestly there at such a young age, and are the parents doing the right thing? Please read our articles in our June Issue. Picked out Readings The second segment of this seminar was to raise your hand and he would choose a person to conduct a reading. Yes, I raised my hand and unfortunately, he did not choose me. Maybe during the first break I asked him about the airing of Psychic Kids down in Clearwater. When we did an investigation at the Capitol Theatre, Jeff told us that they did a show from the Theatre. I could not find the taping of the show anywhere on the internet and I wanted to find out why. Therefore, I asked Mr. Coffey about it and he replied, “they (A&E) pulled it due to legal matters” as he quickly walked by me. Okay, that was strange. Nevertheless, I am happy that he gave me an honest answer.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Three particular scenarios are in my mind. Granted, I cannot remember the whole details of each reading, but to only the responses that were clearly stated. I will call these my best friend, payback, and the dog. Before hand, he requested to give him the first name and relationship only. My best friend A beautiful woman, we will call her Flower, raised her hand and was picked out by Mr. Coffey. Flower told him a name and relationship. Mr. Coffey thought for a moment, and stated something totally out of Flower’s friend characteristic. I can remember seeing her expression on her face from the side, a questionable no she was not like that look. He proceeded to gesture around the chest, something like breast cancer. However, her friend did not die from breast cancer, she told us her friend was murdered. He stated there were two men that committed this crime and when Flower stated afterwards that there was only one, but Mr. Coffey was aggressively sure it had been two men. Back when the assumption of breast cancer was the cause of her death and Flower stated that her friend did not die of breast cancer, Mr. Coffey stated, I am picking up breast cancer and there are two people (spirits) coming through, (Could this happen a lot if he gets his assumption wrong?) Now Flower did in fact volunteer or worked with a Breast Cancer organization, he waved his hand in the general area where Flower was sitting from his chair. He asked if anyone in that area had or knew of someone that has dealt with breast cancer. Surprisingly, some people did hold their hand up. I really felt so sad for Flower, she was crying and still in so much emotional distress of the loss of her best friend. So far, Mr. Coffey I feel you got this one wrong. Payback Let us call this young woman, Moon. Moon seemed to be in so much frustration. I could tell that from being on the other side of the room, and just from the tone of her voice to her body language. The story goes; while crossing the street, was Moon was hit by a car. Legal situations, outcomes, decisions and/or compensations I assumed from what she was telling us, not what she expected. She asked about the “other people” that were involved. Oh... Mr. Coffey had received a visual impression that was too gruesome to share. In addition, told Moon, oh yes they are


going to get what they deserve. Seriously? Are you joking? Really, for one thing no one knows the whole story. What really happen, what transpired before Moon got in that horrible accident? Was it really, that person’s fault that hit Moon, or was it an accident? Was Moon upset and confused before she took that step to cross the street? There is not enough information here. Not a good thing to tell someone that is obviously holding on to some anger and might not be making things clear for her life to continue forward and balance some type of closure for what she went through. Could she still be dealing with that situation from years ago and still filled with so much hurt, she has not yet learned to deal with emotions and you say that crap? I was truly befuddled by this reading. I am not a psychic and even if I were, I would have never said that, I most likely would have asked her to see me later and we could talk. The Dog Let us call this woman, Aroma. Aroma stood up to ask her question about having this foul smell in her house. Mr. Coffey asked her if she had a dog, and she replied, no. Mr. Coffey’s synopsis for this foul smell was a ghost dog that farts. Nice! A couple of Chips friends that he picked out during the readings he shared his intuitiveness with us. Could this been staged? Did they just agree to what he was saying? Who knows? He did state, ask me a psychic question instead of talking to the dead. Picture Time At this time I was ready to leave and suck up the loss of my husband’s hard earn money, but Mom wanted to stay and get her picture taken with Chip. After we got our picture taken, we did not stay for the last segment of the show. Mr. Coffey does seem like a very nice person, very funny and loves his scarves. Is he a fake or the real deal? I do not know. Only the spirit world would know. Overall, I should have spent the money on something more feasible, like clothes! ~peace

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Interview

Mark Edward Mr. Edward, thank you so much for taking the time to be featured in this issue of our magazine. • Can you take a moment to tell our readers about yourself? I am a performing mentalist specializing in magic of the mind and séance production. I also have a background in performance art that ties into many years of street magic, hoaxes, and bizarre magick. I am also heavily involved in testing psychic claims through science and working with The Center for Inquiry’s Independent Investigation Group (IIG) to look scientifically at claims of the Paranormal. Although primarily a skeptic to all things paranormal, I have an open mind and I am willing to listen and look at the evidence from anyone who claims to have special powers. • Tell us how you became interested in becoming a magician and what lead to your desire to make that a profession. My grandfather was a magician. As a child, I was frequently his test subject for sleight of hand practice. From an early age, I became fascinated with the supernatural and magical thinking. • Was there anything particular that happened in your life that chose you to become involved with psychics and mediums?


Nothing supernatural in particular happened. My interest in mediumship and psychic phenomena was all a very natural evolution of first working for many years as a magician, then becoming a mentalist and then moving into the more dramatically charged atmosphere of the medium persona. Finding out that people actually held deep beliefs in psychic phenomena and being witness to hundreds of personal ghost stories became more attractive to me than just fooling people with tricks. I learned early on that if I was working at a corporate event or private party, walking around doing card and coin tricks was okay, but it often felt like I was intruding on conversations like a bad mariachi singer. While on the other hand when I did tarot or palmistry readings, people would come to me and stand in line for hours just to talk to me. It quickly became apparent that one entertainment was much more highly sought after than the other. There was a big difference in not only income levels and demand, but also the respect for the performances that I was giving that I preferred in the long run. • Being a magician how has that enhanced the tricks and trades of a psychic reader? The average street psychic has little or no mastery of showmanship, vocal intonation, staging, and a whole catalogue of both psychological and dramatic methods available in the magician’s bag of tricks. Growing up with that mindset made the transition from magician to “psychic entertainer” much easier for me and also helped me create a believable character for my sitters to buy into. I spent many years watching films and television, listening to old radio shows and reading tons of supernatural fiction about mediums and psychics to be able to cobble together a contemporary persona that would be likeable and friendly, while at the same time exude an air of mystery. The majority of today’s psychics, mediums, and ghost hunters simply have not done their homework. They are largely bullshit artists who spread doom and gloom without any care for how what they say may affect people or what “entertainment value” might be generated by what they do. Nobody wants to hear bad news or hear about things they cannot control happening to them without having something positive to buoy them back up at the end of the reading (or performance.) It took me many years of listening to the most dreadful psychics and readers before I realized there is a compassionate way to treat what you say and how you say it, even if you may see

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ obvious signs that the sitter may be in trouble. Nobody rebooks a reader (or performer) who spouts nonsense and bad news. I learned that skill from my years in the magic business, because if you are good at what you do, you are providing a comfortable shoulder to cry on while at the same time empowering people to take control of their lives or whatever particular situation they have sought you out for. If your reading or performance is entertaining as well as informative, everybody wins. In the psychic business, it is not always, about what you do, it is more about what people think you can do.

• Was there one person that you got a call from that really made you view your interaction with “call 1-900” differently?

If we look at the “successful” careers of people like James Van Praggh, John Edward (no relation BTW) or Sylvia Browne, we see that they do not have much of a background in theology, metaphysics or spiritual counseling. They have degrees in stagecraft, acting, and drama. These are normal human beings who have developed an “act” that suits them and they are playing the role of somebody who is in touch with something more powerful than everybody else is. The French magician Robert Houdini said that a magician is an actor playing the role of a magician and mediums and psychics are no different, no matter how convincing they may seem. What they do can be learned just like swimming or running. Again, common sense should tell us what these charlatans do is an act and nothing more; otherwise, they would be ruling the planet.

This was okay by me until one day I received a call from a terribly frightened little old lady who told me she had received a postcard in the mail telling her that her “life was in danger” and that she needed to “call her psychic immediately” to find out what the problem was. In fact, there was no danger or problem at all. The “Friends” had merely culled together thousands of birthdates; cherry picked the older peoples’ names and mailed them this threatening postcard. I found such coercion tactics (and many other equally manipulative scams) disgusting, exploitive and borderline criminality of the worst kind.

• Tell us about some of your experiences dealing with the 1-900’s calls as a psychic reader. There’s just so much that I could say about that crazy world and the experiences I had, it’s too ginormous to mention in brief. Suffice it to say that my book “Confessions of a 900 Psychic” would be the best to read if anyone wants to dig into the slagheap that was once the 900 business. That era is thankfully history for me. Next year, Feral House Books will be publishing my latest book “Psychic Blues” that covers in narrative form that part of my career and much more. It is a dark comedy written from facts and leaves no stone unturned about celebrities, private readings, Hollywood psychics, and people who talk to the dead. The book has a forward by James “The Amazing” Randi and I am proud to say that he has compared “Psychic Blues” to one of my favorite books and a classic of the genre, “Nightmare Alley.”


Yes. At one point, the now defunct Psychic Friends Network launched one of many shady “marketing strategies. One such con entailed getting a first time caller’s names, birthdates, and addresses for an extra 25cent bonus payment per name to the psychic, telling the psychics that this information would be used to get a “free magazine” to each name collected on their weekly lists.

• When your contract with xxx finally seized in existence after 10 years, how did that make you feel and what was your next step? Since I was already working “undercover” to infiltrate, collect and disseminate skeptical information on these sorts of cons with groups like Skeptic Magazine and fully aware of the exploitive nature of what was going on, I determined to get it all down in writing as a documentation of what was really going on at the center of the psychic cyclone that was blowing through America in the late 1990s. Out of those experiences and many others I survived through, I wrote “Psychic Blues” which spills the beans on the whole sordid mess. That is why it is called “Blues.” Getting it all down in writing was a very visceral cathartic reaction to what I saw as the dawning of the Golden Age of the Con we are finding ourselves immersed in today.

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• What makes you more frustrated the drawn out drama of these paranormal TV shows or a person spending hundreds of dollars to talk to a claimed authentic psychic? Both situations are extremely frustrating to anyone who has a rational mind and a decent level of education. That’s the problem; education in this country has fallen so completely apart that anyone who has nerve enough to stand up and say they are a “medium,” “psychic” or “ghost hunter” can bump around in a dark room with a flashlight, say they saw something and get a television series going. It is absolutely absurd we buy into this. Week after week, show after show, we hear all about this ghost and that haunted place. Every single show touts a real ghost as its centerpiece. What? Common sense alone should tell us that if even one of these hauntings or so-called “paranormal events” was even marginally scientifically assessed and if someone would turn the f***ing lights on, there might be more interest in thinking things through and less in hyping


unproven and unsupported theories and promulgating obvious storytelling. Do not get me wrong here; there is nobody who likes paranormal television more than I do. By that, I mean consciously fictional paranormal “what ifs?” I grew up watching endless hours of “Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” “The Nightstalker,” and “One Step Beyond,” so there should be no doubt I truly love the genre. However, what we are seeing pitched to us in today’s jaded ratings market is just too much poorly written, acted and quickly produced garbage being passed off as facts. This situation really pisses me off. Even the nightly news has become infected with zombies, psychic detectives, speculative ghost tale spinners and other mumbo-jumbo that was once primarily the fodder of seasonal Halloween segments. Now thanks to “Ghost Hunters” and “Medium” not to mention the countless “reality shows” we see more and more totally unproven paranormal uncertainties being paraded in an almost daily grind of sensationalism. This style of media conjecture is clearly not the news. The media should be giving us both sides of these issues if such

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ issues are to appear outside the realm of “fiction” or “drama.” We can no longer trust our networks to draw the line between fantasy and reality for us. If left up to our own designs, the vast majority of people who don’t know any better or who I have found through years of experience don’t have any idea that there is an alternative to belief in ghosts, angels and demons, will simply buy into whatever is thrust in front of them like pigs at a trough. Sorry to sound so negative, but there it is. The “fast food nation” has now been seamlessly blended with horror movie culture and we are now being served up a totally nutritionally un-balanced media Happy Meal. • Tell us more about using the five normal senses to create an illusion of the sixth. I first heard this tagline used as a disclaimer by one of my dear departed friends and teachers, mentalist Ned Rutledge. Like all good storytelling, this line was a suggestion Ned used to set-up his “experiments.” Ned was one of those rare personalities who came into mentalism untainted by having any of what we magicians call “magicians guilt.” That is, he was not a magician to begin with, so he never had to learn to let go of the “fooling you” angle most magicians go through in their transition from magician to mentalist. Ned did not trick people, he empowered them by preferring to act as a facilitator rather than an allknowing and all-seeing Chris Angel style wizard who had secret powers and is somehow better than you are. There was not a shred of arrogance or pomposity about Ned. He was a one–of-a-kind pure thinker who came into pure mentalism from a radio background. He taught me to say what I need to simply and without recourse to any phony psychic superman pretenses. That vulnerability and sense of a more human Everyman is what elevated what he did on stage from being a standard magic trick to a memorable experience of the unknown. Ned had no guilt or baggage about what he presented. There was no supernatural explanation possible with what he did. Each presentation was an illusion of creating a sixth sense with the help of the five known senses. In Ned’s world, anything created by the mind was totally natural. Since it came from the brain, what was more natural than that? There was no room for supposing supernatural intervention. I always liked that concept. Today’s “ghost hunters” and socalled “psychic investigators” who manage to convince themselves that what they are “investigating” is somehow


supernatural could take a lesson from Ned’s thinking. Unfortunately when such self-proclaimed “experts” have little else to fall back on but the fevered imagination that is generated from a confused and unfocused brain full of conspiracy theories, campfire tales and paranormal television programming, like the fast food culture we live in: you get what you pay for. It would be well for all of us to take a step back and consider the source of our conclusions.

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________

• The Skeptologists, your involvement to finding the truth about the paranormal and identifying the frauds, has opened most of the public’s eyes. Which case that you were personally involved in made you believer and which case made you a non-believer? What anyone might observe as “the truth” is extremely subjective. I am not sure I want to know any incontrovertible truths. After knowing that, what would be left to discover about life? I do know that coming from a magic background; I would say I am largely skeptical but still willing to listen in a continuing process of remaining essentially open minded. There are many cases that I have investigated, none that have ever made me “a believer” as such. I tend to agree with the sentiments of one of the great writers of supernatural fiction, Charles Beaumont, who said that while he did not necessarily believe in flying saucers, witchcraft and ghosts, what he did believe in was mankind’s ability to be fascinated and believe in such things. I am finding that talking about these fantastic areas of interest and branching out through contacts and


earnest investigations with like minds is enough for me right now. I remain hopeful of some new breakthroughs in research into psychic phenomena, but I am not holding my breath or living in a fantasy world about it. One of the prime reasons I first became involved with the skeptical movement was not to be a de-bunker or a naysayer, but rather to embrace the thought that when and if any firm conclusions or evidence for the existence of the paranormal were to be found. It was my conviction that it would come through an involvement with science, rational thinking, and skepticism rather than from believers. After all, the believers already believe in these things, so anything substantial is not likely to come from their camps. If and when we have a breakthrough with such things as telepathy, telekinesis, or any of the wonderful concepts that have sprung forth from the minds of writers, poets, and mystics for centuries become manifested in reality. It is going to have to come from the direct application of science. Because science is all we have that tells us something is real and genuine through testing and applying sound logic and reasoning. It may sound a tad

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ disillusioning for folks who live in world of EVP’s, auras and talking with dead people, but until something better comes along, it works for me. • If you had chance to come face to face with a well televised, claimed to be an authentic psychic or medium, what two questions would you ask? 1)


If you can truly talk to dead people, why don’t you get in touch with the spirit of Albert Einstein and find a way to neutralize all the nuclear weapons on the planet all at once? What was the name of my first pet and what did she used to do with her nose?

• In closing, when a person is honestly seeking some type of answers from the beyond, and the first suggestion to them, would be to talk to a psychic, what advice would you give that person. First off, stop seeking answers from “beyond,” whatever that is! The answers are right in front of you if you look inside your own heart. It is called intuition folks. It has been around a long long time. It is my experience that 90% of the people who come to me for a reading or seek out psychics, mediums or other soothsayers already know the answers to the questions they ask. They are just either too stubborn to act on what they know deep down inside or want some other person (i.e. the psychic) to validate it for them, for better or worse. This sort of laziness has to stop unless you want to be tied into someone else’s opinions. That is all they are, opinions. If they were the sacred word sent directly from some divine source, why does a psychic have to be in between you and those words anyway? Cut out the “middleman” and learn to listen to your own gut level, because that is all you are’ paying the psychic for anyway. However, if you must throw away good money: Think up two or three solid questions that only you know and your “person from beyond” could possibly know the answer to. Think long and hard about these questions before going to any psychic or medium. Then (if you must) go see the psychic then sit down and ask them to answer your three questions without you asking them aloud. If they answer all three without hints, clues, equivocation, pumping or fishing, you may have a winner.


BTW: finding such, a person might make them a prime candidate for IIG’s $50,000.00 Challenge. We have 50K sitting on the table for that psychic. In addition, we have a $5,000.00 Finder’s Fee that will be awarded to you if you win the $50,000.00. Can you find a psychic who is willing to be tested in a mutually agreed upon test here in Hollywood? Yep, that means a total of $55,000 is ready for you or someone you may know. If there truly are ghosts and demons popping up all over the television networks, this should be an easy thing to do. You can buy a lot of EVP meters and flashlights for $50K. In addition, winning our IIG prize would automatically make such an individual an instant candidate for the James Randi One Million Dollar Challenge, not to mention turning the entire scientific world upside down by successfully changing the rules of known physics. Can you show us?

Spread the word. You can find me and my books, videos and podcasts at You can read my blogs on supernatural and paranormal subjects at: * Photos Credit Photos of Mark Edward by Susan Gerbic-Forsyth

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Tarot Card Readers

at a thrift store, The Complete Guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray.

The Brother Many years ago, a gentleman that worked at the trailer park I was living at approached me. We sat on the floor and I did a different spread. I always have them shuffle the cards and think of what they want an answer to. This also puts all their energy into the cards. I could see from the expression face and his body language that there was something going on. What that was, I did not know. For some reason, I could not find the part where it states what card represents his sign in my book, so I told him to pick out a card. He had chosen the card of destruction. I started to read the cards and felt that he was going through something but he did not tell me anything, it was just an overall uneasy feeling. I did explain to him that I was just a beginner at this, when he left. The next couple of days I ran into the manager, and she asked me about his reading. I told her that there was a lot issues going on, not good. She proceeded to tell me his brother had committed suicide by putting a gun to his head a couple of days ago. My jaw dropped and I was devastated. I never did find out what exactly happen with his brother, maybe things are better left untold. Many years ago, my mom volunteered at a metaphysical bookstore and church. It was then I became more and more fascinated with the the metaphysical myth and new age concepts. I am a creative person, thanks to my awesome Mom; I would take something from a book and find ways to create candles or something that pertain to one particular word, or the meaning of it. It was a boost of energy and enlightment for me as well as through me. Although I cannot paint or draw, not even a good looking stick figure, but my visualization of how I see it becoming a creation from its base to the completion of its entirety drove me to my limits. I absolutely love the creative vision that these artists bestowed as the meaning of what each card represents. I often think about creating my own set of tarot cards with how I creatively envision the meanings. Someday I will make the time to do so. I have personally read tarot cards for some of my friends, family and to a one gentleman that will always stay with me. Granted I am no expert on reading tarot cards, I have to read the meanings from my old tarot card book I bought


Can people that read tarot cards actually communicate to the dead? There are people that say yes, and people that say no. Melanie Harris had written and article about talking to ones that have passed on through tarot cards. Does this work? I decided to test this out for myself. I followed the instructions by only opening a channel to talk to my mother and no one else. I shuffled the cards and spread them on my desk. My first card I pulled from the shuffle was Death and the meaning of Death is transformation, birth of new ideas and new opportunities. Which was weird that I was thinking of the Death Card when I was waving my hands over the cards, coincidence? Not sure. The Second card I was thinking of my sister. That card came up to be the four of pentacles, and then I asked about her, my mom, how was she and got the card The Horned one, meaning discontent, depression illness, sensation divorced from understanding. Here are some

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ other cards I pulled out. Page of Cups; New Business Proposed. Six of pentacles; others will share you justly, will receive what you deserve. Queen of Swords; mourning for those she loves who are far away, fondness of dancing. I am not sure all of this makes sense, but my mom loved dancing and she was depressed and ill months before she passed away. While I was telling her I loved her, tears filled my eyes and then my emotions went from sadness to laughing within seconds. She always knew how to make light of things. I do miss her so much. I closed the channel and wished my mom peace. Was this her? Maybe or maybe I just had a lucky hand that described everything I was thinking. I love you mom! * Photos by Alice Mary Herden Can Tarot Card Readers really have a spread that tells the truth? A part of me says maybe, but then a part of me says it is the luck of the draw.


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ HISTORY The first introduction of the Tarot cards was in the early 1400s, just like the Ouija Board, used as a purpose of an entertaining game. The game called Tarocchini. In the late th th 18 thru 19 centuries, the Tarot cards became associated with mysticism and magic.

Jean-Baptiste Alliette, ca. 1760. Wikipedia Etteilla was the first to start the way tarot cards are used today. Jean-Baptiste Alliette (1738-1791). He was a French occultist, first to popularize tarot divination. Etteilla was revised and redesigned for the soul purpose of occult readings.

Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand Wikipedia * Tarot card: Dover Marie Anne Lenormand was the most famous Tarot card th reader in the 17 century. A French professional fortune teller, Marie became noted for her cartomantic advise, and been thrown in jail a couple of times due to the controversy over her fortune telling readings. After her death, a new divination of cards has been introduced, the Lenormand cards.


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Interviews with Tarot Card Readers Interview with Liat


• You have stated that your career was also that of a therapist. How has that education about relationships help you with your readings? It has helped me enormously. Sometimes I am giving people news they do not want to hear, sometimes people are in a lot of pain, I am glad that I have the training that I have had! • Within your blog, you have taken long faithfully steps to describe your personal meaning of each card within the Tarot Deck. How important was this for you do? Initially I did this to show people that I am serious and informed about the Tarot, but I also loved doing it. I learnt pre-internet and did not have access to the images and information people do now, and it was fun going and searching for images that spoke to me, reading other people’s blogs, just feeling more part of the online community.

• Can you share with our readers about yourself and your history with reading Tarot Cards?

• In your opinion, would there be any difference in a querent’s outcome if their reading had been conducted by phone whether then being conducted on a personal basis?

I have been reading cards for over 25 years. In my experience, it is common for teenage girls to pick up a pack of tarot cards and play with them, book in hand, but then they get frustrated; it is a lot of information to take on board at first. But I persevered, loving the feel of the cards, loving the ideas there… I began to read for strangers in my early 20’s and I am 48 now.

I personally cannot do phone readings, so for me there is an enormous difference. I tell people that I need them to shuffle the cards. It is really important for me that they physically touch the cards, putting their energy out there. I have done readings via Skype, when they had their own pack, but only for people, I have already met and read for irl. It worked well.

• At what point in your life did you become aware that you wanted to concentrate more of your life towards reading tarot cards.

• You personally have had over twenty-five years experience in Tarot card readings, within those twentyfive years have you experience a reading that you have done for someone that was totally out of their character.

I am a qualified psychotherapist, and I used to wish I could bring my cards into the hospital. I often say that a good reading can cut through 6 months of therapy! I came to the US with my husband, for his work, and I was not licensed to practice here. And then I thought… I have always done the cards part time, but why not give them some more time and energy and see what happens… and I am very glad I did. • There are so many tarot cards being manufactured, which deck of cards are you more comfortable using? There are so many beautiful cards out there! I learnt using Rider Waite cards. They are like old friends now, so complex and familiar. I also use the Inner Child cards, which use fairy tales as their basis if you want to discover some more decks, has an excellent range.


No, most of my readings people nod and say, ‘I knew that’ but here is someone with 78 pieces of cardboard saying the same thing. I have often told people things they do not want to hear, but rarely things that completely shocked them. For instance, last week I did a reading for a woman who wants to get back with her ex, but I kept saying I don’t see it, I don’t’ see him near you at all, no matter how she phrased the question. And then she told me that they had split up 5 years ago, and he was married to someone else… And I looked at her gently and said, he is not available to you… do not go there, it is bad karma. • If someone wanted to learn more about Tarot cards and consider taking this interest to a full time business, what would be the best advice you can give that person? Start slowly, read for friends and then friends of friends… Read a lot of books and blogs– Rachel Pollack is a wonderful resource. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom is a great start.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ =1278612374&sr=8-2 Be honest about your experience and capacity. Enjoy. * photo provided by Liat Silberman

Interview with Mary


pretty well. With a Personality Card of The Moon, I feel comfortable walking paths that others find mysterious and even frightening, whether that be exploring the unconscious, working with dreams and visions, or communicating with the other side. See my forthcoming book from RedWheel/Weiser called Who Are You in the Tarot? (August 2011) for more information on Tarot Birth Cards. • What experience did you have that made you interested in becoming a Tarot card reader?

When I was a child, we moved a lot and my mother took us regularly to the library where the first things I always looked up were the subjects: gypsy, witch, and magic. I did not know what I was looking for, although I realized that books on hauntings, Edgar Cayce, and card tricks were not quite it. There was a hunger for something I could not articulate, but when I saw the Tarot, I knew that was "it," or at least a major part of it. Through wanting to know everything, I could about Tarot, I learned about astrology, qabala, ceremonial magic, and Wicca, as well as history, psychology, art, myth and all the other things that now fascinate me. I should mention that I was already learning about Jungian archetypes and Campbell's Hero's Journey when I first encountered Tarot, and so I recognized the cards as a perfect way to explore these concepts in an individual's own life. I also became interested in reading tarot for one's self, which, at the time, all the books said not to do. This resulted in my first and best-selling book, Tarot for Your Self, now completely revised and expanded.

• Can you tell our readers about yourself and your soul purpose of being involved with Tarot cards?

• As far as the research you have done on the history of Tarot cards, which time would you feel most comfortable in, if you had the chance to live in that era, and would you change anything.

I have been teaching Tarot regularly for 37 years and reading it for far longer. When I first discovered the cards in college I knew immediately that they served my life purpose—that I would teach them in college as an academic subject (which I did) and that I would eventually write a book about them (and I've written nine, so far). My Soul Card, based on my birth date, is The Hermit. It indicates an "old soul" who sometimes works as a "Way Shower"—a guide on the journey within. I think this characterizes me

Looking back now, I would find it fascinating to have been a part of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the 1890s, although I am sure the personalities would have driven me crazy. My Master's in English Literature focused on 19th century British fiction so I feel comfortable with the period. I later wrote a scholarly biography of four women who were original initiates, called Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses. I tried to get a sense of whether I had been one of these women in a previous life so I could look directly on

*Photo provided by Mary K Greer, Credit: Paul Nagy


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ what was happening, but I am convinced that I was not with the result I kept to a scholarly approach. Personally, I do not feel a need to change anything. I am happy living now, with my modern feminist sensibilities, computer, and iPad. • How has has Tarot changed over time? Granted the artwork has changed, but how has fortune telling with Tarot Cards changed?

The Tarot originated in Northern Italy, probably Milan, in the first half of the 15th century. There is not a shred of evidence for it having originated elsewhere, and the original images, sentiments, and direct evidence are found in Northern Italy from precisely that period and shortly before. The cards were used for games similar to Whist or Bridge, but also for word-games describing someone's character. While there is some evidence for cards of various kinds, being used for fortune telling from the 15th century on, it is slight and mentions extremely rare. So, the greatest change occurred in the late 18th century when Antoine Court de Gébelin, le Comte de Mellet and Etteilla all announced Tarot's "occult" heritage (deriving from Egypt) and the use of Tarot in divination. The fact that all three men were Freemasons, involved in a newly constituted "Egyptian Rite," who believed that hidden wisdom was concealed in the sacred images of Egypt, and that parallels could easily be drawn between Egyptian imagery and the Tarot, was probably the cause for this. From that point on, there are regular developments in the occult and divinatory Tarot in both France and England, resulting in different traditions on the continent from those in the English-speaking world. The Crowley/Harris Thoth deck and the Rider-Waite-Smith deck emerged from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The RiderWaite-Smith deck, with its Minor Arcana illustrated by pictorial scenes, ushered in the modern, more psychological and projective techniques of reading the cards, and became the inspiration for the greatest number of decks created since the mid-20th century. • In your bio, you described yourself as a “midwife of the soul.” Can you explain to our readers what that means and why you used this as a characteristic of being a tarot card reader?

I certainly do not say this is an approach that anyone


else has to take to reading the cards. I think that each person should find and develop their own strengths. However, it is what I do best, and what I teach best. I was good friends with several midwife educators and authors, and we found we both described what we did in very similar ways. It was only later that I discovered that the term may go back to Freud and even Socrates before him. What I personally mean by this is that I use my knowledge of Tarot to ask querents questions that take them deeply into the cards' imagery, so as to assist them in bringing their own wisdom to birth. Essentially, through interactive processes, I help them come to their own insights. Of course, I am also free to use any other techniques that I deem appropriate to the individual situation. That is why my book, 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card, teaches so many different card interpretation techniques. • There are different spreads that throughout many centuries have changed: the three-card spread that represents past, present and future to the tree of life spread. Which spread are you most comfortable with and which spread has been determined most accurate in readings?

In all my years of doing Tarot and attending classes and conferences, I've never heard of any spread being "more accurate" than another—just personal preferences. Essentially, from the late 19th century when most traditional spreads we use were 'created,' and up until around 1980, few people thought about creating their own spreads. Most people used spreads that had been published in books in either France or England, but people were beginning to made more personal adaptations of these classics. A few deck creators began offering their own spreads particular to their decks. Over the past twenty years there has been an explosion of thousands of new spreads—many of these available on the internet rather than in books. As to accuracy: The more you know a spread, the better you are at seeing connections among the cards that form a meaningful pattern. You can concentrate on the patterns rather than trying to figure out the position meanings. For this reason, I often use the Celtic Cross Spread; I like to say I know all the underground passageways connecting its positions. However, a new spread can offer fresh perspectives and surprise you into a new way of

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ seeing the cards and their information. It is also possible to do spread-less readings or to create a spread on-the-spot based on the querent's issue. I especially like doing the latter. • We now have more advanced technology that has incorporated the use of tarot card readings. What are your opinions about the use of technology and the Internet for readings?

Whatever works for you! I have had some great automated readings. I think the cards can be right on, however, the card meanings are canned and no matter how well written and integrated with an issue and position meaning (like those at ), computers are not yet able to discern meaningful patterns that are possible in an entire spread. Intuition and/or psychic ability is entirely lacking. I created a Yes/No Advice spread for that is now also available as an App for the iPad, and I am working on an App for Tarot Birth Cards. • Are there differences, if any, among receiving a tarot card reading from a Witch, Gypsy, and Medium? I have never had a reading channeled by a professional medium. The only reading by a gypsy was,

unfortunately, the kind where I was told I was cursed and needed the curse removed, although I am perfectly aware that many gypsies are knowledgeable and excellent readers with no scams! And, while many readers I know are Wiccan, the readings I have had by them were usually as tarot readers and not as priestesses. I consider the use of tarot in sacred ceremony to be an entirely different matter that I cannot explain simply. I have had a few readings by psychics who use the tarot as a focus or jumping off point without actually reading the cards. Personally, I prefer going to a psychic who works without the cards. If I want a card reading, then I much prefer someone who really knows the symbols used in the cards and how to go deeply into their meanings. To me the work of a tarot reader is about interpreting the meaning of the cards in relationship to the issue and about weaving this into meaningful patterns that may elucidate even larger issues in the person's life. For myself, everything is grounded in the cards!


• How much is fortune telling through Tarot cards true? Wouldn't you think that some confused, lost, or curious person just wants to be told their future is a happy one? Moreover, do you feel that some readers use negative statements to make a person come back, in order to financially benefit the tarot card reader?

There are people who run scams in every business and area of life! Tarot is no different. Furthermore, because the meaning of the cards is not readily apparent to the uninitiated, and because clients are often desperate to get help and have not found it elsewhere, they are sometimes perfect dupes. You have a professional 'advisor,' whose area of expertise is believed to be "secret knowledge of hidden things" and whose job is to provide answers, and you have a situation ripe for abuse. It is not just gypsies that run scams. Handbooks written by socalled "Mentalists" offer scripts to be memorized and used especially for quick readings at psychic fairs—the object being to read as many people as possible in a way that will highly impress the client. On the other hand, the true tarot reader—who is not out to scam anyone—is most likely a very intuitive empath. Because they sense emotions so strongly, the temptation is to try really hard to make someone feel better by 'fixing' their problem. And yet, being intuitive, they are able to make connections and have insights that are truly helpful. And, luckily, the better a person feels about the outcome of something, the more likely they are to create it, so this tendency to be positive works in the client's favor. Out of 350 tarot readers who listed their personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) on AeclecticTarot, over 70% are "Introvert Intuitives" (found in approximately 15% of the US population), while only slightly more than 1% of tarot readers are "Extravert Sensates" (found in almost 33% of the US population). You can find out more about these types by googling MBTI.

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Using Clairvoyants, and mediums During Paranormal Investigations

communicate with us. We did not pick up any EVPs on the recorder, and she would not communicate with the clairvoyant.

Our own paranormal group, Dust and Shadows, has a member with clairvoyant abilities. When we conduct our investigations, she either goes in first or goes in last with another member of the group. I feel her abilities and findings should be separate from conducting an investigation. Why? So she will not be distracted and fully enhance her communication with whomever, is residing in that location spiritually. During our investigation at the Capitol Theatre, she did, in fact have several paranormal experiences. Although on that day of our investigation, I was unable to attend. So not being there with her, I am not able to share those experiences with you. Another experience we had together was in Micanopy. I can share that information with you because I was present. I do remember when my husband and I, along with his parents took a day trip to Micanopy. We walked into the bookstore and for me personally, it just felt off. I cannot really explain it in detail. However, I was always focusing on the chair. Maybe when I was taking photos, I was wishfully thinking that I would actually catch someone sitting in the chair reading a book. The whole ambience of that bookstore sets the mood. The dust layered bookshelves, the leaked stained ceilings, flowing cobwebs in the corners, creaking wood floors every time you took a step, just a beautiful setting for a perfect little made up ghost story, or is it? Our clairvoyant saw the spirit of a woman standing in the doorway to a back room. The spirit woman appeared to be of Native American descent, but was dressed as someone from the 1950s or 1960s. She seemed very troubled, but every time the clairvoyant when near the doorway, the woman disappeared. She seemed to be afraid of, or hiding from, the owner of the bookstore, who was clearly AngloSaxon in heritage so any blood relationship was unlikely. Perhaps the owner looked to her to be someone she had known and feared. We noticed that the owner kept looking at us near that door. Maybe he did not want us to go into the back room — there was really nothing of interest in there — but it is possible he was aware of the ghost! The clairvoyant told her to go to the light, but the spirit seemed intent on staying around, yet she would not


Photo by Alice Mary Herden There will always be debates about the use of clairvoyants or mediums by paranormal groups. but ours does not research the location beforehand so she will have no preconceived notions about the history of or activities within the given location. I do remember watching a video in which Dr. Ciaran O’Keeffe, from Most Haunted videotaped a couple of claim to be mediums at a location with paranormal activity. At this location, he made up a fictional character and scenarios, he went all the way an actually created a website as well. The mediums were dead right, dead right with what was fictional. We are fortunate that our relationship with our clairvoyant is based on trust and commitment. She knows I stand in the middle on the line, and she knows that I fully trust her, honestly and without deliberations. We balance each other out, and we have full respect for each other. I feel with all of us within our group, we can find logical, pronounced evidences of spirits and more so to go beyond the explanations of their existence.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Interview

• Knowing that you have this ability, how did that change your life as a teenager and with your relationship with other kids your own age? It was not until after 9/11 that I realized not everyone did what I did. I had a precognitive dream back in February of 2011 that the two buildings were on fire and I had told my mother about it. After 9/11 happened and I talked about having the dream in school was when I realized not everyone did what I did. For a while, there I did feel like an outcast and there were some kids that did give me a rough time. It is all part of growing up and those lessons were hard but part of my path. I think that it is accepted a lot more in the past decade since 9/11 than it was back then. We are slowly starting to see both the psychic realm and paranormal realm be accepted more and more by people not directly involved in the fields.

Dakota Lawrence Thank you, Mr. Lawrence for taking this time to be a part of our magazine. It is definitely not a problem! Looking forward to this interview! • Please, tell our readers about yourself. Well I am Dakota Lawrence. I am a clairvoyant medium and I started at the age of twelve reading for others and then decided to go professional at fifteen. Since that time I've been blessed to have been able to reach numerous clients and help others get back on their path and work towards their own personal enlightenment and also have my clients teach me a lot along the way as well. • Could you share your first experience that you had on a psychic level when you were a child, and how did that make you feel at such an early age. I was fortunate enough to be raised by two psychic women so I really cannot remember a time in my life where I did not know the paranormal and did not ever realize that not everyone's family did the readings and did the investigations, etc. It was truly just part of our daily lives and it still is part of our daily lives.


• What would be the most important advice can you give from your own experiences if a child comes to you and shares that they might have a psychic ability? Never be ashamed of your gift and never be afraid to say what is on your mind. Is it hard? Of course, it is hard at times but knowing that you can help other people is what matters. I would never tell a child to push ahead but instead if they want to pursue a path and nurture their gifts more I would help them out to the best of my ability and if they decided to pull away from it because they fear the ridicule that is also understandable as well. Personally, I would just try to help them embrace it and accept it and help them to the best of my ability. • What are thoughts about the exposing children that have been told they have a psychic ability, through the media or other means? Every case is different. I think some parents want their kid to be "gifted" while other parents are truly seeking help so to make a majority statement is not fair. I am a firm believer in allowing your child to be a child and letting them make their own decisions within reasons and never trying to push them to what the parents want them to be. So if the parents go onto a television show seeking help because that is what they found then I cannot tell them that what they are doing is wrong however if a parent pushes a child in a direction the child doesn't want to go down then I think that is where it crosses the line and is wrong.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ • When you are on an investigation with other paranormal investigators, tell us how you blend your abilities as Clairvoyant Medium and a Psychic Investigator during these investigations. Well I go in completely "dry" into a location, down to even telling the team I am going with to literally not even tell me where I am going so my impressions on the location are not clouded by facts I know prior to the arrival of the location. Once I get to the location I will tell the team what I am picking up on and where I feel the strongest energies are at in the location and hope that through the research the team does on the history of the location and through the evidence they gathered from the investigation hopefully my impressions prove to be accurate. • Is there any encounter of paranormal activity, as well as your own gifts that has tested your own theories about the afterlife?

• You stated that when you were growing up, the place that you lived had paranormal activity. Can you share those experiences with us? You have three psychics under one roof. Things are always going to happen! I really cannot remember a time in my life where there was not some kind of paranormal activity going on. It is kind of part of the job I guess? • As a Paranormal Investigator, can you share with us how you became involved in this field? Well I remember going out to locations as a teenager with my family and working on adapting my gifts there. I am also, believe it or not a hardcore skeptic of the paranormal and also psychic phenomena so I like pushing myself to find proof of what I am seeing is real but also proof that the paranormal is real. I know that to have a definitive scientific proof will be next to impossible but I would at least like to figure out the how psychic/paranormal phenomena happens and why it happens.

I have a very strong faith in the Creator/God/Universe (whatever you want to call it). Luckily, I have not experienced anything and hope to never experience anything that shakes my faith through my work that would definitely be something I would not look forward to whatsoever. I would say that through my work it has helped strengthen my belief in life after death and that there is more to the picture than we see through the work I have been blessed to do. • In closing, is there anything you wish to share about about what you call “soul level” and the importance it holds? Soul Level means it is the core. You strip away everything we gather in life and leave really what counts. With my readings I call them "soul level" because it is about things in your life that are coming forward that are your obstacles and things that you need to re-evaluate going on around you. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life that we forget to take care of ourselves and we really forget to learn the lessons and appreciate the things that are brought into our daily lives, so when you take all of that away... it leaves the soul level, the basis of our life and the basis of our existence. * photos provided by Dakota Lawrence


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ In Closing;

keys for no reason, would that change your path? Maybe these do change your past, your present, and your future. Can you create your own destiny, your own path? Could there be a way to communicate with a spirit through readings, mediums, or psychics? There will always be questions about the truth behind people who claim they can see beyond, read your future and so forth. When you associate yourself with people in this field, a couple of important questions you should ask yourself are these; are they giving you advice about your life as to how they think you should handle certain situations, or providing helpful information so that you can decide how to handle your situation? Are psychics and mediums truly looking out for your best interests, or do they seem to have their own agenda? If you do decide to seek out a medium or psychic to find answers to your questions or to talk to a loved one that has passed, remember if you do not feel comfortable, then you have that choice to step aside. Smile and say, “This is making me uncomfortable with what you are saying to me, and I do thank you for your time.”

Still we at one time or another do wish we could speak to someone we lost. I would love to find out where my Mom is. I would like to know if she is safe. What it is like where she is, or is she just another mist like soul that evaporated in the hospital where she died. I know that in my heart I see her at my age, beautiful, happy, and so full of life, and wearing those black framed glasses with the rhinestones in the corners. I have her pictures scattered in my office and she is with me every hour I am in here. Maybe she is the one that is helping me write my articles, she did love to write stories. Again, we will never know the truth to this; everyone has their own interpretation on everything from why spirits exists to how people can be intuitive. As I always say, you do what you feel is right for you and that make sense to you. You can agree and you have that option to disagree. It is your choice. I have had readings entertained by a few psychics and tarot card readers in my days, and I took everything they had come up with, regardless of how far diffused it was, with a grain of salt. However, that was my own experience. Could people know your past, present or future but you? Could you change a path you take with just a blink of an eye, a breath you hold in longer, taking a right turn instead of a left turn? It is as if you drop your


This is human nature to question what you do not understand. There are so many other questions that need answers and I have my questions to. We can have all the questions in the world, it is finding what you believe in and what makes sense to you just maybe the answer. As far as psychics, tarot card readers, mediums or what have you, whether you do this on-line or in person, I do respect you in every way, as long as you do not lead people on, misinform them, or disrespect the people that are paying you. This also includes mediums within the paranormal investigations. Are there people out there that might truly have this ability to “read” people and communicate with spirits, as well? Even though there have been questionable situations that have dealt with people within this profession, I still think that there might be people that do have this ability, and use it appropriately. ~alice

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31 Photo by Alice Mary Herden

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ ENCOUNTERS

OUIJA BOARD You finally have the nerve to go to the store and buy this game. Your buying it just because of all the commotion that surrounds this board and your curiosity is getting the best of you, or you really want to communicate with the dead. Yes, when we were kids we did experiment with the Ouija Board. Some of us remember what happen others, like me, do not. Maybe that is a good thing.

The History The first patent that had been recorded was in 1854 by Aldophus Wagner, the Talking Board. It was 30 years later when William Fuld patent what we know as the Talking Board, The Ouija Board. We are very fortunate for the Ouija Board enthusiasts; Robert Mulch dedicated his life to research the history of the Ouija Board. If you want to learn about the history to the ninety-six year old family feud surrounding the Ouija Board, browse around on his website:

The Good/The bad Having anything that has to do with communicating with spirits, there are always going to be a yin and yang, positive or negative, black or white. Before you do anything when contacting ghosts, sprits or the dead, to make your feel better, protect yourself with a white spiritual light, and only want to communicate with that one person. This is so no other spirits can channel through. Then if you are just going to do this for fun and curiosity, well, do it at your own risk. Some people have had experiences that are less to be desired. Even though it’s main purpose was for entertaining. But then again was that the intention of the first creator? Naw.. Right? As I said before, do your research and investigating before you attempt this! The stories shared by others might change your mind about running out to buy this game. On the other hand, some of those stories will not.


There is so much more information about the Ouija board I would love to share with you. I have decided to include another article about the Ouija board in our October Issue. Send us your Ouija board experiences to: * photo by Alice Mary Herden, which I took while Don and I were at an antique store in North Carolina

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Bridge of souls By Jesselee lang


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Paranormal Folklore

Bridge of Souls When the dead have passed over, for many that transition to the afterlife is crossing a bridge. Also in folklore myth, The Ancients believed the bridge is a passageway from earth to eternity, but guarded by the Goddess of Death. There was an order of Bridge Priestess, who bore the name Lady of the Bridge. The Bridge of Souls is also termed as a rainbow, which was replaced by the Milky Way. In parts of Germany, they believe that the rainbow is that of the children’s souls led to the heavens. Even in Islamic religion, the Bridge of Souls in concept is known as the Chinvat Bridge. In Scripture, the myth of this bridge is evident in its way of how the souls cross the bridge. After the soul has left the body, how it crosses over is in terms of how the soul lived on earth. You do good things, then the way is clear, but if you do bad things, well it would be a long fall. The soul enters to what is called Time that is open to the righteous and the wicked. There they will meet a beautiful maiden with dogs at her side, and only there she will make the souls of righteous go above to the heavens. The bridge can be broad and traveled safe for the righteous but for the wicked your path is thin with sharp razor like sides. Whatever your belief of myth maybe, the imagination of the guardian at the foot of the bridge is of what culture has commended it to be. Some interesting guardians for the Bridge of Souls; The Owl Woman: She is the keeper of the bridge, and casts off those souls and spirits into a dark abyss below. Rashnu: who is known to be one of the seven divine in Persian Mythology. He is a divine angel of justice and final judgment. He carries golden scales and weighs the souls that which to cross the bridge before judgment. Source


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Famous Haunting


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ a month before they moved in. However, the Despards seem to have named the spirit Imogen. The drunker lady next door. That in its self would make a great 1800s soap opera. More information about the Cheltenham Ghost * Illustration by Alice Mary Herden

Cheltenham Haunting In 1882, the Despard family moved into this beautiful Victorian house in Cheltenham. With him was his second wife, Harriett Ann and their six children. This story involves mostly around their nineteen-year-old teenager, Rosina. The first experience Rosina witness was stated to be in her bedroom. Hearing the door rattling, she opening the door and no one was there. As she looked down the hallway, she saw a tall woman in a black dress covering her face with a handkerchief. As Rosina followed the lady by candlelight to the stairs, her candle blew out. Soon after that, Rosina has seen the apparition more frequently as well did her siblings and their housemaid. In 1884, more strange things started to happen. Strange noises and more sightings of the “weeping widow.� Now it is stated that she wrote letters to, I assume a friend, named Catherine all about these sightings she was experiencing in this house. Now that would be an interesting letter to read. Another apparition visit was when Rosina and both her parents were reading in a room. The ghost stood by Rosina for a half hour and she said nothing to her parents. She tried to follow the apparition and talk to it. She even went so far to tie wires, I guess across the hall or stairs, to trip it. From what is known about any actually death in that house, would be of Mr. Littlewood, who passed away just


Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Famous Places

He went so far as to build a guest house with a splendid view of the Nun’s Walk where he regaled his family and friends with his supernatural experiences as they waited with great anticipation for a glimpse of the sorrowful Nun.


This is a haunting story not only of the supernatural, but also of Dysfunctional Relationships, Lust, Greed, Betrayal, Perversion, Deceit, and possibly MURDER. The tiny sparsely populated hamlet of Borley would be a largely forgettable and totally unremarkable destination except for its one and only claim to fame; it is the former site of the notorious Borley Rectory. The Borley Rectory was built in 1863 as a residence for Reverend Henry Bull and his family. The place chosen to build the Rectory was on the previous site of an ancient Benedictine Monastery, and it was by 1863, already steeped in stories of tragedy and haunting. Most of these tales hearken back to the th 14 century where legend has it that a local nun and a monk from the monastery were caught trying to elope in a horse drawn coach. The monk was promptly hanged and his bride to be was bricked up alive inside a cellar wall. The so-called Nun’s Walk is where this tragic ghostly figure is often spotted wandering the garden; possibly still awaiting the arrival of her ill-fated groom. After the death of Henry Bull in 1892, his son, the Reverend Harry Bull, replaced him. Reverend Harry having grown up in this house where strange, eerie and unexplainable occurrences were the norm, found the events amusing and hugely entertaining.


* photo of Henry Bull

The Reverend Harry Bull remained pastor of Borley Parrish until his death in 1927. The sprawling antiquated Rectory with a well-known reputation for being haunted stood empty for a year until the newly appointed minister, Reverend Eric (Guy) Smith, and his wife reluctantly move in. During their occupancy, the familiar age-old sightings of the unfortunate Nun continued along with sightings of a horse drawn coach with two headless coachmen and Mrs. Smith once found a brown paper package containing a human skull while cleaning.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ The skull-finding while unnerving was probably from a victim of the plague in the 1600s, as bones from that era were commonly found in the region. The Smiths endured countless events such as the sounds of mysterious footsteps, doorbells ringing of their own accord and flying rocks to name but a few. The Smiths decided to seek help, but oddly, not from the church diocese but rather from the Daily Mirror Newspaper. A reporter along with a psychic investigator, Harry Price, were quickly dispatched for a three day fact finding mission; and thus began Harry Price’s inextricable ties to Borley Rectory. Shortly after his first visit, Price independently requested to spend more time with the Smiths at the Rectory, and they agreed. It was during these subsequent visits that he reported firsthand accounts of much poltergeist activity and during one séance held in the Blue Room, Price claimed to have made contact with the Reverends Bull who had both died in that room. Finally, after nearly three years, the Smiths had had enough of the haunting, the public notoriety, and the curiosity seekers, they moved away in 1930.

a widely known and secure reputation as “The Most Haunted House in England.”

The Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife Marianne became the next residents of the Borley Rectory and were by far the most interesting live people to ever occupy the vicarage, as I shall later explain. It was during their tenancy that the odd and inexplicable events that routinely occurred suddenly multiplied and intensified and new phenomena began to happen. Witnesses recounted episodes of increased poltergeist activity; phantoms smashed glasses and windows and hurled stones through the air. Marianne was supposedly thrown from her bed numerous times by an unseen entity and on one of those occasions was nearly smothered with her own mattress. Marianne was also observed writing strange, often indecipherable messages on the walls while in a trancelike state. Séances were held frequently with great success and those spirits contacted usually made themselves known through Marianne. It was during one of the last séances held that a spirit named Sunex Amures foretold that the Borley Rectory would burn down that very night. It did not happen….at least not on that particular night.

By the time the Foysters left, the Rectory was in an alarming state of disrepair; the house and grounds would need a virtual army of servants to restore and maintain it in tiptop condition. Harry Price, the psychic investigator and frequent visitor to the Rectory seized the opportunity to rent the property for one year in order to mount an in depth investigation of the haunting... He engaged fortyeight serious observers, handpicked from hundreds of applicants. The Observers were from diverse disciplines and backgrounds to provide more perspectives, but in hindsight, they also brought varying levels of commitment and objectivity to the task... During the year, Harry Price oversaw the gathering and documentation of information from the Observers, but he did not personally stay at the Rectory to avoid future claims that he had biased the results. For this work, Price is credited with developing a prototype for a Ghost Hunter’s Kit as well as setting up guidelines for a systematic approach to documenting a haunting.

After five years, the Reverend Lionel Foyster and his peculiar family moved out, leaving the Rectory with


* photo of a sighting on the grounds at Borley Rectory (Wikipedia)

By year’s end, the Observers had witnessed and attested to thousands of unexplained events both inside the Rectory and on the grounds. Harry Price would subsequently write and publish three

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ bestselling books on the subject of the Borley Rectory Haunting earning him a good deal of wealth and fame. His three books are still in print to this

* photo of Henry Price

day. So you might wonder why; (with hundreds of independent accounts of unexplained phenomena, poltergeist activity, automatic writing, and ghostly apparitions documented in detail by seemingly sober, thoughtful, and objective individuals) is the subject so controversial? The answer can be found by examining some of the major players in this epic saga: namely Harry Price, Marianne Foyster and to a lesser extent The Reverend Lionel Foyster and their cohorts. We will start with Harry Price who was not a scientist or researcher of any kind, not even by amateur standards. He was in fact an accomplished magician and a member of Britain’s Magic Circle, an organization that’s roster was filled with persons skilled in misdirection and theatrical presentations designed to captivate, amaze, and mystify an audience. Harry was known among his peers as a highly practiced hoaxster for profit and was regarded as a con man and a scam artist. He is known to have toured Europe at various times with a fake statue of Hercules and at other times with a phony silver ingot supposedly from the reign of Roman Emperor Honorious, as well as a collection of bogus Sussex


coins and artifacts adorned with Egyptian hieroglyphics. One of Harry Price’s closest friends was Charles Dawson, the perpetrator of the longest lasting, most infamous deception in the annals of archeology. Dawson fabricated a unique skull from an actual human skull meshed with animal bones to create the “Piltdown Man” and for many many years was able to convince the archeological community that he had found the skull of perhaps the earliest example of a human ever to exist. It is said that a man is known by the company he keeps; and Harry Price’s associations provided ongoing grist for the rumor mill and fodder for the skeptics. The old adage that truth is stranger than fiction applies abundantly to the next player, Marianne Foyster. Things as simple and straightforward as her actual name, age, and family background are a tangled web of exaggerations, omissions, half-truths, and outright lies. Born Mary Anne Shaw in 1899 to parents whose humble work history included schoolmaster, pub landlord, bookkeeper, and stenographer; she preferred the more exotic affectation of her name and became Marianne. As she grew older, she would tell anyone who would listen that she was the daughter of an English aristocrat named Santiago Monk who was employed by the Chilean Diplomatic Corps and the German born Countess Von Kiergraff. Mary Anne Shaw was well acquainted with family friend, Reverend Lionel Foyster, by the time she was seven years old. In 1910, the Shaw family abruptly moved to Northern Ireland and Rev. Lionel Foyster hurriedly left England to pastor a remote church in Canada, amid speculation that his hasty departure was to avoid being exposed as a pedophile. At age fifteen, while vacationing in Scotland, a pregnant Marianne married 21-year-old clerk, Harold Greenwood, without parental consent by lying about her age (she claimed to be seventeen on the marriage license). In April of 1915, she gave birth to a son, Ian, and it is interesting to note that this is the only time ever recorded and documented that Marianne actually did give birth. Six weeks later Greenwood abandoned his wife and baby never to be heard from again and no evidence exists that they were ever divorced.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Marianne returned to her parents and Reverend Foyster visited the Shaws several times over the next few years. The wild and promiscuous Marianne passed off her son, Ian, as her younger brother and the besotted Reverend Foyster readily believed it until the day he died. In 1922, when Marianne was just twenty-three and Reverend Foyster was forty four, the couple “married” and relocated to a tiny Canadian town, Salmonhurst; just a stone’s throw away from the scene of Canada’s most famous haunting, The Amherst Poltergeist Case.

In 1931, Marianne began a sado-masochistic affair with Frank Pearless who insisted on being called Francois D’Arles was Marianne’s live-in lover. Pearless/D’Arles was a violent, arrogant, selfaggrandizing, full-time member of the Borley Rectory household. Reverend Foyster, who was physically infirm for most of the twenty-two years that he and Marianne were together, was fully aware of Marianne’s sordid affair with D’Arles, and there is ample evidence to indicate that Reverend Foyster liked to watch.

The Amherst Haunting was replete with unseen assailants throwing objects around and mysterious writings being left on walls. It closely mirrored events later reported at Borley….Coincidence.

The adults at Borley Rectory were not above physically abusing and playing cruel practical jokes on each other, leading people to wonder whether the stories of poltergeist activity was an elaborate cover story for what actually was going on. Also in 1931, Harry Price paid a call on the Foysters. Marianne bent over backwards in an attempt to prove her claims of poltergeist activity and perhaps hoping that Price would endorse her claims, she went overboard, and Price told Reverend Foyster that he believed that Marianne was faking the events. In response, Reverend Foyster, who throughout his life refused to consider anything contrary to his wife’s version of events, ordered Price out of his house.

* photo of Marianne holding her adopted son John

Marianne’s penchant for drama and attention found fertile ground when the couple returned to England in 1930 and set up housekeeping at the Borley Rectory with its haunted history already well established...


During their Five-year stay at Borley Rectory, many séances and several exorcisms were held. The séances were often successful, as was the case of messages received by Marianne from the spirit of “Marie Lairre,” a French Nun supposedly murdered by her British lover…..there is no evidence to suggest that any such person ever existed. The exorcisms however were never successful, at least not for very long. To further complicate things in the FoysterD’Arles household there were the children. There was Ian, Marianne’s son/brother; several children known to have been adopted; D’Arles’ son, Francois Jr.; Baby John who died of seizures at 4 ½ months who may or may not have been Marianne’s biological son, and he could have been fathered by either Reverend Foyster who legally claimed him as a son, or D’Arles who was grief stricken when the baby died. There was one later child whose adoption was incomplete around this time and he was returned with only a note pinned to his shirt much like an undeliverable parcel.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Then in 1933, Marianne and her lover D’Arles opened a flower shop in Wimbledon where they maintained a second residence and were known to their neighbors as Mr. And Mrs. D’Arles. When the business failed, Marianne and D’Arles returned to live fulltime with her husband, Rev. Foyster... It was then, perhaps in attempt to explain Darkles constant presence in the house that Marianne concocted a story, that purports that years ago, when Reverend Foyster was single and living in Canada he adopted a son and that son was Francois D’Arles. D’Arles was infuriated that Marianne would imply that somehow, she was his stepmother and he publicly threatened to report their ménage-a-trios relationship to the Bishop. He never followed through with his threat and shortly thereafter, he ran off with a 16-year-old girl. By late 1934, the Foysters were nearly broke and the Reverend Foyster’s extremely poor health forced his retirement. Marianne determined to save the day, by any means, rented a flat using the name Miss Foyster where she seduced Henry Fisher, travelling salesman from an affluent family who happened to be mentally ill. Once again, she claimed to be pregnant; she falsified every entry on the marriage license except for her first name and “married” Fisher in a Catholic ceremony. Marianne at the appropriate time adopted another baby, Astrid, and somehow managed to convince her husband that the child was his. Fisher later learned of Marianne’s deception but would not divorce his polygamous wife. He ended up spending most of the rest of his life in a mental hospital or being tended by his sister. By 1941, the children had moved out of the current family home, had been sent to boarding school or a convent, or they were dumped on acquaintances. Still married to Reverend Foyster, Marianne was bored. Therefore, in 1942 she set her cap for a recently widowed physician, Dr. Davies. Davies had become consumed with with trying to contact the spirit of his dead wife, Mabel affectionately known as Tweatie. Via séances and mediums. Marianne seduced Dr. Davies by pretending that her body was inhabited by Tweatie when she became passionately aroused. Dr Davies lavished Marianne with money and gifts in exchange for her services. When Dr. Davies funds were exhausted, Marianne abruptly ended the affair.


In 1945, Reverend Foyster was near death and the ever-youthful looking 46-year-old Marianne was back on the prowl. Lionel Foyster died on April 18, 1945, and before long Marianne seduced a naïve 25-year-old Marine, Private Robert O’Neil, then she informed him that she was….you guessed it …Pregnant, and they married on August 11, 1945 and when her due date rolled around she once again adopted a baby, ironically naming him, Lionel. The newlyweds soon left Europe for a remote town in Minnesota where Marianne found life exceedingly dull and quickly learned that her husband was a lazy drunk who insisted his wife should support him. Surprisingly, she obliged by teaching school and becoming a self-styled journalist with a dazzling array of fabricated stories of her life and experiences.

* photo of the Borley Rectory after the fire

Meanwhile back in England relatives of two of her husbands, The Foysters and the Fishers began accumulating evidence that clearly showed that at the end of his life Reverend Foyster was unable to even feed himself. The family members further believed that they could prove that either Marianne had hastened his death by neglecting to feed him or that she had in fact murdered him. For whatever reason, charges were never filed against Marianne and she lived out the remainder of her life in the United States often passing herself off as a Social Worker. Now we return, at last to Borley Rectory, where even after the Bulls, the Smiths, the Foysters and

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Harry Price’s investigators have gone the controversy continues. In 1938, the dilapidated old Borley Rectory was purchased by Captain Gregson and was immediately insured for the princely sum of Seven thousand British Pounds. On the night of February 27, 1939, a fire broke out in the Rectory engulfing it completely. What remained were the charred remnants of the foundation. Harry Price saw a golden opportunity to excavate the site and arrived with a pair of preselected expert witnesses in tow to document the excavation and he chose Captain rd Gregson to be a 3 impartial witness. On the very first day, a small bone was found among the ruins and the witnesses quickly proclaimed that it was the jawbone of the young nun who had been bricked into the wall centuries ago. Harry Price who claimed that his only desire was to provide a Christian burial for the nun in consecrated ground so that she could rest in peace arranged a much publicized interment in a local cemetery for the bone. When it was later proved scientifically that the bone was not of human origin there was no official comment. The story might end there but when Captain Gregson attempted to claim the fire insurance on the Rectory an investigation was launched and Gregson was charged with arson and attempting to defraud the insurance company. Harry Price eventually stopped publicly butting heads with the ever-resilient Marianne Foyster. In addition, what of Borley Rectory? All that remains are the empty grounds where supernatural events continue to be reported to this very day and the gloriously intricate legends of the past. What a marvelous story of intrigue and haunting; be it real or imaginary or somewhere in between.


*photo of Price in his Laboratory More Information about Price: Photos from: and -----------------------------------------------------------------

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Readers Ghost Stories

were missing including the cult leader and self-proclaimed messiah and cult founder: Krishna Venta His real name was Francis Pencovic born in 1911 in San Francisco. His criminal record stretched back to 1941 when he was arrested for sending threatening letters to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was questioned by the FBI and released as a “harmless crank.” In the years that followed Pencovic was in and out of jail for such crimes as burglary and larceny. For a time he was a patient at the California state mental hospital at Camarillo. Between stays in jail, he held a variety of colorful jobs—perhaps his most successful was that of a door-to-door Bible salesman. He was a gifted speaker with a natural charisma. He began to drift towards religion. In 1949, he founded his own religious cult. In it, he blended Christian and Hindu philosophies into a new harmonious religion. It was based on this motto: “Be positive, creative, and constructive in all you think, all you say and all you do.”

Tragedy at Box Canyon By Richard Senate I got this story from a firefighter friend of mine. While fighting a fire in Box Canyon, he and the crew were exhausted, resting in the shade, when he swears he saw figures moving in the shadows—figures of men and women wearing white robes, bare footed, some with water skins like from Biblical times. Were these ghosts from Atlantis? This is why a ghost hunter needs to understand local history. I instantly knew what he saw, and it had nothing to do with Atlantis. On the night of December 10, 1958 the tranquility of Box Canyon, south of Simi Valley was broken by a powerful explosion. The blast occurred at the headquarters of a religious cult called the Fountain of the World blowing apart the stone headquarters building. When the police arrived, they found the trees filled with clothing basted from the laundries that were hanging on cloth lines. Nearly a hundred cultists survived the explosion and were found wandering the grounds in a confused state of shock. A simple investigation reviled that ten members of the cult


He grew his beard long and changed his name to Krisna Venta and claimed that he was not of this world but from a distant planet called “Neophates” (this was the era of UFOs if you recall). He also claimed that he was incredibly old, some 244,000 years old! He moved back to California from Denver where he started his new religion and managed to receive enough support from his wealthy converts to establish his commune in Box Canyon. It was with success that problems began to surface with the cult. Locals hated the newcomers with their strange white robes and arrogant leader. On several occasions, they tried to evict them without success. The cultist won some support by helping to fight brush fires and provided water and food to firefighters. Once, when a plane went down in the remote backcountry member of the Fountain of the World brought the fourteen survivors of the crash down to safety. Within the cult, some of the new converts began to question “The Master's” authority. They liked his religion but did not link some of the things he was doing—most especially seeking sexual favors from the female members of the cult—some of them wives of other members! When two men spoke out, they were disbarred from the commune. After the blast, the police found an abandoned blue pickup truck. Inside was a new tape recorder with a reel-to-reel

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ tape. When it was played back, it was from the two who were cast out. They listed what they were going to do. They would compel Krisna Venta to step down as the dayby-day leader of the cult and take up a figurehead role as spiritual leader. The two vowed to take twenty sticks of dynamite to threaten Venta. The tape ended with a terse message: “If we don't return, people will know what has happen.� The police found fingerprints of the two men in the ruins of the headquarters as well as a thumb that was identified as one of the two men. Clearly, Venta had called their bluff. Perhaps the spirits of the cultists still haunts Box Canyon, still trying to practice their unique faith and help firefighters when Simi Valley is in danger. Maybe the penitent ghost of Krisna Venta himself still walks the valley, perhaps he is trying to expunge his many sins before he can move on. Who can say?

A photo of MKV taken in the late 1950s.

48 a_Venta_Portrait.jpg

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ 101-Dictionary

Séance The standard meaning of séance; an attempt to communicate with the dead. Have you ever done a séance? Get together with your friends just to see what happens. Then you get too scared to actually go through with it. I do remember when I was younger, being a circle and trying to contact someone, first was Abraham Lincoln, but we were too scared because we might hear a gun shot. Therefore, I said Helen Keller. We laid our hand out, palms up and started concentrating on Helen Keller. To this day, I still remember feeling signs being pressed in the palm of my left hand. Was it the girl next to me? I do not know. Nevertheless, it was strange. Séances have been in the common practice for centuries based on the religious belief of Spiritualism. The Fox sisters were the first to form this movement back in 1848. To say the least their popularity deceased when Maggie Fox truthfully stated that their communication with the dead was a fraud. Nevertheless, she recanted on her admission later, four years before her death. Two of the three sisters, Maggie and Kate, were alcoholics since their early teens. Would the fact that Maggie and Kate were alcoholics until the day they died have more of an open awareness to the spirit world or would that make them look so uncanny and entertaining during their performances? Could be.

and the camcorder being on a tripod, and another one under the table. Nevertheless, regardless of how entertaining this maybe, you always have that little thought in the back of your head. “What if someone else comes through?” The fear that has been so compressed into communicating with the dead has been without its cautions and risk. Yes, I am a believer of spirits and ghosts. I have seen them, heard them, and felt them. I will always stand in truth of their existence. As far as them coming through during a séance, like the movie “Ghost,” I have not experienced that. If you do want to “hire” someone to do a séance, just be cautious. There may be Séance performers that are honest, and there are the ones that might be there to entertain you. It is up to you, if you want to open that door and perform any type of séances. It is also up to you to protect your space from any negativity, spirit or otherwise you will have to deal with whatever may happen. Anyway, putting yourself in a white light of protection just makes you feel better. As much as I would like to like to communicate with my Mother, and I have tried, she still has yet to sit down and have coffee with me. Maybe she will tomorrow.

From the well-known British Paranormal TV Show, Most Haunted, their investigators had preformed séances during their investigations. Are they accurate, are they really communicating with the souls that still reside in that location? Not sure, it is hard to say because it is a reality show. However, there were comments stating that some parts were staged. I am sure that there are paranormal groups that do perform séances during their investigations. Would this be considered as valid paranormal evidence? I do not think so. Reason being, it is a personal experience, and you cannot bookmark that type of paranormal evidence. Now if it was all videotaped and with all the lights on, sure. Any movement might be captured on the camcorder, oh yeah,


* Illustration by Alice Mary Herden Brushes by Deviney and Nadine Pau * Séance Photo by Don Herden Jr.

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________

Work Shop

Are Ouija Boards Safe? By Cheryl Smeed Are Ouija boards safe? Well, yes and no. Some say never to touch them or you will bring evil spirits into your space, and some say as long as you protect yourself you will be safe. My opinion falls somewhere in between. I have always used divination tools - pendulums, tarot cards, runes, stones and crystals, I Ching, spirit boards, tea leaves, séances, etc. - because they are fun. My favorite is the pendulum. I make pendulums with beautiful stones and crystals that are full of positive energy. I use Reiki to cleanse my pendulums and other divination tools and am very careful to protect myself when I use them. I also have a lifetime of experience in asking my own spirit guides and angels to assist me in my divination efforts and knowing that I am communicating with entities coming from love and light. The Ouija board, also known as the “talking board,” is an old divination tool generally used for entertainment as a party game. The name, “Ouija” is a combination of the French and German words for “yes.” It is composed of a board with letters, numbers, yes, no, and attractive


graphics. You lightly rest your fingertips on a planchette, which glides around the board supposedly under the direction of supernatural forces spelling out names, answering questions, and making comments. But who or what are these “supernatural forces?” Are they good? Are they bad? That is something you must know before inviting just any spirits into your space. Unless you want to invite trouble into your home and your life, never use a Ouija board or any other divination tool by asking just anyone to come through. Be specific as to who you wish to communicate with, and I would recommend that it be someone you know personally. A beloved grandparent or friend is a far safer spirit to communicate with than someone you do not know. Much has to do with your own spiritual evolvement. I do not condone “messing around” with spirits for entertainment. I do know that ghosts, spirits, entities, whatever you prefer to call them, do exist and I have vast experience communicating with them. I can often see them as clearly as I can see the living. Most of them have been benevolent, but I have, on occasion, encountered spirits who were sad, angry, frustrated, or annoyed and these spirits can be not only mischievous, but malicious. Haunted houses contain earth-bound spirits who have probably died in tragic circumstances or they would not still be here. They are nearly impossible to get rid of if they do not want to leave. I would not want them to follow me home to wreak havoc in my space, would you? There is much to learning to use a Ouija board or any other divination tool. You must have a great deal of respect for spirits and conduct yourself calmly with patience, compassion, and understanding. Surround yourself with white light - a protective angelic light that is indescribably bright - and ask your angels for divine protection and your spirit guides for their direction as you embark upon the divination process. Ask only your spirit guides to provide you with the answers you seek and never say anything like, “Let’s see who comes through” leaving you open to whatever entity(ies) come through and communication to chance. This is where you can run into trouble. But if you follow these simple rules, you will likely have a positive experience. Ask reasonable questions. Spirits are coming from a high level of consciousness. Petty questions that are none of your business will not be answered correctly, or at all. You

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ cannot ask the spirit of Albert Einstein anything because 1) we are not supposed to know (that is why he died in the first place); and 2) he has likely already reincarnated. And if you already know the funny thing your dog did with its nose, it is highly unlikely that a spirit will waste the effort to tell you something you already know. It is very difficult for spirits to come through so they are not going to waste their energy on pointless questions. In a positive frame of mind, ask what you need to know to fulfill your purpose. Ask what you can do to help a friend in need, or even if you should. Ask about your own health, and if there is anything you need to do. Ask for guidance when you need to make an important decision. Ask only once. If you do not get the answer you want, you may feel inclined to ask again, only in a different manner. You can ask the same question repeatedly in every different way you can think of and you will still get the same answer, but only for awhile. If you do not let it go, your guides may start messing with you. Again, you need to respect the spirit guides and entities you have asked to assist you. Respect is of the utmost importance! When you are finished, thank your spirit guides for their assistance and your angels for their protection. Then cleanse your Ouija board, planchette, you, and your space. Burning sage, cedar, or sweet grass will cleanse your board and space of any negativity that might have sneaked through. The Ouija board can be a very helpful tool in tapping into your higher self. As long as you are respectful of the “supernatural forces� at work, you will likely have an informative and enjoyable experience!


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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Paranormal Team of the Month

hours. I would feel cold spots, and sitting down I would feel my breath bounce back at me. That was very strange! • Having paranormal groups perform investigations at your house, can you tell us what their investigations were like and if any, evidence that they captured. How did you personally take these findings? I did not have my house investigated; I met Sarina Baptist and she cleared my house. Nothing has been back! • What came about in your own experiences to forward yourself to form your own paranormal group?

Interview with Sonya Gower Founder & Paranormal





•Please, take a moment to tell our readers about you and your team. Third Eye Paranormal is a group of scientific and psychic investigators who gather evidence in allegedly haunted places to either validate or invalidate whether the building is haunted. Our team is unique in that we have both teams. One of our goals is educating business owners and homeowners on paranormal phenomena and assisting them with these energies. We are also unique in our investigations because we move those energies on their way after we complete our investigation. If the energy is interfering with those living or working in the building, we do not give them the option of staying. This is especially true if there are children involved. • You stated that your house you had bought did have paranormal activity, can you share some of your experiences you and your family had. Yes, the day we moved in, I felt the presence of something, and my son would see "shadow people" all the time. My most intense experience was when I was talking to my sister on the phone and a huge blast of air hit my face. No one was there; everyone else was downstairs. I went into the kitchen and when I looked back in the living room, I saw many shadows going back and forth fast. It scared me so much that I could not go back in there for


After all, of the weird things that happening at my house, I wanted to learn more about the paranormal and how I could get rid of the ghost, but I found that other paranormal groups did not help the homeowner or the spirits. They would do the investigation and let them know if the place was haunted or not. I thought it was not enough and wanted to help home and business owners and the spirits as well. I have a great team that believes the same! • Can you share with our readers, which might be interested in forming a paranormal group, what is the most important aspect of being a paranormal investigator? Helping those people who think they might be crazy. You are NOT crazy!!

Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ • What was the most intriguing yet unsettling experience you or one of your members had during an investigation? The Cement plant! For my team and me hearing the footsteps, and watching the camera shake as the door is slamming. You can see that video footage on our website: • About the ghost parties, can you share more about this and what started this overall concept to be included in your paranormal group. We began ghost parties after taking Scott and Sadie from Big Country 97.9FM on a ghost hunt last Halloween. The response was overwhelming from people who wanted to experience a ghost hunt, but not commit to an actual group. It is a great way to get a taste of ghost hunting and we use it as an educational experience. One of our goals is to dispel myths and educate the public on these energies we call "ghosts.” The parties are a fun way to do this.

cross them over so they continue on their way. If they choose to not leave, we remove them and set up boundaries in the home so they cannot return. Some of the spirits who choose to not continue do get verbally abusive. On one occasion, one of our investigators did get a hard push by someone who did not want to leave. In the end, this energy was removed. • Do you first consider any type of investigation before you perform a cleaning? This would depend on the people involved. If there are children involved, we will remove the energies immediately, especially if they are scaring the children. We take this type of assault on children very seriously and will not even schedule an investigation, just a clearing. For most locations, however, it is not necessary to "remove" anyone. We do the investigation, gather our evidence, and then open the light for anyone to cross. • What is in store for Third Eye Paranormal in the future, your goals, and your wish list? We would love more investigations in the area and we love new equipment! Our members stay on the cutting edge of ghost hunting equipment, which can aid in our research and capturing of evidence. We have reached capacity at this point for members, so at this point we are very happy with our group. It would be wonderful if we could do more education in the community about these energies, so that would be a goal of ours. * Photo provided by Sonya Gower

• When you and members of your team are requested to perform a house cleaning, can you share some of those experiences with our readers. House clearings are unique to our group. Sarina Baptista is our lead psychic investigator she along with other trained psychic investigators can clear the energies out of the houses we investigate. We have encountered some angry souls during this process. Since it is our psychic team who does the clearing, we can communicate with these energies to discern why they choose to remain in the "ghost" realm. We always talk to them and explain that they do not need to stay where they are -- that they can move on to the higher realms. If they choose to do this, we


Top Row, L - R: Luetta Starks, Kevin White, Lisa White, Michael Trujillo, Rob Hillstrom Bottom Row, L - R: Joyce Trujillo, Sonya Gower, Sarina Baptista In Absentia: T. Nichols, Randy O'Connor, Michelle Leeds & John Gandley

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Get the tee


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This issue is dedicated to my little sister, Tara. I miss you and look forward to the day you move back home so we can start our adventures together!


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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Dust and Shadows

May Stringer House

faith and determination, and wonderful generosity of donors, the house was bought by the Heritage Association and the renovations began. In 1843 Richard Wiggins was deeded 160-acres under the conditions of the Arms Occupation Act. Wiggins stayed five years, cultivated the property, as well as built a dwelling. John May came with his wife from Alabama with their two children, Matilda and Annie. John May bought the property in 1855 from Wiggins. May being a contractor, built several houses in Brooksville, but took house in this current location; May built the first four rooms of this house. The original land was occupied by the Seminole Indians, and detrained by the white settlers. Early records of the property had been burned down in the Courthouse fire in September 1877, so little information can be provided.

With Bonnie LeToureau On a quiet street in Brooksville, Florida there sits a house. A quiet, quaint Victorian style house that had many residents of the past that may still reside there. th

Sunday, June 12 members of Dust and Shadows visited the May-Stringer house to conduct an interview for this magazine as well as explore the house to collect evidence of the past residents that may still reside within this location. I conducted my interview with Bonnie, with the ambience sounds of the grandfather clock in the Parlor, as Cheryl and Michelle along with a friend of Bonnie’s toured the house running the digital recorders.

The History of the May-Stringer House The house was built in two parts, hence the adopted name May-Stringer. First four rooms were built by May in 1856; Thirty years later Dr. Sheldon Stringer added ten more rooms. There are only a few original pieces of the house left. After years and years of abandonment, the vagrants and the curious teens had ruined the inner structure. With love,


A year after the house was built, May died from consumption, (TB) at the age of twenty-five. May’s funeral took place in the very spot I was having my interview with Bonnie, The Parlor. He was buried close to the house; the location of his final resting place is still unknown. They kept their burials close to where they could see them for fear that the Seminole Indians would desecrate the graves. Marena is left to tend the property with her two children at the age of twenty-five. John May when resided in the house was a slave owner; he was the second largest slave owner in the Brooksville area. She ran the property for the next nine years with the company of her slaves. By the end of the Civil War, Marena, from what is known, freed her slaves. Some slaves stayed on to help Marena with the duties and some carried on with their lives. Frank Saxon one of the original founders of Brooksville came into town after the Civil War as a wounded Confederate hero. He married Marena in 1866 and they had two children. The little boy, Frankland only lived to be around the age of five weeks old. Marena and Frank had another child, Jesse May Saxon. Marena died in the upstairs bedroom from childbed fever, before Jesse was even three weeks old. Frank stayed on in the house with the girls, Jesse May and her two half sisters. Jesse passed away at the age of three. Her death photo still hanging on the parlor wall is the only known photo of her. * photo next page of Bonnie in the Doctors office

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ There are four burials on the property, John May, Marena May Saxon, the little boy Frankland and Jesse May, the exact location of these burials are still unknown today. Frank remarried three years after Jesse May passed away to a woman named Tululu Hope. She did not want to live in the house because she wanted a grander house, so Frank Saxon built another house called the Saxon House, which still stands today. Tululu gave Frank six sons during their marriage. Franks daughters from his previous marriage stayed in the May-Stringer house until the daughters were married. 1880, Dr. Shelton Stringer bought the house from Frank Saxon, he was a doctor and started building on to the house piece by piece to customize to accommodate both his business and living areas. There






Time line 1949, Shelton Stringer’s granddaughter sold the house out of the family 1950-1974 was a single family home 1974-1980 the house was abandoned and the county wanted it torn down. The Historical Association bought the house and restored the house. Through the labor of love, the house was breathing again. Bonnie was drawn on a whim to visit the museum nine years ago with her mom. Once she was inside, she knew this is where she wanted to be. She joined that day and the next week she was a member and a tour guide.

The paranormal craze The first request of a paranormal investigation was approached to Bonnie, and she took it all in. After a paranormal group showed Bonnie conclusive evidence of paranormal activity, the Ghost Tours began. There are personal experiences from hearing a child crying out to her mother, objects moving, and footsteps to a solider being seen in the upstairs window. Are these the


spirits of the ones that passed on within the house or the energy from the past objects that occupy the space? Although the volunteers of the May-Stringer house come and go after experiencing some type of paranormal activity, Bonnie is there to stay, and to protect them.

The Ghost Tour The opportunity for the May-Stringer house to conduct ghost tours is the greatest contribution asset to keep this house still standing. The Museum depends on donations to keep things running on a day-to-day basis. I encourage you, if you are interested in maybe experiencing something paranormal, this is the place to go. Nevertheless, let me forewarn you, Bonnie will not tolerate any disrespect towards the sprits and the surrounding objects within this house, she will ask you to leave. However, if you would like to learn more about the fantastic history of the oldest standing house in Hernando County, please take a day to enjoy a tour. Just on our tour, Bonnie was extremely educational about the history of the house and goes more into detail about the history then I have in this article. We were amazed about the footsteps that walked the hallways and the occupations that the owners held. We all left there feeling overwhelmed by the history and what transpired over the years.

Bonnie Le Toureau There is one thing that makes this Museum extremely different, and that would be Bonnie. During our interview the passion, love and dedication that Bonnie has to this house is clearly known. She has pride, and a real home connection to this house and you do anything to upset that, well you will hear about it. She is respectful to all assets of this house, from the aged dated objects to the spirits that still reside in the house. In addition, we now can verify that there are a couple of spirits that still live within the space of this amazing house. Bonnie is a member of the board of trustees. The most important issue she wants people to know is that this house deserves preservation and recognition. This house is a huge responsibility and with the dedication of each volunteer and the donations received keeps the history alive. Without people like Bonnie that keep the last breath of history alive within each location deserves to survives another day.

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ The Spirits From the digital recordings that captured evps, our findings are this: there is a little girl, whom we feel is not Jesse May. She is older, along with her might be three adult males and one female. One of the adult males roams freely around the house, one adult male in the classroom and one adult male in the military room. The female is around the staircase and second floor. We feel that there is nothing negative here that resides in this house. We feel that the reason for this is because the respect Bonnie and the other volunteers give to the spirits that reside there.

When we were in the Doctor’s office, we caught an unusual scent. I was standing close to the glass case where the veterinary supplies were. I even asked Cheryl if she smelled what I smelled. We all agreed to describe this as a powdery, (Michelle), dead roses (Alice), and old perfume (Cheryl) scent. Are we noticing the perfume that Mrs. Stringer so graciously dabbed on her neck and wrists? We do not know if it is. Make sure you check our next issue. Bonnie has given us permission to re-visit the May-Stringer but with a special member of our group, Bree.

We did not capture anything in our photos nor did we capture anything on video. Now that we have a base from collecting evps through our digital recorders we know where to start and try to find out more information. Within the classroom, it is told that there is a soldier that is seen in the window, people have seen this man of a broken heart. Coming back from war, again there is the heartbreaking talk of a soldier’s fiancé taking love and romance from another local suitor. Did this happen to that soldier who has been seen? Did he hang himself in this house because of a broken heart? Is there any record of the soldier living at that residence during that time? Was he one of Mr. Stringer’s patients? Only more questions to ask.

EVPs We had collected quite a few EVPs while we were there. You can listen to all of them on our Dust and Shadows Website.

Experiences Personal experiences without any physical evidence of those experiences are thrown out, although it is nice to share those personal experiences because it is something we have experienced. * above photo, Bonnie in the classroom, next page up in the attic.

The Bedroom While Bonnie was talking about the doll Marena’s room, I did see a white little speck-floating horizontal in this room. It just went straight across. Weird. I wanted to ask if anyone else saw that but I did not, since Michelle was videotaping I was hoping that it was caught on tape. Unfortunately, I could not see it.


Photos by Alice Mary Herden

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69 Photo by Alice mary Herden

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Voices to Visions July 2011 __________________________________________________________________ Next Month’s Issue

I do want to take this time to say Thank you to everyone that has been featured in this issue of our Magazine.

• Editors Views ~alice Loss of a pet • Interview Being Scheduled • Encounters Spirits of Pets • Paranormal Folklore Black Shuck/Black Dogs • Famous Places Cashtown Inn • Famous Haunting Cock Land Ghost • Readers Ghost Stories Submit your Ghost Story • 101-Dictionary Animal Totems • Workshop Animal Spirit Guides • Paranormal Team of the Month Pennsylvania Paranormal Association • Dust and Shadows Location Green Cove Springs Re-Visit


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July 2011