Ever had and unexplainable, eerily paranormal experience? In honor of Halloween and El Dia de Los Muertos, I offer my spooky, true story.
It began in the other-worldly parlor of a New Orleans psychic, the summer after college. I was making a movie there. As we finished the day's shoot, the cinematographer invited me and another friend to join him and his wife, Donna, for an unusual get-together.
His mother-in-law had recently died. Deeply grieved, Donna had found a spiritual psychic who promised to put her in contact with her Mom beyond the grave. My friend and I were to provide emotional support during the session.
That evening, we parked in front of an old brick two-story in a poorly lit neighborhood near the French Quarter. We rang the bell. Madame, the psychic, opened the door. Round and elderly, with unnaturally black curls framing her pudgy, wrinkled face and a huge antique cameo at her bosom, she wobbled ahead, leading us into a stuffy parlor.
Blood red walls flickered with candlelight from dozens of votives scattered around the room. An altar-sized crucifix of Jesus, eyes rolled back in ecstasy, hung above the mantel. Statuettes of saints populated almost every flat surface.
The cinematographer and his wife sat on a fraying black satin sofa, holding hands. Heavy burgundy curtains blocked the windows behind them. Madame pointed us to two side chairs and settled herself into a gold brocade wing-back.
She asked Donna if she'd made contact with her mother since their last session. Donna shook her head, teary-eyed. Madame said not to worry, because she had indeed reached Mom, and all was well. Donna simply needed more practice.
Madame instructed us to shut our eyes and concentrate on Donna's goal. I tried my best to conjure her mother, sitting beside her, whispering in her ear. But after a minute or so, Madame stopped the exercise. Mom hadn't shown. We all had failed.
Then Madame turned to me. "I am seeing a very strong image over you. Might we pursue it?" Since the woman knew nothing about me, it felt safe to play along. I nodded.
"Are you a writer?" she asked. Was this about Donna, or me? I hesitated. Barely twenty-one, I was focused on an acting career.
|The actress, that summer.|
The only things I'd written back then were class assignments, my honors thesis, and a little poetry. I shook my head.
"Hmm," she muttered. "The image is remarkably clear. Someone is writing, always writing—a story perhaps, or a book. Are you sure you don't relate to that?"
Madame shut her eyes. "The image is too strong. Perhaps someone close to you is a writer?"
Madame seemed baffled. She went quiet for a moment. "I also see a dog, a little white dog, running up to you. A beloved pet. The image is very clear."
Totally wrong. I'd never had a white dog. Besides, if I ever got one, white would be my last choice. I shook my head again.
Madame was a fake, for sure. I never gave the incident a second thought. Until...
A decade later, I was playing with the puppy that had unexpectedly entered my life. Out of the blue—as my very white, very beloved pooch ran toward me to return the ball I'd tossed in our regular game of fetch—Madame's vision popped into my brain, like a crazy mind-meld across the years. Goosebumps. Was this the little dog she'd "seen" years before?
Spookier yet, we fast-forward to today. I don't know if Donna ever made contact with her mother, but as I write this post, and I work to complete my third book, I can't escape the memory of that strange night at Madame's. Because now, I am writing, always writing.
Madame was right. I am a writer.
Gay Yellen is a former magazine editor and the award-winning author of the Samantha Newman Mystery Series, including The Body Business and The Body Next Door (Amazon.) Book #3 in the series is slated for 2021. She'd love to hear from you, here, on Facebook or her website.