Category Archives: Metaphysical
Crystal Blue Persuasion
by G G Collins Copyright 2020
While writing Anasazi Medium I realized that Reluctant Medium, Rachel Blackstone, would have to visit the Land of the Dead. I went to friend and crystal practitioner, M J Trantham, and asked her what she thought. She said we would need not only stones to protect Rachel from the spirits, but to protect the dead from Rachel.
You can see MJ’s influence throughout my books. For instance, near the beginning of Anasazi Medium we learn that Rachel has placed a grid of Black Tourmaline and Selenite, both protective, in each corner of her office at High Desert Country in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she works as a reporter and editor. In Lemurian Medium it was Blue Lace Agates that saved the day when Rachel was threatened by the Dracs. In Atomic Medium we used Apophyllite to open a stargate, Howlite to protect against radiation in the Atomic City and Opals for invisibility.
Throughout Anasazi Medium you will notice the color blue recurring: The Blue Dog Star, Indigo children, the Blue Star Kachina, water and three carefully chosen crystals, two of which are blue.
The character of Mari-Lynn has been Rachel and Chloe’s crystal supplier. (Also Chloe’s marijuana dealer before she went legit.) For Anasazi Medium she chose Lodolite, a Shamanic dreamstone which assists with journeys not of this world and traveling to the Land of the Dead fits that description. And as an unwelcome guest in this realm it would also protect her from negative energy.
MJ also recommended Lapis Lazuli, another protective stone, that blocks psychic attacks, thus returning the hurtful energy to its source. When Rachel arrives in the Land of the Dead she is decidedly not wanted.
The final stone was Blue Quartz. It is a very powerful crystal. It not only calms, but adjusts its vibrational level to your needs. The Land of the Dead presented several challenges to Rachel
and she needed the pyramid-shaped pendant made of these stones throughout this journey. Not only did she see frightening things, but traveled through time with her spirit wolf Kiyiya.
Kiyiya is playing a larger role as the Reluctant Medium becomes more comfortable, but still reluctant, in her own role of empath and psychic.
Anasazi Medium combines Hopi Native American culture and traditions with a paranormal mystery that endangers the entire planet. Rachel, and her friends, have their work cut out for them as they deal with bird kills, dangerous waters and evil men bent on taking what they want. In the meantime, the Dog Star is getting frighteningly close to Earth.
With a Little Help From Our Friends
Guest Blog Post with M J Trantham, Crystal Practitioner
We all get a little help from our friends. In the case of crystal practitioner MJ Trantham, I’ve gotten a lot of help. After Reluctant Medium was released she asked me if I thought Rachel would benefit from using crystals. My answer was “Yes!” MJ is also a great brainstormer and I send her chapters for her input–trying not to give away to much of the story.
by M J Trantham Copyright 2020
GG Collins and I have been friends for many years. I have been reading her articles and books longer than I can remember. When she began the Reluctant Medium series, I was so excited and asked if I could participate in brainstorming the development of her books. She graciously invited me into the group. I feel Rachel Blackstone has become my friend as well.
Once I know what Rachel’s adventure is going to be, I begin to think of what hazards she might encounter or mysteries she is going to solve. Will Rachel need enhanced intuition from her spirit guides or protection from ghosts and goblins? Is she looking for someone that needs help? Maybe Rachel is on a treasure hunt?
During Rachel’s journeys she most likely needs protection from a person, place or thing. Tiger Iron, one of my favorites, is formed from Jasper, Hematite and Tiger’s Eye. It is also known as Mugglestone. It forms a protective shield around the aura and points to a place of refuge when danger threatens and returns the evil to the source. Black Tourmaline is another choice. It forms a protective shield around the person carrying this crystal.
To enhance Rachel’s intuition, I would give her an Amethyst. Amethyst also protects against psychic attacks and improves spiritual awareness allowing her to make wise decisions and clearly hear her spirit guides if she gets into a bad situation. Blue Kyanite also heightens psychic abilities and is an excellent connector to spirit guides.
Crystals come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Most have multiple uses depending on color or type. When selecting a crystal for a friend or situation, do some research to determine which definition or description means the most to you.
M J also makes the most beautiful crystal pouches and medicine bags.
Native American Mystery
Eight of the nine signs signaling the end of the Fourth World of the Hopi have come to pass. The ninth is hurtling toward Earth!
Rachel is recruited by the spirit world to prevent a cataclysmic occurrence: the end of the Fourth World of the Hopi. The ancient spirit tells her: “Everyone you know and everyone you do not know will die. You will die. Your feline will die.”
In this fourth Rachel Blackstone paranormal adventure, ancient peoples enlighten contemporary humankind in a mystery as old as time. As earthquakes occur in Santa Fe and a New Mexico supervolcano threatens to blow, it becomes imperative she discover the root of all evil. But can she stop the greedy men intent on having their way and willing to kill to achieve it?
In this her most dangerous challenge yet, Rachel calls on her friends, both the quick and the dead. The survival of an unaware civilization depends on Rachel getting it right.
Available for Pre-Order at Amazon. Just click on the book cover. Thank you!
Contact: Presence, A Short Story
Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, is startled when a clock flies across the bathroom while brushing her teeth. Is it a message from the spirit world? She and best friend Chloe hold a transition ceremony and wait for further contact. But will it be peaceful or have they summoned another evil entity?
To Buy Click on the Link Below
Rachel Blackstone’s Greatest Challenge Yet
Anasazi Medium: A Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery is due out in July 2020.
(Copyright 2019 by G G Collins)
They ate in silence for a few minutes. It tasted like the best meal Rachel had ever eaten. Everything always tasted better, the sun looked brighter and the birds sang sweeter after a close call. She could feel the adrenaline losing its punch as she came down and began to feel tired.
“Where did the yellow water come from?” Chloe asked.
“No clue, but I’m going to find out. I got a sample on the way home.”
“Rachel, that’s great. What made you think of that?”
“Something’s very wrong,” Rachel said. “First the bird kills, the otherworldly appearance in my backyard, his prediction, the deaths of the university officials, and now being in the right place at the right time to rescue Anna. And there is the ever growing Dog Star.
“My understanding is the yellow water and fish kill is another sign of the impending end of the fourth world.”
They were thoughtful for a few minutes.
“Rachel, I wonder,” Chloe said. “Should we visit the Valles Caldera? Is there anything we could learn there?”
“I think there might be,” Rachel said thoughtfully. “The last time I was there I did an interview for the Longmire TV series coverage, back when they were filming the series in New Mexico. We ran several stories on that production. The Valles Caldera was used as Sheriff Longmire’s ranch location.”
“Quite a drive from the Las Vegas where they filmed the downtown and sheriff’s office scenes,” Chloe said.
“Yes, I know. I drove to both sets for the interviews and again to Madrid and the Mine Shaft Tavern that was used as the Red Pony bar.”
“I hated when that series ended,” Chloe said.
“Yup, me too. Seems like the good shows always end too soon.”
“And Supernatural is ending,” Chloe added. “Don’t know what we’ll do without Sam and Dean to guide us on these, uh, mystical excursions.”
“At least they got 15 years,” Rachel said. “Longmire only got six.”
Rachel changed the subject.
“You know, I’ve had those herb plants sitting on my back porch all summer. I think after what happened today, I’d like to do a little gardening.”
“You want help?” Chloe asked.
Rachel raised an eyebrow in question. She’d never seen Chloe plant any of her gardens.
“Well, I could ask my gardener if he would have time to plant it for you.”
“No, but thank you for the offer. I think I need to do something physical.”
“Okay,” Chloe said. “I’m going to check in at the office, see if anything critical is a foot and then go home to a hot bath and a glass of wine.”
“Do you think they will still grow?” Rachel asked.
“Sure, everything but the parsley will likely come back in the spring. Sometimes my parsley even overwinters,” Chloe said. “Of course, as you so generously pointed out I don’t cultivate my own so my gardener may have secrets to plant longevity that I don’t know.”
“I just can’t see anything else dead for awhile,” Rachel choked.
“I know,” Chloe said and hugged her friend. “Seeing those dead men will haunt us both for a long time. Go get your hands dirty and forget about today.
“I’ll let myself out.” Chloe was gone in a whirl of her long dark hair.
Chile Pod had finished her dinner and was glazing out the kitchen window at a bird picking at the remnants left on the ground from the feeder.
“You stay there. You can watch me plant the herb bed.” Rachel grabbed a jacket off the hook near the door and went into the evening air.
She’d bought the herb plants in spring and somehow she never got around to planting them, but somehow remembered to douse them with water several times a week. There just never seemed to be a good time. Now the leggy plants were root bound. Rachel hoped she could save them.
During the spring she had bricks delivered. In a fit of energy, she had turned the soil, laid the bricks in a 6-foot square and mulched it. In the meantime, deadlines came and went. Time passed without planting the herbs.
Because she had mulched the garden all she had to do was push the organic matter away, dig a hole and add the plants. First, Rachel took a knife and cut the roots back as she remembered her father doing when she was a kid. It would help the roots grow in a more normal way. She planted lavender and then added rosemary, thyme, oregano and fennel.
With that done, Rachel picked up the bucket against her house and brought it to the garden. Inside were an assortment of stones and crystals she had collected for the past several years. She placed each among the herbs; a river stone here, a quartz there and a lovely piece of petrified wood.
When it was all watered in, Rachel went inside the house and came back with several gazing balls in purple, blue and red crackled colors. In the center of the herb bed she placed a stand and added the larger purple gazing ball. She positioned the smaller ones on the ground and stood back to survey her handiwork.
Satisfied and feeling better, she headed back inside. Before she reached the safety of the backdoor, a wolf howled. Rachel was now recognizing the various warnings that Kiyiya made to alert her. This howl was an announcement, not an urgent warning.
Rachel stopped immediately, her pulse quickened and her breath turned to fog as the temperature dropped. Once again, the rattling sound commenced, the vapors seemingly came from nowhere and formed into a column. She had no idea who or what to expect. Would it be the Native American she met most recently or someone or something altogether different?
Within a couple of minutes, it was the Native who stepped from the fog. Rachel braced herself and waited.
Again, he spoke in a language she didn’t understand, but the words appeared in her mind in English.
“The blue star grows in the sky,” he pointed.
“I know,” Rachel replied. “What I don’t know is who or what is causing it?”
“The evil men.”
“Who are the evil men? What are they doing to cause the star to grow?” Rachel asked.
“I do not know them,” he said. “They are of this time. Not of mine.”
“Do you know what they are doing that is wrong?”
“Taking from our land.”
This wasn’t going well. There was a lot of time and space between them. Rachel didn’t know if she could span the centuries. She tried to keep her words simple to enhance his comprehension.
“I’ve been looking for these men, but haven’t found them. I’ve looked to see where…where work is being done. I’ve checked for mining and drilling permits.”
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“I’m sorry. It’s when men remove earth by digging into the ground.” He nodded with some understanding.
“I’ve been trying to uncover what these men are doing along with two friends who are helping me. And I think that two men were killed who may have known what I need to know.”
The man was silent for several minutes. Rachel thought he was about to disappear leaving her in more confusion.
“Do your powers take you to the Land of the Dead?” he asked.
That took her off guard.
“I…I” she stammered. “I don’t know.”
“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.”
“How can I do that? I don’t know how.” Rachel asked.
“You have friends in spirit?” he said as though having inside knowledge.
“Uh, yes.” As far as Rachel knew that would be one spirit. The Hopi shaman, Joseph, who had helped her before.
“You should talk with spirit,” the Native said. “Time grows…” He searched for the word. “Short. Everyone will die.”
“I understand, but I don’t know what to do,” Rachel felt panic seeping into her soul.
“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.” He faded from her view in a whiff of smoke.
Read the entire series: Click on the book.
Paranormal Investigation: Come Along, If You Dare
by G G Collins Copyright 2019
To protect the anonymity of the investigators and their group, names have been omitted.
The theatre is in total darkness as six people grope their way through the former playhouse. Abandoned instruments stand quietly on stage as if waiting for ghostly musicians. The five members of this paranormal investigative team and this reporter carry flashlights, cameras and a variety of measuring tools to check everything from temperature to electromagnetic fields. It will be a long night. Paranormal investigations begin around 9PM and usually end in the wee hours of the morning. The hours between midnight and 3AM are the most active so an infrared camcorder must be in place to catch energies which may appear as orbs or mists of light. One investigator watches the monitor in the outer lobby as the camera rolls.
Camaraderie is abundant and I was given unlimited access to the investigation which became quite exciting as camera flashes began to strobe the thick gloom. Shouts of “I’m in” and “I’m out” indicate that a participant is taking shots. Any sounds made from a stumble or impact with furniture is acknowledged so it may be culled from the data later on.
It has been reported that a director of a play, back in the theatre’s prime, died during a performance. Will his spirit honor us with his presence? All souls are welcome tonight. We patrol the theatre from back to front, over the stage, and behind the curtains looking for cold spots and other indications that energy, physical or metaphysical, exists. At times the EMF meters (including mine) screech like Geiger counters over radioactive matter. Then the deliberation: Is it electronic equipment, plumbing or a water source far beneath the building? If all those things can be ruled out, then things get real interesting. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Bump in the Night
It begins when something goes bump in the night. We’ve all experienced an unexplained noise or odor that we generally dismiss as nothing. Although it’s very unusual to see a true apparition, reports of sightings continue. If mysterious things create conditions in homes or offices that interfere with normal daily living it may be time to call a paranormal investigation team.
The founder of the team had her first brush with the paranormal when she was taking Polaroid photos where she worked.
“I got an apparition on film. I said, ‘Oh my, I think I’ve got a ghost.’”
That wasn’t the only strange thing to happen that day. When she loaded a new cartridge all the pictures came flying out. They were blood red. Polaroid’s usually come out grey.
It turns out a woman had been murdered at her place of employment and with that in mind she went to the internet for information. She found the woman’s photo in the obits. The murder victim had long hair and was wearing a striped shirt just as the apparition appeared in her own photo.
As if this wasn’t enough, doors slammed spontaneously and her business cards would disappear. She found them stuck between the pages of her calendar.
“I thought my crew was playing a trick on me.” They weren’t.
By then, she had more than a casual interest and reached out to others involved in investigating the paranormal. She joined a ghost club in another city because at that time there wasn’t a group where she lived.
“I was with them for a year and they said I needed to start my own team—and (my city) needed a team.”
The new team became a reality within a few months. Other members include a historian with a master’s degree in history, doctorate level work in history and anthropology. Other members have varied backgrounds including one with a master’s degree in psychology.
Tools of the Trade
When the team goes into a structure to investigate what might be paranormal phenomena it is done with permission of the owner and an arsenal of equipment: recorders, electromagnetic field detectors or EMFs, infrared night shot camcorders, temperature meters to check for cold and hot spots, 35 mm digital cameras—and open minds.
First, a baseline of conditions such as temperature, humidity and moon phase are recorded. Later, readings repeated for verification. Cameras are set up at different locations for correlation. If one camera catches something that the others did not, it’s significant.
Photos reveal paranormal energy in different ways: Orbs or “glowies,” mists and vortices that appear as a white line through a photo. Once readings are completed it is time for the sit-down. The team remains quiet during that period and allows the equipment to do its job.
“If there’s an underground water source and the EMF meter is going off, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a ghost present. We look for any man-made sources first and any explanation we can find because we don’t want to harm the credibility of our group. We don’t want to fake it.”
Extensive interviews are done with clients prior to scheduling an investigation to learn as much about the history of the location as possible. That way, conclusions are reached with as many facts as possible.
Investigations take place in the overnight hours because that is when the activity is most likely to occur.
“There are lots of theories on why that is,” the founder says. “It could be the dew. Water is a conductor of energy. It could be the moon phase. It’s not real conclusive at this point.”
Light interferes with the process so all lighting is switched off. It’s easier to conduct testing at night because there is less evidence contamination with the outside world.
The leader of the team is psychic and thus she becomes another tool in determining authenticity of possible paranormal incidents.
“Animals and children are very sensitive, so when your child walks up to you and says, ‘I’m going to go play with the little boy in my room’ and things of that nature you should pay attention.” Visual and auditory manifestations are very rare. Odors are the most common type of haunting. “That’s why it’s helpful to have someone who is clairvoyant.”
It was in an abandoned, and creepy, hospital in another state an investigation became frightening. An entity is present in that building and likely evil.
“He gives off feelings of nausea, dizziness, and fear. If he preys on you, you know it. On the second night (of the investigation) we went into a lab area where we felt very strong energy. We set our recorder down and said, ‘Is anybody here who would like to join us? We’re open to that.’” Asking permission is one of the proprieties of this team. It’s respectful.
The two team members were using an external mic. It is helpful in that it doesn’t reproduce grinding noises from the recorder motor.
“It sounded like somebody sat down on the microphone. Everything on the tape from there is mush. It’s all muffled. We sat there a few minutes. We could feel something was there with us.”
They asked: ‘Would you like to talk with us?”
After a few more seconds they sensed it was time to leave. They bolted, leaving the recorder behind.
During an investigation in a structure that used to be an orphanage they felt the presence of some children and a female.
“We did get an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a woman singing. We kept hearing noises in the next room. We’d go into that room and investigate and there would be a noise in the next room. It kept avoiding us. We picked up a voice on our recorder saying, ‘I don’t care!’ It was none of us.” Voices of men arguing were also taped.
The team uses a computer program that filters out white noise and static. A clearer, more definitive tape is the result. The program also allows members to measure and profile their own voices so they can be identified.
During an investigation in another theatre things got far spookier. An opera singer reportedly haunts the building. Footsteps and other noises have been reported as have moving objects. It has been recounted that atrocities were conducted in the basement during a riot.
Who You Gonna Call?
What should the average person do if they fear a haunting? First, try to rule out a man-made cause. If you can’t, don’t go any further on your own. It’s not recommended that you try Ouija boards or séances as these could make the situation worse.
When looking for an investigative team, pick one that doesn’t sensationalize their findings or anger the entities in your home if you have them. Check for a professional association who specializes in paranormal research.The serious paranormal investigation teams have bylaws and regulations they follow.
“We have very strict protocol to make sure all our data is clean and we collect it in a controlled environment,” the founder says. “You have to wear your camera strap or take it off. All long hair has to be pulled back in a ponytail so hair doesn’t get in front of the camera and look anomalous. No reflective jewelry is allowed. No perfume or cologne. No smoking.”
These steps help avoid contamination of the site. Personal property is respected and the team leaves nothing but footprints much like the hiker’s motto.
“We have skeptics in our group. There’s a good quote: ‘To believers no proof is necessary, to the hard-core skeptics you can’t get enough proof.’ We’re skeptics. We’ve thrown out a lot of data that is probably paranormal in nature because we couldn’t correlate.”
Did we find any evidence of paranormal activity during our investigation of the theatre? At least one photo produced an orb of blue light—blue orbs are said to be angels. The team determined that the theatre contained minor energies as a result of residual energy.
“These are event ‘imprints’ that happen over and over,” she explains.
The data collected at the theatre is being evaluated. As for the director? There’s nothing to indicate he materialized this particular evening. Maybe he didn’t care for the billing.
♦ ♦ ♦
For my post on Santa Fe Ghost Stories click here: https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=Santa+Fe+Ghost+Stories
Glossary of Ghostly Terms
Anomaly: A deviation from normal.
Apparition: The manifestation of a spirit which can be seen in human form or in blobs or streaks of light.
EMF: Electromagnetic Field. Readings used to determine paranormal activity.
EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena. Captures voices on tape when no obvious source can be found.
Earthbound: A spirit unable to leave the physical world. Filmmaker M Night Shyamalan explored this in The Sixth Sense.
Encounter: There are three kinds: intelligent and formerly human; residual energy left over from the past; and malevolent.
Ghoul: A demon who enjoys a meal of human flesh.
Ghost Hunt: Investigation of a reported haunting using earthly technology to record any paranormal occurrences.
Haunting: A manifestation of unexplainable phenomena.
Orb: Seen as blotches of light in photos. This energy form is frequently dismissed.
Paranormal: The unexplained.
Poltergeist: A mischievous and sometimes malevolent spirit.
Spirit: Ghost of a deceased human.
Spirit Guide: A protective spirit who is with each person since birth.
Builder of Worlds
By G G Collins (Copyright 2019)
I never expected to be a builder of worlds and yet I’ve written two books where I needed to do just that.
Time travel is always tricky, but it’s also fun. In Lemurian Medium I sent protagonist Rachel Blackstone back in time via astral travel to the mythical continent of Lemuria. I began reading about the continent that reportedly sunk into the ocean when a cataclysmic series of earthquakes and volcanoes broke up the island country and the sea claimed it.
When you ask people to buy into a paranormal or fantasy story line, it’s important to include as much fact as possible, to lend integrity to the story. I began reading the works of Colonel James Churchward, who called Lemuria by another name; Mu. He studied monastery sources in India while serving in the British army.
After getting a basic idea of Churchward’s theories I read Frank Joseph’s book The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Oldest Culture. There are many creation stories and Lemuria is one for that part of the world. There is a museum in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan called the Mu Museum and is a tribute to the Motherland. In the Hawaiian Ethnic Art Museum in Oahu there are carvings that seem to verify the existence of a golden race who survived the onrush of the sea.
To make the city realistic I researched the Romans from their garments to their communal toilets. In addition I read Shirley MacLaine’s dreams of Lemuria as she related them in her excellent book The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit. Her description of the Lemurians—some golden, some violet, and hermaphroditic—let imagination work on that. For homes, I went with crystal construction with private areas being opaque. Rachel was surprised to learn she could communicate either from her mind or with the use of Lemurian seed crystals and crystal balls.
I needed a villain in spirit and chose Quetzalcoatl, a Mayan god who liked to dine on humans. It is thought that Lemurians who survived the end of their homeland took to the vast sea and made their way to what is known today as Central America and to the southwestern part of the US.
When my research was complete I was no longer certain that Lemuria was a myth. I hope readers of the book can entertain that possibility as well.
Tags: A Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery, Col. James Churchward, Fiction Writing, Frank Joseph, G G Collins, Lemuria, Lemurian Medium, Lemurian Seed Crystals, Lost continent of the Pacific, Mayan God, Quetzalcoatl, Shirley MacLaine, World Building, writing
Taylor Browning Talks to the Story Reading Ape
Check out one of the newest cozy mystery characters, mystery editor Taylor Browning. My thanks to Chris at the Story Reading Ape.
Click on the link below to read the interview.
Taylor is the new mystery editor at a publishing company in Santa Fe, NM. She’s learning the ropes of her job when the CEO is discovered dead in his locked office. When murder becomes apparent, the staff, the ex-wife and business associates come under suspicion; everyone but Oscar, Taylor’s Abyssinian cat.
Taylor finds herself in Sedona, AZ. Her mission? Convince a recalcitrant author her book publisher does need a copy of her manuscript in order to publish it. Taylor is fascinated with the Red Rock Country and the New Age culture. Just one problem; trouble followed. Taylor finds herself alone and vulnerable on a cliff.
When Things Go Bump in Daylight
by G G Collins (Copyright 2018)
Based on a true story. There are so many things we don’t understand and can’t explain.
Rachel’s eyes were puffy; her face carried red splotches. Last night’s news that her friend had died was difficult to understand in someone so young. Although expected, the finality of it was awful. When she heard Tanya’s husband’s voice she braced for the worst. Tanya was gone.
Now, alone in her bathroom she started as something flew through the air, straight across the room, hit the wall of tile and crashed into her bathtub. She witnessed it all within her peripheral vision.
“What the hell?” Rachel leaned over the tub and saw her small plastic travel clock lying in the tub. Except for the battery cover, it was intact.
“Weird,” she said to an empty room. “That clock has been sitting on that shelf since I moved into this house.” She picked it up, refastened the cover and replaced it on the shelf. It still worked.
“Creepy.” Rachel shook her shoulders to push away the unsettled feeling she had. She examined the clock to be certain it was secure and the shelf itself was level. “Check and check.”
Her thoughts returned to Tanya. Their last visit together was six years ago for lunch and a movie. They had a great time, lots of laughter, sharing their lives. When it came time to part, Tanya said, “I love you and I want you to know that’s forever.” Tanya had always been demonstrative. It was one of her many endearing qualities, but this seemed a bit more than usual. Rachel noticed it, but didn’t ask her why she had added the “forever.”
And then, Tanya vanished.
There were no phone calls, emails, lunch dates. No contact at all. Rachel had been hurt as she tried again and again to reach out to her. Finally, she gave up. Whatever was going on must be bad. It wasn’t like Tanya. It was hard, but Tanya had gone radio silent, apparently for good.
When Thanksgiving rolled around, Rachel sent her an email wishing her a good holiday. The response was from someone else who said he was using the address now and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving. Well, that was it. Nothing more she could do. Yet she refused to remove Tanya’s email address from her computer; the icon of her riding on the bay in dressage competition.
After three long years of questions, she received a telephone call. It was Tanya.
“Are you okay?” Rachel asked not knowing if she felt relieved or exasperated with her friend.
“Yes and no,” was the reply.
“I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch, but I’ve decided to call my friends and tell them what’s going on.”
“What is going on Tanya?” Rachel asked. There was more to this call than catching up.
“I have a form of early-onset dementia,” she said. Rachel caught her breath, her stomach knotted and she went cold all over. While she tried to comprehend the enormity and meaning of the news, Tanya continued. “It’s called frontaltemporal dementia. It’s fairly rare, but somehow it got me.”
Rachel stumbled around trying to find something helpful to say, but was so stunned that she barely got out, “I’m so sorry. Now I understand why you disappeared. You needed time to cope. Is there treatment?” She asked hopefully.
The next few minutes were a blur, but Rachel began to realize what her friend was up against. And that eventually, she would lose Tanya forever.
Rachel stood and looked out the window at her courtyard. In Santa Fe houses were adobe and came in many shades of brown. The wall around her backyard was also brown and enclosed her terrace and herb bed. Here she had met monsters from the paranormal realm and spirit helpers who both protected her and helped in other ways. Now her friend faced a monster of another kind and Rachel couldn’t help her.
Her thoughts raced back to their years of equestrian competition. The two girls met over saddle leather, literally introduced themselves while cleaning tack. They spent hours every day in the practice ring sharpening their riding skills. Tanya was queen of the dressage arena. She and her beautiful bay were hard to beat. Rachel succeeded only once, but she thrived in the cross-country jumping. The no-holds-barred eventing was her domain. Few could outrun her while astride her grey gelding.
“I may retain my memory with this type of dementia,” Tanya continued. “But I’ll likely become someone you and I don’t know, and probably won’t like.” There was sadness in her words, but she was making an effort to stay optimistic as she always did. “It affects the frontal lobe where impulse control is regulated. As it progresses, I may say inappropriate things.”
Tanya was the person Rachel would most like to emulate. She was kind to a fault, careful of other’s feelings and always supportive. And she accepted people the way they came. You were okay just as you were. Rachel envied her family who seemed to exhibit boundless love for each other and everyone. When there was a crisis, they circled the wagons and rode it out.
Rachel’s family wasn’t like that. Her mother died years ago; her father died recently—murdered. Brother Chris had been mayor of Santa Fe until he got involved with a bad crowd and participated in a swindle that almost ended his life. It had landed him in prison.
Her father, also a journalist, left big shoes she sought to fill. They had been close, but there wasn’t much extended family so holidays were not the big affair that Tanya’s family knew.
Two years after her last conversation with Tanya, her husband Gary called with the news. He cried as he told her that Tanya had become difficult, sometimes hateful. It was the disease; her filter was gone. And slowly, Tanya faded away. She and Gary met in high school and were rarely separated. They were forever sweethearts; now separated by death, but no less in love. He tried to be upbeat saying they would be reunited in eternity. Rachel wasn’t religious, but she silently hoped he was right.
After they said a tearful goodbye, Rachel crumbled to the floor and cried. Her tortoiseshell cat Chile Pod rubbed her leg and lifted her face to look at her guardian. Rachel absently stroked her colorful fur and was once again thankful for her company.
She remembered her friend Chloe told her about a transition blessing for the departed. Chloe, a real estate mogul in Santa Fe, lived nearby.
Rachel picked up the phone and called her.
“Tanya died,” she bypassed a greeting.
“Rachel, I’m so sorry. What can I do?”
“Remember when you told me about the transition blessing?”
“Of course. Do you want to do one for Tanya?”
“Yes. Can you come over?”
“I’ll get the crystals and be right over.”
A few minutes later Chloe arrived and enveloped Rachel. “I’m so sorry sweetie.”
“How do we do this?” Rachel asked, afraid she would cry again.
Chloe carefully poured the stones onto her kitchen table from a beautiful crocheted medicine bag. “A gift from our mutual friend Mari-lynn. We have scolecite, lilac kunzite, lapis lazuli and pink tourmaline.
Mari-lynn, Chloe’s contact for legal pot in Colorado, told her about the use of crystals. They were profoundly helpful in solving paranormal disturbances, facilitating time travel and returning spirits to their rightful place. Surely they would work to help her friend’s transition.
Chloe asked for candles and a photo of Tanya. Rachel collected them.
“Let’s go outside,” Chloe said.
The two women sat cross-legged on Rachel’s terrace. It was a lovely evening with another gorgeous New Mexico sunset in progress.
“Okay, you hold the crystals; in both hands.”
Rachel obliged. “Now what?”
“Mari-lynn told me we should concentrate on your friend. I brought a Hopi prayer that we can say.”
Rachel thought back to that evening in her living room when she tried a Hopi ceremony to return the dead. It went badly and a dangerous spirit returned. She hoped this would not end like that. Attempting the ritual marked the beginning of paranormal encounters and the development of her sixth sense. Being an intuitive was something she didn’t want, but it seemed to want her. That same night she met her spirit wolf on a lonely strip of interstate; the dazzling white wolf who alerted her when danger was near. What’s more, she had a wonderful relationship with a Hopi shaman, even after he died. Joseph was there when she needed spiritual guidance.
“Are you sure we should try that? You know what happened the last time.”
“It will be okay. It’s a prayer,” Chloe reassured her.
“Let me have the photo so I can meditate on her.” Chloe held the small framed photo of Tanya with her beloved horse, hair cascading from beneath her riding helmet. “She’s lovely. What beautiful long blonde hair.” She glanced at Rachel who was struggling to hold back tears.
“Let’s read this,” Chloe said.
“I’m not sure I can,” Rachel said. “Too much emotion. Can you read it for me?”
“Of course.” Chloe read the words. They were familiar. She’d heard a similar version before.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint in the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the autumn’s gentle rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there,
I did not die.
When she was finished, they both wiped at their eyes.
“Would you like to ask her for a sign she has reached her destination?”
“We can do that?” Rachel asked.
“Yes, go ahead, but it’s important to do so within 48 hours of a person’s death while they are still suspended between life and death. So now is the time.”
“Tanya, if you can, please send me a sign you have arrived and are safe?” Rachel croaked on the last word.
“Let’s blow out the candles,” Chloe said. “We have finished the blessing. Mari-lynn told me to warn you, if you receive a sign it will not be a common occurrence, but something quite unusual.”
“Okay,” Rachel said with some trepidation.
After Chloe left, giving her a big hug like Tanya had always done, Rachel cried her private tears and hoped Tanya had found the afterlife she had imagined.
* * *
The following day, she called Chloe from her office at High Desert Country magazine where she was a reporter and editor. While working on an assignment, she happened to think of the bizarre occurrence in her bathroom.
“Chloe, I may have already heard from Tanya and didn’t realize it.”
She went on to tell her about the odd incident she had experienced yesterday.
“At first I thought it was just strange. What do you think?”
“Rachel,” Chloe said. “I believe you’re right. That was your sign. Tanya has already contacted you. Your connection is so strong she reached out to you before you asked.”
“But how could it be?”
“I know your reporter’s intellect is trying to take you in another direction,” Chloe said. “But keep an open mind. This may be what you asked for. Mari-Lynn did say if a sign occurred, it would be strange, out of the ordinary. This certainly qualifies.”
The clock experience kept rising to the top of her thoughts. When she got home, the fact-checker in her got out a measuring tape. The clock, which was still secure on the shelf, had flown eight feet across her bathroom. “That’s not possible unless someone threw it, and no one did. Why would it fly parallel to the ceiling rather than fall directly to the floor beneath it?”
After a while, she ate dinner and went to bed, curling up with Chile Pod.
The following morning, she was about to brush her teeth and glanced suspiciously at the clock. As an extra precaution she confirmed it was stable and unable to take another unscheduled flight. “Good,” she said satisfied.
Before she could raise the toothbrush, the clock rattled on the shelf.
In genuine alarm she stared at the clock waiting for it propel itself across the room again.
“What’s going on?” If she had already received her sign, then what was this? She had relatively new perception skills. Usually when a spirit wanted to talk, there were sounds and conduits of colorful fog. This was very different.
The sense of unease persisted. In fact, she was somewhat frightened. Would it take wing again? Become lethal? Had she and Chloe unleashed something evil? She felt she should say something.
“Okay,” she smiled bravely—although she did not feel fearless. “I get it,” even though she wasn’t certain.
* * *
That night, she and Chloe met at The Shed for drinks and dinner. The Shed was their favorite place in Santa Fe for solving supernatural mysteries and just plain girl talk. They sat at the bar sipping margaritas waiting on their entrees smothered in green chile. Chloe was her usual elegant self. With her raven hair hoisted atop her head into a knot and colorful flowing garb, she was elegant as ever. Rachel pushed at her shoulder length brown hair. Had she even brushed it?
“I may have to stop going in my bathroom,” Rachel began.
“What? You had another event?” Chloe said excitedly.
Rachel didn’t always share Chloe’s enthusiasm for the mystical, but she related the latest episode with the clock.
“I’m telling you Rachel,” Chloe said gently, setting down her drink. “This is a follow-up from Tanya. Stop trying to explain it. You can’t. But you can try to decipher the message.”
“But it’s a damn clock,” Rachel said exasperated. “What’s a clock got to do with a message from Tanya?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking,” Chloe said. “There are all kinds of sayings about time.”
“You know Tanya and I were in journalism school together,” Rachel said. “We read one another’s assignments, we brainstormed together. She had a terrific mind.” Rachel let the words trail off as she struggled to stay in the moment and not think about what happened to Tanya’s mind. “It would be just like her to use a play on words.”
Rachel thought about it a moment; looking to Chloe for answers.
“Think Rachel. What would Tanya say?”
In utter astonishment, Rachel heard the words come from her lips. “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
“You translated the message literally?” Chloe asked.
“First thing that popped in my head.”
Rachel considered what it might mean. “Tanya has reached her destination and is having so much fun that times flies?”
“It would appear so, if you translated accurately.”
When Rachel returned home, she showered and wrapped up in a towel. As she stepped onto the bath mat the cold hit her. She grabbed her robe and pulled it tightly around her. That’s when she noticed her breath escaping in a fog.
It was not the way most spirits presented themselves to her, but a figure stood faintly outlined near the window. Rachel wanted to open the door and flee, but what if it was Tanya?
“Is that you Tanya?” she whispered.
There was no voice in return, just an unrecognizable filmy spirit who seemed to waver in and out. In a hyper second, it evaporated as though carried away by a zephyr. The cold went with it. As the warm air returned she heard a familiar sound; that of a horse trotting away. She raced to the window, but there was nothing outside, only the dark broken by one streetlight. Yet, the pounding hooves slowly receded.
Rachel stood amazed, remembering all the times they had ridden together. But in that moment she knew it was her friend. She must have met up with one of her horses from childhood. Maybe the Rainbow Bridge existed. As a new spirit, possibly Tanya couldn’t quite manifest herself, but she sent a clear message to Rachel; with reverberation.
Rachel kissed her palm like she’d seen Tanya do so many times and blew it in the direction her soul was now taking.
Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Re-Covered!
First: Reluctant Medium.
Rachel will need help from her spirit wolf to solve her first scrape with the supernatural.
Cover design by Tatiana Vila of Vila Design. Check out all her designs at https://www.viladesign.net