It was in the spring of 1984 that I got a call from my Mother wondering whether I would be interested in taking a class with her entitled “how to develop your ESP”, which of course stands for “extra sensory perception”. The class was being given in the local high school. I told her okay. I didn’t much care if it worked or not, I thought it would be a nice Mother and Son thing to do. I had to register for the course which included disclosure of my name and address as well as pay a fee of $150.00. This left me extremely skeptical with regard to the value of the course. The teacher was obviously making money from the participants and she had sufficient information about her students to check into their backgrounds.
On the first night of the class our teacher, Marilyn, gave us a brief introduction into the world of “ESP.” She told us that reality was a mental realm rather than a physical one. She also told us that the ability to access information beyond that normally gained through our five senses was something that we all could develop. She told us her particular specialty was “psychometry”, or “psychic touch” as it is called today. She claimed that by touching an object she was able to gain insight into the person who possessed it, such as the type of person he or she was, their talents and fears, and sometimes information about their futures.
To make her point, she offered a brief demonstration. She called for a volunteer to give her one of their possessions. A fellow classmate quickly stood up and handed over his watch. Marilyn took it and held it in both hands. She closed her eyes as if she were searching for some other worldly channel of communication. After two or three minutes of silence she began to tell the class some facts about our classmate. I don’t remember what she said but, I do recall it was essentially generalities; like “he’s an intelligent thoughtful person.” One would not expect our volunteer to contradict Marilyn by confessing that on the contrary he was a stupid shallow person. I was certainly not impressed by the demonstration, but, my mom enjoyed the class and so I agreed to continue coming with her.
Marilyn suggested that for the next class we each bring a personal object that we have possessed for many years and she will demonstrate her ability further. I decided to test her by bringing my father’s watch with me and pass it off as mine. If she was any good at all she should be able to realize that I was not the owner of that watch. I, in skeptic mode, was convincing myself that she was a total fraud and I planned to use my father’s watch as a way of outing her. I did not tell my Mother what I was up to and relished, to some extent, tripping her up in front of the class. I suppose I was doing it not so much as to embarrass her but rather showing the class how clever I was.
When, during the second class, the time came for Marilyn to ask for volunteers, I immediately jumped up and rushed to hand her the watch. She again took it in her hands and closed her eyes seeking again to establish some connection to an unknown source of knowledge. She then turned to me and said “This is not your watch.” She said it in the form of an accusation. I felt exposed and belittled. I tried to explain that I was seeking to connect to my Father, but, she wasn’t buying it. However, she let me off easy and turned to another volunteer to continue her demonstration.
Well, I thought to myself, she’s either the real deal or smarter than I am, and at the present I felt really dumb. At this point I was forced to concede ground to her and set aside some of my skepticism. Her continued demonstration did not bring about any great revelations about my other classmates as she again spoke more in generalities than specifics. Nevertheless the class was impressed and, grudgingly, I was too.
The class continued for the next twelve weeks ending in June. I did not learn much from my attendance, but, it was pleasant and sociable and, I enjoyed it. On the last day, Marilyn told us she was going to conduct private classes in her home during the summer and if any of us wanted to attend to let her know. My Mother was very excited about the prospect of continuing the class and urged me to go with her. Again, more for my Mother’s sake than mine, I agreed to join Marilyn’s summer seminar.
The class she conducted in her home was much the same as the one in the classroom, at least in the beginning. We would discuss aspects of “esp” and Marilyn would demonstrate her talents. However, after a couple of weeks she began an exercise intended to awaken our latent psychic abilities, including mine and my Mother’s.
We spent the first fifteen minutes doing meditation. We closed our eyes, took deep breaths and let our minds picture the imagery she conjured up. It was relaxing I remembered thinking, and also a clever way to kill fifteen minutes of an hour class. My Mother though was really into it. She told me that during these exercises she saw visions of people’s faces.
“What people?” I asked. And she said “just faces of people I’ve never met.”
“Do they say anything” I wondered.
“Nope, they just look at me.” She responded.
At the last class for the summer Marilyn told us that she would attempt to open a channel within us. What channel that was she didn’t say. I was game and willing to cooperate. Again we began with a meditation, only this time the meditation was lasting more than 30 minutes.
At that point she said that she would be touching us gently in order to open that channel. Shortly thereafter I felt her hands resting on my shoulders.
“Allow yourself to go with the flow.” She said. As I heard her words I could feel a deepening in my meditative state. There seemed to be a feeling of numbness coming over me as if a detachment was beginning between my mind and body. After a few minutes I actually could not sense my body. Then, quite suddenly, I could see in front of me Laurie’s coffin. It was open and slowly came closer to me as if I was walking toward it except I was not walking.
I looked in the coffin and saw my Laurie. She was dressed as she was the day I buried her. However, she seemed more alive. She slowly opened her eyes and smiled. It was startling but I wasn’t startled. I seemed to expect what was happening. It was like I knew she would open her eyes and smile.
Then she sat up. I leaned over and embraced her. I could feel her pressed up against me. I gently kissed her on the cheek and told her I loved her. Then slowly the imaged faded and I felt the sense of my body returning. I opened my eyes and took a deep breath. I could see that others in the class were responding in a similar way. There was a look on their faces of a kind of wonderment. I looked at my Mother. Her eyes were closed and she was smiling. Her head was moving slightly from side to side in a kind of rhythm.
In a few minutes she too opened her eyes taking and took a deep breath as she did that.
“Did you see anything?” I asked her.
“I saw Dad.” She smiled.
At that point all my classmates were wide eyed and Marilyn began asking them to share their experiences. There wasn’t anything interesting in what I heard, or rather I was distracted by my own vision and was not really paying attention to what the others had to say until my Mother starting sharing hers.
She said that her vision was of a dance hall, the kind she remembered during World War II where soldiers would bring their wives or girlfriends for an evening’s entertainment when they had time off from their base. She saw my Dad there. He approached her took her in his arms and they began to dance. She danced with him the entire time. Nothing was said. She rested her head on his shoulder and danced.
“It was wonderful.” She concluded.
I was happy to see her so elated. She was very loyal to my Father and never entertained the thought of being with another man since his death.
“Your Father was the love of my life and no one could ever replace him.” She told me many times.
I did not share my vision with the class. It was very personal to me and I keep it to myself. I did tell my Mother about it after the class was over. She felt she would miss being at the class and hoped that Marilyn continued with a class in the fall. I agreed with her and felt, in the end, the experience was well worth it.
A few weeks later, while at my Mother’s home, I suggested an experiment. I felt that my Mother might have some psychic ability and thought we might try some automatic writing. So I put a pen in her hand and a piece of paper underneath it and told her to close her eyes and see what happens.
“What’s supposed to happen?” She wanted to know.
I told her that sometimes other worldly spirits can gain control of your hand and write messages on the paper. It was kind of like a Ouija Board without the board. She was more than a bit hesitant, I think, primarily afraid that it might actually work.
She sat there for about 40 to 45 minutes waiting for something to happen, which didn’t. I took the pen from her and told her we would try again some other time, which for me was the following week. Again I stuck a pen in her hand and again she closed her eyes and we waited for something to happen. After about 20 minutes her hand began to move. The pen moved in an up and down vertical pattern which looked like the markings on a cardiogram. When her hand neared the end of the paper I lifted it and placed it below the line she had just written. Again she continued writing in the same manner. This went on for about fifteen minutes until her fingers began to twitch and she dropped the pen.
“Well, this is progress at least.” I told her. I was convinced something was happening and so was she. We continued to try for the next five or six weeks without any greater success. Then I decided to place my hand on her right shoulder, her writing arm, and suddenly the scribble turned into letters. The first words she wrote were:
“Michael my son I miss you.” The words were all in script and there was no separation between words as the pen wrote a continuous stream of letters. The first words that came out of my mouth were:
“Is Laurie with you?” And, in answer to that, the pen wrote, “Yes.”
My heart leapt when I saw that answer. I knew my Mother was not out to trick me. I knew she would not consciously move that pen. I felt this was in fact my Father writing. I felt my daughter was safe.
My Father wrote how he was concerned about all of us. How he wanted only good things to happen in our lives. Then my Mother’s fingers twitched and the pen fell and the session, if you want to call it that, was over.
We talked for hours about what happened. I was convinced it was my Father, my Mother was bewildered by it and Sandy was skeptical. We all however wanted to continue with it on a weekly basis to see what would develop. Over the next few months the writings continued and I continued to place my hand on my Mothers right shoulder. There weren’t any great revelations about the hereafter nor were there predictions of our futures. My Father did tell my Mother that one day they would be together again and that he was waiting for her. He told me not to worry about the future and said that I would not need for money. In regard to Laurie, there were not much added other than he was with her and she was alright. However, my Mother began to develop a cyst on the shoulder I touch and as time passed the cyst grew to the size of a grapefruit.
It was then that an interesting communication came through. My Father expressed concern about his brother who was scheduled for a heart by-pass surgery the next day. He kept writing that he must not have the operation in the morning or things would not turn out right. We were somewhat perplexed by his warning and did not know what to do about it. I didn’t want to scare my Uncle or his family by communicating the warning to them but, on the other hand, if we didn’t and something went wrong we would never forgive ourselves. Finally we decided that the call had to be made and My Mother called my Aunt. She tried not to alarm her and told her about the writing and what the person we thought was my Father had said. My Aunt told my Mother that he was scheduled for surgery at 8:00 in the morning and there was nothing she could do to change the time.
We hoped my Father was wrong and yet if he was, then a form of validation would fail. I was torn between wanting my Father to be right, and at the same time wanting him to be wrong. We waited for word from my Aunt as to which way it would go.
In the early afternoon of the day of his surgery my Aunt called to tell my Mother that everything had gone well. However, she said that at 8:00 in the morning he was brought into surgery and then suddenly they came and took him out because an emergency patient had been admitted to the hospital and attention to him was immediately required. My Uncle’s surgery was postponed to noon.
I could see the hand of my Father in what happened. For whatever reason he did not want my Uncle under the knife in the morning, and, it was prevented. I don’t purport to know how or why it was brought about, but, to me, it solidified my belief that my Father was writing through my Mother.
The next session would turn out to be our last. My Father began by writing “Michael my son write the book write the book now.” He then repeated that sentence over and over again an entire page’s worth. When my Mother got to the end of the page her fingers did their usual twitch dropping the pen and ending the session. The next day she went to the doctor to have him look at the cyst on her shoulder. He immediately lanced the cyst and removed it. He told her that the cyst could have had serious consequences if she had waited any longer. This scared her quite a bit and she decided not to continue with the writing. I was upset but understood her fear. I did not push her to continue hoping that some other avenue of communication would open up. It didn’t.
I thought about the book my Father wanted me to write. Was it something connected to my work? I just didn’t feel there was a book in me that wanted to come out. I didn’t realize what he meant at the time, but, I do now.