Synchronicity pops up often in my life, as it did a few days ago. A friend handed me a book, Portrait of a Past Life Skeptic by Robert L. Snow that her daughter told her to give to me. I was pleasantly surprised as I recognized the title and author’s name. In 2012 he spoke at the A.R.E. in Virginia Beach, VA where I was attending a past-life regression seminar. I was impressed with his story but had limited funds for buying books, so I didn’t get his that day.
As I read his story it brought his appearance back to me. He was a police captain for 30 years in Indianapolis, IN who, on a dare, experienced a past life regression with Dr. Griffith. As his career must suggest, he believed in facts, only facts; the here and now, certainly no New-Age stuff, even after his session.
It was difficult for him to accept that he once lived in the 1800s as an extremely successful artist, J. Carroll Beckwith. Yet the experience rolled around in the back of his mind until he started doing some research to disprove what happened to him once and for all. Except that it didn’t disprove it. Instead it proved that he once lived as the artist.
Being an artist, I had been impressed by his story enough to do some research of my own and found a few of his paintings online. His most famous portrait of The Lady in Red was featured in one of my art books. Even though I had learned some bits about reincarnation when I heard him speak, I learned even more by reading his full story in the book. I especially enjoyed his wrap-up at the end where he says how the experience has opened his mind to learn so much more about life and the afterlife.
I loved his book! Taking the day off from a computer who was sassing back at me in the way of not doing what I wanted it to do, I finished reading the book in one day. When I emailed Lisa, thanking her, not knowing why she chose to send it to me, but happy that she did.
Well, she didn’t. She sent it to my friend Arlene and it got to me by mistake! Or by synchronicity!
The ghosts that I have come across are not the rotted out bodies dripping with blood rising from a grave in a mysterious, forgotten cemetery. They are more like people who loved their home so much that they couldn’t bear to leave it, people who didn’t realize they were dead, and sometimes people just saying good-bye to loved ones before heading toward the light. It can be a very comforting experience if you are open-minded without horror stories lurking in the back of your mind.
One house noted in Ghostly Spirits in Warren County & Beyond has many ghosts and spirits living there and also some just passing through. A while after our interview an invitation came for me to attend a tea party with the ghost children who lived there. It was an unusual experience but not as unusual as the request that came later for them to come visit me in my home! I thought about that a bit before agreeing. After all, they were gracious enough to invite me. They came, giggling and smiling, happy little kids, giving me their names this time. It helped me to look at death very differently.
The passion of history often has a lot to do with a person’s spirit being held to the earth plane, especially on a battlefield where so many died at such young ages.. I went to Gettysburg once, rising early in the morning, before sunrise during the off-tourist season. I sat in Little Round Top and felt the enormous sadness wash over me. I didn’t see any of the ghosts that many have seen. I thought of the cries of those shot down so senselessly. Many of those fallen had no true idea of what it was all about. Why they felt they had to march off to war because some politicians were afraid they would be losing money with the new laws. War is always about the money hiding behind ideals spoken aloud.
I rather bumped into writing about the true experiences people have with ghosts many years ago. It began when word got out that I had witnessed a happening with a little girl ghost. Others, curious, wanting to talk about their own experiences but afraid they would be laughed at, came into my bookshop and quietly began to reveal their stories to me.
This led to my conducting a Ghost Walk as a fund raiser for my business group in Bordentown, New Jersey. When I moved to North Carolina in 2005, I was telling Don Arnold at Oakley Hall Antiques about my ghost. He said, “You need to be writing about Warren County’s ghosts. We have lots of them!” With that said he invited me to his and Ernie Fleming’s home at Oakley Hall (former plantation) in Ridgeway.
This opened the door to forming a great friendship between us. It also began my collecting stories about local hauntings that are as varied as there are people. It seemed that wherever I went, still as a newcomer at the time, someone had a story for me or a name of someone I needed to speak with. A lady sat next to me at a Christmas party. I knew no one other than the hosts. The conversation came around to ghosts. She just happened to have a story.
A woman called to me while I was sitting on a picnic table on the Lake Gaston Estates beach. It was 8 a.m. on a weekday morning. Her dog was lost and she was hoping I had seen it. I hadn’t, but an hour or two later, I had a phone call telling me where the dog was. It wasn’t long before I learned that she had an experience to relate to me. We also shared some of our life stories and became friends.
I served on jury duty in Warrenton. When the jury was sent to the little room while the attorneys discussed a point in the case, a juror asked if I really wrote ghost stories as it had been revealed during the jury selection. “Yes” I replied. Three people there had stories to tell me. Two of them are in the Ghostly Spirits in Warren County & Beyond book. Who would think I’d meet someone with a haunting sequestered in a jury room? Ya gotta luv it!
Now I’m collecting stories for my second NC/VA book. If you have one or happen to know someone . . . .please send a message to me.
Some time after writing Major Fraser’s I read Outlander the fictional story of Jamie Fraser by Diana Gabaldon. (I fell in love with Jamie, too.) There were so many similarities in the facts of my Thomas Fraser and Gabaldon’s Jamie that I wondered if she had used the same research that I did as a basis for Jamie. Of course Jamie and Thomas Fraser were very common names in Scotland back in the 1700s, probably still are today.
In Major Fraser’s, Thomas’ life is so much more than recording his role in the American Revolutionary War history. Writing is exhausting. Writing non-fiction is even more tedious because the facts must be checked and double checked. When I lay down in bed at night I fell quickly into a deep sleep, needing to be restored for the next day’s battle. I thought I was finished when I typed The End. But no, I was not.
Thomas and Anne Fraser’s children came to me during the night. These young adults woke from my deepest sleep to talk to me. They pleaded with me to continue on and tell their stories, too. So, I did and found more fascinating facts about part of the family emigrating from New Jersey to Europe in the 1800s. Caroline Georgina had married Prince Napoleon Lucien Charles Murat in Bordentown New Jersey. He was the son of Joachim Murat-King of Naples and Sicily, and nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. This made him royalty and royalty entitled the family to so much more.
Other siblings of Caroline Georgina including her twin, led exciting lives in their own country. This family made a mark in history that I have not read anywhere else. It includes a grand love affair between Major Thomas Fraser and the southern belle, Anne Loughton Smith, of the noted Smith family of South Carolina.
Major Fraser’s is also a complete history of a house on Prince Street that includes a history of the people who owned it, didn’t own it but lived there, and about the men who owned the property before a dwelling was built on it. Major Fraser is one of those who did not own it, yet it is still referred to as Major Fraser’s.
on The Show: WARR RADIO 1520 AM Sherman Johnson Miles in My Shoes, Years at My Side, author Patrick James Smith will be interviewed by Sherman Johnson about his book and experiences with UFOs, ghosts, and other strange occurrences happening in his lifetime. You can tune in online to listen 10 am to 11 am this Wed. March 22. Exciting!
“I am suddenly aware that I am alone in a timeless and vast pitch black void in which there are no stars, sun, or moon.” This is the opening sentence in Miles in My Shoes, Years at My Side, the memoir of Patrick James Smith in which his strange and sometimes eerie experiences with life are enough to keep you awake at night.
He writes in journal form, accented by bible verses, chronicling moments beginning with his birth. His remarkable memory records events that will be impossible to forget after reading them. He was born in Oklahoma, but grows up criss-crossing the country. Prophetic dreams come to him as warnings to prepare him for what is ahead. As a child he plays with poisonous snakes but doesn’t get bit, amazing his siblings. An electric shock convulses his young body while he sits in a bathtub full of water, yet he survives. And these are only a few, tiny incidents. There are so much more.
Smith holds nothing back. He reveals all that he has seen, heard, and lived to tell his readers. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the unusual, the shocking, the exhilarating. You won’t fall asleep reading it. You can find it on CreateSpace or Amazon.com.
The photo is of the graveyard near the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange is approximately a half hour away.
Probably the first time I heard of Tara (in this lifetime) was in reading Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell when I was in my early 20s. The Hill of Tara came to me many years later when I read Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley in 1991. I loved both books, feeling Ripley continued Scarlett’s fiery personality in her novel.
Angelo came home one day and said, “Let’s go to Ireland next month.” He always chose our vacation spot, but left the planning up to me. I had no clue (and the Internet was in its infancy) about where to go, no time to write for tourist information, and never went to tourist destinations anyway.
Ahhh! I had recently finished Scarlett. I took the book off the shelf, copied all the places she mentioned and marked them on the map. It gave me a starting point. Angelo was not a reader. He had no idea where my plan came from, just went along wherever I drove the car. I was determined to see where the High Kings of Ireland sat; where Scarlett was taking a handful of her Tara’s earth to mix with the earth in the Hill of Tara, Ireland.