Month of Mediumship, Lesson #7: A ghost story
Welcome back to our Month of Mediumship! Today's lesson comes in the form of a ghost story from my past. I have shared this one before, in my now out-of-print zine, "Haunted: Stories and Tips for the Modern Medium." Some of my best lessons have come from landing myself in trouble and having to claw my way out, often with the assistance of my elders and mentors. My hope is that by sharing this, you will better understand why I focus so heavily on thoughtful set up and release when engaging in mediumship. Grab yourself something cozy to sip on, a snuggly blanket, and settle in for an unsettling tale...
Years ago, I brought home a dark entity. This was before I knew how to communicate with spirits in a productive way and I would provoke them when I didn’t get as “loud” of a response as I wanted. At this point, I was spending much of my free time taking pictures in and around supposedly haunted businesses and houses, psychically yelling, “HEY! I know you can hear me! Show yourself!” Not very respectful behavior, in hindsight.
This particular experience began at Cheesman Park in Denver, CO on a hot September day. The park is a notoriously haunted location, which once housed Mount Prospect Cemetery, later known as Denver City Cemetery.
The cemetery opened in 1858, but was falling into disrepair by the 1890s. It was determined that the cemetery was to become a park. Families were given 90 days to move their loved ones’ remains. There were a number of bodies, mostly of people who had lived on the fringes of society, that were left unclaimed. As a result, the City of Denver contracted with an undertaker named E.P. McGovern to move around 5,000 bodies. He epically violated his duties. According to the Denver Republican newspaper, which broke the news on March 19, 1893 in a story called “The Work of Ghouls” he dismembered bodies in order to use child-sized coffins. He could charge the city more because he was paid by the coffin. McGovern left in disgrace and no one else was hired to finish the job. Open graves remained, as McGovern said his contract never included filling them. The city erected a wooden fence around the perimeter and planted some bushes in the remaining open graves. Bodies were left unmoved and the city opened the park in 1907.
Back to that September day. My dog and I wandered the park as I snapped pictures with my phone in the hopes I would pick up orbs or strange shadows that could help direct me towards the most active areas. I was on guard for cold spots or places that felt strange. I was also mentally hollering for the spirits to show themselves the entire way. Near the pavilion, which is one of the park’s most identifiable features, I began to feel nauseous and my head began to swim. We had been walking for an hour, so I chalked my strange feelings up to the heat and my pup and I headed home. It’s worth noting that I didn’t do any grounding before starting our adventure and I didn’t clear my energy before going home. I also took no protective measures for my beloved canine companion. Honestly, at that point, I didn’t even know that those were steps that I should have taken and wouldn’t have known where to start.
Over the next week, I became painfully aware that something had followed me home. The morning after our trip to the park was a Saturday. I was reading in bed and enjoying my coffee when a curtain that was held up with a tension rod snapped to the ground as though it had been yanked. Two days later, I was pulling a jar of devotional oil I had made in honor of my grandmother off a shelf in my bedroom. I used it when my confidence was lacking and it took several months to make. The jar was knocked out of my hand, splashing almost all of the contents onto the wall and floor. I tried to convince myself that I had simply lost my grasp on it, but I knew that wasn’t true.
The tipping point came later in the week. I had been having very bad dreams since my visit to Cheesman Park. One morning, I woke up sometime after 4AM. As I was trying to fall back asleep, I heard what I can only describe as a rage-filled "psychic scream" in a male voice. Right after I heard it, my then-infant son started whimpering like he was having a bad dream. At that moment, I knew I was in over my head and needed help.
Luckily, by that point I was working with my first magical teacher, Danielle Battagione of Ripple and Knot. I set up a session and she confirmed that I had brought something home from the park and that my son and I were being psychically attacked. With the benefit of hindsight and much more experience, it is my belief that what attached to me was a low-energy being that had once been human. Among other things, she cleared my energy and taught me a cord cutting technique and some ways to fortify our home. She also sternly and lovingly said that going forward, she wanted me to treat my gifts with more reverence. I agreed, feeling humbled and ashamed for being so careless and putting my child, my heart outside my body, at risk. I learned many things from this experience. It taught me that being careless in how I engage with the spiritual realm not only endangers me - it also puts my family at risk. I learned the importance of preparing for and intentionally ending spirit communication, which we have covered in prior lessons. It also taught me that negative entities are real. Prior to this, the vast majority of my paranormal encounters had been lighthearted. As scary and unsettling as this situation was, it pales in comparison to some of the things I have experienced since then. The difference is that I have spent years studying and practicing spirit communication techniques, which includes what to do when I encounter something dark.
I hope this helps illuminate why I feel so strongly about proper set up and release of the connections you make with the spirit world. Find what works for you, just don’t scrimp on your grounding, protection, and spiritual hygiene!
* Images above are from the Denver Public Library and are linked to more information about the history of Cheesman Park if you are interested.
Early notice! Free access to Month of Mediumship ends on September 26th
All things must come to an end, bbs! You have about 90 more days to go through our Month of Mediumship lessons for free. The month of lessons will be available for $33 after September 26, 2022.