This spring I had the privilege of presenting a workshop at the Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference of the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America. I also had the pleasure of meeting Roses of Prose's own Jerri Hines. *waving to Jerri*
The conference is fabulous, and the historic hotel and town are truly wonderful. If you ever get the chance to see Salem, do it. It's incredible.
I brought my hubby along on the trip, and we rented a little apartment a bit west, but still in walking distance, of the conference venue. We did so mainly because nearly every hotel and bed-and-breakfast boasts "paranormal activity" or "sleep with the restless spirits." Absolutely not our choice for lodging. Give us a brand new Super 8 with zero ghosts, and we're very happy.
After settling into the place, we headed out to see the neighborhood. The apartment sat on the edge of the McIntire Historic District, and kitty-corner from the oldest cemetery I've ever visited, the Broad Street Cemetery. At first I felt a little creepy, but hubby took my hand and we explored the quiet spot. Tombstones from pre-Revolutionary War days still stood on this raised plot of land shaded by huge, old trees. One evening, he even talked me into enjoying a sunset from the cemetery. He explained away all the strange noises and shadows, but… *just got a chill here*
|Broad Street Cemetery|
The historic district is beautiful. We spent hours – both during the day and at night – criss-crossing the streets, enjoying the striking architecture. We experienced a few spooky moments. A cat ran out and startled us, a door swung open but no one was there, and an old church that I could not capture with my camera. *another chill*
I have to admit, I'm not much of a believer in the paranormal, but being in Salem, immersed in the pervasive atmosphere of ghosts and spirits and paranormal activity, I started feeling a bit otherworldly.
On our last day, we did our memento shopping. Hubby asked what I wanted, and I said, "Nothing." But all I could think about was, "It would be fun to have my Tarot read!" Again, I don't put much stock in that sort of thing, but I thought, "When in Rome…"
As we wandered the shopping areas downtown, I peered in the windows of palm readers and psychic shops until I stood in front of one that I couldn't resist. Seriously couldn't resist. I found myself walking in without a word to hubby who stood outside (probably wondering what the heck I was doing!) I felt compelled to enter this store.
I asked the woman behind the desk if she had a psychic available for a reading. "Doug is here." Doug? Hmmm. I was expecting someone more exotic, like Madame Valushka, a short woman with a turban. But okay, Doug it was. He sat at a table behind a tapestry curtain looking very, very unexotic. I sat across from him and told him I would like a Tarot reading because I was at a crossroads in my career and didn't know what to do. He gave me the cards and asked me to shuffle them while I thought about my question.
After I handed the cards back to him, something strange happened. He began laying the cards on the table and stopped. He looked at me and started talking. The gist was, I am an old soul, and it's my last time on Earth. My soul continues to come back to Earth because there's something I haven't finished. He said I'm psychically blocked, and I need to open up and admit to my strong psychic abilities."
Interesting words, to be sure, but the strange part was, while he was talking, I experienced the most intense déjà-vu I've ever known. I've had déjà-vu once in a while, but nothing like this. It continued for probably thirty seconds, and I felt as if I were out of my body. As if two universes were laid atop one other and were projecting themselves into my brain.
Breathless, I interrupted Doug, apologized, and told him what had just happened. He leaned forward and said, "I know. We've done this before in another life." *major chill*
He said there was a reason I was in Salem – the paranormal capital of the world. He said I had been guided to this city, to this shop, and to him specifically.
The reading was only fifteen minutes, but it felt like it took forever. When I stood to leave the shop I was shaking. I found my hubby and we headed to the waterfront and sat on a sunny bench to chase away the – yes, you guessed it – chills!
He listened, amazed at what I told him. He knows I'm not the type to fall for anything shady, so listening to my story gave him a couple of chills, too.
I still have déjà-vu occasionally, but it has taken on a new meaning for me. Following Doug's advice, I've allowed myself to use my own intuition when dealing with people. I won't have another Tarot reading, though. Unless, of course, I end up in Salem some day and wander by that little psychic shop...
It's a piece of my life I'll never forget. When I think of Salem, I think of Doug (who may just be reading this right now – Hi Doug!) I think of that thirty second out-of-body experience, and the hour I spent sitting next to my wonderful hubby on that sunny bench and sharing with him one of the strangest phenomenon I've ever encountered.
Wow, just talking about it again has me all jittery. Have you ever experienced psychic phenomena? Or have you had your Tarot or palm read? I can't wait to hear your stories.
Secret Vegas Lives
Scandalous L.A. Desires
both available from Red Rose Publishing