With each puff of her cigarette she breathed in desolation and exhaled grand sorrow. Her long and crimson-colored fingers wrung in worry, and the anguished misery and loneliness trickled down her face, aching from a missing that was called grief. The veil was so thick that even her sight had been taken, leaving her in an empty cavern of complete and final darkness.
"The echoes of her dolor sting even a hardened man as myself. I recognize every ache within her soul. With each beat of her heart I feel it as a sharpened sliver under my skin goes deeper and deeper, twisting over and over," Edgar Allan Poe whispered to me.
I sat on the olive green-colored, carpeted stairwell looking over at my mother—who sat rocking in the chair, and yet the chair itself didn't rock.
I was only three years old when I began to see and communicate with spirits. My family referred to them as imaginary friends, but to me they were as real as anyone else flesh and blood. My spirit guides introduced themselves to me at that early age, but it wasn't until I was thirteen years old when a most unlikely spirit guide introduced himself to me—Edgar Allan Poe.
Yes, the Edgar Allan Poe—the famous Gothic writer most known for his bushy eyebrows, heavy drinking, and moody temperament. Typical thirteen-year-olds are dealing with raging hormones, school stress, and peer problems, so you can imagine another degree of difficulty called mediumship and the shadow of an insatiable literary figure in tow added to the box of problems. Most teenagers are worried if they are physically and/or emotionally developing. I worried about that—plus getting caught talking to ghosts, spirits, and guides. Oh, and did I mention that I attended parochial school? Yeah, life was…well, never dull.
"If I have guides to help me through my life path, where then are my mom's guides?" I inquired, wiping away my own tears. "Why is she gifted a life of torment? Is it karma or cruelty?"
Poe sighed and laid his hands on my shoulders, as if to steady me, or possibly to steady himself. "My friend, for that I'm not sure. My own life was met with much sadness and torment, so much that I bathed in it on a daily basis. Oh, there were pieces of happiness, but I refused to collect them and instead shredded remnants of anything that hinted to joy. Although I was not blind in sight, I was blind in soul. I neither guided nor followed."
"Great," I mumbled, "this won't be disastrous or anything!" I looked again over at my mom, who was deep in her sorrow, and lamented on what to do for a few seconds. I took a deep breath, got up, and pretended to bounce happily down the stairs.
"Hi, Mom. What's wrong?"
My mom's crystal blue eyes reflected her sadness. "It doesn't matter how long ago your family died, the ache remains," she wept.
I looked over at Poe, who had my mom's hand in his, trying to comfort her, but it was as if she could feel it and quickly pulled her hand into her lap.
"My hands are always so very cold," she complained, and rubbed her hands together trying to warm them. Little did she know it was just spirit energy and had nothing to do with temperature at all.
It was my upbringing to never bring up anything ghostly or psychic. I wasn't even allowed to read my horoscope in the newspaper, so I couldn't tell my mom that Edgar Allan Poe was sitting near her. My parochial school taught me that everything I was seeing, everything that I was experiencing, was of the devil and not anything good at all. I wrestled everyday with who I was, what I saw, and what I believed.
"Dad told me that there was another bird incident."
"I had to call for help," her voice shrilled. "There were two. Aunt Ernie said they were black birds. I swear, I feel like I'm living in a Hitchcock film!"
Poe cleared his throat and snickered.
"Not funny," I telepathically warned him.
Aunt Ernie was our mean next door neighbor who we couldn't help but love. Whenever we needed anything and my dad wasn't around, she was right there to help out. If it was a spider that needed to be smashed, she'd pick it up by its legs and set it free. A ride to the grocery store, she drove us. And when the birds appeared, which was often, she brought her large broom over and helped them find their way outside. Her bark was loud, her bite was rare—but you never stayed around to find that out. One of my mom's biggest fears was of birds, and when Poe came on the scene, infestations of birds began to appear, and Aunt Ernie would come running with my mom's screams. My dad called several people to investigate where they were getting in, but nobody could figure it out. Except that I knew.
"It's better than rats. Or parrots. You know The Raven was originally a parrot? Could you imagine me sending parrots all talking at the same time?" Poe chuckled at himself.
"I'm sorry that you miss everybody, Mom, but I'm here. Dad is here. We love you!"
My mom only nodded at me, got up, and went into her bedroom. There was no comforting her when the depression turned manic. The deep loneliness pooled and attempted to invade my own heart, but in order to keep it at bay I would pick up a book to escape or write in a journal, oftentimes with Poe peeking over my shoulder in inquiry.
The reason he was guiding me was truly a deep mystery until the last decade. When I was almost nine years of age my grandfather, from the other side, foiled an attempted kidnapping. The kidnapper was thought to have been the Oakland County Killer; at least four children had been murdered, possibly more. It was then that I inundated myself in true crime. Instead of reading Judy Blume, I was reading Ann Rule. By reading the true crime I tried to fine-tune my psychic and mediumship abilities. How were they killed? What was the motive? What did the perpetrator look like? I would try to utilize, what I referred for so many years as a curse, my gift to figure out the "whodunit."
Many are unaware that Edgar Allan Poe was delving into true crime and the detective genre before he passed away, and if it weren't for Poe, true crime, science fiction, horror, and the paranormal genres wouldn't be—or at least be the way that they exist today. Poe inspired Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stevie Nicks, Alice Cooper, and so many more. Poe even appears on sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." It was unfortunate he didn't know his worth until he was on the other side.
Why then was he guiding a girl from Detroit, Michigan? A series of (un)fortunate events from my psychic mediumship gift, to the attempted kidnapping, to the obsession with true crime blended, mixed in with my love for reading and for writing, adding in a most interesting soul connection through a past life that Poe and I shared. Poe needed someone to help tell his story. Not just through words, but discovery, and so over the course of thirty plus years he used me. I always said he was a ladies' man.
My mom passed away on January 30, 2006. Just a few weeks beforehand I confessed my true self to her at her bedside.
"I always liked Poe's work," she smiled, and it was then that I realized Poe wasn't just guiding me, he was also trying to guide my mom, but she fought against it. It was the evening of my mom's death that I began writing Forevermore—Poe's true story.
For years I fought with who I was and what my life purpose was (like so many of us do), and yet it was right there in front of me. Far from being a madman (as he's often portrayed), Poe is an insightful guide and a sleuth with a passion for justice. Working with law enforcement, today Poe and I continue to uncover truths of the past—murders, suicides, missing persons—and shed light on the wrongs that have found their way into the present day.
Sharing the story of Forevermore didn't come without a lot of soul searching. I can only imagine the the skepticism: First this lady says she talks to the other side, and now she claims to speak to the literary genius Edgar Allan Poe from beyond the grave? Where is the straight jacket?
We all have helpers on the other side, who help guide and protect us, and why not Edgar Allan Poe, or someone else that made an impact on our lives, be it through literature, medicine, science, etc.? And if me, why not you too? You merely need to allow them in your life to help them help you.