Browsing Tag


Awe & Wonder, Guest Posts

When the Dead Speak

May 20, 2018

By Suzanne Clores

Last June, while attending an academic conference about using psychic ability to predict the stock market, an elegant woman addressed me near the bathroom sinks, saying she’d like to give me a gift in the form of a reading.

“Like an astrology reading?”

“More like an energy reading. It’s an act of karma. I try to pay it forward once in a while.”

For the last several years, I’ve spent my writing life exploring the science and scholarship of psychic experiences. I am an observer, not a practitioner, and although I love the topic, conferences like these freak me out. Something weird—and I mean very weird– always happens. Two years earlier, on a glorious June day, I presented at an extraordinary phenomena conference at Gettysburg College, not far from America’s bloodiest Civil War battlefield. The blazing sun shifted once I arrived within a mile of the town; though the sky was still bright, a cold, dark cloud seeped through the metal of my car, into my heart. It was as though fifty thousand dead soldiers still drifted in the air.

I didn’t really believe that landscapes held memories, or that trauma attached itself to earth, grass, or trees. That was almost two centuries ago, I told myself. These sensations are in your head. This pep talk mostly worked until I entered the conference, a room full of cheerful experts discussing ghost hunting, spirit photography, and EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon (the recordings of ghost voices). All shared the opinion that the dead left impressions; visual, auditory or even tangible impressions. I remained in a place of denial. These are enthusiasts, I told myself. People much more deeply invested in belief. Continue Reading…

Binders, Forgiveness, Guest Posts

The Ghost of You

March 24, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Piper Selden

“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.”  ― Salman Rushdie

Serenity House, Room 114. Hidden on a hillside among Santa Barbara’s majestic coastal oaks. The slick ad reads like a vacation destination. It is not. Serenity House is a hospice facility, a place people go when they can no longer live at home. It’s a place people go to die.


In my mind’s eye, the door to Room 114 is closed because I wasn’t there when you died, when they blessed your body and anointed it with oils. When the ghost of you didn’t haunt me.

In my deepest dream-space, you are still alive in that room. Heart pounding, I know my biggest fear is beyond the heavy oak door, and I must enter alone. I press the cold metal handle and walk inside.

You are there, propped in bed and shirtless, not dressed in a jewel-toned silk shirt, like the ones you used to wear. I place blessed salt on your chest. You, for purifying, salt of the earth, my father. And me, for salting the dark field of my childhood. I don’t want to go back. I can’t.

Enough salt, enough tears. We’re free to love and forgive now in new spirit bodies. Continue Reading…

healing, Inspiration, Mindwebs


September 22, 2012

I was driving down Main Street in Santa Monica last week and I thought I saw my mom’s second husband. My stepfather Carl.

He died in 1993.

A week before I graduated high school we got the call that he died in his sleep, a call so unexpected that you move the phone away from your ear to look at it and make sure it is really a phone and that its really a voice on the other end saying Carl died in his sleep last night. So we boarded a plane and flew from New Jersey out to California to help go through boxes and pictures and things that had belonged to him. My mother and Carl had divorced a few years before. Looking back I can see what a complicated beautiful mess this relationship was, what a complicated beautiful mess all relationships are really.

Why were we the ones to fly out and sort through a dead man’s stuff? I think now, from the vantage point of 20 years too late.

I am here now in Atlanta, just outside of Atlanta actually, down south in McDonough, at my sisters, where we just finished a fundraising walk for my oldest nephew who has Prader Willi Syndrome. PWS, as its called, is a rare genetic disorder with a host of shit that goes along with it but the most well known and unfair is the feeling of starvation the people who have PWS experience.

Blaise, my nephew, was eating out of the trash can tonight.

You catch him and he hugs you right away because he knows how to manipulate. Like we all do. It’s heartbreaking to think that he has to manipulate for food. The other kids today at the walk ate like they were never going to see food again whereas with Blaise we have to be constantly vigilant. He can literally eat himself to death. He can have a piece of banana. He can have just more snack, just one more, then that’s it, really that’s it, this is the last one.

My mom and my sister and me get together. And we fight. We are transported back in time and every reaction is a reaction to something in 1993 or in 1978. And Blaise is in the garbage eating banana peels.

All relationships are complicated beautiful messes.

Filled with ghosts.

We flew to California in 1993 a week before I graduated and went through pictures of Carl’s ex-girlfriends and then we spread his ashes out in the ocean in Malibu. I was so thin that people thought I was dying and I quite liked that. It made me feel something and nothing at once. Pretty much how most people feel when someone dies anyway.

Last week I saw a man on the corner, leaning into the light post, waiting for the Walk signal. He had a wetsuit on, a beard, barefeet, surfboard. I almost got into an accident right there on Main. Carl? It wasn’t him. Surely it couldn’t be. We went through his things and we drove to Malibu and read poems about him as his brother rode out on a surfboard and left him out there on a wave.

But God it made me miss him. It made me remember. Maybe that is why we see ghosts? So we don’t forget?

He would run to the beach barefoot. Then he would come back to the condo we were living in and chase me. I hated how he smelled after his run. You have b.o! I would yell and he would laugh and laugh and run around the sofa and try to catch me in his barefeet. I would laugh too even though I was equally mortified.

What if we had no ghosts?

What if every moment we were, we just were? What if there was no prior? No history? What if you could just be with your family and not be transported back into childhood with all of its ghosts?

The bare feet are what got me with that man on the corner the other day. That and the red beard. The signs were all there. Remember me! 

The ghosts are alive and well here in Atlanta. Maybe that’s what drives my nephew to the trashcan to find food. My younger nephew Maddock looks just like my father Mel. He asks us Why he died? Why Grandpa Mel died?

Tonight he came in and tattled on his brother Blaise (who had taken my iPhone and called certain friends 40 times) that Bwaise is cawwing people.

He told me: Bwaise called Grandpa Mel.

Did he?

I don’t know, the signs are all around us. The ghosts never want us to forget them so they send missiles and food in trash cans and memories and red beards and other things to wake us up. The trick is, the real work is, to not pay too much attention to them.

To just acknowledge them with a nod, and keep on keeping on.

It’s funny, I have been wanting to write about this since I saw my dead stepfather’s ghost on the street in Santa Monica last week, and then tonight someone who took my classes religiously and then moved away sent me this blurb he wrote:

God give me the strength and the energy to be the superhero that I am today. And give me the insight, to see the signs, that point the way to the light.

Then he said:


Maybe I am somebody’s ghost already.

They are everywhere.