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…