Haunted

I see her everywhere I go these days, and just recently it got worse.

When my friend Jeaneen invited me to a meeting of The Minneapolis Paranormal Research Society (mprsminnesota.com) last week, I accepted immediately, though I wasn’t sure why.

Now’s it’s sort of obvious.

What I suspect is that a couple weeks ago when the weather first turned cold, I conjured her, rattled her bones, dragged a tin can across the bars of her gilded ghostly cage, and now I feel her cinnamon skin and avatar eyes all over the place — in coffee shops, co-ops, creeks, cash machines; in the faces of the shoppers and gawkers and barflies and the maid at the hotel and the farm girl at the Fair.

“I want to be haunted by the ghost of your precious love,” sang Shane to Sinead, but this is ridiculous.

Jeaneen said the good people of the MPRS may not let me attend because the subject matter is sensitive and they might be allergic to rubberneckers. I told her I might just show up and plead my case.

My night started with a visit to my 90-year-old Irish friend Kay Stockhaus’s wake at Gill Brothers, where I saw some old friends shedding happy tears over a life well lived. Then I got in my car, parked in the Annunciation church parking lot, walked the grounds a bit, and asked whatever spirits wanted me to be at that meeting that night to lead me guide me and get me in, which they did.

The group leaders and founders, Heidi and Kat, told me later that when I walked through the door of that conference room in the back of that Uptown storefront, I was accompanied by a “ton of energy and several spirits.” Here’s where I’m supposed to crack a skeptical joke, but their reading felt true and connective. They also gave me some concrete advice as to how to juggle all that energy and control the various spirits that can come knocking. Keep the demons away, etc.

They were celebrating the third birthday of the MPRS with cake, some new ghost- and energy-hunting equipment, and making plans for the next investigation. Some good stories came up, and they asked me, the guy with the obviously undulating aura, to tell a story. It rolled off my tongue in a burst, bits and pieces of a personal paranormal history that felt almost channeled.

When I was a boy, my father brought me to hear a medium. In a half-full church, the medium stood at a pulpit and coughed up “Matt” and “Grace” — the names of my grandfather and great-grandmother. Dad also brought the entire family to hear a hypnotist, preached the gospels of Vernon Howard, “Seth Speaks” and Edgar Cayce, and subscribed to “Fate” magazine, materials from which I built my eighth-grade science project, “Communication With The Dead.” I got a B.

Diligent readers of this space will know that around this same time, I met a ghost by the name of Nina. She came to me one night in my childhood home on 51st and Colfax. She whispered in my ear on the second-floor landing, and the feel of her breath catapulted me up the stairs to my sisters’ attic bedroom, the same one Nina died face down in her bed in 1929, which we know from a yellowed Minneapolis Star and the banner headline, “Three Die In Colfax Avenue Fire.” She was 20 years old, the housemaid.

For sure, the early autumn chill helped conjure her. The blowing winds through the trees, the full harvest moon, blazing sunsets, and back-to-school bustle remind anyone with a bent for the metaphysical that we’re entering the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and that some spirits, including our own, need our attention.  

Jim Walsh lives and grew up in East Harriet.