My mother, Darlene, possesses psychic abilities. In the early 1960s, she once saw a shadow man in the haunted duplex we lived in near Santa Anita Racetrack in southern California, and then she had no experiences with ghosts for close to 40 years (when she awoke to the crashing glass at the Mizpah—see earlier post). But in 2000, the spiritual activity in my parents’ home skyrocketed for about ten years. Why?


My parents love visiting second hand shops, combing through the belongings of those who’ve moved on (or so it would seem). After Mom and Dad brought memorabilia into their house, weird activity, such as sudden overwhelming smells of body odor and cigarette smoke (they don’t allow smoking in their house), voices and apparitions took place.

The lingerie cabinet.

Margaret, a good friend of Mom’s, passed away in 2000. She bequeathed her lingerie cabinet—an antique when she purchased it during the Depression—to my parents. Tall, narrow with six drawers, this piece had been one of Margaret’s most cherished possessions.

About six months after her death, Mom was at home when she heard a woman call out, “Darlene!” She looked about and, seeing nothing, replied, “What? What?” My mother then thought of Margaret and realized she was reaching out to her.

Anything to get attention.

Dad was videotaping his belongings for insurance purposes. While he taped an upper shelf in his curio that held railroad memorabilia like ticket punches and lamps, the back of the glass shelf rose upward, crashing to the floor. The support pegs, which held the shelf in place, hadn’t moved. No rational explanation could explain why it lifted and fell, and why the glass hadn’t broken as it hit the hardwood floor. My father, a paranormal skeptic, never figured this mystery out. (If he ever finds this video, I’ll share it here.)

Shake, rattle and stay out.

My parents reclined in their La-Z-Boys watching TV, when the door between the family room and the garage started rattling like someone was grasping the knob pushing and pulling on the door to gain entry. My Dad jumped up and opened it, expecting to see someone. No one was there; he noted that the garage doors were both closed and locked.

The door shook at different times of the day. The third time it happened, Mom was cleaning the room when the shaking and rattling began. Fed up, she said loudly (and, I imagine, in her parental scolding tone), “I’m really tired of this. This is my house and you are intruding on my privacy. Now leave!”

And, just like I did as a child, the entity obeyed! And it hasn’t happened again.

An admirer.

Mom woke up on her back, an unusual sleep position for her. She opened her eyes to see a man suspended inches above her, lying on his stomach. This clean-shaven apparition, who looked like he was in his 40s, grinned widely at her. Mom screamed and he vanished. She’s sure the specter was linked to Dad’s WWII memorabilia.

You can’t take it with you, so why not stick around?

Psychics say spirits can attach themselves to objects sentimental to them. I wonder, though, if other artifacts—those associated with the trauma of war and the hardships of building railroads—could be imprinted by the souls who worked with these implements?

What’s your opinion on this matter?