“You have a gift: You can feel them. You have a gift, and you can develop that gift.”
Johanna, a close family member of mine, has heard the psychic recite these words to her more than once or twice. Ever since her first paranormal experience more than two decades ago, she’s been to see Mrs. Carlson numerous times at the 85-year-old’s home in the hills of Kilmar, Quebec. The old woman is "clairsentient" and has been deciphering human energy all of her life.
Johanna, though, doesn’t want the gift. She’s scared of it.
Her sixth sense, if I can call it that, first became apparent in her early 40s, when, following a divorce, she moved into a small apartment in Hawkesbury, Ontario. Around the same time, her close friend of 20 years—we’ll call him Alain—hanged himself. Johanna, staring at a photo of Alain and his family, asked him why he did it. She was angry, in tears, and unable to forgive him.
Johanna soon moved into a new house on Patricia Road, just a short jaunt outside of town. Alain, of course, was still in her thoughts. It wasn’t long before she felt a cold density in the air. One night, she woke to the sensation of a hand stroking her feet and saw a grey silhouette standing at the foot of the bed. Yes, she was frightened, but the hand was gentle, reassuring. Its touch seemed to say to her: “It’s going to be ok.”
Johanna sought out Mrs. Carlson, a woman she had heard of who dealt with spiritual conflict. Naturally, the sweet old lady knew who was behind the midnight spook. “Think of someone who's failed you,” she said.
Following the psychic’s instructions, Johanna put piles of salt drizzled in holy water in every corner of the house. Alone, she spoke to Alain, and told him what was on her heart. She vented her frustration with his decision to end his life, and ultimately, she forgave him. The next morning, he was gone. She couldn’t explain it, but she could feel it.
Alain was a calm spirit; he only wanted to make amends. Johanna never figured out what the next spirit wanted; however, it drove her to sell the house on Patricia Road after 12 years of escalating turmoil.
When I ask her if she considers her otherworldly insight a gift or a curse, Johanna only says that she doesn't want it.
I wouldn't either.
Chris Campeau is a writer and lover of all things horror and strange. He has studied both Small Business and Professional Writing at Algonquin College and is now shooting for communications gold. When he’s not writing, he spends his time singing in punk bands, drinking a hop-heavy IPA, or lounging with his two Maine Coons—sometimes all simultaneously.
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