Monday, October 08, 2007

Channeling Woo Woo

Patty here…

She lived in a house made of river stones beneath a massive power grid and answered the door in a taffeta dress the color of lapis lazuli. A diamond ring adorned each finger of her hand. She gestured for me to sit at the dining room table, after which I busied myself setting up the tape recorder I’d brought along to capture her words.

“I doubt if that will work,” she said, pointing upward toward the power lines. “You’re better off just taking notes.”

Reverend Gloria was a channeler who’d been recommended by a friend who warned me she would cancel my appointment at least once (she did) but that her reading would be amazing (it was). My first novel had not yet been released, and I was unsure of what the future held. I’d been to psychics and intuitives before, so I went to see her with an open mind, eager to hear what she had to say.

She began by telling me I’d be going on a trip to Hawaii. I’d been to the islands several times before and had no plans to go again, so I sloughed off the comment until she mentioned Hawaii two more times during the reading, insisting that a trip was imminent. At that juncture in my life, I was collaborating on a screenplay with a friend whose husband was a producer. We’d talked about filming in Hawaii, so I wondered if Reverend Gloria was seeing our success with the project.

During the hour I spent with her, she spun a gripping tale about my past life. She told me I was an actor who’d died in a tragic accident in my prime, a fall from the stage. Something was wrong about the fall. Perhaps it wasn’t an accident at all. She also told me there was someone named “Rose” who was my spirit teacher, a motherly person whom I would hear speaking to me whenever a clock chimed. I thought, Yeah, whatever. Still, I was working on my second novel and because of her comment I named one of the characters Rose and tacked on the last name of Miller for no particular reason.

Some time later after the details of Reverend Gloria's reading were merely a dim memory, I made a trip to Washington State to see my parents. My mother wanted to visit the cemetery to pay homage at her brother’s grave, which was located on a hill overlooking the valley. It had been some time since I’d been there, but I was certain I’d never forget the view from his final resting place.

I stopped the car on the cemetery road and strolled through the grass, counting gravestones until I reached the spot where I was certain I’d find my uncle’s grave. I gestured for my mother to follow. As she walked toward me, I glanced down. A twitchy angst prickled my skin as I read the name carved into the stone. It was Rose Miller.

Some months later my father died. For years, he would periodically make me reconfirm my promise to have his body cremated and his ashes scattered—in Hawaii. Here’s the post I wrote about that trip.

Any woo-woo experiences you want to share?

p.s. I read my Astrological Forecast in the newspaper every day. Here's one of my favorites posted on Friday, October 5, 2007. "Your crisp style is lauded by...well, no one except this humble horoscope column. But, in time, your circle of friends will be able to appreciate the smart way you convey your ideas."

Jeez, thanks for sharing.

p.s.s. Here's the December 2007 cover of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. My short story "Party's Over" is included and--omigod!--my name is on the cover. I am SO jazzed! Now, would somebody please tell Humble Horoscope Columnist?

To help me expand my circle of friends, click on the envelope icon below and forward this post to everybody you know, because my mother knows where you live.


  1. I'm trying to think of woo-woo to share, but I don't think I've had enough coffee yet this morning.

    Congrats about the EQMM cover!!! SO COOL!!!

  2. Ah yes. There's nothing like caffeine to stimulate woo-woo. I may have another cup myself...

  3. Woo hoo for the EQMM story and cover. And your name is ABOVE Loren Estleman's???? There's another woo hoo.

    As for the woo woo, I remember seeing my father pull his De Soto into the driveway as the sun set that cool December day ... two days after he'd died.

  4. My mother (who is not at all a believer in woo-woo) swears she saw my father standing by her bedside about a month after he died.

  5. Congrats, Patty! And like Cornelia, I haven't ingested enough caffeine to be able to remember any woo-woo moments...

  6. Thanks, Rae. Holiday + no caffeine = mental downtime. Enjoy the day.

  7. How did that busty blond in the red strapless dress get that guy into/out of the incinerator? Something tells me that's not your story. Congratulations!

  8. Not my story, Mims, but did I tell you I've been doing some modeling lately?

  9. I have more 'woo woo' moments than I can count, problem is, I don't believe in 'woo woo.' But as long as we are talking about dads, mine woke me up to say "I gotta go now," about a month after he died.

  10. Oh, congrats on the cover, Patty!

  11. Thanks, Carson! Seems like dads like to get in the last word. Mine didn't come back to visit me but I think we said it all before he died. At least I hope so.

  12. Well! You know who's going to buy a bunch of EQMMs, don't you?!
    "Woo-woo? Does this count?: I lived in Charleston, WV from 4th grade through 9th grade, moved to Ohio and other points west and now in CA for 32 yrs. In 2004, out of the blue, a phone call from an old classmate asking if I was.... They had been looking for me 35 yrs or so, invited me to the 45th class reunion because they always considered me one of them, even though I didn't go the last 3yrs of high school. That classmate has a thing for Santa, and so I took her some pictures of me as Santa, and in my Santa hat I presented them to her at the banquet. The next day she and her husband, another classmate, had us out-of-towners to their home for day-long buffet and catch-up. Turns out they live around the corner from where I had lived 51 yrs ago. Now, here's the woo-woo: I've been Santa for the last 15 yrs. After we moved from Charleston, one of the families who lived in our old house years later, was the Moore family, descendents of Clement Moore, who wrote..."'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and when they moved, they left behind an old manuscript of the poem.
    I've been calling it a strange coincidence. Maybe "woo-woo" is more appropriate....

    Congrats on the story!


  13. One of my best friends showed up while I was washing the dishes and weeping in my broiling hot 500 sq ft garage apt. in Houston to tell me that I was being an idiot to be crying over the man I was crying over, and that there was a life ahead of me that I could never imagine.

    He had died a few months before, of AIDS. He looked like Frank Sinatra. Waaay spooky, and kinda wonderful, too. It was the first time I'd laughed in WEEKS.

    Oh and he was RIGHT, too.

  14. Oh wait it's not all about me! Congrats Patty!!!

  15. Groupie, whoa. I had no idea you once lived in Charleston. And that Clement Moore business? Really woo-woo. Love you in your red suit, babe.

    No, Rebecca. It IS all about you. It's wonderful that your friend came back to give you hope and just when you needed it most. Yay!

  16. Congratulations on the EQMM cover! How cool is that??

    A few years ago, a friend took me to a psychic as a birthday present. This psychic said, "So you're a teacher." I said I was not. She then said, "Well, you should be."

    Psychics don't hold a lot of water for me. I'm a diehard cynic.

  17. Know what you mean, Karen. I went to a psychic once and she said, "But you don't have an appointment." I said, "But you're a psychic. You should have known I was coming."

  18. Hmmmmm. You mean..., all I have to do is wear my red suit and...? Hmmmmm.

    GroupieClaus <]:-D}}}}

  19. Karen, okay so when you come to L.A. I'm dragging you to that house made of river stones. Reverend Gloria will make a true believer out of you. Sure thing.

    Anon, Ha HA HA HA. That's a good one.

    GroupieKlaus, the man in red...hmmm.

  20. Not only is your name on the cover of the is your picture!

  21. Ah, Paulie. You noticed. How sweet.

  22. I have a screwball psychic who apears in my second book and becomes a semi-regular. I'd love to check out Rev. Gloria. The two I've seen as 'research' have been flat and boring. I guess I need some character in my oracles.
    Where can I find this woman?

  23. Carson, it's been a while since I saw her but I'll try to dig up the number. Stay tuned. But then again, she'd know you were there for research. Could be dangerous...

  24. Patty, considering the amount of danger I put poor Bailey through, I've got to be willing to take a few for literature.

  25. Congratulations, Patty!

    My story is woo-woo from the 70's. I was a teenager. A friend of mine had just died, struck by lightning, of all things. It was after his funeral, and a bunch of his friends were driving around, drinking beer, talking about Scott and listening to his favorite album, Led Zeppelin's first, on the 8-track. Scott's favorite song, "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," came on. we listened in silence until about halfway through the song, then someone raised a beer and said, "to Scott." We all raised our beers, and said in unison "To Scott."

    The song stopped.

    There was a brief silence, less than five seconds.

    The song started again.

    From the beginning.

    On an 8 track tape.

    Now, on a DVD, this would be nothing, but this was an 8-track tape. It was physically impossible to go back to the beginning that fast, especially since there was no rewind button, and no one touched the player. It was the middle of the track.

    We had to stop the car and get out.

  26. Most recent?

    A couple of years ago, I was walking past a bookshelf, and the name of my old Creative Writing Prof jumped off the shelf at me, adorning a mystery cover. Upon closer examination, I decided that it must be her daughter, though the beautiful woman inside the cover bore scant resemblance. Looking closer I found...well, stop me if you've heard this one. ;)

    Oh, you already have?

    But then, I already knew that I was clairvoyant--from the seventh grade. Long story.

    Next? True story. My mother collected cardinals. After she passed away following a battle with breast cancer, we counted over a hundred-fifty in various shapes and forms around the house. Everyone had chipped to but her one over the years in when they ran across one somewhere.

    So, we're at the funeral home, my dad, sister and I walk into the viewing room...face wet with tears, finally I lift my eyes from my mom's visage--and there, just outside on the brick windowsill at the head of the casket rests avery familiar, bright red bird. In sheer disbelief, I managed to nudge my sister's attention to the window before it flew away.

  27. Er, umm...and no, I don't believe in psychics. And yes, congrats, Patty! Is this a new character?

    Did you have to pose, or was it drawn from a photo? Did I mention that I sketch, too?

  28. Oh man, Dusty, that is an amazing story, and here I thought you were too young to even know what an 8-track was.

    Jeff, yeah that first story sounds a bit familiar :o) As for the second, I love it when you get a sign like that. I just have to believe the bird was sent to comfort you.

  29. COngrats, Patty, on the EQMM cover!! Go, girl!

    I'm very mildly intuitive, and spooky moments are infrequent, usually come out of left field when I least expect it, and I have no control over it. I have a few stories, but it'd go on too long to tell any of them here. :-D

    Mind you, the day that my Father in Law died - the exact moment - I felt him pass through saying goodbye. We were working in the studio late at night - Bob and I side by side at our easels. I felt the greatest moment of perfect peace; of being one with the moment. I paused painting, looked up at Bob and said "We should do this more often, it's so peaceful and fine." He agreed. I looked at my watch, and then went on to paint for another hour, Nearly 1am. At 6am the next morning, we got a call from Bob's mum. We knew then that something was wrong. The police had come around to her house last night because they couldn't raise Bob's mum on the phone. She called the hospital and got the details, and decided to call us the next morning. Turns out that our moment of perfect peace was the exact time that Bob's father had died. The visit Bob's mum got before the police woke her up was a phantom yank on the ankle, from which she woke up with a start. She hadn't been paying attention...

    Anyway, that's one of them...


  30. Your story gave me chills, Marianne. Maybe we should have a woo-woo-athon some night over a glass of wine.

  31. Now that sounds like a fine idea, Patty. :-D

    Over in England, I found that I'm still partial to Stone's Green Ginger Wine. Sigh.

    Been looking wistfully at next years Bouchercon, and wondering if it's a possibility.

    PS: After a glass or two, I might even tell you the story of how my sister's budgie and I both got seriously spooked late one night when I was painting and Elvis portrait. Urk.

  32. Oh Marianne!!!! You simply MUST come to Bcon in Baltimore. I've already signed up and I'm sure other Nakeds will be there, too.