One evening, just as I was falling asleep, and in that stage where the body is settling in; without warning, I felt a stab in my back. My eyes opened. I was alert; laying on my right side, facing my bedroom wall. A second later I clearly heard someone thumbing through a magazine. The sound of each page being turned was distinct. I felt another jab into my back. I realized it was an elbow. Then I felt movement down near my feet. Someone was in bed next to me.
My body tensed. Fear crept in. What do I do? How could someone have come into my home and layed down next to me without me knowing? With bravery and courage, I flipped over quickly to face the person. In an instant, a flash of a woman with wavy grey hair, propped up by pillows, reading a magazine, came to mind. In reality, no one was there. I was alone in bed. I was stunned.
[Note: I determined this was not a result of sleep paralysis as I had the freedom to move and speak.]
The next day, I discovered who this elderly woman was. I had been called out to a young lady's basement apartment of an old heritage house, to help cleanse the space. She always felt there was something going on. Unexplained noises, a feeling of illness and dread, and movement heard in her corridor were only some of her experiences. The tenant explained that a few years previously, an elderly woman had passed away of cancer in the bedroom. She had been confined to her bed, and often enjoyed reading magazines to pass the time. It all clicked into place. I described the woman who had visited me. "That's her!" cried the tenant. Certainly the energy of the space was thick, and I could feel (with tingles running down my back) that a spirit energy was with us. I spoke out to the spirit to let her know she would be alright and could now move out of the suite to join her loved ones in her next phase of the afterlife. The tenant and I went about cleansing the space, saying a prayer, and asking the spirit(s) of the home to move on, as now the space belonged to the tenant and her daughter. A few weeks later, the tenant reported that everything felt better and had endured no further occurrences.
|Photo by Kati - Heritage Homes in Mole Hill (Mar.02, 2019)|
Encounters like this have been on the increase in my life since I began exploring the "paranormal". I formed Vancouver Spooks Paranormal Investigations in 2006, to gain insight into what happens to us after we die. I had faced some moments which I couldn't explain, and quite frankly, had shocked me. I was left confused and awed at the same time. Thus my journey began.
Since then, I've been receiving messages (best way to describe them) in different forms. Sometimes its a visitation of spirit energy in my home the evening before an investigation; yet other times it's not until we arrive at the premises we are investigating. I genuinely believe spirit(s) know we are on the way to assist them.
My focus changed over those first years after forming VSPI, from wanting to know more about the paranormal; to adding the desire of helping spirit(s) and the tenants (of the space) in finding a resolution. I believe we all have the power to interact with spirit energy, and can find a way to ensure both living and dead person(s) can reach a peaceful resolve.
Not long ago, I was called to help a young lady in my apartment building. My landlady had advised the tenant was experiencing unexplained knocks, movement, voices, and her cat was acting strangely at times. I thought because we live in a building that houses a large number of people, perhaps she was just hearing sounds from next door. Maybe a cleanse would make the tenant feel better. I was wrong.
From the moment I entered the space, I could feel that someone else was with us. A ghostly presence, if you will. I often receive a rush of tingles up/down my spine, in my feet, around my head and so on. Over the years I've come to learn the difference between female energy versus male. This was definitely female. I slowly walked the hallway from the front door towards her living room. The landlady was behind me, the tenant in front. The hallway wasn't very long. On the left was a bathroom, and ahead on the right was a large closet. A feeling of anxiety and disappointment came over me, and intensified as I walked closer towards the closet. I stopped. I could not move forward. Sensing from within, I knew this was the spot I should focus on. I closed my eyes to listen for anything/one to help me. In an instant my throat closed in, as if a rope was choking me. I coughed a few times to relieve the feeling, but it was strong. A flash in my mind showed me a short dark haired woman in her mid-30's had hung herself in the closet. She was screaming, but her mouth was closed. I shook myself to snap out of the vision, pushed myself forward, and entered the living room. The landlady was shocked with my explanation. She told us that 10 years prior, next door, a young lady had hung herself. In fact, it was in her closet that they found her body, which was on the other side of the wall of where I had stopped. The landlady had been called to do a welfare check on the woman, and found her hanging. The police were called in. It was a sad story, as the woman was believed to have been suffering from a form of depression. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with sadness. Our resolve was to speak to the female spirit and let her know that everything was alright, loved ones were waiting on her, and we could call them in to help her move forward. We did this through prayer, compassion and love. I then lit the sage stick and smudged the apartment, opening the balcony door. A shift was felt, as if the thick energy drifted out. Weeks later, the tenant advised the landlady that everything was good and all activity had ceased.
Moments like these are the focus of "paranormal" discussions with my wife and/or team members. So many questions come to mind.
Why am I (&/or others on the team) chosen to receive messages?
Why doesn't everyone feel/see/sense similar experiences when we are together?
Do we develop these senses over time?
Is this connected to our "belief" system?
Is investigating into the paranormal one of the reasons for the increase of experiences?
How are people, who connect with spirit energy, different from those who don't?
The list of questions keeps growing.
Recently I've connected with James Johnstone of "History Walks in Vancouver" tours (see link below blog). I found the tours on Instagram and was immediately curious. I am an avid reader and devour many books, old newspapers, and online records about Vancouver's history. Even though the city is relatively young (discovered in the 1770's, yet not incorporated until 1886), it has history that haunts its oldest neighbourhoods, and certainly must have "spirit energy" oozing from its cracks. I joined the Strathcona walk in September 2018, one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods. I introduced myself to our guide as a "paranormal investigator" and let him know how excited I was about the adventure. The group was relatively small, thus receiving messages from the unknown was much easier to recognize, and would not be drowned out by the noise and buzz of a crowd. At one house I heard a woman screaming. She was in great pain. Our guide, James, was talking about a house on the opposite side of the road, but I kept turning and looking towards the screaming woman's house. When James finished, he turned to the house that had me entranced, and asked if I sensed anything. I could tell he had a story for the group. I explained how I felt that something extremely bad had happened, leaving the energy of a female spirit in great agony and despair. James went on to tell us about a kidnapping/murder that happened in the 1970's, of a couple who had a good sized income due to investments and business. The couple had been killed during the ordeal. Truly sad; however, I felt a sense of relief. The message I had received was bang on to the explanation. At the end of the tour, a small man in spirit form, who's name seemed unusual (Miklos or Mikos or something similar), was leaning out of a small window of a house next to the one we were learning about. He was nodding to what James was telling the group, and said "he's doing good job" with a thick Eastern European accent. I relayed this to our host, who smiled and was thankful the spirit(s) liked his tour.
|Photo by Kati - house on the History Walks in Vancouver tour,|
The following February (2019) I joined James' tour of the West End, which is dotted with interesting heritage buildings I had not noticed before. I was born in, and now reside in the West End; therefore, this tour had my interest piqued. Several spirits came forward throughout our walk. A man in an abandoned house near the beginning of the tour, was standing in a window, and just wanted us to know he was there. In a 4 storey walk up apartment building, another man appeared in a top window. His name, he said, was pronounced "Valter" (like Walter with a "V" - telling me he was of European decent). He wore a Canadian Army WW2 uniform and was visiting a relative in the building. Possibly a daughter or granddaughter.
|Photo by Kati - house on the History Walks in Vancouver tour,|
West End (March 2019)
In March 2019, I joined the Mount Pleasant walk. A lovely tour of wonderful old heritage buildings and colourful homes with interesting architecture. The night before the walk, I was sure a man in uniform was in my hallway telling me I should pay attention, something important would happen.
During our walk I encountered a spirit woman, named Elizabeth, smiling in a window of a house known as part of "The Twins", for it matched the house next door. Her dress told me she had lived there in the 1930's.
We came upon an old church which had been converted into condos. A female spirit, named Sandra, appeared to me; wearing a white frock, had blonde wavy hair, and told me she recently resided in the building. She passed away of cancer in a hospital nearby. One of the members of the tour group walked up to me while everyone was moving on, and explained that she lived in the building some years prior and had experienced something which frightened her. A woman, dressed in white, came down a flight of stairs when she was spotted. The story sounded very much like it could have been Sandra. Again, I felt validated in the message I had received. I explained to the member that perhaps she had been chosen to receive the image, and learn about the message in the tour. Of course, seeing a ghostly image is scary! One can never become used to it. Don't believe those who tell you they are, for that simply cannot be true.
Then, I felt the officer from the previous night. We were standing outside of a house that had been owned by a well known family of the area. However, there was a link. The officer (either police or army) was telling me his mother had lived in the house for many years. I could see the woman in a window wearing a lace head veil. I've seen them in photos of the early 1900's which show women wearing nightgowns and delicate small veils on their head. I believe the officer wanted his mother recognized as she was important to the story of the house. When I looked into the matter several days later, I found a newspaper article about a WW2 Sergeant who visited his mother at that very house. Researching their family name, I discovered his mother had lived there in the early 1900's with the well known family, and later in the 30's and 1940's, when she moved in permanently. Crazy!
|Photo by Kati - house on the History Walks in Vancouver tour,|
Mount Pleasant (March 2019)
Lately my experiences have become stronger. Is it because when I investigate the paranormal most of the time is spent sitting in the dark listening, feeling, and waiting for something to occur or announce itself? I think most investigators have heightened senses because we use them differently from the average person. We are unique. Listening for sounds in the dark, being aware of our feelings (shivers, urgency to leave an area, anger, sadness, elation etc.), smelling scents which shouldn't be there (perfume, smells of rot etc.), seeing a shifting of shadows, mist and such.. these are heightened because of what we do.
Even though my senses have strengthened, it's not true for everyone on our team. A sceptic is just that. He/she is not "open" to the idea that anything is possible. When proof is needed, perhaps a closed door stands in their way. My door appears to be wide open.
I began focusing on what it is I do when, or before, these things happen to me. Am I doing something different compared to those who don't experience "spirit energy"? Or am I called upon to be the receiver?
I believe we are all vehicles of energy, and that we have the ability to communicate with those who've passed before us. I believe anything is possible, from ghosts to aliens and more. Yes, I believe in the Sasquatch (Big Foot). I have "faith" - complete confidence and trust - that what I am experiencing is real. I don't put up blinders. If I experience something that seems far fetched, I openly talk about it with my teammates, rather than dismiss it. I don't believe in "demons" the traditional way. (I hear your groans and warnings.) I believe energy can be negative in nature as it can be positive. The term "demon" is attributed to religion. I don't believe in a superbeing or God. I believe in spirituality, an energy that lives within us and comes from everywhere. Yes, I know Jesus walked among humans, taught and lived the ways of God, and was filled with love. But for me, this idea that God is the almighty, no longer rings true. I grew up in the Lutheran faith, attended Sunday School, sang in the church choir, was Confirmed, and became a Sunday School teacher in my early 20's. It was the way of my family. But over the years, and through my experiences, I've come to find my own path.
|Photo by Kati - Coastal Hwy #1 near Jenner, Calif. (Jan.11, 2015)|
So much is possible. I can't quite put my finger on why I have extraordinary experiences, while others don't; but it leads me to believe it has to do with faith and openness, compassion, willingness to understand, and with kindness.
I was exploring an abandoned winery that had a history of a strange sex cult from the late 1800's. I was with my then, fiance, and her brother. Yes, we were trespassing, but we took great care not to disturb anything and to watch where we were stepping. (I've only trespassed twice in all my life.) We were in a dark back room exploring. The next moment I realized I was alone, so I turned around and walked through a doorway (which had no door) and entered a larger room where the others were talking. I walked forward, in the dark with my little flashlight showing me where to step; and when I looked up, I saw a dark shadow figure of a tall man with a wide brimmed hat standing in a doorway where the floor had dropped due to decay. He gave off an angry, dark, and frightening energy, and made me feel that he was upset we were in his space. I blinked a few times in disbelief, and then, poof, he was gone. He, afterall, was my first shadowman experience. I've always heard dark stories about these types of figures. Finally I had caught up with my teammates. I stood back a moment to allow Darryl to finish explaining something to Lesli. I then stepped forward and told them I had seen someone frightening. Lesli pulled me aside, and I explained my experience. The three of us then came together, and to my astonishment, found that Darryl had the same experience, and described the same shadowman. Shivers ran down my spine with extra exclamation marks added. I was thoroughly spooked, as was my future brother-in-law. I shall never, ever forget that experience. It was unbelievable, but I believed it!
These are just some of the experiences I've had. I leave you to think about your own unexplained moments. Were they true? Did they happen, or you imagine them? Have you ever thought someone was telling you something, but no one is there? Do you have faith and belief in your choice of religion or spirituality? Are you open minded, or your way is the right way? Do you believe in a life after death, or is it over for us once we die? Have you ever seen a ghost? Do you believe that anything is possible?
After I read an article called "The New Science: We are made of Energy, not Matter" (see link at bottom of blog), I am open to it being a clue to my ghostly experiences. We are made of energy, which we give off through frequencies and vibrational waves constantly; so when we meet other energy sources (people, and I'm including spirit energy), that are in sync with our waves, it's considered "good vibes". When they aren't in sync, it's called "bad vibes". So when we die, our energy lives. Where does it go? What if we can be in sync with the energy of the deceased, and therefore receive their messages. When we are not in sync, it's like a warning to leave that space. Sort of like the shadowman experience I had. Those of us who are open and listen to our feelings are likely to experience the unexplained; while those who don't pay attention to their instincts and feelings, are not.
As I continue along this journey of discovery, and gain new understanding about myself, and why I receive messages from those who have passed on before me, I am growing spiritually. Yes, I'll always be frightened of ghosts who pop out of nowhere and want to talk to me, or appear before me; but I do my best not to run. Instead, I want to hear what they have to say, to see if I can help them in any way. If I receive "bad vibes", I'll put up my guards and tread carefully, as running will not help me to understand what may be going on.
I end this here. I hope this blog has perhaps opened up a new way of looking at the possibility of being sensitive to spirit energy, or confirmed what you are already experiencing but not sure about. Or maybe this is new to you, and you've always been curious about it.
If you wish to discuss this further, please comment on the blog, or email me through our website (see our contact link below), or visit our Facebook Page to comment.
Please note, this blog is based on my own opinion, feelings and belief, and not that of VSPI as a whole.
Until next time, wishing you good vibrations!
Links: History Walks in Vancouver; Vancouver Spooks (VSPI)-contact; We are Made of Energy;
Note: photos by Kati are the property of Kati Ackermann Webb and Vancouver Spooks Paranormal Investigations (VSPI), and may not be used or copied without written permission.