Archive for February, 2011

>I went out with John Wilkes Booth last night

Posted by Jessica Jewett 15 Comments »


Not a bad looking guy to go out with, right? Too bad he’s most famous for organizing the beheading of the American government and killing Abraham Lincoln in 1865. He’s not the only famous deceased John I’ve encountered in the state of higher consciousness but that John is someone who, I feel, deserves his privacy in the afterlife. This John enjoys being famous, even now. He’s okay with me talking about him. Sometimes I write down information from him in a narrative form, which might take shape later as a novel. That’s what he wants but I won’t put my name on any publication unless I feel that it is quality work. We’ll just have to see how that story develops.

Here’s how I came to know John. Several months ago, I started verbalizing how I was attracted to him. A few times I talked about how Fanny Chamberlain (my past life identity) and my former husband, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, once saw a play with John in it during the Civil War not long before he quit acting. I’m not sure why or how but apparently I caught his attention. I think it was a combination of seeing him in that play back then, as in sharing the same space, and focusing thought energy on him now, albeit with this unintentional side affect. It has happened before, him paying visits to admirers or people who might say things for him that he wants said. I know someone else who is a very credible medium who has dealt with him before but under different circumstances. She never really talked about it though. I wasn’t influenced by her because of how little she spoke of it.

Honestly, I’m still asking, “Why me?” The vast majority of spirits I encounter are people passing through that I never really identify. I doubt myself a lot if I recognize a spirit. I doubt the honesty of the spirit as well – negative ones can and do lie in order to whittle away at your trust until you let them in and everything goes downhill from there. One time I was physically attacked by an entity that tried to disguise itself as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. It was traumatizing to be hit and scratched and have your hair pulled by something you thought was a man that once loved you. It wasn’t him though. It was a negative entity pretending to be him in order for me to let down my defenses. So that’s why I’m very wary of new entities that look or act like someone with whom I would want to have contact. I was wary of John Wilkes Booth, thinking it was something darker in disguise. It happens. Mediums have to be careful. John turned out to be John though.

It started with a presence in my house one night a few months ago, no more than six months ago. Usually I recognize my regulars right away but I didn’t recognize this one. My dog reacted to it as well by looking at nothing and wagging her tail like she was greeting a new visitor. Later that night, I was overcome with the need to write certain things about John and a lady. I began writing and I didn’t stop for hours. It was so strange that I wrote to my friend with previous experience with John. This is that letter, which is difficult for me to publicize, but in the interest of full disclosure, must be done. It was dated November 28, 2010.

I didn’t want to post this on Facebook for fear of being ridiculed. I’ve been writing about Booth and a fictitious woman for hours but this is not my typical procedure with building characters. Frankly, I can’t type fast enough. I’m wondering if it’s possible that I’ve attracted Booth’s spirit because of my infatuation with him. I feel almost seduced for a lack of a better word and the entire path of this story is already set. I never plot a story in an hour. It takes me weeks and months. I can’t really explain it. If it is him, his energy feels like velvet. I feel like one of those poor sad girls who couldn’t tell him no and got left with nothing in the end but it was kind of worth it because he’s sex on a stick. He knows no other way to get what he wants out of women other than seduction. It’s not really a sexual thing though. It’s a girlish teehee he noticed me thing and now he’s using me to say something. Maybe this girl did exist. Maybe she’s a composite of several of his girlfriends. I don’t know. It seems to be more about talking about who he was outside of the assassination. The assassination is an abstract thing in the background of this story. What was your experience with him?

I won’t reprint her response to protect her privacy and the privacy of the others involved, but needless to say, I came to realize with her that I was periodically getting visited by John. She wasn’t surprised. I still am though. I continued writing whenever he showed up and sometimes it was in the middle of the night, like 2 am, and I was trying to keep the light of the computer from waking up my grandmother. He described what this girl looked like and I chose this picture based on his description.

I was also told that he was giving me a false name because the point of the story was more important than who was involved. Again, nothing about the assassination ever came up. He does not like to go there anymore, and there even seems to be some denial on his part. Me being me, though, I wanted to use the details of this young lady he described and see if I could find out who she was in historical terms. Going through John’s many ladies online was quite a chore but I found out that one of them in particular matched much of what he had described, including her looks. Just look at her.

It’s a little eerie, isn’t it?

This sort of thing has not happened to me before and it was, frankly, a lot for me to take because his visits are very consuming and exhausting. A man like John requires full attention when he demands it because that was what he was used to back in his heyday. If I’m not ready for him to talk about things, he lingers in my house and waits. He doesn’t go away. He gets into trouble, really. Cats are not his favorite animal, so he bothers my grandmother’s cat, he makes me smell different things, he causes smoke smells to drive my grandmother nuts in thinking something is burning, he messes with my cell phone, etc. I usually have to stop what I’m doing and comply with his need for attention to prevent his bored, aimless wandering in my house. Thankfully these visits are not very often. I gave him the nickname of Velvet because of how easily he seduces to get his way. When I asked why this happened, my friend told me, “He’s coming top you because you are a fan girl and because he wants people to think of him as more than just Lincoln’s killer.” It’s quite true, I think.

My experiences with John have taught me a few things about him. Primarily, death has peeled away certain things about what he was in that life. I’m fairly confident that he suffered from at least one mental illness, if not multiple mental illnesses, in addition to being a white supremacist and Confederate supporter. A lot of men were white supremacists and Confederate sympathizers but it didn’t drive them to his kind of behavior. His mental illnesses exacerbated the situation. I know this because there was a lady of his who used to ask him, “Who are you today?” when she saw him and his response would indicate whether he was feeling good or unstable. He would choose Shakespearean characters to describe his mood. Some were romantic, some were good and some were evil. She knew to keep to herself when his response indicated darkness. Of course, mental illness was not discussed or understood back then. I feel like he knew somewhere deep down that something was different about him but a combination of ego and different factors prevented him from really understanding himself.

Mental illness does not follow people in death if they are aware they’re dead. He is stripped of all that now and in the natural state if his soul. The basic aspects of his core personality are there. An ease with women, ego, theatrical behavior, and a surprising ability to be sensitive in certain situations. What appears on the surface is not always what’s found underneath. John is not as evil as people think. He and Lincoln have had quite a long karmic history involving hurting each other in the process of trying to make peace. It just so happens that John killing Lincoln is the incident that history remembers. Lincoln had killed John in a prior life. So, as you can see, what things appear to be are not the whole story. Everyone has done horrible things to each other in previous lives but what we learn from it determines our future. The Booth-Lincoln relationship is a very spiritually complex one and neither soul is inherently good or bad. Their choices have been bad in history – both of them – but as with all souls including you and me, they are simply trying to learn from their mistakes.

Maybe it is because of my understanding that John is not a total villain that makes him visit me from time to time. I may never know the whole scope of why he chose me, among many others I’m certain. He paid me a visit last night – the first in about a month. It was in the dream state. I was in a huge building that was basically like a series of offices. John appeared from nowhere, it seemed, dressed in modern clothes. It was a white button down shirt and a pair of khaki pants. He looked a bit funny to me because his clothing was modern but his hair and mustache were that distinct nineteenth century John look.

John was very serious and he took my hand and said, “I want to show you something.” The grip he had on my hand was too tight to refuse. That’s the thing about him – he’s never been accustomed to anyone telling him no. I followed him down several sets of industrial-looking staircases until we emerged into a vast dark storage facility filled with shelves upon shelves of boxes. It was like being in a huge bunker in a way. I had no idea where we were but it felt like being inside of a mountain. John led me around the facility until he found what he wanted. He pulled a box from the shelf that looked like this but a lighter color.

He crouched on the floor and gestured for me to join him, so I did, and I watched him rifle through the box as if he knew exactly what he needed. There were very old documents crammed haphazardly in manila envelopes and file folders. Toward the bottom, he produced a manila envelope with odds and end in it, and he showed me little pages that he said were his in ’65. I looked closer and realized they were the missing pages from the journal that he made of a date book while he was running from the authorities after he killed President Lincoln. I don’t remember the exact words he used but he explained that those missing pages were there buried under a lot of things that have nothing to do with it, which is why they have never been found. I read some of it but I don’t remember everything now. There was something about him wanting to go to Canada after the dust settled and he also mentioned two figures in Lincoln’s cabinet that were involved on an indirect level. There was a lot of rambling and anger in the way he wrote. I feel like he was bipolar among other things. He looked at me as I had that thought and he said, “It was not only me.” We were going to leave and talk some more but my dog had the unfortunate timing of sitting on my head and waking me from that encounter.

This is a picture of John’s journal as it exists with the missing pages.

So…. there it is. The majority of my encounter with “Velvet” in a nutshell. I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers, nor do I know why he chose me. He’s not a bad man. He’s a man that has made bad choices. Everyone has in their history. The purpose of life is to learn from your mistakes to develop into an experienced, intelligent, generous and loving soul. Some people’s massive mistakes become the stuff of legend. It’s terrible to overcome and I’m not certain he will overcome that lifetime anytime soon. He has a long way to go. So does Lincoln, truthfully. So does everyone in this world. We all have demons waiting to be exorcised.

Read More

>Burning myself, the ex-Catholic witch

Posted by Jessica Jewett 6 Comments »


I have always struggled to define my spiritual position in a world where people try to force each other into neat and tidy categories. My childhood was filled with Sundays at church, getting kicked out of Sunday school for asking too many questions, hiding my intuitive nature from the church, etc. I touched on Wicca practices in high school but getting ridiculed here in the deep South the one day I wore a pentacle necklace made me reject that path and return to being a good little Christian like every other kid in the school. I became a purist and promised, for a time, to save sex for marriage and ignore my intuitive nature because those were things taught in the church. Anything that felt good or different from church teachings was condemned and a source of immense guilt for the offender. That’s the thing about Christianity. It has taken two thousand years to make guilt into the greatest work of art in history.

To make a very long, winding story short, becoming so much more comfortable in my own skin and my own spirituality in the last few years has led me to a crossroads in which I have chosen to embrace the Old Religion. I no longer consider myself part of the Christian population. That took a lot of soul searching and exploration because I still live in a part of the country where there are churches on every corner and being different is not exactly accepted. Added to that, I’m also working on leaning into becoming a vegetarian. I think my family is having a harder time with me rejecting meat than rejecting Christianity! I haven’t even told my grandmother about this yet because I don’t think she would understand. She tells me to pray all the time and badgers me to go to church with her. She is getting rather old and I don’t want the last years of her life to be marked by disappointment in me leaving the church.

Coming to this decision certainly wasn’t easy and I struggled for a long time. The Old Religion always felt more natural and fit with my natural beliefs but the issue of guilt had a stronghold on me. It still does in some ways. I went to an outreach meeting with my friend by the House of RavenStone to see what the people in a coven might be like and about halfway through the meeting, I reached an epiphany. I have been a hypocrite for a long time. I have been attending churches my whole life that, by definition, view my intuitive nature as something evil and my willingness to use that nature as consorting with the devil. I shouldn’t have to hide who I am when I’m at church as if I’m ashamed of it when, in fact, I’m not ashamed of it and I don’t believe it’s evil.

Then it all became very simple and clear:

Christianity has been making me feel guilty for so many years because I’m not living up to that deity’s expectations as dictated by the church. God is in control. God wants this for you. God wants that for you. It doesn’t matter what you want. Just repress yourself and serve Him because you were born full to the brim with sin and you have to work off all those demerits to get into Heaven. Believing in reincarnation, psychic power, and so forth, is an automatic one-way ticket to Hell with murderers and child molesters. Really?

The Old Religion is different. You are not subservient to the higher powers – you commune with them because divinity is in everything, including yourself. The universal energy is neutral. Your choices through life determine whether you turn your energy into positive or negative. You are in charge of your destiny with the guidance of the god and goddess. The energy you put out in the universe through your thoughts, actions and intentions return to you threefold. Beliefs are not dictated to you but learned and cultivated through study and experience. You are not even forbidden from representing your creative life force in the form of the Christian god, the Virgin Mary as a goddess, and so forth. The path of spirituality is your own with a few universal principles and practices. These are basic principles that I have been teaching people for years without really knowing that they were technically defined as Wiccan principles.

So, the epiphany came. I can no longer call myself a Christian when my beliefs and practices have always naturally taken the path of the Old Religion. There I am free to be myself without having to feel guilty about my ability to read energy from the living and those in spirit. Self-expression is allowed. Representing and recognizing the creative life force in anything around you is allowed. There is no cause for guilt as long as you’re not harming yourself, other people, animals, plants, energy or spirits.

Does this mean I’m rejecting God? No. It means I find the Christian deity too limiting and I always have. My faith in the creative life force (what you might call God) is stronger than ever. I just can’t put myself into that tiny little box of Christian indoctrination anymore. I feel like I’ve emerged from being brainwashed and lived to tell about it. That might sound harsh but it’s how I feel. While I’m still struggling to let go of the oppression of guilt, I do feel like I’ve come into my own and I’m being much more honest about who I am. Of course, I run the risk of seriously offending the more conservative people among my friends and family, and believe me when I say I’ve agonized over that. I just cannot keep going like this, knowing what I am inside but denying it out of guilt.

An ye harm none, do what ye will. – That includes me. It’s time for me to stop harming myself by trying to be what people expect. This is me. I am no longer a Christian. I am on the path of the Old Religion and becoming a witch. It is not devil worship, nor is it going around in pointy black hats and riding brooms. It’s older than Christianity. Accept me as I am and I will accept you as you are. It begins with accepting myself.

Read More

The Origins of Valentine’s Day

Posted by Jessica Jewett No Comments »

Credit goes to my friend, Gretchen, for posting this paragraph on Facebook today.

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on February 15. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman and then keep her as a “companion” for the year. Pope Gelasius I was less than thrilled with this custom. So he had both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year. Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine. For Roman men, it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine’s name. Legend has it that Charles, duke of Orleans, sent the first real Valentine card to his wife in 1415, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

I did some digging because Gretchen inspired me to dig. It seems that the origins lying in the festival of Lupercalia is a story from the nineteenth century that some modern scholars dispute. Scholars like to dispute everything! What is known for certain is that Valentine’s Day is documented back to the Middle Ages in the way that we know it today. In the mid-1600s, wealthy people exchanged elaborate gifts. Writing Valentine letters became very popular in the 1700s but special Valentine stationary was not marketed and sold until the 1820s. Valentine cards were introduced in the 1840s when postage rates became standardized in England. You know how Americans are – whatever England and Europe does, we copy and make our own. A woman in Worcester, Massachusetts, received a Valentine card from England and began selling some of her own design in her father’s stationary shop. So the American birthplace of Valentine’s Day was Massachusetts!

By Valentine’s Day in 1856, however, someone published an article in the New York Times denouncing the holiday. It read, in part:

Our beaux and belles are satisfied with a few miserable lines, neatly written upon fine paper, or else they purchase a printed Valentine with verses ready made, some of which are costly, and many of which are cheap and indecent. In any case, whether decent or indecent, they only please the silly and give the vicious an opportunity to develop their propensities, and place them, anonymously, before the comparatively virtuous. The custom with us has no useful feature, and the sooner it is abolished the better.

Nobody appears to have listened to the author of the editorial though because the holiday continued to grow in popularity after the Civil War. Victorians always had a knack for making everything beautiful, idealistic, innocent and sweet, and Valentine’s Day was like a ready-made holiday for them. In the years leading up to the Civil War and directly after, Valentine cards were enormously expensive and usually had little treasures hidden in them. The late-1860s saw the cards drop in price, lose the hidden treasures, and became easily accessible to the mass production American public. That was how it became the holiday we know today.

Here are some examples of Victorian Valentines.

Read More