Archive for October, 2012

Short Story: “Honeysuckle”

Short Story: "Honeysuckle"
Posted by Jessica Jewett 2 Comments »

by Jessica Jewett
© 2012 

Granny always said a house was a keeper of secrets, and Amy hated that old house the minute she took the tour guide job for extra money during summer break. Three weeks into it, she seriously considered walking away. They didn’t know! How could they? No one else wanted to close up at night. The historical society suits always sacrificed on the altar of escaping before dark.

“Night, Amy!” shouted the new girl as she swung her purse over her shoulder and bolted for the door. Even the new girl understood.

With the latch of the front door, isolation pressed on her as if nothing else existed. She wondered, as she turned off display lights, how such a cavernous 19th century house could feel so claustrophobic. A fleeting thought of being trapped in the darkness of a coffin jolted her so violently that she dropped a feather duster.

“Shit,” she cursed under her breath.

Clearly, the house wasted no time with despotic control. She rushed through sweeping, washing fingerprints off windows and display cases, and climbed a rather overly theatrical curved staircase to the second floor. Really, the architectural drama in those old-fashioned houses amused her. She couldn’t envision a family laughing with each other in such melodramatic surroundings. Whenever she thought of that old family, they looked like a sad painting in a museum. She gave herself over to those mindless ideas to combat the domination of that damned house.

Amy rushed so thoroughly that she nearly missed a series of crayon marks on the floor in the second bedroom. It had been the nursery in its day and people often left their kids there so they could enjoy the tour without distraction, but kids constantly left damage. Irritated, she crouched with a bottle of floor cleaner and a rag. Even if the house was melodramatic, that didn’t mean little brats should be left to ruin original floorboards!

Irrational, overpowering waves of rage spread through her veins with every heartbeat. Somewhere a shadow of rationality peeked from the back of her mind but a new wave of rage obliterated it. Crayon marks long since disappeared but she couldn’t stop herself from scrubbing harder and rubbing her fingers raw with cleaning solution. Stop, her thoughts screamed. Stop! But she couldn’t. It always happened that way. Every bit of damage to the house pushed her into depths of fury.

Only the whiff of sweetness broke the moment. Floral air rolled past her nose, pulling her away from the oppression. She awoke, blankly peering at her hands. The palpable awareness of her quickening heart brought sweat to the surface of her skin. The perfume hung in the air, even bringing the pungent cleaning solution into submission.


Amy laughed at herself and dropped the rag. She reprimanded herself for letting her fear get the best of her. Five groups of school field trips were enough to make anyone a little insane by the end of the day.

Still, the aroma of honeysuckle hung in the air.

Fresh air awaited her on the hallway balcony. She flipped off the light but immediate regret stabbed her. She should have left but a creaking floorboard begged for attention. If she had been in her right mind, the cliché development would have been funny, but she turned to face the interior of the room with foreboding.

Blue-gray shadows undulated and lifted from the floor like a water fountain coming to life. The cloud blocked light from the window. A head formed, then shoulders, a waist, and finally, a billowing skirt faded into the invisible world from where it came. Muted color bled into the feminine figure and Amy recognized the dress from a century past. The honeysuckle perfume became so overpowering that she feared she might suffocate. Everything in her body told her to run.

“Do not walk away from your duty! Finish what you started!” The voice filled the nursery as demanding as it was angry but the elegant woman’s mouth never moved.

Amy’s eyes narrowed. Offense at being ordered around like a housemaid actually overrode her fear. “You don’t live here anymore!”

The figure morphed from an elegant lady to a creature Amy couldn’t identify. The face melted into an elongated, grotesque version of itself and the mouth went so black that she feared it would reveal the doorway to hell. Her eyes darkened and as she floated closer, Amy found her legs again. She ran. She stumbled on the stairs and flung herself out of the front door.

Poor Amy never set foot in that house again, nor did she make fun of the melodramatic oil painting of a family that lived in that house a century ago.

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Do ghost tours harm the paranormal field?

Do ghost tours harm the paranormal field?
Posted by Jessica Jewett 12 Comments »

Original post on June 16, 2011.

A few years ago when I went to Gettysburg for the first time, I saw a folding board advertisement outside of an old house on Steinwehr Avenue spouting Gettysburg Ghost Tours. I had heard of ghost tours before but I had never seen such a thing in person. At the time, I remember that it struck me as odd because the building had Halloween decorations all over it and the whole thing seemed cheap and exploitative to me. Someone told me there were other tours on Baltimore Street that were operated by Mark Nesbitt, a former Gettysburg National Park ranger turned author of the Ghosts of Gettysburg books. I think there are twelve of those books in the series now. I have always had mixed feelings about Mark Nesbitt and what these books and tours represent but I was on my way to somewhere on Baltimore Street that afternoon. I soon forgot about the Gettysburg Ghost Tours.

Late that night, my friends and I were walking to a Civil War reenactment ball and we happened upon one of these ghost tours in progress. Costumed interpreters lead groups of tourists by lantern on walking tours talking about all of the hauntings and apparitions along the way. Of course, it’s all for a fee. I watched it for a minute while the tourists watched me too (it’s kind of hard to miss me in a Civil War ballgown). Something about these tours really rubbed me the wrong way and I left not long afterward. There was an element of a circus freak show to it.

Step right up, folks! Pay a few dollars and see the ghost of a dead soldier!

I don’t know. Maybe I was a little too overprotective of the thousands of spirits still lingering around Gettysburg and I was being too cynical. I do understand that most of Gettysburg’s local economy is based on tourism and television shows describing the ghost stories have really piqued the interest of people everywhere. It’s natural that people with an entrepreneurial spirit would find ways to cash in on that public interest. I just chalked it up to the nature of the tourism beast and let it go.

Since that initial introduction to ghost tours, however, I have watched them spread all over the world like a plague. It’s gotten so out of hand that I can’t seem to look at ghost stories in any city online without sorting through dozens of advertisements for this or that ghost tour, all claiming to be the best in that city. In fact, the straw that broke this blogger’s back was trying to look for notoriously haunted places in Boston since my readers like the research but all I found were pages and pages of different ghost tours in the city. It has become a full-fledged commercial machine. Anyone with a centralized historical location can throw a shingle on their door, buy a lantern and offer tourists ghost tours of their area. People eat this stuff up like candy. I’m seeing it everywhere I go when I travel as time passes.

Step right up, folks, indeed.

It all seems very harmless, but from my vantage as a medium, I can’t help but wonder why people are missing the fact that it is all completely exploitative of the spirits that are the subjects of these tours. Once a person dies, they almost cease to be human. They lose value as something to be honored, respected and protected. There is indeed an element of a zoo exhibit or a circus freak show about the way the living treat the dead. Sometimes I want to say, “Would you be happy with people paying a tour guide in hopes of seeing the ghost of your mother, father, or grandparents?” I’m guessing most of the time the answer would be a resounding no. What is the difference between the recently dead and, say, a soldier that has been dead since 1863? Has that soldier lost enough humanity that it makes it acceptable to go on a tour hoping for the thrill of seeing his spooky apparition? These questions bother me quite a bit. In my case, I find it intolerable that people try to lure out my former husband, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, in Gettysburg like he’s a dog performing tricks to give ghost hunting tourists their money’s worth. Just an example. I find it all very seedy and dishonorable to the memory of the men who were killed so that this country might live. It’s not just Gettysburg though. It’s every ghost tour in every city exploiting the souls of people who lived very normal lives and deserve respect in death.

Although ghost tours are showing themselves to be good for local economies, I don’t see much value in the field of paranormal research. Those of us in the field are never going to be taken seriously as long as there is this element of circus freak show involved. The same could be said for some “paranormal investigators” out there who treat it more like a social club than a research endeavor. Note: I said some, not all. The serious lack of respect for the dead and the circumstances of life and death is becoming worse as “ghost hunting” becomes a bigger fad. I have seen it with my own two eyes. The scientific research is extremely important when it is explained beforehand to the entities but science only goes so far. Science is not helping the trapped souls find their peace. There is an element of selfishness in all areas of paranormal interest in that most people seem to not care about the spirits anymore once the evidence is collected or the trill has been achieved. If I was stuck somewhere, I would want help.

In my work as a medium, I have several guidelines about the way I deal with spirits. I never conjure, summon, or hold seances. I find those practices to be dangerous and disrespectful. To me, conjuring, summoning, and seances are no different than the act of making kissy noises to bring your dog to you and then find yourself shocked when the dog bites you. I simply open my senses at the beginning of a session and whomever is meant to come through will do so. When I have to ask for signs of a presence, I explain why – that we are trying to find out if they are there and if they need help. My goal in paranormal investigation is to bridge the gap between the living and the dead, and that encompasses scientific evidence collection, assisting people in communication with loved ones, and assisting spirits in finding peace. In none of my three goals is there room for ghost tours or poorly conducted ghosts hunts for the cheap thrill of getting scared or having fun. Ghost tours don’t fit into my moral compass. If that makes me an old fuddy duddy, then so be it.

Update on October 29, 2012.

I was just going through my old blogs today and found this one. I got curious and searched ghost tours again to see if the epidemic is still spreading out there. Like the plagues of old, ghost tours are still raging on strong not only in America but in the United Kingdom and Australia as well. There weren’t so many ghost tours across the pond the last time I looked over a year ago. I’d like to say I’m surprised but I’m not.

For the most part, I still feel that the majority of ghost tours are exploitative of the honored dead and are harmful to paranormal research in that they draw people to the field who have no experience and then present themselves as experts. However, I have noticed a slight shift in the ghost tour industry of late. Several friends of mine have inserted themselves into those jobs in order to ensure that things are presented responsibly. I have one friend in Ohio who is both a historian and a medium who works in her local historical society and now also works with a ghost tour near her too. Someone like her who really does know what she’s doing has great potential to lead tourists through such tours in a manner both respectful to the dead and educational and entertaining for the tourists. I have another friend who is also very well-versed in history and paranormal research who may be joining one of the ghost tours in Charleston. These people helped me realize by their example that it’s not necessarily the ghost tour industry that I find so upsetting – it’s the inexperienced tour guides doing it either for the wrong reasons or simply because they don’t know any better. The solution appears to be not totally ending ghost tours but getting knowledgeable  experienced tour guides hired who are both educated in local history and paranormal research.

I am a woman of action. Next year, I plan to see if Oakland Cemetery by my house will have me as a tour guide for next year’s Halloween ghost tours. People with local knowledge and experience in paranormal things should be reaching out in the community to help tourists understand the truth.

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Dreams of rage, sex and storms

Dreams of rage, sex and storms
Posted by Jessica Jewett No Comments »

Dreams are the keys to what’s really happening inside of ourselves if we know how to interpret them. I’m a very vivid dreamer. Sometimes it’s so constant that my dreams just fade in and out to new topics like a television show fading in and out of commercials. My dreams range from spirit communication, to past life flashbacks, to random nonsense imagery from my day, to highly layered and symbolic imagery telling me about my mental and emotional state. On rare occasions, I wake up before I’ve finished dreaming and that creates a lingering transparent image before me as if looking at a ghost. Luckily I’ve learned to tell the difference between a real ghost and a moment of sleep paralysis. I’m often baffled by people who say they never remember dreams because mine are so vivid. It has also been said that vivid dreamers are typically people gifted with psychic or mediumistic abilities. I can’t speak for everyone but that theory does fit with me and the other psychics and mediums I work with every day.

Lately I have been having a series of rather disturbing and complex dreams about various things. I would say that it has been going on for about nine months, maybe a year. It has gotten really intense in the last 6 to 7 months, however. I can divide them into a few different categories to try and help other people going through the same thing.


I had to put this in one major category because nearly all of my water dreams are linked. The subjects are varying, however. The vast majority of my water dreams involve being on either ships or smaller boats that are sinking. The sinking is not frightening for me in most of these dreams. In fact, I surrender to it rather easily. Just before the water claims my life, I usually wake up from the dream and consciousness brings the natural fear that comes with nearly drowning but I was not experiencing fear in the dream state. Usually dreams are highly symbolic and telling us about the anxiety we are dealing with in everyday life. In this case, a dream of this nature signifies being overwhelmed by responsibility of some sort. Water in dreams usually symbolizes emotion and psychic intuitiveness. Being overwhelmed and killed by water would then signify being overwhelmed by some sort of oppressive emotion or intuition about some issue in your life. It’s an overwhelming sense of something you already know but you’re not dealing with it in your conscious world. Avoiding an emotional issue causes dreams of drowning more often than not.


The category of storms in my case covers tornadoes and hurricanes. Most of the time, the hurricane dreams go hand-in-hand with the sinking ship and drowning dreams. This is an example, step-by-step, of how layered the dreaming process can be for all of us. Hurricanes usually signify anger and emotional upset because it has a lot to do with water. If you think about it, hurricanes are basically water in its most angry state. So not only is drowning symbolic of being overwhelmed by emotion, the hurricane added to it means you are being overwhelmed by rather negative emotions such as anger or jealousy or bitterness. Water by itself without any storms usually signifies sadness, sorrow and psychic intuitiveness.

I don’t really have very many dreams with tornadoes in them but a lot of my friends do and they ask me about it all the time. Tornadoes usually happen happen in terms of chasing down an individual or group of people. These tornadoes are aggressive as if they have their own consciousness. Tornado dreams of this nature are usually about extreme anxiety. Sometimes a loved one will come along and rescue you from the tornado (I hear about this a lot) and that signifies the safe harbor of trust and love. If that person has passed away, it probably represents the loss of that kind of trust and love while the tornado becomes a symbol of grief, and the anxiety that comes with grief. If you are watching the tornado destroy people you know, think about what qualities in those people strike cords with yourself. The tornado is representative of your own insecurities and the desire to destroy what you consider to be back qualities inside of yourself.


It’s pretty much common knowledge in the dream world that the subject of sex is almost never about sex. It’s about control. In my case, my dreams concerning sex are usually violent and symptomatic of untreated PTSD. I won’t go into to much detail about these dreams because they are such frightening experiences for me. Thank goodness they don’t happen very much anymore. Basically, they are flashbacks to being molested by a former male member of my family. Sometimes the person doing the assault is not that former male member of my family but he is always inside of the skin, so to speak.

Under normal circumstances, dreams about sex are by and large about control, whether that control is feeling a lack of it or trying to exert too much of it. If the person is someone you know, think about the qualities that person has that you either want or dislike. What determines which qualities you should be looking for would be the type of dream it is. If the dream is violent, then you should be looking for what qualities in that person make you uncomfortable and if they resonate inside of you. If the qualities resonate inside of you, then it’s probably about you trying to establish control over parts of yourself that you don’t like. If the dream is positive and a good experience, then you want to look at what kind of qualities that person has that are good and make you feel good. Are those qualities you want to attain for yourself? Are they qualities you want in a lover? Or even a friend?


The most recent type of dream I have been having has been about me expressing serious rage at people. Sometimes I don’t even recognize the people. They’re just images my subconscious creates. Other times, they are people from my life. The rage is not rational and I see myself doing it in the dreams but I can’t stop myself. Someone will just set me off with something stupid and I will completely scream and become hysterical. Sometimes other elements overlap into this kind of dream, such as a hurricane happening around it or the rage happening on a boat in the middle of the ocean. The rage has been directed at one person in particular who has never done anything to remotely make me angry. I’m angry with something happening to that person but I’m not specifically angry with that person. In other words, my rage is being taken out on something I can’t control but it has the face of this person I care about because it’s happening to that person.

It’s not hard to decipher what it means when you are expressing rage at people or situations or even objects in dreams. It’s pretty literal. Rage means anger. You have to be careful when interpreting exactly what the cause of your anger is, however, because it may not be that actual person, situation or object. It might be something happening to them, something they make you feel that you don’t like, something they are doing to you, or anything like that. Think outside of the box when it comes to interpreting rage and try to figure out what is really causing you that anger. Look beneath the surface of that person’s face.


Countless books have been written about dream interpretation. I have only given you a tiny little bit of what I know from my own experiences. Luckily, I managed to do it without giving away too much personal detail about my dreams. As you can see, they are highly layered and are never what they appear to be at first glance. It’s not hard to see that the majority of my dreams over the last year have been dealing with a sense of overwhelmed feelings, intuition and not dealing with my emotions properly. I spend so much of my time looking after other people and helping them sort out their own problems by doing readings and such that I often neglect my own development. A lot of it does go back to unresolved feelings toward a couple of people. The thing I want you to understand when you have unresolved issues with people in your life is that resolving it is not going to happen from them. Peace and resolution has to come from yourself and working out whatever overwhelmed feelings are happening in your own psyche. Nobody can make your life better except yourself. Nobody can give you emotional direction except yourself. There are people who can give you support and nudge you in the right direction but at the end of the day, it comes down to you and your desire to find peace.

Sweet dreams!

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