Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
The Seeds of Sadness
The story you are about to read was sent to me via social media, by a woman named Connie Lane. It recounts the attempts that she made to make contact with her brother, who had died at the tender age of four. Connie's efforts usually ended in disappointment. There were, however, a handful of times when she managed to communicate with someone in the spirit world. Unfortunately, it had not been her baby brother.
Connie told me that she had been a carefree six-year-old the year that her little brother drowned in a neighbor's swimming pool. She remembered that the tragedy had taken place during a barbeque. No one could make sense of the death of the child. There had been adults all around and other swimmers in the pool with the boy at the time of his death. Somehow, he had slipped below the surface without anyone noticing until it was too late.
The child's family, including Connie, were devastated by his loss. She recalls only dark days in the months that followed his passing. Although she was too young to fully comprehend what had happened, she could sense the sadness that had taken over her home. Her parents weren't the same people that she had known before the accident. The mother and father she had known would never be the same again and neither would she.
Testing the Waters
As the years went by, Connie longed to know if her little brother was still with them in spirit. Even as a little girl, she would lie in bed and talk to him as though he was in the room. Communicating with the boy was something she felt compelled to do, no matter how futile her efforts turned out to be.
When Connie was around 13, she invited a few of her friends from school to spend the night at her house. As they discussed ways to pass the time, Connie suggested that they have a séance. She had never participated in such a thing before, and didn't even know how to go about it, but she felt she was up for the challenge.
To her surprise, the other girls agreed without hesitation. None of them knew exactly what to do, so they mimicked things they had seen in movies. Connie fetched a few votive candles from the kitchen while her friends laid a blanket down on the bedroom floor.
The girls lit the candles and placed them on the blanket. They then switched off the lights and sat, cross-legged in a circle. She and her friends remained silent for a few moments, holding tightly to one and others hands. Connie eventually spoke up and asked if there were any ghosts in the room who wished to talk to them.
There was no response so Connie asked the same question again. Having no luck, she asked specifically if her brother was with them. There was no answer, as such, but Connie swears that the candle's flames suddenly flickered.
Connie was excited and wanted to continue, but that small gesture had been enough to convince her friends to pack it in for the night. Despite her pleas, they refused to participate. The séance was supposed to be for fun. The girls hadn't really wanted to talk to spirits. Connie could not say the same.
Although nothing earth-shattering had occurred as a result of the séance, Connie couldn't shake the feeling that her brother had been present in the room at some point. She knew, even then, that it would not be her last attempt to reach him.
Connie graduated from high school a few years later and took a job at a local retail store. She had plans for college, but had decided to spend a year in the workforce before committing herself to the years of higher education that lie ahead.
The store that Connie worked at was part of a small chain that was based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She loved her job and had, over the course of a few weeks, grown close to several of her coworkers. Their core group of five or six would meet up several nights a week to hang out at one of their homes and watch movies or play games.
During one of their get-togethers, Connie shared with them the story of how she had lost her brother at such a young age. She remembers the room falling silent as she told them of her various attempts to contact him in the ensuing years.
One person in the group suggested that they try to communicate with Connie's brother using a Ouija board. Most of the people in the room thought it was a great idea, except for one girl who had scoffed at the notion. She was very religious and expressed her belief that the board was something used in occult ceremonies. She told them that they could do what they wanted, but she would have no part in it.
The guy who had brought up the subject told the group that they sold Ouija boards in the toy/sporting goods department of the store. He knew because he had stocked items himself. He assured them that if the boards could actually conjure up spirits, they wouldn't be sold in the toy department.
Everyone, besides the one holdout, agreed. Connie volunteered to buy the Ouija board since it was her brother they would be trying to contact. After the decision had been made to move forward, the group went back to watching their movie. They hadn't realized at the time that they had already opened themselves up to something that had been manipulating Connie for years.
The board was purchased a couple of days later, but several weeks passed before it was actually put to use. Connie was anxious to give it a try, but for reasons she can't quite explain, she would purposely avoid bringing it along when she met up with her coworkers. Finally, at their insistence, she relented and showed up one night with board in hand.
No one in the group had ever used a Ouija board before, but there didn't seem to be much to it. They knew that they were all supposed to touch the planchette, which would then glide across the letters and words that were printed on the board at the behest of whomever they contacted.
There were six people in the group, but only five were willing to participate. The girl who had objected to the idea sat in another room as the five who remained huddled around a card table in the host's bedroom.
Connie said that the only light in the room had been a lamp that was sitting on the nightstand. The room was dim which added to the spooky feeling that had permeated the space around them.
They weren't certain how to begin so they played it by ear. Each one of them placed their fingertips on the edges of the planchette. They had already agreed that no one was to push it on purpose. They wanted to do this right—for Connie.
The guy whose idea it had been to use the Ouija was the first to speak. He asked if there were any spirits in the room with them. When there was no movement from the planchette, he began asking more specific questions. He called on Connie's brother by name and asked that he say something to his sister.
Again, nothing happened. Connie then spoke up and pleaded with her brother to talk to her. She asked only that he let her know that he was alright. She told him that a simple "yes" or "no" was all she wanted.
A split second after Connie made the request, she says that the planchette moved to the word "no." No one knew at the time whether one of them had been manipulating the planchette or if it had actually moved on its own, but they continued on all the same.
Connie asked if the spirit they had summoned was her brother or someone else. The planchette slid to the word "me." Connie can remember her whole body shaking as she spoke to this spirit, whom she now believed to be her kid brother.
The first session with the Ouija board went on for almost an hour as the group bombarded their visitor with questions. Connie was most concerned with the fact that her brother had said that he wasn't alright. When she tried to find out why, his answers would never fit the question. After a while, she felt that he was deliberately trying to confuse her, but she pushed those thoughts aside. She was so happy to be communicating with her sibling that she hadn't trusted her own instincts.
Connie realizes now that all of the signs were there that something was wrong, she had just refused to see them. The most glaring issue was that the spirit they had contacted indicated that he had died in the ocean. Connie's brother had never been near the sea and certainly had not drowned in one. Even so, she had chosen to ignore the glaring inconsistencies between what she knew to be true and the story that the spirit was telling.
The contact ended abruptly when one of the people in the group had asked the spirit to tell Connie something that only she and her brother would have known. The spirit gave no answer and refused to respond to any more questions. The session, at least as far as their otherworldly guest was concerned, was over.
Connie knows now that they had done everything wrong that night. They opened a door into a dark place that they then neglected to close. They were so eager to reach Connie's brother that they believed everything they were told without question. Even so, they all felt that they had made contact with the spirit world on their very first try. What they didn't know was that this particular entity had been with Connie all along.
The same night that Connie and her friends had experimented with the Ouija board, she began to have horrible nightmares that would torment her for a long time thereafter. She could never remember exactly what occurred during these dreams, but she does know that it must have been something horrible. She claims that she would wake up drenched in perspiration and awash in feelings of dread and doom.
Connie recalls that, on at least one occasion, she had been so disoriented upon waking from her night terror that she thought she was dead. It was only after she lay in bed listening to the birds singing outside of her window that she realized that she was still among the living. She had never before experienced anything like the nightmares or their aftermath until the night they had supposedly spoken with her brother.
Although, the nightmares were daunting, Connie hadn't immediately connected them to the Ouija board. Instead of proceeding with caution, she began to use the board to communicate with her brother anytime she had a few moments to spare. She took comfort in their interaction and didn't want it to end.
Connie says that her brother wouldn't always be available when she summoned him, but that he would occasionally respond. When he was in a talkative mood, she would grill him about the afterlife. He didn't provide a lot of information, but he did tell her that he did not like the existence he was now forced to lead.
He explained that everyone is born with a set of things that they have to accomplish in life in order to move on to a higher plane of existence. Since he had been pulled from this life prematurely, he had not succeeded in carrying out the goals that had been set for him. For reasons beyond his control, he was now stuck in a middle ground between life and death. He could not move forward, nor could he rejoin the living.
When Connie asked him how she could help him to move on, the conversation abruptly ended. She would learn, over time, that even though he would willingly answer other questions, he refused outright to respond to this one.
Connie and her friends from work finally got around to having another group session with the Ouija board a few weeks after the first one. This time, they went in with the intention of finding out, once and for all, if the spirit they were speaking to was Connie's brother or simply an opportunistic specter who had taken advantage of them.
They began, as they had the first time, by dimming the lights in order to set the mood. Once they had settled in and placed their fingertips on the planchette, Connie asked her brother if he was with them. He immediately responded with a "yes."
In the days leading up this get together, Connie had told her mother that she wanted to know more about her little brother. She asked her mom if she would mind telling her some of her favorite things about the boy. Her mother seemed surprised by the question since the family had rarely spoken about the child they had lost in the years following the tragedy. The memories had simply been too painful.
Even so, she agreed to open up to her daughter and share a few of her precious memories. Connie would use what she learned that day to finally put to rest the question of whether or not the spirit she had been communicating with was really her brother.
Once the spirit acknowledged that it was present, Connie dove right in with the questions she had prepared. She asked if he could tell her what their mother's pet name for him had been. After a bit of time passed and no answer was forthcoming, Connie repeated the question.
Faced with only stony silence, Connie asked another question. She inquired of her brother if he remembered his favorite toy. Again, the planchette remained still as the spirit pondered the question. The queries had been simple ones that the boy should have been able to answer without hesitation. Her brother's pet name had been "Bug" and his favorite toy had been a clown's head that played music. Connie realized pretty quickly that the spirit couldn't answer the questions because it wasn't her brother.
Still willing to give him one more chance, Connie again asked the boy how he had died. This time, he responded with the same thing he had spelled out before. He said that he had drowned. When she asked how, he answered that it had happened at sea.
Connie knew that this spirit was not her brother and, more than likely, never had been. Some of her friends chimed in at this point and demanded that whoever, or whatever, they were speaking to identify itself. As they persisted with their questioning, the board suddenly flipped itself off of the table and onto the floor.
There were audible gasps in the room as the group came to terms with what had just happened. Something they could not see had managed to jerk the board out from underneath their hands and hurl it to the floor in a fit of temper.
Connie decided then and there that she wanted nothing else to do with the Ouija board. She threw it in the dumpster at her friend's apartment building on her way to her car that night. She also decided, and her coworkers agreed, that there would be no more attempts to conjure up spirits. She finally accepted that her brother had probably moved on long ago to a place in which he could complete his final destiny. The spirit that they had summoned had not been as fortunate.
Thinking that the matter was settled, since she no longer had the Ouija board or a desire to reach out to her brother, Connie put the whole unpleasant experience to rest. Unfortunately, for her, it would not be that easy.
Connie continued to work at the department store for several months after the final incident with the Ouija board. Once in awhile, one of the parties who had been present that night would bring up how scary it had been when the board flipped into the air, but otherwise it was something that they had chosen to forget.
Things went back to normal in nearly every way. The group of friends still got together to hang out and talk or watch television. On one occasion, they were reminded that it is sometimes easier to open a door than it is to close it.
Connie remembers that there were four or five of them sitting in the living room of the same apartment in which they had encountered the hostile spirit when they suddenly heard a ruckus in the kitchen. Since all of them were present and accounted for, they immediately feared that someone else was in the apartment.
The lights were on and the kitchen was clearly visible from the living room. Even so, they couldn't see exactly what was happening. It sounded as though someone was tearing the cabinets from their hinges and throwing them against the walls.
No one wanted to inspect the kitchen on their own so they decided to enter as a group. Connie remembers feeling a sense of apprehension that went far beyond any she had ever felt before as they went to investigate the strange noises.
When they could see the interior up close, they discovered that the cabinet doors were still in place, even though each one of them was standing wide open. Likewise, every drawer was open and the tap was running in a steady stream.
The last person who had been in the kitchen before they heard the noises insisted that nothing had been disturbed when she had been in the room. It didn't take long for someone to bring up the subject of the Ouija board. They wondered, out loud, if perhaps they had inadvertently invited a spirit into the apartment.
Connie didn't say it at the time, but she was afraid that it had been she who was somehow responsible for what had occurred. Something very similar to what had happened at the apartment had also taken place at her parent's home. She was still living there at the time and had begun to take notice of some very odd phenomena.
Her mother had already brought to her attention the fact that there were rips in every one of the sheets that Connie used on her bed. Connie had been aware that her bedding was getting shredded as she slept, but she couldn't explain how or why it was happening. She hadn't seen or felt anything out of the ordinary while it was occurring. All she knew was that she would fall asleep with sheets that were intact and wake up to ones that had long tears in them.
The drawers in Connie's bureau would also routinely be pulled open when she knew, without a doubt, that she had closed them. She was also someone who liked to keep her clothes neatly organized, but something had other plans. Connie would put all of her socks and underwear away in tidy little bundles only to return later to find them in a state of disarray. She knew that her parents weren't responsible, they were the ones who had instilled the sense of organization in her to begin with.
To top it all off, the nightmares she had been having were now occurring nearly every night. For the life of her, she couldn't remember a thing about them. She only knew that they had occurred and that she would wake up with an eerie feeling that death was upon her. She hated what was happening to her, but didn't know how to put an end to it.
Throughout the months that she had endured the nightmares and disturbances that seemed to center around her, Connie had not discussed her fears with anyone in her family. She had eventually confided in a few of her friends, mainly because she felt that it was also affecting them.
She told them that she felt responsible for what had happened in the kitchen. Since that was the only incident that had occurred in the apartment, they agreed that the target had probably been Connie. The location had been irrelevant.
Connie noticed right away that a couple of the people in her once tight-knit group began to distance themselves from her after she explained her situation. The others, including the fellow whose idea it had been to use the Ouija board in the first place, vowed to help her in any way they could.
They attempted a cleansing which failed miserably. No one in their small circle of friends had known how to perform the ritual so they had made it up as they went along. They burned dried sage which they had purchased in the food aisle of a supermarket while reciting prayers for Connie and her family.
It had been a kind gesture, but nothing changed for Connie. She still experienced almost daily reminders that something had attached itself to her and showed no sign of letting go. This would go on for several months until a friend of hers put her in touch with a lady who claimed to have experience with sending spirits back to the other side where they belonged.
Connie hadn't known what to expect when she set up a meeting with the self-proclaimed medium. She was surprised when a woman who looked to be her mother's age showed up at the family home. Connie had made sure to schedule the cleansing on a day when her parents would be out. She still had not told them that she was afraid that she had brought a spirit into their home—it wasn't exactly something that could be discussed at the dinner table. All the same, she felt that they suspected something was going on. Some of the signs had been hard to miss.
The medium began by asking Connie for a brief history of what she had been experiencing. The woman nodded her head as she listened intently to everything that Connie told her. She asks several questions until she seemed to be satisfied that she knew enough to remedy the problem.
Before beginning the cleansing process, the medium informed Connie that she felt certain that she had never been in contact with her brother. She could not feel his presence anywhere in the house, nor did she have any sense of him around Connie. She clarified by stating that his was a spirit that was at peace and those rarely feel the need to communicate with living.
The woman went on to tell Connie that the spirit in question had been with her for a long time prior to the purchase of the Ouija board. She couldn't be certain, but she thought that Connie had let the spirit into her life during the séance that she and her friends had performed when they were youngsters.
Connie was shocked to learn that an unknown entity had been shadowing her for years without her being aware of its presence. She admits that she thought her brother might be with her, but she was never certain.
The medium went on to tell Connie that her nightmares were times when the spirit was trying to drain energy from Connie to utilize for itself. The medium explained that some darker beings were under the mistaken belief that they could sap the life from those still living and use it to once again develop a physical form. She assured Connie that she had never known of an instance when this had actually worked. Still, the attempt was not something uncommon to her.
Connie was thoroughly spooked by the time the medium was finished giving her the ins and outs of the situation. The glimmer of hope lay in her assurances that she could rid Connie of the spirit that had attached itself to her. It wouldn't be easy, but it could be done.
The medium proceeded to light a large bundle of sage and recite chants as she waved it around each room and in every nook and cranny. She also asked Connie to stand in the center of the room with her arms outstretched as she slowly traced the outline of her body with the sage, all the while reciting the same incantations over and over again. Connie didn't understand one word, but she had faith that the woman's methods would work.
When she was finished, the medium laid the sage down in a bowl in Connie's bedroom and informed her that she needed to let it burn out naturally in order for it to be completely effective.
After the cleansing using the sage, the medium recited prayers that Connie did understand. She told the spirit, in essence, that it was in a place in which it was not welcome. She ordered it to leave Connie as it had found her, free from corruption and sin that was not her own. The prayers seemed to go on for a long time before the medium finally felt that she had accomplished her mission to set the wayward soul on the right path while at the same time unburdening Connie.
Connie paid the woman for her time and efforts as she walked her to the door. The medium warned Connie not to try, in any way, to contact her brother or any other spirit in the future. She was now an easy target and those on the other side knew it. She would have to tread lightly from now on, for her own sake.
The medium also told her that one cleansing didn't always do the trick, although she could no longer sense any activity centering on Connie. Hoping that this would be the end of it, Connie bid the woman goodbye. She had been nice, but Connie hoped that she would never again require her services.
Connie's story took place over 20 years ago. She has not had one instance of paranormal phenomena since the day of her meeting with the medium. Whatever the woman said to the wayward spirit on that day has kept it at bay for over two decades.
Having finally accepted the passing of her brother, Connie was able to move forward with a better understanding of life and that which comes after. She no longer mourns for the boy who was lost, but instead finds comfort in knowing that he has found peace elsewhere.