I am an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
The Company We Keep
Spirit familiars are souls that recognize each other from the time before they were born into this world. While most of us lose those memories once we enter this realm, a select few manage to retain them.
The following stories recount instances in which unlikely pairs, both human and animal, seemed predestined to be together. While some will chalk these unusual pairings up to coincidence, there are those who prefer to believe that something a bit more mystical is at play.
The phenomena of spirit familiars most often manifests in the animal kingdom. This first account, depicting the remarkable relationship between two of nature's sworn enemies, shows that souls, once introduced, are forever bonded.
In 2013, wildlife photographer Lassi Rautiainen happened upon a remarkable scene while on a shoot in Finland. It was late in the evening when he noticed a grey wolf and a brown bear emerge from the forest, side-by-side.
Over the next several hours, he captured images of the pair sharing food, nuzzling and frolicking in the snow. When they were finished, they retreated into the woods in the same manner in which they did everything; together.
For ten days, the scenario would repeat itself. After doing a little research, Rautiainen determined that the wolf was female while the bear was male. It was clear to the photographer, as well as those who viewed the images, that the pair were very much a couple.
How such an unconventional union could develop defied explanation. It was speculated that they had turned to each other out of necessity, but that seemed unlikely given the solitary nature of the wolf. Besides which, rather than merely tolerating each other, the duo appeared to display genuine affection.
Perhaps they were simply two animals who found themselves sharing the same circumstances. Or maybe they were souls that, having known each other in a previous incarnation, took advantage of the unexpected reunion.
·boredpanda.com; dailymail.co.uk; youtube.com
Best Friends Forever
Spirit familiars come in all shapes and sizes, as evidenced in this next account. It first came my way several years ago when a woman named Janine Westbrook* contacted me after learning that I collected stories of true paranormal encounters. Although the experience she related didn't quite fit the mold at the time, it certainly has a place here.
Janine said that her family's brush with the unexplained unfolded in 2005 on her four-year-old daughter Ella's first day of preschool. She recalled that as they were walking in the door, her normally shy child had run up to another little girl and wrapped her arms around her.
The other youngster, Ali, had seemed taken aback, but had returned the embrace just the same. According to Janine, from that moment on, the girls have been inseparable.
Although there's nothing unusual about two children bonding in a strange environment, this was different. As they grew and their vocabulary improved, Ella especially would talk about things she and Ali used to do together that Janine knew had never happened.
She recounted that one day while the girls were playing in Ella's room, she heard her daughter refer to her friend as "Christina." When Ali protested, Ella laughed it off by saying something to the affect of "Well, that used to be your name."
Over the years, the girls preferred each other's company to that of anyone else. Closer than sisters, they wanted to do everything together. Janine said that when the time came for them to take a vacation that was for family only, Ella had done so grudgingly, but refused to speak one word during the six days she was away from Ali.
Today, the girls are both young adults. Although they have lives of their own, they are still each other's person, just as they have always been. Janine has asked her daughter many times over the years to explain her unique relationship with Ali with mixed results.
According to her mother, at one point, Ella finally offered that something inside of her had clicked the minute she laid eyes on Ali. She didn't know why she reacted the way she did, but she had known instinctively that the other girl had felt the same connection, even though it had taken her longer to come around. For reasons that are a mystery even to her, Ella sensed then just as she does now that she and Ali belonged together and always had.
*Name has been altered to protect the privacy of those involved.
Love Never Dies
In 1942, performer Helen Beck happened to catch a glimpse of a bedraggled stranger while backstage after a show in London. She would recall that the man had been dressed in tattered clothing that hung loosely on his stick-thin frame. When she gazed down at his shoes, she saw that they were worn and covered in holes, just like the hat atop his head.
Although the gentleman standing before her, who introduced himself as a fellow actor named Peter Cushing, wasn't exactly in top form, one look into his dazingly blue eyes made her knees weak. She would later say that she was certain then and there that they had known each other in another life.
Mr. Cushing, who was seemingly under the same impression, kissed Helen's hand and the rest, as they say, is history. The two would be married for twenty-nine years, during which time they were completely devoted to each other.
After Helen passed away in 1971, her husband was never the same. He would tell interviewers that his life ended on the day he lost Helen. According to him, the only reason he continued living was because she had made him promise to forge ahead without her.
Peter Cushing would outlive his spouse by twenty-three years. He never remarried. His only joy in life, by his own admission, was the knowledge that someday he and Helen would be reunited. As souls that were eternally bonded, one hopes that they found each other again, just as fate intended.
The heartwarming saga of a lovesick groundhog went viral not long ago. The story behind the unexpected animal rescue was unique, to say the least.
It all began when a woman named Courtney spotted a small animal dodging traffic on a busy street. Worried that it was about to be hit, she had pulled over and tried to shoo the frightened creature out of harm's way.
Rather than running from this presence it should have feared, the groundhog had sidled up to Courtney and refused to leave her side. The bewildered woman didn't know what to do as the friendly ball of fur climbed into her lap and made itself comfortable.
Resolving herself to the fact that she was going to have to let nature take its course, Courtney tried to leave. As she walked to her car, the animal was right on her heels. Knowing that she couldn't abandon the helpless creature that had for some reason fixated on her, Courtney scooped up the groundhog, which she named Stewie, and took her home.
Since she had no idea how to care for a wild animal, Courtney phoned several local rescues until she found one willing to take Stewie. While she waited for space to become available, she constructed a makeshift home for her four-legged friend under the deck in her backyard.
After a short wait, the displaced animal went to a rescue. Two days later, the facility notified Courtney that their new charge wasn't doing well. She had no interest in interacting with the other animals or volunteers. In their expert opinions, the thoroughly depressed creature was pining for the woman who saved her.
Since the feeling was mutual, after consulting with her family, Courtney brought Stewie home for good. Today, when she isn't hibernating under the deck, she can be found clinging to the person whose essence she seemed to recognize at first sight.
·thedodo.com; theanimalrescuesite; One Green Planet