Friday, September 27, 2013

Jesus Is Always There

by Audrey Barclay

'Twas The Little Old Church in the Valley
Where I first learned to know about God.
I tho't we would never be parted,
That I'd always be very near God.

Then I went to The Church in the Wildwood,
And I cried that I'd left God behind,
But soon I knew Jesus was there, too.
I'd not left the Saviour behind.

Next I found I had gone to the mountain
To a Little White Church on the Hill,
And once the Saviour came with us
And we held a camp-meet by the mill.

As years passed away I found Jesus
Was always awaiting me there,
Whether big city church or wee chapel,
Jesus was always there!

Friday, September 20, 2013

September Eighteenth

By Audrey L. Barclay

The first contingent of draftees from Greene County were leaving that night, and thus began a series of events marking the date, September eighteenth, as a special one throughout my life. It was 1917, and we had only recently become involved in the war against Germany. The entire populace, it seemed, would be at the station to demonstrate their patriotism and bid the young men God speed. Learning the young Barclays next door were going to join the throng of patrioteers, I suggested we make it a threesome, since we all had to ride the same streetcar, anyway.

Knowing Mr. Barclay's love of pranks--especially one that would make my face turn red--I shouldn't have been so filled with confusion, when they called for me, to find his younger brother had been finagled into making the party a foursome. My first impulse was to say something had come up that had changed my plans, but quick thinking made me realize they would all see through the stupid alibi, which would certainly give Mr. Barclay something to chuckle over. I accepted the proffered arm and went marching off to the trolley line as if it were the most common thing in the world.

As the evening wore on, I kept telling myself I wouldn't go out with him again, even if I were asked. I had met Erna a few times, but there had never been any particular attraction between us, and I wasn't about to pursue the acquaintance. Oh no---? That's what I thought!!!

We were married the following summer, just a couple of kids; Erna was eighteen, I was seventeen. Then Fate played a prank, the age for registering for the draft was lowered to eighteen, and on September eighteenth Erna had to register. However, before he could be called up, the Armistice was signed, so we were spared that ordeal.

Time passed, and it was ten years and five babies later when the date again brought an event of extra special importance. Infant number six was expected early in November, I THOUGHT, when he suddenly announced his impending arrival--on September eighteenth, 1928. That was surprising enough, but completely flabbergasting when the attending physician announced he was not alone; number seven was also arriving. And so we became the proud parents of twin sons, Alan and Olan.

September eighteenth, 1942, has memories of mixed emotions. It was on that date that a brother of Erna's had died in a distant city, and the remains returned to our town for interment. Our home became the focus point of activities for the family. It was also the date our daughter, Martha, met the young man she was to marry within a few months.

The final episode, to date, was when Alan's little son, Jimmy, chose his father's and Uncle Olan's birthday to become a part of the family. Needless to say, I find myself wondering each year, as the date approaches, if it will bring other events of special significance.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Spirit Letters - Conclusion

Editor's Note No. 1:  In the past three weeks we've read three different pieces Grandma Audrey wrote to introduce the so-called spirit letters. Today, we'll take a look at the letters themselves -- the notes of Amy Hagadorn Smith (Audrey's paternal grandmother), purportedly jotted on tablets as the words were dictated to her by spirits.

I've never seen the actual handwritten notes; what I have is a transcript typed by Audrey. Because of the frequent misspellings and run-on sentences (not common in Audrey's own writings), it's my impression that she typed the notes exactly as they appeared in Amy's handwritten tablets, errors and all. So will I, with one exception. Sometimes Audrey used a series of spaces between phrases--probably just as Amy did--to indicate where one scrap of dictation ended and another one began. I would do it the same way here, but the Blogger program I use to write this blog insists on deleting extra spaces, so I'll use a light-colored symbol (this barely visible one: <<>>) to mark the spaces Amy used in her notes.

Here we go:

Los Angeles, Cal.  Aug 15, 1913

I am the danish king christian, the second <<>> I came to the spirit life 1692, when the nations were at war with each other as they are today <<>> I lost the crown to sweden and for a time they ruled, then another war came and denmark won it back, and it has stood till now <<>> I see you have a brother here <<>> you do not believe it for you have not heard of his death from home so I come to tell you <<>> he was killed in a mill last January so try to believe it from your spirit friends <<>> he has been here for himself as a spirit still you think it is imagination can't you believe them <<>> he left his farm to you <<>> you will get an offer for it but don't sell it tell him not till you see it <<>> I want you to go for your brother or is son found a box of treasure that was my own <<>> it was stolen from a danish ship that I sent to America in 1691 to get out of denmark when I lost the crown <<>> another ship seized it and took it ashore much more that you will find if you look for it on his farm just south of the spot where they found this box you can get it all if you keep the farm for a time will you <<>> you may do with it as you like only do all the good you can another boy found the box soon after he took the silver bricks to his mother <<>> she has them still but don't know they are of any value <<>> he only got the bricks she may sell them to you if you want them <<>> the rest is where george told you will see the pearls I took from the crown and the rubies I had on my robe then there is some more stones that was among other things I thought to bring them to america and get a large parcel of land there is one more box and 3 sacks <<>> all are still there but you get them <<>> if you can't, then let it go for I can't it but you can help others as I know you will and that will help me for I will feel as if I had a big load off my mind <<>> the ship that got this was a pirate ship so did not dare put it on the market <<>> they buried it and got caut soon after and was hanged <<>> it has lain there all these years near a small brook on the south fork of it where it is not good to cultivate some timber is there but the heavy raines have washed it nearly to the surface <<>> you will find more silver bricks and some valuable tablewear in silver and some more valuable china dishes that I packed in a strong box from my own palace <<>> it is very find you will be proud to use it <<>> it is all right you will see a beautifull chain of gold with a medal I use to wear it on state occasions <<>> wear it it is pure gold <<>> put it on a watch and wear it for me then some more gems I had for the throne clothe they are still on it but it will be rotten <<>> take then and get you a nice necklace made there is enough for it there <<>> my seal ring and others you can get them changed and give them to the sons then in the sacks were the real treasure it was my gift from the house of Hapsburgh <<>> it is worth a randsom <<>> the house of Hapsburgh is one of the oldest on record but you are from the house of Holenbein a branch of Hapsburgh and I am so glad to bring this to you <<>> I will go with you to your brothers farm and help get this but don't sell it <<>> you get this away he did not know it till he sees it from this side <<>> I found it from this side of life <<>> I was a single man so had in heirs cousins came to the throne after me but long after I lost the crown and they could never find the crown or any of the jewels they were never found and they never will be for them get this and do all the good you can and when you come here give it to some worthy poor for their comfort while on earth <<>> you want to know of my death <<>> I was wounded when they took the palace <<>> my heart was broken to and I did not care to live longer <<>> it was in 1697 sure your church is all right it will awaken man kind to the truthe and to a higher life you <<>> you ask who was Constintine <<>> he lived in the 1(?) century and was a great man in his day <<>> then another by the same name was a kings guardsman that was all then you hear of another Livingston he was a cousin to Robert Livingston his children are the ones that held his patent untill it was wrested from them by the Anterenters so you see you are coming in to what is yours by right so go and get it and use it for good for it has been idle so long and we could not show it to the right ones till now <<>> do as you are guided and it will be given to you for you are the one to get it now if <<>> you feel as if you are the dupe of all your friends you are mistaken for the message hear is will suhurely come to you with the power of attorney to help you so be brave a little longer you are the dear sensative soul that we can use to give this to the world say to all I don't believe but I know it is true that our spirit friends or with us and can help us if we do right.


Editor's Note No. 2:  Okay, then. Now that we understand why Amy always declared her intention to move back to New York, let's start at the beginning and check out some of the allegations in her notes. For more information, click on the links provided.
  • References to "I am the danish king christian, the second..."; "I came to spirit life 1692..."; and "I  was a single man so had in heirs cousins who came to the throne...":  Christian "the second" died in 1559, more than 140 years before the spiritual entity who purportedly dictated these notes. According to this list of Danish monarchs, all of the kings named Christian (ten of them to date, I through X) were married and had multiple children. 
  • Reference to "...when the nations were at war with each other...": A Wikipedia article about the history of Denmark shows that Denmark was frequently at war, often with Sweden, and Christian II was certainly involved during his reign (1513-1523). Again, that time period is much earlier than the date referenced in Amy's notes.
  • Reference to Amy's "brother here" ("here" meaning in the spirit world); "he was killed in a mill last January"; and (much later in the notes) "the rest is where George told you will see the pearls...":  Amy had three older brothers (Minor, Christopher and William) and a younger one named George Cheritie Hagadorn, who was the closest sibling in age to Amy. I haven't been able to ascertain the dates of death of the three older brothers, but George died on August 16, 1936--not in January of 1913 as indicated in the notes.
  • References to "you ask who was Constantine"; "...was a great man in his day"; and "...another of the same name was a kings guardsman": Here are articles about Constantine the Great and "another of the same name," Constantine II. We have no way of knowing why Amy would have asked the spirits about them.
  • References to "...the house of Hapsburgh..." and "...the house of Holenbein a branch of Hapsburgh...": Wikipedia has articles about the House of Habsburg and the House of Hohenberg, close enough to the spelling in Amy's notes that I believe these names are her interpretation of the ones told to her by somebody's mysterious voice, spirit or otherwise. Hohenberg was indeed a branch of the Habsburg line.
  • References to "...a cousin of Robert Livingston..."; "the ones that held his patent until it was wrested from him by the Anterenters...":  An online article titled "The Breakup of Livingston Manor" describes land patents Robert Livingston obtained in New York. One point of interest is the mention of the "Manor of Rensselaerswyck." Amy's husband, Samuel S. Smith, was born in New York in the town of Rensselaerville, and Amy herself was born in a town named Livingstonville in Schoharie, New York. Robert Livingston's land holdings were apparently vast. As for the "Anterenters," I found this article by Nancy S. Cannon about the Anti-Rent Movement, a revolt by farmers in several New York counties, including Rensselaer and Schoharie, against "what they considered an unjust system of land tenure."
As stated in earlier posts, I don't know if this is the entirety of Amy's spirit-letter transcriptions or not. It's all I've seen, and if there's more, I'd certainly like to read it. Whatever your opinion about the source of Amy's notes, you have to agree that they make you very, very curious.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Spirit Letters - Part Three

Messages from Spiritland
by Audrey Smith Barclay

I didn't know I was supposed to have descended from a considerable line of royal ancestors until after I was a grandmother. I still find it difficult to accept, but that's what the "papers" say, said papers being two ancient school tablets I found at the bottom of my grandmother's old trunk when it came into my possession several years ago. It was all news to me!

Grandmother went to California when I was nine years old, remaining there until ten years later, but we had corresponded regularly. I still had vivid memories of the weeks I spent on the farm with her each summer; they were the happiest times of my childhood, in spite of her eccentricities. Fortunately, it wasn't until after her return that I became aware of her interest in supernatural things. The knowledge explained, in part, some of the things I've never understood. I knew, for instance, that she despised my grandfather, whom I can barely remember. She would go no nearer his grave than the roadway, even when I begged to visit it, myself. It was quite near and she'd walk with me to within sight of it, then I must go the rest of the way alone.

I hastened to visit her as soon as possible after Grandmother returned to the old home. It was then I felt the full impact of her belief in communicating with spirits. She spared me nothing, except the answer to my question about Grandfather and what he had done to earn her hatred. I didn't dare ask, although she regaled me with many instances of being heckled by his mischievous spirit, explaining with great gusto how she always outwitted him. It was my first experience with one who consorted with spirits, and I found it rather frightening, to say the least.

Grandmother soon let it be known that she was only stopping over at the farm for a short time, then she was going back to New York, where the family had lived until most of the five children were grown. She neglected to say, however, for what...or whom...she was sainting, and it wasn't until after reading the contents of the tablets years later that I was sure I had the answers to both that question and the one concerning Grandfather. At any rate, she continued waiting until nearly three years had passed, then she suddenly sickened and went to join her friends in the spirit world.

Many years later, I found what I now refer to as "The Letters." The closely written pages, in Grandmother's neat script, appear to be communication dictated to her by spirits of various people long dead. They unfold a most remarkable tale, unbelievable, really, although a cousin and I have verified a few of the statements. Whether or not I descend from royalty is a moot question...if so, I've surely descended a long way! Nevertheless, I thought there might be some among you who would find the story entertaining. If so by my guest: (Note the dates.)


Editor's Note: Okay, let's stop here for now. Judging from the lack of traffic on this site, not too many people are waiting with bated breath to find out more about the spirit letters. Nevertheless, Grandma Audrey did attach a typewritten transcript of the letters (part or all of them, I don't know which) to the above piece. I'll retype her transcript for posting here next weekend.

In the meantime, I'm curious: If you are related to Audrey, then you're also related to her grandmother Amy, who sincerely believed she could communicate with the dead. Reading Audrey's stories about Amy makes me wonder if there really is such a thing as a "sixth sense" and, if so, is it something that might be inherited? 

The subject intrigues me because I've actually had one profound (and as yet unexplained) experience with someone from "the other side"--my maternal grandmother, Lola. You can click here, if you wish, to read about that incident. Now I'd like to know if any of the rest of you have ever had a close encounter of the spiritual kind. Come on, now! Comment or email, but 'fess up if you have. I can't be the only one who's dying to know.

Amy Lucinda (Hagadorn) Smith