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