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Counting the House at Your Own Funerals

Counting the House at Your Own Funerals

by Art Myers

The first seance I ever went to, about 25 years ago, I discovered that sometimes people go to their own funerals.

The medium was Charlotte Clarke, whom I had met at a dinner party.

She invited me to a seance a couple of weeks hence. About 10 people were there. Right off the bat, Charlotte asked if anyone knew a Henry. Yes, I said, I had had an Uncle Henry. In fact, he and my father and my Aunt Ethel had brought me up.

“Well,” Charlotte said, “Henry is here. A short, bald man. He’s quite angry.”

“What’s he angry about?” I asked.

“Because you didn’t go to his funeral.”

“This was rather startling, since it was true. Henry had died a couple of years before. I was living in New York. Henry had lived in Buffalo. I was broke, as writers tend to be, and I decided to skip the air fare and send flowers.

I had, in the two weeks I had known Charlotte, never mentioned my family. I was writing a column on a New Jersey newspaper, and after the seance, in which my aunt, father and grandmother also touched down plausibly, I wrote in my column that I had met a woman who was a medium, and as a result I was talking to my relatives more now than I did when they were alive.

It was the first time I realized that many people attend their own funerals and count the house.

Flash forward about 15 years. I am now living near Boston, and my closest friend is Ginny Cutler. We are both interested in the occult, and often attend a nearby spiritualist church. A couple of times a year, the church brings in high-powered mediums, usually from England. One was a man named Robin Stevens. He was a platform medium, he would ask spirits who knew people in the audience to come in. They would.

Early in his performance, Stevens asked, “Does anyone here know a Walter?”

Ginny raised her hand. I knew who Walter might be. Ginny had a friend named Marney, who had an Uncle Walter. Quite a character, he’d been a World War I fighter pilot, an inventor, and was nearly the oldest living graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lived in Westhampton, about 80 miles west of where we lived. He had died shortly before, just a couple of months short of his 100th birthday.

Stevens went on, saying, “This man insisted on being called Walter. He didn’t like nicknames such as Walt or Wally.”

I recalled that this was true of Uncle Walter.

Stevens said to Ginny, “I see him putting a watch in your hand, but it’s not a watch. It’s metal and it looks like a watch, but it’s something else.”

That’s all I remember of the Walter segment of Stevens’ performance. Then he went on to other people, other spirits.

Afterward, Ginny told me, “That happened. I was at a birthday party for Uncle Walter a few years ago. He came over to me and said, ‘Put out your hand, I’m going to give you a present.’ I did, and he put what looked like a watch in my hand. Only it wasn’t a watch. He chuckled and said, ‘My heart is in your hand, that’s my old pacemaker.'”

As soon as we got back to Ginny’s house she called up Marney. Marney said, “I just came in the door. I was in Westhamption at a memorial service for Uncle Walter.”

For us devotees of the psychic, it’s not hard to deduce what had happened. Walter had come to his memorial service. A world-class psychic was asking for spirits who knew someone in his audience. Walter’s memorial was only about 80 miles away, although I’m not sure distance is relevant in this sort of thing.

In any case, Ginny was one of Walter’s favorite people, so he said hello.

Art Myers, the well-known reporter of paranormal phenomena and writer of ghost stories has just released an exciting new book “Communicating with Animals: the Spiritual Connection Between People and Animals”. Now available in local bookstore.

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