My 3rd birthday, November 3, 1967. You can just barely see my dad standing behind me attempting to get me to hold still for the picture.

I was born on November 3, 1964 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. My mom was a very strict Catholic Italian. My dad was from a German farming family from Northern Appalachia (Merrittstown, PA).

I really do not remember much about my first few years. I assume that since I did not have a good ability to express myself, they were probably my best years. My first memory was at the age of three in the doctor’s office. I had been born with a dislocated hip, which, thankfully, was discovered in time to be able to fix it. I spent the first three years of my life constantly visiting the doctor to make sure my hip was developing properly.

I think I remember this doctor visit so well because my mom made a big deal of it being my last visit to the doctor. She dressed me in a fancy frilly dress that was very itchy with lacy bobby socks and my best mary janes. She even went to the extent of curling my very fine and very straight hair, which is not an easy task.

I remember the doctor having me walk and then run down the hallway of his office. Apparently, he had me do this at every visit in order to make sure my left leg was moving properly. I remember that I could not understand why he wanted me to do this but I thought it quite fun.

Another thing I remember from my early years was being able to see and communicate with Spirits. I had a Spirit friend named Melissa who hung out with me until I was nine years old. Melissa was very pretty with long blond hair and she always wore a blue dress. We would play with my dolls and stuffed animals in my bedroom almost every day. We would have tea parties and play school with my dolls and animals being the students and Melissa and I being the teachers.

One day my mom heard me in my bedroom talking while I was “alone”. She came to see what I was doing. I remember becoming nervous and I merely told her I was playing school with my toys. I did not mention Melissa at all. I learned at a very young age that you say nothing about everything in our family.

Melissa left me when I was nine years old because that is when I met my life long best friend, Pam. I have not seen Melissa since Pam and I met. I think Melissa knew that Pam and I would be best friends for the rest of our lives. She was correct, as Pam is still my best friend after 43 years.

Another Spirit companion I had was my Uncle Wes. My grandparents were pregnant with Uncle Wes before my father. Unfortunately, my uncle had a serious heart condition and the doctor had to induce my grandmother, which my uncle did not survive.

When I was born 26 years after my grandparents lost my uncle, Uncle Wes realized immediately that I could see and hear Spirits. He began to be my constant companion and has not left my side in over 52 years.

In the summers we would travel from Northeast Ohio to Southwestern Pennsylvania to spend time on my grandparent’s farm (this was the highlight of my summers). I remember on one such trip that I was sitting in our station wagon behind my father as he drove. I began to sense an additional person in the car as I daydreamed while staring out the window. When I turned, I found Uncle Wes sitting to my right side. Apparently, he wanted to join the family fun.

As I grew older I became more and more aware that not everyone could see Spirits. I was naturally a shy and quiet child and never mentioned this to anyone. I could also see energy around people and objects and flashing bright lights from Spirits but it was not until I was well into adulthood that I realized that most people do not see these things. I had always assumed that it was normal vision and everyone saw lights and energy.

I was very close to my maternal grandfather, who crossed over when I was ten years old. I assumed that since I could communicate with Spirits that our relationship would continue even though he had crossed over. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor shortly after he crossed, when I felt something “zap” my elbow. “Grandpa?” I asked. When I turned around there was no one there. I found this very puzzling and waited for my grandpa to contact me.

I never heard from my grandfather and began to think that maybe I was just crazy. I continued to study all things Spiritual as I grew older. This was my passion and greatest interest. I had books and magazines hidden under my bed about astrology, Spirit communication, Witchcraft, the occult, etc. I loved to sneak into my bedroom for quiet time with my study materials.

As a teenager I became involved with the church youth group. I adored and looked up to our youth pastor. Although our church was Catholic, they hired a conservative protestant youth pastor. One Wednesday evening he decided to give a sermon about Spirit communication and the occult to the youth group. Without knowing of my abilities, he told us how any participation in these activities (and many more) would condemn us to hell. I remember that I became terrified and upset. As soon as I returned home I threw away all my study material and from that day forward did my best to turn off my abilities. I did this firstly by ignoring any and all Spirits that appeared to me (including my uncle). Without realizing it, I had lowered my vibrational frequency so much that communication was difficult. I had begun to suffer from depression at the age of 7. When I was 10 and I did not hear from my grandfather after he crossed over, I became more depressed. Now that our youth pastor told me I was going to hell, my depression became even deeper.

There are many other reasons for my depression also. My home life was not ideal for a child. My mother was raised in a very abusive home and would never get help with the emotional and mental wounds that this caused. She was very needy and wanted all her children to be her clones. I was nothing like my mother but did my best to imitate her in order to make her happy. My mom was not physically abusive (a fact she reminded her children of constantly) but she was very emotionally and mentally abusive. I believe this is why I was so shy and quiet. I was always worried about saying and doing the wrong things which cause my mother to become angry, say mean things and then ignore me for days or weeks. I was also constantly being reminded to take into consideration what other people would think before I ever said or did anything. I learned very quickly to hide my true self and keep quiet as often as possible. This caused me to suffer from depression at a very young age, which developed into more serious mental illness as I grew older. – Michelle