Writing this blog, I’m reminded of the old 1950s television series, “I Led Three Lives.” I haven’t led three lives, but I feel like I’ve led two. Now I’m coming out of the cold and laying it all on the table. I’ve led my “normal” life grounded in the physical world, going through school and college, getting married, being with friends and family, working and functioning about as well as everyone else; and people never seemed to suspect that I was keeping a whole other life to myself – the one in which I saw dead people and angels and knew some future events and stuff like that.
Many times I’ve questioned my sanity because of the way the spirit realm has repeatedly intruded in my life. Every time I saw a spirit or an angel, dreamed a precognitive dream, or just “knew” something about the future, I wondered if I was nuts, but none of those things ever interfered with my ordinary life or were destructive in any way. I haven’t been fortunate enough to live around people who acknowledge the existence of these things. Every time I tried to mention them to someone, they looked at me askance and sort of backed away, as if to say, “I don’t want to catch what you’ve got!”
Yet, none of the experiences I’m referring to were like hallucinations. I know that because of my experience with prescribed meds in my mid forties. I came down with a disease that turned out to be closely related to Lyme disease, and it made me so weak I could do almost nothing. Before it was diagnosed correctly a doctor insisted that I was merely depressed and prescribed an antidepressant for me. It made me have such terrifying hallucinations that I stopped taking it after only a few days. The doctor prescribed another antidepressant, and the same thing happened again. That was the last time I ever took anything like that!
The feelings, sounds, and sights of a hallucination are in no way like the sensations involved in seeing an angel or a spirit. Seeing an angel or spirit, or hearing one, evokes curiosity more than any other emotion for me. During every supernatural and paranormal experience I’ve had, I was fully aware of every thing around me and analyzing the situation, questioning what I saw or heard. I was as clear minded and focused as I would have been if another person had walked into the room and said something to me.
And that brings me to the “haunted” church in New Orleans. Back in the early 1980s, my husband and I lived near Bayou St. John, and I liked to walk to Mass at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church on Esplanade Avenue. It was a magnificent church with a beautiful dome that could be seen along the bayou. The altar was the whitest white, and the entire interior of the church seemed to shine. The air inside felt thick with the prayers of generations, and that air seemed to caress me like a breeze.
Not long after I started attending Mass there, I started “seeing things.” The sight was vague at first. There seemed to be movement in the air above the altar, all of it flowing whiteness. Not long into each Mass that I attended, the movement would start, and I began to feel the presence of angels. After seeing the movement at several Masses, I saw the angels begin to come into focus, though the sight of them was not firm. Little by little the image of them strengthened at successive Masses.
As always, I told myself I was letting my imagination get away from me, and I tried not to see the angels. To stay grounded in the physical, I tried to focus my mind on the priest and what he was saying and on the Mass and the people. But all the pews faced the altar just below the angels. At every Mass, there the angels were again. The most beautiful movement I had seen before that was Margot Fonteyn dancing “Swan Lake,” but the graceful movement of the angels was beyond comparison.
After a few months of the angels, I began to see something else. Every now and then the spirit of a person – a different spirit each time - would appear with an angel, and the two of them would stand near the northwest corner of the altar throughout the Mass. I thought these must be recently deceased persons for whom Holy Rosary Church had much significance; that is, I thought that at times. Mostly, I thought I was going nuts.
Then one Sunday morning I went to early Mass. Hardly anyone was there when I arrived. As people began to file in, an angel and the spirit of a person entered through the door west of the altar and stood in the same place where the other spirits and angels had stood. When I saw who the person was that morning, I thought it proved that I was crazy. It was one of the priests. I had seen him recently, and he looked perfectly well. I told myself I wasn’t seeing a spirit but only imagining it because this priest was still alive. Then. . .when one of the other priests entered to start the Mass, the first thing he did was announce that his fellow priest – the one whose spirit I was looking straight at – had died about three o’clock that morning.
I’m convinced now that I wasn’t nuts after all. I wasn’t imagining, and I wasn’t hallucinating. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church was blessed with the presence of angels. In addition to that marvel, the departed who loved the church dearly were allowed to stop there for Mass as they started their journey to the full light of the heavenly spirit realm. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church was functioning as a small send-off station for some new spirits who wanted to say one last good-bye.
G. W. Lupo is retired from social work and newspaper reporting/editing and now writes about the supernatural, mostly her own experiences. She also writes spec scripts and fiction for children in her home north of New Orleans. Her blog can be found at http://www.supernaturaltraveler.blogspot.com.