Paranormal Witnesses, short story by Kenneth Walford at
Ralph Nas

Paranormal Witnesses

Paranormal Witnesses

written by: Kenneth Walford


Karen, sighed, opened her eyes and glanced at the clock on the spiritualist church guestroom wall. Thunder rumbling in the distance was too much distraction even for an experienced medium.
“Twelve minutes. Oh!” Karen searched for the appropriate words to vent her feelings at the storm. “Oh…Bother!” She gave the arm of her chair a slap, surrendering to the fact that her private education had failed her. “I’ve only got twelve minutes,” she sighed perturbed, but remained a lady.
Karen was trying to meditate. It was a pivotal part of her routine to relax in a light meditative state in preparation for the deep trance needed for the séance, but it wasn’t happening this evening, it was impossible to shut out the thunder. Caressing her blonde shoulder length hair above her head, she let the tresses slip slowly through her fingers. It was a relief to stretch, but there was a problem. She was facing the clock and feeling guilty of frittering the time away. There was still ten minutes. Karen groaned, straightened in the chair, deciding that she would give it one more try.
Closing her eyes for the third time, Karen concentrated on controlling her breathing, trying not to be aware, not to be waiting in anticipation of the next rumble. Inhale positives, one-two-three, exhale negatives, one-two-three, she mentally counted over and over. Gradually the excited chatter coming from the spiritualist church hall faded. The sound of tyres on the road outside became muffled like the dampening effect of a fresh blanket of snow. Consciousness stealthily slipped away as she surrendered to the peace and comfort that wrapped around her. She became less aware of her body contact against the chair. Her clothes became comfortable, soft, feeling as light as cobwebs against her skin. Allowing her thoughts to flow inwardly she started to drift into the darkness behind her eyes, going deeper within a tranquil, nothingness. Her mind drifted, expanding without consciously thinking of anything.
“Karen.” The familiar, gentle, deep voice came out of the darkness accompanied by a pinpoint of light. She was never sure if by mentally focusing she was drawn towards the light, or the light came to her, but always a tall, slim man in a dark suit was instantly there. Jack Davis smiled a loving, welcoming smile. “Karen.” The sound of his voice entered the stillness of her mind like a clear thought. “Transfigurations!”
“Huh!” Karen looked about the room.
“Are you decent, can I come in?” David’s voice came from the other side of the door, as he knocked again.
“Yes David, I’m ready.” The door opened. David stood relaxed in the doorway. Karen blinked her large, blue eyes. “Well, as ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Hope I didn’t disturb your routine preparations?” David leaned against the door. “I know how you like to warm up pre-match.” His easy smile softened his rugby battle-worn face. “I’ve had a word with Tom and June,” he said. “We have decided that with the storms around, the conditions aren’t ideal for a materialisation séance.”
“Hmm. So that’s what Jack was about to tell me when you turned up? He wants us to do transfigurations.”
“Right, that fits in with our plans.” David was never surprised that Jack was in tune with ongoing events. “We won’t tie you in the chair, but if the storms miss us, we could perhaps do some materialisations later? However, it’s entirely up to you; you’re the medium, if you’re not happy?” He shrugged amiably.
Karen’s eyes lit up with humour. “David, you are the manager, organiser, transport and my bodyguard. I’m the sleeping partner.” She looked into a wall mirror as she tidied her hair. “You can always tie me up later.”
“The part I like most.” The corner of David’s mouth changed from a tilt of humour to a curl of disenchantment. “You know, it’s a pity that we’ve had to cancel. Everyone’s disappointed.”
“That’s understandable, isn’t it?” Karen nodded, knowing that some people would have travelled considerable distances to witness a physical séance. “They came here expecting materialised spirits walking about the room.”
“We shouldn’t complain though this is the first time that we have cancelled in three years since Jack became your control,” David pointed out.
“Well, it’s the first time that we’ve had stormy conditions, isn’t it?” She widened her eyes. “I only hope that Jack can use me. I hate storms.”
“I’m sure he’ll come up with something. Anyway, Tom and June are giving everyone a refund on their tickets. So, I’ve promised that we’ll fit in another séance as soon as possible, if that’s okay with you?”
“Yes, sure, we’ll pencil them in somewhere. Well, they rely on these special séances, don’t they? The collection plate and raffle tickets don’t bring in much.”
“Extremely little I should imagine. Tom said that the advertising really worked. We could have easily filled the bigger hall.”
“I laughed when I saw those posters.” Karen touched up her lips with a brush. “They are extremely artistic. There’s a spirit entity coming out of the cabinet with an umbilical cord trailing back to a blonde woman slumped in a chair; excellent artwork, but not terribly flattering.” She pouted, checking her lips. “I looked like a busty comic strip character.”
“Yeah, I hope that Michelin man in the background isn’t supposed to be me?” David grinned. “If you’re ready Karen, let’s get the show on the road.”
The small red illuminated hall was ideal for holding a séance. With windows on one side, it was easy to black-out. There was comfortably enough space for a hundred and twenty seats, set out in six rows facing a low stage.
David went out first, checking that the audience were settled in their seats. Satisfied, he stepped aside and beckoned with a sweep of his hand.
Karen wrapped her full-length cloak around her and walked to the cabinet at centre stage. Turning to face the audience, she removed the cloak, giving it to David to drape it over the back of his chair.
“Oh. Yeah!” Noisy, crude enthusiasm came from a rough-looking young man in a front-row seat. He raised an aluminium walking cane. “Yeah…bring on the dancing girls. Wow, this is more like it.”
Karen dressed in a dark-blue leotard, crossed her arms putting her hands on her shoulders. She entered the cabinet seeking the sanctuary of the large chair, feeling less vulnerable with her knees together, on tip toes. She wrapped her arms protectively around her body.
A tall young man wearing the hood of his coat up even though the hall was comfortably heated, he began slow clapping. “Yeah! Where’s the pole then? Bring it on, man.” He sat two seats away from the first guy. Even though they’d arrived separately, David’s impression was that they knew each other. They dressed suspiciously similar, wearing the same type of baggy low crotch jeans. Their trainers were identical too.
The rumble of thunder echoing away into the distance was the only sound as the red illuminated hall settled into an embarrassed, eerily silence, following the outburst of the two men. Then, as though by a signal, the silence ended as disgruntled regulars displayed their annoyance, letting the two young men know that they were not welcome.
David nodded his support as he walked with slow measured steps to the front of the stage. He put his hands on his hips, glaring down at the two men. “Any more of that, you’ll be going home early.” He looked from one to the other. “Do you get my drift?”
“Well!” The man with the hood reached into his coat pocket. “Well! I mean…what do yer expect?” He took the wrapper of a stick of chewing gum and dropped it on the floor. “A classy blonde dressed like that?” He fed the gum into his mouth and shrugged.
“I expect someone of your age to act like a mature adult, not like an adolescent schoolboy, even though you’re dressed like one.”
“Huh. She comes on stage in a cat-suit.” He looked down at his jeans. “And you’re taking the piss out of my gear?” He leaned forward across an elderly lady sitting between him and the other guy. He grinned while still chomping vigorously on his gum. “Should’ve worn me tuxedo.”
“Yeah.” The other one pointed with his stick. “If she don’t want people staring at her, why’s she wearing skin tights…eh?”
“Well.” David drawled. “We wish that it wasn’t necessary, but sceptics accuse mediums of hiding things under loosely fitted clothing. So, we haven’t any choice.” David gave them a parting stare as he moved to the centre of the stage. “Are you ready, Karen?”
“Yes, start the music loud. That’ll take my mind off the thunder.”
As the rhythmic beat of Ravel’s Bolero, filled the hall, people started to sway to the haunting melody. Karen closed her eyes, smiling contented knowing that the distant storms couldn’t compete with the constant beat and the repetitive melody. She relaxed satisfied to listen to, and enjoy the music, but immediately the familiar feeling of the back of her chair disappearing, accompanied by a falling backwards motion engulfed her. The Bolero began to fade as she slipped away drifting into her darkness.
David watched Karen’s head lower down to her chest. She seemed to be in a deep trance state. That puzzled him because she didn’t need to go deep for transfigurations. He adjusted the volume, gradually fading the music until the room stilled in an expectant silence.
Karen’s blonde hair started to fade, going lighter, and then it blurred making it difficult to see for a few seconds. When it came back into focus it was shorter and as white as snow. Her head lifted. Gone was the face of an attractive young woman. It was the face of an elderly woman, framed by short white hair.
“Aunt Allis! Oh, mom, it’s our Aunt Allis.” A young woman’s voice high-pitched with shock and surprise, cut through the silence shrouding the hall.
“Allis! Is it really you, sis?” The breathless question was followed by a brief anxious silence. “Are you alright?” The woman tried again. “Please, tell me, are you happy now?” She gasped struggling to hold back her tears.
David stood up to get a clearer view of an elderly woman with comforting arms around her daughter. “Your sister can hear you. Unfortunately, she can’t speak to you through transfiguration.”
“Right.” The woman murmured as she wiped her eyes. “I’ve been to a séance with Karen before, and spirits have spoken through trumpets floating around the room?”
“Yes, I have seen you before.” David smiled in acknowledgment. “That was at a direct voice séance, the spirits communicated through a replica of a human larynx formed out of ectoplasm.”
“I see.” She still sounded vague, obviously disappointed. “Love you Allis,” she called softly. “God bless. Give our love to mom.” The transformed face of Allis smiled and mouthed words easy to translate. I love you.
A few seconds later Allis’s face distorted, the nose becoming longer, broader. Her white hair began to recede turning darker. It was a middle-aged man with craggy features, now forming rapidly in front of Karen’s face. With closed eyes, the face turned towards the far corner across the room, a broad grin showed his eager recognition.
“Oh. My. God!” a woman’s screechy voice called out, followed by a raucous laugh. “Andy!” She let go with another screech. “Fancy you, turning up after all this time?”
Everyone’s attention was drawn to a middle-aged, peroxide blonde woman, heavily made up. She wore a skirt too short for a woman half her age. She met everyone’s gaze with a theatrical smile, enjoying being in the limelight. “Andy,” she said through a heavy sigh. “I’ve missed you pet.” She shook her head with hopeless acceptance. “You were a rogue, there’s no mistake about that. You broke a lot of hearts.” She shrugged. “But what a send-off. The church was full.” She tilted her head back, giving a boisterous laugh. “Mostly women, we were sorry to see you go.”
“I’ll bet a few husbands weren’t.” A man said from behind his hand. Everyone laughed including the woman. Andy’s expression conveyed without any doubts that he was amused.
“Yeah. Well. I’m laughing my ass off.” The sceptic pointed his cane towards Karen. “When are we gonna see some spooks then? She ain’t done nothin’ but pull faces since you put her in that box thing.” He turned leaning across the elderly woman sitting next to him. “What do you think mate?”
The guy peered out of his hood and looked around the hall. “Well, in this crap red-light this lot all look bloody dead, don’t they?” They laughed, vulgarly displaying their chewing gum. He raised his cane. “We want some action, man.” He nudged the woman sitting beside him. “Action-man, do yer get it missus?” He rocked back in his seat. “Action-man. Oh shit, you’ve gotta laugh ain’t yer?”
His laughter gagged in his throat as David stepped down from the stage, grabbed hold of the lapels of his coat and pulled him out of his chair. “You want action?” David challenged, putting his face inches away from the shocked face of the yob, now gasping to gulp in air. “I’ll see you on the car park, and bring the bean-pole.” David nodded in the direction of the other guy. “You’ll get plenty of action.” He dropped him in an untidy heap on his chair. “Now, keep it shut, otherwise, you won’t even make it to the car park.” With a final warning stare, David walked away feeling better, but knowing that it was a waste of time. He realised they were banking on him not causing trouble in a church. He took a deep impatient breath. They were right.
The threatening storm arrived, sending waves of torrential rain across the tiled roof. It was seriously becoming another disruption to the séance. David looked up cussing discreetly behind his hand.
“Hmm. My sentiments too David,” came a chuckled whisper from behind him.
David turned to find Tom Travis, the manager of the church, looking up, as a crackle of lightning seemed destined to tear the roof off. “Hi Tom, sorry, I didn’t see you there. Excuse my colourful language.”
“Yeah, well it’s enough to make a saint swear.” Tom indicated with an impatient shake of his head. “Don’t know why they’ve come here?” He muttered something under his breath that wasn’t appropriate for a man of the church. “Idiots,” was his final appraisal?
“Yep, they’re a pain all right. I’m still—” David decided to wait, not wanting to compete against the explosion that vibrated the windows of the hall. “I’m trying to figure what they’re up to. They arrived separately and sat apart?” He narrowed his eyes. “They’re not strangers. They’re up to something.”
“Well, if they’d turned up together, they wouldn’t have got in. Two dressed like that would have spelt trouble even for me.” He brushed a finger over his military-style moustache.
David shrugged. “They had tickets, but I can’t help wondering why would they come to a spiritualist church?”
“Who knows? Just look at them now, lounging with their legs spread out.” Tom rolled his eyes. “Elegant bastards aren’t they.”
David looked up as another explosion surrounded the building, disturbing many people in the audience. “I was hoping this would miss us.”
Tom glanced around the hall. “A physical séance wouldn’t have been wise though, would it?”
David nodded in agreement. “I’ll see you later Tom. I’d better get back on stage.” He jerked a thumb in the direction of the blacked-out windows. “They’re adding to the problem, not being able to see the lightning. We don’t get any warning, just a sudden crash of thunder frightening the life out of everyone.”
“Well, it’s certainly not frightening young Karen, is it?” Tom chuckled. “I wonder where she is at this moment?”
“Where, indeed?” David raised his hands in amazement towards Karen, who was totally oblivious to the storm. In her trance state, apart from her rhythmical breathing, she hadn’t moved.
Another crash of thunder rattled the roof-tiles, bringing startled cries from a number of people who looked anxiously up at the ceiling.
The disruptive young man with the cane ducked, and looked up. “Wow! That’s all we need ain’t it, sound effect as well as a posh bird in a box pullin’ faces?” He shouted as the thunder echoed off the surrounding buildings.
The hooded man laughed cynically, “It’s like a bloody ‘ammer ‘orror film ain’ it?”
David raised an eyebrow at Tom. “It’s pretty spooky, ain’t it,” he mimicked. However, when David looked across at Karen, he became serious. “Tom, all the years that I’ve worked with Karen, I’ve never seen transfigurations like this; this is weird.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed it’s different, what’s happening?”
“I don’t know to be honest. Her face is running out of shape. It’s sort of like, warm treacle running on a toffee apple, very strange?”
Tom having known Karen for many years chuckled. “I don’t think she would take kindly to being called treacle face.”
David chewed his lip, surprised at such a macabre description popping into his head. “Hmm, you’re right Tom. Karen and treacle don’t go well together does it…Honey perhaps?” He smiled affectionately as he made his way back to the stage.
Sitting by the side of Karen, David could see her in profile. The faces no longer appeared as though they were coming forward pressing against an invisible membrane. He had witnessed hundreds of transformations appearing about three inches in front of Karen’s face. This seemed to be her flesh writhing into hideous features. He knew never to touch a medium in deep trance, so he hadn’t any choice but to gaze with intrigue at a malformed mass with dark holes where the eyes of a gentle, loving grandmother had transformed moments earlier. There was a mouth without a lower jaw, with something shapeless slowly writhing in the vacant space.
Gasps and frightened murmurings from the audience concerned David and he dragged his eyes away from the cabinet and looked along rows of shocked faces, many of them staring with open mouths, transfixed. They were scared. Some hid behind their hands, but still sneaked furtive glances through slightly parted fingers.
David looked across at Tom; hoping to attract his attention. Tom was like everyone in the hall, totally captivated by the weird manifestation happening on stage. He had to risk leaving Karen and go to Tom.
“Tom,” David whispered as he approached.
“What!” Tom said startled, his large blue eyes reflecting pink in the dim lighting.
“We have a hall full of frightened people, in unnatural red light. Can you go and guard the light switches? I can’t leave Karen.”
Tom glanced around the hall. “Yeah, I see what you mean. Leave it to me.”
David returned and put his chair closer to Karen, just as the macabre features slowly began to disappear leaving a totally featureless white mass.
A cry of terror, followed by the noise of chairs scraping across the wooden floor, instantly transformed the subdued, hypnotic atmosphere in the hall into one of mayhem. People were on their feet as an elderly man in the third-row, trampled over them struggling to get away.
“It’s evil! It’s a psychic attack, let me out!” The man was terrified, trying to force his way towards the door, where Tom had taken a determined stance.
“Out of my way,” the man begged, desperately trying to get out. The seats were close together. Everyone needed to move into the gangway to let him out. He was trapped with restraining hands holding him and other people fending him off.
David got as close to the disturbance as possible. “Okay everyone.” He did a calming gesture with his hands, encouraging people to stay in their seats. “Please, stay calm. There’s no cause for alarm.” He conjured up a reassuring smile, and then waited for everyone to settle down and return to their seats. “Is the gentleman, okay?” David got reassurance from the woman sitting next to the elderly man, so he continued. “Everything’s under control. The medium is well-protected by her guides. So are we.” He explained in a loud but comforting voice. “This,” he gestured to Karen. “This is something different, unusual, and scary.” He admitted his own concerns as he grinned at the now embarrassed elderly man. “I was scared too,” he claimed light-heartedly. “However, this is still transfiguration. It’s quite safe, really.”
“Yeah, okay Professor.” The heckler was on his feet brandishing his cane. “It’s all clever stuff, a good trick, but with all your fancy talk, that’s all it is, a trick, ain’t it?”
David walked over to him. “Don’t push your luck,” he advised, his tone signalled his patience was about to be tested. “The hall’s locked while the medium is in a trance. So, unfortunately, I can’t kick your saggy-ass out of here.” He stared down at him and smiled a cool, steady warning. “Sit down and enjoy the rest of the evening.” David’s long hard look made it unnecessary to mention the consequences.
David returned to his seat in time to see the fleshy shapeless mass where Karen’s face should be, slowly start to change. A swelling resembling a bubble became recognisable as a nose. The cheeks and brows formed around closed eyes. It became clear that it was a man’s face being moulded. Karen’s blonde hair faded and dissolved, as dark hair developed. The face lengthened and the nose and jaw sharpened. David recognised Karen’s control spirit. “Jack, you old devil,” he muttered discreetly behind his hand. David had met Jack many times as a fully materialised spirit, but this was something different.
“Good evening.” The clear, deep voice filled the hall. “My name is Jack Davis.” Jack’s eyes remained closed as he scanned around the hall.
“Good evening, Jack.” David’s voice was crisp, clear, in the breathless silence now that the rain had eased off. He turned toward the audience. “This is amazing; it’s actual moulding of the medium’s face. It’s incredible and with voice communication too.” He held his hands up in awe. “Well. This is something quite remarkable.”
“We knew that you would appreciate this technique, David.” Jack’s voice boomed out in praise. “I wanted to speak this evening but it’s impossible to communicate through the usual transfigurations, so we attempted this.” There was a slight pause as though Jack was listening to someone. “I’ve just been told by my colleagues, that my appearance as I transformed was pretty gruesome. I hope that I didn’t scare you too much.”
There was a generous amount of nervous laughter.
It infuriated the sceptic. “I can’t believe that you’re falling for this crap. There’s someone with a microphone.” He looked around the hall. “That room backstage probably,” he pointed with his cane. “You can bet there’s a speaker too.” He looked up. “There’s got to be a speaker in the ceiling.”
The hooded man stood up pointing at Jack Davis. “That ain’t a spirit. The blonde bird’s wearing a mask, bloody obvious ain’t it?” He came forward as he spoke, but stopped as David came to the edge of the stage. “It’s all a big con’,” he shouted. He turned his back on David, and began to remonstrate to the audience. “The cops should be called.” He sat down and folded his arms defiantly.
“I’ll call the police.” Tom Travis shouted across the hall. “We’ve got nothing to hide, but show some respect in a church.”
“I ain’t religious.” The tall man said stretching his legs out and crossing his ankles. “Okay pop, forget the cops, as long as I get my money back.”
“After this performance,” Jack said in his usual droll manner. “I’m glad that I’m dead, it’s peaceful over there.”
The spontaneous laughter eased the tension. Even the two trouble makers got caught off guard, finding it difficult to keep a straight face. Jack paused allowing everyone time to enjoy the moment free from aggravation. When he spoke, his tone was softer. “We do apologize because we know how much you all looked forward to meeting your loved ones, coming to you as they used to be. We also relish the opportunity to make contact in this extraordinary way. Although, for us bathing in ectoplasm is like climbing out of water fully clothed. The tremendous weight takes us time to adjust. Unfortunately, this evening we considered it extremely risky for Karen. So, we hope that you will understand. There are those among you who don’t believe, and we accept that. So, my dear friends we will say goodnight. Before we go, we will give a demonstration to the doubters here this evening.” Jack turned his head slowly, still with his eyed closed. “Good evening, June, as always it’s my pleasure to meet you, my friend.”
“Good evening, Jack, you are always welcome at our church.”
“Thank you. We have been admiring that lovely vase of roses that you have there on top of the organ.”
“Yes, they’re lovely? We bought them fresh this morning from—” June put her hands on her cheeks in dismay as the vase wobbled from side to side precariously. She made a grab for the vase and seemed to have been successful momentarily, before it mysteriously evaded her, and toppled over. It rolled close to the edge, but stayed on the top of the organ, sending the roses and water spilling out.
June gave a high-pitched cry of dismay as she quickly stood the vase upright, trying to limit the damage. She wiped her hands frantically over the electric organ, concerned that the water might get inside. Then June knelt down and patted the carpet as she gathered the roses. “It’s dry!” she said astonished, as Tom came to her side. “There’s no water anywhere, look.” She ran her hands over the floor again. “It’s absolutely dry?”
“Shit!” The sceptic scrambled out of his chair, throwing down his cane in temper. The tall one was also on his feet letting go with a string of foul language as they both frantically brushed and shook water off the front of their jeans.
“Which one of you bastards did this?” The tall man said looking at the people sitting in the row behind him.
A large, middle-aged woman directly behind him pointed. “The water came from the front of you!” she said, puffing out her fat cheeks indignantly. “I ain’t a bastard neither,” she challenged, in a broad brummie accent.
The elderly woman who had the misfortune of sitting between them, she reached over to the seat that the tall man had vacated so hurriedly. She picked up a rose. “Here you are young man, this is for you.” She turned to the other empty chair, finding another rose. “There’s one for you too.”
Jack’s smiling face began dissolving quickly. Within seconds the transformation was completed, revealing Karen.
She looked up at David with her mouth open in amazement. “What’s going on?” she asked drowsily, leaning sideways to get a view of what the shouting and swearing was all about. “Oh dear, it’s those two.” Karen flicked a thoughtful tongue over dry lips. “You said they were trouble.” She reminded David as he handed her a glass of water.
“Well.” David acknowledged. “It was kind of predictable, wasn’t it?”
Karen half closed her eyes suspiciously. “Hmm. I suppose anyone who wears the crotch of their jeans lower than their knees, has got something to hide?” She cleared her throat. “But, let’s not go into that.”
David smiled, but he never took his eyes off the disturbance. They were arguing with Tom and June. “As soon as you feel up to it Karen, I’ll settle you backstage.”
“It was the right decision to cancel the séance, wasn’t it?”
David nodded. “Jack recognised the danger with those two loose cannons. It was a good séance though; the transfigurations were great. They actually moulded your face.” Seeing the look of uncertainty on Karen’s face, he shrugged. “I’ll explain later.”
“Well, at least they didn’t ruin the evening entirely.” Karen stretched wearily.
“Everyone enjoyed it.” David gave a satisfied shrug. “Except those two, they didn’t think getting a soaking was funny. They jumped out of their chairs as though they’d sat on a thistle.”
Karen felt all around her face. “I hope that they’ve done a good remould on my face?” She gave a playful gasp. “My nose feels bigger.” She received a quick, courteous smile from David as he looked over towards the disturbance. Karen reached out and squeezed his arm. “I’ll be fine David. You go and help Tom and June.”
David folded his arms and he gave her a resolute smile. “You’re my responsibility when you come out of trance.” He tossed them a cursory, critical glance. “They’re all mouth anyway.”
“All mouth and trousers, my granddad used to say.” Karen said in a terrible posh London accent.
David cleared his throat diplomatically. “Yes, well. I’ll see you settled. Then I’ll escort them to the car park.”
Karen stretched. “Well, if they haven’t beaten up any old ladies yet, you’re probably right.” She reached for his arm. “I’m feeling rather peckish. I could kill for a cup of coffee.”
Karen got to her feet and stood swaying slightly. David draped her cloak around her. By the time that they had walked the short distance to the room backstage, Karen was beginning to recover from the effects of the deep trance. She settled in a chair by the table, laden with prepared trays of sandwiches and cakes, covered with shrink-wrap.
David busied himself in the kitchen area making her a cup of coffee. He drummed his fingers on the table, waiting for the water urn to boil. He wanted to get back into the hall and deal with the situation.
Karen chewed thoughtfully on a triangle-shaped sandwich as she watched his agitation. “David.” She smiled sweetly as she offered what she knew would be a futile suggestion. “Look, I can make myself a coffee. That urn could be some time.”
He gave her a dedicated look that she was familiar with. “After being in a trance, I’m not going to leave you on your own with an urn full of boiling water.”
“I’ll do without coffee until you get back.” She surveyed the table, “I’m quite happy sitting here, you—”
The door opened urgently and June came bustling in, her round face flushed with concern. “They’ve found things in the cabinet,” she blurted out loud and breathless. “They’re saying that they found them stuffed behind the curtains.”
“Found things. What sort of things?” David looked serious.
“They searched the cabinet and found a length of white cloth and an aerial of some sort; it pulls out longer.” She demonstrated extending an imaginary object.
“That’s a telescopic aerial by the sound of it.” David’s face set with concern. “I scanned everyone. How did a metal object get past the detector?”
June was still rambling on, so, David put his hands on her shoulders and stooped down to look into her eyes. “Calm down June,” he said softly. “You stay here and make Karen’s coffee, while I go and find out what it’s all about. Anyway, I’ve got a date on the car park.”
“Please, be careful David.” Karen called after him. She tilted her head. “Date on the car park? What’s he been up to while I was in a trance?”
“It’s not the romantic kind,” June said raising her eyebrows.
“I see. I hope for their sakes they can outrun David. He plays rugby.”
“That one with the cane, he’s got no chance,” June said.
Karen shook her head. “June. What actually happened?”
“Well, they pulled the chair out and messed about with the curtains. Then they started shouting, cheat, fraud. They made damn sure that everyone in the hall saw the things that they found in the cabinet.”
“Hmm. That’s not good.” She gave June a knowing look. “Something like that can start all kinds of rumours.”
“Our regulars know you, Karen. They wouldn’t believe that you’re capable of cheating.”
“Even dedicated spiritualists have doubts sometimes,” Karen said not convinced. “Well, what we do,” she raised her hands. “It isn’t normal, is it? It only takes something suspicious to be found anywhere near the medium to start the doubts building up.”
“I suppose so,” June said. “It’s a bloody good job that David was here, wasn’t it?” She looked concerned. “It could have got really nasty.” She raised a stern finger. “They didn’t fancy tangling with David. He kept them in check.”
“Yes,” Karen smiled. “David’s handy to have around. I always feel safe when I’m going into a trance, knowing that he is there for me.”
June chuckled. “I have never seen anyone go so deep. Everyone was ducking and diving with a violent storm shaking the building, and you…you didn’t bat an eyelid.”
“World war three could carry on around me and I’d be none the wiser,” Karen admitted, reaching for a slice of June’s home-made fruitcake.
“You were really on form as usual Karen. Transfigurations coming through one after another.” June shook her head slowly in amazement. “Brilliant.”
“It’s not me doing any of that.” Karen laughed. “I’m just the vessel. The spirits use my energy, that’s why I’m always ravenous afterwards. Anyway, June, what was that business about, you know, those yobs getting a soaking?”
“Oh, dear, it frightened the life out of me.” June put a cup of coffee in front of Karen and sat opposite her. “I was worried about water getting into the organ.”
Karen winced. “Oh dear, water and electricity doesn’t go together, does it?”
“No. But there wasn’t any water anywhere near the organ. It poured all over those two sitting in the front row. How did they do that? I mean, where did the water go?”
“I don’t know.” Karen gave a thoughtful shrug. “On a couple of occasions, I have come out of my trance and been in a different room. So, if they can move me about, water wouldn’t be much of a problem, would it?”
“You should’ve heard their language.” June shook her head.
“I did catch some of it but of course, I didn’t know what it meant.” Karen smiled playfully through her innocence as she drank her coffee.
“Bob Barnes, almost started a stampede,” June said seriously. “Silly old sod, he ran for the door shouting it’s a psychic attack.”
“A psychic attack! Why would he think that?”
“He had a terrible experience at his home circle and it unnerved him,” June said sadly. “He was terrified when he saw your face all twisted with sunken eyes.” June recalled it with a look of horror on her face. “He screamed and ran for his life.”
“Did he? Well, my husband does that sometimes when he sees me first thing in the morning.” Karen said trying to make light of the worrying thought of a psychic attack. She recalled the terrifying encounters that she had experienced when she first started to open herself up to spirits. She quickly suppressed the frightening memories and sampled some of June’s fruitcake. “Hmm.” Karen made a satisfied murmur. “Mmm. June, you have exceeded even your own standards, this fruitcake is delicious.”
June lowered her eyes coyly. “I’ll wrap a couple of slices up for you. I know that Steve and Emily would like some.”
“Thank you, June, it’ll be Steve’s reward for babysitting. He tells everyone that his girlfriend, June, makes delicious fruitcake.”
“Your Steve, he’s a rogue.” June cast her eyes to the ceiling. “Girlfriend, I’m old enough to be his mother. Has he started his book yet?”
“No. Three years of amusing titles. My wife’s a medium; Get me out of here. Sleep with the lights on. That’s his latest.”
“He’s a laugh is your Steve,” June chuckled.
David returned and although he made eye-contact and smiled, it was obvious that he wasn’t contented.
Karen shot June a concerned glance. “What did they have to say for themselves?”
David filled a cup from the urn. “They’d already left the hall, so I went to the car park, but they’d gone. Considering his gammy leg, he got away pretty quick.” David shrugged. “I guess we won’t be seeing them again.”
“They won’t get in here again,” June vowed.
“I wanted a word with them,” David said sullenly, as he sat at the table. “They put those things in the cabinet.” He blew his hot coffee. “But how did they get that aerial in here? The metal detector should have picked it up?”
“Yes.” Karen gazed into space. “That’s very worrying.”
“It’s more than worrying.” David looked at her with deep concern at the mere thought of something made of metal being smuggled passed his security system. “It could have been life threatening.” He took a slow, thoughtful drink of his coffee. “That could have been a light that they smuggled in. That’s my biggest worry.” He looked over the rim of his cup, deep in thought. “I’ve got bad vibes about those two. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.”



I have written my story as fiction because the spiritual phenomenons occurring are mostly taking place in the dark, or at best, in dim red light. Because of those stringent, necessary conditions, proving that spirits are involved has always been impossible. The story is not intended to promote spiritualism. Like any good story it should be entertaining and enjoyed. Writing and putting my years of acquired spiritualist knowledge in a story; it brought back many memories of strange séances and extraordinary spirit messages.

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