Do the spirits ever contact you when you are not doing a reading?  Yes, all the time.  They are not as easy to tune out as you might think. Crying babies, complaining teenagers, barking dogs—those are easy to ignore.  A persistent spirit..not so much!  I was reminded that I am never really “off duty” from my job a few weeks ago while attending a Victorian Christmas Tea.

My dear friend and fellow Beacon Columnist Sue had invited me.  Going to a formal tea was an item on my Bucket List. Sue reserved a table for ten, and insisted that everyone in our group wear a hat. (She’s a bit bossy) How fun this sounded—a day off of work, a reason to buy a new hat, an occasion to get dressed up, and an excuse to eat pastries. 

The tea was held at The New Haven Train Depot. I was expecting the depot to be old fashioned and full of charm, and I wasn’t disappointed.  From the twinkling Christmas tree and cozy fire to the set exquisite china and beautiful linens, I was transformed back in time to Victorian England. We were even greeted by a man wearing a conductor’s hat.  (He must have received the “mandatory hat” instructions from Sue as well.)

As soon as I sat down, the spell was broken. I heard a voice in my head saying “Tell her that HENRY is here.”  I was no longer the high society socialite meeting the ladies for a leisurely tea. I was a psychic medium being pestered by someone’s deceased relative. “Tell her that HENRY is here”   I tried to shake off the voice and eat a strawberry. I didn’t want to do a reading, I wanted to eat finger sandwiches. “Tell her HENRY is here”.  So I turned to the two women at the end of table who were strangers to me and I said, “Do any of you know a HENRY who has passed?”  The women named Terry Jo said, “Henry was my grandpa.”  I said, “Well, he is here and he wants to tell you he is blessing the baby who was just born on September 24th.”  She looked a bit startled. (Probably because everyone else was talking about Christmas shopping, and she was talking to her dead grandpa).  I apologized for interrupting her lunch. I was done delivering messages, but Henry wasn’t.  So I blurted out “ He wants you to go to Iowa and visit your grandson Connor”   By this time the table had become silent and all eyes were on me. I finished by saying, “Grandpa wishes people would call you by your real name, Theresa Joan instead of Terri Jo, and he is watching over your daughter Robin who is in law enforcement”  Sue smiled and explained “Julia sees Dead People.” I smiled and said, “Could someone please pass the chocolate eclairs?

I was not contacted by any more spirits that afternoon, although I saw few of them during a slideshow presented by the Save Our Depot Organization. Among the images of the old school, library, and historical buildings were many ghostly figures.  I pointed these out, much to the annoyance of Al the narrator.  I guess he couldn’t see them as clearly as I could. Sometimes you have to look very closely to see them. Sometimes you have to be very quiet to hear them. And sometimes they show up, uninvited to an afternoon tea.