Tag Archive | "paranormal"

Owner of Haunted House Sued!

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 The annals of weird lawsuits is about to be thicker by one more page.  A young New Jersey couple is taking the owner of their rental home to court for not warning them that their rental property is … haunted!  Yes, an actual court date has been set for later this month (April 2012).  If the Yahoo reporter who broke this story had cared enough to inform his readership of where, exactly, the house is located, I would have made plans to sit in on the proceedings in that township’s courthouse and then report back to you, dear readers, the outcome.

 

Lacking this information, I can only speculate as to the suit’s denouement, given the limited information that was released.  Tenants Jose Chinchilla and Michelle Callan claim to have evidence of the haunting, which includes taps on the shoulder (undocumented), sheets yanked off their bed (undocumented) and an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) snarling, “Let it burn” (documented on audio tape).  The couple also hired a paranormal investigation team to check out the property, hinted to be located somewhere on or near the Jersey shore.  The team photographed lights turning on and off by unseen hands, and a bowling pin toppling over for no apparent reason.

 

 

Do these things indicate a true haunting?  Or were they somehow manufactured, as claims the owner of the house, to weasel out of paying the rent?  And how will a judge view the evidence?  While the flickering lights and spooky voice may be unsettling, are they enough of a basis for a lawsuit?  Was anyone harmed here? Was anyone even threatened?  Apparently, they were not.  On this basis alone, and although I believe strongly in the paranormal, were I the judge, I’d toss the case out of court. I would order the couple to ante up, and I’d issue a warning to the owner to advise future tenants concerning the unseen tenants of the property.

 

But what of cases in which the haunting has had definitive and deleterious effects upon the occupants of the home?  I’m speaking of cases in which documented evidence exists and multiple occupants and property owners, dating back several generations, are convinced that the site harbors not only spirits, but evil spirits?

 

One case of many was Summerwind.  An odd conglomeration of architectural styles, this private home once graced a seemingly peaceful tract of land in our corn belt.  Built before the Great Depression by a wealthy couple, whatever lived in that home that was not of this Earth caused every servant in the house to flee and quit on the spot.  The skeptical owners, however, remained.  But one night while all alone in the house, the door to the basement swung open of its own accord, framing a vision so horrifying that the man of the house shot at it.  Two bullet holes remained in the door, untouched for years.  The owners fled immediately, never to return.

 

Fast forward to the early 1970s.  Enter a family of six: two little boys, two little girls, their mother, and the man she married.  The family assumed that Summerwind, now a handyman’s special that they’d rented, would be their dream home.  It turned out to be their worst nightmare.  Gripped by a malevolent spirit felt and seen by various members of the family, the head of the house descended into paranoia, violent behavior, and a creepy penchant for playing “funeral home music” on an old organ left in the house.  As a direct result of this radical change in personality, he lost his business, his mind quickly following suit.

 

Friends ran from the house screaming.  The little girls, then aged 8 and 10, had planned to commit suicide, as life in the house had become intolerable.  Their mother had taken to sleeping outside in the woods, to avoid whatever had taken full possession of her husband.  Only when she was reduced to abject poverty, to chopping up the furniture as kindling to offset the lack of heat and electricity (the utility companies had cut them off) did she beg her dad to rescue them.

 

The man did so, in his camper, shaking his head the entire time at things that go bump in the night.  His daughter and grandchildren moved to Canada and never again saw or heard from the man so possessed that he played that organ all through the night.  The inference was that the family had been forced to go on public assistance (Welfare).  Meanwhile, the granddad had decided that his son, recently returned from Vietnam, needed a project.  The granddad then rented Summerwind, but the then-owner refused to leave her car to accompany father and son even as far as the front door.  Caveat emptor, caveat renter!

 

A good handyman, the Vietnam vet took on the job as a labor of love, but quickly abandoned it, refusing to speak of what had so spooked him.  Later, he confessed to hearing two loud gunshots in the house, so close that he’d feared for his life.  But all he found were the two ancient bullet holes in the basement door, no odor of fresh gunpowder and no new bullet holes anywhere.

 

Regressed by his sister, who had dug deeply into studies of the paranormal, the son was directed to unearth a box in the basement that predated the signing of the U.S. Constitution.  The box was thought to have contained the original deed to the land: a gift to the Caucasian owner in 1767 from the two once-feuding and then-reconciled Native American tribes that had originally owned the land.    The son, the daughter, and the granddad of the 1970s revisited the now empty Summerwind.  The niche where the box was assumed to be found was exactly where the family, through the regression, had been led.  It was a secret spot that no one would have bothered with, if not for the regression.   And yes, it was in the basement.  But there was no box and there was no deed, so the family abandoned their quest and never again set foot in the house.

 

Years later, Summerwind caught fire during a lightning storm and burned to the ground.  A few brick pillars remain standing but the oldest daughter, one of the kids who’d plotted to end her life with her sister and who thankfully did not, swears that she will never return to the site, house or no house.

 

Let’s add up the witnesses.  Conservatively, let’s assume that the original owners had two servants.  Add the original owners, the family of six from the 70s, the granddad, the Vietnam vet, and the then-owner of Summerwind.  This is at least thirteen people adversely affected by the haunted location, including three owners.  Clearly, this was a case in which two separate sets of owners knew about the malevolent haunting.  In such cases, do the owners bear the onus of alerting would-be tenants to the resident evil? 

 

I believe that they do.  Unless the outcome of the Chinchilla-Callan case proves favorable for the plaintiffs, no legal precedent will exist to force, say, a Summerwind’s owners to come clean.  But the owners do have a moral obligation to their tenants.  Most rental agreements stipulate that the property be “occupant ready,” a term that includes having the house cleaned.

 

Well, there are ways to clean houses and then there are ways to clean houses.  If the judge rules in favor of Mr. Chinchilla and Ms. Callan, we may see a legal precedent come to pass in which allegedly haunted locations must be cleansed, prior to occupancy, by spiritually-minded mediums, ministers, Catholic priests, and zealous independent paranormal investigators.  And if that’s not one for the law books, I don’t know what is!

 

Guest Appearance on WDVR FM: Frightfully Fun!

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How cool is it to be a guest on a great, live radio station?  This past Monday, I found out just how cool, at WDVR FM/89.7.  Invited by DJs Sande Neske and Manny Garcia of the engaging Out and About with Sande and Manny program, I headed west to beautiful Sergeantsville, New Jersey, with Tom Petruzzelli, Editor of WriteOnNewJersey.com. The kind invitation was prompted by Manny’s discovery of the Write On New Jersey article, The Faces of the Haunted and to his and Sandy’s interest in such things, as evidenced by their own information-rich website, ParanormalUnlimited.com.


I’d never been in a radio studio during a live broadcast, so I was revved to do this show.  After a wrong turn or two en route along the gorgeous, turning leafed lanes leading to Sergeantsville, Tom and I slid into our seats with all of two minutes to spare, still panting as we adjusted our mics.  Sande and Manny were both extremely professional and friendly, putting us immediately at ease.


The DJs asked for more details about the abandoned and reportedly spirited schoolhouse highlighted in The Faces of the Haunted.  From there, we segued easily into other paranormal topics, not limited to the true tale of the night that my uncle passed into God’s hands (For Whom the Clock Chimes) and how my sister-in-law, a woman who’s got her head screwed on straight, was once visited in my guest room by something otherworldly.


During the broadcast, Tom’s niece, Cherene Petruzzelli, called the station.  Cherene has her own haunting tales to tell, and I don’t want to rain on her parade by talking about them here.  Sande took her call and graciously offered to bring Cherene on the show to discuss her deliciously frightening experiences, which have been witnessed by a number of people and documented by a team of paranormal investigators.


After the brief conversation with Cherene, we went to a station break.  Off air for a few minutes, Sande’s eyes flew wide open.  “I just heard a growl through my earphones!” she cried.  “I’m not imaging that.  I’m not making it up.  Oh, my God — there it is again!”   And then Sande pointed to the On Air signs on the wall, explaining that those are never lit when the DJs are not broadcasting.  But the four of us clearly saw those lights blazing brightly!


When human beings pass into spirit (pure energy), they sometimes “kidnap” electrical devices to make their presence known.  There are numerous, documented cases in which street lamps, house lights, and appliances turn on and off, unaided by humans, in the presence of ghosts and spirits*.  Were we visited by something otherworldly in the WDVR studio?  Did we unwittingly invite it in by speaking live, of things that go bump in the night, to an audience of 50,000 people?  Well, things go bump in the day, too, as they did on Monday!  Whatever it was, I’m glad it was friendly!


After the uninvited visitor left (or did it?), we touched briefly on the topic of music and I clued the listeners in to the talent of Taylor Hicks, who has worked and/or performed with, among other notables in the industry, The Allman Brothers, Gladys Knight, and Eric Clapton/BB King producer Simon Climie.


Manny then engaged Tom, owner of Objective: Resumes, to educate the audience on the importance and competitive edge of a professionally written resume, particularly in this economy.


Having crafted resumes, cover letters, and other professional documents for 31 years, Tom is an expert on the topic.  He’s quite knowledgeable about the job market, the ever-evolving trends in resume writing, and how technology continues to dictate those trends.   Through the kindness of Sande and Manny, Tom informed the listening audience as to how they can contact either Tom or myself to develop a compelling resume and cover letter designed to secure interviews.


The hour that we spent on air went by too quickly.  I had a ball, and so did Tom.  We couldn’t have asked for better hosts than Manny and Sande!  If you’d like to catch them live, on air or streaming on the ‘net, check out Out and About with Sande and Manny (Mondays, 3 PM to 5 PM, Eastern Time).  And, if you’re a fan of a broad range of music and interesting, community-oriented topics, tune in to WDVR FM/89.7 any time.  The station broadcasts live, 24/7.


*          A ghost is an entity, often disturbed, that remains behind in the space it once occupied on Earth, while a spirit has moved on peacefully to the next world.


Angel on an Icy Road: A Near Death Experience

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A number of years ago, I had a boyfriend who, for the sake of this article, we’ll call Evan.  Evan and I were engaged, and although we never made it to the altar, we were very close.   Many years after we’d broken up, to this very day, in fact, our parents are still friends.  Evan and I shared many things.  One New Year’s Eve, we nearly shared passage into the light of the Lord.  On that New Year’s Eve, we nearly died.


But, something intervened.


Perhaps it was an angel; perhaps it was simply not our time.  Whatever happened, something inexplicable, something otherworldly, carried us out of harm’s way in a manner that defied the laws of physics.


Evan had booked a chalet for us in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, so that we could spend a quiet evening ringing in the New Year together, without the forced hoopla that usually accompanies this holiday.  The weather had called for snow and lots of it later in the day, but we weren’t worried.  We’d planned to leave his home at mid-day and arrive at the our cozy destination by sundown.  But an unforeseen emergency had cropped up at Evan’s place of business.  And, being a responsible man, he offered to remain behind in the office to fix the problem so that his co-workers could leave early to make merry.


What appeared at first to be a relatively minor problem proved to be anything but, and our departure time was delayed.  Hour after hour, the clock ticked on.   The sun had set by the time we set off, and it was snowing in big, fat flakes that were gathering speed.


We discussed canceling our plans, but the thought of that nice, warm, quiet chalet waiting for us was too tempting.   Southwest we drove, through the snow, out of New York, past New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.   On that dark, moonless night, few vehicles were on the road.  The windshield wipers fought the driving flakes, but it was a losing battle.  Visibility was poor, and we’d become lost in the storm.  We must have missed our exit as we were all but blind.  We had no idea where we were in Pennsylvania, a State we had visited many times before.


We vowed to pull into the next motel we found and offer to pay to sleep on the couches in the lobby, if there was no room at the inn.  But with the snow pummeling the windshield and unsure of our location, we made a wrong turn — a terrible wrong turn.


Up a narrow, winding mountain road we went; to say that it was slippery going is a gross understatement.  It was flat-out dangerous.  From what I could still see from the passenger window, tall, blanketed pines stood like Shakespeare’s Burnham Wood very close to that one-lane road, for what appeared innocuous was not.  It might have been beautiful had that road not been treacherous and us, so utterly lost.  Evan sighed and said that we’d probably find a house up ahead, into whose driveway we could make a U-turn to get us back onto the original road.


But suddenly, from up ahead shone two bright headlights, aiming straight at us.  It was another car, skidding on the ice and snow down the same road that we were ascending!  There was nowhere for us or the other car to turn.  Any turn we would have made would have smacked us right into the thick pines; we’d have been injured or crushed to death.   “Hold on!” Evan hollered, his knuckles white on the wheel.


In the moment that the other car was about to crash head-on into us, its headlights were blinding.  The light was brighter than anything I’d ever seen made by man or nature.  And, as what I was sure was the final prayer I’d ever say winged through my mind, the light grew brighter still.  It blotted out the trees, the oncoming car, even my boyfriend.


Before my eyes flashed a sort of filmstrip.  It was my life, from the moment of my birth until the present.  I saw every single action I’d ever taken: every kindness, every small cruelty I had visited upon others.  And I saw all of the kindnesses and small cruelties done to me by other people.  This all happened in the space of 30 seconds, no more.  And then, suddenly, all was dark and peaceful, as it is in the woods on a snowy night.


The other car was miraculously gone!  Evan turned his head, searching desperately for that car, worried that it had skidded into the trees and that the people inside needed medical assistance.  But the car was gone, vanished — as if plucked out of thin air by a divine hand!


Shaken, for a long moment, neither one of us spoke.  Finally, I ventured, “Evan, are you okay?”


“I’m okay,” he gulped and then looked me full in the face, a question burning in his dark eyes.


I explained what had happened to me, about seeing my life flash before my eyes, and Evan said that the same thing had happened to him.  “No,” I insisted.  “I’m not speaking in metaphors; I mean I saw a film of my life, an epic collapsed into 30 seconds!”


“That’s exactly what I saw, Kat,” he nodded.  “I think an angel just saved us, and the other car, from horrible deaths.”


Many human beings who have cheated death claim to have seen a bright white light in the moment that their souls separated from their bodies.  Some claim to have traveled down into that light, to receive a message on the other side that it was not their time.  Some claim to have pleaded with the light to return back to this Earth for their loved ones.


Scientists scoff at these near death experiences.   Their logic insists that what occurs when the human body prepares to die is a sort of mind dump.  They state that this process is similar to dumping all of the files from a computer in the moment before the system crashes.

Speaking from a purely clinical perspective, that may be.


But no scientist will ever be able to explain what happened to that other car that night, or how Evan and I were saved from certain death.  Or, perhaps more importantly, why we were saved.


Have you ever had a near-death experience?  If so, if the experience was genuine, please, and not fictional, and if you would like to share it, we would enjoy hearing about it through your comments to this article.  Thank you, from another soul who lived to tell of her own experience! 


Love Never Dies

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Harleigh Cemetery

Have you ever felt like someone from “the other side” is watching over you?  That is how I have always felt about my Grandmother, Madeline.  I know that there are a lot of non-believers and skeptics when it comes to this sort of thing, but I will assure you that sometimes there just aren’t explanations for everything that happens here on Earth.  

 

Madeline was my Father’s Mother, who was taken from him and everyone in our family too soon on May 27, 1975.  My Father was only 17 years old when she passed suddenly, which is why I never got a chance to know her.  I would have been her first grandchild which is why my Father gave me her name as my middle name.  When I was old enough to understand that, I began to feel connected to her and ask about her.  Over the years, I have heard many wonderful stories about “Midge” as everyone liked to call her.  I have seen pictures and heard tales of how she was as a person, a Mother, and so much more.  I always loved hearing the stories about her and her sisters and what kind of women they were, strong Italian women that you would never want to cross!  I like to think that a lot of my personality comes from her after hearing those stories.  Naturally, after learning more and more about her, I would often wonder many things – such as, what our relationship would be like if she were still here.  Would she tell me that I reminded her of herself when she was young?  Would she be proud of the woman I was becoming?  Would she and I have been extremely close?  Unfortunately, I thought I would never get those answers here on Earth or would I?

 

Around the age of 13 was the first time I knew my Grandmother was watching over me.  Of course, I will spare you the details of that day, as you will soon understand, so let’s just say it was when my “cycle” started and I became a woman.  There I was in the bathroom thinking, “It’s about time!”  All my other girlfriends had already gotten their cycle and it was finally my “time of the month” (Lord I wish I could give it back!).  It was a very exciting and scary day for me.  I had a ton of questions for my friends (since I happened to be on a school-sponsored retreat, my friends were my only support around!).  I could not wait to get home and share the big news with my Mom.  However, in the back of my mind I quietly thought of my Grandmother and wasn’t really sure why, but I just felt like she was there with me.  It was later that day when that was confirmed.  While discussing this monumental day in my teenage life, someone brought it to my attention that it was also my Grandmother’s birthday.  Madeline’s birthday!  It was then that I first realized she was with me.

 

From that year on, unexplainable coincidences happened to me every year on her birthday.  There were even years that I would go the entire day not realizing what day it was and then, something would happen and I would check the date and sure enough, it was her birthday.  It could have been something as simple as finding a penny, heads up with her birth year on it, or as strong as realizing the hospital I chose to give birth to my son was located right next to her cemetery.  Of course, throughout the year, I would also feel connected to her and little things would happen here and there.  But, it wasn’t until I had my son that I got another very powerful message from her!  

 

The story starts with some background so you can understand all the circumstances.  When I was a little girl, probably around age 8 or 9, my Uncle Tommy, Madeline’s son and my father’s brother, took me to Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey.  It was in this cemetery where our family decided to put my Grandmother Madeline to rest.  I remember the cemetery being huge to me!  It was nothing but rows and rows of headstones as far as I could see.  After years and years had passed, I never returned to that cemetery or really even thought of it.  To me, my Grandmother was around me regardless of visiting her gravesite.  As I mentioned earlier, I chose the hospital in which my son was going to be born, and it happened to be located right next to her cemetery.  Throughout my pregnancy, I would pass her cemetery, smile and think, “Hey Grandmom!”  For some odd reason, I never entered it and, even if I had, I would never have been able to find her headstone that I had only visited one time as a child.

 

To fill you in on the circumstances of my life during this time, I was 17 years old and pregnant.  I was going through this tough situation alone, very young, scared, and battling panic attacks from all the anxiety of my situation.  After my son was born, these emotions did not leave me.  I was still young, scared and battling anxiety and panic attacks.  Finally, the time came to have my son Christened.  Being Roman Catholic and believing in God, I naturally wanted to have my son Christened.  I called up the church and they gave me the next available date for a Christening and I took it.  It was then that my anxiety and fears started.  Panic attacks were running my life those days.  I was terrified to stand up in front of an entire church with my new baby at such a young age.  Panic started to flow through me just thinking about that day.  I tried several times to talk myself out of it, but the closer that day came the more fear built up inside me.  If you understood the power that anxiety and panic has over your mind and body you would understand why I just couldn’t think about standing in front of all those people even if most of them were family.

 

Finally, that day came and there I was frozen in the front alter of my church, I could feel my heart racing, palms sweating, and I was praying hard to get through this for my son.  I know it probably sounds silly but panic attacks are no joke!  I saw the priest stand up and knew immediately he was about to start.  I felt my stomach drop.  I knew in a minute I would be standing up on the church alter, all eyes on me, and the panic attack started.  Before I knew it, I was running to the back of the church toward the bathroom in fear of getting sick, but instead I just flew out the doors and ran to my car.  I sat there crying, so upset and angry with myself for allowing panic to control me and now, I was missing my son’s Christening.  “My Son’s Christening!!!” I screamed to myself.

 

It was there in that instant I thought of my Grandmother.  Without thinking I grabbed my key, turned the ignition and took off toward her cemetery.  Hysterically crying, I drove towards her gravesite on that cloudy, cold day knowing I could be alone with her and find some comfort in knowing she was there with me – even if I couldn’t see her on this Earth.  There wasn’t a ray of sun in the sky which made everything just a little more depressing and colder then usual.  I finally pulled up to the cemetery and came to a stop looking out at the hundreds of headstones and the interior roads of Harleigh Cemetery that went in every direction.  I sat there and cried harder, I knew this mission to find my Grandmother’s headstone was like finding a needle in a haystack. 

 

It was then that I looked up and, in the sky a perfect circle was cut out of the clouds, rays of sun shone down on one section of the cemetery in the distance.  Without thinking, I drove towards the sun instead of just giving up.  Maybe, I thought, I could at least sit alone in the sun to feel better, even if I couldn’t find my Grandmother’s headstone.  I followed the twists and turns in the roads that lead me over a small bridge and across the cemetery.  It was right when the nose of my car hit the first ray of light that the sun disappeared.  I pulled my car to the side and stopped and looked up in the sky, only to find that the sun had gone away and there was complete cloud cover again.  I immediately started sobbing again thinking what a horrible day I was having when a headstone caught my eye.  I stared in utter disbelief out my car window!  I got out of my car and walked to a beautiful headstone that bore my middle and last name.  I stood there only for a second reading the headstone when I realized what day it was.  It was November 20th, my Grandmother’s birthday.  With all the anticipation and anxiety of this day, I had never realized the date and what it stood for.  Here I was christening my son, her first born Grandchild on her birthday.  I fell to my knees on the grass and cried and spoke to my Grandmother through prayer.  It was there in that moment that I knew without a doubt that she was with me that day and has been watching over me my whole life.  It was one of the most amazing moments of my life, and I will never forget it. 

 

Some people may think that the events of that day were just a strange coincidence, but for me, it was a wonderful moment that confirmed my Grandmother is always watching over me and that the people from beyond have the power to do so.  So, have you ever had anything like this happen to you?  Do you feel like someone from the “other side” is watching over you?  Without a doubt in my mind and with all the faith in my heart, I know they can and do – for love never dies! 

A True Tale of Things that Go Bump in the Night…and the Day!

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immaculate-heart-of-mary

A relative stone’s throw beyond the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, New York became the repository for throngs of immigrants.  As the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, refugees who had flocked from all parts of Europe to Our Lady of the Harbor arrived with dreams of a new and better life as well as time-honored traditions and rituals.  My grandmother was one who, at the age of thirteen, made her way into Brooklyn via Ellis Island, embracing her adopted nation and holding tightly to her Roman Catholic faith.   That faith, which helped to temper her in fire when those “streets paved with gold” failed to appear, also became the basis of a number of rather incredible stories whose veracity other family members have verified.   When I moved to New Jersey, like many other ancestors of immigrant Brooklynites, I took those stories with me.  This is one that I have never forgotten — one that humbles and uplifts me and dances gooseflesh down my spine all at once.

 

Because my grandmother was the eldest of six children, and because she was nine years old before her first sibling entered the world, I grew up, played, and made mischief with second cousins very close to my own age.  One cousin with whom I did not grow up, Anthony died before my parents were married.  My mother — his first cousin — still possesses but a single, dog-eared photograph of him; through that photograph, his face is forever burned into my memory for its beauty and pain.

 

When Anthony was no more than two years of age, he required a trip to the hospital.  The reason he was admitted has passed into oblivion in light of the terrible transformation made manifest upon his discharge.  Suddenly, this once-bright, lively chatterbox had stopped speaking all together, his muscles began to atrophy, and his spirit was crushed.   The doctors either refused to admit the source of the illness, which was not present when the child entered the hospital, or they themselves were truly confounded by the disease. At the age of fourteen, Anthony passed from this world.  Between the time he left the hospital and the moment of his death, he required near-constant care. 

 

One day when Anthony was but a few years old, two of my great-aunts decided to give his mother a respite by babysitting for him in the Red Hook apartment in which he lived with his parents.  For purposes of this story, let’s refer to my aunts as Angela and Maria; we’ll call Anthony’s mother Lucia.  A devoted woman who sought divine protection for her ailing child, Lucia had hung a large painting of Mary, Jesus’ mother, above my cousin’s crib.  Angela and Maria had fussed over the child, eventually lulling him to sleep in his crib.  When Anthony dozed off, it was early afternoon, mid-week: a time when the men who lived in the building were all at work and the older children still in school.  With my cousin sleeping soundly in his crib, the apartment was quiet, and my two aunts were its only other occupants.

 

Certain that she would not be overheard by anyone but her Maria, Angela lifted her eyes to the painting, with anger.  “If you are so powerful,” my aunt demanded of the woman in the painting, “why don’t you cure this child?  You watched your own son suffer and die on the cross; must my sister’s son also suffer?  You have no heart!”

 

Terrified of the consequences of this blasphemy, Maria exhorted, “Take it back, Angela! This is the Blessed Virgin.  You cannot say such things of her!”

 

Ignoring her sister’s advice, Angela once again sneered vehemently at the painting, “I say again, you have no heart!”

 

At the precise moment that the words had cleared her mouth, there emanated from the painting the sound of a heart, a human heart, beating steadily and loudly.  This continued for several minutes, despite Angela’s rather frenzied efforts to attribute the sound to anything other than “something beyond.”  As Maria looked on, shocked and frightened, Angela removed the painting from its hook and rapped on the wall beneath it.  “It’s rats,” she chattered nervously, trying to convince herself as the blood ran cold in her veins.  “It must be rats in the wall!”

 

With great dignity, Maria stated, “Our sister keeps an immaculate house.  There have never been rats or even mice in this apartment!  It is the Blessed Mother, come to show you that yes, Angela, she does have a heart!”

 

Did this really happen?  Did the Blessed Mother make her presence known to my doubting aunt with the sound of a human beat pounding within an inanimate object?  My grandmother and Aunt Maria swore that it did. Anthony, as I’d mentioned earlier, died before I was born; by the time I had come along, many years had passed since this incident had occurred.  As a child curious about the tale her grandmother had told her, I would ask my Aunt Angela about it.  But I never received an answer to the question that my aunt has taken to her grave. Her only response was to turn as a white as a sheet, make a hurried Sign of the Cross, and purse her lips tightly, refusing to speak.

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