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How to Know When The Dead Are Talking to You


When we pass from this dimension into the next one, into that state we call death it is both a dramatic and a subtle change. It is dramatic, traumatic for those of us left living, but a subtle one for the persons who have passed on because they are still fully themselves. They simply lack a body but can move more freely than ever before.

I like to explain to others, as a life-long psychic medium, the way to think of communicating with the dead is to imagine a bridge arcing over a river or a stream separating two lands. You can’t see the other side very well, but sometimes you are allowed to walk onto that bridge and look over it to see glimpses of that other life where loved ones are, and sometimes, if they wish, the dead are able to do the same. Sometimes, in dreams or when the conditions are right, you can actually walk up half way on that bridge and actually reconnect with our loved ones or other spirits of the dead and they can do the same. It is a type of meeting place where the living and dead can connect again – mid way on that bridge. (This is why psychics are often called “mediums” – meaning to meet half way.)


To do this in a dramatic way is what ghost stories and tales of connecting with lost loved ones are filled with because it is actually rare when it is a spontaneous event. We may only have a few such visits in one lifetime. Some people don’t have any.  Psychic mediums may have the happen more often, but a sudden encounter with a dead loved in spirit form or another soul can be rare.

Connecting with spirits happen in two specific ways – in the outer way—that is seeing one—again, this is rather rare but is what Hollywood ghost stories are all about  or through psychic ability where one can connects with the spirit world inwardly through psychic gifts. A talented psychic medium can do this in any place or at any time, after all there is really no human sense of time or place in the spirit world.

Then there is also third way which comes about as messages. These can be easily missed if one is unaware of the ways the dead speaks to us because they tend to be subtle. Here are just some of them.


Dreams are by far the easiest way for the dead to communicate, especially when the living soul is open and attuned to spirit realm already.  It is universally believed that we all travel into the astral realms while we are asleep and the dead also travel in these realms. Sometimes we may dream of deceased loved ones and it really isn’t a message, it is just a memory or is something our unconscious mind is working out about their passing, this loss is always traumatic for those left behind. However, when the dream is especially vivid about a loved one who has died, there is a strong sense of their presence upon waking, or there is a message in the dream, it is likely the loved one is making contact. Usually the message is to assure the living they are fine.

If you continue to dream repeatedly about a person who has died, either there is a strong message they want to convey, such as a warning, or they are worried about something in your life of the lives of people surrounding you. It’s very important to pay attention to such repeating dreams.

Recurring Thoughts

These are the days when you cannot shake away memories and thoughts of a deceased loved one or friend.  You may pass a group of people talking and believe you hear the voice of your deceased person or you may believe you suddenly see them in a crowd.  Television shows or songs may trigger memories of past times with the deceased person.  This is a type of afterlife telepathy between you and your loved one. You can be assured when you have these thoughts they are also “thinking” (more like remembering) times with you.

The Sudden Appearance or Changes in Meaningful Objects

This change or sudden appearance of meaningful objects are usually associated with the person who has died. One day I walked past my curio cabinet and noticed that a 1920s picture of my grandmother had worked its way half way out of the frame. I was surprised because the photograph was behind the glass of the curio cabinet and also behind the glass of the picture frame. No one had touched it. Around the same time, my cousin went into her bedroom and found our grandmother’s handkerchief was lying spread out in the middle of her bed. It has been put away in chest with other old family objects. It wasn’t long after that a distant cousin contacted us that she wanted to meet her cousins. She was related to us through this grandmother.

One evening I was in my studio typing on my computer when I glimpsed a piece of paper flutter to the floor. It appeared out of nowhere. When I picked it up, it was my father’s funeral notice. Incredibly, it was also the date of his death—February 20th.  (This funeral notice had been put away in a book in another area of the home.) My mother was to have a routine operation in a month or so. This gave me an eerie feeling. The operation ended up being a fatal one, even though my mother lasted three years in a nursing home. I believe it was my father warning me but I simply didn’t understand his message.  Whenever such objects appear or change locations--- that means something is about to happen that you need to be warned or cautioned over.

Spectral Touches

It can be disconcerting when a spirit touches you but it does happen. You can be patted, touched and even pushed by spirits in haunted areas. But when the spirit touches you in a soft or caressing way, oftentimes it is a deceased relative or friend. Sometimes it may feel as if a hand has been placed on your shoulder or waist, at other times it may feel as a full caress. Generally, if you are open or intuitive, it is even possible for you to discern who the spirit was to you in life. You will just sense it.

Apparitional Smells

By far, the most common way spirits manifest in the physical world is by smells, especially aromas associated with them in their lifetimes on earth. Also, scientists know that of all of the senses it is the sense of smell that is most linked to memory. With the appearance of a certain smell, we can be immediately transported back through time into your childhoods and earliest memories.

Usually after a person dies, the first thing members of the family may experience is the sudden appearance of apparitional smells. These may come across as a certain cologne or perfume, cut flowers, pipe smoke or cigars, maybe odors associated with the decedents past work history, such as gasoline, chemicals, the smell of wood or even coffee perking.  At times the appearances of apparitional smells simply mean, “I am with you” and “I have not left” and at other times they are also a warning of some imminent change, though not necessarily a bad one. Usually it is just the presence of the spirit that is being announced. But if you start noticing “smells that don’t belong” it would be wise to open to the possibility of a spirit in the environment or even a deceased loved one returning to visit.

Pets Act Spooked, Stare or Bark at Something You Can’t See

This is pretty typical when spirit activity kicks up in the home. Pets will notice it first. Dogs may bark at empty areas or whine close to certain windows of doors. Cats may stare at nothing or pace in specific areas of the home. Animals are sensitive to any disturbance in the energy of a house, especially when there is a change, the kind that happens when an area of undergoing a haunting.

When You Begin Changing Things Around in Your Home and Weird Stuff Begins to Happen

Like the appearance of certain odors or smells that don’t belong, paranormal activity beginning in a home can often begin when a family decides to renovate a house or at change what has stayed in place for a number of years. One theory is spirits find the change disturbing. Another theory is it is the imprinted energy of the house that does not like the change or alteration from what it once was. Paranormal activity simply means objects moving on their own accord, strange dreams dealing with people who may have once lived there, doors open and closing, the sound of footsteps or objects moving, and misplaced objects or even the appearance of objects you don’t recognize.

Hearing the Voice of a Deceased Loved One

This usually happens when you are involved in an activity where your mind has gone on autopilot and you are thinking of something else entirely. Behind you, you may hear someone say your name but when you turn no one is there, or the people present are involved in other activities or conversation. You may ask if someone called out to you, and usually the answer will be “no.” Sometimes the voice will be recognizable or only a faint whisper. Typically, you can determine the gender behind the voice, such as whether it is a man or a woman, or even a child. At rare times you may hear entire sentences, such as the time I heard my deceased mother say, “I used to sleep here on the couch.” Which she did.

Another way to hear spirit voices is through a type of “white noise” and that is when there are other frequencies in the room, blotting out the silence. Strangely, spirits can use the energy and sound frequencies of running water or anything electrical such as fans in use in place of vocal cords since they have none. It is not unusual to hear talking or conversations when bath water is running, fans are turned on or even over heating systems or air conditioning. These voices are sometimes hard to make out, but they are distinct and can indicate spirit presences but also imprints, which are not really souls, but imprinted energies that can be played back when conditions are right.

If the voice is single, and it wakes you up or speaks in your ear, oftentimes it is only one ear that picks up the voice. For me it’s always my right ear. I’m left-handed and right-brain dominant so this makes sense.

Rapping Sounds

These tend to echolike they are coming from inside the wall, or sometimes will thud as if someone if knocking on the door. This tends to happen fairly soon after a person’s death. It simply means, “Hello, I made it. I’m still around but I’m also in this other place. See you later.” If the rapping sounds continue they are most likely a part of the poltergeist phenomena, another type of haunting that might involve other disembodied spirits or even sporadic bursts of psychic energy which is a type of telekinesis.

Hearing Sounds that Belong In the Past

That might be hearing the sound of a train when there no longer is train service or railroad tracks, hearing someone whistling an old-fashioned song, radio shows playing songs or games from past times, the sound of wagons or carts, chains rattling, automobiles not there, etc.

What Small Children Say

Children often remain very pure because they are closer to heaven than we are. After all, they have just left heaven or the astral plane to join us in the visible world, the world of matter, DNA and physicality. Pay attention with small children will talk about relatives, people they have known or persons you knew but they didn’t.

Children may say things like “Grandma came to rock me in my chair the other night” or “Pappy came in my room and combed my hair.” Or they may see an old picture of a deceased family member and say, “I remember when they were in a fire” and it turns out to be true.

Do not shame them, they may more often than not be telling the truth. Sadly, as children grow older this connection to the spirit world is often lost or at least goes into hiding.  

Animals are also sensitive to spirits and may bark at empty areas or look at certain parts of the house and act on guard. You can never be sure what this is because they may remember someone being in that area, it could be a mouse or termites, do not be alarmed. In fact, during some of my spirit visitations my pets slept right thought them and never woke up at all.

Seeing Shapes and Forms in Your Peripheral Vision

It is rare to see a spirit dead on, as in a full bodied apparition. If you do happen to see a full bodied apparition, typically the person will look exactly as they did in life. They will either project themselves at the age your remember them, or they may manifest at the age they felt the healthiest and strongest. Typically when we discern spirits in our environment through our “sight,” we will perceive them as shapes or forms in our peripheral or “side” vision and not straight on. You may sense movement, see a form pass by but when you turn to look it has disappeared out of sight. Generally, this happens in haunted places but can also indicate the presence of loved ones who have passed on.

If you are blessed with the gift of mediumship, you can usually connect with spirits are any time just by focusing on them, and asking them for a message or a sign. It is important to remember that usually after loved ones have passed on, it is best to leave them alone and allow them to adjust to their new world, their new home and environment. It is very important to also let go of them. If you mourn or grieve too long, this worries them and disrupts their progress in the next world.

 If they wish to have contact with you, you will be sent a message or a sign in the ways of these previous postings. Just remember, they are not gone, they are as alive as they ever were. You just can’t see them, at least, it is rare if you did. To be honest, in most instances it best to allow them to “rest in peace.” What they wish for you is your happiness, and one day you will catch of with them in time.-- Susan Sheppard

Summer 2017

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