Joseph, Our (Now) Friendly House Ghost

In honor of my two favorite holidays, Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, when faux ghosts, goblins and spirits abound, I decided to answer the question that I often get asked about a very real spirit, "What ever happened to your house ghost, Joseph?"  I am happy to report that after I convinced him that he would be much better off crossing over and creating a new home for himself and his beloved wife on the Other Side rather than staying stuck here being eternally annoyed by my constant changes to what he still considers his home, he did just that... and I usually only see him now when he needs help, or when he thinks that I perhaps do.

For months I kept getting glimpses of an elusive spirit that looked like Keith Morrison, the host of Dateline, followed by screwier than usual messages, but I could not figure out what was going on. With the help of one of my students (a future medium) who picked up on the name Joe when I asked her to tune in, I was then able to show my favorite neighbor, Patti, a photo and confirm that it was in fact the previous owner who was messing with me on a regular basis. At that point I began reasoning with Joseph more directly, assuring him that this house is in fact big enough for the two of us, and that he would always be welcome here if he wanted to visit.  He has taken me up on this offer several times, and these visits always leave me both entertained and enlightened.

The first time that he showed back up, he brought along a woman that I knew must be his wife, Jeanne.  I didn't get much, but she seemed a bit confused, as was I, and I could only assume that Joseph wanted me to know that she had passed on and they were visiting together. Wrong. I decided to check for an obituary to confirm that she had died, wondering if our house was soon to be turned into a full-on Beetlejuice situation, with the four of us living side by side. The obit never materialized, and Joseph showed up again shortly thereafter while we were watching TV in bed.  Annoyed that he had chosen to interrupt my favorite show, DWTS, I turned to my husband and said, "UghJoseph's here and he looks angry." By now accustomed to the mad mad world that I inhabit, Scott just shrugged and said, "Ask him what he wants." I tuned back in and realized that he was, again, with his wife... but this time she was in a bed and wasn't aware of his presence... and he clearly wanted me to do something to help him. It suddenly became crystal clear: Jeanne was alive but was in some state of memory loss or dementia and therefore was able (to some extent) to perceive and communicate with Joseph and me.  His frustration was bourn of her not always being fully aware of him and of him feeling helpless when she was confused or upset. I asked him just exactly what he expected me to do about the situation... How could I help, short of showing up at the nursing home and killing her so that she could join him in the afterlife??? In the end I calmly communicated that he simply had to remain calm himself and be persistent and loving in his efforts to make his presence known to her.  It must have worked because they showed up one time after that looking quite happy, and Joseph has popped in several times when guests from other dimensions turn up, invited or uninvited, on our now communal doorstep.

No one other than I (and my mother, who has dementia) has actually seen Joseph, but he has no trouble making his presence known to others. An electrical engineer by trade, he usually chooses to flex his muscles and get others to notice him by making the lights flicker or by turning them off completely, like when my daughter made a snide, challenging comment to him in the basement and then could not get the lights to turn on when she was giving her friends a tour of the area that I lovingly refer to as the zombie bunker (because it is full of canned goods, candles and other crap that my husband deems necessary should the undead apocalypse arrive).  I went down to check a few minutes later and... every. light. worked.  Same basic deal when we tried to watch a movie in the basement with said daughter and a friends.  The DVR refused to work until everyone but my husband left the man cave. Joseph has been known to use other means to try to get rid of unwanted houseguests as well, like my mother-in-law, who graciously agrees to dog sit Waffle whenever we travel.  He doesn't seem to mind our short trips, but when Scott's mom stayed chez Joseph for two weeks while we were in Tahiti, she came home one day to find two of the thirteen family pictures that are arranged on our living room wall on the floor... they were, of course, two photos of her and her family (insert face palm emoji).  Fortunately she has learned to take these things in stride and ignore him as well.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, in addition to helping you connect with your loved ones on the other side, I also spend a lot of free time doing pro bono work helping souls who are confused or afraid to cross over.  I'm honestly not sure how they find me, but my best guess is that it works just like the rest of my business, via word-of-mouth. It can happen at anytime and anywhere (and is another future blog post unto itself), but when it happens at home (usually in the basement or crawl space), Joseph now pops in to alert me to the presence of these other souls that he considers intruders and wants out of his house.  Basically, it's all fun and games so long as it's Joseph doing the inviting, but he's still not a fan of any company that isn't on his personal guest list.  So exactly who is on his guest list, you ask?  So far it's only been his wife, a grouchy former neighbor with a penchant for beer and cigarettes, and the loving father of Patti, the favorite neighbor that I mentioned earlier, who helped me to I.D. Joe himself.

The Invited (Joseph's guest list):

One week this past summer my husband was out of town on business and I was home alone (or as alone as I can ever be given my line of work).  I was preparing for an upcoming reading when I noticed several ambulances and police cars on our street.  Almost immediately I knew that it was my favorite neighbor's house, that they were there for her father, and that he had in fact passed away. I sent my friend a quick text telling her to let me know if there was anything that she needed, and texted the person coming for a reading that she might be held up on my street because of the emergency vehicles... then I mentally told Patti's father that I would be happy to communicate with his daughter and wife when the time came, but to please not interfere with my afternoon reading, as some impatient souls have been known to do in the past.  The reading went well and the rest of the evening passed uneventfully.  The next morning, however, was a different story.

As I was drinking coffee and preparing for my morning message session, I got the telltale tingles that let me know that Spirit is in the house and ready to chat. When I looked up I was surprised to see Joseph, accompanied by another taciturn man who looked like Cher's father in the movie Moonstruck, as well as a kind and sweet old man who reminded me of one of my favorite uncles. Joseph showed the grumpy old man to one of my leather club chairs and then made himself comfortable in the matching chair a few feet away. The third man seemed to kind of hang back, as if he was trying not to impose.  I was confused because I had just seen Cosmo from Moonstruck a few days earlier during a reading and it turned out that the grandfather who came through had been a dead ringer for the actor who had played the role. His granddaughters had been so thrilled with their reading, they had encouraged their mom to come, so I had a reading scheduled with her the following week, and I hypothesized that he was waiting around until she came. I had expected my neighbor's father to show up at some point to let her know (through me) that he was okay, and I figured Joseph had known him from neighborhood gatherings, but I was surprised by how welcoming he was with the other client's dad. I was further confused by the fact that the client's father's name had been Charlie but I kept getting that I had a Chuck and a George in the house with Joseph at the moment.  I decided it was time to stop trying to figure out who was who and start listening and taking notes as I always do and let my neighbor help me sort it out later.

There was a bit of volleying back and forth as I took down tons of great details to share with their families, and then Charlie (or Chuck?) quickly took over and established himself as the spokesman for the group... and he had plenty to say on George's behalf, or so I thought!?  He went on a rant about someone changing the funeral plans and wanting to be buried as opposed to cremated and made it seem quite urgent that I let my neighbor know STAT, while they were still making the arrangements. I looked up and he was playing charades, acting out holding a shovel and digging a grave, which seemed a touch overdramatic to me. Then he flat out said, "He does not want to be burned at the stake like a witch!", and then directly to me, "No offense." (None was taken because I'm not a witch, btw. lol.) I did not  feel right about contacting my sweet neighbor the morning after her father had passed away, making a very stressful time even more stressful, regardless of what her father's last wishes were.  Her father, George, seemed a bit nervous about reaching out to her so soon as well, but Chuck was not taking no for an answer, so I took a deep breath and sent the gentlest text that I could muster letting Patti know: 1) her dad was doing just fine and currently hanging out with Joseph at my house, and 2) he appeared to want to be buried rather than cremated.  Fortunately she knows about and is very accepting of what I do for a living and was  appreciative in her response, saying that she would love to hear what he had to say and would be in contact soon.  I still felt like a total turd, and said as much to my three disembodied houseguests, who went on their merry way once they had accomplished their mission.  I didn't see Patti's dad in the house after that, but the next time I went into the basement I was met with the smell of cigarette smoke, heard the song, Smokin' in the Boy's Room, and turned to see the other two jokers smoking away and chatting near the furnace.  I just shook my head, grabbed the laundry, went back upstairs and ignored their antics.

When the dust settled and Patti and I had the chance to get together, she had no trouble solving the mystery of the third wheel, aka Charlie/Chuck. When I began to describe his personality, looks and attire (all the charm of Archie Bunker, wrapped in a wife beater and some plaid polyester pants), she knew immediately that it to be another neighbor whom I had never met, who went by Chick!?  Spirit often uses celebrities and other people I know (like Keith Morrison, the actor from Moonstruck, my family members, etc.) to show me what someone looked like or how they acted, so it had not been my other client's father, Charlie, at all... they just had a similar look.  Charlie had a strong, take-charge personality and could be described as old school, but was nothing like this character, Chick,  who used to hang out with Joseph back in the day and now treats my basement like a high school locker room. As for Joseph, nothing much has changed. He tried to keep our Halloween party out of the basement this past weekend by messing with the TV as I tried to set it up to play scary movies for anyone who dared venture down. This happened after I had posted this sign at the entrance:  
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