The Wishing Well
Psychic Journeys By Sinlou Ingraffia
A Sleeper Awakens
Being born a spiritual healer and psychic medium has been both a blessing and a challenge. I received the gift through the lineage of my Native American ancestors. Grandfather was a respected medicine man and Grandmother was also highly attuned to the ways of the Spirit. She could walk the other world and see things hidden to others, as I do today.
My spiritual experiences began when I was no more than a toddler. That frightened me at first, but when I reached my first awakening, I came to understand that I was different than the other kids. I saw, felt, heard and understood that which escapes others… the vibrations and rhythms and wisdom that permeate the universe. At times, I wished that I was not different and that my psychic abilities would fade away, and would leave me in a simpler, more day-to-day world. But this knowing has never left me, never diminished, and I have come to accept my gift as one that I must share. It is my life work.
Being born with psychic abilities means facing an unending stream of disbelievers and mean-spirited ridicule. My heart grew sad that I would be alone, misunderstood for experiencing what seemed real and tangible to me, but beyond the perceptions of my family and friends. No matter how many times I tried to convince them, no matter how hard I tried to explain my “other sight”, they wouldn’t believe me. It was as though I was asking them to believe the earth was flat, or that the moon was made of cheese.
My awakening came when I was three years old, and sound asleep in the dead of night. I suddenly found myself flying, breathtakingly fast, down into a bottomless black hole. It was both terrifying and exhilarating. Time had no hold on me and it seemed to go on and on. When my eyes opened, I realized I was lying in my bed and the break of day, along with morning sounds, which greeted me, welcoming me back to the day-to-day world. My hearing was acute, enhanced by the experience and I could hear things that were very far away: other kids playing many houses away, grasshopper’s leg-rubbing chirrup, and the all but imperceptible shush of tall grass swaying back and forth in the sunrise breeze.
When I looked out the window to see what was happening, I was surprised that everything looked so dazzlingly, wonderfully different, so bright and colorful. It was as though I had been living in a black and white world that miraculously bloomed into innumerable hues and unimagined shades of awe-inspiring beauty. I could feel energy resonating from every living thing: people, trees, animals, mountains – yes, even the living rock of the earth. And these sounds were so clear, so crisp that they spoke to me. “This is life!” “This is all of one piece.” It was profoundly beautiful.
I walked outside, exploring, breathing in the wonder of it all and captivated by this new, unforeseen world. But as I took in shimmering vision, it slowly returned to what it had been before my awakening. Before my eyes, the colors grew pale and the soul communication diminished back into what I now call the normal, mundane world – the grey world most everyone sees each day without a second thought of what might be hidden just beyond its familiarity.
That experience signaled the start of my awakening. I began hearing voices at night and eventually during my fully awake daytime hours. Occasionally, when people spoke to me, I would hear additional voices speaking from the other world as well – a chorus of words and thoughts and emotions. I was very confused then, being a little girl and quite unprepared for such intense communication. But, as time went on, I told others what I heard, what the voices said. My grandmother alone listened and understood, asking me, “What else do the voices say?”
Others, both family and friends, would either laugh and dismiss me as having a vivid childhood imagination or grow stern and demand that I stop talking about my experiences. “Sinlou, people are going to think you are crazy!” So, I would be silent in their presence, and looked forward to going to my grandmother’s house every day. There I could tell what the voices were saying to me and she encouraged me to tell my stories.
At home, things became more complicated. My sister noticed strange things occurring around our house. One night, as we lay in our beds, we both saw a man wearing black leather military boots standing outside the window. We screamed in terror, but deep in my heart I was somewhat relieved knowing then that I was not alone in seeing “the unseen.”
As years passed, I saw more of these “hidden sights” and by that I am referring to what most people call “spirits.” I recall another night that introduced a recurrent presence in my life. I woke abruptly to see a woman in a rocking chair, staring at me intently as she rocked back and forth. I was frightened senseless that night. But as time went on I saw her more and eventually the familiarity of her presence soothed me and I was not troubled by the strangeness of her visits.
At other times, I could feel unseen spirits move about me and took comfort in knowing my family, my brothers and sister, were nearby. I felt safe in their company, surrounded by those who loved me.
Sadly, that only lasted a couple of years until my siblings left to live with my aunt. It was necessary that they leave.
There was violence in our family and my aunt’s home was a safe haven for them.
When they were gone, I was left alone, fending for myself. My loneliness drove me to seek safety and peace. The nearby mountains provided that safe haven. I often spent hours there, sitting quietly and conversing with the voices. I came to realize that few others could hear these voices or understand animals when they spoke through the spirit world, as I did. These innocent creatures became my comfort and trusted friends.
One day, I walked deep into the woods and found myself far from home. Being six years old, I had never gone that far away. Before I realized it, I was surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. For the first time I knew I was in mortal danger, lost and alone. The dogs circled me, baring their teeth, growling and waiting for me to move. I stood perfectly still, meeting their eyes with mine. If I ran, they would not only chase after me but would tear me when they caught me. But if I stood there too long, they would overwhelm me and drive me to the ground. My heart was racing and I started breathing hard as if I had already been running.
I didn’t know what to do and was too scared to make a choice anyway. I wished my brothers were with me, or anyone was with me at this point, to tell me what to do or to help scare the dogs away.
One of the dogs stood apart from the others, atop a small cliff. By the look of him and the way he watched the others I sensed that he must be the pack leader.
The dogs closed in on me, snapping at each other and getting worked up to attack. I only had one idea of what I could do and, although it seemed impossibly wrong, I took a chance and did it. I looked up to their leader and pleaded to him, “Please don’t hurt me! Let me pass!” I begged God, praying aloud “Dear Lord, please save me! Protect me, your child, from these animals!” I said to the dogs, “Please spare me! I mean you no harm!” And, for a moment, I was sure I would be attacked.
Then, the most remarkable thing happened.
The leader barked and growled at the pack, as though he was signaling the others to leave me alone. Although they continued to growl and threaten each other with their fangs, I walked past them. They drew back and I walked, with each of my steps seeming to push them further away. Even though the blood was pounding in my veins and I shivered with fear, they were giving me a wide path to walk. I was stunned at the change in the dogs and remember that day as clearly as I remember awaking this morning.
I will never forget that lead dog and what transpired in the woods. The dog understood me. I gradually learned to understand too. Animals wait to be spoken too and we have largely forgotten how to let them know what is in our heart.
I returned home and sat in my basement bedroom wondering what this new experience would mean as I grew up. Although I was only six, I lived below my parent’s bedroom. It seems odd that none of my friends lived in a separate part of the house from their parents. My life was very different and the impact of that prepared me for a very different outlook on life and living it.
Almost every night, I would see a woman in a black dress walking past my bed and entering the next room which was a kitchen. As I watched her, I could feel spirits watching me. There was one particular night when my mother came down the stairs looking around with a flashlight. I was lying in bed and felt the springs beneath my mattress move. There was something under my bed. To a child of my age, this would a most frightening nightmare, but it was no dream. I was awake and this was reality. I was so scared I froze…… not moving or making a sound. For hours I lay there, feeling the bed moving under my back until, amazingly, I finally did fall asleep in spite of my terror.
Later that day when I saw my mother, I asked her what she had been looking for in the basement. She said, “I heard noises coming from downstairs and brought the flashlight to look in the shadows.”
“Why didn’t you come into my room?” I asked. She didn’t answer me. I told her what had happened. “Mommy, something was under my bed.”
It was rare for my parents to come down the stairs at all. They lived upstairs and I lived downstairs. After my brothers and sister left, I had two bedrooms, a family room, bathroom and a living area to myself. Even though I turned the living room into a playroom, being alone meant that my play time was often visited by spirits.
The door leading to upstairs was always locked. This was the way I knew it to be for a long, long time. Eventually, for some unknown reason, my parents allowed me to come upstairs and look around. They showed me a bedroom and said, “This will now be your room.” I was surprised and pleased they had finally decided to let me live with them! But, although I was still hearing the voices, I kept secret from them, sharing it only with my grandmother who understood and never made fun of me or punished me for what I couldn’t help anyway.
I tried to tell my father once, but he scolded me harshly “Do not talk like that, Sinlou! I don’t want to know anything about it! No more!” That settled it. I kept my thoughts to myself.
I had a cute little poodle dog I had named Boom Boom. He was sweet and, as dogs are prone to do, became my round-the-clock companion. He was so sweet. Then, one day while I was watching TV and my father was busy in the yard, Boom Boom managed to get out of the house. As my mother drove up in our car, she could not see my tiny friend. I heard screams and ran as fast as I could. When I got to the driveway, I saw the little guy screeching and running with his head tilted at an unnatural angle! His head had been injured by the wheel. There was no hope for saving him and I felt my heart go empty.
That day, I saw my father cry. Never before, nor since that moment, have I seen him cry again. His tears flowed and it was evident that he loved the puppy too. He had no choice but to shoot Boom Boom, and we worked together to bury him under my favorite plum tree. When he was alive he would eat my chalk. Puppies are always gnawing as their teeth grow. So, to honor him, I put a little piece of chalk on the earth above where he was buried. The rain dissolved it and the milky white water soaked into the ground. Maybe Nature was bringing him a little bit of what he loved when he was alive. Isn’t that the way it all fits together? We live in the world and in recognition of our presence, the world surrounds us with what we need and love.
I cried and cried and felt terrible, telling myself that my dog was gone because I did not stop him from running outside. I was supposed to be watching him after all!
My father, at a loss for what do, told me it was my fault.
A few days after Boom Boom died, I woke up hearing his feet tap, tap, tapping on the floor, coming into my room. I heard this every night and, one very special night, I heard him whining as though his wanted to play or needed a drink of water. I spoke with him during these visits telling him how much I loved him.
I said, “You have been here awhile with me, Boom Boom. But it’s time for you to move on.”
Then he spoke to me! “It’s not your fault, Sinlou. It is not your fault!” His eyes were wide and gentle and full of compassion and forgiveness.
I cried so long and so hard my pillow was soaked with my tears! I asked him, “Do you see anything?” He whined. I told him, “Please go where you see it’s happy and beautiful”.
And, at that moment, I saw his spirit, a brilliant oval-shaped ball of light, dancing across my room. Then, just as he had appeared, he was gone.
Even in my childhood innocence I then knew what most adults told had me about animals was wrong. Dogs are not dumb animals. They do live, and live on as we do. They do have a reward for their loyalty.
I never heard him padding around or whining after that. I knew in my heart that he was completely free, released from this world and on his way to infinite fields of grass where puppies romp and chase balls and sleep in the warmth of an eternal Summer sun until Momma Dog wakes them and nurses them and loves them with licks and nudges that say, “You’re safe and special and a good, good dog.”
When I think of what Boom Boom gave me, I am struck by a puzzling thought: “What did we ever do to deserve the love that our pets give us without a second thought?” It’s a question we all should ponder when we let a dog, cat, or any pet into our lives.
With animals, I could pick up their feelings, vibrations, emotions and messages. It was as if I could see into their souls. Sometimes I would find myself seeing images of moments in their lives flash before my eyes. This was shocking at first, and took a while to get used to. It still takes me by surprise.
Children my age, teenagers and adults where alike in one respect, I could never tell them what I saw or heard. Every time I tried, the result was being shunned or ridiculed or thought of as crazy.
As I grew up, I had mixed feelings about the world. I struggled to know who I was and how I would fit in where people did not reach out to all that surrounds them. As a child, I believed that I could be like everyone else, but this would turn out to be impossible. I missed the security and simplicity of my mountain home and the deep understanding and acceptance of my Grandma. She was, at that point in my life, the only one I was able to talk to without being judged.
A year went by and with each passing month, I was having frequent powerful dreams about others and about my own “coming to grips” with life. I have never grown accustomed to the dreams that unfold before my eyes.
It is as startling as walking into a quiet living room and having the television turn on and a person on the screen talk directly to you about your life and then be gone. What would you do? Would you tell everyone you knew about what had happened? And if that unexpected message spoke directly to your heart and your situation and your troubles, would you dismiss it as a coincidence, a broken television, or your imagination?
Or would you pay close attention, understanding how the words meet your reality and, if it happened again, and again, would you begin to see that there is more to the grey, mundane world than you had imagined? There is an unseen world that intersects and interacts with our lives.
At the age of ten I remember seeing my sweet Grandma. I was sleepy, looking into a big mirror. Instead of seeing myself, I saw Grandma in my place, but not as I knew her, she was young and radiantly beautiful and she spoke, “Sinlou, don’t worry about me, I will be okay. I must go away and we will be apart for a while; but here, in this world, you will be fine.”
I awoke crying and I grieved for her. I was reduced to tears many times during the following day and my mother noticed. “Sinlou, are you ok? What’s wrong honey?” Again, I was afraid to tell what I knew, however she insisted, so I told her. Mom, taken by my sorrow, comforted me, and telephoned my Grandma so that I could talk with her, hear her voice and be assured that she was okay. I told Grandma what I saw and she repeated the same words she had said in the mirror! “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”
When my mother told my father what happened, he gave me an angry look, and told me to stop saying things that upset people. He and I rarely spoke to each other. I’m sure he just wanted me to be “normal.” But his method of achieving this was to make me feel that I was cursed by my abilities, and I was doomed to hell if I continued to look and listen beyond the grey world.
Grandma passed away two weeks later.
When my father looked at me, I could tell by his expression that he blamed me in some way for her death because of my claim that her words in the mirror meant that she was preparing to die. I was not allowed to see her for the last time at her funeral. Father left me at home. He made it his way to accuse me of being the one to blame for everything that happens around us, simply because I saw it beforehand.
I turned my interest to God and read everything I could about religion and spirituality. I always prayed, but wanted answers. Why I am the way I am? What did God have to say about it?
The voice instructed me to attend every church I knew and sit. And listen. And be patient that the answer would come when the time was right. I found myself standing up and responding to what was being taught. I don’t blame the congregations for their reactions, but I was asked to leave most churches. This was not altogether hard for me to accept because I knew in my heart of hearts that the pastors were mixing lies with truth and, in so doing, manipulating their flocks to conform to their own expectations and desires.
I studied everything I could, from tradition theology to New Age. At that point in my small life, the church had rejected me so I had to educate and enlighten myself. It soon became apparent that I did not align well with New Age philosophies. I asked too many questions and was met with, “Who are you?” “Why do you claim to see and hear what others do not want to hear?” and “If we need saving or inspiration He alone will do it.”
One night I prayed for answers to these questions and wound up with nothing more to show for it other than crying myself to sleep. In the darkest hours of the night, something woke me suddenly. I looked around, got out of bed and, without thinking, fell to my knees. I was overcome by a rapture of awe! I did not see a face, but did see a bright light with a figure within it. My soul filled with joy and my spirit was lifted in a most sublime realization that I was blessed.
I covered my face with my hands and felt tears on my cheeks. I sobbed and the streams flowed to droplets on my chin and dropped to a growing puddle on the floor. I felt I was part of this light, my body did not stop at my skin and I breathed in its energy. I hear a soft, gentle, loving voice say, “Rest now.” I begged to be taken into the light. I did not want to go back to my world. But I heard myself say, “Okay. I will.”
And, although sad, I knew I must return to my life. When I woke the next morning, the memory of what had happened brought sadness and remorse. I was back in my home where I could only see small shafts of light in dimness. Even now, I long for the completeness I experienced that night so that I can return to where I am sure I belong.