1/30/2015

Warnings from the Grave







Today we are pleased to have Sarah Pulenski as a guest poster on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural.  Sarah is a divorced 42 year old mother of two daughters, ages 12 and 9.  Sarah is a commodity broker with a firm in Chicago, IL.  Her hobbies consist of writing, scrapbooking, cooking (with two daughters, you have to enjoy cooking), horseback riding on her parent's farm, and tinkering around with old cars (thanks dad).   Sarah also is a strong believer in giving to charity (Samaritan's Purse).

[Editor's Note:  This is an unusually long story.  It is much longer than all the others on this topic.  So, if you are pressed for time, we suggest you bookmark this page and come back later to read it in its entirety.]

If you have a story to share relating to the paranormal/supernatural, click HERE for details.  Also, to answer many questions, there is no charge for guest posting on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural.

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I start my story at a time that was the most tragic and heart wrenching of my entire life.   It was also at a time of great promise and the start of a bright future for me personally. The year was 1996, July 4th to be exact.  I had just graduated from college with a BS in Finance in May and was looking forward to a great July 4th weekend of enjoying life and good times before I started my first job on July 10, 1996.  My boyfriend Dan (who three years later became my husband), his sister, two of my best college buddies and my big brother, Bobby and his wife Karen were boating at a lake not far from my father's farm in the northeastern part of Missouri.  I was a country girl growing up.  But, I quickly adapted to city life in Chicago.  I love the city.  In fact, I love all big cities now. Chicago is noted for being the city with broad shoulders for a reason.  It's a rough, tough place.  It's also a great place most of the time.  But, on July 4th of 1996, I had not a care in the world.  In fact, the world was my oyster.  I felt nothing could ever go wrong.

My older brother (my elder by 4 years) was my hero and closest confidant.  I could confide in Bobby about anything.  He always gave great advice and I always knew he loved me.  He was my protector growing up and got me out of a few predicaments of my own creation.  As an example, he basically saved my life when I got bit by a Copperhead snake.  The pain was horrific.  I was 14 years old at the time of this incident. My 18 year old big brother picked me up and ran with me, in his arms, all the way home.  I slowly recovered.  But, I never forgot the heroism of my beloved big brother, Bobby.  He always told me that he only did what big brothers are supposed to do, protect their little sister.  I knew I could always depend on Bobby, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the distance.  The latter proved to be especially true later on in life.

As we were pulling into the dock after a long day of boating and skiing, on that July 4th, Bobby pulled into our dad's private dock and threw a rope to someone on the pier to tie us off.  The water was choppy that day.  We were going to have difficulty getting off the boat. The guy on the pier was trying to get another rope on the boat to try and settle the boat down.  The man was simply unable to get the rope tied off on the pier without the rope either coming untied or snapping.  We had already broken two ropes.  Bobby had my future husband take control of the boat and he attempted to get on the pier to help the man.  As Bobby attempted to get on the pier, we were hit with an unusually strong wave that really rocked the boat.  My brother lost his footing, slipped and hit the pier with a loud, sickening thud to his head.  Bobby fell into the water.  The man on the pier then jumped into the water after Bobby.  Bobby was bleeding profusely from his eyes, nose and ears.  People said I was screaming.  I honestly don't remember that.  All I remember is the suddenly swollen and bleeding face of my big brother.  We managed to get him on the pier thanks to a nearby boater who helped us (and whose name has been forgotten over time). 

Once doctors, at the hospital, had time to examine Bobby and run tests, they told us Bobby had a fractured skull, he had brain damage and would be basically a vegetable if he were to recover.  I was in a state of shock.  I couldn't believe something so tragic could happen so suddenly and without warning.  To say I was devastated would not do justice to what I was truly feeling.  My dearest friend, my beloved and treasured big brother was no longer the gregarious, extroverted Alpha Male I had always known.  He was now on the same level of a vegetable.  The most heart breaking thing that I have ever seen is when my sister-in-law, Karen, turned off the machines keeping Bobby alive.  He died peacefully within 20 minutes.  My parents must have aged 20 years from that moment.  Dad didn't last but 14 months after Bobby died.  He just didn't want to live anymore even though he loved my mom dearly.  Mom herself died slightly over 3 years later and just a couple of months after my marriage.  My life would never be the same.

I took Bobby's death extremely hard.  I was severely depressed and had to eventually seek counseling. Doctors put me on medication for my grief.  After about nine months or so, I was able to cope with my brother's death.  The pain lessens with time.  But, the heartache of losing a loved one never fully leaves you.  As I stated, 3 years after Bobby's death, I married a wonderful man who helped me during this tragic event in my life since he was there the day Bobby was killed at the dock.  Again, my mother passed away from a heart attack (I'll always believe she died of a broken heart) two months after my marriage.  After coming back from mom's funeral, I told my husband I was going to take a shower and just try to wash away this latest tragedy in the family.  I usually take my time in a shower (much to the consternation of my husband).  I suppose I had been in the shower about 15 minutes or longer.  When I stepped out, I saw the first warning on my bathroom mirror;  "Don't Go||."  It was just like that.  The words "don't go" with two little lines (||) at the end.  My husband was noted for having a rare sense of humor.  So, I figured it was him. After my mom's funeral?  No, he wouldn't do that. But, I was not making any trip anywhere for at least two months.  He knew that.  However, I had to ask him if he did it.

I put on some shorts, a blouse, along with my housecoat and went into the living room.  My husband was asleep on the couch.  I woke him up.  "Dan, did you put that message on the bathroom mirror, 'Don't go'?" I asked my sleepy husband.  "Sarah, I have been right here on the coach since you went into the shower.  What are you talking about?" Dan asked me.  He swore, up and down, sideways, you name it, that he did not put any message on the mirror.  After the heat from the shower dissipated, the message disappeared off the mirror.  I was still unnerved about it.  Dan and I were the only people at home.  I decided to let it go.  But, the messages continued to appear.  The next time I saw it was just two weeks after the first message.  It was a Saturday morning and I decided to do my morning jog before Dan and I went into town for breakfast (I don't cook on weekends).  I went down the sidewalk from our front door and onto the driveway.  It was scrawled on the driveway in black letters, "Don't Go||"  It was exactly like the first time.  Those two little lines at the end were a complete puzzle to me.  I decided to go in and wake up Dan.  I was pissed now if this was his idea of a joke.  Dan was exiting the bathroom when I lit into him.  He was completely baffled by what I was talking about or so he claimed.  I grabbed him by the arm to take him to the driveway.  The message was gone!

The warning messages continued.  Sometimes the warning would be on the windshield of my car from the morning dew.  Other times, when I got back from lunch, the warning of "Don't Go||" was on my appointment pad at my desk.  One of the most mind numbing warnings was when I was typing up a presentation I was to make to some clients the next day.  I was on my desktop computer, with the huge 17 inch computer monitor, typing away. I paused for just a minute to collect my thoughts.  While I was engrossed in thought..."Don't Go||" appeared on my computer screen.  I screamed! Co-workers came running into my office to find out what was wrong.  I quickly told them I thought I had seen a mouse.  My secretary immediately called the pest control people who were responsible for our building.  I was still trying to collect my wits about me when, for the first time, I heard the warning verbally. "Don't Go, Sarah!"  "Who is this?" I cried.  "What are you warning me about?" I asked the voice. The voice was just mildly familiar.  It couldn't possibly be who I was thinking it could be.  "Bobby?  Is this you?  Are you warning me about something?  PLEASE tell me it is you, Bobby!" I demanded a bit too loudly.  This again brought the co-workers.  I just told them to please leave me alone.

I started going to a psychiatrist for this latest bizarre event in my life.  I gave him all the details of Bobby dying and the messages and, finally, a voice I believed could have been Bobby reaching out to me from the grave.  Of course, he felt I was still reacting to the trauma of losing my brother so suddenly.  He prescribed a sedative and that was that.  A waste of my time.  I was so conflicted about this I actually went to a medium to consult her.  Again, that was a total waste of time.  At the end of that appointment, I was totally embarrassed with myself. I didn't know what I was going to do.  The messages were continuing.  Before I went to the medium, I had to get my car keys out of my purse.  Tucked with my car keys was a note.  "Don't Go||"  My first thought was that Bobby thought I was nuts going to a medium.  My next thought was that this is not going to end until it runs its course.  I had no idea what I was supposed to avoid, what place was I supposed to avoid.  I had no idea what unforeseen tragedy could be awaiting me if I did "go." I was absolutely clueless of what was going on! I would go to my bathroom at night, when my husband was downstairs watching something on TV, and try to "speak" to Bobby.  I would cry like I did when I was a little girl when I needed his help with something.  He never turned me down when I did that.  But, it wasn't working now.  I only heard the voice twice.  Once in my office and one more time later on.

These messages continued from August of 1999 (the day of my mom's funeral) until December of 2000, about a week before Christmas.  The final message during this period was when I was at my mother-in-law's house for Christmas.  There were so many people there, so many happy people.  I was not one of them.  My husband, Dan, was beginning to become irritated with me.  He thought I was losing my mind. I was starting to believe it also. I remember it was snowing that day.  I looked out over my MIL bay window in the hall bathroom watching the snowflakes fall.  For the first time, and the last time (during this time period), the words "Don't Go||" were slowly inscribed on the frosted window in the bathroom.  I didn't scream this time.  I was accustomed to this by now.  I felt my brother had something to do with this.  But, I had no idea what it could possibly be.  What is he warning me about?  What?  What?  What?!?!?

Weeks and months went by without the warning message appearing anywhere.  No ghostly voice warning either.  Whatever the warning was about, I felt confident I had overcome the potential problem.  Was it my brother Bobby?  I felt, deep in my heart, it was Bobby.  He was always very protective of his little sister.  Now, five years after his death, I felt his loving comfort at times wherever I was in the world.  You know that feeling you have sometimes when you feel someone is in the room with you and you are by yourself?  That's when I felt Bobby was nearby. I really, really believed this. My job was frequently taking me to various cities in the U.S. and to London as well.  I never felt in any danger in any place. I had just returned to New York City from London after a meeting with a potential investment group there.  We were all going to meet in New York City in six weeks.  So, I decided I would scope out the meeting room we had rented two months prior in a building not far from my hotel. I had to make sure it was big enough, and had all the amenities we needed for an international investment type meeting.  This was a very important meeting.

As I left my hotel at 7AM (I am an early bird and wanted to catch the 12:45PM flight home that day), I saw one of the more popular coffee shops in New York and thought I would have a couple of cups before going to the meeting room.  It was only four blocks away and I am an avid jogger.  Four blocks would be nothing for me. So, I sat down and watched the many New Yorkers busily on the way to work or whatever New Yorkers do this time of the morning.  I decided, in addition to my coffee, I might as well have a bit of breakfast.  I was in no hurry and wanted to finish reading over some material I had brought with me from London.  Over an hour had passed before I knew it.  It was now 8:10AM.  I asked the waitress for my check. She brought it and I checked it over as I am prone to doing.  I could see there was something on the back.  Thinking the waitress had left her name....but I was wrong.  "Don't Go."  I practically forced my fist down my throat to keep from screaming.  It had been about 8 or 9 months since I had seen a message of warning.  But, it was different this time.  The 2 little lines (||) were not at the end as they had always been.  My hands trembling, I managed to leave the money on the table without dropping over from fainting.  I had to get out of there.  I stepped outside, checked my cell phone for time.  It was 8:16AM.  I started walking toward the building.  "DON'T GO SARAH!!!  The voice literally screamed at me this time and I stopped dead in my tracks.

I was totally shook up.  A man stopped and asked if I was alright.  I assured him I was and thanked him for his kindness.  I couldn't move forward.  It was as if I was being held in place, frozen in time and space. I just stood there on the sidewalk paralyzed with fear.  I looked up at the building where I wanted to go check out the meeting room we had rented. I stood and looked at it as if I were in a trance. I'm not sure how long I stood there.  I had lost touch with reality for some reason. Something...something about the building was making me have goosebumps all over my body.  It suddenly dawned on me what the two little lines were meant for at the end of "Don't Go||"  It was the twin towers of the World Trade Center.  Bobby did not want me to go there!  But why?  As soon as that question entered my mind, I got my answer from the screaming engines of American Airlines Flight 11 as it hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 

It was 4 days before I was able to get home to Dan.  He went for two days thinking I was among the victims of 9/11. Dan knew we had rented meeting room space at the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He also knew I was going to inspect it that morning of infamy. The verbal warning, after I left the coffee shop, saved my life.  There is no doubt in my mind it was Bobby, although the voice was only faintly similar to his.  From that point on, I have never received another message, written or verbal. I have no doubt it was Bobby, once again, protecting me.  How could this be, you ask?  I wish I could answer that one for you.  I've always been pretty much secular in my approach to life.  Bobby was that way also.  He was that way until the last few months of his life when inexplicably he started going to a Catholic church near his home. Bobby never explained why he started going to church.

 I've repeated this entire story to a number of people in my life since 9/11.  Some believe me, and some don't.  I honestly don't care if anyone believes me or not.  But, it is all true, every bit of it. My, now, ex-husband Dan (sometimes, people just fall out of love....but Dan and I are still friends and we had two beautiful daughters together) will testify to at least two written warnings that he couldn't explain logically. But, why all the warnings in the first place, you may ask? I have no idea since it was the one verbal warning on 9/11 that saved my life.  My only regret, of the absence of the warnings now, is that I have lost my last remaining contact with my brother.  I no longer even have those moments when I feel he is near me in a room to offer comfort when I am sad and lonely.

I'll always miss and love my big brother.  He was a special person and always will be to me.  But, I knew, after 9/11, I just had to let go of him completely (as odd as that may sound to you).  Bobby would have wanted me to move on with my life.  Maybe now, after having done what he had to do, my brother Bobby can truly rest in peace.

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1/26/2015

Family Album - 3









As I stated back in November of last year, I would do a couple of more of this series of people in my family album before I leave this blog.  I went through one of the family albums this past Saturday to decide who to make blog entry about in this series.  I decided on a man who was a first-cousin of my grandpa's (maternal) who was a sheriff in a county in north Mississippi back in the late 1930s.  His name was Robert Collins or Sheriff Collins as he was called back in those days.  I prefer not to name the county due to a number of reasons I am not going to go into right now.  Sheriff Collins was a well thought of man throughout the county due to his kindness and humane treatment of prisoners (which was not very common back in those days, especially the South).  He would frequently take a sick baby and its mother to the county doctor when they had no other way to go.  My grandpa's cousin was greatly respected, even by those he arrested and placed in county lockup.  A man who was arrested for stealing food from the general store was given the opportunity to pay it back by doing odd jobs that needed being done around the jail.  That way he could still provide for his family.  Sheriff Collins was always reelected with never having any opposition for 14 years as sheriff.  Sheriff Collins was a devoted family man and a deacon at his church.

Sheriff Collins had only one full-time deputy and two -part-time deputies who were called up in case of emergency. I know, he sounds a lot like Andy Griffith in Mayberry.  Unfortunately, the county he lived in had only one bad problem; moonshiners trying to run their product over to Louisiana.  Lots of people died from lead poisoning from moonshine back in those days.  My grandpa's cousin did not "cotton" to moonshiners.  That means he had no patience with them.  If he caught them, they were going straight to jail to await the "feds" to pick them up.  One night Sheriff Collins got a knock on the door.  It was from a farmer who said he had passed a car on a nearby dirt road who had driven into a ditch.  He said he thought they were moonshiners judging from the smell.  Sheriff Collins usually would take his deputy with him when he encountered moonshiners.  But, it was about 1 or 2AM.  He didn't want to wake up his deputy.  So, Sheriff Collins went out to investigate on his own.  When he got there, he knew right away they were moonshiners who were about to take off.  But, he blocked their path.  Apparently, when Sheriff Collins got out of his car, he was greeted with a blast from a shotgun.  Sheriff Collins was killed instantly judging from reports of the day.

The moonshiners were caught in Bogalusa, Lousiana by police.  One of the moonshiners had Sheriff Collins pistol on him, thereby sealing the fate of both men.  They both were hung less than six months later.  Sheriff Collins had a huge funeral procession and lawmen from all over the south came to attend according to a news clipping attached to his picture in the album.  Some questioned Sheriff Collins for getting out of his car with men he didn't know.  There had never been a killing of law enforcement in the recorded history of this county.  I guess the sheriff just thought the men would lay down their arms and surrender peacefully.  But, these men were from Texas, and not from the county he patrolled.  Of course, there was no way for Sheriff Collins to know that.  Just looking at his picture, he was a big man.  But, from everything I had ever heard about the man, he was a gentle giant who just wanted to help people as best he could. 


1/23/2015

Woolmarket - The Final Chapter






Yes, you guessed it.  The "Woolmarket" series is yet another I abandoned after a period of time when I started up this blog.  This marks yet another series I just gave up on for no apparent reason.  What the Woolmarket series entailed was the time we lived in a place called Woolmarket, Mississippi.  It is just north of Biloxi.  Back in the late 50s, when we lived there, it was just a few houses, a general store and a meat market.  Of course, Woolmarket Elementary School was the focus of this entire series.  I had one individual who actually lived in Woolmarket who has made a comment or three over the years.  We had good times and bad times there.  I won't go into the bad times since it involved my father.  The good times were that we were able to go fishing and catch some of the best bream and trout around.  I enjoyed the friends I made while living in Woolmarket.  I would have greatly enjoyed growing up with them.  Alas, when you have a father that is an alcoholic, you are uprooted constantly.

One of the worst memories I had of Woolmarket was my little brother falling out of my grandpa's car.  Grandpa had just bought an old car from a dealer in Gulfport and took us for a ride.  My 4 year old brother decided he wanted to get out of the car while it was doing about 45MPH.  The results were horrible.  It took him a long time to recover from that.  He's a 59 year old man now.  He has no memory of that accident.  But, my sister and I do remember.  I was a teacher's pet in the 4th grade while in Woolmarket.  He was my first male teacher.  I was scared of him and I think he realized it.  So, he made sure to let me know not to be afraid of him.  The Christmas play of 1959, when I was a third-grader, I was Santa Claus.  I forget my teacher's name.  She had some emotional problems since she would frequently leave the room crying.  But, on that night, she was ecstatic with us all as we all performed very well.

We left Woolmarket two months into my 5th grade year.  Thanks to my alcoholic father, my mother took us and moved back to Mobile, AL.  I missed Woolmarket immensely.  I had become a country boy and now was in the big city (to me it was anyway).   I hated it.  My teacher was mean as hell and a bitch.  She was a twin redhead and I had the other mean redhead in the 6th grade.  They both almost failed me.  They used to play the piano together as "The Martins" or something like that.  I probably shouldn't have used such bad language on them since they both are probably deceased by now.  But, I still have bad memories of them.  All in all, Woolmarket was a time of growing up, living the country life and a time of great regrets.  I still regret I did not get to grow up in Woolmarket.  I think my life may have turned out differently. 

In any case, this is a series I wish I had not discontinued.  But, if you want to read the other chapters, just type "Woolmarket" in the search bar in the upper right. 

1/19/2015

Police Abuse #9






As with my other series on this blog, I am winding down on this series as well.  This most likely will be my final installment in "Police Abuse."  I hope those that are in law enforcement do not take my opinions and stories personally.  I am certain there are many hardworking, dedicated law enforcement officers who do their duty and honor their oath each day.  But, in my experience and from what I have witnessed, you LEOs are far and few between today.  It seems that along with the war on drugs and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, LEOs have gone too far in "protecting the public" from themselves.  When you are knowingly violating the rights of an American citizen, you are making a mockery of the sacrifices men and women have made to enable us to have a Bill of Rights.  What does it say about you when you do this?  I know you have a dangerous job.  But, if the job has become too big for you, then you should do yourself and the general public a favor and seek employment elsewhere. 

In this final installment, I want to make an acknowledgement that Attorney General Eric Holder finally, after six years, did something right.  Eric Holder said that he is discontinuing, effective immediately, the DOJ’s “Equitable Sharing” program, which allowed state and local law enforcement personnel to recoup the value of seized property for use in their own departments – for personnel, vehicles, firearms, salaries, and on occasion coffee machines, air conditioners and so on.  All this was done without so much as American citizens being charged with a crime, much less being convicted of a crime.  It was an outrageious overreaction to the failed drug war of the 1980s.  Police loved it so much (gee, I wonder why?) that it has been continued until now.  Unfortunately, the  policy does not change state forfeiture laws, many of which burden property owners and permit policing for profit.  But, this is a start to bringing common sense to this terrible policy.  This is the beginning of the end for civil forfeiture.

I also want to state, categorically, I am NOT now or have I ever been "anti-cop" as I have been accused of in email constantly.  What I am, however, is anti-bad cop.  It appears there are those who are opposed to police accountability.  Everyone in the USA is accountable for his or her actions except for those in law enforcement.  This has to end in order to gain trust from John Q. Public.  Right now, law enforcement, in this country, has a PR nightmare with people.  Only police can change that perception they currently have.  I grieve for the two cops murdered in New York.  That is a terrible tragedy.  We have to come together because we want the same thing, fight crime in this country.  We all want that. 

In closing, I wish those that are in law enforcement recognize you do have a problem with bad cops.  Bad cops are like the proverbial bad apple.  They make everyone else look bad.  One of the problems I find in law enforcement is the so-called "thin blue line" that causes everyone, from the police commissioner on down to the cop on patrol, to cover each others back, regardless of circumstances.  Until that element in law enforcement ends, there will never be trust of police in our cities and communities.

1/16/2015

Puppy Day - 16 January 2015

This could be the last or one of the last Puppy Days on David's Musings before I take my leave of this blog.  It's a delight to post these pictures of these little creatures who bring such joy into so many lives.  Like children, puppies are full of innocence and mischief.  Puppies can provide such endless enjoyment to young and old alike.  My ex-wife is a staunch puppy lover.  She has at least two puppies to raise every couple of years or so it seems.  But, without waiting any longer, let's see the five selections for today's Puppy Day.

As always, click on the image to expand it.

Anybody need a leaf?
Hi there!

We best of friends!
Four precious babies!

This is mine and only mine!



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