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... you've been moving from place to place all these years.  She says that it’s time for it to go.”  Guilty as charged, I’ve been dragging around the old size 4 cocktail dress that I'd worn for my wedding for eons, never mentioning it to anyone and forgetting about it myself until my dearly-departed mother reminded me that I still had it.

For years, I'd heard my father talk about his dead mother, the village medium, “I know, I know Daddy,” half-listening until that fateful Sunday, when I got my proof that mediumship is real. One afternoon in the early ’80s my ex and I were strolling through Georgetown, in Washington, D.C., and happened upon a little stone church with a sign that read, “Church of Two Worlds, Healing, Messages, Sunday, 2:00.”  I was intrigued. ​

The next Sunday my husband was spending the day with his parents, over from England to celebrate his thirtieth birthday, so I moseyed over to the Church of the Two Worlds.

As I walked in a deathly pale woman with jet black hair was playing the organ, elaborately lifting her hands and swaying to and fro as a tiny congregation of loners sat in silence amongst the oaken pews.  A simple altar, bereft of brassware, cloths, or flowers sat starkly against ivory walls with a lectern, a few chairs, and a hymn board rounding out the decor. 


After awhile, a rail-thin woman with gray-orange hair glided in wearing a seventies-era chiffon evening gown, and introduced the organist as “Maude.” Maude came to a florid stop, swiveled round and announced that she’d ‘never before heard’ the music that she'd just been playing.  She said that she'd been ‘bringing forth melodies from dead

musicians on the other side.’  I liked this place.


Without further ado, the lady in the evening gown stepped behind the lectern and instructed everyone to open their prayer books.  The parishioners listlessly began reciting the National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) beliefs: “we affirm that the existence and personal identity of the individual continues after the change called death …”


Then, after a hymn, the lady announced, “Now, it’s time for messages.” With that the pews began to squeak as the somnambulant parishioners stirred to life. ​Pointing a skeletal finger at a middle-aged man, she solemnly inquired, "May I come to yoooo?"  The man perked up.  "Why yes, of course."​"I have a woman here in spirit.  Her first initial is B.  She sends her greetings and tells you not to worry about money -- it'll come soon.​​​​"


After dispatching similar tidings, it was my turn.  The lady pointed to me and asked, “May I come to yoooo?”

“Yes,” I blurted awkwardly.

She continued, “Olive sends her greetings.  She says that an important anniversary has just passed.  She wishes to acknowledge it.”


“Oh, thank you,” I mumbled disingenuously.  Olive?  I don’t know an Olive.


That evening, I joined my husband and in-laws for supper in the rickety Georgetown Federalist-era firetrap where they were staying and began to recount my adventures, “… and then she asked if she could come to me and said the strangest thing: Olive sends her greetings. She says that an important anniversary just passed.  I don’t know an Olive or an anniversary.”

​My mother-in-law’s face went ashen as my father-in-law put down his fork and stared at his plate.

​“Olive?” my husband piped up. “What an odd name.  Do you know an Olive?” he asked. 


“No.  I have no idea what this woman was talking about,” I replied.


His parents remained silent.  Finally, his mother drew in a breath, turned toward my husband and in her lovely BBC English said, “Darling, you know that you’re adopted.”


“Of course,” my husband replied.

“Well,” his mother continued, clearing her throat, “we never told you this but your real mother, your birth mother, her name was Olive.  Thirty years ago, even if a baby was meant for adoption, everyone thought it best that the birth mother stay with the baby for a bit after giving birth.  So for the first two weeks of your life Olive cared for you.  She nursed you, fed you, and gave you baths.  Then, one Sunday, she left in the morning and we came that afternoon to pick you up.  When we got there you were lying in your crib.  Olive had laundered all the little clothes that she’d bought for you and neatly folded them on the bed.  This week -- and today is Sunday -- is exactly thirty years since she left the hospital, and we picked you up.” 


“Darling,” she turned to me, “there is a scientific explanation for all of this.  This woman was simply reading your mind.”  I wanted to ask how that was possible considering that I didn’t know about Olive until that day, but I said nothing.  “She was tapping into the collective unconscious,” implying that Dr. Carl Jung’s controversial blend of metaphysics and psychology was accepted fact.  My mother-in-law was a scientifically minded surgeon with no time for talking spirits.  My father-in-law was part of the forward-thinking clergy of the Anglican Church, but that didn’t extend to sorcerers and soothsayers. 


Nonetheless, Olive opened a door for me that Sunday which has never closed.

       © Medium Gail,

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