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Closer Than You Think: Three True Accounts of Communications From the Afterlife

Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.

Three stories about connecting with those who are no longer with us in person

Three stories about connecting with those who are no longer with us in person

Stories About the Paranormal

I regularly receive messages on social media from people claiming to have experienced paranormal encounters of all kinds—including communications from those who are no longer living.

The three accounts that follow stood out not only for their intriguing nature but also because they all had the ring of truth. Sometimes, we are able to convince ourselves that the things we see and hear aren't real. On rare occasions, however, the veil drops, and all doubt is erased, as you are about to see.

Please note that the names have been altered in order to protect the privacy of those involved.

The Intruder

Michigan native Monica Jensen shared the following account of a terrifying series of events that were set in motion when she inadvertently stepped over the boundaries that divide this world and the next.

Monica had just graduated from college when her world came crashing down. She recalls vividly that it was early on a Sunday morning that she received the news that her sister Carmen had been killed in a single-car accident that occurred only ten minutes from her home. To make an unthinkable situation even worse, the life of her three-year-old niece had also been claimed in the crash.

The days that followed remain a blur in Monica's memory. She knows that she attended the combined funerals but did so in body only. Unable to comprehend the devastating loss of not one but two of the people she held most dear, she made it through by shutting herself off from everyone and everything around her.

As her depression deepened, Monica became obsessed with the need to contact her dead sister by any means possible. Time and again, her efforts failed. Still, she wouldn't let go—something she would soon come to regret.

Monica refuses to divulge how far she pushed the envelope in order to open a line of communication with the other side. Whatever her methods, they eventually paid off, just not in the way she had hoped.

Her first inkling that she might have found success came one evening when she claims she saw a dark figure pass through the living room as she lay on the sofa watching television. After observing the apparition drift up the stairs, rather than being fearful, Monica was elated. Judging by the diminutive size of the shadowy form, she was convinced that the spectral visitor was Carmen.

Shortly after the sighting, Monica recalls that the lights in her townhouse began flickering, something they had never done before. Sometimes, they would flash on and off as if someone was purposely flipping the switch. Again, she took it in stride. In her mind, her sister was making her presence known and she wasn't about to interfere.

Around the same time, items started randomly falling from the tables and cabinets. In one frightening incident, Monica says that a cup of coffee she had just poured flew off the countertop and landed several feet away in the sink.

One night, as she was dozing in bed, she got a whiff of something burning. In a matter of seconds, the smell of smoke was so prevalent that it singed her throat and sinuses. Strangely, when she turned on the light, there was no visible evidence of fire. Nonetheless, the fumes were choking her to such an extent that she found herself struggling to breathe.

Making her way out into the rest of the apartment, she saw that everything was as it should be. The stove was turned off, as were all of the other appliances. There was no sign of a blaze anywhere, even though the odor of smoke hung heavily in the air.

Thinking that perhaps the fire was taking place in a neighboring unit, Monica ventured outside to have a look around. She found nothing to indicate that anything was wrong.

After taking a few minutes to clear her lungs, she went back inside. She was surprised to find that, although she had only been on the stoop for a short time, the acrid stench had completely dissipated. Whatever it was that had sent her running for air had vanished in an instant. At the time, Monica didn't associate the incident with the other phenomena she had been experiencing.

Two nights later, it happened again. This time, when she woke up, she saw the source of the noxious smell that filled the room. Standing only a few feet from her bed was a looming figure, much more imposing than the one she had seen floating up the stairs.

The entity was watching her intently as her body was wracked by a coughing fit that would not stop. Monica's first instinct was to turn on the bedside lamp. She hoped that the light would reveal that she was alone in the room.

Instead, when the bright glow washed over the area, it illuminated a being that was most definitely not her sister or anything else even remotely human.

The thing standing before her was nothing more than a black vapor. It had no arms or legs, but possessed something akin to a face. Its eyes were a color Monica finds difficult to describe. They were neither black nor white but some sort of misty grey that glowed from within. From its gaping mouth came the overpowering stench of something burning, but no actual smoke.

Monica, hoarse from the relentless hacking, pleaded with the shadow figure to leave her alone. She remembers asking "Why?" over and over again. Although she received no response, it suddenly flooded her thoughts that she may have called forth something unnatural during her attempts to conjure her sister.

As she looked back on the dubious things she had done in her efforts to connect with Carmen, she realized her mistakes but didn't know how to make them right. Reverting to the only thing she thought might help, she closed her eyes tightly and prayed for deliverance.

Monica stresses that the religious passages that spilled from her lips were ones she had never heard or said before that night. The words were not her own, but she somehow knew that, without them, there would be no escape.

She doesn't know how long the ordeal lasted. All she knows for sure is that, when she no longer smelled smoke, she opened her eyes. To her relief, she found that the menacing visitor had vanished.

The next day, not knowing what else to do, Monica consulted a friend who in turn put her in touch with a local pastor. During their meeting, the man seemed sympathetic even as he chastised her for meddling in the affairs of the dead.

After taking her lumps, Monica showed the clergyman around her townhouse. As they walked through both levels, he recited Bible verses, many of which she recognized as having been the same ones she had spoken aloud while in the presence of the demonic being in her room. When he was finished, he asked her to pray with him, which she did without question in spite of the fact that she had no religious leanings.

Before leaving, the pastor stressed to Monica that her sister and niece were at peace. He advised her to let them rest. He explained that if they felt the need to send a sign, they would do so without any prompting from her.

Monica doesn't know to this day if the cleric truly believed her story or if he was simply humoring her. In the end, it didn't matter. She says that the activity that plagued her stopped following his visit.

To this day, over a decade later, she has had no further disturbances. Monica believes wholeheartedly that her sister and niece were with her on the night she banished the sinister thing that had invaded her home. She feels that they were the ones who provided her with the prayers that sent the entity back where it belonged. As far as she is concerned, there can be no other explanation.


The Toymaker

Sherri Harris and her younger brother had an experience in their youth that led her to believe that their grandmother, who had little tolerance for children when she was living, hadn't changed one iota after her death.

Now in her forties, Sherri relates that her grandma, Mary, had a hobby room in her house where she spent the majority of her time. A talented seamstress and toymaker, her grandmother, created unique items that she would sometimes sell or give away as gifts.

There had always been one hard and fast rule when entering Mary's home: the hobby room was off limits. There were no exceptions. She warned her children, and later her grandchildren, on more than one occasion that if she caught them snooping around, she would 'tan their hide.'

Sherri's mom told her that the threat alone had been enough to keep her and her siblings out of their mother's inner sanctum for as long as she could remember.

In 1988, when Sherri was eleven and her brother nine, Mary died after suffering a brain bleed. It was a sad occasion for the adults, but Sherri doesn't recall feeling any sense of loss at the time. Her grandmother, according to her, had not been an easy person to love.

Not long after the funeral, Sherri's mother began clearing out Mary's house. Finally, after decades of being closed off from prying eyes, the hobby room was theirs to explore.

Sherri and her brother made a beeline for the formerly forbidden area as soon as their mother gave them the go-ahead. From the moment they opened the door and peered inside, they knew that the long wait had been worth it.

She says that nearly every inch of space housed some sort of elaborate costume or one-of-a-kind toy that, up till then, only Mary had seen. Sherri wonders now why her grandmother had chosen to hide her artistry from the world, although, at the time, the thought hadn't crossed her mind. All she cared about was getting her hands on the multitude of dolls and stuffed animals that were now theirs for the taking.

As she and her brother went through the place like a wrecking crew, they heard someone let out a deep sigh that stopped them in their tracks. Thinking that their mother had joined them, they immediately reverted to their best behavior.

Glancing toward the door, Sherri was relieved to find that it was still closed. No one had come to spoil their fun after all. Instantly forgetting what caused the interruption in the first place, they jumped right back into exploring their personal toy store.

As soon as they resumed their activities, they heard the sigh again, only this time, the sound was louder and more exasperated than before. Shushing her brother, Sherri scanned the room. They were still alone, but something caught her eye that she hadn't noticed until that moment.

Lying atop a chest of drawers was a large doll with the painted face of a clown. Dressed in Christmas attire from head to toe, it looked both festive and creepy at the same time.

As they watched, the doll's chest rose and fell twice as if it was taking deep breaths. As it did so, its body turned slightly away from them so that it was facing the wall.

Suddenly losing interest in what had become their playroom, the siblings ran out the door, screaming for their mother. Sherri remembers pleading with her to go look in the room; one of the dolls was alive.

Understandably, her mom hadn't taken the outrageous claim seriously. Still, when both of her children insisted that they had seen the clown move, she relented and agreed to check it out, if only to hush them up.

The rattled youngsters clung to their mother like glue as they entered the room. They showed her the doll in question and then stood back, waiting for it to do something.

When nothing happened, their mom removed the figure from the shelf and examined it. After finding nothing to indicate that it possessed any special capabilities, she showed them that it was a toy like any other.

She placed it back where it belonged before telling them to stay out of the room if they couldn't behave. Sherri says that they didn't have to be told twice. Even though the figure seemed harmless when their mother was present, she and her brother knew what they had witnessed. The doll had not only moved but also breathed on its own.

Sherri went on to relive the events of that day countless times over the years. After careful consideration, she came to the conclusion that the doll had somehow been manipulated by their grandmother.

She now believes that Mary, having put her heart and soul into each and every piece, had been unable to stand by silently and watch as the results of her life's work were carelessly manhandled by unruly children.

Although the entire house was eventually emptied of its contents, neither Sherri nor her brother ever stepped foot in the hobby room again. If temporarily possessing the doll was Mary's way of letting them know that death hadn't softened her stance on the sanctity of her workroom, she had succeeded. It was a scare and a lesson they would never forget.


The Walls Have Ears

On the day after her father was laid to rest, Emily Smyth joined her mother in the kitchen of the family home to dish up some of the food that had been dropped off by well-wishers. The dazed pair was still reeling from the sudden loss of the family patriarch as they went through the motions of preparing to sit down for a meal.

Emily recalled that as her mother was setting the table, she pulled a fork out of the silverware drawer and, after spying food remnants on the prongs, had thrown it in the sink with more than a hint of exasperation. She had then made an off-handed remark to the effect of, "Your father never did know how to wash a dish properly."

A split second later, stacks of plates and bowls came crashing down out of a cupboard that had been left slightly ajar. The women looked at each other in stunned silence before turning their attention to the resulting mess.

After the shock wore off, they couldn't help but laugh as they picked up the dishes, some of which hadn't survived in one piece. The incident would have meant nothing to those outside of the family, but Emily and her mother got the message loud and clear; their beloved father and husband, as kind as he was, never could take criticism.

They had tiptoed around his feelings for as long as they could remember in order to avoid the fit of temper that would follow even the most harmless critique. His thin skin had been the only notable flaw in his otherwise amiable personality, but it had been a doozy.

Rather than being put off by the incident, Emily remembers it warmly. She knew in that instant that her father was admonishing them to be nice. After all, one never knows who might be listening.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.