Archive for January, 2017

Prodding the Paranormal: Take 1!

I’m thrilled to have one of my favorite authors as my guest today. Heather Fraser Brainerd writes in a variety of genres, including paranormal mystery, Young Adult paranormal romance, and Middle Grade fantasy. All of her work contains a hefty dose of humor. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of reading and reviewing all of Heather’s work and I can only say that if you want to treat yourself to some truly humorous and well-written reads, look no further than her books. Her Amazon author page can be found here.

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I interviewed Heather awhile back about her writing (which you can read here), but today’s interview is a little different. In my last post, I mentioned that I’ve become fascinated with ghosts and UFOs, and asked anyone willing to share any personal, paranormal experiences to contact me. I was delighted to hear from Heather, who informed me that she used to live in a haunted house and that she’s currently studying mediumship. Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to interview her, so I did.

Now let me preface this by saying that I’m not one who takes belief in things like ghosts lightly. I’ve been conducting a rather serious investigation into various aspects of the paranormal over the past year, and I have to say that with regard to certain phenomena, the best possible explanations often lie outside the realm of conventional science. I’m increasingly convinced that there are things we simply can’t explain scientifically, at least not yet. I think how only a few centuries ago we thought the sun revolved around the Earth and how only a little over a hundred years ago people laughed at the idea of a flying machine. And forget anything as preposterous as landing a person on the moon!

But I’m the last person to try to convince anyone of something they don’t or can’t believe in, so I’ll leave it at that. I should mention that another topic which I’ll be investigating soon is how people form and change their beliefs (or don’t). I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I sincerely doubt political posts on Facebook have any affect! In any event, and without further ado, let me introduce the wonderfully talented Heather Fraser Brainerd!


Welcome, Heather, and thank you so much for joining us.

It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for inviting me back.


How did you get interested in the paranormal?

For me, the paranormal has always been, well, normal. From the age of 10 to 18, I lived in a house that had once been part of the Underground Railroad. I’d have the occasional sighting, or other sense, of Spirit. I’ve also, from a young age, always had strong intuition. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve come to really trust this sense. If I’d followed my “gut” all along, I’d have saved myself some heartache! But then, heartache is part of the human experience, isn’t it?

If you don’t experience heartache, I don’t think you’re truly alive. I like what you said about the paranormal—how it’s always been “normal” for you. I was thinking today that the term “paranormal” relegates belief in things like spirits outside the normal, which makes them sound strange or weird to begin with. Maybe a better term is “parascientific.” I think there are several phenomena conventional science simply can’t measure or explain. Science is one way to look at the world, but I think there are other equally valid ways to do so. Do you agree?

I completely agree, and I love your word “parascientific.” I might borrow that one!

You’re more than welcome to 🙂


Please tell us more about your experiences of living in a haunted house.

For the most part, it involved simply feeling a spiritual presence from time to time, or seeing shadowy human forms. There was one occasion, however, when I saw the distinct figure of a young man across the room from me, standing by a window. He was dressed “old fashioned,” as I thought of it at the time. He was not threatening or scary in any way. In fact, he brought with him a sense of peace. I’m wondering if that could have been my first encounter with a spirit guide.

As an interesting side note, a book about the house I grew up in was written several years ago. The author’s uncle owned the house before my family purchased it, and he’d spent a lot of time there over the years. His book is a ghost story, a scary one. It tells a very different tale from my fond memories of the house. I can’t exactly recommend the book, as it was self-published (not that that’s a bad thing) and apparently didn’t receive the attention of a professional editor (which is very unfortunate), but it’s interesting that his take on the haunted house was so vastly different from mine.


I have to say I’m really excited about your experiences! Some people report seeing spirits that are smoky and rather transparent, while others see full-bodied apparitions. Which way did the figure of the young man appear to you?

He was somewhere in between – I could see him as if he were standing right there in front of my window, but I could just barely see the window through him.

I’m always amazed by how many people have had experiences with spirits—in fact, every culture throughout history has expressed such experiences. Do they think that lends validity to them?

Absolutely. As part of my Anthropology studies, spiritual matters were a common theme. Perhaps, on some level, that’s what drew me to the field.


What exactly is mediumship?

To me, it is simply the ability to receive messages from those who have passed on. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept, but have only started to study it over the past year. This involves taking classes conducted by an experienced medium and reading lots of books on the subject. Though I initially rejected the idea, I’ve started to accept that I have this ability, at least to some degree. I’ve received specific messages, from certain spirits, that were later confirmed. I’m not here to convince anyone of my credibility, but those messages proved to me that I was truly receiving information from Spirit. Since I’ve always been my own worst critic, accepting that this ability is real has been a challenge.

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Can you tell us a little more about the classes you’re taking? Also, can you share a specific message you received that was later confirmed?

In the classes, we learn how to ground ourselves, how to meditate and open to positive Spirit (as well as how to protect ourselves from negative energy), how to interpret spiritual signs (such as animal signs), as well as any other topic that occurs to any of us! It’s a very open-discussion setting.

Speaking of signs, as I sit here typing this, my mother texts me a picture of my 5th birthday. I’m sitting at the table, a pretty pink cake before me, and my grandfather is standing behind me with his hands on the arms of my chair, protectively. His spirit is often with me. I think he approves of this interview.

As for a specific message… okay, this is something I haven’t shared with more than a handful of people, so I’m being quite brave right now. Last summer, while meditating, my grandmother’s friend came to me – a woman who’d just passed about four months prior. I didn’t recognize her at first, as she looked to be in her fifties, younger than when I met her. Once it clicked and I knew who she was, she showed me a man in a hat or cap. He was entering an alleyway. The words “avoid the dark alley” came to me, and I knew that the man was her grandson. I honestly didn’t know what to do with the information. I’ve never met her grandson. We have a mutual friend, but he would’ve thought I was nuts if I said, “Hey, could you tell him his dead grandma said to avoid the dark alley?” Plus, I didn’t know if the alley was literal or metaphorical. I tried to send the grandson the message while meditating, but either he didn’t get it, or chose to ignore it. A few days later, he went down a literal dark alley and something rather bad ensued. He’s okay now, thankfully, but I feel strongly that his grandmother was trying to protect him.


What do you say to people who think the paranormal is only for the credulous?

As you said in your intro, I’m not trying to convince anyone of something they don’t believe. After my early experiences with Spirit, I put all such things on the mental back burner for a long time. But early last year, my mom casually mentioned that she and my sister were going to an introduction to mediumship class at “that barn place.” I was instantly intrigued, feeling called to join them, despite the fact that it was the dead of winter and I really just wanted to stay in my cozy house on that cold, blustery evening. I went to the barn – Soleil Wellness (click here for their website) – and felt like I’d found my tribe. I’ve been taking classes there ever since – not just mediumship, but everything from meditation to Reiki training.

And maybe I am just being credulous, but mediumship makes sense for me. I have epilepsy, which is essentially excessive brain activity. Perhaps the fact that my brain is “wired” differently makes me more open to messages from Spirit.

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I love what you said about how mediumship makes sense to you. I think that’s what life essentially boils down to: finding a worldview that makes sense to us, and hopefully realizing that other worldviews, as long as they don’t hurt anyone, are just as acceptable as our own. Have you ever encountered skepticism regarding your experiences and beliefs?

Matt, your thoughts on worldviews really resonate with me. Wouldn’t the world (and Facebook) be a much nicer place if we all embraced that idea? And no, I haven’t encountered skepticism, because I’ve kept this aspect of my life very private. But, during a Winter Solstice celebration, I received this message from the Universe: “Now is the time to share your uniqueness to the world. We need your gifts.” So here I am! Thank you for allowing me to share.


What’s next for you in terms of reading, writing, and mediumship?

As for reading, I alternate between novels and books on spiritual and metaphysical topics. On the writing front, my brother/co-author Dave and I have the fourth book in our José Picada, PI, series due out later this year. And in terms of mediumship, I’d like to join a development circle. I’m also studying to become a Reiki Master, and am enjoying every step of my spiritual journey.

I can’t wait for the next José Picada book! Would you please share some of your favorite books on spiritual and metaphysical topics?

Thank you! This book will wrap up the series, so we’re excited to share it.

James Van Praagh’s Heaven and Earth is an excellent introduction to spiritual and psychic gifts. I also like The Spiritual Power of Empathy by Cyndi Dale. For a light-hearted, approachable book on the “basics” of mediumship, try Theresa Caputo’s There’s More to Life Than This. I particularly like the section at the end that is from the point of view of Theresa’s ghost writer (never was a literary term so accurate).

Thanks again for hosting me!

It’s been my pleasure. Please come back soon. Also, please keep me informed of your writing projects and your experiences with Spirit. I have to say the more I hear such experiences from very credible people such as yourself, the more I know the universe is a lot more complicated than I once thought.

Thanks for reading! If you have any personal, paranormal experiences you’d like to share, please contact me. All the very best.

Photo by Rich Brainerd (

Photo by Rich Brainerd (


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Posted by Matthew Peters - January 16, 2017 at 5:50 am

Categories: Paranormal   Tags: , , , , , ,

Some Thoughts on the New Year

First things first: Happy New Year! I wish you peace, joy, and love this year and always, as well as much creative productivity.


I’ve made some resolutions for this year. How about you? I have about half a dozen. They include things like eating healthier, exercising, writing more, those sorts of things. I think I’m going to work on incorporating them one at a time, though, because otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed.


One of my resolutions is to blog more often. I know I need to do a much better job of staying in touch. So this is me, trying to keep my resolution.

I’ve also made a decision concerning the content of this blog. I began it as a blog on dual diagnosis, writing, and author interviews. I still want to do those topics, but I also want to expand the focus to include interesting information I come across while researching (including stuff on early Christianity), interviews with agents, editors, and publishers, and the occasional book review. Recently, I’ve become fascinated by such things as ghosts/hauntings and UFOs, so I’ll blog about those topics as well. If you’ve ever had any experiences with the paranormal that you’d like to share, please contact me.


In terms of writing projects this year, the second novel in the Nicholas Branson series should be available by September. I’m also going to finish researching and start writing the third book in the series, so the time gap between novels isn’t too large. Finally, I’ll be writing a book on the history of the Russ House in Marianna, Florida, located near the site of a Civil War battle that took place in September of 1864. Allegedly, the house has its share of paranormal activity, and I look forward to exploring it and writing about my experiences.

I should also add that my role as a writer is becoming increasingly clear, or maybe it’s just been reinforced over the past few years. I am committed to writing stories that make people think, and that include views and perspectives not often seen in the (mainstream) media. I intend to write more about this, but for now I want to finish up this post so I can feel like I’ve accomplished something 🙂

Thank you so much for all of your support, my friends.

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Posted by Matthew Peters - January 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Categories: General Thoughts   Tags:

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