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Chapter Forty-one: Aunt Clara

The very day after my little “talk with God,” a letter arrived in my mother’s mail and she called excitedly to tell me.  A local organization for retired people offered a course in home health nursing.  To my mother, it sounded too good to be true.  All supplies, uniforms, and transportation were provided without cost.

About a week into this course, Mother told me a lady in her class had invited her to an “open house” on the following Wednesday.  She needed me to drive her to this evening affair.  Well, after my surgery, my hands didn’t work very well, but I told her I could manage.  Driving was painful, but after all, doing for others was what I was trained to do.  I was happy to see my mother “get a life”.  I planned to make every effort to rest so I could accompany her to this social event.

When we arrived, about fifteen people stood with their hands resting on patients lying on three massage tables.  There was incense burning and New Age music playing in the background.  Some folks were standing with their eyes closed in meditative tranquility.  I wasn’t sure if I had stepped into a new version of the fundamentalist “laying on of hands” deal or what!

I usually try to find a balance between good manners and my curiosity, which sometimes makes for funny situations, I can tell you!    So I settled in a chair after the introductions, and asked, “What exactly, are ya’ll doing here?  What is the idea behind it?  What precise procedures are you following?” No reason to beat around the bush!  I expected something like “we are praying” or “we are meditating on wellness” or something like that.

But instead, the answer was “we are channeling Reiki”.

Okay… sure you are!

“What is Reiki?”

The story of a certain Dr.  Usui was recounted to me by various participants as they stood with their hands on the patients.  Every move and placement of the hands was explained.  As it went on, I became more and more skeptical.  I mean, of all the healing methods I had heard or read about or tried, this was truly the most nebulous and least likely!  It seemed patently ridiculous that someone could initiate or attune another person to increase their ability to channel energy.  I expected them to say next that Reiki could help you walk on water!

I was urged to “give it a try,” but managed to decline gracefully.  I would have felt perfectly silly on that table with five people laying their hands on me for 45 minutes or so.  Wasn’t gonna happen!

But I was working at being polite and gentle in my skepticism.  Soon the conversation turned to astrology – safe ground for me – and I mentioned in passing that I had a computer program that did pretty good charts.  The woman holding the Reiki open house offered me a trade: three Reiki treatments in exchange for an astrological chart.

I started to wonder how bright this gal could be.  She was offering me several hours of her time and effort in exchange for a few minutes of data entry and printing!  Didn’t seem too fair to me.  I figured if she was silly enough to be convinced that she could “channel healing energy” to me through her hands, and was willing to go to that length to do it, I was game for the test.  I also had the thought that maybe it was her way of getting a chart done that she otherwise could not afford.  So, I agreed.  An appointment was made for the following day, and sure enough, she showed up.

So, there I was, in such lousy condition that I actually had to be assisted to lie down on the massage table that was set up in my living room.  And more embarrassing, I fell asleep during the treatment!  When she had put her hands on me all I could really feel (and I was paying close attention with a LOT of skepticism), was warmth little more than the normal heat that’s evident when one person puts their hands on another.

But the real surprise was to come when I got OFF the massage table at the end of the “treatment”.  I could barely stand!  I was so dizzy it was quite literally like being drunk!  When I tried to walk I had to hold onto the furniture and walls to keep from falling down.

I collapsed in bed and closed my eyes.  But that didn’t help.  I had the exact same sick, spinning sensation that comes with having had a bit too much to drink!  When I opened my eyes and tried to focus on the ceiling and walls, they spun dizzyingly as though I had been a child spinning in circles who falls to the ground to watch the sky and clouds keep moving.

I was really concerned that something was going completely berserk with my system and I hoped it would pass.  I was nauseated and felt a creeping tingling just exactly like being drunk!  I just tried to breathe deeply and stop the spinning into the void in my head and soon fell asleep.

That night I slept better than I had in the past ten years or longer.  But it wasn’t until well into the next day, as I was unloading the clothes dryer, when I suddenly realized that my back didn’t hurt.  Not only that, but I realized I had already done a lot more of my housework than I had been capable of doing in a very long time!  Without even thinking about it, I had just started tackling one chore after another, moving from one to the next, without noticing anything unusual.  It wasn’t until I’d been working for several hours that I came to the startling realization that something was very different.

There was something missing here: the long familiar debilitating pain.

For years I had learned to function with pain, developing ways to maneuver through life accommodating its constant assault.  I actually sat down and began to mentally go over my body to discover if I didn’t feel some little familiar twinge here or there.

There was NO PAIN.

I was sure that, at any moment, I was going to get slammed with it again.  I got up very carefully and continued with my work, constantly monitoring myself for the return of the pain.  Actually, I think I even wanted the pain to return because otherwise, I would have to think that Reiki had worked!  And we certainly could not be believing that sort of nonsense!  What a dilemma!

Now, the clear thing here is this: I did NOT expect the Reiki to work.  Further, I expected the pain to return.  But something objective was going on that I didn’t understand.  I was still thinking in the programmed way that expectations led to your experiences and that faith was an integral part of healing.  I was still working on digging up whatever might be buried in my own subconscious that was responsible for my suffering.  That prevented me from having the faith to effect a healing.  And on and on in a circle.

But here I was again, experiencing a positive result without exerting faith of any kind.  My skepticism about Reiki was rather deep rooted.  Reiki had worked anyway.  Or so we might think.  What other explanation could there be?

What about UFOs?  That was something that I not only didn’t believe in, but about which I was absolutely contemptuous and dismissive.  What about the complete collapse of the “faith trip” I had already experienced?  These thoughts flashed quickly through my mind, but it was way too much to think about at that moment when I was suddenly, after years of suffering, free of pain.

I actually began to cry with gratitude.  Only those who have suffered long and constant physical agony can understand how I felt to not be in pain.

But, I was still on guard.  Even though I had “momentary relief,” I expected the pain to return.

I had to go pick my daughter up.  While we were driving home I told her about the pain being gone and that I thought the Reiki had done it.  She laughed at me and said it only worked because I believed it would work.  I pointed out to her that my belief had been exactly the opposite.  And since that was the case, I was wondering now exactly what this Reiki business was.

After two more treatments and the passing of a week, I was convinced that whatever was happening was working.  I went to the “open houses” regularly after this.  Not only was I healed of the back pain, the angina attacks lessened almost to nonexistence, the swelling of the eyes and throat stopped entirely, my energy level increased.  I was able to see more clients and be more active.  This suited me fine!

But still I was thinking that it wasn’t the Reiki itself, but merely a transference of energy that anyone could accomplish if they just stood around for 40 minutes with their hands on another person.  So, even though I was receiving benefits, I had my own theory.  Surely it was an absurdity to think that someone could “confer” this almost magical ability on another in some way!  And, to make this point, I was anxious for the Reiki master who had initiated my new Reiki friends to come to town for a scheduled class.

That seemed to be the point of the open house: to attract new students.

I was going to bring all my powers of observation and skepticism to this new investigation.  If there was anything to this Reiki business, I was going to find out.  I had no intention of believing it unless there was more or less objective proof.

When the day arrived for the first initiation, I was “loaded for bear,” actively looking for some sort of “hocus pocus” or mumbo jumbo that would reveal the truth.  I figured that people were being charged large sums of money to be made to think they could “channel Reiki,” when the real effect was merely a natural energy flow that was available to all who had the patience to stand around with their hands on another person.  The only thing I felt during the attunement process was a generalized “rush” of heat from my abdomen up through my head and a little “popping” sound in my head.  But it was so nebulous that I considered it to be discountable as a subjective observation.

But, what happened later that night was surprising.  We were told that, after the attunements, the body would experience some “symptoms” of adjustment such as excessive thirst and urination or even diarrhea.  But I didn’t expect this: when I put my hands near any of my children I felt a clear and distinct “rush of heat” against my palms exactly like the sensation of a blow dryer.  This rush would be felt before the hand was close enough to be able to detect the “normal” heat exchange between bodies.  This occurred at about six inches away.  There was a distinct “magnetic” feeling to this heat, similar to the “pulling” you feel when you hold two magnets close enough together to act on one another.

The first time it happened, I jerked my hand back as if I’d been burned.  And then I began to experiment with moving my hand closer until I could distinctly identify the point at which the sensation occurred, the attraction was felt.  I moved my hand closer by very small degrees to feel the effect at every stage of nearness.  It was definitely there.  No question about it.  And the kids could feel it also.

Later that evening I was sitting on the sofa and my son came to sit on the floor in front of me and leaned back against my legs.  As soon as he did, I could feel the heat begin to pass from my legs to his body exactly like the “blow dryer” effect.  Apparently this was not just restricted to the hands!  It was a “whole body” thing going on here!  Both of us soon became so hot from this minimal contact, in an air-conditioned room, that he complained “Mom!  It’s hot in here!” and moved away.  By this time, we were both dripping with perspiration.

It proved to be several months before this effect dissipated where the children were concerned.  It continues to this day when I touch anyone who has an energy deficit.  But I suspect that, after a time, the children became energized, and so no longer pulled energy as strongly.  Of course, if one of them is ill, there is a drawing of energy, but nothing like the time of the Reiki initiation.  (Some time later when I took the Master level attunements, my palms actually blistered and peeled for several weeks.)

There seem to be objective realities in which no belief is necessary or required.  This was a stunning realization.


This Reiki group was a pretty funny collection of people.  They all attended the local Metaphysical/Spiritualist church, and had brought the Reiki Master in as one of many program presentations.  Apparently, they also arranged seminars of other teachings, including Hawaiian Huna, psychic surgery, Kabballah, Tarot, meditation, channeling, Native American shamanism, Sweat Lodges, in a veritable supermarket of New Age Goodies!

I had never been much of a joiner or a “group” person.  But the Reiki crowd that met every Wednesday night was so wonderful and fun, and had such a profound healing effect on me, I knew that it was time to get over this little “loner glitch” in my personality.  After all, I had found “my group,” or so it seemed.

I shared a little bit about my Spirit Release work with the group.  They nodded sagely that they knew all about such problems.  Their minister down at the Metaphysical Church had told them they had only to surround themselves with love and light and they were okay.  I pointed out that some serious clinical research did not support this idea, but they assured me it was true.  People only had attachments if they were not sufficiently adept at surrounding oneself with love and light.

The only way to do that was, of course, to learn the proper techniques from the Great Reverend Rita down at the church.  Reverend Rita also seemed to be an expert on about everything else, so I was pretty interested in meeting such a paragon.  Not only that, but the Reiki attunements were supposed to “set the direction of energy flow” so that no negative energy could enter a person’s “auric field”.  So, I no longer had to worry about attachments and so forth.  I had become a veritable “light being” and any problems in my deep psyche or any idea of darkness in the outer world could not survive in such light!  Wow!  What a deal!  I even had the idea that all future clients who came to me for spirit release should have the Reiki attunements to keep them protected from that point on.  Heck, I wanted to give the whole planet Reiki!  Having such a healing sure does get a person all fired up!

I was invited to the Church.  Reverend Rita, the “Maven of Mystery,” was introduced to me by one of the Reiki group.  I was a bit surprised at the adoring devotee manner that all of the Reiki people took on once they had entered the environs of the Church.  And, I didn’t quite know what to make of Reverend Rita sitting there in her wheelchair.  But I felt a frisson of something cold when I looked in her eyes, and it almost seemed there was something else in there for a moment looking back at me before it quickly retreated.  And again, I doubted my perception.  Surely the teacher of all these wonderful, loving people with whom I was now associated could not be less than holy!  After all, hadn’t she been the shepherd of the church group that made it possible for me to learn about Reiki?

Just as in an ordinary church, the service included singing hymns.  Well, that’s fine!  I’m a hymn singer from way back – always my favorite part of going to church.  The problem here: the selection was a song no one had ever heard before.  Not only that, it was evident that the organist who selected it had never heard it either!  To make the matter worse, the organist had only the most rudimentary skills with the instrument, and took so long to place her fingers on the keys in response to reading the notes, that the tempo was something akin to a funeral procession mired in quicksand.

The congregation – mostly women – was waiting for each note to sound in order to be able to “follow”.  The note would come, obscured in a bass chord that was a lot like the bellowing of a rutting elephant, and the voices all trembled into action trying to match the identified pitch…  only to have the organist suddenly decide she had hit the wrong key, fumble to the right one, and then all the congregation would jerk their voices in mid-warble to the amended note.  At least nobody was gonna be hypnotized by THIS, I thought!

Fortunately, my sense of humor did not desert me, even though my aesthetic sensibilities were being savaged to the point that it was actually painful!  Since I could not only read music, but could sing fairly decently as well, I decided to “help” the situation out a bit by singing the correct notes, at the correct tempo, just loud enough so that the people around me could catch on and follow.  I was hoping that this would help both the organist and the congregation to make it through this performance, bringing it to an earlier conclusion than the next ice age.

That part worked well enough, and soon everyone was “getting it” and singing along.  The organist still lagged behind, though, and the singers were leaving her in the dust.  The song was finished with grace and aplomb while the organist kept plodding along to her ill-timed and tardy finish.

The congregation struggled to suppress giggles.  The final chord was tortured out of the poor instrument, (the rutting elephant “scored”), and everyone sat down in relief, in the perfect mood to get “in the spirit”.  I sat down and glanced around to find Reverend Rita glaring at me with all the friendliness of a coiled rattlesnake.  So much for humor!

The sermon was being delivered by a woman we will call “Hillary,” who channeled somebody or other who was supposed to be something like an Ascended Master or a dead dude (have forgotten which).  Hillary was a very sweet elderly lady with blue hair and wearing a print silk dress, looking for all the world like anyone’s grandma.  She just radiated grandmotherly comfort as she talked.  She started off in a silvery tremulous voice talking about love and opening the “heart center” and so on.  There were overtones of Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey in her descriptions of “planes and bodies” of the individual soul.  As she got “warmed up,” her eyes began to glow with subtle power.  Her voice became stronger and more urgent and the message turned to “saving the world” with this love that was supposed to manifest when one’s heart center was opened and connected via these “planes and bodies” which were to be activated through certain activities that were not clearly defined as yet.  As she talked, she began to walk back and forth in an animated way.  Every part of her was being involved in the action – the words – the message.  She was talking with her whole body.

Now the strange thing happened…  as she was walking across the little dais in this animated delivery of love and light, she suddenly stopped, frozen for a moment, and sort of trembled slightly and then “snapped to attention”.  Actually, her head snapped up so fast and hard that it made me think she was not as fragile as she appeared.  She looked around the room at all the breathless, expectant faces; a cool-eyed assessment in the midst of the feverish anticipation of the audience.  Her head suddenly rolled back and her “control” was in FULL control.  Hoo boy!  Time to rock and roll!

I don’t know who this guy she was channeling was, but I can say that he was really good!  He must have been a Pentecostal preacher in his last life.  It was like being at an old time Southern Revival at its best.  Hooting and hollering and drama.  Strutting and stomping and pounding on the podium.  The only thing was…  the message had changed ever so subtly.  Most of the people in the room were hypnotized at this point by the drama they had been drawn into and didn’t realize what was going on, but I was remembering the church Larry and I had attended, where I had been exposed to so many preachers of this type.  Having been inoculated against this sort of thing, I knew it was just “showmanship” and the old “Wolf in Sheep’s clothing” syndrome.  I could see that here we were dealing with the same hypnotic factors at work in most Christian Fundie churches.

The message had gone from love and light and opening the heart, to guilt and chastisement for not being successful in giving enough love and light or opening the heart sufficiently, and this was to be rectified, of course, by more attendance of classes and meditation sessions, more giving of time, resources and most especially money.  Attend church, give money, take classes, get salvation.  Simple formula.  Nothing terribly unusual.  Same song, different verse.

After the sermon was over, a couple of the people who were in Reverend Rita’s channeling classes were going to demonstrate their powers.  One of these was Trudy.  I was watching with great interest to see how effective these classes might be.

Trudy put her hand to her head a la Karnak the Magnificent and tried to “tune in”.

“There is someone here who has just received unhappy news…” she began.  And, of course, in any group that is a pretty good guess; so the person who had just received an “unhappy” phone call raised her hand excitedly and said “yes, yes!  Me!  Me!” So, Trudy “tuned in” to her further and made a series of pronouncements which either evinced a nod or a puzzled look at which point Trudy made the proper adjustment in the direction indicated.

It was a pretty poor performance of cold reading.  I had been inoculated against this sort of thing also, many years ago when I spent so much time and money checking out all the psychic readers in the area.  I had quickly learned their form of reading cues in the face or response of the person to gradually weed out what did not apply, enabling them to make a final, definite and “amazing” pronouncement of the facts that were bothering the individual at the end of this exercise in subtle probing.

Of course, to be fair, I had noticed that sometimes, things were received which were clearly out of the cold reading loop, and quite accurate, but it was statistically no more or less amazing than two friends who have the same thought at the same time.  No special rating as a psychic is needed.  And my estimation was that everyone was psychic, to one extent or another, so no cigar.

The problem arises when the subject of a reading gives away the anticipated answer in their voice or the phrasing of the question.  This enables the reader to know what the client wants to hear, and they feed this wishful thinking.  The reader makes “predictions” based on what the client wants to hear, and because it is the desired thing, the person seeking the information feels en rapport with the reader and then ascribes to them all sorts of powers and abilities that simply are not there.  The strange part of this scenarios is that, when the predictions do not transpire as described, the individual is by this time so invested in their belief of the powers of their chosen reader that they will go to all kinds of ridiculous extremes to excuse the failed prediction.

This is a very common situation.  These failures are the clues we are given as little alerts to the larger picture, but we tend to ignore them, to cover them up, to excuse them; to continue to believe what we like rather than what is true simply because it matches our preconceived notions of how things would be if we were creating our own reality!    What’s more, if we pay money it has to be right.  Either that, or we were duped.  It’s difficult for many people to admit they’ve been hornswoggled.

After Trudy was done with her rather embarrassing demonstration, another student got up to do readings.  For some reason, she picked me – probably because I was a new and unfamiliar face.  I had long ago schooled myself to be able to keep a poker face and a flat voice when checking out readers, so I kept my face a blank while at the same time providing ambiguous feedback such as “maybe,” or “it could be described that way,” and so on.  At the same time, I was inwardly open to contact.  If there was a real talent going on here, there would be no deliberate blocking.  I was trying not to hinder the “tuning in” or give anything away externally at the same time.

But this reading was worse than could have been accomplished by just random guessing.  I was not impressed by the graduates of Reverend Rita’s classes.

After this non-event, a healing circle was formed where everyone gathered around Reverend Rita and her assistant, laying on hands, praying and giving “love and light” and energy.  It was pretty much like any laying on of hands in a Pentecostal church.  The only difference: Reverend Rita seemed to sort of swell from the contact.  I wasn’t sure if my eyes were deceiving me, but everyone else was perfectly exhausted after the service, so something was draining them.  Again I was wondering why a service that was supposed to feed and energize a given flock was actually doing the opposite.

On the drive home, I heard nothing but the praises of Reverend Rita and her great works.  And now, since I was considered to be more a part of the group, everyone assuming, I guess, that I’d been taken in by the recent performance, a new thing was revealed to me.  Apparently Reverend Rita had a secret circle which admitted only those who had proved themselves worthy or had passed certain tests administered in her many classes.  The members of this inner group were promised that Reverend Rita was going to give them many great secrets.  My hostess had already signed up for the next series of lessons and sessions with the Great One.

I said nothing, but I knew I didn’t want to go back.  That church made me feel ill at ease and was clearly a waste of time.  I couldn’t understand how the members of the Reiki group, which seemed to be so much more rational than other metaphysical mumbo jumbo groups I had encountered in past, could be so taken in by that drivel.  But, on the other hand, maybe I had the problem.  It certainly seemed that everyone involved in the Reiki group was certainly full of love and benevolence and good intentions.


The Reiki group was a gathering of people of many ages and backgrounds.  “Louise,” the woman who had approached my mother with the initial invitations, was an older lady, of retirement age (otherwise she would not have been in the class) but she physically appeared much, much younger.  She didn’t look a day over 35, I swear!  She had a knockout figure and such a charming and feminine “presence” that you just had to be in awe of her ability to control by seeming NOT to do so!  She had a breathy, Marilyn Monroe type of voice, gorgeous red hair and alabaster skin.  She was the one who had brought the idea of the original Reiki class to Reverend Rita.  She’d learned about Reiki in Virginia Beach and spent some time with the A.R.E.  crowd up there.  It was impressed upon us that we were so fortunate to have our initiations from one of Takata’s original students, since Reiki had later split and been corrupted after Takata’s death, but that’s another story.

Then there was “Trudy” and her husband “George,” who were also past retirement age.  Trudy was a tall, rangy woman, more like a man in many of her characteristics than a woman.  In the beginning, I thought she was very funny and engaging with her snappy comebacks and wry humor.  But, as time went by, I began to see a certain element of cruelty in her remarks, especially when addressing or talking about her husband.  I wrote it off as the great familiarity of people long married.  And who was I to say that he hadn’t done things to invite such remarks?  Maybe that was their way of showing affection?  George was a retired owner of a boat building factory.  His wife had been his secretary when they met, divorced their respective mates, and married each other.  They were considered to be the wealthiest members of the group, and thus had some status.

Then there was the younger contingent, my age or younger.  The most active were “Candy” and “Sandy”.

Sandy had been “awakened” to spiritual issues by the death of her fiancé.  After her awakening, she decided to go to school to become a massage therapist.  Among the others in the group, a young man named Tim seemed to be very spiritually knowledgeable.  It was unusual to see someone his age so devoted to helping others.  He stated his religious affiliation as Wiccan, and this later proved to have some interesting repercussions, to say the least.

Since Reiki really doesn’t require meditative focus or any kind of “mumbo jumbo” type concentration, on Reiki nights, we were all basically free to do two things at once – Reiki and talk.  These conversations while we were all standing around the massage table with our hands on whoever, really ran the gamut when talking about our different experiences with spiritual development.  I was a bit reluctant to talk about many of my own, but after awhile, I felt more comfortable sharing some with the others, and we were able to begin to form what seemed to be a real bond of closeness.

I very quickly brought the Reiki group up to date on my ideas about channeling and the experiment going on with Frank.  One of the ladies from the older group pronounced balefully upon our selection of the board as an instrument, citing the movie The Exorcist as proof of its direful consequences.  I countered with the facts of the real case on which the movie was based.  There had been no indication that a board was the main player in the alleged demonic possession.  Also, most of the greatest material in the history of channeling has come through a board instrument or began with one.

Everyone began asking more and more questions about the experiment, so I told them all I could.  That led to discussions about my hypnosis work.  I told about my recent experience with the Black Boomerang, which had, in a sense, “set me up” to be led to the Reiki crowd to begin with.

Everyone had a really good laugh that I had to be chased by aliens before I found Reiki.

Before I went home that night, I mentioned that if anyone wanted to participate in our experiment, they were welcome to come on Saturday nights when we “sat” for contact.  Four or five of them were excited and agreed that they wanted to try it out.

The next day, Candy called.  “There is something I have to tell you and I don’t really know how, but you had better beware of Trudy.”

“What do you mean?” A serpent in Reiki Eden?

Candy explained: After I had left the previous evening,  Trudy made nasty remarks about me being a “know it all” and anybody who participated in anything I suggested was definitely being “taken in” and led down the primrose path to destruction.  Words to that effect, anyway.  This hurt, because I don’t “preach,” but describe my experiences and the research of others who far more qualified to give opinions.

“But you have to understand,” Candy continued.  “Trudy is like a mother to the rest of us.  She’s just being protective.  She means well, but she’s from the old school.  She grew up with Cayce and all that.  She likes the robes and rituals and things.  Reverend Rita is even saying that she is sort of preparing Trudy to take over the Church, so of course she feels responsible for all of us like we were her own children.”

The upshot of the whole conversation was that Candy wanted me to be careful what I talked about to Trudy and the others because they were “old fashioned” and “narrow minded,” even if they meant well.  It was a maneuver designed to “spare their feelings”.  At the same time, Candy wanted to participate in our experiment and also to have some hypnosis sessions done to speed up her spiritual advancement, since she had in mind that she was destined to be the next Jeane Dixon.  Of course, she didn’t want Trudy or any of the “older crowd” to know about her participation.

As it turned out, it seems that Reverend Rita had told Candy that she could never be a channel because of some flaw in her background.  It didn’t make much sense to me, as Candy explained it, and we just agreed that it must be just more of the “old fashioned, narrow mindedness” of the older crowd who weren’t part of the New Paradigm of very advanced souls in young bodies.  They just didn’t understand how fast people were able to progress in the present “urgent” time.

I wasn’t sure that I agreed with her all the way on her idea that she was supposed to move so rapidly, but I reserved judgment until some work could be done.  But at least there was a reasonable explanation for the undercurrent that I had sensed at the church – the “old fashioned” attitude of the “older folks” as opposed to the “younger ones”.  It made perfect sense.  I could finally get some rest from the worrisome little glitches.  I didn’t know what to make of the “robes and rituals” remark, because I hadn’t really seen anything of that specific nature, but I let it pass.

Candy wanted to be my friend and have a much closer friendship than just the once weekly Reiki meeting.  She was a lot of fun, laughing and joking and mimicking other people’s foibles, in funny portrayals of everyone’s egotistical hang-ups.  This was always prefaced by “you know I love so-and-so, but …”

Sometimes I did wonder, though.  Would she make similar jokes about me to them?  Of course not!  Candy was my friend.  We had a special rapport.

The next Reiki night, I noticed a distinct tightness in Trudy’s face when I walked in the room and said hello.  She was distant and cool in her manner.  Because I had been primed by Candy to be more patient and understanding, I tried to defer to her ideas and keep my own opinions to myself.

Meanwhile, Trudy and George seemed to be having problems.  George stopped coming to Reiki, and Trudy spent entire sessions telling us all how dreadful her marriage was.  Later on, George would tell Louise, Candy and me terrible tales of how Trudy had turned from a sweet, devoted wife to an abusive monster who had even physically threatened him.  George was afraid she would kill him to have access to his money.  She had some sort of power, and he was helpless in the face of it. I asked George if he had ever considered getting a divorce if he truly feared for his life.

This led to a significant misunderstanding in which Trudy made me her avowed enemy for suggesting such a thing to her husband, and Louise and Candy refused to come to my defense.  Finally, we all set up a luncheon meeting to iron out the problem.

And at that meeting, I met Jeannie, an elderly woman with a reputation as a gifted psychic.

“You have the light in you,” Jeannie told me afterwards.  “Those people hate you for that.  When the light comes into the middle of darkness, it exposes things.  They can’t stand the light.  You have to be careful.  There are things out there that can really hurt you.  I know!  They’ve been trying to kill me all my life.  Now they are trying to kill you!  And beware of Louise!  Did you see how she didn’t say a word in your defense?  Well, that’s because she’s one of them!  And Candy, too.  You need to be on your guard.”

Well, after a declaration like that, I was sure that Jeannie was like “Aunt Clara” on the old TV series Bewitched.  What she was saying just did not make sense.  It was crazy talk.  But she was so sweet and sincere and urgently concerned that I assured her I would take the greatest care.  I promised to keep in touch.  I told Candy what she had said and we agreed that the poor dear may have been a good psychic (as Louise assured us) but she was obviously over the hill now!

I was wrong.

Continue to Chapter 42: Green Slime