My next blog after this one, dear readers, will be a review of Read With the Light On: True Ghost Stories by Kathleen Rothenberger. The writer and the stories intrigue me both, so I asked Kathleen Rothenberger to pop on over to talk about how she got involved in writing these stories and some other juicy stuff about her.
Thanks, Kathleen, for sharing with us today. I’ve never been this close to a ghost hunter!
It’s wonderful to be asked on your blog. I hope the audience would feel free to ask me any questions which come to mind about my profession.
What brought you to this point in your life?
My family has always been psychic and mediums, going back many generations. In my generation, it’s just myself and my sister who inherited the abilities.
She was only a medium, and I started out only a psychic. There is a difference, as all mediums are psychic, but not all psychics are mediums, with the ability to speak with the other side.
I guess what brought me to this point is a combination of things. My husband and I used to own our own company and the economy knocked us down. A friend of mine, also a psychic, suggested that I actually work as a psychic, as she felt I was very talented at it. So, I’ve been working as a psychic and medium since the 1990s. The book came as a result of two conversations on the same day with different friends, each said I should really write a book, so I sat down and did it.
When did you start feeling the spirit world?
I’d have to say that was very early on, probably about eight years old or so, when a bunch of my friends were all playing on the swingset, and my friend decided to try something stupid, and I heard in my head “Don’t let her do that, she’ll get hurt.”
I tried to stop her but she almost broke her ankle, trying to stop the glider swing with five kids on it, by dragging her foot. That was probably the first time I remember hearing or feeling the spirit world. It was kind of weird, but I didn’t realize that everyone didn’t have the same abilities.
Can you remember the first time you saw a ghost?
I’d have to say that it was the appearance of my mother, a week after she died. It was like her passing flipped a switch in me, so that I could see her, and be at peace that she was fine, healthy and happy. I didn’t dare tell my dad, as he didn’t believe in this stuff, even though his wife and two daughters could communicate with the spirit world, he disregarded it.
However, after a while, he’d call me and say “Kathy, I think I’m going crazy, I just felt like your mother was here with me.” So, I’d tell him he wasn’t crazy, that my mom was there with him, and it brought him comfort. They were married 38 years and he missed her so, after she died.
Do the ghosts expect anything from you? Are you able to put them at rest, so to speak?
Most of the spirits I’ve spoken to over the years have wanted to let their families and loved ones know that they are at peace on the other side/in Heaven, whatever you want to call it.
I have had spirits tell me where their wills are, or where investment papers are, so their wives don’t have to worry about money, or just to pop in and say “Hi, I love you! I’m still around!”
The story in my book about the Haunted Hearse is when a medium friend and I had to send 126 spirits to the other side, so that they were at peace.
I’m so glad you circled the spirits in the back of his hearse. I see them, a woman, a man and the top of little boy’s head. Yikes! I’ll make sure to put this picture into my review!
One story that I’m writing for my next book is about a man who passed away and was relieved that he didn’t have to deal with his nagging wife anymore. She came to me to talk to him, and he appeared to me, begging me NOT to tell her that he was there, as he said it was so peaceful without her, he hoped she lived another 20+ years! So, in accordance with his wishes, I did not tell his wife that he was there with us.
Do any ghosts actually talk with you, telling you of their problem?
Some do, yes. If they want to tell their family certain information, such as if the family wonders if it’s a suicide or other cause of death, the spirits will tell me that it was totally accidental, or once, it was actually a suicide, but the spirit changed his mind immediately, but too late, so he asked me to tell his family it was an accident, which it sort of was. The spirit’s wife was so relieved, saying “I KNEW he wouldn’t KILL himself.” The ghost said “Yeah, love, I did, but I know it was a mistake. But I’m ok with it now.” He did not want me to tell her that part, so I didn’t.
I hear a lot of “shoulda, woulda, coulda” from the other side, when it’s too late to fix it.
One of my favorite connections with the spirit world was a woman who wanted to talk to her deceased fiance, who had gone into the hospital for an operation and didn’t make it. When he came through, I heard Frank Sinatra singing “Fly Me To The Moon”, and when I asked her if that had any significance, she started crying her eyes out. That was the song he would sing to her all the time, so she was certain that he was really there, letting her know it was him. By the time that reading was over, I was in tears right along with her.
How often do you go a-ghost-hunting? I understand your husband joins you.
For about three years, my husband and I led a Halloween History and Hauntings tour in Belleview, Florida, with a friend who was the historian part of the tour, showing interested people the haunted homes and buildings in the area. When we were really going on a lot of investigations, we probably did it twice a month or more. We haven’t gone very often lately, because of time constraints, and because my husband has a bad knee.
Last weekend I did go on a short investigation at a very interesting house, it was all boarded up, and haunted by a very malevolent evil spirit. I wasn’t planning on going into the house but when we got there, the spirit was saying “Come here, come on, you know you want to!” So I did. Wow, the energy in there was e-v-i-l. As I wandered around part of the house, I felt horrible energy, and the man that was with me asked where I felt it coming from. I pointed to one particular room, and said “whoever it is, he was in there, and they kept him there.” Then the man showed me something I’d missed. Over my head, on the door and door jamb was both sides of a lock hasp, and a padlock. The evil person had been LOCKED in that room. No wonder I felt such awful energy. They were protecting themselves from whoever that was.
Does each person who feels the spirit world, feel it in the same way?
No, we don’t. I have been on investigations with other mediums who pick up things that I don’t, and I’ve picked up things that they don’t. It’s kind of like watching a movie or reading a book, everyone has different takes on things.
Some mediums can see spirits as clear as they see live people, others just can hear or sense them. I am able to see, hear and feel them, sometimes as clear as live people, sometimes just as energy, it depends on how well the spirit is able to project their energy to me.
A friend of mine had to get a bluetooth headset, as she can see them as clear as day, and her daughter felt her mom looked weird carrying on entire conversations out loud with “invisible people”, so now it just looks like she’s on her phone. I can hear them either out loud or in my head, and see them in various ways.
That sounds really interesting! I thought that only happened in movies. Can you expand on this thought?
Actually, there are two movies that depict hauntings pretty well-Ghost, with Patrick Swayze, and Sixth Sense, with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. Those are pretty realistic depictions of what hauntings are like, from both sides, the spirit side and the still alive side. A certain segment of the population can indeed hear, see and feel spirits, and it’s kind of like a “secret club”, as we can “sense” each other.
We hear from a lot of people “Oh, man, I wish I could do what you do, I’d love to talk to ghosts.” Nope, you wouldn’t. It is a big responsibility to have, with spirits trying to get you to give messages to their loved ones all the time. In the mediumship sessions I’ve done, I’ve acted like the telephone line, to bring together the living and the dead so that both sides have closure.But it does take a lot out of you, and you end up having to put “walls” up, so you aren’t constantly bombarded by spirit.
Tell us a little about your writing career.
I’d have to say ghost stories, as Read With the Lights On: True Ghost Stories is my first book, and it’s a collection of true paranormal investigations. It was sitting in the back of my mind for ages, and then one day, two friends suggested that I write them down in book form. I’ve always believed in “signs”, so when both of these women suggested it on the same day, I decided “okay, it’s time.” So, I sat down and wrote them all out in a notebook, and then typed them up. I write best in a notebook, it’s easier for me to organize my thoughts with pen in my hand.
They say “write what you know”, so the genre of paranormal investigations and tales from the other side is what I know. My husband wants me to write a book about our dogs, and another one about his 40+ years in the television industry, but I’m afraid working on that with him would be very difficult, so I’m sticking to ghosts for now.
When I write a story, it comes from my memory of events that happened, whether to me, or people I know, so it grows from my personal experiences. I am constantly amazed at how other authors can create entire worlds and populate them with imaginary people. I am more comfortable writing about things I know.
So really, your writing is more a journal of events, right?
Yes, it is, pretty much. This book, Read With the Lights On: True Ghost Stories was written in bits and pieces, as each short story came to mind. Then, when I thought I had a suitable number of stories for a book, I put them in some sort of order, that made sense at the time. I am currently working another book of ghost stories, which will also be based on my personal experiences. The next book may include some stories of psychic and medium readings that I have been involved in.
Most of my stories are personal. My family has had psychic abilities for generations, and in my generation, my sister and I inherited these abilities. The one story that means the most to me emotionally, is the story about my mother. I’m getting tears in my eyes just thinking about her. She was an amazing woman, and my best friend. She battled cancer from the time I was four years old, till she passed away when I was 38. I miss her to this day, we would talk on the phone every day and no matter what, she was always upbeat and positive.
Once an investigation is in my head, it’s like the spirits are saying “Write my story, I don’t want to be forgotten!” With a request like that, how could I refuse?
Thank you so much for coming on, Kathleen. Readers, if you have questions, ask away. Tomorrow I’ll post my review of her book.