Learn more about Nellie Sharp.
Elaine recently learned a little more about Nellie's life and death. Apparently, Nellie filed for divorce from John McGirl in Spokane a few weeks before she got on the train for Wellington. In the divorce papers, she cited emotional and physical abuse. She was separated but not yet divorced when she was killed.
This is why John McGirl was listed as Nellie's next of kin and was able to collect the money the Great Northern Railway gave for burial to each of the families of the Wellington avalanche victims. Instead of collecting Nellie's body and having her buried, he took the money and didn't claim her body. Her sisters came out from Illinois to bring Nellie home to rest. The Sharp family didn't have enough money for a headstone, so Nellie was buried 104 years ago today without one.
Now she has one. The cemetery tells me it was set today.
It's the way of live radio that things don't always go as planned. I've been co-hosting Paranormal Underground Radio with Rick Hale for years now, and occasionally all of our carefully laid plans go up in smoke minutes before the show is supposed to air. Heck, sometimes it happens when the show is already on the air - such as when a guest fails to answer their phone when we call them for their interview partway through the show.
When these situations arise, what listeners hear on the air is mild dismay along the lines of, "Oh shoot! I was really looking forward to talking to him/her."
What goes on behind the scenes, however, can only be described as all-out bedlam. While we sound calm on the air, we're usually in the midst of a full-blown panic about how we are going to entertain our listeners for the next few hours. Still, when these things happen, we know we just have to wing it, and so we do. Ironically, sometimes these panic-inducing shows turn out to be among my favorite we've ever done.
Such is the case of our show last night. Rick was off for the evening, and our guest canceled at the last minute. Fortunately the fabulous Chuck Gotski of In the Dark Radio filled in for Rick, and he brought his lovely daughter, Rachel, along as a guest (that's Chuck and Rachel, above). Rachel is 17 and gearing up for her first investigation with her dad's team. Chuck and I wound up picking her brain for over an hour, getting one teen's view of all of this paranormal stuff. It led to some pretty thought-provoking conversation that continued after Rachel said good-bye. As Chuck and I continued our on-the-air conversation, listeners in the chat room had plenty of questions for the two of us that led to in-depth discussion about paranormal and metaphysical topics.
One listener asked a question I actually get a lot, and it's this: Do ghosts know they are dead?
It's a good question. It's also one that's the subject of much debate in the paranormal field. I've formed my own opinion based on my years of experience communicating with ghosts, the metaphysical and spiritual understanding I have of the universe based on my education and studies, as well as activities in which I've engaged such as spirit communication and life-between-lives hypnotherapy.
I don't believe it is a question of whether ghosts know they are dead. I would imagine some do and some may be confused. In some cases, what we experience as "ghosts" are people who have already crossed over coming back to visit from the other side. These spirits definitely know they're dead, and they're just checking in on people or places they've loved. Other energies we experience as ghosts may not be dead at all. One theory suggests they could be spirits of people sleeping and traveling astrally in dreams. Others may be living people consciously engaged in astral travel. Other spirits we encounter might just be a recording of a life event - nothing more than a memory that plays itself over and over similar to a song on a DVD.
But what of those spirits who, for lack of a better definition, seem like they could be trapped here in this plane as ghosts, unable to cross over to the other side?
This is what I believe: These spirits aren't trapped. They can cross over whenever they wish because the doorway is always there, open to them. Instead, the issue many of these types of spirits have is that they continue to remain ego-identified with who they were in their last lifetime. It's not a matter of whether they know they are dead. It's that they don't remember who they truly are as a soul. Somehow, their identity has remained entangled with their past living self, and they've temporarily forgotten that who they really are is a piece of the Divine.
I believe when we come into each lifetime, we agree to forget who we are as souls. It's like going to a movie, agreeing to suspend disbelief, and immersing oneself into the world of the film for a few hours. In the case of souls, we do this for a lifetime. Some people may remember who they really are and identify with their soul state during their lives. Others remain engaged in the illusion of life until the point of their death, when suddenly they let go of their ego identities and merge with their Divine (soul) selves. Others struggle with letting go of the ego-identity a little more and may remain as "earthbound" spirits until such a time as something (or someone) helps them to recall their own Divinity.
Does that mean they don't know they're dead? It's hard to say. What it does mean is that, for the moment, they don't recall their own Divinity. Eventually they will, because we all do. For now, they don't.
There are many reasons a spirit may remain ego-identified after death, such as wanting to protect possessions, attachment to a place, trying to find lost loved ones, asking to have a story told, or fear that acts in life may lead to Hell in the hereafter. There are as many reasons for remaining ego-identified as their are souls in that state.
My goal is always to help them find a way to remember their Divinity so they can make the choice to go through the doorway and re-merge with the Source of all that is. Sometimes this takes a quick conversation. Sometimes it takes hours, days, weeks, months, or even years depending on the spirit and the situation. I never demand they go or tell them they have to cross over, because I believe it isn't my place to tell any other soul - living or dead - what he or she should do along the path. Instead, I communicate with them just as I would a living person in an attempt to help them resolve their issues so they can move on to the next stage of their evolution.
Listen to my recent appearance on In the Dark Radio with my good friend, Chuck Gotski.
After looking through all my writings about Wellington over the years, I've come to realize I just haven't give enough love to my favorite haunt in my own back yard. I'm talking, of course, about the Lewis County Historical Museum.
My team, South Sound Paranormal Research, has been investigating at the museum for years. The paranormal activity at the museum has been featured on an episode of Biography Channel's My Ghost Story. I wrote a little about the museum in Dancing with the Afterlife, and also featured it in an article in Paranormal Underground. It is a very active place, and we've captured a great deal of evidence over the years.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the museum closed to paranormal investigation for a few years, although I've worked at the museum as a volunteer during that time. Luckily, we were able to return in January, and we weren't disappointed. It remains highly active, with spirits that engage investigators.
In a bit of great news for anyone wishing to experience the Lewis County Historical Museum, it has reopened for investigation. There is a fee to investigate because the museum is a non-profit organization and needs to pay someone to be there during the investigation. For more information, you can contact the museum director, Andy. You can also visit the museum during its regular hours, which are currently Tuesday - Friday 10-3 and Saturday 10-2.
To see/hear some of the evidence we've collected at the museum, visit the evidence pages of SSPR's website.
We all live the stories we tell ourselves. We can’t help but do so. Our every thought, choice, action, and experience is driven by such narratives. In most cases, we don’t understand we’re living out these fairy tales, because we don’t realize they exist. The problem is that we don’t recognize we’re living in a fable based on false beliefs that causes limitations in our lives, keeping us from becoming the most beautiful expression of who we truly are.
My life has been a series of stories. While the tales have grown grander and more complex as I’ve expanded my understanding of the universe, they still have served to limit my definition of who I am, as well as my belief in my own capabilities.
When I was born I had no such stories. I came into the world knowing exactly who and what I was. But then I forgot, just as we all do. The forgetting wasn’t instantaneous. It happened gradually as I took the inevitable journey virtually all humans take from soul to ego.
In the beginning, I knew no fables. Instead, I experienced the world through the mythology of others. Soon, however, their truth about me became my own, and the true glory of my being dissolved from my memory. It faded like a sepia photograph packed away in a forgotten drawer.
This is the path humans take as we explore our lives in the physical plane. We come fully enlightened, knowing that we will be slowly conditioned to forget. Once our true nature slips completely from our memories, we function within a new, limited and false view of who we are.
In our forgetting, we completely believe our own personal mythology. We drift through at least part of our life awash in the trappings of the ego, bowing before the false gods of power, human knowledge, and consumerism. We create drama, outrages, joys, fears, and sorrows without realizing they are merely illusions of separation. While we create these phantasms, the spark of who we truly are remains locked away in a hidden tower with sturdy walls that holds the secret drawer containing a faded photograph waiting to come to life in full vibrant color once more.
All it takes is a single moment to spark remembrance. Then, that first nascent flicker reveals as false a tiny part of the wall of ego we’ve built. The flicker becomes a single flame, and then a raging inferno. In the brightness of the flames, we can suddenly see that the walls we’ve constructed to prop up our “personality” are nothing more than illusions that have little to do with who and what we truly are. It is then that we can begin the process of remembering that our essence is love, and that everything else is nothing more than a myth.
In my book Dancing with the Afterlife: A Paranormal Memoir I talk at length about how my struggle with faith (and my lack of faith) has been one of the defining characteristics of my life. It's something I have believed to be true about myself for years - that faith has been extremely difficult for me to find.
I knew I wasn't a person of faith at quite an early age, although I kept quiet about it for years before I finally tentatively started mentioning it to people. I grew up in the Christian church. Even as pre-adolescent girl, I just knew I didn't have the same depth of Christian belief as everyone else around me. To make up for my lack of faith, I was the consummate young Christian scholar. I knew all the stories. I memorized more Bible verses than anyone else around me. I could argue theology with anyone and hold my own pretty darn well. I even surrounded myself with the Christian kids as my primary social group in hopes of obtaining some kind of a Jesus contact high. It never came.
I wanted what I perceived everyone else around me to have - a deep and abiding faith in something greater than myself. To my young eyes, everyone seemed dialed in to this God and Jesus stuff, and they seemed quite happy to be so. I could never find it, and I could never feel it. But I never stopped looking.
At the age of 18, I finally started declaring to a few to whom I was very close that I was an atheist. I didn't believe in anything - certainly not God, certainly not Jesus as anything more than a historical figure, and certainly not the human soul. For most of my adult life, I applied one of two labels to myself: Atheist and Agnostic.
The irony is this: I never stopped looking.
While I was busy rejecting the Christian God with all my might, I kept my search up for the mystical. I was fascinated by spiritual (not religious) topics such as reincarnation, consciousness, and the survival of the human soul after death. I was also raptly interested in the historic Jesus and the true history associated with many of the Biblical stories with which I grew up.
Recently, I realized something major. If I'd lived my life so bereft of faith as I believed, then I wouldn't have spent my entire life looking for it. The mere fact I spent the better part of four decades seeking the Divine tells me I did, indeed, have faith or I just would have stopped. I believe now that what I thought of through most of my life as a struggle with faith was, instead, rebellion against the paternalistic Judeo-Christian version of God. It wasn't faith that didn't work for me - it was religion.
In order to seek Truth, one must have faith that ultimate truth exists. For me, that search started as a young child deciding how I felt about the stories of Jesus and continues until this day. I may not go about it in a traditional way, but I have been seeking the Source as surely as any person engaged in any holy pursuit.
Along the way, what I perceived as my struggle with faith was, in fact, my struggle with my own search - because the way I went about looking didn't resemble anyone else's relationship with the Divine, as far as I could tell. I was never rejecting God. I was rejecting my personal way of finding the Divine.
In truth, I let what others said and did get to me. Many people over the years have had a lot to say about the way I personally chose to seek God. I've had people tell me I'm going to Hell. I've had others tell me I have the Devil inside of me. Others have called me a charlatan. Some make jokes. Others roll their eyes. Others either ignore it altogether (I have a few relationships in my life where my spiritual activities are a taboo subject - we pretend they don't exist at all) or politely suggest that I get myself to a church STAT. I understand these are all well-meaning people living with their own version of faith - one that works for them. I don't hold it against them.
I had few role models in my personal life to show me there was another way to experience Divinity. Luckily, my dad was always a very open-minded presence who sought faith in his own way, much as I was doing. He encouraged me to find my own God, and his support and non-judgment through the years was instrumental in my continued search. Just knowing I had a least one person who didn't judge helped me keep going.
I now consider myself a person of faith, even though my God is very different than the one I grew up with. Over the years, the Divine kept leaving me clues that encouraged me on my search, if I was only willing to see them for what they truly were.
Regardless of where you are on your search for Divinity, this blog it is one of God's clues for you. Keep seeking the Divine in a way that is meaningful to you. Don't listen to those who feel you need to be on their path and only their path. There are as many ways to find the Source as their are souls in the universe, and no single path is better than any other. How you get there is up to you, but remember this: the fact that you are continuing to seek the Divine is its own version of faith in action.