By Abigail Kimball, from Sheila Connolly’s Defending the Dead
It’s me again, and I’ve got so much to share! Last year I thought I had things all nicely lined up: a job I liked, a nice place to live while I sorted out my life, and a great guy, Ned Newhall. Well, the first two kind of went away when I discovered my boss’s daughter Ellie could also see dead people like I can. That was just about a year ago—we were getting ready for Patriots’ Day, which is a big deal in Concord, Massachusetts.
Anyway, Leslie (my boss) wasn’t exactly happy to hear about her daughter’s ability and she fired me. Not that I blame her: I know it was a shock for me when I found out I could do it, and it took me a while to get used to it. I’d never told Leslie anything about my “gift,” and no way was she ready to hear that her daughter had it too. And then the people whose house I was taking care of came back, and I had nowhere to go.
So Ned asked me to move in with him, as more than just roommates, if you know what I mean. Which is great, because he’s a wonderful guy, and he understands this “seeing” thing, because he has it too. Even his mother has some of it. Now we’re living in a great old Victorian house in Lexington that Ned bought a while back and hasn’t gotten around to fixing up, so I’m trying to do some of that. Like stripping antique wallpaper.
But I want to know more about this seeing thing, so I decided to give myself a test: go to Salem and see what I could “see.” Yes, that Salem, where the witch trials took place. I’d been there once, doing the touristy thing, but that was before… So I went to Salem and I saw…something, and I knew there was more. Then I went back and took Ned along, and things really started happening.
I only see the dead through the eyes of my ancestors, and only when they were under conditions of great stress or emotional intensity--I think that's the only way they leave a trace behind. Salem provided plenty of both. It was a kind of overwhelming experience for me, and I learned a lot. I think most people really don’t know what happened there—but I’ve seen some of it, and it was a really sad time. Maybe that’s why people still visit Salem—to remember how awful it was in 1692, so that it never happens again.