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Chapter 2

Personal Encounters

It was early in the evening. I had just arrived home from my army base and collapsed exhausted on my bed. Lying for a time somewhere between deep sleep and wakefulness, I suddenly felt as if an ice-cold hand had touched my knee. I opened my eyes, but there was no one in the room. In fact, other than my parents who had already gone off to bed, there was no one in the house. Then I clearly heard a voice in my head. It was a familiar voice and speaking in Rumanian it said, "Take care of my children". I felt the hair rise on my arms and the chill of goose bumps as I realized it was the voice of my aunt who had passed away a few months previously.

The next incident occurred years later, after my transformation from a bachelor soldier to a married student of electrical engineering. I lied down to rest next to my wife. As I lied there with my eyes closed, I unmistakably felt the presence of someone else in the room. The feeling intensified until the presence was clearly that of my grandfather who was these past few months no longer among the living. He expressed his wish to read the newspaper.

One sunny Saturday morning I was happily writing a graphics software on my PC. My wife and two children were still asleep. I suddenly felt as though I'd picked up someone else's feelings. Someone who was very pleased with what I was doing. I found it quite curious and wondered what triggered the feeling. I had a growing sense of someone standing behind me, and I turned around to look. No one was there. At the same time, the image of a face began to take shape in my mind. I could see only the bottom half at first. Judging from the lines and wrinkles, it seemed to be the face of an elderly woman, and someone I had never seen before. This time I decided to try and communicate. I formed a question in my mind, "What's your name?". "Olga", came the answer even before the question was completely formed. "How old are you?", I asked. "86", came the very quick reply. "Where are you from?" As I asked that question, it suddenly occurred to me that I was communicating with a "ghost". In fright, I cut off communications.

I started a new job as computer engineer with one of the country's biggest companies. I finished work late one night and was impatient to get home. No sooner did I get into my car, than I heard a voice in my head saying "Watch out!" The presence sitting next to me in the car was very strong and there was no mistaking its identity. It was my father who had died of cancer several months before. I was stunned. I thought I must be imagining things. But the sense of him sitting next to me was too strong and clear to dismiss. I tried to talk with him in my head, but didn't succeed. It seemed as if the communications were cut off and unclear. I didn't actually hear voices. It was still in the realm of "it seemed as if". But his presence was constant over the next few days and I found it very disturbing. This time I didn't allow myself to ignore what was happening to me as I had in the past. I decided that if this is in fact the spirit of my father, I won't turn him away with my silence. On the other hand, I seriously questioned my sanity.

For several days, every time I got into my car, he was there. I didn't understand what was happening. I thought I must be imagining it, going through some psychological upset. I decided to consult with my family doctor. He reassured me by saying he'd heard of such things before and no doubt it will go away in time. But not only did it not go away, it seemed to become more entrenched. One day I parked in a spot where the field of vision was blocked. I put the car in reverse and was about to pull out when I heard my father quietly say, "Wait a moment". I did as he asked. Within a few seconds a heavy truck came up from behind and sped past the car. I just sat there in amazement. Without a doubt, if I had pulled out when I intended to, I would have collided with the truck, not with happy consequences. This event finally convinced me that I was communicating with something more than the creations of my own imagination.

One evening at home, I was working at the computer. The radio was playing in the background. Reception wasn't very good and I reached out my hand to adjust it. Maybe I adjusted the reception in my head at the same time, because I suddenly heard the voice of my father again. He shouted to me, "Write, write, write!!!" I grabbed paper and pen and started writing whatever came into my head. Words and sentences poured out at a rapid even tempo. This was my first experience of communication through writing. I received messages from my father and my grandfather. Suddenly there was a disturbance in the flow, something unclear. As if someone I didn't know was "on our line", I heard a female voice asking to look for her son who had died. I didn't answer the voice. I put the pen down. I took the piece of paper I had been writing on and hid it. I was unnerved and afraid.

A few days later when I recovered my calm, I decided to try again. This time I sat at my computer and typed: "Father, can you hear me?". To my surprise, I didn't have to wait long for an answer. My fingers flew across the keyboard and I typed everything that went through my mind. I felt like I was conducting an imaginary dialogue with myself. But it was all happening far too fast for me to have been thinking it up as I typed. When I finished, I read through what I had written. I was amazed at the extent to which it was a logical, fluent dialogue. The answers to questions clearly reflected my father's character and verbal style.

These communications continued and my fears grew from day to day. But so did my curiosity and it seemed to cancel out the fear. As I usually do, I asked a lot of questions, such as, "Explain to me what's going on here." My father tried to answer to the best of his ability and understanding.

One day, after I posed a particularly difficult question, the answer came back in the plural. I asked my father to explain why and he answered that he was not alone. He said he was with a group of people like himself, which is to say "spirits", all of them trying to answer my questions. Together, they were more knowledgeable than my father alone and they provided me with fascinating descriptions of their world as they understand it. The process began to accelerate. Communications became more frequent and I began reading on the subject, everything I could lay my hands on. My home library grew from day to day, as did my computer files of communications.

I was awakened one night by my son's crying. I sat up in bed and saw my wife walking toward the balcony. She was wearing a red velvet robe with embroidered flowers on it. I tried to recall the robe, but couldn't remember having seen it before and realized my wife had no such robe. It actually looked more like a dress from the previous century. I couldn't actually see her head or feet. I turned my head to follow her movement and from the corner of my eye I was shocked to see that my wife was lying in bed beside me, still asleep. The figure in the red robe continued walking toward the balcony and faded away.

As an educated person with a scientific and technological background, I was never drawn to the mysterious or mystical. My logical and carefully considered way of thinking didn't allow me to accept the unexplained. At the same time, I was always willing to admit that we don't know everything there is to know, which means we have to be open to new ideas. The mystical, the exalted, the godly, were never subjects of inquiry for me. I did, however, always enjoy the branch of literature known as science fiction because it combined advanced technological knowledge with futuristic possibilities and fascinating theories that fired the imagination. I liked pondering things like existence on the edge of a black hole, or parallel univ.The probability of there being alien life somewhere in the universe seemed to me almost a certainty. Life after death didn't. I haven't managcome up with an explanation that even begins to satisfy me or that would even form the basis of an imaginary explanation in a science fiction novel. I've read books about the existence of the soul as separate from the body, but have not been convinced. Other than reading a few books, I never made a study of the subject. Until that period in my life when I began to have these strange experiences, I had never taken part in a seance and I never approached anyone presenting themselves as a "medium".

My greatest difficulty with the whole business was not being able to talk to anyone about what I was experiencing. My friends and work colleagues knew me as a computer engineer, a rational, reasonable per

It was then that I decided to contact a well-known medium and professional healer, Valerio Borgush. He validated the authenticity of my experiences and helped me come to terms with what was happening. In order to convince me, Valerio made contact with my father and gave me information about things that only my father could have known. Then I asked a question directed at my father and received an answer in my head. Not a second later, I heard Valerio repeat my father's answer, word for word. He proved that we were both receiving the same communications.

I told Valerio about my experiences - that from time to time I feel a presence in the room with me and I can see faded figures in the background. We soon became fast friends engaging in long conversations together. He explained that the physical body is just a small part of what we know as human beings. The body goes the way of all flesh, dies and is buried, but the rest continues to exist and function. All we have to do is learn how to make contact with it. To illustrate, he told me to image that the physical body is a car and the soul is the driver. When the car is old and stops running, you trade it in for a new model. Sometimes, during my conversations with Valerio, I had strange sensations. It would seem to me that Valerio's personality would change, as if I was suddenly speaking with someone else. I felt that, clearly, not only Valerio was interested in satisfying my curiosity, but also the "spirits" that were in contact with him.

On my way to visit Valerio one day, I was bothered by a medical problem and I wondered to myself over and over, "Is there anyone who can help me?". Suddenly I became aware of a voice in my head. It was a deep voice and asked me very specific questions about my problem. The tone of the voice and type of questions gave the impression of an intelligent and experienced person, perhaps a doctor. My mind formed the image of a round face with a trim mustache and beard. The conversation in my head carried on all the way to Valerio's clinic. I wondered what I thought I was doing, but I nevertheless continued the conversation. When I arrived, I reported the whole experience to Valerio, who burst out laughing. "That was Dr. Stephan. He was a famous Austrian surgeon. He's a great talker. He could keep you up all night. I'd leave him alone."

I was at a celebration in a big hall where the music was so loud that people communicated by gesticulating and shouting at each other. Conversation was out, so to fill in the time between the salads and the chicken breast I decided to try out my new skill. I turned my focus inward and asked in my head if anyone was in the area. Almost immediately I received a string of unclear words in a language I did not understand. It sounded like Spanish. I answered in my mind to get the speaker's attention, and finally we began to communicate in English. My conversation partner proudly told of her childhood in Spain and her life in Victorian England. The content of the conversation, the tone of her voice and the images I picked up gave me a picture of her during her years of glory in England, creating the image of a character that was frighteningly real. She revealed herself as a spirit that inhabits this place after having experienced a later life as a woman who lived to an old age and died near to the place where the wedding hall was built.