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We Are Eternal: What the Spirits Tell Me About Life After Death
by Robert Brown

 

 

Chapter 1: 
Different Country, Same Question

 

Whether I'm in New Zealand, Europe, the United States, India, or any country that I have visited, whenever it comes to the question-and-answer times after my readings, I can virtually guarantee that one of the first questions I'll be asked is, "When did you first become aware of spirit? When did you first realize that you had psychic gifts?" I can guarantee that this is the same question most mediums are asked. This question is invariably followed by, "Why you?"

Like most people, I can't remember many parts of my childhood. My family tells me that certain things happened when I was young, but I have absolutely no memory of them! But when I am asked how I first became aware of spirit, the incident is as fresh in my mind as anything that happened today or yesterday.

There were five children in my family and I was the baby. My mother had me late in life, and to have a child at almost forty years of age in the 1950s in London, England, was quite unusual. Needless to say, I was the spoiled one, and my three sisters and brother were not pleased to have their pecking order changed by this usurper.

Our family was not rich by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, materially we were poor, but we were all very much loved. Being poor meant sharing bedrooms and wearing hand-me-down clothes, amongst other hardships. And because my mother had five children to contend with, when it came to bath night the older kids would have the actual bath, and often my mother would wash me in our old ceramic kitchen sink. I was about five years old when, one Friday evening, Mum was washing me as usual in the sink, and for some reason she was called to our front door and I was left alone, probably for no longer than five minutes. In those five minutes, though, my life was changed forever.

I was sitting in the little plastic bowl that had been placed in the sink, just splashing in the few inches of water. In front of me were the faucets, a little above them was the window, and it was dark outside. I was looking up at the window, when quite suddenly a man's face appeared; he was smiling, then laughing and pointing at me. This frightened me, and I began first to cry and then to scream. My poor mother came running and tried to calm me, and through my tears all I could say was, "The man, the man at the window was laughing at me. "Before you think it was just a peeping Tom, I should mention that at the time we lived in an apartment that was five stories up, a good one hundred feet above the ground! Though my mother tried to convince me that there was no such man in the window, we had not seen the last of that visitor, for he was to return and make himself known again.

That incident in the tub is so real to me it is almost as if it was permanently etched on my memory. I cannot tell you how my sixth or seventh birthdays were celebrated. They were clearly happy times, and we have the films and photographs that show this, yet I cannot recall any specific details about them. But if you ask me about what happened on that night when I was just five years old I can practically relive every moment of it, except that now I understand there is nothing to fear.

The second time I came across the mysterious laughing man, I was around eight years old, a shy child who did not mix very easily with other children. Although I had four siblings, I spent much of my time alone. I had a fascination with all the old family photographs and documents that Mother kept in what we called "Mum's Egyptian bag. "This had been a present from my father, which he had brought back from his time in the service during World War II.

It was full of birth and death certificates, obituary cards, and personal letters. Along with the photographs in Mum's precious bag there was a photograph album. My father was born in 1918 and my mother the following year, so many of the wonderful photographs and documents that had been handed down actually came from the Victorian era. And Mum kept everything. Though she could not understand my fascination with these old photographs, she was always very patient in allowing me to look through the album "one more time. "Many an hour I would spend just turning the pages and looking at the pictures, mostly of people I had never met. One day I came across a photograph that had been tucked behind another. It just fell out as I turned the page, and there staring up at me was the face I had seen at the window. I cannot explain it, I just knew that I had seen him before. Instantly I had a flashback and clearly recalled sitting in the sink crying.

It was like reliving the experience, except that this time I was not scared, I was curious. Who was he? I wandered into the kitchen where Mum was busy preparing dinner, "Mum, this man, do you remember I saw a man at the window? This is him. "My mother glanced at the photograph, and I saw the color drain from her face. She looked ill. She took the photograph from me and told me to go back into the sitting room. After a short time Mother came to speak to me. I could see she had been crying. I was sure I was in trouble. Mum said that it was impossible for me to have seen that man and that I was not to mention it to anyone ever again. I persisted, "Mum, I did see him, I know him but don't know how or when I met him. "In desperation my mother explained that the photograph was of her brother, whom she had loved very much, who had died tragically some years before. I had never met him and she told me I was not to mention seeing him ever again. "After all, "she cautioned me, "they lock people up for talking like that."

No one can blame my mother for reacting the way she did. She was being confronted with something she did not and could not understand. A superstitious lady, my mother never walked under ladders, would not let a black cat cross her path, and always threw salt over her left shoulder if any was spilled in the house. Being told by your favorite child that he had seen your dead brother must have been a frightening and confusing experience for her, and yet this was not a new occurrence in our family. My brother, who is seven years older than I am, told me years later, after I had become a professional medium, that he had seen spirits as a teenager. At one point while I was growing up, several kids in our area were seeing "ghosts, "and it was taken seriously enough for the local priest to come along and bless the flats where we lived. Whether these sightings were genuine or not, I cannot say. All I know is the experience I had was very real. From that point on mother never mentioned the incident again. Over the years, I did manage to get her to answer a couple of questions about this previously unknown man: "What was your brother's name?" "Ernie, "was the reply. "How did he die?" "Cancer, "she replied, and immediately she would get flustered and change the subject.

Apart from these two formative experiences at ages five and eight, nothing truly extraordinary happened during my childhood except that I did have this uncanny (and unnerving!) ability to know when some people would die. Though I wasn't aware of it at the time, I was able to perceive—and read—auras. Occasionally I would blurt out to my mother, "Mrs. So and So or Mr. X does not have long. "My mother would be shocked and tell me that it was a wicked thing to say. I did not think it wicked myself, since I knew that I had nothing to do with their passing. Rather, I would just notice that the vibrant colors that I saw surrounding most people did not surround these people ;the mist that floated around them was close to their bodies and a sort of brown, lifeless color. Somehow, I instinctively knew that this meant their time was up. These predictions were seldom incorrect.

I have always, even from an early age, been interested in religion—any and all religion. When my brother and sisters and I were young, my parents sent all of us to Sunday school. First, we attended Sunday school at St. Mary 's Church of England in Islington, London, where I loved hearing the stories from the Bible and used to daydream a lot. Then someone discovered that the local Baptist church ran a youth club where they gave free orange juice and biscuits. Suffice it to say, we switched to that school quite quickly. But before you could have the juice you had to repeat all the prayers and lessons they taught. I remember at the age of about nine being refused the freebies by a dragon of an old lady, because I had brought along a new friend. I had told .even promised .him that we would get juice and biscuits! But when the dragon lady spoke to him and found out that he was a Catholic, she said, "We don't have those people here. "Even then, I couldn't understand why some people's view of religion was so narrow: One day she told us about brotherly love, the next she refused my newfound friend. But she would not budge on the issue, and I was refused the goodies, too, being instructed to make friends only with my "own kind. "We left the Baptist church but not before we kids had a great time playing in the baptismal font! The Salvation Army was the next church to get our attention; I loved the music and my parents said that the Army did good work for many, but there were so many rules to follow! You could only marry another Salvationist, although why that bothered me at the age of ten I have no idea! It was clear that I was becoming what some termed a rebel, in the area of religion anyway!

When I was about twelve my eldest sister got married. Her husband was Jewish, and she had to convert to Judaism in order to marry him. This caused a lot of problems, as my mother refused to go to a synagogue and his mother refused to go to church. My sister and her husband compromised and got married in a civil office first, and later my sister and brother-in-law had another wedding in the synagogue.

By the age of fifteen I had seen and experienced a little bit of quite a few religions. In addition to being aware of my sister's Judaism, I had also flirted with Buddhism in the late sixties and early seventies, thanks to a friend whose parents were complete hippies. I had learned enough to realize that there was good and bad in all of them. Each certainly had its merits, and yet each seemed to be limited by rules and prejudices. I did not realize it at the time, but I now believe that Spirit was guiding me, giving me an immersion course on all the options open to mankind. I was not led by the nose, I simply freely followed my natural curiosity. I was looking for something more, and in sending out that thought, Spirit was soon to answer my quest. Why me? Why was I given this psychic gift? While I believe that everyone is psychic to some degree, it is clear that some have an innate sense that can be further developed. Are mediums born with their gift? I believe they are. Just as most people can swim, though only those who practice become champions, so mediums are born, and it is up to the individual to want to develop, to dare to ask the questions that have puzzled mankind from the beginning of time. It was my good fortune to have the courage to ask those questions. Eventually, my innate psychic gifts and my curiosity about religion came together. I was sixteen when I was introduced to my good friend and mentor Peter Close, who set me on the path of self-discovery. In this way Spirit answered my request.


Copyright 2003 Robert Brown

Excerpt posted with permission from http://www.twbookmark.com

Many thanks to AOL Time Warner Book Group (Little, Brown & Company, Warner Books, A Time Warner Company) at: www.twbookmark.com. We appreciate their cooperation with OfSpirit.com to share this chapter of their book with our visitors for education, entertainment and empowerment. 

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