Friday, August 9, 2013

Haunted Hamptons

Since it’s the summer and many Long Islanders are flocking to the Hamptons, I figured I’d mention some ghostly hot spots you may want to check out in your travels. 

Halsey House is the oldest dwelling still standing in the town of Southampton. Built in 1648, it has a wonderful history and some ghost tales to boot. Owned and maintained by the Southampton Historical Society, you can call ahead and see when the building is open. It remains today as a museum, and is a wonderful example of the houses and lifestyles of the early settlers.  

The house was lived in by Thomas and Elizabeth Wheeler Halsey and their family. A tragedy is said to have occurred on the property, although the exact date is unknown. According to local lore, Elizabeth was attacked and scalped by three Pequot Indians who came down from New England. The Pequots Indians were a very aggressive tribe. The incident was mentioned in “Chronicles of the Pequot Wars” written by Lion Gardiner in 1660. He wrote about “the three Indians involved in a cruel and treacherous murder of an English woman in Southampton.” After the attack, the local townspeople became quite alarmed, and it created great tension within the town as well as with the local Indian tribes of the Shinnecocks and Montauks. 

Because of the brutal attack, even today, many people assume the old building must be haunted by the ghost of Mrs. Halsey. Cold spots have been picked up in the house, along with an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a man’s voice saying “Out.” Another EVP was of an older woman’s voice saying “I’m tired.” Could this be the voice of Mrs. Halsey? 

Not too far away from Halsey House is the grand Greek Revival home known as the Rogers Mansion, which is currently the headquarters for the Southampton Historical Museum. Built in 1843, the Rogers Mansion was the home of whaling Captain Albert Rogers who lived there with his family until his death in 1854. The land the house was built on had been in the Rogers family since 1644, around the time when Southampton was founded. The Rogers family continued to live in the house until after Albert’s death until 1889. A Dr. John Nugent then purchased the house, added a carriage house, and lived there for ten years. In 1899, well-known philanthropist Samuel Parrish purchased it and began making additions in 1911.

Eventually the house became a Red Cross, a YMCA and then finally a historical museum. During this time, several employees experienced phenomena that could not be explained. Sounds of furniture being moved upstairs when no one was there was often heard, along with footsteps coming down the hall. Other strange sounds would come from the second floor, the attic and the widow’s peak. None of them could be explained. During our investigation there, the “ghost meter” (electromagnetic field indicator) picked up a lot of energy in the butler’s pantry. Cold spots were also felt.  

It is believed that one or more ghosts haunt the old mansion, possibly that of a Cordelia Rogers, Captains Rogers’ second wife, or even Mary Rogers, his first wife, who happens to be the sister of Cordelia. Whoever it is, the energy seems like it’s definitely feminine, according to museum employees.

On the old 135-acre college campus nearby, sits the haunted windmill of Southampton. Once referred to as the Mill Hill Windmill, and then later the College Mill, it is said to be haunted by the ghost of a little girl.

The windmill was built in 1713 in the English style, which differs greatly from the Dutch type, and it was used for grinding flour and feed. When the windmill was no longer needed it was going to be torn down. A local woman by the name of Mrs. William Hoyt couldn’t bear to see it destroyed, so she purchased it from Captain Warren, it’s owner, in 1890. A team of horses pulled it to where it now sits.

In 1896, Mrs. Hoyt sold her property to Arthur B. Claflin, a textile magnate from New York City who wanted to build an estate in Shinnecock Hills that would be used as a “summer cottage.” Construction on the new home began in 1898. He was thrilled with the old windmill that was located just a few hundred feet from the house. The windmill served as a playhouse for the Claflin’s daughter Beatrice. It was also used to entertain guests for afternoon tea, and it became a conversation piece because it was so unusual.  

According to legend, Beatrice fell down the steep windmill steps, broke her neck and died there. During my research, I could not find any evidence to prove this, but rumor has it that when the windmill became part of the college campus, students would often report seeing the face of a small girl peering out from its windows when nobody was there.  

So if you find yourself out and about in Southampton this month, check out these local historical sites. Maybe you too, will happen to find a ghost there.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ghosts from the Past at Henry Lloyd Manor

When July 4th rolls around I think it’s especially important to remember our founding fathers and the sacrifices they made for us. Here in Huntington, we have a rich and fascinating history which dates back to 1653, through the Revolutionary War and beyond. One of Huntington’s famous founding families were the Lloyds, whose homesteads still remain in the quiet and bucolic area of Lloyd’s Neck. 

Recently, clairaudient medium and paranormal investigator Joe Giaquinto and I were invited to tour the earlier Lloyd home, the Henry Lloyd Manor house. We were asked if we could do a ghost investigation there, and it does appear that some spirits do abound in the old house.  

Since I consider myself a historian first and a ghost investigator second, we decided to start with its history. Merchant James Lloyd of Boston, purchased the land once occupied by Native American Indians in 1684. James remained in Boston and leased his property, then known as Horse’s Neck, to tenant farmers for several years. By 1711, James’ son Henry Lloyd I inherited the land and established his home on the Neck. It was situated near the harbor on the south shore of what is today known as Lloyd Harbor. It was Henry’s intention to establish a working plantation and build a manor house. He hired both an architect and a contractor to build his home, and before long the Henry Lloyd Manor was built.

The original property contained several outbuildings including a barn, blacksmith shop and house, a school and a dove house. There were also livestock and gardens for raising food. In 1722 and 1732 some additions were made to the original house. Because it was a working farm, slaves were brought in to run the plantation. One of the slaves, Jupiter Hammon, became the first published Black poet in America. He was taught to read and write at the Manor’s school.

When Henry died in 1763, his son Henry Lloyd II acquired the property. Henry was a loyalist, so after the Revolutionary War, his land was confiscated by the new American government. He had no choice but to flee to England. Another family member, John Lloyd II, a patriot, took back the property and continued to use it as a working farm. Eventually non-family members purchased the house and by the beginning of the 20th century, the house and property had fallen into a state of neglect. 

In 1921, Marshall Field and his architect John Russel Pope happened to find the house near Field’s estate and wanted to incorporate it somehow. So after doing some repairs, Henry Lloyd Manor became the gate house to the Marshall Field estate for four decades. Ruth Pruyn Field sold the estate in 1961 to the State of New York which called it “Caumsett.” The Henry Lloyd house was occupied by estate employees until the mid-1960’s. 

Finally, on September 7, 1978, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation granted a contract to the Lloyd Harbor Historical Society “to restore, maintain and operate the Henry Lloyd Manor House.” After many years of hard work, Henry Lloyd Manor was restored back to its 18th century condition, and remains a historical showpiece and museum today. 

Lloyd Harbor Historical Society Trustee Joan McGee took us around the historic home. She, along with some other reliable sources, told us stories they had heard about apparent paranormal activity at the house. Many years ago in late winter, a barking dog and a singing canary was heard when no animals were around. Another woman who came into the Lloyd kitchen saw an actual hand seemingly floating in mid-air and reaching out. She was so frightened that she left the kitchen area immediately. Lights have been known to blink in the meeting room, and colder, heavier air can be felt in one of the bedrooms.  

I left Joe and the others in an upstairs room while I walked around and photographed. I received the image of an orb in a room on the main level. Upon leaving the house, I walked along the path to the front of the house. Twice I turned to look behind me, because I had the distinct feeling that I was being followed, yet no one was there.  

When I went back into the house I caught up with Joe and Joan. They were doing a question/answer session on Joe’s recorder to see if he could pick up any EVP’s, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. When Joe analyzed his recordings later that day, he found an EVP of pots and pans banging for no reason. There was almost a brief rhythm to it. A second EVP picked up the sound of a man’s voice thanking Joe for his respectful comment that spirits can come and go as they please. You can hear, "thank you" at the end of the clip.

It is unknown who the spirits are, but the energy we picked up there was all good and non-aggressive. There are spirits everywhere, so the Henry Lloyd Manor is no exception. Perhaps they like the old home. Maybe it’s the Lloyds or Jupiter Hammond coming back for a visit. Whatever it may be, the Henry Lloyd Manor’s wonderful history and “spirit” remains.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Physical Mediumship, Table Tipping

As described in The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings, an A-Z guide to spirits, mysteries and the paranormal, by Theresa Cheung, it states that mediumship, which is the ability to communicate with spirits, takes two forms: mental mediumship and physical mediumship. In contrast to mental mediumship (when the phenomenon is demonstrated through the mind of the medium), the physical medium is able to produce for the benefit of those taking part. An example would be a séance when physical phenomena such as lights, sounds, materializations, levitations, etc occur.
I recently had the opportunity to take a workshop with world renown Scottish medium Bill Coller. He is very gifted, and has been teaching workshops and seminars throughout the world for many years. Despite the fact that I don’t consider myself a medium, I enjoy taking his classes when he comes to the United States, to further understand mediumship and communication with the other side. Joining me at this workshop was my partner for the Ghosts of Long Island books, paranormal investigator and clairaudient medium Joe Giaquinto, as well as mediums Richard Schoeller (Long Island) and Sharon Siubis (New Jersey) amongst others.
I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this workshop. I had seen video from past Table Tipping workshops where people were literally running behind moving tables! Was this really possible? If so, how?
Bill was very good at explaining things. First, physical mediumship was very popular in the 1800’s with the onset of Spiritualism, and the Fox Sisters. They often did this type of work. I think for more mediums today, their work is more refined, and they often don’t use such devices anymore. According to Bill, table tipping is the simplest form of physical mediumship, and also the oldest. There are two types. metaphysical and intelligent. Metaphysical is when a person transfers psychic energy to the table or any other object/divination device. Intelligent physical mediumship is when communication occurs when it is used as a divination device to answer questions, such as one tap for yes and two taps for no.
We worked on both types with Bill. For the majority of people attending the workshop, the metaphysical phenomena was much easier to do, and that was making the table move around the room as opposed to asking questions of the spirits and having the spirits move or tip the table. Bill said a cane wicker table works best because its absorbs energy better and it reacts better to voice vibration. A person’s energy absorbs into that table. It’s also ideal for speed because it’s relatively light. For the sake of the class though, we used four legged, light weight card tables. We had about six tables all together. Most tables had four people to them, others had more.
The energy comes from the gut solar plexus chakra. Through collective energy and the commonality of thought, which gives energy movement, it is said that you can actually make an object move. We were working with men and women, mediums and non-mediums, so it was an interesting mix of people. To give you an example, we were asked to say and think collectively, ‘Move table, move.’ Our fingertips were lightly touching the table top. After a while, (and sometimes it took quite a while) the energy began to flow under the table which then caused the phenomena. Your energy working with everyone else’s energy gives the table momentum, and several people reported feeling heat or vibration in the tips of their fingers.
It was a very slow process to get it going. It required a lot of work and concentration, and I felt very drained and physically exhausted after the workshop. Once the tables got going, it was hilarious to watch; people running around the room chasing table that seemed to have a mind of their own. If anyone came in off the street and saw us, they would have thought we were insane!
The one thing it taught me is that anything is possible, and that our own energy is a lot more powerful than we give it credit for.
If you’d like to learn more about this interesting and unique phenomena, check out my radio show archives from May 30 where we presented a show on the Table Tipping workshop. Go to

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Putting Northport on the Literary Map

One of the things I love about being an author is having the community come together because of my books, and for giving small businesses some recognition in the process. I had lots of haunted restaurants, shops and historical places in my Ghosts of Long Island books, and as I always say, ghosts are good for business. They do bring in customers! 

So when I set out to write my novel The Medal, I wanted to keep Long Island in the forefront once again. After all, I am a Long Island author, so why not promote it? Unlike my non-fiction books, I was able to now create my own places, but I wanted them to be modeled after places people were familiar with. I love reading books and trying to figure out if it’s based on a real place, so now I had the opportunity to do so. 

Since I live in Huntington, I didn’t want the book set in my own backyard, so I decide to place it in the seafaring town of Northport. I left the main streets, like Woodbine, as is, but changed the name of the street where the main characters call home. The house in the book is actually a real house in Northport where friends of mine used to live. I had spent a lot of time there when they owned it, and I was completely inspired by its tranquility and beauty. 

The main character, Bethany Fitzpatrick, is a pastry chef and owner of Giovanni’s Italian Bakery, otherwise known in real life as Northport’s Copenhagen’s Bakery and Café. In the book I changed the interior and made it an Italian bakery instead of Danish, but everyone who reads it asks if it’s based on Copenhagen’s. During the filming of my video book trailer, I needed a shot of cannolis (a running theme in The Medal) so I called up another bakery, Fiorello Dolce in Huntington, to get the look of the Italian bakery.  

Bethany meets with two of her friends at the cozy Villa La Marco restaurant in Northport, which is actually Campari’s Ristorante. I added a bar and a very Italian maître d', but kept it’s intimate  atmosphere. 

I did bring some of Huntington into the picture as well. Although set in Northport, Lorenzo’s Jeweler, where Bethany first lays eyes on a large Padre Pio statue, is actually Libutti Jewelers on New York Avenue in Huntington.  The church in the book is St. Francis of Assisi. Many people believe it is the church by the same name in Greenlawn (especially since they have a huge Padre Pio following.) I actually decided to name it St. Francis because of my own love for the saint, and since he too, like Padre Pio, bore the five wounds of Christ…the stigmata. By now, I’m sure you’re getting the picture that my book has something to do with Padre Pio; it most definitely does. To get back to the church in the book, however, the outside is modeled after St. Philip Neri in Northport, but the inside is clearly St. Patrick’s Church in Huntington.  

The only place in my book where I kept the real name, was when I made mention of Mr. Sausage, the Italian Pork Store in Huntington Village; a cult following amongst Huntingtonians. Because of my long-time friendship with the owners, the co-authored cookbook I did with Sal Baldanza, their devotion to Padre Pio, and their support of my book, I couldn’t help but give them an extra plug as a thank you.  

In my efforts to support these local businesses, and to put Northport on the literary map, I came up with two unique book events that are actually taking place this upcoming week. As an author, it is often challenging to find places to give lectures and book signings. Our book stores are dwindling, and so many people are purchasing books online. I’m a book person. I love buying books, supporting authors, meeting them and getting books signed, and I love talking to people about my own books. What good is being an author if you can’t get feedback from your readers? 

So this Thursday, I will be at Campari’s Ristorante at 225 Main Street, Northport doing an Author Dinner. For $60 per person, guests will enjoy a special 4-course, prix fixe dinner, a complimentary glass of wine, and a signed copy of The Medal. During the dinner I will discuss the book, along with the true stories behind it, including a miracle that happened to me. The event takes place from 7-9 PM, and reservations are a must. You can call Campari’s at 631-757-6700.  

The next night, I will be at Copenhagen’s Bakery and Café, at 75 Woodbine Avenue for a Meet the Author, Book Discussion and Signing from 5-7 PM. Everyone who attends the event will receive a free cup of coffee. Books will be available for purchase, as will delicious cakes and pastries.  

Spread the word and help put Northport and our small businesses on the literary map. Hope to see you there!







Friday, April 26, 2013

Fort Golgotha at the Old Burial Grounds

Whether you live in Huntington or have just visited here, you more than likely have driven past the Old Burial Grounds on the outskirts of town. It’s located on a high hill behind the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building. Yes, the old building with the cannon outside. 

How many of you know the intriguing and grisly story behind one of Huntington’s oldest cemeteries? The Old Burial Ground has silently bore witness to the scenes of the Revolutionary War that once haunted this most sacred ground.  

The cemetery was probably used for burial before 1700 although the earliest stone dates back to 1712. Unmarked graves were common during the early years, and several markers have also disappeared. The tombstones were made of slate, red sandstone and marble, and many of them are difficult to read, since nature has worn away at them.  

The Old Burial Grounds were turned upside down during the Revolutionary War, when Col. Benjamin Thompson, otherwise known as Count Rumford, used the land as a camp for his troops. Although he was born in Massachusetts, he joined the British after his application to join General George Washington’s army was rejected. In his rage against the Patriots, Col. Thompson tore down the Old First Church and used the wood to build their encampment which they called Fort Golgotha, meaning “a place of skulls.” 

Rumford built his barracks at the highest point of the cemetery in order to see incoming ships across the harbor. The British soldiers stayed in this location for three months. The people of Huntington were horrified. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the beloved and aged pastor of the Old First Church, Reverend Ebenezer Prime, was mistreated by the British. They not only destroyed his church, but they took over his home, and destroyed his furniture and his valuable book collection. When Rev. Prime died, he was buried in the old cemetery. Count Rumford pitched his tent in an area where he could trod over Prime’s grave. Rumford referred to Prime as “that dammed rebel.” 

The most horrific story however, is what the British soldier did with the tombstones. Not only did they make tables with them, but they also used them to build ovens. When the loaves of bread were removed from these makeshift ovens, the reversed inscription of the tombstones were imprinted on the lower portion of the crust.  

There are many other awful stories of desecration and destruction. There is a stone that is said to exist in the cemetery today which dates to 1779 and has two bullet holes shot through it. This is the grave of Silas Sammis, who lived nearby and whose home was taken over by the British.  

After George Washington became President, he visited Huntington in 1790. It is said that after having dinner, he was taken to the old burying grounds and was shown the site of Fort Golgotha.  

Today, the Old Burial Grounds are maintained by the Town of Huntington and contains approximately 800 graves. The last grave to be dug there was in 1948. Silas Wood, the author of the first history of Long Island, is buried there, along with patriots, soldiers and civilians. There is also a memorial to the thirty-nine citizens who gave their lives during World War I, located at the north entrance of the cemetery.

So the next time you’re traveling on Main Street Huntington and passing by the Old Burial Grounds, remember the history that remains there, along with all the lives whose spirits recall the atrocities from long ago.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fiorello Dolce, Huntington's Haunted Bakery

There's more than delicious pastries and cakes at this popular Long Island Pâtisserie. 

If you're looking for the most amazing French and Italian cakes, cookies and pastries, Fiorello Dolce is by far, the place to go. Owner and pastry chef Gerard Fioravanti, a New York City, French Culinary graduate, opened Fiorello Dolce's in 2006. Every single one of this talented pastry chef's creations looks like it belongs on the cover of Bon Appetite magazine. Oh, and did I mention he makes homemade gelato and breads and croissants too? 

Needless to say, I am a big fan of his flourless chocolate cake, so over the years I've been in there numerous times for this decadent delight amongst other things. I knew Gerard by face, and we never really had a conversation until this past July when I called him with an odd request. I needed to bring a videographer into his bakery to film his cannolis. 
"You want to film my cannoli's?" Gerard asked.  

I knew it was a strange request, but I was filming my book trailer for my novel The Medal which was due to come out in September. My main character is a pastry chef who meets an Italian, cannoli-eating angel, so needless to say I wanted cannoli's featured in the video. I thought of Fiorello Dolce's immediately. 

Gerard was kind enough to let us come in and film, and I was delighted when I got to take the delicious cannolis home. While we were in the kitchen talking, out of nowhere Gerard mentioned that the bakery has a ghost. He was shocked when I brought up the fact that I'm also a ghost investigator and the author of two books on Long Island's history and ghost stories. What were the chances? 

Well, one thing lead to another, and since then Gerard and I have been speaking about the activity that has been occurring at his bakery. I asked him if he'd like paranormal investigator and medium Joe Giaquinto and I to come and do a ghost investigation there, and he agreed. So a week ago Joe and I headed over there to check things out.  

We started out with the history first. Fiorello Dolce is located off Wall Street in a tiny strip of stores within walking distance to the movie theater. During the 1900's, the area where Fiorello Dolce now sits, was a group of ramshackle row houses that apparently housed town workers. The area was said to have been one of the poorest areas in Huntington. Wetlands surrounded the houses, and later when they were demolished, fill was brought in so the stores and parking lot could be built. This was in 1974. The little strip has seen a variety of restaurants, bakeries and an Italian pork store over the years. Gerard's store is located at the far end, and is sleek and beautifully decorated.  

For reasons unknown, the ghostly phenomena at Fiorello Dolce only started to occur about three years ago. It began when Gerard was alone in the bakery and he was coming out of a walk-in refrigerator. As clear as day, he heard the voice of woman call out his name in a shriek. At first he thought that maybe it was the squeaky wheels on the cart he was pulling out, but he pulled it out it again and no voice was heard. He had been thinking about his deceased aunt recently and wondered if it could be her. It was weird, but Gerard said it wasn't scary.  

Around the same time a new employee started working for him who had some psychic abilities. Without Gerard ever mentioning the incident to him, the employee told him almost immediately that there were ghosts there. He admitted that his grandmother often followed him around, but he said there were others. 

Gerard's partner Steve didn't give much credence to any of this until he had his own experience of buckets falling down off the shelves in front of him for no apparent reason. Then, one morning at 6 AM while Gerard was rotating pans in the oven, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a wispy, white figure zoom by. He was in utter disbelief.  

All kinds of occurrences have followed. Metal spatulas hang from a magnetic knife rack in the kitchen. Gerard and other employees have witnessed one of the handles of the spatulas vibrate and move for no reason at all. A high school worker witnessed "S" hooks come off the racks by themselves, and cardboard cake bottoms fall out of boxes up on the shelves. This past fall a parchment paper sheet looked as if someone was pulling it off the rack. Meg, one of Gerard's pastry chefs along with another two employees, saw a rolling rack move a foot on its own. Gerard heard the shriek of his name being called again, and just two weeks ago, another pastry chef went inside the walk-in refrigerator and thought someone was behind her. She then heard a loud clap and turned around abruptly thinking it was Gerard playing a trick on her. No one was around.  

Gerard went as far as hanging medicinal sage to see if that would rid the place of the spirits. The next morning after he hung it, he found the sage lying on the floor.  

"It's not anything scary," Gerard said, "It's just that they're here." 

When Joe and I were at Fiorello Dolce we took a look at Gerard's surveillance camera. Gerard had noticed something really strange on it, a fleeting white ball of light. After examining it, we realized he captured an orb in motion. It flew from the front to the back, and then two other orbs appeared on the floor and whizzed by. Gerard has tons of surveillance footage. Never once has he ever captured anything like this.  

I used an electromagnetic field indicator, commonly known as a ghost meter, throughout the shop. The only time it registered was when we were near the area with the spatulas in the kitchen. We ruled out any other electrical devices that could be triggering it. The needle was off the chart! Joe then went around the kitchen with a set of dowsing rods. Again, there was no activity until he got to the area of the spatulas. The rods crossed at the same spot that the ghost meter had went off. Something was definitely there.  

Next I went around taking photographs. I captured orbs in both the bakery and in the kitchen, and a whole bunch outside and above the bakery. Joe used his recorder in a question/answer session hoping to get some EVP's, (Electronic Voice Phenomena) but the few voices recorded were too hard to hear over the white noise of the refrigerators and compressor. We experienced several cold spots in various areas throughout the night, and Joe was picking up information psychically.  

"I'm getting the image of a large African American fellow," said Joe. "I'm seeing a knife fight. Someone was killed in the back." Joe also kept getting the name Eddie. 

We walked to the back of the kitchen where a door lead to a creepy alleyway. The energy was totally different back there compared to the energy in the kitchen and bakery. It was heavy and negative, almost foreboding. Joe picked up a strange scent like some kind of sulfuric drug. None of us smelled it, only Joe. 

The next day we received a call from Gerard's friend Mark, who happens to be really good friends with someone who knew the area very well, and whose family has lived in Huntington for over 150 years. They consider themselves local historians. When Mark asked his friend if he knew of any incident that ever took place in the area of the bakery, his friend replied that there was a man who had been murdered there about thirty years ago. He said a big black man had been stabbed over a drug related incident. His name just happened to be Eddie.  

The phenomena continues. In fact, the day after we were there, Gerard told me that the door chimes kept going off even when no one was opening the door. Whatever spirits are at Fiorello Dolce, they are friendly and harmless. Why they continue to hang around, no one knows. Perhaps they're a fan of Gerard's chocolate flourless cake and cannolis.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Art of Tea Leaf Reading

The Art of Tea Leaf Reading 

If you're not digging out your car or driveway from the blizzard, perhaps you're indoors enjoying a cup of hot tea and dreaming about being on a warm island somewhere. I know I am. The winter is not my thing. Instead of stressing about whether or not my trees will ever be the same, I thought I'd get my mind off it, write my blog, and look to the future...the future which just may be found in that cup of tea! 

A week ago I took a workshop at the Huntington Library on the art of tea leaf reading. Back when I was sixteen, my aunt took me to a psychic fair where I had my tea leaves read. Tea leaves? How can you get information about who I am, or what the future is by reading tea leaves? I thought it was very odd indeed. I sat down and watched as a woman stared into a murky cup, and I must say, she did tell me things that most definitely came true.  

All these years later, I've never had another tea leaf reading, but I still have always wondered about it. How does it work exactly? Since I study a variety of metaphysical and paranormal topics, my interest was piqued when I saw the workshop offered.  

There were about a dozen women at the workshop, and each of us were given a Styrofoam cup and bowl. Holding the cup, we had to move it in a circle to the right three times. We then were told to place the bowl over the top of the cup and turn everything upside down. Whatever remained in our cups is what you "read" from. Our partners were whoever you were sitting next to, and we would "read" from each other's cups. My partner and I had some technical difficulties. Somehow too much tea remained as a clump at the bottom, so the teacher had to come over and correct the situation. Once we were all set, we stared into each other's cups and then at each other. We weren't quite sure what we were looking for. Again, we needed the teacher's assistance. She told us to slowly turn the cup and look for pictures, symbols, numbers, anything we could pick out. She said it's like searching for hidden images in a child's picture book.  

Wouldn't you know, as soon as she said that, we actually did see real images. In my partner's cup I clearly saw a cat. According to the interpretations list we were given, a cat means independence. I asked my partner about this, and she said that she was extremely independent and that people often said things to her about her independence. In my cup there was an arrow pointing up, meaning that things are looking up, and there was also the image of a boat. The teacher came around and saw the boat too. She told me that I spend a great deal of time by the water, and that's where I go for solace, which is true. Hmmm...maybe there is something to be said about this. 

The art of tea leaf reading began in China. The Chinese would say that when you drink the tea, your spirit is left in the tea. Tea leaf readings in America did not become popular until the 1800's. I asked the teacher why did we have to turn the tea cup to the right three times. She told me, "because that's your future. You bring what's in your cup."  

The readings we did for one another were very basic obviously, but we did get the idea and I was happy we at least picked up on something.  

So if you've had it with the snow, make yourself and your significant other a nice cup of tea, and find out just what your future may have in store.  

Hopefully you won't see the image of a snow shovel.