Louisa Oakley Green is the author of Loitering at the Gate to Eternity: Memoirs of a Psychic Bystander; here is a link to her website:
Q: What is Loitering at the Gate to Eternity about?
A: Psychic phenomena are more common than most people think. Those who experience them often don’t share their stories because they’re afraid of being ridiculed or deny it themselves. This book chronicles the psychic tales of everyday people. Some have had only one psychic experience in their lives. Others are guided by them daily. The book also includes a historical perspective on many types of psychic phenomena as well as the results of studies and surveys done over the years.
People from all walks of life participated in this anthology, from school teachers and business professionals to blue collar workers. Their ages ranged from 11 to 99. The paranormal tales they shared include contact with the dead, reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, dreams foretelling the future and much more. After finishing these personal accounts, readers may find themselves never viewing “reality” the same way again.
Q: Why were you skeptical about psychic phenomena at first?
A: I was raised in an environment where such things were not accepted. I grew up during the Sixties when science had conquered the devastating disease of polio, created the amazing technology of color television and piloted men 238,900 miles through space to land on the moon. I considered psychic phenomena as nothing more than simple-minded superstition. Even when I had some experiences early in my life that clearly could have been considered paranormal, I dismissed them because they didn’t fit into my “fact-based” belief system.
Q: What made you change your mind?
A: I like to say that the universe has a sense of humor. I was a strong skeptic. So, who could possibly be the most ridiculous match for me? More than 20 years ago, I had a chance meeting with a man, fell in love and we married. While it was not an obtrusive characteristic during our courtship, he happened to be a gifted psychic. In fact, he came from a dynasty of them. At first, I didn’t really pay much attention to the psychic abilities of my husband, Stephen, and his family. I just figured it was one of those quirky things that you accepted about someone when you got married. But strange things started happening and some of them just couldn’t be explained away. I write about some of them in the book. Eventually, I opened my mind to the possibility that there might actually be something to these abilities, and that has radically changed my world view.
Q: How did you go about selecting subjects for your book?
A: The book was an accident of sorts. At first, I interviewed my husband to record all of his stories from the past 40 years for the family. When I finished, it occurred to me that half of his relatives were psychic as well, so why not add their experiences? I mentioned to friends and clients what I was writing and they began confessing that they had psychic tales to share—a surprise to me because they had never previously mentioned the subject. (Neither had I, to be fair.) One CEO in the book confided that he ran his successful company through his psychic abilities. Before I knew it, strangers were being referred to me because they wanted to talk about their stories. Most of them told me I was the first person they had ever spoken to and it felt great to finally talk openly about it. Over the course of about six months, the book pretty much assembled itself.
Q: What makes someone psychic?
A: I think everyone is born with the potential to be psychic. I liken it to singing. Most of us are born with a voice, and thus, the ability to sing. Some people are naturally better at it than others. But it’s possible to train to improve on that talent. It’s the same with psychic ability. One thing I learned from writing this book, and an epiphany that I hope readers will come away with, is that psychic ability does not belong to an elite mysterious few. It is a normal part of the human experience and is much more common than most of us realize.
Q: What have you done to promote your book?
A: I’ve been on local, national and internationally syndicated radio shows from Hawaii and Alaska to London and Liverpool and everywhere in between. There have been lectures and book signings. The book’s been listed on paranormal websites as a recommended read in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. It received thumbs-up recommendations from unpaid, independent reviewers in the United States and Canada, as well as 5-star reviews across the board on both the United States and United Kingdom Amazon.com websites. In addition, there’s a website, http://www.psychicbystander.com, which offers detailed information about the book, including a theatrical book trailer complete with eerie images, a Rod Serling-type voiceover and otherworldly music. For the social media crowd, there are Facebook and LinkedIn pages (under Louisa Oakley Green), and a Twitter account under @PsychicBystandR.
Q: Have you ever had an out-of-body experience?
A: One of the stories in the book describes the one and only out-of-body experience I had back when I was in my twenties. I actually ended up in a different world. What was so remarkable about the incident was that it happened during a meditation. It wasn’t a dream. I was awake. It was a lucid, real experience.
Q: What makes your book different from other books on the same subject?
A: Most books on the paranormal are written by professional psychics or ghost hunters. What makes this book so unusual is that I have no psychic ability to speak of; thus, the term “psychic bystander,” which is in the subtitle of the book. Instead, I use my background in journalism to faithfully recount the stories of those around me. No one in my husband’s family is a professional psychic; they all hold normal jobs. And most of the writing I do these days is in the field of life sciences and the environment. So writing about the paranormal is a bit of a departure for me.
Q: What do you think is the most intriguing story in the book?
A: That’s a tough one. There are more than 100 stories and I have quite a few favorites. One of the people I interviewed who intrigued me the most was Denise, a school teacher. She comes from a family of Irish psychics and from her earliest memories she has had incredible paranormal experiences. Among them was playing with a dead child on a regular basis who resided in a graveyard across the street from her house. Her stories of interacting with dead people in a manner no different than the living fascinated me and her stories are among my favorites in the book. Another tale I found haunting, if you’ll forgive the pun, is a first-person account from World War I in Italy that was passed down through one woman’s family. It illustrates the thin veil between life and death during combat.
Q: You were a newspaper reporter for many years; what was the most difficult story you ever covered?
A: The most difficult story I ever covered amounted to an ambush of sorts. I was assigned to interview a man about a family being sent to Disney World by a charity that sponsored trips and other wishes-come-true for the gravely ill. I didn’t realize, until I began interviewing him, that he was the person who was sick and it was his wife, two toddlers, and himself being granted this last request. I was stunned when he told me he had three months to live, that he knew his small sons would never remember him or the trip, but he hoped they would know how much he loved them from the photos that would be taken. We cried together when he described how he had taken his wife aside to tell her that when she was ready, he hoped she would marry again. He didn’t want her to be alone. A journalist isn’t supposed to get emotionally involved in the story—and my tears were unprofessional—but the lack of information I was given before I approached this man caught me off guard. That assignment occurred many years ago. He’s long dead. But I sometimes wonder how his wife and children fared. Based on my current beliefs, I have no doubt he continues to watch over them from the other side.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)