Chapter XX

Clairaudience is a field of parapsychology meaning clear hearing. It is a form of extra-sensory perception wherein an individual acquires information in thought form by auditory means from another realm. It is considered a form of channeling and is one of the four major ways to receive intuitive information, the other three being: clairvoyance, clairsentience, and claircognizance. The manifestation of clairaudience begins with a change in ear pressure accompanied by ringing, popping or buzzing noises. This psychic ability can appear in an individual at any time during their life; some individuals are aware and attuned with the ability at birth, others take years to discover they possess it and may have been using it without realization, while some may not comprehend they were clairaudient until moments before their death.

Some psychics may be required to attain a controlled altered state of consciousness, such as achieved through meditation, in order to access their clairaudient abilities while others will experience it while in a mundane conscious state. When under duress or experiencing an emergency situation, the ability may be inadvertently accessed as this is a time when all other physical senses are heightened and prepared for impending danger. Human beings are always connected to the other realms however their focus is usually keenly aligned on the physical with a disinterest in the non-physical. It is within these other realms of existence that the beings speaking to the clairaudient originate from: the dead, ancestors, spirit guides, angels, demons, deities, avatars, disincarnate entities, astral noise (static), or aliens.

The information and messages that the psychic receives are not only words, but are phrases, music, and evocative sounds originating outside the normal scope of awareness. Sometimes the voices and sounds are clear, other times they are muffled, but clear distinctions can be made by determining the frequency signature, as each being has its own note or vibration. Just as with telepathy, the messages are most commonly heard internally, inside the psychic’s own head and in the psychic’s own voice thus making it problematic to discern if it is the psychic’s own thoughts or a foreign entity’s message. This is not to say that the messages may not be given externally or in another unique sounding voice because that is also a possibility.

Clairaudience and mental illness, though both may superficially appear similar, are in fact different. While they both consist of hearing voices either internally or externally there are no other shared characteristics. Clairaudient psychics learn to control the voices they hear and the voices tend to be sporadic, concise, and direct. The tone is usually kind, rational, and compassionate while providing answers, insight, and rational advice about a current situation that the individual is engaged in. The messages will encourage spiritual growth without harmful behavior. While the voices heard by those suffering from mental illness tend to be uncontrollable, constant, verbose, and meandering. The tone is usually irate, irrational, and callous, providing nothing, but confusion, paranoia, despair, and illogical thinking about the individual, their life circumstances and their fears. The messages will often encourage harmful behaviors and facilitate spiritual stagnation.

Mr. Stokes had been my tutor for close to a year and in my opinion he had been the one most qualified to instruct me. Believe me when I tell you that it is no small accomplishment for him to still be in the position as my private tutor; there have been a slew of others who have failed in their attempts to do what Mr. Stokes is currently flourishing at. There was one tutor, a woman named Miss Penniman, who came highly recommended by Mother’s acquaintance, a professor at Johnson and Wales University, who quit after only spending two hours with me. Yes, I admit Miss Penniman was a rare occurrence, the average amount of time holding the position as my teacher, prior to Mr. Stokes, had been a week. And you are absolutely correct in thinking that it is a challenge for my parents to find someone who has the ability to not only academically instruct me, but who can also skillfully and efficiently deal with what may be perceived as abnormal and often morbid behaviors. Mr. Stokes apparently has the mandatory talent, which is wonderful because I actually like the man. He is well educated with a wide spectrum of knowledge ranging from mathematics to philosophy; in addition I find him most amusing with his idiosyncrasies and social awkwardness, so I do my best to restrain my own freakish behaviors. I believe that I intellectually challenge him and he seems impressed with the quality of questions I ask concerning his lectures. We have come to a mutual place of respect and no matter how bizarre my behavior has been, he has never been rattled and has always responded calmly and unemotionally, which I find most intriguing.

When I was in the eighth grade my parents were forced to remove me from public school, at the compelling recommendation of the school superintendent after a rather violent episode that transpired upon our return to class following Christmas vacation. At that time Mother, with a business degree from Cornell University, had recently been promoted at her job with Taylor Foods, a local food distributor. She was actively climbing the corporate ladder, finally having the freedom to focus on establishing a successful career for herself without the constant worry of being an attentive mother. Daniel and I were independent and mature enough to tend to the basic of our needs, but unfortunately once the school recommended that I be removed, she was obligated to quit her job and stay home with me, while the family’s financial responsibility was carried solely on Father’s shoulders. My Dad never faltered in his obligation and we proceeded to live the life we were accustomed without noticing the shift in the family income. Our family wasn’t considered wealthy, however we weren’t destitute either. Father graduated two years prior to Mother from Columbia University with a degree in finance and it took him less than a month after graduation to find an entry level analyst position with a local Fortune 500 company and less than a year to be promoted to senior analyst. However it required him to spend a significant amount of personal time and energy on work; this practice established a routine for Father, enabling him to become more focused on his career and less focused on his family, which over the years never changed, though Mother’s life was drastically altered once my behaviors became less than appealing to the teachers and principal of my middle school.

My parents are surrounded by many people, but I’m not certain as to how many of them, if any, are truly people they trust or would consider their friends. I know Mother’s social circle has grown over the last few months. She has been elected by the members of her women’s group to be their unofficial leader and with that has gained some powerful influence over our community; while my Father’s social interactions have vanished. With the exception of regular visits from Aunt Rachel, he doesn’t seem to have anyone resembling a friend. Peter Morrell, a colleague of Dad’s, and what I assumed was his friend for close to a year, abruptly stopped coming by the house. Whether or not Dad continually met him elsewhere I can’t be sure, but it was clear to me that the dynamic between them had changed. I attributed the shift to an argument I overheard on New Year’s Day between my parents. Dad accused Mother of engaging in some inappropriate behavior with Mr. Morrell at the party he and his wife had hosted the night before in their home. Mother adamantly denied the allegation, calling it outrageous, pointing out that Dad had been intoxicated and must have misinterpreted what he saw, but Dad didn’t agree. Perhaps it was the lack of time that my parents spent together that had destroyed any sense of intimacy that they once shared or maybe they had just fallen out of love with each other, but for whatever the reason, it was clear to any observer that their marriage was faltering. I often wondered how much of it could be ascribed to me.

Mother had found sanctuary amidst the chaos of life, within her favorite flower, the dahlia, of which she had numerous different species blooming in the backyard. Her gardens were not only a hobby, they were her obsession. She would often spend hours pruning, watering, and nurturing the plants, ensuring that her gardens were the most spectacular in the neighborhood. Come spring she would spend more hours with her flowers than she would with people, even her weekly social club meetings would be held outside under the garden gazebo so that she could admire them while socializing with the women. Over the years numerous photographers visited our home to capture the beauty of Mother’s dahlias, their images prominently featured in Country Gardens. She took pride in that fact and kept numerous copies of the magazines conspicuously placed on the various coffee tables in different rooms of the house. At times when Mother angered me with her foolish rules or threatened punishment for what she perceived to be my inappropriate behavior, I would fantasize about pouring gallons of white vinegar throughout her precious flower gardens and it brought me just a touch of satisfaction when I envisioned just how devastating that experience would be for her.

As I listened to Mr. Stokes’ lecture on contemporary realism, my focus shifted from the scar on his forehead near his hairline, to the image of Mother tending her dahlias. I watched her through the library windows as Mr. Stokes’ voice droned, lulling me, seducing me, to the border of a trance. The chime of the doorbell echoed through the house, startling me back to the present moment and stopping Mr. Stokes’ midsentence.

“I suppose we can stop here for today,” my tutor explained, as he began packing his textbook and iPad into his leather messenger bag. “You have your assignment, which I expect to be completed by Friday. If you have questions, email me.”

“I will,” I said, closing the spiral notebook I had been taking random notes in. I was pleased that the lessons for the day were over; I didn’t think I could have endured listening to any more about Neil Welliver and his paintings. I casually walked around the table to escort my teacher to the front door as was our usual routine. Serenity was our typical companion as we walked through the foyer, but today something had the old man jittery, as if he had something awkward or important to share, but he was uncomfortable broaching the subject with me.

“Angie.” Mr. Stokes stopped as he said my name and turned to face me, looking me directly in the eye, which wasn’t difficult since we were almost the same height. “I know what you think of me, at least what your impression of me is, so I hope you take a moment to consider what I am about to share with you.”

The doorbell chimed once more. With his statement, Mr. Stokes enticed my interest even more than he usually did with his unemotional responses to my own sometimes peculiar conduct. I couldn’t imagine what he was going to say, but the quivering within me indicated that it was going to be something poignant. Perhaps he would say something insightful that would provide me with ideas to contemplate during the rest of the week. I had been suffering boredom as of late and would thoroughly enjoy a hefty intellectual distraction, preferably something dealing with the occult. I watched my tutor’s face contort into a flurry of expressions as he seemed to consider the best way to vocalize his thoughts.

“Your father’s family has a historical reputation that …” The doorbell flooded the foyer with its musical sound cutting Mr. Stokes midsentence. Annoyed and exasperated, I walked to the front door, grabbed its handle and opened it wide enough to receive the visitor standing on the other side of it. I was surprised to be greeted by the appearance of my father’s work colleague, Mr. Peter Morrell.

Mr. Stokes cleared his throat as he approached us from behind. “I will see you, Friday, Angie.” He politely nodded at Mr. Morrell who was waiting patiently to be allowed entry into our home.