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Georgia O'Connor ~ Saratoga Today 2008

Speaking with Spirits - Ghosts of Christmas Past
December 19, 2008
Saratoga Today, Saratoga Springs, NY

I had been looking forward to this interview for a while, having scheduled my meeting with Mrs. Georgia O'Connor, a medium whose website promised she could see, hear, and speak with the spirits of the dead, almost a week and a half in advance.
But a brief sickness, followed by the heavy-hitting ice storm that knocked out much of the power in the Capital District had delayed our appointment a couple of times. By the time I finally arrived on her front stoop on a soggy grey afternoon, my anticipation was nearly palpable. Was Georgia O'Connor the real deal, I wondered? Typically I wasn't the sort to believe in such supernatural activities, but there, face-to-face for the first time with Mrs. O'Connor, I decided to put my doubts on hold. And I have to admit - the thought that I might actually reconnect with the people I had lost certainly had its appeal.

Sitting in a greenish-blue cushioned chair in Mrs. O'Connor's living room, I couldn't help but be struck by the normalness of the room. I'm not sure what exactly I had been expecting - strange symbols scrawled into flat black walls, thick red velvet curtains drawn tight across the windows, several large candles dripping globs of wax.

"You watch the programs on TV, the ghost haunting shows or stuff like that," O'Connor said to me, "and they say you have to talk to [spirits] when it's dark, or 3 o'clock in the morning or a dead time. Yeah, not true," she laughs. "It's fear-based, they're just making it fear-based because fear sells. They try to make it all spooky and scary, and it's not that. It's just me having a conversation, just like this," she said. 

The room is bright and cheery, a Christmas tree in one corner and a wood burning stove in the other. O'Connor holds her young son in her arms, trying to soothe the tot while she speaks with me. I decide to start slow with my questions, hoping to get a feel for who O'Connor is and what she does before delving into my own, personal ghosts.

O'Connor has been speaking with spirits for almost as long as she can remember, since the age of 3.

"I thought everybody did it, that it was a very normal thing," O'Connor said. "My Mom seemed to see them and talk to them, and my brothers saw them, everybody but my dad."

Ma'am, the first spirit O'Connor ever spoke with, was one of her best friends as a young child.

She'd set up a chair next to her bed at night, where the ghost would sit and watch over her while she slept. She wasn't scared, and she didn't think there was anything out of the ordinary about this. For little O'Connor, it seemed natural that everyone could commune with spirits from the afterlife.

"It wasn't until I went to grade school and tried to introduce my dead friends to my little school friends that I realized something was different," O'Connor said.

The sudden realization that not everyone could speak with the dead was difficult for O'Connor. There were, "A lot of feelings of being crazy when you're younger," she said, "of not fitting in."

For years O'Connor kept her talents more or less quiet, afraid even to tell her husband about her connection with spirits until after they were married.

But three years ago, shortly after the birth of her first son, O'Connor decided it was time to finally let the world in on her secret. She now does regular readings for people, either over the phone or in person, as was the latter being the case with me.

"I have a very strict policy where, if someone can't afford a reading, all they have to do is contact me and we'll work it out. If someone is not happy with the reading, I don't charge them," O'Connor said.

Currently she's working on her first book (she's hired a ghostwriter to help), where more than anything she, "want[s] to make sure I have transcripts in there. I could go on for ten chapters, but one reading can say it all," O'Connor said.

On Dec. 21, O'Connor is hosting a "Meet the Medium" event, which she is calling "The Ghosts of Christmas Past." To be held at the Inn at Saratoga at 231 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door, a 2-hour session beginning at 3 p.m.

During the session, O'Connor will field questions from the audience about what she does, how she does it, what she's learned talking to dead people, and what it's like on the other side. During the second half of the event, O'Connor will talk, "to dead members of the audience, the people who want to communicate with their
families. Tickets can be purchased on her website, at
www.meetthemedium.com.

Inevitably, I came to the point in my interview where all of my prepared, professional questions had been answered, and our time was drawing to an end. But perhaps Mrs. O'Connor could sense it, could sense that I had been holding back the one question I wanted to ask the most.

"You want to speak to him, don't you?" she asked. I did.

For the next half hour or so, Mrs. O'Connor conjured up the spirits of three of my deceased relatives, relaying to me their words and actions while I listened on more or less in silence.

She told me names, dates, sicknesses and mannerisms with uncanny accuracy, relaying to me their advice that was not only believable, but insightful. I was caught off guard. Despite some of the testimonials I had read on her website, I was skeptical going into our meeting, and while I had vaguely hoped to see the real deal, the reading certainly wasn't what I had expected. Leaving her home after speaking with her for over an hour, I have to admit that I felt good, lighter. That proverbial weight lifted from my shoulders.

"The reward for me is seeing people experience a change in their grief," O'Connor had said, "where they walk out and they've found joy again."

For a moment I stood outside in the waning hours of a grey afternoon, the crystal forests of ice having begun their thaw from the recent storm, taking my time to process all I had just heard before driving off in my car. When I got home I couldn't help myself. I felt like a kid who needed to know if Santa Claus really existed, even if the answer meant an end to the magic.

A quick Google search pulled up the obituary of a relative of mine whose surname I share, where if someone had known where to look, they could have found a few specifics - names, dates, relations - all from the clipping.  Am I suggesting this is what Mrs. O'Connor did? 

Actually, no.      

But honestly, I can't help but think to myself, "So what if she did?"  The truth of the matter is that the very notion that I could have been communicating with lost loved ones was cathartic, uplifting even.  Sure, there were a few misses; there was a reference to what I can only guess was a bar mitzvah I never had, and a book recommended to me off of the Oprah's Book Club list that I'm almost positive my relatives would never have suggested. But overall O'Connor was more dead on (forgive the phrase) with tal forests of ice having begun their thaw from the what she had to say then she was off, and much of what she told me could not have been gathered from the online obituary.  The advice I was given, whether from my dead relatives or from Mrs. O'Connor herself was still good, sound advice - certainly advice worth considering.  And for me, that was enough.

I suppose I am a skeptic through and through, but one who can recognize when it's time to leave the skepticism aside for a moment.  Whether you're a skeptic or not, Mrs. O'Connor is a delight in person, and you shouldn't just take my word for it.  As she reminded me, "I certainly respect skeptics a lot.  I think that it's a good idea to come to any psychic, any medium, a little bit skeptical.  But I think that it doesn't hurt anything to try, that's for sure.  I think just walking through the door is a big step... [and] it doesn't hurt anything to try." 

For more information on Mrs. O'Connor, the "Meet the Medium" event on Dec. 21, or to schedule an appointment with her for a reading, please visit her website at www.meetthemedium.com, or give her a call at (518) 583-0105.  You won't be disappointed.