Messages From The Unknown: The Frightening Ability I Never Even Wanted

I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t want it. But it bullied its way into my life anyway.

Woman finding trust in her intuition microgen, ValeStock,  Brett Jordan, Shannon OConnor | Canva

The dream was terrifying. I struggled to free myself from its suffocating grip, but it was as if I were being held underwater.

"No! No!" I screamed silently. "It’s only a dream! It’s not real! Wake up! Wake up!"

I fought my way to consciousness. Gasping for air, I sat up in bed with my heart pounding, desperate to forget.

I glanced at the clock. It wasn’t quite time for the alarm but there was no way I would sleep again. I switched it off and crawled out of bed.


It was a Thursday morning, just a few weeks after I turned 16. As I got dressed for school, the dream replayed over and over in my head. I couldn’t shake the ominous icy feeling that flooded through my body.

I had dreamed that my two best friends from childhood were dead.

Deeply disturbed, I went to the kitchen and found both my parents seated at the table. It was unusual for my dad to be there; at that time, he was always in the living reading the morning paper.

As soon as I sat down, I told them about the dream. They looked at each other like I had six heads. My mother stared at her toast. My dad went to the living room and came back a moment later with the newspaper. Folding it in half, and half again, he placed it in front of me and pointed to an article.


There it was. The sisters were, in fact, dead. A car/train collision during a nasty prairie blizzard. The rest of their family was in rough shape but alive.

The words slammed into the center of my chest like a Mack truck. I re-read them several times, simply unable to comprehend what I was seeing.

This can’t be real. Kids don’t die. Kathy had just turned 17. Laurie was 15.

"Do you want to go to the funeral?" my mother asked, the softness in her voice startling and unusual.

"No!" If I don’t go, it didn’t happen.

Shock is a weird thing.

And it wasn’t just the fact that they were dead that had been so distressing.

I had known. They had reached out from beyond the grave and I had known. This was well before psychic fairs and TV shows like Long Island Medium. No one talked about this stuff. What was wrong with me? How could I have known? It was utterly terrifying.


I had no idea how much more frightening it would become.

No doubt I’d always had this ability but growing up in a toxic, hostile environment, I was always on high alert for the next attack and doing my best to stay out of sight. I would have been far too distracted to notice the subtler energies that were vying for my attention. Or at least, not until that one awful message that was so big and painful, it could not be ignored.

I left home just a few months after The Dream. Sixteen years of abuse and dysfunction were more than enough for me — although with such an unhealthy foundation, it would be a very long time before I found my way to a more peaceful life. I was trying to function in the world with a set of deeply rooted beliefs that weren’t doing me any favors.


I had been brought up to believe I didn’t deserve anything good. That I was stupid. Whatever I had to say, it was bad or unimportant or wrong. I was silenced, afraid to speak. I had no voice.

I had been brought up to accept insults and belittling comments, tolerate physical abuse, and never be protected. I had been brought up to believe my mother, my brother, and my uncle were allowed to violate my body in the most private ways, and that no matter how horrible and embarrassed and disgusted I felt about it, those feelings were wrong.

I had been brought up to believe I couldn’t trust how I felt about anything.

Unbeknownst to me, The Dream had opened that ugly can of worms. I couldn’t possibly have imagined how dramatically it would change me over the coming years.


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After The Dream, I began having more "bad news" dreams about people I knew and eventually, experiences while awake, too. In dreams, I knew who it was, but in the early years, if the "disturbance" happened when I was awake I could only tell that something was wrong somewhere.

For example, there was a particularly awful one seven years after The Dream. It started late one Saturday night. And it was fierce. Worse than ever before. The "static" in my head was almost painful. It was like when you listen to the radio and it’s not quite tuned in. You know there’s something to hear; you strain to hear it but all you get is that awful static.

Anxiety bubbled up into my chest, making it hard to breathe. I tried to sleep but couldn’t; I had to get up and pace.


It was just after midnight. I needed a good night’s rest. There was church in the morning and I was the organist and choir director. I was also a single mom and would have to get my kids ready for church, too. Plus that Sunday was Father’s Day and for the first time in my life, I had planned a special day with my dad. This was a very big deal after many turbulent years as his daughter. We were going to Stage West for dinner and a play.

But it would be after 3:00 a.m. before I could stop pacing. Exhausted, I fell into a fitful sleep for a few hours.

All day Sunday, the static continued. The anxiety never left me. Someone was in terrible trouble. But who? And why is it taking so long? 

I struggled to get through church without messing up the music. I tried to work at my job doing court transcripts from home. No luck. I was too distracted and jumpy. At Stage West, I felt so unwell I couldn’t eat. I had to switch places with my mother, who was at home with my children.


It continued on Monday. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t eat. I was anxious. The static was overwhelming — until suddenly, it stopped at 6:00 p.m.

In the following days, I didn’t hear anything distressing from anyone and eventually, I figured maybe it was just a weird anxiety attack. Heaven knows I’d had enough of those since I was a scared little kid in the middle of the night. Yeah, maybe that was it.

A couple of months later, I ran into my friend, Kevin. His brother, Brian, was a former flame, a sweet young man I’d lived with for a time. One of the nice guys I didn’t think I deserved and I’d let him get away. After a little catch-up, I asked Kevin how his brother was.

Brian had died by suicide — and in a terribly violent and bloody manner. He did it just after midnight on that Saturday night/Sunday morning of Father’s Day — at the time I had begun feeling so distressed. And they didn’t find his body until Monday at 6 p.m.


When I did know who was suffering, it wasn’t cool to just ring up and say I knew something was wrong. Especially as this was well before anyone was talking about premonitions or psychic moments or intuition. But I could call and say, "Hey, just thinking about you, how are you doing?" I could act like everything was okay, even though I knew it wasn’t. And they would always confirm it wasn’t, without even knowing they’d done it.

No matter how often this happened or how accurate it became, being right always freaked me out.

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But not as much as something else that happened.

A beloved and deeply Christian aunt came to visit when I was 25. She lived thousands of miles away so I hadn’t seen her in many years, but occasionally, we corresponded by snail mail. She was always kind and supportive while my life was blowing up, as was the case much of the time.


During her visit, I thought nothing of sharing this part of my life with her. Turns out this wasn’t such a great idea. She knew I had been doing yoga. I’d had hypnosis treatments. I’d been to see a medium, which apparently is a huge no-no according to the Book of Deuteronomy.

My dear aunt, whom I loved and trusted completely, said that because of these activities, I had been "possessed by Satan."

To be honest, I had never believed in Satan, but as I’d had no real information or support about any of this psychic stuff, I didn’t know what to think. Except, being quite impressionable, What if she’s right?

She took me shopping and bought me a Bible, which I began reading from page one.


When I got to the Book of Deuteronomy, "The One With All the Rules," as I like to call it, I had some questions for my aunt. There were some rules in there that she swore were essential to follow to save my poor possessed soul — like the part about not seeing the medium. But there were plenty of others she said I could ignore, such as the dietary laws. Huh??

"There’s a new covenant," she said. "You don’t have to do any of those things anymore."

Except for the ones you did.


Over the next several months, I read the entire Bible cover to cover. By the end of it, I decided that I absolutely did not believe in Satan or pretty much anything else that was in there in general. I figured there was some sort of Divine Creative Being, but that was about it.


Meanwhile, my abilities only grew stronger and more accurate.

Over the years, I stopped having the distracted static as the messages came in more clearly. Whether a friend was in distress, or if a spirit demanded my attention, the messages were always right. But I still didn’t trust them. Or rather, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t dare speak up and offer the real reason for my call or say that I had known all along something was wrong.

I could pick up information about people when they were present and when they weren’t. I didn’t do it on purpose; it would just happen. Even just reading an email. Like when I was reading one from someone who mentioned her sister who died at 19. I had only just met the woman and didn’t know she had a sister. As I read the email, suddenly the sister was with me, telling me what to say in my reply. I was reluctant. Was she really there? For sure? I still didn’t trust myself. What if I’m wrong? I’ll look so stupid! What if this message upsets my new friend?

Any excuse not to have to do it. Please.


But the sister’s spirit would not leave me alone until I said all she wanted me to say. And as usual, I wasn’t wrong. I didn’t look stupid. The woman wrote back, saying she was in tears and smiling, so grateful to have received the message.

Over and over again through the years, I saw that these messages brought comfort. I saw that I could trust the information I received. I could trust myself to get it right. But still, I did not.

Early on, I learned that spirits could be unbearably pushy.

They would appear any old time, whether I was chatting with a friend in my home or on the phone or if I was in a crowded pub — anywhere. They can spot those of us who are capable of connecting with them and they’re there in a flash, insisting that we pass along their messages. I caved and started doing it.


It was weird enough to tell my close friends, "Hey, there’s some old lady standing next to you. She looks like this and wants me to tell you that…" and blah, blah, blah. But it was a whole other ball of wax to be sitting in a pub or a restaurant, spot a complete stranger across the room, and suddenly know I had to go and pass along a message. Seriously? Now? 

Yes. Now.


And always — always — the messages were well-received, bringing an answer, comfort, peace, and often a few bittersweet tears. And still, I did not trust myself.

It didn’t help that throughout my adult life and until her death, my mother continued to offer insults and belittling comments that worked against the therapy and other ways I was trying to heal from her terrible abuse. She did her best to be sure I did not trust my own feelings or judgment.


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This evolved over many years. Clarity and accuracy improved. It had become a significant part of my life.

I had been working steadily at healing the damage caused by my childhood. It didn’t help that I’d made such a mess of my life, further damaging my ability to trust my own perceptions after growing up believing they were always wrong. So although I had been chipping away at that journey, I still struggled when it came to trusting myself in life, which spilled over into delivering these messages.


Every time I did this, I was challenged to overcome having been silenced as a child. I was challenged to trust my "gut" — to trust that what I was feeling was right. I was challenged to use my voice, to speak up, and to allow myself to be seen and heard. This was terrifying.

Even after a lot of counseling and self-help. Even with an ongoing spiritual journey. Even 30 years after The Dream.

But an unexpected meeting changed everything.

I met a journalist who had seen an article about me in a newspaper. He wanted to interview me for his personality profile page. When he heard about me being a psychic and medium, he said he was skeptical about anyone having these abilities. He had a challenge in mind and wondered if I’d be up for it.


When I heard what it was, I feared that if I said no, I’d look like I had something to hide. And if I said yes, I would get it wrong and look like an idiot or a fraud. My mouth said yes. I wasn’t sure why.

He had been given a book about numerous famous (and infamous) people who were buried in many cemeteries throughout the county. The challenge was that he would choose a person in the book and take me to the grave without telling me anything about where we were going or who the person was. Standing behind the headstone so I wouldn’t see anything on it, I would try to pick up information about who was buried there. Gulp.

I was terrified and so afraid of looking stupid, so afraid of getting it wrong.

We went to the first one. I got the information right away. I was so afraid to say it, so afraid to speak up and trust what I was seeing, hearing, and feeling. I opened my mouth and ever so hesitantly shared a tiny snippet. "Yes, that’s right." Really? Okay. I’d say something else. "Mm-hm. Go on."


After half an hour, I’m not sure which one of us was more shocked. I nailed it, just as I did every week for months afterward. Finally, I began to let go of those inner voices and trust myself.

Not only did this vastly improve my confidence in my private readings, it did me a world of good in my personal life, too. I became better at honoring my feelings, standing up for myself, and speaking my mind. The more confident I was in myself, the better I felt about my life in general.

By 2006, I had published three books, one of which was The Spirit Within. In that same year, I also produced approximately 100 paintings, mainly abstract expressive works, and was invited to have my first exhibition. There would be a public reading of my book on opening day, as its themes matched many of my paintings. A presenter from BBC Radio contacted me, requesting an interview, and as a result, he introduced me to another BBC presenter, Sue Marchant. Sue is a bright, curious, intelligent woman who loves all things spiritual, spooky, and "woo-woo."

She invited me onto her show and while on the air, she suggested we have guests call in with questions for me in my capacity as a psychic and medium. My heart leaped to my throat. I’d gotten comfortable doing this with one man on our "ghost hunts." Now I’d have to do it for many thousands of listeners? I had to suck it up and smile or risk looking unprofessional.


Thank heaven for all those months of weekly cemetery practice. The phones went mad. I answered everything correctly. And had a blast doing it. In fact, it went so well and was so popular with listeners, that I appeared on Sue’s show approximately every month for the next 5 years.

Shortly after meeting Sue, yet another BBC presenter invited me to appear on stage as a medium at a 200-seat venue. I should have been scared out of my mind at the prospect; this was a big deal with a lot on the line. But it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I said yes.

This kicked off the next phase of this journey. I began appearing on stages, connecting audience members with loved ones in spirit. I focused on the smiles in the audience. They were on my side. I’d learned to use my voice. I was good at this. I trusted that the Spirit was working with me and in my ability to bring loved ones through with messages of hope, healing, and comfort.

All I had to do was show up and be who I was always meant to be.


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Liberty Forrest is an award-winning author, a prolific writer on Medium, and a Senior Contributor to SportsEdTV. Her inspirational and self-help articles and columns have appeared in the Huffington Post and in more than 50 publications around the globe.