In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d share the true story of how I came to meet a ghost-child named Jonas, and how he changed the course of my life forever by inspiring me to pursue the question of life after death. The story of Jonas is not one of fear or terror, but of love and forgiveness, as a lonely spirit boy reaches out and shares with us a lesson in compassion. I am representing the events to the best of my recollection. Sadly, there is a lot about what Jonas said that I don’t remember, as it was a long time ago. On the other hand, there are certain things that I will never forget. I didn’t fill in any gaps, so all of Jonas’s responses here are the ones I remember exactly, word-for-word. It is a long story so sit back, sip some cider, and enjoy.
CHAPTER ONE – JUICE
The year was 1994. I was 16 years old and returning as a cabin staffer to my beloved Fairview Lake Music Camp in the beautiful forests and lakes of northern New Jersey. Cabin staff were a few years older than the campers, and their responsibilities were to head up one of the 12 cabins at the camp. Each cabin contained around four to six girls in the same age range and under the leadership of the cabin staffer. I was assigned a group of four girls who were 12 to 14 years old. As the eldest group, we were given cabin 12; the cabin that was furthest into the woods. As a camper, I had developed a reputation as somewhat of a quirky character, fun-loving and adventurous. Although I was warned that the preteen group could be apathetic and hard to motivate, I was determined to win them over and have a week filled with fun and camaraderie.
On the day my charges arrived, I noticed that I had a diverse group. Among them, Victoria was the wealthy upper-crust Italian girl with long luxurious brown hair and beautifully manicured nails. Danielle was a blonde dancer, lithe and feminine. Jen came barreling through the cabin door, hair unkempt and clothing mismatched; I could tell that her circumstances at home were very different than Victoria’s, but she seemed happy to be at camp. Lastly, Maria was a studious, no-nonsense Latina trumpet player who struck me as mature and responsible for her age. As the kids got settled in an introduced themselves awkwardly to one another, I took stock of our cabin.
With no furniture to speak of and thin plastic-covered mattresses on the bunk beds, the cabins were sparse but not uncomfortable. There was no air conditioning, but even in late June the cabins were cool at night, owing to the remote location of the camp in the deep forest of the foothills of northwestern New Jersey.
As the afternoon turned golden, the distant sound of a trumpet call signaled dinner. As we all started to make our way down the forest path on our long walk to the dining hall by the lake, my mind turned to ways I could entertain my preteen campers once we returned. I could lead them on a raid of the neighboring cabins, or we could play truth or dare, but somehow I zeroed in on the very thing that I had been practicing with my friends back home: holding a séance.
I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea; surely the parents of these children would be horrified to know that I was subjecting their children to the “perils” of the spirit world. Christian parents would have known of those passages in the bible that admonishes Christians from seeking out fortune tellers, tarot readers, mediums and certainly banishment from seances. I could have gotten into a lot of trouble.
And yet, at 16, these thoughts never entered into my mind. I hardly expected that we would have any luck actually contacting a spirit, but I imagined how much fun we’d have huddled over a table with flashlights with the darkness descending all around our cabin as we imagined every chirp, hoot and creak were the spirits at our door. It’s like telling ghost stories, I reasoned, an activity practiced at firesides at summer camps everywhere.
We returned to our cabin around 9:00, just as darkness was falling. The camp director played Taps on his trumpet to signal lights out. It was time to pitch my idea.
“Hey guys, I have an idea of what we can do before bed. It will be really fun.”
“What is it?” said Victoria dubiously, she was already in her pajamas, brushing her long, shiny brown hair.
“Well,” I started, “I think it might be fun to try to hold a séance.”
“yeah!” Jen clapped her hands together, excited. Danielle also seemed interested and when I looked toward Maria, she simply shrugged. She wasn’t much of a talker, I noticed. Victoria wasn’t completely sold on the idea, but put down her brush and agreed to give it a try, providing that if nothing happens within 20 minutes, that we’d do something else.
At the time, the internet was limited to AOL and Compuserve, and cell phones were the size of basketball shoes, used only by the very wealthy. My source of knowledge on the paranormal was limited to an old dog-eared book that I borrowed from a neighbor’s hippy father, and whatever lined the Occult section at my town’s tiny, one-room library.
I had some minor success up to that point using a wooden table and a few friends using a technique my books describe as ‘table tipping’. If successful, we could expect raps on the table, or even the movement of the table itself.
Looking around the cabin, I was dismayed, however, at the lack of any wooden table or surface that we could use. Not willing to give up completely, I suggested we change course and try the only other technique I had learned about to contact spirits – automatic writing.
I had personally never had any success with automatic writing, but I understood the process. Basically, a person takes a pen into their hand and asks the spirits to use their hand to write out a message. It requires a degree of patience and I had serious doubts it would work with a bunch of giggling, distracted pre-teen girls.
Nevertheless, we had to now decide who would be the writer. I immediately nominated Maria, the steadfast, no-nonsense girl. She seemed to me to be very calm and steady, mature and not given to flights of fancy. She wasn’t particularly interested in impressing the other girls, and had already professed no belief in the paranormal. I felt she would be the least likely to fake contact with the spirit world. She agreed when I told her that she needed do nothing but lay on her bunk with her arm outstretched, gripping the pen and resting with eyes closed.
We rolled her trunk to the side of her bed, fetched paper and the pen and set Maria up in a comfortable position. The cabin was dark aside from our flashlights as we settled in cross-legged around the trunk and stared at Maria’s outstretched hand. Maria’s face was turned away from us, and her hand was gripping the pen lightly in a normal adult hand-grip. Around the table, the faces of Danielle, Victoria and Jen were expectant as they looked at me. I raised my arms dramatically and asked for a spirit to please contact us by using Maria’s arm and hand to write us a message.
I then asked the girls to close their eyes and clear their mind. After a few minutes of silence, nothing happened.
“This is dumb, ” Victoria moaned, “This is never going to work.”
“Shhh!” I whispered, “I will work, but you have to give it a chance. Be patient. It takes time for the spirit to make the connection.”
We continued to watch intently for a bit, then after absolutely nothing happened, we got restless. After about 15 minutes, we begin to chatter lightly and forgot about Maria. I think we all had assumed by that point that the experiment was doomed, since Maria hadn’t moved a muscle. With her face turned away, her hand still clutched the pen with the point on the page. I called softly to Maria but she didn’t answer. She had apparently fallen asleep. I got up to check on her, shining my flashlight near her face. Her breathing was steady and slow and putting my hand on her shoulder didn’t seem to wake her. Then I heard one of the girls say, “Hey, something’s happening.”
I turned around and shined my flashlight at on Maria’s outstretched hand in time to see the grip change. Instead of the typical way she was gripping her pen, her finger wrapped around the pen in a childish grip. I looked back to Maria but nothing had changed. Her breathing was still steady and slow, and she appeared to be in a very deep sleep. I took my place around the make-shift table and watched her hand begin to scrawl large, childish letters.
“B-I-G G-R-E-E-N B-U-G”
We all looked at each other, confused. “Big Green Bug?” I asked, what does that mean? “Who is here with us? What is your name?”
The hand retained it grip and in big letters that looked identical to the handwriting of a child, spelled out J-O-N-A-S.
Victoria immediately suspected that Maria was having fun at our expense. I again looked closely at Maria sleeping form, sitting on the edge of her bed, shining my light in her face. Her breathing had not changed. ‘Maria”, I said, “Are you messing with us? Come on, you can get up now, I know it’s you.”
Maria didn’t move. To keep a straight face with no eye movement under the lids and no change in her breathing even as my flashlight illuminated her face was remarkable. I also thought “Big Green Bug” was an odd choice as an opening statement. Maria seemed to be down-to-earth, I didn’t believe she would try to fake spirit communication for very long, even if she was behind this.
I decided to go with it, and see what happened. “So, your name is Jonas? Are you a boy?”
“Okay” I continued, “How old are you?”
Maria’s hand scrawled a number, but we disagreed as to what it was. Was it a 6 or a 8?
“So you are a little boy? Are you a spirit?”
At this question, the hand seemed to hesitate. Then it started drawing circles, which we took as either not understanding or not willing to answer. I pressed further.
“Jonas, did you die here?”
After a moment, “Jonas” proceeded to slowly write “I H-A-T-E W-A-T-E-R”
The girls look at me with wide eyes; the camp is situated on a very large lake and the area has been used as a summer camp for a very long time. I was just about to ask Jonas if he had drowned in the lake, when he began writing.
“I L-I-K-E J-U-I-C-E”
We all sat back and laughed. Jonas seemed not to know what death was, or else he did not want to acknowledge it.
I asked “Jonas, what was the first thing you remember?”
“I F-L-E-W U-P I-N-T-O T-W-O A-R-M-S”
I was touched to think that if we were truly speaking with the spirit of a young boy who had died here at the camp that the memory of his death was mercifully replaced with the memory of “flying up into two arms” which hopefully hugged him close with love and protection.
During this time, I kept glancing at Maria – at no time did she move, nor had her breathing changed. If this were a hoax, she was determined.
Jonas then asked who we were and if we are girls. I answered that we were all girls, and introduced each of us in turn by name.
We continued to ask questions, but Jonas seemed to be getting tired. In fact, Maria’s hand seemed to write more slowly and droop in between sentences.
“Jonas, are you getting tired?”
“Y-E-S. P-A-S-T B-E-D-T-I-M-E”
“Okay then, may we speak with you again?”
At this, we said goodbye and Maria’s hand dropped the pen. We were silent for a few minutes, processing what had just happened. It was then that Maria had shifted for the first time, her breathing became lighter and she began to snore lightly. If she had been in a deep trance before, she was now in what seemed like a normal sleep cycle.
The girls were spell-bound. Although Victoria still accused Maria of faking the whole thing, the other girls were convinced that we had truly connected to the spirit of a little boy named Jonas. I was surprised and a bit unsettled. Although I was the one that suggested doing automatic writing to connect with a spirit, and even chose Maria as the person to do the writing, I guess I was more interested in impressing the girls; giving them the impression that I was a cool cabin staffer. I hadn’t considered that we might actually begin to speak with a spirit, and certainly not one like innocent little Jonas who likes juice and big green bugs.
We all went to sleep soon after that, but I confess lying awake for a long time thinking about what had happened. Was it possible that Maria was faking this? It seemed unlikely; and I would imagine that she would have tried to scare us or used clichéd answers; the 12 year old mind would not be likely to create the Jonas persona who ‘flew up into two arms’ and didn’t know what death was. I could hear the girls whispering about Jonas and what had happened. They were already talking about the next time we could contact Jonas. As I watched the moonlight dance across my sleeping bag, I wondered if I could handle what I started.
CHAPTER TWO – THE MUSIC
We awoke to a trumpet playing Reverie in our cabin. The intensity of the volume jolted us awake and we all nearly fell out of our bunks. The camp director, Mr. James, was standing just inside the door playing his trumpet into our cabin. Each morning, he enjoyed picking one cabin to sneak into to wake the sleeping campers with his cacophony. It was barely 7AM.
Having stayed up late the night before, Cabin 12 was a little late getting down to breakfast. During the long walk down, I ask Maria privately about what happened the night before. Without the hint of a smile, she plainly said that she simply fell asleep and doesn’t remember a thing of what followed. I filled her in on the details, and she seemed very dubious. Later, when she looked at the papers still scattered across her trunk, she would be genuinely surprised that her own hand had produced the childish letters. She gave us a sample of her writing, and I even insisted that she attempt to reproduce the letters the way Jonas had written them. Everything about the way she wrote was different. I looked closely at her letters compared to the letters written by Jonas. By all indications, they seemed to have been written by different people. The one, a 12-year-old girl – the other, a 6 or 8-year-old boy.
Because I didn’t truly know Maria yet, I couldn’t be 100% certain that she wasn’t fooling us. Later that evening, however, something happened that convinced all of us, even Victoria, that Jonas was truly among us.
After the evening orchestra rehearsal was over, we headed back to the cabin. There was an air of excitement as we all anticipated another session with Jonas. I pulled Maria aside and asked if she was okay with this. I didn’t want her to feel pressure to do this from the other girl’s excitement. I told her that I would put a stop to it if she wasn’t comfortable, but she agreed, saying that all it meant for her was extra sleep.
When we got into the cabin, we busied ourselves with showers and getting ready for bed. All of a sudden, one of the incandescent bulbs began to flicker. Looking up at the ceiling, there were two bulbs on either end of the cabin, connected to each other and to the wall switch by a single cable, encased in a metal tube. Since only one of the bulbs were flickering, I assumed that the bulb was about to blow. If it had been the electricity, then both bulbs would have had to be affected, since they were connected to a single electric line. I was about to head out to the counselor’s cabin down the hill to see if they had spare bulbs when suddenly, the flickering stopped. A few minutes later, the other bulb started to flicker. The flickering continued to alternate until one of the girls suggested it might be a sign from Jonas.
Everyone in the cabin went quiet and I called out, “Jonas, if that is you, can you stop the flickering of the bulbs for a minute?”
The bulbs began to burn steadily.
“Okay, thank you. Can you make only the bulb by the bathroom flicker now?”
Instantly, only the bulb at the far end of the cabin began to flicker. Everyone in the cabin was amazed, giggling and cheering. I quieted everyone again and asked, “Jonas, can you now make the only the other bulb flicker?”
Again, the flickering of the further bulb became steady, and the bulb nearest the exit door began to flicker. Suddenly, it really hit home for me. We were really in contact with a spirit, and I was completely responsible for managing this. Moreover, this spirit-child, whomever he was, was not content to wait for automatic writing, he wanted to contact us in other ways, ways that I couldn’t control.
In that moment, the situation changed from a silly game that I proposed to impress my campers, to a real ongoing spiritual event that I wasn’t sure I prepared to handle.
Despite my reservations, the girls wanted to try to contact Jonas again soon after the incident with the bulbs, so we dragged out Maria’s chest, pushed it against her bunk and bid her goodnight. She laid down with her arm outstretched and the pen in her hand using her usual grip. It didn’t take long for her to go into the sort of deep sleep that now I recognize as a trance. What I didn’t realize until much later was that Maria, even at 12, had natural mediumship abilities. She fell into trance easily and the grip soon changed to the childlike grip we recognized as Jonas.
“W-A-S I F-U-N-N-Y?”
“Yes, Jonas. Was it you doing that to the lights?”
“Y-E-S. I M-A-D-E Y-O-U L-A-U-G-H”
“Yes, you did. That was funny, Jonas!”
Venturing further, and desiring more physical proof, I asked Jonas if he could possibly make something else move.
“Well, how about a feather? Can you make a feather move?”
“I W-I-L-L T-R-Y”
I had thought of a feather because one of the girls had found feathers outside of our cabin on the way back. Jen ran outside and grabbed one. We put it on the table and waited.
“Jonas? Is this too hard for you?”
Okay, don’t worry about the feather. The lights were enough. Can we ask you some questions?
“Where are you right now? Where do you live?”
“B-I-G W-H-I-T-E H-O-U-S-E”
“Is it your mommy and daddy’s house?”
“Is your mommy and daddy there with you?”
“Oh. Who is there with you?”
“Really? That’s amazing, Jonas. Are you an Angel?”
“Interesting. What do the angels look like?”
‘C-A-N-T T-E-L-L Y-O-U”
Around now, we started to figure out that at times Jonas spoke and sounded like a young child, and sometimes he said things that were more mature. He also couldn’t answer all of our questions.
“Jonas, what do you like to do at your house?”
“P-L-A-Y. B-I-G W-H-I-T-E B-A-L-L. R-E-D F-I-R-E-T-R-U-C-K.”
“Oh, I see you like to play with your toys. That’s nice. We have toys here too.”
“Jonas, can you tell us anything else about where you are?”
“D-O Y-O-U H-E-A-R T-H-E M-U-S-I-C?”
“The music?” We all looked at each other. The cabin was silent. “I’m sorry, Jonas. We don’t hear the music.”
“Y-O-U W-I-L-L O-N-E D-A-Y. I-T-S B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L”
We were all touched by that last statement. Jonas was referring to the music in heaven, where he was. The music of Angels, of which so much is written about in religious and spiritual literature.
With a tear in my eye, I replied: “Jonas, I’m sure it’s so beautiful. I can’t wait to hear it one day.”
And just like the previous night, Jonas told us it was time for him to go to bed. We said goodnight and sat in the darkened cabin in silence, processing what we had just experienced. This was no scary ghost conjured from our imagination, this was a real little boy, not yet an angel, living in some representation of the house he must have lived in before he died. Although we didn’t know how he died, plainly his mother and father must have still been alive since he was being cared for by “angels”.
I realized then the emotional impact that this little boy was having. We were beginning to care for him.
I asked the other girls what they thought he looked like. “small, pale skin and brown hair and brown eyes”. We all agreed. Our internal picture of him was the same.
CHAPTER 3 – LOVE
Because this was a music camp, our days were spent busily practicing for the concert that would be given for family members on the final night. Because we all played different instruments, except for perennially disheveled Jen who played the clarinet with me, we spent most of our days apart, in our ensemble groups. During recreation time, however, we were free to walk through the woods, swim in the lake or retire to the cabin if we wished. The girls were getting along for the most part, except for Jen. She didn’t quite fit in with the other girls, and they seemed to sometimes exclude her because she seemed to act out at times. I did my best to keep us as a cohesive group.
During one of these times, I decided to go back up to the cabin. I was deep in thought about Jonas, about the nature of his spiritual heaven and his declaration that we would all ‘one day hear the music’. As I was wondering what that meant, I reached the long hill that led up to cabin 12. Just as I began to climb it, I saw a deer coming out of the treeline. I stopped to watch the deer and felt this incredible sense of love and peace. I watched as the deer slowly approached me, undaunted, it’s large brown eyes fixed to mine. I could feel tears welling up as a feeling of perfect love overcame me. I stood perfectly still in the bright sunshine as the deer walked up to me and stood close enough for me to reach out and stoke the muzzle. I didn’t touch the deer, we just both stood silently together, regarding each other in the silence until the deer turned, and walked slowly back into the woods. I stood rooted to the spot for a while longer processing what had happened then turned toward the cabin. When I got there, I flipped on the lights, sank to my knees and through my tears said “Thank you, Jonas, that was a beautiful gift. Thank you so much”.
The lights flickered in acknowledgement.
I never told the other girls about the deer incident; I felt it was a private message from Jonas reassuring me that I could handle this, and that what we were doing was right. It was a sacred moment that I treasure to this day.
It was the third day of camp, and half-way through. Although everyone was having a good time, we were very distracted by our experience with Jonas. We all agreed that we were getting through the day just to come back to the cabin and speak to Jonas. We half-heartedly created a skit for the gong show, knowing it wasn’t very good but not really caring. During the day, we were practicing and swimming and participating in camp activities, but our real experience began at night, after the last trumpet call.
On the third night, Jonas began flickering the lights excitedly as soon as we walked in. Tonight I was determined to ask as many questions that I could think of, but I was disappointed that Jonas wouldn’t reveal too much. I asked such questions like “Do we have a destiny?” “What is God and what does He look like?” and “What is Heaven like?” and other similar questions but Jonas was evasive every time. It was frustrating and disappointing that he wouldn’t reveal much about his environment or the nature of reality, but I realize now that had he simply told me everything I had wanted to know, I might have never become an afterlife researcher.
At a lull in the questioning, Jen left to go to the bathroom and take some medication. While she was gone, Victoria admitted that she didn’t like Jen.
Jonas responded. “W-H-Y?”
Victoria began to list the reasons before I put a stop to the negative talk, telling them that it wasn’t nice. I knew Jen, with her disheveled clothes and messy hair didn’t fit in with the manicured Danielle and Victoria, but it was my responsibility to keep the peace. Victoria said, “I wish Jen wasn’t here. She doesn’t care about Jonas like we do and she is so annoying.” I hushed her just as Jen returned. It was true that Jen was immature and frequently acted out to get attention, but I saw her as simply an insecure, needy girl who came from difficult circumstances. Victoria and Danielle, coming from the wealthy areas of North Jersey didn’t usually associate with people like Jen, and of course, weren’t mature enough yet to understand why Jen acted the way she did.
We resumed with one final question.
“Jonas” I asked, “How are you able to communicate with us?”
“I C-A-N F-E-E-L Y-O-U-R L-O-V-E. I C-A-N F-E-E-L T-H-E L-O-V-E I-N Y-O-U-R H-E-A-R-T-S”
Victoria and Danielle looked appropriately abashed from their previous comments about disliking Jen and I was satisfied that they had learned a valuable lesson. But I was wrong; Jonas was about to drive the point home.
On the fourth day of camp, we were out late for the gong show and the annual campfire. When we returned, it was after 11pm, Jonas’s customary bedtime. We tried to contact him as usual, but he didn’t answer. There were no flickering of lights, no sign that Jonas was with us at all. We went to sleep that night with heavy hearts. The next day was the last day of camp and the final concert, and there would be no more nights, no more automatic writing, and no more Jonas. We felt like we hadn’t gotten the chance to say goodbye.
The next morning, after packing up our things, we all started down for breakfast after the morning reverie as usual. After the long hill, there was a path through the woods. Each morning we had to step over a log that was laying down in the path. This morning however, Jen somehow missed it and stumbled, falling face first into the path and landing on her arm. She howled and cried, cradling her arm. I looked at her arm, surveying the damage. The arm was already starting to swell and there was a suspicious lump and I worried that she had broken it. We took her to the nurses’s cabin, whimpering and crying. The nurse looked dubiously at the arm and announced that Jen would have to go to the hospital for xrays.
Dejected, worried, we could do nothing else but walk slowly on to breakfast. We didn’t speak the whole way.
CHAPTER 4 – FLICKER OR TAP
During breakfast, we spoke in hushed tones about our worry about Jen and about the conspicuous absence of Jonas. When I saw the nurse arrive for breakfast, I was elected to ask her about Jen.
“She was taken to the hospital, hon. She had a broken arm.”
“Will she be okay to return for the concert tonight? She can’t miss the concert!”
The nurse looked at me quizzically, “I don’t think she can play the clarinet with a broken arm. I think her parents are coming to take her home today.”
When I returned to give the bad news to the rest of my cabin, they had already formulated a plan. We needed to return to the cabin on our only recreation period of the day and ask Jonas for help.
When the time came, we all met at the cabin. Although it was the middle of the day, Maria had no trouble going into trance as usual. We watched Maria’s hand and waited.
“Jonas?”, I asked cautiously.
There was no sign for a long time, then we saw the grip change and I breathed a sigh of relief.
The first thing Jonas said was this:
“A-R-E Y-O-U H-A-P-P-Y?”
“No,” I said mournfully, “No, Jonas, we aren’t happy. Jen broke her arm and she won’t be able to make it to the final concern tonight. She’s in the hospital. We feel badly about it.”
“T-H-A-T-S W-H-A-T Y-O-U W-A-N-T-E-D. S-H-E I-S G-O-N-E”
We couldn’t help it, we all looked at Victoria who was close to tears. “I didn’t mean that she should get hurt, Jonas, that’s not what I meant.”
I was horrified. Had Jonas somehow caused Jen to trip on that log because he thought we didn’t want her here?
“W-A-S I B-A-D?”
“Jonas, you weren’t bad, but you have to understand that just because sometimes we say things that aren’t nice, it doesn’t mean that we want someone to be hurt. We were wrong, Jonas.”
“Jonas, can you help Jen at all?” Danielle asked.
“I W-I-L-L T-R-Y”
“Jonas,” I said, dreading the words, “We aren’t going to be able to contact you again after today. We have to say goodbye.”
At this point, the three of us were crying, knowing it would be the last time we spoke to Jonas.
“Is there any way we can ever talk to you again?”
“I W-I-L-L A-L-W-A-Y-S B-E W-I-T-H Y-O-U. J-U-S-T S-P-E-A-K A-N-D I W-I-L-L H-E-A-R Y-O-U.”
I offered up one last question, and his answer has remained with me to this day.
“Jonas, how will we know you are around?”
“F-L-I-C-K-E-R O-R T-A-P. F-L-I-C-K-E-R O-R T-A-P.”
“We love you Jonas. We’ll remember. We’ll never forget you, ever.”
We then woke up Maria, turned off the lights and walked out of the cabin for the last time.
CHAPTER 5 – THE CONCERT
We moved through the last rehearsals of the day in slow motion. After an early dinner, we had a grueling 2 hour rehearsal before the main concert. I had felt unusually tired all day and during our last rehearsal, I looked around the orchestra for my cabin mates. I noticed that Danielle and Victoria in the flute section seemed listless as well. Maria could barely hold up her trumpet.
What was going on, I wondered?
During the break, we met in a circle.
“I feel so tired; so drained. How do you guys feel?”
“The same”, Danielle breathed. Victoria and Maria just nodded.
“Why do we feel this way?”
“I have no idea. I feel like all the energy got sucked out of me.”
At that point, we were called back for the second half of rehearsal. The tired feeling intensified until I felt I could no longer even play. It was a struggle to keep my head up and eyes open. I looked at Danielle and Victoria and they had stopped playing as well, looking at their feet. Maria was barely visible behind her music stand, hunched low.
Just at the point when I felt like I was about to pass out, I suddenly began to feel better. My energy slowly started to return. I looked around, and both Danielle and Victoria also seemed a little more energized.
About 20 minutes later, Jen walked into the room, her arm wrapped in a bandage. When she made eye contact with me, she gave me a wide smile and gave me the thumbs up sign.
As soon as rehearsal was over, we all ran over to Jen to give her a hug and ask her what happened.
“You’ll never believe it!”, she said. “I was in the hospital, and I was so upset because I thought I’d broken my arm. The hospital thought so too. They took xrays and brought me to a room to wait. While I was there, I talked to Jonas out loud and all of a sudden, the light above me started to flicker! That’s when the doctor came in and told me that my arm wasn’t broken after all – it was just a bruise!”
She unwrapped her arm to show us. Where it had been puffy and discolored with a suspicious bump forming where I assumed her bone was broken, her arm was perfectly smooth with barely a hint of a bruise.
“It doesn’t even really hurt anymore!” She said triumphantly.
Then, in a lower voice, “It was Jonas. He healed me.”
As the girls exclaimed over the fortuitous events, I reflected on what had just happened.
“Now I know why we were so tired. Jonas used our energy to heal Jen.”
The concert started at 8:00. Our parents were in the audience and we prepared to play. The pieces we had practiced went well, but during the final piece, I looked up at my cabin mates. They looked back at me, and at each other. We had accomplished something amazing this week, but it was also ending. Tears welled up in my eyes, as I contemplated saying goodbye. To these girls, to Jonas, and to this camp. I was now getting too old to be a cabin staffer and would be going off to college the next year. I would never be returning. In the days before the internet and cell phones, this goodbye could mean goodbye forever.
Once the concert was over, we packed up our instruments, handed our suitcases off to our parents and walked back into the dining hall to say goodbye. As we stood there awkwardly, I pulled out all of the pages that contained the writing that Jonas had done during the week.
I turned toward Maria, ever steadfast. “Here,” I said tremulously, “I think it’s only right that you keep these pages. You never had any time to speak with Jonas, so I think you should have this so you can read his words.” The other girls nodded in agreement. Maria took them humbly.
“I’m going to miss you all so much,” I said through my tears, “Remember what Jonas said, flicker or tap. You can always talk to him when you need him. He’ll be listening, always.”
Just as we turned to leave, we got one last, dramatic sign from Jonas – his goodbye.
The lights in the huge dining hall were comprised of 2 rows of approximately 16 florescent lights, like the type found in offices. Suddenly, each of the lights blinked on an off in turn, giving the room the effect of chaser lights.
All of the campers, counselors and parents in the dining hall looked up in surprise and confusion at this odd display of the lights and murmering went through the room.
Despite our tear-stained faces, we held each other’s hands and smiled.
I heard one of the girls whisper softly, “Thank you Jonas.”
As the years went by, I spoke to Jonas a lot, confiding my hopes and fears. Sometimes in my darkest moments, I begged him for a flicker or a tap, but I never saw either. Since the last day in the camp, Jonas has never revealed himself to me again in a physical way, but I do not doubt his presence in my life.
Jonas was an extremely wise spirit who was meant to come into our lives and teach all of us something very special. I wonder if Maria pursued her mediumship abilities into adulthood, and if Victoria and Danielle learned compassion for the less fortunate and developed a belief in something greater than themselves. Jen, who experienced a miraculous healing, and through this finally received the acceptance of her camp-mates hopefully went back to her life with renewed hope, and confidence that she was worthy of love. For me, Jonas inspired a life-long interest in learning about life after death and a renewed sense of spirituality that went beyond the boundaries of religion.
I can’t say for sure if there was a lesson in this meant for Jonas himself, or if he was simply acting in behalf of our own spiritual lessons, but I liked to think that as a little boy growing up in the spiritual world, this communication was allowed and encouraged by his guides to help teach him compassion too. From my research, it seems that we don’t ever stop learning, even in the afterlife. Although it sounds cliche, I like to think that Jonas ‘earned his wings’, after performing his miraculous healing and finally became an Angel.
I would like to dedicate this blog to Jonas. He sparked my lifelong interest in learning about his world; the world we will all someday see. I know that when that day comes, I will meet Jonas in the big white house and say “I hear the music now Jonas; and it is so very beautiful.”
15 thoughts on “Jonas and the Haunted Cabin: A True Ghost Story”
A touching story Jenn, beautifully and sensitively told.
I can understand why this should have put you on the road to investigate life after death.
Wouldn’t if be wonderful if one or more of the girls read your blog and got in touch?
I have shared it on a Facebook page I manage.
Thank you, Dave. I am actively trying to find at least one of the girls; there are only were two from the story whose last name’s I can remember – Jen, the one that got hurt, and Danielle, the dancer. Somewhere, if I can find my old clarinet case, I might have the actual full names and addresses (at least from 1994) of their families. We got that information from being cabin staffers and I hope I saved it. I did find Danielle about 10 years ago and sent her a message on MySpace asking if she would kindly share what she remembered, but I never heard back. I suppose it’s possible it was the wrong Danielle the dancer as well. I had also hoped that somehow the other girls would see this and contact me, but I know it’s a long shot. Thank you very much for reading to the end of the long story. I knew it wouldn’t be a really popular post, but I’m glad a few people, like you, have read and appreciated it. Thank you for sharing it on your facebook. If anyone gets in contact me with, you’ll be the first to know.
Awesome story! Touching and miraculous. I too am interested in the existence of an after life or really anything beyond material reality at all and your story gives me hope.
I found you through your post about Channeling Erik as I’ve been really trying to discern what’s going on there. I echo your sentiments about it to a “T”. However, I’m leaning more towards it being totally made up at this point. Perhaps it started out with good intentions and honest legitimacy, but now that I see Jamie Butler letting Erik into her body, I kinda want to cringe. It just looks so ridiculously contrived to me on their videos.
Anyway, thanks again for your story about Jonas. Truly appreciate it.
By the way, did you ever do any research about a boy named Jonas dying at that camp? I would absolutely love to know if you dug into it and found something.
Thank you so much for your comment and for reading through the whole story, as long as it is. I’m grateful that it gives you hope; it helped me a lot over the years to think of Jonas when things looked bleak. I’ve never heard from him again, and sometimes that has made me feel like he abandoned me. But in reality, it has made me push harder to study the afterlife more deeply, searching for these rare glimpses. Anyway, to answer your question – I have tried to research Jonas many times. In the early days before the internet it wasn’t really possible, but as soon as I got online for the first time (1997 or so), I began to try to search old newspaper archives for accidents in the area. I haven’t found anything yet, but in reality, my best bet would be to go to the library of that town and look through their records. I don’t live too far from there at the moment, so maybe I will be inspired to go. I’ve also tried to find the other girls who were in the cabin with me. About 10 years ago, I did find Danielle the dancer and contacted her on MySpace. I never got a reply which was disappointing. I guess it maybe wasn’t her or perhaps after she got older it’s possible she became religious and looked back on what we did as contacting demons or some such nonsense. Somewhere, buried in my storage unit, my old clarinet case sits and it’s very possible that I still have the paper that the camp gave me that had the full names of the girls in my cabin. I have been thinking about digging through and trying to find it. In the age of Facebook, I might be able to find the other girls – maybe even the girl who did the automatic writing. If she possibly saved the Jonas papers, I think I would simply cry of joy. I would be wonderful to read all of the things he wrote and provide some physical validation. We’ll see. I have a feeling that my Jonas story isn’t over yet, so hopefully there will be a chapter two after I’ve dug out that clarinet case and/or gone to the Newton, NJ library. If either happens, I will definitely let you know.
As for Channeling Erik, yes. I as well have my reservations. What Jamie claims to do – seeing entities standing before her and mimicking their words – is extraordinary. As they say, extraordinary claims requires extraordinary proof. I noticed that the blog members of Channeling Erik don’t really seem to call Jamie and Dr. Medhus out on some of the discrepancies that occur in the videos. It’s a very tight-knit group, which is great but I think because people love Jamie and Dr. Medhus so much, they don’t want to believe that something could be amiss. The most glaring discrepancy that I saw was the John Lennon interview, where they got his manner of death wrong and a few other facts, like who gave him his first guitar. On the very first page, “John” says he was raised Catholic, but I believe I read that he was Anglican. If Jamie is claiming that John Lennon is standing right in front of her, how is it possible that she got this wrong? I suppose if she explained herself – perhaps how distortions can occur, I’d be more satisfied.
On the other hand, Dr. Medhus seems to believe Jamie without a doubt. I would think that because Dr. Medhus knows her own son so well, that it would be exceedingly impossible for Jamie to have fabricated all of this and gotten away with it for so long. Honestly, I would feel a lot better if there were more verifiable proof. If she is really that good, they could film someone in another room writing down a series of long numbers and Jamie could ask Erik to tell her what they are and rattle them off, live on camera. That would go a long way toward making me more of a believer. Well, I guess they don’t need me, they have plenty of people who believe without question anyway. I guess I just felt like someone who is not a skeptic had to put forward an honest assessment. I have to say, I did love both books that Dr. Medhus wrote, and I like Dr. Medhus herself. I think she’s an honest woman. I just know that if I had that kind of talent that Jamie claims to have, I would be subjecting myself to all kinds of tests to prove that I was the real deal – including scientific tests for anyone who was interested. But instead Jamie Butler is interviewing Jesus behind a $500 an hour paywall. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me.
Well, Jason, thanks again for visiting, reading my story and for your kind comments. Sorry my reply was so long – I tend to write and write and write! Hope to see you again around here sometime. 🙂
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[…] writing, officially called psychography, has fallen out of favor in recent years, but I can attest to its efficacy for spirit contact. Automatic writing is the process by which you hold a pen comfortably in your […]
I am one of the girls that was in your cabin that week. I’ve been trying to get connected with you for years, on and off. Recently my husband pushed me to search again, and I came upon your blog entry about Jonas. As I read it, the memories of that week came back and I was in tears. I would love to talk to you.
Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it! I have been trying to find you girls for years as well!! I’m in complete shock and I’m so thrilled! I would love to talk to you too! If you left an email with your comment, I’ll email you. If that’s not a good address to use my address is in the contact page. This is so incredible!
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Yes!! I left an email!! Please contact me!! I’m in shock and thrilled also!!! Can not wait to talk!!!!!
I’m thrilled to see that you’ve come in contact with one of the girls that experienced Jonas with you. If possible and appropriate, would you mind doing a blog entry about your comparison of notes?
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Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. It reaffirms my belief and hope in a life beyond this.
I have had my share of experiences in my life that have convinced me that something … beyond … awaits.
I lack your ability to authentically describe my experiences, as you have so eloquently described.
I am left without a shadow of a doubt that your experience and your story is genuine.
I wish more people could read your story. The authenticity is remarkable.
My search for irrefutable evidence of life after death has guided my life since my teenage years. I am now nearly 41. Oh dear, how the time “läuft” (I am Australian, but I live in Germany now).
All the best. Glad I found your site! Please make contact with me, if you feel it appropriate.
Thank you, Mike.. it seems we are on a similar path, and as I approach my 40s, my ‘search’ only gets stronger. The truth is out there somewhere.. and it gives me comfort to know that there are others out there like you searching for it as well. Thanks for writing, hope to see you around. – Jenn
[…] but I did write it all out in the post entitled ‘Jonas and the Haunted Cabin’ linked here. To briefly summarize, my cabin group of 12-year old girls and I connected with the spirit of a […]
Hi Jenn! Thank you for sharing this story. I read it earlier (and much of your other work) and have been mulling it over, with a disconcerted feeling about one area–are you sharing that Jonas, the spirit, was somehow able to cause Jen to physically trip and injure her arm? Or am I misinterpreting? If that is the case based on your memories, and Jen, a human (and young girl), was physically impacted to the point of injury by a spirit being, that concerns and confuses me greatly… I would love some more insight into this. Thank you for all your important work here!
You are very observant on this point. When I was 16 and this happened, I took Jen’s injury at face value. I assumed Jonas was a child spirit who mis-interpreted the negative talk about this girl from the other campers, and willfully made her trip over that log. However, looking back all these years, I realized that Jonas may have been more than we suspected. At times, he responded to us like a young child would. At other times, he seemed to understand concepts beyond his age, even if he frustratingly didn’t answer all of my questions. For example, I asked if we have a destiny or fate. This is a tough concept for a child we assumed was around 6 or 7. But Jonas told us he couldn’t tell us. A more normal response would be different. For a child that young, you’d have to explain what ‘destiny’ is, and you’d expect an answer in-line with how a 6-year old might conceptualize pre-determination. It would make sense for a group of 12 year olds and their 16 year old counselor that the spirit would come in the form of a child. It removed our fear of the situation. So was it really a little boy, or a spirit guide in the guise of a little boy? Maybe Jonas was being helped by a more advanced guide. For a long time, I assumed the lesson of Jen and her injury was for Jonas. He misinterpreted the negativity and then had the chance to ammend his actions. Now that I’m older and wiser and more spiritually aware, I believe this was a lesson for us. When we first connected with Jonas, I asked him how he was able to connect with us, i.e. hear us. He told us that he could ‘feel our love’ or ‘feel the love in our hearts’. The message was clear that love was important. When some of the campers reacted unlovingly, there was an immediate consequence. After Jen got hurt, the campers immediately realized the power of their negativity in a really concrete way. For Jen’s part, she described seeing the light blinking above her in the hospital and knowing that Jonas was there for her. That, plus her injury turning out to be nothing major, was empowering for a girl who I suspected came from a difficult home where maybe she didn’t feel supported. Perhaps this experience gave her insight that there was guidance out there for her. When Jen came back to the group before the final concert, she was showered with love from the other campers and was herself elated. So it was instructional on a variety of fronts. If it is true that earth is a school as they say, then this experience was a small example of what happens to us everyday. And I suspect that some of the more difficult things that happen to us, if they are pre-planned, are encouraged by our guides. I don’t believe guides are there just to make sure we have happy, pain-free experiences. If we are meant to get hurt in order to learn a particular lesson (and we agreed to it before coming here), then why wouldn’t guides facilitiate this for us? I had actually planned to write a post about it, but suggesting that guides may lead us toward danger as often as away from it may not be the most popular sentiment. I will still write it though, because it’s the most logical conclusion of the concept of spiritual agreements. So, in conclusion, I don’t believe Jonas was acting out of malice or ignorance. I believe the lesson was multi-faceted and successful for it’s intended purpose. And in the end, it fostered greater love and connectedness. Jen wasn’t truly hurt, she received a personal indication that Jonas was with her which made her special out of the rest of us, and in the end, she and the other girls really bonded, despite their differences and the prior judgement she received. The girls looked at Jen as a fellow human being, not a poor girl with rumpled clothes who acted out. Honestly, I don’t think the lesson would have worked without Jen tripping over the log. And it turned out to be a powerful lesson indeed for the rest of us at that young age. That’s my take on it, anyway, after thinking about it for many years. Thank you for the chance to revisit this experience and thanks again for reading and visiting.