The Science of Ghosts – In The Spirit of the Halloween Season


By Happy Medium Jonna Rae


Happy Halloween month!!!! While this is the time people traditionally pull out their scariest ghost stories, I’d like to share this topic with you in a slightly different… ah… spirit.


mediumI was recently working on my website – I use a GoDaddyTM template – and had to call their tech team for help. The guy I connected with asked for my url, and when he arrived at it, and saw the cover of my book, Psychic or Psychotic? Memoirs of a Happy Medium, I heard his loud sigh.


“So,” he said, with thinly veiled sarcasm, “you think you’re a psychic?”


“Yep,” I answered.


“Well then,” he challenged, “tell me about my grandfather!”


“His name began with an ‘R’,” I said immediately.


“NO! You’re WRONG!” the tech responded triumphantly. “His name began with an ‘A!’”


“What WAS his name?” I asked, knowing I was correct.


“Arthur.” I waited for his brain to catch up. “OHMYGOD!”


“And your grandfather said he loved all the hiking and camping trips you two shared,” I added.


“We ALWAYS went camping! Tell me about my grandmother!” In about 20 seconds, the guy went from confirmed skeptic to enthusiastic believer.


A law of physics states that energy can’t be created or destroyed—it merely changes form.


In my experience, this law applies to the energy we call life, too. Since I was a youngster growing up in a circa 1750s Pennsylvania farmhouse, I’ve heard, felt and seen people in the spirit world who didn’t cease to exist when they died—they just changed form.


There was even a particular incident when I was around nine where I woke up in the middle of a steamy, humid Pennsylvania summer night to see a woman in white standing by my bed. My first impulse was to scream, and my parents were in my room in a matter of seconds.


By that time, the apparition had disappeared, and mom and dad told me I’d imagined it—it was all a dream. But as dad was leaving my room, he turned around and said, “Man, it’s really cold in here.” Just like in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” this entity had taken thermal energy from my room and transformed it so she could manifest. She didn’t want to frighten me; she just wanted to connect.


Since that night decades ago, I’ve had many contacts with the other side, and even visited it myself during a near-death experience from a brain aneurysm in 1989. What I’ve learned is that as spiritual beings having a human experience, we too frequently get weighed down with denser vibrational energies—fear, anger, guilt, shame, worry. Basically, anything not coming from a vibration of love.


When we shed our physical form and ‘die,’ the general rule of thumb is we also shed those denser, heavier emotions for feelings of compassion, joy and love to literally become beings of light.


We grieve when loved ones die, and the sorrow is at the heavier end of the energy spectrum. The loved one who just left wants to connect with us, to let us know they’re fine, but as they’ve become “lighter” energetically, our grief makes us “denser.” The gap between us can be too wide for a connection to be possible.


That’s why the first step to being able to connect with loved ones in spirit is to consciously choose to focus on the happy memories and the love you shared. Just transforming your grief into gratitude for the time you shared and hope—hope that they’re fine, hope you’ll be able to reconnect soon and hope that they still feel your love — will significantly raise your energy, and make that connection happen so much sooner.


Parties, family reunions, holiday celebrations—any occasion where we’re in a happy, upbeat emotional state allows for that connection with loved ones in spirit. Frequently people I’m counseling have said they’ve stopped celebrations of any kind after their loved one died. The message I always receive for them is, start those gatherings going again!! They’ll be right there with you.


Just knowing they haven’t really “left,” they’re just in a different form, will start to make you more aware of their presence.


Start looking for the little “coincidences” that let you know they’re near—things like flickering lights, a TV switching channels, butterflies or birds flying close to you, a familiar aroma suddenly wafting into the room. You can also invite them to visit you in your dreams. Definitely acknowledge them in family celebrations—sing “Happy Birthday” to them on their special day, make their favorite recipe for a holiday dinner, put a flower or candle by their picture on Christmas.


And always know, as a lovely women in spirit told me one time, “Love means never having to say you’re leaving.”



The “Spirited Extras” at Disneyland


The following excerpt from my autobiography, Psychic or Psychotic? Memoirs of a Happy Medium, is from my years working as Disneyland’s supervisor of broadcast publicity in Anaheim, CA.


As Halloween approached in my first year at Disneyland, I got the bright idea that it would be a cool press release to talk about any “real” ghosts at the Park. My boss Greg Albrecht usually supported my wild and crazy suggestions, and gave me a green light. I started interviewing the “old timers” at the Park to get the scoop. I got way more than I bargained for!


First, I heard the story about an electrician who was working inside Space Mountain one night after the Park had closed. He was standing on the track, adjusting some lights, when someone accidentally switched on the track’s power.


The worker, the story goes, was immediately electrocuted. Legend has it that guests in the Space Mountain rockets have occasionally heard a man screaming, and have seen disembodied hands appear on their cars. Intrigued, I rounded up some other PR folks and we took a couple of rides. We ALL ended up screaming so loudly we would have drowned out any noisy ghost, but none of us ever saw any hands beyond those we brought on the ride with us.


Next, I spoke with a Park Lead, a supervisor on the Haunted Mansion ride. He made me promise I would never tell his name before he told me several stories. First, frequently, people closing the ride at the end of the night will hear kids laughing. The operators will keep cycling the cars through the ride, looking for the “doom buggy” with the happy munchkins. The children never…ah…materialize.


Then he told me about the time he was closing up, and he saw a man’s shoes sticking out from behind one of the long curtains shrouding the exit corridor. “OK, Buddy, ride’s closed…time to go,” he said as he parted the drapes. There was no one there, and then the shoes disappeared, too.


The third story he shared was the freakiest. Years ago a woman employee had a younger brother with a degenerative disease; I think it was Muscular Dystrophy. The boy loved the Park, particularly the Haunted Mansion, and rode it constantly while his sister was on duty. He always sported his favorite red baseball cap. The boy requested that his ashes be scattered around the ride after his death, and his sister reportedly obliged. Frequently now, ride operators closing the attraction for the night will see a boy in a red ball cap showing up in the mirror, but when they turn to talk to him, there’s no one there.


As cool as all these stories were, The Powers That Be decided these wouldn’t really generate the type of media attention Disneyland wanted. So, I never did get to write that Halloween release. But the next time you’re at the Park, tell the kid in the red ball cap, who only shows up in the mirror, that I said, “Hey!”



Author, Emmy-winner and medium Jonna Rae Bartges is passionate about helping people connect with and learn to trust their natural intuitive ability. She’s teaching Practical Spirituality 101, a psychic development class, Nov. 8 & 9 at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Center for Graduate Studies in the Asheville Chamber of Commerce Building. Find more information at


Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker