by Laura Cannon
|l.to r. Sandy Bonfiglio (#2), Beth Jones(AC), and Katie Liesener(#1)|
|Lloyd Sheldon Johnson|
After we were wowed with Lloyd’s powerful messages, Mary Hannon started the competition with a story about 5 friends turning to a Ouija board to ask if they were ever going to have another child. None of them could imagine having more children, but 4 months later, Mary became pregnant. Over the next year, so did the rest of the women. This experience prompted her to start visiting Psychic Sundays at Milky Way, and Mary concluded her story with a recommendation: When we are wondering about some of life’s toughest questions, simply grab a dowsing pendulum and just ask. Beth Jones, the Audience Choice Winner (AC), followed with a story about her visit to a historic spa in Sharon Springs, NY so she could recover from an eye injury. After being fed a steady diet of blue green algae and diluted apple cider vinegar, Beth and the other spa guests decided to have a séance. They began by singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” in a round and felt a dramatic shift in energy. Suddenly her mother screamed when she saw a man appear behind a woman in their circle. The woman explained that it was her father, and Beth and her mother were so spooked and terrified about being sucked in, they freed their hands and returned home the very next day.
Katie Liesener, who won 1st Place, spoke of the Aston Hall ghost from her college. During her senior year, her closest circle of friends was reminiscing about their freshman year, a time of uncertainty and fear. Katie’s friend Anna had woken up in the middle of one night at 3:37 am and said she saw her roommate Julie hunched over her desk studying. But when Anna approached Julie about it the next day, Julie swore that she had spent the night at her boyfriend’s house. The next night, they both unexpectedly woke up, and this time, Anna saw a girl emerge and disappear. Katie’s journalism studies led her to research tales of these appearances, and Katie discovered that in 1927, a young student named Bernice Richardson drank carbolic acid and died, but was still very present in Aston Hall. David Briola followed Katie and told the audience about his attempt to achieve enlightenment. That enlightenment took form in a training camp in the woods of Wisconsin, for the simple price of $650. David shared his experiences of meditating, chanting and running naked through the woods into a cold lake, all to achieve enlightenment. He even upped his intake of fiber, just as the trainers suggested. When he still didn’t feel enlightened, he complained, only to be dismissed. But then later at home, in the midst of watching Jeopardy and fixating on Alex Trebek’s annoying moustache, David felt enlightened. But then it went away. Rhea Becker saw her first ghost 15 years ago, on Christmas Day, in Jamaica Plain. While at a friend’s house playing a board game, a cat moved around her leg and ran away. When she asked her friend about the cat, he replied, “I don’t have a cat.” Rhea continued to support her claim that ghosts are true by relaying a story about her friend Jane who grew up in a large home in Beacon Hill. When Jane slept in one particular bedroom, she repeatedly saw a man floating above the footboard of her bed, but said nothing. After that room caught fire, was repaired, and the hose was sold, Jane and her sister reminisced about the home. Jane’s sister started speaking about a man floating above the footboard in that same room, and for the first time, both sisters shared details of their encounters and realized that they were seeing the very same ghost. Laura Cannon’s supernatural story took place inside of a Pentecostal church when she was 11 years old. Laura had grown up Catholic until her father decided that their family needed to become born again. Laura vividly reenacted the wild behavior of her new Pentecostal parishioners who she thought were insane, but claimed to be “filled with the holy spirit.” Eventually Laura was able to tolerate her fellow church goers dancing, speaking in tongues and falling down – until they had a good old fashioned revival – where a special guest pastor laid hands on the congregation so they could be “slain in the spirit.” Laura faked feeling the pastor’s special blessing so she wouldn’t get in trouble with her parents. Intermission was a spectacular performance by Violet Maxfield and her friend Collette, who call themselves In Key. Sporting snazzy goth costumes and spooky makeup, Violet wowed the crowd with lead vocals and acoustic guitar, and Collette sang backup vocals. They performed 2 songs that were specifically picked to coincide with the event’s “Supernatural” theme.
|Judges (on right) and crowd get ready, the room was packed.|
|Robin Maxfield, host of JP slams|
The competition concluded with Owen Grey and his story about playing at the railroad tracks when he was a child. His parents warned him to not play there, but Owen succumbed to peer-pressure, even though he felt certain spirits hovering around that area. One night Owen dreamt about him and his friends being killed at that spot. The next day, his friends wanted to play there, and he tried to stop them, but they accused him of being too chicken. Suddenly they understood when they had to jump into a ditch to avoid being run over by the commuter rail.
This was definitely a night to remember, as the audience was wowed and spooked, story after story. Congratulations go to Katie Liesener for 1st place, Sandy Bonfiglio for 2nd place, and Beth Jones for the Audience Choice award.