<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> <b>Mom's Visions</b> <p> The following accounts were given to me by my mother, Bruna Santariga. My mother has had psychic abilities as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, these events are usually are preceded by a major migraine headache; soon after, she has these "visions," which seem to result in ominous occurrences. <p> <p> <b>The Apparition of Adrian</b> <p> My cousin Adrian died suddenly at the age of twenty-six. At the time of her passing, I was living in Colorado, but I was told the following incident upon my return to New York, during a family gathering. Knowing of my involvement in the paranormal, my family was anxious to hear my opinion regarding the strange occurrences surrounding Adrian's death. <p> The morning of February 22, 1974, started like most midwinter days in my hometown of Yonkers, New York. The sky was bright and sunny, and the snow was on the ground from the previous weekend's storm. As my mother was getting ready for work, she complained about waking up with a headache. For my mother, this was nothing new. As far back as I could remember she had always suffered from chronic high blood pressure, which caused her numerous headaches. However, this time it was more than just another headache; she also had an accompanying uneasy feeling that was causing her a peculiar anxiety. <p> Shrugging it off, Mom packed her lunch, bundled herself up and made her way down New Main Street to the dress shop where she worked as a dressmaker. <p> As the morning moved on, her headache somewhat diminished, but in contrast, the queasy feeling seemed to be growing. Looking at the clock, she noticed that it was almost 10:30 a.m. and thought that perhaps having some lunch and taking aspirin would help relieve her symptoms. <p> Running out of material, my mother leaned over and reached into a bin for more fabric. When she pulled up a bulk of the fabric, Mom jolted back in shock as she was suddenly gripped by a ghastly vision. She had uncovered what seemed to be a head and upper torso of a person. <p> At first, my mother could not identify the figure, but slowly it came into focus. Totally traumatized, she recognized the person: it was my cousin Adrian. <p> As soon as Mom recognized the figure to be Adrian, she became light-headed and fainted. Everyone ran over to help her. One of the men who worked there gave her some water. He then asked if she would like to see a doctor or go home. My mother thanked him but said she was fine and solemnly went back to work. To her surprise, the creepy feeling that had plagued her all morning had disappeared. <p> Mom had just finished lunch and was getting back to work when my dad walked into the shop. He walked over to my mother, but before he could speak, she asked, "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at work?" <p> My father was about to give the reason why he was there when my mother abruptly stopped him and said, "Wait, don't tell me, I know why you are here. You're here to tell me that Adrian is dead." <p> Dad stepped back, not believing what he had just heard. He asked Mom, "How did you know?" <p> Mom told him about the troubling feeling she had had since waking up that morning and about the vision that had appeared to her. <p> My father explained that my cousin Yvonne, Adrian's older sister, knowing that Adrian had not been feeling well, had been trying to reach her that morning. Not being able reach her by phone, Yvonne asked Adrian's boyfriend, Gary, to go to her apartment to see if everything was okay. When Gary got there, he found Adrian in bed and not breathing. He immediately called 911. The EMS people came quickly, but it was to no avail. Adrian did not respond to any of their procedures, and she was finally pronounced dead at ten thirty that morning. <p> A couple of days later, my mother and father went to the funeral home for the wake. As they approached the casket, my mother started to shake and told my father to hold on to her arm and quickly find a place to sit. My father noticed my mother was very upset and asked what was wrong. My mother told him that Adrian was wearing the exact dress that my mother had seen on the day of her vision. <p> <p> <b>Mary Balboa's Strange Good-Bye</b> <p> The next incident again reveals my mother's psychic ability. It is one of the few times that Mom did not get a headache before one of her paranormal experiences. <p> For many years my mother would spend most of the winters with my sister Marilena and her family in Florida, and the winter of 1997-1998 was no different—or so she thought. At about the same time, a friend of the family, Mary Balboa, was also heading to Florida. Mary was going to visit her sister. Mary and her sister had had their share of disagreements throughout the years. Mary had a serious illness and was confined to a wheelchair, and she wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings between her and her sister if, God forbid, something should happen to her. Knowing that my mother would be in Florida too, Mary called Mom to tell her she would stop by and visit her and Marilena. <p> Well, things did not go as planned for Mary. It seemed that everything thing she said or did caused the two sisters to argue. Mary was very upset, and she asked her sister if she could please take her to Marilena's so she could visit with my mother. Being very spiteful, Mary's sister ignored her request. <p> Meanwhile, my mother, not hearing from Mary, assumed that Mary and her sister were busy and that Mary would probably get in touch with her later. Little did my mother know the difficulty Mary was experiencing during the visit. <p> My cousin Yvonne and Mary were best friends, and not hearing from Mary troubled Yvonne. When Yvonne finally got in touch with Mary, she asked, "How are you and your sister getting along?" Mary told Yvonne about the arguing and fighting. Crying, Mary said that she was not feeling well and that she was planning to go home within a couple of days. <p> My mother did not know the trouble Mary was having with her sister. Although she was wondering why she had not heard from Mary, it did not concern her that much. That is, until one night. <p> My mother had gone to bed, but she was having a hard time falling asleep. She did not like the feeling she was experiencing—the kind of feeling that always accompanied bad news. <p> Noticing that it was almost 11:00 p.m., my mother rolled onto her side, trying to get comfortable. She saw what seemed to be smoke forming in midair. The substance became more detailed as my mother watched intensely. In just seconds, the wisp had transformed itself into the face of a person. Then the face of the person became very clear: it was the face of Mary Balboa. <p> Staring at the apparition of Mary, my mother heard her distinctly say, "Hello." <p> My mother, completely surprised, answered, "Hello." <p> With that, Mary smiled and slowly faded away. <p> The next morning, not mentioning anything to my sister about what had occurred the previous night, my mother sat down for breakfast. She started some small talk by asking my sister's kids if they were all ready for school. At that moment, the telephone rang. It was my cousin Yvonne; she had just gotten off the phone with Mary Balboa's sister. Mary's sister had wanted to let her know that Mary had passed away during the night. <p> My mother asked Yvonne, "Did she say what time it occurred?" <p> Yvonne answered, "I think Mary's sister mentioned it was about eleven o'clock last night." <p> My mother did not say anything to anyone about what she had seen that night. <p> Upon my mother's return from Florida, my aunts and Yvonne stopped by to visit with her. When the discussion of what happened to Mary Balboa came up, Yvonne said, "It was sad how Mary's life ended with her and her sister not getting along. And it was too bad she couldn't get to see you, Aunt Bruna, when you were at Marilena's." <p> My mother slowly looked up from the table and said to Yvonne, "Do you remember when you called to tell me about Mary? I asked you what time Mary died, and you said about 11:00 p.m." <p> My cousin answered, "Yes, I remember. Why?" <p> My mother went on to say, "At that same time, I saw an apparition of Mary's face; she said `Hello' to me and then vanished." <p> I asked Yvonne what she thought of Mom's experience. <p> Her answer: "Knowing your mother, it didn't surprise me." <p> To this day, my mother continues to have paranormal experiences, but she very rarely talks about them. <p> <p> <h3> Chapter Two </h3> <p> <b>Dad and Angelo's Encounter</b> <p> This next account happens to be my favorite for two reasons: First, it involves my dad and his best friend, Angelo. And second, you could not find a more skeptical pair of people in the world. <p> <p> <b>Revenge of Hanged Man's Ghost</b> <p> It started one summer afternoon in 1975. I was at my parents' house, having lunch and discussing my new job in Connecticut, when my father's best friend and old army buddy, Angelo, walked in. Angelo said he was in the neighborhood and had dropped by to say hello. Surprised to see me there, he came over and sat down. <p> He put his arm around me and started hitting me with all kinds of questions. "How the heck are you? I haven't seen you in years. Are you back from Colorado for good? Your dad told me you're still going to school. What are you studying now?" <p> In my family, the running joke was that I had been going to school all my life, so when people would see me, they would ask, "How are you?" immediately followed by, "So what are going to school for now?" <p> I told Angelo, "I've received my certification in parapsychology and have started investigating and doing research in the tri-state area." <p> Angelo had a puzzled expression on his face. "Parapsychology, what the hell is that?" he asked. <p> I explained to Angelo that parapsychology is the study of psychic phenomena. "We investigate reports of supernatural experiences, ghosts or spirits, UFOs, and other activities or events that are not easily explained through traditional scientific methods." <p> Then, as if I had said something unspeakable, Angelo asked in a very low voice, "Did your father ever tell you what happened to us the last time we went fishing at Montauk?" <p> My father spoke up and said, "You're not going to tell him about that crap, are you?" <p> Angelo said, "Hell, yeah. Maybe he can tell us what we saw." <p> With that comment, Dad got up from the table in a huff, lit a cigarette, and went out onto the patio. <p> During WWII, Angelo and my father had served in the US Army and had seen action in North Africa, Italy, and Germany. Unfortunately, both had seen more than their share of death and destruction. Yet, because of that that, I would not think that anything they could experience could ever "spook" them. <p> The point I am trying to make is you will never find two more straight shooters than these guys. The word "skeptic" is too mellow to describe them, especially my dad. <p> My curiosity now had the better of me, and I could not wait to hear what had happened to Angelo and my dad. <p> <p> <b><i>The Frightening Fishing Trip</i></b> <p> At least once every winter, Angelo and my dad went to Montauk Point, Long Island, New York, to fish for whiting. Whiting are small codfish that are abundant during cold weather, especially at Montauk. Montauk Point is about 120 miles east of New York City on Long Island. From my father's house in Yonkers, New York, it is probably about 140 miles. In all, it is about a three- to four-hour ride, depending on traffic and weather. <p> What Angelo told me that day had happened on the night of Washington's birthday, in February 1973. <p> There was hardly any traffic, the weather was clear and cold, and the trip to Montauk took them a little over three hours. The road leading to their favorite parking spot in front of the old abandoned Coast Guard base had not been maintained since the base was closed back in the early 1950s. There was no way they could take their car any closer to their fishing spot. It was just a few minutes before 9:00 p.m. when they arrived outside the entrance to the old Coast Guard base. <p> They gathered up their gear and started their quarter-mile walk to their favorite fishing spot. On the way, they passed the old airplane hangar, some rusted-out cars, rolls of wire cables, and all kinds of old junk. <p> They finally arrived at their favorite spot on the pier. It was the perfect night for catching whiting: the tide was high, the temperature was just right (cold), and there were a million stars in the sky. Now all they had to do was fill the two five-gallon buckets with whiting! <p> Luck was on their side that night, or so it seemed. They filled both buckets in less than two hours and were ready to head back home. My dad packed away the lantern, portable heater, blankets, and camping chairs. Angelo took the hooks off the fishing poles, reeled in the excess line, locked the spools, and put the lids on the two buckets of fish. Each of them lit cigarettes, and they headed toward the entrance of the base. <p> There they were, walking along the road with their catch. Angelo noted how eerily quiet it was. The only thing they heard was the crunching of the frozen snow under their feet. It was at this point that Angelo thought he saw a light coming from the abandoned airplane hangar. <p> He turned to my dad and asked him if he saw the light too. <p> My dad, with his cigarette dangling from his mouth, said, "Yeah, it's probably a bum trying to keep warm. Can't say I blame him." <p> Angelo was now keeping one eye on the hangar and the other on the snowy road. He did not like the creepy feeling he was getting. My father, on the other hand, was more concerned with getting to the car, putting everything away, and turning on the heater. <p> As they got closer to the hangar, Angelo noticed that the light from inside was getting more intense. It was as if with every step they took, the light became brighter. <p> Angelo called over to my father and said, "I think that bum is going to burn that hangar down; look how bright that fire's become." <p> Dad replied, "On the way home, we'll stop by the fire station and let them know about the fire." <p> They continued their brisk walk to the car. When they were about sixty feet from the hangar, Angelo and my father jumped as the hangar doors blew open. From inside the hangar, a wispy form started to float out. It almost looked like a small cloud, and it was gliding toward them. <p> With the wispy form no more than ten feet in front of them, they noticed that it was taking the shape of a person. Suddenly, out of nowhere, they heard a horrifying shriek, which broke the stillness of the dark cold night. <p> Angelo, in a panic, dropped all the gear and started running back toward the pier. My dad took off after him and caught him just before he reached the treacherous part of the pier that was missing planks. <p> Angelo, shocked and wide-eyed, turned to my dad and said, "Did you see that?" <p> My dad answered, nonchalant, "What are you talking about? That was only our imagination." <p> Angelo answered wildly, "Imagination, my ass." <p> They walked nervously back toward where they had dropped the gear and buckets of fish. As they got closer to the hangar, they started to get very uncomfortable and anxious. Almost directly in front of the hangar, they stopped and stared toward the doors. To their shock, the hangar doors were still padlocked, and there was no light coming from within. <p> That's when my dad said, "We need to get a coffee—real quick." <p> <p> <b><i>You Saw a Ghost</i></b> <p> Visibly traumatized, my dad and Angelo headed for the all-night diner on Old Montauk Highway. They wasted no time getting to the diner; luckily, it was only a couple of miles from where they had been fishing. <p> Angelo, still shaking, was trying to take a sip of his coffee when the owner behind the counter said, "I didn't think it was that cold out there." <p> Angelo answered back, "It's not the cold that has me shaking like this." <p> Then before Angelo could say another word, the diner owner said, "Well, then, you must have seen Hanged Man's Ghost!" <p> Both my father and Angelo look at each other, stunned by what they had just heard. <p> Then Angelo asked, "How did you know?" <p> The owner replied, "You aren't the first guys to see Hanged Man's Ghost, hell no." <p> Angelo asked, "So, you're telling us that we saw a ghost?" <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>PARANORMAL FAMILY AND FRIENDS</b> by <b>FRANK R. SANTARIGA</b> Copyright © 2011 by Frank R. Santariga. 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