2014-08-27 22:46:13 - Memoir: night in a vacant, haunted hotel yields surprising outcome
Kathleen Berry leaned wearily against the bare plasterboard in rural Nevada's shuttered, dusty Goldfield Hotel. There as the impartial observer for a TV news crew's paranormal investigation of the reportedly haunted place, she expected the subsequent 12 hours to be uneventful. After all, ghosts didn't exist, right?
However, those beliefs soon shattered; she experienced spirit activity on every floor. Invisible fingers stroked her scalp, an unseen force charged her on the stairs and more. The sum of those encounters pulverized her view on reality and made her reevaluate her religious beliefs.
Berry recounts the unusual night in her spirituality memoir, A Reluctant Spirit: A True Tale of God, Ghosts and a Skeptical Christian, along with:
- her journey from paranormal skeptic to
- the life and afterlife insights she had;
- how she relinquished her fear-based theology; and
- how she reconciled her ghost experiences with Christianity.
Seven lessons gleaned from interacting with spirits
- Death: Berry no longer fears death, seeing the loss of our physical shells as merely a transition from one realm to another.
- Heaven: In the past, she'd believed heaven meant being confined to a fluffy white cloud, a boring, but blessed existence. Now she views heaven as offering the utmost freedom, one where we are rid of physical constraints and can travel anywhere any time.
- Hell: Berry believes damnation is something we choose right after death when some of us fear meeting God and wrongly believe we'll be harshly judged.
- Judgment: Berry recognized how critical of others she'd become in her strict belief in God. Today, she's a person she once would've disapproved of.
- Psychic Abilities: She thinks everyone has intuitive ability and we all need to be open to the idea and aware of the energies around us.
- Vengeful God: Berry had equated strong faith with a fear of the Most Divine. After this hotel experience and expecting to be smited as a result, she discovered surprisingly that God wants to be loved and respected, not feared.
- Fear: Enduring that unusual night made her recognize how scared she'd been in life and how that trepidation had evolved into a wall between her and God.
Initially, Berry thought her book would interest mainly Christians who'd experienced paranormal activity. However, through reader feedback, she's found her memoir touches a larger segment of the population, including those who: grieve the loss of a loved one; face chronic illness and are seeking hope; feel marginalized by religion or question their worthiness to be accepted by The Divine; or seek their own unique spiritual path.
Berry's book has received national accolades. Kirkus Reviews called it "intriguing" and "a gripping account." (Media note: see review at end of this document.) Directors of the Association TransCommunication wrote, "We recommend this book if you have experienced unexplainable events or had a strong religious upbringing…A Reluctant Spirit encourages all of us to be open to new experiences and to the lessons they bring."
A Reluctant Spirit: A True Tale of God, Ghosts and a Skeptical Christian is available from Amazon.com and other booksellers.
Berry is available for media interviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2014
"A born-again believer makes a diverting adventure story out of embracing her sensitivity to benevolent spirits. Berry's intriguing debut memoir suggests that belief in the paranormal, including ghosts and psychic experiences, can be reconciled with orthodox Christianity….Present tense narration and convincing dialogue make for a gripping account and Berry successfully balances abstract thought with physical realities; even a scene as simple as peeling potatoes in her home allows for extended contemplation of spiritual happenings. Intriguing as it is, the memoir is so full of subjective experience that it is unlikely to convince doubters."
Kathleen Berry, a community college publicist, was thrown into the world of ghost hunters, psychics and mediums after the institution she works for started offering non-credit supernatural programming. In 2008, she became manager of the Nevada Ghost and Paranormal Series as well as the college's annual writers' conference. She's been interviewed by George Noory on "Coast to Coast A.M.," has given talks about her book and has taught writing and paranormal courses. For more than two years, Berry has penned a weekly blog at her website www.kathleenberry.com