The following story is absolutely true. The parking lot, the parakeet and the mangy cat are pure fiction but the rest of the story is not.
Joyce had called. She’s my aunt, deceased now, a local celebrity who had a psychic talk show on a local television station. Sometimes I produced her shows. I loved her dearly; she’s my spiritual guide and had been since I was a kid. This particular night, she asked me to her house, wanting me to meet some people who had just appeared on her show that evening. She usually has a get together with the guests after every show, and told me that I might be interested in meeting them.
When I arrived, I learned that my aunt had already filled them in on some of my various interests; the professional (investigative) and paraprofessional (clairvoyance, psychometry) and they wondered if I might be interested in looking into what they believed to be a haunting at their restaurant. New owners, they had spent the two years previous in renovation. Now, open just less than 6 months, they were having trouble with strange occurrences in the building. Hot and cold changes. Lights going on and off, some vague reports of apparitions. The usual stuff. Intrigued, I asked if they would mind me “calibrating” my perceptions.
From the picture on the inside of my forehead, I began describing the building. I covered the construction style, windows, porch, outbuildings and was accurate until I said the color was gray with black trim. Nope, they said, it’s white but it has black trim. Well, I saw gray but it wasn’t a problem for me. You never get everything right. Sometimes you get nothing right but lots of times you get something.
They described shuffling and banging noises, temperature changes and a strange recurring light in the basement. Several employees had reported visual experiences. I told them that I was interested and that I’d be out a few nights later right around dinner. I wanted to be there when the activity was said to occur.
I arrived with my entourage, a parakeet and a mangy cat. No, wait, that wasn’t then, that was somewhere else. Ah, I remember now, I was alone. No one would go with me. Not even the mangy cat. So, I got there and couldn’t find a parking place. My intuition told me to go right and I did but it was a dead end and I got stuck. No, I didn’t get stuck, I remember, I got lost. It was a really big parking lot. I thought things had started out pretty well.
This is where it gets serious. Very serious. It was actually a really small parking lot. I finally parked fairly straight and got through the vestibule on my own. I had been told I’d be expected. I was. Two waitresses and the cook let me in the door, but they wouldn’t let me sit down, I had to wait in the rear of the vestibule. While they weren’t looking, I took some creamer packets and a spoon. Teach them to mess with me.
Once they realized who I was, they assigned a busboy to guard me . I guess they didn’t recognize me in my black biker leather, jackboots and two dollar shades but hey, I was incognito. You never want ’em to see you coming, especially the ones that play with the lights.
You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this bizarre story. Well, at least this story in a bizarre way. It’s because - don’t look around - they’re listening. I have to speak in code so they won’t know that I know and take me away to do remote viewing in the Pentagon with a bunch of dweebs and strange looking women. You understand.
And now this is the real part. Really. I toured the restaurant’s three floors and a dark, dank basement. I’ll admit to feeling constricted - and dank - there, but picked up no identifiable perceptions. Not until I found myself in an upstairs dining room, where I saw a picture on the wall of a young, uniformed Russian soldier with blazingly intense eyes. As I approached the picture. the room got colder. I know, I know, a “cliche,” but it did. It got much colder. Fast. As I moved away from the picture, it got warmer. When I went back, it got cold again. My curiosity rose with the short hairs on the back of my neck.
There was something very familiar about the picture but I couldn’t place it. The impression was strong but vague and when I asked, I was told simply that it was the previous owner. Later, I learned from the hostess, who was also part of the new ownership, that they had gotten a pretty good deal on the place. The way that she said “good deal” led me to thinking that it might have been maybe a little too good. Of course she was Russian, just in this country with a pretty strong accent and maybe a little uncomfortable. But I saw it in her eyes, too.
I first saw Yuri, the owner of the restaurant when he walked into the room. Hulking, dark hair, dark eyes, moody type. The kind who looks out from beneath an overhang of a forehead and bushy, wild thickets for eyebrows. I had to crouch to see his eyes. When he came over to shake my hand, the room got even chillier. I instinctively turned around to see what the picture had to say. Nothing. Just staring. Glaring. Blazing.
He didn’t introduce himself but said that he’d heard how accurate I’d been with my descriptions and was impressed. He didn’t look impressed. He looked moody. And dark, with a heavy, hanging brow. I thanked him and mentioned I’d gotten the color wrong; that the restaurant was white, not gray. He looked at me strangely and said that yes, the building was white now, but it had been gray before the renovations. Hmmm, I thought to myself, “bitchin!” Cookin’ on all burners now.
I asked him about the man in the picture on the wall next to me. His eyes shifted ever so slightly from mine and I knew, from my years of experience, from all of my seminars and lectures on interrogative technique, that the man definitely had something stuck in his eye. No, just kidding. I knew he was hiding something. But, since he was technically part of the group that had invited me, I couldn’t beat it out of him. I had to find another way. Just then the hostess told me they were closing and asked if I could find my way out. Something just didn’t feel right. I looked around and sure enough, everyone was still eating.
I put on my irritated face but that was just a cover. I wanted them to think I was ticked so I could come back and get my car unstuck. No, wait, that wasn’t it, no. It was so I could come back alone and talk with this picture myself. As snitty an act as I gave them, they must have figured I’d never be back. But I would. I knew something was going on and I knew it was something they didn’t want me to know.
They knew I knew and that they knew I knew. It was simple. I was too close and they wanted me gone. I left knowing that I’d be back, and knowing that they didn’t really know that I knew what I knew and that they didn’t. See? I wasn’t sure what was going on but I did know that it involved the man in the picture. I had spoken to most of the waitstaff who all agreed that there was something strange and frightening going on in the restaurant. But that I had to leave anyway. More people were being seated.
To this point, I hadn’t communicated with any discarnate entities but had the distinct impression that there was some kind of struggle going on. It was strong and tickled my hairs again. When I mentioned this to Yuri, the look he gave me was very dark. And I mean very dark. Darker. More controlled fury than fear.
I left Yuri with the understanding that I was going to pursue the issue. He wasn't happy but the other two co-owners whom I had met at Joyce’s seemed so. Story was they had only recently met Yuri while acting as stateside representatives for the purchase and knew little about his history or background in Russia.
A funny thing, they mentioned as we walked out, was another picture that had once hung in the same room as the picture I had seen. Gone now, they said that it was a picture of Yuri‘s great uncle. An exact likeness. When they had asked Yuri about it, he had shrugged it off, saying something about it being wrong for the room.
A few days later as I was reading the Detroit Free Press, I saw the face that I had seen in the picture at the restaurant. It startled me because the face was the face of the Czar who had been killed along with his entire family during the Purge in Stalinist Russia. Next to his picture was a picture of Yuri. At least I would have sworn it was him. The caption described the Czar’s death and the alleged involvement by the man in the adjacent picture. According to the article, he had been complicit in the murders and the seizing of the family property.
Through further research I learned that the young man in the picture in the restaurant, a descendant of the Czar, had purchased property in the U.S. of which the restaurant was part. But, he’d been killed in a mysterious accident in Russia only a year before. The property had then been sold to pay off family debts. The purchaser? None other than Yuri. A living replica of the dark Yuri-like man in the Free Press picture.
I went back to the restaurant that evening and asked to wander again. Yuri wasn’t pleased but he was outvoted. This time there was no busboy assigned to me. I left them and went back up to the room with the picture. As I stood in front of it, I knew that he was looking straight at me, into my eyes, into me. Through me. I felt an overwhelming sense of pain and anger. Great anger. Then I heard the words, “It is him. His family.“ in my head. It was so acute that I thought someone was in the room with me. And suddenly, I understood.
I knew that Yuri and his family had murdered again, the Czar’s great nephew this time. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to prove this, but I knew. And I knew that the Czar had relocated, at least temporarily and dimensionally, to the restaurant in which I was standing. And I understood why Yuri was acting the way he was. It was the truth in him that I was sensing and it was a deep, dark thing to behold.
I went down to the kitchen where I found him. Pulling him aside, I gave him my impressions. His eyes narrowed, his face went even darker, which might have been caused by those damn eyebrows blocking out the light. His jaw muscles clenched. At that moment, I then knew there was nothing left to do, no further words were necessary. I smiled sweetly, looked straight into his eyes for a long minute and walked out the door.
As I reached the parking lot, a feeling of crisis coursed through me like lightning. I don’t know how else to describe it. Flashpoint is the closest I can come. Then as quickly as it came, it passed, replaced by an empty, vacuous feeling and a sense of peace. Suddenly, I understood what was going to happen. I left believing that I had somehow accomplished something. I made it to my car without assistance. Others may have been stuck. Not me.
It was a few months later that I read a newspaper article describing the arrest of Yuri and others for the murder of the young man in the picture - and the Czar, I thought. According to the article, the authorities had received an anonymous tip, leading them to Yuri and his people. I wondered who that could have been. Or how. I grinned at the mangy cat hanging by her claws on the refrigerator door, looking at me. I got up and headed toward the kitchen. It was her way of saying she was hungry. No, not the parakeet, he was caught in the drapes somewhere.
The two remaining partners, one of whom looked a great deal like the man in the newspaper photo, were left with full ownership and continue to run the business successfully. I spoke with them not long after things had quieted down and they told me that the strange occurrences had stopped shortly after my visit. Go figure.