Knock knock. Who’s there? Dead people

Looking through the window of this home you can see a table set up for two. Over the table is a piece of embroidery, golden and glittery with a floral design. On the side of this is a little chest covered in jewelry and trinkets, and on either side of it are candles. One flame is constantly flickering and the other stands eerily rigid: a stark contrast.

‘Yeah, I’m definitely at the house of a medium’ I think to myself as I ring the doorbell one more time. Mori Maffrett – the medium herself – comes to answer the door.  She wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting the clichés: an older woman with her hair wrapped in a turban, long red fingernails and dangly earrings and possibly a scarf with tassels wrapped around her body. That is not what I got.

Instead of the turban Maffrett’s blonde curly hair was out. No long red fingernails, they’re blue. No dangly earrings, no scarf with tassels. No theatrics. She looked like she could have just been someone’s stylish aunt. She was dressed simply in black and wore a necklace with a pendant that looked like an upside-down hand. In the middle of the hand was a blue stone that resembled an eye.  

Mori Maffrett. Photo courtesy of Konnor Huard.

“Come in, come in. The room is to your left.”

She’s chatty, and warm. She talks about her new pet lizard and the historic home we’re in. She ushers the photographer and I to the same table we spied through the window.

“I discovered it when I was about 13 years old. I started doing readings and I would buy cards … I never knew why I had this thing. My mother’s side of the family were all really strict Baptists and they never believed in this. I wound up finding that it was my grandfather who had the gift,” Maffrett explained.

Maffrett’s family is from Cuba, and she found out that her grandfather did tarot readings while living there, but after the death of a child in the family they moved away from tarot card reading.

“They all converted to Baptist because of the stigma of tarot card reading,” Maffrett explained. But it was an ability that the family couldn’t escape. Not only did she and her grandfather have the ability, but her great-grandfather and aunt have it as well.

Maffrett explained how being a medium affects her day to day life.

“Well I’m a nurse by trade and I do readings on the side. People will come to me. I have families that I read. Everything from children to adults. A reading will also provide me gratification and gives me a chance to learn about people, which I find very interesting” Maffrett said.

“It’s like a spirit that I feel. Like with you right now, what I’m feeling very strongly is your grandmother.”

Let me just pause to tell you, dear reader, that I came with an open mind, albeit hesitant, and with the intention to ask about my grandmother — whom I’ve never met but always felt a connection to — but at this point I had not said a word about her. So, when Maffrett brought her up I was floored.

“Your grandmother is here with you, I just want you to know that. She’s here with you, she protects you and she’s very proud of you. She believes you’re breaking the mold in the family and that you’re being better than anyone else in the family,” Maffrett continues and at this point I think I’m about to burst into tears and I say so.

“Don’t worry I got tissues for that,” Maffrett said. “That’s what I’m getting right now. Spirits come to me to bring good news and right now I feel your grandmother and she’s all around you.”  

Hearing Maffrett say that felt like a confirmation of every feeling I had as a child that my grandmother was watching over me.

“You and your grandmother had a physical connection that you shared, that’s why she’s sticking to you more than anything else.” Maffrett said. “Either you looked like her or you shared a physical trait.” Maffrett continues to tell me more about my grandmother. “She liked fake flowers, your grandmother, I’m getting that sense.”

I don’t know my grandmother at all. I didn’t know if this was true or not. I know my mother likes fake flowers, but I don’t know if this was a trait she shared with her own mother.

“Do you have a picture of your grandmother?”

I explain that it’s a very old and damaged picture.

“She would like you to acknowledge that she’s with you. Put a little – I’m getting the colour yellow – put a little yellow flower next to it. And she doesn’t want a natural flower. She wants you to go to the dollar store and get a fake or silk flower and put it in a vase and just say ‘hey grandma, I know you’re with me’

“She also believes in your family that the women are the strong ones. She says that she’s proud of you because you’re carrying the women forward.”

I asked Maffrett if my grandmother is reunited with the children she lost and she told me, “I do believe people reunite in the spirit world, but is she with them all the time, no. I believe she’s with you. Her main goal is to protect you and once she feels you’re established. She’ll move onto somebody else in your family.”  

Maffrett has out her tarot cards and begins to make psychic predictions on my life. The card she pulls is of a woman with a halo of coins around her head.

“I see you being successful in life. You’ll be very self-sufficient and won’t have to rely on anyone to take care of you.” Maffrett said. She also predicted that I’d find love before the year end. “I see you getting into a relationship. It’ll start off as a friendship that you don’t view like that.”

She explained to me that not every card she pulls means the same thing for every person. What she may pull for me may mean a different thing if she pulled it for someone else. We have 10 months before 2017 ends, so let’s see if these predictions come true.

Maffrett and I got into a conversation about religion and culture. I told her that being raised as a Pentecostal Christian, I’ve had people approach me with incredulity and disbelief to my own faith. I’m also from a West African background, and mysticism, voodoo, and witchcraft are all in the culture. So, who am I to really discredit this whole other way of life?

“I was raised a Catholic. I don’t practice but what I do is that I like to take a little from every religion, I respect it, even with voodoo and everything else, I do respect it,” Maffrett said. “I like the Buddha and I like the Virgin Mary, explain that.”

Before I left, Maffrett gave me a plate adorned with dragonflies and Buddhas, and a candle. She told me that I should light the candle and acknowledge my grandmother’s presence. She stressed that my grandmother was with me and all around me.

I’m not going to lie to you, the whole experience left me shaken up, but I felt it was worth it to hear from my grandmother.

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