Spirits, believers say, are around us at all times. They watch us and sometimes guide us. On occasion, they make themselves known through a thought, a dream, a fleeting shadow, or perhaps even an EVP. Rare is the moment they materialize. Willowdean Vance says she and some friends were witness to such an apparition – of the spirit of no less a personage than the great Benjamin Franklin! Is this just a flight of fancy? Or was Willowdean indeed honored by this ghostly celebrity – an event that not only suggested her own reincarnation, but opened the door to other, more personal ghost encounters? This is Willowdean’s story.
My Methodist Church upbringing did not prepare me for an apparition contact of any kind, much less the visit of so great a Founding Father as Benjamin Franklin. However, a chance invitation of old time friends, Lester and Roberta Minder of Santa Ana, California, to attend a Metaphysical Meeting in Santa Monica one evening resutled in the miracle visit of Bejamin Franklin before a group of eight shocked and delighted guests, including me.
The eight of us were seated in a study listening to the Rev. Don Cooper explain “afterlight” by candlelight. Suddenly, the ceiling of the room lit up with a large silver and pink cloud that whirled around the ceiling with great energy, like a lightning bolt. It came nearer and nearer the floor in the center of the room for some spellbound minutes.
Each of us sat huddled, speechless, watching this colorful cloud about five feet in diameter settle in the center of us and change colors in the form of a stocky-built man. He stopped in front of my chair, looking directly at me. The cloud that he appeared in vanished and revealed the exact physical image of Benjamin Franklin. He looked straight at me as he sadly said, “Don’t you remember your ole friend?”
The Bible says, “Test the spirits,” and I was so concerned this was a trick, my reply was, “If you are Ben, how and why do you know me?”
Past life revealed
“I knew you as Katy,” Ben replied, “but your name was Catherine Ray, and you were my favorite correspondent. Your letters to me are on file at the University of Pennsylvania, if you forgot our happy friendship. You adoptd my young sister, Jane Mecom, in Massachusetts during the revolution and saved her from being captured by keeping her in your family home at Long Island as a relative. And later I boarded your son Ray in my Philadelphia home to attend school with my grandson, Temple. So we had a family relationship that lasted many long years.”
When he spoke these warm words, I remembered how often in my childhood I informed everyone, to their dismay, that Ben Franklin was my guardian angel because his presence seemed so strong about me that I could not deny it.
Amd now my associates were so astounded by this miracle visit, it changed the lives of every witness.
Ben’s biography contains a fascinating letter he wrote explaining the truth about death: We don’t start to live until we die because the soul is immortal, and the flesh body is just a temporary shelter, loaned to us to experience some pleasure, to help us grow spiritually until we are reunited again in spirit, our permanent home.
Ben’s group appearance opened the door to a surprise visit to me from my infant son, David, a few years later at a family gathering.
David was taken from me as an infant in 1956 around Valentine’s Day in California. I mourned his loss each anniversary. The day he appeared without warning in my California home, he would have been old enough to attend school with his sister and brother. They were with me when the three of us heard the disembodied voice of a young boy tell me, “Mom, please don’t weep for me. The Father called me back because you had so many burdens to carry with father’s long illness. He felt it would be too much of a burden for you to add a new child, and my personality would have clashed with my father because I am not as tolerant as my sister and brother.”
This shocking revelation sent chills down my spine. David’s father, my military husband of many years, had suffered a fatal illness from TB of the bone that often made him verbally violent and required constant care and cost. He had had two spinals that failed, and the strong medicine required caused many outbursts, which did affect the children.
David’s spirit then explained the funny tricks he played on his sister and brother through the years with their clothes and school experiences. This convinced us he had indeed been then their unseen companion for some time and was now their guardian angel.
I learned that the soul of man is like a computer program, and evey memory is saved in spirit. Most spirits can visit at will if the member being contacted has a high energy level to bridge the gap from the astral plane to the ether we live in. My energy level is so much stronger then the average, it made our reunion easier.
Spirits answer a prayer
I never again grieved for David after this experience and had only one more dramatic experience. I was praying for a passed-on family member to help my husband overcome his fear of death during his fatal illness. I simply lit a candle on my desk as I prayed, “Someone in his family now in spirit please put his fear at ease, that he has nothing to fear.”
The prayer was answered when my news editor, Sam Campbell, sat across from my desk seeking my service as a columnist for his newspaper one cloudy day. Suddenly, Sam and I saw a bright light sail to the ceiling of the room between us and circle the room like lightning until a big cloud appeared in many colors in front of me. The cloud burst open revealing a Victorian dressed, white-haired man and woman I did not know.
This couple turned out to be the grandparents of my husband on his mother’s side, name Reed, who died before he married me in Arkansas. They came in response to my request. They said my husband would not leave this life alone, and that they were watching over him and would remain at his side until his death, which was September 4, 1979.
On the day he died, I saw this couple in my bedroom once again, only brifely. They appeared against the wall in a large triangle, where each stood in one part of the triangle. They made it clear that the third section was waiting for him to unite with them. That visit happened three hours before he died in peace to join them, and left me so happy to know he had a family waiting.
Communion with the dead
I do not feel we should make a practice of calling on spiritual help. On the other hand, the comfort of knowing we live in two united worlds joined together by love that lasts through eternity has been my strength throughout many years. And I am convinced the day will come when it will be possible for daily communication with the deceased to take place like a phone call because of the changes in science and the ether around the earth.
As Franklin said, we should not mourn those who left to pave the way for us because it will be easy for us to find them when we leave. I thank God for my privilege to be part of Franklin’s family life and his courage to reveal this in public before a group to protect my reputation against charges of too much imagination.
I keep a small pendant mustard seed with me to remind myself, “All you need is the faith of mustard seed” for any deed. That mustard seed is my most precious earthly possession.