Getting in touch
Aug 31, 2017 03:09PM
By Steven Hoffman
Early on, Deanna Fitzpatrick didn't ask for spirits to appear to her. But gradually, over the last 16 years, the Middletown woman has focused her skills, and today she runs a successful business that connects this world with the next.
She's ready for the doubters. She's heard it all. Yet, sitting in a small, tidy office recently, she exudes the calm assurance of someone who is in full control of her gifts and is ready to share them with people who are seeking answers.
Fitzpatrick uses the term “spirit” as a kind of individual and collective noun. In her view, there's a world of spirit where the essences of those who have “crossed over” exist, as well as individual spirits who can, briefly, reach out and send messages to those who ask.
As a child, she had an imaginary friend, Fitzpatrick said, laughing. “But after my husband Joe and I were married, there were a couple of experiences, looking back, that I now realize were psychic.”
In 1995, North Carolina woman Susan Smith was saying that someone had kidnapped her two young sons. “I saw that on the news and I told Joe that those kids were dead, and in water,” Fitzpatrick said. “That took me aback. I thought, 'Where did that come from?'” That inkling turned out to be true the next day, when Smith confessed to the murders.
In 2001, Fitzpatrick went to see a Bear, Del., hypnotherapist with a friend who was in a support group for adopted people. “My friend wasn't getting anything out of it, but then Mary, the hypnotherapist, started talking, and I was crying,” Fitzpatrick said. “The things that she said resonated with me.”
She went back to Mary the next day for hypnosis to help with weight loss. “She does the hypnosis, and I really enjoyed it,” Fitzpatrick said. “Afterward, she showed me around her house. She also did weddings. She was showing me the chapel, and I smell flowers but there were no candles or flowers there. Then a woman appeared in front of me in spirit. She was an older lady. I told Mary that, and she asked, 'What's her name and what does she want?' And as if somebody gave me their thoughts, I heard 'Tell her I'm Jane and I like the flowers.' Mary said, 'Well, Jane is my son-in-law's mother. She passed away four months ago, and we dug up the bulbs from her garden and brought them to my house.' I thought, 'OK, that's crazy,'” Fitzpatrick said, smiling.
At the same house, Fitzpatrick saw the spirit of a man. “He was wearing a military uniform,” she said. “He said, 'Tell her I'm Jim.' Mary said she had a boyfriend named James who had drowned during World War II.”
Thinking the spirits were confined only to Mary's house, Fitzpatrick was later about to buy the home she now owns in Middletown when she saw John Edwards on his “Crossing Over” TV show and realized, “This is what I do,” she said. “That was kind of the lightbulb moment.”
Having worked in banking for 18 years, Fitzpatrick left in 2005 and worked as a reiki practitioner at Purple Sage in Middletown while building a client base for about four years.
In the beginning, getting into a receptive mode took lengthy meditation, she said, “But now, because I do it so much, it's almost like flipping a switch. I just change where I'm looking, and then I can see who's around.”
Fitzpatrick describes the spirit world as “energy, frequency, vibration and light,” and she has equated their appearance to her as a wavy, transparent kind of hologram. She describes them in great detail to clients, and determines their connection to the living. Clothing, hair color, height, glasses – then on to telling gestures.
“Sometimes they will send a message of how they passed,” Fitzpatrick said. “If they touch gently to their heart, it indicates heart failure or a heart issue, not a heart attack. If they have a metal lunchbox, to me it means a blue-collar worker. So there's almost code now, after I've been doing this so long. They can give me certain things to help me describe who they are. They give me their thoughts. I don't hear voices. They speak to me telepathically.”
While Fitzpatrick can work one-on-one, she also books parties where perhaps 20 people come to see their friends connect to the spirit world. She can even handle a large crowd, as she did at the Westown Movies in Middletown for a sold-out event with about 160 people.
“I started by describing a spirit I saw,” she said. “Six-foot-tall man with a mustache and dark hair. He just shows up. I don't know who he is. I have to give the audience enough information so I don't have 20 hands going up. I can then narrow it down to, this person worked in a factory, possibly had a heart condition at the time of his passing, and is showing me his feet, meaning he has issues with his feet or possibly diabetes. Then the hands go up in the audience. Hopefully it's just one, but if it's more than one, we work it out. I get more information from the spirit.”
The messages sent by the spirits aren't the stereotypical “I love you” comments that anyone could come up with. “Last night, there was a woman here for a session, and her mother came in,” Fitzpatrick said. “In the middle of the reading, the mother shows me Chinese checkers. I know I didn't just pull that out of thin air. So I said, 'Your mother's showing me Chinese checkers.' And the client said, 'Yep, she had a Chinese checkers board on her coffee table and we weren't allowed to touch it.' To me, that's wonderful evidence.”
Saying her work “is definitely not a parlor trick,” Fitzpatrick insists that no one at group events has any alcohol before she arrives. They are also asked to turn off their phones, quiet themselves and focus. And you don't have to be a believer to be surprised and intrigued by what Fitzpatrick can uncover.
Connecting begins with intention on the part of the client and Fitzpatrick, she said. Out of the untold trillions of people who have died in all of history, someone in the living world must be seeking a particular person they had a connection with in life. It's not a mob scene. And usually, the spirit is a benevolent one.
“If it's, for instance, an abusive father, I will tell my client,” Fitzpatrick said. “He may come in angry and give me an idea of who he used to be. The client can say they don't want to speak to them, and I will honor that, but there's been times when that abusive father now has a higher level of consciousness and wants to apologize or explain himself. I have seen that be very healing.
“One of the first readings I had was a gentleman whose uncle came through to us. The young man said, 'I didn't even know him, and he died when I was 4.' When I asked the uncle why he wanted to come through, even though they didn't have much of a connection when he was living, there is still somewhat of a soul connection. That uncle liked to look in on his nephew and see how he was doing. He knew he'd been building a deck on the back of his house. He had been looking after him, so to speak. Sometimes it's a grandparent who might have passed before someone was born. They're still going to have a bond with you, because you're their child's child.”
Despite all the family stories she gets involved in, Fitzpatrick said she tries to keep her life balanced. “I have two grown daughters, a husband, and I refinish furniture for fun,” she said. “I have a normal life, and the psychic aspect of it is my work now. I joke that I'll never have a TV show because I'm too normal and boring,” she added, laughing.
The pluses of her work, she said, “are helping people, and the healing that happens. I love to find out about humanity, whether I'm learning from the spirit world or the people who are sitting in front of me. I am thankful that I can make a living doing this, but it's not why I do it.
“But running your own business is difficult. I think the hardest part is that there's a lot of sadness. I tend to be empathetic, and finding out about some of my clients is upsetting. … I saw eight people in one month who had loved ones die from heroin with fentanyl added to it. In the past three weeks, I've had people who have lost someone to a murder. That's been difficult, because sometimes I actually see what happened. To be honest, it's not a party. I have to take care of myself, too.”
That leads to the subject of ghosts, which Fitzpatrick thinks are “emotional blips stuck in time. In an old tavern, for instance, if there's the ghost of a little girl who used to live there who goes up the stairs every night at 3, well, no conscious being would do that. In that case, it's more of a weird energy blip.”
Fitzpatrick doesn't like to do ghost hunting, or pursue malevolent spirits. “I can't really help people there,” she said.
Signs and symbols from the departed are a common connection, she said. Pennies or dimes discovered in unlikely places, a particular bird or butterfly appearing over and over again – all are signs of attempted connections with the living, Fitzpatrick believes. “My dad used to show up as a cardinal to me,” she said. “I would be on the way to visit my mom in the nursing home and he'd fly in front of the car. I knew it was him. Some people say, 'How do we know it's them, and not just wishful thinking?' What's the difference? If you feel a connection to someone you lost, and there's no validation of it, what's wrong with believing it's them?”
Fitzpatrick's personal faith has varied, she said. She grew up Methodist, tried various religious practices, became confirmed Catholic in the 1990s but has since come to believe “That God is with us,” she said. “Even as a child, I felt that. I've said the Lord's Prayer daily. I believe that divinity lives within us and has the ability to work through us. Once we recognize that, we won't hurt people on purpose anymore.
“I believe there's a heaven, but I think it's about two to four feet around us, in another dimension. Kind of like in another room, but there's a wall between us. And I believe we are all met on the other side with kindness.”
If a person has done evil things, “Then I think you are asked to review your actions. You can see or feel the good or bad you caused in the world. For some people, that could be hell,” she said. “They have to face what they've done. But there's no retribution. It's kinder and more compassionate.”
As for skeptics, Fitzpatrick recalled one man at a show she did at the Milton Theater. “He was a scientist and he went with his wife. At the end he asked me, 'What do you mean you see spirits? What is that like?' I explained that I feel this is energy, frequency, vibration and light, and they're using it to make projections. He found that fascinating. He told me, 'I didn't believe any of this when I got here, but you gave information you couldn't possibly know.' He's come back a couple times to events. So that's kind of nice.
“I don't worry about it,” Fitzpatrick said of those who criticize her work. “I do wonder why people who are skeptical spend the money to see me, but maybe there's a part of them that would like to believe. It tends to change everything. Once you realize there's an afterlife and that people don't leave you, they only leave you physically, it changes your perception of a lot of things in life. Sometimes, the rabbit hole can be deep. Some people don't want to know all that.”
For more information, visit www.deannafitzpatrick.com.