Psychometry: Relics From Aspen Grove

I promised to write a post about some of the psychometry readings I got as a child on relics I dug up at my childhood home, Aspen Grove. I thought I’d finally sit down and recall the readings I had done. Most of the details are still very fresh in my mind, but some are gone. I admit that my mother humored my explanations for every item I dug up, but I don’t think she wanted to believe I actually was reading the history of these historic pieces. Still, I recall being excited on any boring day to pull out the metal detector and let my instincts tell me where to go. Sometimes, while playing in the gardens, I’d sense a place with history. I’d end up playing there, sitting there, hanging out there, until finally I dug up whatever was there “calling” to me. On rainy days, I’d go in the crawlspace under the kitchen in the basement and find amazing things. The kitchen was added on in the 1900s and there were a great deal of interesting items there.

Below, I recaptured a conversation pretty accurately. I’m one of those freakish people with memories back to my diaper days. It might be related to my spatial abilities, but for some reason, I have an astonishing memory for things that pique my interest at the time.

The very first psychometry I remember sharing with my mother was a bayonet from a Civil War rifle. I was about 7 years old at the time and I didn’t know that others didn’t read things about objects when they held them, so I offered my insights without censor.

I remember I rushed to my mother in the chair where she had the papers spread out, uncovering the history of the estate for the historical society. I set down the dirty bayonet, breathlessly excited. “Mom!”

“Hmm?” As usual, she didn’t glance up from her paperwork, but she must have smelled the earthy scent of the relic, because she lifted her head and frowned. “What is that?”

“It’s a knife!” I told her.

She pulled her glasses up and grabbed the dirty metal from my hands and studied it. “It looks like a bayonet.”

“What’s a bayonet?”

“It’s a sword-like device attached to the end of a rifle.”

I frowned. “If you have a gun, why would you use it to stab someone? Why not shoot them?” I pondered.

She laughed. “Well, it looks like you found a real relic. Probably over a hundred years old. Maybe older.”

“Really?” That didn’t excite me as much as what I had to say next.

“It was James FitzPatrick’s.”

”Hmm?” She looked up from her new distraction. “James Fitzpatrick? Where did you hear that?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. He killed a man.” I said in a hushed confession.

“He did?” Now she had on her exaggerated mother face with raised eyebrows and dramatic expression to let me know my story was riveting. Even as a child, I sensed she thought this was pure entertainment, but to me it was very real.

“He killed him and then he threw up.” I confided as if it were a shocking secret.

“He did?” She sounded a bit aghast.

“Then, you know what he did?” I whispered confidentially.

“What did he do next?”

My voice lowered in hushed wonder. “He dropped to his knees and he prayed for the man’s soul, and his own.”

My mother blinked. She wasn’t always comfortable around children, even having 5 of them. She liked little adults much better. So, the game was over for her and she was ready to retreat to her paperwork. “We’ll clean this up later. It’s going to be very difficult to get this down to its original shape.”

I turned to skip away, when my mother called out.

“Very good find!”

In my child’s mind it wasn’t the physical find that was very good, it was what I gleaned of its history.

I’ve not thought about that experience very often over the years, although admittedly one Halloween I made fake headstones for the garden and when I was done with one of them, I realized I had named him “James Fitzpatrick.” It sort of jarred something in my memory and then all of a sudden I was recalling all the psychometries I had performed as a child before I tucked away the skill due to lack of nurturing and didn’t pick it up again until my 30s.

Now, I’m beginning to wonder if there was a James Fitzpatrick in Northern Virginia during the Civil War. I suppose it shouldn’t be too hard to find some listings of regiments. Whether he was in Fairfax specifically, I don’t know. I suppose I could now begin a study trying to find him. With the advent of home computer searches nowadays it’s much easier. One of the things lacking in psychometry is just how the item got there. It’s entirely possible someone kept the gun in the family or perhaps sold it off or left it somewhere to be found by another and it began trip that ended on our property. I can still in my mind picture him and the connection I felt with his life and emotions.

Another item that stuck with me was a porcelain doll. It’s odd because I usually read metal objects better, but this broken delicate baby doll had a mood about it that was hard to shake. I both loved her and hated her. I was a tomboy as a kid and nurturing baby dolls was completely not my gig. In fact, I never owned a baby doll. They creeped me out, quite honestly. I liked being the only baby in our family of five kids. I did, however, grab this doll away from my sister when she dug it up. I was about 8 at the time.

I rushed it to the house, cleaned it off (against orders, us kids weren’t supposed to try to clean them or disasters ensued and ruin soon followed). I set her on the counter in the sunlight from the kitchen window and studied her. She had high arching eyebrows, a broken off arm and foot, and sat about 4” tall. Her expression was so devoid of emotion that it might have been the very moment I decided baby dolls were evil (hence my last Halloween setup display).

Porcelain isn’t impossible to read, but not always as clear and visually bright. I did, however, get a sense that this doll had been part of a set of three dolls and the other two had long since been smashed to pieces. This one was kept well into a woman’s lifetime as the only physical memory of her childhood that remained. I got the distinct feeling it was someone who might have lived in the house when it was taken over by the soldiers to use as a field hospital and they had to vacate. The family did return and got money from the government to fix up the tattered house, but I suspect this woman had only one homely porcelain doll remaining of her prized possessions. I wonder sometimes if it’s one of the 7 women in the picture of the estate just when the Civil War ended and they removed back in (photo above). My eyes are always drawn to the girl with the crutch on the left….

I was perhaps 12 or so when I stopped reading objects. The reason is the object that I had read was so disturbing, I didn’t want to know people’s inner hells. I was rather na├»ve about the Civil War. Admittedly, the ghosts haunting our halls were guardian soldiers who missed their families and adopted my own. I felt protected by the beautiful boxwood gardens and orchards and forests that surrounded the estate. It was so lush and beautiful that I always envisioned The War as something brief and fleeting. Yet, the house was wrestled back and forth between North and South to be used as a hospital and having been built in the mid 1700s, had seen a great deal of families coming and going for generations and generations. The residual created lots of atmosphere and pockets of weird feelings in certain rooms, certain spots, and even the land seemed extraordinarily haunted as much as the house.

But, this one time as an adolescent, I used the metal detector to dig up a bullet. It was nothing more than a tiny blip on the metal detector, but I knew it wasn’t where the water lines ran or anything else. Normally we dug up so many bullets, we’d throw them back into the hole and cover them up, like catching tiny fish on a tossing them back in the water. How many bullets can a person showcase in their cabinets? This one, however, bothered me very much. I pocketed it and forgot about it until bedtime. I pulled it out of my pocket and held it for a time. A story seemed to unfold. A field doctor/soldier. I pictured him both healing and fighting. I didn’t get a sense of his name, but his age was rather older than the others in the building, in his 40s at least. He had a rather fatalist view of war and fighting and yet it was his career. I’d call him jaded. I felt as if he’d seen enough men die to be well and truly sick of trying to find ways to save people with limited resources and knowledge. So removed from his inner emotions, sort of able to block them off, he took his gun and shot a dying soldier in his head. He couldn’t provide him any comfort, so he made his death hasten. I caught a glimpse of the aftermath of two or three other people coming to the room. There was a conflict for a moment about what was to be done and then it was decided not to speak of it again. Whether the doctor/soldier went on to shoot others, I don’t know, but I got the sense of his other attendants were almost sympathetic and relieved someone else did it, as if they were avoiding the man since they couldn’t help him.

I’ve not let myself really look at these readings as an adult, but now I find myself wondering how much of it can be verified. It changed how I looked at the home and the people who had been there.

Everyone has a story, but so does every object


  1. how interesting and awesome that you could do that. does it come to you that easily still? i would love to be able to do that.

  2. I have to admit, I've avoided it for years because the memories become my own, but every time I pick it up to see if it's still is. Really freaky!

  3. I'm trying to catch up on your posts here.
    I voted for a communicative ghost. Isn't that what we should all want, a ghost that is intelligent and can communicate with us so that we may ask "what the heck are you and where" ;)

  4. Sandra;
    I like your viewpoint. I probably should have picked communicative, as I do ghost hunt, but I picked sexy, cause I think if you're going to get visited by a ghost, he should come bearing gifts. Hee hee.

  5. Great post! I've been waiting for this one! It's awesome to be able to hear stories of events that happened so long ago but weren't written down. One thing that's mysterious about it besides the ability to do it at all is why a particular event seems to get recorded on the object. You don't get the entire history of the object or just a couple of little tidbits of information on the person's personality, but information on a particular event. Another question I would have is if someone else read the same object, if they could potentially get another story? Not a conflicting story, but a story from a different moment in the person's life who owned it. I wonder if more could be recorded, but different people can read different parts of the recording? Or is it just a single recording that anyone who read it would get the same or similar information?

  6. Jeff;
    Fantastic questions. I've have had readings that were very broad and general about families and their relationships and life, other times particular events, sometimes still just personalities. I've read an object another person wore only once and picked them up instead of the owner. I wish I could target what I get. The doll gave me a sense of a lifetime more than just an event. The bayonet gave me a particular incident, as did the bullet. Yet, I've also read a book we found, pieces of a uniform, brim of a hat, and other items in which I got a great deal about the personalities and not as much about their events. I've never had someone else read an object when I'm done--that would be interesting, but honestly I've never known another psychometrist. It's not something we usually like to share. I know when they have cop cases, they can get a few psychics to read it and get different info from them and it helps them fill in gaps. I've never re-read an object later that I had read earlier. That would be an interesting idea. I think if I did that, I'd have to be certain no one lets me know I've read it before because once I am tied to the memories I read, they become my own and so I'd be colored by that and probably not able to get past it. It does appear that newer jewelry that a woman might only wear once or twice a year has very vague info, but jewelry worn by emotionally dynamic people is very rich. The emotional element seems to be key. Yet another mystery for the paranormal highway.

  7. Interesting., What is it about crippled children and strange old houses. The old Victorian had the history of a young girl in a wheelchair,. Nothing to go with it, just the story. Maybe a sadness that we can all identify with.

  8. This was a fascinating article Autumnforest and I enjoyed the comments very much!!
    Jeff did have some great questions -I enjoy these psychometry posts and would love to have just a touch of this ability-but from some of the sadness/horror that is there maybe i shouldn't-I thought those crime shows where a psychic was called in were so interesting -but so often so sad too-in some shows the advice from the psychic did help to catch the perpetrator -so that part at least is cool. but i can't imagine some of the evil that could be picked up on by a psychic holding something a killer held-I wonder-did you ever come across and object that had great love or romance attached to it?
    I hope you haven't already answered this and I missed where you wrote it -my back is acting up again and these pain meds make me fuzzy to say the least-and I am one who doesn't need any help being spacey or fuzzy!!
    all the best to you my friend and I do love these psychometry articles -thanks for posting them!!

  9. @eloh;
    I have to admit that when I was growing up there, I hadn't seen my mother's files about the house and she had the pictures in there. I was bored to tears by history and paperwork, but I loved digging up objects, so I never asked to see her info. It wasn't until she passed on in 98 that I got her photos as the family historian and I was shocked! The people in the photo were very familiar to me and when I saw that girl--I felt immediately she was the doll girl. I had pictured her in my mind doing the reading and that girl fit the bill and I think it was illness, probably polio, that had her injured.

    People ask me that question often, about what it's like to read something emotional. I can tell you that evil people don't leave anything that upsets me in the least. It's hard to explain, but they are so removed from horror in their own minds that it comes across in the objects. It's very clinical, compartmentalized, and like reading a grocery list. Even if they did something horrible, I don't feel the horror associated with it, only the mechanics of it, emotional-less. But, if I were to read a woman's watch who had lost her child, I would feel her emotions about the loss of the child. I've had a lot of friends buy used things and antiques and have me read them before they enter their homes. Sometimes, they have delightful energy. My goal this winter is to start up a business based on psychometry where I collect abandoned objects that have certain memories and emotions tied to them and amplify them with crystals that enhance those attributes and make them into jewelry and art objects and accessories. I'm not entirely clear how I plan to go about it, but my love of abandoned places and things is going to become oil paintings, crafts, and other items. My hope is that I can extend the feelings and memories associated with strongly empowered objects with people who want to feel "joy" or "peace" or whatever feeling the object has. I'm excited about this because I've taught people how to read objects and I know that everyone has this ability. I want to make them tune into the feeling objects give off. If they have a "creative" feeling object around them, I want it to change their space and their attitude. It sounds weird, but I'm fleshing it out tomorrow with my ghost hunting partner who is an artist. We both want to start doing things inspired by cemeteries, ghost hunting, abandoned places, and such. Look for more info on it this winter. I hope to get moving with it quickly. I'm very inspired!

  10. Wow Autumnforest -thanks for answering my question so detailed !! I really find people with your abilities (or any type of psychic ability fascinating) this really helped me out a lot trying to understand what people "feel" who have this ability!!
    I am very excited for you-and please keep us updated how this is going if you want to -that sounds like such a cool idea. I also love abandoned places-things of that nature- i think that is why some of the you tube vids (like the one from Japan-abandoned city) strike me so emotionally-but it is a beautiful kind of emotion -I dont know what creates it inside me
    but i just go with it and enjoy it. I guess a lot of people would find some of my obsessions creepy0haha Nando thought my almost obsession with eyes-especially his -was downright creepy:-) but I said hey "you watch me sleep and that is unsettling to me so i guess we are even" but actually I like to watch a lover sleep too so that was kind of a cheap shot on my part.
    sorry I am going on and on
    as you can see insomnnia is hitting me hard again-and I had this nagging feeling i had asked a question at a blog and forgot to mark it down-then the memory came back to me when you commented at the history blog. so i am happy for that otherwise sometimes i just plain forget-then i feel rude and stupid!!
    all the best in the world to you and your family and I would love to hear how that is going if you want to blog about it-if i miss anything -you know me-i beg people to do this but most don't -shyness i guess?? to remind me on my blog in comments if i miss something someone thinks i might like -i really apprreciate when people do this. thanks again for you great answer -and if I am not back tomorrow Happy Thanksgiving!!


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