Before The Return

After being silent for years, I have decided to write about a near death experience that happened to me when I was 19; I fell off a horse and was dead for several minutes. In those golden moments between life and death, my core beliefs turned upside down. The image of the experience is untarnished in my mind, as if it happened only yesterday, not in 1979. It began with a plunge into darkness, highlighted by a guided review of my short life on Earth. Then, just before my return, I found myself in surreal surroundings. Looking around me, I saw the most beautiful shades of mauve — light gorgeous colors with a soft fluffy element. There was no floor or ground beneath my feet. It was a dimension so bizarre; there is nothing to compare it to. Was it a layer or ring around the edge of our normal physical reality, I wondered?

If my lifeless body, lying in the field in rural Virginia, was being resuscitated, I was not aware of it. What I was aware of was my late grandfather who told me I had to return. I had been humbled and enlightened by my life’s review, and I had no desire to return.

I began to weep as I told Papa that my life’s review had seemed so long. Just as I spoke, images, lessons, memories, realizations, and new perceptions actively began to be erased from my consciousness. I felt nothing but anguish as the new lessons I had just seen were stripped away. Next, I snapped back into my physical body with a perceivable thud.

Strangers were surrounding me in the field I had left how long ago? It was a perfect spring day as I looked around; my first thought was this is not reality.

I was annoyed with the two men who had saved my life, and I chose to ignore them. On the way to the hospital, I slipped back into unconsciousness but not death. In the ER, I tried to tell the doctor what happened to me. He crossly asked me what drugs I had taken. His condescending accusation shut me up.

It took me twelve distressing hours to adjust to my return. I spent that time grappling with what had happened. Later, as I was healing from my injuries, I realized that not all of my near death memories had been expunged. My emotional turmoil was especially bad because this all happened before the Internet and public discussion about near death experiences. Years later, I picked up a book about the subject.

The after affects of my near-death-experience have been profound. The biggest gift I received is that I am now certain that, after physical death, there is a continuation of existence. I tried to capture what I saw in my paranormal painting, ‘Before the Return.’ 
By  J. Lura Ketchledge

In ‘Before the Return’ Lura took the bold approach incorporating varying pink hues to convey the vastness of the layer just outside of physical reality. The isolation she felt just before her return is articulated by her being at the corner of the painting alone without choice. Integrating a black and white picture of Lura at the actual age when this paranormal event took place reflects the innocence of her youth which added realism. Smudges of black in her hair represent the last traces of the black tunnel she traveled back through.

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Early Morning Visitors

My paranormal adventure had a dull, lackluster beginning. I had an elderly aunt who needed help after hip surgery, in 1988. I was glad to leave NYC for a week and go upstate to help her. My train ride was uneventful and my chores around my aunt’s house were routine almost boring.
The old 1920s house was full of dusty antiques, pictures of deceased relatives and old-fashioned appliances. As I went about the house, putting away groceries and doing the laundry, I sometimes felt a presence. I dismissed my sixth-sense and finished my chores.
Within a week, my aunt was ambulatory, and I was ready to go back to NYC. I went to bed, my last night, feeling pleased with myself. As the dawn light streamed through the curtains, so did a cold pocket of air.
The four oval balls, orbs, hovered side-by-side, a few feet below the ceiling, past the end of my bed. They entered the bedroom as a group, in unison, with a common goal in mind, for me to see them. Each was identical in shape and color. Were they connected to me or my elderly aunt, I wondered?
My initial fear morphed into astonishment as I looked at the spirits. Spectacular is a word that would fall short, when describing the orbs. They were mauve in color, very dense and light-weight at the same time. There was a sparkle, so crisp and clear, swirling inside them, I wanted to cry.
Each soul was about 18 inches in diameter and oval in shape. There was a powerful current of energy emanating from them that engulfed the room. I felt enveloped by their concern for me. I had seen orbs before but never in a group like this. Could the house be haunted by the previous residents? Were these spirits simply waiting for my frail, elderly aunt to join them?
Next, to my disappointment, the orbs began to fade, and it was over. In retrospect, those five luxurious minutes of contact were a gift. I haven’t seen orbs in a group since. Were they trying to give me a message that I could not perceive? Was this a freak paranormal encounter in a haunted house?  Could these souls have died together in some sort of catastrophic accident? Did my elderly aunt join them when she died, a few years later? Those questions are still unanswered. What I can tell you is that the experience expanded my psychic perception and strengthened my resolve to try and make contact again. I tried to articulate the moment of contact in my paranormal painting, ‘Early Morning Visitors.’
By  J. Lura Ketchledge

In ‘Early Morning Visitors’ omitting the details of the room and leaving just one bed, and one dresser simplifies that the paranormal event took place in a bedroom. Lura painted the four identical Orbs’ in a theatrical fashion making them the focal point with eye-popping bright paint. The contrast between something as solid and real as furniture versus four souls with a sparkling core as meant to provoke thought. With both dimensions represented as authentic, it shows an overlapping of realities.

Blue Orb

There is no sight more intoxicating than seeing a blue orb. Truth be told, I had no idea orbs even came in the color blue. After my near death experience, some thirty odd years ago, I returned with ability to see the occasional spirit, in the form of an orb. Over the years, white and pinkish colored orbs started to become routine. After a friend or family member died, a few days later, a pink colored orb would drift into my home, like a feather in the wind. Other times, white orbs would appear at the oddest times with no rhyme or reason for the visitation.
On several occasions in 2009, paranormal investigation teams were able to videotape white orbs darting through my house. Adding to the intrigue, electric voice phenomenon was recorded along with the orb sightings. I presented a video of the darting lights going through my bedroom walls to the reality TV show, ‘My Ghost Story.’ A show was created based on my story and titled, ‘Haunted Horse Farm,’ and was episode 12 of season 2.  My ghost story about my haunted horse farm was shared with the world when it aired in 2011. As time went on, I grew complacent about the paranormal activity that followed me from home to home, whenever I moved.
I got my wakeup call with the visitation of a blue orb, hovering near my bedroom door one day. The blue orb appeared to be more complex than the others I had seen in the past. With the windows open that early morning, I was able to see it clearly. The orb was the brightest medium blue I had ever seen. A color so crisp and vivid, it enthralled me. In the center was a swirling silver core that sparkled and illuminated the entire orb. The second overlapping blue was almost turquoise. The orb fluctuated between the bight blues, back and forth, blending the two captivating colors. There was no fear on my part, I felt privileged to be a spectator. Now, for the size of the orb, it was round, dense, and about 18 inches in diameter. The coolest thing happened next; as the orb glided in the room, I could see its reflection in the mirror. A few minutes later, the event was over as the orb dashed away.
After the first encounter, there were two more meaningful visitations of blue orbs in my home, then nothing. What did it all mean? Was it one spirit or three different souls? Could I be responsible for summoning spirits with all the paranormal investigations? I struggle to this day with the intention to bring back the blue orb. I tried to express my surreal encounter in my paranormal painting, ‘Blue Orb.’
By  J. Lura Ketchledge

In ‘Blue Orb’ Lura articulates the beauty and splendor of the blue orb by using impressionism painting technique. Using a combination of fine brush strokes in an array of blue hues with subtle undertones demonstrates the dynamic experience of witnessing the Orb.  By leaving out everything else in the story but the actual ‘blue Orb’ shows the importance of the spirits presence. The size of the Orb on canvas leaves no distance between the viewer and the Orb. The inviting, delicate beauty of the Orb virtually takes over the spectator senses and overshadows their thoughts.
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