Can You Get Answers from the Dead?

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by Amanda Robb
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Photograph: Peter vd Rol/

I am not one of those people who believe it is possible to talk to the departed. But I really need to ask my grandmother a question.

After a quarter century of joyful, obsessive planning to leave me a fourth of her estate, she died and left me only 10 percent. Why the six-figure demotion, Grandma?

The medium I visit is certified by New York’s Holistic Studies Institute. A lithe young woman with pillowy lips, she sits very still. Suddenly, her lovely mouth snarls. A spirit has arrived in the room. It’s “A”—“probably Anthony,” she says, adding that he’s a tall, thin man from the Northeast. Or maybe outside Philadelphia. He carries a hard-sided briefcase.

“No clue who Anthony is,” I say. Her lips suddenly wriggle again. Another spirit has joined us. Plump, with salt-and-pepper hair. Chatty. Mary or Marie or Maria. She was close to her sister. Wore a cross. Maybe I knew her from church?

I’m a Jew.

“She wears a fanny pack.”

“A fanny pack?”

But it’s not the spirit’s wretched taste in accessories that puzzles me. It’s that she’s sporting a fanny pack in heaven.

I take out pictures of my deceased loved ones, which the medium had suggested I bring. When Grandma’s snapshot fails to stimulate her lips, I show a grandpa, an uncle, my father.

“They’re not here,” she says.

I must look disappointed. “You can’t conjure spirits,” she explains.

“That’s fake.” But then she asks, “Did you have a question?” “Yes! Is my grandma mad at me? Why’d she disinherit me?”

Her mouth is as still as Sleeping Beauty’s, pre-prince.

“She’s not saying.”

“Not even through chatty Mary or Marie or Maria?”


Wow, Granny, you really know how to hurt a girl.

Amanda Robb writes frequently for More. Read about her visit to Biggest Loser Boot Camp.

Next: How to Beat a Bad Habit

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Photo courtesy of Peter vd Rol/

Originally published in the June 2013 issue

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