Do loved ones’ spirits follow us? Library speaker thinks so

Everyone has the spirits of at least two or three dead loved ones near them, but not everyone is willing to take the leap of faith to interact with these spirits.

“They don’t go away,” Sydney Sherman said. “They are beside us. They are here to watch over us.”

Sherman, an author, paranormal investigator and public speaker who lives outside New Haven, implored people to be open-minded to the messages being sent by lost loved ones. “The problem is we’re not listening to them,” she said. “The problem is us, not them.”

Spoke at Huntington Branch

Sherman gave a talk at the Huntington Branch Library on March 16, attended by about 20 people. She discussed her ability to interact with spirits, highlighted in her book "You Are Not Alone," copies of which were available for purchase at the event.

The presentation included questions from the audience.

Sherman, a registered nurse, said the spirits near a living person want to form a relationship. “Play with them. They want to be played with,” she said

“They are where they are supposed to be,” Sherman added. “They are here to help us every day.”

Positive reaction from audience

Robin Notaro of Shelton enjoyed the presentation, which lasted nearly two hours and appeared to keep the rapt attention of those in the audience.

“She seemed genuine,” Notaro said. “She asked us to be skeptical, and to question what is said. It was interesting.”

Notaro did think that Sherman’s paperback book was priced too high at more than $30, and didn’t buy a copy. Sherman didn’t push audience members to purchase books.

Daria Kosowsky of Shelton also attended the talk. She lives in a house built in the early 1800s, and several family members have died inside the residence.

“I’ve never been afraid of spirits,” said Kosowsky, adding that some relatives — including a cousin and great-grandfather — have had psychic abilities.

Smell of a deceased mom's perfume

Sherman described a common occurrence that can enable people to begin a relationship with a spirit.

Someone is washing the dishes and senses the smell of the perfume worn by their dead mother. She said the person should try to talk with the mother’s spirit.

The person could say something like, “Hey, mom, that smells good. Please come closer so I can smell it again.”

Or soon after, the person could sit in a quiet part of the house and try to talk to the mother, and perhaps ask the mother to touch them.

Before taking these steps, Sherman said, it’s important to rule out any “rational” reasons for the perfume smell, or in other cases involving spirits, a sound that has been heard or an object that appears to have moved.

If the experience can be explained by a reason other than spirits, then it is not paranormal, she said.

Set up a code word in advance

Sherman suggested that people discuss the use of a word or phrase in advance with loved ones who might die, and then later use it as a way to validate the person’s spirit.

One of the spirits near her is a grandmother with whom she was never close. She said this grandmother was not a pleasant person, and she has no idea why the grandmother is with her.

“We can’t pick who’s with us. God, I wish we could,” Sherman said.

Talking and energy

Sherman said dead people can talk, and the best way to hear them is through the use of digital voice recorders. Background noises must be ruled out.

Spirits will use the same voice they had when alive, she said.

She said human beings are made up of “energy” as well as their physical bodies, and when they die that energy is separated from the body.

Sherman questioned some common beliefs about dead people’s spirits. She said they are not cold to the touch. “They can’t be,” she said. “They are energy, and energy is warm.”

She thinks it’s almost impossible to photograph a spirit, and dismisses most photos showing white lights that are supposed to be spirits. “It’s not Aunt Harriet,” she said. “It’s dust and bugs.”

Rather, she said, spirits often are crescent-shaped mirages, although their forms can vary. They usually look like how we remember them so they can be recognized, and may include a face.

Spirits can provide useful information, such as the location of a family heirloom, Sherman said. “They don’t give you the lottery numbers, or I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

Realizing she had a special ability

Sherman realized she had a special ability at age 18, she said, when she had a vision of an acquaintance dying in a car accident. She told the acquaintance not to get in a car, and she didn’t.

A pregnant woman then died in a car accident similar to her vision — along the same route and in the same-colored car, according to Sherman.

She struggled for a while about what to do about her “ability” and eventually decided she should use it to help other people.

Doesn't care if people don't believe her

Sherman doesn’t care if some people think she is whacky. “It doesn’t bother me if I’m ridiculed,” she said.

She said many people who give readings are fakes, using information they get from individuals through questions and gestures to scam them. “Question everything they say,” she said.

She prefers to give readings to skeptics, Sherman said, because believers will make connections even if they don’t exist, while skeptics will seek out proof.