Since about age 10, I can remember being slightly obsessed with Salem Massachusetts. I think I’d heard of the town from the movie Hocus Pocus or some other Halloween movie like that (whatever was on the Disney channel I’m sure, lol) It got my attention instantly, that name. It sounded so familiar. I can remember having dreams as a kid, I want to say 8 or so, where I’m looking down at my boots, and it’s as if I was just hovering a few feet above the ground, I’m looking at what seems like really small old boots, going round and round, that’s all the dream ever consisted of. I never saw my own face or another person. But I KNEW they were MY boots in the dream. I wouldn’t actually put two and two together until about 15 years later.
At about age 11 or 12 my friends and I would go to the local library in the small town I grew up in, about 12 miles north of Hannibal Missouri, (where I live now) Palmyra, a town of about 4,000. We were the Panthers and our school colors were orange and black, how fitting ( looking back I find this so funny..) like Halloween all year around!! Anyways we would walk 5 or 6 blocks uptown nearly every day. We ran all over that town. There was a small drug store where we bought every kind of candy you could imagine for like 10 cents, an old jail we swore was haunted, a pizza joint where we just barley scraped enough money together to eat at occasionally (Brenda if your reading this, sorry for all the times we paid in coins) , and the library, it seemed like we pissed the librarians off the most out of all the clerks. We were not quiet, like, at all. I remember one day having the urge to actually look for a book while there, instead of just disturbing people. I found the one and only book I could on the Salem Witch Trials. I opened it up and it felt like I had hopped in a time machine, and went back about 300 years!
Everything I read had a familiar sound and feel to it. Even one of the pictures seemed familiar. Keep in mind I’m like 11. My parents were devout Lutherans, and we didnt miss a Sunday of church. I had never heard of reincarnation, so I had absolutely no Idea what kind of words to put to my feelings at that very moment other than….whoa…! I checked that book out every two weeks for nearly a year. Finally the librarian said, “maybe you should talk to mom and dad about buying you this book.” Now that I look back, I wish I would have.
I never had that dream again, the one with the boots. But I never forgot Salem, teenage hormones, and the desire to fit in lead me to pageant competitions, a boyfriend, and eventually college. After I got married and finished cosmetology school I began working at a hair salon. One October as I was chatting with a client about the upcoming Halloween festivities and how excited I was, for some reason I felt compelled to tell her about my Salem obsession. That one conversation would set me on the path to who I am today.
It turned out her mother owned a local book store called “The Opened Book.” I had never even heard of this shop in our town?! She said I needed to go see her mother and tell her my Salem story. So as soon as I finished her hair, I was out the door!
When I walked into this shop the magical feeling was almost more than I could take, it was perfectly charming, and for the first time in my life I felt comfortable! It felt like home. The lady that greeted me was the owner, her name was Deb, and she had this whimsical way about her that captivated me from the moment she opened her mouth.
I began to tell her that I had just done her daughters hair and shared with her the same story of Salem that I had told her daughter earlier. She told me there was definitely a reason my heart was pulled to Salem and that it probably wouldn’t go away until I figured it out. I feel like this process would not have taken so long or been so hard if I had not been such a skeptic, of like..everything! Looking back it’s so damn clear to see what was in front of me the whole time! I bought my second set of tarot cards from Deb that day. I had been reading them for fun since age 20, but after my visit with Deb I felt spiritually rejuvenated, it was refreshing to meet someone for the first time in my life that SPOKE my language!
After that meeting at the book store I had a strong desire to go to Salem. For the next two years I’d lay in bed at night and look up the distance in miles it was from me. How long it would take to get there. I’d calculate things like gas mileage and look up hotel fees. I was still pretty fresh out of college, newly married. And we had just spent every dime we had on our wedding, honey moon, opening Andrews’ tattoo shop, putting me through school and then eventually opening my own salon! There really wasn’t much money in our budget to spend on a trip like that any time soon. Not to mention we had just had a baby!
I began requesting free brochures from Salem twice a year. It felt as if a string was attached to my heart and someone was pulling on it from that magical town. About two years after visiting the book store, I finally had my chance to visit Salem! Things were not necessarily ideal for going, in fact my husband wasn’t really happy about it but I told him, I was going, with, or without him…he went :). I researched psychics in Salem and found one I felt good about, I thought what better activity to plan than a reading. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most excited, I was about a 1,692 (see what I did there:)
Flying into Boston on October 13th was probably one of the most beautiful sights my husband and I had ever seen. I remember looking at him and saying I feel like I’m coming home. I could tell he knew how much this meant to me, and that made the whole trip for me. We hopped in our bad ass rented mini van and as I got ready to type in the directions from Boston airport to Salem my phone instantly shut off. It was fully charged when we left St. Louis and I had turned it off during our plane ride! I specifically made sure it was charged and ready to go for this!?? I looked at Andrew and said “my phone just shut off?” He said “so did mine”. I have an appointment with this psychic in like, a half hour and we have no idea where we are going, or how to get there from here. How did our parents do this again? You know before smart phones? How odd though really. Both phones?
My husband, who will tell you himself, has zero sense of direction, literally took us straight to Salem. No problem at all. I remember seeing that little green sign on the side of the road that said Salem 10 miles with an arrow pointing straight ahead. I started freaking out! I think by the time we actually got to that beautiful sign saying Welcome To Salem, I was hyperventilating. But here’s where it gets really crazy. As we enter the town, phones still not working, he drives us directly to the shop in which I was getting my reading from! And when I say directly, I mean there was no driving around until we figured it out, it was just bam! We are here!
We walked into the shop, they asked only for my first name when I made the appointment. I walked up to the desk and checked in. Andrew sat patiently in the waiting room and I went back with the Psychic. I was so excited! And skeptical. And nervous. Right away he began to blow my mind with true things that were happening in my life at that time, he knew things that he just could not have known. He then told me I would have another child 24 months in age from my daughter, that it would be a boy, and that by the age of 28 I would be a highly sought after Psychic. Now at that time we had no plans of ever wanting another child…and while I had been reading tarot for fun for years, becoming a psychic was not even something I would have considered. Not only did I not feel like I had the ability but I don’t think I would be comfortable telling people thats what I do for a living?! (you have to know how hard I’m laughing right now LOL) of course I did have a son just 7 days shy of exactly 24 months apart from my daughter and I by age 28 I was a psychic, in fact thats when my career really kicked off!
But here is where this gets interesting.. all of the sudden he looks at me and says, “oh you’ve been here before!”. And my whole world came crashing down. I knew he wasn’t real. He said, I keep seeing the letter “B” everywhere. He didn’t know my last name was Buckwalter but at this point, with my name being Britney I assumed that was obvious. “Ok yes”, he said, “you have been here before and your name was very similar to what it is now.” I looked at him very perplexed, I was thinking, ooookay, where are you going with this? Then he opened his eyes very wide, and he looked at me for a second and blurted out “you lived here in a previous life, in fact you were the first person hung after being accused of witchcraft in 1692, you’re Bridget Bishop!”…..
I sat there for a moment with my mouth hanging open, I didnt know what to say. Its not often I’m rendered speechless, but this guy did it. I believe I said something like Really? He said, “yep!”. And with that, in a very matter a fact way, went on with the rest of my reading. I don’t think I even heard anything after that.
As we stepped out after the reading, the psychic came up to my husband, who he had never met and reminded me that I needed to tell him he’s not charging enough for the type of work he does. He said Andrew needed to raise his tattoo prices, a conversation we JUST had. As we walked out of this magical little shop, I relayed to Andrew what he had said about having had a past life in Salem. At this point we were standing in the downtown streets of Salem, my husband looked at me and says well babe, we are in the town of your dreams where would you like to go next. I said “I would just like to walk a bit, feel the ground beneath my feet and go where I feel guided.” No town map. No clue where I’m at… and within two minutes I’m standing in front of the Bridget Bishop Memorial Stone at the cemetery….