Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghosts

In September 1972 we were living in the middle of nowhere, near Kingston Ontario, at an isolated house in backwoods farm country at the end of a dead end road.

I impulsively decided, late one afternoon, to hold a seance with my then twelve-year-old sister Kathy and visiting teenage friends, Butch and Don.

It had been two years since the deaths of rock and roll star Janis Joplin and famous guitar legend, Jimi Hendrix had shattered the music world. Kathy and I, of course, had heard of them, but beyond this, we had no knowledge of them, not even an album for reference.

We decided to call both Jimi and Janis through that day but we weren’t prepared for what later transpired.  The information that I received from Jimi which included a poem and prose, and my later interactions with him in spirit, I am now compiling into a book manuscript.

Janis also not only communicated to us that day but continued to make her presence known, in the days that followed, through scribbled messages via automatic handwriting and became, at least temporarily for me, a constant friend, even to the point of moving my car and other possessions around.  The joke apparently was on me.  The other side obviously possessed a sense of humor.

The most compelling piece of evidence resulted from a spontaneous suggestion made to me one day from Janis who had slipped into Kate in a mediumistic trance while I was driving my sister to the local mall one day.  She asked me if we could stop by a photo booth while she took a few pictures and I amiably agreed.

When Kate came out of the photo booth and handed me the photos I took a long look and shook my head, amazed.  They didn’t look like Kate at all.  In one smiling photo, her bangs which usually hung straight across her forehead had been swept over to the side – not the way she usually appeared at all.  Her facial expression had also transpired to alter her appearance to the extent that she didn’t look like herself.

When I showed it to Kate, she laughed but didn’t have an explanation so I tucked the little black and white photo into my wallet where I carried it for a long time until I decided one day to do some research at Queen’s University Library.

In going through back issues of Rolling Stone magazine I came across the front page issue dated October 29th, 1970, and there it was – the same photo of Janis Joplin – 1943-1970, smiling, her hair swept over the side, same expression, same everything.  I was both shocked and amazed and made a photocopy.  The next day I took both photos to my college professor and asked him what he thought.  With a puzzled expression on his face, he agreed that they were similar but he too didn’t have an explanation.

Our family didn’t have a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine and I’m sure that Kate wouldn’t have had access to this particular photo, taking into account, the isolation of our existence at the time.  In fact, it took me hours of research to uncover it.

To this day, I wonder about those days spent in communication with Janis Joplin and fondly remember my friendships with the rock ‘n roll ghosts.

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