Inversion Trawler: The Psychic Gifts of Sister Liahona Glow

One of Aunt Kate's flighty friends claims to be psychically gifted. She recently decided she'd conduct a psychic investigation at Weedpatch and try to clear the house of its unsettled energies.

Illustration: Tim Odland

Boo and I were not gonna miss this. We gate-crashed; toting cameras, a dictaphone, and our black and white splattered composition books. The woman, Liahona – Liahona Glow to be exact – commenced in the living room. There, amid the teetering towers of STUFF, she first issued instructions to participants: "Keep as silent as possible, surround yourselves with white light..." blah blah blah – and then she shook and shuddered her way into a trance. She mumbled and squeaked and twitched and started to implore the spirits in a full-on sing-song. She was practically serenading them. Boo and I and most of the cousins present giggled and guffawed under our breaths.

Suddenly, Lady Liahona launched herself past us and towards the kitchen. She violently pushed through the barely, still-hanging saloon style swinging doors that separate the entry hall from the kitchen and which, at some point in the 1970s, must have been the hip thing to have in houses.

We scurried after her and found her involved in something akin to an interpretive dance. She was pivoting from an almost fixed point in the middle of the room, wobbling 'round in a vague circle and touching first the oven, then the sink, and then the refrigerator. She'd rotate back and touch the same objects in varying order all the while gurgling and humming.

Without warning, she was again aloft and flying past us, back into the hall and up the stairs toward some of the bedrooms. It was a challenge to keep up and at this point she seemed genuinely in another dimension. How she moved so quickly and smoothly through that veritable gamut of boobytraps, without so much as tearing a thread, is itself inexplicable. We, on the other hand, were suffering all sorts of injuries.

We came upon her in the master bedroom. That woman is acrobatic! You'd never guess to look at her, but the contortions she was achieving were surely worthy of a paying audience. Even bad-ass Boo let out a gasp of surprise and awe.

Liahona's teeth were snapping together and chattering in polyrhythms and her lips were stretched and doing what horse lips do – only six times faster. Somehow her tongue would pop in and out of her mouth without being lopped off and dropping to the floor. The woman's body was bent so far back that if she'd reached her arms over her head, they'd touch the floor and she'd be in a standing crab position. She screeched and wailed and sang loud gibberish then kicked both feet into the air at once, twisted her body like a cat does, and belly flopped onto the mangy carpet.

She lie there silent and motionless. We stood there motionless and silent. Finally, Aunt Kate cautiously approached her, gently touched her head and said, "Liahona? Is it you again?" No reply. Another more vigorous pat on the head, "Liahona, are you back?" Liahona slowly rolled over onto her back, spitting out bits of what had been in the carpet and that was now in her mouth. She looked towards her audience and in a weak, breathy voice gasped, "There are many spirits trapped in this house." Like a baseball bat to a crystal ball came the loud, sarcastic tone of Boo. "Yeah, trapped under an avalanche of laundry or stuck to some surface with spilled and drying food like fly paper. It's a roach motel for spirits and the living alike." A slightly hurt glance from Aunt Kate shut her up and doused our giggling.