Annekatrin Puhle, Dr.phil. / PhD

Philosophie, Gesundheitsberatung, Bücher / Philosophy, Health Consulting, Books

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Elaine and the Spirit Friend

April 26th, 2009 · No Comments

Elaine and the Spirit Friend
By the grandmother of a lost and found little girl

For years I had no reason to believe in a spirit world, but I had no reason not to, either.
Circumstances have a way of introducing new thinking.  Elaine had just turned six years old.  She was a bright only-child with a reserved personality. Her grandfather and I thought she would enjoy a spring wildflower walk and so we joined forces with three other adults for an outing.

We decided to take a side trip to the Ozark Mountain Wilderness, one of our state’s most photogenic places on the way to an organized wild flower walk.  Elaine managed the easy downhill trail but resisted leaving when she wanted to go below a small waterfall.  In typical pouty child fashion she insisted on being carried up the hill as we hurried her to stay on our schedule.  In equally authoritative adult fashion we resisted and announced that we were leaving.  Three adults went ahead while a friend stayed with me to move slowly forward at a pace Elaine could easily overtake.  A couple of glances back indicated she was coming our way, but not wanting to start the pout again,  we stayed out of her view.  However, when I looked back a third time, she was not visible, nor did she come along after a short wait.

I decided she must have gone back to the falls, so I quickly returned, though I could not see her .  A previously unnoticed side-trail looked like a possible choice she might have taken, but soon I saw forking paths and dense foliage which made it clear that she was dangerously separated from us. At this point the situation took on a life of its own.

A massive search of the wilderness area began, including its many cliffs, tangled brush and waterfalls. It involved dogs, helicopters and hundreds of people who were organized by officials in authority.  Prayers were offered, and help of every conceivable nature was put into play.  It was hard to believe that all this effort produced nothing, leaving us drained by the third day.

In the afternoon of the third day, two local residents who knew the country well and owned mules had a hunch where she might have gone, and they decided to make their own search rather than be part of the large organized effort.  After much effort, just as they were about to give up, they found her lying exhausted on a boulder at the edge of the river. After a very difficult trip out, they brought her to the hospital and safety.

As one might imagine, this story brought Elaine and her family a great deal of attention, so they decided to take a little vacation to escape the glare of publicity.  It was not until this time that Elaine started talking about the friend she had made while lost.  She said her name was Lisa and that she was five years old.  Lisa had come to Elaine as soon as she was lost.  Together they sang songs and played games, and Lisa acted as a guide to lead Elaine down the bluff trail to the river through a very challenging ravine. Authorities had thought the difficulty for a small child to manage this route left it out of consideration.

While some children are known to have imaginary friends, this had never been the case with Elaine. Nonetheless, Elaine went on to describe her new playmate’s hair and clothing,
and drew pictures of her.  I began to wonder if there had been an incident with a lost child in that remote area before, and if there was a possibility of a spirit connection.  After checking with authorities to learn about any legends or stories, I discovered that a child had been murdered and buried two decades earlier quite near to where Elaine had been found.

Fascinated by this information and wanting to know the details, I searched old newspapers and court records to learn the details.  Among these items in the possession of the authorities was a picture of the child’s mother along with other photos of a religious cult.  They were accused and convicted of killing the child because the leader of the group, considered to be the “prophet”, had declared her possessed.

Something about the mother’s expression made me think she was as much a victim as the child.  I became determined to learn more about her and to let her know about Elaine and her spirit friend.  My search led me to the man who had served as the mother’s attorney.  To my surprise, he had maintained contact with her, and he agreed to put us in touch with each other. The emails that followed were amazing to both of us.  I learned that the month and  very day that Elaine was lost was the exact month and day that Lisa was buried.  The name Elaine gave for her friend was very close to a name Lisa had liked to call herself.  The hair and clothing styles Elaine had drawn were distinctive of Lisa and the styles of the time at which Lisa had died.

Elaine also told us about a flashlight that Lisa had at night, and that Lisa had refused to let Elaine hold it.  I asked the mother if her daughter had had a flashlight, and she startled me with the following account:

“Lisa had a Raggedy Ann doll that she always slept with.  (A woman in the cult) took it away from her.  I had a small black flashlight that I kept in my room because Lisa was afraid of the dark.  I had to work three jobs from early morning till late at night and I found out later that (the woman) would put Lisa  in the room in the dark.  After her doll was taken, Lisa  began to sleep with the flashlight.  I would wake up at night and find that she had it with her  under the covers.  She would cry when I would try to take it, and most of the time I let her have it….”

It is a tribute to the human spirit that this young mother was able to survive the terrible loss of her daughter, the accusation of being part of her murder and the unjust imprisonment which followed.  She rebuilt her life but has kept this story from many who know her now.  I wanted  to let her know that if her child had indeed been in contact with my lost granddaughter, there was some positive outcome to her tragedy that might bring some peace to her torment.  This was her response:

“I have had thoughts and dreams of things that I could not explain.  I guess now I can finally put those to rest.  I know now that she is okay, but oh just to hug her one more time, hold her hand and tell her I love her.  To know she saved someone else is beyond happiness and I am so thankful she was there for Elaine.  Being in that area myself, I  know there was no way Elaine could have survived her ordeal alone.  I suppose one aspect of all this is that Lisa was destined to die to save Elaine, and Elaine had to live to save me in some sort of way.”

After thinking about this possibility of a spirit child, I have wondered if Lisa was, in fact, the lure to attract Elaine away from the adults and off the right path.  Could this have been a child who missed the company of other children and drew her away?  Or was she fulfilling a purpose for her own grieving mother as well as for my granddaughter?  The joy of finding our granddaughter without physical or psychological injury is still amazing to everyone.  The possibility of her being guided by an innocent spirit from a previous horror takes it to a whole new level of awe.

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