Nov 10 2008
I am often asked about my life and spiritual path. How did I develop such an intense interest in spirituality and sacred poetry at a relatively young age? I’ve always leaned in that direction, from as far back as early childhood, but there were certainly some key turning points that set me firmly on my path.
This is one of the more unusual events.
Many people go through a difficult time in their teenage and early adult years, but my moods were extreme, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I would swing from mild depression to panic attacks so extreme that I would skip school or, later, call in sick to work. I felt like death surrounded me.
As I entered my early twenties, I began to overcome the worst of my anxieties, but they were still there. I had just learned to grit my teeth and get through the day as best I could.
I first started dating my wife, Michele Anderson, about that time. Early on, Michele told me that she was psychic. I was intrigued, on the one hand, but on the other… I guess I didn’t know what to think. I had read and seen enough to believe such things were possible, just not in anyone I knew. Not normal, everyday people.
She hinted a few times that she saw me fighting in the American Civil War. I shrugged the comments off. When dating a psychic, one must expect the occasional odd statement. Actually, I’ve always had a mild interest in history, but it was really the period of the American Revolution that held my attention in history books, not the Civil War. The Civil War always seemed, well, depressing to me. I tended to avoid reading about the period.
Then an interesting series of events occurred. I was going through a rough week, and I went to get a massage — something that felt comforting. As I was on the table having my abdomen worked on, I suddenly burst out crying. When the massage therapist asked me what was wrong, I started talking about the Civil War!
(The following dialog excerpts are taken from the notes I wrote within hours of the experiences.)
Massage Therapist: What’s wrong?
Ivan M. Granger: So much death. I see rifles, a lot of them. With bayonets on them. I see lines and lines of rifles with bayonets sticking up like spiked fences. So many of them. It’s like a field of spikes. Kids are lying in dug out trenches with their pointed rifles sticking out. I’m standing above. I can see it all.
I was in an odd, altered state, like nothing I had ever experienced before. As someone who never drank or did drugs, I had nothing to compare the experience to. I felt a strange split in my awareness. On the one level, I was in the midst of everything as I was describing it. I felt it all, intensely, viscerally, in my gut, in the sobs choked back in my throat. Then there was another part of me, aloof, untouched, witnessing everything from a distance, wondering where all of these words were coming from.
MT: What else do you see?
IMG: I see myself. I’m wearing blue. There’s a saber at my side.
I described myself as a young captain in his late twenties struggling with the crushing responsibility of leading young boys into battle.
IMG: I have to order the kids to climb out of their trenches and attack. But I don’t want to. They’re going to die, a lot of them . . . I feel responsible for them. I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake.
Thankfully, the massage therapist was willing to see where this would lead, so he kept me talking.
MT: Why are you fighting in this war?
IMG: I don’t know. Circumstances. At first, I was very proud. I believed in unity.
That word didn’t quite feel right, and I struggled to find the right word.
IMG: I believed in union. The Union needed to be kept whole and healthy. And my dark-skinned brothers, [the phrase sounded odd to my ears, even at the time] I wanted to protect them and to help. Things are so hard for them.
MT: You’re a good man.
I wanted none of his praise. My tongue suddenly felt sour in my mouth.
IMG: But now it’s only killing. I see that now. All I’m doing is killing. All you want to do is see the next day. When you wake up in the morning you hope to God you’ll see the night! And you hope to God you’ll see the morning when you go to bed at night!
Needless to say, this was not your typical back rub!
Later that evening, still in shock, I met Michele and told her about the experience. She had me sit down and do some deep breathing exercises to help me calm down. As my breathing became more rhythmic, I started to feel the same flushed, floating sensation I felt on the massage table. Recognizing this, Michele went into an intuitive state and started asking me questions.
Michele Anderson: I see something about hospitals. You don’t trust the doctors?
Following Michele’s lead, I quickly picked up where I left off.
IMG: The doctors aren’t worth shit!
I startled even myself with the vehemence of this statement.
IMG: Everyone is sick all the time. Still, I suppose it’s easier to be sick than go into battle.
I talked at some length about how little the doctors seemed to know.
MA: I feel something around the stomach. Stomach problems.
IMG: Everyone has stomach problems.
MA: Whatever it is, it’s really bad. I can feel it in my own stomach right now. I’m getting a word: “grip,” something like “grip.” Does that word mean anything to you?
(Michele regularly hears words during her psychic readings. Some of them she’s never heard before.)
I shook my head to her question. I was coming back into my normal state of awareness. I felt like I was just waking up.
Later that evening, we pulled out my Websters Unabridged Dictionary to see if the word “grip” was used in connection to stomach ailments. Sure enough, we found:
grippe, vi — to feel sharp pains in the bowels.
Michele and I talked about all this further during the next few weeks, but after a while I began to question the whole experience. Did I make it up? I certainly didn’t try to make it up, but could I have done it unconsciously, drawing details from a movie or book?
There was one element that made me uncertain about the reality of this Civil War memory more than anything else. At one point I had mentioned a wooden cannon. I mean, obviously the idea of a wooden cannon was absurd!
And then I stumbled across a picture that made me catch my breath. In Bruce Catton’s book The Civil War, I discovered a photograph of a wooden cannon! It was called a Quaker gun, a roughly carved log painted black to fool the enemy into thinking you had more cannon than you did. Of course, Quaker guns never actually fired; they just had to look like cannon from a distance.
That was all the convincing I needed.
Now, you can explain this experience in many ways. You might choose to view it as something like a dream — unresolved tensions and emotions working themselves out by telling a story in my mind (just with some startling coincidences). Or, you might choose to see it as a genuine past life memory, which Michele managed to glimpse before I did.
The truth, though, is that it probably doesn’t matter. Although I believe the experience to be an actual past life, what is most important is that recalling it helped me to begin the process of facing my fears. It gave me a framework in which I could understand the panic attacks, why I carried a low level dread around with me even when I was basically okay. There’s something interesting that happens when a fear becomes more defined: You discover it has boundaries. It has limitations. It no longer seems all-powerful. Recognizing this gave me the courage to overcome them.
If you are curious about my wife Michele Anderson and her work as a psychic, please feel free to visit her web site:
New Vision Psychic Services.