Fantastic History #41: Heirlooms, Mementos, and Psychic Energy by Pat Esden

I’ve been an antique dealer and collector for most of my life, in fact I started actively buying from estates and working flea markets as a teenager. Since the beginning, I’ve been fascinated by which objects people are eager to sell versus what they feel compelled to keep. Even people who don’t like antiques will often hold onto a piece of heirloom jewelry or vintage teacup. Rocking chairs and kitchen implements are also often chosen as keepsakes. One time I bought an entire estate, except for a broken wooden milking stool that the owner couldn’t bear to part with. I asked the owner if it reminded him of a family member and was surprised to learn he hadn’t ever noticed the stool before that day. Still, he stood there clutching the stool like it was the most important thing in the world.

Incidences, like the man and his milking stool, have convinced me it isn’t always sentimental, aesthetic, or financial reasons that draw a person to keep a particular object. Sometimes the attraction happens at a deeper level. When a person uses an object for years, it’s bound to absorb their vibes and develop psychic energy—like a paintbrush used by an artist or a cook’s favorite mixing spatula. This energy may not resonate with everyone, but certain people will be attracted and experience a feeling of well being or garner strength from the object’s energy.

I’m not talking about a spirit literally being housed in an object or about psychometry. I’m referring to a subtle energy that radiates comfort. Of course, this can be experienced in the opposite way as well. Some objects can repulse a person, like a razor strap that was used for punishment or perhaps a wedding band from an unhappy marriage.

I do think this connection is stronger when the person who currently possess the object shares a personal history with the previous owner.

How about you? Have you felt drawn to keep certain heirlooms or mementos? Are there things you’ve gotten rid of because they gave off negative vibes? What do you think the correlation is between us and the objects we choose to keep?

My latest novel, THINGS SHE’S SEEN comes out October 22. It’s the second novel in the Northern Circle Coven series and centers on a young woman who was once known as “Violet Grace The World’s Youngest Psychic Medium.” As a newly recovering alcoholic, she keeps a journal where she writes poems and also saves small objects, such as a note from a long lost lover, a train ticket stub, and a fake ID given to her by a stranger who changed her life. These things bring back fond memories, reminding her of the good parts of her personal history. But more than that, touching them physically eases her anxiety and gives her a sense of hope.


Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts.

She is the author of the contemporary fantasy Northern Circle Coven series from Kensington Publishing’s Lyrical Press, and the Dark Heart series from Kensington Books. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle, George Scither’s Cat Tales Anthology, and the Fragments of Darkness anthology. She is a HOLT medallion finalist, and a member of RWA, and a Director-at-Large for the League of Vermont Writers.


THINGS SHE’S SEEN (Northern Circle Coven series book 2)

The coven’s under investigation. Its future is in peril. And for one troubled young psychic, the coming battle will threaten her newfound freedom—and brings back a dangerous desire . . .

Exploited as a child medium, Emily Adams escaped to grow up on the streets—and hit rock-bottom. She took shelter with the prestigious Northern Circle, intent on staying only long enough to get back on her feet. But the Circle is still reeling from a devastating supernatural attack and betrayal. And vengeful High Council of Witches investigator Gar Remillard is determined to make Em surrender the truth—and disband the Circle forever.

When Em’s psychic ability allows her to see Gar is haunted by a formidable ghost, her attempts to free him challenge Gar’s rugged French Canadian heart and rancorous loup-garou instincts. But even as their new alliance and past connection kindles into raging desire, a malevolent force rises up to destroy them—the Circle and even the High Council.

With all she’s grown to love on the line, Em must draw on her darkest nightmares and alliances with the dead to outwit and out magic a force who can imprison souls with a flick of the fingers and command legions of wraiths with one word. . .

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