Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Coded Note and Clairvoyant

Susan Scown

In 2011, after my friend’s mother died, my friend wanted more uncanny “contacts” with her mother, such as had already occurred. My friend was coming to Palo Alto to spend Christmas with me. As crazy as it seemed, as a gift, I tried to find someone in the area with a reputation as a clairvoyant who could help my friend.

I had heard ads on the radio for Sofia University, where they teach transpersonal psychology. I called Sofia and, embarrassed, asked whether they knew of anyone who might be able to do that. They said a student had recently obtained her PhD from them. She had come to Sofia to become more comfortable with the ability she had had since childhood to perceive dead people around her.

The University contact I spoke with told me that this person did clairvoyant readings and gave me her contact information. I decided to try her out before getting my friend a session with her as a gift. When I had my session, most of what she said didn’t seem that amazing to me. However, at the end, I brought out a very old piece of note paper folded in half. I didn’t let her see the writing on it, which was on the inside.

She held the piece of paper between her hands and went into a trance. She told me that she saw a room with a tall man sitting at a desk in a rolling chair. A cat and a dog sat at his feet. He had curly brown hair, a mustache, and glasses. He was writing and concentrating very seriously, and he had his arm around the piece of paper as if he wouldn’t let her see it. There was something on the wall in front of him with strange markings on it. She said, “This is a love note, and there were more.”

This dumbfounded me, because the note was one that had come down through the family to me from my Swedish-Finnish great grandmother, with neither of the two previous possessors understanding what it said. The top part of the note, a poem of longing in a rural dialect of Finnish, was translated by a Finnish friend of a friend. The bottom part of the note was in a code.

I found a professor of cryptography at the Aalto University in Finland who kindly decoded and translated it for me. It was a poem about parting and memory and was signed. I looked at census records from when my great grandmother lived in the Black Hills and found this man’s name recorded as him having lived there when she did, but I haven’t been able to find a photo of him. I’d love to know whether his physical description matched. I don’t know if the strange marks she saw matched the code.

As for my friend, by Christmastime, she was no longer interested in trying to contact her mother.

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