Crossed Connections

Told by Barret Ravenhurst, PHD, Owner of The Emporium of Curious Goods.

Written by T. Fox Dunham

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, United States


Listen to the narrated version by David Walton on EP27: DECEMBER DARKNESS

Barret Ravenhurst told me a strange tale of telephones and the dead last time I visited Jim Thorpe, PA. Jim Thorpe is a beautiful town at the southern end of what we call the Poconos, a mountainous region of Pennsylvania. Many visit these mountains to enjoy the forests, parks and lakes to ski, hike or kayak. The towns were built during the coal mining era of Pennsylvania and are deeply rooted in Irish folklore and ghost stories.

Barret Ravenhurst runs the The Emporium of Curious Goods, a new age store providing relics and supplies to several religions including Buddhism and paganism. It is a beautiful store, more like a museum that smells of sweet incense and offers decorations of nature and Asian culture to the eye.

When I met Barret on this later day of August, he was a bit astounded by a series of events that had recently transpired. He says the events are hard to follow but all is understood by the end of the tale.

Years ago, they had a wiccan clerk named Debbie. She’d emailed him that her life partner, Bernie, had died of cancer at the age of 56 and asked Barret if he knew anyone who would conduct a Wiccan funeral. Barret knew of just the person: Psychic & Tarot reader, Dave.  Dave said he could do the service on Friday at 8PM, even though he was a stranger to Debbie and Bernie. After the service on Friday, Bernie was cremated and the ashes were scattered Sunday.

Now the Emporium as with all the downtown shops of Jim Thorpe, PA, has terrible pavement in the front. There was a cement contractor doing most of them over, and this contractor left a contract for Barret to sign on that Sunday. Barret decided to call the contractor’s office and leave a message for him to stop in the next day to pick up the contract. He dialed the 610 number listed on his contact information and was surprised when a lady answered. Barret introduced himself, said where he was calling from, and to his further surprise the women seemed to know Barret and even sounded happy that he called. He started to give the message about the contract, and the woman interrupted him: “Do you know who you are talking to, Barret?”

Barret replied with, “Ok. I give up. Who are you?” Her answer nearly made him fall off his chair.

“This is Debbie. We are out in the cemetery scattering Bernie’s ashes right now. I felt my phone vibrate. What number were you trying to call?” He told her, and the number shared no similarity to hers.

Barret thought this was the end of the story, but a little after 3PM, his friend Rick said he was hungry for french fries, so he phoned a nearby pizza place. However, instead of getting the pizza place, he ended up calling Dave, the psychic who performed the wiccan funeral. Again, the number was different. Dave told him he was out of fries and should order Chinese instead. Barret nearly fell out of his chair again.

Often, we hear stories of the dead trying to communicate through various and beclouded devices. Was this another such story? Or just a series of coincidences? What is the telephone connection to the dead? And can we hear their message?



The Ghostly Grey Cat

Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania

Written by Barrett Ravenhurst

Narrated by David Walton

Listen to the audio version from EPISODE 26: Zombie Turkey


I have owned the largest New Age shop in northeastern Pennsylvania, The Emporium of Curious Goods, for the past 19 years. For 16 of those years I lived in an upstairs apartment until I bought a 22-room Victorian mansion in the next town. Quite frequently during the apartment living, and still to this day downstairs in the shop, I see a large gray cat! Usually out of the corner of your eye, but then it vanishes when you look directly at it. I’m not the only one to see it. Many customers over the years have said things like, “You know you’re not alone in here,” or they’ll  just outright tell me they saw a big, gray cat which vanished before their eyes! One lady recently told me she saw it lying on a counter and went over to pet it, thinking it was real, and it vanished before she reached it.

Just a few months ago I was behind the counter and four teenage boys were looking at books in the front of the shop. I heard the familiar cat call, “puss, puss, puss, puss,” come from one of them. I looked up to see what was going on and they called back to me, “Hey, do you know you have a cat out here?” I asked them what it looked like and where it was. They told me it was a big, gray cat and had walked around the corner of the counter. Now, the counter in question is against the wall — so if it walked around the corner it had to vanish into the wall! When they looked for it again, they couldn’t find it.

My partner once saw a curtain (hanging at a door in a passageway) flip up at the bottom and then lower again just as if an invisible animal had walked under it. Both one of my clerks and I have actually felt a cat rub up against our leg as we sit behind the counter.

We don’t know where it came from, but we nicknamed it, “Spooky” and when we come in in the morning and find an item thrown off a shelf and broken on the floor, we always say, “Well, Spooky was on the prowl overnight again!”

One odd thing is the fact that the mansion I bought was the site of a suicide years ago. It belonged to a doctor and his wife committed suicide in the carriage house still on the property. She closed the door, turned the car on, and was found many hours later. There are many rumors I’ve heard as to why, but I do not know if any of them are true. But the ending of this story is that it is the most quiet house I’ve ever lived in. No activity at all, no feelings, no vibes, no nothing. I have five cats and at times they seem to follow with their eyes something moving across a room or up a wall, but at the same time I experience nothing.

The only odd thing concerning the cats is the fact that my oldest cat (which incidentally was gray) died of old age problems a few years ago in the house. I buried him under the kitchen window area outside in a large patch of ivy. This has now overgrown the grave site, but all the cats at various time sit on the kitchen windowsill and just stare down at the spot where Salazar is buried. Sometimes their tails twitch and their heads move back and forth as if they are following something outside. I’ve even gone out to look when this happens and there is never anything there (at least I can’t see it)…..but they definitely see and watch something.

It seems strange to me that a house from 1895 which probably had many deaths there over 100 years, plus a suicide, only manifests a recently deceased cat.