My Strange Paranormal Life by Charlyn Scheffelman (BOOK REVIEW) 1/5
Spoiler warning for this review.
I believe in the paranormal, in the right circumstances. Ghosts, fairies, sure. Reincarnation, Gods and Goddesses, absolutely. Wicca, curses, blessings, good and bad energy, yes. But I am sorry to say that in reading Mrs. Scheffelman’s memoir, I was filled with disbelief. I mean no disrespect, but the more I read this book, the more horrified I was. Mrs. Scheffelman recounts her experiences in every single field of clairvoyancy that I can even think of- it seems she is part of everything imaginable. Wiccan, Psychic, Telepath, Medium. She holds abilities including astroprojection and being a clairaudient, meaning she can often hear things that others can’t. These rare, cherished abilities, of which I know people who truly can perform them, are apparently all under her wheelhouse; she can do them all with varying ability, throughout various points in her life. I apologize for the skepticism, but the more instances I counted, the more I lost interest in her story, because I simply couldn’t believe it. There are people who have abilities, but to be involved in all of these things are once- I just don’t buy it.
Not to mention stories involving seeing angels at births and deaths, seeing pegasi near her car, spotting fairies and UFOs. And all these stories seemed to have a lack of proof. This book is rife with stories that are followed by an excuse of why there is no proof. A photograph that held proof? Why, she couldn’t take a copy of it because the person who had it held a government signed contract not to share it, and then their daughter spilt grape juice on it and ruined it anyway. A phone call she got mysteriously, in the early morning? It was in her call history for a time, but when she went to show someone, it was gone. My favorite disbelieving story involved a pair of earrings. Bought for fairies, they left sparkly earrings sitting out. Then, they left them, and heard a child’s voice exclaim how cool they were, and when they came back, the earrings were gone. But it wasn’t possible that an actual child stole it- it was fairies.
The most horrifying part of this novel is about a neighbor who psychically rapes her. That’s right. Not physically, but psychically. With his mind. He rapes her, and proceeds to stalk and torment her, following her, showing up during moments of intimacy with her husband- but with the look of a demonic creature- and even following her on trips away from home. This is deeply disturbing, and Mrs. Scheffelman apparently remained in contact with this neighbor during all this, because she was friends with his wife. This goes on to explain many past lives in which he raped her, whole people she claimed she once was, and a soul binding ceremony that lets him rape her in all their lives. If this were not a memoir, I would have read this as a horror book. I almost didn’t finish the book, wondering what kind of person would make these sorts of claims.
I met Mrs. Scheffelman when I bought her book, and I don’t mean to insult her. But this book made me genuinely angry. It makes fun of real practices and abilities that people take seriously, recounted in her experiences- which I can’t see as anything more than a touch of delusion tethered to her love of Wicca. I am sure there are people who would enjoy this book and relate to the experiences within. For me, it left a disappointment I can’t shake, and I wish I could allow it more suspension of disbelief, or any sort of credibility, but I can’t. I’ve not experienced what Mrs. Scheffelman claims to have experienced, and that leaves me unable to take this novel as fact. Due to my own personal disbelief, I have to give it a low one out of five star rating, other people might find it more enjoyable to read about than I did.