With Halloween approaching, a lot of people are getting into the bewitching spirit, buying scary costumes and visiting haunted houses.
The ancient Celts believed this was a time of year when the border between this world and the other world became thin, allowing spirits to pass through.
Most of us will admit to having some interest in the afterlife, as evident by several television shows and movies on the subject.
So in a special "Just Before Six" dedicated to Halloween, some members of our news team agreed to meet with a "medium" to see if we could get in touch with the other side.
In the new Clint Eastwood movie, Hereafter, Matt Damon plays a psychic who talks to dead people. In real life, Niles resident Rick Bunch does the same.
Rick said, “My grandmother was a very powerful clairvoyant medium. We didn't talk about it in the family so it was never discussed.”
About five years ago, this lifelong marketing manager decided to hone a skill he says he always knew he had.
“What a medium really is, is a telephone between the realm of spirit, the invisible and the material, so I stand in the middle. I contact them,” said Rick.
Rick does phone and one-on-one readings, but he also holds group sessions and this week, he met with several members of the NewsCenter 16 team, many of them self-proclaimed skeptics.
“I love skeptics,” said Rick.
As the session gets started, a word of warning from Rick: “Can I guarantee that everyone will get a reading? Probably not. Who's going to come through? Not sure. I do feel a male energy right now just to throw that out at you,” he said.
For roughly ten or fifteen minutes Rick relays the messages he has coming through.
“There's also a connection with rural. I keep seeing the back wheel of a tractor and it's huge, I'm not sure and I feel like it's a male, grandfather, older figure here. I also feel like I am being pulled over here so I feel like there is someone on this side of the couch. I feel like he's somewhat tall though, I think he's skinny.”
After ten minutes, Nick McGurk asked Rick a question.
What kind of rural setting?
“There's someone in my mind that I never met so I am somewhat cautious saying anything,” said Nick.
Rick keeps listening to the voice he hears. “Since you never met him he's going to give me or throw at me very quick flashes of moments of time.”
After a pause, Rick asks, “Do you have any memory of riding on a carousel as a child at a fair?”
“That's a pretty dominant memory, on a carousel ride," Nick replies.
Nick believes he may be hearing from an uncle's father who died just before nick was born.
“It's interesting you mentioned he's a tall guy because he's a very tall guy, my uncle,” says Nick.
This male spirit also had something to say about a property purchase for the family, which Nick says is pending for his uncle, coincidence or not.
Then, Rick senses a female energy. A woman he says is short, her name starts with "M" and she died in April.
“She's coming to me in a housecoat and that's okay but there's a reason for that. She's giving me the impression that something started somewhere and spread through her body," says Rick. He makes a hand-writing motion. "She keeps doing this, I'm not sure if she's scribbling or writing? I want to write."
Katherine Rufener speaks up. “My grandmother's name was Maxine. She died in April and she had Lou Gehrig's disease so it started in her throat and in the end she couldn't talk, so she wrote. The reference with the nightgown, yeah, that's all she could wear because of the disease,” she recalls.
In spite of the things they heard, Nick and Katherine said afterward they are still skeptical.
“There are things that once strung together it does kind of make sense, but I don't know," said Katherine.
Nick said, “I'm intrigued. I feel like I thought about this guy right before and all the sudden you said a lot of things and I don't know a lot about him but probably five or ten bullet points and you hit enough of them. I'm not drinking the punch but at least I'm thirsty.”
And Rick is okay with skeptics, but as a medium he believes very passionately in life after death.
“Our relatives and friends are living in a life beyond this world and that life doesn't just end when we leave this world. We make a transition and it's just part of our journey and our continuing on beyond this physical body,” he says.
The rest of the "skeptics" were a bit disappointed because their loved ones didn't come through, but admitted it was interesting and fun.
As for Rick, he is holding a Halloween Spirit Circle Friday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Tickets are $22, or $32 if you bring a friend. Rick also does individual and phone readings and you can find all that information on his website: