- Some babies are born with a thin, filmy membrane of skin
that covers their faces and heads. Surely doctors have their name for it.
But since ancient times, lay people have recognized it as a spiritual caul
- It's not really considered a birth defect, just a hindrance.
It takes a little more of the doctor's time to remove the membrane. Once
he cuts it off, he just throws it away. The face bears no visible scars.
- But nothing happens without leaving some trace. There's
a spiritual scar or reminder for those born with a caul.
- Folklore says that babies born with these facial coverings
possess psychic powers. Supposedly they are not only able to sense spirits,
but are also highly intuitive. Some are even supposed to be able to foretell
- The doctor knew Joyce Morgan was gifted as soon as he
brought her into the world 67 years ago.
- Years later, Mrs. Morgan would find out that she was
Dr. Kilburn's 1,000th delivery. It took place in an old nine-room farmhouse
east of Kingston, Mo.
- But something besides a number was special about Emerson
and Opal Otto's fourth child. There was a thin, filmy membrane covering
the head and shoulders of the couple's baby girl.
- Dr. Kilburn knew that was special, too.
- "As soon as I came through the birth channel, (the
doctor) told my mother: 'Opal, you've given birth to a psychic child, a
gifted child,'" Mrs. Morgan said.
- Actually, the gift was a family trait. Psychic ability
ran in the family - on both sides.
- "My grandmother's mother had been psychic, she (my
grandmother) was psychic, my mother was psychic and I was the fourth generation,"
Mrs. Morgan said. "I'm the middle child of seven. I'm the only one
that let's say, uses it."
- That gifted child grew into a gifted adult who now uses
her powers to help people. For more than 20 years Joyce Morgan has used
her psychic gifts to help police solve murder cases throughout the country.
She helps find missing persons. And she helps clear homes of ghostly activities.
- Mrs. Morgan has appeared on several TV shows including,
"Sightings" and "Scariest Places on Earth." She's also
had her own spots on local radio and TV shows.
- Sometimes her abilities amaze even her, she said.
- "It's just there," she said. "I don't
know where it comes from and I don't think science will ever be able to
figure out where it comes from."
- No one has ever figured out what a person who can see
ghosts looks like, either. Nothing eerily special stands out about Mrs.
- Her bright blue eyes are grandmotherly friendly. She
smiles often and calls everyone "honey." And she's been married
to John Morgan for 50 years.
- Their split-level home in Kingston, Mo., has a few dogs
and cats and lots of family pictures on the refrigerator. The kitchen smells
- John Morgan doesn't share his wife's spiritual gifts,
but he believes in them.
- "A ghost could hit me over the head with a hammer
and I wouldn't know it was there," he laughed. "After she started
using her abilities I was real proud of her. I still am."
- Mrs. Morgan not only works with law-enforcement investigations.
For the past few years she has worked with a ghost-investigating group
from Harrisonville, Mo., called Miller's Paranormal Research.
- The group averages about two ghostly investigations a
month, she said. And not every paranormal inspection turns up a ghost.
- "Not every house is haunted, but spirits can come
and go as they wish," she said. "They're not dead. Life after
life is what this is about."
- Mrs. Morgan said there are a lot of misconceptions about
both her work and the spirit world. One big misunderstanding is that ghosts
are harmful. In all her investigations, Mrs. Morgan said she has never
heard of a ghost or spirit harming anyone.
- "They don't hurt you. Ever hear of a spirit hurting
anybody?" she said.
- And ghosts and spirits are not the same thing, either,
- Mrs. Morgan described ghosts as people who have died
from trauma who haven't yet gone on to heaven. They are earthbound wanderers
who will usually be dressed the same way they were when they died.
- A spirit, on the other hand, has been to heaven or the
other side, she said. When they come back to Earth, they're dressed in
white and they glow, she said.
- "They just glow all the way around them. They've
been in the Christ light," she said. "There is a barrier there
somewhere. I don't know where the barrier is."
- Mrs. Morgan said that she suspects there's a good reason
why ghosts don't go to heaven and become spirits.
- "They may remain here because they have some unfinished
business. Some will remain here because they're afraid of the judgment
on the other side," she said.
- Mrs. Morgan said another ghostly misconception is that
animals don't have souls. Dogs do go to heaven and they can come back to
earth in spirit form, she said.
- "They're living, aren't they?" she asked rhetorically.
"It's God's creation. My gosh, I've seen spirit dogs, spirit cats,
spirit birds "
- Mrs. Morgan said she considers herself a spiritual and
God-fearing person. She said she always uses her spiritual gifts for good.
- She uses prayer a lot when she clears homes of ghosts
or helps find missing persons.
- "What is stronger than the power of prayer? Nothing,"
- Yet, passages in the Bible forbid believers from consorting
with psychics, soothsayers and fortune tellers.
- For that reason, Mrs. Morgan said she was kicked out
of a church once.
- "You can hurt someone physically, you can hurt someone
mentally, but if you hurt someone spiritually, that's painful, very painful,"
- "I've been religious all my life and yet churches
will condemn me. How can they condemn someone who can help with a murder
case? I always tell them you might need somebody like me someday."
- Content ©2003, The News-Press, St. Joseph, Missouri