I didn't expect a letter from Walt. He had lived in the room next to
mine in Vietnam, and we talked several times, but he was very scientific
in his thinking, and I assumed he thought I was crazy. Nevertheless, here
was a letter from him, postmarked from Europe. It opened by saying, "A
gorgeous, red-headed girl is dying to meet you."--followed by a parenthetical
aside, "Got your attention, didn't I?" True enough, he had.
He went on to say that he had met this American girl, whose name was Barbara, on a train while traveling through France. She was enroute to Lourdes to seek healing because her life had become a nightmare. She didn't know what was wrong, but she was psychic, as well as a devout Catholic, and her prayer life was the center of the problem.
Walt said he had tried to pull it all together and finally told her, if she didn't find help at Lourdes, maybe it would help to talk to this guy he met in Vietnam--and hence this letter, by way of introduction.
Not long after that, I received a letter from Barbara, from Akron, Ohio. It said just about what Walt's letter did, except for the opening and closing, and so provided no additional information. I sent her a note saying I would call her if I was going to be in her part of the country, and I would do whatever I could, but I didn't know if I could help at all.
Several months later I had to go to a series of meetings at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, so I phoned and left a message for Barbara concerning where I would be and when. I didn't know whether she would try to meet me or not.
After the first day of meetings, I went to the Officers' Club, sat in the lobby, and waited. Needless to say, I was watching the door for a gorgeous, red-headed girl. Nevertheless, I didn't recognize her when she came in, partly because she was taller than I expected, and partly because I call that color of hair "auburn."
She had me paged. We sat in the lobby of the Officers' Club with people streaming by on both sides and talked for three hours. We had supper and talked for another hour. By that time, her problem and its solution were plain.
Barbara is highly psychic. Among her other gifts, she is a psychometrist--that is, she can hold an object in her hand, meditate on it, and tell you more than you may wish to know about the owner of that object.
Her father had died the previous year, not long before her problem began. He had been very much involved in the family business ... and her problem centered on continual pressure to do or not do certain things involving the family business. The pressure resulted in, to use her words, "A totally messed-up prayer life."
The final link fell into place when she mentioned how much she treasured her father's rosary.
I asked if her problem got worse when she prayed the Pater Noster. She seemed a bit surprised and said, "Yes ... it does." So I pointed out that the words "Our Father" could subconsciously convert to "my father" and an object such as a rosary could establish a link between a psychometrist and the owner of that object.
In sum, her dead father was trying to go on running his business, through her.
I suggested that she put her father's rosary away and get her own rosary. And, good old honest hard-working Protestant that I am, I also suggested that she pray through Mary. "After all," I said to myself, "Mary has got to be part of the team."
That was the end of the session. Barbara thanked me and left on her long drive back to Akron. I had a drink at the bar and went to my quarters feeling that my suggestions had been logical, but not knowing if they would help.
The next day, I completed my business at Wright-Patterson AFB and went back to my home near Andrews AFB, Maryland.
A week later I got a phone call from Barbara at two o'clock in the morning. I don't know what she said, because her voice was almost incoherent with joy--it was full of trills and arpeggios, like the voice of a bird--but I do remember this: she said the Holy Mother had come to her, and talked with her, and from the sound of her voice, I needed no other proof that it was so.