I'm looking forward to Christmas this year more than usual I suppose. I like the Christmas magic that surrounds the season, the lights, the carols, the goodwill and other holiday signs. While the year has not been overly great for me professionally in that I lost a position with a company where I was employed as a senior IT manager and applications developer forcing me to hit the pavements looking for new opportunities, personally it has been a wonderful year.

On the bright side, I love sharing with you a slice of life and my perspectives on entertainment, magic, the paranormal, the bizarre and the lighter side of the news with a mixture of other topics, and I'm grateful that I'm blessed to continue doing that as well as covering local news.

It's this time of year we tend to reflect on what the last 12 months have been like for ourselves and our families. This year has been good, but not without its stresses as is the case with most families, but while I am thankful for many things, one in particular stands out from the rest and includes a special visit that told me it would be okay.

My sister-in-law Stephanie and my brother Jeff's prayers were answered with the successful pregnancy and birth of my first nephew on my side of the family. Some of you may be aware that she had a particularly difficult and at times dangerous pregnancy, but it worked out for the best. I knew it would as I knew there were angels watching out for little Evan from the time we learned of her complications.

For many of you, this will seem to be a fantasy or a flight of fancy, but the older I get the more I believe we are all interconnected and while religion helps to keep us moral, I believe we are connected to our family and fellow humans both living and deceased in many ways. There is a thread that runs through humanity. The psychiatrist Carl Jung referred to it as a theory of the collective unconsciousness. Quite simply, it's the belief that all humanity is interlaced at a deep primitive psychic level and that we share the same common connections, a basic blueprint of life, spirit and survival.

I truly believe there is a spirit in the world, an energy or force that guides us if we are willing to allow it and helps keep us together. That spirit is one with our Creator whom we call God, the Muslims call Allah and so forth. We cannot escape this connection even though many attempt to rebel from it. It's natural in my opinion. It's what generates empathy for those who are sick or injured. It's what brings us together to mourn or to celebrate.

Those who are especially naturally sensitive can see this spirit and can feel the essences of those who are past. Skeptics point to spiritualism and its modern matriarchs the Fox Sisters as frauds. After all they did confess after a lifetime of lies. Houdini spent the last several years of his life exposing like mannered con artists angered they could not give him what he desired mostcounsel with his departed mother.

The question remains though: are all professed psychics fraudulent? I say no. We cannot be totalitarian in that view. In actuality Houdini wasn't of the belief that all were frauds but just the ones he encountered. As I wrote in a previous column, he and Bess used to do a spook show fishing names of recently deceased loved ones from cemeteries when they arrived in a town and presenting their own little "seances." They stopped after two occasions in which Bess' intuition predicted events that actually happened.

I think that by opening ourselves up to the spiritual side of our world and leaving go of the deep gnarled technological hold our society has on us, we can return to that simpler time. We need to trust our inner selves more and society less.

As for how I knew things would work out fine. I had a dream shortly after I learned of my sister-in-law's problem. In my dream, there were three people, two of whom I relied on when they were alive for guidance, my grandfather and my grandmother. I walked into a room that looked much like their living room in which we played so many games of pinochle. They told me not to touch them as I was not allowed, but they were there with a third person, a little boy. While the little boy did not speak to me, I knew immediately it was my son. They said they had come to assure me that my nephew would be safe and that he was protected. They promised me there would be a happy ending. My son crawled up on my lap and without saying a word I knew he would make sure everything was fine, and then they were gone.

I woke and realized I had the most vivid experience. Most dreams I remember piecemeal or quickly disappear from my psyche but some dreams, the important ones that play out in some way normally stay intact. This was one of those latter kind of dreams. While I was cautious about things, I knew and had faith that this gift would be delivered to my brother and his wife and on October 27th, it came to pass.

That visit gave me the strength to assure my family things would be okay. I knew Evan Thomas was blessed by God and protected and for that I'm eternally grateful to my God and that is what is most important.

Til next timeā€¦