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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Belle's Crossing by Barb Betts

Summer’s ending and autumn is just days away. My thoughts go to the sweet smell of apple and pumpkin pies baking in the oven along with the smell of wood burning in a fire place.  Since I live in Iowa, the farmers are busy in their fields taking out this year’s corn harvest. But there is something more that the fall season brings to mind. Where September brings cool nights and leaves painted bright orange, red, and yellow, the month of October adds a bit of mystery and whimsy to the season.

All Hallows Eve will soon be upon us. Back in the day it was referred to as Beggars Night here in rural Iowa. Farm kids would take their sacks and walk house to house begging for a treat, which back in the day might be a juicy red apple or a cookie.  But there is much more to this night than just trick or treating.  This is the night that legends are born. Of ghosts and goblins. Every town has their own hauntings.

One such haunting is in an area lake in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Big Lake.  I was born and raised in this town and never once heard the legend about three sisters who perished at the lake back in the day. It is said that the three sisters were killed at a rail road crossing by the lake and that on Halloween Night just before midnight the girls are seen running tree to tree in a game of tag. Some have seen the girls in human form while others see them as bright orbs of light. Some have heard their laughter while others have heard them singing on a cold autumn night.

This is the basis of my soon to be released novella, Belle’s Crossing.


Three sisters perish in a tragic accident or was it?

While I was writing my story, I couldn’t help but wonder was it possible to speak to the dead? On a whim I messaged psychic, medium Kelli Miller, and asked if I could interview her for my story. A few days later I heard back from her business manager Debra that she would meet me the following Wednesday.

I was so excited when I stepped from my car and walked across the parking lot to her building. I really didn’t know what to expect as I walked through the door. Perhaps she’d be an older gypsy type woman with a crystal ball and her room would be all creepy and dark with a pair of chicken feet hanging in the window. (I don’t know where that idea came from.)

Imagine my surprise when I was greeted warmly by her office manager Deb and Kelli’s dog. I was shown into her office. A well lit room with a thirty-year-old something with chestnut shoulder length hair, hazel eyes, slimly built beauty. She was very down to earth and welcoming.  She went step by step on how she came by her gift. She said some folks are just born with it. Also, that when she was a little girl she thought her friends saw what she saw.

 When she told her father of things that were to come and they came true he asked her not to tell others what she saw for fear they wouldn’t understand. It was only after his death she started to explore her gift but still kept it very private.

 It was by chance that others found out about her gift. She had been at a party and a man was there bemoaning the loss of his father, Kelli spoke up and said don’t be so sad he’s standing right behind you. The man didn’t believe her so she described what she saw the man wearing and even the rainbow suspenders he always wore. From that time on Kelli’s phone didn’t stop ringing.  She now does readings from her office and is on two radio programs.

As for me, there were two times when the hairs on the back of my neck rose up and goose bumps rose up on my skin. I hadn’t told her I lost a baby girl. Kelli looked at me and said, “Your baby girl sends you butterflies.” My heart just stopped. Such a wonder gift she gave me. And every day since that day I’ve seen butterflies. There was one more thing she shared with me but as of yet it has not come true.

No matter if you’re a believer in the afterlife or things that go bump in the night…Perhaps,  Belle’s Crossing will make you think twice.


  1. Barb, this was such a good story. Seems like so many small towns had a tragedy of one kind or another "back in the day", didn't it? This one was especially tragic, but you really did a great job of weaving it into a memorable tale. And how nice of Kelli to meet with you!

  2. Barb,
    Love the story. Whether any of them are true or not, they give us that sense of mystery and that there is always something more.
    Sounds like a winning story. Doris

  3. Barb,

    Ooh... just enough ghostliness to be spooky, and not too scary to make me sleep with the lights on-- Just the sort of Halloween season story I like. ;-)

    Spectral stories with 'local color' make for great story-telling around the campfire... or Prairie Rose Publications. *wink*

  4. What an exciting adventure meeting and interviewing a psychic. I know it must have helped you create a great story.
    I've been to Council Bluffs, Iowa. A friend of mine lived there and I went to visit her. Winters are he'll there...but that's just the southerner in me talking.
    I'm sorry to be so late getting here, Barb.
    I wish you all the best.

  5. I'm a little late, but what a great post. I love the butterflies...

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