Last Wednesday my wife Heidi and I had an opportunity to mix business with pleasure. A few weeks prior I had read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the Haskell residence and the reports of the ghost of Senator Broderick who is reported to haunt the property.

Senator David C. Broderick

Senator David C. Broderick

150 years ago he died after partaking in a duel where Justice David Terry wounded him after his gun misfired. Three days after the duel he died of his injury at the home of his friend.

Justice David Terry

Justice David Terry

After reading the story in the paper, I wrote in a comment in the comments section online and remarked that using a Ouija board to connect with his spirit was not a good idea and potentially dangerous. I was then contacted by a friend of the homes owner who requested that I facilitate the evenings activities, a séance if you will, with the intent of connecting with the ghost of Senator Broderick.

The residence is within the grounds of Fort Mason and offers sweeping views of San Francisco Bay. The weather was warm and the winds were not too intense, in short it was perfect weather for a picnic. Before the séance, Heidi and I dropped off the girls with a friend and then with 3 hours to go until we were scheduled to arrive at the party, we looked for a place to enjoy dinner.

We briefly considered a picnic, but opted instead for Italian at Caesars in North Beach. Dinner was great and the waiters were a lot of fun. After dinner we headed out to Fort Mason and located the residence where we were going to attempt to contact the ghost or ghosts reported to be haunting the location.

Dueling positions, Terry on left, Broderick on right.

Dueling positions, Terry on left, Broderick on right.

After taking several photos of the view from the residence and photos of the home its self, we headed inside and we began the evenings activities in earnest. Sometime after the guests arrived and everyone had mingled a bit, we met up in the living room and following a quick Q&A session I recounted the fateful sequence of events which had transpired some 150 years prior and which was the whole reason for our being called to the residence.

At this point everyone present became quiet and waited patiently for me to make a connection with the Senator or his adversary Justice Terry. After what was an inordinately long period of silence and with some in attendance becoming restless, I felt a sudden shift.

Now let me back up here a bit, three days prior to this evening I had been briefly contacted by a spirit who told me that he was Senator Broderick and that he would make a showing at the upcoming séance. Also … upon arriving at the home and walking into the dining

Pistols used in the Terry - Broderick Duel

Pistols used in the Terry - Broderick Duel

room I felt a spirit who seemed to me to be the spirit of our “guest of honor”. Though he did not approach me at that time, I was fully expecting him to connect with me quickly as I began the séance.

As the minutes ticked by … and the lights once again flickered … as they had all evening, I suddenly sensed a presence who was working to merge with me. What happened next had nothing to do with the flickering lights, (wiring is old and needs to be redone) it had everything to do with why were had come together that evening.

Haskell Residence at Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA

Haskell Residence at Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA

I felt a huge amount of nerves and began to become very anxious. Pretty soon I felt as if I had been thumped in the right side of my chest and I felt adrenaline coursing through my body. At some point I began to feel a tremendous tingling all throughout my body followed by coldness at the extremities. I realized that I was bleeding out and as the blood was draining out of me, my strength was sapped at the same time. Finally I felt as though I couldn’t breathe and everything blacked out. I felt an incredibly sense of having been done a great injustice and of having passed before my work was done.

Throughout the above sequence of events, I became visibly animated, almost over the top. At some point I began weeping spontaneously and I also dropped a very full glass tumbler filled with water onto the hardwood floor in the living room. No one moved to mop it up until several minutes after the Senator’s visit.

At first he seemed to have great control of my body and voice. He spoke of being proud of what he fought for, how he liked the fact that a black man was in office and then commented on the lack of one being present. When asking if there were questions for him, no one had much in the way of questions about him as a person – or what he stood for, other than a mere handful of queries at best.

At this point people began asking questions desired to determine if it really was him. He was not too pleased with the nature of the new questions and determining that people were more interested in a ghost story rather than the life of a once prominent Senator, that he had no interest in having to prove that it was him to anyone present, in short he did not care if they believed it was him or not. Afterwards the Senator told me privately that he was somewhat insulted or slighted that people would think that he was a ghost after all this time. He said that by saying such, that they were implying that he was not aware and not a man capable of facing his life review and moving forward with his spirits journey into the afterlife. He wanted it to be clear that while the house may have been haunted at one time, that it was not his spirit that people still felt there and that people needed to remember that not just ghosts are responsible for peoples brushes with the other side and that spirits too can manipulate the physical realm.

After the Senator left me, and we had taken a brief break, I returned and began the second half of the evenings activities. At this point I shifted the focus of the evening and asked those in attendance to give me names of loved ones that were in spirit that they would like to connect with. I included live animals and past animals as well and then went back to a meditative state.

The first spirit to come through was a gentlemen’s grandfather who had taken the grandson out sailing on a frequent basis. He revealed how he passed and relayed a cryptic message which was rather difficult to understand at the time. Next another spirit came through, a woman who had dealt with a serious disfigurement which relayed as being embarrassing and private. When she came through she announced her presence by showing off her red hair to me. Some more happened, but honestly I do not recall all the details at this time.

Later when it was time for me to work with the animals I connected with one of the dogs who was present during the evenings activities. The dog had digestive problems and talked with me at length. He described what was happening with the throwing up etc., and talked about the different foods they had tried for the dog. Nothing seemed to be working, I picked up that it was more of an allergy issue than anything else and that they should see a holistic vet. The dog requested one, he also told me how the brown rice was bland and nasty and how he did not eat it. He then told me about the oatmeal and how he liked it, but they did not give it to him because when he ate it he had eaten it too fast and too much and had thrown it up . Everything about the food was confirmed of course and then the dog told me that he was eight years old, earlier that same day the dogs humans had been told that by their vet.

Once we had picked up the kids and returned home it was 1:30 AM, by 3:30 AM we had finally let the day go, it was a lot of fun and after getting home it became apparent why I had desired and smoke a cigarette at the séance earlier that evening. We were being visited by someone who was a star in one of favorite movies and even after being told to quit, he continued to sneak cigarettes up until the bitter end. Perhaps that story will be told in the future …

To learn more about psychic medium and animal communicator Charles Peden, visit www.charlespeden.com

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