In the presence of the dead

Cathy Chatterton

Photo by Larry Dalton

Local psychic Cathy Chatterton led hundreds of people through Sacramento’s Old City Cemetery during the week of Halloween. During her tours, she described the clothing, manners and personalities of dead Sacramentans who still clung to their lives on earth. Some of the dead smiled at visitors, Chatterton said. Others ignored them entirely. Chatterton pointed them all out and then watched as awed visitors drew their hands through empty air, seeking out the presence of the dead.

When you first walked into the Old City Cemetery, what did you notice?

Well, the first thing I noticed was the young woman that was sitting on the ground, with her back against her headstone, with her knees pulled up to her chest, and that she had a tremendous amount of grief or regret. So, that’s what I first saw. The next thing I noticed was the man who came out of the mausoleum, just to the left of her. He came out of there and came dashing around the mausoleum to watch us, to watch our every move. He was very anxious. I see him as being rather round—he must have liked his food—and kind of balding.

Can you describe what a dead person in a cemetery looks like to you?

They look like real people to me, only they don’t look solid like we look to each other. They look more ethereal. You can kind of see through them a little bit. They look a little transparent, but they look like real people.

Why do you see some people and not others?

In this case, most of those graves, those souls have transitioned over, so they’re not there. You’re not going to see anything. It’s a peaceful place. There’s only the body there at the gravesite. There’s nothing to see there. The ones that I see are the ones that haven’t transitioned over yet—are in this plane still. That’s the difference.

Do you have a favorite person in this cemetery?

Oh yeah, I do. Pauline Hess is one of my favorites. She’s beautifully dressed, and her hair is beautifully coiffed, and she’s extremely poised. And I get a sense that she’s highly intelligent and very well educated in academics and in several languages and in the social graces. I just loved being over there.

And can you tell why she hasn’t crossed over?

Her life was so full. I always see her walking away from their mausoleum. It looks like a mausoleum to me, but it’s a large monument. There are several family members there. I see her walking away all the way down this one path, away from there, and she’s always very deep in thought. And what I get a sense of is that she is thinking about the fullness of that life and all of the things that she’s experienced, and I don’t think she’s ready to move over and give that up yet.

You also mentioned that the Mark Hopkins grave (one of the “big four") was very interesting.

I really enjoyed that one. It’s off to the right, and it’s a beautiful mausoleum. I think it would draw anyone’s attention, but the energy on it is incredible. I’ve never felt male energy that was so positive, probably the ultimate positive male energy. They were pioneers, so they had a real courageous pioneer spirit. Then you have that visionary aspect. These men had visions. They could see what could happen, and then they pushed it forward into reality. And they had a lot of personal power. They’re personal strengths, not necessarily physical strengths. But the personal-power strength, it was all there. They were just confident.

Can you explain what you understand about the other side?

It depends on the circumstances of the person’s death. That’s really the decisive factor of what I see. For instance, a family member just died from Parkinson’s disease, and it was a very long and lingering death. And when she died, she was very confused, and she was in a very weakened physical state. And what I saw was, the minute she transitioned over, she was cocooned. It looked white and soft, kind of gossamer, you know? And I saw three people attending her, and they stayed with her. And she slept for like four or five months. And then, one day, I saw her sit up, and the cocoon was gone, and she was no longer in that weakened state, and she was no longer confused. They were helping her understand that she had transitioned over. Everyone, when they transition over to the other side, is brought up to their prime. I see them all at their fittest state. They’re all about 20 to 25 years old. They’re physically very fit. They all glow. They radiate health, and they’re all happy.

And what message would those on the other side give?

Not to worry. We’re to progress in this life. Always move forward toward healing, whatever that might be.