- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

ARNAUDVILLE, La. (AP) - The drive to Arnaudville takes you down long country roads, where moss blankets massive live oak trees and small towns dot the way.

While there are no orange and yellow leaves, there is fall in the air. Temperatures are cooler; the sky is bluer and the grass is just starting to lose its vibrant hue.

In the Halloween season, thoughts also turn to all things haunted - houses, graveyards, ghosts.

It is a perfect time to visit Allyson Schram. Her Arnaudville home is just past the local cemetery. A fitting location for a medium -someone who makes her living speaking to the dead.

Schram said they speak to her, reaching out to her clients who come seeking to reconnect with loved ones or, who are grieving and need guidance.

“The work that makes me the happiest is when I hear from loved ones who have gone on to be with God,” Schram said. “A young man in spirit recently showed me Pizza Pockets.

“I said to his deeply grieving mother, ‘Is there a reason I would be seeing Pizza Pockets?’ She said, ‘He loved Pizza Pockets.’ Receiving validation from your loved ones can be funny and so comforting.”

For this Fairhope, Alabama, native, the ghosts are real.

Can she speak to the dead?

Both Schram and her husband are a couple who deal in death. Charlie Schram is a mortician. He spent his life embalming people the old-school way. As he puts it, “you need to get the bodies right way. No waiting.”

“We met over a body,” Schram recalled. “When Charlie and I met, we were both working for a funeral home (and) cemetery in Mobile, Alabama. I was on the sales staff and he was the embalmer. I had just joined the team there and was new to the funeral business. There was a beautiful older woman laid out with a sheet over her. He was looking down into her face and scrunching her hair. Her hair was wet and curly after he had just washed it. I was intrigued with the care and the attention he was giving the deceased. I think that is the moment I fell in love with Charlie. His compassion was evident.”

The couple began dating and continued to be friends even after Charlie Schram left Mobile to return to his native Louisiana for his work in the funeral business.

Schram said one weekend he invited her to come to Louisiana to visit.

“He was on call, but indicated that he would have a lot of free time,” Schram said. “The first night I was visiting him, he had five death calls. We spent the entire night picking up the dead.”

But for Schram, the dead weren’t necessarily dead. Then, as now, Schram could tell their spirits still had something to say. She vividly remembers the times when something wasn’t right, and the spirit would reach out to her.

“One night, I was sitting out front of the funeral home waiting for him (Charlie) and all of a sudden I saw bright light coming down the hall,” Schram said. “I knew it was the soul of the person being embalmed. And he says ‘I want my goddam shoes!’

“I told Charlie, he wants his shoes. And Charlie said ‘His wife is bringing his clothes.’ When she got there he asked her, ‘Where are his shoes?’ She said, ‘No one told me I needed to bring shoes.’ I found out later that he used to be in a nursing home and he had to wear slippers and this was a constant source of aggravation for him. He used to be a dancer so he wanted to move on in spirit with his shoes.”

Schram said she realized her calling during that first experience working in the funeral business. Today, she is a busy, working medium and psychic, providing a service for those who need her.

Local writer Chere Coen has known Schram for years. Coen said she went to her for a reading about a year ago.

“The best part was when she did my numerology,” Coen recalled. “She said a lot about my kids. She gave me little pieces of a lot of information. Some of it was like, yes, and some of it, I’m not sure what it means yet. But I like her. I think she is great.”

Schram also writes a blog called “the Medium and the Mortician” which details her experiences and how her work has affected the people she has encountered.

In her blog, she recounts times when she has predicted a new baby, a death or other strange happenings. While some might call these events coincidences, others would consider her predictions part of her unusual talent.

“I do think she has a tapped into something,” Coen said.

During a visit with Schram, we got a chance to see how she works.

Right away, the medium was interested in talking to Daily Advertiser photographer Leslie Westbrook. She pegged him as someone who was loved by a lot of people, a popular guy.

She also predicted he and his wife would have a baby girl. All of which might be easy to forecast, given that he and his wife are a young married couple and a baby would be a natural next step.

But then she asked him several questions about the people in his life.

“Who is the Eddie,” Schram asked. “You have an Eddie?”

“My aunt’s name is Eddye,” Westbrook answered.

She also picked up that he owned cats, which he does.

“Does one of them bite a lot?” Schram asked.

“It sometimes acts weird,” Westbrook answered.

“I want to tell you something,” She said. “I don’t want you to have this cat around the baby. This is a warning.”

Schram doesn’t spend a lot of time forecasting doom and gloom. In fact, her bubbly personality and bright smile are more welcoming than menacing, so it is hard not to pay attention when she talks about something important.

Depending on what you believe, Schram is either extraordinarily gifted or just very perceptive. But there is no denying she is passionate about what she does and takes her work very seriously.

“It’s not a fun career,” Schram said, “but I feel like this is my life’s calling. This is how I serve - to give people peace.”

___

Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com

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