LET'S GET something straight: Erin Ferdinand does not see dead people.
She just kind of...feels them.
That’s not to say the professional psychic hasn’t had her share of paranormal experiences involving flashing orbs of light, mysterious messages and the occasional brush of an invisible hand.
“As a medium, I act like a tuning fork and receive messages from the other side,” clarifies Ferdinand, a Minnesota native who now lives in Savannah’s historic district.
But rather than exploit the spooky side of spiritual divination, this ghost whisperer all about the positive.
“Death is just a dimensional shift, so as beings there are still ways to connect. I want to take something scary and mystical and make it common for people.”
Indeed, her business card reads “Your Pal, Erin,” and among her services is helping folks get comfortable with the supernatural specters around them. A former production assistant and actor, she has developed a faithful following as a compassionate counselor and fascinating party entertainer. She also offers training on how to access our own natural psychic abilities through automatic writing and meditation, using a battered deck of the Faerie’s Oracle to perform readings.
“I tell people that I come in ‘light and love, joy and play,’” giggles Ferdinand, a sprite of a woman in her 30s who pays more than just a passing resemblance to the mischievous fairies that decorate her oracle card deck.
She began getting friendly with local ghosts several years ago as a docent at the Sorrel-Weed House, arguably one of Savannah’s most haunted mansions. Featured on the 2005 Halloween episode of Ghost Hunters, the grand home is fully-equipped with sound equipment and infrared cameras, and Ferdinand enjoyed using them to validate and enhance her communiqués with the “other side.” Often while she spoke or sang to the house’s empty rooms, flickers of light or fast-moving shadows—which some say are electromagnetic evidence of non-physical entities—would be captured on video.
“Erin took a liking to the spirits here, and they seemed to like her too,” recalls Sorrel-Weed site manager Calvin Parker.
“She was able to give people experiences on our tours that no one else could.”
Gifted with the sixth sense as a young child, Ferdinand “always knew things,” but shut down her sensitivities after she had a frightening vision about Minnesota state senator Paul Wellstone just before he perished in a plane crash in 2002.
“I stopped using my abilities for a while after that. I was kind in the psychic closet for a long time,” she says.
After pursuing show business in New York both in front of and behind the camera, fate brought her to Savannah and its undeniably mysterious vibes. She reconnected with her psychic tendencies, though it took a soul-shaking experience to inspire her to offer them to others.
In 2012, Ferdinand had to put down her beloved dog, PJ. That afternoon, she was having an old-fashioned wake for her canine friend at the Crystal Beer Parlor when her name—spelled “e-r-Y-N—appeared in the foam of her glass (the photographic evidence is on her blog.) She felt strongly that she should pay a visit to the Sorrel-Weed House, where she turned on the cameras and attempted to contact PJ.
Around the seven-minute mark of that night’s video footage, she asks whether PJ wrote her name in the beer. As if in response, a visible spark flies madly around the room—even non-believers can’t deny that the light appears only after the question.
A few months later, Ferdinand contacted another psychic to help her move through the grief she still felt for her dog. She was told that her life’s work is to use her metaphysical gifts in service to others, and she has been helping people come to terms with the passing of their loved ones ever since.
One of her clients is Carrie Delaney, whose 17-month old daughter, Grace, died in May 2012. Born with Down’s Syndrome and a complicated heart defect, Grace caught a common cold that turned into pneumonia and never recovered.
“I contacted Erin because I wanted closure,” says Delaney, a special education teacher. “I’m not a particularly religious person, and what happens after we die wasn’t something I’d put a lot of thought into until I needed it.”
In a session, Ferdinand reached out to Grace’s spirit, describing the little girl’s love for her family and that she had been trying to make her presence known by certain types of cloud formations.
“When Erin confirmed for me that she was still here, I could open my eyes and really see it and feel it,” remembers Delaney.
“It’s definitely helped me on my journey and given me a bit of peace.”
Ferdinand is currently writing a book about her experiences with PJ and her psychic path, titled My Dog Died and All I Got Was This Lousy Miracle. She hopes it will inspire folks not only feel friendlier to the ghosts around them but to reconnect to their own intuitive gifts.
“In my experience, the majority of people who reach out to psychics do so because they have lost touch with their own inner knowing and are looking for answers—kind of like that friend you have who is always asking for advice about their love,” she laughs.
“It’s a condition I lovingly call OCD—Obsessive Compulsive Divination—that ‘need to know’ panic that wakes us in the middle of the night.”
Ferdinand has just launched a new version of her website and is available for spiritual tune-ups, cheerful ghostly encounters and other psychic services.
But don’t bother asking her what’s next for your career or when you’ll meet the lover of your dreams.
“I don’t deal in the future. I believe the future is mutable,” she winks.
“It’s all about how you set your intentions.”