Messages From Beyond? 9/11 Families Say They’re Touched by Loved Ones Lost

Apr 20, 2011 by

Messages From Beyond? 9/11 Families Say They’re Touched by Loved Ones Lost


The first time Lisa O’Brien knew something bizarre was happening was when she found her 4-year-old daughter Jacie having a conversation in an empty room.

“I’d say, ‘Jacie, who are you talking to?’ ‘My dad! Talking to daddy,'” O’Brien recalled. “She would tell me she could see him.”

Jacie’s father had recently died in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. O’Brien said she tried to gently probe Jacie, who revealed that her daddy had been telling her “knock, knock” jokes. Jacie also could recite the names of her father’s co-workers, who had all died in the attack — many of whom her mother said she had never met.

“I showed her a picture and said, ‘Do you know who these guys are?’, and she said, ‘Mommy, those are the boys,'” said O’Brien, who was in awe of her daughter’s connection with her deceased dad. “I was jealous…because she got to see them and I didn’t.”

The O’Briens are just two of many people coming forward in what may be the strangest aftermath of 9/11. For most, the attack on the World Trade Center remains a national and emotional scar, but for some relatives left behind it has also been a step into a spiritual world they say they never could have imagined.

9/11 Widow Recalls Husband’s Premonitions

Bonnie McEneaney’s strange journey began with premonitions. Her 46-year old husband, Eamon, a legendary athlete turned trader who worked at the World Trade Center, seemed to have a foreboding feeling in the weeks before September 11th. On September 2, 2001 she said they were at a barbecue where Eamon spoke to his brother about the possibility of the World Trade Center being hit again. He was debating whether he should take people to the roof this time or whether he should try to bring them down the stairs, McEneaney recalled. And in the days that followed, she said it was clear that Eamon suspected he didn’t have long to live.

“One night, I was cooking, he walked in and he said, ‘You had better become more of a disciplinarian with the children because when I’m gone it’s going to be hard,'” McEneaney said.

The morning of 9/11, as Eamon got ready to go to work, his wife said there was another sign. In the shower, Eamon had a vertigo attack — a problem he had developed years before but hadn’t affected him in over nine months.

Speaking with others in the 9/11 community, McEneaney discovered that “goose-bump” experiences like hers were common.

“I think there’s probably been close to 200 people that I’ve interviewed or had discussions with,” said McEneaney, who turned their stories into a book called Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11.

Click here to read an excerpt from the book, Messages.

Once a doubter, the former corporate vice president now says she is a firm believer in premonitions. She points to stories like Monica and Michael Iken’s. The couple got married on September 11, 2000, and Monica said Michael felt that something was off that morning. During the outdoor service, a jet buzzed overhead, so loud and so close, that they had to stop the service precisely at “I do.”

“He just was horrified. He turned to me and was like, ‘We’re jinxed,'” Monica Iken recalled.

Nearly a year later, on September 9, 2001, the Ikens checked into a hotel at Boston airport.

“He’s like, ‘Monica, I have to get out of here, right now, we have to check out right now,'” she said.

Monica couldn’t figure out why her new husband was so distraught, but after he was lost in the Twin Towers, she learned that the hijackers had been casing out the airport at that same moment. Afterwards, when she looked at one of her wedding photos, she noticed another eerie discovery: a black streak covered Michael’s whole body in one of the photos.

Some had even stronger premonitions. David McCourt’s wife Ruth was supposed to head to the west coast for a brief trip, but he said Ruth seemed to know she wasn’t coming back. “She was writing notes in her final week to people that she cared for, making amends with everybody,” McCourt said. Their 4-year-old daughter Juliana was supposed to stay home with David that day, but at the last moment, his wife changed her mind.

“She turned to me and said, ‘David, Juliana belongs with me. I’m taking Juliana with me,'” he said.

Both Juliana and Ruth were on one of the doomed flights that crashed into the towers.

“I think people feel that they experience premonitions,” said Dr. Katherine Shear, a psychiatrist and expert on grief at Columbia University. “What we don’t know is how often people experience premonitions that actually come true, compared to ones that don’t.”

But many of the people coming forward say there is no rational explanation for what they went through the terrorist attacks. The morning of 9/11, McEneaney had her first strange experience in her front yard. Still hoping against hope that her husband had survived, McEneaney went outside and yelled, “Eamon where are you?” All of a sudden she said she heard leaves rustling and the branches swaying and “a river of wind” slowly swirled and twirled toward her. It whimsically lifted her skirt and then stopped. She knew at that moment, she said, that her question had been answered. Eamon was gone.

Solidarity Among 9/11 Widows

McEneaney said there are so many stories of people who thought they were alone in these eerie experiences until they opened up to each other. Lisa O’Brien and her friend Joanne Kelly bonded over their strange experiences.

O’Brien recalled a ritual she shared with her deceased husband: “He was whistling ‘A Penny For Your Thoughts, A Nickel For A Kiss,’ and I said, ‘Wow, I wonder what a quarter would be.'”

Quarters became the couple’s private joke. After he died, O’Brien said she started finding quarters everywhere, and in the strangest of places.

“I would get up out of bed in the middle of the night to check on the kids and I’d come back to bed and there’d be a quarter in my bed,” said O’Brien, who is convinced that the coins were a message from beyond the grave.

Kelly was on the phone with her husband when the first plane hit the North Tower. Watching the television, she saw the second plane hit. At that moment, she said, “I couldn’t feel him.” Much later, she toured the morgue, where medical examiners had been thus far unable to locate her husband’s remains. As she stood there, she said, she felt her heart racing. There were eight morgue trucks lined up and Joanne pointed to one and said, “He’s in that one.” As if on cue, she said, a staff member came into the room and said, “You’re never going to believe this. This never, ever happens, never happens, one in a million. We found his remains.”

Even more astonishing are reports of actual sightings. Monica Iken recalled waking up, to see her husband Michael standing at the foot of the bed.

“He was all glowing, and I just sat up, I said, ‘Thank you for coming.’ As quick as I said that, he left. But he was smiling. He was telling me he was there with me. It was not a dream. He was literally standing there,” Monica Iken said.

“These kinds of things tend to happen with people when people lose someone very, very close to them,” said Shear, who added that while there are rational explanations, she doesn’t totally discount the possibility that the incidents might be something more. “Obviously, there’re so many things that we just do not understand.”

In the end, McEneaney and the others said they don’t mind whether you believe them or not; the messages they have received brought them comfort they deeply needed.

“It’s not about death,” said McEneaney. “It’s about love and hope and loving connections that continue, even after death.”


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Robert! And, by the way, I’ve never had such an experience (you’d think I would, right?).

  2. Thank you, very much for sharing that powerful story, Rob. In whatever way you view the perception of the experience you had, clearly the impact was profound. I greatly appreciate your willingness to share this intense happening in your personal world. ♡ b

  3. Accidentally exited…haha. Anyways, with this being said, I do not believe in the paranormal or entities. I do believe in an over active mind allowing thought of what seemed like reality enter my room. Probably had too much marble fudge ice cream that night too, allowing an over stimulus of sugar. Anyways, there it is. I have never told anyone this story before, and it did vry much happen.

  4. Ok Brooke, here is what happened. Mind you, only 1 other person has heard this, mostly because she was lying in bed next to me when it happened. Back in 1981 my ex-girlfriend with whom I was still very good friends with committed suicide. It was a very tramatic experience. It was one of frustration, anger, and sadness. Now it is several years later, approx 1994 or so, I am asleep. I don’t know if I awoke or was dreaming I was awake, but I realized that something was in the bedroom. Her body was hovering over me and we were looking directly at one another. She appeared somewhat ghostly to me, not scary, but beautiful. She was asking about me and was very happy for me, etc. I was terrified, heart pounding, sweating, petrified by what was happening. I wasn’t afraid of her, just uneasy with the circumstance. Then I notice 2 other figures enter to take her away. At this point I am doing that, ‘screaming yet nothing comes out’ syndrome. Then I do come out of whatever state my body was in, screaming at the top of my lungs, obviously scaring the crap out of my wife. My side of the bed is soaked in sweat and she realizes I am in terror.

  5. I very much value and appreciate the variety of shares and the responses offered. Your individual thoughts, experiences, ideas and perceptions about these concepts offer varied events and unique viewpoints for us to ponder. Thank you, again. b

  6. was laying in bed greiving and then my Malagasy string instrument (a Valiha) played itself for about 2 minutes, soon after losing my Grandmother and a dear mentor. it could have been either or both of them playing heavenly tunes. I remain astonished

  7. Yes, Rob, I would very much be interested in your experience. ♡

  8. Too add to the above: We are all souls and are immortal. We may change our character on earth and we are ALL ONE and therefore connected.

  9. When my Mother, who was in UK, passed from this world, or transition, I knew a few hours in advance that it happened and later in meditation “saw” her making that last journey into the light. In recent times she did visit me.

  10. yep. scared the crap out of me. I can tell you if you want me to.

  11. Leslie Jenné via Facebook

    Long story short: on a long dark and rainy drive from Biloxi, MS to Wichita Falls, TX I looked toward heaven and said outloud to my recently departed friend “Al, if you’re up there, please let me know you’re ‘ok'” … moments later, the sky opened for a brief moment and a brilliant stark of sunshine broke through the dark clouds (almost blinding me) and from that moment onward, I knew Al was OK.

  12. Mandi Pippin via Facebook

    no, but not for the lack of trying….

  13. Cool, Conchita!! Excellent!!

  14. Cool, Conchita!! Excellent!!

  15. Conchita Terry McIver via Facebook

    I read Mrs. McEneaney’s book. A great book!

  16. Leslie Jenné via Facebook

    Got room for two to crash in sleeping bags on the floor? 🙂 I’ll probably bring my niece Megan since Maria’s likely to have her cousin from Spain here then.

  17. Excellent. This is beautiful and humbling. There is much more than we know. To know that is freeing. Tks for sharing all this. My hope is that all people suffering find “what we don’t know” to give them comfort.

  18. Leslie Jenné via Facebook

    Yes – yes!

  19. Caroll Houser via Facebook

    Only as a matter of wishful thinking.

  20. Judith L. Goldfarb via Facebook

    OMG YES! I hear my mother all the time. My sister also had an amazing experience. My niece found a lump in her armpit. Needless to say, we were terrified. I was crying and praying in my home and she was crying and praying her hers. Then she heard my mother’s voice, as clear as a bell, saying, “Bethy (nobody but my mother ever called my sister Bethy) you know what a hypochondriac Genna is. Don’t worry. She’s fine.” My sister was simultaneously very shaken and very relieved… and Genna was indeed fine!

  21. Wow! John, another great story! Funny how it seems that, if we pay attention, there is someone out there looking out for us. They can’t always protect us from ourselves, but they do try…

  22. My dear EIC (Editor In Chief);
    How strange that the subject of your report is something that has been on my mind for quite some time, “Life after death”…I do not pretend to be an authority on the subject but I have made some effort to learn as much as I can about the “VISITS” rational people report have happened to them. I was pretty much like everyone else, a doubter, until a few months ago. I was alone, watching a very late night news report when out of the corner of my good eye I saw something wisp across the den. I don’t know why but I knew immediately it was my mom who died in this house more than five years ago. I jokingly said, “Hi mama, forget something?” The response was a pile of mail and papers I had stacked next to my computer in the den fell to the floor. There was no plausible reason for that to happen. The papers and old mail had been stacked there for some time waiting for me to open and go through them but I kept putting it off. It was an extremely cold night and I was bundled up in sweats and a blanket. Suddenly I became warm, as if someone had turned the furnace on high. Our dog Tippy, who had been asleep in the hallway and who loved my mom, raised his head and barked at nothing and then lay back down wagging his tail contentedly. I succumbed to the obvious, my always industrious mother was telling me to get off my lazy butt and do my chores…I went to the pile of papers and picked them up intending to go through them in the morning when an envelope dropped out of the pile and landed at my feet. It was from an attorney that I had thought was some sort of gimmick when I received it. I picked it up and opened it. Inside was a check for nearly $600. My payment as part of a class action suit against the county for illegally charging a use tax on utilities…There was nothing else in the pile of papers that was important or needed my immediate attemtion, but that check helped a whole lot in combatting rising food and gasoline prices for the next few weeks. Call me nuts but I know my mama was there gently prodding me to get busy and finish my work…She did everything in a timely fashion all of her life and I’m sure she used my procrastination as an excuse to visit from the “other side”…Nutty? Strange? Wierd? You betcha, but it happened to me…JWSIII