Mt. Pleasant woman — a purported psychic/medium — is subject of new book
As an 8-year-old child growing up in Mt. Pleasant, Beverly LaGorga would see things like black shadows at her grandparent's house that she did not completely understand, she said.
She said they scared her.
“When I would tell my mother, she would say ‘We don't talk about those kinds of things,' and the same thing with my grandmother,” said LaGorga, 46. “I would ask her, ‘Don't you feel anything that happens within the house?' and she would say the same thing.”
That is why she titled a new book about her life, “We Don't Talk About Those Kinds of Things: The Making of a Psychic,” she said.
LaGorga, a self-proclaimed psychic/medium, co-authored the book with Ed Kelemen of New Florence.
“A psychic can foresee the future but cannot communicate with spirits,” LaGorga said. “A medium can foresee the future and can communicate with the spirits.”
LaGorga said she would eventually come to understand that her grandparent's home on Slope Hill Road was haunted by a Confederate soldier from the Civil War.
“Every time I would go over there, I would sense a being,” she said. “And then, at night, when I went to bed, more and more (details) would come to me about him, like the sword he carried, the color of his uniform and the tassels.
“Eventually I found out he was a general in the cavalry. To me they were nightmares, but they were actually visions.”
Woman works with paranormal teams
Although LaGorga said she has had these gifts all of her life, it was not until the mid-2000s that she began to understand them.
In 2009, she began working with SPIRITswp, a Belle Vernon-based, paranormal investigation organization that scientifically analyzes unusual and mysterious happenings.
“The founder, Barry Brudnak, helped me to get a better understanding of my visions,” LaGorga said. “He helped me with his team to truly validate that I did have abilities.”
During the past several years, LaGorga said she has sharpened her skills, and that she has consulted with two other paranormal investigative teams.
She has investigated 12 different sites for paranormal activity in Westmoreland, Fayette and Washington counties, she said.
Six of those investigations are detailed in the book including a local site — the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale.
Kelemen said he was with LaGorga on one of her trips to investigate paranormal activity at the theater. Kelemen, who has been friends with LaGorga for several years, volunteered at the theater in several capacities, including as an actor, and had experienced unusual activity there, he said.
While at the theater built in the early 1900s, LaGorga said she discovered evidence of an older couple, a unidentified male entity, a woman who may have been a performer, a little girl which they captured giggling on an audio recording and the apparition of John C. Bixler, who owned, managed and lived at the theater in the 1950s.
“Her investigation of the theater was very professional and thorough, and her findings were in line with what other ghost hunters have found who have asked to investigate the theater,” said Brad Geyer, the center's president.
Co-author offers assistance
LaGorga said she was encouraged by many to complete a book about her experiences, she said.
“My main goal for doing this is to help people so they are not afraid like I was growing up, or so they don't think that they are crazy,” she said. “The paranormal is out there, and it is getting more well known. A lot more people are coming forward and sharing their paranormal experiences.”
LaGorga originally began writing the book on her own, she said, but she eventually decided to ask Kelemen, an experienced author, for assistance.
Kelemen is a writer, columnist and playwright.
His articles and short stories have appeared in numerous local, regional and national publications, and he has written several other books including “Pennsylvania's Haunted Route 30” and “The Little Drummer Girl of Gettysburg.”
Kelemen said he thought the idea of LaGorga writing a book about her life was great, and that he was happy to help her.
“I wanted to do it to help other people in the same situation, and for her to (have a chance to) get it off her chest and let people know what she has been going through all of her life,” Kelemen said.
Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.