CEDAR RAPIDS — Katie Hopkins was just 10 years old when she saw her first spirit.
The longtime Cedar Rapids area resident was in the home of her neighbor, who had recently died. Hopkins said she and some others were in the basement of the home when she looked and “saw this guy rocking in a rocking chair.”
“It was a quick, brief moment,” Hopkins said. “That was the first thing I can really remember being my first paranormal experience.”
That encounter would be her first, but far from her last. Now Hopkins, a 30-year-old admissions adviser at Kaplan University, has chronicled her experiences with the paranormal in her recently published book, “‘Seeing’ Spirits: Opening the Empathic Door.”
Hopkins said there are lots of books on the paranormal out there and she’s read a few herself. But, she felt compelled to write her own.
“Everybody’s book is so different because it’s based on their experiences,” she said. “I’m not a medium. I’m not a psychic. That makes me unique, I believe, in my own way ... I have my own way of doing it.”
Hopkins describes herself as empathic and describes in her book the unique way she sees spirits, which she describes as more of a vision.
While she didn’t have any paranormal experience in her teenage years, Hopkins said she got back into the paranormal after an experience in Waterloo. When she was 23, Hopkins said she toured the Rensselaer Russell House with a friend. While in the master bedroom looking at a photograph of Russell’s daughter who died at an early age, Hopkins she felt a small hand grab the back of her leg. Hopkins said she believes that hand belonged to the spirit of Russell’s daughter.
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After that, Hopkins started getting more experiences and going to more events at haunted locations throughout Iowa and the Midwest, including the Edinburgh Manor in Monticello and the Buchanan County Home in Independence. She now has her own team, Unknown Darkness, with her husband. The two met through paranormal investigating, Hopkins said.
Hopkins acknowledges there are skeptics out there who will question her experiences and abilities, and she said that’s fine. She said skeptics come to her paranormal team’s investigations and she never sets out to sway anyone’s opinions.
“We’ve had skeptics leaving still skeptics and we’ve had skeptics leaving full believers,” she said.
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