Content Warning: Death

On October 13th, Ex Fabula filled Sugar Maple with a completely sold-out house to hear stories on the night’s theme “Like Magic.” You may not initially associate the theme “Like Magic” with death and loss, but if you think about it, so many of our supernatural experiences revolve around feeling a connection with those who are no longer with us. Connection was really an underlying theme at this month’s StorySlam as we had stories about unexplainable connections to those we have lost, to those still in our lives, to places we inhabit, and even to strangers we meet by coincidence.

The dimly lit Sugar Maple could not have been a more perfect setting for our spooky season StorySlam. Elaine Maly, donning a fabulous witch’s hat, along with the amazing De’Shawn Ewing took the stage first to welcome the audience as our emcees for the evening, and then the stories began.

Our first four storytellers told touching tales of connecting with loved ones who had recently passed through a seemingly magical experience. Jean Casey told her very first story on an Ex Fabula stage about losing her sister but then having a magical car ride with an angelic Lyft driver who cheered her and helped her feel connected to the memory of her loved one. Monica Thomas got up to tell a story about the magical connection her mother had to tomato plants. Her mother loved planting tomatoes but after her death, Monica was unable to plant them – not for a lack of trying. Little did she know, the garden had its own plan, and magical tomato plants sprung up on their own!

Our third teller, Marissa Jablonski, lost her partner a year ago (to the day of the Slam), and shared about her continued connection to him and the magical experience she had scattering his ashes in Guatemala. She said, “It turns out that the distance between the living and the dead is a really, really thin curtain, and it seems like it’s really far but all we have to do is listen and talk.”

Su Rablin also experienced that thin curtain when a young woman she was friends with passed away. Su was tasked with staying at the woman’s house to take care of her cat, Ender. Ender waited patiently for his owner to come home, until the day of her funeral when he started meowing and pawing at the air in the woman’s bedroom. Su believes Ender was saying his goodbyes.

While Su was telling her story about Ender, we had a magical experience of our own. Steve, Bay View’s cat, showed up at the front door of Sugar Maple meowing to be let in. He must have felt that his presence as the neighborhood cat was needed during this particular story!

Storyteller in blue tie dye with folded hands, speaking into microphone
Lauren Instenes smiling and petting an orange, short haired cat

The stories in the second half of the night were about strange coincidences and unexplainable events. We had three more new Ex Fabula storytellers including John Herod, who told a story about his parents’ supernatural connection to him when some trouble was going down with his friends. Anya Janssen took the stage to share about the ghost who was her third roommate and scared off some rude boys they were hanging out with. And Kelsey Bethe talked about her time dabbling in the Wiccan arts when they successfully cast some protection spells to get rid of a stalker ex!

But our fan favorite of the evening, Sarah Beth Nelson, told a story with an arc of events too perfect to have been a mere coincidence. This story included gods and goddesses, Italian flea markets, breast-shaped stress relief balls, and a game of catch that had been foreseen in the stars. Want to know more? Subscribe to our podcast because we will surely be featuring this fun story sometime soon!

Our next StorySlam is coming up on November 15th and its theme is Legacy & Heirlooms. Want to tell your own story on stage? Attend our workshop right before the Slam to feel even more confident in your storytelling skills. We also hope to see you at our Deaf Stories Project StorySlam on November 9th!