Local author's book on Sept. 11 to be featured on cable television special
Updated 12:33 pm, Saturday, September 10, 2011
Alison Crowther was anxious and upset the entire week leading up to Sept. 11, 2001.
The Nyack, N.Y., resident couldn't put a finger on what was bothering her. She just had a terrible premonition -- an overwhelming feeling of doom.
"Then the night before I was out of control," Crowther said late last month, nearly 10 years after the terrorist attacks. "I felt something was so wrong. I felt so helpless. I was swearing and screaming. I didn't sleep all night."
On the morning of Sept. 11 Crowther was driving across the Tappan Zee Bridge on her way to the gym when she had an out-of-body experience. She said she suddenly felt, with great certainty, that she was going to die that day. This knowledge somehow settled her nerves.
"It was just the most bizarre thing," Crowther said. "How can you be so calm about this message that you're going to die?"
A few hours later, she was in a work meeting when she received a call from her husband's secretary. A plane had flown into the World Trade Center, where her son Welles worked as an equities trader at Sandler O'Neill and Partners. Welles had called to say he was OK, the secretary reported.
More InformationOn the air "Beyond: Messages from 9/11" will air on the Bio channel, is part of A&E Television Network, at 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 and at a to-be-determined time on Sunday, Sept. 11.
But Crowther later learned her 24-year-old son, a trained volunteer firefighter, had tied his signature red bandana around his mouth to guard against the smoke and debris as he helped people safely escape the South tower. Officials found his body in March 2002, alongside several firefighters and emergency workers.
Crowther said she now knows the anxiety she felt was a forewarning.
"I've come to realize that this message I got was a heads-up," she said. "It was a very powerful premonition and it opened the doors for me to understand everything else that's come since. That, to me, was huge. I've had messages since then and I've been able to accept them all and find them very comforting."
Crowther's story is one of dozens featured in New Canaan resident Bonnie McEneaney's book, "Messages: Signs, Visits and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11."
The book, which was published last year, has been adapted into a television movie that will air on Bio, formerly A&E Television Network's Biography Channel, on Sept. 10 and 11.
"Beyond: Messages from 9/11," is an hourlong segment filmed mainly in New York and New Canaan. It will feature the stories of five Sept. 11 family members, including Crowther and McEneaney, who believe they have received messages from friends or family killed in the terrorist attacks.
McEneaney's husband, Eamon, was a senior vice president at the bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald and was in his office on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower on the morning of Sept. 11. McEneaney said her husband predicted his impending death shortly before the attacks. She believes he has sent her messages since Sept. 11 -- small signs of love and reassurance that have sustained her through the grieving process.
McEneaney said since her book hit the shelves a year ago she has been contacted by people from all over the world.
"It's been very rewarding," she said. "It's reconfirmed to them all the possibilities that are out there and it's all positive. When people start sharing their experiences with other people and realize they're not alone, it is really a very valuable encounter for them."
McEneaney said she hopes the television show will have a similar effect.
"This is a group of stories intended to inspire, and people can take from them what they will," McEneaney said. "We're trying with this show to deliver a message of hope."
Crowther said she hopes "Beyond" will help other people who have lost someone experience the same comfort she gained through her spiritual connection with her son.
"I just feel Welles is still around us and surrounds us with love and his presence," she said. "He sends me messages to that effect whenever I ask for them. I hope (viewers) come away with a renewed sense of faith and trust in higher powers."
McEneaney co-produced the television segment with Paul de Souza, who is based in Los Angeles. Both producers said they want the show to convey hope and optimism during the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
"Life goes on and love goes on," de Souza said. "I think that's the message. It's infinite."