Harrisburg Patriot-News article from November 28, 2005
City woman taps her nightmares to help police solve murdersBy RORY SCHULER
Lebanon Daily News
In the middle of the night, Jan Helen McGee awoke, shaking, images of murder bouncing around her head.
A dozen years ago, she dreamed of two men dining together. An argument erupted, escalated into a fight and ended as one man shot the other.
"I’ve been having nightmares about murder my whole life," she said while seated in her home on North Eighth Street in Lebanon, her legs crossed at the knee, her hands flailing with nervous energy. "I woke up with a gasp. ... I was shaking, and I told my (now) ex-husband about my dream. He told me I should go to the police."
The next morning, McGee said, a voice told her to get the newspaper.
In its pages, she read of the death of a man named Mark Arnold. Police found his body in his South Lebanon scale house, a single bullet hole in his chest.
McGee’s psychic abilities, especially as they relate to this case, will be featured at 9 p.m. tomorrow on The Learning Channel program "Psychic Witness."
McGee recalled the cold February day in 1993 when she decided to confide in an acquaintance she had in the Lebanon County Detective Bureau. She picked up the phone and called Detective Paul Zechman.
"We had talked about a few cases prior to the Arnold case, but this was the first time we really, actually worked on an active case together," Zechman said yesterday. "This was the first time I took her to a crime scene."
Zechman, now the chief of the county detective bureau, traveled with McGee to Arnold’s tiny house, a small structure where loads of grain were once weighed, just off a set of railroad tracks next to an abandoned feed mill at the end of Evergreen Road. His Lincoln Town Car, wallet and close friend were missing.
"She just observed and walked around, none of that animated stuff you see in movies," he explained. "I don’t remember her exact words, but she said she felt or saw our suspect, down, southeast of here, at an ocean, or a beach, maybe Rehoboth or Ocean City, Maryland."
McGee knew eerie details about the case, details not released to the public. She said she knew he collected black rotary telephones, but only one was connected. Police found his living quarters cluttered with old phones.
She knew the two men had shared a meal. When Zechman took her to the murder scene, a pan full of congealed meat sat rotting on the stove.
Zechman knew the prime suspect, Robert Wise, a friend of the victim, had contacts around the two beach towns. Based on McGee’s vision, he called the authorities in both Rehoboth, Del., and Ocean City, Md. Sure enough, within a few weeks, Rehoboth police found Wise sleeping in the back seat of Arnold’s car, parked in a shopping center in the seaside town.
In his possession, police found Arnold’s wallet and the murder weapon. Wise had grown a beard like Arnold’s and resembled the image on his driver’s license.
"You say to yourself, you should never dismiss anything during a murder investigation," Zechman said. "She pointed this investigation in the right direction. We had a suspect in mind, but we didn’t know where he was."
In the run-up to her star turn on "Psychic Witness," McGee was interviewed on the Fox News Channel Monday night. Several local news stations and newspapers have contacted her, asking her to share her story.
Her 14-year-old son, Gavin, said he thinks all the attention swirling around his mother this week has been "pretty neat."
"She’s going to be on TLC, and A&E just called," he said, sprawled across a couch in their living room.
As a typical teenager, living under his mother’s watchful eye, Gavin said McGee’s talent probably resembles most other motherly sixth senses.
"I think she can just tell when I’m lying," he said, his mother just out of earshot in the next room. "But I don’t think there are any psychic abilities needed for that."
McGee entered the room, adjusting her earrings.
"He has it, too," she said, pointing to her son. "He has the same gift. He just doesn’t know it yet."
As a full-time music teacher, McGee only works with police on the side. She accepts no fee.
The study of paranormal activity, however, consumes most of her free time. In the future, she’d like to work for the police, educating law enforcement on the difference between what she calls "good psychics" and "scam psychics."
When she’s not giving piano lessons at Marty’s Music in Annville or teaching voice classes at One Broadway dance studio in Hershey or Do Wray Mi Pianos in Lemoyne, she goes to libraries and checks out books on the paranormal.
Memories of instances of second sight stretch to her days as a toddler, she said. She recalls standing in the crib, able to see her mother in other rooms of the house. As a young child, she faintly remembers standing in the front lawn, watching neighbors through a big tree and the walls of their houses.
As she aged, she said, she merely tapped into her abilities.
McGee won’t talk about any of the other cases on which she’s worked. They’re confidential. Only the Arnold murder case has been cleared by authorities for public discussion.
As for Robert Wise, the man she helped police find, arrest and eventually convict, he’s serving a life sentence for murder.
"I didn’t do anything more than any other detective," she said. "That case, in Lebanon, in 1993, I just had the final piece. That’s all. It was just one missing piece of the puzzle."
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