Marilyn Monroe could have been possessing Ana de Armas in this photo.
The image of Marilyn Monroe persists. In Andy Warhol screen prints, Hollywood Boulevard impersonators, and nearly two dozen onscreen depictions, visual representations of our cultural ideas about the bombshell actress still linger 60 years after her death. Could that mean her spirit, too, lives on? That’s what star Ana de Armas and director Andrew Dominik have repeatedly claimed during the press tour for their Netflix film, Blonde. Based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel of the same name, the movie’s fictionalized portrayal enlists de Armas in service of a story about Monroe’s complicated relationship with fame and selfhood. De Armas’s depiction of Monroe and Norma Jeane reignited conversations about who Monroe really was, something the public will never truly know … unless her spirit is trying to tell us something. De Armas “truly” believes Marilyn’s spirit “was very close to us” during filming: “She was with us. I think she was happy.” So we asked Jessica Lanyadoo, psychic medium, astrologer, and creator of Ghost of a Podcast, to weigh in on whether Norma/Marilyn could be lingering in Hollywood and if De Armas needs an exorcism. (She probably does.)
During the Blonde press tour, Ana de Armas kept saying that she visited Monroe’s grave and felt haunted by the actor on set. Are you asked about Marilyn Monroe’s ghost often?
The veracity of de Armas’s experience is not for me to comment. Her experience is hers, and I respect it. As an astrologer, though, I will not look at the charts of famous people unless those famous people contact me and ask me to do readings for them. And I’m the same with dead people. I’m not a peeping Tom with the dead.
When I have been in situations where people are like, “Oh, this famous dead person has come to me” or “Would you talk to this famous dead person for me?,” I’ve almost always turned away from that, because as a psychic, I know what a terrible burden it is of having dozens or millions of people having a relationship to you. The energetic burden of that is so heavy in life and in death.
There have been so many reports of Monroe’s spirit over the years. There’s been multiple sightings of her at her crypt; they say there’s a spirit that sits in the home where she died; and people see her at the Santa Monica Pier and the Roosevelt Hotel. What can these sightings tell us?
I think in a situation like this, we have to assume some of these experiences are very real, and some of them are may be fabricated or wishful thinking. Even as a medium myself, that is what I would assume, because people want to see Marilyn Monroe.
People have this really emotional, and I would say very complicated, relationship to this figure that was Marilyn Monroe. But nobody’s seeing Norma Jeane? Because if I, as a medium, was to connect with this woman, I would connect with Norma Jeane. Marilyn is an assumed identity, and perhaps she had this experience of transitioning [in life] authentically, choosing to transition from Norma Jeane to Marilyn Monroe. But from what I’ve heard, that was not the case.
Would a person die and then show up as the identity that was never truly her own? Probably not. And if she did, it would be quite painful for her as a spirit, in my view. I imagine that when people see her, they’re seeing her as this iconic photograph as opposed to a person. We immortalize her like an Instagram feed instead of as a true and real complex person.
It’s interesting you say that, because during the interviews that de Armas has given, she said she felt Norma Jeane first.
With that one little bit of information, it would suggest that she’s having a real experience. What I do understand is that [Marilyn] had a really rough time and that she was very much manipulated by men and money and power. But I don’t know how she felt about getting the attention and the acclaim that she did.
De Armas said that she felt Monroe inside her, so stuck in her body that she leaked into other roles.
If this actor is having that experience, it is in her best interest to meet with somebody to help her clear whatever attachments are still there. It’s not, from my perspective, physiologically or psychologically healthy to have a dead person piggybacking in you. If this actor is carrying around these energies, or in any way the soul of someone else, that’s not good for her.
What could a possession feel like?
I don’t usually use the word possession because it has such a weird, like, Christian connotation to it, or I think of thrillers or scary movies. But when a spirit gets lodged in one’s energetic body or physical body, a.k.a. when someone’s dealing with possession, it can feel like a number of things. It can show up as feeling kind of sick, like something’s off in your body, like something’s not quite working. Because if a spirit enters into your physical body, not to be crass, but that’s a dead person’s energy in your living body. So it slows things down, and it can create blockages and problems. It’s hard on mental health. It can have a schism effect.
So as this actor is expressing at work, “I am playing the role of a pencil,” and all of a sudden Norma and/or Marilyn Monroe comes through to “my” interpretation of this pencil. Is that good for her? Is that something that feels like [Marilyn] has control over for her? Does she have a sense of agency of her own energy, her own thoughts? That is a problem from where I’m sitting. And so they are great things to evade and avoid. And the way you do that is by having strong, energetic boundaries. For someone like [de Armas], whose literal job was to merge with the spirit of this actress, of Marilyn Monroe? That would be a really hard situation in which to have energetic boundaries.
Monroe has been portrayed on the screen 22 times. Does she feel each person that tries to play her?
I think that depends on a variety of factors, including her consent, because as a spirit, she’s not a starlet, so she’s not being forced by a company or a manager to show up in any particular way. If she’s participating, if she’s engaging with these stories, or with the storytellers or the actors, then that’s her choice to make. A beautiful thing about death, you know, is that our spirit is unfettered. Would I feel with great confidence that all 22 of the present representations of Marilyn Monroe have been channeled and the people who’ve played her, have they all been in contact with her spirit? Maybe. Is that super-likely? Not the most likely thing.
Our critic wrote, “Ana de Armas doesn’t inhabit the role of Marilyn Monroe. Rather, the role of Marilyn Monroe inhabits Ana de Armas — like a tortured, possibly malevolent spirit.” De Armas, on the other hand, said there were times when Marilyn was “happy” while she was filming, and times when she was “angry,” flinging objects off the wall. Do you think these descriptions say anything about how Marilyn feels about the movie itself?
Absolutely it could be how she felt about the movie itself. It could be that she saw fucked-up things happening on set with people that were triggering for her, and she was doing her best to communicate. If Norma Jeane or Marilyn Monroe is expressing herself and able to cause a physical disturbance, it could be about specifically what is being done in the scene, but it could be about something else that’s being done on the set.
Do you think that we could be the ones keeping her spirit here?
I’ve been asked that question about individuals, the bereaved saying, “I lost my mom and I don’t want to let her go. Am I holding her?”And in that situation, the answer is no. You are not holding your mom back, because we as individuals are not that strong. When a soul is ready to move on and to transition, they will move on and transition.
But we’re not talking about an individual. We’re talking about a collective consciousness, of an attachment to this idea of who she was. Still, I don’t know that we could stop her from transitioning if she wanted to. The question is, does she want to move on? And if she does not, is that from a place of something healthy and right within her, or is that from a place of damage? Because from my experience as a medium, when we die, we die with our shit. If you’re petty and you die a petty person, you’ll be a dead petty person. There can be a healing that we receive within death from my experience, but it’s not inherent. And many people stick around and stay attached to this world as a way to work through their shit.
There are as many ways to be a dead person as there are of being an alive person. Nobody can know for a fact what happens when we die, but I will say that if she’s still here, there’s a level of choice involved in that.
Overall, though, what do the dead and the spirits want?
In death we transition into greater wholeness. We are less like our personalities, we’re less like people, and we are both bigger and more interconnected. We make less sense to material beings who are irrevocably tied to time. And when a soul has not made that transition, they are more connected to time. They are also more connected to physical location because they’re more connected to this earthly plane.
Sometimes when people have a traumatic death, they have more of a reason to move on quicker, and other times they have more of a reason to stay connected to here longer. It’s an individual response to a personal trauma. I do think it’s valuable for us as a society to enjoy people’s public works and then leave them the fuck alone in other ways.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Ask a Psychic Medium: Is Marilyn Monroe’s Spirit Still Here?