SAXTONS RIVER — Westminster resident Pia Rabin had her first vision at age 25 or 26.
“The thing I was asking was, there are all these different religions — what’s the real deal?” she recalled. “So I saw a vision of all the different religions, and they were hovering above ground, like a hot air balloon, but they couldn’t go any further up, and they were trying to come together to make a cohesive whole, and they were not able to do that.”
Rabin, now in her 70s, identifies as a seer and a prophet, and will share more stories from her visions when A Night of True Stories returns to Main Street Arts at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Inspired by “The Moth” storytelling program on public radio, the event offers locals an opportunity to get on stage — some for the first time — and share their own true stories. The first such event was held in 2013.
Coordinator Annesa Hartman said the board of Main Street Arts was trying to come up with an event that could reoccur.
“It was really important to have storytellers that were in the community,” Hartman said. “That is one of the appeals of it. People come and they know the people that are telling the stories, and they know the places they are talking about — they connect with the locality of it.”
Friday’s stories will include experiences with 1950s air raid drills, woolly bears, a fear of heights, following the heart and walking through open doors, and mistaken identity, according to an event description. Though in the past, people have expressed interest in sharing made-up tales and folklore, Hartman said she knew from the beginning that she wanted to focus on true stories.
“I kind of wanted to stick with that Moth radio hour format, and have it be something that’s truly part of their own life,” she said. A Chester resident, she previously lived in Saxtons River near Main Street Arts for 15 years.
Rabin said an aspect of “The Moth” she enjoys is that the stories are not recited from memory, but told from the heart, the way friends share experiences. Hartman said she encourages storytellers not to use notes. Stories stay under 10 minutes long.
Another storyteller is Dawn Kersula, of Bellows Falls, who will share her experience working in the birthing center at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, where she taught classes, was a nurse and helped with breastfeeding for over 30 years.
“I am going to talk about my journey through motherhood and into helping other mothers,” Kersula said. “It’s going to cap off with something pretty wonderful, and I would say, miraculous, that happened the day I retired.”
A big fan of “The Moth,” Kersula said this is her first time sharing as part of A Night of True Stories.
“We want to get people excited about it,” she said. “What do you do on a Friday night in January for fun?”
Main Street Arts is at 35 Main St., Saxtons River. Bar service is provided. Advance tickets, which are recommended, are $16. Tickets will be $18 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, visit mainstreetarts.org and click “Events.”