Ghosts

Ok…  I’m about to write probably the most frightening post I’ve ever written and the reason it scares me is because I know some people will likely think I’m just “crazy” after they read it.  And yet, I feel the need to write it…

And I think I should preface the rest of this post by saying that I also defy the currently held beliefs about the earliest memories we’re supposed to have.  My earliest memory is actually from before I was two years old (I believe back to four years old is when they think we are able to recall actual memories?).  Perhaps the fact that I started speaking (in full sentences) very early in life and reading when I was two and half has something to do with my memory?  I had a way to organize reality early?  I don’t know… but I remember things from very early in life.  All that to say, (and not to boast) I occasionally question if there’s something slightly unusual about the way my mind works…

Anyhow, I believe I’m particularly sensitive to the supernatural and have been since I was very young.  My first encounter with it was when I was three years old in an apartment we lived in in Minnesota.  My parents were in the living room and I was alone in the bathroom brushing my teeth. I had the door open and it was possible to see into one of the back rooms down the hall out of the corner of my eye.  There was a faint light coming in from the window but otherwise the back room was dark.  As I stood there, I could detect movement in the back room and I looked over to see what it was.  It was a shadowy, full bodied figure without hands (yes I know that’s creepy but it’s what I saw) that I won’t entirely describe but it froze at first when I looked at it and then it started running incredibly quickly.  It ran across the bedroom and then disappeared into nothing.  I went and told my parents because I was so scared, and they came with me and we turned the lights on but we didn’t find anything.

Actually, night time was terrifying.  I could always “sense things” even though I never could see or hear anything unusual (other than that once when I was three)…  It caused me to be very curious about God early in life and ask a lot of questions.  I learned to pray when I was scared and that always helped a lot…

And then my grandmother died when I was in college.   I went to visit her then empty house with my mother shortly afterwards.  It’s a lovely old house that was built in 1929.  She was raised there and lived there for most of her adult life.   Well, one night, very late, when I was laying in bed in a room upstairs we all call “the north room” I heard music coming from somewhere.  It was the same old music that she used to listen to every night when she was falling asleep and yet…  I don’t think there was a radio on anywhere.

I remember the house feeling incredibly cold the entire time we were there…  It was colder inside than outside.  One night my mother and I both slept with huge, heavy down blankets just to keep warm, and again, it wasn’t that cold outside yet.

When my aunt came to visit we all drove up the road to the small Lutheran Church where my grandmother is buried.  Many of my deceased relatives are buried in that church graveyard…  My great grandfather helped build the church in 1915.

As we were all walking around the graveyard, stopping at the graves and chatting I glanced back at my aunt’s car and saw that there was an older woman sitting in the back seat.  At first, I thought nothing of it because I assumed it must be some other similar car, but as I looked around quickly and realized that my aunt, mother and I were still the only people there it hit me that it didn’t really fit…   And the moment that thought became fully formed in my mind the woman in the back seat suddenly disappeared.  It took me a moment longer to recognize that the woman had resembled my grandmother.

After we were done visiting the family graves we all went back to the car and just as we got there I prayed that if there was in fact something in the back seat that it would get out…  I was sitting in the back and didn’t much like the idea of sitting next to a ghost, even if it was my grandmother…   I didn’t tell anyone what I had seen until later, when my mother and I were going back home on the train.  We were exchanging thoughts on the whole experience and I decided to tell her.  She looked shocked.  Apparently, as she approached the car (after I had already prayed and was sitting in the back seat) she saw an odd shadowy silhouette that resembled my grandmother sitting in the front seat…  where she was about to sit.  So my mother also prayed for “her” to leave.  And, I know my mother wasn’t making that up…

I’ve had a just a few other eerie experiences when I’ve experienced something with my five senses.  Once when I was in an antique store in Stillwater, Minnesota I saw a woman in an absolutely lovely peach and cream dress out of the corner of my eye.  It had the prettiest triangle pattern that I instantly recognized to be from the early twentieth century (I love vintage everything and have since I was very little).  It made me want to look closer but when I tried to shift my gaze to focus on her she was gone.  For a moment I examined the place in the store where I had seen her and tried to figure out where she had walked off to…  but it was totally blocked off by large old furniture from any exit other than the one I was standing by…

When Mark and I were traveling in England we got into a terrible fight while we were staying at a very old bed and breakfast in Penzance.  It was late at night and we kept going on and on.  At one point I thought to pray to God out of desperation (and a desire to believe Mark about a very important part of our relationship) for a sign about whether or not Mark was lying.  So I did.  I prayed that if Mark was telling the truth that he would reach out and touch me in one very specific spot.  We kept fighting and then suddenly I felt a touch.  It was exactly where I had requested…  It startled me into silence and then I stopped and asked if Mark had just touched me.  He said that he hadn’t and looked very confused.

At the time we were so scared witless by what had just happened that we got dressed and slept in the car the rest of the night.  Later, looking back at it, I wonder so many things…   Did that being know whether Mark was telling the truth or not?  If so, how?  And why did it decide to intervene and end our fight by scaring me?  Were we being annoying with our endless bickering?  Hahaha…  Did it mean to help end the fight out of some sort of compassion?

At any rate, my adventures with the supernatural have given me a unique perspective on life.  Aside from finding non-supernatural explanations (which I can never entirely do) I can’t shake the idea that life is still much more than what we understand today.

It’s scary.  If some part of us lives beyond death then what?  And ironically, in the last several years I no longer get as scared when I feel something peculiar in one place or another.  I’ve come to see, as I get older, closer to my own demise and have watched people I love die, that it’s really quite beautiful in a way.  These beings, if they are in fact “ghosts” were once as “real” as I am.  It’s also taught me to believe in genuine evil.  Some things I’ve felt are definitely “worse” than others.

On one occasion, when I was growing up, I was touring a very old, stunning mansion in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota on Summit Avenue.  When we went downstairs into the scullery there was a rather large dark closet.  And in that closet I had the sense that something really ugly had happened (which I will not describe).  It deeply disturbed me.  That was a feeling of real evil…   But there have been other times, like in an old building where Mark and I once lived, when I had the sense that whoever was there was trying to stay out of our way and mind their own business.  Then it was a feeling of sadness and some sort of lonely suffering more than anything…

Anyway, I don’t think I’m “out of my mind.”  I don’t think I was imagining things…  I really do think there might very well be something more…   The only reason I doubt it is because I’m told I must.  It’s infuriating at times though.  I mean, if I see the color blue and so does the next person we agree that something we’re seeing is indeed “blue”- whatever that is and it’s considered a “fact.”  But with this…  it doesn’t work because not everyone can see it.  Yet, I still know I’ve seen something…  How do you live with that?  You know?  A lot of ghost shows on television aren’t authentic of course, but occasionally I’ve watched one and sensed something and then a few moments later a “psychic” on the show will say exactly the same thing I think I just “sensed” and I start to take the whole show a little seriously.

Oh well…  I guess the only genuine “proof” that there is something beyond will come when people die.  But, I often think I might have a hint now…

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