content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: “Ghosts”

Friday, January 25, 2008


My timing is off. I probably should be writing this in October at Halloween time. But I wanted to share some personal stories from spending time at my grandmother’s. We just watched a movie tonight on the Hallmark channel called, “The Good Witch” starring Catherine Bell and it reminded me of the magic and mystery of things unseen. I believe there’s energy in everything and we’re connected to it. Sometimes, we can’t explain it in logical terms but it happens nonetheless. I grew up having a grandmother that had that mystery about her. She intuitively knew things other people didn’t pick up and it was no big deal to her. But my sister and I and 5 cousins grew familiar with the unusual happenings that would occur now and then as we all spent each summer with my grandmother and grandfather in a small town in Virginia. My mother, the eldest of my grandmother’s children, told us of spooky things that happened in that same house when she was a child. So, it’s no wonder the same things would continue for the next generation to take claim of and pass along. I don’t think the house was haunted. It was mostly its geographical setting enhanced by the fact that Grandma was psychic. Their backyard was connected to a funeral home and Grandpa’s tool shed and a small storage building belonging to the funeral home separated the yards. From our side, the small storage building was built with wood and had a window with drawn blinds. There was also some sort of door with an ivory door handle and a key hole. We always tried to peek inside to see if we could see anything. This was mostly where they stored the caskets but I think at one time it also was where they used to prepare the bodies. Given all that drama and children’s imaginations you can believe we scared ourselves to death. On top of that, Grandma had her stories about people she loved who had died and how comfortable she was in being in tune with them from the other side. There were times a noise or something would drop and Grandma would make her declaration, “There’s going to be a death in the family.” You never knew what would trigger it. To her it was second nature – peaceful and surreal – not creepy like it felt to us. It added more fuel to an already over-worked imagination. Sure enough, we would always get that phone call in the wee hours of the morning that a distant aunt or uncle had died. You can read another story I told about my grandmother in a previous post, That Special Someone.

I remember one night everyone was out in the living room watching TV and I went into the kitchen to get something from the refrigerator and I heard the back screen door slam. I called for Grandma,“because I wasn’t going out there alone”. She and I went out to the back door from a porch-type addition to the house with me stuck close by her side. She unlocked the heavy door and checked the screen door and it was hooked. Ugh – here it comes. She made her declaration and we got another phone call that night.

Because we couldn’t sleep at night, we would sit up on the floor under the front bedroom window where the street light was shining and play cards. After Grandma and Grandpa went to sleep we would sneak downstairs in the dark to the kitchen to get something to eat. My grandmother had a large oval picture with a gilded frame hanging on the wall in the living room as you came down the stairs. It was a picture of her 2-year old son, Billy Bob, who had died of pneumonia and the sepia picture was of him lying down as if he was asleep. Actually, in that picture he was dead but as a child he looked peaceful and sweet. You never noticed the picture at other times until you came down the stairs in the dark and then it seemed to illuminate. That was enough to move us swiftly right along to the kitchen. Night after night, throughout the whole summer you would find us sitting up whispering and playing cards until daybreak. One night, as usual, we were down in the kitchen. I guess we were talking a little loud telling each other spooky stories and giving gory descriptions of the food, as we ate it, when all of a sudden the lights went out and we took off running in all different directions. Then we heard Grandma, she had flipped the breaker switch and it worked. She got us all back upstairs and in bed.

I miss her dearly and feel her spirit with me every day. She talked of loved ones and spirits and it was a world that was not foreign to her. Because of her and these experiences it opened up the spiritual world to me early on and influenced a strong faith in a higher power that I carry with me today. Are there ghosts? I believe there are souls who for some reason at their death are unable to cross over and are caught between worlds. I also believe our loved ones and animals that have died come to visit. Some people are open to see them but most are not. We’re living in an age now where more of us are exploring this phenomenon. We’re no longer burning these gifted souls to the stake instead we’re intrigued and asking questions.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever had a strange experience you couldn’t explain? Given the saturation of the teachings of spirituality and energy it would be interesting to hear more discussion on this as people become freer to accept our connection to everything.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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