Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ghosts in the machine

i just read a very thought-provoking post on spirits. and of course, it got me thinking...the feeling that there are spirits around me is one i've had occasionally over the years. and i've often wondered if it could be possible that some residual force of a life couldn't remain in the air around us. i mean, why not?

years ago, i lived in california and some friends i had there insisted that there was a benign ghost living in their house. of course, this seemed like a very southern california thing to think in the late 80s and perhaps it was. but i came to believe it when their little grandson, who was only 3, perfectly described old mr. benson's blue cardigan.  the boy wasn't afraid of what he saw and maybe he saw it because he was just more open and could see something that the adults around had closed their more rational eyes to.

* * *

some cultures are more afraid of the spirit world than others. i heard a story from a ship's captain about a ukrainian pilot who came onboard near odessa, said good morning, asked for a cup of coffee and then proceeded to drop dead right there on the bridge. it was his heart and there was nothing that could be done. in the weeks afterwards, the filipino second officer who had the 12-4 a.m. watch, kept calling the captain and asking small questions that he should have been able to take care of himself. the captain finally sat him down and got out of him that he was afraid the ghost of the pilot was there on the bridge and he was uncomfortable there alone in the wee hours of the night. the captain resolved the issue by saying, "i'm sure he's not here, because i haven't seen him and if he'd been here, he would have had to come and see me first." but, he also took the young filipino officer seriously and in the next port invited a priest onboard to cleanse and bless the bridge and put the young man's mind (and perhaps the ukrainian pilot's spirit) at rest.

* * *

there is a small castle in denmark, dragsholm slot, which claims to have several ghosts. a grey lady is one who is frequently seen by guests in a certain room. i've been there several times and have done my best to see the ghost, but have never managed to see anything (tho' we once thought we had photographic evidence, which later turned out to be dust particles on the lens). i did, however, late at night in the jagtstue (hunting room), a very masculine room, where we were holding a workshop, get a rather creepy feeling--the hairs raised on the back of my neck and i went all goosebumps and i felt a distinct chill in the air. it was an uncomfortable spirit encounter, and i left the room as quickly as i could, seeking out the company of others. but i imagine one can have happy ones as well.

* * *

not long after my grandmother died after a long and disheartening bout with alzheimer's, i had a very vivid dream about her. we sat together, having tea and cookies. the light was very warm and she was assuring me that everything was all right. i awoke feeling a strong feeling of warmth in my core. i feel certain that the dream was a happy encounter with her spirit.

* * *

we had a cat called fitch. he was a black persian and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks, but a mild mannered, sweet cat. he couldn't take care of his fur properly and we were too busy to chase him down and comb him regularly (he ran at the mere sight of the comb). he never took to his litterbox properly and, in general, wasn't a nice cat to have around the house. he eventually died. there have been several times since, when i swear i both saw and heard him down at our back door. even sabin has heard the scratching sounds and swears she caught sight of him. 

i'm not sure we can ever truly know, but it's an interesting thing to ponder...


Barb said...

What a truly fascinating post.

In my last home I occasionally would catch glimpses of bodies disappearing around corners, something in a mirror as I walked by, etc...) One particular face that is impressed on my memory is a man with a stovepipe hat and a very long beard, this face I remember much more than once.

Your story about your grandma is very similar to an experience I when my grandfather (to whom I was close) died suddenly. I struggled with his death until about 6 months later when I had a vivid dream of him. We sat chatting and he assured me he was happy and okay. We expressed our love for each other which allowed me to come to terms with his sudden death.

In deep sleep when we are not consumed with the daily grind, I feel we are more open to communion with the spirit world.

I certainly felt that I had actually spoken with my grandfather. Like your experience, this was very real and I remember waking with a feeling of calm afterward.

polona said...

wow, great post.
some experiences just can't be explained any other way...
i'm sure my favourite uncle came to say goodbye to me when he passed on...

Jaime said...

There is nothing I love more than a good ghost story.
I have always wanted to have an experience with the spirit world, but only if I am around other people. If I was alone, I think I would freak right out!
It's all so very fascinating.

d smith kaich jones said...

OH! My parents lived a haunted house & I saw things - truly, I did! - and THEY saw things & neighbors & boyfriends saw things. It was VERY strange, but made believers of a bunch of us non-believers. I don't mention this to too many people because they just think I'm nuts, but I know YOU won't! :)


julochka said...

barb & polona--it's so cool that both of you had similar experiences to the one i had with my grandmother! that only strengthens it for me! i'm sure it was her saying goodbye to me!!

jaime--i love ghost stories too, but agree that if i was home alone it would be a bit freaky. i do love to consider the possibility tho'.

debi--definitely do not think you're nuts for believing in ghosts. i wish i had actually SEEN one myself. i'm actually always on the lookout when i'm somewhere where they claim to have one, but other than the cold air at dragsholm, haven't really experienced it myself. i'm still hoping to. maybe on an island in the south pacific...