Quest For The Afterlife - part 3
By the time I had spent several months investigating the aspect of spirit photography, I was convinced there just may be something to the belief that life goes on even after physical death. I continued to peruse websites with a bent toward the paranormal. I came across several websites that had whole sections dedicated to EVP. I didn't know what that was so I clicked on one of them to see where it would take me.
The letters EVP stand for Electronic Voice Phenomenon. The term is assigned to recordings of what are believed to be the “voices” of disembodied spirits and/or entities. I spent hours listening to the tinny, echoey sounds coming through the speakers on my computer. Most of the time I didn't hear the words the posters were claiming to have heard, but there were enough examples of clear, concise phrases or words for me to take what I consider the next step toward discovering the afterlife.
During this frame of time, I continued to surf the web looking for others who could perhaps save me a few wasted steps and provide me with some guidance. I came across a site owned by Cathe Curtis. I didn't know anything about her, and very little about the subject matter except by my own personal experiences thus far. I read what content was open to the general public and was intrigued by what I read. I decided to shoot her an email introducing myself and asking to join her little internet group. I received a very warm and welcoming return email which persuaded me that I had made a good decision.
Cathe's website catered to a specific type of ghost hunter, those who were motivated by seeking the spirits of Civil War era personalities but were not motivated to use any complicated apparatus in their searches. This appealed to me for several reasons. I love history, especially anything associated with the Civil War. I'm generally not geared toward dry scientific approaches to my questions. There is certainly a need for using a scientific approach if an attempt is being made to document specific findings for the general public's consumption. However, I wasn't interested in convincing anyone else of my findings or experiences. My foray into the mysteries of the afterlife was for my own personal satisfaction.
Every Wednesday evening, the members of Cathe's group would gather online for a private chat session. Sometimes there were only a handful of members while at other's the room was quite crowded. Initially, I didn't relay any personal information about myself except my name. No one knew where I was from, where I worked, the type of profession, whether married, age, etc. In the beginning, I only watched what took place in the chat room, refraining from participating in any discussions. I needed to get a feel for whether I was in the company of a bunch of kooks or if these people were for real.
Cathe claimed to have a spirit guide by the name of Henry Thomas Harrison who had been a confederate scout at Gettysburg. He was the scout who informed James Longstreet of the approach of the Union Army. According to Cathe, he had “attached” himself to her several years before and often interacted with her. Cathe also claimed to be able to see and communicate with the spirits of the deceased. I was a little concerned about her claims as I had never dealt with anyone making such claims before. I wondered if I had stumbled onto a group of delusional psychopaths. I maintained my silent isolation for a number of weeks unsure of whether I wanted to join in.
Finally after several weeks of observation, I was drawn into the discussion. Cathe asked who in the room was a cook in connection to employment. No one answered. Several moments later she clarified her request wanting to know if the term Chef was a better description. Still no answer. A couple of moments more and Cathe types in that Henry has a message for the “meat lady”. By now I was wondering if she was referring to me. I was the General Manager of a Burger King at the time. I could see how I might be considered the “meat lady”, so I spoke up, asking if that was what he might be referring to. After a few seconds, she typed back that, yes, I was the one Henry had the message for.
According to Cathe, Henry wanted to alert me to a problem with the “fire ropes” at my job. Cathe explained that since Henry came from an era when electricity in buildings was still something of a novelty, he referred to the wiring in this manner. (Henry died in 1923 at the age of 91) I was told to pay close attention to the electrical wiring at my store and to make every effort to quickly repair anything that may cause an electrical fire such as frayed cords, bad plugs, etc. Hmmmmm.........
The next day at work started off in the usual way. We were about midway through our morning and I was in the dining room speaking to a couple of regular customers. One of my employees began to call frantically for me insisting that I hurry up. I raced into the kitchen to see what was the matter. Smoke was pouring out of an electrical outlet on a main power pole. Sparks and flames began to shoot out around the plug in the outlet before I managed to reach it. I yanked on the cord, ripping the plug from its socket. The sparks and flames died down but the smoke was still oozing out. I ran to shut off the power to the pole and then called for emergency repairs.
The electrician explained that the wires attached to the outlet had become loose causing it to spark when the plug was inserted. The sparks evidently were enough to cause the wires to start burning. Had we not noticed when we did, the flames would have raced up the wires and spread through our entire electrical wiring, possibly burning the building down. OK. Cathe and Henry had my attention!
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There were quite a few other minor incidents over the next few weeks. Henry wanted me to relay some information about the brakes on one of my employee's vehicles. I didn't know how to do that without revealing my activities. I thought long and hard, torn between passing the warning on or just keeping it to myself. My sense of responsibility won out. Bad brakes are a serious problem which could possibly lead to a loss of life. I didn't want to risk anyone's safety.
From the description I had been given, I needed to speak with one of my managers. I sat her down and gave a brief overview of my activities playing them down as much as possible. I was surprised that no one seemed to think I was crazy. I am a very logical, level headed individual not given to drama and hysterics. Those who knew me recognized that if I was actually placing some credence in the possibility, then there was also the possibility I was on to something.
As it turned out, the message was actually for a different manager. Jay was still in his training phase of the job. He hadn't known me very long and his initial reaction was that I was being a little silly. He wasn't rude about it, but he sure had a good chuckle. Two days after I had revealed the message, he came racing into the restaurant. His complexion was drained of all color and he was visibly shaking. He raced up to me and blurted out that the message had been for him. I calmed him down and asked what he was talking about. Apparently, he had borrowed his wife's car (which fit the description, while his did not) to run to the store. He attempted to slow the car on approaching a red light at a busy intersection but the brakes failed. They didn't engage at all causing him to frantically swerve this way and that as he tried to avoid a collision with traffic. He managed to steer himself out of harm's way, before flipping the key into the off position. This had happened right up the street from our location. He was so worked up that he couldn't think of what to do, so he had come to me for help.
Strange events started to take place after the brakes incident. They were nothing horrible but they did tend to be annoying. Cups would fly out of their dispensers when no one was around. The soda dispensers would turn on without anyone there to depress the buttons. Signage would flip several times through the air before coming to rest at my feet across the room. I could try to use logical explanations for these occurrences, but usually they were followed by a communication from Cathe which was filled with Henry's description of his activities.
The occurrences became common enough that my employees were commenting on them. One day Janel in her exasperation over having to repeatedly pick up cups from the floor, exclaimed that I needed to tell my ghost to go away. The words had no sooner crossed her lips than a cup jumped out of the holder and smacked her in the back of the head. All who observed the event had a good laugh. It soon became a routine for the crew to come to work in the morning and include Henry in their greetings just in case he was present. Some of it was just us being silly and running with the idea that we sometimes had a visitor. Mostly, we didn't give him a thought until he made his presence known.
No one was frightened of the prospect of having a “ghost” come to visit. There was no sense of evilness, no air of mysterious or secretive intentions. The feeling that came to us when these things happened was more like we were watching the delight of a child as he ran around from object to object, satisfying his curiosity about how they worked. When Henry's curiosity threatened to interfere with us accomplishing our jobs, someone would politely but firmly ask him to stop. The activities would cease every time the request was made.
These events gave me much to ponder. I wondered if I was playing with fire. Depending on who was speaking, there were admonishments about inviting the dark underworld into my midst. I wondered if perhaps I really was opening myself to terrible consequences. I wondered if perhaps Henry wasn't a “real” spirit, but that the power of the mind might be strong enough to conjure up the energy.
I wasn't opposed to the idea of Henry's being pure energy produced by my belief in him. That was just another area for exploring. The human mind is a tool we humans fail to utilize to its fullest potential. I now had another possibility to examine in my quest for the afterlife. Can we manifest our thoughts into our reality to the extent of creating other beings? If so, did that mean our consciousness could go on past the physical death of our bodies, to continue interacting with those left behind? Or are we merely the creation of someone else's mind, mistakenly believing we are separate and individual?
It was time for me to explore the world of EVP....
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