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TRUE STORY - GHOST SHIP

Updated on December 11, 2012

Dedicated to George Hay

CX.

Source



By way of brief introduction, this is my account of a story oft-related by my late beloved;- a phenomenon he experienced while on assignment toward the end of WWII, to deliver supplies to a remote destination in China, by way of the Yangtze River, carefully steering his LST 1013, of which he'd only recently been given command, through its sometimes treacherous waters.



The story has tumbled around in my mind for years. Today it haunted me till it tumbled out as I began writing a poem so unlike my usual . . .

This is the result. Judge both the tale and the telling for yourself. . .

1.

Darkened Phantom Ship

Creeps stealthily along

Tangled, misty banks

Of the Yangtze,

A lonely stretch

Somewhere south of

Nowhere,

Off-course of destination;

Until its hulk,

As quickly as it came,

Is swallowed by shrouding fog

To sink into thick, unnamed oblivion

Beyond the known

Recall - again.

2.

While ‘cross the water

In captain's conn

Of another ship, a well-lit LST,

A residue of of awed dark dread

Has draped, descended

O’er deserted decks,

To now invade, pervade,

Engulf a huddled crew

In murky afterimage,

Whose tentacles cling to

The valiant heart

Of Captain Hay,

Shimmering mystery to haunt a lifetime

Evermore.


______© Nellieanna H. Hay

5-2-12



An LST on China Sea

Ensign George Hay
Ensign George Hay

I'd love to hear some opinions about this episode. Would you share yours below?

Do you think it was an actual apparition which he encountered?

See results

Do you think it was simply a trick of the imagination?

See results

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    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

      Hauntingly beautiful. An amazing read...

    • Nellieanna profile image
      Author

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      AUGUSTINE - thank you so much, sir! It's a bit of a departure for me, but one I just had to take! I'm pleased you find the result worthwhile!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      It probably was a ghost ship. There has been a lot of history in that part of the world. Maybe something from The Opium Wars.

      Great poem Nellieanna. Very atmospheric.

    • empire mike profile image

      empire mike 5 years ago from empire, colorado

      love it! gave me thrills and chills! and it is written brilliantly! i am thoroughly enjoying your departures. it's kinda like me writing poetry, huh. keep it up...way up

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

      Perhaps it was a ghost ship carrying human souls bound for the ghost town of Fengdu on the northern banks of the Yangtze river. There the "Hell emperor" will decide at which level of hell(just like Dante's inferno)evil doers on earth will be meted punishment..most probably bankers and politicians. :)

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      A beautiful and eerie story, the twilight zone is a reality where things seem real, but are they. The mystery is always there. Up, awesome, beautiful.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Great intuitive, fabric of knowing and being aware. Perhaps the physics posit of the future, present and past exist side-by-side... at the same time and our "senses" sometimes become aware of the thin veil of our realities.

      I suspect our ignorance limits the possibilities...

      More!

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Well, well, well, Nellieanna!

      From butterfly to tentacles, from garden to the sea,

      from merry may and budding flower, to ships we can not see,

      From bumble bee's and fresh spring air, to monsters in the mist

      everytime I figure you, you depart my completed list.

      Oh well! A wonderful work! I know George would be delighted, but, I want my damn butterflies back!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This is a haunting, eerie tale. Strange things happen without a logical explanation from our limited imaginations. Truly amazing story and lovely music.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Wow.... it sounded like a movie...

      What an attractive man!

      Nellieanna, I am sure honoring George's WWII U.S.Navy experience made you feel proud and happy.

      ".... There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio..."

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I can only stand in awe at this departure. Yet you first illustration, the wonderful black and white, is stunning.

      You are the most amazing woman, Nellieanna, and I can walk proud in knowing that you are not only a very talented and creative soul, but one of my very best friends.

      By the way, Johann Sebastian Bach (if it were the man. Maybe it was C.P.E. Bach... or even a bottle or two of Bach's Rescue Remedies) might well have come from this side of the pond, but his music didn't want to retrace those steps... My computer closed down dramatically before a note was heard.

    • empire mike profile image

      empire mike 5 years ago from empire, colorado

      martie, that's where all this beauty came from! lol

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Christopher - ah, what a romantic idea . . . thank you for supplying that scenario for our ship. That sort of gives it a bit of mooring.

      Did you know that I named my ranch The Flying Dutchman? - partly because it was Mother's occasional nickname for Daddy - his for her was Hummingbird. But my reason for the name is equally for the Wagnerian tale of a ghostly sea captain, cursed for some serious sin like praying to the devil, to sail the seas forever in his ghostly ship unless and until, on one of his shore leaves (every seven years), he can finds a bride who will love and be true to him forever.

      It's Wagner so the plot thickens heavily; - but the good news is that a girl named Senta does love and want to save him from the curse and proves it by hurling herself from a cliff into the sea as he and his spooky ship depart when his shore leave expires; but her spotless love is his salvation. So the curse is lifted, the ghost ship disappears to wherever ghost ships are docked (I suppose), and the happy couple ascend to heaven. Like I said, - it's Wagner. . . .There's nothing airy about the music or the story! It's just good drama!

      I named the ranch's highest canyon precipice, "Senta's Leap", a spot also infested with especially ill-tempered cacti, whose thorns, - I swear -, literally jump out at any passing living thing!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Wow, Michael - I am thrilled to have provided you some chilling thrills - or thrilling chills - either sounds fun! Thank you. I really enjoyed writing and assembling this, as well as the departure it represents, even though I have written and posted some things with tinges of the paranormal, though it plays a minor part in my writing, overall.

      I've done considerable reading in the area and I ruminate on it. It gathers its own momentum when one starts writing about it. I sort of suspect that my everyday life is so full of many small miracles and incredible little 'happenings' that it's easy to take for granted as though it's just plain old normal, not "para. . ." and natural, not "super. . . ."! :-)

      Not that mine is a charmed life by any means but I've grown to like it. That seems to magnetize more to like! ;-)

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      SilentReed - ah, - yeah. . . perhaps it was a ship that strayed from the Opium Wars. No doubt that country has more modern bankers and politicians deserving to be sent to meet their punishment at Fengdu! (shudder!)

      YOU should write a hub about that scenario! Thank you for visiting mine and leaving such an intriguing comment!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      xstatic, I suspect that what is "really" real does abide somewhere in what seems like a twilight zone, if for no other reason than what we consider clear is not because it is much more objective a zone than our limited subjective perception equipment can grasp, from its limited perspective.

      Thank you for the thought-provoking comments - as well as the nice votes!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Aha! - Dallas - you stated so well what I was just trying to in my last reply there! It is a thin veil except that the blockage that exists is not in the reality but in our ability to perceive it, - which is close to what your next sentence states! haha - sometimes It's amazing how in sync our thoughts are. Maybe it comes from due diligence over our longterm exploration of them in HP, think? You're amazing.

      In fact, there's something essentially similar to what is being discussed in the very fact of having the discussions! That's a bit convoluted. Maybe you can untangle it. LOL

      Thank you for the many valuables ones of the past, present and future! They do exist side by side!

      And thank you for this visit! - Nellieanna

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Alan, my treasured Alan! :-). Well, tsk tsk. Of course my facets must flicker between contrasts. What else? Without the one, the other would be invisible too.

      It's their nature, - their job; plus it prevents completion-list relegation. ( seriously?. . .Naw. . . .It was just there for the rhyme. . .and melodic the rhyme too, m'dear. )

      Butterflies are sensitive creatures; but can easily be mollified by words like "wonderful work!" Thank you! I just love the poem you composed as your comment. Clever and fun!

      Oh yes, George would be delighted. . Too bad he couldn't have contributed first-hand facts about it which I just don't have. Then he's have been here to enjoy the responses, too.

      I'm so glad you came. It made my day.

      "Morning without you is a dwindled dawn." ___Emily Dickinson

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Hello, Pamela. Yes, our resources are so limited when it comes to comprehending even a fraction of the vast mysteries which exist and swirl around us as we move through the spheres. We get merest glimmers that we're sharing it with them but on different levels and energies. I certainly hope we'll know more eventually.

      But the intrigue of it provides much stimulation and keeps it all from exhausting interest for us & becoming stale. May be a lesson in there for everyday living, too.

      I'm so pleased you liked this story - and isn't that music wonderful? Thank you!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Martie, sweet cyber daughter I was thinking about you today (well yesterday - but who measures day's timings among ourselves here in cyberland? haha. We might as well ignore it! You're two hemispheres away IRL (vertical and horizontal hehe)

      But I hadn't seen you here for a bit, and wondered what wonderful fun you're up to!

      Yes George was an attractive man, for sure. -And the miilitary cap hides his gorgeous head of hair which he never lost! He was all the more attractive 'in the flesh' and that lasted throughout his years, too. I didn't know him when he was in the Navy. I was 9 when the war started. It was many years later - (and 'lifetimes' lived) between then and our meeting. But then, we were together until he took his last breath nearly 30 years after that.

      Oh, yes, when I made the webpages honoring his WWII involvement, it was a big project; - and he was here to contribute and flesh-out the first-hand facts; then to share in the project's progress and to gloat over it together :-) I made many other webpages about his life, and there are many more I hope to make. He had a varied long life, with all the 'topography' of a fully lived one.

      Thank you for coming and sharing the first public telling of this unique highlight of it.

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Ian, my dear! haha - well - surprise, surprise. You know I've been itching t make a black and white illustrative title piece, and what could have fit it better?

      Aw shucks. Thank you! I'm most honored to be counted among your very best friends and can say the same about the awe in which I hold you, your talent and the joy of sharing being mutual friends. The pond is but a puddle to the heart!

      I'm sorry you couldn't hear the Bach. The title isn't provided and I'm not familiar with it. It's lovely and the single still picture which appears as the music stats of a lonely ship on a tumultuous sea at sunset in subdued colors is a pleasant respite to the tale I've told. I believe the music is 17th century baroque.

      I'll send you the URL - well - let me post it right here.http://youtu.be/3kvWClaJKd8

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Martie - Mike tells the truth! - - also the intelligence, creativity, lovability - - like father, like son! I'm proud to be his "chosen mother" - plus it allows me to brag about him to my heart's content! (even though it may embarrass HIM - it's a tough choice and trade-off.)

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I'm going to try the link and I hope I get to hear the Bach. I have never been very fond of him, and maybe because one of the first bits I played on the piano was from 'Anna Magdalena's Song Book'.

      There is, however' something of his which I absolutely adore, and Muslim or not, the whole piece, sung by Leontyne Price, reduces me to tears. It is so stunning: Von Himmel Hoch, da Komm Ich Her.

      I’m going to send it to you.

      Lots of love.

      Ian

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      ... "Thank you for the many valuables ones of the past, present and future! They do exist side by side!"

      George is proud!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Ian - I was never a Bach fan in the least till I accidentally fell in love with "Air on a G-String" without suspecting it was Bach's. It was on an LP record with Mozart's "Concerto in C. Major, No. 21, Second Movement", which I adore. I played that record almost constantly during the stressful lonely summer of 1972, and since then I've love the Bach Air and have been more open minded toward him. I must confess I'm not fond of his baroque, per se.

      But when I was searching for music to add to this hub to coordinate with its theme, and became discouraged with most of the 'eerie' music I found, then took a chance at a long-shot to even consider this piece, I found it provides a wonderful combination of ingredients which seem fitting. I said to me, Yes! That's it. My musical choices for hubs tend to happen like that, or else I know what they'll be almost even before I begin assembling the hubs.

      I received the Von Himmel Hoch, da Komm Ich Her you sent but must wait till I go upstairs to open it, since it's in .wms format, and requires Windows to open. No problem - I'll be going up shortly. I can imagine it's lovely with Leontyne Price singing it.

      I also replied to your note, but unless I plan to send it out to be bound into a book, I need to do a lot of shortening or totally starting over before sending you a reply. You don't need a play-by-play account of my usual day's routine, nor one of the day it all went in the hopper (that would be yesterday). haha.) I jotted down the main details in my very limited-space daily journal and that convinced me that surely no more than those minimal words need be sent to you, if any! You've no idea how many long-winded treatises you are spared, really! If someone organized all the 'remains' filed away in the bowels of my computers, they'd have such a record of my passing thoughts and ideas! haha

      Actually that one, as a tragicomic article, might be ok, but only after editing and abbreviating. It nearly wore me out writing it and would surely wear you out and bore you to tears to read it, especially being a guy as you are. hehe. No matter how cleverly written, there are areas of mundania which automatically trip the yawn-and-eyes-glaze-over switch, especially for guys, methinks. I could relate it to Val, if I just had to share it with anyone (which I really don't) and she would be waiting on the edge of her chair throughout my account to tell me al about her mundania.

      Lovely thing about the opportunity to write - one can get all kinds of stuff 'out of the system' and if careful about dumping it on anyone else - it's a marvelous aid in many ways which mere journalling doesn't always provide, where one is more concise and reserved, perhaps, relying

    • empire mike profile image

      empire mike 5 years ago from empire, colorado

      martie- my real mom was also drop-dead gorgeous when she was young. so how did i end up looking like this?

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Dalas - yes, I know! He always was - or convincingly conveyed that impression to me! Thank you, dear friend.

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Martie - me, again. He's spot-on-right that Dorothy Hay was a knock out, unquestionably a gorgeous looking woman, though I never met her. I see her photos.

      He's just off-spot about his own looks; must be trying to deter stalkers! - He is plenty good looking too! He's tall, slim & toned (though he can eat vast quantities of any kinds of food without gaining extra pounds, just like his Dad), has great hair (& plenty of it, like his Dad) good facial structure and features (like both his parents)! -

      Why, I could have parented him myself! grin.

    • empire mike profile image

      empire mike 5 years ago from empire, colorado

      what mom wouldn't like a face like this?

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Mother Hoover? ;-D

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Nellieanna, oh, how I wish I had more time to dwell in your lovely corner. You know I regard yours as a paradise in Cyberspace. Yes I am up to wonderful fun - and you will pick up on it in my latest hub. Absolutely thrilling!

      empire mike, if only I could fly over the Atlantic Ocean, and split myself in half a dozen nymphs, you would have been one of my favorite adventures :))) If you are like your father, you deserve tons of love.

      He must have been an extra-ordinary beautiful soul/spirit/body to be held in such high esteem by a sensitive and sensual, sophisticated, spiritually strong, most intelligent and wise woman like Nellieanna.

      I'll see you around :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Nellieanna. George was good looking with a kind of strong no-nonsense look about him. So I would definitely take his word about the ghost ship. Trust me. I mean, him.

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Martie! Pleased that you dropped in on my li'l corner! And glad yours is filling its function and providing wonderful, thrilling fun. I'd not hope to hold a candle to that over here! :-) Wow - those are lovely complimentary words you sent my way. Thank you, sweetie. - Yes - will see each other around!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Martie! Pleased that you dropped in on my li'l corner! And glad yours is filling its function and providing wonderful, thrilling fun. I'd not hope to hold a candle to that over here! :-) Wow - those are lovely complimentary words you sent my way. Thank you, sweetie. - Yes - we'll see each other around!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      DRBJ - that's perceptive of you! He certainly did have strength and honor. Thanks for coming by and adding your observations! Hugs.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I meant to say earlier, that there is a quite long section in Frederic Prokosch's first novel; 'The Asiatics' that your Hub brought to mind.

      As in 'A Ballad of Love', I can highly recommend his writing.

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      I see, Ian. In what respect did my hub trigger your recall of that particular long section in the novel?

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      Vincent Moore 5 years ago

      My dear friend a fork you have taken on your glorious road of living a full life and scribing from your heart and soul. From melodic poetry and prose to gifting us with this true story witnessed by your beloved.

      Indeed a handsome dude your George was and still is on the other side awaiting your presence. No doubt in this writers mind about the thin vale that separates dimensions. What he saw was just that, he had a peek, a glimpse of the other side.

      It's given to many of us from time to time. I had mine on a Kentucky back road, when I saw my Lady in White who I wrote about in Graveyard of Lost Souls. We are finger tips away from touching the other side. Beautifully portrayed in your poetry, George is smiling. He knows the truth now, as we all will when our time is nigh. Hugs to you sweet princess.

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Ken - I'm pleased you came by to read this one. I well remember your experience on that lonely Kentucky back road which you immortalized in your haunting Lady in White of the Graveyard of Lost Souls! I need to go back and read it again!

      I'm glad to see that the 'polls' show people either are hospitable to the idea of real apparitions appearing to us on this 'side' or - at most, while they may have reservations, not so as to flat-out say it couldn't happen. Seems that in these days of discovery and the broadening of our interaction with the universe - (way out beyond the immediate restrictions of our world and solar system) - it's difficult to say something is 'impossible' just because it's unfamiliar and (I suspect) because our sensors aren't tuned to all that IS, we are wise enough to admit we don't know everything and maybe even the things we "know" are known by the less keen sensors. We are also not so swayed by superstitious explanations, though it all may weave together. Doesn't mean truth has changed, but we may be learning more about its facets now - & with greater resources for 'knowing' and perceiving more about them.

      You describe your insight as being given it. Possibly it's a better meeting of those things and your abilities to perceive and recognize. As you say - we are fingertips from interaction with those bigger areas of the amazing reality that is 'all this'. It really is in harmony. I had a clear glimpse of that and wrote this afterward:

      To be alive,

      Surrendering to life

      Wins,

      For life

      Is no opponent

      Unto Life.

      ______© Nellieanna H. Hay

      5-18-72

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      Wonderfully exciting tale, Nellieanna! You know I love ALL things ghostly and this was no exception to that rule. :) I voted up and interesting.

    • Nellieanna profile image
      Author

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Kitty - I'm thrilled that you came by! When the ghostly tale comes from someone whose veracity one trusts, it is impressive. I've had this ship sailing around in my imagination ever since he first related it to me. He obviously was much affected by the experience and had wondered about it ever after! Thank you for the votes! hugs

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Nellieanna, this ghost story was good for a delicious chill up the back. And your George is one dashing leading man -- what is it about a man in a uniform? Fun hub!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      mollymeadows - thank you. And you've got that right! He is/was one dashing man who was MY leading man for nearly 30 years: and all the more so in those dress whites or blues! slurp!!

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      dreamseeker2 4 years ago

      I just have to say, I love your poems once again. So dedicated to mystery and shrouded with a realistic view of magic and intrigue. : ) You know how to draw your reader in. I have no doubt there was something out there at sea...I'd like to believe it was a mystery ghost ship. Thanks for sharing it with us, along with the peaceful yet hope-felt music to set the mood. Your man was definitely nice to look at. Great photos too. Had to vote this up and awesome!!

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Gwen, It's a bit different than my usual subjects, but so interesting to do! I just wish I'd recorded George relating the experience. That was really spooky! I'd like to believe it was a mystery ghost ship, for sure, too. But part of the shivery sense of it is really not knowing what it was or if it was really ghosty. Leaves me with an unsettled sense about it.

      Thank you so much for visiting and leaving your lovely comments!

    • profile image

      dreamseeker2 4 years ago

      You are very welcome, Nellieanna. :D

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks!

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      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      A very well written poem about an amazing and mysterious incident. Who knows what he saw, one can really only speculate. I can't really say I have had a paranormal experience, but I maintain an open mind to all possibilities. Thanks for sharing :-))

    • Nellieanna profile image
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      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Hello, Valleypoet - thank you for visiting my hub. George wasn't given to paranormal experiences, but when he related this story, it was infused with his own sense of the possibility of it. He admitted it could have been an illusion caused by the mist and fog, but it seemed incredibly real, though it quickly disappeared. I suppose that isn't unusual for a ghosty occurrence, though. It certainly gave me goose-bumps.

      Glad you liked it! And thank you for the follow and fan mail!

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