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"...And Things That Go Bump In The Night" - A Ghostly Visitation? Are Ghosts Real?
"From ghosties and ghoulies, and long-legged beasties,
And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!"
Though not exactly a near-death experience, this is, nonetheless, an experience of being near death, that is, near one who had passed but not yet gone on.
Garnet was one of the most fun-loving and likable young men you could ever hope to meet. The younger brother of my sister's boy friend, Garnie, as he was affectionately known, soon became a fixture at our family gatherings.
Garnet had the utmost respect for our parents. Two of us sisters were already married and had children, and considered ourselves quite proper young matrons. At times, we were inclined to take a lofty stance with our younger sister, but Garnie would have none of that. He treated us all alike, like brothers and sisters to be teased and tormented without regard to birth-rank or occupation.
I have many happy memories of picnics that turned into hilarious outings, many pleasurable hours spent over coffee at the local greasy spoon, and family gatherings that wouldn't have seemed complete without Garnie's warm, fun-loving presence.
Garnet found a job in Vancouver, working alongside with his uncle for a tow-boat company. They worked on the log booms in the harbour, and we heard many the hair-raising tale of slipped booms, treacherous dead-heads, huge river rats, and narrow escapes from the icy, silt-laden waters. We worried for our young Lochinvar, blessed, as he was, with a sense of adventure and derring-do, for boom work is dangerous, and the Fraser River, unforgiving, but he eventually settled in and took his work most seriously.
One day, though, the unthinkable happened, and we learned that Garnie had slipped from the boom he was working on, and drowned. His uncle, working near him at the time, was devastated. So were we all.
A few days after, Garnet's brother, accompanied by our sister, flew down to Vancouver to help with the arrangements. They were gone for several days, and eventually returned with greetings and photos of the sad gathering.
While they were gone, though, a singular event occurred. I had not experienced its like before nor have not since.
It had been quite cold that day, and the wind picked up again at nightfall, howling through the trees like some lost soul. I'd put my son to bed some hours before, and was sitting on the edge of my own bed ready for a good night's sleep.
As I was about to rise and cross the room to flick off the overhead light, I felt as much as saw some movement in the doorway. I froze, staring into the hall, and gradually became aware of a presence there. Something, some one was hovering just outside my door.
I couldn't make out much in the darkened hall beyond a faint swirling mist, more of a thickening and disturbance of the air than any discernable color or form. I felt an awful, bone-chilling cold and smelled the unmistakable stench of muddy river water. The fetid water seemed to be sheeting off the presence, but no drop of it touched the floor.
The half-seen presence, seethed back and forth as if held just outside the threshold. I felt a wave of fear reach out towards me...fear, and such anger. I knew in that instant it was Garnie. He couldn't come in. My fear, not of him, but of his anger, held him at the door...and he so wanted to come in.
I sat on my bed and wept, as I weep now recalling this. I wanted to help him, to hold him and soothe his pain, but my own fear held me captive. Finally, I stretched out my hand to him and whispered, "I'm sorry, Garnie. I can't. I'm afraid."
I felt the presence swirl and shiver. I felt a sense of sorrow and then it gently withdrew, dissolved, leaving behind only sadness and a lingering regret. I don't know how long I sat weeping on the bed. I know I slept with the light on that night, and though I often hoped Garnie might return, he never did.
I've shared this remembrance with a few over the years, not so much as a ghost story, but as a question about our souls, and what we seek when we leave this life. I have wondered many times since if that was truly Garnet's spirit, or yearnings of my own heart for a dearly-loved little brother. Perhaps it doesn't matter.
I do know that we are so much more than our physical beings. There is something that lives beyond us - call it a spirit, your soul, chi - it matters not. What matters is that we honor life, and the living, and that which binds us all together, and makes us all each other's little brothers and sisters.
We love you, Garnie, and we remember you.
The love that bound you to this life
Now holds you safe from woe;
The ties that bound your soul to mine
Still chain me here below.
Cold death has claimed you far too soon;
Such grief you leave behind;
Yet still your laughter warms my soul,
Your heart lives on in mine.
What Do You Think - Real or Not?
What is this fascination with the "Undead?"
We all know videos can be faked in many ways, and any good actor can make you think they are truly afraid. And everyone loves a good scare. Just look at our fascination with things undead - ghosts, vampires, Succubi, Zombies.
But what do you think? Many popular TV shows have delved into the mysteries of what happens to us after we pass on. Cable TV and YouTube are jam-packed with shows, documentaries and videos all claiming to investigate or capture real, verifiable sightings or events.
Just a few years past we shivered at the adventures of Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer) and Patricia Arquette (The Medium). Now we are tuning in for a good scary evening's entertainment to Bitten, Lost Girl, Z-Nation, and Proof - to say nothing of the sexy vampire epics that held us all in thrall. All these shows revolve around contact with those who are dead, or who should be dead, or who have come back from the dead, or who are just plain, old undead.
But why are we so fascinated by all this? Is it because we really aren't sure what to believe, or if we believe at all - or is it that that we would like to believe? What if so many of us have had experiences we just can't account for - some feeling, or event, or happening that appears to defy with any rational explanation. Can this be the source of much of our fascination with what happens to us after we die?
Have you had an experience that left you wondering if we really can contact those who have gone on ahead - or if we really can come back?
Real or Fake? What do YOU think?
Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes or No?
I must admit, for my own piece of mind, I do not really believe in ghosts, but I do believe there are many things under heaven of which we have little or no understanding. So though I don't necessarily believe in the stereotypical "haint" (a lovely word for ghosts from the Southern U.S.), I try to keep an open mind.
I respect the first-hand experiences of others, while retaining a healthy skepticism of some of the so-called proofs we are offered.
To tell the truth, I I look forward to continued advances, not just in the science and technology, but in the a deeper understanding of the human factor involved - in realizing even more clearly how our minds work, what makes us tick - what makes us the truly wonderful, creative, and sometimes scary human creatures that we are.
© 2009 RedElf