What Was the Strangest Experience You Ever Had?
There's a Ghost in My Room
My life has been a string of strange experiences; an ever-expanding collection of odd, impossible happenings that over time I've come to accept as normal.
After all, if your life is always strange, then in a way, strangeness becomes normal. Strangeness is your baseline.
What feels truly strange to people with strange lives are extended periods of normality.
I've had a few of those too, but not as many, it seems, as most people.
My strange experiences started in early childhood, with white figures that would appear beside my bed. These figures were shaped like people, but were featureless, kind of like brightly lit globs of white mist.
When I would wake and see them I'd be so terrified I'd scream for my parents with all my might. One of them would come running in and turn on the lights, and of course by that time nothing would be there.
This happened night after night.
I took to sleeping with my bedcovers over my head, but it didn't help. I'd still wake late at night feeling something slowly pulling the covers down to my feet. When I opened my eyes, there would be the white shiny thing again. So I just had to suck it up and get used to it, or else be in trouble with my folks all the time.
Sometimes after these beings would visit me I would fall back asleep and have vivid dreams of flying around the neighborhood with them. I didn't look at them, as that tended to freak me out, but I did check out the streets below.
During these nocturnal flights, I accurately saw features of homes and yards I had never visited in neighborhoods I'd never been. When on occasion my parents would drive past these places in the car I'd point them out and explain that I'd seen them on these night trips.
They told me I had "an overactive imagination," which was what parents said back then when their kids said crazy stuff they didn't believe. It didn't feel like my imagination but what did I know?
In some ways, being a kid is the worst. It really is.
Dogged by the Virgin Mary
Once I started school, I had a better grip on my nighttime fears, but the strangeness did not go away.
One day, I was waiting on the front porch for a neighborhood friend who used to walk to school with me.
I peeked into his front window, and there, standing in the middle of the room, was the Virgin Mary, just staring at me.
You might think this would be kind of a cool, reassuring experience, but it wasn't.
Instead, it was as if something completely 'other' was using a full-body Virgin Mary mask to drop in on me and remind me that I was under surveillance or something. It scared me to death, and it continued to happen off and on, in weird settings and later, in my dreams.
Even today, when people talk about Virgin Mary apparitions and what Mary has to say (it's always something horrifying like, "hey you guys are gonna fry if you don't all pray more right now and repent too"), I think, Wow. The Virgin Mary has a dark side that nobody talks about.
And it makes me wonder. It makes me think about that 'full body Virgin Mary mask' perception from my first childhood sighting.
In fact, as early as the mid-1970s information scientist and UFO researcher Jacques Vallee was noting the similarities between sightings of the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) and UFO and abduction lore. Fatima, with the spinning disc overhead seen by so many is a good example.
Anyway, I told my mother about this new wrinkle in my inner/outer life, and got the same "over-active imagination" line again, but I could tell she was starting to feel a little nervous about it all. Maybe it was because I often answered her before she spoke, and this freaked her out mightily.
As for me, I THOUGHT she actually did speak, but apparently not.
Or maybe it was because my brother (at the time my only sibling) had taken to drawing the same Easter Bunny with a basket of eggs over and over and over again--at Easter, on his birthday, on the fourth of July, at Thanksgiving, at Christmas... the same damn bunny. No matter what you asked him to draw, he'd come up with this Easter Bunny and everyone would squirm. It was cute at first, and gradually became more and more an embarrassment and an enigma.
His teachers were concerned. My dad was mad. No one knew what to do.
I don't think my mother could really take the prospect of two crazy kids.
So she started to talk a little about how some people just have this way of seeing and hearing things other people don't, and that it wasn't bad, but it was probably best not to talk about it too much, and blah blah, but even as a kid I knew that was crap.
Curiouser and Curiouser
I think life is naturally strange, but people learn to block out the strange parts because they are scared. That's why so many people have rigid opinions, I think.
Strong opinions force order onto chaos. Staying closed to what you don't understand keeps the 'crazy' at bay.
I get that, I really do.
There's nothing more disconcerting than running into dead people and other kinds of disincarnate entities all over the place without warning and not knowing what the hell you are supposed to do about it or why it is happening.
It's even harder if no one else seems to be seeing or hearing what you are seeing and hearing. And I do think that people go crazy from this.
It's not an easy or welcome ability for most folks.
Fortunately for me, over time I began to get external validation for many of my strange perceptions, which helped me to trust my intuition. I shook hands with a man who was about to die and instantly knew it. After meeting him, I asked a friend about his health, and she was shocked because he was gravely ill but very private about it. He died within days.
I seemed to know when women were pregnant before they did. And if I walked into a 'haunted house' I could often tell why it was haunted right away and who was hanging around there. Sometimes I would 'see' the ghost i my mind's eye. Sometimes I would just instantly know. Sometimes I would hear things. And often the person in the house would validate that I had hit on something that was actually happening.
After awhile, people began to come to me (quietly, with great embarrassment) for help with this or that. Occasionally I would get nothing, zip, but usually I'd get some sort of impression that seemed to help them when I shared it.
Eventually I just accepted it. I didn't run out and advertise myself as a medium or talk myself up (I guess I'm doing that here, but at least it's under a pseudonym), I just decided that 1) I wasn't nuts, and 2) this wasn't nothing and it wasn't imaginary, but 3) I wasn't going to dive into it whole hog and start wearing a lot of gauze and hanging out at bookstores that sell crystals.
That's not who I am. It's not who I want to be. But I do write about this stuff, and that helps me, and if it helps others too, that's very cool.
The important thing is to maintain balance and positive intent.
Passing 'It' On
As I entered young adulthood I realized that whatever plagued me as a child was passed down on my mother's side, and EVERYBODY knew about it.
In fact, they called (and still call) it 'it'.
One of my sisters has 'it' but not my other sister. My brother definitely has 'it' but 'it' has not done him any good whatsoever. One of my daughters has 'it' but not the other, and my son has 'it' and is doing well. My mother had lots of 'it'. Her mother had even more.
So what is 'it'?
I think it is just what we call intuition. I think all kids are born with it, but most learn to put it away as they get farther along in their early school years. Just like math ability or musical talent, some kids are born with more of 'it' than other kids. But I don't think it is magical or paranormal. Most mammals have it. It's only people who get all cranked up about it.
I'll end with this story, which is passing strange in anybody's book, I'd say:
When my oldest daughter was four we threw her a birthday party and all the family came. Her great grandmother, who was my father's mother, was in a nursing home on the other side of the country and could not attend, even though she and my daughter had been very close.
Halfway into opening the first present, my daughter stopped and announced happily, "Grandma's here!"
Everyone winced and became visibly uncomfortable. My sister finally broke in and said, "No, honey, grandma is in California, remember?"
At that exact moment, the phone rang.
It was the nursing home. My grandmother had just passed away.
Did she stop by the birthday party to say good-bye to my daughter? Or did she stop by to say hello, and remind her she would always be there?
In this life, you get to choose what to believe.
I know what I believe. What do you think?