Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Grave's End

Have you ever seen a ghost?

I think I have. When I was going to school at Augsburg, the college bought up a number of houses in the neighborhood and had them demolished to make way for a parking lot. However, one of them was picked up and moved to a new location by its owners. One early morning during this elaborate house-moving process, as Shawn and I were headed off to our respective classes, we both saw a figure of a woman in the upstairs window. It was just a flash, and she was gone. When we asked each other about it, we both described her looking sad, and I thought that by the way she had her hand on her belly she was pregnant. Shawn said she hadn't wanted to say anything, but she’d gotten that impression too. Was she a ghost? Someone living saying a final good-bye to the house? Who knows?

Then there was that Halloween visitor to our house who passed through the kitchen and up the stairs that are no longer there. That one was a fast-moving ball of light about the size of a quarter, but three of us saw it.

While up at the cabin this past weekend, I read a friend's copy of Elaine Mercado's GRAVE'S END, which is billed as a true life story of a haunted house. It's a very compelling story. What makes this particular account so engaging, I think, is the fact that Elaine, the author, begins very much as a skeptic and stays one quite a long way into the memoir. She and her husband are constantly trying to come up with rational reasons for the paranormal events. Also, she talks about how the family got used to a lot of the phenomenon and how, since it wasn't a constant every day occurrence (outside of the feeling of being watched), they tended to forget about it in between episodes. It took her something like fifteen years to finally admit her house was haunted and to pursue having it "cleansed."

Throughout the book, she is just a regular person who happens to have all this weird crap happening in her house.

I think GRAVE'S END would be a good book for someone who is curious and open to the idea of ghosts, but who doesn't already believe. I guess my feeling about ghosts can be summed up this way: while at Augsburg an English professor asked us if any of us believed in the possibility of witchcraft (or something like that), and I said, "Hell, yes. I believe in the POSSIBILITY of anything."

What about you? Any ghost stories out there?


Zoe said...

When I was a kid, I thought I saw a creepy-looking tall guy in a suit standing in my living room, but when I looked again he was gone. So I may have imagined it.

My boyfriend used to deliver newspapers, and one morning he looked out the window and saw a guy dressed in an old-fashioned postal uniform. The guy waved at him, and he drove on past. A minute later, he realized that had been a strange thing to see, so he drove back, but the guy was gone. His house may also be haunted; there are certain places in the house where you can sometimes hear a crying baby.

And I know someone whose son claims to talk to a woman who used to live in his family's house until soldiers made her leave (or maybe killed her).

Naomi said...

I saw a ghost when I was a kid. It looked like a small white cloud: it drifted into my open dresser drawer and disappeared.

I always assumed that my mother thought I had dreamed it, but she told me a couple of years back, "oh no, that happened. I've seen it too, disappearing around a corner." So my parents' house has a ghost, but it's a very shy ghost.

Gerri said...

I did see an apparation when my partner's mother was nearing death in hospice in October of 2005. She lived on a farm in Mankato for most of her 87 years. Her brother Elmer had preceeder her in death years ago, and they were very close. My partner and I were at the farm and getting ready to return to the hospice center. A man clad in blue overalls stood at the driveway. He looked to the left, then to right. I blinked and looked again, and he was no longer visible.

I described him to my parnter and she said without hesitation, that was Elmer! We think he was looking and waiting for his sister to join him in the spirit world. She died shortly after Elmer made himself visible to me; I'm sure they are catching up on a lot of things.