So here’s a story for you. I guess it’s more of a claim because, as luck would have it, there’s not a shred of evidence in support. So, let’s call it a yarn instead. A tall tale but a short saga – something destined to thrive around campfires and office water coolers. Conversational filler – a ghost story, if you will, and a relatively lame one at that. Unlike most ghost stories there’s no high drama or suspenseful crescendo here – no one is frightened by gruesome goings-on or unspeakable horrors. A typical ghost story is movie worthy in the right hands, and touches that certain spot in our psyche. Real ghost stories have the popular gene.
Not this one. This one is casual by comparison, and actually fits a realistic model, because like most true paranormal experiences, the event happens quickly, and then it’s gone. Advance warnings don’t often accompany the real thing; no fanfare when they’re over. There’s nothing extraneous, and this ghost story is unpretentious and timid as well. That’s probably why I believe it – in and out with a flash; gone in the blink of an eye; poof, like a wisp of winter wind.
So… The man sat on the sofa where he always does, directly across from a glass fireplace cover, and stares at his own reflection. After only a few seconds, he notices a line of thick white mist dart in front of him, stop to his right, and reform in the shape and size of a seated, human torso on the sofa next to him. He looks, nothing is there, and two seconds later the reflection fades and is gone. The story is over. The event is accomplished in less time than it takes to read about it. There’s no lingering trace; no source capable of creating the mist, and no changes in the environment are evident. He doesn’t know what to think. He wasn’t sleeping, day dreaming, or suffering a psychotic break. There were no hallucinatory medications involved, no surface reflections, changes in the temperature, or other people present.
But if this is a ghost story, where are the howling banshees and red-eyed demons? What about menacing shadows and thick black masses? Can we have a little ectoplasm at least? What could possibly cause such a thing? So atypical – such a non-grisly, benign, and almost poetic expression of spiritual transformation – as graceful as a breath.
Most of us already doubt the tale. There’s always a viable explanation for such things; our crime is usually one of distraction – something was missed. Perhaps he wasn’t as observant as he claims, or is predisposed to seeing such things. Possibly he made it up. Certainly, we can’t label every strange occurrence as something paranormal – most probably he made a mistake, his senses in err. After all, without a witness, and so little else to go on, it would be irresponsible and wrong to accept this tale as accurate – it simply could not have happened as he described it. But if it happened to you?
I’ve seen all kinds of things that are unexplainable. I’m convinced that I’m not easily flustered, fooled, or bamboozled, and I try very hard to approach such things intelligently. Still, this will always be one more tall tale of the unexplained, and I don’t know how to argue against that. But again I ask, what if it happened to you? It’s always a little different then, isn’t it? Never a question of veracity, observational skills, or mental acuity. When it happens to you, it may be confounding, but it’s always real. We reserve our best skepticism and our categorical invalidation for others.
We love to find the answer, debunk the magic, and disprove the outrageous. With all of that going on, there’s precious little time for acceptance; no room for awe – certainly not enough to understand this spec of a ghost story. Unless it happened to us. Oh well, it is what it is, right, but I always wonder if it just might be.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.