Ghosts I have known and sometimes had the hots for


I made one of Julia Jackson’s pictures (Julia Jackson was Virginia Woolf's mother) into my computer background, and even started talking to her. Peggy didn’t exactly insist that I get rid of, “that awful picture of that depressed looking dead woman,” but I nonetheless replaced it with one of Peggy smiling broadly. When I turned my computer off for the night, Julia Jackson reappeared just before the screen went blank. I was considerably taken aback, but didn’t really believe—despite my desire to do so—that Julia Jackson was inhabiting my monitor.

I remembered a walk I took in the desert ten years ago during which I heard the ghost of Katherine Mansfield talking to me. I challenged the voice to present me with a gift to prove that I wasn’t hallucinating, and I immediately found a large, jeweled, feathered, brightly painted stick in the sagebrush. If the object had been a gaily wrapped first edition of one of her books with the inscription, “Best wishes to Snow from your dead friend Katherine,” I would have been more impressed, but I couldn’t connect the stick with anything I knew about her, and since I was at the bottom of a mile wide volcanic crater during an era when small groups of New Age men were running about the desert trying to get in touch with their primitive selves, I suspected coincidence.

Several observations keep me from believing in ghosts despite my very great desire to do so. For starters, they are seldom said to do anything worthwhile unless moaning, rattling chains, knocking over lamps, and otherwise scaring the hell out of the living, can be considered worthwhile. Secondly, on those rare occasions when they decide to actually say something, they don’t say it to the person it is intended for, but to a stranger who charges money to repeat it.

When I was a teenager, I used to visit country cemeteries hoping to see a ghost. One night I saw a red light slowly arise from my Granny’s grave and move in my direction. I ran like a dog with its tail on fire. I went back the next day, but didn’t see anything to account for the light. I even returned several times after dark, but never saw it again.

Granny died when I was eleven, and I was afterwards afraid of the room in which she spent her last years. It was separated from the rest of our large old house by a long hallway, and I wouldn’t venture into the back portion of that hallway in the daytime much less after dark. Yet, I had a very great curiosity about whether ghosts were real. One night, my mother sent me to the store on my bike. I had two routes by which I could return. One was by a path that ran alongside the house, and the other was around the block.

I chose the first because it would take me directly beneath the window behind which my Granny sat rocking for her last few years. When I passed under her window, I looked up, half hoping and half dreading to see her looking back at me. At that very instant, my bike stopped. It didn’t veer, it didn’t fall over, it didn’t slide, it didn’t tumble; it just stopped. I somersaulted over the handlebars and got up running. Fortunately, I was carrying the bread in a backpack, because I don’t know how I could have found the courage to go back for it.

The next day, my bike was still standing there, a sight that spooked me considerably until I realized that a horseshoe stake had become wedged between the chain and the back wheel.

Peggy’s grandmother was a great believer in ghosts. She told of hearing her bedroom door open one night, and footsteps crossing the room. She anxiously poked her head out from under the covers and saw a sallow figure in antique clothes standing at the foot of her bed staring at her. She drew her head back in, and spent the rest of the night saying, “Help me Jesus. Help me Jesus. Help me Jesus…”

And, of course, there was my dear demented, departed father who became convinced that he was being haunted by my mother’s ghost. He was notoriously forgetful about where he put things, and she had been able to point him in the right direction. When she died and could no longer do this, he became convinced that she had returned from the grave, and was hiding important papers, stealing money, and even rearranging the furniture.

He went from being annoyed to becoming absolutely livid, and the situation climaxed one night when he felt her pull back the covers and sit on the bed as if to join him. He said, “Kathryn, you’re dead, and I expect you to start acting the way someone in your situation is supposed to act.” She left the room, never to return. Since his death—in this house—Peggy and I often have a good laugh when we can’t find something. “Tom must have taken it,” we say.

If I really were to see my father’s ghost, I would only be worried if he should be as crazy dead as he was alive. Oh, I know, I just admitted to talking to not just one but two women who died long ago, but surely there’s nothing out of the ordinary about that, now is there?

41 comments:

pink dogwood said...

A week before my grand mother died, she started having conversations with a lot of dead people. She kept saying that they have come to get her. She would talk to them at length and I would ask her "Amma, who are you talking to" and she would point to a chair in the corner and name someone who had died a few years ago - really spooky.

How are you feeling these days snow? Hope all is well - or as good as it can be :)

best wishes,

Snowbrush said...

Hey, Pink! A lot of people see the dead as they themselves are dying. I don't take it to prove that the dead live-on, however. How about you?

As for how I am, please see my last post before this one. It's short, and will fill you in pretty good, I'll wager.

dana said...

I have watched the paranormal shows (when there's nothing else on) and am astounded that such great lengths are taken to prove, or disprove, that ghosts are real. If a ghost can only appear as a dancing ball of light, I'd say to lay down the camera, go home and have a sandwich. There are so many things that would be wonderful if true. On the other hand, there are many people in the past that I'd still hate to see, dead OR alive. But I AM glad to see that what you write, is immediately sent over the airwaves and appears on my computer. your posts are a joy to me.

Snowbrush said...

Dana said: "your posts are a joy to me."

Oh, Dana, thank you so much. Your visits are certainly a joy to me.

Bernie said...

I'm still chuckling over the bike incident.....I haven't seen a ghost but I have had a few unusual things happen that I can't explain so I don't rule out anything just because science may not agree with it.......:-) Hugs

Snowbrush said...

Bernie said: "I can't explain so I don't rule out anything just because science may not agree with it.......:-) "

Hey, Bernie, my sweet friend! Here's what I think about that. Science doesn't claim to know everything, and it would hardly be fair to expect it to speak in support of something for which it has no evidence. And that's sort of where I am on the subject too. I think of ghosts in somewhat the same way I think of God. If they--and/or God--exist, shouldn't they be dong a little more to help us out than simply appearing as balls of light (like I saw and Dana referred to)? That said, I've no doubt but what some people--having asked a ghost for a sign and immediately finding a stick that was meant to possess a spiritual animus--would henceforward believe in the reality of ghosts. I just keep coming back to Ockham's Razor though--if you have no idea which of two or more competing explanations are true, other factors aside, it is most likely the simplest one.

Natalie said...

Deary me, Snowell. You know Nolly and I are going to bite!
I have seen one, and I have talked to quite a few.By this I mean a two way conversation and even a three way conversation. The most recent being on Tuesday.
The reason why people might have to pay a medium, is because a medium can raise their energy vibrations up enough, to communicate with spirit, who vibrate at a much faster rate.

If you turn the wheels of a pushbike slowly, you can still see the spokes. When you turn the wheel quickly, the spokes become invisible. This is akin to spirit being 'invisible' to the naked eye.

A ghost is an energy imprint left by the person who has died.Mostly, these are apparitions that look like the person,but just misty.For whatever reason, these people can't /won't move on with the rest of their journey toward the Creator.
A ball of light is often the soul energy of somebody, and communicates via telepathy.
I am clairaudient, clairvoyant and clairsentient. This means I see visions, hear spirits talking to me in my right ear, and feel what is about to happen. I know you think I am a loony, but maybe I am just better at seeing bike spokes than the majority. *wink*. :D

Shakespeare said...

Great ghost stories... I'm so glad I found your blog on this day in particular! Fascinating stuff...

Does it really matter if ghosts exist? If they seem to, they may, and even if they do not seem to be doing much, we may only see a fraction of what they are capable of.

Lydia said...

Fascinating post. I think it is so unique that you had that woman's picture on your computer.

I saw one ghost in my life, when I was 9-10. He was the four-year-old son of our pastor and our families had become close friends (it is the only church experience of my life). His name was Timmy and he called me his girlfriend. He had a heart defect since birth that needed surgery, but they couldn't do it until he was four and they had to go to San Francisco for the surgery. Everyone was worried, as he had become weaker as time went along.
Our family had all gone to bed and I was sound asleep when a light so bright wakened me. My room was filled with this blue-white light and then a shadow walked across my bedroom wall opposite my bed, exiting into the closet. I screamed and my parents came running. Step-father got a flashlight and went all around the house. We lived in the country at the end of a dead-end road. Next to us were acres of pasture and beyond that foothills leading to the Sierra Nevada range. No one lived across from or behind us...in other words, it was not possible that it had been a car, and besides, the light was totally unlike that which headlights would have made even if they could have shone directly into my bedroom with its closed curtains.

My mother sat up at the kitchen table with me and gently began asking questions. She asked me to describe the height/shape of the shadow and before I got very far with the description we both recognized that it had been Timmy. He was small, even for his age, and his head was a bit large for the rest of his body...and that is what showed on the wall. I began yelling "Never come back, never come back." My mother looked sad and I knew she thought I would regret that command, but I never have.

Snowbrush said...

Natalie said: "Deary me, Snowell. You know Nolly and I are going to bite!"

Snap, snarl, growl, and froth. Yes, the two of you are mean, horrid, and dreadful. That is why I love you in the very worstest way possible.

Natalie said: "The reason why people might have to pay a medium, is because a medium can raise their energy vibrations...."

If you had written in Sanskrit, I would have understood you equally well--but surely you suspected as much.

Natalie said: "I see visions, hear spirits talking to me in my right ear, and feel what is about to happen. I know you think I am a loony"

You "know" I think you are loony? Pardon me, my dear, but you know no such thing. I think you are reasonable, intelligent, and caring. I also think you might be hallucinating, but I don't equate hallucinations with looniness. Some people put sanity on one side of the spectrum, insanity on the other side, and leave nothing in-between. I see us as more fluid than that. I also consider the words themselves to be necessarily nebulous. The Diagnostic Standards Manual that shrinks use (in this country anyway) is ever-changing. What is considered insane in one edition might be considered sane in another; and what is considered sane in one edition might be considered insane in another. Sanity/insanity are more akin to societal constructs than to states of being. You read what I just posted and assumed that I would think your response was crazy. A great many people would have read what I just posted and assumed that I was crazy.

Shakespeare said: "Does it really matter if ghosts exist?"

I should think so. If they do exist, then our lives continue beyond the grave--something that I do not consider to be at all evident. Also, it would mean that reality might be quite different than our best scientific efforts to understand it have indicated.

Lydia said: "I think it is so unique that you had that woman's picture on your computer."

Thank you. It was made in 1867, and cameras were so slow back then that poses had to be held for as long as seven minutes. This forced people to assume expressions that they could hold, and I assume that the easiest expression to hold is the one that depicts you as you really are. I see depth and sadness in her eyes, and I find these qualities appealing.

Thanks for sharing your own ghost story.

Natalie said...

We are all in the DSM 1V, Snow. :D

Humans vibrate at a slow, dense energy,(hence, we appear solid) discarnates vibrate at a much faster rate, so they appear invisible.

A medium is employed to 'mediate' between the two, hence the term 'medium'.
My husband is a sceptic. He said early on in our relationship, that if the 'spooks' were real, show him now!
Right then, the shampoo bottle in the ensuite toppled down from it's shelf. It scared the daylights out of him. Hee,hee. Try as he might, he couldn't explain how it seemingly 'jumped' off a stable shelf. :)

nollyposh said...

(Psssst Snow) BOO!!!
i think everyone has a ghost story tucked inside them...
Isn't it great! X;-)
Thanks for sharing yours x

nollyposh said...

(Ps) Like nAT SAID! Lol!

nollyposh said...

(pppSSSt) Blogged a poem for ya

... now i'll go X;-)

Marion said...

"small groups of New Age men were running about the desert trying to get in touch with their primitive selves"...I got this immediate vision of all of you, and I cracked up with laughter. You have a way with your writing that is so special to me!

My family background is Romany; I grew up with visitors from the other side of the veil. An old relative once told me that some of the visitors were very real, while others were the product of overactive imaginations. It was all about being aware, being respectful and staying calm.

It is still a learning process. Usually, only entities who have recently passed visit me, but there are others, especially recently, who appear, sometimes many times, until I get what it is they want to tell me.

In my experience, not one visitor has ever spoken to me out loud. We communicate through telepathy.

You've been so lucky, in my opinion, to have the experiences you have had. Enjoy the memory of them, no doubt there will be more.

rhymeswithplague said...

I have never, ever, seen a ghost, but after moving into this house (a brand new one) six years ago I began hearing what I thought were footsteps in the house, but only when I went into the master bathroom and closed the door. It scared the bejeebers out of me. Mrs. rhymeswithplague heard nothing. One night a few months later our 10-year-old grandson was spending the night with us. His room was on the opposite side of the house. He called me, very frightened, and said, "I hear footsteps." Needless to say, this did nothing to help my own shattered nerves.

Someone has told me that what I have been hearing is heated air moving through the ducts. I have decided to believe that.

I'm sorry my story is not more fascinating.

rhymeswithplague said...

As we both know, Julia Jackson was the niece of Valentine Cameron Prinsep, who painted "The Queen Was In The Parlour". I'm just sayin'....

Marion said...

Snow, and here I was worrying that you had gone and lost your Southern roots and BOOM! you go and share a perfectly Southern post about ghosts!!! I love this and I'm so glad you shared it. Ghost stories have an integral part of almost every family I know here in Louisiana.

My dead Aunt who raised me comes to me in dreams. My younger daughter named her child after Aunt Mace....(my granddaughter's name is Mary Mace) and a few nights after the birth, Aunt Mace came to me in a dream and was laughing and holding baby Mary Mace and told me how happy she was to have her named for her. I get all teary just thinking about it. Yes, we NEED our stories, especially the ghosts, for one day we'll join them.

And I firmly believe what the genius story teller, William Faulkner, from your own great home state of Mississippi said: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

and this one from 'As I Lay Dying':

"I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind—and that of the minds who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town."

and this great one from the same book: ""I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time."

Thanks for sharing your great stories, Snow! Blessings!!

"The universe is not made it atoms. It is made of stories." ~Muriel Rukeyser

ellen abbott said...

Well, my sister sees ghosts. It always spooks her even though they have never done anything of a threatening nature.

Snowbrush said...

Twas another night from hell, guys, so if my responses seem curt, I'll blame that. It's really a challenge to treat people warmly when I'm drawn over with pain.

Natalie said: "A medium is employed to 'mediate' between the two, hence the term 'medium'."

All I know about mediums, I learned from Houdini who, like myself, would have been most pleased to believe in ghosts.

Nollyposh said: "Thanks for sharing yours x"

I didn't even get to the dreams.

Marion said: "I got this immediate vision of all of you"

Well, although I love the desert, I wasn't one of them. One problem I immediately identified about all those guys running around the desert in groups was that they felt the need to pay someone to lead them. Whether it be a priest, medium, or "awareness group" leader, I'm averse to people who proclaim that I need an intermediary between myself and another world, and that they will be happy to fill the function for X number of dollars.

Rhymes said: "Julia Jackson was the niece of Valentine Cameron Prinsep"

She was also the niece of Julia Margaret Cameron who took all those photos of her and later moved away to India with a goat and a coffin.

Marion said: "I was worrying that you had gone and lost your Southern roots"

No doubt some cultures believe in ghosts more than others--as another Marion suggested after reading this post. Thanks for the Faulkner quotes. I've visited his house and read some of his short stories, but I actually know little of him.

Ellen said: "my sister sees ghosts. It always spooks her even though they have never done anything of a threatening nature."

A lot of people are that way. Now that I'm an adult, I'm more curious than frightened,

CreekHiker said...

I love a good ghost story and am a believer. My last conversation with an aunt who was like a mother to me, I asked her to come visit me. The morning she died, she did! I've had others too....

Good stories Snow!

Natalie said...

Sending healing.x

Snowbrush said...

I just deleted a comment, I guess. Anyway, there were two, and now there's only one, and I don't know where the second one went. Damn!

CreekHiker said: "I...am a believer."

Most respondents have said they share your belief while none have said they don't. That leaves me as the only naysayer.

Chrisy said...

I wish ghosts existed.
But they don't.
The snakeoil peddlars/mediums
they do exist.

That's a beautiful photograph of Julia Jackson. I'm going off to do some research on her now.

Chrisy said...

There's a gorgeous photo of Julia here Snow...
http://www.buffyholt.com/blog/2009/11/10/her-mothers-name-was-duckworth-once-virginia-woolf/

Strayer said...

I heard that ghosts might be like ripples in plasma, that the energy is left behind in a sort of light memory. Maybe some have a denser energy when living and it takes long time to fade out when we even move. How do psychics touch something and find someone occasionally? I figure it's like a scent trail, only not, some other sort of trail we don't understand. I think the two are connected via the same mechanism, ghosts, that is, and psychic trails followed.

I had a ghost cat visit me. It was odd. Would wake me, kneading. Didn't recognize it. Always after a river cat had died, only I didn't know it yet. I don't know how to explain that.

Strayer said...

About the new age men. I like thinking about that phrase. I can see it. I got this trip to Hawaii given me once, was standing on south point, encountered the volcano yuppies. Seems groups come over, pay large sums, to "get in touch with the volcano". I did ask "Did any of your group throw themselves in and if they did, did you get a video?" They scowled like I wasn't enlightened and never would be. They were right.

Bernie said...

Snow I respect your opinion, would you please read my post and tell me what you think, oh there are so many people who disagree with me. I have walked into a beehive and that is okay....it is what it is but I am confused over how many people who want to bash Obama....I think they are using this health reform as an excuse to hide behind....they really do not like having a black President. Hey I like him but I am Canadian....I have not posted the hateful comments, I do not want to add to the anger and tension going on right now, thanks Snow.......:-) Hugs

rhymeswithplague said...

The only ghost I believe in is the Holy Ghost (old-fashioned way of saying Holy Spirit). I do not watch nor am I fascinated by television programs about the paranormal as I view the whole subject as occult.

Still, there was that wheel-within-a-wheel thingie in the book of Ezekiel. Maybe that's more of an extra-terrestrial sci-fi thingie.

I do like the movie The Sixth Sense purely as fiction; it made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Mrs. Rhymeswithplague, however, hates it (the movie, not my neck).

I'm trying to say I support you here regarding garden-variety, formerly-human ghosts. I know we disagree about the Holy Spirit.

Snowbrush said...

Chrisy said: "I wish ghosts existed. But they don't. The snakeoil peddlars/mediums they do exist."

This was Houdini's conclusion when he couldn't find a single honest medium. It's one thing to be wrong about the existence of ghosts, but another to cheat people who are anguished by bereavement.

Strayer said: "I heard that ghosts might be like ripples in plasma, that the energy is left behind in a sort of light memory."

Natalie referred to them as entities that "vibrate" faster than most people vibrate, and are not therefore visible to most people. Such descriptions elude scientific sense or verifiability. Think about it--ordinary people can't communicate with ghosts; scientists with all their instruments can't detect ghosts; but paid mediums in darkened rooms can "vibrate" at the level of ghosts and then tell us what they said. However, the work of paid mediums can't be scientifically verified. I would offer that the belief in ghosts is like the belief in God in that people believe because they desperately want to believe, not because they can offer evidence that it is true. I love my ghost/God believing readers to pieces, and I would LOVE to believe as they do. I'm open to believing; I'm eager to believe; and I even implore them to give me a verifiable reason to believe. Some have said that they cant' do this because I am too skeptical. I would ask them why it is that, not just an openness to belief, but a rip-roaring desire to believe isn't enough--why is belief only available to those who require no proof? Doesn't this fact in itself imply that the whole structure of belief is as weak as a house of cards?

Bernie said: "would you please read my post and tell me what you think"

I'll be over soon.

Rhymes said: "I know we disagree about the Holy Spirit."

I grew up calling it the Holy Ghost, which made it a little hard to warm up to it.

julie mitchell said...

I think we all talk to dead people every now and then...I talk to my mom and sometimes I can smell her perfume. On our first night in this house so very long ago, my husband, me and my young daughter had all gone to bed in our new rooms, my mother took the couch in the living room. A little after midnight my husband and I were woken by loud voice, the tinkling of glass and laughter...we thought that mybe my mom had decided to hook up the tv, but it was too loud to ignore so we got up together to see what was up...my mom was sound asleep, tv and radio still unplugged..I think we had a welcome party. We've had loads of strange things happen over the years..and I believe I saw a spirit one evening watching me...these things happen less often since the kids are gone. On a more spiritual note after the death of the twins my friend who 'talks' to dead people spent an evening channeling the babies for my daughter. It was life changing for her...almost immediate peace and relief from guilt...My friend doesn't charge...hug, hug

All Consuming said...

Well you better carry on talking to me if I go first mister!

A butler came running into his important masters office. "Sir, sir, theres a ghost in the corridor. What shall I do with him?" Without looking up from his work the master said, "Tell him I cant see him."

Realliveman said...

I'm not a believer in ghosts, but that is just me. :0

I have seem some weird stuff, but I usually pass it off the the Universe messing with me. lol

nollyposh said...

Hee! Hee! Snow ~Thanks~ for your comment on my blog... It made my day! X;-)

geek said...

Whether or not ghosts are real, they sure are entertaining. Channels like History even thinks its scientific to talk about them.

Equally interesting is that many societies have accounts of ghosts. Not all societies have vampires or Frankenstein's monster in their folklores, but ghosts are just everywhere.

swan said...

Snow, you continually suprise me with your writing. I am both amazed and taken aback with awe. God I am so lucky to follow your blog/writing!

Thank you thank you thank you!

your friend,
swan

Just_because_today said...

ok, now Snow, I know I commented on this post and my comment is not here so I can only attribute that to a ghost doing away with my comments.
So since I was going to say that I dont believe in ghosts but I dont totally dismiss it, I guess I am going to have to say now that I do believe in the cyber spirits that mess with our blogs.
Great post, Snow. Really enjoy your writing

xinex said...

There are so many ghost stories here and I am so terrified of them. I do love taking ghost tours though..Christine

Mim said...

I lived in a 200 year old "haunted" house for 20 years. Someone/thing lived in that house with us and never bothered us, it/he/she liked us we think.
When we finally decided to move, and people started to view the house - strange things began to happen. Hoses flew off machines and water poured into the basement. A chunk of the ceiling suddenly fell down. 3 offers fell thru due to strange weird occurrences like this. By this time we had moved into the new house, not far away, so I went over to the house to talk to the spirit. I went from room to room being kind saying "you know why we have to move" and " don't worry, we'll only sell to good people". Unbeknowst to me, my hubby went over the same day - stood in the living room and yelled "GET OVER IT".

That night we got another offer. I met with the people and asked "why do you want to buy this house" (I wasn't taking any chances that this offer would get screwed up) Their response was "we feel a welcoming spirit in the house" (no, they were not new age hippies, he was in computers, she was an architect). So I sold them the house.

When they moved away to CA three years later they came over and asked if we could watch over the house and inhabitant until it sold. They felt like they were betraying the house/spirit by leaving. I went to the house and told it that if he/she was lonely they could come live with us in the new house. My practical husband was furious at me that I would make this offer!! It didn't matter, the spirit stayed with the house and has not visited us.

So...I guess I do believe in ghosts...or something.

Subby said...

With what I've experienced I tend to believe something is there...trying to communicate. Or in my case just cause trouble. Such as poltergeists will. 'Tis been well nigh over a year since the last episode...

Rose said...

How interesting. My father and his family have had some experiences with ghosts which leads me to believe, but my head asks how.
Im a nurse and I often hesitate to go into a room I know someone has recently passed away in, it just kind of gives me a troublesome feeling.
Also, thankyou for stopping by and yes I am a vegetarian, closer to the vegan variety.

Rose