Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Real Life Ghost Stories

With the recent spooky season, I've been doing some thinking about a little spookiness of my own. I don't know if I actually believe that ghosts really exist. My wife does, but I'm not completely sold one way or the other. Maybe I should be.

The Grandfather Clock

My maternal grandfather passed away when I was a very young child after losing his fight with cancer. I was too young then to have any real memory of it, but my family has always told me that I was my grandfather's favorite. In fact, I was so young when he passed away that I only have a vivid memory of what he looked like from a portrait of him that my father had painted that used to hang on the living room wall over the television in the house I grew up in.

My dad once told me that the only time he ever saw my grandfather cry was when I had an accident on one of my toys and had to be taken to the hospital. Maybe I was his favorite.

One of the last things my grandfather asked of my parents was for them to get the family going to church regularly again. Most Sundays my brother and sisters and I would hop on the church bus while my parents stayed home, and it was very important to my grandfather that we attend church as a family.

One Sunday after church, shortly after my grandfather's funeral, we were sitting in the living room after lunch watching television, probably Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, when a loud crash from across the room snapped everyone back to reality. The small grandfather-style clock that sat on top of the television had somehow ended up on the floor. No one could explain how it got there. My father moved closer to investigate. The clock was sitting neatly on the floor as if it had been placed there intentionally, with not a sign of damage.

A week or so later, I believe it was in the evening, again the family was gathered around the television after dinner. My father has always been a big Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy fan, so it's a good bet that's what we were watching. There had been no repeat incidents with the grandfather clock, and we had all written it off as just the wind, or whatever sounded good at the time. We were gathered around the TV when the show was interrupted with a loud bang and the screen went dark.

No one moved as we all stared at the television wondering what had happened, when my father stood up and walked slowly across the room. "The picture," he said as he approached the TV. Reaching behind the set, he pulled the portrait of my grandfather from behind the television, carefully examined it, then placed it back on the wall where it had been hanging moments earlier. He then reached behind the set and replaced the electrical cord in the wall outlet. As the sounds of commercials filled the room, he returned to his seat. No one spoke of it the rest of the evening.

I don't know how many times over the following weeks we found either the clock or the painting come crashing to the floor for no apparent reason. It continued for several weeks, though, and we never spoke about it with anyone outside the family.

Early one Sunday morning as I and my siblings headed out the door to meet the church bus, my father stopped us. "We'll be going to church as a family today," he said. Sundays in church became a regular family event, giving my grandfather one of his final wishes, and ending the inexplicable happenings surrounding the grandfather clock and the portrait.

Calling Out In The Night

My mother, too, lost her fight with cancer just a few years ago. She knew she had cancer, but as long as the doctors were unable to find anything, the family held out hope. While mom wasted away, we hoped for a diagnosis of something curable.

After a year of suffering, my mom spent her final week in the hospital. She passed away with all her children around her only after we each had told her that it was okay for her to let go.

Several weeks later I found myself sitting bolt upright in bed, awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of my mother calling my name. I listened and looked at my wife, wondering how she had slept through the noise, as the fog cleared from my mind and I remembered attending my mom's recent funeral. I lied down and drifted back to sleep, excusing the entire event as a dream.

Days later, while speaking on the phone with my father, he told me the story I just relayed, with one minor difference. In his version, he was the one awakened when my mother called out his name. He, too, went back to sleep assuming it had been just a dream.

Until we spoke, and we realized that we had both been awakened by my mother at exactly the same time on the same night, we both had explained it as a dream. A little too coincidental, maybe?

Both are true stories. And yet, I'm not sure I believe in ghosts. Maybe that's because my mother and grandfather, though they may have been communicating with us from beyond, were definitely not ghosts.

Or were they?


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

1 comment:

Joe's wife said...

Ok, I had to leave a comment on this one!! Yes, my husband doesn't seem to believe in ghosts, even though these things have happened to him. I DO believe in ghosts and here is why:
When I was around 8 or 9, I remember waking in the middle of the night and looking out my bedroom. My room looked out into the living room and was down the hall from my parent's and my brother's room. I saw a man standing in my doorway. It was dark, so I could only make out a figure. I swear, he looked like a train conductor. I closed my eyes and then opened them again to find him IN my room!!! That creeped me out so I put the covers over my head. Of course, I still wondered if he was there, so I looked one more time, and he was next to my bed! I closed my eyes for the last time that night and fell asleep!!! The next morning, everyone was in the kitchen getting ready to eat breakfast. I asked my brother if he was in my room. He said no and so did my parents when I asked them! Pretty scary!!!! They all make fun of me about it, but I will never forget it!!!!

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