Current listen: "Where's My Angel" courtesy of Metro Station from the Almost Alice soundtrack
Well, it's almost here..."All Hallowed Eve" or to the suburbia households preparing for the onslaught of mini ghosts, witches, vampires, and Harry Potter characters, interspersed with the occasional princesses and fairies, "Halloween." We carve pumpkins, make fake spider webs, play scary music, and pass out sugary treats to whittle the enamel off vulnerable teeth, blowing our grocery budget, sending our kids into sugar highs rivaling any street drug, and creating a dentist's wetdream. By the time the night's over, toilet paper streamers hang from lofty branches, broken pumpkins litter the streets, and remnants from treat baskets litter the living room floor. Some parents hand out the goodies little by little over the coming weeks. Personally, I didn't want to prolong the side effects and said "have at it," knowing the sooner the candy was gone, so was the sugar rush. Usually, they threw up and the problem was solved. No more candy. No more sugar high.
We've read all the thriller stories, seen the horror flicks, and listened to ghost stories around campfires. We have an aversion to hockey masks and chainsaws, snowy screens on televisions, and blame innocent black cats and other superstitions for life's calamities. But when left alone in the house when the power suddenly goes out during a monstrous thunderstorm, or something goes "bump" in the middle of the night, does your heart clamor into your throat? Have you ever been walking along and had an eerie feeling shimmy along your spine? What about the feeling of being "watched?" Real or imagined?
Then there's the flip side. Have you ever experienced an unexplainable calm wash over your body during a moment of duress, or feel a comforting embrace when there's no one around you? Smell a familiar scent of cologne from a loved one who's passed? Caught sight of a movement in your peripheral vision, but felt no fear? Real or imagined?
The night my grandmother, who I consider my surrogate mother, died, I was walking through some home improvement extravaganza and passed a woman demonstrating some kitchen appliance wonder. She glanced at me and for a moment, my grandmother's face covered hers, smiling. The face disappeared immediately, but a cold chill shivered over me and stayed with me for several hours. I remember seeing the time on a grandfather clock that caught my attention immediately, after passing the demonstration booth. Within minutes of walking through the door, a colleague of my husband who worked with him on the rescue squad called to inform us he had been on an emergency call at my grandmother's home. He was one of the paramedics who worked to save her, and called to apologize for failing. Grandma died and that's how I found out. I asked the time of death and found no coincidence in it being the exact time on the clock, or the fact the stranger's face took on my grandmother's appearance mere seconds before she passed on.
Her death was traumatic to me. She's the one who hooked me onto psychic readings, taught me to read palms, and how to can peaches. Grandma was all about the holidays. The first Thanksgiving, a few months after she died left me feeling hollow as I made the preparations for my part in the dinner. That night when I went to bed, I "dreamed" I received a phone call from her. Side note: Grandma's favorite possession was her cordless phone. She called whenever you were in the middle of the most intense part of a movie, making "a magic moment," or chasing twin toddlers running in separate directions. So receiving a "call" in my dream felt normal...everyday. But what she said didn't.
"Hi, sweetheart. Grandma just wanted to call and wish you a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, and tell you not to feel sad. I want you to know I'm not gone, and will always be watching over you, just as I did when you were a babe in the bassinet. Now go enjoy the day, and remember, in our family, it's two potatoes for each person." My assignment was mashed potatoes and I'd been trying to figure out how many to cook. Real or imagined?
When Christmas rolled around a few weeks later, an even odder dream came, but after the holiday. My grandmother lived in this awesome house when I was small (she moved years later) and had this beautiful gold brocade couch that, to me, looked like it belonged in a throne room of a castle. We were allowed to sit on it after hands were washed and shoes removed. From my perch on the sofa, I had the perfect view of the elegant crystal chandelier that hung over her formal dining room table. Grandma and I had a pension for anything sparkly. (I still do) In her house, I felt like I was in the presence of a movie star or royalty. (This is also the grandma who was married to my grandfather who owned the pink Cadillac I blogged about a while back).
In this dream, my grandmother appeared to me. We were in this house and had just finished a wonderful lunch with my three, coincidentally also dead, aunts. Grandma took my hand and led me to the brocade sofa. She asked me about the kids, praising me for being a good mom. (All three were under 4 - they were cherubs, then. Later, I plotted their demise on occasion - not such a "good" mom , but then again, they were teenage hellions and I was questioning my method of birth control). Side note: When I was pregnant with my twins, I didn't know they were twins. Grandma did. When she was leaving for vacation, I offered to water her yard. She kissed my cheek and told me not to have the twins before she got home. I laughed, disputing her theory. She wagged a manicured nail at me and said "We'll see which one of us is right."
Suddenly in my dream, Grandma took my hand. "Remember, Joelene, we are only visitors to this earth, and the length of our visit isn't ours to decide. I'll never be far, and all you have to do is summon me and I'll be there." She brushed the bangs on my forehead to the side, just as she'd done whenever I was sick, or upset as a small child. "You've got an amazing life ahead of you. I've seen it. Don't lose your way, and take care of my babies. There's one more coming." (seven years later my last son arrived). My three dead aunts appeared in the foyer that separated the living and dining rooms. They each wore one of Grandma's furs (a mink stole, a mink coat, and a red fox stole). My Aunt Lily held out my grandmother's full length beaver coat (my favorite to wrap up in when given permission).
The entry door opened on its own, and the most brilliant shaft of gold light I'd ever seen, washed the marble floor in the entry, spreading across the carpet to my feet. I remember the warmth and at the same time the fear. As Grandma walked to my aunts, the beam of light retreated with her. She put on the coat and turned, giving me one last look. She blew a kiss and said, "I love you baby girl. No more tears." She walked through the door first, followed by her sisters. The door closed, the light disappeared, and I woke up, with my face and hair soaked in tears. Real or imagined?
I've never dreamed my grandmother since, but when I gave birth to my last child, a birth that nearly took both our lives, I felt her hand brushing the hair from my face the entire time until he was born. When my mother had her brain aneurysm and I traveled from St. George to Salt Lake alone every weekend for five months, I caught sight of my grandfather on two occasions, occupying the empty passenger seat when I had to drive through a storm. When my youngest went through the nightmare of meth addiction, I felt the familiar brush of her hand the day I curled into a ball and cried because I'd just put him in jail for several months.
Do I believe in ghosts? With all my heart. Some I feel are lost or "stuck" (my kids told me on separate occasions that they saw an elderly woman weeping in the hallway of our first house we lived in when we moved to southern Utah, but I never saw, only felt an uneasiness at times) and some "spirits" I think are attached to "things" - especially antiques (I've been told to leave antique furniture in the garage for a week before bringing inside the house to dispel any such attachments).
I believe in the forces of good and evil, and with that, I have to believe that some unfortunate "lost souls" are darker in nature. Most encounters I've heard or felt feel "childlike" and involve pranking for attention. But I don't do things to attract spirits, either, nor do I seek them, but I am fascinated with reading others encounters. I'm a big scaredy cat, so I don't do haunted places or play supernatural games. I left many a sleepover when such things were started. Why disturb the sleeping dead?
I've read several blogs this month on the unexplained and wonderfully haunted happenings associated with this time of year. The newspaper is full of favorite haunted places to investigate, but my favorite fix for a good scare ever since I was a teenager, is to simply walking through a graveyard after midnight. If there's a full moon, even better. The tombstones and trees cast the most eery shadows...or...it it something or someone?
So what's your favorite fix for a good haunt? Are you a ghost chaser, a spirit caller, or a believer in guardian angels? Besides my grandparents, I know I have three...two are archangels, but that's another blog.
At the very least, curl up with a good story about the supernatural and paranormal, laced with a enough romance to have you wishing for a shapeshifter or sexy vampire...even a hot dark angel to keep you company, at least in your dreams. Happy Halloween, friends. Thanks for stopping by!
Here's some blogs I've checked out this week - from sweet to fun, to slightly unnerving!