Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can a ghost long for their past?

This event is, in my opinion, another indicator that the world in which we live is magical, strange and, some times, a little bit spooky. Maybe you will disagree or maybe, if you live in the same strange world, maybe you can relate.

Living in the country allowed me many liberties that children from urban areas are rarely afforded. By the time I was twelve years old, I could leave the house at sunrise and as long as I was back before bedtime I was able to manage myself and my day. Saving any phone calls from farmers in the area claiming I had stolen crops, destroyed fences or ruined entire stores of hay, my parents rarely cared what I was doing because there wasn't too much trouble I could get into out in the woods and hills of our home area.

One day, Heath and I decided to go up into an area we weren't allowed. There were what seemed like hundreds, maybe even thousands of acres we had never explored. It was mainly rolling hills and old growth forest.
We saw a large, bare branched tree sitting atop a hill. Around the tree were several large rocks and boulders. The rocks are what actually attracted us to this tree, as they were not a common sight near our homes. The glaciers several thousand years before had pushed them south down to the Shawnee National Forest area. We wanted to climb them and see if we could roll one down the high, sloping hill of dead grass. The sun was warm and the air was crisp due to it being early Autumn. It was what we liked to call our Indian Summer. Not quite shorts weather but no need for jackets either. We raced up the hill. Once there we took a break and lounged about on the rocks.
I was the first to start exploring. I couldn't believe what I found on the other side of the tree on the opposite face of the hill. It was a low stone fence about three feet tall. The were rocks stacked in a straight line that ran for a dozen yards or more. Much of the stones had fallen and I could see them scattered about the same general line all the way down to a stand of trees intersecting the hill a ways down.
Heath came up from behind me, "What the heck's that thing?" He asked.
He was indicating a smooth gleaming black rock. It was at the bottom of the fence where it did a neat ninety degree turn. At the bottom of the stones forming the corner, the rock rested mostly obscured by the tall green-brown grass.
We tried to wiggle it out and ended up knocking down that section of the wall in the process. It looked like thick, black glass that had been chipped away from a larger piece. Once side was rounded and smooth and the other was curved inwardly and had long ridges running along it.
Heath was rubbing the glass rock with his sleeve when I noticed something else. It was a piece of rough, tanish cloth sticking out of the dark brown dirt where the rock had been resting. I dropped to my knees and dug it out. It was a piece of burlap folded many times over some object. I unwrapped it and inside was a black cross with four equally sized arms. It was cast in some sort of heavy metal like iron. The edges of the cross were painted silver and there was some symbol (for the life of me I don't recall what the symbol was) in the middle of the cross and on the back was some foreign script, only a line or two, that had been etched into it and colored the same silver as the edges and the symbol.
Heath got the glass rock and I got the cross. I took it home and put it in my drawer.
I forgot about it.
A few weeks went by and then I started dreaming about a young man in an old military uniform. Nothing threatening or scary. Just this guy with dark hair and tight skin over high cheekbones appearing in my dreams. No reason to be afraid. He continued to appear in my dreams for many nights.

One day, my mother found my cross and asked where I found it. I told her and she asked if she could have Jim, my sister's father-in-law, take a look at it to see what it was. We were always on the lookout for antiques or other items we could sell to make some easy money.
I said sure.

A few days later we were over at Jim's house and he said he was researching it in all his old books. He said he thought it came from a grave but wasn't sure. He asked me to tell him where I found it. I told him. He nodded and said he needed a few more days to research it and asked if he could just hold onto it a bit longer.
I agreed.

It was not too long after that he showed up at my house, my parent's house actually, and brought the cross with him.
We were all in the kitchen. Jim had pushed the cross, wrapped in its original burlap, to the middle of our table. He took a quick sip of his coffee.
He said, "I'm not sure what it is exactly. But I don't want it in my house anymore."
My mother looked surprised, "Why's that?"
"The damn thing's haunted!"
My mother became quiet and I stared at the burlap lump sitting on our table.
You see, for me this was a frightening moment. My mother didn't know that I had overheard an adult conversation. I had the secret knowledge that she and Jim used to be into witchcraft at the same time. Of course as of the revelation of the haunted cross, they were both Born-Again Christians. but in my mind, they were conduits to the unknown.
"How do you mean," my mother asked, "Haunted?"
"I woke up to go pee last night. I had left the cross on the hall table and right there," Jim slowed down and took a long drink of coffee, "There in my hall was an old World War One soldier standing there looking at the cross."
My mother asked, "Well could it have been a dream or something Jim?"
"It was no dream. I froze there staring at him. He looked up at me and then back down at the cross." He took another sip. "I hustled it back to my bedroom, dropped to my knees and prayed. A few minutes later I went back out there and he was gone. Trust me, this was no dream. I just want the thing gone and you should do the same."

I have always assumed the ghost he saw was the same man I saw in my dreams.
I don't remember what happened to the cross. My mother took it from the table and it disappeared from my memory. I hadn't told the story for over twenty years. I would guess my mother prayed over it and what have you. Maybe she cast a spell or used Christian magic and exorcised the spirit from the thing. I really don't know. Perhaps I will ask if she still has it.

Have you ever had an experience like that? Ever see a ghost or hear of a ghost being attached to something? Are they real? Fake? I'm not sure. Because I only saw the guy in my dreams. Jim saw him while awake. Jury is still out for me. What about you?

Until next time.... READ!


  1. I love your stories,you had one interesting childhood! I also love how you take me away with your descriptions; you have fan in me for sure.

  2. Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Gina!
    As far as my childhood... I didn't think it was strange until I was in the Army and found how many people thought the stories were unbelievable... A couple actually went back to visit with me a few times and were surprised at the confirmations from others and seeing some of the places I talked about.

  3. Twenty five years ago my brother appeared to me in my dream. You see, he had recently passed on when he fell through the ice and drowned. I had been devastated about this and had been going through profound grief. I assume he came to me in a dream or was I awake during that time. I saw him standing next to the bed, wearing a plaid flannel shirt. I sat up, reached out with my hand and touched his cheek and noticed the warmth of his skin. He told me to stop grieving as he was doing fine. He then told me he was needed on "The other side." That was the first time I had ever heard that term "other side." I would like to tell you it helped, and in some small way it did, but I still grieve for him to this day.

  4. Jane, thanks for sharing your experience. I think when a person close to us passes, the pain never leaves. We just get used to having it as a part of us.