I’m still not feeling right this morning, even though it’s sunny outside and nothing feels weird in the house today… but last night, I saw SOMETHING in my room at 3:44am.
I went to bed pretty late, around 2am or so. I had been watching Chelsea Lately, just unwinding from being out seeing Where the Wild Things Are with T & K. I took two Tylenol PMs because my damn back is still killing me, and fell asleep with the heating pad under me. (I love that thing, because it automatically shuts off after 20 minutes or so, so it’s kind of OK to sleep with it.)
The TV went off with the sleep timer, sometime after I was asleep. Simon was on the bed, too.
And then, I startled awake kind of suddenly. I felt disoriented as hell, because the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was a very large, dark figure standing next to my bed. It was shaped like someone wearing a black cloak or something! I remember thinking that it was someone in the house, playing a joke on me, trying to startle me. Like my sister, sneaking in to trick me into screaming like an idiot.
But that thought was fleeting, and I had it while I was screaming loudly and scrambling in the dark to get out of my bed and turn the light on at the same time. I also was thinking it could be an intruder. Someone who quietly snuck in, somehow got past Hurley…
I know for a fact that I actually screamed. Three times.
I’m not a screamer, really. I’m a gasper; I’m a jump-and-yell-“AGH!” kind of person. Screaming, like people in a horror movie, is definitely not my normal M.O.
My window was open. I wonder if anyone heard my screaming! I hope it didn’t disturb my neighbors; if it did, they probably heard it, thought they were dreaming because they didn’t hear it again, and went back to sleep.
I got the light on and no one was there. All I saw were my black curtains, pulled shut like usual. I don’t know where Simon was, but Hurley was standing at attention, looking at me with a slightly-concerned look on his face as he blinked in the light.
My first thought was of intense relief, because I thought I really must have just been looking at my curtains, themselves, and in a dream-state, thought they were forming the shape of a person. I felt embarrassed and worried about that business with screaming with an open window, but when no one came to knock on my door or anything to check on me, I relaxed. I went to the bathroom, got a drink, and settled down again with the TV back on the sleep timer, with some stupid Dane Cook standup special (I don’t like Dane Cook anymore, blah) so I wouldn’t be staring obsessively at the dark curtains as I fell asleep.
Nothing else happened, and I woke up this morning still sore as hell– seriously, WTF is wrong with my damn back?!– and feeling thoughtful about what happened last night.
I really would like to think that ghosts exist. The idea of it is so awesomely spooky and tantalizing. Hell, I even saw something unexplained with my own two eyes about 13 years ago. (The ‘moving gray spot’ along the water line at the Spy House.) Ever since I saw that, I believed that YES, there are things we just can’t explain sometimes. And I do think it’s completely possible that spirits can linger in places. I also think that it wouldn’t take just death to make a spirit stay somewhere; I happen to think that anything powerful that happens to a person can kind of imprint itself on the surroundings where they occurred. Kind of like the concept that a place can have ‘memories.’ Not to sound like some hippie or something, but humans and animals definitely give off energy. I think that we can have experiences happen to us that makes our energy amp itself up and it could, possibly, go out into an environment… since you can’t destroy energy, it seems possible it could stay someplace.
And, I also believe that the human mind has self-defense mechanisms in place that cause us to “see” things that aren’t really happening. I once wrote a play about near-death experiences, and did a lot of research into the phenomenon. I read accounts from people who’d had NDEs; I read books written by breathless believers in “the other side”; and I read scientific explanatory books that talked about endorphins and studies that were done after taking a look at a personal’s vitals after they experienced a NDE. My conclusion, drawn from all of these different sources, ended up being this: At a moment of extreme pain, our brains pump out chemicals, endorphins, etc, to help us deal with what our sensory network is almost overloaded with. Some doctors think that the “bright lights” people see when they “die” is actually organic. I sound like an asshole, because I don’t have my sources and books in front of me as I write this, so I am just BLAH BLAH HERE’S WHAT I THINK I REMEMBER about this, so bear with me. I believe that this was determined because of cases where people who had been in very bad accidents and didn’t have a NDE have reported that their vision can go all wonky at the height of the pain; they also have a moment where the brain sends out chemicals to ease the sensation of pain– I think that, in other words, this happens when a person goes into shock. It’s called shock to an outside observer, but for the person experiencing it, it’s a change in sensation and perception.
So, some scientists have taken this and applied it to what a NDE might actually be. At the moment of death–painful or not– it’s probably the brain firing off chemicals, synapses firing for a few last times, creating perceptions that aren’t actually happening. It might be something that’s just a fundamental part of the human design: our bodies are equipped in this way so that we can process and handle the moment of death. While everything else is shutting down, our brains put on a little “light show” for lack of a better phrase. And we slip away at peace.
And that is personally, what I think, happens.
And I think the mechanisms that would make this possible may not always stay quiet for whatever reason, during the rest of our lives. I think that little glitches can happen at random from time to time, and we might see, hear, smell or feel things that aren’t there. It doesn’t mean we’re having a stroke or something! No, what I mean is, think about those times when for no reason at all, a part of your body will just involuntarily get a little twitch, or shudder. For me, it’s when I am yawning, and I’ll get this big shudder-reaction all of the sudden, like I am really cold. Or when your muscles glitch out in your eyelid for a little while and you get that eye twitch thing. I think the electrical impulses in our bodies just fire off at random sometimes, even in the healthiest of people. It’s normal.
So, why can’t those glitches happen in our brains, and affect how we experience things?
Most people, when they “see” or experience a ghost, only see or experience it for a very short moment. It’s hardly ever described as a prolonged thing, with conversations and tons of details to take in. Our culture has taught us, from a very early age, that when these things happen, it could be something paranormal. Before we ever find out what ghosts, monsters under the bed, or goblins are, we likely just experience whatever it is we see or feel that’s out of the ordinary with a little sense of confusion. But once we are a couple of years old, and we have somehow taken in what the “scary unexplained” things are often called and described as, we’re programmed in for the rest of our lives to jump to that paranormal conclusion.
So, in a long-winded way, that’s what I think ghosts are. They exist. Because our brains and common cultural language allow them to.
HOWEVER… that’s not meant to discredit everything entirely; chalk everything that happens up to a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation.
Because the reality is, we just don’t know everything, and we probably are not ABLE to ever know everything. I do think there are other ways that living energy can work that we just don’t have the tools or capacity to ever understand. I do think that because each living thing has its own unique experience, we can never know what another person’s perception really feels like… so who’s to say that existence for one person feels the same as it does for the person next to them? I have always described this to myself as, “what I see as the color green might not be exactly the same color green that another person sees.”
To take two pop culture references and mush them together: “The Truth is Out There; but We Can’t Handle the Truth.”
So… that all being said…what did I see last night?
Why did it make me scream in a way I really never scream? Why was my reaction so visceral and powerful?
Either way, in the light of day, I realize that my curtains could not have formed the shape I saw, because I remember that the light coming through the curtains behind the figure was what enabled me to define the shape of the figure. I saw the curtains, and I saw the shape.
At the same time, I have no scary vibes in this house. No weird energy. I think we lived in a “haunted” house that had a lot of residual energy/memories when we were living in Belford, but that is the only place I’ve lived that felt that way. This house feels very peaceful and safe, in general. I don’t think there is an angry residual memory here.
What an interesting night for me to think about, really! I’m enjoying this. I’m going to have fun letting myself believe I saw a spirit. Whether it was there, or in my mind, is subjective. At least I saw something!