Monday, February 22, 2010

Of Heaven and Angels and Things That Go "Bump" In The Night

One thing about going through a death in the family is all of the people who come up to you and say things like, "She's in a better place now," or "She's now in heaven where she wants to be," or "She's only gone from this earth but you can still talk to her, she's listening."

My mom's father was a Theosophist. Theosophists believe in reincarnation. Therefore, so did my mom. Me, I'm agnostic. I don't know what I "believe in", if anything. However, every time I'm exposed to this type of thing, I'm reminded of something that happened to a close friend.

The following was a very early post, before many of you found my site, and me yours. I believe this is a good time to re-post it. It seems apropos.

“Nana’s Watching You”

This story is true. If it weren't from one of my oldest childhood friends, I might not give it the time of day. But it is, so here it is...

My friend and his wife were looking for a home in the historic district of Columbus, Georgia. After several months, they found an old Victorian fixer-upper on a picturesque street just a couple of blocks off of the Chattahoochee River and began work on it.

About a year after they moved in I was traveling in the area and stopped by for a visit. Now my buddy and I have a long tradition of evening chats over bourbon and cigars and so it was on the second night of my visit. Sitting on the veranda, watching the night fall and the street lights come on one by one up and down the tree-lined street. As usual, the discussion centered around Formula 1 and his vintage Alfa Romeo before turning to more eclectic interests.

After a brief pause, he asked, "Did you sleep OK last night?" Now my buddy, apart from living in a house still under repair, is a college professor and a "collector." His homes eventually turn into in-city land fills with books and papers and magazines and whatnot filling every nook and cranny of every room, (I seem to collect friends who are collectors.) the guest room being no exception, with just enough free space for a twin bed and dresser top. Thinking this the object of his concern for my comfort I, of course replied, "Yeah. I slept fine."

"You didn't hear anything?" he inquired. Wondering if he and the Mrs. had gotten it on and he was afraid I had heard them, I replied "No." He pressed, "You didn't hear anything on the stairs?" After thinking about it a moment I replied, "Yeah, now that you mention it, I guess I do remember someone going down to the bathroom. Why?" "Because no one went down to the bathroom," he replied.

After digesting that for a moment, I said, "Are you telling me there's a ghost in the house?" He nodded, "Yep." "There used to be several of them," he continued. "They were making so much noise that (his wife) was scared half to death. I had to hire an exorcist to get rid of them. All except this one, but he seems harmless enough."

I said, "Alright, you've got my attention."

He told me he did some research and found that following the Civil War, the house became a home for wounded war veterans, several of whom died there. Later it became a boarding house but no one would stay for long because of all of the bumps in the night. Several times the house was bought and eventually sold because the owners couldn't handle it. It sat vacant for some years before my buddy bought it... at a bargain price.

He said when he thinks back on it, he remembers when they first stopped to look at it he was peering into one of the windows when he had the distinct feeling of someone standing next to him. Not just that, but there was a strong human odor as well. He looked around and, of course, no one was there. “I didn’t think much of it at the time,” he said. “I just thought some vagrant had urinated on the wall. But now I know what it was.”

Curious about the exorcist, I asked how he found one and what they did. He said he found one by simply asking around and that she basically burned a bunch of candles and some incense and made some markings by each of the doors accompanied by a chant. By the next night, all of the ghosts were gone except for one, who still remains.

I saw my friend just a few months ago and asked about the ghost. Was he still there? "Yep," he replied. "He likes to play little tricks. For awhile we would come out in the morning to take the dogs for a walk and find knots tied in their leashes. We kept them on the back porch so we thought some neighborhood kids were fooling around. Then we brought them inside and it still happened. But then it stopped. The dogs used to whine and act uneasy but they've gotten used to him. But you can tell when he's in the room because they can sense him and lift their heads and look around."

I asked him, "Doesn't it bother you to know something's watching you?" He said, "It used to but now we never think about it. If he doesn't like it he can leave."

It makes me wonder if Nana is watching me every time I slip into the bathroom to wang dang my doodle.


  1. I used to worry about that,too.

  2. Well, I have the same concerns regards the wang dang doodle and other situations of a coupling type. I would be very embarrassed to know my departed family was watching. On the other hand, maybe they are remembering and "living" vicariously, as it were.

    The ghost thing is right up there with UFOs for me. I hear and read stories of such, but in all my ancientness, I have never seen, nor heard either. I truly would love to. But, alas I am still an apparition and alien virgin.

    With you on the agnostic thing. Maybe even one haunting in my house would change me mind.

  3. why are people so afraid of the afterlife?

  4. This will hurt,
    if they are sooo vvvveeerrry fearice about the unborn,
    should they not be sooo veeerryyyy
    afraid of the undead????
    they are the same Elk. Hey wait a second?? I'm not an Elk, but i'm of the same elk? Damn I hate this part of ghost storites.
    Sorry man, ghostie and gobline and things the you want to bump in the night just get me hard.

  5. To me, ghosts, spirits and such are like trying to imagine infinity. Makes me dizzy. BTW Punch.. that's ilk, not elk, and yes, you are one. An Elk that is. Aren't you a member of the Elk's Club? A bunch of guys soon to be ghosts.

  6. I lived in a haunted house for about 6 months; it is not a comforting feeling. Guess it depends on your ghost type. I'll let you know if I ever decide to write about those days.

    I had a friend who had a near death experience, and said he encountered his long gone mother, who let him know that she can see everything that goes on in his life, but there is no judgement of it at all... nothing is good or bad, it just is, and she is able to observe it.

  7. Apologies to your friend for me, I just couldn't resist tying those knots...

    Seriously, I posted once on some poltergeists. Freaky stuff.

  8. If the departed want something then let them ask but my experience is that them who hang around do so because they left something un-done and once done leave for the big sleep or they stay simply because they like to play tricks and watch the commotion.

    You ever think that the fear inspired by the ghostly is in the human and when looked at in reality without the Hollywood make up they really are fairly benign.

  9. Barbara... can't wait for the story. Mo... somehow I knew it was you. Or should I say somehow I knew you went bump in the night! WM... your description is much like Tom Robbins' depiction of purgatory in Jitterbug Perfume. Punch... can't believe you missed your chance to proclaim you are "hung like an Elk!"

  10. Just finished a book about a ghost, Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

    I worry sometimes about my grandfather or granny watching me. But I figure they only watch what they want to watch, the same way they would have when they were alive. Plus places seem to be haunted moreso than people. Anyway, being agnostic as well, my go to answer is "I don't know."

  11. Ahem, ahh, I'm ahhh, hung (ahem) like an elk.?
    Hey, what about you and wangin' the danglin' doodle? Don't know if I want to hang 'round this joint after midnight.

  12. Is that hung as in sexual member length or as in head on the wall?

  13. 'wang dang doodle' - I've never heard that expression before!

  14. hahaha! lets hope she ain't watching!

    stuff like that does exist. I'm not sure of an afterlife either but I'd love to haunt a few people!

  15. wang dang your doodle?

    it sounds like some kind of asian restaurant


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