Friday, April 6, 2012

Uninvited Guests!

Having thoroughly enjoyed ten days with my nephew and his girlfriend staying in our apartment, the subject of uninvited guests came up. I’m not talking about acquaintances begging a bed for the night en route to the airport, but guests of the supernatural kind.

Our apartment has a long, narrow hallway—ideal for playing skittles—at the end of which is our bedroom. For the past few weeks I’d felt a curious heaviness outside the bedroom door. I didn’t think any more of it until my nephew (age 21) said, “I know you might think me a weirdo but you’ve got a ghost in your apartment.” He then told me where. You’ve guessed! At the end of the hallway! AND THEN … my husband sheepishly admitted that he’d felt a “presence” looming over him in bed and a very cold draft. He’d not been able to sleep for weeks.

A quick chat to our friend Ben Scuglia aka pet psychic and medium (hey! I live in LA) who advised us to lay down a few house rules—no visiting whilst we’re in the shower etc.—and our uninvited guest disappeared. I never found out who it was.

This experience reminded me of something that happened in England when I moved to a 16th century cottage next to the churchyard in Chailey Green, Sussex. The photo here was taken before my time in the early 1900’s. However, not much has changed—except for the cow.

My eight-year-old daughter and I lived in the left cottage and a lay preacher lived on the right. He told us quite cheerfully, that if we “saw a shadow” floating about at night, the shadow’s name was Thomas Jeffery who used to be the butcher there and to say “hello.” Thomas was actually buried in the churchyard. Here is his epitaph:

To the Memory
Thomas Jeffery
Who died 18th October 1852
Aged 18 Years
When pursuing his trade as a butcher
His knife slipped and
Severed the main artery of his thigh
After which he lived only one hour.
Thus suddenly in God’s providence
Was this young communicant taken
To his rest.

I thought no more of it. Two years went by until one dark and stormy night, I had just been unceremoniously dumped by my boyfriend at the time and was vacuuming furiously at midnight, cursing, crying, flinging myself all over the furniture etc. Thinking back, I must have disturbed something in the ether.

At exactly 4 am (I checked) I was awoken by a curious yowling sound coming from my daughter’s bedroom – she was away at the time. Believing there was a rogue cat inside my cottage that was tormenting my own kitty, I went to investigate.

The room was so cold that I could see my breath. Rosie, my poor cat was terrified. So much was her fright that she had suffered a chronic diarrhea attack and was utterly paralyzed. She was staring into the corner that used to house the original staircase. Rosie’s eyes were bulging and her fur and tail bristled. When I followed her gaze I thought I’d die of fright myself.

A shadowy form filled the doorway. It was a fuzz of black molecules in the outline of a tall man that I can only liken to the energy pattern depicted in the transporter chamber in Star Trek. I knew immediately it was Thomas.

I prayed. It was all I could think to do—forget about having a friendly chat! Finally, after a good half hour (yes, I checked), he vanished. I never saw him again but he stayed around.

For the next three months, strange things started to happen. All the taps would turn on throughout the cottage at the same time; lights would flip on in the middle of the day and cupboards, dry with no water pipes anywhere, would have inexplicable pools of clear liquid on the floor or even soak a piece of clothing on a coat hanger.

After a while, I couldn’t handle it, nor could my daughter or my cat. Eventually, I called in the help of a spiritual group who conducted an exorcism of sorts with beautiful songs and soothing music. Thomas left.

Up until that experience, I never believed in ghostly visitors. It was a life changing experience for me and one I think, now makes me receptive to uninvited guests just passing through.