It’s difficult to believe in something when you haven’t seen it with your own eyes or haven’t had it happen to you personally. I have often scoffed at stories of supernatural encounters, believing someone’s active imagination is having a particularly productive day. But sometimes, the person recounting their eerie experience is someone you know and trust and whose credibility would never be in question. It could be a family member, a close friend or it could even be yourself.
When I was 18, my dearest and closest aunt passed away. On the day of her funeral, when I went to bed that night, I had an experience I have never been able to explain. While still awake, I felt a gust of air blow over my face with such strength it moved some of my hair across my forehead. I was not asleep, not dreaming, my windows were closed, the furnace was not on and I had no fan operating in the room. My door was closed, and I felt hermetically sealed in the safety of my bedroom. Under identical circumstances, the same thing happened the three following nights and then it never happened again. Was that my aunt saying goodbye before she “crossed over”? I don’t know. What I do know is that occurrence was not the by-product of an overactive juvenile imagination.
Three years later when my mother passed away I waited for a sign from her. None came. Fast forward to 2012 when my father died and yet another bizarre experience unfolded — but not to me. The nurse who was with my father when he left this world called me a few days later in a state of great anxiety. She revealed that during her lunch break, among her coworkers the day after he passed, his voice came to her with a message for me. Her coworkers saw her face turn white, she dropped what she was eating and just sat there in a trance. She said my father told her to thank me for all I had done for him and that he loved me — words he was never comfortable saying to me in person when he was alive.
I had no reason to believe she was fabricating this story as she disclosed that situations like this had happened to her before. I remained mildly skeptical but filled with wonder at the same time.
Recently, a friend confided that the apartment she just rented was not the restful haven she hoped it would be. As is often the case, apartment dwellers have the misfortune to live above or below noisy neighbours so when she started hearing loud walking noises at all hours of the night, she assumed her upstairs neighbours were night owls. As these noises continued unabated and after some investigation, she came to realize that they were originating from within her own unit and not by her own feet. A friend who slept over heard them, too.
Her downstairs neighbours confronted her and accused her of keeping them awake at night with all the stomping around. Yet she was in bed at the time these sounds were heard and wasn’t responsible. Conversations with other residents have revealed similar experiences and many units in her building remain empty. She called in a medium who declared there was a restless spirit at the root of all this and performed a ceremony with candles and open windows to allow the spirit to move on. The noises stopped for a while but have since resumed. She is moving.
Finally, in my own home, we have a clock in our family room that has never kept the correct time. It hangs on a wall that has seen many other clocks before it, all of which would lose a few minutes every few days, no matter how often we would adjust them. Even a new battery would not set things right. Perhaps there is a poor, restless soul behind that wall who keeps turning back the hands of time so he or she can live again.
I have never been one to believe in things that go bump in the night but in the absence of a logical explanation for these bizarre occurrences, it does give me pause. I think I’ll rename my column, “Afterlife’s Like That”.