"There are three classes of people:
Those who see.
Those who see when they are shown.
Those who do not see."
(Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Renaissance polymath)
For years, I have been witness to a form which I can barely identify. In the corner of my eye, or face on in the night, some little girl runs past me, laughing. Her giggles are a testament that at some point in time she lived, just like every other child has lived. I have seen her at the top of staircases. She flashes about down the hallway. She used to come much more often than she does these days, but she still appears on occasion. I have often wondered if she is a harbinger of something wonderful, or a warning that something wicked this way comes. We never talk, we never touch, she just appears then fades away. I have not even given her a name.
I could overanalyze this haunting, turning it into some evidence that there is more to this life than we know. I could spout study after study on metaphysics and the paranormal. I could show you pictures of the soul leaving the body, in an attempt to identify the energy that I see when she appears. We could watch The X-Files together, searching for understanding and our favourite scene. None of these can explain what I experience. Trust me, I have looked for answers. I have questioned, researched and discussed this phenomenon with so many academics and theologians that they can picture her in their minds. There is no reason for her, no purpose I can see in her appearances.
She seems to stand at about 4 feet, with long free-flowing auburn hair dropping from a bonnet, its brim touched with little pansies and buttercups. They don't really have colour, the entire essence about her energy is a mixture of sharp vivid blue and bright white. They blend together with a hue that overshadows her form and accessories. She wears the same dress every time she quickly floats by. The bonnet appears to be weaved together like a corn hat, or an Amish cap. It is layered by a sash which dangles to each side. I assume this would be for securing the thing, but they are always just dangling, hanging like she doesn't know they are there. Her dress is simple, it does not seem to have much texture to its style. The length drops to about her calf, it shimmers with her movement. Again, it appears as a mesh of blue and white, a glow I am sure it did not possess before she took this form. I can tell she wears shoes, and has hands. I can even make out some features of her face. After all these years, I would have imagined I would know each part of her inside out, but each quicksilver visitation and the shine of her has never allowed me that close a look. One second she is there. The next she is not.
I often wonder if she is all in my head. As she has travelled with me over the past 15 years, from home to home, I assume I bring her with me. I tell myself she is not real. I tell myself there is an explanation for her repeated appearances. I have yet to find one which meets my standards of proof. I have never believed in ghosts. I guess I have trouble comprehending why someone who has died would want to return to such a place as this reality. Run and keep running is my motto. Since no one else has ever seen her, there must be a reason that I do. If science cannot identify what she is, and spiritualism seems futile with all the guessing, I have had to eliminate the impossible and assume that whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
"We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect. The judgment of the intellect is only part of the truth." (Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist/Psychiatrist)
I have much hope that there is something beyond life, especially for the dead. I just have difficulty believing that some force of doom compels human beings to linger around and haunt, like a ghost should do. When an energy appears, the appearance might mark the spot where some tragic or great event had occurred, drawing them back to it over and over again. As if that something which defined their lifetime is irresistible, both colouring who they are now and darkening who they used to be. If this is the way it really is, then it is a sad state indeed.
I have spent many grim nights sitting in a cemetery looking for dead people. When my first partner's gravestone found its place, I would use it as a backrest, often falling asleep against it in the silence of the gloom. In all the times I attempted to lay witness to things that go bump in the night, I have never found an iota of proof. At least, proof enough for me. I would have imagined that dying in the very same spot would have awarded me to at least a glimpse. I got nothing. I have seen energies in my day, viewed auras and even felt evil, but I cannot testify to any shape other than the little bonnet girl. If I can see her, why can I not see other spectres, other beings? She has no reason to haunt me, but surely someone I have known who has passed would have paid me a visit just to say hello. I see her, I even feel her down the hall, but I do not understand.
“Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving."
(Mark Twain, American Author)
If this reality is merely an illusion, it is relentless in its own pursuit. An idea, like that of a ghost, is foreign to the parameters mankind has set for himself in this arena. We must attempt to understand it before it can explain itself. We can only see what the mind
allows us to see. It is possible that there exists things that are still unknown to us. Like the Russian Kirlian camera or aura imaging, we mock what we do not understand. Our knowledge about this world is very much in its infancy. The beginning of understanding is to discover something we do not comprehend.
Sometimes the unknown passes us by, an encounter that offers us an opportunity into a world to which we previously had little exposure. It acts as a signal, an indicator to the real voyage of discovery. We must look at things differently to fully perceive them.
Even a ghost ship will stir the water. When we recognize that we truly know nothing, we begin to find our answers. There are no answers. Sometimes we are merely sightseeing as another ship goes by. We do not board it so we know not where it came from or how it got to where it is now. We know it is there, but once it is gone we find it hard to prove anything at all. When we begin to wonder, we begin to understand.
Ships that pass leave traces that they were once beside us. The ripples in the water, the smoke from a stack, they linger on the waves and in the air. Modern craft leave residue in the water, pointing to the engine and fuel they use for sailing. Although we cannot define the ship, we can use these traces to recognize not only how it may function, but why it may have travelled our way. We know that not one breath of air, not one grain of sand, can become nothing. Everything changes, everything transforms. From a scientific point of view, nothing can die. We know this rule of nature, yet we continue to believe that human death is the obliteration of being. What if all the ghosts we see, all the voices we hear from the dark, are merely remnants, snapshots from a time and place, caught in this time and place? What if all we see is but a dream within a dream?
"To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they know quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?"
(Socrates, Classical Greek Athenian philosopher)
My little bonnet girl has appeared to me so many times that I have gotten used to her. I hold no fear or trepidation towards her. She has always been benign. Every time I see her now, I pay greater attention. I notice she moves the same way, looks the same, even runs the same way each time she is present. It is almost as if she was in constant replay, the same image bounced back over and over again. The process seems almost mechanical. I have come to believe she is a remnant, a marking somehow left by a theory of science we have yet to study.
I cannot fathom why she follows me. Perhaps we met on the night of my near-death experience, a spirit which noticed me then took to pursuit. Perhaps I emit some energy which pulls this residue to me. In science, the Law of Attraction formulates that one energy will attract like energies. Maybe there is some appeal about me that draws her to me. It may even be so simple that I am tuned into her frequency, or better, a frequency which reverberates even after her death.
As we sail out on the sea alone, we often come across things which cannot be explained. Just to the aft, a silent ship disappears into the night. We do not know where it is going and we cannot know where it has been, but the fact that it was there, no matter how brief, can be enough to make us feel less lost at sea. We are not alone, even though we can no longer see a travelling companion. If everything we can imagine is real, then perhaps these remnants are more indicator than transmission. I have to believe that the mere experience they bring with them suggests there is something there. This chance, the possibility, can bring great hope when no hope is to be found.
"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
(Carl Sagan, American cosmologist/author)